Scottish or Irish Independence? Not Likely

Based on the support of England and Wales, Britain voted to leave the European Union. You might have heard about this; it was mentioned at least twice last week on the news.

We’re also hearing that Scotland and Northern Ireland were not enthusiastic about this move; Scotland is mulling over another referendum to secede from the United Kingdom and go their own way. Likewise, Northern Ireland is looking to reunite with the Republic of Ireland, according to some sources, although this time without explosives.

As an American, it does our Czarish heart proud to hear about countries declaring their independence of anything. With two exceptions:

  • Texas, which has been announcing its intent to leave the United States since 1845. Texas is a proud, strong, and economically free state, so the Czar loves it. But let’s be honest: Texas should totally shut up already. They’re like the loud-mouthed 18-year-old who threatens to run away, but mom and dad know little Texas can’t go more than 20 minutes without the Xbox and free mac and cheese meals. Texas—the Czar loves ya, but STFU already about secession. You don’t mean it, and you sure wouldn’t want it. It’s an attention-whore joke that got tiresome when Polk was president.
  • Quebec, which would plunge into misery and chaos with its faux-French, state-sponsored pretend culture, but whose departure would actually and immediately improve the lives of Canadians overall. Arrêter de parler, for heaven’s sake. You’re useless by yourselves. And speak English, already, like the rest of the country, and not that awful form of record-scratching you call French. We all know you speak English when none of les Anglos are absent.

Interestingly, this is the Czar’s opinion on Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well. Take it from someone who was here in the 1770s: don’t attempt to form a country unless you already have one up and running.

Yeah, Scotland has its own pretend parliament, but it’s not functional outside its own limited, internal scope—it doesn’t even have the authority to secede itself from British Parliament. And it has no currency of its own, no independent banking system, no military forces, no independent health system, and no effective relations outside of the United Kingdom’s. Successful start-up countries have all these things before they go solo. Israel, for example, did, as did (ahem) the United States in 1775. More recently, the former Soviet states that became countries also did the necessary legwork. Scotland, despite mulling over independence for decades, has largely ignored these steps.

Scotland hopes that all of this will somehow be supplied by the European Union, which makes them perfect candidates for membership: let someone else pay for it or supply it. Scotland can remedy this sad situation, but it will take years.

Northern Ireland finds itself in much the same jam: if we merge with Ireland, they’ll cover us on all of this. Except, in reality, that’s not how it works. Northern Ireland can ask Germany how quickly their unification occurred. It took years.

And there’s the problem, you see: it takes a long time to develop the necessary infrastructure to succeed on your own. Scotland and Northern Ireland are hopeful it can occur right away, but it never does for obvious reasons. And time is running out.

Why? Because the European Union may not last much past the next three years. What with Britain’s departure, and rumors (to date) of France, Sweden, the Netherlands, and others weighing a possible exit as well, the number of members paying all the bills is going to get smaller and smaller.

Brexit will indeed be a disaster—but only for the notion of a European super-state centrally regulated by non-elected technocrats who manage from spreadsheets and not experience. Scotland and Northern Ireland aren’t going to get their bills paid by someone else, in which case they might just as well develop their own solutions and—hey—they won’t need the EU, either.

This seems like a crazy idea, but newcomer Noah Daponte-Smith seems to agree:

A Daily Mail poll released earlier today showed support for independence north of the border is strong, but not so strong: the electorate splits 53-47 in favor of leaving the U.K. That’s a large shift from the 55-45 majority in favor of remaining in the 2014 referendum, but it’s still only a six-point difference.

Daponte-Smith also posits something the Czar didn’t even consider:

Then there’s the question of whether an independent Scotland would even be allowed into the European Union. This seems to be taken as something of a given right now, but it shouldn’t be. Accession to the E.U. requires the unanimous assent of all current member states — all of the E.U.’s now-27 countries would need to give their okay to Scotland’s accession. But some countries are currently grappling with their own secessionist movements, and letting in the Scots after their own secession might send a positive signal to secessionists around Europe. In Spain, for instance, Scottish independence could embolden and set a precedent for the Catalonian secessionist movement, which has gathered momentum in recent years. And, it’s worth noting, the Spanish prime minister has recently expressed his opposition to negotiations with Scotland over its E.U. membership.

Nothing here doesn’t also apply to a potential North Ireland secession, including the probability that Europe doesn’t want another country to diaper. While a centrally managed Europe may welcome a merged Ireland, which the Europeans have historically termed Anschluß, the subsequent drain on Ireland’s risky and delicate economy would transfer to the EU when they could least afford it. In 1990, the merger of East and West Germany proved terribly expensive (Solidaritätszuschlag), but was greatly mitigated by the strength of the Deutschemark over the Ostmark—but the Northern Irish pound sterling to the Irish euro is not a beneficial analog: the two currencies are too close in value to be attractive to investors, and who the hell would sell off pounds sterling to euros? Basically, whether you invest in either currency, you would wind up hurting to merge the two countries. No surprise that public polling shows the Northern Irish are quite happy to stay part of the UK, thank you.

So that’s it, basically. Scotland isn’t going to secede any time soon, and doing so to join the EU is even more of a bad idea. Northern Ireland lacks the support internally (support for a unified Ireland is bigger in the Republic of Ireland, who also stands to be a big loser with such a move) and would be a bigger longshot.

The Czar recommends they stay where they are. After all, in a few years, the United Kingdom’s economy will climb high enough to make all this talk of post-Brexit independence just another piece of left-wing hysteria best forgotten.

The Failure of Liberalism Leads to Illiberalism

Nihil agis, nihil moliris, nihil cogitas quod non ego non modo audiam sed etiam videam planeque sentiam.

Operative B swings by the Castle bar last night but declines to drink anything, He does however throw this out:

Your Imperiousness,

This lowly one comes before you to apologize for previously questioning the value of NATO in today’s world. With England having voted to leave the EU, and with other countries making “we’re also sick of Brussels’ crap” noises, it appears that your support for NATO was right on the mark.
I’m not quite sure it was either your long view of history (several hundred years of direct experience) or your use of Gort’s time warp viewer (he got it fixed, right?), but this miserable one is in awe of your prescience.

So, if I may, here’s a couple of lottery forms. Do you suppose you’d be willing to darken the spots for an upcoming drawing? I’d be more than happy to rebuild the drawbridge and buy y’all several rounds of your favorite beverages…

Operative B

Anti-Brexit news media nervously tapping fingers wondering when this sort of destruction will come to Britain…and, maybe more importantly, what happens when it doesn’t.

We haven’t spoken much about Brexit, but the Czar is in agreement with a piece that Volgi linked to the other day, but the Czar would like to tie all this together. Meantime, read that link; the Czar will wait.

Okay, so you’ve read it and concluded that most of the world—not just the United States—is in a bad way. In fact, you would reasonably conclude that things are worse elsewhere in the world: the chauvinism of France returns, the itch for German control over the region, and Russia’s never-ending quest for legitimacy and respect. Worse, the ridiculous return of anti-Semitism shows that Europe would rather hate Jews and the rumors of minor monetary control than address the widespread Islam that is, in fact, coming to supplant or kill them.

Basically, Europe is out of control and seeking to over-control itself. Brexit is part of that reflection: fed up with Brussels (as you rightly identify it) and the sudden realization that any post-Roman European superpower inevitably turns to poop, the English and the Welsh have decided to hit the road. Not surprisingly, the Scots and Northern Irish (long living off handouts), want to stay with the EU under the fantasy that wealthier nations will spot them another twenty quid until they, you know, get around to writing a résumé and applying for mid-management at that bank down the road.

And we can talk Trump, too, and his nationalist tone about taking things back, making things great again, and putting things first again. The piece you just read already covered how all these things are related: Author Sohrab Ahmari terms it a rise in “Illiberalism.”

The cause of that—and this is the Czar taking a long view here—is the struggling death of Leftism. Since the French Revolution, Leftism has failed to deliver on any of its claims. When it turned into Bohemianism, then Communism, then Progressivism, then Socialism, Fascism and Nazism, and all the way down to Bernie Sanders, the numbers were never in its favor.

Bernie Sanders is a great example. He and Hillary Clinton are the pinnacles of what passes for liberal leadership in this country: had any other candidate besides the illiberal Donald Trump survived the primaries, and it’s highly probable that we’d see a landslide vote against the Democrats in November. Know why the Democrats are running candidates so weak that even a mess like Donald Trump is holding his own? Because they’re tapped out. They have no one better than these two losers.

All across Europe, North and South America, we see socialism failing. Austerity, Austrian politics, and no-confidence votes are a visible Thatcherite sign than we are indeed running out of other people’s money. Leftism has failed, and the average person isn’t buying it.

As a whipsaw, though, the reaction has been the opposite: aggressive attempts at central control. Britain leaves the EU? Hysterical (and often hysterically funny) reactions about doom and gloom. “The markets will fail!” Prices fluctuate and return to normal. “Markets struggle to come back from Brexit!” Prices begin ticking upward as British stocks become more valuable. “Market valiantly battles against Brexit’s effects!” Please.

The destruction of political correctness is a good thing, but instead we’re getting political offensiveness in the other direction. Candidates are saying whatever the hell the want to say, and consequences don’t seem to matter. This is equally bad.

Don’t be too joyful about the death of liberal progressivism, though: the responding rise of nationalism isn’t good for freedom, as Ahmari explains. Liberal progressivism might be dying, but it plans to take most of us with it. In fact, it may become more dangerous as it senses it’s cornered. We’re seeing that with the daily deluge of illegal executive actions, double secret probationary regulations passed by unseen bureaucrats, and judicial legislation.

Liberal progressivism is on its way out, but what comes after could easily be worse.

Mary Eberstadt is waaay too optimistic (UPDATED: No, she’s not.)

Based on (Friend of the Gormogons) Jonathan Last’s rave review, I picked up Mary Eberstadt’s It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom & its Enemies. I recommend it.

I’m a little less overwhelmed than Jonathan was, however, for a reason I’ll get to. But first, here’s the book. The central argument is that the decades-old “culture war” is not actually, as it’s usually presented, the forces of secularism against those of religion, but rather a battle of two competing religions. The crux of the book appears here. Go read it. It’s worth your time.

Ok, got that? So, yeah, one can cavil if we’re dealing with a religion, a metaphysic, an ethic, or an ethos (“I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude…”), but yes, like Marxism, Socialism, Nazism, whatever, we’re dealing with a pseudo-religion that provides its adherents with a pretty comprehensive moral system. Let’s call them Venerists for short. (She doesn’t, but I will.)

Most of Eberstadt’s short book documents in great anecdotal detail how the mindset of Venerism has gradually become utterly hostile to orthodox Christian belief, and the difficulties this presents in American society today, for the Venerists as well as their targets.

Her primary analogy is to past moral panics that resulted in persecution—the Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism, the Satanic day-care panic of the ’80s, etc. Her final chapter asks “What is to be done?” and her main counsel is patience, as all of the above burned themselves out, often with public regrets by those involved.

That’s where I think she’s fairly grievously wrong, if her persuasive analysis of Venerism as a religion is correct. Witch trials aren’t religious conflicts, they’re social phenomena couched in moral-religious terms. Religious conflict is something altogether worse.

As the village atheists among us like to point out, religions are often bad at tolerating competing religions because they’re making mutually exclusive truth claims. And indeed, the closer the religions the more hostile the conflicts often are. Take Sunnism and Shi‘ism, for example, or the competing Christian groups who burned Germany to the ground for a hundred years or so in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The solution to religious conflict within a society is religious pluralism along the lines that evolved, particularly in the English-speaking world, particularly in British North America, beginning with Maryland’s Act Concerning Religion of 1649 and evolving into the U.S. Constitution of 1789’s First Amendment and its Establishment Clause.

Here’s the problem. Venerists do not believe—and in my opinion likely cannot be persuaded—that they are acting out of a religious impulse. Indeed, they are often rabidly “anti-religion” in their own minds, believing themselves to possess a superior moral sense derived from something like pure reason. And given that under the Constitution, they probably in fact do not count as a religious group (however metaphysical their convictions are), they therefore cannot fall afoul over the Establishment Clause. You see where I’m going with this.

Consequently, as they seem to be doing (thanks, Justice “Meaning of Existence” Kennedy, Justice “It’s [Not] A Tax” Roberts, and crew), they are in fact establishing Venerism as the official state cult of America, and they will use the full might of the state to suppress dissenters (who are vile, wicked heretics leading souls to perdition—excuse me, “hate”). They will offer no quarter, because error has no rights. Or in today’s cant, “Because hate speech does not deserve to be heard.”

So, while I hope and pray that Eberstadt’s conclusion is correct, that we’re in the midst of a panic that will burn out and self-correct at the hands of conscientious liberals, my real worry is that we find ourselves in the middle of a genuine religious conflict, and our enemies have the sovereign behind them. It is a very dangerous place to be, and I think we (and Hobby Lobby, and the Little Sisters of the Poor) find ourselves arguing less from our rights as equal citizens than for tolerance—not in the modern celebratory-affirmation sense, but in the old suffer-the-despised-to-live sense—as recusants from the new dispensation.

UPDATE: She’s probably as pessimistic as I am. I stand corrected!

Travel Tips for Rio

The Czar is a giving Czar, and it warms his heart to see someone as famous and respected as Uncle Jay—the Big Guy, and the guy who should have gone into gritty, rage-filled urban hate rap instead of fiber optics—supplicating in such a worthy and professional manner as this:

O Most Dread and Awful Czar, Lord of the Flies, Keeper of the Pile, Master of the Steppes, Bringer of Kinetic Military Action, Torturer-in-Chief, Slayer of the Yaw and the Goiter, and Protector of the Holy Cities of Moscow, Chicago and parts of Louisville…

Once again I find myself in need of Pro Life Tips from Your Czarness…

As per usual I have been assigned to work in a place that the mere mention of evokes fear and palpitations in the hearts of travel agents and dollar signs in the eyes of Personal Executive Protection agents.

Yep- you guessed it. I’m heading to Rio.

Your guidance regarding my sojourn in Sochi was invaluable; Your tip regarding quality horsemeat was spot-on, and I did use “გვამი მდინარეში ერთხელ,” very often, given the construction contractors that received bids and money for projects that were either unfinished (tons of them) or didn’t even exist (arguably even a larger quantity).

Your knowledge was so useful I would once again visit the well of your vast wisdom and know-how and draw upon your knowledge of all things dangerous and deadly.

Word around the campfire is to stay away from:

  • Beaches at night
  • Bars bearing any signage 1) in English, or 2) with the words “Nós Matamos Turistas” (“We love tourists” I think…)
  • Downtown Rio
  • Northern Rio
  • Southern Rio
  • Western Rio
  • (There is no Eastern Rio. Word has it that is was sold to Uruguay and carted away in a truck years ago.)

Also avoid:

  • Local cops
  • City cops
  • Federal cops
  • Highway cops
  • Subway/Metro cops
  • Anyone with a uniform
  • Anyone without a uniform
  • Kids
  • Grownups
  • Boys
  • Girls
  • Girls that look like boys
  • Boys that look like girls
  • Anyone with a pulse
  • Anyone without a pulse

And finally—
Don’t eat:

  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Gluten
  • Starches
  • Name brand liquor
  • Off brand liquor
  • Homemade liquor
  • Cachaça
  • Aguardiente
  • Water (bottled, tap, bay, beach, bath/shower, ocean and rainfall)
  • Beer
  • Coke and other ‘soft’ drinks

And the biggest no-no-

  • Favelas – Don’t even look at the damned favelas.

As a matter of fact, according to the keeper of my leash, visiting a favela, no matter how well armed and capable I am, or the size of my personal protection detail is a violation that will get me a spot on the next plane out. (That’s my escape plan, by the way.)

Help me, Obi Wan Czarnobi
You’re my only hope.

Uncle Jay

Dear Uncle Jay,

You’re right that the key word for traveling to Brazil is “don’t.” Of course, that makes it sound like you shouldn’t travel there at all; in reality, (1) you shouldn’t travel to South America at all and (2) the word don’t really applies to everything related to Brazil.

This actually is Rio. This may not be one of the Olympic sports, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see this at some venues.

Brazil is basically all the cut-throat lunacy of a Mexican pirate town plunked helpfully in the center of a sweltering jungle, featuring a river filled with creatures that have teeth the size of your aunt and the predilection to eat something her size with them. Another feature of Brazil is the fact you can drive about ten minutes in any direction (in theory, as there aren’t nearly enough roads) and find yourself in a stone-age culture equipped with blowguns and cell phones. They will not hesitate to use both. No, the Czar doesn’t mean “either,” he means “both”: they’ll gleefully put a dart in your neck while talking to their agent.

Brazilians, on the other hand, are great for parties. The Czar strongly recommends befriending a Brazilian if you like to eat, drink, roller skate, dance, and basically repeat this every hour until four or five in the morning. These people do not quit.

It has been decades since the Czar went to Rio, though, so let’s see what we remember. Your high school Spanish will be just as useful to you here as when you went to Cozumel, by which we mean totally useless. Brazilians, as you already know, speak Portuguese, not Spanish. Portuguese is an interesting language that’s half-Spanish and half-arrogance. It has a lot of shushing noises, which is linguistically interesting: since Brazilians spend about two-thirds of their day inebriated, they simply modified the spelling of their language to reflect drunken slurs.

Helpful phrases:

  • “These are not my drugs, therefore you can keep them.” — Não minhas drogas; portanto, você pode mantê-los.
  • “Waiter, my seafood is threatening me.” — Garçom, meu frutos do mar me ameaça.
  • “What can I drink that won’t kill me?” — O que eu posso beber que não vai me matar?
  • “If I drink this caipirinha, will I still have two kidneys in the morning?” — Se eu beber esta caipirinha, vai ainda tenho dois rins na parte da manhã?
  • “Get me on the next flight home.” — Quero que o próximo vôo do avião casa.
  • “No, I’m Canadian.” — Não, sou canadense

Don’t worry about pronouncing the Portuguese correctly: just read it loud and in a drunk voice. They won’t understand you, but that’s because they’re too hammered themselves. “Vamos roller skating,” they’ll say in sympathy.

The Czar is also familiar with Brazilian cooking, being something of a grill-master himself. The Brazilian method of cooking is quite simple: subject thick cuts of meat—python?—to extremely high heat until the food is charred black on the outside and bloody raw in the middle. If you look carefully, you might find some medium-well fibers of meat between the two, but these will be utterly soaked in salt.

The heat is unbearable in Rio, but clothing is totally optional. Actually, the bigger and hairier you are, the less you want to wear. The Czar guesses for a mostly shaved Sasquatch guy your size, Jay, you should wear an eyepatch in place of a thong. Surprisingly, that won’t be the most surprising thing you’ll see someone wear.

Everyone talks about the gigantic statue of Jesus up on the hilltop, but what they don’t tell you is that, over the last 50 years or so, the statue has totally turned itself around so it looks away. It would be a Vatican-sized miracle, but no one admits it because it reflects nothing but shame on the city. Hey, if you had to gaze down on that mess, you’d at least squint.

Anywhere you go, look for the nearest exit and use it.

Fortunately, you’ll be traveling there with fiber optic cables, which is good because you can use them to strangle the hotel clerk when he arrives in the middle of the night to perform his customary turn down service and leave something minty on your pillow. Don’t worry about the body: murder is not only sanctioned there but positively encouraged. If the authorities ask, simply say what all Brazilians say and claim you thought he was a poor person. You’re off the hook, and you can just leave the body where it is. There will be no air-conditioning in your room anyway, and within moments his corpse will be swollen with bottle fly maggots, so dumping it won’t matter.

For the last 50 years or so, the Czar has become increasingly convinced that the Olympics are just a huge joke that we’re not getting…so the organizers are choosing even dumber locations each time. “Let’s pick a disease-infested pithole that’s corrupt, filthy hot, and has no transportation or clean lodging.” “How about Rio? Chicago said no.”

Illiberalism Worldwide

Very much worth your while is Sohrab Ahmari’s piece on the rising tide of illiberalism around the world over at Commentary.

However, I would add one point that Ahmari largely ignores. While the turn towards community-centric populism, however the community is defined, is a constant in human affairs (indeed, much of Marxism and leftism in general is an intellectualization of the values of the small-group tribe). But why this turn now in the wealthiest parts of the world?

One hesitates to pronounce on such large, complicated questions, but it occurs to me that central to the increasingly decadent liberal order in the West (liberal in the old, as well as lefty sense) is a crisis of meaning. Religion, other than Islam, is incredibly feeble in Europe and decreasingly relevant in the U.S., when it’s not under explicit attack by votaries of Leftism, either in its statist or venereal sects.

Absent the traditional explanatory narrative and provider of morals, people moralize and narrativize politics. Those on their side become angels, their opponents demons. Reasoned argument collapses into anathema. Blues and Greens cry “Nika! Nika! Nika!”

The West has been soul-sick since World War I. If no remedy comes along soon, we’re done for.

Staining the Rug

The Czar has written a lot of great stuff over the years, all of which has been useful to you, and some of which probably saved your lives. Like today: the Czar woke up and realized you need to read a lengthy piece about staining your carpets.

A dog is a great way to do this because dogs are a never-ending and always surprising source of bodily fluids; sometimes dogs can produce emanations that are difficult to identify, at least as far as from what orifice they originated. Even a small dog of particularly robust constitution is able to produce several quarts of goo without any warning. Semi-colloids of a biological color, for example, make up this category, but don’t forget the exotic muds and rare earths they bring in on their paws even in dry conditions.

However, the Czar is not interested in this type of staining, but in good, old-fashioned carpet stain.

Several manufacturers produce a variety of good stain finishes, ranging from oil-based to gallons of solid white latex eggshell finish. You could spend some time handcrafting realistic wood grain patterns in for a natural look, or just dump gallons of stain all over the carpet and storm away, angry at what the world has done to you. In most cases, justifiably angry; but don’t overlook the possibility you deserved it. But we digress.

It’s best to start with a single color, light-hued carpet, although there’s nothing wrong with experimenting on an area rug if you’re just starting out. Open the cans of stain—from experience the Czar recommends no less than a gallon of stain for every 36 square feet. Begin by gently brushing (“feathering”) a little stain into the carpet in a W-pattern, continuously increasing the amount of stain until you basically pour the whole quantity onto the area. If the stain has trouble adhering to the carpet, just stop and give it “tooth” by sanding the carpet with a 100-grit paper. This will roughen up the carpet fibers and increase adhesion by the stain.

Yes, it seems ridiculous to mention this, but be smart about where you start: every so often, even intelligent people stain themselves into a corner and realize they have to walk across their hard work to get to the exit. If the door is in the middle of the room, or the ceiling, do the edges first and work your way from left-to-right until you bottom out at the top of middle. This last step is essential and it’s important not to get it wrong.

As you wind down toward the end, you might have a little extra stain left in the bottom of the can. Don’t waste this: unlike paint, of which you should save a half-pint in case you ever need to do a touch up, stain doesn’t really go bad on carpets and hides wear and tear well. You don’t need to save any, so carefully disconnect the fuel pump from the injectors, taking care to remove the fuel pump fuse, and connect the fuel return line. Disconnect the pressure regulator vacuum line from the carpet, and connect the cleaning kit to the fuel pressure test port. Let the engine run for about 10 minutes, allowing the cleaner to cycle through the injectors.If the engine stops, it’s because the cleaner is exhausted. Then, reattach the fuel pump power supply and pressure regulator vacuum hose, and you’re good to go.

Your stained carpet should give you a lifetime of filthy enjoyment, and as a side benefit, will enjoy better gas mileage.

Hitch-hiking Minimum Wage

The Czar finally figured out some stuff about the demand to raise the minimum wage.

The Czar has explained why raising the minimum wage always hurts before, and who’s behind the whole scam, so he won’t go into that again.

But he will do a little bit of math for you so you can understand why the unions have chosen $15 an hour, and not $14.99, or $17.00, or some other amount.

After all, isn’t it strange? Does $15.00 an hour buy you the same amount in San Francisco that it does in Baltimore? Wouldn’t it make more sense to see a so-called living wage reflect the cost of, well, living in different cities? The Czar suspects folks making minimum wage would rather make $15 an hour in Boise, Idaho, where the cost of living is less than, say, Manhattan.

This is, as you suspect, based not on localities, but on a national average. So the Czar wondered, why choose a national average?

Then the Czar wondered why choose any amount for a minimum wage, given that some people work 10 hours a week. After all, the whole point of $15 is that you can theoretically live off that. But can you really live off that working part-time? At what point, hours wise, does $15 an hour clear some economic hurdle no one has mentioned? The Czar wondered where the break-even is.

And then he did the math.

If the minimum wage is based on a national average, so much every other number. So the Czar checked in with the Department of Labor and found his answers.

  1. The average full-time employee works 2,087 hours per year, on average.
  2. $15 times 2,087 hours is an annual income of $31,305.
  3. Federal tax on that amount is $4,234.50, which leaves you $27,070.50 in change.
  4. State taxes vary, but these with Obamacare payouts leaves you with about $26,500 per year.
  5. Ready? Union dues, assessed by the SEIU—we demonstrated previously they are behind the measure—equate to 2% of gross pay, or about $600 annually.
  6. This leaves you about $25,900 per year for yourself.
  7. Federal poverty is assessed at $20,000 per year.

Get it? If you join the SEIU and can maintain full-time employment, you can pay your union dues and stay just out of poverty! How convenient.

Some more math.

  1. Approximately 1.3 million workers are paid minimum wage, and another 1.7 million are paid less than minimum wage.
  2. 35% of minimum-wage employees work full-time.
  3. That’s 1,050,000 people who would, in theory, be paid $15 an hour, 40 hours a week.
  4. The SEIU and its underlings make $600 per employee in dues.
  5. $600 times 1,050,000 minimum wage earners puts $630 million in the SEIU’s bank account.

Hey, you know, all those kids protesting for a minimum-wage hike last summer bitched about how much CEOs were making at their companies. They oughta look into how much the SEIU is pocketing off them. It’s a lot more than any CEO.

Still more math: adjusted for inflation, the unions have, since 1968, pushed for a minimum wage that always seems to put union workers just above the poverty line after dues are paid. There’s nothing new about $15 an hour: it was the same percentage since they pushed for $2 an hour in 1968.

Oh. You’re not surprised.

As you may recall, the Czar has an elegant solution that would make everyone happy: eliminate minimum wages entirely.

If you don’t want to work for an employer who pays $6.00 an hour, don’t. Two things would happen to him or her: someone else will take your position, or no one will accept that pay and the employer either raises wages or goes under-staffed.

The Czar understands that it can be difficult to find work right now, and maybe you have to take that $6-an-hour gig. Yes, it is indeed better than nothing. So use your remaining time to get a higher-paying job as quickly as you can.

Look, if the last two paragraphs don’t make sense already, then twenty paragraphs explaining why elimination of minimum wage will force all wages to rise won’t make any sense to you, either. Actually, if you can follow the math in the scam listed above, you’re probably able to earn more than minimum wage, anyway.

Wait, slight math correction. Eliminating the minimum wage won’t make everybody happy. It’ll sure as hell annoy the SEIU.

Edited thanks to alert operative AB, who not only kindly pointed out massive errors in the Czar’s original math, but wisely blamed those errors on Dat Ho’s annoying interference. Many thanks, not only for correcting the math but for giving the Czar another good opportunity to punish the little rapscallion.

In Which the Czar Loses His Cool. More.

Operative B writes in, expressing a concern shared by millions right now:

Your Greatness,

This lowly one comes before you and begs permission to make an observation about some horrors in recent American history. But not the reason or ideology behind them. I am bothered by the reactions to them, and how those reactions have changed over time.

After 9/11, the call was for America to stand together, united, as a single people. The operative phrase was that an “attack on one of us is an attack on all of us”. The US flew American flags and stood in apparent solidarity.
The Ft. Hood massacre was declared a “workplace violence” incident, and we were told that members of our Armed Forces were killed by someone who was mentally imbalanced. No mention was made that “an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us”. Some flew American flags, but others questions why our Armed Forces were disarmed while on their own military base.

Then, after the Boston Marathon bombing, we heard about people being “Boston Strong”. The city did its best to help those who were maimed by a bomb (not a gun, btw). It was “an attack on Boston and innocent marathoners” – not an attack on America. Some flew American flags, but others didn’t – and some blamed America for Tsarnaev’s radicalization.

The attack on a medical facility in San Bernardino was blamed on someone who “hated his co-workers” and who had been “radicalized” by his recently-immigrated wife. But again, this was treated as an isolated incident. Few raised American flags and called for solidarity with other Americans. And others voted against a bill in Congress that would have strengthened immigration policy for those from countries where the ID of the immigrant could not be completely verified.

And now, an attack on a bar in Orlando is being called an “attack on the LGBT community”, with calls to raise the “rainbow flag” – not the American flag – as a way to honor those who were killed. This latest attack is not “an attack on all of us”. In fact, the child-king Obama didn’t even call the governor of Florida after the incident to send his sympathies to those who were killed and maimed. He did take the opportunity to blame the guns used in the attack, without mentioning that the guns were obtained legally and after all required background checks had been completed.

My observation is this: as 9/11 becomes more distant and attacks become more frequent, we seem to be drifting away from unity as one people, and toward disunity and isolation by group. I could point to the failure of the child-king Obama to unite the country by naming the philosophy that inspires the attackers. And I could point to the failed diplomatic efforts of She Who Wears Pantsuits, who was apparently more concerned with receiving payoffs from foreign potentates than telling those potentates to “knock it off – NOW”.

The salient fact is that we are not being told, by the President of The United States, that we are a single people who are under attack by a vicious ideology that will murder anyone standing in its way. Instead, we are being told that any reaction to prevent further attacks would “not be who we are” – which apparently means that we are meant to be “sitting ducks”.

This lowly one wonders whether the next attack will be declared as merely another “bump in the road”, a phrase used by the child-king Obama when referring to deaths by violence inspired by Islam (yes, he actually said this back in 2012), a phrase that reveals just how little he respects the lives of “those who slander the prophet of Islam” (yes, he said this too – in front of the UN).

Your Highness, I had often wondered whether the US will survive – intact – to 2050. With these recent incidents, and with this administrations apparent refusal to acknowledge the ideology at the heart of these attacks, I become more convinced that – lacking some major turn from passivity to offense in the “war on terror” – my fears about 2050 are coming true. And possibly sooner than that.

What’s the difference? The difference is, unfortunately, the President himself.

Barack Obama is a polarizer. He has repeatedly encouraged the Left to express outrage and contempt, which they unfailingly do. And the Right obliges by curling up into a defensive ball every time something happens.

It can be a massive tragedy, but it can also be a minor event. It could even be a whacky professor kicking down his own door until the neighbors call the police. No event can go without Barack Obama pointing the finger at Republicans and demanding they step aside. Disunity and isolation is his bag because it has always served him well,

This divisiveness won’t go away with his departure to sunnier climes next January, for the Left has a taste of this and wants more disunity. What will it take? Well, for one, the Right needs to stop apologizing for everything.

Think about this: no matter what shooting occurs, there follows blame against conservatives and demands for gun control. And what do conservatives do? They go on Twitter and Facebook and post gun facts, infographics explaining the differences between automatic and semi-automatic, and condescendingly try to point out how gun laws work.

And none of this works on liberals any more than an ad for a one bedroom apartment in Lesotho grabs your attention. Why? We’ve said it many times: facts, reasons, debate, analyses, and so on never work on people who don’t want to listen; they just want to react with visceral emotion. Explaining whatever the hell you’re telling them only pisses them off more.

The Czar does not mean to sound so puerile, but ultimately the only thing that will resonate with them is jamming it back in their faces. When a liberal says the AR-15 is an assault rifle, don’t come back with a legal explanation of marketing terms—tell them to go ████ themselves. Shock them. Make them realize their opinion has no power over you. Make them realize they are just yapping little dogs.

Liberals have become so screechy because Barack Obama gave them a sense that someone is listening to their never-ending tantrum. Yes, it means playing their game. But playing that game is something liberals never do well, and it’s easy to beat them at their own strategy. Isolate them. Divide them.

Don’t debate, don’t argue, and don’t attempt to be clever with a put-down Anything that lengthens the tantrum strengthens the tantrum. Tell them to go ████ themselves and walk away.

Things will change pretty quick.

Unappealing

GorT has made it pretty clear that most of the GOP candidates that were in the campaign weren’t appealing and Donald Trump is no different.  I believe he’s a clown that enjoys the spotlight of attention.  I’m sure he has some well-intentioned ideas and plenty that are complete burning trash heaps but he’s not appealing at all to me.  Maybe the most appealing part of Trump is that he isn’t a career politician and therefore would bring an outside view to things in Washington.  But I don’t think it is the right kind of view.

And given our limited political system, the other side of the aisle is even less appealing: I fully believe the Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of what is wrong with our political system – she really hasn’t worked a private sector job that she had to work to earn, she’s been tied to so many sketchy at best and criminal at worst scandals that it’s embarrassing that she’s the leading candidate, and her leading challenge as to “why me” is that she could be the first woman President.  And then we have Bernie Sanders who has, almost literally, done nothing in his 26 years in the United States Congress.  Sure, he’s voted on key bills and made some speeches, and rattled the sabers on various issues.  But there is no substantial effort that he personally drove.  His affinity for free-<insert something here> is mind-numbingly out of touch with the socio-economic system in place and with the global economy of which our country is a part.

GorT seriously believes that the GOP is undergoing a change – liberals and democrats will call it “imploding” – whatever term you wish, it is changing.  And almost regardless of where it goes, I think it is time that America begin thinking of a more diverse political party system.  Beyond Republican and Democrat.  Beyond the “Independent” title (which Bernie Sanders used to have).  The Libertarian party is getting noticed since it is largely conservatives that are unhappy with the Republican candidate.  Having said that, I don’t think it will be long until the Democrat party has similar issues.  The back and forth between Sanders and Clinton is illuminating and when you compound that with the weakness of other candidates (minus some of the second-tier candidates).  Just look at the data from FiveThirtyEight below – Clinton is disliked more than George W. Bush EVER WAS.  And do you remember that era?  The “anyone but Bush” campaigns?  The Democrats haven’t had an improvement in presidential “dislike” ratings since the 1980s going from Mondale to Dukakis.enten-dislike-wide-1

It would be an interesting dynamic within the legislative body to have four, five, or more discrete parties that would coalesce in different ways around different issues.  I suspect that it would shake loose some of the gridlock that has developed in the last decade.

But for the here and now, what could be the near-term outcome of voting for a non-major party (R or D) candidate?  Many will argue that it would be a lost cause and I get that.  But I wonder if it serves a longer play: will it inspire and motivate a change to (a) the types of candidates put forward by the major parties and (b) the ideas of other parties becoming more major players.  Change has to start somewhere.

In the end, GorT is going to write in, ‘Puter and the Czar for the Presidential ticket and then urge them to select the Œcumenical Volgi as the Secretary of State (his international knowledge is unbounded), Dr. J for the Surgeon General, The Mandarin for the Secretary of Defense (gut boots to our enemies!), and GorT would willingly serve as the Director of National Intelligence.

 

Trump v Clinton: How they Compare

It’s getting harder and harder to look forward to a 2016 election. You know, it’s been a very long time since both parties put up utter losers while the other party was so vulnerable. This should have been a cakewalk by either party, but because the average American is The Jersey Shore right now, we are stuck with two total morons as options.

So how do the candidates compare?

Donald Trump Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Possible felon
  • Against free trade
  • Changes mind based on what supporters want to hear
  • Mega rich
  • Unable to function without cadre of handlers and assistants
  • Quasi-distaste for Bill Clinton
  • Shrewd
  • No clue how military works
  • No foreign policy skills or accomplishments
  • Foul-mouthed
  • Tied to a scam organization that made millions off people; see Trump U.
  • Very unlikely to finish term because he’ll get bored and suddenly elect to do something else. Vice-presidential choice will be key.
  • Possible felon
  • Against free trade
  • Changes mind based on what supporters want to hear
  • Mega rich
  • Unable to function without cadre of handlers and assistants
  • Quasi-distaste for Bill Clinton
  • Shrew
  • No clue how military works
  • No foreign policy skills or accomplishments
  • Foul-mouthed
  • Tied to a scam organization that made millions off people; see Clinton Foundation
  • Very unlikely to finish term because she’ll be tied to a major scandal. Vice-presidential choice will be key.