Seems like a solid point

Project Veritas’ lawsuit came to be due to The New York Times’ labeling Project Veritas’ investigation into illegal ballot harvesting taking place in Minnesota during the 2020 election cycle as 'deceptive.'
The New York Times defended calling Project Veritas' Minnesota Ballot Harvesting videos 'deceptive' by arguing this was simply an 'unverifiable expression of opinion.'
Project Veritas pointed out this 'opinion' was printed in the news section of The New York Times and the Court agreed: 'if a writer interjects an opinion in a news article (and will seek to claim legal protections as opinion) it stands to reason that the writer should have an obligation to alert the reader ... that it is opinion.' The Times did not do so, and the Court found this troubling.
As I was reading the other day, "Hey, we were just inserting our unverifiable opinion into the narrative in order to tell you what to think. Don't shoot the messenger!" Next step: depositions of the New York Times reporter and publisher.

They lost me with "vision statement"

In case we needed more reasons to let the education tax dollars (if any there must be) go to parents instead of schools, the public and private version of which should have to compete with each other and with home-schooling, there's this from Zero Hedge:
A proposed curriculum in California for elementary and high school students would attempt to “decolonize” American society with an “ethnic studies” course.
In the course, children will be instructed in Aztec chants to various gods of human sacrifice and cannibalism, asking the gods to make them warriors for social justice.
This is all to help the children “challenge racist, bigoted, discriminatory, imperialist/colonial beliefs” rooted in “white supremacy, racism and other forms of power and oppression.”
For example, Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war, was traditionally worshipped with human sacrifice. The school children will ask the deity to instill in them “a revolutionary spirit.”
The curriculum’s vision statement admits this is not about education, but rather a “tool for transformation, social, economic, and political change, and liberation.”

Mainstream Extremism

Kyle Shideler points out that the word "extremism" is even more dubious than it appeared the last time we discussed it. 
How the government shifted its “Counter-Extremism” strategy to target the mainstream.
The narrative is here, and it doesn’t like you very much.

In recent remarks before members of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, the chief of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency claimed that domestic extremism has become “part of the cultural mainstream.”

Former DHS official and USA Today contributor Elizabeth Neumann agrees: “Far-Right Extremists went mainstream under Trump.”

“Extremists have gone mainstream,” echoes journalist Zahra Ahmad. “Lawyers, realtors and every-day folks make up their ranks.” Ahmad cites a figure suggesting a quarter of Americans hold “ideas incubated by white nationalists.”

Not to be left out, NPR warns that white extremism “seeps” into the mainstream. The Atlantic says the mainstream has gone extremist too. A study by the Chicago Project on Security and Threats warns that most January 6 “insurrectionists” were mainstream to the extreme...
That's incoherent, as he points out.
This is not sustainable. The mainstream of a society cannot be extremist. It might be foolish, or misled, or prone to irrational things, as crowds often are. The mainstream of a society might even be immoral or wicked in an objective sense when measured against other societies. But what it cannot be is extreme. An elite, however, can be extremist. An elite’s views may be so outside the mainstream of the society, beholden to foreign ideologies, that their views are unrecognizable to those they purport to lead.
He suggests a 'three cups of tea' strategy for getting to know those mainstream extremists, and figuring out how to work with them instead of against them. I suppose it's worth a try; although as a long-time counterinsurgent myself I can say that what really worked in Iraq was paying them to guard their own houses and communities, while trying to get the central government to treat them more fairly than it was inclined to do. The reason it stopped working was that we left the central government to its own devices, and it immediately resumed mistreatment. 

Who's going to make sure the central government doesn't do what it's inclined to do this time? We could do it in Iraq because we didn't really have any animus towards any of the Iraqi factions, and could not have cared less about their internal disputes. As such, all sides could respect the US military as a disinterested agent. Who is the reliable third party who can tell our central government to play nice with the parts of the citizenry it despises? 

Sensible cop

I enjoyed reading this blog, which is published by a guy who comments on Astral Codex Ten.

The Chinese People Are Not a Problem, but China Really Is

Vice is stretching quite a bit at points here, trying to make yesterday's shootings in Atlanta evidence of some kind of broad anti-Asian sentiment; and especially in trying to avoid blaming the Chinese Communists for their role in spreading the virus. The Communists disappeared doctors who tried to give warnings to the world, while allowing international travel from Wuhan and elsewhere well after they knew it was a hazard. 

Still, Vice is right that this well-intended sentiment probably should have been thought out more than it was.
During a House Judiciary Committee meeting Thursday, Rep. Chip Roy said Texans “believe in justice” while simultaneously invoking the imagery of one of America’s most unjust legacies.  

“There’s old sayings in Texas about ‘Find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree,’” Roy said Wednesday during the House Judiciary Committee meeting. “We take justice very seriously, and we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys. That’s what we believe.” 

On Tuesday eight people were killed and another was injured after a suspect is alleged to have bought a gun and targeted three spas in the Atlanta area. Most of the victims were Asian women.
In principle Roy was expressing anger at the murders, not racism towards Asians; his point was that murderers should be hanged, not that Asians ought to be. However, it's quite right to point out that the quality of justice in our lynching history was ugly at best.
As if Roy’s point wasn’t convoluted enough, it was also patently ahistorical. Lynchings are not, in fact, complimentary to the “rule of law.”  The 1871 “Chinese Massacre” in Los Angeles, in which at least 17 Asian immigrants were hanged, was one of the worst mass lynchings in U.S. history. 
If they'd stopped there, I'd have nothing to say against their argument, but they really shouldn't be using any of this to create defenses for the Communists. 
"My concern about this hearing is it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric in a free society, free speech, and away from the rule of law, taking out bad guys,” Roy added.

According to Roy, these “bad guys'' include the Chinese government, which he referred to as “Chi-Coms.” ... Former President Donald Trump often referred to COVID-19—which he repeatedly downplayed even as hundreds of Americans died on his watch—as the “Chinese virus” and “kung flu.” Current White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said this week that there was “no question” that Trump’s statements “led to perceptions of the Asian American community that are inaccurate, unfair,” and that they “elevated threats against Asian Americans.”
There's no reason that criticisms of the Chinese government, which is actively engaged in genocide and slavery, should redound even against the Chinese people -- let alone Asian-Americans. The People's Republic of China is a tyranny of the first water. There are plenty of good people in China, such as those who have recently been robbed of their cherished freedom in Hong Kong. 

Somehow our national conversation turned this weird murderer in Atlanta into a national problem, one that returns as always to the same themes. It would be good if we could stop trying to view every problem in America through the lens of racism and politics; but that is probably too much to hope for, as it is too valuable for a whole class of politicians. It would be nice if people like Roy would stop stepping in it in ways that give opportunity, but that may be too much to hope for as well.

What might still be avoidable is the new theme of protecting the PRC. They really are evil -- the government, I mean, not the people who live under it. Anyone who spins up a defense of the PRC out of any of these stories about America should be asked why, and challenged on the moral quality of doing so. If you think you oppose slavery, they are slavers. If you think you oppose genocide, they are murdering and sterilizing people today.

The Sons of Liberty

Looking for an old quote from Rio Grande, I came across this old post from 2005. I was so confident when I was young.
Things that go south in a serious way will be met with a serious response. We'll form lawful militias to keep order if the government breaks down under disease or disaster. We'll volunteer for government-led efforts if they need us, or form private companies to take care of the jobs the government can't handle.... What comes, comes, but however hard it is we shall stand and fight it. It is our way, as it is our heritage.

We are the Sons of Liberty. We have nothing to fear. When death comes for us, we will pass into that world of which so much has been written, where there is no fear but love and all love is without pain. If we have done our duty, we will leave behind us those we have bred or trained in the ways of America. They will take up our cause and bury our bones, and our names will be their warcry.

There are names like that written in gold, below. The men they trained will give them voice. They are warriors, heroes, and riders of bulls. Perhaps there is a name like that on your lips as you read this: Washington's? Jackson's? Your father's? Another?

So what is there to fear? Live boldly. This is America, the home of the brave.

God give me the strength to finish as I began. I don't mind to die at any time: even today is not too soon. Only let me die in such a way that this younger me would not be ashamed.

No, Not Consistency!

The Pentagon is worried.
During military training sessions to address extremism in the ranks, some service members have challenged why the Pentagon is not treating the violence during racial injustice protests last summer as equal to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

That the two events are viewed as equivalent by some troops has caught the Pentagon’s attention in its effort to educate service members that extremist views and activity — on either side of the political spectrum — go against the oath they took when they joined the military, the top enlisted leader told reporters on Thursday.

“This is coming from every echelon that we’re talking to,” said Ramón Colón-López, the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Possibly you should listen, if in fact every echelon is telling you the exact same thing. 

What, by the way, is "extremism," and why is it forbidden? The military has traditionally permitted extreme pacifists to serve, even accommodating them by finding nonviolent forms of service for them to perform. What exactly is the philosophical principle at work here? Thou shalt not depart from commonly held opinions... well, thou might depart X far, but not X+1? Where is the X? What is the 1? 

Exceptions and Rules

LTC(R) Samantha Nerove has an impressive record, as she explains in her recent article for The Federalist.
I couldn’t just barely meet the standards, because that would have given them ammunition to use against me. I had to crush the standards. And I did. I could easily do 100 push-ups in two minutes; got maximum scores on land navigation tests and always sprinted the entire course; and aced 12-mile road marches carrying 55-pound rucksacks (10 pounds more than the requirement). I weighed 120 pounds.
Now I know Sam, so I believe every word of that. What I think, though, is that she makes a great case for accepting her as an exception to an ordinary rule against women in the combat arms. All rules need exceptions, for the same reason that logical proofs don't really apply to physical things. There are going to be exceptional cases, and the rules should be weak enough to make room for things to be what they are.

That said, the ordinary situation is not that women of 120 pounds can or do crush military standards. The Army is having to redesign its combat fitness test because 65% of female soldiers fail it. And those are not recruits, but serving soldiers who have already been subject to the rigors of military discipline for some time.

There are a very few combat arms positions where women are really needed, such as for interoperations with male special operators who need to blend in to a mixed population rather than appearing as a military-aged-male unit. There are some similar positions, especially in medial units and civil affairs, where women can make a big difference in terms of the ability to move in female areas of households especially in the Islamic world. The exceptional cases could fill those out nicely.

For the vast majority of cases, however, it would be wise to adhere to the rule. Pass the test, or give way to someone who can. The Samanthas of the world will continue to crush whatever standards you put in their way, because it's very important to them to do that. They'll excel, and room should be made for them to excel. But the Army isn't made up of only exceptional individuals; like any sufficiently large organization, most of the members will be ordinary. Exceptions should be for the exceptional; a well-crafted fitness rule shouldn't be excepted for a general inability to meet it.

Plato's Parmenides V: The Tell

I've been trying to figure out how to approach the rest of the dialogue. This is where Parmenides is given the ability to speak most directly and plainly, and for himself. For that reason, I am disinclined to add a layer of summary or explication; maybe the best thing is to encounter it directly, with all that has been said before as support.

It's too long to quote, though, and probably will benefit from extended discussion. So let's try it this way: read it yourselves, encountering it directly. Ask any questions you have in the comments to this post. Then let's tackle it in three or four sessions next week.

Phil Sheridan Can Order What He Wants

In case any of you were curious about how the cavalry movie ends, it ends just this way.

A St. Patrick's Day Feast, VII: Rifles

It might be that some of you own a little Armalite. Perhaps some were lost in boating accidents recently. I hear that is common.

Hopefully there will be no reason to regret their loss in those boating accidents I hear so much about.

A St. Patrick’s Day Feast, VI

A St. Patrick’s Day Feast, V: The Actual Feast

Shepherds Pie and Irish soda bread. 

A St. Patrick's Day Feast, IV

Now back to our regularly-scheduled program.

A Germanic Interlude

We interrupt today's Celtic feasting for an attempted conversation between and Old English speaker and an Old Norse speaker, to see if in fact they were mutually intelligible languages.

Old English and modern Friesian are, in fact, sufficiently similar to be intelligible. 

A St. Patrick’s Day Feast, III

I love this one because, while it is “a traditional tune,” it was an error to claim it was in the period of the movie. The Fenian revolt was nearly contemporary to the American Civil War; this movie is supposed to have happened a few years after. The “old woman” who saw the Fenian men training in her youth would still have been young. 

It’s a fine song anyway. As mentioned below, this movie was made by John Ford’s players in order to fund The Quiet Man. The studio didn’t think a movie about Irish things was viable, and anyway it was going to be expensive to film on location. So they made Ford and Company film another cavalry movie to pay for it. 

The Quiet Man ended up making much more money.

A St. Patrick's Day Feast, II

The long fight scene from The Quiet Man. Don't watch it if you've not seen the movie; watch the movie, and you'll see it in a far better way.

A St. Patrick's Day Feast, I

Rio Grande

Now today is the right day to watch The Quiet Man, if you can. It is one of the greatest good movies ever made. But the Warner Bro's didn't think it could make any money, a movie about Irish Americans and Irishmen. 

So they told John Ford and John Wayne that they had to make another movie, a cavalry movie, to fund their Irish movie. It turned out to make more by far than the very successful Rio Grande.

There's a small matter of fitness: can you ride like the ancient Romans?

It breaks my heart to think how far we have fallen from this display of respect of man to woman; this loss of chivalry. We aren't half our grandfather's generation. God help us.

Extended Waylon

I'm mostly going to do St. Patrick's Day stuff today, though I'm not at all Irish except through the distant way in which the Scots are "Scotti" from Ireland once upon a time. However, this piece is an extended cut of a 1970s piece in which Waylon and his crew were at the very top of their game.


The songs are fun, but the real meat of it is when they are done singing and start playing.

Sovereign Crime

Perhaps the most important question of the moment in terms of self-governance, and whether it still exists.
Your government, at the state and federal level, the FBI, government agencies can be in on the scam.  That is the realization slowly being accepted by millions of Americans.

We have technologies that can identify dead voters the moment they cast a ballot.  We can identify people who are out-of-state, voted twice, are underage, live in a vacant lot or a UPS or FedEx postal box.  We can even show a photo of that vacant lot so you can see where your fake neighbor claims to live.

Literally, the second their ballot is counted, they can be flagged as a likely fraud.

Yes, we can deploy that technology today....

The question is, if the government is pretty much in on the election fraud, does it really matter?

It is important to note, however, that the government is not the sovereign. It may be that they have forgotten who the sovereign really is

“Seeing as How it’s Near the 17th of March...”

A hand extended in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.


Not to spoil the fun, but the opening joke in that clip is immediately relevant to the Parmenides post below.

Plato's Parmenides IV: The Setup

After the great difficulties are raised, Socrates admits that his idea of Forms seems hard to defend. Parmenides agrees that it is very hard to defend, but in terms that strongly suggest that he nevertheless believes it must be right:
These, Socrates, said Parmenides, are a few, and only a few of the
difficulties in which we are involved if ideas really are and we determine
each one of them to be an absolute unity. He who hears what may be
said against them will deny the very existence of them-and even if
they do exist, he will say that they must of necessity be unknown
to man; and he will seem to have reason on his side, and as we were
remarking just now, will be very difficult to convince; a man must
be gifted with very considerable ability before he can learn that
everything has a class and an absolute essence; and still more remarkable
will he be who discovers all these things for himself, and having
thoroughly investigated them is able to teach them to others.

I agree with you, Parmenides, said Socrates; and what you say is very
much to my mind. 

And yet, Socrates, said Parmenides, if a man, fixing his attention
on these and the like difficulties, does away with ideas of things
and will not admit that every individual thing has its own determinate
idea which is always one and the same, he will have nothing on which
his mind can rest; and so he will utterly destroy the power of reasoning,
as you seem to me to have particularly noted. 
Parmenides is suggesting that, without the Forms as at least objects of thought, we cannot reason at all. He's also telling us something about the character of a Form: it is characterized by an essence, which is absolute and unitary. Not just some things of especially high and noble character must have Forms, but anything at all. 

Now we still have the difficulty of understanding whether these Forms are metaphysical or psychological. Parmenides' defense of them is that we need them to think; and if that is true, it is possible that the world doesn't have Forms in it, but rather that they are the way that our minds work. A thing then doesn't have an essence, but is assigned one by us. In this way, everything becomes an artifact, in a way: the thing in the world is not, but the thing as it exists in our mind is an artifact that we have made and assigned a purpose, our thought an artifact just as surely as if we had built a fork out of wood. We made the thing out of raw materials we found in the world, and assigned it a purpose to serve us. 

In that case, then, telos is real enough; but all the telos is human-made, and not inherent in the world. (This is roughly the pre-Socratic philosopher Protagoras' position: "Man is the measure of all things," as it is often given.)

Aristotle will not believe this; his assigning Form as not-separate from the things means that the form really is in the thing. We learn the form by examining the things; our minds grasp it from grappling with the things we encounter. Aristotle's Form is metaphysical, and also physical (but not material). Plato's, as presented in the Republic, is metaphysical but not physical. Parmenides isn't being clear about what he takes the nature of the Forms to be.

Socrates confesses that he has no idea how to proceed under the circumstances. Parmenides tells him this is because he is young, and as yet untrained in rhetoric and debate. If he developed skills in this kind of discourse, it would help him work out his philosophical ideas in a way that he is not ready to do yet.

Socrates asks him how to do this, and Parmenides gives a response he surely meant to be helpful.
I mean, for example, that in the case of this very hypothesis of Zeno's
about the many, you should inquire not only what will be the consequences
to the many in relation to themselves and to the one, and to the one
in relation to itself and the many, on the hypothesis of the being
of the many, but also what will be the consequences to the one and
the many in their relation to themselves and to each other, on the
opposite hypothesis. Or, again, if likeness is or is not, what will
be the consequences in either of these cases to the subjects of the
hypothesis, and to other things, in relation both to themselves and
to one another, and so of unlikeness; and the same holds good of motion
and rest, of generation and destruction, and even of being and not-being.
In a word, when you suppose anything to be or not to be, or to be
in any way affected, you must look at the consequences in relation
to the thing itself, and to any other things which you choose-to each
of them singly, to more than one, and to all; and so of other things,
you must look at them in relation to themselves and to anything else
which you suppose either to be or not to be, if you would train yourself
perfectly and see the real truth. 
Socrates finds this answer as mystifying as most readers do when they first encounter it. He asks for a practical example to help him understand how this process is supposed to work.
That, Parmenides, is a tremendous business of which you speak, and
I do not quite understand you; will you take some hypothesis and go
through the steps?-then I shall apprehend you better. 

That, Socrates, is a serious task to impose on a man of my years.
Nevertheless, that will be the business of the next part. Zeno and others present join in the request to hear Parmenides walk through an example at length, so that they can better understand how to perform this sort of inquiry. 

UPDATE: If your response to reading Parmenides' answer was similar to this, don't feel bad. It's perfectly normal. 

Politicizing the Military

I don't know how much attention this stuff gets, but it really is both stupid and illegal. It's not just the praetorian guard stuff they're pulling with the National Guard deployment to DC, either. This weekend there were several stunts in which military personnel and leadership deployed as political weapons against American citizens who disagree with the current government. 



Here's the military publication cited in that last. The conduct is not illegal because the publication says so; the publication says so because it's illegal. The general officer who signed that document is none other than our current Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, currently overseeing what increasingly looks like an opportunity to purge right-wing views from the military. 

The leadership, at least, has internalized that it is their job to parrot political support for the administration and mock its enemies. The fact that this is illegal will only matter if laws are still being enforced -- well, I mean, obviously they would be against you. It does seem like the lesson of the last few years, though, is that the FBI and the DOJ work for the political establishment: they exist to excuse their crimes, but punish their enemies. Has the military legal sphere fallen as well? Signs point to "yes." 

"Get right before you get left, boomer." From an official USMC account. A lot of those Boomers were Marines too, and they fought a harder war in Vietnam than we ever faced. 



What About Confession? What Do You Think Confession's For?

"The Archbishop Who Fears for Joe Biden’s Soul"
When Catholics receive Communion, they must strive to do so “worthily,” meaning they have repented of their sins and desire to live in keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church. In the Bible, the apostle Paul warns of grave consequences for those who take Communion unworthily. But Naumann is also worried about the message Biden communicates to other Catholics when he takes Communion while continuing to support abortion rights: “Whether he intends it or not, he’s basically saying to people, ‘You can be a good Catholic and do similar things,’” [Archbishop] Naumann told me.
I don't know. Captain Thomas Bartholomew Red has a good point. What's a mortal sin or two as long as you've got Confession? 


The problem isn't so much the sinning as the lack of confession. If you could just admit the cannibalism was wrong, it'd be more tolerable all the way around. 


It’s been a minute since a singer could get away with calling himself “Stonewall Jackson,” but I remember hearing this on the radio.