Archive for Religion

whiplash or a rubber ethos?

Alex Berezow: Debunkers Debunked: Who Fact-Checks The Fact-Checkers? – “the objectivity of fact-checking websites has already been called into doubt and for good reason.” Fact checking too often gets into nit picking. This is one reason to focus on behavior over content such as noting logical fallacies. It is also necessary to examine presumptions and assumptions which are used to build conclusions and these may be left unsaid.

For an example, consider Insights from Quadrant: Pants on fire early. It’s aboout the absurdity of 11,000 scientists joining the climate alarmism brigade.As The Australian notes, those 11,000-plus “experts” include professors “M. Mouse of the Mickey Mouse Institute for the Blind, Namibia” and “Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts”.

Rod Dreher: The Christian Way Forward in a Time of Crisis – “These are not normal times. We in the West are in the worst spiritual and social crisis since the collapse of the Roman empire. We don’t see this collapse clearly because it is hidden by our wealth. But make no mistake: the fundamental pillars of Western civilisation are crumbling—none more consequentially than the Church.

“It is a crisis of meaning. In the postmodern West, we have arrived at a place where many people no longer believe that meaning exists at all, and that we can know it.

The modern historian Yuval Noah Harari says that the modern world can be characterised by a simple transaction: people have exchanged meaning for power. …

Closely related to that, it is also a crisis of truth. We have lost the ability to determine what is true or false. We can no longer agree on a narrative that allows us to reason together. … Lacking a shared authoritative framework within which we can reason together to determine what is true and false, our deliberations become nothing more than exercises in power.

Dreher takes a swipe at Trump that ignores the advice of Christ to ‘render unto Ceasar’ and exposes a weakness in his argument. He leaves out and even dismisses a significant component of the lives of the people that is a tool of those he describes as the source of the problem. The Christian Way Forward must keep this tool in its own scabbard and not allow its theft to empower those bereft of the temper to power. There is a time for swords and a time to submit as Jesus illustrated on the night of his betrayal. Society is not preparing for the Passion of Christ and this is not the time to set aside the sword to just let tragedy happen.

Washington Examiner: The media protected Jeffrey Epstein and crucified Brett Kavanaugh – “Is it any wonder the American public distrusts the media?

Larry Elder: What Michelle Obama Leaves Out About ‘White Flight’ – “No doubt, there were instances of white versus black clashes in which white kids were the instigators. But I never observed any.” … “she paints an incomplete and unfair picture by attributing the “flight” solely to racism.” When someone blames racism, the key is to get an accurate of just who is being racists and in what way it shows.

Daniel John Sobieski: Harriet Blows Away Democratic Racial Myths – “History, someone once said, is a lie agreed upon, and nowhere is that more self-evident than in accounts of America’s racial history as told by Democrats.

Harriet, just released in theaters, tells the story of Harriet Tubman, an African-American slave who frees herself and then returns south to retrieve 70 others and bring them to freedom. Oh yeah — Harriet Tubman was a gun-toting Republican and the people she liberated these slaves from were Democrats.

The matter of armed theft of property is being rationalized. In matters of slavery, such theft presents a problem in its use to enforce individual rights as a protest against laws perceived as unjust. This assumption of moral supremacy is just what is being used in the current coup d’etat.

Jack Hellner: Where were the whistleblowers on foreign policy during Obama’s terms? – “Instead of the media being unbiased observers and reporters, they have been active participants in the indoctrination of the public that Trump is a lawbreaker, ignores the Constitution and is a racist, homophobe, xenophobe, dictator and fascists among other names as they say Trump is divisive.” Hellner includes a long list of issues that should have sparked concern under the previous administration but only illustrated the blind eye of the public propaganda machine.

“The meddling by the media to destroy Trump and elect Democrats is much more dangerous to the integrity of our elections than anything Russia or any other foreign country has or is doing.

When the media is intentionally peddling false stories about Russian collusion, lies about what Trump said about Charlottesville, blocking opposing views on climate change, attacking Kavanaugh with no evidence or burying the Jeffrey Epstein story they are campaigners, not reporters. They are anything but fact checkers.

Patricia McCarthy: The plot to impeach Trump already is falling apart – citing John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D) of Dissecting LeftismThe Leftist needs his angry beliefs. He cannot afford to let go of them because compared to his needs, logic/reason is a weak force.”

“Schiff’s latest folly is just another maneuver in the coup plotters’ game plan. It all needs to end with Schiff’s Joe McCarthy-like self-immolation for his lies and for his crimes. … Lies in service of their agenda are like breathing to leftists. It’s what they’ve always done, what they will always do. Schiff is just the latest Grand Wizard of leftist lies and deception.

Why? The behavior seems to be getting more extreme and more irrational. Why?

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Learning communist behavior for a True government

Is America Becoming Sinicized? Victor Davis Hanson [at RealClear Politics, no hassle reading] – “Deng’s revolution came at a cost of terrible environmental damage, the rampant destruction of local communities and continued political repression. A more efficient economy empowered dictatorship.

Belated Realization: The Old World Order Is in Shambles. Richard Fernandez – “Events on the Turkish-Syrian border revealed how fragile the security arrangements of the last century have become.” … “Problems that were once papered over have burst into the open.

“The old world order is in shambles. By October 31 the EU will lose one of its most powerful members. In Washington, the political class is paralyzed, unable to adapt to changing circumstances. Even Democratic candidates can’t agree on what constitutes a vital American interest in the Middle East. This implies that the trouble in Kurdistan is only symptomatic of greater geopolitical shifts, a small part of a larger fracture. If Turkey was willing to bomb U.S. positions, menace Incirlik’s nukes, and threaten the EU, the tripwire of U.S. lives was not the sure shield it was assumed to be.

The last few years have been one of belated realization. The cans which for decades had been kicked down the road now constitute a giant metal wall. The realities of the 21st century have outrun the politics of the 20th.

How the media blew the Syria story. Don Surber – “Once again, the press got the story all wrong. President Trump knew what he was doing and succeeded where his predecessors had failed.

Democrats now holding ‘Soviet-style’ impeachment hearings. Monica Showalter – “Secrecy has always been a pretty effective incubator for corruption,” … “Now we have the reason for the secrecy from the Washington Examiner:” Compare and contrast to the rationalizations provided by Rep. Dina Titus responding to Amodei sees lack of credibility in impeachment inquiry by Humberto Sanchez. Avoid a ‘circus’ or provide a filter so the testimony says what you want it to say? For Titus and the others who use the circus rationalization there is a need to make it clear that their behavior is a circus act.

“Is it any wonder that Republicans are starting to call this a “Soviet” impeachment? Far from this being about finding any truth, these secret hearings are to distort, reverse, or lie about actual witness testimony. Any witness whose words don’t match what Schiff wants to hear in those secret hearings not only gets browbeaten by Schiff, but may get his testimony “purged,” effectively becoming the equivalent of a Soviet “non-person.” It’s a matter of forcing a Vishinsky-like submission on all players to Get Trump. That’s the message with this latest Washington Examiner revelation.

Dr. Strangesсhiff, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Impeachment. Gary Gindler – “Who could have guessed that the words of Soviet secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria to Joseph Stalin, “Show me the man, and I will show you the crime,” would be strangely embodied in American politics and jurisprudence in the 21st century?

“When presenting the case of impeachment to his committee, Chairman Strangesсhiff used a specially written parody of the conversation between Orange Man and the president of Ukraine instead of the declassified and officially published text. The word “clowning” comes to mind, but the Strangeschiff clan never joke. …

Nevertheless, the actions of the self-appointed troika are getting funnier every day. Recently, they began to invite witnesses, who at the time of the “committing of the crime” had not been White House employees for a long time. …

There is no formal impeachment process because nobody has voted for it. Therefore, the Strangeschiff troika does not even have the legal authority to subpoena anyone to testify. …

Over the past three years, Democrats have called for a recession, stock market crash, nuclear war, the assassination of the president and his family, the rape of his daughter, the rape of his wife, the bombing of the White House, impeachment and rioting, all to fuel the process of the Sovietization of America. …

Is everything happening in the basement of the Capitol a mockery of the impeachment process? Of course. However, most of all, Americans are interested in only one question: what kind of trick will the Democrats come up with after the hocus-pocus of a permanent palace coup, permanent impeachment, and permanent figureheads fails again?

Hysterical reaction to AG Barr’s landmark speech at Notre Dame. Chuck Donovan – “What could the serene, almost sedate General Barr have said that drove certain left-of-center pundits into the rhetorical ditch?

“A Washington Post columnist found the Barr speech “terrifying” and a call for the abolition of the separation of church and state. But Barr’s examples had everything to do with attempts by government to coerce religious people to implement portions of the progressive creed and to abolish moral norms. In the past decade, Barr noted, the federal government has sought to require the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide contraceptives and abortifacients in their employee health plans. He decried the attempt by the state of California to force pro-life pregnancy help centers there “to provide notices of abortion rights.”

The Nation magazine went so far as to attack General Barr’s involvement with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Hysterical reactions often miss reality.

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We need a proper conscience even it seems missing in so many quarters

Australia’s Future and Its Enemies. Mervyn F Bendle – “The National Farmers Federation has announced that it will implement a long-term public relations campaign to mobilise public and political support for a major expansion of the agricultural industry in Australia and combat the zealotry of animal rights activists and green extremists.” It’s a shared problem by the grown, and successful, children of the British empire.

“Tragically, Australia is afflicted with deeply entrenched anti-development forces. It must therefore re-affirm its national identity as a frontier society, ready to engage in nation-building projects on a continental scale, and prepared systematically to harness the natural and human resources required to develop a thriving, highly productive society. This is a battle that must be won in the realm of culture, and it can no more be ignored than the financial or physical infrastructure requirements of this gigantic project can be ignored.

Australia is a country where radical environmentalists have had a free ride for decades, shutting down innumerable worthwhile projects and strangling many others in green tape and with ‘law-fare’ designed to make their successful completion uneconom or even impossible, as has been demonstrated with the Adani mine and in the Hunter Valley. Investors will retreat once they realize that their complex, capital-intensive projects will be slandered, stymied, suffocated, and sabotaged by a well-resourced cadre of cosseted vandals (‘protesters’) aided and protected by an array of political, legal, judicial, academic, and media supporters.

Babylon Bee: Trump Vows To Cut Foreign Aid To California.

The Democrats’ Debate Was Unconstitutional. Thomas McArdle – “The Constitution protects private property from the greedy hand of government. The Fourth Amendment guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” – i.e. their property — from search not based on reasonable suspicion of a crime.

Anderson Cooper Casually Vindicates Hunter Biden. Emily Jashinsky – “Perhaps he thought it was clever to say Trump falsely accused the junior Biden of wrongdoing “while serving” on the board.” It’s these questionable base presumptions that indicate just how deep and severe, and dangerous, the bias at CNN and elsewhere really is. “Stating is as an unimpeachable fact that “no evidence of wrongdoing” exists to implicate Hunter or Joe Biden is wrong. It’s really wrong coming from the purportedly objective moderator of a presidential debate.

George Orwell – “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

Fraud Continues – Nancy Pelosi Promises House Impeachment Subpoenas Will Not Have Legal Penalties – House Will Not Authorize Impeachment Inquiry… sundance – “It is likely, highly likely, Nancy Pelosi does not have the votes to proceed with a full House impeachment authorization; so Pelosi, Schiff, Engel and Cummings have to rely on the duplicity of the media to help them hide their scheme. So far the media is complying.

Bill Barr’s Brilliant Touchdown Run at Notre Dame. Terence P. Jeffrey – “And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on an authority independent of men’s wills,

“They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being. In short, in the framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.”

Yes, that is exactly why John Adams said: “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious People.”

Barr argued that “secularists” are now attacking the moral order that is the foundation of our liberty and threatening religious freedom in pursuit of their cause.

“We cannot have a moral renaissance,” he concluded, “unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.”

The People’s POTUS… sundance – “We interrupt our worries and fret-filled daily programming for a brief respite.” … “Remember when President Trump had the boys and girls Little League champs at the White House last week?… There’s a whole lot of fun happening there

“Come to think of it, President Trump has a remarkable ability to focus on the big picture amid circumstances that would likely overwhelm most people. His ability to live in the moment and compartmentalize challenges is a very significant strength.

It would be challenging for anyone to face complex global issues and geopolitics, while simultaneously battling domestic political adversaries…. let alone, stop mid-day and give 100% of your attentive self to celebrate with a group of kids and ensure they understood how valuable and important they are…. Yup, President Donald Trump can do that.

You have to really look to find any balance to the propaganda onslaught.

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How can you understand this? (Never Trumpers and their ilk)

Is the Pope a Catholic? Mark Powell – “Committed Catholics have been increasingly concerned about many of the Pope’s statements regarding divorce and remarriage, homosexuality (‘Who am I to judge?’), capital punishment, the existence of hell, and even the re-wording of the Lord’s Prayer.”

“But the reason I address this is because it is the responsibilities of leaders to uphold the values of the institutions which employ them. If they can’t continue to do that then they should have the integrity to resign. As Gillette has found out the hard way, once you go woke you quickly go broke. Which is precisely the direction the Church of Rome is heading under its current theologically progressive leadership.

Bottom Lining the Democrat-manufactured Trump-Ukraine Scandal. Judi McLeod – “When the Democrats Investigate Trump For Over 2 Years; And The Only Thing They Can Uncover Is Their Own Crimes.” … “Problem with that is that all the perps in the ongoing pumped-up scandal are comfortably nestled and protected inside a most devious Congress.

If Anyone Should Be Impeached, It’s the Liberal Media. Trevor Thomas – “Contrary to their sacred duty to provide what is truthful, they have willfully presented false and misleading information to the public at large concerning, but not limited to, the following:

No, the Electoral College Isn’t “Electoral Affirmative Action” for Rural States. John W. York, Ph.D. – “The reason Trump was able to win the presidency while losing the popular vote has nothing to do with “affirmative action” for rural states. It has everything to do with the way states choose to apportion their delegates.” … “It is a nod to a historical reality: When large swaths of a vast country feel they have been forgotten, dark days are likely to be on the horizon.

Zelensky: “This is not corruption, it was just a call” Ed Morrissey – “it’s tough to build a case of quid pro quo and corruption when the two players in the alleged act both say nothing of the sort occurred — and the record backs that up.” … doesn’t matter to House Democrats or their propaganda machine (or Volokh Conspiracy lawyers, see below), though.

Anti-Trump Psychodrama 10.0? Victor Davis Hanson – “The particular narrative is not all that important, at least compared with a general overriding theme: We are in a virtual civil war, and the Left believes that it can win over the hearts and minds of 20 to 30 percent of the swing voters in the United States with therapeutic tales of racism, sexism, unearned white privilege, and right-wing greed and selfishness, and also by destroying the elected president.

The Bluffpeachment. Gary Gindler – “The current situation in Washington is, in the language of poker, a bluff. The Democrats are bluffing; they have only weak cards in their hand. They actually have nothing against Trump. That’s all they have ever had.” Gindler also notes: “The U.S. Constitution empowers only the entire House of Representatives with the impeachment authority, not just the speaker of the House or the chairmen of the committees of the House.” This is interesting in light of the argument that the Constitution is vague on the issue and, therefore, the House can use whatever process it wants. That starts playing games on what one means by House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress. (See Volokh Conspiracy post and the following assertions)

New Statement from Checks and Balances on President Trump’s Abuse of Office. Jonathan H. Adler – “We believe the acts revealed publicly over the past several weeks are fundamentally incompatible with the president’s oath of office, his duties as commander in chief, and his constitutional obligation to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’” This is signed by a number of rather prestigious lawyers and is a conclusion based on their reading of the Ukraine matter. What these lawyers are saying is that chasing corruption in the affairs of U.S. elected officials involving other nations is “fundamentally incompatible with the president’s oath of office.” Trying to wrap one’s head around that, even when dressed up in a lawyerly sounding epistle such as this, is a difficult task. The base logic is just the expressed part of the problem. The context (i.e. Mueller findings) and the reference in long established precedent are missing and very likely it is because they show this official sounding pronouncement to be a farce. But why would such a distinguished collection of lawyers expose themselves like this?

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furious sounds of backpedaling?

Anti-Religious AG Twisted the Law Against This Catholic Agency. Tyler O’Neil – “The judge’s ruling made no decision as to the full merits of the case, but merely by recounting the facts of the case, it shows why St. Vincent Catholic Charities should prevail.” … “The facts in this case demonstrate that leftists with anti-religious animus will target even adoption agencies that enjoy very limited exemptions in the least defensible cases.

AG Barr’s trip to Italy on ‘official business’ may be a key to unmasking deep state entrapment of George Papadopoulos by CIA asset Joseph Mifsud. Thomas Lifson – it doesn’t seem to be a vacation and the right people are tossing mud.

The Little Engine That Couldn’t. Roger Kimball – “The Democrats think the very fact that a president is impeached is enough tarnish his reputation and diminish his chances of success in the election. Don’t bet on it.”

“In general, one tends to admire perseverance. We like to think it betokens a certain seriousness of purpose. We remember The Little Engine That Could from our childhood and want to root for the blundering but stalwart underdog. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” But in this case, the Democrats are not bringing the Christmas presents of impeachment and the destruction of a duly elected president they dislike to the boys and girls on the other side of the mountain. On the contrary, they are making fools of themselves. What we are seeing unfold before our eyes is not a reprise of The Little Engine That Could but a signal illustration of Chesterton’s observation that madness means “using mental activity so as to reach mental helplessness.”

Already, pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa, you can hear the furious sounds of backpedaling as a dim consciousness of what they have done with their impeachment frenzy steals over the reptilian brains of the impeachment choristers.

But it is actually worse than that, much worse. I think Thomas Lifson, writing for The American Thinker, is right. The whoops of the impeachment war dance are echoing in an otherwise silent and most severe chamber. All this frenetic activity—the screaming front-page headlines, the salivating attacks on Trump in the now-routinely anti-Trump Drudge Report—all that, as Lifson says, is but the “prelude to the coming time bombs about to explode in their faces.”

What has been happening these last three years is not just an effort to destroy Donald Trump. That, indeed, is merely incidental to the larger project of destroying the fundamental American consensus. I do not think it will succeed. But I am sufficiently disillusioned to realize just how grave a threat these forces pose to what we used to be able to call, without irony, the American dream.

Adam Schiff’s Impeachment Fun Playhouse. Clarice Feldman – “As Daniel Greenfield persuasively argues, these investigations are attempts to delegitimize the President and his Administration, and I predict people are sick of this nonsense.” There’s a lot of ‘there’ there and Feldman provides a summary.

“There’s a treaty signed by then President Bill Clinton and ratified on October 18, 2000 which provides that the U.S. and Ukraine are to mutually assist one another in “the prosecution of a wide variety of crimes” …

The fired prosecutor has written a notarized statement dated September 4 of this year stating that he was fired because of Joe Biden’s demand that he be removed …

Less attention has been paid to the letter in May of last year that 3 Democrat senators, Robert Menendez, Richard Durbin, and Patrick Leahy, wrote to Ukraine’s prosecutor general … This letter is in direct contrast to Speaker Pelosi’s claim this week

The last year has seen an avalanche of fake news — about one major story a month by my count. In my view they have only further discredited the already on its last legs major media and the Democratic Party they promote. I’m inclined to agree with Scott Adams that the political and media elites cannot fathom that their globalist worldviews were wrong, and that Trump was right.

Donald Trump now has to battle CIA spies in Dems’ war against him. Michael Goodwin – “CIA agents are supposed to spy on foreign adversaries. This one spied on the president, then cloaked himself in whistleblower camouflage. His sources are presumably still at work and perhaps planning another run at the president.”

If The Case For Trump’s Impeachment Is So Strong, Why Are Liberals Lying About It? Derek Hunter – “Almost everything about the allegations that have Democrats moving toward impeachment of the President is a lie, a proven lie. And they don’t care.” … “Trump Derangement Syndrome is the Kool-Aid at Jonestown.

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A world gone mad where it’s a virtue to be so frightened?

Our Real Identity Politics Is Governed By Almighty God. E. Jeffrey Ludwig – “The Left in American life today, with its emphasis on socialist and communist values, is essentially denying the validity of Judeo-Christian values which have been defended successfully for centuries by blood, sweat, and tears. The Left emphasizes needs rather than rights, equality over liberty, state ownership over private property, a woman’s right to choose death over life, gender fluidity over the eternal reality of a two gender system based on creation of both men and women in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and world government over national identities.”

Squad Dems Raise Money to Help Activists Arrested in Boston, Including Antifa Goons Who Assaulted Cops. Debra Heine – “Thanks to AOC and Pressley’s supportive tweets, the crowdfunding campaign for the antifa counter-protesters−some of whom attacked the police−surpassed its $15,000 goal, raising a total of $24,652 for their legal fees.” Why have laws if they only apply to some?

Rolling Stone’s take on Andy Ngo is about as fair as you’d expect. John Sexton – “Your mob beats up someone and puts them in the hospital and suddenly people think you’re a bunch of bad people. It’s weird how that works.

“Honestly, the virtue-signaling argument gets overused and this piece is a good example. Siding with Andy Ngo against violent street thugs doesn’t have to be viewed as dishonest or performative virtue. The fact is that most Americans, right or left, don’t like violent goons beating people up. The fact that the author sees the goons as the left’s “black-clad brethren” says more about him than it does about the people reacting to Ngo’s beat down.

The Two Ticking Time Bombs of the Coming Election. Conrad Black – “A disgraceful end for “deep state” actors and an implosion of the Democratic Party’s 2020 nominee are both very real possibilities.”

“But the stark contrast in policy and personality terms between the president and the Democrats, and the bellicosity of the president himself, which can be embarrassing but may have been essential for him to get through the unprecedented effort to undermine him illegally, do not in themselves explain the very long fuse that is burning with excruciating slowness toward the powder keg of explicit revelation of Democratic law-breaking.

It is clearer every week those who say what occurred was an attempted coup are substantially accurate. This is not only astounding and distressing, the extreme state of denial that grips the Trump-hating media makes it likely that the credibility of the national political press will be in tatters long after those responsible for the unconstitutional conspiracy to subvert and pervert the election have been exposed and legally punished.

When Trump Fights the Left, He Punches Up. Fletch Daniels – “A common critique on message boards is that Trump is punching down at his opponents. While there is room to question the wisdom of some of his tweets, President Trump is not punching down. He is actually punching up.” … “No matter how many tweets President Trump sends out, there will still be a power disparity between him and the liberal cultural institutions that does not favor the president.

“One of the worst and lasting legacies of President Obama’s presidency was the weaponization of government. A Republican president does not have that option because the federal bureaucracy would mutiny if he tried. It is hard enough for a Republican president to move the federal bureaucracy to bring real liberal criminals to justice, a fact on full display right now.

Any Democrat president who inherits such an ideologically loyal bureaucracy will be tempted to misuse it.

A Democrat president inherits a full blanket of media protection that acts like air superiority protecting that president from any effective attack. …

A Republican president starts on day one with a disloyal bureaucracy, a hostile media seeking to destroy him, and relentless fire from the entire cultural heights.

Some Comments on Guns. John Hinderaker – “the last couple of mass shooters likely are copycats … the U.S. homicide rate has been cut in half since the Clinton administration … contrary to popular belief, the U.S. is not home to an unusual number of mass shootings … liberals are, as usual, advocating policies that will do no good

A conservative plan to reduce shootings (and other homicides). Paul Mirengoff – “Daniel Horowitz presents a seven-step plan to reduce homicides … Horowitz’s plan would save countless lives without violating constitutional rights.

Rufuspetasumphobia … neo – “When did it become a virtue to be so frightened of a political point of view held by half of Americans, and to label it as abnormal and actually hateful?”

“It’s been building for decades, and it focuses mostly on the perception and careful cultivation by the press and the Democratic Party (especially its leftist wing, which has grown so large as to seem like the main body at this point) of the idea that the opponents are not mainstream but are vile haters who must be opposed with any and every tool possible.

It’s a cliche to say we have become increasingly polarized in recent decades. But it’s crystal clear that we have, and that much of it has been promoted on the left as a tactic for winning elections. Fear is contagious, as well. Is the fear real, or is it fake and just a way to prove who’s the wokest of them all? I don’t know, and it hardly matters, because the poison is out there, eating away at the fabric of our society.

via Instapundit: CATHY YOUNG: Hard Lessons From The Russian Civil War. “The most trenchant lesson for the modern age is one that also seems increasingly relevant to the West: When political adversaries are no longer fellow citizens to live with but rather enemies to be crushed, we all lose.”

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Honest and competent

You’ve already lost the immigration battle if you say this. Selwyn Duke – “Conditioned responses are funny things. One of them, the statement that they’re “probably all nice people” — oft used when discussing illegal migrants — is also a dangerous thing.” This is about the ‘both sides are the same’ fallacy.

“If you can’t say this, unabashedly, you’ve already lost the migration debate. Realize that the Left, some in whose vanguard are master manipulators, has conned us into apologizing for doing what’s right, for enforcing just laws. But what other crime do we address so sheepishly, qualifying our opposition to it with notions that the perps are “just seeking a better life” and may be “nice people”? Why, I met counterfeiters who were nice people. What’s niceness got to do with it?

“Nice” is irrelevant. Nice doesn’t save civilization. Nice never won a war, hot or cold, actual or cultural. Theological correctness informs that man is good by nature — though that nature is fallen — because he was made by God and for God. Reflecting this, most people want to do good, though often don’t know what good is. “Nice” is not unique.

Sonovogun! Our Guy Really Is Presidential. Dov Fischer – “At his best when he needs to be.” He sets the stage wondering if his attempts to watch the news might cause Fox News Arthritis someday. Worry about that lead him to C-Span where he saw “their film of President Donald J. Trump earlier in the day in Buckingham Palace, then at Westminster Abbey, looking and acting extremely Presidential.” It’s a ‘who you gonna believe, the media or you lying eyes’ expose.

let’s talk about fashion choices and history … neo talks about Melania’s fashions, and the media “mostly indulged their snotty, catty, petty, envious, Trump-deranged negativity towards Melania.” It turns out that the first lady was not only “probably the most beautiful and glamorous First Lady ever” but her choices had symbolism in a tribute to a British designer and the nature of the visit.

The moral case for honest and competent climate science. Christopher Monckton of Brenchley – “In Western countries, too, the crippling cost of global-warming policies is causing real harm.

“An outline of climatology’s error: IPCC explicitly misdefines feedback as responding only to perturbations of an input signal, when in well-established control theory whatever feedback processes prevail at any given moment must perforce act upon the entire reference signal then obtaining.

This post requires careful reading as it is heavy in ideas and not afraid to use ‘big words’ and words with specific meaning in climatology and related studies. The problem has many variables and simplifications made to create models and theories can often miss important factors.

Praying for a President Is Not that Radical: Platt, Prayer, and Polarization. Ed Stetzer – “The outrage against David Platt’s prayer for President Trump reveals more about us than David.”

“In years past, this would probably have been seen by many as an admirable practice—a president stopping by for prayer. However, as Emma Green explained in the Atlantic, “Donald Trump’s controversial stop at a Virginia mega-church after a mass shooting showed how even normal Christian behavior has been scrutinized during this administration.”

First, the criticism of David Platt was often not fair.

Second, David’s prayer was gospel rich and God honoring.

Third, David Platt is not some naive political pawn.

Follow the link and read the prayer. It would be appropriate for any leader.

But Stetzer dances and waltzes around the real issue as another example of what Selwyn Duke described above. The real issue centers on the Commandment proscribing False Witness. Stetzer conflates dishonesty with differences of opinion trying to maintain a ‘both sides the same’ fallacy while describing, or protesting, the distortions and deceit raising a ruckus.

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intellectual gymnastics … The irony, it burns.

About That Letter That Mueller Wrote To Barr… Tyler Durden – “Another deep state “leak” has hit the tape, and as usual it has gone to the WaPo and NYT almost at the exact same time… but this it’s even more laughable than usual.

“So, Mueller felt there was confusion… but he did not think the memo was inaccurate. Wait, what’s going on here and how is this even a story? Well, if we read the rest of the above sentence, we find the true object of Mueller’s “complaint”: …

Which means that, as the WaPo itself reports, what Mueller was really angry with was the coverage of his report by media such as… the WaPo and the NYT?? The irony, it burns.

Biden must answer for the lies sold to the American people by Team Obama. David N. Bossie – “the problem with nostalgia” – to quote former Sen. John Edwards as he described the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton in 2007 – “is what we tend to do is only remember what you like and you forget the parts you didn’t like.”

Biden, one of the prime supporters of the disaster that was disingenuously marketed as the Affordable Care Act, must answer for the lies told by the Obama team to sell the plan to the American people.

The mainstream media cannot allow Biden to rewrite history when it comes to the Obama administration’s cozy Russia policy.

Biden must also be investigated fully over his alleged actions in Ukraine

On the all-important issue of fighting for the American worker and manufacturing jobs, let’s remember that the position of the Obama-Biden administration on lost manufacturing jobs was – as Obama put it – that “some of those jobs of the past are just not going come back.”

That destructive attitude, along with an outrageous regulatory regime, caused a net loss of nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs as a result of the lack of leadership of Obama and Biden.

The failed Obama-Biden mindset of “you didn’t build that” – so critical of America’s entrepreneurial spirit – must never be forgotten.

Obama and Biden gave up the store on a deal that put an exclamation point on their failed eight-year policy of apologizing for America around the world.

You can’t finish an analysis of Biden’s record as Obama’s vice president without asking this all-important question: When it comes to the Obama administration’s efforts to try to stop Donald Trump from being elected president, what did Biden know and when did he know it?

Washington Post’s 10,000 Trump untruths is about 25% fake news. Steve Goldstein – “‘Literally true’ comments can be misleading, fact checker says” … this is about relativity in reality and truth. The trouble is that there is no Einsteinian model to equate frames of reference. In the media, the differing reference frames are entirely independent and often at odds with reality.

“The Washington Post’s count of what it calls “false and misleading statements,” and what other media outlets quickly short-handed to “lies” by Trump, is itself inflated.

Sensing that the fact checkers are a bit too quick on the draw, I decided to review a series of contentions made by Glenn Kessler and the fact-checking team at the Washington Post. …

Sometimes Kessler seems to be assuming words Trump said that the president did not. Other times he seems to demand a level of surrounding context that most would not insist from any other politician.

Kessler also said the newspaper has only used the word “lie” once — about Trump’s comments on Stormy Daniels hush money — and tries to distance its assessments from that word.

It’s also important to stress, that the Washington Post exaggerating the truth about Trump is not to say that the president isn’t uniquely untruthful.

But it also seems that fact checkers, like Kessler, have a reflexive bias toward declaring Trump comments as untrue.

WaPo writer: James Holzhauer has become “a menace”. Jazz Shaw – “But there’s one thing Lane doesn’t accuse Holzhauer of: cheating. Because he’s not cheating.” It’s a story about success envy, the kind that drives socialist ideologies to trash and bash capitalism.

Prominent clergy, scholars accuse Pope Francis of heresy in open letter. Maike Hickson – “They ask the bishops of the Catholic Church, to whom the open letter is addressed, to “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation” of a pope committing this crime.

“The authors base their charge of heresy on the manifold manifestations of Pope Francis’ embrace of positions contrary to the faith and his dubious support of prelates who in their lives have shown themselves to have a clear disrespect for the Church’s faith and morals.

The 20-page document is a follow-up to the 2017 Filial Correction of Pope Francis that was signed originally by 62 scholars and which stated that the Pope has “effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church,” especially in light of his 2016 exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

The authors first present in detail – and with theological references to substantiate their claims – the different positions against the faith Pope Francis has shown himself to hold, propagate, or support, including “seven propositions contradicting divinely revealed truth.”

If nothing else, this provides a comparison and contrast to how the Democrats are attempting impeachment.

A Fantasy for the Sexes. Daphne Patai – “Not by accident, verbal therapies in this society archetypically began with men listening and women speaking.

“Studies are done on the economic costs of smoking and poor health, but not of the costs of women’s work habits.

Somehow it is always men who are to blame. Even in the schoolyard, little boys suffer from puzzlement, pain, and ostracism as little girls make comments and express expectations boys cannot quite grasp or respond to.

The constant pressure on men to tell personal stories and focus on the analysis of their feelings is finally recognized for what it is: a gender gambit designed to maintain female superiority by reminding men of their place and of their vulnerability to women’s more high-powered emotional and verbal style. Mass culture is rewritten, and all those strong silent types in film and fiction are now understood to be men damaged by matriarchal values.

so much, so confused … it is necessary to read carefully with an appropriate degree of skepticism and to be careful about jumping to conclusions and engaging in other, similar, intellectual gymnastics.

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Greatest lie ever told …

Understanding Jesus’s Mission. Trevor Thomas – One of the most important questions in the history of the universe is “Why did Jesus have to die?”

“One of the greatest lies ever told is that your (and my) sin is not really sin. One of the greatest debates within the church today surrounds the question of what is sin. If we can’t answer that question well and accurately, then we will fall short of understanding and appreciating all that Jesus did for us.

The Mueller Report’s Active and Passive Idiots. Gary Gindler – “an unusual television interview was held by former President Obama’s director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. A fantastic phrase came from his mouth: “If there was no active collusion proven, then I think what we have here is a case of passive collusion.”

“The entire Mueller Report is written in such a way that it becomes immediately apparent that it is not designed for the one to whom it was originally intended by law: the U.S. attorney general. It is clearly intended not for a legal, but a political effect from its publication. This farce with the Mueller investigation had purely political goals from the very beginning.

Things the Media Ignored in the Mueller Report. Clarice Feldman – “there are two important things underplayed or ignored: the ubiquitous nature of Russian interference from 2014 on, which Obama ignored, and the real target of the witch hunt — General Michael Flynn (and why).

“It’s not unreasonable to believe this entire $30 million hoax of an investigation was not only to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s victory over Hillary, but as well to cover up Obama’s failures to respond to Russian interference to protect his crackpot nuclear deal with Iran.

It’s Easter Sunday and Passover. For those who value truth, hang on. I think it has been slow in coming, but coming it is.

What Trump is guilty of. Andrew Benjamin – “Donald Trump, the president of the United States, behaved as any innocent man would, behave having been framed by fabricated propaganda prepared by foreign intelligence agents and paid for by his political enemies.”

“This is the injustice against his person, integrity, and performance, the injustice of being framed by greedy, self-dealing, soulless, and cowardly criminals not fit to shine his shoes. These are criminals who paid for the fabricated pack of lies and evidence illegally obtained. They deliberately and speciously persecuted him, knowing he was innocent. They, along with their media associates, coordinated, colluded, and conspired among themselves and with foreign agents to give the false impression to the nation that the president obstructed justice by vocally objecting to the three-year-long witch hunt against him, his family and associates, and the American people.

The Mueller Report And The Starr Report: Compare And Contrast. Paul Mirengoff – There is a difference and both sides are not the same.

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They play a dangerous game

Top Dems Demand Capital One Turn Over Trump Records, Kept Republicans In The Dark. Sara Carter – “House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, along with two other Democratic Committee chairpersons, sent a letter in early March demanding Capital One Financial Corporation turn over all of President Donald Trump’s financial documents pertaining to trusts, businesses, real estate and any foreign investments” … breathtaking. Overturns the entire idea of presumption of innocence, the idea that a crime should come before a prosecution, and the basis of equal justice under the law.

“Brent M. Timberlake, Vice President, Senior Associate General Counsel Card Litigation, Subpoena and Intake at Capital One, responded to Cummings demands on March 21.

Timberlake said get a “subpoena.”

“As requested, we are preserving the documents and materials listed in the request attached to your letter,” said Timberlake in a letter. “Given the confidentiality obligations we have as a financial institution, including under state and federal law, we respectfully request that any production of materials be made pursuant to a subpoena rather than an informal request.”

Republican members were not consulted on the Democratic inquiry Trump’s financial institution, according to a letter sent by Ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC.

The letter sent by Meadows and Jordan stressed concerns that over the Democrats exceeding their authority in gaining access to the private financial documents.

Ineffective Democrat Subpoenas. Paul Mirengoff – “Democrats are holding a losing hand. This subpoena, like all the others House Democrats are thinking about issuing, cannot, in all likelihood, be effectively enforced.”

“If Democrats try this move, we can expect Republicans to behave similarly when they control the House. We will be well down the road to becoming a banana republic.

Meanwhile, I hope Republicans remember Katyal’s recommendation when, almost inevitably, some Democratic president nominates him for a job requiring Senate confirmation.

Prayers For President Trump During West Coast Travel. sundance – “With anxiety visible amid the DC crew now contemplating accountability for their failed soft-coup attempt, we enter a dangerous phase.”

“After all, 40 federal law enforcement agents openly participated in the effort; along with more than a dozen members of the Department of Justice. What does that tell us about the fidelity of the FBI and DOJ to their oath of office? What does that tell us about their current intentions?

The Full Story of How Obama, Hillary and Brennan Carried Out The Crime of the Century. DCWhispers – “It’s just that this time because President Trump fights so hard, refuses to give up, and his tens of millions of supporters stand by him, that the Deep State was caught in the act.

“This article will firmly demonstrate the following:

-Hillary Clinton’s campaign used the Christopher Steele dossier before their involvement was covered up

-Senior Obama administration officials secretly plotted to involve senators in the “Russia” conspiracy

-James Clapper tried to use the “Russia” narrative to get the Supreme Court to invalidate Trump’s presidency

-Natalia Veselnitskaya was a Fusion GPS set-up agent who worked out of an Obama official’s office in D.C.

-Peter Strzok ran point on destroying General Flynn and covering up for Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama used foreign powers to keep the scheme going, even after he left the Oval Office to President Trump

Your Family Can Save Our Civilization. Sebastian Gorka – “That’s when I understood the value of freedom, I understood what human dignity is, and for the rest of my life, I understood why the truth matters. And that is the essence of our civilization. It is a civilization to which both Hungary and America are a party— our shared Judeo-Christian civilization. We are proud of being part of that civilization.

“A key part of that speech is where the president asked a question. He asks the only question that matters right now, which is: “Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it” That is the question. What are the core values of that civilization?

Judeo-Christian civilization believes that true freedom, the true realization of Man’s worth, his value, his objective essence is when you are given freely the choice to decide by your God, and you use that power to do the right thing—which is rarely the easy thing. …

And then lastly justice. This word has nothing to do with “social justice” or with SJW idiocy. This has to do with objective truth. Objective justice. Our civilization believes that truth exists outside of humankind. Truth is immutable. A man is a man, a woman is a woman, good is good, bad is bad. And we strive to create manmade justice systems that reflect that objective reality, not the capricious systems we see outside our civilization.

Romney self owns. Don Surber – “Well, Romney wanted to be the thorn in the Republican hide like his buddy (and 2008 nominee) John McCain.” Neither of these former Republican nominees for president has distinguished himself post election. “President Trump appointed Cain because he has experience.” It appears many of his opponents are totally unaware of the resume.

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Bury your head. Don’t call a spade what it is.

We Cannot Bury Our Heads in the Sand about Ilhan Omar. E. Jeffrey Ludwig

“In effect, then, her comments blew her cover. She cannot simply be seen as a highly motivated immigrant who has made her way to one of the higher offices in the land, someone who is simply living out the Horatio Alger ideal of rags to riches in America. She has revealed herself as someone with an agenda, an agenda where she is willing to attack the community most in favor of Islamic immigration and the diversity she seems to represent.

Not only is she filled with intolerable hatred, but she is a kind of Trojan horse.

Then look at what happened to Jeanine Pirro (The Hill). “Last week, Fox News condemned remarks made by Pirro after the host on air questioned whether Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is loyal to Sharia because she wears a hijab.” The sensitivity is selective and irrational.

So many are being attacked and assaulted for calling a spade a spade … 

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Greek or Hebrew?

The Life Extensionist’s Guide to Logical Fallacies. Nicola Bagalà – “Logical fallacies can be tough to spot, both for the people committing them and for the people listening

“The following is a list of common logical fallacies that usually show up during life extension debates. It may be useful for your advocacy efforts, but bear in mind that the right way to go about rebutting fallacious reasoning is not simply pointing out “You committed a fallacy; your argument is invalid”; in fact, you’d better avoid mentioning the word “fallacy” altogether. What you are likely to get this way is simply a lot of eye-rolling; your message will probably not get across, and you will come across as an insufferable pedant, even if you’re right. I’ve personally met people who don’t seem to think that a logical fallacy in their reasoning is such a big deal. Debating with this kind of person is probably a waste of time, but in general, people might be more receptive if you politely explain why their reasoning doesn’t work, providing different examples and avoiding a lecturing attitude at all costs.

The Hebrew Bible and the West. Mike Zimmerman – “I encountered the writings and thinking of Professor Kalman Kaplan (a psychologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago) and his colleague Dr. Paul Cantz (of Adler University) … These scholars point out that there was a distinct Hebrew-Jewish tradition at the same time and in opposition to the Greek thinkers of roughly the two centuries before the Common Era.”

Psychology Gone Crazy: Time to Decertify the DSM-5. Mark A. Hewitt – “A national diagnostic and statistical manual should not be subject to social justice and party politics.

Will Rand Paul sink Trump’s emergency declaration? Nope. Jazz Shaw – “I wanted to address one talking point that Rand Paul appears to have inherited from the Democrats. They’re all claiming that Trump is “spending money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress.” It’s a nice sound bite, but that’s really not true. For better or worse, the funding in question was already appropriated by Congress for the military. And as I discussed previously, there are already at least two laws on the books (passed by Congress and never repealed) that allow for military funding to be moved around in this fashion.” Amazing. Ditching responsibilities for national security using a lie to rationalize the position.

Nevada Democrats pushing to join popular vote compact. Colton Lochhead – It’s pushing for mob rule and reducing Nevada’s influence in national government. It another one of those logical fallacies writ large where rational thinking gives way to what everyone else seems to think.

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Gaslighting

After the Coup is Gone. Julie Kelly – “The tale we’ve been told for more than two years—that Donald Trump’s campaign team, possibly even the candidate himself, colluded with the Kremlin to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election—has been exposed as a lie.

“Various investigations into this alleged conspiracy are coming up empty and the accomplices are trying to change the subject. Even more pathetically, some still are clinging to the farce, desperate to salvage whatever still remains of their already sketchy credibility.

To describe it as a witch hunt, the president’s preferred term, is too generous.

Both Democrats and Republicans have been complicit. The national news media have acted as hatchet men.

It’s the kind of treachery that is supposed to animate banana republics or Soviet-style regimes—not our country.

Meanwhile, Robert Mueller’s investigation has not yielded one indictment related to collusion, yet it has wrecked countless reputations and livelihoods.

But no entity has acted more recklessly and destructively than the national news media.

These are only a handful of the questions now arising from the wreckage of the failed Trump-Russia collusion gambit; the answers might be just as infuriating as the questions themselves.

Andrew McCabe Confirms: Deep State Plotted To Take Down Trump. Investor’s Business Daily.

“This is nothing less than an attempted silent coup against a sitting president. The machinations of the FBI, CIA and Justice Department plainly indicate a conspiracy. A crime against the Constitution and the people of the U.S.

And they lied about it. Or kept quiet about it. Or misrepresented what they did, even to the Foreign Intelligence Security Court. That is real obstruction of justice. And a real conspiracy.

As The Russia Hoax Begins To Unravel, The Gaslighting Begins. Adam Mill – “The media has started backing away from the Russia collusion hoax. Many seem to know a reckoning is coming.”

“The Russia hoax is crumbling and people can’t run away fast enough. We’ve seen signs from the very beginning that many of the people who promoted the Trump-Russia collusion smear have always known it was a hoax. These signs have been in plain sight. Here is an incomplete list.

1. Because They Said So … 2. There’s No Hurry, In Spite of a ‘National Emergency’ … 3. The Dishonest Reporting of the Trump Tower Meeting … 4. Protecting the Mueller Probe from Embarrassment … 5. It’s About Shooting the Messenger … 6. Pushing the Hoax Makes Money

So we had secret meetings with Nicolas Maduro. Jazz Shaw – “The one other item I wanted to point out here was the tone taken by the AP reporters who covered this story. If you read through the whole thing you’ll notice a disturbing pattern. Not only do they set a tone that treats Maduro as if he’s just another world leader, but they clearly hint that the United States was the cause of his ills. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

(WSJ paywall item. see Instapundit) Stop the Impeachment Fishing Expedition. David B. Rivkin Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley – “Congress has no business investigating the president for conduct that occurred before he took office.”

“Unfortunately, the scenario the court called “unlikely” in 1997 now exists. Like Mr. Clinton, Mr. Trump faces an investigation by a zealous prosecutor with unlimited resources inquiring, among other things, into prepresidential activities. In addition, Mr. Trump is subject to a deluge of lawsuits and investigations, including by state attorneys general, involving his conduct before entering politics.

Congress has no authority to investigate or prosecute crimes; these responsibilities belong to the executive branch. It has no power to conduct fishing expeditions, and its investigatory authority is supposed to be in the service of legislation.

To protect the separation of powers, the president should defy all demands for information about his prepresidential activities. If Congress or private litigants seek to enforce these demands, the Justice Department should move to stay these proceedings while Mr. Trump is in office. If Democrats want to remove Mr. Trump from office, there are two legitimate ways to do so: By defeating him at the polls in 2020 or through properly conducted impeachment proceedings based on evidence of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” committed while in office.

Covington teens exonerated by Diocese report. What is important here is the questions neo raises about what Bishop Foys did in jumping to false witness. Someone who should know better commits a grievous sin and then avoids Jesus?

This WILL piss you off –> Thread of FAKE hate crimes that have happened during Trump era is un-freaking-believable. Sam J. – “Ryan Saavedra put together a thread of fake hate crimes that have been reported during the Trump era and all this editor can say is HOLY CRAP. We suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that the Left is this desperate (and gross) to lie about a hate movement that doesn’t really exist in order to somehow get revenge for Hillary losing but wow.

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Evidence of a coup d’é·tat effort mounts.Will it matter?

A Court Case in Iowa Shows the Reality of Religious Discrimination in America. David French – “Media’s failure in covering this more than decade-long scandal helps explain why the secular public often seem mystified by Christian concerns with religious liberty.

“I’m talking about the Christian experience on campus, where there have been hundreds of cases and controversies involving the most basic rights of free speech, free exercise of religion, and freedom of association. And many of the cases contain the most obvious and blatant evidence of overt discrimination.

Across the United States, state officials are repeatedly telling American Christians that there is something inherently wrong with their faith. They’re even claiming that it’s out of bounds for Christian groups to seek Christian leadership and often claiming that orthodox Christian beliefs are on a moral par with defenses of slavery or other repugnant forms of bigotry. They engage in rank favoritism and blatant viewpoint discrimination. These actions warp American culture and transform American politics. They deserve far more media attention than they receive.

Colorado moves to thwart the Electoral College. Jazz Shaw – “The attempts to justify this sort of end-around run at the Constitution would be hilarious if the subject weren’t so serious.” Let the guy over there nullify your vote because he’s got more friends?

Coup kook a choo: McCabe admits pushing 25th Amendment to remove Trump after Comey firing. Ed Morrissey – “Did the “highest levels” of the Department of Justice attempt to foment a coup d’etat in May 2017?” While the AP works on ‘Republicans Pounce,’ the evidence about actual reality continues to trickle in.

Harris’ “Trump tax cut is really a tax hike” spin gets four Pinocchios. Ed Morrissey – “If Harris can’t figure out that reductions in rates and liabilities are tax cuts rather than tax hikes, and if her staff can’t distinguish between short- and long-term effects, then perhaps they shouldn’t be put anywhere near the White House.” But people keep electing people like her anyway.

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What they don’t tell you

Trump cut drug prices. Don Surber – The Associated Press dismissed this, writing, “While President Trump is correct that drug prices dropped in the last year — and that hasn’t happened since 1972 — the drop was less than 1 percent.” That’s our media! “Under Obama, drug prices rose nearly 10% annually.

Media won’t call out gay black actor on hoax. Don Surber – “Nine days later, no one has corroborated his tale, video does not confirm it, and he refused to turn his cellphone into police.

“The Trump-supporters-beat-me-up story is popular among Muslim women, gays, and black people because the media for four years (including his campaign) have told them that Trump supporters are Islamophobic, homophobic, and racist.

John Ziegler of Media-ite … wrote … “The first thing you need to understand about this situation is that, because of Smollett’s persona and the nature of his allegation, no one in law enforcement or the news media wants any part of publicly questioning his story. Everyone knows that if they make any sort of negative implication against a black, gay, liberal, celebrity, victim of a horrible hate crime, that they will be roundly and severely attacked, regardless of whether they turn out to be correct.”

We used to joke about the media being Pravda. Now it is. The media unashamedly tells lies today.

Trump’s wild popularity overseas is one of media’s best kept secrets. Thomas Lifson – “The mainstream media pretends that their scorn for President Trump is almost universally shared overseas.”

“Stark evidence of this popularity of President Trump comes from Italy, where a populist government won power – though the media tend to ignore this. The Carnival of Viareggio, described as “world-famous” by Medium.com (the website chosen by Jeff Bezos for his j’accuse manifesto against the National Enquirer) dates back to 1873, and has established itself as the venue for featuring amazing giant figures. It takes place in Tuscany, a wealthy area that is a magnet for tourists worldwide.

Check out the highlight of yesterday’s parade:

Most delightful of all: This crowd transferred their love of President Trump into love for America.

The globalists realize that this is a worldwide phenomenon, one directed squarely at them and the transition they have wright on countries everywhere. The last thing they want is for Americans to understand that President Trump is THE global leader of a populist movement that is growing, is pro-America, and has already toppled statist governments

Acting AG Matthew Whitaker: Football impresario, stomper of Democrats. Ed Timperlake – “The Judiciary Committee hearing on February 8, 2019, held by Chairman Nadler (D-N.Y.) with committee witness Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, became an epic historic failure.

“A moment for the ages is captured in a lasting quote by witness Whitaker in his reminding the chair that if Nadler sets the rules, then he also must play by the rules.

In a day of theater, lines were crossed. One specific example in challenging a witness’s integrity was demonstrated by Rep. Jeffries (D-N.Y.). Congressman Jeffries made a rhetorical statement that was simply grandstanding against a proud, well educated, and distinguished man from Iowa. His behavior crossed over the line to a personal attack:

Vatican ex-doctrine chief pens manifesto amid pope criticism. Nicole Winfield – “a clear manifestation of conservative criticism of Francis’ emphasis on mercy and accompaniment versus a focus on repeating Catholic morals and doctrine during the previous two papacies.

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How dare you! (but who cares, anyway?) See how that works?

How Dare Karen Pence Be Christian! Michael Brown – “The outrage is over any connection between the historic Christian faith – the dominant, oppressive religion of America! – and the public square. Such a connection must be severed at once.

“In the famous words of John Adams, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

We do not check that morality and that religion at the door when we are elected to public office, nor do our family members.

Mrs. Pence, we are with you!

It’s Open War on Christianity. John Hinderaker – “The overt bigotry on display from members of the left-wing press is, in my opinion, shocking.” He cites David French at the National Review explaining the situation.

Quit hoping that Trump will just go away. Rich Lowry – “The walls supposedly are always closing in on Donald Trump. The end is always beginning.

“Despite media reports that Trump is perpetually furious and feeling besieged, he has never shown the slightest brittleness or sense of being overwhelmed in public. He’s always his same ebullient, combative, outrageous self.

He’s the least likely president to get worn down by an impeachment fight. What would discourage or deflate the normal human energizes him.

Besides all this, no one should really hope for a premature end to the Trump presidency. Whatever the exact circumstances, it’d be a trauma to the republic and not accepted by a significant plurality of the electorate. The wish fulfillment of Trump’s critics is better directed toward the less spectacular, yet difficult-enough task of beating him in 2020.

Weird new frontiers in media bias: BuzzFeed versus Robert Mueller? Howard J. Warner – “Those on the right see this as further evidence of “fake news,” and the left argues that this proves how fair Mueller will be.

“Given the damaging nature of these claims by BuzzFeed, one would imagine that other network reporters would be careful repeating this story. They use the caveat that “if it were true,” then this would be impeachment-worthy. But the glee in their voices was unmistakable yesterday morning and throughout the day. Now they are apoplectic because the lie was revealed.

The outcome of this error in reporting will be watched carefully, but probably no one will be punished. The result will be a stalemate that continues the animosity in Washington and threatens our republic.

Giving Pelosi a Taste of Her Own Medicine. Karl Notturno – “Au contraire, senator! Sophomoric responses seem to be the only responses that sophomores can understand. It’s sad because it seemed as though Graham was in the process of growing a spine.

“Many establishment conservatives, for some reason, hate getting their hands dirty. They hate engaging in the mudslinging that is the very hallmark of politics.

the only conservatives and Republicans the mainstream media and its surrogates are capable of respecting are either dead or emasculated.

Perhaps the only surprising fact here is that more NeverTrumpers haven’t joined the former category; excessive hand-wringing and pearl-clutching cannot be good for one’s health.

We must have learned something from years of abuse from an overly biased media and sophomoric political pundits who seem more concerned with scoring cheap political shots than actually governing the country and preserving its well-being. In fact, we obviously did learn something. We elected Donald Trump.

Abuse and cheap political shots are easy. And if one side won’t dignify them with a response, let alone a retributive attack, they are an exceedingly effective weapon. …

The only way to deter such base tactics is to use the same tactics effectively against the perpetrators. …

The incalculable schadenfreude that many downtrodden conservatives have felt over the past few years as they have watched President Trump mercilessly troll the Democrats is only amplified by the ironic fact that the president was able to do so simply by using the Democrats’ tactics more skillfully than they could.

Civility and etiquette are nice things. And they are also expensive when deployed only by one side.

Buzzfeed, Like Lawfare, Has a Role to Play in Resistance Operation. sundance – “While the media banter relentlessly about their latest resistance angle du jour; it is perhaps a more beneficial discussion to remind and outline the larger strategy at play. Honing the political skills.

“The baseline here is that everything the institutional-left does, is sequential and planned. This is what they do. This is all they do. None of the characters within the institutions of professional leftism create anything; build anything; have a life purpose for anything, other than organizing their efforts to exploit control of others via politics. This is all they know how to do.

Optics and innuendo are key elements, tools per se’, in the Alinsky narrative engineering process.

what matters is the ‘claim that needs to be investigated’. Did President Trump direct Michael Cohen to lie to congress; no, that’s silly.

All of it is a nothing-burger, but that doesn’t technically matter for the needs of the ‘resistance’; what they need is a tenuously valid innuendo trail they can exploit with Michael Cohen on February 7th, that will allow Elijah Cummings to pass that specific aspect to Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler.

See how that works?

Trump Puts Schumer and Pelosi in a Brilliant Vise Grip. Jim Davis – “Trump has created a lingering atmosphere in which Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer feel compelled to stop him at any cost. In political terms, they’re willing to die on this hill.” This is another ‘see how that works’ essay. “We didn’t hire Trump to go to church with us. We hired him to clean house. This is the best chance to get it done.

All Three Networks Ignore ‘March For Life,’ Cover Pro-Abortion ‘Women’s March’ Instead. Paul Bois – “An anti-Trump march happening tomorrow is more interesting to the networks

“According to LifeNews, despite an estimated 100,000 people being in attendance at the pro-life march along with President Trump’s address to the crowd via video, the left-wing machines could not so much as “give a passing mention to the March for Life” during the Friday morning shows.

She continued, “The fact that the March for Life happens every year makes it even more notable. Every single year for 45 years there has been a huge march protesting U.S. abortion law, despite making little headway in national policy over that time. That’s incredibly newsworthy.”

What happens when one’s voice is not heard? These folks have been incredibly patient. Just how long will that last?

Schiff for Brains Misleads Congress. Julie Kelly – This is about Bruce Ohr versus Adam Schiff. It illustrates the problem related to equality in justice and how the Left protects its interests.

“The new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee authored a memo dated January 28, 2018, ironically titled, “Correcting the Record—The Russia Investigation.” But it is Schiff who needs to correct his own record in light of new and damaging information that contradicts several claims he made in that document.

Representative Adam Schiff: about Bruce Ohr’s testimony. neo – “Adam Schiff would like nothing better than for Trump to be impeached, and if he has to lie to do it, that’s certainly an activity with which he’s both practiced and comfortable.

More on Fusion and FISA and the FBI and DOJ. neo – “The plot thickens, and it was already plenty thick

“Sorting out the details of the lies and the truths on this entire “Russia collusion” story has been practically a full-time job. One thing that has been clear for a long long time now is that the FISA application process based on the Steele dossier stank to high heaven.

But is most of America following this outrage, or caring? My answer is “no.”

And yet America has just installed a House determined to cover all of this up and to destroy Trump, which was the original idea in the first place.

Useful idiots, Kristof edition. Scott Johnson – “Lo these many years since the Russian Revolution and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the New York Times is still doing public relations for Communism.” – Yet another ‘this is how it is done’ case study.

“Professor Hirschfeld’s increased awareness of Castro’s tyranny caused her to ask a question that evidently did not occur to Kristof: “[T]o what extent is the favorable international image of the Cuban health care system maintained by the state’s practice of suppressing dissent and covertly intimidating or imprisoning would-be critics?”

Suffice it to say that Kristof seems not to have bothered himself with a call to Professor Hirschfeld before composing his monument to stupidity.

Lots of folks not bothering with due diligence, it seems.

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What’s you lookin’ at? Bouncy, bouncy

Melania Trump, first lady and role model, rises above Democratic pettiness. Tammy Bruce – “Her agenda as first lady is expansive, focusing on children and the importance of all aspects of their lives, from self-esteem to education to health care. Our nation has a first lady who is smart, beautiful and a person of faith. She is committed to her family and to this nation.”

“Mrs. Trump has suffered ignominious insults and attacks, first as candidate Donald Trump’s wife, but inexplicably even more so as the first lady. Yet, it is her reaction to the critics that sets her apart and highlights just exactly how ugly others become when jealousy and envy take root.

What we are watching is the return of “Mean Girls,” those who hounded the new girl in high school who dared to be prettier, smarter and nicer than they were.

In his first inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln expressed his belief that we could trust in the better angels of our nature. Today, we have too many examples of Democrats encouraging and appealing to the worst in people.

We can choose to reject that toxic environment and look to role models — like Melania Trump — who encourage us to stay focused and rely on our better angels to make the world a better place.

With identical tweets, Schumer and Pelosi reveal themselves as mouthpieces for the same propaganda puppet master. Thomas Lifson – “in order to appear slightly authentic, they are supposed to speak extemporaneously and make it appear that they all came up with the phrases-of-the-day spontaneously. This works for interviews with print and television journalists, but the rise of Twitter has introduced new danger of exposure.”

“Needless to say, the mainstream media takes no interest at all in the process by which Democrats achieve what is euphemistically called “message discipline.” The notion that there is a command center that instructs Democrat office holders what to say each day is certainly an important subject, for the identities of those staffing the command center determines a large portion of our national political dialogue. Who pays these people, whoever they are? Who selects them to put words in the mouths and twitter accounts of people that supposedly represent their constituents?

Former Walmart CEO Bill Simon Discusses Strong Holiday Sales and What It Means for Economy. sundance – “The Wall Street business-pundits are pre-programmed, at an institutional dna level, to jump into the “tariffs are bad” talking points. Mr. Simon aptly dispatches them with a dose of reality from the Wal-Mart/Main Street perspective. [It’s kinda funny]

Mueller Investigation Stirring Up More Trouble Than It’s Finding. Victor Davis Hanson – “After 19 months, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has charged a number of targets with almost every conceivable sin — except collusion with Russia to throw an election.” … “Add it all up, and we have reached the point where the Mueller team may be constructing more crimes than it is finding.”

Ace of Spades has the headlines: Democrats Created Fake “Russian Bots” to Help Doug Jones Win the Alabama Special Election Against Roy Moore citing an NYT story that ties in with regrets expressed by one of the funders of the effort. – Stock Market Gains Over 1000 Points In Biggest Single-Day Gain in History recovering a bit from some pre-Christmas losses (citing CNBC). There’s a lot of bouncy-bouncy that says reason and clear thinking is suffering. – Venezuela Oil Production At Virtual Halt as Socialist Plan to Seize The Industry Results In Collapse. Unexpectedly! The Left seem the think it is the US being driven to financial ruin, not the socialist paradise. Facts on the ground say otherwise. – Washington Post More or Less Confirms That Jamal Khashoggi Was a Paid Qatari Intelligence/Propaganda Asset. He’s another hero of the Left, though, serving as a conduit by which to attack Trump.

Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Knights of Columbus? Paul Mirengoff – “Hirono and Harris don’t want to ban all Catholics; just the ones who take the Church’s teachings seriously. They subscribe to the left’s view that it’s okay (for now at least) to be a Catholic, as long as you don’t subscribe to any Church doctrine that’s inconsistent with modern left-liberalism. That’s toleration, lefty style.”

“Hirono and Harris are not the only Senate bigots. Cortes recalls that last year, during confirmation hearings, Sen. Dianne Feinstein noted the devotion of Judge Amy Coney Barrett and her family to the Catholic Church and admonished that “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern.” Sen. Dick Durbin was similarly concerned.

The real concern for anyone who believes in freedom and the Constitution is the trend within the Democratic Party to exclude faith from the public square and people of faith from positions of power.

The plan was to steal tools. Then customers drew their guns. By Zachariah Bryan – “Marysville police are asking for the people who shot at the getaway car to come forward.”

“That’s what two men, 22 and 23, reportedly had in mind when they showed up to the Coastal Farm & Ranch store in Marysville on Saturday afternoon, according to a police report. They allegedly took four nail guns, each worth over $400, walked out of the store and got into a Honda Civic.

They didn’t expect to be surrounded by about six customers with guns raised.

Marysville police found the theft suspects’ car unoccupied about three blocks away, with two flat tires and the tools inside. Both men were apprehended after a search.

The cops seem more interested in going after the guys with guns for illegal shooting than after the thieves the tried to stop, who ran over one of them.

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Will we find what has been lost?

On Thanksgiving, I’m Thankful For Trump. Bruce Bawer – “Finally, a president who isn’t a turkey.”

“I’ve been of voting age in eleven presidential elections. I voted in most but not all of them. Usually both choices were uninspiring. Whom to pick, a dimbulb D.C. drudge (Ford) or a smarmy phony (Carter)? A charmless technocrat (Dukakis) or an establishment empty suit (Bush senior)? In 1992 I bought Slick Willie’s act; the disillusion set in almost immediately after his inauguration. Bush junior and Obama were the two worst presidents since Wilson, but the men who ran against them weren’t world-beaters either. Even the one great president of my lifetime prior to 2016, Ronald Reagan, fell way short of carrying out the sweeping small-government reforms he’d pledged.

Past experience, of course, had taught me not to put too much stock in anything a politician says. But Trump was no politician. He wasn’t the front man for a bunch of rich guys or the mouthpiece for a staff full of policy wonks. He wasn’t scripted. He wasn’t focus-grouped. He wasn’t a mannequin projecting sham humility and offering up fake compliments to the hoi polloi. Yes, Obama had been a rousing orator, but he’d always been reading spiels written for him by a speechwriter. Trump was connecting with ordinary Americans in long, tireless, and patently sincere stream-of-consciousness monologues some of which were, frankly, tours de force. He was palpably having fun with it and actually enjoying the human contact.

This guy was talking in real language to real people about the things that really mattered to them and that he himself had been thinking seriously about for decades.

The answer: wow. So far, the results have exceeded all of my expectations. The border wall aside, Donald J. Trump has actually kept his promises, and then some. He’s done one good, gutsy thing after another.

U.K. Media: British Intelligence Heads Worried President Trump Will Discover Their Involvement in “Spygate”. Sundance – “An article published originally in the U.K. Telegraph, and republished via Yahoo News outlines growing fear within the U.K. government and British intelligence officers surrounding President Trump discovering how far they were involved within “Spygate”.

“The facts are not uncommon to anyone who has done research into the events of 2015 and 2016; however, the interesting aspect surrounds the current level of anxiety which indicates something is soon to become very public.

The central concern of the British officials surrounds President Trump declassifying evidence that will outline a coordinated effort by a weaponized U.S. intelligence apparatus to use their foreign counterparts for two aspects

Out: Russia. In: Saudi Arabia. Thomas Lifson – “The progressive narrative of President Trump as evil never changes, but the argument keeps changing.”

“Since Trump must be a pawn of nefarious foreigners (except when he is a dangerous nationalist, heedless of our obligations to other nations), we now have hysterical accusations that he is instead a pawn of Saudi Arabia, because he insists on maintaining the strategic relationship with that Arab absolute monarchy.

Yesterday, Democrat Representative Tulsi Gabbard, using vulgar language, accused the POTUS of being a Saudi agent, which would be treasonous

Barack Melts Down. John Hinderaker – “This is the central conceit of liberalism: we know how to solve the world’s problems–socialism!–but those pesky conservatives just won’t go along and make it unanimous.”

“The truth is the opposite: policy debates rage across a broad range of issues, and conservatives usually win them.

But, like a dead frog whose legs continue to kick, clueless liberals like Barack Obama parrot the pro-government line, not because it makes any scientific sense, but because it supports their statist desires.

Which brings us to the rest of Obama’s riff: Americans are “confused, blind, shrouded with hate, anger, racism, mommy issues.” This is more or less insane

We have entered a new era in American politics, and, make no mistake, it is the Democrats who have ushered in the juvenile, no-holds-barred epoch in which we live. Barack Obama should be condemned for the part he plays in debasing American political discourse.

Or consider Juan Williams on The Five in a dialog about civility over dinner. His answer was to dig out the trivia he uses to support Trump hatred as conversation topics where all could agree. It is amazing what he puts on the pedestals in his mind … but also rather telling. Instapundit on this: Leftists’ Fear/Hatred Of Their Families, as exemplified by leftist media all over explains a lot about their politics. Another insight is Stop pretending you don’t love Thanksgiving. Bridget Phetasy – “You get to tell your whole family that they’re fascists.” Mr. Williams, are you listening and can you tell satire directed at you when it is in your face?

“Obama judges”? Pretty much. Paul Mirengoff – “I like and respect Chief Justice Roberts, but I disagree with him.” This is the polite disagreement. For something more extensive and stronger, see Fischer’s comments following this citation. Keep in mind that the problem with a judicial oligarchy was a significant Trump campaign issue. The Chief Justice stepped in it …

“The questions of whether it matters who appointed a federal judge and whether such judges view litigants, including President Trump, with equal regard in any meaningful sense are empirical ones. If one can predict with a high degree of accuracy how a judge will rule in a highly controversial case, or in a case challenging a Trump edict the left doesn’t like, just by knowing which president appointed that judge, then Roberts’ defense of the federal judiciary fails.

I practiced law without appearing more than a handful of times before Obama-appointed judges. But even in the pre-Obama era, I could predict with a high degree of accuracy the way federal appellate court judges would vote in cases involving controversial, politicized subject matter

Chief Justice Roberts is right that we have an independent judiciary in the sense that no one can tell judges how to rule. He is also right that we should be thankful for this.

But we also have a judiciary in which federal judges very often decide controversial cases based on policy preferences and partisan considerations. No president has told them how to vote, but presidents have selected them based on which ideological side they are likely to uphold, and, especially in the case of Democratic presidents, the judges rarely disappoint.

Of Course We Have Obama Judges and Trump Judges, Clinton Judges and Bush Judges. Dov Fischer – “As the Left makes a mockery of the lower Federal Courts that we need to honor.”

“Impartial justice is central to life’s core values. The very notion is engraved into our Constitution, and our Founding Fathers even took steps to preserve judicial impartiality by guaranteeing federal judges lifetime tenure so that they never would fear personal ramifications of issuing unpopular decisions they believe justice demands.

One easily can read between the lines of a frustrated and perplexed Chief Justice John Roberts when he now desperately claims, with patent nonsense and perhaps even a dry sense of humor, that “we do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.” Of course we do! The ACLU knows that we do. Roberts knows that we do. Everyone knows that. The radical “Progressive” cabal of Democrats and their Left Media stooges know it. Heck, the Obama and Clinton judges know it. Why did The Resistance go to war trying to destroy Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh? Why does the ACLU always run to the Ninth Circuit, up and down the West Coast, instead of seeking justice from a conservative appellate circuit in the Deep South? … But Roberts knows his denial is stuff and nonsense, and that it sounds ridiculous — even borderline delusional — to deny that today’s federal judiciary is chock-full of Obama judges and Clinton judges on a mission to stop President Trump’s agenda.

The system makes a mockery of the courts, as Chief Justice Roberts now desperately realizes. It creates a cynicism towards the rule of law by manipulating and leveraging judges into pawns of Democrat “Progressives.” Even if the liberal judges are trying to rule impartially, the context behind their very selections undermines their authority. People see that the ACLU and its ilk repeatedly run to Democrat-appointed judges under the umbrella of the Ninth and get the results they want. It creates a terrible aura of cynicism that “the fix is in” and that politics is ruling, not blind justice.

In so many ways, President Trump has reversed so much of Obama’s eight years, leaving so much as if Obama never were there. We are out of the nonsensical Paris Climate travesty, out of the Iran Deal, out of the bad NAFTA. Regulations have been reversed in grand style. The individual mandate is gone. Tax policy changed. The IRS is honest and no longer weaponized against political opponents. The Left media are exposed. The unemployed have returned to work. Food stamps no longer are a religious sacrament. College students falsely accused of rape now may defend themselves. There will be control of the southern border. Cuba and Venezuela no longer are our best two friends in the world, and Israel no longer is our worst pain. ISIS no longer rules half of Syria, and Putin has stopped expanding into his neighboring countries. NATO is paying some bills. For two years we have been spared Trayvon Martin dramas and the scene of cities burning like Ferguson (Michael Brown, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” — never happened and no indictments) and Baltimore (Freddy Gray, all accused officers acquitted). We have closed down the PLO office in Washington, no longer are supporting terrorism by funding the UNRWA in Gaza, walked out of the terrorist-enriched UN Human Rights Council, moved America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem, and voted against the annual UN resolution against Israel in the Golan Heights. White House visitor invitations are extended to patriots, not to people who sing lyrics extolling cop-killing, and overpaid fools who are given millions of dollars to throw or run with a ball are denounced when they disrespect our flag and national anthem.

It increasingly falls on the President to focus on making the lower and mid-level federal courts every bit as Constitutionally faithful as he has worked to make the Supreme Court. The way he marks the federal bench these next two years will play a major role in bench-marking his place in history. And if he succeeds, he might even improve Chief Justice Roberts’s place in history by creating a more balanced court that places the law and objective fidelity to the Constitution above Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

Instapundit – “If judges are as neutral and apolitical as Roberts pretends, then why so much sturm und drang over judicial appointments?”

“Two thoughts. First, in talking about “Obama judges,” Trump was merely echoing the common media trope that identifies judges in controversial cases based on who appointed them. …

Second, Roberts is in a particularly poor place to talk about apolitical judging after his transparent capitulation to the Obama Administration’s campaign of media bullying during the pendency of the ObamaCare case. He reversed his position in response to political pressure from an administration that was, at the time, a party to the case. He has no high horse to sit on.

UPDATE: Chuck Grassley to Chief Justice John Roberts: You Rebuked Trump — but Sat Silent Through Obama’s Abuse. The increased feistiness of people like Grassley and Orrin Hatch post-Kavanaugh has been an amazing thing to behold.

Living on the Edge. James B. Meigs – “Just as coastal communities must learn to live with hurricanes, communities that edge up against forests are going to have to learn to live with fire.” On Slate of all places, but there is the expected dig at Trump where the wildfire is dismissed as a factor so Trump’s comments about management can, obviously, be dissed. Like the note about Williams above, supporting hatred can require a lot of pickin’ and choosin’ and other denial of reality. But let’s look for the part of the commentary that does tell about what actually happened and how it could be addressed.

“if you look closely at photos and video of the aftermath, you’ll notice something surprising. The buildings are gone, but most of the trees are still standing—many with their leaves or needles intact.

Within Paradise itself, the main fuel feeding the fire wasn’t trees, nor the underbrush Trump suggested should have been raked up. It was buildings. The forest fire became an infrastructure fire. … The town of Paradise didn’t just experience a fast-moving wildfire, its own layout, building designs, and city management turned that fire into something even scarier.

like almost every disaster that kills large numbers of people and damages communities, the causes of the tragedy in Paradise are more complex than it first appears.

A number of environmental, political, and economic trends converged in Butte County in just a few hours on Nov. 8 to spark this fire. But the tragedy was the result of many longer-term decisions, decades in the making.

So, California’s fire country faces a double-barreled threat: More lives and infrastructure lie in the path of potential fires than ever before. And the fires are getting bigger. That combination explains why 6 out of the 10 most destructive fires in California history have occurred in the past three years.

The question is how to provide the right incentives for people so that we limit the chances of this happening again. Looking ahead, “We need to ensure that prospective homeowners can make informed decisions about the risks they face in the WUI,” Moritz, Tague, and Anderson say.

What else can be done? Building and zoning codes can be changed to make towns less fire prone. Homes that are built or retrofitted with fireproof materials—and landscaped to keep shrubbery away from structures—can usually survive typical wildfires. In new developments, homes can be clustered and surrounded by fire-resistant buffer zones, such as orchards. And, no matter how well designed, communities in fire zones need realistic evacuation plans and better emergency communications.

If global warming models hold true, fire seasons are going to be hotter and last longer. Just as people in coastal areas need to adapt to hurricanes, residents of fire country need to learn to live with fire.

Can’t forget “global warming” despite no evidence it exists much less aggravates disasters. It is worth noting the comparison to coastal areas where the dilemma has always existed about whether the build disposable structures or bunkers as reliance on insurance and government for recovery has about run its course. A great attraction for being a ‘beach bum’ or forest camper is a pleasant environment with a low cost of living – until the next hurricane or forest fire. Easy living: cheap, avoid maintenance and preparedness costs, take it as it comes …

California is struggling with the other source of compensation, the big pockets power company. It is the electrical grid bouncing in the wind that sparked some of these fires and is an easy target for culpability. Since the state is so gung-ho on renewable energy and solar panels, perhaps they should just make any electric power infrastructure crossing these forests illegal?

To understand the fire, Neo cites The Camp fire burned homes but left trees standing. The science behind the fire’s path. Thomas Curwen and Joseph Serna – “Gray smoke meant vegetation. Black smoke meant homes, possibly entire city blocks. The Camp fire was no longer just a wildland fire.”

“It was an urban conflagration,” Pangburn said. “It was structure-to-structure-to-structure ignition that carried the fire through this community.” … what Pangburn realized is that the Camp fire had changed its character upon entering the town — and in that revelation lay the hope for preventing tragedies such as this from happening again.

Most telling were the trees. Most of the pines that sheltered this community still had their canopies intact. The needles, yellowed from the intense heat, were not burned — evidence that the winds that morning had pushed the fire along so fast it never had a chance to rise into the trees. But as a surface fire, it lit up the homes that lay in its path.

Drawing lessons from tragedy is never easy, especially when those lessons have been known for years.

“Our problem is a society that is unintentionally, but actively, ignoring opportunities because of the cultural perception of wildfire,” said Jack Cohen, who is retired from the U.S. Forest Service where he worked for 40 years as a fire research scientist.

That perception, he argues, is based on myth and fear and complicated by an ongoing narrative that attributes conflagrations like the Camp fire to such factors as climate change, overgrown forests and urban encroachment into rural areas.

The first step, Cohen said, is to address the misinformation about wildland fires.

“When we look at the big flames but not the firebrands, we miss the principal igniter and pay attention to the show,” Cohen said.

Billions of these embers fly into neighborhoods, landing onto flammable roofs, into vegetation around the structure and rain gutters choked with leaves and needles.

We don’t have to live in ammo bunkers, Cohen said, and we don’t have to entirely eliminate fire from within the perimeter, just ensure that fires that occur within 100 feet don’t burn long enough or intensely enough to ignite other objects.

If Paradise and the other communities destroyed by the Camp fire are to be rebuilt, then the conversation must address the role that neighbors play collectively in protecting themselves and their environment.

Keys to Democratic success. Neo – “I continue to be surprised at how many people seem to think the direction in which the Democratic Party is going now is just peachy keen.”

“The first reason states the positives of what the Democrats offer: they promise “free” stuff to people who really do need it or who feel they need it. …

The second reason states the negatives of what Democrats say Republicans offer: racism and bigotry. The left has successfully managed to brand the right, even the moderate right—in fact, any Republican …

The actual consequences of a given policy in the real world, and the fact that most people in both parties want the common good and just have different ideas about methods to achieve it, has gotten lost.

Not a Hollywood Horror Story: Actor Loves Making Hallmark Movies. Jacob Comello – “Polhala admits that he was reluctant at first to do any work for Hallmark, whose channels have traditionally been the haunt of senior citizens and the families of their grandchildren.

“Hollywood has become synonymous with cynicism, entitlement, hypocrisy and group think. Its products and its people seem to be in a race to the bottom.
… 
Polhala mentions that his Hallmark films are by far the ones that get him the most notoriety nowadays, and don’t sacrifice family-friendliness to get him there. He relates that “… I am leaning into Hallmark because it’s fun to sit with my 7-year-old and show him what I do for a living … I’m leaning in because my 91-year-old Nana finally thinks I’ve made it in Hollywood because I’m on Hallmark.”

Polaha concludes with “… if you haven’t indulged yet, perhaps this is your year to go where the love is.” Sage advice.

So much has become lost. Perhaps some are re-discovering to find it anew.

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High snobbery and criminal intent

Criminal Intent.” sundance – “Intent”, not consequence, is now the larger shield being applied toward excusing the action of people within institutions of government and society.

“It was a “mistake”…. he/she/it made “a poor decision” etc. A pattern of obfuscation downplaying consequence and allowing those decision-makers charged with delivering accountability to withdraw or apply the rules of law based on their individual overlay of ‘intent’.

That shift is factually visible everywhere now.

Following along the ideological lines of: “all actions are justified”, do you see how the shift to ‘intent’ is a serious issue within a corrupt system?

Within that system, and against that purposeful filter and determination, plausible deniability becomes the construct for intentional criminal engagement.

Fight the Denigration of American History. Michael Finch – “The recent skirmishes started with the campaign to remove Confederate statues, but it surely won’t end there.”

“As our betters in America’s universities want us to know, the whole of American history is suspect. In our media, in the popular culture, and in our schools, we’re subject to an unending drumbeat of how America was founded to promote imperialism, colonialism, racism, sexism, and genocide—unimpeachable facts, we’re told, for which all Americans must forever share the burden of collective guilt and shame.

For America to atone for her sins, her history must be denounced and then purged.

One thing we should have learned is that the Left never stops; there is no end to their relentless pursuit of destructive hate. There is no room for reasonable adjudication of their claims.

The same creative gift of God that has allowed us to build and dream and create such beauty has often conflicted with our ability to do great evil. It is called the human condition. Only through the grace of God does our ability to do great good outpace our ability do evil and allow us to be forgiven for our sins. And nowhere else, at no other time in human history, have these conditions taken place, has our better nature and our creative facility triumphed, such as it has in the hundreds of years of America history and the creation of this blessed nation.

‘Great Things Are Taking Place Whether The Media Tells Us Or Not’: Christian Musicians Hold Spontaneous WH Worship Session. Patrick Goodenough – “A “faith briefing” at the White House this week saw Christian music artists hold an impromptu worship session, singing songs of praise near the Oval Office.” The biggest lie is a truth not told. Here’s one.

“The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives was established by President George W. Bush a week after taking office in January 2001, as a way to enhance the capacity of faith-based and community groups to provide federally-funded social services, by removing legal and institutional barriers preventing them from doing so.

President Obama renamed the initiative the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and also established an advisory council.

President Trump in an executive order last May renamed it the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, to empower faith-based organizations and “promote religious freedom.”

Obvious Double Standard On Recusals Proves Russia Probe Is About Getting Trump. Adam Mill – “Don’t bother reading the underlying rules on conflict of interest, because there’s only one test that matters: Would the recusal help get Trump?” Back in Watergate days, the meme was that it wasn’t the crime, it was the cover-up. That has resurfaced at times today by folks presuming it is all about the President. This time it isn’t. Mill describes how and why.

Obama Judges Can’t Save Dem Losers. David Catron – “the apparent losers haven’t benefited from arbitrary changes these partisan jurists made in the laws by which election officials are legally bound.”

Hmmm: Florida Dems plotted use of altered forms statewide; Update: Judge calls Florida “laughingstock of the world”. Ed Morrissey – “Lesson from the Naples Daily News: When Florida Democrats plot to fudge election law, they go big or go home.”

“The plan to use altered official forms to flood counties with improper “cure affidavits” went up higher and farther than first reported by Politico yesterday. Florida Democratic Party deputy field director Jennifer Kim sent the e-mails statewide, and it’s now unclear how many more altered forms might be outstanding. The e-mails went out the day after the election — two days after the actual deadline for “cure affidavits”

In one sense, this has been mooted anyway. A federal judge extended the actual deadline this morning for “cure affidavits” until Saturday, November 10th at 5 pm ET. It might well be that Kim and the FDP figured they could win in court on this point, and with the gaps so tight on Election Night, it would have made sense to get their voters to keep sending in the affidavits.

The biggest problem in this for the FDP is the altered forms. They could have just sent a cover letter instructing voters to ignore the deadline on the proper form, arguing that they would fight in court to get it extended. Instead, they altered an official election form on their own, and apparently did so in an organized manner.

High snobbery from the Washington Post. Paul Mirengoff – “The Post’s article is phony. But its snobbery, though selective, is genuine.”

Why the data debate must separate authorized versus unauthorized access. Sam Taussig – “The importance of upholding the customers’ absolute right to authorize data access, while simultaneously safeguarding against unauthorized misuse are equally critical.” There is nuance and that is food for FUD mongers.

GOP failed to fight Dem’s health-care scare tactics in midterms. Paul Roderick Gregory – “HR676 could become law if American voters pay no attention to its real contents and fall under the spell of the promise that everything will be free.” FUD Mongering has consequences.

In Democratic circles, anti-Semitism is becoming normal. Roger Kimball – “I am of two minds about where our country’s new flirtation with socialism is heading.”

“Perhaps it is a predictable by-product of affluence, a toxic gas emitted by the mighty engine of the free market. Much of the rhetoric and histrionics might be put down to the enforced childishness wrought the breakdown of our educational institutions.

As people scramble to explain the sudden resurgence of socialism not only on America’s college campuses but also in the corridors of political power, it is worth noting the concomitant resurgence of anti-Semitism in those redoubts. The coincidence is not, as the Marxists like to say, an accident. The truth is that unfettered socialism, though based primarily on a demand for the abolition of private property, always comes riding on a current of anti-Semitism. Picking apart the conceptual reasons for this link is a complex business that I will leave aside here. But it is worth noting how impeccable a provenance the union enjoys.

The efflorescence of anti-Semitism is always a bad sign in a culture, not least because it harbingers a spirit of thuggish intolerance and breakdown of faith in society’s mediating civil institutions.

Donald Trump’s gospel of ‘principled realism,’ his gentle and patriotic version of broad-church, America-first nationalism, offers a healing alternative. The angry Left, which has yet to accept the results of the 2016 election, refuse to take their seats at the table he has set for them. The increasingly violent confrontations with journalists, politicians, and talk show hosts is one troubling sign of that recalcitrance. The normalization of anti-Semitism is another.

It is only the wealthy that can afford to destroy what they have.

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Yet more on using the dead for politics; Trump on the ground

Burying the Dead With Bile-Filled Histrionics by Roger Kimball – “I suppose the exploitation of funerals for grubby political ends is nothing new. Mark Antony did it with notable success when he eulogized Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.”

“But there was something especially stomach-churning about the injection of partisan animus into the obsequies of Aretha Franklin and John McCain.

Both were reminders—as if we needed any—of how these jangled, hyperpartisan times have the capacity to infect even the most solemn ceremonies of life with bile-filled histrionics, our latter-day version of the theater of the absurd.

But let us return to Bill Kristol’s invocation of “what is admirable,” that call-of-the-wild to be “bigger” and “better” that Barack Obama claims to have discerned in John McCain’s example.

What strikes me as more noteworthy, however, is the incontinent fury with which the president’s rhetoric has been met. This is where that cacophonous echo-chamber I mentioned makes its debut. One of the many ironies attending the operation of the Trump Administration is the extent to which his opponents, in their loud and adamantine opposition to the president, are guilty of the very things of which they accuse him. I know it seems odd to say, but their behavior has had the effect of making Donald Trump appear as a calming, a moderating force. Who would have thought it possible?

How much backlash will there be to the 8 days of McCainapalooza? By Thomas Lifson – “a very human response of honoring the dead has been perverted by the DC establishment and all the news networks

Reports: Trump allies furious about shots taken at him during McCain’s funeral, want him to respond by Allahpundit – “Every now and then we get a jolting reminder that Trump is actually less impulsive and vindictive than some of the people around him.”

Trump on the Ground by Victor Davis Hanson – “California’s calcified strategy, after all, is that global lucre pouring into coastal high-tech and finance will more than balance out the economic damage wrought by state government.”

“Throughout California’s coastal and mountain forests there are waves of dead trees unharvested after a devastating drought. There are large fields of recoverable gas and oil in lots of places that are not being drilled, as well as valuable ores and metals not being mined, and unmatched farmland deprived of its long ago contracted water rights. The idea of a renaissance in the vast rich interior of the state seems implausible—especially when state government is more interested in banning plastic straws and mandating gender-neutral restrooms than in building dams or roads.

Yet signs for help wanted along highways are now ubiquitous—truckers, welders, fabricators, assemblers. Agriculture worries not just in perennial fashion about the lack of farm harvesters, even at wages of $10.50 to $14 dollars an hour. Now they’re short of forklift drivers, packing house workers, and mechanics.

New housing construction is growing after roughly a decade’s hiatus, at least to the degree carpenters, electricians, and plumbers can be found. Upward mobility is evident. At the local Walmart, the checkers often tell me they’re leaving despite raises—for better paying jobs.

The media’s hatred of Trump is not necessarily determinative, but it is a force multiplier of the 24/7 unhinged narrative of the universities, popular culture, and Hollywood. Their shared goal is to make saying that one supports the Trump agenda so socially unpalatable, so culturally Neanderthal, that no sane person wishes to confess his delight with a new economy, foreign policy, and approach to the administrative state.

Abroad, for all the hatred of Donald Trump, there is a quiet, though usually repressed, recognition that the United States is doing what it long should have been doing—leading the world to an economic recovery, despite Trump’s trash-talking tariffs, and going to the mat with China.

For all the op-eds condemning a polarizing Trump who has wrecked American foreign policy, there are also more silent concessions among many analysts that the team of Mike Pompeo, Jim Mattis, John Bolton, and Nikki Haley is impressive.

Europe’s Quislings Unmasked by Jed Babbin – “Europe’s resentment of its longtime defense provider leads it to appease Iran in the most cynical, shameless manner.”

“One of President Trump’s overlooked achievements is the unmasking of our false allies in Europe. The governing elite of Europe — the same people who lead the most powerful members of both the European Union and NATO — so intensely and personally dislike Trump they no longer pretend to respect his pro-American policies. Their rebellion against their obligations toward the Atlantic Alliance has reached a dangerous level.

Apaches stave off wildfires with timber industry, active forest management By Valerie Richardson

“One reason for the difference: The Apaches have greater control over their forests. More than 200,000 acres of the Apache-Sitgreaves is designated wilderness, tightly packed woods that cannot be thinned, burned or otherwise managed by law except in emergencies.

The rest of the national forest can be treated subject to approval under the National Environmental Policy Act, but projects are frequently held up by litigation or appeals. Although tribal forest projects also must receive National Environmental Policy Act clearance, they don’t receive the same scrutiny from the public, which in the tribe’s case consists of fellow Apache.

All this comes as music to the ears of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has made it his mission to fight destructive wildfires with more aggressive forest management, locking horns with environmental groups fighting his agenda by blaming the blazes on global warming.

The Apache would argue that the positions aren’t mutually exclusive.

The Scandal Of Left-Wing Journalists Covering A Left-Wing Pope By John Hinderaker – “what has bedeviled the American church is not pedophilia, a rare and plainly aberrant condition, but rather homosexuality

“The broader context of the scandal is that the American Catholic church welcomed an influx of homosexuals into the priesthood several decades ago. These homosexual priests were the source of the scandals that have devastated the Catholic church in America. It appears that they remain a major power within the church hierarchy, that they supported Francis in his ascension to the papacy, and that he continues to ally himself with them.

For several decades, international news media have enthusiastically promoted (while usually misrepresenting) the story of homosexual abuse among the Catholic priesthood. And yet, now that the scandal has been dropped at the door of the Pope (!) by an archbishop speaking of his own experience, the press has fallen silent. Why?

It seems pretty clear that liberal reporters and editors view Pope Francis as an ally, maybe one who could decisively neutralize their long-time adversary, the Catholic church. Hence they are protecting him against what would, with a conservative pope, be a scandal of historic proportions.

Liberal journalists cover a liberal pope. We live in an era that is corrupt in many ways, but I think the corruption of the press is the worst corruption of all.

Inside out: Sunday reflection by Ed Morrissey – “This morning’s Gospel reading is Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23

“Some of the impurities Christ decries in today’s Gospel have not just been unleashed by modern society but celebrated by it — unchastity, licentiousness, greed, envy, deceit, and so on. Many forms of these are handsomely rewarded within our culture rather than rebuked or punished. That sets up incentives not just to sin more but to rationalize it away as “natural,” “healthy,” a matter of “perspective,” and to deny the existence of truth in favor of worshiping the emotions of the moment. That’s what happened to the employees of that customer when theft became normalized, and it’s what happens to us when sin becomes normalized.

God gave us the Law of the Ten Commandments to understand His virtue and to lead lives of virtue ourselves. He wrote those laws on our hearts at our creation, but mere compliance isn’t the point. Jesus tells us that we have to allow the law to grow in our hearts — by which is meant the intersection of the will and the intellect, where decisions are made — in order to embrace its purity and His salvation. As James writes in our second reading today, “Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. … [K]eep oneself unstained by the world.”

Donald Trump – Holy Ground by Mike Evans – “I attended and spoke briefly at that dinner, but when I saw the media reports about the evening, I could not believe what I was reading.”

“As a journalist for more than 40 years, I can only describe what I read as fake news.

Why do we support Donald Trump? Because America was on the Sodom road. We all saw the handwriting of God’s judgment coming like a freight train on America, but God chose the most unlikely person to make America great again, Donald Trump. What a shock to have a president tell us the truth and refuse to play the political game.

Yes, Donald Trump, like all of us, is a sinner, but we have no doubt that he has come to the Savior. And when Donald Trump says, “Merry Christmas,” it is because of his personal faith.

No president in America has allowed a group of evangelicals to pray over them in the Oval Office. I was there when it happened twice. It was Holy Ground! No president has given an Evangelical group a private tour of the residence as he gave us. It seems previous presidents have used us when they needed our vote; Donald Trump does the opposite, he embraces us as family. We are strong leaders with a Biblical view and we are free to speak truth to power.

A recent dissatisfied Weinberg’s talk on QM by Luboš Motl – It’s a rant about a distinguished physicist whose lecture on quantum mechanics fell short.

“I am afraid that we’re entering a dark age and when it’s over, perhaps in the 22nd century, the future historians will analyze what will have gone wrong in the early 21st century and whether it was possible to stop the collapse of the mankind’s discourse into a bunch of medieval superstitions. They will know that the evolution was linked to the post-truth era, endlessly softening education and Academia, and politically correct taboos. Weinberg could have stopped and was expected but actually helped the mankind to sink deeper into this profoundly irrational antiscientific bigotry.

profoundly irrational? Too much.

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