Liberals Will Have To Outlaw Barbed Wire Now


California malls are resorting to barbed-wire barriers after a string of flash-mob smash-and-grab lootings. Previously on “California Voters Are Stupid,” we saw California voters approve propositions to release thousands of criminals from jail and reduce retail theft under $950 to a misdemeanor. (So, basically, the Waukesha mass murderer could have made bail by stealing a couple of TVs from Best Buy without adding to his existing criminal charges.) Then, to compound their stupidity, they elected radical-left district attorneys who think crime is just a symptom of poverty and therefore refuse to prosecute criminals because it’s mean to poor people or something.

You have to be deeply, deeply Californian not to understand how releasing criminals from prison while simultaneously defunding the police will lead to an increase in crime. Retail store owners are running out of options. The police won’t arrest what the DAs won’t prosecute, and the criminal class knows this and knows it can loot stores at will with little chance of being caught and less chance of being prosecuted. (Also, the political class wants you to know you shouldn’t call it “looting” because “Looting is a term that we typically use when people of color or urban dwellers are doing something.”) So, now they have to barricade their stores and homes with barbed wire and layers of security, which also happens to be a common practice in many of the countries where California’s immigrant populations originated. But that’s only because the governments in those countries are corrupt, and the police cannot be relied upon to protect the citizenry.

Following Democratic-left reasoning sentiment that stigmatizing bad behavior or making criminals feel bad about themselves “is not who we are,” it’s quite easy to predict what happens next. You can’t have barbed wire surrounding retail malls and making the criminal class feel unwelcome. Imagine the hurt feelings. Before long, some progressive legislator is going to proclaim that barricades and other security measures are “traumatizing to marginalized communities,” and there will soon be a law making it illegal to use barbed wire or other security measures in homes or private businesses. The law will exempt government facilities and the private property of members of the state’s legislative, judicial, and executive branches.

They will also pass a law making it illegal to defend yourself if you “should not have been there” wherever you were attacked.

Loaded for Bear, or How Moms Take Back Our Country


You’ve heard how parents having been fighting back at some school board meetings to take back the rearing and education of their children. Now Florida has set a new standard for fighting back, and it’s spreading all over the country. The message it is sending is more than a shot over the bow to angry Progressives. This exciting movement is called Moms for Liberty.

The group was started by Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich, and they began their efforts fighting mask mandates. When those goals were pretty much met with the help of Gov. Ron DeSantis, they started to go after books they called pornographic, as well as books that discussed gay and transgender questions, such as “Gender Queer.” Their message is being heard not only all over the state but all over the country. Currently, they have 60,000 members in 152 chapters in 33 states. Chapter locations can be found here.

It’s not surprising that Progressives are upset at their efforts and are pushing back:

. . . Wes Hodge, chair of Orange County’s Democratic Party, sees Moms for Liberty as less grassroots and more part of a ‘coordinated effort’ to influence 2022 elections by firing up supporters of former President Donald Trump through culture war issues.

The group’s views do not represent mainstream thought in Orange County, he said. A Quinnipiac University poll from August found 60% of Floridians supported mask requirements for students, teachers and staff.

‘This is a way to keep the Trump Train engaged,’ he said. ‘If you want to show up in a clown suit and spew nonsense about how masks cause UTIs, more power to you. That’s Democracy. Does that mean they have a right to have policy enacted after their viewpoints? No.’

Mr. Hodge managed to try to tar them with a connection to Trump and then added a sexist comment (UTIs) for good measure.

Even though most of Moms for Liberty’s donations are small, the left has tried to tie their success to the Republican Party. Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler’s husband, Christian Ziegler, who is the vice chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said he expects education issues will mobilize voters for “liberty-minded” candidates up and down the ballot in next year’s elections. That “tie” to Republicans sounds ominous to some:

The group’s ties to Republican leaders prompted speculation that Moms for Liberty is bankrolled by GOP donors with deep pockets. Because the group is so new its financial records with the Internal Revenue Service haven’t been made public.

Descovich said Moms for Liberty is supported through small donations and merchandise sales. The group’s online store offers t-shirts and hats and a Moms for Liberty flag that costs $75.

*     *     *     *

These women are sending a powerful message to the people who care about this country. First, women, who are usually most engaged with childrearing, can do much more than raising their kids (the most important job for a mom). They can unify and be politically active in their communities too. Second, they are role models, not only for other citizens who care about the future of this country, but for their own children who are watching them take risks, speak out, and use their power productively. Finally, they are becoming known and respected for their efforts.

It sounds like Moms for Liberty are the mama bears of 2021!

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No one seems to care very much about what I have to say regarding Werner Jaeger or Hal Foster, and why should they? But I can always rely on getting interesting comments when I write something about popular fiction, especially spy thrillers and the like. I am fascinated by genre fiction, and in particular how […]

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I’m Here Because of Lileks


Okay, not just Lileks, but he is probably my favorite of all the guys on the Ricochet podcast, which I’ve been enjoying for several months now. I finally took the bait and became a member.

I’m a former liberal (just want to get that off my chest from the start). I’ve lived in various regions of the U.S., but I’m Midwest born and bred. I earned a bachelor’s in English in 2009 and published a few short stories online. (Currently working in state government, so you know how that whole writing thing turned out.) Among my interests/likes: philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre, cycling, Jane Austen novels, knitting, and baking my own granola bars.

What I love about Lileks: During the podcast, he almost always asks the follow-up question I’m asking (but no one can hear).

However, I lately discovered that we differ drastically on the issue of changing our clocks. It’s stupid. I hate it.

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No scores or deductions this year because that is a sign of white supremacy and systemic racism: counting and stuff, you know. But for those who insist on a sporting time, give one point for each. 1) All AR15’s and M4’s should be on a combat sling so as it hangs straight down from shoulder […]

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A Tale of Two Dogs


Fellow, dog owners, you might understand that any written account made by a canine family member reflects Charles Dickens observation: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

Because for a dog, that’s it in a nutshell. (Or a dog bowl, as it were.)

Think of taking the dog for a walk, just that one thought, and before you’ve roused your body from your chair, they become a bundle of ecstatic fur and tail, pulsing with the wags and the shakes that show how easy ecstasy can be attained if you have four legs.

Then you decide to leave to run errands, abandoning them at home, and they crumble into a sad-looking mop of desolation. However, once you return home, they leap to the heavens and race to the moon to celebrate.

Keep this in mind as you read this account.

This concerns my dog Bella, a border collie/boxer/pitbull mix and her unlikely suitor, the purebred American Bull Dog BoBoLuke

The account of Bella Birthday Cakes, a service dog

(as told by Bella to Carol Joy)

Gentle Reader:

I first wrote an essay on Ricochet some 3 years ago. It detailed the experience I lived thru of being dumped in a “family-friendly” neighborhood where any and everyone heaped scorn upon me. Long story short: Carol and Mark adopted me after I had a short stay at an ASPCA shelter.

Since those heady days, I have continued my work for Carol as her service dog. She has a seizure condition, and through some unexplained phenomena, I know when a seizure is about to hit and then I assist her. This seems most important to her when she starts to black out going up the stairs, and I pull her to the landing. I get a lot of praise for this, and sometimes half a sirloin steak.

What else does my being a service dog entail? I happily, proudly don my service jacket and go on out with my human into many environments: grocery stores, boutiques, restaurants, doctor offices, and the homes of her friends.

Until the Great Muzzling of Humanity that began an eternity ago, everywhere I went, humans worshipped me. While Carol selected food items, sometimes her back would be turned away from me. Kids would descend on me to pet me or talk to me. On occasion, a toddler would mistake me for a miniature donkey and climb on my back, using the service jacket as a saddle. Often the parents would laugh and enjoy these moments. How those kids would cry when mom and dad took them off so they could leave the store.

Last year of course ushered in such strange times. For a well-trained animal like myself, I reflected on remarks my trainer had made about muzzles. Sarah explained that the only warm bodies that required muzzles were either weirdo-s or else untrustworthy.

But now every place we went, humans were wearing muzzles. Even the children.

This was concerning. Often Carol stayed home from almost everything. I heard her telling Mark “It just makes me so sad to see those masks.” Talk about Dullsville. It was boring.

So imagine how happy I felt this past summer when the two of us went for a long car ride to a new neighborhood. When we got to our destination, I no sooner jumped down from the car’s back seat to the lawn when a large white dog came happily galumphing up to me, carrying in his mouth a bone.

He dropped the bone in front of me and slipped into the downward dog posture. “What good manners he has,” I thought.

Then I could think nothing at all. My reality became a flash of our bodies racing in and out of the shadows of some huge oak trees and pines. We were dizzy with our showing off for each other, touching muzzles, and sorry Dear Readers, no delicate way to say this, but also sniffing butts. We ran jumping up and over and under each other, grinning like the world was made of bacon and dog treats.

When we finally both dropped to the grass, almost in total exhaustion, I heard Carol say to her new friend Cindy, “Well, we’ll have to make arrangements for tomorrow, Cindy, because my driving two crazed dogs home to my place in my one small Prius could be way too much to hope to do safely.”

So I assumed this meant that the white dog, BoBoLuke, and I had a play date scheduled for the following afternoon.

So consider my confusion, when that very next day, Cindy stopped over, bringing not only her dog, but his leash, a large dog bed, and a box of canned food.

Clearly this was not another playdate, no matter how you looked at it.

I confess in terms of the new household member, I forgot my manners. In my defense, wouldn’t you forget your manners altogether if somehow, without explanation or being consulted, you suddenly found out that what you thought would be a second playdate turned out to be an arranged marriage?

Just as terrible a development, both my humans now fawned over BoBoLuke. “You’ve had a rough few days, but you’re on the mend. When Cindy first found you, you were draped over her front yard sprinkler, letting your body get wetter than heck. To think it was 103 degrees that day! You are lucky you are alive, Big Guy!”

BoBo played it all up, looking helpless and sickly, every time they so much as glanced at him.

He made such fools out of them, they ended up giving him half my blankets for his bed. “You don’t mind sharing a few things with your new friend, do you Girl?” asked Mark. I turned tail and indignantly stalked off to my fortress cave between the side table and the couch, to think things over.

When no one was around, because they went out to the front yard to bathe BoBoLuke, I snatched up one of my “donated” blankets and took that bit of security back to my cave. Then I spent much of the weekend, alone and sulking. The problem needed to be figured out.

It was so discouraging to realize these humans were not at all as I believed them to be. I should have figured this out long ago. Why did I ever consider either of them to be Alpha Leaders of the pack? Why didn’t I know better? I had so often considered them to be Alphas, but as any dog knows, in any Alpha canine family, the parents allow their daughter to decide on the mate of her choosing. The parents might make introductions, but they don’t determine the matter!

I also remembered that time Carol had been throwing a tantrum at Mark, and he came over and faced her saying, “My Hands are Up!! Don’t Shoot!”

Clearly not the way an Alpha Male behaves, I  knew, to be submissive like that. And rather than Carol insisting on winning her fight, she tossed a dishtowel at him and began to laugh.

They were sick. Really sick! It was surely a good thing I had no intention of having any puppies with this new “Big Guy” because I would not want such human wimps around me helping to teach the puppies a single thing.

Another indication I had of Carol’s lack of Alpha was that phone conversation she’d had with her friend Marion. What a sorry revelation that had offered me.

“So, Marion, you know that lady Dee from the health spa, who  I had talked about before? The woman who is so standoffish and cold. Wouldn’t even say Hi back when I said hello to her?” Here Carol paused, to take a sip of an iced tea. “Okay, so lately she has come around. But you will never guess why.”

Marion made some comment or two on her end of the phone. Then Carol continued: “So what happens is that this Dee woman swims over to me when I am taking a break and leaning back against the edge of the pool. She starts acting very friendly and remarks on how nice it is that the pool is mostly deserted. Then Dee asks me what has to be an important question for her. She lowers her eyes and whispers ‘I saw you swimming with that one man, Mark I think his name is. Or maybe it’s Mike. Anyway, I noticed the two of you were sharing a single lane. So I’d love to know this – however did you get him to share a lap lane with you? I’d ask him myself, but he is always lost in thought when I see him alone.'”

Marion again made a comment or two, and I couldn’t hear her words, but she sounded intrigued.

Then Carol replied, “Marion, at first I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say. But then I blurted out: “I married that guy Mark! That’s how come he shares his lap lane with me.”

Both women were softly laughing. “Okay, so Marion you would think that would be the end of that inquiry, right? But no! Good ol’ Dee says, and not in a way that she is congratulating me, but more like she’d enjoy snaring Mark for herself, she says “However did you get him to marry you?” The hunger in her voice and face when she asked me that, it made my blood run cold.

“Then I confess that I lost it. I turned to her and rather hissed, “You know how I did it, Dee? I just used the age-old, usual female ploys of deceit and feminine trickery! Like any warm-blooded woman would do!”

So now I am sitting there on my canine haunches, and I realized that the whole conversation had troubled me even as it went down. But now in canine re-play mode, I saw what it had made it so subconsciously disturbing. The whole analysis threw me into my doggy loop of disdain over how disgustingly and utterly hopeless humans happen to be.

I mean, if I were BoBoLuke’s mate, not that I would ever even consider it, big ugly lug of a guy that he is, but if I were his mate, I would not only bare my teeth and growl at any female dog who portrayed herself as my competitor, but then after I bared my teeth and growled, I might lunge in and take out a piece of that competing female’s hide. Because if one’s mate is not worth acting all Alpha over, what would be, I ask you?

An Alpha female must establish boundaries and let’s face it, human Alpha’s don’t bother. They don’t even mark their turf with their delicious female scent, but they flush it down a toilet.

But after thinking these thoughts out, and letting my conclusions spin around in my brain, another side of the Carol-Dee story emerged.

Had Carol used female ploys of deceit and trickery to have Mark pulled into marrying her?

A week before BoBoLuke arrived, I would not have considered either Carol or Mark deceitful. But in light of this recent trick of theirs, of toppling the long-established order of the pack by bringing unannounced, a male dog into my turf, without their taking any of the needs of the Alpha female of the dog world into consideration, well, that trick tanned both my hide and my pride.

So Gentle Reader, you might not be surprised to find out that the very next morning, I succeeded in digging my way out of my yard and into the freedom of my neighborhood. This was something I delighted in doing as a young dog. But once trained to be a service dog, it had been an activity beneath me. But not anymore.

Once out of the yard, I merrily traipsed over to the yard of my friend and neighbor, Woof Weidersein, a worldly and wise German Shepherd. We had once both thought of having a fling, but the cyclone fence always stayed between us.

After I told him my sad tale, he wagged at me and said “They don’t deserve you, Sister, not one bit.” He shook his head and gave me a sympathetic look, complete with cocked ear.

“No, they don’t deserve you, not your humans or this BoBoLuke character. I guess you’ll have to make the best of it, but…” Here his words of wisdom ended abruptly, on account of Mr. Squirrel, but I did enjoy our visit. It was not as satisfying as that last time we’d been together, when we briefly touched muzzles and sniffed butts, but the cyclone fence had made the romance short-lived.

With Woof preoccupied, I began to slowly meander my way home. The first few yards I nosed around in were quite pleasant. Lots of smells, like deer and baby rabbit, and a tiny mostly diminished Eau d’Skunk. (Gosh I hate skunks!) Then I saw a medium-sized truck pull up and park not 20 dog lengths away from me!

As I got closer, I made out the words “Animal Control” on the side panel of the truck. “That’s a joke,” I thought. “After all, we animals have very little control, not even over who we are forced to share hearth and home with. No control at all.” Sadly, thinking these thoughts, I felt my Alpha-ness begin to diminish.

As I passed through a clump of bushes nearer the truck, a loop of wire suddenly tightened around my neck. The same young woman who had looked harmless enough when I first saw her in the driver’s seat now was dragging me off to the back of her truck.

“Oh poop. So that’s what “Animal Control” really refers to.”

I dug in my paws and whined and whimpered but she had the best of me. Finally, I was just inches from the rear of the vehicle and she jumped up, tugged me up after her, then jumped down and slammed the door shut.

Yikes! What now?

In the back of the truck, my surroundings were bleak. I was the only dog in there, so I must have been the control officer’s first catch o the day.

Everything smelled very doggy, and the scent was pungent with fear. Nothing was good about this situation. And it probably was my fault.

“Great,” I thought. “Just great. First, my home gets invaded by a stranger and now this.”

The woman stood outside the truck shouting an address into the phone. Then she said, “Roger that. You’re right. That address for the other dog is five houses over. I’ll head over on foot – with so many tourists here today, there’s not much in the way of parking.”

I realized Animal Control must now be in pursuit of Roxie, a feisty miniature dachshund whose tiny frame easily slipped under the wooden gate at the front of her yard. On other occasions, long ago, whenever I snuck out of my yard, she would meet me under the big shade tree. She could amuse me for a half-hour by trotting along under my belly and then when I turned to lick her nose, taking off like a small racehorse filly, ducking back under the fence and then waiting to surprise me by coming back out.

With any luck, the dog could keep Animal Control occupied while I figured out how to escape.

I began to scratch at the heavy metal door with as much energy as I could muster. Then I body slammed the door, using every ounce of my 61 pounds. I knew in both my head and my heart it was a lost cause. But a well-trained service dog must never give up.

As I continued to do a few more body slams, I thought of my humans. They now spent so much time slobbering over BoBoLuke, I knew I couldn’t count on them to realize I was gone. The chances they would come to find me were slim.

I felt my eyes beginning to water. I was glad my trainer Sarah was not able to witness me starting to cry. She would be disappointed, because a well-trained service…

So I tried one more time. I gave the effort my all. And a miracle happened. The door sprang open. I toppled to the ground, hitting the dirt hard. But I was happy! So happy!

For a moment I saw stars. As they cleared, I looked up and I was looking right into the rather shy, rather elegant head of Mr BoBoLuke. He seemed very pleased with himself.

“Thank you!” I wagged. My right ear lifted up and folded in half as it always does whenever I am questioning reality.  How was this possible – that BoBoLuke was my hero? And that apparently he cuts a handsome figure and he smells quite Alpha, and

“How’d you pull this off?” I wanted him to tell me.

“However did you get that prison door open?”

BoBoLuke just grinned at me. He nudged at my nose and mouth and he stated, using his eyes and the wrinkles along his nose, to tell me: “We can talk about my heroics later. Right now we need to high tail it home.”

So anyway that is somewhat the story of how I became one half of a loving couple.

After all, BoBoLuke proved to be sweeter than I gave him credit for, and also smarter than he looks, as well as caring and determined. Don’t get me wrong: I remain a modern-day female service dog. I’m not yet agreeing to any marriage, as things might still need to be made clear on both sides of our story.

And for now his doggy bed and mine are still separate beds, if you know what I mean. But I think I’ve accepted my home is his home, I really do.

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As the Covid Crisis recedes, our betters — the Powers That Be — are quick to credit their own draconian mandates with saving their poor subjects from the evil virus. The common sense of the people had nothing at all to do with it. From the Portland Oregonian, 23 November 2021: Oregonians no longer must wear […]

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The Waukesha Murderer Is a Product of the Left’s Grievance Industry


Change my mind.

Maybe I’m foolish for getting out in front of “the facts” like this, but I’d put real cash money on a bet that the Wisconsin domestic terrorist believes he’s a victim of “white supremacy” and “institutional racism.” Dennis Prager has long said the victim mentality allows people to justify all kinds of evil.

Sure this guy knocked around some women and sexually assaulted them, but, hey! It’s not his fault America hates him and is holding him down. He’s just paying it forward. Even if he isn’t self-aware enough to know he’s motivated by believing the grievance narrative about blacks, the very fact of his life of crime points to a sense of despair and lack of self-mastery that the victim mentality engenders.

If Kyle Rittenhouse is a vigilante because he holds conservative values (like loving one’s neighbors by protecting them and their property — even if they’re black), then the Left owns this guy and one of the most evil acts by a domestic terrorist in our time. Make them own him.

The Waukesha murderer (I refuse to use his name) is a product of BLM, the 1619 Project, and all the other racist initiatives promulgated by the Left’s grievance industry. Hang him around their necks.

Follow the Science, Really?


What follows is about an encounter on Facebook, or Meta. I don’t know which for sure, as it happened in the transition so I can’t say where it landed. So far, all my FB icons remain the same, untouched by the mind of Zuckerberg.

I have been reading a couple of books of apostasy, they being Apocalypse Never, by Michael Shellenberger, and Unsettled? What Climate Science Tells Us, What it Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, by Steven E. Koonin. I have been drawn to them in part to test my own skepticism, and to learn why they had jumped ship.

Briefly, both are still convinced that there is indeed climate change characterized by a small increase in global temperature. What they both reject is the proposition that this increase will be catastrophic in the near future and is an existential threat. They differ on possible resolutions of this “crisis”.

Because I have not finished the Koonin book, I will concentrate on Shellenberger as he is most germane to my confrontation. His book is wide-ranging, touching on much of the environmental movement and his participation in it over the last thirty years.

The encounter began when a post1 from SciTech Daily appeared in my FB feed. I do not even recall the specifics of the post, other than to say it had to do with some environmental issue. In passing, the author of the post mentioned the ongoing “sixth extinction” underway. Among the many topics Shellenberger discussed, this extinction event was one of them. I responded per Shellenberger that this had been long ago discredited and left it at that.

Posts like this are widely seen and can draw a lot of comments, so I expected that my comment would be quickly buried. That was not to be. Shortly thereafter, a response came in which the poster stated that I was obviously not up to speed on the subject and should cite my source, insisting that it should be from a peer-reviewed journal. I responded by stating that it was so stated in Michael Shellenberger’s book and suggested that he(?) should do likewise. He responded with a reference to an article in a journal2 from the National Academy of Sciences that makes the case for the sixth extinction. He also dismissed Shellenberger with the observation that Shellenberger is a journalist, not a scientist.

I left the argument at that. Online arguments can be tedious, and I did not want to spend much effort on it. But it did raise a few questions as to how one should consider the paper offered and just who is entitled to comment. After all, if one must be a scientist, then there is no discussion as the pronouncements contained in the article must be treated as dogma and not questioned. Even then, the question as to who is a scientist is undetermined. Does any scientist count? Or is the commentary limited only to those from the specific field. If having  “scientist” attached to one’s resume suffices, are political scientists acceptable? Obviously, the argument descends into silliness essentially because there is no rigid definition for “scientist” and the objection to Shellenberger is about what he said and not what he is. Shellenberger could have a Climate Science Ph.D. and the same objections would be raised against his claims.

The essence of Schellenberger’s argument, in this case, is that the rate of extinction claimed in support of the sixth extinction hypothesis is not abnormal, and further, it has been grossly exaggerated based on — you guessed it — a model, not observation. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, some 0.8 percent of the 112, 432 species, plant and animal in their catalog, have gone extinct since the year 1500. This is an annual rate of two per year. This clearly supports the argument against a sixth extinction. Shellenberger went to some length to dissect this issue as part of his general contention that the hysteria/emergency/crisis is largely manufactured.

But what of the paper my protagonist offered in evidence? Consider that the title states that the sixth extinction is underway, and the paper is an examination of the evidence. While it is properly peer-reviewed and referenced to a fare thee well, it is unlikely to offer an evaluation or critique of the merits of the claim. I think Shellenberger would say that it is too narrow in scope and timeframe to make such a broad claim.

Finally, no paper submitted can authoritatively answer the question as to what constitutes a mass extinction. The very idea is not science but is instead science highjacked for political purposes. Science properly considered is a statement of facts. Conclusions may be drawn from said facts, but qualitative conclusions are a statement of opinion and not fact. Thus, one can say that the number of reindeer was X in 1960 and is now some value less than X. One cannot conclude that an extinction is underway, only that the known population of reindeer has decreased during the observed timeframe. Thus, no paper, however rigorous or thoroughly peer-reviewed, can state that an extinction is in progress.

My protagonist made one last attempt, slipping in a reference to a criticism of Shellenberger’s book. The title was, as you might guess, How Shellenberger Got It All Wrong. Whatever errors he may have made, isn’t this how it always ends? No matter the issue, he who deviates from the dogma will be thoroughly flagellated and cast out into the darkness. So it is with Michael Shellenberger. I, for one, think his book is worth your time and his proposition that nuclear power may be the way out of the “climate crisis” one to be reckoned with.

  2. fbclid=IwAR0ziq54brgDrHYdii6z2B_u8FGUDxdadD3Uj6D8B1eYyyBA65bj1QTv0kY

Is a Hyper-Active Armed Citizenry Actually a Good Thing?


As we saw in 2020, the police and fire departments and National Guard often hang back, stand down, and otherwise refuse to deal with destructive rioters and “peaceful protesters.” Kyle Rittenhouse was only one counterforce, a citizen who (however imperfectly) sought to preserve property in the face of gratuitous destruction.

Nevertheless, when the government fails to do its most basic job – keeping the peace – is there not a silver lining? After all, this is only our Republic for as long as we can keep it, for as long as we maintain a desire for, and will to defend, our rights to life, liberty, and property.

Doesn’t government failure give Americans an opportunity to grow up, to be responsible for ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities? I recognize, of course, that this makes enemies not only of our rightful enemies, but sometimes also of our government, which instinctively craves a monopoly on the use of force. Nevertheless, I see an opportunity here: when Americans recognize the government is not the answer (whether in police or schools or housing, etc.), do we not have an enhanced opportunity to address problems ourselves?

Movie Review: Ghostbusters Afterlife


Ghostbusters (1984) is not a kid’s movie. Or to the extent that it is it’s by happenstance. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis weren’t thinking of toy lines and Saturday morning cartoons when they wrote a script about schlubby middle-aged men running a startup in pre-Giuliani New York. We loved it as kids because of Slimer, proton packs, Ecto-1, Zuul, and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. We were oblivious to the jokes about mortgages and oral sex. It would take years before we appreciated Bill Murray’s charming indifference. Using “we” in this context might be presumptuous. As Ghostbusters: Afterlife shows, some people never moved beyond “proton packs are cool.”

After being evicted, single mother Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon) and her two kids, Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) move to Summerville, OK, to live in the farmhouse left by Callie’s recently deceased father, Egon. Trevor lies about his age to get a job at the diner where his crush works. Phoebe doubts she can make any friends. On her first day at summer school, she hits it off with a kid who calls himself “Podcast” (Logan Kim). Guess his hobby. Podcast isn’t the only one that takes a liking to Phoebe. Their teacher, Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), is impressed by her scientific knowledge and shares with her the strange seismic activity he’s recorded in Summerville.

Callie makes it clear she was not close to her father. He abandoned her to live on this farm where according to the locals he didn’t grow anything. Is it true the beloved character Egon Spengler from the beloved film Ghostbusters ended up a deadbeat who left his daughter when she was a kid? Say it ain’t so. Maybe his plucky and inquisitive grandchildren will discover his hidden ghostbusting gear and with it the town secrets causing all that seismic activity. It might even turn out a series of supernatural contrivances forced him into that situation, and he actually loved Callie all along.

Liking this movie was always going to be a battle. It (2017) and the first season of Stranger Things exhausted my goodwill for this sort of story. Both of those were good, but I’d be content never seeing another film about tweens and teens discovering the supernatural in small-town America. For the first half of the movie, I was willing to ride along. I might not love it, but I could appreciate it on its own terms. The cast is uniformly good. Their performances individually and the chemistry between them are strong enough to compensate for the script’s deficiencies. McKenna Grace in particular outshines her stock character, i.e., the precocious genius I’ve seen in a million movies and who is nothing like the smart kids I went to school with. The dialogue isn’t hilarious with nary a quotable line, but it is amusing in the way Amblin films and their imitators tend to be.

The elements of an enjoyable movie are here, but writer/director Jason Reitman and co-writer Gil Kenan don’t have faith in the material. They plunder every recognizable image from the 1984 original. It’s gobsmacking how dependent the second half of this film is on the iconography of its nearly 40-year-old forebear. The teasers and trailers already spoiled the inclusion of Zuul and Stay Puft Marshmallow Men, but that’s only the beginning. Gary and Callie are possessed by Zuul becoming “the keymaster” and “the gatekeeper” respectively, and to make sure the reference is understood by even the dumbest audience members, their outfits transform into those worn by Louis Tully and Dana Barrett in the original. Who knew Tully’s torn pants and unkempt shirt were a demonic uniform? What deep lore. I CLAPPED BECAUSE I KNOW GHOSTBUSTERS!

Eventually, every original idea is replaced with another reference. A Ship of Theseus for ’80s pop culture nostalgia. For as much as the movie survives on Ghostbusters imagery, it never captures the spirit of that film nor does it even try. Some of my favorite sequels—e.g., Gremlins 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and the novel Titus Alone—are defiantly antithetical to their precursors. All three examples alienated huge segments of their fanbase and were commercial disappointments. Gremlins 2 in particular thumbs its nose at the consumerism of the average Hollywood sequel.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife, on the other hand, indulges in fandom at its most slavish. Even mundane minutiae are treated with reverence. When Phoebe finds her grandfather’s old uniform, she holds the drab jumpsuit as if it’s a hallowed object. Imagine a sequel to Arachnophobia where Delbert McClintock’s grandkid pulls a “Bugs-B-Gone” hat out of a box in the attic and wistfully holds it up to the light.

Trevor Spengler (Finn Wolfhard), Phoebe Spengler (McKenna Grace), Podcast (Logan Kim)

And it is so lazy. The movie doesn’t elicit emotions, it hands them out in prepackaged and branded containers. The characters don’t have arcs, they’re just vehicles to relive scenes from another movie. In the final moments, the manipulation becomes brazen. It could not be more naked in its tactics. The remaining three OG Ghostbusters show up just in time. You get a deus ex machina with your hit of nostalgia. Then it gets all sappy about the dead Ghostbuster. They expect you to shed tears over the guy who said the funny line about Twinkies. I’m sure the defense will be that it’s equally a tribute to Harold Ramis as it is to the character he played; “For Harold” appears on screen before the credits roll, after all. If that’s the case, it puts it in the same league as those editorial cartoons that depict recently deceased celebrities kicking back in heaven with other dead celebrities. Sincerity only gets you so far.

I never saw Ghostbusters (2016) and was only ever tempted to out of principle. I didn’t want to judge a movie without seeing it for myself. After watching some in-depth reviews (the best, of course, being Redlettermedia’s), I concluded the odds of it being an unfairly maligned masterpiece, or even tolerable, are so infinitesimal it’s not worth risking two hours of my life. From what I’ve seen of that movie, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is better. It doesn’t have a color palette so garish it seems a danger to your eyesight, and its cast isn’t the most obnoxious humans in existence who scream their lines. It isn’t an audiovisual migraine until the final 20 minutes. Don’t construe that as praise. Saying your standard for a good film is anything better than Lady Ghostbusters is the same as saying you have no standard for what makes a good film.

Jason Reitman has given us a two-hour genuflexion to a version of Ghostbusters that doesn’t exist. The actual Ghostbusters was creative and unmatched in its dry wit. It was too cynical to be heartfelt or tender. And likewise too cynical and blasé to be mean-spirited. We don’t get movies like it anymore, but we didn’t really get movies like it back then either. It’s in the running for greatest comedy of all time. I didn’t enter the theater with high hopes for this follow-up but was shocked at how awful Ghostbusters: Afterlife is. Sadly I am not shocked by how popular it is. Expect more sequels. The history of the franchise is of failures to live up to the original film. What’s a few more for the pile?

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The top of the page headline this morning on Fox News: Biden to release 50M barrels of oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve amid gas price spike Wow, that’s huge right! 50M barrels of oil, what a compassionate man, draining our reserves to help reduce the price of gas for the suburban mom when she fills […]

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Quote of the Day: Chronic Hysteria of the Democrats


Democrats are running around like they found a hair in their biscuit.  — Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy

In his usual irreverent and amusing away, Sen. John Kennedy soundly takes down the Democrats. He focuses on their obsession with turning those events that aren’t catastrophes into devastating predictions, ignoring inconvenient facts when they shouldn’t, and making up stories when it serves them well.

We only need to look at the “catastrophes” that plague our planet: climate change, including the use of fossil fuels; Republicans who hold office, particularly former President Donald Trump and his policies; COVID-19, which is sure to kill everyone in every country. When it comes to ignoring inconvenient facts, they bury their heads regarding the disaster at the border; the inept approach to the Iran deal; the people who have been abandoned in Afghanistan; and the container ships stuck in ports. And they are especially skilled at lying about situations, such as the rise of inflation and the cost of the latest legislation; who’s at fault for the rise of gasoline prices; and the lack of revenue we’ll garner from new taxes. And ignorance and lying combined have both reached a new high with COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

The left, however, is going to discover the limitations of chronic hysteria. It’s like the boy who cries “Wolf!” If you do it enough times, it becomes second nature, and everything — I mean, everything — is a crisis. Eventually, I suspect that people will start to realize that in a country like America, there’s a lot to appreciate, and they will tire of the hysteria barrage.

There are so many opportunities for manipulating the propaganda and behavior of the populace. I was just in a Walgreens today, and almost all the customers were still wearing masks. So many people feel compelled to obey the powers that be; others are incredibly fearful that death lies in wait just around the corner. So, they do their best to survive.

There is one undeniable fact: We are all going to die.


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  Our betters have decreed that we cannot say: “All the recent looters are black!” I thought about titling this little piece “Dystopian, Part II”, but the quoted line from an article today from the, entitled “Cultural Marxism, Are We Supposed To Ignore What All the San Francisco Looters Have in Common?”, sums up in […]

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The Woke Left’s Ongoing Gain of Function Experiments


Gain of function. Unfortunately, by now everyone should know what it means. It’s the deliberate amplification of aspects of a pathogen that sensible (albeit nonexpert) people might consider undesirable. In particular, it includes efforts directed at making an infectious agent more communicable, more resistant to countermeasures, and/or more lethal to its victims.

As I type this, gain of function experimentation is going on in thousands of laboratories across the United States under the misguided supervision of people who often fancy themselves knowledgeable experts qualified to engage in such a dangerous project. The pathogen in question is racism, something to which humans are by nature susceptible but for which we have developed, over hundreds of years, fairly simple and effective preventative treatments.

It wasn’t easy. We fought a literal war within our own country, and then spent decades battling in the courts of law and public opinion, before we effectively put an end to the misguided notion that a man should be judged based on the color of his skin. There will always be a few still infected with the idea, but it no longer spreads — its R naught, as they say, is way below one: No one is likely to catch it from you if you’re one of the sad cases unable to shake this particular sickness.

Racism is a disease of childhood and relatively easy to prevent: Set a good example, avoid exposing your children to people who are infected, and promptly treat your kids when and if they show symptoms. Racism is stupid and ugly, and not something to which children are naturally attracted. It’s easy to raise children free of the disease.

Unfortunately, the people to whom too many of us have outsourced the raising of our children are investing a lot of energy in creating a strain of racism resistant to prevention by parents. They’re doing it by inculcating in our kids the idea that skin color really does matter and that people who say otherwise are, well, bad people. Far from being stupid and ugly, they are told, racism is something that good kids acknowledge and embrace, either as (usually symptomless) carriers or (usually symptomless) victims.

The very wise words of Martin Luther King Jr. will be no soothing balm for these afflicted children once they’ve been taught that the good doctor got it exactly backward. And social distancing your child from infected individuals isn’t practical when the school bus delivers them to contagion five days a week, nor when you send him or her off to incubate in college.

It will be ironic if America’s exposure to toxic classroom curricula, and our subsequent rejection of it, is a consequence of school shutdowns brought about by our exposure to an actual disease that itself benefited from misguided enhancement.

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We know the FBI protected the violent mafia thug and multiple-murderer Whitey Bulger from prosecution in order to protect him as an intelligence source. We know that FBI informants played the role of instigators in the “Gretchen Whitmer Kidnap Plot” in order to entrap her political opponents. We know the FBI used specious documents to […]

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Where’s My Lockdown, Newsom?


According to USA Today (and the science, which never lies), COVID has killed more people in 2021 than in 2020. Despite this, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that we can have Thanksgiving this year if everyone is vaccinated (despite evidence that shows waning immunity).

If more people are dying, not less, and immunity is waning …

Why aren’t we locked down again, Mr. Newsom? Why isn’t there another emergency declaration, Mr. Newsom?

One can search “number of emergency orders Newsom,” but no one appears to have a website keeping a running tally. I find this odd, and if I were more technologically inclined, I’d create one. But from the top of my memory and search results we have declarations of:

-Emergency over drought.

-Emergency over COVID.

-Emergency over fires.

-Emergency over oil spill.

-Emergency over wind (that happened six months prior).

-Emergency over winter storms.

Gov. Gavin Newsom hasn’t met an emergency he didn’t like. After expanding his powers yet again through March 2022, I find it odd that he hasn’t decided to lock the state down again. COVID is surging! Why aren’t we locking everything down, Mr. Newsom?

I suppose this is because last time, he got a recall challenge? I suppose this is because this time, a Democrat is president? I suppose it is because this time, inflation is surging, the money is running out, and people are unlikely to support another full lockdown given their acquiescence to government dictates?

I guess it’s interesting what two years and a changed presidency can do for emergencies.

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The movie Braveheart is a fictional account of the historic Scot, William Wallace. Wallace is legendary as a freedom fighter against English rule in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Hollywood version of the story notwithstanding, the theme of the movie for all people is the same. Having been betrayed and led to his execution, […]

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Federal Ungovernment


I thought there was some sort of a plan.  Slide Sir Biden the Blank into office, accomplish awful things, pile it on his back and drive him into the desert to clear the path for Harris the Harpy — the unelected giving way to the unelectable.  I wonder if that’s what we’re seeing, though.  I can’t make much of a case — this is just another way of looking at the same problem.

Heaven and particularly Hell know that the DNC and the DLC split played a great part in Democrat politics for the last twenty years.  Whether the Clinton DLC is still a thing is anybody’s guess — my guess is it was quietly folded more directly into the Clinton crime family’s pay-for-play apparatus, the Clinton Global Initiative, and so forth.  Why maintain an auditable organization once you have your unauditable scam running?

So faction is not new to the left.  With the Squad types ranging the far left — delivering effective fire into the squishy left without being hit — the more conventional socialist operators like Pelosi and Schiff, and the crazy-but-not-Squad loons like Waters and Jackson Lee have their own fights going on internally and of course externally.  Naturally, they can count on the weakest Republicans for support in their more lucrative schemes — thanks for the Infraporkulus, guys!

The Democrats now own every last stick of furniture in Washington DC.  What’s left to do but fight amongst themselves?  Fauci may be a puppet, but he’s a canny character.  He currently wears the ring that others must kiss, but he does not own it.  He has the power to make socialist dreams come true, which is of course happening.  We have lockdowns (control), masks (conditioning), mandatory injections (money), and towering welfare “COVID relief” spending (dependency).  Soon, we will have internal passport control and an increasingly rationalized surveillance operation.  The fascists of the last century are smacking their foreheads at the miraculous power of the fascism of this century.  Government and Big [insert industry] working together to control and track the masses.  No need to oppress the people when they will pay to have it done, and complain when they cannot have it.  Genius.

So Fauci is the uneasy rider of the most powerful but most fickle horse in a field of many.  The Defense establishment knows to mostly keep its head low — too obvious.  The Defense purge is internal, limited to the DoD.  NSA-flavored entities and Google-flavored companies (to include Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and more) have teamed up to operate the infrastructure that matters, and upon which the rest of government and business run.  The FBI functions increasingly as a secret police, selectively enforcing laws and diktats against political enemies of the current fascist regime.

CNN (state media) ran an apparently authorized hit piece on Harris.  Can’t say what’s actually going on there.  Is it White-House-approved to get rid of her, or Congress-approved to rescue her?  Or is some other faction aggrieved and firing at the administration as a whole?  Sure, it could be just a story written by an honest reporter, but that’s not our collective (ahem) experience with what gets greenlit by the suits at CNN for high-profile attacks on Democrats.  As simple as the last option is, I do not find it the most likely, given the track record — one of the complications of living in crazy times.

A power struggle in our Kremlin-on-the-Potomac is not a good sign.  If the Wizards of state centralization have failed to hold their confascily together, then they are competing, and the most ruthless, most effective, most able to bend the powers of government to its will is going to wind up ruling us.

Are we seeing a failed consolidation of power turn into a power struggle?

Scratch a Leftie, Find a Lizard… in the day (early 1980s) when Mr. She’s and my love was young; when I was a fledgling IT support chick, and he was an assistant professor of English; when the only house we could afford had a scenic view out the bedroom window of the exhaust vents from Pittsburgh’s Liberty Tunnels; when the neighbors consisted of motorcycle gangs (mostly righteous), drug dealers (not-so-much) and dog-fighters (the scum of the earth); we had very little money and could not afford much in the way of entertainment.  And so we found what we could for free, up to, and including, what was on offer on network television.  We and the kids enjoyed, among others: The A-Team, T.J. Hooker (Shatner in what might have been his first post-Star Trek engagement),  Hunter, and Miami Vice.

But pride of place, at least for a couple of years, might have been given to the campy-from-the-start, rather over-the-top even for the time, 1983 television series “V.”

Lizards have emigrated, from another galaxy, and arrived on earth.  They look exactly like us, and, as the episodes progress, they become more and more integrated into our culture and society.  They need something from us, and so they become more friendly and accommodating, and are widely accepted, until a small group of “Resistance” fighters figure out what’s going on, and form a bulwark (apologies) against the encroaching occupation and supremacy of the “V”isitors.

Truth be told, I don’t remember a hell of a lot of the plot.  There was an exceptionally good and kind male lizard, a vituperatively evil Queen SheLizard (Diana), and a girl who gave birth to a half-human/half-lizard baby.  I can’t remember what happened to it, or if the series (mercifully) was canceled before we could find out.

What I do remember, and what became a metaphor for my family from that point forward was the definitive test for lizardness.  Simply wound a creature, and see what color it bleeds.

Lizards bleed green.  (A metaphor there, methinks.)

Today, we have the horrifying events in Waukesha, WI.  A matter on which (one might think) we can all agree.

And yet.

Here’s this woman–an Illinois Democrat party operative–and what she had to say about it:

What an absolutely disgusting excuse for a human being.

I see she’s resigned her commission with the Democrat party.  Not a moment too soon.

You don’t need to inflict a lethal wound.  All you need to do is scratch a bit.  And remember.

Lizards (on whichever side–and there are some on both) ALWAYS bleed green.

Watch out.

November 22, 1963


From the National Catholic Register:

On Nov. 22, 1963, three award-winning writers died: one in Dallas, one in Los Angeles and the other at his home just outside Oxford, England

John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis all died within hours of each other.

All had been award-winning writers. However, when they died, they had become more than that, and, subsequent to Nov. 22, 1963, their lives gained even greater significance.

I’ll never forget the Kennedy connection. My family had been in the United States only a little over three weeks (arriving, documents in hand, at Boston’s Logan Airport on October 29, 1963.  I know that’s true, because my Green Card says so).  Dad was a Fellow at Harvard (when those who were such were reliably named as such), and I was a fourth-grade student at Edward Devotion Elementary School (since renamed because–you know–slaves!) in Brookline.  The same elementary school that JFK himself had attended several decades previous.  We were living in a rather insalubrious apartment building.  The grief, upon news of the President’s death, was palpable.  Overwhelming, in fact. One of those lifetime, “I’ll always remember where I was when I heard…” moments.

It took me many years (perhaps too many years) to appreciate the other anniversaries of that sad day. Of course, I knew C.S. Lewis from the “Narnia” books.  And (although I was 9 1/2 years old at the time), I’d heard of Aldous Huxley, too. But with life, and time, came perspective. And today, I wonder which of them really–when it comes right down to it–was, in the context of history–the most important.

What say you?

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I need to preface this hot comment because of the color of my skin and the state of our country right now. Treating someone differently based on the color of their skin is wrong. Everyone is born equally in the eyes of God. In the past two hours I have heard three times it is […]

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OK, Maybe Controversial, But Trump Is Owed a Second Term


A friend of mine says, “Of course, the NeverTrumpers were right after all. Trump had so alienated suburban women by his personal behavior, he couldn’t possibly have won a second term.”

This person was Trump-resistant but voted for him nonetheless and was pleasantly surprised at all he accomplished. In the end, however, after he lost, my friend returned to type. Trump was icky all along and deserved all he got.

The recent indictment of Hilary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussman, and the even more recent arrest of Michael Steele consigliere Igor Danchenko, along with the naming of various other high ranking Democrat conspirators, including Jake Sullivan, who works in the State Department at this moment, revives in me deep anger, fear, and a certainty that Donald Trump is owed four more years in the White House.

What I tell my friend and what I will say to you now is that Donald Trump was the victim of the most significant political crime in the history of our country. He came under assault from this crime and these criminals every day of his four years. This assault was perpetrated by a criminal political class within our government and was nothing less than a coup d’état unlike we have ever seen in our history.

And yes, it is likely Trump won anyway.

Consider what has been revealed in recent days by the team surrounding prosecutor John Durham.

Michael Sussman was a lawyer with the Washington DC firm of Perkins Coie, a Democrat, and Bill and Hilary Clinton legal redoubt. Have you heard about the secret connection between a Trump organization computer and a Russian bank? Supposedly this was the backchannel of communication and cash that proved Trump was owned and even an agent of Vladimir Putin. It was all made up. It was totally false. Sussman cooked it up along with a top-ranking tech executive, a major American university, and others.

In a private meeting with the General Counsel of the FBI, Sussman presented this fabrication in hopes the FBI would investigate, which they did. Sussman et al. also peddled this lie to the news media, which happily reported it. Some of them still do. It was all a lie.

In even more recent days, a Russian national named Igor Danchenko has been arrested and indicted for making false claims to the FBI. Danchenko was one of the primary sources for the so-called Steele Dossier used by nefarious figures in the FBI and the Department of Justice to invade the Trump campaign, lie to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on the political opponents of Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Steele Dossier was the report that roiled our politics for every minute of the Trump administration. Every minute of his administration was spent in fighting this complete fabrication.

Do you remember the Steele Dossier charge that Trump hired prostitutes to urinate on the bed in the Presidential Suite of the Ritz Carlton-Moscow? He supposedly did this because it was where Obama and his wife once slept. Danchenko totally made it up. It had no basis in fact. Of course, most of us knew that at the time. It made no sense. This alone should have been enough to stop federal agents from persecuting Donald Trump and his staff.

I will repeat that Trump and his team had to deal with this every single day for more than four years. Even now, a close friend of mine is convinced the Russians have something on Trump. And this person is highly placed in Washington DC circles.

Besides all the fabrications, it was the Clinton campaign that was hip-deep in Russians. Danchenko was a Russian national. Charles Dolan, identified at PR-Executive 1 in the Durham indictment, has been a longtime advisor not just to the Clintons and the Democrats but also to the Russian government.

Even though Donald Trump and his team had this millstone around their necks every day for more than a year, they accomplished a great deal. I covered this in detail in my book The Catholic Case for Trump.

Trump destroyed the physical ISIS Caliphate that occupied more land than Great Britain, something Obama could not do. Trump made the U.S. energy independent, an energy-exporting country, something frittered away in months by Joe Biden. Trump utterly remade the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court. It is irrelevant that he had advisors helping him. All presidents do. Trump was the most pro-life president the United States has ever had post-Roe v. Wade. He initiated pro-life policies that someone like George Bush never even considered. Instead, Bush sacrificed the pro-life issue for his forever war in the Middle East.

Trump did all this and more even though wicked men and women in and out of the federal government came after him with lies and fabrications that had to have occupied a great deal of his time and mindspace.

I understand that many conservatives may have Trump fatigue. Consider this, though. Much of that Trump fatigue had to have been related to the poisonous Steele Dossier and all that came from it. He was a man cornered by liars, and he reacted, sometimes badly. Imagine what might have happened if the FBI had done the right thing and recognized the Russian hoax for what it was? What might have happened if the FBI and the Justice Department had not acted like criminals? What might have been if Trump had been given an open field to lead the country? Sure, Trump would have been Trump, and a lot of folks do not like Trump. But at least he would have been given a chance.

My view after reading the Durham indictments of Michael Sussman and Igor Danchenko is that Trump is owed four more years. I know this will likely not happen. Nonetheless, we owe him that.

[Image Credit: Unsplash]

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Over at one can find an important series of investigative articles on the link between COVID and abortion. The articles are written by Julie Collarafi, known on Twitter as Julianne (@KindeandTrue). Part 1 details the complicity of Church leaders in this ongoing abomination. The Catholic Church, almost alone among world institutions, long resisted the […]

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