Observations on Local Protests

For over a year now, there has been a Saturday morning protest by BLM supporters in the town nearest to me. Mostly white, as I live in a rural, mostly white county. And mostly older folk. They stand along the side of the road at the main ‘downtown’ intersection, holding signs and waving at passers-by. They aren’t obnoxious, and you could drive right by without knowing they were there, if you weren’t paying attention…..and let’s be honest, most drivers aren’t these days.

Recently however, a ‘counter-protest’ has appeared across the intersection from them. Well within their rights, this protest is an odd smattering of signage for supporting the police, “defending the military” [whatever that means], anti-vaxx, and a mashup of ‘patriot’ slogans.

Now, I don’t consider myself any sort of support of BLM, though unlike most Conservatives, I will readily admit to the largely untaught racist history of policing in this country. But the BLM folks seem decent enough and end their vigil at 1100 am with a prayer.

The counter-protest…….are not that. A small group of screeching and obnoxious [also white] folks who spend their morning literally screaming across the road….often just repeating the same phrase over and over….and over and over again, until their voices start to give out. They also cross the road frequently to i guess intimidate the BLM folks? There is a police officer resent at these events, that I don’t believe was found to be necessary prior to the counter-protest.

I find this tactic odd. Ostensibly, the goal of a protest is to raise awareness and convert folks to your position on a issue. Now, one can argue that a protest is likely to generally appeal only to those who already hold said position and it;’s all really a waste of time. I wouldn’t argue with that.

But, if your undecided/uninformed on an issue, and were observing both protests….which tactic would cause you to learn more, or speak to the protestors?

I believe that I suffer from a militant practicality, so I’m handicapped in the ways of social norms and peculiarities….but I don’t see the value in acting like an asshole. But that’s certainly where a particular political demographic finds itself.

Upvotes for Liz Cheney

I generally care little when members of the Duopoly hurl petulant pejoratives at one another, but I found Liz Cheney’s response….at least parts of it….hilarious.

@Liz_Cheney is hitting back at @tedcruz after he went on Fox News last night & accused her of “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” saying she was “broke” by Trump.

“Trump broke Ted Cruz,” Cheney told me. “A real man would be defending his wife, and his father, and the Constitution.”

Cucks deserve to be called out as such.

Thoughts on the Virginia Elections

Though I’m an Oregon Duck [U of O] through and through, Virginia has been my adopted state since late 2008, when I retired from the Army [or the John Wayne Lifelong School for Wayward Boys].

I’ve watched several elections here with varying amounts of interest, this a bit more so than others……even though there was no Libertarian candidate in any of the races I could have cast a ballot for. Some random thoughts below:

Good on Winsome Sears for winning [though I really don’t get the business attire/firearm photo that seems to be trendy among the virtue-signalling Right]. It’s a good win for the Virginia GOP, though most Virginians are waking up this morning and researching exactly what the hell the Lt Gov even does.

More concerning to civil liberties, is the AG race, which last time I checked, is still too close to call.

Youngkin is secretly thanking McAuliffe for handing him the victory, by way of his asinine comment during the last debate. All most knew about him before then was that he liked basketball. His rhetoric of an enormous education budget is worrisome, especially if he doesn’t throw a bone to the large home-school population of this State, like all of his GOP predecessors failed to do. Since the 1977 Gubernatorial election, the party out of power in the White House, has only lost one election for Governor. In 11 out of 12 elections, only Terry McAuliffe has bucked that trend during the Obama Administration…..so this isn’t exactly a momentous occasion.

The Second Amendment Foundation [of which I’m a member] published the following:

“Old Dominion gun owners were not about to allow anti-gun Democrats enjoy another two years of power after what happened in January 2020. They knew what Terry McAuliffe’s return to Richmond would mean for their Second Amendment rights. His party’s politics of attacking gun owners, and their outrageous record of eroding gun rights brought gun owners to the polls to say enough is enough.”

“What is most gratifying, was to see savvy gun rights voters ignore the despicable last-minute ad buy by desperate Democrats to suppress the gun vote by painting Republican Glenn Youngkin as an anti-gunner, when it is their own candidate who has a deplorable record on gun rights.”

To be sure, Youngkin seemed like and empty suit [or fleece vest] up until McAuliffe’s education gaffe. He never really took a strong position, that I saw, on 2nd Amendment Rights……..even in a year where SCOTUS started hearing oral arguments [today I believe] in a landmark NY case.

So, Trump…..or overt lack of ties to Trump aside…we’ll see how a Youngkin Administration pans out for civil liberties. I have an open mind, but I’m not exactly brimming over with confidence in any Republican.

The (Still) Unconstitutionality of the Texas Abortion Law

The Firearms Policy Coalition filed an Amicus brief supporting the Plaintiffs in the current lawsuit against Texas S.B. 8 set to go before SCOTUS. The entire brief is worth the read, if you’re a gun rights policy nerd like me…….but the conclusion is below:

This case is important not because of its specific subject matter of abortion, but instead for Texas’s cavalier and contemptuous mechanism for shielding from review potential violations of constitutional rights as determined by this Court’s precedents. It is one thing to disagree with precedents and seek their revision or reversal through judicial, congressional, or constitutional avenues; it is another simply to circumvent judicial review by delegating state action to the citizenry at large and then claiming, with a wink and a nod, that no state actors are involved.

From Amicus’s perspective, if pre-enforcement review can be evaded in the context of abortion it can and will be evaded in the context of the right to keep and bear arms. While the political valences of those issues seem to be opposites, the structural circumstances are too similar to ignore. As with Roe and Casey, many States view Heller as wrongly decided. Those States, with the help of many circuit courts, have showed an ongoing refusal to accept the holding in Heller and a continuing creativity in seeking to circumvent any protections for, and to chill the exercise of, Second Amendment rights. It is hardly speculation to suggest that if Texas succeeds in its gambit here, New York, California, New Jersey, and others will not be far behind in adopting equally aggressive gambits to not merely chill but to freeze the right to keep and bear arms.

TRUTH Social?

I’ll admit to not having much to say about Trump’s nascent social media platform…….beyond the irony of the name.

The sheer irony.

Oh, and for a “pro-free speech” venue, the terms and conditions, are likewise fascinating.

Users are not allowed to “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.”

Is there a viable market for echo chambers? Not merely to survive, as there are already a multitude of those venues that cater to nearly every political and social bent in existence…….but to compete against forums that allow discourse between disparate points of view?

I don’t think Twitter and Facebook et al, are terribly concerned. But what do I know……I’m not on any of them.

The SecDef Should Tender his Resignation

A lengthy article from Andrew Milburn over at Task & Purpose, but suffice to say……Austin is not the Secretary of Defense that we need right now, with China staring us down over Taiwan. Clean house and clean it quick.

As for what the country wants, it must surely include general officers who haven’t surrendered their moral autonomy to the political administration of the day: Generals who understand that it is their responsibility to set the right balance between the mission and the men because they also have an obligation to subordinates – the sons and daughters of the American public that General Milley so readily brings to his defense. Generals that have thought deeply about what their obligation to the nation really entails.

This is an obligation that defies neat categorization. It can’t be captured on a PowerPoint slide or be easily explained in a chummy press conference. Understanding it demands intellectual and moral rigor. I would guess that these are the qualities that America expects of its generals. 

Resignation won’t atone for lives lost, or the debacle that American involvement in Afghanistan became, but it would at least demonstrate that these men understand the ethics of their profession. It would help calibrate the moral compass of thousands of officers beneath them. It might even help all three find absolution if such a thing still matters to them.

Sadly, the men and women at the pinnacle of our institution are a product of a culture that doesn’t nurture initiative, disciplined disobedience, or a profound understanding of our professional ethics. “I’ve taken an oath to the Constitution” is only the beginning of that intellectual and ethical journey, not the destination. 

The hearings were a blow to those of us searching for redemption among our senior uniformed leaders. Instead, they illustrate the pernicious effect that having men such as these in positions of the highest responsibility can have upon America’s standing in the world. 

Resignation may solve little, but is simply the right thing to do. And, at the very least, it will clear the way for those better qualified to begin the task of restoring this nation’s credibility on the global stage.

Any defense wonks have a pick who would fill that role nicely?

“Partisan Free Passes”

An excellent observation by “D” at Liberty’sQuill, posted almost in it’s entirety. I recommend many of D’s other pieces as well.

Today political emotion is almost a virtue, and self-awareness is in short supply. A substantial majority of Americans regularly excuse or defend worrisome views, troubling behaviors, and double standards – but only when their political compatriots are in the wrong. For example, politicians often appear to exchange scripts when power shifts in Congress. Borrowing and spending was a capital idea last year, but now it is irresponsible; a disturbing exercise of federal authority is dangerous today, but last year a similar action represented a common-sense solution to an intractable problem.

Not so long ago the capitol police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt inadvertently pulled back the curtain on another example of this bipartisan hypocrisy. The officer in question contended he made the right choice, and many progressive web warriors agree. Yet even in a progressive digital utopia this wholly rational view is mixed with exaggerations and illiberal generalizations – mental shortcuts that are often wrongly associated with conservative Americans. In a similar manner, many conservatives complained about law enforcement’s tentative response to rioting and looting during the spring and summer of 2020. But after Ashli Babbitt was shot conservative affection for decisive law enforcement action suddenly declined. Invariably political emotionalism leads to hypocrisy, and occasionally even political oppression.

If America is going to have a peaceful and stable political future, politically engaged Americans must resolve to hold their ideological compatriots to the same standard they have established for their political opponents. Absent this act of self-honesty, partisan anger and chronic “misrepresentations” will imperil the freedom, happiness, and security of this great country.

Partisan hypocrisy is never not fascinating to me….

Pet Issues and Precedent

I’m watching in fascination, both the various legal analyses of the newly implemented Texas abortion law….and the even newer pursuit of one-upsmanship on the part of a couple of other states.

Whether it’s the Left on issues like gun control or the Right with abortion……one wonders if they ever stop to calculate the second and third order effects……as well as the very real fact that their legal victories…..can serve as precedent when tables are turned, or in jurisdictions where they aren’t in the majority.

To this end, an OpEd in the WSJ notes:

“This one delegates exclusive enforcement to private citizens, who are authorized to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks. Citizens who prevail in their civil lawsuits are entitled to at least $10,000 per abortion along with legal costs.”

The law sets an awful precedent that conservatives should hate. Could California allow private citizens to sue individuals for hate speech? Or New York deputize private lawsuits against gun owners? Texas argues that abortion providers don’t have standing to challenge the law because the state isn’t enforcing it and neither at this point is any private citizen. Thus there is no case or controversy, which is what courts are supposed to settle. This is technically correct and it is why the five Justices declined to enjoin the law.

The entire article is behind a paywall, but this and another snippet can be found here.

I have little doubt that this law will be struck down, not because it effectively skirts settled law, but for the manner in which it does…..and the horrible precedent it sets. Snitch lines/website? Blanket legal standing for unaffected Citizens to sue?

This is a dangerous road that political myopia built.

The Media Gets off it’s Ass, at least for one Falsehood *Updated*

*An even better article was just published today at LawfareBlog, outlining the myth-making occurring over divested equipment in Afghanistan.*

The media should consider it a duty, to dispel false political myths and memes….but it so often doesn’t.

Everyone by now has seen, I’m sure….the long and illustrious list of U.S. military equipment that “we” “left” behind. Below is what I posted on a fellow Blogger’s site:


Nonsense.

In almost every instance, when we essentially invade a foreign nation and rebuild their military from the ground up…we equip them. We sometimes take different approaches with regard to standardized equipment [as in Iraq, where we tended toward ‘Soviet-bloc’ items*].

In AFG, we leaned heavily on U.S. equipment, and a smattering of Czech and Russian, especially with regard to airframes.

This equipment, again over the past almost 2 decades, has been Divested through the Foreign Military Sales Program [which ensures that only our export models of equipment is eligible]. The equipment left behind, for the most part anyway, was divested to the ANSF. We no doubt left some ancillary gear when we withdrew from various Forward Operating Bases and Bagram…nothing of great import.

All of this equipment was dropped in place by the surrendering and running ANSF….and now the Taliban are able to kit themselves out like westerners, on the cheap.

We saw this as well in 2014 in Iraq, where ISIS took control of the vast amount of equipment we had divested to them, and gifted by running and surrendering ISF.

Our media has generally done a poor job, as they always do…of educating our public on issues such as these, and this…they become fodder to be trafficked by folks who want. to try and score political points.


Today, the WaPo finally ran the claim being made by the Right, regarding this equipment….with the full implications that the current Administration simply ‘leaving it all behind’.

U.S. military equipment was given to Afghan security forces over two decades. Tanks, vehicles, helicopters and other gear fell into the hands of the Taliban when the U.S.-trained force quickly collapsed. The value of these assets is unclear, but if the Taliban is unable to obtain spare parts, it may not be able to maintain them.

But the value of the equipment is not more than $80 billion. That’s the figure for all of the money spent on training and sustaining the Afghan military over 20 years. The equipment portion of that total is about $24 billion — certainly not small change — but the actual value of the equipment in the Taliban’s hands is probably much less than even that amount.