Codevilla on PC

We've knocked a hole in it, for the moment, but it's still a strong thing in many parts of America. You might want to read Dr. Codevilla's history of a poisonous concept.

The Feast of St. Nicholas


Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas:

Saint Nicholas (Greek: Ἅγιος Νικόλαος, Hágios Nikólaos, Latin: Sanctus Nicolaus); (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor (modern-day Demre, Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker (Νικόλαος ὁ Θαυματουργός, Nikólaos ho Thaumaturgós). His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas.

The historical Saint Nicholas is commemorated and revered among Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox Christians. In addition, some Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and other Reformed churches have been named in honor of Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and students in various cities and countries around Europe.

The historical Saint Nicholas, as known from strict history: He was born at Patara, Lycia in Asia Minor (now Turkey). In his youth he made a pilgrimage to Egypt and the Palestine area. Shortly after his return he became Bishop of Myra and was later cast into prison during the persecution of Diocletian. He was released after the accession of Constantine and was present at the Council of Nicaea. In 1087, Italian merchants stole his body from Myra, bringing it to Bari in Italy.

Were they repentant thieves, I wonder?

In any case, according to the venerable and often-amusing volume, Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner's Guide to a Holy Happy Hour, appropriate beverages for the feast include:

  • The traditional Bisschopswijn, a spiced wine
  • Anything with rum (patron saint of sailors, you know), but the book recommends a rum toddy
  • A "St. Nicholas's Helper" of hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps
  • A Sankt Nikolai Abbey Tripel beer
  • A Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil wine

The traditional toast: "To the real Santa Claus, scourge of heretics and champion of the poor: May he help us defend the faith and assist the needy."

"Scourge of heretics"?

In 325, he was one of many bishops to answer the request of Constantine and appear at the First Council of Nicaea; the 151st attendee was listed as "Nicholas of Myra of Lycia". There, Nicholas was a staunch anti-Arian, defender of the Orthodox Christian position, and one of the bishops who signed the Nicene Creed. Tradition has it that he became so angry with the heretic Arius during the Council that he struck him in the face.
 ###

Photo: Erlend Bjørtvedt (CC-BY-SA)

"Shredding on a Shotgun Guitar"

You've heard of a cigar box guitar, but how about a shotgun guitar?



It's fully functional, and the guy is just as good at the one skill as the other. Admirable.

Just for fun, here's the cigar box guitar again too.



Retrospective

Speaking of people whose service earned them a space for having unpopular opinions, I came across this 2008 bit of mine citing the Rev. Mr. Wright. It was a rumination on what was, at that time, an open question about whether Obama was really more of a Chicago-way liberal, or more of a New Republic liberal.

At this juncture I would have to say that he proved to be a TNR liberal after all, but with numerous Chicago-way connections. We can see the evidence of the corruption and power worship in the IRS scandal, the misuse of the Department of Justice to protect friends and allies from investigations and prosecutions, and the abuse of the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to try to force a punitive form of 'social justice' on American campuses. His rise empowered those people, even if he was not fully one of them.

We can see the TNR aspect in the rest of it. The world is burning as he leaves office, and it is burning because of American weakness. Fuel for these fires came from his desire to fight a 'clean hands' war with drones and surgical strikes, his flight from Iraq, his refusal to stand up to his own red line in Syria, and his rush to give Iran everything it could ask in order to get any kind of a treaty. The Chinese have found him easy to push, so much so that America stands in some peril of watching the Philippines defect to their sphere. Russia is feeling expansive. All of this comes from the fact of weak hands.

The Democrats Need to Square Up on "Islamophobia"

A phobia is an irrational fear. In the wake of regular worldwide terrorist attacks in the name of numerous interpretations of Islam, it's hard to see how concerns about Islam and political power are any sort of "phobia." But let's accept for a moment that it can be possible to be unfairly concerned about a particular Muslim, even so.

That still leaves two questions:

1) At what point does a concern become valid? Vox defends Ellison against charges arising from his association with worse characters, especially Louis Farrakhan. What we have learned about radicalization indicates that much less close contact than this is necessary for it, though. Perhaps it's not fair to hold Ellison to blame for his associations, but there has to be a point at which it would be fair. At what point would it become fair? That's a question I'd like to have answered.

2) If we're to be excessively careful not to criticize individual Muslims for associations with others who may be more radical than they, why doesn't this point apply -- say -- to Hindus? Consider Tulsi Gabbard. Isn't she being treated exactly the same way, by the left, that they're concerned that Ellison is being treated by the right?

What's the difference? Gabbard is a Hindu, and she knows lots of other Hindus (and Indian Americans) who have inherited or developed concerns about Islam and/or Muslims. Ellison is a Muslim, and he knows lots of other Muslims (and African Americans) who have inherited or developed concerns about Judaism and/or Jews. These seem like parallel cases to me. So why promote Ellison to the leadership of the DNC, and run down Gabbard?

I suppose you could reverse the polarity on that question, and ask me why I'm more inclined to defend Gabbard. But I know why: because she's an Iraq War veteran. She's earned a space for considering her unpopular opinions, whatever they are. I don't have to agree with her every time to know we're on the same side when it counts. Ellison offers no such evidence of service that would counteract his associations.

A Skeptic on Petraeus

I will always have a place in my heart for David Petraeus, who commanded the Surge and won back a chance for Iraq to succeed. However, while I can and do fault President Obama for his squandering of that chance, I don't fault him for his handling of the end of Petraeus' career. Both in his handling of classified information, and in his handling of his relationship with his wife, he showed himself to have fallen away from the standards and virtues that properly belong to those entrusted with the lives of Americans.

Now Christine Brim comes to suggest that he is really a Clintonite Democrat as well. Perhaps -- or perhaps he is just one of those generals, of whom there are many, for whom doing what the politicians want becomes a guiding star. If he looks like a Clintonite, it's only because he expected them to win and aligned himself accordingly.

Still, I'm afraid that it is best for David Petraeus to remain in retirement. With respect for the good that he did, this is not the hour to elevate someone to high position with his track record on handling classified information. That was a valid and good reason to avoid elevating Hillary Clinton to the Presidency, and it is just as good a reason not to make Petraeus a Secretary of State. That he also may have participate in other Clintonite scandals, such as the provision of false information on Benghazi, only underlines what is already adequately determined by that fact.

How Real is this Taiwan Thing?

According to a report by the nonpartisan (and quite respected) Congressional Research Service, China doesn't have the logistical chops to pull off an invasion.

They could do something unexpected, like pressing a bunch of fishing ships into service. But that has its limitations, and even once you move the army, you've got to keep it supplied.

John Stewart: You know, a Lot of First Responders Voted for Trump

“The same people that voted for Trump ran into burning buildings and saved whoever.. no matter what color they were, no matter what religion and they would do it again tomorrow.... So, if you want to sit and tell me that those people are giving tacit approval to an exploitative system ― I say, 'OK, and would you put your life on the line for people who aren’t like you? Because they did.

This Complies With the 4th Amendment How?

The Economist reports on a violation of the Constitution by the Federal government. Kudos to the Congressional committee for bringing it to light. Now let's see what they do with it.

Also, I note that this part seems to fit a pattern: "We have no idea as to the extent of the problem because the DEA did not keep records" of the program. Now why would a bureaucracy choose not to keep records of a program, if only to audit it and see how successful it was?

The Counterfeit State Department

One has to wonder how good American intelligence in Africa could possibly be.
Over the weekend, the U.S. Department of State announced it had shut down a fake embassy in Ghana this summer with the help of local authorities... The criminals weren’t just in it for the adrenaline rush of processing consular paperwork, though. It was a lucrative enterprise that charged unknowing marks about $6,000 each for “fraudulently obtained, legitimate U.S. visas, counterfeit visas, false identification documents,” and other services, the State Department said.

It operated for about a decade in part because local authorities were paid to “look the other way,” the State Department said.... The fake embassy had an American flag flying out front and a photo of President Barack Obama and embassy signs inside. The criminal ring running the scam even advertised its services in neighboring Togo and Ivory Coast.
Did we really not know about this? None of our open-source intelligence people noticed the advertised access to American consular documents from a location that wasn't legitimate, not for ten years?

Or was the Obama administration happy to accept the additional semi-documented migrants? Are they just shutting this down now so that the Trump people won't look into it and realize they were letting it roll?

Neither possibility is encouraging.

The Importance of the Constitution

Would-be Presidential spoiler Evan McMullin says Donald Trump doesn't know enough about the Constitution to refer to it. That may well be true, of course.

And I wouldn't argue against any of this.
We must never forget that we are born equal, with basic, natural rights, including those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those rights are inherent in us because we are humans, not because they are granted by government. Government, indeed, exists primarily to protect those natural rights; the only legitimate power it has is that which we grant to it.

We can no longer assume that all Americans understand the origins of their rights and the importance of liberal democracy.
I've said little else in this space for more than a decade, but clearly that hasn't moved mountains.

Even A Great Surgeon Has Bad Days

Robert Liston was one of the greats of the pre-anesthesia age. In those days, surgery was best performed fast, as that minimized pain and made it more likely that patients would survive the procedure. But...
The assistants tried hard to hold [a thrashing patient] but, he was too strong. In that chaos, Liston started to move so fast that he accidently cut his assistant’s fingers off and also slashed a spectator’s coat.

The spectator thought that he was hurt and died of terror on the spot. The patient and the assistant died a few days later from infections of their wounds.

This is the only surgery in known history with a 300 percent mortality rate.

Bluegreen Jobs

The New Republic is trying to figure out how to make environmentalism cool with the white working class.
Environmentalists must fight alongside unions for full employment in a green economy that uses union labor. American steel produced by United Steelworkers members must be used to make wind turbines erected by Laborers members. Unfortunately, most green energy capitalists hold anti-union positions, but environmentalists have to demand a change.
It's interesting how Blue Model this vision is, to use W. R. Mead's term.

The uncool kids

The Sultan of Knish advises Republicans to quit trying to make the cultural powers-that-be approve of them:
The GOP is not the cool party. It’s never going to be. It’s the party of the people who have been shut out, stepped on and kicked around by the cool people. Trump understood that. The GOP didn’t.
The GOP’s urban elites would like to create an imaginary cool party that would be just like the Democrats, but with fiscally conservative principles. That party can’t and won’t exist.

Notice How Ordinary This Is

Andy McCarthy is one of those hard-core right-wingers who regularly raises concerns about Islam's compatibility with Western values. So, let's hear him out on the question of whether or not President Trump needs a waiver from Congress to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as SECDEF.
It is true that the Constitution assigns the president the sole power to nominate and appoint officers of the United States. It is also true that the Senate’s power of advice-and-consent is the principal constitutional check on the president’s appointment power. (U.S. Const., art. II, sec. 2, cl. 2.) It does not necessarily follow, however, that Congress may not impose qualifications that any nominee must meet when the office in question has been created by Congress.

What are now the Department of Defense and the position of Secretary of Defense are creatures of statute. The 1940s-era statute to which Shannen refers as the source of the limitation on the president’s appointment power is the National Security Act of 1947. It is section 202 of that act that establishes the Secretary of Defense – the office, the qualifications to serve in it, and the attendant duties.
That doesn't sound like he's looking for a totalitarian leader to make him safe by imposing a fascist worldview and brooking no opposition. It sounds like he's thinking seriously about the constitutional separation of powers, and a due and proper role for Congress as well as the Executive.

Such are the terrifying creatures with which the Left now has to reckon.

And These Are Amusing As Well



SNL's Target Ad Skit

A bit old, but still relevant, apparently, sadly.

 

I wonder how much blue Play-doh has been destroyed since ...

Uncomfortable Arguments

A university professor in Canada tries to show his students what they do not want to see:
I got interested in ideology, in a large part, because I got interested in what happened in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the Cultural Revolution in China, and equivalent occurrences in other places in the world. Mostly I concentrated on Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. I was particularly interested in what led people to commit atrocities in service of their belief.... One of the things that I’m trying to convince my students of is that if they had been in Germany in the 1930s, they would have been Nazis. Everyone thinks “Not me,” and that’s not right. It was mostly ordinary people who committed the atrocities that characterized Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Well, but people learn from history, right? Does he have any good examples of a similar ideology that is crushing freedom and that his students are rushing to embrace?

Yes, he does.
The university has told me that that every time I insist that I won’t use those [gender neutral] pronouns [like 'xe' and 'xir'], the probability that I’ll be teaching in January decreases.... My opponents say ‘you’re just scare-mongering. We don’t really have that much power.’ Then why change the criminal code? Why put the hate speech amendments in there? The final word in law is incarceration.

There is no question about this. When I made the video on September 27th, and I said, ‘probably making this video itself is illegal’. Not only that, the university is as responsible as I am for making it, because that’s in the human rights code. The university read the damned policies and had their lawyers scour it, and concluded exactly what I concluded. That’s why they sent me two warning letters.
No free speech, no free expression, no free association, and no earning a living if you deviate from the imposed speech codes. Your employer is on the hook for you, so they can't afford to employ you if you won't comply.

This is where they were trying to go here, too. McArdle was just talking about that.
“Sure, the government won’t actually shut your church down. But the left will use its positions of institutional power to try to hound anyone who attends that church from public life. You can believe whatever you want -- but if we catch you, or if we even catch you in proximity to people who believe it, we will threaten your livelihood.”

I’ve heard from a number of evangelicals who, despite their reservations about the man, ended up voting for Donald Trump because they fear that the left is out to build a world where it will not be possible to hold any prominent job while holding onto their church’s beliefs about sexuality. Discussions I’ve had in recent days with nice, well-meaning progressives suggest that this is not a paranoid fantasy.
Well, just look north.

Of Course California Should Secede

Politics are about shared values as much as they're about anything else. As the author points out, California is completely out of step with the country, and provided Hillary Clinton with 100% of her margin of victory in the popular vote.

Of course, if we could agree to abide by the 10th Amendment there'd be no reason California should have to leave. They could live by their own values in perfect accord with their nearby neighbors' living in accordance with more traditional values.

Yet in the wake of Trump's election, I have seen no signs at all of any softening of the idea that the Federal Government Should Rule All. I have seen calls to abolish the electoral college, calls that are completely removed from the reality that Democrats now control none of the capacities that would enable them to amend the Constitution. I have seen calls to abolish the states, even though state governments like California's (and there are less than a handful of such states) provide Democrats with their only practical shelter against whatever Trump's Federal government may do.

If I were inclined to view political disagreements in medical terms, I would think this pathological. This insistence on imposing one-size-fits-all solutions on a big and diverse nation is what lost them all of those state governments. It's a major contributing factor to what lost them this Presidential election. It's also lost them a bunch of House and Senate seats. Yet they continue to double down on the strategy, determined to knock down all remaining laws between them and a fully centralized power. They do this without apparently realizing that these are load-bearing walls, and the power will be centralized like a roof being brought down on their heads.

So yes, by all means, let them go. I will gladly support any Constitutional convention or amendment aimed at freeing California to pursue its own destiny. We would all be happier, and our politics would be healthier, if we could make this happen.

How's that going, Duncan?

Apparently we're not making this up:  a city attorney in Philadelphia, clad in a blazer and ascot and carrying a glass of wine, tagged a fancy grocery store with the message "F**K TRUMP."  I mean, really, he doesn't seem to be a paid plant or anything, and it's not part of a Jimmy Kimmel video or an SNL skit.

Elie Mystal, who writes the almost equally absurd and pathetic blog "Above the Law," also is skating right out at the edge, in a cri de coeur that's located almost entirely in self-loathing and -mockery territory, without quite achieving self-awareness:
When Duncan Lloyd vandalizes your city, it’s part of his larger campaign of finding a way to crawl out from under his covers in the morning. . . . He just wants to be able to look his cats in the eye without feeling ineffectual and ashamed. “I made a statement today, Odysseus and Penelope. I’m not going to let this be normalized.”
I know, you think I lifted that from an alt-right site engaging in a scathing satire.  I really didn't.

I have to assume that Progressive America has more effective minions than this, perhaps flying under the radar for now, but sometimes you truly have to wonder.

The MSM might as well be mute now

H/t Maggie's Farm, the MSM "pouts about lost norms" (so many links popped up I couldn't begin to include them all), when what's really bugging it is a lost leverage:
Imagine this … we now live in a world where the media has zero leverage. They can't blackmail Trump into behaving a certain way because 1) they have nothing he needs -- to reach the people, he can easily go around them; and 2) they can't put pressure on him by hammering him with coordinated narratives because they have lost all moral authority with the public. Nothing they say matters. Nothing they do moves the needle.
Sure, there could be a downside here. If the Trump administration gets wrapped up in a legitimate scandal, we might not listen to eunuchs who cried "disqualified" thousands of times already. But to me, that's like lamenting the lack of trains running on time after the death of a dictator. Whatever downside that comes will be well worth the defeat of outright evil.

I think he's angry

This puling piece of work keeps showing up on my Facebook page:
The Democratic negotiating position on all issues put before them while they are in the House and Senate minority for at least the next two years should be very simple: You will give us Merrick Garland or you may go die in a fire.
Not only that, but they should do what they should have done the day Antonin Scalia died: Make it clear that the next time the Democrats control the Senate while the Republican Party controls the presidency, whether that is in 2019 or 2049, there will be an extraordinarily high price to pay for what just transpired. The next Republican president facing divided government will get nothing. This president will run the entire federal government by himself. Zero confirmations. No judges, not even to the lowliest district court in the country. No Cabinet heads. No laws. Budgets will be approved only after prolonged and painful crises. Whoever this GOP president is, he or she will be forced to watch while their presidency and everything they hoped to achieve in government is burned down while the Democrats block the fire hydrant and laugh.
And Democrats should be confident knowing that American voters will never, ever hold them accountable for it. On the contrary, they will almost certainly be rewarded with sweeping power.
This is apparently what Democrats need to do now that they've learned that magnanimity doesn't work.  Well, as Dennis Miller says, keep it up.  People love this stuff.

Brothers Bearing Arms, Virginia and Georgia

You may recall that last year the Virginia governor had a brief fit of gun-controllery, in which he declined to recognize the permits of very many states. That was fixed. Now, the honorable and glorious Virginia Citizens Defense League -- long may their fame endure -- has convinced the state to recognize the permits of all other states that grant permits to carry.

Under Georgia law, we recognize the permits of any state that recognizes our permit. Or so the plain text of the law says. Our Attorney General has elected to refuse to recognize Virginia permits.

Now, having had both sorts, I can tell you that this is silliness of the extreme sort. Not only does Virginia require all the background checks that Georgia requires, it also requires a proficiency examination equivalent to at least a basic NRA-certified course in firearms. The Virginia permit holders are, in other words, by statute better qualified than our native ones are required to be.

The matter has come to court. VCDL, and the Georgia Packing group, are set against the state government. If they do not win their case, they must nevertheless win the point. These Republican politicians in Georgia at the state level are dogs, but we'll teach them yet.

Nordic Roots

Tom gave us a start on it. It's not an unworthy thing to chase, near the Yuletide.



I note that the video seems to be drawn from a retelling of Beowulf's second battle, against the Mother of Grendel.

Give a Moff His Due

Finnish Folk Music

From Gjallerhorn, a good name for a band.



John F. "Jack" Hasey

Wandering around, reading about Finland, I ran across this remarkable-sounding American. Here's the brief Wikipedia entry:

John F. "Jack" Hasey

John Freeman "Jack" Hasey (3 November 1916 – 9 May 2005) was an American captain in the French Foreign Legion during World War II and a senior operations officer with the CIA afterwards. Hasey was one of only four Americans, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, to have been named a Companion of the Ordre de la Libération, France's highest World War II honor.

...

Birth

Hasey was born in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1916. In 1936, Hasey headed to France, where he intended to study at the Sorbonne. Hasey, a Columbia University graduate, instead decided to become a salesman for the French jeweler Cartier.

Military career

When the Russo-Finnish War broke out in 1939, Hasey, along with other Americans, formed an ambulance unit, the Iroquois Ambulance Corps, and headed to the war front to help aid the Finns. Later, some time in the 1950s, Finland awarded him the Liberty Cross. After the war, and having recovered from a wound to his arm, Hasey planned to return to his work at Cartier.

With the German invasion of Western Europe, Hasey promptly volunteered to join the Free French Forces led by General Charles de Gaulle. During fighting around Damascus, Syria on June 20, 1941, Hasey's right jaw and larynx were shot away by enemy machine gun fire. He was decorated by de Gaulle as "the first American to shed blood for the liberation of France." After his recovery, Hasey became a liaison between de Gaulle and Eisenhower. During 1942, he co-wrote a book, Yankee Fighter: The Story of an American in the Free French Foreign Legion with Joseph F Dinneen. In August 1943, he became an aide-de-camp on the staff of General Marie Pierre Koenig, and remained with Koenig during his term as military Governor of Paris, August 1944.

Post-War

In 1950, he joined the CIA and worked in 17 countries until his retirement in 1974.

In 1996, French President Jacques Chirac named Hasey an officer in the Légion d'honneur.

On May 9, 2005, Hasey died at age 88 from complications after a stroke.

Honors
  •     Order of the Cross of Liberty
  •     Compagnon de la Libération
  •     Knight of the Légion d'honneur
  •     Croix de guerre 39-45 with four citations
  •     Insignia for the Military Wounded

What Does the Infantry Actually Do All Day?

Task & Purpose highlights a Redditor's answer. Here's the opening:

It’s starts at a practical time in the morning with good, well rounded PT tailored to each individual Soldier’s physical fitness level. Stretching is a priority and proper technique in all exercises is emphasized. That’s followed by a nutritious breakfast served by a friendly cook.

You then get practical hands on training in the art of modern infantry tactics by qualified and motivated subject matter experts. The training is up to date and perfectly in line with our current global combat missions. Another healthy and delicious meal is followed by a motivating and morale lifting pep talk from your inspiring First Sergeant ...

Jim Webb vs. Entitled Elites

Jim Webb gave the keynote speech at the American Conservative Magazine's conference. He spoke a week after Trump's victory, but before everyone had time to sort out what they thought about it. It's a speech rooted in that moment, and is I think a useful criticism for Democrats for whom "conservative" is a curse word.

Here it is.

Lars Walker Sermonizes

As another Advent post, here is our comrade Lars Walker on the ruthlessness of Jesus Christ.

Should We Profile Women Who Join ISIS?

Vice has a story profiling 25 young women who have elected to join the Islamic State or similar Islamist movements. If you're an FBI agent or someone similar, it makes sense to read these profiles carefully and look for patterns. Trying to figure out how radicalization works is a big deal, and one on which we have made almost no progress. Indeed, our best ideas so far have failed dramatically.

For most Americans, though, I wonder if learning about the lives of these women is the right thing to do. Have they not elected to join a movement in which they will be rendered literally faceless in the public space? Who cares who they are, or what they wanted? Refusing to see them is honoring their personal and individual choice about who they wanted to be. It is at once an act of respect they may not deserve, and a fitting and proper punishment.

Against Censorship

Glenn Reynolds writes that, while the right could now use the Department of Education to censor speech the way Obama has done, that should really be avoided.
Some folks on the right may feel that turnabout is fair play. The left, lately, has gotten into the habit of treating words it disagrees with as if they’re somehow wrongful acts to be punished. The meaningless term “hate speech” — which just means speech that lefties don’t like — has been used to attack the free speech of, well, people that lefties don’t like.

But as satisfying as some might find it to turn those tactics around, the truth is that we all benefit from people’s ability to speak freely. One reason why the Democrats were blindsided by Trump’s victory — and why the British establishment was gobsmacked by the Brexit vote — is that people didn’t feel they could speak freely on those subjects. A society in which people are forced to hide their views is a society in which a lot of things remain hidden.

And the very notion of having to watch what you say lest you lose your job, get expelled from school, or face social ostracism is offensive, more evocative of communist hellholes like North Korea or Cuba than of a free society.
If he's right that the reason we were blindsided by Trump's victory is that many supporters did not feel free to express or discuss their support, that's significant. For one thing, it will have prevented some of the debate in which the worthiness of a candidate is tested. Instead of facing considered arguments against their candidate, supporters will have simply remained silent rather than face charges of racism (and possible firing).

Not that any amount of considered criticism would have caused me to vote for Hillary Clinton. That's the other part of that discussion, which mostly we are not having. Democrats who want my vote had better give me a candidate I can vote for in good conscience. Giving me the choice between two bad candidates is not enough.

To return to the main point, I'm all about doing the right thing. Under no circumstances should we try to censor speech in the way our speech has been censored. But I would like to see some DoE programs aimed at explaining to the opposition just why their efforts constitute censorship, and not -- as they would prefer to believe -- "cleaning up hate from the public space" or something similar. I think they continue to believe that we are evil, and feel perfectly righteous about suppressing our thoughts and words. They are only sorry not to have gotten away with it.

Pull Yourself Together

You can check yourself into a psych ward over Hillary losing the election if you want to do, but we're not going to kill you. You're just being silly. The odds of a civil war in this country fell through the floor when Trump won. Clinton was apt to provoke one with her commitment to Australian gun control and Supreme Court nominees who would have voided the Second Amendment. We'd have fought over that, some of us.

I'm not going to spend ten minutes thinking about you or how to ruin your life after I finish typing this post. You're totally safe from me. I don't care about you the least little bit. I certainly don't hate you. Go do whatever it is you do, and stop worrying so much about your fellow Americans.

Mad Dog

Bob on the FOB (who is Iraq War famous, at least), sends as follows:
"Handlebars, handlebars, handlebars, chaos, I say again, chaos."
Mattis will probably hate the job, and his work has been cut out for him by the Obama administration's utter failure in foreign policy. But he's a good man, and he knows war.

Advent



H/t: D29.

Another Bad Marketing Decision

This presents itself as being for nearly fearless men, but no man worth the name would wear this -- especially if it were true.

As it often is. I keep telling people that they should be a lot more afraid of the wife than they ever are of me.

Nothing New with Levi's Jeans

Their brand is an American classic, but they've been donating heavily to gun control groups for years. What do you expect from a San Francisco company?

Now they say, 'Don't come in if you're carrying -- even legally.' There is, "of course," an exception for "authorized" members of law enforcement.

This points to the clear misunderstanding prominent on the left that the police are a separate class from the citizenry. Every citizen has the right to enforce the law, to make arrests and bring lawbreakers before a magistrate. Those of us who are also authorized to carry weapons -- after a background check and, in many states, a demonstration of proficiency -- are "authorized... law enforcement" in the strictest sense. We just don't do it full time.

Police and the citizenry should be lined up, not divided against each other. But that depends on a view in which we're both of us committed to the same end -- the common peace and lawful order. If what you really want are police who will suppress your fellow citizens of whom you are terrified, well, that's going to cause problems for all of us.

A Comic for the Era

I just discovered this webcomic called "The Ism." Initial review of the last few strips suggests it's pretty solid, but I haven't gone that far back.

The New Yorker 'splains it all.

This is a much less obnoxious article than many that have recently explained to us how the forces of evil inexplicably took over the polling booths last month.  It's nevertheless very nearly as clueless as the rest.  Here is our President's take on the social justice challenges the country faces as automation proceeds on the same track it's been on for the last several hundred years, if not the last several millennia:
[A]t some point, when the problem is not just Uber but driverless Uber, when radiologists are losing their jobs to A.I., then we’re going to have to figure out how do we maintain a cohesive society and a cohesive democracy in which productivity and wealth generation are not automatically linked to how many hours you put in, where the links between production and distribution are broken, in some sense. Because I can sit in my office, do a bunch of stuff, send it out over the Internet, and suddenly I just made a couple of million bucks, and the person who’s looking after my kid while I’m doing that has no leverage to get paid more than ten bucks an hour.”
In other words, the problem with the distribution of wealth in this country is that the people who receive and pay for services with their own money have a different judgment of their worth than the valuation that the smart and virtuous people would like to impose on the rest of us. How else can you explain why some guy who writes popular material enjoyed by millions of people with disposable income can get paid more than someone who provides a straightforward temporary service to a single family that can be pulled off by almost anyone? Why not pay the childcare worker $10 million and the popular author $10? Surely they'd both keep doing their jobs tomorrow and next week, right?  (Not to mention, Mr. President, that if you feel guilty about accepting the $10 million you could always decline it instead of bragging about it.)

Much of the rest of the article bemoans the fact that voters don't have to agree with the smart people any more, as if they ever did.  The President is appalled that certain things can be said publicly now without the speaker's losing any chance of public support.  He can say something like that without reflecting for a moment on how surprised half the country was to find that a man could win the White House after being exposed as the acolyte of Saul Alinsky or the Rev. Wright.  I'm not sure it will ever occur to him that those parallel situations could ever be more than a "false equivalence."

Daddy Was...



Not my daddy, nor his daddy. But they'd have recognized elements of the story. We all would.

It's a song about all of us, sung through one of us.

The Feast of St. Andrew

Patron Saint of Scotland (which is sort of an oddity, since he never went to Scotland and Scotland has a number of excellent saints of its own), St. Andrew's Day comes as a welcome chance to listen to the pipes instead of Jingle Bells.



It falls during Advent, which is a season of fasting and preparation. In America, it overlaps with what we more usually call "the Christmas Season," when everyone is already singing carols and selling various wares in red and green. We have the habit of feasting in preparation for the feast, which is a bit odd when you think about it.

Still, if you are fasting, a feast day honoring so high a figure as St. Andrew must be welcome. It is a minor relief in a season of preparation for the great relief, which is a fair model of the relationship of human saints and the Incarnations.

Cuba and Israel

Jonah Goldberg on the valentines to a chic dictator recently departed from this life:
As much of the American Left is openly mooting whether or not the American president-elect is a dictator-in-waiting, one has to wonder whether they would take that bargain: No more elections, no more free speech, no more civil liberties of any kind, but socialized medicine and literacy for everyone! American political dissidents, homosexuals, journalists, and the clergy, just like in Cuba, can languish in prison or internal exile, but at least they’ll be able to read the charges against them. To listen to some Castro defenders, you’d think the scales of justice can balance out any load of horrors.
Such un-nuanced arguments always make leftist eyes roll. In a blog post titled “Castro: It’s Complicated!” University of Rhode Island professor Eric Loomis cautioned against thinking “in terms of simplistic moral judgments.” It seems to me that when people want to ban simplistic moral judgments, it’s usually because simple morality is not on their side.
* * *
But among serious leftists, Castro’s radical chic is secondary. For them, Fidel’s revolution provided the slender hope that America was on the wrong side of history. It was a symbol of resistance — intellectual, political, and spiritual — to Western yanqui hegemony. They loved Cuba for many of the reasons they hate Israel (despite its exemplary literacy rate and universal health-care system).

Post-Clinton-Victory Media Coverage As Bad As You Thought

Maybe a little bit worse.
I think we have the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship. But let's be real. I'm not that into you, and you're not that into me. And I know the kind of woman you are. You play hard to get; you're fickle; you say one thing and then do the opposite.... I've seen the way you look at Republicans. The way your face lights up when Henry Kissinger walks into a room. You never look at me that way. To be fair, I don't get that hot and bothered by you... Now, Hillary, you are the president-elect. And as much as a catch as I may be, it would be silly to pretend your being the most powerful person in the entire world doesn't give you a bit of an upper hand.
It still remains to be seen if the media can get to a position of "detached professionalism" even now, but at least with Donald Trump we will be spared the media positing their relationship with the new President in terms of a torrid love affair. (And this was one of her would-be critics.)