So the Prime Minister of Israel is visiting the USA

And neither the pResident nor the VP can take time to meet him?

I’d say the Democrats are fully in the thrall of their jihadi element. But we knew this from the protests all over college campuses this summer. Hell, the Left has been all in for the terrorists for decades. It was only the optics of cheerleading the jihadis after 9-11 that kept them from going full jihadi.

The Evil That Dare Not Speak Its Name

     The following is from my pick for the best thriller ever written in English:

     When we landed we went directly to the office where Randall Wolfe was waiting for us. He was a very large, tall man with dark hair and a beard and wore old-fashioned thick black-rimmed glasses. He seemed pleased to have the opportunity to talk about his work, but didn’t ask us who we were. He had probably been told enough already.
     Ryan got immediately to it. “Can you tell me anything, Professor,” he asked, “about rogue KGB factions surviving the Soviet collapse?”
     “I can tell you two things,” Wolfe said. “First, the KGB was for a long time in business for itself, before the collapse. Second, the KGB knew for twenty years that the collapse was coming and had long prepared for the transition to, what should I call it, the private sector.”
     “Where do they operate out of?” Ryan asked.
     “Everywhere,” Wolfe said. “They were everywhere and they stayed everywhere. Finding work is easy for them. When they can’t find work; they make work. The cells are now autonomous, but they of course know each other. It’s a brotherhood, a network. Dying out in some places, getting stronger in others, especially in the homeland.”
     “Russia?” Ryan asked.
     “Yes, indeed. Look who’s in charge there.”
     “Is the network controlled from Moscow?”
     “‘Control’ is too strong a word. It’s certainly nothing like the old days. These men are self-interested capitalists now, in a manner of speaking. They might long for the power of the old Soviet Union, but they are, most of them, uninterested in the ideology.”
     “Do you consult with CIA about this?” Ryan asked.
     “I can’t answer that question,” Wolfe said.
     “I know you can’t,” Ryan said. “In your opinion, as a scholar, how does CIA approach the KGB now?”
     “Strictly as an historical matter,” Wolfe answered.
     “The KGB no longer exists,” Ryan said.
     “That about sums it up,” Wolfe said.
     “We could go wild from there, couldn’t we?”
     “There are some who think that of CIA’s many blind spots that this one is the most consequential.”
     Wolfe was pointing into the intellectual woods.
     “Have you pressed your case or published anything about this?” Ryan asked.
     “If I did that,” Wolfe said, “I would be pigeonholed as a Cold War obsessive.”
     “But it’s your area of expertise,” Ryan said.
     “Ironies abound,” Wolfe said. “I am the expert until I offer my conclusions. Then I’m still fighting the Cold War.”

     [Martin McPhillips, Corpse In Armor]

     The evil that dare not speak its name is Communism. The KGB was the “big gun” in Soviet-era repression of dissent. There isn’t much talk about it today, except for the occasional mention that Vladimir Putin was once an officer thereof. Yet it was arguably the most powerful force in history for the maintenance of unchallenged Soviet Communist control of the largest empire in human history.

     Martin’s brilliant thriller explores many trails, forward and to all sides, from the Soviet era to the present day. The disturbing plausibility of his imaginings is a large part of what makes his book one of my all-time favorites. But another aspect of contemporary thought and discourse is front and center in my thoughts today: specifically why, in our public discourse, allegations of “fascism” are many, but there’s no one who speaks of Communism as a potent political force.

     It definitely is one, you know.

***

     Today, courtesy of Eeyore at Vlad’s place, we have this:

     One of the most important forces shaping the current US presidential election is not being sufficiently discussed: COMMUNISM.
     Because the Democratic Party does not view itself in any way as communist, you can’t have a discussion about the role that communism is playing in support for Donald Trump. How can a Wall-Street friendly party favored by large institutions be communist!?!
     Okay. Begin by just stipulating that this is true for the sake of argument whether or not you agree with it.
     For the moment, imagine that you see all DEI as Marxist and Maoist. Imagine that you see AOC and the squad as communists. Imagine that what you see in terms of ‘social justice’ or ‘wokeness’ or ‘Postmodernism’ or ‘Gender affirming healthcare’ or ‘Palestinian Genocide’ or ‘Soros open society initiatives’ or ‘progressive DAs’ or ‘Anti-Whiteness’ or ‘defund the police’ is straight up precursor to *violent* revolutionary Marxism.
     The people crossing over to the cause of Trump with enormous checkbooks see this EXACTLY the way I have described in the above paragraph. You can pretend that this isn’t so. Maybe they won’t admit it to you or do so in public. But the stark truth of it is that what is driving a lot of surprising support for Trump and the Republicans has nothing to do with either. It’s not all about Trump. Or the GOP.
     It’s about Marx, Mao, Stalin, and Lennin. It is the idea that Revolutionary Marxism is a dangerous brain cancer that is always trying to get a foothold among the weak.
     The idea that is everywhere is this: “The Democratic party of the United States thought they could play with rebranded revolutionary Marxists as if the new Communism were merely a form of socially conscious pro-market, pro-democracy liberalism, when it is instead a communist Trojan horse philosophy. It has as its aim, destabilizing and destroying our culture, the United States and then the world. This isn’t a culture war. It is the takeover of the United States by hardcore revolutionary neo-marxists who have come for your newspapers, universities, public schools and your children. The leaders who think they can reach out to ‘progressive’ voters do not realize that they are dancing with a devil who will outplay them.”
     Does that sound silly to you? Great. Glad to hear it.
     And, if so, you have absolutley no idea what is being discussed by many of the world’s smartest, most powerful and most influential people. Constantly.
     Why is this confusing? Well, no one I know sees Joe Biden as communist. They don’t even see the Democratic party leadership as communist. They view the party as opportunistic and naive in thinking that Democrats can allow violent pathological revolutionaries into the big blue tent with a simple coat of blue paint and a bargain basement rebrand to ‘Deconstruct the patriarchy’ and ‘Decolonize’, ‘Defund’, and otherwise ‘Reform’ our society while quietly waiting for their real moment.
     I’m sorry if this sounds funny to some of you who can’t imagine opposing Biden for these reasons. If so, it just means you have no clue…as in ZERO…as to what is going on in a pivotal part of the shift towards Trump.
     I just wanted to bring this up because it is barely being discussed in mainstream media:
     “It’s the Communism stupid.”

     I hope Eric Weinstein will pardon me for lifting the entirety of his tweet. His observations are about as pivotal as the recognition that the universe has unbreakable natural laws. They deserve the widest exposure they can get.

***

     The most common counterposition with Communism is capitalism, all too frequently phrased as “the capitalist system.” In point of fact, capitalism is not a “system” of any kind, despite the “ism” suffix.” It’s merely what happens when governments refrain from making laws about who may produce, who may buy, who may sell, and under what conditions. The more accurate term for “capitalism” – what the term really coined by Karl Marx? – is freedom.

     There was once a terrific movie that starred that most atypical of first-echelon actors, Danny DeVito, as investor and financier Laurence Garfield. Here’s what he has to say to his lawyers after a legal setback that impedes a takeover bid:

     TRO? Temporary Restraining Order? Thank you very much. Some crew I’ve got. Seventeen lawyers on retainer, and you’ve managed to work it out so that, in a free market, in a so-called free country, I can’t buy some shit-ass stock every other asshole can buy. Congratulations, you’re destroying the capitalist system! While everybody else in the world is embracing it, my boys and girls are fucking it up. You know what happens when capitalism gets fucked up? The communists come back! They come out of the bushes, don’t kid yourselves, they’re waiting in there. But maybe that’s not so bad, ’cause you know what happens when the commies take over? The first thing they do is shoot all the lawyers!

     Economic activity is at the heart of temporal life. We must work and produce if we want to live. When a third party claims the “authority” to make rules about our work, our production, and the gains we accumulate by trading the products with others, we are no longer free. Since the most overt difference between Communist states and Western-style “free” ones is the Communist regime’s control of all production and trade, we’ve tended to view Communism as an economic scheme.

     But the point of rigid economic control isn’t economics. It’s control.

***

     Today, when some Leftist wants to denounce your opposition to his preferred variety of madness, he’s most likely to call you a “fascist.” (Yes, yes, now and then he’ll call you a “racist” or some kind of “phobe,” but “fascist” is currently top-of-the-pops. Trust me, I’m on the receiving end frequently enough to know.) “Fascist” comes with a lot of polemically useful associations, plus images of swastikas and jackboots. The Left has been using it as a slur since Hitler broke the Molotov-Ribbentrop Agreement and invaded the Soviet Union. But a peek deeper into history tells us that the fascism of Mussolini and Hitler is merely Communism with a few decorative trimmings. Both ideas proceed from Mussolini’s Maxim:

     “Everything within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.”

     The Left’s determination to cleave Communism from fascism is founded on both their need for a useful slur, and for their desire to hide the overwhelming conformity between the two. Both schemes closely control economic activity. Both schemes ruthlessly suppress dissent. Both are implacably hostile to Christianity and Judaism. Both promote the notion of a “class enemy” that must be fought to extermination. How, then, shall we distinguish between the two? By the designs of their flags? And how is it logical to call someone who argues for less government and greater freedom a “fascist?”

     The questions answer themselves… at least, for those with the courage to face them squarely.

***

     The Left fears that we normal Americans might actually come to understand what it’s all about. (A girl I knew briefly long ago once looked at me with disdain and said “I know what you’re all about.” And I hadn’t even made a move on her. Go figure.) In all things, it’s about control. It has no philosophical argument against fascism. Jonah Goldberg once stunned a crowd of college students by asking them, “Other than the racism and genocide, what was so bad about fascism?”

     There aren’t any Leftists openly calling for fascism… but there are some who openly advocate Communism. The Left has promoted several open Communists as heroes: Ernesto “Che” Guevara is only the best known example. Too few normal Americans have caught on yet. Perhaps that’s attributable to the demise of education these past few decades. But that doesn’t make it something we can’t fight.

     And it’s about BLEEP!ing time we started to do so.

But Will It Matter?

     By now you’ve heard: Joe Biden has announced that he will end his campaign for a second term as president. He’s also endorsed Kamala Harris as his choice to assume the nomination… but that will require the consent of the Democrat National Convention. Whatever the Convention may decide, the scramble for money and endorsements begins now.

     Will it matter? Harris polls even worse against Trump than did Biden. Yes, she’s a woman, and of darker skin tone at that. I can’t see that having her at the top of the ticket will make the amount of vote fraud required to overcome Trump’s totals any less. I could be wrong, of course – women have displayed a preference for female candidates to office, and though Harris isn’t a Negro, her dark complexion might win her some votes from American Negroes. We’ll see in November.

     The interesting aspect of Biden’s decision will be whether it affects Trump’s campaign tactics and rhetoric. I hope it doesn’t. Trump has solid leads on the issues that matter most to Americans today. Adulterating those issues with personal attacks on the new nominee doesn’t seem like a winning tactic. Depending the specifics of such attacks, media exploitation of them could prove very damaging.

     So, on to the convention. Will it be Harris? Or Gavin Newsom, or Gretchen Whitmer? Or the “mighty” Hillary Clinton? Who will buy – or buy off – whom, and at what price? What sort of floor jockeying can we expect to dominate the events in Chicago come August? Will the protests and violence expected to adorn the streets outside the Convention matter at all?

     Time to invest in popcorn and Cheez Doodles®.

Sanity Tests

     They can be just as important as cognition tests.

     The political scene is agog (“No, really?” “Shut up, you.”) over two things: the assassination attempt on Donald Trump and the prospect of Joe Biden resigning from the Democrat ticket. Of course, the former of those things is an actual fact, despite the attempts of some to claim that it was staged. The latter is a possibility that’s had watchers alternately snickering and speculating.

     Time is drawing short on the possibility that Biden will end his campaign for a second term. The Democrats plan a “virtual” nomination farce to ensure that the Vegetable-in-Chief qualifies for the ticket in Ohio and a few other states with rigid ballot access laws. Once that’s done, there’s no going back: Biden will be their nominee unless something should strike him dead. (No, I’m not wishing for that.)

     But there are several days remaining in the drama, during which watchers can speculate about whether Biden will nod out and by whom he’d be replaced. And – surprise! Surprise! – the replacement I’ve wondered about ever since the curtain went up on this drama is now being “floated:”

     Social media users were surprised by a new column from “The Hill” floating former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as the replacement for President Biden’s 2024 candidacy.
     The outlet’s opinion contributor, Pablo O’Hana authored a piece on Saturday titled, “Ready for Round 2: Why we Need Hillary more than ever.” It argued that the former U.S. Secretary of State, who already lost the presidency to former President Trump in 2016, is the most suitable person to replace Biden as calls for him to suspend his re-election camp grow.

     A few choice phrases from the rest of O’Hana’s piece:

  • “one of the most qualified people ever to run for the office”
  • “perhaps the mightiest of all”
  • “an unmatched depth of experience”
  • “for children’s rights and health care”
  • “a seasoned, savvy and adaptable candidate”

     Yes, Gentle Reader: Someone really, truly wrote those things about the Corpse of Chappaqua.

     I suppose it isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility. After all, Trump is running again after having been “defeated.” But Clinton has been out of the public eye for quite some time now, has been linked to the Russian interference hoax, and has put no personal effort into re-establishing herself as a political participant since the 2016 election. If she’s had agents attempting to promote her, they’ve had little visibility. And beside that: where’s the money to come from?

     Well, we’ll know more in due course. It may be just one of those trial balloons that are floated during a contentious campaign, even if this one was launched far later than is usual. But I must admit that O’Hana’s suggestion has tickled me. If I were in Hillary Clinton’s place, with all the memories of her defeat festering along with the millions of “Hillary!” bumper stickers (NB: To prospective political aspirants: The one-name schtick is only workable for pop stars.), I think the last thing I’d want is to relive the ignominy in a fresh contest against the most popular figure in the U.S. – and who’s just narrowly dodged death, as well. An expressed desire to do so would not speak well of the balance of Mrs. Clinton’s mind. Besides, What would Kamala Harris say?

Concerning Vice Presidential Selections

     Time was, it was understood that the function of the vice president – his Constitutional job definition – was simple:

     Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 6: In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

     Article I, Section 3, Paragraph 4: The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

     Clearly, it’s not an exalted office with extensive powers or responsibilities. Still, in most quadrennial campaigns, one or both of the major parties’ putative nominees for president strive to whip up excitement about who will be their vice presidential nominees. It’s rather difficult to comprehend on a purely legalistic basis.

     This year, the GOP has fomented excitement over the nomination for VP, which has landed on James David (J. D.) Vance. Perhaps it’s more appropriate than usual, since Trump will be limited to a single term. However, VPs don’t always go directly from the Naval Observatory to the White House. It has happened:

  • John Adams (succeeded George Washington)
  • Thomas Jefferson (succeeded John Adams)
  • Martin van Buren (succeeded Andrew Jackson)
  • John Tyler (succeeded William Henry Harrison)
  • Millard Fillmore (succeeded Zachary Taylor)
  • Andrew Johnson (succeeded Abraham Lincoln)
  • Chester Arthur (succeeded James Garfield)
  • Theodore Roosevelt (succeeded William McKinley)
  • Calvin Coolidge (succeeded Warren Harding)
  • Harry Truman (succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt)
  • Lyndon Johnson (succeeded John F. Kennedy)
  • Gerald Ford (succeeded Richard Nixon)
  • George H. W. Bush (succeeded Ronald Reagan)

     Note that of the above thirteen:

  • eight (the ones in red) assumed the presidency upon the death of the elected president;
  • one did so upon his president’s resignation;
  • only four became president by election immediately after having served as vice president.

     And of course, one vice president was elected to the presidency discontinuously with his term as VP: Richard Nixon.

     So the office is not without significance beyond its Constitutional role.

     Donald Trump, who is heavily favored to win back the presidency, is as of today 78 years old. As several presidents died in office at similar ages, Trump’s VP should receive scrutiny. Is he a man fit for the presidency? What baggage does he carry? What are his political antecedents?

     Sundance at The Last Refuge has compiled some interesting observations about the man now known as J. D. Vance:

  • He’s changed his name three times, most recently in 2014;
  • He’s friends with Vivek Ramaswamy;
  • He’s been closely watched and sponsored by key Bilderbergers Eric Schmidt and Peter Thiel;
  • Before Trump’s election to the presidency, Vance was a fierce anti-Trump critic;
  • His political career is shallow: he’s been an elected official for only two years (U.S. Senate).

     So apart from Hillbilly Elegy and the most recent events, Vance is little known beyond his intimates.

     The recent attempt to assassinate Donald Trump came before his selection of Vance as his running mate. Since then, the possibility that that won’t be the last attempt on Trump’s life has given extra significance to his VP selection. It would be well for those of us who hope for a true continuation of Trump’s policies after his departure from office to know Vance a lot better. Sundance is dubious about him; others have other views.

     Given all the above, J. D. Vance is a figure that deserves watching.

Sheila Jackson Lee is dead

CNN writes her hagiography.

Unlike 99% of the congress critters out there, SJL is one of the congress critters I have actually met in person.

She was as racist and stupid as she seemed. It wasn’t a matter of the cameras making her appear that dumb, She really was that dumb. I hate to say that. I don’t want to speak ill of the dead. But if you were to ask me of any positive attribute that I recognized when I spent just a brief moment of time around her, it would be that she actually believed what she said. Not that what she said was right, just that she believed it.

God help me, the only reaction I have right now is relief.

Authorities

     I’d intended to let this wait for tomorrow, but the pressure inside me has built to an irresistible level. First, a brief vignette from about twenty years ago, when I hadn’t yet gained much confidence in my ability to tell a story.

     I attended a critique group that met once a month. Most of the members were at relatively early stages in their development as writers. There were a couple who showed some promise, but most were still groping. The group met for an hour and a half, during which the leader, a self-described agent, encouraged us to read snatches of our work for group commentary.

     On the occasion in question, there was a new attendee, a woman whose name I no longer recall, who had nothing prepared to offer. The leader had exhausted the other members’ offerings, and with about fifteen minutes remaining to our session she turned to me and asked if I had anything prepared. I did, of course: the story “Good Guys,” which is part of my early novel Chosen One.

     Rather than reproduce the whole story here, I’ll excerpt the relevant part for you. A young female engineer named Celeste has decided to investigate the possibility of romance with Louis Redmond, the young Catholic hero of that book. However, just before their second date, Celeste discovers that she’s pregnant. (Yes, by someone else.) For reasons not germane to this diatribe, she probes for Louis’s “causes,” and discovers that he’s pro-life. It precipitates the followings exchange:

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

     When I finished reading the story, the new attendee erupted in fury. The sentence I’ll never forget was “How dare you bring God into it!”

     Let that sink in for a moment.

***

     The above is “backdrop:” an illustrative tale that makes plain just how reluctant some people are to grapple with another’s religious convictions, even when the “other” is a fictional character. It didn’t occur to me at the time to probe for my attacker’s faith, if indeed she had one.

     It also didn’t occur to me at the time to cite the old saw that “Without God, everything is permitted.” One who believes has accepted an Authority that can’t be overruled by any mortal agency. The great majority of Americans still profess a belief in God, no matter how casual they may be about the matter. I hadn’t imagined that there would be any controversy about writing a believer into a story.

     Keep that in mind as we press onward.

***

     Just a little while ago, I stumbled over this at Gateway Pundit:

     View co-host Joy Behar, in a Friday morning airing of The View, made a disgusting comment regarding Donald Trump’s speech on Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.
     Behar stated that Trump shouldn’t have mentioned God in his speech.
     The View co-host stated, “I was raised Catholic. I’m a Christian girl. When something like this happens to you, like this assassination attempt, and you say something like ‘God was watching me,’ that is a very un-Christian thing to say because it’s very narcissistic.”
     “The bandage Trump had over his ear “should have been over his mouth,” added Behar.

     “Raised Catholic,” Miss Behar? Apparently it didn’t “take.” Not that I’m in a position to talk; I was raised Catholic too, and I was away from the Faith for more than thirty years. But note: this venomous harpy dares to call Trump’s invocation of divine favor – which is neither verifiable nor falsifiable, as is always the case with possible interventions from the supernatural realm – “narcissistic.” Frankly, if I’d just had that narrow a brush with death, I’d have fallen to my knees and thanked and praised God until I was too hoarse to continue. But not Joy Behar! And we know why, don’t we, Gentle Reader?

     God – the “Big Daddy in the sky” – is the Authority beyond whom there is no review and no appeal. His rules are absolute. Even to allow that He exists is sufficient to bind you to those rules, for He has written them into the fabric of the cosmos, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against them. And a self-worshipping leftist such as Joy Behar can’t have that. It would intrude on “a woman’s right to choose!”

     Of course, if you happen to worship God rather than your own pudenda, there’s no problem. You accept the Commandments and do your best to live by them. Nor do you take issue with others who believe that divine power has altered their course through life. Television harridans plainly have other opinions, especially when the privilege of spreading one’s legs without consequences is at stake. Funny, I hadn’t thought that would be of great importance to Joy Behar.

     Without God, all rules are man-made. Without God, governments are the arbiters of right and wrong. Without God, all that’s left is the struggle for the power to make and enforce the rules.

     What’s your preference, Gentle Reader?

Cincinnati

     No, not the city in Ohio.

     If you don’t know about Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus:

     Lucius Quinctius (or Quintius) Cincinnatus (c. 519 – c. 430 BC) was a Roman patrician, statesman, and military leader of the early Roman Republic who became a legendary figure of Roman virtue— particularly civic virtue —by the time of the late Republic.
     Cincinnatus was a conservative opponent of the rights of the plebeians (the common citizens) who fell into poverty because of his son’s violent opposition to their desire for a written code of equally enforced laws. Despite his old age, he worked his own small farm until an invasion prompted his fellow citizens to call for his leadership. He came from his plough to assume complete control over the state but, upon achieving a swift victory, relinquished his power and its perquisites and returned to his farm. His success and immediate resignation of his near-absolute authority with the end of this crisis (traditionally dated to 458 BC) has often been cited as an example of outstanding leadership, service to the greater good, civic virtue, humility, and modesty.

     Can you name any other historical figure who attained absolute power over a nation… and resigned peacefully from it? There haven’t been a great many. At any rate, Cincinnatus inspired a group among the officers of the original Continental Army. The first president of the Society of the Cincinnati was a certain George Washington.

     There was a real possibility that the triumphant army would proceed to establish an American monarchy. Critics charged the members of the Cincinnati with having that end in mind:

     Within months of its formation, critics charged that the Society’s real purpose was to impose a hereditary aristocracy on the new republic. Members and non-members rushed to the defense of the Society, which experience proved was not a threat to liberty. The Society’s first decade was a period of energy and growth, and 2,270 officers joined the new organization. Constituent societies were organized in each of the original thirteen states and in France. The state societies met annually, typically around the Fourth of July, and most established traditions for these occasions—banquets, formal addresses, processions, and other ceremonies.

     Apparently, there was a faction among the Cincinnati that favored installing Washington as King George over the newborn United States. Washington himself dissuaded them from their aim. Whether he had the character of Cincinnatus in mind as he did so, or was merely acting from his own character, we cannot know.

     What we do know is that Washington himself established the tradition, long before the Twenty-Second Amendment, of limiting a president to no more than two terms. No president until the odious Franklin Delano Roosevelt departed from that tradition, though Theodore Roosevelt’s “Bull Moose” bid for a third term in 2012 is a divergence. Perhaps FDR’s thirteen-year grip on executive power taught our political class the dangers of permitting such an overextended presidency.

     Today, we have a “president” who:

  • Is manifestly of low personal character;
  • Has persistently displayed indications of severe dementia;
  • Appears to be “ruled” by his wife, son, and a small circle of advisors;
  • And has stated defiantly that he will run for a second term regardless of adverse counsel.

     Major figures in the Democrat Party are trying doggedly to persuade Biden to end his campaign. Some have even hinted that he should resign the presidency. Biden has trumpeted his determination to remain on campaign, despite strong indications that he cannot win. Step down while still in office? Unthinkable; the disgrace would be too much for anyone to bear… especially Jill Biden.

     Perhaps this is just what one must expect from a member of our political Establishment today. The ideal of “public service” is not conspicuously served by their actions. Most grow inexplicably wealthy despite their modest salaries. They enjoy the perquisites of power without embarrassment. All are reluctant to return to their constituencies as humble residents.

     Would George Washington have welcomed them into the Society of the Cincinnati? Would Cincinnatus himself have had a few words to say to them about “public service” and “civic virtue?” Perhaps most pertinent, would Cincinnatus’s counsel be comprehensible to any of them?

Turning It To 11

     The Left is striated into several layers:

  1. The “base:” people who don’t think, but vote… sometimes.
  2. The “street workers:” some political activists, some looters and rioters.
  3. The “promulgators:” mostly they write snippy things on X / Twittter.
  4. The “top crowd:” mostly concerned with how to get the rest energized.

     Ah, but it seems I’ve omitted one: the preachers of political violence.

     From Gateway Pundit:

     Over the last week, a popular far-left live streamer named Destiny (a man with a female name) went on a vitriolic rampage against the murdered Trump supporter, Corey Comperatore, who was hit with a stray bullet fired at President Donald Trump.
     It only took a matter of hours for blue-haired leftists like Destiny (pictured below) to begin gleefully celebrating the death of a Trump supporter while lamenting that the assassin failed to take the life of the former president.
     He was subsequently (allegedly) demonetized on X for his comments glorifying violence while also being temporarily suspended from popular streaming service Kick.com for the same grotesque remarks.
     While many conservatives condemned the inhuman comments celebrating the murder of a fellow American, many were defending Destiny’s right to make such comments as an example of the 1A. However, during the RNC, Destiny ramped up his rhetoric from glorifying violence to actually sanctioning political attacks.

     I’m not sure of the violence-preachers’ position in the cake, but there are more of them than ever before in this country. And we cannot know who is listening to them, or being led by them.

     Watch your back, Gentle Reader. Always, always go armed. Verbum sat sapienti.

Lots of “130 yards.” Why No Perspective?

We hear that the attempted assassin was 130 yards away from Trump. Why only that?

Let me provide you perspective.

  • Place President Trump’s Stage just outside the end zone of an American football field.
  • Then the sniper was outside the other end zone up in the 15th row of the bleachers.
  • That is about 150 yards.

It serves to mock the “anybody can make a mistake crowd” who don’t want you to envision such a comparison. Don’t let them continue in that absurd excuse. With this vision in your mind, you know this is no mere mistake.

My fondest wish is my readers will offer the following comparison every time someone repeats one of the excuses. We want to force other media outlets to respond to it with whatever sophistry they wish to invent. (Their best answer is to run away like Cheatle has been doing.)

“If you were at an event where just about everybody was at one end of the football stadium, how likely would it be that not a single law enforcement would see a lone gunman at the far end of the stadium setting up his strike-point?”

Let me provide author Sarah Hoyt thanks for the inspiration to think in this manner with her latest “implausible” blog entry: Told By An Idiot.

In case anyone suspects that somebody must already have made this comparison, I first checked the web. I came up with this:

Is football field and 130 yards mentioned in any article?

Yes, the combination “football field” and “130 yards” is mentioned in two articles.

  • In the article titled “Football pitch”, it is stated that “The two touchlines are between 100 and 130 yards (91 and 119 metres) long and have to be of the same length.”
  • In the article titled “How Many Yards Is A Football Field 2024? NFL Football Field”, it is mentioned that “The football field clipart must be between 100 and 130 yards long, and between 53 and 59 yards wide.”

These articles suggest that the range of 100 to 130 yards is considered acceptable for the length of a football field, although the standard NFL field is typically 100 yards long.

If You Thought Kevorkian Was A “One-Off”

     There’s a new “Dr. Death,” and he has an invention for us:

     A suicide pod dubbed the “Tesla of euthanasia” will be used for the first time next week.
     Sarco, a 3D-printed capsule, was unveiled at the Venice Design Festival in 2019 and reportedly offers a painless death within 10 minutes of entering with the push of a button, reported Metro.
     It works by flooding the chamber with nitrogen, which reduces oxygen levels so fast that the person inside loses consciousness within the first minute. The person will then have a “peaceful, even euphoric” death within 10 minutes, according to the company site.

     How convenient! How reassuring!

     The inventor, Australian Dr. Philip Nitschke, is of course proud of his “achievement:”

     The Sarco, short for sarcophagus, doubles as a coffin. It is made of biodegradable materials.
     The “right-to-die” agenda has long been pushed by Leftists, and the Sarco Suicide Pod is just the latest version of how White, Western lives can be prematurely destroyed. Created by Australian “humanist”, Philip Nitschke is a former physician and author with a lengthy history of controversy.He is the founder and director of the pro-euthanasia group Exit International.
     […]
     Nitschke was the first physician in the world to administer a legal, voluntary lethal injection. The patient was able to administer the injection by activating a syringe using a computer. Among his controversial exploits, he made headlines when he accompanied eight people from New Zealand as they traveled to Mexico to obtain Nembutal, a drug legally-obtained in Mexico that was capable of delivering a fatal overdose.He made headlines again by suggesting that people should board a ship (referred to as the Death Ship), which would then take everyone to international waters so he could euthanize them legally and skirt legal responsibility and culpability. Additionally, in 2009, Nitschke helped to promote Dignified Departure, a 13-hour, pay-television program on doctor-assisted suicide in Hong Kong and mainland China. It was aired in China on the Family Health channel.

     Because “family health,” of course, must include a convenient death.

     Some Gentle Readers have written to tell us that Pascal and I overemphasize the death cults thesis. Yet there are persons such as Nitschke laboring tirelessly to make death as conveniently available as tap water. See them as part of a mosaic that includes “medical ethicists” who argue that the elderly should be denied medical care so that it can be “conserved,” and persons such as Peter Singer, who argues for a right to abort a baby up to a month after his birth. Add the anti-energy advocates, who fear what we might do with new, clean, dense energy sources. Extend it to embrace “environmentalists” who claim that “a wild and healthy planet” is more important than human survival, and biology professors who calmly tell their students that 90% of the human race is doomed. Add the “futurists” who oppose space exploration on the grounds that “polluting” the rest of the solar system is morally wrong.

     Frankly, I don’t think we write about the death cultists nearly often enough.

Standards

     Standards, and our attempts – sincere or not – to meet them, have lately been much on my mind.

     Just a little while ago, an itinerant preacher proclaimed a standard that’s made him moderately famous:

     And behold one came and said to him: Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting? Who said to him: Why asketh thou me concerning good? One is good, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He said to him: Which? And Jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. [Matthew 19:16-19]

     That citation has appeared here more than once. It proclaims a universal standard. If you’re a living human being capable of reason – what ethical philosophers call a moral agent — you’re expected to conform to it. There are no exceptions, no dispensations granted.

     But other standards are less universal, because they arise from particular stations in life. They pertain to the roles we play, whether or not we have chosen to accept them. Some of those roles are “commonplace:” husband; wife; parent; guardian. Others are less so. Few come with no ethical obligations.

     Sometimes, those ethical obligations are misconceived, or misunderstood.

     Ever heard the old saw that “the captain always goes down with his ship” — ? That’s not a true obligation of a maritime vessel’s commander. The impulse to follow it doesn’t arise from any reasonable moral or ethical standard, but from the shame and embarrassment a responsible commander will feel should he lose his ship, even if through no fault of his own. The stigma from such a loss means de facto ruination, professionally if in no other way. When the moment has been upon them, many men have been unable to face it.

     The real obligations a captain must bear are those that arise from the responsibilities he freely and consciously accepts when he assumes command. He is obliged to do everything in his power to get his ship to wherever it’s going, and to keep its entire complement safe from beginning to end. If his ship is a military vessel, there are additional obligations: to be true to his mission, and not to surrender his ship to the enemy if it’s possible to avoid doing so. But if he should decide for tactical reasons that his ship must be scuttled, he is not obliged to “go down with it,” nor to take his own life in any other fashion.

     Achieving clarity about one’s occupational or situational obligations is a vital chore. It’s also something we’ve done a decreasing amount these last few decades. And no, I’m not about to launch into another tirade about the failures and defaults of the United States Secret Service.

***

     A lot of people, when supposedly committing to a responsibility, will have a private list in their minds about when that responsibility can be sloughed. Time was, we called that list mental reservations. Among such reservations is one common among the immature: “as long as it’s not too hard and doesn’t get in the way of something I really want to do.”

     Imagine a babysitter holding such a reservation. Would you hire such a person to watch over your toddlers? I’d imagine not. Yet there are enough persons who silently maintain such reservations about what’s they’ve promised to do that many parents feel they can never leave their young children in someone else’s care, however fleeting. The impact isn’t confined to the restaurant and cinema industries.

     The pervasive fear of such reservations is one of the symptoms that attends the loss of America’s previous high-trust society. It largely drives our atomization into small, intimate groups whose members know from experience that they can trust one another. For my part, it makes me more nervous than ever before to close my front door behind me – and I live in one of the safest neighborhoods in America.

***

     I’ve written a fair amount about heroes, heroism, and the totalitarians’ drive to extinguish every trace of both. The hunger for heroes and heroism is the biggest of the reasons I write fiction. My readership isn’t large, but the feedback I get from it suggests that I’ve accurately conceived the need. Two young women under the mistaken impression that I must be a hero rather than just a storyteller offered to marry me, sight unseen. That’s how severe the hunger can get among those who feel oppressed or have been victimized.

     But heroism isn’t confined to supermen who work a 9-to-5 shift at the Daily Planet, then don a onesie and a cape and go out to fight crime. Heroism resides in the decision to accept a risk for the sake of something greater than oneself. Sometimes, such a decision arises from a man’s recognition that he has pledged himself to a standard that compels him to act or be ashamed forever after…such as Lyle Worthing in the story that follows.


Norms

     “Hard livin’s my pleasure,
     “My money’s my own,
     “And them that don’t like me,
     “Can leave me alone.”

     “Why do you keep singing that inane song?” Lyle Worthing grumped.
     Jason Horrocks grinned. “It’s my song, champ.”
     Lyle shook his head, returned his attention to the grill, and flipped the chicken breasts over. He made to do the same for the sirloin steak he’d thrown on the grill for Jason when the mercenary said “Don’t bother. I’ll take it as it is.”
     “But it’s still—”
     Jason chuckled. “I know.”
     Lyle shrugged, forked up the unusually rare steak, and plopped it onto the serving platter.
     I could probably serve it to him raw, and he’d smack his lips over it.
     How much of this is just posturing? The soldier for hire reminding us over-civilized types how tough he is?
     Gemma Worthing shouldered the screen door aside and stepped out onto the deck. She set a large platter loaded with sautéed vegetables and a large bowl of teriyaki rice at the center of their glass and wicker dining table, smiled fleetingly at Jason, and returned to the house to fetch the beverages. Jason awarded her backside his customary leer. Lyle strove to restrain his temper.
     “Can’t figure how you bagged a woman that fine, buddy.”
     It compelled Lyle to grin. “Just lucky, I guess.”
     From the moment he’d first set eyes on her, Lyle had known that Gemma Thompson was out of his league. Her beauty, her intelligence, and her uncommon sweetness eclipsed any other woman he’d known before or since. Had she not approached him for assistance on a project, he would never have found the courage to ask her out. It continued to amaze him that she’d said yes to a date, much less to his proposal of marriage.
     “Had to be.” Jason continued to leer toward the screen door as it shut behind Lyle’s wife. “‘Course, in Venezuela—”
     “Yeah, I know,” Lyle said. “They grow ‘em in bunches.”
     “Damn right, buddy. You can pick your own off a tree.” The mercenary settled back in his lawn chair and set his folded hands on his belly.
     So where’s yours?
     Lyle judged the chicken cooked through and loaded it onto a serving platter as Gemma returned with three stemmed glasses, a bottle of Dry Riesling, and Jason’s six-pack of beer.
     Lyle set the platter of meat next to the one with the vegetables. “Dinner is served.” The Worthings seated themselves at their places, steepled their hands, and bowed their heads in prayer.
     Jason groaned mockingly, clambered to his feet with exaggerated difficulty, and joined them.

#

     Gemma frowned at the receding shape of Jason’s four-by-four.
     “What on Earth moved you to invite him to dinner?”
     Lyle grimaced. “I didn’t. He just…showed up.”
     Gemma’s eyes widened. “Seriously?”
     “He’s been doing it since we were in school.”
     And nobody ever shoos him away.
     “That takes a lot of brass.”
     “He’s got a lot. Always has.”
     “Do you think the stories he was telling—”
     “Are true?” Lyle shrugged. “Probably. It’s what mercenary soldiers do. Some of them anyway, if there’s anything to the accounts I’ve read. And it’s the sort of thing he’d be proud of.”
     I’m just glad you didn’t catch him ogling you.
     She grunted her disapproval. “He certainly kept us up late enough with them.”
     “Are we cleaned up, sweetie?” he said.
     “The dishes are done. Have you covered the grill?”
     “Uh, no. I’ll do that now. And then?”
     “Then,” she said as she encircled his waist with an arm, “I think it will be time for bed.”
     He smiled. “What a good idea.”
#

     “Fall back!”
     Jason didn’t wait for the lieutenant to repeat himself. The Chavista armor was approaching fast, and his platoon had expended the last of its anti-armor munitions hours before. He scrambled to his feet, slung his rifle across his back, and hightailed it for the relative safety of the jungle. Within seconds automatic fire swept through the foliage behind them. He saw members of his squad fall to enfilading fire but kept plunging forward even so. Flight was the only imperative.
     He kept moving as fast as the jungle would allow, until there was a solid quarter mile of densely spaced trees and heavy brush between him and the road command had tasked the platoon to hold.
     He threw a glance behind him at the trailing remnant of his platoon. The lieutenant was nowhere in sight.
     Must have caught a round.
     That was too fucking close.
     We’re likely to catch a ton of shit from upper…if there’s any upper left after that column hits it. It was headed straight for the main base, and I don’t think that was by chance.
     Maybe we’ll be de-mobed now. No point in hanging around if the folks who sign the paychecks are all dead. Hell, we haven’t seen a penny for more than a year, anyway.
     It wasn’t long before the radioman announced that command had been overrun and the rebellion had been quenched. Jason’s wish had come true. Presently the remnant of the platoon was up and headed to their alternate exfil point and the river craft that awaited them. There were no long faces to be seen among them.
     At least I didn’t catch a bullet. Would have been for nothing.
#

     The pounding on the front door had a familiar quality. Gemma squeezed Lyle’s hand, laid it gently beside him, and went to answer the knock. She opened the door and frowned at the presence of Jason Horrocks.
     The mercenary grinned insolently. “Good to see you, babe. I’m just back from—”
     “From Venezuela?” she murmured. “I understand the rebellion has been crushed and its political figures are all dead or in prison.”
     He grimaced. “Yeah. Won’t be going back there any time soon. Is hubby gonna be grilling tonight?”
     She looked him full in the eyes. The half step backward he took nearly toppled him off the landing.
     “I’m afraid not, Jason. He hasn’t done any grilling for four months.” She produced her coldest smile. “Would you like to see why?”
     Jason’s face clouded. “Well, sure, lead the way.”
     She ushered him in with a wave and led him to the master bedroom. His eyes went wide when his gaze landed on Lyle’s unconscious form and the intravenous lines and monitoring devices attached to it.
     “What the—is he sick?”
     She shook her head. “Not in the usual sense, Jason. He was badly hurt in fighting off a pair of carjackers. Multiple fractures, including one to his skull. The surgeons had to remove his spleen and one of his kidneys, as well.”
     Jason paled. “Holy—but why? Why didn’t he just back away and let them have the car? It’s a piece of shit!”
     “Because,” she murmured, “they wanted what was in the car.”
     “Huh? What was in the car?”
     “Me, Jason. His wife.”
     The mercenary was struck dumb. Gemma noted his stupefaction and nodded.
     “He killed one of them, Jason,” she said pleasantly. “He managed to rip the brute’s throat open with his car keys. But the second one beat him half to death with a length of pipe before he fled.”
     She seated herself next to the bed and took Lyle’s hand in hers again.
     “His fractures have mostly healed, but his coma has persisted. The surgeons don’t know if he’ll ever regain consciousness. They’ve told me not to…hope for too much. All the same, I’m not going to let him go. ‘In sickness and in health,’ you know?”
     She caressed her husband’s hand. “So no, I don’t think we’ll be grilling tonight, the way we used to on Fridays. He gets his nutrition intravenously, and I prefer to bring my dinner in here and sit with him while I eat. Perhaps in a year or so—or do you expect you’ll have gone off to some other war by then?”
     “We go where the action is,” he croaked. “It’s what mercenaries do.”
     She nodded again. “He told me about the ways of your chosen trade. Well, Jason, he did what husbands do. The good ones, anyway. If he ever comes to, I’ll tell him you stopped by, but for now, I think you know the way out.”

==<O>==

     Copyright © 2020 Francis W. Porretto. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

     A slightly shorter version of this story appeared at Liberty’s Torch V1.0 in August, 2020.

Was It Really Simple Negligence?

     The evidence is accumulating that the Secret Service has secrets of its own and means to keep them:

     The agency run by impeached migration czar Alejandro Mayorkas is interfering with the House’s investigation into the attempted murder of President Donald Trump, Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas), told Breitbart News.
     […]
     Cloud is a member of the House’s oversight committee, which is chaired by Rep. James Comer (R-KY).
     “We were scheduled for a first briefing today, just on the facts of the case, what’s going on, what they know now, and DHS has stepped in between the communications now of the Secret Service and the Oversight Committee, and are now trying to control the communication between the two committees,” Cloud told Breitbart News during an interview at the GOP’s national convention.

     How much have we heard about “transparency” in government these past four years? Today, it seems “transparency” and “opacity” are synonyms.

     Quoth Lauren Boebert:

     The future of the Secret Service is looking rather grim.

They are Not DUMB, Merely Ignorant

If you have the stomach for it, read this article about college students, and how little they know about our form of government, who runs which parts of it, and compare it to their OUTSTANDING knowledge of celebrity trivia.

OK. I really don’t expect kids to know the names of Supreme Court Justices (even if picking from a multiple-choice list). The Speakers have changed a lot in recent years, so, maybe excusable.

I get that their teachers (who should be fired for incompetency) have not distinguished between a democracy and a republic, which means that the kids, in their ignorance, think of it like

Democrats are the GOOD guys, therefore a democracy is a GOOD thing

Republicans are the BAD guys, therefore a republic somehow is a VERY BAD thing

But, you aren’t DUMB if you don’t know something; you are IGNORANT.

And, unlike STUPIDITY, ignorance can be cured by learning.

That the ignorant did not learn is largely a function of bad teaching. Now, the individual teachers may not be bad, but they are following the curriculum (think of it as a blueprint of what the teacher has to teach), and that curriculum is bad – very bad.

Some, if not most, of what students should be learning comes down to rote learning – the kind that is so frowned upon today. It’s the kind of learning that consists of reducing the concepts to their simplest, most easily understood form, and drilling that relentlessly.

How long? Until every student, when asked the question, What is the difference between a democracy and a republic, will spew the answer out. And, can correctly identify the USA as a republic of the constitutional type, and (briefly) explain why.

Guys, that method WORKS. It’s helped many students learn their ‘times’ tables, their ABCs (I still chant the alphabet when filing), and how to read written music.

It worked for Catholics who barely spoke or read the language who were drilled on the Baltimore Catechism.

Now, do those so drilled truly understand the more nuanced concepts?

Maybe.

Some will. Some won’t. However, like the rote learning of the driver’s license manual, it works to get them their learner’s permit. What they do after that is the problem of the NEXT teacher, who has to guide them to be road-worthy drivers.

It’s the majority of the job of the K-3 teachers; even after that point, there is a certain amount of rote learning that is core. In chemistry, learning the chemical symbols is rote. So is learning how to identify how many electrons/protons/neutrons there are in the elements on that chart.

Learning the trends of the periodic table is a rote task.

Learning the names of acids/bases, reading a pH scale, or learning the organic molecule functional groups is ALL rote.

So, not for the ‘dumb kids’. Useful even for advanced topics.

But, it is boring.

Not for the kids – anyone with ANY contact with minors knows that they LOVE repetition, whether it’s sports statistics, song lyrics, gossip, etc.

But, the tedium of repeating the same content, over and over again, starts to wear on teachers after a short while.

That’s why a lot of teachers, back in the day, were THRILLED to get married and retire from day-to-day teaching. Their own kids needed some of the same methods used on them, but the difference is: kids grow up. The former teachers weren’t facing 20-40 years of the same old, same old. There was variation in their own children’s personalities, proficiency, time required for them to master tasks, and the opportunity to deviate from the plan, should the situation indicate it.

Later, when their children were grown, some returned to teaching, but the break made a huge difference in their outlook on their work. And, to be fair, many were only going to do substitute work, or until their husband retired, or until they hit some financial goal.

Additionally, today’s teachers experience a LOT of peer pressure to go along with the WOKE/DEI/Progressive/Leftist agendas. Being identified as an independent thinker will leave that teacher isolated at work, left out of after school social activities, and excluded from the hallway conversations.

And, for most elementary/middle school teachers, that hurts – a lot.

Most of them are quite social. They often describe themselves as people-oriented, outgoing, and never too busy to talk.

Being isolated is, for them, unbearably painful. For many people fresh out of school, their workplace is the source of their social interactions.

It did bother me a little to be ignored at work. But, being a STEM-type, I was able to function without their approval. I also had a husband, children, and hobbies/activities that weren’t dependent on them.

The isolation forced me to find other ways to boost my self-esteem. I turned to professional activities with national organizations, blogging, and other hobbies.

And, I retired immediately after I was fully vested, rather than wait until I had the maximum number of years to boost my pension. As a result, I was able to establish alternative sources of income and to settle into an active life outside of teaching.

So, what’s the solution?

“American democracy”? That says it all for me.

That’s all for now. My dog died yesterday, and I need a restorative nap.

Shame And Guilt

     Last Saturday’s disastrous performance by the Secret Service detachment assigned to President Trump has evoked huge amounts of commentary. Some opinioneers are claiming that the evidence can’t point to anything but a Secret Service tasked to permit Trump’s assassination. Others are of the opinion that it was merely a demonstration of the low estate to which this institution has fallen. And of course, virtually all are calling for investigations…but by whom?

     Secret Service Director Kimberley Cheatle has come in for a great deal of criticism – in my not particularly humble opinion, all of it deserved. Notably, Cheatle has not tendered her resignation, nor has her superior, Alejandro Mayorkas, demanded it. Concerning which, Ace has this to say:

     Kim Cheatle is refusing to resign — of course. Leftwing girlbosses have no shame, nor any sense of what excellence or merit is. Resigning in shame is for Republicans only.

     Which has triggered some thoughts about shame, guilt, and the tenuous connection between them.

***

     Let’s imagine that Cheatle is guilty of something objectively demonstrable in a court of law. (I’m not saying that she is; I’m proposing an exercise in emotional analysis.) Incompetence isn’t legally actionable, so it would have to be an actual criminal offense: perhaps malfeasance. When the guilty verdict is delivered, Cheatle’s reaction would tell us something significant about her standards:

  1. Were Cheatle to display contrition, it would express the understanding that what she’d done was not just legally but morally wrong. Contrition is the proper reaction to learning that one’s moral judgment was flawed, and that it brought about the act(s) for which the guilty verdict was rendered. It says that the guilty party has learned better. And of course, much of the time a display of contrition is entirely fake, just an attempt to get leniency.
  2. But were she to display an absence of contrition, there could be at least two interpretations:
    1. She is morally indifferent to the verdict. That is: she committed her offense for personal reasons and is unhappy only about having been caught.
    2. She regards the law under which she was convicted as morally irrelevant. That is: she believes she had a higher duty which supersedes the binding effect of that law.

     In case 1 above, contrition might be accompanied by shame: the sense of having been revealed as responsible for damage to others. But in neither case 2.1 nor 2.2 would shame factor in. One cannot be ashamed of something that’s outside or beneath one’s moral standards.

     Shame is a motivator. Guilt isn’t, at least not if unaccompanied by shame.

     We expect an individual who’s displayed shame to change his ways. Perhaps we expect something penitential from him. At the least, we expect him to promise not to do the shameful thing again. But reasoning backwards, we would infer that an individual caught in an unacceptable act who refuses to change anything at all in the aftermath doesn’t feel shame for his deed. Shame would have moved him to do something, after all. At the very least he would have promised not to repeat his offense.

     The past century has seen a diminution of the shame response among public officials. Now and then, one such might simulate it. But these days they seldom actually feel it.

     There could scarcely be a more savage indictment of the political class.

***

     Speaking in a wider context, the domain of shameful behavior has been chipped away until there’s hardly anything left in it. Time was, it was shameful to be observed intoxicated in public. Time was, it was shameful to be indecently exposed in public. Time was, it was shameful to be an irresponsible, spendthrift head of household who scamped his responsibility for the well-being of his dependents. When an individual was revealed as any of those things – and many others – he was expected to change his ways. Today?

     Andrew Breitbart has told us that politics is downstream from culture. The American culture has all but eliminated shame from our responses to moral indictment. The watchword is no longer that “God is watching.” Today it’s “Whatever floats your boat.”

     It may be that earlier Americans overused censoriousness to limit behavior of which they disapproved. But whatever the case, today there are practically no standards under which one may be shamed, and thus none under which one may be expected to feel and exhibit shame. Being found guilty of an offense against the criminal law won’t reliably do it, else why would recidivism rates be so high?

     With that, I suggest an intimately personal, entirely silent exercise to my Gentle Readers:

  • Get yourself a pad and pencil.
  • List all the actions, or categories action, that would make you feel shame.
  • Ask yourself, in complete candor: Have you ever done any of them?

     Then burn the list. You wouldn’t want to leave something like that lying around where others might find it, would you?

     Have a nice day.

Time to Replace FL Man with…

…OH Man?

I just saw this on the news (we have been REALLY busy this week, and haven’t watched much in the news).

He had a HATCHET, at least one knife, and several weapons – at the Cleveland Hopkins airport!

Now, I’ve been in places with NICER people (heck, in much of the South, even the crazies are mostly NICE). But, Cleveland, OH, has always been my touchstone as the place where the average people – again, mostly – use decent common sense, and a good understanding of what the Right Thing to Do is.

Now, that doesn’t mean that they don’t do stupid, and even criminal, things, but – for the most part – Clevelanders know Right from Wrong, even when they choose to do Wrong.

Boy, you wouldn’t know it from the headlines lately!

This woman attacked a 3 year old boy in North Olmsted, OH (that’s a suburb that is generally considered to be a safe place to bring up kids).

I can’t embed the video here – this is the link of her appearance in court.

She smirked all during her appearance.

Bionca Ellis in court: Competency evaluation ordered for woman accused ...

When that kind of crazy oozes its way to OH, we have definitely begun hovering in the range of Peak Crazy.

OK, it’s been a while

I think I can talk about the Trump assassination attempt now.

Number one – if the Secret Service actually was trying to get Trump killed, rather than just total and complete incompetency, exactly what would they have done differently?

Number two – we all know the diversity hire in charge of the Secret Service isn’t going to get fired. After all, she was DOCTOR Jill Biden’s pick, And she’s already said she’s not stepping down.

Number three – holy hell, the people they had guarding Trump were NOT the best and brightest. That one woman who couldn’t even holster her pistol? Folks, I understand that the adrenaline was running hot and heavy, but that’s why you PRACTICE. When I was in Utah one of my buddies would set up steel plates, and we would practice drawing, shooting, and re-holstering. That was just for us. We weren’t on a protective detail. And in any case, I wouldn’t be holstering my weapon until Trump was safe. But this woman tried and failed to holster her weapon multiple times. That right there highlights the fact that they’re not serious people.

And finally, this is the world we live in. Everyone here has been warning that the Left is a violent mob. Here’s more proof of that. When Trump wins in November, they’re going to start burning things down. Again. Even if the Democrat vote fraud machine works and Biden is re-installed as the Puppet in Chief, they’re going to burn things down.

Buy more ammo. No, more than that.

And now for something completely non-political

Teoscar Hernandez, who played for the Mariners last year was let go in the off season and signed with the Dodgers. Apparently he struck out too much.

Tonight he just won the home-run derby at the All Star game.

This is about as Mariners as you can get. Would you like to guess how many position players the Mariners have in the All-Star Game? Zero. None. Our only All-Star is a pitcher. But the guy we sent off because we didn’t want him just won the home run derby. You think he might be kinda helpful this year?

The Mariners are not an actual baseball team. They are a decades long experiment to see how much pain and suffering you can inflict on a fanbase before they give up.

Stop Using the Terms “Right” or “Far-Right”

Instead, use the more appropriate term: NON-Leftist.

Why is that so important?

WE need to define our own classification. We, in fact, do range from Near-Libertarian to Constitutionalist to Populist to Old-Fashioned GOP of the 1950s (which did cooperate with Big Business to an unhealthy extent).

Allowing them to use THEIR terms means that they can slant their characterization of us into:

  • Just Like Hitler
  • ALMOST Like Hitler
  • Just Like the KKK, and
  • Monsters, really – completely inhumane

We need to clearly distinguish ourselves, and define ourselves, by OUR terms.

That is the method the Extreme Left used to soften the image of the Radical Abortionists and Those Who Supported Them, into that Kind, Gentle Proponent of Choice.

Cuz’ who could be against CHOICE?

“If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one”. That completely ignores the input of the OTHER parent.

“ALL Women should be able to make their own choice” – which led to their forcing parents to stay out of decisions by teens/sub-teens to have an abortion. That those choices were not truly the kid’s, in many cases, but coerced by others, has been ignored. That the same age kid is not able to CHOOSE to get a tattoo or piercing, acts that have less far-reaching consequences, is dismissed by these same zealots.

Other Choices they are for:

  • Having sex, even though they are legally under the age of consent
  • Using chemical substances that can have detrimental effects – vaccines, mind-altering drugs, ‘gender-affirming’ drugs
  • Deciding to ‘transition’ without informing their parents – and, in many states, permitting/encouraging that decision by deceiving their parents by the same schools the parents pay for through their taxes.

It may not be a huge step, but it’s an important one. Let’s use the term NON-Leftist, and correct all that use other terms. Promote this on Social Media, in conversations, and – come election time – consider putting up a sign:

VOTING FOR THE NON-LEFTIST PARTY

People will know who you are voting for, without your having to SAY who you are voting for. Here is a link to a Google document you can print out multiple copies of.

Further Thoughts On The Assassination Attempt And Its Sequels

     It could not have been otherwise: the news coverage yesterday, whether “mainstream” or “alternative,” was all about the attempted assassination of Donald Trump. So was the commentary, of course; how could commentators talk about anything else? And now, in the aftermath of this “hinge event,” there will be other consequences and developments that will occupy the print and pixels for a few days longer. Nothing else will be allowed to matter.

     And that is as it should be.

     It’s been said many times – I’ve certainly said it often enough – that the point of elections is to replace bullets with ballots. But what happens when the bullets fly anyway, even with a scheduled election nearing day by day? Is it possible to combine electoral campaigning with flying-lead warfare and still have anything like an orderly society? It doesn’t seem so to me.

     We’ve heard enough talk about how the nation is teetering. Again, some of it has been from me. Today it all seems like mere preliminary. The action has just arrived, and there’s nothing nice about it.

     Images and metaphors abound. “The masks have dropped.” “The gloves are off.” “Time to get down and dirty.” The Vegetable-in-Chief used a particularly striking one just before the shooting: “It’s time to put a bull’s-eye on Trump.” Before this, we could hope that it would remain no more than rhetoric; today, I’m no longer certain that it will… or should.

     Andrew Torba, who founded and operates Gab.com, has called feelingly for us in the Right to remain peaceful. Other voices have not been so temperate:

     Retreating from these people is NOT the answer. It’s what the general population of not yet insane people have been doing for seven decades in a row. Enough. Fuck retreating. Make THEM retreat, and get back into whatever closet or rock they crawled out of. Be in their face. Stop tolerating their nonsense.

     And of course, we have Leftist opinion-mongers claiming that it’s Trump’s fault that someone took a shot at him, and beyond them multiple reports of hysterics on the Left because the shooter missed his target.

     Good and responsible people are withdrawing from the public discourse. Who will remain engaged? The less good; the less responsible. The less restrained. What will follow? The followers of Charles Manson called it “Helter Skelter,” after the Beatles’ tune. George Alec Effinger called it “All the Last Wars At Once.” To quote Tucker Carlson in an underappreciated moment: graph it out, man.

     This will not end well.

     I think that will be all from me today. I feel a need to pray… and after that, to clean and oil the guns. Perhaps you should do likewise, though I’m no one’s idea of a lifestyle coach. Speaking of which, have you been to the range lately? I haven’t, and I have a new rifle to sight in.

     Have a nice day.

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