Stand Up Virginia Rally

 

We attended the Stand Up Virginia Rally Saturday in Centreville near the Bull Run Battlefield. Traffic on I-95 was heavy so we missed part of it but we made several useful contacts for fighting voter fraud. We think that’s a major issue both in Virginia and countrywide. In addition, we heard WMAL’s Chris Plante give an excellent talk.

Our Feckless State Department Is an Embarrassment

 

Soon, 18,000 Afghan translators could die, and their blood will be on our hands. We are approaching an emergency situation as we plan to leave Afghanistan. Although we have a program in place, the Special Immigrant Visa Program (established in 2009), to save those Afghanis who worked for us, our State Department demonstrates once again its inability to get out of its own way. The U.S Embassy in Kabul recently suspended visa operations.

And many people will die.

On One Father … and So Much More – Lessons (and Warnings) Galore

 

Lest you are feeling too comfortable and secure under current circumstances, I offer this from this morning’s reading from the autobiography by Lech Walesa:

When I was born at half past three on the morning of September 29, 1943, my father Boleslaw was in a Nazi concentration camp. His arrest had come without any waring for his family, when I was still in my mother Felicja’s womb. One dark night, policemen on horseback arrived, searched our home, found something incriminating, and took my father away with them. Later they came back to do another search and stole my mother’s watches and rings. My mother was in despair: they had taken her wedding ring. She told me later that she was sure it meant that her husband would never return, that her married life was over.

Book Release Day!

 

I like to announce them here first, I’m sentimental like that.

I’m delighted to announce that my 57th audiobook narration, The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War by J. L. Bell, is now available on Audible.com.

It’s commonly taught that the Redcoats marched into Concord to capture John Hancock, John Adams, and other patriots, and this led to the battle that started the war. But General Gage’s orders to his troops didn’t say anything about capturing people on the mission. Some wise-ass Sons of Liberty had stolen four brass cannon right out from under his nose, from a guarded building, by cutting into a side door while the Brits were making noise outside during the changing of the guard. Gage was determined to get those cannon back before someone told London about the incident and embarrassed him.

Ali and Weiss: Two More Podcasts Worth Trying

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is something rare and beautiful, a truly heroic figure who has faced life-threatening adversity without flinching, and without surrendering an ounce of dignity or resolve. I recently listened to her June 3 podcast with Megyn Kelly, hosted on Ricochet, about Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, and appreciated the common sense expressed both by Ms. Ali and Ms. Kelly. As one of the few conservatives who has never heard Megyn Kelly speak, I was impressed by her thoughtfulness and intelligence — and, in particular, by her willingness to bluntly reject the absurd claims of the gender identity movement. And Ms. Ali’s is a voice I hope is never silenced; I applaud Ricochet for providing her a platform and hope she does well.

I also listened to a June 16 Podcast by Bari Weiss and her guest Martin Gurri. This podcast appears not to be hosted on Ricochet, so I found it here: Revolt of the Public. What particularly struck me about this interview was Ms. Weiss’s professionalism: she asks intelligent questions, follows up when appropriate, and comes across as a serious woman and a serious interviewer. Mr. Gurri, an ex-CIA employee who left Cuba as a child and has, as he put it, witnessed both right-wing and left-wing totalitarianism, speaks sensibly and optimistically (albeit with some caution) about America. His views on the Internet — that it is transformative and destructive — in many ways comport with my own. I found his rejection of the popular notion that America is a racist country refreshing. I’ll probably read his book, The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium.

Loan Forgiveness Related to ITT Tech Is Different

 

My son Brian graduated from ITT Tech with an Electrical Engineering degree, for which he and I each assumed about $20K in student loans. I see on NRO this morning that this debt will be forgiven. Even though I have a reason to be pleased, I want to point out that this is not the same as other student debt.

Debt related to ITT Tech partakes of fraud.

I Love You, Dad

 

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters, there is something which there are no words to express.

So said Joseph Addison, seventeenth-century essayist, playwright, and politician who, alongside his friend Richard Steele, founded the first Spectator magazine in 1711.  Pretty smart for such an old-timer.

Happy Father’s Day to Dads here and everywhere.  Treasure each other, hug each other, love each other.  And don’t forget to say it.  Life is short and unpredictable.  Regret is forever.  Don’t be that guy.  Or that gal.

A British Police Procedural Updated to the Present

 

The British police procedural is one of the most popular forms of detective fiction. The twentieth century brought Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse and P. D. James’s Adam Dagliesh. There are many others, including some set in the nineteenth century.

“Queen of Swords,” by Robert Mills, brings the genre into the twenty-first century.

Senior nurse Jenny Butcher is found strangled in her London flat. Detective Inspector Sanjay Patel, a British-born Indian is the case’s first investigator. He is assigned as deputy to Chief Inspector Tracy Taylor, and an important part of the investigation.

Happy Father’s Day to The Golden Bear

 

It just so happens that I was commissioned to paint a picture of Jack Nicklaus for the Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio. It was there in 1973 that Nicklaus won the PGA Championship, giving him his record-setting 14th major title, surpassing Bobby Jones. He later went on to win four more major tournaments, a record that still stands.

The painting was based on a famous photo taken at the tournament. After finishing one of the holes, Nicklaus’ four-year-old son Gary (now a professional golfer), having been cajoled by his mischievous older brother Jack Jr., crawled under the security ropes and ran out onto the green to greet his father. Jack hoisted him into his arms and Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper photographer Ray Matjasic snapped a black and white photo.  Jack Nicklaus is quoted as saying that it is his favorite photo.

Canceled for Opposing Arson

 

I ran across a couple of news articles about the composer Daniel Elder this week. Perhaps you’ve seen them. Elder is (or was) an up-and-coming choral composer living in Nashville.

Listening to Elder’s work, it’s clear that he is a fine composer with much to offer. I have not heard enough of his music to offer generalizations about his style, but I’m willing to bet you will find Ballade to the Moon worthy of repeated listenings.

Show Me The Fruit

 

One of the things that makes mankind special is that we can – and do – take in data, make sense of it, assign it to categories in order to make it useful, and act accordingly. These categories, whether they are of the more scientific “mammal or not mammal?” variety or the softer stereotypes of, “Does that person pose an above-average risk to my person?” are not necessarily accurate – but they tend to be broadly helpful in going about our lives.

There are always dangers with categorization, as we know very well. Broad stereotypes lead to enhanced tribalism of all kinds (from xenophobia to racism). There is a reason the Torah tells us to have the same law for the stranger within our gates as for the citizen – we instinctively think otherwise.  Nevertheless, the same text tells us that we must categorize and make judgments. We must be responsible for our actions and choices because it is our choices that define who we are.

Conservatives Are Defined by Their Tolerance

 

The increasingly ubiquitous and bitter partisanship in America recently seems very odd to me, partially because I really don’t understand the basic, central difference between leftists and conservatives.  In the Civil War, Democrats and Republicans had obvious and important things they disagreed on, such as slavery and human rights.  Things seem nearly as hostile now – surely we’re not arguing about trans-sexual bathrooms or something – there must be a big topic somewhere, that I’m missing.  I discussed this in the Land of Confusion podcast with Don and David a few weeks ago, and I’ve linked to that portion of the conversation below – it runs for about six minutes.  I hope you’ll listen to it to get my point, but I’ll try to summarize here.

Leftists tend to believe in strong, centralized power structures.  Democrats are the party of big government.  I know that Republican politicians don’t always do a great job opposing the Democrats on this point, but I think a large majority of Republican voters view their ideal government as much smaller and much more constrained than Democrat voters do.  President Obama said that government is the word we use to describe the things we all do together.  Leftists profess to believe in cooperative efforts within communities, and view conservatives as radical individualists who believe in an “every man for himself” society, and say that Republicans lack empathy for others.  I know these stereotypes are just that – stereotypes – but just for the sake of argument, follow along with me here.

What I find interesting about all this is that leftist societies, which ostensibly are based on cooperative effort and collectivism, tend to be violent, tribal societies that eventually tear themselves apart.  While other societies, which are based on respect for individual thought and individual rights, tend to be more peaceful and community-based.  Part of this, of course, is the Marxist tendency to coordinate groups of lower- and middle-class people, who use their superior numbers to take what they want from the wealthy few.  But I think there’s more to it than that.

The Backstory on the Portland Police RRT Mass Resignation

 

The Rapid Response Team of the Portland Police Bureau has endured over 150 nights of rioting. Not protests, riots. Riots that have not only destroyed the city’s reputation but have physically destroyed different neighborhoods in the city. Almost every member of the team has sustained injuries. Channel 2 News released a 14-point memo sent to the PPB Chief:

At the top of the list, Clark said nearly every team member had been injured during the protests last year.

Why Is the Left So Insanely Crazy?

 

I always ask, “why?” In this case, “why is the left so insanely crazy?” I tend to think that most things don’t have a single cause but maybe three or four causes that act independently of one another. And after all, knowing what causes are at the root of a major problem is necessary, I think, to even beginning to consider fixing the problem, by fixing them at their root causes.

And we’ve discussed generically two causes; and as for the third cause, we have attempted to psychoanalyze the loud or the proud or the violent left, and we’ve mentioned that the future may look empty and fruitless to the younger generations, due to lack of economic parity with their parents, and lack of opportunities, and digital social isolation. So far I think we have generally identified two, and now I think I’ve read about a third.

What Happened to Ireland?

 

One hundred years ago the original IRA fought the most powerful empire in the world to a standstill in Ireland. This resulted in the UK granting a de facto independent state to Ireland’s political leaders, which became a republic within thirty years. Much of the original IRA were devout Mass-going Catholics. My ancestors among them.

I wonder had they seen into the far future the Ireland of today – secular degenerate and liberal with a vicious anti-Catholicism in the air – would they have bothered.

Woke, CRT, and BLM Types: Straight, White Guy Has Questions

 

I have questions. I’m a straight, white guy, so please bear with me as I couch these questions the only way I know: like a straight, white guy. I know. But you’ve lived in my white guy world for years, so just act like the way you were until three or four months ago.

First question: A request really. Give me one or two concrete examples of “Systemic Racism.” White culture talking here but maybe throw in a place, name, date, or other details such that I can follow you. I’m hoping for facts and logic here — again white culture stuff — but it’s who I am. The media doesn’t explain anything anymore, and I need information to process all this woke cum racist-anti-racist stuff. I’m White!

Second question: What do you expect all of us straight, white guys to do? Let’s say I saw the “I am a racist” light, and now I want to lead the rest of my life as a good, honest, non-racist guy. What would that look like? How would it manifest itself? Maybe a leopard can change its spots. And again, sorry, my whiteness is showing, but can you explain this in plain, clear words from a dictionary printed before last year?

Chaos in Austin: Update

 

Some updates on the mass shooting in Austin that I reported on earlier. Sadly, one of the victims, a visitor from Michigan, has died. Another woman remains in critical condition.

Two arrests have been made. Oddly enough, the 17-year-old arrested appears to exactly match the “vague” description provided by the police that the UT Football News refused to publish “as it is too vague at this time to be useful in identifying the shooter and such publication could be harmful in perpetuating stereotypes.”

Breaking: The Pope Is Catholic

 

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted 168-55 to draft a document on “Eucharistic coherence.” A primary issue is whether or not pro-choice politicians can receive communion despite their fundamental disagreement with Rome. The debate gained steam with the election of President Biden, a Catholic who endorses abortion. Communicants are not supposed to participate in the Eucharist if they are in a state of sin and the Catholic Church considers this a serious sin.

Outrage spread across social media, blasting the bishops’ decision and demanding that all churches be taxed for “interfering with politics.” A few examples:

RepubliCAN’T Willful Failure: Juneteenth Holiday

 

Juneteenth started as an informal Texas holiday.* Last year, at the height of street violence in the name of racial justice for Blacks, the Republican-controlled Senate could not be bothered to push through federal legislation, sponsored by the senior senator from Texas, John Cornyn. This was the sort of legislation that President Trump loved to sign, and would have played right into the heart of his political strategy to make every ethnic and racial group electorally competitive, not the taken-for-granted electoral “property” of Democrats or Republicans. Now Chuck Schumer showed exactly what Mitch McConnell could have done, but chose not to do, out of contempt for Black Americans, or cluelessness, or a burning desire to tank the 2020 election.

Senator Chuck Schumer, acting like a real Senate Majority Leader, put forward a motion for unanimous consent on Senator Cornyn’s legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday. This led to immediate passage after RepubliCAN’T Ron Johnson finally abandoned his “principled” opposition, used by McConnell last year to tank the bill put forward by Republican Senator Cornyn before Juneteenth. Ron Johnson’s laughable objection was the supposed $400 million dollar “cost” of one less workday, converted into a paid federal holiday. Johnson even tried killing the Republican bill last year by proposing an amendment eliminating Columbus Day in the trade-off. In an era of multi-trillion spending bills and annual budgets, $400 million is a rounding error. It is a joke, an insincere objection.

Last year, President Trump followed the long tradition of issuing a Presidential Message for Juneteenth from the White House [emphasis added]:

Quote of the Day: Chivalry as “Art” Rather Than “Nature”

 

The medieval ideal brought together two things which have no natural tendency to gravitate towards one another.  It brought them together for that very reason.  It taught humility and forbearance to the great warrior because everyone knew by experience how much he usually needed that lesson.  It demanded valour of the urbane and modest man because everyone knew that he was as likely as not to be a milksop.

I can’t help thinking, when I read this passage from C.S. Lewis’s short essay, “The Necessity of Chivalry,” (now published as part of a collection titled Present Concerns), of a few of my favorite war movies, some of which feature heroes of extraordinary bravery and fortitude combined with a sense of “humility and forbearance,” and some of which feature everyday men and women engaging in, however small or local, acts of “valor.”  (The fact that these sorts of movies are my favorites probably explains why I’m not wild about movies that, start to finish, are nothing more than unremitting violent bloodbaths.)  As Lewis puts it:

If we cannot produce Launcelots, humanity falls into two sections–those who can deal in blood and iron but cannot be “meek in hall”, and those who are “meek in hall” but useless in battle–for the third class, who are both brutal in peace and cowardly in war, need not here be discussed. When this disassociation of the two halves of Launcelot occurs, history becomes a horribly simple affair. The ancient history of the Near East is like that. Hardy barbarians swarm down from their highlands and obliterate a civilization. Then they become civilized themselves and go soft. Then a new wave of barbarians comes down and obliterates them.  Then the cycle begins over again.  Modern machinery will not change this cycle; it will only enable the same thing to happen on a larger scale.  Indeed, nothing much else can ever happen if the ‘stern’ and the ‘meek’ fall into two mutually exclusive classes.  And never forget that this is their natural condition.  The man who combines both characters–the knight–is a work not of nature but of art; of that art which has human beings, instead of canvas or marble, for its medium.

What on Earth Is Going On in New York City? The Islanders and the Anthem

 

You’ve probably seen clips of the National Anthem performance at the recent Islander games. It’s extraordinary. The entire crowd, singing their hearts out. Absolutely brought tears to my eyes. You’ve got to watch it – they have the clip in this Fox News article. It’s beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. If you haven’t seen it, you really should.  It will make your whole week.

It’s also confusing. It’s an Islanders game. They play in New York City. Their stadium is less than 20 miles from JFK airport. I didn’t think you could find 10,000 patriots within 50 miles of that place. Democrats have spent the last few years trying to get sports teams to stop the National Anthem performances before games – too polarizing, too racist, too whatever. And here are 10,000 New Yorkers belting it out like they’re trying to make a point. And there were no hockey players kneeling on the ice.

Is New York City more conservative than I thought? Or are even New York liberals starting to fear the loss of their country? Or perhaps hockey fans are different than fans of other sports? Or perhaps there are a lot of northeastern Democrats who aren’t quite on board with the ‘destroy America’ platform of the Democrat party? Maybe, um – gosh, I don’t know – it’s surreal.

Breaking News: God Is a Republican!

 

In a roundabout way, the Infernal Revenue Service has declared God to be a Republican. Have a look:

An IRS official denied tax-exempt status to a Texas group that encourages church members to pray for state and national leaders regardless of their party affiliation because it benefits “the private interests of the [Republican] Party.”