But that is, and it would explain a lot

The Bee again.

That's not funny!

Liberal society becomes more humorless by the day.


I'm no Politico fan, but I trust the legal analysis and judgment of Sarah Isgur, the talented daughter of my first client, who is one of the smartest, most humane men I've ever had the pleasure to know. I met Sarah once when she was about four, so it's exciting to see the adult woman she grew into. This analysis is head and shoulders above anything I've read this week, regardless of anyone's position on the underlying merits of the contentious new Texas "heartbeat" law. She makes a good point about the dangers of approving the clever procedural gambit on which the law is based.

How soon do you need to know?

The Week in Pictures is up. I'm not sure if I'm binary or non-binary. Is there a deadline for my choice?

The Hon. Jim Webb on Afghanistan

I would be remiss not to draw your attention to this piece by my own favored 2016 Presidential candidate (and former Senator during my years in Virginia), author, scholar, diplomat, former Secretary of the Navy, and decorated Marine Jim Webb.

Webb's military and diplomatic service were both especially centered on Vietnam, so in the course of his description of the events he notes something probably many people missed.
In a remarkable display of tone-deaf diplomatic naiveté, the Vice President was pictured sitting in front of a sculpture of Ho Chi Minh during a meeting with Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the very moment the rest of the world was comparing America’s humiliating and incompetent dilemma in Kabul with the 1975 fall of Saigon. 
The rest of the initial description is well known to all, and even the administration's defenders would be hard pressed if they tried to deny that it was a "disgusting nightmare of incompetence that can only be rectified by holding those responsible accountable." They're doing their best to try to avoid holding those responsible accountable, or even identifying them, but they're aware enough of the danger of engaging the argument that the President and the Secretary of State are not taking questions. 

Likewise his list of military truisms, as he calls them, are very similar to the discussions we have had here. These are clear and obvious principles, at least they were clear and obvious to military officers at one time. His third section, a contrast with the much-less-calamitous Vietnam retrograde, likewise is a more detailed version of what was said here

His concluding remarks are where the focus should be. 
In a perverse way, perhaps we should look at the calamitous blunderings in Afghanistan as an opportunity to demand a true turning point.  Americans know that a great deal of our governmental process is now either institutionally corrupt or calcified.  They want change, as evidenced by the election of Donald Trump in 2016, no matter his empty credentials in government.  Lacking clearly expressed options, most don’t really know how to articulate the specifics of what that change might encompass.  It’s kind of like the statement of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart many years ago that he couldn’t define pornography for you, but he knew it when he saw it.  In this case, most Americans can clearly agree that what they have been seeing time and again, domestically and overseas, is not good government, despite honorable intentions among many dedicated people. 

Even the very best among those who come forward to serve often find that the good they came to do is stultified by distracting debates over the very premise of why the American system of government was created and whether the icons of our past were truly motivated by the words incorporated in our most revered documents.  The military itself is increasingly being used by leftist activists as a social laboratory to advance extreme political agendas.  Congressional oversight leans heavily toward social issues, with too many members struggling without success to focus on accountability at the very top when, for instance, good people at the bottom have to implement poorly conceived plans that might kill them. 

This is not an exaggeration, and it is not just what has been happening at the Kabul airport and elsewhere in Afghanistan.  Those situations merely provide us a microcosm, a symbolic moment in time, that allows us to see the implications of confused or distracted leadership, military and civilian alike, motivated by political machinations.  In the American political system, we have the capacity to demand that this inequity change.  What we need is the will to do it.
Webb and I see things in some ways very similarly; instead of 'calcified' I generally say 'ossified,' but the ossification analogy likewise depends on calcium. I have been examining underlying principles since last year precisely because I think we need a new beginning and -- as Webb says -- we need to be able to say what exactly it is we think the change should be. I wish he had been clearer about what he thinks the change should be, because I do not know from these brief remarks exactly what he thinks would do. 

I know what I think, now: I think the governments of the United States and the several states should be dissolved. Some urban regions may wish to establish socialist governments on European models, but most of America by land mass should pursue new foundations laid along lines of volunteer government in which a central principle is that no one may make money through their efforts in government. This will both remove the corrupting effect of making your living from governing others or regulating others, and force the volunteer government to take on much less because you only have time for governing when you aren't making the living you still have to make through some service to others in the private market. Likewise I think we should restore the idea that the sole purpose of this volunteer government is to defend the natural rights of the people, exactly as the Founders held. Nothing else is the proper duty of government, and anything else is at best a distraction. 

My guess is that Webb has both a longer and a less-thoroughgoing list of reforms. Perhaps it would thereby be more palatable to the many, and even (or especially) to the powerful. It is time to begin laying out these thoughts plainly. We must be able to say what exactly we want to accomplish in this moment of demanding what he calls a "true turning point."

Like New


Fake News Today

BB: “Democrats Start Reverse Underground Railroad To Help Unborn Babies Escape Texas And Be Killed" 

DB: "Outrage after US Military leaves 46 dogs, 30 million Afghans, behind"


I couldn't agree more:
As a trial lawyer, I both worked with and cross-examined hundreds, likely thousands, of experts in various fields. Many of them had extraordinarily impressive credentials. My experience was that experts are like everyone else. Some know what they are talking about, others don’t. Some back up their opinions with sound data and careful reasoning, while others crumble under adverse examination. Deferring to someone merely because he or she is a credentialed expert would be a terrible, and sometimes potentially suicidal, practice. Don’t do it.

Texas Bounty Hunters II

The lyrics are a little sketchy here, but it’s got a great sound. 

Texas II

With all the fuss over the abortion law and it's bounty hunter provisions, nobody's talking about the fact that the Texas election security law was watered down substantially. This gives Democrats a talking point while preserving their capacity for fraud in state elections; a significant failure by the Texas Republicans to restore the capacity of citizens to have any confidence in the elections that are at the core of our model.


The newest from South Australia: all citizens will have to carry a digital monitoring device at all times, and be subject to random orders from police to submit face-scanned and geo-tagged location data to prove they aren't violating house arrest.
People in South Australia will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The state will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person. “We don’t tell them how often or when, on a random basis they have to reply within 15 minutes,” Premier Steven Marshall explained. “I think every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app.”

You might say, "Look, these laws might not be constitutional in America, but this is Australia. The police clearly seem to have the power to forcibly quarantine / place the entire population under indefinite house arrest whether they are sick or not. So why, if that is already off the table, quibble about the means of the quarantine/imprisonment?"

There's still a point to be made even there about the mode of action, to whit, the government seizing your private property to use against you. This is called 'commandeering,' and in America is most famously a police power used in Hollywood movies where The Heroic Detective needs to borrow a citizen's car to chase a criminal. Those movie scenes always struck me as crazy: some guy runs up waving what might be a badge, if you had time to examine it, and orders you to immediately surrender your car (which he then drives off with rapidly). 

Here the government is commandeering everyone's property in order to enforce extraordinary restrictions upon them, and they are supposed to be subject to compliance checks at whim. The police aren't usually supposed to stop you -- certainly not to frisk you -- in the absence of evidence of illegal activity. Now you owe them an immediate response proving your innocence at any time of day or night they should choose to demand one. Not only has your phone been commandeered, you are ordered to attend to it in case you might be signaled to report compliance at any 15 minute interval of the day. Not only are they commandeering your property, they're commandeering 100% of your time. In a sense they are commandeering your whole life, then, insofar as 'life' means 'the time you have to spend alive.' 

A government that can commandeer your property is dangerous; one that can commandeer your life moreso. Occasionally it is a power that is used, as for example to compel jury duty; of old it was used to compel service at war (and perhaps shall be again, for who would now enlist but the youngest and least wise?). It has even been used this way in compelling your attendance at internment camps, though that action by FDR is now generally regarded as having been improper and tyrannical in the extreme. 

I wonder how many policemen South Australia has. It's a big territory. (UPDATE: fewer than six thousand for a territory of almost four hundred thousand square miles, though 77% of the population lives within the metro area of the capital city.) I know cell service here is very spotty, and a policy like this would compel many officers to spend a lot of time on the road. Cell service may be better there, but they'll log a lot of hours 'following up' on those calls. The point is to keep people from encountering each other, so why not send hundreds of officers driving up and down a wide territory every day? 

AP: Audit California's Recall

"Security experts call for rigorous audit." 

Working Dogs

Were they abandoned in Afghanistan? No, says the Department of Defense; but at the same time also yes.

Not Satire

Headline, The Hill: "FTC looking into broken ice cream machine at McDonald's." 

As I understand capitalism, economic competition with competitors should address this issue, either by drawing customers away from McDonald's franchises (I haven't set foot in one in years, though I am not a big consumer of fast food of any kind), or else by convincing McDonald's to invest in more functional technology. 

Perhaps people have switched away from McDonald's over this issue, but the capitalist pressures haven't made them change their technology. As the article points out, the corporation mocks its own machinery on Twitter. 

Could be ice cream was never that big a part of their success story, and they figure it's cheaper to take the hit than to pony up for more functional machines. Perhaps a nice taxpayer-funded investigation of their private business practices will lay clear the source of this national scourge. Thank goodness we have whole agencies of experts employed to do this important work.

Bounty Hunters of Texas

Here's an interesting aspect of the Texas heartbeat bill that I had not heard of before now:
S.B. 8 not only bans abortion at six weeks, a period of time when many people don’t know they’re pregnant, but it also deputizes citizens to enforce the ban. The law financially incentivizes private citizens to actively seek out and sue people for “aiding or abetting” women who are attempting to get abortions in the state of Texas. If someone successfully sues, they could receive a bounty of $10,000 and have all of their legal fees paid for by the opposing side.

So it's not the women themselves who can be sued, it's groups that organize to try to get them abortions after the six-week period. These can be sued by private citizens (or competing nongovernmental organizations) for 'aiding and abetting an abortion,' and cash transferred from the pro-abortion organization to the anti-abortion one. 

That's a new way of weaponizing government to aid political warfare. I'd like to hear a defense of it from someone who thought it was a good idea before I decide what I think about it. 

Impeachment and Feasance

The votes are obviously not there, and won't be there; but I do see some discussion about whether or not the Afghanistan matter ought to result in impeachment. The standard for impeachment is 'high crimes and misdemeanors,' and -- the argument goes -- nothing actually illegal was done here. 

Against that concept I'd like to suggest that there is a set of misdemeanors around feasance, that is, the performance of one's duty. Impeachment is appropriate for cases of nonfeasance, in my opinion: consider the case of these prosecutors who were apparently elected not to enforce the law in major cities. Prosecutorial discretion is legal, but prosecutorial discretion on this scale has led to a large scale rise in crime in our cities, and is tantamount to usurpation of the legislature's constitutional power to define the laws that apply. 

That, in turn, denies the citizenry a representative government -- instead of living under laws enacted by their legislatures, they find themselves effectively denied the protection of (say) shoplifting laws, and thus are forced to live in a society in which theft is effectively legal. Nor can they turn to their representatives for relief, for the law has already been passed and placed on the books: there's nothing more the legislator can do.

It seems to me that it would be perfectly appropriate to impeach or recall a prosecutor over this practice. Removal from office is exactly the correct remedy. 

Similarly, misfeasance -- which this horror show in Afghanistan certainly is -- and malfeasance are both proper reasons to impeach someone in my opinion. Even if they are not very serious crimes, and might not be punished with prison time, because they are crimes of duty they are get to the heart of why someone might be properly removed from office. Officers are charged with the duties that define their office, and if they fail to do their duty removal is entirely proper. 

Anarchy in the NC

We’re expecting massive rainfall today. VFD is preemptively patrolling the backroads looking for fallen trees (of which there have been several). The only actual call for a fallen tree blocking a road so far, though, was addressed by local citizens without intervention. By the time we got there they’d already cut it up and moved it out of the road. 

Government can be useful but it can also derail citizen virtue. Left to their own, people get it right more often than not. 


Some people at least can see what's airless and stultifying about the Big Apple. It makes me wonder if Kurt Schlichter is onto something in his "Split" novels.


As the President takes credit for what he apparently believes was a great operation, an Army Ranger mourns.

I understand his position. I would not now want my child to take the oath I so gladly swore at 18. 

Meanwhile, the only courageous officer in the Marine Corps resigns.

Three to Six

The county pushed out over the emergency system to expect 3-6” of rain today. That’s going to be catastrophic in the valleys. 

Conversations with Mom

Based on last night's talk with my mother, who has been a pretty good barometer for American politics, she is terrified of my criticism of America's government. I'm not sure if she fears I will be arrested or killed because of it, but she is clearly afraid and certain I should stop speaking out against the current government.

If you went back over the course of the last twenty years, her support went to every winning campaign except Trump's in 2016. She gets her ideas from what is popular, I think, and as such is almost always on the winning side.

She's been a pretty good judge of where the country was going before now. On the other hand, a government like the one she apparently fears we have is one that deserves replacement. It's bad enough that an ordinary woman like herself should have internalized the idea that such criticism -- constitutionally protected free speech -- is gravely dangerous. 

Adieu Afghanistan

Reportedly, all American forces have left Afghanistan at this time. Perhaps that isn't strictly true; it would be ordinary for some highly classified forces to remain behind on special reconnaissance or similar duties. However, this time it may really be true; the Biden administration and its subservient military leadership has done everything wrong so far, so why not one last thing?

We have left behind at least hundreds of American citizens, and untold numbers of friends and allies. Apparently we incinerated one family of friends and allies with that drone strike against 'ISIS-K planners' the other day, perhaps having taken Taliban instructions on whom to hit.

Horrible things will happen to those left behind, whose names we apparently gave to the Taliban to make sure they knew whom to look for in their searches. Whole busloads of American citizen females were apparently turned away at the airport; translators are reportedly having their tongues cut out; I've seen video of a hanging using one of our Blackhawks as a public demonstration.

All that said, I am relieved that we managed to extract our battalions of paratroopers and Marines, who were put in a deadly situation by incompetent leadership. We could have lost all of them. Thank God they are safe, assuming the statements from the White House and leadership are not lies, which in fact we can no longer safely assume.


This time of year, pretty much every Sunday morning there is a call arising from the adventurous spirit that people come up to these mountains to exercise. Today's was a young man who had decided to take charge of his slide into obesity and, having already lost forty pounds, to hike down into a gorge to see some famous local waterfalls. Unfortunately for him, he stepped on a yellow jacket nest and -- while trying to escape them -- gruesomely broke his ankle, fell, tumbled, and struck his head. 

Fortunately, another pair of hikers were on the trail one of whom happened to be a nurse. He stayed with the injured guy while his girlfriend (or wife, I'm not sure) went for help. Now there's no cell-phone service in these mountains most places, but there is a church nearby. Most of the week it's just an empty building, but this was Sunday morning. As a result she found it full of people, one of whom was an older man who had formerly been an active firefighter, and who was still in the habit of carrying his radio. Thus she was able to summon aid very quickly. 

The young man in the gorge was badly hurt, but he showed significant character. In addition to having internally recognized his slide and taken charge of it, he had developed the understanding that he could also be in charge of his emotional reaction even to very bad things. He was polite, tried to laugh and joke in spite of his injuries and shock, and refused to get more upset than he could help. His fate was not in his hands, but his attitude was, and his recognition of that helped him and it helped everyone else who was trying to help him. 

We got him out of the gorge with a basket and a rope system, and thence to a helicopter called in to get him to a hospital. I hope they'll save his foot. I later met his brother because I had to return their dog, who was hiking with him at the time of his injury. For whatever reason she decided I was the one there she would trust, so I ended up taking her and his Buick and driving them over to where his family could collect them. 

By coincidence, shortly after turning over the dog and car I met again with the nurse and lady. They were up on vacation, and were eager to hear how the whole thing had turned out. Nice folks, although I was amused at how perfectly their discussion matched up with the description given by the White Fragility author of bad ways white people allegedly talk to minorities -- in their case, however, they were of foreign extraction, and talking about Southerners. 'Everyone thinks you're all prejudiced up here, and still think it's 1956,' they said, 'But we know you're not all like that. We wanted to meet real people, not all these folks with the Audis and Mercedes in the parking lot here in this town. We could meet them anywhere. We wanted to get out where the real people are.' Well, thanks. (And cf. the descriptions also here and here, which I was looking at again last night following the discussion on Tex's post.)

Nice folks anyway, the kind of people who'd stop to help you on a trail if you needed it. That's what really counts.