November 22, 2021

Counterfactual’ing the Coming Civil War

What one actor - or half-dozen people at most - whose behavior over the past decade might’ve altered our current course towards civil war? 

It wouldn’t be the Democrats on the Judiciary panel during the Kavanaugh hearing, bad as they were, or anything Fauci did, or Hillary’s Benghazi, or media elites. 

Some would say Trump himself, which is fair enough except he wasn’t given the time to take that honorific. 

The answer is if Comey and McCabe had acted with self-restraint and honor, and to have accepted Trump as the president. That could’ve been THE game-changer. 

The politicization of the FBI and DOJ is incredibly destructive because it undermined the semi-illusion that voters have the final say.  It didn’t feel like voters had the final say with Trump, at least not in 2016.  Perhaps that’s the way it’s always been, at least going back to the bad ol’ days of J. Edgar Hoover.

Certainly plenty of bad stuff that happened subsequently can’t be blamed on the FBI's war on Trump. But the bad blood it engendered was so fierce that it could only fuel skepticism around the election results, which led to Jan 6th, which led to the overreaction, which has led to further radicalization - in the typical endless cycle. 

But imagine the counterfactual if Trump was not made a martyr in ’16 and ’17. Imagine if the biggest issue he had to complain about was the media lying about his inaugural crowd size or them saying he was a racist, and that the Democrat’s lack of willingness to negotiate on infrastructure was horrible. 

Instead, the FBI “made” Trump. They made him seem much bigger by their willingness to throw out their training and virtue. Trump needed to be the guardrails on the FBI rather than the other way around. Who could’ve predicted? 

November 21, 2021

St Gallen Mafia & Politics

I was listening to the “Holy Smoke” podcast/interview with author of book on the St. Gallen Mafia. It was interesting to learn that the “arch-conservative” (bad label but the public perception) Ratzinger had a close enough relationship with his number one “arch-liberal", Cardinal Martini, who was supposedly the mastermind behind the St. Gallen mafia meetings, organized around the goal of stopping Ratzinger. 

And yet these two foes, Martini and Ratzinger, esteemed each other and wrote prefaces or blurbs for each others’ books and in general seemed to be able to be very fraternal while being at opposite ends of the spectrum theologically.  There are even reports that Martini influenced Benedict’s resignation. 

What can one say of this both in regard to the Church and in American politics? Did Benedict, wittingly or unwittingly, play into the hands of the liberal faction? Was Benedict naive or simply faithful to his own view of the Church - which might have been one more “trusting in the process”, both of Martini in particular and the conclave after his resignation in general and in God to look after His church ultimately?

Jesus, after all, trusted the process and chose Judas to be his friend. Is it the role of the “good guy” (understanding we’re all flawed save Christ) to always be on defensive and reactive to evil and thus at the natural disadvantage? Like how the Allies almost fell to Hitler due to being slow on the uptake? 

I see faint parallels in how the GOP generally seems too trusting of the good will and standards of the elite Democrats, especially with regard to integrity of voting and mail-in ballots. Similarly, Trump was hit by the Deep State immediately and hardly left a dent in them.  

Some of this naivety and soft glove usage has ebbed over the past decade or so in part due to the things like the Zuckerberg drop boxes, Kavanaugh hearing, and the politicization of the intel agencies. 

The Church, regardless, is on firmer ground given the gates of Hell could easily prevail against the U.S.. But it’s hard to believe the next conclave won’t be a bit different and involve a bit more due diligence.

November 18, 2021

How a Smear Becomes a Law: Non-Schoolhouse Rock Version

The recent news about John Durham’s indictment led me back to reading about the plot against the president. 

The Deep State can work fast: the Steele dossier was planted in the media two weeks before Trump sworn in, FBI tries to entrap Flynn four days after inauguration and he’s tossed two weeks later, Sessions recuses himself two weeks after that, FBI investigation opened eight weeks after that, and then special counsel Mueller is appointed a week later. 

So the deep state was able to take out Flynn and effectively Sessions in just a month, and helped clip Trump’s approval rating from 45% on 1/20 to 39% on 3/20. 

It took Trump almost four months to take out Comey.  Trump was playing defense and the offense has the advantage of the element of surprise. (We saw it in the 2020 election where Trump was very late to the game of concern over voter fraud.)

**

The spy agencies worked fast but the ground was prepared back in 2015. The first glimmers of rogue actions begin in October of 2015 when a CIA contractor is hired by Fusion GPS to find dirt on alleged Trump ties to Russian organized crime figures. 


The backdrop is that on September 10th, CNN reported that Trump’s support had “surged to 32%” in a poll and that “most Republican voters (51%) think Trump is most likely to emerge as the GOP winner.” 

In January of ’16, Christopher Steele begins talking to Obama’s DOJ about Trump and Russia. 

In February, Trump wins most of the delegates of the early primaries. 

In March, a smear campaign begins in press about Trump team’s ties to Russia. Only three candidates are left in GOP race. 

In May, Trump becomes the presumptive GOP nominee. 

In July, the FBI opens an umbrella investigation into pretty much everyone associated with Trump. 

In mid-August FBI’s Peter Strzok sends the “insurance policy” text to FBI lawyer Lisa Page. 

October 30, 2021

The Douthat Book

I'm halfway through the new Ross Douthat book, "The Deep Places", and it's riveting. Can’t put it down. It’s a memoir about his illness, Lyme disease and now I’m borderline obsessed with his life. A killer quote:

In my state, I felt like I had grasped a crucial secret: that good health is basically a superpower, which I had wasted once but never again, and any amount of money lost on treatment could be earned back, with interest, if only I had those superhuman powers back. 

He also writes sharply of the radical dichotomy between the medical establishment’s blasé attitude towards the disease and the Connecticut community who know someone who have it and know how real it is.  (We've all seen that now with the media, where they live in an entirely different mental landscape.)  He found the official line from doctors versus the lived experience of even wealthy, very stable types  “consistently startling”.  I thought about how another’s health or happiness is so impervious to our ability to really influence... Often, how little even doctors can do.  

Douthat writes, 

“For the young, intense physical suffering was a lightning strike; for older people it generally became the weather...There was comfort there, sort of: I was just living in a storm that had rolled in a little early. But there was also betrayal, because so little of my education prepared me for this part of life.”

It’s an interesting juxtaposition to be reading this with the Eric Metaxas book ("Is Atheism Dead?") on the amazing series of “fortunate accidents” that God used to have life on our planet. There's a gentleness there. As the Psalm goes, “When I see the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you arranged, what is man that you should keep in mind?”

This “arrangement” of the moon and the stars takes on a new lustre with the science backdrop, how crucial Jupiter be as big as it is, how crucial the moon be where it is, etc.. There’s nothing haphazard about it. 

This translation from Romans 11 (the colloquial Message bible) kind of hits at the heart of things, that ties together the Douthat and the Metaxas: 

"Make sure you stay alert to these qualities of gentle kindness and ruthless severity that exist side by side in God - ruthless with deadwood, gentle with the grafted shoot. But don’t presume on this gentleness. The moment you become deadwood, you’re out of there."

That severity and gentleness is certainly exhibited in our physical earth, which can be at turns charmingly gentle and ferociously ruthless.

October 28, 2021

Dreams and a Book on Aquinas

Dreams perish under conditions of light like bog bodies suddenly exposed to oxygen.  And yet somehow it feels important to try to recapture what my subconscious was obsessing about just seconds before, as if I can rationally explain the irrational.  

It's a kind of metaphor for our supernatural God whom we try to fit into our natural brains.  Often our understanding lapses into superstition (?), like how Ross Douthat wrote against the health and wealth gospel and then... Or a middle-aged couple who liked to watch “Six Feet Under” and then...  Tragedies demand a "rationally irrational" explanation.  Or an irrationally rational. 

So in the dream I have wheelbarrows of nickels to pay the mortgage payment. Darwin Catholic - the last truly competent individual on earth I think is my subtext -  handles it, but is increasingly dyspeptic to the arbitrage and its elements of the menial. I worry he will move on to greener pastures and I’ll be left with this dumpster of antiquated money. 

The dream morphs to my dog somehow, now lost to wakefulness, perhaps in his performing services no one else will do.  Max licks fresh cuts on hands, crumbs off shirts, replaces old germs with new ones...

Understanding dreams remind me of the audio book I’m listening titled “Aquinas and Prayer” in that understanding everything is futile.

Sometimes it’s not about me, or even us as His patrimony. Like Jesus in the Temple or St. Thomas’s last gift of silence to God. Not finishing the Summa seems a great loss to us and our understanding of the Lord -- except it’s really not.

For one thing, it’s between him and God, a private moment, like the scholars had with the 12-year old Jesus in the Temple. 

For another, it's a last best statement on the inscrutability of God. Maybe the inscrutability was also a gift for Mary and Joseph.  And for the scholars a mountaintop moment to last a lifetime and beyond.  

A killer insight of the Aquinas book is to see that St. Thomas’s late silence was not so much a result of thinking that all of what he said was straw (only comparably so to his mystical experience) but because silence was in itself a tribute to God and therefore somehow a fitting way to end his life. 

For years it was years prior the great saint had written about the Trinity: “God is honored by silence. Not because we may say or know nothing about Him, but because we know we are unable to comprehend him.”

October 27, 2021

We're All Journalists Now

We’re all journalists now because the pros are all on strike.  And so it falls to the amateurs to be truth tellers.  From Dr. Francis Collins to Merrick Garland, it's a sea of disinformation and low information out there. I mean no disrespect to a fringe outfit like The Revolver, but it's a crazy world where they should win reportorial prizes. 

Maybe it’s always been this way and we on the conservative side are just slow on the uptake and not particularly keen at politics.  We saw an example of this in the Trump administration where the babes in the woods came into office in ’16 and brought plastic cutlery to a gun fight. 

Take Trump advisor General Keith Kellogg, who was also Pence’s National Security Advisor. He admitted this on a podcast: 

“You make an assumption going in there, based on my military time, that people are basically good. Well, that is not necessarily true at all. The one lesson I took out of this...if I had to do it again, I’d walk in the door [on day one] and say ‘everybody out. Today’.” 

I was no different at the time and was likewise blindsided; I had no idea it was a gun fight either. It's a painful lesson to have to learn "on the fly" but it's pretty much in the Republican DNA to be reactive, assume good will, be patriotic, and never anticipate domestic evil. (Witness the fubar of the '20 election.)

Part of it is that the Right is out of its league with Antifa, Democrats, and the Feds, all of whom have been doing politics for far longer, are familiar with psyops, and target vulnerable individuals with impunity.  It’s funny/sad that so many on the right thought maybe 1/6 was made worse by Antifa infiltrators but not their own government.  The party of law and order is afoul of law and order! (If we had law and order...). 

I’m not sure how this can come out as a win.  As long as only the media was against us then there was hope. But when you add government, courts, corporations, the IRS, and perhaps eventually even financial institutions it’s hard to see a good path forward; best we can do is punish on the margins those we can by boycotting/voting against corporations/politicians.  I’m not sure how we can even do protests without getting infiltrated by either Antifa or the Feds and then getting blamed for violence. 

As The Revolver comments

“The case of ‘mere’ Federal foreknowledge of the so-called ‘siege on the Capitol’ is bad enough, and amounts to a national scandal in its own right. Indeed, if elements of the federal government knew in advance of conspiracies to ‘siege the Capitol’ or otherwise disrupt the Senate proceeding on 1/6, the natural question arises as to why they did nothing to stop it. Given that the government and their allies in the Regime media have framed 1/6 as a 9/11-caliber domestic terror event, the possibility that elements of the federal government knew about it in advance, and yet sat back and let it happen for political purposes, is incredibly damning. This would amount to nothing less than the government conspiring, for the most malicious of political reasons, to falsely cast tens of millions of law-abiding patriotic Americans as domestic terrorists.

Given the magnitude of its implications, it is well worth repeating that federal foreknowledge is a virtual certainty. Just weeks ago the New York Times itself begrudgingly acknowledged the presence of a Proud Boys militia member and informant who was texting his FBI handler thought the entire day on 1/6, as well as several days in advance. The Times notes that the presence of this informant, and likely many more, suggests that ‘federal law enforcement had a far greater visibility into the assault on the Capitol, even as it was taking place, than was previously known.’”

October 20, 2021

Hilton Head: A Love Story (aka Triplog)

 

So Sunday, a day later than scheduled, we began our sixth annual trip with the dogs to Hilton Head and we stopped along the way for a brief visit to a West Virginia state park. 

Camp Creek was fresh as an Irish spring with a quiet unreproducible in my home town. And visually astonishing with that carpet of living water over the striated rocks.  Very Zoder’s Inn-ish of Gatlinburg, the creek bed laden with dark gray rocks and fringed by rhododendron. 

So three senses were simultaneously affected: sight, smell and hearing. A tonic.

The needful event was Harris Teeter groceries followed by a jog in the sun-filled heat and it always makes me smile when people think they’re funny with an obvious line. Old gentleman says, “you need to go a little faster!” That’s a familiar bit and I replied, “I wish I could!” Similarly, everyone gets a kick out of saying, after hearing my common name, “oh, is that the name you’re using today?” 

Jogged past a enclave supposedly open only to guests and saw the magnificent swimming pool with a huge water fountain frothing water up 20 feet. Who doesn’t like a fountain? 

Also something I can’t recall seeing before - a real, live ruin in Hilton Head! An old hotel closed up and going to seed. Called “Beachwalk”, it’s less than a half-mile from our place. 

From an Island Packet piece:

Hilton Head's abandoned real estate buildings attract  vagrants Apr 21, 2018 — Beachwalk Hotel is one of at least a dozen commercial buildings that are vacant eyesores, say Hilton Head residents. These unkempt buildings not ...

Turns out there was a fire there back in ’17 and they’ve never been able to reopen.

**

I retired to the small but comfy front porch. Quiet and serene there and nice temperature. Stayed till after 6p reading some of new book “Travels with George” which is a travelogue by a guy who followed the trip of the country that Washington took shortly after inauguration trying to unite a country that wasn’t fond of the idea of a strong central government. 

Snippets:

In addition to the political divide separating the American people, there were long-standing regional differences. When the governor of Virginia said “my country,” he didn’t mean the United States, he meant Virginia.

Shades of how we think of “my country” as patriotic red staters or woke blue ones?  

More: 

By the time he returned to New York, a new sense of nationhood had begun to infuse the American people. As a newspaper in Salem, Massachusetts, reported, the appearance of the president had “unite[d] all hearts and all voices in his favor.”

Sounds like we need a leader like Washington again. 

** 

Via Jim Curley’s recommendation I’m reading the book by Philip Lawler “Courageous Faith” about what the author sees as the overreaction to Covid (lockdowns and church closings). It dovetails perfectly with what Thomas Sowell said was a weak link of contemporary society: the failure to even consider the consider costs of a given economic or other strategy, let alone do any kind of cost/benefit analysis.  It’s the mindset of our liberal leaders that actions don't have consequences and don’t result in reactions.

You can see it everywhere now once you see it - Covid, economic policies that have helped choke the supply line, service industries. You can even see it with the election of Bush in 2000 when because of “hanging chads” in a county in Florida, our whole voting system was completely upended, which introduced great distrust beginning with Bush in ‘04 with Diebold machines and continuing to this day in part due to foreseeable consequences to switching to opaque voting systems outsourced to 2-3 large companies with unclear ownership and under indifferent security. 

We just lurch from problem to solution without any intervening thought. 

Another example of how the system wouldn’t work without a people of virtue:
"Though Sacco and Vanzetti are no longer house­hold names, their fate de­serves to be re­mem­bered. “Every­thing should be done to keep alive the tragic af­fair of Sacco and Vanzetti in the con­science of mankind,” Al­bert Ein­stein wrote in 1947. “They re­mind us of the fact that even the most per­fectly planned de­mo­c­ra­tic in­sti­tu­tions are no bet­ter than the peo­ple whose in­stru­ments they are.”

**

Interesting lines from latest Chesterton magazine:

The promising young scholar deftly illustrated how Chesterton’s optimism is not mere ‘positive thinking’ or a Pollyanna determination to maintain a sunny disposition. Rather, it is founded upon the sense of freeing resignation that comes with the acceptance that this world is not our final home, and a living out of the virtues of faith, hope, and love. Echoing Dale Alquist’s quotation about society being ‘on the wrong road,’ Lydia quoted to great effect a marvelous passage from Chesterton’s ‘The Ballade of a Strange Town,’ in *Tremendous Trifles*: 

“That is what makes life at once so splendid and so strange. We are in the wrong world. When I thought that was the right town, it bored me; when I knew it was wrong, I was happy. So the false optimism, the modern happiness, tires us because it tells us that we fit into this world. The true happiness is that we don’t fit. We come from somewhere else. We have lost our way.” 

**

Enjoyed a soporific period on the sands of Iwo Hilton Head before going back and collecting the dogs for their afternoon beach romp.  Ended up doing an additional mile jog down past the pretty tree-lined street of Aveco. There’s an area completely undeveloped, a wild jungle that eyes can penetrate maybe only the first dozen feet. Maybe that’s Hilton Head was like in, say, 1600. 

**

Pondered  how another way to view the story of the finding of Jesus in the Temple is that Jesus was re-enacting the book of Genesis after the creation of Eve: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” 

He had left his earthly mother and father to hold fast to his wife, that is the Church, represented by these scholars of the law. And I couldn’t help but smile at an artwork depicting the scene, because you see these befuddled old men disarmed by this child -- and then you remember he was trading Mary and Joseph (!), for these far more earthbound sinners. As always, Jesus doesn’t get the best end of the deal...

Wednesday:

Randomly I thought about how teachers like my mother and friend Nina have a keen awareness of the difference between first graders and third graders. To me they’re all “little kids”.   

But even my own experience should tell me that there’s a difference in that I can remember third grade and I can barely remember first at all.  That suggests a kind of self-forgetfulness in first grade versus a self-awareness in third. 

My outsider’s view that first graders and third are the same is true from the perspective of both being “little kids” but that’s also how we get heresies in the Church. 

St. Thomas Aquinas had an adage: “Seldom affirm, never deny, always distinguish.” The mind is made for truth, it can’t believe pure falsehood. Every false idea has some foundation in truth – otherwise, the mind would find it laughable.  All heresies are half-truths with a kernel of truth in them. 

Thursday:

Surprisingly crowded 11am beach for an overcast day in October.  Very Hilton-Head-in-August feel.  It may not be high season but around near Coligny square it’s a totally different look and feel from October Seapines beaches. Didn’t anticipate that for sure. 

**

Kind of wish I hadn’t learned about the large number of copperhead snakes in Hilton Head because now I’m paranoid when I take the dogs a walk they snout in the surrounding vegetation which now I’ve got to try and prevent.  We saw one in the brush just a dozen or two steps from our condo and the condo people next to us report they saw a black snake swim past our door last night. 

**

St Jane Frances de Chantal:

"Our Lord doesn’t take the trouble to make martyrs of feeble hearts and people who have little love and not much constancy; he just lets them jog along in their own little way in case they give up and slip from his hands altogether; he never forces our free will.”

**

It strikes me that angels are a higher form of life than us, just as we are with animals. And so I am to Max and Maris what my guardian angel is to me.

Friday:

On an overcast morning I hit church and the ever faithful Fr. Farrell was presiding. The gospel was about Jesus overcoming the demonic and Fr. said in his homily that there was not the shadow of a doubt in his mind about the existence of demons, and relayed two acquaintances who had these sorts of experiences. 

Mother Angelica quote of the day: “We all have a totally different degree of holiness, and if the enemy suspects that your degree of holiness is high, he will do all in his power to lower it. Remember, he is satisfied with you gaining half the glory."- Mother Angelica

**

Today is weather-shot too. Torrential downfalls today till 2pm at least.  But I make the rain a companion, smoking a cigar on the second story balcony.  Max joined me until he headed in after about ten minutes, scared off by thunder. 

Saturday:

Finally a Saturday on vacation that’s not a travel day! Woohoo!  Headed to pool for morning sun. Mused that one key difference between children and adults is that children will close pool gates with as much force as is humanly possible while adults will go out with the opposite intention. 

**

Then we watched three quarters of the enjoyable Buckeye blowout of Maryland. Their offense is certainly fun to watch.  The shock of shocks was Alabama somehow lost, which is one of the signs of the Second Coming so we best all pray.  An old dude wearing Bama stuff at beach this week and another old guy, a stranger on bike, happened across him, stopped riding, to talk Georgia / Alabama football. A scene in the South that is probably recreated many times. College football knows no strangers. 

Sunday:

Fr. Farrell’s organist was out sick so absolutely no singing or music. This meant he processed up the aisle silently which you don’t see too often. Feels like we could’ve all sang a hymn a capella, or “Acapulco” as I liked to call it as a kid.  In theory, this should shorten the Mass dramatically. No psalm singing, Gloria singing, no entrance, offertory or closing hymns. But Fr. F is nothing if not an opportunist and he gave a longer homily and added a mini-homily in front of the “Our Father” and the mass ended up being a little over an hour.  

Beautiful afternoon so ‘round 2:30 we loaded up the wagon-type conveyance: water, beer, two chairs, sun-umbrellas, dog water bowl, kindle and long leashes. Four hours we were back home after some reading, running, and dog ocean time. 

It was great running down the beach barefoot and then returning into the sun and the gilt-coast. For the whole day six miles.  Enjoyed the pleasures of a pre-beach cigar on the balcony and a couple beers on the beach.  Simple-ish pleasures. 

Monday:

So today we’re breaking ground never seen before in vacational experiences. Well at least since Ireland trip (which was a different epoch).  I’ve blasted through the one-week barrier, the rock-hard cambium layer that never gets disturbed due to the sacrosanct “one week off” routine. Our normal Hilton Head week would’ve ended yesterday since we left on a Sunday. 

**

Have the pool to myself from 8am till now past 11, no small feet given the sunny 74 degree weather and that the pool is perhaps shared by 48 families if everything was rented out. 

Impressive variety of trees and shrubs in the acre courtyard: a live oak with Spanish moss and at least four other varieties of tree: fir, palm, tulip, and one I can’t identify. Also an 8ft shrub with bright red flowers attracting bright yellow butterflies...It’s always summer somewhere. 

Headed to beach, glorious beach, around noon. Hung out next to the dunes in the soft sand as it was high tide and watched the slanty water angle to shore in their big gallops. I love the smell of Coppertone in the morning.

Listened to the Davids: Cassidy and Sherman, for my 70s nostalgia fix. (“Happy Days” premiered in ‘74, so that nostalgia was only 20 yrs old...meaning that 1995-2005 is nostalgic now! I feel old.)

Don Williams refrain heard today on the radio, from “I’m Just a Country Boy”:

“I’m just a country boy /

Money have I none /

But I’ve got silver in the stars /

And gold in the morning sun.”

**

Beer o’clock at 4:30, after dog walk to sea.  “Maris” means sea so it’s appropriate for her to be here although she’s been less giddy about going in the water than Max.  So much for her being a “water dog”. Maybe if it was really hot, like 87+ degrees, she’d go in deeper.  But the waves are turning her off.  

Tuesday: 

Beautiful morning and nice to have had an “easy day” yesterday of only three miles walking yesterday with no run. 

Deep thrombosis-blue skies, sunlit from heaven.  Light paints the tree trunks and latticed balconies and stripes the sides of the stucco buildings.  Remarkably quiet here despite the nearness of Coligny square.  A bit of Spanish moss hangs in the trees, aspirational of its neighbor Savannah.

We hit the beach at noon-thirty and the sand is soft as our mattress topper.  The water is translucent with a touch of green, like those glassine envelopes stamps used to come in back when I was into stamp collecting. 

I remember the thrill of getting those in the mail after a wait of months, or so it seemed. Similarly I recall ordering paperback books through our school (via Weekly Reader) and waiting a millennium for them to arrive. 

Would be fun to find those stamps now, assuming they aren’t long gone after so many moves since I’ve lived in a dozen places and nine of them with (or without) my stamp collection.

I wonder why I always can recapture my distant past more easily when on a beach vacation? Why it comes to me unbidden? It’s like the sun and water unlocks skin memories. 

**

The morning routine is to read the “Wide World of News” newsletter from political guru Mark Halperin, who serves all your “doom and gloom” news. Cheery, in some ways, to hear of Biden’s troubles. Cheery not so much given he’s the president and I should want him to succeed, although now that we’re in this cold civil war, it’s like rooting for President Jefferson Davis to succeed. I understand now, unlike in 2008 after Obama's win, that we're at war. 

I’m not sure which is the bigger presidential surprise of the past decade: that Trump would be so good or that Biden would be so bad. Expectations don't count for much, turns out.  Like trying to predict how the Bengals will do.

*

I muse/wonder if the USSR break up because of assassination attempt on Pope JP 2, a hit man hired by the Soviets? Did God have enough? Brezhnev was the leader when the assassination attempt occurred and then in the short span of 3.5 years three Soviet leaders die and Chernobyl happens a year after that. Three years after Chernobyl comes the end of Communism in East Germany and fall of Berlin Wall. 

So in just an 8 yr span from the near death of the Pope you have four Soviet leaders, a nuclear disaster and the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

Wednesday: 

Took a pleasant 6-7 mile noon bike ride, taking lightly-traveled Dune Road as far as it would take me which was ten minutes by bike. Picturesque houses with visions of infinity in between, that is views of sandy paths to sudden sea. 

Makes me want to live on a houseboat like author John MacDonald or Sen. Joe Manchin. 

The Victorian mansions seem no more real than sea castles, as if inside were portholes and pirate warrens. This island has so many little jungles, acreages held natural, rife with life, flush with gush. 

I ride back to Coligny past oddly named stores like “Quiet Storm for Her” (apparently a surf shop with clothing line). “Jamaican Me Crazy” is the more obvious one. 

The trick, as always, is to revel in the material without forgetting from whence it came. The beauty of this earth is a symbol, not a destination in itself. There is no “there” there other than pointing at the Creator. 

It’s like sex, which is God-required to be a kinetic symbol of marital love rather that an end in itself, i.e. not pleasure as its own destination. 

From today’s reading of Wordsworth:

Sweet coverts did we cross of pastoral life, 

Enticing vallies — greeted them, and left 

Too soon, while yet the very flash and gleam 

Of salutation were not passed away. 

...

Of awful promise, when the light of sense 

Goes out in flashes that have shown to us 

The invisible world, doth greatness make abode...              

Our destiny, our nature, and our home, 

Is with infinitude — and only there;

                

Tumult and peace, the darkness and the light,  

Were all like workings of one mind, the features 

Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree, 

Characters of the great apocalypse, 

The types and symbols of eternity. 




























October 19, 2021

More Clarity on 2020 Election Shenigans

So after almost a year, we’re starting to get some clarity on the election machines and who among the alternative media crowd is trustworthy. It is definitely a good thing that alternative sources of information have sprung up in the vacuum of traditional conservative media (hint: risible National Review) taking the concerns of Trump voters seriously. 

Patrick Byrne did a yeoman’s job in funding the Arizona audit which was pretty helpful in identifying the vulnerabilities in the voting system and which caused Maricopa to delete data in front of the audit, a red flag which would be prosecuted if we had the rule of law. 

One credibility winner in my book appears to be Matt Braynard of “Look Forward America”.  His team’s study on Antrim County in Michigan comes to the reasonable solution of going with open source code and that human error was the cause of the problems there.  (I'm guessing that going back to paper ballots would be politically and financially infeasible.) 

His take is that by its nature, "the design of Dominion Voting Systems has additional points of potential failure in the chain of election events. While human error demonstrably had the largest contributing factor in the reported election irregularities, seemingly unintentional design flaws in Dominion Voting Systems (as well as the lack of publicly available documentation and disclosure of its design) increased that potential for human error. That no parties could review the source code made the claims difficult to prove, but likewise difficult to disprove."

I recall seeing a tweet from someone in Nov 2020 that black-box machines are a joke when it comes to voting, a process that screams for transparency and integrity, and I instantly saw how obvious that is if in hindsight. 

Braynard suggested that we cannot know if Coomer could or could not change election results without reviewing the code. We'll likely never know. 

**

Mollie Hemingway has a new book out and she is not accepting machine fraud but still thinks the election was rigged by unethical (though smart) actions like those involving the Zuckerberg money dumps. 

There’s always going to be an advantage for the cheaters even if they only get away with it once (as she says of the Zuckerberg strategy) since they, after all, are playing offense while the better guys are playing defense. It’s harder to anticipate the ways election misconduct will reveal itself than to come up with new ways I suppose - witness what a gobsmacked Wisconsin election official told Hemingway:“We didn’t even know it was possible to privatize elections.”

An analogy: corporations have to protect their cyber network zealously from hackers looking for vulnerabilities. Similarly Republicans need to protect voting integrity since Democrats are always seeking vulnerabilities.  The major problem is Democrats see the mechanics of voting as a campaign strategy. (“Danger Will Robinson!”) 

In that respect, machines are still very much of interest as a potential way to alter elections whether or not they were this time. 

Mollie Hemingway points out how these newer ways of voting are being fought over so fiercely because it’s a change from our system of the last hundred years of having a private ballot unmolested by third parties. We’re going back to 1800s-era of outsourcing voting to private groups without, of course, any agreed consensus that that's how we want to go. 

I feel confident now, given what I've learned in Hemingway's book, that the election was stolen from Trump through a combination of negligence and unethical behavior.  Hopefully now the GOP will make voting integrity a campaign strategy, just as Democrats made cheating a campaign strategy.  They don't call the GOP the stupid party for nothing, witness how outplayed we were in 2020 election. 

October 02, 2021

Beer Tasting and Manichean Fundamentalism

We're coming up on the 19th anniversary of the famous Bobber Beer test. So raise a glass of fresh Budweiser!  

I think part of the glories of the beer fail for me was that Hambone had such confidence in his conviction - a beautiful Manichean fundamentalism.  Beer was either old and horrible, or new and delicious and you had to accept that fact on faith (in Dave) alone. 

Part of my fascination is that at the time I was not a Manichean fundamentalist.  But time and events have transpired such that we're all Manichean fundamentalists now.  The media and elites have removed the ability to discern reason,  or who is telling the truth, so we're left to trusting in either Gateway Pundit or the NY Times.  And both require a leap of faith. 

October 01, 2021

The Girl Next Door Who Became a Liberal Activist Judge

"Judge-shopping" has gone on for decades if not time immemorial, whereby the party to a lawsuit who is richer and more well-connected wants an outcome and works backward by selecting the judge. Seems rarer when a judge is promoted to another position for the purpose of an upcoming trial but perhaps it happened with the Dominion defamation case.  It certainly caught many eyes that a judge fresh out of family law gets to be district judge and replaces the seasoned pro already on the case. Draws attention, like how Sec of State Griswold wiped data from Sec of State website. 

It’s always interesting to consider the path of an enemy. How did they come to that place? I came across a liberal activist judge - probably no different than most liberal activist judges but still someone working to undermine the country - and wanted to find out more. 

Geographically rootless, as the elite typically are, despite being born in the South. And, if not the banality of evil, there's the banality of simply being her mother’s daughter. She came by her politics honestly. 

She went to a private prep school just outside Hilton Head, SC. From there to U of Va for her BA and then University of Denver for her law degree (1997).  It’s interesting that she took up family law, and looks like she married another attorney. But always there was the passion for politics.

I suspect Trump radicalized her and gave her the impetus to go for a promotion to district court judge. She donated to the Kamala Harris campaign and allegedly marched "in an Antifa protest in June 2020.” 

She’s a former “HD8 PCP.”. HD8 is “House District 8”, PCP is the "precinct committee person". The CO Dem party is very, very serious about organizing, witness: 

"The HD8 Sub-District Officers have setup PCP Training.  We will be providing Contact Lists, an Introduction to VAN, and discuss the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) initiatives from DPOD." 

(VAN is “the leading technology provider to Democratic and progressive campaigns.” DPOD is Democrat Party of Denver.) 

Her grandmother was an Alabaman, her mother from Virginia whose resume reads liberal: “Studied at Middlebury College...Studied History, Southern and Brtish at Randolph Macon Women's College” and was a former Democrat precinct captain. 

And of course her mother's FB field is filled with mostly garden-variety anti-GOP rhetoric. The latest links to a progressive activist group encouraging the firing of USPS chief LaJoy. She adds “this Trump crony and crook [should] hopefully [go] to Club Fed!” Nice, that the mother of a judge is wanting political opponents to go to jail. 

There doesn't seem to be any real reason for the best and brightest and most privileged, like this hard-working judge, to be an agent of evil. But, in a sense, she's just following in tradition's footsteps (her mother).  Still, it's a pretty decent indicator of how broken the U.S. is.  

As Pat Buchanan wrote in his book back in 2002: 

"Less and less do we Americans seem to give a damn what happens to the other side in the culture war. We just want out of this marriage. We are drifting toward break-point. Has the time come to split the blanket and concede the truth of Dos Passos's verdict, 'All right, we are two nations.'?" 

September 24, 2021

Quick Takes

Well, to quote Springsteen, “the calliope crashed to the ground.”  Meaning the summer of wine and roses has fled and we’re left with STS (sudden temperature shift). Going from the hot days in St. Louis to yesterday's 50s-with-wind has been an attention-getter.

Of course we’ll probably get a fine rebound of temps next week or three, but I predict the longterm deterioration of the weather will continue (doesn’t take a prophet!). 

**

I’m always delighted by the psalm that goes, “the Lord takes delight in his people”.  So counterintuitive, especially these days!  Funny that God could take delight in us -- unless he’s like a child, i.e. has a sense of wonder and appreciation for his creation. 

**

It’s telling how difficult it is to govern well, even when you’re not beholden to interests. Take the case of Ohio’s “maverick senator”, Frank Lausche.  I’m reading the Ohio section of Gunter’s 1947 “Inside the USA”. Gunther is an opinionated “outsider looking in” and he has part of a chapter on Lausche, praising him and saying his political career is far from over despite a loss for governor. In that Gunther was right, but more interestingly to me is how Lausche came in with his own guiding compass, even threatening upon entering the Senate as a Democrat not to vote for LBJ for leader. He did vote for LBJ (one mistake right there), and on the major issues of the time dropped the ball, namely on Vietnam and federal spending (except for not wanting Housing & Urban Development). Even with the right motivations it’s pretty difficult to get even the big issues right. He had no crystal ball but that’s a lot of times what we expect of leaders. 

**

Why beautiful churches? mediation on yesterday's reading from Haggai:

Haggai 1:2–15 (NB Ho-Mal): This rallying of the people to get them to rebuild the temple may seem a minor matter compared with the high moral tone found in the prophetical books generally. However, it derives from a profound faith: the people, whom God “created”, will never have a proper sense of their identity unless they can see God in their midst. This idea comes across clearly in the middle of the oracle: “build the house … that I may take pleasure in it and that I may appear in my glory” (v. 8). This should be read in the context of other biblical passages that assert how good God is to reach down to his people: “For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his habitation: ‘This is my resting place for ever’ ” (Ps 132:13–14). A logical consequence of this is that God should be offered the best that we can give him, and that offering should also be seen in the beauty of church decoration, for the arts, “by their very nature, are oriented toward the infinite beauty of God which they attempt in some way to portray by the work of human hands; they achieve their purpose of redounding to God’s praise and glory in proportion as they are directed the more exclusively to the single aim of turning men’s minds devoutly toward God” (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 122).


September 23, 2021

St Louis in (Parts of) Three Days

Saturday: It’s funny how the little things decades past continue to enthrall me in 2020. Like desks. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Back in 1970 I was enthusiastically reading at my very first one. And in this case I’m appreciating the one in The Pear Tree Inn hotel room. 

A desk is one of the underrated wins of the last half millennia: the table upon which, to paraphrase Barry Manilow, “the whole world writes”.  Give me a wooden desk and a mini-fridge and the hotel sings. 

A great thing about vacations is that a single day can encapsulate 3 to 4 “normal” days. Everything is new, different.  A wealth of days in a single day.  And this felt like one of those in starting at 7:30am and traveling to the metropolis of St. Louis, arriving around 2:30pm local time (3:30pm our time).  We’d made the trip leisurely by some things willed and others not. Willingly we stopped at the quaint town of Casey, Il, population 2,620 (as of 2019!) to see things that are the world’s largest: like the mailbox, three stories and functional enough to accept real mail if one is willing to climb to the top of the stairs and enter the large box. I was touched by the thoughtfulness of not just having an outlandishly huge mailbox but then making it a receptacle for real mail, even to the point of warning that postage was necessary.  Elsewhere there were Dutch shoes the size of small elephants. And there was the indelible image of a rocking chair dominating the city skyline, one so big that actually sitting in it let alone rocking in it would be a fools’ errand.  It was A’s favorite “big thing” and mine as well. 

The unwilling things that impeded the trip involved the now inevitable slowdowns created by a country much in need of service workers: McDonald’s, the fastest of the fast foods, created waits for breakfast and later ice cream that burnt minutes prodigally but without resentment on my part as we needed our breakfast and we needed our ice cream. It was certainly worth the wait, as they say. Another wait at Subway where I had my first sub sandwich that lacked roast beef. It wasn’t delivered that day being the reason. So I had ham. 

So we were not exactly in a hurry but once we arrived near St Louis the pace picked up quickly.  Doug had texted wanting ETA for A and P. We texted them and they were reading and Mom was raring to go soon thereafter. I skipped my plan to run and we headed over there and did a tour of their rooms and some of the campus. Then we planned on dinner at 6 at “Mama’s on the Hill”, a family Italian restaurant a couple blocks from where Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola called home. 

This left a window of an hour to run and shower, not helped by my room key failing to work.  It got zapped by my phone apparently. The gal said, “this happens often.” Sigh.  That took 15 minutes (of the hour I had) by having to wait in a dog-slow line because there was only one person at the front desk, an apparently iron-clad rule regardless of the number of people in line. The sheerly amazing thing is how long one person can remain in line contesting some fine print on their bill.  To paraphrase what Dad later said, this too might be us?  

Even more aggravating was playing the elevator slot machine, where you push the button and you see if you’ll wait 30 seconds...or 10 minutes! Mine was the latter, helped by the fact that I didn’t press “1” on the way down by lazily assumed I could press it when we reached “2”.  No, the elevator has a mind of its own and quickly overruled my “suggestion” of continuing to go down. It perversely headed up, and I hit each button going up, trying to force it to stop. I eventually “won” on floor five. At which point I won the reward of getting off the elevator and pressing the down button and waiting an interminable amount of time. In hindsight I should’ve just clung to that elevator and its whims and pressed “1”. 

Needless to say my run was greatly abbreviated though I did experience the sights very nearby, like Union Station, an Irish pub, and a small grocer. I could see a Ferris wheel in the middle distance and the Arch (world’s biggest arch?) in the far distance. 

I cleaned up quickly and we headed down to outside the lobby where the girls picked us up (yay!!) for the Italian place, “Mama’s on the Hill".  We got stuck by a train, naturally, and were late but it didn’t seem to matter as we were seated nearly instantly in a nice round top.  I had the best margarita of all time, the Italian margarita, and indulged in toasted ravioli before seeing placed before me the largest baked lasagna I’d ever seen in my life. Surely this was a mistake made by catering, a dinner intended for five. But it was even more delicious than the fabulous pictures indicated it would be and I made some progress at the edges of this mammoth concoction of cheese, beef, pasta and sauce before saying, “no mas” and having it boxed up. The lasagna looked barely dented.  If that dish wasn’t 4,000 calories I don’t know what dish would be. Even Dad, who’d had no lunch and a skimpy breakfast, put away only half. I learned you have to come really hungry to this place. 

It was interesting to hear about A and P's glamorous lives, on the precipice of great change and great achievement.  A will hear Tuesday of her MCAT score but it’s only a fractional component contributing to a larger issue: which med school she’ll get accepted to. And before you know it P will be taking LSAT. 

Afterward we hit the hotel bar for a couple drinks at the bar/restaurant next to hotel to round out the eve! Beautiful artwork hung all around us (baseballs preserved, probably signed by great St. Louis Cardinals, were under glass and plastic, elsewhere pictures of Bob Gibson and other greats hung on the walls. 

Sunday:  So the upside of being an hour “behind”, as St. Louis is from the gold standard that is Eastern Standard, is that you wake up early and have a leisurely morning as a result. I got up at the unheard of hour of 6am, made myself a cup of coffee, read a bit, played Words With Friends, and otherwise just lounged in a room with large south-facing picture windows.  I joined Mom & Dad for breakfast (8:30 our time) and then more lounging before 10:30 mass (11:30 mass). 

Parking was my nemesis and so today I managed to set a record for most times parking in a tow-away zone in a single day with two. I parked illegally on SLU campus property and later on “hotel guests only” property at Luminere. But no harm, no foul was done to my vehicle. 

We arrived at Mass not long before it began and A and P met us in front. Mid-mass I had a coughing fit so I exited stage right and I’m sure half the people, including A and P, must’ve thought I had covid. St. Francis Xavier (College) Church has that old time cathedral look - in fact I’d say most dioceses in the U.S. would be proud to have this for their cathedral even though this is just a “regular" old church. Built in the 1880s, three out of four Catholics agree that it’s too nice a church to be controlled by Jesuits. 

Our schedule was tight after mass. We had 1pm tour bus tickets, a 15-minute ride to get to the Luminere Casino starting place and thirty minutes available. The wrinkle is that mom needs to go to the bathroom every 4.6 minutes and the church restroom required a map to get to. Literally a map, as you had to go down stairs, to the catacombs, and then hang a left at first intersection. Come to think of it, it might’ve been fun to explore those subterranean churchly passageways but we were time-short. Maybe next time. 

So it seemed best to try for the casino bathrooms. But St. Louis is famous for the Cardinals, who wear red, and the reason they do is that is the typical color of a St. Louis stop light. Red lights last 10-15 minutes. You can do whole crossword puzzles by the time the lights turns green. Meanwhile Mom really has to go and there’s a Walgreen’s and Mom said they all have restrooms (spoiler: fake news!) but I left the righteous path (ie the path to the casino) and headed there. Then there was a gas station where again restrooms were non-existent. We finally arrived at the casino just a few minutes shy of 1pm, and so I parked in the most conveniently located tow-away I could find. Then hustled in. All the bathroom talk made me think I had to go, which probably proves that the need to urinate is 90% mental. 

One of the joys of vacation is not driving, but I could find no way to talk myself into letting Uber do my city driving. That’s just decadent. (Although supporting of the local economy!?)  I’d somehow thought maybe I’d drive to St. Louis but then park it and uber it the rest of the way but that just didn’t fly when I saw the $12-$15 rates even for ridiculously short distances. So the old blood pressure went up but we made it on time. “Hurry up and relax.” 

The tour guide was an older gentleman who did his thing in a rather monotone style, free of jokes. He was the old fashioned “just the facts” Joe Friday. Maybe a touch of the Ben Stein character in Ferris Bueller. I didn’t mind at all.  Certainly no one could accuse him of being Gary Glass. 

We saw large expanses of the city, including the huge park that encompassed museums, sports fields, golf courses, a lake and who knows what else. Bigger even than the famous Central Park. 

We saw the City Museum with a school bus half-way off the top of the building (you had to be there). 

We saw old Victorian mansions on “Millionaires’ row”, built when having a million dollars meant a lot.  We went to the loop area with a bookstore and eclectic shops: Chuck Berry records and ‘50s style restaurants, Pappy’s BBQ with Memphis style ribs (“the best I ever had” said the driver). 

Then round 1:30 we were back where we started and we headed to our next destination: friends N and A on “the Hill”. They looked remarkably unchanged after what has to have been a long, long time. 18 years?

They were as easy to talk to as ever.  Shockingly, they’re moving for the first time in their lives to a ranch house out of the city next month. Pretty intense time for them. They even had homemade cookies.  Mom and A bonded over old ‘50s movies.  Dad checked his phone. 

Next up was the grand basilica. I’m not sure when I started really appreciating mosaics, but it has increased over time. Perhaps first when in Rome and seeing some of the ancient works. And in the Marian Shrine at D.C. And in Byzantine Catholicism where mosaics are common. The last time I went to St. Louis was in 2003 but I don’t think at that point I was as enthralled by the collection of little colored stones as I was this time. Just breathtaking. I believe Mom told me there were 42,000 little stones? 

An organ concert had started at 2:30 and so we were forbidden from entering the church at first. We visited the mosaic museum downstairs (I saw a huge choir book from the 1400s! - everyone who used that book is now dead) and then headed reluctantly out to the car. As soon as we reached the car, naturally, the concert was over. So Mom and I headed back to the cathedral and took it in. 

Now it was after 4 and time to head back to the hotel. I did a run/tour, starting at the local Irish pub before walking the splendid Union Station, now a melange of shops and restaurants and hotel.  Walking into it was like walking into 1920s Manhattan elegance.  Looking around I had the feeling that we didn’t deserve to inherit such beauty since we no longer “do beauty”.  It’s kind of like how some of the Barbarians must’ve surely felt when they took over Rome, wondering if they were really worthy to have acquired such beauty. A civilization capable of creating St Louis Cathedral and Union Station in the early 1900s seems qualitatively different from our own. 

Interesting to learn it had opened four years before great-grandparents left St. Louis. So undoubtedly they were in the same Grand Hall as I was, if only by the trivial difference of 123 years.  The hall was a waiting room for trains so they would’ve been jammed in whereas I shared the large space with only a dozen or fewer people.  The trip from St. Louis to Cincy, about a 5.5 hour trip by car now if no stops, would’ve taken them about twice as long since the average speed was close to 30mph. 

**

My run was abbreviated by a sudden rainstorm; I hie’d back to the hotel and had to be satisfied with my 1-miler. 

Next up was the happy hour where Dad had not believed three free drinks per person could be found on a hotel on planet earth. He said, more or less: “Unless I see the beers in my hand, and put my hand on the cup, I will not believe.” 

But by 5:30 an enthusiastic crowd had gathered for this event. Mom had her wines, Dad his beers, and me a combo pack of 1 wine and 2 beers. A hotel staffer interrupted the happy hour by saying that should all of us decide to go eat at the adjoining restaurant at once it would not go well. They could not handle that. So we should stagger ourselves without physically staggering. 

So Mom and I headed over to the restaurant, drinks in hand, and no censor censored us despite a sign saying, “no outside drinks can be brought in”. We lived to drink another day.  Dad stayed to wait for A and P and we all had a fine dinner at Syberg’s Restaurant. 

Monday: So we completed our 3-day vacation as the ancient Jews considered it (i.e. parts of three days = three days). I had fond thoughts of maybe hitting something like the Old Cathedral since it was “on our way” but nothing is really “on our way" in a city where finding street parking is an activity in and of itself, and it being a workday and downtown it seemed much easier to just tackle the Big Thing (the drive). 

We ate early and packed and checked out by around 9:15 our time (8:15 theirs) and so headed back on the long drive. It went reasonably smoothly, helped a lot by my not having to stop for food (I had leftover lasagna, protein shake and breakfast at the hotel). But there was certainly the pain of construction which slowed us down and some rain, and I hit Fairfield around 3:00-ish and then landed in Hilliard at 5:15. So a significantly long drive day of very near 8 hours but helped immeasurably by Dad taking a turn. 

Got home and Steph surprised me with an impressive weekend project - she built a deck made of weather-proof material (the same as our front deck) for our chairs in the “quiet forest”!  I was pretty shocked and pleased. Told her I should go away more often since she gets a lot done with me not around...















September 22, 2021

What if Coomer & Dominion Had Been Honest Up Front?

They say the coverup is worst than the crime but that’s not always true.  If Eric Coomer did engage in voter fraud then the lying and coverup that he’s done since then is not quite as bad, although obviously the latter is wrong in and of itself. 

It’s hard to picture it working out well for him and Dominion if he’d fessed up immediately to his trouble past, his strong identification with Antifa, admitting to saying he would make sure Trump went down – even if he could blame on it (very possible in his case given his desire to puff himself up) mere braggadocio. 

Former CEO Joe Oltmann lays out the case, and it’s fascinating to me how even the conservative media (like National Review and others) won’t touch his story, despite a lot of smoke.  I believe everything he says here is true: 

"Let’s recap...

Soros nonprofit and Dominion shared a floor at their headquarters in Canada. Yet no connection. It is a coincidence… 

Smartmatic CEO stated in 2010 that Dominion and Smartmatic shared technology. But there is no connection between the two. 

Eric Coomer in the [recent NYT] puff piece admitted to destroying evidence, admitted to being a skinhead, a heroin addict and criminal being arrested for not just one but multiple DUIs. The piece of trash posted the Antifa manifesto, posted anti American rhetoric, then lied about it and said it was “fabricated”. 

Eric Coomer said, “I wasn’t on that call” But he spews lies every time he opens his mouth…Now it appears this piece of trash and Dominion are on a media path. Ok, I’ll play. 

Let’s talk about the public humiliation Eric Coomer did to his wife. Where he abuses her, makes her bark like a dog and sexually assaults her… then published it. 

Let’s talk about the updates on the election systems on election days. Let’s talk about the log files deleted. Let’s talk about the “trusted build” where Dominion deletes files and election records. Let’s talk about the systems being connected to the internet when the CEO lied about. 

Let’s talk about not knowing who owns the election systems. Start there." 


September 21, 2021

Was Media Suppression of Hunter's Laptop Bad?

A National Review writer called the Hunter Biden laptop blackout a scandal. 

Perhaps, but I wonder if the real problem is that only a third of voters heard about the laptop before the election. You would expect in a country where 50% of the country identifies as right or center-right that half would recognize the corruption of the mainstream media and find alternate media. It's on us in other words. 

The combing rating of liberal media - i.e. MSNBC + CNN + PBS, etc is greater than Dem voting base (unlike w FOX and GOP base). This suggests conservatives and centrists are watching more of Left "journalism" than liberals/centrists are watching Fox.  

I was wondering what if an 18th-century equivalent of the Biden laptop happened: Wouldn't the federalist newspapers cover it and the republican ignore the story or vice versa? 

Is the real problem today merely that GOP voters are slower to realize we’re in a bifurcated environment than liberals, or is there too little choice for GOP'rs? Maybe it’s the latter, that there’s not the media infrastructure on the Right since the Left are generally more attuned to politics and usually ahead of the awareness curve. 

The problem from the right’s perspective is maybe not the corrupt coverage but that it happened so quickly that the Left’s natural advantages - i.e. controlling almost all media orgs when media was viewed as semi-objective - has temporarily made for an imbalance not seen in Federalist/republican times. This is a natural asymmetrical advantage for the Left if the Right doesn't start its own newspapers and suppress politically damaging stories.  

I wonder though if the death of objective journalism has ever occurred before in our history and if so, such as during the early 1800s, if it’s far more dangerous now due to the speed and volume of news, etc... 

One journalist told me that the solution is NOT multiple media because if it keeps going the way we're going "everyone but Rachel Maddow viewers will be a deplorable." Which is certainly the way we're going presently. He added, "Until there is a journalism force that is fully credible with all, I don't think this is solvable." 

He may be right and that's the path Jonah Goldberg has chosen. Feels too late.

September 17, 2021

1/6 Prisoners

Still kind of mesmerized that January 6th protestors/rioters are still in jail after all this time, the vast majority having committed no violent crime beyond trespassing. This was a decent and visible test of the rule of law and the justice system failed dramatically. 

I know I’m not supposed to be surprised because we live in a fallen world, and America treated Native Americans like dirt and certainly Black people have known for years about unequal justice... but this was such a high profile case in a "modern" time. This was a chance for our country to show that the law means something, the right to a speedy trial means something, that you can’t hold someone for 9 months in solitary confinement because you don’t like them. 

On 1/6 I thought: “wow, now maybe they’ll crack down on Antifa violent protestors next time, now that they see both sides do this crap.”  How naive! The plan is obviously to crack down much harder on the Right, of course. Send a message. Compare MAGA to Islamic terrorists. Could’ve seen that coming. I fear it’s the canary in the coal mine as far as those with the wrong political opinion receiving unequal justice under the law. Or religious views. 

Last year came the "preparatory shock-worthy event": Australia’s persecution of Cardinal Pell, who came a hair-breadth of life in prison basically for being a Catholic prelate. 

Growing up, I had such an idealized vision of the justice system. If they can do this to those 1/6 prisoners they can do it to any of us. Reminds me of the saying that we’re ruled by lawyers and they get to pick winners and losers.  St. Thomas More pray for us. 

Update: revised post to reflect lack of clarity on how many who are in prisons who committed non-violent offenses.