They may be viruses, but they're our viruses

Sometimes you gang up on the bully, sometimes you conscript him into service.

Hot bird water

A new cartoon for the Aspergerish among us:  strangeplanet.  I'll never be able to call it chicken soup again.

What Do You Call A "Gender-Fluid" Monarch?

I'd say "a queen" (*rimshot*) but really that's not good enough for royal protocol. Maybe for a while they can make do with "His or Her Royal Highness, the Prince or Princess of Such-and-So."


If you don't know Titania McGrath -- who insists she is not satire -- you are missing out. Here is an interview with a woman who might, or might not, be the brains behind her.

Prison Reform

Van Jones has a good point. Don't just read the soundbite caption. It's worth listening to his full commentary.

African Methodists Fight For Biblical Sexuality

An interesting story via Instapundit.

Contrast with this story about Michelle Malkin, where the progressives at tech firms are working to elevate ancient religious norms over modern American ideas of liberty.

How Dare You Allow Her To Defend Her Friend?

It's racist, because she's black, I guess? Allowing a black woman to defend a white man against a charge of racism is using her as "prop," which proves that he's racist; whereas, of course, using a white man to defend a white man against a charge of racism is to be dismissed as mere white privilege (or "supremacy" or something). And of course, if you don't defend yourself at all, well, surely you'd rebut it if you could, so the charge must be true.

These rhetorical games are getting old fast.

Gun Control Bill Up in House

If you're inclined to call your Congressperson, the vote is today on the universal background check bill. Almost all gun sales are already subject to background checks; this would criminalize private sales between individuals, so that the government had a record of every single transfer. This would be used only for the good, of course, and never to build a database for confiscatory purposes.

UPDATE: Post hoc ergo propter hoc is an informal fallacy; but the timeline is interesting.

UPDATE: Cam Edwards points out that, should this bill become law, a battered woman who borrowed a gun to defend herself would be a criminal -- and on conviction, would lose her right [UPDATE: See comments] legal permission to own a gun.

Travel Guide

I've been to quite a few of the red areas on this new map of the world's most dangerous destinations.

Not all of them, to be sure. Road trip!

Once More on Reparations

...then I'll step back.  (Note: cross-posted from my blog)

Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate wannabe and Senator Kamala Harris (D, CA) wants us to take our dark history seriously.

We must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country that has had many consequences, including undermining the ability of black families to build wealth in America for generations.  We need systemic, structural changes to address that.

Absolutely.  The Progressive-Democratic Party must confront its dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination.  

The Progressive-Democratic Party must confront its dark history of its Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, who ruled that Dred Scott, a free black man in the north, must be returned to the ownership of his owner—and who further ruled that blacks could not be citizens of the United States because blacks were not fully men.

The Progressive-Democratic Party must confront its demand for the States Right of holding slaves, slavery over which the nation had to fight a bloody civil war to end because of Party intransigence.

The Progressive-Democratic Party must confront its dark history of its creation, the Ku Klux Klan, which it used to terrorize newly freed blacks—and any who supported them—in the aftermath of the Party's lost overt slavery policy.
The Progressive-Democratic Party must confront its dark history of its Jim Crow Laws, designed explicitly to keep blacks from voting.

The Progressive-Democratic Party must confront its dark history of segregation, resumed in full under President Woodrow Wilson (D), who actively resegregated the Federal government after it had been steadily integrated following the Civil War, a policy for which Wilson insisted blacks should be grateful for the "protection," and which continued apace in schools under the fiction of "separate but equal," which included all public spaces, and which extended even to sections of buses, drinking fountains, and rest rooms.

The Progressive-Democratic Party must confront its dark history of destroying black families by enacting "welfare" laws that paid single mothers but not intact families, making it fiscally useful, if not wholly immoral, for fathers to absent themselves.

The Progressive-Democratic Party must confront its dark history of deliberate, overt racial (and gender) discrimination in its "affirmative action" policies that give special treatment based, ultimately, on skin color and/or gender.

The Progressive-Democratic Party must confront its dark history of undermining the ability of black families (such as they're allowed to exist) to build wealth by keeping them trapped in Party's welfare cage with the designed-in welfare cliff that prevents welfare recipients—most of whom are minority recipients, with most of those black—from getting a new job or a pay raise that would put them above an income threshold that would cut welfare payments by more than the pay raise.

The Progressive-Democratic Party must confront its dark present of identity politics that seeks to give special treatment to particular groups of Americans—which is nothing more than segregation modernized.

The Progressive-Democratic Party does, most definitely, need systemic, structural changes to address that.

Eric Hines

Getting Around the Electoral College

NPR reports on the popular vote movement:

Democrats in Colorado and New Mexico are pushing ahead with legislation to pledge their 14 collective electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote — no matter who wins each state.

The plan only goes into effect if the law passes in states representing an electoral majority. That threshold is 270 votes, which is the same number needed to win the presidency. ...

So far, 11 states — including New York, California and New Jersey — have joined the effort along with the District of Columbia, putting the effort 98 votes short of its goal.

Colorado appears poised to join as the 12th state. The state legislature passed the bill Thursday, and Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign it. In New Mexico, the legislation is awaiting consideration in the state Senate after the House approved it earlier this month.

There are questions about whether this would be constitutional or not, but the argument is that the Constitution leaves it up to the states to decide what to do with their electoral votes.

"Love and Marriage"

Headline: "New Viking Study Points to “Love and Marriage” as the Main Reason for their Raids."

Umm... well, let's hear him out.
The practice of marrying more women allowed the eligible bachelorettes to have high expectations about their future husbands, and impoverished or underprivileged men didn’t fit the criteria.
So it's the poorer, less powerful men who need women.
In order to raise their chances of getting married, young Viking men joined the raids, hoping to enrich themselves. Sometimes, they even kidnapped Celtic women on their warrior “voyages.”
"Sometimes" to such a degree that Iceland's population descends, according to recent genetic studies, from "Norse men and Celtic women."

Well, I do keep reading arguments, both by men's rights activists and certain kinds feminists, that marriage is a form of slavery...

No, look, this is simple. Slaves were one of the main things raiders of this era -- not merely Vikings -- wanted. Unlike the slavery we think of in American history, however, pre-modern and ancient slavers -- like ISIS today -- wanted female slaves. Males were typically killed, although men caught young enough were often castrated and sold as eunuchs in certain parts of the world (the Muslims in Spain did a huge trade here).

One of the underappreciated qualities of the Western European High Middle Ages is that it eliminated chattel slavery, though not until after the Viking Age (but around 1300, even in fringes of Medieval Europe like the Scottish Highlands). Unfree labor persisted, as for example in serfdom, although that too diminished as the feudal system began to give way to town-based market economies over the period. The driving force wasn't economics, though, it was Catholic moral arguments against enslaving fellow children of God. The idea was that there was a pure equality at work among all our fellow human beings: God had made each of our souls, after all, and loved them each equally. It therefore could not be moral to enslave another.

Chattel slavery was reintroduced in the Renaissance, as Portuguese sailors captured and discovered trade routes to Africa that allowed them new opportunities for rich trade as long as they were willing to trade slaves on one leg of the voyage. The whole apparatus of color-conscious racism was built out of a desire to avoid the Medieval arguments against enslaving fellow children of God by trying to create a middle category between humans and animals (who could of course be owned).

But if we are talking about the Viking Age, we're talking about the pre-Christian period in the north. The later Catholic arguments had not been developed and wouldn't have been persuasive to a non-Christian people in any case. They were still doing what the Greeks had done at Troy, and as ISIS does today: take what your right hand can control, and rule it.

Is That A Debt, Or A Gift?

Mike helpfully calculates in the comments to the last GND post, "$94 trillion comes out to about $261,111 per person in the US." For a household of three, then, you'd be on the hook for $783,333 -- and American household net worth was only $81,850 in 2014 according to Census data.

"But we're going to take from the rich, not the average!" No, that data includes the rich. Once you've taken everything they have, and everything everyone else has, you're still not anywhere near where you'd need to be. You're around ten percent of the way there.

The new slogan, though, is that the idea shouldn't be that this spending will create a debt of $261,111 per individual. It is that this spending represents a gift of $261,111 per individual. They're going to make us all rich! Well, richer.

Inflation occurs when more money chases the same amount of goods. The argument here is that, yes, there will be more money -- we're going to print vast amounts -- but that it will also be chasing new goods: railroads, power plants, wind farms, batteries, refurbished houses. Inflation won't be a problem because the new money won't drive up the price of existing goods. It'll all be spent on the new stuff.

That's clearly wrong for elements of the deal like Medicare For All, which is going to be massive new spending on the same health care stocks that are available now. But it isn't clearly wrong for a lot of the GND's spending, which really does seek to create vast quantities of things that do not currently exist. Indeed, one of my major criticisms of it has been that it cannot possibly attain its goal of reducing emissions because we'd need to run the factories day and night to create the stuff they'd need -- cut down millions of trees for railroad ties -- boil millions of gallons of tar for creosote -- build new diesel plants -- vastly increase production of steel and aluminium for trains and windmills -- etc., etc. Carbon production would be through the roof precisely as a result of this plan.

Where, though, is the inflation? Factory workers are going to have new wages from all this overtime, and they're going to be using that wealth to chase existing goods; but maybe not the same goods. Maybe they'd like a new car -- one of the electric ones, no doubt, assuming they can get a government permission slip for it. Maybe they'd like new, more luxurious clothes. (Still not reducing emissions, are we?) It could be that new economic growth would occur rather than inflation, or more likely 'in addition to inflation,' but less than we imagine.

Inflation, such as did occur, would reduce the sting of any debt anyway.

That's the argument that's being made. We should think carefully about where it goes wrong, and how to counter it.


NPR is very upset that Washington state sheriffs are flatly refusing to enforce a raft of new, unconstitutional gun control laws.
"It dates back to a movement from the '60s and '70s called the Posse Comitatus movement, that itself came out of the Ku Klux Klan," he says. "That isn't to say that there's a moral equivalence to the Klan and these constitutional sheriffs."
Oh, heavens no! We're just going to mention them in the same breath a few times.

Sheriffs shouldn't enforce unconstitutional laws, and if they do, juries shouldn't convict anyone of violating them.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Stop asking the wrong questions about that Green New Deal, says HuffPo. Ask the right questions.
The Benefit, Not The Cost
Sure, it’ll cost a lot of money. That’s likely to rattle the nerves of self-proclaimed deficit hawks, Democrats and Republicans alike, who will ask the same tired questions: “How will we pay for it?” “What about the deficit and debt?” “Won’t it hurt our economy?” ...

Politicians need to reject the urge to ask “How are we going to pay for it?” and avoid the trap when it’s asked of them. A better question is: What’s the best use of public money? Giving it away to the top 1 percent who don’t spend it, widening already dangerous wealth and income gaps? Or investing it in a 21st century, low-carbon economy by rebuilding America’s infrastructure, bolstering resilience, and promoting good-paying jobs across rural and urban communities?
I notice that this article never actually floats a number for how much this would cost. Money is no object!

But just in case you were curious what the HuffPo economist thinks "we" can afford:
Study: Green New Deal Would Cost Up to $94 Trillion

Justice Does Not Equal Fairness

A group of morons men's rights activists has convinced a judge to make women register for the draft that we don't even have.
On Friday, a Texas judge ruled that the Selective Service System (SSS) violates the Constitution by requiring only men to register for the draft. The court ruled with the National Coalition for Men (NCFM) in a lawsuit claiming the male-only draft constitutes discrimination against men. NCFM's lawyer told PJ Media that even if the SSS appeals, they are likely to lose again. He also suggested the Pentagon will not end the draft, so women may have to register.
If we had a war large enough in scale to require a draft, it would be the kind of major war in which a lot of people die. The way a civilization replaces its dead is through young women. This is, in fact, the only way it can be done. You don't need many men to make the babies, but you do need lots of women. Each woman can only produce one new person a year, excepting twins and so forth, and there's no other way to do it.

For this reason, it is completely irrational to draft young women and send them to war. Is it "fair" that only men have to register? Who cares? In spite of John Rawls and his followers, justice does not simply equal fairness. It has an important rationality component. It cannot be just to require our civilization to do suicidal things. 'The Constitution is not a suicide pact,' but even if it were, that would be a great reason to return to the Declaration model and 'alter or abolish it.'

Somehow the draft existed for the whole history of this country without violating the Constitution, but now once again a judge has 'discovered' that an institution as old as the nation is somehow forbidden by our basic laws. This insanity has to stop.