Open Thread

Remember Valerie Plame? Well, after her 15 minutes were up, she seems to have gone down the road of anti-Semitism…which may now make her a prime Democrat House candidate.

People are making fun of AOC’s latest brainstorm: a non-profit banking system run through the US postal service. Don’t make fun of it. You must view AOC as a junior-league Lenin. A Stalin-wannabe. She’s a tyrant in the making. Given this, of course she’d want to get banking into government hands…and then make the dispensing of loans based upon political rather than financial calculations. The perfect Leftist system is where everything you do is controlled by government and you can only do things (ie, live) if you are approved by the government.

I’m kinda hoping the Cubs go another 108 years without a championship.

Bio-pic about Tolkien’s early life – looks pretty good; understandable complaint about them excising Tolkien’s vigorous Catholic faith…but, that’s just Hollywood playing to a mostly non-Catholic audience.

Don Surber points out that China is likely thinking at the moment they can outlast Trump…just wait until another Democrat or GOP squish gets in there. I think the Chinese will find they miscalculated.

Happy Easter!

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.

John 20:1-9

Notre Dame and Civilization

NOTRE DAME is not a myth. Notre Dame is not a theory. Its interest does not spring from ignorance but from knowledge; from a culture complicated with a hundred controversies and revolutions. It is not featureless, but carved into an incredible forest and labyrinth of fascinating features, any one of which we could talk about for days. It is not great because there is little of it, but great because there is a great deal of it. . . . Notre Dame, on its merely human side, is mediaeval civilization.

~G.K. Chesterton: in “Fancies Versus Fads” (1923)

That last word is important: civilization. These days, no one really knows what the Middle Ages were like. They are scorned as a time of ignorance, poverty and oppression. It wasn’t like that, at all. It was a very high civilization – better than any contemporary and better than all that had come before it.

First and foremost, we must remember what it came out of – the destruction of the Roman Empire was a cataclysm such as the world had never seen before. Indian and Chinese civilization had suffered, many times, invasion and conquest. But the barbarians were easily absorbed into the Chinese and Indian civilizations and though there might have been some alterations in how things were done, the basics of each civilization endured. Indeed, were almost entirely unchanged. That is the real oddity of both Chinese and Indian civilization – for 2,000 years or more, there was no real change in how they worked. The underlying ideas behind them just kept going…in a rather sterile manner, but going. When Rome fell, the entire civilization which underlay it went with it.

Some of the barbarian invaders wanted what Rome had, but especially the latter barbarians who finally overthrew Rome were uninterested in any civilization. They were barbarians in the purest sense – only wanting wealth and adventure with no thought for the morrow. When there work was done (say, by about 700 AD) there was very little left. Books were rare as most libraries had been destroyed. Most of the Roman infrastructure (roads, bridges, aqueducts) were in ruins. War and disease and dropped the population to a fraction of what it had been during Rome’s height. And then, schooled by the Church, people got back to work – slowly building an entirely new civilization on the ruins of the old.

Notre Dame was not built by barbarians, but by people of a highly sophisticated civilization. The church, itself, attests to the technical skill of the civilization as well as to it’s artistic excellence. But beyond that, Europe was already filled with scholars expanding the frontiers of human knowledge – and unlike the sterile, nearly unchanging civilizations of the East, the Europeans were rapidly absorbing and adapting every good thing they could come across from other civilizations. These people were eager for knowledge and improvement and were willing to dare greatly. Not for these Europeans was any sort of stand-pat attitude. And Europeans were already greatly curious about the non-European world (Marco Polo made his journey to China in the 13th century, shortly after Notre Dame was completed). And as Chesterton pointed out, Notre Dame was an excellent, enduring symbol of what these highly civilized people were about.

And now its burned down – and the pity is that the civilized people who built it are long gone and replaced by barbarians, who despise Notre Dame because they both can’t understand it as well as being incapable of building something like it. They are very much like the Visigoths and Vandals who threw down Roman civilization in the 5th century. It is sad, I think, what is going to happen: a bunch of people who have no idea of anything are going to place themselves in charge of rebuilding Notre Dame and they are likely to create a savage monstrosity in it’s place. We can only hope that in some future year, civilized people will knock down what they are about to do, and replace the crude, barbaric result with something remotely as civilized as Notre Dame.

Open Thread

The 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, is an excellent film. It is, of course, almost complete nonsense as far as depicting what Bonnie and Clyde were like; the film treats them as cool, misguided kids in love and trying to have fun. They actually were, of course, psychotic killers who murdered people for no reason whatsoever. Now, to be sure, Clyde had his issues – he appears to have been horribly brutalized as a youth in prison. On the other hand, he landed in prison as a youth because he decided to become a crook at a young age. There’s no real explanation for why Bonnie decided to become a killer, other than general insanity. Netflix has a new production called The Highwaymen covering the pair from the other side: how law enforcement dealt with two people who killed in cold blood nine police officers. There has been controversy about it I never understood: some people taking issue with the likely chance that the cops, in the end, just ambushed the pair and blew them to heck and gone without a warning. My view: when you’re dealing with psychotic killers who have already demonstrated they’ll even kill cops without blinking, you don’t give them a chance to return fire.

New York is now going to tax the street if you go for a drive. Wasn’t there once a song about this?

The concept of time is now racist.

Multiculturalism is good, as long as it isn’t an American culture. Some are trying to change that.

Related: moves to ban Thomas Jefferson. One of the defining marks of the left is hatred – most especially hatred of Western Civilization in general and the United States in particular.

Democrats want to interrogate Fox News over their programming decisions. The Democrats are fascists at heart.

Joe Biden says he’ll keep his hands to himself from now on. If the Democrats wanted him to be their nominee, he’d be allowed to get out of this jam just as the Virginia Democrats were allowed to skate…but if the Democrats want Joe gone, this won’t do a darn thing to save him.

Open Thread

Trump came back from Vietnam empty handed – seems that the North Korean’s tried to pull a fast one and Trump walked. Neither Trump nor the North Koreans are saying this is the end. I figure the North Koreans were testing to see how far Trump would go to get a deal. They found out: not too far.

Here’s the thing that our Experts are missing: the proper goal for American foreign policy vis a vis North Korea is to detach North Korea from China. I’m starting to see some hints that Chinese realizes this might be Trump’s goal, and they don’t like it one bit. China likes having a crazy North Korea around to muck up things in east Asia. Makes it easier for China to do things…at least they aren’t crazy, right? That Trump went to Vietnam to meet Kim is also interesting: in relation to China, we need the Vietnamese as allies. I’m wondering if Trump is working on a grand realignment in Asia? Hope so. It is long overdue.

Now, if we could just get everyone to see that our proper policy in Syria is to detach it from Iran…even if this means making a deal with Assad.

In a very quiet way on a Friday night, the Washington Post issued a correction regarding its original reporting on the Covington Catholic boys. I don’t think this will be good enough. I do think that they’ll eventually settle out of court for a large sum of money in order to avoid a crushing loss in Court. Either way, the MSM is being instructed that they must not slander regular folks. I like this.

Seems that religious believers don’t like it when their parish or synagogue gets all SJW. My parish is mostly free of overt Progressivism, but there is still the jarring note from time to time. I understand that in some parishes, it is quite SJW…one friend of mine going to a Church for Mass and the first thing she noticed was no crucifix. If you’ve ever been to a Catholic Church, you know the most prominent thing is usually a gigantic statue of Christ crucified right over the altar. I can’t imagine why anyone calling themselves Catholic would find such a thing inappropriate, but apparently some do. The bottom line is that when religious bodies seek to become part of the world, they die. The end. I know the Catholic Church is in sorry shape right now, but I also know plenty of young Catholic men and women are rising up to rebuild the Church. This Progressive drivel shall pass. Don’t know about the old mainline Protestant congregations…they seem to be gone for good.

The Tru Cons sent a pro-choice liberal to cover CPAC. That’s all you really need to know about the Tru Cons. As Glenn Reynolds points out:

“Conservatism conserved?” They haven’t even conserved women’s sports without penises. And, more tellingly, they haven’t even tried.

Governor Northam’s (D-Minstrel Show) wife handed out cotton balls to African-American children.

No, I did not make that up.

End Stage Trump-Russia

So, we had Cohen at the House today – where someone convicted of lying to Congress got to testify…which just shows how stupid this whole thing has become. I was working a bit of over time today, and so missed the hearings. When I got home to check on how it went, this stood out:

Cohen testified that he went over “topics” that Democrats would raise at today’s hearing with lead anti-Trump attack dog, Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House intelligence committee. So the substance of his testimony was coordinated with the Democratic leadership.

And that is that – he’s coordinating with the people supposedly just trying to elicit the facts of the case. That isn’t fact-finding and oversight: that is prosecution. But the House doesn’t prosecute – not even in impeachment; the House just gathers facts and, depending, refers them to trial before the Senate or to Justice for prosecution. The fact that Cohen was getting coached from the Democrat side of the aisle means that all he was doing was feeding the partisan, Democrat Narrative. Not a word of what he said can be trusted, even if he hadn’t previously lied to Congress.

I have noticed – and so have plenty of others – that the Trump-Russia thing is rapidly morphing into “Trump violated campaign finance laws by paying off women”. Lawyers would have to really decide, before a judge, if such payments were campaign finance violations. But even if they are, such things are invariably handled by fines. Personally, I don’t see them as such – even if Trump dipped into actually donated money to pay the ladies off. From what I can gather, Trump has had a lot of women shake him down for money post-interaction. What isn’t completely certain is whether he had sex with any of these claimants. Such things are difficult to prove unless there’s a third witness or forensic evidence (like a blue dress, ya dig?). Normally, people aren’t having sex a trois; so, its “he said/she said”. But if you’re a billionaire, maybe you just make the calculation that its better to pay for it to go away than to fuss about a sordid scandal in public? The ultimate outcome of the Stormy Saga indicates that Trump may be the put-upon person in all this (though it is enormously funny, still, that Stormy will be the first prostitute to ever pay a politician). If a lot of ladies, justifiably or not, were coming out of the woodwork demanding cash for silence in 2016, then in my view that would be a campaign expenditure…after all, Trump has never hid his social life; none of us were shocked to find out he might have had a dalliance with a lady of interesting background. He wasn’t paying to hide; he was paying to get rid of so he could get on with the campaign. So, campaign expenditure. Of an odd sort, to be sure; but, still.

I don’t know the Democrats’ end game here. Clearly, the large majority of the Democrat base wants Trump impeached. They are convinced that he colluded with Russia to switch votes from Hillary to himself in 2016. So, too, do a large number of Democrat House members want him impeached. Its not a matter in the House of “can they get to 2018?”. If Nancy holds a vote, I can’t see any Democrats voting against. The only question at that point would be if any GOPers would vote along with them. But I don’t see Nancy wanting to hold a vote – such an action is fraught with peril for the Democrats. I think that Nancy would only go along with it if she were assured that at least 5 Republicans in the Senate would vote to convict (this wouldn’t be enough to remove: but it would be enough to say that a bipartisan Senate majority voted to convict, and that would be enough for political purposes). If they impeach via a party-line vote and then Trump is acquitted in the Senate, that would be a disaster for the Democrats heading in to 2020. Trump would be vindicated – and the Democrats very publicly exposed as mean-spirited, hyper-partisans. OTOH, Nancy might be forced to it: the base gets more extreme every day. They might start talking up primary challenges in 2020 for House members who don’t vote to impeach.

Do keep in mind that there is a part of the GOP – rapidly shrinking but still there – which would love to go along with the Democrats in getting rid of Trump. Flake and McCain are gone…but Romney is there along with Murkowski. Cocaine Mitch, though, can probably keep his caucus in line: remember, if the House impeaches, there has to be a trial in the Senate. It isn’t up for debate: the Chief Justice comes over to preside and the Democrats make their case, then the Senate votes. And if it comes to that, absent some really solid evidence against Trump, I think McConnell will be able keep the GOP majority in line…and even a Murkowski would tread carefully, knowing that a vote to convict would make her toxic with GOP voters unless there was clear evidence of criminal behavior to justify the vote.

And so we go on with our insane times – the most law-abiding President we’ve had in ages being dragged by people who probably violate federal laws a dozen times a week…and all of it being done in service to a stupid theory cooked up by Team Hillary to explain away their loss. Just incredible.

End Stage Feminism

A federal judge has ruled that the males-only draft is unconstitutional – which makes sense given that all combat roles are now open to women. And I hate to break it to everyone but it is either ban all women in the military, or agree to draft women if it ever comes to that. There’s no half way point here…it is simply unfair to say that one class of people who can fight are excused while another class of people aren’t. Either the entire class is in, or it is out. Shortly after I read that bit of news, this popped up in my Twitter feed:

The victories of Feminism have not really been a victory for feminine ideals or for the feminine point of view. On the contrary, it has involved the progressive invasion of the feminine side of life by masculine ideals. – Christopher Dawson

Chesterton also noted this when he pointed out that Feminism asserts that women are slaves when they serve their husbands but free when they serve their employers. The whole thing is rather ridiculous…but, here we are. Personally, I think you ladies are rather nice and when you’re doing women things, I’m impressed. Less impressed with female boxers and infantrymen. This will change – and the change, when it comes, will be extremely rapid. It’ll come right around the next serious war we get into. Don’t get me wrong: there are roles women can certainly play in today’s military – pilot and drone pilot immediately spring to mind. But jumping out of an airplane in full combat gear and then running into battle…maybe not so much. In the end, though, it has to be all or nothing: all combat, or no combat. People will have to pick.