"Stands to reason" medicine takes another hit

For many years some doctors refused to treat Jehovah's Witnesses on the ground that they refused blood transfusions, which doctors felt made some procedures too risky.  Someone finally got around to testing the assumption that patients do better with transfusions than without.


President Obama having had a "chance" meeting with Bill Clinton on the golf course yesterday, today he's out with the former President for the afternoon. Hillary Clinton will be joining them later when the party moves from the links to a birthday celebration for Vernon Jordan.

Wonder what they'll be talking about?

Poll results show that three percent of Democrats think Hillary is telling the truth about these emails.

That's Four Counts Showing

Passing TS/SCI information to someone not cleared to receive it is a felony each time you do it. We don't know how many recipients were on those two TS/SCI emails in Mrs. Clinton's account, but we do know that she passed them personally at least twice: once to her attorney, and once to an IT firm that was not cleared to handle classified material.

These facts aren't in dispute. That's a maximum penalty of 40 years. She could get less, and indeed I would expect the sentences to run concurrently in any case. Still, at this point we aren't arguing the facts anymore. We're now arguing whether this is a case of "knowingly" doing wrong that should be prosecuted under 1924, of "gross negligence" that should be prosecuted under 793(f), or whether it is merely a case of an unlawful transfer that should be prosecuted under section 793(d) which requires neither knowledge nor intent but merely being guilty of having done it.

The penalty is the same even if intent can't be proven. I understand she's arranged a meeting with the President. Meanwhile, The Observer calls for a special prosecutor.

I Think We Know

Robert Spencer reports on a 12-year-old girl who was kept as a sex slave by an ISIS fighter.
In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

Both before and after he raped her, he prostrated himself in Islamic prayer:

“He told me,” the girl recounted, “that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God.”

This was no isolated incident. A fifteen-year-old girl who had been forced into sex slavery recalled:

“He kept telling me this is ibadah” – that is, worship of Allah. “He said that raping me is his prayer to God. I said to him, ‘What you’re doing to me is wrong, and it will not bring you closer to God.’ And he said, ‘No, it’s allowed. It’s halal.’”

All this is reminiscent of Hamas’ statement:

“Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to God.”
What kind of god is this?
The answer is in that piece on ISIS's songs and poetry that I cited this morning.
We sold our soul to Allah
And marched on the road to martyrdom.
Emphasis added.

This Doesn't Strike Me As A Dilemma

Philosophically, at least, there's no two ways about this. The right thing to do is to strike.
Imagine if you were a natsec official and received information that [American hostage Kayla] Mueller was being held at a location that Special Forces couldn’t safely reach, that she was being routinely raped (by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself), and that she was likely to go on being raped indefinitely until she was eventually murdered on film for propaganda. That dilemma is a bit like the dilemma FDR faced in deciding whether to bomb concentration camps: Is the humane option to put the innocents out of their misery and wreck some of the machinery of death in the process or do you hold back and let the suffering go on in the hope/expectation of liberation eventually?
Aquinas would have said that you strike and hope for a miracle to preserve her safety: and that you can hope for a miracle proves the morality of the case. If you were acting immorally -- if killing her were your end or the means to your end -- the miracle would undo your intended end. Because you can fervently hope that the bombs might miraculously avoid harming her, you know that your intention is not the evil but the good.

Clearly it feels like a dilemma to Allahpundit, however, which is interesting to me. To me it seems so clear a case as to require not the slightest hesitation before deciding. It's interesting that the intuitive feeling differs, although I think reason decides the case one way for all.

What do you think? Would you find this a difficult decision, were it to fall on you to make it in this war? Would you make it differently?

Why Not Dance?

I've been thinking more about the Chesterton post, inspired by AVI's generous gift, and the question of why dancing seems to have dropped away from the repertoire of normal things a man ought to be able to do. I know plenty of men who can dance, of course, but it is no longer one of the basic skills of manhood: my father didn't dance either, and nor did my uncle, and nor did many of the best young men I knew when I was a young man myself.

Here are two videos that I think may explain the shift. The first one is from Fort Apache, starring Henry Fonda and John Wayne. In this scene the fort commander is being asked to dance with the Sergeant Major's wife, having just given grave insult to the Sergeant Major's family. It is a moment in which the formal and ritual come to the rescue of the society when it is endangered by passionate emotions. The commanding officer looks askance at the request, but recognizes his duty and carries it out with vigor. Watch the Sergeant Major, too, dancing with the daughter of his commanding officer (played by Shirley Temple). Look how far apart they dance, but how pleasantly. Though she is a much younger woman, and he a married man, there is no danger of this action being misinterpreted as otherwise than joyous and appropriate. The dancing is, however, quite stiff by our contemporary standards.

The second scene is a really artful piece from A Knight's Tale. What I like about this scene is that it smoothly morphs about halfway through the dance from the Medieval formal dance to a contemporary sort of dancing. The director intends you to see that the formality, which might look alien and weird to a contemporary American, is really carrying the same sort of eroticism and pleasure that we expect from dances today. Yet you can't avoid the contrast, either, between the dance with steps and elaborate forms and the dance without either. The transition is really a transition, even though the director is quite right to say that dancing was also an erotic activity for the young even when it was formalized.

I think there may be something here to do with the loss of the form. Speaking for myself, I was taught to waltz, but none of the young women I knew wanted to waltz. Their favorite dances were more like the second dance of the second video. But the advantage to a formal dance is that you can know you're doing it correctly, which avoids embarrassment and public shame. The same spirited young men who are most interested in honor -- what I called "the best young men I knew" -- are also most driven to avoid shame. The new dances put them at grave risk of having their intentions toward the lady misinterpreted or misrepresented, of physical error and looking a fool, or of banging into someone else and thereby giving offense.

So dancing gets dropped from the repertoire of the young gentleman. There's no point in dancing without the ladies, and the ladies want to do a sort of dancing that he can't do without risking shame. That is too bad because, as the first video shows, it was a form capable both of giving pleasure and easing social interactions. Done correctly, that is -- but that means there has to be a correct way to do it. The informality is the enemy of those goods.

Songs of ISIS

One of the things I have advocated to DOD's Minerva Project is a serious study of radical Islamic poetics as a means of developing more effective counter-radical messaging. All our various disciplines of trying to influence in this area would be stronger if we knew how to speak in the language of poetry, as this carries so much of the weight in terms of how people feel about what is best and most worthy. Young men are especially susceptible to the emotional appeals of poetry and song, just as those same young and romantic men are the most likely to get involved in radical politics.

This week MEMRI gives us a look at the songs that ISIS is using for recruitment and morale.
ISIS's songs belong to a genre of traditional poetry called zajal, whose most prominent formal characteristic is rhyming. Zajal poems display various rhyme schemes.... The authors of ISIS's songs are evidently familiar also with Classical Arabic poetry, especially poems of war.... ISIS's songs are written in Classical Arabic, but the pronunciation is colloquial, reflecting the dialect of the lead singer....
Ours is the cry of truth [Allah Akbar] when the fighting [sides] collide.
We, the proud savage lions,
Carry the steel [swords] with firm determination.
And when war comes, with the music of bullets,
We take the infidels by storm, yearning for revenge.
They are led to perdition, they find no refuge,
We water the soil with the blood of their veins,
And cast off their heads with the blade of our sword.
We heal the souls [of the Muslims] by striking the enemies,
So give the enemy tidings of the evil day [that awaits him].
Ancient glory shall shine across the world.
The jabs of the spearhead are the music of the men.
And in war, honor casts a wide shadow.
So awaken to eternal life, come, my brother,
Leave the path of the slothful and foolish.
When the fire springs up, we are the flame,
Burning the rabble with our sword,
Lifting the dark night from the earth,
And a new dawn breaks over the world.

Chinese blast

The Daily Caller has up a collection of amateur videos of yesterday's huge explosion.  I guess they still don't know what blew up, exactly, but the area of devastation is huge.  So far they've acknowledged about 50 people killed.  It's a good thing it happened at night.

More on Anti-ISIL Militias

US News and World Report reports that about 600 Assyrians are being trained by an unnamed US company for the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU), and the group has 3,000 more volunteers being screened. The NPU is a Christian militia group operating in northern Iraq

Reuters reports on Westerners who have joined Dwekh Nawsha. In addition to a short video interview and a longer article providing context and more about the Western fighters, Reuters answers a question I had about why Westerners aren't joining the Kurdish peshmerga. They are concerned about possible affiliations with the PKK, which is considered a terrorist group.

British Grandfather Joins Christian Militia in Iraq

Despite having no military experience, Jim Atherton, 53, of Tyne and Wear, has sold his car to buy weapons and has already come under mortar and rocket attacks.
The granddad, who before leaving for Iraq cared for rescued daschunds, said Special Branch had tried to persuade him to come home, but he believed his place was fighting jihadists.

Mr Atherton said his family had been devastated by his decision to join a Christian militia called Dwekh Nawsha, which means The Sacrificers. He now belongs to a unit which protects the Christian population of Iraqi villages such as al-Qosh.

He raised the £18,000 needed for travel and guns by selling his Sierra Cosworth, two motorbikes and a boat.

Mr Atherton, whose younger brother was killed fighting in Afghanistan, came across Dwekh Nawsha on the internet. 

As a virtue, courage is the golden mean between cowardice and foolhardiness; I don't know if Mr. Atherton is courageous or foolhardy.

Dwekh Nawsha has its own Facebook page, of course, with some interesting photos and video, though it seems to be mostly in Syriac. And a YouTube channel with lots of videos but not much action. If Wikipedia is right:

The Dwekh Nawsha is a military organization created in mid 2014 in order to defend Iraq's Assyrian Christians from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and possibly retake their lands currently controlled by ISIL.

Unlike the NPU which is independent of the KRG and Peshmerga, the Dwekh Nawsha operates in coordination with them.

Despite being led by the Assyrian Patriotic Party, most militiamen are not members of the party. Several foreign fighters have joined the Dwekh Nawsha; they include Americans and Australians.

Interesting times we live in.

Daddy, where does gas come from?

Tom Steyer is shocked to discover that gasoline is unusually expensive in California, and can't figure out how there could be any reasonable explanation except market failure.

Maybe California should take over gas production, or set prices by fiat.  Has that ever been tried before?

In related news, the EPA is deeply concerned about the disparate impact of high energy prices on poor people.

Poking the bear

Project Veritas prankster James O'Keefe has been getting stopped at the border ever since he published his hilariously embarrassing videos of unchallenged border crossings dressed as Osama bin Laden or an ISIS terrorist.  I can't say I blame DHS for that; if they know he habitually stages illegal border crossings, they might reasonably scrutinize him to determine whether he's carrying contraband to make a point.  Yes, it's fairly clear they would be doing so to avoid embarrassment rather than to prevent harm to the U.S., but I can live with it, as can O'Keefe.

The pointed questions about what his next exposé is going to target, though, and the questions about which candidate he's going to support, are just creepy. This time, the border agents thought to ask him if he was filming the interview, which he wasn't, though they didn't ask if he was recording the sound, which he was. I imagine there will be flak over that, too.

All this is annoying and discouraging, but in a way it's good news.  There are countries where, if you pulled this kind of stunt, they'd just quietly kill you.

Things A Man Should Be Able To Do

Many thanks to our friend AVI, who kindly sent me a pair of works by and about Chesterton. One of them, The Man Who Was Chesterton, begins thus:
There are normal things that a normal man ought to do, as he sleeps or wakes or walks. One of them is to sing, to a plain tune with a common chorus, as our fathers did round their supper tables. Another is to dance, however clumsily, at least some of the dances of his native land. Another is to speak with clearness and moderate cogency in any council of his equals or on any not disreputable public occasion. Another is to recite poetry if he likes it; another is to be at ease and tolerably intimate with domestic animals; another is to know, even slightly, the uses of some weapon; another is to know common remedies for quite common maladies. And another is to be able to write down in pen and ink what he really thinks about public questions, and why he thinks it: which is all that I have done here.
Now I can claim a normal man's capacity in all of these things, except possibly to dance however clumsily at least some of the dances of my native land. In fact I was only ever taught one, and have not endeavored to learn more: indeed I have hardly used the waltz save at rare family weddings.

That it deserves to be titled a 'dance of my native land,' however, is beyond question.

What can you do?

That's Nonsense, Howard Dean

Dean, declaring how happy he is for the FBI to have Hillary's server, declares also that he's confident she will be vindicated. There's a good summary of the law at the link.

But it doesn't matter. "I don't think she's going to get the blame for it because she didn't know" is a nonstarter as a defense. Given the security markings the Inspector General assigned to the emails, she had to know. You would not have access to sensitive signals intelligence and top-flight imagery without being read into those compartmentalized programs and trained in their Operational Security requirements.

There is no way she or anyone with that access did not realize that what they were doing was a potential violation of security at the highest levels. Long before they sat down to write an email referencing satellite imagery or sensitive signals intelligence, they had been trained to know that before discussing that information they should check its classification level and releasability, and use only appropriate measures. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but ignorance when you've received extensive and specific training is no excuse at all.

We're Cleaning

Steve Reichert points out that Clinton committed a separate offense when she passed these emails, on the thumbdrive server, to her uncleared attorney.

Gentle giants

The plight of the unarmed perp.

An armed protester was shot by police during this week's peaceful anniversary protests in Ferguson, Missouri.  It wasn't his fault, though:
"It was a poor decision to use plain clothes officers in a protest setting because it made it difficult for people to identify police officers, which is essential to the safety of community members,” said Kayla Reed, a field organizer with the Organization of Black Struggle.


According to the Inspector General's letter, that is the proper marking for the top level of classification found in Hillary Clinton's unsecured private email. Let's go through that, just to be sure we're all clear on exactly what she's done. All of this information below is available in open sources, but it is not well understood by (say) voters.

TOP SECRET is information whose release could cause "exceptionally grave damage to the national security." No one may access this information who has not been through the very thorough background investigation, and even then you must demonstrate need to know.

SI means "Special Intelligence," and is a subset of SCI, or "Sensitive Compartmentalized Information." This information is tightly controlled, so that not only do you need to have need to know, you must have been properly read into the specific program from which the information comes.

TK is "Talent Keyhole," which governs our best aerial and satellite reconnaissance. It is always SCI information, and is extremely sensitive because it gives enemies a sense of exactly how good our reconnaissance technology has become.

NOFORN means "not releasable to foreign nationals." This caveat is discouraged because "NOFORN" means not the British, not the Canadians, not the Australians, not New Zealand. You can mark the data to be shared with the other Anglosphere powers, our very closest allies, with the caveat "FIVE EYES," or "FVEY". We have a treaty with them that governs the controls of sensitive signals intelligence. If the Inspector General has determined this item was properly marked NOFORN, it means that the information was so sensitive that we shouldn't share it with the British or the Australians in spite of that treaty.

It sounds like the two emails must have included intercepts of the most sensitive sort -- too sensitive to tell our closest allies about -- and possibly satellite imagery as a file attachment (or at least detailed descriptions of same). No one could have mistaken either of those things for unclassified information.

The Hill caves?

HotAir and Ace are both reporting that the FBI finally has gotten its hands on the Clinton thumb drive, held to date by her lawyer, which is supposed to hold a copy of all the emails on her personal server.

Even more shocking, the New York Times, L.A. Times, and Washington Post are carrying the story as well.

Earlier in the evening came reports that the Inspector General had found two top-secret communications among Clinton's emails.

Understanding an Earlier Age

Spengler is pessimistic, although he himself shows that with an effort it is not impossible:
When the West cared about Christianity and its paradoxes, it couldn’t take its eyes off Tirso’s villain. By the time Byron wrote his eponymous epic, Christianity had faded from the culture and with it the public’s interest in Don Juan. Without Mozart, he would be forgotten. My daughter had attended a seminar on Mozart’s opera, and we had discussed Tirso’s theological joke beforehand. She called me crestfallen afterwards: most of the students wanted to know why Don Giovanni’s behavior was a problem in the first place. Wasn’t it a lifestyle choice?

Over coffee before curtain time, I offered that people in the past had different concerns than ours — for example, the Catholics of Spain at the height of the Thirty Years’ War, when Tirso published his play. “What are people concerned about today?” my daughter asked. I took a long time to reply. “I’m not sure they give much thought to big questions any more.” “That’s right,” she said. “This is a thoughtless age.” The lights darkened at the Repertorio Espanol, and the cast appeared onstage to twerk through a Caribbean pop number by way of overture. It was idiotic. We left after the first act. It’s hard to find a rendition of classic theater uncorrupted by postmodern directorial whim. Neither performers nor audience has any idea what the work is about, so it doesn’t much matter.

We can no longer teach Mozart, let alone Tirso, to undergraduates. We cannot place ourselves among the passions of Spain’s Golden Age, when the literary giant Lope de Vega wrote sonnets caricaturing Cervantes as a dirty Jew for lampooning the chivalresque pretensions of the Spanish nobility in Don Quixote. The great artists of the Golden Age were also soldiers and statesmen, important players in the prolonged wars that utterly ruined the Spanish Empire. In a post-Christian world we cannot understand what the Spanish were on about.


Not to be outdone by the cowpunks, here is James Hetfield throwing down on a Waylon Jennings classic.


Dwight Yoakam gave an interesting interview on his early years in Los Angeles. The music he did was quite different from the Outlaw Country being produced in Nashville and in the East.
Merle Haggard once said to me, when we were doing an interview for the Country Music Hall of Fame, and they were doing an exhibit on Bakersfield, he said that the difference between the country music from Nashville and the country music from the West Coast was that country music in Nashville came from churches, and the country music in the West Coast came from honkytonks and bars. And it really was about that.

Every 10 years, there's a cycle, and the young rockers will rediscover their heritage, if you will: the Okies, John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath heritage on the West Coast -- the country music that came out of here during the end of the dustbowl and led to the Bakersfield sound -- in greater Bakersfield, actually. It's around all the San Joaquin Valley, and its labor camps.
He hooked up with punk rockers who were fading out of that scene, and rediscovering the older sound. It became something that sounded a bit like this:

Oath Keepers Interfering with Racial Grievance Narrative

The Oath Keepers are a network of current and former military and police that exists to defend Constitutional rights against government overreach. There are a small number of them -- four or five according to reports -- who have deployed to Ferguson on the anniversary of the riots there. They are going among the protest groups lawfully armed. Police may have a duty that requires them to be in opposition to the protesters in terms of controlling violence and lawlessness, but in this way some of the police can show that off-duty they have an equal concern for the rights of black citizens. Although the police leadership has suggested it would prefer they go away, on the ground officers seem to have worked out an understanding with them that's keeping both sides cooler than they might otherwise be.

Naturally, this is unacceptable. It's important to remember that armed white people are scary and unwelcome. Anyone who suggests that the rights being defended first came to be realized because of similar armed citizens -- many of whom happened to be white -- are dangerous history nuts.

I Don't Want A Pickle

You can ride all year in Georgia, but I love to take the long road. The weather's getting better. School has started. The road, ah, the road...

Growing Salads in Extreme Environments

Inspired by James' comment in the second salad post:  How about Iraq?  Here are some photos I took myself back in the day.

A model farm our Civil-Military Ops cell and ePRT were helping the Hamdani tribe set up.  Traditionally Iraqis would irrigate the way the ancients did:  they'd route water from the Euphrates or Tigris to flood a field in great trenches.  The sun evaporated much of it.  We taught them to make small mounds of earth, and lay tubes with holes in them atop each mound.  Evaporation was reduced substantially, meaning that much more land could be irrigated with the same water. 

The guy in the blue shirt and ACU armor was (and is still) a US State Department diplomat.  At that time he was head of the ePRT.  I will withhold his name.  He was a good guy, though.  The guy in the khaki pants is one of his people. I mention this because the State Department gets a lot of the blame for what happened later, and its leadership deserved it.  Not all of them deserve it.  Some of them were right there outside the wire with us. 

A simple pump moved the water from the old irrigation channel to the overhead tank.  Once it was overhead, opening the valve would cause it to gravity feed to conduct the irrigation. 

An American soldier attended by children, name also withheld, in those salad days of 2009 before the precipitous withdrawal plunged the nation back into war.


Chuck Schumer is the latest example of the reflex to label as traitors those who dare to dissent from the President's opinion.

The Israeli flag is a nice touch -- without needing words it gets in a very classic 'dual loyalty' smear against him, and warns other Jews what to expect should they dare to speak up in opposition to the One.


Home-grown insulin?

Beset with salads on every side, Part II

Personally I'm all for salads, but I prefer the old-fashioned way of describing them to the sort of style that's de rigueur now:  "According to NASA’s research, fresh vegetables 'could have a positive impact on people’s moods.'"

In most of the science fiction I've ever read, someone was growing veggies somewhere on the spaceship.  It's got to beat MREs.

Just let the detectives do their jobs

Oldie, but worth it:

Via doubleplusundead.

Report from the Red State Gathering

Yours truly, though a lifelong Southern Democrat, is enough of a "Reagan Democrat" to have merited an invitation to the Red State Gathering this weekend. I was there with Uncle Jimbo, and we had an excellent time. The main feature was a set of speeches and Q&A with many of the Republican Presidential candidates. (Jim Webb, the leading Southern Democrat, did not attend and was probably not invited, but it would have been nice if he had been.) I'm going to give you my sense of them.

Donald Trump was going to speak on Saturday evening, but did not appear because Erick Erickson told him he was no longer welcome. This was because of Trump's remarks about a female reporter, which were as rude as they could possibly have been. We don't speak of ladies in that way in Georgia, and Erickson properly told him not to darken the door.

Before that, however, Trump had already made a small splash. What I heard from a sponsor was that the conference had been trying to get him to appear early on the first day, as Trump has his own 757 and could be there before anyone else. Trump's people refused, as they didn't want to have him speak early in the morning. So they the conference tried to schedule him at some other time, but his people put them off until all the slots were filled. Then Trump's people decided they wanted him to come, so the conference tried to help him by allowing him to speak at a separate location from the conference proper (the College Football Hall of Fame) where they were having the closing party. Trump's people accepted, and immediately began to tell reporters that he was the "keynote" speaker, and that Red State 'had to rent a larger hall to accommodate all his crowds.'


Of the serious Presidential candidates, Jeb Bush was clearly the media favorite. The press mobbed him like no one else. He had almost no support in the hall, though: I only met one professed Jeb Bush supporter, a guy in a red-white-and-blue suit and tie ensemble who had purchased red, white, and blue custom leather wing-tip dress shoes to go with it.

Fiorina was a crowd favorite, but everyone is worried about her experience problem. She could help herself a lot if she could put together a kitchen cabinet because people would be much readier to support her if they knew she had top, competent people who had committed to being in her corner.

Rick Perry was there without a security detail. But, you know, he carries.

Uncle J was pleased by Walker, long his favored candidate, whom he thought presented himself as competent, experienced, and a proven winner.

For me, the two best speeches were given by Rubio and Cruz. They were quite different speeches. Both of them sounded like Ronald Reagan, but different Reagans.

Rubio's was a solid General Election speech. It was warm, hopeful, moving, filled with references to family and hope and economic progress. It reminded me of the later Reagan, the Reagan of his Farewell address in which he summed up all that America had accomplished in his tenure. You came away feeling like Rubio had a similar Morning-in-America vision, and honestly believes he could turn things around and make the place shine again.

Cruz did not give a speech of that kind. Cruz is out for blood.

His speech was a Reagan Insurgency speech, the kind of speech Reagan might have given before he won the nomination in 1980. Cruz is as angry at the Republican leadership in the Senate as he is at the Democrats. He outright accused them, in exactly these words, of "playing for the other team." He is furious about the direction of the country, and is committed to overthrowing the Republican leadership, gaining the Presidency, and overturning everything Obama ever did.

The crowd was really feeling it. They reacted to that speech like no other thing I saw. These people are out for blood too.