Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Sound of the Season

 

While watching the 876th remake of the first Hallmark “original” Christmas film, I got to thinking about the two men responsible for the modern sound of the holiday season. The first one is obvious. When Irving Berlin sat down and penned White Christmas (somewhere between 1938 and 1941, nobody is really quite sure) he ushered in the flood of the secular Christmas song. While Santa Claus is Coming to Town was released years earlier in 1934, it was Berlin’s wartime ballad of longing, combined with the baritone of Bing Crosby, that propelled the genre to stratospheric heights.

The other would toil away in relative obscurity as a pianist in jazz clubs around his native San Francisco until he penned a modest hit called Cast Your Fate to the Wind which won the 1963 Grammy for Best Original Jazz Composition. Lee Mendelson, an independent television producer who was putting together a documentary on “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz, heard Cast playing on a taxi cab radio. He liked what he heard and tracked the composer down through the jazz critic of the San Francisco Chronicle and asked him to score his film.

That would begin a long collaboration. When Mendelson was approached to produce an animated Christmas special for Coca-Cola, he took the composer along for the ride. And so Vince Guaraldi, along with a bassist and a drummer, went into a recording studio to lay down the tracks for A Charlie Brown Christmas.

When the completed special was presented to the CBS brass in New York they were deeply disappointed. The two things that made them nervous was Linus’ Bible reading and Guaraldi’s jazz score. They were almost unanimous in their conclusion that it would air once and disappear forever. It was, of course, a gigantic hit. A Peabody, an Emmy, and eventually, the Grammy Hall of Fame for Vince.

Over the next 11 years, Guaraldi would score 17 more Peanuts specials and a feature film before his unexpected death at age 47 of an aortic aneurysm. Jazz legend George Winston recorded two albums of Guaraldi’s works as a tribute. “Some of Vince’s music is adult music for kids and kids’ music for adults,” he told NPR, “It’s just great music and great playing.”

Just three simple instruments, and some old German carols, would reshape the sound of the season. Now you hear it everywhere and in almost every holiday film. “O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, how lovely are thy branches…”

Just great music and great playing.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Real Leadership, Real Statesmanship: President Trump at NATO

 

Trump and StoltenbergWhile lots of us engage in the guilty pleasure of watching selective clips of our favorite Congressional actors in the latest kabuki theater, we might profit more from considering some of the sights and sounds coming from the NATO 70th anniversary meeting of heads of state. I especially invite your attention to two official videos, one of President Trump meeting before the press with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and the other of the “2 Percenters” lunch meeting. Relevant excerpts from the transcripts appear below.*

Watch two mature adults have a real discussion before a real press corps. Notice that President Trump is defending NATO as a useful vehicle for the mutual defense of nations’ interests. Consider that Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is the former Prime Minister of Norway, not a career eurocrat. Listen to both men deal carefully with both the nature of threats and the natural disagreements even among friendly nations, where each nation operates from its own interests. President Trump says: “I love that you say that NATO is changing as the world is changing.” See Stoltenberg emphasis that NATO members have (under pressure from President Trump) made over 100 billion dollars worth of increases in military defense spending. Watch both men address the challenges of both China and Islamist terrorism.

Coming from a position of renewed resolve, shown in increased military defense spending, President Trump and the NATO Secretary-General both say that talking with Russia is important. President Trump may have made news at the end of the meeting with his confirmation that there is mutual interest in a new arms control agreement including not only Russia but also China. Secretary-General Stoltenberg affirmed that President Trump was right to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, because Russia violated it and we cannot have meaningful agreements where one party violates the terms. President Trump then coolly laid out the prospect of a new deal that addresses current realities, including the newest ICBM and high speed cruise missile forces in China.

President Trump made a point of praising eight other NATO member nations who have lived up to their commitments to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on their own national defense. He hosted a lunch, partially on camera, to highlight the national leaders who are actually serious about their own nations’ sovereignty and a strong NATO. He called them “the 2 Percenters” and said “these are the countries who are fully paid up (like membership dues). President Trump’s loud and consistent pressure, from the beginning of his term, framed in terms of fairness and self-respect, has helped these leaders buy more guns while their neighbor, Germany, is busy doling out butter.

Look at the real economic, military, and diplomatic threat created by another German leader cutting another deal with another Russian leader. Consider that President Trump highlighted the Germany-Russia problem last year with Secretary General Stoltenberg. Reflect back on Trump’s lecture to NATO nations’ leaders two years ago, scolding them like delinquent school children while Secretary General Stoltenberg stood behind him. Look at the tangible positive results of some consistent tough love for NATO. Think about why President Trump signed a symbolic bill supporting Hong Kong’s rights and challenging Beijing to live up to its agreement, where he vetoed similar measures aimed at the Middle East. Note how coolly he is playing the trade deal with China, emphasizing over and over that China wants a deal and he can wait until it is right. Consider, in that context, that China now is second only to America in military spending, funded by the current trade agreements.

Now, with all of that, notice how the same pack of “experts” who had the vapors over President Reagan’s conventional and nuclear policies have reacted to President Trump from the moment he won in November 2016. Consider how much further they have transgressed on our Constitution this time, egged on with not so veiled calls for “resistance” within the executive branch to the only man with legitimate constitutional authority. Let’s get really real: how does Mattis look now?


* Excerpts from remarks by President Trump and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg after 1:1 meeting [emphasis added]:

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. It’s a great honor to be with Secretary General Stoltenberg of NATO. This is our first meeting, meaning my first meeting of this trip. But we’ve met many times.

I think he’s doing a fantastic job. I’m a big fan. His contract was extended; I was very happy about that. But you really are — you’re doing a fantastic job. We appreciate it.

I think the Secretary General will tell you that, through some work and some negotiation, we’ve increased the budget of countries other than the USA, because we’re paying far more than anybody else, and far more even as a percentage of GDP. But we’ve increased the numbers that other countries are paying, by $130 billion. It was going down for close to 20 years. If you look at a chart, it was like a rollercoaster down, nothing up. And that was going on for a long time. You wouldn’t have had a NATO if you kept going that way.

And now we’ve really increased it incredibly well, and I’m happy to have helped. But the Secretary has been looking to do that for a long time. And, I can tell you, he’s very happy about it.

[…]

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much, Mr. President. It’s good to see you again, and I’m looking forward to celebrate the 70th anniversary of our alliance together with all the other leaders, today and tomorrow.

We are making real progress, most importantly on the burden sharing. And your leadership on defense spending is having a real impact. Since 2016, Canada and European allies have added $130 billion more to the defense budgets, and this number will increase to 400 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.

This is unprecedented. This is making NATO stronger. And it shows that this Alliance is adapting, responding when the world is changing.

We will, of course, also address a wide range of other issues, including the fight against terrorism, arms control, our relationship with Russia, the rise of China. And NATO is the most successful alliance in history because we have been able to change when the world is changing. That’s exactly what we are doing again. And the fact is that we are doing more together in this Alliance now than we have done for many decades.

So, once again, thank you for your leadership and your strong commitment to NATO.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I loved your statement that we’re able to change when the world is changing. And you do have to do that. Your original mission was somewhat different than it is now. Today, the world is a lot different than it was back then. But that’s a very profound statement, and it’s a statement that everybody has to understand. It’s very — to me, it’s very important.

[Q and A followed]

Q How do you plan to bring NATO together at the summit?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I think the Secretary General has done a good job in bringing NATO together. You know, it’s been unfair because the United States is paying 4 percent, and some people could say 4.3 percent, of the largest GDP there is in the world, by far, because we’ve brought it to a level that nobody thought even possible. So we’re paying 4 to 4.3 percent, when Germany is paying 1 to 1.2 percent — at max, 1.2 percent — of a much smaller GDP. That’s not fair.

And it’s — look, it’s not — it’s not fair also when you have the European Union — many of these are the same countries — but you have the European Union treating the United States very, very unfairly on trade. The deficit, for many, many years — for decades — but the deficit, for many, many years, has been astronomical with the United States and Europe — in their favor. And I’m changing that, and I’m changing it fairly rapidly.

But it’s not — it’s not right to be taken advantage of on NATO, and also, then, to be taken advantage of on trade. And that’s what happens. And we can’t let that happen. So, we’re talking to the European Union, and we’re talking to various countries about NATO. But we’re talking to the European Union about trade. And they have to shape up; otherwise, things are going to get very tough.

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: But let me just add that NATO is the only place where North America and Europe meet every day, where we discuss, decide, and take actions together, responding to a wide range of different security threats and challenges. And we do that more now than we have done for many, many years.

And the reality is that — not least because it has been so clearly conveyed from President Trump that we need fair burden sharing — Allies are stepping up. And we are also modernizing this Alliance, responding to new challenges in cyber, in space. We will declare space as a new operational domain for NATO, something we never had before.

So it just highlights that, well, there are differences because we are 29 different countries from both sides of the Atlantic, with different political parties in power, with different history, different geography. But despite these differences, we have always been able to unite around our core task to protect and defend each other because we are stronger and safer together. And I’m absolutely certain that that will also be the case now.

[…]

Q Do you see a greater divide between the U.S. and Europe now, in NATO?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it?

Q Do you see a greater divide in NATO between the U.S. and the rest of Europe?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, not with us, but I do see France breaking off. I’m looking at him and I’m saying, you know, he needs protection more than anybody, and I see him breaking off. So I’m a little surprised at that.

Q Is Turkey a dependable ally or dependable member of NATO? And when will you bring sanctions against them for —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: But the first part of your question, say it again.

Q Thank you. Is Turkey a dependable member of NATO? And when will you bring sanctions against them for buying Russian S-400 missiles?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, it’s a country that I happen to have a good relationship with. We did a deal that everybody was very critical of and now they’re saying it works. And I read a couple of stories just two days ago that, “Wow, that deal that Trump did with Turkey” — because I want to get our soldiers out of there. I don’t want to be policing a border that’s been fought over for 2,000 years. I want to get them out, but I wanted to keep the oil. And now they’re saying, “That was a great deal that Trump made.” I took a lot of heat over that deal.

No, I think that, as far as I’m concerned, I like Turkey and I get along very well with the President. And I — you know, I would hope that he’s a very good member of NATO, or will be. But we’ll see what it is in the future.

Could I ask you that question?

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: Yes, but Turkey is an important NATO Ally — and you can just look at the map. They’re bordering Iraq and Syria — the only Ally that borders that part of the world. And Turkey has been enormously important in our joint efforts to fight ISIS/Daesh. We have been able to liberate, in the U.S.-led coalition to defeat ISIS, all the territory that ISIS controlled just a few months ago, and more than 8 million people that were under ISIS control. And we have done that not least by using infrastructure bases in Turkey. So, in the fight against ISIS, Turkey has played a key role.

Then, many allies have expressed a concern about Turkish military operation into northeast Syria. But following the agreement between the United States and Turkey, when Vice President Pence went to Ankara, we have seen that Turkey has stalled its military operations in northeast Syrian, and has seen a significant reduction in violence. And now we have to build on that and try to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

Let me also add, on the question about Europe and North America: Yes, there are differences, as there has always been, dating back to the Suez Crisis in ’56, all the way to the Iraq War in 2003. So it’s nothing new that 29 allies have different views on many different things: trade, climate change, and other things.

But again, the strength of NATO is that, despite these differences, we have proven again and again able to unite around our core task to protect and defend each other. And that’s exactly what they’re doing now. We are doing more together, North America and Europe, than have done for many decades.

So the paradox is that, despite so much, as I say, some political differences, we are always able to agree and unite around our core task to stay together.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I will say this: Three weeks ago, when we got al-Baghdadi, Turkey was very helpful. We flew over areas that were totally controlled by Turkey and the Turkish military. We say, “We’re coming.” They absolutely were very supportive, actually. We didn’t tell them what we were doing and where we were going. Turkey could not have been nicer, could not have been more supportive. And that’s important.

And I wanted to say that, in keeping the oil, ISIS was trying to, as you know, regain control of the oil. And we have total control of the oil. And, frankly, we had a lot of support from a lot of different people. But, right now, the only soldiers we have, essentially, in that area, are the soldiers keeping the oil. So we have the oil, and we can do with the oil what we want.

Q But Turkey bought Russian missiles. How is that being on the side of NATO?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, they did. And they tried to buy ours, and the Obama administration said, “You can’t have them.” Okay?

Q Would you give them to them?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The Obama administration said, “You can’t have the Patriots. You can’t — we’re not going to sell them to you.” And they said that a number of times. And then Turkey went out and bought the Russian missile. So we’ll see what happens. We’re still talking about it. But they wanted to buy the Patriots; they tried to buy the Patriots. I think most of you know that. And they were shut off from buying the Patriots. They were not allowed to buy it. So that puts him in a bind also.

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: But the Russian system will not be integrated into the Integrated NATO Air and Missile Defence Systems, because these Russian systems cannot work together with the rest of the NATO systems, of course.

And I welcome the fact that there are talks going on between the United States and Turkey, looking into some alternative systems — the Patriots — and also the fact that NATO actually augments — we have deployed — we augmented the Turkish air and missile defense system today with the deployment of Patriot batteries by NATO, in Turkey.

So we address this issue and we try to find a way to solve it because it’s now creating some problems internally in the Alliance.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And, as you know, Turkey bought billions and billions — it was one of the largest orders of F-35s, which is the greatest fighter jet in the world. And all they’re going to do now is go to another country, whether it’s Russia or China. They don’t want to do that; they want to buy the best planes. But, you know, they’re making it very difficult for, in a way, themselves, but they’re also making it difficult in Washington for them to buy that plane.

But they want to buy. They have a very big order out. They’ve already put up billions of dollars; they’ve given it to Lockheed Martin.

[…]

Q Could I ask you about NATO? Why is China such an important subject for this NATO Summit? What threat do they pose?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, China has become very powerful and much more so than in the past. They’ve done it, largely, with United States money, because our past Presidents allowed them to steal the cookie cutter. And that’s okay — I don’t begrudge China for that. I begrudge — I’m very disappointed in our past Presidents and leadership. They allowed this to happen. There’s no way it should’ve happened.

And, by the way, I’m doing very well in a deal with China, if I want to make it. If I want to make it. I don’t think it’s “if they want to make it”; it’s “if I want to make it.” And we’ll see what happens. But I’m doing very well, if I want to make a deal. I don’t know that I want to make it, but you’re going to find out pretty soon. We’ll surprise everybody.

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: But, as you know, historically, NATO has been focused on the Soviet Union and Russia, so it’s not something new that we now are also addressing the implications for our security by the rise of China. But we have to do that because China is now the second-largest defense spender in the world, after the United States.

They recently displayed a lot of new advanced military weapons systems, including new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to reach the whole of Europe and the United States; hypersonic weapons, gliders; and they also deployed hundreds of intermediate-range missiles that would have violated the INF Treaty if China had been part of that treaty.

It’s not about moving NATO into the South China Sea, but it’s about taking into account the fact that China is coming to closer to us. We see them in the Arctic. We see them in Africa. We see them investing heavily in European infrastructure. And, of course, we see China in cyberspace.

So the rise of China — there are some opportunities, but also some challenges, and we need to face them together. And I think it’s a good thing that Europe and North America do that together. Because, together, North America and Europe, we are 50 percent of world GDP and 50 percent of the world’s military might. So as long as we are together, we are bigger and stronger than any other potential adversary.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I think that’s important because it’s a very different NATO. I mean, this has become — I really think since I’ve joined, since I’ve come in — we have a very good relationship.

This used to be a NATO on one country. They didn’t even talk about anything else. And now, really, we are looking at all over the world, because they’re — you know, the world changes. Seventy years it is; it’s a long time. And the world has changed a lot. And I don’t think, frankly, before us, that NATO was changing at all with it. And NATO is really changing right now.
So it’s a different NATO. It’s covering a lot more territory. It’s covering hotspots. It’s covering a lot of things that were never even contemplated or thought of even five years ago. If you go back five years, they wouldn’t even be thinking about the things that we’re doing now.

So — and I’ve become a bigger fan of NATO because they’ve been so flexible. If they weren’t flexible, I think I would probably be not so happy. But they are very flexible, and this gentleman is doing a great job.

[…]

Q Mr. President, on the China trade deal, sir? Do you think you’ll be able to get it by the end of the year? Is that your goal?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Let me tell you, the China trade deal is dependent on one thing: Do I want to make it? Because we’re doing very well with China right now and we can do even better with the flick of a pen. And China is paying for it. And China has their worst year, by far, that they’ve had in 57 years. So, we’ll see what happens. But we’re doing very well, right now. And I gave the farmers, as you know, $28 billion and had a lot left over.

Because the farmers were targeted by China. I gave them $28 billion over a two-year period, and that got them whole. That was everything that China took out. I gave them from the tariffs that China paid us, and I had billions left over — many billions left over.

Q So you don’t really have a deadline?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I have no deadline. No.

Q Mr. President, are you concerned about the —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: In some ways, I think it’s better to wait until after the election, you want to know the truth. I think, in some ways, it’s better to wait until after the election with China.

Q But why? Why is that, sir?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: But I — I’m not going to say that. I just think that. I’ll just tell you: In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal. But they want to make a deal now. And we’ll see whether or not the deal is going to be right. It’s got to be right.

Look, China has been ripping off the United States for many, many years. Again, because of leadership, or lack of leadership, or it wasn’t their thing. It’s like I told you about the military and the kind of money we’re taking in. And, you know, every one of these countries — these are rich countries I’m talking to. They would always say, “But nobody has ever asked us to do that.” Like, “Therefore, why should we do it now?”

I said, “Well, they haven’t because they were foolish, but I am.” And that’s where we are. And that’s why — with Saudi Arabia, with South Korea, with so many other countries — they’re paying a lot of money to the United States that they weren’t paying. And they will be paying a lot more.

[…]

Q Mr. President, do you think that Jeremy Corbyn needs to —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s a big story. Right? That’s a big story, you.

Q A lot of big stories.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I don’t know — I don’t how you can make that a bad one. But you’ll figure a way, right?

Q Do you think that Jeremy Corbyn needs to do more to denounce anti-Semitism?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I know nothing about the gentleman, really — Jeremy Corbyn. Know nothing about him.

Q Do you have a comment on Prince Andrew stepping —

Q Mr. President, do you think that NATO should strengthen the dialogue with Russia? French President Emmanuel Macron is asking to talk more to Russia. Do you support him?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think NATO should always be in dialogue with Russia. I think you can have a very good relationship with Russia. I don’t think that there is any problem at all with the Secretary General speaking with Russia. I think it’s a very important thing to do.

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: And, actually, we are talking to Russia because I strongly also, as the President, believe in the importance of having dialogue with Russia. Russia is our biggest neighbor and Russia is here to stay, and we will strive for a better relationship with Russia. But we do that based on what we call the dual-track approach by NATO. We have to be strong and we have to provide a credible deterrence and defense, combined with dialogue.

So, for us, it is deterrence, defense, and dialogue, and that’s exactly what we are doing, especially when it comes to arms control. We need to avoid a new arms race. We need to avoid a new Cold War. A new arms race is dangerous. It is expensive. And therefore, we also very much that Russia has violated the INF Treaty, which banned all of the intermediate-range missiles in Europe.

The good thing is that NATO was able to respond in a unified way. We all agreed that Russia was in violation. We all supported the U.S. decision, because a treaty will not work if it’s only respected by one side.

And now we sit together again — North America, Europe, U.S., and the rest of the NATO Allies — and address how should we respond. We will respond in a coordinated way. Together, we will respond in a defensive way. But we have to make sure that we still provide credible deterrence and defense also in a world with more Russian missiles in Europe.

Arms control is something I know that the President is very focused on. I really would like to see progress on arms control with Russia. But also, in one way, we will have to find ways to include China. Because, in the future, China has to be part of the arms control efforts.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I have to say this: Russia wants to make a deal on arms control. And I terminated the deal because they weren’t living up to it. And it was an obsolete deal anyway. They weren’t living up to it.

But Russia wants to make a deal. As recently as, like, two weeks ago, Russia wants to make a deal very much on arms control and nuclear. And that’s smart. And so do we. We think it would be a good thing.

And we’ll also certainly bring in, as you know, China. And we may bring them in later, or we may bring them in now. But Russia wants to do something badly and so do we. It would be a great thing to do.

Q Mr. President, do you have a comment on Prince Andrew stepping down from his royal duties?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: On who?

Q Prince Andrew stepping down from his royal duties.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. I don’t know Prince Andrew. But it’s a — that’s a tough story. That’s a very tough story. I don’t know him. No.

Okay. Anybody else? Thank you. So we’ll see you during the next two days. Interesting, right? Huh? A lot of money. A lot of money. Okay. Bye, folks.

END

Remarks from a working lunch with “2 Percenters” [emphasis and links added]:

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. These are eight countries, plus us — plus the United States — that are fully paid. They met the goal of 2 percent. We call them the “2 percenters.” Someday, we’ll raise it to 3 percent and 4 percent, maybe. But, right now, we have it.

But these are countries that have not been delinquent. They’ve been, in some cases, even more than 2 percent, because they feel so strongly about what we’re doing. And that’s really a sign of respect for the United States.

And one of the gentlemen — I won’t mention who — but said it’s so important to have the United States as a part of NATO because of what we’ve done. And just to make you all feel good, we will have spent, under what I’ve done, $2.5 trillion on the military. Two and a half trillion. So that pales in comparison when you look at what we’re talking about, right? So it’s — but it’s two and a half of the greatest equipment in the world. Every form of equipment known to mankind or womankind.

So I just want to thank these great countries. And they are great. They’ve become friends of mine, in many cases. And they’re very respected within their own countries. But these are countries that have met the goal of 2 percent.

We have, unfortunately, a large number that haven’t met the goal. Some are very close, and they will be. We’ve received an additional $130 billion a year. And, I guess, if you go back three years, it’s perhaps even more than that. But I’ve been doing this for three years.

And the Secretary General will tell you, in a few seconds; he’s going to say some — a little bit about it. But when I first came, it was like a rollercoaster down, not up. Down. It was all the way down at the lowest point ever. And since then, we’ve gone up massively. And now we’ll be, by far, the highest point ever.

So it’s a great organization. And we — we owe a lot to the Secretary General. He’s been fantastic. He’s done, really, a fantastic job.

We think it’ll be up — within three years, it will be up to $400 billion more. And — but, in the meantime, these are the countries. I said, “I want to take the 2 percenters to lunch.” We call them, affectionately, “Those 2 percenters.” But I want to take them to lunch. So this is a lunch that’s on me.

And I want to thank you all. And if you’d like to say something to the press, you can. But, in the meantime, I’ll ask our great Secretary General to say a few words.

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much, Mr. President. And thank you so much for hosting this lunch with nine countries — or the eight plus one, the United States — that are spending 2 percent of GDP on defense.

And just a few years ago, this would have been a few small group of countries. Because, a few years ago, there were only three countries. And so this is actually more than twice as many countries just since a few years ago.

So this demonstrates the progress we are making on defense spending. We still have much to do, and more Allies have to meet the 2 percent guideline. But it demonstrates that we are making real progress.

It also demonstrates that your leadership on defense spending, Mr. President, is having an impact, because more Allies meet the 2 percent guideline. All Allies have started to increase. The majority of Allies have plans in place to meet the 2 percent guideline by 2024. And the European Allies and Canada have added $130 billion to the defense budget since 2016. And this number will be $400 billion by 2024.

So this is significant progress. This is making NATO stronger. This is unprecedented. So, again, it’s great to be together with countries which are really investing in our shared security and showing that NATO is adapting, NATO is flexible, NATO is able to change when we need to respond to more demanding security environments.

So once again, thank you so much, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you. Great job you’re doing. Thank you very much.

How about Poland? Would you like to say something representing the group?

PRESIDENT DUDA: Mr. President, thank you very much for this —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you.

PRESIDENT DUDA: — for the kind invitation. And we are very glad that we are in this group of countries who feel responsibility for — not only for our own security, not only the security of our border, but also security of the whole Alliance.

And this approach, “NATO 360 degrees,” is one of the crucial elements of our Alliance and unity. As we had very good discussion today, and we have, in my opinion, very important decision. And this meeting today was the next step. And it shows that we are united and we are together, and that the NATO Alliance is still alive and still in very good shape.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It is, indeed. I think he would get fantastic television ratings with that — with the way he made that presentation. (Laughter.)

How about my friend? You want to say something?

[Romanian] PRESIDENT IOHANNIS: Yes, thank you so much for — for inviting us. I think this is an important sign for NATO, because we are — except for you, we are not the richest countries and, still, we believe in NATO. We believe in the unity of NATO. And we believe that NATO is extremely important for all of us. So instilling this idea of burden sharing is extremely important, and I think our colleagues will follow our lead. So thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: They will, actually. And if they don’t, we’ll get them on trade. One way or the other, they’re paying, folks — that, I can tell you.

Thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Q Just to clarify, sir, did you cancel the news conference? You’re going to — you’re still going to do it?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it, Steven?

Q Did you cancel the news conference? We weren’t clear.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, yeah, I’ll cancel the news — I’ve done so many. And I’m doing, I think, two more. We’re meeting with Italy and Denmark. So, I’m doing two more. I think that’s enough. There would be nothing to say. So I won’t be — you’ll let the word out. We’re doing — but we are doing Denmark and Italy right after this. So we’re staying for two more bilats, and the press will be invited, okay?

END

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Remember when the Left was ranting about Koch Brothers cash, Halliburton, etc. buying foreign policy? Most of us dismissed it – especially since the Left seemed to ignore the windfall of cash they received from Soros and Steyer. If people wanted to support more free market government, that’s great. What if we were missing something? […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Spencer: The Weariness of Freedom and Comfort

 

“[E]veryone has found how even the best easy chair, at first rejoiced in, becomes after many hours intolerable; and change to a hard seat, previously occupied and rejected, seems for a time to be a great relief. It is the same with incorporated humanity. Having by long struggles emancipated itself from the hard discipline of the ancient régime, and having discovered that the new régime into which it has grown, though relatively easy, is not without stresses and pains, its impatience with these prompts the wish to try another system: which other system is, in principle if not in appearance, the same as that which during past generations was escaped from with much rejoicing.” — Herbert Spencer, “The Man versus the State.” Apple Books.

Spencer was speaking of the desire of the populace which, once capitalism had liberated it for a long period of time from slavery and poverty, found itself longing for slavery. It is what’s happening in US politics today.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Groupthink

 

“If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” — Gen. George S. Patton

Yesterday YouTube suggested that I would like The Mark Steyn Show Climate Change Forum, so I watched it. Whether it’s creepy that YouTube put this video at the top of my feed the day after I had been writing on Ricochet about climate change in general and the website of a panel member in particular, I’ll leave for others to decide. The panel discussion included a lot about how difficult it is for people to speak up or challenge the uniform thinking of their peers.

I experienced this type of censorship, or rather self-censorship, while working for a government consulting firm at the beginning of the Obama administration. While the company started hosting lunches to encourage dialogue on climate change, it simultaneously crafted a company stance designed to improve its marketability for contracts. Once it was clear what the company was selling, I learned very quickly that speaking up in disagreement would be pointless or worse, detrimental to my career prospects. I ended up quitting rather than be subject to constant propaganda with no welcome outlet for debate or dialogue. It’s not that I “deny the science” or whatever the latest accusation is, but I have long thought that CO2 emissions receive too much focus and land-use changes are not sufficiently considered. I could write a lot more on this topic, but that’s for another post.

This is about how our thinking is social, and yet we cannot simply rely on what everyone else is thinking. Other examples of groupthink must include the mainstream news coverage of the 2016 presidential election, and even the 2012 election coverage on conservative news and commentary sites. In the spring of 2016, I warned a friend that it wasn’t a good idea for the Huffington Post to have relegated all Trump coverage to the entertainment section, since it would leave them vulnerable to underestimating his actual political influence. I doubt she read many sources beyond HuffPo, and she was very shocked (traumatized?) when Trump won.

Patton obviously understood that leaving your ideas unchallenged made you weaker, creating real danger. Today there are many topics that people don’t feel free to discuss, especially if they would face hostility at work or at school. There are also assumptions people make about what everyone else thinks because confirming or disconfirming those assumptions would require wading into unpleasant conversations. Is this a timeless human problem or a problem that has gotten worse in recent years?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories: Days of Wine and Roses

 

My mom and dad grew up around moonshine whiskey and home-brewed beer in Oklahoma, a dry state at the time. Liquor may have been illegal, but of course there was still plenty of it sloshing around. In fact, in one of my first memories —I can see it clearly even now, seventy-five years later— I was sitting with my sister in the backseat of our 1939 Nash Ambassador while my dad drove down a dirt road looking for a moonshiner he had heard about.

That kind of environment, unhappily, produces more than its share of problem drinkers, among whom I count most members of my family, aunts and uncles included.

And that meant that almost every holiday, all the Okie Forresters who had immigrated to California, my mom and dad, both sets of aunts and uncles, and one set of grandparents, came together, ostensibly to celebrate the holiday, but mainly to drink. My sister and I would lie awake in our bedroom listening to the sounds coming from the living room and kitchen. As the night went on, the sounds grew louder, sometimes erupting in arguments and occasionally punctuated by a crash of a lamp or drinking glass.

That heavy drinking also caused an occasional physical fight. I remember my dad and my grandad, both drunk with fists flailing away, fighting on our small back porch in downtown Los Angeles. They were going at it so hard that they shattered the banister as they fought their way down the stairs. An all-out fight among adults is a scary thing for a kid to watch.

I also remember a fight between my mom and dad on Christmas morning around 1944, the culmination of Christmas Eve binge drinking that lasted until dawn. Most holidays were ruined for me because my family drank too much.

Mom was so sensitive to alcohol that she slurred her words after her first drink of whiskey or after a single can of beer. God, I hated that. I usually sulked when she was like that, and I was embarrassed when it occurred in front of my friends. It was much later, after I had left our house in LA for good, that I realized that mom was an alcoholic.

Despite my family’s drinking problems, my sister and I were well cared for. My mom made sure that we had clean clothes and a hot meal on the table each evening. Mom was more than her alcoholism. She loved to read and do crossword puzzles, and she was a great letter writer with an elegant hand. (I have a handwriting award she won in the 8th grade, framed and on my wall.) My dad was a heavy drinker, but he could also hold his liquor, and he showed up for work in the oil fields every fricken day.

I once worked as bartender in a dive bar in Springfield, Oregon. You ever see a drunk fight a sober guy? It was almost always the sober guy who would land a solid blow, with a bare fist of course, to the face of the windmilling drunk. That solid blow sometimes broke teeth and occasionally even shattered the drunk’s jaw. Because of my family background, I almost always rooted for the sober guy. Besides, the drunken lout usually started the fight. (I had a small bat under the counter that I was supposed to use to break up really violent fights, but I never used it. Darned if I was going to get in the middle of a bar fight between a couple of drunks. Besides, I’ve seen two brawlers turn on a peacemaker.)

After my mom died, my dad — drunk, lonely and maudlin — used to call me late at night. By this time I was a grown man, a professor in Kentucky. I may have sympathized with dad, but I still hated those calls.

I’ve read that liquor has caused more divorces, homelessness, infidelity, fights, and fatal car crashes— more mischief and heartache — than all the weed and hard drugs combined. Cops know that domestic disturbance calls almost always involve liquor.

Drunks think they’re entertaining and witty. They’re not. They’re stupid and crass, and I avoid them when I can.

My sister, four years older than I am, has been a binge drinker since her retirement. I have somehow avoided the Forrester curse.

When I came across the following passage in Isaiah, I knew the prophet was a man of my own heart. Listen to Isaiah rant about the evils of drunkenness:

Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have their harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord . . . . Therefore the grave is hungry and opens its mouth to receive them. Into it will descend . . . all their brawlers and revelers. (Isaiah 5: 11–14)

Isaiah may go a bit too far for me. Even I don’t really wish an early grave on drunken “brawlers and revelers.” At least I don’t think I do.

Postscript: In rereading this, I may have given the impression that my family was drunk most of the time. That’s not true at all. Outside of an occasional bender by my dad and mom’s slow descent into alcoholism, most of the heavy drinking occurred on arranged weekends and holidays.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Interagency Consensus” DIME Not Worth a Plugged Nickel on NATO

 

NATO at 70Everyone in the vaunted “interagency,” is well aware of the concept of the instruments of national power. The old Army War College acronym is “DIME,” for diplomatic, informational, military, and economic tools. You will notice that each tends to rest primarily in different departments, different agencies in the “interagency.” This would be why you need multiple agencies to coordinate rather than always operating “in their own lane.”

Just as Madison Avenue is best at selling Madison Avenue, so too the permanent bureaucracy and its affiliates, allies, patrons, and petitioners all affirm competent and selfless expertise in the face of all evidence. Indeed, the reverence for the “foreign policy consensus” evokes the British Parliament’s ritual prostration before the NHS. Thank God that we finally have a president who feels no such compulsion, the first such since Ronald Reagan.

H.R. McMasters showed real professionalism in his honchoing of President Trump’s National Security Strategy. He actually ensured the “interagency” worked to produce a coordinated draft that conformed to the Commander in Chief’s clear intent, where “ commander’s intent” is a military term of art for guidance that must be fully supported. This baseline document was actually published within the first year of President Trump’s administration.

What has apparently been a great surprise to the Deep State is that this president actually meant what he published. There has been no turning on the primacy of our economic tools of national power, both in the trade and energy sectors. President Trump helps American workers, and businesses, and the energy consumers of the world, by opening the natural gas and oil “pipelines” wide, flooding the world market.

This week, while the media tells you, if at all, about NATO’s 70th anniversary, the real story is Germany and Russia back to their bad old ways. Once again, a German leader is conniving with a Russian leader to do a deal of mutual benefit, at the expense of the states unlucky to be situated in between them.

The German leader wants uninterrupted natural gas from Russia, not America, and does not want to be vulnerable to Putin’s next pipeline power play in Ukraine. Putin turns off the gas when he wants to punish a non-compliant Ukrainian people. Now, with a bilateral agreement, opposed by others including the United States, Nord Stream 2 will follow the sea bed from Russia to Germany, parallel to Nord Stream 1, doubling capacity.

This is the same Germany, and the same German leader, showing complete contempt for NATO and the United States, as it spends only half the mutually agreed target of two percent GDP on its own national defense. The once powerful, well equipped, and competent German military is a pathetic joke. Oh, they can muster the sort of special forces that have long been needed to deal with terrorists, from back in the 1970s when communist gangs were serious business. But the navy, and the formerly greatest tank force in the world? Jokes, very sad jokes.

The American foreign policy establishment’s answer has been to talk around and paper over reality. President Trump, like President Reagan, is having none of this. As he prepared to fly to London, Secretary of State Pompeo was hammering away on the latest numbers, showing that NATO countries had finally come around to actual increases in their own defense spending. This reality, although markedly uneven, conveys good messages to Putin, to the American people, and to the people of Europe, who have finally heard from their leaders that their nations are worth spending at least a small slice of the economic pie on national security.

The countries to the west of Russia, as a whole, dwarf the Russian economy. Indeed, Texas is bigger than the Russian economy. While it is true that Putin can spend a much higher percentage on military equipment and personnel, without losing political power, the sheer difference in scale of economies creates the potential for the rest of Europe to shut down any Russian dream of renewed empire in the west. And, as long as Donald J. Trump is president of the United States, the price of natural gas and crude oil has an upper limit, throttling Russian ambitions.

The use of economic and informational tools, along with some diplomacy, is far wiser than talk of armed confrontation between the only two countries in the world capable of rendering each other smoldering ruins in mere hours. I laid this out back in July of 2018, in “Loose Cannons and Nuclear Buttons: Dealing with Russia.” I quoted the relevant portions of President Trump’s NSS, with some explanation. Looking back, President Trump’s strategy has not changed and he is succeeding within the limits of European politics and U.S. constitutional powers.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 6): Out of the Frying Pan

 

Nessa woke with a start. She’d been having the strangest dream …

She glanced around the hut she was in. Outside, night had fallen, or near enough, and there was a cool breeze wafting in through barred bamboo windows. That, and her hands and ankles had been tied together by the islanders who’d taken her prisoner, bound tightly around with some sort of jungle creeper (which had so far withstood all attempts to gnaw, wriggle out of, or cut through it). Her head felt muzzy as she blinked more awake and tried to remember.

They’d been in the medicine woman’s hut. Nemo had just drunk that potion (she smiled slightly. Poor goof had been hit with so much magic he couldn’t remember his own name, and that was before the potion. Well, he didn’t know who he was anymore, so she’d called him Nemo “No One” because everyone should have a name at least.) Then the medicine woman had thrown something on the fire, and the fumes had started making her drowsy, and … the mask had come off — she wasn’t a medicine woman — and they’d walked into a trap.

Nessa kicked out angrily against one of the other pillars of the hut. Dammit!

She sighed, leaning back with her eyes closed. Nothing was ever simple.

***

In the jungle, the mighty jungle … Feathers the parrot bobbed jauntily up and down on the man called Nemo’s shoulder as he walked. ‘Wait, wait, stop here.’

‘Why?’

Feathers turned ’round and looked at him with a gleam in his eye. ‘Because I just spotted something, and I think I got an idea. Trust me, you’ll love it.’

***

‘Ya ready?’ said Feathers from up in the branches.

‘Yes, I’m ready. What’s all the—’

‘Just be sure you catch it, is all I’m saying: This is genius …’

There was a kind of beak-like snipping sound from up above, he reached out, and a lemon-shaped fruit fell into his hand.

‘A lemon? What happened to the genius plan?’

Feathers fluttered down and landed on his shoulder, shaking his head to one side and shuddering. ‘Don’t you know what that is? That’s an outaya. Answer to all your problems.’

‘It looks a bit like a gourd.’

‘How’d ya think it got its name?’ said Feathers, waggling his eyebrows. Nemo frowned. Could parrots do that? ‘C’mon, it’s a great idea. Let you shake off what the witch lady drugged you with.’

‘Which one?’ Nemo asked, and then despite himself, ‘… What else does it do?’

‘It’ll help you rescue that girl you mentioned …’ said Feathers, with the assurance of one laying down an ace. ‘Rawk!’

***

They were in the bushes near the edge of the village, on the low side of the volcano, watching a couple of sentries in brightly painted carved masks go by in the moonlight. He could hear the ocean from here. ‘Was that a pirate ship in the bay I saw earlier?’ he whispered.

‘Yeah, yeah, pirates.’ Feathers grinned at him. Strange, it never occurred to him to wonder how he did it. ‘Ya got the fruit? Now bite into it, and keep eating till ya feel it.’

Nemo sighed. He hadn’t got any shoes on, he was cold and tired — he bit into the fruit — and surprisingly hungry … He took another big bite and another …

‘Hey, steady on there!’ whispered Feathers urgently. ‘Not too— much …’ he trailed off as Nemo finished licking the last of the outaya juice off his fingers.

He felt good. Stronger. More in tune with his senses. Like something was building in him, like it was making a new man of him. For a moment a sudden burst of suspicion flashed across his mind and he grabbed hold of Feathers. ‘Wait a minute. Outaya? As in “out’a ya gourd”?’

‘What, don’t look at me like that — it’s great stuff, make you twice as strong, help you shrug off the poison,’ said the parrot, trying to struggle free.

Nemo noticed how Feathers’ eyes were swiveling a little and he was twitching. ‘Did you by any chance ingest some of this too?’

‘When I was snippin’ it off the branch for ya with my beak. Birds aren’t supposed to, but it kinda gets to you and—’

He let go. He felt great. Feathers was right. Good Feathers. He patted him on the head and nimbly dodged the nip of an annoyed beak. Outayas. He should have one for breakfast, every morning. Maybe two or three. Or five. He should take some seeds home with him. Only just now, he had something to do …

‘Wait, wait!’ hissed Feathers. ‘Not out in the open like that! It makes you stronger, not arrow-proof!’ He shook his head. Crazy kid! He was going to get himself killed. He jerked his head to one side. Say, this outaya was good stuff …

***

Simeo the sentry stood with his mask back, leaning against the privy wall, enjoying a quiet smoke. His spear rested against the wall beside him along with that of Vaxil, his co-sentry for the evening, who had had something disagree with him at dinner and was wrestling out the disagreement behind the door behind him with the crescent shape cut out of it.

‘There, there,’ said the Simeo, exhaling a stream of smoke into the night air as he tried not to listen to the retching sounds behind him. ‘Soon be over, pal. Say, do you think I should ask Matiki to the luau on Friday?’

‘Why ask me that now,’ said a queasy voice from behind the privy door. ‘I—’

‘Yeah, yeah, sorry, bad time … Still …’ He flexed his muscles. They were nice muscles. All the girls in the village thought so. He worked on them, toned them. He wished there was a mirror nearby. Lala and Sarassa, he thought. He could ask them to the luau. Apparently, the witch doctress had one of those new little magic mirrors that everyone was talking about, from the big islands. A man who looked as good as he did should have a magic mirror of his own, he thought … They said you could take reflections of yourself, so everyone could see how good you looked. And, you could talk to people on them and send them your, “self-reflections”, were they called? They even said that on the big islands you could get paid for standing around attractively while people pointed magic mirrors at you and took reflections of you. He’d like that. He’d like that a lot. They also said, on the big islands, they had indoor plumbing. Better not tell Vaxil, he might want to go too. Wait …

What was that rustling?

Did those bushes just move?

He looked down at the cigarette. They said these things were bad for you. Still, it wasn’t as if they were his, Vaxil had left his pouch hanging on the door next to his carved wooden mask, and, well … what did he expect?

He turned. ‘Vaxil, dude, are you nearly done in there? Only, some of us got work to do—’

***

Vaxil sighed and rested for a moment. Senora de Cthonos! Our Lady of the Lava! What was in that chilli! There was no rush to get back on guard was there? Besides, who was going to actually attack them? The pirates? They were all too busy combing their beards. Plus he happened to know because he’d heard it from one the witch doctress’s assistants that the Amazons were all off the island right now, off on some crazy crusade or something. Their war canoes had last been seen heading off into the distant sunset. And the witch doctress had ways of knowing that—

—Unfortunately, before he could learn more he’d had to go on duty. And then the chili had struck. Cthoney’s Revenge, as they sometimes called it. Only not too loudly, and not near the witch doctress or the big stone temple complex, and never round about now, he thought — as the volcano rumbled ominously in the distance. Uh-oh. Cthoney was vengeful, but merciful, but merciful, he hastened to add goddess, and worthy of respect, he thought fervently. The rumbling seemed to die down. Phew.

There was a little oil lamp hanging from the privy roof, casting a yellowish light. Huh, the new catalog from the big islands. Why hadn’t somebody told him? Something fell out of it. He held it up to the light and read: ‘WANTED, Mostly Dead or Slightly Alive’ …

‘… dude, are you nearly done in there?’ came Simeo’s voice from outside. Lady of the Lava, couldn’t a guy get over Cthoney’s Revenge in peace— Rumble. Uh-oh. He didn’t mean it, he didn’t mean it, honest! ‘Only,’ came Simeo’s voice again, ‘some of us got work to do—’ Thump. There were some heavy meaty sounds from outside, a brief gurgling – and then silence …

‘Simeo?’

No response.

‘Simeo, if this is another one of those practical jokes, it isn’t funny. And those better not be my smokes I smell out there. I told you about that before, dude.’ Tell ya, he thought, unlatching the door, when I get to the big islands, and the young ladies are all swooning over the handsome guy from the volcano island … ‘Simeo …?’

***

After it was all over, Vaxil was never keen to talk about what happened that night. But when the witch doctress’s assistants got him alone afterward and asked him about it — with the help of a firepit, a turning spit, and a big cauldron of Mama Witch Doctress’s special chili — this is what he said:

There was this … guy, and he sort of … glowed. And he didn’t have any shoes on. I mean, hey, even out here we have the latest sandles from the big islands — aaah, all right, all right! Anyway, he was dressed so strangely. And he just said, ‘Tell me where the mermaid is, or I’ll shove this spear so far up—’

(Apparently, Vaxil passed out at this point and had to be revived. But it was one heck of a black eye he had. ‘One punch. Knockout,’ he had muttered as he faded off.)

***

Nessa jerked awake guiltily. She must have dozed off. Aah. Her hands and feet had gone to sleep again. These bonds were too tight. Hard to move her legs. Pins and needles … What was that? She froze — and listened. There was a fluttering behind her, and a kind of scratchy sound followed by a rustling. She tried to peer her head round the post. A … creature was shuffling in through the bars on the window. It hopped down on to the floor and fluttered over to her.

‘The bird flies at midnight,’ it said mysteriously.

‘What—’

‘The bird flies at midnight,’ it repeated and swiveled its head. ‘Yowzer, but that outaya’s good stuff!’

She hung her head. She was going mad. She was hallucinating. Maybe it had been that fumy stuff the witch doctress had thrown into the flames …

‘Now hang in there, dolly, we’re bustin’ ya out of here,’ said Feathers. ‘Rawk!

‘Who are you? What are you?’ Then she thought about it a second. ‘Dolly?’ she said, dangerously.

‘Name’s Feathers, but you can call me–‘ he glanced at her, ‘–anything you like, actually. Rawk! Help is on the way! Now, hold still,’ he said angling his beak, ‘and let’s see if we can get ya untied …’

She held still. Best not to argue with a hallucination, especially if it might get her bonds cut. She paused. Had that bird just waggled its eyebrows at her … ?

The vines fell away from her wrists. ‘Up-si-daisy! There ya go, now we’re cookin’ with charcoal,’ said the parrot, hopping down to free her feet. ‘How d’ya like them coconuts, huh?’ he continued, apparently to himself, as Nessa tried to rub a bit of life back into her hands. Then she heard something else. A tapping, as if a-rapping, tapping at her prison door …

It was playing ‘Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits’.

‘Sounds like a signal,’ said Feathers conspiratorially, dragging away cut creepers as she stretched her legs out and then fell sideways. ‘Er, I’d get clear of the door if I was you. I think he’s a had a little much …’

‘A little much what?’ she said, scrabbling painfully to one side.

‘You’ll see,’ said Feathers, just as the door exploded inward and shattered against a pillar, which snapped and brought half the roof in with it. As the dust cleared, standing there with his leg out in a kung-fu pose, was Nemo. In the distance, there were shouts and cries as the noise attracted attention.

Feathers sighed and somehow contrived the birdlike equivalent of putting a hand against his eyes and shaking his head. ‘I only told the kid to kick the ruddy door in! Rawk!’

***

Nessa shook off whatever the tropical equivalent of half a thatched roof was and spluttered away some stray straw. ‘Nemo? I … hardly recognized you …’ And she didn’t. He was walking taller, he had this … and he … she’d never noticed him quite like that before …

‘Yeah, the kid does have that glowy effect going on,’ said Feathers. ‘Tell ya what, boys and girls, this is nice and all, but I think we’d better am-scray before the annibals-cay catch up with us, eh?’

‘Can you move? Did they hurt you — if they did, why I’ll—’

A hand gripped his wrist, another touched his cheek. ‘Nemo,’ she said firmly, ‘I’m fine — I’m okay. But the talking hallucination is right, we’d better—’ she staggered as her legs gave way – grabbed out to stop herself falling – grabbed on to Nemo … The circulation to her feet was still cut off, no way she could run like this. And then she realized she had her arms ’round Nemo’s neck — looking up into his eyes … Nemo had nice eyes, she found herself thinking—

Rawk! Trouble on the way,’ called Feathers, fluttering up onto Nemo’s other shoulder. ‘Grab the girl and run, Forrest, run!’

‘Hold on tight!’ said Nemo as he lifted her up, and started sprinting away into the night. Not even the fact that he was carrying a well-built young lady (plus talking parrot) seemed to slow him down. What had gotten into him?

‘He must be out of his gourd …’ she said, wonderingly, as arrows and poisoned darts whistled through the air around them.

‘You said it!’ said Feathers happily. Only, a dim and distant part of his brain had started to ask, should they be running towards the volcano … ?

***

To be continued …

[Previous –> Part 5: The Limey and the Coconut.] [Next –> Part 7: Lure of the Lava Lady.]

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Recs for a Recent Catholic

 

I have recently decided I want to be Catholic after a lifetime of protesting (being Protestant, not being an anti-theist) and am looking for some great books on the history of the Catholic church, Catholic philosophy, Catholic apologia, etc. I figured Ricochet would be a good place to ask, given the founder and community here. S o what would you guys recommend?

For anyone wondering what prompted the change, Cupid’s arrow found its mark and I’m engaged to a wonderful Catholic girl and I want to raise our future children in the faith.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

The Conservative Review has an article out about an amicus brief to SCOTUS in connection with the upcoming review of a Louisiana law requiring certain medical/safety standards at abortion clinics which opponents claim are unnecessary and will result in further limiting access to abortion. This amicus brief is reported to include the endorsement of over […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Not sure which news is more alarming. (Actually, I am sure.)

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Can I Tell You a (Holiday) Story?

 

I just got a text from my childhood best friend. She texted three pictures from our other childhood best friend. This time of year, people reconnect, share stories, and think of their lives in context — as in the past, present, and future. Let me tell you a story:

I recognized the older sister, the lovely Mary Beth. She was beautiful, blonde, and so talented. Growing up, I was constantly at my friend Kitty’s house. They lived on the next street over, easily accessible through the alley. I asked Mary Beth to make me a dress. I coveted Mary Beth’s navy and black velvet dresses with lace collars. She could sew anything. I found a pink paisley material and she whipped up a gorgeous mini-dress with bell sleeves. I strutted into grade school and got sent home because it was too short. My best friend Kitty lent me her Maxi-coat; so cool that I’d throw off my plain nothing, kick off my ugly snow boots, and put on that beautiful wool coat that dragged the ground. I slipped and struggled over the ice and snow to school because the coat had to have pretty shoes under it. So vain … Wait – did I tell you Mary Beth was deaf? She taught me sign language. Kitty and her baby sister could hear.

The three texted pictures included Mrs. Kitty and my friend Kitty. I was told Mrs. Kitty passed away last year at 91. Both were named Kathryn. This family burns deep into my past memory. Both parents could hear, but five out of seven kids were deaf. Their doors were never locked. You could pop in for lunch or dinner, shoes off. One child, Barry, used to strut around and put on shows for us and make us laugh. He turned out to be gay – no one cared. Through their church, I met Godsen, a guest from Africa. I saw him in the backyard in a white robe and tall red hat, as black as night. I was curious and introduced myself. He told me about his country.

A pretty Oriental lantern with red fringe hung over their kitchen sink one day. What’s this, I asked? A gift from their mission guest from China. She was so sweet and told me about her country. My best friend’s family had one income. They were Italian and the dad was a Sears appliance repairman. He repaired our appliances for free. Seven kids on one income and two small bathrooms.

There was no lack of discipline. When one of the kids got mouthy (they didn’t care if a neighbor kid was present), they got spanked. One memory is of a heated exchange and chasing around the dining room. Being Italian, they always made tons of Christmas cookies for the neighbors. They had a beagle named Spot that howled at night. We all opened our windows and yelled, “shut up!” They had a fish pond, quail, chickens, a tomato garden. Three boys piled up in one room and four girls in another. I remember the Jergen’s lotion in the bathroom. The smell reminds me of them today. We kids once squirted dish soap on the linoleum floor in the boy’s room (it had a drain) and dumped water to create a slide. We got sent home and were told to tell our mom what we did. I was stupid enough to do it and got grounded.

They never lacked anything because the neighbors donated beds, clothes, casseroles, bassinets, especially when baby number seven arrived – a surprise baby.

Seven kids, one gay, one income, an active church open to all cultures, disabilities, so much love. That’s where I learned about diversity. There was always spaghetti and a clean house. Everyone had their duties and you never entered this house with shoes. Twenty pairs in the entry – you had to find yours. Mary Beth still looked beautiful. My friend Kitty looks so Sicilian! They made a difference in my life and so many others. I could go over anytime, kick off my shoes even if no kids were at home, and pull a book off the shelf. That’s where I first read the holiday classic, The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell, written in 1946. Any kid could pop in for a sandwich. There was always enough food.

I could keep going with more wonderful stories, and the impact this and other families had on my life. I heard years ago that the eldest boy became Principal of St. Vincent De Paul’s School for the Deaf in Pittsburgh. If you don’t think a single family can impact a life, and the world, think again. Family – Faith – Community mattered. Do you remember a family that impacted your life when growing up?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Geography of Reason

 

The Philosopher Aristotle divided persuasion into three parts: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Traditionally, we have thought of them as three separate modes of persuasion, I propose we think of them as three connected parts of shaping one’s geography of reason.

First, some definitions:

Ethos (Nature) is the word from which we get Ethnicity (natural group of people) and is traditionally thought of as persuasion by credibility. For example, doctors are credible so we are persuaded to take their advice on medicine. The criticism of Ethos is that it is an “Appeal to authority” which is a logical fallacy that lends people to say it is inferior.

Pathos (Suffering) is the word from which we get Pathology (study of what causes suffering, disease) and is traditionally viewed as the emotional mode of persuasion. An example of this could be that Bernie Sanders appeals to his voters by telling them Income inequality feels unpleasant since poor people can envy wealth. The Ben Shapiros of the world would criticize pathos with “facts don’t care about your feelings” and argue that logic should trump emotion.

Logos (Word, Reason) is where we get logistics (coordination of resources) and is the traditional mode of persuasion of logic. People tend to view Logos as the highest form of persuasion and Pathos and Ethos as lower forms. My argument is that Logic is actually the least important part of persuasion.

David Hume correctly points out that “Reason is the slave of passion” because logic is only a tool to achieve desired results but cannot be a desire unto itself. Hume would go on to struggle with the Is-Ought problem where he could not find a way to bridge the way the world is (Nature) with how we want the world to be (Desire, the suffering of want). And so we arrive at my proposed paradigm of how to think of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.

Ethos = Is

Pathos = Ought

Logos = Bridge

This is the geography of reason. Ethos is where we think we are. Pathos is where we think we want to go, Logos is how we think we can get there. Changing the starting point changes the equation just as much as changing the destination. The means of reaching the destination are important but are determined by the two points more than they determine the two points.

In order for persuasion to take place, we must use Ethos and Pathos to move where we think the world is and where we think the world should be. Only once those points in ideological space are shifted can we then propose Logos to connect those two points. This requires us to broaden the way we think of Ethos in persuasion. Instead of just thinking of the nature of the author we need to consider the nature of the reality in arguments.

The Ethos of humans is they are mortal. The Pathos of humans is they do not want to die. Therefore the Logos for humans is to avoid death by doing x, y, z. There is no solution to the is-ought problem, there is only the reality that we want to change reality and use logic to do so. If you are in an argument with someone and you are not changing their passions or changing their understanding of reality, no amount of logic will change their minds. Only once their desires have changed can logic be used to realize those desires.

It’s not enough for conservatives to put forth logical plans to conserve American freedom because only the desire for freedom can give life to the logic of those plans. If freedom isn’t wanted, it would be illogical to pursue it.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dunno Much ‘Bout History

 

A couple of days ago, I overheard two of my colleagues talking about football. One of the mentioned the red and yellow uniform of the San Francisco Forty-Niners. I spoke up:

“The uniform is red and gold, not yellow.”

“Yellow, gold, what’s the difference?”

“It’s gold, because they’re the Forty-Niners.”

“What do you mean.”

“You do know what a ‘Forty-Niner’ is, right?”

“A football player.”

“Yes, but what is the team named after?”

“I don’t know.”

“The ‘Forty-Niners?’ 1849? The California Gold Rush?”

{Blank stare}

Years ago, I was working in a section with two doctors about my age, another, much younger, nurse and a still-younger tech. The docs and I were talking and the name Eva Braun came up. Neither the nurse or the tech had any idea who she was. At first I thought they were kidding, and said “Hitler’s girlfriend.” Nope. Never heard of her.

Now we know why idiotic ideas like “(Insert Republican president here) is worse than Hitler,” “The US today is a dystopia,” or “Donald Trump is a greater president than Abraham Lincoln” gain traction. Our glorious educational system has apparently stopped teaching history.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

 

First, let me say that this morning was not the end of the world. But I could not possibly have packed in more upset, frustration, or mishaps than I experienced this morning. And it all happened in the first half-hour of waking up.

My clock radio went off at 6:40 a.m. Earlier in the day, I had corrected the volume because the volume had been so soft the morning before that I almost didn’t hear it go off.

Well, we heard it this morning—blasting both me and my husband wide awake.

I guess I’d over-corrected. Especially since my husband usually is able to sleep through it. After correcting the volume and turning off the radio, I went to the other end of the room to continue getting dressed for my morning walk.

Suddenly, the radio was blasting again! What? My husband calls out and as I raced to shut it off, I realize that I’d only punched the radio on/off button (not the alarm) and put it into snooze mode.

Okay. Apologies to my hubby. I finished getting dressed.

I quietly closed the bedroom door and on my way to the kitchen, I pick up my heavy winter coat, mittens, scarf, and a knitted hat that I’d placed on the sofa the night before. I dumped them on the kitchen island and began to dress up for the horrible cold (40 degrees!)

Warm jacket—check!

Knitted hat—check!

Mittens–

Mittens? One mitten? What?

I ran over to the closet where the items were all stored before I took them out the night before.

No mitten.

Then I glanced at the sofa. There’s that pathetic little mitten clinging to the arm of the sofa.

I rushed over to get it; now I’m worried about running late because I have breakfast with friends later. So I put on all my warm clothes, my headphones and reach for my MP3.

No MP3.

It was not on the counter where I was sure I’d placed it the night before.

Now I’m getting upset. Okay, I must have left the MP3 on my desk after charging it, which meant I had to open the bedroom door and go to the other end of the house to my computer. I check my desk.

No MP3.

I made this same trip three times because the MP3 did not miraculously appear on the kitchen island or on the desk and I knew it had to be somewhere. As quiet as I tried to be, my husband asked me later why I came through the bedroom three times. Sigh.

I finally decided to walk without my MP3. Sorry, Andrew Klavan.

When I returned from my brisk walk, something made me move a large dish with a lip that rests on the kitchen island.

There was the MP3.

Let’s just say that after a hot shower and having breakfast with my friends, I felt some of my sanity return.

For now.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Need to Get in on This Action…..

 

So a North Dakota company named Fisher Sand and Gravel has won a $400 million contract to build … wait for it … 31 miles of border wall.

Some thoughts:

That’s around $12.9 million per mile or $2,444 per foot.

If that budget is accurate then we are only looking at around $6.5 billion for the entire border. I know there isn’t going to be a wall on the entire border plus some sections would obviously be harder than others but I was just curious how the numbers looked.

Actually, I would love to see the scope and specs on this to see what was actually priced. That’s a bunch of money (seems like about twice what tilt wall concrete would be) but no one works cheap for the government and their specs can be ridiculous.

It says in the article that the company “claimed” that they can build the wall faster than the Corps of Engineers. I would say this is more a statement of fact than a “claim.” The Corps is part of the government and the government does not do “fast.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mothers and Fathers

 

My number four son is now a police officer, a few months into his first year on the job. He spends his evenings and nights driving his patrol car around a New England city, staying awake, keeping the peace.

He tells me that about once a week he responds to a domestic call involving a minor. With few exceptions, they’re variations on the same theme: a single mother with one child, a son, who is unruly and defiant and whom she can’t control. My son tells me that his department responds to at least one of these every day — this in a relatively small city.

He had one case where the boy was ten years old. The lad refused to put on his seat belt, so his mother called 911.

I think it’s hard for most women to discipline children, particularly sons. I think some women fear that they’ll lose the love of their sons if they say “no.” Beyond that, I think many, perhaps most, women simply don’t want to be the heavy, the no-nonsense voice of authority. It’s a role many men don’t mind playing (and one I always enjoyed), but one mothers would rather delegate to fathers.

Boys and girls need fathers. But we can’t talk about that, about the roles fathers play, if we have to pretend that men and women are the same, or that their differences are trivial and mutable.

And that is perhaps the most important reason why we should reject calls for respectful compliance with the trans nonsense, and encourage a clearer understanding of sexual reality — of men and women and how we differ.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Remember, Ice Age Is Coming

 

Dr. Sheldon Cooper would be devastated, Leonard Nimoy was wrong:

The problem is presented diametrically differently, but the solution remains the same.

The environmentalist scares arent about the scientific data, but about the politics. They realize that their ‘solutions’ are politically unpopular, in order to make these ‘solutions’ seem palatable, the population has be scared into dramatic actions.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Delayed Innovation

 

Sometimes the best thing that can happen to an inventor is for him to be ignored.

Take for example German archery enthusiast Jörg Sprave. He pitched his bow designs to manufacturers for years. None purchased his plans. But Sprave did not idly wait for broader success. He continued to iterate until building something he wished he had thought of years ago. 

There are many examples of engineers, artists, and other creators who benefited from a period of obscurity. Rather than share their first ideas, they could share their best ideas. 

Which innovators or inventions spring to your mind?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Museum Exhibits Sexism and Racism

 

I realize this may be shocking to some of you, but the brain trust at the very woke Baltimore Museum of Art, in the nation’s cleanest, most law-abiding and best-managed city, has become even more woke, (or woker, workier, wokey). BMA Director Christopher Bedford (who could be suffering from guilt for his apparent gender and skin color) and those who report to this privileged white male, including BMA Chief Curator Asma Naeem (who clearly deserves the BMA’s directorship much more) have decided not to purchase any artwork in 2020 if it was created by a…wait for it…a man!

One must assume that this means a cis-gendered man who knows that he was born a man with the generally accepted anatomical features associated with being a male of the human species and prefers to be recognized and behave as a male and not necessarily males who prefer to identify or behave as females (or their flouncy, flamboyant conception of females) or perhaps even other species (I’m obviously very concerned about the under-representation of our Otherkin community).

Per Director Bedford:

“This is how you raise awareness and shift the identity of an institution. You don’t just purchase one painting by a female artist of color and hang it on the wall next to a painting by Mark Rothko. To rectify centuries of imbalance, you have to do something radical.”

Totally radical, man…of white privilege. Totally. No mention of Otherkins, though. Pity.

And Ms. Naeem added (emphasis mine):

“The challenges are systemic and widespread, because many of the works in local donors, local patrons’ collections are traditionally made by male artists. There are these various subtle but consistent, pervasive markers of what is considered creative achievement, and we are trying to reset all of those markers.”

What those “subtle but consistent, pervasive markers of what is considered creative achievement” are exactly Ms. Naeem does not explain. But it would be just like a white Scottish-Irish-German-American man of it must-be-said, questionable privilege, to insist that a woman of color clarify what the heck she is talking about. Shame on me.

It should be clear, from Ms. Naeem and Director Bedford (her boss man) then that local donors and local patrons are responsible in maintaining the oppressive patriarchy by controlling what people see and thus warping the minds of successive generations of oppressed women especially to venerate primarily the artistic works of white men. It is, well, simply outrageous that museums and art galleries like the BMA have been bullied for decades to conform to these male-dominated attitudes. Obviously, white men, and no doubt very powerful, wealthy and arrogant white men, whether museum curators, collectors, donors, patrons (not matrons, of course), robber barons, philanthropists, and other vile and disgusting males, have, over the centuries, oppressed women, particularly women of color (one would assume skin colors like yellow ochre, raw umber, burnt sienna, and various pigments of black) throughout the fine arts, in an effort to keep their artistic visions from being seen and their voices from being heard. Oh, the injustice! I’m verklempt.

Hopefully, these paintings in the BMA of privileged white men will be taken down immediately and permanently stored in a dark corner of the museum’s basement to avoid poisoning the minds of visitors. Why in the world, they were allowed to be shown in the first place boggles the mind.

From NPR:

A 2019 study of 18 major U.S. art museums found that 87% of artists in their collections are men, and 85% of the artists are white. Another study earlier this year found that up to 10% of art galleries don’t have a single woman among the artists they represent.

A long-standing gender imbalance needs to be corrected and corrected it shall be as NPR continues to “report”:

The BMA isn’t alone in working to correct this longstanding gender imbalance. The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington has 5,500 objects in its collections and presents 10 exhibits featuring female artists each year.

BMA chief curator Asma Naeem told The Washington Post that the 2020 program is an effort at “re-correcting the canon.”

Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Victor Hugo, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and hundreds of other white males have been successfully purged from several humanities courses on college campuses in the United States and Canada in an effort to re-correct the longstanding gender-imbalanced canon of literature, it was only a matter of time that the art world man-up woman-up and follow suit.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Three Melancholy Poems

 

I haven’t been around here for quite awhile while I dealt with some things. Mostly, politics was driving me crazy so I stepped out for a bit. I didn’t want to make a big explanatory exit, so I just left … and now I’m back.

It’s been quite a year. While there have been many happy occasions—one son married, another son returned home after two years in Tijuana—I’ve also faced plenty of personal dissappointment and the feeling that little bits of my heart were gradually being stripped away. On the plus side, I’ve done a lot of writing and it looks like I’ll probably publish another volume of poetry by the end of next year. Today I’m sharing three more personal poems that won’t be included in that volume. They kind of ecompass the tectonic shifts in my world this year.

This first one I wrote the day before my oldest son get married.

The second I wrote right before my dad passed away unexpectedly from a freak diagnosis of agressive leukemia. I thought he’d live another 10 years and then suddenly he was gone.

Finally, as my children grow up and move on, I find I’m beginning to lose my sense of direction. We are no longer the center of each other’s attention.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Powerful Women and the Men Who Love Them

 

“If this movie doesn’t make money, it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.” That was what actress/producer Elizabeth Banks said in response to her film Charlie’s Angels tanking at the box office to the tune of 13 million dollars and change.

Huh? Wait a second. I’m a man, and I have a coffee mug named Ripley.

Ripley was the no-nonsense leader from Aliens. She single-handedly took out a colony of Xenomorphs. She went toe to toe with their queen.

I freaking loved that.

And I’m not alone. Ask any guy to list their favorite action movies and I’ll bet you’ll get votes for films from the Star Wars, Alien, and The Terminator franchises. Several of these contain incredibly strong female main characters — Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, Rey, Princess Leia, and Jyn Erso, to name a few.

So Elizabeth Banks is wrong. Men will spend money to see women in action movies, with one caveat: The movies must not suck.

Her logic is based on a misguided perception of misogyny, which is ironic, considering that Banks’ most profitable role to date was in The Hunger Games franchise, a wildly popular series of films with a strong female lead. The later Hunger Games films didn’t do as well as the first two, but that wasn’t because men didn’t want to see strong women; on the contrary, Katniss, the main character, became increasingly unlikable as the story moved on. The Hunger Games franchise went from being a fun action movie to a thoughtful message film filled with pseudo-psychological commentary.

Whatever. I just wanted to see more exploding arrows.

Don’t get me wrong, I love many genres of film. But with an action movie, all I really want to see is, well, some cool action with characters I care about. I want to root for them, and I couldn’t care less whether or not their armor is designed to fit curves.

Here is a shocker: Success at the box office has little to do with the gender of the cast and much more to do with good writing and quality acting. Making a film with all-female leads for the express purpose of making a statement about female empowerment always looks dumb, because it is. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has tons of great female characters, but the girl-power-pander scene in Avengers Endgame was cringe-worthy. So was the record scratch cue up of No Doubt’s I’m Just a Girl playing during Captain Marvel’s main fight scene. Both scenes were overtly in-your-face ways of saying, “See. We’ve got girls. And they’re really tough, too.” The scenes were unnecessary, and they actually served the opposite purpose of marginalizing the characters on multiple levels.

Great action movies don’t beat the protagonist’s gender over our heads. The characters shine because we care about who they are and what they’re going through. Gender may play a significant role in a certain hero’s journey, but that is not why we love them. Case in point: Sarah Connor.

Sarah Connor’s journey began in The Terminator (1984) where she was depicted as the farthest thing from a hero one could draw up. She played the damsel in distress for most of the film; tried to run away, was very much the victim. We watched her evolve as she learned of her importance to future events and went through a little hell before finally stepping up in the movie’s third-act, becoming the unlikely hero. She was feminine, she was frightened by scary things, but she learned how to push past that fear to accomplish the mission.

By the time Terminator 2 came around, Sarah Connor had surpassed Leia Organa as the second most badass woman in film (it’s hard to top Ripley) and we — men who love action movies — adored her. She wasn’t sexy, she wasn’t funny, and she was emotionally unstable. That’s pretty much the archetype of the girl you want to avoid. But Sarah Connor got away with that, because she could pump a 12-gauge pistol-grip shotgun with one arm. She could look a killer cyborg in the eye and tell it to go [expletive] itself. And her motivation wasn’t some modernist notion of social justice girl power. No, she fought for the most basic, the most feminine of all motivations: To protect her offspring.

The most recent film to elicit this kind of reaction to a strong female character was Emily Blunt’s performance in A Quiet Place. That film ended with her character wielding a shotgun as well, but that wasn’t what made her amazing. What impressed guys like me was the way she managed to deliver a baby all by herself, in relative silence, with killer aliens in the next room. That was awesome. Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley would have given her props for that move.

There is a deleted scene on the Director’s Cut of Aliens where we see Ellen Ripley returning to Earth after being marooned in deep-space cryosleep for fifty-seven years. She discovers that while she was away, her daughter died an old woman, and it’s a loss that ignites her motherly instinct later in the film when she chooses to postpone her own escape to take on that massive colony of acid-spewing Xenomorphs a third time — alone, because all but one of her Marines have been killed — to rescue a little girl.

A little while ago I went with some men to see the latest iteration of Sarah Connor on the big screen in Terminator: Dark Fate. Sarah Connor is now in her sixties, with grey hair and wrinkles that Clint Eastwood would appreciate. Once again, she was awesome. She was tough, vulnerable, made mistakes, and had to swallow her pride a few times. But she could still go toe to toe with a Terminator.

That is the kind of female action hero we want. Not the kind that denies her femininity, but the one who gains power from it.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the New Paganism

 

“Their god is something which they created themselves, a being who is always prepared to oblige and excuse them. They do not worship him with awe and respect, indeed they do not worship him at all. They reveal that their so-called god is no god at all in their talk. For they are forever saying that ‘they simply cannot believe that God will punish the unrepentant sinner to all eternity, and this and that.’ They cannot believe that God will do so, therefore, they draw the conclusion that God does not and will not. In other words, God does what they believe he ought to do or not do. What a false and blasphemous conception of God! How utterly untrue and unworthy! Such is the new paganism of today.” — Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a young doctor in 1920s London. His boss, Lord Horder, asked him to make a catalog of their patients. LJ soon realized that most of their clientele, the best and brightest of their time, had medical problems due to their lifestyle (ate too much, drank too much, etc.). He soon decided that people had a spiritual problem. In this advent season, it is important to look beyond the headlines of the day.

Here’s a BBC interview he did in 1970.

Two of his sermons.

One

Two

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

(CNN)A man who was slammed by a Chicago police officer during a Thanksgiving day arrest was charged Sunday with aggravated battery of a police officer. The incident, which was captured on a widely circulated video, led to the officer being assigned to desk duty pending a use of force investigation by the Chicago Office of […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Managerial Revolution

 

Although I’ve long known that there was a book titled The Managerial Revolution, it was only a few days ago that I started to read it. Somehow I hadn’t even been aware that the author (James Burnham) was the same person who wrote The Suicide of the West, which I read many years ago.

I decided to read The Managerial Revolution because I thought its description of the managerial revolution in the world of business might give me some insights into the development and nature of the Deep State. What I hadn’t realized was that the book is about the Deep State (or the Administrative State, which is nearly the same thing). Although the book was published in 1941, it seems to be describing what is happening now.

Kindle says I’m only 41 percent of the way through the book. One puzzling note is that so far in the book Burnham has not talked about the explicit agenda of the Progressive Movement to create a managerial state. Maybe the book will get there yet.

Has anyone else in the Ricochet community read it? I don’t recall it ever being mentioned here.