Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Leopards and Spots

Assuming that the article isn't quoting out of context (an unfortunate probability) then Trump has just managed to state out loud exactly why I'm not a fan. Everything he's said on the campaign trail and now has indicated that he doesn't really have any hard and fast convictions of his own. He is a populist who doesn't really care about the constitution.
Him not being able to get his way, despite the fact that much of his plan of action is either beneficial, or at least not terrible, is a Good Thing. I know that some conservatives are frustrated by the inability to achieve much, but we have to remember a few things:

The Constitution is not working as it should, but it is still performing its job to some degree. The executive branch has vastly more power than it did during the early days of the Republic, and the fact that it can still find itself stymied, that there are any checks at all remaining on it, is a good thing. We should not have to rely upon the benevolence of a single man, no matter how that man is picked. In addition, Trump's values have proven.. flexible enough that I'm not terribly sorry to see his power limited. In fact, I'm fairly happy about it. I'm not happy that we have yet to repeal Obamacare. I am happy that a determined executive can't just do what he wants.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Blackmail is such an ugly word...

But CNN just loves it. 
Emphasis mine:
The apology came after CNN's KFile identified the man behind "HanA**holeSolo." Using identifying information that "HanA**holeSolo" posted on Reddit, KFile was able to determine key biographical details, to find the man's name using a Facebook search and ultimately corroborate details he had made available on Reddit.
On Monday, KFile attempted to contact the man by email and phone but he did not respond. On Tuesday, "HanA**holeSolo" posted his apology on the subreddit /The_Donald and deleted all of his other posts.
"First of all, I would like to apologize to the members of the reddit community for getting this site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened," he wrote. "I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real life, I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on reddit and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts. I would never support any kind of violence or actions against others simply for what they believe in, their religion, or the lifestyle they choose to have. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did."
...
After posting his apology, "HanA**holeSolo" called CNN's KFile and confirmed his identity. In the interview, "HanA**holeSolo" sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family.
CNN is not publishing "HanA**holeSolo's" name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.
CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.
This has been up for a while, and has managed to set off 4Chan's /pol/ community and several other groups of internet trolls and shitposters. And with good reason. The CNN article is worded with a strong element of coercion. "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change." In other words, if "HanAssholeSolo" does something that CNN disapproves of they'll publish his information. Now, they've since said that the redditor in question gave his apology before they contacted him. That's not how their article - which is still up now, at 11pm EST, reads. In fact, reading their article, the Redditor, fearing the consequences of having his identity revealed (losing his job, death threats, etc.) was forced to stop performing his - completely legal mind you, albeit rather distasteful - actions. The fact that CNN would stoop to that level, against someone who doesn't even rise up to the level of "big frog in a little pond", and that they've allowed the article to stay up this long is indicative of a wildly amoral and out of control corporate culture. Unfortunately, I don't have cable, don't watch CNN, and my consumer habits make boycotting CNN's advertisers pointless, since I'm unlikely in the extreme to buy anything from them. That means that expressing my displeasure with CNN is basically limited to this blog and social media.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Movie Review; Kong: Skull Island

I finally got around to watching Kong: Skull Island. It's a visual masterpiece, with populated with deliberate military morons and blatant anti-war and "Green" message.

Helicopter gunships get in close to a being that can pluck them out of the air, and has demonstrated the ability to throw rocks and trees at them, as opposed to standing off and attacking from a distance, where they can't get grabbed and have a better chance of dodging thrown rocks and/or trees?

Check.

Military authority figure's irrational blood-thirst leads to him going all "Captain Ahab"? Check. Bonus points for being a colonel, which would be the same rank as a sea-going captain. His only redeeming feature is that he actually brings Kong down. Too bad about the fact that he was a moron in every other way, deliberately so.

Anti-war photographer heroine? Check. Bonus points for being hot, while not actually ever saying anything of substance, other than the bleeding obvious observation that Kong is a better choice than the Skullcrawlers. Bonus points for looking reasonable compared to the irrational military authority figure, thus destroying his credibility on all the actual good points that he makes concerning anti-war media coverage.

Blatant ecosimp moralizing? Check.

If it wasn't for the fact that the movie served up all the Giant Monster fighting action that I could wish for, I'd have ended up regretting it. As it is? Worth the watch, but rent, don't buy.

Brexit 1776...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

It's nice living in a country where, with few exceptions, the only reason that I need to give for anything I choose to do is "Because I f***ing want to." And even though it started before July 4th, 1776, that was the day that we put it in words (or at least ratified the words).

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Well... Sh*t

I guess the Supreme Court simply doesn't want to hear second amendment cases, for better or worse. Having lived in California (and recently) I can say that this is distressing. Depending on where you live in CA, getting a concealed carry permit can be as easy as any shall issue state, or the next best thing to impossible. Given that California bans open carry, many residents of California are facing a de facto ban on bearing arms, a clear infringement of the second amendment. I fully endorse the dissent voiced by Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, who called the decision "indefensible".

EDIT: And I thought that they were doing, a perhaps not great job, but an acceptable one. This is rather disappointing, especially since the court still has the same number of conservatives, liberals, and swing votes as it did for the McDonald and Heller decisions.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Well, It's a Start

Today the Supreme Court denied an appeal concerning non-violent misdemeanor offenses and gun rights, letting a lower courts decision stand. This makes it so that you can't be denied your gun rights for a non-violent misdemeanor. I don't support having any misdemeanor turn someone into a prohibited person - if a person's crime is so bad that they shouldn't be allowed to own firearms, it should be a felony - and I'm ambivalent about prohibiting felons, particularly non-violent felons, for a variety of reasons, ranging from the massive number of felony laws on the book, so many in fact, that no one even knows how many there are, let alone how to avoid committing one, to the fact that a reformed felon is just as prohibited as an unrepentant felon, and the unrepentant one won't have any issues with using the black market or other illegal means (i.e. theft) to obtain a firearm.

So the fact that the crimes that can lead to becoming a prohibited person have been significantly reduced makes me more than a little happy.

Monday, June 19, 2017

US in no condition to Lecture Communist Cuba on human rights?

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA... Oh wait... They're actually serious. Whatever the US's problems (and we have a few) the communist shithole of Cuba is not a state in any position to criticize us. Not to mention that most of their criticisms are complete bullshit:
"We have deep concerns by the respect and the guaranties of the human rights in that country, where there is a large number of cases of murder, brutality and police abuse, particularly against the African Americans; the right to live is violated as a result of deaths by firearms," the statement read.
It went on to list a litany of concerns: racial discrimination, salary inequality between genders, the marginalization of immigrants and refugees from Islamic and other countries, Trump's proposed wall on the southern border, his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord, the imprisonment of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, the killing of US and foreign citizens in drone attacks, the preface for and conduct of the wars in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, and estimates that the Republican health care bill would cause 23 million people to lose medical insurance.
Yeah...
  1. It's not unheard of for cops to be complete shitbags. However, it's also uncommon, and unless they get protected by their department and/or attorney general they'll face the consequences for it, and when they do get protection of that sort, it sets of a lot of bad press. It's also worth noting that the levels of corruption among US cops are quite a bit lower than most of the rest of the world. Casual bribery of cops is a part of life in most of the world, but not in the US.
  2. Right to live violated as a result of deaths by firearms? I hate to break it, but taking away guns doesn't get rid of violence and murder. It often makes the violence worse.
  3. Racial discrimination? There are race issues, but they generally get blown out of proportion.
  4. Salary inequality is a nonissue. The causes of it are as follows; many women take significant time off to have children, delaying their careers, and resulting in lower average salaries. Amplifying the problem is that women tend to pick lower paying (in fact, often worthless) degrees. It has nothing to do with sexism.
  5. Marginalization of refugees? Trump says some stupid shit. That doesn't mean that his rhetoric is entirely unjustified. The countries on his travel ban are all failed states without the ability to vet their passports, and with heavy terrorist influences in country. Illegal immigration is a major issue.
  6. The Paris climate accord is a scam to steal money from poor and middle class people in rich countries, and give it to rich people in poor countries.
  7. Killing US citizens with drones? Yeah that's an issue both legal and moral, if it's done on purpose. And if they're not acting as part of a terrorist group. Killing non-US citizens? If they're not terrorists, and it's done on purpose, again it's a moral issue (but not really a legal issue, since our government shouldn't have too much obligation to foreign nationals.
  8. I'm not going to go all over the Iraq and Afghan wars right now. I don't really have the time to do it justice, and I want to go to bed sometime. Suffice to say, we had our reasons. And they were good, even if we messed up the execution.
  9. Health care? Our system of healthcare works. In fact, the more government has gotten involved in it, the less well it's worked. Moreover, if you want to see what US government ran healthcare would look like, check out the VA. Yeah, all those people with socialized healthcare? They've basically got the VA, but for everyone. 
Cuba, if your country works so great, why were there ever balseros? Why was the "Wet feet, dry feet" policy such a big deal? Stop moralizing.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

So, when exactly did you get turned into a Eunuch?

Apparently it's a requirement that British men get their balls cut off.
Who knew.
I mean, who knew that lock-back knives were scary? Or that a (max) 3-inch knife was "girthy-as-fuck". The only reason I can think of for someone to hold those opinions it a lack of balls.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

On Trump and Russia.

For the record (and as is fairly evident from reading past posts) I'm not a terribly big fan of Donald Trump. As far as I'm concerned, he was the third worst option last election cycle, running against the worst option.
Based off of his past views as expressed in his (mostly former at this point) associations and written words, he is one of three things:
  1. Newly conservative, at a time when most people are quite settled in their ways, and having been a Democrat for the majority of his life
  2. A liberal pretending to be a republican (based off of his actions since becoming president, this one is now the least likely scenario, unless he's playing a far deeper game than any US politician has played in decades).
  3. A populist with no truly personal political views. I favor this theory, because he's changed political affiliations a total of seven times over the course of his life.
Whatever the case may be, the fact that he's turned out to not be Hillary Clinton with better taste in clothes is not a ringing endorsement.

With that in mind, I have a few things to say to liberals when it comes to Trump.
  • This is your fault just as much as it is the conservatives. Trump won the primary, not despite the bad press, but because of it. When you turned Mitt Romney, perhaps the squishiest and most liberal Republican in the party, into the next thing to Hitler, and earlier, John McCain, who is probably the biggest swing vote in the Senate, into the reincarnation of Goebbels, you destroyed your credibility. So when Trump came along, and he actually was an asshole, no one believed you, and a significant portion of the electorate voted for him BECAUSE you said he was an asshole. Then you compounded the issue by running Hillary Clinton against him. You picked the one candidate capable of getting libertarians of any stripe to vote for Trump. You could have ran Jim Webb, who probably could have stolen a good chunk of conservatives from Trump. You could have ran Bernie Sanders, who despite being a batshit crazy socialist could've drawn a significant number of new voters, and basically all current leftist voters. Instead, you ran the absolute worst candidate you could've ran, one who alienated not just conservatives, but a good chunk of middle, and who failed to draw in any new voters to make up for the way she alienated the more conservative portion of the middle.
  • Remember the birther controversy? A lot of your recent ideas about getting rid of Trump are just as foolish. The whole "Russia" debacle? Not doing you any favors. If you don't have the conclusive ability to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, you probably shouldn't be making a big deal out of it. Otherwise, just like the birthers, when you can't prove it, you look completely retarded and help out your opposition.
  • Even should you manage to oust Trump, you'll get Mike Pence. You don't want Mike Pence. Hillary doesn't even get another shot until 2020, at which point in time you should probably pick another candidate. You're not getting any other democrat, because you'd need to impeach and remove from office 5 people before you got to someone who isn't a Republican. And, not only is he not a democrat, I doubt that you'd enjoy President "Mad Dog" Mattis. This assumes of course that you impeach people faster than replacements can be nominated, which is itself extremely unlikely.
That's it for now. Enjoy your free advice.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Well...

Trump hasn't been as bad as I feared he might be. I'd still rather have Ted Cruz or even Gary Johnson as president, but Trump has managed to meet the standard for "mediocre", not a standard I ever thought he'd reach. Of course, mediocre isn't exactly a desirable state of affairs, but he's at least managed to avoid being Hillary Clinton with a comb over. Of course some people would probably prefer him that way.

If somehow they choose to run Hillary Clinton again in 2020, I'll probably die of laughter. Clinton was perhaps the only possible presidential choice that he could have won against initially, and so long as he fulfills a few campaign promises and manages to refrain from putting anyone into death camps, he'll have a solid advantage against Hillary in 2020.