Monday, November 20, 2017

Stats and lies and selective stupidity

Michael Flynn is a font of information when it comes to actually looking at the facts, versus the stats and factoids most often used in modern discourse.

There are a few reasons I seldom go into great detail on my blog with appeals to this or that stat, or endless citing of references.  As I learned during my days in that hippy haze of postmodern, millennial level liberalism at Patheos, stats can easily be refuted or ignored.  Just like any appeal to anything on that site. 

More than one of my references was met, not with a counter reference, but with an assurance that it was just dumb or pointless.  No reason, other than it obviously was.  Sometimes, an intrepid troll would find some counter stat, or poll, or survey that said something else.  Which is fair as far as it goes.  But any attempts to break down the down the data would typically be ignored or dismissed in kind.

And why not?  As Mr. Flynn shows, these stats that we love to toss around are often a thin layer of icing on a cake full of nuances that never seem to make their way to the foreground of the discussion. 

Please note, sometimes I will refer to the wacky lunacy that was Patheos.  Understand, a few of my regular readers were quite informative, debated in good will, and brought thoughtful insights, even if we disagreed (I think of Illithid and Bemused as I write this).  Many, however, were nothing but half baked trolls at best, or spewed hyper partisan lunacy at worse.  They are who I think of when I think of Patheos as a living example of the train wreck that is modern leftist discourse.

Why we presume innocence

Both in and out of the courts.  A case study, by Mark Shea. 

Knowing Mark's own political loyalties, is wasn't difficult to believe that Mark would do what he did, and that's join with all of Roy Moore's political opponents and adversaries on both sides of the aisle and demand Moore be removed from his senate race.  Most, like Mark, made this call long before more women were produced from the same part of the town where Moore was living forty years ago, and before Moore made some of his own questionable statements.  Many, like Mark, did it within a day of the WP piece that initially broke the story.

Mark, like Steven Greydanus, has made it clear that Moore's guilt is all but obvious.  There is no room for debate.  If you don't immediately condemn Moore and want him punished, then you support child molesters.  Sort of like what people used to say about the Catholic Church, but I'm sure that's different.  After all, Mark asks why women would make false accusations for no reason?

Which brings us to this little tidbit that came my way.  In it, we have a cry for justice against a vile women who has made an innocent man's life a nightmare with endless false accusations and stalkings.  And who is that man?  It would be Mark Shea's nephew

Personally, I have no more vested interest in the case against Mark's nephew than I do the case against Roy Moore.  My thing would be to wait to demand punishment until the cases were heard in an official capacity.  Was Mark's nephew lying to protect himself, or was the woman lying?   I might have my own opinions, but I certainly wouldn't want anyone punished until official inquiries and investigations were conducted that included examining the evidence.

Same with Moore.  But yet, whereas Mark found it easy to accuse a woman who had falsely accused his own nephew, Mark finds it just as easy now to believe every woman accusing Moore and immediately call for Moore, the child molester per Mark, to be punished, no physical evidence or corroborating documentation needed.

And that, kiddies, is why we have the rule of law.  It's to protect us from people who can't quite see the fact that they appear to be playing fast and loose with consistent application of standards, and who seem to be guided more by emotionalism and raw personal bias and prejudice, than an actual quest for truth and justice.

Like betting on last year's Superbowl

Is saying you now think Bill Clinton should have resigned.  It means nothing.  It's like admitting you shouldn't have been drinking and driving after you kill someone, or that you shouldn't have been playing around with that gun after accidentally shooting someone.  The damage is done. 

It was during the 90s that the credibility of the media all but ended.  It was in the 90s that the American left perfected the notion that all truth, morality and principle was malleable for the purpose of political gain. 

With Anita Hill, we learned no woman should ever be told she is lying when accusing a man of sexual misconduct.  Then we spent eight years watching one woman after another ravaged and verbally raped by the same people who made that claim, all in defense of Clinton and his administration.

Then we watched with horror as the press made it clear its job was to back up Clinton and keep him in office at all costs.  First, it made it obvious that the "Right Wing Conspiracy" was its preferred narrative, and continued with that until the Blue Dress.  At that point, after a few weeks of shock and anger at having been played like fools by the Clintons, the press circled the wagons and taught America that it was time to be like other countries, and stop caring about character, morals, values, and truth where presidents and elected officials are concerned.

And so it's been.  In the last eight years, it's become an adventure to see who matters, what is true, and what or isn't good and ethical on any given day.  A single black man might have been killed by a police officer who could have been white, and we spend a month hearing the outrage.  Thousands of black men are killed every year, and we barely hear it mentioned.  Women express concern about the Transgender push, they're told to shut up and stop being stupid bigots.  Two years later, and women say every day is nightmare of terror because of men, and we take their concerns as gospel truth.  Legal age and consent are all that matter.  Ages and age differences suddenly define good and evil.

So now, in the feeding frenzy, lynch mob, witch hunt, and inquisition mentality in which we say that anyone outside of a US court can have their lives ruined on a simple accusation sans evidence, and in light of the fact that the majority of big name culprits in the tidal wave are decidedly to the left of center, we have a growing list of politicians proudly and bravely declaring that the chiefest of all culprits in our last 25 years of being a moral wasteland should have paid for his dalliances.

Sorry, but that doesn't inspire me, it embarrasses me.  It embarrasses me to think that somewhere, Americans became as stupid as we were always told they were, though most old timers would never have bought such rubbish.  It embarrasses me to realize they really think we're that dumb.  It embarrasses me to know that many likely are.  And if we're not that dumb, we're fine with embracing dumb because we still love the great evil of our age, the evil that says there is no truth or morality, only that which is convenient at the moment.

"Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise."

Confusions of a wasted youth indeed.  As my boys said when watching a Volkswagen commercial that still celebrates the moral cesspool that was Woodstock: 'What do we expect?  They're still in charge!' (meaning the ones portrayed in the commercial).  I had no rebuttal.

Charles Manson is dead

A man who, like Hitler, became the epitome of evil during my lifetime.  Growing up, he was everyone's favorite bogeyman.   Donald McClarey has a thoughtful and insightful piece.

I don't wish him ill, but then it's easy for me not to.  As I told my congregation after the 9/11 attacks, I defer all calls for mercy and love to those directly impacted by his evil.  They are the heroes of the faith.  It costs me nothing to say I forgive him.  He didn't do anything to me. I'll leave that to those whose lives he forever destroyed.

Nonetheless, he was a driving force of evil, and symbolized the worst of that generation lost in space.  If nothing else, I work on forgiving the manifold evils and idiocies that came from the era that produced Manson, for those, far more than Manson himself, have had a detrimental impact on me, my generation and my children's generation. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Not this tide

Is this an iconic scene from a legendary movie?

No, it's our basement! In the latest in a year of incidents that have cost us almost 10,000.00 in unexpected expenses (when 100.00 would have pushed us over), the forces converged so that our basement would be washed away with the tides.

For fifteen years, we've never had a water problem in our basement.  Then the floodgates of heaven opened up.  It rained almost every day of the last month.  Since Halloween, we've only had a few days without rain.  This last week, it rained almost every day.  And then yesterday came the deluge.  One of the heaviest rains we've ever had.

All of this was bad, and the flooding around town began taking out roads and neighborhoods.  Then the power went out for almost six hours, and with it, the sump pump.  I'll leave you to imagine what happened next.

In the end, we're fortunate. Neither my library, nor the boys' gaming room or tables were hit.  A box of Halloween decorations that had been left out of storage, and a couple boxes of papers and files, appear to be the total damage. We're still assessing.  I type this as we take a break after almost an entire night of using everything from towels and sponges to plastic cups to remove what water we could.

In the end, it could have been worse.  But then, a year of insisting it could have been worse can, in its own way, begin to weigh on you.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

This site cracks me up

Dungeons and Donald, still going strong.  Since my boys have become so enamored with that old relic of the early 80s, I have to say I've picked up on some of the lingo, and these make more sense now than ever.  The Raiders oft he Lost Ark pic had me rolling.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Clash of the Titans

So tonight is game 2 of the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions.  As I said, with the exception of a couple Food Network shows, I don't keep up with current television.  Except for Jeopardy.  That's as close to a family ritual as we have, at least in terms of television.

I'll admit, it's not always exciting TV.  Unlike its following show, Wheel of Fortune, the contestants usually are of a more 'dry' variety. No problem with that, it's just not usually that colorful. 

Except this year.  This is perhaps one of the most talented, and dynamic, group of champs I've ever seen.  Earlier, there was a brainy lass who captured my boys' imaginations.  She wasn't bad, but only made it four nights.  Then there was Buzzy Cohen, who was certainly an exception to the rule.  Looking like a stand in for Harold Lloyd, he was colorful and upbeat and charismatic.  And smart.

Then there was Austin.  A champion of champions, and not anything like I've ever seen on all the years I've watched the show.  A bartender from New York (who also does theater and stand up), he showed up his first day, hair unkempt, a disheveled beard, and dressed like a person with a sense of fashion who nonetheless shops at Goodwill. 

His behavior became the stuff of legend, and a pain in the rump to the producers (and some say, Alex).  He's not smart like most champions, who seem to have an encyclopedic knowledge of everything.  He just knows a lot about a variety of subjects.  When he doesn't know the answer, he doesn't try.  But when he does, or thinks he does, he wades in with a sense of derring do and bravado towards his bets that helped him break three records in the show's entire history: fastest to 100,000.00, most winnings in a single day (80,000), and fastest to reach 300,000.00.  He's the fourth biggest winner of all time.

And yet he's trailing to the boy wonder, Alan Lin.  A nice, personable contestant, Alan has reflexes like lightning, and it's his ability to punch in faster than the others that sets him apart.  He's smart, knows a bit about everything, and is fast as anyone I've seen.

Whoever wins, it will be one to watch.  They are also wearing black ribbons in memory of Cindy Stowell, the jeopardy champ who died shortly after her time on the show.  It was her dream to be on Jeopardy, and she made it with gusto.  Sadly, she passed away before her episodes aired. 

So that's where we'll be at 7:00 PM.  It's anyone's game. 

Why I don't read Rebecca Weis anymore

Ms. Weiss ignores the influx of liberal activists, politicians, celebrities, power players, and icons who have been accused of assaulting, raping, and molesting women (and boys for that matter), and zeroes in on - Conservative Christians!  We won't discuss the wave of young women similarly abusing or assaulting young boys, or older men for that matter.  That never seems to enter the equation.

Instead, we can look at one fundamentalist conservative type who has been accused, and that's good enough to paint an entire demographic in the most negative stereotypes possible. All that yucky modesty, sanctity and marriage as sacrament rubbish.  After all, is there any greater threat to the human species in our society today than all the rampant modesty?

Why focus on the herd of elephants to the left of center side of American life, when we can hate on the socially acceptable demographic to hate? 

Eye roll to commence immediately. 

I was wrong about Al Franken

When the news first broke about Al Franken, I admit I merely overheard the stories.  I was paying scant attention anyway.  The stories presented the news about his groping and sexual misconduct in a way that I assumed were from decades ago.  I understood these as being from his SNL days, when everyone was sleeping around, sex, drugs, decadence, debauchery.   I was ready to give him a little bit of a break, since I think if we don't like how people have behaved over the years, then we ought to hold American liberalism to blame, since they were merely doing what our liberalizing society and culture said was fine to do.  As I said, I'm a slow to condemn someone for painting their room red when, for several generations, our society told everyone to get out there and paint their rooms red.

Nonetheless, that's not what happened.  Apparently, this speaks to that other elephant in the bordello.  That is the liberal pharisee.  There's a nasty habit in our society to assume pharisees are always the conservative types, clinging to their guns and religion, and trying to impose their values on other people.

This would be in contrast to liberals, clinging to their sex and drugs, and trying to impose their values on other people.  At least, we reasoned, they were imposing values so that the rest of us could get high and get laid.  So that must not be phariseeism, or so we thought. 

Fact is, pharisees are, in a nutshell, those who strip away at the heart of the faith - or society - reducing it down to endless legalisms, while doing so in order to impose a burden on others that they have no intention of bearing themselves.   And if that is the definition, there is no group guiltier of such a label than the modern brand found on the liberal side of the tracks.  As Franken, Spacey, Weinstein, and a growing number of wealthy, powerful, and strangely white, men show. 

These were individuals who thought nothing of wagging their fingers at America and the hayseeds who live between the coasts.  They thought nothing of praising their own virtues, while declaring that all non-conformers were soldiers in the vile War on Women.  They openly declared their bona fides, showing how much they cared, how tolerant they were, and except for women concerned about Transgender bathroom bills, how passionate they were about women's concerns and sensitivities.

And yet, they were doing things that, despite some prominent conservative's assurances, were obviously not confined to that demographic known as the religious right.  At worst, some conservatives put forth a good fight when it comes to being as bad as what we're seeing emerge from the cultural left.  At best, I have to admit that most 'traditional respect for women' tended more to come from the quarters of that old time religion than from the hallowed halls of Washington, Hollywood, or other liberally dominated venues.

So no, Mr. Franken is not the result of the perversions celebrated and taught and endorsed and mandated by the era of the Me Generation and the subsequent 'if if feels good, it is good' culture that was all the rage when I was a young'un.  He is a result of the phariseeism that can effect both right and left; that branch of humanity that says morality is for everyone else to live by because, quite frankenly, I'm just too righteous to worry about doing so myself. 

Does this mean I think he should be forced out of the Senate?  That's a tough one.  In a society that seems proud of its ability to ask what today's morality is supposed to be, I'm a bit shy about running straight for the chopping block.  He has admitted it, and the proof is in the picture (unless it was photo shopped).  If we demand that Roy Moore, who has yet to be proven guilty, should end his career, then give Al his bags and tell him to start packing.  Otherwise, if we're willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Franken, even if it's merely because he has apologized for being so accused, then I'd say we at least give the same benefit to Moore, who has yet to  be proven guilty.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

So now it's Al Franken

Not an Al Franken supporter here. And certainly it was, by our latest standards, inappropriate.  By the standards of that day, in the 'if it feels good, it is good' era, when women were fighting to be just as sexed up and vulgar as men, when women were going after guys' rears just to show they could do it too, it's tough to sort out.  I'm wary of liberalism constantly saying, "Hey everyone, this is how all the really cool people are acting, and it's awesome!", only to turn around a decade later and decide that's the most heinous and evil behavior in history.  Something about someone telling me to paint a room red, and then firing me because I painted the room red, goes down hard.

I will say, from my wife's point of view, I don't take lightly cases where women are attacked, assaulted, held to different standards, or told they better put out or get out.  I think there is, in our sexed up age, no doubt endless cases where such things have happened.  The same goes, of course, for women doing similar things.  It's wrong, and we need to find better ways to ensure that victims can have their day in court, while at the same time the innocent aren't ruined by false accusations.

On the other hand, if we're entering into an era where even the slightest touch or request for a smile can be labeled sexual assault or harassment, then we better make a comprehensive list of exactly what does and doesn't constitution acceptable behavior between the sexes, especially if we expect immediate sentencing and executions to follow.  Sort of like the old puritans, we better have a list of social taboos that we make sure everyone is on board with.  In the meantime, cut a little slack to the last couple generations that were told where libidos are concerned, there is never really such thing as morality or truth.   

Gloria Allred made it easier

So everyone is abuzz about the yearbook.  Up until now, for all the credibility of Roy Moore's accusers (and I have yet to have anyone explain just what makes their accusations so credible), there has been no actual evidence.  Which is a bit disturbing, given the growing number of people claiming that when it comes to women accusing men, we don't need no stinking evidence.

Part of the problem is that the accusations are from about forty years ago.  Well past the statute of limitations.  Plus, in a bizarre case of cosmic coincidence, all of the accusations are happening right before a major, politically significant national election.  There's not much time to gather evidence one way or another. 

But in this case, Ms. Allred has produced the only real, physical evidence that at least Roy Moore knew someone who is accusing him.  In this case, one of two women accusing him of doing something actually illegal has produced a yearbook with his signature and complete date (from December of 1977), proving that he at least knew the woman back in the day.

Now, call me cynical, but my first thought was that's a pretty bit of handwriting our Mr. Moore possessed in his younger days.  Others apparently have thought so as well, and have called for Ms. Allred to produce the yearbook for official scrutiny by valid experts.  Fair enough.  If she does, and they prove that Mr. Moore simply had a wonderful penmanship, then that's a point in their favor.

As I said here, Moore has made some confusing statements, but so have some of his accusers.  And this doesn't count the fact that, while older men dating teenagers isn't my thing, it's not something that was universally condemned as child molestation until, well, about a week ago

Again, this wouldn't prove anything in itself, but at least it would link Moore to one of the victims.  It would be a case where it turns out that he knew someone he said he didn't know.  That would call into question other denials, and that would be enough to suggest he step aside, at least to clear up the confusion he helped create.  Given the complete void of any real, physical evidence, I would welcome that as a tremendous gift in a society increasingly warming up to the way it was done in Salem, c. the 17th century. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Lying when you do not need to

Is always a bummer.  Ever have that happen?  You lied about something, and then it turns out you didn't need to lie in the first place?  And it's worse if you end up getting caught in the lie.  Same with breaking any law.  That's the stuff of more than one story over the years.  The person does something underhanded to win a prize or get the reward, only to find out they were going to get it anyway, but end up losing the lot.  Sometimes it's done to comedic effect.

In any event, when you do something preemptively wrong, it's always double damning when it turns out that, had you held your horses, things would have worked out anyway. 

So we have Roy Moore.  Now technically he's still innocent until proven guilty, and I'm holding to that.  Likewise, we have a few different things going on relative to the charges.  Did he attempt to rape an underage girl?  Was he just running around and trying to get girls much younger than him, but were of legal age?  Was he doing any of this while he was married?  There's much to look at.

And he could still be innocent of any and all of it.  But I'll admit, some of the way he has responded, some of the things that appear contradictory, are beginning to make me wonder.  Perhaps it was just knee jerk denials, when if he had thought about it, he could have been more precise with his language.  It doesn't mean he is guilty, and as far as I know hasn't been caught in a lie (which still wouldn't mean he is guilty).  But it's enough to say I think there is reason to pursue the matter further.

All of this is to say, however, that those who rushed to demand Moore quit or be punished within minutes of the Washington Post piece now have to deal with the fact that they obviously were exploiting this for political gain.  They are stuck with the fact that, had they waited, things  might have played out as they wanted (and clearly and obviously wanted). 

Instead, by jumping in with the lynch mob before the ink in the WP story was dry, they made it clear they weren't the least bit interested in right or wrong, truth or error, guilt or innocence. They seized on this for purely political reasons, and didn't give a rip about truth any more than gestapo agents were usually worried about justice. 

Nonetheless, I stand by my claim that Moore is innocent until proven guilty.  Right now, he apparently dated young girls who were legally able to date.  My cup of tea?  No.  But  unless I want to don my happy fundamentalist puritan stereotype,  I'll go with the old adage so celebrated by our liberal society: who am I to judge?  If they were old enough, or had parental permission, or whatever, that's their issue.  If it didn't break the law, nothing eternally Christian about age gaps in a relationship can be appealed to.

Did he assault and/or rape someone?  That's the question.  And as of now, he is innocent.  We'll see if he explains himself better, or if more information is forthcoming to prove anything one way or another.  No matter what, we have enough evidence to know that a growing swath of our nation is no longer interested in learning the painful lessons of history.  Instead, they're more than happy repeating those lessons, at least when inexpedient to do so.  Guilty as charged.

Disclaimer:  If I lived in Alabama, I wouldn't have voted for Moore anyway.  I don't care for people who go out of their way to live up to every negative stereotype imaginable, nor do I support someone who flaunts the law just because he thinks it's a bad law.  If I thought otherwise, where would my beef with illegal immigration be?  So let it be known, I'm no Moore fan.  I'm just less of a fan of state sanctioned and socially celebrated witch hunt and lynch mob mentalities.  Even if they are for the best political gain.

Goodbye Christopher Tolkien

And we thank you.  Christopher Tolkien, the son of J.R.R. Tolkien, and long time director of the Tolkien estate, is resigning.

Christopher has been the watchdog for Tolkien's literary masterpieces for generations.  And why not?  As my son said, Christopher heard the stories and tales as a child, while he was in bed, listening to his father, long before the world had heard of Frodo, or Hobbits, or Middle Earth.  Heck, he heard them before his father had even thought of hobbits.

Some fanboys have come to despise Christopher because of his disdain for Jackson's treatments of the works, and might welcome the news.  Certainly his departure and the news of a new Amazon series based loosely on Middle Earth are no coincidence.

Nonetheless, Christopher Tolkien was no prude about his father's works.  He was actually quite open to different interpretations.  What he couldn't stand about Jackson was that he felt Jackson didn't respect his father's vision at best, and at worst went out of his way to downplay or dismiss the essence of his father's works.

I'm inclined to agree.  I've said before that Jackson's films were about two hits for every three misses.  There were times when they shined, I will admit.  But those times only made the awkward, or poorly executed, moments look worse by comparison.

So I cut Mr. Tolkien some slack.  Given the traditions he maintained, the degree of respect and dignity for Tolkien's works that he defended, and the output that he has helped produce that aids in our understanding of his father's rich contributions to the last century's literary output, I think we owe him more than a little gratitude.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Should we celebrate the First Thanksgiving?

An educated nation founded on Christian principles of humility, gratitude, mercy and forgiveness, mixed with an intelligent awareness of the events of history from a mature perspective, would naturally celebrate something as wonderful and full of potential as the legendary 'First Thanksgiving.'

I don't have the slightest idea what a nation like ours will do.

Everyone is wrong about Roy Moore and Bill Clinton

So The Atlantic answered what many conservatives have said about Bill Clinton.  Mr. Clinton was accused of sexual assault, harassment and rape.  His accusers were attacked and destroyed by his defenders.  Now, many are asking where the accountability is in light of the Roy Moore accusations.

There is truth to that.  Consistency would be nice.  Nonetheless, it's not that we should now drag Bill Clinton's name through the broken glass.  It's about innocent until proven guilty.  The problem wasn't that Bill Clinton wasn't impeached because women accused him of sexual assault.  The problem was that they were destroyed for doing so.

The bigger problem was that they were destroyed by the same ones who, during the Anita Hill hearings, insisted you could never attack a woman who accused a man of sexual assault.  Back then, those who questioned the timing and the reason for her accusations were skinned by feminists, liberals and journalists for daring to suggest Ms. Hill had ulterior motives for accusing Clarence Thomas.

Within only a few years, those same feminists, liberals and journalists stood idly by while the women accusing Bill Clinton of worse than dirty jokes were skinned alive by his defenders.  Some joined in the fray.  The point was, even when it became clear that Clinton was guilty of seducing a young intern and then lying about it under oath, his defenders continued to attack and destroy any and all accusers, and anyone involved (see Ken Starr), while throwing the notion of values and standards for our leaders out the window.

Now we're back.  It started with the bus load of accusers of Bill Cosby.  It picked up steam with Donald Trump.  I suppose there are still women out there who are filing some form of lawsuit against Trump, since there were a slew of accusers a year ago saying Trump had assaulted them as well.

Then came Weinstein, and the floodgates opened.  Now, everyone is being accused up and down the line.  And suddenly, it seems an accusation is good enough.  We're going back to the Anita Hill days, where an accusation was said to be enough to derail a career or destroy a life.

Repeat after me:

"We do not destroy someone's life because they have been accused.  We investigate and examine the evidence in an official forum to determine guilt before we pronounce sentencing."

That is what keeps us from being a nation of witch hunts and kangaroo courts.  We can have our opinions all we want.  And if voters want to vote no, that's up to them.  Our opinions are a protected right just the same.

But we don't make official sentencing based on our opinions, since those opinions can often be tainted by a host of things, especially in the 'politics as jihad' age in which we live. We don't fire an employee because someone accused him.  We don't demand a person give up his or her career just because they have been accused by one person, or a hundred.

So again, for your sake and mine, and for our posterity, we don't destroy the lives of people because they were accused.  Whether Bill Clinton, Roy Moore, or Bill Cosby.  We follow the Cosby approach and go to court and determine guilt or not.  We get the evidence, we weigh the evidence, we present the evidence in some type of an official venue, then we follow through with whatever consequences are appropriate to the verdict.  Anything else, and welcome to Salem, 21st century style.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Roy Moore just made it easier

Right now, it's he said/she said.  Roy Moore continues to deny the charges.  The Left (including, but not limited to, America's Pravda) has made it clear that an accusation is good enough to destroy a person.  The Establishment GOP, always pining to play in the Left's reindeer games, has followed suit.  CNN just said that to take no position on this is to take a position.

For my part, I would say my position is innocent until proven guilty.  You can personally have the opinion that someone is guilty no matter what. But a person should not be destroyed simply based on an accusation.  That's just me.

Nonetheless, Mr. Moore has made it easier.  He said he never knew the women in question.  He said he had no contact with them, and nothing to do with them.  So now we merely need to find evidence that he did know them, and bango.  It wouldn't mean he's guilty, but it would mean he clearly was wrong about not knowing them.  And if that is the case, it raises questions about the accuracy of his defense.  At that case, you could argue he's damaged goods and needs to step down.

So we wait.  With so many women making the charge, and him insisting he knew none of them, it shouldn't be difficult to find some evidence that at least one of them did know him, he knew or contacted them, and therefore his defense is called into question.  With so many news outlets scouring ever inch and second of the case, such evidence should be easy to find.

If found, then yeah, it's time for him to step aside.  If not?  Then I'd say the accusations are called into serious question, and perhaps it's time to put aside the crucible and not make this an obvious political ploy and November surprise based on ending our whole notion of innocent until proven guilty.

UPDATEAnother woman has come forward and said Mr. Moore assaulted her when she was a minor.  There is the old adage of 'where there is smoke, there is fire.'  Not that lines of false witnesses have never been produced in history in order to destroy someone.  Nonetheless, there comes a point where you must believe in a Vast Conspiracy of political opponents to dismiss one accusation after another.  And since we all know nobody believes in such vast conspiracies, it becomes more and more difficult to think there is nothing to the charges.  I'm still holding onto innocent until proven guilty, and these charges must be proven for his life to be penalized for them.  Nonetheless, it's worth noting that another accusation has been made, once again from a then-minor, and at some point we have to ask ourselves a question about how great of a conspiracy is needed for all of these to be in the tank.

Where has Almost Chosen People been my whole life?

So apparently there is a blog out there called Almost Chosen People.  It's musings on all things American.  If I know what I know from Donald McClarey's The American Catholic, it won't be smarmy sentimentality and flag waving.  But if I'm any judge of horse flesh, it won't be the anti-Americanism of the modern Left and its millennial disciples. 

Like any good history, it will look at the pros, the cons, the details and the nitty-gritty, being mindful of where the historical context helps us understand the complexities of the past, if not necessarily absolving those in the past who were clearly wrong.  I suspect neither ageism nor presentism will be there, unlike today where those are the prime directives of all multi-cultural education. 

In other words, it will be worth the read.  I started with the Films Needed for July 4th.  Any time I'm exposed to movies I've never seen, much less never heard of, you have my attention.  I confess I've not seen the series John Adams (2008).  That came out when many such productions were beginning to be thinly veiled propaganda pieces for modern, leftist PC and multi-cultural America/Christian bashing.  Nonetheless, over the years I have heard nothing but praise for the series from almost every quarter.  So I guess that goes on the Christmas list as of now.

Making racism cool again

Law professor Ekow Yankah asks the million dollar question: can his kids be friends with people who have white skin? 
Donald Trump’s election has made it clear that I will teach my boys the lesson generations old, one that I for the most part nearly escaped. I will teach them to be cautious, I will teach them suspicion, and I will teach them distrust. Much sooner than I thought I would, I will have to discuss with my boys whether they can truly be friends with white people.
My first thought was of an old PSA commercial from way back in the 70s.  It showed two kids out playing ball in the park.  Then it was time to head for home.  They wanted to keep playing, but they didn't dare invite the other one home.  One was black.  One was white.  The message was clear: black or white, you shouldn't teach your children to be prejudice based on race. 

So once again, the Left displays its 'that's so yesterday's morality' approach to morality.  Now it's all the rage to judge people based on skin color.  Like my boy said, everyone knows you can always tell a racist by the color of his skin.  

It's racism.  But it's the racism embraced by all those in the halls of power who have the wealth, parties and prestige: like the NYT.  Just like the racism of yesteryear.  Bigotry is always around.  It's the bigotry embraced by the power players and the beautiful people of a society, however, that ends up causing the mischief.

It's not just those rascally secular leftists either.  While I was at Patheos, some Catholic priest, from Asia I believe, wrote a piece saying that he became scared one night when he realized he was walking through a mostly white neighborhood.  Because we all know how racist and violent those people with white skin are.

Racist?  Of course.  Just take the same exact thing and say you became scared when you realized you were walking through an all black neighborhood and see how long you last.  Is it racism embraced by modern Catholics?  What did you expect?   Christians always seem eager to hop into bed with Satan's latest incarnation.

Bigotry is the life blood of all civilizations.  Somehow it must manifest itself so we know who the 'they' are.  Racism has been a handy way of dividing people up or justifying the exploitation of human beings for ages.  Anyone with more than two brain cells or who was educated before the dark times of Multi-Cultural education would know that racism is hardly unique to the West. 

So it should come as no shock that it, like slavery, is still around, still going strong, and hardly confined to white, European and American conservatives living in Red States, clinging to their guns and religion.  It is quite universal, quite popular, and quite real. 

What would be nice would be if the Christian Faith could avoid jumping into bed with the latest Satanic development in history, instead of always insisting that we become the reason our posterity must apologize? Yeah.  Given the ease with which the Left has hoisted this new WASPist form of racism on us, and the glee with which so many believers are throwing in their lots, I'm not hopeful. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Did our veterans fight for nothing?

One of the interesting spins I heard back in college was the idea that liberals were the ones holding to the ideals of our veterans.  That is, our veterans fought to keep us free, and freedom was just what liberalism was all about.

They weren't like conservatives.  Conservatives were of the McCarthy mentality: investigating, accusing, threatening.   Conservatives were the ones playing records backwards to hear hidden messages.  They were the ones setting up kangaroo courts of public opinion, digging up scandal in order to destroy those who didn't conform.  In short, despite all their flag waving patriotism, conservatives were threatening what our veterans fought and died for, while liberals were all about embracing the purpose of their sacrifice.

All of that was in the 1980s.  Liberals chafed at the notion that Reagan had monopolized patriotism, and conservatives were the ones who were about loving America and being true heirs of our finest principles. Much of the 1980s liberalism was about undoing that idea.  I remember when Bruce Springsteen released his Born in the USA album.  He said in an interview on MTV that the album was partly to rebuke this notion that patriotism was only for Reagan and the American Right.

I thought of all that as I see the growing crucible in which Roy Moore is being sentenced of crimes he's been accused of.  Right now, the accusations are unofficial.  That is, they're not being made in an official capacity, so there is no way of verifying their accuracy.  Likewise, Roy Moore has, as of now, denied the charges.  And so far, there have been no corroborating witnesses or documentation to validate the accusations beyond those who have made the charges. 

In other words, the accusations have no more weight than if I say Roy Moore molested me almost forty years ago. 

But he's guilty, and his career should immediately be destroyed.  Sentencing to commence at once.  All of this must be from those rascally liberals out to strip away our freedoms and liberty, correct?  No. Not necessarily.  While some leftist partisans are making it clear that an informal accusation is all that is needed for some good old fashioned stake burning, it's not just the Left. 

Democrat wannabes Mitt Romney and John Kasich have jumped in and said the informal charges are good enough.   As Mr. Romney said, only in the courts are we innocent until proven guilty.  Everywhere else, a simple accusation is enough to destroy your life.  Which is why he obviously has no business running for office again.

See how that works? The thing about waiting for proof until we know if someone is guilty?  It's a nice standard to have around on the off chance we are accused of doing something we didn't do.   It's nice to know we stood on a principle that will now be of good service to us.   That's why standing on laws, principles and standards is so crucial.  Someday, they may be all we have betwixt us and the gulags. Something our postmodern society seems to have forgotten.

And this all got me to thinking, as I am wont to do. If those liberals back in my college days were right, are we just paying lip service to our veterans, while really jettisoning all they fought and died for?  As I watch so many don their merry McCarthy, and say Moore should be punished and destroyed because, well, the charges are good enough, then by the standards of my old college compatriots, are we no longer honoring out veterans?  Time to take down the flags and bunting?

Note: If evidence is provided, if the charges are backed up or verified, if it turns out that Moore is guilty, then of course I think he should not only step down, but face harsher penalties.  Anyone defending him on the notion that even if he is guilty it's no big deal is as wrong as any of those calling for his head sans evidence.  They're all, by those enlightened progressives back in the day, dishonoring what our veterans gave their last full measure of devotion to preserve.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Innocent until proven guilty

Just saying.  Already rock'em, sock'em cowboy Roy Moore has been accused, and found worthy of execution.  Or at least execution based on our modern standards: destroy the reputation and end his career and subsequent threat to the cause.  If he's guilty, then let justice put him where he belongs.  But just for laughs, let's wait and see if he is guilty first.

As I said here, women have every right to be heard.  They have no right to be believed.  In fact, the burden of proof is on the accuser, no matter who it is.  I know that little caveat has ebbed and flowed over the years.

When John Walsh began his crusade against criminals in the 1980s, Larry King famously rebuked him and reminded him that we are innocent until proven guilty.  Not to me, Walsh responded.  And for a private citizen's opinion, that's true.  If we think that someone is guilty, that's our right.  We just have no right to expect sentencing to occur based on our own outside opinion.

Fast forward to the Anita Hill scandal, and it got fuzzy.  Without saying a woman's accusation was law, we were told under that a woman accusing a man of something like sexual harassment or assault must be listened to, respected, and never attacked or accused herself.

Of course that all ended during the Clinton years, when it became fashionable to trash and hash the women accusing Clinton of rape, assault and harassment.  In fact, destroying not only the accusers but those aiding the accusers was quite the national pastime in the 90s.  So we were back to innocent until proven guilty.  Or in that case, innocent because all accusers are whores and trailer park trash.

But now it's now, and now is always the standard for morals and truth in postmodern parlance.  Once again, our liberal society displays its here today, gone later today approach to morality, standards and ethics.  Once again we're back to a woman's accusation being settled, sentencing to commence presently.  It began with the whole college campus assault backlash, where increasingly a woman could pretty much accuse a male student of assault at any point in the relationship, and garner a sympathetic hearing.  And that sympathy often included attacking the accused and imposing penalties based on the flimsiest of evidence.

Then Harvey Weinstein, liberal donor juggernaut, was accused of being accused of things people had snickered about for years.  And now it's this.  It's not just Mr. Moore, whose accusation straight to stake burning brought this to my attention.  A dear friend was falsely accused of sexual harassment by a coworker and nearly had his career ruined. She thankfully recanted, but before that, he was clearly guilty and good luck proving innocence.  From the moment he was accused, his guilt was assumed.

And this is not all.  Every day now we're seeing a floodgate of accusations.  That's fine.  If they are true, then it's good that women are standing up and calling out real abuse and criminal activity.  But they are still just accusing.  It remains to be seen if these women, or any accusers, are correct.  Whether it be Weinstein, or Spacey, a Catholic priest, a teacher, Moore, or anyone, innocence is still the default assumption when it comes to moving to consequences for accused actions.  Opinions are worth their weight in feathers.  But let's hold before we expect executions to take place.  Anything else, and goodbye freedom.

A milestone in history

It was 28 years ago today that the unthinkable occurred.  The Berlin Wall came crashing down.   Donald McClarey has the lowdown.

Unlike the wall proposed by our government along the Mexican border, this wall was meant to keep people in.  Because despite suggestions to the contrary, the USSR and its empire was one of terror and oppression, poverty and darkness.  Those who tried to get into the West were sealed off, and the Berlin Wall was the symbol of that barrier to freedom.

It was there my entire life.  I assumed, even in the later days of college, that it would be there for years, if not decades, to come.  Sure, by then we could tell the Cold War was fizzling.  In 1980, we assumed that nuclear war was inevitable.  Before that, we assumed that the Cold War was the last chapter in history.  It would go on until someone pulled the trigger, then goodbye humanity.

By the late 80s, we could tell things had changed.  The Left has forever attempted to minimize the impact of Reagan in those developments, but even a secular liberal college student back in the day knew better.  Sure, Reagan wasn't alone, and you had Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, and endless heroes working behind the Iron Curtain to see this day happen.   But ignoring Reagan's roll would be like ignoring Washington's roll in America's revolution.

As a side note, since I've gotten to know people from the Easter European world, including those who lived under Soviet rule, I'm shocked at just how loved Reagan is - overseas.  In various European countries, he's a veritable hero.  As the Hungarian wife of one of my best friends explained, he was the one president who didn't sacrifice Eastern Europe to the Soviets.  He actually did something to free them from their misery.

That wasn't the end, of course.  In fact, it marked the beginning.  Some might say the beginning of the end.  But on this day, 28 years ago, there was a glimmer of hope and a cause for celebration as what we began to believe in the last days of Reagan proved to be true: that contrary to what we had feared for decades, the Cold War could, and did, end peacefully.  And at least for a moment, America had won.

The American News Media as propaganda organ for the political Left

Just a reminder (caution, crude language from those who blasted Trump for his crude language).

No pretending at this point.  They lie about it, but in everything they do and say, they scream it from the rooftops:  They hate the Christian West and its bastard child America.  They hate all who fail to conform to today's latest manifestation of secular liberalism.  Their job is to prop up and advance the designs of the Left and its political and social branches.  Their job is also to seek out and destroy those who don't conform or who stand in the way.

Right now they have President Trump.  Gone is all pretense of objectivity.  Their job is to destroy his presidency, whatever impact it might have on the country or the world.  Once he is gone, who do you suppose will be next?

Remember, a free press is essential for a healthy democracy.  A propaganda ministry is antithetical to one.

I'm completely convinced that most liberals are, in fact, good people.  Or at least no worse than conservatives or anyone else.  But as Curt Siodmak observed when he penned the screenplay for Universal's 1941 film, The Wolfman, Nazis were good people, too.  That was the hook.  Good people that he had grown up with turned into the most horrible of monstrosities as they were whipped into a frenzy by the maelstrom of Nazi rhetoric and propaganda.  Hence good guy Larry Talbot becoming a ravenous beast.

As the Left continues to suck the air out of reality in order to feed its burning desire for tyranny and terror (if previous leftist revolutions have anything to say), it will continue to use whatever venues possible - universities, schools, entertainment, government and the press - to advance the cause and destroy those who stand in the way.

Not to sound alarmist or anything, but it's impossible to watch the flagrant partisanship and advocacy for the Left in the linked to clip and not realize that we have just turned a corner.  Unless we are convinced that we're infinitely superior to all the other people in history, there's no reason to think we won't end up where all the other people in history ended up who ignored such clear and flagrant warnings.

Thank you veterans

I often wonder if we've done enough for the country they fought and died for.  From those first settlers and explorers who brought concepts, however rudimentary, of equality, freedom and liberty, as well as dignity of human life, to a new land yet to be influenced by those concepts, to all who fought over the next two centuries to ensure we would inherit those blessings, I thank you.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Texas Shooting: Two views

One, from Lutheran pastor Hans Fiene.  The rebuttal is from Catholic apologist and author Simcha Fisher.

You decide.

What we watch in November

November and Thanksgiving have never generated as much cultural trapping as the two flanking holidays.  Nonetheless, we manage to scrape together a few films and specials for seasonal watching.  There are others than those mentioned, but at least they give an idea of what we look for during the month of Thanksgiving.

But why?

The tell all book by Donna Brazile is causing quite the buzz.  The press is on it, and talking about it everywhere.  In some cases, it appears Ms. Brazile has backtracked.  In others, there appear to be no real challenges to what she says.  Despite the fact that, given her own example of colluding with the Clintons as a member of the media, it would be easy to discredit her.

Of course the book is completely damning for the Clinton campaign, since it seems to validate just about everything everyone suspected: that Clinton ran a corrupt, underhanded, political machine styled campaign, making back room deals with anyone and everyone to thwart the process in her favor, with the DNC and most of the political left in on the joke. 

More than that, some of the other criticisms that were dismissed as Right Wing wacko gossip, might turn out to have some truth behind them.

In other words.  Whew.  Thank goodness she lost.  Trump might be Trump, an obnoxious, and at times vulgar, temperamental blowhard.  But Clinton represented real, deep down in the bloodstream corruption and deception.  The sort of lies and duplicity that define true Machiavellian politics at its worst.

But my question is, why?  Why is the press, which obviously hoisted Clinton up during the campaign, and all but openly supported her and fought against Trump, turning on her now?  When something like this happens, the press is more than happy to bury the story.  If it's not what they want, they'll have a day of 'experts and pundits' coming out to trash the book, then they file it in the circular file of forgotten stories.

Why is the press all over this now?  There has to be a reason.  Just what that reason is can only be guessed.

How the press celebrated October Revolution

One hundred years ago.  It wasn't really dwelt upon, in fairness.  Not like American slavery, or the Trail of Tears, or the Inquisition, or the Crusades (the bad, Christian part), or the Atomic Bombs, or the internment of Japanese citizens (just Japanese, nobody else), or Jim Crow, or segregation, or the persecution of Jews in Europe, or European and American colonialism.  Those need no anniversaries.  Not a week will go by without several of those being brought up in some outlet or another.  Not a day goes by without at least one of them mentioned somewhere.
But the October Revolution?  Not a whole lot was mentioned at all.  The press did cover it, sort of.  It was mentioned a couple times.  Not much focus.  Here are a few stories, from here and abroad, mostly looking at the good and the bad, the complexities, or just a nice slide show.  Here, here, here, here and here

Again, nothing big, nothing altogether bad.  Not much worth dwelling on. Move along folks.  Nothing to see.

Have I mentioned that the modern Left pines for another October Revolution?  Perhaps the press just didn't want to let the cat out of the bag.

Because the Left has never totally rejected Communism

That's why.  So a report found that one third of millennials believe George W. Bush killed more people than Stalin.  As I said here, the Left has always cast a longing eye leftward toward that old Communist religion.  There's something about Communism that tugs at the heart strings.  Generally, even if they don't long for a good old Bolshevik revolution, they nonetheless attribute the worst of Communism to US meddling.  We are the cause of all problems after all.

That millennials would be unaware of the true scope of Communism is hardly surprising.  I've talked to under-30s before who are fully convinced that the Cold War involved brave Soviets fighting back the evil US Industrial War Machine. 

Likewise, what is the casualty count up to now?  Did our Iraq invasions kill hundreds of millions?  Or is it still only in the tens of millions?  I can never keep track.  I know we're up to around a billion American Indians killed by genocidal Europeans coming over to destroy the American environment.  That doesn't count the hundreds of millions of Africans killed by slave owners who, apparently, thought nothing of wiping out their investments for the sheer delight of spending money just to wipe out their investments.

It's funny.  Going through college, one of the things skeptics always dismissed about the historicity of the biblical narrative was the figures and numbers.  You know, millions here, tens of thousands there.  Clear and obvious exaggeration on the authors' parts.  The ancient near east had nowhere near enough people to account for such stats. 

And yet when I see the way inflated figures are thrown around at US history, mixed with the fact that the left downplays, if not outright ignores, the Communist track record, it makes total sense that millennials would be so unaware.  We're we reached the nadir of historical studies.  Don't blame the students of such a time for being so ignorant.

Oh, and saying Communism is dangerous because Donald Trump and others who are not liberal are the real Bolsheviks, only muddies the waters of understanding.  So again, cut the young'uns some slack.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It isn't that I'm a big fan of President Trump

I'm not.  And like most people, I assumed that Hillary would win

But the smugness, arrogance, loathing and contempt for everything I hold dear by those who so proudly knew they had the election in the bag, is worth a few years of Trump.  As long as he doesn't do something stupid like nuke the world like Reagan did. 

Just because it's worth the watch:

Gun control advocates as crooked salesmen

Lying, ignoring evidence, cherry picking stats, ignoring factors behind studies, sleight of hand, purposeful misleading - all of these things seem to define much of the movement behind gun control.  So I didn't realize that the two heroes (whose names escape me since I've not heard much of a deal made about them by the MSM), apparently used that villainous AR-47 to stop the shooter

At least admit when reality doesn't fit the narrative and agenda.  This might not change a thing in the debate.  But admit it.  Focus on it.  Point out all of the ways in which this doesn't fit, but you're courageous and honest enough to address it. 

Stop acting like a used car salesman trying to assure me that the oil puddle under the car should be there.  That's why I hesitate about Climate Warming, that's why I hesitate about most things. 

I almost fell off the wagon

I've seen, through other blogs and Facebook pages, several rants from Mark Shea exploiting the Texas shootings to advance his politics.  May God have mercy on him.  He continues to make his blog a partisan leftist site that spreads lies, calumny, false accusations and judgmentalism to justify its hatred of American Christian conservatives, and all things valued by those who cling to traditional values.  Because of the sheer madness and slander, falsehood and obvious disdain for religion sans liberal politics, I almost began going back to his blog to keep up with the latest in order to warn others.

Then I realized Mark's site is not just bad for the mind, it's become bad for the soul.  So rather than become tainted, I thought I would post this, a little refresher on why I love movies:

After all, a century of watching Hollywood productions has to be more spiritually healthy than what comes from Mark at this point.

BTW, I consider it a point of pride that, while being well read, my boys recognize most of the films in the sequence.  Heck, they've seen the majority of them.

Honesty about election results

Long and short, yes, when a Democrat wins against a Republican endorsed by a sitting president, it does mean something.  Not the world, but it means something. What does it means?

It means the president's endorsement was not good enough to push the candidate over the line.  It means that people are not so enamored with the president that anything and everything he gives a stamp of approval to is enough to win. 

So yes, do Democrats winning mean that Trump might not be all that he wants to be, or that voters are saying they want something else?  Sure.  Just like those Republicans who won earlier on meant something, too. 

But on the whole, truth is, sitting presidents often see losses in Congress or other party races.  Americans are a fickle lot.  We don't like monopolies in Washington.  As they said time and again during the Obama years, Americans often swing a bit against the sitting administration.  It's what we do.  Especially in recent decades.

That doesn't mean don't worry.  If you end up posting constant losses for your party, or lose in one catastrophic election night (think the 1994 midterms), that means something.  In those cases, Americans are sending a clear message. 

A bigger test for Trump will come next year.   But it's fair to say that the wins by Democrats yesterday show that clearly, Trump's America isn't enough to secure victory after victory.  It should send warning shots to the Republicans, lest they think there will be no consequences for their own actions next year, especially because it is true, and Americans often vote more critically against the sitting president's party.

It will not, however, mean everything the press will attempt to make it mean in the upcoming days.  We will learn Trump is in trouble, things are dire, it's all over, he might as well give up, 2018 is without hope for Republicans.  Only if, by the end of his presidency, he has gradually lost one election after another and seen his party suffer defeat on a regular basis can we say his influence was a net negative as president.  And then, heck, like Obama, we could argue that he was still the best of the best, and all was beautiful and right with the world in any event.

Did Democrats cause Texas shooting?

Actually, it would be easy to say 'Democrats caused Texas Shooting', followed by spewing contempt and loathing on Democrats as the party that wants people dead or shootings or whatever.

Fact is, pushing through legislation is a difficult thing.  Consider the following academic treatment of the process:

Yep, we all know it.  It remains to be seen if this would have stopped the shooting.  And even so, was this something even on the radar of the Democrats, could Cruz have taken a different path, or what other factors are there worth considering?  All questions worth asking.

No, I can't help but think one of our biggest problems is that we have made politics our God, and we all are willing to engage in jihad for our new Almighty.  We watched the following special about Jimmy Stewart last week:

It's long, but worth the watch.  If for no other reason than Stewart is one of the truly heroic American celebrities in the last century, and a genuinely good man.  While we were watching it, my boys noticed that many of those singing his praises (including host Carson), were actually Democrats.  Maybe not liberal Democrats in the modern sense, but clearly liberal and clearly Democrat.  Stewart, on the other hand, was famously conservative and an open supporter of Reagan and the GOP.

And yet - they noticed - everyone seemed to love the guy.  This was in stark contrast to the death of Charlton Heston, which was met with half baked memorials from so many on the Left, if they mentioned him at all.  A few civil rights leaders did give him high fives for being one of the biggest A-List celebrities to support the Civil Rights Movement back in the day, but stopped short of fully celebrating his legacy due to his politics.

My boys asked what happened.  Easy.  Politics is now God.  It is everywhere and in everything.  And more than that, it is a burning, zealous, fanatical religion.  It teaches us to hate those who vote differently.  To hate those who don't agree; to see their disagreement as an unspoken desire to kill and murder and maim and oppress us; to understand their differences as a hate based assault against us.

But the special in question, made in the late 1980s (while Reagan was still president), showed a different world.  It's worth noting that, with the exception of Richard Dreyfuss and Sally Field, most interviewed were from an earlier era.  And even those two were Boomers, still reflecting the attitudes that predated the postmodern notion of Politics as Jihad.

So for this, remembering the complexities of the real world and an age where adults still understood that fact, I'll not say Democrats caused the Texas shooting, or any such thing.  I'll leave it as an example of the complexities of politics and social issues, and reference it later when someone tries to say 'GOP starves babies' because the GOP might actually think there is a better way to help feed babies than what the Democrats are proposing. After all, it's not like Jesus said that only one party was capable of doing His will. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mark Shea and the Left's horses and chariots

Why I now avoid Mark's writings like the plague is touched upon here.  Mark can't join with the secular left which simply disdains all appeals to dumb prayers and a non-existent God.  So he appears to take a different approach. Prayers and God are fine as far as they go, but those who appeal to them without deferring to the efficacy of political liberalism only do so because their wretched hearts and souls really worship guns and pine for increased human slaughter.  So it's the inner motives that are the problem, rather than appealing to some fairy tale God in deference to the State. 

For me and my house, I'd prefer to stand with those appealing to prayer, God, personal responsibility, and a return to better morals and a nation of Faith, rather than hold hands with those willing to whip it out and piss all over the Almighty, and those who were murdered while worshiping Him. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

God be with those killed and wounded in the Texas church shooting

I know nothing about this, except the basics that a church was attacked, a gunman killed multiple victims, the gunman apparently was killed, and others have been wounded.   God embrace those whose lives were taken from them this Lord's day, and give peace and strength to those left behind, those wounded, and their loved ones.  Be with the police, first responders, doctors, nurses, and all who were impacted by this horrible act of evil. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

A spanner in the works

We know that Donald Trump personally worked with Russia in order to hack the election and change the votes so he could win.  How else do we explain the greatest candidate in political history losing to someone like Trump?

And after almost a year of some of the most rigorous coverage and investigations, we've been able to prove that Hillary's campaign reached out to foreigners and paid them to dig up any dirt, true or false, on Donald Trump.  We also know that a lower level aid in the Trump campaign did try to do the same, but higher level aids appeared to poopoo the idea.  Pretty damning stuff.

Now, we've had the woman who once slipped Hillary Clinton questions before a primary debate admit that Hillary and the DNC were in cahoots to ensure Clinton's nomination over Bernie Sanders.  Not that Ms. Brazile's word is gospel.  After all, she was caught doing something pretty underhanded.  This could be a case of trying to deflect back on Clinton in the hopes of making herself look good.

But most of us knew, from the screwed up super delegates, to the press's obvious support through its constant 'can Bernie survive another victory?' coverage, that the jig was up for Sanders and the Machine had ordained that Hillary go down in the history books as America's first woman president.

So I can see why I didn't notice a single evening news broadcast mentioning this story last night, outside of FOX.  It's not surprising after all.  It's barely news.  The DNC and Clintons were in something underhanded together?  That's dog bites man if I ever saw it.  And it might just bring up ugly memories that remind us how much we suspected about the Clintons, the DNC, the media and the whole machine in the first place.

As a witty and profound analyst of current events

J.K. Rowling makes a decent children's book author.  Actually, she makes a great marketer and self promoter. 

My boys, including a staunch never-Trumper, say she has been gradually slipping into some half baked madness.  Certainly the gap between her and the luminaries that she was constantly compared to, such as Lewis and Tolkien, seems to grow with each passing comment.

My second oldest once said that Rowling made a fictional world that was too big for her abilities to fill. As I've noticed some of her recent observations, I have to say it might be because the real world seems a bit too large for her to grasp. 

In this case, her 'take down' would have meant more had Trump claimed calm confidence.  As it is, that's just a case of deflection.  Why deal with the meat of the issue (are the DNC and Clintons guilty?) when we can deflect to something pointless? 

There's an old adage that if you have to resort to pointing out typos or style flaws on social media, it's likely because you have nothing substantial to add to to the debate.  In Rowling's case, given other observations of hers that I've read, that's what I'm going with. 

Have I mentioned how much the Left now hates America

I don't visit Catholic and Enjoying It anymore.  There is little Catholic there, and almost nothing to enjoy.  In an ironic twist, Mark once pointed out how Rush Limbaugh used to be light hearted and fun, but became an interminable crank in his later years.  I'd say that describes Mark's blog to a T.

I'm not avoiding it just because of Mark's own approach, which typically involves name calling, insults, accusations and even calumny.  But his comments section has become a tempest of insanity, hate, and all things left and anti-Western.

If you hate America, the Church, Jesus, Christians, Western Civilization; if you advocate for contraception, abortion, gay sex, Communism - it matters not.  As long as your purpose is to stop by and trash Conservatives, Americans, Conservative American Christians, Republicans or - above all things - Donald Trump, you are given a dispensation.

At least you're not called on it.  There was a time when someone posting a pro-abort or pro-gay sex or anti-American post would have been swooped down upon by Mark himself.  Not to mention the majority of his readers.

Today?  Almost never any push back, and that's when others don't line up and cheer and celebrate such posts.  Why go to a "Catholic" blog for that?  I can go to atheist, communist, pro-abortion and LGBT sites for that.  And sometimes, even those type of blogs are at least fun and light hearted, if not wrapped in hatred and loathing for everything sane and right in the world.


That was from the short lived 'John Kelly loves slavery' scandal that the press tried to float.  Ever since his smack down of the Urban Cowgirl, the press has tried to do what the press will do to anyone who blasphemes the god of leftism: discredit him.  So when he dared to say what historians universally said up until the dark times, that the Civil War might have been the result of many factors, even if slavery was the driving force, of course charges of Nazi and racist and irredeemable deplorable flew like crows.  That is, until all but the most zealous and fanatical realized all he was saying was what historians have universally said up until these dark times.  Then it went away.  Except on places like Mark's blog.

Or we have this little gem:

In case you can't read it, here's what it says:
"I appreciate his willingness to speak up, but Will is being dishonest (probably with himself first) by pretending that Nazism does not have historical roots in the US.  He also soft-pedals the alt-right's open advocacy of ethnic/social cleansing, describing it as mere "identity politics".  Denial is dangerous here.   
Manifest Destiny was the model for "Lebensraum".  Under Jim Crow the US was nothing more or less than an  apartheid ethnostate, The German Nazis were very explicit about using Jim Crow and the Native American genocides as their reference for for what they wanted to accomplish, and they used our laws as the model for theirs.  Some particulars like the cult of "blood and soil" were German inn ovations, but at the heart of historical German Nazism was a kernel of America-worship. 
Modern hardline white supremacists certainly acknowledge the kinship: it's been true for a long time that you could find Confederate and Nazi flags on display together if you moved in those circles.  More common now in public too.  The rot began here and it will have to end here, or (if the average Americans persist in denial) not at all."

Yep.  In other words, the good commenter hates America and sees it, not Nazi Germany, which was merely inspired by it, as the core evil of the 20th century. And America must be the final end of these things.  Exactly how, she doesn't say.

When I was in college in 1988, I took a course on the history of the 20th Century.  The professor, during the section on the rise of Nazism, made a quip that 'America, in some ways, was worse than Nazi Germany, because the Nazis were at least true to themselves, not hypocrites.'  Pretty shocking, though not as many students were as shocked as you'd think.  By then, we were hearing it more and more.

I knew a couple professors by then who took that assessment of things like Christianity, the United States, and Western civilization.  One, who was as white as Jim Carrey, dressed only in African garb, to distance herself from any connections to that white, European and American heritage she found so repugnant. There were students who thought that way, too.  I knew one young lady who was raised in S. America (her parents were there for reasons I never knew), who shared the 'Hurrah for Che, down with America!' attitude.  I knew another girl who had a picture of Lenin in her apartment and indulged in some serious Sovietphilia.

I operate under the notion that I'm not the only one to find the only professors who thought that way, or the only college students who thought that way (though I note it was female students I knew, almost to a person, who were more open to the Communist/death to America chant - I only knew one male student to proudly voice that viewpoint).  Since I doubt they were the only ones at my Alma Mater, and that my Alma Mater was not the only university producing such thought, it's not hard to see that, a couple generations later, we've seen exponential growth in people who can't figure out what was so bad about the USSR or Nazi Germany, when obviously the nation that needs eradicated from history is the United States, and every wretched thing it brought with it.

That Mark's blog has become ground zero in the Catholic blogosphere for such thought, in addition to the casual allowance for anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, anti-family, pro-choice, pro-LGBT, pro-socialist voices in the comments, is enough for me.  I have no desire to go and see people setting up the future for one of the most catastrophically disastrous displays of stupidity ever visited on the human race.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Ruins from an ancient past

A couple years ago, we went through an old shopping mall that was ground zero for teen life when I was growing up.  It's mostly empty now.  Exactly what is keeping it alive, I'll never know.  We were just driving through the town, saw it, and couldn't resist a peek.

As we walked down alone through the mall, past one closed shop after another, we passed a small room containing some old video game machines.  There were probably a half dozen or so, plus a couple arcade style games like pinball.  None I had ever heard of. 

We explained to our boys that, was a time, such places were teaming with kids, teens, even adults.  You had to wait in line for the popular ones (Pac-Man was always standing room only).  And they were everywhere.  We even had one in our little town, at first near a downtown parking lot, then down a side street beside an old pharmacy.  It didn't last more than a couple years.  But it was there during the peak. 

They say the Arabs used to have an old proverb that goes 'All things fear time, but time fears the pyramids.'  That's because even by the time of Moses and the Exodus, the pyramids were relics from thousands of years earlier.  Even today, people travel to see the ruins of ancient civilization, medieval castles, even baroque architecture and displays of hundreds of years ago. 

I wonder how much of what we have today will last anywhere near that long.  Two thousand years from now, the last couple centuries will be part of a larger period, perhaps the 'industrial' or 'technological early years', or something.  Maybe the tech dark ages.  You never know.  Save for the world wars, beginning of nuclear weapons, and possibly the death of 2500 years of growth toward democracy and liberty, I doubt there will be anything to set one century apart from another.  Anymore than we reckon periods of ancient Egyptian, Chinese or neolithic Europe by centuries, much less decades.

If the last couple generations are any indications, much of what we cling to  now won't last the generation that birthed it.  If technology has made change lickety-split for anything and everything imaginable, we seem to discard places and things as antiquated and archaic just as quickly.  Things that define culture today are gone tomorrow.  Not that change has ever been as slow as we sometimes make it.  Believe it or not, on a cultural and social level, things could change fairly quickly, even wtihin decades, back in the day.  That's, back in the Medieval or ancient day.

But today, the speed with which so many culturally defining phenomena pass into the shadows is telling.  I can't help but wonder how much - if anything - will be left for historians a thousand years to even know about, much less study.

I thought of this when I saw a fun little romp through the history of arcades at the height of video game mania.  If you can get past the picture of Spielberg with an open shirt in his office next to a game I never heard of, it's a pretty amusing little trip down memory lane for those who remember when MTV still played videos.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Pumpkin with your shadows growing

Spooking everyone around.  Or at least a fair number of Tricks or Treaters last night.  So October was dominated by sickness, car problems, house problems, economic problems, and just about everything else.  We began our Fall Festivities unusually early this year, and even moved our Halloween fun into September.  There was no particular reason, but we're glad we did.  For most of October, in addition to a litany of other problems, one or another of us was down with what can only be described as one of the worst viruses I've ever seen.  I and my third oldest, and my Mom thankfully, made it through relatively unscathed.

Unfortunately, the rest were down for weeks at a time, limiting what little time there was.  Already, with the two oldest out of school and moving into college and/or full time jobs, they naturally aren't around that much anymore.  We're letting them live at home to save money, working full time hours, and avoiding debt for college.  Don't worry, the deal was I still get my two cents worth from them, if nothing else by labor and chores.

Still, with social lives, school, jobs and just generally getting older, they aren't around like they used to be, as it should be, though that leaves our youngest adjusting to a house where one after another, his brothers aren't there the way they have been.

Despite that, however, with what time they do have, they devote to him, whether it's showing up for his last soccer game, or taking him out to eat, or making sure they all have time off on Halloween to go around with him for Beggar's Night.  I can't complain.  Even when they are dating, they tell the girls they need to have one night a week to be with family/their youngest brother.  All is right with the world.

Despite it being a lost October, we recovered nicely on the last weekend.  The oldest boys managed to make it to his last game and general Halloween fun, and then, even though a couple were still struggling with health, they all managed to have time off Halloween night to go around with him.  Somehow, we have the feeling this was likely the last time they'll be able to afford that luxury.  Already it was a near run thing.  By next year, with all three out of school, going to college, working or doing whatever, it's unlikely they'll all be available again.

But they were this time.  And that's what counts.  Even if it was crunched into a couple half days, they managed one more time to touch base with all the fun: pumpkin carving and straw mazes, ghost runs at cemeteries, Halloween specials, and our annual Halloween extravaganza of candy and cider, pumpkin donuts and pumpkin seeds (roasted and spiced of course), and silent movies capped off with The Great Pumpkin.

I can say I'm thankful to them for taking me up on my request all those years ago.  When we found out about our little Catholic surprise, I charged them to make sure their youngest (nine years younger than our third son) was part of the gang.  I didn't want them to move on doing their thing, leaving him in the dust.  As I told them, I didn't want them to be the party that our youngest missed.  And for eight years, they have more than come through in flying colors.  And that, if nothing else, made it a happy Halloween.
Yes, it was spitting snow at his last soccer game. 

Off to the old cemetery for the annual ghost run.

Splitting up more than they used to, they still gather to explore.
Freshly pressed cider and picked apples, straight from the location of my very first field trip in Kindergarten. 

Straw maze races: Even our youngest is too big, still for old time's sake

I'll assume his older brother is letting him win

But then sometimes I wonder

You just can't have a Tricks or Treats table without pumpkin seeds, pumpkin doughnuts, doughnut holes, and fresh cider.

What a lovely night for a curse

For last minute, it wasn't horrible 

It's nice when they get their own pumpkins
Turnips: Halloween like they say they did in the old country

Our oldest dons his goto Sherlock Holmes get up

Our second oldest decided to go as a glitch in the Matrix (that is, two sweatshirts of the same color)

He wanted to be Linus, but we had no red striped shirt, and he didn't want to carry a blanket,
so with some persuasion he was Kylo-Ren

Sometimes I don't think it's all for their youngest's sake

It fits his personality

The boys  together for one last Halloween hurrah...or will it be?   Tune in next year...