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.

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Location: Illinois, United States

Friday, October 20, 2017

I am Shocked − SHOCKED

I am Shocked − SHOCKED
©2017  Ross Williams



I can’t possibly be the only one thoroughly unmoved by the sudden outrage over Harvey Weinstein.  Can I?

It’s not like this is unprecedented or unpredictable.  Hollywood has had a casting couch since before they married picture to sound.  Marilyn Monroe, after her major break in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, commented “That’s the last cock I’ll have to suck.”

The reality is people with power or status − in any aspect of life − are going to leverage that power and status for what it can get them.  In many cases, the commodity leveraged is sex.  While rude and boorish it’s not typically illegal.  Even when it violates some law a government has crafted, a libertarian would blanch at the imposition.  If Norma Jean Baker believes a series of hummers to post-war Hollywood execs is a fair trade for her transition to Marilyn Monroe, what business does the government have in nixing the deal?

At the end of the day, hell, at the crack of dawn of the day, Harvey Weinstein is as prosaic as they come.  He’s got movie roles for actresses, actresses have roles to perform for him.  I’ll concede that most of the roles discussed to date are puzzling for their trite fetishism, but still.  Don’t like the trade-off? stick to theater.  If you still want to get into movies and television, do it like Bebe Neuwirth: work for it.  Work hard.  Be like Bebe.

More puzzling than Weinstein handing out favors to budding thespians willing to watch him shower, though, is the pious responses from the sheltered ninnies who insist on publicizing their naiveté.  Among the more facile comes from a numbskull victimologist named Barbara Boland, who claims that many women making the same accusa … well, let’s go with her exact words: “the fact that so many women have accused him over so long a period of time makes their stories more believable.”

Really?  Does that logic also work with accounts of alien abduction, and visits from the Virgin Mary?  They are remarkably uniform as well, spanning even more years than Weinstein. That creates credibility?  Seriously?

What reason would they have to lie?” she implores, with all the feels of a college campus date-rape activist.  Oh, I dunno: fame, validation, basking in the glow of reflected glory, to cite Homer Simpson.  Revenge − personal or ideological, either one.  There’s four reasons, all endemic to the human psyche, and virtually unarguable.

I’m somebody!  I got pressured into watching a troll suds up his cojones just so I could read for a part that I didn’t get; give me another shot…”  Aww.  Poor dear.

While I have zero doubt that Harvey is a manipulative cad who did all − and more than − he’s being accused of, I also have zero doubt that there is a more or less large amount of concurrent piling-on.  Embellishment and outright fabrication.  Ditto altar boys about their catholic priests, ditto sweater geeks upon Bill Cosby, ditto every rock-n-roll bimbo groupie over the sexy front man who filled his trailer with booze, barbs and babes after the concert.  The reason I say this is because people are always going to be people.  It’s in their nature.

It is grossly naïve to believe that Weinstein is the only asshole in this equation.  Those who think he is are apparently unfamiliar with the human race.  And, well, to those: welcome to Earth, guys.  Can you shed some light on the whole alien abduction thing?  Barbara Boland needs to know; she has another victim group to champion.

As intellectually offensive as Boland’s fatuous credulity is, the truly loathsome responses come in the form of faux piety from Hollywood and the national democrat party insiders.  Those who knew, from Day One thirty years ago, what kind of bounder Harvey Weinstein was, who winked and nodded through it all, and who only chose this moment to get weepy and righteous about it.

They’re all playing a very poor rendition of Claude Rains’ Captain Renault.  They are shocked − shocked − to learn that Weinstein is a compulsive and serial defiler.

They didn’t give a damn when it was merely their friends and co-stars being mauled.  They couldn’t care less when he fundraised their political campaigns.  It only mattered when their silent complicity became evident and they were taking a share of the blame.  From that moment on, they signaled their virtue with the same single-minded ferocity of the telegrapher on the Titanic.

S.O.S. 

Save Our Sycophantia. 



Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Accidental Libertarian

The Accidental Libertarian
− or −
Not Looking a Gift Horse’s Ass in the Mouth
©2017  Ross Williams



As a libertarian, I rate politicians and political policy on one criterion: What is the politician doing, what does the policy do, to reverse past power abuses and bring them back into line with strict Constitutional limitations of government power?  I don’t care which party creates the policy.  I don’t care whether the politician is bombastic, a buffoon or a boor.  Those are completely irrelevant.  This is politics; I’m not screening guests for a dinner party.

Needless to say, for the last several presidential administrations I have been extremely disappointed. …in both the presidents we’ve collected and their concurrent Congresses.  Congress has passed a bazillion laws which grasp political power not defined to belong to the government, and the president has [mostly] faithfully enforced those laws.  Oh, sure, the party out of power would raise tear-stained, and sometimes panty-wetting, objections to those laws, but one administration later the critics of those laws would take the White House and wield the new law like a cudgel.

Example? Sure:
Republicans abhorred Obamacare − the thoroughly misnamed “affordable” “care” act, which gives neither.  And when they had a majority in Congress from 2011 to 2016 while its namesake was in the leather chair, they voted to repeal it and the horse it rode in on multiple times.  Barry Hussein slapped a veto on it with the speed of a lightning bolt.  But when a president gets elected who would not veto a repeal, republicans are suddenly pondering the political uses an all-controlling mandatory health statute might have, with the nearly infinite regulatory power it gives them.

Need another? Fine:
Democrats detested the imperial powers given to the executive branch in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, despite them being complicit in it.  They woke up a few months after their swoon of unitary patriotism to discover they’d created a RealID Act to be administered by the Orwellian Department of Homeland Security.  The Dubya administration used the eVerify portion of it to ensure that only Americans or foreigners with properly forged paperwork could work for defense contractors.  Barry Hussein got elected by 50 million people who complained about RealID, and suddenly eVerify was a universal requirement.  Die dokumenten, Mein Herr!

Need a third? Great:
Democrats staged multiple public hissy fits over Dubya’s perceived and actual [but mostly perceived] laxity in obtaining FISA warrants to gain intel through domestic espionage on a relatively small portion of Americans who made phone calls to terrorists.  Then Barry Hussein gets elected and orders his NSA to spy on, literally, millions of Americans, mostly those who were “the enemy” of other political parties, and sidestepping FISA courts altogether.  …which explains why Edward Snowden is in exile while Bradley Manning gets an effective do-over.

These are just a handful of the major examples.  Knowing the rest of the libertarian crowd, there will be another thousand examples of political hypocrisy, more or less worthy, added to the list within five minutes.  It’s what we do.

Needless to say, there hasn’t been a president since Reagan who acted in any material way to correct prior abuses of power by the government.  Until now.

Donnie Combover, our cheeto president, despite advocating power abuses of his own, has done more to restrict prior abuses of government power than all presidents since the Alzheimer Kid left office.  Combined … zero plus zero plus zero plus zero equals zero.  Period.  That answer isn’t going to change, and libertarians simply need to get over themselves about it.

Specifically, he has single-handedly cut around $100 billion dollars from the pocketbooks of regulatory agencies.  So what, you ask?  Good question … and thank you for paying attention.

A regulation is a rule invented by an executive branch hireling sitting under the healthful glow of fluorescent lights in a six-by-six cubicle in the basement of a government office building in the DC Beltway.  A regulation is a rule “with the weight of law”, according to federal courts.  None of these courts, to include the US Supreme Court, give any indication that they’ve ever read the US Constitution.  If they had, they’d immediately recognize that only Congress has the power to make laws; the executive branch may merely enforce them.

Oh! But!” the quibbledicks will chime in, “Congress did make the law.  They made the law that gave the power to invent regulations to a specific cabinet-level department of the executive branch.  And by inventing regulations, that agency is enforcing the law!”  Ah, yes, falling back on the old Abdication of Legislative Authority Clause found in Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution.  Or … wait … there is no such clause, and Congress doesn’t have the legitimate power to punt.  Even if the courts say they do.

So the hireling, glowing pale green from his fluorescent tan, writes a rule “with the weight of law”, and kicks it upstairs to the suits in his agency to enforce.  The suits then march around the nation and enforce the regulation.  And those accused of violating the regulation will have their day in court, where the evidence of their non-compliance will be aired, they’ll get to defend themselves, and a jury picks the winner … right?

Wrong.

Regulatory enforcement is not law enforcement.  Under law enforcement, an accused is “innocent until proven guilty”, according to the bumper stickers.  The evidence of his guilt is brought out, he gets to rebut that evidence, and a jury decides.  Under law enforcement, the government has the burden of proof.

Under regulatory enforcement, the accused is guilty until he proves himself innocent.  The actual law behind the regulation was written for the regulatory agency; that agency is complying with the law, and they’ve decided that you have interfered with their compliance.  Under regulatory enforcement, the citizen has the burden of proof.  And because a jury is the privilege of the defendant − in this case, the regulatory agency accused of improperly complying with the law giving them regulatory power − the government would be stupid to request a jury. They are perfectly happy with the Administrative Law judge, one of their own, making the ruling himself.

While you are tilting this windmill, please keep in mind that the regulatory agency has at its disposal several hundred billion dollars with which to employ a fleet of on-staff loyyers all extremely knowledgeable of the regulation in question and the zillion legal maneuvers invented to cause delay and rack up Billable Hours of your loyyer. …the loyyer you hired to take on the federal regulatory agency which has seized your home because you have a pond frequented by a migrating mosquito, or because you gave a pail of your cow’s fresh milk to a neighbor while you were all snowed in for three days.  You are simply going to run out of money first and the government will win by default.  Government almost never loses a challenge to their regulatory enforcement.

I don’t think I need to remind anyone that this “guilty until proven innocent” paradigm is the historical standard by which all governments operate, and against which we revolted in the first place.  “He has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance”.  Anyone?  Bueller?

This is tyranny, the old-fashioned word that has been effectively replaced by “fascism”.  All-powerful central government doing what it wants, when it wants, because it wants.  This method of governance is arguably the most anti-libertarian you can get, and should be the primary target of libertarian ire, even over gun rights.  A government that doesn’t abuse its power doesn’t need to be defended against.  Under regulatory enforcement, there is no Due Process to get in the way.  All the process that is considered due has already been served by the government itself.  Convenient, no?

President Cheeto has provided a hundred billion dollar dent in this machine.  This is not inconsiderable.  Depending on how the departments wish to divvy up their dwindling funds, either creation of new rules is hindered, or the enforcement of old rules will be curtailed.  Or both.  There is a reason the Deep State swamp of Beltway Bureaucracy loathes Donnie Combover.  He stated an intention of impeding their ability to exercise power with virtually impunity, and he’s actually taking actions toward that end.  The first time in over a generation.

Not enough action?  Perhaps.  Is he only impeding those regulatory agencies that run afoul of his political priorities?  Duh.  Both just like Reagan, for what it’s worth.

Look, the guy isn’t Calvin Coolidge.  Libertarians must take what they can get when they can get it.  We’ve been handed a gift from an unlikely source, a gift we all need.  Pretend you have manners; say thank you.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Stand and Deliver

Stand and Deliver
©2017  Ross Williams



The last time I stood for the National Anathema was − as near as I can recall − somewhere back in the early Eighties.  It was against my will; I was in the Air Force, and many things I did then were against my will.  Haircuts, corframs … corfams?  Whatever they were.  Those artificially shiny plastic shoes that alleviated the mission-critical procedure of shining ones shoes to satisfy the dress code.

My beef with the National Anathema goes well beyond forced artificial patriotism, though.  It is a horrendous song combining a pretentious and maliciously self-congratulatory poem with a hideous melody spanning nearly two full octaves.  It can only be sung well by a trained vocalist and is otherwise only seriously attempted by the sufficiently inebriated.  …which is fitting, as the melody was lifted, outright, from a London drinking club’s arsenal of tunes to be besotted by.

The poem itself describes a battle the US lost in a war the US never won a single battle until three weeks after the war ended.  Thank you, Old Hickory.  But somehow, because the flag still remained atop the standard over Fort McHenry on the shores of the Chesapeake, it comprised a moral victory against the juggernaut Limeys.  What is less widely publicized is that the fort’s survivors were holed up in the basement and didn’t want to risk dismemberment to stop the shelling by taking the damned thing down.

Since the end of Reagan’s first term when I left the service, I cannot remember standing for the National Anathema a single time.  I quite possibly did, no doubt to be polite, but I do not remember.  I usually find some excuse to be off doing something else whenever the thing would start gearing up for its interminability.  Buying beer, returning the previous beer to the sewer … something.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I don’t particularly have an issue with people who don’t want to stand for the National Anathema.  I’m with ya! 

I don’t care why they don’t.  I don’t even really have an issue if those people are over-paid, self-pitying attention-whores trying to signal their virtue with more or less deliberate dishonesty.  Or ignorance.  Or hypocrisy.

It all started with Colin Kaepernick two years ago refusing to honor the flag because the country behind it, specifically the country’s cops, kill too many certain people coincidentally and superficially like himself.  No, not over-paid, third-rate NFL quarterbacks with a chip on their shoulder so large that it would alter the planet’s rotation if it fell.  Blacks; what most people currently euphemize to “African-Americans”.

Here’s a hint: Barry Hussein’s father was an African-American.  Barry is not.  He’s a mixed-race American mutt who should have been − but pointedly was not − happy and proud of the fact.  Colin Kaepernick is also not African-American.  He’s a black kid who was adopted by a wealthy white family as an infant and learned all he ever knew about black culture from watching Fresh Prince.  He reeks of white privilege, moreso than virtually all whites not named Trump.

But many blacks, Kaepernick whines, are killed by cops.  And this is racist.  Somehow.  What he fails to mention is it’s nearly always while committing crimes.

The fact that whites are killed by cops three times more often than blacks − also nearly always while committing crimes − rarely manages to get aired.  And when it does, it’s uniformly excused by pointing out that whites outnumber blacks by five-to-one, so the ratio shows a 1.67::1 bias in favor of cops shooting blacks than whites.

Yet, when someone points out that blacks are four times more likely to be involved in felonious activity than whites, thus erasing − and then some − the racial bias so critical to the agenda of those whose social conscience still has not emerged from the 1950s … well… math, we are told by the Progressive Ninny, is an indispensible tool of the modern racistsexisthomophobe.  Not enough feels.  Objectivity is so … objectifying.

The spreading anti-standing stand has departed from Kaepernick’s stilted and mealy-mouthed position by insisting it’s not a protest against the flag, as such, nor even the National Anathema, nor the military, nor our cops.  It is a silent protest, now on bended knee, to raise awareness.

Awareness of what?  That blacks are four times more likely to be committing crimes than whites, but less likely to be shot for doing so.  Apparently.  Because that is the mathematical reality of it.

However, the point that almost a thousand Americans of any and all races a year are killed by a cop’s gun is a worthy issue to raise awareness of.  There are simply too many laws in our free society with a government defined to have almost no power to get bossy and authoritarian, justifying too many interactions between cops and citizens.  That issue, though, isn’t being raised by the self-pitying attention-whores.

Indeed, removing certain of those inappropriate laws would disproportionately free blacks from interaction with cops, and thus disproportionately reducing even further their chances of getting killed for it.  It would probably greatly expand the opportunity, at least in the short-term, for more blacks being killed by other blacks − which already dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, the figure for Death By Cop.  This is also another worthy issue to be raising awareness of that is not even on the radar of pampered, over-paid, self-pitying attention-whores.

What we’re left with is a group of rich, privileged, black athletes protesting something, but not what anyone thinks they’re protesting.   Furthermore, they’re being paid to pout, ultimately, by their fans who are mostly of a straight-line sentimentality between symbol and reality.  These people see over-paid, self-pitying attention-whores kneeling during the National Anathema and they conclude they don’t love the country.  It’s what they see, and they won’t see anything else anytime soon.  Whether it’s true or not − just like whether it’s true that cops kill more blacks than whites or not − is irrelevant.

It’s the exact same phenomenon as all the black protesters in St Louis willfully refusing to see that the latest black martyr was anything but a career criminal who attempted to murder a cop with his car.  Even if the cop deserved it [and chances are good he did] there’s too many feels involved for reality to matter.

When fans pay large sums of money for tickets, and obscene amounts of money for what passes for American beer, just to get their own personal feels insulted by over-paid, self-pitying attention-whores, they’re soon going to stop paying that money.  Attendance at NFL games is down, for the second year in a row.  Television ratings are tanking, and commercial sponsors are losing their shirts.  It won’t be long before NFL salaries come down simply because there’s less ticket and sponsor money to sustain the current wage scale.

Rule number one of marketing: know your audience.  The audience for the NFL is the simple, straight-forward schlub male.  He probably voted for Trump.  The audience for the over-paid, self-pitying attention-whore is the Progressive Ninny who likely wouldn’t watch a pro football game on a dare.  Somebody hasn’t done their market research, and it’s not the fans.


The libertarian sees all this as a wonderful exercise in First Amendment protest.  Millionaire athletes are protesting something that doesn’t affect them, is the wrong issue besides, and insults their fanbase while doing so. The fanbase protests right back by finding something else to do on Sunday afternoons, offending the Progressive Ninny in the process.  The Progressive Ninny protests fans’ subtle racism and spurs on the millionaire athletes to double down.

What marvelous fun.  I’d pause to ponder where it will all end, but merry-go-rounds are notoriously predictable.