Pope Clement XV, the first American to be raised to the papacy, is under attack from within the Vatican. Powerful cardinals, averse to his efforts to reform the Catholic clergy, are trying to force him to resign his office. To undermine him, they spread rumors of his involvement in financial and sexual improprieties. To retain the papacy he must discover their identities and defeat the rumors…but how?
The foremost technology firm of the day, Todd Iverson’s Arcologics, is about to introduce an artificial, completely automated womb. The device is capable of protecting and nurturing a child from zygote state all the way to birth. It would make the destruction of unborn children utterly unnecessary…but there are forces determined to see that it never reaches the light of day.
Fountain, a young futanari with unprecedented powers over food, is exploring wine: what it is, what it can do, and what it can be persuaded to do. Pope Clement has asked her if she can concoct a wine that elicits utter, perfectly candid truth from those who consume it. Her explorations lead her into realms never before penetrated by even the greatest of vintners…and a moral thicket that tests her understanding of right, wrong, and God’s will to its limits.
In Vino is the sequel to the Futanari Saga novels Innocents,Experiences, and The Wise and the Mad. Only $3.99 in Amazon Kindle eBook format.
The breaching of the Capitol happened because of a conspiracy theory: that the election was actually won by Mr. Trump but stolen from him by bad people. That theory hasn’t gone away, it’s growing and spreading. What might be called the Trump Underworld—the operatives, grifters and media figures around him—is pushing the theories harder than ever. It’s as if they think he’s not going to be a candidate in 2024 and they’d better make their money now, the window is closing.
This conspiracism is bad for the country: It leaves us more polarized and lessens our faith in our systems. It is bad for one of our two major parties: It leaves the GOP with an untreated cancer.
I added the emphasis.
Peggy Noonan was once a graceful and effective speechwriter…but she’s never been much of a thinker. The emphasized sentence is a clear indication of a refusal to think. The very terms she uses – “polarized,” “faith,” “our systems” – make it plain that her thought processes have stopped short at her distaste and dismay over the trivial events of January 6. This is a sin for which no commentator can beg forgiveness.
People who do think would ask sharp questions. Why are we polarized? What is the virtue of “faith” in a system blatantly designed to facilitate massive fraud? And of whom are we speaking when we refer to “our systems?” Either these questions are opaque to Noonan, or she’s sniffed them aside out of her prissy dislike of disorder – and many a “conservative” will embrace injustice in preference to disorder.
The editors of the Wall Street Journal were once more discriminating than this. Yet they too are afflicted by irrational anti-Trump sentiment. The reasons need not concern us at this time. And Noonan still commands a modicum of prestige from her service to previous Republican Administrations.
The Trump Administration’s achievements were considerable. Unfortunately, many of them were dependent on the retention of the Oval Office, so that the changes Trump wrought would have time to become “the way things are.” But the editors of the Journal appear more attached to “stability” – “the mess we’re in,” as Ronald Reagan put it – than to any pro-American principle they once espoused.
It is plain that even the Journal, once a safe harbor for conservatives, has been targeted for colonization by America’s enemies. There must be no refuge for Americans weary of the voices hectoring them to hate their country and themselves.
[I first posted the story below in August 2015. It seems to me to deserve a repetition, especially given how many people I’ve encountered recently who talk about nothing but their woes. It comes in many variations, so you might have heard it somewhat differently on another occasion. – FWP]
They were a race of great power, numerous and capable. They built high, delved deeply, and ranged far. Their history encompassed many centuries of proliferation and advancement. Their future appeared as unbounded as the universe. Yet they were not happy.
They quarreled ceaselessly, both among themselves and with those of other lands. Every household knew stress and strife; every polity teetered forever on the brink of collapse. Nothing they achieved, singly or in groups, brought the smallest balm to their souls.
Which is why the discovery of the scroll captured the attention of all their world.
It was aged and brittle. Their archeologists unrolled it with great delicacy, lest the message it bore across the centuries be fragmented and destroyed. When it was open at last, they found that it was written in a tongue that had not been used since the earliest era of their existence. When their paleolinguists succeeded in translating it, they were astonished, for its very first line it promised them that the secret to happiness lay within it. Yet the translation revealed nothing such.
The last line appeared to be meaningless, merely a string of scribbles. A myriad of scholars argued fiercely over the translation, each one certain that his interpretation was correct and that all his colleagues were wrong. But none of them could say that he had divined the secret to happiness that the scroll promised on its very first line.
No one could make out the significance of the scribbles on the last line.
One of the paleolinguists had a young daughter, a girl of surpassing sweetness and grace. All who knew her spoke glowingly of her. All who met her, no matter how brief the encounter, thought frequently of her afterward, always with pleasure. Though her family was not materially wealthy, she asked for nothing and begrudged nothing to others. In all their world she seemed the only truly happy person.
A day came when the girl’s father was puzzling over his copy of the scroll, on which he’d included the mysterious scribbles at the end. He’d left the door to his study open, and his daughter ventured hesitantly through it.
“What are you working on, Father?” she said.
He smiled and stroked her hair. “A copy of an ancient text. It claims to hold the secret to happiness, but neither I nor any of my colleagues can discern what that might be.” He sighed. “We could surely benefit from such a great wisdom.”
The girl peered at the copy, squinted briefly, and said. “But it’s right there, on the last line.”
“What?” her father exclaimed. He was immediately consumed with fury and suspicion, made all the more piercing by his fear that she might indeed have penetrated the mystery. “How is it,” he said angrily, “that you believe you can find what I and so many others of great erudition have missed over years of study?”
The girl was unaffected by his tone or the storminess of his countenance. She took a pencil and a sheet of paper from his desk, smiled up at him, and said only “Watch.”
First she copied the scribbled last line exactly as it appeared on the text in her father’s hands. When she was certain she had made an exact copy, she did something both old and new…something no scholar had thought to do before her: She assembled the individual fragments of the last line, superimposing them with care, until they resolved into a single picture.
It was an ideogram.
When she had completed her task, she set down the pencil, handed the sheet of paper to her father, and smiled. With a single glance he knew at once that she had glimpsed what he and innumerable others had failed to see. The ideogram expressed a single word in that ancient tongue, a word almost never used among them.
“You see?” she said. “It was right there all along.”
As her father surrendered to tears of inexpressible joy, she curtsied and went from the room.
Learn the secret.
Clasp it ever to your breast.
Clutch it the more fiercely in times of sorrow.
Share it with others, for it is not diminished by being shared.
Way, way back at the dawn of history, when I was a wee lad and IBM still ruled the computer industry, I was briefly focused on learning a language that has since passed into obscurity. It was IBM’s “everything” language: PL/I. The computer giant had dedicated serious resources to develop a language that would be “all things to all men.” It would satisfy the science nerds who programmed in FORTRAN. It would please the commercial wonks who programmed in COBOL. And it would mollify the academics who believed that ALGOL was the only decent way to express an algorithm.
PL/I was one of the first languages to be too big for the computers on which it was used. The PL/I compiler for the IBM 360/65 on which I learned it made over 80 passes over the source code before it could create a relocatable object module. Why? Well, when your compiler’s design objectives include the ability to compile FORTRAN and COBOL code without modifications, you have a few obstacles to surmount. I knew a couple of PL/I freaks who used up more time running the compiler than they did on the execution of their applications. After I’d played with it a bit, I grew disgusted and decided to turn my attention to “the language of the gods:” IBM 360 assembly language. Some of the mistakes I made in IBM assembler were glorious enough to shut down the entire computing center. One of them is still memorialized on that building’s Wall of Fame.
(Hey, if you’d managed to code an error so severe that all OS/360 had to say about it was “I’m sorry. You’ve made a mistake. I think I’ll be dying now,” you’d be pretty proud of it too.)
But enough of that. I was just thinking about one of PL/I’s innovations: the ON CONDITION statement. This feature, new among programming languages in its day, specified a condition which required special, “emergency” handling. When the condition was recognized by the program, it would trigger an immediate transfer of control to a designated routine that would handle it. A program could specify several such conditions and handlers for them.
Societies have “ON CONDITIONS” built into them, too. Most don’t explicitly “code handlers” for them. Nevertheless, they exist. Thomas Jefferson – remember him? – explicitly noted one in what the late Gene Burns liked to call “the birth document of the Republic:”
…when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
However, societies are a bit more uncertain about whether they’ve detected the indicated condition than are computer programs.
It might seem a bit disconnected, but what has the above on my mind are two recent developments, one more recent than the other. The first is nicely expressed by a graphic I stole from Ninety Miles From Tyranny:
That’s an ongoing condition that many well-meaning Americans, averse to “offending” anyone regardless of the reason or the context, have been coping with for about thirty years. I’m sure my Gentle Readers have detected it, though what their personal ON CONDITION handlers have done about it has varied widely.
My ON CONDITION handler immediately acts to reinforce and intensify the “offense” whenever the occasion arises. The reactions have been uniformly gratifying. The “offended” are seldom aware of the First Amendment to the Constitution. It appalls them to be informed that it’s not illegal to abrade their sensibilities. Their ON CONDITION OFFENDED handlers usually prove inadequate. Express their disapproval orally? No effect. Swing at me? Not recommended; I’m old and conspicuously armed. That leaves sputtering in outrage, which buys them nothing.
(No, I’m not a “nice person.” But you knew that already.)
I believe this is the only way to defeat the cancer of “political correctness” which has done such harm to American public discourse. The “offended” seek to silence us. They’d like to render any expression of disapproved sentiment illegal, but failing that they’ll use the “offense” weapon for whatever it can buy them. Until the “purchasing power” of being “offended” drops to zero, their campaign to censor the rest of us will continue.
The second item of interest is the odious Hunter Biden and his sale of his “art.” Great God in heaven! If there’s ever in the history of the world been a less talented “artist,” that worthy’s name has gone unrecorded. Indeed, several of those “artworks” were created by blowing paint through a straw. In what bizarre universe is this considered an artistic technique?
How much more outrageous does arrant, undisguised corruption have to get before it triggers America’s ON CONDITION handler?
Perhaps the problem is that American patriots have only one “programmed response:”
While it is a bit wholesale, that response is well suited to a state of affairs in which a gaggle of totalitarians have captured the federal government and are busily working to destroy the nation. But our ON CONDITION handler has defined the condition to a high degree of detail – perhaps too high. The narrowness of that definition might have emboldened those whose aim is “to reduce [us] under absolute Despotism.” They’re taking larger and larger “slices” of our “salami.” And that means that, in Larry Correia’s words, when the handler is finally triggered, it will “make Bosnia look like a trip to Disneyworld.”
I don’t like what I’ve been thinking. However, dispelling it and concentrating on purely personal matters has proved ever more difficult as the Usurpers have progressed. What about you, Gentle Reader?
Nothing major, just a quick trip to visit family, and look for a 2nd house closer to them. The summer heat really exhausts me, we’re missing out on time with the grands/great-grands, and I’d feel better if I have access to different parts of the country, if the need to GOOT – Get Out Of Town does arise.
Having a foot in several locations gives me maximum flexibility, should the SHTF.
Plus, my brother and sister have been experiencing poor health, and, well, I need to step up to the plate on helping out. Even with my RA and asthma, I’m the healthiest one of the bunch.
We have several house-inspections set up, for a whirlwind blitz over the weekend. We’re not looking for Tara, just a nice enough space, with an acre or two. We’re not up to the intensive level of work that would be necessary to full-on homestead, but we would like to set aside some food and fuel supplies.
You know, just in case.
I’ve been whittling down my stuff to fit, made room for a radio, tablet, and laptop, and made sure I had enough unders to cover myself. Internet service may be spotty, so don’t expect to hear from me. I already posted about one of my pet peeves here.
Forgive me, Gentle Reader. I’m barely awake, but I had to get this down before it could slip away.
Near the end of the 1978 movie made from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, when Inspector Javert finally has Jean Valjean at his mercy, he asks Valjean why Valjean set him free of the rebels who’d captured him. Valjean briefly explains his conversion – the old priest who’d “bought his soul, cleansed it of all black thoughts, and gave it to God” many years before – and says “I could not do otherwise.” Javert replies memorably…and shockingly:
“There is no God. There is only the law.
Good and evil do not exist outside the law.”
That scene is not a faithful reproduction of the climax of Hugo’s gigantic novel. It’s far superior, literarily and dramatically. Moreover, it expresses an important principle of the dictator, without which he cannot ascend to the estate he believes he deserves, to wit: There is no Law above the will of human lawgivers.
But if human lawgivers are unconstrained by a Supreme Law to which the laws of men must conform, then there is no enduring barrier to any kind of “legal” oppression, expropriation, or slaughter. Conceptions of good and evil, however formed, have no force: they’re trivia for men in their cups to banter and joust about. All that matters is the capture of the State. After that, whatever the dictator decrees shall be the whole of the law: unchallengeable and unopposable.
The Christian view is, to put it mildly, somewhat different. It was that view, even if it wasn’t articulated as such by the Founding Fathers, that animated the Constitution of the United States:
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. [Article VI, second paragraph.]
The Founders knew what could – and would – come of a “law” that recognizes no moral limits.
We should, within the law, plan, act, and organize accordingly—before it’s too late.
I added the emphasis.
“Within the law.” Oh, really? And if “the law” should abrogate the Bill of Rights, impose federal censorship upon all communications, decree the seizure of all privately held firearms, and demand that we cease to oppose the Usurpers by word or deed, what then? Note the recent emanations from the Usurper Regime about “white supremacy” and “domestic terrorism,” its determined efforts to purge patriots from the armed forces, and its relentless use of the media to condemn attempts to audit the 2020 elections, and tell me how far off a law of that sort seems to you.
Thomas Jefferson was aware that private citizens will not easily be moved to rebellion:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
How long the “train of abuses and usurpations” must be is the question of the hour.
The Usurpers have already done great damage to the United States: to its economy, its international standing, and its citizens’ sense of stability. Under the pretext of the Covid-19 “emergency” it seeks to do still more, though given the intensity of the reaction against the “lockdowns,” mask and vaccine “mandates,” and other nonsense, how far it can go without provoking a rebellion is unclear. What’s perfectly clear is that the Usurpers “want it all:” absolute power, unbounded by any principle of right and wrong. Certainly they have no regard for the constraints of the Constitution. Never mind that it was to the preservation, protection, and defense of that compact that Usurpers Biden and Harris swore themselves. Remember Gropey Joe saying that “no amendment is absolute” — ?
“Salami tactics” have brought the Usurpers this far. You might think they’d have sense enough to stick with what’s worked for them. However, there are signs that they’ve become impatient of any further constraint. Their attacks on the military, the energy industry, the dollar, and the southern border indicate an eagerness to get on with the wholesale demolition of the nation. There have been hints that their next target is the grand collage of retirement funds – 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs, pensions, and the like – upon which Americans rely for the protection of their old ages.
John Locke was darkly foreboding about such things:
Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved of any further obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence.
“Arbitrary power” is what I sense approaching. Indeed, some elements of it are already upon us. There must be a point at which the American people say they’ve had enough. When that point arrives, whether actively or passively we will invert Inspector Javert’s statement:
“There is no law. There is only the Will of God.
Good and evil do not exist outside His Will.”
Facts that are not frankly faced have a habit of stabbing us in the back. – Sir Harold Bowden
I resist the impulse to call any living person a saint. As Simon Templar, played by Val Kilmer in The Saint, put it, “You have to be a very good, and usually very dead person to become a saint. And more importantly, you need to work three miracles.” That limits sainthood opportunities to dead persons only. So: no living saints, except in hyperbole intended to be recognized as such.
Dr. Charles Murray – yes, he of The Bell Curve — is not a saint. He’s very much alive and so does not qualify. But he is one of the most courageous and clear-sighted scholars alive today. We need thousands more like him…but given the terrible shortfall of courage in academia today, we’re lucky to have the one.
If you’re around my age, pay attention to such things, and have a reasonably good memory, you might recall that in 1994, around the time at which The Bell Curve was to be published, the scrofulous New York Times published a hit piece on Dr. Murray, under the byline of Jason de Parle. It was titled “The Most Dangerous Conservative In America.” The article tried to make him out to be a rabid racist determined to consign Negroes to some sort of permanent inferiority status – because the book addressed genetic influences on human intelligence.
Now, a measure of mathematical literacy is required to understand what follows. A mean is the average of a group of numbers reached by adding them up and dividing by the “number of numbers.” It’s the most commonly used of the three averages. (The others are the median and the mode. No, I shan’t define them for you here. Look ‘em up.) A distribution is the curve that best fits the plot of those numbers on a frequency-versus-values graph. The title of Dr. Murray’s book (coauthored by the late Dr. Richard Herrnstein) refers to the shape of the curve as it manifests in intelligence testing.
To make a long story somewhat shorter, The Bell Curve drew the ire of American liberals, some conservatives, and other politically unaffiliated bien-pensants for daring to note that:
There are persistent differences in the means and distributions of IQ scores according to racial groups;
The mean IQ score of American Negroes persistently falls about one standard deviation – i.e., about 15 IQ points – below that of American Caucasians;
This difference has persisted since the beginning of standardized IQ testing.
Horrors! The man must be a racist! A white supremacist! Perhaps even a eugenicist! And so the Times set out to destroy Dr. Murray before The Bell Curve could get into circulation.
Those who were determined to discredit the Murray-Herrnstein findings chose two avenues to pursue:
Attack psychometric testing itself as inherently biased;
Attack the researchers’ motives.
Neither attack has been successful. The tests are better than they’ve ever been: carefully designed to eliminate cultural dependencies and to minimize the influence of education. Moreover, the tests’ results correlate strongly with life results, especially in those fields where logical thought and analysis are critical. The researchers are some of the bravest and most selfless men in America. If you doubt that last, consider what happens to anyone who dares to challenge the left-liberals’ narrative on racial matters.
Though Dr. Herrnstein died at around the time of publication, Dr. Murray is still with us – and he maintains that his findings are both accurate and meaningful. Moreover, he insists that we cannot function as a society while continuing to pretend that the racially-correlated differences he found – which are still detectable today – don’t exist. Here’s a passage from the introduction to his latest book, Facing Reality:
Of the many facts about race that are ignored, two above all, long since documented beyond reasonable doubt, must be brought into the open and incorporated into the way we think about why American society is the way it is and what can be done through public policy to improve it.
The first is that American Whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians, as groups, have different means and distributions of cognitive ability. The second is that American Whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians, as groups, have different rates of violent crime. Allegations of systemic racism in policing, education, and the workplace cannot be assessed without dealing with the reality of group differences.
If there were a Medal of Honor in the social sciences, Dr. Murray would deserve it for those two paragraphs alone.
Coincidentally, another voice was recently raised on this subject: that of long time commentator Fred Reed. Concerning the political impact of racial differences, Fred writes:
Liberals insist that no racial differences exist. But they do not seem to believe it. If they did, they would favor a massive and careful regime of testing to prove their point. Instead, they strenuously resist investigation Why, other than fear of likely results?
As I’ve written before – and I’m surely not the first to have done so – facts have no agenda. But when the facts challenge a sociopolitical piety, they can make the devotees of that piety feel stupid. If those devotees have used that piety to bludgeon others and to hoover their wallets, they can reasonably fear what might follow. These days “I meant well” has the same exculpatory power as “I was only following orders.” The devotees’ preference for destroying the work and reputation of an honest researcher follows naturally.
Courage in the academy is rare for that reason among others. Therefore, let us celebrate it when it appears, and defend it against the slanders and assaults of those who fear to be revealed as having erred at tremendous cost. Dr. Charles Murray, I salute you. Gentle Readers: read Facing Reality and ponder its truths.
The title is opaque; this is deliberate. All will be clear by the end. And my apologies – the length got away from me.
On my old blog I wrote several essays, primarily focused on gun control but not exclusively, to the effect that so many people I know – especially, bafflingly, my fellow Tribe members – react the same way when I point to myriad things that are approaching, e.g., the coming inflation/hyperinflation – an example from Peter Grant who has examined this repeatedly, the racial instability across the country, global instability, potential food shortages, and on and on and on. Regardless of the precise wording, no matter what the specific subject, the kernel of their reply is always some wording of:
It was the combination of a recent conversation with someone I know, a fellow Tribe member and long-time professional contact, that I realized that his denial of anything possibly sus about Covid’s origin, any risks whatsoever from the Jab, and his cleaving religiously to liberal news sources while denying legitimacy to anything outside the New York Times-Washington Post-NPR-CNN echo chamber, plus this video:
that prompted this essay. Note the man, starting at 7:41, who recounts asking his mother about Hitler (my transcription, bolding added):
“…my mother who, when I asked her if we had to worry about a guy like Hitler, she said: ‘No, we are living in a Democracy, we have the protection of the police, nobody is going to hurt us’, so talk about warning signs there were plenty of them. Did we take them serious, my family didn’t, never believed the Germans would stoop so low they would implement the threats one fanatic uttered…”.
The truth is, as much as you might not like to hear it, when Trump was in office it was good for the Jews. Too bad most Jews just don’t know what’s good for them. Also most of the Jews that might benefit from clear thinking will surely not read this. Perhaps you’ll share this with someone who needs to hear it and we can all pray that they will listen. Believe me, it’s as important as ever.
Now Mr Biden is in office, the flood of money to terrorists has begun again. The funnels of money to Iran turns around into tunnels in Gaza.
My wallet was full, I had a wealth of information at my fingertips to dispense to her, but the register was closed. She was not willing to listen. Still, I wrote a long email, filled with source material and video clips. I had to. I couldn’t bear it that I knew the truth and she did not and would not even listen. I didn’t send the email, and then I did.
No German who died before 1930 would have believed the Holocaust possible.
Hence my term, “Twenty-Niners”. People who cannot grasp that anything that could radically change the situation in which they live are actual possibilities, and completely dismiss concerns that others present even when backed by evidence. They have, at least mentally, made the r/K transition to – quoting Bill Whittle as he has discussed this concept in multiple videos – an r-selected mentality of the future as an endless field of green clover.
THE STROBE LIGHT IS CHARGING
History rhymes. Again citing Bill Whittle who describes, in this long (1:44:40) but IMHO worth the time video about civilizations, the collapse overnight “like a strobe light”, time and time and time again like a heartbeat:
Hyperinflation and debt burden leading to economic collapse. Oh, that’s just not possible.
Suggest that the above might actually be deliberate, a laCloward-Piven. Oh, that’s just not possible.
Race wars igniting. Cite living, current-day evidence including statements by BLM et al that they want to kill all whites and suggest it might spread to their own neighborhoods. Oh, that’s just not possible.
Compare / contrast the laws for the Big Wigs (cough cough Hillary, The Biden crime syndicate, etc.) vs. anyone else, mention Obama/Spy-Gate, the weaponization of virtually every federal agency against Trump and the very real potential any dissenters from their orthodoxy will be targeted as dangerous terrorists. Including attempting to turn everyone into snitches. Oh, that’s just not possible.
Bring up the duct-tape and chewing gum status of much of our electric grid and its vulnerabilities to weather, space events like solar events, or man-made sabotage at various levels. Oh, that’s just not possible.
Cite example after example of Islamic hijra happening in Europe with France on the edge of civil war, and whole swaths of Western Europe functionally under Sharia Law, and Islamic refugees being brought to America with effects already visible in Dearborn, MI and Minneapolis, MN as two examples as they outbreed Westerners. Oh, that’s just not possible.
Even hint that the CCP virus might be manmade, let alone that it could have been used by China and/or their domestic allies (Democrats) as a political weapon leveraging lives and our economy against their hated enemy, Trump. Special bonus points when you point out that Socialists in various flavors have murdered over 100 million people in their quest for heaven on earth… so what’s a few tens of thousands? Oh, that’s just not possible.
Observe that President Asterisk is clearly in the grips of dementia which was obvious even before the election, and raise the possibility that he’s merely a sock-puppet for Obama’s third term. Oh, that’s just not possible.
Glance at the shadow of the possibility the Jab is intended to depopulate the earth by billions to get to the Georgia Guidestone target. Oh, that’s just not possible.
Point to the open border situation with people flooding in, and not just from Latin America countries but from some scary places, and never mind the demographic / voting population impacts but terror risks to such a policy. Oh, that’s just not possible.
Highlight the earlier and earlier sexualization of our children, the transitioning of three year olds, open homosexuality and hook up culture and everything else, with the clear impacts on our society’s stability and future. Oh, that’s just not possible.
Talk about the enemedia being hopelessly partisan, outright fabricating accusations and pimping them nonstop against their domestic enemies, i.e., anyone to the Right of Stalin, and ignoring scandals that should have rocked a fair press like the vote fraud in 2020, or Hunter’s laptop, or PedoJoe’s attention to a pre-pubescent girl’s legs (never mind the videos and other cringe-worthy behaviors over the years). Oh, that’s just not possible.
On and on and on. And always some variation of answers, which always boil down to Oh, that’s just not possible.
Santayana weeps as that strobe light gets ready to flash…
SIDES & DISCUSSIONS
Many on our side have voiced utter frustration at our inability to even dent the impenetrable bubble of delusion that shields the minds of the Leftists. As I have oft noted in comments here and there on the web, these people are missionaries – full of Marxianic Zeal and, thus, view us as heretics. We can as much make a dent in their minds to reconsider their views as the proverbial brick wall.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that, from time to time, it’s not worth trying with someone willing to have an actual discussion. Sometimes the seed of a thought can implant and grow, but for the most part don’t bet on it. They’re far, far too full of their own moral / educational / intellectual superiority to consider they might be mistaken.
WISDOM FROM THE ROMAN INVASION OF JERUSALEM
In this interesting essay by British political-conservative Jew Melanie Phillips, writing specifically about American Jews and their cleaving to the “D” party and liberalism despite all evidence to the contrary as to which party actually cares about Israel vs. which does not (bolding & underlining added), never mind actual Judaism vs. Tikkun Olam-ism (warning: English spellings!):
I asked a rabbi what could be done to pull American Jews back from the edge of the cultural precipice on which they are teetering. His answer was startling — and brutal. “Just give me Yavneh”, he said.
This was a reference to Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai who, as the Romans prepared to destroy Jerusalem in 70 CE, chose not to try to save the city and the Temple but instead asked the Roman general merely to give him the Yavneh yeshivah and its sages.
The request was granted. Yavneh duly became the spiritual centre of the Jewish people and ensured its survival.
The point was that ben Zakkai realised the behaviour of the Jews in Jerusalem — led by zealots who had destroyed their food supplies in the belief that God would save them from the Roman advance — was dooming the entire Jewish people to destruction.
What the rabbi in America meant was that he had given up on the wider American Jewish community. No longer would he even attempt to persuade them they were on the path of communal self-destruction. They would never listen or change.
Within a fairly short time, given the accelerating rate of intermarriage and assimilation, that part of the community would have effectively disintegrated. But spiritually, ethically, Jewishly, it was already lost.
Making the analogy, aside from the possibility of nibbling around the edges of our liberal co-continent-dwellers – I have given up on those whom I can no longer even bring myself to call “fellow Americans” at this point – there’s no saving them. They don’t want to be saved. They cannot be saved. While it’s worth planting seeds if you think there’s a chance they might take, for the most part it’s not worth trying.
GIVE ME INDEPENDENCE HALL 1776
In 1776 brave men pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for the sake of freedom. Give me men and women of that character, that caliber – willing to take a stand, to fight whether by words or more.
Give me men – and women – like these. People who believe in LIBERTY, in FREEDOM, and the Constitution. The Declaration is the WHY, the Constitution is the HOW… and they, plus a solid Judeo-Christian foundation in society are enough. Interestingly, about that last, in listening to World Net Daily’s Joseph Farah years ago when I had a long commute each night, he put forth an interesting concept that before The People can govern themselves, a la America, people must govern themselves as individuals. Which echoes John Adams:
Self-control and self-restraint are common themes, I’ve noted, as foundational for self-governance. Responsibility is essential for liberty too:
And lastly, interestingly, filed under “life imitates art (or is it art imitates life?)”, a quote pulled from a video about great Klingon quotes:
If you cannot control yourself, you cannot command others.
— Klingon Honor Guard Manual
(From the video: I assume there’s actually such a thing in the Star Trek canon somewhere.)
Just as the Rabbi said “Just give me Yavne” to save Judaism in the face of the inevitable & unstoppable Roman conquest, I say Just give me Independence Hall 1776 to save America and, more broadly, the West. Give me people filled with the brushfire of liberty in their minds and a burning heart yearning for freedom, putting the Individual above The State, and all tempered with morality and responsibility.
And while I’ll still weep, and while I’ll still fight hoping to avert the collapse, I know that with people like this we will preserve the seed corn of liberty, and rebuild.
In truth, it’s hard to believe that anyone who pays even modest attention to the news could miss it:
The highest honor a lay Catholic could possibly hope for is to go to Mass with the head of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Mind you, in truth Joe Biden is about as Catholic as Adolf Hitler. Still, he claims he’s a Catholic, and maintaining the plausibility of such a claim is important to a sitting politician. Letting the mask slip could be detrimental to his electoral health.
After his gaffe and blank-out-laden performances at the G7 and elsewhere, it becomes clear that Biden’s handlers within the Usurper Regime are preparing to remove and replace him with the marginally more lucid Kamala Harris. They can’t leave Biden on the world stage any longer; the embarrassments are coming too fast and are too devastating.
One of the most dramatic yet widely unrecognized changes in American society, over the decades since 1950, has been the diminution and disappearance of communities as Americans knew them in the pre-World War II years. The neighborhoods are still there, but the neighborliness – the sense of community — is largely gone. Consider what our beloved Colonel Bunny had to say on this subject not too long ago:
I remember living in a townhouse community and going to a nearby restaurant for dinner one Saturday. I looked around that crowded restaurant no more than a quarter mile from my home as the crow flies and it struck me that after eight years there I didn’t know one person in the restaurant. Same with any other establishment in that area. I had a pleasant relationship with one next door neighbor and that was it.
Any other social contact I had was at work and from what I developed elsewhere with considerable effort, invariably requiring driving many miles to enjoy. Without such effort it’s easy to live a grey life. I met a Scots fellow in London back in 1962 and he told me he’d lived in London for 25 years but had not one friend.
The Colonel was focused on the anomie that characterizes high-density environments: e.g., cities. Yet most American suburbs are no better off. It takes more effort, more consistently applied, to form a true community with one’s suburban neighbors than most of us are either willing or able to exert.
The suburbs, you see, are where people are likely to live for easiest access to the “urbs,” but at a distance from urban crowding, costs, and pathologies. Suburbanites tend to sleep in the suburbs but live, for certain values of that word, in the nearby cities where they go to work.
Of course, there are “inner” and “outer” suburbs. Things should be a bit better in the “outer” ones, as the residents there are much less likely to focus their lives on workplaces in the city. Yet they’re hardly any better, as regards forming and maintaining vital, functioning communities, than the “inner” suburbs and the cities themselves. Why?
There are several reasons for this, but the one that’s on my mind at the moment is – drum roll, please – the division of labor within the American family and how it’s changed over my lifetime.
The pre-War family divided up the “chores” in a fairly uniform fashion: breadwinner, homemaker, minor children. One income carried the family. That left one adult, usually the wife, to care for the homestead and to cultivate and maintain neighborhood relationships. Doing so was a part of her responsibilities that few American wives shirked. Indeed, most wives enjoyed the duty.
Wives welcomed new neighbors, and introduced them to neighborhood society.
Wives were central to neighborhood charities and civic undertakings;
Wives were the planners and organizers of special social events.
Wives were the backbone of the neighborhood churches and synagogues.
And the “wife circuit” was where to go for the dirt on neighborhood shenanigans.
But the Missus doesn’t do much of that any more. She’s too busy earning money.
According to the last set of figures I remember seeing, more than 70% of American wives work outside the home at a full-time job, or an equivalent combination of part-time jobs. Why? Does she genuinely prefer to spend her days working for wages rather than taking care of her home and children and maintaining the family’s voice and participation in the community?
Mrs. America of this Year of Our Lord 2021 couldn’t tell you. She’s never known things to be other than the way they are today. Her family needs the money she earns:
To pay a once-weekly cleaning lady, so she can go out and earn;
To pay for day-care for the youngest children, so she can go out and earn;
To pay for her wardrobe, her vehicle, her gas and insurance, so she can go out and earn;
To pay for all the luxuries and gadgets the kids simply must have;
To pay the property taxes that allow the family to live in a “good school district;”
To pay the restaurant, television, therapists, and liquor bills: necessary supports of her frantic life.
It doesn’t sound like a positive-return strategy, but most American wives feel they have little choice in the matter: We need the money. But among the costs of that money is the loss of the time that would otherwise have gone into the neighborhood community.
Given contemporary social conditions, I wouldn’t want to be the one to say to Mrs. America, “Stay home! Spend less! Enjoy being a mother, homemaker, and pillar of the community!” Even if it would be far less stressful, possibly to the substantial improvement of her life expectancy and that of her marriage, Mrs. America is overwhelmingly more likely to react to such counsel with hostility than with sober consideration of the alternatives. Many different sources of influence have converged upon her to beat into her head the unexamined conviction that the way things are is the way they must be.
Unexamined convictions are the hardest to undo. Even if we make the time to dredge them up and ask ourselves “why did I ever buy into this?” the sense that we’re thinking of tinkering with something fundamental, something whose alteration would cause an upheaval in the way we live, is a powerful deterrent to change. Compared to the toll the working-wife modus vivendi takes on a woman, perhaps the loss of community feeling isn’t that significant after all.
There is no Last Graf. The problem is stiff. Some problems are beyond even the powers of a Certified Galactic Intellect. Yet millions of women and their families would benefit from a solution. So would tens of thousands of American neighborhoods whose residents are virtual strangers to one another, almost as much as if they were all locked into their homes and unable to interact with the larger world except over the Internet…which, come to the think of it, is pretty damned close to the situation before us.
On Monday, Deutsche Bank released a report that further confirms a portent of doom for the U.S. economy and Democrats led by President Joe Biden. While many economists and policymakers claim that the recent uptick in inflation is temporary, Deutsche Bank warned that Biden’s profligate spending, the Federal Reserve’s low interest rates, and global economic trends threaten to unleash persistent inflation, which amounts to an insidious tax on the poor and middle class that benefits the government.
I’ve been warning for years (to the displeasure of some of my readers) about what’s coming, and – as we’ve seen over the past few months – it’s finally arriving as we speak. You don’t have to believe me; you can just go down to the supermarket, or the gas station, or the auto dealer, and compare prices today to what they were at the beginning of this year.
I’m worried enough about our prospects that I’m now actively seeking to protect our family against inflation as far as possible. I’m going to keep a cash reserve, because it’s always useful, but apart from that I’m going to invest any spare cash in building up reserves of things I know we’re going to need and use in future – food, laundry detergent, medications, etc. If I buy them now, I don’t have to buy as much of them in future; and I can get them at current prices, rather than at nosebleed-level inflated prices when my income won’t have risen to match cost increases.
Gas just topped $3 per gallon where I live, at least at a few stations, up from just a skosh over $2 pre-election, so approximately 45%. That directly affects our gas budget the costs of all the things we buy through transportation cost increases, and more indirectly through increased costs of production which also get passed to us. Add in the insatiable maw of more taxation that is inevitably coming – what is a “fair share” anyway, can a liberal define it? – biting on the income side (never mind the whole pandemic lockdown effect) and the middle class is being squeezed. From a comment by Jerry at Peter’s post:
The thought occurred to me the other day that the Communists have never been able to gain traction in the United States because there was a prosperous middle class. The answer is obvious. Beggar the middle class and a Communist “revolution” becomes possible; at least in their minds. The only fly in this ointment is the Second Amendment. Marx & Lenin always assumed that the little people would be disarmed and they would control the arms.
And that’s the goal, a la Cloward-Piven. Wreck the economy, bankrupt the nation, drive the masses to desperation through food prices and other shortages, and all but the elites will become the living embodiment of the statement by Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor:
Then the Great Reset won’t sound so bad as the Elites offer the “benevolent hand” of one-world Socialistic government as the savior. Remember, this is their faith, and like all missionaries these – filled with Marxianic Zeal – will not stop until you are communist, or dead. BAMN. Understand the nature of the enemy.
2. Whiteness as a disease / parasitical entity. So I was listening to The Kuhner Report while driving one kid back from a doctor’s appointment and my jaw hit, well, my lap because I was driving. He discussed the journal article (e.g., discussed here and here) that states that “whiteness” is parasitical, a disease, etc. Now, replace that with “Christian” or “Jewish”… Let alone that Yale psychopath talking about using a revolver to blow white peoples’ brains out, and more.
And it’s everywhere, I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of the seething loathing towards any white person from our so-called elites, and non-whites in this country – let alone the self-imposed guilt too many “woke” persons are imposing on themselves. (Slavery was and is a great evil, but every race and creed has both been slaves, and been slavers. There is something truly sinister in the obsession with only one era of slavery, to the “coincidentally” detriment of America, the central & strongest pillar of Western Civilization.)
Again, TO ME, race is immaterial – I go by content of character. But this obsession with driving the white race out of existence, whether through intermarriage (and full disclosure, I am in a mixed-race marriage… but if someone prefers someone of their own race – white, black, whatever – fine too) or more, um, direct measures, the end goal is clear:
I’ve written, on my old blog, about the “Forever Stain” of whiteness, and both wrote and commented on many others blogs that it’s clear the groundwork and mentality is being laid for mass genocide against whites. Which, visually, I am – white as white can be absent my kippa. My older child as well (to my Asian wife’s consternation, occasionally to the point of accusing me of having cheated on her).
As Stephan Molyneux points out, specific to cancel culture but more broadly applicable, they’re dress-rehearsing:
And soon, I fear far sooner that we expect given the escalating attacks on people we’re seeing by people of politically preferred pigmentation on persons of pallor, it will be switch-flipping time in a big way. Alas.
One added thought. If a red-haired Scottish lass truly loves a dark black Nigerian man, and vice versa, then more power to them. Great luck to them. Similarly, if two blond and blue-eyed people fall head over heels for each other and get married and have blond and blue-eyed children. Also, great luck to them. My concern here is the hate being generated towards white people specifically – as concerning as if it were towards any demographic group. In parallel, it is the asymmetry of this push-push-push against one racial group that scares me.
Just do an exercise. Google WHITE COUPLE images vs. BLACK COUPLE images vs. ASIAN COUPLE images vs. HISPANIC COUPLE images. Do you see a difference in the first, say, 50 images presented? I do. Again. that asymmetry troubles me greatly.
3. Giving up. Many years ago I was struck by a contrast in an article I read discussing the will to live. The nickel version, it discussed two people in dire situations. The first was a person lost in a desert. He kept going, and going, struggling to find water, keeping out of the sun, and just persisted in trying to find a way out. When they found him, still alive, his blood was as thick as syrup from dehydration. (IIRC he did recoup.) This was compared with a military person who, having been shot down on a small island, knowing that his military comrades were racing to find him, nonetheless blew his brains out within a day in despair.
So I was at an extracurricular activity for one of the kids and, very coincidentally, there was a parent of my older kid’s friends. We talked, discussed planning a play date for the kids, and what we were up to. I mentioned that I am attempting to get into home canning and other food preservation, and they asked if I was preparing for the end of civilization. Yup. Their response was quick and clear “Well, if that happens I know I’m not going to make it”!
I wanted to scream HOW DARE YOU?!??!?! Just like I wanted to scream at a similar statement by my wife’s BFF when the same topic came up – social unrest, breakdown of society, etc. “Oh, if things collapse I know I’ll die”.
The first woman has three children, the second has two, all my kids’ ages or younger. But they’ll just give up, resigned to the idea they’ll die in the coming spicy time (from whatever starting spark). These two reminded me of the secretary, several years back, who – upon seeing the arrival of survival bars at work (since my wife is not on the same page, ironic given that Stalin starved 1/3 of the ethnic Kazakhs to death) – said “Well, if things get that bad I just will end up dying”. This woman, too, had pre-adult children.
Meanwhile, my older child had a bad scare before bed, some sense of fear (ghosts, they said), and asked if I would protect them.
To my dying breath, after I’ve done everything in my power.
As any good parent would, and should, say. And do.
Am I better prepped than most? I’d opine so. Am I where I’d truly like to be? No, but then the Powerball numbers have stubbornly refused to line up my way. Is my situation / location as secure as it could be? Definitely not. But what sets me apart from these people? My attitude. (Interestingly, attitude and merely moderate preparation, even if only mental, can make an enormous difference as discussed in the interesting book The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why.)
I will not give up. I will not, ever, renounce my parental responsibility to protect them – come riots, or war, or famine. I will not, ever, lay down and die in futility because things are hard. I may be beaten, I may even be killed. But I will never be defeated. Doubly-so when it means protecting my kids.
Having been blessed with children, I and these other parents, how dare they say “Oh well, if things get that bad I’ll just give up”? These precious gifts from Hashem are priceless jewels entrusted to me from On High. It’s one thing if, as adults, they’re on their own. I’ll have to trust I’ve raised them correctly and given them good tools, knowledge, and attitudes.
If it means being thirsty so they can drink, I will. If it means being hungry so they can eat, I will. If it means being hot or cold so they can be in the shelter, I will. And that attitude, and commitment, driven by faith in Him which, in multiple flavors, is why – in the long run – I believe our side will win.
…and data-flow diagrams, use-case diagrams, state-transition diagrams, and the like haven’t yet made you turn into a rabid wolf at the merest mention of such things, have one, courtesy of Gateway Pundit, developed by three Oregon scholars to decloud what the SJWs mean when they invoke various of their cant phrases:
Open in a separate tab for larger image
This is a brilliant piece of work. It takes a little effort to follow it – the origin is in the middle rather than at the top – but once you catch on, it’s as illuminating as anything I’ve seen in this space. I heartily recommend that you save it somewhere you won’t lose track of it.
Sorry, that’s all for now. I have 1,037 chores to complete (by actual count) before my new cleaning lady gets here. Can’t have the place looking dirty when she arrives!
Overall, I’m pleased about the progress of the AZ audit, and the apparent fraud it is uncovering. There MAY be an innocent explanation that could account for the discrepancies, however, the fact that almost all the errors seem to be in ONE direction (I’ll leave it to you to suggest WHICH directions those voting ‘errors’ ran), would seem to negate simple error.
This has already been a “big day” for me. I’m just back from Mass, which I attended in person for the first time in a year. I wasn’t absent from the pews out of fear, or laziness, but because my parish was enforcing a mask rule and was not distributing the Eucharist. But the mask rule is history, and Eucharist distribution is back, and so am I.
I could have attended months before this. I’ve occasionally patronized a commercial enterprise that required masking…and of course, you can’t get the Holy Eucharist at Walgreen’s or Uncle Giuseppe’s. In all candor, I was repelled by the lack of courage exhibited by my pastor and my fellow parishioners. I’ve occasionally wondered whether that repulsion was itself a sin. We’re supposed to be charitable to the deprived, you know…and a deficit of courage is a more important deprivation than any material shortcoming.
Once again, have a little C. S. Lewis:
This, indeed, is probably one of the Enemy’s motives for creating a dangerous world—a world in which moral issues really come to the point. He sees as well as you do that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky. [The Screwtape Letters]
At any rate, things are returning to normal at St. Louis de Montfort. There are still a few pews blocked off in the name of “social distancing,” and we’re discouraged from shaking hands after the Lord’s Prayer. But to be back among fellow believers was a true blessing, a sense of homecoming that eclipses the more conventional meaning of the word. There’s both strength to be had from it and comfort to be taken in it.
And the efforts of politicians and their hangers-on to keep us apart should give us quite a lot to think about.
In times of trial, one’s faith is supposed to be a source of strength and comfort. It’s always been so in the past – but this time around, the Kung Flu Panic was used as an excuse to deprive us of that resource. Why? With a slew of businesses being deemed “essential,” and therefore not to be closed under the draconian “lockdowns” that were imposed upon us, why were religious gatherings, which have sustained and succored believers through other epidemics of far greater danger, deemed “non-essential?”
I have my theories. I’m sure you can guess them without my needing to bludgeon you with them. But they’re less important than the spinelessness most American Christians have exhibited in the face of those ukases from the Omnipotent State. What about the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religious observance? Given the reinforcement provided to it by the Fourteenth Amendment, isn’t it absolute?
Apparently, the First Amendment took a backseat to the panic porn poured out so copiously by the media and their pet “medical authorities.” All those “authorities” have been proved wrong about virtually everything. Only now are we beginning to learn the extent of their arrogance, their duplicity, and their power-seeking. Yet no matter how gruesome the revelations grow, there’s little chance that they’ll ever be called to account for it. They helped the Omnipotent State to plumb just how far it could go in seizing the rights of Americans, and the Omnipotent State protects its own.
Still…why did millions of Christians, who are supposed to stand firm for their faith and their Church against any and all assaults from temporal sources, give in so meekly? Why did we not demand that our pastors stand firm? What has become of us?
I need to know, but I’m afraid to find out.
This morning’s Gospel reading from Mark was the Parable of the Mustard Seed: how the smallest of all seeds produces the largest of all plants. It was Jesus’s way of emphasizing the power of faith, firmly held and courageously championed. His Apostles took it to heart. What started with eleven men and a widow, all of them terrified and hiding in an “upstairs room,” is now the largest of all human associations: over two billion Christians worldwide.
Remember that for Christianity’s first three centuries, it was mortally risky to be a Christian. Yet many, hundreds at least, willingly surrendered their lives to the temporal authorities of the time rather than renounce their faith. Equal risk has pertained to Christians of other times and places, including today.
But today, American Christians will bend their knees and their necks to politicians’ arbitrary usurpations of power, even when that power is directed against the central practices of their faith. Out of fear of a flu-like virus with a 99.7% survival rate? Pull the other one; it’s got bells on.
I’m unhappy with what I’ve seen and heard. The world needs the Church. That’s right: the whole world, not just its professed allegiants. The proof lies in this: only in those places where faith in the church of Jesus Christ is still strong, and His people have the courage to practice their faith without fear, is there anything resembling human freedom. Only His simple, irrefutable rules for life make it worth living. The Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen could tell you. Indeed, he did, more than once.
Pray, Gentle Readers of whatever denomination. Find the courage your faith is supposed to give you. Live your faith openly and proudly. There’s never been a greater or more urgent need.
I’ve just completed the first draft of In Vino, a sequel to The Wise and the Mad. And it was one hell of a tough slog. Blood everywhere. But failing a scathing report from my “alpha reader,” it will soon be available at Amazon.
Anyway, I’m too exhausted to write something pithy and relevant at the moment – completing a novel does that to me – so here’s a teaser. It first appeared at the old Blogger-based Liberty’s Torch site, so some of you will have seen it before. Enjoy.
Sunday, June 23, 2030
“Gerry, my lord, Miss Trish, Father Monti, Father Ray,” Fountain said, “dinner is ready.”
Five persons, all of them dazed by the extraordinary aromas that had permeated the pope’s study for the preceding hour, turned immediately toward the young futa. She set a large platter on the pope’s conference table. It was filled to the brim with orzo, shrimp and bite-sized chunks of chicken, tomatoes, diced peppers, onions, and celery, bathed in a pale, delicate sauce. She essayed a half-bow and took the seat between Larry and Trish Sokoloff.
Gerard Seamus Patrick O’Rourke, better known to the world as His Holiness Pope Clement XV, spoke in a voice that trembled with longing.
“Domenico, would you please say grace for us? But in English, please.”
Father Domenico Monti, Clement’s personal secretary, nodded once. He steepled his hands and bowed his head. The others did the same.
“God our Father,” Monti said hoarsely, “we thank thee for this gift from thy bounty, and pray that we will ever be grateful for your generosity, mercy, and love. In Christ our Lord, Amen.”
“Amen,” the others chorused.
Clement rose as four sets of hands darted toward the serving implements. Trish Sokoloff won the race. As she shoveled a mound of Fountain’s creation onto her plate, Clement took up the decanter of red wine and circled the table filling glasses. He started with his own. Being Supreme Pontiff has to come with some privileges.
When he reached Fountain’s place, he found the futa sitting back with her hands in her lap, waiting patiently for her turn to serve herself. She smiled at him as he stopped beside her.
“Do you drink wine, Fountain?” he said.
“I have not yet had wine, Gerry,” she said.
“Ah. I noticed that you didn’t have any earlier,” he said. “Is it permitted, Larry, Trish?”
“I can’t see why not,” Larry said. “She just hasn’t encountered it yet. We’re not wine drinkers at home.”
“Fountain hasn’t had anything alcoholic yet,” Trish said. “We figured she’s still a bit young for it.”
“What’s your domestic tipple?” Clement said.
“I don’t drink anymore,” Trish said.
“I don’t drink much,” Sokoloff said. “When I do, it’s usually just a little bourbon.”
“And a shot of Bailey’s in your coffee on Sunday,” Trish said.
Her husband smirked. “Well, yeah, but it’s in place of cream and sugar.”
Clement chuckled. “An excellent substitute. The alcohol cuts through the fat. It’s the body’s version of a plumber’s auger. Fountain, would you like a glass of wine? I’m sure it won’t harm you in any way.”
“I would like to try it, Gerry,” Fountain said. “I am always interested in exploring new foods and flavors.”
“Very well.” He poured a small amount of Chianti into her glass, set down the decanter, and returned to his seat. As the others were plainly waiting for him to be first to try the dish, he served himself a modest portion and spooned up a bite.
Fountain’s creation hit him like a speeding truck. The cavalcade of flavors and textures was both overwhelming and exquisite, a gustatory delight of unprecedented magnitude and variety. It seized him immediately and irresistibly. He had to thrust his chair back from the table to avert a most un-Pontiff-like action.
“Is something wrong, Holiness?” Father Monti said.
“Uh, nothing…nothing, Domenico.” Clement’s heart had gone into overdrive. His whole body quivered with pleasure. None of his non-mystical experiences could compare with the rush from that single mouthful of Fountain’s concoction. He closed his eyes, tipped back his head, breathed deeply through his nose, and emitted a long sigh. When he’d steadied, he panned a huge smile around the table.
“Glory be to God!”
Larry was grinning like a fool. His wife Trish giggled, one hand pressed to her lips. Ray Altomare and Domenico Monti were staring at their plates looking thunderstruck. It seemed their encounter with Fountain’s cuisine had paralleled Clement’s.
Fountain was staring fixedly into her wine glass.
“What’s the matter, dear?” Clement said. “Don’t you like it?”
Fountain didn’t reply at once. Clement became alarmed.
“It speaks,” she whispered. “It speaks so much.”
She slowly drained the glass and turned a face that glowed with the unique joy of discovery toward Clement.
“Thank you, Gerry,” she whispered. “This is special.”
“A new thing, Fountain?” he said.
“Something you’d like to experiment with?” Larry said.
She nodded, eyes wide and sparkling with excitement.
Clement reached for the decanter and refilled her glass.
It was not long afterward that the members of the little dinner party, having scraped the serving platter completely food-free, sat back from the table to digest. There were many groans. Some were of pleasure, some were of rue, and some compounded the two.
Fountain alone was silent. She appeared to Clement to be deep in thought.
“Holiness,” Monti croaked.
“Really, Domenico,” Clement murmured, “can’t you bring yourself to call me Gerry for the span of a dinner party?”
“Apologies, Holiness,” the Piedmontese priest said, “but I fear not. The capacity for such informality was beaten out of me long, long ago.”
Clement shook his head. “A pity, though I suppose I’ll manage to cope. What was it you were about to say?”
“I think…” Monti faltered. “I think it was wise that you should dine thus, with your present company and without the members of the Curia.” He brightened. “And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for including me.”
Clement smiled. “Thanks are not necessary, Domenico. You serve the papacy with such devotion that I felt it would be unjust to exclude you.” He chuckled. “Also, I’d been told that I was about to experience an extraordinary event, and I wanted to have at least as many clergy present as laymen. To act as witnesses, you understand.” He turned to Fountain. “Does that dish have a name, Fountain?”
“It does not, Gerry,” she said. “I composed it only today, from what I found in your pantry. Would you like to name it?”
“I’m not sure that I’m up to the task, Fountain,” Clement said. “It was something like a jambalaya without sausage, but subtler. Considerably subtler. It did not overwhelm with pepper as jambalaya often does. May I have a few days to think about a name, dear?”
“Of course, Gerry.”
“Fountain does this sort of thing all the time,” Larry Sokoloff said. “Dishes we’ve never seen before, recipes concocted on the spot, sometimes with ingredients she’s never used before.”
“But this good?” Clement said.
“Always this good, Gerry,” Trish said. “No matter what she makes, Fountain’s cooking is guaranteed to ring all your bells.”
“It is in the food,” Fountain said.
Clement peered at her curiously. “What do you mean, dear?”
She met his gaze with eyes of the purest innocence.
“Food speaks, Gerry,” she said. “It is powerful, and it knows its power. It wants not merely to nourish, but to please, to be cherished–to be loved. Upon the instant my lord and Miss Trish introduced me to food, I knew it could do wonders.”
“You hadn’t had…food before that?”
Her eyes darkened. She shook her head. “No, Gerry. A—a sludge to keep us alive. It had a foul odor. It was bitter, slimy, hard to swallow…vile. Except for an occasional glass of milk, it was all we were given. Until my lord made me his, I was unaware that there was anything else.”
The study filled with a silence of expectant yet reverent quality. It brought a sense of immanence, the special tension that speaks of an event—or a Person—that has breached the wall of Time and is waiting to be recognized. Clement had experienced such a state before, but always at prayer or during meditation. This is something the world needs to know.
This young woman was created from stolen tissue by an evil method and trained for the basest sort of slavery. A will-less, rightless existence her owner could terminate whenever he pleased. An absolute dependence that could never be broken.
She could be the most important mortal to come into the world of men since the Blessed Virgin.
“Did the wine speak to you that way, Fountain?”
“Oh yes!” The futa’s face filled with excitement and possibility. “I must learn all there is to know about wine. It has great power. It could protect the health. It could relieve many sorrows. It could…could…” Her eyes lost focus and her gaze drifted into the infinite.
A new prospect formed in his mind’s eye. Could the old saw be true after all?
“Fountain,” Clement murmured, “could wine be used to elicit…truth? To encourage someone to speak his mind plainly and without any pretense?”
Her focus returned, and she smiled.
“I do not yet know, Gerry. It is possible. Its powers seem unbounded. I must study it thoroughly.”
Trish sucked in a noisy breath. Larry took her hand and squeezed it. Ray Altomare and Domenico Monti stared at the futa as if mesmerized.
“Possible,” Clement said. “Not certain.”
Fountain canted her head and looked away. Her smile spoke of an adventure eagerly anticipated.
“I will know soon enough.”
The evening wore on. Dessert was gelato and cannoli, hand-made by the Vatican’s own kitchen staff. Servants brought coffee for the Sokoloffs, brandy for Ray and Monti, and wine for Clement and Fountain. There were stories, and japes, and copious merriment. It was an interval of a sort few popes have enjoyed and fewer still have allowed to become public knowledge.
Clement encouraged Fountain to try sips of several kinds of wine. He asked her opinion of each and how they differed.
“The red wines speak more sternly,” she said. “The white wines beckon more subtly.”
“I’m not sure what you mean, dear,” Clement said.
She frowned delicately. “As with all voices, the voices of food have both volume and tone. The red wine is brusque and assertive. It demands my attention. It would not accept going unheard. I must listen. Yet it says nothing the white wine does not. The white wine demands nothing. It invites, beckons…”
“Yes, or seduces.” Her forehead wrinkled. “I failed at first to hear it, and it did not raise but lowered its voice. Whether or not to listen is at my option.” Her eyes twinkled. “Miss Holly might say that the red wine is ‘full of itself.’”
“Who is Miss Holly?” Clement said.
“Holly Martinowski. One of my other parishioners,” Ray supplied. “A very nice young, ah, woman who writes romance novels.”
“Excellent romance novels,” Trish added.
“My, my. Onteora is home to all sorts of Catholics.” Clement drained his brandy and sat back. “The variety must be refreshing.” He snorted. “All I get to deal with are sour-faced cardinals with pretensions to importance.”
“Holiness!” Monti looked mournful.
Clement chuckled. “All right, Domenico, I’ll admit there are a few pleasant exceptions. Larry, Trish? I assume you’ve booked accommodations for tonight and a flight back to New York tomorrow?”
“Yes to both,” Larry said.
“Remember to send a copy of the hotel bill to Domenico. He’ll see to it that you’re reimbursed.” Clement rose, marveling afresh at his painlessness and ease of motion. “This has been one of the very best days I’ve had since I was first ordained a priest of Christ.” He spread his arms in unabashed invitation, and each of the Sokoloffs hugged him in turn. “Thank you, most sincerely, for indulging my curiosity about you and Fountain.” He turned to Fountain, took her hands, bowed over them and kissed them. “And thank you, dear girl, for the greatest experience I’ve ever had at the dinner table.”
The futa smiled. “You’re quite welcome, Gerry.”
“Ray?” Clement said. “Unless you absolutely must be off, I’d appreciate it if you’d stay in a Vatican guest suite tonight. I’d like for us to celebrate Mass together tomorrow morning.”
Ray Altomare’s visage lit from within.
“Gerry,” he said, “I can imagine no greater honor.”
“Excellent. Let’s bid our other guests a good night.”
When Father Monti had closed the study door behind him, Clement turned to Ray and waved him back to his seat. “More brandy, Ray?”
“No thank you, Gerry,” he said. “I have a feeling I should keep what remains of my wits for what you’re about to tell me.”
Clement chuckled. “You’ve got the right idea. I realized when Fountain and I were chatting that even though her, ah, parents are devout, she’s got no idea about the Faith.”
Ray nodded. “Larry didn’t want to be the one to educate her. She thinks too much of him to doubt anything he says. Trish just feels unequipped.”
“Hm. Well, that might be for the best,” Clement said. “You, on the other hand…?”
He fought back an urge to cringe. Oh boy. I should have known that was coming.
“I suppose it is my job, isn’t it?” he muttered.
“Well,” Clement drawled, “you are the pastor of Onteora parish, aren’t you, Father?”
“Yeah.” Ray shook himself and straightened up. “I know it’s my job. But it’s going to be a tough one.”
“All the more reason I’m glad it will be you who takes it on,” Clement said. “Fountain is special. May God be forever praised, she gives new meaning to the word ‘special.’ And I can trust you to know how to introduce her to the Testaments, and our theology, and the Church’s doctrines about a life well lived without oppressing her, bruising her innocence, or damaging what makes her unique.” He trusts me more than I trust myself. God, be with me. I’m going to need You.
“I hope you’re right about that.” Ray sighed. “She won’t be my first special catechumen, but she’s likely to be the most difficult. You’ve noticed how literal she is?”
“I most certainly have.”
“And that she takes nothing for granted?”
“Yes again,” Clement said. “And neither should you. I think…” He paused and looked away briefly. “I think she has a significant part to play in the dramas of our time. If she accepts and embraces the Faith—and there are no guarantees about that, despite my most fervent hopes—she could serve the Christian world as no one has done since Aquinas.”
Ray’s awareness surged to a painful acuity. What kind of service is he thinking of? The Christian world is in desperate need of several different kinds.
“Gerry, I sense that there’s meaning in that statement that I’m unable to thresh out.”
“For the moment,” Clement said, “that is as it must be. But I don’t think it will be much longer before my meaning is as clear to you as it is to me, so be careful with her. Supremely careful.”
Ray bowed his head. “I will, Gerry.”
“I’m sure.” Clement rose. “Now let’s get some shut-eye. I’d say we’ve earned it.”
“He is impossible.”
“He demeans us. To exclude us yet dine with his secretary, a parish priest, a lay couple, and that creature…”
“You did not vote for him.”
“Nor did you. But nearly three fourths of the Conclave did. And I will never understand it. I’d have thought it was understood that an American would be unacceptable.”
“I certainly understood it. Even so, he was chosen. He has been elevated. What now?”
“It is clear that he must be removed.”
“By what means? I have studied his record. It is without blemish.”
“If so, that was yet another reason not to choose him!”
“What can we do?”
“I must think on it, as should you.”
“I shall. But we must not take too long. The damage is already mounting to a catastrophic level.”
Byzanitine in the sense of dark political maneuvering, deviousness, and complexity.
Given the hatred of Trump in all quarters and multiple election irregularities . . .
It begs the question. Did China release this virus on purpose to destroy Trump and rig his removal from office? It seems plausible. The timing is unquestionably coincidental. I see a wisp of smoke.
The larger question, the 64,000 dollar question, is why didn’t anyone conduct an actual forensic examination of voting irregularities? That’s how we determine truth in America. The short answer is- the owners of this country didn’t want an investigation.
This is a dated as there are audits underway as we speak but the author’s point is no less valid. The audits have been resisted tooth and nail and from the beginning the “mantra,” the “narrative,” the MSNBS/CNN/NYT pronouncments have proclaimed an election of singular purity whose regularity and transparency are questioned only by lemon-sucking minions of the Kremlin and the ghost of Joe McCarthy. The Republicans laughably stroke their chins at the enormity of it all but intone that, pilgrims, it is Time to Move On.
Oligarchy, plutocracy, and deep state hardly seem sufficient to describe what we have as a government in the United States now. ____ show is a less elegant term but I’ll take that over most anything else. With a side of kabuki (Japanese for song and dance) and a chaser of wholesale attack on fundamental freedoms, burdensome and proliferating laws, and arrogant, meddlesome swarms of officers. Suck the marrow from your bones type deal.
The solution to which is a whole lot of turbocharged skepticism, foot dragging, resistance, non-cooperation, and unalloyed (((populism))). Who the people are these days is a complex question as open borders have been with us for half a century; both major political parties are besotted with “diversity,” “path to citizenship,” and low wages; and blacks seem determined to nurture their concocted grievances and hold to the course of moronic rejectionismad astra.
The John Birch Society wisely warns of the dangers of a constitutional convention with few or any safeguards against a repeat of the Constitutional Convention of 1789. That is true as to the work product of such a convention but there is still the ratification process which is a check on stupid stuff dreamed up by zealots and fools served up by a divided nation.
However, my objection to that route of rehabilitating our Nation is that it is too cumbersome, necessarily must deal with larger issues, and relies on anonymous nobodies to descend from the mountain with august proposals anointed by the high priests. What we need instead is to defeat the enemy in detail by state and local mini revolutions such as abolishing taxation to fund mandatory government schools. Self defense laws need to be revamped in a major way. Nullification needs to be embraced by all state governments with a vengeance. “Civil rights” laws need to be trashed. “Diversity,” “multiculturalism,” and the notion of a “propositional nation” need to be declared an abomination.
But these are issues for another time.
Right now steady as she goes is proving not to be an option. Rather we must rely on ourselves and return to our roots of popular sovereignty and rebellion in the face of oppression and rule by unreachable, entitled elites.
Notes  “Let’s Rig the 2024 Election!.” By Brian, The New and Improved- Frankenstein Government, 2/7/21.  E.g., children’s names such as Shaniqua, Airwrecka, Charhonda, Crenshanda, and D’brickashaw; loathsome rap music; a taste for riot, arson, looting, street assault, unwed motherhood, welfare parasitism, and urban destruction; and a decided aversion to academic effort of any kind.  To say that those fine fellows exceeded their brief is an understatement albeit the result was good. If later treason destroyed their work I find it hard to blame them. What normal person could foresee the elite determination to foul their own nest?
Rush liked to say he lived in Realville. Brian has an interesting post about moving there. Common sense strikes again.
When I arrived in college, I was surrounded by more liberals and liberal teachers. I didn’t need the additional indoctrination. I arrived there pre-packaged.
So I began the working years of my life with an environmental protection lean and little else. I had been raised Catholic/Lutheran, I had plenty of guns, I thought the evil rich guys all voted Republican. I voted every four years like clockwork. Then a series of events woke me up and changed my mind about liberals and democrats forever. . . .
His thoughts on people living in subsidized housing are right on the money. “Our culture doesn’t have a solution for the people who live there,” he observes. We can’t bring ourselves to recognize that and so twist ourselves into knots trying to square the circle and solve problems that can’t be solved. Mental illness, drugs, and alcohol play their part.
Too, it’s my belief that industrial, highly urbanized life is basically inhuman where there is little community and simple labor is not enough to allow one to thrive. Religion and Christian community are reviled and the culture in general is putrid, a waste of time for people needing spiritual or emotional sustenance. The despair of urban life seems to be the essence of modern life but millions of us live in cities and it’s just assumed that this is some kind of ultimate brass ring in man’s progress to the stars.
I’m not a sour puss and have what I think are minimal social skills but I remember living in a townhouse community and going to a nearby restaurant for dinner one Saturday. I looked around that crowded restaurant no more than a quarter mile from my home as the crow flies and it struck me that after eight years there I didn’t know one person in the restaurant. Same with any other establishment in that area. I had a pleasant relationship with one next door neighbor and that was it.
Any other social contact I had was at work and from what I developed elsewhere with considerable effort, invariably requiring driving many miles to enjoy. Without such effort it’s easy to live a grey life. I met a Scots fellow in London back in 1962 and he told me he’d lived in London for 25 years but had not one friend.
All told high-density urban life seems like a formula for despair unless you work really hard to do something about it. It’s no wonder that the holes in men’s souls end up being filled with political hopes and dependencies. Political opportunists long ago learned to appeal to this hunger in people to advance their own fortunes. But as Samuel Johnson wrote centuries ago:
How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.
Still to ourselves in every place consign’d,
Our own felicity we make or find.
Take that to heart and voila you’re a conservative.