Interesting Items 07/19

Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information.  Enjoy –

In this issue:

1.  Road Trip
2.  CRT
3.  Bribery
4.  Harassment
5.  Branson

1.  Road Trip.  Texas house democrats took a road trip to the Belly of the Beast in Washington DC last week, skipping out of deliberations on Texas’ new election integrity legislationThis legislation will strengthen ID requirements, empower poll watchers, ban drop boxes for ballots, drive through voting, and 24-hour voting locations.  It will also make it a felony for any election official to send out unrequested absentee ballot applications.  People who assist anyone will voting will have to send information in on the ballot envelope.  Ballot harvesting will be illegal in Texas.  While not mentioned in the Breitbart article linked above, I believe that non-profit donations and grants to local election officials like Zuckerberg did in the 2020 election cycle will eventually be illegal.  The House democrats fled the state to deny a quorum for action on the legislation which passed the Texas Senate last week.  The trip was preplanned, apparently with charter jets paid for by a middle eastern businessman.  Hotel and meals for the 50 democrat legislators and 12 staff are coming out of democrat caucus funds, a combination of campaign funds and private donations.  According to the Texas Tribune the tab is around $10,000/day.   Here’s where it gets fun, starting with gleeful selfies taken on the jets, complete with unmasked democrats and at least one case of Miller Lite.  The unmasking is in clear violation of Joe Biden’s Executive Order mandating masks on all public transportation, which includes air travel for hire all the way to Uber and Lyft.  Fines for this particular trip are in the vicinity of a million and a half dollars, though as democrats in a two-tiered justice system, I don’t expect charges to ever be made.  The Texas legislators made the rounds of congressional democrat leadership, sowing happiness among everyone they met.  They even met with VP Kamala Harris and her staff.  Among the other things they sowed were COVID infections everywhere they went, with at least 6 of them testing positive as of this writing.  They managed to infect WH and Pelosi’s staff.  Harris disappeared to Walter Reed for a day or two in what is described as a “routine” Sunday medical appointment.  The only thing I know of as medically routine on Sundays are emergencies.  Texas democrats last did this in 2003, escaping to Oklahoma and then moving the road show to Albuquerque before returning to Austin.  That one was to obstruct redistricting legislation.  Then as now, the Texas Governor issued arrest warrants for the escapees.  Once they return to Texas, they will be arrested and taken to the state capitol building in Austin.  Once this became a super spreader event, what little public goodwill these wayward democrats thought they were generating cratered, especially when they started infecting congressional and WH staff.  For the record, while I am not a big fan of this particular technique, though Republicans use it too, the most recent being Oregon Republicans walking out for the third time in three years to block democrat green legislation. 

2.  CRT.  The war over CRT continues to rage nationwide, with the teachers’ unions and NAA(L)CP defending it as simply teaching history. 

  • Last week, the wokesters in the Pentagon denied forcing CRT on the military.  They were contradicted by a female Air Force Academy prof who gleefully not only supported it but claimed to have been teaching it and promised to continue to teach it to cadets.  For planning purposes, university staff at the military academies are just as leftist as those found in the worst liberal arts schools.  Why else would you have a proud graduate from West Point in 2016 mugging for the cameras with “communism will win” message inside his hat? 
  • Sadly, CRT is successfully manufacturing new little racists in the public schools.  A Rhode Island middle school teacher of 20 years reported teaching materials for the 2020 – 2021 school year are full of racial narrative stories from the CRT point of view, and these materials and course plans are busily creating racial hostility between the kiddos where none existed before.
  • With all that in mind, precisely what are the basic tenants (principles) of CRT?  As usual, there are significant differences between what they say and what they do.  Legal Insurrection took a close look at this last week with the following:
  • #1 – CRT asserts that racism is a central component of American life.  CRT actually asserts that racism is THE central component of American life and pervades every aspect of it. 
  • #2 – CRT challenges the claims of neutrality, objectivity, color blindness, and meritocracy in society.  Actually, CRT challenges not only the claims of these, but challenges the very idea that they are worthwhile goals.  CRT considers meritocracy utterly bogus and inherently racist.  All of these are white values and by definition, inherently racist.
  • #3 – CRT asserts that the experiential knowledge of people of color is appropriate, legitimate and an integral part to analyzing and understanding racial inequality.  What is actually practiced is that anecdotal experiences are far more important than anything else.  And only the experiences of “people of color” matters.
  • #4 – CRT challenges ahistoricism and the undisciplinary focuses of most analyses and insists that race and racism be placed in both a contemporary and historical context using interdisciplinary methods.  This is nearly unintelligible gobbledygook that seems to mean they plan to change history by bringing in a perspective that makes history into whatever the CRT advocates want it to show.  The 1619 Project is one recent example.
  • #5 – CRT is a framework that is committed to a social justice agenda to eliminate all forms of subordination of people.  This is more unintelligible word salad aimed at what Thomas Sowell described in The Quest for Cosmic Justice, where social justice is an attempt to get justice at all costs, with the burden falling on other innocents, in this case whites. 

3.  Bribery.  Grifters gonna grift.  Latest money-making scheme for Hunter and Joe Biden is a newfound career producing art for sale to interested parties.  As he never did this before or even bothered to work at his newfound calling, the paintings seem to be more of a vehicle for funneling donations into his and eventually his father’s pocket.  But never fear, the WH figured out a procedure to sell the paintings so that nobody will ever know who wrote the check, especially the general public.  The media will never report it.  And Big Tech will never allow any discussion.  It’s a win-win all the way around, not unlike Hillary turning the State Department into an ATM machine for the Clinton Foundation and Massage Parlor. 

4.  Harassment.  As a reminder of how like the East German Stasi our FIB and Homeland Security apparat has become, I present to you all the story of the couple in Homer who attended the Jan 6 protests, never entered the Capitol building, and then went home.  They were raided by the New Stasi, the FIB, who held them for hours in handcuffs, with questions, demanding they return Nancy Pelosi’s laptop computer stolen from her office during the festivities.  Problem with all this is that the couple never made it to Pelosi’s office, never stole a laptop, and ultimately the FIB figured out that the chick on the video was not the chick they were abusing.  Nevertheless, they seized all the computers in the home and left after around 6 hours of taxpayer-funded government abuse.  Apparently, a false arrest attempt by the idiots currently employed by the FIB.  As no good deed goes unpunished these days, after the raiding team departed the home after screwing up mightily, they entered the name of the couple into the Homeland Security (DHS) list of known malcontents targeted for extra special, double secret probation, and harassment every single time they fly.  And this couple flies a lot, at least they used to.  Turns out that the FIB / DHS flagged the couple as a massive security risks, gifting them with the top level, cavity search level of government harassment.  And for some reason, that harassment isn’t limited to one time per flight, as the couple went thru their own special little corner of Hell for their first flight and had to do the identical thing when bumped to a follow-on flight.  It’s not like you can load your baggage with the latest pipe bombs between flights while in an airport (/sarc).  The couple’s computers were eventually returned, though not without problems, as the feds Bitlocked their local accounts and nobody was able to get into any of them anymore.  Apparently, some protests are more equal than others these days.  If you are a BLM/AntiFa gonzo who burns down whatever the Hell you want to burn down in a blue inner city, you enjoy far more freedom than a right-wing protester of a stolen election demanding that congress actually belly up to the bar and do their constitutional duty.  One group of folks will be released on their own recognizances while the other will be held in solitary for months.  And woe be it to anyone who the new Stasi (formerly known as the FBI, currently as the FIB) screws up and mistakenly raids. 

5.  Branson.  The happiest news of the week was the first commercial flight of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity on its first suborbital flight.  Everyone had a good time.  Everyone returned unscathed.  Though the flight wasn’t above 100 km, the official dividing line between earth and space, the flight was a wonderful event. 

This is a Really Big Deal, with at least three billionaires slugging it out over the ability to get people into space.  Elon Musk with SpaceX was first.  Branson was last week with a suborbital shot.  Jeff Bezos will fly this week on another suborbital shot.  The three techniques are different, with Musk building on his SpaceX expertise, with a reusable capsule and recoverable first stage.  Branson uses a derivative of the Rutan design that won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004.  It has taken a while, with at least one deadly accident during development from there to today.  Bezos was the final player with his Blue Origin.  Musk did a conventional launch of a reusable capsule.  Branson flew a reusable space plane on a suborbital flight.  Bezos launched a reusable capsule onboard a reusable booster, which he recovered.  The capsules for Musk and Bezos were both recovered via parachute.  Both recovered the boosters.  This is fabulous, as we have billionaires duking it out to be the first into space without a dime of taxpayer money.  Indeed, NASA has been forced into the position of purchasing tickets for the ride, something they should have been doing for the last couple generations.  Here’s where it gets wonky, as we are seeing the reprise of public criticism of manned spaceflight, not unlike what we saw 60 years ago during Apollo.  Arguments start out with some variation of the theme of where the money spent on this can be spent better, usually with some version of space = bad and social spending = good.  The really horrible part of this discussion has been echoes of this argument from the political right.  Guys, we WANT billionaires slugging it out to put people into space, the more of them on a daily basis, the better.  The more people we get off this planet (howe4ver briefly) in suborbital flights, orbital flights, lunar flights, or even farther out, the better it is for ALL of us, as it means we as a species are FINALLY leaving the cradle of the Earth.  This is something that NASA should have been doing for the last 60 years.  Sadly. After the stunning early successes of Soviet Space, the US went completely Soviet in our response, eventually out-Sovieting the Soviets with our own centrally planned and executed space program to get to the moon.  In doing so, we killed off a competitor in the X-15 program being conducted by the USAF which also put a few astronauts into space.  This set up a federal monopoly in manned spaceflight which was killed in the O’Bama administration, eventually leading to our current position.  Space is here.  Space is now.  And it is open to any paying passenger.  As with the early days of aviation, it is only open to the rich.  But the more people who fly for whatever reason, the more people WILL fly as costs will decrease and capability to fly them will improve.  SpaceX will fly three paying passengers onboard a Dragon capsule late this year.  They are talking about a circumlunar flight (Apollo 13 trajectory) in a year or two.  When that happens, it won’t be the last one.  Cautionary note:  Space is HARD.  Like aviation, the environment is terribly unforgiving, meaning there will be dead people, just like aviation.  As long as we don’t forget that we’re good. 

More later –

  • AG

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