Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pumpkin in the window

Or All Hallow's Eve to us Christians, the kick off to All Saints' and All Souls Days.  Here is a splendid little page from Fish Eaters on the holiday as some used to celebrate it.  I mused on it here and here some years ago.  This being nearing the end of my oldest boys' abilities to be around during these times, we'll be busy with the kids.  My wife has the day off, and they all took time off and days to make sure they could be there for our youngest, if just one more time.

Speaking of fun, here's something interesting.  It's considered the first ever 'horror' movie.  A French film, translated the The House of the Devil.  It's from 1896.  Think on that.  Before Dracula was published.  Before the turn of the last century.  That's old.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sometimes it's easy to believe in God

Like watching the series Closer to Truth on PBS.  I know.  It's not supposed to do that.  It is definitely from a more skeptical, or at least antiseptically secular, viewpoint.  Nonetheless, it's well done and the basic programming, like most of what you get on PBS, is high quality.

Today, I saw the episode 'How to Argue for God'.  In it, we are led by the host (whose name escapes me), saying he's willing to believe, he just wants a profound argument based on something he's not getting from the arguments he hears.

And he doesn't talk to lightweights.  This isn't Religulous by Bill Maher.  This fellow goes to to some respectable names to pitch for God, including Alister McGrath, Russell Stannard, and even gives a nod to Islam with Muslim scholar Mahmoud Ayoub.  Each one has a chance to unpack the rationale behind God, with McGrath and Stannard paying close attention to understanding God in an age of science.

Nonetheless, by the end of the episode, our intrepid narrator decides he's going with his hero, Steven Weinberg.  After listening to some pretty profound arguments, some of which flew north over my own head, he decided that Mr. Weinberg's assessment was the most solid.

And what did atheist Weinberg say that moved him so?  He said that looking for the bigger truth was a pointless venture.  He found the monotheistic, Abrahamic versions of God repugnant, and certainly felt the emphasis on obedience was flawed.  He concluded that we just stop trying to find those big picture truths, which ultimately lead people to God, or Communism, or Free Market Capitalism, or any one of a thousand things that cause people to behave badly.  He concluded that these religions have nothing to say to people about being good people, which involves loving each other.  That, he decides, is the solution: no more big truth, just love each other.

And that, after an episode of some pretty hefty reasoning for God, looking at the science and the theology and the philosophy, unpacking the strengths and weaknesses of both the religious and the non-religious explanations for reality, our interpret narrator conclude his hero hits the nail on the head by basically telling us to stop seeking for big picture truths and:

Yep.  The more our world unravels and the secular left falls into oblivion with such stellar arguments as 'be excellent to each other, dudes', the easier it is to believe in that old time religion.

I remember this

I was about 13 when this was released, and it creeped me out.  Never saw the movie in theaters.  I had to wait for the advent of the VCR.  But the commercial?  That was when we moved outside of town, and my 'kid's space' was in the basement.  See this at 10:00 PM at night, by myself, in the basement of a lonely house, gave me the willies. 

A little Halloween fun. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ohio State wins

And Penn State makes it a game to remember.  It started ugly.  The kickoff led to a Penn State run right back for a touchdown.  Then OSU got the ball and promptly fumbled.  That set up for Penn State's second touchdown in as many minutes.  Before we made it five minutes into the game, we were down two touchdowns to nothing.  The only thing we did well was scoring a field goal before the end of the first quarter.  That made us the first team this year to score in the first quarter against Penn State.

It didn't get better.  Stupid penalties and questionable calls plagued us.  At least twice a crucial and controversial call stole victory from us, just as a comeback seemed possible.  Our special teams continued to stumble about, and the play calling seemed to be the same we had witnessed the last three seasons - doomed to fail.

Then came our return from halftime and - nothing.  It continued.  We scored, but Penn State scored again.  Against one of the best defenses in the country, and perhaps the best offensive duo in college football, it just didn't seem like it was in the cards.  Even if we had dominated every Podunk team we played this year, it seemed we were destined to lose to the big ones. 

The only thing I'll say is that, strangely enough, we never seemed to give up.  The players didn't appear to lose heart.  The fans even stayed in there, as if we were on the edge of victory rather than continually behind.  Through the third quarter, the only thing we could hold onto was the fact that we apparently had the will to hold on.

And then something happened.  I don't know what.  I think it was a botched punt by Penn State.  Somehow, that seemed to turn the momentum.  Our defense, as always, rose to the occasion and erected the legendary OSU Iron Curtain. Suddenly the best offensive in America was slowed to a crawl.  It was three and out and sacks galore. 

And Ohio State began pushing back.  There was no great rallying play, no big touchdown, no pick six at the last second.  Somehow, like so many games won by the Patriots, Ohio State turned it around.  J.T. Barrett, who has been questioned by everyone who watches football, came into his own. He has been three hits and two misses for almost his entire career.  Often our offensive strategy seemed built around keeping him from passing long down the field. 

Tonight, he came out and completed 13 passes in a row.  By the end, we were all over them.  It still looked long, and we were two scores behind with only minutes left in the game.  And yet, when the whistle blew and the clock ran out, we were one point ahead.  Don't ask me how.  But it was a nail biter to the end, and we did it. 

Penn State never gave up either.  They played and played again, but it's like something didn't work.  Even when they were well ahead, James Franklin seemed perplexed.  All we could figure was that he was stunned that our team, and the fans, never let go.  Until the end, everyone was invested in winning.  And win we did. 

A nation of Draxes

That's Drax the Destroyer, of Guardians of the Galaxy fame.  I'm the least capable person in America when it comes to unpacking comics and the whole Comic Universe. Nonetheless, I actually enjoyed GotG, and watched it a couple times.

One thing that came out of it was that old Drax is from a race that takes things literally.   No metaphor or figurative language there, he takes everything at face value.   And in the movie, that's supposed to be funny.  It does lead to some humorous dialogue.

I thought of that as yet another person has violated our Big Politically Correct Brother's sensitivities, speaking words of the English Language, only to find out he has likely revealed his inner racism and has been called to grovel.

What did he say?  He said, relative to the kneeling controversy in the dying NFL, that he didn't want the inmates running the prison.  Of course that's an old figure of speech that's been around far longer than me.  It's a sign of the times that I immediately understood the controversy.  I think 20 years ago I would have been confused.  Today, I get it.  I knew exactly how it should have been taken, but also how stupid we would have to be to get upset about such a thing.

When you shape your nation to be filled with a bunch of people who act like comedy relief in a comic book movie, don't expect much to come from its future.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A celebration of slaughter

Dr. Samuel Gregg examines the 100th Anniversary of Russia's October Revolution.  This should be bigger than it is, though the Left has always been shy about focusing too much on the horrors of Communism. 

Growing up, all the hip shows and movies cast a sympathetic glance over at the legacy of Communism and its prevailing states, whether it be MASH or Reds, you couldn't help but get the feeling that underlying the approach was a secret 'they're better than us' message in it all.

In college, it was the same.  Communism, though not without its flaws, was never as bad as - can I say it - the Capitalism of America's industrial war machines.  More than one professor took great delight in pointing out that the Communists were often just trying to help, unlike our own government that never seemed to have a pure motive in its history.

The same for Catholics, at least those more hostile to America and the Western tradition.  More than once I've been informed that if you take the Trail of Tears, twist and turn the numbers just right, it's clear the US is the most murderous nation state in history, far worse than any Communist state of the 20th century.  And that doesn't count the millions of slaves that were murdered, the billions of Native Americans killed, and the tens of millions killed by our military during our endless imperial grabs for power.

Nonetheless, outside of that weird universe of Marxist driven leftist ideology, in what we call the real world, Communism remains perhaps the most evil, murderous, and destructive ideology in the history of the human race.  That so many on the Left either try to downplay, or outright deny, this makes you wonder just how passionate the Left is about opposing things like mass slaughter, tyranny, destruction and endless terror. 

Nonetheless, this is the big 100th anniversary.  We'll see how much it's covered.  Kudos to The Catholic World Report for stepping out early and getting a jump on the future reflections. 

If Republicans had fought for their voters

As boldly and passionately as they have fought Donald Trump, we wouldn't have Donald Trump.  I'm not happy about Trump, make no mistake.  Trump is the GOP version of everything that progressivism has hoisted on our nation for the last half century or more.  In many ways, he epitomizes the worst of what we have become.

Nonetheless, most die hard Trump supporters I know don't hate the Democrats nearly as much as they hate the GOP establishment.  That's because they've watched for almost 30 years as the GOP seemed to fall back and surrender on almost every front that mattered.  They've even watched as some Republicans increasingly seemed to share the contempt and derision held for conservatives that is common among the Democratic establishment.

They watched election after election of being promised the sky and the stars, only to end up with table scraps, and that's if they were lucky.  They watched as time and again, when Republicans held the orb, scepter and crown, the Grand Old Party would almost hand the prizes over to the Democrats in order to get more face time on the news.  They watched loss after loss, betrayal after betrayal.  They watched a party that, for 30 years, seemed to almost apologize to the media for being anything other than Democrats.  In 2016, they had enough. 

Trump got to where he got in the primaries because of the media.  We all know that.  Why the press did it is up to interpretation.  I have my ideas.  But nobody denies that the press was crucial for Trump's nomination.  When he was nominated, the GOP did something that many Republican voters hadn't seen since the Reagan years.  It became passionate and committed.  Not to the Republican voters, of course, but in their fight against Trump.  For the first time in many memories, the GOP was fighting for a cause.

And that, children, is why we have Trump. Many have said that America needs to move past a two party system.  But the solution is not a one party system.  Through the 90s and in the post-9/11 years, as the GOP made it clear that keeping seats at the insider party was their primary motive, the GOP and the Democrats looked less and less different. 

So they turned to someone who would damage the GOP brand as much as possible.  Not that I'm glad.  I don't like Trump's kindergartner approach to discourse.  I didn't like it when the Democrats used the popular culture to do the same with their own good cop/bad cop.  When the Democrats let comedians, pundits, and bloggers go out to do worse than Trump ever said, and then yucked it up at parties and dinners for a job well done.  Nonetheless, I have to admit why Trump is there.  With all the various problems in the world, it's hard to miss that to some Republicans, the biggest problem was their own party.  And it was a problem they will be happy to see Trump fix.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Republicans are why Trump won

I don't mean the usual 'Trump won because Republicans are a bunch of sexist, racist, homophobic deplorables who love their own'.  I mean he won because of George Bush's speech.  That speech was a long way around demonstrating that he and Hillary Clinton were essentially two sides for the same coin.  It was a long winded way of saying the old is over and the new is inevitable, we hope Americans don't get hurt and maybe now we'll spend more time listening and at least saying we'll help, but it is what it is.  In this piece, Tucker Carlson gets it (a little vulgarity there, it is about Trump after all).

The GOP has long preferred a more Democratic world view.  By the mid 20th century, it was not the party of the blue collar, religious conservative.  That was the Democrat Party back in the day.  As the Democrats were torn down and reborn in the wake of 1968, those social and religious blue collar types were getting anxious.

Liberals say it was the 'Southern Strategy'.  That's a liberal wive's tale where the GOP purposefully chose to embrace Nazi inspired racism to appeal to Southerners who are nothing but racists.  There is a shard of truth to that, as there is to most myths.  As the Democrats finally gave up on discriminating against Blacks as a core value, and decided to make WASP Americans the New Blacks, the GOP realized that backing off on 'Southerners are a bunch of racist hicks' rhetoric might do them some good voter wise. 

It wasn't until 1980, however, and the election of Ronald Reagan, that Democrats came in busloads over to the GOP.  And it wasn't because Reagan donned his white hood and swastika.  It was Jimmy Carter's failed presidency and the growing radicalism of the Democratic party that had finally pushed them over.  As the Democrat Party became more and more about embracing feminism, gay rights, environmentalism and the 'America's best days are behind it' mantra, the Reagan Democrats looked to the Gipper. 

Reagan wasn't exactly a life long conservative.  Anti-conservative Catholics are more than happy to remind everyone of his earlier sins regarding abortion.  He was also the first divorced president in history.  But he had changed, and he made social conservative issues a presidential matter, such as opposing abortion, pushing back on radical feminism, and building up America's strength and greatness a cornerstone of his campaign.

Nonetheless, he was not loved among the establishment Republican base, those Republicans who reflect a Hearst like viewpoint: strong military to protect Wall Street interests while going home to the mistress.  Things like abortion and homosexuality were off the radar, and they preferred to keep it that way.  Hayseeds clinging to their guns and religion were not the people they hung with.  But it was the base that Reagan wooed.  And the GOP has been at war with that coalition for 30 years.

In 2016, we saw the result of that conflict.  Those who voted for Trump were only half opposed to the Democrats.  If they didn't want Hillary, they were just as against the GOP establishment represented by the likes of G.W. Bush.  Oh sure, he paid lip service to conservatives and religious traditionalists at election time, but never in a way that he thought would sever him from the admiration of the 'Insider.'   The same insiders, I should mention, who ravaged and butchered him in the same way they are doing to Trump, or have ever done to any Republican for decades on end.  I guess the lure of being liked by the in-people is enough to overcome reality.

By defining himself as a 'compassionate' conservative, Bush already showed the world what he imagined to be a typical conservative, and that was the problem.  His whole speech here, with only the slightest modifications, could easily have been given by Obama, Hillary, Biden or anyone on the Left within that circle of beautiful people.  He basically as good as said 'This is a progressive world folks, and we have to deal with it.  Some might get hurt, and that's a damn shame, and now that they've fussed we're willing to listen a little.  But progress is the name, and global liberalism is the game.' 

Again, most Trumpsters I know are far less vitriolic toward the Democrats than they are the GOP.  Some, I think, don't care what Trump does, as long as he leaves the Republican establishment as a smoldering ruin.

The press has already spent more time focusing on Niger than it ever did Benghazi

I don't have time to link to all the sources I've found.  This doesn't count the media two step.  That's when the press does cover something because it has to, but only in the most basic, shallow and fleeting manner possible.  So after Benghazi stopped being about violence provoked by Islamophobic bigotry, the story essentially went away.

No wailing about the dead, no real push back against the administration, no endless geography or history lessons about Benghazi and its place in the region, no media driven probe into who and how the story got it so wrong from the beginning, no household names made of the victims.  The only time it would be covered would be under the template 'GOP lawmakers today made more inquires about Benghazi', usually followed by interviews with Democrats insisting it was all political or just a bunch of nothing.  End of story, onto the latest fashion show story.

Of course at no point did the press ever link it to Hillary, much less Obama.  On those occasions where attempts to link the tragedy to the leadership or hold the Obama administration responsible, the press rushed in like a safety in football running up to tackle the runner.  I think we all remember the Candy Crowley incident in 2012.

Compare that to now.   John Kelly is a liar they're saying.  Trump was disrespectful because a congresswoman in a rhinestone cowboy hat says so.  I've learned more about Niger in the last few days than I've ever learned about Idaho.  Questions, inquiries, probes, investigations, calls for more information - it's been around the clock.  And this is really just week one.

The press says it's Trump's fault for how he responded to a question about why Trump didn't talk about the ambush that the press had barely mentioned.  Nonetheless, I think that sane people can see the writing on the wall.  Just as we've seen regarding the Weinstein scandal, we no longer have a press.  We have a Pravda.  And that is not a defender of freedom, but a threat to it.

The best that can happen is that our own Pravda will help be the downfall and end to the American experiment.  The worst that can happen is that those Christians who are beholden to the Left will begin to see life, as the press sees it, as something that is not sacred, but is convenient.  Just like women being assaulted, soldiers being killed, Blacks being murdered, or whatever.

Friday, October 20, 2017

It takes a lot to make Donald Trump look like the respectable one in a debate

But congresswoman Fredrica Wilson has done a bang-up job doing just that

I've avoided the whole shameful, disgraceful controversy.   To me, it shows the rot of the heart and soul of our "nation".  I don't exonerate Trump, whose own statement about presidents who call and don't call the families of fallen soldiers was more than problematic. And I have no problem believing that Trump might say something in an awkward way, even though I've heard the phrase 'he knew what he signed up for' used a million times if I've heard it once, and always in a positive manner regarding our veterans. 

Nonetheless, the fact that Wilson exploited this in order to score anti-Trump points isn't the problem, in all due respect to John Kelly. It's the press that didn't skin her alive.  If this had been some GOP congressman, or Trump, exploiting the death of a solider for political points - THAT would be the story.  The press would be on that person like white on rice.  That is the real problem.

I'll say no more about this, because I feel dirty even mentioning it.  It isn't even about exploiting the fallen soldiers. It's about Politics as God that has become American life.  It's everywhere, and in everything.  It dictates when we care about sexual assault, and when we don't give a damn.  It dictates when we care about Blacks being murdered, and when we don't give a damn.  It dictates when religion is good for something, and when it's good for nothing.  It infects every aspect of our life, in every arena, in every sphere of public interaction. 

A congresswoman using the death of a soldier for political points, and then casually laughing about how the whole thing has made her a rock star, should be the end of her career.  Twenty years ago it would have been the end.  The problem is, a day ago it would have been, if it was a Republican doing it for points against a Democrat.  In that case, the press would be doing the right thing. The fact that the press isn't doing the right thing for the obvious reason is, more than any part of this sad story, the real problem.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tylenol in five

That should help the headache that came from trying to look at this too long:

A significant day in world history

General Cornwallis surrendered on this day in 1781.  We've all seen the Schoolhouse Rock clip, so I'm sure we all remember its importance.

Alas that in the modern Cold Civil War, there is a side that dismisses all but the most narrow contributions of that period.  On the other side, the Founding Fathers have become almost mythical.

The fact is, they were the right men at the right time.  They did what few have ever done in history.  They fought to overthrow an established government, succeeded, and then proceeded to keep their promise and put together a successful state that would strive for that more perfect union.

It doesn't happen often.  We sometimes forget that, and so fall into the trap of imagining that the bold rebel or instigator is necessarily the hero against the latest Galactic Empire.  Truth be told, no.  Not that governments haven't been bad, but history is awash with revolutionaries and upstarts who ended up being far worse than what was there to begin with.

The American Catholic, as it can be counted on to do, has a good write up with Washington's actual report of the surrender and a few fun additions to commemorate this day that changed the future of the world.

I hate being right

Thank goodness it doesn't happen that often!  Here:

From my own humble studies in history, the history of the 20th century, as well as the blessings I received from friends I met in Grad School, I came to a similar conclusion.

We in the Christian West, including the United States, are under assault from a largely Marxist driven, Bolshevik inspired revolution.  That revolution long ago stole the hearts and minds of our ruling classes, our educators, entertainers, poets and dreamers.  The reasons are too many to get into.

I never went full blown 'Commie-pinko' conspiracy until the Transgender issue.  That's when I realized it was just like my friend from the former Soviet Union described.  In the USSR, he said, they taught you, among other things, absolute rubbish.  Real stupidity.  Like squares are round.  Something so against all science, religion, common sense, and real life experience that even HBO talk show hosts wouldn't believe it.  The purpose was to get you to submit to something you knew to be false.  If you would fight for round squares, if you would ostracize those who refuse to confess the roundness of squares, and you would completely fall behind the state's insistence that squares are and always have been round, then you'll fall in line behind anything.

When Obama and the Left hoisted Transgender normality on us, when the usual 'scientific' venues changed reality in lockstep with the demands of the Left, and when they went straight to pen and phone to make sure this new round square was obeyed or else, I could no longer deny the obvious.

The joining of the old post-AIDS notion that who we desire to have sex with is a physiological matter, with the idea that our physical bodies are irrelevant to our gender reality, should be the final signal that sets off a giant "Warning, Warning, Danger, Danger!"

Of course Hollywood, the Media, Academia and much of our public institutions are all firmly on board, which makes it tough.  Even if Hollywood is in full damage control mode, and attempts are being made to sustain its vital role as crucial member of the propaganda ministry, there is still the lumbering forward.  This movement won't give up any time soon.

At some point, people have to get wise.  Whether they do before it's too late is the only question.

A fair appraisal of #Me Too

By a rather chipper and fair minded young woman:

Yep.  I get that sexual harassment and sexual assault are a problem.  The best we can say is that after decades of throwing out our old puritanical ways, things are as bad as they ever were.  And that's usually not a great thing to say.

Nonetheless, problem it is.  The video makes clear that all who are concerned have reasons to be concerned.  That includes men falsely accused, men who are victims, and a fair explanation as to why many women just won't come forward when this sort of thing happens.  She also admits to those who go too far with such a thing, and exploit it for personal purposes or because of an ax to grind or similar.

Altogether, the best take I've seen.  From my wife I know such things are all too real, and from a dear friend, I know false accusations can throw you off the rails to where you never quite get back on.

Though the the question still stands: If all of this is so 'Duh, obviously it's been an ongoing problem!', then why did so many respond to women's concerns about Transgenders in the bathroom with 'Why are you so paranoid?' or variations thereof?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Where was all of this concern about the plight of women back during the Transgender Bathroom issue?

Just asking.  I'm seeing social media and Facebook and other sources inundated by testimonies from women, and lamentations from men, about how women spend their entire lives - every waking moment it would seem - in fear of being sexually assaulted, raped, or harassed.  Thus:

If that is the case, and assuming it didn't just start 12 months ago, which the testimonies suggest is true, then could someone please tell me why the hell everyone wondered what women were whining and complaining about during the Transgender bathroom issue?  Why was it when women suggested they were concerned, not because they were afraid of Transgenders, but because they felt the rules were too loose or not well thought out, that they were met with variations on 'shut up you homophobic b----es!'?  Why was it that pundits and politicians, bloggers and journalists all scratched their heads and said, "Gee, why would women be that paranoid?".

Where were all the women saying this makes up their daily lives back then?  Where were they covering their sisters' concerns?  Where were the pundits and politicians?  Where were the sensitive men?  Indeed, where was Jackson Katz?  Why is it we're stunned that women would be apprehensive about men in their bathrooms, but fully expect that it's an exercise in courage to walk through the door of the workplace?

Or could it just be that we really don't give a rip about women being harassed and assaulted and raped, unless it helps the cause?  If it does advance the agenda, then by jiminy, that's the most important crisis of the age.  But if it doesn't?  Eh, take it like a man girls.

Same with blacks who kill blacks, or homosexuals who kill or rape homosexuals.  I mean, who cares right?  Do any of those ever make a national headline?  Do they ever provoke riots or mass demonstrations?  Do national media outlets ever move their anchor desks to the latest black on black killing?

Their suffering and death, while tragic, perhaps only matters when it helps the cause.  That's certainly the impression I'm getting from this sudden lament across the lands about how women must be forever worried and concerned about what they were called nuts for being concerned about only a couple dozen months ago.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Who were those Magi?

Fr. Longenecker goes through the details about this mysterious gang of travelers.  A great way to be secure in the Faith is to remember the overwhelming witness.

Remember when Mike Pence was the bad guy for not being alone with women?

Yeah, again the idiocy of modernity on display.  And again, not only because it was stupid to say he was wrong for having such a standard, but let's face it, some who are now saying men are raping and assaulting women everywhere and always have been, were saying how wrong Pence was for having that standard.

It's almost like the left doesn't really care about any of it.  They just jump on whatever bandwagon happens to benefit the cause at the moment.  I wonder what the standards will be next week.

Women do not have the right to be believed

They have the right to be heard, to be listened to, but not believed.  They still have to prove their case. 

I say this because I notice a floodgate opening up in the wake of the Weinstein sex allegations, and the subsequent calls to end this culture of sex crimes in Hollywood.  Of course the real story in all of this is Hollywood as Elmer Gantry.  An institution of endless hypocrisy, having no concern about the values it hoists on the viewing public.  Wagging its fingers at us, turning its craft into nothing more than an advocacy industry, only to find out that it never really cared about those things. It was more than happy to throw women under the bus when convenient, and that includes those women who knew, but stayed silent in order to build up their own multi-million dollar power bases.

Rather than focus on this, since Hollywood and the Entertainment industry have become indispensable for advancing the progressive cause, we are now seeing that chiefest of all tactics when things go sour for the cause: deflection.  Now it's not just Weinstein, or even Hollywood in general.  It's men.  Just men in general.  It's everywhere.  It's in all things. 

I watched a segment on the news last night where it was a string of women saying that this is just par for the course.  Everywhere they go, in every job, in every setting, this is what they endure.  All the time, from cat calls to actual rape, this is the cross women bear, being in a world where they must endure men.  It ends up being about all men, not just Weinstein, and most importantly, not Hollywood.

Sorry, but it reminds me of back in the late 90s, when we learned that not only had all presidents had affairs, but it turns out all men sleep around on their wives at least once or more.  I remember back when Geraldo Rivera was on CNBC.  He was talking about the Clinton scandal post-dress.  At one point, he waved his arm vaguely at the camera and pronounced that 'all guys have done this once in their lives.' 

Really?  Each and every man ever has had an affair?  Sorry, no. 

One of the staples of the modern left is the notion that all people are always scum.  The farther away you get from a protected demographic, the more scum they are.  Men are always itching to rape women.  Whites always want to lynch blacks.  Straights always want to torture gays.  Christians always want to persecute religious minorities.  And on and on.

Likewise, whatever it is that the left is promoting, like sex or drugs or abortion or anything, it prefers to suggest people have always done it anyway.  We're being decadent?  Well, everyone has always been that way.  We're living a life of no morals or principles, just hedonism and narcissism?  Heck, everyone has always done that. 

So whatever the issue, the Left can always rest on 'everyone has always done that.'  In this case, it takes attention away from the clear hustle that was Hollywood's righteous indignation about such things as women's rights.  Most thinking people should have recognized the glaring inconsistencies, but that didn't keep the Entertainment Industry from putting on a good show. It knew of this culture of sex crimes, all while getting up on stage and pointing its finger at your average American trying to get by, and saying how low they were, while Hollywood was the divinely appointed messenger of the good news.

No, Weinstein is about Hollywood's Elmer Gantry level shystering.  We're not talking about an industry that tried hard to live up to its standards but failed.  We're talking about one that flagrantly ignored, violated, or dismissed the same standards it used when convenient to beat down others, or advance political or ideological agendas.  It's not about all men being rapist thugs, or Donald Trump, or White Conservative Christians.  It's about Tinseltown.  Anything else is just deflection.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A society that loves vulgarity should expect vulgar behavior

Leah Lebresco Sargeant is on a roll.  Here she points out the bleeding obvious.  A nation that has celebrated blasphemy and vulgarity and disrespect shouldn't act stunned when people act in blasphemous and vulgar and disrespectful ways.  Duh.

This is so obvious that we shouldn't have to be told.  But unfortunately I fear too many of us love every minute of it.  I know giving up on a society of T&A, and endless locker room rants, and doing our best George Carlin while we're at the parish getting ready for the Lenin fish fries might not be as much fun.  But perhaps we owe it to our young ones to set an example that is little higher than Spicoli or Blutarsky.

Good to hear

Apparently over 1000 ISIS fighters surrendered.  No mention of Trump or the Unite States, so it can't have had anything to do with us or the president's strategy.

But whatever dumb, blind luck has turned things around, I'm thankful. Only a couple years ago, ISIS was running amok.  Almost every week seemed to bring some gruesome, hideous torture or death of endless innocents.  As soon as a defeat appeared imminent, ISIS would pop up somewhere nearby, only to destroy and obliterate entire regions.  Meanwhile its clarion call to all who would join the fight was heard, and from individual killings to mass attacks, hundred were dying around the world every year at their soldiers' hands.

And suddenly, it all appears to be crumbling. This time, there are no corresponding reports of ISIS making headway anywhere else.  Entire areas appear to be falling to allied forces.  Defeat has certainly become more common, and ISIS's attempts to claim the Las Vegas shooting, even though it had nothing to do with it, suggests desperation on their part.

Now, 1000 ISIS fighters, men who had pledged eternal loyalty to the cause or die trying, have surrendered.  What's more than that, they seem to have done so because it is clear the cause is lost.  That is good news.  I'm sure that attacks will continue.  It's not easy to eradicate something like this, and violence will unfortunately trickle along.  But hopefully it will be nothing like it was.

Again, whatever has made the difference I don't know.  But I'm glad it's happened, and thankful to whoever or whatever brought it about.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Decline and Fall of West Point

Donald McClarey has the bad news here.  The Left is like a plague of locusts.  It destroys everything it infests.  That's its purpose.  Think on the Communist revolutions of the 20th century.  Not one wasn't met with slaughter, destruction and the complete eradication of the society or culture they seized.

Compare that to the Founding Fathers.  Our Revolution broke from England and rejected a monarchical form of government.  Beyond that, however, look at how much of English law, custom, tradition and values our country kept.  They rejected what they believed din't work, and kept what did.

Communism, on the other hand, destroyed everything in its path.  And it brutally enforced its desire to destroy the culture.  In other places, where more moderate forms of progressive ideals have taken shape?  It's more of a slow suicide than anything else.  Consider modern Europe as an example.

In America, the Left wants to destroy.  It wants to destroy the Judeo-Christian values upon which our nation was founded.  But it wants to destroy the nation out of which it emerged just the same.  That is the value in racism.  A legitimate failing and sin in our past, it is used to bludgeon anything and everything and everyone ever associated with our nation or its past.  And it is done so in order to burn the entire American and Western tradition to the ground and build it in yet another Leftist, Bolshevik inspired and Marxist driven dreamland.

So it should come as no surprise that West Point, like any number of institutions that have been infiltrated by this ideology, should begin to crumble into dust.  No rules, but that you hate America; no values, but that you reject a Judeo-Christian world view; no standards, but that you receive the promise of narcissism and hedonism, and let the nation and its pillars burn.  What did we expect?

A long time ago

In a bookstore far, far away?  A restaurant perhaps?   Posted on Mark Hamill's FB page.

Note how small and informal it looks
I explain to my boys that Star Wars was a phenomenon largely by word of mouth. The old 'make most of your money in the first three weeks' approach to a blockbuster hadn't happened yet.

In fact, much of the country hadn't heard about Star Wars by this point.  It just picked up speed.  Truth be told, I remember hearing more about Jaws before it was released than Star Wars.  I only knew about Star Wars because my best friend's godfather worked in Hollywood and had given him the heads up.  He even had a couple posters on his bedroom closet door.

Unlike most movies, real 'Star Wars mania' didn't hit until well toward the end of 1977, and extended all the way through '78.  It was still quite the fad by the time The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980.

But in June of 1977, count me as one of the millions who hadn't seen the movie yet.  I had heard about it from my friend, but only went to see it because a fellow who knew my parents recommended it to them.  He said, "If he likes Star Trek, he'll really like a new movie coming out called Star Wars."  So my Mom took me to see it at the old Mansfield mall theaters later that summer, even though I really didn't like Star Trek.  I even got a full color Star Wars fan book.  I wish I still had that.  Would probably be worth a pretty penny.

Death Penalty arguments fact check

Mark Shea begins his call to end the Death Penalty with the usual manner: suggesting those who disagree are conservatives who yearn with unbridled lust for the increase in human slaughter.  Mark feels no compunction about judging those who disagree with him, as I found out when he informed me I only want to increase human slaughter.  FWIW, I really don't ask when I get to kill, nor do I wish to increase human slaughter.  For the record.

Anyway, Mark appeals to the Catechism for explaining the call to end the Death Penalty:
And by no small coincidence, that is what the Catechism (2267) says too: 
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”
Problem is, this line:
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime
Which we can then follow with this headline:
2 North Carolina Prison Workers Killed in Fiery Escape Attempt
That does not seem like the State has effectively prevented crime.

The fact that the Catechism under Pope John Paul II was published near the zenith of crime in America, but the low ebb of crime in Europe, suggested that it was far too reliant on a regional, and temporary, social development.  And not only that, but it ignored the part of the development (the State's ability to prevent crime while crime was exploding across the United States), that seemed to contradict the very statement.

Of course my problem isn't with Pope Francis saying we should put the kibosh on the Death Penalty.  My problem is this idea that the Church only taught that because, unlike us today, it was just all legalism and obsessed with power.  You know, not awesome like we are.  That smacks far more of modern progressivism than anything linked to a historic understanding of the Church and the development of doctrine.  In fact, it sounds awfully Protestant, if you get down to brass tacks, and I don't mean that as an insult.

So to clarify, most who are troubled by the Church's move to change its teaching likely do not want to slaughter  babies, throw grannies off of cliffs, or toss banana peels in front of nursing homes.  Most seem to be troubled by the fact that, in the end, the Church is changing because of external pressures from decidedly non-Christian perspectives, rather than expanding on, and developing, the doctrine within the context of its own Faith tradition.

As a final note, Mark's reader Thomas Tucker gets it.  If somehow this is just a development of doctrine, that happens.  But if Pope Francis is saying what he appears to be saying, that the Death Penalty was always wrong, then he is changing Church teaching.  And what is more, he's saying the Church was always wrong - at least until now.  And that is more than problematic.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Not that I'm a Paraskevidekatriaphobe

But when you wake up on Friday 13th in October, after the two weeks that we have had, and see this:

You have a little shiver go down your spine.

Don't worry, be joyful

To life!

This has been one tough year.  Sickness, at one point my Mom came close to dying (being resuscitated by my boys and then taken to the ER).  We've been hit with one financial expenditure after another.  In just the last week, over 2,000.00 in sudden expenses have come our way.  For us, it might as well have been 2 million in sudden expenses.

That comes from having cars more than a decade old that are held together with Duck Tape, a family of seven, and a house that was never well built in the first place getting older by the day.  All while helping our oldest navigate jobs and college, get through home school, and the usual tricks and traps that life can throw at you.

Yet through it all, sometimes it's nice to lean on that old notion that were are to be joyful, not happy.  That line: "God would have us to be joyful, even when our hearts lie panting on the floor."   There is something to that.  For joy, not necessarily happiness, is what we are called to embrace.

Happiness comes and goes.   Things are going well in life?  I'm happy.  Ohio State has finally convinced me it can win the big games?  I'm happy.  Bad things happen to people I don't like?  Yes, secretly I can be happy.

But joy is another thing.  It comes from God, not things.  Since its source is God, it puts things into a different perspective.  Broke poor?  Joyful, but not happy.  Teams are losing, things are going crazy in the country?  Joyful, not necessarily happy.   Bad things happen to those I don't like?  Joyful, not happy.  See how that works?

Joy is what we strive for, not happiness, which can be fleeting.  So as we wind up another skin of our teeth year, it's nice to hear an upbeat reminder that it's joy we seek, because therein lies the key to true happiness.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. 1 Peter 1:8

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dear President Trump


Just no.

Is the media a joke?  Sure.  Is it propaganda and agenda driven?  Sure. Is it about ratings, money and advancing the cause?  Yep.  Does it ignore Himalayan piles of stories in order to focus on a single molehill that is better for the narrative?  Sure.  When it makes mistakes, are those mistakes almost always inexplicably to the betterment of the narratives in question?  Duh.  In short, is it just Pravda for the respective party, ideology or agenda?  It most certainly is.

But it's free to be so.  By now, almost anything thinking person should know this.  And we should know that it applies to FOX and other conservative outlets every bit as much as it does the MSM.  Is FOX more comprehensive right now than, say, MSNBC and CNN?  Yeah.  But that doesn't mean it's any more unbiased.  So should it lose it's license as well?

Sorry, but absolutely wrong on this one.  The MSM is mostly half truths, denied truths, covered up truths, false stories, biased reporting and general propaganda.  But it has the right to be those things and, as long as it is not controlled by the government, we have a right to listen and read or ignore.  Don't mess with those rights.

Those who come after you might have a different set of opinnons about who and what should remain free to broadcast.  Just as those who cheered Obama's pen and phone governing are finding out now, paybacks can be hell.

More celebrations of Christopher Columbus

I don't know if it has anything to do with Trump, but I've seen much more push-back this year against the anti-Christian/anti-American eradication of the West's heritage and historical figures.  There seemed less desire on the part of the Left to expand the eradication of Columbus, or promote the mythical fairy tale 'Indigenous People's Day.'  At least on an official level.

Likewise, I've seen more articles looking at Columbus fairly.  In secular sources, it was either ignored or mentioned briefly.  In Catholic circles, the more progressive outlets were silent, allowing for those who would not so easily burn the first 2000 years of Christian cultural and ecclesiastical history to the ground to have a say.

Here is a fine article that goes through some of the reasons why Columbus day is a day that should be celebrated. Those Native Americans who exploit the Great White Guilt to hoist a fantasy version of their own heritage on the country should read this.  It might help.

The Boy Scouts continue to embarrass

I've always sympathized with the Boy Scouts.  For years, they were one of the main targets of the Left.  Full broadsides, boycotts, pulling sponsorship, public denouncements, all aimed at attacking them and beating them into submission to liberal dogma.

Initially it all hinged on the hammer of the Left: gay rights.  But now it's just a free fall.  So the latest is that the Scouts are now going to allow girls.  Exactly why if they remain the Boy Scouts is beyond me.  In an age where there are no longer boys or girls I can sort of understand.  After all, why have scouts named after a term that no longer has meaning?

Of course I wonder if the Girl Scouts will repay in kind.  The Girl Scouts have long been about fashioning their girls in the image of the modern liberal pro-choice feminist. 

Then again, for the few years our second oldest was in the Scouts, I already noticed a certain 'who are we to judge or proclaim absolutes where morality or God is concerned.'  We weren't exactly bothered by leaving.

So there you go.  The Left is a jealous god.  It will tolerate no dissent.  And once resistance gives in, the complete collapse of standards and principles can be expected.

Is Pope Francis the Catholic the Church has been waiting for?

That seems to be the gist of what he is saying.  I know, it can be those rascally translators.  But assuming it's not a conspiracy of bad linguistics, there is this little bit from a piece about the Death Penalty:
“Let us take responsibility for the past, and let us recognize that these means were dictated by a more legalistic mentality than Christian,” [Pope Francis] said.
See that?  A lot of Catholics are appealing to the Church's track record regarding slavery, or the abuse or sins of the past to explain this away.  Catholics did wrong, the Church wasn't clear enough, Christians sin, so we're here to apologize.

Here's the thing.  It's one thing to apologize for the sins of the past.  It's one thing to apologize for what Catholics did.  But it's another thing to apologize for what the Church officially taught.  And it's yet another thing to suggest that for the first 2000 years, things were pretty bad, but thank goodness we're here to set them right.  That statement about the Church's teaching, that back then it was just too legalistic, too concerned for maintaining power, but now we're more Christian, is troubling at best.  Especially since many of the notions feeding into this new notion of dignity sound much more external than the result of some internal revelation brought about by careful studying of the ancient Faith.

I understand that this is a rather ugly way to spin the Pope's words.  But it's also a common modern, progressive view, this idea that we are the generation God has been planning on.  Hence the ease with which we condemn to complete judgement, not those sitting next to us or down the street, but those who came before.  It's like saying God finally got it right by creating us.  We're not looking farther because we stand on the shoulders of giants. We are the giants, looking back with unbelievable contempt on all those dwarfs who came before.

I have no problem with arguments against the Death Penalty.  I've always felt Christians of good will could agree to disagree on that issue, and both sides brought fair points to the table.  Likewise, I understood that there wasn't really a compromise with this one.  If you think the Death Penalty should be banned or allowed, there is no real middle ground.

But the arguments used by the Church, from the Catechism's strange declaration of the State's infallible ability to protect people without Capital punishment, to this, where we find out that the Church was a legalistic mess, but it's much better now, just suggest something is amiss.  Not to mention that if we're changing one teaching based on that idea of how wrong the Church was, it stands to reason we can change other teachings based on the same logic.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hypatia as bad history

The story of Hypatia is one of those strange tales from history.  First, many have never heard of it.  Had I not been a history major, I don't know that I would have known of it apart from my studies.  It's not like the story of Julius Caesar being assassinated or Abraham Lincoln visiting the theater.  It's not on that scale.

Second, the version known is typically that version used in anti-Catholic/anti-Christian polemics.  Most who have heard of it know it as one more example of the Church hating women, smart people, learning, books, schools, puppies, and anything else we can imagine.

File that under psuedo-history.  That's when people believe they know something because they've been told, and yet they have been told part of, half of, or none of the actual truth.  Mark Shea calls it psuedo-knowledge, but psuedo-history is more accurate in this case.  It's also better since no other subject suffers from the tendency more than history.  It's easy to get the past wrong, since we already have to rely on others for our knowledge, and often lack many of the pieces of the whole puzzle.

Here, Mike Flynn does what Mike Flynn does best, and that's look at the facts we know and the data we possess.  Like a person seeking truth, he's looking at as much of the data as possible.  Just as he does with things like gun control or climate change, he accounts for as much as he can, rather than take all that pesky inconvenient information and put it in a closet somewhere.

By the time you're done with the post, you'll understand why the story of Hypatia is one that is worthy studying.  It's just that too few have bothered to do so, preferring to use it as a club with which to beat a religion they do not like in the first place.

Watermelon man

Words fail me.  Apparently a firefighter went to a meet and greet.  Apparently people were supposed to bring something to eat (known in Baptist circles as a pot-luck dinner).  Apparently he brought watermelon.  Apparently he was fired for bringing the watermelon.

It took me a minute to process why he was fired. Then it dawned on me.  Ah, I understand.  It was racially insensitive.

Now, did he mean it that way, as some racial slur?  He says no, but he was fired nonetheless.

And that got me to thinking, as I am wont to do.  I have no idea if he meant it as a racial joke or not.  But the very fact that I'm sitting here trying to imagine if a man was really sending subliminal racist messages with a fruit shows the power of living in a perpetual witch hunt.

Remember Inherit the Wind and The Crucible?  Both of those were written, not to accurately tell the stories of the events they referenced, but to judge the era in which they were written. That era was the height of the Cold War and McCarthyism.  Both were, in their own ways, meant at digs against those who rush to judgement, whip people into frenzies, attack and condemn through guilt until proven innocent - basically everything they saw in that era of the Red Scare.

I know that growing up in the 1970s, this was still a very big part of American history.  From movies and TV, to news specials and documentaries, to history lessons and being assigned to read those two literary works, the message was clear.  To be one of those types who spin records backwards to hear hidden meanings, or who freeze each frame of a movie to find some hidden Communist message, or rush to judgement to condemn and later accuse, was to be a witch hunter, a McCarthyite, a gestapo agent, and so on.

And yet, look at today.  This whole 'coded language' and 'trigger word' movement is nothing other than spinning those records backwards.  You can be punished simply because you used a word that has of late been deemed a secret code for something completely other than what you thought.  You can be condemned because you spoke or acted or dressed or walked in a way that someone, somewhere had declared to be offensive.  There is no trial by jury here.  You are guilty as accused, sentence to immediately follow.

Again, just that I spent time thinking 'Gee, maybe the watermelon meant something, maybe it was a hidden message, maybe he was innocent' all about bringing a fruit to a pot luck meet and greet shows the subtle and slick way we can be pulled into a witch hunt culture.  And none are worse than when you're pulled in by the very ones who warned so loudly about the terrors of living in a witch hunt culture in the first place.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

An important message for those defending NFL protesters

Taking a knee during the anthem is not the same thing as kneeling during prayer.  People who kneel during prayer are not protesting God.  People who kneel during the anthem are protesting the country the anthem represents.  These things are different. I have seen and heard this ignorant argument one too many times.  I heard it on the radio coming home last night.  I'm tired of hearing it. It is painfully stupid. That is all.

The worst argument for gun control

Ever.  The idea that if our government became an oppressive tyranny then it would all be over.  Slaves and serfdom, gulags and gas chambers.  It would all be over.  Nobody could do anything.  We would all just die.  Hopeless, helpless, just give up and surrender.  For tens of thousands of years, perhaps people did rise up and accomplish the unimaginable.  But that's over.  We're hopeless. We can't.  We lose.  That's the gist of the argument, and I've seen it more than once.

All I can say is thank goodness all the great heroes of old didn't accept such a fatalistic and defeatist attitude toward overwhelming adversity! 

Donald McClarey has the most obvious reason why that is full of bunk.  First, it's nice to know that not everyone is basically using notions of piety and principle to cover up what is likely just cowardice and apathy.

Second, if America has demonstrated anything, it's that our military is ill-equipped for dealing with extended insurgencies. And that's against insurgencies that sometimes number in the mere thousands and involve people living in poverty stricken, 'third world' settings.  If only a fraction of the United States rose up, it isn't hard to imagine an insurgency in the millions.  That assumes, of course, that everyone in the military would be willing to begin slaughtering neighbor and family on demand.  America's ages old blood line of freedom and liberty might just get enough of the military to rebel against such tyranny - go Confederate you might say. 

Of course we should have figured that many countries might be happy to see America fail as a free country, so help from outside would be difficult to predict.  But there are friends around the world just the same.

No, America's military is at its best against strong armies meeting us on the field of combat with weapons versus weapons of like kind.  It's been those rebellions and insurgencies using guerrilla warfare that have given us our losses and confounded our military designs. 

You'd think almost all Americans would be appalled at such a defeatist attitude that is based on a demonstrably false analysis of our military and its history.   And yet, it's a sign of the times that I'd wager a fair number of Americans would cheer such an editorial, even if they would never be caught dead doing something like cheering the flag.

Is White the new N-Word?

I'm just curious.  2016 showed that pleading for the concerns and sufferings of White Americans would, at best, result in scorn and mockery.  At worst, you would be schooled on how they are likely just upset they're losing their White privilege, which equates to racism anyway, so who cares.  They're getting what they have coming to them.  I was informed of that more than once while I was at Patheos.

In short, it's racism.  Of course it's racism.  Judging people as racists because they are White.  Dismissing their sufferings because they are White.  Mocking their suffering because they are White.  It's racist.  Duh.

The fact that the biggest culprits happen to be White liberals doesn't take away the sin.  History has a long list of people willing to sell out their kith and kin for the sake of fitting in with the latest rising power.

I thought of this as I saw a recent post by Mark Shea (Hint: Not all who agree with Trump about the NFL protests are White), perhaps of all Catholic bloggers, the most guilty of using 'White' exclusively in a pejorative manner.  For eight months, I have not seen him use the word 'White' except as a negative.  As an insult.  As a new variation of the N-word. The way he uses White is no different than the way Neo Nazis or KKK protesters use the word Jew or Black or Muslim. Or the N-Word - always in a negative.

That was the N-Word in a nutshell.  It was a word with only one purpose: to be a negative, a put down, a way of dissing an entire people as a negative, of judging them with one quick word.  That is exactly what 'White' has become among the Left.  From the long over-used 'White privilege', to assuming racism or evil because of the skin color of White Americans, to making preemptive judgments of people based on the assumption it only applies to Whites, even if it might apply to others, it is nothing other than the new N-Word.

Just because it's the racism endorsed by the press, academics, entertainers and civic leaders of the day, it's still wrong.   After all, dissing on Blacks and Jews or other minorities was all the rage among the same groups in other eras.

This is serious by the way.  I've often said the problem with history is that you have to wait for it to happen to study it.  With our endless access to information, and the high level of attention put on racism and bigotry, it shouldn't be difficult to recognize this trend, even when directed at White people by White people.  And yet, as is too often the case through history, we miss laying the foundations for the next Great Evil.

Here is a list of examples.

In these, Mark uses 'White' negatively, as an insult, and does so exclusively.  Note, these are not cases where the debate is about White Supremacists groups, or even Trump's responses to such things.  Nor are they about actual racism, or the roll of race in history, or cases where it is in reference to something Whites think in some poll.  These are only cases where the term White does not need to be used.  For instance, that not all who support Trump or his economic policies are White.  Or that not all who think there is a coming persecution of Christians are White (a visiting priest from West Africa often made that case in his homilies, and I could't help notice is non-Whiteness).

These are cases where the word "White" has been used negatively, as an insult, and as a way to frame the debate in a racial manner when it does not need to be. It's use is meant to conjure a negative image of a group of people, however inaccurately, based on race. Not once did I find an example of "Whites" used in any positive sense that month.  This list is only through September, BTW.

If you don't think this is a big deal, imagine a Catholic blogger using 'Black', or 'Arab', or 'Jew' in such a way, when it doesn't necessarily apply, and always in the negative.  Do you think anyone would care?  Do you think the Church would care?  The Church leadership's own silence about this is troubling.

Of course racism, like all bigotry, will continue.  There's nothing special about our generation.  There will be more racism, bigotry, discrimination, oppression, genocides, tyrannies.  It's the way of things.  Fallen world after all.  Who knows, maybe spending less time focused on old, dead Confederate soldiers and more on what is going on with the world around us among our own hand picked demographics might be a better strategy. It might help Catholics dodge a rising evil rather than consign our posterity to endless apologizing for our own lack of wisdom.

A Catholic apologist embracing this is an example of how the Church seems to easily embrace such evils throughout the ages.  For evil it is.  It is racism.  It is an intrinsic evil.  It is worthy of the fires of hell.  But as is all too common throughout history, it is the evil embraced by the beautiful people of the day's society, so Catholics and their leaders are less inclined to recognize it, since Satan is always tough to see when he dresses as the gentleman at the coolest party.

Monday, October 9, 2017

You have to admit he's good

Jeopardy is the only modern TV show we watch as a family.   The boys love it, and we've often suggested our second oldest try out.  Nonetheless, it's the one show I can identify that is produced since Obama became president.

They've had their favorite champs over the years, but right now, it's 'quirky' champion Austin Rogers.  A strange fellow, he seems at first off-putting because of his mannerisms, but he grows on you.  He does his own thing, that's for sure.  And more important than anything, he's good.  He doesn't seem to know those obscure facts that other champs always appear to know, like what is the name of some bizarre two celled organism that lives for three months under the northern glaciers of Antarctica.  But he knows a lot about a lot. 

Perhaps it's his experience as a bartender.  I don't know.  But he's the second Jeopardy champ to catch a public eye this year, and so far, he appears to be a force to be reckoned with. 

What they don't mean by Indigenous People's Day

Don't get me wrong.  I'm an indigenous person.  A native America.  Born and raised here  Generations of family who have done the same. I consider myself quite the indigenous Native.  Except I'm the type that most on the Left don't care about.

When the Left says this, they mean a fairy tale version of the broad term of Indians, American Indians, or most recently, Native Americans.  Those various civilizations and cultures that inhabited the entire Western Hemisphere before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

This view, which found its greatest expression in the film Dances With Wolves, almost verges on blasphemous against the most simplistic understanding of history.  The movie was so bad on the accuracy scale that even other Native Americans, those whose ancestors suffered under the Sioux nation, objected.

But it's hardly unique.  Multi-Cultural education, which exonerates all sin done outside of the Christian West, frequently portrays the cultures of old in the most idyllic way imaginable.  So Native Americans, or American Indians as my wife prefers, are portrayed in an almost laughably worshipful manner.

Many American Indians are happy to comply, preferring to portray their ancestors in the most pure and noble way, dismissing or ignoring any negatives, and portraying their people in a way that would shame the most pro-American WWII propaganda poster.

It is that faux fairy tale version that our enlightened politicians and scholars and activists mean when they say 'Indigenous People's Day.'  They don't mean the human sacrifice, the matricide, patricide, infanticide and genocide that was far from uncommon.  They don't mean the Machiavellian politics that could exist between tribes, or the wars of conquest and land acquisition that happened between the two.  They certainly don't mean those cases where Indians attacked and slaughtered isolated settlements of Europeans, or each other.

They mean more of a myth and a lie than the most stereotypical portrayal of a Christopher Columbus lesson from the 1950s.  In fact, once again, the myth that Americans worshiped all Americans and America and denied any wrong doing is just that, a myth.  And yet it is exactly what is done by those who throw down the old heroes and replace them with a mythical, fanciful version of the new heroes in a way no American in the 19th century would have imagined.

Christopher Columbus and Fake History

Ah yes, Fake History.  That's been going on for some time, since about Herodotus.  Fact is, history is often up to interpretation or bias.  One man's victor is another man's villain.  With the West, the problem is that the Left will side with anyone and everyone who wishes to villainize all things Western Christian and American.

So those Native Americans who don't begrudge Columbus, or don't scream at the Washington Redskins, or don't chafe at the Cleveland Indians, are of no value.  Just like Black Americans who think the Confederate memorials should remain, or who don't like NFL players - Black or otherwise - protesting the Flag.  Those types are right up there with women who believe a woman's role in life is different than a man's, or individuals who once identified as gay but do so no longer.
They are the unpeople of modern liberalism.  They don't help, therefore they don't exist.

But those who fit the narrative are the ones who matter.  And that strongly suggests that it's the Left that truly hates and despises the history of the Christian West.  It's not as if the Left just begrudgingly reports what the clear and obvious truth as understood by the endless oppressed happen to say.  After all, if the Left was only interested in the real truth, they would give as much consideration to those who are content with the traditional understanding and celebration of Western culture.  As it is, they typically care not a lick for those who harbor anything but hatred and bitter resentment towards Christianity, Western Culture and the United States.

As a result, any historical studies must echo only the parts of history that paint anything associated with Western culture in the worst conceivable way imaginable.  That's why it's nice to see articles like this, that not only take to task those revisionist and anti-Western approaches to history, but are willing to do so with scholarship and an examination of the facts.  Read and enjoy and drink a toast to Christopher Columbus. 

Columbus Day and the dangers of Identity Politics

Just some random federal holiday, not a specific one
like the sign usually indicates.  I give Columbus Day five years. 
Apart from practical considerations, Identity Politics ( a natural outgrowth of Multi-Culturalism) as typically understood (focusing on people as expedient demographics rather than as human beings) flies in the face of forgiveness, mercy and reconciliation.

Nowhere is that clearer than the annual trash fests of all that is white, European and American Christian.  First comes Columbus Day, then comes Thanksgiving Day.  Both Columbus and the Pilgrims stand condemned for what people did centuries later.  Why?  Look at their ethnicity, their national origins, their religion.  You've seen one white, European and American Christian, you've seen all the Nazis, yesterday and today.

Setting aside the obvious bigotry based on race, nationality and religion, as well as the whole notion of collective guilt, we also have the fact that Identity politics makes much about hatred, resentment, and a refusal to forgive.  Then there is a heaping helping of judgment.  We get to define people entirely by their sins, or even a sin.  Or heck, by sins of others.  No more looking at the whole person.  We see their sin, we condemn them as being nothing but their sin, we move on.

Everyone knows that the Pilgrims more or less got along well with the native inhabitants, and even forged a peace treaty that lasted almost 50 years.  That wasn't a bad record for any time or place.  But it matters not.  They stand condemned - not even accused, just condemned - for everything that would happen over the next several centuries. We won't even get into Columbus, who barely passes Himmler on the post-modern likability scale.

It stands to reason that whatever sins existed among the Native populations are all but dismissed.  Whatever they did, they're off the hook.  They are ascribed the purest motives, and if they tortured or murdered the immigrants from Europe, it matters not. Those immigrants, part of the Great White Army (I've heard it called), got what they had coming.  Sort of retro-consequentialism.  We know what happened in history, so if the children of European settlers were tortured and killed, eh.  No problem.

There are so many deliciously blasphemous and unchristian teachings that go behind the multi-cultural Identity Politics approach to these holidays.  Moral relativity, cultural superiority, racial absolution, justifying vengeance and intolerance, excusing or even encouraging the refusal to forgive, to reconcile, to show mercy - why the list is endless!

Of course non-Christian American Indians are under no compunction to forgive or show mercy or seek to understand.  Nobody is.  Vengeance, resentment, blame, excuse making - these are standard operating procedures, and people have used them for eons.

But for Christians who side with this movement, caution is suggested.  How can Christians align with a political tactic that ignores the millions who don't care, who do forgive, who do love America and its history, who understand wrong was done but don't judge entire civilizations or even entire people based on the worst, in order to zero in on that percentage that wants its pound of flesh?  Remember, dismissing the teachings of the Faith is still wrong, even when everyone at all the best parties among our cultural elites say otherwise.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

When did liberty become racist

Easy.  All people with white skin are racist.  Their countries are by definition racist.  Therefore everything about them is evil and racist.  Therefore anything that doesn't immediately call for their eradication is racist, as is anything that doesn't condemn the attempt to stop their eradication.

Reason.com is hardly a right wing outlet. It is indicative of the modern Left's struggles with the Frankenstein monster it has created.  Having torn down all traditional pillars of morality, values, common decency and basic civic discourse, the Left was ill-prepared for that ugly little lesson of history that things can always be worse.

You can tell Reason's article is mighty upset about this new notion that freedom is racist.  You can tell it harbors no love for traditional believers or religious values.  And you can almost feel the tension.  That tension continues to evolve among the Left as BLM, Antifa, and other radical groups of hate, violence, destruction and oppression come to the forefront of modern debate.

The news media ignores them, and most progressive commentators and pundits dismiss them.  Some still defend BLM with the usual 'Love them or you're a racist!' or the time honored 'Of course saying all lives matter is coded language meaning We Love Hitler!'.  But with each passing day, these ways of dealing the the movements are becoming more and more difficult.  If the possible ramifications weren't so dire, it would be funny to watch.

Tyranny takes a holiday

Donald  Trump appears to be rolling back Obama's great hammer stroke against the First Amendment.  Beyond the quibbles about Obamacare, it was the HHS mandate that set off warning signals among the vigilant.

Many Americans today approach the issue from the vantage point of their genitals, which is where modernity keeps most people's minds.  That's why the press - modern liberalism's propaganda ministry - goes out of its way to ignore all negative consequences of the sex and drugs culture.  After all, turning people born into a land of liberty and freedom into sexed up, drugged up idiots is the best way to seize power.

Obama's little sleight of hand, which played the Catholic Bishops for absolute fools for having supporting him, was a stroke of genius.  The media kicked into full propaganda mode, using such superficial events as Sandra Fluke's testimony and Rush Limbaugh's boorish observation as the Pearl Harbor of the revolution.

For the longest time, even somewhat progressive Catholics rang the bell of alarm, seeing where such things as the HHS mentality could end up going.  Most understood the ramifications of America being convinced that religious liberty takes a back seat to our libidos.

The Left, however, is a jealous god.  And those Christians, including Catholics, who would ally with the Left against the common enemy of tradition, conservatism, and the heritage of the Christian West, were called upon to obey in the most servile way possible.  So over the last several years, the HHS mandate increasingly diminished as a priority.  Bishops stopped talking much about it (compare to this Bishops' initial response toward defending freedom), and pundits and apologists increasingly swept the issue under the rug. 

Nonetheless, this now diminished fight for liberty just got a shot in the arm.  Whatever you think of President Trump, I'll give credit where it is due.  The struggle for the heart and soul of the civilization the Church built, and subsequently the Church itself, is not over.  Things might be bleak, such as the fact that it takes someone like Donald Trump to be its most prominent defender.  But bleakness is never a reason to cry quits. 

On this day in Islamic history

Christian Europe was saved at the Battle of Lepanto. The Ottoman Turks, perhaps the single most successful Islamic Empire, had already smashed through southeastern Europe, destroyed what was left of the Byzantine Empire (the effects of which are still felt among Orthodox Christians today), and marched its way toward establishing a foothold in Europe.

It was hardly the first Muslim force to attempt the conquest of Europe.  Almost from the beginning, Constantinople was a goal of Islamic conquest.  And throughout the subsequent centuries, several attempts by Muslims to seize Europe met with varying levels of success. 

In the Iberian Peninsula, Muslim forces successfully conquered the Christian Visigothic kingdom (something a Muslim scholar on a recent PBS special was quite proud of), but were thwarted at the Battle of Tours.  Throughout the next several centuries, Muslim forces would conduct raids along Europe's Mediterranean coasts, even establishing a foothold in the Italian Peninsula and Sicily.  Eventually European interests would reclaim both of these.

It's worth noting that even when I was in college, Europe's conquest of those Muslim footholds were focused on - not the fact that Muslims had conquered them in the first place.

Following this, the rise of the Seljuk Turks and their aggression against both Christians in the Holy Land as well as pushing against the floundering Byzantines would set of the chain of events leading to the Crusades.  Though no gains were made against European territory, as Muslims would have to unite in a defensive conflict to regain territory against the Christian Crusaders, it drew Europeans into a campaign that would have far reaching ramifications for centuries to come.

It was the Ottomans, however, who were the most successful at fulfilling that Muslim dream of seizing the European continent.  One success after another brought Ottoman forces to the front door of modern day Austria.  It was the Ottoman Empire that conquered Constantinople.  Had Vienna fallen, there is little to suggest that Muslim forces wouldn't have marched unopposed until they reached Prussia, or even Paris. 

The Battle of Lepanto itself involved an Ottoman attempt to swing through the Mediterranean and seize Cyprus.  There were strategic reasons centered around the Ottoman's ultimate focus on the Italian Peninsula and Malta's role as a base for raids.  A good rundown of the battle, its details and its importance can be found here.

Suffice to say, the Ottomans were defeated for the time being.  It wasn't over by a long shot.  Long after Jamestown was settled, long after the Pilgrims had their famous feast, the Ottomans were still attempting to push into Europe.  It would be toward the end of the 17th Century before the ability of the Islamic world to threaten Europe was curtailed.  And that was largely due to the growing technological revolutions occurring that gave Europe the upper hand in the military and navigational races so crucial to establishing empires.

If the Europeans seemed eager to rush out and conquer, we must forgive them to a point.  After all, it wasn't only Muslims who threatened them throughout most of Europe's history.  But the threat from the lands of the Mohammedans was always real and in the back of the European mind.

Today, of course, some say a new invasion is under way.   Just as Vikings were striking north as Muslims were invading south, so they contend that Europe is under two invasions today.  One, by way of immigrants, is changing the culture and priorities and resolve of Europe to even want to survive.  The other, secular liberalism, is eating away at its values and its very identity.  Whereas Malta survived the Ottomans, can it survive the secularists?  Whereas Europe stood fast against the sultans, can they survive the inflow of immigrants?

The long term designs that Muslim immigrants have for their new lands are up for grabs.  As we noted here, when Bernie Sanders suggested believers in the historic Gospel have no place in our modern state, Muslims had a chance to stand in solidarity with all religious believers.  Instead, silence at best, or support for Bernie's call for discrimination against Christians at worst, was the result.  What that portends for the long term is hard to say. That the Left doesn't care as long as the last shards of Christian civilization are swept away means half of Western Culture will be glad to see anyone triumph over the West, as long as it's not Christianity.  We'll just have to wait and see.