Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Happy Hump Day!

From the New World Dictionary:

oligarchy (ˈɒlɪˌɡɑːkɪ)

— n , pl -chies
1. government by a small group of people
2. a state or organization so governed
3. a small body of individuals ruling such a state
4. chiefly ( US ) a small clique of private citizens who exert a strong influence on government

So, who qualifies as an “oligarch?”  Like “decimate” this is a term that’s roundly abused.  The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page weighed in on the idea recently.  Excerpt:

You may have noticed that our friends on the left have begun to refer to the Koch brothers and other rich conservatives as “oligarchs.” Like calling evangelicals “jihadists” and the tea party “racist,” this comparison to the billionaires in Vladimir Putin‘s circle is meant to stigmatize and marginalize these men politically and socially.

140331-koch-ness-monsterThis latest Saul Alinsky tactic got us thinking about who really qualifies as an American oligarch. If the definition is someone who becomes rich by association with government power and policies, and then assists those in power, the Kochs would barely make the list. Their companies are usually harassed by government.

The list, with supporting data, is wonderfully illustrated by Doug Ross here (image from that site.)

The demonization of political opponents is nothing new, dating at least back to the Roman Republic – if you think pols today have problems with incivility, read some of Marcus Tullius Cicero’s speeches, especially those about Mark Antony.

Cicero really, really hated Mark Antony.  He was eloquent about it, but the hate really comes through in his speeches to the Roman Senate.

But I digress.

The fact is, the Left – in and out of government both – are demonizing the Koch brothers for activities that some of their own staunchest (and richest)  supporters are guilty of, in spades.  Demonization is one thing, hypocrisy another; while there is plenty on both sides of the aisle, this example by the Left is particularly egregious.

And what’s more – the examples listed on the left side of the political spectrum have, by and large, made their fortunes through collusion with government, while the Koch brothers – agree with their politics or not – have made their fortunes by providing products and services that people want to buy.

Ayn Rand called it the “aristocracy of pull.”  In this as in many other things, she was remarkably prescient.

Animal’s Daily News

bears-cute-awesome2-12An interesting story out of Selma, Alabama, wherein a would-be robbery perp was taken all the way out by an armed citizen – read here and here.

Money quote from that second story:

Law enforcement officials are calling Marlo Ellis a hero in the wake of Thursday’s shooting at the Dollar General in Orrville.

Ellis shot and killed Dallas County resident Kevin McLaughlin after McLaughlin entered the store, reportedly shouting and waving a gun.

Authorities said that as McLaughlin was leading a group of people into a break room, Ellis turned and used his own pistol to shoot McLaughlin. Ellis’ weapon was concealed according to Sheriff Harris Huffman.

McLaughlin was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting.

Facepalm-bearNow, here’s the catch:  The Dollar Store in question had a “no guns” policy, and the CCW holder and proclaimed (by local law enforcement, no less) hero of the moment may face trespassing charges for bringing his weapon into the store in violation of their posted signs.

It’s unclear whether this is a corporate policy or the local store’s idea.  There are Dollar Stores here in Colorado, but honestly I’ve never been in one.  But in this specific instance, if the company proceeds with charges against Ellis, they would bring to mind the Austrian’s reply to Russia after the Russians helped put down a revolt during the Crimean War:  “We will shock the world with our ingratitude.”

Really, to avoid looking like a gigantic collection of jackasses, Dollar Store really needs to just let this one go.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks again to Robert Stacy and Smitty for the Rule Five linkage – and also to our pals at The Daley Gator for the same.  Now, on to some geological news:  4.8 Earthquake Shakes Yellowstone.  Excerpt:

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports the earthquake occurred at 6:34 a.m. about 4 miles north-northeast of the Norris Geyser Basin. The university reports it was felt in the Montana border towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner, both about 20 miles from the epicenter.

 Some folks will no doubt fret about the Yellowstone Supervolcano, which will inevitably erupt – someday – and wipe out a good portion of North America, not to mention knocking the earth’s climate into a cocked hat for what may be quite a few years.  Being of a somewhat more sanguine nature than some, I tend to adopt a “What, Me Worry?” attitude towards such things – there’s really no point in worrying about things you can’t change, one way or another.  And these Yellowstone quakes are nothing unusual; the area of the caldera has been geologically active for a long, long time.

Folks living in southern California, now they may have a little more reason to be concerned.  Excerpt:

What, Me Worry?

The Puente Hills thrust fault, which brought Friday night’s magnitude-5.1 quake centered in La Habra and well over 100 aftershocks by Sunday, stretches from northern Orange County under downtown Los Angeles into Hollywood – a heavily populated swath of the Los Angeles area.

A magnitude-7.5 earthquake along that fault could prove more catastrophic than one along the San Andreas, which runs along the outskirts of metropolitan Southern California, seismologists said.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that such a quake along the Puente Hills fault could kill 3,000 to 18,000 people and cause up to $250 billion in damage. In contrast, a larger magnitude 8 quake along the San Andreas would cause an estimated 1,800 deaths.

Smiling BearStill – worrying won’t change it.  One has to feel for the residents of SoCal, though; if the fiscal condition of their state and the peripatetic lunacy of their state government wasn’t bad enough, then to have to add earthquakes to the list of things that can go south…  Well, Colorado by comparison looks mighty good.

Rule Five Friday

2014_03_28_Rule Five Friday (1)Let’s build a little bit on yesterday’s post about stupid politicians with a real-life example; Iowa Democrat Dismisses Chuck Grassley As ‘A Farmer From Iowa Who Never Went to Law School.’  Excerpt:

If there’s one thing that candidates should have learned from the 2012 election season, it’s to watch what they say in closed-door fundraisers. One Iowa Democrat apparently didn’t get the memo.

While attempting to court a group of lawyers at a South Texas fundraiser, Rep. Bruce Braley took a swipe at Sen. Chuck Grassley by warning of a possible Republican Senate majority after the midterms.

2014_03_28_Rule Five Friday (2)“You might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Braley said in a video released by the conservative America Rising PAC. “Because, if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

If there’s one thing that candidates should have learned from the 2012 election season, it’s to watch what they say in closed-door fundraisers. One Iowa Democrat apparently didn’t get the memo.

While attempting to court a group of lawyers at a South Texas fundraiser, Rep. Bruce Braley took a swipe at Sen. Chuck Grassley by warning of a possible Republican Senate majority after the midterms.

“You might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Braley said in a video released by the conservative America Rising PAC. “Because, if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

2014_03_28_Rule Five Friday (3) Grassley is the ranking member of that committee. Braley, who practiced law before joining the House, told the crowd he would be someone on the Senate Judiciary Committee with “your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years.”

Speaking as someone who was raised by an Iowa farmer who never went to law school and never practiced law, it would be easy to take this rather personally.  The Old Man, even today at 90 years of age but in fine physical and mental fettle, is far better suited, both temperamentally and intellectually, to serve in Congress than 99% of the incumbents – maybe 100%.

But the real eye-opener is this comment:

…Braley, who practiced law before joining the House, told the crowd he 2014_03_28_Rule Five Friday (4)would be someone on the Senate Judiciary Committee with “your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years.”

Holy shit.  Is that supposed to be a recommendation?  If there are two things this nation needs, it is 1) tort reform, and b) fewer lawyers in Congress.

I’m a big fan of term limits, but I’d rather have ten Grassleys in the Senate than one Braley.  Let’s hope Iowa voters kick this nitwit to the curb.

2014_03_28_Rule Five Friday (5)

Animal’s Daily News

Ever wonder why pols seem to be getting dumber?  Have a look at this first of a series of three videos in PJMedia’s Trifecta series.

See Part 2 here – and watch for the upcoming Part 3.

Here’s the question:  How do these nitwits get elected?  One possible observation is that the majority of voters in their respective districts/states themselves lack the mental brainpower to think their way out of a wet paper bag.   Another is the sad state of our electorate today, with nearly 50% dependent to one degree or another on government, because of which many pols who are Facepalm-bearpathetically, profoundly ignorant on a host of issues nevertheless can muster the brainpower to promise voters more and more of someone else’s stuff.

Anyone with enough brains to pound sand knows islands can’t capsize.  Unfortunately a room-temperature IQ apparently isn’t a bar to elected office.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Happy Hump Day!

Some random tidbits on this fine Hump Day.

From the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson:  Loud + Weak = War.  Speaking loudly and carrying a twig, in other words, is a recipe for failure.

More on that topic:  If NATO Doesn’t Stand up to Putin, it’s finished.  Note to the Telegraph’s copyeditor:  NATO is an acronym, and should be rendered in all caps.  What ever happened to the rules of written English, anyway?

Speaking of NATO – this from the Wall Street Journal, NATO’s Military Decline.   One could just as easily write an article on the West’s military decline – it would be just as apt.

Moving east (or East, if you prefer) How Japan Could Turn the Tables on China.   Of late Japan has been making some noises of rearming, Sleepy-Bearand who could blame them?  Japan’s entire post-war military posture has been based on the presumption that America, bound by treaty obligations, would have their backs – and they aren’t so sure about that any more.  And who could blame them?

And finally, it looks like the missing Malaysian airliner has been found - maybe.  Who knows?

On that note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily News

Harp BearThanks to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

This just in from the folks at Reason:  The 3D Economy – Forget Guns, What Happens When Everyone Prints Their Own Shoes?  Excerpt:

Imagine what will happen when millions of people start using the tools that produced The Liberator to make, copy, swap, barter, buy, and sell all the quotidian stuff with which they furnish their lives. Rest in peace, Bed, Bath & Beyond. Thanks for all the stuff, Foxconn, but we get our gadgets from Pirate Bay and MEGA now.

Once the retail and manufacturing carnage starts to scale, the government carnage will soon follow. How can it not, when only old people pay sales tax, fewer citizens obtain their incomes from traditional easy-to-tax jobs, and large corporate taxpayers start folding like daily newspapers? Without big business, big government can’t function.

Naysayers to this scenario point out that the typical 3D printer is still expensive (a canard; technology always drops in relative price as it becomes mainstreamed) and that users still have to buy raw materials and software (somewhat accurate; raw materials will also become cheaper, but software is effectively uncontrollable.)

This tech, Reason accurately points out, has the potential to set manufacturing on its ear.  However, world-changing new tech always does; the invention of the automobile and Henry Ford’s introduction of mass production in the automotive industry changed the world, and drove several competing industries into near-extinction almost overnight; buggy-whip makers, horse tack manufacturers, farriers and coachbuilders suddenly found themselves looking for other work.  This will do the same; it will be awfully hard for TV pitchmen to convince you to buy the new Whang-O One-Hand Bottle Opener for just $9.95 (Order NOW and we’ll double the offer!) when the typical consumer will be able to download a pattern and print their own.

Reason concludes:

Be prepared, however, to expect some pushback from your local regulators. Over the past decade or so, as newer technologies and fewer opportunities for traditional employment have prompted more people to act in entrepreneurially innovative ways, government’s response has been the same: Consumers must be protected against strawberry balsamic jam made in home kitchens. Tourists must be protected against immaculately maintained carriage houses that can be rented on a daily basis for below-hotel rates. Travelers must be protected from cheap rides from the airport.

Shy BearWhen government realizes that self-produced plastic shower curtain rings are far more potentially disruptive than self-produced plastic pistols, it’ll be more than libertarian entrepreneur-iconoclasts at risk.

3D printing gives consumers much, much more control over a wide range of consumer goods – how they will be produced, designed, bought and sold.  The down side:  Government at all levels in institutionally incapable of surrendering control.  This is a technology that threatens to place a vast swath of consumer goods outside the taxable, regulated grasp of industry and in the direct control of consumers.  Watch for the inevitable shouts of the need to control this – probably “for our own good.”

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.