Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Great Debate Of Our Time Rages On

Which is better for the Big Igloo/Coronapocalypse, the AR-15 or AK-47?

James Reeves of TFB TV explains, in an uncharacteristically only mildly homoerotic video, why the AK is garbage....

And AK Barbie Brandon Herrera gives his commie take on why the AR is crap.

When it comes to choosing between the AR and the AK, my position is simple.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Me As The Voice Of Moderation?

We dwell in a world of extremes. Everything is the most extreme thing that has ever happened. We give names to mild winter weather systems. Every political action is EXACTLY LIKE THE NAZIS! Referring to a biological male using traditional male pronouns is basically like setting them on fire. There is no nuance or even simple common sense.

To be honest, I like living on the extremes. I am considered an extremist on many issues and I am OK with that. As Barry Goldwater famously said: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.". The positions I take a stand on are (generally) important and something that is important is deserving of passion. For example, I believe strongly that the right to self-defense and self-determination are inherent, natural rights and that the Second Amendment recognizes those already extant rights and prohibits the Federal government from infringing on those rights. Any infringement on those rights are a violation of a fundamental right of humanity and as such deserve to be opposed and those pushing for such infringements are seeking to impose an inhuman restriction on me as a free man. Therefore I have absolutely no tolerance for those people and what could be described as hatred for them. That sounds extreme and I make no apologies for that.

When it comes to a pandemic? That is different than me being a jerk on social media because the decisions, one way or the other, are going to cost lives and inflict suffering on people.

It seems to me, as a layman, that there is a middle ground between "It's just the flu" and "this is the end of humanity if we don't lock the entire population indoors for six months". Maybe we can recognize it is a serious illness that warrants a significant response and reasonable precautions on the one hand but perhaps does not rise to the level of a worldwide shutdown of the global economy on the other.

I am not an acolyte of Our Lord And Savior GDP but I also realize that people need to work so they can afford to pay rent/mortgages, buy food and simply have above-subsistence level existences. 350 million people can't stay indoors forever months on end with nothing to do but binge watch crappy TV shows. Many businesses won't survive the shutdown and just won't reopen when this finally abates.

However this is a serious disease and it impacts our elderly disproportionately so it might be worth considering reasonable steps to take to minimize the impact on the most vulnerable populations. The people most vulnerable are generally not working due to age or health so they can reasonably be self-quarantined. Maybe we can wear masks in public places like grocery stores. Perhaps there are tangible steps we can take other than locking down the entire population?

Our political "leaders" don't want to be the one who didn't do enough to combat the Wuhan flu so they are generally one-upping each other when it comes to the response they are advocating, many blaming Trump for people dying even though they were the ones telling people to go about their lives, go see movies, attend festivals, etc. (Schumer. Pelosi, De Blasio, looking at you). This post from John Wilder, Another Way Politics Messes Things Up, Complete With A Bikini Picture, is a great look at why politics is useless for serious issues like this. Generally speaking, politicians are not serious people and most of them suffer from a cornucopia of mental illnesses from narcissism to being borderline sociopaths.

I am sure it is way too late for this, but maybe some of us can try to use a little common sense and find a path forward that doesn't involve licking public toilet seats or welding Americans in their homes for 9 months?

Just a thought.

The Parasite Class

Something the Chinese coronavirus pandemic is exposing is how lopsided our economic system and public policy priorities have become.

Our society is divided economically by doers and talkers. Doers are people who have jobs that have traditionally existed in Western society. 300 years ago we had carpenters. Today we have carpenters. The tools have somewhat changed but the job is basically the same. 300 years ago we had teamsters who moved freight. We have the same thing today although they drive trucks instead of horse-drawn wagons and chuck pop bottles full of pee along the interstate. Store clerks. Cooks. Farmers. Mechanics. There is something tangible they do. You can see if a shelf is restocked with cans of chicken soup or not. Either a corn field gets planted or it doesn't. You can't fake that. Did that load of toilet paper make it from the distribution center to the local Wal-Mart or not?

Then we have the talkers. Most of my professional career I was a talker. I didn't do anything of note. I attended meetings, went on sales calls, received and replied to emails. I worked in offices or cubicles surrounded by other people who didn't actually do anything. That didn't mean it wasn't difficult and stressful, it absolutely was primarily because we weren't doing anything. Everything was made up so it was pretty tricky to do it right. It was all about managing people, and especially managing the people above you on the corporate ladder. The key was to convince them you were doing a great job when in fact you weren't actually doing anything useful at all. It didn't really matter if you worked super hard or if you spent your day getting more coffee, blogging and managing your fantasy sports teams because at the end of the day you hadn't done anything either way. As long as your boss thought you were ticking the check-boxes, you were good to go and I spent many, many years getting pretty good at managing fantasy sports teams while convincing my bosses that I was hard at work. It is a world where sycophants and suck-ups thrive and where people with middling talent of any kind can climb the corporate ladder until they find their own personal sweet spot and then they lodge themselves into their corporate host like a tick, sucking blood and impossible to dislodge.

The people in the first category make this country work. They pay taxes and produce a tangible good or service. The people in the second category? They are parasites. They siphon off value from the people who actually do stuff. When you have one or two people like this, it is an annoyance but when you have millions of them spread across the entire economy they serve as an anchor that creates drag on the whole economy.

A perfect example of the parasite class is the ubiquitous "Human Resources Department". Every organization beyond a sole proprietor has someone filling this role and in many larger organizations it is a massive bureaucracy. HR departments are overwhelmingly staffed by women who all look about the same and most of those women have an absolute lack of any sort of useful skills. It doesn't matter that much if they are the HR department for a factory or for a high tech firm, they do the same basic job. They usually know nothing about the business they work for. The HR people at Ford can't design a car or manage a factory or even build a car. They just perform the same useless functions that every other HR manager performs. In doing so, they add no value to the organization, they are simply an expense like toilet paper. In spite of their utter lack of utility and the reality that most people in HR are useless for any real task, they wield an incredible amount of authority. No one wants to get called into HR. They are kind of like the secret police of the corporate world.

For example, this is Kiersten Robinson....

(As a side note, I never heard of her
before I started researching her background)

She is the "Chief Human Resources Officer" for Ford. What does that title mean at Ford, a global manufacturer with 190,000 employees and $155 billion in revenue? According to Ford's webpage:

"In this role, Robinson oversees all global people processes including talent management, workforce planning, learning and development, recruiting, diversity and inclusion, compensation and benefits, and the dealer policy board."

OK, so what does that corporate word salad mean? Pretty much nothing other than she oversees hundreds or thousands of HR staff for Ford. She also reports directly to Jim Hackett, the President and CEO of Ford. Most people in her role report directly to the top of the organization. What qualifications does she bring to the table?

According to her Linkedin Page, she graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1991 with a degree in Education. That puts her at right around 50 years old today. She hung around a different Australian university, Victoria University, for two years ('93-'95) as "Coordinator of Volunteers" which sounds like a super important job. Then a gap where she didn't list a job until she suddenly in 1997, six years after graduating from university, she landed a job as "Manager, Organization & Personnel Planning, Ford of Europe". That sounds fairly important. What qualified her for that job? Don't know. As of 2009, Ford of Europe had almost 70,000 employees. What does a late twenty-something year old girl with apparently no experience and an education degree bring to the table for that position? Don't know but that is the beauty of HR. You don't have to have much in the way of skills and experience, just the right level of ability to utter bullshit phrases and navigate the endless paperwork and regulations.

Anyway, she spent the next two decades working at Ford in increasingly important sounding jobs in HR all over the world, including "Director, HR Strategy, Leadership Development and Inclusion" until she landed the job as Chief Human Resources Officer. In those 20 years she hasn't designed a car, managed people doing real work or done so much as put a car door together. I bet she had all sorts of meetings and oversaw lots of important projects and pushed a bunch of paper around. But doing anything value added? Nope.

My point is not to make fun of Kiersten Robinson. I am sure she thinks she is critical to Ford and I am even more sure that she made more in 2019 than I made in the last ten years combined. But she is typical of HR people. I picked her completely at random since I mentioned Ford earlier in the post and she was exactly what I expected to find. She might be a very nice lady but she is still a parasite.

The parasite class mostly exists to create the conditions to prolong their employment and aid other parasites in getting and retaining jobs. They also tend to be concentrated geographically.

Big cities are full of the parasite class but nowhere is this more true than in the Washington D.C. leviathan. In good times and bad, D.C. keeps growing. When we were in the last serious economic crisis, things were blissfully oblivious in D.C.. People across the country were struggling, losing their jobs and their homes, barely making ends meet but in D.C. houses sold as soon as they hit the market, the malls were full of people and driveways had nice, new cars. There are tens of thousands of government parasites in D.C. who collect our tax money and then grudgingly send it back to us if we ask nicely. They exist mostly to create rules and forms and documents that other members of the parasite class use to justify their own existence. For example, the Jamie L. Whitten Building in D.C. is the home of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This is the flagship of the USDA, an organization with over 100,000 employees. In this building alone are probably thousands of petty bureaucrats who have never been on a farm. They create regulations and forms and push paper from one side of their desk to the other. They don't produce food but they require those who do to jump through hoops that are ever changing. The Jamie L. Whitten Building is just one of many buildings just like it in D.C., imposing and grim blocks of limestone and concrete. Here is another example, the equally awful looking Frances Perkins Building, home of the Department of Labor.

The Department of Labor is a delightfully misnamed outfit. Like the Department of Agriculture full of people with no agricultural experience, the Department of Labor is staffed with people who have never labored in their life. Over 17,000 people are employed at the DOL and like their compatriots at the other departments housed in similarly ugly buildings that look like they were crapped out of a giant concrete monster, they exist to create rules and regulations that in turn require employers to hire HR managers to interpret and comply with. It doesn't help any actual workers to do their jobs but it is great an ensuring that the parasites get to stay employed.

It isn't just the surly, talentless locust who work in the big Federal departments. D.C. is full of private sector parasites as well. Every interest group in America has an office in D.C., all trying to siphon tax dollars for their liege lords. As the theme suggests, these people aren't doing anything useful, they are conniving ways to get their paws on those sweet, sweet Federal dollars and at the same time trying to keep those surly bureaucrats from making life harder for the groups they represent. Productive people like American cattle ranchers are forced to pay parasite lobbyists to protect their interests because other interest groups are also paying parasite lobbyists to protect their interests. The whole thing is like a Mafia protection racket. If your competition pays and you don't, their business is fine while yours "catches fire" in the middle of the night.

That is true of most of what the parasite class does. There is no real reason to pay them because they absolutely don't do anything useful but there is an enormous potential cost for not hiring them, primarily thanks to the onerous rules and regulations different members of the parasite class have created. It is a giant circular protection racket. Forget fixing horse races or running illegal gambling dens, the real money is in being a parasite.

As we are seeing in the Wuhan flu pandemic, people are suddenly realizing that there are "essential" workers and "non-essential" workers. "Essential" workers are the people who make your daily life possible and more comfortable. The "non-essential" people make it harder for the "essential" people to do their jobs.

That begs the question. Why do we have so many "non-essential" workers? Sure, we will always have some people who do silly, meaningless jobs like economists but why are there so many of them, why do they make so much more than "essential" workers and why do they wield so much power?

Mostly it is because the "doers" in our society are focused on.....doing stuff. The carpenter wakes up thinking about what he has to do that day to complete his project. The trucker has a load that has to get from where he is to somewhere else, on time and safely. Farmers always have something to focus on, feeding the cattle or planting the field or maintaining their equipment.

The parasite class? They wake up each morning, consciously or not, concerned about making sure they have a job to go to the next day. When I worked in the corporate world, the biggest motivation was to not get in trouble each day. I had a very nice salary and great benefits. When I started working as a bank manager at one of the largest banks in the world, I got four weeks of paid vacation as soon as I started plus all 10 of the bank holidays so basically six weeks paid vacation. My benefits package was solid and I made good money. You can bet I wanted to preserve that. My last job was at an awful place full of back-stabbing, petty tinpot functionaries and more CYA than a prison shower but it also had a sweet 401k and I made gobs of money. The thing was, at the end of each day I hadn't really accomplished anything. Everything we did existed in the land of make-believe. It was all on computers. At least at the bank we handled some cash but in my last job nothing we were dealing with was real but if we screwed something up the IRS and DOL would come down on us like the wrath of God.

A carpenter who builds a house can tell if he did a good job. Are the walls and roof solid? You can tell a well made house from a poorly made house but in the parasite class there is nothing produced so there is no way to really judge if you did a good job. So most people are just participating in the kabuki theater. As Peter Gibbons says to the Bobs in Office Space, the most accurate depiction of corporate life ever made,:

That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

If I left on Friday and nothing bad had happened and no one was giving me grief, it had been a good week. There were literally weeks that went by when I couldn't tell you on Friday afternoon what I had actually done that week. A lot of us were like that but if you walked around during the day you would see lots of people sitting in their cubicles chatting, or sitting the cafeteria chatting or walking around outside chatting. It was a weird sort of cognitive dissonance where you pretended that you were doing something and working hard while your subconscious realized you were just wasting time and getting paid for it.

At the risk of sounding sexist, not that I care, that helps explain why more and more of the parasite class jobs are held by women. Men are task-and-goal oriented. We like to have some goal to achieve and then be able to see the results. Women are more emotion-and-feelings oriented and that is the core of parasite class environment. A lot of women are perfectly content shuffling papers around because it makes them feel like they are doing something but men doing the same work eventually realize they are just going through the motions. HR departments are full of women who feel self-important because they have some bullshit title and they can push people around. They are cheerfully smiling while simultaneously being self-important and imperious. They don't really do anything significant but that is OK because their jobs are designed to make them feel important and significant. I am sure if you asked most HR chicks about their jobs, they are completely convinced that they are critical and essential to the success of an organization, while most of the men think they are a pain in the ass and an impediment to getting the job done.

Like I said, our cities are full of parasite class people and perhaps they are discovering that they are still entirely dependent on the doers of society. I bet it drives them nuts and triggers a sense of outrage and injustice that they rely on truck drivers to deliver the stuff they take for granted will be in the store and that in a crisis they are sent home from work because they are not "essential" while the peasants are still at work because everyone needs them so our society can function. With no farmers, we all starve. Without "Sarah from HR" we not only would be fine, we would probably be better off and that certainly chaps their collective asses.

Once this pandemic is over, things will probably go back to the way they were. The HR types and lawyers and marketing executives and various petty corporate paper-pushing functionaries will resume their places but in the back of their mind, they will know that when push comes to shove, the parasites are just not that essential to our country. One would hope the parasite class will learn some humility from this but more likely it will simply outrage them and they will double down on heaping derision on the productive class.

That is the nature of a parasite. It has no regard for the host from whom it is slowly draining the life. It exists only to take. Bad enough in nature but when our society is run by ticks and tapeworms, we have a serious problem.

So thanks anonymous Chinese scientist who "accidentally" released a bioweapon we call coronavirus for reminding us that while we will always need stock clerks and truck drivers, absolutely no one ever really needs HR managers and corporate project managers.

Kind of makes me wonder. If we have so many non-essential workers, do we really need millions of migrants and women in the workforce performing non-value added, non-essential work?

Think about it.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Zman On Libertarians

Another classic line from the Zman today:

The best argument against libertarianism is simply going outside and watching people.

That is also the best argument against democracy and the universal franchise. Libertarianism operates fine in a theoretical setting where people act predictably and rationally but in the real world it simply doesn't work. What would a President Gary Johnson being doing right now, other than smoking bowl after bowl of weed? Telling people to go about their business and just not cough on other people (NAP and such)? The response to the Chinese coronavirus (which is definitely not at all a bioweapon the ChiComs let escapee from a lab) has probably been way over the top but a "do whatever you want man" approach would likely be much worse.

Vintage one-line zinger from the Zman.

Pushing The Panic Button

In the midst of the China virus/Wuhan flu pandemic, you can easily forget that we have an election this year. Eventually this pandemic will burn itself out, maybe by May, and then we will suddenly launch right back into the presidential campaign. The Democrat convention is in July so we really aren't that far away.

The election has taken a back seat. Just a few weeks ago the fight between really old Commie Bernie Sanders and really old and creepy Joe Biden was the big news. Super Tuesday was March 3rd and with the big Biden win thanks to all of the other candidates conveniently dropping out, it looked like the general election match-up was all set. That was at the beginning of March but as I write this it is the end of March and when anyone bothers to think about Joe Biden at all, the question they ask is "Where is Joe?".

The answer is "In hiding". Trump is all over the news, holding daily press briefings and taking charge. Maybe not all that well but he is out there and active. Biden on the other hand is missing in action. He completely disappeared for a few weeks even before the lockdown and when he did show up he could barely manage to speak for a few minutes and no one showed up. Bernie was still drawing big crowds even though his campaign is basically over but no one is excited about Biden.

Last week Biden started doing some interviews from a webcam in his home, mostly with very friendly interviewers in the mainstream media, and in general it was a trainwreck. When he wasn't coughing into his hand or touching his face, he was rambling and losing his place. In one interview he was so out of it that the CNN reporter looked visibly shocked. In another you can see where the teleprompter stopped working and Joe froze up. No wonder his handlers are hiding him, he looks lost and confused on camera. He can't even function during a brief, carefully choreographed interview so what happens when he is trapped on stage with Trump for a couple hour long debate, on live TV with a live audience?

Trump's handling of the China virus has exceeded my expectations in most respects and I am not alone as his approval ratings are at all time highs. People want a leader they can see who appears to be in charge, like Bush after 9/11. When people compare Biden to Trump, they are realizing that Joe is not up to the task of leading our nation through a pandemic and an economic calamity that needs leadership for the recovery. Biden is not the man for the job. He probably never was but now his health has deteriorated and continues to at such alarming speed that even if elected it is unlikely he would make it through the first six months of his presidency, if he even makes it to the inauguration.

Democrats realize this and are starting to panic. There is a quiet but growing groundswell movement to replace Biden with someone else, and not Bernie or Hillary. Last week a credible sexual assault allegation against Biden, far more credible than the Christine Ford/Justice Kavanaugh fiasco, quietly hit the news wires. It didn't get much attention but that was by design. It simply set the trap. A party that talks about stuff like "Believe All Women" can't be seen to ignore a credible accusation, especially since Joe is well known for putting his hands on women and young girls on a regular basis, on camera and quite recently.

There has been some quiet rumbling about drafting New York governor Andrew Cuomo to replace Biden. He has been very visible as the governor of the state hardest hit (so far) by the China virus. Cuomo is kind of a loud mouth and brash, and maybe people think he could go toe to toe with Trump better than Joe Biden. That is probably true.

Whatever the solution, Biden is a problem right now and once the Chinese coronavirus pandemic abates, the spotlight will turn to Joe and I am confident that he will completely wilt under the pressure. Friendly online interviews with softball questions or political rallies are one thing, but getting asked harder questions will make Joe unravel, like he did when an autoworker in Michigan pressed him about gun rights and Joe melted down and challenged the much younger and stronger autoworker to a fight.

This should have been an easy win for the Democrats. The media is fully on-board with them, Trump has very high negatives and an enthusiastic opposition base. Demographics are working in their favor. Trump had the economy to run on but little else. Now? Trump is looking hard to beat and the Democrats are going to offer up Joe Biden to get mauled by Trump on stage? Orange Man Bad isn't going to be enough at this point to carry any candidate, they will have to make a case on their own to replace Trump and Biden can't make the case. He probably has a lot of trouble controlling his bowels, much less commanding the stage in a debate.

The DNC is willing and able to kneecap just about anyone. With more and more party insiders realizing this thing is slipping away from them, look for the knives to come out. Maybe it will be a sexual assault allegation or maybe Biden will just drop dead from old age but whatever the method, it is growing more likely that the Dems replace him before the campaign season really kicks into gear.

Friday, March 27, 2020

A really futile and stupid gesture

In a film full of great lines, National Lampoon's Animal House, one line has always stood out to me.

I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!

This entire scene, including Bluto asking if it was over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, is hilarious. When it happens in real life? Not so hilarious.

As the nation suffers through a pandemic with government ordered shut downs of many businesses, it is generally agreed that people who, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs need some help. Whether it is wise to spend $2 trillion to do that isn't really the point anymore. The American people are expecting to get these checks to keep their lights on and rent paid while we try to ride out the China virus pandemic. After a week of obstruction by Nancy Pelosi, the Senate finally passed a stimulus bill 96-0. The plan then was to have the House vote on the bill today via a "voice vote" to eliminate the need for the Congress of the United States to be packed into a chamber together during a pandemic. But no so fast my friends!

Delta Tau Chi pledge Thomas Massie of Kentucky has apparently decided to force a roll call vote in the House chambers. This means a lot of Congressmen need to hop on planes to fly back to D.C., assemble a quorum in the House and do the vote the regular way. Given that many House members are older and getting a bunch of people together in close proximity is the opposite of what Americans are being urged to do, this seems pretty dumb.

To be clear, I have no problem with Congressman Massie voting against this bill. It is a terrible bill, full of unrelated crap, and we don't have $2 trillion. But forcing a roll call vote which requires people to be present to vote is just a hassle and delays the process. It won't change the outcome, I expect the bill to pass by an enormous margin. In an election year, who is going to want to vote against sending out stimulus payments? This isn't a principled move, it is just grandstanding in prime libertarian goofiness.

If there was ever a time for a government stimulus, and I am not saying there ever is such a time, it is now. If there was ever a time to not be a grandstanding asshat, it is also now. Massie probably thinks he is being noble and brave but he mostly is looking like an idiot and a Justin Amash clone.

Enjoy your really futile and stupid gesture Congressman.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Trump 2020 Strategy

As recently as a few weeks ago, the 2020 election was shaping up to be Trump versus Biden in a pretty straightforward incumbent seeking re-election scenario. Trump was going to run on the economy and keeping promises (minus that pesky signature wall) and Biden was going to run on not being Trump and Orange Man Bad™. The race would come down to whether Biden could draw enough core Democrats and get them excited enough to show up. Oh, and if his handlers could get him to not paw little girls on camera or take a dump on stage during a debate. Really just not let him out in public at all. The media is even reduced to publishing stories just begging Joe Biden to not die. That is a pretty low bar: be alive. 2020 was going to be weird.

Then it all changed.

The Chinese virus, aka coronavirus, aka Covid-19, has the potential to change the election in a manner similar to how 9/11 changed the 2004 election. George W. Bush was stumbling around in his first term, having barely defeated Gore in a contested election. If you were looking at Bush on 9/10, you could have been forgiven for assuming he was going to be a one-term President. Then everything changed the next day. Just days after the attacks on 9/11, President Bush visited the rubble of the Trade Centers and in an unscripted moment said via bullhorn: "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.". He won re-election right then and there. Watching that moment still chokes me up, even years later as I have come to suspect that we are not getting the whole truth or any truth from the government. We were wounded but Bush promised vengeance and that blood-lust carried him to re-election and embroiled this country in catastrophic wars that led to thousands of dead and maimed Americans and trillions in new debt. But Bush still got his second term.

What does Trump do now? The economy is in shambles and likely won't recover this year in spite of trillions of dollars in magical money. Unemployment is at over 3 million, a new record, after years of great employment numbers so he can't run on that. Whether it is as serious as we are being told or not is irrelevant to the political theater. Everything will come down to coronavirus in November, barring some subsequent major calamity.

If I were advising Trump, the message would be simple: Blame China for the coronavius and vow to punish them.

A more complex way of putting it would be to double down on his 2016 message of economic populism, making globalism the enemy both for spreading the coronavirus and also for exposing the danger of having so much of our manufacturing based in China. A message of nationalism, returning critical manufacturing to the U.S. and protecting American workers with China as the villain of the narrative, would work to bring working and middle class whites out to vote for Trump. Moms who are scared of their kids getting sick, and worse having to stay home with them for extended periods of time, will appreciate this message. Working class white men will as well. A small but potentially significant chunk of the black and mestizo voting population might find this compelling enough to set aside tribal politics. People of Chinese ancestry won't like it but don't vote Republican anyway and Asians of Korean and Japanese origin hate the Chinese already.  I think a lot of people are starting to realize that we are in some serious trouble and that having China controlling too much of our manufacturing, especially medical stuff, is a problem.

Sticking it to the ChiComs is a message that will resonate with a lot of voters, even people who might be inclined to not vote for Trump. They might not vote for Trump but maybe they will stay home instead of voting for a dementia patient. This will be an important electoral strategy and consideration for the Trump campaign:

Abstaining from voting against Trump might be more palatable than actually voting for him but the next result is the same.

Trump needs to be talking more and more about bringing home critical infrastructure and using the threat of a new, future pandemic as the catalyst. Instead of a "New Green Deal", he could have his own plan with government-backed investments for companies wanting to build manufacturing plants in America for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, with stringent oversight of course. Add to that tariff protection for those industries so that it is no longer cheaper to make stuff in China. We might pay more for vital products but at least we won't be at the mercy of the Chinese. Using the Chinese as the bad guy will help deflect attention from the fact that he talked about a lot of this stuff in 2016 but didn't do anything about it.

Will Trump do this? If he is still listening to people like Steve Bannon and Tucker Carlson, and I think he is, he might. Bragging about how awesome his response to the Wuhan flu was isn't going to win him many votes. Taking the critical issue of his presidency, the China virus, and spinning it in a way to blame the Chinese, rightly so, and using that to reinforce an already popular message of economic, nationalist populism, might be enough to overcome a monolithic media determined to keep him from winning a second term.

Politics is mostly fake and gay but it is also a fascinating look at the human psyche. An entire election year of the media painting Trump as racist, another couple of years of ridiculous "Russia collusion" nonsense, and a bogus "impeachment" is all going to be irrelevant in November. It is going to all be about the China virus and Trump's response and his proposed path forward. He can win re-election and bring a lot of Republican down the ticket with him, maybe even winning the House back, if he plays this right. That will disappoint some of the controlled opposition China shills in the "dissident right" but a few more years of Trump means a few more years of prepping for the collapse and that seems like a worthwhile goal.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Choose Wisely

Ol' Remus at the Woodpile Report is back after the passing of his wife with a short post and it contains some pithy wisdom:

These are your choices. They always were and they always will be.

Prepare when no one else is preparing.

Panic when everyone else is panicking.

Got food? Ammo? Meds? It's too late now to prepare adequately for the pandemic much less the impending derailment of civilization itself. Preppers were calmly topping off their stashes in early January, at regular prices, in any quantity with lots-o'-choices. They saw the foreshadow of this emergency and acted appropriately. Prepping always looks crazy until the rug gets pulled. Paranoia is a survival tool, panic is not.

Not much you can add to that. Choose wisely, after the China virus you might not be so lucky when the next crisis comes and it will come.

Mo' Magic Money!

Our wise and benevolent overlords in D.C. are fixing to send out some free money to shore up the economy! Hooray! Initial reports make it sound like we are getting $2400 for my wife and I plus another $2000 for our kids that are home. I know a family with 17 kids, I wonder how much they are going to score?

Where is this magical money coming from?

Wishes, hopes and dreams!

Seriously though, it is going to be "borrowed" money like so much Federal spending. I put the scare quotes up because no one seriously thinks we will ever pay back the national debt, mostly because we can't and we won't. This is why...

The critical number is the amount per tax payer: over $190,000. As the Boomers retire and become net takers from the system and are replaced with minority workers who will make less and therefore pay less, and often much less or nothing, in taxes the available revenue to meet Federal expenditures will decrease. Federal outlays are never going to decrease. The budget is already spending about 10% of total outlays just on interest for debt we spent in prior years and since that debt number never goes down and is increasing rapidly, the percentage of the Federal budget used to pay for prior year deficit spending is going to go up. Adding some $2 trillion in new deficit spending on the stimulus means we just increased the national debt by almost 10%. We are never going to pay the debt back so we should just call it something else.

To be clear, I am not even objecting to the stimulus payments. People are being told to stay home but they still have bills. Business are being told to close but we want them to reopen when this crisis passes. If there was ever a time for something like this, it is right now. Having said that, this would be easier to swallow if we lived in a serious country.

If we were a serious country, we wouldn't have a national debt. At all. We would spend only what we brought in and even better less than we bring in. When something like this happens, we could borrow some money, spread it around and then pay that debt off promptly. But we don't have a serious country (ex: Joe Biden might be president in 2021) so we basically just keep borrowing make-believe money to pay the interest on make-believe money we borrowed in the past.

Continually throwing "money" into the economy means eventual inflation. I mean major inflation. Sitting on cash right now is incredibly dangerous as I think we might be entering a phase where inflation rapidly wipes out the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar. Having $100,000 in the bank today means you have a lot of money but if in 5 years regular cars  cost $200,000, suddenly your 100k isn't worth so much. Money is only valuable insofar as you can exchange it for goods and service and how many goods/services a dollar is worth is highly variable. That is one half of the problem with a Universal Basic Income, giving people extra money for doing nothing means they will spend more money and that demand will cause prices to rise.

College tuition is a great example of this. With government grants and government subsidized and guaranteed loans, the available amount of money to pay for college is no longer what you could earn from summer jobs and how much your parents saved. Now you have unlimited funds to pay for college so you become less price conscious. People who might have gone to a state school or started at community college instead go to expensive out-of-state private schools and pay 2, 3 or 4 times as much per year. With increasing demand as dumber and dumber kids go to college and a loss of cost concern, colleges were able and quite willing to jack up tuition by double digits every single year until now a college degree in Urban Gender Justice Art Studies costs more than a nice house around here. Inflation.

When the checks arrive and people spend that money, most of them will still be struggling, mostly because they were already struggling before the China virus. What will happen next? We will get sob stories from the floor of the Congress and calls to "do more", which means more checks. There is little chance that the wave of checks coming will be the last checks this year. Smart people will use those checks to pay down debt and invest in something other than mutual funds but most people will consume more stuff they don't need.

Ironically enough, this fire-hose of cash and the inflation it brings will reward people in debt and punish those who save, a complete reversal of what is supposed to happen.

The coronavirus will kill a bunch of people and doom a lot of businesses. It will crush retirement dreams. It will change once again the expectation of people about what the role of government should be. It might mean Trump gets re-elected, who wants to put Joe Biden in charge of the recovery efforts? Trump's approval numbers are pretty good right now and we are fast approaching the general election while the Democrat nomination is still unsettled and the ancient dementia patient who appears likely to win is staying at home giving cringe-inducing interviews.

What it will mostly do is accelerate the coming collapse. This will likely be remembered as a serious but not fatal crisis. What you do when things settle down will be the difference between surviving the Big One and not. Don't waste any time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Kobayashi Maru

As the 2nd Star Trek movie (and we don't talk about the first one) The Wrath of Khan opens, we see a Starfleet trainee, Saavik (played by a much slimmer Kirstie Alley), leading the starship Enterprise during a simulation where as the captain she is faced with two bad options: rescue a ship in the Klingon neutral zone and violate the peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingons or ignore the distress call and allow the ship to be destroyed, leading to the death of 381 people.

In the movie, the Vulcan trainee Saavik elects to enter the neutral zone only to be confronted by three Klingon cruisers. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Enterprise is quickly destroyed. The cadet Saavik is as irate as a Vulcan can get because she believed the test was unfair as there was no way to win. Admiral Kirk points out that a no-win scenario is something every commander might face.

I am not the first to see the connection between this fictional event and the coronavirus pandemic we are in. President Trump faces a number of choices and all of them are bad. Compounding the problem, we are in an election year and the House of Representatives is "led" by an evil, decrepit old bat named Nancy Pelosi who is quite willing and perhaps eager to see the American people suffer if it means gaining an electoral advantage over Trump and the Republicans.

The choices faced by Trump come down to this:

- There is no way to completely halt the spread of the Chinese virus. People will get it and people will die from it. Fewer than the regular flu perhaps but still every American that dies is one too many.

- The more we do to try to slow the spread means potentially fewer people dying but it also means throttling the economy. A collapsing economy and a recession or even a global depression can kill far more people than the Chinese virus.

It is a tradeoff. Fewer deaths means more economic hardship, loosening the restrictions likely means more deaths. There isn't a perfect solution here. If you lose your job or if your grandma dies, you will likely think Trump did the wrong thing. So Trump is trying to thread the needle, with sufficient restrictions on the American people to minimize the spread while not cratering the economy in an election year. So far I guess he is doing the best he can.

Every public policy involves tradeoffs but few are quite so clearly life or death decisions. Adding an extra layer of difficulty, the American people are notoriously stubborn and independent. In China when you were told to stay indoors, you did so unless you wanted a bullet in your head, a system that is praised by some of the controlled opposition shills on dissident right social media. In America people are going to the beach, having "pop up" weddings and house parties and generally doing whatever they want in spite of endless pleas to stay home and maintain "social distancing". Trump has left a lot of this up to the individual states, and the states are slowly going into lock-down one after another. Many "experts" are urging Trump to declare a national lockdown but that would smack of martial law. Again, there isn't a "right" answer and the media can be counted on to declare whatever Trump does to be the worst thing ever.

On the other hand, imagine Hillary Clinton trying to lead us through this crisis. When she wasn't falling down after a 7 martini lunch, she would be hoarsely screeching and coughing at us for getting sick. Or imagine a President Joe Biden next year battling the effects of a serious recession. Sure Biden has the advantage of thinking it is still the 1930s so he has a fresh perspective on dealing with a new Great Depression but he also thinks we should keep an eye on that new German chancellor with the little mustache. That guys seems sketchy.

Who knew that after three years of endless "Russian collusion" nonsense, then Ukrainian nonsense, a bogus "impeachment" and acquittal, what will define the Trump presidency and largely determine whether he is a one or two term President will be a virus from China and the decisions he makes in his own version of the Kobayashi Maru.

Monday, March 23, 2020


In the long list of things being exposed in the Chinese virus crisis, like our cultic devotion to the fake "free market" system, is the absolutely wretched state of "parenting" in America. With schools and day care centers (but I repeat myself) shutting down, far too many parents are horrified at the idea of their children being home. What could be worse than parents confined to their home with their own children?!

I am a little snarky about this. We have 8 children so for the better part of a quarter of a century we have had at least one kid at home. Since we homeschool, for many years we had 8 children at home, all day, every day. Sure it can be trying at times but they are our children and we have this weird notion that they are our responsibility and we actually kind of like having them around. Weird, I know.

Young parents in America are trained that the first thing they should do when finding out the mom-to-be is pregnant is to start thinking about who can care for their baby after their paid leave ends. I have watched my wife with our newborns eight times and I can't imagine the anguish and guilt of a young mom handing off her 8-12 week old infant to someone else to care for during the day.

People with a modicum of common sense already know that mothers are happiest at home with their kids. Sure they have been ruthlessly conditioned to say the opposite and yammer incessantly about how fulfilling their "career" is, even when that career is some meaningless bureaucratic paper-pushing job. Women don't really think it is somehow noble to be a wage-slave, working your ass off at some dumb job in order to afford to pay for daycare for your kids. I often use them as an example but again it is true that Amish women absolutely love having their kids at home. Of course they sometimes have bad days and kids can be naughty. Unattended little Amish boys turn feral in a hurry and cause mischief and mayhem but boys always did that before we started to drug them, tranquilize them with entertainment and surround them with feminine authority figures all day.

I hope the Zman is right in his post Springtime In The Pandemic. Maybe women will rediscover the ancient love of hearth and home that is natural in most women. He writes:

Something I thought about as I was leaving is that suddenly the status hierarchy for women has changed. The mom I was chatting with was feeling really good about taking control of her household. Suddenly, the women taking care of their kids, taking over their schooling and being a stabilizing force are cool. Those career women sheltering in place with their box wine and social media account can no longer kid themselves about their real status in society.

There’s been a lot of wishful thinking about a baby boom coming from this lock-down, but what may follow is a marriage boom. Millions of single women now have no reason to exist, because they are stuck at home. They can’t cause drama at work and they can’t cruise the bars with their friends. Meanwhile, the women they made sport of at the office are having the time of her life at home with the family. There’s some chance this panic opens some pretty young eyes to the reality of their existence.

That is just excellent. There is nothing more useless to the welfare of humanity than an early 30s single woman with three cats, hopping from one empty sexual relationship to the next, and working in a cubicle doing nothing worthwhile. These women get old, hit menopause and realize that they will never have children. No one to read to or cuddle to sleep. No one will visit them as they grow feeble and old in some nursing home being abused by immigrant workers who hate them. Little wonder they turn into shrill 40-50 year old harpies who hoarsely screech at everyone and anyone in impotent rage at their wasted lives.

So yeah, maybe women being home with their kids and families discovering what we discovered a long time ago, that you can make some financial sacrifices to have a parent stay home with your kids, will happen and it will lead to a great re-ordering of our society. We don't need any more women doing menial office work in America but we have a desperate need for moms caring for their own kids.

Maybe a silver lining to an otherwise grim situation?

Sunday, March 22, 2020

America Holds Her Breath

It was eerily quiet this weekend. After a week of markets tanking and oil prices dropping through the floor and the slow march of coordinated but not coordinated at all national lockdown, it feels like we are about to enter a new phase in the Chinese virus war. I thought the odds were about 50/50 that Trump would declare a de facto state of martial law during his press conference this afternoon but he didn't. Again he seemed very tentative, even his attempts at his normal bluster seemed weak and forced.

Here in Indiana we are bracketed by two states, Illinois and now Ohio, who have declared a shelter-in-place rule. In our area, neighboring Allen County ordered a halt to all church gatherings of "ten or more people". The list of states that are shutdown grows and I am guessing we will be soon to follow, if a national declaration is not made tomorrow.

Stores being out of toilet paper, out of milk and bread and limiting how much you can buy when they are in stock, guns and ammo selling out, all have become part of a rapidly coalescing new normal. What will happen next week when millions more Americans are out of work and the Democrats are playing games with the sending of checks? I am not even a fan of the "print more make-believe money" thing but if we are going to shut down the economy and promise people checks are coming, they better start sending some checks or people are going to get awfully restless.

I am not sure if many people understand that we are in the very beginning of this disaster, not the middle or near the end. The number of cases is still fairly low but if I understand the charts and they are accurate, we are looking at a significant uptick this week and even more so the following. Instead of a few people dying in a state like Indiana, it will be dozens or even hundreds.

The ripple effects of the shutdown will start being felt soon as orders are cancelled, more workers are sent home to wait it out and industries start to mothball machinery for an indeterminate amount of time. From restaurants to construction to entertainment, people are going to be out of work and being very stingy with their money which will snowball into other industries.

The run on ammo shows no sign of abating. The Big Two, 9mm and .223, are mostly gone, even the expensive personal defense rounds. Prices are rapidly increasing and still you see ammo coming in stock online and selling out hours or even minutes later. Ammoseek keeps crashing. Steel case .223 is selling for what brass case was selling for just a week or so ago. Reports are common that trying to get a background check completed for a firearm is taking hours, if at all. The system is overloaded and rumors are flying that the FBI is going to shut the system down completely.

The little Dollar General stores have been a huge plus in this crisis. We make fun of DG putting stores in every little town in America but I haven't been to a big box grocery store for weeks. We just keep topping off stuff like milk and bread at the local Dollar General instead of facing the chaos of the bigger stores. I went today to get hamburger buns and the place was in the worst stock condition I have seen since it opened.

Tomorrow might bring some additional dashes of spiciness. Be safe and keep both eyes wide open. This is a new world we are living in.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Behold The Epitome Of Orange Man Bad!

Look at this broad...

Trump is literally Hitler for wanting to try some experimental medical treatments to treat people during a global pandemic.

Who is this twit, other than another AWFL middle-aged woman desperately trying to stave off aging so she can stay relevant in the media?

I have never heard of Jacki Schechner before today, and you probably haven't either, but she fancies herself some sort of truth crusader and brags about working at CNN.

What she really is, besides dumb, is the living embodiment of the "Orange Man Bad" media that is so sold out on hating Trump that they have to respond to every single thing he says or does with some sort of reference to Russia or the Nazis, even when what he said is perfectly sensible and I assume supported by every serious medical professional and everyone with common sense. Honestly I find Trump off-putting and tiresome but I am likely to vote for him just to give the middle finger to harpies like this.

There is nothing sadder than an aging TV bimbo desperate to stay in the spotlight, however dim, for just a little longer.

The Race Is On

With California arbitrarily deciding to shut down the most populous state in the Union, following the lead of Pennsylvania, I expect other states to do the same. I suspect this is coordinated, a cascading process where we close down a few states and then slowly add more states. This would help avoid the appearance of a national lock-down while still having the same effect. Clever.

This is going to have serious ramifications on the economy. I don't want to waste the time sketching out some scenarios but as "non-essential" businesses close down, they stop buying from their supplies and stop paying their employees. That means their suppliers suffer, stop purchasing whatever goods they supply and stop paying their employees. Most businesses in America are at least slightly connected to one another and as some businesses begin to suffer, all of them start to suffer. That means people have less disposable income and perhaps even worse it makes them very uncertain and people who are nervous and uncertain do things like not add on to their house or remodel the bathroom or upgrade their phone.

I am often out and about early in the morning and during those hours the local Amish work-crews are heading to their job sites. It can be a little hairy as many of their drivers are lunatics and drive 15 passenger vans pulling trailers full of tools with ladders hanging on the side at breakneck speed. Certain roads have a lot more traffic because they connect with the main road heading into nearby Fort Wayne. The last few mornings traffic on those roads is noticeably sparse. Other Amish have businesses and small factories that primarily supply "English" businesses and the word is that their orders are slowing down. While most Amish have ample money in the bank, having their income diminish significantly will mean that perhaps their wives don't get new shoes from local Amish stores or buy fabric to sew new clothing, opting instead to patch dresses and shirts. This small microcosm of the economy is what is happening all across the economic sphere.

It is a well known and often repeated fact that most Americans have very little in the way of savings and live "paycheck to paycheck". We are about to see how true that is and what happens when potentially millions of people start overdrawing their accounts. I am hoping people are being smart and not spending money on anything but the absolute essentials but as I am fond of pointing out, you will never go wrong better on the average American to be dumb. When the checking account is empty and people can't afford to buy things that may or may not be in stock anyway, what happens? In many cases they simply take what they want anyway. A few years back there was a snafu in the EBT (food stamp) system that allowed people to buy without the normal monthly limit so people were loading up on steak and lobsters. When the government figured out what happened, they shut off the cards completely. With a cart full of food and an EBT card that wouldn't work, lots of people simply rolled the cart of unpaid groceries out of the store anyway.

The government is quietly putting measures in place to keep the lid on so the whole thing doesn't boil over. You can't be evicted or foreclosed on. Student loan interest is on hold. You apparently are not going to get your lights, heat, water, phone or internet disconnected for non-payment. People having their lights turned off or even worse not having the internet means civil unrest. To repeat, I am confident that this slow motion shut down of the United States is being coordinated to minimize panic.

Honestly, as much as I despise approximately 100% of politicians, I don't envy them trying to do this balancing act. If you believe some reports, if we don't shut things down to "flatten the curve", the number of cases will spike and overwhelm the health care system but on the other hand, if they get too draconian too quickly, they risk people going nuts or just simply widespread and public cases of people ignoring the law and making the government look impotent. As Pat Buchanan mused yesterday:

But if, in diverse cities, minority communities come out for block parties in summer, are we going to have the police march them back into their homes? Do we have enough cops for that?

We know the answer to that, the optics of police rounding up blacks or mestizos and forcing them to go home is something no urban mayor will allow and the odds of a dozen cops being able to force hundreds of people who mostly hate the cops back into their homes is next to zero.

Meanwhile Congress and the President are frantically trying to hammer out a deal to send checks to people as soon as possible. Getting money into the hands of average citizens, or even just the promise of the check coming, might be enough to quell civil unrest. The question remains, will the checks come before a critical mass of people run out of money? The next question is: what happens if the pandemic lasts through the summer? It is only March right now, will the checks keep coming for millions of people for the next 3-4 months?

People are mostly resigned right now to the situation and relying on gallows humor to get through the day, but for how long will they take it in relatively good spirits? I suspect the answer is: not much longer.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mass Shooting Alert: Coronavirus, Schmaronavirus Edition

Sure we are in the middle of a national crisis, whether genuine or inflated, unlike anything in my lifetime but that is no reason to not seek some street vengeance on fellas that disrespected you!

To the lovely and peaceful city of Baltimore we go!

Baltimore Officer Confronts Man With Rifle Who Shot 7 In Madison Park, Police Say

Police said an officer confronted a man with a rifle Tuesday night after he allegedly shot seven people.

Seven people were shot Tuesday evening in the Madison Park neighborhood, according to police. The suspect had a rifle and was dressed in all black with a ski mask.

It is noteworthy that the shooter apparently used a rifle, that is unusual in thug-shootings.

Don't worry, the mayor of Baltimore is not taking this latest shooting during the China virus lightly! He is totally serious and stuff!

Baltimore Mayor Begs Residents To Stop Shooting Each Other So Hospital Beds Can Be Used For Coronavirus Patients

Please stop shooting each other because we need the hospital beds for sick people. That should do the trick! In a city where 2/3 of the residents are black and this is the police chief....

....I doubt the thugs are terribly concerned about the mayor or his begging them to stop killing each other.

I assumed that violent crime would go down during the pandemic but with more police departments apparently stepping back, "keeds" on the street instead of in holding pens school and this idiocy....

....it is more likely that violent crime will spike as temperatures rise and social order decays. As many others have pointed out, in desperate times even some generally law-abiding people will start to break the law but when times are desperate the criminal element in America is going to take advantage. Again, this is the time to start looking for the exit if you live in walking distance of a diverse urban area.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Tightening The Screws

Within the ruling apparatus are a number of people, perhaps even a significant majority of the residents of the D.C. metro area, who have been eagerly waiting for something awful to happen so they could use it as an excuse to rein in the American people. We clearly have slipped the leash a little bit, what with the whole electing Trump thing and continuing to buy guns by the millions and not blindly accepting the "climate change" hysteria. You can't blame them for wanting to bring us to heel. Plus a lot of them are just assholes who went into "public service" because they like bossing other people around.

With that in mind, the coronavirus, COVID-19, Kung Fu Flu pandemic is perfect. No one really understands how dangerous it is or is not and people started to freak out immediately. By putting on a concerned face and making soothing noises, the establishment is starting to squeeze the American people.

In my state, the police department in LaPorte declared they were no longer issuing new handgun permits or doing fingerprinting.

The comments shortly after they posted this were...a little angry. Then Wayne county declared a sort-of travel emergency.

Wayne County is a sparsely populated (68,000 people) Indiana county on the border with Ohio, about equidistant between Indianapolis and Dayton, Ohio but it also contains a long stretch of Interstate 70 so it has an enormous amount of traffic. So what the hell does this mean and why? They aren't going to block traffic on I-70 so what purpose does this serve other than inducing more fear? You couldn't even fill a decent football stadium with every person in the county.

I mentioned earlier that San Francisco is trying to get 7 million people to "shelter in place", basically trapping them in their homes. Portland, Oregon is not sending cops out in person to what they consider less serious calls. If the police are going to start pulling back, I guess that leaves it to the citizens of the state to deal with criminal elements.

Apparently Pennsylvania is closed.

Pennsylvania governor orders all non-essential businesses statewide to shut down

Pennsylvania is closed for business.

Governor Tom Wolf announced Monday that a shutdown order in place for nonessential business activity and nonessential government offices in four counties was being extended statewide.

"This isn't a decision that I take lightly at all," he said. "It's one I'm making because medical experts believe it's the only way we can prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed."

The list of exceptions includes "big box stores" so Wal-Mart will still be open plus places like vet clinic and laundromats. So only small, specialty mom-and-pop stores will be required to close. Very nice!

Down in New Orleans, the lady Mayor declared herself authorized to ban the sale of a specific type of legal merchandise, one protected by the Constitution.

New Orleans Mayor Issues Coronavirus Order Allowing Ban on Sale, Transportation of Firearms

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) signed a coronavirus emergency order last week allowing her to ban the sale and transportation of firearms.

She signed a follow-up proclamation on March 16, 2020, further emphasizing her emergency powers to “suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation, of alcoholic beverages.”

The declaration declaring the mayor’s power to restrict gun sales and transportation says she is “empowered, if necessary, to suspend or limit the sale of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles.”

This is why I don't live in cities and especially not in cities with mayors named LaToya. Sure, New Orleans (60% black) has a serious gun violence problem but those guns aren't being lawfully purchased by regular people. The guns being used are overwhelmingly black market, illegally owned gun and the thing about criminals is that by definition they don't obey the law. That is why they are criminals. The only people being harmed by this law are law abiding citizens who want to protect their families. Many gun stores are reporting record sales and are running out of firearms and ammo, and they also are saying a lot of their buyers are first time gun owners. How many people will be victimized in New Orleans because LaToya says they can't buy a gun?

Meanwhile Cam Edwards reports that other localities are not processing concealed carry applications.

Concealed Carry Applications On Hold In Many Places

Again, in a period of instability, making it harder for people trying to do the right thing to protect themselves is insane.

By next weekend, as cases continue to grow exponentially, look for even more draconian measures to be put in place.

Spicy time might be here before you know it.

What To Do While We Wait

People are starting to look like dogs that have been kicked too many times. Everyone seems to be halfway to flinching all the time, waiting for the next bit of bad news. Toilet paper is sold out, restaurants are closed, you can't find ammo if you were foolish enough to wait, the Ohio elections were postponed as the Governor defied the courts, no sports, stock market is in the toilet and so is the precious metals market. San Francisco is on a nearly total lock-down for three weeks. I am not sure how they will enforce that, I guess you can go to the store and go jogging or something. Police in Portland, Oregon will stop responding in person to "non-critical" calls (more on this later).

A lot of people are hunkering down.

So what should you be doing right now, assuming you are stocked up on essentials and in a good position to ride things out?

One thing I am doing besides spending too much time online is evaluating what we have, what we were in good shape on and what we were not. I am operating under the assumption that this is going to be more mild than we expected as a pandemic but pretty severe in terms of response. In other words a trial run. Whether you think that this trial run was orchestrated or not, or whether the timing of it happening in an election year to tank the economy before November seems suspicious as hell, it is the first significant national calamity we have had in a very long time. People didn't hoard toilet paper after 9/11.

Look at your pantry and freezer. When you looked at it over the weekend, what was glaringly missing and should never be allowed to get low again?

How about wherever you keep your ammo. Did you burn through any one caliber practicing without keeping it stocked up? What about .22 LR, it is easy to forget how hard it was to get a few years ago, and in a long term crisis-situation having .22 to kill small game is probably more practical than an extra box of 9mm hollow-points.

Personal goods like toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissue. Or do you have a viable substitute?

Medical supplies, from first aid to basic medicines. Having enough of the basic, OTC pharmaceuticals like acetaminophen, is critical plus other remedies and vitamins.

How is your relationship with your neighbors? We are OK on milk even though we don't have a dairy cow right now but milk and eggs are getting tough to find in the store. But I do have multiple neighbors I can reliably buy or barter eggs from and others I can do the same with milk, although I might have to settle for goat milk which I dislike. Can you rely on them to watch your back and vice versa?

If you are stuck at home, don't do what I am spending too much time doing: watching the news to see what is going to go wrong next. Make use of this time because I will guarantee this is not the last or the worst major crisis we are going to experience in the next year or two.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Oh Come On!

Erstwhile Presidential candidate and darling of establishment Republicans Marco Rubio, a United States Senator, tweeted this out.

Not once but twice in the same tweet referencing "marshall law" rather than "martial law". Once in a tweet could be chalked up to autocorrect, but twice means he intended to spell "marshall" because he doesn't even know what the term he is trying to use means. He did the same thing on Facebook and it has been up for two hours. At least on Facebook you can edit your posts.

Maybe he should refrain from calling anyone or anything else stupid.

We are ruled by imbeciles, lunatics and children.

Exposing The Truth About The School System

Our society is a carefully crafted and mostly artificial construct. Most of what we think we know is simply untrue. However, as long as everything is running smoothly most of us don't notice. We are busy with daily life and distracted by limitless entertainment. When we do get significant disruptions to that construct, it sheds some light on things that are otherwise hidden from view. As a pertinent example, I present three news stories, one local, one from Chi-town and one from the Big Apple:

FWCS offering free meals during closure

Fort Wayne Community Schools will provide free meals for children while the district is closed for a month amid the coronavirus threat.

The district said Sunday it would offer free breakfast and lunch packs for children ages birth through high school, beginning Tuesday. Children do not have to attend a Fort Wayne Community school.

Even if you aren't a student and even if you are an infant, Fort Wayne schools will provide "free" meals.

In Chicago, the mayor was trying to keep the schools open:

Will Chicago Public Schools stay open? Mayor Lori Lightfoot tells faith leaders she’s expecting Gov. J.B. Pritzker to take action.

As she has repeatedly done in recent days, Lightfoot noted the “significant secondary effect” of closing Chicago schools because working parents would need to find care for kids not in class and because many of the 355,000 CPS children count on the schools for multiple meals each day.

But now it appears that the schools in Chicago and across Illinois are closing starting tomorrow for several weeks (at least).

Meanwhile in New York, under enormous pressure, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday the closure of all NYC schools at least until April 20th and possibly for the year. Hizzoner was very reluctant to do so and it was looking like the teachers were just not going to show up on Monday so he relented, meaning the over ONE MILLION school children in New York City will be off school for a month. Why was the Mayor fighting so hard to keep the schools open? A different story from the New York Post, De Blasio admits NYC doesn’t have backup plan if public schools close, posted just hours before he changed his mind, gives us a clue....

“A variety of contingencies are being set up. They are far from perfect,” de Blasio said on CNN Sunday morning after a growing number of teachers, local elected officials and parents called for the closure.

“The difference between a functioning school system for over 1 million kids versus creating alternative centers for feeding or for the kids of health care workers, that kind of thing, if we got to that point we would improvise anything and everything,” de Blasio said.
“My blunt fear is if the schools shut down they will be done for the year, done for the school year maybe even for the calendar year. So I’m very reticent to shut down schools,” de Blasio said.

Among his reasons for keeping schools open are the fact that poor kids who get their meals at schools, health care providers and first responders need a place to send their children, and unsupervised teens create health and safety concerns.


When you cut through all of the nonsense and rhetorical flourishes when it comes to the public education system, the truth starts to really emerge:

Our public schools are basically really expensive and inefficient daycare centers.

More and more, schools serve as a place to feed poor kids, reinforcing bad behavior by removing more of the negative consequences of poor decision-making by feeding those kids and freeing up money so mama can get some new tattoos to lure the next baby-daddy. For middle and working class families, schools are a place for parents to dump their kids so mom and dad can both work.

In urban areas there is another dynamic and it is on display in the words in red above. Public schools with truancy laws and armed school security keep "teens" and "school children" confined during the day. New York City as a whole is about 33% white, 13% Asian, 23% black and 29% mestizo. I assume that the white and Asian population is skewed toward older age brackets so the school age population is even more "diverse". According to Wikipedia:

In October 2018, the student population was 42% Hispanic and Latino, 26% African American, 15% Non-Hispanic White, and 16% Asian American. Another 3% were of multiple race categories. Of the students, 20% were disabled, 13% were English language learners, and 73% met the Department's definition of poverty.

The "disabled" category is not just kids who are blind or in wheelchairs but also includes a significant number of kids that are just plain out of control and have Individual Education Plans (IEP) for behavior issues. These kids pretty much can't be disciplined for any reason because they are "disabled". When I was a kid, they were just trouble-makers and either got expelled or sent to the vocational school to get them away from the regular kids.

So with around 1.1 million kids, that means you have about three quarters of a million black and mestizo kids, many middle or high school aged, with nowhere to go and nothing to do on a Monday. Fortunately it looks like NYC is going to get a lot of rain this week so that might keep the school children from doing too much of this sort of thing:

I feel bad for the small store owners in some of these neighborhoods. It is about to get all Mad Max up in those 'hoods.

In major urban centers from Detroit (83% black, 13% mestizo) to Chicago to NYC, and that list will certainly continue to expand, the holding pens we call public schools are closing up and the biggest concern is that:

A) Millions of kids in America depend on the public school system for at least two meals a day.

B) Hundreds of thousands of teens are going to be running wild for the next month as temperatures warm up.

I haven't seen a single mention of these kids losing a month of education. That doesn't seem to be the priority at all because these schools in urban areas are a combination central location for social services and proto-prisons complete with armed guards.

The Wuhan virus, COVID-19, coronavirus, whatever you call it, is exposing the farce of the public school system, especially in urban areas. They aren't about education or socialization, they are places to warehouse kids, many who are dangerous or are so impoverished they rely on the school for breakfast and lunch.

Maybe there is a valid purpose for social stability in having massive institutions to provide for and control kids who clearly can't be taken care of by their own parent(s). I would just ask that we be honest about what we are getting for our tax dollars.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

What Do You Do When Everyone Else Is Panicking?

For all of our pretensions to being independent actors, most people are basically sheep. Where the herd goes, they go. It is most common when it comes to things like consumerism. Everyone else has Item X so therefore I need Item X. People buy $50 jeans when $10 jeans are basically the same thing. In more extreme examples, rioters exhibit this same behavior although it is mostly contained in certain segments of the population. One person throws a brick through a store window and starts grabbing stuff and the next thing you know hundreds of people are looting stores. They were probably not out that day intending to cause mayhem but once the crowd started to move, they just got carried away.

We are obviously seeing this playing out right now in America. It spawned a bunch of memes and funny hashtags. Then people realized that it was actually happening. So they went out to stock up as well. People started posting on social media that stuff was out of stock, so it just accelerated. People buying toilet paper started to also grab up bottled water, even though almost every American has ready access to water from the tap, and disinfectants and hand sanitizer. From there it expanded to include shelf stable foods as well as fresh meat. Now diapers and baby wipes are unavailable which is an obvious problem for parents. I was just monkeying around on the Sam's Club website and it was incredible how much stuff was out of stock. Peanut butter. Powdered milk. Sam's Club normally has a surprisingly comprehensive emergency food section. It is gone, all they show are two items and they are both out of stock. This page normally has dozens of items. Even their $1000 one year supply kit is out of stock. I ordered something from this category a week ago and it still hasn't shipped and likely won't.

When things get unstable, people start to think about protecting what they do have. A normally gun-unfriendly family member of ours was openly pondering that he and his wife only have a .22 and that made him pretty nervous. Lots of people are doing what comes naturally and stocking up on firearms and ammo.

Pictures were circulating on social media of people lined up out the door and down the sidewalk at a California gun store, as I believe Californians have to submit to a background check to buy ammo. Word is that a lot of people are getting denied, probably because the system is overloaded. Look at this video of what is normally a pretty comprehensively stocked gun store stripped down to what appears to be only the high end, expensive stuff (Daniel Defense is available! 😂) and the ammo wall is wiped out.

Particularly ominous is that it sounds like the major distributors are also out of on a lot of stuff so when this inventory is gone, it is probably going to be gone for a while, especially at smaller local stores as distributors will replenish the big retailers and places like Bud's first.

It is not just in meatspace. The Palmetto State Armory site keeps crashing from sheer volume. I was playing around late last night online looking at ammo and put some ammo in my cart at PSA just to check shipping. I went back this afternoon and the ammo I had in my cart was out of stock.

Good thing I bought something similar elsewhere. At this rate I would expect a) widespread shortages and soon, b) serious price increases on all ammo and firearms and c) significant delays in shipping times. Places I have purchased from before, like SGAmmo.com, have warnings to that effect:

Due to extremely high order volume orders placed at this time are expected to ship out in the next 5 to 10 days. Expect the potential for a 5 to 10 day delay from the time the order is placed to the time it is shipped from our warehouse.

That is pretty unheard of from dedicated online ammo shops. The most popular calibers like 9mm and 5.56/.223 are going to sell out first, followed by .45 ACP and 7.62x39 and then I expect it will spiral from there into hunting rounds, .22 LR and even more exotic stuff like 10mm. While not many people have the calibers like 10mm, when that sells out you have to keep in mind that manufacturers are going to concentrate on making more 9mm and 5.56/.223 because that is what sells. Accessories will be the next thing to go, I would imagine that 30 round magazines for AR/AK platforms are going to disappear in a hurry.

Anyway, by next weekend things are going to be really sketchy unless some medical miracle happens. But what I really was thinking about is what do you do, if you are a reasonably even-keeled person, when everyone else is going nuts? There are two factors you have to keep in mind:

One, I don't know how long this will last and neither do you (or anyone else)

Two, I have plenty of stuff but I also don't want to run out of anything we need.

So, with that in mind do I take the high road and not buy extra stuff? Or do I try to get ahead of it and make sure that my family is cared for?

Most of us are opting for the latter. I don't really want to spend extra on ammo or food when I have plenty already and both the means and the willingness to defend what I have...vociferously and with extreme prejudice. However, my fellow Americans have proven over and over in my lifetime that I can only depend on them to be stupid and selfish. That seems harsh but look at your local warehouse store or grocery if you doubt me. Look at social media and see people who are so consumed by their hatred of the President of the United States that they wait, panting eagerly, for someone to post something, anything, so they can comment about how whatever Trump did was the wrong thing, is making it worse and is a tool of the Russians. These people are nuts but on the bright side many of them live in confined urban quarters so maybe the virus and/or the social instability will help thin them out.

It is hard to not panic right now, even though as of today I have nothing to panic about. Social media doesn't help. The memes are funny and fortunately I have minimized the number of stupid and uninformed people I interact with on social media and I am staying away from the comment sections on news stories. I just don't need that crap right now.

Keep calm. Be strategic. Worry about what you can control and not so much about things you can't. As the Zman said todayThe first duty of the prepared is to keep their wits about them.

Take care of you and yours, and then your neighbors. Expect the worst from everyone else. You won't go wrong with that strategy.