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The Police Blotter: Someone Might Need a 72-Hour Psych Hold

 

A college philosophy teacher arrested after entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters had also been arrested at a New Jersey cathedral this week and had booked a Thursday flight to Rome, the New York Police Department said.

Marc Lamparello, 37, is facing charges including attempted arson and reckless endangerment after his arrest Wednesday night at the New York City landmark, said John Miller, the New York Police Department’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.

It happened just days after Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was ravaged by a fire that investigators said Thursday was most likely electrical. Miller would not discuss anything Lamparello told investigators after his arrest but stressed that there “doesn’t appear to be any connection to any terrorist group or any terrorist-related intent here.”

A Psych hold is a civil hold, as is a Detox hold. The Detox hold lasts about eight hours; in some circles, it is called the “Drunk Tank.” The Detox hold is an easy report for an officer to write — “Subject intoxicated, unable to care for himself, or herself.” The Psych hold is a bit more difficult, but it can be done.

After this subject’s first arrest, he stepped up his game on his visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Congrats to Cathedral security, and the NYPD for stopping this individual, and for his arrest.

.

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For Men Only: The Secret Life of Women

 

That’s a photo of the little woman (Now don’t get all hissy. I warned you not to read this, you snowflakes of the female persuasion) with one of her BFFs. Marie the wife is on the left. 

Marie is fairly typical of her sex, I suppose. I don’t know for certain because I don’t know many women. What women I know, I don’t quite understand, but I’m willing to tell you the little that I do know.

I accompanied Marie one time to one of her regular lunches with the ladies. I’ve never heard such frivolous talk. They talked about quilts, babies, their outfits, the personality defects of those who didn’t show up. Whatever was on the surface of life, they talked about. I heard one of them say that dying wouldn’t be half bad if she could take her cute little outfits to the afterlife with her. (I think she was joking.)

They ate little salads and little sandwiches, sometimes with cucumbers instead of meat. Cucumbers between two slices of bread! My god, you might as well get down on all fours and munch on grass and dandelions in your front yard.

I think I cramped their style. I won’t be going back anytime soon, even if they let me. Which they won’t.

Men, I need to tell you a hard truth: Women have a better time when we’re not around.

If it weren’t for our almost incidental part in baby-making, women would probably marry women. They just seem more compatible with one another than they are with us.

Women don’t want to know how things work. Every now and then I try to mansplain to Marie how air conditioning produces cold air. But she doesn’t seem interested. I don’t know why.

I like to cuss. Milady doesn’t like it. I don’t know why.

The thing is, women are ignorant of the important things in life. For the life of her, Marie can’t remember automobile marques. When we stop behind a car with four rings, I ask, “What’s the four rings car again, Hon?”

“I dunno,” she replies.

“What do each of the letters BMW represent?”

“I dunno.”

And you know what? She doesn’t seem to care. Doesn’t care if a car is an Audi or not! Now that’s just pathetic.

They buy crazy stuff. We go to Safeway and Marie buys a few flowers for $10.99. They sit on our mantle and wilt in a few days. She buys makeup stuff from the expensive Clinique counter at Macy’s, 60 bucks for a couple of little bottles of something or another. You could buy a Bosch drill for the same money, and it’ll last a lifetime. Men are just more sensible about these matters.

Marie goes to various meetings largely as an excuse to talk to other women about their lives. Yes, she wants to know about their brothers, their mothers, their latest disease, whatever. She likes this kind of thing. Women are social. If Marie were still in high school, she would be called a sosh. Remember soshes? Women are, by their very nature, soshes.

Marie covets her friends. She takes them on and never lets them go. She started writing to a pen pal in Germany in the fourth grade. She still writes to her. That woman sitting with her on the bench in the photo above— Marie and she were pals in grade school.

Women have their moments. They seem brave in the face of pain that would reduce men to unmanly tears. Babies are cute and all, but to get one down and out the birth canal, women have to go through the most painful process one could imagine. I just wouldn’t do it. I once asked Marie if it hurt a lot when giving birth. She said it hurt like the dickens. “Imagine the most hellish bowel movement you’ve ever had,” she said. “Now multiply that by ten.” So you have to give them that.

They keep themselves excessively clean. Some of them, I’ve heard, change their socks and underwear almost every day. I don’t know why. Once a week seems just about right to me.

But if you still aren’t convinced that they are different from us, not just in degree but also in kind, go into your bathroom and look at the rows of little vials and bottles on their side of the bathroom. Here are a few of what I found on Marie’s side: Revitalize Lotion, Lubriderm, Thera-Tears, Fit Me, Triamcinolone Acetonide Cream, Olay Total Effects, Clinique Something or other, City Block Sheer, Lip Sense, and some other liquids without names. And a little angel with wire wings. My side of the bathroom counter has a bar of soap.

So that’s the secret life of females. It’s not a pleasant sight. We’re incompatible, guys. Somehow we tolerate one another. I don’t know how.

I usually ask Marie to read my essays before I post them. I’m not showing her this one. I think she would try to harsh my mellow. Women do that. I think they blame us for the pain of childbirth, and that makes them cruel to us.

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Election Meddling

 

The online edition of the Wall Street Journal has the following as its lead headline: ‘Putin Has Won’: Mueller Report Details the Ways Russia Interfered in the 2016 Election. The following is a slightly edited version of a comment I left:

There was no election meddling in 2016. There was meddling in the campaign. If somebody interfered with the counting of ballots, such as got Al Franken and Lyndon Johnson elected to the Senate, that would be election meddling. If somebody tries to influence the campaign, that is not election meddling.

It is dangerous rhetoric to suggest that it is. It is dangerous to our First Amendment freedoms and is more dangerous than anything the Russian government did.

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Quote of the Day: Judicial Perspective

 

“I don’t think I know a single judge who has allowed religion to interfere with their jobs. I think if you start the day on your knees, you approach your job differently from when you start thinking that someone anointed you to impose your will on others.” Justice Clarence Thomas

I once wrote a story featuring a monarchy in the far future. In it, the main character spoke at length about the vital nature of religion in such a society. Without faith, the king answers to no one in life or death. There is no law above him, no judgment.

In our society, the Supreme Court is the closest to a monarch. They have life terms, wear vestments, and are beyond repeal. For crying out loud, they have a Court. Without some controlling virtue, some overpowering drive and focus, it can become the perfect opportunity to make the world right, fix everything you want, and be China for a day, in Tom Friedman’s phrase.

After all, it’s good to be the king.

Someone, like Clarence Thomas, who expects to face a Judge after death, is more likely to realize that they are being held to a standard outside of mere political opinion. It gives a more humble judicial perspective — maybe you are not the anointed judicial messiah, maybe those old men who wrote the constitution are worth listening to.

Perhaps that is part of why the Left hates confirming Christians and constitutionalists — the tendency to follow a fixed document and not view themselves as anointed is awfully inconvenient to the Left.

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The First Generation to Never Know American Prosperity?

 

When AOC uttered this ridiculous sentiment, I asked myself whether millennials were likely to look at the phone on which they were likely reading this tripe and say: Really? This looks pretty prosperous to me.

I thought it unlikely, but I should know better than to paint an entire generation with such broad strokes. Here is a little ray of sunshine by a 26-year-old I saw referenced on Rush Limbaugh:

Yet, we have a young generation convinced they’ve never seen prosperity, and as a result, elect politicians dead set on taking steps towards abolishing capitalism. Why? The answer is this, my generation has ONLY seen prosperity. We have no contrast. We didn’t live in the great depression, or live through two world wars, or see the rise and fall of socialism and communism. We don’t know what it’s like not to live without the internet, without cars, without smartphones. We don’t have a lack of prosperity problem. We have an entitlement problem, an ungratefulness problem, and it’s spreading like a plague.

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Not Enough Sharks in the Ocean for Ann Coulter to Jump

 

Margaret Hoover, host of the new Firing Line, just interviewed Ann Coulter. They discussed Bernie Sanders. Coulter expressed her willingness to support the aging and angry socialist:

As a reminder, here is a little trip down memory lane on how we got to this point where a self-proclaimed conservative is now willing to support and work for an elderly, die-hard socialist. Immediately after Ann Coulter’s book, In Trump We Trust, hit the bookshelves and the shy and demure Ms. Coulter began her book tour to sell it, her illegal immigration hawk and hero, Trump began to backslide on his hawkishness and softened his more extreme position on immigration. He declared that some illegals would be permitted to stay legally without becoming citizens.

It’s probably fair to say that Ann was initially befuddled and shocked but eventually became enraged. This was not just Trump’s issue. It was her issue. Her previous book, Adios, America, had laid the groundwork for Trump’s articulated policy on illegal immigration and she found in Trump the one man who could champion those ideas and then, without so much as a heads-up or a courtesy phone call or text, he betrayed her.

And now she was out in front of ordinary American folk, her fans, in bookstores with pen in hand ready to write something gushing and effusive about Mr. Trump in the first page of each pristine edition. Multiple thousands of books had been printed with a title that now, from the author’s own seething perspective, was a blatant lie. Damn the punchy alliteration of “Trump” and “Trust” even as it swapped out “God” for “Trump.” It had a compelling ring to it – a ring that would sound out from cash registers across the land. Now it was all egg on Ann Coulter’s face. Ann could never trust Trump again. Once so full of heart-pumping, endorphin-flooding joy at the prospect of a Trump presidency that eventually transpired, despite the punditocracy’s (and even my own) dismissals, Ann once actually attempted to trump a Trumpism. Mr. Trump once told a campaign audience that:

“I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.”

Not apparently emphatic enough for the goddess of hyperbole. Taking to Twitter, Ann tweeted,

“I don’t care if @realDonaldTrump wants to perform abortions in White House after this immigration policy paper.”

Ah, the giddiness. The sheer joy in knowing that Trump was her man and his immigration policy paper had proved it. How astute to make light of killing the unborn, something that millions of Republicans and conservatives, find abhorrent and evil, to further her pet issue of illegal immigration. And how wise, to conjure up an image of Donald Trump as an abortionist perhaps in a bloody smock, plying his ghoulish trade somewhere in the White House. Brilliant! So, what if millions of potential Trump voters are appalled and offended by the remark. The late Walter Duranty of the New York Times and the resident apologist for the bloodthirsty Joseph Stalin would have more than likely agreed with Ms. Coulter’s tactics, as he would often remark in excusing the Soviet leader’s atrocities, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”

Which brings us right back to Bernie-honeymoon-in-the-Soviet-Union-Sanders who tells us at the beginning of every episode of the Ricochet podcast that “Breadlines are a good thing!” Never mind the millions who have starved, been tortured, and were murdered under socialism. Ignore the Venezuela behind the curtain. Forget about the trillions of dollars that Bernie’s half-baked policies will cost hard-working taxpayers and the resurgent American economy. What’s more important now for Ann Coulter is the plight of the American blue-collar worker (however that plight is characterized).

After Ann has spent the better part of two years unleashing her righteous indignation at Donald Trump and his family and burning her book readership bridges in the process, she is now enticed with a new champion and someone to hitch her wagon to. Screw conservatives and conservatism. Bernie Sanders may be just the strident warrior for Ann Coulter to cling to like a desperate remora to a withered shark. Workers of the world unite! Principles be damned! Bring on the eggs and let’s get cracking.

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Sharing the Sacred

 

I’m flying out very early tomorrow morning (my husband calls it the middle of the night!) to fly to the @iwe family for Passover. I want to wish all my Jewish friends a very special celebration for this time commemorating freedom, connection, and holiness. I also want to wish my Christian friends a very blessed Easter celebration.

Although our holidays are different, we all share a love of G-d, a spiritual connection and the joy of living in a country that allows us to worship as we choose. May we all appreciate that which we share together, as well as those things we honor that are uniquely part of our traditions. Blessings all!

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Red-Green Coalition vs. Church [Updated]

 

Stories arising from the fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, France, seem to avoid too much or impute too little. The usual suspects on the left, and the anti-Trump (because somehow this distorts everything) personalities at Fox News and Fox Business News, demanded that we immediately look away and ask no questions. Mind you, they have shown no such standard in any other stories. The usual suspects on the right were similarly rolling outlooks/swims/quacks like” stories. And … both have avoided and obscured the red-green coalition’s full expression.

We can all agree that Shepard Smith, a Trump-hater who launched his brand with his Hurricane Katrina hysterical on-camera performance, and Neil Cavuto, the leading anti-Trump Chamber of Commerce voice on Fox Business, were outrageous in their silencing of the factual reports about the long string of significant vandalism, desecration, and arson attacks on Roman Catholic churches in France. These attacks have been on top of the now routine assaults on Jewish persons and places in France. Smith and Cavuto cut off guests because they want their audiences to hear nothing of either set of facts, except when spun as indicators of “right-wing” violence that can be smeared onto President Trump.

At the same time, we get “it sure sounds like Islamist terrorism again.” Yet, the individuals and outlets who turn to this source of violence somehow are blind to a mass murder in a Texas church, by an anti-Christian atheist, or the other news this week of the arrest of the son of a sheriff’s deputy, a white pagan, for torching three churches with black congregations in Louisiana. This registered Democratic voter is apparently into music that had a brief connection, in Norway with church burnings. Our blinkered focus, since that infamous autumn day in 2001, blinds us to the actual history of Europe.

Pay attention to the stories about the construction of Notre Dame in Paris. Wait, what was that? Desecration in the 1790s and reconstruction, including the now famous spire, in the mid-19th Century? How could that be? Oh, wait, France was the early center of radical anti-Christian secular supremacy. Nor was there a major Christian re-awakening in the subsequent years. Oh, there was a reclaiming of civic religion and symbols of national greatness, but that is not at all the same.

In the 20th Century, those who paid the slightest attention to international news knew of the violence from the radical left. As a Ricochet member commented in Claire Berlinski’s “Notre Dame” report, the communists are an active, large group in France. Cast your mind’s eye back to the last century, well within living memory. Communists hated the church, especially under the Polish Pope.

If you were poking around in those memories, you would almost necessarily brush up against other branches of the left, after the defeats in 1968. There has been deep hostility between certain branches of feminism and the Roman Catholic Church. Now, bring that awareness into the present.

Sure enough, a cursory search on attacks upon churches in Europe reveals a feminist component. Not Islamist women, radically secular leftist women, “feminists,” defaced Spanish churches in March of 2019. Go ahead, click the link. Scroll through screen after screen of Spanish language graffiti spewing hate against the Roman Catholic Church, just last month. Now, with that context, knowing that Spain is next door to France, try dismissing feminist hostility to any church dedicated to a Roman Catholic vision of “Our Lady.”

Perhaps we have a mere accident in the Notre Dame blaze. Perhaps it was arson. If it was arson, perhaps it was Islamist, communist, feminist, anarchist, or neo-pagan. The Louisiana church arsonist proclaimed his sole allegiance to Odin. The gunman who coldly murdered men, women, and children in their pews in Texas was militantly atheist.

Here is the ugly reality: the threshold to formerly unspeakable violence has been lowered. People are being issued punch-a-[fill in the latest disfavored group]-free cards. See the Democratic Party prosecutors in Montgomery County, MD giving a free pass to a woman who physically assaulted Kellyanne Conway in public. County prosecutors green-lighted assaults on conservatives:

Consider the statement of Montgomery State’s Attorney John McCormick:

Was this woman rude? Yes. Did she violate Ms. Conway’s space and try to embarrass her? Yes and yes. Is this a case where criminal sanctions would have been appropriate? No.

But wait! “This woman” did more than violate Conway’s space and try to embarrass her. She physically assaulted Conway. That’s a crime and should be treated as such.

As we acknowledge the death of civility and the rise of excused physical violence, in response to “virtual” or “verbal violence,” we should have our heads on a swivel. Take off the blinders. Consider all threat sources. Only then can we respond effectively to counter, reduce, and perhaps end routine instances of internal political violence.


An afterward: As I wrote this essay, I seriously considered composing a graphic with three distinctive crosses: Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic. I decided it was too much effort, and went with the Blandensburg, Maryland Peace Cross. This monument is under legal assault by those who would ban religion from the public square. The Blandensburg case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. An hour after I posted this piece, I logged back in to find Jon Gabriel’s news piece: Orthodox Abbot Attacked in Anti-Trump Incident [emphasis added].

He was filling up his vehicle in Burien, WA, at about 11:30 a.m. “I saw a man come up to me and he said ‘How’s Trump?’” Abbot Tryphon said in the interview. “I was kind of startled … and I said, ‘well, I have no idea.’”

“The next thing I know, as I turned to look back at the pump, he sucker-punched me in the side of the face,” the Abbot said. “He did it with such force that I immediately lost my equilibrium, I reached out to grab onto the car, and I slid to my knees and onto my back.”

As the assailant left, the monk traveling with Abbot Tryphon and several bystanders rushed to his aid. The monk noted that the attacker “zeroed in on the cross and that’s when his anger turned to rage.”

This is a clear instance of a secular leftist enraged, and feeling empowered, licensed by the radical secular leftists running the local and state politics. He was enraged by seeing a cross. He associated the cross with President Trump. If the attacker had any ability to associate what he saw with Orthodoxy, perhaps he ignorantly associated this with Russia, not knowing that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was specifically formed to stand for the true faith against the Communists in Russia. Indeed, they acknowledged as saints the martyred Romanovs. So, at least worst, this was an attacker operating on the same level as the vicious thug who took 9/11 as a license to kill him someone wearing one of them turban things—resulting in the murder of a Sikh!


18 April 2019 Update: On Wednesday, 17 April, a man was stopped from entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He was carrying two gasoline cans, two cans of lighter fluid, and lighters. Today, we get more details. It appears he is a mentally disturbed man who has been known to be devout in his Catholicism.

A pious ex-parish music director went from dutiful Catholic to holy terror.

Marc Lamparello, 37, of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., was charged Thursday with attempted arson, trespass and reckless endangerment less than 24 hours after he was grabbed outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral for bizarrely toting two gas cans and a pair of butane lighters inside the tourist-filled Fifth Ave. landmark.

[…]

On Monday night, an obstinate Lamparello was arrested on a charge of defiant trespass inside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., where he attended evening Mass and then refused to exit the massive house of worship unless police put him in handcuffs.

Lamparello is reportedly at Bellevue Hospital, undergoing psychiatric evaluation, as of 18 April. This suggests a man who was already in a bad mental state saw the intensive media coverage of the fire at the cathedral in Paris, then took steps in the same direction with the great Gothic-style cathedral in New York. Time will tell if this causal link exists.

Lamparello was prevented from completing whatever he contemplated by cathedral security personnel with their heads on a swivel. The early reporting also indicated that there were counter-terrorism members of the New York Police Department in the area. This suggests the city already had a significant level of security around St. Patrick’s this Holy Week.

Add, then, to the lowered bar for “justified” violence, an increased frequency of dangerous media stimuli for truly mentally unbalanced people. 

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The Hero of the Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

 

The chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade, Father Jean-Marc Fournier, is being lauded as a hero after rushing into the burning cathedral and rescuing Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and the relic of the Crown of Thorns.

According to this article, Fr. Fournier was ordained an FSSP priest (Priestly Society of St. Peter, a traditionalist order) but was detached from the FSSP temporarily in 2006 into the diocese of the French Armed Forces. He served in Afghanistan where he survived an ambush attack that killed 10 of his brother soldiers. Fr. Fournier was also present at the November 13, 2015, Bataclan concert hall terrorist attack where he rushed in to comfort the wounded and pray for the dead.

Fr. Fournier appears to be a man of true courage, strengthened and sustained by his belief in Jesus Christ. As he recounts in the video interview below:

As I was on duty, I was called on the scene, and right away two things must absolutely be done: save this unfathomable treasure that is the crown of thorns, and of course our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament.

As I entered the cathedral, there was little smoke and almost no heat, but we had a vision of what hell may be: like waterfalls of fire pouring down from the openings in the roof, due to the downfall not only of the spire but also of other smaller debris in the choir.

What an incredible story of virtue and courage. Pray for priests like this man, for it is priests like Fr. Fournier who make it their vocation to bring us Jesus Christ — even to the point of risking death. May Fr. Fournier, along with Notre Dame Cathedral, inspire the French faithful, and us, to emerge stronger in our faith.

N.B: there is a translation of the French in the comments below the video.

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Virtues Laid Stone-by-Stone

 

The media flows with genuine tears over the catastrophic fire at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. Historians would be quick to point out that such awful fires have occurred with dismaying regularity across the centuries. The difference here was the possibility of limiting the damage through modern firefighting equipment, plus the fact that technology allowed the entire world to learn about the tragedy within minutes.

Since Monday’s blaze, commentators across the world are the hailing this remarkable 850-year-old cathedral as a “Treasure of our Western Culture” or “A Landmark of our Western Civilization.” All true, of course. All true.

But what an awful thing to have to witness for these obvious words of praise to emanate from our news outlets. How rarely these days do we hear acknowledgments of the value of our Western Culture? On the contrary, the degradation of our Western values and achievements has become a full-time occupation of most media outlets, not to mention the academic community. Every “de,” “dis,” and “un” available in a language is regularly employed to denigrate, disparage, and unseat our Western heritage.

friedrich-klosterruine
Caspar David Friedrich (1803)

What has fueled this somber turn of events? The residue of the disasters created by my generation in the 1960s, institutionalized educational theories of relativism, progressivism, and just plain laziness at learning the treasures bequeathed to us by the Ancient poets, philosophers, mathematicians, architects, and artists.

The values and virtues laid down, stone-by-stone, in the Cathedral of Notre Dame (as well as in monuments across our Western Civilization) are under threat—not just from fire, but from disdain and degradation. The ignorance behind these attacks is staggering.

Now, after this tragic blaze, we hear the unaccustomed sound of paeans of admiration sung for the architecture and art contained within Notre Dame, even as many of these same voices ignore the spiritual purpose of the edifice and the theological significance of each bit of glass, bronze, and stone. Perhaps they genuinely don’t know.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this awful blaze in Paris will remind us how fragile a heritage really is. Even a single generation of neglect can weaken it.

Our heritage is not just being neglected: it is under attack as much as those centuries-old rafters that burned so rapidly in Notre Dame’s roof. Each of us who is occupied with teaching the riches passed down from our forefathers serves as a tiny sprinkler, poised to douse the all-consuming flames. We are firefighters, working together against obstacles unimaginable even two decades ago. Our burden is made lighter by each other’s effort.

May the Cathedral of Notre Dame be renewed, the glorious spire be rebuilt, and new fire safeguards put into place to protect the cathedral. God bless those who provide the enormous financial means needed, as well as the intricate skill required. And may each child once again be raised to love Beauty, identify Goodness, and pursue Virtue, standing strong to renew and protect the structure of Western Civilization.

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Why I Left Facebook

 

Four years ago a cartoon contest was held in Garland, Texas. Organizers encouraged contestants to draw political cartoons in response to a terrorist attack by Islamic supremacists on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a Parisian newspaper, in January of 2015, in which a dozen people, including the newspaper’s publishing director Stéphane Charbonnier, were murdered.

This is the winning cartoon, drawn by a fellow named Bosch Fawstin.

 

On May 7, 2015, I posted the cartoon on Facebook, and added the following comment:

This was the winning drawing from the Garland, TX cartoon contest.

Bosch Fawstin, an ex-Muslim, drew the cartoon. As the cartoon suggests, and as Mr. Fawstin said, “I do it because we have been told we can’t.”

Having survived one Islamic supremacist attack, Mr. Fawstin has now gone into hiding.

* * * * *

I encourage everyone to quietly, and even politely, repost pictures of Mohammed. And I think they should do so with a note saying, in effect: “I really don’t care about Islam. I really don’t want to offend Muslims. But too many Muslims have asserted a right to tell me what I can and cannot say about Islam. That is unacceptable to me. It is part of our culture and heritage that we are free to say whatever we like about any faith, any ideology, any idea. And I am not willing to surrender that right, just to avoid offending Muslims. Or Buddhists. Or Hindus. Or Christians. Or even atheists. I am posting this picture to tell Islam that I do not consider it special, and to deny that it has any authority over me.”

Today I received a notification from Facebook. It read as follows:

An important message about your photo
Due to local legal restrictions, we limited access to your photo in Pakistan.

To which I replied, in what will be my last post on Facebook:

Facebook today has a market capitalization of just over half a trillion dollars. If they would rather censor Americans than risk offending the illiberal Islamist regime in Pakistan, then to hell with them. I’m glad I left.

 

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The James Lileks School of Segue

 

While I was using my Hackmaster 2100 computer program, I found a deleted portion of a recent Ricochet flagship podcast in the Blue Yeti’s digital trash can. Here is the transcript:

[we pick up the podcast in progress]

James: Well, that was one incredible guest interview.

Rob: Yes it was. Uh James, I think we’re late for one of your famous sponsor segues. After all, we have Ills-Bay to Ay-Pay.

Peter: I haven’t heard Pig Latin in ages. James, you’re a master of segue. You should open up a school.

Rob: The James Lileks School of Segue? Sounds like a good idea to me. Hey, your school could sponsor this podcast.

Peter: I’m not sure the skill can be taught.

James: Sure it can. All I would do is drill my students with examples. Give me a starting word and a target company, and I’ll show you how it’s done.

Rob: The American Handgun Company. That sounds like a realistic business. Peter?

Peter: I’m thinking . . . a cockroach.

Rob: Seriously? A cockroach? James, can you really segue this?

James: Watch my smoke. Ahem. The cockroach is a survivor, having evolved over the last 300 million years. It’s often said the only two animals that will survive a global nuclear war are the cockroach and Keith Richards. The cockroach is a survivor because it can eat anything and breed rapidly. The only protection you have to prevent these loathsome insects from invading your home are roach motels and bug spray. However, if criminals invade your home, you can protect yourself and your loved ones if you purchase a weapon from the American Handgun Company.

Peter [laughing and slow clapping]: Ho . . . ho . . . ho . . . James, that was brilliant!

Rob: I’ll be . . . gulp . . . I mean . . . erk . . . awesome, James!

James: It’s a gift. With a little training, even Peter could do it.

Peter: James, that’s not a nice thing to say.

James: I don’t mean to sound insulting, my high-IQ homeboy. It’s a compliment to your intellect.

Peter: I still don’t understand.

Rob: I think what James means is you’re too smart to do a smooth segue. You’re a deep thinker, so you tend to analyze everything in detail before speaking, whereas a segue requires quick thinking and a certain glibness.

James: That’s exactly right.

Peter: Well, I still think I can do it.

James: Very well, my fleece flaunting friend. I want you to segue from . . . oh, let’s keep it simple—from sheep to The American Sweater Company.

Rob: Come on, James.

Peter: I got his, Rob. [clears throat] Speaking of sheep, we often find fields of sheep grazing in herds. These animals are watched over by a sheep herder called a shepherd. Speaking of shepherds, it reminds me of Alan Shepard, one of the original Mercury astronauts. He was fortunate enough to eventually walk on the moon, where the temperature can get as hot as 250˚F in daytime, but a very chilly -380˚F in nighttime. However, he wouldn’t feel the cold at night if he wore a sweater from The American Sweater Company. Ta-da! Well, what do you think?

Rob [after pausing for several seconds]: I think the School of Segue is a bad idea.

James: I agree. Moving right along, our next guest is—

Peter: What? I was brilliant!

Rob: Yes, Peter, you were.

James: So brilliant, I don’t think you need the school. [whispering] I think the Blue Yeti will edit this out.

Rob [whispering]: God I hope so.

Blue Yeti [whispering]: Consider it done.

Peter: What? Why is everyone whispering?

[transcript fades]

 

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A Grim Reminder: Military Training Death, 17 April 2019 [Updated]

 

A West Virginia National Guard soldier fell to his death in a parachute accident during a military training exercise in Virginia. 

FATAL PARACHUTING ACCIDENT SUFFOLK, VA (April 17, 2019) The Suffolk Police Department and Suffolk Fire & Rescue…

Posted by Suffolk Police Department on Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The West Virginia National Guard public affairs officer (PAO) stated:

The name and unit of the Soldier is being withheld until notification of the next of kin has taken place. 

The West Virginia National Guard will host a press conference tomorrow [18 April] afternoon, time to be determined, to provide an update to our partners in the media.

An investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the accident.

A PAO release, the day before, talked about a new lease in West Virginia for parachute operations. It pointed to training jumps in near-by states:

Members of the Special Operations Detachment – Europe and Co. C, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), West Virginia National Guard, glide towards their landing site during static line and freefall operations Oct. 19, 2018, in Red House, Md. More than 50 Soldiers participated in multiple jump cycles throughout the day to maintain proficiency in jump operations.

Update: Nor was this the only death in training this week. Looking for a searchable copy of the Mueller Report led to a small San Diego news website. There it was reported that a member of an elite Marine unit was killed in a vehicle accident during a training exercise.

A U.S. Marine was fatally injured in a tactical-vehicle accident at Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps announced Monday.

[…]

The critically injured Marine was airlifted to a trauma center, where he was pronounced dead Sunday night, Mannweiler said. His name was withheld pending family notification.

Training to maintain military skills is not free of risk. Leaders do their risk assessment and put mitigation measures in place to make the worst possible outcomes less likely. In the end, though, there is real risk—even in peacetime, even during “one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer.” We are blessed as a nation to have men and women who accept that risk with clear eyes, signing up and re-upping. May God bless this fallen soldier, his family, and his comrades in arms.

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When a Cathedral Burns

 

From 1992 to 2012 I was fortunate enough to live on the heights of the Mont-Ste-Geneviève in Paris, not quite in the shadow of Notre Dame, but close enough for me to feel a sense of personal loss as the cathedral burned last Monday. With one eye on the TV coverage, I also watched the reactions unfold on Twitter.

My Twitter feed consists of French, British and US sources, and it soon became apparent, once it was realized that the cathedral might burn to the ground, how momentous this event was for my French correspondents. The words “heart”, “soul” and “civilization” began to recur in tweets. The French had realized that this fire was destroying not only a tourist destination nor the mother-church of French Catholicism, but something more, something intangible….

The temptation was to end that last sentence with “…something French”. But this would be wrong. The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris represents something greater. So what exactly have we lost, or what did we risk losing had the building burnt to the ground?

The High Middle Ages (1000-1250) saw the start of the construction of around 300 cathedrals in Europe, mostly in France and Spain but with significant numbers in England and The Holy Roman Empire (Germany, Austria, and Bohemia).

All these edifices took decades, even centuries to build. Notre Dame was started in 1163 and was completed 182 years later.

What do these cathedrals represent that goes beyond their religious function and makes them part of the fabric of our civilization?

In the High Middle Ages, society was feudal: either you owned or you were owned. Life for those who owned nothing was, by our standards, miserable. The peasants toiled daily just to feed their families. Anything left over, if not appropriated by one’s landowner, could be bartered. The paterfamilias could be requisitioned at any time to fight either for the landowner or for the higher authority of which the landowner was a vassal. In other words, there was precious little to look forward to. The only hope for the future was a belief that if you did God’s will you would be rewarded in the after-life.

Thus a strange convergence of interests motivated the owner classes to provide pay and materials to build the cathedrals and the stonemasons and carpenters to actually construct them. The local notables wished, as always, to flaunt their wealth and power. The workers believed that building impressive places of worship would bring them closer to God.

And build they did: Notre Dame is perhaps the most famous, but that is in part on account of its unique position on an island in the middle of the River Seine, flanked on both sides by one of the world’s loveliest cities. But there are countless other examples: Chartres, Strasbourg, Salisbury and Cologne to name but four. Visiting any of these cathedrals, we wonder at the achievement of the craftsmen who, without the benefit of modern tools, created naves, transepts, stained-glass windows, towers, spires, buttresses which reach up towards God to incredible heights: the spire of Strasbourg Cathedral, started in 1176 and completed 263 years later, tops out at 466 feet. It was the world’s tallest building until 1874.

And somehow, and this is the point of this post when we enter one of these magnificent buildings we feel, in the very structure, whether stone, wood or glass, the imprint of the men who created it, as if they had imbued the stones with their own souls.

And we realize that these gifted and industrious men were driven by faith, conviction, and inspiration so powerful that it seems at times to transcend the laws of gravity.

And now, as a substantial part of Notre Dame de Paris is reduced to ashes, we realize that we possess no longer faith, nor conviction, nor inspiration. A sad realization indeed, which is why on Monday evening Parisians were weeping in the streets (something they usually only do if the police are trying to disperse them with tear-gas).

As the German poet Heinrich Heine wrote nearly 200 years ago:

… die Menschen in jener alten Zeit hatten Überzeugungen, wir Neueren haben nur Meinungen, und es gehört etwas mehr als eine bloße Meinung dazu, um so einen gotischen Dom aufzurichten.

(…in olden times men had convictions, we today have only opinions, and a simple opinion is hardly enough to build a Gothic cathedral.)

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Epic Fail: Comey, Mueller, Strzok, McCabe – Not A Few Good Men

 

A Few Good Men was an epic classic movie. Released in 1992, this dramatic story of a military court-martial legal proceeding was directed by Rob Reiner and starred Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson. In the end, the good guy, Navy Lawyer Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) defeats the bad guy, Guantanamo Base Commander Marine Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson). And in the story plot, it was Colonel Jessup who incriminated himself because in the words of Lt. Kaffee, I will “lead him right where he’s dying to go”. Oh, and one more thing, Colonel Jessup was actually guilty of the crime.

So … Columbo … why are you bringing up a 1992 movie in 2019, right?

I always say, what goes around comes around. Or was that Yogi Berra? Well, I don’t rightly know but what I do know is that some bad cops in the DOJ/FBI/CIA/DNI were 100% sure that Hillary Ramrod Clinton was going to be elected as POTUS in 2016 and that they were sure as heck Crossfire Hurricane going to do everything in their power to get in her good graces.

And so they concocted a plan. A conspiracy. This immoral outsider POTUS contender was not going to disrupt their cushy lives if they had anything to say about it! And they had a plan. An ingenious plan! They were Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee! President Trump was everything bad like that Colonel Jessup guy. And they were going to get him. Yes, yes, he wasn’t guilty of any crime of collusion with the Russians. Big deal. We know him. We’re going to shake him with a Special Counsel. We’ll put the screws to him, his associates and his family! And in the end, we’ll get him with Obstruction. He’ll incriminate himself, without any underlying crime at all!

From the movie …

I think he wants to say it. I think he’s pissed off that he’s gotta hide from this. I think he wants to say that he made a command decision and that’s the end of it. He eats breakfast 300 yards away from 400 Cubans that are trained to kill him. And nobody’s going to tell him how to run his unit, least of all the Harvard mouth in his faggoty white uniform. I need to shake him, put him on the defensive and lead him right where he’s dying to go.

So … fast forward to the upcoming release of this Mueller report. And the only thing these corrupt, immoral, crooked cops are saying is “obstruction, obstruction, obstruction”. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wrong answer!

Many times life does imitate art. Alas, for these poor chaps in the DOJ/FBI/CIA/DNI national security apparatus, not this time. President Donald Trump has not imitated Colonel Jessup on this. And by the way, I know Tom Cruise. And gentlemen … you are no Tom Cruise! Just sayin’ ….

So … in this real-life story, this movie’s court scene will end at the 1:33 mark. And President Trump exits the courtroom.

 

Unlike, Colonel Jessup, President Trump chose not to take the bait and chose not to fall into their obstruction trap. Any guesses why Mueller chose not to rule or charge on Obstruction?! If’n I was Comey, Strzok, Rice, Brennan, Clapper, I would be staining my drawers about now. These guys were sure that after two years of a Special Counsel witch hunt that President Trump would break and he’d commit Obstruction that Mueller could charge him with!

That’s it? That’s the plan?! And how are you going to do that?

I have no idea. I need my bat.

Unfortunately for Comey, Mueller, Strzok, McCabe, Ohr, Brennan, Clapper, Rice et. al. there is no magic bat. This is going to be an epic reversal.

Even Dana Milbank writing today at the Washington Compost (yeah, he’s in denial, but), “tis the season for treason!”

I’m sorry, your time’s run out! What do we have for the losers, Judge? Well, for our defendants, it’s a life time at exotic Fort Leavenworth! And, for defense counsel Kaffee, that’s right, it’s a court martial! Yes, Johnny! After falsely accusing a President of the United States of collusion with the Russians, Comey, Mueller, Stzok, McCabe, Ohr, Brennan, Clapper, Rice …… will …………..

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Vatican Proposes New Design for Notre Dame Cathedral

 

(April 17, 2019, Rome)

The Holy See has unveiled a more contemporary and relevant design for the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris that was recently gutted by fire. Without waiting for the final analysis on the stability and integrity of the structure, His Holiness, Pope Francis has expressed that this would be the perfect time to simply replace the tired, old gothic cathedral emblematic of a dark and superstitious age of fear and oppression to a much more relevant and welcoming edifice that is reflective of today’s Catholic Church and its ongoing mission of inclusiveness and diversity. The Vatican will work closely with a diverse group of architects, designers, and craftspeople of every race, ethnic and gender preference, the French government, and other wealthy benefactors and celebrities to make sure that funds donated for the restoration of Notre Dame are well spent.

* The preceding might be satire.

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Martin Luther, Ben Franklin, & College Tuition

 

My grandfather grew up at Auburn. Because his father taught engineering there, he could attend Auburn for $15 per semester. If he joined ROTC, it was $7.50 per semester, which sounded like a good deal, until World War II broke out, and he woke up one morning in the South Pacific. Good colleges now cost around $75,000 per year – 5,000 times more than what my grandfather paid. I know what you’re thinking: Martin Luther would be very critical of the inflation rate of modern college tuition fees. Obviously.

Martin Luther rebelled against the Catholic Church for much the same reason as our founding fathers rebelled against England. Martin Luther viewed himself as a true Catholic, just as our founding fathers viewed themselves as true Englishmen. Luther didn’t think that he required a vicar to act as a conduit between himself and his God (vicar is the root for vicariously). The paying of indulgences particularly offended him – why should he have to pay money to men to be admitted to the kingdom of God?

The Catholic Church of Luther’s time essentially said, give money to us now (so we can build some spiffy new cathedrals), and you can enjoy the good life later, in the kingdom of God. Modern universities take a similar approach. Give money to us now (so we can build a spiffy new LGBT department), and you can enjoy the good life later, in the kingdom of capitalism. Fascinating historical parallel: Some in the Catholic Church of Luther’s time probably believed in the kingdom of God about as much as university officials believe in capitalism today.

But that didn’t matter, because what really mattered is that you pay now. What happens later is no longer their responsibility. Hey – we’re just trying to help you! I mean, c’mon!

The human desire to place security over taking risks for possible future benefits is universal. This is what our founding father Ben Franklin meant when he said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But that’s a tough sell, according to university bureaucrats, insurance salesmen, and socialists.

This is probably what Marx thought when he read Hegel. Even emotional, impulsive idiots (like, for example, humans) become predictable when faced with risk / benefit analysis problems. They will always avoid risk. So Marx predicted that rather than get to work utilizing their natural talents to immediately contribute to society, young people would instead go to college and regurgitate silly theories about anthropomorphic global warming, grow beards, and drink cheap beer (Well, maybe those weren’t Marx’s exact words, but whatever…). This does not appear to teenagers to be a waste of time, because the ensuing college degree will provide them security against future unemployment.

Until it doesn’t.

Once everyone decides to go to college, then universities are compelled to offer degrees to those who aren’t capable of advanced collegiate work, like sociology and *.studies (I apologize for the DOS reference – it was convenient.). So now, those who attended college simply to avoid risk of unemployment have unintentionally and substantially increased their risk of perpetual unemployment. They paid their tributes, just like they were supposed to, and got screwed anyway. That’s a raw deal, enough to piss off even an English major. Or an insurance salesman. Or Martin Luther. Or, perhaps, even a socialist. It just seems unfair.

I don’t think that our current educational system is sustainable. It may seem too big to fail, but it’s certainly not as all-powerful as the Catholic Church of 1500 or the British Empire of 1775, and its protection racket is much more ubiquitous, blatant, and irrational than what the Catholic Church or the British Empire was running hundreds of years ago. Martin Luther was simply an ornery old cuss who didn’t know his place. His big mouth, combined with the recently introduced Gutenberg Bible, didn’t create a weakness in the Catholic Church, it simply exposed the emperor’s lack of clothing. And the British Empire had real, structural problems long before a group of ornery British colonists started drinking and writing as much as a certain modern physician that we all know and love.

I think that the modern educational establishment is set up for a similar collapse. Or at least radical restructuring. I’m not sure what the straw will be that breaks the camel’s back. But it probably won’t take much. The status quo is unstable, and unsustainable. As Herbert Stein observed, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

So what do you think? Will our current all-powerful educational establishment collapse? How? When? And what will take its place?

I may be wrong. But it seems to me that if Martin Luther were around today (Lord help us), he already would have nailed an iPad to the gate of Harvard or some similar stunt. CNN would label him as a right-wing extremist bent on terrorism and hate. Jordan Peterson would caution people that he may have a point. And college kids would start attending his lectures, despite the protests. And then…

Ah, maybe not.

What do you think?

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The Fifth Sunday of Lent: Saint Mary of Egypt

 

What is repentance? Can one truly repent if one has sinned greatly? Repentance is a turning back to God, and so long as we draw breath, no matter how low we may have sunk, we can turn back. But that turning back may be arduous and painful. On the final Sunday of Great Lent, we are reminded that, so long as we choose to repent, the door is open.

On the final Sunday of Great Lent, we commemorate Saint Mary of Egypt. The account of Saint Mary comes to us through Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem (himself an interesting figure in his own right), which he transcribed as it has been verbally passed down for perhaps a hundred years at that point. Mary was from Alexandria and had lived as a prostitute for 17 years, from the age of 12. Moreover, she claimed that she lived that way as much for pleasure as for the money. Yet in a moment she changed.

She encountered a group of men about to sail for the Holy Land, so as to be in Jerusalem on the day of the Exaltation of the Cross. She had no money to pay for the journey but prostituted herself for the passage. Yet upon reaching Jerusalem, when she tried to enter the Holy Sepulchre with the others, she was barred from doing so, though not by any visible guards.  

“I had at last squeezed through with great difficulty almost to the entrance of the temple, from which the lifegiving Tree of the Cross was being shown to the people. But when I trod on the doorstep which everyone passed, I was stopped by some force which prevented by entering. Meanwhile I was brushed aside by the crowd and found myself standing alone in the porch. Thinking that this had happened because of my woman’s weakness, I again began to work my way into the crowd, trying to elbow myself forward. But in vain I struggled. Again my feet trod on the doorstep over which others were entering the church without encountering any obstacle. I alone seemed to remain unaccepted by the church. It was as if there was a detachment of soldiers standing there to oppose my entrance. Once again I was excluded by the same mighty force and again I stood in the porch. Having repeated my attempt three or four times, at last I felt exhausted and had no more strength to push and to be puched, so I went aside and stood in a corner of the porch. And only then with great difficulty it began to dawn on me, and I began to understand the reason why I was prevented from being admitted to see the life-giving Cross. The word of salvation gently touched the eyes of my heart and revealed to me that it was my unclean life which barred the entrance to me. I began to weep and lament and beat my breast, and to sigh from the depths of my heart.”

Mary saw the icon of The Theotokos above the door and knew who had barred her way. Now repentant, at last she was able to enter. Upon leaving the church, she prayed before the icon above the door and heard “If you cross the Jordan you will find glorious rest.” And so Mary made her way to the Jordan, and after a time of preparation, she crossed over it and into the desert beyond, where she would not be seen again for 47 years when she encountered Father Zosima, to whom she related her life at last. She spent those decades in the desert repenting, always praying for her wounds to be healed, battling through prayer the desires that had so plagued her all her life.

She asked Zosima to see her again in a year and to bring her the Eucharist that she might partake, and at that second meeting asked him to see her once more in another year, at the place where they first met. When he found her, she had fallen asleep in the Lord, and there he buried her.

I asked at the beginning what repentance is. I might as well have asked what forms it takes, but it takes different forms for each of us. Moreover, repentance is often a lifelong process without some definite end in sight, save perhaps for the repose of death. The damage we do to ourselves through our sins is not something from which we can be instantly healed, for our sins come from our passions, and those do not simply go away or instantly repurpose themselves when we begin to repent. Indeed there is an account of a monk who was considered a saint within his own lifetime, who as he lay dying was heard to pray that he had not been granted enough time to repent.  

I’ll close with two thoughts. The first (which was shared by my priest yesterday) is from Father Stephen Freeman, from an essay he wrote actually on the Ladder of Divine Ascent.

“We simply are not saved by getting better. It is a false image and a false goal. Of course, critics will charge that I’m being defeatist and suggesting a path devoid of moral effort. I am doing nothing of the sort. Everyone should, at all times, struggle against sin. But measuring, even watching for improvement can be not only self-defeating but sinful in itself. The Ladder points to a very different path:

“You cannot escape shame except by shame,” St. John says (4.62).

We do not gradually improve and thereby leave our shame behind us. The way down is the way up. The ladder of divine ascent is actually a ladder of divine descent. The path to union with God is only found in making the descent with Him. “Lo, if I descend into hell, Thou art there” (Ps 139:8). St. Gregory the Theologian says, “If He descends into hell, go with Him” (Oration 45).”

The other thought is from the film Andrei Rublev (I used this same clip in my thoughts on the Notre Dame fire). Theophanes says “God will forgive you; do not forgive yourself.”

O ye choirs of the righteous, rejoice like David in the Lord today, and all ye that are upright in heard, make your boast in Him, looking upon Mary who is worthy of our praise. Completing her life in holiness, she has been glorified by God with miracles and many acts of power, which show to us and all the faithful what honour she enjoys in heaven, and what boldness she has gained in the presence of the Master. At her prayers, O Christ our God, grant salvation to our souls. (From The Lenten Triodion, Saturday Vespers for St. Mary of Egypt)

Sources:

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Quotes of the Day: Kill the Individual or Communism in a Socialist Utopia

 

“Socialism is a house and clothes all set for you, a carpenter’s plane to round rough faces, to make everyone identical.” — Victims of the Khmer Rouge

Since ancient times, Khmers have taken a keen interest in moral guidance and counsel of their elders. The Khmers also prided themselves as being clever and they took great pleasure in cleverly composed discourses. The use of words and witticism, rhyming, riddles and rapidly formed punning and spoonerisms was and still is considered to be the Khmer national habit. And the Khmer Rouge made use of this deeply rooted Khmer tradition to indoctrinate, control, and terrorize the people during their reign of terror, in the form of slogans, sayings, and songs.

Henri Locard’s wonderful book, Pol Pot’s Little Red Book: The Sayings of Angkar, is a collection of Khmer Rouge slogans recounted by survivors from all over Cambodia. The word angkar means organization; it’s how the Khmer Rouge referred to itself. Until September 29, 1977, when Pol Pot declared on the radio in a five-hour speech that angkar is the Communist Party of Kampuchea, the population only knew of the ominous angkar.

Angkar’s slogans, some were inspired by Maoist ideology, others were old Khmer proverbs and maxims stripped of all their common-sensical meanings, revealed the horrific reality of its communist ideology. Khmer Rouge junior cadres incessantly repeated the party slogans while revolutionary songs were playing on the radio. But for the rest of the population, angkar’s slogans and songs were mocked and jeered at, albeit in secret. Monsieur Locard included some counter-slogans and puns from the victims of the Khmer Rouge. These were the ones that were uttered between husbands and wives, close relatives, or trusted friends. Some of these counter-slogans have been confirmed by my own family. Some of them were even found in victims’ interrogations.

Here’s a popular pun:

Vannak ak thun = proletariat

Vannak at thuen = the class that does not persevere

This next pun was found in a prisoner’s confession at a torture and execution center in Takéo province.

Sangkumniyum = socialism

Sangkum nih yum = this society weeps

Several more counter-slogans:

Before we were happy, with this socialist society all happiness has totally disappeared.

When there was private property, the cows were fine and fat; now that we have made the revolution, the cows have become scrawny.

If you eat prahok (fermented fish paste, the soul of Khmer cuisine), you are unable to leap.

The revolution shines in all its splendor in a society radiant with joy, and we wear sandals fashioned out of automobile tires.

Doing the revolution means eating watery gruel with water spinach; when we reach communism, we shall eat only water spinach.

The red krama (Khmer scarf) goes with a black shirt adorned with a whole troop of buttons.

Hygiene for the health workers, a full stomach for the cadres, slit throats and broken heads for the people.

Long live the glorious Angkar! Destroy houses with tiled roofs, live in straw huts! Long live the wise Angkar! Destroy straw huts and live in the jungle.

“Red blood” are the tears of the baby in his/her mother’s womb and when he/she is three months old — this means his/her mother has worked for the revolution.

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Why Does Ilhan Omar Lie and Downplay Islamism?

 

I saw a great article over at Townhall by Marina Medvin titled, “Everyone Is Missing the Biggest Questions With Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 Downplay.” She lays out her thesis in the first two paragraphs: Ilhan Omar’s diminutive words “some people did something” were more than just a slap in our American faces; these words were salt […]

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Holy Moly! Leftist Outrage Regarding Notre Dame!

 

Ah. SJW friends on Social Media. Where would I be without them? So first Notre Dame is burning and one has to state that this is a White Person thing because on the same day the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem also caught fire and did it make news? Oh no! Also, churches in Louisiana recently […]

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Regretting Socialism, Alberta Elects a Conservative Government

 

While the left-right and conservative-liberal issues dont always line up between Canada and the United States, I think the Alberta Election campaign that ended today can be predictive of the American 2020 campaign. First off, the results:

UCP: 63 seats, 55% of the vote. (United Conservative Party, a recent merger of the Wild Rose Party and the Conservative Party)

NDP: 24 seats, 32% (New Democrat Party, formerly the government)

Alberta Party: 0 seats, 9% (the remnant of the Wild Rose Party, that would not – or was not invited to join the UCP)

Liberals: 0 seats, <1%

Others: 0 seats, 2.5%

The NDP government had imposed a carbon tax (at the federal government’s insistence) which made a huge impact on February heating costs. In my case, my home heat bill for Feb was $351, well more than double my bill from even January of this year. Talking to the gas company, I was not unique. Of my bill, $27 was a carbon tax.

I think this issue alone was enough to sink them. The NDP ran a terrible campaign – they attempted to Trumpify Jason Kenny. Calling him racist, finding bad candidates saying bad things and attempting to normalize those things to the United Conservative Party. Finding outlandish supporters, and attempting to smear all party supporters with the worst examples. In short, they attempted to run on fear and hate mongering and got their butts handed to them. They even ginned up an RCMP investigation of the UCP leadership race and convention.

The other point that makes this even more astonishing – is that this was a record-breaking election in terms of turn out. We broke records going back 40 years – I think it’s safe to say more Albertans cast a ballot on April 16, than ever before in history. And the Conservatives won.

Take heart, if the Democrats follow this example, of running on agendaless fear and smear, they’ll get creamed.

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Diction lesson

 

Buttigieg

Buttigieg

Buttigieg

Buttigieg

Not bootyjudge, but-edge-edge.

Buttigieg, Buttigieg, Buttigieg! Why are we doing this again?

Well, sir, if you mispronounce his name in the debates, ahhh, that’s not going to look good.

How is that lightweight going to get in the same debate with me?

Umm, he’s already passed the 25,000 donor hurdle and raised almost as much money as you did in the first week.

How can this happen? I’ve been building my brand for over a year and was in the national news every day during the election! Then the mayor of South Nowhere announces and that’s all the media can talk about. I had to go to that Al Sharpton thing, and he didn’t because he hadn’t announced. How fair is that? I said I’d support reparations and that little. . .Buttigieg stepped all over it by making his announcement.

Too be fair, sir, everyone else said they support reparations.

 All the others said they’d “study” reparations; that takes courage. I was the only one who said I’d vote it into law. Until that hick from Colorado, Looperdooper or whatever his name is, jumped in.

Uh, sir. . .

And what makes that little weasel think he has what it takes to be president? He’s the mayor of Bendover, Indiana, big whoop. I was on the council of a city six times bigger, I was in Congress, and I ran a statewide campaign. He’s done none of that. I’m supposed to be the fresh young face, he shows up and WHAM!, it’s Mayor Pete this and Buttigieg that. It’s just not fair!

Sir, I need to be straight with you. This is not personal. You need to be collegial with all of the other candidates. After all, the goal is to beat Trump. If you let your antipathy show, it will not only hurt your chances for the nomination but any chance to be. . .

Don’t say it. That’s loser talk.

Sir, you’re paying me to be honest with you. Being VP or in the cabinet adds to your résumé, and makes you a stronger candidate in 28.

Yea, HUD helped Julián jump to the lead, didn’t it?

Sir. . .

OK, OK, I’m just blowing off steam. I’ll get Buttweasel’s name right in the debates. Let’s move on.

Alright, when you’re talking, if you could visualize your left arm being handcuffed to your belt. . .

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Quote of the Day: Homespun Wisdom of Bluegrass Legend Ralph Stanley

 

Ralph Stanley and his brother Carter were born in rural Virginia in the late 1920s. They lived through the Depression, but it didn’t affect them much since they lived on a high ridge, where their parents grew much of their own food, and their mother made their clothes. Ralph says in his memoir Man of Constant Sorrow:

The worst of it was over by the time I was old enough to remember much. Franklin Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, when I was five and already in school. So we had the Works Progress Administration and other government welfare programs coming in to help people out. Our family was never involved in that, either with the work or the welfare. We didn’t pay much attention to what they was doing or what they was all about. We’d see the WPA crews by the roadside, leaning on their shovels and smoking cigarettes. They always looked to be taking breaks and goofing off. We was more used to hard work, and we thought they was soft and lazy. We had our own name for them: the “We Piddle Around” boys.

I really loved the book and highly recommend it.