4 Years of Waiting for Godot

First we waited for ... was it Jeff Sessions? Then Barr, then Durham, now Powell, er, the Kraken, oh, no, it's Rudy Giuliani. Maybe first it was Roberts?

But always some shocking revelation and a grand vindication was / is just around the corner. But, we never seem to get to the corner, the shocking revelation is put on ice, the vindication is moved to a later, unspecified date in the future. The Kraken feels like it is slowly sinking silently below the sable waves, if it was ever there at all.

Or maybe the Kraken is what has hold of Durham, of Barr, maybe previously of many others who seemingly could have stepped up and delivered some measure of justice but did not.

This battle is not quite over, so there is hope. There is a fight still.

But it's beginning to feel like our position is being overrun. Our media is full of reports of victories coming soon, of being in the vicinity of vindication, like good propaganda shoring up the morale of a beleaguered army. Their media is full of derision for what they believe are, or fervently desire to be, or are determined to turn into, right-wing hallucinations. Some allies are fleeing for safety, casting away their arms and uniforms, while the Left draws up its firing squads, as they always do.

Yes, yes, it's always darkest before the dawn and all that. All that. Still, I have barely any faith remaining in our federal "justice" system, legislative or executive or judicial, when it comes to anything political, and night could be just falling. Anything after civil twilight is just dark, you know.

But this is only a political war, right now, so we'll all live, whether we win or lose. Thus we get to ask, and we will be required to answer, what next? What next?

I don't expect any answers, really. We each will have our own. And all this is just my musing on the dark waters as the ship steams on toward some unknown shore. I guess it's all part of the grand adventure, and adventures always have dragons and whatnot, eh? Well, where did I put my whetstone?

Studying Problems

It’s pretty easy to get grants for studies of man-made environmental devastation. So why does this clear case of Soviet destruction not get much study?

When Gill asked the team why they weren’t conducting fieldwork at the Aral Sea, they responded: “Are you crazy? No way! It’s too remote and dangerous there, you can’t really collect any data, and it’s so treacherous if you go there you could die!”

The Hound of the Hall is Dead


We saved him from a kill shelter back in 2008. I knew I was going back to Iraq, and had been looking for a dog to leave with my family while I was gone again. I had met many and none were right. They were taking me out to see a beagle they thought I'd like, and there was this other dog in a cage along the walls. I said, "What about that one?" They said, "You don't want that one." But I knew I did, as soon as I saw him.

He was the best dog I've ever had, and I've had some great ones. None were so eager to please, or so intent on being good. He wasn't always in spite of his heart; he killed chickens and cats and kittens, and didn't really understand why he shouldn't. He killed racoons, including a rabid one, and once ran down and killed a deer -- and then brought it to me. I came home that day and he was sitting on the back porch, proud as could be, with a deer propped up between his front paws as a gift for me. 

He watched my family while I was at war, and was my most faithful companion for years and years. I hoped he would pass peacefully in his sleep, but he didn't, and it fell to me to do what I greatly wished I would never have to do. I couldn't send him to die in among strangers in a place that smelled like medicine. When the last day came and he could no longer enjoy even the sun on his fur, when every breath was a labor and the cancer had hold of him, I did what had to be done. 

Such is life, and death. I don't understand why the world was made this way. I am grateful for our time together, though. I raised a mighty cairn over him.

Who's safe now?

More wisdom from our betters at Politico: Suddenly the allure of safe spaces is tarnished. Who would have thought that wrongthinking people might find a safe space to share ideas, without even petitioning the legislature or their college presidents for permission, armed guards at the perimeter, and suitable social annihilation for transgressors, not to mention pillows and plushy stuffed comfort animals? Parler is terrifying the people who cheered on Twitter and Facebook for silencing all the bad voices:
The set-up gives MAGA conservatives an easy way to simply dismiss the post-election beliefs of the public at large, the widely accepted reports in mainstream news outlets and the word of experts and even some government officials.
I'm speechless. There are people who dismiss beliefs of the public? Who doubt the widely accepted reports of the MSM? . . . the word of experts and even some government officials? Can't these people simply be locked up and shot?

Hispanic panic

I've lost count of the articles published in the last couple of weeks about the collapse of the craziest face of the Progressive movement in some of its most promising former strongholds. At Politico, Mark Caputo reports on the carnage:
Giancarlo Sopo, one of the Trump campaign's Hispanic communication strategists, who used to be a Democrat, said he has doubts about his former party’s ability to learn from Trump’s gains.
"Many Hispanics view the Democrats and their allies as moralistic snobs,” Sopo said. “No one wants to come home after a long day of work to be wokesplained that they need to change their language, stop buying Goya, and that they're bad people if they're concerned about border security.”
Maybe the damage wasn't enough this time to lose Biden the election, assuming he did win it, but 2022 looms:
“I’m worried that there is a chink in that armor — that what Trump did sends a signal that now allows more Latinos to feel like they have permission to think about the Republicans, that’s it’s perhaps socially acceptable to do so,” [said Carlos Odio, a Democratic co-founder of the Hispanic research firm EquisLabs]. “Right now, I think like, it's still limited ... but nobody knows how it’s going to play out.”
It's unbelievably dangerous to give people permission to think--almost as dangerous as it is to imply that they need your permission.

Great News

 Thanks to the Army, I've had the MMR vaccine at least three times.  I should be solid. 

Next Best Thing

Here's a Hank Jr. tune.

 

I said he wasn't around for the Outlaw Country heyday of the early 70s, but this is 1967 so I guess he put out some stuff in the old days too. He was very young, though, compared to the legends of the genre. Like Arlo Guthrie at Woodstock; just about the same age, in fact.

God and the Military

No offense, Reverend, but I've known a fair number of chaplains who would disagree with you here. In fact I own two military-issued Bibles, complete with unit insignia printed on the cover. 

There's some tension between Mt. 6:24, the apparent source for this admonition, and Mt. 22:21 (or the parallel Luke verse) about rendering unto Caesar.  You can't serve two masters; but perhaps you can serve one at a time. 

Alternatively, you can adopt the traditional answer (for Catholics and Muslims alike, as it happens, although they differ on important details) that the leader of the military has a kind of divinely-appointed duty:  to protect the weak, uphold the law, ensure the peace, and so forth. Thus, service to one is a kind of service to the other. 

Theories: A Quick Ranking

 There are a number of theories about the election, not all of them equally good. Some should be discarded at once; others merit investigation.

Here is a quick sketch of a view. Feel free to opine in the comments about others, or about why you do or don't agree with my list.

Dismiss:

"Scorecard"/"Hammer" theories. These are nonsense. 

Auditing Georgia's absentee signatures. The President keeps talking about this. It's a great idea in principle, but in practice it's impossible because they set up the system to separate the envelope signatures from the ballots and discard the signed envelopes. There's no way to audit this aspect of the election, just as they intended, the scoundrels.

Take Seriously:

Dominion. This one has robust bipartisan support, at least if you abstract from the current moment and look at recent years. It drew a great deal of hostile coverage from the media, including from PBS; Elizabeth Warren was hotly opposed to it. Also, Wretchard thinks the system is fundamentally insecure, and he's a tech-centric guy and one of the smartest writers out there. 

Georgia uses Dominion for the non-absentee votes, by the way, which means it ought to be a bipartisan issue even in the current moment. The Democrats would like to win the January 5 Senate runoffs, and how can they have confidence that the vote will be fair in a Republican-held state with a Republican governor and Secretary of State, and no less a governor than Kemp, whom they already regard as a chief voter fraud agent?

3 AM Election Drops: There were apparently several of these, all massively to 100% in favor of Biden, often in numbers sufficient to overcome Trump election-night margins. So too similar stories of corruption attested-to in sworn affidavits by people who were there to know what they saw.

Wild Turnout: Turnout was high this election, but some places it was far higher than in others. That is worth a look.

Joe-Only Ballots: These look a lot like fakery. Who stands in line, or goes to the trouble to apply for a ballot, and then votes in only one race? One goofball, ok, but 95,000 of them in a single state?

Statistical Evidence: Trump won all but one bellweather county; he won Florida and Ohio and North Carolina; the Republicans won all 27 'toss-up' Congressional races. He increased his vote count by 10 million, doubled his percentage of the black vote, and increased among Latinos strongly enough to win Florida and the border of Texas on the strength of their votes. Democrats almost lost the House of Representatives and are skin-of-their-teeth in having a Republican Senate too. 

That kind of thing suggests Republicans had a really good year. Trump is personally hated by many, but not generally by Republicans. Supposedly Biden won on the strength of turnout -- but Trump had people standing in freezing weather, in a pandemic, for massive rallies every city he went to. If the story is to be believed, Biden had no coat-tails for a guy who drove the biggest turnout ever; Trump had coat-tails, but no coat.

Just a running list of thoughts for now. Feel free to add, or try to subtract.

The Cleverlys?

"Walk Like an Egyptian" bluegrass style



PoMo Vampires

The ZOOM-recorded meltdown in which a Wayne County Ruling Party canvassing board operative soft-doxxed the children of two unruly board members ("nice kids, wouldn't want to see anything happen to them") calls to mind this excerpt from Richard Bledsoe's Remodern America:
Postmodernists compensate for the lack of a genuine inner life by showing off what they think is expected of them. Postmodernists pretend to feel whatever their situational ethics informs them is the politically correct way to feel. Their stance is perpetual posturing.
In this delusional state, they misname their ravenous appetite for domination as “pragmatism.” Their version of pragmatism basically means they get their way, always. Yet their position is essentially one of weakness. Having no substance of their own, they are reduced to living vampire-like, trying to suck resources and obedience out of society, while offering nothing useful in return.
It’s hard to get normal people to cooperate with this hunger, since Postmodernists are fundamentally bottomless maws in desperate need of validation. There is no end to their demands. But the Postmodernists have a strategy for petty tyranny so simple it’s known to two year olds; they whip their unregulated emotions into what they hope is an intimidating frenzy.
Imagine a moral and intellectual bankruptcy so profound you can achieve your political goals only by branding your enemies' children as racist for the purpose of calling down mob violence on them.

Hank Jr. At the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is an establishment in Jackson, Wyoming. I was there once in 2015. It has barstools made out of saddles, and a lot of relics on display. It also has quite a history of hosting Outlaw Country greats -- note the Waylon and Willie cards in the displays below.

Tomorrow night, it will host Hank Williams, Jr. for his second show there. The first one was in 1980. It's already too late to get tickets for the small live show, even if you happen to be in Jackson Hole, but you can livestream it tomorrow evening here.



Hank Jr. is seventy-one this year, a little too young to have been part of the musical movement's heyday in the 1970s. Fortunately, though, he's still around.

Gjellestad Dig

 Smithsonian magazine has an update on the dig in Norway into the Viking-age elite.

DR650

I started off May buying a brand new thumper.  This is where I'm at today.  Have it kitted out for back-country camping.  It's been one fun year.    








Congratulations

The author of xkcd celebrates an important anniversary. 

Irony and Antifa

 Talking with another friend, who is Antifa-aligned, she was ranting about this weekend's Trump marches in D.C. She characterized them as offensive because of the claimed focus by some of them on trying to destroy the makeshift BLM memorial fence (or, as the Trump protesters phrased it, 'clean up litter on public property').

"I confronted them and told them they were bad guests," she said. "Can you imagine coming into someone's town and destroying their memorials to the dead?"

"Are you kidding me?" I said, taken aback. "Going to people's towns and destroying their statutes and memorials is what your people have been doing for a year!"

"Those had white supremacist ties."

"Ulysses Grant?"

"That one shouldn't have happened, and we confronted the people who took it down afterwards to explain."

"Abraham Lincoln?" 

I didn't get anywhere with this conversation, as it was apparently impossible to convey that her outrage was completely parallel to their own. She thinks of their heroes as white supremacists, justifying the destruction of their statues; they think of the pictures on that fence as a collection of mostly criminals. 

In fact they are mostly criminals, just as in fact many of the statues depict people who held slaves in their lifetimes. Neither side can see that the other side isn't trying to honor the bad parts, but the exemplary aspects of the person's life. It's impossible to find a human being to honor who didn't do anything that is unworthy. It's rare to find one worthy of any kind of honor. Yet it is important -- it is necessary -- that we show honor to those who are worthy of it.

As Malcolm Reynolds put it, "It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind son of a bitch or another. Ain’t about you... It’s about what they need."

"How Dare You Suggest Election Fraud?"

 I can attest that I'm seeing left-leaning contacts on Facebook discussing these sorts of plans for getting people to 'move' to Georgia temporarily to vote in the Senate runoffs. It'd be easier to accept that they'd never countenance an attack on the sanctity of our elections if they didn't plan it right in front of us.

Those darn effective messages

Florida Democrats are unhappy with party messaging.
“Given the fact every Hispanic voter is either directly or [has] indirectly gone through their own experience as a victim of a socialist or communist regime, the potency around the branding of a political party as the second coming of socialism or communism in the United States is very effective,” Miami-based pollster Fernand Amandi said.
. . .
“Donald Trump did not make any bones about what he was running on and voters here said they wanted more of that,” said Raymond Paultre, a consultant aligned with The Alliance, a loosely aligned collection of progressive Florida donors. “That is disheartening.”
. . .
Centrists, who traditionally have made up the party’s base of power in Florida, say a lurch to the left will decisively doom the party’s chances of taking the governor’s mansion in 2022.
. . .
“I’m not a f---ing socialist,” Pizzo later said in an interview. “My life is a manifestation of the American dream. I believe in free markets.”
Maybe you belong to the wrong party?

Truth doesn't work, let's try something else

I couldn't even bring myself to read a Salon article entitled "Enough with "both sides"! Faux-neutral journalism is no way to fight the truth-deniers."

Unity or homogeneity?

Back when racial politics stumbled on the idea of solidarity among all "people of color," they were probably onto something. It's not a terrible idea to try to find common ground with all the different people who feel left out of the game. That was before the idea morphed into the absurd notion that any organizer was wise to pretend to himself that all people of color naturally had the same view of the "system" that by definition disrespects and excludes them, and that they would vote as a bloc no matter how crazy the organizer's platform got. It's not a package deal. They're entitled to unbundle the suite. They'll probably keep unbundling it even if you accuse them of racism or treason for leaving the reservation.

A Kolakovic moment

From "A Quiet Totalitarian Movement" by Rod Dreher:
In 1943, a Croatian priest named Tomislav Kolakovic escaped the Gestapo, and took refuge in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Father Kolakovic began teaching in the Catholic university there, and told his students that after the Germans were defeated, the Soviets would rule their country. The Communists would come after the Church, he said — and he meant to get the young people ready for resistance, while they still had the freedom to strategize.
Slovak bishops chastised Father Kolakovic, saying that he was being alarmist. The priest didn’t listen to them. He knew the Communist mind, because he had studied it to prepare for missionary work in the Soviet Union. Father Kolakovic’s young followers came together in cells scattered across the country to pray, to discuss what was happening in their country, and to lay out plans of action. His method was a simple one: See, Judge, Act. That is, open your eyes to what is really happening in your country, come together to discern the meaning, and what you are all called to do to respond to it — then do it.
In 1948, Czech Communists staged a putsch. Shortly after, they began to persecute the Church, just as Father Kolakovic, who had expelled from the country two years earlier, had prophesied. The network the visionary priest built became the backbone of the underground church, and the only meaningful opposition to totalitarianism for the next forty years.

And so it begins

 And so it begins; the pushing of "reasonable" gun control.  Reading through those bills, I don't find any of that reasonable.  Thankfully democrats did not make any gains in the pro-2nd Amendment Texas legislature.  Even worse, for them, the 2021 legislative session will feature redistricting, which will not happen again until 2031. 

Maybe we can finally get rid of Queen Sheila.