Good Lord

Conspiracy theories and all that, but it's actually worse if this really was the product of extensive, institutional failure. It'd be better if there was a plot! This indicates the complete failure of all of our institutions... er, as did the Afghanistan situation, the "pier" to Gaza, the border situation, oh good gracious. The whole thing needs to be torn down and replaced, or not replaced where it's not helpful.

More Glorious Behavior

So undercover cops need to drink to keep their cover. However
The Pagan's MC are accusing the cops of excessive force, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution after a confrontation in a bar suddenly degenerated into violence caused by cops who had been drinking for hours.

Maybe all this secret police stuff is not befitting of a free society. 

Corporate Interactions

I had a meeting today with a team led by a former SFOD-D operator and Silver Star awardee. He opened by questioning whether I would be able to make our upcoming in-person meeting from “prison,” and then asserting that “you look like you’re ready to murder somebody.”

I responded, “Every day all day,” which he loved. However, I had to circle back with the team to explain some cultural differences between their world and the world of the American infantry. 

Pulp Fiction

It’s hard to avoid Jules’ conclusion. The way the film was portrayed out of sequence masks that Jules’ conversion also saves his life. His faith does. 

It’s terrifying to think that God would take the side of so flawed a vessel; or to think that God would be so directly involved in human affairs at all. It’s obvious why Vincent rejects the idea. To do otherwise is to admit the existence of a far greater power. 

Dragon’s Breath

View from my front porch. 

Then This Happened... the Republican Convention in Milwaukee, per @DanScavino via @cdrsalamander (I don't seem able to post X videos): 

BZ, indeed. 

Eric Hines

Safety first

I held off on posting this, because it referred to an ABC News interview I couldn't at first find in the original, and I feared it must be satire or a hoax. At the 1:50 mark in this ABC News interview with the Director of the Secret Service, Kimberly Cheatle, she explains that the roof from which a young man shot former President Trump on Saturday was not manned by law enforcement because the sloped roof was considered too dangerous for security personnel.

Honestly, I'm still wondering if it could be a clever fake. Could she really have said this on camera? Perhaps next she could reconsider whether live ammunition should be issued to SS personnel. Someone could put an eye out with one of those things.

I wish I could still post images here, to show a comparison between the roof Crooks shot from and the roof the counter-sniper shot from after Crooks opened fire. Both look to be about 3 in 12 slope.

Couldn't agree more

I'm a big believer in price signals and a big doubter on erasing them.
Cities have used rent control for decades as a way to keep renters from experiencing the price signals of bad policies enacted by local and state politicians, and it's been a disaster without escape all along.
Prices are the balance between supply and demand.

You can lower demand by creating alternatives. You can raise supply by removing obstacles to the natural tendency for supply to flow in wherever prices are rising. But a sure way to crash supply is to react to high prices by capping them in order to pander to voters who are deserting you in droves. It's an especially unsavory form of pandering when the price shocks your voters are experiencing result from your own boneheaded economic policy, but President Unity likely couldn't have understood economic principles even in what passed for his cognitive prime.

"Affordable" housing is meaningless if it's unavailable at the state-mandated price, just like "affordable" healthcare.

That’s All Right


Hillbilly for (V) President

I have not read Vance's book nor followed his career, so I don't have a highly informed opinion on his selection as Trump's VP nominee. In the spirit of all the recent talk about 'representation' and 'feeling seen,' it is kind of nice to see someone who will self-appellate as an Appalachian on a major ticket. 

That doesn't make him a good choice, of course. Probably many of you have better information about that.

Were I advising Donald Trump, I would have suggested to him that he make a self-defensive nomination of somebody so crazy that any future assassins would think twice about taking a shot at Trump himself. All public information makes this shooter look like a loner, but Dad29's original remarks that led us to talk about assassination before the attempt happened was about Deep State concerns on Trump prompting them to take a shot at him. "Did the CIA kill JFK?" was a question a lot of people asked for many years. Similar people might wonder about a young man with no obvious connections, possessed of the perfect demographics to offend no protected group, getting to an unprotected rooftop with a short clear shot that he was allowed to take before being immediately killed so he couldn't talk.

I'm not saying that it was a conspiracy. That would be paranoid. I'm just saying that a Presidential candidate might pick a VP whose personality made a strong argument against anyone taking another shot. He might also want to hire some private professionals to bolster his government-provided security, which would be prudent rather than paranoid given how badly the USSS performed in this case.

Experimental Photo Editing

Yesterday’s ride back from the Games was hot and hazy, so the photographs of long distance shots were blurry at the horizon. Normally I wouldn’t heavily edit photos, but I found that by lowering the light level and boosting the saturation I could restore the outer line of vision. They look different from the way they looked to the naked eyes, but you can get the longer ranges. 

Jack Smith isn't special

Judge Cannon has dismissed the Florida documents case on the ground, as set forth in Justice Thomas's recent concurring opinion, that Jack Smith's appointment as special counsel was unconstitutional.

Heroes and Volunteers

The WSJ:
A volunteer firefighter died saving his family from the shots fired by Trump’s would-be assassin.

Here is their major citation, which unlike the Journal is not behind a paywall. 

The Grandfather Games

Grandfather Mountain

The Parade of Tartans

An Impromptu Mead Hall

Mead Horns

My wife has discovered that she likes the mead that I brew here at the Hall. So, I bought her as a present the central horn today at the Games. It’s more her size than the big ones, and also more elegant as befits her. 

GoFundMe for grieving Butler families

I saw the link last night and contributed when it was up to only about $85K of its $1MM goal. Today it's pushing $2MM.

Maybe not the effect they're hoping for

From Salena Zito, who was on the podium:
Earlier that afternoon, before the shooting that left two people dead including the gunman, I asked an 11-year-old: “Is this your first Trump rally?”
“Yeah,” he smiled, “but it’s not going to be my last.”

New lows in "journalism"

From The American Conservative:
Caution is in order when such shocking news breaks quickly. But the immediate response from some of the nation’s most biggest news outlets wasn’t cautious; it was unserious. An early Washington Post headline already subject to ridicule on Twitter by 6:33 p.m. declared “Trump taken away after loud noises at rally.” Minutes earlier, a CNN headline had announced, “Secret Service rushes Trump off stage after he falls at rally.” Reason magazine’s Billy Binion tweeted that “using cautious phrasing before all the information is known is good, actually.” Yes, it is, but “loud noises” and “Trump…falls at rally” plumb depths of journalistic malpractice unfathomed even by such earlier CNN and Washington Post absurdities as “Fiery but mostly peaceful protests” and “austere religious scholar.” The “cautious” way to report the story would be to refer to “apparent” or “possible” shots or an assassination attempt. Many phrases could have been appropriate, but not “loud noises” or “falls at rally.”


Trying to post an image, but getting weird obstruction from Google, which shows that I'm signed in but keeps asking me to sign in. Scroll down through this to see the "Fight" content.
Trump yelling 'Fight, fight," after getting grazed by a bullet in the ear, an inch from ending his life.
No panic. No crawling on his knees to safety. The man stands up, faces the crowd, and yells 'fight.'
I suppose they'll find a way to construe that as a criminal incitement to riot again.

Pretty Morning for a Ride

According to the Havamal dictum that you don’t praise a day until evening, today was a good day. 

Up by Craggy Gardens.

Near Mt. Mitchell.

My son.

Three Knobs.

Sons of Confederate Veterans “Mechanized Cavalry” in the background at Grandfather Mountain. We also ran into the Blue Knights MC, a law enforcement club. 

Hobbit Mellow Mushroom in Blowing Rock.

Missed it by That Much

Just the other day we were talking about Trump needing to fear assassination. I figured someone would try to kill him sooner or later. There’s so much intense hate and fear that it was inevitable. 

Aiming for the head, they clearly meant it. Just got nervous and screwed up the kill shot. Alternatively, perhaps they’re not a real shooter. 

This would be a great time for the media to engage in some sober reflection about their fear mongering. I doubt they will. 

Signs from the Road

I recall that AVI visited Craggy Gardens on a recent trip. Maybe he’ll link his post in the comments. 

The “Federal Facility” they are threatening me with five years in prison for entering without removal of my belt knife is a gift shop.

Apparently they think motorcycle pipes are like Jake brakes.

There is exactly one book in the Philosophy section, and it’s on psychology.

On the other hand, this is the best selection of “Witchy stickers” that I’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s the only one I’ve ever seen.

Now you’re talking.

On the Road

Highway 281 could use some attention, NCDOT

My son and I are riding up to the Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highland Games. There may be posts from the road. 

Happy 12th of July


It's not just the brain pudding

As Kim Strassel points out, it's the abysmal policies:
Don’t forget how a man pushing 80 came to office. The 2020 Democratic primary was dominated by candidates vying to curry favor with a rising progressive left. Worried that Bernie Sanders would kill a chance at the White House, voters turned to the only fixture who claimed to be moderate. He was a two-time presidential primary loser, as old as Methuselah, and slipping even then, but whatever. He was deemed the only candidate able to beat Donald Trump, which was probably true. Even four years ago, the party understood pure progressivism to be a political liability.
That self-preservation went out the window when Mr. Biden gave full rein to the Sanders platform. Blowout spending fueled the worst inflation in 40 years. Open borders caused a migrant flood that is overwhelming cities in red and blue states alike. A climate agenda fed higher energy prices and grid instability and squelched consumer choice. Washington made common cause with progressive prosecutors who enabled a crime wave in major cities. A “foreign policy for the middle class”—whatever that means—emboldened America’s adversaries.
The president who ran on uniting the country and restoring “standards and norms” also bowed to the far left’s worldview that the ends justify the means. The Justice Department signed on to the progressive lawfare campaign, unleashing criminal prosecutions against Mr. Trump and fueling fury among Republicans. Independents and moderates look with unease on actions the courts found unlawful—Covid mandates, student-loan forgiveness, environmental policy—and Democratic promises to pack the Supreme Court and federalize election law.


Fort Liberty (known as Fort Bragg until this administration) is training its gate guards on threats. 

Not fake news: FT Liberty Public Affairs has issued a statement about it via their Facebook page and Twitter page

Farcical Reagan

As the editor points out in commentary to a link Tex posted in the comments, there's an exception on the subject of immigration; but in general, the effect of Trump on the Republican agenda has been one of moderating its crusader positions in favor of a federalist approach of letting different states do different things

It's not just abortion, which the Republican party now no longer pledges to see banned nationwide; it's also gun rights, which are now mentioned only once in passing. There's no national agenda to expand them, or to nominate judges who will defend them, or to have nationwide concealed carry reciprocity nor Constitutional carry. With my carry license from North Carolina, I can carry freely in 38 states; in a few of the remaining states, it's a felony for me to do so. Trump doesn't care about that, and isn't planning to devote time or energy to it.

He's also expressed public derision for the Heritage Foundation's Project 2025, which has sourced some fifty-thousand plus loyalists who are ready and vetted to go to work for him. (I've heard good things about this from Jim Hanson, who has discussed the program with Heritage; I haven't personally done so.) Trump's first term was bedeviled by personnel problems of exactly the sort they are trying to help him avoid, but for now he just seems to want to avoid anything that scares the normals.

He may also possibly fear assassination, which is a live possibility if people consider him the tyrannical threat he's painted as in the media. However, Democrats know that's not really true, as we saw Joe Biden admitting yesterday, and as a new article says many Democrats admit privately. Trump was himself a New York Democrat most of his life, and his positions -- soft on abortion, soft on guns, focused on improving the economy and bringing in prosperity -- are something like the consensus positions of the 80s and 90s that were his real heyday. 

On the 'history repeats itself, the second time as farce' model, Trump can be seen as the farcical version of Reagan. Reagan was soft on guns too: the main check on people buying automatic weapons isn't the 1930s NFA, which allows it with extra background checks and permits, but a Reagan-era law that requires that all such weapons for sale privately be manufactured before 1986. As time goes on, that means that practically there are fewer and fewer available for purchase, and they are more and more expensive. Reagan was rhetorically strong on abortion but appointed the justice who wrote Casey, and he himself had signed legislation as governor of California that allowed abortion to 20 weeks. 

So New York or California values, married to occasionally strong rhetoric but lacking in conviction practically. Trump may share Reagan's suspicion of the Federal Government now that he's been subjected to its harassment, but he isn't philosophically opposed to a strong central government exercising power in the same way; my only hope there is that he will end up dismantling a lot of the parts that need it out of personal animus. 

Not exactly the 'Hitler in waiting' we are daily promised in the media. Of course, the media treated Reagan much the same way; you'd have thought he was going to destroy the world any second now if you listened to them. 

NC Board of Elections

The North Carolina Board of Elections has decided not to allow three third parties on the ballot for the general election this year — but they are making room for the Constitution Party. 

So, all three parties that give Democratic voters an option (RFK’s, Cornel West’s, and the Green Party) will be omitted from the ballot. The one party likely to draw from the Republican vote will be included. They had earlier added the Libertarians and No Labels. 

The BoE is controlled by Democrats because the Governor, Roy Cooper, is a Democrat. 

Topsy-turvy world

Articles like this Guardian piece confuse me. The authors seem to be serious, but there's such a looking-glass quality to the arguments and assumptions. They're alarmed that the new Republican platform, attributed to Trump, is moderate and popular, which makes it dangerous, because people might like it. They complain that Trump is adoping policies and positions that by rights belong to Democrats; they're apparently unaware that it's been a long time since Democrats pursued those policies.
Rather than running on the Biden administration’s oversight of job growth in distressed areas and its new industrial policy, liberals seem content to do battle on the cultural front. This discursive failing has allowed common sense policies that are more reflective of the governing practice of today’s Democratic party – from defending the social safety net to growing manufacturing jobs – to become rebranded as the bread-and-butter of the Republican party.
The Biden administration has been pursuing job growth in distressed areas and a new industrial policy?
In power, it’s likely that Trump will once again betray his working-class supporters and govern like a typical business conservative, because he is utterly committed to more tax cuts and weakening trade unions.
The authors appear unaware of the appeal to current working-class supporters of policies like reasonable tax rates and curbs on corrupt trade unions.

They complain that Trump was supposed to destroy the Republican Party, but instead he made it stronger.
And in office, he reassured establishment figures by coupling largely symbolic protectionist measures with the deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy that one would have expected from a Mitt Romney administration.
In what universe? Where do they get these ideas about what a man like Romney would have done in office?

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they're so baffled. They don't seem able to look at anything outside their own heads.

A Happier Conan

I built that toy for him when he was a little puppy

Against World-Changers

The NYT explains France:
A coarsening of public discourse and contempt for mainstream parties have politicians on both sides denouncing what they say are extreme positions by their opponents, analysts say.
They draw this subhead from a man they interviewed:
Wojciech Przybylski, president of Res Publica Foundation, a research group in Warsaw, said there had been a coarsening of political discourse and a growing contempt on both ends of the spectrum for mainstream forces.

That, he said, reminded him of Poland between the world wars, when the far left and the far right rallied, sometimes violently, against the central government.

Today, he said, both “are united against globalization and claim to be defending the so-called average man against elites.”
The loss of confidence in what they are calling "mainstream" parties was well-earned. These include both of our parties as well as they do Macron's or Merkel's. As Richard Fernandez writes, these parties internationally are trying to commit humanity to one of the greatest gambles humanity has ever taken. And they're doing it by force, against the will of the majority of humanity as well as their citizenries. 
Yet food redesign is not the almost painless step it is made out to be but rather a wrenching change for almost everyone involved in agriculture, as shown by 2024 European farmers' protests. Chief among the grievances were proposed environmental regulations (such as a carbon tax, pesticide bans, nitrogen emissions curbs, and restrictions on water and land usage) that are part of the "nature positive" agriculture initiative. The resulting protests ultimately led to the fall of many governments throughout the continent. "Angry farmers are reshaping Europe," proclaims the New York Times, "as the far right senses an opportunity".
“The graduates of elite schools that run this country have no idea about farm life, or even what a day’s labor feels like,” Mr. Monnery said. “They’re perched up there, the successors to our royal family, Macron chief among them."
Is this a case of rural know-nothings resenting their betters or are the farmers right to resist? Because 37 percent of the world's land area is devoted to agriculture, employs a quarter of the global workforce and encompasses so many varied ecosystems and social milieus, changing the way multitudes of people produce food is perhaps the greatest social engineering project in history.

No government has a mandate for that. No ordinary election could generate such a mandate in any event: all elections are for is to decide who will govern the existing polity. Elections by nature are more conservative, as they presume that the incoming party will govern an existing order. This sort of total reform of society requires at minimum something like a constitutional convention; more likely, a revolutionary war. 

So you have people, ordinary people who really are 'mainstream' in the proper sense of the term, looking at other options that will resist this revolutionary war that is being fought against them. The radicals are really the conservatives: they both propose to resist that revolution, whether from the right or from the left. The coarsening of discourse is the effect of ordinary people, who aren't so refined as the Wise, getting dragged into politics because their worlds are being destroyed by those who have made politics their profession.

Meanwhile the NYT and its ilk are in no position to talk about coarsening discourse. They're the ones who painted Mitt Romney as a dog-abusing misogynistic monster. I don't like Mitt Romney at all, but he's clearly one of that refined-discourse order, the sort of person who takes jobs with international organizations and addresses them fluently in their native French. You're the ones, liberal journalists, who coarsened the discourse in ways that ended up radicalizing the populace. It's at least as much your fault as anyone's. I can't open a paper today without reading about how your opponents are all racists and haters and liars, led by a "felon." It's the twilight of democracy if you don't get your way!

Even Joe Biden doesn't see it that way, as John Stewart points out (the whole video is a stinging indictment of the Biden campaign, without being an endorsement of Trump).

If you don't like this, stop using political power to destroy your own civilizations. As long as the political professionals keep doing that, they're going to run into opposition. They deserve to run into opposition. It is vital and important that they be opposed and defeated. 

It's also important who does it -- the Communist Party in France is one of those claiming that they'll be the successful destroyers, a claim that their résumé does at least support. You definitely don't want to be ruled by Communists, whose very similar effort to reform farming led to some 30-60 million deaths in China alone. Hopefully beating the world-changers can be done without committing yourself to another world-changing philosophy with no better track record of avoiding massive human misery. Still, it's no surprise that there's a unifying call to defeat these 'mainstream' parties from both left and right. They deserve to be defeated. 


A series of pre-election lawsuits against bad voting practices has been initiated by the GOP. This is one of the things that was missing in 2020, meaning that after the election courts mostly dismissed lawsuits about bad practices as laches, 'too late.' These may well be dismissed as unripe, meaning 'too early.' However, they may not all be; and if they are, at least when they're brought up again after the election it will be harder to just rule them too late since an earlier court will have explicitly told them to wait. 

Unfortunately, in the current environment lawsuits will have to accompany major elections all the time. This has been a longstanding practice on the other side, where voter ID rules or other election security practices are routinely subject to lawsuits to try to get a court to suspend them. It's not usually the DNC but an allied 'civil rights' group, claiming that the intent is not ballot security but disenfranchisement of a class of voters. It's about time that election security advocates got in the game, because they've been getting drug over the coals by similar practices for decades.