Today: The Defeat of ISIS, The Dutch beat the English at Dungeness, 1st Notice of the Holocaust, Royals behaving badly, Christmas Music, . . .
AND MORE [Read more…]
Today: The Defeat of ISIS, The Dutch beat the English at Dungeness, 1st Notice of the Holocaust, Royals behaving badly, Christmas Music, . . .
AND MORE [Read more…]
A look at some of the history and holidays on December 8
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is held on this day to celebrate the belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary — i.e., that from the moment of her birth, Mary, the chosen of God to bear Jesus, was herself born without sin. “The feast was first solemnized as a Holy Day of Obligation [in] . . . 1708 under the Papal Bull Commissi Nobis Divinitus by Pope Clement XI and is often celebrated with Mass, parades, fireworks, processions, ethnic foods, and cultural festivities in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is generally considered a Family Day, especially in many majority Catholic countries.”
A look at some of the history and holidays on December 6
Feast of St Nicholas – Yes, Virginia, there is a St. Nickolaus . . . and his feast day is today. The Santa Claus we associate with Christmas is a melding of the legends of St. Nickolaus and Odin as filtered through the Dutch. The actual St. Nickolaus was a 4th century Bishop of Myra famous for his gift giving:
After his parents died, Nicholas is said to have distributed their wealth to the poor. In his most famous exploit, which is first attested in Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas, Nicholas heard of a devout man who once had been wealthy, but had lost all his money due to the “plotting and envy of Satan.” The man had three daughters, but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment, be forced to become prostitutes. Hearing of the girls’ plight, Nicholas decided to help them, but, being too modest to help the family in public (or to save them the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to the house under the cover of night and threw a purse filled with gold coins through the window opening into the house. He did the same thing the next two nights, giving the man a total of three bags of gold, one for each of his three daughters.
According to Michael the Archimandrite’s version, on the third night, the father of the three girls stayed up and caught Saint Nicholas in the act of the charity. The father fell on his knees, thanking him. Nicholas ordered him not to tell anyone about the gift. The scene of Nicholas’s secret gift-giving is one of the most popular scenes in Christian devotional art, appearing in icons and frescoes from across Europe. Although depictions vary depending on time and place, Nicholas is often shown wearing a cowl while the daughters are typically shown in bed, dressed in their nightclothes. . . .
The Feast Day of St. Nicholas is celebrated widely throughout all of Europe as a St. Nickolaus Day celebration that begins with a worship service. Then there are the giving of gifts, parades and other local traditions. [Read more…]
A look at some of the history, observances & holidays on November 24
The Feast of Flora and Maria, two women of ninth-century Cordoba who were executed by Muslim authorities for their Christian faith. Flora, whose father was Muslim, was thus considered Muslim by Sharia law. She was charged with apostasy when she refused to give up her Christian faith and “return” to Islam. Maria was charged with blasphemy when she denounced Islam and embraced Christianity. Both women were beaten, threatened with being forced into prostitution, then ultimately executed by Muslim authorities. Though it may seem a long time has passed since ninth century Cordoba, the reality is that charges of apostasy and blasphemy are regularly used in the Muslim world through this day to justify executions and other punishments, to keep Muslims in line, to prevent dissent from orthodoxy, and to punish non-Muslims who criticize Islam.
1832 – South Carolina causes the Nullification Crisis.
Do states have a right to nullify those federal laws they do not like? The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution’s Article VI would seem to answer that argument when it states, that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” But that did not stop South Carolina from claiming that, under the doctrine of “state’s rights,” state legislatures could nullify within their borders any federal law they deemed unconstitutional.
This “states rights” issue did not first arise in context of slavery. Rather, it came about because of a general economic downturn for the nation in the 1820’s, coupled with tariffs the federal government voted to impose on European manufactured goods in order to protect domestic manufacturing. The tariffs inured to the benefit of the Northern States, with their manufacturing based economies, and fell most heavily upon the Southern States that had agrarian economies and who were the greatest importers of European manufactured goods.
This became a defining issue in South Carolina politics of the 1820’s. South Carolina finally tossed down the gauntlet on the issue and passed, on this date, the Ordinance of Nullification, declaring the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void within the borders of the state. President Andrew Jackson, whose sympathies on the issue of the unfairness of the tariffs lay with the South, none-the-less responded with a Proclamation to the People of South Carolina, setting forth the legal and practical arguments against the Ordinance, arguments that Jackson summarized thusly:
I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which It was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.
The battle lines were clearly drawn. South Carolina prepared for war. Congress of 1833 passed the Force Bill, authorizing President Jackson to use military action against South Carolina in order to enforce compliance with federal law. But then both sides backed away from the Rubicon. Congress passed a Compromise Tariff of 1833 that was acceptable to the politicians of South Carolina, and South Carolina’s legislature voided its Ordinance.
That ended the nullification crisis as to tariffs, but the nullification issue would come back to the fore with a vengeance in the 1850’s over issues directly related to slavery. Then there would be no backing away from the Rubicon.
The Democrats of the 1830’s lacked the subtlety of modern progressives. State legislatures nullifying a federal law is and always will be a bridge too far. But if you go through ideologically compromised progressive judges, they can effectively nullify any federal law they choose. We’ve seen it often enough — lawfare used against the Trump administration with nationwide injunctions set by district courts, sometimes in cases where they do not even cite to controlling law — that it almost seems the normal. But it is not. Indeed, to quote Jackson, it is “inconsistent with every principle on which” the Constitution is “founded.”
Possibly my biggest illustrated edition ever, complete with impeachment, Russia investigations, climate change, stupid leftists, beauty, and so much more.
It’s almost laughable to see the full lies and half-truths the New York Times spins to protect Democrats from the Justice Dept’s escalated Russia probe.
Because it’s ostensibly a newspaper, the New York Times felt obligated to report on the fact that the Justice Department is shifting the Russia probe into a criminal inquiry, giving John Durham expanded investigative powers.
Rather than being thrilled that the administration is taking seriously their paranoia about Russian involvement in American politics, the New York Times, official mouthpiece for the Democrat party, is in high dudgeon that Trump would dare to seek to get to the core truth about the matter. In this regard, it’s worth remembering that the Dems spent three years insisting that major crimes had occurred vis-a-vis Russia — provided, of course, that those crimes involved on Trump and anyone who ever worked for him in even the most limited capacity.
While Mueller’s team reluctantly noted that nothing implicated Trump and then tried, instead, to spin an obstruction fantasy, the facts that emerged — not rumor, hearsay, gossip, or fantasy, but facts — revealed that actors in the FBI, the CIA, and other alphabet Deep State agencies had created a hoax that spanned continents, all in an effort to derail Trump’s election and, when that failed, to force him out of office. Armed with information that Glenn Simpson, a journalist first bandied about when trying to knock McCain out of the running in 2008, these operatives lied to a remarkably cavalier FISA court in order to spy on Trump and other Americans for months. [Read more…]
I went overboard in this Bookworm Beat, covering the border wall, Syria, Antisemitism, Europe’s fall, science, Michelle and Melania, media bias, and much more.
Good walls make good neighbors. Trump did it — he got the House to include $5 billion in the budget bill to build the border wall. I was actually worried that he wouldn’t fulfill a core promise he made both to get elected and to put Chuck and Nancy in their place by saying he’d shut down the government before walking away from the wall.
Yay, Trump! Of course, now I’m worried what the execrable Jeff Flake will do in the Senate.
If you want a reminder about why the Left is fighting the wall with everything it has, despite voting for it some years ago, and strongly criticizing illegal immigration at the same time, Victor Davis Hanson explains: Put simply, a wall destroys the Democrats’ base.
Federal judge opens borders. It’s great that Trump got funding for the border wall. It’s not so great that, just yesterday, Judge Emmet Sullivan, the same guy who erroneously excoriated Lieut. Gen’l Flynn as a “traitor,” decided that America has no borders:
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan — who a day earlier had excoriated former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — ordered the government to allow migrants with iffy claims to be given a full chance to make their case for asylum.
And he ordered the U.S. to un-deport plaintiffs in the case who already had been ousted under the new policy, saying they deserve to be brought back and allowed to claim asylum.
His decision overturns a move by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had tried to block asylum claims of migrants who said they faced gang violence or domestic abuse back home.
I am sorry that, for so many people, the world is a terrible place. I know that I’m singularly fortunate that sixty years ago my parents, after waiting patiently for years to get visas, legally immigrated to America allowing me to be a citizen of and grow up in this great country.
I also know that life is unfair and that we don’t make it more fair by destroying ourselves. The Leftists are demanding that we import into America the pathologies that have plagued Latin America for hundreds of years. I’m not willing to be a part of that suicide pact — although I don’t know what I, personally, can do to take away the gun the Left is figuratively placing in America’s mouth, with its finger on the trigger.
On withdrawal from Syria, I’m conflicted. Although I suspect a lot of Americans didn’t even realize we still had around 2,000 troops in Syria, it’s proving to be a hot button issue now that Trump has announced a troop withdrawal. His stated reason is that he promised we’d be in Syria to defeat ISIS and, having defeated ISIS, it’s now time to leave.
I think this was a good decision for a few reasons. First, Trump did what we keep asking our leaders to do, which is to state a clear objective and then, when that objective is achieved, to announce “victory!” and to withdraw. No quagmires for President Trump.
Second, as I noted, I bet a lot of Americans didn’t realize we even had troops in Syria. In other words, this was not a war that the nation supported. It was an “action,” the purpose of which was not obvious to most Americans. I firmly believe that you cannot endlessly demand that a nation send its blood and treasure to foreign shores without being able to articulate why. Without ISIS, no one was articulating a why, so Trump did the right thing by pulling our troops out.
Third, as long as the Western world refuses to tackle the problem of Islam head on, and without an imminent threat from a concerted non-government army such as al Qaeda or ISIS, these far-away battlefields are just band-aids. It makes no sense to send young men to die in Syria or Afghanistan to kill people who our leaders refuse to acknowledge are terribly dangerous. Again, without a clearly articulated purpose, why are our boys and men being sent to die?
Fourth, outside of Israel, which is a beacon of light, freedom, and innovation in a backwards, benighted region, I think the whole of the Middle East can go to Hell. I want them to leave us alone and I want them to leave Israel alone, but otherwise I don’t think we should be doing business there. Trump, by unleashing America’s energy sector, has cut the tie that bound us — namely, oil dependency.
Fifth, to the extent Iran is a threat, let the Sunni nations fight it. We can provide support for those nations (weapons, advice, etc.), but they should be their own front line. Making them the front line also forces them to make nice with Israel, because, as the Muslims say, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
If you like Trump’s accomplishments and hate the Dems’ Kavanaugh circus, vote strategically this November. Here are some ideas for the mid-term election.
We’re slightly less than a month away from the mid-term election. For those who have put off thinking about it, it’s time! As a nation, we are at a fork in the road, so people need to think very seriously about their choices.
The most important thing is that, contrary to the saying that “all politics is local,” this is not a local election. For once, it’s not about whether your particular Congress critter brings home the bacon to your district. Instead, the only thing that matters in this election is whether it gives Trump a Congress that will work with him or gives him a Congress that will work against him.
Even that, though, isn’t the correct formulation. Trump is the agent of the American people. This mid-term election is about you as an American, not you as a resident of this county or that state.
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, as we head into the mid-terms, you need to ask yourself whether you as an American are better off now than you were two years ago. If you are, then you must support Trump to enable him to continue the policies that benefit you and the nation as a whole.
Regardless of your personal feelings about Trump, therefore, you need to take a step back and see if you objectively like or dislike what he’s done for America as a whole. The following is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of Trump’s accomplishments to help you decide whether you mostly support or mostly oppose what he’s done during his time in office: [Read more…]
Trump’s order declassifying documents related to the “Russia Collusion” narrative is the best way to destroy Deep State bullies and reveal government rot.
I am delighted that Donald Trump issued a sweeping order declassifying a huge bolus of documents related to the Russia probe:
The documents ordered declassified are a handful of pages of the June 2017 application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to continue surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page, which originally began in 2016. Trump also ordered all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all surveillance applications of Page be declassified and released.
Trump also ordered that all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Page surveillance applications be released.
Trump also ordered the declassification of all FBI reports of interviews DOJ official Bruce Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation. Ohr had a close relationship with former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier connection Trump to Russia. Steele was hired by Fusion GPS, the same opposition research firm that Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, was contracted by.
Trump also directed the Justice Department and FBI “to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction,” of Comey and Ohr, as well as former FBI Deputy Director Andre McCabe.
The text messages of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were also ordered to be released without redaction. Strzok and Page were both part of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, as well as the Russia investigation.
Sadly, the DOJ and FBI can still drag their feet on this (which I guess explains why he issued the order now. making it a September surprise, and not closer to the election): [Read more…]
The world is indeed going crazy — but mixed in with the Left’s bad stuff, this Bookworm Beat also has things that are both interesting and good.
We need to take federal funds out of America’s colleges and universities. Exhibit A for this proposal is a long, long, utterly fascinating article that Milo Yiannopoolos has written about the war that the hard-Left, identity-politics driven, social justice warriors are waging within the confines of medieval studies. While medieval studies may sound arcane, the reality is that the article describes in microcosm the vicious, Marxist battles taking place in every college and university — all of which are taxpayer-funded.
This Leftist academic coup needs to stop, which is another reason to vote Republican in the fall. I doubt a Republican Congress will stop the funds, but they’ll still be better than Democrats, who are open in their demands that all colleges be free and that this Marxist crap get full taxpayer funding.
A spirit stronger than the Holocaust. Anyone who survived the Holocaust has an amazing story. Menachem Z. Rosensaft’s father has a more amazing story than most.
I’ve often said that those of us whose parents experienced WWII first hand are the last of the WWII generation. When we go, there is no one left to remember, whether first hand or second hand.
Brennan’s CIA and the attack on Trump. A friend insisted that I read Michael Isikoff’s and David Corn’s Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. If those names are familiar to you, it’s because they were part of publicizing the Steele dossier so that the FBI, in making its FISA application, could claim two sources to justify the application to spy on Carter Page, not just one. David Corn is also a long-time writer associated with Mother Jones and The Nation, so that gives you an idea of his political orientation. Isikoff is the man who sat on the blue dress story lest it embarrass Bill Clinton.
I’ve only read the book’s introduction and the first chapter so far, but I’m finding it hard to keep a straight face as I go. It’s an amalgam of gossip, innuendo, insults, and meaningless anecdotes, all aimed at creating an aura of “badness” around Trump. What makes the book especially ludicrous is that, since its publication, we’ve learned more about the FISA application, we’ve had all sorts of admissions that Obama knew what was going on and did nothing lest it harm Hillary’s candidacy, we’ve seen Trump use his carrot and stick approach to many leaders he finds hostile to America’s well-being, and we’ve seen him make life more difficult for Putin than any other past leader, especially Obama.
After 2 years of big nothings, reasonable Leftists should abandon the Russia theory, but the Putin-Trump confab recharged the Left’s conspiracy mania.
After today’s meeting between Trump and Putin, Leftists have ratcheted their Russia hysteria up to level 12 out of 10. Do ordinary Americans care?
I’m so old I can remember when Teddy Kennedy, the revered lion of the Senate, during the height of the Cold War asked the Soviets to intervene in the 1984 presidential election.
I’m so old I can remember when Democrats constantly castigated conservatives for being paranoid about Soviet interference into world and American affairs.
I’m so old I can remember when Democrats and their fellow travelers brushed off stories about Soviet atrocities as mere Cold War propaganda.
I’m so old I can remember when we were told Communism is just another type of government and we should be more open to the Soviets and that the Cold War was a sorry relic of a fascist American past.
I’m so old I can remember when Obama sent Hillary Clinton off to meet the Russians with a big red reset button.
I’m so old I can remember when Barack Obama met with Putin and had these nice things to say:
“I’m aware of not only the extraordinary work that you’ve done on behalf of the Russian people … as president, but in your current role as prime minister,” Obama said during a breakfast meeting at Putin’s country home on the outskirts of Moscow. “We think there’s an excellent opportunity to put U.S.-Russian relations on a much stronger footing.”
I’m so old I can remember when Hillary authorized selling 20% of America’s uranium to a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin in exchange for a massive cash infusion into her private slush fund.
I’m so old I can remember when Mitt Romney said Russia was our greatest geopolitical foe and President Obama sneeringly replied that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.”
I’m so old I can remember when Barack Obama, during a meeting with outgoing Russian President Medvedev, was caught on a hot mic asking that Medvedev tell incoming President Putin that Putin needed to “give me space” so Obama could betray former Soviet bloc countries on missile defense and promised “more flexibility” after the 2012 election. [Read more…]
Russian meddling in the election only became an issue after Trump won. Obama had pointed advice for Trump during the campaign season.
(h/t Althouse) As quoted in a tweet today by President Trump, pointing out that Obama did not consider Russian “meddling” important during the campaign, nor did he take any action regarding it until after the election . . . when it suddenly became the only possible explanation for Hillary’s loss.
The Mueller indictments show that no American conspired with the Russians — and that the Russians successfully acted to “sow discord” in the U.S. political system.
After suffering through a year of hysteria and the disruption of our national politics by our neo-Marxist progs trying to undo the election, Americans deserve the entire truth about what happened. We received some of it yesterday when the Special Counsel delivered his first series of indictments against thirteen Russian nationals, working through two Russian front corporations, for crimes relating to interference with the 2016 election.
The indictments go a long way, though not all the way, to clearing the Trump campaign of conspiring with the Russians. They put the Russian efforts into context — their operation was small. The facts definitively establish that Russian support of Trump was a by-product, not an end goal of the operation. Equally important, Rod Rosenstein explicitly stated that no American citizen, let alone anyone in the Trump campaign, was knowingly complicit in the actions described in the indictment.
One of the striking things to come out of the indictment was how small the Russian operation was. In terms of money and manpower, it was an operation involving 13 named defendants and several hundred employees working through two Russian corporate entities, all on a combined budget of no more than $2 million a month from 2014 through the end of 2016 (Indictment, ¶¶ 10-11). To put that into perspective, during 2016 campaign, candidates on both sides, along with their supporters and PACs, spent hundreds of millions during the primaries; then they spent $2.65 billion during the four+ month general election season. It does not seem possible that such limited scale Russian activities would have made the slightest difference to the outcome of the 2016 election. And indeed, Rod Rosenstein, in announcing the indictments, explicitly stated that there is nothing in the indictment to suggest that the activities of the Russians had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 elections. [Read more…]
Available facts indicate that the Progressives’ Russia Collusion narrative is fake — and time is running out to investigate the true Clinton/FBI collusion.
With questions swirling around the Trump-Russian collusion narrative, we seem to be living in a John le Carré novel. It is one full of spies where the truth is hidden deep beneath disinformation and, ironically enough, behind security protocols. And just like a le Carré novel, it seems that there are many people in this mix determined that the truth should never see the light of day.
Is Trump a Russian intelligence asset with a taste for Russian prostitutes and golden showers who stole the 2016 election with help from Russia? Perhaps. But given the dearth of evidence supporting that contention after twenty months of investigation, another, better question arises: Is the Trump Russia collusion narrative the single most dirty — and criminal — trick in the history of American politics? It would be intellectually dishonest in the extreme to say that only one of those questions deserves investigation.
Was the Russian collusion narrative started, then spoon fed to the FBI and the media, as a way to make Hillary seem less corrupt in comparison to Trump during the 2016 election campaign? Was the narrative then pushed as hard as possible after the election as a way to delegitimize the Trump presidency; to serve as a vehicle to overturn the 2016 election results, and to protect people in government who had acted unethically, and perhaps criminally, as regards all things Hillary — i.e., those responsible for the criminal travesty that was the FBI/DOJ investigation and exoneration of Hillary for her email scandal, those who allowed the Uranium One deal to be approved without notifying Congress of related Russian corruption, and those DOJ officials who defied the recommendations of FBI field agents to open an investigation of the Clinton Foundation?
Let me note here, before you start measuring me for a tin-foil hat, I am not alleging some grand conspiracy involving the FBI, CIA, ODNI, and others. If this was a political dirty trick, then the truth is likely being held in a death-grip of secrecy among a handful of conspirators, they most likely being no more than one or two people in the leadership of the DNC and Clinton Campaigns, perhaps CIA Director John Brennan and/or Glen Simpson of Fusion GPS, and/or Christopher Steele. As to everyone else who then picked up this narrative and ran with it, sometimes unlawfully, that was not a conspiracy. Far more likely it simply grew out of the partisan culture created throughout the government agencies by the Obama administration. That culture, as Ms. BWR has fairly described it, is one of bias, entitlement, arrogance, and corruption, at least to the extent that ideological ends have at times justified patently unlawful means. I believe Ms. BWR’s description also covers about 90% of the mainstream media as well.
Just to review, there are precious few factual allegations regarding the Trump Russia collusion narrative beyond the bald allegation that Trump was a Russian asset, a narrative Fusion’s Glen Simpson claims was known all over Moscow and was just there for the picking in June 2016. People were “talking about it freely.” (Sen. p87-88). Amazing that Simpson and Steele were able to uncover that in a week whereas the CIA and NSA were blissfully ignorant during the eight years that Trump is alleged to have acted as a Russian agent, eh?
The people Steele names as active in the Russia Trump collusion are Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen. Steele mentions Michael Flynn, but only in passing as someone the Kremlin was cultivating. Steele alludes to two others, someone in the Trump campaign who “admitt[ed that the] Kremlin [was] behind [the] recent appearance of DNC emails on Wikileaks,” later claimed to be George Papadopoulos, and someone “close” to Trump who knew of his intelligence relationship with Russia, later asserted to be Sergei Millian.
As to specific acts alleged by Steele, there are only four that directly relate to Trump (at least by my count, ten by count of the Washington Times). The first specific act alleged is that Trump engaged Russian hookers to do a golden shower in his Moscow hotel room in 2013. The second is that Carter Page traveled to Russia in order to meet Igor Sechin, President of Rosneft, and a Russian political official, Diveykin. The third is that George Papadopoulos admitted to knowing that Russia was behind the DNC Wikileaks affair. And the fourth is that Michael Cohen met in Prague with Russian officials in the last week of August or first week of September. [Read more…]