Saturday, November 30, 2019

As Conan Says

What is best in Life?

To crush your enemies...

Or see Ohio Stare destroy Michigan.

Same thing.

The evil of globalization or beggar thy neighbor.

This is not to say that trade is never mutually beneficial: trade and capital flows have been an economic reality for over 3,000 years, dating back to the very lively trade of the Bronze Age. What does need to be challenged is the largely unexamined notion that the critical interests of political entities (nation-states) and societies are magically served by private capital maximizing returns via borderless global markets.[1]
And via slave labor wages overseas and other governments' disregard of environmental protections (thereby enabling lower cost foreign production).

This reminds me of something that Fran Porretto recently quoted from Thomas Jefferson:

Liberty is unobstructed action according to our will; but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.
This singleminded pursuit of lower production cost illustrates Jefferson's "liberty." Our corporations scrambled to relocate tens of thousands of American factories to China utterly without regard to the effect this would have on the economic fortunes of their fellow citizens at home.

Adam Smith thought that the "invisible hand" would necessarily benefit the larger whole even though the individual would vigorously only seek to promote his own interests. Little did Smith foresee that his and all other Western lands would come to be ruled by traitors who drooled at the prospect of

  • (1) operating in foreign lands to the primary benefit of foreigners and
  • (2) importing parasitic, hostile, inassimilable foreigners to the home country by the millions.

Salus populi to our elites is as abhorrent a concept as swearing to protect and defend the Constitution.

[1] "We Can Only Choose One: Our National Economy Or Globalization." By Charles Hugh Smith, ZeroHedge, 11/26/19.

Incompatible, inharmonious, irreconcilable

Live peaceably alongside 'em? Hell, we can't even share space in a restaurant long enough to have dinner with 'em.
Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli was screamed at and asked if he wanted to fight by former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) at a Washington, D.C. bar/restaurant The Dubliner, located near the Capitol, Wednesday evening, prompting Cuccinelli to leave. Both men were there for an annual gathering of their fellow Gonzaga College High School graduates.
Note ye well: NOT some random Lefty "extremist" nutjob, a nobody from nowhere. A prominent Democrat-Socialist politician, the former governor of the state of Maryland. From Cuccinelli's Fox News recounting of the disgraceful incident:
“I arrived at The Dubliner to meet with some of my Gonzaga classmates last night, Cuccinelli said in the statement. “As I walked up to one of the bars among several in The Dubliner to order my Guinness, I heard screaming and cussing behind me to my left, which I did not immediately take notice of other than the fact that it was louder than everything else in the pub.”

Cuccinelli continued: “When I turned to look I saw O'Malley and he was obviously screaming at me. For a moment I thought he was trying to be funny, as we've met before, which I thought was strange. It was immediately clear that he was cursing and screaming for real, to the point of veins bulging on his neck.”

Cuccinelli added that O’Malley had “also inspired one or two of his (apparent) buddies to join in the cussing assault,” which the Trump official said he attempted to ignore. Cuccinelli said he proceeded to attempt to order at a different bar within The Dubliner, but that O’Malley followed him.

“[A]t which point O'Malley pushed his way through the small group to confront me face to face, still cursing me, the President, and my Italian ancestry and he got right up in my face, bumped up against me and invited me to take a swing at him,” Cuccinelli recalled, adding, “at which point I said ‘Martin, one of us has to rise above this, and it's obviously not going to be you.’”

Cuccinelli noted that some of O’Malley’s comments about Trump's immigration policy were “odd” due to the fact that “they applied to President Obama's policies, a fact he clearly did not appreciate me pointing out (without screaming it, btw).”

Cuccinelli is not the first administration official to be harassed for his work involving enforcement of President Trump’s immigration policies.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was repeatedly heckled for her role in the administration, and was forced, last year, to cut a working dinner short at a Mexican restaurant in Washington after protesters harassed her, shouting “shame!” Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was also forced to leave a Virginia restaurant during the same time period. Those incidents took place after Trump signed an executive order to stop the administration’s controversial family separation policy.

We've just about reached the point where no Trump official should venture out into any public space without a brace of armed bodyguards as escort—locked, loaded, watchful, and ready to bust heads and/or throw lead as the situation may require.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Free Fiction

     Today, Friday, November 29, until Midnight Pacific time, my science fiction novel Which Art In Hope: free of charge at Amazon for the day.

     The Spoonerites named their newfound world "Hope", and the planet was a veritable Eden, except that it could wipe out human life within a season. They created a government free utopia, except that it depended for its survival on a secret that compromised every principle on which it was founded. Now a secret Cabal must choose one of two powerful psi talents to become Hope’s God and Savior: Armand Morelon, the wealthy scion of one of the most influential clans on Hope, or Victoria Peterson, who is beautiful, amoral, and a murderess. Meanwhile, a force of planet breaking power is moving underground. It is aware, frightened, and growing impatient.

“One of the very best sci-fi works I have ever read.” – Scott Angell.
“Once again another magnificent cast of characters answer the hardest questions.” – Andrew Ramos
“The start of a great science fiction series.” – Dean Kling
“As an avid Science fiction reader for over 50 years and having read thousands of novels and just as many short stories, this is without a doubt one of the best!” – Roy Benjamin
“This book touched my heart and mind....I will think about this story for a long time.” – Josh Hollis

     Which Art In Hope is the first volume of the Spooner Federation Saga, which continues in Freedom’s Scion and Freedom’s Fury.

Can't stop the signal!

Some of you folks may have noticed that my usual habitat has been, shall we say, reliably unreliable the last couple-three days. As it happens, Ye Olde CF Blogge appears to have been hacked, thoroughly and severely, right down to some quite puzzling rewrites and malicious alterations made to the .htaccess page. So whilst the fine folks at Hosting Matters burn some holiday-weekend hours cleaning up the mess, I simply MUST post this here. Enjoy.

I ask you all: how can you not LOVE the guy? First, this happened:

Pretty funny, no? Of course it is. Not without a nugget of truth at its core, either. In any event, Trump proudly put it out there for all the Twitterverse to enjoy. Then, the predictable Enemedia/Progtard (BIRM) shriekfest over this "DOCTORED! DOCTORED!! DOCTORED, I say!!!" photo happened.

Now, Trump could've just stopped right there. He'd already masterfully PWNED! liberal hysterics one and all, in his inimitable God-Emperor-level trolling fashion. He would have been justified in just sitting back to bask in the cozy afterglow of another easy win, his day's work done, and quite well at that.

Ahh, but if you expected that, then you don't know him very well, do you? Because then, this happened:

It's entirely possible that somebody on Team Trump didn't receive instructions from the Very Top to have a few thousand of these printed out, poster-size, and gotten into the hands of those gutsy, doomed Hong Kong protesters. But I wouldn't want to bet that way, myself.

Incredibly, AWESOMELY, though, Trump wasn't done even yet—although this next might fairly be considered to be somewhat unrelated to the above merriment.

Bill O’reilly had an extensive and semi-casual interview with President Trump a few days ago. Mr. O’Reilly released the full interview for Thanksgiving. They cover a lot of ground.

O’Reilly is a decent interviewer, but doesn’t understand the complexity of the President Trump’s strategy in the geopolitical realm. The underestimation is not an O’Reilly weakness; the apparatus of ‘media’ do not grasp the full context of the background work POTUS has put into a global trade reset. The global reset is a massive and ongoing plan.

Specifically as it pertains to China, O’Reilly is stuck in the traditional financial perspective that no U.S. President could ever walk away from China; which is exactly what President Trump is doing. So at 19:00 of the video below, O’Reilly asks: “what’s holding up the China deal?” To wit, President Trump pauses and matter-of-factually says:

…”ahhhhhh, ME!”

It’s a hilariously Trumpy moment.

Ain't it. Ain't it just. All in all, just another great moment in the greatest, most entertaining presidency Real Americans have ever had the opportunity to revel in, or ever will.

While We’re A-Pluckin’

     The contemporary use of the guitar is primarily as a “pop” or “rock” instrument. Yet it is one of the oldest of classical instruments as well, if we include its progenitor the lute.

     There’s a wealth of classical music written for the guitar, but my favorite performances are of transmogrified pieces, especially from the greatest of the Baroque composers: Johann Sebastian Bach. A couple of them have been “done to death:” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and “Bourre.” But many of Bach’s compositions for other instruments can be transmogrified to the guitar, albeit not without considerable effort.

     And so, because I’m in a “guitar mood,” have a beautiful guitar rendition of Bach’s Sonata II BWV 1003 Allegro, played by the extraordinarily gifted young Russian guitarist Tatyana Ryzhkova:

For Black Friday: An Old Favorite, Recycled


     [Isn’t that the mantra of our time? “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” -- ? And as I’m still rather logy from Thanksgiving dinner, I hope this old favorite will suffice -- FWP]

When Black Friday comes
I'll stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they
Dive from the fourteenth floor
When Black Friday comes
I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road
When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
Don't let it fall on me

When Black Friday comes
I'll fly down to Muswellbrook
Gonna strike all the big red words
From my little black book
Gonna do just what I please
Gonna wear no socks and shoes
With nothing to do but feed
All the kangaroos
When Black Friday comes I'll be on that hill
You know I will

When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it 'til
I satisfy my soul
Gonna let the world pass by me
The Archbishop's gonna sanctify me
And if he don't come across
I'm gonna let it roll
When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna stake my claim
I'll guess I'll change my name

[Becker & Fagan]

[“If Katy told you that, she lied.” – the late and badly missed Charles Hill]

Now, I don’t mean to tell you that you should adopt the above as your actual agenda, but it strikes me as preferable to what quite a lot of Americans will be doing today...those that aren’t doing it already, that is.

The annual Black Friday shopping frenzy wreaks enormous havoc on the body politic. The distortions to our fragile economy alone are in the quintillions of say nothing of the congestion on major shopping roads, the damage to male-female relations, or the deleterious effects on our military, our police, our firemen, our paramedics, our hospitals and schools, our culinary institutes, our major fashion houses, our women’s shoe designers – no, Duyen, I wasn’t about to forget them – and the producers of the Real Housewives oeuvre. Why, if the Communists were really still in business, Black Friday would strike them as a perfect tactic to wield against us running dog lackeys of the International Banking Conspiracy.

(Say, you don’t think...naah, can’t be. Forget I said anything.)

The psychologists claim to be baffled that even now that the online retailers have gotten into the act, massive floods of Americans queue up for this annual spectacle. But then, most psychologists have the actual reasoning power of an overripe Durian. After all, which is the greatest of the Black Friday pleasures? The combat! Jostling, body-checking, and goods-wrestling with other shoppers, right? It can’t be the wares themselves; they’ve been available all year. Nor are the sale prices all that dramatic, with rare exceptions (e.g., Precious Moments figurines, Franklin Mint commemorative sets, Buicks). As for the recent adaptation of “tailgating” practices to the Thursday-night lines in front of the stores, haven’t you eaten enough already? Thanksgiving dinner was just a few hours ago, for Pete’s sake!

Only one conclusion is possible: Black Friday is the American equivalent of the British / South American soccer riot.

Every nation has its safety valve: the event, whether scheduled or spontaneous, that allows people to forsake the constraints of civilization for a spell and “let it all out.” Black Friday is the American version. The Ferguson riots just began a little early. Charles Manson would have gotten clean away with his little murder spree had he had the good sense to hold it on Black Friday, but he just isn’t that bright. (Granted, the Postal Service’s version runs 365 days a year, but that’s a special case.)

Be grateful for Black Friday, people. America has the largest, most powerful military establishment in the world. Think about it: were there no Black Friday, how many more invasions and bombings would our poor tired servicemen be commanded to undertake, just so the politicos could “get it out of their system?” (Yes, Virginia: politicians do live vicariously through others, absolutely and entirely. The last nationally prominent politician who had an actual personal life was Grover Cleveland, and look where it got him.)

But gratitude is not participation, nor need one lead to the other. You in particular, Gentle Reader, should leave the driving – and the carnage – to others. Stay home. There’s nothing out there that justifies the risk of life, limb, and solvency. There are few enough of you already, and anyway, look at all the neat stuff Amazon is discounting! Why, the Instant Deals alone...but I digress. (You don’t really need a second piano, Fran, now do you?)

(FLASH! Only minutes ago Jennifer Lawrence was seen walking down Rodeo Drive in full combat apparel, with a recurve bow, a full quiver, and an arrow nocked and ready. Most recently, she was reported to have Josh Hutcherson in her sights. The body count is already climbing toward five figures. Verbum sat sapienti.)

Reciprocal Appreciation

     Everyone remembers Conan the Warrior Dog, right? President Trump celebrated his heroics at the White House a few days back, for his role in taking down al Baghdadi. Well, it turns out that Conan is one of Trump’s admirers, and has decided to “return the favor” in his own, inimitable way:

     The commemorative placard Conan presented to the president is headed “From a grateful species.” In Doggish, of course.

Yes, This is the Kind of Life My Father Led in his Childhood

Here. The same sort of life most people in the world live.

For Americans, EVERY DAY is one for which we need to give thanks.

People, we live in a country where our POOR PEOPLE battle obesity!

A Thought For Thanksgiving

     Things are so good in this country — so incredibly and miraculously good, that millions of us have the luxury, the unprecedented luxury, to worry about Taylor Swift’s problems with some guy named Scooter. Things are so good in this country, Taylor’s problems are national news, a drama we follow like we used to follow the Lindbergh kidnapping or the Kennedy assassination. Things are so good, tens of millions of us live with the extravagance to invest ourselves in the silly problems of a talented, famous, pretty, young, healthy woman worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

     Taylor Swift has 85 million Twitter followers, that’s 18 million more than the president of the United States.

     And whenever I see us fretting over Taylor and Scooter, whenever we are keeping up with the Kardashians, all I can say is, My God, I love this country.

     -- John Nolte --


The was no Russian government campaign to influence the 2016 election. There was only a Russian commercial media enterprise that used sock-puppet accounts with quirky content to attract viewers and sold advertisement space to U.S. companies.[1]
The Internet Research Agency (IRA) in St. Petersburg, Russia spent $45,000 in the US before the 2016 election which was a tiny fraction of the $6.5 billion spent by other persons and entities on U.S. presidential and congressional elections. Political postings by the St. Petersburg outfit were not limited to support for one particular side or issue.

"U.S. intelligence services" claimed Russians wanted to "sow discord," which is a purpose not having reference to any one side in the U.S. unless it is the side of the left with their evident desire to trash what remains of the former American constitutional republic.

And how exactly could you say "sow discord" about any aspect of America now with a straight face? Twenty-first century America is awash in discordant and utterly moronic "issues." How – exactly – would foreigners go about making sure there's more "discord"? How would they top the efforts of local talent?

Or these swine?

[1] "New Study: "Russian Trolls" Did Not "Sow Discord" - They Influenced No One." Moon of Alabama, 11/27/19.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

For All These Things I am Truly Thankful

I'm in Cleveland, OH, with the family, celebrating our annual Thanks to God for All Our Blessings.

And, we have so much to be thankful for:

  • Employment is up - WAY up. And, for once, the minority employment is also good.
  • My retirement investments have almost completely recovered from the disastrous Obama presidency.
  • The Impeachment Scam has, except in the teeny little minds of Rabid Democrats, failed. Bigly. They may still be able to pull off some apparent success, but - trust me - everyone with a working brain sees it for what it's worth.
  • Trump asserted a Presidential Power - pardon - and, when the Navy Brass pushed back on his explicit instructions and clear orders, fired the dissident. It should give other saboteurs some concern if they think about doing the same.
  • Flynn's sentencing has, once again, been delayed. I assume the judge is awaiting the investigative report. If only Flynn could sue the bastards for their illegal actions.
  • In my immediate family, all are reasonably healthy (except for the usual wear and tear of age). Even my brother, who was on the list for a liver, is better. So much so, that he is - for now - off the list. Yay!
  • All kids are employed and healthy.
  • We celebrated my son's birthday yesterday, and all was good. My eldest grandson and I had a nice talk, and he is eager for me to put together a booklist for him. He likes science fiction, military fiction (he's never read Tom Clancy!), and thrillers. Please feel free to add your own suggestions to the comments. I'm going to clear out a lot of paper books from my stash, and use the local used book stores to get others on the list. Also, he's getting a Kindle for Christmas, along with a gift card for e-books.
  • My knee is still swollen and painful. Fortunately, the local gym has a whirlpool, and is open until noon today. So, that should help me today.
  • Best of all, it is looking like next year's election will make the Nixon-McGovern race look like a stunning success for the Left. Urge all SANE people you know to run next year, and open your wallets to help that happen. Don't forget races for county commissioners - there is a LOT of money that flows through their hands. You don't want the Left to control that. Also, don't forget school and library boards - I've been reading Shut UP, about a library porn scandal - highly recommended, both as an engrossing story, and as a how-to fight back, using FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) and OMA (Open Meetings Act).
I'm at my daughter's house, working on teaching the eldest kid how to crochet - NOT an easy task, as she is right-handed, and I'm a lefty. Other than that, just kicking back and enjoying the day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

One for Francis

In response to our gracious host's earlier post about acoustic geetar pickin' and pluckin', I have only two words: John Fahey.

That, yes, is the incredible John Fahey, a genuine...ummm, character sometimes known as "Blind Joe Death" for reasons unknown to me. His uniquely innovative approach to guitar is nothing less than fascinating; his musicality, melodic sense, and gently precise touch a delight to the ear and the soul alike. More info here.


     Tomorrow being Thanksgiving Day, I’ll likely be away from the computer, so here’s a double helping of detritus from my “Future Columns” folder to tide you over.

1. The American Credo: A Bitter Observation.

     Where else would one look for the essentials of Americanism than to the sole true genius among the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson?

     “Liberty is unobstructed action according to our will; but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.”

     Steven Greenhut at the Orange County Register uses that quote as the introduction to his fine column. A teaser:

     Americans are supposed to be free to live as we choose—unobstructed by government and limited solely by others' right to exercise their free will. Jefferson's words can be summarized by that old cliché: Your right to swing your fist ends at the beginning of my nose. Obviously, our nation's founding was fraught with hypocrisy given that a large portion of the population wasn't free at all, but that doesn't mean that the country's ideals aren't worth pondering today....

     The second part of that Jefferson quotation is as important as the first part. Just because the government has passed laws, through its established process of legislating and regulating, doesn't mean that such rules are worthy of blind obedience. Many are legitimate, but others merely are the "tyrant's will"—an effort by one group to impose its preferences on other people. We've got plenty of laws against murder and mayhem, so most lawmaking now is devoted to these other meddlesome things, which is what Jefferson warned against.

     Our country has strayed so far from those concepts that we've morphed into society where we constantly need permission from the government to proceed. Whereas government previously needed a compelling reason to restrict our actions, it now demands a host of permits, fees, pre-approvals and justifications. This "Mother, may I?" situation has turned the notion of a free society on its head.

     And if you cock an ear and listen ever so briefly, you’ll hear the chorus of justification, shouted by persons on Left and Right alike:

“It’s For Your Own Good!”

     I trust Greenhut’s point makes itself. But please do read the whole thing.

2. Californian Fascism: A Glimpse Of America’s Future?

     In citing a CoyoteBlog article about the advance of fascism in California, Mark “Mad Dog” Sherman makes an important observation about the utility of corporatism to the Left:

     It is clear that the modern American left wants to only deal with enormous companies that will bow to their will. Small companies, independent contractors, sole proprietorships, all of them are the enemy.

     They WANT centrally controlled government controlling big companies and all the "little people" out of the way.

     They could care less about "the workers", they just want all the workers under control of large companies only."

     [The Left wants] the companies to do the hard work of dealing with the workers, but they want all companies, entrepreneurs, small businesses and employees under the direct thumb of the federal government. The politicians want the bureaucracy to enlist the help of the Academe to establish procedures and regulations which will control all, and in the end, make humans perfect. All it takes is a few laws, a smattering of regulations, and a good police force to ensure it works.

     When it doesn't, it never does, the academics will blame the people, and new, more draconian laws will come down to control the people more precisely with more threats, and violence. Lather, rinse, repeat sufficiently to get us to the Holodomor, and the mass murder, which is the end game.

     This is a very important insight. As I wrote some time ago, Big Government is inherently well-disposed toward Big Business. The reasons are sevreal:

  1. Large corporations are the easiest of all organizations for governments to control.
  2. Government can “subcontract” the regimentation of the populace to large corporations.
  3. As an intermediating factor, large corporations spare the government a lot of work and odium.

     Remember that for the next time you hear some Leftist prattle that the Right is “in Big Business’s pocket.”

3. Victor Davis Hanson on Trump Hatred.

     The great classics’ historian and sociopolitical commentator provides his take on the impeachment farce. First, from the NeverTrump pseudo-Right:

     Apparently, Trump’s perceived checkered personal history, supposed outrageous behavior, and occasional unorthodox take on issues such as Chinese policy and tariffs all justify his removal from office. Thus, his personal flaws and apostasy from free-market orthodoxy are so egregious that they nullify any good that has come about from Trump’s successful implementation of many conservative policies for which such critics otherwise had fought long and hard in the past.

     NeverTrumpers also believe that Trump’s very appearance, his outrageous orange tan, dyed comb-over, odd ties, Queens accent, reality TV background, and vernacular and occasionally vulgar speech certainly are disqualifying traits. He does not present the sober, judicious, and restrained image that past Republican banner-carriers such as George H.W. Bush or Mitt Romney conveyed.

     Whereas most past Republican grandees married into or inherited substantial money, none showed the visible scars and scabs of a lifetime’s frantic effort to expand their legacies by rough-and-tumble, wheeler-dealer, boom-or-bust frenzied business.

     In other words, Trump “isn’t one of our set.” True enough, though utterly irrelevant to his superb performance as president. Now from the Left:

     [A]ccording to a variety of barometers, the Left considers Trump to be the most conservative, and thus the most threatening, president since Ronald Reagan. He has not just sought to undo Barack Obama’s political legacy, in many cases he has been successful—on illegal immigration, energy policy, abortion, taxes, foreign policy, and a host of cultural and social issues.

     Trump also adds insult to injury in that he also has used many of Obama’s own methods to enact what self-styled progressives regard as regressive policies, especially free and unfettered use of executive orders and a similar masterful use of the bully pulpit.

     If ex-reality TV star Trump lacks the teleprompted cadences of Obama, his sharp repartee and rally rhetoric are as or often more effective. Obama sometimes baited enemies like Fox News host Sean Hannity and had the government surveille Associated Press reporters; Trump matches such combativeness instead with ad hominem references to his media critics.

     The Left also differs again from the NeverTrump Right on the perceived dangers posed by Trump’s unorthodox behavior. The Left fears and hates Trump’s character and persona for a variety of reasons, including the fact that his earthiness earns a large audience of middle Americans—many of them formerly blue-collar Democratic voters in critical swing districts and states.

     Two perfect bull’s-eyes. Bravo, Dr. Hanson.

4. Some Second Amendment Stuff.

     First, let’s have an illustrative image from 90 Miles From Tyranny:

     Puts one in mind of the old saw that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” doesn’t it? And now, have a very illuminating article on the State’s notions about defensive gun use:

     On Thursday night, 7 November, 2019 a little after 11 p.m., at the Motel 6 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Greg Sapp was on the walkway outside of his and his wife, Vicki's motel room on the second floor. He was getting a smoke. He did not know he would be emptying his Kimber .45 into a charging black bear within seconds.

     Read that carefully: Sapp was on the second floor of the motel. Here’s what happened:

     He turned around, and looked. There, no more than 20 feet away, its feet on a tipped over trash can, was a huge black bear. The bear did not notice him immediately.

     But Greg's dog had come out, and peaked around the corner. It growled and emitted a bark,! The bear jumped over the downed trash can, landed with a Woof!, and charged directly at Greg.

     Everything happened extremely fast, but Greg had moved into the psychological state of tachypsychia, where everything seems to slow down. This is a common effect when a human perceives a deadly threat. The effect also distorts distance, and can cause tunnel vision, focused on the threat.

     Greg said: Oh f*ck! The .45 Kimber appeared in his hand and he was firing, with the bear taking up his whole field of vision. Greg told me:

     “Everything went into like, time lapse.” “It seemed like it took forever!”

     In Greg's heightened state of awareness, he could hear the first three bullets hit.

     Then his ears were ringing. The bear dropped its head down as he fired the last three shots at extremely close range, Greg said it was three feet or less. The bear hit the railing of the walkway two feet from him, turned left, and went down the walkway away from Greg, who had the empty Kimber in his hand.

     And here’s how the state of Tennessee, supposedly one of the more firearm-rights-friendly states of the Union, treated the incident:

     When the police investigated, they followed the blood trail until it stopped. They did not find the bear. An officer asked why Greg had not retreated to the hotel room. Greg said there was no time to do so.

     Greg was not cited for shooting the bear. He was cited for reckless endangerment and unlawful discharge of a firearm. The police impounded his Kimber as evidence. The Kimber, with custom modifications, is worth about $1800.

     The life and health of Greg Sapp, a retired veteran of Marine Force Recon, are apparently worth less to the Tennessee police than the slight nuisance of showing up at the scene and returning to the precinct without a crime and a “perp.”

     While we’re on the subject of governmental hostility toward civilian ownership of firearms, Mike Hendrix has some info about recent uses of “red flag” laws. Meanwhile, David L. Burkhead lays a righteous smackdown on an anti-gunner propagating lies on Twitter. There’s also this Wes Rhinier piece about gun laws in South Africa, where he was born and raised:

     South Africa’s laws have become so draconian. Law abiding citizens who wish to defend themselves have to apply for a license for a specific firearm. When purchasing ammunition, the license for the firearm in question has to be shown. The purchase is entered into a register and the amount of ammunition purchased and owned is also restricted. The quantity of firearms owned is restricted and although in certain instances, such as a sport shooter, additional licenses may be granted, the process is tedious and frustrating. I provide this trivia because, the criminals are not impacted and have access to whatever the black market can offer or whatever they can steal. ‘Common sense gun laws’ is intentionally a vague and open statement because those who despise liberty need to be able to move the goal lines so that the incremental erosion of our rights can continue.

     Anyone who talks about increasing gun laws in the name ‘gun safety, sensible gun ownership, saving the life of just one child’ is either ignorant or a tyrant. Criminals never ever obey any laws. Case closed. 2A does not grant ‘We the People’ a right to keep and bear arms. It ACKNOWLEDGES the right.

     If your blood pressure has been feeling low lately, you might want to give those pieces your attention. I promise, you’ll be fully awake before you finish.

5. Red China And The Uighur Muslims.

     PowerLine’s John Hinderaker thinks this is a humantiarian issue:

     One of my daughters sent me this: “Data leak reveals how China ‘brainwashes’ Uighurs in prison camps.” Her question: “Why does literally no one care/talk about this?”
     The Chinese government has consistently claimed the camps in the far western Xinjiang region offer voluntary education and training. But official documents, seen by BBC Panorama, show how inmates are locked up, indoctrinated and punished.


     About a million people – mostly from the Muslim Uighur community – are thought to have been detained without trial.

     The leaked Chinese government documents, which the ICIJ have labelled “The China Cables”, include a nine-page memo sent out in 2017 by Zhu Hailun, then deputy-secretary of Xinjiang’s Communist Party and the region’s top security official, to those who run the camps.

     The memo that follows details a severe program of brainwashing, to which the detailed Uighur Muslims are subjected in the hope of breaking them. I have no idea whether it works, or how we in the West would find out. But I have as little concern for the detainees as the first of Hinderaker’s commenters:

     The Chinese are correct in identifying Muslims as a threat to their nation and identity. Their efforts to indoctrinate them will fail. See: any Muslim minority group in any nation anywhere. The religion supersedes national identity by design, as it sees non-believers as enemies to be exterminated.

     The commenter cited above is quite correct: Any Muslims anywhere, once Muslims are permitted to achieve a substantial presence in an otherwise non-Islamic nation – usually about three percent – become tools of Islamist activists who will agitate for special considerations and privileges for Muslims. The radicals in the Muslim populace will keep the “peaceable” ones in line with violence and intimidation. This is so well established that not even Islamist mouthpieces attempt to contradict it. Click the following image for a larger, more easily read version:

     The rest is just Red China being Red China. If we’re going to throw down against them for some reason, let it be Hong Kong.

     Hopefully, that will be enough to tide my Gentle Readers over the Feast of St. Gluttony Thanksgiving Day. I’ll be back on Friday without fail, as I have a book giveaway scheduled for that day. Until then, be well.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Time Moves Ever On

     This has already become a hectic week for me, which is why I emitted nothing yesterday. Today looks to be even worse, but I can’t let two days go by without writing something for my Gentle Readers. Unfortunately, the “serious” subjects I’d like to address next are pretty large ones, which deserve more effort than a quick witty comment. So I’ll veer off to another topic for the nonce.

     Way back when, I was regarded as a pretty good acoustic guitarist. Not excellent, mind you, and certainly not Marquee quality, but I provided many an evening’s entertainment at the corner coffee house. I even had a following of sorts.

     However, as does every young man who picks up a musical instrument, I had heroes who were far better than I – guitarists whose ability I hoped someday to equal. Most prominent among them was a young man, just rising to fame, named Leo Kottke.

     Kottke wasn’t merely excellent; he was an innovator. He composed most of his own material, which (of course) he conditioned to his unusual gifts. From his first album to be nationally distributed it was clear that he was something new in Guitar World, something to make other guitarists sit up and take notice. On that first album was a piece, titled “Vaseline Machine Gun,” that stood out from the other tracks as a diamond among the rubies, emeralds, and pearls.

     “Vaseline Machine Gun” became the peak of many a guitarist’s mountain of ambition, including mine. I figured that if I could reproduce what Kottke had done on his twelve-string guitar, I could validly call myself a “pro” guitarist. I put a lot of effort into it, but sadly, I never quite got there. I’m sure many other aspiring guitarists could tell a similar tale.

     Kottke’s music got much wider notice than just guitarists. Here’s a brief clip from a 1997 CNN interview of him, in which he played “Vaseline Machine Gun:”

     I stumbled over that clip only yesterday, and marveled afresh at Kottke’s virtuosity. It remained unparalleled...or so I thought.

     But time moves ever on, and the skills of guitarists do, as well. Today, “Vaseline Machine Gun” has become a guitarist’s showcase piece: the sort one uses to demonstrate that he’s “got it.” And indeed, there are guitarists who’ve moved beyond Kottke’s seemingly unbeatable technique. Here’s one: that crazy fingerpickin’ fool from Canada, Ewan Dobson:

     But don’t imagine that only world-famous guitarists of genius have mastered “Vaseline Machine Gun.” Some guitar makers have “house” guitarists – quite good ones – whom they employ to demonstrate the sound of their instruments. Here’s one: National Guitars’ Macyn Taylor:

     Pretty damned good, eh what? And on a six-string, which speaks volumes about the quality of that guitar. But I’ll bet Miss Taylor’s ability was as much of a discovery for you as it was for me yester eve.

     I’ve lost most of my guitar skills due to lack of practice. And no, I never mastered “Vaseline Machine Gun.” But the clips above suggest that the advance of human ability is unstoppable. Someday there may be a guitarist who’ll throw Ewan Dobson, currently the most advanced fingerpicker I know of, into the shade. What’s certain is that there will be guitarists who’ll strive to equal and exceed him. There are probably a few working on it now. And if one does emerge to show us lesser practitioners that there remain new worlds to conquer, it will be because he believed it possible and never ceased to strive for it.

     Because time does move ever on.

Pearls of expression.

If you can’t accept where we’ve been, and that Trump’s election is a symptom of decades of rot as opposed to year zero of a dangerous new world, you’ll never come to any useful conclusions. As such, the most meaningful fracture in American society today is between those who’ve accepted that we’ve been lied to for a very long time, and those who think everything was perfectly fine before Trump. There’s no real room for a productive discussion between such groups because one of them just wants to get rid of orange man, while the other is focused on what’s to come. One side actually believes a liberal world order existed in the recent past, while the other fundamentally recognizes this was mostly propaganda based on myth.[1]
An aspect of this divide might be the belief of the most powerful, even now, that the Federal Reserve plays a necessary role in safeguarding the monetary health of the nation as opposed to those who think that the dollar's loss of 97% of its purchasing power since 1913 is an unmitigated disaster. Two percent annual inflation as a sensible goal! My foot.

The first group are unfazed by disaster, just as globalism and multiculturalism fanatics are unfazed by the total disaster of the fanatic mixing races, cultures and religions throughout the Western world.

[1] "The Illiberal World Order." By Michael Krieger, ZeroHedge, 11/25/19.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Christus Rex: A Sunday Rumination

     The feast of Christ the King has arrived once more, and with it the end of another liturgical year. (It was “Year C” in the three-year liturgical cycle, for those who care.) The next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, which begins the new liturgical year.

     Some years ago I wrote a reflection on the kingship of Jesus Christ that I’ve reposted on several subsequent occasions. Feel free to read it afresh. It’s one of my better ones, and (in my oh-so-humble opinion) characterizes the office of King of Kings better than anything else I’ve encountered. But it occurred to me this morning that there’s more to be said about the matter.

     It “should” be “obvious” that the qualifications for the position are extremely demanding:

  • The holder must be the definer of all justice;
  • He must also be the sole dispenser of all spiritual insight and appropriate worship;
  • He must be willing to sacrifice himself for the whole world.

     Now, I haven’t met anyone who possesses even one of the qualifications above. I expect any of my Gentle Readers would say the same. Moreover, if we survey the various folks who’ve ruled nations – including a few who’ve aspired to the rule of the whole world – we quickly conclude that the overwhelming majority of them – very nearly all of them -- are almost exactly the opposite sort of people from the rightful titleholder: i.e., Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of Mankind. I’m not talking about their non-divinity here, but rather their aspirations to power, pelf, perquisites, and master over all other men.

     If Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, is our model for perfection wearing the flesh, then they who seek temporal power and status are seldom persons who should ever be allowed near it. Our experiences with celebritarianism ought to be sufficient demonstration of that. (Cf. “Politics is Hollywood for ugly people.”)

     Which brings us to the Question of the Day: When the demands of those who wield temporal power clash with those of Christ the King of Kings, what should we do?

     Let’s begin with a dismissal: specifically of the words of the Apostle Paul, also known as Saul of Tarsus, previously a persecuter of Christians:

     Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. [Epistle to the Romans, 13:1-6]

     I do hope Paul, wherever in the afterlife he may be situated, took note of the fascist and communist states that afflicted millions who came after him. And what about Islam in the saddle? That “faith” that claims a mandate to impose conversion by the sword, and to execute apostates, heretics, blasphemers, adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, and a slew of other contestants? Speaking of which, wasn’t Paul himself executed for preaching the Christian faith, by a government that found it threatening?

     Paul’s characterization of governments as “ordained of God” is the purest horseshit – and I don’t care who dislikes to read that. But Paul himself was given to arbitrary assertions of authority, so perhaps the government-is-good syndrome is part of a larger disease.

     Governments are not “ordained by God.”Justice is ordained by God – and he who seeks to set aside God’s justice in favor of his own formulation is likely to take up residence in some very down-market real estate after his demise.

     The Christian faith, like all wholesome creeds, is a matter of individual choice and commitment. Christians of our time know better than to think that our faith can or should ever be imposed upon the unwilling. At one time there were supposed Christians who attempted it, but they were acting in opposition to Christ’s teachings, not in accordance with them.

     But those who wield temporal power take the opposite tack: If you won’t willingly do as they command, they’ll coerce you: punish you or threaten you with punishment. That’s not a Christian’s individual choice and commitment, nor does he have a duty to honor it.

     So the Christian who confronts a State that demands, under threat of punishment, that he do something Christ, the King of Kings and definer of all justice, has forbidden is in a pickle. There are cases of this sort today in the Land of the Formerly Free. The most egregious one is the attempt, by several states, to compel Catholic physicians to perform abortions. What is such a doctor to do?

     For my part, I’d rather brave the wrath of the State than the displeasure of the King of Kings.

     After Christ no longer wore mortal flesh, ordinary, fallible men – men as susceptible to error, vanity, and self-exaltation as any of us – were entrusted with the preservation and promulgation of His teachings. There was a hazard in that, for men are given to embellishing, expanding, and distorting what they’ve been taught. Nevertheless, some fraction of what Christian clerics teach really is in accord with His word. It’s the duty of the lay Christian to thresh the grain from the chaff.

     Now and then even the very best Christians will yearn for the “assistance” of temporal power: the State. This idea is worse than merely wrong, as I hope my Gentle Readers will grasp without having to be beaten across the snout about it. Even so, Christians of great faith and intellect have fallen into that error:

     “Do not think,” said Ransom, “that for me either it is child’s play to meet those who will come down for your empowering.”
     “Sir,” faltered Merlin, “you have been in Heaven. I am but a man. I am not the son of one of the Airish Men. That was a lying story. How can I? . . . You are not as I. You have looked upon their faces before.”
     “Not on all of them,” said Ransom. “Greater spirits than Malacandra and Perelandra will descend this time. We are in God’s hands. It may unmake us both. There is no promise that either you or I will save our lives or our reason. I do not know how we can dare to look upon their faces; but I know we cannot dare to look upon God’s if we refuse this enterprise.”
     Suddenly the magician smote his hand upon his knee. “Mehercule!” he cried. “Are we not going too fast? If you are the Pendragon, I am the High Council of Logres and I will counsel you. If the Powers must tear me in pieces to break our enemies, God’s will be done. But is it yet come to that? This Saxon king of yours who sits at Windsor, now. Is there no help in him?”
     “He has no power in this matter.”
     “Then is he not weak enough to be overthrown?”
     “I have no wish to overthrow him. He is the king. He was crowned and anointed by the Archbishop. In the order of Logres I may be Pendragon, but in the order of Britain I am the King’s man.”
     “Is it then his great men—the counts and legates and bishops—who do the evil and he does not know of it?”
     “It is—though they are not exactly the sort of great men you have in mind.”
     “And are we not big enough to meet them in plain battle?”
     “We are four men, some women, and a bear.”
     “I saw the time when Logres was only myself and one man and two boys, and one of those was a churl. Yet we conquered.”
     “It could not be done now. They have an engine called the Press whereby the people are deceived. We should die without even being heard of.”
     “But what of the true clerks? Is there no help in them? It cannot be that all your priests and bishops are corrupted.”
     “The Faith itself is torn in pieces since your day and speaks with a divided voice. Even if it were made whole, the Christians are but a tenth part of the people. There is no help there.”
     “Then let us seek help from over sea. Is there no Christian prince in Neustria or Ireland or Benwick who would come in and cleanse Britain if he were called?”
     “There is no Christian prince left. These other countries are even as Britain, or else sunk deeper still in the disease.”
     “Then we must go higher. We must go to him whose office it is to put down tyrants and give life to dying kingdoms. We must call on the Emperor.”
     “There is no Emperor.”
     “No Emperor . . .” began Merlin, and then his voice died away. He sat still for some minutes wrestling with a world which he had never envisaged. Presently he said, “A thought comes into my mind and I do not know whether it is good or evil. But because I am the High Council of Logres I will not hide it from you. This is a cold age in which I have awaked. If all this West part of the world is apostate, might it not be lawful, in our great need, to look farther . . . beyond Christendom? Should we not find some even among the heathen who are not wholly corrupt? There were tales in my day of some such: men who knew not the articles of our most holy Faith, but who worshipped God as they could and acknowledged the Law of Nature. Sir, I believe it would be lawful to seek help even there. Beyond Byzantium. It was rumored also that there was knowledge in those lands—an Eastern circle and wisdom that came West from Numinor. I know not where—Babylon, Arabia or Cathay. You said your ships had sailed all round the earth, above and beneath.”
     Ransom shook his head. “You do not understand,” he said. “The poison was brewed in these West lands but it has spat itself everywhere by now. However far you went you would find the machines, the crowded cities, the empty thrones, the false writings, the barren beds: men maddened with false promises and soured with true miseries, worshipping the iron works of their own hands, cut off from Earth their mother and from the Father in Heaven. You might go East so far that East became West and you returned to Britain across the great Ocean, but even so you would not have come out anywhere into the light. The shadow of one dark wing is over all Tellus.”

     [C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength]

     There is no help in temporal power for the Christian, except to the extent that it pursues and punishes murder, aggressive violence, theft, fraud, libel and slander, and false dealing...when it deigns to do so. Moreover, the Christian must be willing to defy the State should it command that he transgress against the teachings of Christ...even if the price demanded should be his life. For as Clive Staples Lewis, the Twentieth Century’s greatest Christian apologist and polemicist, wrote above, we cannot dare to look upon God’s face if we refuse that burden.

     It is our duty to Him who has defined all justice: the King of Kings.

     May God bless and keep you all.

A Frightening Prediction From A Sober, Sensible Man

     You don’t want this to happen. I don’t want this to happen. And I’m sure that if the flunkies of the Deep State and their elected camouflageurs were quizzed, they’d unanimously say that they don’t want it to happen. But that third group doesn’t believe it’s possible:

Rick Wiles: 'There Is Going to be Violence in America' if Trump is Removed From Office from Right Wing Watch on Vimeo.

     Note that this video was posted by “Right Wing Watch,” a left-wing group whose members seem to think a violent counter-revolution is something we in the Right actually want. Make no mistake, Gentle Reader: a counter-revolution against the authoritarian scum who think us a conquered and subjugated people is what it would be. They could not be more wrong in either of their suppositions...but what anyone believes beforehand will be irrelevant should it come to pass.

     The Left has no sense of the depth and breadth of the anger decent Americans have accumulated as we’ve been “progressively” reduced to indentured servitude under their collective heel. Yea, even though that anger was what elected Donald Trump in the first place. But if the alternatives are the unjustified nullification of a free and open election or an armed uprising aimed at cleaning out the Deep State and the political Establishment with high-velocity lead, Americans – the best armed and most resolute people who have ever existed – will not accept subjugation.

     Applause to Brock Townsend for the video.

On "Russian" election manipulation.

We have just above explained how it's possible to get a Russian IP for your home computer, in fact there is no limit to the amount of Russian IPs you can purchase. Of course there are far more sophisticated tools out there for IP obfuscation, the point being if this tool is so easy to install and setup for only $15 - what basis do 'news agencies' have for making the slippery slope conclusions, Russian IP = from Russia?
"A basis for evidence that Russia is an opaque mask for criminal activity." By globalintelhub, ZeroHedge, 11/24/19.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Some Sensible Thinking About Social Media in the Modern World

From Quillette. It's not the first time I've read a contra-PC essay from there; that I have is a powerful argument for getting off social media, and finding lengthier and more thoughtful writing.

I removed myself from Facebook earlier this year. It was a little difficult to change my habit of going there to post stories, links, and photos, but - after a few weeks, I honestly never gave it another thought. The only time I'm reminded that I'm no longer on FB is when I occasionally get a notification from someone I know who has posted something there.

In other news, the Sandinistas have arrested clerics for protesting the regime, and mobs were sent to churches to threaten them to get them in line.

The Sandanistas were heavily promoted, during the Reagan years, as "indigenous agrarian activists". We were told that they were authentic representatives of 'La Gente' - Spanish for 'The People'.

So, now that they have been decisively unmasked as Standard Leftists, power-hungry and intolerant of the average citizen's rights and desires, I assume that the Left that championed them - including my own Catholic Church members - will disavow them?

Don't be ridiculous!

My question?

Will the same people who loudly protested the abuses of the anti-Communists now acknowledge the abuses of the Sandinistas?

I won't hold my breath.


     If we omit considerations such as impossibility according to the laws of physics, we may be sure that if a demand for something exists, someone somewhere will try to supply it – for a price. Depending on the price, those who demanded it will converge with the supplier(s) and strike a deal.

     That’s the thought that occurred most powerfully to me in reading this article. It’s fairly brief and rich in facts, so I’d advise you to read it all. What the author is telling us is that a demand exists. What he doesn’t need to say – to anyone familiar with the concept in my first paragraph, at least – is that there are persons laboring to meet that demand.

     No, they’re not all “coyotes.” Some are politicians. Some of the politicians are Americans.

     According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a human being’s highest priorities, before which all other considerations are at least temporarily set aside, are physiology (i.e., immediate survival) and security. That being the case, it should surprise no one when a mass of people, gravely threatened in the present moment and without assurance of safety in the future, moves en masse in search of a safe harbor. It’s happened often enough in the past. Those who are willing to see it can view it south of our border.

     The threat to the survival and security of the law-abiding people of the northern Mexican states emanates from the conflict between the Mexican drug cartels and the Mexican authorities. At this time the cartels are in the superior position, in part owing to their ruthlessness and in part because the Mexican government is riddled with corruption. The consequences have terrified nominally uninvolved Mexicans into fleeing. Many are fleeing northward.

     Before I continue: This is not America’s problem, except to whatever extent Americans are customers of the Mexican cartels. “America’s problem” is the pressure against our southern border, which of course is one of the phenomena of greatest political debate at this time.

     It was inevitable that in the discussion of the problem, there would arise well-meaning suggestions that America “help out” the Mexican government in its campaign against the cartels. President Trump has broached the possibility of sending our military into the fray.

     It’s the first wholly bad idea I’ve seen from the Trump Administration. But I fear that it will gain traction with our military higher-ups, who are usually eager to flex America’s muscles. Many among the brass have objected to our gradual withdrawal from the conflicts in the Middle East and the “Stans.” A new theater of action would probably appeal to them. Demand for their expertise, don’t y’know.

     Could America’s armed forces contribute substantially to the mitigation of Mexico’s cartel problem? Almost certainly. But the question that would arise in the aftermath is the same as the one that bedeviled us in Iraq and Libya.

     The critical consideration is who would be responsible for maintaining order in the state of affairs that would exist after American armed might had quelled the cartel problem. We don’t want a failed state on our southern border. But we’re very near to that condition even now. A government that cannot enforce the law within its jurisdiction is a failed government – and a nation with a failed government, regardless of its claim to legitimacy, is a failed state. The probability is high that after the cartels had been dealt with, whatever would remain of the Mexican federal government would be incapable of preserving peace and enforcing Mexico’s laws. Quite a lot of people would mutter that “we broke it, so we bought it,” and argue for the de facto annexation of Mexico as a protectorate of the United States.

     To say that would be a bad deal for America is to give it the palest imaginable coloration. It would bear no resemblance whatsoever to any of our historical protectorates. Proximity and the immiscibility of the two cultures would guarantee political and economic disaster – and possibly a front of military conflict that would expand ever further southward.

     America was able to provide security to Western Europe after World War II because of the compatibility of those cultures with ours, and because many problems local to Europe could be confined there. The U.S. didn’t need to take responsibility for local law enforcement. Our financial assistance and our guarantee of military defense were sufficient to set Western Europe on a sustainable path to recovery. The situation in Mexico is quite different. The cartel problem is a problem of local law enforcement. Worse, the disruption of Mexico’s corruption-fueled economy would have a high probability of disordering the entire economy of Central America – and without dismantling the edifice of corruption, the resurgence of the cartels would be guaranteed. Demand again.

     Therefore, we would face a choice between transforming Mexico into a garrisoned protectorate, utterly dominated by American armed power, and letting it collapse into complete political failure. “Compromise” solutions don’t seem plausible or stable, given the culture clash.

     Of course this invites discussion of what Mexico could do, in theory, to neutralize the cartels’ power through changes in its laws. But given the already severe problems at our southern border, such possibilities are at least as fanciful as the notion that armed intervention could solve the cartel problem. The demand for the cartels’ products, which (lest we forget) are illegal on both sides of the border, when added to the economic motivations of many northward migrants, has produced a situation that cannot be ameliorated in the near term by American intervention at a price Americans would be willing to pay.

     Better that we focus on buttressing our border defenses and leave Mexico to solve its own problems...if it can.

One of the many greasy aspects of American politics.

Leftist "dark money" fueling, among other things, media campaigns urging Republicans to support impeachment highlighting veteran spokespersons.
Each of Defend American Democracy’s ads includes a disclaimer that it is paid for by a group called Protect the Investigation. But Protect the Investigation doesn’t legally exist — it’s one of dozens of fictitious names registered by the Sixteen Thirty Fund. Protect the Investigation conducted a six-figure digital ad campaign on Facebook over special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation before beginning to rebrand the page with Defend American Democracy’s logo as impeachment hearings kicked off in November 2019.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund spent more than $141 million last year and raked in even more, continuing the organization’s exponential growth each year since Trump’s election. Thirteen multi-million dollar secret donors fueled the operations fundraising in 2018, with one anonymous donor accounting for more than $51.7 million — topping the group’s entire spending in 2017.

"Liberal 'Dark Money' Operation Behind Ads Urging Republicans To Support Impeachment." By Anna Massoglia and Karl Evers-Hillstrom, ZeroHedge, 11/23/19.

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Engine That Feeds The Golden Triangle Of Corruption

     Loans made by one government to another do not answer to any of the proper conditions of credit. The money lent belongs to the people of the lending nation, not to the officials who grant the loan; and it becomes a charge upon the people of the borrowing nation, not upon the officials who negotiate the loan and spend the money. There is no collateral, and no means of collection by civil action. If the debt is not paid, war or the threat of war is the only recourse. Meantime private production is wrecked; the economy of the lending nation has to meet the capital loss; while the economy of the borrowing nation is loaded with the dead weight of government projects (buildings, armies, etc.) for which the money is spent. It is an infallible formula for disaster.

     [Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine ]

     Many have questioned the practice of “foreign aid” at a time when the United States cannot even balance its own books. They have a point, though it pales in comparison to the shattering indictment of the practice cited above. But as if we needed an additional reason to halt the scam immediately and forever more, we have these observations:

     Foreign aid often serves as a philanthropic-sounding euphemism that masks self-dealing. American elites give other Americans’ money to foreign elites often under the guise of providing it to the people of the recipient nation. In return, American elites — or, in most cases, their immediate family members — profit from business deals in recipient nations with state-sponsored, state-created, or state-favored enterprises. This scenario occurred with Hunter Biden. And given the domestic outrage over Russia attempting to influence U.S. politics, the Biden influence over Kiev surely rankled many Ukrainians.


     The money that flows through the golden triangle of corruption must have a source, of course. In many a case, the source is American foreign aid. It’s isn’t just foreign autocrats who enrich themselves at that trough, as the Biden psychodrama-in-progress should make quite clear.

     It’s been observed many times and in many places how the application of American dollars in other countries has failed to achieve anything resembling the results routinely observed in America. Even with American experts to oversee construction, roads paid for by American foreign aid often come completely apart with a single change of seasons. Hospitals intended to serve the commoners of the land are staffed by political cronies and relatives of the powerful who draw fat salaries though frequently drunk on the job. Some such “doctors” never treat a single patient. The “medicines” they stock are often just distilled water in convincing vials and bottles. As for schools built with foreign, please, my stomach hasn’t settled enough for that.

     But local potentates get very, very wealthy. And to ensure that the flow of aid dollars is not interrupted, some of the swag is rerouted to influential American politicians like former vice president Joseph Biden – but discreetly, through a relative like Biden’s son Hunter, so there’s no direct connection an enterprising investigator might find.

     And it’s your money, and mine.

     Inasmuch as foreign aid, whether bestowed as loans of outright grants, is nowhere authorized by the Constitution, why is it that so few persons have even bothered to question the practice? And why is it that when a voice is raised in protest, such as Senator Rand Paul has done, he’s dismissed as a crackpot or worse? Are we still under the spell of Lend-Lease?

     Actually, it’s worse. Every dollar any American ever earns depends for its value on the scarcity of dollars versus the abundance of goods and services. Thus, the very idea that the federal government routinely prints more dollars to pay for its profligacies, thus watering down the value of the dollars we strain to earn and struggle to save, should be a cause for white-hot outrage. But to add to that infamy that billions of those dollars are “lent” or given outright to other countries where they enrich autocrats and their hangers-on should have us peasants checking our guns. That American politicians, their relatives, and their business partners are profiting from the sewer of foreign aid should be the final straw that gets the lampposts of the District of Columbia redecorated with politicians’ and bureaucrats’ corpses.

     So why hasn’t it happened? Anyone? Bueller?

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Moral Fundamentals Part 3: The Most Debated Concept

     I hope those Gentle Readers who’ve been waiting for this essay have not lost patience with me. It’s been simmering for a while now. I didn’t want to serve it before it was cooked all the way through.

     The previous two segments in this little series have laid groundwork upon which I intend to build a case for the most debated proposition in all of human thought: specifically, that there are laws of morality / ethics built into the very fabric of reality. This, at a time when the premise of the existence of an objective reality is itself under attack! From Part 1:

     The gospel of our era is relativism in all things: cultural, moral, logical, even scientific. Claims of absolute truth are sneered aside as conclusively refuted without trial. Feminist author Sandra Harding referred to Isaac Newton's three laws of mechanics as "Newton's Rape Manual," nor is there any reason to believe she was being facetious. Physicist Alan Sokal revealed the extent to which relativists will descend with a facetious article our cultural glitterati took quite literally.

     So those of us who, with Samuel Johnson, kick a stone and proclaim "I refute it thus" are in a distinct minority. In consequence, a debate that requires that one's interlocutor accept the existence of evil, a concept relativists categorically reject, is problematic from the start.

     But I intend to immunize my contentions against the frequent objection that “it’s all just about cultural customs.” From Part 2:

     The root of moral is the Latin word mores, which means customs. When Cicero exclaimed “O tempora, o mores!” he was bemoaning what he saw as a deterioration in the customs of the Roman people, not their moral choices as we English speakers might have imagined. To English speakers, moral pertains to the rightness or wrongness of a given decision.

     To compound the damage, the societies from which America was germinated often confused matters of right and wrong with considerations of what “simply isn’t done.” The notion of behavior that’s morally neutral but “simply isn’t done” conjures up images of Victorian England and the straitlaced customs to which the upper classes were expected – and “compelled” by the prospect of social disapprobation – to conform. But here context matters; Victorian customs about what “simply isn’t done” involved the setting and the persons who would witness the deed in question. Many a thing about which the Victorians would say “That simply isn’t done” most certainly was done, by many persons and quite often, in other circumstances and with other participants.

     As you can imagine, I have my work cut out for me. But then, I don’t do the easy stuff.

1. The Nature Of The Beast We Hunt.

     As I stated in Part 1, a moral fundamental – i.e., a principle of right versus wrong in human action – must perforce be a premise. Therefore it cannot be reached by deduction, for all deduction proceeds by implication from previously agreed premises. While we do need certain premises to attain our goal, deduction isn’t the mechanism by which we employ them.

     A useful premise must be tightly tied to observable facts. If observable facts contradict the premise, it’s flatly false. This is the uber-premise of an objective, metaphysically given reality, which cannot be changed merely by the exercise of opinion or willful disbelief. The Berkelian idealist, whose metaphysics is indistinguishable from solipsism de facto, must therefore be excluded from this investigation, no matter how furiously he pounds on the door.

2. The Danger Of “Why?”

     Many years ago, a professor of philosophy assigned as in-class reading material the Biblical story of Cain’s murder of Abel. When the students had had a few minutes to read the tale, he asked them, “Why was it wrong for Cain to kill Abel?”

     Let’s leave aside the virtually guaranteed allegorical nature of the Old Testament Book of Genesis. It was intended from the first to teach certain moral lessons, rather than as factual history. What was the moral lesson in that story about the murder of one brother by the other?

     The professor fielded several answers from his students, and showed the fault in each one. At last, an exasperated student said, “Well why, then?” The professor smiled and said “Because it was.”

     “Why,” when applied to a moral premise, is an attempt to justify it through its consequences. That’s not entirely invalid, but it’s open to counterfire. For example, the consequence of Cain’s act was exile. He didn’t suffer a penalty comparable to his crime. Indeed, many present-day murderers are never caught or punished. Therefore, we cannot soundly “argue” that one “shouldn’t” commit a murder because of the inevitable negative consequences to oneself. A moral premise must have a firmer foundation than that.

3. Rejections.

     It’s always possible to reject a premise, if one is willing to accept the consequences. The Berkelian, the relativist, the social-constructionist, and the solipsist cannot be “compelled” in any sense to accept moral premises that clash with their metaphysics. However, such persons almost all live as if they accept the moral premises on which Christian-Enlightenment society is founded. The consequences of doing otherwise are repugnant to them, regardless of the philosophical problem that causes them. Occasional exceptions, such as were once found among the Oneidans and the Doukhobors, have generally suffered for their willfulness...but not always.

     It’s permissible to draw conclusions from this...but only for one’s personal use!

4. Useful Data.

     One implication of an objective reality is the availability of useful data that can be gleaned from observation and accumulated over time. This, of course, is essential to the sciences, which operate on a combination of observation, inductive inference, hypothecation, deduction, and experimentation. While it’s also useful in probing for the existence of moral fundamentals, it has a weakness best illustrated by the tale of Plato and the “plucked chicken.”

     In Plato’s effort to define the human being, at one point he proposed that Man is best defined as “the featherless biped.” According to the accounts available today, that spurred Diogenes the Cynic, who considered himself a Socratic, to present Plato with a plucked chicken and exclaim “Here is the Platonic man!” We may take it that Plato resumed his quest for a workable definition immediately afterward.

     Plato’s error was a focus on nonessential aspects of Mankind. Diogenes could have presented him with a kangaroo to the same effect, were any to hand in classical Greece. Despite that, he was engaged in a worthwhile effort: an attempt to summarize human nature in a useful fashion. Reality does provide enough data to distinguish Man from other creatures, though “featherless biped” fails to capture our essence.

     My point here is simple: As it is Man who inquires into such things, then if there are moral fundamentals, they would apply to Man, but not to any lesser order of creature. Thus to settle on moral fundamentals, we must know ourselves – Man as a species of creature – rather than the entire order of Nature.

5. Essence, Accident, And Exceptions.

     Definitions apply to categories: groups of real items that share:

  • A genus, or base category of which they are all members, and:
  • A differentia, a characteristic that applies only to members of the newly defined category and not to other members of the genus.

     This presents a problem to those who seek an intensive definition of Man, for there are exceptional members of the human species that challenge any definition that has yet been proposed. In some ways the problem is a lot stiffer than posed by Diogenes’s chicken.

     Consider Ayn Rand’s attempt to define Man as “the rational animal.” Rand had an agenda, into which her proposed definition fits nicely. However, it omits persons of defective mind, including imbeciles and small children. That leads to unpleasant possibilities, for example that the omitted persons’ lives may be sacrificed without moral weight. We recoil from this notion from visceral repugnance, even though Rand’s thrust comes closer to capturing human nature than most others that have been proposed.

     It is the essence of Man that matters to moral fundamentals. This must include the presumed destiny of his children as moral agents. Neither should it exclude those whom accidents of genetics, gestation, or post-natal experience have deprived of one or more qualifications for inclusion.

6. Today’s Breakpoint.

     Whether human nature is “real” is indeed “the most debated concept.” We must settle on a widely applicable concept of human nature as it pertains to human behavior before we can sensibly discuss moral fundamentals. To be of any importance, moral precepts would apply to human action, though not necessarily to all human action. We would be willing to judge the actions of a man “in his right mind,” but would shy back from similarly judging the actions of a man who was deeply asleep, or who was in the grip of a hallucinogen. (We might question the moral validity of his decision to take such a hallucinogen, but that’s an exploration for another time.)

     Thus, we cannot avoid considerations of perception, volition, and context. However, these things don’t muddy the picture. Rather, they compel us to be precise in the application of any moral standard we might propose.

     More anon.

Quickies: Evidence Versus “Presumption”

     To this point in the “impeachment inquiry” sessions, the anti-Trump forces’ “star witness” has been Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Sondland has striven to give the impression that President Trump had decided to “tie” American military aid to Ukraine to investigations by Ukraine into Burisma and its connection to Hunter Biden, son of former vice President Joseph Biden. Indeed, this impression Sondland has been at pains to leave is the sum and substance of the Democrats’ case for impeaching President Trump.

     But yesterday, we heard this:

     And this:

     Between them, Congressmen Mike Turner and Jim Jordan completely destroyed that “presumption.” Yet CNN – with the encouragement of Adam Schiff, no doubt – trumpeted in a headline that Sondland had testified to President Trump’s imposition of a quid pro quo.

     The Democrats’ drive to remove Donald Trump from the Oval Office has foundered yet again. That’s their third failure in three years, by my count. How many more iterations of this envy-and-fury-driven farce will America be subjected to?

     Assuming the Left doesn’t contrive to blow up the entire country before then, the 2020 Presidential election will be a landslide victory for Donald Trump and an epic disaster for whoever the Democrats nominate. Indeed, we might see the first major-party nominee in more than a century decline his party’s nomination. No one with any sense would willingly stand against the most successful, and most unjustly assailed, president of our time.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Quickies: A Fourth Amendment Conundrum

     Automobiles in public places have long been objects of legal controversy. Cops are eager to have them treated as outside the protections of the Fourth Amendment. However, current case law holds that without probable cause that a crime has been committed or is in the process of commission, a privately owned car is as protected against arbitrary search and seizure as is any privately owned building. One of the consequences is a form of police misconduct that’s very difficult to prosecute: the convenient “I smell marijuana” allegation. Cops have often used that dodge to compel a private citizen to submit to a search of his vehicle and person.

     But recently, something new has been added to the mix:

     Back in 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled that it's illegal for the police to attach a GPS tracking device to someone's car without a warrant. But what if you find a GPS tracking device on your car? Can you remove it? A little more than a year ago, the state of Indiana charged a suspected drug dealer [Derek Heuring] with theft for removing a government-owned GPS tracking device from his SUV. This month, the state's Supreme Court began considering the case, and some justices seemed skeptical of the government's argument. "I'm really struggling with how is that theft," said Justice Steven David during recent oral arguments.

     At trial, Heuring's legal team argued that the search had been illegal because the police didn't have probable cause to believe their client had committed theft. The defense pointed out that the device could have fallen off the car by accident or simply malfunctioned. Even if Heuring did take the device off the vehicle, he couldn't have known for sure that it belonged to the government. It wasn't exactly labeled as the property of the Warrick County Sheriff's Office. Most important, it's not clear that taking an unwanted device off your car is theft -- even if you know who it belongs to. With the case now at the state Supreme Court, the stakes are high. If Heuring can show that the police lacked probable cause to search his house, he could get all of the evidence gathered in the search thrown out -- not only evidence of GPS device theft, but evidence of drug dealing, too.

     It would certainly be ruled a Fourth Amendment violation were the police to attach a listening device to the wall of a private home. How is putting a GPS tracker on a private vehicle materially different? Though I doubt it, perhaps the state of Indiana will have a novel argument that sidesteps existing case law about the privacy protections of such vehicles. But no matter the verdict, the case will have implications for other police practices.

     For example, consider the “Denver boot:” a device used to immobilize a car or truck, the removal of which only occurs after the vehicle’s owner has paid a fine. So far, the use of such devices has not been successfully challenged in court. But should the placement of a GPS tracker on a car be ruled illegal, the underlying principle might extend far enough that the vehicle owner could destroy the boot, freeing his vehicle without legal penalty.

     This is a case worth watching.