It was a good weekend. Saturday I declared war on the Dreaded Knotweed. I did not obey the Geneva convention.
While berserking and crusading against the Vile Vegetable, I hatched a scheme that might take care of my two problems at once: knotweed and hazardous trash — using the trash as part — only part — of an elaborate barrier against the weed.
And speaking of selfies, I assume this study (which concludes — wow, whodathunkit? — that narcissists are more likely to post and crave feedback on selfies) must have been funded by government. Not ours, fortunately.
And speaking of governments: who’s named in the Panama Papers? Named so far, we should add. The silence on U.S.-based clients of Mossack Fonseca is like waiting for that second shoe to drop.
OTOH, the astute Megan McArdle says that what the papers reveal so far is a positive reflection on capitalism.
Ronald T. Richie. He was the 911 caller who got the perfectly innocent John Crawford SWATted and killed. Maybe he’ll finally pay a price. Maybe.
Sheesh. This article on why women should v*te for women makes me not ever want to v*te for a woman again. Well, not that I ever gave a crap about the sex of a candidate. And not that I’d ever v*te for a woman if the woman were Hillary. Or Dianne. Or … well, most of them.
I’ll be doing a little extra blogging this week because I’ve been doing physical labor (drywalling) and need a break from it. Also because … Panama Papers.
I hadn’t heard of the scandal until Monday when jc2k linked to it in comments. By then it was already 24 hours old (ancient in Internet Time) and had been thoroughly clucked over by all the usual suspects.
The collective bottom line seems not only to be, “OMG, gov-o-crats are hiding ill-gotten gains offshore!” (this is a shock to anybody?) but, “Offshore privacy should be done away with!”
Um … yeah. Hasn’t offshore privacy already been curbed a time or three? And don’t gangsters and gov-o-crats and their cronies (but I repeat myself) always find some way to hide ill-gotten gains? And don’t ordinary, innocent people with assets that need to be protected from the above also take advantage of the “loopholes” that are inevitably left for the kleptocrats?
The notion that you can do away with financial hidey-holes — especially financial hidey-holes both controlled and utilized by people who are in charge of the laws and regulations governing said hidey-holes is as tidily moralistic as the notion that you can do away with drugs, guns, liquor, or whatever other bugaboo the moral moment might focus on. And just as untidy in practice.
Most people use offshore corporations for legitimate purposes — like the legitimate need to protect honest gains and assets from thieves in governments.
But that won’t do, will it? So now we’ll see yet another big moral crusade against offshore tax shelters.
Laws, regulations, treaties, and those trendy not-a-treaty-but-just-like-one-only-simpler-to-impose trade agreements will be changed. Everybody will say, “Good job! We’ve foiled the eeeevil plans of kleptocrats and organized crimesters. Decency shall now reign forevermore.” And after a few hiccups, thievery and corruption will go on as usual using some slightly different form of hidey-hole. Preserving wealth will merely become that much harder for those who lack the government connections or the will to break the latest round of laws. (Which reminds me of this study on human sacrifice and social hierarchy that came out this week.)
Bigger questions I haven’t heard anybody asking yet. How to catch and whack the kleptocrats without busting the legitimate privacy of hundreds of thousands of decent human beings (actual, old-fashioned investigation, perhaps — the following of specific suspicions, specific evidence, specific leads)? Why wasn’t Mossack Fonseca, that Panamanian law firm, doing more to protect its clients’ records, since privacy is supposed to be at the core of its business? And how many other ordinary people are at risk of disclosure from similar hacks at similar firms?
But this … once again takes “small-space living” to crazy extremes. Only in San Francisco. Or New York City. Or London. Or other places that have become hellholes for normal people.
Kevin Wilmeth comments on my TZP “constitutional carry” piece and gets it exactly right: “The only downside I can see, honestly, is that celebrating a good thing for what it is, isn’t going to help the sort of prag mindset that still can’t distinguish between long-term strategy and true pre-emptive surrender.”
I once lived in a town where the most successful realtor had a huge home with its own golf course (just six holes, but still …). Incongruously to me, this estate sat bang on the side of a main highway, enduring vehicle noise day and night.
Apparently I wasn’t the only person who wondered why anyone with that much money would choose such a public location. When a curious acquaintance asked him, he had the perfect (and IMHO perfectly awful) answer: “What’s the point of being successful if nobody can see that you are?”
My idea of successful householding is about the opposite. If I were “as rich as Creosote” (a Terry Pratchettism), I’d build a tiny gem of a house (fan shaped, with a sweep of windows on the rounded side and movable shoji-screen walls within) on a hilltop in the middle of 50,000 wooded acres. It would have a single winding access road nobody could even find and no sounds other than those provided by nature (or perhaps a few strategically placed manmade brooks or waterfalls). It would be in the State of Jefferson, near the coast, and the hilltop would be cleared enough that I could enjoy a sweeping ocean view. But nobody — nobody — would ever “view” me.
How about you? If you could live anywhere and any way you wanted, what would you do?
BTW, I have a bigger blog I’m working on this morning. I’ll probably schedule it for posting on Saturday.
On February 9, Oathkeepers.org ran a long article by Brandon Smith that asked (and answered) the question, “What is the Best Method of Rebellion Against Tyranny?”
A lot of you probably saw it then; the Oregon standoff was just spiraling into disaster and this was one of many afteraction analyses. It was also more; a thought piece about the kinds of people and preparations needed for eventual confrontation with tyranny. It got a lot of notice in the gunblogosphere. I meant to link to it and comment then, but life got away from me. You know how that goes. But then, it’s not an article that goes stale. If you haven’t already, you should probably stop and read it first.
You’ve may have heard that establishment GOP pol Lindsey Graham said his party has gone batsh*t crazy. And as proof of that, you may also have heard that Chris Christie has endorsed Donald Trump. Apparently out of spite against Marco Rubio. Or something.
But one politician who wisely declines to endorse Trump under any circumstances is former Mexican president Vicente Fox, who says he has no intention to pay for Trump’s f*cking wall.
Good man, that Fox. Any chance one of the parties could draft him?
Sorry for the bad language. But on the other hand, it may be a good sign that politicians have finally driven each other to fits of cussing, rather than merely driving us to cussing at them.
But speaking of following orders, what the hell kind of government would do this — or even think of ordering thugs to do such a thing??? (Another look at it with more detail. Both stolen from Wendy McElroy.)
And speaking of unsurprising things, why are we always supposed to be so shocked when, generation after generation, war after war, the fedgov perpetrates atrocities upon its own soldiers, then not only denies doing so, but even denies care to the poor saps?
And if you prefer more peaceful thoughts, you can download high-res versions of 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints, courtesy of he-knows-who-he-is in comments.
Finally, I’m not linking because I expect you to care about Nevada or South Carolina caucusaries or primuses. I’m linking it just because the name of Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, always makes me laugh. I mean, is that name straight out of Atlas Shrugged, or what?