Externalities

Wretchard is theorizing. You have to read from the bottom.


So the concept is that Hollywood and D.C. failed to hold themselves to standards, so they're kicking the problem out to us. That complicates our lives, because, well, these failures aren't really reflective of the most of us -- they're reflective of these power elites. We're being asked to take responsibility for them, which means accepting a higher degree of public overwatch on ourselves in return for exercising authority over these elites.

There are two questions to ask about this.

1) Is this right? Did the most of us have a good handle on this, such that this is really an elite problem? A partial answer can be found in the relative ease with which corporate America is disciplining wrongdoers, compared with the way that political elites are less capable of being held to standards. It could be that most of America has adjusted already; corporate elites have avoided adjusting, but are deeply exposed; and so only political elites are so far protected.

So maybe it's right. But maybe not: there are other interpretations, which I invite you to explore.

2) Is this a good deal? Ordinary citizens having power over elites is in the right lane for a small-d democratic outcome. On the other hand, a vastly increased policing of sexuality has significant negative consequences. There's a big downside to accepting a moral right to pry into our private lives. Don't forget the two rules of business:


That's a principle that's really worth defending. It's not that it doesn't admit of exceptions.



I don't particularly want to have to concern myself with these scoundrels, and I definitely don't want them to feel free to concern themselves with me. On the other hand, they're much in need of correction. It would be to the common good.

What say you all?

The Fields of Athenry

I ran across some interesting renditions of this Irish song. The first is the traditional version by the Dubliners, for those who prefer that Irish folk sound. The second is the Dropkick Murphy's version, for those who like a little electric guitar with their pipes. The final video is of Irish soccer fans singing the song at a game in Spain. It's obviously a pretty popular song in Ireland, and the lyrics go back to English occupation and oppression. The lyrics are at the end.


The Feast of St. Lucia



Today's the day.

Raw Eggs Make You Strong

Raw flour, though... that stuff can kill you. Well, apparently.

Like all of these food safety claims, it's somewhat overstated. Food is so safe in our country right now that this sort of warning is overkill. You could also make sure that you consume raw cookie dough only alongside adequate amounts of rum-flavored eggnog, I suppose.

Bits 'n' Pieces



The Real Story of 2016

According to Andy McCarthy:

“I think we’re ultimately going to find that the real collusion story of the 2016 election was the way that the Obama administration put the law enforcement and intelligence arms of the administration in the service of the Clinton campaign.”

Video at the link.

'I'd Do -Anything- For a Campaign Contribution'

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."
- Ronald Reagan

Reagan's joke occurred to me today as Senator Elizabeth Warren decided to engage a dispute between Senator Kathy Gillibrand and President Donald Trump. Trump said this:
Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
Warren said this:
Are you really trying to bully, intimidate and slut-shame @SenGillibrand? Do you know who you're picking a fight with? Good luck with that, @realDonaldTrump. Nevertheless, #shepersisted. https://t.co/mYJtBZfxiu

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) December 12, 2017
Warren is not alone in reading this as a sexualized insult, although that is not explicit in Trump's remarks. However, even if you grant the sexualized reading, this becomes a version of Reagan's joke. Warren's complaint seems to be that you shouldn't call out a female Senator for doing what, you know, Senators do. 'Don't shame her for being a...' is another way of saying that 'being such is OK.'

Reagan was, of course, joking about politicians as a whole: his joke doesn't personalize the issue by pointing at a particular politician, let alone a female politician. Arguably the joke is fine in its asexual, universal form but offensive when pointed at a particular woman (if, again, we grant that Trump intended to do this). Of the two, I think it is really the female rather than the universal criterion that makes it offensive. You could make this joke about a particular male politician without it crossing a line.

That, though, raises the issue of whether women need special protections in order to engage public life -- and if so, to what degree they should be thought of as the political equals of men in public life. The idea is that women have less power, and therefore need the special protections in order to create a practical equality that does not otherwise exist. But right now we are in a moment in which that premise is surely in need of examination: a large number of powerful men have recently been stripped of their careers, and some of them stand in peril of losing their freedom, because women have merely raised accusations against them. Women are not powerless, if ever they were. Indeed, Sen. Gillibrand is trying to force Trump's resignation even now. That is how the dispute started. She is trying to do to him what has been successfully done to numerous others. She might even succeed at it, for all we know.

If the power differential has changed -- or was never quite what it was said to be to begin with -- then the argument that women need special protections to craft a practical equality needs to be re-examined. It is no insult to say that a woman is a prostitute if she is one; and if we are in the habit of analogizing politicians to prostitutes, then it is no special institute to include a female politician in the analogy. (It may be an insult, of course, but it is not a special insult: and I'm not convinced, where the Senate is concerned, that it isn't the prostitutes who should be insulted by the comparison.)

Of course we would all be better off if we had a respectable class of political leadership, such that respect flowed to them naturally because they deserved it. In fact for all I know Sen. Gillibrand is such a person; I don't follow the Senator from New York's career closely enough to say. Of the Senators I do follow, including especially my own, I'm not sure Reagan's joke isn't entirely on point. They happen to be men, both of them.

UPDATE: The Daily Caller points out that Trump made an attack on Mitt Romney that was of the same order: "Romney “would have dropped to his knees” to help with his campaign in 2016." So, good for the goose is good for the gander? Not that it's good, in the strict sense. But it's treating people equally, for whatever very little that is worth.

One Good Thing about the Alabama Special Election

It'll be over soon. Although, maybe that'll mean doing this all over again in two years. Ugh.

Since we're here, though, I'm interested in what everyone thinks about how to handle the kinds of claims Moore has faced. I've read a number of Republican / conservative writers who find the claims credible, but they haven't really explained why. Sheer numbers? Moore's responses? "Believe all women"?

My evaluation goes a bit like this. The claims all came out 40 years after the fact, they all came out after Moore ran for national office, and they came out after news media started digging for dirt. Moore's been in the public eye for some time. He's been a controversial figure for years. Why are the accusations coming now? That's kinda suspicious itself; it smacks of political motivation.

Numbers alone don't prove anything; copycats are common. There are copycat serial killers and copycat suicides, no doubt there may be copycat accusations, especially when there are people out there trying to dig up accusers in a Senate election.

So, for me, the claims might well be plausible, but I wouldn't use the term credible for any of them.

Also, I have a strong sense that people should be considered innocent until proven guilty, though maybe too strong. Maybe my standards of evidence are too high. Michael Graham thinks I'm an idiot.

But how would you evaluate the credibility of the claims against Moore?

To further complicate things, the passing of 40 years during which Moore seems to have displayed pretty good behavior, including being faithfully married, mitigates the effect of the claims even if they are true. People change. Let's say the claims are true: Then Moore WAS a dirtbag 40 years ago. But "once a dirtbag, always a dirtbag" isn't something I believe. I think a few decades of getting it right means something.

Should we ignore the last 40 years?

(Of course, if they are true, Grim made a good point that Moore hasn't confessed and repented but merely denied, so there's that. And, of course, there are other reasons to object to Moore, including his attitude towards the rule of law and the Constitution.)

In any case, I'll be glad when it's over.

Dropkick Murphys with Liza Graves


Graves is lead singer for the punk band Civet. There's no real Celtic influence discernable in their music, but Civet has apparently toured with the Murphys, so I'm guessing that's the connection.

And after the dirty glass, some dirty water.


Old school

From Daily Time Waster: "An AR with a 60-round magazine would be better, but a Viking with an axe is just old school."


2017 Army vs. Navy Game National Anthem


Sounds About Right

I am the type of American they want to go away....

I know the Democrats there hate me because I’m a straight, white, Christian, Southern conservative and the people that run the Republican Party today would only care what I think if I had hundreds of thousands of dollars to give them. That’s why if I can make trouble for either group, I’m game.

Second Sunday of Advent

An appropriate news story: approximately 100 years in the making, America's largest Catholic church is now completed.

Their own website is here.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, is the largest Roman Catholic church in North America and is among the ten largest churches in the world. Designated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as a National Sanctuary of Prayer and Pilgrimage, the Basilica is our nation’s preeminent Marian shrine, dedicated to the patroness of the United States, the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception.
One of the most noteworthy features of Medieval cathedrals is that they were constructed over generations. Architects and stone masons did work on these shrines knowing they would never see them finished, nor their children, nor possibly their grandchildren. The unity of purpose that kept generations working on the same goal tied them together in a common and glorious purpose. Likewise, the adults who laid the foundation stone for this likely now have great-great-grandchildren alive to see the work finished.

Freedom of Speech & Assembly

Legally protected, but culturally under assault. The "White Nationalists" being discussed here are odious, but that is where we often first see signs of the suppression of rights.
In fact, the white-nationalist movement had been so effectively de-platformed and delegitimized, and become so frightened of drawing protesters like the ones who turned out to mock Spencer from the audience at the University of Florida, that NPI’s executive director, Evan McLaren, refused to tell reporters the conference’s new location until half an hour after the meetup was scheduled to start on November 19.

When I finally arrived at the organic winery and cow-and-hog farm in Poolesville, Maryland, an hour outside of DC, I learned that NPI had not even trusted its own attendees with the conference location. Instead of allowing its followers to drive to the winery themselves or even learn its name, NPI made its adherents leave their cars behind and hand in their cell phones so they could not see where they were going and inform others. Instead, NPI monitors drove them in 10-person vans to Rocklands Farm, which turned out not to have known that the white supremacists were coming, either....

When the farm’s owners discovered they were hosting a white-power group, they immediately asked NPI to leave. Though Spencer told the media afterward that the cancellation had come halfway through the event, in fact NPI was far less lucky.... There was only time for one conference session.... Spencer himself gave no major speech. Swedish fascist megapublisher Daniel Friberg, who’d been announced as a headliner along with MacDonald and Spencer, couldn’t appear because the United States had barred him from the country following Charlottesville.
The rest of the article is kind of interesting, as it points out that their agenda is not particularly right-wing at all: it sounds a lot like socialism. It's just "National" socialism, rather than international socialism.

That's the Spirit!

Gurkhas and Paratroopers, "two of the most elite infantry units in the world training intensely."

Curve blindness

This is a remarkable optical illusion.

A 22-year-old loses zheir innocence

I'm going to report on a point of view, but first, I denounce myself for not taking an approved point of view about it. It's like . . . it's like . . . who was that again?  Hitler, that's it.

I'd like to think that Ms. Shepherd is getting an early wake-up call.  You can drop a crucifix in a glass of urine because everyone knows we have to be neutral, but some kinds of neutrality are beyond the pale.  In fact, if adopted with 18-year-old college students, they're tantamount to child abuse.

Just listen to this young woman struggling to control her tears while she insists on an old-fashioned non-Kafkaesque argument from her betters.  I like her fully woke conclusion:
"Moral of the story: A university must be repeatedly publicly shamed, internationally, in order to apologize," Ms. Shepherd said in a tweet.
"Also, make sure to secretly record all meetings or they won't take you seriously."

Swamp tactics

From Thomas Farnan:
What do you call a system of government that cannot tolerate a transition of power without corrupt machinations by those unwilling to cede control? Banana Republic is a term that comes to mind.

Turtles all the way down

I'm working very hard right now to get to the bottom of a number of confusing local issues with a complicated history.  It was a pleasure, therefore, to read the clear-thinking columnist Holman Jenkins on some basic issues about reliable sources:
Splitting is . . . a method of columnists. Example: All true things about Donald Trump are bad, all bad things about Donald Trump are true.
* * *
Splitting columns write themselves, and tend toward lists, as if piling up claims is a substitute for examining them. So Christopher Steele was said to be a “credible” ex-spy, though unasked is what exactly he was in a position to be credible about: only that he faithfully relayed claims made by his source’s sources to his sources, and a little bit about how this game of telephone was set in motion—i.e., money was dished out.
Once upon a time, no reputable paper would print a sensational claim from a source who won’t vouch for its truth, who got it from a source he won’t identify, who got it from a source he can’t or won’t identify, and all were paid.
Citing Mr. Steele’s credibility was not even a competent appeal to authority, since his credibility derives from a profession that specializes partly in disinformation.

I Don't Know About the Contents, but the Label Sure Looks Good

Ravage wines- just randomly came across an advertisement for it- I have no idea about the contents of the bottle, though I like a good Cabernet Sauvignon, but the label sure has my interest...

Might even be good for an evening in due to snow.

Frozen Georgia

In line with Tex, we are also receiving wintry weather. What a beautiful day! The flakes are thick and soft, as lovely a snowfall as I've ever seen. Nor can I recall snow in December in my home state.

Outside from fireside.

Snow has bent down the bush by the stone circle.

I hope all of you who are fortunate enough to enjoy this weather are able to make the most of it.

Frozen wastelands


The view from our neighbor's yard toward our back porch.  A few months ago, you wouldn't have been able to see our house from there at all.


And from the opposite side of the house, close up.  What could be more beautiful than a warm, lit-up house in the snow?  You can see the pergola we're just starting to build, and some startled banana trees near the stairs.

Macrobrewery and Microbrewery Joust


This was followed by the microbrewery Modist Brewing releasing a beer called "Dilly Dilly."

This in turn was followed, just hours after the beer's release, by Bud Light sending a town crier to the Modist HQ to read a medieval-ish 'cease and desist' request that the beer be kept to a limited run. You can watch the video of the crier reading the cease and desist letter at the Modist headquarters at the GOMN website.

"Dilly Dilly" is, of course, selling out rapidly.

Modist Brewing's "Whoa Dilly" FAQ on the event

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Just recently Elise and I were discussing this doctrine.
I am reminded of the example of Mary, of whose consent to be the mother of God is made much by at least Catholic theology. The whole concept of the "Immaculate Conception" is not that Mary conceived while remaining 'immaculate' (i.e., viriginal), but rather that Mary herself was conceived in a way that kept her clean of original sin. This was done by God, according to the doctrine, just so that she could consider and consent to carrying Jesus. God didn't want to impose this on Mary, as my favorite nun explained it to me; he wanted someone he could ask, who had the right kind of conscience to consider.
The history of the feast day is a surprisingly interesting story.

Answered Prayers

Via the Onion.

Götterdämmerung

There's snow approaching the Texas Coast Bend tonight.  We locals are, shall we say, unprepared for this development.



We have a tiny aged dog who doesn't regulate her body temperature well these days.  She's been crashed in front of the cozy fire on a pillow since yesterday.  It really is raw, wet, and windy.

A Great Speech from a Law Professor

The 'cluck like a chicken' part is merely funny; the speech itself is truly worthy from an educator.

A Second Special Counsel?

In the comments to a post below, Douglas endorses this Hugh Hewitt piece: "A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now."

State of Play

Wretchard, after noting yesterday's Obama speech in which the former president invoked McCarthy, Nixon, and Hitler, describes our current affairs.
After a period of sheer disbelief these liberal revolutionaries are now going head to head with the Deplorable rebels.... Which will win has yet to be determined by history. All one can do is compare their present strengths and strategies. In the matter of strength there should be no contest. A survey of federal government employees have the liberals over the Deplorables by almost 19 to 1. Over 99% of Department of Education employees backed Hillary. Trump's best showing was in the Department of Defense -- and even there Hillary had 84% of contributions. Add to this the liberal dominance in the media (93%) and academe (92%) and in Big Silicon and it should be a case of progressive Goliath walking over conservative David.

Yet for a variety of reasons the contest is much closer than the liberal project could have been imagined.... the inability of the Resistance to generate net thrust is indirect confirmation the toxic lying, wasteful spending, institutional incompetence and ideological madness of which they have been accused is at least partially true.
His conclusion is that the Resistance is conducting an internal purge to strengthen its unity by eliminating some of the contesting factions. The problem is that they have to go on to win an election next year with a narrowed appeal: purging the Clinton faction may drive some voters away.

There's a cost, too, in using Deep State assets like highly-placed elite-educated bureaucrats at the FBI. The cost is partially institutional, but it may also turn the field agents against their leadership. The issue is one of honor:
Flashback to Miami, April 11, 1986. Eight agents make a felony stop on a car with two suspected bank robbers, igniting a firefight that demonstrated the bravery and devotion that should be what first comes to mind when any American thinks of the FBI.

William Russell Matix and Michael Lee Platt were ex-military and had killed before – and they packed an arsenal that ensured they were not going quietly. The FBI agents, lightly armed with under-powered handguns and a couple 12 gauges – came under intense rifle fire that the light vests some wore could not stop. In the end, seven of the eight agents were hit – and Special Agent Benjamin Grogan and Special Agent Jerry Dove died fighting....

His forearm shattered by a .223 rifle slug, Special Agent Edmundo Mireles, Jr. (no surprise, a former Marine from Texas), pumped his Remington 870 shotgun with his one good arm again and again as he engaged the criminals. His buddies dead or wounded all around him, bleeding out, Mireles then drew his .357 and advanced on the pair, in the open and totally exposed, as they attempted to drive away in one of the FBI cars. He put six magnum slugs into the criminals and finally put them down.

Matix took six hits to kill, Platt a dozen. And Mireles? This hero went back on the job, and actually worked with my former battalion commander Colonel (Ret.) Bill Wenger in Afghanistan in the 2000s on assignment there for the FBI. Now that’s a patriot. Now that’s what the real FBI is all about....

That’s the courage that these desk-riding bums in Washington are dishonoring every time they sell their souls and their honor to kiss up to skeevy politicians.
There's just a chance that those imbalanced figures in political support could change. Honor matters, especially to the kind of guys who become FBI field agents or pursue a career in the military. But there are competing honor claims on the other side, too: claims that the Deplorables represent something inherently dishonorable.
What this means is that the universal adoption of “Trump Era” by intellectuals and journalists bodes ill for any kind of gathering of the clans. The term is entirely pejorative and implies a disease called Trumpism that must be stamped out or—since it’s an era and not a stage—stoically endured. No one who uses “Trump Era” is saying, “Now that the people of West Texas have spoken, let’s pay more attention to their needs and beliefs so that the great melting pot of America can be reunited.” They’re still deplorables. They’re still expendable.
So that's where we are, as 2017 draws closer to a close.

Post Traumatic Growth

A good piece from a soldier.
You see, despite what you hear, veterans don’t always end up disordered from their experiences. From what I have seen, more often than not, veterans grow stronger after their struggles. They experience post-traumatic growth. I did.

At home, my family grew stronger too. My wife struggled with her own job and a firstborn who was prone to ear infections and fevers. We spoke as often as we could on a scratchy USO line, but of course, it wasn’t nearly enough. She was alone for two birthdays and two Christmases, yet she persevered. I returned home after 15 months to a walking, talking boy and a marriage that had been strengthened by sacrifice on both sides.

The Feast of St. Ambrose

We get fewer of them the closer we get in Advent to Christmas. But tomorrow is a big one: be prepared for it.

Today is St. Ambrose.
St. Ambrose (340-397) was born at Treves in Gaul, a territory which embraced modern France, Britain, Spain, and part of Africa. He studied in Rome and later became governor of Liguria and Aemelia with residence at Milan. While supervising the election of a new bishop of Milan in 374, he himself was suddenly acclaimed the bishop. He was only a catechumen at the time. He was ordained a priest and consecrated a bishop on Dec. 7. He wrote much on the Scriptures and Fathers, preached a homily every Sunday, resisted the interference of the secular powers with the rights of the Church, opposed the heretics, and was instrumental in bringing about the conversion of St. Augustine.