Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Democrats Have Again Set Off a Civil War

I was watching the miniseries entitled Grant on the History Channel. Grant was arguably the greatest General and strategic thinker we have seen. The Civil War was fought to save the union, and to end, finally, slavery in this country.  Now, the same party  that  insisted that slavery must continue is now initiating another civil war. Please go and read Dr. Jack Devere  Minzey's article Civil Wars: How Do They Happen? for a good analysis of the situation we find ourselves in today.  Minzey:
Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree that elections are how you decide who’s in charge. That’s the basic issue here Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.
The Mueller investigation was about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. But it’s not the first time they’ve done this. The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.
What do sure odds of the Democrats rejecting the next Republican president really mean? It means they don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win. It means they don’t believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections. That’s a civil war.
The emphasis is mine. The Democrats, aka The Left, have been rejecting any election they do not win. There can be only one outcome, and if the Left does not win, they do not accept it. In their minds, it is illegitimate.  Even as more and more evidence keeps coming out that shows that the Russia collusion hoax was a frame up job done by the Democrat party and its operatives in the Deep State,  Barr has already indicated that many of these people will not be prosecuted,  I ca not say he is wrong in his reasoning, but if justice is not served,  this will keep happening.

When the same party decided to secede from the union in 1861, and then fired on Fort Sumter, initiating the first Civil War, the only way the rebellion was put down was by total warfare.  Then the "enemy" was regional.  Now, they are among us.  This will not be a strictly military affair.  Still, groups like Antifa and Black lives Matter serve as a sort of military wing of the Democrat party.  The media, particularly the social media, serve as the propaganda arm of the Democrats, while academia turns out young socialists while stripping their parents of their life savings.

Please go read the highlighted article, and plan accordingly.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

We are Not Really All In This Together

So, I got called back to my second career as a driver for a major car rental company.  Drivers deliver cars to rental locations, take deleted cars from those locations, and deliver deleted cars to dealers and auctions for sale.  While it may seem a menial and unimportant job, it is a necessary one so people, and travelers can have access to a car or truck temporarily.  Like a lot of jobs that governors seem to think are non-essential, imagine what the world would be like without drivers, rental agents, or rental companies.

Like Karen Larson, who writes at the American Thinker today, I am tired of constant assertion that we are All in this together. I go to the store and the the clerk, who is getting a pay check, has a little sign under her name tag with the message "All in this together." But we are not really all in this together.

Larson points out a number of people who were deemed non-essential by the government, but who clearly are essential to the people who use their services. From her hair dresser, to her optometrist and dentist, she wonders how these people will survive as businesses. After all, it is not merely rent that is a problem, but the capitol cost of the very expensive equipment that these specialists have to have to do their work. And then there are the doctors, cardiologists, and other doctors who are getting unemployment checks, but whose patients do not have the use of their services.
I think of all the doctors who have been unable to see patients for the past several months: cardiologists, oncologists, and so many more with patients whose conditions have not been suspended for the time being. Too bad for them. They are not magically improving while waiting to be seen sometime later when the goalposts stop moving. And the physicians — essential to their patients — are sequestered at home, picking up unemployment checks?
As so many have noted, none of these services, or jobs are truly non-essential. If someone is willing to pay for it, it is an essential service to that person. There truly are no non-essential jobs. And we are not really "All in this together" Just as in Animal Farm we are all equal, but some of us are more equal than others.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

It's What Leftists Do

I have mentioned before the importance of music, and of course the other arts, drama, painting and sculpture, to the human spirit.  Now, not all music is created equal.  Some music composed by geniuses, is timeless.  Mozart's A Little Night Music is one such. Yes, it is composed as an entertainment, but it is more than simply an entertainment. Then there are the great hymns that have accompanied worship and prayer over the centuries; hymns like Christ is Risen Today Other music is unfortunately crap best forgotten, or pablum meant to file the silence with sound to distract us from the banality of our own thoughts. Never the less, music is one evidence of the existence of the God of Creation. For the is no practical value to music, and yet nearly everyone at least has a capacity to appreciate music, and both sing music or play an instrument are common accomplishments.

As in Massachusetts, where Nick Chase writes of the lockdowns that They Killed Everything Beautiful, local culture has been shut down for months now, and parts of it permanently damaged.
At first the various events managers postponed their concerts and shows, assuming this was just a temporary delay. But after two or three weeks it became obvious that the bureaucrats were going to push this overwrought quarantine into overdrive, and they began cancelling.
Overseas orchestras and soloists cancelled their tours because they couldn't fly into the U.S. Music Worcester's entire spring concert season, cancelled. Mechanics Hall in Worcester, one of the top dozen concert halls in the country because of its acoustical perfection, closed. Tuckerman Hall, also a very fine and beautiful space, open but with few events and no musical events. All concerts by local groups, cancelled because the performers were unable to meet and rehearse. Worcester's magnificent Hanover Theatre (home for touring Broadway shows), shuttered. July 4 fireworks and concert by the Massachusetts Symphony in Worcester's East Park, gone.
The damage reaches across the state. Symphony Pro Musica's (Hudson) spring and summer events, cancelled. July concerts by the Concord Band at Fruitlands (outdoor museum), kaput. The Boston Symphony Orchestra's performances in Symphony Hall, silenced. The entire summer season of concerts at Tanglewood (the BSO's summer home) in the Berkshires, cancelled, an enormous blow to the tourist season in that area. Worcester Art Museum, Fitchburg Art Museum, Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, all closed.
Locally, we have a coffee shop called Lorraine's Coffee House and Music. It is, obviously, a small business that features live music by local talent on the weekends. I attended one of the last shows before the lockdown. Lorraine's has been subsisting by drive through coffee sales. But you wonder how long they will hold on, even after the state is cautiously opening up. Such establishments are allowed to operate only at significantly reduced capacity.  Yet,because they operate on a razor thin margin, one wonders how they will make ends meet.  We also have larger venues including the PNC Arena, which hosts big professional acts, and of course Red Hat Amphitheater in downtown Raleigh, where music is staged al fresco with events like the World Of Bluegrass.

Church services have fortunately returned, so music associated with religious services has resumed.  But other music requires performers to rehears together.  Practicing by yourself only goes so far.  To perform on a stage one ust rehears exactly like you are going to perform.  Sound check have to be done.  The timing, play list, encores, and much more has to be worked out.  And of course, there is no way to "'social distance" on a crowded stage.  And even if all these other things can be satisfied, there is the question of whether it is economically sound to put a show on in the first place if ticket sales are 1/3 of what they were expecting.  Must musicians after all do not make a lot of money on these shows.  They largely do it because they love it.

Music and culture is just one more casualty of this soul sucking lockdown.  The public has been terrified into giving up their basic human rights, including their livelihoods, their rights to travel, to worship, to in some cases exercise, and of course their right to enjoy music. 

The Covid-19 lockdowns have given us a first hand look at living in a socialist hell hole.  It's what Leftist dictators do.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Ted Nugent Tells It Like It Is

Cal Thomas has an article at the Indy Star entitled Frustrated Americans Won't Stand For Stay-At-Home Orders Much Longer. At the conclusion of the article, he quotes rocker Ted Nugent:
Writing on his Facebook page, rock musician Ted Nugent expresses the growing frustration of many: “Why do I have to stay home just because π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ are scared? How about π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ stay home….π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ stay in π˜†π—Όπ˜‚π—Ώ house indefinitely, π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ wear a mask, π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ socially distance yourself from me, π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ avoid restaurants, π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ avoid baseball games, π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ stay off the roads, π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ avoid malls and beaches and parks… I’m done playing π˜†π—Όπ˜‚π—Ώ dumb game…I’m no longer going to be a prisoner of your fear. I’m no longer staying in my house or catering to π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ because π˜†π—Όπ˜‚ are scared…𝗬𝗒𝗨π—₯ fear is not an excuse to destroy America. 𝗬𝗒𝗨π—₯ fear is not my fear and your fear does not have the right to interfere with my life, my job, my income or my future as a free American citizen.”
This is the thing, right there. If you are scared, YOU stay at home. Why should I have to stay home because YOU are afraid. Everyone must evaluate his or her own risks, and take such precautions as he or she deems will best. As the saying goes, "you picks your poison and takes your chances." Everything in life involves risk.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Democrats, thy name is Tyranny!

Channeling Jonathon Swift, Christopher Paslay has penned a satirical piece at the American Thinker today entitled You're Nonessential - Keep Your Mouth Shut in which he posits that there are now two Americas; one composed of essential "heros" and the other of nonessential nobodies. This reminds of Jonathon Swift's famous satire A Modest Proposal during the Irish Potato Famine.

Paslay's article similarly proposes that those not named as "nonessential workers" should accept their fate and just go away:
COVID-19 America has realigned itself into a two-part caste system, one made up of the essential hero, and the other comprised of the selfish, nonessential coward. Essential heroes, like those who work in grocery stores, hospitals, Walmarts, and deliver for Amazon, are deserving of our admiration and praise. They risk their lives every day so we can have food, medical care, Egyptian bath towels, and cute panda knickknacks. And by “risk their lives,” I mean that if they are under the age of 60 and do not have an underlying medical condition, they may get a dry cough, runny nose, body aches, and be in bed for a week or so.
My wife is one of these essential workers. She’s a clinician at a small hospital in Philadelphia, where dozens of people have tested positive for COVID-19. In the middle of April she too tested positive, and subsequently gave the virus to me. Luckily, our symptoms were minor (she had a dry cough for a day, and I had lethargy and body aches for about a week), and we quickly recovered. When my wife returned to work after her 14-day quarantine, there was a big sign on the front lawn that read, Heroes Work Here. Although she was completely recovered and COVID-free, she still had to take a deep breath to keep from vomiting.
...snip...
Not everybody is an essential worker, of course. Not everybody is worthy of keeping their job and livelihood, their salary and benefits, their ability to provide for their family. Many people in America -- some 36 million and counting -- are nonessential workers. And these people -- just let me tell you -- the nerve of them. They actually want to count too! They actually want to be able to make a living? Ha! That’s funny. Our government, and all of our really smart scientists like Dr. Fauci, have already been through this a hundred times. Nonessential workers, and their means of making a living, are not important or “safe.” Their businesses, churches, goods and services, don’t count. Their physical and mental well-being, and that of their loved ones, must be sacrificed to allow the real heroes to carry on being heroes, and doing the difficult work of getting paid and supporting their families. It’s already been decided by the governors, like Gretchen Whitmer, and Gavin Newsom, and Tom Wolf, and Tony Evers.
Of course, it gets better. I have made the point before that every business is essential to those employed by it, which is true enough. But even more so, every business that is successfully making a profit for its owner is essential to someone. Tattoo parlors? Some people want tattoos, and are willing to pay for them. I don't get it, but I don't have to, do I? But I could use a hair cut right about now, so to me a barber shop is essential.

The economy is actually a complex and chaotic environment in which pricing determines where resources will go.  It is too chaotic for a mere cabal of  "experts" to determine.  How many cars should be produced this year?  What if, instead of cars, the market demand is for vans to carry goods and equipment, but the "experts" didn't plan for that?  What you get is the old Soviet Union and their  5 Year Plans.  But not a single 5 Year Plan was ever successful.  They routinely had to purchase grains and other goods from the West because their ambitious 5 year plans failed to deliver.

Oh, and the Dow Jones averages, the Nasdaq and other indexes are crude measurements of a part of the economy, they are not THE economy.  While these indexes do reveal what people who are willing to risk their money on important parts of the price driven markets, even they should not be taken as gospel.

Which gets me to our own Gov. Andrew Cuomo "mini me" Roy Cooper, who graciously decided not to appeal a Federal judges's ruling that his disparate treatment of churches and retail outlets was discriminatory.  Thank you sir and can we have another?  Of course, we will have to observe social distancing and the wearing of face diapers...er...masks. Cooper has not been quite as draconian as Cuomo, but he has been bad enough. It amazes me that so many go along with his diktats, despite evidence that most of it is arbitrary. Instead of taking in the expert opinions and data, then make rational decisions for themselves as adults, people seem to e satisfied with being treated as if they were children.  I have to confess to having a similar experience to Douglas Flint in a post at the American Thinker entitled A Better Name For Covid-19 Masks:
It was the first truly warm sunny spring day in the Northern Virginia area, so I was thrilled to fire up the Triumph Bonneville for the 25-minute ride to work. There weren't many people out at 6:30 A.M., and I needed to focus on my riding skills, so I wasn't doing any sight-seeing. But by evening, with temperatures in the eighties and the sun still well up in the sky, there was time to take in the view of a beautiful spring afternoon with the population coming out of hiding.
A motorcycle, especially one with an upright sitting position, gives you an unmatched view of the world around. You actually look down into cars. It would have been beautiful, except that everywhere I looked, I saw the absurdity of the face masks that seem to be growing larger by the hour. Was that a beautiful woman alone in a BMW convertible, top down, with a mask on? Everywhere along open paths and sidewalks, people were walking, jogging, running, and pedaling furiously, all with masks on. Some of the masks had grown so large that they covered from the chin to just under the eyes. And then it dawned on me: "FACE DIAPER!" And I couldn't stop laughing. Seriously, I nearly dumped my motorcycle.
The naming of essential heros and nonessential deplorables, along with the enforcement of the masks as a visible symbol of virtue is of a piece that make up the Democrats' police state tyranny. And it will continue until we the people in large enough numbers tell our "elite" that enough is enough!

Monday, May 18, 2020

How Nip This Police State In The Bud

Molly McCann, at The Federalist today tells How You Can Help Roll Back The Coronavirus Police State. The first thing that McCann makes clear is that we are now in a police state, and unless we assert our God given and Constitutionally protected rights. We are in this situation because we consented to it. And in fairness, we consented to it because we were already convinced to stay home for our own safety. It was us making our own analysis of the personal risk as well as the risk to others. That is as it should be.
Last week, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy released a three-minute video in which he vigorously ranted against the ongoing lockdowns. Portnoy’s basic point was that the goalposts have shifted from “flatten the curve” to “find a cure.” He pointed out, in blunt and colorful language, that economic suicide in pursuit of the latter goal is insanity. His video went viral.
Portnoy is not a political figure. His anger over the economic crisis and sense that, having done our best to slow the spread, we have the right to take a risk to survive, resonates with a lot of normal people.
One of Portnoy’s repeated questions throughout the video was, “When did this happen?” When did we go from flattening the curve to tanking our economy, our livelihoods, and our futures?
...snip...
Last night on Tucker Carlson, Andrew Napolitano offered a related reflection when he described a free state as “one where the laws are written to uphold personal liberties,” while the definition of a police state is “one where the laws are written, legitimately or not, to uphold what the government wants.” He went on to note that there has been a transition in America that has not been gradual: “In a period of six weeks we have gone from a free state . . . to a police state.”
Of course, one thing about a police state is that the people in power never want to give up any of that power. The unfortunate fact is that we must disabuse them of their fantasy. Now, if you are a billionaire, say, and you employ 10,000 employees in good paying jobs, say, like Tesla, you can get the petty tyrants to back down. That is what Elon Musk did. In doing so, he showed that the tyrants are all hat and no cattle. But most of us are not billionaires, and most of us have little influence.

So, how do we eventually get our liberties back?  Recognizing that most people can not afford to bring lawsuits (which is part of the strategy of these tinhorns...to starve us into submission) we an still make a difference:
We all need to step up and speak out. Everyone has a zone of influence, large or small, and when you speak, you add to a critical growing momentum.
We lose freedom ultimately because we let bad people take it from us. Freedom is not taken by force only; it is often taken slowly and quietly, with our foolish consent that is given by silence.
America was not founded to be a police or nanny state. It flourished because it was the land of the free and the home of the brave. It grew to greatness because people were willing to take risks to survive and succeed.
The one thing a police state can not tolerate is massive disobedience and mocking of the leaders. The more we express our displeasure with house arrest, and the more of a show of not consenting to their foolishness, the sooner this thing will end.t

Friday, May 15, 2020

Like Everything Else, The Gun Grabbing Left Lies About Ghost Guns

There is still plenty of news citing our "elite" politicians barking out Unconstitutional orders and demanding that you obey them, or else.  You can read about them at the American Thinker here and of course at other places around the inter-webs. But I want to highlight a recent move by the anti-gun forces to ban the so called "ghost guns." Now, a "ghost gun" is one that you build for your own personal use. It doesn't have a serial number. You are legally allowed to build such a weapon, and the fact is that nobody could stop you from doing so anyway. And of course, if you are a convicted felon who is therefore a prohibited person, you are prohibited from building a ghost gun as well.

Over at Bearing Arms today, Tom Knighton has a piece explaining Why Regulating "Ghost Guns" Is Not Practical. Knighton debunks a number of claims made by the gun grabbers including the notion that it is easy to buy what is called an 80% kit gun and finish it to produce a working firearm. It really is not so easy, nor cheap:
OK, so, instead of addressing the constitutionality of this, let’s address the practicality.
First, let’s discuss the “relatively little work” required to turn a less than 80 percent receiver into a functional one. After all, these are the words of someone who has never actually tried it. I have taken a less than 80 percent receiver and built an AK-pattern rifle with it. Yes, I used a kit for the rest of the parts, but the receiver was kind of intimidating. I only got it finished because I had the help of a gunsmith at a build party.
The “relatively little work” isn’t necessarily intuitive or easy, especially for people who aren’t particularly handy. Even then, there’s a fair bit of either work or tooling involved, often both. To call it “relatively little work” is to not understand how much work is actually involved.
Keep in mind that a good fifth of the manufacturing of these weapons is incomplete. Would many people be willing to do a fifth of the manufacturing of a car or a home? Of course not. That’s a lot of work, and it’s not really all that different.
I had considered building an M1911 pistol kit myself. I wanted to understand how the pistol functioned, and to know that I knew how to repair it should it need repair. However, I found that building the kit was a major undertaking, requiring the purchase of specialized tools, tools that I would use just once. Then there is time required to learning to use those tools with precision. By the time I added up the parts, the tools. not to mention the learning curve involved, it became clear to me that I would be better off buying a commercial M1911 pistol from the market.

Of course, I had to fill out a Form 4473, to do so, which I passed.  But once you investigate what it takes to build just one pistol, do you really think a criminal is going to invest the time, money and effort to do so when he can just steal it, or purchase a gun from black market dealer?  The whole idea behind being a criminal is so that you can gain money and other things without having to work for them.  Criminals are simply not going to go to that much trouble.

Like everything else, the gun grabbing Left lies about so called "ghost guns."

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Losing Our Fears

I wrote yesterday about what I perceived to be unreasonable, and unreasoning fear of the effects of the Covid-19 virus.  I attribute this unreasonable fear to the constant drum beat of the mainstream media constantly reporting the rising number of deaths and the supposedly rising number of cases.  But the cases are rising because more people are being tested.  As the testing continues, the actual rate of deaths as a subset of the number of cases continues to fall.

Today, Victor Hansen Davis, writing at Townhall.com has an article making the same points I did, but much more effectively, entitled Losing Our Fears In War and Plague. In that article, Davis correctly labels FDR a neo-socialist. Indeed, Roosevelt's New Deal not only did not mitigate the effects of the great depression, but arguably made it worse. Nevertheless, Roosevelt was on to something when he said that the only thing we needed to fear is fear itself. Fear is the thing that paralyzes us, causes us to doubt our abilities, and prevents us from taking actions in our own best interest. I said that Davis's article was much more effective. Let me give you a quote or two to illustrate what I mean:
A sleeping America was neutral, but it was beginning to realize it was weak and mostly unarmed in a scary world.
But by 1943, a booming U.S. economy was fielding vast military forces from Alaska to the Sahara. Britain and America were bombing the German heartland. The Soviet Red Army had trapped and destroyed a million-man German army at Stalingrad.
...snip...
Yet the key to victory was the U.S. economy. It would eventually outproduce all the major economies on both sides of the war combined.
But how did the U.S. arm so quickly, build such effective weapons so soon, and from almost nothing field a military some 12 million strong?
Neo-socialist President Franklin D. Roosevelt unleashed American business under the aegis of successful entrepreneurs such as Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company, William Knudsen of General Motors, Henry Kaiser of Kaiser Shipyards and Charles Wilson of General Electric.
Davis goes on to recount the miracle that was WWII. Seen in retrospect, it was inevitable, but seen from the perspective of Americans in December 1941, it was anything but inevitable. The key to American success during WWII was that by and large, Americans lost their fear. Davis then goes on to point out that today we are again living in fear, the fear that "we're all gonna die!" And while that it true for each of us, it doesn't mean today.  But if we want to survive, we must lose our fear and get back to work.
Most importantly, Americans lost their fears.
From 1929 to 1938, the U.S. economy was in ruins. FDR's New Deal could not restore economic growth or consumer confidence. As late as 1938, economic growth had sunk to negative 3.3 percent. Unemployment soared to an unsustainable 19 percent.
Only the threat of war terrified Americans into taking a gamble -- to work feverishly and to ramp up industry.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The High Cost Of A Lack Of Balance And Wisdom

Yesterday evening, I was involved in one of those Zoom meetings that have taken over much of the culture.  You know the ones that Progressive Insurance pans in their ads.  One of the participants was a woman who works for a local hospital, thus has a pay check coming in.  She told of how she and her team had prepared 24 ICU rooms for Covid-19 patients last Friday, but by Tuesday 17 of those patients had died.  The woman was understandably upset and emotionally distraught.  Of course, she also expressed the belief that we should not open the economy.  Believe it or not, I understand her feelings; I do.

There is one problem with this woman's attitude however.  What she sees is 17 dead bodies.  What she doesn't see, however, is the larger number of people who are, or will lose their house, their ability to put food on the table, in some cases people with other medical conditions who won't get treated because of the focus on the virus to the exclusion of anything else.

Indeed, the fear I saw among many of the participants in this meeting both surprised and disgusted me.  These people have, it seems to me, been stampeded by the media.  Now, understand that I believe this virus is particularly nasty, but it is not unprecedented in lethality.  We have experience with pandemics, and what is needed is wisdom and balance.  Indeed, that is the point of an article at the American Thinker by Andrea Widburg entitled Leftist Tyranny To Combat The Wuhan Virus Is, In Part, A Failure of Imagination.

 Widburg:
Leftist governments have decided that their overriding goal is to prevent all future virus deaths. They don’t care that the American people were told to “lockdown” just to “flatten the curve.” That was a reasonable step months ago when hospitals in Wuhan and Italy were overwhelmed. With the curve flattened here, however, leftists mayors and governors across America are so focused on stopping any viral deaths in their jurisdictions (an impossible goal) that they are blind to the greater number of deaths their economy-killing policies will create.
This is the same thought pattern we see with the gun debate. Leftists are obsessively focused on the 33,000 or so annual gun deaths in America. Those are real, countable bodies that render leftists incapable of seeing the larger picture, which is that, as we know from a 2013 CDC study, defensive gun use saves 500,000 to 3 million lives annually.
We see this thought pattern again with abortion. Democrats’ little hearts bleed when they think of women suffering from unwanted pregnancies. However, they deliberately close their eyes to the babies aborted, defining them down as fetuses (not as cute as babies) or clumps of cells.
Going back to the Zoom meeting yesterday, I believe the level of fear I saw was created by a media that knows the facts, but deliberately only reports one side because death and destruction sells air time. Secondarily, they also think that by destroying the economy, they can get Trump supporters to turn against the man.  If the media reported the facts, I believe the petty tyrants who are attempting to take away our freedoms and liberties would lose a lot of support.  I suspect though that Trump supporters will see this for what it is.

Meanwhile, over at Townhall.com John Stossel talks about a different sort of fear. In his case, fear of failure was used to spur him on to greater achievement. Indirectly, Stossel points to the fact that work is enobeling. The process of work itself gives on a sense of dignity and worth.  While work brings the possibility of failure, it also gives one a satisfaction with his life and achievements. Stossel's article can be found at Youll Freeze In The Dark!
Over time, as people depend on handouts, they often feel that their lives are no longer within their control. They become passive. They don't push through obstacles. They wait for government help.
Social scientists call this "learned helplessness."
It's the struggle to overcome obstacles that that brings fulfillment.
When government programs "take care of us," they kill off some of the best of life and make us much less productive. They don't even make people happy. If we keep giving the state more power over our lives, we will freeze in the dark.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Demonic Source of Our Global Fear of the Virus

Today's post takes as a point of departure The Federalist Radio program by Christopher Bedford interviewing Monsignor Charles Pope on the Demonic Source Of Our Global Fear, and the Lessons Liberty Loving People Must Remember About Our Hostile Government. Listen to the program at the bottom of the article. Monsignor Pope, it seems to me, is right that the fear of the virus is more than a mere conspiracy, it seems to be demonic. Listen, and decide for yourselves, gentle reader.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

If these are our "elite," what does that say about us?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dropped the charges against General Michael Flynn.  It's about time.  Indeed, they should have never been brought in the first place.  The fact that they were is owing to the profound corruption at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the various intelligence agencies, and the DOJ under Obama.  And now, in an article by Mollie Hemingway over at The Federalist entitled Obama, Binden, Oval Office Meeting On January 5 Was Key To Entire Anti-Trump Operation we learn that, just as suspected, the entire operations proceeded from orders from the top.  Hemingway writes:
A clearer picture is emerging of the drastic steps that were taken to accomplish Obama’s goal in the following weeks and months. Shortly thereafter, high-level operatives began intensely leaking selective information supporting a supposed Russia-Trump conspiracy theory, the incoming National Security Advisor was ambushed, and the incoming Attorney General was forced to recuse himself from oversight of investigations of President Trump. At each major point in the operation, explosive media leaks were a key strategy in the operation to take down Trump.
Not only was information on Russia not fully shared with the incoming Trump team, as Obama directs, the leaks and ambushes made the transition chaotic, scared quality individuals away from working in the administration, made effective governance almost impossible, and materially damaged national security. When Comey was finally fired on May 9, in part for his duplicitousness regarding his handling of the Russia collusion theory, he orchestrated the launch of a Special Counsel probe that continued his efforts for another two years. That probe ended with Mueller finding no evidence of any American colluding with Russia to steal the 2016 election, much less Trump or anyone connected to him.
An analysis of the timeline from early 2017 shows a clear pattern of behavior from the federal officials running the collusion operation against the Trump campaign. It also shows how essential media leaks were to their strategy to sideline key law enforcement and intelligence officials and cripple the ability of the incoming Trump administration to run the country.
She goes on to share a timeline of events that clearly show Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, and others acting in concert to entrap Flynn, as well as to 'create" evidence for a Russia conspiracy hoax. Of course, as always, gentle readers should read Hemingway's work at the link provided. But it may be helpful to understand why Flynn in particular was targeted. First, McCabe held a personal grudge against Flynn, that he should have put aside when performing his professional duties. The fact that he did not only shows that Flynn was right. However, the real reason is that as National Security Advisor, Flynn would have had to have been briefed on the Russia Conspiracy fraud, and would surely have led to mass firings of people involved. Flynn had to be "got."

We move on now to Derek Hunter's article today at Townhall.com entitled Simply The Worst Types of People. Hunter refers to reporting by Hemingway, both husband and wife, and others to make the point here:
We’ve known all along that his henchmen were, but it turns out Barack Obama, the “scandal-free president,” was also neck-deep in the Russia hoax and the framing of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. There’s a bitter irony in a man who spent his life serving our country being smeared by one who spent theirs attempting to break it down.
Of course, audio of a call between Obama and former staffer “leaked” where the ex-president proclaimed outrage over his plan coming to its ultimate and just end. Movies aren’t as scripted as that call and its release.
Its release was an attempt to do what Democrats attempt to do: to lie to the American people; to fool us. If there’s one thing a progressive can’t stand it’s accountability. Barack Obama and his minions don’t want any for their illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign, Democrats in Congress don’t want it for their enabling of that illegal activity, and Democrats in the media don’t want it for anything. But make no mistake, they are all the worst kinds of people, and the future of the country is dependent upon all of them being held accountable for the things they’ve done.
They manufactured a scandal, violated the civil rights of their fellow Americans, ruined lives, and won the House of Representatives for their troubles. From there, they launched an impeachment of a duly elected president of the United States over the same scam.
The entire affair is a sad, sad case. I am not sure the conspirators have any idea of the magnanimity of what they have done. First, the attempted to overthrow a duly elected President of the United States. This is no small thing, and a first in our history. This is the stuff of banana republics, not the United States. Then, the attempted to use the color of law to undermine and eventually to prosecute an innocent man whose only crime was serving the incoming President. The lies, misdirection, manufactured evidence, hiding of exculpating evidence, threats even to his defense attorneys is breathtaking. These people should all be disbarred at least, and probably should serve some prison time as well.

But, of course, the real problem may not be the people who perpetrated this destructive hoax on the American people, but may well be the American people themselves.  If these are our "elite," what does that say about us? 

Friday, May 8, 2020

Police Misbehavior Losing Support For Their Fellow Officers

Once again, Kurt Schlichter has an excellent piece on the issue of the police blindly following orders at Townhall.com entitled Dumb And Corrupt Cops Risk Losing Our Support.
A big chunk of society, mostly on the left, detests the police. It would be a really poor idea to convert the right to that point of view too. But that’s where these trends lead.
Here’s the thing – we normals respect our police not merely because they have badges and funny hats but because they take personal risks to protect us from those who would violate our rights. Usually, these violators are criminals. But the category of “People who violate our rights” also includes political hacks and bureaucratic petty fascists. And we reasonably expect to be protected from those creeps too.
“But we might get suspended or fired!” is the response.
Well, yeah. That’s correct. And that’s immaterial. We flat-out expect cops to run into gunfire to save lives, cowards like that Florida slug aside, just like we expect firemen to run into burning houses. If doing that stuff was easy and safe, they would not get respect and be honored. See, that’s the deal. They get pay and prestige, honor and respect, because they do things other people can’t or won’t for the good of the community. It’s like soldiers – the troops don’t get thanked for their service because their job is kick-back and safe.
The police have discretion in how they perform their duties. One of the things that affects that is the fact that they all take an oath to defend and protect both their State and the U. S. Constitutions. That means that whatever orders they may get must be in line with those two documents. Otherwise, the orders must not be obeyed.

Please go read Schlichter's article. His writing is typically snarky, but beneath that is a very serious issue. While most police officers do the right things most of the time, there are those that enjoy the role of petty tyrant. These need to be weeded out. Their role in society should be as servants of the people, not the peoples bosses. After all, what master who hires a servant then allows the servant to tell him what he may or may not do? For that matter, will a servant be allowed to be better armed than he or she is?

Thursday, May 7, 2020

National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer.  Interestingly, this morning during my morning prayers, I was thinking of, and praying for, our Christian communities around the world that are being persecuted around the world.  Then, I opened up the American Thinker and find an article by Lela Gilbert and Arielle Del Turco entitled National Day of Prayer: Remembering Those Suffering Worldwide For Their Faith. God does truly inspire, for while I often pray for people I know, I don't often think about the many people in far off places where fellow Christians are being persecuted.

It does truly amaze me, though, that what one Christian believes so offends others that they want to shut him up, any way they can.  It's as if they think that if Christianity becomes widespread, it might threaten their power.  But that is just crazy, right?  If Christianity became widespread in China, would that truly take down the Chinese Communist Party?  Hmmm...

Now, in places where Islam is the dominant religion, I understand the need to root out Christian belief more.  After all, while the God of Creation, maker of Heaven and Earth, with our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is worshiped by Christians, the evil one is the god of Islam, to whom the Muslims dedicate their lives and pray 5 times a day.

To believe in the Christian God is to struggle with God, the very meaning of Israel.  Indeed, that is how Jacob became Israel, by wrestling with God all night long.  Indeed, to read the Bible and try to put it into practice in our daily lives is to struggle with God and his Word:

Genesis 32:22-32 New King James Version (NKJV) Wrestling with God
22 And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them [a]over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the [b]breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He [c]touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.
26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but [d]Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the name of the place [e]Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” 31 Just as he crossed over [f]Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He [g]touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank.

Islam, by contrast, means to submit.  Their god does not want you to struggle with him, but to merely obey.  Thus to two religions are profoundly different.  One is the Truth, and the other is an impostor, posing as a real god.  It is a shame that this false god has taken over so much of the world.  We should pray for them also.

But more than that, we should pray more often for the Universal Church, and all its people

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

War With China?

In an interesting post by one Richard Jack Rail at the American Thinker today, the author asks the question: Is WWIII On The Horizon? Rail lays out a case that the Chinese economy is in worse shape than we have been led to believe, and that without the ability to sell to U. S. markets, they may be forced to initiate military actions. With people suffering and sometimes on the verge of starvation, the Chinese politicians will need to point to some outside cause. And of course, if they don't want that 12 million man army turning on them, they will have to find something else for it to do.  I suspect that one of the things the Chinese will quickly go after is Australia, pulling the British government into the turmoil.
The timeline is advancing swiftly toward an end state adversely affecting the whole world: WWIII. The tell-tale sign is China's economy, which, without American markets to sell to, is in free fall. As much as we may complain about the shutdown, Americans have it better by far than most of the rest of the world, including Japan and Europe. 
With desperation growing in China, Xi will have to do something. Expect it to be military action so that China's 12-million-man army has something to do and the rest of the country has something to focus on and support. War is immensely destructive; it will create a domestic market to partly replace foreign markets no longer available.
I have reported several times about a paper I read while still working for the Navy, that concluded we would be at war with China inside of twenty years. That was 15 years ago. So far, the paper looks fairly prescient. The United States needs to decouple its economy from China. We need to bring our manufacturing capabilities back to the United States and stop relying on antagonistic regimes, such as China, for strategic supplies. That should be our goal, but it clearly can not be achieved over night.  Our President and Congress should get on the same page here, and set out milestones for achievement towards that goal, with incentives to private business to make it happen.

As things stand right now, it is not entirely clear that we could win such a war, or that if we did "win," that society would survive as before.  Wars are always destructive.  Reagan said: "Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction.It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again." We must, in this era, tread carefully. Please go read the article.

And speaking of the possibility of war, high frequency (HF) communication ability allows a person to communicate with others similarly equipped both regionally and world wide.  Today at the American Partisan NC Scout has an article dealing with the Coming HF Resurgence. If you are a ham, you will already understand why solar cycles are important for world wide communications. But even regional communications are affected. If you are a ham, now may be a good time to begin investing in a more capable antenna array. If you are not, now may be a time to study to obtain a Amateur Radio license, and get on the air.

Yes, right now cell phones and satellite communication are possible, and certainly more convenient.  But what happens when these communication means are taken out, by for example an electromagnetic pulse caused by a overhead nuclear explosion.  We need to maintain lower tech solutions to communicate effectively.  I remember when 9/11/2001 hit and the Pentagon was struck by terrorists using an airliner as a weapon.  The phones were shut down due to overload.  Had it not been for ham radio operators setting up on the Pentagon grounds and transmitting health and welfare traffic through the repeater across the river in Alexandria, the people in the community would not have known how their loved ones had fared during the attack.

I have seen it happen once, it can happen again.

Monday, May 4, 2020

It Doesn't Require A World Class Harvard Law Degree To Run Soviet Style Show Trials

Now for something different from the "all coronavirus all the time" that we have been hearing for  six or seven weeks now, here is another missive from Kurt Schlichter entitled America Doesn't Have A Justice System Anymore. Schlichter takes us on a typical tour de force of snark and sarcasm while explaining that current Federal injustice system is a two tier system: one for you and me and a separate one for the elite. It reminds of nothing if not the mafia, where if a person was a connected "made man" he would be almost immune to discipline by his peers. Such seems to be the case of not just the to bosses at the FBI, but such deep state actors as Brennan and Clapper.
The good news is that you might get out of future jury duty, because when you are asked under oath about your own biases during a federal criminal case jury selection you would have to answer honestly by responding, “Your Honor, I don’t trust a damn thing anyone in the FBI says.”
If the heirs of Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., were to go up on the stand and testify, the recent disgraceful revelations about how their bosses tried to frame LTG Mike Flynn mean you would be entirely correct to grant them the same credibility as the dude caught wearing a black cape, a Lone Ranger mask, and a nametag that says “Willie Sutton” while tip-toeing out of First National carrying a big sack with a dollar sign on it as the alarm goes off.
Oh, and if an FBI agent asks if he can ask you some questions, try not to burst into laughter before you reply, “No, I assert my right to remain silent” and call your lawyer.
And this sorry state of affairs is all the FBI’s fault.
Despite the apparent efforts of William Barr and the appointment of John Durham to the case, Schlichter does not hold out much hope that any of these people will see the inside of a jail. As far as General Flynn is concerned, Schlichter views his only real hope of salvaging his reputation lies with his lawyer, Sydney Powell.
Sorry folks, none of them will ever see a day in jail. I hope I am wrong. I hope William Barr and John “Mind Flayer” Durham will see that these criminals are prosecuted for these outrageous crimes. But I don’t believe it will happen. Our justice system is really two justice systems, one for them and one for us, which means that we have no justice system at all.
In this two tier injustice system, we, the "little" people are subject to the full weight and power of the Federal Government, while the politicians and the members of the deep state are largely immune. This can not stand. The theory of law is that it must apply to everybody, or everybody loses respect for it. Once the average citizen loses respect for the laws, they begin to find ways around it, and we become a nation of scofflaws. It didn't used to be that way. it used to be that most people respected the law, and the people elected to administer that law. But I see this respect eroding. Once it is lost, we will never get it back.

Is William Barr trying to run out the clock, betting that Trump will not be re-elected?  I don't know.  But Durham is running out of time if he wants to save the justice system.  If not, Barr may as well close up shop now.  After all, it doesn't require a world class Harvard law degree to run Soviet style show trials.  And that is what we are devolving into.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Police Officers "Following Orders" Should Study History

Here in Raleigh, yesterday, I did notice more traffic on the roads.  However, church services remain a mostly online affair.  The "Tech Team" in our congregation has moved to having online services on Youtube.  Wonder how long that will last?

Meanwhile, Derek hunter has a very clear explanation of exactly what is going on over at Townhall.com entitled If 'Congress shall make no law...' Why Can Governors? And of course, it is a good question. The Bill of Rights, which consist of the first 10 Amendments to the U. S. Constitution, were incorporated into State Constitutions by the 14th Amendment after the Civil War. Therefore, what Congress can not do, the Governors of States theoretically can not do.

Hunter:
The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That’s unambiguous. Not “pretty unambiguous,” just unambiguous. Full stop. Yet governors across the country are ignoring or suspending almost every one of those rights enumerated at the top of the Bill of Rights, with little to no pushback from the press, which just happens to be the only part of the first two amendments not under assault.
It’s actually not under assault -- it’s gone -- suspended indefinitely in the name of “the common good.” Governors have declared coronavirus emergencies and wiped clean the rights our nation was founded for the purpose of putting those rights beyond the reach of government.
These suspensions were not done by vote; they were done with the stroke of a pen. Constitutionally, they can’t be done by either. There is no provision of the Constitution allowing for the waiving of rights under any condition, but most legislatures are content to sit back and watch this all proceed without their fingerprints anywhere near it.
Governors made a point of canceling Easter services, even at drive-in churches set up in parking lots. “You’re not allowed to leave your home,” they declared. The irony of placing innocent Americans under house arrest while releasing prisoners in the name of “compassion” was lost on journalists too busy expressing indignation that people might want to worship even in the face of a pandemic.
The same journalists were perplexed by why those same innocent Americans might want to exercise their Second Amendment rights, another right with which we are born that shall “not be infringed” that is being infringed all over the place without concern from the media. “Gun stores are non-essential” in a time prisons are being emptied seems like a set-up for a bad joke, not a public policy.
Hunter lays the situation out pretty clearly in those first several paragraphs. At first, most people complied because we believed what we were being told. But as more data have come in, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Wuhan Flu is no worse than the usual seasonal flu. While every death is a tragedy for those close to the victim, we do not stop living our lives because of it.  Yet we find ourselves with some Governors doubling down on house arrests and other lunatic orders, many of which have no bearing on efforts to stop the spread of the virus.  Governor Whitmer of Michigan comes to mind for completely insane orders.  In Kansas City, Missouri that Mayor (arrested for DUI, no less) has ordered churches to give up the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of members and attendees at their services (Hat Tip to Drakes Place).

Our rights can not be trampled on because of an "emergency."  If that were so, we would be in a constant state of emergency.  Not unlike what is happening before our eyes, politicians and the "Ministry of Truth" mainstream media would drum up one emergency after another to keep the people in a state of panic.  Just read Orwell's book 1984 to see how that turns out.

That Democrat Governors in particular seem to have a authoritarian itch is no surprise.  Nor that the mainstream press, including Fox News, is in the tank with 24/7 coronavirus panic.  No, the question I have is why to the police violate their oath of office to enforce these Unconstitutional orders/ After World War II, we learned, if we didn't know it falready, that "following orders" was not enough. Each officer who takes that oath has a duty to determine for himself that the orders he is given are legal. It is a difficult burden to follow, but it must be done, for their actions may be scrutinized in the future, and history may not take kindly to their actions during this pandemic.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Profiling the Tyrants and Dictators

Again, I don't have much time today, so let me just leave you, gentle readers, with an article at Townhall.com today by Marvin Folkertsma entitled Profiling The Democrats: A Summary. Of course, Mr. Folkerstma's brutal characterization of the Democrats refers not to the run of the mill voters, but rather to the politician class. it certainly rings true for these petty tyrants and dictators.

Folkertsma points out under "Catastrophe as Catalysts" that the current Wuhan Flu is being used to convince Americans that we do indeed have a catastrophe on our hands. The 24/7 all coronavirus all the time reporting by the media is driving people to believe, without evidence, that we are literally all going to die. The fact that better than 90% don't even have any symptoms, and that the actual death rate is looking more and more like that of the standard flu, despite padding the numbers, does not figure in the reporting. This unbalanced reporting is, of course, journalistic malpractice, indicating the media bias in favor of Democrats.

As always, please go read the article...and think.  The one thing Republicans have going for them is they are generally weaker than the Dems, and less unified.  But still dangerous.  The best situation we can have is complete gridlock in Washington, DC.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

More Thoughts On Education

I spoke the other day about how this so-called emergency could change the way we educate our children.  In that post, I hinted at some of the great things that the internet provides.  Of course, the internet can provide knowledge and facts.  Knowing, for example, the density of various materials is important for calculating the forces on a retaining wall, or the outward force of water on water tank.  But the internet can provide the even more important purpose of receiving an education, learning how to learn, how to evaluate what you read, what you hear, what you see.  In other words, a proper education teaches you how to think, not what to think.

Using the current public school curriculum, students are limited in which texts they can use and in what teaching method to which they are confined.  This in turn limits them in the way they learn and think.  For example, the current curriculum requires what is known as common core mathematics.  But we have also been through various "new" math teaching systems, all of which have, to one degree or another failed to teach our children to work logically with numerical information.  But the truth is that the best way to teach children mathematics was already known centuries ago.  My math books are as useful as any modern book, and more understandable.  But in terms of philosophy, literature, history, political theory, economics, and more, the world provides a wide range of ideas that should be explored.  The current system provides one single idea in each of these areas.

Perhaps even more important, though, is that a parent can seek out the best teachers, the best texts, the best curriculum, and that these classes can be conducted on line.  Homework could be sent to the teacher through email, and receive back corrected assignments.  One would no longer be stuck with whatever teacher happened to be at your public school.  If the best teacher is across the country, that is no obstacle.

Another thing about such teaching is that classes can be customized to the child's own rate of learning.  In a classroom setting, some children learn faster than others.  The slower learners get behind, and feel hopeless and stupid.  Even slower learners, though, often do learn and eventually prove to be even more capable than those who initially take to the subject.

The fact that some teachers are demonstrably better introduces competition into the profession.  The best teachers could command more money for their superior instruction, while the bad ones would have to find more suitable work in another field.

Of course, mathematics is subject that all students must take at some level.  But it is in electives that the idea of on line learning becomes exciting.  In my school, for example, languages taught besides English were French, Spanish, and Latin.  What if you wanted to take German or Russian?  Tough luck.    But with on line learning, you have access to pretty much any language.  Now, some electives probably can not be taught on line entirely.  For example, it is possible to take music classes on line.  Indeed Music and Arts stores now teach instrumental classes online using Zoom.  However, playing with other instruments in a band requires something that so far does not exist.  But bands or orchestras for students could be established.  Similarly, student choirs could be established for vocal students

Sports is another area where we may have to change the way things have been done.  Typically, school have a mascot, under which banner each school plays the other schools in football, baseball, basketball, and sometimes track and field.  In my grand daughters case, because she pole vaults for her school, but they don't have a coach for that, she goes to a private teacher for training in pole vaulting.

But there are other alternatives.  In an article today at the American Thinker Zachery D. Rogers writes in an article entitled Kommisar Bartholet of Harvard Cast Her Jaundiced Eye on Homeschooling:
It is a common misconception that homeschoolers do not have opportunities to socialize with others. They are able to do so by participating in numerous church activities, the local 4-H or Future Business Leaders of America, and the local parks and recreation sports teams. Many homeschoolers join homeschool cooperatives for speech and debate, science and math classes, etc
Bartholet's concern with homeschooled children's exposure to the larger society is not so they may attain a familiarity with how people live on the farms of Kansas and Nebraska, the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, or the ranches of Big Sky Country. No, she is afraid that parents want to raise their children to have "views and values that are in serious conflict with [the] culture." The views she has in question include looking to the Bible to explain the world, which she invidiously coupled in the same sentence with a disbelief in the scientific method. Perhaps she is unaware that people who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture at the same time think God created a rational universe that operates according to the laws of nature and that these laws are discoverable through man's reason (science). Faith in Scripture does not preclude the use of reason to understand the world around us. Bartholet's view of education is entirely secular and mainstream.
Please note that in comparison to a truly liberal education, the kind that our Founding Fathers enjoyed, and that even was enjoyed by public school students a generation ago.   Bartholet's view is a pinched, withered view that would indoctrinate, rather than educate children. Unfortunately, this is the view of much of the educational elite in this country. They don't want to let go of their charges for fear the little skulls full of much will discover a greater world. However, without being exposed to different ideas, children are unlikely to go looking. After all, why would you go looking for something if a person is unaware there is something to be found?

Of course, you are probably wondering how one is supposed to pay for all this pie in the sky education for our children. Sure, it sounds pretty good, but families' budgets are already stretched thin.  The first thing is that for parents that do not wish to be involved in their children' education, public schools will need to remain, if taking a decidedly lesser role.  Here is North Carolina, we spend $8.8K per student.  A significant amount of that money should be returned to parents as vouchers used for their children's' education.  After all, with more students being homeschooled, there would be less, though not a zero, need for school infrastructure, to include buildings, busses, administrators and so forth.

The Left often creates policies that backfire and create unintended consequences for society.  I suspect that the current house arrest of America is one that gives us the opportunity to take back the education of our children   That is a good thing for society.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Our Rehearsal For A Police State

I've got a lot to do today, so time to comment on articles I read is tight. Let me just pass alone Dennis Prager's article today at Townhall.com entitled Our Dress Rehearsal For A Police State. The article is short, so go read the whole article.

Dennis captures what I have been trying to get across.  Even if the risk posed by the Covid-19 virus was as great as the media makes it out to be, and the data doesn't seem to bear that out, we can not become a police state.  Police officers will have to learn, as did the Nazis at Nuremberg, that following orders is no justification for denying people their God given rights.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Putting Parents In The Education Loop

One of the bright spots to these house arrests is that children are now being home schooled.  I had a walk with my grand daughter the other day, and I was asking her about being schooled at home.  She averred that she did enjoy it generally, though the lack of a sports program was a definite problem.  She is very athletic.

I suggested that she could also undertake some independent study. For instance, she could read the Illiad and the Odyssey, or read the Federalist Papers. The sky is really the limit, only limited by her own imagination and obviously limited time.  But that is the point, that the education is finally undergoing a renaissance.

We have the technology that permits anyone, anywhere to access the greatest books ever written, much as the renaissance was kicked off by the rediscovery of the works of Aristotle and the ancient Greeks.  Certainly, the Bible could be one of the great books studied.  But a parent could design a curriculum for each of his or her children.  As the child grows in knowledge and understanding, he or she could have ever more say so over that curriculum, giving him buy in to the process of education.

But, while I see a potentially beneficial effect of this period of lock down, apparently a Harvard professor is appalled.  According to an article by Katie Jay and Sarah Campbell today, in The Federalist entitled Harvard Attack On Homeschooling Has Nothing To Do With Children's Best Interests.
As Americans get a mandatory crash course in teaching their children at home, one Harvard Law professor is running the other way, arguing homeschooling should be banned. Elizabeth Bartholet, the faculty director of Harvard Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, was recently interviewed for an incendiary Harvard Magazine article titled “The Risks of Homeschooling,” but she fleshes out her case in the Arizona Law Review.
In an 80-page screed against conservative Christian homeschoolers, Bartholet proposes a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling, alleging that some parents choose homeschooling to (1) abuse their children, and (2) provide religious instruction. The article also appears to conflate religious instruction with child abuse: Bartholet maintains that the fact that conservative Christians were among the first to embrace homeschooling is itself reason enough to discredit this educational model. She has planned a Harvard Law symposium this summer, solely for homeschooling opponents to support her misguided proposal.
Go read the whole article. Please ponder the possibilities Maybe now is the time to transfer process back to parents. Parents have the responsibility. We should put them back in the loop.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Christ is our only port in this storm

My pastor, Kevin Martin, and my congregation, Our Savior Lutheran Church in Raleigh, NC, made the national news!  Joy Pullman has the story at The Federalist today entitled Violent Threats, Hate Mail, Hit Raleigh Church For Holding Services With Under 10 People. Unlike other states, North Carolina allowed people to apply as "essential" services, which Pastor Martin did. Technically, the state letter of approval would allow Pastor Martin to hold services with up to 56 persons. But he decided to limit the number of people to 10 or fewer. Martin, of course, speaks quite well for himself, and Pullman makes use of a number of quotes, all of which sound like our Pastor:
Members of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Raleigh, N.C. were filmed by local television as they walked with their spouses and children into the church to worship and receive critical spiritual care at a time of unprecedented global panic. Families kept six feet apart and came in limited numbers, and the sanctuary was sanitized between services.
...snip...
“The fact that we’re so afraid to die surely shows that it’s not natural. I know only one remedy,” Martin said. “I know only one person who has died and come back victorious, and that’s Jesus. That’s why I see him as the only port in this storm.”
So he, unlike the vast majority of pastors in the United States, has continued to bring his flock to the altar during this pandemic, while abiding by government health guidelines to allay fears and respect authorities so long as they don’t outlaw the practice of his people’s faith.
For Lutherans, like the Roman Catholics, the Divine Service, during which Communion is served is the central point of worship. We believe that the true Blood and Body of Christ is delivered during this service. We believe that Christ is actively present in the Divine service. Pastor Martin is accomplished in ancient languages, and notes that the words of institution where Jesus says "Do this in remembrance of Me" should be better translated as "Do this to My remembrance." So, we are really performing the Divine service so that on the last day, Jesus remembers each of us. Either way, we see it as a duty and an act of Faith.

Martin is correct that fear of death is driving the effort to separate us and lock us down.  He is also correct that the only real assurance is in Christ.  But for those who may have less faith, something else that Christ said is true as well: " For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."  While true as taken literally, it is true as a metaphor as well.  For when we think more about others, with a desire to be helpful, we are indeed giving up our lives, if temporarily, for Christ sake.  But the more we do that, the more our faith takes action in the world, to the betterment of society.  The more we think upon ourselves, and worry about our lives, the less we can make other's lives better.  Thus Faith takes many forms, not all of which involve martyrdom.
It is the clear historic teaching of the Christian church that Christians eat and drink Christ’s own true blood and body in the sacrament of communion, and that doing so strengthens their faith “to life everlasting.” So for faithful sacramentalists like those at this Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation, taking communion is not an option but a duty, and necessary for their eternal salvation, which is far more important than their physical health or even mortal life.
“I find my strength, my purpose for living not just from the Word, but from the Sacrament,” Martin said. “It’s a matter of faith, and you either have it or don’t. If you don’t it’s not something I can reason you into. It’s just one of those things where it’s a matter of belief. The thing I like so much about the First Amendment is, it’s supposed to safeguard our right to believe something other people might find crazy.”
Martin says the disparate treatment of religion during the coronavirus shutdown, and governments’ demand that citizens prioritize physical health over spiritual health, are wakeup calls to himself and the church at large.
As is usual, Pastor Martin said it better, and more succinctly than I could have.  Please read all of Pullman's article.

We all of us need to defend the First Amendment vigorously, even if we are not faithful.  The Lefties used to make the point that we should defend freedom of speech even if we disagree with the person saying it.  The same holds for freedom of religion.  For me, I see the current situation as a Satanic attack on us, which must be resisted.  May I suggest as a first step that we all pray for Pastor Martin, and for the whole Church universal.  Christ truly is our  only port in a storm.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Corona Is Just Too Convenient For the Left

We have two articles to highlight today for you, gentle readers. The first is from Townhall.com by Kevin McCullough entitled Antibody Testing Proves We've Been Had!. Apparently, New York Governor Cuomo let the cat out of the bag during yesterday's press conference.
Cuomo announced that antibody testing in New York state, which only began four days previous, was already demonstrating that at minimum 13.9% of New Yorkers, had COVID-19 late stage antibodies.
The implication of this is a shockwave to the system.
With a population of 19,540,500 the findings point out that over 2,500,000 New Yorkers had the virus and have recovered. Keep in mind that as of this writing that only 263,000 New Yorkers have currently confirmed cases. Also as of this writing New York has reported 19,543 fatalities.
We’ve been told that the true death rate is 7.4% in New York. We were told there would be hundreds of thousands dead. We were told that this was worse than the flu, which has still recorded more deaths to date in this past flu season—even though the CDC instructed medical personnel to start counting influenza, heart disease, pulmonary, respiratory, drug overdose, and possibly even car crash deaths as COVID-19 deaths.
...snip...
The death rate in New York State isn’t 7.4%, it is actually .75%...
Indeed, we have all been had. McCullough says that whether it is because of malfeasance, or incompetence, either one is unacceptable. But frankly, I do believe that this entire episode is malfeasance, another deep state attempt to impose socialism on our nation by globalist elites. Glenn Beck has reported that Bill Gates and a committee that included Dr. Anthony Fauci "war gamed" a pandemic just months before the coronavirus panic hit. And, of course, many of the actions taken were those tested in the war game. Now it could all be coincidence. But you will pardon me if I find such coincidences entirely too convenient for the Left.

Next up is a piece at the American Thinker by Debbie Georgatos entitled Coronavirus Immunity Cards? Kill The Idea Right Now. This is yet another Bill Gates idea, probably part of the "war games," and resembles not so much as the reference to Revelation Chapter 13, in which no one can buy and sell unless he is marked with the number of the beast. Or, the idea also resembles Communist regimes travel bans unless you've got the right papers. The notion that the police could set up check points and stop every car, ask for your drivers license, proof of insurance, and your coronavirus card. People who do not have a card presumable would be hauled off to jail. Can you imagine something so Un-American?

Please read both articles.  Lee Smith has an article embedded in the second article, which is worth reading as well.

Update:  The American Partisan has more on this topic. Particularly more information on the war gamed scenario and the WHO How much do you think this is all just a coincidence?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Live Life As Fully As You Can

From the beginning, I have argued for a balance between the risks that the Wuhan Flu presents, and the risks that shutting down the economy and placing all under virtual house arrest presents.  I have, of course, been accused by family members of potentially killing my grandchildren or my admittedly chronically ill wife.  I have been accused by those outside the family of being heartless because I place money ahead of lives.

However, what has been clear to me all along is that despite the virus, life must go on.  There is a great cost in lives lost due to poverty resulting from the governments reaction to the virus.  Believing as I do that the Constitutionally enumerated rights are indeed gifted to us by the Creator God, it is natural then that I would question the morality of anyone who claims the authority to snatch those rights from us.  Moreover, it seems to me that those that are especially vulnerable, or who think they may be, should look to isolate themselves from society.  It is not society's job to isolate itself for the sake of the vulnerable, because society can not know each individual's circumstance.

All these ideas and more are contained in a well written article today at The Federalist by Jonathon Ashbach entitled How Cowardice and Class Privilege Divide Support For Coronavirus Lockdowns Indeed, Ashbach says what I have been trying to say much better than I do, which gentle readers, is why he is a professional while your servant is but a gifted amateur. So here is the money quote:
Point out the compounded economic and personal hardship that our response has inflicted, and in many quarters you will meet at best the dismissive retort that one can’t measure lives against the economy and at worst with the accusation that you are a selfish &^%$# who values your freedom over others’ wellbeing.
Now, there is a kernel of insight in this response. As a severe critic of libertarianism, I find it heartening that people are expressing at least subconscious recognition that freedom is not an intrinsic good. Valuable as it is, it is only a means to human excellence and happiness. So if the tradeoff were really as simple as amoral freedom versus the wellbeing of the nation, then this response would be entirely appropriate.
...snip...
It is not true that those who value the plethora of activities that make up human life are prioritizing selfishness over the real wellbeing of the nation. Exactly the contrary. Months of people’s lives are slipping away forever. It is those who dismiss that who devalue the human.
The jobs we have taken from tens of millions of our fellow citizens cannot simply be dismissed as amoral dollars and cents. They are sources of meaning and provision, arenas of excellence of profound moral worth—and especially valuable, one might add, to the less economically privileged, who are disproportionately suffering under our new rules.
The hundreds of thousands of small businesses that we are driving into the ground are not simply abstract “companies.” They represent the investment of the dreams and life work of millions of our fellow citizens. A class is not merely an instrument for increasing average worker productivity. It is a sacred activity—opening the mind to truth, crafting the character, unfolding the understanding.
The personal, face-to-face human interactions that we have cut off at the source are the very stuff of meaningful life. To respond that all of these activities can be moved online would be to engage in an exercise in self-delusion.
Once again, I have to mention that Martin Luther was a profound thinker on things that the average priest did not at the time comprehend.  In the middle ages, and it continues today in the Roman Catholic Church, the priesthood, the monks and the nuns, were considered to be above the laymen, spending their lives in contemplation of, and preparing for, the afterlife.  They believed themselves more Holy than the unwashed masses.  Remind you of anyone?  One of Luther's great teachings was that everyone could be on equal footings with the highest priest by dedicating the work he does daily  to Christ.  So, if a baker, bake honestly, to the health of his customers and the betterment of society as a whole, he is doing God's work.  Every vocation can be carried out in a similar manor.  One can make money, even a lot of it, for it is not money that is the root of evil, but the LOVE of money.  That is the sin.

But, if Martin Luther is correct, and I believe he is, then doing our jobs, day in and day out is an incredibly important part of living out a Christian life.  It is just as important as attending church services, confessing sins and receiving communion.  Our jobs, our businesses, our providing for ourselves and our families is part of what makes us human.  But of course there is so much more to living a full and meaningful life, as Ashbach says.  Music, art, poetry and literature, gathering together, feasts, and of course fasting.  To quote Ecclesiastes, "to everything there is a season, and time for every purpose under heaven."

Besides all of that, however, there is also the human concern for the fact that everything we do, and everything we don't do contains risk.
All worthwhile activities always involve risk of death—to oneself and others. That is no excuse for assuming a fetal position and failing to live one’s life. Complete human beings will live in awareness and acceptance of their own and others’ mortality.
As the sense of panic caused by the unfamiliarity of the new virus passes away, the quality of much elite moral discourse over the past few weeks will hopefully be recognized for the embarrassment it is.Where is the vitality that led a young Jewish queen to say, “If I perish, I perish?” That led a mad German genius to say “You have given your life to your work and now your work has taken your life. Therefore I will bury you with my own hands”?
For those unfamiliar, the reference to the Jewish princess is to the Book of Esther, Chapter 4, verse 16.

Please go read the whole article, because it is a balanced approach, not just to the current situation, but to everything.  One thing I do to keep my serenity and my sanity, though I am far from perfect at it, is to repeat the Serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,
The courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Because, in truth, the only thing I can change is me and my reactions.

In the end, though, we must live our lives.  Live yours as fully as you can.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Perhaps The Reason For Conspicuous Beauty Is Just Because

I have made a point several times that music has no evolutionary value, and yet the ability to produce music and the ability to appreciate it is a common trait of humanity.  I have said that music is evidence of, though not proof of, the existence of God.  But humans are not the only ones in nature to display what author Glenn T. Stanton describes at The Federalist as Extravagant Beauty. While Stanton doesn't say it, I think I will: such extravagant beauty in nature may be more evidence of, though not proof of, the existence of God.

So why am I so insistent that these things provide evidence of the existence of God?  Because I believe that there can be no proof of God in this world.  Our God wants us to demonstrate faith in Him, and having proof would make that more difficult.

Stanton seems to want to stick to strictly scientific grounds, and to tweak the evolutionists nose.
In survival of the fittest, the fittest is the least complex and needy — Occam’s razor applied to living things. Extravagant, superfluous beauty is not evolution’s friend. Ironically, isn’t the environmental movement built on this very fact? Some species are less adaptive to changing environments, man-made or not, and rightly require protection.
Thus, beauty is one of evolution’s most serious and persistent problems. Its adherents have no good answer for it, and not for want of trying.
If we are at all like Him, one must suspect that He has a sense of humor, an appreciation of beauty, indeed all the traits that make us human. If so, it is not hard to imagine that He would have put such conspicuously beautiful creatures in the environment just because.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The S.W.I.N.E. Strike

I have often speculated on why so many corporate CEOs happen to be leftist.  It seems to me that running a company in a capitalist competitive system, for profit, would turn even an idealistic youth into a strong proponent of capitalism.  They would relish the thought that they had made a major difference in the lives of so many who otherwise might starve had it not been for the company they ran and the jobs it provides.  They would also relish the fact that they had made so many of their fellow citizens happy with the products they produced that had made lives better.  I think here of Henry Ford, who noted that he produced cars so inexpensively that even his own workers could afford them.  But he also paid a premium wage for his workers.

Now, I understand that journalists today are a college trained, self selected cohort of people who naturally want to change the world.  These people I understand.  But the majority of CEOs of large corporations, I have never understood.

But now, in an article at The Federalist Willis L. Krumholz explains How To Stop China And The Left From Controlling The World Through Intolerance. You, like me have probably noticed that the Left seems to be eternally offended about something. And this is not new. When I was a teenager, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I used to read and get a laugh at a cartoon called L'il Abner by Al Capp. Among the many denizens of characters appearing in the cartoon was  a protest group called S.W.I.N.E. which is an acronym for "Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything." But in the era of political correctness, the S.W.I.N.E. have become more numerous, more strident, and if it is possible, more intolerant of every value we traditional hold.  Why?

Krumholz explains that it is a little known law of psychology that the most intolerant wins.  Every time.
A Harvard Business Review article from earlier this year conducted an admittedly limited survey of consumers’ views of when corporations engage in political activity. It found Democrats are much more intolerant of corporations that engage in conservative activism than are Republicans toward corporations that engage in liberal activism. More research here is needed to track what consumers actually do with their money, instead of what they simply say they will do.
Nevertheless, the message to corporate America has been clear: Liberal activism doesn’t cost anything, while even latent conservatism might result in boycotts and media frenzies. In the face of this asymmetric intolerance, corporations rationally take the path of least resistance and slide into corporate leftism.
It turns out a great many of the baffling frustrations Americans feel — from Nike paying Kaepernick millions, to Hollywood bowing to Chinese censors, to China holding an undue and sinister influence over the World Health Organization (WHO) — may be explained by a simple axiom: “The Most Intolerant Wins.” As we’ve seen in Hollywood, the media, Big Tech, and now the World Health Organization, often the most intolerant is China.
Note that the emphasis is mine.

I can't help but believe that this may be the true reason. I myself often react by trying to ignore yet another outbreak of PC mania nonsense. It is too disturbing to my serenity. The latest, when Land-O-Lakes decided that the Indian maiden logo offended some vocal S.W.I.N.E. protesters, I couldn't get worked up about it. Let Land-O-Lakes do what the want, I don't have to buy it. Indeed, Land-O-Lakes is not, by far, the tastiest butter around. In fact, it is pretty flat, only exceeding margarine in terms of flavor. But Land-O-Lakes won't notice that I have stopped buying their products, any more that Starbucks, or Target, or Walmart will notice these things.

And herein is the problem.  The great majority of people have real lives, have a sense of perspective, know that most of this protesting is seeming trivial stuff being shouted by a tiny minority and then amplified by the media.  This minority would be controllable, except that they have a big brother making waves behind the scenes, in board rooms, at media headquarters, and as we learned yesterday, even in our entertainment, movies, television, and academia.  The most intolerant of all is the Chinese Communist Party.

Of course, merely finding a problem is of little help if there is no solution.  Luckily, Krumholz offers one:
The answer is to make American policy the new path of least resistance. American corporations should no longer operate in an environment where America is playing nice while China is playing hardball. This may require some blunt-rule policymaking.
...snip...
Finally, the ultimate removal of the perverse incentive to take the path of least resistance will require systematically cutting ties between China and the United States. This means ensuring the independence of our health-care supply chains and onshoring much else. We should pursue something the Japanese are doing: paying manufacturers to bring jobs out of China and back to America.
Please go read the entire article. Then think about what we can all do to address the S.W.i.N.E. in our lives.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Original Sin

At The Federalist today, Stella Moribido writes that the Pandemic Has Magnified The Worst Impulses Of The Power Hungry Elite She is speaking, of course, of the petty tyrants and dictators that have cropped up everywhere since the pandemic. She talks about the media, Congress, and the many others who seem to believe they are their own God:
This pandemic has laid bare the intentions of our self-appointed betters in Washington, the media, and beyond. They have shown no desire for national unity, pushing policies to empower only themselves. They manipulate people’s worst fears, knowing that’s the surest way to get them to lay down their liberties.
We should be able to see a God-complex at work in all this control-freak behavior, and we should not fear calling out that behavior for what it is. If this seems over-the-top to American readers, that’s because we aren’t used to living under totalitarian rule.
As we just emerged from Holy Week, we would do well to recognize that this is man’s natural, sinful state. After all, the sin of pride, or the conceit of playing god, is the original sin from which all other sins emanate.
She is exactly right. I the garden of Eden, the snake tempted Eve by telling her she would become as God. That apparently sounded good to her, and so she ate of the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil. Remember, before this they only knew good. They had no evil thoughts, so everything they did was innocent.

In any case, Eve did eat of the fruit the Devil gave her, and so did Adam, and here we are.  The Constitution was written for just such times.  The colonists had just won a war against the super power of their day who had tried to take away the God given rights of the people.  This over reach was met with armed force.  In order to secure the rights of the people, a Constitution was written.  Nothing in it says anything about pandemics or other issues.  People have rights in peace and in war.

I suspect that as more data becomes available, the average person will see that the panic over this disease was trumped up to damage the President.  Not only will the lockdown become unenforceable, but the entire masquerade will backfire on those trying to dictate our lives.  Because, the first sin is really the only sin.  All others are just other manifestations of the original sin.