Send Me On My Way

Seems appropriate for Veterans Day. Good to see our crack fighting forces training hard.

Mixed Emotions

My workplace is overwhelmingly far left. Wednesday was like working in a funeral home the day after a mass casualty incident. People who suspect my political inclinations would not look me in the eye. Yesterday and today you could see people working through the stages of grief.

I have been trying to be considerate and not look like I'm pleased. I understand what they are going through and I know they need to work this out without having my grin rubbing salt in the wounds.

But I've discovered that at moments I don't feel very patient or kind toward them. In fact, I feel very much like turning at some ridiculously apocalyptic bon mot and saying something like this to them, except I wouldn't and didn't vote Hillary over Trump.

Yes, spittle spewing, arm waving, mansplaining foul language and all.

But there are good reasons not to do so. One, I genuinely like my co-workers and don't want to ruin friendships. Two, they're still Americans, they still get to vote, and we're stuck with them.

Veteran's Day

With thanks to all of you who served, and all of you who supported those who did.

Celebrate as you think best. I'm sure you'll do something appropriate.

Carrying Virtue to Excess

Haidt on "motivated ignorance," "ad hominem albus," the difficulty of persuasion, and a suggested improvement.

By The Way, Happy Birthday

Lest we forget, it's a day for celebration.

I trust you all know the Ranger UP video is not at all safe for work.

UPDATE: Terminal Lance celebrates by singing, as well as they can remember the later verses. "Now I need the oldest and youngest Marine for a blood sacri… Wait…"

Just a Reminder: Bernie Would Have Won

An analysis from the British press suggests that the DNC shot itself in the foot by rigging its process for Clinton instead of Bernie.

If the Caddell hypothesis is correct, as I think it is, the Sanders campaign was much more likely to succeed against Trump than the Clinton campaign. This is because they both were on the same ground on the 80% question of whether the system was about the control and enrichment of a self-serving elite. Since the force of that question would have been disarmed, the attacks on Trump's character would have been far more telling even than they were.

Instead, the contest became one between the living symbol of rigged systems for the well-connected, and an outsider. Trump was still damaged by his bad moral conduct towards the weak -- as he should have been. Refusing to keep to your agreements to pay your contractors, to pick one example of such conduct that happens to be stripped of the sex/race connotations that can make debate difficult, really is the mark of a scoundrel. That is the sort of thing that ought to be damaging if it is true.

It wasn't damaging enough just because of the 80% question. Bernie would have won in a walk, I think, in spite of the very good arguments against socialist solutions to some of these problems. Only Clinton was sufficiently symbolic of the thing many voters wanted to reject to have possibly lost to Donald Trump.

UPDATE: An article in the Washington Post makes an allied point.

UPDATE: Bernie campaign leader: "We have nothing polite to say right now."

We Could Use a Little Chivalry Right Now

It seems like a really good time for a palate cleanser, something to get away from the wailing and lamentations and 'protests'- and we're just one day into this...

I came across these great videos - the C.S. Lewis Doodles.  This one on Chivalry was of great interest, and a reminder that in victory, the gentleman does not gloat.  Also, there were some finer points here that I had not considered in quite the way Lewis does here, and I found it profound, add to that the talent and skill of the doodle artist, and it's quite nice.  Enjoy-


Paul Krugman writes:
What we do know is that people like me, and probably like most readers of The New York Times, truly didn’t understand the country we live in.
Amazing how many pundits on that summary page explain the whole thing as racism and sexism. If this be racism and sexism, make the most of it.


I give Maureen Dowd credit for being in touch with a brother who could explain the political climate of the country to her. She's still having trouble grasping it; she can describe it accurately enough, without quite being able to imagine anyone who agrees with it:
It is unthinkable to imagine the most overtly racist candidate — and head of the offensive birther movement — driving in the limousine to the inauguration with the first African-American president. What would they discuss? How Trump plans to repeal Obamacare? How Trump will appoint Supreme Court justices that will transform America into a drastically more conservative landscape over the next 20 years? How Trump plans to undo the Iran deal? When will Trump begin deporting Hispanics? When will Attorney General Rudy Giuliani pardon Chris Christie and put Hillary in jail?
Yep, that sounds about right.

Two Things

The two things that I genuinely enjoyed about this election cycle were the end of the Bush dynasty, and the end of the Clinton machine. I don't think badly of the Bushes, but America does not need nor would it benefit from developing an aristocracy or dynastic tradition. Seeing Jeb Bush go down, with no disrespect to the man personally, struck me as a moment of great democratic health for our nation.

Seeing the Clinton machine rejected and run up on the rocks is far sweeter yet. All the 'powers that be' were aligned to set them over us, to rule us by lies and by power, and instead the American people broke them.

For those two things I am deeply grateful. Both of them, I notice, align with Caddell's paradigm. The American people are demanding something other than rule by the few, the connected, the well-born, those sent to the finest schools, or employed at the finest companies. That is deeply, vibrantly healthy. It was something I feared our nation had lost.

The Aftermath of a Tidal Wave

Yesterday I asked for God to Defend the Right, wherever He could find it. Today I must trust that He has done so.

As I reflect on the magnitude of Trump's victory, which victory I did not expect, I think that Patrick Caddell is really the one who got it right. I am sure we will hear from the smart, educated people that this election was all about sexism and racism. I suspect that voters for whom sex and race were the most important factors are why it was so close for Clinton, rather than why Trump won. My evidence is anecdotal, but I know many women for whom Trump's sexist treatment of women was the deciding factor. I know a Latina for whom it would be hard to divide between her opposition to Trump's way of speaking about women, and Trump's apparent opposition to what she thinks of as her race. For my mother, it was both: though as white as it is possible to be white, she was offended on behalf of recent immigrants, as well as offended as a woman. I do not mean to say they were wrong to vote as they did. I just mean to say that, insofar as they were concerned with these things, they were forces holding the election close rather than driving the Trump victory.

I think the reason Trump won was not a counter-reaction in favor of sexism or racism. I think it was what Caddell identified, which now that I reflect on it I realize I've been hearing from both sides of the aisle for a long time. I just didn't see the unity in the position until he pointed it out, and might not have believed in it if he hadn't backed it up with his research.

Let's hear it again.
What we learned in our in-depth research was as astonishing as it was unexpected. It became clear from this really deep public opinion inquiry that American politics has entered an historic paradigm. What is emerging in what had been assumed to be the static political system was about to be reconfigured in ways and that we still do not know fully. But one thing is certain: the old rules of politics are collapsing and a new edifice is emerging.

The conventional wisdom that America is absolutely divided into warring tribes is a tired falsehood. Overall, in the attitude structure of the American people, the elements of this new paradigm are commonly shared by upwards of 80 percent of the population – from the Occupy Wall Street movement on the left to the Tea Parties on the right. The political battleground is no longer over ideology but instead is all about insurgency....

In our research, the current level of alienation that now grips the American electorate is staggering and unprecedented.

Here are some of our latest results among likely voters from early October 2016:

1. The power of ordinary people to control our country is getting weaker every day, as political leaders on both sides, fight to protect their own power and privilege, at the expense of the nation’s well-being. We need to restore what we really believe in – real democracy by the people and real free-enterprise. AGREE = 87%; DISAGREE = 10%

2. The country is run by an alliance of incumbent politicians, media pundits, lobbyists and other powerful money interests for their own gain at the expense of the American people. AGREE = 87%; DISAGREE = 10%

3. Most politicians really care about people like me. AGREE = 25%; DISAGREE = 69%

4. Powerful interests from Wall Street banks to corporations, unions and political interest groups have used campaign and lobbying money to rig the system for them. They are looting the national treasury of billions of dollars at the expense of every man, woman and child. AGREE = 81%; DISAGREE = 13%

5. The U.S. has a two-track economy where most Americans struggle every day, where good jobs are hard to find, where huge corporations get all the rewards. We need fundamental changes to fix the inequity in our economic system. AGREE = 81%; DISAGREE = 15%

6. Political leaders are more interested in protecting their power and privilege than doing what is right for the American people. AGREE = 86%; DISAGREE = 11%

7. The two main political parties are too beholden to special and corporate interest to create any meaningful change. AGREE = 76%; DISAGREE = 19%

8. The real struggle for America is not between Democrats and Republicans but between mainstream American and the ruling political elites. AGREE = 67%; DISAGREE = 24%
I realize Mr. Hines objects to hearing the "conventional wisdom" described as a "falsehood," as if it were a lie. Say, rather, that it was simply false. Surely people did believe it. They taught each other to believe it, by reading and writing pieces analyzing the world in this way. All the wise and well-educated believed it, most likely. I believed it myself, until I heard something better.

This election is thus a historic moment. I don't know if I believe the man it has settled upon is at all the right man for the task ahead of him. Insofar as he takes this particular task seriously, however, we surely ought to help him. The systems of the elite do need to be broken up. The way in which the government has come to serve the elite and not the people is indeed a swamp that needs to be drained. The looting of America by the few needs to end, and the government ought again to serve the common good of the People.

If he instead turns to the exercise of bigotry as if he were some sort of monarch, or if he violates his oath to support and defend the Constitution, I will be steadfast in opposition to him. If he does what I think the American people have chosen him to do, I must have faith that it was the right I asked God to defend. It has a strong claim to be the right: whether the ruling class serves the common good or its own interests is the very criterion that Aristotle set as the test for the health of all forms of government.

Our government is not healthy. Our people are. This was a mass turnout election. We are always told that high turnout favors Democrats, but this year it favored the insurgent candidate. Trump out performed past Republican candidates among minority voters, too. The people are demanding this change, and it is the change that Aristotle -- though cautious of the effect of the mob will on democratic societies -- would likely endorse. America must be for the common good of its people again, and not just for the few and elite.

Georgia Is Not A Swing State

The signs literally pointed to a Trump walkaway here, and so it would seem to be ordained. The rest of the nation may do what it likes, but Georgia is not -- as so breathlessly reported -- in any danger of voting for Hillary Clinton.

Election 2016 Beer

Let me recommend Coop Ale Work's F5 IPA. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV, it will get the post-vote drinking started before it's time to switch to whisky. Meanwhile, it's 100+ IBUs will truly bring out the flavor of the day.


Honor & Altamont

The Rolling Stone verdict is going to punish the magazine badly, but this analysis is off the mark. Not about the importance of honor: that is true. It's just wrong on the facts.
To understand the importance of honor in journalism, it helps to go back to one of the best examples of honest journalism in history. It comes from the former pages of Rolling Stone itself. In 1970 Rolling Stone covered Altamont, a free 1969 Rolling Stones concert in California that ended in violence and death. At the time, Rolling Stone was the bible of the counter-culture; its founder Jann Wenner had created the magazine so he could meet rock stars. Yet here was the biggest rock and roll band in the world, mounting an ill-advised, dangerous (the Hells Angels were the bouncers), and disorganized event that resulted in four deaths and multiple injuries.

The editors and writers of Rolling Stone were absolutely unsparing and brilliant in their coverage of the event.
We've discussed this matter before -- Gringo actually attended Altamont. You can review the video. The Hells Angels were the only ones who did what was asked of them, and did it well. "The young man in question had been thrown out of the concert for trying to climb onto the stage. He went somewhere and obtained a revolver, returned, drew the gun, and charged the stage again. The Angel who saved the Rolling Stones did it without shooting into the crowd, without hurting anyone else, and by charging a gun with a blade."

They were also motivated by honor, in their way. Indeed, in the day, they saw themselves as an honor culture -- a warrior society, if you take their documentary seriously.

We may all be wanting to join a motorcycle club this time tomorrow. That aside, honor is exactly what is lacking in America right now. Not everywhere, of course. But in too much of society, honor is just what is lacking. In politics, in journalism, and in so much of our urban society: the word means nothing to so many, or else it is a joke.

Heavy Metal Election

The name of the song is "Death to Tyrants."

Election Day

Go vote, if you haven't. Vote your conscience, as Ted Cruz said. By now you know what it says. Do what it tells you that you have to do.

I won't hold it against you, however you vote. You're thoughtful people of good heart, at least the ones who join us in conversation. I don't have to agree with you to like you, and you'll all have good reasons for having done whatever you do.

May God Defend the Right, wherever He can find it in this mess.

The Real Issue

The electoral insurgency is a much bigger phenomenon than Trump or Sanders, argues Patrick Caddell:
The conventional wisdom that America is absolutely divided into warring tribes is a tired falsehood. Overall, in the attitude structure of the American people, the elements of this new paradigm are commonly shared by upwards of 80 percent of the population – from the Occupy Wall Street movement on the left to the Tea Parties on the right. The political battleground is no longer over ideology but instead is all about insurgency.

The larger atmosphere is dominated by three overriding beliefs:

First, the American people believe that the country is not only on the wrong track but almost 70 percent say that America is in actual decline. The concept of decline is antithetical to the American experience.

Second, for more than three centuries, the animating moral obligation of America has been the self-imposed obligation that each generation passes on to its children a better America than they themselves inherited. This is what makes us Americans. In Armada’s polling we found that a majority of Americans believe that they are better off than their parents were. But a great majority says that THEIR children will be worse off than they themselves are today. This is the crisis of the American Dream. And it is no surprise that a majority of Americans agree that if we leave the next generation “worse off” that there will still be a place called “the United States” but there will no longer be an “America.”

Third, when asked whether or not everyone in America plays by the same rules to get ahead or are there different rules for well-connected and people with money, a staggering 84 percent of voters picked the latter. Only 10 percent believed that everyone has an equal opportunity.
Read the rest and you'll see a bunch of polling questions that regularly return 80%+ levels of consensus, on all the questions most of you would probably answer the same way.

Yet divided about solutions to the crisis, the insurgents were conquered first in the Democratic Primary and now face a wholly united establishment. Media, government at all levels, wealth, technocratic corporations, all of them are intending to crush this insurgency and keep things going their way.

Well, we'll see how that turns out tomorrow.

Or at least, we'll see where to take the fight next. At some point, though, we're going to have to figure out how to link up with the leftward insurgents -- at least as far as agreeing to postpone the fight over solutions until after we've crushed the establishment.

Joe Biden, Character Assassin, or Typical Politician?

In recently reading about Clarence Thomas's confirmation hearing, it was interesting that Senator Joe Biden was part of the smear machine. Sometimes I forget how long some of these people have been around.

Looking at the Wikipedia entry on Robert Bork, although Teddy Kennedy was his most famous character assassin, Sen. Biden was there, too. This makes me want to read Bork's The Tempting of America to see what role Biden played.

Update: Mr. Hines defends Biden's conduct in the Thomas hearings, and I have to say after reading Thomas's account of the hearing I tended to blame anyone involved on the left for the summer of smears that culminated in Anita Hill's accusations. Maybe my original title for this post, "Joe Biden, Character Assassin," was unfair. I would have to go back and re-read Thomas's account, which I don't really have time for right now, so I'll leave it a question.

Hidden Voters

The Washington Post asks if there are hidden Hillary Clinton voters as well as hidden Donald Trump voters. The idea is simple and obvious: pollsters may encounter husbands, who will speak for their wives (as men do, 'mansplaining' and what). But if you manage to slip back in and speak to the wife, she will tell you that Trump is unacceptable and that she means to vote for Clinton.

That's a kind of thought that accounts only for one specific kind of polling, which isn't that common now: mostly polls are not conducted by canvassing neighborhoods, but by phone or over the internet. On the other hand, I'm sure pollsters will have missed my mother, who is certainly voting for Clinton on exactly those grounds. It's not that she wants what Clinton represents. It's that Clinton is the devil we know, which is the safer way to vote (as the Gods of the Copybook Headings remind us); and that Trump is unacceptable in his manner towards women.

They won't have missed my mother because my father spoke for her. They'll have missed her because she doesn't answer phone calls from strangers. Still, the sentiment they ascribe to her is exactly correct.

I've been on the road all weekend, and last weekend before. Georgia is supposed to be a swing state this year, according to the polls. You wouldn't know it from the road signs. I haven't seen one Clinton sign anywhere, except for a billboard her campaign must have bought. I've seen Trump signs everywhere. In Athens, which is a university town, some of the Trump signs had been defaced (typically for college kids, they cut out the T and the P, leaving a call for "Rum!"). But there were no Clinton signs at all. If this state is really divided on a razor's edge, you'd think there would be some evidence of it.

The support pollsters are picking up on for her may be illusory, of course. It may be an artifact of their weighting categories, and assumptions about who will show up on election day. We'll know that in due time.

I do believe that there are hidden Trump voters, especially among college educated whites. It is never cool to support the Republican, but it has never been less cool than this year. Still, educated men and women can perhaps best see how disastrous the current course is, if they will see it. But maybe they just refuse: international friends suggest that the image that this is a race between an unjustly demonized woman and a fascist racist man has become the general view. Trump has faced 3 assassination attempts, but he's seen as the candidate of street violence. Clinton had her Filipina maid print out classified emails though non-citizens are not even eligible for a security clearance (and though printers are also supposed to be rated for handling classified information -- off-the-shelf ones keep stored images of what they have recently printed), and engaged in insider trading of classified secrets through her daughter, but she's been "cleared" by the FBI. All those charges were false, you see. Somehow. If you want to believe it enough, it is easy to believe it.

No predictions about the election will you get from me. I have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow.

My Grandfather's Son: Clarence Thomas's Life

I just finished Justice Thomas's autobiography, My Grandfather's Son. It is excellent.

He was raised in Georgia by his grandparents, and as much as anything, the book is a tribute to his grandfather, Myers Anderson. It highlights that possibly the most important thing parents can teach their children is the value of hard work. Despite segregation and other manifestations of racism that limited his opportunities and restricted how he could live his life, Anderson had a deep love of America and a solid faith that hard work could overcome adversity.

In addition to simply telling his life, he discusses race throughout the book. In his early life, Thomas had to balance his grandfather's patriotism, faith in hard work, and faith in God with the anger engendered by racial injustice and the murders of civil rights leaders in the 1960s. Many of the blacks around him tell him that whites will never let him succeed, so he's stupid to work so hard. As he goes through university and then Yale Law School, he is confronted by the hidden racism of the left, a powerful condescension toward blacks. As he grows into an unorthodox thinker and leaves the Democratic Party, many blacks begin to consider him a race traitor. He works for the Reagan administration and there is opposed by many civil rights organizations for the simple reason that he is working for a Republican. He also criticizes the Reagan administration's policies and attitudes toward race, but he defends it against charges of racism. There are a number of good lessons in all of this.

Finally, he relates the harrowing account of Anita Hill's accusations of sexual harassment during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings and how that turned his life upside down. In 2016, it is no longer shocking to see the extent the left will go to, but it is still an object lesson to know the details of how they tried to stop his confirmation.

My only disappointment with the book is that it ends with his being sworn in as an associate justice on the Supreme Court in 1991. That was 25 years ago. It's time for an update.

Walk of Life

There oughta be a Cubs video with this.

And, of course ...

Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting

Prepare to repel boarders! (NB: Although shots are fired in the next couple of videos, there is no blood or gore.)

Once upon a time ... Personally, I'd have picked a .308 for this, like an M-14, but, OK. I guess if you only get one rifle and you might have to get up close and personal ... (Oh, sure. Go with the .50. See if I care.)

[Update from a more sober TD: I don't usually claim to know more about firearms choices than the professionals who do this for a living, but after three or so drinks I become an expert on many things.]


Brothers in Arms

Dire Straits

"... and though they did hurt me so bad, in the fear and alarm, you did not desert me, my brothers in arms ..."