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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!


May 2020 be kind to us all: health, happiness, and prosperity!


HAVE-A-LAUGH ADDENDUM (Thanks, Warren!):

Friday, December 27, 2019

2019 In Review


From 12 Stories The Media Got Horribly Wrong In 2019: As the year comes to a close, here are a dozen of the top stories the media majorly messed up (The Federalist)....
January: Covington Catholic

February: Jussie Smollett

March: The Mueller Report

April: White House Correspondents Dinner

May: Media Defends Joe Biden’s Manhandling Of Young Girls

June: Media Standing Up For Antifa

July: 50th Anniversary Of Moon Landing Celebrates Inequality

August: Chris Cuomo Goes Berserk After Being Called ‘Fredo’

September: Media Makes A Puppet Of Greta Thunberg

October: Washington Post Pens Glowing Obituary For ISIS Leader

November: ABC Buried The Jeffrey Epstein Story

December: DOJ IG Blows Up Steele Dossier Upheld By The Media
More details and video HERE.

And the beat goes on — no doubt becoming worse as we enter Election Year 2020.

Of course, there are other stories fitting the category of "Stories the Media Got Horribly Wrong." Do you wish to add to the list? Please do so in the comments section for this blog post.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Christmas Visitor



Posted by Warren

(Originally posted on "Longrange" for Christmas 2004)

4:00 am 12/24/04

There was a knock on my front door which startled me awake. My dogs were barking which required my dire threats to quieten them as I answered the door.

Maybe you have heard of our weather and the unusually cold temperatures and large amount of snow that has fallen in the last 24 hours. I live just south of Interstate 64 in Southern Indiana and you may have seen the news about the closed Interstate and stranded motorists on the national news.

A man in his early fifties, about my own age, stood at the door. He was wearing tennis shoes, jeans, a field jacket and sock hat. His glasses were frosted and his pale white hands and reddened knuckles gave witness that he wore no gloves.

He told me he was lost and asked for directions to a certain address. I told him that he missed his mark by a mile and a half and asked him where his car was. He said he was walking.

I invited him in and sat a chair for him by the warm air from the furnace vent. He was shivering uncontrollably and a faint whiff of alcohol was on his breath. I asked if I could fix him something to eat but he refused and accepted a hot cup of coffee.

My wife talked to him as he warmed himself and I could hear him speaking as I prepared his fresh coffee.

My son heard his voice and came into the living room to sit and listen, and to watch, just in case.

His story unfolded.

He was homeless, he had been sleeping in a box, under a bridge over the Ohio river, several miles to the West. He had decided that it was too cold and he might freeze to death if he didn't find safe shelter with more than a cardboard box to keep him warm. About midnight, he had left his meager possessions and headed for his sisters home, a mile or so from my own home. He had walked past in the blowing snow and the dark but continued walking. He was lost, confused and probably somewhat drunk. Hypothermia can add confusion to even the sober mind.

As he spoke, I realized that he had mental problems as do many of the homeless.

There are places that provide refuge for the indigent, I'm sure he knew, but they don't accept anyone who is intoxicated, which I'm also sure he knew.

He drank his coffee then asked me if I would drive him to his sisters home. He then offered me two dollars. Of course I refused the money but offered to take him where he wanted to go.

I intended to take measures to see after him and he seemed anxious to leave.

As I drove, he told me that his sister was out of town but he had permission to use her house in an emergency. I was worried that he was just lying for reasons of his own but I was determined to see the thing through, even if I had to call the police to ensure his well-being through this cold weather.

As we drove up to the house, there was a porch light on and smoke coming from the chimney vent. Even so, it was apparent that there was no one home, the snow around the house was undisturbed.

I asked him if he was sure he could get in, he said, "Yes, she (his sister) told me where the key is." He reached out his hand, as if for a hand shake, and when I offered mine, pulled my hand to his lips and kissed it saying, "God bless you".

I was profoundly embarrassed but stayed long enough to see him dig around in the snow and find a key, unlock the door and wave goodbye.

I drove home, my thoughts disturbed, by the events that had taken place.

My wife was relieved as I returned and I started preparing food (very early,) for Christmas Eve. As I cut up fruit for salad and prepared the turkey for baking, my son came up behind me, hugged me and kissing my head, said, "Dad, you did a good thing."

Again, I was embarrassed, not by my son's hug and kiss but by his praise.

It was the right thing to do.

My son told me that he tries to help the homeless ones that hang around his place of employment. We spoke of how little we can actually do for them and I was proud of my son for being a good man and doing the right thing.

As I continued to prepare food for Christmas Eve, my thoughts drifted to a couple seeking shelter in Bethlehem and the birth of the Lamb of the New Covenant, and I felt God's Peace.

May God's Peace and blessings be with you all!
Merry Christmas.

Warren

Post Note:

First, please watch "Mary, Did You Know?" as performed by the Pentatonix, an a capella group. I hope that you love it as much as I do:


====

Fifteen years have passed since I first posted this and I am always asked to brush the cobwebs off and re-post it for Christmas. I change the post note every year to reflect my personal feelings.

"Mary, Did You Know?" by the Pentatonix has became my favorite Christmas Carol. If you haven't listened to it already, I urge you to put on your headphones or good speakers and have a listen. Maybe below you could tell me your favorite Carol.
I'll spend Christmas Eve at my son's home.

Once again,
Merry Christmas!
Warren


From AOW....

For this Christmas Day, a rather unusual offering....The Wexford Carol, performed by Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma:


Lyrics for this traditional Irish Christmas Carol based upon the Nativity Story told in Holy Scripture:
Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born.

[...]

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God's angels did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Prepare and go, the angels said
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you'll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born.

With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went this babe to find
And as God's angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side the virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife.

[...]

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born.
Merry Christmas to all who stop by this site. Be blest!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Advent Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

For the fourth Sunday in Advent, enjoy this a capella arrangement of "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," a Sixteenth Century German carol emphasizing prophecies about our Lord's Incarnation:


Lyrics:
Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung.
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
She bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

This Flow’r, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A Beautiful, Perfect Letter


Silverfiddle Rant!

President Trump's letter to Speaker Pelosi was a work of rhetorical beauty.  It cogently and comprehensively hit all the notes in the Democrats' discordant three-year Opera of the Grotesque.

The letter is a thing of beauty, professionally stated but still in the President's own voice.  Clearly, this was not fired off, tweet-like while sitting on the toilet.  Some professional staff work went into it.

This on the heels of IG Horowitz's stinging rebuke of FBI procedures, and Comey's admission that he was wrong and "there was real sloppiness." It vindicated Rep Nunes and shows Adam Schiff to be a liar. Mr. Horowitz confirmed significant FISA abuse and concluded the salacious and unverified dossier played a “central and essential role” in the bureau’s decision to seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Now comes Senate Leader McConnell rightly telling Democrats the Senate impeachment trial will not be turned into an ad hoc fishing expedition.  The Senate will try the case as the Democrats bring it to them.

The Democrat ship is sinking... and it's on fire... in shark-infested waters. My Prediction: Democrats will do what they always do when caught with their pants down:  They will scream louder into their media megaphone.

Please go read the letter and tell us what you think.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Where I've Been — And Still Am (Continued)

(For politics, please scroll down)

When I say that I have "too much stuff," I mean it! Blogging continues to be too much effort at this time.  Thanks to my food friend Silverfiddle for taking up the slack here during my absence.

In the process of The Big Clean Out in preparation for our move to Indiana (move date not yet determined), former blogger The Merry Widow and I found the ultimate family heirloom in the cellar crawlspace of this old house, which has been in my family since 1947:




Yes, I know to whom this treasure belonged: my great-grandfather, who died in Tennessee in the 1930's or 1940's after being bedridden for some ten years after a stroke.  Apparently, this bedpan was important enough for my great aunt to bring to Washington, D.C., when she moved here in the 1950's!  I can't throw it away now.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Advent Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

For this Third Sunday of Advent 2019, please enjoy "O Come All Ye Faithful" as performed by Celtic Woman:


This information from YouTube provides important insights about the above interpretation:
...The dresses worn have the colors of the Threefold Flame, of Blue, Yellow and Pink, representing Power, Wisdom, and Love, as well as the color of the current Cycle for the Earth, which is Violet and represents Redemption. The Violinist (Máiréad Nesbitt) comes out in the Purity of White.

They have done a wonderful job bringing forth the beauty, and Divine Culture into the outer world, and as the prayer goes in Christian circles, we ask "Thy Kingdom Come." This is how His Kingdom does come, we bring it here with our choices and actions....
Read the rest HERE.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Progressive Pendulum Apogee?


Silverfiddle Rant!
Mattress Girl regains her sanity:

My view of our nation's future has turned dark and cynical, but I am always on the lookout for rays of hope, and they are out there, among millennials and post-millennials, of all people.  (Children really are, to quote that vapid leftwing tautology, the future.)

When the media's gaze is upon you, it’s difficult to change your mind.

This week, New York magazine’s The Cut published an article titled, “Did Emma Sulkowicz Get Redpilled?” The story chronicles the political awakening of 27-year-old Sulkowicz, who became famous in 2014 for dragging her mattress around Columbia University’s campus to protest the university’s handling of her alleged sexual assault.

The act of performance art, dubbed Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), became a flash point for a national conversation about campus sexual assault. Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York even invited her to the State of the Union address in 2015.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. If anything can save post-modern America, it is libertarianism...

And what about her posture has changed? She now listens to Jordan Peterson. She attended Reason writer Robby Soave’s book party for Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump. In the book, Soave writes critically of Sulkowicz.
Her own words:
“As I became more and more feminist,” she said, “I think I got to a point where I was literally just straight up hating men. I just hated men, I wished all men would die.”

Now she wants to listen to their perspective — not just men, but others she has disagreed with.

The most remarkable part of the story, though perhaps not the most surprising, is that Sulkowicz says she didn't even know a conservative until last year.
Progressive Academia has morphed into a post-modern Ministry of Truth, indoctrinating everyone into parroting 2+2=5, but the human mind cannot be chained forever.  Progressive "historical arcs" be damned.  The human spirit will always bend toward freedom and liberty.

Monday, December 9, 2019

US Government Infested with Liars


Silverfiddle Rant!
Washington Post reports:

A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable. (WaPo via MSN)

It's no surprise our government is infested with bald-faced liars. The most sickening aspect of this story is the complicity of military flag officers. Military people thrive on the mission impossible, I saw it in action every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. A nation needs such people, and when carried out by the enlisted, company grade officers and field grade officers it is a noble endeavor.

It's a different story with flag officers. Generals responsible for the lives of the men and women charged to their care failed to tell the truth and instead went along with the political lies foisted on them by our elected leaders. They said nothing and refused to put their careers on the line to challenge the lies from our government. The generals who exhibited such behavior are moral cowards, a disgrace to the uniform, and criminally negligent. Every damn one of them who participated in this lie--active duty or retired--should have the stars ripped from his or her shoulders and be publicly disgraced. I am sick to my stomach.

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be immediately fired for his role in this fraud on the American people and the men and women of the US military, living and dead.

Here are some damning quotes. Please go read the whole thing for yourself, and tell us what you think.
“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

"Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible."

The United States has allocated more than $133 billion to build up Afghanistan — more than it spent, adjusted for inflation, to revive the whole of Western Europe with the Marshall Plan after World War II.

One unidentified contractor told government interviewers he was expected to dole out $3 million daily for projects in a single Afghan district roughly the size of a U.S. county. He once asked a visiting congressman whether the lawmaker could responsibly spend that kind of money back home: “He said hell no. ‘Well, sir, that’s what you just obligated us to spend and I’m doing it for communities that live in mud huts with no windows.’ ”

Year after year, U.S. generals have said in public they are making steady progress on the central plank of their strategy: to train a robust Afghan army and national police force that can defend the country without foreign help.

In the Lessons Learned interviews, however, U.S. military trainers described the Afghan security forces as incompetent, unmotivated and rife with deserters. They also accused Afghan commanders of pocketing salaries — paid by U.S. taxpayers — for tens of thousands of “ghost soldiers.” 

A Kakistocracy... if they can keep it


Silverfiddle Rant!

Through successive Democrat and Republican regimes our nation has fought other nation's wars for them, allowed China to rape us blind economically, failed to stanch the flow of thousands of metric tons of drugs flowing across our borders every year, and failed to get reckless deficit spending under control.


Welcome to the Potemkin Village of Washington Power
What American constitutional government most urgently needs at present is for our Madisonian institutions—the presidency, the Congress, and the courts—to wrest back control of national security policy from an unelected and increasingly rogue national security establishment.

That ominous challenge to constitutionalism was on full display with the recent op-ed piece in the New York Times by retired Admiral William McRaven, in which he brashly warned that unless Trump jumped aboard the Forever War bandwagon, he must be removed, and “the sooner the better.”

[...]

Tufts law professor Michael Glennon points out in a recent essay in Humanitas that the Cold War brought something new and ominous in military-civilian relations.

The national security bureaucracy became so large and omnipotent that the Madisonian branches of government became something like the British House of Lords, symbolically important but in reality without much power.

The executive, legislature, and judiciary became a kind of Potemkin village, with real national security power lodged in, as Glennon describes it, “a largely concealed managerial directorate, consisting of the several hundred leaders of the military, law enforcement and intelligence departments.”
9/11 amped up that bureaucracy on steroids, but it also caused millions of us to realize the "experts" were dime store knockoffs.

Please read the linked article and tell us what you think.

*** Comments Closed. Please see latest post on government lies on Afghanistan ***

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Advent Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

The story that never grows old and offers Mankind eternal Hope — even in the midst of personal and political turmoil!  Beautifully performed by King’s College Choir Cambridge, 2011:


Lyrics:
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

Nahum Tate

While shepherds watched their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around, and glory shone around

"Fear not," said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind, to you and all mankind

"To you, in David's town this day
Is born of David's line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign, and this shall be the sign

"The heav'nly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands
And in a manger laid, and in a manger laid

"All glory be to God on high
And to the earth be peace
Good will hence forth from heav'n to men
Begin and never cease, begin and never cease"

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Democracy Dies in Hate Speech Laws


Silverfiddle Rant!
Former Time Editor and CEO of Constitution Center (!) Wants To Cancel First Amendment, Pass Hate Speech Laws

The rest of the world--from Central Europe to the Islamic lands of the Middle East--hate our liberal Free Speech laws. Free Speech is a threat to tyrants and hidden agendists everywhere, and it is a particular threat to multi-cultural societies, since they have more friction points than homogeneous ones.

Social media platforms hate free speech: It is a threat to their revenue models. Now more than ever, they need a global speech code enforced by powerful nations in order to legally shield their profits and eliminate costly and legally-precarious nation-by-nation tailored enforcement. One Automated Speech Code to Rule Them All.

Asshat Richard Stengel, Obamaite and former Time Magazine editor, is the latest "serious person" to make anti-First Amendment arguments. We are in scary territory. Here are some excerpts:
On the Internet, truth is not optimized. On the Web, it's not enough to battle falsehood with truth; the truth doesn't always win.
What planet does this man live on? The Truth is slaughtered daily on the altar of partisan politics. Unfortunately, here in the real world, everything doesn't wrap up nice and neatly like a Leave it to Beaver episode. That is no reason to stamp out free speech.

Government schools that propagandize and indoctrinate, while making our children dumber, are also no reason to attack the First Amendment:

A 2016 Stanford study showed that 82 percent of middle schoolers couldn't distinguish between an ad labeled "sponsored content" and an actual news story.
Here's another pearl of wisdom:
All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails.
Something is crooked here, we all perceive it, but we can't put our finger on it. This quote provides some illumination:
Only a quarter of high school students could tell the difference between an actual verified news site and one from a deceptive account designed to look like a real one.
The linked article laments how students unquestioningly lap up information shoveled to them by an official-looking website that is really a "fake." 

What is "an actual verified news site?"  And what Official Verifier bearing the official Seal of Approval decides?

When the Washington Post libeled those schoolboys from Ohio, was that "actual verified news?"

More importantly--in this mortal coil where "truth cannot drive out lies," who decides what it the truth and what are the lies?  

Who was lying, Christine Blasey Ford, or Justice Kavanaugh?

Who was lying, the stolen valor Native American, or the schoolboys?

Restoring Walter Kronkite

This is revanchist Establishmentarians aching to restore the ancien régime of  "Because We Say So." They long to return to the days where they determined what is right and what is wrong.  The Information Totalitarians are working to restore the regime that dictates Truth to the pliant masses who obediently lap it up and regurgitate, while the dissident fringe damns itself by its refusal to say  2+2=5.

We all grew up in an age of appeal to authority--"Four out of five doctors smoke Camels!"--but the "authorities" have beshat themselves and their credibility is shot.  There is no monopoly on truth.

See also: No, the US does not need European-style hate speech laws

Monday, December 2, 2019

Expertendämmerung


Silverfiddle Rant!

The Infotainment Media Complex warns that President Trump doesn't listen to the experts.

I ask, what have the experts done for us lately?

What are our great foreign policy achievenments over the past decade?

Somalia?

Iraq?

Putin taking bites out of Georgia and Ukraine?

How much pro-American goodwill has the State Department experts drummed up over these past decades?

Bruce Thornton sums it up in his essay, Peggy Noonan Reminds Us Why Trump Won:
Indeed, when it comes to foreign affairs, generations of highly credentialed foreign policy mandarins have not compiled a record that would suggest those credentials contribute to success.

The two most consequential failures include misreading the Iranian Revolution as an anticolonial bid for freedom and popular sovereignty, rather than a religious revolution aimed at creating an Islamic theocracy; and failing to foresee and thus prepare for the collapse of the Soviet Union, something that was unthinkable to the big brains of our foreign policy establishment.

Moreover, the great foreign policy success in the postwar period was victory in the Cold War, which was the accomplishment of an ex-actor and foreign policy amateur looked down on by the government agency “professionals.” They contemptuously dismissed Reagan’s common-sense wisdom like “we win, they lose,” “evil empire,” and “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The latter iconic phrase, by the way, was argued against by the State Department and National Security Council because it was too provocative and naïve.
What say you?

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Where I've Been — And Still Am

Ongoing cleaning out and sorting in my home office — since former blogger The Merry Widow arrived November 21.  Believe it or not, the photos below represent a week of progress and attaining organized chaos!

Everything from two walls has been shoved over so as to make room for the desk and vanity arriving on Thursday. This picture represents only one portion of what has been shoved over:



Treasures were found! Not pictured here....My father's wallet! He died in 1998, and his wallet had fallen behind the bookcase pictured below and inaccessible for two decades.  The amount of money in the wallet was sufficient enough for me to exclaim, "Merry Christmas from Dad!"


The rectangular box contained 78 rpms, bound volumes of In Britain (1960s), and two volumes of a set of the KJV Bible, dated 1792 and printed in London .  We found a home for the 78 rpms, as well as 33 and 1/3 rpms from the 1960s and 1970s; we donated the magazines to the public library.  What to do with the Bible?  We need to find an antiquarian-books dealer.

And miles to go before we sleep....

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Give Thanks

(For politics, please scroll down)


Abraham Lincoln was our first President to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday. He probably set the observance in late November so as to correlate the holiday with the date of the Mayflower's anchoring (November 21, 1620, by the modern Gregorian calendar but November 11, 1620, by the Julian calendar used by the Pilgrims).

Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation reads as follows:
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln
Additional reading...

1) Thanksgiving: The Forgotten History of America's Thanksgiving and What It Commemorates

2) How the 'Mother of Thanksgiving' [Sarah Josepha Hale] Lobbied Abraham Lincoln to Proclaim the National Holiday: The author of the children's poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was persistent in arguing that establishing the national November holiday could help heal wounds from the Civil War.

In keeping with above words of President Lincoln, who was in 1863 going through a troubled time with the burdens of civil war and the responsibilities of leadership, let us meditate upon our blessings, truly too numerous to count. And let us remember and meditate upon these words (my paternal uncle's favorite hymn, which we joyfully sang at his memorial service):

Monday, November 25, 2019

Ukraine Timeline


Silverfiddle Rant!
John Soloman--the investigative journalist whose name provokes slobbering Pavlovian rage in leftwing obscurantists--has published a comprehensive and well-documented Ukraine Timeline.

I publish this not to damn Joe Biden, nor to engage in whataboutism, nor to divert attention from the actions of President Trump and his operatives.  I bring this to you as a guide for all of us.

Ukraine Enterprises - American Roofs

Regardless of where you stand politically, reading this timeline reveals how various Ukraine factions paid for official US imprimatur to shield themselves from other factions.  Who is corrupt and who is clean depends on who is in power, but that can be trumped (pardon the phrase) by who has an American Roof: Well-connected US officials who vouch for you, call your enemies corrupt, and steer US favors and money as a system of rewards and punishment.

This is one more sad example of how well-connected private US citizens use their US government contacts to make money, peddling influence and opening doors to foreign actors to inveigle themselves into our government's official policy-making.

Please read the linked timeline and tell us what you think.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Art Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

Enjoy these works of American landscape artist George Inness (1825-1894), with background music:



Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Bombshell That Wasn't

Spot on!



Yet, we have this above-the-fold banner headline in today's Washington Post:

"Diplomat acknowledges 'quid pro quo'." Pffffft (short video)!

By way of review (spew alert):

Ludicrosity rules the day.

Meanwhile, Trump is remaking the federal judiciary system.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How the West was Lost


Silverfiddle Rant!

"Matthew is a highly decorated Green Beret who is being tried for killing a Taliban bomb maker," the president wrote. "We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!"
-- President Trump


From Fox News:
President Trump has granted clemency to two Army officers accused or convicted of war crimes and restored Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher to the rank of chief petty officer after he was docked a pay grade after being convicted of posing for a photo with a dead Islamic State (ISIS) fighter, the White House announced Friday.
Our military must be a professional fighting force, not a marauding band of undisciplined Mongols, and our training at every level hammers that home.  For this reason, we have Geneva Convention and Law of Armed Conflict training, and severe punishment for violations.

Having said that, are our Rules of Engagement too strict? Have Western Powers improperly injected too much liberal humanitarianism into the norms of waging war?

Is our government's concept of war outdated?
Military victory in Iraq or Afghanistan was never, in fact, a real possibility. The very nature of war has changed so much in recent decades that military victory as we tend to imagine it, with winners and losers emerging after a fight with an unambiguous end, is utterly obsolete.” (The Myth of Victory)
For whatever hidden motives, our government consciously decides to jump into unwinnable wars, and will never provide the materiel and manpower to even try to win those wars. This sets up a sick dynamic with the military services, because most military people, by their nature, thrill to the prospect of doing the impossible against all odds. 

I could end with fill-in-the-blank platitudes, but I've already bored everyone with them over the years, so I'll end instead with a question:

Can We The People do anything about this, and if so, what?

Monday, November 18, 2019

Recommended Reading

See Cancel Culture Comes For Hernán Cortés in Mexico: On the 500th anniversary of Hernán Cortés’ meeting with Montezuma II, the conquistador deserves a reconsideration, not cancellation, by John Daniel Davidson of the Federalist.

Excerpt (emphasis mine):
...Cortés and his men overcame what seemed to be impossible odds to conquer Tenochtitlan, which by 1519 was comparable in size to Paris, Venice, and Constantinople, and was the center of one of the greatest military empires the western hemisphere had ever seen. By defeating Montezuma II and forcing the Aztecs to surrender, Cortés ended a religious and political system whose basic imperative was ritual human sacrifice on a grand, almost industrial scale. Whatever evils Cortés brought to the New World, they pale in comparison to the evil he stamped out....

[...]

...Cortés is therefore long overdue for a reconsideration—not just of his exploits but also his motives. It’s common enough nowadays to dismiss the Catholic faith of the Spanish conquistadors under the assumption that their religious beliefs could not have been sincere given their actions. But not all their actions were nakedly self-serving. Writing about the legacy of Cortés earlier this year in Canada’s National Post, Peter Shawn Taylor argued that the entirety of Cortés’ behavior in Mexico cannot be explained by a simple desire for gold and glory....
Read the rest HERE.

Additional reading: Largest Child-Sacrifice Graveyard Strikes Huge Blow to Native American Innocence Myth.

Unfortunately, too many today believe this revisionist history:

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Voltaire's Dead


Silverfiddle Rant!
Voltaire: “I wholly disagree with what you say and will fight to the death for your right to say it."

Today's Infotainment Social Media Complex: “I wholly disagree with what you say and I will fight you to the death to deny you your right to say it." 


I typed the name "Eric Ciaramella" into a comment at The Hill, hit Submit, and the comment immediately went into moderation.  Facebook has also banned the Voldemortian Name.

Can anyone recall the last time the entire Infotainment Media Complex circled their wagons around a whistleblower instead of gouging each others' eyes out in barroom brawls to be the first to out him?

This is unprecedented.  And amateurish.  By blocking his name, they give the big reveal: He's the spying, lying, leaking weasel.

When the press stops championing free speech and instead becomes shameless advocates for the establishment, Democracy dies.

I leave you with another Voltaire Quote:

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."


* - I know, the "fight to the death" quote is not a Voltaire quote, but it is a famous statement that encapsulates western civil libertarianism, so spare us the canards.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day 2019


Every act of service, from those who serve stateside in peace, to those who have perished abroad in war, contributes to the freedoms we so often take for granted. Thank you, veterans, for fulfilling your oath.


Important related reading: 5 Facts to Know About Veterans Day.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Caturday Weekend

(For politics, please scroll down)

Our beloved alpha kitty, Minxy (b. September 8, 2017), a gift from a former piano student, who was fostering a mama cat and her five kittens during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma:


Minxy is a force to be reckoned with! We, including Amber, are grateful that she is so good-natured.

More of my kitty photos HERE.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Bring the GWOT Home


Silverfiddle Rant!
Trump’s Opposition to ‘Endless Wars’ Appeals to Those Who Fought Them

Tyler Wade was awarded the Purple Heart while serving in Afghanistan, and says he is “proud of everything” he did during his service. He also believes the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were a mistake, as do a growing number of veterans — from retired generals to those who served across the enlisted ranks...

The Nations In America’s Backyard Are Falling Apart While The U.S. Remains Stuck In The Middle East

While we play Sisyphus in the Middle East, Mexico and Central America are wracked with violence. It cannot help but spill over into the US.  In some ways, it already has.  Mexican drug gangs are operating in the US, as are Central American gangs, preying on the very people who came here to escape them.

Is Mexico a Failed State?

A more important question:

What happens if the Mexican government loses control and we end up with a Somalia on our southern border?

That is when we will see a real refugee crisis.  By the millions.  Up-armored drug cartels routed the Mexican Army in a failed raid and forced the Mexican government to hand over El Chapo's son who they had just captured, and this week we learned of the horrific murder of Americans just south of our border.

Is it time to militarize our border? Should we consider treating violent US, Mexican and Central American gangs like the terrorists they are? Special Ops raids? Attack by drones?  Targeted assassinations?

Does Western Civilization even have the brains and the balls anymore to defeat this terrorism?

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Danger Of AOC

Worth a few moments of your time, and please watch the entire video before commenting:


Do you agree with Tucker Carlson that AOC's agenda and rhetoric are indeed the future of America?

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Open Thread Weekend


So, what's on your mind?

Two links to get this thread started:

1) University Students Need ‘Trigger Warning’ to Study Grimm’s Fairy Tales [AOW rolls eyes]

and

2) Mid-Week in Pictures: Hero Dog Edition [Something on the lighter side].

Here is your chance to opine within the parameters listed below:

We welcome civil dialogue at Always on Watch. Comments that include any of the following are subject to deletion:
1. Any use of profanity or abusive language
2. Off topic comments and spam
3. Use of personal invective


Note: comments consisting of blog gossip will be deleted as soon as an administrator of this blog becomes aware of such comments.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Boo!

(For politics, please scroll down)

I wish that the narrator of the video below didn't talk fast as a speeding freight train. Even so, the stories are quite interesting:



A little spooky music and animation (Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns, 1835-1921):


About the above piece:
According to legend, Death appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death calls forth the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle (here represented by a solo violin). His skeletons dance for him until the rooster crows at dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.

The piece opens with a harp playing a single note, D, twelve times (the twelve strokes of midnight) which is accompanied by soft chords from the string section. The solo violin enters playing the tritone, which was known as the diabolus in musica ("the Devil in music") during the Medieval and Baroque eras, consisting of an A and an E♭—in an example of scordatura tuning, the violinist's E string has actually been tuned down to an E♭ to create the dissonant tritone.

The first theme is heard on a solo flute, followed by the second theme, a descending scale on the solo violin which is accompanied by soft chords from the string section. The first and second themes, or fragments of them, are then heard throughout the various sections of the orchestra. The piece becomes more energetic and at its midpoint, right after a contrapuntal section based on the second theme, there is a direct quote played by the woodwinds of Dies irae, a Gregorian chant from the Requiem that is melodically related to the work's second theme. The Dies irae is presented unusually in a major key. After this section the piece returns to the first and second themes and climaxes with the full orchestra playing very strong dynamics. Then there is an abrupt break in the texture and the coda represents the dawn breaking (a cockerel's crow, played by the oboe) and the skeletons returning to their graves.

The piece makes particular use of the xylophone to imitate the sounds of rattling bones.
Read more HERE.

Here's another: "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1, Op. 46 by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907):


About the above piece:
The piece is played as the title character Peer Gynt, in a dream-like fantasy, enters "Dovregubbens (the troll Mountain King's) hall". The scene's introduction continues: "There is a great crowd of troll courtiers, gnomes and goblins. Dovregubben sits on his throne, with crown and sceptre, surrounded by his children and relatives. Peer Gynt stands before him. There is a tremendous uproar in the hall." The lines sung are the first lines in the scene.

Grieg himself wrote "For the Hall of the Mountain King I have written something that so reeks of cowpats, ultra-Norwegianism, and 'to-thyself-be-enough-ness' that I can't bear to hear it, though I hope that the irony will make itself felt." The theme of "to thyself be... enough" – avoiding the commitment implicit in the phrase "To thine own self be true" and just doing enough – is central to Peer Gynt's satire, and the phrase is discussed by Peer and the mountain king in the scene which follows the piece.
Read more HERE.

And from the best-selling album of all time (performed by Michael Jackson and produced by Quincy Jones) :


The entire album is HERE (15,838,789 views as of the time of this posting). But not everyone's cup of tea, I know.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Famous Washington Post Obituaries


Silverfiddle Rant!

The election of President Donald J. Trump has driven Democrats batshite crazy, to include the 95% of the Infotainment Media Complex that shamelessly acts as a blaring propaganda outlet for the Democrat Party.

The Washington Post went full leftwing loon wackadoo and posted this headline:

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48

This demented idiocy launched a thousand parodies.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Charles Manson, noted family man, charismatic singer/songwriter and aspiring Hollywood socialite, passes away at 83.

11/28/94: Jeffrey Dahmer, who pushed the boundaries of culinary innovation, died today at the age of 34. Dahmer's murder makes him yet the latest victim of the rampant homophobia that transpires in Newt Gingrich's America

John Wilkes Booth, acclaimed actor, entrepreneur and Democrat Party activist, dies at 26.

Osama bin Laden, father of 23, killed in home invasion

Saddam Hussein, successful politician, oil baron and noted tough boss, dead at 69.

Adolph Hitler, humble artist turned passionate leader, Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year 1938, talented orator, animal lover and vegetarian, dies at the age of 56.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Recommended Reading

See The USA PATRIOT Act: The Story of an Impulsive Bill that Eviscerated America's Civil Liberties at Ammo.com.

First two paragraphs:
The USA PATRIOT Act provides a textbook example of how the United States federal government expands its power. An emergency happens, legitimate or otherwise. The media, playing its dutiful role as goad for greater government oversight, demands "something must be done." Government power is massively expanded, with little regard for whether or not what is being done is efficacious, to say nothing of the overall impact on our nation's civil liberties.

No goals are posted, because if targets are hit, this would necessitate the ending or scaling back of the program. Instead, the program becomes normalized. There are no questions asked about whether the program is accomplishing what it set out to do. It is now simply a part of American life and there is no going back....
Read the rest HERE.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Syria


Silverfiddle Rant!
Our political discourse is a bedlam of concern trolls, ignorami, partisan rage addicts, and yellow journalists with tankers of gasoline fanning the flames.

President Trump's precipitous withdrawal from Syria was a blotch-stained end to ten years of US policy incoherence.  Our strategery, such as it is, was a congeries of mutually-exclusive goals and conflicting aspirations sitting heavily on a shoddy framework of criminal ignorance, venal Do-Something-ism, and cynical, fatalistic diplomatic puffery and posturing.

We wanted to topple Assad, while also protecting the minorities he was protecting, while also defeating the jihadis who were trying to topple him, while keeping the Russians and Iranians out (who were already in), while being buddies with both the Kurds (our fighting partners) and Turkey (a NATO ally), despite the fact they have a hateful, murderous feud going back centuries.

Anyway, here is a good article on the subject. If you're interested, please read it and tell us what you think. Despite the title, the authors do not like President Trump and make no defense of his actions.

What Trump Actually Gets Right About Syria

Monday, October 21, 2019

To This We Have Come?

(hat tip to Infidel Bloggers Alliance)

Video of less than two minutes (Oak Park, Illinois):


According to the YouTube blurb:
Oak Park trustee Susan Buchanan berated fellow trustees for speaking on equity during a recent meeting.

See excerpts of her comments below:

• I don't want to hear what you have to say.

• You shouldn't have an opinion on that. That is the point. Why do you have an opinion on equity.

• You have been white from birth. Why are you arguing what is a system of oppression? You've never experienced one so shut up! I don't want to hear from you! Just stop Dan, just stop Deno. You are not oppressed and people in Oak Park and we are trying to recognize that as a community. This mayor and this board is obviously not willing to face history. We have a chance to make history. It is time for this community to face equity. Enough! And you stop it! You are a white male! You stop it, you are a white male! You skin is light enough. Stop it!
On a larger scale, is America going to throw onto the trash heap every achievement because those achievements were largely accomplished by "old white men"?

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Open Thread


So, what's on your mind?

A flashback that caught my eye yesterday...FLASHBACK: Biden Lied for Years About the Driver Involved in His Wife & Daughter's Death.

Here is your chance to opine within the parameters listed below:

We welcome civil dialogue at Always on Watch. Comments that include any of the following are subject to deletion:
1. Any use of profanity or abusive language
2. Off topic comments and spam
3. Use of personal invective


Note: comments consisting of blog gossip will be deleted as soon as an administrator of this blog becomes aware of such comments.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Recommended Reading

See The gilded rage: why is America so angry? Most Americans now believe it is ‘healthier’ to unleash their negative feelings than to bottle them up at Spectator USA.

Excerpt:
...Throughout most of American cultural history, uncontrolled anger was regarded as a personal weakness, and public expression of anger outside some limited circumstances was regarded as shameful. The high regard in which his countrymen regarded George Washington drew in part from his mastery of his own explosive temper. Washington’s famous ‘dignity’ was achieved by quelling his overtowering anger. What was good for George was good for everyone else. All through the 19th century, the nation’s presses poured out manuals for married couples on how to manage domestic disagreements without descending into anger. Books on childrearing emphasized teaching the young emotional self-discipline. The nation’s literary culture grew up on stories about the destructiveness of uncontrolled anger. Ahab’s quest for vengeance against the great white whale isn’t intended as praise for the captain’s virtuosity in expressing his passion....
Read the entire essay HERE.

Monday, October 7, 2019

An Apt Description In Verse

This acrostic sonnet says it all!



___ To a Pencil-Necked Prick ___

Foul, redolent of Insincerity ––
Unctuous fabricator of Tall Tales ––
Coldly, calculating smothering Verity ––
Killing Honesty, –– he’s hard as nails.

A calm and mellow baritone belies
Deadly partisan Ambition bold ––
A Bastard eager to destroy with Lies ––
Mild mannered Malice dished up cold.

Smug with balding, pop-eyed, purse-lipped head
Creepily he stares without a smile ––
Haughty, humorless, with Bug Eyes dead ––
Initiating Treachery in bland Style ––

Fomenting foul Fiction to berate
Frustrates Decency as it spreads Hate.

~ FreeThinke


Bonus graphic below the fold (hat tip to and more graphics @ Powerline's The Week in Pictures: Epicycle Edition).

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

GO, NATS!


Yep, I'm a baseball fan — never mind that, decades ago, Dad turned down an offer to pitch for the New York Yankees (control pitcher).
!--BLOCKING--