Forgiveness

Forgiveness

When do sins ‘fall off’? This has become a topic of discussion in American politics, with the revelation that the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, appears in either blackface or KKK robes in his college yearbook; the Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, stands accused of the nebulous term ‘sexual assault’ (the one account made fully public sounds a lot like rape, but that’s not the term used anymore, I guess), and Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar continues to support and express antisemitism.

With the exception of Ilhan Omar, who basically continues her antisemitism, can the elected leaders of Virginia be forgiven? Should they?

Let’s do the easy one first, Lt. Gov. Fairfax. He is accused of not only criminal action, but the kind of criminal action we don’t take seriously enough. He continues to deny it, but is being treated as if he is guilty – his firm removed him, and there are calls from his party to step down or face impeachment and removal. Of course, this is being handled far, far differently than the accusations against Justice Kavanaugh, which were far less serious, less provable, and not from his own team.

Almost like the Democratic Party didn’t care at all about the accusations, only the politics of preventing a Trump SCOTUS appointment. But that was obvious at the time.

So, Justin Fairfax should probably resign, and defend the accusations. If they have merit, then he should face consequences for them, if not, the accuser can face their own consequences.

As an aside, those who level false accusations of serious crimes should face the penalty for the crime they faked – their selfish actions only make it harder on the next real victim. And yes, if that penalty is life in prison, then so be it. We would see far fewer fake rapes and hate crimes if you faced actual prison for the accusation.

Anyway, Lt. Governor Fairfax is in a bad spot, and is going to pay a hefty price. But not for his sins – remember, these were reported before he was elected, and they were ignored. So if they are true, his (D) shielded him from the consequences, and the media provided the usual level of cover to keep the story from being spread.

No, in a horribly ironic twist of fate, Justin Fairfax is going to be Ralph Northam’s whipping boy.

So, Governor Northam’s yearbook. Some facts to ponder – that has been ‘out there’ since it happened, and ignored. Of course. See (D) shield above. But when Northam spoke in support of a bill that legalized infanticide, he crossed the line, and the page was leaked to the media. Conservative media. Who spread the hell out of it, and forced the mainstream media to notice.

I won’t say he is racist or segregationist. I don’t know his history. For all I know, this was a theme party, and he was as uncomfortable as the picture makes people today. Who knows. What is known is that he thought it was a good idea to dress in either blackface or a KKK uniform for a party. That is not great judgement.

But it is college, and bad judgement is part and parcel. Should he be run out of public life on a rail because of one event?

Personally, I say no, of course not. That is absurd.

But that isn’t the system we have, is it? In the system we have, which is intended to be used only against certain people of course, that one error should be his end, he should never again be allowed to associate with anyone. His career over, unemployable, and driven from the public square – that is the price demanded by the media and progressives.

Or would be if he was a Republican. Can you imaging the hue and cry if instead of Ralph Northam, it was Mike Pence? Or even Bruce Rauner (former R-ish governor of Illinois)? Of course you can. But that isn’t what Northam is getting, is it?

Or would be if he was a Republican. Can you imaging the hue and cry if instead of Ralph Northam, it was Mike Pence? Or even Bruce Rauner (former R-ish governor of Illinois)? Of course you can. But that isn’t what Northam is getting, is it?

One rule for everyone – this shouldn’t be a far-right paleo-conservative position.

But that doesn’t answer the question, does it? Can there, should there, be forgiveness for past sins.

And yes, the answer is yes. Without the potential for some form of forgiveness or remission of sins, no one is made better – or made whole. Religion knows this, and always has. You have to have a means to repair your transgressions against the God, or why would you not continue to harm the group by sinning? And so it is that you confess, pray, sacrifice, or whatever to regain approval.

In the new religion of Politics, there is no such mechanism, and we are beginning to see the problems that causes.

With his, correct, assumption that there will be no forgiveness for his actions, Northam has taken the only course possible – no retreat, no surrender. And to the people who are offended or hurt by the photo, too bad (I would argue that unless there is personal connection to being harmed by the Klan or similar, your offense shouldn’t matter to anyone else, but that isn’t how this works). It is the right call in this climate. If he resigned, he would face a rough future, and his family might be punished too. In all, sticking it out is his only play.

If we had a forgiveness and redemption mechanism, the answer would be different. Look, he did something offensive and stupid, and had to know it was both offensive and stupid, and he should face some consequences. Should have then too, by the way. There needs to be a way to get past it though – and reading ‘Roots’ isn’t the answer.

I may not know the answer. I think it involves actual work to repair any harm done, and some time out of the spotlight to make the repair work personal, not a show. Then, once there is personal forgiveness (those he wronged forgive him), the society should too – and then he can begin working back to where he was. We shouldn’t brand people to keep their sins always front and center.

Not holding my breath, really.

Green New Deal

Green New Deal

Introduced yesterday in both the House and Senate (identical text, so far as I can tell), the self-proclaimed “Green New Deal” is the sort of red meat that is designed to freak out the Republicans, energize and rally the neo-socialist and progressive Democrats, and send a shot across the bow of the establishment Democrats who are not on board with the Dem’s flirtation with the socialist agenda.

It’s also profoundly stupid.

What it isn’t is any kind of legislation. These are ‘Sense of the Chamber’ resolutions, a type of bill used to express an opinion, but which is not binding in any way. These have been used to make political statements, and to express thanks. I think it is important to put this in the correct box – it isn’t pending law, it is puffery and opinion without any regard to how it would be implemented.

It’s also profoundly stupid.

Reading the proposal, we see a bunch of ‘Whereas’ statements that are dubious. For example:

  • More predictions of imminent climate collapse & disaster – the same thing we have been hearing for over 20 years, with the same ‘we only have a decade to save the world’ mentality.
  • They claim US life expectancy is declining, which is not inaccurate, but is also not connected to the environment. The CDC identified unintentional overdoses, suicide, and chronic liver disease (drinking related?) as the drivers for a down tick of a tenth of a percent. Nothing in the GND would address that.
  • The usual pablum about the rich being richer, the poor poorer (but never about the poor being richer than at any previous time in history), and so on.

This leads to the ‘so FDR had the New Deal’. Which they forget didn’t work. It took WWII for the Depression to end and “…created the greatest middle class that the United States has ever seen…” And yes, in 1941 ” indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth” didn’t see the same benefits as whites. That was then, this is now. I would point out that factory jobs and serving in combat were things that the elderly, disabled, and youth were not allowed to do (and still aren’t, depending on the disability).

Then comes the fun part, the Resolved section. And the stupidity.

Section 1

Not much here to complain about – this isn’t bad. Except for 1E (emphasis mine):

to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as “frontline and vulnerable communities”);

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/109/text?format=xml&r=1&s=1

Huh? Repairing it how? By forcing people now to pay for the sins of maybe their ancestors? Good luck with that. I am not even sure how that would work, and absent a time machine won’t undo what was done. Punishing people today for actions before their birth is insane.

Section 2

Here we go!

  • “accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization”. Not a great beginning, very Soviet in tone. But let’s see where it goes…
  • Sections A & B are ok, nothing too wacky here. Look, climate change is a thing, even if ‘global warming’ isn’t. Not convinced we are the sole cause, but it is still something to be aware of, and compensate for. That is all A & B are calling for.
  • C is interesting, because it calls for things that don’t exist, and have never been shown to function at the scale demanded. Which is fine, but you have to accept that if so-called green energy was a valid alternative, it would be in greater use. After all, if it worked, and eliminated the need to buy fuel, what utility wouldn’t jump on that as a way to increase profits? They aren’t, because it doesn’t scale.
    • What does work are nuclear plants, which are never part of these proposals. Pebble Bed Modular Reactors would provide power without the (minimal) risks of other reactor designs, and without the insane pollution from coal.
  • E is where it goes so far off the rails, the bill might as well be called Green Plan 9 From Outer Space. E reads “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;”. Dafaq? All buildings. WSO estimates 120 million buildings in the US. As of 2015. Let’s be stupid, and assume an average cost to replace of $1M per (less on houses, far more on commercial buildings, but this is to prove a point). That is $120,000,000,000,000 – 120 trillion dollars. At the $1/second, that would take something like 3.8 million years to spend. it is more than 6,000 times the 2017 US GDP. Statista estimates the GWP – the gross world product in 2017 at about $80 trillion dollars…so this would cost 1.5 times the world’s gross production in 2017. I believe the term ‘economically infeasible’ was coined specifically for this. And remember, that is at an average of $1M per building, which is probably far below the actual costs.
  • I actually like G – cleaning up farming to remove pollution and increase soil health – this is important to the continued feeding of the world, and should be looked at seriously (by which I mean no one supporting this nonsense should be anywhere near it)
  • H is probably were the remove cars bit was, but it is not there now. I don’t support this in the least. Limiting mobility is among the first act of tyrants, and the ability to relocate is crucial to a free people.
    • Further, this Sunday I plan to drive to Michigan City, about a 2 hour round trip, costing $10 in gas or so. On public transportation, it would take at least 2 hours each way, cost at least double, and with Greyhound require an overnight stay. This is not better, and anyone who thinks it is is insane.
  • I is vague puffery designed to make people think their overlords care. Seriously. This is such a central-control document that a bit about community-driven projects is almost insulting.
  • J through N isn’t bad either – more about cleaning up polluted sites and reducing pollution. I can’t see anyone not liking that.

Section 3

Um, this is an interesting part. Section 3 reads, in whole:

a Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses; and

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/109/text?format=xml&r=1&s=1

With that many ‘cooks’, there is exactly zero chance of anything being done. Zero. So, yes, let’s make this happen!

Section 4

Goals and projects!

And this is all Dem talking points in written form. Worth noting that as currently on the congress.gov site, there is nothing about paying people to not work. That was likely in a draft version, and removed before introduction. Basically, this is all saying ‘we want to make high-status and high-pay jobs for everyone’. Which is nice. Impossible, but nice. Universal employment is only a reality in command economies, and those always fail.

Always.

The whole thing just stops here – there is no wrap up or conclusion statement, it just ends. That seems fitting, since it is so absurdist that any conclusion would be laughable.

But here is the problem. This is a roadmap to what they want. Thinking people look at it and see insanity and a massive lack of comprehension of costs and economics, but they don’t. They see an aspirational document, and a set of goals to be forced on the nation, for their own good. A lot of us saw Hillary Clinton as a threat because she is a true believer – someone who would aspire to tyranny for our own good. Unfortunately, we have a collection of people in the Congress who are just as bad. And their branch of the government is tasked with passing laws, unlike the President.

Finally, if you think this isn’t going to matter, isn’t going to be the goal for the statists and overlords in the Democratic party…remember that President Trump’s candidacy was also considered a joke. Yes, you should be worried.

The Jussie Smollett Saga

The Jussie Smollett Saga

2AM January 29th. Chicago, IL. It is about 6 degrees out. Possibly cooler based on location (the official readings are taken about 15 miles NW of where this story begins).

According to Jussie Smollett, who is on the show ‘Empire’ on Fox (which I have never watched nor been interested in watching, so I had never heard of this guy before this event), he was on the phone with his manager and walking back from Subway when two people accosted him, shouted various racist and anti-homosexual slurs at him, beat him, poured a chemical (often reported as bleach) over him, and tied a noose about his neck, then fled.

This is the kind of horrible crime against someone for unimportant differences that we need to stamp out. This is, and must be, unacceptable in a civilized society.

But did it happen?

(more…)
The Erasure of Monica Rambeau

The Erasure of Monica Rambeau

Who?

Monica Rambeau, the second Captain Marvel, after the death of the Kree Captain Mar-Vell in 1982. Monica took on the name from 1982 to 1996. After her came Genis-Vell (original’s son), Phyla-Vell (daughter), Khn’nr (Skrull), Noh-Varr (for like one storyline), then Carol Danvers in 2012.

2012.

But, I hear you saying, they also erased all the Kree Captains Marvel too! Yes, and when the Kree arrive to complain, it will be interesting times indeed.

The difference between Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau is pretty black and white really. As in, Danvers is white, Monica Rambeau is black. Which makes for an interesting moment in the culture wars. Since the upcoming movie is getting the same treatment as Black Panther did – the ‘suck it white males, deal with an unapologetically non-white(or non-male in this case) hero!’ Except here, Marvel/Disney decided to wipe out the non-white Monica Rambeau in favor of a white Carol Danvers. Oh, she is apparently given a token cameo moment in the movie (as a child, no less), but this could have been her movie, just as easily as it is Danvers’.

And the backstory works better too:

Monica Rambeau was born in New Orleans, Louisiana to Frank and Maria Rambeau. She was a lieutenant in the New Orleans harbor patrol, and operated as a cargo ship captain. Trying to prevent the creation of a dangerous weapon, Rambeau was exposed to extra-dimensional energy. As a result, she was thereafter able to convert her body to energy. After this event, the media dubbed her “Captain Marvel”. She decided to use her powers to fight crime under that name, but was later told by Ben Grimm that the name had originally been used by the late Kree hero Mar-Vell. Grimm assured her that “Marv wouldn’t mind. I probably ain’t the only ‘Thing’ in the world either.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monica_Rambeau#Origin

Hell, she even led the Avengers (which, I know, wouldn’t exist in the MCU at that time), something no other Captain Marvel has managed to do. And Disney reduced her to a child.

So, I guess, under the current rules, that means supporting the Captain Marvel movie means supporting the erasure by whitewash of Monica Rambeau, a black woman who was Captain Marvel for 14 years. Longer than anyone else, including the original.

At least they didn’t release it during Black History Month…


And when I went to verify the release date, I was stunned to find Google doing this to Samuel L Jackson…wow. It must have come from their Virginia servers…

 02/07/19 at 11:05 AM CST of the Google information about Captain Marvel, showing them truncating Samuel L Jackson's name to 'Sam'
Rushing To Condemn

Rushing To Condemn

I stayed off Twitter on Sunday. Less as an intentional action, and more as I just didn’t check it because I didn’t think about it.

So this morning, when I saw the counter of unread posts, I knew one of two things had happened – either William Shatner (@williamshatner) had been really bored, or an outrage mob had formed, and I missed the endless ‘wait for all the facts’ posts. And the self-congratulatory ‘I waited’ posts.

It was the latter.

Honestly, the original story no longer matters. We had the usual arc – thing happens; is wildly misreported (usually that means ‘the opposite of the truth is reported’); people overreact (including calls for violence against the assumed perpetrators); so-called calmer heads call for not violence, but public shaming and endless apology-making with a side of ‘ruin their lives/fire them/expel them’; real story comes out; the rabid hate contingent vanishes; the rest try to pretend they didn’t call for a life to be destroyed; the media pretends they will do better next time.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

With the media firmly on one side of the political spectrum, we can imagine who the players are, and how Twitter didn’t respond. It is a bit sickening, frankly.

I won’t bother adding the ‘gee, this is why you never trust Twitter / media reports for at least 24 hours’ bit – it’s obvious and overdone. I do wish we would learn from that at some point though.

What makes this worse is that the same people being wrong on events a staggering amount of the time insist that any call for them to actually get facts before abandoning the principles of journalism is going to destroy the nation. Amazingly, it won’t. Their insistence on putting their personal partisan political agenda in front of the facts just might.

State of Trump’s Union

State of Trump’s Union

He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

— Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution  

Doesn’t say how.

Or where.  

In fact, from Thomas Jefferson through to Woodrow Wilson, 1801 – 1913, the State of the Union was delivered by letter – Jefferson being of the opinion that to summon Congress to hear the President was too akin to the monarchal Speech From The Throne. So Wilson going back to summoning Congress makes sense…

So there is vast, if old, precedent to not delivering the SOTU before Congress. So Pelosi scores no points by ‘canceling’ the address.

What she has done, and I hope Trump dunks on her for it, is allow him to deliver the speech wherever the hell he wants. For example, in front of ten thousand supporters at a stadium somewhere. With no opportunity for Schumer & Pelosi to repeat their dismal rebuttal act from last week’s national address about border security.

This is a gift, delivered and wrapped by an opposition that is coming apart at the seams. Take it, make the most of it, and never look back.

No one ever lost by allowing their enemies to be foolish, and make avoidable mistakes.