Blue Bloods: A Mildly Inebriated Review

To begin, I should note that homemade sangria can be stronger than you might think. That said, I've been thoroughly enjoying this rather unique -- for today -- cop show. It features a family of career NYPD officers who are dedicated to their jobs and to each other.

Granddad is a retired police officer and former police commissioner who has plenty of "Back in my day, we just beat the crap out of them until they confessed" stories.

Dad is the current police commissioner who does an admirable balancing act between the various personalities in his family (see the following). And, you know, running the NYPD, dealing with politicians and the media, that sort of thing.

Older brother is a police detective who takes after Granddad; also, he spent two tours in Iraq with the Marines. He is married with two kids.

Younger brother is a Harvard Law grad who decided to make a career as a cop. He's so by-the-book that he probably writes the editors love letters. (You can imagine the sibling arguments with older brother.)

And, older sister is not quite in the family business: She's an assistant district attorney who always seems to be explaining to older brother why the DA won't press charges (yet). She is divorced and raising a teenage daughter who brings in the youth perspective.

What's unique?

The family is Irish Catholic. Religion doesn't play a big role in the series, but we do see the family praying together before meals, and at times Dad seeks advice from a priest or cardinal (it's NYC).

Granddad is a vet - Korean War. Dad is a vet - Vietnam. And, as mentioned, older brother is a vet.

Balance: Generally, there is a real balance of viewpoints. Not always: There are a few episodes where it's not quite balanced, and one where we get outright preached to (we heathens!). But generally, it's probably the most balanced series I've watched in a long time.


There are six seasons on Amazon Prime for free. I recommend it, if you like cop shows, or family shows.

I'd Just Like to Ask ...


Some Road Music for Grim




This Is Funny

Sanders leaves the Democratic Party

Where will his #NeverHilary supporters go?

A Rebuttal to Those Who Insist We Vote for Trump

David Harsanyi over at the Federalist has penned a good think-piece for those who insist Republicans have to vote for Trump now: If David Duke Won, Wouldn't Republicans Have to Vote for Him?

Beginning with the hypothetical of Duke winning the GOP presidential primary, he asks:

What if Duke promised to nominate conservative Supreme Court justices? Let’s say he drew up an extensive list of Federalist Society-approved justices that conservatives simply loved? Would they then vote for him then? Sean Spicer says no. Please don’t tell me you’re willing to surrender the court to a progressive agenda for a generation. If you don’t vote for Duke, it would be tantamount to abandoning law and order. As pro-Trump Republicans often stress, national elections are a binary choice.

It’s not just about justices, either. Duke would almost certainly build an impenetrable wall along the Mexican border to stop the flow of illegal immigration. ...

Duke would also limit Islamic immigration to keep America safe again.  ...

You know elitists would simply hate Duke. Probably because the Klansman refuses to be constrained by political correctness. ...

You get the idea. It's a thoughtful look at the issue.

UPDATE: I gave a taste of Harsanyi's opening above in the expectation that people would read his article for his conclusions. If you want his conclusions without clicking over to read the rest, I've discussed that a bit in the comments. It's the comment at 10:47 PM. Key point: Harsanyi is not claiming Trump is the same as Duke. He's just talking about the arguments often used against #NeverTrumpers.

AND ANOTHER THING: We've argued about who to vote for when both candidates are pretty sketchy, so this is intended to be part of that discussion. I will probably hold my nose and vote for Trump as the lesser evil. But that's me; my values push me in that direction.

Other people, whom I often agree with on the issues, have different values that push them in a different direction, and they can't vote for Trump. I don't have a problem with that. I don't think those people are bad or stupid for voting their own consciences instead of mine. So we vote differently this election; as far as I'm concerned, we're still on the same side.

But right now a lot of Republicans do seem to have a problem with the #NeverTrumpers, and I thought Harsanyi did a good job defending the #NeverTrump position from the conservative side.

Some Snarky Country to Get Your Wednesday Going



And just to chill out, "It's Time to Get a Gun"


Yep. When it's all said and done, someone's gotta walk into the night. That's actually an old Fred Eaglesmith tune. For comparison ...

Come Be PC

From Chris Ray Gun, the guy who brought us "Ain't No Rest for the Triggered." It's kinda like the Disney version of "Ain't No Rest," but not really for kids. Although, that may depend on your definition of kids. Maybe some "kids" need to hear this. I dunno.

Anyway:



A Dem for Trump

A gentleman named Adam Townsend has given his reasons for supporting Trump in some detail. Some of what he says sounds like he would fit in quite well here, but other parts ... well, the unhappy left has its own reasons for being disaffected by some of the same things we are. The whole thing is worth reading, but I've put some tasty tidbits below to whet your appetites. The original is full of links to supporting articles as well.

Hillary

    When this presidential cycle began I was determined to vote for Hillary.But, I suffer from the double edge of an annoyingly inquisitive nature.

#NeverHillary

    Hillary and her political enablers and courtiers argue that the Democratic party must come together to defeat the ‘evil’ of Trump, I disagree…

It is far more ‘evil’ and destructive to the United States to permit Hillary to be our president:

    Foreign Policy. Hillary was a horrible Secretary of State that made very poor decisions in Honduras, Libya, Syria and Egypt. 
    Clinton Global (and its related entities) is a department store of political, multinational, corruption. The charity is under investigation, it was the middle man in weapons deals to foreign nations, it brokered a treasonous uranium deal to Russia, it stole money from Haiti and small contributors after the earthquake, it was deeply involved in a larcenous private college, Laureate University, it has allied with some of the worst dictators in the world and it may unravel slowly as the greatest charity fraud in history. 
    Emails: The email ‘issue’ is an open and shut conviction within the Espionage Act.
       
...

Free Speech

...

Free speech is a safety valve. Reducing our language of any possible offensive character is being engineered not to salve, but to create turmoil. Big state (your tax dollars) is manufacturing chaos and then big state (your tax dollars) is coming into legislate and police. Big state is setting the fire and then calls the fire department and becomes a hero.

...

Miscellany incomplete thoughts

...

The mechanics of propaganda are bombarding every channel of distribution with an untrue and anachronistic view of our remarkable history, our people and the achievement of our Constitution. There has never been anything like it and it is being eroded, purposefully, by both sides. Each take turns pushing its envelope and each uses the Supreme Court to legitimize the Federal overreach. 
...

A Jazz Interlude


... to occupy us while awaiting Grim's return.

On the Road

I'm going to be gone for a week. I may post from the road, or not. Keep yourselves entertained.

Why Are Voters So Angry

Myron Magnet, of whom I've not heard before, has a piece in City Journal on the question. He's not wrong, but there is a strangeness about locating the problem as beginning in the Woodrow Wilson administration. If this has been acceptable since WWI, why are voters angry about it now?
What has now largely displaced the Founders’ government is what’s called the Administrative State—a transformation premeditated by its main architect, Woodrow Wilson. The thin-skinned, self-righteous college-professor president, who thought himself enlightened far beyond the citizenry, dismissed the Declaration of Independence’s inalienable rights as so much outmoded “nonsense,” and he rejected the Founders’ clunky constitutional machinery as obsolete. (See “It’s Not Your Founding Fathers’ Republic Any More,” Summer 2014.) What a modern country needed, he said, was a “living constitution” that would keep pace with the fast-changing times by continual, Darwinian adaptation, as he called it, effected by federal courts acting as a permanent constitutional convention.
That's an argument readers of the Hall will find quite familiar. Still, that's a hundred years ago.

It's a piece worth reading all the same. Nevertheless, something more is needed to explain why voters are so angry right at this moment.

Of Course the Russians Are Helping Trump

I realize that the impulse is to doubt everything said by Clinton or one of her appointees, and that's a very healthy and good impulse. It will serve you well. But this time, the guy is right. Wikileaks is a Russian intelligence project. Russia Today, which has been leading the broadcasting of this story, is openly Russian propaganda.

Doubtless Putin takes Trump's outspoken pragmatism about NATO to be a good sign for Russian interests. No one really doubts that everyone would be pragmatic in fact, but the secret in diplomacy is you're supposed to pretend that you would be principled instead. This is an old story.

Hillary Clinton, being a former Secretary of State, understands the rules and is playing accordingly. This has led to the highly amusing spectacle of her supporters, many of whom would disband the nuclear forces entirely if they had their druthers, arguing for a week about how important it is to have a strong deterrent against Russian aggression. They are no more serious about nuking Russia than she is, but they're all pretending they are.

The fact is that President Obama has weakened the United States' global position so much that the next president will have no choice but retrenchment. Some concessions will have to be made to Russia, to China, and possibly even to Iran. Clinton will make those concessions if elected in terms of conceding American power to 'international' institutions that happen to favor Russian or Chinese interests -- things like the TPP, which she will of course resume supporting once she's elected (as her VP choice does as well, I notice). Trump, on the other hand, will negotiate some sort of deal directly.

Either way, America's standing in the world will diminish, at least for a time. Even the most hawkish president would have no choice but to drop back and try to figure out what new lines are tenable.

Live Free or Die

I'll never flee my country, but will fight -- and die, if necessary -- to preserve our freedoms. However, if you were looking for a nice place that's reputedly willing to accept American refugees from Donald Trump, you could hardly beat Inishturk. Perhaps we could send our noncombatants there -- whoever wins.

An Even Worse Lexicon

The other day, we were talking about an attempt to provide a lexicon for terrorism both from Islam and the far right. It was really solid on the Islam question, but was very weak in providing an accurate name for "far right" actors. It was functional for part of its intended purpose, then, but not all of it.

The Lawfare Blog has proposed its own similar lexicon of violence, and it is even less useful. It has two major flaws, which I will explain once I give you the lexicon.
Violent Extremist Organization: An organization that takes action to further a Violent Extremist Ideology.

Violent Extremist: An individual who take actions to further a Violent Extremist Ideology.

Resident Violent Extremist: A Violent Extremist who takes actions to further a Violent Extremist Ideology in the same State in which they are considered a national under the operation of its law.

Non-Resident Violent Extremist: A Violent Extremist who takes actions to further a Violent Extremist Ideology in a different State than that in which they are considered a national under the operation of its law.

Supported Violent Extremist: A Violent Extremist who receives support for their actions from another Violent Extremist or a Violent Extremist Organization.

Unsupported Violent Extremist: A Violent Extremist who does not receive support for their actions from another Violent Extremist or a Violent Extremist Organization.

Inspired Action: When a Violent Extremist takes action that is inspired by a Violent Extremist Ideology.

Directed Action: When a Violent Extremist takes action based upon direction they received from another Violent Extremist or a Violent Extremist Organization.

Spontaneous Action: When an individual with no known previous plausible ties to a Violent Extremist Ideology, Violent Extremists, or a Violent Extremist Organization, suddenly takes action, with little planning or preparation, to further a Violent Extremist Ideology.

Opportunistic Claim: When an individual with no known previous plausible ties to a Violent Extremist Ideology, Violent Extremists, or a Violent Extremist Organization engages in violence, and a Violent Extremist or Violent Extremist Organization claims responsibility without providing proof that they inspired or directed the action.
There are two big issues here, as I mentioned.

1) All of this is ultimately rooted on the definition of "Violent Extremist Ideology," which is unspecified. Thus, the whole thing is groundless. Specifying exactly what a Violent Extremist Ideology is -- so that it captures all and only the right kind of actors, leaving legitimate political actors alone -- is the real work to be done, and it's untouched.

2) This approach elides essential differences. By essential differences I mean things that make the other things necessary. The first lexicon accurately captured that a commitment to jihad was what was making all the violence necessary. The right wing groups are doing whatever they're doing for entirely different reasons. Violent Communist groups, like the Maoists in the Philippines, are necessarily committed to violence out of a different essential understanding of the world and their place in it. Since ultimately you have to get at the motivations of violent groups in order to make the violence go away, collapsing these essential distinctions is a terrible idea.

The motivation for all of this is to try to treat different kinds of radical groups "equally," I suppose. Yet equality isn't what we're interested in here: we don't have to be afraid of being unjust to people who run over children with big trucks. We need to retain an understanding of just what is moving them to do all these things, because it is that motivating force that we ultimately have to deal with.

Friday Night Party Music

First, "Medieval Music - Hardcore Party Mix"



... then some Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, "S.O.B."


Alright, gimme a drink!

Is a "Trainwreck" Ever Good?

To answer Ed Morrisey's question, there is one really positive aspect to the trainwreck in Cleveland. It proves, again, that the Republican party is not rigged.

The Democratic Party really is. We've seen the fix in for Clinton from the DNC's own internal messaging, from the way in which they structured the debates to favor Clinton's interests, and especially from the handling of her criminal troubles by the Justice Department. The whole system, up to and including the criminal justice system, was rigged to deliver her as nominee. When a substantial number of Democratic voters said, "No, thank you, we'd really prefer Bernie," the DNC bent itself backwards to make sure that he failed. The voter fraud was so bad that even Snopes can't bring themselves to fully deny it.
WHAT'S TRUE: Two researchers (presumably graduate students) from Stanford University and Tilburg University co-authored a paper asserting they uncovered information suggesting widespread primary election fraud favoring Hillary Clinton had occurred across multiple states.

WHAT'S FALSE: The paper was not a "Stanford Study," and its authors acknowledged their claims and research methodology had not been subject to any form of peer review or academic scrutiny.
That's funny stuff -- 'OK, the part about the study proving widespread voter fraud is true, but it's not really a 'Stanford Study,' it was just done by students at Stanford... and, er, nobody's going to check their work, because nobody wants to know if they're right.'

So, democracy is messy. The RNC had a rules fight, a floor fight, Ted Cruz's excellent speech on principle, and then nominated Donald Trump. Donald Trump, I mean, and not Jeb Bush. If the Republican party were rigged like the Democratic party, Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee this morning.

Factor that in to the choice, I suppose. The Democratic system is rigged from stem to stern. The Republicans are really taking this democracy thing seriously, even at the cost of losing control of the party, even at the cost of public embarrassment. Even, possibly, at the cost of what should have been an easily-winnable election.

Maybe that commitment to democracy ought to mean something. I leave it for you to decide.

Great Ape Starts Fires, Cooks Own Food

So if this election does lead to Armageddon, at least our replacements are on deck.

That's Convenient Timing

The Fraternal Order of Police hit Hillary Clinton on her convention speakers:
“The Fraternal Order of Police is insulted and will not soon forget that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton are excluding the widows and other family members of police officers killed in the line of duty who were victims of explicit and not implied racism,” Mr. McNesby said in a statement.

He said it’s “sad that to win an election Mrs. Clinton must pander to the interests of people who do not know all the facts, while the men and women they seek to destroy are outside protecting the political institutions of this country.

“Mrs. Clinton, you should be ashamed of yourself, if that is possible.”
In fairness, there's no evidence that it is possible.

It sure is good timing for Donald Trump, who apparently intends to say the following lines in his speech:
I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.

The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.

It is finally time for a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation.

I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.

So if you want to hear the corporate spin, the carefully-crafted lies, and the media myths the Democrats are holding their convention next week.

But here, at our convention, there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else.

These are the facts:

Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.

Homicides last year increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60% in nearby Baltimore.

In the President’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And more than 3,600 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.

The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50% compared to this point last year.... The problems we face now – poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad – will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them.
I don't know who wrote this speech, but they earned their money.

A Paradigm Example of the Problem With OODA-Loop Gun Training For Police

When a 23-year-old autistic man carrying a toy truck wandered from a mental health center out into the street Monday, a worker there named Charles Kinsey went to retrieve him.

A few minutes later the autistic man was still sitting cross-legged blocking the roadway while playing with the small, rectangular white toy. And Kinsey was prone on the ground next to him — a bullet from an assault rifle fired by a police officer having struck his leg.

“He throws his hands up in the air and says, ‘Don’t shoot me.’ They say lie on the ground, so he does,” Kinsey’s attorney Hilton Napoleon said Wednesday. “He’s on his back with his hands in the air trying to convince the other guy to lie down. It doesn’t make any sense.”

...

Kinsey said when he asked the officer why he fired his weapon, the cop responded, “I don’t know.”
It makes perfect sense. You train for a stimulus/response reaction, you're training the officers to shoot without thinking. He doesn't know why he shot. It's an honest answer. Some stimulus triggered the response. He never thought about whether to shoot at all.

Here's A Concept

80 % Arms sells unfinished upper and lower receivers that are perfectly legal to buy without any kind of license. They also sell jigs for finishing them. Looks like for less than $300 you could have both the jig and an unfinished lower, which you could finish at your convenience.

You could then purchase or build any kind of upper for it, and have a working rifle that's completely legal and yet also completely off the books.

Range 15 in the Washington Post

The 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' of the military community, they quote Nick Palmisciano as saying.
Since its mid-June debut in the U.S., the comedy has brought in close to $700,000 at the box office in fan-sponsored screenings across the country. One of those screenings was late last month at Ashburn’s Alamo Drafthouse, selling out a 135-seat theater in a day. It was at that Virginia theater that Nick Palmisciano, a West Point grad and one of the movie’s stars and producers, began to wonder if the movie had hit a nerve.

Predictably, most of the audience had military ties but, to Palmisciano’s surprise, about a third of the crowd had already seen earlier screenings. As the jokes and gore ratcheted up, he sat stunned as fans began to shout out dialogue.
I can see that. There's another round of shows scheduled in Georgia. I don't know if any of them will make, but if they do, I might like to go back and shout dialog at the screen with comrades.

Doctrine Man Poll: Johnson the Troop Favorite

I don't know if any of you participated in this poll, but here's how it shook out. It was a web-based poll, so the findings aren't considered scientific.
Current, reserve and former members of the Army preferred Johnson at 35.4 percent. Trump, the Republican nominee, came in second at 31.4 percent, and Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, at 15.3 percent.

Among the Marine community, an overwhelming 44.1 percent chose Johnson, while 27.1 percent chose Trump, and 12.7 percent chose Clinton.

The majority of the Air Force respondents chose Johnson at 39 percent, but Trump next at 29.9 percent and Clinton at 12.9 percent.

Trump ranked the top choice for the Navy community, at 32.4 percent, versus 31.7 percent for Johnson and 22.9 percent for Clinton.

Despite Clinton's underwhelming performance among active duty troops in the poll, their family members preferred Clinton at 29.4 percent to 27.5 percent for Trump. Johnson came in third, at 24.5 percent.

Trump came out on top among members of the military who retired after serving at least 20 years.

Retirees preferred Trump at 37.4 percent, compared to 32.2 percent for Johnson and only 11 percent for Hillary Clinton.

However, when former members of the military who served fewer than 20 years were included, Johnson came in first, at 36.1 percent, while Hillary Clinton garnered 12.6 percent.
Unfortunately, the category of "family members" is going to be much larger than any of the other categories. Though relatively fewer family members voted than service members, in a real election their slight preference for her would have big effects on the total vote. Still, it's striking that even with Johnson as the runaway favorite, Trump still pulled double the figure that Clinton did in the overall results of this poll.

Good Question from Raven

Raven asks if "interchangeable parts" with regard to MA's new assault weapons ban applies to things like detachable magazines and scopes. Does that mean anything with a Picatinny rail is now an assault weapon?



Watch out for that "assault" break-action shotgun.

Just What Does My Conscience Say About Trump?

Ted Cruz's manful speech puts us in the difficult question of having to ask whether, in good conscience, one could vote for Donald Trump for President. I am convinced he is personally unfit for the office, and that he would make terrible decisions if elected, and that he is without the moral character that ought ideally to accompany one into such an awesome -- or perhaps awful, in its Biblical sense -- set of responsibilities.

Thus, I cannot in good conscience vote for him.

However, if his opponent should win, I am quite sure that things will be even worse. She will be able to effectively repeal any part of the Constitution she dislikes by replacing the late Justice Scalia with a fifth progressive vote. The "living Constitution" means no real Constitution at all: it just means whatever the left would like it to mean, even if it plainly says otherwise. One faces not merely political defeat of our understanding of the right view for a time, but a permanent end to the Constitution as a written document establishing hard limits on the government.

Likewise, she herself is corrupt and a corrupting influence. She is also completely without decent character, and not the least bit shy about lying through her smile to the American people whenever it is even slightly convenient. The FBI and the Justice Department have recently proven both her corruption and her deception, as much as they were trying to avoid prosecuting her.

So, if she is elected I can reasonably expect the American project as I understand it to die. There will still be a "Constitution," but it will not serve to restrain the powerful: it will serve only to produce occasional apologies from the Supreme Court for the government's continual expansion of power. The government will also become intensely corrupt at the same time that it is becoming completely unrestrained.

Thus, I cannot in good conscience vote for her.

Of the remaining candidates, I think the Libertarians are simply wrong on the merits on a number of foreign policy issues, as well as immigration. Immigration is right now one of the most important of issues to get right, and they don't. The Green Party's candidate is a well-meaning woman of intelligence and forceful argument. I like her, and I respect her as a moral agent, but I disagree with her about nearly everything.

On the other hand, neither of them is going to win, so I could in good conscience vote for either. My disagreements with them won't matter if they are never elected, and they are probably both decent people. I would have exercised my very limited power as a voter responsibly by endorsing only someone with the right moral character for the office, and I will have caused no harm in any case.

This all comes back to a philosophical argument we've had here from time to time. In the infamous "trolley problem," one envisions a trolley speeding down a track toward five people. They will be killed if you do nothing. However, you are standing next to a switch that can route the trolley onto another track. Only one person is on that track. Is it morally better to do nothing, or to pull the switch?

Some of you have argued that it is better to let the five die, because you are not responsible for that. That's an accident. If you pull the lever to save them, you will be responsible for intentionally killing the one innocent life. Intentional killing of the innocent is murder, and murder is always wrong. Thus, you cannot pull the lever even to save five lives.

Others say that not pulling the lever is also a chosen action, and by allowing the five to die rather than pull the lever you are taking their deaths on your conscience. Thus, you cannot refuse to pull the lever under the circumstances.

At the moment, with the polls tight, this looks like a difficult decision that might come down to a difference of philosophical intuitions like these. It may be that, closer to election day, the race will have diverged so much one way or the other that it will be easier to vote in good conscience. But for now, one must think of whether or not to pull the lever.

DB: Military Must Condemn Radicalized Veterans

Following two incidents this month where veterans of the armed services murdered police officers, Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and GOP congressional leaders are putting heavy pressure on ordinary military people to condemn the actions of radicalized veterans, according to several statements released by representatives....

The Council on American/Military Relations (CAMR) has gone on the offensive.

“The actions of Mr. Johnson do not reflect the values of the United States Army or any of the other branches of service,” CAMR Secretary Eric Fanning said in response to the calls for condemnation. “The army is a religion of peace.”

Vote Your Conscience

After all, if Hillary Clinton wins, there's always South Australia.



Actually, Australia has intense immigration laws. So don't lie to yourself. You live or die here. America is the last hope, and not just the "last, best hope." We're it.

The RNC is Awash with Plagiarism

Ted Cruz's speech tonight:
To protect our God-given rights... so that when we are old and grey, and when our work is done, and we give those we love one final kiss goodbye; we will be able to say, "Freedom Matters, and I was part of something beautiful."
I've heard that speech before.



Well, if you must steal, you ought to steal from the best.

Actually, there are a lot of parallels with this speech and the matter before us today.