Monday, May 31, 2021

You know I'm not a fan of bitcoin or cryptocurrencies: here is the best argument about why you shouldn't be as well.

I just finished watching Russell Brand discuss bitcoin, which he didn't understand. The concept intrigued him for the obvious reasons--cryptocurrency poses as something which is outside the banking and economic system.

That's not really true. I know enough about these things to know that they are not what they pretend to be. Which is why I suggest this e-book on the subject:

The person who wrote this knows a whole lot more about the subject than I do, which is why I recommend it. You don't really need to know a lot about the topic to sense that it is not what it purports to be.

On the other hand, knowing what exactly it is makes it far more scary than fiat currencies.

Bottom line is that commodity based currencies are volatile. Fiat based currencies values are determined by central banks. But cryptocurrencies aren't really either. If anything they combine the worst of both worlds.

But, hey, it's your money: not mine.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Left wing critiques on the 1619 Project.

Journalist Zaid Jilani weighs in on the controversy over the Pulitzer Prize winning 1619 Project.

 I may have mentioned the judgement in Somersetts case, but that would not have impacted colonies such as Pennsylvania, New York, and New England.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Let's dredge out the dirt on all of The Western Hemispheres ethnicities!

OK, "Columbus Day" is unacceptable, but people in the US aren't going to be like Canadians and call it "Thanksgiving". That would mean there would be two Thanksgivings in the US. We can argue over who "discovered" the Western Hemisphere, which can get interesting.

On the other hand, there pretty much isn't any group in the Western Hemisphere which isn't without some dirt, or gripes. That's why the concept of reparations starts getting interesting. Trust me: reparations have long been discussed and rejected as impossible to implement. And any implementation gets more impossible with the passage of time.

This leaves us with two options.

  1. Have a frank and open discussion of race and oppression in the Western Hemisphere.
  2. Trying to accept people for who they are and not what they are.

I go for the second since option 1 has been tried and found to be a failure.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Still More on Critical Race Theory

 Or the more I learn about it, the worse it sounds. This comes from a source friendly to the concept: Politifact:

Critical race theory — a broad set of ideas about systemic bias and privilege — might have its roots in legal academia, but it is fast becoming one of the more explosive flashpoints in America’s state legislatures...

Critical race theory isn’t one set thing, but more a changing package of ideas.

Legal scholars, such as Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Gary Peller and Kendall Thomas, developed Bell’s ideas further. In a 1995 book, they wrote that critical race theory is rooted in the desire "to understand how a regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color have been created and maintained in America." 

They said that the fundamental problem was the "distribution of political and economic power." And they defined their movement as one that was "race conscious" and was committed to change.

Let's toss in this article from a Journal I once had high regard for, the Economist, Jason Stanley on critical race theory and why it matters.

There are a couple of metrics set by Martin Luther King which I am going to use here. The first is that racism is making one group more powerful than another based upon race. The Second is that racism will be overcome once there is a black president.

Now, I have a problem when people like Ursula Burns, Michele Obama, Megan Markel, Oprah Winfrey, and other black people with money and power want to lecture me on how they are somehow oppressed.  There is this set of blinders which says that white people are somehow privileged and don't suffer from the same issues black people do.

People who say that need to take a trip to Appalachia.

The problem with reparations is that they have been discussed since the Emancipation Proclamation was promulgated. Besides Bacon's Rebellion any serious discussion of this topic needs to look at the Reconstruction Period. I suggest Henry Louis Gates Jr.PBS series for an eye opener on this topic.

The real bottom line here is that any serious discussion of this topic needs to be (1) colour blind (2) all encompassing and (3) informed. 

Right now the issue is that Critical Race Theory wants to place blacks as the victims of a system which lasted 244 years (1619-1863), if even that long. The largest numbers of slaves were taken to the Americas during the 18th century, when, according to historians’ estimates, nearly three-fifths of the total volume of the transatlantic slave trade took place. We need to factor in that this trade also included the Caribbean and South America: which is another factor in having this be colour blind and all encompassing.

As I have pointed out, slavery ended  156 years ago if we use the "Juneteenth" date. Although some say slavery still exists in the US, but that makes this a really interesting topic.

But I seriously question this concept when I see "people of colour" in positions of power. Especially when they want to tell me that I am the one with "privilege".


The Concept of Gun Rights is based upon fantasy, not reality.

OK, I know you won't bother to fact check and do some real research on this issue,  especially since seeing the words "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed" get your infantile minds thinking that you can own whatever weapon you want.

Never mind that is a quote taken out of context since the Second Amendment needs to be read as a complete sentence: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." Which means asking "What don't you understand about 'shall not be infringed'?" Is like a dementia patient repeating the last few words said to them.

The first sign that bad news is on the way comes from DC v Heller

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.--District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)
But the problem comes from the fact that this insanity comes from an infantile mind which doesn't quite comprehend what the reality of the situation happens to be. “An armed society is a polite society” comes from Robert Heinlein’s “Beyond This Horizon”. If you are unaware, this is a novel where duels may easily occur when someone feels that they have been wronged or insulted that is attributed as a custom that keeps order and politeness.

 Now, let's go back to the   State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann. 489, 52 Am. Dec. 599 (1850) quote where it says. "This law became absolutely necessary to counteract a vicious state of society, growing out of the habit of carrying concealed weapons, and to prevent bloodshed and assassinations committed upon unsuspecting persons. It interfered with no man's right to carry arms (to use its words) "in full open view," which places men upon an equality. This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations." 

I made a tongue in cheek comment about the gun rights crowd having to push for open carry, but that is what you are going to have to do if you are going to try and take the Second Amendment literally. So, you can have your “Beyond This Horizon” fantasy, but anyone not strapping is wearing their yellow brassard.

And the reality is they are the ones who going to be in the majority: especially after the dueling idiots kill themselves off.

The bad news is that People carrying weapons in public is not a right (Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886), Robertson v. Baldwin,165 U.S. 275 (1897) at 282  and DC V Heller, 554 U.S. 570, (2008)). Heller mentions Rawle, which says:

This right ought not, however, in any government, to be abused to the disturbance of the public peace.
An assemblage of persons with arms, for an unlawful purpose, is an indictable offence, and even the carrying of arms abroad by a single individual, attended with circumstances giving just reason to fear that he purposes to make an unlawful use of them, would be sufficient cause to require him to give surety of the peace. If he refused he would be liable to imprisonment.

I wouldn't get my hopes up about New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett because the Supreme Court would have to go against its own precedent. It already said in Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 U.S. 275 (1897) that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms (Art. II) is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons;"

Let's not forget that the practise of carrying concealed weapons has long been discouraged in law and society. 

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett may be the long hoped for bridge too far for the "gun rights" insanity.

Sorry, there are no Tooth Fairy, Easter bunny, Santa Claus, or Gun Rights. Get over it.

Rights come with responsibilities as well.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Tired of being called a racist by ignorant f---s?

Next time the Politically Correct crowd want you to read a "black author" ask to read something by Alexandre Dumas.

And the more European the title sounds the better, but any of the Three Musketeers/The D'Artagnan Romances series (The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later) would be the best bet.  There was a reason the BBC case a mixed race actor to play Porthos in their version of the books.

Alexandre Dumas, AKA Alexandre Dumas père, author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo (and father of Alexandre Dumas fils, who wrote La Dame aux Camélias). Alexandre père's father (or, if you prefer, the père's père), General Alexandre (Alex) Dumas, was black Haitian, the son of an aristocratic French father, Marquis Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, and a freed slave, Marie-Cesette Dumas. Toss in that the father was a general in Napoleon's grande armée!

The writer's father's dad sold the boy as a slave to pay for his passage to France (that's remedial parenting classes for you, Marquis de la Pailleterie) before buying his freedom. Later, Alex rose through the ranks of the army to become a general before he was 30. He was so effective that that the Austrians called him Der schwarze Teufel ("the Black Devil"). During the French revolution fought with other black men in a unit called the African Legion.

Study up on this French writer and have a great time challenging people's stereotypes on race.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Critical Race Theory: doomed to failure.

There are two bullshit theories out there which somehow have traction:

Gun Rights and Critical Race Theory.

Neither of which have any real basis in reality. Critical Race Theory is what is behind the 1619 Project despite the fact that historians criticise it. Of course, not many people will come out against this shit.

But, I am happy to knock down bullshit theories.

The problem is where to start with Critical Race Theory since I am in agreement that black history needs to be seriously studied. But we diverge pretty wildly when that is put into practise. US Black history should have a basis in African Cultures such as the Mali Empire and the Kingdom of Benin (not the modern country). Likewise, there should be an examination of the practise of penal transportation from England and the practise of indentured servitude.

That would mean a unit on Bacon's Rebellion and the similar rebellion which occurred in Maryland, especially if one is going to go back to 1619. These rebellions are important since there was an alliance between European indentured servants and Africans (a mix of indentured, enslaved, and free blacks) disturbed the colonial upper class. They responded by hardening the racial caste of slavery in an attempt to divide the two races from subsequent united uprisings with the passage of the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705.

One of the main problems with trying to push black slavery while ignoring penal transportation and indentured servitude is that it neglects the class difference which existed. Choosing to segregate by race is one of the best tools there could be for repression. I have a theory about why Fred Hampton was assassinated while other black panthers could run wild: Hampton wanted to unite the poor regardless of race. That was a common there with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Malcolm X had an epiphany when he made the Hajj which made him dangerous.

Another problem with this theory is that it neglects black complicity in the ethnic cleansing of Hispanics (US-Mexico War, etc.) and Native Americans. A laughable headline from the 1619 Project was that I was stuck in a traffic jam because of "racism". Well, I am able to walk when I am in the states and prefer public transportation. Not to mention there are highways in the US which date back to pre-European settlement: Bethlehem Pike began as a Native American path called the Minsi Trail which developed into a colonial highway. Likewise, New York's Mohawk trail, which is a part of Routes 2 and 2A. follows much of the original Indian trail, from Westminster, Massachusetts to Williamstown, Massachusetts. I believe US 9 in New York was also a Native American trade route. There is a whole book about these routes in Pennsylvania and here's a link to six of them. And this link to a paper on Trade Routes in the Americas before Columbus as one of many papers on trade before Europeans arrived.

So, Like Rick Santorum making the statement that there wasn't much of anything in the Western Hemisphere prior to the Europeans, the 1619 project does a similar faux pas in neglecting other cultures and their repression.  The repression of Native Americans is one example which glares in my mind. And I have no time for you if you are not aware of the repression of the Native American peoples.

I appreciate culture and civilisation in non-European regions, but I am a lot better informed about them than most people. Not to mention my centre of gravity is Europe, but that's got zip to do with race. Especially since I know that Europe is connected to Asia and Africa and has been trading with both regions for millennia. 

But the biggest problem with Critical Race Theory is that it seeks to exonerate one race to the detriment of other races. The upshot of this is that Critical Race Theory demonstrates pretty much all the characteristics of what it claims to be combating. 

It forgets that "separate but equal" turned out to be everything but.

Additionally, any discussion of this topic needs to be based in reality and try to steer clear of blame. 

Especially since no one is without sin in this discussion.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Oh, Ye of Undetermined Gender part II

I know these posts sound snarky, but...

First off, English is technically a gender neutral langauge. There are two choices here which are to use the male gender as the neutral, which is sort of what happens when the singular "they" is used. There is also the neuter pronoun "it".

Likewise, the abbreviation "Mrs." at one time referred to "mistress" and didn't relate to a woman's marital status.

Secondly, I point out in one of my posts on this topic that Chinese, Finnish, and Swedish are "gender neutral".

So, you want to make an argument that Chinese culture is somehow good in relation to not being sexist or being tolerant to "non-binary" people? Likewise, Finnish is a pretty sexist culture.

The upshot is that if you don't want to exist in a binary world: stop using computers.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

How gun buybacks would work

I seriously doubt there will ever be gun confiscation in the US short of the red flag laws, where a specific person who is deemed dangerous by a court can have their guns confiscated.

First off, any straight off confiscation would be unrealistic for a myriad of reasons. The closest the US would come would be mandatory buybacks, but again, those would be difficult to enact. The mandatory buyback comes from Australia which has a stricter "takings" provision in their constitution than the US does. Takings being where the government can acquire private property for public use. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution mandates that if the government takes private property for public use, the government must provide "just compensation." Typically, a "just compensation" is determined by an appraisal of the property's fair market value.

Now, just imagine how much it will cost to buyback the firearms of anyone willing to turn them in for a fair market value: i.e., bluebook cost.

Sorry, not illegal or unconstitutional since buying back is provided for in the US Constitution, which is something people claim to believe in. Yet they have no idea what it actually says.

The main factor in getting people to turn in their guns for payment would be criminal prosecution and that any amnesty after the buyback period would be a definite turn in your guns for nothing. Well, the something would be that you wouldn't be prosecuted for having it.

Another option to a buyback would be mandatory registration under the NFA. Any luck the registration would be less expensive and not as restrictive (e.g. not requiring someone to sell the gun in the registered state or go through a lot of paperwork to do it).

That means your choices would be: register your firearms, sell them back to the government for a fair price, or run afoul of the gun laws and never have a hope in hell of ever owning one legally.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Myth of Guns

His answer relates to a survey that was made by sociologist David Yamane which says that people who are undecided are what is driving sales.

My answer is much more simple: it's the myth of guns.

That is Guns are the best way to defend yourself.

You won't be a victim if you have a gun is the basic premise of the "gun rights" movement.

It's the image shown in this Tommy Gun ad, where the rancher single handedly fights off the band of desperados. While the NFA made fully automatic weapons hard to come by, there is the semi-automatic substitute out there. Sure that is hard for lazy ass Americans to tolerate since they have to pull the trigger for each round fired, but what the fuck the things have worked well in mass shootings.

The peaceful protests were the best thing that could have ever happened for the firearms industry and the "gun rights movement" since one of the chants was a variation on the theme of "defunding the police". That leads to the question of who are you going to look to to protect yourself if the cops aren't around.

Or they send a social worker to your house.

Never mind all the studies out there about how having a gun really isn't good on the self-defence front. And that it is idiotic to NOT be regulating who can get their hands on them.

Seriously, nothing like getting killed with the gun you bought for self-defence, which was what the studies were showing before the freeze on "gun violence research".

The problem is that the debate on this issue has not been fueled with accurate information. It has been highly emotionally based if anything which is as far from facts as you can get. That is the real point of mikethegunguy's post and this one.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Oh, ye of undetermined gender

 I think what is bothering me about the "woke" trend of listing your pronouns is that a lot of the people doing it are "CIS Gendered". That is they identify with their birth gender. The bit with listing pronouns came with the people who are "non-binary", or haven't quite figured out what exactly they are.

Hence, they need to tell people what pronouns to refer to them as. And they dislike the English gender neutral pronoun "it".

I do know this has been going on for a while now, but I don't think that someone who has to worry about what pronoun someone will use to describe them (he/her/it) will ever really be truly satisfied.

Friday, May 7, 2021

My pronouns are we/our and fuck you peasants....

Ok, I have come at the English language as someone who speaks it as a second language, even though technically it is my "maternal" language. I am tempted to say the next sentence in German, but German is the language that comes most naturally to me. People literally think I am German. Unlike in France, Germans will speak German to me.

I am indeed multilingual speaking English, French, German, and Dutch/Flemish. English is my "lazy language", but German comes a close second.

I have a serious problem with "gender neutral language". Does the modification of pronouns really change much about society?

Oddly enough, according to the grammarians, the first gender-neutral pronoun was generic he. How can he be gender neutral?

In 1542, William Lily wrote a Latin grammar, in English, proclaiming the ancient doctrine called the worthiness of the genders: “The Masculine Gender is more worthy than the Feminine, and the Feminine more worthy than the Neuter.” Henry VIII made Lily’s Latin the official grammar of all English schools. At the time, English was not considered a language worthy enough to have a grammar. But that soon changed, and when English grammars started to appear a century later, that worthiness doctrine led English grammarians to promote generic he. If you didn’t know the gender of an indefinite like someone or anyone, or a member of a class, like the reader or the student or the grammarian, grammar books—even a popular 18th-century grammar written by Ann Fisher—said we must refer to that person with the generic he.

I'm not sure what the story is, but the "masculine" is also the neuter in French.

Anyway, while people claim that changing pronouns can somehow change attitudes: that doesn't seem to really be the case. Genderless languages: Chinese, Estonian, Finnish, and other languages don’t categorize any nouns as feminine or masculine, and use the same word for he or she in regards to humans. 

As I said, technically, the English language is supposedly "gender neutral", yet some people object to its "binary" nature despite its "gender neutrality".

When this shit started somebody posted something idiotic about pronouns. My comment to which went something like: "if pronouns determine gender, then maybe we should get rid of pronouns and get rid of people". A lesbian friend said that some woman wrote that, to which I replied it was me!

The issue is that "gender neutrality" has been attempted for quite some time.

It seems to do fuck all to end whatever issue some people have with pronouns.

Oh, and a hat tip to Dennis Baron, who I think is a brilliant grammarian for his work on parsing the Second Amendment and a couple of super paragraphs that I grabbed to use here. I'm not sure what my linguistic skills are other than I speak/use languages (machine and natural), but I think he is really bang on.