Jasmine Cain sings Bobby McGee

The song opens with a long bit about how she got from a girl folding t-shirts at biker events to playing them as a headlining rocker. In some ways it's a simple dream: but it's an honest one.

Keep Hauling

I would have posted a trailer for the movie Rat Race with John Cleese and every other living comedian, but they all have too many spoilers. Pretty funny movie.

Instead, here's a trailer for Harry Brown, a very good movie that says a lot of wrong thinks about society.

Happy Saturday, y'all!

Glad they're working on the important stuff


Scenes From the DC Entrapment Festival

Apparently there was a demonstration, by someone or other, allegedly in support of J6 detainees. I had to ask a left wing friend for details, because no one I know on the right told me anything about it. Apparently it got big play in the media, though, and the Capitol police put the Wall back up and came in riot gear

There are some amusing photos and memes, though. 

UPDATE: The only person arrested appears to have been an undercover cop. 

UPDATE: Another good meme.

UPDATE: And another. One commenter asks, "How out of touch is the FBI if they think this is how we dress?"

LTG(R) Kellogg: Milley Must Go

Retired officers' opinions are worth whatever they're worth, but for whatever it is worth, he served with Milley and respects most of Milley's career. Neverthless, pointing out that Milley has not denied the allegations against him: 
Any action on the part of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs that gives the impression that he has traveled outside his lane, however slight, should be met with swift and severe recourse. This is not political; this is about the preservation of our democracy....

Unauthorized military discussions with a growing adversary about potential action sends a negative signal to an enemy. It conveys confusion, weakness, and calls into question our ability to control our military forces. It also implies that the military, in fact, calls the shots — not the commander in chief. Any undermining of the civilian control of the military is problematic; this was dangerous.

There is more if you'd like to read it. 

Where'd I put my magic wand?

A Bloomberg analysis reports the startling fact that wage increases have been outpaced recently by inflation, rendering the new minimum wage an illusory benefit. Who'da thunk? The Bloomberg author bemoans the fact that "the U.S. economy has no system for making sure that wages keep up with inflation."

The fact is, though, that the U.S. economy has a fine way of making sure that wages keep up with inflation: keep increasing productivity and quit trying to control prices. The only way for the real value of wages to increase is for the real value of wage-earners' production to increase. Shutting down workplaces and printing money for stimulus checks isn't the same thing as production.

One Step Away from War... with France?

The French recalled their ambassador to the United States today. Traditionally, this was the step immediately preceding the commencement of hostilities to include acts of war such as blockades. I don't imagine the French intend to attack us, and are merely expressing their anger in the strongest peaceful terms; but it is an amazing place to find ourselves. 

You can tell they're angry and want to hurt the Biden administration, because their official public statement is that this reminds them of the sort of thing that Trump would have done. In truth, though, Trump never did anything that caused a major ally to recall its ambassador.

Killing Children

A long time ago, I wrote an infamous piece at BLACKFIVE called "On the Virtues of Killing Children." The virtue was, specifically, that if you allowed the enemy to use children as human shields they'd keep doing it; whereas if you struck them regardless of their use of children as shields, taking all care you could to avoid killing the children but not letting their presence prevent the strike, you would quickly convince militant groups not to use the children in this way. It would provide them no benefit, and all the difficulties that are entailed by having lots of children around when you're trying to work. That piece was referenced by my friend Marc Danzinger, known in the old days as "Armed Liberal" of the Winds of Change blog, at this discussion of a similar scene in the Iliad.

Today, the United States military announced that it recently killed a lot of children -- and none of its enemies -- in that drone strike following the ISIS-K attack on the airport in Kabul. No disciplinary action is expected, per CDRUSCENTCOM, and the US stands by its intelligence. 

General Milley says that this strike featured "the same level of rigor" as our other drone strikes. It is more terrifying to consider that he might be speaking the truth about that than otherwise. 

What has become of the fighting force in which I once reposed such faith, and whose cause I so gladly joined in my youth? What has become of the virtuous nation whom I thought, once, could be trusted even to strike under such perilous circumstances as when the enemy was willfully using human shields? Was I blind when I was young, as the young often are? Or is it true, as I would rather believe, that corruption has tainted and destroyed what was once a noble force of honor and purpose? 

The end of that infamous piece closes with a prayer for mercy and forgiveness for what we have done. That much, at least, remains right. 

Fake News Today

DB: Veggie Omelet MRE Came From Lab, Not Wet Market

BB: White House: 'We Must Continue Admitting Unvaccinated Immigrants To Replace All The Workers Who Got Fired For Being Unvaccinated'

BB: CDC Cautions Against Taking the Red Pill

HT: "I Can Fix Him," Says Woman who is Worse

TO: Taliban Takes Lower Manhattan After Biden Administration Leaves NYC 9/11 Commemoration


 Anthony Gonzalez (R-ish-Ohio) won't run for re-election.  Trump supporters give him the sadz.

If you didn't already know

 Durham finally produced an indictment yesterday.  The New York Post characterizes it accurately as fresh proof that the Clinton campaign bought and paid for the Russia hoax.

I assume Durham will now try to put pressure on criminal defendant Michael Sussman, a Perkins Coie partner, to implicate others.  There will be questions of attorney-client privilege, which crumbles in the context of a criminal conspiracy.

FISA Court: The Government Lied To Us About Everything

This seems like it ought to be a bigger story.
A newly declassified ruling from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in June demonstrates that the government lied about its legal basis for spying on former Trump campaign official Carter Page.

The ruling states that the information produced by the FBI’s unlawful investigation into Page was illegally obtained and that it “found violations of the government’s duty of candor in all four applications.” 

So, the government lied in every application, in an unlawful investigation based on illegally obtained information. Great. That's the hat trick, then.  


The abandonment of Afghanistan and the surrender of Europe to Russian influence via pipeline diplomacy suggested that the Biden administration was planning to focus all of its foreign policy efforts on China. Today we saw the fruit of such moves.

Partly this new alliance is noteworthy for who it leaves out: Canada and New Zealand, the other two of the 'Five Eyes' system. Partly it's noteworthy because we snaked the submarine fleet building contract out from under France, who will be angry. We may be damaging two different core alliances to set up this new front. 

Wretchard notes that it looks like we're drawing lines that will exclude some other allies:
[A]s a practical matter the Philippines, Formosa — as Taiwan was once known — and Korea will be hard to defend in the first onslaught of a Pacific War. They will be defended if possible but not to the end. In the event of such a loss, Australia and Japan will be to the US what Britain was in 1940: the last line.

We could approach China more aggressively, and in a plausibly deniable fashion that would force them to fight wars we could stay out of ourselves.  It should be noted that we almost did one of the things suggested there: 

At the same time, as we are withdrawing from Afghanistan, the President could order the transfer of large amounts of small arms and ammunition stored there to the Uighur tribes who live in Afghanistan.

Missed it by that much. Maybe the Taliban will take up the jihad for their Islamic brethren under PRC oppression.

Biden HHS Limits Monoclonal Antibodies to the South

Tex has been talking about this treatment and wondering why we don't hear more about it. Well, here's more.

The move to limit shipments of these treatments appears to focus on the South. The HHS spokesperson interviewed describes this as "asking" the states to cut their orders by 30%. The state officials describe it as HHS "allocating" them fewer resources. 
These seven states, which the official could not immediately name but said are located along the Gulf Coast, are facing some of the U.S.’s most severe Covid-19 outbreaks and have been utilizing about 70% of the nation’s distribution of monoclonal antibodies...
Alabama’s State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris confirmed that his was one of the health department’s contacted by the HHS, saying he was alerted “Alabama and some other states are going to be on an allocation,” as reported by the Alabama Political Reporter.  

Though the agency has explicitly outlined cutbacks with the group of seven states, the changes will impact the entire country as the HHS will more thoroughly review order requests and utilization rates, and work with state health departments to optimize the distribution of the treatment.

The HHS official highlighted that the seven states asked to reduce their orders can ask for more if they need it, but noted the federal government “probably” wouldn’t be able to fulfill the request.

That last paragraph definitely sounds like "we're asking them" doesn't mean that the reduction is voluntary. 

No surprise that a DC-based official can't name the seven Southern states on the Gulf Coast because there are only six five: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. 

UPDATE: Heh. You'd think I'd know Georgia's southern border doesn't reach the Gulf, being cut off by the Florida panhandle; but in fairness, I grew up in the North Georgia mountains, not the swampy southern parts of the state. 

Unconstitutional Orders

This report illustrates a clear-cut case of an illegal order that it is the duty of any military officer to refuse.
Two days after the January 6th riot at the United States Capitol, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley secretly took action to keep President Donald Trump from ordering the use of nuclear weapons....

“No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I’m part of that procedure,” Milley said, according to the book.

“Got it?” asked Milley.

“Yes, sir,” replied his senior staff.

No general has legitimate power to override the orders of the elected commander-in-chief. This is effectively a military coup over control of the nuclear arsenal. Everyone who said 'Yes, sir' violated their oaths and their duty. Milley himself should be arrested if this report is true.

Or if this one is.

In a pair of secret phone calls, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army, that the United States would not strike, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward[,]

"We have seized control of the military assets of the United States and guarantee the elected government will not be allowed to use them against you, Comrade Zuocheng." 

Unfortunately the military justice system is helpless here, because Milley doesn't have a chain of command except for the President -- and the current President, to whatever degree he is actually making decisions, approves of the coup to seize power from his political opponent. The elected government will not even fight for the prerogatives of the elected government in our constitutional system. It is now purely about loyalty to political faction.

Hospitalizations are not all unhappy in the same way

I was pleasantly surprised by this Atlantic article about recent attempts to figure out what COVID hospitalization rates are telling us. It avoids hyperbole and rigid black-or-white thinking, instead focusing on a spectrum of results that are influenced by age and immunological status (natural or vaccine-induced). The author notes that case counts are of little use without a way to distinguish asymptomatic cases from symptomatic or serious ones, and that death rates are a lagging indicator besides often failing to distinguish between deaths from or with COVID. Hospitalization rates suffer from some of these same problems, but studies that focus on oxygenation rates can be very helpful.

The studies cited in the article confirm the news from other sources that perhaps half of "COVID admissions" really are admissions for other reasons where a routine COVID test reveals a previously unsuspected infection. By looking at oxygenation rates, the studies provide more insight into how many people are still being hospitalized specifically for COVID complications, how intensively they have to be treated, and how quickly they can be released.

The article quotes a doctor who says he has patients who complain, "Why did I bother with the vaccine if I'm still in the hospital?" to which he answers, "But you're going to leave the hospital alive." A brief supportive stay in the hospital may not be a huge deal, much as we'd like to avoid it. A bad COVID hospital stay can be a real nightmare even if you survive it. The case that spooked me early on was a fellow in his 20s from my county, the son of a co-worker, who came down with a severely unlucky case, hugely complicated for no obvious reason, which kept him in an Austin hospital for months teetering between life and death. He was so young and otherwise healthy that they really pulled out all the stops for him, using convalescent serum and all kinds of treatments that were quite experimental in early 2020. He did survive, but lost some toes to sepsis. Although I know that's an extreme outlier, a sort of auto-immune storm that's almost impossible to predict, it still made me a lot less likely to go out into public unnecessarily until the vaccine came along.

There are some protective measures that aren't 100% effective but are still worth the effort. Masks may be among them, though I'm not entirely convinced of it, and not at all convinced in the case of casual cloth masks, particularly for asymptomatic people (symptomatic ones should be home anyway). Staying out of public surely helps even though it's not observed rigidly. As I read the data, vaccination is very, very helpful even though it's not a panacea. These are all things I'm happy to see people voluntarily put into practice; I've practiced many of them myself and often recommend them, not counting masks.

The lack of attention to monoclonal antibodies is puzzling and frustrating, so I tout this treatment whenever I get a chance, especially because you have to be ready to move fast once symptoms declare themselves, so you need to have figured out where they're available and what hoops you'll have to jump through to get access to them. If we really want to avoid clogging up hospitals, we should stop downplaying antibody infusion centers, which can administer their treatments in a 2-hour outpatient procedure that needn't even be administered anywhere near a hospital. But I swear I tell people about them all the time and get blank stares: all the oxygen in the room is taken up by fights over whether 2-year-olds need to be forcibly masked and massive numbers of people need to be driven out of their jobs by vaccine mandates.

My society has simply lost its mind. All I can conclude is that we're very bad at assessing and responding to brand new types of risk, so we revert to primitive thinking and superstition.


Woke failure

Via Powerline: "The Charlottesville city council played with fire. It got burned. I hope its response won’t be to set the flame at a lower temperature." I hope the same about the voters in 2022.

Vaccine Mandates

Way back when all this started, I 'went in' and locked down well before the government mandated it. At the time it seemed the appropriate thing to do, and so I did it without needing anyone to tell me. I greatly resented it, however, when the governor followed up with an order telling me to do what I'd already decided to do, and daring to assert legal threats should I stop doing what I'd already begun on my own. 

Likewise, I reasoned months ago to the conclusion that my work would eventually require me to be vaccinated. Simply should international travel be required, it was obviously going to be necessary; and working with the military, as I often do, was going to require it because it was clear that the military was going to require the vaccine for all servicemembers. I accept that I have a moral duty to provide for my family, and thus to run the hazards required to do the work I know how to do. My ancestors accepted risks to their lives and health to provide for their wives and children, whether from livestock or from mining, and so too must I. Should I die, I have life insurance; but I cannot live and be useless to those who have a right to depend on me. 

Once again, the government is coming behind to threaten and bully, trying to force people like me to do what I already decided to do and did do. They can go hang. 

It is commonly remarked that the Supreme Court decided this vaccine issue a long time ago. This history is misunderstood on two levels, but I also think it is irrelevant for an additional reason. First, the Supreme Court decided that states might issue mandates on vaccines, not the Federal government. Second, and more, what they really decided was that states might fine you for refusing a vaccine -- not that you must in fact be required to take one. (The fine, in the famous case, was five dollars.) 

Yet more importantly, the whole philosophical understanding of the American people on this issue has undergone a fundamental transformation. In the Progressive Era, the Wise who sit on high courts believed that government and its experts might properly sterilize you if they thought you were unfit to breed. They thought themselves wise enough to order every aspect of your life better than you could, and thus ordering you to accept injections or hysterectomies was aligned with their sense of what right looked like. Buck v. Bell was just such a case; and this mindset led to eugenics, the Tuskegee experiments, numerous secret psychological experiments on the American people, and abroad many of the worst horrors of the 20th century. 

Today the American people have adopted a very different moral standard: self-ownership, which is often described as 'my body, my choice.' The abortion debate turns on this understanding, with the two sides either affirming that a woman has an absolute right to abortion because her body is affected, or else that the right might be fettered because in fact there is another human's body that will be affected -- indeed destroyed -- by the procedure. The issue here is the same one; one's refusal of a vaccine might possibly affect others, though (unlike in the abortion case) it is ultimately your own body that is going to be definitively altered by the experience. 

Indeed, the differences in the cases are on the side of rejecting the mandates. Abortion always kills a human being; a refusal to take a vaccine may never kill one, and indeed probably will not. You worsen your own odds of serious illness, but even if you were vaccinated you would still be capable of becoming sick and transmitting this to others; thus, you are taking on the extra risks yourself, rather than pushing them off onto another from whose death you hope to benefit in some way. 

Thus, the principle governing our contemporary understanding -- self-ownership -- makes this act an affront. The attempt to launder it through the private sector rather than taking responsibility for doing it does not make it better but worse. The attempt to evade Constitutional restrictions on Federal power by using corporate power as the state's agent is fascist in the literal and proper sense of the word. 

Therefore, though I have already done the thing they wanted done and these mandates affect me not at all, I utterly reject them. They are improper, unacceptable, and a violation of our moral order. Anyone who wishes to defy them ought to do so, and we should support their defiance as we are able. 

A Rally on the Reservation

It was sedate as such things go. 

Here's a 1927 Indian on the Wall of Death.

This next one is just for fun with one bike, and becomes a challenge with two or more. At one point we had a Marine on leave before his next duty station volunteer to stand inside it while they rode around him. I didn't video that to protect him from his chain of command, who would have had a fit if they'd learned of it. 

These are just games, of course. The real dangers are on the highway. We rode to the rally Friday, camped in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, rode the Park on Saturday with lunch in Gatlinburg, and then back home via the Blue Ridge Parkway on Sunday. 

I saw some magnificent elk, including late at night and also including a magnificent bull with 14 points we counted. Sadly I was moving too fast to get a picture of him. Here’s a smaller fellow who wasn’t with the main herd, probably having been chased off by the big bull. 

The event was called the Blue Ridge Run, and in addition to games and the like there was music. The closing bands on Friday and Saturday were both notable. The Friday night band was billed as a Black Sabbath tribute band, called Sabbath, which proved to secretly be a Dio tribute band in disguise. They were serviceable on the Sabbath covers, but at some point the singer said, "To give you the full experience we should do some Dio, as they toured together so often over the years." Those songs proved to be the heart of their set.

The headline band was led by Jasmine Cain, a female rocker out of Nashville who was absolutely delightful. Her band has played this rally every year it's ever been held, but always as opening act. This year she was asked to headline the show, and you could tell it meant the world to her. She has a lot of spirit and a good little three-piece band. You may hear of her again. 

You'll be happy to know, Mike, that I never set foot in the casino. 

Without firing a shot

You could have knocked me over with a feather when, first, the pro-abortion movement barely made a peep when the Texas "heartbeat" law was passed last spring and, second, the Texas abortion clinics all spontaneously ceased all post-six-weeks abortions on the day the law took effect.  It turns out, however, that neither development was a complete surprise to the anti-abortion movement in Texas.  This National Review article describes the jurisprudence and legal strategy that went into crafting and passing the bill. 

Texas passed so many other hot-button bills this session that leftists were significantly distracted and nearly failed to make the heartbeat bill a priority.  Meanwhile, the controversial private-enforcement mechanisms that renders the heartbeat bill immune to injunction was a technique that already had survived test-runs in small Texas jurisdictions.