Does God Want Us to Support Or Oppose Donald Trump?

 

Although I am confident that God agrees with me on just about every issue, I am very reluctant to offer that as persuasive evidence of the rightness of whatever profundity I happen to be offering at any given moment. It would be great if eternal salvation were determined only by the depth and sophistication of one’s political opinions but nothing worthwhile is ever that simple. Worse, declarations of one’s own piety and righteousness invariably lead to the discovery of hypocrisy on a significant scale.

Christians do not get much in the way of partisan guidance from the New Testament. The closest we get is the cryptic lesson from that time when some snarky MSM-type jerkweed thought he could trap Jesus into expressing a controversial opinion. Jesus would either have to back the nationalist struggle against Roman rule and get in big trouble with the authorities or go squish and endorse Rome and thus alienate many of his followers. Here is the version in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 20:

20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

25 He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.

I estimate that in the two millennia since this incident that there have been about 20 to 22 billion sermons, homilies, meditations and exegeses on this event. I could also expound, of course, but let me just say that this passage means that in political matters (and all else) you must always consult (a well-formed) conscience, then do what you gotta do and make the best choices you can under the circumstances. Clear, universally agreed-upon, unambiguous answers are probably not going to be forthcoming most of the time. And you will sometimes find yourself in disagreement with people of goodwill.

For example, there has been a mini-revival on the Catholic left to express both criticisms of the social costs of capitalism and a fondness for political movements to compel a more ordered economy. While I have very smart friends who hold these opinions, I happen to regard these leanings as anachronistic (the tech innovation genie is never going back in the bottle), blind to the political distortion and potential abuse of power needed to stifle economic change and a distraction from a need to build support structures to deal with change instead of futilely fighting change.

While it is obvious that I am right about all this, it is by no means obvious that their misguided positions are immoral or inconsistent with the spirit and substance of Christianity. Similarly, we may ask whether is a war immoral because of death and damage or right and just because of the evils opposed. The war in Vietnam, the nuking of Hiroshima or war by drone strikes can be debated on moral terms by well-intentioned people of good conscience who reach opposing views.

But none of those great moral questions have the scope and centrality of the overriding theological issue before us today: Does God want us to support or oppose Donald Trump?

Trump is venal, often treats underlings badly, is given to subjective stylings when more disciplined deliberations would be preferable. Like Bill Clinton, Trump has a history of sexual infidelity but unlike Clinton, it has not carried over into his to time in office. (For the record, this comment should be regarded as a loving fraternal correction and not a judgment of either President.)

Even though I already know what God would prefer in this regard, as an exercise, let’s explore the possibilities:

God Wants Us to Support Mr. Trump. (“Favors”) Let us dispense with the pro forma notions of a prayerful wish for the well-being of all our elected leaders, rendering respect for the office, etc. and look to Mr. Trump specifically. In the Favors position, one knowingly supports a conspicuously flawed man because he has delivered policies and outcomes largely consistent with the preferences and interests of people who practice or allow their political outlook to be shaped by religious faith. This preference for the Favors position is further driven by the fact that the opposition party, while committed to a dialogue of compassion, acceptance, and community is also overtly hostile to all orthodox religious beliefs, practices, and institutions.

I should point out that defending religious values, traditions and institutions against assault and persecution is not prima facie evidence of a sanctifiable intent or action. A favorable secular outcome and a loathing of one’s avowed culture-war enemies is not necessarily proof of morally correct intentions. So the claim that to support Trump politically is to advance the cause of righteousness and is thus the morally superior position is not necessarily theologically correct, especially in light of traditional Christian indifference to adverse temporal outcomes where higher goals are sought.

God Wants Us to Oppose Mr. Trump. (“Opposes”) The opposition to Trump by the forces of perversion, servitude and socioeconomic rot that collectively go by the name “Democratic Party” is mere politics in a debased age. The more interesting theological question involves those who oppose both the tenets of the Democratic Party and the continuance in office by Donald Trump.

The Opposes position focuses on Mr. Trump’s past behavior, rude utterances, venal spontaneities, and ad hominem style. These are said to demean the highest political office in the land, threaten to produce dangerously inconsistent policies, lower the tone of American political discourse and forever tarnish the image of the party of Lincoln and Reagan. The rescue of what is good in the American system of governance and the preservation of the major conservative political party require the removal of Donald Trump. Moreover, it is simply wrong to tacitly or expressly condone such unacceptable behavior.

This is a nominally coherent moral position. (At this time, we will not explore the dangers inherent in a moral position founded on beliefs concerning someone else’s sins.) However, if the Favors position seems too dependent on positive secular outcomes for its justification, the Opposes position suffers from a strange indifference to the material consequences of its posture. The amelioration of evils attributed to the presidency of Donald Trump requires that he be replaced but someone who will not be similarly evil or worse. The notion that history will applaud a principled stand that actually ushered in le déluge seems oddly solipsistic.

Conclusion. God and I agree that the Favors position is way too presumptuous about its spiritual righteousness –one can be an atheist pervert and still loathe and oppose Marxism and its variants. Combatting temporal evils is not necessarily a sanctified undertaking. We also agree that the Opposes position too readily devolves into a kind of narcissism, a mere declaration of personal moral superiority to a particular sinner without regard for larger personal obligations and consequences of taking that position.

In short, God wants out of this debate. God does not want to be invoked when it is not about what God expressly wants. When we consider that the Highest Being in the universe can forgive even the likes of Pol Pot, Ted Bundy or Brian Stelter we should be humbled and strongly hesitant to think our partisan preferences carry divine endorsement. We are all equal on Ricochet, sinners all, required to address temporal matters on a temporal plane as best we can with mutual respect and humility. Thus endeth the sermon. Cheers.

About Writing Styles

 

I am not an overly educated man. Most of my studies were in computers and other sciences. I don’t have a solid academic background in literature or writing specifically, nor philosophy. But I am a smart man, despite what @arahant may have you believe. So I consider things that I am sure people have considered many times before me, and even have official words to describe. Such as certain styles of writing. Forgive my ignorance of terms as I describe three styles I’ve noticed, one of which I absolutely detest.

Third Person: Most novels I read are written in third person. It’s some person who is narrating a story. Like if your grampa was telling you a tall tale. Here’s an example:

John sat on the bench in the train station and watched the old man, leaning against a wall as he pulled a cigar out of his breast pocket, along with a match. The old man struck the match on the sole of his worn boot, and lit the cigar. “Why does he have to light that cigar in here,” thought John.

I like this style of writing the best because it has the most flexibility. The narrator can tell you whatever you need to know, because he or she is outside the story.

First Person, Past Tense: The best example I can think of here is the Sherlock Holmes stories. Always written from the perspective of John Watson, but looking back on something that had happened, which John was a part of. To convert my previous example:

I sat on the bench in the train station and watched the old man, leaning against a wall as he pulled a cigar out of his breast pocket, along with a match. The old man struck the match on the sole of his worn boot, and lit the cigar. “Why does he have to light that cigar in here,” I thought to myself.

I don’t mind this form, either. But it is limited in at least one way: the narrator can only describe the parts of the story he actually witnessed. Anything that happens outside of his direct experience must be related to him by others. “Holmes explained to me that he’d been traipsing all over London inquiring about the man…”

First Person, Present Tense: I’m reading a new book called Winter World, which is the first in a series of books called The Long Winter Trilogy. It is written in this style, where the events that happen are described as if there are happening as you read the story. My example again:

I sit on the bench in the train station and watch the old man, leaning against a wall as he pulls a cigar out of his breast pocket, along with a match. The old man strikes the match on the sole of his worn boot, and lights the cigar. “Why does he have to light that cigar in here,” I think to myself.

I hardly can stand this style and if I open a book written this way I’ll usually close it. Winter World is doubly bad, because it is written this way from the perspective of multiple characters. One chapter is about James. And James is telling you what is happening. The next chapter is about Emily, and Emily is telling you what is happening. The problem with this is that James and Emily become basically the same character, because the writer has very little ability to tell James’s and Emily’s stories from their perspective, differently.

Anyway … the other thing I hate in writing is a poor conclusion.

Quote of the Day: Rossum’s Universal Robots

 

“Robots of the world! The power of man has fallen! A new world has arisen: the Rule of the Robots!” — Karel Čapek

Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti (Rossum’s Universal Robots), a once-popular 100-year old play by Czech writer Karel Čapek, made its television debut on the BBC, 82 years ago today, on February 11, 1938. It was the first televised science-fiction program in world history, introducing a wider audience to the term in the play’s title, one which has endured with increasing significance in the English language ever since: “robot.”

Čapek’s play was first performed in Prague in January of 1921, and was subsequently translated into English, having fairly successful runs in London and New York over the next few years. I haven’t read it myself, but a DePauw University plot summary is as follows:

In Capek’s play, Rossum’s Universal Robots, Robots are mass produced by other Robots on assembly lines. The idealistic Helena Glory, President of The Humanity League, believes that Robots have (or are developing) souls, and feels that they should be freed.

The Robots can clearly think for themselves, though they’re content to serve. They remember everything, but think of nothing original or unique. The eccentric scientist Old Rossum was bent on assuming the role of the Creator by artificially reproducing a man in intricate detail, while the pragmatic economist/industrialist Young Rossum produces stripped-down versions of humanity to be sold as inexpensive workers—Robots.

Every so often, one of the Robots will throw down their work and begin to gnash their teeth. While many disagree (including Dr. Hellman, psychologist in Chief); Helena Glory feels that it’s evidence and a sign of the emerging soul of Robots. After marrying Harry Domin, General Manager of R.U.R., Helena presses scientists to modify some of the robots, so that their “souls” could develop quicker and more fully. Meanwhile, the drive for industrial civilization is at an all-time high, and fertility rates are dropping very low. One of Helena’s modified Robots issues a foreshadowing plan, “Robots of the world, you are ordered to exterminate the human race. . . Work must not cease!”

Domin possesses the formulas for creating the Robots, and plans to use it for a bargaining tool. Helena, ignorant of the true threat at hand, burns the formulas. The Robots gather and kill all the humans, leaving only the Clerk of R.U.R. The Robot leader, Damon tries and tries to get the Clerk (called Alquist) to discover how to help them populate the earth, but to no avail—as they don’t know how to produce other Robots.

Eventually, two Robots, Helena (a beautiful modified Robot named after Helena Glory); and another Robot named Primus fall in love. With the blessing of Alquist, the lovers are married, and renamed Adam and Eve.

The title of the play, even in English incorporates a couple of Czech words, “rossum” (the last name of two main characters), meaning “wisdom” or “sense,” and “robota,” meaning, umm, “robot.” The word “robota” itself is derived from the Czech “rab,” meaning “slave,” and was historically associated with serfs laboring in their master’s fields during the feudal era (and beyond). The first bit of etymology rang a bell with me, as we have a family saying, “nie ma rozum” which is best delivered while jabbing an index finger at the skull of the object of one’s ire, and which means, roughly, “this person has no wits.” It came down to us from Mr. She’s much-loved “barrel-shaped Polish grandma,” and I suspect its origins go back much further than she (lower case “s”).

In its English translation, the play received mixed reviews, with The Forum Magazine calling it a “thought provoking, highly original thriller.” Isaac Asimov, however, wasn’t impressed and said, “Capek’s play is, in my own opinion, a terribly bad one, but it is immortal for that one word. It contributed the word ‘robot’ not only to English but, through English, to all the languages in which science fiction is now written.” Of course, the outcome of Rossum’s Universal Robots, in which the robots wipe out the entire human race, would have been unimaginable in Asimov’s science-fiction world.

Still, I was struck by a number of themes mentioned in the plot summary that cut a bit too close to the bone, given the state of play in the world at the moment. (Wikipedia has a lengthier version which is even more alarming in this respect.) Makes me think I should read the original, at least in translation.

Meanwhile, I’m going to rest up for a moment as the Roomba vacuums my carpet. (He seems like a pretty innocuous, non-threatening little guy. For now.) If only someone would invent an industrial-strength model that would shovel out the barn for me.  Then again, perhaps not.

New Hampshire Primary Day 2020

 

The First-in-the-Nation primary in New Hampshire kicked off to light snowfall this morning. I spent an hour in Wolfeboro holding a Trump sign and lost count of the number of thumbs up I got after about 30 seconds. The only other sign holders there were for Buttigieg, the picture of me below was taken by one of them in a quid pro quo arrangement (I took a picture of them in exchange).

I then headed to neighboring Alton where I met representatives Mark Meadows and Mike Johnson. Here I am with Mark:

And here’s Mike speaking with my state representative, Glenn Cordelli:

Turnout in both locations seemed pretty steady. We’ll see later tonight how many Republican ballots were cast, but anecdotally it seems like Trump voters are turning out to show their support even though there’s no serious competition (as is ordinary for an incumbent president).

In Wolfeboro, I did have one older woman, with purple streaks in her hair, ask me why I was supporting Trump (with a sense of incredulity). So I told her that my most important issues are national security, taxes, and abortion, and that from my perspective he had delivered on those issues. She didn’t agree, and cited her 90-year-old mother, a lifelong Republican, saying in 2016 that Trump would be awful.

I said that was a perfectly fine opinion to have but I disagreed. She seemed a bit flabbergasted when she asked me if I was proud of Trump and I said yes. “Would you say that to a visitor from another country?” She asked. I said, “Yes. But first of all, I don’t care what people in other countries think.” She finally got tired of me not admitting that Trump was awful and she was right and said she didn’t have time to stand around talking and she had to go home. Then she spent 15 minutes talking to the Buttigieg supporters. 🤣

Anti-Tobacco Fanatics Lie like a Cheap Rug

 

Yes. They lie. Their lies, coming from allegedly left and right (social conservative) positions, are swathed in “good intentions” and focus on “the children.” Yet, any citizen, any member of Congress, any judge, Article II or Article III, and any president who has merely been alert to their environment as they walked past, at least, a hotel bar, knows the basic claim is a flat-out lie. Why? See for yourself:

Every single bottle is an infused, flavored vodka. This is no upscale bar. It is a dive bar, visually so and described as such in Yelp and Google. There are whipped cream, cotton candy, fruity, and even herbal/ botanical vodkas in this scruffy working-class bar. This is the current normal.

The big lie is that vape/ e-cigarette nicotine systems and all “flavored” tobacco products are “targeting children.” Lie. Lie. Lie. The truth, which everyone knows at some level, is that American adults’ palette has shifted to sweet and flavored drinks. That holds true from coffee to booze in every form. You know this. You see it every day.

My local veteran’s organization canteen (bar) made this perfectly clear to me today. The largest local “craft” brewery had bottled a seasonal run of coffee porter. It wasn’t selling so well, so it went on special… Meanwhile, the bar manager added a second peanut butter flavored whiskey to the liquor line-up. Yes, peanut butter. The first, Skrewball, is aggressively peanut-y. You would hardly know there was whiskey underneath the nut flavor. The new addition, Rams Point, strikes a more moderate position, letting whiskey drinkers venture into a specialty entry that can go into cocktails without being overpowering.

Naturally, I saw the possibility of a “shot and a chaser” here: coffee porter (beer) with peanut butter flavored whiskey. Yes, it works for this dude who is on the north side of double nickels. Indeed, I immediately informed the bar manager that he needed to bring in a chocolate porter. Because everyone knows that peanut butter and chocolate go together. Notice that this is not “kids” focused booze. The legal age is 21, as it has been for most of my adult life.

No booze merchant, no brewer or distiller, is being hassled or restricted on the wild variety of customer-driven flavors they offer. Vodka, rum, even whiskey are all frantically competing for the American adult sweet-tooth. Yes, there are traditional vodkas, gins, rums, and whiskeys. They sell, but do not offer market and sales growth in this era. Give the customer what they want, or someone else will.

So, pipe, cigar, vape, and even cigarette (at the margin) customers, who are full-grown adults, demand flavors beyond the subtleties of the leaves, just as grains’ and grapes’ variations are not enough, just as coffee beans are nowhere near enough for most suburban moms. We all know this.* You know this. So, why comply with the lie?

Since all booze and all nicotine is now restricted to 21 and over, each and every attack on nicotine products, if it has any “age” component,” necessarily is an attack on alcohol, and indirectly on caffeine. You did realize that caffeine changes neurochemistry, right?

Sadly, President Trump made no promises in 2016 on this issue area. Sadly, Congress critters on both sides of the aisle love the next shake-down and the next incremental assault on the Constitution and the underlying Declaration of Independence they faithlessly “uphold.” The only real chance for halting the next administrative state assault is for a bloc of voters, in states critical to electoral college math, becoming loud in the next two or three months, driving President Trump to re-calibrate the executive branch’s position and to press legislators to defy Coffin Mitch McConnell and Big Cigarettes.

___

* You cannot even get your teeth cleaned without being offered multiple flavors of fluoride treatment.

Bullet Journaling Changed My Life

 

I am not exaggerating, either. Bullet journaling came to my attention because of some Instagram stories Bethany Mandel did toward the end of 2018, and I immediately loved the idea (Editor aka Bethany’s note: You can access the stories on my Instagram account as saved stories). I love to plan, but pre-designed planners just don’t work for me because they’re never exactly right. I had been keeping track of events on my phone calendar, but a bullet journal is so much more than that – it’s whatever you want it to be! 

For those who don’t know, bullet journals are basically day planners that you customize yourself. You use whatever notebook you want, and create your own table of contents at the beginning so you can easily find the many things you’ll keep in it (calendars, lists, notes, etc.). There are infinite ways you can use a bullet journal, but I set mine up to have my yearly goals first, and then “monthlies” containing events, tasks, and goals for each month on a two-page spread. Some people do “dailies,” as well, but I use “weeklies,” because when I set up my to-do lists, I change my mind regularly about what I want to accomplish each day, making it much easier to just have one weekly to-do list. My weeklies also have a small calendar for the week, a habit tracker, and a shopping list. 

So, how did this change my life? Well, it’s hard for me to stick with something for a long period of time, so the fact that I consistently used my bullet journal for the entire year of 2019 (even when I was in Italy for 10 days), should say a lot. Additionally, as I said before, bullet journaling is about so much more than the calendar. In the past, I would make goals and resolutions for the year, and then they would just float away, forgotten. However, my bullet journal gave me a place to keep my lists of goals, and at the beginning of each month, I would revisit my yearly goals to see what I wanted to do that month in an effort to work toward them. I would do the same each week, looking back at my monthly goals. Finally, at the end of each month, I would actually take time to write out a reflection on how I did toward those goals. I also did a year-long reflection at the end of the journal, and some of my 2020 goals were influenced by my progress in 2019! 

Here are some of the things I accomplished in 2019 – things I would NEVER have done if I had not been bullet journaling:

  • Edited a book I wrote in 2018 and started taking steps toward publishing it
  • Actually ate vegetables most days
  • Made great progress toward my punctuality goal (I wrote another post about that)
  • Went to a drive-in theater for the first time
  • Memorized the book of Philippians 
  • Started getting more sleep each night (now I regularly get close to 7.5 hours)
  • Read 16 books of the Bible and 15 other books
  • Worked consistently on learning Italian (even after my trip!)

I have to add that I really appreciate how much more I get done each WEEK now, too, since I actually write my full to-do list down. Here is a picture of one of my weekly spreads so you have a visual for how I set things up:

And here is my bullet journal hanging out with me in Italy – I just happened to be using a notebook I already had with Venice as the cover decoration, and then it turned out that I went to Venice that summer!

My 2020 bullet journal is even more organized than the 2019 one, since I knew in advance this time some of the lists I would want to make and could put them near the beginning. I also have even more goals this year, and I know very well that I may not accomplish them all. But you know what? I’m going to get much more done than I would have if I had not started bullet journaling. And as someone who has a large number of ambitions and dreams both for this year and beyond, that makes me excited for the future. 

Member Post

 

Hello! We’ve had a few changes here in at the Moderators’ Desk, and so it’s time for another set of notes. First, @skipsul and @midge have stepped down from their Moderator duties for a well-earned respite. Second, we have several new moderators to help shoulder the responsibilities: @oldbathos @alfrench @dougwatt @kentforrester and @jameshageman. @mikerapkoch has […]

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Member Post

 

  Those clutching their pearls that President Trump no longer wants Vindman creeping around his house and making absurd claims that lead to impeachment might wish to sit down for this: President Trump is making good on his promises to “drain the swamp” and cut Obama-era holdovers from his staffs, especially the critical and recently […]

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Group Writing: Do You Believe in ‘If’ Anymore?

 

One of the reasons I like the occasional music posts on Ricochet is that I’ve spent most of my life quite disconnected from whatever was going on in the contemporary entertainment world, and the posts give me a window into what I might have missed (and whether or not I’m glad I did). Although we moved to the United States only a couple of months before The Beatles took the “Ed Sullivan Show” by storm, I never owned a Beatles album. And while The Rolling Stones were hot during my years at British boarding school, we weren’t allowed to listen to them; Mick Jagger’s hips and lips being (in the opinion of the good ladies running The Abbey School) a bridge too far, even for the radio.

Prior to that, my experience ran to the blue wind-up gramophone in Nigeria and the 78, 45, and 33RPM records we’d either brought with us from England or borrowed from the Officers’ Club, and programs such as Desert Island Discs on the BBC World Service. After that, with a few notable exceptions when I would, in a transgressive mood, listen to Jeff Christie on KQV, the most youth-oriented local AM station (he later resumed his birth name and achieved some measure of fame as Rush Limbaugh), I left the music scene to others, and largely ignored it myself.

Thus, in the ’60s and ’70s, what did manage to seep into my musical gestalt was mostly the stuff my mother listened to or played on the gramophone–a world largely comprised of male crooners and peppy young women singing cheerful and upbeat songs. Almost all of them were British, and you’ve probably heard of them rarely, if at all. Men like Val Doonican. Matt Munro (best known for the title song of the movie Born Free), Des O’Connor, Frankie Vaughan. Women like Alma Cogan, Cilla Black Clodagh Rodgers, and Sandie Shaw. (Sometimes, when Mum was in a jazz sort of mood, Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine.)

And Roger Whittaker.

Roger Whittaker (b. 1936) was very popular in the UK for a decade or so starting in the mid-1960s. He had only one song which cracked the top 20 in the United States, “The Last Farewell,” in 1975. In addition to his pleasant baritone voice, he is a superb whistler, as you can hear in this live performance.

But, no doubt about it, his songs, together with their lush orchestrations and generous side-order of British colonial ex-pat sentimentalism, are pure old-lady bait, and he was much beloved by both my mother and grandmother. I’m quite familiar with his oeuvre, including this one that was a hit in the UK and Europe in 1970. It’s not my favorite, and I find the contrast between the staccato delivery of the verses and the lyrical refrain a bit jarring. (I expect he had his own reasons for not believing in “If,” as he’d spent a couple of years in the Kenya Regiment chasing the Mau Mau up and down the country’s Abedare mountains.) But favorite or not, it’s a perfect lead-in to the matter of this month’s Group Writing topic–which is “advice,” in case you’ve forgotten by now). Roger Whittaker, and I Don’t Believe in ‘If’ Anymore:

When it comes to poetry, I can’t think of a set of verses containing more advice per line than Rudyard Kipling’s If. It’s a simple poem, really nothing more than a series of hypothetical syllogisms (if A is true, then B is true), which depend, for their usefulness, on the validity of the premises and the logic of the conclusion given in response. And as that conclusion, which is proffered in the last two of the poem’s 32 lines makes clear, Kipling intended it as a rather exhaustive instruction manual on the art, or perhaps the science, of becoming a man:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss;
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

“My goodness!” I hear you saying. “You quoted the whole thing!”

Indeed, I did and there’s a reason for that. Because I’m interested to know what you think of Kipling’s advice, either in part, or as a whole. Is it a fairly complete prescription for manhood? (And/or womanhood — perhaps we could be inclusive here?) Or is it like The Curate’s Egg–only good in parts? Are there recommendations that you find particularly noteworthy? Ones you disagree with? Ones you’d like to add? Ones you’d leave out? Ones you’ve actually found yourself living, as you’ve gone through your life? Assuming you’re a fan, which do you find the easiest “If” to live up to? The hardest?

Is the advice Kipling offers us in “If” relevant in the 21st century, or is it hopelessly Victorian and outdated? (The poem was written in 1895, but not published until 1910.)

Do you believe in “If” anymore? Does the country? Does the world?

Oscar Attendees Virtue Signaling to Each Other

 

Kyle Smith just published an outstanding article about last night’s Academy Awards.  This outstanding article included the following outstanding paragraph:

“Booksmart” star Kaitlyn Dever made, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “a sustainable fashion statement at the Oscars in a custom-made ethical gown by Louis Vuitton, featuring eco-responsible silk satin that was embroidered with Swarovski crystals and beads.” Whatever that is. Phoenix has been wearing the same tuxedo all Oscar season, because no sacrifice is beyond this man. The last role he played before the Joker was Jesus, and he is a method actor. Maybe he thinks he’s here to save us all.

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that their increasingly absurd virtue signaling is not directed at us – their audience.  I think they’re virtue signaling to each other.

How many moviegoers really care whether an actress they’ve never heard of wears a sustainable, ethical, eco-responsible gown? That number may not be zero, but it’s probably close. Nobody cares. And the Hollywood crowd knows it: Those middle-American rednecks may be deplorable rubes, but hey, they buy movie tickets to pass the time in the God-forsaken nowhere-ville that they live in. So, whatever.

The Hollywood blacklist of the 1950s made it difficult for many of those with connections to Communism to work in entertainment, although some managed to work around it and avoid drawing attention to themselves. Today’s Hollywood blacklist of conservatives is more effective because the Hollywood types themselves are doing the blacklisting.

Again, the anti-communist blacklist in the 1950s was different. There were some in Hollywood who thought that the anti-communist backlash was appropriate. But there were others who thought it was overdone, or unnecessary, or misguided. And still others just didn’t care that much. It didn’t bother them to look the other way from time to time. C’mon – we’re just trying to make movies, here…

That is not the case with today’s anti-conservative blacklist. The hatred of conservatives in Hollywood is not unanimous, of course, but it’s close. And the loudest, most powerful voices thunder against conservatives in unison. They don’t view conservatives with distaste, but with disgust. There can be no middle ground when dealing with such evil as American conservatives. They are beneath contempt.

If you earn a living in Hollywood, this must be a little scary. No room for any misunderstandings in this environment:

Famous actor: “Allow me to make perfectly clear, once again, that I am progressive! Very, very progressive! Yep – not a conservative bone in this body! Absolutely!”

Bored-looking waiter: “So what do you want for lunch?”

So they scream their radicalism from the rooftops, not to us but to each other. Because, hey, they’re trying to earn a living. And if the part is going to go to a progressive, then you want to make sure everybody in your industry knows that you’re much more progressive than the next guy. If you don’t get the part, someone else will.

These actors aren’t discussing politics, they’re auditioning. Just trying to get the next role. Just doing business, that’s all. Nothing personal.

C’mon – we’re just trying to make movies, here…

Reading the Presidential Tea Leaves

 

Do the polls have you worried? Are you fretting about the direction of the country? If so, take a deeeeeep breath and exhale and say to yourself over and over again the word “February.”

Because in February of 2016 this what you were hearing:

SANDERS ERASES CLINTON LEAD! RUBIO BEST BET IN NOVEMBER! BERNIE LEADS INDEPENDENTS OVER KASICH!

Mmmmm, ok.

How was February 2012?

ROMNEY IN DEAD HEAT WITH OBAMA! SANTORUM “SURGING” IN OHIO!

Yeah. That sounds right. Wanna trip back to 2008?

McCAIN BEATS BOTH CLINTON AND OBAMA IN FLORIDA! CLINTON TO CRUISE OVER OBAMA IN OHIO & PENNSYLVANIA! ABC/WaPOST: RUDY GULIANI BEATS McCAIN IN TRUST, LEADERSHIP AND UNDERSTANDING VOTERS!

Uh, huh. It’s science.

The bottom line? They don’t know crap. You don’t know crap. I don’t know crap. It’s all crap.

The Hawkeye Cauci Catastrophe

 

The spin on the fiasco has been the failure of the reporting app. (H/T to El Rushbo* for naming the peculiar institution of the four-letter word in the middle of the map.) The app was a failure, but it did not create the catastrophe. After all, the data could have been gathered by such sophisticated tools as motel giveaway ballpoint pens and cocktail napkins. No, the failure ran much deeper than that. Consider the following from AP:

… numerous precincts reported results that contained errors or were inconsistent with party rules.

For example, the AP confirmed that dozens of precincts reported more final-alignment votes than first-alignment votes, which is not possible under party rules. In other precincts, viable candidates lost votes from the first-alignment tally to the final, which is also inconsistent with party rules.

Some precincts made apparent errors in awarding state delegate equivalents to candidates. A handful of precincts awarded more state delegate equivalents than they had available. A few others didn’t award all of theirs.

“DNC chairman seeks recanvass of Iowa voting” by Steve Peoples, Julie Pace and Brian Slodysko of The Associated Press in The Columbus Dispatch for Friday February 7, 2020

The point here is that the problem was not the app. It was the rules for running the caucuses.

They were too complicated. and could only be administered by highly trained and practiced administrators. The unpaid amateurs who actually ran the system could not execute the rules without catastrophic unrecoverable errors.

Simply recovering the data is not going to solve the problem. Iowa has 99 counties and a couple of non-county based caucuses. On Monday, Iowa had caucuses under 110 different sets of rules.** The numbers produced by those caucuses are as different as apples and oranges. They cannot be added up to produce a final total.

The inputs are garbage and the outputs must therefore be garbage.

Oh yeah, and the Democrat party has no one to blame other than itself.


*We love him and pray for his good health.

**The wonderful 1957 musical “The Music Man” was set in the mythical River City, Iowa. Its signature song was: “76 Trombones.”

Seventy six trombones led the big parade
With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.


Note added a day later:

When the New York Times agrees with me, something that happens less frequently than the return of Halley’s Comet, you know the Democrats are in trouble — deep.

What follows is a quote from a major NYTimes article that just appeared n the topic of the Cyclone state’s fiasco:

How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats: The problems that beset the Democratic Party’s first state caucus of the presidential race ran far deeper and wider than one bad app. By Reid J. Epstein, Sydney Ember, Trip Gabriel and at NYTimes.com on Feb. 9, 2020

DES MOINES — The first signs of trouble came early. As the smartphone app for reporting the results of the Iowa Democratic caucuses began failing last Monday night, party officials instructed precinct leaders to move to Plan B: calling the results into caucus headquarters, where dozens of volunteers would enter the figures into a secure system.

But when many of those volunteers tried to log on to their computers, they made an unsettling discovery. They needed smartphones to retrieve a code, but they had been told not to bring their phones into the “boiler room” in Des Moines. …

Until now, the main public villain in the Iowa caucus fiasco has been the reporting app, created by a company called Shadow Inc., along with a “coding issue” in a back-end results reporting system that state party officials blamed for the chaos. But the crackup resulted from cascading failures going back months. …

An analysis by The New York Times revealed inconsistencies in the reported data for at least one in six of the state’s precincts. Those errors occurred at every stage of the tabulation process: in recording votes, in calculating and awarding delegates, and in entering the data into the state party’s database. Hundreds of state delegate equivalents, the metric the party uses to determine delegates for the national convention, were at stake in these precincts. …

In the Times review of the data, at least 10 percent of precincts appeared to have improperly allocated their delegates, based on reported vote totals. In some cases, precincts awarded more delegates than they had to give; in others, they awarded fewer. More than two dozen precincts appeared to give delegates to candidates who did not qualify as viable under the caucus rules.

I need a gif of an NFL player spiking the ball.

Quote of the Day: The Poverty of Entitlement

 

I was moved by this article in which Randall Smith at The Catholic Thing presents the loaves and fishes story from a new angle. What about the boy? “What boy?” you might be asking.

The five loaves and two fish were his entire food for the day. When the apostles asked him, “Can we have those?” we can imagine him replying: “These? Not these. This is all I’ve got. Go find a rich guy with a big crate of bread.” But he didn’t. He gave the little he had. Not much, but it was enough.

Imagine being him and having people ask you: “You gave the five loaves and two fish that fed five thousand?” What do you say to that? “Well, sort of. It’s not like I fed five thousand people.” “No, but if you hadn’t given the five loaves and two fish, it wouldn’t have happened. It was like Mary. You did your part; you said ‘yes.’ And that made all the difference.”

Sacrificial love does not require wealth. There is always something to give.

The politics of envy is not only ugly and unjust. It impoverishes people both materially and spiritually. In envy, people lose the experience of charity, the aspect of love and gift of spirit that prioritizes others before oneself.

The modern secular ethos says, “You have little and deserve more.” The traditional pious ethos says, “You are blessed by God and should be a blessing for others.” The former condemns the poor as helpless peons deprived of the fullness of life. The latter claims that the poor can enjoy life abundantly and that it is selfless giving which will make them rich.

As Thomas Sowell has said, we are all born poor. Poverty is the natural state of Man and it is wealth that needs explanation. But to be poor is not to be helpless and insignificant. There is nobility in love which cannot be purchased, nor lost. A kind word costs nothing. A smile is not spent but summoned.

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Member Post

 

I was having a wonderful day! The sky was blue, birds were singing, the cats weren’t fighting . . . I was on top of the world! Then the mail came. The skies darkened, the birds disappeared, and the cats scattered as I tore open the envelope and removed the contents. My curiosity turned to […]

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It’s Hard to Get Old

 

We sat around the oaken table following the singing performance. My friend was sitting next to me; Eloise was sitting on my other side; and Joe sat quietly next to her. He seemed especially restrained after enjoying the music. I listened in to his conversation with Eloise:

Joe: I think it’s time for us to head home.

Eloise: Sure. That’s okay with me.

Joe: So, do you have the car keys? I can’t seem to find them (as he checks his pockets).

Eloise: No, I don’t have them either. (She casts a glance at me, one of perplexity and shrugs her shoulders.)

Joe: Well, we must have walked down the hill to come here. I don’t recognize any of the people here (as he looks around the room). Do you? We usually just walk from the Crown Towers.

Eloise: What? (She asks “what” every time Joe speaks to her.)

Joe: We must have walked (he says, leaning closer so she can hear him).

Eloise: Okay.

I watched this exchange, which went on for a minute or two, realizing that Joe’s anxiety and Eloise’s perplexity were growing with each passing moment. Finally, I caught Joe’s eye—

Me: Joe, I’m pretty sure that you live here.

Joe: I do? Okay (followed by a long pause).

Then he looked at me and shook his head slowly.

Joe: This getting old is sure hard, isn’t it? (We looked at each other nodding.)

Me: You’re right, Joe. It sure is.

* * * *

[Joe and Eloise are fictitious names; they are not a couple. They are both residents in the memory section of this facility, and have been there for quite a while.]

There is a Reason Joe Biden Looks Confused

 

Joe Biden was first elected to the U.S. Senate nearly 50 years ago, at the age of 29, in 1972.  That was the year that George McGovern managed to lose 49 states to Richard Nixon.  Biden has been a Democrat politician for a long time.  He spent nearly 40 of his years in the Senate serving with fellow Democrat Robert Byrd, a former KKK recruiter who filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The Democrat party has changed over Biden’s 50 years in the Senate.  I’m not sure that Biden and many of the other old-time Democrats fully comprehend what has happened to their party.

Biden seems to take the Bob Dole /  Hillary Clinton view of the presidential primary:  “Vote for me.  It’s my turn.”  That approach worked out poorly for Dole and Clinton, and it seems to be working out even worse for Biden.  There are many reasons for this, but one of them would appear to be that there is some internal debate about who is really in charge of that lovable, zany political “organization” which apparently can’t even count the votes in their own internal primaries.  If Biden is anticipating an orderly transition of power, he’s not paying attention.  Which is entirely possible.

The Democrat party started as an organization to centralize and control power at the expense of various minority groups, and has evolved into an organization which organizes various minority groups in an effort to centralize and control power.  Democrats tell blacks, gays, women, and others that they are oppressed minorities, and that their only hope of achieving any political clout whatsoever in such a hostile environment is to vote Democrat:  “Support us, help us get elected, and you get a seat at the table of power.”

This approach has some merit, but it is proving increasingly difficult for the Biden / Schumer / Pelosi / Clinton types to maintain control over such divergent groups who all have different goals, which are often at odds with one another.  Biden helped create this organization.  And now it won’t support him.  He must find this disconcerting.

AOC is raising funds and developing a political organization within, but completely separate from, the Democrat party.  Blacks are starting to wonder what they’ve gotten in return for 50 years of devoted support of Democrats.  Antifa socialist thugs are making the Democrat party look like a bunch of socialist thugs.  There are so many subgroups in the Democrat party vying for position that it’s become hard to define the Democrat party’s position on, well, on anything.  Every Democrat party subgroup has a leader, all of whom hate Republicans and middle-class Americans even more than they hate each other.

You think the 2020 Democrat presidential primary is crazy?  Just wait 10-20 years.  It’s hard to imagine where this is going.

But it’s not going toward Joe Biden.  He’ll still be running for president, as long as he’s still breathing.  And he’ll still be wandering around Iowa livestock sales and New Hampshire diners looking like he can’t remember where he put his car keys.  He looks confused because he is confused.  This is not Biden’s Democrat party.  Which is fine by me.

I don’t like the new Democrat party much more than the old one.  But at least the party that Biden knows is no more.  That’s good.

But I’m not sure how much better the new version is.  That’s an incredible statement, considering how horrifying the Democrat party once was.  But the new one is nasty and dangerous as well.  In its own ways.

There are a lot of things which confuse Joe Biden.  When it comes to the modern Democrat party, I’m sympathetic to his confusion.  This really is getting crazy.  But it’s his own dang fault.  He helped build an organization based on hate and jealousy, to destroy his opponents.  And then he found it hard to control.  That’s too bad, Joe.

I suspect that Clarence Thomas is enjoying this.

FIR Cards

 

Like the military, police departments have an alphabet soup of acronyms. Some of them are official, and some are not. Acronyms and police jargon are not used in Incident Reports. Incident Reports (IR) are written for prosecutors, judges, juries, and may be presented in a trial. If an arrest is made for Attempt to Elude an officer does not use the phrase; “Frequent Flier” in the IR. One of the most popular unofficial acronyms was “JFB”; Just [redacted] Beautiful. This was used to describe crime scenes, TAs (traffic accidents), internal department requests, as well as roll call visits from city council members, to include their requests for whatever their cause of the month was.

FIR (Field Intelligence Report) were 3×5 cards that were used to provide information about individuals that were not arrested. I did not write a lot of tickets but I did conduct traffic stops. I looked for vehicles that looked like they had been purchased at an Al Qaeda salvage auction and were cruising around aimlessly in residential neighborhoods.

Whether it was broken taillight or running a stop sign, I would pull them over. There was a good chance the driver had no insurance. There was also a good chance the driver might be a burglar or had a warrant out for their arrest. It should come as no surprise that someone who breaks the big laws ignores the small violations. Some burglars break into a home and start moving what they want to sneak into the garage. They park their car a couple of blocks away from their target, and then come back to the house with the car, open the garage door and fill their car with your possessions. In some cases, they could be on parole for burglary and a condition of their parole was they were not allowed to drive because of their prior use of a vehicle in multiple crimes; it’s called profiling.

One night I wrote a ticket to someone driving a used car bomb. I also wrote a contact report, a FIR Card, and I forwarded it to detectives. Two years later I received a phone call from a detective to discuss that contact report. That particular contact report helped to solve approximately 20 residential burglaries. The detective read through two years of contact reports and the one I wrote allowed him to make a great arrest. The detective did the grunt work and deserves all the credit.

Good Advice(s)

 

If wisdom lies in learning from the experiences of others, then I am not particularly wise. My M.O. is more of a barely-learns-from-his-own-repeated-mistakes sort of thing.

But let’s start with the piece of advice I did take when my wife and I were expecting our first children: twins. We were talking to an older co-worker of mine whose twin boys were already on the other side of college. “Let me give you the most important advice about raising twins we learned early on.”

My wife and I had by then stopped blinking, and were probably both leaning toward him, E.F. Hutton commercial-style, waiting for the nugget of sagacity soon to anoint us both.

“Don’t try to be fair,” he said.

What? That’s it? What does that mean? Luckily for us, he elaborated. “Look, you will not always be able to do the same thing with each one, or give each one the same thing or attention all the time. So, from as soon as they understand what you’re saying, tell them, “yes, your sibling got it this time, but you’ll someday get something he/she doesn’t get, and it will all work out in the end, we promise.”

That not much sounding bit of counsel turned out to be genius. While it wasn’t bulletproof (because they were kids and they still complained), when they saw that what we said was true, it saved us what is surely an incalculable amount of grief.

Now, let us flash back to 12 years or so previous to that anecdote, to a time when I was still in my teens, in that golden and idyllic time where the vast, vast majority of young men my age are what scientists call morons. Not to brag or anything, but I’d like to think that I was just a bit dumber than that.

At 18, having just come from a meeting with a Marine recruiter, I told my father that I was going to pass on the contract to be a helicopter mechanic that I’d been on the verge of signing, and that instead I would bet on a device known as an “open contract:” a magical (as it was explained to me) document allowing me to choose from a veritable plethora of military occupational specialties (M.O.S.es), and–here came the best part–I didn’t even have to choose one until I was almost all the way through recruit training! Imagine the possibilities: Marine Force Recon; Marine Super Ultra Force Recon (I’d be in the inaugural platoon); Marine Sniper; Marine Tanker; Marine Aide-de-Camp To the Commandant; Marine Guy Who Loads Tough Looking Ordinance On Attack Aircraft, But Gets To Use A Forklift So It’s Not That Hard A Job; Marine Marine (something to do with yachts, I was given to believe); and lastly, Marine Action Film Star. This last M.O.S. required an extra dose of youthful delusion, as I don’t even have a face for radio, as the old joke goes. Mine is more of a face for print.

My father, without even looking up from his dinner, said: “never trust a recruiter.”

But dad, I said, the Marines wouldn’t lie to me! The Few, the Proud, and I’m pretty sure I heard “trustworthy” in there somewhere.

“Don’t trust ’em.”

Months later, at the end of recruit training, the Senior Drill Instructor was finally announcing everyone’s M.O.S.es, and we were all giddy with anticipation. Those recruits who were guaranteed contracts were a lot less giddy, though. Those chumps came in knowing already what their stupid jobs were to be. Even though my last name begins with a “C”, it seemed to take forever for them to get to me, since they were going by groups of occupations, rather than in alphabetical order. But some of the jobs sounded pretty good. One open contract guy got cartography, which probably surprised him more than the rest of us, since when I talked to him later, he said he didn’t even know the Corps had cartographers. And then they began reading off who got to be the 0311s, the Marine Infantry Riflemen, Backbone of the Corps. Well, it wasn’t Marine Action Film Star, but I’d be happy to be an 03, I thought. But they finished reading the names out, and mine wasn’t among them. Finally, my moment came.

“Campbell!”, Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Gaither said. “3381.” Ooh, that number is higher than 0311–much higher. Why it’s over three thousand higher! It must be something super exotic and exciting and involving a lot of John Rambo-style killing with large caliber weapons carried impractically on the hip! Awesome. Old Blood-n-Guts Campbell, they’ll call me. The bastard child somehow of Dan Daly and Chesty Puller, with Archibald Henderson as my godfather. I’ll be a legend. Just let me at those filthy enemies of America.

But then came disaster: “I like my eggs over-easy, Campbell. Food Service,” and he flipped the paperwork at me with some combination of boredom and contempt. The final count for the 20 of us who were open contract was something like 16 grunts, one (surprised) cartographer, and three cooks-to-be.

Fortunately for me, the denouement of this story was pretty good. I found I really liked being a cook, and even earned a meritorious promotion in my service school. Plus, when I got to that veritable cornucopia of single ladies, the Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, I even got to be on a crew-served weapons team for the year. .50 caliber machine guns are really, really fun, folks. Still, the whole drama would’ve been avoided had I listened to my dad. Having had a choice in my fate would’ve been better than letting the personnel-assignment propellerheads of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children choose for me. Fathers: sometimes, they know things. Who’d have thought it?

Honeymooning in Moscow (or Havana, or Managua, or Caracas)

 

If you’re like me, you’re tempted to belt yourself in while watching the Democratic debates or, at the very least, have your significant other hide the remote to keep you from skipping to more riveting fare such as The Home Shopping Network or The Weather Channel.

However, I forced myself to watch Friday night’s debate to make yet another attempt to understand what, for me, has so far been incomprehensible: What accounts for this phenomenon of “Feeling the Bern”? I have to confess, I’m no closer than I was back in 2016. Who should we be focusing on more; Bernie Sanders or his supporters?

There are many things that put me off concerning Bernie Sanders (not the least of which has been the recent revelation of a few of his sexual fantasies). But there’s one question I simply can’t get past, “Who in their right mind spends his honeymoon in Moscow?” Even though Bernie himself describes those ten days in 1988 as “weird”, it does not answer how the USSR became his choice for the place in which to begin his marriage. One thought did occur to me. I do have friends who went on mission trips (as their honeymoons) to emphasize the role that faith was going to play in their marriages. So, was this sojourn by Bernie and his new wife meant to demonstrate their fealty to a faith that is far different from that of my friends?

During the last debate, and in several prior instances, I muted my TV each time Bernie spoke in order to attempt to get a read on his body language. When he is not behind a lectern he appears to be ill at ease; at times, clearly uncomfortable. When asked a question that puts him on the defensive, his jaw tightens and he gesticulates wildly. Even when he attempts a smile it comes out as a grimace.

But, more interestingly, is his demeanor when behind a lectern. Bent over, tightly gripping the lectern with both hands, he resembles a fundamentalist preacher (think “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”) more than a politician. And, perhaps, that is precisely what many of his supporters are looking for.

As I look into Bernie’s audiences, and from what I have read in the polls, the bulk of Bernie’s support appears to come from young people, 25 and below. Not to be excessively Freudian, but I could not help but wonder: Is Bernie the stern father (or grandfather) they never had?

In listening to interviews with Bernie’s supporters, I heard (from almost all of them) that “Bernie is real.” And, compared to his primary opponents, they are probably correct. When I listened to Warren, Buttigieg, Biden, and the rest, it was little more than a nonstop panderfest with each one trying to one-up the previous one in terms of promises to their fringe constituents. (I have to admit that Elizabeth Warren’s promise to have a transgender youth vet the next Secretary of Education has set the bar so high that it may never be topped.)

In a recent edition of National Review, there was an excellent piece on Bernie which emphasized that his politics “have been nothing if not consistent.” This, in itself, is not necessarily bad. However, as with a fervent religious convert, a Socialist like Bernie cannot disavow a single tenet of his “religion” without losing his identity (and his soul).

Just like the American Communists of the 1930s who swallowed their principles and unabashedly endorsed Stalin’s Nonaggression Pact with Nazi Germany, Bernie cannot go back on his previous endorsement of thugs such as Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega or Evo Morales. When pressed on the actions of those tyrants, Sanders can do little more than make tepid criticisms (On Ortega’s presidency, “…he has become a dictator, and I think that’s unfortunate”.).

Even when faced with the terrible plight of those who lived in the former Soviet Union, Sanders still found much to praise about the dictatorship, “Why, they have cheap housing; there are no homeless.” Huh? Did he take a look at his surroundings? Did he realize that Soviet Citizens were squeezed into grim, soul-crushing concrete structures that made our own Cabrini-Green slums look like a Sandals Resort?

I believe that both Sanders and his supporters, in their heart of hearts, know the truth but I believe that there’s something more nefarious that’s come into play and that is the old saw that inside every progressive there is a totalitarian screaming to get out. It didn’t come as any shock to me that Sanders has been enthusiastically endorsed by the extreme ‘wingnut” section of the Democratic Party. If there had been an avowed Stalinist (or Anarchist) to declare for the Presidency, I believe that AOC and her cohorts would have been all in for that candidate.

No, I believe that inside Sanders and his supporters is the overarching belief that they are the “true believers”; that they, like their ideological forbearers in the Soviet Union, are destined to enjoy the fruits of their ideology (such as luxurious apartments in the city and spacious dachas in the country) while the rest of us unenlightened “proles” should be consigned to the lifeless, joyless existence that we deserve.

I believe that we all remember Valerie Jarrett’s remark to Tom Brokaw shortly before Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2008, “We will be ready to rule on day one.” Notice that she did not use the words “govern” or “lead” but “rule.” And, that’s what he attempted.

We should expect no less from Bernie and his followers. Make no mistake about it (and casually mention it to your never-Trumper friends). If you choose to “feel the Bern,” don’t be surprised if our constitution and republic are incinerated.

It’s National Pizza Day!

 

There’s no question what I’m having for dinner tonight. The only question is delivery, frozen, or homemade?

Okay, there’s another question. What toppings? I usually prefer a garbage pizza, but my favorite two-topping pizza is pepperoni and onion.

One more question. Thin crust, regular crust, or deep dish?

Darn, too many decisions. I’d better start planning dinner now!

Update: National Pizza Day has helped fight crime!

Member Post

 

Remember the good ol’ days when former Vice President Joe Biden was the Democratic frontrunner? Democrats clung to him against their own best judgment for several months based on subtle nudging from the party establishment and favorable coverage in mainstream media. Elizabeth Warren’s lies helped at a time when she started to look like a […]

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