Thursday, June 30, 2016

In Rationalia, there is no debate. #PostGOP

America's stupidest smart person is at it again.  This time, Neil deGrasse Tyson wants something he calls "Rationalia" as a perfect state:


Earth needs a virtual country: , with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence

Sounds wonderful right?  A Utopia of pretty people making decisions based on perfect knowledge ran through perfect intellect arriving at the perfect outcome.  The fly in the ointment being, as Kevin D. Williamson of National Review points out, Human understanding of the world, and human intelligence, is far from perfect.

This means that Rationalia is going to be governed by those who think they're perfect (gods), but are in fact flawed.  What Neil deGrasse Tyson is really calling for is no better than that of any other Narcissist, his deification.

All hail Tyson! and what not.

The problem with this is that a move toward a rational society requires, by definition, the elimination of the irrational from the equation. The only way to accomplish this completely is to either enslave, incarcerate or eliminate. In most cases it's all three.

In many ways, we're already moving toward Mr. Tyson's wet-dream fantasy of a ruled state. Already the Democratic party is calling for the incarceration of so-called "climate change deniers" in their official platform and the idea that people who make choices the 'rational' establishment considers wrong should be denied those choices continues to spread. As a society we've decided that it's totally acceptable to kill, unborn, those humans who we consider to be undesirable. And we've killed humans that we consider to be undesirable for years now. (i.e. the death penalty). How much further do we have to go to decide that death is a "rational" punishment for those who refuse to partake in the bounty that is Rationalia?

Is this a slippery-slope argument?  You bet.  But the reality is we've been told "trust us" many times by the authoritarians among us and they've leaped that hurdle every time. (Remember "we're not trying to FORCE anyone to adopt unisex restrooms. Honest?)

Avoiding the science fiction based world of SkyNet and Soylent Green for a moment, lets think about something a little more believable.

For one, I don't think that lining up American citizens behind the storage sheds and shooting them all in the face will ever happen. But with the rise of genetic research, selective breeding and the movement toward cradle to grave government education and stewardship of our children we are raising a society that is going to be bred, trained and hardwired to comply.

Your soon-to-be-born baby has a genetic marker that has been shown to imply a predisposition to cancer?  Abort it.  The babies that are born will be placed into the education system as soon as they are weaned. From day care to post-graduate education (which, considering the current state of decline of the American education system will be required in order to land a remedial office job) your child will be offered learning from the brightest minds, the best of the best. Instructors such as Neil deGrasse Tyson as an example.

Now let's say you remain a malcontent. You choose to believe something different than the established scientific line.  Your options?  You will be consigned, permanently, to the perpetual underclass doomed to live a soulless existence with all of your freedoms taken away, and all of your choices made for you. You will be provided food, shelter, medical care and other necessities but you will not be allowed to breed (your rebellion being viewed as a genetic defect that must be culled) and you will not be allowed to move freely.  In short, you will be enslaved to a life of hard labor from which you can never escape due to your inferior intellect and every decision in your life will be made by someone more enlightened. If you don't think this is possible, or if you laugh it off, take a look at the news today.

A bigger problem is what to do with the surplus population.  A rational view of the world, based on the weight of evidence, suggests that poverty is prevalent because there are just too many people clogging up the arteries of Gaia for her resources to be allocated effectively.

This is bad, because it means that huge swaths of humanity must either be eliminated, or ignored. In Rationalia enlightened individuals such as Mr. Tyson will determine who makes the cut and who doesn't. In the real world it's going to be decided through the rule of force, as it always has been.

In other words, you first Mr. Tyson.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

PostGOP: The Christianity we deserve, not the Christianity we need. #PostGOP

Another day, another adverse SCOTUS decision affecting Evangelical Christians and Catholics.

Supreme Court won't hear challenge on Washington State's rule that pharmacies dispense emergency contraception. Robert Barnes, Washington Post (mysteriously placed behind the Houston Chronicle's soon-to-be-reimposed firewall)

Coming on the heels of the abortion ruling (discussed yesterday here) and taken into the broader context of GLBTQ+ wedding cakes and other baubles Evangelicals and Catholics are, understandably, distraught.  And while I'm certainly not a man or religion, I do consider myself a Christian and am therefore somewhat sympathetic to the complaints of the religious, to a point.

I get that you feel under siege and that the walls of modern society are closing in around you, and I get that, because you've relied on government to achieve your aims, you feel that you are losing. I understand all of that and I empathize.

I would also argue that relying on the government to provide support for your faith was never a good option, or a preferred one.

One of the worst things that happened to religion (of man) vs Christianity (of God) is that it allowed itself to become politicized and it's issues framed among party lines. This has led not only to a fracturing of the congregations but also a dilution of the message.  Lest we forget, that message is salvation through Christ crucified.  Full stop.

All of the other that we are trying to do is legislate the world into our morality, instead of trying to work with them and guide them there. In short, there's no reason trying to put someone who doesn't care on a blind date with God.

It also makes no sense to believe that selling a GLBTQ+ couple a wedding cake somehow indicates de-facto support for GLBTQ+ marriage. That's the same as blaming a gun-maker for a person taking his gun and shooting someone. (OK, not literally the "same" but intellectually the same, I know some won't get that and I'll be accused of "comparing GLBTQ+ marriage to killing people!" but what can you do?)

It's long been my belief that any change for the better that we're going to see is going to be accomplished outside of the political arena. In the streets, neighborhoods and communities where help is needed most.  What Christians, and conservatives need is to abandon crying to our political ruling class every time we feel aggrieved and to get our message of economic freedom, rule of law, respect for property rights and limited regulatory frameworks out to the very people they will help the most.

But that's what we need.

What we deserve is Donald Trump assuring everyone that "Of course" he's a Christian and that he "loves God" despite having a tenuous grip on the Bible. We deserve to have leftist groups having their own private mic-drop moments by quoting Bible verses out of context and using them as proof of case.

In short, we deserve exactly the mess we have now because we've asked for the mess we have now.

And boy are we getting it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

PostGOP: On abortion, it is probably best to move on. #PostGOP

The SCOTUS has spoken and said that Texas' attempts to require surgical standards for a surgical procedure is Unconstitutional.  Of course, the Texas Lock Step is giddy not only that money will keep rolling in to their preferred organizations but that Wendy(?!?) Davis FINALLY won something.

Of course, Republicans are angry and suggest that the "fight" is not over.


A better idea, in my mind, is to move the issue out of the political arena and, as the volunteer did in the first linked article, start taking options to the streets. Maybe the correct response to the government-sanctioned killing of the unborn is not more government, but more advocacy?

Maybe it's time to let the poor and minorities (those who have the most abortions) see the faces of the angry well-to-do Caucasian women who are cheering for this. Maybe it's time to stop looking to leadership from the government at all levels, and go about opening more clinics for carry-to-term clinics in areas where abortion clinics don't operate.

People are not going to stop caring about this issue, no matter what the gang of fools writing for the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board think. As we've seen, abortion is a 'line in the sand' issue and there's really no room for compromise. You either think it's morally wrong, or you don't. If you do then you're most likely to either support banning ALL abortions, or severely restricting abortions in certain cases (Rape, incest and medical concerns). If you have no moral qualms then you probably don't favor any restrictions on abortion up to, and including, immediate post-birth abortions. (Of the type performed by Dr. Kermit Gosnell. (It is important to remember that, despite the atrocious nature of his crimes, there were some on the left who supported Dr. Gosnell and felt he did nothing wrong.)

If you're an anti-abortion advocate on the right it's pretty clear that you can expect no refuge in your fate from the government.

In other words, you need to start doing the hard work in the communities or just get the hell out of the way of history. Relying on carnival hucksters like Lt. Gov Patrick to make things better for you is false hope.

My gut tells me that whatever follows the GOP is going to have to be much less active in politics, and much more active on the ground.

Because, if they're not, progressive politics is going to imprison and enslave a generation of poor, primarily minority citizens with no hope of escape.  The only chance to reverse this is to provide a new narrative based on the power of markets, rule of law and economic freedom.

It beats where reliance on Republican leadership has gotten us.

Monday, June 27, 2016

HALV: When your hometown is Houston..... learn to put up with quite a bit of shit.

Over the weekend the wife and I traveled to Texas Hill Country to attend one of those outdoor cookouts that Texas wineries like to put on from time to time. This was fortuitous, for me, because it was the exact last day before I started an eight-week 800 calorie-per-day crash diet that's had promising results for Type-2 diabetics (which I am unfortunately).  It's also a good place to listen to some pretty good music, drink some pretty good wine and meet some pretty decent people who like doing the same.

And we met several people, we talked about all types of different things from Brexit to just how damn good the sparkling Rose that the winery is producing right now tastes and how it was perfect for a hot day.

Inevitably, the conversation would switch to the dreaded "so, where are you from?"  After answering "Houston" the reaction would always be the same. Slowly shaking heads, a downward glance, a look of sudden horror and then, softly "I'm sorry" and a short list of whatever ills people thought that Houston had.

Some of it was the weather, which is fair, but hardly the fault of the people in the city, even the detractors acknowledged that. Mostly it was the traffic, and the fact that the city charges insanely high taxes while providing little in the way of services in return.  As a matter of fact, the best way to get around the "I'm from Houston" label (and the acknowledgement of insanity that many think go with it) is to include the caveat that, in fact, I live just outside the city, in Cypress.  Ah, much better then.

To be fair, Austin didn't rank all that high on people's list either. So it wasn't that I was hanging around with a bunch of progressive Texans who thought everything should be centrally planned. In fact, most of the people there that lived in Austin HATED pretty much everything about Austin, and admitted that many of the reasons they originally moved there were no longer applicable in the city. You want the young, cool, hip city that Austin used to be?  Move to San Marcos.

At this point, were I writing a think piece for Gray Matters at I'd tell you the tale of how I, due solely to my brilliant wit, embarrassed all of the anti-Houston types and forced them to openly reveal their ignorance.

But this isn't fiction.  And I'm not a progressive activist/amateur writer trying to use my prose to make me seem more brilliant or brave than I really am.

In fact, when most people said "Houston Sucks!" I just went "Yup, but it's where my job is so....."
and that pretty much shut down any further ribbing I would receive.

That also happens to be true.  Houston does suck, pretty awfully. It's a super-heated, over-congested city with a crumbling infrastructure, ineffective (or, to be more accurate, "no") leadership and a ruling class that's only just slightly less annoying than it's courtesan class.

But the one thing that it, and most other cities in Texas, has going for it is (still) a crap-ton of jobs and places where you can get the hell away as David Crossley and his sycophants continue in their efforts to shoe-horn 4 Million people into a space designed for a Million max.

And I think, from now on, that's my answer to everything anti-Houston. I'm not going to defend the city from charges that it's ugly (it is) or that it's people are rude (they are, mostly) or that the infrastructure is crap (again, it is), I'm just going to sit quietly by the side as people tick off a laundry list of accurate things that are bad about where I currently reside.  When they finish?

"Yes, I know, but it's where my job is."

"Oh yeah, and I don't live IN Houston, I live in Cypress."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

PostGOP: Governed by the least of us.

Childish behavior reigns in the Federal House of Representatives....

Democrats hold house floor in election-year sit-in on guns. Erica Werner (AP via

At one point overnight, the two sides nearly came to blows after Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, approached the Democrats and yelled, "Radical Islam!" Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., started yelling back. The two came within inches of each other, both screaming, only to be separated by colleagues.
House Republicans used their prerogatives as the majority party to muscle through, with no time for debate, a partisan bill that provides money for the Zika crisis. GOP lawmakers overruled Democrats' objections and then acted to adjourn the House into next month. Democrats cried "Shame, Shame!" 
Unreal.  We've reached a point where re-enacting the bell-ringing, naked Cersi, walk of shame from Game of Thrones, and two utter morons hollering each other like children (although I doubt either of those fools would ever actually have the guts to come to 'blows').

The problem is GOP members, and their current alt-right majority followers, are backing the childish outburst of Rep. Louie Gohmert while Democrats, and their current majority of unthinking followers, are backing the immature screaming of Rep. Corrine Brown.

A pox on all of their houses (pun intended) as the current gang of fools that we've elected to represent us shows, once again, that they are incapable of adult behavior.

The problem is that most of us (except 12% of poll respondents who have their head in the sand obviously) don't like Congress as a whole, but think that the jerks that represent us might indeed be jerks, but they're OUR jerks and are jerky in a manner that we prefer.

And that's the problem. It's why Gohmert, a man who has the debate skills of a rabid grizzly bear, and Brown, who is one of the dimmer members of Congress, continue to pull money from the taxpayer trough.

A healthy source of blame also needs to be laid at the feet of those who blindly follow party over principle, those same people who are now supporting The Bronzed Ego and Anointed One respectively.

What we're seeing now is the new normal, because (and we don't want to recognize this but it's true) Congress is a fuzzy mirror of our collective society as a whole. If we don't require of them adult behavior, and if we don't show it in our political discourse among ourselves, then we're going to be in for much worse before it gets better.  If it ever can at this point.

Society (and politics) always finds a way to plumb the bottom.  Always.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

PostGOP: The More Things Change....the more the American experiement goes awry.

A couple of nights ago I saw a Mercedes commercial discussing the future of self-driving cars. It was a pretty neat thing with a dad having a learning moment with his daughter using a video screen while the car drove down the freeway.

I turned to my wife and said 'In our lifetime we'll see self-driving cars'.

Then I got to thinking.

"How do we know that the two people in the car were a dad and his daughter?"

I mean, the country is currently undergoing a massive re-evaluation of what is, and what is not, acceptable on the marriage, gender identification front. And while it seems ridiculous to say that a societal return to authorized pedophilia would ever happen (remember, pre-teen girls marrying older men was quite common, even in Western culture, not all that long ago) is it silly to think that we might return to those days?

The point is that things move fast. Sure, the groundwork for the sexual and political transformation (calling it a revolution is a disservice to actual revolutions) that America is undergoing has been being laid for years, in colleges, in public schools, if history is being written by the victors then future history is going to have a decidedly progressive slant.

The thing is, there's no "wrong side of history" but there is a "losing side of history" and that's the side that you don't want to be on.  We're going to have to come to grips with the idea, for now, that conservatives are most certainly on the losing side and there's very little that can be done about it in the short term.

For the highest elected office in the so-called "beacon of freedom" for the world we're going to be faced with a choice between a corrupt, paranoid egotistical woman with no redeeming moral quality, or a complete and utter berk who happens to be a self-promoter with a childish set of debate skills. If we have a choice at all.  Because, at this point, The Bronzed Ego appears to have decided to mail it in against The Anointed One giving legs to all of those "stealth Democratic operative" conspiracy theories.

A bigger problem is the increased tendency of every level of government (regardless of party affiliation) to try and throw the US Constitution into a very large paper shredder.  From the 1st Amendment to the 10th, and through all of the V articles, the only thing that politicians seem to take interest in are the items that provide them with more power.

Because of this, the 9th Amendment is pretty cool to Progressives because it allows them to create so-called "rights" which they then use as a cudgel to limit the actual freedoms that their political opponents pretend to enjoy.  For Republicans, relegated to joke status and limited to controlling the States, the 10th Amendment is a fave-rave because it lets them file lawsuits and call for a gang of idiots to meet in a doomed-upon-announcement Article V convention of the States.

The idea behind the convention?  To further amend the US Constitution putting more power in their hands.

We have a media that's dropped all pretense of neutrality, and which is actively arguing for the rights of other people to be curtailed. We've even gone to calling for the detention of political dissenters on a variety of issues.

It's an old cliché but true, the United States, the so-called freest country in the world, has the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration (excluding N. Korea, for whom we have no reliable data) in it by far.  You're only free in America if you choose to toe the line. Step off the line, even for a second, and an army of paramilitary shock-troops come busting down your door to slap the nonconformity out of you.

Amazingly now, in Texas which bills itself as the reddest of red states, they don't even have to follow proper due process to use evidence against you.

We have cities that are devolving into de-facto war zones where more people are dying on a weekend than Omar Mateen killed at Pulse. Yet no one is saying anything about it because it's "just a bunch of minorities killing minorities" and we've somehow decided that that's OK, as long as progressives are running things and making sure that it's their patronage system in place.

We don't debate anymore in America, we snarl, snarkily of course. It's gotten so bad that some in societies lowest-common-denominator (the US Senate, for those of you new to this blog) publicly stated that Republicans wanted to "sell guns to ISIS" because they didn't want to pass a so-called gun control bill that would strip around a Million people of due-process rights.  Then those same water-carriers voted against a compromise bill because.....election season.

In a just world those politicians would be paraded in the public square, laughed at, and faced a barrage of rotting vegetables being hurled their way.  This before being booted from office (if not recalled for sheer stupidity) and their names forever enshrined as a synonym for stupid.

Instead, they're being praised for making "sick burns" of the other side and the best observers can do is shake their head and talk about just how prescient the fairly pedestrian movie Idiocracy really was.

It's not that we should yearn for a return to so-called "greatness" or that going back to the bygone days of old would be ideal. But isn't it OK to yearn for a return of competency and that we move forward in an intelligent manner?

As a conservative, I tire of political figures (and gadflys) trying to put on Ronald Reagan's ideological underwear and parade around in a false fug of nostalgia, just like I tire of progressives trying to solve the current financial mess by clamoring for a return to a 1960's economy.

There are great ideas out there, the so-called "gig" economy, self-driving cars, telephones that have more computing power inside them than the entire NASA moon mission, but we waste all of that focusing on trains, bikes, footpaths, selfies and 140 character pieces of mediocre snark.

We've chosen to view government as an ATM machine and then we're appalled when politicians (saying 'greedy politicians' is a redundancy) use it to dole out cash to their friends, supporters and ideological fellow-travelers. We call for better leadership but cast our votes for two of the worst leaders in the modern era.

In short, we keep doing what we've always done, just more so and more loudly, and expect to wake up in the morning to a different America.

Because of this I've come to the conclusion that we are all insane.

Which, when you really think about it, explains quite a bit.

Friday, June 17, 2016

PostGOP: The American Political System as Low-brow Comedy Act

Over 100 people were shot and either killed or injured at Pulse, a GLBTQ+ nightclub, in Orlando a few days ago.  The shooter, Omar Mateen, was the son of Afghan immigrants and a Muslim who was apparently radicalized and, quite possibly, both gay himself and likely slightly mentally unstable.

To the Democratic sycophants that make up the editorial board of the New York Times (alongside many Democrat-first, GLBT+ issues second, activists, this is enough evidence to point the finger for the crimes at..........

White, middle-class, middle-aged, conservative, Christian males. A group of people with whom Mateen most assuredly had very limited, if any, contact.  If, like most thinking people, you look at those conclusions with confusion, it won't matter to those on the Left. Just like a discussion surrounding whether or not Mateen was, in fact, gay does not enter into the thought process on the right.

What enters the minds of writers, non-thinkers, media talking-heads and 'activists*' on both sides has been guns. In fact, the most pressing issue of the moment is whether or not to do two things with them. First, the old "common sense" canards are rolled out.  Banning so-called "assault" weapons for one (which would have no effect and had no effect on crime the first time it was tried) and second, suspending due process for Millions of Americans who might find themselves on a vaguely defined 'terrorist watch list'.

If you're surprised that so-called social liberals would move down this path remember this: It was the Democratic Party that was the driving force behind Japanese internment camps during WWII.  So what's happening now should not entirely surprise you.  As Jonah Goldberg says "what a dumb time to be alive".

I concur.

Kevin D. Williamson also offers up some thoughtful, wise and accurate observations on the matter. Pointing out to people that this is not about, nor has it ever been about, "reducing crime". Instead it's about gaining power, exerting control and silencing a large, but shrinking, political group that has been unfriendly toward Democrats historically.  One of the few unprotected classes left in America is the Caucasian conservative male.  There is no flag for him, no movement cutting commercials or Hollywood star shedding crocodile tears. In fact, the lampoon of the redneck hick, fat, wearing a dirty wife-beater t-shirt (dirty because he worked in it all day not because he spilled food and beer on it FWIW) is not openly mocked, but encouraged.

Editorial cartoonists, who would much rather have their arms forcefully removed and their children beaten with them than draw a caricature of Mohammed, gleefully mock and disparage middle-American men with no worry of career repercussion. You can draw Bubba being racist, but you cannot draw Omar being a homophobe.

Nor is it possible to have a rational discussion around what could likely be the real story.

A Muslim man, who happened to be a closeted homosexual, struggled with the social and moral norms of a religious belief system that is 100% opposed to the GLBTQ+ community even being alive. Thinking his sexuality a personal flaw, and unable to turn anywhere for help and support, he lashed out in the way he was taught by radical elements who used his anger toward the world to kill and wound around 100 people.  The other option is that he cased the club and planned his attack. In that case he's not disturbed at all, just a radical Islamist who committed a horrendous act of terror. We may never know where the truth lies because he didn't leave many hints.

There is a lot in that paragraph above that both sides could possibly agree on, and work to fix.

But that is not how American politics work today.

Today we have comedians like Sally Kohn banging away at her typewriter that all Republicans are racist homophobes, we have Donald Trump crowing that he was "right" about terrorism as he stares fondly into his gold-framed mirror. We are stuck with elected representatives who look at polls, listen to campaign advisors and don't have the intellectual heft to generate an original thought.  And we have a President who is a suit so empty it's almost folded.

We don't have a government, we have a comedy show.

The only problem is, right now, there's nothing much funny about it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

BadMedia: Rights of Convenience and Partisanship.

The Orlando tragedy, while horrible and abhorrent, has also provided some much needed clarity regarding how both the politicians of the ruling class and the media members in the courtesan class feel about those they view as subservient.

The short answer is that they honestly believe, in their more honest moments, that the ruled have no rights unless they are conveyed upon them at the whims of those in charge. America has devolved from "unalienable rights endowed by our Creator" to "flexible rights endowed by your intellectual betters". It's been a short ride to the bottom of the freedom index but we appear to be at a position where there is little political blow-back to be felt by those with authoritarian impulses.

In fact, if you're of the correct political disposition (read: Statist/PC Authoritarian) then you are encouraged to strip the public of rights on a whim, or as you feel the political winds blow in your favor.

Not only encouraged, but openly praised for doing so and provided a non-sequitous moral justification for calling for the stripping away of fundamental rights.

But this is what the media does today. It's a bias that's not beholden to any party, but to an idea that the rights of the plebes are fungible and they only exist to serve the mechanisms of the State.  Of course, those on the left withdraw with the shrieking horrors if confronted with this, offering up a milieu of news articles that attack Democratic political figures as 'proof' the media has no bias and is actually biased toward the right.  This is, of course, yet another non-sequitur and should be dismissed out of hand.

For as long as there has been a free and active media in America it has been biased. The difference from today's media is that the old publications wore their bias proudly, like a badge of honor.  Early newspapers were typically small operations ran by ideologues who were either pro-independence, or pro-Britain. They made no attempts to hide this and made no apologies for slanting their news thusly.

Even William Randolph Hearst was biased. He was pro-war during WWII and virulently opposed to FDR's New Deal. In fact, most media outlets as recently at the 1950s openly admitted their reporting had an agenda.

Something changed in the 1960s however, especially when CBS News (under the watchful, socialist eye of Walter Cronkite) realized that the news could become a profit center instead of a cost sink. Suddenly the idea of 'press nobility' started to take hold and Americans were sold the narrative of a 'neutral press' reporting issues 'down the center' with no agenda whatsoever.  So-called "firewalls" between news reporting and editorial functions were mock-erected to prove to the public that a media outlet (especially newspapers) could advocate for an issue on one page while dispassionately reporting it on another.  The public, never one to pay all that much attention to news, bought the lie and the dumbing of the populace deepened.

Of course, the media will be struck with the vapors if this is mentioned with their standard response being "I've never heard anyone in the newsroom express an agenda" and they'll constantly inform you that they have 'no idea' which way a political reporter votes. (Which is silly if you pay attention to both their writing and (today) their social media accounts where their content and unfiltered asides give them away.)

There are two important things to know about all media.

First, they all are writing toward a political true North. This is true for both Conservative-leaning media outlets (Fox News, Breitbart, Wall St. Journal) and Liberal-leaning ones (New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN etc.). They have never stopped doing it they have just been very successful in marketing the unbiased reporter mythos and it has taken hold.

Second, the left is far more disciplined than is the right. Part of this is due to the fact that most of the education for journalists slants very left. Because of this reporters for conservative sites are either a.) not degreed journalists or b) journalists dismissed from so-called "mainstream" media outlets with an axe to grind. in many cases conservative 'journalists' are in all actuality entertainers.

This is why the leftist media (minus some op-ed writers who happen to be Socialists) stayed relatively true to the Anointed One despite the Sanders uprising while the media of the right fell full sway to the Bronzed Ego. It's also why you never see affordable housing referred to as what it really is: taxpayer subsidized housing.

All of that leads us to this. A place where the discussion of rights is framed entirely from the perspective of one political party.  A party that has worked tirelessly to strip citizens of those rights I might add. In very recent times the Statists (usually on the left but sometimes on the right), cheered on by the media, have worked to usurp the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and the Tenth Amendments. In fact, the only Amendment the current crop of Statists appear to be in favor of is the Ninth, which allows them to bestow "rights" to certain political groups as they see fit.

Thus you have the newly-created right to marry, the right to food, the right to wealth and prosperity, a right to a living wage, a right to healthcare, a right to own a home, a universal right to vote etc.

It's important to note that all of these are not rights, but privileges, which can (and are) lost if you fail to follow the rules of polite society.

But polite society has little to do with modern day politics. Nor does it have anything to do with most of the reporting in modern day media.  Both have morphed into a lecture circuit where the ruled are constantly reminded that they cannot properly function without guidance from the ruling.

In other words, you don't want what you want, you really want what they say you can have.

Oh beautiful for spacious skies and all of that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

PostGOP: The ruling class needs you to hate.

In the wake of the worst act of terror in US history the political ruling class is relying on you to hate.

What you hate largely will depend on what side of the political aisle you fall.  For Republicans, the target is Islamism. In the more dirty corners of the alt-right movements it's Islam itself. For Democrats, the target is Constitutional freedoms and, more importantly to them, Republicans. Because to politicians every action is a political opportunity in the making both sides are rushing to judgment in a direction that they feel will cause the most damage to the other side.

GLBT/Liberal activist Sally Kohn has waged a single-person war against Republicans on Twitter all but claiming them to be accomplices in the shooting because of that nebulous term called "hate". It's not Omar Mateen who killed 50 people and injured another 53, it's Republican rhetoric against the GLBT community. Obama and Clinton (increasingly one and the same person) have called for suspending the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens, and ripped a page from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's book by suggesting that the key to all of this is love.

Trump?  Well, he's scorched earth and taking the "look at me" approach by bragging he was "right" to have his stance on Islam.  One thing Trump and Obama have in common is an extreme level of narcissism that requires them to always be the center of attention no matter the situation.  As Conservative gadfly David Burge (@iowahawk on Twitter) "The bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral".  None of these events are about the people, they're framed and messaged into being about the great leader, the supreme being whose elevation to the office of President will save us from our more base tendencies.

All of this creates two national conversations that have nothing to do with one another and no chance of ever finding common ground. While the useful idiots over at Vox are Voxsplaining Obama's so-called prescient foresight the in-the-tank-for-Trump sycophants at Breitbart are celebrating the supposed "threat to the left's agenda".  Of course, both are wrong. 

First, the idea that a so-called "lone-wolf" attacker could strike at any time was not some celestially received knowledge that Obama along possessed and second, the idea that the left's agenda is somehow threatened by reality is a pipe-dream.

No agenda is ever truly threatened by fact. Both sides function on hate, fear and greed and rely on the relatively uniformed electorate to push them across the line.

The easy solutions are gun control, suspension of Constitutional rights and rounding up the usual suspects. The hard slog is admitting the fact that, in a free, liberal, democratic society, there will always be threats and dangers that bad people can do harm. For years this has been the trade off that American's have accepted. We get that there are risks, but we're willing to take those risks in order to ensure our supposed freedoms.

The problem that we're starting to see is that the trade-off is becoming imbalanced. We still have the threat and risks (mainly due to lax-enforcement of law and political concerns) but we've lost the freedom to make our own choices. We've lost property rights and we're incarcerating more people than anyone else in the world and at a higher rate as well. The predominate number of those in jail are minorities. We like to play pretend that America is a free nation on a shining hill but the fact of the matter is we've morphed into a militarized police state where it's easier to break the law than it is to toe the line.

Besides the over-criminalization of society, the fact that the ruling class has decided to pick and choose which laws to enforce has led to the devolution of the United States into a large banana republic instead of a great experiment. There are few, if any, politicians left who seem to have the ability to turn this around, to reverse course and get things working again.

Freedom, and the politics associated with it, is based on hope and respect, tyranny is based on hate and fear. For all of Obama's "hope and change" rhetoric what he was really pushing for was the hatred of freedom, the expansion of government and a statist desire to expand government into every area of American life. Obama never had hope that the people would make the right decisions, he always feared how they would choose. 

If you think this is going to get any better with either the Bronzed Ego or the Anointed One in the Oval Office you're fooling yourself.  America is on the cusp of electing a President who will take the next step to authoritarianism regardless of which option they select. You can say this with confidence because neither candidate has the ability to deal with dissent in an adult manner.

In the interim however, get ready to see a lot more calls to hate.  We're about to go from the "3 minutes hate" to the "5 months hate" and it's not going to be pretty.  In fact, it's going to get worse until people realize exactly what we're about to do to ourselves.

I'm not sure we have it in us any longer to understand that. Nor would we prescribe the needed remedy even if we did.

(hint: it's not 'revolution' or Abbott's nitwits tying to form a "convention of the states", nor is it a rewrite of the Constitution, or the repeal of the Bill of Rights that Harry Reid so wants to see. In short, it's nothing that's being proposed by the two major parties currently.)

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Presumptuous Blogging: Things You Should Read (06/09/2016)

In the battle of Trump vs. Clinton, we all are losers.

Journalism has been dead for a while now.  All we're really doing is kicking the corpse when we notice things that are obviously wrong/biased.  Think about this: If you read a news story about a subject you know and see all of the errors they are making, why do you believe their stories on things about which you have less/no knowledge?

Journalism is just one source of information.  And it's as likely as anything else to be wrong. (or right)

David French is not running for President. Nor should he. By all accounts he's a decent man and politics is no longer an arena for decent people.

I don't think the Brexit will actually happen.  But if it does, it's going to be funny watching the hand-wringing that occurs. In the end though, much like Scottish independence, I think cooler heads should prevail.

Of course, all of that is independent of whether it SHOULD occur or not, and whether this is the last, best chance to drive a heart through the economic vampire that is the EU.

Why is it the OTHER side that is always mad? While petty political opinion-shares on the left, such as Blow, and on the right, such as Coulter, demonize the other side while happily ignoring the transgressions of their own?

This type of ends justifies the means thinking has given us The Bronzed Ego v. The Anointed One. In short, this is the election we deserve.  But not the one America needs.

Election season PSA: The worse the politician, the more 'fight' they think they have in them. Hillary Clinton is a serial fighter.  In her own mind at least.  To the rest of us she's a career opportunist who has never shied away from using her positions of power to make a fast buck.

That's not fighting, it's graft and payola.  Were she in the private sector she would be arrested.

The current state of comedy is dire. Comedy should, at times, offend. When it loses the ability to do that then it loses it's purpose in life.  Increasingly, comedians are becoming nothing more than boorish scolds (Amy Schumer) or just incredible pricks (Seth Rogan).

Were Carlin still around he'd slap the taste out of their mouths and then curse about it.

The FDA declares "war" on salt. Because the "war on fat" turned out to be oh so accurate in it's assumptions.  Also, 'fighting'.

Bad Political Ideas Never (EVER) Die. And while it might seem that the concept of "a basic income" was soundly defeated in Switzerland I guarantee you that some politician with an ego will eventually get it implemented somewhere.  Because people always want things they think are 'free' as long as their not immediately faced with the cost.

What passes for political leadership in Texas these days. From the Democrats anyway (Texas Republican aren't much better, just different). The sad thing is that the know-nothings of the 'netroots' will hold this idiot up as some kind of folk hero, just as they did with Wendy(?!?) Davis and the morons who fled to Ardmore for some light gambling and massages.

Yay political idiocy!

Political line, that happens to be true, of the week: Courtesy of Kevin D. Williamson:  "We are ruled by power mad buffoons."


#ExGOP: The Shock of Disaffiliation. Jay Nordlinger, National Review - Honestly, severing ties with the party of Donald has not been all that much of a shock for me. The Republicans dug their own grave, it's time to lie in it for a while.  My only hope is that the Nation realizes the folly of progressive rule fairly quickly and the damage is limited to four years rather than eight.

Either way the country is going to survive. The American Experiment might not however. (or, it could already be dead)

The outrage of the enablers. It's funny when the enlightened set (this one was gifted a Pulitzer) discover things that other have been beating the drums on for years. It's even funnier when they used to characterize the opposition as the 'party of no' in attempts to be witty.

Houston is f____d. There's no other way to say it.

Demographics is Destiny! (Dammit!)  The hope being that the Republicans have finally nominated someone so foul that the stay-at-home Hispanic vote will finally get off its ass and back the people that financially well-off Caucasians want them to back.

This is just sad. Why get fired up like this about the ravings of lunatics?  Find a hobby, plant a tree, take up golf, do SOMETHING other than watch people with little idea about what they are talking about wax poetic. (No wait, I just asked you to stop reading this blog.  Don't do that)

Also, Gray Matters is officially Houston's Fainting Couch. That's not a good thing.

Think before you post. If you're not willing to accept the consequences for what you say online, then don't say it.  This young lady just got a lesson in that and I hope it sticks.

Too many Republicans train their guns on themselves. I planned to give this a full-on blog post, but I don't think I'll have the time. Let me just say this:

One of the biggest problems that Republicans have is that a large portion of their voters are ignorant about just how the political system works. The right media figured this out and pandered to them. The result is that workable, moderately conservative, legislation gets pilloried as being crafted by "RINO's" (a stupid, silly label that has no real meaning) and nothing gets done.  You do see the same thing on the left, to a lesser extent, but their dysfunction is often that they are just running out of other people's money to give away.

And finally.....

The so-called "sprawl tax" is not a tax. It's telling that the people who are running to the fainting couch over this are the same people who loudly advocate for raising actual taxes.

What this implies is that they are against choices, not taxation. Their sole-concern is control and they want to wrest it from you and force you to live a lifestyle that they prefer, for you, so that they can continue living the lifestyles that they have chosen for themselves.

This is progressive politics in a nutshell. It's insidious, dishonest, and they're starting to have trouble covering that messy fact up.

Monday, June 06, 2016

In Memoriam: Lessons from Muhammad Ali.

On Friday, America lost a legend. And now we move on to the rather silly activity of watching the media, and our politicians, try and tell us what it all means.

This is pretty easy for progressives, who operate under no defining political principle, you simply pander to whatever group you're wanting to pander, try and hit the Republicans for something stupid they've done, and move on.  It's a little harder for Conservatives, who first have to reconcile the fact that they disagree with many of the things Ali said as a young man. Ali joined the Nation of Islam, an organization with which the conservative thinker often finds themselves at cross-purposes.

Quite often, this leads to politicians whose names are trailed by (R) making silly statements, like the member of Congress from Tennessee who disparaged Ali (posthumously of course) as a "draft dodger".  Ignoring for a minute that the esteemed congressman's taunts are factually incorrect (more on that later), his timing is poor and displays cowardice, and it also provides progressives a platform on which to forward their dishonest "All conservatives are racist" screed.

What we forget, over the passage of time, is that Ali was just as polarizing in his day as the Bronzed Ego and the Anointed One are today.  Possibly even more so. In fact, his stance on the Vietnam war, his role in it, and what his country was requiring him to do was one of the most controversial personal acts in recent history.

It was also brave.  And while I disagree with Ali's contention (as a young man) that Vietnam was a continuance of the "white man's attempt to enslave people of darker color" I do respect his convictions and attempts to not participate. I respect the fact that he refused conscription into the armed forces and fought the government to the extent of personal and professional ruin. For 3 1/2 years the United States of America stripped Ali of his means of earning a living, he lost his boxing titles and most of his personal wealth trying not to go fight in Vietnam.  Say what you want about anything else, but you have to admire the conviction.

In my lifetime I knew Ali primarily as a fighter, as a boxing fan I knew him as the greatest heavyweight of all time, and then as an almost mythical figure whose physical shell abandoned him but his works and philanthropy survived. I had heard about his not participating in Vietnam but didn't think much of it.  As I read about it however I came to admire him even more, despite not agreeing with him politically.

And that's OK.  Because if we didn't like everyone with which we disagreed politically then conservatives would face a pretty barren entertainment landscape.  I have nothing politically in common with Rage Against the Machine, yet I am a huge fan of their music. Mark Ruffalo is one of my favorite actors on the big screen today. Despite this he has stated a preference that me, and people like me, be deprived of our personal freedoms and placed in prison. But I don't care about that because he's a good actor and I have enjoyed his movies up until now.

Part of the reason that we're starting to see America burn under the fire of riot in our political process is because we're starting to think that the people who believe a different way are sub-human. We're falling into the same trap that people did back in the late '60s during Ali's time. As much as we like to say that we've grown and become more sophisticated America is still nothing more than the same apes throwing the same rocks at one another, only now it's happening in a digital, social-media driven, age where everything is shared with everyone instantaneously.

What this means is that, when Tennessee Rep. Martin Daniel says something Stupid and Keith Olbermann says something stupid back an army of Internet culture keyboard warriors skulk anonymously to social media to try and score settle. What we should all agree on is this:  Daniel is an idiot, Olbermann is a moron and neither of them speak for the majority of us.

Because if they do we're in a world of trouble.

RIP Champ, thanks for the memories.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Decline: Two seemingly unrelated, but telling, stories.

Today there were two good pieces on National Review Online, related to entirely different topics, but each telling in their own way.

The first piece reminds us that the government that is no longer answerable to its citizens is no longer governing, but ruling.

Pinocchios with Pensions, Kevin D. Williamson, National Review Online

From Lois Lerner’s weaponizing the IRS on behalf of Democrats before the 2012 elections to Mrs. Clinton’s toilet-server shenanigans to gross abuses of prosecutorial power among Democratic state attorneys general, the lesson of the Obama years is clear: If you are close enough to power, you can do anything, and there is never a price to pay.

The second piece is a reminder that a media that tries to make, rather than report, news is no longer media but propaganda.

Katie Couric: More Reality TV Star than Journalist. Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online.

This is the more lasting lesson of the Couric scandal: Reality TV has conquered all. As a society, we want to be entertained far more than we want to be informed, which is why these scandals vanish the instant they become boring. It’s also why Katie Couric is more a reality-TV star than a real journalist.

Both of these stories combine to illustrate why the United States is an empire in the last stages of decline.

For one, we've thrown away our representative system of government for a representative form of rule. Yes, we ostensibly have a say in who is ruling over us (but not in reality, as I noted yesterday) but the actual mechanisms of government, the administration, is often staffed by un-elected bureaucrats freed from the needs of shaking babies and kissing hands.

Couple that with the fact that more people typically vote on an episode of American Idol than they do in the typical election (the Presidential election possibly being an exception) and you have a recipe for decline on a Biblical scale.  The Romans ruled the world, but eventually even they went off the boil, primarily due to a gluttonous public distracted by "bread and circuses" (thank you Juvenal) while their leaders wallowed in depravity. The concept of "media" in those days was slightly more limited in an age where all writing was done by hand, often on papyrus and at great difficulty. In fact the closest thing the Romans got to "media" was public speeches (and paid counter-agitators within the crowds) by Caesar and the Senators.

What we have today isn't really media either. It's propaganda. In fact, throughout most of American history there hasn't been the romanticized "media" working feverishly to uncover corruption, fraud and abuse on behalf of the citizen, as Hollywood romanticized. Early newspaper publishers were sharply partisan, and their publications were often de facto house organs for their chosen political party. The Screwtape Letters, Poor Richard's Almanac, The Federalist Papers were all propaganda forwarded by politicians with a stake in the game. Quite literally, that stake could have been being hanged for high treason.

Today the stakes aren't nearly as high.  IF a reporter is caught violating the so-called public trust then they are typically released from their journalism position and make an immediate transition to the PR team of some politician.  This typically makes sense because it is most likely that they were getting most of their copy from said team to begin with. In most cases however, As Mr. Goldberg points out, there are short bursts of outrage by the offended side, followed by a non-apology apology and this blue pebble churns along as if nothing untoward has happened.  Until it's time for the next outrage.

As Mr. Williamson points out it's very common for the "outrage" to emanate from the government itself. Since there's no functional independent media apparatus to check them, they pretty much can operate with complete impunity knowing that there will be no serious, lasting repercussions for their actions.

While this doesn't mean, yet, that the American government is sending out shock troops to kneecap their political opposition, it does mean that people can suggest that political opponents be arrested and hardly anyone bats an eye. In fact, there are a large group of people who would stand and cheer America's descent into full-on authoritarianism. The problem for the people that are cheering is that they will be the first ones line up against the wall in the purge of the bourgeoisie, betrayed by their ruling bettors in Night of the Long Knives fashion. One thing about authoritarians, they ALWAYS have to have a purge.

This is not a conspiracy theory, nor am I predicting that the United States of America will fail as a State in the immediate future. As we've seen in the past, it's never too late for a (brief) renaissance of a State and America, with her still-powerful but stagnant economy, has a singular ability to pull back from the brink and reclaim greatness. 

The problem is that doing so is going to take information and several cans of care. Right now it doesn't seem that the media, citizenry, or government care all that much about providing either.

Texas Leadership Vacuum: About that Abbott/Trump U mess. #TLSPM

Five years ago (5), then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott declined to push a case against Trump U, who agreed to leave the State.  Shortly after that Trump made some donations totaling $35K to the Abbott campaign, one of the only Republicans he donated to in that cycle.

We know this, because the AP had a paragraph mentioning it in a broader story about the failed real estate training program.

Trump University Model: Sell Hard, Demand to see a warrant. Jeff Horwitz and Michael Biesecker,

Besides the probe that led to Attorney General Schneiderman's suit in New York, the office of then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, opened a civil investigation of "possibly deceptive trade practices." Abbott's probe was quietly dropped in 2010 when Trump University agreed to end its operations in Texas. Trump subsequently donated $35,000 to Abbott's successful gubernatorial campaign, according to records.

It is important to note that we did not hear about this due to the diligent reporting of the Texas Lock-Step Political Media.  Oh sure, NOW they're reporting it (frequently classifying it as "BREAKING!" news hilariously) but during the time, and even in the run-up to the last election, it apparently wasn't a priority for the TLSPM.  Now however, all over it. Like. A. Rash.

This shouldn't surprise you much, because the story and, more importantly, the manner in which it's been reported, says as much about the TLSPM than it does about Abbott himself.

For one, the idea that there is a group of reporters in Austin furiously beating the bushes in Austin, looking to uncover nefarious dealings under the Pink Dome is both a romanticized myth, and a lie. In fact, you have a small (and getting smaller) group of cub reporters whose main job is attending press conferences and speaking with Democratic Opposition Research teams, and advocacy groups, in order to be fed stories.

What this story really suggests is that the Oppo research team for then-Democratic Superwoman Wendy(?!?) Davis was not necessarily all that robust. Neither were the teams for Abbott's primary opponents. (To be fair however, the field did pretty much clear out of him)  Despite this, you would have thought that some Republican with aspirations to be Governor might have uncovered what is basically a public record events and "connected the dots" as reporters like to say.

Secondly this rolls back the classic lie that "reading a daily newspaper is the only way to be informed".  No, it's really not. In fact, given the rather miserable state of news-gathering organizations these days I'd say reading a newspaper has fallen in importance to reading a gossip rag. Today most, if not all, stories are force fed to a group of reporters who have become lazy and over-reliant on institutional sources.  If you're not getting your news from a variety of sources, you're really missing out.

Third, it's high-time we all come to the conclusion that all politicians, even the ones that we choose to like, are at their core political animals who would strongly consider sub-letting their children for a six figure donation, IF they thought the public wouldn't find out about it that is. In the corporate world "office politics" is a bad thing. In politics they are the rules of the game.  We put people in a position where we hold them up to be experts on everything, and then act surprised when they sub-let their expertise to people who are willing to give them money to listen to it.

I for one am shocked, SHOCKED! to discover that there is gambling at this establishment. But we shouldn't be, and we shouldn't be surprised that the TLSPM IS shocked because it's pretty clear that they've been taking part in it for a while now.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Election 2016: Where I am right now. #PostGOP

I thought that this piece by Ramesh Ponnuru over at National Review Online was pretty good.

Trump vs. Clinton: Grim choice for conservatives. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review.

No voter is under any moral obligation to judge whether Trump or Clinton is the lesser evil. 
Refusing to vote for either one of them — by writing someone in, voting third party, or voting only for other offices — need not be an evasion of reality or a shirking of civic duty. It may be the right choice, at least if it is combined with tolerance for conservatives who make different judgments in this dismal year.

As a resident of one of the reddest districts (TX-2) in the reddest State, just, it's highly likely that my vote for any office is going to be meaningless.  For all of the talk about democracy and what not the fine State of Texas tradition of gerrymandering pretty much ensures that while the 'participatory' portion is encouraged, the effective is pretty much all but meaningless. As is any one, individual vote.

Politics in Texas has devolved into a shit-show of long-time party activists bemoaning how hard they 'fought' to 'build' something that probably shouldn't have been built in the first place. It's a clusterfuck of epic proportions to watch the modern-day Texas GOP convince itself that pay-for-play slates don't dominate, and that a large portion of it's electorate simply pushes the 'straight-ticket Republican' button on the machines and goes on their merry way.

In fact, Texas democracy has gotten so bad that the State is effectively broken at a functional level. It's probable that you have a better chance of getting something done in Italy than you do in Texas. Hell France probably has a better "git 'er done" rate than does the Lone Star State of today.

The Texas Agricultural Commission is ran by a buffoon, the Texas General Land Office is ran by a nascent political careerist whose election was brought about mostly by his name, and certainly not by his grasp of GLO issues, and the Texas Comptroller's Office is staffed by a man who is taking his cues from former disaster Susan Combs.  All of this and we haven't even spoken about the AG who is under indictment for (and mostly likely guilty of) securities fraud, and a Governor who's idea of a strong political stand is making fund-raising pleas based on his pie-in-the-sky call for a gang of nitwits to conduct a Article V Convention of the States. Something that will never happen, but from the promise of which much campaign cash can be raised.  When he's not talking about suing the Feds that is.

My Congressman, Ted Poe, is now supporting light-rail expansion in a city where it makes no sense, and is really not doing much of anything.  Ted Cruz is marginalized, and John Cornyn is....well, he's John Cornyn, possibly the blandest man in Texas politics now that David Dewhurst has left the building. (thank goodness)  On the bright side, he has a good head of hair. On the downside? He has a bad head for policy.

The Texas Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, is by all accounts a petty, vindictive man, who has decided that conservatives are the worst people in the world and the Lieutenant Governor is an avowed Theocrat with a monster Messiah complex and some pretty scary authoritarian instincts. In short, he's a demagogue.

Even more depressing is the fact that this group of clowns is in power because the Democrats don't even elevate to the level of a bad joke in Texas.  Yes, they get pumped up by the sycophants working in the Texas Lock-Step Political Media, but when they get ready for prime time and to meet the Texas voters we're subjected to moon-shots for Texas education, ringing the damn bell, filling the damn boot, bad (horrible) singing political ads, a candidate who didn't campaign but apparently cooked some chili, a technocrat's technocrat and the most overrated pair of pink tennis shoes in modern history.

At least the Republican candidates, for all of their faults, could fog a political mirror. Texas Democrats are the equivalent of an intellectual pop-gun.  In fact, they did us all a favor when they fled to the casino in Ardmore, maybe they should consider a permanent relocation? (hint: take the netroots with you. It will help, I promise, no one likes a group of people who continually call them stupid.)

The rub of all this is that, with the possible exception of people in Houston, Dallas and Austin, Texans are an agreeable lot, still (somewhat) self-reliant and unlikely to be caught up in all of the commotion surrounding the so-called "hot issues". Most people just want roads that are in better shape than those in developing nations (without tolls would be nice), secure neighborhoods, good schools and either trades education or decent secondary education for their kids. Issues such as sanctuary cities (the 'most important' issue of the next legislative session per the Governor) who takes the piss where (hint: let the market work it out) and all of the other issues you see on the news are mainly not on the public radar.

Until there's a party that starts talking about these issues there will continue to be more and more people pulling back from participatory democracy believing, correctly FWIW, that their single vote doesn't matter a hill of beans.  The rub is, it doesn't.  Because, in the grand scheme of things, one person sitting in a tiny voting booth pushing a button on any one race doesn't matter. Those who tell you that it does because of one race in Cut n' Shoot Texas that was decided by three votes is using the exception to try and prove the rule.

There are far more productive things you can be doing than campaigning, pimping your preferred party or voting even. Primarily you can be getting out there and getting work done.

That's where I am right now.  I respect you if you are not, but the fight for conservatism is not going to be won by entrusting it to either the GOP or Democrats, it's going to be won by individuals working outside of the political system to make things better.

PostGOP: What they mean when they say "it's for the children". #PostGOP

There is, currently, a lot of durm and strang being heard over so-called "emergency leave" payments by many State of Texas departments and rightly so. Texas, technically, forbids paying severance to released employees but, as is the case with most laws, the devil lies in the unintended consequences which has led to a much more shady agreement in the form of emergency leave.  At least with severance pay you know what you are getting.

As they do, the gang of idiots that make up the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board (which should be shuttered, the ground on which they opined salted and the monies wasted on them used to hire more hard news resources) has decided that this money could be better used "for the children".

Perks for ex-staffers. HCEB, ($$$)

Keep in mind that this is your money. It is money taxpayers might be willing to spend on education or public safety or to protect children from abuse and neglect. 
Yes, keep that in mind. You should probably also keep in mind that ALL government revenue is (their words here) YOUR money. That's because the government doesn't MAKE anything. They don't produce anything other than laws, and there's no revenue driver there.  In fact, except in limited cases such as the Tennessee River Valley Authority and other various utilities, the government is one giant cost center sucking resources from the revenue drivers of the United States.

This doesn't mean that government is inherently bad (although, I would argue that politicians are, and have to work to overcome their horrible natures). There's nothing wrong with being a cost center.  In fact, in my day job I'm an accountant working for shared services at an oil and gas company.  I don't 'produce' anything of value other than my work, which (ironically) is in regulatory reporting (in part).

But without someone like me filling this role the company would find itself in trouble because it would not have the ability to pay severance taxes and government royalty, or comply with the myriad regulations that are placed on us by alphabet soup agencies.

The problem is when you start to think that money sent "to the State" is going to be spent on education, public safety or to "protect children" (whatever the hell that means) because, I can assure you, it's not.

In fact, most of the money that we spend on government is used the government. This is true not only at the Federal level but also in States that pride themselves on so-called 'fiscal conservatism' as does Texas.

Because, despite what they will have you believe, it's never 'about the children' but about making sure that the bureaucracy continues to function. I don't say this to disparage government workers, because all bureaucracies operate in this manner, but just to state fact.  There are currently more alphabet-soup agencies operating in the government than you think, even in your worst nightmares.  What we read in newspapers and see on TV is just the very public tip of the iceberg. In fact, when you get caught up in the Kafkaesque nightmare that is government bureaucracy you realize just how all-encompassing it is.

What governments do is plan, and hold meetings. What they don't do (well) is 'get things done' or take care 'of the children' which is why you constantly hear about CPS 'missing it' on tales of abuse. Is that because the CPS workers are bad?  No. It's because the CPS bureaucracy sucks up all of the financial oxygen.

Because that's how they run, it's how they think business should run as well.  On any given day you have an army of taxpayer funded bureaucrats sitting around offices trying to determine how to more tightly (and expensively) regulate the sectors of the economy over which they've been granted dominion. And, yes, this even happens in a State such as Texas that hails itself as "business friendly".

Increasingly, the goal of these agents of change is not to streamline regulations in order to ease compliance, it's to make them as difficult to navigate as possible in order to increase government audit activity which they believe will increase fines and penalties, thus allowing the bureaucracy (and, they hope, their paychecks) to grow.

So it's a naive piece of writing from the gang of idiots over at the Chronicle to think that the money not spent on severance is going to go to the children, or public safety, or any other public good.  The fact is that a large portion of the tax takings the government collects is going to be spent on feeding the machine.

Whatever follows the Republican Party after the Trump disaster needs to focus in on this and trumpet it to the skies. They need to show people just how an overbearing regulatory state (or, in Texas, a bureaucracy that's administratively broken) is a drain on both their financial well-being and their ability to succeed.

One of the biggest causes of voter anger is that the 'game is rigged' against the little guy and that only the big corporations can navigate the current marketplace in a manner savvy enough to succeed.

The Democrat's answer to this is to increase the size and scope of the machine promising that, by increasing the monies thrown into it, somehow efficiency will be attained and a wonderful new, Utopian era of democratic socialism will emerge.

Conservatives need to trumpet a different, more workable message. The idea being that by eliminating red tape and freeing the marketplace (except where safety is concerned) the ability of people to move among economic strata will be restored. Of course, their needs to be an admission that the GOP of old did, in fact, kowtow to large corporations and aided and abetted the machine in creating rules that only they can navigate, often to the ruin of small business.

Once this is flushed out of the way the focus needs to be on simple, fair, effective regulation that is easy for business to comply with and which ensures the integrity of the markets. I don't think there's much of an intellectual market these days for no regulation, except among Libertarians, and they're spending their time dancing on stage in thongs, but I DO think the public would get behind regulatory simplification, making it easier to comply, and easier to interact with a streamlined bureaucracy when compliance activities are needed.

Two weeks ago I took a day trip to Washington D.C. for my job. The oil and gas industry had the opportunity to meet with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to appeal for some sanity on soon-to-be published oil and gas valuation rules drafted by the Office of Natural Resources-Revenue (ONRR which is part of the Department of the Interior (DoI).  These are far reaching regulations pertaining to federal and tribal royalties for oil and gas produced from federal leases.  Conservatively (and falsely) the ONRR has decided that the industry-wide impact of these regulations would be $80MM per year. (In reality, it's probably closer to $200MM per year).  To appeal these wide-ranging regulatory changes and plea for additional review the oil and gas industry was granted.....

30 minutes.

That's a problem.  It should also be noted that small oil and gas companies had no voice at the table because, for the most part, they are being shut out of producing from federal leases due to the extremely high-cost of clearing the regulatory hurdles.

This needs to change.