Impersonal warfare

From Daniel McCarthy at the Spectator:
The outrage was hypocritical: drone strikes aerosolize wedding parties full of innocent people on a semi-regular basis, but the minute one takes out a general who had masterminded insurgency operations against US troops in a war zone, Congress suddenly has an attack of conscience. Like impeachment, this reveals more about the real character of the institution than a wise legislator would want known. Killing Soleimani, a man who deserved to die, was more controversial than ‘collateral damage’ in the form of civilian lives lost because Congress does not have the courage to question the underlying morality of the wars and prolonged occupations that are now a permanent feature of American foreign policy. What made Soleimani’s death so objectionable was that it was so unusual — so personal — when our political class likes to believe that war is now a science, to be conducted only as approved by the experts.

Impeachment all the way down

Matthew Continetti thinks this will be the first president to be impeached multiple times, a constant background noise.
Maybe Nancy Pelosi waited to send impeachment to the Senate because she was waiting for her pens to arrive....“Nothing says seriousness and sobriety like handing out souvenirs,” said Mitch McConnell.

Knock Em Stiff, Boys

A song that could hardly be more to my liking.

UPDATE: From your lips to God’s ear, Sage.

Your Vote is Unconstitutional

Originally I posted this as an update to something below, but it's really worthy of its own post. From NBC News, an argument that Trump voters are violating the law and voting for Trump is probably unconstitutional.

Steppe-in Up

Here's about 40 minutes of traditional Mongolian music from the Altai Band. I enjoy this more than The Hu, although "Wolf Totem" and "Yuve Yuve Yu" are on my regular playlist now.

Dalia al-Aqidi

This is quite a video.

She's running against Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is in the Democrat +26 5th District of Minnesota. You might think her appeal to patriotism as herself also a Muslim female refugee might be wise, as Omar is frequently criticized for her open disdain for the culture and nation that took her in and raised her to power. However, you probably wouldn't expect her to tie herself so visibly to the American military, nor to repeatedly praise "my President."

It's an interesting strategy given the terrain. We'll see if it pays off for her. In any case, you should learn her name. My guess is she'll be around.

Medieval Metal

So, listening to The Hu on YouTube brings a lot of interesting recommendations. Apocalypse Orchestra was one of them. Not sure what I think, but it seemed appropriate to share here.

Getting It Wrong

Apparently we've been mistaken about the name of a building for thousands of years.
Dutch scholars claim that the name “Parthenon” – popularised in the Roman period - originally belonged to an entirely different building, not the vast stone temple that looms over Athens and attracts millions of tourists a year.

The real Parthenon was in fact an ancient Greek treasury which contained offerings to the goddess Athena, according to the research by Utrecht University.

Today known as the Erechtheion, it is located about 100 yards from the main temple on the Acropolis, the massive rocky escarpment that rises from central Athens.

Rather than being known as the Parthenon, the big temple should be known by its original ancient Greek name, the tongue-twisting Hekatompedon.
It's hard to correct an error that old.

So That's How It Is, Eh?

Alan Dershowitz, noted scholar at Harvard Law and civil libertarian, has been demoted to "Jeffrey Epstein's lawyer" by CNBC thanks to his willingness to speak against the impeachment process.

West Virginia Swings for Fences

I read earlier this week that some West Virginia politicians were inviting most of Virginia to secede and join them.  (Well, that's how we got West Virginia to start with, actually:  it was the one act of secession from the Civil War that was allowed to stand.)  Now I see that their legislature is considering a state sanctuary bill that is really pretty aggressive:
A bill introduced in the West Virginia House would set the foundation to create a gun sanctuary state by prohibiting enforcement of past, present and future federal gun control.... The bills include a detailed definition of actions that qualify as “infringement,” including but not limited to:

* taxes and fees on firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition that would have a chilling effect on firearms ownership;
* registration and tracking schemes applied to firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition that would have a chilling effect;
* any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens;
* any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.
My guess is that the Feds might have let you get away with anything except the refusal to accept taxes.

Take Care of Your Own

The secret to success is conservative family values — even for liberals.

Bach on the Banjo

I'd never thought of it, but it turns out it's a match made in heaven.  There are a lot of videos out there of Bach on the Banjo, but these are quite nice- Enjoy.

Not a Bad Idea

A climate change / carbon plan that sounds like a good thing to do anyway. 

Fake News Today

BB: Somber Impeachment Ceremony Concludes with Impeachment Dancers

A Trade Deal with Mexico & Canada

This one is bigger. Axios says it’s a great deal for Democrats and organized labor and a complete rejection of Republican ideas; well, but mostly Democrats voted against it. With the China deal, this is about $2 Trillion in estimated benefit to American workers and farmers.

Interesting times.

A Trade Deal with China

Some say it’s a watershed, and others that it’s just one phase that leaves the bigger issues unsolved. Still, one would think a deal of such consequence would garner more attention and discussion.

Remain in Mexico

A simple shift in policy made a huge difference at the Mexican border.  Only a tiny fraction of "asylum seekers" were being granted asylum; the rest were being allowed to cross the border, fade into the landscape, and never appear at another hearing.  President Trump negotiated deals with Mexico and Guatemala to hold the asylum seekers until the U.S. could process their claims.  This amounts to a virtual wall that's even more effective in some ways that a physical one:  a psychological barrier to crashing the gate and hoping for the best, with the odds overwhelmingly in your favor.

From the beginning, the unstoppable pressure at the border was from people who'd learned that the important thing was not following asylum procedures, but simply getting through physically in any way possible, including putting children at risk.  Once they were through, they knew they were highly unlikely ever to have to worry about the asylum rules--or any immigration procedures--again.  Not only did that encourage illegal border crossings, it encouraged them in overwhelming floods, for the strategic power of numbers.

Now, arrests at the border are so low that the detention facilities are under capacity, and nearly a thousand border patrol agents who'd been pulled off the border to administer the detention cells have been returned to the border.

Should we grant asylum to more people?  Very possibly, but Congress should do it.  Kicking down the gate and helplessly watching the incoming flood wasn't working.

Sweet Caroline

People who hate the song also hate this moment very, very much.

I bought a motorcycle once from a Neil Diamond impersonator near St. Petersburg. I was incredulous when he told me that’s what he did, but you know what they say: everybody’s grandma retires to Tampa, and St. Pete is where her mother lives.

Good Luck, Mike

Flynn withdraws guilty plea. It’s been obvious for a while he was subject to major prosecutorial misconduct. Plus, he drew fire from the beginning for the same reason Obama hired him for DIA: he called the intelligence community on its misconduct regarding Afghanistan.

For whatever he did do wrong, he’s been more than adequately punished. Also for much he did right.

Obviously Correct

Kansas man proposes trial by combat to resolve divorce. In accord with ancient female privilege, he offers to permit his wife to send her lawyer as champion, so that of the two of them only his life would really be at stake.

Her lawyer might consider a new profession, but hey: I’m pretty sure the legal profession would be improved by having more skin in the game!

Quid pro quo

It wasn't just the $1.7 billion in cash on pallets.
In January 2017, Obama greenlighted the shipment of 130 tons of uranium to Iran.
If this all seems unbelievable, it’s because it is—and also because you’re probably still imagining that Obama’s goal was to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. But once you understand the real purpose, these moves become much clearer. To wit: Why did Obama give the regime enough uranium to make 10 nuclear bombs? To pressure the incoming Trump administration to stick with the nuclear deal. If Trump chose to leave the JCPOA, he’d have to deal with the fact that with 130 tons of uranium already on hand Iran had an easier path to the bomb. In effect, the last president handed the Iranians a loaded gun to be pointed at his successor.

Propaganda, For and Against

A study in simple contrasts. I didn't realize Hitler was so well-known in Iran.


In which Rep. Occasio-Cortez invokes the law of supply and demand perfectly correctly.

A Protest in Iran

The Iranian government painted the US and Israeli flags on one of the streets where the citizenry are protesting that government (this time openly demanding the Ayatollah resign).

The protestors are actively avoiding walking on those flags (I don't speak enough Farsi--which is to say not a single syllable--to understand what they're chanting).

Eric Hines