Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Great Nevada tortoise standoff

It's been not so widely reported that a Nevada rancher pissed off the federal Bureau of Land Management so much, that there were as many as 200 armed agents surrounding the area, with helicopters and hired cowboys who were going to round up and confiscate the rancher's cattle and kick the rancher off the land. It was also reported, even less widely, that the action was motivated to aid the desire of a powerful majority leader in the Senate, to make a deal to let a Chinese outfit set up some sort of operation on the lands. The BLM says it is necessary to get the cattle off the land to protect a coupla dozen land tortoises.

I'm not certain how much of the reports to believe, but there certainly were hundreds of armed agents focusing on one American rancher family. The feds set up a little fenced in "first amendment" area, where, if somebody wanted to say something covered by the first amendment, they had to go to the little first amendment area, or else risk arrest for obstruction.

Anyhow, quite a few citizens from several states, near and far, showed up with guns and megaphones and arranged themselves in opposition to the federal agents. Nobody wanted to take the first shot, but . . .

No shots were fired, but blog speculation had considered the event to be a possible beginning of a civil war and tossed around speculations about Ruby Ridge, and Waco. The backdown happened coincidentally almost immediately after the reports of the Chinese desl were published.

So what happened? The feds backed down and went away. Cattle have been released, except for some that the BLM says it intends to sell, and pay something to the rancher who owns the cattle. The government announced that it was abandoning the operation in Nevada, but it intended to continue to pursue the issues "legally;" presumably that means in the courts.

Here's my question. If the government intends to pursue the matter in the courts, well, why wasn't that the first plan, not the backup plan? Oh, and if the government now plans to pursue the issue "legally", isn't that an admission that their coercive actions up to this time have been extra-legal, or illegal?

Just sayin'

Friday, April 11, 2014

I used to be a skeptic, but now I'm just cynical . . .

I've frequently pointed out that all government and law is, at bottom, a prediction or warning of the application of force, or the actual application of force. The only difference between force applied by the government and the thug who threatens your life if don't hand over your cash or belongings, is that government claims a moral right, and the governed generally concede that the government's application of force is moral. Otherwise, force is force, and it doesn't feel good if you are on the wrong end of it.

Danfromsquirrelhill supplies a list of 634 instances of immoral government.

If the source of immoral force is your enemy, then -- our government is our enemy. The only distinguishing factor is whether or not you, in particular, have been singled out for government action.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Multnomah County, Oregon,Tax Suckers . . .

Once again, we have to deal with the Multnomah County, Oregon, Arts tax. We are assured that this tax is permanent, and that this tax is not an unconstitutional head tax.

The tax is to hire extra arts teachers in the public schools, because there isn't enough money for teachers after first supporting a bloated, over-staffed administration. That's half for teachers. The other half if for "the arts."

Oh, we are also assured that this tax was approved by voters, many of whom earn little or no money and therefore won't pay the tax, because of the unemployment circumstance here, or because their college degree is in stuff like Phony Studies, or Communications, or -- Art, none of which degrees are known for an abundance of employment opportunity. You can't get a job in a Phony Studies company, for example. All such degrees are not really intended to increase the information available to the student, or to increase their fitness for the world they will face after graduation. The purpose of such degrees is to make the student feel good about themselves.

I guess if you have such a degree, your only hope is to get a job with some outfit that doesn't have to bring anything valuable to the marketplace -- such as government, where revenue is all taxes.

As you know, taxes are primarily intended to support the pet project of politicians -- that is, that portion of tax revenue left over after taking care of political cronies.

Last year, at about this same time, I suggested we should have a similar "math" tax, which would hire math teachers. Soon thereafter, there appeared a thunderous lack of interest in such an idea.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Because culture belongs to everyone . . .

So the government moved in and seized a collection of artifacts from a 91 year old Indiana man. Read about it. The motive is to catalog the stuff. one by one, and find out where the owner got them, in hopes that they may find out it's something he shouldn't have, even if it was legal to acquire it when he acquired it. Or some such.

Did they amend the constitution to eliminate the Fourth Amendment sometime while I was out of town, and nobody told me? Shouldn't there be a search warrant involved in this mess, somehow, which would indicate what probable cause exists to think a crime had been committed?

Or is it just that goons are exempt from constitutional limits and anything they do will be blessed by judicial authority on the assumption that everything the government does must be reasonable, somehow, by definition?

What can we learn, here?

Better not own any stuff that has some cultural significance, whateverthehell that means. Cultural stuff is collective property because it is cultural, meaning that it belongs to the collective and government has the right to say who gets and who can't have what.

I just want to say that I, for one, am glad that our government masters are monitoring all communications, including this one, and that I'm glad our government overlords are looking out for the collective good of all when it comes to private collections of cultural artifacts. Everybody knows that private ownership of property deprives all the non-owners of the use of that property and is therefor unfair.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Poor Baby!

Have you seen that ad where the actors complain that they could only afford to travel on one vacation a year?

Aw. Poor baby! lots of people can't afford to do even one, even if they get a vacation, and lots of people don't have jobs to take a vacation from, let alone rent hotel rooms and buy airline tickets. And these people, aided by their travel company, exult because they vacay twice a year.

Hey! They aren't even politicians, let alone the politician-in-chief.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

And now, on top of everything else, the Ukraine is a challenge to . . .

The presidential response to the Russian incursion into the Ukraine is basically, that there's nothing we can do about it, now. Before the incursion, we had that fine, time-tested strategy of endlessly talking about it. This administration calls that diplomacy. Just keep talking until both sides in conflict come to some sort of agreement, the terms of which are immaterial. For example, we talked and talked with the masters of Iran about our sanctions imposed to impede Iranian nuclear bomb development, until we finally mutually agreed to end the sanction in return for the Iranians continuing to pursue nuclear erasure of Israel. Ain't diplomacy cool?

But as for the Russian armed entry into the Ukraine, like the Islamist armed entry into Begahzi diplomatic offices, we couldn't do anything, so we did nothing -- except to try to minimize the perception that the combination of a basic ineptitude with a big head leads to one bad event after another. But ultimately, as Hillary said, what difference would it make? The one trying to make a difference is the same person with the same character that made the mess more likely in the first place.

So, we can abandon the Ukraine with our sense of self intact, because, basically there's nothing we can do about it, now that we've downsized our military (look it up) because we weren't going to use it anyhow. Our modern diplomacy (see Iran) is, after all, so much less muscle headed.

We used to have nations that were our friends, and we used to have nations whose friendship could be relied upon because it was bought and paid for. Now, what nation feels it could rely on our friendship, or our promises? After all, the Ukraine gave up its atomic bombs in return for our promise that it wouldn't need them because we would protect them from being re-absorbed into the Russian hegemony to come.

But, there's nothing we can do about it.

A question comes to mind. Exactly why is it there's nothing we can do about it, and who is to blame for our current impotence in world affairs?

Hint: the source resides in the halls of government and academia, and in the newsrooms, and is supported by a large number of unelected tools, and under-informed stooges.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

But at least I don't have a moment to spare to reflect on our sad, dangerous, out of touch and corrupt government ,. , ,

Okay, so I've been away from home, and will continue to be so until the end of March. Very little time available to think of anything consequential, midst all of the child care going on. I think child care used to be easier forty years ago -- I don't remember it being this tiring.

As for the rest, well, the first part of February about the most exciting thing we did was watch the snow fall. Now, the most exciting thing I'm doing is watching the snow melt.

I have become quite good at putting a little four month old baby to sleep, thus earning the name, "Mr. Excitement."

The only problem now, is that I cannot either stand or sit without quietly rocking back and forth at the exact best rhythm to put a baby to sleep. Of course, I now resemble one of those poor wretches who sit and rock all day by reason of a brain injury.

I worry about becoming a head banger.