Thursday, February 20, 2020

Your Thursday Jumble

     And a jumble it is, Gentle Reader. An embarras des richesses! For the “Future Columns” folder is bursting at the seams, and I am disinclined to slough any of the entries. So pour yourself another mugful, silence your cell phone – no texting during the performance, it disturbs the other patrons – and sit back.

Russian Collusion Follies: The Denouement

     Apparently, our supposedly crack investigators aren’t good at keeping track of stuff:

     Concerning which Ragin’ Dave has a few thoughts:

     Oh, I believe that those documents no longer exist, but they were "lost" in the same way that I happened to "lose" my virginity as a teen-age boy.

     Nor should we expect any of the Feebs to be held accountable:

     Given how every single Democrat connected FBI person has skated on the multiple crimes they committed, there is absolutely zero chance that anyone will actually be punished for their "failures", which is to say their deliberate actions undertaken to cover up the larger crimes they committed in service to the Democrat party.

     Sadly, I must concur.

“Neoconservative” NeverTrumpers.

     Ace has a few words to say:

     "Neocons" were disillusioned Democrats who objected to their party's excesses.

     But never the basic philosophy or priorities. Just the excesses.

     The neocons remade the Republican Party into something that Democrats could join -- and control.

     Now that we've taken their control away from them, and begun turning our backs on their preferred Democrat priorities for the GOP, they abandon it.

     It was never anything more than a refuge of convenience for them.

     Indeed, Ace’s characterization is close of that of the late William E. Simon, in his blockbuster political Jeremiad A Time for Truth. In that book, he referred to neoconservatives as “anti-Communists of a New Deal stripe.” John F. Kennedy would have qualified as one, had he lived through Lyndon Johnson’s term in office. But JFK would not have approved of Trump, a parvenu from outside the political class, unequipped with a Kennedy School of Government degree, whose emphasis is on reducing the power of the federal Leviathan, especially that of the unaccountable alphabet agencies. Don’t expect a diehard Democrat to agree with any of that, though.

“They don’t like us,” says Maine...

     Ace also has a few things to say about the attitudes of the Old World toward the U.S. of A.:

     Europeans have always hated and resented America. They may have had a marginally higher opinion of America when Obama was president, but that was most likely because his view of America was closer to theirs. That is, America had No Right to tower over all of the other nations of the world as it so clearly does, so the entire purpose of the Obama presidency was to bring America down to the level of the rest of the world, to handicap, kneecap, and hobble the American people and the American economy until we're just another shabby little socialist country. Europeans are Our Betters and we should strive to be more like them....

     This how I think about it: the world is like high school writ large. And America, meaning the United States of America, is the most popular student in school who is also a 3-letter sports jock with rugged good looks and, on top of that, is a straight 'A' student. All of the girls think he's just dreamy and of course he gets his pick of the hottest cheerleaders. Naturally, someone like this is going to stir up a lot of resentment from ankle-biters who aren't as good or as successful as he is, and there's nothing they'd like more than to see him brought down, or at least lower.

     An accurate appraisal, in my estimation. Once again, the magic word is envy. Watch for it among the losers you encounter. And be sure to wash your hands afterward.

     (NB: The title of this segment is a line from Archibald MacLeish’s poem “Colloquy for the States.”)

“Haven’t we done that already?”

     In many ways, the political struggles of the century behind us are about the efforts of a self-nominated elite – the political class, if you like – to gain power for itself and to barricade itself in place irremovably. Populism, frequent identified with the political ascendancy of Donald Trump, is their mortal foe. And so they have instructed their media cat’s-paws to argue for more authority for the elite!

     Only a fraction of the Democratic primary electorate has voted so far, but the nomination season is off to a rocky start. Independent Bernie Sanders seems to be leading in popular votes, while upstart Pete Buttigieg is ahead in the delegate count. And there’s also the question of whether either one — or any of the other candidates — can bring the party together moving forward.

     The current process is clearly flawed, but what would be better? Finding an answer means thinking about the purpose of presidential nominations, and about how the existing system falls short. It will require swimming against the tide of how we’ve thought about nominations for decades — as a contest between everyday voters and elites, or as a smaller version of a general election. A better primary system would empower elites to bargain and make decisions, instructed by voters.

     One lesson from the 2020 and 2016 election cycles is that a lot of candidates, many of whom are highly qualified and attract substantial followings, will inevitably enter the race. The system as it works now — with a long informal primary, lots of attention to early contests and sequential primary season that unfolds over several months — is great at testing candidates to see whether they have the skills to run for president. What it’s not great at is choosing among the many candidates who clear that bar, or bringing their different ideological factions together, or reconciling competing priorities. A process in which intermediate representatives — elected delegates who understand the priorities of their constituents — can bargain without being bound to specific candidates might actually produce nominees that better reflect what voters want.

     There it is, Gentle Reader: plain as a fart, from an organ that has the slogan “Democracy Dies In Darkness” at the top of its front page, in every single issue. Talk about a masks-are-off moment! But wait: there’s more! We’ve already been there and done that:

     The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows:

     Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.

     The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said House shall in like manner choose the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each state having one vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Vice President.

     The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.

     That was Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution before all amendments. Read it closely. There was to be no popular participation in the selection of the president or the vice-president. The state legislatures had full discretion over whom to send to the Electoral College, and each elector had full discretion concerning whom he would support. Indeed, no aspect of citizen participation in the election of the president was enforced upon the states until the Twenty-Fourth Amendment was ratified – in 1961! Even today, Constitutional scholars argue about whether the states are bound to appoint presidential electors by popular vote.

     Mind you, it wasn’t a bad system. It gave us presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, among others. But it bore no slightest trace of “democracy.”

If You Support Mike Bloomberg For President... should be aware of what he inflicted or tried to inflict upon New York City:

     Democrat presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg banned, or attempted to ban, far more than just large sodas during his dozen years as mayor of New York City, according to a list published on the eve of his departure from office....

     The majority of bans fell into one of three categories: smoking, transportation and food/beverage – but, music, grass clippings and heating oils were also targeted, the list reveals. By general category, the bans addressed the following areas of New Yorkers’ lives:

     Read it all. If you find that you approve of the Tiny Tyrant’s nannyist agenda, stay well away from me and keep your hands where I can see them.

On The Second Amendment Front.

     Bloomberg’s crusade against the firearms rights of private citizens has dipped a toe into the waters of Arizona, one of the most firearms-friendly states in the Union. Here’s how the popular reaction to that looks:

     RECOIL and OFFGRID dispatched editors to the Arizona state capitol on Saturday, covering the day's pro Second Amendment rally held by the Arizona Citizens' Defense League. Following events in VA, where the peaceful gathering of thousands of armed citizens passed off without incident and yet was still spun by the media as being overrun with white supremacist militias, we wanted to make sure this wasn't also misrepresented.

     What we saw was more of the same. Americans of all creeds, colors, backgrounds and sexual orientations were peaceably assembled, in order to demonstrate their love of freedom, and this country we call home. What was especially noticeable was the number of people in their twenties, which gives us hope that once the current crop of stereotypical old fat white guys dies off, (us included,) the Second Amendment will be in the hands of a generation that's just as motivated and vocal.

     The crowd size fluctuated throughout the four hour event as people joined and left, but to our untrained eyes seemed to hover around the three thousand mark, which was a huge increase over years past. Motivated no doubt by the introduction of SB1625 to the Senate, which would have brought the usual rag bag of Bloomberg-sponsored infringements to one of the most pro-2A states in the nation, Arizonans showed up in force.

     The majority open carried firearms ranging from a belt-mounted derringer, to a HMMWV-mounted Ma Deuce. And nothing happened. Well, that's not strictly true. Speakers spoke, the audience cheered, and people chatted with strangers, standing on a lawn in the sunshine, united in their appreciation of the republic in which we live.

     God bless and keep them. Please go to the article and relish the many pictures. They’re a heart-lifting sight. I really must renew my subscription to RECOIL magazine.

Owners’ Manuals.

     They’re not light reading...and I mean that literally:

     The new vehicle did have the manual with it; the thing is 500 pages due to the size and format.

     Firehand may own that vehicle for a long time before he’s read the whole book. I haven’t read the whole book for my 2011 Mercedes S550 – and there are controls in the cabin I still haven’t figured out. But that’s the nature of the overly technologized automobile in this year of Our Lord 2020. As for smartphones...maybe I shouldn’t start.

To Lift Him Out Of Dependency:

     ...give him a car:

     In a recent paper, David King of Arizona State University, Michael Smart of Rutgers University and Michael Manville of UCLA cited the legendary urbanist Mel Weber on the importance of facilitating sufficient mobility for low-income citizens: “Our central mission is to redress the social inequities thrown up by widespread auto use, and our central task is to invent ways of extending the benefits of auto-like transportation to those who are presently carless.”...

     Weber’s advice may seem surprising to the general public, which might imagine that transit provides sufficient mobility to low-income citizens. Transportation planning agencies report the percentage of households living “near transit” as an indicator of transit effectiveness, using measures such as a half mile from a transit stop.

     For example,, ranks the Los Angeles metropolitan transit system as 6th best in the United States, out of 186. indicates that 88.8% workers live “near transit” in Los Angeles. Yet, only 5.0% of Los Angeles commuters use transit. This speaks volumes as to the value of being “near transit” (Figure 1). Barely one in 18 commuters living “near transit” considers transit to be good enough to use instead of cars. Indeed, now nearly 97% of Los Angeles commuters have vehicles available, while the share of workers having no auto access dropped by nearly 18% from 2010 to 2018....

     The reality is that “nearness” to transit does not mean that low-income residents have anything resembling automobile mobility. It seems universal auto access in these communities, would lead to less unemployment, less poverty and higher standards of living. This would benefit both lower-income households in particular and the metropolitan economy in general.

     It’s a rare district where mass transit facilitates adequate mobility for its less-well-off residents. But mass transit, like many other left-wing totem objects, is a critical element in the “Herd ‘em all into the cities” agenda of the Left. The denser a population is, the more services its people will allow the local government to collectivize and control – and that is a source of great power for the government, to say nothing of the riches it can bring the governors and their hangers-on.

     If someone you love or admire is struggling financially, in part because he has no car, give him one. A beater, of course. He’ll get back on his feet, put a few nickels together, and find a better one in due time...and he’s quite likely to “pay it forward.” Trust me on this; I’ve been there.


     Interviews of job candidates often include the question “Where do you see yourself in five / ten years?” The Feral Irishman provides an off-axis perspective:

     Oh my, yes. Long-term plans are fodder for dreamers. On any typical day I’m just trying to make it to bedtime in one piece – and that was just as true before I retired. I’d imagine most of us would say the same.

     Long-range planning is for projects, not people – and even with projects, the central importance of a plan is that it helps the people engaged in the project to recognize when things must change:

  • When they realize that the plan failed to account for something important;
  • When changing conditions force adjustments upon them;
  • When contributions from new participants reveal a better way.

     Life plans (and planners) are little more than a New Year’s Eve punchline.

A Plaint.

     This isn’t exactly news, but there’s a war going on against men, masculinity, and the inculcation of the masculine virtues in American boys. It’s had terrible effects already, despite significant resistance from the wise and the experienced. Here’s one woman’s rebuff of the vicious notion of “toxic masculinity:”

     I never thought we would reach a point where it was commonplace to hear social commentators, journalists and presidential candidates awfulize boys and men — our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons — simply because they are male. There were always those fringe women’s studies professors and radical feminists who made their living by hating on men but I couldn’t have imagined that such ugliness would infect the public discourse and be lauded as brave, let alone enlightened.

     It is not enlightened. In fact, it is woefully uninformed. And it is cruel.

     We hear the word “toxic” constantly, often followed by the word “masculinity.” Sometimes these men-haters throw in “problematic,” “misogyny” and “mansplaining” too. But having lived almost half a century, it is clear to me that toxicity has little to do with gender and everything to do with character and behavior.

     The article is brief, and worth reading in its entirety. However, the author stops by condemning her targeted notion without addressing the wherefores. How did this garbage get started? What sustains it in the face of its open and obvious counterfactuality?

     The answer is simple: It’s politically useful.

     Identity politics, the core of the Democrats’ strategy, requires the encouragement of identity groups: “Uses” that must be counterpoised to “Thems.” To maximize its take of the “women’s vote” requires that it get women to see themselves as a group whose interests clash with those of men. Therefore, women must be made to view men as “The Enemy.”

     There’s another aspect to it that’s even more ominous. Male decision making tends to be individualistic, arising from the man’s individual priorities and perspectives. Female decision making tends to be collectivistic, anchored to what her circle of relatives, friends, and associates hold as consensus. Thus, to subjugate men’s decisions to women’s decision making approach would be a colossal victory for the collectivistic Left. If men could be bludgeoned into renouncing their individualism for the sake of sexual access and / or domestic harmony...get the picture?

     Yes, some men have succumbed. But not all. Indeed, not most. And men’s resistance to the Left’s employment of Lysistrata-like tactics grows day by day.

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. Work of several other kinds beckons. Enjoy your Thursday.


Ragin' Dave said...

Thankee for the link, Good Sir. I must confess that most of my blogging is done in the morning before coffee has kicked in, and thus I end up with some grammatical errors, embarrassing spelling mistakes, and the occasional statement that I read once I've fully awakened and say "Oh, dang.... I actually wrote that in my outside voice."

evilfranklin said...

I had an interview once with a nationally known pharmacy company. Keep in mind that I am the same age as you, Fran. The question was asked about where I thought I would be in ten years should they decide to hire me. My interview had been going very well up until this point. My answer to their question, well, I'd give you three guesses, but, I'm sure you'd get it on the first. My answer to their question was, dead. Needless to say I was not hired.