Black Rifle, White Flag

It's understandable, given the pressure around 'domestic extremists' and a counter-terrorism strategy from the White House aimed at Americans on the wrong side politically, that some people would want to try to negotiate a separate peace. Black Rifle Coffee is led by such people.

It's ok. They love Big Brother now. 
Black Rifle professes to be eager to put some of its fiercest and trolliest culture-war fights behind it. “What I figured out the last couple of years is that being really political, in the sense of backing an individual politician or any individual party, is really [expletive] detrimental,” Hafer told me. “And it’s detrimental to the company. And it’s detrimental, ultimately, to my mission.”

Hafer and Best were talking in a glorified supply closet in the Salt Lake City offices, where potential designs for new coffee bags were hanging on the wall. One of them featured a Renaissance-style rendering of St. Michael the Archangel, a patron saint of military personnel, shooting a short-barreled rifle. In Afghanistan and Iraq, Hafer knew a number of squad mates who had a St. Michael tattoo; for a time, he wore into battle a St. Michael pendant that a Catholic friend gave him. But while the St. Michael design was being mocked up, Hafer said he learned from a friend at the Pentagon that an image of St. Michael trampling on Satan had been embraced by white supremacists because it was reminiscent of the murder of George Floyd. Now any plans for the coffee bag had been scrapped. “This won’t see the light of day,” Hafer said.

“You can’t let sections of your customers hijack your brand and say, ‘This is who you are,’” Best told me. “It’s like, no, no, we define that.” The Rittenhouse episode may have cost the company thousands of customers, but, Hafer believed, it also allowed Black Rifle to draw a line in the sand. “It’s such a repugnant group of people,” Hafer said. “It’s like the worst of American society, and I got to flush the toilet of some of those people that kind of hijacked portions of the brand.” 

Canceling St. Michael the Archangel because some bad people may 'embrace' him is going a long way to prove your loyalty. Hafer says they won't start a "Black Lives Matter" coffee line, though. I'm not sure why not. As the journalist who suggested it during the struggle session interview pointed out, it would help them get clear of many despised former customers.

Thought Experiments Down the Slippery Slope

My friend Jim Hanson (formerly Uncle Jimbo of BLACKFIVE) has a few narrative expressions of concern about the direction of America. His models -- which he gives up front -- are 1984 and Brave New World, and he intends these to be speculative warnings along the same lines. It's not that we'll necessarily get there... but we have gotten a lot closer to 1984 than we had hoped, even with Orwell's warning.

Demons and Monsters

Two from the Babylon Bee. "According to sources, the demon will be moving to somewhere he'll feel more welcome, like Washington D.C."

The Dignity of Pirates

An amusing description from the opening of a history of the Normans.
The gulf stream flows so near to the southern coast of Norway, and to the Orkneys and Western Islands, that their climate is much less severe than might be supposed. Yet no one can help wondering why they were formerly so much more populous than now, and why the people who came westward even so long ago as the great Aryan migration, did not persist in turning aside to the more fertile countries that lay farther southward. In spite of all their disadvantages, the Scandinavian peninsula, and the sterile islands of the northern seas, were inhabited by men and women whose enterprise and intelligence ranked them above their neighbors.

Now, with the modern ease of travel and transportation, these poorer countries can be supplied from other parts of the world. And though the summers of Norway are misty and dark and short, and it is difficult to raise even a little hay on the bits of meadow among the rocky mountain slopes, commerce can make up for all deficiencies. In early times there was no commerce except that carried on by the pirates—if we may dignify their undertakings by such a respectable name,—and it was hardly possible to make a living from the soil alone. The sand dunes of Denmark and the cliffs of Norway alike gave little encouragement to tillers of the ground, yet, in defiance of all our ideas of successful colonization, when the people of these countries left them, it was at first only to form new settlements in such places as Iceland, or the Faroë or Orkney islands and stormiest Hebrides.

Apparently in the high English society that considered itself descended chiefly from the Normans, in the year 1886, 'pirate' as a description was thought to be at least somewhat respectable. Maybe they were still thinking of Sir Francis Drake.

No Longer Worried

Charles Murray is a pre-Boomer, born in 1943, which makes him 78 years old. He published his most (in)famous work, The Bell Curve, in 1994, which is almost thirty years ago now. At that point he was already almost sixty, and you might have thought him ready to speak uncomfortable thoughts without too much fear of being (as we would say now) canceled. Yet for nearly thirty years I have heard his defenders pointing out that he was misunderstood, that he didn't really say the things that he is most hotly criticized for having said.

Instapundit just posted a link to his new book, Facing Reality: Two Truths About Race in America. Here is how it describes itself:
The charges of white privilege and systemic racism that are tearing the country apart fIoat free of reality. Two known facts, long since documented beyond reasonable doubt, need to be brought into the open and incorporated into the way we think about public policy: American whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians have different violent crime rates and different means and distributions of cognitive ability. The allegations of racism in policing, college admissions, segregation in housing, and hiring and promotions in the workplace ignore the ways in which the problems that prompt the allegations of systemic racism are driven by these two realities.
Emphasis added. That's exactly the claim his defenders have been trying to walk away from all this time: that the things we tend to describe as structural racism are in fact the fault of minority groups, because they are (a) less intelligent on average and (b) more violent (perhaps because they are less intelligent). He has apparently decided to embrace this idea and use his last years in defense of it. 

I don't know that I believe that (a) is true; I am persuaded that at least some of the counterarguments I've read over the year are plausible. Claim (b) is true as a matter of empirical fact, although just why it is true is the real issue. Are some groups more violent because their situation is less tolerable or just, or are they more violent in some inherent -- perhaps even essential -- way? 

I notice the top-rated review accuses Murray of "soft pedaling" and "sugarcoating," which is definitely not how I would have described this approach. 

Another reviewer has an insight that poses an immediate danger of confirmation bias to me: "An honest appraisal of the differences in criminality between groups by actual data. What I took away, however, is that in cities of 500,000 or less these group differences are much less evident and important. What this book seems to be is a reasoned argument for a post-urban society. Most, if not all of the pathologies of modern life are associated with large urban populations."

It's not quite all -- there are still plenty of drugs in rural America, for example. It may really be most.

Debate: "Should the Declaration inform the Constitution?"

My opinion is that the Declaration of Independence is far more important than the Constitution. The Declaration is permanent, indeed eternal. It speaks of the Creator who endowed human beings with inalienable rights, for one thing. For another, it describes the purpose not only of this or that government but of every possible future government: to secure those rights. 

The Constitution, by contrast, has a beginning and an end. It began as a replacement for an earlier attempt to build a government coherent with the aims of the Declaration, and it will end when the government it created finally fails the Declaration's test. 

That is not the only opinion, however. Barack Obama thinks the Declaration is irrelevant, and that eternal truths are undesirable. 
Barack Obama treats that claim with a certain condescending dismissiveness. “The great thing about America,” he said, “is that our institutions do not rest in any claim to an absolute truth.” With a wink, he says that we all know now that all men are created equal was not really a moral truth. And yet this was important for Obama to denounce the hypocrisy of the Founders, such as Jefferson, Washington, Madison, who owned slaves. But wait, if all men are created equal was not a fact, a moral truth, then there was no moral wrongness in making slaves of other men. Then what was the problem, that the Founders have been inconsistent?

That quote is from an edifying debate hosted by the Federalist Society between Hadley Arkes and Toledo Law School Professor Lee Strang. There's a lot going on in the discussion, but one of the points I think most worth raising is against the idea of positive law as a source of values. If a thing is right and good because the law says so, well, men make the laws and the laws could thus say anything. This is framed as a law school discussion in front of then-Professor Amy Coney Barrett, but it is in fact a debate at least as old as Socrates' feud with Protagoras, or his debate with Euthyphro. 

Censor Our People, "Please"

The White House admits that it is 'flagging' online posts for censorship by technology companies like Facebook. Lawyer Ron Coleman is currently conducting a legal action against such censorship, which he argues is unconstiutional. 
"As recently as 2019, the Supreme Court reasoned 'a private entity can qualify as a state actor,' subject to First Amendment protections, under three circumstances. See Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck (2019)....

* "'When the private entity performs a traditional, exclusive public function,' see Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co. (1974); 

*"'When the government compels the private entity to take a particular action,' see Blum v. Yaretsky, (1982); or

*"'When the government acts jointly with the private entity." See Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co. (1982)."

This is what the wise guys commenting on this thread - unsurprisingly - seem to not know when they say, "Muh private company"

Ron Coleman was in Philadelphia on November 3rd when Republicans were forcibly kept from performing their legal (indeed mandated by law) poll watching duties. He and his fellows conducted a successful lawsuit that day, obtained a court order, and then had the city government simply ignore it

Moon Over Caledon

So I wrote a short story, which will be published in three parts over the next few weeks, for Kindle's new "Vella" serial fiction project. It's clearly inspired by REH's approach to fiction, which I think we could use more of at this time. It's called "Moon Over Caledon," and I think it'll even be free to read -- you only have to pony up 'tokens' on this model if it goes over three parts, which it won't. 

A Mean Old Man

Today the shop called to say that my Jeep was ready. I said I'd be by this afternoon and they said okay, but when I got there the place was closed and locked up. 

Well, hours went by and they didn't come back. Finally this old man came, long white beard, and he got out and was unlocking the door. I went up to the window after he'd gone inside and said that I inferred he must work there since he had keys.

"No, I don't work here," he said. "I own the m*****f*****." 

Well, I said, I'd like to pay to pick up my Jeep. 

"Have you been working out?" he said.

"Not today," I replied.

"How are you going to pick it up then?"

So after a while he agreed to let me come in and pay for the Jeep repairs, and then he showed me the old clutch they'd pulled out of it (which had shattered impressively). This entailed a lot of probing questions from him about whether or not I understood how a clutch works, which I do. I just don't have a lift at home that will reach the bottom of a raised Jeep, and didn't feel like trying to replace the clutch without one. 

I paid him, which required a lot more cussing from him as he tried to work the machinery for the credit card ("I used to could work these things, but they changed it all around"). He cussed his grandchildren who don't answer their phones when he needs them to remind him how to work the machinery. Finally he did figure it out. I got my keys back and was ready to go. 

I stuck out my hand. "What's your name?"

He reached for my hand, answering, "Carl," and I shook his hand firmly. 

He gasped and I let him go. "Sorry!" I said.

"No, that's good!" he replied, eyes wide. "You don't meet a lot of men anymore. I asked if you worked out, but clearly you do. What do you do, bench press?"

So I mentioned Strongman, and he knew all about it, Atlas stone loading and all that. He was very into it. He turned out to be a very cool guy for a mean old man.

Holes in the Dam

The Arizona Senate's audit of the November election in one suspicious county had a preliminary findings report today. There's a lot more to come, but this post summarizes the topline initial findings.

The big number there, 74,243, may be all or in part a clerical error as it comes from comparing a list of ballots sent out to a list of ballots received (as opposed to an actual count). At minimum, it shows incredible sloppiness about whether or not ballots were authentic; more likely, a complete lack of concern about whether the ballots were legitimate. Nobody even cared to check to see if the numbers lined up, or even if they were close.

The 11,326 is really interesting, as they were added to the voter rolls after the election but show as having voted in the election. That's more than enough to have swung the election right there. 

For those of you who watch Tucker, he had some news out of Georgia last night too. They haven't even begun a forensic audit yet, but it's clear that they need one. 
On Wednesday’s edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Carlson highlighted proven instances of voter fraud—such as duplicate ballots and falsified vote tally sheets—that granted thousands more votes to President Joe Biden as well as other suspicious and illegal activities.

Carlson also explored an unsolved May break-in at a Fulton County election warehouse, where both private security guards and local law enforcement had been stationed to protect.

“Depending on who you ask, the building contains evidence that either confirms or refutes the claim that voter fraud affected the outcome of the 2020 election in the state of Georgia,” he said.

The warehouse contained more than 140,000 absentee ballots, which have not been examined because “Fulton County officials have refused to let the public see any of these ballots.”

Biden supposedly won Georgia by about 13,000 votes, according to the official tally.

To enter the facility, a burglar would have to move past a “locked, 100lb steel door” and “a maze of motion detectors.”

Someone entered the building “twenty minutes after the deputies in charge of guarding the warehouse left their posts.”

The deputies returned to find an alarm sounding and the 100lb door opened.
Joe Biden himself flew to Pennsylvania this week to beg us, in the name of common decency, not to allow an audit in that state. It's easy to see why. Trump was leading in Pennsylvania on election night by over six hundred thousand votes. He was only ahead in Georgia and Arizona by a little over one hundred thousand. If these margins were overcome by cheating, they needed to cheat a lot harder in Pennsylvania. 

UPDATE:  I warned you that the Georgia Secretary of State was staging up for this play. "Fire those two guys and give us more resources, and everything will be fine." 

No. You, dude, need to be fired too. There needs to be a root and branch audit and a cleansing of the whole structure. You don't get away with claiming this was just a couple of bad apples. It wasn't a set of mistakes or bad decisions. It was intentional fraud, which it was your duty to prevent. You either failed or betrayed that duty. 

UPDATE: "What is this all about?" asks RedState.
There is no mechanism by which Donald Trump could be reinstated as POTUS in the event of proof of massive fraud. While there are many conservatives that hold on to this hope, it is little more than that…hope. Still, the audits are perfectly reasonable and even necessary if the American people are ever expected to move on from this and trust future election results. To avoid the chaos that is currently tearing our nation apart, it only makes sense to make every effort to bring transparency into the elections process.

In an Arizona Senate hearing on the audits, Senator Karen Fann gave an excellent and reasonable explanation as to why these audits matter, and in fact why they are absolutely imperative. Listening to her reasoning, it is hard to imagine anyone taking issue with a process that allows voters to peek at the integrity – or lack thereof – of their own election process.

Fann says these audits aren’t about Trump, they are about transparency and restoring faith in the election process for the American people. She reminded the detractors that “voters are constituents” and they have expressed fear and reservations about vote-counting in their state. As representatives of their constituents, it is literally the state senate’s job to respond to those questions and provide answers, if that is what the people desire. The Senate has the responsibility to ease those fears by proving them wrong or by proving them right and passing laws to prevent such a thing from ever happening again.

It’s hardly radical, but to hear the Democrats tell it, it’s equivalent to a Hitlerian coup.

But stealth was supposed to belong to our side!

Did you know conservative activists cleverly lure politically innocent readers with ordinary conservative tropes punctuated by the occasional outrageous lurch to the right? The dewey-eyed young author of this Guardian article reports the tactic breathlessly, then suggests that leftists might want to try it, too. Welcome to the party, pal!

Depends what your goal was

 From a Maggie's Farm commenter on an article about the "failure" of socialism in Cuba:

[A]ll these government programs that are called "failures" are actually quite successful. The only reason people think they're failures is because they judge the program by [its] stated purpose instead of [its] real purpose, which is to create good-paying jobs for bureaucrats. And, of course, the best way to increase your budget and your staff in a bureaucracy is to fail at your stated purpose.

Harley on Drums


93,000 Drug Overdoses

Excess deaths


Robert E. Howard was right again. 

Wokeness Broke the Navy

Jimbo’s summary of it is succinct, but the whole report is only 23 pages and worth your time. The culture of the Navy is broken, and so are the ships. 

If you want an authoritative opinion, long time Milblogger Commander Salamander has written about the report as well. 

White adjacency

Did you ever imagine, in your youth, that a term like "white adjacency" would be taken seriously and treated respectfully?  I still don't know what it means, other than some reasonable level of socioeconomic success, though I suspect at root it means high IQ.  That's a weird, weird idea to push:  "What's wrong with the world is that things work out better 'systemically' for people who tend to be able to make a good living by some means or another, including intelligence. We really need to find a way to penalize them."

Soccer, Irish American Rap, and Other Strange Things

I don't know why the philosophers are involved, but this is pretty much every soccer match I've ever watched:

Musical Interlude -- When I first heard parts of House of Pain's "Jump Around" in the 90s, I thought it was just another gangster rap song, didn't really care for it.

It came around in my life again a few years later in a completely different context, so different that I actually didn't recognize it. Then it dropped out of my life again for a couple of decades.

For some odd reason, it came up on YouTube for me recently and I decided to play it. Turns out there's an Irish American theme to it, which was completely new to me. If you don't like the music (which I can understand), turn it down and just watch the video. With a different sound, it could fit in here.

Other Irish-themed rap tunes on the same album include "Shamrocks and Shenanigans" and "Danny Boy, Danny Boy."

¡Buena suerte, Cubans!

These uprisings always seem to come at times when the United States is led by a Democrat who won't support them; Iran under Obama, and now Cuba under Biden. I hope they're able to make it work on their own. 

They'll have to do. Our ruling class is against the whole idea.

Glen Reynolds "Harsh But Fair" post


Don't Walk "Curbside"

Every few years we see another round of stories about how progressive women really wish there was more of that chivalry stuff, whatever it might be. This year's iteration is from the New York Post, which interviews people who are similarly confused.
In a liberal city like New York, swimming with single women wishing they weren’t, one could assume Mark wouldn’t have a problem finding a mate. And while he dates and recently had a couple of short-lived relationships, Mark remains single. He’s trying to understand why.

“I’m really open-minded and cool about gender stuff on dates, but I always feel like I’m walking on eggshells,” Mark told me. “If I pay for dinner, it signals I don’t value my date as my equal so I’m super casual about it all. If she wants to pay or split it or whatever, that’s fine with me.”

I told Mark that, despite his best intentions, his egalitarian dating style could be the problem that’s holding him back. While some women balk at any hint of traditional male gender behavior, more lament the loss of chivalry. I’m one of them. I find it attractive when a man plans our first few dates and knowingly walks curbside when we’re together. It signals he wants to protect me from passing traffic or errant puddle splashes.

“When I was a kid, my mom told me to always walk curbside, but I assumed my generation of women would think it’s too old-fashioned,” Mark told me. “Now, I’m really confused.”
The 'curbside' thing was a modification of an older walking custom that is more appropriate. During the early 20th century, men adopted this 'curbside' stance as a way of presenting themselves as shields from the inevitable puddle splashes when cars came along the muddy roads that the cities often still had. It was charming at the time, but no longer is appropriate. Modern American cities (at least) have reasonable drainage except in serious storms.

Rather, you should resume the ancient fashion of always walking on the right side, whichever way the curb is. This is to keep your swordarm free, in case you need to draw a weapon in defense of the lady. With spiking crime rates in cities across the country, this is of renewed importance. (Occasionally this might be reversed for the left-handed.)

Many now choose to arm themselves with handguns instead of blades, and these days quite a few women arm themselves too. Still, if you want to present yourself as the primary protector, prepare to protect her from the far more serious (and, these days, increasingly probable) threat of violence and crime.