Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Law is Sometimes a Pain in the Ass

The Law is Sometimes a Pain in the Ass
©2017  Ross Williams

As military operations go, the one staged last week against Bashar al-Assad’s airbase which began the gas attack on the Syrian city of Homs was small potatoes.  It was smaller than small potatoes.  It was tater tots.  But you can’t convince some people of that.  They’re too busy with the cigarette lighter and gasoline trying to set their hair on fire.

To recap: Syria dropped sarin bombs on their own people in Homs, because the city is crawling with ISIS.  ISIS is busy trying to topple Bashar al-Assad’s government because the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr, wants all the land in the region for himself.  After all, the land is the ancestral home of Bakr’s tribe, and apart from Syria includes most of Iraq, parts of Jordan and slivers of Turkey, Saudi and Israel.  Two days after the chemical attack on Homs, the US launched an even 5 dozen cruise missiles at the airbase from which the Syrian bombers took off − one missile malfunctioned and fell into the sea. Since then, every ignorant screaming meemie in the world has been screeching their particular ignorance.

Those whose comprehension of world politics begins and ends with denouncing “neocons” are declaring that Trump is a crypto-neocon − just like they always knew he was, even [presumably] when he was a New York democrat.  This attack on Syria signals, to them, the new US intention of commandeering yet another nation in the Middle East for its oil, of which Syria has almost none.

On the flip side of this fantasy are the cheers of elation from a large group of Syrians who desperately hope it’s true.  There’s a reason Syria is stuck in the middle of a six-year civil war: Bashar al-Assad is a junior-grade megalomaniac and expert-level machiavellian asshole.  Syrians have been trying to get out of Syria for six years, and go somewhere, anywhere else − perhaps you’ve heard.  It’s not because Assad’s Syria is a paradise, even without a civil war romantically illuminating the night sky.

Happily for those who see neocons in every closet, and sadly for the Syrian outliers, Trump’s attack on the Syrian airbase was a direct response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons; nothing more and nothing less.  It doesn’t signal anything except that Syria violated International Law by using chemical weapons − again − and don’t do it any more.  The US attack is what Barry Hussein implied would happen almost four years ago, the first time Syria used chemical weapons.  [http://dblyelloline.blogspot.com/2013/09/just-do-it.html]

The world’s sympathy junkies, on the other hand, those who see all the atrocities committed by megalomaniacal, machiavellian assholes and bawl, “somebody needs to do somethi-hi-hi-hingggg” have gotten exactly what they have perpetually demanded …  and they don’t like it, nosir, not one little bit.  Personally, I plan to be surprised by their unsurprisingly inarticulate geopolitical hypocrisy when I have more time in my schedule; March of 2075 appears open.

Not to be outdone, at least one group of pseudo-libertarians posted a thoroughly moronic internet meme advertising that this group of libertarian is completely unaware of what is commonly considered the central theme of libertarianism.  They once again renounced the holy “non-aggression principle”.  The non-aggression principle − or NAP as it is usually short-handed in libertarian circles − is very simple in its theme: never, ever initiate force; the only legitimate use of force is in self-defense, or in the defense of others.

The pseudo-libertarian meme equivocated the US attack on the Syrian airbase − in defense of Syrian civilians from chemical weapons − to Clinton’s siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco Texas.  It then suggested that Argentina would arbitrarily have been justified in attacking the US because of it.  One of my most consistent criticisms of libertarianism as it is smugly practiced by far too many is the libertarian willingness to cite the holy NAP right up until its principles would be acted on.  This has become utterly predictable and cliché, and serves only to support the claim that libertarians are poorly closeted pacifists unwilling to put their jealously protected Second Amendment where their big fat mouths are.

Either the non-aggression principle says what it means and means what it says, or it does not. If it does, then the only philosophically consistent libertarian position is that Trump was justified in attacking Syria for using chemical weapons against [mostly] defenseless Syrian civilians merely because ISIS forces were nearby.  Please note, being justified is not the same as being wise.  There are many valid arguments for the US attack being unwise.  The only problem for libertarians is that before one can make those arguments, one must first have a fairly solid grounding in International Law, foreign policy practicum, and military doctrine − all traits that are vanishingly rare among the pacifist, isolationist libertarians whose main talent seems to be quoting theory from the safe-space confines of their own navels.

On the other hand, if the non-aggression principle does not say what it means and means what it says, then it’s as useful as week-old fart gas, and should be dispensed with immediately.  I often suggest this option, considering how frequently and thoroughly the principle is abandoned by its pseudo-libertarian proponents when push comes to shove.

The one, unifying characteristic of all the flame-pated mopes surrounding this event, though, is the nearly complete non-comprehension of International Law.  Those parts of International Law which actually are understood are nearly universally misapplied. 

International Law, for those who do not know − which is, as I say, virtually everyone in my audience − does not consist of a library full of leather-bound law books stuffed with internationally-concocted statute from the wise statesmen embodying an international legislature.  There is no such legislature.  There are no such statutes.

International law is the accumulated body of treaties between nations, supposedly guiding how those nations interact with each other.  An action that is described as a “violation of International Law” is an action that abrogates one or more conditions of a treaty to which that nation is signatory.  Some treaties are private contracts between a small number of nations; other treaties are required to be joined by any nation wishing membership in the Old Boys Club of nation-statehood.  One such treaty is the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits − among other things − the use of chemical weapons on anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason.

Without going into the long and tedious history of the evolution and migration of International Law from its Treaty of Westphalia origins to yesterday afternoon, a short course on International Law relevant to this incident would be:
1] a civil war is no other nation’s business apart from the nation which is fighting it and its treaty partners;
2] killing civilians is only prohibited if done knowingly, deliberately, and with no pretense of having a military target; accidental or “collateral” civilian casualties are permitted;
3] the use of chemical weapons is always prohibited;
4] …I’ll get to number four after a few paragraphs.

For better or worse, the US is considered a treaty partner with Syria in fighting off the ISIS rebels in Syria’s civil war.  Our most recent ex-president finally realized he could not convert Syria’s two-sided civil war into a ménage a trios, and stopped attempting to create a group of “good rebels” to arm and fund.  All arms and funds the US had previously provided to the nonexistent “good rebels” went to the ISIS organization.  The US has a few thousand soldiers currently in Syria undertaking special operations against ISIS rebels.

The Russians, for what it’s worth, are also Syria’s treaty partner; Syria is and has been for generations, Russia’s client-state in the Middle East.

A current tactic of the ISIS rebels is to place a sniper on the roof of a Syrian apartment building, school, hospital [etc] and randomly shoot whoever is in range. The hamfisted Syrian and Russian military response to this has been to obliterate the entire building − typically full of Syrian civilians who don’t want to leave it for fear of being shot by the ISIS sniper.  The Syrians and Russians kill a lot of Syrian civilians this way.  This is rude and barbaric, but not a violation of International Law.  The US typically complains about it, but does nothing else.

Last week, the Syrians used chemical weapon bombs in place of conventional bombs against a similar target in the city of Homs.  The US complained about it and very broadly hinted that it would do something about it.  Two days later, it did.  It fired 60 cruise missiles at the airbase that housed the aircraft which staged the chemical attack.

Just like there is no international legislature which debates and legislates international law, there are no international cops with a sworn duty to run around the world arresting heads of state who give orders, field commanders who parcel out orders, and soldiers who carry out orders that violate International Law.  There are no international enforcers of International Law.

At this point, those willing to advertise their complete ignorance of foreign policy are going to say, “Yabbut… yabbut … what about the UN?  What is the UN doing about this?”

The answer is: exactly what the UN was designed for.  Bickering.  The UN was created specifically and deliberately to be a “deliberative body”.  The UN was created specifically and deliberately to have no enforcement mechanism or power.  The UN is for debate … argument … lecturing … posturing … preaching … pontificating … whining … wetting one’s panties on a world stage … demonstrating the quality craftsmanship of Russian shoemakers … but not being able to do one damned thing about any of it.

Yet many people want International Law to be enforced, and violators of International Law to be punished.  Without enforcement and punishment, what good is it?

Indeed.  That is a very good question.  It is answered by point number four of International Law relevant to this matter that I skipped earlier:
4] violation of a treaty provision is considered by International Law to be an Act of War against all other signatories to that treaty.

Enforcement of International Law and punishment for the violators is done, traditionally, by warfare.  An aggrieved nation uses its time, effort, money, international reputation, and the lives of its soldiers to compel other nations to abide by the terms of the treaties they share, and to militarily punish nations for breaking those terms.  If International Law is to be enforced, it will be done − ultimately − in exactly the way the US responded to Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

Violations of treaties do not oblige military action, it simply legitimizes it.  There are countless violations of treaties every single day which are not rejoined by military force.  There are even many violations of treaties to which the US is among the aggrieved nations to which the US does not respond with military force. …and look no further than the current situation with North Korea. …or Iran.

In the absence of any nation willing to enforce treaties and the International Law they foster, treaties guiding the conduct of nations are pointless, and International Law is null and void.

If we want treaties against the use of chemical weapons, then nations must be willing to use war to punish nations which use those weapons.  If a nation is willing but the people of that nation demand the nation cease its attempts to compel others to comply with the treaty because doing so is rude and “imperialistic”, or the action of a “neocon”, then the nation may as well remove itself from that treaty and become a pariah nation existing outside the law … that no one is willing to enforce.  If no nations are willing, then the treaty against chemical weapons is useless and should be − just like the perpetually renounced holy NAP − dispensed with.

International Law is a noble idealism, but it relies on base, crude violence to make it work.  How important is International Law to everyone?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Follyswaddling Healthcare

Follyswaddling Healthcare
— or —
How to Abandon Libertarianism in One Intemperate Moment of Political Insecurity
©2017  Ross Williams

I'm going to remind libertarians of many thing they already know, but generally forget they know when it comes to the idiotic national conversation we've had about healthcare in the last decade.

First, rights are not what the government gives out to its citizens; rights are what the government — in our nation, with our definition of governance — is required to protect.  That is the sole government responsibility regarding rights.  What the government gives out to citizens are called entitlements, and the list of entitlements the US Constitution authorizes our government to dispense are as follows:
1. not a damned thing;
2. the list ended three bullet-points ago.

Second, rights are free for the taking, but they are certainly not free.  They are simply what the government leaves the citizen alone to acquire for himself, to the degree the citizen wishes it, and has the capacity to acquire or make use of it.  The examples to illustrate this are infinite.  The First Amendment, for example, acknowledges a citizen's right to property.  But property does not appear out of thin air; it generally belongs to someone else first.  Does a citizen's right to property compel the current owner of the property to deed it over to the citizen who desires it?

Of course not; that is both stupid and confiscatory.  What the right to property permits is the current owner and the potential future owner to arrive at a mutually agreeable price and other terms under which the transfer of ownership shall be made.  The government isn't obliged to give anyone forty acres and a mule, nor to compel others to provide same.  If a citizen wants these things, the citizen is instructed to save his money and find someone who wishes to trade for it.

Third, rights include — essentially — everything that isn't nailed down.  Rights are, Constitutionally:
1] not limited to what Amendments 1-8 specify as rights [9thAM];
2] include every aspect of human interaction not directly given to the federal government and not prohibited to the states to control [10thAM]; AND
3] the states are prohibited from legislatively controlling anything that was not also given to the feds [14thAM, Sec 1].

Protectable rights are, in a very real sense, any power to act that is not listed in Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution as a power for Congress to make law upon — and those Congressional powers to legislate are very very few.  Congress is given no authority, for example, to regulate who is allowed to use our roads, therefore driving is a right.  States cannot deny that right in their own laws, though they are allowed to regulate how the roads are used — speed limits, rights of way, skills tests, et cetera.

Congress is given no authority, for another example, to regulate who may marry whom, therefore marrying your homosexual lover is a right.  States may not deny that right in their own laws, though they may regulate certain aspects of marriage, such as the minimum age necessary.

These are all things that libertarians comprehend about rights.  Hell, these are all things that virtually all Americans, libertarian or not and adequately inculcated in American civics, understand about rights, even if they do not like the specific consequences. …and I'm thinking particularly of the religious right morons and gay marriage, here.  Even they understand this, as it makes their skin crawl.

So how is it, then, that we conveniently throw all this comprehension of rights to the four winds when the subject becomes healthcare?  Healthcare is not an issue given to the government to control; it is therefore a right.  Why do we indulge the facile and insupportable, and claim a governmental role in healthcare when government involvement does not join with any other right?

We have the right to say what we wish.  But if we have stage fright, does the government provide us assertiveness training?  No it does not.  If we are inarticulate stumble-tongues, does the government provide us speech therapy?  No it does not, not even when Dubya is elected President and could have used it.  Does the government provide a bullhorn? …a soapbox?  Does the government reserve a sidewalk on a popular street corner? …compel the first four hundred random passers-by to stop and grant rapt attention?  And if we are unable to think of anything to say, does the government provide a pre-written speech?

No.  It does not.  Our right to say what we wish begins and ends with our own willingness and ability to actually use the damned thing.  If we cannot speak in public, or cannot make others listen, or cannot think of what to say that anyone would want to hear, the government has no obligation or duty to assist.  The lack of government providence does not negate our freedom of speech.

We have the right to write what we wish.  But if we are illiterate and cannot strings words together into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into thematic essays, does the government provide literacy training?  No, it does not.  Even when it tries to it doesn't.  …as anyone even marginally familiar with public education in the United States knows.  If we have nothing to write with, does it give us a pen?  If we have nothing to write on, does it give us paper?  If we have a batshit manifesto burning a hole in our Kaczyniskiist hovel, does the government provide us a publisher?

No.  None of these things.  And yet, the absence of government assistance does not erase our freedom of the press.

We have the right to marry the person of our dreams, because the Constitution does not give the government the power to stop us.  But if that person does not wish to marry us back, does the government compel the object of our affection to meet us at the altar?

Of course not.  Logistically, it would be a nightmare for people like Jennifer Aniston.   But this doesn't affect our right to marry whom we wish.

We have the right to employment, because the Constitution does not give the government the power to prevent it.  But if a citizen wishes to be employed as the bazillionaire CEO of Microsoft, does the government oust Bill Gates and install the new hire?  If a citizen wishes to be employed as the next Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, does the government do lunch with George Lucas and make it happen?  If a citizen simply wants to be hired by any old company at any old position making any old amount of money, does the government impose itself to make even that happen?

Absolutely not, and this still doesn't deny our right to a job.  Something about a free market.

We have the right to buy the shirt we like, the sports car we want, the home we pine after in the neighborhood we covet; in short, to acquire property.  But if we don't have the money necessary to complete the transactions, does the government give us the money?  Alternately, does the government coerce the transaction without it?

Certainly not.  If we need money to buy what we want, we are advised to avail ourselves of our right to a job.  But the government's hands-off attitude toward our right to accumulate property does not invalidate our right to accumulate property.  Our failure to accumulate the property we want only speaks to our priorities, financial abilities and other manifestations of a free market, and nothing else. 

We have the right to a haircut, a pedicure, a Papa John's pizza, and a Caribbean cruise — and every other service you can name.  But if we don't have the money for these because we used all our money on that fancy sports car two paragraphs ago, does the government step in with the cash? …with coercion?  …with even so much as a coupon?

Not a chance.  A commercial service being a right does not suddenly imbue the government with the authority to compel the service to be provided, nor its terms and conditions.  More free marketeering.

Healthcare is a right simply because the government is given no defined authority to control it.  It is a service — just like the haircut we have a right to get.  Our right to acquire healthcare, as with the haircut, does not grant the government any authority to compel it, nor to set the terms and conditions of its acquisition.  Our ability to acquire healthcare rests entirely with us, with our priorities, and with our financial abilities.  The free market, when applied to the right of healthcare, does not suddenly mean that the commodity being sought must be free of cost, or that the cost must be borne by the government.

Yet healthcare today is exclusively discussed as a government providence.  This is what democrats use to base their baseless belief that it is a right, and what republicans and libertarians use to claim that it is not.

Libertarians should know better.  Libertarians should be smart enough to avoid the equivocative word traps laid out by the mealy-mouthed  Bernie "Trotsky" Sanders and other "progressives".  Any libertarian who does not know, and cannot recite at a moment's notice, the very specific and crucial difference between a right and an entitlement has no claim to calling himself a libertarian.

This is a "taxation is theft" moment in a "taxation is theft" conversation.  Rights are what the government leaves you alone to get for yourself; entitlements are what the government gives you.  This is true whether it is speech, press, property, employment, pedicures or a prescription.  If the government is providing healthcare, coercing it upon reluctant patients and setting the terms and conditions for its providers, then it is an entitlement and not a right.  If healthcare is a right — and it is — then the government must stay out of the picture.

As libertarians, we know this.  Let's pretend we're libertarian, m'kay?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Frienemy of the American People

Frienemy of the American People
©2017  Ross Williams

I periodically have to remind those with whom I'm discussing weighty topics that you don't get points for being right, you get points for being pertinent.  Being pertinent means, naturally, being right, but it also means being relevant to the issue under discussion.

My go-to illustration for this notion is that when the topic at hand is balancing your checkbook — where the relevant arithmetic is confined to addition and subtraction — it doesn't matter how many times you correctly recite the multiplication tables; your checkbook is not getting balanced.  Yes, nine times seven is sixty-three … so what?

And you must be able to answer the "so what" challenge if you ever hope to claim an intellectual position in a rational discourse.   "So what?" demands that you explain the pertinence of your position; if you cannot, then your position is no more valid than any childish quibble offered up by a six-year old — which I make certain to point out to those who can't explain it.

You are sitting at your laptop with your online banking open in a browser, and your Quicken software open to your checking account reconciliation tablet.  Your wife comes up behind you asking if you can afford to buy a new washing machine this month.  You reply by saying "Nine times seven is sixty-three." She responds by saying "So what?" or something less kind than that.

If you can't answer her, then you'd best close Quicken, log off your bank's website, and go back to minesweeper, because you are clearly overmatched by the rigors of second-grade arithmetic.   Hire an accountant.  Give the task to your wife.  Do something, anything.  But don't pretend you are competent at balancing the checkbook.

The issue at hand, and for several months, is fake news — with whatever consequence and implication that brings to those observing the proceedings.  And the assertion is that the mainstream press is thereby the enemy of the American people.

To be honest, this is one of those QED moments of philosophical clarity that Socrates would have killed for.  …and yet … people are quibbling and protesting and stomping their feet and wetting their panties in public over the statement.  Strangely, libertarians are among them.  And to the degree that the mainstream press is involved in the foregoing foot-stomping protests, they are adding evidence — as if more evidence is, at this moment, anything but overkill — that the "fake news" claim is real and that the mainstream press is indeed the enemy of the American people.

"Yabbut, yabbut, yabbut!" they whine; "because 'Free and Independent Press'!!  We're written into the Constitution, fergodsake!"  Please!  We haven't had a free and independent press for decades.  If you think we do, you haven't been paying attention. 

Of all the major news outlets, Foxnews is notoriously in the hip pocket of the Republican Party.  That's not free; that's not independent.  Virtually every non-republican understands this, and the sad part is almost all republicans understand this as well, even if they are loath to acknowledge it — even to themselves.  The support and proof for this?  Where do republicans go to get their information from? Foxnews.  Why? because it doesn't annoy their sensibilities.  They will not have their preconceived notions challenged by listening to Foxnews.

Of all the major news outlets, everyone BUT Foxnews is in the hip pocket of — and giving a happy-ending reach-around to — the Democrat Party.  This, also, is neither free nor independent.  Virtually every non-democrat understands this, and the sad part is almost all democrats understand this as well, even if they are loath to acknowledge it — even to themselves.  The support and proof?  Where do democrats go to get their information from? any news outlet that is not Foxnews.  Why? because it doesn't annoy their sensibilities.  They will not have their preconceived notions challenged by listening to, e.g., MSNBC or CNN.  …or The Daily Show, or Last Week Tonight, or anything by the fop Stephen Colbert, which are, judging by comparative ratings, where most on the American Left get their information.

Meanwhile, the 40-percent of Americans who do not self-identify as either democrat or republican [and which includes libertarians by definition], where do we go to get information from?  There is no major media outlet on the national news landscape even marginally fitting the qualifications for and duties of a free and independent press. 

The qualifications and duties of a responsible free and independent press are objectivity and skepticism.  [It wouldn't hurt to also have literacy — Foxnews editors, I'm looking at you, here].  The press, today, is not objective; they are not skeptical.  They are advocates for ideology and adversarial to those who defy the ideology they promote.  For those who can't see a difference, allow me to nutshell it: a skeptic demands, "Demonstrate to me you're right" while an adversary asserts, "No matter what you say you're wrong."

Non-aligned information seekers are left to bounce between the sanitized piety of Foxnews and the solipsistic sanctimony of whichever of the democrat mouthpieces they choose, while suppressing their gag reflex. 

The inescapable bottom line is that the American press is not serving the interests of the American people.  Yet, as an institution, they command — and demand to command — the monopolistic power, backed by government preference and deference, to form the ideas and outlooks the American people possess.  The media — all of it — become downright pissy when they are challenged on this, as we have seen in the last several months.

This means that we don't have news or anything remotely resembling it.   Available information is scrubbed by the mainstream media for its ideological purity and spoon-fed in intellectually predigested dollops.  It is pabulum.  It is, in short, fake news; propaganda.  Yes, it may contain one or more cherry-picked facts, but … so what?  In any sufficiently large body of data, there are reams [and often reams and reams and reams] of facts contrary to the purpose for which the cited facts are used … as even a cursory glance through the "global warming/climate change" brouhaha will attest.

We are left having to concede that the mainstream media is, indeed and relevant to the entire "fake news" subject, the enemy of the American people, as stated.  Why does it matter who said it?  Just because he's a dick, a putz, a veritable schwanz?  So what?  Dicks are capable of being right and pertinent.

Why does it matter how he said it?  Reality is real whether it appears in angelic vision, or is revealed in the company of profane tirade.  This reality is stated bombastically by a boor?  Again, so what?

Face it.  Trump was correct about the American press.  The only reason the media wish to quibble over it is because their ox is getting gored — and it's about time; the only reason individuals wish to quibble over it is because they don't like the guy who reminded them of what they almost certainly already knew — rudely and without tact.  And, well, he's an eminently unlikable guy for reasons both valid and farcical, but … so what?

If it matters who says something true and relevant, and if it matters how they say it, then the problem is not with the one doing the saying.  The problem is with the one doing the hearing, and in particular, the problem is with the ego of the one doing the hearing.

You cannot participate in an intellectual discussion if your ego is involved.  If you wish to involve your ego, then I'd advise you to at least make some money at it: respond to one of the many George Soros ads for insta-hooligans and get paid to troll real life.  Just don't pretend to be competent to discuss it intelligently.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Of Pigs and Congressmen

Of Pigs and Congressmen
©2017  Ross Williams

The issue in a nutshell: David Pulphus, a high school student from suburban St Louis, created a piece of artwork depicting cops as pigs — and maybe a horse as well, it's hard to tell — arresting a black guy depicted as a wolf.  For some reason this artwork won the Congressional Art Contest, and it was transferred to the ownership and control of Congress, and was hung outside Congressman Lacy Clay's office.  Lacy Clay [D, MO] is the Congressman of the district in which the artist lives.   Clay also represents the district of the Ferguson riots, to which the artwork is apparently alluding.

Another Congressman, Duncan Hunter [R, CA] objected to the painting as offensive to his law and order sensibilities, and took it down.  Clay objected to Hunter's objections, and has spent the ensuing time prattling on about the artist's First Amendment, and is claiming to seek theft charges against Hunter.  The painting, not stolen but merely removed from display, is once again hanging outside Clay's office.

There's so much wrong with this entire tempest in a pisspot that it's hard to know where to begin.  So let me just start.

First, the Congressional Art Contest is supposed to be an annual affair for budding school-age artists to draw purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain; the rules specifically prohibit "sensational" or "current events" depictions.  It is natural for me, as a libertarian, to be on board with the anti-police-state theme of the amateurish artwork, even if the specific event it alludes to is unworthy of that criticism.  But let's be realistic: under the rules of the contest that this painting won, it should never have been in the contest in the first place.

Second, the painting does not now belong to Pulphus; it belongs either to Congress or to Congressman Lacy Clay — I do not know, nor do I care, nor does it matter.  The First Amendment issue, to the degree it exists at all, is no longer Pulphus's, but the artwork's owner's.  It is not Pulphus who had his free expression taken down; it was either Congress's or Clay's expression that was removed.  Congress is the government; Clay — in his capacity as a Congressman — is an agent of the government.

But the First Amendment does not protect the government's expression … or in this case re-expression; it only protects the expression of the individual citizen.  The First Amendment cannot protect artwork that Congress, as an institution, displays, nor artwork a specific Congressman shows.  The First Amendment became irrelevant the moment the artwork won the Congressional Art Contest, and Lacy Clay needs to review the nature and purpose of the Constitution he is sworn to uphold.

…this is a consistent criticism of Mr Clay's positions on virtually everything, by the way.  He is one of the many, many, many elected officials in either party who believes that the federal government has, and is designed to have, the authoritative latitude of a Soviet Politburo.

Clay attempting to level charges of theft against Hunter also displays Clay's complete unfamiliarity with law and the definition of theft.  If Clay had tied his pig to a lamppost on a public sidewalk, and the pig was removed by a shopkeeper for being in the wrong place and driving away business, leaving behind a note saying "You can retrieve your pig at …" some address, that is not theft; there is no intent on keeping the property.

Instead, if the artwork was controlled by Congress and was removed by a single Congressman, then it likely violates one or more Rules of Order created by the House of Representatives to scold its members who misbehave.  If the artwork was under the specific control of Clay, then Hunter's removal of it likely violates the same Rules of Order.  Criminal charges are little more than another of Clay's self-important, "Dig me! I'm a Congressman!" narcissisms that those of us who live near his district have grown exceedingly weary of hearing about.  Clay needs to seek sanction against Hunter through the parliamentary rules of his chamber.

And sanction is warranted.  Hunter is behaving as the very model of tightass conservative that idiot liberals love to despise — and for good reason.  Whether you like the thought of cops being depicted as pigs, it is, in our police-state nation, a common assessment.  They are used as the point-man for every government solution to problems that government was never given permission to solve.  The results have been nothing but predictable, even for those circumstances where cops do have a legitimate role.  And the problems remain unsolved in any event.

If we don't like cops being depicted as pigs and being shown the disrespect they deserve, then stop giving them multiple reasons to jump in citizens' faces multiple times a day and bossing them around.

Fewer laws defining criminal behavior, for starters.

We're supposed to be a free country, remember?  Free people in free countries don't have the government criminalizing stupid behavior, or self-indulgent behavior, or suicidal behavior, or immoral behavior.  Criminal activities, in a free society, are limited to those which take things from others — their lives or their property.  Behaviors which simply take others' patience, or dignity, or tolerance, or sympathy is known as liberty.

Liberty is frequently stupid and self-indulgent, rather like the actions of both Congressmen in this episode.  However, under our Constitutional Republic Congressmen aren't given liberty; citizens are.

Monday, January 09, 2017

First Things First

First Things First
©2017  Ross Williams

Libertarians believe a lot of things, and they wish to politically lead others with those beliefs.  Most of those beliefs — virtually all of them, actually — are worthy of acceptance.  The one thing that libertarians believe that I simply cannot abide, though, is their insistence on pretending that their political philosophy is separable from the reality which it purports to be the best option for guiding.

Libertarians, by and large, live in their navels, a condition which permeates virtually every aspect of their solutions to life's and society's conundrums.  Libertarians don't simply live in their navels, they count the whiskers on the navel-lint bunnies they construct, and perform other epistemological masturbations. 

Libertarians are — as I have been telling the rest of them for years — long on theory, short on practicum.

Political theory which does not offer practical solutions to the real issues facing a society will never be acceptable to the masses in any society which has governance built upon democracy; theories are useless.  "People" don't want theory; they want — and need — jobs, quality education so their kids can get jobs, roads to get to and from their jobs and school, civic protection so they can get to and from in relative safety, and national defense so the barbarian hordes don't interfere with it all, besides … and to just generally be left the hell alone the rest of the time.

Frankly, all people regardless of their political stripe hold the same views.  It's just that most people from shhhh! those other political viewpoints want the government to leave them alone but pester everyone else.  Libertarians usually, but not completely, declare that the government is not to pester anyone.

But a government that doesn't pester anyone is a government that doesn't exist — a reality that anarchists happily celebrate, without the consequential understanding that the nonexistent government can therefore not protect well-meaning anarchists from their less noble neighbors, or from the barbarians.  Anarchy is proto-monarchy, a historic reality that anarchists refuse to reconcile to their preferred delusion.

To be safe from the ignoble and the Huns, there must be government.  When government, it will pester.  The idea is to pester only in ways that the masses, at least at one point, gave their permission for.  "The consent of the governed", to put it in terms of US history.

Not pestering anyone, though, is the basis of the theoretical libertarian ideal of both open borders and free trade.  In most respects, there is nothing wrong with these notions … in theory.  As I often have to remind people, though, when theory comes face to face with reality and the two disagree, reality wins.  Every time.

Much has been said and, given recent circumstances, much more is being said and will be said about free trade and open borders than at any time in recent history.  This discourse is due in no small part to the election of President Cheeto.  His election is due in no small part to the utter failure of false free trade put into practice and the mostly-closed borders creating porous border realities.

In other words, what libertarians want and how reality handles them are two different things, and reality informs anyone paying attention that libertarians are never going to get what they want in the ways that they are being provided.  To be fair to libertarians, it is not libertarians who are providing porous borders and false free trade; libertarians don't have political clout.  But the political terrain is so littered with Other Peoples' Politics that there is no way to get what libertarians want in any direct manner.  As the down-eastern saying goes, "Ya can't get theh from hyuh."

Most libertarians, when asked about the open borders they idolize, will point back to the immigration policies this nation had in the last third of the nineteenth and first quarter of the twentieth centuries.  Yet those were not open borders; this nation — as a nation — has never had open borders.  There have always been rules for immigrants to follow before being allowed in.  During the heyday of immigration, the rules were simply very few and easily accomplished: sign your name [in English] and don't be carrying any infectious diseases.  Tens of thousands of immigrants who got off the boat in US ports died without setting foot outside the entry port hospital.

And then the borders closed.  They were virtually airtight during the Depression, and only reopened slightly after World War Two, mostly to war refugees and ex-nazi rocket scientists.  Today, thanks to the liberal legislative moronitude of the 70s, the rules for immigrants are cumbersome, inexplicably complex and so arcane that it's simply easier to risk death by diamondback in the Sonoran Desert than to obey the law.  And immigrants by the millions have done exactly that.

Porous borders — anyone who wants to can sneak across the border.  And they do.  Among them are drug dealers and criminals and jihadists, and those who do not work, even under the table, and then live off the support of the American Taxpayer.  As many criminals and jihadists as the paranoid closed-border types claim?  No, but still there are some.  It is dishonest and counter-productive to claim otherwise as the liberals do.  As many government benefit leeches as some wish to claim?  Again, no, but there are still some, and it is still dishonest and counter-productive to join the liberals and deny it.

Of course the libertarian response would be to say, "but we should also end the War on Drugs, be able to deport unnaturalized criminal immigrants, and those who act out Sharia Law rather than simply believe in it.  And we have to end the Welfare State as well.  Then those problems wouldn't be problems."  And of course they are correct.  But therein lies the disconnect; libertarians only concede these after being beaten over the head with reality.  Left to themselves, most libertarians want open borders first, before ending the disastrous War on Drugs and the equally disastrous War on Poverty, double-checking Syrian civil war refugees, and closing down sanctuary cities.

We effectively have open borders already since foreigners who wish to come here but not fill out reams of paperwork are still arriving.  What are the results?  Black market drug turf wars and thousands dead, hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually on policing, prosecuting and paroling, hundreds of billions more in government handouts, and self-righteous liberal twit mayors flopping their arms across their chests, pouting, "they may be criminals, but they are MY criminals and you can't send 'em away!"  The libertarian solution is already in effect and it doesn't work.

Being unable to send anything away is, coincidentally [or not], the basis of what passes for free trade in America today.  Every other nation on the planet makes stuff very cheaply and most of the trade agreements the US enters into permits those goods to be imported, duty-free, for consumption by American consumers.  The United States, on the other hand, makes stuff very expensively and we have a hard time getting rid of it anywhere but in the US.

Yes, it is true that, in general, US-made products are better quality, but that is not as universal a reality as free trade enthusiasts would like everyone to believe.  The quality difference between domestic products and foreign competition accounts for a very small fraction of their large price differentials.  Long gone are the days of snickering at Made in Japan; that luxury died with the invention of the Plymouth K Car, Chevy Monza, and anything Ford churned out in response to the Arab Oil Embargo.  Hecho en Mexico is, today, just as good as Made with pride in the USA.  Generally because the company who hechos in Mexico is probably the same one who used to make it in the US.

There's a commercial floating around now about cell phone service that asks if you'd really pay 50% more for 1% more reliability.  The answer is no you wouldn't.  And, well, neither do foreign shoppers when they have the option of buying an American product versus the one they make themselves.  Product quality is largely irrelevant.

What is not irrelevant is the price.  Price is determined, in large part, by the costs of production.  These costs, in the US, are astronomical.  Most such costs are needless and are imposed by the government for the purpose of furthering government.  These costs consist of mandatory minimum wages, mandatory minimum employee benefits, contracted wages and benefits made mandatory because government requires union participation, regulatory costs, fees, taxes …

Other nations, including declaratively socialist nations, have nowhere near the same government impositions upon businesses that the US does.  As a result, US goods cannot compete with foreign goods because the consumer will nearly always choose the less expensive foreign-made item.  US products enter the free trade debate at a severe disadvantage. 

As a direct result of this disadvantage, any free trade agreements the US enters into has the net effect of selling US jobs to other nations, either through the free market preference of lower-cost foreign production, or because US manufacturers move their operations out of the US where they can make the same things the same way but far less expensively.  What passes for free trade is, therefore, not free but suicidal.  This is seen in the true rate of unemployment standing between 15-20% despite nearly a decade of Great Recession Recovery®, and a Labor Force Participation Rate hovering at a historic low of around 60%.

The way to address this false free trade is to remove the government-perpetuating Cost of Government from US manufacturing, or — number two — to force all our foreign nation trading partners to adopt the same cost of government intrusions into their own manufacturing, or — third — ham-fist a price-equalizing tariff on goods imported into the US.  I don't think I need to remind anyone what our newly-elected orange snack food with a bad comb-over wants to do.

Yes a tariff on imported goods will — at least in the short-term — do little more than increase the drain on Americans' wallets; it will take time to increase US manufacturing to compensate, and put the 20% unemployed, and the 40% underemployed Americans back to work so they can afford the price increase.  And it may inspire a tariff war with some of the foreign competition who have been subsidizing their own manufacturers.  But at least it's something, and it's significantly better than the option offered up by navel-gazing libertarians, which is to stick their fingers in their ears, and squawk their theories about free trade at the tops of their lungs.

Before there can be free trade there must be freedom TO trade as one sees fit, without government interference and having to pay the government for all that helpful interference.  The US government does not permit a freedom TO trade; they insinuate themselves into every aspect of commerce, driving up cost and driving away freedom.  Not to mention driving away manufacturing.  The libertarian solution cannot be accomplished without committing economic suicide.

More-open borders and free trade are the libertarian end-game, not the path.  Eliminate the War on Drugs and the welfare state first and then — but not before — we'll talk about more-open borders; end hyper-regulation of wages, benefits, and taxes first and then — but not before — we'll talk about free trade.  Few libertarians can be bothered with the necessary order of events reality requires to get what they want.  Most libertarians would rather stroke their navel-lint bunnies.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Either-Or … Or

Either-Or … Or
©2013  Ross Williams

"The dating app tinder announced a new feature this week which gives users 37 different gender identity options.  It's called Why democrats lost the election."
- Colin Jost, Saturday Night Live

This joke landed Mr Jost in all sorts of hot water from that tolerant, self-effacing crowd known as American liberals, who are regarded far and wide for their ability to take a joke and laugh at themselves.  Gender multiplicity is a modern pseudo-science, following in the hallowed footsteps of astrology, phrenology, theosophy, scientology, recovered memory and cryptozoology.

I have no idea how many genders today's phrenologists — genitalogists, as it were — have constructed out of the two which exist, 12 … 23 … 37 … 137 … and it doesn't really matter.  The point is, they've concocted more than two, and that is wrong to the point of irrational.  What is truly psychotic about it is that those who make these distinctions, pulling them out of thin air, act as though it is everyone else's responsibility to keep up with it all — as if others don't have better things to do with their time than tag along after the genitalogists taking notes.  When others cannot keep up with the swirling vortex of newly-discovered genders, the genitalogists call them names just like a four year-old would.

So as a public service to those confused by the weepy liberals chuckling in self-deprecating humor as they frantically scurry to their fainting couches at the effrontery of it all, let me identify the genders available to the human race.

There are men.

And there are women.

There are men who like to have sex with women; they are called men.

There are women who like to have sex with men; they are called women.

There are men who like to have sex with men; they are called men.  They are homosexual men, but they are men nonetheless.

There are women who like to have sex with women; they are called women.  They are homosexual women, but they are still women.

There are men who like to have sex with both men and women; they are called men.  They are bisexual men, but they are still very much men.

There are women who like to have sex with both men and women; they are called women.  They are bisexual women, but they are indeed women.

There are men who don't like to have sex at all; they are called men.

There are women who don't like to have sex, either; they are called women.

There are men who like to dress up as women; they are called men.

There are women who like to dress up as men; they are called women.

There are men who like to act like women; they are called men.

There are women who like to act like men; they are called women.

There are men who believe they were born in the wrong body, and would prefer to be women; they are called men.

There are women who believe they were born in the wrong body, and would prefer to be men; they are called women.

There are men who want to be women so badly that they convince doctors to give them hormones to change the way their bodies behave; they are called men.

There are women who want to be men so badly that they convince doctors to give them hormones to change the way their bodies behave; they are called women.

There are men who are not satisfied with hormones and they seek out surgeons to alter their outward physical appearance to resemble women; they are called men.  They may also be called women by those who did not know them before surgery, but they are still men.

There are women who are not satisfied with hormones and they seek out surgeons to alter their outward physical appearance to resemble men; they are called women.  They may also be called men by those who did not know them before surgery, but they are still women.

There are men who have been born with an extra sex chromosome and have the outward characteristics of men; they are called men.

There are women who have been born with an extra sex chromosome and have the outward characteristics of women; they are called women.

And there are those born with an extra sex chromosome and have the outward characteristics of both men and women; they are called hermaphrodites, which is Greek for manwoman, after the mythological epitome of male and female beauty: Hermes and Aphrodite.   Hermaphrodites occur roughly once in every 2,000 people.

Okay, so there are three genders: men, women and menwomen.

As with so many other things in life, one of these has been chosen for you.  What has not been chosen for you is what you do with it; that is entirely up to you.  Try not to be pretentious jerks while doing it.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

By the Numbers

By the Numbers
©2016  Ross Williams

Sociology is a soft science.  Similar to psychology, economics and history.  Hard Sciences are biology, chemistry, physics and geology.  The hard sciences are "hard" due, according to Carl Sagan, to the "rigorous standards of evidence and honesty."  In other words, when a physicist adds 2 and 2 and arrives at 22 he is wrong, and will be ever after considered a quack.  Unless, of course, he can sell his 2+2=22 idea to Hollywood and have them place the notion of nuclear winter in the collective psyche of the masses, in which case he'll be forever seen as a visionary.

Other such visionaries are the neo-malthusian Paul Ehrlich, the pre-neo-luddite Rachel Carson, and the doubly ethically blind Stephen Schneider.  Being proven wrong is not necessarily an impediment in the hard sciences.

In the soft sciences, however, being proven wrong is typically requisite for the soft scientist to attain and maintain professional credibility.  Just ask Paul Krugman, acolyte of the also-proven wrong John Maynard Keynes.  There's always an excuse for why being wrong was actually right, usually having to do with the entire world refusing to accept the soft scientist's egoistic declarations and discounting reality.

And vice versa, for what it's worth.  Being right often ends up wrong.  The "stop and frisk" model of civil order grew out of the "broken window theory" of economics.  If police want to reduce future major crime before it happens, they should address more thoroughly the minor crimes as they occur: the broken windows and graffiti.  New York City implemented this notion and major crime was indeed reduced.  Politicians wanted to reduce major crime even more, so they implemented further and further tweaks to their policies, incrementally reducing major crime along the way, and voila! they arrived at stop and frisk.  Never mind that it operates at right angles to the legitimate power of government in this constitutional republic, and imposed a police-state.  Right became wrong.

Right becoming wrong played a significant role in this last election cycle, as well.  Donald Trump won, as I knew — and said [ref: "None of the Above"] — he would.  A number of others including, interestingly, the moron Michael Moore, "had a feeling", and several trend-watchers predicted the outcome based on "enthusiasm" and other non-quantifiables.  But the pollsters, almost to a bean-counter, missed and they missed wide left.

This makes the second time in a year that, worldwide, pollsters got reproved by the reality they don't fully understand how to measure.  European pollsters declared that British voters would vote overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union; they did not … overwhelmingly.  And US pollsters declared that Hillary Clinton would occupy the White House with ex-President and First Philander Bill.  And they shall not.  Considering where the polls predicted we would end up and the reality that arrived in its place, the pollsters missed by a significant double-digit margin.

I previously hinted at why and how this occurred: a significant portion of those who ended up voting for Trump in the primaries were discounted by pollsters as "not likely to vote".  That was the biggest reason that Trump came in ahead of the standard republican party selections in defiance of the polls.

Opinion research polling is a major sub-discipline in the field of sociology; sociology is what I did in grad school.  Analyzing and quantifying the results of polls was a large part of the practical course work involved; the impractical course work was mainly given over to learning how to construct arguments as to why reality is wrong when it differs from sociological theory.   Despite refusing — outspokenly — to supplant reality with sociological theory, I maintained a straight-A GPA.

Among the knowledge I carried away from grad school was how pollsters determine who is likely to vote and who isn't.  If anyone has answered the phone from August to early November in an election year and answered twenty minutes of questions from a bored mumble-mouth making minimum wage, you will probably recall that after all the questions relating to the candidates, the issues, their relative importance to you, how likely you are to vote and when was the last time you did vote, you were given a final series of questions, "…and now for statistical purposes, what is your age, your race, your gender, how much money does your household bring in before taxes, and do you consider yourself to be republican, democrat or independent."

The answers to these last questions are used to calculate — along with "how likely are you to vote", and "when was the last time you voted" — whether the pollster will throw away your responses or add them to the final tally they publish.  For better or worse, those over the age of 30-35, whites, males, middle class who have a history of consistently voting are going to be most likely to vote this time.  Those who are younger, or non-white, or female, or poverty class, or super-rich, or do not consistently vote, you are less likely to vote this time.  Furthermore, depending on several topical factors, being democrat or republican alters the equation, and independents are always less likely to vote.  How much less likely is the relevant question.

Donald Trump consistently outperformed his polls in the primaries.  And I explained why.  The republican party has operated for the last generation in a manner dedicated to spurning a large and growing portion of its historic voter base — the fiscal conservatives — in favor of the minority ideologue religious tight-asses.  Fiscal conservancy deplores "free trade" bargains that benefit other nations and ends up selling US jobs to second- and third-world countries; allowing foreigners to come to the US illegally and siphon any amount of US government largesse provided by taxpayers or [most likely] China, who will one day demand to collect on our debt to it; and tax policies that incentivize US companies to move to second- and third-world countries so they might, then, be able to profit from our "free trade" agreements that screw the American pooch.

These issues are what Trump spoke to, and the fiscal conservative republicans who vacated the republican party since the mid-80s heard him and came back in the primaries to vote for him ending, sometimes, decades of voting drought.  But the pollsters, upon learning that the guy they were polling hadn't voted since 1992, or even 2000, threw away the response which read, "I am voting for Trump because he wants to allow me to get my decent job back; he wants to stop selling my job to India; he wants to stop my company from moving to Mexico."  Trump voters were underrepresented in the results of the polls —by design, but not out of malice or political imperative.  And because large wads of inconsistent voters voted in the primaries, Trump outperformed his numbers.

Trump outperformed his numbers in the general election as well, and inconsistent voters voting were a small part of the reason for it.  The bigger, and probably the biggest, reason is, like the Brexit vote in the UK, explained by one of the undergrad exercises Sociology Departments undertake at — I've got to believe — every college and university in the world.

I wasn't in the undergrad program so I never got to participate in the exercise, but I got to hear all about it in my graduate seminars when we discussed the pitfalls and pratfalls of public opinion measurement.  During one of the many university festivals taking place each year, the Sociology Department set up — under the cover of a fictitious ethnic or cultural diversity program — a food stand that gave away an unlikely sample of street food from a foreign culture.  In the exercise that I got to hear about, the street food was Laotian or Cambodian, and they gave away two sample of ethnic food: a mini pork kabob, or a mini dog kabob.  Each customer was allowed to pick just one.

Those who lined up for the free food were funneled in at one end, and had to funnel out at the other.  In between, they were regaled by carefully choreographed protests of animal cruelty staged by other members of the Sociology Department who were not working the kabob-stand.  Sometimes the staged protests were joined by other students, unaware that it was a con.  And of course the University administration — who were well aware of the entire production — received many complaints about the group of animal abusers serving dog meat.  The University would dismiss them, saying "Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we will look into it."

But there was nothing to look into; it was all pork grilled on a hibachi.  It didn't matter if you asked for the free pork kabob or the free dog kabob: you got pork.  Those giving away the kabobs kept track of how many of each they handed out.  It was after you got your free food — and they gave away a lot of free food; these were college students on a budget — and you were funneling out the far end of the free food stand, where the sociological experiment reached its conclusion.  You were asked one question and one question only, right in front of the carefully choreographed protesters: did you get the pork or the dog?  …and you had to answer the question or else they'd hold you up and not let you out.

Ninety-five percent of those who went in for free food reported getting the pork.

However, twenty-five percent of the food given away was dog.

…which means that four out of five people getting the free dog kabob lied about it.

Why would people lie?  Apart from having masses of presumptuous ideologues screaming in their ears about how horrible they are for the choices they make, even if the screaming is staged … I can't think of a single reason.

But that brings us back to the inaccurate polls and the Trump victory: being told you're racist when all you want is to not lose your job to China; being told you're a homophobe when you don't want to have your tax dollars being handed — in any amount — to people who refuse to follow immigration laws in coming here when you do your damnedest to be law-abiding; being told you're islamophobic when you don't want your company to move to Mexico and take your job with it; being informed by the smug and sanctimonious that you are deplorable and bigoted for wanting to provide for yourself and your family and be left alone to do it … is not simply presumptuous, factually insupportable, and serves no purpose apart from stoking the self-righteous egos of the faux-pious who make those assertions.  It gets in the way of understanding what people in a democratic society want, need and expect from that democratic society, and the government which runs it … as measured by the pollsters who try to find it out.

If a democratic society refuses to understand what its people want, need and expect because sneering contempt and demonizing denunciation masks those wants, needs and expectations, it will cease being democratic.   Crack a history book.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


©2016  Ross Williams

One of the best parts of being a libertarian is that I can observe democrats and republicans and criticize both without having anyone be able to level charges of partisanship upon me; they still do, but it's not supportable.  When I criticize republicans it's not because I am a reflexive democrat lashing out; it's because republicans are doing something worthy of criticism.  When I criticize democrats it's not because I'm a knee-jerk republican with a jerky knee; it's  because democrats deserve being kicked.

Around sixty million Americans voted for Donald Trump, whom I've been calling Donnie Combover since early in 2016, and who I may start calling Prez Cheeto due to a comical internet meme I ran across this week.  In this picture, our recent presidents were depicted as six saltine crackers, an oreo, and a cheeto.  It was a deliciously racist swipe that covered all bases, and it leaves me wondering what's next.  My money's on a gummi worm.

But now that we mention racism, of the sixty million Americans who voted for Trump, every single one of them has been called a racist.  This is because democrats by and large do not know how to engage in meaningful public discourse with anyone who disagrees with them, and they resort to silencing dissent before it occurs by branding critics as unworthy of holding valid viewpoints; no discussion is necessary.  …which is the essence of the prejudice and bigotry that they are railing against.

Even so, there are indeed racists who voted for Trump, just as there are racists who voted for Clinton.  Sexists as well.  How many women — Lena Dunham — declared that a woman must vote for Clinton because she's a woman?  That's sexism.  And there were millions more women voting for Clinton because she's a woman than men who refused to vote for her ditto.

It's now the first weekend after the election, right when the democrats feared an uprising of racist attacks against innocent, peace-loving, love-loving, love-trumps-hate vomiting democrats.  And there are indeed reports of this.  Hundreds from across the country.  Notwithstanding that all but a few dozen have been shown to be hoaxes or events from months or even years ago being regurgitated today as current events — as if the Trump Train travels effortlessly through time — there's still the matter of the nearly sixty million racist Trump voters [less the two dozen or so verified activists] who are not doing their part.  They're either not racist, or least no more racist than democrats, or they're lazy.

And frankly, lazy is not a viable criticism of those who vote republican.  Say what else you like, you might be correct.  But they tend to hold jobs.

Even so, of the dozens of actual, verifiable incidents with racist overtones perpetrated by assumed Trump supporters occurring since the election, only three [thus far, in my browse of news sites] involve violence of any form, all of it excessively minor and all individualized.  The rest are incidents where someone said or wrote something that is rude and impolite. …like "all Trump voters are racists."  …or "half of all Trump supporters are deplorable."  Things like that, but going the other way.

Once again, I feel I should remind people that I'm a libertarian.  Liberty means, in part, being able to say and write what you want, even if what you want to say or write is undiluted assholery.   …like "all Trump voters are racists."  A few dozen racist idiots driving around college campuses full of weepy, larval democrats shouting gloating taunts through bullhorns can, accurately, be described as assholery.  But in a free country, assholes are the price of freedom.

Yes, it's bigotry and prejudice, but it's no more bigoted and prejudicial than the actions of the few tens of thousands of anti-cheeto idiots doing, essentially, the same thing.  I say "essentially".  That means there are pertinent distinctions between the two groups of assholes.  Distinctions which I shall point out.

Assholes using free speech upon self-pitying democrats did so exclusively by taking the message to the target, putting themselves at risk in doing so.  One such asshole was dragged from his car and fairly severely beaten for his efforts. 

Assholes using free speech upon President Cheeto and his voters, on the other hand, usually did not talk to their target.  Yes, there were several hundred who formed a human centipede around various Trump Towers in major cities, but most of the meemies did their screaming in Portland Oregon and Oakland California, and other safe spaces where republicans are virtually nonexistent.  When a staple of your political philosophy is the procedural  obliteration of the Second Amendment, and the people you are shouting slanderous comments toward do not subscribe to compulsory disarmament, why take unnecessary chances?

And they did not limit themselves to screaming.  In Oakland they set fires by throwing gasoline bombs, toppling cars, breaking store windows and … hey, since the windows are broken, let's not waste the opportunity.  Nothing says we're against greedy corporate bastards elected president who we've labeled as automatically racist like fulfilling racial stereotypes and looting everything you can stuff in your pockets or otherwise carry away.

In Portland, they threw rocks and bottles, and at least one trash can, at cops [hitting none, sadly but not unexpectedly], smashed dozens of windshields in nearby parking lots and one vehicle being driven by a woman caught in the middle of it all who was trying to get to "an emergency" of unspecified significance.  But they did all this while shouting "peaceful protest!!", so that makes it all right.  Apparently.

Not content with inarticulate rioting and mayhem, the political philosophy given over to sensitivity, inclusion and an end to school bullying beat a California high school student for having posted pro-Trump comments online.  It was a girl who was beaten.  By another girl.  One was black, the other white.  I'll give you less-than-even odds at placing them.  The attack was recorded — for posterity, undoubtedly — by a friend of the attacker.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the standard disposition of in-school assault in this affluent California school district is expulsion.  But given the circumstances, "officials" are looking to make this a "teaching moment" by instructing the victim of the assault on the motivations her attacker had in committing assault and battery.  And if this sensitivity training is anything like the rest, the victim will be required to attend, and will be compelled to acknowledge fault and responsibility when it's over, and then promise to never do it again.  Failure to do these will result in punishment.

In a similar vein, my wife reported, on Wednesday evening, that a number of her friends from high school she keeps in touch with online have children that just couldn't bear going to school that day, out of fear.  I initially thought they were the children of tear-stained democrats taught by their schools and/or parents to be irrationally paranoid, but now I must conclude them to be Trump supporters presciently wary of the children of irrationally paranoid democrats.

These are exaggerated examples of the same infantile behavior seen nationwide, most notably, at Yale University.  The election coincided with their midterms, and one economics professor made the exam optional for those students so traumatized by learning they were in the electoral minority that they couldn't get out of bed and stop crying.  Because, as so eloquently stated in 2008 by the new president we acquired then, elections have participation trophies that convey equal power and privilege to the loser.  Or something along those lines.  Which is why we saw millions of bawling, blubbering sick-calls in to the office on the first Wednesday in November of both '08 and '12, made by republicans who couldn't bear to face the day when their guy lost the election.

Except we didn't.  The only million moron march visible today is populated by democrats.  In 2013, after Elizabeth 'Pocahontas' Warren successfully ran for US Senator in Massachusetts, she complained that the system was rigged against outsiders in favor of insiders and incumbents — a well-known and accurate pan-historical reality of all politics built on democracy.  She was right, for possibly the first and absolutely the last time in her life.  Earlier in 2016, Donald 'Cheeto' Trump made the same claim, and millions of democrats, led by Pocahontas Warren, circled around him and claimed he was an outlaw unwilling to accept the results of the election that was indisputably going to be decided in favor of Hillary 'Medusa' Clinton — the insider and [proving that once is not enough] incumbent-once-removed.

Fast forward to early this morning, and the online petition demanding that the Electoral College abandon its Constitutional presumptions and elect, instead, the Former First Lady Macbeth has exceeded two million signatures.  One-in-thirty of those who voted democrat are declaring that they are not content being assholes about the election, or even moved to violence by the election, or simply driven to puerile catatonia by the election.  One-in-thirty democrats are declaring they cannot accept the results of the election.

Democrats make a number of assertions about those who are not democrats.  Yet every sin they accuse others of perpetrating are committed, first and primarily, by democrats themselves.  Projection apparently serves democrats in the place of introspection and self-awareness.