Summer - Fall 2017
Moo friends. The Tropicow is out of cruise ship season and embarking upon new projects that involve logistics bases in Tampa and Canaveral as ExxonMobil has expandaded marine operations all the way north to the Port of Jacksonville on the east coast and up through Tampa on the west.
The Cow With Somebody Who Thinks He Is Brilliant
The Cow is preparing for 22 new Mack trucks (almost $200,000 each) arriving in September and they are sufficiently advanced that the drivers require familiarization and training sorties, with a new syllabus plus exams to go with them. By Christmas, the Cow will know if he is a hero or a goat. If things don't go well, the Power Poodle will be the Cow's only friend...kinda like now.
But it's not as though the Cow is lacking for things to do! He procured a new drone with an HD camera so that he can entertain himself in scintillating new ways. His first impatient flight was in the office, where the launch caused the Power Poodle Puppy to urinate all over the office floor as she ran to the corner furthest from the drone...you know, the only part of the office that had important papers on the floor. The distraction permitted the drone to introduce itself to the foam ceiling tiles, which were efficiently shaved by the four propeller blades, producing snow-like dust that the propwash distributed generously throughout the office and into the air conditioning vent that was propped open because the maintence man had removed the dirty filter minutes before and would be back "shortly" with a new one. Yup, it really happened, but it wasn't over. The Cow was "controlling" the drone with his cell phone, which chose that moment to ring, blocking the drone emergency landing application and forcing the Cow to drop the company president on the floor as the Cow raced to inadvertently get his hand chopped by a spinning blade that was difficult to see in an artificial office blizzard. The president got to hear the Cow yowl in pain (it was a very manly yowl, to be sure) before he dispatched an employee to assist his loyal VP who was ostensibly fighting for his life against an unknown assailant with a chainsaw. Before the flight, Cow had slipped off his loafers, so he was doing a pretty good job soaking-up urine with his socks as he managed to graple the dusty drone with the hand that wasn't bleeding on his shirt...and desk...and the letter requesting a pay raise.
On the bright side, the drone takes excellent imagery, and the Cow wasn't planning to finish that letter anyway...and never liked that shirt. The Cow had never worn loafers barefoot before either. So yeah, lots of scintillating new experiences, like scotoma.
The Cow's second flight was performed outdoors...brilliant!
The Cow learned that it can fly out of sight...quickly
Cow's first drone selfie
The Cow's second indoor flight benefitted from a vaulted ceiling
The Power Poodle found a friend who doesn't mind incontinence
The Power Poodle bravely keeps the Cow between her and the drone
Poca riding through the streets of Neiva, Colombia during the annual Hat Festival
Heat in July contrasts with freezing A/C in stores
Trump Doral patio at sunset
In the July heat, the course is practically deserted
But dusk is definitely the best time of the day
8 July 2017
Among the many things that the Cow does at work is defending against regulatory predation (DOT, DHS, OSHA, EPA, DEP, DERM, MFD, et al.). Each year, this burden takes more of his dwindling time than the year before. This portfolio also includes frivolous lawsuits, which are legion in the Miami area. The local parasitic lawyers monitor police activity and exploit contact information to engage motorists in liability claims--even when they are at fault--depending upon whom the other party is.
If you are an oil company, the blood-sucking lawyers come after you every time. The Cow's 40+ fuel/oil tractor-trailers are struck by motorists (and once, a bicyclist) at least twice per month. It doesn't matter if the police report exclusively places blame on (and cites) the other party, the local lawyers understand our corrupt legal system and don't mind sending newly-minted lawyers to court (Lord knows, they have nothing constructive to do).
If the Cow can't get to the other party first (which he endeavors to do), he contacts the claimant’s lawyers and shows them proof of the company's innocence (even camera video). But the lawyers truly couldn't care less. Today, they can sue anybody for anything once they obtain "standing" in the eyes of a court. Immoral lawyers (and former immoral lawyers, called judges) are always willing to step in, even when a case is completely baseless and demonstrably malicious.
They know that battling someone in court costs a lot of time and money. Even when completely innocent, it costs far more for companies to win the case against these opportunists than it does to settle out of court. This is where the insurance underwriters come in, but they too give the Cow a whoppong bill.
The judicial process is so draining that even if you win your case, you still lose. It’s legal blackmail and it has become a cornerstone of the phony justice system in the "Land of the Free." It also reflects modern social values. In the words of President Obama, “you didn’t build that" and it's okay to steal from oil companies (and others) in the name of "fairness." Success puts a target on one's back for socialists in the form of lawsuits, taxes, and ridiculous regulatory impositions.
As an example of the latter, the Cow is forced to pay $12,000 on behalf of his company every time a local agency wants ground water tested at any of the company's properties. Government agencies won't pay for an independent lab to test the water themselves of course (though they insist upon selecting which labs are used), they require that the company pay to prove itself innocent. The Cow's company has not has a single pollution incident since it's founding 65 years ago, but that means nothing. If you find yourself in a jurisdiction of leftist social justice warriors, they can prey upon you to their heart's content. It is very hard to fight City Hall.
Even the U.S. Coast Guard gets into the act. As in the case of military organizations, the Coast Guard rotates personnel through districts to ensure a healthy crop of personnel who lack experience. In their defense, the regulatory burden is such that they can't know all the rules, but that doesn't slow down a petty officer with a badge one bit. Regulations are subjectively and capriciously enforced unevenly from port to port, and there is no appelate authority. The Coast Guard plays both judge and jury. Pardon the pun, but when it comes to pollution enforcement, they are WAY out of their depth. The Cow has to constantly revise and republish operations manuals to meet the bizarre, imaginative, and wholly unique opinions of various petty officers up and down parallel coasts of Florida. It is maddening.
Guess who pays for all this dishonest "justice"? You do. There! The Cow feels [temporarily] better. Have a nice day.
Another promising young life destroyed by drugs and alcohol....
The Laughing Cow was funnier before her cocaine problem too
The umbrellas keep the side of the house almost liveable
Exploring a new restaurant
by Victor Davis Hanson July 18, 2017 4:00 AM
The country is coming apart, and the advocates of radical egalitarianism are winning.
The wars between Trump, the media, the deep state, and the progressive party — replete with charges and counter-charges of scandal, collusion, and corruption — are merely symptoms of a much larger fundamental and growing divide between Americans that is reaching a dangerous climax.
On four prior occasions in American history the country nearly split apart, as seemingly irreconcilable cultural, economic, political, social, geographical, and demographic fault lines opened a path to hatred and violence.
During the Jacksonian Revolution of the 1830s, factions nearly ripped the country apart over whether the East Coast Founders’ establishment of a half-century would relinquish its monopoly of political power to reflect the new demographic realties of an expanding frontier — and its populist champions often deemed unfit for self-governance. For the most part, the Jacksonians won.
Three decades later the nation divided over slavery, prompting the most lethal war in American history to end it and force the defeated Confederate southern states back into the Union.
The Great Depression, and the establishment’s inept responses to it, left a quarter of the country unemployed for nearly a decade — hungry and desperate to expand government even if it entailed curtailing liberty in a way never envisioned by the Founders. The result was eventually the redefinition of freedom as the right of the individual to have his daily needs guaranteed by the state.
In the 1960s, the hippie movement — fueled by furor over the Vietnam War, civil-rights protests, and environmental activism — turned holistic in a fashion rarely seen before. A quarter of the country went “hip,” grooming, dressing, talking, and acting in a way that reflected their disdain for the silent majority of “straight” or “irrelevant” traditional America. The hipsters lost the battle (most eventually cut their hair and outgrew their paisley tops to join the rat race) but won the war — as the universities, media, foundations, Hollywood, arts, and entertainment now echo the values of 1969 rather than those that preceded it.
Now we are engaged in yet a fifth revolutionary divide, similar to, but often unlike, prior upheavals. The consequences of globalization, the growth of the deep state, changing demographics, open borders, the rise of a geographic apartheid between blue and red states, and the institutionalization of a permanent coastal political and culture elite — and the reaction to all that — are tearing apart the country.
Despite its 21st-century veneer, the nature of the divide is often over ancient questions of politics and society.
The Deep State
Technological advances, the entrance of a billion Chinese into the global work force, and the huge growth in the administrative entitlement state have redefined material want. The poor today have access to appurtenances undreamed of just five decades ago by the upper middle classes: one or two dependable cars, big-screen televisions, designer sneakers and jeans, and an array of appliances from air conditioning to microwave ovens. The rub is not that a Kia has no stereo system but that it does not have the same model that’s in the rich man’s Lexus. Inequality does not mean starvation: Obesity is now a national epidemic among the nation’s poor; one in four Californians admitted for any reason to a hospital is found to suffer from diabetes or similar high-blood-sugar maladies due largely to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices.
In political terms, the conflict hinges on whether the powers of entrenched government will be used to ensure a rough equality of result — at the expense of personal liberty and free will. The old argument that a wealthy entrepreneurial class, if left free of burdensome and unnecessary government restrictions to create wealth, will enrich all Americans, is now largely discredited. Or rather it is stranger than that. The hyper wealthy — a Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, or Warren Buffett — by brilliant marketing and opportunistic politics are mostly immune from government audit, and from robber-baron and antitrust backlash. Instead, redistributive ire is aimed at the upper middle class, which lacks the influence and romance of the extremely wealthy and is shrinking because of higher taxes, ever-increasing regulations, and globalized trade.
It does not matter that the ossified European social model does not work and leads to collective decline in the standard of living. The world knows that from seeing the implosion of Venezuela and Cuba, or the gradual decline of the EU and the wreckage of its Mediterranean members, or the plight of blue states such as Illinois and California. Instead, it is the near-religious idea of egalitarianism that counts; on the global stage, it has all but won the war against liberty. We are all creatures of the Animal Farm barnyard now.
Indeed, if today’s student actually read Orwell’s short allegorical novel (perhaps unlikely because it was written by a white male heterosexual), he would miss the message and instead probably approve of the various machinations of the zealot pig Napoleon to do whatever he deemed necessary to end the old regime, even if it meant re-creating it under a new correct veneer.
The conservative effort to roll back the entitlement, bureaucratic, and redistributionist state has so far mostly failed. That today, coming off sequestration, we are on target to run up a $700 billion annual deficit, on top of a $20 trillion national debt, goes largely unnoticed. Eighteen trillion dollars in national debt later, Ronald Reagan’s idea of cutting taxes to “starve the beast’ of federal spending has been superseded by “gorge the beast” to ensure that taxes rise on the upper classes. To the degree that there is a residual war over entitlements, it is not over cutting back such unsustainable programs, but instead about modestly pruning the level of annual increases.
The government necessary to ensure such continued state borrowing and spending is now nearly autonomous and transcends politics — and is eager to use its formidable powers against any who threaten it.
On a second front, there is a veritable civil war over race, ethnicity, gender, and identity. Massive immigration, the rise of opportunistic identity politics, and a new tribalism have replaced the old melting pot of assimilation, integration, and intermarriage with salad-bowl separatism. The only obstacle to the tribal state is that there may soon be too many victims with too many claims on too few oppressors.
There are too many incentives — from political spoils and university admissions, to government employment and popular cultural acceptance — to identify with one’s tribe rather than simply as an American.
The problems with such tribal fissuring are threefold. One, the rhetorical disdain for traditional majority culture and values operates in a landscape in which the critic adopts the tropes and lifestyles of all that he demonizes. From what traditions do the Claremont or Berkeley students believe their rights of protest derive? Where do they get their expectations of clean campus water or capital to drop out of the economy for four years of college? Was the technology behind the iPhone a result of a patriarchal, nativist, male culture — and does that therefore make the device tainted and unsuitable for use?
Second, if red-state, traditional America is constantly assaulted with various charges of –isms and —ologies, why would any foreigner wish to enter the United States, or upon entering live in such wretched places as red-state Arizona, Texas, Florida, or Utah? Is schizophrenia thus required: Concretely use and enjoy the legacies of a demonized culture while abstractly damning them?
Third, when tribalism supersedes the individual, then all criteria of merit, character, and ethics recede into identity: Race, gender, and ethnicity replace merit and we begin to have black NASA engineers, white nuclear-plant operators, or brown jet pilots rather than missiles, power, and flights that are overseen and operated by the most skilled among us. When a society operates on a tribal basis — we see it often in Africa and the Middle East — everything from tap water to IVs are a luxury.
In short, will America remain a multiracial nation united in one culture in which superficial physical appearance becomes largely irrelevant (and indeed one’s racial DNA pedigree soon becomes almost undefinable), or will it go the tribal route that ultimately leads to something like the Balkans, Rwanda, Iraq — or Evergreen State, Ferguson, and Middlebury?
Finally, there is a growing rejection of the founding principles of the United States, its traditional Christian-based values, and the old idea of American exceptionalism. Federalism and the idea of a republic, after all, do not necessarily lead to radical egalitarianism or a society of absolute equals. Yet the modern progressive mind is wedded to two principles: that 51 percent of the population at any given moment should have the final say in governance only if it reflects correct progressive principles; and if the population is “fooled” and votes incorrectly, then an elite in government, the courts, and the media will intervene to set in place what hoi polloi should have done to properly advance the correct agendas.
In practical terms, will universities still teach the inductive method and fact-based knowledge, or deductive social activism? Will our past be seen as noble and at times tragic, or melodramatically as exploitive? And will progressives abide by occasional political setbacks in elections, the courts, and popular referenda, or seek to subvert those institutions as unacceptable impediments to their radically egalitarian agendas?
So who is winning this fifth American conflict, and why?
It has an insidious appeal to human nature, offering contexts and arguments for dependency — which is defined as the consequence of some sort of prior unethical exploitation (rather than chance, bad luck, or personal pathology, perhaps in addition to exploitation) and therefore deserving of proper recompense. Progressivism promises a transcendence over nature’s limitations through superior education, proper training, and correct reasoning, as if poverty, illness, and inequality were not innate to human nature but results of selfishness and ignorance and so rather easily remedied. It confuses technological progress with a credo that human nature itself evolves in predictably progressive ways, thereby supposedly making obsolete institutions and protocols (from the Constitution itself to ancient ideas such as deterrence) that were once time-honored.
Virtue-signaling among elites who are critical of the very protocols that led to their own success serves as a psychological mechanism to alleviate guilt about privilege. And when an elite deprecates its own culture, the ripple effects widen upon reaching the masses. The combination of market capitalism and personal freedom can enervate a population, misleading people into thinking that their bounty is unending and natural, and giving them the latitude for cynicism, skepticism, and nihilism about the sources of their privilege. In the West, a narcissism follows that oddly manifests itself in thinking that human sins are almost exclusively Westerners’ own.
These age-old observations often led to depressions among Western philosophers who grasped the Western paradox that the success of market capitalism and constitutional government might undermine the ancient virtues essential to their continuance.
In this latest arena of civil dissent, Donald Trump, the renegade liberal and most unlikely traditionalist, squares off against the elite that despises his very being not only for reasons of class and culture, but mostly for attempting to restore a traditional regime of citizenship, individualism, assimilation, territorial sovereignty, recognized borders, strong defense, deterrence abroad, and free-market capitalism.
In sum, behind the daily hysterias over collusions, recusals, obstructions, and nullifications, there is an ongoing, often vicious war over the very nature and future of Western culture in general and America in particular.
The Power Poodle knows what W-A-L-K means
Oh look! The Cow found another delightful piece by Conrad Black. The Cow, in his disgust with what passes for "leadership" in Congress, needed these barbs.
Trump Is Winning More Than Ever
by Conrad Black July 18, 2017 4:00 AM
The GOP congressional leadership will get on board.
Catching up on American affairs after nearly three weeks overseas has been a challenging cultural experience. In Europe, including the United Kingdom, coverage of American political affairs lurches between belligerent ignorance and Late Communist International malice, and Fox News is displaced by the vastly less insightful Sky News, as they are geographic divisions of the same company. Europeans generally make a distinction between the great and powerful nation of America and the caricature of somewhat unworldly people that they stereotype as Americans, from generations of rather wide-eyed American tourists and GIs through more tailored and sonorous, but uncontinentally purposeful, American business people and academics of more recent times. Because the president of the United States is the chief of state and head of government — in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s phrase, “the head of the American people” — there is a natural tendency, accentuated by timeless Euro-pretension, to impute to the country the shortcomings of the leader, but not to credit the American public with the qualities of its most sophisticated leaders.
FDR and John F. Kennedy were admired as the suave and sophisticated and cultured men they were, and in Roosevelt’s time Europe, having laid the leaden eggs of Communism and Nazism on the world, was so desperate that it was prepared to embrace a corn-cobbing American private as a liberating Adonis. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, and Bush Sr. were seen more or less fairly for their good qualities as well as their limitations. Richard Nixon’s intelligence and Bill Clinton’s facile adeptness were admitted, though their shortcomings were somewhat exaggerated. Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson never really registered, George W. Bush was not respected, and Barack Obama, abroad as at home, was greeted with excitement that soured over the years into disappointment. None of it has prepared anyone in Europe or Britain to understand the current president and I return to find the United States public discourse reduced to the most unfathomable absurdity in my 60 years as a diligent auditor of it. (Fortunately, of course, it doesn’t matter what the Europeans think of the U.S.; it’s just the context from which I have emerged in the past few days.)
As the vagaries of intercontinental travel with connecting flights unfolded with rather more than their usual inconvenience, I was struck sharply by the screaming televised horror of the terrible tandem of Virginia’s U.S. senators. Senator Mark Warner struck first, distracting the viewer from his stumbling inarticulation with a dazzling display of large white Chiclet teeth. He declared that the Steele Dossier — lest we forget, the document about the Golden Shower of urinating prostitutes the president had allegedly choreographed in a Moscow hotel bed once occupied by the Obamas; the beginning of “fake news”; this splendid founding mission statement of the never Trumpers — had come from a “source the British, an ally, took seriously.” As I was recovering my mental equilibrium and faith in checks and balances (as a political concept and not a banking expression), a haymaker came in from the other and equally obtuse Virginia senator, Tim Kaine, the most forgettable candidate for national office in recent years. Donald Trump Jr., by meeting a Russian lawyer represented to him as having information that emanated from the Russian government and was damaging to the Clinton-Kaine campaign, may have committed “treason.” Dare we imagine this man as vice president?
I sat down in the airport-lounge chair, grateful to have been spared the secret weapon, the pièce de résistance, of the Democratic-loser/jackal-media alliance, the puffy-faced allegory of the otherwise inexpressible stupidity of his Hollywood constituents, Congressman Adam Schiff. My brief sigh of thanksgiving was premature; the swingeing stroke of the scythe of official idiocy was inexorable. We are all as we are and not really responsible for our physical features, and the problem with Adam Schiff is what he says, not how he looks. But as he swung from side to side to address the unusually wide range of the battery of cameras, and torqued up to maximum righteous claptrap (an exhilaratingly swift levitation), it put me in mind of Kafka’s description (in his novel America, after all) of “words rolling furiously over [a] bulging lower lip, a loose heavy piece of flesh which was easily agitated.” Terrible, unspeakable, and indeed, to stick with Kafka, “nameless” crimes had probably occurred, though Congressman Schiff could not detail them because of the confidentiality requirements of the House Intelligence Committee (as if there were the slightest chance that that, or any, committee had produced an illegality as serious as a $20 parking ticket). At least Warner had said the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he is the ranking Democrat, had been too distracted arranging the appearances of former FBI director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which required almost two days, to adduce any evidence beyond the allegations of the Golden Shower.
I sank resignedly into my airport chair, trying to grasp the implications that the Democratic party and the U.S. Congress had been reduced to such an oceanic depth of political and media imbecility. These, after all, are the facts: The Democrats are still trying to pretend that they did not lose the election. They started with Trump-Kremlin collusion and are clinging to the threads of the corpse of this false concept that come from stupid but irrelevant events such as Trump’s son, son-in-law, and then–campaign manager responding to a suggestion that they meet with a Russian official source of damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Their brains must have temporarily turned to mush to have gone to such a meeting without being accompanied by counsel and without putting a legal caution in young Trump’s e-mail to the convener, and in failing subsequently to volunteer that the meeting had occurred. They should have seen that it was more likely a set-up by a successor of the old Russian “crown prosecutor” (an office that has not existed in that country for almost exactly a century), but it is nonsense — nothing was said and nothing happened – so it’s the biggest, least flavorful nothing-burger yet.
Donald Trump has the strength and weakness of a successful revolutionary; he took the Republican nomination by popular vote from the outside and took over the leadership of a party and headship of a government that are largely hostile to him. The administration is still infested with Democrats, though the diluvian leakage seems to have been partially stanched by repeated threats of prosecution. The Republican leaders in the Congress don’t like Trump and he is fairly contemptuous of them, as part of the rotten system he assaulted, and they are losers to boot. But now they know they have to do something, hold their noses and deliver, or they go, at least as majorities, and the ineffable commander-in-chief drives on, like a New York developer dealing with new city councilors. When the Comey uproar occurred, Speaker Paul Ryan would “not prejudge” whether the president was guilty of something. He couldn’t get his health-care bill out of the House without the president, and this was the best he could do. When the Russian meeting came to light, even Representative Trey Gowdy, a fairly impressive partisan at times, left “matters of criminality to Bob Mueller.” Truly, such a feckless lot of sheep deserves to be rescued from the wrath of the voters only when one considers the possible primacy at the Capitol of Schumer, Pelosi, Schiff, Warner, and Kaine, at which point all sensibilities and grievances are soothed by a balm of Gilead, in this case a cold terror of what the Democrats could do if they had more than the little power to obstruct and defame that they are now wielding.
The Democratic party and the U.S. Congress have been reduced to an oceanic depth of imbecility. Unless they have taken complete leave of their senses, the congressional Republicans will finally repeal Obamacare, resign themselves to working with the president, and build steadily through the spring on the heavy waiting agenda. Economic growth has begun in anticipation of the tax changes that are promised. And the country supports the repulse of the eco-extremists who were going to save the planet at Paris by graciously imposing poverty on America for the benefit of foreign workers. Illegal immigration, unsustainably high foreign-energy imports, enthroned political correctness, the tyranny of the teachers’ and other public-service unions, the 25-year failure of policy toward North Korea, and the appeasement of the nation’s enemies are all ending. The jackal media, who after the departure from Washington of the Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are the most visible breakers on “the [great American swamp] white with foam,” will not be able to restrain the flow of public support to the administration after the congressional Republicans puzzle out that pouting in silence while holding their noses and smiling is better than continued gridlock and death at the polls. Senator McConnell, who was going to “drop [candidate Trump] like a hot rock” 18 months ago, and who is not only the husband of a cabinet secretary but probably the shrewdest Senate leader (except perhaps for Bob Dole) since Lyndon Johnson, will lead his fellow Republican legislators forward by the light of the grace of conversion (to the virtues of incumbency).
Mueller and his selected Democratic inquisitors can do as they will; collusion and obstruction are dead pigeons, and this ludicrous farce will only be a memory when the legislators return after Labor Day.
As I was writing last night that the Republicans would pass the revised health-care bill “unless they have taken complete leave of their senses,” the bill collapsed, and the condition I cited was met. The Democrats have managed well in agitating these fatuous and fraudulent stories about Russia and obstruction to aggravate Republican disunion. The Republican leadership is revealed as completely inept, and the faith I reposed in Senator McConnell is unjustified. The Republican congressional leadership must understand that this is their failure and that their seven years of strident promises about Obamacare reveal them as hypocrites, cowards, and amateurs. McConnell’s back-up plan of passing the two-year provisional measure to try to patch up the shambles Obama and the Republican legislators have created is probably the best course. The whole population should not be punished by health-care chaos because the Congress is a babel of idiots. Republicans should move straight to tax reform, complicated, but much better politics than health care and not dependent on killing the greatest Democratic sacred cow since the New Deal. They have one last chance to behave professionally, legislate intelligently, and gradually get to live with their president, to whom they owe their chance to govern. Economic growth will raise their fortunes and they may still salvage a respectable mid-term record. But this is the last train leaving the station. They have been so hopeless and invertebrate, if they can’t raise their game now, the country should take its chances with Schumer and Pelosi. They’re morally and intellectually bankrupt; Schumer weeps in imitation of the Statue of Liberty and Pelosi proclaims herself a “master legislator,” but at least they can organize a vote. We might even hear less of Warner, Kaine, and Schiff, a kind twist of fate the nation must have earned by now. Ryan et al are on the verge of almost unprecedented ignominy, and the entire Republican leadership must be close to being thrown out and down the Capitol steps.
The Donkeys specialize in creating such dependencies
The Donkeys issued a new logo today. The Cow added a voter...
This Page Updated: 24 July 2017