Saturday, April 27, 2024

We call this an in joke

Because you have to know movies, and at least a couple genres, to get it:

Friday, April 26, 2024

Friday Frivolity: Victory!

Victory in our ongoing wargame that is! Heh. Sorry, no victory for the modern West, we must delve into the fiction of strategy games or speculative history for that modern scenario. 

So we're playing that game of games, World in Flames.  A grand strategic WW2 game if there ever was one.  I wrote on that game in the past.  We've been playing it for some time now, when we can.

That's because it isn't easy getting together for these things anymore.  Sometimes we play on a 'deal me in/deal me out' basis.  Right now it's my third oldest - our board game guru - and me, with a couple other brothers when available.  

He is the Axis countries, mainly Germany and Italy.  I'm the Allies, mainly the US and England, and France for what it's worth.  When available, the others take Japan and Russia and split China (communists and nationalists).  

My third son playing Germany works.  He's extremely aggressive in, well, anything he does in life.  That fits here since, like any WW2 strategy game in the history of WW2 strategy games, much of what happens hinges on Germany.  In this game, with the campaign we are playing (Global War: Sept 1, 1939 - end of August, 1945), Germany begins by having to declare war on Poland.  It also has a few special rules to sweeten the deal.  So him going that direction first was a sure thing.  And it went about as you'd expect (though Polish forces around Danzig gave him some fits, more than they probably should). 

What comes next is based on the player's choice.  Go east? Probably not.  West is a better move. That's because another staple of grand strategic WW2 games is that France is usually dead man walking.  The only hope a player of France has is that the German player chooses not to follow the historical footprints.  But since that never happens, it's only how and when France is defeated, not if. 

Which is the victory I mentioned in the title with some gloating on my part.  Per the Players' Notes, the most you can hope for with France is to delay, delay, delay.  And cause as many German losses as possible.  

Historically, Germany ended the famous 'Phony War' by invading the Low Countries and France in May, 1940.  By June, France was finished.  So in this game, Germany taking France out before the end of June is considered a victory.  That didn't happen. 

He even peels eggs aggressively
The next goal if Germany targets France is to make sure France it taken by at least July or, worst case, August.  That's starting to narrow options.  As in every WW2 game, Germany has everything it needs to win - one at a time.  Two at most.  It can take France, or England, or possibly the USSR.  It can't really do all at once.  To go after England and Russia means taking France first.  And by September, the weather in this game begins to turn and make coordinated actions like invading England a long shot (there's over a 50% chance that weather can negatively impact at least something).  If he can't take France by August, then it pretty much narrows his options, most likely eastward.  Which takes the pressure off England.  So it's August or bust. Well, that didn't happen either.

After a series of moves and setbacks against the French, he conceded he probably won't be able to take France this turn (turn ends at the end of August).  A combination of perhaps his decision to start breaking up his units and sending units south before sealing the deal in France, some darn good dice rolls for me, and, if I may, some good planning on my part, I more or less bogged things down.  

In addition to this, his air force has taken a beating.  After the initial invasion where he did run roughshod over my air fields, the French and English have given as good as they've got.  In game scale terms, Germany has lost about 1500 aircraft during this time (which isn't far from the historical numbers, but worse than he hoped, especially since the Allies didn't end up losing nearly as much).

Another bonus for me is that he has had to focus exclusively on land actions.  Turns are made up of a variable number of rounds. Long and short, in each round within a turn you get to pick a single action type for each country corresponding to the main divisions of the modern military: Air, Land or Naval.  In each, you can do anything with that type without limit, usually to the exclusion of the others (with some exceptions).  There also is a combination action, which allows a little of each, but not much of any.  Because I slowed him down, he has had to focus all on Land actions.  Which means he hasn't been able to go after those precious convoys bringing materials, goods and supplies to merry old England across the Atlantic.*  Another win. 

So overall that is a victory for me!  Against his competitive and typically good strategic and tactical thinking, I'll take it.  I had thought of posting an ongoing journal of the game, but realized who am I kidding?  We barely have time to play the game!   But every now and then I might give an update.  Especially when it makes  me look good. :)    

OK, an addendum.  I told him I was going to post this and he objected with much objection.  Stalled, he said.  France is still all but finished.  Likely by the first of September.  True, what I said is accurate.  But he has had some better news elsewhere and it hasn't all been a loss.  

At least I damaged one of his best
For instance, in the Mediterranean Sea, his Italian navy has given England a run for its money.  I don't know why.  But he's been cleaning my clock there.  The good news for me is that in Libya proper, his Italian forces are everything you expect from WW2 era Italian forces.  Which has been a problem for him (in games with Italy, like the larger Axis & Allies games, he prefers an audacious Italian strategy).  Here he's thwarted by the units being modified to account for that famous Italian fighting prowess.  Knowing history, he began - possibly too early - sending German units south to bail them out.  He hasn't picked an HQ Commander yet - dare I hope for Rommel? (As tough as that would be, it warms the cockles of my historian's heart to think he might send his Rommel HQ down there to bail out a floundering Italy) 

So it hasn't been all bad for him.  He has Denmark and the Netherlands (though not Belgium, which is still defended by some stubborn Brit and Belgium units around Antwerp). Plus Poland.  He's giving me fits in the Mediterranean. And France is close to done.  But not as soon as he needed to give him more options.  And with him and his clever mind, reducing his options and stalling his plans is usually the only way I can hope to win no matter what game we play.  

*The one thing he can use is his fleet of Auxiliary Cruisers, or Merchant Raiders. They have special rules.  These were ships used that were more out of a Transformers movie.  They were modified merchant ships, tankers, ocean liners - the munitions and armaments being cleverly hidden.  They traveled incognito and could spring to life with the snap of the fingers, catching Allied ships by surprise.  He hasn't done much damage to my merchant ships so far, since those raiders are 'long shot' units.  But in a bugger of bad fortune for England by way of surprises and bad rolls, I've lost two cruisers to those annoying things - the Fiji in the N. Atlantic and the Ajax off the cost of Portuguese Guinea (the total lost in WW2 to such German vessels, so it had best stop there). 

Real history: The Aux Cruiser Kormoran, which did sink the cruiser HMAS Sydney

Thursday, April 25, 2024

An open call for Beta Readers

In order to add to what must be a deficient list of obligations in life, my son and daughter-in-law have embarked on writing a novel.  

They've finished the first round, and are looking for anyone who would like to step in and read through their manuscript and offer anything that might help.  If you are interested, here is the link.   I know they would appreciate it.  With the bookstore, the baby just weeks away, and all the fun life has to offer, a couple kids continuing to exceed expectations and step out in faith could use a hand or two. 

Thanks in advance.  If you have any questions or need more information first, don't hesitate to let me know via email or the comments below.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2024


Only if you believe this is true and not humor:

Can you not see the problem here:

And in case you think this is something out of context or they aren't real stories, here is the NBC story, and here is the CBS story.

Yep.  Of course this isn't new.  Go back to any time ever, and you'll have different conclusions arrived at by different sources.  Eventually we figure out who is right, if anyone.  We then move on.  That's fine. 

But we live in an ago of 'shut up and obey the [conformist] experts'.  We are told to accept whatever the proper experts say on any given day.  Period.  Even if it contradicts itself.  

We don't see them held accountable if they are wrong.  We're told it's fact, shut up, obey, or face the music.  And this is possible due to all of those in various leadership positions around our nation and world that we imagined would safeguard us from such tyranny of the stupid. 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Jesus is not an excuse for cowardice

 I've seen this pop up over the years in different outlets:

It's of some men's choir from the bygone days of Hollywood, but around the time I was a youngster.  The individuals are, back row left to right: Kent McCord and Martin Milner (from the very pro-police show Adam 12 - a childhood favorite of mine), Charles Nelson Reilly (who my mom liked, but knew even then that he walked on the other side of the fence in terms of sexuality), and Ed Asner, not exactly your hard rightwing radical.  Front row is Glenn Ford, next to him Redd Foxx, a racy fellow who obviously was not white, Jack Carter (a comedian I know little about), and the always awesome Ernest Borgnine. Sitting are John Wayne, a well known leftwing communist, and Howard Cosell, known in my day as the most hated man in America (for reasons I never could fathom).

I looked at that and thought about the unthinking diversity of people and ideals in the photo.  They were singing together having a grand old time with much joy and laughter.  Did it dawn on Foxx to chafe at all the racism and white skin around him?  Did Wayne seem offended at Reilly, since if my mom guessed it, the ultra pro-American conservative Wayne couldn't have been in the dark?  Was Asner and his leftwing sensitivities bothered by two actors in a very pro-police television show?  And who is Jack Carter?

These things I wondered as I looked at this photo and couldn't help but smile.   

Then I thought of today, and the growing number of young people who see America from when this picture was taken as an extension of some 400 year old racist Nazi state.  A country awash in bigotry and homophobia and misogyny and racism.  A nationwide gas chamber with hippy music.  Young Americans taught to divide everyone into groups and hate and condemn and hate some more.  Young Americans taught that Americans have ever and always been driven by only the most evil motivations conceivable.

And things like this are compounded by not just the radicals, but ones willing to accept the premise to some degree or another.

I recall deacon and film critic Steven Greydanus, and his laments over the racist undertones of the Rocky franchise.  When pressed, he said the obvious problem was that of Stallone being the heroic white guy beating up on black guys.  When it was pointed out Rocky also beat up on at least one white guy, and was beaten up by black guys, it still didn't matter.  I pointed out that Stallone wrote the part for himself (in one of Hollywood's most beloved rags to riches stories), and he just happened to be white.  If there were no blacks at all in a 1976 boxing movie, do you think people would have said nothing?  Otherwise, what was he to do, give up his dreams for the person with the proper skin color because he had the misfortune of being white?  At that point Deacon Greydanus said other parts could have had the proper skin colors represented.  Perhaps scratch Burgess Meredith with the wrong skin color and replace him with an actor having the right skin color for the part of Mickey.  And this was written by the good deacon unironically. 

Think of that.  A nationally known Catholic deacon and film critic and he couldn't not see divisions, racism, and bigotry simply because of the skin colors in a beloved franchise.  And more than that, he said with almost casual ease that removing a person from a part due to the wrong skin color is a perfectly reasonably solution. 

Is it any wonder that young people today hate each other, our nation, our society, our religious foundations? That they divide everyone into groups and condemn and hate accordingly?  That they judge and perpetually condemn our culture, values, principles, laws or everything and everyone associated with the world around them?  The people insisting they're just trying to get to the truth accept a perspective that would have been asinine fifty years ago.  At least if the picture above has anything to say about the majority opinion back then. 

Yes, it's entirely possible that we live in the most self-righteously judgmental, close minded, intolerant and hypocritical age in many a moon.  We don't even hold back.  Assume the worst, judge without mercy, condemn and eradicate.  Execute judgment and apply slippery standards based on convenience and intolerance in the name of diversity.  

None of these things are acceptable for a person with common sense, much less acceptable for a Christian.  Going along with it, or finding lame reasons to justify it in the name of some Christian virtue, is even worse.  For as often as not, failure to call out the obvious comes from a  lack of courage to stand up to it, while donning a Jesus mask in the hope of making it look good. 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Washington Post charges forth to help the Trump reelection bid

The #1 hope for Donald Trump supporters is that the White House and the MSM will continue to push the narrative that we are in the midst of a robust economy, that everything is looking positive, and there's good news right around the corner

This has been the official economic news for over a year and a half now.  Often planted firmly between stories about how people can't afford groceries, or housing, or utilities, or insurance, or can't get loans, or are amassing catastrophic levels of personal debt.  

Operating on the old notion that if you repeat a lie often enough it will become true, the MSM has been spinning things positively since 2021.  Yet most people can't miss this little fact:

My personal hypothesis is that the press's attempts to lie Hillary Clinton into the White House in 2016 by telling us we never had it so good or we're a racist, helped tip the votes in favor of Trump.  It wasn't the only reason.  But when Fareed Zakaria gushed in front of the CNN camera that the world was on the cusp of unprecedented bliss, largely because of the Obama admission, it wasn't tough to notice a big gap between his editorial and reality. I mean, a sluggish recovery and ISIS as 'the new normal' is tough to spin positively.  Hence there was enough of a gap that people might not have voted for Trump, but they chose not to vote at all. 

I see the same here.  Between the growing splits within the Democratic Party between the old codger liberals and the young 'Death to the West' radicals, and the wars and Afghanistan disaster (still remembered despite the MSM's desperate attempts to sweep it under the rug), there is enough reason to question the current administration.

Add to that the complete impotence the White House has displayed in the face of two wars that have exploded onto the world stage amidst a growing number of uprisings and violence, along with the economy that we're told is so good as we pay $80.00 for two bags of groceries, and you almost think the MSM wants Trump to win.  

BTW, just as I prepared to post this, I overheard the news reporting on the latest inflation report.  It was completely unintellegicable.  Basically, the wording of the story was that all is well and has been well.  Prices have dropped or stayed the same or something.  Incomes are looking good or the same or something.  This inflation report was higher or something but not bad or could be good but all is looking splendid.  And yet during the entire broadcast, the graphics showing prices and cost of living over the last year or two were all of those little red arrows pointing up.  The report was so out of whack from the reality it was showing that it made no sense whatsoever.   

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Slap it on a Sherman

Let's face it.  Our nation has been teaching its kids to hate our nation and everyone in it for years.  Ages ago when we still had cable, I remember watching CNN.  Your typical roundtable discussion.  It was Larry King, but someone else was the host.  I can't remember the topic.  But I remember what some young scholar activist said.   

She said America is falling behind because we live in the age of STEM. Of science and tech and genetics.  In the last century, it was an industrial age. And that fit America fine.  After all, any stupid can be a blue collar construction worker or coal miner.  But STEM takes smarts, and that's always been outside the grasp of Americans.  

Now, she didn't say it that bluntly, but it wasn't too far off either.  I've seen that observation echoed more than once over the years.  Which, of course, is false.  America was always at the head of the race for medical, scientific and tech breakthroughs during the age of invention.  Many of the inventions I'm sure that young woman takes for granted came from America and Americans.  

But we were also a hard working, get your hands dirty, build and accomplish nation as well.  And nothing demonstrates that more than our experience in WW2.     

It's been said that the American soldier's best asset was his ability to do.  To build.  To improvise.  So many soldiers had worked with their hands, could disassemble an automobile, could build their own houses, that in the military they were quick to adapt.  And the military itself demonstrated this time and again.  We might not have had the best of anything, but our ability to improvise and turn on a dime was second to none.   

That is seen in all its spectacular glory in what my sons call 'slap it on a Sherman.'  The Sherman tanik was the second most produced tank in WW2.  Second only to the Soviet's famous T-34.  Unlike the T-34, the Sherman was found everywhere, and used by more countries than any other armored fighting vehicle.  

But beyond that, it's almost hilarious just how we were able to adapt it to anything under the sun, beyond just being an army tank.  That's where my boys get that saying.  Which they use when it comes to us improvising or having to think outside the box on a dime.  Because on any given day, that Sherman could become a bulldozer, a repair vehicle, a rocket launcher, minesweeper, or, as in the case below, a crane:

I hadn't seen that before.  It popped on on a history page I follow.  Heh.  Just one more thing.  It was used to facilitate the moving of heavy rollers to aid in the recovery of armored vehicles.  

Here are some other pics of the Sherman tank and its various identities based on the need at hand:  

The one with the iron spikes on the front is the famous 'hedgerow clippers'.  The hedgerows of Normandy famously caught us off guard.  Mammoth hedges whose roots stretched down to China, we had to go around them through sometimes narrow paths and gateways.   

The Germans, however, being the best trained of the WW2 armies, seized upon this and made sure every path through the hedgerows was heavily guarded.  Much to the misery of Americans.  Until an army Sergeant, Curtis Culin, came up with an idea, based on a conversation he had with a 'hillbilly named Roberts' (according to historian Max Hastings).  Why not take those metal anti-landing devices from the Normandy beaches, modify them, and slap them on a Sherman?  The world's biggest hedge cutters! And it worked.    

That was the old American ingenuity once celebrated, by the 1970s mocked, and today forgotten.  For me, I prefer to celebrate that sort of thinking and accomplishment.  Not the thinking that celebrates what we celebrate today. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

This seems significant

I've not seen it pop up yet in many mainstream outlets, at least in the US.  Apparently a group of 2000 women sued Switzerland over its failure to curb global warming - and won.  At least in some international court in France.  

Something about the story suggests that this is far closer to the end goal behind the Global Warming narrative than making bank off of green energy.  I don't know why.  It's the sort of thing that gives me the impression of people in the future saying 'We never thought it would lead to this.'  

I don't know.  Just something about this says more trouble is ahead.  That we can move past 'Are you sure this is settled science?' to 'Yes, and you are legally guilty because you failed to address the problem as defined by the latest settled science' makes me see clouds on the horizon.   

Which one is which?

 We had a right fun Eclipse party with our daughter-in-law and her family.  Totality hit pretty much over our house.  So it was a splendid view.  We even saw the comet.  So the question is, which of the pictures below was taken at around 3:12 PM, and one around 8:30 PM.  Which was which? 

Monday, April 8, 2024


 How to seize the moment:

Mr. Kimmel gets it

It turns out Jimmy Kimmel thinks America (and Europe) is a pretty filthy place.  At least compared to the always awesome Japan. 

You have to have a sense of pride in yourself to strive for the best.  You have to have the same for your country.  The same country Mr. Kimmel and his compatriots have spent years - decades perhaps - trashing, and hashing, and bashing. The same country young ones for three generation have been told is one of the worst ever in history.  The same country filled with people that young ones have been told are, and always have been, the worst: the most stupid, boorish, vulgar, bigoted, arrogant, violent and useless in the world. 

Everything around you sucks.  Everything around you has always sucked.  Perhaps you are a true god who should be worshipped and if you say you're Napoleon then the definition of Napoleon should be changed.  But the fact that it doesn't work that way just shows how bad everything around you does, and always has sucked. 

Loyalty?  Duty? Honor?  Patriotism?  Gold Rule?  Bah.  Insert copious F-Bombs here.  By the time I came along, those were punchlines, not principles.  Everything is subjective, except for everything that objectively sucks.  You owe nothing to anyone, everything owes all to you.  And if you aren't Einstein or the Beatles, it's because everything sucks.  

Oddly, this constant thrice-daily repeated mantra hasn't build back a better country.  Though it hasn't  always been this way, it should be noted.  In high school and early college, I took karate.  The fellow who taught me was pushing for karate to be an Olympic sport, so he couldn't accept fees (we paid for the facilities instead).  He traveled much, however.  He had a love for Japan.  But even then, he admitted traveling abroad was tough because it could be so dirty.  Even in Europe and Japan (we won't discuss what he said about the Middle East).  

I knew students in my graduate days who were from other countries, including the former USSR.  One thing they complained about was America's cleanliness fetish. They said we were almost psychotic about being clean and having everything clean.  That was the 1990s.

So Mr. Kimmel, what you are lamenting is what America has become under your watch.  You can't be a willing partner with a media culture that has promoted the worst, the ugliest, the dirtiest, the most judgmental and most critical of everything that was ever seen as good and then be shocked with the results.  You can't tell kids for generations that their society is garbage and then be shocked when things begin to smell.  

It takes effort to be good, never bad.  When was the last time anyone said 'You know, all my life I wanted to be a lazy couch potato, but I couldn't overcome the temptation to eat right and exercise'?  Probably never.  In this world, goodness, virtue, beauty and maturity take effort.  They have to be practiced and worked for. But we went on the cheap and aimed lower than dirt, and now we're seeing the results.  Thank you Mr. Kimmel for admitting the obvious.  Now, if you could admit why it is.  

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Jimmy Akin unpacks modern Catholicism in a nutshell

From L-R: Western Christianity, the World (and we all know it)    
That is, you just thought you knew what Catholicism teaches

I can't think of anything more devastating to the Christian witness ot the modern world than what we're seeing today.  On any given day, we have people - and I mean leaders including some popes I know - act as if what we always thought Catholicism taught was wrong.  Or incomplete. Or mistaken.  Or a bit off the mark.  Or you just never know.  Or it's open to debate. 

In our age, where people in the dying West are perishing from misery, pointlessness, depression, drugs, suicide, mindless violence, and a general malaise of existence, taking this message into the world is like bringing gasoline to a house fire. It's telling people today that what secularism has been saying for years is true: Religions in this objectively valueless world are just made up fables and rules because none of it is true.  Therefore all is whatever, it's all up for grabs, life sucks and then you die. 

This is exacerbated by the modern Church and its leaders constantly changing, modifying, or casting doubts on what the Church seems to have always taught. Or so you thought.  As my son said after one of his college classes that dealt with Christianity, the Church continually acting like Catholics have been getting it wrong all these years plays right into the secular hand.  

And it isn't just this or that petty custom over which we're casting shadows of doubt.  The  things you're hearing people and leaders cast doubt on cut to the base of reality for the Christian: Are the people and events in the Bible true or fiction?  Deacon Greydanus says there are several things in the Bible that can be dismissed as myth.  Others will no doubt add more to that list than Deacon Greydanus would concede, and then you have yet another problem.   When does it end?  Who is right?  Which ones are myth?  Or if this is suddenly myth today, how can we know that those stories over there won't be myth tomorrow? 

Or consider salvation.  Is Catholicism even that important when it comes to being saved?  Is Jesus?  Apparently it's nice to believe in Jesus, but if you don't it's hardly a deal breaker. How about morality?  Sexuality?  Heck, abortion.  I'm seeing quite a few supposedly 'pro-life' Catholics modifying the Church's opposition to abortion by adding such terms as 'elective' or 'convenience', as if other abortions might be fine.   Or Hell?  Hell, can we even know now if there is such a thing or possibility?  Or is it that the Church never technically said anyone would certainly be in Hell, so clearly nobody might be there, and turns out Jesus never even talked about the topic in a clear way. If Catholics before thought otherwise, just chalk it up to one more thing the first 2000 years might have gotten wrong.  You just never know what we should have believed.  

It reduces learning the Divine Truths to nothing other than a polite debate around the water cooler. It makes religious belief into anything but indispensable.  Does the world approach debate about climate change that way?  About racism?  About gender?  About feminism?  About DEI? About European Imperialism?  About the Transatlantic slave trade?  Any polite discussions there?  No fundamentalist tent revival preacher was more assured of the indisputable truth than the modern World is about its proclamations.  If you want something willing to question anything it believes, I'm afraid you'll have to look to the modern Christian Faith. 

It's getting to where I can't rightly say the Church has always taught a growing number of things, at least if I pay attention to the conversations today.  The only ones sure about anything are the non-believers, the secularists, the youth weaned in our atheistic society, and others who know Christianity and flying saucer cults are practically one and the same.  That's why we change the rules.  The rules were always based on no better than the Tooth Fairy all along.  And our constant willingness to change to order does nothing other than reinforce that teaching. Hence my son's point. 

Oh, and before we evoke development of doctrine, or historical debates over theology, or that we always need to instruct the faithful on the true teachings of the Faith, we must admit youthful hipsters are also honest. They know all of these sudden debates about what we only thought the Church taught is a direct result of the Church buckling before the World.  It is not clarifying orthodoxy in the face of heresy.  They see the World push, and the Church retreat.  No St. Bonifaces or St. Patricks here.  We're not about to tell the World it's wrong.  The World changes the rules, and we begin asking if there were ever rules to begin with.  That's not explaining that God is not an angry child wanting to hurt us because people mistake God's justice and mercy.  It's saying we're not sure if God cares what we believe at all since the World has already said there is no God, so it doesn't matter what we believe. 

And not just the youngsters, but the World at large sees it for what it is:  The World compelling the witness of the Apostles to be changed to fit the World's latest demands. And if we think that will reach people for the Gospel, I'm sure we also believe that the Brooklyn Bridge is finally up for sale. 

Friday, April 5, 2024

What would Omar think?

Omar would be shocked
I've written before on my propensity to attribute nostalgic feelings to certain times, seasons, music and even movies.  One of the movies we watch each year as part of our annual cycle of traditions is the old 1985 yarn The Jewel of the Nile.  A subpar sequel to a surprise hit the previous year, it has all the hallmarks of a movie rushed through production for the buck of it. 

The story - and I use that term loosely - involves romantic novelist Joan Wilder finally getting her big break.  She yearns to be a serious writer.  That opportunity presents itself in the person of Omar Khalifa, a fictious leader of a fictious realm in a non-specified region of the Nile.  Yeah.  They could make up entire African regions back then.

Anyway, the ruse begins to unravel as Miss Wilder discovers all is not well in Omardom.  What she thought was the serious biography of a major political figure was just cover for a sinister plot of war, conquest and worse.  When she confronts him, she announces she will let the world know the truth.  He responds that she has no idea about the truth.  She's a romantic novelist.  That's why he hired her.  If he wanted the truth, he would hire 60 Minuets!

Ah, I finally get to the point.  All that came flooding back to me as I watched what could generously be called a leftwing hit piece and propaganda broadcast presented by Lesley Stahl for 60 Minutes.  I mean, my jaw dropped, and you all know how cynical I am about the modern thing that used to be called journalism. 

It was stunning.  It didn't even pretend, and yet I found myself asking 'Does she really think she's seeking the truth?  Does she really believe she is being unbiased, fair and balanced? Or does she know it's a hack partisan hit piece and propaganda circus and that's the point?'

My sons who were watching it with me immediately caught one telltale sign.  Whenever she interviewed a leftist activist bemoaning the horrors of conservatives and the need for the government to filter dangerous speech, she let them have an open microphone.  Basically, sit back and let them speak, a few cheers and high-fives along the way. 

The most hilarious part was when Ms. Stahl pointed out that the professor interviewed, Kate Starbird of the University of Washington, has been threatened.  And the professor said yes, she received a death threat once.  My thought was 'only once?'  In the Internet world, if you haven't had a death threat, you're a nobody.  I always get a kick out of the times journalists feel the need to bring up death threats, and when they don't.  

When she showed interviews with Ohio representative Jim Jordan, however, a good 2/3 of the interview was not him speaking.  It was Ms. Stahl overdubbing and giving us a play by play, telling us her version of what he was saying, rather than letting him say it.  Giving commentary on the nature of the interview itself, often with negative assessments.  And obviously trying to catch him at something, including asking him if Biden was actually elected and then focusing on his pause - because you know what that means.

No. As bad as I know the thing that used to be journalism is, I was legitimately stunned.  Again, that she accepted various leftwing talking points as gospel truth was bad enough.  But it was the partisan hackery.  The naked cheating on behalf of the cause. Of loving her some leftists, while having naked contempt for Jordan and the very thought of challenging leftwing narratives.  If it wasn't so serious, it would be hilarious.  More of a SNL skit or a Monty Python segment.  You could almost laugh.  Almost. 

Because it is serious, however, you really can't.  And it shows the Fourth Estate consummating its marriage to the powers that be.  And that includes warning us that if we try to do anything about it, we will have a target on our foreheads.  And the press, operating ever more like a secret police branch for the Left, will fire at will. 

BTW, money quote section from the segment: 

“Katie Harbath spent a decade at Facebook where she helped develop its policies around election misinformation. When she was there, she says it was not unusual for the government to ask Facebook to remove content, which is proper, as long as the government is not coercing.

Katie Harbath: ‘Conservatives are alleging that the platforms were taking down content at the behest of the government which is not true. The platforms made their own decisions. And many times we were pushing back on the government.’”

Note, she doesn’t deny that the government was trying to get content removed. She merely says the platforms weren’t influenced by the government, which I can actually believe. I feel most were happy to ban and remove all sorts of non-conforming content on their own. 

Also, according to 60 Minutes, she even says it’s proper, so long as the government isn’t ‘coercing’. 

At which point I would have liked Ms. Stahl to ask her if it is always proper as long as the government isn’t coercing, and to define coercing.  But that would require journalism.  Not the thing we watched that evening. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

If you follow the news media

You likely forgot that today is the anniversary of the horrible Covenant Christian school shooting in Nashville at the hands of a transgender activist.  That last part of the sentence being why you likely missed it, and why it was swept under the rug as soon as possible.  I had to Google "Covenant" to see it pop up among multiple other stories.  Only when I Googled "Covenant School Shooting" did I find a long list, and then almost all focused on gun control.  

I know that during the great Liars for Jesus kerfuffle many went way off the rails about lying.  In a way of legalism that would shame a pharisee, they boasted that it's better to let a thousand children be murdered than so much as tell a white lie in a desperate bid to save them.  Personally I liked what an Orthodox priest said who I was talking to about that time.  He said it's not lying as much as honesty. Truth. Sure, we shouldn't lie if at all possible - and never for our own gain. But it's because Truth matters most.

We live in an age of endless lies upon lies upon mendacity upon more lies and subterfuge and lies galore.  We are told C-A-T spells DOG, squares are round, teaching math is racist, and O'Brien was holding up five fingers.  And there is no end to the cheating lies that continually pour our way in order to sustain the endless falsehoods.  

That's never good. We often salve our wounds by insisting everyone in history is was bad as this.  Everyone has always lied and been selfish and what have you.  I've always thought you have to be pretty lousy if your go-to excuse after decades of trying to save the world is 'it's always been this bad.'  

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.    Revelation 21.8

When we see the evils riding pig-a-back on the endless streams of lies, falsehoods and deviousness that is dumped on us on a daily basis, it isn't difficult to figure why all liars were included in such a list. 

A chapter closes

Lou Conter's ship, the USS Arizona, in happier days
And an era ends.  As they always do.  Lou Conter, the last survivor of the USS Arizona, has passed.  God bless him.  

As usual, there is a fine write up over at The American Catholic, where I first saw the solemn news.  

It was WW2 that introduced me to history.  And Pearl Harbor became a point of interest for me like few other events in history.  

I don't know, I guess I'm someone who likes the biggest and best.  The definers and the milestones.  Consider what I like: Citizen Kane and Star Wars for movies, The Lord of the Rings among my favorite novels, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra and Mozart for my musical tastes.  I'm not saying that's all I like, but clearly I gravitate toward those who transcend being merely good at their craft. 

The same for history.  Part of what fascinated me about the Jesus story as an agnostic was the Crucifixion.  I remember watching an old show introduced by David L Wolper titled Appointment with Destiny: The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  That struck me at how the world changed forever because of what wasn't worth paying attention to in the halls of Roman power that year. 

Likewise Hastings, the Titanic, and Pearl Harbor also figure high in my interest level.  Perhaps due to proximity to my lifetime, Pearl Harbor especially struck me as a thick dividing line between the before and the after.  The world, at war though it was, on December 6th, compared to the world ever since beginning on December 8th.  

Because of that, I've read many, many, many books and articles over the years.  I've watched interviews and documentaries galore.  And within the broader attack, the ill-fated USS Arizona more than anything captured my imagination.  I don't know why.  

Years ago I missed the chance to meet an Arizona survivor.  My family went to the Dublin Irish Festival for the first time.  It was summer of 2001.  In the 'Genealogy' tent, there was an old codger walking about with a cane.  He had one of those veteran caps on.  But standing behind him I couldn't see what it said.  I pushed my way through the crowd to get in front of him to see.  And then I saw it: WW2.  US Navy.  USS Arizona.  

My jaw dropped and I froze.  I wasn't sure what to say.  How does one say anything in that situation?  I could kick myself in later years, but at the time I remained silent.  I wonder if it was Mr. Conter.  

Whether him or likely not, we mourn his passing and the virtues and best values that his era brought to the world.  A world in desperate need of the best they had to offer.  Hopefully his was a life of peace, and he will now indulge in that peace and joy of a better life than this one.  

The USS Arizona meets its end; how Lou Conter spent his morning on that sunny Sunday