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

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hi Ho, Quicksilver! Away!

Hi Ho, Quicksilver! Away!
©2011 Ross Williams

Way back in the 70s, when smoke-belching dinosaurs roamed the earth, a fledgling federal agency called EPA was given the authority to enforce the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Both pieces of federal legislation carried grandfather clauses exempting many then-operating manufacturing industries and utilities from having to comply with the law for decades – if ever. The Clean Air/Water Acts, essentially, could be enforced only upon new industries.

The Clean Air/Water Acts arguably did more to drive manufacturing jobs out of the US than decades of pointless and inflationary union agitation, and minimum wage laws did. Which is not to say that anyone should welcome dirty air or water. But each time an enviro-ninny starts to claim that industrial pollution is killing us and shortening our life expectancy, I just casually remind him that before industrialization, when the major pollution question extant upon the landscape was where to take a dump, human life expectancy was 45 years – and then only in the relatively wealthy and temperate European nations; it was lower elsewhere, notably amongst the Neolithic Amerinds whom the enviro-luddites love to claim were so “at one with their environment”. Yes, they were “at one” with it, alright; they couldn’t get away from it.

Here’s the thing about nature and the environment it lives in: it doesn’t care about you or anyone else, and its job is to do its damnedest to kill you – as quickly as possible. You don’t want to be “at one” with your environment for too long at a time if you can help it.

Enter, now, industrialization and all the pollution it made, and human life expectancy in the polluted nations jumped from 45 to 75 in the span of single-digit generations. Two-thirds increase. In just the last two generations alone the Chinese have increased their life span by almost 40%. Fifty years ago China was pristine and unsullied – except for the dump-taking zones – and today you can cut their air with a knife and virtually walk on their water.

Clearly pollution isn’t as big a crisis as some people would seem to want it.

Yet there’s no reason why we should allow industries to continue putting unnecessarily large amounts of crap in our air or water. We have the technology to filter much of that crap out of our smokestacks and effluent pipes where we usually didn’t 30, 40, 50 years ago ... so continued grandfathering is pointless.

But federal nannying of our ecology is also inappropriate. There is no Mother Nature clause in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. All nannying is properly left to the individual states to do – if they want to. Most do, it would seem. On the currently-popular subject of mercury emissions, 39 of our 50 states have reduced mercury emissions between 2005 and 2009. This was during the time that Congress could not bring itself to eliminate the 30-year grandfathers in Clean Air and Water.

...and before anyone gets all smug about “Bush Administration” irrelevancies: Congress was Republican from ’05 to ‘06, and Democrat from ’07 to ‘08. Congress was hyper-Democrat in 2009 when Democrats were busy claiming the end of the Republican party. If Democrats had wanted to end useless grandfathering, they could have done it at almost any point; they didn’t. So I don’t want to hear any Yeah, but-ing. Not doing anything was a truly bi-partisan effort.

But while Congress didn’t do anything, states did. Illinois, for example, reduced mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 35% in the five years between ’05 and ’09 for the same amount of electricity generated. Nationwide – even with 11 states not joining the mercury-reduction bandwagon – mercury emissions from all industries fell 28% in those five years. Coal power plants are the largest source of mercury.

Obama has recently issued EPA rules that give many industries just a few years to comply with Clean Air/Water standards. Obama did this because when Bush did the same thing, a federal court ruled that the president cannot imperially override Congress on legal matters: if the industry is grandfathered by law, then the industry is grandfathered – it will require a change to the law to change the grandfathering. Bush attempted to override the law with dictatorial fiat because Congress wasn’t changing the law themselves.

Of course, this doesn’t mean anything to our enviro-tards. All they saw was that the Bush-era rules gave these industries until the 2020s to comply with Clean Air/Water, and that the federal courts overruled the Bush rules. They do not understand why. “Because it gave polluters too much time to pollute” is the reason most have claimed.

Incorrect: it’s because Bush overrode the law, and thus exceeded his power. The Prez cannot declare laws to be irrelevant. Obama has done the same thing Bush did, only he declared the law to be irrelevant quicker. Those industries which sued and won in 2008 about having until the 20s to comply with laws that don’t apply to them now have, under Obama’s rule, only four years to comply: until 2015. Apparently Obama believes that when a Republican declares a law to be irrelevant, even if it’s an environmental law that allows industry to toss crap into the air, it’s a bad thing, and the planet-raping Republican did it for all the wrong reasons; when the Democrat does it, it’s for all the right reasons, and it should therefore be acceptable to the courts.

Ahhh, hubris.

At any rate, those same industries are certain to sue again, and win again, and it will once again be left in the hands of Congress to alter the Clean Air/Water Acts to eliminate the grandfathering. And they will undoubtedly fail to do so because Democrats in Congress are only environmentalists when it comes to pollution-causing activities in Republican districts; in their own district they are concerned more about the jobs that go hand in hand with making pollution. Republicans, on the other hand, are all about jobs in their own districts while mainly being environmentalists about Democrat districts. The differences are obvious and insurmountable.

Which means that if any progress is going to be made it’ll have to be made at the state level, where it should have been left in the first place, as there is still no Mother Nature clause in the Constitution. State action on mercury emissions cannot come at a better time, either, since one thing Obama’s EPA can make rules about is incandescent light bulbs. Despite being delayed by 9 months, the ban on incandescents is still going forward, and they’ll have to be replaced by the mercury-filled compact fluorescents from China – where the air can be sculpted and the sheen on their rivers and lakes has congealed until it can support a person’s weight. The Chinese have 40% longer lives to enjoy their crunchy air and gelatinous water – must be their diet.

Meanwhile, CFLs don’t necessarily last longer than incandescents but are 20-times the price to make up for it. If we’re going to accommodate all the mercury from those CFL bulbs in our landfills, we’ll need to reduce the mercury from other sources. And just like partisan tomfoolery over who can abuse his political authority with impunity, mercury which comes from industrial smokestacks is poisonous while the mercury from CFLs is harmless. It’s all in the motivation.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Don't Look at Me

...I Just Work Here
©2011 Ross Williams

I can’t count the number of times that people who disagree with my politics, when learning what I do for a living, tell me that our nation is screwed. Often that’s the polite rendition.

Working for the people who plan our wars doesn’t require that you like war. It only means that you understand that war is necessary from time to time – and it is. Working for the people who resupply our wars doesn’t require that you like the war currently being supplied. It only requires that you understand that regardless what the popular press [and its spittle-covered readers] might be saying about it, the press doesn’t know all the details, and they [the press and their parrots] are frequently very very very incorrect about the “facts” they have built their ornately decorated house of cards from. I can say this because with a military clearance and “access”, even if I refuse to use my access any more than I absolutely have to, information I have at my disposal and which our nation is operating on contradicts what the press says about 95% of the time. And I’m on the bottom rung of data analysis. I know, as Sergeant Shultz was fond of claiming, nuthink.

That’s not accurate, of course. I know more than 98% of my fellow citizens do about the subject because they don’t work in the field. In fact, they only begin to pay attention when it sexes up by our invading some other country they never knew existed until we invaded it. At that point, they and their one course of PoliSci can hold court in any forum by preaching to choirs filled with similar ignoramuses. Given the nonsense they spout as “factual” and “authoritative” which isn’t, it’s trivially easy to spot those whose positions on this war, or that war, or even war in general is acquired by hallucination and navel-gazing. It is, actually, only among the 2% who know the subject to which I comparatively know nothing. And I’m happy having it that way. Means I don’t have any meaningful promotions in my future.

Because, if truth be told, I hate my job, and I’d hate even more to have to do more of it. I hate the weasely and pointless rules, and the petit Napoleon who make them, and the pusillanimous pencil-dicks who enforce them. Almost none of their rules serve a purpose other than to give the maker or enforcer a sense of importance to their otherwise baseless existence. Making and enforcing idiot rules serves militasters in much the same way that getting divorced, buying a Jaguar, and draping your arm with eye candy serves aging rocks stars, Hollywood B-listers, and corporate loyyers turning 50.

Three years ago someone with stars on his shoulder was in his, um, library doing his, uh, best thinking and somewhere between grunting and wiping he happened across an ad in a trade publication for a trade he knows nothing about [in this case, computer network architecture] advertising the benefits of obtaining professional certifications in network architecture. The certification he read about is called Security+.

The star-man grunted again, then put two and two together and got a quadratic equation, and decided that since he was in charge of a bunch of people who do “computer stuff”, and security is massively important to that “computer stuff”, he could just make everyone get a certification in Security+. What good are stars on your shoulder if you can’t boss people around in non-productive ways?

Never mind that this certification is only useful to network architects; never mind that it involves a fairly specialized academic subset that is beyond most people who work in “computer stuff”. “These people are on my computer systems?” General Dreedle thought to himself while flushing his best thinking of the day, “They can damn well get a Security+ certification.”

This is a lot like requiring chiropractors to get board-certified in neurosurgery because, well, chiropractors treat pain, and nerves carry pain... so chiropractors need to know how to operate on nerves.

Didn’t I tell you? I wasn’t joking.

So a whole slew of us who do not do network architecture had to get certified in network architecture. Failure to do so would result in the loss of our job ... which, at the risk of repeating myself, had nothing whatsoever to do with network architecture. Ironically, those who work on this contract and who DO do the network architecture were mostly excluded from the requirement. So the chiropractors are board-certified in neurosurgery, but the neurosurgeons are not.

I’m still not joking.

Many of those who got this certification know nothing about the subject – even after passing the exam. In my case I chalk it up as a side effect of having a 150 IQ: I test well. I may know nothing about a subject but if you give me a multiple choice test on it I’ll get a passing grade more times than not. We are data analysts, database designers, applications developers ... not network architects. Yet I can’t work as a data analyst unless I’m certified in a subject I know nothing about. The chiropractor cannot chiropract for the Defense Department unless he’s board-certified in neurosurgery.

Not joking. Still. And we wonder why the toilet seat costs them $5,000.

It still does, by the way. The Reagan administration simply refused to allow contractors to bury the costs under procurement the way they used to; they now have to itemize, and that makes it all better. The toilet seat still costs the same $34.97 at the local home improvement box store and the government is still paying the same $5,000. But when the costs are broken out, the auditing is $965.03.

Auditing is what it’s called when you hire someone else [and a staff for the paperwork] to look at the toilet seat and say, “Yep, that’s a toilet seat, alright.” This is called Quality Assurance, and a specific form of QA was prescribed for the software side of defense contracting, and then sold to it, by the idiot eggheads at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, at tens of millions of dollars, not including annual maintenance and consultation fees. SEI’s QA program is little more than a logorrheic reinvention of “Two heads are better than one” coupled with “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” and other such inherently contrary platitudes. It serves as a means of being able to both prove and disprove whatever is in the interest of the DoD to have proven or disproven at any given time.

The other $4,000 of the 5-grand crapper seat is what it costs procurement clerks to enroll in [and pass] a plumber’s apprenticeship course so that they can tell the difference between a toilet seat and a shower nozzle – with authority – when they stop at Home Depot with DoD money in their pocket. Because meaningless credentials are absolutely necessary to the DoD.

Other practical epiphanies that may be escaping the Defense Department’s collective authoritarianism is that one can use a riding lawn mower without being a small engine repairman, one can turn on a light switch when the electricity is generated at a nuclear power plant without being a nuclear engineer, and one can assemble an Ikea household without being a carpenter – in fact, it helps.

The concepts that one can buy a toilet seat without being a plumber and use a computer network without being a network architect are just extensions of this reality. And one can certainly use a computer network without completing the next DoD requirement after the Security+ network architecture certification: we’ve been given three years to complete the Security+ Continuing Education course. This consists of a series of symposia and conferences that only college professors have the time and money to attend.

A mere data weenie like myself wouldn’t get reimbursed for it because there are specific rules in the company’s contract with our DoD agency over what type of non-work activities are payable by the contract. I’m not a network architect, so the cost of attending a network architecture symposium is on my own dime. And my company certainly isn’t going to give me money out of their profit margin to help them comply with a useless contract requirement – which was unilaterally added by the government in violation of all theories of Contract Law in existence, I might add. Additionally, I’d have to take vacation to attend any of these conferences – same reason. Plane ticket, if needed, is at my expense as well.

Good to see the government finally saving money by making those they hire to do their work paying for the privilege. “We require you to buy us a toilet seat, and we require you to audit your purchases, and we require you to meaninglessly educate and re-educate yourselves in extravagant ways before you do it, ... but we’ll only pay you $34.97 for the toilet seat.”

I don’t bring this up for entirely personal reasons, although that is certainly part of it. Goring the ox that totes my cart, as it were. I bring it up because of something forwarded to me this morning by another of the neurosurgery-certified chiropractors in my group. The US lost an unmanned drone over Iran last week. Iranian-funded Iraqi insurgents hacked the US spy drone fleet, and infected them all with computer viruses that captured the keystrokes sent to the aircraft – they knew what our drones were doing, and when, and where. The US Air Farce, to whom we are contracted, and its cyber security command, to which we are not, is just down the street at the same base from the man with stars on his shoulders who gets his biggest ideas on the crapper, didn’t know how it was being accomplished, and had to keep deleting the viruses every few weeks.

In fact, US Cyber Command techies didn’t even know about it until one of them, also possibly on the toilet where he could think, read about it in Wired magazine.

It would seem that I’ve identified those who should be getting their Security+ certifications in place of us data wonks. We didn’t design the computer networks hacked by Iranian yahoos; the network architects did – the ones who, on my contract, don’t need credentials in their own field.

I’ll attach my consulting bill in future correspondence. It’ll be hefty.

You’re welcome.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Welcome To the One-Percent

Welcome To the One-Percent
©2011 Ross Williams

High school was torture to me. I have few pleasant memories of any of it, to include the vast majority of the people, the general circumstances, and the events outside school. I’m quite sure being a teenager was the primary culprit, and having to deal with other teenagers – all of us being teenagery together – became the problem.

As a result I’ve got almost no friends that I would call friends from that era on my one social media. Just a few guys including one that I never interacted with much after 5th grade, a few girls who were nice to me... That’s about it.

I spent the day at home yesterday with a throbbing foot, and spent an hour or so on the computer getting social with the Facebook media. I’m constantly asked if I know any of the following people – Facebook friends of Facebook friends. The answer is nearly always no. Oh, sometimes the friends of my kids have been over to the house and I know them, and I know others by reputation. But most of the kids I knew from high school [and who liked it] have long ago moved on with their lives and gotten other friends whom I wouldn’t know from Adam’s off ox.

But yesterday Facebook asked if I knew John Clark. Yes, I do! I was in a theater class with him our senior year. I looked at his page. One of his friends was Elaine Lucia. Hey! I knew her too! She was in the same theater class, and she was Brady to my Drummond in our scene from Inherit the Wind. I would have preferred Hornbeck, for he fits my personality much better, but his scenes weren’t in the assignment.

I’ve known Elaine since kindergarten. She, in fact, was the only one to tattle on me and Pam Glover smooching behind the bushes at Union Center Elementary in 1st grade. I can still hear her saying, “Mrs Mahr! Ross and Pam are kissi-i-i-i-ing!!” with her accusing finger pointing straight at us.

Wow; it’s old home week on Facebook. Who knew? I looked at her page for a while. She still goes by her maiden name. I’m just assuming she got married. I have no idea if she did or not. She did mention she had a child – which I recall as a daughter. One does not need a marriage for that.

Anyway, Elaine is now a singer of some repute – mostly local from what I could see – in “the Bay area”. I didn’t look too closely; I’m assuming San Francisco bay ... hopefully she performs on dry land. One of her gigs seems to have been in Petaluma, which I believe is in California.

I was interested to learn that someone I knew was a burgeoning star ... even at the age to be a grandmother. Good for her. I read her “wall” for a time and got annoyed at what was there.

I was in quite a number of classes with Elaine, including more than a few history classes, and so there is no excuse for the editorials she scrawled on her Facebook page. It would seem that California does this to people, makes them blithering idiots. Not that it’s the only part of the country to render its hapless residents blithering. Chicago ... Boston ... Detroit ... most large cities, and both coasts are inundated with liberal boobs. Of course, the middle of the country has more than its share of conservative sticks in the mud which would serve to offset the general boobery of the liberals, but there is no good reason for deliberately turning off your rational skepticism.

Like countless others, she is veritably deifying the Occupy Wall Street nincompoops. Turning them into some form of collectively-enlightened god-as-man.

Yes, they have a right to protest – even if they have no idea what they’re specifically protesting against. And they don’t; they’ve been rather forthcoming about the generalized non-specificity of their political angst. But all good things must come to an end sometime, and telling these grumbling vaguists that enough’s enough isn’t materially interfering with their right to pout in public. Depending on which city you’re talking about, 4, 5, 6 weeks of sitting around in mounds of your own salty snack food wrappers crying about the greedy corporations which made those snack foods is plenty enough of sitting around being hypocrites.

Where these protesters are students, they have classes to go to that their parents are most likely paying for. Where the protesters are the disillusioned unemployed, they have jobs to look for. Where the protesters are union fops, they have jobs to get back to. And since those three demographics pretty much covers 99% of the self-avowed “Ninety-Nine Percent” [with the other 1% of the 99% being the rich liberals who show up in their limousines to offer words of vapid encouragement], the protest would seem, for all practical purposes, to have spent its intellectual capital on the first day, somewhere between two-thirty and three pm.

Yes, you don’t like rich people being rich and poor people being poor. Who does? Certainly not the rich people you’re whining about, since they get rich only by selling stuff to everyone else. If everyone else can’t buy their stuff because they don’t have money ... the rich won’t be staying rich for long. Point taken. Now what?

And it is that “now what” that the deified “occupiers” have had so much trouble articulating. Now ... nuthin’. They’re stumped. Stymied.

Among the most consistent responses to “now what” is one or more versions of the socialist response to every discussion of political economics: eat the rich. Force everyone into the same economic strata regardless of what they do or how well they do it, and confiscate their wealth – because this is “fair”. And this is done by law [in civilized countries; it is done by murder in Venezuela], with taxes that effectively criminalize wealth. If you make more money than others, you have two choices: pay the difference in taxes, or go to jail for tax evasion.

Ahhhh, but! Those who support the idiot concept of eating the rich will point out that those whom the “occupiers” are grousing about – corporations, mostly – often do not in fact pay the difference in taxes.

This is very very correct. But as I often have to remind people: you don’t get points for being correct. You get points for being pertinent.

Why do some of these corporations not pay taxes ... is the proper and pertinent question to discuss. Are they breaking the law?

No. They aren’t. The law allows them to not pay taxes. This is not the corporations’ doing; corporations don’t make laws. They just follow them.

The government makes the laws. If you want to be angry with someone for allowing corporations to skip out on taxes, get angry with the government. Start with Congress. Continue on to your state legislatures. Toss in a president or governor as you see fit.

In the interest of full disclosure, I discovered this year that my employer paid zero federal corporate income taxes [on quite a bit of corporate income, by the way] for the fiscal 2010 tax year. As someone with a decent chunk of his 401k wrapped up in company stock, I – and the other tens of thousands who work for the same place – am part of the evil 1%.

Even though federal corporate income taxes are statutorily the highest on the planet, the effective corporate income tax rate is not. This is because Congress continually tinkers with tax code exemptions, offering rebates and tax deals to various industries that are politically preferred at any given time. Because my company doesn’t manufacture anything – we have no smokestacks; we write software and integrate computer systems for, mostly, the government – we are considered “green”. When Obama came into office he wanted to reward “green” corporations; his Democrat Congress played along. Government reward for good corporate citizenship is typically done through tax laws. Hence, my company had a zero net corporate tax bill for 2010.

This happens at the state level, as well, in similar ways. The headquarters of Sears is in my state – Chicago. [Actually, I believe they moved out of Chicago-proper to a suburb some years ago and sold the Sears Tower to someone who named it the “Willis Tower” – it’s still the Sears Tower; tough luck Willis. Wuchoo tawkin’ ‘bout?]

The state of Illinois recently raised corporate income tax rates by 50%. [Personal income tax rates by 66%]. Neighboring states immediately started ad campaigns in Illinois to lure large corporations to relocate. Many included tax incentives for doing so. Ohio’s legislature ponied up a law specifically for Sears to give them $400 million in tax breaks if they were to move their headquarters into Ohio. Sears employs thousands, and generates billions in revenue, all of which is taxed by other means – Ohio would reap a few billion dollars a year if Sears moved. Of those billions, what’s a measly $400 million kickback in the form of tax breaks?

It’s pocket change.

The Illinois general assembly has countered Ohio’s tax law bribe to Sears with a $100 million tax break of their own hoping to convince Sears to stay in Illinois. The Illinois general assembly is dominated by Democrats, as is the Chicago city council which just coughed up a few million dollars themselves to get Sara Lee to move from the suburbs back into the city. Chicago has apparently discovered that property tax revenues are significantly greater when office space is full than when office space is sitting empty. Something about “assessed valuation” perhaps...

...and now you know the basis of “corporate welfare”. Show me a taxing jurisdiction giving “corporate welfare” away and I’ll show you a region that is trying to create jobs and push, pull and drag people into the middle class ... where they can pay more taxes and give the government more money. And that includes the whole US, by the way, with its tax laws written by Congress.

The US has the highest statutory tax rate in the world; the effective tax rate is significantly lower due to corporate welfare being handed out to individual companies or certain job sectors. ...which is to say: “job-creation measures”. If we want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil ... we give tax incentives to US oil companies so they can increase their domestic production. If we want to reward companies which don’t have stinky smokestacks in order to promote a “low carbon footprint” cosmology, then you hand out tax breaks to software integrators. Trivially simple to understand, which is what makes it all the more puzzling to me that trivially simple liberals don’t understand it.

Among the brainless statements in Elaine’s nonsensical scolding that bothered me was the declaration that the evil, evil Bush the Younger “cut corporate taxes to the bone”. Neither he, nor any Congress during his administration, did anything of the sort; they simply changed the “corporate welfare” priorities from what Clinton had wanted them to be. And it’s beyond me where this liberal hallucination comes from ... actually, no it’s not. It’s a standard rallying cry for these nitwits in much the same way that “death panels” and “no birth certificate” is for certain others; it’s completely false, but boy! does it motivate the brainless.

If you don’t like the notion that some companies get 100% tax breaks from the otherwise indefensibly high corporate tax rates in this country and others don’t ... then put your money where your big fat mouth is and demand that Congress lower all corporate income taxes and removes the tax breaks for “favored” industries. ...like mine.

And like Solyndra. ...not to pick at any open sores on the collective liberal delusion, or anything.

All of this is beyond the feeble grasp of the “occupiers”. It seems also to be beyond the grasp of those who believe that the “occupiers” are anything but a group of [mostly] ignorant kids coming to terms with what three generations of liberalism has wrought. You hand out money to people who don’t know how to do anything, you train people to not do anything. You do it for long enough, you create a huge section of the population who views free money as their birthright.

You create exorbitant corporate tax rates while legally allowing certain favored industries to avoid taxes altogether, you push the non-favored industries – and their jobs – out of the country. Anyone know of a US manufacturer of televisions? ...anyone? ...hello? Thought not.

This sets the stage for the remaining corporations to spend billions begging Congress and the administration for their own tax exemptions and handouts. ...and I just casually bring up Solyndra again, for grins...

Let’s pass laws requiring banks to completely ignore wise lending practices [thank you Barney Frank] and then blame the banks when they lose money hand over fist and are left do what they can to stay afloat. Then you wake up one day and notice that not only are some groups of people getting free money, but so are some businesses, which you don’t understand at all – having slept through that boring old history class which would have taught you the perils of Too Much Government. Oh, if only real life worked the way it did in your dreams during 3rd period history!

Now awake, you can’t possibly bring yourself to blaming the government for any of this. After all, who would you turn to for help? The government is the solve-all, right? No, it’s all those big bad businesses screwing the little guy. ...by doing exactly what the government, typically, required them to do. It’s not the government’s fault for requiring it; it’s the businesses’ fault for doing what was required.

Enter, now, the idiot “occupiers” and their legions of enablers, neither of whom understand that the fictitious “one-percent” is each and everyone who:
1] participates in a 401k or IRA invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds – which is roughly 65% of us;
2] uses, even unwittingly, the credit services which make loans and revolving credit possible – which is roughly 95% of us;
3] uses other banking services – which is roughly 99.95% of us; or
4] uses anything manufactured by anyone – which is 100% of us.

We have met the one-percent, and he is each and every one of us. You eat the one-percent by any means, you eat yourself. No amount of anti-intellectual deification of these blockheads is going to change it, either. But that’s what far too many are attempting to do.

About the stupidest justification of idiot “occupiers” didn’t come from Elaine’s Facebook page; Elaine was too busy creating music sets for her upcoming gigs. It came instead from the Chicago Tribune. It seems that many of Chicago’s liberals feel no embarrassment in advertising that they also learned nothing from their own history classes, for they are declaring that the “occupiers” are the same kind of people as those who created and led the American Revolution.

...the same American Revolution which protested against the specific cause of Too Much Government, by the way, and not the ambiguous resentment of the fabulously wealthy businessmen, in the Colonies or not, who profited from close ties to that Too Much Government. Some of those fabulously wealthy businessmen were revolutionaries. Read the Declaration of Independence some time. The issues the colonists were pouting about was not wealth-gap; they were bitching about taxes, regulation, and personal liberties; essentially, the IRS, the EPA, and TSA.

Of course, when I say “IRS” I mean the Internal Revenue Service and the tax laws they enforce, and the Congress which writes those tax laws to favor some people and businesses and punish other people and businesses.

Also, when I say “EPA” I mean the Environmental Protection Agency as well as every other regulatory agency and department which has the authority to write their own rules outside of the legislative process outlined by the Constitution, and enforce those rules in the “guilty until proven innocent” manner that marks the difference between regulatory enforcement and law enforcement, and where their authority is not defined by the Constitution to begin with. Among these regulatory agencies is the FDA, dozens of groups within the USDA, the FCC, the FAA, the DEA and many more spoonfuls of alpha-bits than can be counted.

Lastly, when I say TSA I mean the Transportation Security Agency, but also its DHS parent, the DEA [it’s a double-dipper], and every black-robed ninny who ever looked at the Constitution through Joseph Smith’s magic glasses and hallucinated passages that were never written and which justify the government grasping huge blocks of power they were never given.

You want to find modern Americans who are ideologically indistinguishable from our Founding Fathers? Then you’re looking at the Tea Party, the Chamber of Commerce, and ... well, me. You are specifically not looking at the “occupiers”.

When you look at the “occupiers” you’re instead looking at the rabble that started the French Revolution. Yes, they were hungry; yes, they had legitimate gripes. But rather than having the brains to know what they were getting themselves into, and why, and how, they aimlessly went casting about for easy targets to vent their outrage upon – which is exactly what the “occupiers” are doing. The French peasants ended up venting their outrage, ultimately, at the easiest target of them all: themselves.

They stormed the Bastille – long the iconic representation of monarchical repression. They did not know that the Bastille was being discontinued, nor that it held no political prisoners; just a few old, insane gentlemen – the insane were commonly imprisoned in that day. The net result was a practical bupkus. Because these were indignant rabble without a clear plan – apart from tearing down everything that symbolized power and entitlement [which was pretty much everything that had any value] – they were a ripe suck for the same type of opportunists which seize power in all such aimless rebellions ... such as the Russian, the Chinese, and the inaptly named Arab Spring.

After the monarchs were shortened by a head it was the nobles’ turn. While the nobles were being dispatched, some people got sickened by all the blood; these people were called “counter-revolutionaries” because “sensitive” hadn’t been invented yet. When the nobles were all gone, the National Assembly eyed the counter-revolutionaries. ...and then it eyed those who weren’t as revolutionary as they ought to be. ...and then those who were too revolutionary. Jacobins were beheaded for being Jacobin; atheists, for being atheist. The ultimate opportunist, the last opportunist standing [though it was difficult to tell] was Napoleon. He got the idiot French to stop killing each other – “Let’s kill foreigners for a while”, he suggested. And they did.

And we all [“all” being those who didn’t sleep through history class] know how that turned out. ...twice.

It didn’t get better for several generations, either.

On the other hand, the American revolution was started by plantation owners – the Cargill, Hormel, and Archer-Daniels-Midland of the time; by ideological loyyers – in other words, the ACLU; by silversmiths, goldsmiths, brewers, distillers, importers and merchants of every variety – the very monied ‘corporations’ that are currently being demonized for doing what the government requires them to do. There were also career military officers in the mix – the military-industrial complex that our neophytes have been taught to wet their panties over. The day’s media was included, too: publishers – Foxnews, as it were.

These groups frequently didn’t like each other beyond their common goal of ending Too Much Government – and they virtually all despised Patrick Henry, who was a loudmouthed screedist. Let Jefferson write the flowery and elitist tracts, and Franklin the populist aphorisms; Henry knew how to work words to get the masses legitimately frothy.

These were the folks behind the American Revolution. They were largely educated – in today’s equivalent they wouldn’t be the PhDs of the late 18th century and they certainly weren’t the college professors; instead they’d be the college educated sons [and, today, daughters] of the wealthy and privileged. In other words: mainly conservative, but with a sizable sprinkling of limousine liberal tossed in. These people studied history and knew what happens in a power vacuum, for history class taught them. It’s all fun and games to toss off the trappings of the old government you despise, but ... then what? Then what, “occupiers”? You must have a new government ready to turnkey in place or everything will descend into chaos and you’ll end up being ruled by the last opportunist standing. He’ll typically be standing ankle-deep in blood – knee-deep if he’s Corsican – and quite likely your blood will be among it.

You cannot obliterate wealth through redistribution, for then you won’t have anything with which to pay for your new government; you cannot obliterate the wealthy for they are the ones who know how to make the wealth you need. You cannot tear down the infrastructure just because it had been used by the government you are rebelling against, because then you’ll have to rebuild it from scratch – which costs money that you probably don’t have, especially if you obliterate wealth and those who are good at making it. Ask Chavez, while he’s still alive, how it worked for him. An OPEC nation, running on fumes, because all the wealthy industrialists are either dead or in Colombia.

The difference between the American and French revolutions is that the American Revolution was created and led by the smart and wealthy; the French Revolution was created and led by disaffected complainers. By Occupy Wall Street.

Pay attention, ladies and gentlemen: the American Revolution was created and led by the one-percent. It was fought by the same one-percent plus those among the remaining 99% who understood which side of the bread was actually buttered, and who further aspired to be a part of that evil one-percent when it was all over.

Because the deal with “the one-percent” is that it’s an artificial grouping. There’s always “one-percent” of anything. Obliterate the top one-percent for being on the top … and there’s another one-percent right behind it. Obliterate that next one-percent … yep, there’s another. Reign of Terror, anyone?

The true issue is what the one-percent represents. All that some people, like the “occupiers” and their blockheaded enablers can see is money, and not how the rich got it, and why they’re keeping it, and what caused the government to give them more.

They got it by being good at what they do, and doing lots of it for people willing to pay them. They did not get it by “stealing”, which is typically what profit is called by those who don’t know how to do anything that others want to pay them for.

They are keeping it because the government is planning on unprecedented regulatory intrusions that would have made King George and his Parliament blanch at the sheer audacity, and they don’t know for certain what these regulations will end up costing them; they’re stockpiling. Rainy-day fund.

And the government gave a few of them lots more money because the government’s prior regulatory intrusions required that they do phenomenally stupid things that nearly ruined them, and our nation would have crumbled into a post-Soviet eastern bloc morass if the government hadn’t. Just like Europe would crumble if Germany and France weren’t propping up Greece and Italy ... and requiring that every nation in their system keep a virtually balanced budget.

The first lesson here, for those who don’t want to sleep through yet another history class, is that in order to make lots of money, be good at what you do. And the next lesson is that if you want to join the ranks of the artificial one-percent then leave your 99% caterwauling behind you, and demand that the government gets off everyone’s back while they do what they’re good at.

The situation is the same now as it was 240 years ago: Too Much Government.

Taxes, regulation, personal rights.


Stick to singing, Elaine. I’m sure you’re good at it; you were a born performer. And if you do what you’re good at for people willing to pay, you’ll become what you already are but don’t understand yourself to be: the one-percent. Best of luck in getting there. I don’t think you asked me to sign your yearbook, so let this suffice.

Sexual Predation Made Easy

Sexual Predation Made Easy
©2011 Ross Williams

TSA has made the news a lot recently. Making the news is never a good thing, especially for TSA. They always have to dig out the Newspeak dictionary and get Blobber Bog to smugly explain that no matter how undignified, disrespectful or discourteous a person may feel TSA is, TSA is not and cannot be. Their rules say so ... so therefore the citizen is wrong.

There was a 17 year old in Florida attempting to fly from Jacksonville to Orlando – or possibly the other way, it doesn’t matter – who had a fabric or laminated plastic design of a gun on one side of her purse. She was threatened with detention and “federal offense” over it because a picture of a gun, in the Toon Town which TSA dingbats live in, is indistinguishable from an actual gun. Roger Rabbit may have been able to take the gun off the kid’s purse and shoot out the windows, or something. Who knows? Certainly not the TSA “agent” who invented the “federal offense” out of thin air; and since the TSA’s psychiatrist can’t divulge private medical information we may never know how TSA’s disconnection from reality got started, or when they may be able to function normally off medication.

Most recently, though, is the case of the 85 year old woman at New York’s Kennedy airport who was in a wheelchair and had a back brace under her clothes to boot. She had been selected to undergo the porno-scan and apparently knew that she would fail as she was wearing a back brace. She asked for the pre-flight handjob instead.

And she apparently got it. Behind closed doors. The 85 year old woman in a wheel chair and wearing a back brace under her clothes with a support belt that keeps it in place, went into a back room with two female TSA ninnies, and then comes out a short time later and goes out on her flight.

She claims she was strip-searched; TSA says she wasn’t. Furthermore, she couldn’t have been strip-searched, as strip-searching is not in their “protocol”.

So ... okay ... explain, then, what happened. TSA, in their grand rationalization blog, attempts to patiently explain that the 85 year old woman’s pat down revealed an “alarm” that needed to be “resolved”. In TSA’s own words, the braces were removed and physically screened, deemed to be no security risk, and returned to the woman. Ergo, no “strip-search”.

When asked how they removed the braces under the woman’s clothing without removing her clothing they are curiously silent. TSA would seem to have the technology to accomplish this feat of amazing prestidigitation. Funny, then, that the technology can’t deduce that it is no security risk in the first place.

Or else TSA is going to weasel on their strip-search denial by declaring that they didn’t strip the granny, she did that part herself, so therefore any strip-searching was self-inflicted. This would be an equivocation of Clintonesque proportion, and has never been beneath their collect sense of shame.

Not lost on the critics of TSA’s non-constitutional manhandling is that the TSA itself claims that “Security Officers will not ask nor require you to remove your prosthetic device, cast, or support brace.” “You will not be required to remove any clothing during the process or remove or display the belt that holds your prosthetic device to your body.”

They further say “please do not remove or offer to remove your prosthetic device.”

So, see? the rules right there say that none of what the granny claims they did to her actually happened.

Yet the brace was admittedly removed because it “alarmed”, and it was returned to the woman, and the brace started out and ended up under the woman’s clothing.

But still, no clothing was removed...

This defies the known laws of physics. Not to mention TSA own rules. And further not to mention the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. It would even seem to run contrary to the judicial hallucinations which have found numerous invisible ink clauses in the Fourth Amendment over the past hundred-plus years allowing the government to conduct searches without a warrant if someone could think of a Really Good Reason® to allow it. None of the Really Good Reasons® invented thus far come close to describing what TSA does, though there are many accurate, if creative, descriptions available for how they do it.

Among those descriptions is “gate-rape”, one of the earlier sarcasms directed their way.

With other items in the news recently, and TSA’s perpetual excuse-making over how their disrespectful and invasive procedures are actually courteous, I got to thinking that perhaps the circumstances needed to merge. If there were, say, a college football assistant coach who wanted to molest young boys in the shower, why, all he’d have to say is that the boy triggered an “alarm” that needed to be “resolved”. That’s how TSA gets around it.

And when enough people get outraged over the side-step of ethics and decency, just issue the following style of “apology”:
TSA contacted the passenger to apologize that she feels she had an unpleasant screening experience.

Two more elderly women with prosthetics have come forward over non-strip-search strip-searches at JFK. It seems to be a ‘thing’ with them at JFK. Hopefully they can get their freak on quickly.

Epilogue: on Sunday, December 11, 2011, the TSA's rationalizer-in-chief, Curtis "Blogger Bob" Burns, explained in the Agency's follow-up that there was a "bit of a miscommunication" and the gate rapists thought she was wearing a money belt. ... because "money belt" is very difficult to discern from "back brace", especially when a person has a predilection for abusing her authority. Dictatorial fiat interferes with one's hearing.

The gate rapists at JFK are being given a "refresher course" on the difference between medical devices and ego trips.

Updates and Addenda

Updates and Addenda©2011 Ross Williams

Headline: Pastor Voids Ban on Interracial Couples
Article Synopsis:
The current pastor of the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church has voided the recent 9-6 vote by a portion of its parishioners to ban interracial couples from joining the church or participating in its services. The Free Will governing conference ruled that any by-laws which violated local, state or federal law cannot be adopted. When informed of this during church on Sunday, the congregation voted on a new resolution calling for “peace, love and harmony”.

Yeah ... “Ooops”: This made national news. Who would have guessed that this move wouldn’t have resonated the way it did? ...apart from cloistered Appalachian bigots, that is.

Thompson is still claiming to not be racist, and the 8 folks who voted with him two Sundays ago should be keeping a low profile around town for the time being. There’s little purpose in such quaint traditions any longer. The nation has a far more expansive social palate than it did two generations ago.

Congratulations are in order, though, for finding a procedural loophole that allows 9 Kentucky dinosaurs to not run roughshod in a jerkwater church while not condemning them for trying. The right thing to do often starts life as a technicality. As does the wrong thing to do.

Conclusion: ...but “peace, love and harmony” also violate local, state and federal law. How about you just live up to your principles from now on, and stop trying to gain popular approval?

Headline: Boy, 9, Suspended for Calling Teacher ‘Cute’
Article Synopsis:
Calling it a form of “sexual harassment”, the Brookside Elementary school in Gastonia NC has suspended a 9 year old boy for saying his teacher was cute. The principal said it was an “inappropriate statement.” Also suspended was a 7 year old Boston schoolboy for “sexually harassing” another boy by striking the second boy in the groin. The incident was a carry-over from the school bus where the harassee had choked the 7 year old. Boston school spokes-twits have no comment on why it is being treated as sexual harassment.

What do they teach kids these days?: A fight on a school bus where a child is choked is perfectly fine, but pushing back and landing a shot to the crotch is sexual harassment? Seriously?

Noticing, and saying, that a teacher is attractive is sexual harassment? Really?

If the “harassee” had choked the kid who choked him, would that have been ignored as well? Is it permissible to say that a teacher is a hag?

Conclusion: “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” -Sigmund Freud.

See, guys, even the inventor of Freudian imagery had his limits. Teachers are cute and it’s not wrong to say so; kids fight and if you don’t stop the first one, there’s bound to be a second. Get your minds out of the gutter and pull your heads out of the rulebook.

Headline: Students Suspended after Suicide
Article Synopsis:
A Buffalo NY-area high school has suspended a number of students for “bullying” a gay 14 year old repeatedly until he committed suicide. The school will not say how many students were suspended or for how long. Officials cite “difficulties” in making a criminal case.

What exactly is the lesson, here?: So ... let’s see if I have this right.

Say that a teacher is cute – suspension. “Sexual harassment”.

Push back at a kid who chokes you on the bus and hit him in the junk – suspension. “Sexual harassment”.

Drive a kid to suicide – suspension.

All these infractions – even those two which are not – are treated identically by those who are charged with administering their education. And from this one-size-fits-all cookie cuttering, our kids are supposed to learn ... what? nuance? discretion? judgment?

They learn inflexibility, ignorance and reflexiveness. All qualities they are being handled with by those who purport to know better.

Conclusion: You’re giving our future a cohort of brainless, reflexive simpletons. Thanks for nothing.

Headline: Liberal Youth ‘Decimated’ in Egyptian Elections

Article Synopsis: Muslim Brotherhood has gotten 36.6% of the vote in the first round of elections; al-Nour has gotten 24.4%. Mohammed elBaradei, Nobel laureate and presidential aspirant, says the outcome “is not the greatest”. Islamists are even more popular in the rural areas which have yet to vote. The “students’” various parties collected only 13.4%.

The frying pan or the fire...: ElBaradei gained fame in Egypt – and the world – for reminding everyone that despite the rationalizations offered up in Western media for the Iraqi actions between 1991 and 2002, they still posed a significant nuclear threat to everyone in the region despite quibbling with US claims over the details involved. He collected himself a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for it. He is currently the Egyptian version of Bill Clinton – as regards his reputation for statesmanship, if not his womanizing – and he is a leading contender to Egypt’s vacant presidency.

He is warning of the repercussions of islamists gaining control of yet another Arab nation, this time his own, as the islamists currently have 61% of parliament – a figure most likely to go higher. Egypt’s islamists have proposed that women not be allowed to drive and that Egyptian literature seen as “prostitution” – which would seem to be all literature besides the Koran – be banned. Many fear that islamist control would jeopardize tourism, which constitutes the majority of Egypt’s economy, as well as persecute Egypt’s 8.5 million Coptic christians and ban democracy – which is islamists see as putting Man’s laws ahead of God’s laws, and is prohibited by Sharia, which both of the islamist parties support. Many also believe the peace treaty with Israel will end ... suddenly and dramatically.

ElBaradei is urging both Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi al-Nour to make quick assurances to the world indicating that nothing will change in Egypt that would jeopardize the relative liberalism Egypt lives under and which promotes its tourist industry, its peace with Israel, and its US foreign aid, … all remnants of the despised and despotic Mubarak.

Conclusion: How quickly it can all fall to pieces when those who wish to change the system have no clue what they wish to change it to and aren’t prepared to make the change in any event. Idealisms and platitudes are no system of governance, and it’s usually those who have no business being in charge who end up with the job. Congratulations.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Stuck on Stupid
©2011 Ross Williams

Headline: Seattle Reverses Ban on ‘Buy American’

Article Synopsis:
Mulligan! Do-over! Take-back!

The Past Prologue: Seattle’s Metro public transportation system – read: city buses – sell advertising space on their sides. They rejected an ad earlier this week reading, in totum: “December is Buy American Month, Shop Locally, Join Seattle’s TAPamerica.org.” TAP is a non-profit group promoting Tolerance, Americanism, Patriotism – all extremely divisive, politically saturated sentiments to be sure.

Because tolerance is such a political position, King County rejected the ad as a reasonable extension of their policy created in the wake of previous ads – and the lawsuits that followed – touting “Israeli War Crimes” had been rejected, hopefully [but not likely] for being factually false and slanderous. TAP was willing to spend $8,000 to buy ad space on 45 Seattle buses for 4 weeks. Seattle is still an American city.

The ad was rejected because “’Buy American’ is an issue of both political and economic debate” explained Metro spokes-dunce Linda Thielke in an email to the Seattle Times. Perhaps Ms Thielke could point someone in the direction of the debate over Americans buying American-made goods, because I don’t ever recall seeing it take place. ...and I tend to look for things like that.

Thielke’s boss reversed the decision she so convincingly explained to the public, saying that “upon further evaluation” there is no expression of opinion on a public issue in the ad. The word “further” was not really appropriate to include.

Conclusion: Forgetting for just a moment that all ads are, by their very nature, economic, and that Metro has ads by and about the Mormon Church on the sides of their buses, how about biting the bullet and acknowledge that banning this ad was simply retarded.

Headline: Amnesty International Demands Bush Arrest

Article Synopsis:
Amnesty International has issued another call for the arrest of ex-President Bush as he makes a foreign trip on behalf of various charities; the group claims he committed “crimes under International Law” including torture. Amnesty made a similar call in October when he visited Canada for the charities. Current and past officials in the Justice and State Departments have claimed that Amnesty is, at a minimum, harassing a former head of state, and may even be threatening him. Calling for his arrest may also jeopardize Amnesty’s tax-exempt status in the US. Obama praised Bush for his post-presidential charity work.

...So Quote the Law: It’s a well-established fact that Amnesty International is a group of idealistic sympathy junkies quick with a tear when the situation calls for it, and just as quick to wet their panties when their bawling and blubbering don’t have the desired effect. Despite my unease with anti-intellectual emotional appeals insinuating themselves into world politics, there is a legitimate place for tear-jerking jerks.

This, though, exceeds mere emotional appeal by several orders of prevarication.

Their continued panty-wetting is once again predicated upon their displeasure with US policies during the Bush Administration, of which water boarding was only one of their several complaints. Amnesty International claims water boarding is torture, and cites the Geneva Conventions’ prohibition of torture, and thereupon leaps to the conclusion that the GenCons prohibit water boarding.

What they, and countless others like them, are missing is that nowhere in any treaty to which the US is a participating member is “torture” defined – to include water boarding or otherwise; the Geneva Conventions are absolutely silent upon the subject of what actually constitutes torture – though it very clearly prohibits it. Water boarding is defined as torture only by groups such as Amnesty International which do not have the standing to create international law. What they create instead is confined to international caterwauling.

The process of international law, particularly in the area of war, is that each nation creates their own definition of torture ... and then it follows its own rules. At the time the US was water boarding Sheik Khalid, water boarding was not among the prohibited actions during war for the US to use on captured foreign combatants. In 2007, Congress prohibited it, and the US stopped water boarding.

Of curious note is that Amnesty International considers other actions to be torture as well, and spent much time and ink during the Bush Administration to wet their panties about those as well. Yet only water boarding has been discontinued by the US, and the US – under Obama – is continuing to use the other activities previously considered torture. ...and Amnesty International has been mysteriously silent about them since late January of 2009.

Conclusion: Get the hell over it, you aren’t going to win this and you’re wasting time, effort and money. Besides, with as paranoid as the US government has gotten, do you really want to risk making anything even close to a threat?

Headline: Lawsuit Filed after Arrest for Burping in Class

Article Synopsis:
A 13 year old boy who had been forced to strip to his skivvies after being accused of selling marijuana was arrested in phys ed and sent to juvenile detention after his teacher called the police because he “burped audibly” in class. He is suing the cop, the teacher, and the principal. His attorney is also handling the case of the 7 year old autistic child handcuffed to his desk for being disruptive, and had earlier sued the school for having a girl arrested for saying she didn’t want to sit “next to the stinky boy”. All litigation involves the same school district in Albuquerque. A board member thinks they may be “stuck on zero-tolerance”.

Policy: The Other Brains: Institutions create policy for a number of reasons. The first is to create uniformity across their area of influence. This can be good and bad, both. Uniformity can prevent loss of quality due to laziness, but it also stifles creativity which can increase quality. Policy doesn’t distinguish between policy violations that are lazy and those that are innovative. Over time, “it’s our policy” is the excuse handed out by failed and stagnating bureaucracies.

Another reason for creating policy is to replace countless brains with a rulebook. If the rulebook is silent on a subject – it obviously can’t be done. If the rulebook declares something is prohibited, then it doesn’t matter the circumstances – it also can’t be done. And this is the trap that the “zero-tolerance” philosophy was born in, and will ultimately die in. Zero-tolerance is indistinguishable from zero-brains.

Kindergarteners have been arrested in school for “sexual harassment” for being caught smooching behind the finger paints, first graders for holding hands, and fourth graders for hugging. High school kids who hunt have been arrested for having archery equipment locked in the trunk of their cars in the parking lot. Girls enduring the fickle early years of menstruation have been arrested and charged with possession of drugs – Advil, Tylenol and other over-the-counter analgesics; they’ve been charged with trafficking for sharing with girls who didn’t have their own. Elementary school children have been arrested for drawing pictures of guns including one recently whose assignment was to draw a picture of his father; his father was a soldier in Afghanistan.

The teacher’s facile justification for calling the cops on the phys ed eructation will undoubtedly be that the boy, previously considered “disruptive” by the school, belched deliberately. And ... well, of course he did. He’s 13 fergodsake, and he’s a boy; it’s what they do. Steve Seigel and I weren’t swallowing air in the corner of 8th grade study hall as a flotation device in case of a water landing. We were trying to see how far into the alphabet we could get by belching it before we yakked up the chocolate milk.

If you’re a teacher and the only recourse you can think of in response to a kid belching is to call the cops, you need a new job – and preferably one that won’t infringe upon your fragile sensibilities. I don’t have any clue what that might be as there doesn’t seem to be much call for delicate china dolls these days, but you need to look into it.

If you’re a school administrator and the only recourse you can think of to allow in response to a kid belching is to call the cops, then you live in the wrong country and the wrong century. Try Sparta, circa 500 BC.

Conclusion: I’d like to apologize to Pam Black [nee Glover] for molesting her with her consent [and at her insistence, frankly] behind the bushes in the first grade. Judy Dillenbeck, I apologize for allowing you to vicariously experience puppy love by being our lookout from Mrs Mahr who would have done little more than make us stop – it must have been torturous for you, Judy. You might wish to contact Amnesty International – they’ll take your side. And also to Tracy Germond, for allowing you to kiss me out of the blue and cause me to drop my 3 cents of milk money ... which I then had to borrow from Mrs Mahr and explain to my mother why I owed 3 cents. I would go on to molest Pam exclusively the rest of that year; I was annoyed at you over the 3 cents. I hope your father, the Reverend Germond, can forgive my not taking advantage that way.

Holy Cow

My God, Your God ... Oh, Dear God
©2011 Ross Williams

Headline: Kentucky Church Bans Interracial Couples

Article Synopsis:
The Gulnare Free Will Baptist church took a vote after service on Sunday at the prompting of member and former pastor Melvin Thompson; of the “35 to 40” people attending the service, 15 stayed to vote, and by a 9-6 margin voted to prevent interracial couples from becoming members or to participate in the service. The Free Will Baptist governing council said the Gulnare church acted on its own and hopes that “it is corrected quickly.” Both factions have appealed to the governing council to resolve the issue. Thompson claims to not be racist.

Free Will Mustn’t be Free: The resolution was drafted after the daughter of the church Secretary attended service over the summer with her African boyfriend – now her fiancé – and sang a song for the congregation. Thompson objected to this, and informed Dean Harville, the girl’s father and church Secretary, that it should not happen again. If people in Kentucky’s Appalachia are like people everywhere else, words were undoubtedly exchanged, and when the girl and her *>gasp!!<* black African boyfriend, apparently home from college for Thanksgiving, attended the Free Will church yet again, Thompson presented his motion to the congregation, some of whom didn’t stay to hear it, and others of whom couldn’t bring themselves to vote.

Harville and Thompson – inferring from their separate quotes in the article – would appear not to see eye to eye on many subjects, and it is not surprising to me to read that Thompson had “stepped down” as the church’s pastor earlier in the year. I can imagine why he did so, and I also imagine that the phrase “stepped down” is the polite description for the political maneuverings that occur in every church everywhere.

It would seem to boil down to whose Will is allowed to be Free in this church: the ex-pastor's or the parishioners'.

For her part, the girl was shocked and puzzled.

Conclusion: There are movies on the SyFy and other horror channels dealing with this theme: a small community back in the hills stuck in a time warp where the calendar simply refuses to turn the page. And just like the plot of these movies, it’s the outsiders – college kids, in the boilerplate scripts – who have to rescue The Town That Time Forgot. I’d advise the actors to break from tradition as this story plays itself out, though: it’s one thing when the black guy dies in the movie ... it’s a “plot device”, however trite and hackneyed. In Kentucky it’s a crime.

Headline: School Apologizes for Christmas Message

Article Synopsis:
An elementary school in North Carolina is among the 60,000 “community groups” to participate in a donation program called Operation Christmas Child, which collects shoe boxes of items to be donated to underprivileged children in a hundred countries. Part of the collection process is a questionnaire for the donor to fill out describing why the donor loves Jesus. The faculty sponsor of the program apologized for not being “neutral”.

You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch: The issue – such as it is – came to light when a part-time tutor, looking through the empty shoebox to be filled, saw the questionnaire and the word ‘Jesus’ on it, and decided that [she] couldn’t ignore the questionnaire, nor could [she] throw it away, [she] had to complain. This prompted the school to spend undisclosed amounts of time, effort and money to install an automated phone message system that would call the parents of the school’s children to apologize and “explain” the event, and to write, copy and send notes home with every student to do the same.

The Air Force Academy in Colorado also recently apologized for doing the charitable thing through this program run by the son of Billy Graham; the Academy was accused of “religious intolerance” by someone[s] obviously clueless as to what intolerance is marked by. A religion attempting to help the less fortunate is not intolerant if it does so as a religious act; a person who objects to a religion doing religious acts is the intolerant one.

Once again we see self-righteous imbeciles under the grand delusion that freedom of religion is indifferentiable from freedom from religion. It is not. ...unless it is. And if it is, then freedom of speech is the same as freedom from speech, and the ability of complainers to complain about matters so trivial as to be undetectable to the naked eye are not Constitutionally protectable concerns.

Conclusion: We are sorry, starving Third World children, but we can’t bring ourselves to give you food, clothing or basic necessities because we are too busy squabbling about whether we have to love Jesus, ... and how, ... and why, ... and when, ... and where, ... to bother with you. Priorities are priorites.

Headline: Islamists See Major Win in Egypt

Article Synopsis:
Muslim Brotherhood, which has rebranded itself as the “Freedom and Justice Party”, is expecting to get 40-45% of the open party seats in parliament in the first round of Egypt’s elections. The “students” whose revolt toppled Mubarak are not concerned about the self-avowed islamist group gaining control and turning Egypt into an islamist nation. Qatar’s Prime Minister feels the same. FJP’s “youth movement” director claims that only a “mad group” would attempt to ban alcohol or force women into hajibs. A second islamist party, of the Salafi school of islamism, is expected to claim nearly 20% of the seats. The various “liberal” parties of the “students” are also expected to hold 20%.

When Up is Down and Black is White: It is quite apparent that not only are Egypt’s “students” concerned about the results of the elections their actions spawned, but so are Arab-bloc heads of state. The same people who, just days ago, were expressing “concern” that islamists would actually win in yet another “democratic” election because of what islamists have done everywhere else they’ve gained control are now claiming that Egypt’s islamists are nothing to worry about and, really, aren’t islamists at all.

Muslim Brotherhood has existed for over 80 years and has created and/or funded several groups of pan-islamist yahoos, including Islamic Jihad and Hamas. It actively supports al Qaida and Hezbollah. It has overthrown the government of Egypt once itself, it attempted to assassinate Nasser for overthrowing it, it was implicated in the assassination of Sadat, it has been periodically banned as an organization and, even when allowed to exist, its members were not allowed to run for parliament as a member of the group. Even so, as of 2005 their members – all running as “independents” – comprised 20% of Egypt’s parliament. They are in line to take 40-45%.

Al-Nour didn’t even exist as a political party until days after the deposition of Mubarak – they were banned altogether as a group of islamists even more islamist than Muslim Brotherhood, theologically aligned with the Wahabi. They are in position to collect 20% of the seats in the new parliament. This would make 60-65% of the Egyptian government islamist between just these two parties. There are several other islamist political parties.

Muslim Brotherhood officially supports Sharia Law, and opposes women and Coptic candidates for public office.

Egypt is currently a sexy subject for neophyte Americans to discuss with the wisdom gained from earning a C in their one class of PoliSci. But tomorrow, when the Egyptian election is over and Egyptian women are not being stoned for knowing how to read, and Copts are not lined up and shot in front of their self-dug trench graves, these neophytes will sneer at everyone who knows better than they do and then will forget the whole subject.

And in five years, ten years, twenty years, when the Muslim Brotherhood and its more strident allies erase, one by one, the relative western liberalism that had been ham-handedly fostered under nominal dictatorships, the neophytes will be completely and utterly shocked at how it could have happened. For points of reference, see Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, ... and watch Libya, Morocco, Tunisia ...

Neophytes can only see that a dictatorship is gone and don’t consider what will replace it, nor whether it will be progress or regress, as valid or pertinent questions.

Conclusion: Because Muslim Brotherhood has helped build hospitals and schools, American geo-political neophytes are going to line up to claim – as they have for years – that Muslim Brotherhood is a secular, pacifist group completely divorced from islamism, despite their name including the word “muslim”. These are the same people, by and large, who see the word ‘Jesus’ on a slip of paper in a charity donation box as a stamp of religious intolerance.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Holding Your Horses

Carving the Roast Beast of Burden
©2011 Ross Williams

The last horse slaughterhouse in the US closed its doors in 2007. It was located in Illinois. It closed nominally because IL banned the slaughter of horses destined for human consumption, exclusively confined to the export market. But prior to the Illinois General Assembly making that move the USDA, by Congressional mandate, had ceased its horse slaughterhouse inspection – we can’t export meat that hasn’t been inspected by USDA; horses had already ceased being slaughtered some months earlier.

Since the ban, tens of thousands of horses per year have been abandoned or confiscated from their owners for neglect. Pardon: tens of thousands more than usual per year have been abandoned or confiscated, as horses are abandoned and neglected continually. Since 2009 when the recession hit full swing, these numbers have spiked.

As always, the issue was driven in 2007 by the soft-skulled sympathy junkies that dominate all such “enlightenment” subjects. Horses are “noble creatures” and part of the “American Culture”, goes their argument, therefore to slaughter them – least of all for food – is [to quote one of the many fops recently spotted being foppish] “depraved”. Only “depraved” cultures would stoop to eating horse.

This means, naturally, that all cultures except “American” are depraved; Canada and Mexico are also depraved, since the number of horses not slaughtered in Illinois since 2007 has been picked up in whole by live-horse exports directly to those countries’ slaughterhouses ... where, additionally, it is legal to sell horse meat for human consumption. It hasn’t been legal in the US for decades. ...to buy and sell horse meat. What one did with one’s own horse was one’s own business.

Various other arguments made by the brainless against horse slaughter are:

1] It’s inhumane. Yet the same methods used to dispatch horses in the slaughterhouse are used to dispatch steer ... for which it is not inhumane.

2] If a horse has become too old or unwanted, it is better to humanely “euthanize” the animal under direction of a veterinarian. Yet the methods used by veterinarians to “humanely” “euthanize” horses are also used in slaughterhouses to inhumanely slaughter them consisting, typically, of a gunshot to the head. A slaughterhouse will often use a bolt instead of a bullet, though, as a bullet in the confined space of a concrete-walled building can cause the euthanasia of the assistant butcher as well.

3] If horses, why not dogs and cats? Many cultures also eat them. And if there was a viable export market for dog and cat meat – considering the number of stray and feral animals we have – that would indeed be a good idea.

4] Horses are “noble” and other overly-sentimentalized rationalizations. And so are deer, which we – including those so against horse slaughter – think nothing of killing for food, not to mention sport, and even simply because they have overrun the suburbs and eaten the hedges.

5] [and this was a new one on me] Horses helped win the Battle of Gettysburg. And so did oxen. And of course we all know than an ox is an old dried-up dairy cow that has gone through the bovine version of menopause yet is not too old to pull a war wagon. It will become beef jerky and leather gloves soon enough.

Et cetera. At any rate, this comes up again because a short passage in the recent government funding law signed by our National Savior earlier this month reauthorizes USDA to resume the inspection of horse slaughter. This loosed the teary drivel above from the Usual Suspects.

The head of the American Humane Society, Wayne Pacelle, promises litigation and legislative hectoring of any community which attempts to re-establish a horse slaughter in the US. He further claims that anyone who owns a horse is somehow obliged to “provide lifetime care” – thus elevating horses to a social status even greater than children ... who will one day move out of the house.

On the other hand, there seems to be a group of investors willing to front substantial amounts of money to open a horse slaughter operation; they estimate they could be up and running in 30 to 90 days. It would be interesting to see which side of the issue a rural community – and its state legislature – would come down on in the choice between a few hundred jobs and saving the life of – to quote Mr Pacelle again – “Trigger and Mr Ed.”

Some of us are aware that Mr Ed was completely fictional, just as some of us never romanticized Bambi while others live somewhere in the shadowy regions between reality and TVLand. Others learned to de-romanticize Bambi after their begonias and flowering dogwoods got chewed to ribbons. Why people have so much difficulty applying this lesson to horses is beyond me.

But until they can figure that out, maybe Mr Pacelle can put his self-righteous money where his sanctimonious mouth is and point me at a supplier of hay. All the hay in our area was sold to Texans. Apparently their horses are more important than mine.

Other Misfortune

Getting Our Wish, and Other Misfortune
©2011 Ross Williams

Headline: Syria Condemns Arab League Sanctions

Article Synopsis:
With only Iraq and Lebanon abstaining, the Arab League approved – 19-1 – sanctions against the Assad government over its repressive handling of “Arab Spring” protests in which thousands of Syrians have been killed. Syria, the lone ‘nay’ vote, called it a “betrayal” and said that cutting the Syrian government off from outside funding would hurt the Syrian people. Syrian Army defectors, calling themselves the Free Syrian Army, have joined the growing revolt. Syria is tightly connected to the Hezbollah group in Lebanon and, in a strange-bedfellows way, the Iranian theocracy.

Misfortune by Omission: Of all the Arab and Arab-like nations participating in the inappropriately-named [and celebrated] “Arab Spring”, Syria is the one with the greatest up-side. Tunisia was repressively Westernized and anti-pan-islamist; Libya was repressively stagnant but anti-pan-islamist; Egypt was repressively Westernized and anti-pan-islamist; Yemen is despotic but newly anti-pan-islamist; Bahrain is thoroughly Westernized and actively anti-pan-islamist; meanwhile ... Syria is repressively pro-pan-islamist ... the only one on the list. They would have nowhere to go but up.

Of all the nations to sit on the sidelines for Syria makes the least sense, just as getting involved with Libya makes the least sense.

Syria is the nation the US has done and said the least about.

Added to this are similar articles detailing the UN – never one to follow International Law when it can avoid it – calling Syria’s completely internal matters a “crime against humanity”, and another describing one of Syria’s other cabinet Ministers calling the Arab League move an act of “economic warfare”.

Conclusion: Rather than dithering in Libya [can you say “War for Someone Else’s Oil”? I knew you could] we might have spotted Syria’s military defectors some RPGs and helped end the major source of 40 years of Lebanese disharmony and the financial backing of two major, and countless minor, pan-islamist outfits. That would have gone farther toward Middle East peace than anyone has gotten since Carter got Begin and Sadat to kiss on the lips.

Headline: Islamist Party Wins Majority in Morocco

Article Synopsis:
Moroccan voters have swept the Justice and Development Party – the political party of muslim theocrats, to a majority of its Parliamentary seats. It may be joined by the relatively moderate islamist party, Istiqlal, to form an unbreakable stranglehold on Moroccan politics.

Misfortune by Appeasement: Hoping to avoid the same type of unrest and bloodshed that has marked the rest of the misnamed “Arab Spring”, Morocco’s constitutional King Mohammed VI has ordered widespread legislative reforms – starting with early elections – to satisfy his people. And as has been seen in Tunisia, which just elected a theocratic dictatorship, and Libya, which has imposed islamist Sharia by dint of “provisional” authority, the default setting from north Africa through the Middle East and central Asia is islamist theocracy.

The scorecard – if anyone wishes to tally the world’s march backwards into chaos – paints a grim picture:
Tunisia: overthrew a pro-Western autocrat in the name of “democracy”, and democratically replaced him with a muslim theocratic autocracy;
Libya: overthrew a stagnating, ex-islamist autocrat and replaced him with a Sharia council – a muslim theocratic autocratic oligarchy, as an autocratic oligarchy is so much better than an autocrat;
Yemen: a repressive and newly-pro-Western autocrat in the birthplace of the same Wahabi-sect yahoory responsible for al Qaida is being henpecked by those Wahabi-sect yahoos in order to compel the nation to return to its muslim theocratic autocracy roots;
Bahrain: the Sunni royalty is being “Arab Springed” by the Shi’a minority which is invoking the western secular deity of “democracy” to justify overthrowing the government in order to establish their stated goal of a muslim theocratic autocracy outrightly aligned with Teheran;
Syria: one of the two remaining [large] state-sponsors, with Iran, of pan-islamist yahoos is in pre-civil war boil, and no one who is a current target of pan-islamist yahoos [i.e., The West] can manage to work up enough enthusiasm to pass bullets to the insurrectionists;
Egypt: [see below];
Morocco: attempted to appease the howling masses by giving them what they wanted – what they wanted was a muslim theocratic autocracy. The autocrat has yet to be defined and installed, though he is possibly among the incoming members of the new parliament.

Conclusion: We’ve seen this plot before. Haven’t we? All that would seem to be missing is a beer hall putsch.

Headline: Egyptians Head to Polls

Article Synopsis:
Egyptians are voting in a “meaningful” election for the first time in decades after thirty years of Mubarak and several years of Sadat and even more years of Nasser having made elections moot. All experts expect Muslim Brotherhood to handily win, but secular muslims and Egypt’s Coptic christian minorities are voting to stop them. Yet Muslim Brotherhood “has always stood by us” when times were tough.

Misfortune by Deliberation: Hosni Mubarak, the pro-Western autocrat, was deposed by a brief revolt, and arrested; he’s now on trial for being... an autocrat, or something. The Egyptian military has run the country in his place by making promises and not delivering them, among which is free elections. An even briefer revolt against the military has compelled the military to hold the promised elections ... which are now occurring. Elections are expected to last several weeks, running in phases around the country as all elections with any integrity are handled.

It is widely reputed that the two Egyptian revolts were led and accomplished by liberal and democratic idealists – “students”, as they are sometimes known. This may be the case. But it doesn’t matter. Muslim Brotherhood is the major power remaining in the country when you take away the bureaucracy and the military which, thanks to the “students”, was handily accomplished and to the huzzahs of Western media.

The main criticism of the elections held under the presidency of Mubarak, and Sadat before him, and even Nasser, is that no matter who you voted for, it turned into a vote for Mubarak, Sadat or Nasser somewhere between the ballot entering the ballot box and when the scrupulously honest election official unlocked the sacred, untamperable container. Free elections in societies unused to freedom tend to work that way.

...as it will here, no doubt. Muslim Brotherhood has been behind virtually every political intrigue in Egypt for the past 80 years, and quite a number outside of Egypt as well. To suggest that they haven’t got their fingers in Egypt’s election apparatus is to admit to being nearly too stupid to draw breath; they’ve got a four generation head start in political organization over the brash and capricious “students” that idiot American neophytes cannot see past. No amount of international election monitoring – especially if they include the perennial bubble-brain Jimmuh Cahtuh – can prevent a Muslim Brotherhood landslide.

Conclusion: Our National Savior couldn’t wait to announce to the world that he – as titular head of the Free World – was welcoming this “democratic” expression as the beginnings of a New Caliphate. As President of the United States, he’s on our side by definition; but which side does he think we are on?