Header Image (book)


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

Antonio Vivaldi's "Autumn," a portion of The Four Seasons (published, 1725) — this portion perhaps the most underrated of Vivaldi's "seasons":

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Farewell, General

Silverfiddle Rant!

A great man has passed on...

WASHINGTON — Colin Powell, the retired four-star general who became the country's first Black secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died Monday due to complications from Covid-19, his family said in a statement on Facebook. (NBC News)

I remain a life-long admirer of Colin Powell. The man's record of bravery and patriotic service to his nation in many roles is unquestionable.  Getting caught up in the Cheney-Bush gang's WMD jiggery pokery brought an ignominious end to his national service, culminating in unindicted coconspirator Andy Card demanding his resignation after Powell told congress the truth about Cheney-Bush's manufactured Iraq intelligence.

He went on to reject the GOP establishment and endorse Barack Obama for president.  This, combined with his death from covid despite being vaccinated has goaded some low-level dingbats and high-profile vulgar blowhards on the right into making snide, stupid and low-class comments. Fie on them all.    

Mission accomplished, General Powell.  May you rest in God's peace.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Vaccine Error — And Possible Tragedy

Not one error, but four errors. FOUR! 

Dateline: Evansville, Indiana.  All four members of the Price family pictured below were given adult-strength COVID vaccines instead of the flu vaccine:
Photo credit
The Prices say their children [four-year-old Lucas and five-year-old Sophia] have been exhibiting side effects since getting the adult doses, including fever, coughs, hypertension and heart issues.
Read the rest HERE.

How in the world does such an error happen in the first place?

I tell you this....When I go to get my annual flu shot  should my primary care doctor recommend that I do so  I will demand to see the vial or other package to make sure that there is no "mix up"!  I cannot afford to have another reaction to another COVID vaccine!

Addendum, dated October 15, 2021: 16 more coronavirus/flu shot mixups reported.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

Long-playing, easy-listening music, accompanied by gorgeous images, performed by the Henry Mancini Orchestra:

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

"Quit Lying about Natural Immunity"

Silverfiddle Rant!
Senator Rand Paul lambasted HHS Secretary Becerra:

"This is an arrogance coupled with an authoritarianism that is unseemly and un-American."

"You, sir, are the one ignoring the science."

"Quit lying to people about naturally acquired immunity."

Why isn't acquired immunity part of the vaccination conversation?  Is public safety just a disguise for dictatorial decrees?  Rand Paul seems to be on that trail...
"You, sir, are the one ignoring the science."

"The vast preponderance of scientific studies, dozens and dozens, show robust, long-lasting immunity after Covid infection. Even the CDC does not recommend measles vaccine if you have measles immunity. The same was true for smallpox. But you ignore history and science to shame the flat earthers, as you call them. You should be ashamed of yourself and apologize to the American people for being dishonest about naturally acquired immunity."


COVID ICU Doctor Quits Over Vaccine Mandate: "Hospitals Have An Absolute Commitment To Follow The Data"

Monday, October 11, 2021

Fake News

Silverfiddle Rant!

From Gallup...

* 9% in U.S. trust mass media "a great deal" and 31% "a fair amount"
* 27% have "not very much" trust and 33% "none at all"
* The percentage with no trust at all is a record high, up five points since 2019

Complaints of "the lying news media" are common, but the purveyors of propaganda are much more subtle that that.  Most of the press does not outright lie, they instead rely upon artistic use of tone, tenor and shading to sculpt key sentences in a story for maximum propaganda value.  

Here is an excellent example:  One sentence from a CNN article designed not to convey the news that Tennessee has passed an anti-CRT bill, but rather to ridicule the conservatives who passed the bill: 
Section 51, part 6 of the Tennessee law makes lesson plans illegal if students "feel discomfort, guilt, or anguish."
That Tennessee law sounds idiotic and legally unsound, doesn't it?  

(a) An LEA or public charter school shall not include or promote the following concepts as part of a course of instruction or in a curriculum or instructional program, or allow teachers or other employees of the LEA or public charter school to use supplemental instructional materials that include or promote the following concepts:

(6) An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual's race or sex;
So, rightly stated, the law says...

Tennessee public schools are banned from teaching that "An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual’s race or sex."

See the difference?

If dragged into a court of law, CNN could defend every word of their deliberate misstatement, because it has all been vetted by their lawyers.  So, CNN is broadcasting fact-checked, legally parsed propaganda designed to inflame, outrage and ridicule.  

CNN--and most of the rest of our Infotainment Media Complex--is only a hair's breadth better than sensationalist tabloids full of Elvis sightings, Gordon Ramsey's sex dwarf, 500 pound house cats and Dick Cheny is a Robot headlines.

But is that really what we want?  We deserve better than barely-legal propaganda disguised as news.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

The Presto from Sonata in D Minor, composed by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757):

About the composer Domenico Scarlatti (emphases mine):
...Notable admirers, including Béla Bartók, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Pieter-Jan Belder, Johann Sebastian Bach, Muzio Clementi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Carl Czerny, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Frédéric Chopin, Claude Debussy, Emil Gilels, Francis Poulenc, Olivier Messiaen, Enrique Granados, Marc-André Hamelin, Vladimir Horowitz, Ivo Pogorelić, Scott Ross (the first performer to record all 555 sonatas), Heinrich Schenker, András Schiff and Dmitri Shostakovich.
Read about the accomplished American pianist Anthony di Bonaventura (1929–2012), the pianist performing in the above video, HERE. What creds!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

A Dangerous Escalation

Silverfiddle Rant!

The Department of Justice said it was creating a task force to determine how federal enforcement tools could be used to prosecute criminal conduct toward teachers, and how to assist state and local authorities investigate such threats where such instances may not constitute federal crimes. (The Hill)

What does a progressive totalitarian do when her ideology is challenged by people demanding facts?  Refuse to debate, obfuscate, deploy shifty taxonomy and strain to reframe the issue. 
Most those who have heard of critical race theory and think they have a good idea of what it is believe that teaching it in schools is bad for America (55%). More than one-third of this group (37%) thinks that it is good for America. (YouGov Poll)
What if she still can't convince normal people?  Call them racists.

What if shouting "Racist" doesn't work?  

Get the bureaucratic police state to declare your enemies terrorists.  

So now we are in a nation where "parading" inside the Capitol building wearing a horned helmet makes you a terrorist.  Oath Keepers are now terrorists, despite being members of an above-board organization that states its mission publicly and has never planned or carried out a terrorist attack.  Same for the Proud Boys, who at best are a street-fighting reactionary opposite of the Antifa anarcho-fascists.

George Bush took a giant step towards building a totalitarian police state after 9/11, and the bureaucracies have been building it out ever since, yearning to replicate communist Eastern Europe or 1950's Latin American dictatorships.  Yes, the US Postal Service carries out a domestic spying operation on US citizens residing in the nation we once thought was ours.

Someone shouting at a school board meeting is not terrorism.  Threatening violence is not terrorism--It is a crime that local police departments and local prosecutors know how to handle.  This is way over the top. Our federal government is out of control and I don't know how we stop it.

America has seen terrorism.  Bubba threatening to kick a school board member's ass ain't it. Please read this short article for a dose of reality:  A History of Attacks at the US Capitol

Monday, October 4, 2021

Biden's Big Mess

Silverfiddle Rant!
Biden ran and won as Not Trump:

According to a Morning Consult exit poll, 44 percent of Biden voters said they were primarily voting against Trump (only 22 percent of Trump’s voters said they were voting mainly against Biden). Just 54 percent of Biden’s voters said they cast their ballots primarily as a vote for him. (James Antle)

He was supposed to be the soothing, caring antidote to the vulgar blowhard inhabiting the White House. He was the grandfather figure who would move in, restore sanity and calm everything down.  Instead, chaos has increased, and the bratty leftwing children are running with scissors and demanding a bank-breaking trip to progressive Disney World.
Eight months in, Joe Biden’s presidency is collapsing on every front.

Joblessness has been rising for weeks, inflation remains high, his own border chief is warning of a record-breaking migrant surge in October, and the president’s planned private-sector vaccine mandate is still MIA.

Biden put all his (limited) energy into legislation to transform the nation into Bernie Sanders’ dream welfare state — and that scheme’s imploding too, as Democrats descend into infighting. (NY Post)
What's Going On?

I'm an Occam's Razor guy, so I go for the straightforward analysis:  Joe Biden is a Trojan Horse.  Once they wheeled him inside the gate, leftwing activists and pointy-headed progressives spilled out and took over every corner of the Executive branch, encouraging the far left rabble in Congress to go for the whole enchilada.

Biden is not up to the task.  This is not an insult, we all grow old, but I think his faculties are declining rapidly, and were during the campaign where the press guarded him like it was the 1940's. The kids are running roughshod over him, and We The People will pay the price.

What say you?

Friday, October 1, 2021

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down) 

As of September 11, my husband Warren and I began moving into our Evansville home. 

The house and yard are lovely!  We have almost 2600 square of living space, plus an oversized two-car attached garage.  I finally have a place large enough so that I can display all the beautiful antiques I inherited, as well as some treasures I bought over the past fifty years.  Warren, too, has treasures to display. 

We're having a major problem with the unpacking, however. I paid for "full pack," and the packers mislabeled so many boxes! For example, and only one example of many, a box labeled "Office" actually contains china from the piano room. Strange! The office was upstairs, and the piano room downstairs in my Virginia home. Ugh. 

Unpacking is quite a nightmare! Especially for two people who have never before moved. Thank God that my Virginia cousins, who transported my kitties Amber and Minxy in a non-stop overland trip on September 17, came for a few days to help us.  Nevertheless, finishing here is still a nightmarish work-in-progress.  My dog Callie rode overland with Warren and me, in the U-Haul truck.

Speaking of "nightmare" and "nightmarish," here is an appropriate musical selection for this moving project (Edvard Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King):

PS; Many thanks to my good friend Silverfiddle, who kept this blog running so well in my absence.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Trends: Covid Down, Dictatorial Urges Up

Silverfiddle Rant!

Q:  What did Covid say to 9/11 at the beginning of 2020?

A: "You think you caused hysteria and made air travel miserable?  Watch this!"

Progressive propaganda outlets like Salon continue to preach their hysterical Scientism-Safetyism religion like an unhinged band of Millerites and Millenarians.  Soon after the vaccination rates stalled, they organized wild-eyed, screaming digital pogroms against the MAGA sinners and heretics who dare question the Orthodoxy of Experts. 

* - btw, we are getting a glimpse of health care decisions if the Democrats ever ram through government-run universal health care:  Your personal choices become everybody else's business, with imperious bureaucrats giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to your request for care based on whether or not you conform to the popular morality.

From Salon...

It's time to start firing unvaccinated people: Trump fans are overdue for a lesson in consequences

This from the crowd that pushes programs that perpetually shield people from consequences...

They applaud New York state's totalitarian governor for issuing an ultimatum to health care workers to get vaxxed or get fired:
And every other Democrat who wants to see this pandemic actually come to an end (which should be all of them!) should follow suit. Staffing shortages are a pain, especially during a pandemic, no doubt. But staffing shortages are a minor issue compared to the damage being caused by the unchecked spread of COVID-19, which is increasingly due to one cause: right-wingers who have made refusal to get vaccinated a culture war and identity politics issue. 
Four points:

First off, there is no "unchecked spread" of Covid.  According to the CDC Data Tracker, this spike is on the downward slide.  

(Pssst!  C'mere and look at this!  70% of New York People of Color have chosen not to get the jab) 

Anti-Democratic progressives who have politicized every last corner of our lives are the last ones with any right to complain about culture wars and identity politics.  

Finally, these are the same true believers who nod knowingly when Biden burps out idiotic nonsense like "We're going to protect the vaccinated from the unvaccinated!"

How are you doing?

Anyhoo, what this post was supposed to be about was, how are you doing almost two years into this new era of Endless Panic Pandemic?  Something had to replace the era of Endless Wars...

I'll start:

I got the J&J vax in May once all the elderly and infirm got their pokes.  I was never worried about Covid; I just wanted to get the mask totalitarians off my ass.  My family and I have continued to live our lives as normally as we can in this nutty environment.  Colorado, although solid blue, did not get too crazy.  We had mask mandates indoors for a few months, but that was it.

Still, I look around the nation and shake my head.  Forcing people to stay indoors, shutting down children's playgrounds, quarantining healthy people, forcing people to keep germ-sodden cloths on their faces all day...  

Most grotesque of all is the abuse humorless leftists are inflicting on our nation's children, continuing to treat them as the most vulnerable, when in fact they are the least vulnerable.  If anyone should be left alone to run free during this national panic, it's children, adolescents and young adults.

What say you?  Open fire! Tell us how you and yours have fared, regale us with stories, or just rant.

Monday, September 27, 2021

A New Cold War

Silverfiddle Rant!
 The withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Biden administration’s apparent determination to end America’s open-ended wars constitute the final acknowledgment that the post-Cold War era is over. 

We are yet again in a world where for the foreseeable future great power competition and power-balancing will determine winners and losers.
(Andrew Michta - A Bitter Lesson)

Tom McTague, in The Atlantic, states the obvious:
The decision to invite Beijing into the world economic system in 2001 has not led to anything like the more liberal or democratic China that world leaders had envisaged, only a more powerful and more draconian adversary that has grown and grown while the U.S. and its allies (including Britain and Australia) were distracted in the Middle East and Afghanistan. (Atlantic - Joe Biden’s New World Order)
Can we not call it a 'War' this time?
In effect, the U.S. is having to adapt to the new world of Chinese power in order to protect the old “free and open” world of global trade and American supremacy that Washington built after the Second World War.  (Atlantic - Joe Biden’s New World Order)
Economic alliances and quiet, non-bellicose military strength is what this new era calls for. Small-bore military and humanitarian assistance where feasible, while avoiding grand projects.

I support President Biden strengthening our strategic alliances with partners old and new, including the new US-UK-AUS Alliance, which is really just an upgrade of an enduring partnership.  I also think "The Quad" is a good idea:  An informal alliance of the US, Japan, India and Australia. If we can leverage these renewed friendships to build manufacturing and supply chains among friendly nations, to include smaller, poorer nations like Mexico and Central American countries, Vietnam, Indonesian, the Philippines, etc, we will have gone a long way towards limiting China's influence, and doing it in a non-belligerent way that does not risk World War III. 

We Won the Cold War...

...and smashed up alot of the third-world in the process, alienating billions of people who otherwise yearn for the freedoms and economic prosperity we were supposed to be championing.

Can We Learn?

Can we learn from our strategic successes of that era, and update and apply those lessons for this new era?  More importantly, can we learn from our many abuses, failures, human rights violations and destruction of human life?

Can we conduct a quieter fight against terrorists?  

Our special operators know how to do that with a light footprint.  They also know how to partner with friendly governments and help them help themselves.  Can we understand that a 'War on Terror' is folly and can never be won?  It's eternal whack-a-mole, but doing it quietly and smartly can keep the bad guys on their heels, erode their support among the people, and gain us friendship and respect around the world.

Can we be a friend to people everywhere?  

Can we beef up our Peace Corps?  Can we open more consulates and culture centers to put on a friendly and respectful face to nations around the world?  This sounds like hippie-dippie stuff, but it works, especially when good-hearted, culturally-curious and sincere Americans are out in front.

What say you?

See Also:

Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday Funnies: Norm McDonald

Silverfiddle Rant!

Comedian and everyman philosopher Norm Macdonald has passed on.  

I loved his impressions on SNL.  Latterly, he had a show for one season on Netflix called "Norm MacDonald has a show," and it was brilliant.

For your viewing pleasure, The Best of Turd Ferguson.  His Burt Reynolds is spot on...

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Biggest Threats to our Nation

Silverfiddle Rant!

Polling from reputable organizations can serve as a barometer, but I don't put too much stock in them, since they usually reflect the panic of the moment.  Here in the US tribal territories, most people herd up around the loudest ideological tastemakers they agree with, and most polling is a reflection of that.

Rasmussen has taken the temperature of the populace to determine what we believe are the greatest threats to our nation.  Here are some results...
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Democratic voters believe supporters of Donald Trump are a serious threat to the nation. 

56% of those in President Biden’s party also consider the unvaccinated a serious threat. That’s a higher level of concern than Democrats express about the Taliban (44% see it as a serious threat); China (44%), or Russia (37%).

For Republicans, the top concerns are the Taliban (66%), Defund the Police Activists (62%), and China (58%).

The top three concerns for Independents are the same as the GOP (though in a different order). The Taliban is the biggest concern for independent voters (46%) followed by China (45%) and Defund the Police Activists (36%).
I disagree with all of them (with one exception).  Here is my list of biggest threats to America:

The lying, wasteful, war-making political establishment that serially fails to square up on our nation's most pressing issues and instead traffics in trivialities, propaganda, and political porn designed only to continually inflame their base and extract donations from them.

The Big Education establishment that rent-seeks off taxpayer money and fails to teach the fundamentals of a classical education that are critical to our liberal democracy:  Logic, Reason, Critical Thinking, and Toleration of differing beliefs.

China. Their government is much smarter and much more serious than ours 

Our government's failure to foster economic cooperation among friendly nations that lead to robust, trusted supply chains.

Infrastructure security against hacking, EMP bursts and solar activity

The near-failed states to our south

The ever-expanding national debt

Corporate ownership of the public square and the neo-censorship that goes with it.

Loss of habitat

Our nation's water supply

What Say You?

Monday, September 20, 2021

What's going on with our generals?

Silverfiddle Rant!

General Milley Continues to Take Heat...

"Milley’s actions show that America’s top military officers have reached another level of delusion. They fancy themselves a new praetorian guard to protect the nation." (Deep State - Deep Trouble)

Much is being made of Milley's supposed usurpation of power and quiet subversion of President Trump's direction on Syria and Afghanistan, phone calls assuring Chinese generals he would warn them before we attack them, and holding a secret cabal of generals to seize ultimate control of our nuclear arsenal.  

While I think the rhetoric is a little much, here is one summary  Another one demands Gen. Milley must go for subverting of civilian control of the military

This article says Milley made the call to China at SecDef Esper's request.  If true, that means Milley did nothing wrong by making that phone call.  He was a good soldier obeying orders of the civilians appointed over him.

By all accounts, General Milley was a heroic soldier on the battlefield and many who served under him praised his leadership as a battalion commander when he was a lieutenant colonel.  

Something has gone wrong since then...

Desert Storm tank commander H. R. McMaster (he won a Silver Star for his brilliant leadership in a decisive battle) wrote a book in 1997, Dereliction of Duty, making the case...
"that during the 1960s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff betrayed their constitutional duties by failing to provide their honest military judgment to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara as they plunged into the quagmire of Vietnam. When McMaster’s book was published in 1997, during the Clinton administration, Gen. Hugh Shelton, then the JCS chairman, ordered all his service chiefs and commanders to read it and follow its lessons to the letter—to express disagreements to their superiors, even at the risk of getting yelled at." (The Revolt against Donald Rumsfeld)
Lt Gen (Ret) McMaster has been lauded by leaders and peers as the kind of innovative thinker we need in the flag officer ranks. His book has been required reading in the officer ranks.

Mackubin Owens made an opposing case back in 2006, mounting a defense of Rumsfeld and civilian control of the military.

The Ghost of Don Rumsfeld

I caught Hugh Hewett on the way to work a few days ago.  Retired Admiral James Stavridis was singing Milley's praises and bragging about appointing him to brief Rumsfeld back when Stavridus was an admiral at the Pentagon and Milley was a Colonel serving under him. He gushed over Milley, calling him stubborn, highly intelligent and brave, one of the few officers able to go one-on-one with with Rumsfeld.  The admiral was essentially lauding Milley's high-level bureaucratic skills, and that is when it hit me... 
What's "wrong" with Milley is what went "wrong" with warrior generals Franks, McChrystal, Petraeus and so many other flag officers of their generation:  Rummy tainted and broke them.

I am not damning those men. They did the best they could with what the civilians handed them.  Whether at one point or another they should have thrown their stars on the table is not an easy judgment, but once you've been made to eat shit and like it, or once you have been "made," as in a mafia made man, justification mechanisms must kick in.  It's human nature.

Some men did push back:  Generals Shinseki and Newbold while they were still on active duty, and Generals Zinni and Eaton after retirement.

So, we are left with an age old question:  What do senior generals do when handed an impossible mission cooked up by the ignorant fools appointed over them?