The Ballad of God-Makers

Could get a little dull what with no sports and the stores all out of toilet paper, so we’ll have to entertain ourselves. Here’s a good, Lenten poem

By G. K. Chesterton

A bird flew out at the break of day
From the nest where it had curled,
And ere the eve the bird had set
Fear on the kings of the world.

The first tree it lit upon
Was green with leaves unshed;
The second tree it lit upon
Was red with apples red;

The third tree it lit upon
Was barren and was brown,
Save for a dead man nailed thereon
On a hill above a town.

That night the kings of the earth were gay
And filled the cup and can;
Last night the kings of the earth were chill
For dread of a naked man.

‘If he speak two more words,’ they said,
‘The slave is more than the free;
If he speak three more words,’ they said,
‘The stars are under the sea.’

Said the King of the East to the King of the West,
I wot his frown was set,
‘Lo, let us slay him and make him as dung,
It is well that the world forget.’

Said the King of the West to the King of the East,
I wot his smile was dread,
‘Nay, let us slay him and make him a god,
It is well that our god be dead.’

They set the young man on a hill,
They nailed him to a rod;
And there in darkness and in blood
They made themselves a god.

And the mightiest word was left unsaid,
And the world had never a mark,
And the strongest man of the sons of men
Went dumb into the dark.

Then hymns and harps of praise they brought,
Incense and gold and myrrh,
And they thronged above the seraphim,
The poor dead carpenter.

‘Thou art the prince of all,’ they sang,
‘Ocean and earth and air.’
Then the bird flew on to the cruel cross,
And hid in the dead man’s hair.

‘Thou art the son of the world.’ they cried, `
‘Speak if our prayers be heard.’
And the brown bird stirred in the dead man’s hair
And it seemed that the dead man stirred.

Then a shriek went up like the world’s last cry
From all nations under heaven,
And a master fell before a slave
And begged to be forgiven.

They cowered, for dread in his wakened eyes
The ancient wrath to see;
And a bird flew out of the dead Christ’s hair,
And lit on a lemon tree.

Getting Back to the Open Thread

I was working on a good, fantastic, fabulous open thread for Monday Morning – but as I’m on vacation, that didn’t work out…so, here it is, later in the day, and I have some more things I’ve been thinking about.

…The duelists had from their own point of view escaped or conquered the chief powers of the modern world. They had satisfied the magistrate, they had tied the tradesman neck and heels, and they had left the police behind. As far as their own feelings went they had melted into a monstrous sea; they were but the fare and driver of one of the million hansoms that fill London streets. But they had forgotten something; they had forgotten journalism. They had forgotten that there exists in the modern world, perhaps for the first time in history, a class of people whose interest is not that things should happen well or happen badly, should happen successfully or happen unsuccessfully, should happen to the advantage of this party or the advantage of that part, but whose interest simply is that things should happen.

It is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, “Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe,” or “Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet.” They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complete picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority… G. K. Chesterton, The Ball and the Cross, Chapter IV.

Trigger Warning: the book was written more than 100 years ago and uses words and phrases which Precious Snowflakes Who Got Awards for Participation may find offensive. But, it is a good read for everyone else. And it pretty much in those two paragraphs demonstrates why paying attention to what the MSM wants you to see is not really wise.

The Chinese stock market crashed 8.5%! That is amazing for one trading day. It would be as if the U.S. stock market shed around 1,500 points in a day. I guess that even with injections of more funny money and the prospect of getting arrested if you sell hasn’t convinced China’s stock market to start going up.

Should Jonathan Pollard be released? Pollard has been in jail for decades. The article notes that Donald Rumsfeld doesn’t want him released – and a lot of people are on Rumsfeld’s side on this. To me, mercy triumphs over justice. Maybe it is time for Pollard to be released? Pollard becomes eligible for parole in November.

The Senate GOP leadership is, well, rather foolish. We know that they are in bed with big corporations and we know that they are largely Establishment drones who just want to go along to get alone (and, of course, so is the Senate Democrat leadership) – so, we know that they want to reauthorize that bit of corporate welfare known as the Export-Import Bank and they want their pork-laden highway bill. We in the base dig all that – and there’s no chance we’d ever actually like the GOP passing such things. But if they were to de-fund Planned Parenthood and take a big swipe at Obama’s Iran deal, we’d better deal with Ex-Im and the Iran deal actually happening. But, nothing doing – the GOP leadership by legislative hard-ball blocked conservative efforts to do both things…and then rammed through re-authorization of Ex-Im on the highway bill. Turns out, though, that the House GOP leadership (which is much more threatened by that tiresome, will-of-the-people thing), isn’t going to play along. Hey, Mitch – here’s a bit of advice: you have to play ball for things to get done. Just throw us a conservative bone once in a while…geesh!

Assad is hunkering down in his section of Syria and essentially writing off the parts controlled by the rebels. The reason for this? Fundamentally, because Syria isn’t a nation. Iraq isn’t a nation, either. Joe Biden caught a lot of flack when he suggested a post-war partition of Iraq, but it was about the only sensible thing he’s ever said. Syria and Iraq were drawn willy-nilly by Anglo-French imperialists in the post-WWI settlement. They are collections of different peoples with, often, very different ideas of what constitutes the good life. They were only held together – and held down – by imperial and dictatorial powers. Partition may be the only viable solution.

Governor Bruce Rauner (R-IL) is locked in a battle with the State’s government unions – who, of course, control the State Democrat party. This is a re-do of the battle in Wisconsin, but Rauner lacks a legislative majority as Walker had. The fundamental situation is the same – a bankrupt State government faces out of control spending forced through by government unions and their willing minions in elective office. It is either reform, or collapse – but the unions don’t care and insist the only way to go is more taxes and more spending. But Rauner isn’t backing down – and I’m certain that the Democrats/Unions will pull out all the stops. They have to. It was bad enough they were crushed in Wisconsin where the whole government was in Republican hands – but if they get crushed in Illinois where the Democrats control the Legislature, then it is game over for the government unions, and thus the whole idea of Big Government at the State level. Keep and eye on this one – and if Rauner pulls it off, pencil him in for 2024 (if the GOP wins next year) or 2020 (if it loses).