Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Busy, Busy, Busy

     [Consider this a slightly tongue-in-cheek companion piece to Drip, Drip, Drip -- at least as far as the title goes. -- FWP]

     I have a “medical day” before me, and am already in the throes of a time crunch, so rather than bloviate for an hour or two in my usual idiom, allow me to present a collection of links:

     The above-linked stories are thematically unified. Submit your assessments in the comments. If I like one sufficiently, I’ll award its author a Guest Post here at Liberty’s Torch. And for lagniappe, have a little Loreena McKennitt in the idiom that she does best:

An Excellent Article For Gun Owners (And Damned Near Everyone Else)

     Alex at has alerted me to another excellent article at the site:

Locked Up:
How the Modern Prison-Industrial Complex
Puts So Many Americans in Jail

     Give it a look. There’s a lot of important data in it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Drip, Drip, Drip

It's not just the Left that can use the steady forces that can wear down Resistance.

The Gosnell movie, which was only available at a few theaters, and for a very short time, is available for pre-order on Amazon.

It's already hit #1.

It won't even be released until early February - guys, this is a game-changer. Non-Leftists can bypass the Leftist gatekeepers, and get their message out.

It's the same as has been happening in books, videos, and podcasts. Not to mention AM Talk Radio.

The uniform messaging of the Leftists, which formed a wall between reality and the public, has been breached.

All apologies to Pelosi and all the others that tell us "A Wall Won't Work".

You're right - in the case of the Leftist Wall of Ignorance. This calls for a song.

I'm feeling optimistic this morning. It's like when the battle seems lost, and the enemy is about to overrun you. You are weary, and your heart for the battle is beginning to fail.

That's when you must push hardest - when all seems lost. If, in fact, you are defeated, you might as well go down fighting.

And, sometimes, at the last moment, help arrives.

Every Day. Every Day. Every Day.

Do ONE thing to add to the fight against Leftist Domination of our country. Read. Act. Assist others.

A Deadly Allergy

     WARNING! The following piece contains not merely facts and logic, but also the correct uses of the words datum and data. (Also, persons who find the word whence offensive to their sensibilities might want to seek out some lighter reading.)

     Once upon a time I was a scientist. Back then, one of the jokes slung around among my colleagues went roughly like this: “If the data contradict your hypothesis, discard the data! Your grant may depend on it.”

     I must emphasize that it was a joke. It cross-cuts the central tenet of all the sciences:

Hypotheses are cheap.
Data are sacred.

     This has been honored as the core of scientific thought since Francis Bacon first propounded the scientific method.

     But what is a datum? Whence does it come? What makes it sacred? Can there be legitimate differences of opinion about such things?

     A datum is not an opinion. It is not an evaluation. It is not an interpretation of something someone has written or said. It is a fact provided by objective reality: i.e., by the world outside our heads. It is some object or event that any two persons whose relevant senses are unimpaired could confront simultaneously and agree on.

     All else – i.e., all that is not data – is open to dispute. Data are sacred.

     A world in which data are not agreed to be sacred is one in which no proposition can be verified or falsified, and no argument can ever be settled. It is the world of Berkelian subjective idealism – the world of the solipsist.

     Be certain that you understand that before proceeding further.

     Get an eyeful of Esteemed Co-Conspirator Dystopic / Thales’s latest encounter with a leftist, which I have reformatted somewhat for ease of reading:

Dystopic: Should the Left gain power again, they will surely desire revenge on the Right. They will want to punish us. And some number of them want us dead.
Leftist: Telling me that “it could happen” is not evidence that something WILL happen. We could all die tomorrow. That could happen. But something tells me you still won’t spend all your money today.

Dystopic: Poor analogy. I have historical evidence to tell me that this scenario is at least as likely as not. [Lists a series of revenge revolutions gone wrong, starting with the obvious French Revolution.] You have no likely historical scenario that all human life will be extinguished tomorrow.
Leftist: I do have historical info that all human life can go tomorrow. It happened to the dinosaurs.

Dystopic: The likelihood of humans butchering one another over political differences is hugely more likely than a meteor wiping out all life tomorrow. If you can’t see that, you’re a moron.
Leftist: Instead of calling me a name, why don’t you give me evidence supporting this contention, other than you just saying it?

Dystopic: When was the last time humans butchered each other over political differences? Probably fucking yesterday. Hell, probably as we were typing this. When was the last time a meteor caused a major extinction event? Now math that shit and get back to me. Humans killing each other over politics. More likely than a meteor wiping out all life tomorrow… yes or no? If you don’t answer this one right, we’re done.
Leftist: Who knows? You certainly don’t but you act like you do.

     Before anyone clucks at Dys’s incivility or profanity, allow me to say that I don’t think I could have maintained my gentlemanly aplomb half as long as he did. He was “arguing” with someone to whom facts – data — are irrelevant, not worth bothering one’s head over.

     There’s no profit to be had from such an exchange. Sadly, it can take a while before the nature of such an interaction becomes clear.

     The Left is monstrously allergic to facts. The examples are beyond enumeration. A few recent cases:

     If you have the time, please read the linked articles. They’re an education all by themselves. Note in particular, in the cases where it’s observed and reported, the Left’s reaction to being confronted with facts. Dracula never retreated from a crucifix any faster, though he usually refrained from calling the crucifix-bearer a lot of insulting names. (Old World manners, don’t y’know.)

     The Left’s hypotheses / claims / narratives stand contradicted by the data. Therefore, the data must be discarded...and along with them, anyone who dares to assert them.

     Allergies induce avoidance in the sufferer. An allergy to data is a guarantee that the allergic one will never learn anything he doesn’t already know. Worse, he’ll remain securely in the grip of “what he knows that ain’t so.” That latter observation is the key to the Left’s behavior, for why would anyone want to remain deluded about a proposition he (at least) believes to be important?

     The answer lies in Eric Hoffer’s observations about the “fact-proof screen” the Left interposes between its desperate-to-belong “true believers” and objective, verifiable data:

     A rising mass movement attract and holds a following not by its doctrine but by the refuge it offers from the anxieties, barrenness, and meaninglessness of an individual does this by enfolding and absorbing them into a closely knit and exultant corporate whole....

     All active mass movements strive, therefore, to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. They do this by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth nor certitude outside it. The facts on which the true believer bases his conclusions must not be derived from his experience or observation but from holy writ....

     Thus the effectiveness of a doctrine should not be judged by its profundity, sublimity, or the validity of the truths it embodies, but by how thoroughly it insulates the individual from his self and the world as it is.

     [Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements ]

     In that insulation lies the explanation for another pattern of note:

     There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations doubts, and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgement. [Ibid.]

     Something to bear in mind should you be minded to cross swords, whether rhetorically or in fact, with a Leftist on some future occasion.

     The Left’s allergy to data is to key to defeating its lies and distortions. Therefore the prescription for us in the Right should be clear...but there’s that word again. Suffice it to say that data are much like guns: Regardless of whether you ever need them, you’re far better off for having them.

Tucker Carlson’s montage.

My last post referred to Tucker Carlson’s montage about creepy statements about Russia. In particular, all the leftist puppets highlighted in his segment wonder whether Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russia:

If the word “scum” doesn’t rise to your lips when watching much of the MSM you are just not paying attention.

Sick, dishonest hysteria.

Somehow every clear security breach in the Clinton camp . . . was no big deal, while every fourth-hand contact with someone who could possibly be linked to Russia was evidence that Donald Trump was secretly serving as a Russian agent.[1]
This is a great take on the manufactured hysteria about Pres. Trump. and the Russians that calls to mind one of the great chase scenes of all time in the movie “Top Secret.” Some guys are chasing some other guys and the first group of guys lose control of their vehicle and it comes to a stop just baaaaaarely kissing the bumper of another car, whereupon there’s a giant explosion.

I love that whole movie, which is a work of genius. Something about the red car’s being a Ford Pinto set the wheels in my head to turning. At first, I thought it odd that the director made such a big deal of the make and model of the car. Then I remembered that that car had problems with the fuel tank being positioned behind the rear axle and fires erupting in low-speed impacts. So the clip is actually a joke within a joke if you remember the huge media focus on that problem back then.

Anyway, Mr. Penn captures our present absurdity well. Given the studied lack of interest in Hillary’s crimes and the aforesaid manufactured hysteria about Trump, my own occasional recurring blog title works well here too, I think. “Strain at a Gnat and Swallow a Camel Dept.” Our national debate and some very powerful but unbalanced people are making our society into something absurd, if not grotesque, while ignoring huge moral problems.

I don’t have to detail the penny ante stuff that gets so many people wrapped around the axle these days. But make no mistake. The movie’s is a perfect metaphor for taking the least detail about Trump imaginable and igniting it into a media fireball visible two states over. As one wit put it, Trump uses Russian dressing on his salad? Proof of collusion!

Tucker Carlson yesterday had a video montage of about ten different leftist TV personalities mouthing the identical phrase about how something shows Trump’s having some kind of creepy connection to the Russians. I don’t remember the details, I’m afraid. But the Carlson segment was a carbon copy of Conan O’Brien’s montage of the same phenomenon but in a less sinister context. Illustrative of how a “narrative” can spread but not sinister.

The "JournoList lives on under different camouflage now. The MSM stooges all read off the same script and the script says nothing is too petty, ridiculous, or dishonest to use to make it look like something is diseased about this president.

The movie’s a stitch, but this dishonesty and distortion aren't funny at all. They show not that this presidency is diseased but that the media, the Permanent State, and the “Resistance” are.

[1] "Mark Penn: FBI Trump-Russia investigation shows deep state was worse than we thought." By Mark Penn, Fox News, 1/13/19.

Correction (1/15/19): add ellipsis to Penn quote.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Just Because I Feel Like It Dept.

     You know I’m old, right? And old people have old tastes. Tastes formed when they were relatively young people. And of course that extends to music.

     But good music, if it isn’t timeless strictly speaking, certainly ought to be. So have a track from It’s A Beautiful Day’s insufficiently ballyhooed first album:


Natural Laws And Divine Benevolence

     Long, long ago, on a Thanksgiving weekend far behind us, I wrote a brief piece for the old Palace of Reason in which I gave thanks for natural law. Unfortunately, I can’t find it any longer. However, the point I made way back then remains: invariant natural law is what permits us to learn, and thus to improve our situation. Learning is about cause and effect:

  • Given context C,
  • If I apply stimulus S,
  • Then response R will reliably occur within time interval T.

     ...where C, S, R, and T are all defined to within the limits of measurement and experimental error. Such laws make it possible for us to get particular results, including such trivia as food, clothing, shelter, and energy. Indeed, were there no natural laws, such that the behavior of matter and energy is disobedient to any rule of cause and effect, it would be impossible for life to exist.

     But there is a downside. That’s my subject for today.

     The recent movie God’s Not Dead, starring Kevin Sorbo and Shane Harper, is notable and worthy for several reasons. Not the least of these is its treatment of the anti-theists’ major weapon against Christian belief: the existence of pain and loss, whether brought about by persons acting on evil impulses or by impersonal forces that are merely obeying natural law. Principal antagonist Professor Jeffery Radisson (played by Sorbo) introduces this motif in a scene in which he confronts Christian student Josh Wheaton (played by Harper) with his reasons for having abandoned faith for a savagely militant atheism:

     “When a twelve-year-old watches his mother dying of cancer, it’s only natural to beg God for her life. He’ll promise anything to his make-believe Grandfather in the sky, including to love and worship Him forever...if only He will spare her....She died believing a lie. She died believing that Someone out there loved her even while He was strangling her to death. A God who would allow that is not worth believing in. That is why, Wheaton, you will find that the most committed atheists were once Christians. But we took the blinders off – we saw the world for what it truly is. You see, Shakespeare had it right. Life is really a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing!”

     A Christian determined to retain his faith regardless of all assaults must be familiar with this potent attack. For best results, he must know how to set it at naught.

     A system of natural laws in which life is possible leads to niches: pockets of conditions that favor certain organisms over others, according to those organisms’ needs and natures. Competition over time will then lead to dominance of the niche by the life-form its conditions best favor. Such dominance is often at the expense of other organisms, less well suited to the conditions there, which seek to share the niche. The phenomenon we call the food chain is one result.

     In the nonliving realm, natural laws will also give rise to dynamic interactions among the various forms of matter and energy. These things will interact in fashions insusceptible to precise foreknowledge or accurate control. Some of the changes that result will be inimical to nearby living things and systems. There will be warm, sunny days; there will also be flash floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. There will be beautiful meadows and forested mountains; there will also be volcanoes and earthquakes.

     The mere existence of matter, energy, and natural laws that govern their behavior guarantees all the above. The invisible element, which must not go unmentioned and uncontemplated, is time: the medium in which natural laws exert their force.

     Mind you, I can’t prove any of the above. But I can tell you, from my knowledge of simulation and its consequences, that so far no one has defined and simulated a dynamic system in which inviolable natural laws prevail but no undesirable consequences ever occur.

     We live in time. We benefit from its possibilities, most especially from learning how to use the natural laws for our benefit, but we must also deal with the downside.

     The critical consideration here is the question of divine benevolence, which is the central tenet of every variety of Christianity. The militant atheist’s thrust is that a benevolent God would not permit human suffering, whether through intended action by the evilly minded or through “natural” means such as virulent diseases and catastrophes. The riposte is as above: once God had created time and the laws that would operate within its scope, it was no longer possible to prevent all suffering. Indeed, the best that He could do was to make possible enough learning that over time, men would acquire knowledge enough, techniques enough, and wealth enough to steadily reduce the amount of suffering occasioned by evil, diseases, and disasters. And it is so! As Mankind has advanced, we have learned ever better how to protect ourselves against these things. We’ve also grown ever richer, and thus better able to afford the protective measures. I’m sure I needn’t go into great detail.

     Time is like that. So is the very possibility of invariant natural laws that operate in time.

     A real-life Christian college freshman in Josh Wheaton’s place probably wouldn’t have known how to frame the argument I’ve made here when confronted by an atheist professor. It’s a difficult argument to grasp, and much more so to formulate ab initio. It also requires an understanding of progress: that it takes time, that it is not monotonically increasing, and that it has enemies. Indeed, some of progress’s enemies style themselves “progressives.” So bookmark this column.

     And may God bless and keep you all.

The Anywheres.

While the Progressives, the Left, the Globalists, to whom [former Canadian Prime Minister] Stephen Harper refers as the Anywheres: comfortable anywhere with no loyalty to one place, talk about open borders and free trade everywhere; the facts on the ground suggest that the Somewheres: the people who live in small cities, who have a sense of community; want their government to be responsive to them because they depend on the nation state. They are the people most affected by government policy.
"#Awakening2019 Is Donald Trump saving Western Culture?" By Diane Bederman, The Bederman Blog, 1/12/19.

H/t: Gates of Vienna.

Rearranging our mental furniture.

America’s constant military interventionism, election interference and other nastiness are painted as Good Things done by Good Guys to fight the Bad Guys. The argument, when you boil it right down, is that if America wasn’t constantly starting wars, invading sovereign nations, staging coups, sponsoring proxy conflicts, arming terrorists, bombing civilians, torturing people, implementing starvation sanctions on impoverished populations, pointing nuclear weapons everywhere, spying on us all with a globe-spanning Orwellian surveillance network, interfering in foreign elections, and patrolling the skies with flying death robots, the Bad Guys might win.

Sort of makes you wonder who the Bad Guys really are, huh?

"If America Stopped Destroying The World, The Bad Guys Might Win!" By Cailtin Johnstone, ZeroHedge, 1/14/19 (formatting removed).

Fool me once.

A little perspective on the issue of referendums that is percolating up in the Gilets Jaunes phenomenon in France:
The referendum is a bitter point in France, a powerful silent underlying cause of the whole Gilets Jaunes movement. In 2005, President Chirac (unwisely from his point of view) called for a popular referendum on ratification of the proposed Constitution of the European Union, certain it would be approved. The political class, with a few exceptions, went into full rhetoric, claiming a prosperous future as a new world power under the new Constitution and warning that otherwise Europe might be plunged back into World Wars I and II. However, ordinary citizens organized an extraordinary movement of popular self-education, as groups met to pour through the daunting legalistic documents, elucidating what they meant and what they implied. On May 29, 2005, with a turnout of 68%, the French voted 55% to reject the Constitution. Only Paris voted heavily in favor.

Three years later, the National Assembly – that is, politicians off all parties – voted to adopt virtually the same text, which in 2009 became the Treaty of Lisbon.

That blow to the clearly expressed popular will produced such disillusion that many backed helplessly away from politics. Now they are coming back.[1]

This anger at having the popular will thwarted seems to spreading. The final chapter of the Yellow Jackets has yet to be written but so far it doesn’t seem to have an overt anti-immigration tinge to it, which I find strange. That said, of course, venturing out onto that thin ice in just about any European country is not for the faint of heart. Ms. Johnstone emphasizes how the Yellow Jackets are determined to remain leaderless and allow the important issues to swim into focus from many individual and local sources.

Nor does my cursory investigation reveal any kind of an anti-E.U. sentiment. It’s not hard to see the same contempt for mere mortals in the E.U. itself, however. In 2008, the Irish News published a summary of the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty that included this (accurate) gem:

All proposals for EU legislation will have to be sent to national parliaments, who will then have eight weeks to offer a ‘reasoned opinion’ on whether they believe the proposal respects the principle of subsidiarity (this is the principle by which decisions should as far as possible be made at local or national level). If enough national parliaments object to a proposal, the commission can decide to maintain, amend or withdraw it.[2]
In short, the European Commission can blow off the national legislatures in its sole discretion. This call may be monitored for quality purposes. Please leave a message after the sound of the beep.

As I say not something on everyone’s lips in France just now but since Macron’s recent joke of a speech at the New Year[3] indicated that more “Europe” is in the cards to cure France’s “malaise,” the protestors may have this kind of built-in E.U. contempt for national sentiment in the back of their minds too. Filed away for future reference.

Not that they have any expectation of their own legislature having their own interests in mind. French citizens do not, however, lack for other evidence of the contempt of national or European elites for the voters themselves or their national institutions, treasonous and contemptible as they may be. Pretty soon you’ve got a certified Zeitgeist that filters in through your pores and gives a funny taste to the water. See the occasional really odd thing in your country and, before you know it, the cry of “WTF?” is on everyone’s lips.

Every once in a while real politics take place, as Donald Trump has demonstrated rather well. It’s interesting to observe and I rather suspect that, as the early Chinese communists might say now, the masses are developing a revolutionary consciousness. It’s sad to cheer on an inchoate and anarchic citizens’ protest as I like to think that national life should ideally be governed by reason, debate, and the consent of the governed forever in mind. If there’s one thing one can say about Western civilization as a whole, however, it’s that the beautiful people with exotic fragrances on their cuffs think they have been ordained to rule over the lower orders.

[1] "French Democracy Dead or Alive? The Gilets Jaunes in 2019." By Diana Johnstone, By Ron Unz, The Unz Review, 1/11/19.
[2] "The Lisbon Treaty for dummies." By Irish News, 5/15/08 (emphasis added).
[3] "The many projects of Emmanuel Macron." By Tiberge, Gallia Watch, 1/1/19. When Milton Smith coined the term “bafflegab” he most certainly did it with this feeble man-child in mind.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Tragedy For Which No Words Will Suffice

     The following comes from James P. Hogan’s 1987 novel Endgame Enigma:

     Foleda stared at the window. "There was something that happened when I was a teenager—not really so sensational, but it’s always stuck in my mind, so I suppose it must have made some kind of impression. Two people came to have dinner with us one night—a Jewish couple that my parents had been friends with for a long time. They talked about the past year that they’d spent traveling around overseas. All their lives they’d been busy with their own affairs, until one day they looked at each other and realized they hadn’t seen anything of the world, and if they didn’t do something about it soon, they never would."

     "Too wrapped up with family and business, you mean?" Barbara said.

     "Yes, exactly. Anyhow, I can remember Ben—that was his name—saying to my father, ‘You’ve known us for a long time, Chuck. I’ve never had any time for politics. But, do you know, after what we saw in other places, I never want to set foot outside this country again. I don’t want to see our grandchildren growing up the way we saw others made to. And I’ll tell you something else: I would give thousands of dollars, no, tens of thousands, to any political party—Republicans, Democrats, I don’t care; they’re all the same to me—just so long as they’re committed to defending this country.’ "

     The sentiment Ben expressed in that snippet makes me want to weep. When Hogan wrote that novel, it was still possible to believe that Americans of all political alignments were committed, whether explicity or implicitly, to defending this country. But the evidence of our time speaks otherwise. Indeed, not even the Republicans are as committed to the defense of these Untied States as they should be. Their behavior in office suggests that while defending America is worthy of endless lip service, their actual priorities are...flexible.

     What do you think, Gentle Reader?

Recognitions: A Sunday Rumination

     From The Gospel According To Luke:

     And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. [Luke 1:41-45]

     Elisabeth, of course, was Mary’s elder cousin, the woman whom the angel Gabriel promised a son despite her age and her previous barrenness. That was a miracle in and of itself – but Elisabeth’s immediate recognition that Mary would bear the Son of God was a still greater miracle.

     But it would not be the only such recognition. For some years later, when Elisabeth’s son John was grown to manhood, he undertook to be the “voice of one crying in the wilderness” of whom Isaiah spoke, and proclaimed “a baptism of repentance. And this came to pass:

     Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
     And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
     And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. [Matthew 3:13-17]

     For John the Baptist had recognized Jesus as the Son of God, just as his mother had recognized the Christ Child in Mary’s womb:

     The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. [John 1:29-31]

     It would be celebrated as the inception of Jesus’s public ministry, though the first of His miracles was yet to come.

     The ministry of Jesus to the peoples of Judea came after He had spent thirty years making his living as a carpenter in the tradition of Joseph. During that time He went unrecognized. He had performed no miracles. His first miracle came after John had baptized Him:

     And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
     And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
     Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
     His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
     And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
     Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
     When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
     This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

     Many other miracles would follow.

     It isn’t often given to men to have foreknowledge of great things. John received such foreknowledge when he beheld, in Jesus, the fulfillment of the central prophecy of the Jews. Thus the Messiah was proclaimed to the world by His mortal family: a fitting annunciation for a people to whom family has always been the highest priority. So today we commemorate Jesus’s baptism by his elder second cousin John, the first great milestone after His Nativity, both as the start of His public life and for John’s recognition, thirty years after Elisabeth’s, of the Son of God made flesh. For it is no small thing to confront the fulfillment of a prophecy, and to recognize it for what it was.

     May God bless and keep you all.

Stuff that we know.

E.g., WWII “ended the Depression.”
Paul Krugman calls for a faked alien invasion to get the government to spend even more money it doesn’t have. This is based on the erroneous idea that “World War II ended the depression”, i.e. that the depression was ended by a version of war communism. The US economy was essentially transformed into a command economy during the war – GDP certainly soared, and yet, there was rationing of even the most basic consumer goods, never mind “luxury items” such as cars! In reality it was the fact that Congress repealed large swathes of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” in 1946 that got the economy back on its feet. The erroneous notion that “war is good for the economy” is highly popular with economic illiterates who fail to grasp the principles explained in Bastiat’s famous fable of the broken window . . . .[1]
Mr. Tenebrarum is unfair to Prof. Krugman who said said if we discovered a threat from space aliens and engaged in deficit spending and inflationary policies then our current slump would be over post haste. He didn’t call for it but he does think acting as though there were such a threat would be beneficial. Clearly he believes spending on WWII is what got us out of the Depression of the 1930s. Good then. Good now.

Anyway, I didn’t know that about repealing lots of New Deal legislation. I did know that Congress didn’t waste a lot of time after the war reducing sky-high income tax rates. Which Ocasio-Juarez would like to bring back. Such is the economic genius of one so young.

Keynesians in action.

[1] Comment by Pater Tenebrarum on "Washington's Latest Match Made In Hell." By M.N. Gordon, ZeroHedge, 1/12/19 (emphasis added).

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Alert: Free Fiction! (Sticky; Scroll Down For New Material)

     On Saturday, January 12, Experiences, my latest novel:

     ...for one day only will be free of charge at Amazon!

     The long awaited sequel to Innocents:
     A neurophysiologist develops a technique for altering human desires...
     A college strictly for futanari finds its protective obscurity threatened...
     A romance novelist becomes the emotional target of a young transwoman...
     A young American genius unknowingly courts a futanari from distant China...
     A Japanese sex slaver whose business was destroyed by an American security company seeks vengeance...

     Once again, Father Raymond Altomare, pastor of Onteora County, has his hands full.

     Reviews would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Why the GOP Doesn't Trust the Dems

Well, ONE of the reasons.

Dangerous Services

     We all know about the hazards involved in joining the armed forces, or becoming a policeman or a fireman. Most of us are aware of the risks to which coal miners, oil workers, and commercial fishermen are exposed. Then there are the prison guards, the bounty hunters, the ice road truckers, the high-steel construction workers, and other occupations where the degree of danger to life and limb is greater than that to which a barista is exposed.

     There are, in short, dangerous jobs. Plenty of them, too. It is appropriate that we appreciate and honor those who do them for accepting the risks involved. However, another dangerous service has recently come to light that’s seldom discussed. Rather than deserving accolades, its practitioners deserve the sort of braying, derisive mockery that’s reserved to those who’ve been caught being really naughty.

     I have in mind the practice of insincere lip service.

     The clips and quotes from Schumer, Pelosi, Obama, and others in which the speaker, a Democrat of some rank, has affirmed his fervent support for a physical barrier along America’s southern border are everywhere. Most of them are only a few years old. Each of them exposes a contradiction between the quoted figure’s position then, when a Democrat was in the White House, and his position now, during the Trump Administration.

     The Democrats whose utterances are quoted were obviously insincere. Moreover, their expressed sentiments were plainly not backed up by action. Some of us noticed at the time. A whole lot more of us are noticing today.

     That’s a position no politician wants to be caught in. It tells Us the People far too much about their agendas and their characters: information they’re desperate to deny us. But the Internet, as I and others have said, is forever.

     Why did the Dishonorable Charles Schumer, the equally Dishonorable Nancy Pelosi, and the Supremely Dishonorable Barack Hussein Obama express support for a border wall they now stridently oppose?

     At the time of their earlier, pro-border-wall statements, those Democrats were in a pickle. Popular anger over the illegal tide was rising. It was no longer possible for any politician to remain unexpressed on the subject. It had begun to look as if a politician’s future prospects would depend on whether he spoke on it sympathetically to the concerns of the electorate.

     However, it was already Democrats’ strategy to turn a blind eye to the illegal influx. Then as now, they regarded the migrants swarming up from Central and South America as future Democrat voters. Get them in, get them hooked on federal benefits, and encourage them to bring all their relatives. Make sure they know to whom they owe their admission to the Land of Milk and Honey. Collect on the debt at the ballot box.

     But the transformation of America’s demographics could not be accomplished swiftly. The existing electorate was fuming, and the Democrats had an ambition neither party has been able to achieve since FDR and Truman: decades of uninterrupted Democrat hegemony in Washington. So the existing mass of American voters had to be placated somehow, albeit without compromising the overarching strategy. The cheapest approach, as always, was with words.

     Carefully chosen words, the Democrats believed, would suffice to pour oil on the troubled waters of popular sentiment. Such words would buy them time to complete their demographic project. There would be no attempt to act on them, of course. Once Hillary Clinton was in the White House, they could afford to turn away from illegal immigration and focus on their true agenda. So they allowed themselves to speak strongly but insincerely, about the urgent need for a border wall and their support for it.

     But Donald Trump is in the White House, and the Internet is forever.

     No one can argue plausibly that the Democrats’ earlier statements about the need for a border wall were sincerely meant. Their subsequent stances, especially the most recent of them, contradict those statements too dramatically to permit such a claim. Their demographic project was all that mattered to them. That’s still the case.

     But the information is immensely valuable to Us the People. The exposure of political mendacity always is. The question remaining is what we’ll do with it.

     Far too many persons are “heritage voters.” According to at least one source, in 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt was pursuing a return to the White House on the Progressive “Bull Moose” ticket, a heckler stood up in the crowd at one of his campaign speeches and shouted: “I’m a Democrat! My father was a Democrat, and so was his father, and his father before him!” Teddy replied, “Well, sir, if your father was a jackass, and his father was a jackass, and his father before him, what would that make you?” The somewhat flustered heckler thought for a moment, then smiled and replied, “A Bull Mooser, sir! A Bull Mooser!” History does not record Teddy’s reaction to that reply.

     The Democrats’ coalition strategy, which depends on their hold on various racial, ethnic, and special-interest voting blocs, is key to their persistence as a power at the federal level. It has been extremely difficult for Republicans to penetrate those blocs. But the massive demonstration of the Democrats’ complete insincerity on the foremost political issue of the day might be the lever with which to pry some of them open. American Negroes and legal Hispanic immigrants have suffered economically because of the illegal tide. Should it continue unabated, it will threaten their children’s futures as well. If this point could be brought home to them, it might win the GOP enough new voters to reduce the Democrats to minor federal players for a decade.

     Let’s get behind it and push.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Media Consensus

     Sometimes it all seems just too terribly clear:

     After Tuesday night’s debacle in the Oval Office, television network executives should be spending the day in their spacious offices practicing a simple word: No.

     No, Mr. President, you may not break into prime-time programming to fundraise and mislead.

     They’ll need to practice because you can be sure that the request will come again. And again.

     Believe it or not, it gets even worse:

     I wouldn’t suggest, for a moment, that network television and the rest of the mainstream media should ignore what the president says. That would be irresponsible, not to mention impossible.

     Especially with 800,000 federal workers bearing the brunt of an unnecessary government shutdown, there is inherent news value in what’s going on. News organizations are rightly focused on that, including on the president’s attempts to justify it.

     But broadcasting him live and unfiltered — whether in an Oval Office speech, or an impromptu news conference, or at a campaign rally — has been a bad idea for quite some time.

     Instead, whatever news is produced can be presented in context with facts woven in from the start: Truth first.

     Now, no one expects the famously Leftist Washington Post to approve of a Trump initiative ferociously opposed by the Dishonorable Charles Schumer (D, Himself) and his ilk. But what Margaret Sullivan is suggesting in her op-ed is so radical a departure from actual news reportage that there’s no comparison outside such socialist paradises as Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea – and in those garden spots the media are under government compulsion to deny a platform to its opponents.

     And she’s not the first:

     On Monday night, CNN host Don Lemon suggested that perhaps President Trump's planned immigration speech should be delayed so that monitors can go through and edit it before it's aired to the American people. CNN and some other networks made a big show on Monday about whether or not they would air the speech at all, but in the end, decided they will run the president's remarks live on Tuesday night.

     So we have two respected (by some persons) media figures, employed by two nationally distributed organs, arguing that the President of the United States should not be permitted to communicate with the general public, except as filtered and edited by them! Could any Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch imagine even for an instant that their attitude is not generally shared by the Legacy Media?

     Do any of you doubt that that attitude is equally strongly held by the operators of Google, Facebook, and Twitter?

     It’s not treason or sedition. It’s something even worse: a step toward an American Ministry of Truth.

     President Trump has spoken persuasively of the crisis of illegal immigration our weakly controlled southern border allows. The Border Patrol confirms his factual citations. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bureau does so as well. The directors of those agencies are agreed that a physical barrier along that border is necessary, if not sufficient, to stem the tide. Yet there’s an even bigger crisis looming: one which President Trump has not yet publicly addressed.

     That bigger crisis is the ongoing, malice-aforethought attempt to prevent data and sentiments that displease the Left, and their handmaidens in the Legacy Media, from being expressed where others can access them.

     In the age of the Internet, one would think that owing to its design such data and sentiments could not be censored effectively. However, the emergence of Internet giants that offer “free” communications services of high convenience has altered the equation. Too many persons are too dependent on the services those giants offer. As they appear to have been colonized and conquered by the Left, which bends its efforts toward all media of communication and interplay, we face a serious problem: a chokehold on our interactions that’s becoming progressively (pardon the pun) more constricting every day.

     Alternatives to the giants are desperately needed. This is especially the case with the Internet payments processors, which the Left has used to bludgeon free-expression alternatives such as Gab until it’s barely able to hold on. But of course to get established requires money, and therefore the (passive) cooperation of an existing payments processor. But the Left has succeeded in cowing Amex, MasterCard/Visa, and Discover nearly as effectively as it’s conquered Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

     This crisis is at least as large and threatening as the tide of illegal immigrants. But as usual, answers to the key questions:

  1. What can be done about it?
  2. Who is to do it?

     ...are hard to come by. Some of the suggested courses, such as closely regulating the Internet giants to ensure political neutrality in their provision of services, have unpleasant, far-reaching implications for free expression and freedom of commerce. That a great many Americans regard them as worth trying is somewhat chilling.

     A fellow on Gab has just suggested that citizens opposed to this trend can and should take personal action:

     Hey fam, how about we all pull our money out of the big banks and put it into credit unions, and then only use cash & checks to pay for everything from now on? Maybe we can weaken just a little bit the stranglehold that the credit card companies have and their ability to suppress free expression? Just spitballing here.

     I have no better ideas at the moment. Does anyone else?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

If You Think You Understand the Millennial Life...

...maybe you ought to read this. Not all of their complaints are unjustified.

OK, It's Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel, But...

...I mean, come on, that's what makes it so much FUN!

The Barreled Fish in this case, is AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), who is talking to Anderson Cooper about her ideas on Universal Health Care.

The first thing I noticed is her 'Baby Voice'. She sounds like a child. Yeah, I know it's not totally fair to pick on someone for how they talk, but - come on! You can make a huge difference in how people perceive you, by using voice coaches. And, that would have been, I think, a permissible use of campaign funds.

Next thing, starting at about 2:10 on the video, she mentions her experience in the restaurant she worked in, asking people about their Health Care Insurance.

Now, I know it's going to come as a shock, but NONE of these people had any! Because it would have been a whole $200 or so a month to pay for!

And, yet - COMPLETELY unrelated - they had sufficient money to wander down to a New York diner, and pony up the cash for a meal. Which - Warning, I'm NOT a doctor - I don't think eating out is a necessary expense, nor one that improves your overall health, if indulged in regularly.

I've not visited NYC, but my understanding is that the prices for restaurants are part of what makes that city so unaffordable.

 I've linked to a cost of living comparison for NYC. A Mickey D's lunch would be around $9, and this diner was pricier than that. If those people had just stayed home, and saved that money they were wasting at the restaurant, THEY COULD HAVE PAID FOR THEIR OWN DAMN INSURANCE!

That concept never seems to have occurred to AOC.

BTW, the restaurant she worked at closed - it cost too much for the "Living Wage" that Socialists think is the minimum reasonable amount.

My Heroine

     I’ve been hanging back from posting much recently, mostly because I’m both physically weary and hard pressed on several fronts. However, I must post this clip of Kellyanne Conway castrating Jim Acosta in front of his colleagues (and a fair number of sound cameras):

     A transcript:

Acosta: Kellyanne, can — can you promise that the President will tell the truth? Will he tell the truth?
Conway: Yes, Jim, and can you promise that you will?
Acosta: I will
Conway: The whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Am I allowed to mention God to you?
Acosta: I’m not the one who has the alternative facts problem like you do, Kellyanne.
Conway: No, well, you know — Jim, I know that’s a cheap —
Acosta: Will the President — will the President —
Conway: — make sure that goes viral.
Acosta: Okay.
Conway: By the way, this is why —
Acosta: Can you guarantee that —
Conway: — by the way, this is why I’m one of the only people —
Acosta: That the President’s speech will pass with fact-checkers?
Conway: — around here who gives you the time of day.
Acosta: Can you — can you guarantee that the President’s speech will?
Conway: And let me just — let me get back in your face cause you’re such a smartass most of the time and I know you want this to go viral. [Pointing at the other reporters] A lot of these people don’t like you. But just let me be respectful to the media writ large, as I always am. I explained that that was alternative information and additional facts and I explained it many times and don’t you put it back in my face for all the corrections that your network needs to issue. I was on your network 25 or 26 times in 2018 and I’m one of the last people here who even bother to go on and the disrespect that you showed to me personally, I’ll just let pass.
Acosta: Ma’am I’m just asking. Will the President be telling the truth tonight.
Conway: No, don’t call me ma’am to make it up.
Acosta: I just asked. Will the President tell the truth tonight?
Conway: That’s why — go ahead. Please, Mara.

     Acosta pretends that his attacks on President Trump are “journalism.” They are not. What other “reporter” has ever dared to assert that a sitting president had lied, much less was about to go on live television to lie? Did any “reporter” do so after any of Bill Clinton’s flagrant lies? Did Acosta, or anyone else in the press corps, do so when Obama lied volubly to the public? Did they do so even after the fact, when it was revealed that not only had Obama’s statements about Benghazi been false but that he’d known them to be false as he made them?

     Conway just ripped the covers off Acosta’s dishonesty, rudeness, and partisanry in front of the rest of the journalistic trade. Some commentators are of the opinion that she ended his career. We can hope.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Islam Is Islam

     As Recep Tayyip Erdogan once said, there is no “moderate” Islam. And now Rashida Tlaib, the newly elected Muslim Congressvermin from Michigan, has confirmed that verdict:

     Tlaib deleted the tweet swiftly...but not swiftly enough to prevent the Internet, with its inexhaustible memory, from capturing it.

     Rashida Tlaib is plainly anti-American. The Michiganders who put her in office are equally anti-American. Islam is anti-American, which is why Muslims were forbidden to immigrate to the United States under the terms of the 1952 McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act. And the rest of the country needs to know it.

     I shall repeat myself:

     No further immigration of Muslims can be permitted.
     Every Muslim in the U.S. must be expelled.
     All mosques must be demolished.

     Wake up, America...before you wake up dead.

Monday, January 7, 2019


     A quick warning to those of Victorian sensibilities:

This post may contain:
1. Profanity,
2. Racial, ethnic, gender, and creedal epithets,
3. Uncensored references to sex organs and sex acts,
4. And whence.

     This site is intended for adults capable of reasoning without having to cringe away from particular words. Accordingly, I shall no longer baby anyone. (Besides, Dad was a Navy man.) Read on at your own peril.

     Over at The Declination, our esteemed Co-Contributor Dystopic recently penned an excellent column about “hot girl privilege” that excited quite a bit of interest (and interesting commentary.) I’ve been allowing it to ferment for a few days while I worked on the mechanism that powers it. Though it’s not exactly the same as the ones behind “black privilege,” “homosexual privilege,” et cetera, it does display certain markers that are useful in distinguishing an argument that employs facts and logic from one that’s just outright bullshit.

     If you recall this essay, you’ll remember how I feel about persons who assert the power to tell others what they may and may not say. That set of convictions should be matched to a complementary set about what some people are permitted to say and do without being condemned or derided for it: the essence of privilege.

     Who are these privileged persons? Whence (I did warn you) do their privileges arise?

  • Some acquire their privilege from a claim that they are (or have been ) oppressed.
  • Others acquire it from a claim of being (or having been) disadvantaged.
  • A third group has it because others want something they control.
  • A fourth group has it because of its propensity for violence.

     Some such group characteristic, whether it excites sympathy, cupidity, or fear, can move others – not all and not uniformly, mind you – to grant the group the privilege of defying norms the rest of us would be condemned (at the very minimum) for violating.

     In Dystopic’s “hot girl” case the distinguishing characteristic is the possession of an attractive body (by conventional male standards) that possesses a vagina. Many a man will grant such girls the privilege of doing as they please (including mouthing off) in the hope that permitting it will win sexual access to them. Or as a dear departed friend of mine once said, “God gave women cunts so men wouldn’t ignore them.” And with that you have a significant part of the explanation for the extraordinarily disproportionate amount of attention being showered on the (moderately) attractive but (totally) idiotic Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

     But the “hot girl” is only distinguished from other women in that she receives enhanced privilege. All women are privileged today. They claim many privileges, including preferences in hiring and educational access, on the grounds of having been “oppressed” for their sex – and they get them. They can get away with behavior that would get a man sued for damages or clapped in irons. Check the statistics on sexual harassment complaints. How often do women succeed in getting men punished after such allegations, as a percentage of all such cases? Now check how often men succeed in getting women punished for the same sort of behavior – and be sure to note how often the man is punished merely for lodging an accusation. This is the variety of prostitution – using sex for profit; think about it – that’s legally privileged today.

     While the legions of the “oppressed” – e.g., Negroes, women, and homosexuals – have received most of the “privilege attention” (despite not having been “oppressed” in any objective sense for many decades), we must not overlook the “disadvantaged:” i.e., those who didn’t exert themselves sufficiently to become useful to others. After all, to be “disadvantaged” is a normal condition – when one wants to practice some trade or art for which one is inadequately equipped. But very few persons are “disadvantaged” at absolutely everything. In our time, the proliferation of technologies that can compensate for sensory disadvantages are many. The technologies that can compensate for mobility and manipulation disadvantages are swiftly catching up with them. Yet the “disadvantaged” continue to moan about their “condition” and wail that they “deserve” special, uniquely easier conditions – i.e., to be accommodated in the pursuit of occupations for which they aren’t suited.

     I have only one question: On what grounds? What makes you think anyone owes you the least little thing?

     Finally for today we have groups known to be appreciably more violent than the American norm. Young Negroes qualify, but the most feared group – ironically, owing to events not on this continent but in Europe – is Muslims, whose “religion” awards them the right and duty to use violence against “the infidel.” To a Muslim, anyone who isn’t a Muslim is “the infidel.” Indeed, Some Muslims regard other Muslims as “infidels” because of differences in doctrine between Islamic scholia.

     Muslims’ propensity to violence is so well known that it’s routinely joked about: “Islam is a religion of peace and if you say otherwise we’ll kill you, you dirty kuffar.” Hell of a dark edge on that “joke,” isn’t there? But the sentiment is plain – and honest Muslims will admit that it’s commanded of them by their most sacred scripture, the Qur’an.

     And so Muslims, whose “religion” forbids them to hold any allegiance other than to Islam, whose scriptures command them to eject all real and wholesome religions from the world by force, and to punish heresy, apostasy, adultery, homosexuality, and many other things with death, get an unnatural amount of “privilege.” In a sane era, they would not be permitted into the United States at all. Today, we have two of them in the House of Representatives. One has already disparaged the president of the United States as a “motherfucker.” Another has demanded that a longstanding rule of decorum – no headgear in the House – be set aside for her convenience. She’ll probably get her way.

     As I’ve written before, what defines an aristocracy is its privileges. Today several groups are considerably privileged over the rest of us, whether legally, socially, or commercially. Moreover, to dispute their privileges is usually to be slapped down, and sometimes to be penalized in a material fashion. Only he who is self-sustaining, independent, owes nothing to anyone, and is utterly confident of himself dares to assail such arrangements.

     The failure to challenge privileges of the sort discussed here could doom the United States. Even so, the risks are considerable. As has been said many times, if you want to know who rules over you, ask whom you’re not allowed to criticize...whatever the grounds.

The completely unnecessary confrontation with Russia.

Contending that Moscow is to blame for the deterioration of East-West relations because of its military actions in Georgia and Ukraine, as U.S. opinion leaders tend to do, is especially inaccurate. The problems began much earlier than the events in 2008 and 2014. The West humiliated a defeated adversary that showed every sign of wanting to become part of a broader Western community. Expanding NATO and trampling on Russian interests in the Balkans were momentous early measures that torpedoed friendly relations.[1]
“Especially inaccurate” isn’t the right term. “Outright falsehood” is.

[1]  "West Started the New Cold War With Russia, Not the Other Way Around." By Ted Galen Carpenter, Russia Insider, 1/4/19.

Factoring Mom into the warfighting equation.

“If I ask everyone in this room to think about the most protective person you know in your life, someone who would do anything to keep you safe, half the people in this room would think about their moms,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told the House Armed Services Committee. “We are the protectors; that’s what the military does. We serve to protect the rest of you, and that’s a very natural place for a woman to be.” [1]

Yes. You just can’t make this stuff up.

I know of an Englishwoman with the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). She parachuted into German-occupied France and, speaking fluent French, flitted around France like she was on her summer holiday. Talk about someone with ice water in her veins. So bravo to her for her amazing strength of character and courage. But, that said, she was close to be a one off and the mass of women are not like her, anymore than all men can kick a 50-yard field goal.

[1] "Girl power to kill: Women now control America’s military-industrial complex." By, 1/4/19 (formatting removed).

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Denial of Observation

Leftists have a fascinating ability to sell blatant lies packaged as false dialectic. Many no doubt recall the "Hispanics are natural conservatives" bologna. I had a Leftist acquaintance repeat it to me when I pointed out that the Democrat argument for amnesty and migration is hugely self-serving.

There are, of course, those Hispanic groups who do vote reliably conservative, such as Cuban exiles. However, this is untrue of the rest, and those vastly outnumber the conservative-leaning groups. It's another way for Leftists to deflect answering an important truth: they support mass migration for largely self-serving reasons.

In essence, it's just another push for Socialism. History is replete with examples of citizens importing foreigners to use against their domestic enemies. In our time, this process is less bloody than it once was (though this may change at any moment), however the core tactic is the same. Americans could not be talked into full Socialism, so the Democrats came up with the idea of replacing Americans.

All the rigmarole about empathy, feeling sorry for the poor, impoverished people of... wherever... that's all a smokescreen for the fact that they want to import more Leftists and shift the Overton Window Leftward.

For some reason, many Rightists take Leftists at face value when they argue about the refugees from Syria, or the illegals streaming across the border. Too many assume good intentions. At least when Justinian II arrived at Constantinople (705) demanding his throne back, with an army of Bulgarians behind him, nobody was empathizing with the Bulgarians.

Leftists can spin just about anything. They can tell you why Mexicans are natural conservatives while simultaneously touting the arrival of the Democrat demographic majority, by quoting immigration statistics.

Every Rightist they disarm this way is one less to stand in the way of their Socialist agenda.
The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. 
Everyday, Leftists do this. One once told me that California was the most prosperous state in the union, that it had less poverty than most Right-leaning states. This, of course, is utter bunk. He based this off GDP, with no respect for purchasing power parity, and the fact that California - far from being a beacon of income equality - is extremely bifurcated. There are many super-wealthy (Hollywood, Silicon Valley, etc...), and many super-poor, and somewhat less in between. In truth, California is the second most impoverished state in the entire country when these things are taken into account.

But forget that. Drive through Los Angeles, or read about how people are living in boxes and run-down, illegally-parked motorhomes in San Francisco. The evidence of your eyes and ears is sufficient to disprove the assertion.

Yet the Leftist could not be moved from his assertion.

Another explained that, when the Dow rose following Trump's election, that was really Obama's policies that did that. When the Dow took a dump recently, that was, of course, Trump's fault. When the Dow subsequently recovered, that was, again, the doing of Democrats.

He said this while simultaneously explaining that Capitalism was evil, and all of this needed to be nationalized anyway.

They are like the Israelites in the wilderness. Moses climbs the mountain to receive the commandments, and he comes back down and sees them worshiping the golden calf. Have you ever wondered how any people could be so stupid as to do that? Bereft of God, most people will seek out an idol.

Today's Leftists have replaced God with Socialism. That is their idol, their golden calf. And they will do anything for it. They will lie for it. They will steal for it. They will burn down their own country for it. They will demand you deny your own observations for it. When you look at what they are saying through this lens, the lie becomes clear.

Even those who think they are arguing in good faith really aren't. They bow to the golden calf too. They will torture their sense of reason to explain their adherence to the idol of Socialism; to resolve the omnipresent doublethink. But in the end, that devotion outweighs the evidence of their own eyes.

Maybe there is hope for some, that when Moses descends from the mountain, they feel a burning shame for their idol-worship as some Israelites surely did.

Don't hold your breath, though.

SAT Transformation of the Language

In response to a post (Fran's) on the Christian holiday called Epiphany, I looked up the meaning that the average high school student would have of it. I checked with an SAT site, and found that the meaning had been twisted from a specific, Christian event, to a general sort of sudden insight. With no Divine action necessary to invoke that change.

In other words, Wokeness.

NOT the meaning of the Epiphany, at all.

I was so disturbed by the way the SAT vocabulary list was being used to twist common usage, that I returned to the list, and found that epiphany was not the only word that was being 'nudged' into a less specific, and more generalized meaning.

Words have meaning. They refer to specific events, thoughts, actions, and feelings. To give just one example, if you check out the definition of Abhorrent, you will see that SAT gives the meaning as 'hatred'.

Something that is abhorrent is nothing like that. It would be something that you were disgusted by, that brought up a visceral reaction of wanting to avoid completely. In other words, you would be making a value judgement on the abhorrent thing. Not hating it, but JUDGING it, and finding it severely lacking.

And, it's the value judgement that the Left is working overtime to stamp out.

If you have time, check out some of the other words, and consider contacting SAT with your concerns about this diminishment of our rich language heritage.

Another Profoundly Hearing-Disabled Person Has His Life Transformed

I'm in the mild-to-moderate range of hearing loss. This guy was suffering a more severe loss, along with the social isolation that usually accompanies it.

But, yeah, I know how he feels. It doesn't take much of a loss to cause social difficulties.

A Reminder For The Feast Of The Epiphany

     Today Christians celebrate the Epiphany – in the East also known as the Theophany – upon which the Magi, three Zoroastrian nobles, came upon the Christ Child and gifted Him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I’ve discoursed upon the significance of those three gifts before. Each one is a marker of sorts, intended to underscore Christ’s status and mission on Earth.

     The Hebrews of the First Century, when talking of the Messiah, envisioned a temporal ruler. King Herod, who ruled them as a puppet of the Roman Empire, was extremely jealous of his position and his power. He would brook no challenge to it, least of all from a newborn child. When the Magi told him of their quest for the “King of the Jews,” he responded with the massacre of all male children in Bethlehem who were two years old or younger.

     That’s how temporal power always responds to the emergence of an alternate form of authority.

     Christianity is under attack all over the world, including in the United States. Here it’s assailed verbally by militant atheists. In other countries the assaults are often deadly, such that Christian communities in such lands are rapidly disappearing. While Christ Himself told us that we would be defamed and persecuted for His sake, it’s still a tragedy that should be fought by all men of good will.

     Yet they who are in the vanguard of such persecutions will routinely deny that it’s taking place. “You’re free to worship as you please, aren’t you?” they sneer, as they strive to drive Christ, faith in Him, and His Gospel out of the public square – indeed, to make it unacceptable to profess Christ anywhere outside a church or one’s home. Even saying “Merry Christmas!” will evoke their ire. Santa Claus good; the Christ Child bad.

     But Saint Nicholas didn’t die for anyone’ sins. Christ did. And that, in my opinion, is what drives the militant atheists absolutely wild: the suggestion that their Redemption, which they disbelieve, came through the Sacrifice of a Person of God, Whom they deny ever existed.

     Jesus Christ and we who love Him threaten no one’s personal accomplishments, material gains, or temporal power. Yet He is the most hated Person ever to have lived, for the whole of the two millennia behind us. Millions have been killed in part or whole to extinguish faith in Him. Even so, there have never been more Christians. Despite the efforts of His enemies, faith in Him is swelling in an unprecedented fashion.

     Pretzelly, isn’t it?

     I wasn’t going to post anything today. I’ve been exceedingly weary, sorely tried by some domestic difficulties that have proved obstructive of my normal mode of existence and expensive to remedy. But the Epiphany always draws me out.

     My chores beckon, so I shan’t ramble on further. Have a little music instead:

     And may God bless and keep you all.

Oh so quiet.

In fact, though the resistance lives to criticize the Trump administration, they have been notably quiet – even in favour of – three key issues: The bombing of Syria, the tearing up of the INF treaty and the prosecution of Julian Assange.[1]

U.S. and Western involvement in Syria is for the most vaporous reasons but that does not stop its toll from being measured in the billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of deaths, and devastating urban destruction. Trish Regan will beat the drum for war in Syria like a rented mule but the concerned citizen can only faintly discern from public "debate" the issues of Israel, Iran, Russia, oil or gas pipelines from Qatar (or not from Iran), “terror,” stupid interventionism, pointless deaths, or criminal waste. Searching for a ghost in the basement at midnight during a power outage is easier than figuring out what we’re doing in Syria (or just about any place else in the world).

All I can see is that lots of Syrians need to die because Assad's mean and removing mean people from power is the genius of the American approach to benighted foreign governments. Things always go back together just so afterwards, like a film of a train wreck played backwards.

No doubt there are pressing issues in Niger requiring U.S. muscle and tutelage but no official seems to think the American people should be told what those are. Public "debate" on any issue is, um, incomplete now and it calls to mind Dorothy Parker's witticism that Katherine Hepburn's performance ran the gamut of emotions from A to B. The Democrats' idea of a "debate" on immigration, for example, is to intone the magic phrase "comprehensive immigration law reform." Long pause . . . . And . . . . . . . . .?

The same reticence over treaties pertaining to nuclear weapons. Did they work and what new thinking should replace them? We hear about “neo” this and “neo” that never what the new model of nuclear weapon management is to be. Isn't that odd? It's really an important topic. Perhaps strategic thinkers like LTC Ralph Peters or Mika Brzezinski can give us the low down on that.

And Assange languishes in a de facto jail cell for the unforgivable crime of facilitating the disclosure of embarrassing government information. The various governments of the Western world have long since forfeited any presumption of regularity in their doings. Revelation of their inner conversations is a righteous endeavor and the hostility toward Assange is Exhibit A to the greasy world of insider politics. People like Hillary who resort to fantastical, dishonest explanations for criminal behavior in the handling of official communications skate away (with yeomanlike assistance from James Comey). Concealment of crime and diseased thinking is protected, winked at, and ignored. Revelation of same leads to crucifixion, hostility, and a cruel lying in wait over years. That bastard.

Ghastly, ruinous war, an unexplained revolution in nuclear thinking, and vile persecution of an individual citizen who dares to advance the cause of transparency and accountability: vital aspects of unaccountable globalist, imperialist, elitist governance and all of no interest to the deep thinkers of “public life.”

In point of fact, nothing in the West is a subject of honest debate. Pond scum like Frans Timmermans just lays out our future like Moses descending down the mountain. Suck it up, bichez!

[1] "The Rehabilitation of Robert Mueller." By Kit Knightly, offGuardian, 11/24/18. Mr. Knightly oddly thinks that people who shot at American troops in Vietnam were merely angry farmers, that Vietnam was a “war of conquest,” and that (((Gitmo))) = Treblinka but, that aside, he makes some good points about the Deep State.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Day Off

     Though young, 2019 has already been rather hectic, and I find that I need a day or two to rest. Enjoy your Saturday. I hope to be back tomorrow.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Designing For Failure

     Back in the late Sixties and Early Seventies, when the Space Shuttles were under development, the NASA teams at work on them operated under a peculiar belief. In short, they assumed that testing subassemblies in isolation was unnecessary – that the only level of testing required would be performed upon the fully assembled and integrated Shuttle. This gave rise to a number of calamities, including five major fires. Stubbornness about this approach, which NASA called “Success By Design,” was one of the reasons the Shuttle program took so long to complete.

     There’s information here. How often, really, do human efforts work on the first try? I’ve known a lot of engineers, and I don’t think even one of them would say “Most of them.” (I do know one fellow who claims it’s possible to write software of arbitrary complexity that will work on the first try, but as far as I know he hasn’t yet succeeded at it.)

     Assuming success, even at low levels of component design and fabrication, is a risky proposition. The more components the final product will embed, the riskier it is. A smart engineer tests every element that’s testable, long before he attempts to integrate it with any other element. Sometimes he’ll build special test circuits, good for nothing but testing his subassembly, to assure himself that he’s “in the ballpark” at the very least.

     In other words, a smart, humble engineer assumes not success but failure. Smart, humble people in every walk of life do the same. That’s because they know their limitations.

     Not every walk of life is populated by people who are simultaneously smart enough and humble enough to admit that they have limitations. The one that sticks out most conspicuously is, of course, the world of politics and government.

     Meddling with the lives of others through lawmaking is the most dangerous of all occupations. Very few Acts of any legislature conduce to the ends that were proposed for them a priori. Unexpected costs and unintended consequences abound. Yet you will seldom hear anyone in government, whether elected or appointed, use the Three Little Words that admit to one’s human fallibility: “I was wrong.” You’re more likely to meet a virgin hooker.

     Perhaps we should have expected this all along. The pursuit of political power requires an outsized ego. Such persons are loath to admit to any shortcoming, especially in their intellects or knowledge. They can fake humility when it’s politically expedient, but I wouldn’t bet the mortgage money on ever seeing them practice it.

     Yet a great many Americans still look to the Omnipotent State as the answer to all “problems.” (Here, “problem” should be understood to mean “something that displeases me” to a private citizen, and “something I can base a campaign on” to a politician.) Few are those who understand that what many regard as “problems” are conditions that cannot be “solved” except at an unacceptable cost. Hearken to H. L. Mencken on a subject no politician would say we must tolerate as the least bad of the possible evils, prostitution:

     There is no half-baked ecclesiastic, bawling in his galvanized-iron temple on a suburban lot, who doesn’t know precisely how it ought to be dealt with. There is no fantoddish old suffragette, sworn to get her revenge on man, who hasn’t a sovereign remedy for it. There is not a shyster of a district attorney, ambitious for higher office, who doesn’t offer to dispose of it in a few weeks, given only enough help from the city editors. And yet, by the same token, there is not a man who has honestly studied it and pondered it, bringing sound information to the business, and understanding of its inner difficulties and a clean and analytical mind, who doesn’t believe and hasn’t stated publicly that it is intrinsically and eternally insoluble. For example, Havelock Ellis. His remedy is simply a denial of all remedies. He admits that the disease is bad, but he shows that the medicine is infinitely worse, and so he proposes going back to the plain disease, and advocates bearing it with philosophy, as we bear colds in the head, marriage, the noises of the city, bad cooking and the certainty of death. Man is inherently vile—but he is never so vile as when he is trying to disguise and deny his vileness. No prostitute was ever so costly to a community as a prowling and obscene vice crusader, or as the dubious legislator or prosecuting officer who jumps at such swine pipe.

     If the politician can’t promise to “solve” your “problems” for you, what could he possibly offer you?

     We enter upon 2019 with the federal government divided once more. Many see this as unfortunate, and they could well be correct. But there’s a possibility – granted, not easily measured – that it could be a good one.

     Some things conservatives would dearly love to see are unlikely to get done. A sharp reduction in federal spending is highly unlikely. The dissolution of any Cabinet department, even the utterly useless albatrosses of Energy and Education, simply won’t happen. Few will be the initiatives for which the Trump Administration will secure the cooperation of the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

     But many things that would eventuate in disaster are unlikely to get through Congress, as well. A divided Congress could be a barrier to many a big-government boondoggle. It could halt any major expansion of the administrative state, or any major increase in a federal program. The requirement, of course, is that the Republican-controlled Senate must “stand its ground” about such things. That hasn’t always been the case in the past.

     In this connection we must consider the ongoing partial federal-government shutdown as a blessing. No budget? No expansion of the budget, which is a phantasm anyway. No authorization of funds explicitly for the border wall? President Trump has the backing of the electorate, the military, and the Border Patrol, and could find what he needs in pockets of discretionary funding. There are possibilities for improving our foreign policy and our military posture, especially as regards our overseas military commitments, that a divided Congress would find difficult to obstruct.

     Just be braced for failure. For any initiative undertaken over the next two years, be ready with objective evaluation criteria and insist on sunsetting provisions. Remember how seldom any human undertaking succeeds on the first go-round. Let’s pray that President Trump remembers that, too.