Seams of malice

Peggy Noonan muses on the Terror, then and now. Wouldn't you have to need a job pretty badly to continue working at a professional institution that boasted something called an "Inclusive Communications Task Force," whether or not it was backed up by the guillotine?
If Trump is re-elected, the world will literally end. Literally.

Schroedinger's Bob

From the political machine that brought us "It depends on what the meaning of is, is," language that makes me wonder if journalists and deep state operatives all really aspire to be the more mushy-headed, prevaricating variety of stereotypical corporate lawyer:
But the larger problem with Mueller’s case was neatly summed up in his exchange with Republican Representative Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania. “You made a decision not to prosecute?” Reschenthaler asked.
“No,” Mueller replied, “we made a decision not to decide whether to prosecute or not.”
That one fundamental decision—the decision not to decide, because he believed doing so would be inherently unfair, given Justice Department guidelines barring indictment of a sitting president and Trump’s corresponding inability to have his day in court—ensured that Mueller’s testimony, like his investigation itself, wouldn’t resolve anything. And that’s far more than a matter of mere optics. It’s a built-in flaw in the basic script, one that Charlton Heston as Moses himself couldn’t counter—and one that Mueller would strenuously argue was neither his preference nor of his own making, but one that he, and the rest of us, must to learn to live with. To act on, or not.
See, given his own preferences in a world of his own making, Mueller wouldn't have had to live with a decision not to decide, against the wishes and direction of his superior, AG Barr.  But he courageously decided not to decide and then to live with the consequences or non-consequences, or not.  And then to sort of testify about it, but not.

A Hopeful Story on Immigration

From Quillette.


"They presented aspects of the case that, frankly, we haven't talked much about on CNN."

As usual, we know their argument; they haven't the faintest idea about ours.

Today in Media Gaslighting

The United States, but not Iran, is one of the ten most dangerous countries for women -- as proven by a successful campaign to redress violence against women.

Meanwhile, the United Nations votes to condemn Israel as the world's only violator of women's rights. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen all joined in the condemnation.

Strangely, Israel didn't turn up on the top ten list from the first article, and the United States wasn't condemned by the UN in spite of its inclusion on that list. Must be some sort of wonkiness in the methodology.

While The Circus Was In Town

Apparently there was some sort of hearing in Congress today, got a lot of attention. I was busy splitting firewood for the coming winter, so I missed out on all that.

But Congress did manage to confirm a new Secretary of Defense. I guess it was lucky that the circus was in town in the other chamber, so that actual work could get done in the Senate for a change.

UPDATE: Apparently the circus being in town allowed the Senate to confirm Brian Buescher, without needing to go through the whole screaming jag about him being a member of the Knights of Columbus.


So why is this true?
Those in the third group are Democratic primary voters who describe themselves as moderate to conservative. This group has the largest number of minorities; it is 26 percent black, 19 percent Hispanic, 7 percent other nonwhites, and it has the smallest percentage of whites, at 48 percent.
The more progressive parts of the party are also the most white. Why is that true?

AVI raises a variation of the point he's often raised that is relevant on this topic. It's an unexplored area in our public discourse, but it does seem to hold true internationally as well as nationally.

BB: Fake News You Can Trust

This piece doesn't read much like satire, actually.

To be an "Artist, Warrior, Philosopher"- A Good Goal

Somehow in my bouncing around the internet, I came across a rather interesting person- Jason Everman.  He was for a brief time a touring member of Nirvana, and a member of Soundgarden, but in addition to that-
In September 1994, influenced by Renaissance icon Benvenuto Cellini (who stated that a well-rounded man is an artist, warrior and philosopher), he left Mind Funk to join the United States Army, subsequently serving with the Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion and later with the Special Forces, serving tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.[4] After completing his service, he took a break from the military and lived in New York City where he briefly worked as a bike messenger. He then traveled to Tibet and worked and studied in a Buddhist monastery before returning to the U.S. He reentered the Army when offered the chance to join Special Forces.
Then went on to get a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Columbia, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Military History from Norwich.

Seems like an interesting fellow.  I'm thinking he'd be more than welcome here.

Borderline thinking

Democratic operatives are unhappy to detect a growing view that their border policy amounts to lawlessness. The President's common-sense view is “We’ve got to straighten out our immigration laws.” Pressed to rebut this approach, the Center for American Progress has released a report arguing that Trump
has relied on the administrative discretion built into the immigration system to bypass real reform. That failure to substantially reform the immigration system, the report argues, actually undermines the rule of law—broken systems have cracks, after all, and with numerous immigration-related executive orders and proposed rule changes facing legal challenges in federal court, the president has shown himself willing to exploit them.
I find that passage difficult to parse. There's the opening question of what "real reform" is. Whatever it is, we're asked to believe that Trump is "bypassing" it by relying on "administrative discretion." Then, by bypassing "real reform," Trump is "undermining the rule of law."

Nope, still don't get it.  Let's try again:  how do we know he's undermining the rule of law?  Well, because the immigration system is broken.  It's the nature of broken systems to have cracks.  Trump is exploiting the cracks by issuing executive orders and rule changes, which his opponents are challenging in federal court.  See?

In the meantime, Trump's opponents don't have any public message on how they'd amend the immigration laws, other than to abolish them.  Given a choice between abolishing the border and straightening out (i.e., reforming) our immigration laws, voters do seem likely to go with Trump.  Whatever the opposition view is, it doesn't look like reform.  It looks like lawlessness.

Mighty Thora

I realize that all heroes have to be women now -- and not 'heroines,' either, that word has to be erased from the language. So James Bond and the God of Thunder must, of course, also become women.

Natalie Portman, though? You couldn't find a female Strongman competitor who could act?

Anyway, people still aren't happy.
A number of feminist commenters complained that people were calling Portman’s character “female Thor,” saying she should be addressed simply as “Thor.”
Wait a second now. Are you sure about 'her' pronouns?

And yet they still don't see what the underlying problem is

When your currency holds less value than one which is only usable within a game, do you even actually have a real economy anymore?

And yet, CNN will defend the current crop of Socialists in the House and running for President without batting an eye.

P.S.  From experience, I will tell you a shrewd negotiator can even make World of Warcraft gold even MORE valuable.  All it takes is telling a friend, "Hey, if you buy me lunch, I'll give you 100 gold in game."

Why the negative vibes, man?

On Wednesday Mueller is set to testify before television, I mean Congress. "Not everybody is reading the book, but people will watch the movie."  If only the movie had trailers, they might include shots of Trump surrogates adopting Oman-like defenses of "these questions are demeaning" and "I refuse to be distracted by the negative energy."

What happens if you can't get the president:


Glenn Reynolds:
THAT’S DIFFERENT BECAUSE SHUT UP: And what about Ilhan Omar’s bigotry? The left seems to think racist prejudice is okay if it comes from a cool Muslim. “Yes, if you try to draw attention to Omar’s promotion of anti-Semitic tropes and her feverish, disproportionate obsession with Zionists, you will be denounced as the racist. Taking Orwellian contortionism to new levels, we’re now told it is racist to speak of Omar’s racism.”
Remember, the left doesn’t have standards, only slogans.

Where's Cassandra When You Need Her?

That woman should not have given up blogging. She'd be having a field day with this.
The life of Armstrong stands in such fascinating tension with the way people have imagined the moon in the past. The moon was feminine, overwhelmingly powerful, and a vast imaginary expanse where anything might be possible—he trod on it.
We lost a lot when she decided to pursue a more private life.

"National Conservatism"

A recent conference has a YouTube channel featuring its lectures. A piece in the WSJ lays out why it seems plausible to so many right now:
In America, the nationalist claim is that the federal government has abdicated basic responsibilities and broken trust with large numbers of citizens:

• It has failed to secure the national borders and provide regular procedures for immigration and assimilation.

• It has delegated lawmaking to foreign and international bodies, and domestic bureaucracies, that have scant regard for the interests and values of many of our fellow citizens.

• It has acquiesced in, or actively promoted, the splintering of the nation into contending racial, religious and other groups and has favored some at the expense of others.

• It has neglected core American principles and traditions—separation of powers, due process, the presumption of innocence, local prerogative, freedom of association—allowing them to atrophy or be subjected to political conditions.


The illusion of unlimited optionality has been especially damaging in government and politics. A dramatic recent instance came in the Democrats’ presidential primary debates, where many candidates favored both open borders and free health care for everyone who shows up. This would plainly amount to the abolition of the United States. Still, the proponents would say in all earnestness that they have ingenious plans to make it work.

That is an extreme instance of the phenomenon that every social problem or inconvenience summons forth costly new spending or regulatory solutions, with hardly a care to where the resources will come from or what other problems will be slighted. It is a bipartisan phenomenon, and it has left us with a massively indebted government that spends trillions of borrowed dollars on our immediate needs, with the bills kited to future generations.

The American nation-state is rich, powerful and less constrained than any other, yet it is much more constrained than we have led ourselves to believe. Thinking of ourselves as a nation-state is, as Peter Thiel has observed, a means of unromantic self-knowledge.
That all sounds basically correct to me.

A Small Roundup

The President does tend to the insult as a form of rhetoric, doesn't he? Once in a while I really wish he wouldn't; but a lot of the time, I think that justice is served by the insulting of many of his targets. Most of these folks are politicians from a particularly bad crop. We could do with fewer of them, and instead they're showered with honors and treated as if they merit high dignity.

A Protestant Heresy

Joshua Mitchell argues that identity politics is a species of heresy:
The categories of transgression and innocence, purity and stain, have now effectively migrated from the mainline churches into the universities and from thence into the Democratic Party, which is now the political wing of the universities. To say the same thing in a different manner, the universities are now the theological wing of the Democratic Party. Together, they disseminate the political theology of identity politics....

Christian realism, however, is not enough. Identity politics understands the original sin of the white heterosexual male to implicate all that he has touched, not least of which is the nation, which is taken to be a construction of his that is responsible for the great wars of the twentieth century; colonialism in Africa, the Middle East, South America, and South Asia; and slavery in America....

Identity politics recognizes irredeemable sin, but seeks an immanent resolution to the problem, namely, purging all that the white heterosexual male has constructed—including the nation. Not by the sacrifice of Jesus do we achieve redemption, but rather through the renunciation of the nation and its irredeemable stain. That is why citizens in Europe and in America are clamoring for the EU or for global governance. In the world identity politics constructs, there is no other way for their stain to be removed.

Christian realism has nothing to say about this now ascendant frame of mind.... God’s salvific plan of the world of nations is his to disclose, in a providential history that man cannot grasp in advance. Identity politics finds this to be a filthy delusion. The Christian God, the nations he authorizes, and his so-called providential history are the invention of the white heterosexual male who himself and all that he has invented must be purged so that the world may be made pure.
He has some theological recommendations. Perhaps it is right to say that only God can forgive such sins, and thus that eliminating a God who can forgive also eliminates the possibility of forgiveness. Then what? Romans 12:19 (like Deut. 32) assigned vengeance to the Lord God alone. Without the God to own it, vengeance flies free; and without the God to forgive and to instruct us to forgive each other, vengeance is all that's left.