Cabinet Brackets

Well, it’s been over a week since anybody posted anything up over here. You probably assumed we were just busy with the holidays or whatever, but the truth is ‘Puter really trashes up the place. We’ve just been the last couple days hosing down Twitter in the shower, which refused to come out even though the hot water ran out. Poor Twitter crouched there, over the drain, sobbing visibly. But things look better now, and Twitter is back to work hosting his tweets, which consist almost entirely of all caps misspellings of euphemisms for breasts.

So thank goodness Operative JS sent this in by semaphore.

Caro Signore Zar,

I have been halfway following who President-Elect Trump has been considering and naming for his future cabinet. Do you happen to know which are definite and which are just the fevered dreams of his supporters and/or nightmares of his opponents? What insights do you and your 700 year old intellect have to bear on what he means by his appointments? Will my vestigial tail ever go away without medical intervention? What do these appointments mean for our country?

I just thought that you might have something to say about these important questions.

Ciao ne’ secoli de’ secoli,

Operative JS

Hi yourself.

Well, technically, pretty much all of the names you’ve seen floated around are fantasies, since pretty much only the Chief of Staff and so-called “czars” (you can imagine how the Czar feels about the use of that word) are exempt from the Senate confirmation process. The Czar admits some difficulty accepting the idea that any of the nominees thus far will be denied confirmation.

Two wrinkles: although it appears Dr. Ben Carson has been printing business cards with HUDSec on them, he really hasn’t been picked for Housing and Urban Development just yet. And this is odd, because everybody else pretty much got a verbal go-ahead. The Czar wonders if the Trump administration is using Carson as a placeholder until somebody better comes along.

Also, SecDef nominess GNL James Mattis seems to be a chin-scratcher. While he has just about universal respect, there is a small legal glitch with his nomination, in that there’s a minor technical requirement about how recently a defense secretary can have served in the military. That can be ignored by the Senate, but of course Trump has detractors looking for every possible technicality to get Hillary Clinton in the White House, and this is sure to come up.

That said, the list of nominees looks very much like a President Michael Pence cabinet:

Ambassador to the United Nations: Gov. Nikki Haley, which might derail her longer-term ambitions in the GOP. On the plus side, this role could be a great stepping-stone to a future Secretary of State position.

Attorney General: Sen. Jeff Sessions, which is great, but the Czar thought he did more damage of liberal progressivism in the Senate.

CIA Director: Rep. Mike Pompeo. No argument here.

National Security Adviser: Former DIA Director Michael Flynn. Also no argument.

Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur Ross. The Czar doesn’t know much about this nominees, but is astonished that anyone still names their kids Wilbur anymore.

Secretary of Defense: General James Mattis. See note about eligibility, above; however, Mattis is pretty well respected even by Democrats, so he’s got a great shot of getting the job.

Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos. The Czar’s wife is a teacher, and says Ms. DeVos is loathed by the teachers’ unions like no one else, so she tells us that Ms. DeVos is a fantastic pick. Expect a lot of “scandal” and “horror” and “outrage” during her confirmation hearings.

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Rep. Tom Price, who has done substantive damage to Obamacare over the years. Actually, the Czar thinks this choice is perfect for destroying that horrible law. He’s a doctor with a ton of experience with insurance law and has been behind nearly every replacement effort from conservatives.

Secretary of Transportation: Secretary (of Labor) Elaine Chao. No sooner than Trump (that is, Pence) makes a recommendation for diversity does Bette Midler make a blatantly racist comment about her. Thanks, Left. Secretary Chao will be happy to serve for an additional four years in this role thanks to that.

Secretary of the Treasury: Steven Mnunchin. Other than an interesting last name, the Czar isn’t terribly familiar with this candidate. If he’s any good, of course, we’ll here how he’s a plutocrat with ties into big finance, et cetera, during his hearing.

White House Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus. Well, Priebus doesn’t have to go through the confirmation process as he serves at the President’s request. But it’s pretty clear that Priebus was picked to offset the more batwing crazy Trump influences whispering into his ear. The Czar wasn’t particularly pleased with Priebus as head of the RNC, due to his fickleness and inability to promote the GOP’s wider message to dubious Americans, but here we are. We wish him luck. He’s already had quite a lot of it.

Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Seema Verma. Frankly, if the Czar hadn’t looked up Trump’s current list of nominees to make he he didn’t forget anyone, well, he’d never have realized this person existed, let alone was a nominee.

There’s been some criticism from the Left, who have announced that the above nominees would form the most wealthy cabinet in American history outside of a Hillary Clinton presidency. But overall, it does look a little like a Mike Pence team more than a Donald Trump team. There’s wiggle room for optimism.

As for your vestigial tail, the Czar recommends you lengthen it and equip it with a poisoned barb at the end. For parties.

How to Talk to Liberal Guests This Holiday

Watch your littlest neices and nephews stare gape-mouthed at you when you drop that mic.

Every so often, something happens that astonishes the long-over-lived Czar. Lately, it’s been the sudden appearance of a conservative backbone. Look, we all have at least one liberal loud-mouth at every holiday gathering, either a friend or relative who signals his or her virtue by reciting a recently read headline off HuffPo or Vox or Salon that makes us all grumble quietly into our drinks and await the end of the evening for another season.

A couple of years ago, the Czar noticed at his own family gatherings a reversal of this, and has since heard from many of you identical occurrences of conservative family members suddenly hollering back and turning the whole thing into a fun free-for-all. Except liberals generally can’t sustain a conversation for very long, so generally it’s been ending very badly for them. The entire election of 2016 seems to be a powerful manifestation of this, in which the other half of America has finally said Enough.

With this in mind, the Czar thought he would share with you his extremely successful technique of disarming liberal arguments before they start. We apologize in advance for the language, but it is unfortunately necessary. Rough language gets liberals’ attention like nothing else because it hits them like a glass of ice-cold water in the face. Which you could also do.

Presented are some common argument lead-ins you could expect to hear this year; bear in mind, these are flexible, so feel free to use these responses to any argument you hear, but be sure to get the wording of the response correct and enjoy the look on everyone’s faces around the Thanksgiving table.

I am soooo scared right now that our country elected a homophobic, racist, woman-hater president.
You: Shut the fuck up. Nobody gives a shit what you think.

I can’t believe Trump is just going to destroy the healthcare of 20 million innocent people.
You: Shut the fuck up. Nobody gives a shit what you think.

So basically women are going to have to go to Mexico for their healthcare now?
You: Shut the fuck up. Nobody gives a shit what you think.

I suppose that we better get used to a horrible world of guns mowing innocent children down. I’m soooo terrified about for our kids.
You: Shut the fuck up. Nobody gives a shit what you think.

Hillary should be the president, but the Electoral College stole the election from her.
You: Shut the fuck up. Nobody gives a shit what you think.

 

Don’t sound angry or petulant. Just sound bored and dismissive.

Quite a number of people have tried the Czar’s advice with incredible success. The stunning brutality of the response works on liberals because it shocks their delicate sensibilities in a way that calm, reasoned logic never seems to. Remember, they want you to argue back and make it emotional, because then they can leverage their experience by hollering and making you feel terrible for what you think. Our approach, however, shuts it all down before it even gets started.

Let’s look at the psychology: liberals, as we know, respond only to emotion and visceral instinct, not rational thought or structured arguments. Our rapid deployment technique immediately derails their anticipated response queues, and lets them know their ideas are unimportant. Not only is their liberal ideology of zero interest to anyone there, it will never matter to anyone elsewhere, either. The whole dramatic theater—what our dear Dr. J. medically terms “the Vaporzez”—is nothing more than a booger to be flicked away in annoyance. All their political masturbation is nothing more to the world than a Facebook post nobody will ever read. “You’re a child having a tantrum, Kaitlynn; go to your room.” Except more blunt.

After all, what do you say after that?

Why Liberals Fear the GOP

The Czar welcomes Derek the Last to the pool of correspondents (although it’s really more of a deep dry well than a pool…unless you count the blood), and does not believe he has written in before, and the Czar wonders if he is one of those long-time listeners, first-time callers kind of guy.

Ваше Императорское Величество,

Long-time listener, first-time caller. Your writings have answered a question that I have long had about the Liberal. That question is why do they think that when a Republican is in power that suddenly everyone will be marched off to death camps or made into Solyent Green to feed workers in the uranium mines? Given their history of atrocities and the Republican lack thereof you would think that people would lay awake on their pallets at night in terror of a Democrat dawn, but instead they howl and wail that the world is ending because a Republican won.

I believe that given their history that this is how they expect someone in power should treat those that do not agree with them. It was their plan to do all that and more to their enemies if their gal was chosen. Look how the current one has behaved over the past 8 years only barely thwarted by the hated Constitution. They cannot imagine that their enemy would not act the exact same way and deliver to them the punishments that they planned on generously heaping on us. They planned to rule without mercy or conscience and believe that anyone in the same position would do the same.

This is also why I believe that they think Republicans are stupid. When they are in power they do not take advantage of it and ruthlessly suppress the defeated. No purges, pogroms or pacifications. How, dumb of them to not seize power and ruthlessly exercise it! Heck, even when the Republicans took minimal control of Congress for the past 6 years they could not really bring themselves to exercise the basics of their duties to stop Captain Executive Order from doing what he wanted, whenever he wanted.

So there they are, caught between their power mad fantasy and dull reality. They project the hate that fuels them onto the face of their chosen enemy that could honestly not give a damn about them. They drink hot chocolate and color pictures while wrapped in the blanket of a victimhood that really isn’t there. Since their enemy will not treat them the way they expect an enemy to be treated they will do it to themselves and blame a group of people that will just leave them alone while they get actual work done.

I could be wrong but I suspect I am at the very least no too far off in my assessment. The current laws do not allow me to catch one of them for study so I cannot be sure without experimentation.

Loyalty until death,
Derek the Last

PS How do you get out of the Castle? The thing at the front desk keeps telling me that I can check out anytime I like but I still cannot seem to leave.

The “thing,” at the front desk is (a) a Tcho-tcho, and (b) he has feelings too, you know, and (c) is indeed accurately described as a “thing.” He’s doing his job, in his little cannibalistic, semi-amphibious way, by not letting anyone leave until the outstanding bill has been paid. Meanwhile, since you can’t ever hope to pay something so obnoxiously expensive (second only to a Hamilton ticket), why not run it up further by heading down to the Castle bar and enjoying a pitcher or two?

Derek, you are indeed correct that liberals fear the power they would use on others. And indeed, which party is responsible for elevating the chief paper-pusher in the Constitution to a terrifying quasi-tyrant? Here’s a hint, even though you know the answer: it started with Wilson. Coolidge and Hoover pulled it back (the former far more than the latter), but Franklin Roosevelt basically cemented executive overreach into the job. And while Truman cared little for abuse of power, he sure didn’t do much to ramp it back, either. Anyway, you clearly understand that the Left continually projects its self-created fears onto Republicans. As our own Ghettoputer once, and surprisingly lucidly, exclaimed, “No party should ever let their president do anything that they wouldn’t want done to them, because it will.”

However, you are also right that Republicans tend to act like fairly decent guys when given the chance to lead. But you raise another point: the image of seeing them “drink hot chocolate and color pictures while wrapped in the blanket of a victimhood that really isn’t there” is quite apt—and one of the many reasons behind their sense that Only Victims Matter So Become One is largely a reflection of that fear. If you’re already a victim, however small, the bad guys might move past you and onto someone less victimized. It’s merely whimpering.

And of course it is possible for a president to round up Americans guilty of nothing and hold them in perpetual confinement without any due process. It happened, by the ever-smiling, cheerful Roosevelt who never expressed hesitation, regret, or remorse. This was, after slavery, perhaps the most fascist act in American history, and again, which party assumes responsibility for both?

Incidentally, we recommend you read the brilliant work Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change, if you haven’t already: Jonah Goldberg. For those unfamiliar with this tome, it’s a highly readable history that explains the whole unpleasant history of liberalism and how its current ugly face goes all the way back to the aristocracy of Europe in the 19th Century. Goldberg takes a lot of weird stuff and shows how it all fits neatly together to produce the psychological mess that is modern liberalism. Full disclosure: one of the other Gormogons assisted in its writing, so let that suggest how entertaining a read it is.

Derek the Last, please keep writing in. You have excellent insight and you might as well do something while held prisoner at our well-appointed bar.

3 Things Liberals Should Know But Don’t

As Democrats slowly recognize the awful position in which they have placed themselves, they function almost purely by instinct now. Far too many of the recent opinion pieces implicitly or explicitly rely on tropes that most Americans, it would seem, no longer are buying. And good for us. Media trust sinks lower, and for heaven’s sake, the Media struggle to assure us that they understand even less than we thought they did.

Perhaps we should destroy a couple of long-standing tropes that seem to linger. Regular readers should feel welcome to send their liberal relatives to read this, in hopes it opens some eyes.

First, liberals can stop comparing the Republicans to the Ku Klux Klan. Let us be very clear: the Klan was created in 1865 to oppose the Republican party’s efforts to free blacks and rebuild the economy after the Civil War. Okay, liberals, which political party opposed the Republicans in 1865? Not the Whigs. Nor the Federalists, certainly. Give up? Odds are you voted for them in 2016.

Of course, the Klan continued to survive despite the Republicans’ efforts to destroy them (Google Governor William Woods Holden and find out what party this guy belonged to). The Klan made a resurgence in the early 20th Century, and was endorsed by President Woodrow Wilson. Okay, again, liberals: to what party did Wilson belong?

In the 1920s and 1930s, the Klan moved to large cities, composed of union laborers. Now, think carefully: which party supports unions? You’re guessing the theme! But don’t quit now—the Klan saw a comeback in the 1950s and 1960s, as civil rights became a reality.

Liberals may not know it, but civil rights were promoted by President Eisenhower and the Republican Party, and opposed by the southern politicians who were—anyone?—Democrats. In fact, Robert Byrd, the Senate Majority leader, who served in Congress from 1953 to 2010 was also a unanimously-elected Exalted Cyclops in the Ku Klux Klan. Once again, was he a Republican or a Democrat?

Indeed, our liberal friends might have a really hard time naming a single Republican who was a member of the Klan. Sure, they can mention David Duke, but guess what? Duke was a registered Democrat when he was in the Klan, and announced he was a Republican during the 1980s when Democrats couldn’t get elected in Louisiana. By the way, Duke has never been accepted by the Republican party, even though he continues to self-identify as one.

So when liberals associate Republicans with the KKK, it’s probably best that they realize the contradiction in doing so. The Klan was started by Democrats as an armed terrorist wing in 1865, was endorsed by Democrats in the Early 20th Century, and was sustained by Democrat leadership right up to today. Yes, this hurts, but it’s also perfectly true. Oh, and to make it easy for our younger readers, we have provided information here that can all be verified by Millennials’ favorite authority, Wikipedia. If you wish a more substantive explanation of how tightly connected Democrats are with the Klan, there is no better (and readable) reference than Michael Walsh’s The People v. the Democratic Party.

Second, it’s also high time that our Media stop comparing Republicans to Nazism and fascism. Because guess what? It’s historically inaccurate. The good news is that this section won’t be a linking of the Democratic party to Nazis; the bad news is that we will link modern liberals to it.

Yes, you read that right. Nazis were not a right-wing organization, although nearly all the world press thinks so. Nazis, who were national socialists, were socialists. It’s even right there in the name. The linking of Nazis to the Right happened right after World War II, when Leftists realized that their brand of socialism, like most brands of socialism, was really, really bad. So in a move that would have stunned the ultra-left Hitler, the Left decided that Nazis were now a Right-wing institution.

Of course, as national socialists, Nazi very much thought of themselves as a Left-wing organization. The problem was that their revolution ran afoul of the Communists’ revolution trying to happen at the same time in Germany. So when both groups decided that they could never win a majority so long as the Left was divided between these two competing forms of socialism, the Nazis simply started to wipe out their competition. This is why we see so many modern liberals screaming obscenities, smashing windows, starting fires, and rioting when they don’t get their way. Kids, Google Kristallnacht: it’s what liberals do.

Oh, yes, nearly forgot: fascists. Liberals like to view Republicans as jack-booted, black-shirt-wearing fascists with guns. Fascism was all the rage in the 1930s, and both Wilson (remember him?) and Roosevelt expressed an interest in it. By the way, that’s Franklin, not Teddy. Although a lot of people liked it around the world, today we tend to think of it as an Italian thing, under Mussolini. You can see where this is headed: Mussolini was a fascist because he supported a tightly controlled state government that regulated industry and religion, nationalized the military and law enforcement, and ended republicanism and capitalism. You know, a lot like Bernie Sanders was advocating, right up to these requests to end the Electoral College. We know you find words like “republicanism” and “capitalism” bad, but they’re why you’re still reading this in one piece.

But don’t believe us: Forbes has a good explanation of it, even though it uses some big words and requires you to read two pages. Oh, and it mentions how capitalism and slavery cannot co-exist, and you remember which party supported slavery, right?

Third, let’s clean up one other trope. Tropes are fun: they’re like memes that don’t go away. And you kids like memes, so here’s another one: the Democrats are the party for women. Yes, we know that the Democrats ran a woman for president, but she wasn’t actually the first female candidate. You can look that up later. The part you need to know is that Democrats opposed giving women the right to vote: when the votes came up in Congress in 1915, it was defeated by…which party? Well, overwhelmingly by Democrats. In 1918, Democrats again denied the two-thirds majority. Finally, in 1919, the amendment passed with more Democrats opposing it than Republicans.

So there it is. Liberals have a lot to answer for, and their political genius seems to insist that, if history has a side at all, liberals tend to be on the wrong side of it. Think carefully, liberals. Or better yet, try thinking at all.

Operative B on Operating Bikes

The Czar agrees with every word of Operative B’s thoughts, below:

Your Majesty,

Yes, the grand majority of Harley-Davidson riders – among them are Victory and Indian riders – are polite and genteel folk who do indeed pull over to the side of the road to help other riders as well as drivers. I’ve helped change tires, push “dead” cars to the side of the road, and have even bought lemonade from a child-run roadside stand. Many of those heavy cruiser owner’s groups also hold charity rides, raising thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per year for various charities (children’s hospitals, women’s shelters, breast cancer research, et al). Any excuse for a ride, especially a charity fund raiser, is a good excuse.

Do not be fooled by the skulls, evil-looking motorcycle add-ons, sometimes-profane sew-on patches, or various styles of facial hair. These are all meant to say, “If you don’t understand why I’m doing this, leave me alone; if you do understand, we’re already friends.” That appearance is usually enough to prevent the stupid questions (“Isn’t riding dangerous?” “Why don’t you use a car?”) and to prevent the “I know someone who was killed on a motorcycle” comments (I had a very dear friend who died from breast cancer, but I don’t go around telling every woman I meet, in any circumstances, about it).

Yes, there are jerks who ride heavy cruisers, but those exceptions prove the rule: there are old riders, and bold riders, but very few old bold riders. (Indeed, the same is said of pilots.) It is also said that there are two kinds of riders: those who have “gone down”, and those who will “go down”. I have gone down a few times previously, but I got back up and into the saddle each time.

But there is something else that most non-riders don’t understand – and very few rice-burner riders understand: the Biker’s Creed. Those of us who have been riding for a half-century or more are quite familiar with the concepts, even if some have never been able to put them into words. And those who put thousands to tens of thousands of miles onto their machines per year will, when reviewing them, nod knowingly and smile to themselves. To understand is to need no explanation.
I herewith submit a copy to your faithful minions.

The Biker’s Creed

I ride because it is fun. I ride because I enjoy the freedom I feel from being exposed to the elements, and the vulnerability to the danger that is intrinsic to riding. I do not ride because it is fashionable to do so.

I ride my machine, not wear it. My machine is not a symbol of status. It exists simply for me, and me alone. My machine is not a toy. It is an extension of my being, and I will treat it accordingly, with the same respect as I have for myself.

I strive to understand the inner-workings of my machine, from the most basic to the most complex. I learn everything I can about my machine, so that I am reliant upon no one but myself for its health and well-being.

I strive to constantly better my skill of control over my machine. I will learn it’s limits, and use my skill to become one with my machine so that we may keep each other alive. I am the master, it is the servant. Working together in harmony, we will become an invincible team.

I do not fear death. I will, however, do all possible to avoid death prematurely. Fear is the enemy, not death. Fear on the highway leads to death, therefore I will not let fear be my master. I will master it.

My machines will outlive me. Therefore, they are my legacy. I will care for them for future bikers to cherish as I have cherished them, whoever they may be.

I do not ride to gain attention, respect, or fear from those that do NOT ride, nor do I wish to intimidate or annoy them. For those that do not know me, all I wish from them is to ignore me. For those that desire to know me, I will share with them the truth of myself, so that they might understand me and not fear others like me.

I will never be the aggressor on the highway. However, should others fuck with me, their aggression will be dealt with in as severe manner as I can cast upon them.

I will show respect to other bikers more experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will learn from them all I can. However, if my respect is not acknowledged or appreciated, it will end.

I will not show disrespect to other bikers less experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will teach them what I can. However, if they show me disrespect, they will be bitch-slapped.

It will be my task to mentor new riders, that so desire, into the lifestyle of the biker, so that the breed shall continue. I shall instruct them, as I have been instructed by those before me.

I shall preserve and honor traditions of bikers before me, and I will pass them on unaltered.

I will not judge other bikers on their choice of machine, their appearance, or their profession. I will judge them only on their conduct as bikers.

I am proud of my accomplishments as a biker, though I will not flaunt them to others. If they ask, I will share them.

I will stand ready to help any other bikers that truly needs my help. I will never ask another biker to do for me what I can do for myself.

I am not a part-time biker. I am a biker when, and where-ever I go. I am proud to be a biker, and hide my chosen lifestyle from no one. I ride because I love freedom, independence, and the movement of the ground beneath me. But most of all, I ride to better understand myself, my machine, the lands in which I ride, and to seek out and know other bikers like myself.

—Author Unknown

We received our first dusting of frozen white stuff last night. For me, the season is now officially over. I typically won’t ride again until the early spring rains wash away the road salt and the asphalt is dry and clear. But I will ride again. Soon.

Operative B.

Indeed, the Harley, Victory, and Indian riders have always been a class act of gentlemen. No, really: forget the biker gang tropes of the 1960s—those are about as accurate today as sci films depicting Venus as a swampy world populated by bikini-clad women. And already the Czar has totally forgotten what he was going to say.

But yes, the Czar expected to get some pushback for his post. This response from Operative B isn’t actually that—it’s more nice.

How to Operate a Motorcycle

There’s nothing better than feeling the wind tear through your hair, the skies overhead, the rough feel of the road under you, and the sound of traffic—unless of course this is you waking up naked alongside the expressway again. But putting aside your drinking problem for ten seconds, assuming that’s even possible, we’re really talking about riding a motorcycle.

The Czar knows all about motorcycles, having seen them many times over his long life. He knows that most have two wheels, but some have three—and even four. It’s possible there could be as many as sixteen wheels on a motorcycle. Who knows. But for sure, you never see just one wheel on a motorcycle unless you’re counting the ones cartwheeling through the air, hit by semi-trucks.

There are two types of motorcycle riders, though:

  1. The Harley guys, each of whom put on a black leather coat, have a gray goatee, vote Libertarian, and ride in huge packs down country roads, taking in the scenery and greenery, blue skies over head, and travel for miles and seeing really cool stuff. building bonds, and often helping out grandmas with tire changes..
  2. The crotch rocketeers, who drive some Japanese thing that sounds like a compound miter saw and zip in and out of traffic and ridiculous speeds and getting into deadly crashes every other week. These guys are all in their twenties, have a lot of hair on their backs, wear tight-fitting Eurotrash clothes, and wear a lot of Axe body spray to nightclubs trying to find some broad that will tolerate their abuse.

The Czar has no opinion on which is better.

Riding a motorcycle is fairly easy to do, actually, especially if you’re in a sidecar. Driving one is a different matter, but they all basically work the same: they ride on a couple of wheels.

To operate a motorcycle, you first need to start it up. No, really: you will find they travel much further without exhausting you if you start it up first. This is usually handled by turning it on. Often, this is done by stepping downward sharply on a foot pedal. If the bike doesn’t start but also falls over, it’s possible that was just the kick stand. Try a different foot pedal.

Then, it’s basically like driving a car, if that car had just about every control device located in a totally different place. The clutch is by the left hand, the throttle by the right hand, and the gear selector is at the left foot. The front brake is by the right hand. The seat is located above your head, and the horn is located at your ass. You can practice driving a motorcycle by operating a manual transmission car while seated upside down. The head light shines out the back, and the brake lights are located in the front wheel.

Shifting gears is quite difficult for beginners, because you have to work the clutch, the gear lever, and the throttle all in a specific sequence, and changing gears up or down depends on your foot at the moment. It’s okay to not understand all the processes because like most beginners, you’re going to crash the bike into a guardrail soon after you start it.

Steering a bike is totally crazy, too. The Czar just thought about explaining counter-steering to you, but he realized the last time he operated a two-wheeled vehicle, it was a penny farthing in 1894. And he did not have an enjoyable experience. Not at all. And the estate of Armand Nathaniel Penobscott still owes for a crushed straw hat and soiled seersucker suit.

Stopping a motorcycle is far easier. Yes, there is a front wheel brake, operated by the right hand, and a rear wheel brake controlled by the foot, but most motorcycle operators stop their bikes by slamming into a solid object. If you’re interested in getting into motorcycling, we suggest you use this method. It’s by far the most popular method for very good reasons.

Of course, many motorcyclists will be insulted by the Czar’s portrayal of the dangers of motorcycling, but the reality is that only very few motorcyclists are incompetent morons; most are just freaking lunatics. As always, the Czar does not want to pick sides but does suggest that the few bikers who are smart, skilled, and safety conscious do their utmost to keep the rest off the roads, rather than casually letting them kill themselves by plowing into school buses after riding between cars in imaginary lanes.

it’s as if the idiot bicyclists—the ones who like to scream LEFT as they sneak up behind you in the park suddenly discovered that they can be even bigger jackasses with 200 horsepower, 1400cc engines. When you read a list of complaints by motorcyclists, it’s invariably bikers blaming car drivers for not seeing them riding on the shoulders, cutting across lanes, speeding in blind spots, and driving on the stripes.

And for those lovely few Harley riders in gently flowing, orderly caravans of safety and sensibility, we thank you. Please whip the skulls of the rice burners with whatever chain you have. We can supply you with some.

Things I Learned From My Facebook Feed This Election

Trump and the Republicans are going to hunt down and kill every last LGBTQ person, woman, and melanin enhanced person because Trump is the literal equivalent of Hitler and the Republicans are the indubitable modern day SS.

The currently sitting liberal Democrat president magically acquires super-Senate-bypass powers when a liberal Democrat replacement candidate loses a presidential election, enabling him to install by fiat a Supreme Court justice for life acceptable to prevailing Progressive policy preferences. This policy does not apply should a Republican be the lame duck president because reasons and STFU.

The Electoral College is a Constitutional relic used to cram down the will of racist bastards in flyover country on the morally pure coastal elites and not a bargain made by the Founders to prevent a tyranny of the majority screwing over low population states as I learned in law school. We should scrap the Electoral College because it didn’t produce the result all right-thinking people expected, plus the Founders were stupid, racist white guys, amirite?

Media has a legal and Constitutional right to be present wherever the president is at any moment, including a family dinner at a Manhattan steakhouse and probably the crapper, too, because someone’s got to keep an eye on Republican bigots, never mind that media phoned it in the past eight years and only rediscovered their collective curiosity early last Wednesday morning.

Republicans have a moral and legal obligation to restore Senate rules Democrats destroyed in order to pass Obamacare and avoid a filibuster on our current president’s judicial nominees. It’s totes wrong when Republicans do it, and STFU about the Democrats doing it in the first place.

A new president has no authority to cancel executive orders of a prior president, unless the prior was president was a Republican. Also, a non-Democrat president has no authority to use a “pen and a phone” whatsoever, because racist or something.

Marching and rioting to protest a lawfully elected president is patriotic when Democrats do it. And Republicans totally would’ve done it if Clinton was elected, even though clearly racist Republicans didn’t when our current president was elected in 2008 and again in 2012.

People who threaten to leave the country if Trump was elected didn’t really mean it and won’t follow through on their threat. I still see Lena Dunham and a host of others sitting around.

Texas talking about secession is casus belli, but California talking about secession is fine because Trump and STFU, RethugliKKKan!

Bernie would’ve won, and Democrats have no one to blame but their party leaders and the DNC which surreptitiously torpedoed his campaign.

Michael Moore called this election exactly right, identifying the Clinton campaign’s condescension towards Rust Belt voters who haven’t seen any of the current “recovery” as the primary reason for her loss.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that rule of law and our Constitution are to be jettisoned the moment they become inconvenient to the wishes of America’s liberal elites.

I’ve held my tongue for over a week now. I didn’t vote for Trump. I didn’t vote for Clinton. I didn’t have a dog in the presidential fight. But the collective unhinging of many Americans at Trump’s election has been repulsive and contrary to American values.

You can disagree with me. I fully expect many if not most of my friends on here will. But I’ve listened to you for week now, respectfully, even when I strongly disagreed with you.

And here’s a piece of free advice for you. Maybe next election, spend less time crapping all over people with whom you disagree, especially if you’ve never left the smug, self-reinforcing confines of Boston, New York City, or DC. You would rightly be irate if folks in rural Iowa or Missouri spent days crapping on you as baby murdering hedonists because Hillary Clinton won. Show a little class and respect.

Because we’re all in this together, like it or not.

America from the Crossroads

The Czar got three things wrong this election: he originally said in 2012 that the Republicans were certain to lose in 2016. He said that Hillary Clinton would not run because she was inherently unelectable. He also predicted Donald Trump would be destroyed on Tuesday. We admit that, and we got the salient points of that wrong.

The Czar does not like being wrong, but he assumed the media was controlling the message and that the hagiographies of Hillary Clinton would overpower the under-working Donald Trump. The Mandarin, on the other hand, took note of what the folks were saying. And although the election was over, the Czar decided to check up on that.

Let’s be honest—the right-wing echo chamber is just as roomy as the left-wing echo chamber, and the Czar needs to get out of its dim depths once in a while.

Yesterday, the Czar and his family drove down West 90 to Highway 31, deep into Indiana. This was a gorgeous drive, with red, bronze, and orange trees and shiny ponds reflecting the deep cornflower blue skies that happen this late in the year. Punctuating this sea of Autumn woods were century-old farmhouses with a mid-season mix of pumpkins and Christmas lights. Desultory smoking leaf piles in yards put a few patches of spicy fire into the air, teasing you for a second as the vehicle shot through them with the scent of homecomings, apple cider, football, and pickup trucks. And everywhere, work was being done: people with dirt up to their elbows digging, building, and maintaining. Horses seemed to be the only ones taking it easy, with their winter hair coming in as they fearlessly grazed in cool but comfortable temperatures.

By October, there were no Clinton/Kaine signs to be found around here. One could have traveled from Lowell to Madison, Indiana, and seen nothing but Trump/Pence signs everywhere. This was the state that nominated Trump; it was also a state that elected him. And the Czar talked about politics with them yesterday—for hours, more precisely, we let them talk to us. The Czar found a lot that was interesting in the Crossroads State.

Indiana wants to change the world. They feel that Mike Pence is the guy who will actually run the presidency, with Trump acting more of the spokesperson. Pence is the COO to Trump’s CEO, and Trump’s appointment of Mike Pence as head of the transition team confirmed this for a few of our pontificators: Trump effectively gave the keys to the country to Mike Pence, whom they view as the lever who will move the world back to some sanity.

Most critical to Hoosiers was the Republican Senate. With a Republican Senate and House, a President Hillary Clinton would have been kneecapped the second she pretended to take the oath. But with a President Trump, only good can move forward: any of Trump’s bad ideas—and we heard a bit about them, too—would be similarly stopped by Congress; but any of his good ideas would be blessed immediately.

Like the repeal of Dodd-Frank. That law was a terrible blow to Indiana: many Indiana businesses depend on each other. If one business doesn’t get funded by a loan, it can’t pay its debts to a supplier. That supplier can’t pay its debts to distribution. The distributor can’t pay its debts to the manufacturer, and so on, until it comes full circle. While this is obvious across the country as an economics lesson, it’s the primary business model in the Hoosier state: every business owner in Indiana, it seems, can recite by name every other owner with whom he or she does business, and how much money each is owed. It’s why Obama wasted a trip to Elkhart in 2012 to sell a fantasy that he had turned things around. The news that the likely repeal of Dodd-Frank is a couple months of way is like hearing footsteps on the roof at Christmas Eve. Indianans think this is probably how the rest of the country should react. too.

And no, not so much the Second Amendment or immigration: those topics never really came up except in casual mention. But the rioting happening in weird, exotic places like Portland or New York or (shudder) Chicago gets a shrug and headshake of disbelief. We now see the Hillary supporters for who they really are, it is said, and the violence indicates how a Hillary Clinton would really govern. That the violence seems confined to a few local areas run by Democrats is just further indication that nearly all Americans once again agree with Indiana.

No, Governor Mike Pence is not the twin of Ronald Reagan; but to Indiana he is a fundamentally good, decent man who kept taxes low and helped save the state from ruin. Dealing with the whackjobs in Gary, Indianapolis, and Bloomington was easy because he put a lot of them back to work, lowered their gas prices, and even wiped out their estate taxes. His biggest public relations failure was the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which most Hoosiers think was the right decision to make. Yes, it made Pence look like he didn’t give a crap about snowflakes, which is how it looked during his debate against Kaine when Pence refused to apologize for or even acknowledge Trump’s ill manners. He’s not worried about annoying people who will never support him anyway.

And this guy, not Trump, is the guy they see running the country. But Indiana isn’t looking for anyone’s thanks or gratitude. They just quietly, and not so quietly, think you’re going to like the way things turn out. Indiana sure did, and they’d love to tell you about it.

Rose Colored Glasses in The Hall of Mirrors

np_trcg_3GorT’s friends, family, and even co-workers are a pretty diverse bunch in social issues, economic issues, and definitely in political issues.  And within that group there are those that range in extremes on all of those issues.  There were the die-hard Trump supporters, the pinching my nose and squinting Trump supporters, the neither candidate supporters*, the not-Trump so I guess Clinton supporters, and the full blown Clinton die-hards – basically the full gamut.  What gets me is the complete meltdown that Clinton voters are having over the last few days.  Let me frame this in explicitly stating that I never supported Trump nor did I vote for him.

First, many are saying that those that supported Trump support the advancement of racism, sexism, bigotry, etc. in America because Trump has done, said, been accused of doing or saying, or his actions have been construed as such. Extending that logic we would have the following:

  1. A vote for Clinton would be a vote for supporting grossly negligent handling of classified material (based on a statement by Director Comey that is factually what was assessed).
  2. A vote for Obama was a vote for supporting domestic violence to advance a cause and for supporting extreme anti-government sentiments.
  3. A vote for Bill Clinton was a vote for supporting womanizing, degrading behavior towards women, and extra-marital affairs.

None of which make sense.  What matters is what Trump does in office – and admittedly, I’m nervously watching and waiting to see.

Second, many cannot understand how Trump could have won the election and have resorted to complaining about the Electoral College.  That isn’t the answer – we’re not a democracy so we cannot simply abandon it. We are a federated republic and constitutional representative democracy. Popular vote isn’t the end-all-be-all.  Furthermore, the following graphic from The Economist outlines some interesting trends that should be considered:

20161112_woc961_0

Clinton received less support from male voters AND female voters than Obama did in 2012.  She also lost voters in each major racial demographic while Trump gained in all but the caucasian demographic.  He gained Black**, Asian, and Hispanic voters over McCain in 2012.   Clinton lost ground in every age group from 18 to 64.  Clinton lost ground with the poor (under $50k income) and gained ground with the middle and upper class (over $100k income) while Trump actually gained with lower income America.  She also lost significant ground with union members while Trump gained. And finally, Clinton lost ground from where Obama was in 2012 in her own party and with independents (Trump did too).  Maybe those struggling with the how question should look at the Democratic party.  I had a stout democrat friend allege the day before the election that he believed that people think the country is on the right track with where the Democrats have been taking it and they’ll support Clinton’s policies and ideas.  National polls (take those with whatever size grain of salt you wish), actually show that about 60% of the country think we’re not headed in the right direction.  Also, for those lacking a civics lesson, it’s the Congress with the President that generally sets the direction of national policies so both parties have been complicit in this over the last few years.  I suspect that one of the draws of Trump was that he isn’t a career politician – many probably hope that he will bring real change to the federal government.  It’s akin to the reason I liked other candidates on the Republican side who were also non-politicians.

Third, to those college and high school students who are so stressed and upset that they can’t (or won’t) go to classes or take exams, I worry for your future.  Life gets much harder.  Maybe some of you are paying your way through college or have student loans but I’ll wager a number of you are benefitting from scholarships and your parents.  If you are going to be this dismayed at the election results, even if you buy into the doom and gloom perpetrated by liberals as to what the next four or more years will be, then heaven forbid you get married or have kids or struggle in a career – real life that is much more immediate will likely hit you 10 times harder than this…and there’s no taking a break from those things.

Finally, to those painting Trump supporters and, worse yet, conservatives or republicans, with the broad brush of being against the advancement of women, unsupportive of gays, minorities, etc., or in general bigots, be careful.  I think it is these broad brushes and the loud mocking by things like SNL, Daily Show, Colbert Report, and others have essentially backfired and created a whiplash effect.  Many conservatives I know are very supportive of all those groups.  I’m not denying that there are bigots and people filled with hate and racism and sexism.  But, such broad strokes really offend those of us who associate best with the republican party only to be branded racists, sexists, homophobes, and misogynists.  And maybe these same “entertainers” or satirists*** should get out of their echo chambers, leave the hall of mirrors, and take off their rose colored glasses and take on a broader range of political targets.  Either that, or maybe we should take politics a bit more seriously than punchlines on the late shows.

* This would be GorT’s group
** GorT has friends who have no heritage back to Africa but they are labeled “African-Americans” and it drives them bonkers – they say, “I’m black, you’re white”. Fine. It’s a fact.
*** While they’ll aspire to be labeled satirists, they fall short of true satire and are really using satire to advance a political cause and their own ratings rather than to expose a problem and drive awareness.