Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Winchester, Guinness, Jamison

This is mostly a marker post -- I intend to put some pictures in and edit it after I return.

The general thought though -- the "nugget".

We did Jameson Whiskey in Cork, Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and this evening walked through Winchester Cathedral.

When I was over here in '89 -- first time across the pond, major business trip, excitement, anxiety, jet lag and a lot of other things. I woke up early and went over to the cathedral at like 6:30 AM and was completely awed by the size and the scope in time. Winchester was finished in 1093 and contains bones brought over from the old abbey -- built around 600. It puts me in my place -- tiny, a speck in space and time next to the majesty of God.

While I very much enjoyed our tours of Jameson and Guinness, it is hard to go through them and not say; REALLY??? You have GOT to be KIDDING!!!

The canonization of John Jameson and Arthur Guinness is along the lines of "forget Plato, Greece, Rome, Christ, Da Vinci, Newton ... or whatever name one wants to insert, it is the IRISH on which the "spirit" of Western Civilization rests in the form of Guinness and Jameson and the heroics of their founders!

I'm afraid that when one stands in Winchester Cathedral the soul feels just a wee bit more than even walking through the hall with 1000 private oak casks of Jameson, or standing in the largest Guinness pint in the world! There are actual foundations of Western Civilization, and then there are products -- certainly well crafted products with great traditions that can bring a lot of pleasure to millions, but still products. Consumables.

The pillars are BIG!



One other little point to ponder -- The Rock of Cashel is great to visit, but it is a RUIN -- it dates from just a little LATER than Winchester, yet all the old stuff is purely a ruin.

The simple, no doubt flawed, but still worthy of some thought point is "winning is better than losing". Were the Brits "bad" -- certainly they were at least sometimes, but building a giant empire was also not "easy", took some motivation and gained long lasting rewards for the nation.

Fail to "win" and priceless things like Winchester Cathedral fall in and are piles of rubble with maybe a few walls still standing rather than what you see if you go to the link, or better yet come here. There **IS** a difference!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

BO Mandatory Voting

Obama calls for mandatory voting in U.S. - Washington Times:



Here we see a solid piece of left leaning thought. First, if an idea is viewed as "good" from the left it MUST be MANDATORY at least eventually!



Second, consistency is not an issue. To the "small minded", mandatory voting would mean that there would have to be a voters list and names would be checked off. Such a thing would seem to come dangerously close to voter ID, but we know that Dems HATE ID and regularly call it "voter suppression".



“It would be transformative if everybody voted,” Mr. Obama said during a town-hall event in Cleveland. “That would counteract [campaign] money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country.”
We know what BO hates about the political map -- other than major urban areas, it is almost entirely red. BO also makes a not so subtle point in that utterance -- the government isn't a "special interest" in his mind. This is one of the major subterfuges of the left. The government always growing, always spending on groups in efforts to gain their votes and working hand in glove with AFSCME, the largest union is NOT a "special interest". As the government flirts with being 40% of the economy and is already the largest employer, the left wants you to see this behemoth as having "no interests". 



One of the problems with many conservatives is a lack of imagination at least about the political machinations of the left. I'm quite certain that Dems and BO would be quite happy to come up with a system where their voters were herded to the polls, allowed online voting, or maybe "straight party automatic voting" where you indicated your party and your vote automatically counted for that party until you changed it -- like "auto pay" for voting or other "innovation". 



No doubt, random people showing up at the polls, or "over votes" where over 100% of the voters vote (a condition that happens in a few heavily D areas every presidential election now) would be fine -- how could such a thing be "biased", right?


When Democrats have "a good idea", it must be mandatory, subsidized, etc -- if there is something they don't like it must be illegal, fined, taxed, etc. They believe in CONTROL! 



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BO Mandatory Voting

Obama calls for mandatory voting in U.S. - Washington Times:



Here we see a solid piece of left leaning thought. First, if an idea is viewed as "good" from the left it MUST be MANDATORY at least eventually!



Second, consistency is not an issue. To the "small minded", mandatory voting would mean that there would have to be a voters list and names would be checked off. Such a thing would seem to come dangerously close to voter ID, but we know that Dems HATE ID and regularly call it "voter suppression".



“It would be transformative if everybody voted,” Mr. Obama said during a town-hall event in Cleveland. “That would counteract [campaign] money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country.”
We know what BO hates about the political map -- other than major urban areas, it is almost entirely red. BO also makes a not so subtle point in that utterance -- the government isn't a "special interest" in his mind. This is one of the major subterfuges of the left. The government always growing, always spending on groups in efforts to gain their votes and working hand in glove with AFSCME, the largest union is NOT a "special interest". As the government flirts with being 40% of the economy and is already the largest employer, the left wants you to see this behemoth as having "no interests". 



One of the problems with many conservatives is a lack of imagination at least about the political machinations of the left. I'm quite certain that Dems and BO would be quite happy to come up with a system where their voters were herded to the polls, allowed online voting, or maybe "straight party automatic voting" where you indicated your party and your vote automatically counted for that party until you changed it -- like "auto pay" for voting or other "innovation". 



No doubt, random people showing up at the polls, or "over votes" where over 100% of the voters vote (a condition that happens in a few heavily D areas every presidential election now) would be fine -- how could such a thing be "biased", right?


When Democrats have "a good idea", it must be mandatory, subsidized, etc -- if there is something they don't like it must be illegal, fined, taxed, etc. They believe in CONTROL! 



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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bibi Beats BO!

Israeli Bonds Rise With Stocks as Netanyahu Wins Election - Bloomberg Business:



BO isn't a big fan of Israel -- he has made it pretty clear who "his people" are and aren't, and Jews don't make the cut. It would be impossible to sit in Rev Wright's church for 20 years if they were.



The Democrats had some of their big guns over there trying to beat Bibi -- oh, you heard they said that they "didn't want to influence the election in Israel"?  What part of don't believe anything they say have you missed? What they MEANT was they didn't want to influence the election in Bibi's favor!



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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Courageous Liberal Closes the Books on Ferguson

‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ was built on a lie - The Washington Post:

This is rare and it needs to be applauded -- certainly the author, Jonathan Capehart, a BLACK reporter for the WaPo, but also the Post itself. Saying nothing would be easier and would better serve the liberal and minority narrative. If this kind of reporting could become standard, the TRUTH would be well served, and in my view, that would serve us all!

 MOST of the left will allow the bottom line of the Ferguson case to remain murky at best, and to lend support to the idea that Brown was "murdered", saying things like "the report shows endemic racism in the Ferguson force" ... and letting people believe that therefore the lack of prosecution of Officer Wilson was likely racially motivated as well.

I'm willing to accept the indictment of the Ferguson local government and police force as this column also points to as valid -- it doesn't take a lot to convince me of government malfeasance, local, state or national. I'd like to think that the report would give liberals a little pause as to their near religious faith in government. We shall see.

What this column does though is do a VERY detailed coverage of the report on the actual shooting -- the one that the MSM is generally not covering at all that shows clearly that the whole idea of "Hands up, don't shoot" was a complete and total lie. If you need to be convinced, there is a lot of good discussion of the impact of actual forensic evidence and what looks to be excellent work done by the DoJ under Eric Holder -- again, to be applauded. Holder is FAR from a personal favorite of mine, but it appears that in this case, even no doubt under some pressure to come up with SOMETHING to support the "shot in the back, hands up" narrative, he was at least willing to let his organization base the outcome on the facts.
The DOJ report notes on page 44 that Johnson “made multiple statements to the media immediately following the incident that spawned the popular narrative that Wilson shot Brown execution-style as he held up his hands in surrender.” In one of those interviews, Johnson told MSNBC that Brown was shot in the back by Wilson. It was then that Johnson said Brown stopped, turned around with his hands up and said, “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!” And, like that, “hands up, don’t shoot” became the mantra of a movement. But it was wrong, built on a lie.
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Baseball Vs Beanbag

The Party of the Furrowed Brow | The Weekly Standard:

An excellent column, well worth the read. The overarching message is that conservatives tend to play very very nice -- they know the rules and like them, they assume they will always be in the minority, they have lots of other things they would rather do than play political games.
If brow-furrowing were thinking, the Republican establishment would be geniuses. If hand-wringing were prudence, GOP politicians would be exemplars of Aristotelian virtue. If tongue-clucking were eloquence, conservative elites would be orators for the ages. 
But of course Trey Gowdy, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Tom Cotton have done more for conservative principles and Republican prospects in the last few weeks than the brow-furrowers, hand-wringers, and tongue-cluckers have done in years.
Conservatives DON'T always lose -- Burke beat back the sentiments of the French Revolution that threatened to catch fire in England. The US Revolution was essentially a conservative revolution. The Victorian Era in England was a return to conservative values. Reagan won, the USSR fell -- conservatives can and do win, though usually quite nicely and by the rules.

The left on the other hand has a long history of "off with their heads" in the French Revolution, lots of blood as the Bolsheviks and Maoists rose to power, buildings blowing up burning as riots consumed the streets here in the late '60s here. The left doesn't much like rules and they are not concerned about "breaking a few eggs" (or skulls) to achieve what they see as their morally superior vision.
As a great American writer put it, “Politics ain’t bean-bag.” Republicans and conservatives spend an awful lot of time playing endless variations and ingenious permutations of bean-bag. But it’s baseball, not bean-bag, that is the American game. It should of course be played cleanly and forthrightly, and according to the rules. But baseball is hardball. So is politics. Maybe it’s time to stop fussing and fretting long enough to learn how to play it.
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A Conflict of Visions, Thomas Sowell

Link to book on Amazon.

This is at least my second reading of this favorite book, my first review is covered here.

My first review is pretty good I think, so just go read it.

It's biggest failing is that I TOTALLY fail to accomplish in the review what Sowell does so very well in the book -- my bias for the constrained vision is obvious. Sowell is not only BRILLIANT (and happens to be Black), but how well he is able to avoid showing his (also constrained) bias is a thing of beauty.

The "Visions" are quite simple once one starts looking at them, but remarkably powerful in how they affect how the world is viewed. They are pretty much the same as "worldview", the largely pre-conscious lens through which we see the world.

For those of you that are more video than reading oriented, here is Sowell himself discussing the work. In my view, Dr Sowell is the greatest living mind on understanding and explaining Political and Economic issues.

***Note: While the video is interesting and covers some things from the book, you should NOT get the idea that Sowell in the book is like Sowell on the video relative to which Vision is his !!! In some ways, reading the book after watching the video might give one greater hope in potential ability to rise above our biases that is likely unwarranted in people less brilliant than Sowell ... about 99% of us!






Monday, March 16, 2015

The Clinton Mob Reunion Movie!

Its Hillary All the Way Down:

The only reason I post this is because Jonah had EXACTLY the same thought as I did when the Hillary scandal management vermin started wriggling out of the slime and ooze. Lanny Davis, Carville, David Brock ... I swear I heard something from Paul Begala as well, though I hear he is off in Israel trying to defeat Netanyahu -- we know how much the Democrats and media are aghast at any potential meddling in foreign elections!

I like what Jonah has done with the concept -- "the reunion movie", "getting the old gang back together again" -- It shows up often in film. Space Cowboys, even "The Unforgiven" -- what were the old Clinton cronies, henchmen and fixers doing when the call came that their services were required once more, and do they still have "the right (in this case, wrong, or at least nasty) stuff?".

I'm pretty certain the Clinton gang is more like "The Godfather" or "The Sopranos" -- in order to play, they have to have a 100% dead to rights major league Felony on you, so they KNOW that you are "their kind of people" and they can "trust" you in the only sense that counts for such an organization.

There used to be a bunch of lists of all the people that had died "unexpectedly" around the Clintons over the years -- Vince Foster and Ron Brown were just the famous ones. I'm certain the vast bulk of those were "just accidents", but there were plenty of opportunities for soulless henchmen like "Commander Cue Ball" Carvelle" to solve a nasty problem and prove that he has what it takes to  be inside the Clinton cesspool.

The Goldberg piece is pretty entertaining for the most part. I've been sick of the Clinton Mob for 20 years at least -- the fact that there are ANY people that would be willing to even CONSIDER an evil hag like Hilly for any role where we have to see her shows that taste is one of the things that quickly departs in a nation in decline!

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Working Hard Doesn't Work

Middle-Class Betrayal? Why Working Hard Is No Longer Enough in America - NBC News.com:

Anyone that grew up on a small dairy farm knew LONG ago that working VERY hard has NEVER been a guarantee of any sort of life -- even being able to keep the farm, as many small dairies went bust and have been superseded by multi-thousand cow mega automated farms.

Choosing to be a librarian as this young woman did was also never the road to riches, and with the advent of computers and the internet, it has the kind of flavor of becoming a blacksmith as the auto catches on. People have always needed to pay attention to what was happening around them as they selected a career at which to work.

All that aside, the tone and many of the facts of the article are true for our time -- MUCH as many articles were in the late '70s and early '80s, the last time we were in a long term "malaise".

At some point, we will have to compete again in the world. People will stop saying things like "Well, you can't compete with Chinese slave labor wages making a $1 a day" (or some other suitably small number). No, we ARE competing -- with China, India, Brazil, etc, etc -- we are just competing badly, which is known as LOSING.

Back in the '30s we made a determination -- as Europe did as well, that it was possible for a nation to provide a "safety net" of increasing capability that was available to ALL, independent of their earnings. Today, our labor participation is the lowest in non-depression history, our Federal debt is over $18T and rising, and that "safety net" for the elderly at least is an unfunded liability (meaning a promise to pay with no cash or assets to back it up) of $60T or so as of 2030.

Those of us lucky enough to have worked hard in a reasonably lucrative career and even saved money find themselves between a risk rock and a tax hard place. Pull a little too much money out of our accounts full of stocks and other financial instruments, supposedly safer, but still paper, and we get a big AMT tax surprise. ... That particular problem is a little too personal ;-(

Economic collapse is natures way of settling the books when poor assumptions are made about the way things work. As the Bible says in Thessalonians: 'For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either."

There is nothing any more profound in that statement in the long run than "What goes up must come down". Create a system in which people believe that work is optional, and to some degree even worse, lose the drive to invent, create and risk in search of new sorts of  riches and lifestyles beyond the imagination of most, and the end is certain. We will come down. 

There is no certain positive outcome from innovation, risk and hard work, BUT, there is a certain outcome from playing it safe, sloth, and looting those that continue to work hard. 

I believe all of us understand this in our souls -- Gordon Gekko was wrong in the movie" Wall Street" when he said that "Greed is good". It isn't, it is a deadly sin, but it is better than Envy -- also a deadly sin. Greed is an active sin, it can provide drive. Lust is often bad -- but again, it is active, it is better than apathy which drives nothing at all. 

To be human is to be imperfect. Inequality of outcome is imperfect -- but so definitely is human administered EQUALITY of outcome, because it has MANY costs, not the least of which is taking resources by force from those who earned them and passing them to others that did not. In doing so, all are corrupted -- those that take, those that receive, and those from whom their earnings are taken. 

Working hard was never a guarantee, but as we have increasingly focused a lot of our "working hard" on the corruption of our system, it increasingly fails. We all fail. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Great Men And Monsters

A Monster of Our Own:

The linked article focuses on Hillary, but she is really just an example. All of us at least to some minor degree wrestle with "What is it all for?". Williamson does an excellent job of covering some of the more (in)famous examples of characters wrestling (badly) with such questions ... Faust, the Marquis de Sade, Nixon -- rather an odd juxtaposition, but he weaves them in an interesting and thought provoking way. He makes the point (to me) that "politics" is just another human false god, an idol that breaks the First Commandment. 

When Christ summarized the commandments he said “'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

He knew that for fallen man, such was impossible -- and even his word  on the subject contains a paradox. **IF** one could TRULY only love God with our ALL -- the heart, the soul and the mind, then what would it mean to "love our self"? --  because we ought love our neighbor in the same way.

As we look to ourselves, and to current and past characters, both real and imagined, much of their and our efforts can somewhat be summarized as "efforts to forget our self". Certainly the addictions mentioned in the column -- drugs, alcohol, politics, power, adulation, are all significantly driven by a drive for something like the search for an escape from "plain old us". Typically beginning with an idea of "how we will feel if / when / etc" some event, some goal attained, some ingested substance, some pleasure, some reward -- SOMETHING, alters our state. Even religion itself -- and I think here of the "born again experience", can for some be or at least be seen as an "altered state".

It brings to mind Nimoy's last tweet;  "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"

When reflecting on his life, Churchill found the greatest moments to be in 1940 -- when the situation was the most grim for England and he was the indispensable man. He had a strong sense of "destiny", yet not a strong sense of God. His faith seemed to be in himself and the ultimate victory of the English people and he regularly talked of his "mission" as being to give voice to the English people -- and he also sometimes referred to them as "the English race".

It is very hard to reflect on "monsters" of history without considering Winston's adversary Hitler. Hitler also thought he was a reflection of the "German race" and likewise was a speaker that millions were captured and motivated by. The difference in my mind boils down to Hitler's demand that the German people (and himself) RULE -- to the exclusion and even deaths of other people, especially of course the Jews.

Churchill definitely saw the English people and their empire as "special", and instruments of good in history. He certainly also saw himself as "a great man" -- humility was not his strong suit! Yet, nearly nobody thinks of Churchill as a "monster".  I'd argue that Reagan is much the same -- an also "great man", who similarly won his battle with "the evil empire".

It's very hard for me to imagine what anyone sees in a Hillary, or an Obama for that matter. What is it that is their "vision" for anyone but themselves? An easier and less challenging life for "average Americans"? Political hegemony for the Democrat party and a final resounding "victory" of single party rule for America? Some sort of ill defined "world government" where no "dominant powers" exist anymore and we may as well all aspire to be Kenya, or Venezuela, or any old "unknownistan" ?

I can't tell -- it seems clear that BO and Hillary both hate "Republicans", or "conservatives", "bitter clingers", or "the vast right wing conspiracy", but other than that, is it really only that they care about adding "president" to their resume? Sure it is still a significant title, but unless it comes with something that really makes a difference in history, is it THAT much different from any other "perfect moment"?

Perhaps that is the real unease that certainly a few more are starting to feel as Hillary dissembles and gives us the basic "what does it matter now" sense of "I'm inevitable, live with it" sort of pitch.

While the column caused neurons to fire, I'm not sure at all that Hillary, or BO for that matter comes even close to having her name uttered among the "monsters", and certainly not among the "great men of history".

America and Western Civilization is in obvious decline. The Bear and the Dragon, both historical opportunists are rising, along with the crescent and the sword in the Middle East. For the tide to be turned, the West will have to be about SOMETHING other than "care of the elderly and an equitable distribution of whatever we can beg and borrow".

We are in need of a "Great Man", which always carries with it the danger of a "Monster". I don't see Hillary as anything other than another caretaker on our way to the dustbin of history if we are foolish enough to choose her.

Nationally and personally, we need to get outside ourselves. Ideally, to a Christian, that means putting God first, but to all, it means that we have to find SOMETHING to love about ourselves and our nation beyond comfort, income equality and obsessive worry about the climate.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Left vs Right, 47 and Servers, Worldview

G.O.P. Letter by Republican Senators Is Evidence of ‘Decline,’ Iranian Says - NYTimes.com:

The past few weeks a number of issues have yet again fanned the flames between those that see the world from the left hand and those that see it from the right. The 47 Senators Letter and Hillary's e-mail server getting the most attention, but shootings in Ferguson,  Walker being asked to comment on BO's Christianity, the ongoing "Global Warming" are also present. The animosity and sometimes downright hatred and craziness is always burning between Americans on the left and right, and it seems more often to be blazing of late again.

I'm about 1/2 through a re-read of "A Conflict of Visions"(Thomas Sowell), my favorite book on the topic, and about 3/4 way through "Suicide of the West" -- a good summary of "liberalism" and it's effects circa 1964. No doubt I'll comment more on both to come. Anytime I take up this topic, I also like to mention "The Righteous Mind".

When we are faced with issues like the 47 Senator letter or Hillary's e-mails, we see how profoundly our worldviews vary between husband/wife, family members, friends, etc. We see the "facts" in TOTALLY different ways, and most of us are at a loss to understand WHY?? We ask; "How can "they" possibly see the same things so differently???"

The core reason boils down to "Worldview" -- the filter / colored glasses / model that we see the world through. It is to some degree wired into our brains (as Haidt covers),  and largely developed through a life of family, education,  church, reading, thinking, etc. The facts of the variance in the worldview are well documented by Sowell in "Visions".

To grossly simplify the two worldviews in the US today, we have:
  1. "Liberal" -- The dominant US view. Most of the media, education, etc. Democrat. "Man is born free but is everywhere in chains "(Rousseau) Tradition is suspect, often considered wrong. People are born good. Education, laws, government, experts, etc can solve any problem. RIGHTS, Change, Justice are big liberal words. 
  2. "Conservative" -- “Prudence is not only the first in rank of the virtues political and moral, but she is the director and regulator, the standard of them all.”(Burke) The opposition, Republican. Man is born sinful, "redemption" is required, normally by religion, but self control,  rewards and punishments (sanctions) and lots of individual work are needed. Responsibility, Tradition, Freedom are big words. 
These positions should be seen on a "range" -- nobody is entirely in one camp or the other, and there have and always will be disagreements between them. But why so vehement now? 

Up until the 20th century, and even through at least the 60's, Americans had a couple big elements of a SHARED worldview -- heavily built around Christianity and the Constitution. People could disagree on many things, but over 90% mostly agreed that both Christianity and the Constitution were "sacred" -- they were "above the fray".  "All decent people" could agree on the "basic tenets" ... God as creator, Christ as Savior, Separation of Powers, Limits on Federal Government, etc.

We are far more divided by worldview now than ever before in our history. Even during the Civil War, we were divided on the ISSUE of Slavery, but reverence for Christianity and the Constitution was much more generally present in the country that in is now. 

But we no longer have those points of agreement. The Constitution may state that an agreement with a foreign power has to be ratified by the Senate to be binding, but there are a lot of people that don't care and are completely angered when it is brought up. One might point to MANY times that congressmen and senators ACTUALLY "negotiated with a foreign power" rather than sent a letter quoting the facts of the Constitution. It makes no difference. "They have a right to their own OPINION" ... and as even the NYTs has discovered, pretty much anything but 2+2 is just "opinion" these days, and in the absence of a higher standard, "all opinions are valid".

John Adams called the situation perfectly when he said:
"Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other,".   Indeed. 

In order to hold truths to be "self evident" and consider man as "endowed by his creator with unalienable rights",  a people MUST hold something sacred beyond their own opinion. Take the sacred away,  thus making  man the measure of all things and we are reduced to that measure being the ballot box or the bullet. We are left with no common worldview on which "all decent people" agree and can therefore discuss things rationally from a shared perspective. 

What we have are increasingly divergent worldviews that can be "settled" only temporarily and intermittently at the ballot box, but increasingly are UNsettled with unrest up to and including violence as we have just seen in Ferguson, and earlier in NYC with the two police being murdered. 

As we ignore the Constitution, even elections become meaningless -- an executive and decree that immigrants are legal, the Internet must be regulated, agreements are treaties, or effectively ANYTHING since he is no longer bound by an oath to uphold that once sacred document. When one party decides that the only thing sacred is political power, then there is no remaining foundation on which to base a country. 

So as tribes prior to the recognition of one God above all, and the subsequent march from Christ though the rise of Western Civilization, we fight. We fight "as the flies of summer" (Burke) -- alienated from God, our own history, and morality beyond "our side must win"!  For the present,  we go on feeding on the carcass of the once great civilization we were bequeathed, but with little remaining understanding of the founding principles needed for it's continued operation.


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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Motorcycle Addiction

Tuesday I took communion to a shut-in lady from church that rather likes the idea of her Elder showing up on a motorcycle. It was a really nice day and I hadn't had the Wing out yet, so I thought I'd give her one more sign of spring.

After the visit I decided I needed to take it down Circle Drive and open it up a wee bit (condensation, carbon and all you know), then somehow I turned right and the next thing was out by Oxbow park, then Pine Island. At which point I realized that I needed to head home for dinner lest I be a negligent House-moose. Cruising southward on 52 with my feet out on the pegs and classic rock on the speakers it occurred to me that "addiction" is a good description.

We have all seen the questions about alcohol at the Doctors office or relative to some problem with a friend or even ourselves. "Do you ever drink more than you planned to" was the question banging around my spring bike fevered brain. I didn't really intend to go for more than a short spin  -- and of course given riding a Wing, I can certainly rationalize that anything under 200mi is "a short spin", but I'm guessing you know what I mean.

One could dig a bit deeper;  "Does drinking affect your life, finances, etc?", "Have people let you know that you are drinking too much?", "Do you spend a lot of time thinking about drinking", "Have you thought you should quit drinking?"

I've clearly got a problem. Two touring bikes is too much. I'm a worry wart -- when I'm NOT getting on one of the bikes or riding it I regularly obsess about the risk. Oh, my standard statement is "I'm 58, if something bad happens I was doing something I loved" -- which is true, but I have a great imagination. I'm very aware it definitely could happen -- and it could be paralysis, brain damage, etc, etc. -- when one is worrying, no need to just stick to the quick end of it all when the years of lingering regret in the nursing home while everyone knowingly shakes their head at your poor risk management choice and your poor long suffering wife burdened because of your self indulgence.

Needless to say though, that isn't the angle my wind in the face, corner leaning, rumble craving, mile destroying, addiction addled brain spends the most time on though. "ONE MORE FIX" is the general refrain -- "I'll give it up someday" ... and I'll be LUCKY! I'll get one more big trip in on the Wing, and then "responsibly" sell that and trade in the Ultra on a new "safe Harley" -- one with linked brakes and ABS. What could be more responsible?

Indeed. There is much truth to "while alive, LIVE!" -- as one ages, the cancer diagnosis, the stroke, the heart attack, the alzheimers and many other things become increasingly common among those of "around our age" in our circle of awareness. Also, like motorcycles on the road when you ride one, you just tend to notice it more.

Both my bikes have now made it out. I got the Ultra out from the lower garage and took it to pick up my newly sharpened chain saw chain -- and took the long road home as well, though not as long as the Wing ride. The Ultra  still makes the figure 8's on the Cul-de-sac feel like cheating next to the Wing.

The topic for the next couple of weeks is Ireland -- but I suspect that motorcycles will be near the top ... although shared with the promise of a granddaughter and the plans to build our lake shed in IA once I return.

Lent .... can I really be a Christian and so often have to pray for forgiveness for again losing sight of the cross? There are definitely times I feel the proper feeling of addiction to Christ, but he certainly understood what it is to be human with "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak"!

Kerry Learns of Disbelief

Secretary of State John Kerry blasts Senate GOP letter to Iran - Nation - The Boston Globe:





Ah yes, "disbelief". The picture of Senators John Kerry and Tom Harken breathlessly preparing to lick the boots of Communist Nicaraguan Dictator Daniel Ortega while Reagan assists the Contras, attempting to overthrow said dictator. Kerry's memory seems to be a "bit faulty" on the "he has never seen anything like this".

It is understandable, his memory, even when something has been "seared" into it, has never been very good. Even the lefty Washington Post can't ignore all his whoppers:

"I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the president of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared -- seared -- in me."
Small problem, as the WaPo column clearly points out, he was never in Cambodia, not at Christmas, not ever.

One of the features of a compliant biased press is that what 80% of the population hears is the sound of one hand clapping -- Senator's quoting the Constitution from the opposition are "traitors", Senators visiting dictators in direct opposition to US foreign policy are "courageous", "peace loving" or some other positive approbation.

Truth? Ah, well, truth -- that is whatever THE PARTY says it is!! ... just read the news.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Culture Lost

The Cost of Relativism - NYTimes.com:

Remember "the culture wars"? In case you missed it, the culture lost".

You remember, our once dominant old culture. Western Culture -- the Judaeo Christian Culture of nearly 2K years. It lost -- first in  Europe, and then in the US. We ought to have had a funeral.

The big battles started in the '60s with drugs, easy divorce and free sex. In the '70s we added the gay element, more drugs, disco, "zipless sex", and more disdain for "the square life" and the idea that people were responsible for their behavior, Nah, anything that goes bad is somebody elses fault -- parents, church, your sex, your sexual preference, discrimination -- you are OK, everyone else, especially society is all screwed up!

Through it all, more abortion, more divorce, more birth control, less religion, less "rules / standards / values / etc".  More "liberation" -- "do your own thing", disdain for "family values" -- and ever louder cries for removal of religion from the public square. Religion HAD to be the PROBLEM!

Now it seems that at least a couple guys at the NYTs have a morality hangover. They woke up in the AM, looked around at all the wreckage and filth that has been wrought by "progressive morality" (a major oxymoron)  and said "what that hell happened"??
Reintroducing norms will require, first, a moral vocabulary. These norms weren’t destroyed because of people with bad values. They were destroyed by a plague of nonjudgmentalism, which refused to assert that one way of behaving was better than another. People got out of the habit of setting standards or understanding how they were set.
Ya think?? Wow, brilliant deduction.

I guess it counts for something though to have seen this obvious development coming for about 50 years. Is there going to be a trend here before somebody just finally kicks our morally decrepit nations ass?

I've covered everything in the Brooks column a number of times. I guess it is good to be right -- although about something this obvious, it is hard to get very excited about it.

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Quoting Constitution Now Treason

Iran slams Tom Cotton letter: ‘Undiplomatic’ - Nick Gass - POLITICO:

Letting a foreign power know what is written in the US Constitution about how treaties are negotiated, ratified, and the result if they are or are not approved, is now considered "treason" by some on the left.

Joe Biden certainly agrees -- he probably plagiarized that opinion from somewhere.

Apparently the "soft liners" in Iran also agree. The definition of a soft liner in Iran has to be kind of interesting -- usually the US is "The Great Satan", perhaps to  a "soft liner" rather than being evil we are just stupid so they would call us "The Great Idiot". Perhaps a "soft liner" just uses a sharp knife when they cut off your head -- those are the kind of people that we ought to listen to!

Being "slammed" by Iran  is something that is highly unusual -- at least this version is just words. The US press hasn't much covered the Iranian war games just held in February which included a new weapon that they used against a simulated aircraft carrier. No doubt that was the "soft liners" assuming that sinking one of our carriers with 5K seamen and airmen aboard would help "educate" the Great Idiot. I mean, we must be thinking the "soft liners" have the upper hand in Iran, right?

So do we show our "intelligence" -- in Iranian and US lefty eyes, by accepting whatever kind of raw deal  a country that explicitly calls us "The Great Satan" and proudly builds and tests new weapons to attack our carriers? Given that they hold war games while the "negotiations" go on, they seem a LOT less concerned about us being "offended" than the folks worried about a letter outlining how our Constitution works relative to treaties.

There is no comparison with a letter simply informing an adversary of the content of constitution and decades of trips/negotiations by TP congressmen and senators to North Vietnam, USSR, Nicaragua, Syria (Nancy Pelosi 2007 ), etc, ... all hailed by the TP media as "constructive", "useful", etc  TP congressmen have a great history of actually usurping the position of R presidents to negotiate -- not sending a letter quoting the Constitution. (TP doesn't care much for the Constitution -- is it supposed to be a state secret now?)

TP likes to blur the definition of "treason" because they are so good at it  -- "Toddy" Kennedy provided a great example.
Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”
Try to remember that -- TREASON, selling your country out to an enemy for your own personal or PARTY gain.

It is hard for conservatives and patriots to even understand the meaning of THE PARTY for a D -- combine your love of God, Country and Family together and you have a hint of what a committed member feels for THE PARTY!


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