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Delay and Humiliate


I’ve had enough.

My husband and I have been on vacation for 10 days, so I’ve not been on Ricochet very much, but it’s hard to ignore the hysteria of the mainstream media and the hand-wringing of the right-leaning media. After reading parts of the letter from Christine Blasey Ford’s attorney Saturday at the last 2:30 pm deadline, I think the path forward for Republicans is obvious.

The comment that sent me over the edge was the disrespectful comment of Ford’s attorney to Senator Chuck Grassley saying that the committee’s responses—

. . . are fundamentally inconsistent with the committee’s promise of a fair, impartial investigation into her allegations.

We are disappointed with the leaks and the bullying that have tainted the process. We are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details.

If it wasn’t clear before this response from the attorney, the goal of humiliating Republicans and delaying the confirmation vote is crystal clear. It’s time for the Republicans to take swift and deliberate action. As I see the situation, they have two choices:

Option #1–They should state there will be no further negotiations. In fact, I’d be pleased to see them say that they should never have begun a negotiation process, given the questionable conditions under which these allegations were made. Ms. Ford is invited to come on Wednesday, which she’d already agreed to do. Her lawyer can interview her and Judge Kavanaugh, and Judge Kavanaugh’s lawyer (I believe she’s a woman) can interview both of them as well. Or the Senate Judiciary Committee can interview her in a private session; those are her choices. Then a vote of the committee will be taken. If this is not acceptable and she doesn’t agree to these conditions, she can renege on her agreement to come. A vote will be taken that day or the next.

Option #2–The Republicans can agree to continue on this path which is designed to last beyond the November elections. No matter how accommodating the Republicans are, the Democrats will condemn them. This option has only a disastrous outcome for Republicans, and the Democrats will take the majority in the mid-terms. Kavanaugh will be dumped and a candidate the Democrats favor for the Supreme Court will be nominated and voted in.

With either #1 or #2, the outcomes may work against the Republicans in the elections. My hope is that the Committee proceeds with Option #1 and that we at least get Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. I’m hopeful there are enough people (including women) who are appalled at the actions of Ms. Ford and the Democrats, and will see through their unconscionable plan and vote for a Republican Senate majority. And I recognize that with Kavanaugh on the bench, the Democrats will continue to investigate him if they win the election. He should be consulted to determine if he’s willing to go through that process.

If nothing else, we will see if the Republicans have a backbone.

Your thoughts?

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No one is corroborating Ford’s story


Eric Ericsson has tweeted that: Smyth denies it under penalty of perjury Judge… Kavanaugh… Keyser… Ford refuses to testify under oath. She has no evidence. She can’t remember the date or the place. The committee should vote Monday on Kavanaugh.

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God Bless Him And Those Like Him


Damn few left.

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Book Review: Hidden and Triumphant


Hidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography, by Irina Yazykova (translated by Paul Grenier), is a short work on how Russian Orthodox iconography, and indeed Christianity itself, survived the Soviets, found renewal in the Russian diaspora, survived the Nazis, spread into the greater Orthodox diaspora abroad, and returned home to its roots. As destructive as the Soviets were in their closure, desecration, and demolition of churches, not only were they unable to ever entirely squelch Christianity, but the very people they exiled were able to maintain the faith and provide outside inspiration and support to their people trapped within their homeland.

That traditional iconography survived the Soviets is remarkable in itself, yet that it survived at all as more than a novelty or as primitive folk art is just as significant. Iconography, introduced during the conversion of Kievan Rus by Byzantium, developed its own Russian voice and style in the centuries after Byzantium’s conquest by the Ottomans, entering into a sort of golden age under such masters as Rublev during the 16th and 17th centuries. Yet first, due to the schism with the Old Believers, and especially under the modernizing reforms of Peter the Great, much of that history was deliberately destroyed or hidden away. From the time of Peter up until the eve of the disaster of World War I, Russian liturgical art was very often little distinguished from that of western European styles, save that its topics remained Orthodox and Russian in character. Older, traditional icons, blackened with age and soot, were removed and relegated to barns or backwater churches far from the artistic centers of the major cities, and nearly the only practitioners of traditional iconography were rural artists or peasants. Yet in that final generation before the Great War, these old masters were being rediscovered as these older panels were unearthed, cleaned, and restored, often for the first time in centuries, and Russian artists set about re-appraising their older traditions.

World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution ended that renewal at home. And yet, as many Orthodox Russians fled the newly-created Soviet Union, they took with them these rediscovered forms, and in their communities of the diaspora, particularly in France, they laid the foundation for new schools of Russian liturgical art. Yazykova profiles a number of such artists as they created new works for their churches in exile, and how they influenced new generations of iconographers, or changed what had been traditional roles. In pre-Revolutionary Russia, for instance, only men could be iconographers in paint, while women were restricted to embroidered forms, yet with such a small community abroad, and the need to construct new churches in the expatriate communities, women stepped forward for the first time as skilled iconographers in their own right. Sister Joanna Reitlinger, for instance, was a prolific artist, as was the highly skilled Mother Juliana (nee Maria Nikolaevna Sokolova), both of whom returned to Russia after the death of Stalin in order to continue their work and teach Russians (often in secret) in their own lands again.

Russian iconographers continued to work abroad in other media as well, with Gregory Kroug writing in frescos, or Leonid Ouspensky in woodcarving. Mother Maria Skobtsova produced beautiful embroideries, though her life was cut short during the Nazi occupation when she was sent to a concentration camp (as were many other Russians in France). Yazykova details the lives of these artists in exile, and how they trained succeeding generations, especially when allowed to return home as the persecutions waned. As the Soviets realized, especially after the death of Stalin, that they had lost or destroyed a significant part of Russian culture, they began to invite some of the exiles home to assist in the restoration of some of the churches and monasteries that they had desecrated in the prior decades.

The closing chapters of the book cover the period of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the new flowering of Russian iconographic art both at home and abroad, and the current challenges to iconographers as they work both to preserve the old forms, and to continue their development in new ways. Well over half of the churches in Russia were closed by the Soviets, and often turned to other purposes, left to rot, or otherwise desecrated, so the demand for artists today is quite high as these churches are gradually handed back to the faithful and restored. And iconography, preserved during the exile, is in high demand the world over too, with many icon writers’ works being installed abroad. The book’s cover, a photograph of a massive banner of the icon of the Resurrection, hanging in Red Square, is a fitting sign of the restoration of the Orthodox Church at the end of the Soviet era.

The book itself only runs a shade under 200 pages, but it tells a far-reaching story within those limits and takes the reader through an understanding of iconography’s role in Orthodoxy, as well as the history of the Russian church. There are a number of color plates with examples of the various artists’ works, including surviving ones from the medieval period of Russian history. It is an excellent volume for anyone with an interest in liturgical art, or in Russian history.

Hidden and Triumphant, The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography
Irina Yazykova
Paraclete Press, 2010

On a personal note: One factor in the survival of Russian iconography that the author does not discuss is how the Soviet Union, though it engaged in wanton destruction of Christian artwork, also preserved a great deal of it rather inadvertently. Being always cash poor, for a number of years it actively sold off, or turned a blind eye to the smuggling of many of its icons. Many museums and private collectors abroad have acquired these over the years, and in Clinton, Massachusetts there is a small museum with a significant collection. The Museum of Russian Icons was founded by an American industrialist with an interest in religious artwork and is a donation of his personal collection of over 100 icons he acquired over several decades. If you are ever in the area, it is well worth a visit.

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Providing a Service People Want Isn’t “Exploitation”


A Harvard survey last month found that a slim majority of millennials reject capitalism, and with the quality of media reporting about business and the economy, it’s not hard to guess why. (Not to mention the pitiful state of economics education in public high schools.) The Washington Post published a story today that perfectly illustrates the extent of the problem in a single sentence.

The story is about single women in China who have passed their early 20s without a husband, which they say brings shame to their families and have turned to “love markets” as a last resort. Turns out that some entrepreneurs have started companies to help these women find husbands. These are more than dating websites. The companies train the women in man-finding techniques and search cities to help them locate eligible men.

In setting the scene, the Post reporter wrote: “Out of this social climate, a multimillion-dollar industry has emerged that exploits the fears and loneliness of a generation.”


This is a media bias twofer. It’s clear-cut editorializing in a news story, portraying the companies as coldly taking advantage of vulnerable women. It’s also an exhibit of leftist economic rhetoric that suggests an open hostility to market capitalism.

Reading the whole story, it’s evident that the working women want this service because they find it highly valuable. One of the business owners started his company after having found himself in a similar position — he couldn’t find a wife.

There’s clearly a market demand being met here. No one in the story complains about the prices or the services. Everyone’s getting something they want in a voluntary exchange in an open market. Yet the reporter editorializes that the companies are exploiters of women.

To better understand the problem of the thinking here, imagine that China had companies that offered these services to men but not to women, so as not to “exploit” their fears and loneliness. What are the odds that a major US media organization would characterize this discrimination as honorable and respectful vs. sexist and discriminatory?

I think the odds are zero. The story would be: Chinese “love markets” serve only men, leaving women fearful and lonely.

In this case, businesses are arguably empowering Chinese women to maintain high-paying careers by letting them outsource their mate search for a fee. Successful career women have found it hard to date. They’re therefore lonely. They want help. Companies enter the scene offering something these career women want — a connection to a potential husband — for something they have lots of — money. Through the market, these women are finding a way to have a career and find a husband in a culture that has not made that easy for them. And the Post calls the businesses that are enabling this Western feminist goal exploiters of women.

If you want to understand why young people have a negative opinion of capitalism, consider the number of times every day this kind of anti-capitalist, anti-market rhetoric likely seeps into the culture, coloring the way people think about businesses and markets.