Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Covington, The Media, And The Program

     I must have written it a hundred times by now, but apparently it hasn’t yet sunk into some heads:

They who value power over all else:
Will do anything to get it;
Will do anything to keep it;
And will do anything to increase it.

     In other words, the power-luster has no ethics and no inhibitions. He does not recognize the concept of morally forbidden, as that would impede his pursuit of his One True Love. Moreover, his hangers-on will bend over backwards to serve him. The health of the remora, after all, depends on the health of the shark.

     There! Now that I’ve buried the lede about six feet deep, let’s proceed to the meaty part of the day’s fulminations.


     I’m reasonably sure I don’t need to explain what I mean by the Covington Catholic incident, so let’s pass on immediately to the core of the thing.

     The media, Leftists in the Punditocracy, Leftists throughout the Internet, and a bunch of Democrat politicians and activists collaborated on a deception: a video clip edited to produce a wholly incorrect portrayal of the incident. Then they used that portrayal as black propaganda:

  • Against the assembled group of Covington Catholic students;
  • Against white Christians (especially Catholics);
  • And against Trump supporters.

     And as you know if you’ve paid attention to subsequent developments, unedited videos of the actual events have revealed their deception for what it was.

     I’ve said to myself over and over that “they’re not stupid.” Yet one could easily think they believed, in this age of the ubiquitous video-capturing cell phone, that they could get away with it. Or is that a step too far? Did they merely think that even if their deception were unmasked a day or two afterward, it would nevertheless be tactically useful? If so, why?

     It took me a while, and a lot of hard thought, but I believe I have the answer. Rather than dump it on you like a truckload of gravel, I’m going to lay out the breadcrumbs I followed to reach it, in the hope that you’ll find them equally illuminating. So empty your bladder, refill your coffee cup, and fasten your seat belt. It’s about to get ugly.


     The annual March for Life excites hatred among Leftists like no other political event. It’s predominantly white, Christian, and conservative. It attacks the Left’s supreme sacrament: abortion. And year after year it is entirely peaceful and orderly. Compared to practically any Left-oriented event, it’s a glowing model of what a political demonstration should be.

     Therefore, the Left deems it a high-priority target. With an outspokenly pro-life Administration in Washington, it becomes an even higher priority target. They seethe at the event and strain to defame or corrupt it. But until this year they’ve done no better than to deny it significant media coverage.

     The Left has other targets, of course. The Trump Administration, the steadily blossoming popular support for it, and the New Populist Conservatism have excited its ire. To some extent it shares that ire with the Old Conservative Establishment of institutions such as National Review and the (defunct) Weekly Standard. Over the past two years the Left’s tacticians have learned that they can expect a degree of cooperation from the Old Conservative mouthpieces when an event that stimulates their superciliousness toward Us the Unwashed can be suitably framed. So they remain alert for potential opportunities.

     Along comes the 2019 March for Life, a gaggle of young white Catholics, and a scattering of MAGA hats. The confluence of targets is incredibly juicy, but what can be done about them? Can we send in a provocateur? Who’s available?

     An ideal provocateur would be non-white and presumptively non-Christian. It would be best if he were old and wizened as well, and willing to take a modest risk for the Cause. Hey, that’s Nathan Phillips standing over there with his drum. Let’s see what he can do!

     Phillips wades in. Nothing much happens. But a suitably edited clip can be used to make it look as if the Covington boys encroached on him. It will take time for an accurate depiction of the event to surface and circulate. Meanwhile our media allies can whip up the base, which as we know is fueled by hatred of Christianity, Trump, pro-lifers, and everything traditionally American. Let’s run with it!

     And they do. And for a little less than a day they get everything they want from it. The Internet explodes with fury at the Covington boys, at Christianity, at the pro-life movement, and at the “racism” of President Donald Trump and his Administration. The Old Conservative Establishment farts dutifully chime in with their own condemnations. The doxxing and death threats get into high gear. The Left’s base is satisfyingly energized.

     But here we come to the punch line: Even though the extended videos swiftly circulated immediately afterward give the lie to all this Leftist outrage, the Left’s planners still regard their tactic as having made a profit. They got enough of what their base needs to bolster its allegiance and activism to outweigh the hit on their media allies’ credibility. Besides, they reason, it’s only “our people” who think the media has any credibility left, anyway.

     They will do it again. Mark my words.


     Dystopic / Thales’s essay of yesterday nicely lays out the Left’s assignment of roles to its media allies. Whatever they might claim (or posture), the major media are not purveyors of facts. They are not interested in true depictions of important events. That would lose them the love of their Leftist masters, and with it all the “access” their service has earned them over the years. Their task is to spread propaganda: the blacker, the better.

     Black propaganda of the sort depicted here has several aims:

  • To occupy and divert the public’s attention;
  • To present a fallacious but useful slant on recent events;
  • To fuel the portion of the electorate that seeks reasons to be enraged;
  • To motivate that portion to undertake further action against the Left’s targets.

     Even if the propaganda has a limited lifetime – and less than a day is very limited indeed – it can still be counted as profitable if it succeeds adequately in those aims. Compare this with the newspapers’ practice of making lurid claims on the front page above the fold...and then retracting them two or three days later with a “correction” on Page A38.

     We are so far gone from a time in which Americans trusted one another to be men of good will, to dispute with facts and reason under the assumption that those are the things that matter, and to hold to the moral absolutes that have underpinned Western Civilization since the time of Christ that I can’t even see it in the rear-view mirror. We have gone from being a “high trust” society to a society in which trust is awarded only after checking the other guy’s bona fides and finding them satisfactory.

     But the Left is pleased. Totalitarians cannot rule enduringly over a high-trust society. The consolidation and maintenance of their power requires that their subjects be more suspicious of one another than of them. Divide et vince, divide et impera.

     With that I yield the floor to my Gentle Readers.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Back to Life - Sort of

I was down with a nasty respiratory virus for the last 2 days. Spent most of that time in bed. I'm up again today, and realized that I'd missed more of the obligatory Hate-Trump, Hate-Pence, Hate-Catholic semi-stories. Stories that had a bare relationship with the truth, Stories that were MOSTLY fake and distorted.

The circus goes on, and on, and on. It's a war of attrition, for which most people are ill-suited. I know I am.

Expect spotty posting over the next week, as I work to recover, clear up the crap that is my house after days of neglect, and check on bills and IRS stuff.

The Biggest Spanner

     Regular Gentle Readers will already be aware of my fondness for archaisms and other odd turns of phrase. (Be not afraid. I’m not about to say whence again...uh...oh, damn! Sorry about that.) A couple of my favorites derive from English slang, by which I mean terms used “across the puddle” in the Sceptered Isle. One of them of great utility is “to throw a spanner in the works.”

     For those who have never had the dubious pleasure of working on any of the products of British Leyland, a spanner in the English idiom is what we “in the colonies” would call a wrench. Needless to say, one does not leave a spanner “in the works” once the repairs are complete. That would tend to “bollocks them up” rather thoroughly. Merely starting the motor – yeah, yeah, I know the difference between a motor and an engine; it’s the way the Brits talk – would leave one with a substantial “cockup.” It would leave your motorcar as useful as a “damp squib.” It would be totally “snookered.” You might feel “gutted” enough to leave off mechanical work altogether.

     Note the mind-bending assumption embedded in the above example: that there are states of repair in which things “work” – that is, they do what they were designed and built to do – and other states – far more numerous, really; see the Second Law of Thermodynamics if you doubt this – in which they don’t. This revelation underpins all of that arcane discipline we call engineering. The art of the engineer is to apply scientific and technological knowledge to go from a state in which things don’t work to a state in which they do, according to some previously specified set of desiderata, most commonly called the requirements.

     All too often, as an engineer is plying his art, some “tosser” will happen along and “throw a spanner into the works.” The nature of said spanner will vary according to the nature of the project and the intentions of the “tosser.” With all that having been said, we come to my subject for this fine, frigid Monday morning on Long Island, New York: temperature 9 degrees Fahrenheit.


     Sarah Hoyt has a fine and impassioned piece up at PJ Media. If you don’t have the time to read it all – say, what are you doing here? — here’s the sockdolager:

     I attended [a science fiction convention] this weekend and a friend lamented that you can no longer be on a panel with anyone without the discussion devolving to politics. And you can barely talk to people in the halls because any topic can devolve into politics....

     It’s time we start reclaiming sanity. It’s time to say loud and clear “No, that’s not political. It’s whatever” (Science, history, entertainment.) “And your claiming it’s political is either bad faith or ignorance. Now let the adults talk.”

     Sarah’s observations got my engine turning. They’re not entirely new, mind you. I’ve expressed similar sentiments about the pervasive politicization of everything. What makes them piercing is how far that attitude has penetrated those realms into which we go to escape politics and other dreary features of daily life. Music. Art. Fiction. Sex. Sports!

     (To the best of my knowledge, chess, bridge, and canasta remain unaffected. Keep it under your hat.)

     Politics and political differences are the “spanner in the works” that’s ruining American society. Until about sixty years ago, ours was a society in which things work. That is: we knew of ways to achieve our desired ends, and when we followed them with adequate fidelity, we got what we wanted, for every imaginable value of “we.” Politics was a marginal pursuit. It didn’t figure into the overwhelmingly greater portion of the ways things work.

     Then the American Left got revved up: “The personal is political.” “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” Et cetera ad nauseam infinitam. Subject after subject acquired a political tint. People began to get strident and hostile toward those who disagree with them. Conversations about important matters between serious persons became ever more hazardous. There was no way to know a priori whether it was “safe” to introduce some topic, even in a gathering of friends.

     And one by one, a lot of things stopped working.

     The plague continues to spread. There’s no telling how far it will go, or whether any outcome other than the complete ruination and atomization of society is still achievable. But at least we can still understand what’s being done to us...if we have the stomach to face it.


     Politics is not a universally applicable solution to problems of all sorts. Politics is a method: a fall-back method. It is to be used only when everyone agrees:

  • On the “requirements;”
  • That all other methods of satisfying the requirements have failed;
  • And on the “acceptance test,” passing which will terminate the use of the political method.

     In other words, politics is to be used only when no other approach to some highly urgent matter is plausible. The reason is simple:

Alone among all human methods,
Politics inevitably brings strife.

     Politics, you see, is about force. It’s force a short step back from actual violence. It imposes some scheme of things upon all persons, including those who don’t want it, with the threat of punishment to keep the dissenters in line. And force, whether threatened or actual, is the cleavage item that divides the universe of human action into morally permissible and morally forbidden.

     If you fail to understand this, no man of good will could argue with you. You are morally different from the rest of us – and “morally different” is a euphemism for evil.


     The Left’s project, the politicization of everything, involves tearing up and rewriting – from the Left’s preferences, of course – the entire edifice of Western thought, right down to its moral bedrock. Toward this end it has striven to infiltrate, colonize, and conquer every institution which has even the slightest relevance to human well-being. And it has made great strides in that direction. Visible manifestations horrify us daily.

     But politics is “a spanner in the works,” the biggest “spanner” imaginable. In every setting except the defense of individuals against predators and the defense of the nation against its enemies, it “bollockses things up.” It leaves whatever it touches completely “snookered.” And they who naively looked to politics as a solution to some situation they were persuaded to regard as a “problem” that must be “solved” often come away “gutted.”

     They to whom the goal is power merely snicker. They use every failure of the political method to agitate for still broader and more forceful politicization. And they succeed frighteningly often.

     It must stop. It must be stopped. And only you and I can stop it.

     Stand your ground. Refuse to bend. And remember what John Wayne said:

Whistling past the graveyard.

Based on their track record over the past half century, conservatives are incapable of building or even defending the kind of society that nearly all white Americans really want.

If white America has a future, it won’t be secured by conservatives. It will be secured only by European Americans who reject “business-as-usual” politics and the familiar but ultimately irrelevant “conservative” and “liberal” categories, and who instead embrace a worldview rooted in their heritage, history and identity, and act forthrightly to defend and promote their own group interests.

"Why Conservatives Can’t Win." By Mark Weber, By Ron Unz, The Unz Review, 1/10/19.

It’s the truth.

‘Not only does peripheral France fare badly in the modern economy, it is also culturally misunderstood by the elite. … One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later.[1]
And the shock that the American Chablis swillers experienced when El Donaldo rose from gates of hell.

Notes
[1] "'The People' Know What They Want And Just Might Get It – Good And Hard." By James George Jatras, ZeroHedge, 1/19/19.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Pearls of expression.

Snowglobe:

Stop for a moment and ponder what the death total would be if she [Hillary] had won the election.

frank:

no difference. all yankees are first class lunatics and idiots

Snowglobe:

Yes, and all Canadians eat whale blubber.[1]

Notes
[1] Comments on a Russian Insider article that seems to have been removed for unexplained reasons. The article was “The Memo That Helped Kill a Half Million People in Syria” by Daniel Lazare at Consortium News, but the Russia Insider comments are history. We preserve them.

End-Arounds

     Our political class needs to be watched closely. They probably get away with more than any ordinarily attentive private citizen is aware – and a lot more than any unengaged private citizen can imagine.

     Yesterday’s developments were more dramatic than I’d expected them to be. I’d anticipated that the Democrats would reject and disparage whatever President Trump might propose – they’ve been trying to impeach him since before his inauguration – but I hadn’t expected that their rejection would travel backward in time. The timestamps on Nancy Pelosi’s tweets leave no doubt of it. Yet the significance of that odd sequence of events has been lost on everyone but a single British news outlet.

     President Trump has been doing exceedingly well in office. Any objective observer, assessing the state of the nation today versus that in January of 2017, would be compelled to agree. But he’s got a target on his back even so. The reasons are several and need not be recapped here, except to note the one that stands out above the rest: the Democrats’ blind hatred for the man who’s undone the pro-socialism journey of their Anointed One. That he thwarted the continuation of that process by his chosen successor, at this point, is merely icing on the cake.

     Schumer, Pelosi, and the rest of the Democrats’ Congressional vanguard once voted a $50 billion appropriation for a physical border barrier. That’s a matter of public record. You won’t hear them admit to it today, of course. Not only does a politician hate to be caught in a contradiction that stark, it would also be a big extra round for the Trump cannon. The highest priority item on the Democrats’ agenda is to thwart President Trump. Therefore their hatred of Trump overpowers all their other motives. Q.E.D.

     This is the point that must be brought home to the electorate, including those voters who: 1) mostly don’t follow political developments, and: 2) base their votes on considerations other than who’s doing the best job for the nation.

     Imagine a lifelong Democrat voter being confronted inescapably with the realization that he’s been supporting politicians whose motives and policy proposals have nothing to do with the good of the people of the United States – i.e., persons animated by a combination of hatred and power lust. Facing that would have a dramatic effect on any honest man of good will. That makes it a test: who among the Democrats’ “base” is an honest man of good will? And what would those honest men of good will think of other habitual Democrat voters – i.e., those the test reveals as not honest men of good will?

     Never before in the history of this country has the cleavage that divides the wise and honest from the venal and duplicitous been clearer or more vital to address. That there are some Democrats who still belong among the former category is indisputable. (That there are some Republicans who belong in the latter is equally plain.) But the matter must be brought home to those whose voting-booth behavior has installed them in office and who must remove them in November of 2020. If that can’t be done, America has no future.

     I’ll probably be back later with something more. Just now it’s time for Mass.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Words Fail Me Dept.

     There are days when commentary itself seems unnecessary. The events of yesterday – big news on a Friday afternoon, whoda thunk it? – made January 18, 2019 one of them.

     BuzzFeed ran a wholly fabricated story that accused President Trump of instructing his former lawyer Michael Cohen to commit, if not an indictable criminal offense, at the very least an indictment of Trump’s character adequate to justify his impeachment and removal from office. From a site such as BuzzFeed, which gives new meaning to the phrases “yellow journalism” and “clickbait,” that’s just barely newsworthy. BuzzFeed’s “journalists” have demonstrated their lack of journalistic ethics on several occasions. But then Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller stepped forward and publicly refuted the story. Now that’s news!

     Now add this report on the testimony of former FBI General Counsel James Baker. It completely destroys the “Steele Dossier” accusations against President Trump, along with the credibility of essentially the whole of the FBI’s upper management. We’re going to remember yesterday for a long time, Gentle Readers.

     Apropos of which, here’s how BuzzFeed will be remembered:

     Have a nice day.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Some Links to the Rebellion Triangle and Other Activities

Here's a video that explains - in detail - much of the sleazy, partisan, unprincipled workings of the Mueller Cohort.

What does England and France have to do with us? Quite a lot, actually.

There's a free-for-all happening at The Declination. It centers around discussions of Social Security, and what might be done. Also vets' issues, and a lot of other stuff. Interesting, and a lot of give-and-take.

What We Might Learn From the Yellow Jackets - YJs.

A FUN way to raise awareness.

Leftist Walls

The Left is not ACTUALLY against walls. They had no problem with the Berlin Wall. They have no problem with the barriers "protecting" North Korea from the hordes of South Koreans who want to live in that 'Communist Paradise'.

OK. There are no hordes. Maybe one or two psychotics off their meds.

The Walls of the Left are designed to keep people IN. As in - not able to escape that 'Paradise'.

The video below is one that shows George Soros' wall - yes, Mr. Open Society, The Baron of No Borders, The Sultan of Short-Selling - THAT George Soros!

Enjoy.


Bigger Lies, Bigger Shovels

     My sainted father, may he rest in peace, was the source of many a sad wisdom. He wasn’t an educated man – he’d dropped out of high school after tenth grade – but he was an intelligent and observant one. He saw clearly, remembered what he’d seen, and drew the appropriate inferences from the patterns. One of those patterns, which he conveyed to me during one particularly memorable conversation, was in the lies we’re told by persons with a shameful agenda.

     A shameful agenda – i.e., one designed to defraud – requires lies. It requires a lot of them. And they must be driven home with blows. They who reject the lies must be made to suffer. The suffering must be painful, prolonged, and highly visible to others.

     The bigger the lies, the bigger, more prolonged, and more visible the suffering they’ll require for “reinforcement.”

     People are pain-averse. (Say, I’ll bet you didn’t know that.) If a man can’t somehow avert suffering, and is incapable of fighting it off, he’ll seek an analgesic. The Left’s intent is that the only analgesic available to us is meek submission to its agenda. So its mouthpieces lie continuously, voluminously, at a pain-threshold volume, and from every corner of the informational environment. As we are told repeatedly by the media that these...persons are of high status and stainless reputations, this maximizes the pain from the intense, sustained cognitive dissonance their lies produce. Escape is deterred by the threat of punishment: ostracism, condemnation, loss of income, and violence.

     Submission excepted, there are only two routes out of the agony. One of them would require mass bloodshed.

     The above is only the logic of a dead man whose name you’ve never heard, except that I bear it as well. Feel free to dismiss it if you please.


     Dystopic / Thales’s brief essay is ultimately a sermon about the use of cognitive dissonance to induce submission. The people wielding that whip are evil, not stupid. They are not honestly mistaken individuals who mean well; they are deceivers in the pattern of Satan Mekratrig himself.

     Their end is power. This is their means. And it works if not resisted.

     The only escapes are submission and revolt. Submission is unpalatable to the great majority of Americans. Revolt involves not merely resistance but going on the attack. As we’re in the majority, the prospects for a counterattack, using the same conduits the Left uses to spread its lies and the same deterrents it uses to enforce compliance, are favorable. In this, the age of the Internet, there’s really nothing to impede us. Why, then, do we sit here idle?

     The answer varies from person to person and community to community. Some feel too vulnerable. Others are too comfortable. Others yet are already too beaten down. Still others deem themselves secure against the tide, whether correctly or mistakenly. Very few take up their cudgels and stride forward to do battle.

     It’s not in me to condemn those who abstain from the battle. But more of us must take up arms if we’re to have a fighting chance of retaining not just our country but our sanity. No one is strong enough to withstand an unceasing, undiluted, unopposed barrage of lies and come out whole.


     It’s been said that political correctness is fascism with a smiley face. It calls to mind the cover of Jonah Goldberg’s blockbuster:

     Smiley face or no, political correctness – the insistence that certain indisputable truths must never be spoken and when spoken must be punished with maximum harshness – is the point of the Left’s spear. Here is where the counterattack must begin. Those “unspeakable truths” must be spoken at maximum volume, and damn the torpedoes. Here are a few that deserve trumpeting:

  • There is an American culture. It is infinitely superior to all the other cultures of the world, past or present. No other land produces anything remotely comparable to our general standard of decency, justice, generosity, or good humor.
  • The races, as conventionally defined, differ in various ways, including:
    • general intelligence,
    • family feeling,
    • willingness to break the law,
    • and propensity toward aggression.
    The importance of those differences is topical and contextual.
  • The sexes differ in various ways, including:
    • individual versus consensus decision making,
    • capacity for abstract thought,
    • and propensity toward aggression.
    As with racial differences, the importance of those differences is topical and contextual.
  • Homosexual sodomy is self-destructive, but in certain cases, sexual orientation can be changed.
  • There is such a thing as general intelligence, it is at least partly inherited, and it varies widely.
  • There is such a thing as an innate propensity to aggression, it is at least partly inherited, and it varies widely.
  • There is such a thing as an innate respect for the law, it is at least partly inherited, and it varies widely.
  • The diseased, disabled, disordered, and disadvantaged should receive our sympathy and compassion as individuals toward other individuals, but they are not entitled to more as a matter of right. This principle covers any difficulties anyone might ever experience, whether physical, mental, emotional, financial, or social. (Pace Jackson Browne, “nobody owes ya nothin’.”)

     And we must stand our ground when assailed on them.


     I could go on. Sometimes I do. But if the point isn’t established by now, it can’t be established by any means known to me. Besides, there are other things on today’s agenda:

It’s Time To Stand And Fight.

     There is no middle ground. Indeed, between truth and lies, there never was.

Miscellaneous Postings - Mostly Mine

I've been working on better, cheaper ways to influence the thinking of Persuadables.

My thoughts on the Yellow Jackets, and how their actions might be used to the non-Leftist's advantage.

Social Security takes up a lot of people's thoughts - although, they seem to do f---all with that concern. I've been following a very entertaining post & the subsequent comments on the Raconteur Report.

From PJ Media, there is this analysis of the Attempted Trump Coup. To younger people (and too many Baby Boomers) the word Watergate conveys the sense of a Presidency Gone Rogue, rather than the truth - it was the Deep State, led by Mark Felt of the FBI, along with compliant members of the Mdeia, that worked with Leftists (but, I repeat myself) to bring Nixon to the point of resignation. As a dedicated Republican, Nixon had a grim choice. He could take his chances with impeachment and trial, or he could fall on his sword and save the Republican Party.

The GOP depended on Nixon sacrificing himself.

Don't count on Trump to do the same. He is neither that loyal to the GOP party, nor inclined to give up without a fight. Say what you will about him, if he thinks he has a chance to win, he will go all in.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Quickies: An Entertaining Thought

     A lot of us in the Right are looking forward to President Trump’s next Supreme Court appointment, which will probably cement a conservative majority on the Court for at least two decades. But I’m looking forward to it out of a kind of hope some might find peculiar.

     Imagine that the appointee is Amy Coney Barrett, recently installed on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Barrett is a Catholic, and apparently a serious one. (Sad to say, serious Catholics are a declining demographic in these United States.) Having seen Brian Buescher abused by the Democrats over his Catholicism, I’m hoping for exchanges such as the following at Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearing:

Sen. Harris: Judge Barrett, what is your opinion of the decision in Roe v. Wade?
Judge Barrett: It was an outrage. Clearly wrongly decided.
Sen. Harris: So you would vote to overturn that decision?
Judge Barrett: Given the opportunity? I certainly would.
Sen. Harris: How can you sit there and advocate the repeal of a woman’s right to choose?
Judge Barrett: Abortion is murder. If there’s a right to life, there can be no right to murder.
Sen. Harris: I’m appalled that you can consider yourself fit for the highest court in America.
Judge Barrett: I’m appalled that you, who openly defend the murder of innocent children, have a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Harris: How dare you!
Judge Barrett: Why not? You were never going to vote to confirm me, so why shouldn’t I say what I think?

     I’d buy a Pay-Per-View to see that. Maybe it’s unlikely, but still...!

Motive Is Not Method

     Roger Kimball, one of my favorite writers in the Right, has produced an excellent article on the ongoing coup attempt against the legitimately elected president of the United States. He points out, at times overtly and at others obliquely, the major reasons so great a fraction of the federal “justice” system decided to attempt such a coup. To me, every one of them rings true. They speak of a degree of hatred – and not just for Trump, but for Us the People as well – that a decent person must find difficult to fathom.

     A brief snippet just for flavor, because you really should read it all:

     [I]t was impossible that Trump could actually win the election. Nancy Pelosi told us that we could “take it to the bank” that Donald Trump was not going to be president. Many other politicians and talking heads made fools of themselves emitting similar pseudo-certainties right up to the afternoon and early evening of election day.

     But win he did, and that changed everything. Now it was not a candidate who had to be stopped but a duly elected president of the United States who had to be kept from knowing exactly what lengths the government—soon to be his government—had gone to destroy him.

     Just in case you need a reminder about how utterly, uniformly dismissive of Trump’s electoral prospects the Obamunists and their media allies were:

     But he was elected by a comfortable Electoral College majority, and if fraudulent and illegal votes be discounted, probably by a popular majority as well. Ever since, the Left and the “deep state” have been straining to undo the 2016 elections:

     I revisit those clips when I get to feeling a bit low about federal politics. They make great picker-ups, especially with a glass of Harvey’s. But that’s not my principal subject for today. Kimball’s article nicely delineates why the coup attempt has occurred. What he doesn’t cover is what makes it possible.


     The Constitution defines a federal government of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Herein we find the fabled “separation of powers” so often deemed critical to the restraint of an American tyranny that the Founding Fathers feared. But those who dwell on this feature of the Constitution seldom ask a critical question:

If the Constitution defines a federal government of three branches,
Why do we have four?

     That fourth branch is the unelected and largely unappointed federal bureaucracy. They daily do many things the Founding Fathers never contemplated, almost all of them with the force of law. Indeed, any of the Founders, if brought back to life to review what’s become of the Republic they created, would leap back into his grave with a plaintive demand that we not disturb his repose again.

     Below the level at which the president nominates and Congress confirms Cabinet officers lies the “deep state:” millions of workers in the federal bureaucracies, largely anonymous to Us the People. These employees are protected from the consequences of their actions by a web of Civil Service laws that make it next to impossible to discipline them – and don’t imagine that they can be easily fired.

     The “deep state” includes the levels of the Justice Department that lie below the president’s appointment power. Though in theory those workers, like their appointed bosses, serve “at the pleasure of the president,” the occupant of the Oval Office has no more de facto power to discipline them than you or I.

     So when the election of Donald Trump became an indisputable reality, they who saw (and see) him as a threat to their power, their perquisites, and their transformative social-fascist agenda were able to put the “deep state” to work against the president-elect, secure in the knowledge that given the protections the Civil Service Act confers upon those workers, President Trump would be unable to do the smallest thing about it.


     Many seek a reduction of the federal Leviathan. The ongoing partial government shutdown has been spoken of as a possible means to that end. That would be “a consummation devoutly to be wish’d.” Yet it would trigger world-shaking outcries from the media. Many of those who would protest a Trump Administration “RIF” of the bureaucracies, as the law provides should the shutdown last more than thirty days, would allege that Trump is exploiting the shutdown specifically to thin the ranks of his adversaries, thus reducing the probability that that fraudulent “Mueller investigations” will bring him down.

     The reduction of the federal workforce is an implicit Trump agenda item. It’s been so since he began his campaign for the presidency. But don’t expect the media to remind you about that. The “deep state” is more important to the media than most Americans are aware. It’s the source and substantiation for the overwhelmingly greater part of their “reporting.” Therefore it must be protected, lest “reporters” be forced to earn their pay once again.

     Consider in this light the caterwauling the Democrats have indulged over the 800,000 federal bureaucrats affected by the shutdown. Their laments over these “unfortunates,” many of whom are paid for doing little or nothing, completely omit the burden on ordinary Americans from the taxes required to support these "nonessential employees." For decades the largest identifiable cost-of-living item in an American family’s budget has been taxation. But don’t expect the media to mention that, either. (A Subaru commercial was once hauled off the air for daring to note that fact. You can’t find it on YouTube, either.)

     Thus, for the reasons Roger Kimball has noted, the “deep state” is energized in its crusade against President Trump. For the reasons noted here, its coup attempt cannot be put down without a massive reduction in the federal workforce, especially in the Justice Department. In particular, a complete purge of the FBI, all the way to the walls, will be required, as it is there that the anti-Trump forces are most deeply dug in and have concentrated their efforts. But then, as the rationale for the FBI began with the Eighteenth Amendment and ended with its repeal by the Twenty-First, that’s a stroke that’s long overdue in any event.

Quickies: The State Of The Union Address

     He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States. [Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 3]

     The president’s duties, as indicated by the citation above, do include informing Congress about “the state of the union.” However, the relevant clause does not specify how that duty is to be performed: neither how often, nor where, nor by what means. Moreover, the “tradition” of a public State Of The Union Address, delivered in person and orally to a joint session of Congress, is far younger than most people believe: proto-fascist Woodrow Wilson began the “tradition” in 1913.

     Thus, Nancy Pelosi cannot “cancel” this presidential duty, as has been suggested by some commentators. President Trump can simply select an alternate means of conveying the information to Congress that he believes Congress should receive.

     The presidential duty of informing Congress about the state of the union derives from several characteristics of the early United States:

  • News relevant to the entire nation took several weeks to circulate, rather than being instantaneous;
  • Sessions of Congress were far shorter then than now, typically only a few weeks per year;
  • A Representative or Senator had to make a difficult overland journey to attend a session;
  • The president was the only federal official whose official duties were continuous.

     Today a formal State Of The Union Address is a relic, something that could easily be disposed of with no adverse consequences. Presidents use it mainly for televised publicity, self-congratulation, and to whip up support for their personal legislative agendas. There would be a lot less Sturm und Drang about it were presidents to return to the Nineteenth Century practice of submitting a written summary to Congress and letting it go at that.

     Mr. President: How about doing it via an email? You have an email-address list of all those clowns on Capitol Hill, don’t you? Just a thought, mind you.

Pearls of expression.

MSNBC’s deranged intelligence analyst Malcolm Nance topped everyone as usual with a babbling nonsensical post about how US troops were killed in Manbij because there were no US troops in Manbij, proving that Assad and Putin may have allowed the attack to happen, which proves Trump is a Russian asset.
“The moment Russia and Assad took over patrolling Manbij on Trumps go ahead we get hit with suicide bombers for the first time. It’s possible Russia/Assad let the attack happen. Trump’s treachery on this matter now kills our special operators. #RussianAsset,” Nance tweeted between huffs of paint thinner.[1]
Johnstone goes on to quote the sensible Prof. Max Abrahms and former Green Party vice presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka to the effect that ISIS has zero reason to attack U.S. troops at this point, as staying to fight ISIS is the current war cry of the “war whores” as Johnstone (correctly) describes them. You bet. If the US and its coalition “partners” leave then there are that many fewer troops trying to find and kill them soooo, what can we do to keep them from leaving? Makes sense to me.

Why, shades of “Animal” Assad! And his bizarre decision to use chemical weapons – supposedly – on Syrian civilians when (1) he’s clearly prevailing militarily, (2) killing civilians does nothing to weaken jihadi military units, (3) fear in civilian populations adds not a damn thing to the military situation, and (4) he knows that if there’s one thing that causes deranged Westerners to flip out and dust off plans to take him out it’s photos of dead civilians taken by jihadi White Helmet humanitarians.

Yes. It makes perfect sense for ISIS to piss off Americans just itching for an excuse to stay in Syria and for Assad to target civilians for no rational military purpose whatsoever.

Notes
[1] "Johnstone: War Whores Scramble To Say Syria Attack Means US Troops Must Remain." By Caitlin Johnstone, ZeroHedge, 1/17/19 (links and formatting removed).

Proof that Trump is in thrall to Putin.

If you’re looking for proof of Trump’s beomg thrall to the Russians, go no further than this list prepared by Moon of Alabama.

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 Ammo.com 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 existence....it 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 the 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.

Notes
[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:

     Enjoy!

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.

Notes
[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.

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