Thursday, January 31, 2019

Things You Might Not Know About Di-Fi

That's Diane Feinstein, CA Senator and Catholic in Whom the Dogma Should be Declared DEAD - like the babies that will be legal to kill, right up to the moment of birth - and, possibly AFTER.

I knew about the Chinese spy who worked for her for many years, and some of the Leftists she hung around.

But, SOME of these connections are new to even me.

Mask Slippages Dept.

     We’ve all heard about it already. There’s no need to repeat it. Everyone knows the Left’s response to anything it labels a “crisis” is “Government must act right now!!” It’s just that the “crises” have been getting really...entertaining:

     It might be tempting, then, to dismiss the recent spate of media-biz layoffs as unfortunate but otherwise not concerning. Two hundred workers, including dozens of journalists, were given the slip last week at BuzzFeed. About 800 people are losing their jobs in the media division of Verizon, the telephone company that owns Yahoo, HuffPost, TechCrunch and many other “content brands.” And Gannett, the once-mighty newspaper empire that owns USA Today and hundreds of smaller outlets — from The Bergen County Record to The Zanesville Times Recorder — is letting go of 400.

     But it would be a mistake to regard these cuts as the ordinary chop of a long-roiling digital media sea. Instead, they are a devastation....

     Coming in a time of economic prosperity, at world-historical levels of interest in the news, last week’s cuts tell a story of impending slow-motion doom — and a democratic emergency in the making, with no end in sight.

     Yes, Gentle Reader: you read that right. New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo is unsubtly suggesting that the layoffs at Buzzfeed et alii call for government intervention. He never says it outright, but the theme underlies every word of this incredible piece. It’s a “democratic emergency!”

     Does Manjoo fear that his own pink-slipping is nearing? He wouldn’t be alone in that. The left-wing media have lost so much credibility in 2019 alone that it’s questionable what fraction of its bastions will survive to the end of the year. The Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnibenevolent State must save them! It’s Washington’s Constitutional duty! The damage to the Leftist media constitute a “democratic emergency,” after all.

     Can you say schadenfreude, Gentle Reader?

     If you’re familiar with ancient history – in this case, the far-off year of 1971 – you may remember the “Lockheed bailout” and the Sturm und Drang over it in Congress. It was an early, pattern-setting case of “too big to fail.” The Nixon Administration was behind it. Pro-bailout forces mobilized in various ways to pressure Congress to pass the $250 million – that’s right; million, not “billion” — loan guarantee that would keep Lockheed afloat. The measure did pass, but it required that Vice President Spiro Agnew cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

     What’s significant about that bailout is that the Democrats were against it. Lockheed, you see, was a defense contractor, and therefore evil. We’ll have no loan guarantees to naughty makers of weapons that fly around the world killing our little brown brothers! Of course they rationalized their opposition on grounds of “economy:” a notion Democrats only address when the subject is national defense.

     The case for the Lockheed bailout was weak. It would have been barely plausible to argue that America’s largest defense contractor was a vital national asset whose failure would endanger our military preparedness. That argument was barely heard in Congress. No, the pro-bailout forces harped on “jobs:” the 60,000 employees of Lockheed who might be out of work for a while if the company were to fold. Lockheed employees took a hand in the maneuvering:

     Citing the roughly 60,000 American jobs that would be destroyed, Lockheed mobilized machinists and scientists to buy newspaper ads. Displaced aerospace workers "launched letter-writing campaigns, made speeches to P.T.A.'s and even organized a boycott of Wisconsin cheese and beer" to show Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire (a staunch opponent of the Lockheed bailout) that they meant business.

     That was the theme that won enough grudging Democrat support to pass the loan guarantee.

     Keep all that in mind as you finish reading this screed.

     A corporatized industry is vulnerable to greater economic dislocations than one whose prosperity is divided among a large number of small businesses. The media have become heavily corporatized; follow the links in Linda Fox’s piece on the subject for details. Worse, today’s media tend to speak in coordination, as if there were a single source behind their “journalism.” Thus, when one outlet publishes something dubious, the story tends to propagate through its colleagues as well. Thus they all lose credibility together.

     Loss of credibility is devastating to a “news” outlet. People don’t read entertainment tabloids to stay informed; they read them to pass the time, and perhaps have a laugh or two, while waiting in supermarket checkout lines. A media outlet that represents itself as a “news” outlet has a different job. If it underperforms at that job, it will lose readership, and therefore revenue.

     That’s business in a free market, Gentle Reader. The customer is king. Do your job adequately or better by the customer’s standards, and he’ll keep you afloat. Do it inadequately, and he’ll turn away as you sink. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Interventions that prevent it from working that way subsidize inefficiency and incompetence.

     The ever-more-consolidated “news” media have been doing an ever-less-praiseworthy job. The whole of the traditional reporting industry is in serious trouble. Its troubles were brought about by its own sins, most notably its eschewal of reporting in favor of advocacy and propaganda. Farhad Manjoo and the editors of the New York Times view that as a “democratic emergency.” I see it as a cleansing.

     And I shall laugh heartily as it rolls on toward its terminus.

When Is Nellie Ohr Going to be a Target of the Mueller Investigation?

Desired Answer: Soon, very soon.

Real Answer: Never. Just Never.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Quickies: The Ultimate Aim Of The Pro-Abortion Forces

     It’s been visible in the distance for quite some time. Peter Singer was in favor of legalizing it for the month immediately after birth. “Bioethicist” Daniel Callahan justified it in cases of birth defects. And now Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is arguing that infanticide will be legitimized by a bill before the Virginia legislature, which he supports:

     When asked about the controversial late term abortion bill presented in Virginia’s House of Delegates this week, Governor Ralph Northam said a fully developed child born in the third trimester would be kept alive, but the physician and mother would get to discuss and decide whether to take its life or not.

     “If a mother is in labor…the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and mother,” Northam said on WTOP’s “Ask The Governor” segment this morning.

     There has never been anything like this in a Christian-Enlightenment civilization. There can be no tolerating it. There is no place for it in a country that recognizes a human being’s right to life.

     But that’s the point: To eliminate the right to life as recognized in our founding documents and our laws. Were the right to life undone, the government’s power would be absolute. There would be nothing the agents of the State would be forbidden to do to us.

     Conservatives predicted this outcome of abortion on demand in the Sixties, well before Roe v. Wade reached the Supreme Court. They were mocked and ridiculed as doom-shouters.

     This is it, Gentle Reader. We’re at the edge of the abyss now.


Greed, Consumerism, and Marxism

Yesterday, Francis discussed a post of Sarah Hoyt's. It got me thinking - our curmudgeon is excellent at doing that.

Fact is, I'm guilty of the some of the same thinking that led to an old man being left alone to falter at a Wal Mart. Francis points out the same thinking among Boomers, who feel their parents are inconvenient and expensive. It drives desires for euthanasia, and various utilitarian arguments for why this should be morally permissible.

What is that thinking? Well, we all know it, I'm sure. This year, my wife has been pining for a vacation, and since she got pregnant quite literally on our wedding night, we never did have a proper honeymoon. It's something that she periodically reminds me about. So I booked a cruise, starting in Venice, and sailing through to various ports in Greece.

The trip is absurdly expensive. It is a luxury I've never indulged in before. The last time we were in Europe was near to ten years ago, now, and that was done on a shoestring with frequent flyer miles, a place to stay for free courtesy of some friends, and a well-defined plan for what we would be seeing and doing. The whole trip was done for less than $2,000. That's the only other vacation I've ever been on in my life. I've traveled a lot, mind you, but it was always for business.

I think in the end, this vacation will cost me on the order of $8,000. On the other hand, I can afford it. I have the cash, it can be done.

It got me thinking, though. On social media, I constantly see friends and acquaintances flying off to exotic vacations, buying new cars, and eating at fancy restaurants. And I know they make far less money than I do. And, paradoxically, they often complain about living paycheck-to-paycheck, apparently not seeing the obvious connection between their lifestyles and lack of savings. Some of them even purport to be Socialists.

Bernie Sanders tweeted that "80% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck" as if this was somehow unavoidable; that they were forced to live this way. It's a blatant denial of Free Will. You were fated to be a spendthrift. It's not your fault. You shouldn't have to fix it.

Starting to see the connection to Francis's topic yet?

Why spend money helping inconvenient family when you can go on exotic vacations and live high on the hog instead? More to the point, if you're loaded with debt from decades of living this way, you might not even have the ability to help your family anymore. So letting them languish alone becomes the way out. Promoting euthanasia, pushing utilitarian and quasi-eugenics arguments suddenly becomes an imperative. Through granny in a government-paid old folks home and be done with it. Let him traverse Wal Mart by himself; we have to eat at that fancy new restaurant downtown.

And so, oddly enough, many of these people are promoting Marxism.

It's like people who say they deliberately engineer their exemptions on their taxes so they get a big refund check at the end of the year, because they are unable to save if they are not forced to do so.

Similarly, people who spend, spend, spend cannot bring themselves to support their own friends and family. They do not exercise control over their finances, and so they offload this to the government, instead, and do not understand that some of us don't act this way.

Of course the government should garnish your wages for 'charitable' causes! Who actually saves their money for helping friends and family in need, amirite? So passe.

When I started planning my vacation this year, I found it extremely difficult to contemplate spending that much money on something that was, in essence, throw away money. If it was just me, I wouldn't do it. But the wife is right. We've never had a proper honeymoon. I can safely afford to indulge just this once.

Even so, I started thinking about all the times my spending priorities shifted toward consumerism; times when I failed friends and family when I was younger, because my spending habits at the time were terrible.

Oh, I'm guilty of the same sin; of elevating consumer crap over people in my life when the priorities should be reversed. The only difference is, I'm aware of it, and it brings me shame and regret.

When I was a kid, my grandmother got cancer. My father paid for the medical expenses. She was given 6 months to live - it was finally resolved to be untreatable. Family issues were such that my uncle was estranged from all of us, and my aunt did not have the means to help. My grandmother was somewhat estranged from the rest of the family too, for reasons I don't care to go into. Suffice it to say, she and my father did not get along so great. My grandmother was broke and living alone, and so despite all this, my father drove a couple thousand miles, picked her up, and brought her down to live her final days with us. My uncle didn't care to help, despite possessing the means, because my grandmother was broke, and there was no inheritance to be had.

They made up - there was much mutual forgiveness. She felt at home with family again, she was loved... and she passed within two weeks of her arrival. We all got the sense that she was at peace, and just didn't want to fight it any longer. She had done what she felt was needed; she had made up with the family, she was with us.

Between the medical care, the trips, funeral costs, etc... this was not cheap. My father forewent a number of planned expenditures to make it all happen.

I couldn't imagine doing any different. I couldn't imagine leaving someone to die alone, or to pressure them to relinquish life because someone wants to take a vacation, buy a new car, or buy a load of consumer crap. I can't imagine leaving my cancer-ridden grandmother to die alone.

At times when I find myself getting too focused on stuff, on goods, on money, on keeping up with the Joneses and all that, I often think back to my father - who didn't even hesitate. He was in the car and driving  to pick her up a few hours after she got the final diagnosis.

Someone failed the old man in the Wal Mart. And so many folks are failing their own family and friends now. And over what? A vacation? A car? Some random kitsch to decorate their homes? Earlier today, in a tech forum, I had a guy assert to me that cell phones are a need; that they should be provided free of charge to everyone. Priorities are so far out of whack.

And these very same people presume to lecture us on charity, tell us we need to do more, and explain that they are suffering because they live paycheck to paycheck.

Sometimes, I think Marxist thinking - at least the modern variety - is actually rooted in blatant, irresponsible consumerism. That, after spending themselves into oblivion, the State should step in to solve all their problems. By taking my money, perhaps.

Or perhaps by killing off the old and infirm for the sin of being too expensive.

My trip to Venice and Greece would be cancelled immediately should I need that money for friends and family. These things are luxuries. Trifles. The people in our lives are far more important.

Adrift in the fog of arrogance.

First the headline:
In First Phone Call, Trump Congratulates Guaido On Becoming President Of Venezuela.[1]
Then Deda Cvetko’s comment:
I wish to congratulate Jill Stein on being elected the first US female president.
Chavez and Maduro have run Venezuela for years but, when Venezuelans are eating ostriches in the zoo and their beloved pet Fluffy, it’s suddenly, and I do mean suddenly, now a YUUUUGE problem for the U.S. to obsess over. I understand Venezuela may have a few barrels of oil somewhere within their borders so there’s that, but did the USG just now figure out that access to and control of that oil has strategic implications for our country? If we had some sort of an idea about this in the past, might we not expect of our putative leaders that our policy toward Venezuela look less like a zombie wandering around looking for its next meal and more like a well-thought-out way of dealing with an important country?

The Monroe Doctrine seems to be the Prime Directive of late. Sort of a fancy way of saying "because." Chinese and Russians out, by God! However, just saying that a huge area of the globe is our playground and ours alone seems a bit retro to me and it certainly makes our unhappiness over China’s identical, baseless assertion of jurisdiction over the South China Sea quite ridiculous. If we can wave a wand over the Western Hemisphere and intone “Ours!” on what basis can we object to China doing the same thing close to where it is? Or Russia "taking over" Crimea? Not that it did.

The next line of argument (for our divine right of intervention) is that “democracy” is a precious thing indeed and we, as the keepers of the flame (the whole rest of the world having no concept of how this thing works), have a calling from Almighty God Himself to ‘splain it to unwashed spear chuckers and taco munchers and to organize workshops here and there on how military force can hasten the democratic process along. Sort of to destroy the village in order to save it. (Probably an apocryphal utterance but we'll leave that lie for now.)

Whatever the deficiencies of the United Nations and the post-war scheme for keeping the peace through a mechanism to provide for collective security are, they are IT so far as global politics are concerned. Just as the Treason Party has twisted the Constitution into an unrecognizable slumgullion of horse feathers, baloney, and special sauce so as to create our meretricious, unstoppable juggernaut of federal tyranny, so has the US in recent years arrogated to itself the power to operate throughout the world unilaterally with complete disregard for international law (and our own Constitution).

Our make-it-up-as-we-go-along approach to everything has unleashed immense suffering, destruction and death on the rest of the world and our absurd U-turn to now assume to "fix it" demonstrate beyond all doubt that the US is seriously confused and could not care less about any kind of an "international order." Our elites have justly earned the contempt of thoughtful people around the world though it will be America that will be blamed.

It's past time for a new Treaty of Westphalia/Treaty of San Francisco and a rejection of the hideous domestic politics that infect the entire Western world with but a few honorable exceptions. (The European Union is, of course, premised on a lie and articulates an unworkable vision of government because of its inherent contempt for the sovereign nations and their people. Also slated for the dustbin of history.)

A great sickness is abroad in the world. Old and trusted ways have been discarded by fiends and blatant lies, human appetite, sloth, and national suicide have been given center stage. We can reverse this but only if we "but return to our principles and the worship of reason" in the words of Marcus Aurelius. If we won't do that then we will face the "pitiless crowbar of events" in the words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. There is no third way.

[1]  ZeroHedge, 1/30/19.

(Edited 1/31/19.)

Quickies: The Wheel Turns Round...

     Does anyone else here remember Rene Magritte? His artwork is generally considered surrealistic, but some of it points toward an under-layer of unaddressed realism that observers tend to overlook. Perhaps this is the most famous example:

     Observers seldom twigged to the reality buried within that seeming contradiction. Magritte had to explain it:

     Magritte's work frequently displays a collection of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in his painting, 'The Treachery of Images' (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store advertisement. Magritte painted below the pipe "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe"), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. It does not "satisfy emotionally"—when Magritte was once asked about this image, he replied that of course it was not a pipe, just try to fill it with tobacco.

     Magritte died in 1967. But the wheel of art and fancy has turned, as wheels will do. Apparently we have a budding Magritte somewhere among us, though his medium isn’t paint on a canvas:

     (Shamelessly stolen from 90 Miles From Tyranny.)

Pearls of expression.

Why did Trump declare that the Venezuelan president was no longer the president? According to the State Department, the Administration was acting to help enforce the Venezuelan constitution. If only they were so eager to enforce our own Constitution!

It’s ironic that a president who has spent the first two years in office fighting charges that a foreign country meddled in the US elections would turn around and not only meddle in foreign elections but actually demand the right to name a foreign country’s president! How would we react if the Chinese and Russians decided that President Trump was not upholding the US Constitution and recognized Speaker Nancy Pelosi as US president instead?

"Ron Paul: 'We Must Leave Venezuela Alone.'" By Ron Paul, ZeroHedge, 1/29/19 (formatting removed).

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Quickies: Everyone Loves A Malapropism

     Here’s a doozy I just encountered in a recent novel:

     After a long day spent transferring mice, Mark poured them tea, then sat down and looked Lindy in the eye.

     In the above sentence, what is the noun to which the pronoun them refers? Is it the mice? It sure looks that way when your eye reaches the second comma. Or is it Mark and Lindy? That would make more sense, as mice aren’t big tea drinkers. Or could it be some third group that’s not named above? That’s possible...but the sentence above is the first sentence of a chapter.

     Proofread carefully, fellow scribblers. And get someone else – preferably someone sharp-eyed who has no compunctions about embarrassing you – to check your manuscript before you hit that luscious red button labeled PUBLISH.

Tuesdays Are For Clearing The Tabs

     In the commentary biz it’s either feast or famine. This fine, frigid morning I’ve decided to address – briefly – a few notable news items that have piled up over the weeks behind us. At one time I thought each of them would get an essay of its own, but...well, you know. Especially if you’ve ever tried to write op-ed yourself and struggled to keep up with the news.

1. “Many Worlds”

     The “many worlds” hypothesis, sometimes referred to as the “multiverse,” has recently been addressed by physicist and science-fiction great Gregory Benford, in his novel Rewrite. It evoked this comment from Glenn Reynolds:

     Theologians have worked on the problem of evil, but I think the many worlds theory either makes it go away entirely, or maybe makes it worse.

     The “problem of evil” is one of the most misleading of all “problems” skeptics have attempted to load onto Christians’ shoulders. Here’s my most recent discussion of the subject. But “many worlds” theory not only evades the subject; it also destroys the concept of free will...if, that is, those “other” universes in which you made all the choices you didn’t make in this one, actually exist in the same sense as do you and I.

     Either there is one and only one you, or your free will is merely a myth supported by your inability to see beyond the bounds of your particular universe.

2. Silencing President Trump

     This article, cited at Ace of Spades HQ, delineates the extent the Left is willing to go to silence its opponents:

     This isn't a new idea but it is one that the left is desperate to legitimize in advance of the 2020 election. Today Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan made the case for de-platforming Trump ...
     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.
     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.

     Oh, right! We’re supposed to trust the intensely partisan Main Stream Media, every member of which has been caught in one or more fabrications, and which jointly and severally hate Trump’s guts, over the President of the United States. Gee, why didn’t anyone think of that before this? Say, during the reign of Barack Hussein Obama?

     I keep thinking “they can’t go any lower”...and then they do. They must take it as a challenge.

3. The “Climate Of Hate”

     The proposition that SJWs always project has been borne out many times. Here’s a recent comment on the subject:

     In case you missed it, a would-be terrorist was arrested last week for allegedly plotting a massive, multi-faceted attack on the White House. The plotter, 21-year old Hasher Jallel Taheb, hails from Cumming, Ga. His motive appears to have been jihad.

     Might this story have been a tad bigger if the alleged perpetrator hadn’t been a Muslim and “person of color?” Might it have been bigger yet if the sitting president had been a Democrat?

     Of course it would have. It might even have gotten a fraction of the coverage that last October’s letter bomb scare received.

     Of course! Muslims, Negroes, and illegal aliens “of color” never commit crimes. That’s a right-wing fantasy! Just like the supposed physical attacks by AntiFa on free-speech demonstrators. And James Hodgkinson was a far-right Nazi.

     The article’s major thrust – the responsibility of the Left, especially in the media, for creating a “climate of hate” that evokes this sort of crime – also deserves to be savored. Please read it all.

4. From High-Trust To Low-Trust

     Sarah Hoyt alerts us to a recent, rather depressing incident at a Wal-Mart:

     An old man fell today in the Walmart in West Knoxville, Tennessee. This is not an extraordinary event. People probably fall in big box stores all over the country every day. It broke my heart and made me angry. I’ll tell you why.

     Please read it all now. Then come back here.

     God bless and keep them, the Wal-Mart employees who acted did exactly what needed to be done. But the author asks other questions that must be answered:

  • “Who in there ever loving right mind would drop an old man with a walker off at a bright and confusing big box store?”
  • “What the heck was wrong with the people who didn’t even look down and drove their buggies right by a man laying on the floor?”
  • “What the heck is wrong with people?”

     Let’s focus on the third of those questions. “People” in this context could be taken to mean “America,” as the individuals specifically mentioned in the article acted responsibly. The unnamed folks who walked by had to have noticed an octogenarian lying on the floor. They only pretended not to notice. Why?

     In part, it’s because it’s dangerous to be a Good Samaritan in this era. Such a person risks incurring legal liability for whatever follows his engagement. Lawsuits over such things have bankrupted other, well-meaning persons who did what they thought was morally required by the sight of a sufferer in distress. Add to that the Kitty Genovese Effect. Stir well and serve.

     And in part, it’s because the sight of an oldster in such toils reminds us that we and our loved ones are also growing older:

     A mere three generations ago, the suggestion that Gramps be "put to sleep" for any reason, much less to free his kids of the bills for his maintenance, would have been greeted with an outrage that transcended horror. Today it's an active topic of discussion. Several states have submitted to the demands of such groups as the Hemlock Society by enacting "assisted suicide" laws. From time to time, public figures have made comments about the "duty" of the old to "get out of the way" of the young. "Ethicist" Peter Singer, a hero to many for his arguments in favor of retroactive abortion, argues that below a certain "quality of life," a creature no longer possesses a right to life, and can be put involuntarily to death for utilitarian reasons -- an assertion that reaches every point on the spectrum of age. The doctors who authored the Groningen Protocol have employed this argument, too.

     Boomers grant the discussibility of euthanasia for the lowest of all reasons: it would save us money. We'd no longer have to worry about how to foot the bills for Gramps, or for the spouse with terminal multiple sclerosis, or for the child with severe cerebral palsy or Down's Syndrome. Beyond the money, it would save us having to labor over those wretches, or endure their complaints and their lack of gratitude. Away with them! If the State won't take them off our hands, maybe God will! More time and money for us, that's the ticket!

     No more need be said.

5. Reviews Desperately Needed!

     Experiences, my latest novel, is languishing in the Slough of Despond for a lack of reviews. If you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, I’d greatly appreciate your assistance. Would you please consider leaving a review at Amazon? Reviews help to sell books, and just now that book needs all the sales help it can get. Thanks in advance.

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. Have a pleasant day. If your day turns out not to be pleasant, keep this in mind: it could be worse: it could be Monday. See you tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2019

They Want War. Do We?

     Have a tone-setter from the redoubtable Kurt Schlichter:

     They [The Left] hate you for not submitting, for being an obstacle to their rule.

     The problem is that you are nice, and you project your niceness. Projection is human nature. So while leftist spittle-spewing sociopaths project their own shriveled morality when they shriek about how we’re all racist fascists of fascist racism when racist fascism is actually their jam, we Normals tend to project our decency when we assume that our opponents are just confused friends who are in the throes of a grievous misunderstanding about us that we can remedy with facts and evidence....

     It’s not about race or gender or orientation, but about power – they want to take yours, to strip you of your sovereignty and make you kneel. Their SJW posturing is all a lie and a scam. They don’t care about ending racism, sexism, homophobia, or any of the myriad other -isms and -phobias they blather about. Those poses are just weapons to be used to capture what they really want – total power over you. They seek to shame you into submission, and if that won’t work, then they’ll do whatever it takes.

     Please read it all. The conclusion one must draw from the way Schlichter lays it out – which, in my Curmudgeonly opinion, is a dead-center bull’s-eye both factually and attitudinally – is that The Left has abandoned any and all rules of decorum, civility, or procedure. Certain segments of The Left have decided to ignore the law as well. But the really salient thing is that it’s not working. It’s not getting them any closer to their goal. Indeed, it might be operating to their detriment.

     Once their vanguard strategists reach that conclusion, they’ll turn to open, nationwide violence. In other words, civil war.

     I hope you’re braced for it.

     Schlichter thinks we can still defeat The Left peacefully. I don't think that remains possible. The Left has rejected the rules. The rules are about maintaining peace among persons who differ with one another. Therefore The Left has rejected peace. Q.E.D.

     The Left is willing to go to whatever length is required to provoke outright armed combat...because they think they'll win.

     They think they'll win because we're naturally peaceable. They think they'll win because we haven't yet fought back to any significant degree. And they think they'll win because so many of "our representatives" are more concerned with maintaining the appearance of civility and amity than with doing what we elected them to do.

     Remember Lenin’s maxim of the bayonet.

     The question before us in the Right is: Do we want war?

     Yes, it’s a serious question. Yes, I’m asking seriously.

     A civil war in this Year of Our Lord 2019 would be among the most devastating human events in all of history. The fighting would kill millions. The social and economic dislocations would kill millions more. It would almost certainly be a three-sided war: patriots in the Right, insurgents on the Left, and the federal government, which would deploy its forces in such fashion as the political elite believe would bring them the “best” outcome.

     It’s likely, as Larry Correia and others have asserted, that the nominally federal forces would be weakened (at least) by internal division. It’s equally likely that those forces would be somewhat augmented by the many thousands of armed bureaucrats in the alphabet agencies. Concerning the ultimate correlation of forces, certainty is not available.

     War, as Douglas Jerrold has told us, is horrible, but it is not the most horrible of all things:

     We love peace, but not peace at any price. There is a peace more destructive of the manhood of living man, than war is destructive of his body. Chains are worse than bayonets.

     So we in the Right must settle ourselves about whether we should allow the progression toward Civil War II to continue, or whether to strive to “head it off at the pass.”

     Of course, it would help to know where the “pass” is.

     The political strife attending the Trump Administration was foreshadowed by the steadily advancing degree of strife during the era of Bush the Younger. That period was superficially more peaceful, but even then the rhetoric was sprouting flames and the Left was sprouting kill-crazies.

Remember Cher screaming that if George W. Bush were elected “you won’t have a fucking right left?”
Remember the shrill condemnations of Dubya from innumerable entertainment celebrities?
Remember Congressvermin Major Owens condemning the Republicans as “committing genocide with a smile...they’re worse than Hitler?”
Remember the movie Death of a President?
Remember Dubya’s severed head appearing in Game of Thrones?

     We aren’t at a unique historical point. We don’t occupy a unique political condition. It’s all been done before, in dozens of other nations. History tells us of the terminus of the progression. It’s as predictable as the rotation of the Earth.

     The question of the hour is: Do we want to get there?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Running Out Of People

     Say, remember when the crisis du jour was overpopulation? We had neo-Malthusianism, The Population Bomb, “we’re crowding out the natural world!,” childlessness as a “social virtue,” and a lot of other unadulterated crap. Well, today, courtesy of Mark “Mad Dog” Sherman, we have something a mite different: human extinction via the “sex robot:”

     Realistic sex robots programmed to speak, learn and move on their own have been generating interest as technology becomes more deeply rooted worldwide.

     Artificially intelligent androids designed to resemble humans have primarily been developed by tech companies to serve sexual purposes for men and woman....

     In Japan, for example, parallels have been drawn between the rapid population decline and the rise in popularity of technological devices, such as sex robots and “AI girlfriends”.

     Demography experts have partially blamed "a national mood of loneliness and alienation" on the rise in sex doll usage among Japanese men seeking sexual gratification.

     Now, some of this isn’t exactly news. Nor is the steep decline in Japan’s birth rate something that can be fairly attributed to sex androids. If anything, the sexbots are a symptom of a larger problem. Indeed, they’re one of several symptoms:

  • The rise of freely chosen lifelong celibacy among men (a.k.a. “men going their own way”);
  • The transgenderism phenomenon, of which 90% are men choosing to live as women;
  • The phenomenon of consciously chosen male homosexuality.

     The “red thread” that connects these things is the decision among an increasing number of men in First World societies to avoid women, marriage, and procreation. While this is a troubling development – at least among those of us who approve of the human race and would like to see it go on for a few more millennia – we can’t cure it by anathematizing or outlawing sexbots. The bacillus lives at a much deeper level.

     The rise in socially acceptable misandry is a well documented aspect of our era. Gender-war feminism, hostility toward masculine virtues and characteristics, and a terrible, seemingly ineradicable bias against men in the law and related institutions (e.g., the “family courts”) have been operating on First World societies for decades. The legal assault on male-only associations has been relentless, whereas there has been no complementary attack on their female-only counterparts. Men are generally disadvantaged in family matters, education, labor and commerce, and social mechanisms. The recent rise of the “#MeToo” fad, which is on the way toward completely criminalizing men’s romantic and sexual initiative, is only a sharpening of the spear aimed at the male breast.

     It’s almost enough to make one wonder whether the innate attributes of one’s sex have been deemed punishable offenses. The only way for a man to avoid having a legal or social crosshairs settle on him appears to be the complete avoidance of women. Even then there’s no protection against being made the villain in a woman’s wholly fictitious tale about having been molested or raped.

     And that’s only half the equation. Consider this passage from Dreams Come Due: Government and Economics as if Freedom Mattered, first edition:

     Children in poor countries are a form of capital investment. They are cheap labor while growing up, and a form of social security, should their parents be lucky enough to have an old age. There is a direct correlation between income (levels of prosperity) and fertility rates....

     As income rises, birth rates drop, but income can only rise as capital formation and investment increase – and this can only happen in relatively free countries. [Emphasis added by FWP]

     In other words, as a nation’s degree of overall prosperity increases, children transition from being an economic asset to something like a luxury good. Given that the cost of producing and rearing children in First World nations is at an all-time high, how could we have expected anything else but a decline in the “consumption” of this “luxury good?” The following graph adds emphasis to the point:

     [Go here for further data.]

     Now add in the pernicious anti-male developments mentioned above, the availability of social and technological alternatives to mating, and First World men’s general awareness of the hazards involved in forming a fertile heterosexual bond with a woman. Great God in heaven, were the fertility rate to have done anything other than plummet would cause me to doubt the law of supply and demand – and the law of cause and effect, as well.

     I could go on, and sometimes I do. But I’ll close, as I so often do, after a little C. S. Lewis:

     “Who is called Sulva? What road does she walk ? Why is the womb barren on one side? Where are the cold marriages?”
     Ransom replied, “Sulva is she whom mortals call the Moon. She walks in the lowest sphere. The rim of the world that was wasted goes through her. Half of her orb is turned toward us and shares our curse. Her other half looks to Deep Heaven; happy would be he who could cross that frontier and see the fields on her further side. On this side, the womb is barren and the marriages cold. There dwell an accursed people, full of pride and lust. There when a young man takes a maiden in marriage, they do not lie together, but each lies with a cunningly fashioned image of the other, made to move and to be warm by devilish arts, for real flesh will not please them, they are so dainty (delicati) in their dreams of lust. Their real children they fabricate by vile arts in a secret place.” [From That Hideous Strength]

     Yes, you’ve seen it all before, probably right here at Liberty’s Torch. Do you think the Japanese have? Or the Europeans, whose fertility rates are almost as low? Or the gender-war feminists dedicated to the condemnation of everything masculine? Or the leftists who insist that “women don’t lie about rape?” Or the harridans who screech endlessly about “the patriarchy?” Or the millions of women who, rather too late in life, realize that they would have found marriage, motherhood, and family far more satisfying than their careers? Or...or...or...

     For further agita, read Mark Steyn’s blockbuster America Alone. And do have a nice day.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Music Recommendation

     I know there are music aficionadi out there a lot better known and a lot more widely knowledgeable than I am, but every now and then a recording will impress me enough to blather about it here, with a warm recommendation for my Gentle Readers to look into it further:

     Don’t let the strange title or the cover art fool you; this is serious stuff. It’s a soundtrack for a movie that was never made, written and produced by Tuomas Holopainen, keyboardist of the Finnish symphonic-metal band Nightwish. Some of the performers include Holopainen, his wife Johanna Kurkela, Nightwish’s piper Troy Donockley, and The London Philharmonic Orchestra.

     Here’s a track from the album: “Go Slowly Now, Sands of Time:”

     I’ve listened to it several times since it was given to me. I find it beautiful from end to end. I strongly recommend it to anyone with musical tastes broad enough to encompass both symphonic composition and contemporary popular music.

What Will You Do?

     [The following arrived just this morning from longtime reader Tim Turner, perhaps better known here as “furball.” I post it with his permission. -- FWP]

     Apropos of almost nothing, but very much about Fran’s and others’ calls about the current state of humanity and its politics and:


     I got to thinking, what if you could stop Gavrilo Prinzip, the guy who murdered Archduke Ferdinand and sort of started World War I - which I think sort of destroyed the hope of the “modern era.”

     Or, what if you could have killed Lee Harvey Oswald before he shot Kennedy? - which I sort of think killed a generation’s optimism - never mind Bobby, Martin and then Teddy leaving a woman to die in a car because he panicked. What if you could kill Hitler? Napoleon? Genghis Khan? (KHAAAAAN! 😊 ) Woodrow Wilson?

     Stalin? Mao?

     The left rails against Trump and Kavanaugh. The right points at Nathan Phillips or Pelosi or Ocasio-Cortez or Kamala Harris.

     Who do you kill? How do you stop it? WHO, after all, are you arming against?

     Soros? “The Clintons?” Obama?

     Those are just symptoms or bad people. I don’t think you can just go on a vendetta against “bad people.” (“Why not.” Well, I’ve been bad at times and I don’t want all you guys coming against me!)

     But the Declaration of Independence laid out the whys and wherefores of when a people might take up arms and repudiate a leader and government:

     “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”

     Laws are meant to apply to all. And we’ve have seen that laws are NOT being applied to all.

     “He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.” and. . .”He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.”

     We’ve seen Obama and democrats NOT applying laws, and we’ve seen judges stretching legalities to keep the President from exercising his Constitutional powers.

     “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

     “He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation” There is an entire movement to subjegate the laws of the United States to UN mandates, such as the Law of the Seas and so on. There is a move to subject our elections to foreign inspection.

     “For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:”

     “For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:”

     H.R. 1 has 218 cosponsors. It forces states to implement mandatory voter registration. If someone is on a government list—such as receiving welfare benefits or rental subsidies—then they would be automatically registered to vote. Few states have enacted these systems because Americans still view civic participation as a voluntary choice. Moreover, aggregated government lists always contain duplicates and errors that states, even without mandatory voter registration, frequently fail to catch and fix.

     H.R. 1 also mandates that states allow all felons to vote. Currently, states have the power under the Constitution to set the terms of eligibility in each state. Some states, like Maine, have decided that voting machines should be rolled into the prisons. Other states, like Nevada, have chosen to make a felony a disenfranchising event.

     “For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.”

     “The Electoral College is one of the very worst features of American democracy, a vestigial mechanism that effectively reduces presidential contests to a few swing states. Like so much of our political system, it bestows disproportionate power to rural America.”

     “He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.”

     “The number of people residing in an EU Member State with citizenship of a non-member country on 1 January 2017 was 21.6 million, representing 4.2 % of the EU-28 population. In addition, there were 16.9 million persons living in one of the EU Member States on 1 January 2017 with the citizenship of another EU Member State....Regarding the country of birth, there were 36.9 million people born outside of the EU-28 living in an EU Member State on 1 January 2017, while there were 20.4 million persons who had been born in a different EU Member State from the one where they were resident. Only in Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Cyprus was the number of persons born in other EU Member States higher than the number born outside of the EU-28.”

     “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

     “There were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2016”

     “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

     “Obama: I have a pen and a phone.” “Obama executive order on DACA.”

     I know, I know. In so many cases, you might think references to ancient Indians, “domestic insurrections amongst us” and “endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers,” is somehow NOT germane to us now.

     But I ask you to read that all again, and then, consider that our nation, our lives, as Americans, were founded on the next paragraph of that declaration:

     “Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

     “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

     So. The answer? You don’t assassinate anyone. You proclaim your inherent rights and proclaim your freedom from oppression.

     And, yes, when they come to get you, you defend your life, liberty and sacred honor with everything at your disposal.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Conversations 2019-01-25

     One of our dogs, our pit bull mix Precious, has, in the words of an old radio-announcer’s practice script, a marked propensity toward procrastination and sloth. She seems uninterested in exercise, with one exception: when our neighbor to the north lets his dog Buddy out. Then Precious and Buddy will run up and down the length of our boundary fence for hours at a time, barking and yipping at one another as if the world were about to end. It might not accomplish anything, but it keeps Precious’s weight down. Given the way she eats, that’s important enough.

     But lately Buddy hasn’t been out very much. The weather hasn’t been propitious for long outings for a small, short-single-coated dog. So Precious isn’t getting her exercise. However, she is getting her usual feedings. So she’s been “packing it on.” Which resulted in this exchange:

FWP: We have to cut Precious’s meals. She’s turning into a tub.
CSO: Richie has to get Buddy out more. He’s her rabbit at the greyhound track.

FWP: You know, greyhounds can’t be very bright.
CSO: Hm? Why not?

FWP: They exhaust themselves chasing a mechanical rabbit. After all this time the word should have gotten out that they’re not going to catch the rabbit, and it’s not real anyway!
CSO: Yeah, and they don’t even get a cut of the take.

FWP: We can’t blame that on the greyhounds. They must have a lousy agent.
CSO: Well, okay, but who hired that agent?
FWP: Hm. Good point.

     Absurd? Yes, especially at 4:30 AM EST. But that’s life at the Fortress of Crankitude for you.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Will Covington Be The Media’s Bane?

     There’s been a lot written about it. There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over it, both before and after the revelation of the monstrous injustice perpetrated by use of the first, deceitfully edited video clip. And there’s been no end to the attempts by the media to exculpate themselves, including incredible claims that the media themselves are the real victims.

     My Esteemed Co-Conspirator Linda Fox is rather tired out by it all:

     I’m gonna assume that most Normal People are like me – drained by the constant warfare, which has traveled from Washington, NYC, and Hollywood, all the way to Covington, KY.

     The Left really does seem to have a hate on for Catholics, don’t they? They won’t be satisfied until every one of us is converted to the Holy Church of Progressive, or dead.

     Preferably dead. Along with all like us.

     But the “constant warfare” isn’t new; it only seems so. Before the presidential campaign of 2000, it was of the “low intensity” variety in which guerrillas and saboteurs, the Michael Moores and Ward Churchills, were the principal combatants. It’s been escalating since then, quite steadily, and climbed sharply with the election of Donald Trump. We’ve entered the “countervalue targeting” phase, with each side straining to destroy the other’s will to continue fighting by striking the other’s “population centers:” traditional religions, traditional family structures, and regions in which those things hold sway. The casualty counts are higher than ever and are still increasing. But the war itself is an ongoing phenomenon. It derives from the motivations of the combatants, which have increased in magnitude but have never changed in direction.

     The question of the hour is what mechanism has brought about the sharp increase in magnitude. Whether for good or for ill, the answer is before us. Covington has made it plain.

     The media, those never to be adequately damned bastards who claim to be “purveyors of facts,” are the reason for virtually all of America’s political strife. It was they who shaped the attitudes of the combatants. It was they who stoked the fires of political hostility. It was they who deliberately, with unconcealable malice aforethought, have taken ordinary Americans of traditional political preferences, and have portrayed them as monsters of illimitable evil. And all the while they’ve postured as being above it all, just innocent servants of the public’s “right to know.”

     Glenn Reynolds quotes an unlinked source:

     How could the elite media—The New York Times, let’s say—have protected themselves from this event, which has served to reinforce millions of Americans’ belief that traditional journalistic outlets are purveyors of “fake news”? They might have hewed to a concept that once went by the quaint term “journalistic ethics.” Among other things, journalistic ethics held that if you didn’t have the reporting to support a story, and if that story had the potential to hurt its subjects, and if those subjects were private citizens, and if they were moreover minors, you didn’t run the story. You kept reporting it; you let yourself get scooped; and you accepted that speed is not the highest value. Otherwise, you were the trash press.

     At 8:30 yesterday morning, as I was typing this essay, The New York Times emailed me. The subject line was “Ethics Reminders for Freelance Journalists.” (I have occasionally published essays and reviews in the Times). It informed me, inter alia, that the Times expected all of its journalists, both freelance and staff, “to protect the integrity and credibility of Times journalism.” This meant, in part, safeguarding the Times’ “reputation for fairness and impartiality.”

     I am prompted to issue my own ethics reminders for The New York Times. Here they are: You were partly responsible for the election of Trump because you are the most influential newspaper in the country, and you are not fair or impartial. Millions of Americans believe you hate them and that you will causally harm them. Two years ago, they fought back against you, and they won. If Trump wins again, you will once again have played a small but important role in that victory.

     True, all true – but what bearing does it have on the state of hostilities? Are armistice talks on the horizon? Are they even conceivable? People’s lives are being shattered in wholesale quantities. The simmering animosity of the two years behind us has blossomed into ravening, lethal hatred. Present trends continuing, we’re within a couple of months of assassination attempts that will make James Hodgkinson look like a Boy Scout.

     And it’s about 95% the media’s doing.

     Once again, Robert Conquest’s Second Law of Politics applies with full and terrible force:

Any organization not explicitly right-wing
Sooner or later becomes left-wing.

     The media were among the first organizations in America to be acted upon in this fashion. The Left knew them to be more valuable than any other target in our society. About a century ago, just as the first forms of broadcast publication were emerging, they embarked upon a program of infiltration of all the major information-dissemination organizations in the country. The infiltrators rose through the ranks, acquired the power to influence hiring, firing, and editorial policy, and over time gained the degree of control that would ensure that the conquered organs would emit only what suits their political preferences. That’s how Robert Conquest’s Second Law operates in practice.

     Yes, the Left targeted other, related institutions, especially education and entertainment. But those were adjuncts to its central drive: the conversion of the outlets Americans go to for news into founts of propaganda. As recently as the Sixties the schools were still essentially wholesome, if not particularly effective. By then, the media had already been broken to the Left’s harness.

     Perhaps none of this is news to you. Perhaps you’ve been watching as attentively as I, and reached the above conclusions on your own time and your own dime. There remains a question still: what to do about it. For men cannot sustain a free society in an unrelenting bath of Leftist propaganda, harassment, and conflict-stoking. We are not well armored enough for that, intellectually, emotionally, or morally.

     However, history speaks plainly on this subject: an institution once conquered by the Left cannot be reformed. Its internal dynamics will thwart any attempt to counter-infiltrate and return it to honesty. It can only be destroyed and replaced by something trustworthy.

     That’s why the media are desperate to get out from under the stain of Covington. That event has made the stakes clear. There’s no way to disguise the facts of that matter, and no way for the media to evade the odium for them. They cannot claim it was an honest mistake.

     Covington is a capital-punishment case. The media’s collective behavior, blatantly murderous toward those whose convictions it disapproves, has sentenced them to death.

     Whether that sentence will be carried out, by whom, and in what manner remains to be seen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A New Short in Progress

I just posted the intro to a short story I've been working on here.

It's just below the links to Captive Boy.

I Remember

     [A reader just wrote to remind me about this sentimental old piece, which first appeared at the beloved but long-defunct Palace of Reason very, very long ago, and to ask that it be reposted. Perhaps it will serve as a companion to Good Men. -- FWP]

     Ever seen Federico Fellini's movie Amarcord (I Remember)? It's not the muddled mess so many of his other films were. It's a memoir of his childhood in a small Italian town, during the years before World War II. It's simple in focus and execution, beautifully written, and acted, directed, and filmed with an artless grace that raises it to the pinnacle of the film-maker's art.

     The Italians have a word for it: sprezzatura. The art that conceals art.

     Why Fellini made this movie, I can't say. I can say that, having seen it recently for the first time in thirty years, it's prompted me to do a little remembering of my own.

     I did most of my growing-up in Orangeburg, a small town in Rockland County, New York, in the Fifties and early Sixties. It was a place most modern children would disbelieve in, unconditionally.

     The doors had locks: snap locks that you could force with a credit card. However, this was before credit cards, and the locks didn't get that much use anyway, because who on Earth would intrude into someone else's home uninvited?

     A home with a television in it wasn't a rich man's home, but two televisions marked a household as well-to-do, and perhaps a little more materially indulgent than was really good for a family with minor children. A color television was an object of wonder. I've never forgotten the thrill of seeing Bonanza in color for the first time.

     Yards were kept neat and clean. Maintaining them was regarded as a civic duty. One homeowner let his lawn go unmowed for three weeks, and thereby earned a visit from a group of his neighbors, who wanted to know what had happened that he couldn't keep up with his responsibilities.

     Children of all ages wandered the neighborhood without fear. Parents were confident that their neighbors, and their neighbors' older children, would look out for the young that hadn't yet come into their full senses. A driver that honked at a child who was a little slow to cross the street risked being shucked out of his automotive armor and disciplined in public.

     I remember one universally beloved little girl, named Janie, whose innocent enthusiasm for life was the delight of our block. I once caught Janie toddling across my back yard, looking for my younger sister Donna, bursting with eagerness to tell Donna something that had just occurred to her. She'd hopped out of her bathtub and scampered across her back yard and into our own to do so. She was wearing what one usually wears in the bath. Archimedes might have blushed; Janie didn't.

     It was an overwhelmingly Catholic community. There were five Masses each Sunday morning, and all of them were attended to capacity and beyond. The parish priests were regarded as higher authorities than any elected functionary. When our pastor was elevated to Monsignor, we young ones were stunned that the town didn't hold a parade.

     Most of the children attended the parish's grammar school, St. Catherine of Alexandria. Despite St. Catherine's huge class sizes -- classes of fifty were the norm -- standards were high, and the pressure to get in never slackened. The local public grammar school was regarded as a refuge for the children of lazy parents, who didn't care how their kids were taught; it had many unoccupied desks. Competition among the latter-grade students at St. Catherine's was intense; we all wanted to go to the local Catholic high school, Albertus Magnus, and we knew there weren't places enough for all of us.

     The big excitement in my life was school. I didn't understand kids who hated school. It was a place I almost couldn't stand to leave at the end of the day. I wasn't alone in that.

     The town's “bad apples” swore, smoked behind the local convenience store, and flung spitballs in class when they thought they weren't being watched. The rest of us were told they were bad apples. We weren't told they were misunderstood or had self-esteem problems. When detected, they were corrected, in no uncertain terms. Their parents came in for even more opprobrium than they did.

     There were unpleasant episodes, of course. A family not far from us had domestic troubles. She slapped him one night, and he responded by shoving her through a screen door, which occasioned a visit to the local hospital for her, a visit from an impromptu decency committee for him, and departure from town for the two of them, soon afterward.

     Then there was The Divorce. It shocked the entire community. The idea that parents wouldn't find ways to bridge their differences and keep their home together for their kids wasn't just unthinkable; it was an insult to the whole concept of marriage and family. It bespoke a lack of self-discipline and incomprehensible priorities.

     I suppose I should mention that the parents that divorced were mine.

     The highest honor any child could aspire to was to be picked for the chorus that went to Rockland State Hospital to entertain during the Christmas holidays. Success in Little League was a distant second.

     In those years, Orangeburg's residents were working-class white and Hispanic families. I don't remember any blacks. I don't know what to make of that. Draw what conclusions you will.

     I was considered a little odd, because I had no interest in learning how to shoot.

     I remember the milk truck, the bakery truck, the dry cleaner's truck, the sharpener truck, and the Charles Chips truck, all of which came to our door, and all of whose drivers were treated like old friends. In some cases, they were old friends.

     I remember cap guns, and games of Cowboys and Indians, and huge snowball fights conducted with an innocent ferocity by pugilists from eight to eighty.

     I remember thinking that the Palisades Interstate Parkway must surely be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and that heaven itself could hardly exceed the delights of Palisades Amusement Park.

     I remember my father, down on his luck and himself after my mother left him, spending much too much time in a local gin mill. I remember him cashing check after check at that saloon, and the owner, who knew those checks would bounce right over the Moon, accepting them anyway, putting them into his cash register and never saying a word. That saloon owner eventually got every penny my father owed him. I wonder if he'd known that he would.

     I remember adults who had standards they weren't afraid to enforce without needing to invoke the authority of the law. I remember lawyers who tried to counsel their prospective clients not to sue. I remember journalists who could be trusted. I remember loving America wholeheartedly and with no reservations. We were the good guys. I remember fearing nothing and no one, certainly not the government. I remember being confident that the world could only get better, now that the good guys were in charge.

     I remember coming home after five years in college and two years in Hell, and looking at my town, and knowing it had changed out from under me, that I no longer belonged to it, nor it to me. And I went away, and did not return.

     And I, who have set these things down, have wept many bitter tears for my country and what she has forsaken. I am of the last generation that remembers our days of strength and virtue, and my years are growing long. I and my contemporaries are entering the twilight of life. When our memories fade, there will be nothing but the cold and the dark.

     But for now, I remember.

This Gave Me Pause

In a good way, though.

When I saw the article about the Iranian Christians who refuses the offer of freedom from prison, because it came with a condition of renouncing Christianity, I was awestruck.

Imagine ANY prison in the world - even American. It would be bad.

Now, imagine you, as a prisoner surrounded by other prisoners, who have been told by their imans that torturing and killing you would be a holy thing. For the next 10 years.

How quickly would most of us be muttering Islamic prayers, in a desperate effort to Make It Stop?

That they did not, leaves me, once again, feeling privileged to be alive in The Time of Modern Christian Martyrs. This needs to be preserved, recorded, and brought into the churches worldwide, no matter what the denomination. Every Sunday, we need to see evidence of the depth of these people's fidelity to the Word of God. And, to compare it with our own.

Are we going along with keeping our heads down at work, for fear of HR writing us up for insufficient enthusiasm for Same-Sex Unions, Transgender Affirmation, or Open Display of - gasp! - Christianity?

Are we concerned about not making waves in our neighborhoods, families, or volunteer organizations when they push the LGBTQ--------Whatever agenda on us? Will we have the guts to tell our kids, "I know you want to be a part of this organization, but they have distorted the meaning of 'Morally Straight'."

All around me, I see people run down by the constant 'Drip, Drip, Drip' of the Leftist Push. Hell, I'm sometimes weary beyond all measure by the unceasing insistence. It's like living with a 3-year old, the day after Halloween, after he has had the ONE piece of candy he is allowed. You better be prepared to face a lot of wheedling, begging, crying, whining, pouting, and other tactics, for a whole lot longer than you think possible, and NOT give in. The rule is, when, after hours of the 'Toddler Treatment', you do finally give in, you have established the Magic Number.

The Magic Number is the number of hours of Toddler Treatment it takes to get his way. Expect more of it in the future.

Like they said in Galaxy Quest:


I Had a Revelation

Fever-induced, and only gaining some clarity as I recover from my illness, but:

This time is the Rand Paul Moment

The time is right - younger voters are willing to entertain all sorts of hogwash, just for the promise of a better future.

After 2020 (or 2024, if Donald proves to be a cannier player than I think he is), Paul may actually have a decent shot at the top spot. There are younger aspirants to fight off, like Cruz and Rubio (not to mention the MANY RINOS who will try to seize the opportunity), but he will have an unprecedented audience.

He has only ONE thing to do to reach that goal.

Promise a gradual and continual end to Social Security. Within a timeframe of around 10 years.

Here is how he could do it. Immediately, stop COLA payments. And, tie benefits to the economy - perhaps the employment rate - if it goes down, so do the payments. It's a one-way ratchet that will have the rooting for a better economy.

Eliminate benefits for incarcerated felons. Stop payments for non-citizens without legal permission to work. 

Stop benefits for those under the age of 18 on SSI, who cannot show documented evidence of money spent to improve/handle that condition. That will allow those with evidence of an actual condition to receive assistance. For working parents (again, citizens or those legally present), increase their deductions on the standard form for that kid. With the standard deduction being already $2500, this will mean a lot. Figure out multipliers for someone suffering from multiple problems - physical problems, that is. Many disabled children have multiple disabilities.

Over the course fo 5 years decrease the amount allowed to be refunded for people who are not working at least 1/2 time, if it exceeds the actual amount paid in. No "Head of Household" money over amount paid. This will hit the "I'm making too much money to work for a living" crowd.

My revelation about Libertarianism? It comes down to 3 Guiding Principles:
  • You are free to do what you want - provided you are willing to take the consequences. No more legislation to protect idiots. No more Nanny State. You may attain a Learner's Permit on citizenship at 18:
    • Eligible to vote if self-supporting at a job paying into SS - bring in the pay stubs with you at the ballot box.
    • Any crimes committed before 18, UNLESS CAPITAL, will automatically be expunged 3 years after commission. Anything you do after that - counts.

Adam Carolla on white privilege.

Here are some outstanding comments on that YouTube page:


I am a black man and thank god every day I am in this country. I have served in the military and been all over the world. People who are always complaining do not realize how good we have it here.


I'm a hispanic male born in the 1960's and I have never suffered any negative set backs in my life that weren't my own fault. All or most of my teachers were white and they all did their best to help me get ahead. In fact, the only reason I'm able to sit here and type these words is because my white teachers taught me how to do it. The notion that whites are trying to keep others down while they alone advance is a lie that will do nothing positive at all for anyone especially not this great country.

Me Me

My white privilege alarm goes off at 4:30 in the morning.


I am PROUD to be black" said the black man. "I am PROUD to be hispanic" said the hispanic man. "I am PROUD to be white" said the racist.

Good Men

     “There are plagues, and there are victims, and it's the duty of good men not to join forces with the plagues.” – Albert Camus, The Plague

     Only one thing matters now. Ponder the quote above, the central insight from Albert Camus’s finest novel, before reading on.

     A couple of years back, a beloved, now-retired priest, Father Ed Kealey, told a story that put a great deal about the Catholic Church in America into proper perspective. It was about a gathering of American bishops and pastors to discuss the “controversy” of clerical pederasty, a scandal which had been steadily gathering force for some time. The accusations had been flying thick and fast. Some had already been proved. Others screamed from the front page of many a regional daily. More were surely coming.

     Rather than face the storm with courage, a determination to get to the truth, and a firm resolve to right whatever wrongs its priests might have committed, the Church in America had done what cowardly institutions do: It tried to “manage” the problem, mostly by shuffling accused priests from post to post, diocese to diocese, and (hopefully) out of the spotlight. The tactic had proved adequate, for a while, in muting the cries of the accusers. It had not, of course, brought justice to anyone genuinely abused.

     The convocation of which Father Ed spoke was just as pusillanimous, just as unwilling to face the storm and demand to know the truth, as the prelates before it. They treated the problem as “inappropriate behavior” on the part of the accused clerics. It disgusted Father Ed. And being a true priest of Christ, he stood up and gave the gathering both barrels.

     “Inappropriate behavior,” he said, is using the wrong fork at dinner; the sexual abuse of children is assault and rape. The Church should do the most vigorous, abasing penance for treating it so lightly and petition for divine guidance about how to cleanse such evil from the Catholic clergy, such that it might never, ever recur.

     Father Ed suffered for that jeremiad. The Diocese of Rockville Center made sure of it. I think he knew that that would be the consequence, as he’d already come under fire from the bishops for his involvement with Voice Of The Faithful. He took his stand anyway.

     Father Ed, you see, is a good man.

     Here’s another good man, this one drawn from my fiction:

     “What did you think of the movie?” Celeste pulled Louis’s arm against her and walked closely alongside him.
     He shrugged. “I’m not big on tearjerkers. It was pretty decent entertainment, but I have a feeling they distorted the facts of his life a bit.”
     “Whose? C. S. Lewis’s?”
     He nodded. “I have a hard time matching the character in the movie with the things he wrote.”
     “You’ve read his books?”
     “All of them.”
     He unlocked the passenger door of his pickup truck and helped her into it. Even with his assistance, her stiletto heels made it a challenge.
     When they were in motion, she asked, “Do you have any favorite hobbies?”
     “Hm? No, I read a lot, that’s about it.”
     “So, how do you pass the time when you’re not at work? Just reading?”
     He guided the truck through the gate of her townhouse complex, wheeled into a convenient parking place, and killed the engine. “Well, I do a few other things, but nothing you’d call exciting.”
     I’ve got to know before this gets any more serious.
     Trying to sound casual and failing completely, she said, “Any causes?”
     He turned and looked at her without speaking, then let himself out of the truck and went around to her side to help her out. She took his arm again as they began the walk to her door.
     “If you were to take Route 231 through the city, turn south onto Fullerton Boulevard, and stay on it for about half a mile, you’d come to a light industrial area. On the southern edge there’s a medical park, just a few one-story buildings that share a parking lot. Most Saturdays when the weather is good, you’d find me standing at the entrance with a sign that says ‘Pregnant? Please talk to me first.’”
     Katie was right.
     “Operation Rescue, Louis?”
     He shook his head as they mounted the short flight of concrete steps that stood before her door. “No, I don’t much care for that bunch. When they’re there, I’m not. This is just me, and sometimes another fellow who feels the way I do.”
     Instead of unlocking her door at once, she turned to face him. He stood with his hands clasped before him. She could read nothing from his face in the dim moonlight.
     “And how is that?”
     He looked down briefly. “That abortion is a horrible thing. That it should be a last resort, to save a mother’s life, not a first to spare her some inconvenience. That most women who have abortions wouldn’t, if they knew how they’d feel afterward.” He said it calmly, no strain apparent.
     “Are you a Catholic by any chance, Louis?”
     He stood a little straighter. “Not by chance, Celeste. By mature choice, and by the grace of God.”
     Something in the words flicked her on the raw. Scorn poured into her voice. “I see. And of course that ‘grace’ gives you the right to interfere in the mature choices of women you’ve never met?”
     His eyes flared wide. “I interfere in no one’s choices, Miss Holmgren. I force myself on no one. I present information and alternatives. Sometimes it seems as if the rest of society is practically shoving women into abortion clinics, rushing them in with no chance to check other options or think about what they’re doing. I don’t block the doors. I stand beside them with an offer of assistance. If that be interference, make the most of it.”
     He started away, then faced her again. “By the way, you might have the wrong idea about something else as well. I’m not opposed to abortion because I’m a Catholic. Being opposed to abortion is part of what qualifies me to be a Catholic. Give that a spin on your mental merry-go-round and see where it gets off. Thanks for your company this evening. I’ll see you at the office next week.”
     He strode off into the darkness before she could reclaim her voice.

     A good man doesn’t conceal his convictions because they might cost him a roll in the hay. Neither does he apologize for them to persons who dislike them. And he certainly doesn’t suffer to have them disparaged.

     People keep asking me why I pour so many hours and so much passion into writing fiction when I could be making $billions managing a hedge fund. The above should be sufficient explanation...though, given the remarkable obtuseness of Mankind, for some no explanation would suffice.

     Camus nailed it, Gentle Reader. Don’t join forces with the plagues. Don’t ally with any evil or destructive force against the innocents it seeks to despoil or destroy. Do that even once, and you’ve disqualified yourself from consideration as a good man.

     If you are a good man, it’s vital to know who isn’t, and to keep your hands clean of their filth. Ponder the following exercises in moral-ethical discrimination:

     First up: A few words on the Covington incident and on the conduct of certain conservative commentators in the wake of the initial reportage:

     The irony is that the Cuck faux-Right was unanimous in eagerly attacking these young men, when their response to their antagonists’ taunts and blatant, in-your-face incitement was exactly the kind of calm, measured, and mature tack the Cuck Right has always insisted on. Faced with extremely intense provocation from frothing, hate-filled lunatics—the vilest of verbal insults, physical aggression only just short of assault—the Covington Kids provided a living, breathing example of how to take that high road the Weak-Tea Right is always blubbering about.

     And just look what it got ’em from their putative allies.

     The despicable cuck response is revealing of a lot of things, sure, but they’re all things we already knew anyway. The important thing, the inspiring thing for me at least, is this: those kids stood their fucking ground, thereby proving themselves to be bigger, more manly men than the repulsive slimy things spewing and spitting and ranting at them in DC—to no effect at all, thanks to their poise and self-assurance. The kid serving as the smiling point man in the pics stiffened his spine the moment it hit him that these weren’t friendly, well intentioned kibitzers come to join in with their school-cheer session with good will looking to participate in the impromptu party. He squared his shoulders, stiffened a friendly smile into one of defiance, and looked a gang of hostile, jeering thugs right in the damned eye…and did not give a single fucking inch.

     This young man faced a mob of likely-violent Lefty troublemakers and didn’t show the least sign of backing down to them, maintaining control of the situation by maintaining control of himself. Via his own calm self-possession and confidence, he kept a situation from escalating into something that could easily have ended very badly indeed for him and his fellows. He left the field with honor and self-respect entirely intact. And he did all that with a grin on his face.

     Second in line: The Covington diocese leaped to castigate – nay, to condemn! — the Covington boys on the basis of the early reportage. Here’s the diocese’s response to the revelation of the full video record of the incident:

     Concerning the incident in Washington, D.C., between Covington Catholic students, Elder Nathan Phillips and Black Hebrew Israelites the independent, third-party investigation is planned to begin this week. This is a very serious matter that has already permanently altered the lives of many people. It is important for us to gather the facts that will allow us to determine what corrective actions, if any, are appropriate.

     We pray that we may come to the truth and that this unfortunate situation may be resolved peacefully and amicably and ask others to join us in this prayer.

     We will have no further statements until the investigation is complete.

     Third and last for the morning: A statement from “native American elder” Nathan Phillips:

     “It’s not the right time,” Phillips told The Enquirer on Monday night. “I might consider it at some point. There’d have to be certain assurances in place, give and take, and understanding.”
     According to Phillips, “it’s not yet the time” because of the statement released by CovCath student Nick Sandmann....
     “He (Sandmann) needs to put out a different statement,” said Phillips, who has said he is a Vietnam Veteran. “I’m disappointed with his statement. He didn’t accept any responsibility. That lack of responsibility, I don’t accept it.”...
     “At first I wanted the teachers and chaperones to be reprimanded, some fired, for letting this happen,” Phillips said. “For the students, I was against any expulsions, but now I have to revisit."...
     “He (Sandmann) stole my narrative,” Phillips said. “From the time I hit that first beat of the drum until I hit the last beat, I was in prayer. Now all of a sudden, he’s the prayer guy and the passive one.”

     Which of the persons mentioned in the snippets above are good men?

     A lot of the blame for the initial reaction to the Covington incident has been larded onto “social media,” as if a Website could possibly have the power to force people to behave badly. This, to be blunt – and frankly, Gentle Reader, the time for extreme bluntness is upon us – is the purest horseshit. I don’t care whom I’m contradicting or offending in saying so, because there’s a principle involved:

Good men have strength of character.

     If you have it, nothing can make you cross the moral-ethical line. If you don’t, no excuse can make you anything but what you are: a coward and / or a villain.

     There are plagues. Some of them are mere aspects of nature, such as the plague that afflicts Oran in Camus’s magnificent novel of desperation and struggle. But some of them are people: wholly evil and destructive people whose conscious aim is to deceive, to corrupt, and to destroy. Many such persons occupy high posts in government. Others sit upon perches in the media. Still others number among our neighbors. I could name names. So could you.

     Between the good men and the plagues lies the Realm of the Uncommitted. Some of them simply don’t know what they really believe. Others play for time, to discover which way the crowd is going. Still others have no convictions and seek merely to avoid “controversy.”

     The imperative of our time is to discriminate: to know each man for what he is: a villain, uncommitted, or a good man. At least, that should be the aim of a good man. He must know whom he can trust and work with, who are the unreliables among us, and whom he must oppose with all his forces.

     Because only one thing matters now.