Wednesday, October 31, 2018

That possible executive order

Trump insists that he can revoke birthright citizenship through an executive order. This is the most bizarre and chilling thing I've ever heard a president say.

The 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to everyone born on US soil as long as they are born to parents who are subject to US jurisdiction. Being subject to US jurisdiction means you can be arrested and put on trial if you break the law. Of course this includes US citizens, but it also includes tourists, business travelers, foreign exchange students, and illegal aliens. Yes, illegal aliens are subject to US jurisdiction. If they weren't subject to US jurisdiction, then nothing they do would be illegal. Foreign diplomats and visiting heads of state are NOT subject to US jurisdiction. So if the next Queen of England were to give birth in New York, that British prince would still not be a US citizen.

Anything this president can do, the next president will try it too. If President Trump is allowed to override the Constitution with a executive order in 2018, then in 2025, President Pinko McGungrabber will also be able to do the same thing after he takes the oath of office with his hand on a copy of Mao's little red book.

Revoking birthright citizenship will have drawbacks. A child born in the US might not be eligible for citizenship in the country that his parents are from. This creates a stateless person, someone who owes no allegiance to any country. For such a person to be deported, another country would have to be willing to accept them. Stateless people can pose quite a security risk. Osama Bin Laden was a stateless person after he was exiled from Saudi Arabia. Citizenship must begin at birth and end at death.

The primary benefit of birthright citizenship is that as long as you are born here, you are a citizen and that cannot be revoked. You can never be deported. Any foreign-born woman who loves America so much that she is willing go through labor or undergo a C-section has forever earned the right to stay.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Trump and Saudi Arabia

So Saudi Arabia is alleged to have murdered a journalist. Jamal Khashoggi was seen entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey, and was never seen leaving. Trump says that there will be “severe punishment”. But he wants to continue to sell Saudi Arabia weapons! Because jobs!

1. Maybe we shouldn't sell weapons to assholes? If you were running a gun store, and an MS-13 member walked in, would you sell him a gun? Maybe he'll get a gun anyway, but does it have to come from you? Yes, I get that there are lots of jobs in the defense industry. This is mainly because the Pentagon overpays for everything. But if we stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, so what if Boeing and Lockheed have to lay some people off. Are all those STEM majors going to have a hard time finding a job in the best economy in 20 years? Really?

2. If you HAVE to sell a country weapons, how do you safely “severely punish” them? Wouldn't you want to stay on friendly terms so that your merchandise doesn't get used on you or your friends?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

That one mattress shooting video

Here is my lukewarm take on the mattress shooting video. This is a case of what feminists call “toxic masculinity”. But we can call it “thinking with your balls” or TWYB. Call it what ever you like, this is a case of multiple men afraid of looking weak in front of others. If for some reason, you haven't seen this video, go ahead and watch it. Yes, someone dies. But it's not the worst death video on the internet, not by a long shot. It's full of teachable moments.

1. If there are two guys with guns and no shirts standing in an alley and you don't want them there, you still shouldn't scream death threats and homophobic slurs at them. And don't throw a baseball bat at them. These guys might be looking for a good excuse to kill you. They might settle for a bad excuse. You can walk away and call the police. Or you can walk away and come back with your own gun. I strongly recommend calling the police, but just start walking towards the house, have a seat, and think long and hard about how you want to handle this. If all you have is a bat, you aren't ready to take those guys yet.
2. If you have enough time to think of a legal defense before shooting a guy, your legal defense probably won't work as well as you thought it would. You have to be in fear for your life to claim self-defense. You have to be thinking “Oh god, it's him or me!” not “Ok, here's what I'm going to say to the jury.” Whether it's right or wrong, your jury is going to include 12 people who would rather not be there. They are going to watch this video of somebody getting shot over an old mattress and they are going to think that if only the defendants went back inside, the jurors would not be taking time off of work right now. This is part of the reason why most cases that go to trial end up in convictions.
3. Yes, it's a good idea to record a violent confrontation if you can safely do so. But if you say something like “You won't shoot..” then somebody is probably getting shot.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

That One New York Times Op Ed

Whoever wrote this New York Times op-ed is a committed Republican. He supported Trump in 2016, and he will support Trump in 2020 if he is re-nominated. He would rather have an incompetent Republican as President than a competent Democrat. This is why he continues to work under Trump.

If Trump is incompetent, and his administration knows this, one might wonder why the Vice President and the Cabinet don't remove him from office using the 25th Amendment. The op-ed author wrote:

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

This is a poor excuse. The 25th Amendment was passed to prevent constitutional crises due to presidential incapacity. The author expects you to believe that following the Constitution would cause a constitutional crisis. If Trump tried to pardon himself, as he has threatened to do, that would create a constitutional crisis.

The fact is, at this point in time, Mike Pence either believes that Trump is capable of doing his job, or he is content to let a corrupt old fool sit in the Oval Office. Republicans know that the Trump train is going to derail. But they aren't going to turn on him before the midterm elections. If Trump manages to find that upper limit of what the public will tolerate, they are going to use Trump as a scapegoat. They're going to trade in their MAGA hats and act like they were part of the #NeverTrump resistance all along.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Alfie Evans

1. When a doctor says A and a parent says B, I tend to go with what the doctor says. Usually the doctors are right. After reviewing Alfie's case, I believe that the boy is already brain dead and will never recover. Further treatment is a waste of resources.
2. If the doctor says it's hopeless, the parents have a right to seek a second opinion. But Italian doctors who have observed Alfie agree with the UK doctors.
3. Courts sometimes have to rule on what's in the best interests of the child. If the doctor says the child needs antibiotics and the parents say the child needs holistic organic regression therapy, the court should probably rule in favor of the doctor. But it's in the best interest of a child to live, not just receive palliative care.
4. If a patient is brain dead, not even palliative care serves any purpose. The only reason I can think of for a British court to insist that Alfie finish dying in a UK hospital is to uphold the authority of the doctors over the parents.
5. But this isn't just about socialized medicine vs private medicine. People needs to understand that life starts and stops with the brain. It's the only organ in the body that can never be replaced or transplanted. In the Baby K case, a hospital was required to keep an anencephalic infant on life support for 2 years because the mother would not accept that the baby was born brain dead.
6. Hospitals should not be required to eat the cost of keeping brain dead patients alive. Neither should insurance companies or the NHS for that matter. If Alfie's Army wanted to raise money for this hopeless case, they should have been allowed to do so.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

BitCoin will go bust.

When people invest in something without fully understanding why it has value, that causes bubbles to happen. They see it go up in price and decide that they want in on it no matter what it is: tulip bulbs, tech stocks, Beanie Babies, etc. But if expectation of an increase in value is the only reason why people are buying an asset, there will come a point where the price reaches it′s peak and some speculators sell to take a profit. Then a lot of investors sell to cut their losses.

Right now, people are taking out mortgages and using credit cards to buy Bitcoin. It′s foolish to invest with money that you don′t have. This can have a huge and unfortunate ripple effect. When Bitcoin goes down in value, people will have all that debt with nothing to show for it. Watch for banks to use all those bad loans as a pretext for asking for another bailout. This is the kind of stupidity that causes recessions. Banks should not grant loans to morons.

If you own Bitcoin right now, sell it. Remember the mantra of ″Buy low, sell high.″ Gold is doing poorly low right now, so consider buying that. The worst time to buy gold is when you see TV ads encouraging you to buy it. Don′t buy it when everyone else is buying it. Buy it when everyone is selling it.

EDIT: I was asked what date this would happen by. I'm going with June 30th, 2018.

Thursday, December 07, 2017


This is a wedding cake. 

There doesn′t seem to be anything offensive about this particular pastry. Nobody could possibly feel disgusted by this cake. Except it was served at a lesbian wedding.

If a business offers cakes like this for sale, it should sell them to anyone who wants to buy one and is willing to pay for it. A business has to pay its employee, vendors, and credits. To turn away customers on the basis of who they are can doom a business.

There is a Supreme Court case being decided right now. The owner of a bakery insists that his 1st Amendment rights are being violated when his business is required to bake cakes for gay weddings. He argues that to force him to bake a cake for a gay wedding is to force him to say something that he doesn′t want to say.

He′s got the same right to spew hate that Fred Phelps did. If he wants to keep his mouth shut, that′s swell too. He can say that he will not put certain messages on cakes. But his business must still provide wedding cakes to anyone who wants to buy them.

We can all agree that symbols and text constitute speech. And I can understand if a business is uncomfortable with putting gay symbols on a cake, like rainbows or pink triangles. Just sell them the blank tiered cake and let them do whatever they want with it. Tomorrow they won′t have the cake anymore, but you′ll still have their money.

To allow a bakery to refuse to serve a gay couple will open many cans of worms. Will restaurants and beauty shops be allowed to discriminate as well? For that matter, how would they even know if someone is gay? Will I have to show that I′m attracted to women before I can place my order at Chick-fil-A? Investors will have to worry that the founder of a company is trying to make a point instead of a profit. Real businessmen want discrimination to be illegal. They don′t even want the option of turning down customers for the wrong reasons.

This court case is not really about free speech. It′s about making bigotry respectable again. We can only hope that the justices see through this ruse.