Celebrate the Diversity of Our Victims

The London Police Department did yeoman work in stopping the recent attack rapidly, as we discussed at the time. Their public relations work is not of the same caliber.
The commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police says the nationalities of the eight victims in the terrorist attack on London Bridge tell a proud story of London's unique makeup.

"It's desperately sad and poignant but among those who died is someone who's British, there are French, Australian, Canadian, Spanish," Cressida Dick told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday.

"In terms of our witnesses that we've spoken to so far, out of the 300-odd people, there are about 20 different countries of origin. And the London British population comes from all kinds of backgrounds and every kind of faith and ethnicity."
I guess people made the same sort of point after 9/11: the attack on the Twin Towers hadn't just killed Americans, but people from all over the world. However, the tenor of the arguments behind the similar points was different. The point being made after 9/11 was to call together a global coalition to fight terror, because this wasn't just an attack on America but an attack on the good people of the world. The point being made in London has more the tenor of: 'While we are sad, we can take pride that so many different kinds of people are suffering.'

Does the 2nd Amendment Cover Edged Weapons?

Hot Air asks.

Oddly enough, this is one place where the originalist and the progressive ought to agree: one regularly hears progressive arguments that the 2nd should only cover weapons suitable for militia service in 1791. For example:

Swords were certainly part of at least the officers' equipment in the early Georgia militia, as were bayonets -- or at least they were supposed to be: a report from a rural Georgia militia in 1807 showed no bayonets, but at least one horsewhip and an umbrella. In spite of the intended "regularity" that is intended by the "well regulated" comment in the Second, irregularity was more commonly the order of the day in the poorer, less-industrial United States. Shotguns were very common (a fact apparently unknown to the US Supreme Court when it decided U.S. v. Miller, the most important 2nd Amendment case until Heller). Fighting knives weren't officially specified since bayonets were, but they played an important role among irregularly-equipped militiamen.

So the clear answer ought to be, "Yes, obviously." However, as with gun rights in general, knife rights fell into disuse and the disrespect of the law in the ensuing period during which the 2nd Amendment was treated as essentially null. There are all kinds of laws banning knives of various kinds, or beyond particular lengths; and for the most part, unlike gun laws, there are not exceptions for persons with permits.

Georgia is one case where the concealed weapons permit actually does permit knife carry as well, a matter in which I believe my own poor efforts were of some avail in persuading our state legislature. This year, the permit will really only apply to swords: any knife shorter than 12 inches will henceforth be unregulated entirely. The law will touch very few knives: the largest Bowie knives, machetes, and I suppose misericordes.

Swords technically will require the permit, but no one has ever asked me to see one when I've been carrying a sword around Georgia. They're unusual enough that everyone assumes, I suppose, that they're for some sort of historical re-enactment and thus nonthreatening.

So it's a good idea to consult your legislature about fixing the laws in your state. If you are looking for an organization to help you along, similar to the NRA but for knives, try the American Kife and Tool Institute, and also -- and more aggressively, to their credit -- Knife Rights.

Theory of Mind

On the upside, Reality Winner does believe that her fellow Americans have minds. On the downside, she thinks you're all suckers.
On Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Solari revealed in an Atlanta, Georgia court that Winner told her sister via a jailhouse phone: “I’m going to play that card being pretty, white and cute, braid my hair and cry and all."

As noted by The Daily Caller, Solari also claimed that "Winner told her mother that she wanted her to tell the media that she was afraid for her life."

“Play up that angle,” the 25-year-old said to her mother, during a jailhouse conversation.
Well, someone's a sucker, anyway.

Hezbollah / Iran Hearing

In addition to the more famous hearing, a much more revealing and brutal hearing on the Obama-era Iran Deal happened yesterday. You can watch it here.
Dr. Asher: "In the last years of the previous administration, for reasons that most definitely had to do with the Iran deal and concerns of interfering with it - which I thought were totally unfounded, as a former nuclear negotiator with Iran and North Korea - we lost much of the altitude that we had gained in our global effort. And many aspects - including key personnel who were reassigned, budgets that were slashed - many key elements of the investigations that were underway were undermined and it was a bit of a tragedy and a travesty."
Prosecutions were stopped, designations of organizations as associated with Hezbollah were stopped, and the nuclear deal has continued to provide what the chairman describes as a "windfall" for the terrorist organization.

Thanks for the Assist

Thanks to the Brady Campaign for their helpful billboard, which will doubtless improve public safety in Florida.

Wolf Time, Part III

I wanted to discuss the nature of Odin. The character in the book is not, exactly, Odin; he is manifesting some of Odin's qualities. I'll put this discussion beyond the jump so that you can avoid it if you are going to read the book and haven't yet.

In the meantime, those of you who have enjoyed Wolf Time may want to look at more of Lars Walker's work. If you also enjoyed the discussion, you might want to look at some of the previous discussions we've had of some of his pieces, either now or after you've read the works.

Hailstone Mountain is reviewed, and discussed, here.

Troll Valley is discussed here. It also occasioned a number of other moments of comment, including here, here, and here where it was mentioned because I found a house that reminded me of it while on a motorcycle ride near the Savannah river.

Now, for the mythology discussion.  I don't think it'll be as interesting to most of you as the other two discussion sections, but who knows?

A Vietnam Every Year

This year, there will be over 50,000 deaths due to overdoses in the US and it's still climbing.

* That's already the lethal equivalent to the US of a Vietnam war every year or WW2 every eight years.

* It's already twice as lethal to Americans as accidental deaths from automobiles.

* The majority of the deaths are of people 35-54 and it impacts both men and women. It also leaves millions of friends and family members with PTSD in its wake.
The answer? None is offered, but the author does propose a necessary condition of ending our culture war on each other.
My gut suggests the only social structure that will allow us to progress beyond this impasse is one that enables increased psychological diversity while at the same time aggressively preserving traditional paths of meaning. We should avoid at all costs seeing this as a struggle between oppressive identities or as a corruption of tradition that should be ruthlessly eradicated. A more complex middle ground that allows both to flourish is only way to avoid history's abattoir.
Maybe that's right, and maybe not. It does at least seek to preserve more of America, rather than eradicating the parts it doesn't like.

Conspiracy Theories & Fake News

National Review has a fun time bashing outlet after outlet that reported that Trump was under FBI investigation (as well as Senator Warren and Minority Leader Schumer). These are many of the leading journalism outfits in the United States.

Today's hearings showed their sources were all wrong.

Trump wasn't under investigation.

"But he'd better be now!" cries the New Republic.

Obstruction Is As Obstruction Does?

So the Comey hearings were good in the sense that speculation has now been replaced by fact. The memo, reported anonymously and without the news media actually seeing a copy (it was reportedly read to them over a phone), has been confirmed by Comey to have been authored by himself. He has added in this testimony that he felt, at the time, that Trump wasn't talking about the Russia investigation during the conversation he documented; just about letting Flynn off any troubles that might arise out of the phone calls between Flynn and the Russian ambassador. As far as I can tell, no crimes were committed by those calls; deceiving the Vice President by mis-characterizing the calls is not a crime, and there is no report of any quid pro quo talk or anything else in those calls that could be criminal.

So, no obstruction of justice, because the matter Comey thought he was being pressured on didn't involve any crime. Plus, Comey confirmed that Trump was never under investigation regarding Russia -- destroying several major conspiracy theories about "Russiagate" in the process.

Meanwhile, the thing that really did impress my left-leaning friends today was the revelation that Lynch had instructed Comey not to refer to the Clinton investigation as an "investigation." They thought that was a bombshell in terms of evidence of pressure from on-high to resolve a certain legal matter quietly rather than by the law. (Hot Air agrees). Comey thus provided clearer evidence for obstruction from the Obama-era Justice Department than by Donald Trump.

It's good that we got this out there, on the record and in public. I know some would have preferred if this just went away, but at this point the rumor mill has been replaced with facts on the record. Now we can move on without any suggestion that there is a cover-up, especially given a special counsel digging in to whatever remaining questions there are around Russia.

Steve Earl: "So You Wannabe an Outlaw?"

Today NPR has an opportunity to listen to Steve Earl's new Outlaw Country album. If you like it, the album will be out for purchase on the 16th.

Speaking of older artists in these genres, here's Rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson doing "Thunder on the Mountain." The band is absolutely tearing it up.

DB: Mattis Changes Title

In an effort to better align the title of his office with the duties and obligations he executes, sources say that Mattis will unilaterally change his title from Secretary of Defense to First Lord of Destruction.

One senior defense official said that other titles considered were Purveyor of Devastation and America’s Mighty Hammer of Righteousness. However, First Lord of Destruction had a nice “Marine Corps meets Sith Lord” kind of ring to it, the source said.

“If any of you sons of bitches calls me secretary, I’ll punch you right in the throat,” Mattis told members of the press in a recent briefing.

“I’ll call him whatever he wants,” one visibly shaken undersecretary of defense told reporters, on condition of anonymity. “Just as long as he doesn’t hurt me again. I called him Mr. Secretary once and he punched me right in the throat.”

Love of Honor

It's difficult to translate into English.
The exact meaning of philotimo is hotly debated, given that the word belongs to the pantheon of Greek lexical items that defy easy explanation. ‘Love of honour’, its official translation, is a utilitarian yet insufficient attempt to convey the constellation of virtues squeezed into the word’s four syllables. When I asked various Greeks about their own perception of philotimo, I received very different responses.

“Doing the right thing,” Pinelopi Kalafati, a doctor, told me. “Loving and honouring God and your society,” said priest Nikolas Papanikolaou. "Striving for perfection,” answered actor Kostis Thomopoulos. “Stepping out from your comfort zone to help someone in need,” suggested Tatiana Papadopoulou, a volunteer in Malakasa detention camp for refugees.
As the article suggests, there's a dark side to this, as there always is with honor. But, out of the same well, there is a fullness and a flourishing of virtue that otherwise does not occur.


ISIS attacks Iran's parliament.

Wretchard: "Half the world is turning men into corpses and women into slaves. The other half is turning boys into girls and girls into boys."

Wolf Time: Part II

Today's discussion is about the right way how to live a good life in an ethically confused time. How can one do it? Is it possible? What virtues are the right ones for such a life?

As fate would have it, we have an excellent intro into this discussion from our neighbors to the north.
Legislation passed by the Canadian province of Ontario has granted authorities the right to take children away from parents who refuse to accept their children’s “gender identity.” Critics of the new measure launched a petition aiming for a repeal of the “totalitarian” child abuse bill.... It deprives parents of their earlier right to “direct the child’s education and religious upbringing.”

The family is now only allowed to “direct the child or young person’s education and upbringing, in accordance with the child’s or young person’s creed, community identity and cultural identity.”
In fact the law is uglier even than that description, bearing the marks of the worst kind of identity politics.
The matters to be considered in determining the best interests of a child are changed. The child’s views and wishes, given due weight in accordance with the child’s age and maturity, unless they cannot be ascertained, and in the case of a First Nations, Inuk or Métis child, the importance of preserving the child’s cultural identity and connection to community must be taken into consideration.... the new Act includes the child’s race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.


Societies are required to make all reasonable efforts to pursue a plan for customary care for a First Nations, Inuk or Métis child if the child is in need of protection, cannot remain in the care of or be returned to the person who had charge of the child immediately before intervention by the society or the person entitled to custody of the child and is a member of or identifies with a band or a First Nations, Inuit or Métis community. Customary care is defined as the care and supervision of a First Nations, Inuk or Métis child by a person who is not the child’s parent, according to the custom of the child’s band or First Nations, Inuit or Métis community.

An equivalent to section 86 of the current Act, which prohibits Roman Catholic children from being placed in the care of a Protestant society, institution or family and Protestant children from being placed with a Roman Catholic society, institution or family, is not included in the new Act. Instead, a society is to choose a residential placement that, where possible, respects the child’s race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and cultural and linguistic heritage. In the case of a First Nations, Inuk or Métis child, priority is to be given to placing the child with a First Nations, Inuit or Métis family, respectively.
Lars Walker could have written that law into his book.

So what do you do about it? What do we learn from Wolf Time about how to deal with such a world?

A Further Conversation with Joan C. Williams

I mentioned Dr. Williams' piece on the white working class, and the need to show them honor, a few posts below. Slate magazine has undertaken an interview to get her to expand on her ideas.

Here are two excerpts where the Slate author tried to push her off the idea that it's on their side not to be scornful.
But as for people like us, we should have some commitment to honesty. What attitude should we be taking toward people who voted for a racist buffoon that is scamming them?

Here’s the absolutely sobering truth. A lot of them saw those aspects of Trump, and yet they thought he was the best candidate. Democrats have given the Republicans the precious gift of being the party that’s out there talking about jobs for people who lack college education. Two-thirds of Americans aren’t college graduates. And sometimes the message that they have heard is, “if you want a future, graduate from college.” Two-thirds of Americans are not college graduates, and what Trump said was, “I am going to offer you good jobs even if you don’t have a college degree.” The policy solutions he proposed were supply-side economics, bringing back coal, and chitchatting with a few employers. Those are not effective policy solutions, but as long as Democrats don’t say anything but that you guys are racist, are voting for a racist, they’re going to keep on voting for Trump.


And if you tallied up the time that Hillary Clinton spent talking about jobs for the American people versus Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton spent way more time. And if you look at their websites Hillary Clinton has more plans, or had, for Americans without college degrees than Donald Trump does, and the more sensible plans, at least by my analysis and I think your analysis. Don’t “average people” have some responsibility to learn this.

No I think that’s completely unrealistic.

I agree it’s unrealistic, but I am not sure whose fault that is.

I am. I think the Democrats are—I’m damn sure they are at fault for that. The reason that Trump won was about 80,000 voters in Rust Belt states. Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and others were begging that Hillary Clinton campaign in those Rust Belt states and talk to those people about jobs and about other concerns that blue-collar Americans feel very, very strongly about, and they were told no. And they were told to adhere to a script of Donald Trump is unqualified, and Hillary Clinton is super qualified and wouldn’t it be awesome, and a progressive gesture to vote for a woman for president. Let’s break the glass ceiling. That is an incredibly well-designed message to alienate these voters.... The glass ceiling is a very ineffective message. Not only for the men, but also for the women, because what does glass ceiling mean? It means women like me, born with a silver spoon in my mouth, get to have jobs like the jobs my husband and father had. Why should working-class people care? You know, newsflash, they don’t care.
There's another challenge about how important it is to talk about race where she turns the charge around in an interesting way.

"The Lion of London Bridge"

A profile in courage, as they say.


I thought the Saudi-led move against Qatar, which houses CENTCOM's forward deployed base and other key military facilities, was one of the most alarming pieces of news I've seen cross my desk in a while. Trump apparently thinks it's a victory.

Who's right? I guess we'll see.

FIRE: Left Wing Profs Need Free Speech, Too

A fair point.
Much of the recent intolerance of campus speech has come from the left, and has been widely covered by conservative media outlets under the guise of a concern for the state of free speech on campus. Why, then, do these same outlets remain comparatively quiet when the intolerance for speech is coming from the right? Free speech is free speech, and if you believe that the right to openly express controversial political opinions is important, you should be as concerned about Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s right to free speech as you were about Charles Murray’s or Ann Coulter’s — and vice versa....

I have worked as a free speech advocate for more than 12 years now. In that time, it seems as if the extent to which we insulate ourselves from opposing viewpoints, and demonize the people who hold them, has increased dramatically. Admittedly, this is just my sense of things, but it is a sense I have heard echoed repeatedly by colleagues, friends, family, and virtually anyone with whom I discuss the work I do. It feels as though we have reached a point where many of us, from across the political spectrum, recognize that this is a problem — but it feels insurmountable, and we don’t quite know what to do about it.

If you feel this way, start being a role model now. If you disagree with professor Taylor’s remarks about President Trump but are horrified by the threats made against her, send her a note of support. Share one of the few reports about her story with friends who might not otherwise see it, and let them know what you think. Similarly, if you disagree with Bret Weinstein at Evergreen State College but are appalled that police can’t ensure his safety on campus simply because he expressed his views, send him a note of support. Be a vocal supporter of the right to free speech not only when you agree with the speaker, but also — especially — when you disagree with the speaker.
Related: "A New Wave of Left-Wing Militants is Ready to Rumble," at Mother Jones. They don't seem to be taking the advice to heart.

VA: New Electronic Records to be "Seamless" with Military System

We'll see about that. Still, it does sound like an improvement.


A terrible day that made for many beautiful tomorrows, so many of which are now already yesterdays.

Sen. Warner: Intercept Story only Part of Russian Campaign

Senator Mark Warner wants you to know that the Russians did far more than spoof a voting company.
"I don't believe they got into changing actual voting outcomes," Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said in an interview. "But the extent of the attacks is much broader than has been reported so far." He said he was pushing intelligence agencies to declassify the names of those states hit to help put electoral systems on notice before the midterm voting in 2018....

"I really want to press the case. This is not an attempt to embarrass any state. This is a case to make sure that the American public writ large realizes that if we don’t get ahead of this, this same kind of intervention could take place in 2018 and definitely will take place in 2020."
Faith in the integrity of our elections is of the utmost importance to the peaceful transfer of power.

How Did this Girl Get a Security Clearance?

Through the Air Force, quite likely.

It sounds like she was radicalized by Trump's election, which is true for many on the Left. Yet her linguistic skills suggest she was originally trained to do intelligence work on Iran and Afghanistan. Her Twitter account suggests she has been trained to interpret history through the lens of Western colonialism, and thus saw a moral duty to support the Iranians(!) against American 'colonial' policies. That's not new since Trump, but something she seems to have felt for a while -- probably since she was taught to think that way in college or in prep school.

Nobody checks up on that kind of thing? I know you don't list radicalizing college courses on your SF-86, but it seems like questions about your statements against America and for the enemy you're supposedly helping to study would come up in the security review.


Looks like she was employed less than 3 months before stealing secrets.


Her high school does not look like a radical outfit that would preach anti-colonial screeds, and she was in the USAF until last year. So where did she learn to think about the world in this Marxist fashion, I wonder? At home, perhaps.

Reading the Articles

I wouldn't normally link to Playboy, but this article on Afghanistan was written by a reporter I know. She embedded with the Afghan commandos, and it's a story worth reading.

DB: 'Mini-Troop Surge' in Afghanistan

Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, still has some apprehensions about the logistical requirements of the halflings, who are known to eat up to seven meals a day.

NSA leaker charged

Well, "leaker" is a misnomer.  She's a traitor, a spy, an oathbreaker, and ultimately a very stupid young woman.

At the most basic level, she stole classified documents and gave them to an unauthorized person.  She did it for one of the four primary motivations of espionage (sometimes referred to as MICE) in that she was ideologically motivated.  Like Jonathan Pollard, she will have supporters who will say she was a patriot, just trying to help save her country.  And like Pollard's supporters, hers will be wrong.  She is a traitor who put her own motives ahead of the interests of her nation, her oaths, her integrity, and her future.  Make no mistake, Reality Winner (yes, that's actually her name) has destroyed her future in order to score some political points.  She sold out sources and methods the NSA uses to defend ALL of us in order to make "#NotHerPresident" look bad.  And the worst thing is, what she stole didn't even prove what she probably thought it proved.

The document in question reveals that Russians hacked into voter registration data at a third party contractor.  Not to change it, nor to change vote totals, but effectively to steal identities.  In other words, nothing that could influence the 2016 election.  And this stupid, stupid person decided that the law, her oaths, national security, her integrity, and her very future were unimportant enough that she should steal that information and release it to someone who would make sure the Russians (remember them?) would know we know they did it.  An action which helps them to figure out how WE knew, which shuts down an avenue of intelligence gathering, or even potentially gets an actual live person KILLED (never forget the true cost of espionage; it's not "documents" or "words", it's actual lives).

I do feel some small pity for her.  She ruined her own life with her stupidity.  And worse, she did it to reveal a document that still does not show what she thought it did (the Russians hacked the election and made it so Trump won).  But mostly I feel anger.  She knew better.  She had mandated yearly training that told her that she would be caught, that told her the consequences of being caught, that told her how stupid her idea was.  But she ignored all that, betrayed her employer, her co-workers, her friends, and her nation... all in an effort to score political points (which she failed to even do).  Pathetic.

A Drapa for Sigurd Syr

In a book I wrote, but never properly edited or published, there was a poet who wrote a drapa for the father of Harald Hardrada. Hardrada, at least, you will recognize from Wolf Time. That makes this week a good time to publish the poem in his father's honor. Unlike Hardrada, the Thunderbolt of the North, his father Sigurd Syr was a very peaceful man. It was difficult to praise such a man, in the old way; here is an imagined mode for doing so.

The references will be clearer if you have read the Heimskringla.  If you have not, the poem is probably impossibly opaque.  The second half of the drapa should nevertheless be clear enough.
Rare the good king not a killer,
wise sleeper in his stronghold.
Ox-slain Egil Yngling
the Thing-thrall put to fleeing:
A dead king never dreaded.
When Old Starkad came to Sweden
Haki then Hugleik's land claimed. --
Where now is the hall-holder...

Aun, always the weak-slayer,
his sired he'd Odhinn offer;
He ran before Upsala's chieftain.
But Yngvar's son, Anund the Breaker,
Took the war-shield only
slaying his father's slayer.
Rare few are remembered wiser --
...the kingdom-ruler of wisdom?

One remembered is Sigurd
stepfather to the Digre,
father of the Hardrada,
Old lord of the northhold.
Shade from his hat, that broad-brim,
we remember as rain without thunder. --
Where now is the hall-holder...

Nothing with him dragons wanted,
Nor warriors who disdained golden
Grain. Loved him thrall and bonder:
He cared for cattle, but battle
He found empty of the glory
That forever draws the fighter.
No man’s thralls were freer. --
The kingdom-ruler of wisdom.

Islam: A Criticism

Andrew C. McCarthy is a former Federal prosecutor who dealt with the Blind Sheikh case among others. His view of Islam is more negative than my own in pronounced ways, but I respect the way in which he came to it. It is the sort of thing we ought to take seriously, even if in the end we reject it. Indeed, I think the onus is probably on my side of the debate. He is clearly right that traditional Islamic theology points this way. What people like me have to show is that there is any alternative, a project I am not prepared to undertake this afternoon.

UPDATE: An interesting development out of London.

This Guy, Too

We have an embarrassment of riches, just now.

Wolf Time: Part I

I propose to separate discussion of Lars Walker's Wolf Time into three discussions, starting today, Wednesday, and Friday. Of course this is a community discussion, so it may be that there are aspects of the work that others wish to discuss than the ones I've identified. If so, we can fit them in here, or start a separate section if one of my co-bloggers wants to do so.

In today's discussion, I want to begin with the predictions about the dangerous developments of political correctness and its hostility to human life and Aristotelian purpose. The book probably struck reviewers in 1999, when it was new, as ridiculously hyperbolic. In our own day, we have seen things very like the "Happy Endings" clinic, in which perfectly healthy people kill themselves because they are tired of being alcoholics. A healthy woman in Belgium was granted permission to die because of suicidal thoughts.

We see less open talk about what the book calls Extinctionism than you might expect, but it definitely lurks -- and sometimes comes out -- in the debates about the environment.

So let's start with that. These are slippery slope arguments, and people will tell you that the slippery slope is a logical fallacy because there is no guarantee that the slope will play out. Nevertheless, it very often does play out: saying that it is a fallacy simply means that logic does not guarantee that it will play out. Logic does nothing to stop it from playing out. It is very often worth paying attention to slippery slope arguments, as they very often do play out. A mind primed to think in a given way in one case can easily come to think that way in another, even if it is not logically necessary that they should.

Where did these predictions go right? Where wrong? When wrong, is it just that we haven't gotten there yet, or are there cases where we won't get there for some reason?


On Wednesday, I'll want to use this discussion as a springboard to take on the more general theme of how to live a good life in such an ethically confused time. How can one do it? Is it possible? What virtues are the right ones for such a life? It does not seem as if they are courage or boldness -- or are they, but in a different way than in the more ancient expression? We'll pick that up on Wednesday.

On Friday, I'll raise an objection to the book's conception of Odin and his mission. This is a minor topic of no interest to anyone but me, and likely Lars Walker, but I don't think I agree with the book's basic conception of what Odin was about. This last discussion will be harder to follow and of less general interest, so we'll save it until we've dealt with the matters of more general interest and meaning.

"Fringe Groups Revel"

An old-fashioned fisking of this article seems to be in order.
Kyle Chapman expected he might find a fight. And he did — with a teenage girl.
Oh, he beat up a teenage girl, presumably weaker than himself? That's awful.
The girl was waving an anti-fascist placard last week at a protest against Shariah law in Midtown Manhattan when a scuffle broke out and she knocked an older woman to the ground.
Wait... she beat up someone weaker than herself, and he intervened to defend them?
“Assaulting our people?” Mr. Chapman shouted as he reached across the barricades and ripped her sign apart. “Your days are numbered, Commie!” he called after her as the police escorted her away. “The American people are rising up against you!”
So, actually he didn't touch her at all, right? Also, she was the one arrested for assault and battery. That seems like an important detail.
As the founder of a group of right-wing vigilantes called the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, Mr. Chapman, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound commercial diver, is part of a growing movement that experts on political extremism say has injected a new element of violence into street demonstrations across the country.
Pretty sure your own description makes it clear that he is not the one "injecting violence into street demonstrations." The physical description is meant to make him sound scary, but it's his opponents who are physically attacking people.
Part fight club, part Western-pride fraternity, the Alt-Knights and similar groups recruit battalions of mainly young white men for one-off confrontations with their ideological enemies — the black-clad left-wing militants who disrupted President Trump’s inauguration and have protested against the appearances of conservative speakers on college campuses.
Those "black-clad left-wing militants" are also "mainly white." Antifa looks to be super-duper white, in fact. Elizabeth Warren white. Rachael Maddow white. Keith Olbermann white. So what's with trying to paint one of these groups as being defined by race, and not the other?
Along with like-minded groups like the Proud Boys, a clan of young conservative nationalists, and the Oath Keepers, an organization of current and former law-enforcement officers and military veterans, they mobilized on social media to fight in New Orleans over the removal of Confederate monuments; on the streets of Berkeley, Calif., where clashes between the left and right have increasingly become a threat for law enforcement; and at a raucous May Day rally in Los Angeles.
The Oath Keepers are like-minded? I think I know what the Oath Keepers think that they are doing: they conceive themselves as keeping their oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Is that also a priority for this other group? I wouldn't know, since the report hasn't said anything at all about their ideology or goals. It's just said that they are "mainly white."

We do get some indication of their goals a bit further down.
“There’s been a lot of organized violence on the part of the left against the right, so we have to organize,” Mr. Chapman said. “The purpose is to have a peaceful event. But if people are attacked, you have to be ready and willing to defend yourself and your right-wing brothers and sisters.”

This form of aggression is something researchers say they have not seen on such a scale before on the far right...
Wait: "this form of aggression"? What he said was that the purpose was to have a peaceful event, but that he was willing to defend his side if necessary. That's aggression? It sounds like an explicitly defensive strategy, not an aggressive one.

It doesn't get much better than this. I think the reporter needs to go back home and rethink this whole approach to understanding what is going on.

That's the Spirit

A journalist in England redeems his profession's reputation somewhat in the face of a fifty-thousand pound bounty on his head.


What happens when justices don't trust the oath of the President?
[I]f the courts are going to write a new jurisprudence for an oathless presidency into the law, Mandel and Din actually make for a very natural place to start. Both literally concern the question of “bad faith,” the same question raised by whether the courts can trust Trump’s fidelity to his oath. To put it another way, the cases are an expression of the “presumption of regularity,” the idea that we can usually trust public officials to do their duty. And as the Trump administration is discovering, that presumption of regularity is only a presumption, which courts can waive in extraordinary circumstances.
What justifies this "presumption of regularity" even as a presumption? The oath of office is to the Constitution; many acts by Presidents, Senators, and Congressional representatives are facially unconstitutional. Any sort of "campaign finance reform" appears to violate the First Amendment, which plainly states that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. The vast majority of Congressional and Executive acts violate any reasonable reading of the 10th Amendment. Many campaign promises also plainly violate the 10th Amendment, as candidates pledge to pursue powers that the Constitution never delegates to the Federal government.

Yet normally courts presume campaign rhetoric is a sort of nonsense that has no bearing on how one actually governs -- and that seems to be a presumption justified by the facts to some degree. If anything justifies presuming Trump's oath is less reliable than usual, it must be that he is unusually likely to pursue his campaign statements. He did, after all, pull us out of the Paris accords. He did, after all, appoint a hardliner to run the CIA's operations against Iran (and, by the way, we need to have a talk with our 'paper of record' about the propriety of publishing the names of such officers). He did, after all, prefer a serious textualist to the Supreme Court. He hasn't kept all his promises (e.g., moving the embassy to Jerusalem), but he has apparently taken a number of them seriously.

Compare and contrast with President Obama, "I'll close GitMo," "if you like your plan you can keep your plan," "if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor," "the Iran deal is not a treaty," "the Paris climate accord is not a treaty," etc. I should be more suspicious of the oaths of, say, Supreme Court justices who feel that the Constitution is a living document they are free to modify at will. That is plainly not in keeping with an oath to protect and preserve the Constitution; it is making it one's own playtoy, and arrogating powers never intended by the Constitution to one's self and one's own office. It is their oaths I doubt.

It seems strange to doubt Trump's oath more than one would doubt the oaths of other politicians on the precise ground that he seems unusually likely to keep his promises. I don't take his word seriously because he often seems to say things he doesn't mean, but that approach undermines the 4th and 9th circuit opinions: why bother worrying about what he said on the campaign trail if you don't worry about what he says in general?

Their argument is just the opposite: 'We doubt his oath because we believe he will keep his word.'

This Guy

"I was keeping an eye on it."

Three Men, Eight Minutes in London

Eight minutes is a pretty solid response time for a terrorist attack, given that you will want to stage up some sort of response rather than sending individual officers in without backup. You'll want to send people in linked up with at least one other officer, and given that aspect of this, eight minutes from report to "terrorists shot dead" has got to be close to as good as it gets. The London police deserve real credit here.

The British people also deserve credit for fighting back. At the "Black and Blue" -- alternatively described as a "pub" and a "steakhouse" in the press -- a disarmed populace fought back as well as it could by hurling glasses, chairs, whatever came to hand. Slowing the attackers any amount is not to be disparaged as a response given that the police inside London are capable of a fairly quick response time. Every second is a second off the eight-minute clock.

So you might call this the "new normal" for London. You could adapt to this the way London adapted to the Blitz. Once in a while, these bloody attacks come up. It's part of life given the existence of a real enemy that wants to kill you and destroy your civilization. Everyone knows his duty: the disarmed citizen to resist however possible to buy time for the armed agents of the state to arrive and stop the attack. Mentally, one could accept this and learn to live with it.

Why, though, should one do so? The Blitz was accepted because, in 1940, the British had no way to strike back against continental German targets. The alternative was to surrender, but that was unacceptable. It was endured because there was no alternative but to endure it until things changed.

It was also endured because the British superiority in naval forces, and its homeland defense, prevented the Nazis from carrying out any other sort of attacks. There is a parallel here. The Islamists who are murdering British citizens on a regular basis are very much like the Luftwaffe, in that they have hit upon a reliable way to cause death and disruption within London that nevertheless cannot possibly win them the war they want to fight. The Nazis at least could hope for a collapse in civilian morale that would cause a demand that the British government surrender. These Islamists cannot hope even for that, as there is no one to whom the British could surrender if they would.

My own prescription is by now well-known: I think the population should be armed and trained in how to fight back. A civil defense option here would leverage the goodwill of most ordinary people such that any group of fifty random folks at the pub would be able to form a common defense, a kind of impromptu shield wall. If the British government really rejects arming them with firearms, it can train them to fight with knives or sticks. Properly, of course, a free people has the right to self-defense -- and therefore, the right to the tools of self-defense. Properly, a free people has the duty to defend the common peace and lawful order -- and therefore a duty, stronger than a right, to be prepared with the tools to do so.

So far this resort to the citizen militia has not been appealing to the elites, who fear -- I suppose -- the citizen's militia more than they fear the radicals and terrorists. One might wonder why that would be so in a society that claims to be a democracy.

Still, in the light of this attack, it should be obvious why such a militia is an important component of civil defense. There's a clock that starts ticking at the onset of an attack like this, and it stops when the terrorists are dead. The police probably can't do much better than they did in terms of response time here. What can help are citizens who are trained to defend themselves, both in terms of how to avoid harm to themselves and how to link up for a common defense against the foe.

Do that, and the eight minute response time doesn't look so bad. Indeed, even at eight minutes, the police might begin to find that they are arriving largely too late to save the attackers.

An Alternative Reading List for Incoming Freshmen

The National Association of Scholars, rebels, radicals, and revolutionaries all, have put out a reading list for incoming college freshmen. While it includes such classics as Augustine's Confessions, The Book of Ecclesiastes, Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, and William Least Heat Moon's Blue Highways, I've never heard of quite a few of the 115 recommendations. Each is given with a justification for its inclusion, such as the following examples.

Chinua Achebe   THINGS FALL APART (1958)
Among the first African novels written in English, Things Fall Apart depicts the Igbo of southern Nigeria during the period of initial Western colonization. The protagonist is an ambitious young man in a traditional village who gains fame through a feat of wrestling and goes on to become a powerful leader, only to see his world collapse. We picked it because it is a classic indictment of colonialism but comes with the complicating twist that it is written in a colonial language by an author who has thoroughly absorbed a Western aesthetic sensibility, and because it puts the real questions of cultural relativism on the table.

Jim Dixon is a medieval history lecturer (and first-generation college student) who does not like academia, does not like academics, and is faced with the horrible prospect of spending the rest of his life in the pompous, affected world of the university. The funniest campus novel ever written, Lucky Jim will inoculate students against the self-importance of college life

One of the first great American evocations of the love of food—written during World War II food rationing, when the absence of food increased the love for it. We select this book as an alternate to the growing number of contemporary books on food selected for common readings, for 1) its literary quality; 2) its evocation of the American home front during World War II; 3) its important role in the birth of the food writing genre; 4) because Fisher turns love of food into something more than the hedonism of the well-fed; and 5) because her chapter “How to Keep Alive” gives very practical advice to a college student trying to feed himself on a tight budget.

A Clearing of the Tabs

He got a bad grade. So, he got the Constitution amended.

At Imprimis, Hillsdale College's monthly "speech digest", Kimberly Strassel, author of the book The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech, gives a three-page overview of that topic that is full of specific examples.

Why college graduates still can't think, by Rob Jenkins over at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

Over at USA Today, Glenn Reynolds does the job American journalists don't seem to want to do by asking if Obama's illegal spying was worse than Watergate. Although I don't think there will be anything really new to readers at the Hall, it gives a good summary of events in one place.

Mexico's drug war death toll in 2016 reportedly exceeded that of many countries having real wars.

A very even-handed assessment of Obamacare over at the Federalist by Mary Katherine Ham. She discusses how it has helped some of her friends and how it has hurt her family. Her argument is that we shouldn't ignore either side.

The rise of obesity in the U.S. tracks closely with the expansion of America's primary food assistance program.

Babalu Blog covers a report arguing that Cuba's treatment of medical professionals amounts to human trafficking.

Brett and Kate McKay over at the Art of Manliness have an article I should read, you know, after I check this next website: How to Quite Mindlessly Surfing the Internet and Actually Get Stuff Done.

Graph Paper Diaries offers a 12-post course on spotting and refuting BS called, appropriately, Calling BS Readalong. The link is to the series index.

The Best Browser Extensions that Protect Your Privacy

FIRE's Greg Lukianoff and Heterodox Academy's Jonathan Haidt offer The Coddling of the American Mind.

Junicode -- a Unicode font for medievalists

A page on using Old English in the digital world (font, browser, etc., recommendations)

A guide to giving your cats their annual performance review