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.



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.


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.

  •     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.


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.)

How To Encourage Tourism to the United Kingdom one map.


The OSU attacker claims to be motivated -- according to this FB post, which law enforcement says is his -- by the killing of Muslims in Burma.

I'm going to ignore the claims by this obvious loser to speak for "every single Muslim," which are clearly absurd. What really strikes me is the claim that America is somehow responsible for the killing of Muslims in Burma. We haven't had significant ties with Myanmar for almost twenty years. Our sanctions program aimed at them was precisely in order to object to the government's murder of its own people, and to try to motivate them to stop it. Lest one claim that the sanctions themselves are murderous, we have been working recently to begin lifting them -- just because the government seems to be involved in some reform efforts we want to encourage.

In the wake of 9/11, I thought the lesson was that we could not afford to be disengaged from the world. Afghanistan was somewhere we had also ignored for quite some time, having been on their side against the Soviet invaders. But they came to harbor a poisonous hatred for the West, especially America, and to nurture and protect terrorist movements like al Qaeda.

After 15 years of war in Afghanistan, though, I'm now wondering anew if engagement is the answer. Ultimately, things like this cast doubt upon the claims that the West is hated for its policies. Whether engagement or disengagement is pursued, and even when the disengagement is shaped around trying to encourage positive reforms in the way the people of a country are treated, hatred seems to continue. We are blamed for what we do, and for what we do not do.

If we do disengage, we're in a moment where the Russians and Chinese are likely to step up. If you thought the Pax Americana was bad, wait until you have to deal with Beijing.

OSU Volunteers

Much like the impromptu citizens militia of Flight 93, yesterday's attack on OSU prompted a sudden response.
OSU student, Molly Clarke, recalled the incident, citing, “We have quite a few military men in our class, who are actually all standing by the doors, keeping us safe.” She added, “I’m feeling pretty good about that.”

@CNN It's what we do. What most people take for as a right is truly made by sacrifice. I love my brothers and sisters. Best family ever.

— Disabled War Vet (@WarVet_MarsOne) November 28, 2016

Their training instantly kicked in and the heroic servicemen quickly secured the area, relying on the only weapons the gun-free campus would allow them to use — their own bodies.

Names of the military members have yet to be released but reports indicate that the servicemen moved the class into the middle of the room while they stood watch at the door.
Ultimately the issue was resolved by the good shooting of a young police officer, but these moves are not in vain. This is how a similar attack was stopped on a train in France -- also by US servicemembers. Being of the right mind, and training yourself to do your best physically, is a key part of filling this critical citizen function.

It might help if they weren't completely disarmed, too.

Loss of Citizenship as Time-Out

I like flag-burners about as much as I like cross-burners, but as satisfying as it might be to strip them of their citizenship, what both groups are doing is protected free speech. As long as the cross burning is not explicitly aimed at someone as a terrorist act, it is available as a form of expression. Flag burning is much the same. Odious speech is protected not because it is worthy or interesting, but because protecting even odious speech is the best way of protecting more valuable speech.

What I do find interesting is that Trump considers loss of citizenship a punishment on par with a year or so in jail. That suggests he thinks of citizenship as not being especially valuable. So you lose your citizenship, then what? Presumably, you become a legal resident without voting rights. You go to the back of the line, and in seven years you can re-apply and take the test to prove you're worthy of being taken seriously? It's like a time-out to teach better citizenship, in other words.

Well, maybe. The alternative would be exile, but that's dubiously constitutional even at the state level. On the other hand, if we're obviated First Amendment protections and are stripping citizenships, who knows if the prohibition against exile would hold?

The Red Army Choir Loads Sixteen Tons

A Briton Makes A Point of Cassandra's

A writer notes a rough form of equality.
[T]he point that I think has been missed by Solnit – and by all the women who have written and talked about mansplaining ever since – is: men also talk this way to each other. It’s not that they don’t defer to women. It’s that they don’t defer to anyone....

At the start of this column, I said there had been two recent stories about mansplaining. The first was that the 600,000-strong Unionen has launched a mansplaining hotline.

And the second, which followed soon after, is that the majority of calls to the hotline have been from men: anxious, self-doubting men, asking exactly what mansplaining is and how to avoid doing it.

Beware of throwing your ire at the wrong target.
Her contention that the biggest issue facing society is a lack of kindness is a point worth considering.

More "Just In Time for Christmas" History

Gadsden & Culpepper are having a 50% off sale on a "pick four" pack of historic American flags. The Veterans Exempt flag they have has a pretty silly looking skull-and-crossbones, but the others are solid.

I have a love for historic flags, both American and earlier insofar as they represent worthy things. Perhaps someone else you know does too.

The Russian Red Army Choir and the Leningrad Cowboys

From Sippican Cottage, via Ace:

This is the greatest concert I've ever heard of. It makes Woodstock look like Monday night in a Chinese restaurant lounge in Milford, Mass. Don't ask me how I know what that's like.

This video gets pulled from YouTube faster than I can keep up with it. The video quality in this one is set on Etch-A-Sketch through a periscope, but you get the idea. The whole thing is sublime.

The main performers are a spoof. More to the point, they are a metaspoof. There's layers to it. They are pretending to be Russians who are pretending to be American. They're actually Finnish. If you know anything about Finland, you know how extraordinary this performance is. The concert in the video is from 1993....

UPDATE: In the comments, Stone Soup offers this link to Sweet Home Alabama.

The Fins. Remember Steve 'n' Seagulls?

I'll have to go there someday just to check out the music scene. And hey, apparently, Steve 'n' Seagulls has a new album out:

Still at room temperature

H/t Ace:


Also In Time For Christmas

Thirty just-translated Medieval texts. Some of these would make for great reading. Others would be highly informative. Others, of course, are arcane -- but that has its own pleasures.

Flaming Turkey Wings!

This was one of my father's favorite commercials, and one that he would always quote about this time of year (although referring to Thanksgiving, and not Christmas).

Along the lines of Cassandra's comments about being frugal, naturally we do something similar with the leftover turkey. By this point, now three days into leftovers, we have gotten as far as "chiles poblanos, stuffed partially with leftover turkey."

Turkey chili and sausage is also good, although I get better results with the sausage if I make it with raw turkey.

What do you folks do with yours?

Last Two Reactions for the Night: Jill Stein and Harvard Prof. George J. Borjas

Erstwhile presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein:

Fidel Castro was a symbol of the struggle for justice in the shadow of empire. Presente!

Harvard Kennedy School Professor George J. Borjas:

Fidel Castro died last night at age 90. My first reaction upon reading the news this morning was “Good riddance!”

As I recount in We Wanted Workers, I have many not-so-wonderful memories of growing up in the very early years of Castro’s Cuba. It has always pained me to see Americans who are so ignorant of what a communist dictatorship is about singing praises to the Castro regime. It pains me even more to see people who should know better, like Pope Francis, saying that the “death of Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro was ‘sad news’ and that he was grieving and praying for his repose.”

My family owned a small clothing factory prior to the revolution, and that factory was quickly confiscated after Castro’s takeover. Here are some personal and random vignettes of what it was like to live in a revolutionary utopia from the perspective of someone who was 10 or 11 years old at the time ...

Click over to read the rest.