The Reverend on a Saturday Night

You'll doubtless get a different one on Sunday morning.

And because this is Grim's Hall, here's the Rev doing Johnny Cash.

Old Days Gone

Much of this has to do with the fact that the ‘Old’ left was young, and consequently lacked power; whereas the ‘Modern’ left is old, and has become possessed of all the power of the institutions. 

A Plague of Locusts

Unfortunately my brother-in-law, my wife's brother, will be visiting all next week. I may be called upon to play host, or possibly may be in jail, so I might not be around as much this coming week. 

Own goal

 "If I ever run for office, will you guys please make a video like this about me?"

Report: FBI Running Dragnet Against 200,000 Conservatives

The subject of the dragnet is reportedly Protonmail, which many of you may know. It's based in Switzerland, and is an encrypted email system that I've used for more than a decade. Of course it's not really secure; email is forever, and can never be really deleted. The FBI is asking for formal cooperation, but the NSA can definitely read it. So they already know what they're allegedly looking for; they just need a legal construction they can take before the courts. 

There's not really a good way to communicate via encryption if you really want the government not to see the stuff. Here as elsewhere, you'd need to go lo-fi -- written letters, transmitted through trusted couriers. Cash payments instead of credit cards. Movement via vehicles that don't have electronics onboard, like old fashioned muscle cars or motorcycles. 

If they couldn't beat the Taliban, they can't beat you. Not that any of you would consider doing anything they'd need to worry about anyway, not a fine upstanding lot like yourselves. 

UPDATE: More on Protonmail being used by governments to prosecute activists. 

An Actual Conspiracy

So, AVI is hosting a useful set of reposts about the dangers of paranoia and conspiracy theories. He and his commenters all have good points, and these things are worth keeping in mind.

At the same time, consider the Durham investigation (link is to an Andy McCarthy piece, whom I assume we all think of as a non-conspiracy theorist but rather a reasonably fair former prosecutor). This investigation is looking into what looks increasingly like a very successful conspiracy by the Clinton faction to suborn the national security state, paint Donald Trump falsely as a Russian spy, and obtain (a) FBI investigations that destroyed the lives of several citizens associated with him, none of whom proved to be working with Russia; (b) a Special Counsel investigation, accompanied by loud media coverage of how plausible it supposedly was that these were Russian spies; (c) two impeachments; and (d) the deposing and arrest of a National Security Adviser of the United States, who happened to be a retired three-star general who'd held security clearances his whole adult life (and was therefore regularly, rigorously investigated). Flynn was almost sent to prison, requiring a Presidential pardon to keep a Federal judge who'd bought into all of this from finding a way to put him behind bars.

Indeed, the Presidential election of last year -- one faction of which self-described as a 'conspiracy' -- was largely constructed around Biden's rhetorical painting of Trump as somehow a friend of Putin. This was never plausible; in fact, Biden's decisions e.g. on Russian pipelines have benefitted Putin's strategic position far more than anything Trump ever did. Yet people believed it, and still do believe it, because a vast number of respected professionals across government and the media all told them so.

Ask the same questions about that. How many people had to know? How many people participated without having to know, because they were willing to do just do what their faction asked? How many leaks were there over the years? How much did it matter, given that the media was aligned politically with the faction running the operation and therefore willing to play up the false stories and suppress the true ones? Did anyone have to ask, say, Rachael Maddow to take the latest Trump-Russia leak super seriously and trumpet it to her audience? Did she need to be in the know, or was she functionally a part of the conspiracy who didn't have 'need to know'? 

I suppose I've been in a few conspiracies myself, some of them successful. It's not as hard to believe once you've seen it done, and once you've done it. 

That said, paranoia really is dangerous, and many conspiracy theories really are false. I don't mean this as a counterargument so much as a counter-example; something to consider as leavening what are also important lessons.

Angry Parents are Domestic Terrorists

So says an organization representing school boards around the nation, calling for the PATRIOT Act to be used to quell parental uprisings. 

UPDATE: President Biden's Education secretary says, 'Parents should not be "the primary stakeholder" in their children's education.' 

Former* Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe says that parents shouldn't be telling schools what to teach.

Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action. 

* See comments.

Science Deniers

Economics is a science, right? A dismal one, but a science all the same?

Related: An article in the Washington Post today discusses the need for a better sense of mathematics among Americans, to lead to a less stupid politics. Of course they want to stat with vaccines, because they want to get buy-in from their readers who largely agree that only dumb people resist vaccines; but then they move to Federal spending. 
Last year [the Federal Government] spent $6.6 trillion. How much is that? Well, if you spent a dollar a second, you would finally spend $6.6 trillion by about 6 p.m. (as of writing) on April 30. Of the year 112,932. (It will be Wednesday, presuming the heat death of the universe has not yet occurred.)
Somehow this ends up being a justification for spending even more money, because we already spend so much that the 'much more' isn't so much by comparison. 

"Super Speeder"

I was talking with an old Georgia friend, and she was telling me a fun story about a teenager she knew who got arrested last weekend. He'd been pulled over running a red light, and when they ran his license they found he had an unpaid "super speeder" ticket -- so they took him to jail.

"What," I asked, "constitutes a 'super' speeder?" She sent me the description of the new law.

I laughed, and told her "When we were kids, we just called that 'Friday night.'"

Manchin Talking Sense

Nice to see that one of the more sensible Democrats has the whip hand with the party.

The Republicans, as far as I can tell, are non-entities. 

A Definite "No" From Me

Of course they were always going to decide that coronavirus response was the new model for government intervention in other areas our lives where they'd like control.
CDC implements study on "gun violence" after labeling it a "public health threat," aiming to "craft swift interventions, as they have done to contain the coronavirus pandemic and other national health emergencies." (NPR)
"Swift interventions" using "health and safety" to implement unconstitutional, tyrannical measures -- exactly as expected. 

That's the problem with the slippery slope fallacy: people assume that because it's a fallacy, it won't happen. In fact, all that a fallacy means is that logic can't guarantee that it will happen. It very often happens exactly that way, because why shouldn't it? That's the way we did it last time. 

A Visionary

I don’t always get modern art, but I really feel like I understand what this artist is trying to convey. 

US Govt Blocks American Citizens’ Flight Home

This one isn’t my group, but an allied organization flying through Ethiopia. They have US citizens and green card holders, but Homeland Security says they can’t land anywhere in the USA. 

Guess they should fly to Mexico and walk in like everybody else. 

UPDATE: The organizers tell me they’ve actually discussed that option. There’s a logic to it: set one massive breakdown of the US government against another one, and maybe they’d cancel out. 

Hot Rod Race

You've probably heard Hot Rod Lincoln many times over the years, and not just yesterday when we were mourning Commander Cody. But did you know that it was a reply to an earlier song? The older song, here, is figured in the opening lines: "Let me tell you a story about a hot rod race where the Fords and the Lincolns were setting the pace; that story is true, I'm here to say; I was driving that Model A."

You'll hear of that Model A again in this bit. It's not as good as the later song, but it's rock and roll history. 

There's a follow-up piece. 

There's a third one, as well, about the legal consequences.

And a fourth one, from the perspective of the Mercury.

So you can see how it was easy for another party to apply a reply to this tradition.  Nor did it stop there; the Reverend Horton Heat added to the tradition many years later.

The Times of London: Trump Was Right, It Was Rigged

A small but noteworthy moment on our current path, wherever it leads.

And people say he's senile

 I appreciate the mental agility that allows someone to argue that reducing taxes is spending money, but spending money doesn't cost anything.

Faded Gloryville

Some parts of the place do seem to be getting run down, and I think we all know whose fault that is. There nevertheless remain good things, including this cheerful bit from an album that is all about American decline.

Maybe we can fix it; but even if we can't, at least we can defy our enemies by finding ways to still be happy while we try.

And if you liked that one, here's another one by her. It's neither cheerful nor fun, but it's really pretty good.

Hope You Like Eating Bugs

The $3.5 Trillion "infrastructure" bill under consideration will impose costs on beef cattle at $2,600/head, making meat unaffordable for all but the wealthiest. For dairy cows it's $6,500, so I hope you also like almond milk. 

Only Courageous Officer in USMC Now in Brig

The only officer to demand accountability from senior leaders in the Marine Corps for the Afghanistan debacles is also the only officer punished, being first relieved of command and now arrested

RIP Commander Cody

Another one of our favorites has gone to rest.
“In about 1966 I found a Bob Wills album and marijuana," [he] told No Depression in 2018. "I’m pretty sure those guys were stoned most of the time. I started listening to Jerry Lee Lewis’ album that had 'Crazy Arms' and Buck Owens’ greatest hits. We did [Owens'] 'Tiger by the Tail' regularly. What country music afforded for us was there was no rehearsal, we listened to the record, we drank a bunch of whiskey and coke, and played. Country music is easy to do if someone knows the lyrics and the song, you can follow along relatively easily.”
One of their most famous bits was a cover of Hot Rod Lincoln, a favorite of my father's.

Dad loved the song as a young man, when it reminded him of his youth drag racing along the mountain roads of Tennessee. He grew, I am sorry to say, to understand the father's perspective as well as he experienced my own period of drag racing through the mountains of north Georgia. 

Somehow we both survived. 

FBI Busting A Terror Plot


Referenda on Immigration

France's Le Pen is proposing a referendum on immigration if she is elected. She probably won't be elected, but there's a good chance this kind of thing will become more common regardless.

Hers is pretty tame stuff, arguing for limits and regulations about who can come as well as favoritism for actual French citizens when obtaining government benefits. The real deal will be when groups start revoking the immigration status of those who have already been admitted. Germany admitted a million refugees from Syria and the Middle East; France is awash with immigrants from North Africa; the Scandinavian countries are having significant epidemics of bombings and rapes from their own migrant communities. 

At some point people are going to start wanting to rethink the admission of groups that don't fit in and cause significant problems. Democratic means can be used for any popular end, not only for globalistic or left-leaning priorities; and if democracy alone justifies the right, then it's just as right to vote for a government to expel the unwanted as for a democratically-elected government to vote to let people in. 

Now if there are deeper principles of justice at work, that might not be true. It is not clear to me, however, that Europe has many remaining sources of deep philosophical principles; their governments didn't like the ones they inherited, and so they have worked to abandon them. 

Some Concerns About Policing

Over the last year the 'Defund the Police' crowd's significant success in raising concerns about policing resulted in a loss of funding and support for the police in many places. This correlated with a rise in American murder rates of nearly thirty percent, suggesting that at least in urban areas police do in fact perform a service to the ordinary public. 

Likewise, the ongoing fiasco of lies being foisted especially by the White House against the Border Patrol is clearly aimed at furthering two of their agenda items: 1) Paint America, and the police, as secret white supremacists; 2) Flood the country with illegal immigrants. 

So there is reason to believe that the police are being unfairly treated by politicians and activists. That said, there are also reasons to be concerned about policing and its violence. I have tried to present this argument fairly in this space, but these concerns about violent organized criminality among police are significant enough even to name-brand 'conservatives' to now appear in National Review. The follow-up piece is even worse. (h/t Instapundit).

Meanwhile, in Australia, police are responding to protests against COVID measures with severe violence. (Warning: that link is graphic.) They are shooting at unarmed crowds with what must be nonlethal munitions given the apparent absence of many bodies, but even so are significant violations of the right to peacefully protest. 

These findings suggest that police officers cannot be assumed to be reliable, upstanding figures who enforce the moral order. They frequently form internal criminal gangs -- when I was a young man, District Attorneys in Georgia referred to the county sheriff's departments as "the Dixie Mafia" -- and can turn on a disarmed population with tyrannical brutality. 

And that's the relatively-safe uniformed police. The secret police are an obvious problem

There has to be a middle ground here between defunding/eliminating police in urban areas where crime rates will spike without them, or spreading lies about police in order to further a political agenda on the one hand; and, on the other, supporting police in spite of these significant problems. Reforms are and remain necessary, though in some city-based communities those reforms probably cannot go as far as the outright abolition of policing. We need a better approach to this than the one our politicians and activists are pursuing, both parties and all factions. 

"Climate Change Started Those Wildfires"

In a way, that turns out to be true. That madness inspired by being taught to believe in catastrophic climate change was in fact responsible. 
A former forestry student-turned-shaman and yoga teacher has been charged with starting a huge California wildfire that has destroyed 41 homes - and was being investigated in connection with other fires - after claiming the blaze was triggered accidentally while she tried to boil bear urine so she could drink it.  
Now if you think that sounds like a reasonable explanation, hang with us here folks.
During questioning by investigators, Souverneva... claimed that she had been thirsty whilst out hiking and found a puddle in a dry creek bed which contained bear urine. 

She then claims she attempted to filter the water using a tea bag but when that failed tried to start a fire to boil the water. Souverneva said that it was too wet to start a fire so she drank the water and continued walking. 
Boiling urine does not improve it, but she wasn't even actually able to boil it, so she drank it anyway
Souverneva is known to be a graduate of the California Institute of Technology and former Bay Area biotech employee. 

She has also worked as a yoga teacher and describes herself as a shaman - a person who claims to have a direct connection with the world's good and evil spirits. 
Now, just on the off-chance that any of you out there reading this should think that you're a shaman in contact with good and/or evil spirits, let us have a short safety briefing. 

1) Do not drink urine, boiled or otherwise.

2) Do not start forest fires. 

That is all.

Riding with the Peshmerga

An American "embedded" with the Peshmerga encounters a suicide bomber in a car bomb ("SVBIED" in the post). Language warning, but he's having fun.