Tuesday, February 13, 2018

17th Amendment: Why State-appointed Senators Were Better For America Than Elected Ones


The Seventeenth Amendment to the US Constitution changed the method by which Senators were selected. Bill Quick provides the simplest, best explanation for why the Founders' original method of populating the Senate was the wisest:
"There is no leash on the Senate.  Originally, it was really supposed to represent the interests of the individual states, but the Wilsonian progressives managed to destroy that aspect of the body so, in fact, it doesn’t represent much of anybody.  Senators serve longer terms than members of any other branch.  Originally, this was intended to make the states, which appointed Senators, the most powerful force in the federal governance.  America, after all, started out to be a union of states, not of people.  And the self-interest of individual states worked to assure that the Senate wouldn’t go too far off the rails, because state pols were much less susceptible to political demagoguery than were individual voters.  Piss off your governor and your statehouse, and you weren’t long for your cushy federal senate sinecure.  All that is gone now.  "
                                                  ~ From his post "History Rhymes".









Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Book Review: "Life Unworthy" by Christopher Taylor



In the old days, when authors used agents and got publishing contracts, Christopher Taylor's books would have been published by Ace Books or Ballantine, and would have been in bookshops across the country. Today's publishing climate is both easier and harder for writers who aren't celebrities, and so Taylor is an independent author and "Life Unworthy" is a contract-worthy book available on Amazon for Kindle and in Trade Paperback. I bought the hard copy.

It's a good werewolf tale, keeping us on pins and needles all the way through, true to its genre, and a solid mystery story as well. But for those looking for more depth than monsters, "Life Unworthy" is rich historical fiction, replete with accurate detail that gives us a genuine sense of life-on-the-ground in 1943 Poland, occupied by the Nazis and terrorized by ancient curses.

Meticulous research includes many tiny details true to the era that might not be consciously appreciated by a casual reader. I love the way everyone smokes *everywhere*. Young people won't recognize that bit of "atmosphere" from a time when up to 80% of adults smoked and didn't die from it, but it is just one of the myriad ways Taylor paints us into a realistic picture. The ubiquitous cigarettes, the constant reference to "the Great War", are not essential to the story, but serve to rattle us into thinking a little deeper, immersing us into the time and place.

The psychic hold "the Great War" has on the soldiers in this novel is particularly effective, and has been seldom covered in war writing - whether fiction or fact, most WWII writing is colored by later knowledge that this was indeed "the second world war", whereas in the early years, it was still seen even by those in it as a more hopeful war: the Nazis were buoyed by recovering what they had lost in the catastrophic brutality of the Great War, Poland had not yet been betrayed, and so even the Poles and Gypsies in Life Unworthy desperately clung to belief that it would end with freedom.

Great characters are fleshed out well, and believable. It is crazy to see how almost likable some of the Nazis can be, and it jars when we realize the jobs they are doing, how much "routine" funnels them into the soul-killing deeds they do in response to orderly commands.

Almost an allegory, the werewolf's struggle to control the beast is an opposite, a mirror image of these Nazis' efforts to rationalize within themselves the evil they are promoting. This is a subtle juxtaposition all through the book that slowly dawns on the reader as we go.

Look carefully to catch the clues woven throughout the novel. They are difficult to spot, seamlessly inserted into the prose. And the whispered hints are even more difficult to unravel. I found myself stopping along the way to look up a reference, a location, to uncover more layers of the deep history. It's impossible to anticipate the ending, yet when it comes, the threads trace back to early hints, mentions, shadows, and you think, "Ah! So that is what that meant!"

A satisfying resolution that takes its own sweet time to unfold is one of the best things about Taylor's writing style. I am often annoyed by otherwise good writers who rush their endings - building to the climax then wrapping everything up in a quick couple of paragraphs, as though they suddenly realize they've reached their word limit. Taylor doesn't do that. He never leaves his readers in the lurch. He continues to follow the story for a bit to let us absorb what happened and neatly finish the final seams, so that it is complete and full.

All in all, "Life Unworthy" is a good story, a satisfying read, that doesn't waste our time. It's a book for adults, and will leave you thinking about the characters long after you've shelved the book in your permanent collection, to read again someday.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Yes, Virginia, Once Upon A Time, Real Men Played Football






Via Traces of Texas, on Facebook:
"Dandy" Don Meredith, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, talks to reporters in the locker room following the famous "Ice Bowl" game against the Packers in Green Bay, Wisconsin, back in 1967. The game-time temperature at Lambeau Field was about −15 °F (−26 °C), with an average wind chill around −48 °F (−44 °C). It remains one of the most famous games in NFL history." 

Yes, that is a cigarette he is smoking. And yes, that is real hair on his chest. 

SportsDay writes:

"[Bob] Lilly, A TCU graduate out of West Texas, unfamiliar with such brutal weather, suffered frostbitten fingers on his left hand in that game. His three mates on the defensive line that anchored Tom Landry's effective but quirky "Flex Defense" all suffered frostbite as well.  ...
"They might have worn gloves but Lilly recalled that old-school defensive coordinator Ernie  Stautner admonished that such a luxury was for "sissies" and he couldn't have such coddled players on his squad. ...
"While players cautiously tried to navigate a sheet of ice underfoot, an announced assembly of 50,861 fans exhaled from behind faces covered by woolen masks, emitting enough carbon dioxide to remind of London fog.
"Please, Ryan said under his breath, let those of his cameras that refused to die in the cold, continue to work. The crew's remarkable work in those conditions provides the only known extended video from the game. "
"Once the game began, referee Norm Schachter and his officiating crew abandoned their whistles, which froze to their lips soon after kickoff. Instead, they relied on voices and hand signals to control the game. An elderly fan in the stands suffered hypothermia and died. Alicia Landry, wife of the Cowboys coach, is said to have missed the game's decisive play because her eyelashes were frozen shut. ..."


But Don Meredith had the final insight into why the Dallas Cowboys of Old played the way they played: not for the money, or their coaches, but for their fans:

"Meredith, of course, was on the plane that returned the Cowboys to Love Field in the wake of the Ice Bowl.
"I remember the pilot telling us he got word that there were a lot of people waiting for us," recalled Brandt. "We didn't know what to expect."
News reports estimated about 500 sympathetic fans were there to embrace their heroes in relatively balmly 32-degree weather.
"It was the first time Cowboys fans celebrated a loss," Meredith, who died in 2010, once told Michael. "It changed everything about the way we felt about our fans. It created a bond that would never be broken."

Go read the whole article: "Too Cold to Bleed: Why The Ice Bowl Still Resonates 50 Years Later".    

It's the stuff America ... and real football... is made of. 


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Iran, King Cyrus, and Donald John Trump

Before the election, Nov 5, 2016, there was a news report about protests in Iran, and I wrote about this in a post about the prophecies  seeing Donald John Trump as "the new Cyrus":...Iran was named Persia until very recently. This was the heart of King Cyrus's empire. ...This story points to advances made by now-Christian Russia's influence against Islamic theocracy. It portends well toward Mr Trump's foreign policy plans within that region.

"And essentially, it points ahead into a future of considerable brightness, with  hope for genuine liberty coming out of oppression once again. Not through meddlesome outsiders like Hillary Clinton making war, but through God's action in the world raising up peoples and new generations. "

Here's a portion of the 2016 news article, from Breitbart's Adelle Nazarian:
"According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), protesters chanted, “Iran is our country, Cyrus is our father” and “clerical rule is synonymous with only tyranny, only war.” The protesters also reportedly chanted, “freedom of thought cannot take place with beards,” a reference to the theocratic leaders currently in power.
"Many Iranians consider King Cyrus the father of international human rights, citing the discovery of the Cyrus Cylinder around 559 B.C. — the first known charter of human rights. In 1971, the Shah of Iran’s twin sister, the late Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, presented the United Nations with a replica of the Cyrus Cylinder, which is kept at the U.N.’s New York headquarters and is promoted as “an ancient declaration of human rights.”
"Pooya Dayanim, President of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee (IJPAC), told Breitbart News that the rally was an indication that “the generation that was born after the revolution of 1979 feels as if their parents made a mistake and destroyed their hope and future.” Dayanim added,  “They consider themselves a burnt generation, just like the generation in America that has been living in their parents’ garages and basements and are either unemployed or underemployed.”
"Dayanim said that ... “getting in touch with their rich Iranian heritage from the pre-Islamic era is one of the only sources of pride they have. What happened today is a sign of them embracing Iran when it was a strong and powerful and respected State, versus the government that they have now which has turned Iran into a pariah and has destroyed their hopes, dreams, aspirations and future.”    ~ Breitbart
That was 14 months ago. Now, new riots have broken out, and Iran's government is cracking down. President Trump has already spoken his support for the protesters and for liberty in Iran.

For those who do not know what Iran was like before the 1970s Islamic take-over, it was a modern nation, and an  American ally. Many Iranians who supported overthrowing the Shah later regretted the revolution, as the new Islamist regime become increasingly oppressive.

Please continue in prayer to our Father God in the name of Jesus, for the people of Iran to  overcome their oppressors and restore their nation, on their own and peacefully, as we are restoring our America.  MAGA!

12/31/17 UPDATE: Instapundit quotes the Wall Street Journal, noting that the current Iranian protests are not exactly all about the "economy", despite what the Fake News are saying:
"In a number of cities, demonstrators have expressed nostalgia for the last monarchical rulers of Iran, the Pahlavi dynasty, by evoking the name of its founder Reza Shah. Many Iranians consider Reza Shah to be the father of modern Iran and his era is associated with a time of economic prosperity. . . .
"Here are some slogans being chanted at the protests, translated into English:
“We don’t want an Islamic Republic, we don’t want it, we don’t want it.”
“They are using Islam as an excuse to drive people crazy.”
“Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic.”
“Reformists, hard-liners, Game is over.”
“We are all Iranians, we don’t accept Arabs.”
“We are getting poor and clerics are driving fancy cars.”
“Reza Shah, Rest in Peace.”
“We will die but we will take Iran back.”
“Come out to the streets Iranians, shout for your rights.”
“Death to the Revolutionary Guards.”

As they say over at Glenn Reynolds' blog, "read it all"...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Bill Quick: Donald Trump Harks Back to JFK's Mainstream America

At his Daily Pundit blog, Bill Quick writes:

"It’s interesting to compare Donald Trump to John F.  Kennedy.  Both JFK and PDT supported civil rights for black Americans, but not for illegal aliens.  JFK’s coalition looked a lot like PDTs does today, as JFK’s Democrat Party still catered to the needs and desires of working class and southern Americans – just as PDT does today.
"JFKs judicial appointments were more liberal that PDTs, because the litmus issue in those times was civil rights.  The Vietnam war arose as a national issue only after the mass drafts of the post JFK years began to bite.  Nor did the Boomers elect JFK.  In 1960, they were still in high school, and more than ten years away from getting the right to vote as 18 year-olds.
"It is popular among today’s pop “historians” to present the years of the 1960s and 1970s as the decades in which America as a whole finally took up the New Left’s philosophy en masse, but that is simply not the case.  The New Left, the hippies, the massive use of drugs, and all the rest of the cultural appurtenances of that time were always a practice of the minority.  More young men went off to serve in Vietnam than rioted in the streets for one cause or another.  With the possible exception of marijuana, drug use was never practiced by any significant majority of Americans (as is still the case). .... "

Do go read the whole post. It is quite heartening.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Boy Scouts Love President Trump's Speech at National Jamboree, Shout "We Love Trump!" and "USA! USA! USA!"



During President Trump's speech to the Boy Scouts, that huge crowd applauded constantly, chanted " We love Trump! We love Trump! We love Trump!" and "USA! USA! USA!", and they "boo'ed" when he mentioned "his opponent".

Here's a sample quote:
PRESIDENT TRUMP:  "Your lives will have meaning and purpose and joy. You will become leaders, and you will inspire others to achieve the dreams they once thought were totally impossible, things that you said could never, ever happen are already happening for you. And if you do these things -- and if you refuse to give in to doubt or to fear -- then you will help to make America great again. You will be proud of yourself, be proud of the uniform you wear, and be proud of the country you love." (Applause.) 
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!  
And just in case the Fake News starts getting it wrong, there were only two times the audience boo'ed. One when he mentioned Hillary:
PRESIDENT TRUMP: "We won Florida.  We won South Carolina.  We won North Carolina.  We won Pennsylvania.  (Applause.)
We won and won.  So when they said, there is no way to victory, there is no way to 270.  I went to Maine four times because it’s one vote, and we won.  But we won -- one vote.  I went there because I kept hearing we're at 269.  But then Wisconsin came in.  Many, many years -- Michigan came in.
And we worked hard there.  My opponent didn't work hard there because she was told
-- 
AUDIENCE:  Booo!
THE PRESIDENT:  "She was told she was going to win Michigan....."
and then when President Trump was telling the story of William Levitt, and teased them with a cliff-hanger:
PRESIDENT TRUMP: " I won’t go any more than that because you’re Boy Scouts, so I’m not going to tell you what he did."
AUDIENCE: Booo -- 
THE PRESIDENT: "Should I tell you? Should I tell you?"
AUDIENCE: Yes!

Final real news: The audience loved the speech and the President ALL THE WAY THROUGH:

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So I have to tell you what we did, in all fairness, is an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for Make America Great Again.  (Applause.) 
AUDIENCE:  USA!  USA!  USA!
The President ended his speech with a blessing:

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  "And I just want to end by saying very importantly:  God bless you.  God bless the Boy Scouts.  God bless the United States of America.
Go out.  Have a great time in life.  Compete and go out and show me that there is nobody -- nobody -- like a Boy Scout.
"


Saturday, July 8, 2017

President Donald John Trump in Sobieski's Homeland




Our President Donald John Trump never mentioned John III Sobieski in the speeches he made while in Poland... but the memory of the "Savior of Christendom" is palpable throughout.

In his amazing speech To The People Of Poland, he spoke in detail about Poland's heroic and determined past: the Miracle of Vistula, "the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the destruction of [Warsaw], and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people", Jerusalem Avenue. He named Casimir Pulaski  and Tadeusz Kościuszko (heroes of the American Revolution and of Polish Insurrection against Russia), and declared :" I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization. "

As his conclusive statement confirms, President Trump stood up in defiance of  Globalism and of invasive enemies of civilization. Malcolm Pollack described it well:
 "“Brilliance”! “Excellence”! Reverence! Traditions! Heritage! The defense of the West! Protecting our borders! Preserving our civilization!
"Strong stuff, and as far as the epicene political, academic, and media elites of the modern West are concerned, it might as well be the language of Mordor. Can you imagine Barack Obama saying such things? The words would have burnt his tongue."


President Trump reminded listeners of his historic peace-making trip to the Middle East in which he  engaged with the Muslim nations of the world to work themselves to bring peace to their own countries and to themselves drive out the militant islamists who are destroying every civilization within reach:
" We are confronted by another oppressive ideology -- one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe.  America and Europe have suffered one terror attack after another.  We’re going to get it to stop.  (Applause.)
During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity.  We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding, and their networks, and any form of ideological support that they may have.  While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.   "
President Trump's choice of Poland in which to vocalize his stand for "The West" and civilization shows his understanding of history & of another time when islamists used war and terror to attack the West. It was Poland's King, John III Sobieski who drove back the Islamic Turks at the "Gates of Vienna" in 1683 when the Islamic Ottoman Empire had Europe under siege. The Pope called him the "Savior of Christendom", a constellation was named after him, and Sobieski has since been known as the "Savior of Vienna and Western European civilization".

And thus, some of the most powerful paragraphs of President Trump's speech are those in which this "new Cyrus" invokes our Father God within a country that has recently reaffirmed its identity as a Christian Nation:
"The Polish martyr, Bishop Michael Kozal, said it well:  “More horrifying than a defeat of arms is a collapse of the human spirit.”
"Through four decades of communist rule, Poland and the other captive nations of Europe endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity -- indeed the very essence of your culture and your humanity.  Yet, through it all, you never lost that spirit.  (Applause.)  Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken.  (Applause.)  
"And when the day came on June 2nd, 1979, and one million Poles gathered around Victory Square for their very first mass with their Polish Pope, that day, every communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down.  (Applause.)  They must have known it at the exact moment during Pope John Paul II’s sermon when a million Polish men, women, and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer.  A million Polish people did not ask for wealth.  They did not ask for privilege.  Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words:  “We Want God.”  (Applause.)
"In those words, the Polish people recalled the promise of a better future.  They found new courage to face down their oppressors, and they found the words to declare that Poland would be Poland once again.
"As I stand here today before this incredible crowd, this faithful nation, we can still hear those voices that echo through history.  Their message is as true today as ever.  The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out “We want God.”  (Applause.) 
"Together, with Pope John Paul II, the Poles reasserted their identity as a nation devoted to God.  And with that powerful declaration of who you are, you came to understand what to do and how to live.  You stood in solidarity against oppression, against a lawless secret police, against a cruel and wicked system that impoverished your cities and your souls.  And you won.  Poland prevailed.  Poland will always prevail. (Applause.)
"AUDIENCE:  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!  "
Our God is moving in the world to accomplish His purposes. And Our Father God has given us a man to lead us.

Isaiah 45:
The Lord says this to Cyrus, His anointed,
whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him,
to disarm[a] kings,
to open the doors before him
and the gates will not be shut:
2 “I will go before you
and level the uneven places;[b]
I will shatter the bronze doors
and cut the iron bars in two.
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness
and riches from secret places,
so that you may know that I, Yahweh,
the God of Israel call you by your name.
4 I call you by your name,
because of Jacob My servant
and Israel My chosen one.
I give a name to you,
though you do not know Me.
5 I am Yahweh, and there is no other;
there is no God but Me.
I will strengthen[c] you,
though you do not know Me,
6 so that all may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
that there is no one but Me.
I am Yahweh, and there is no other.
7 I form light and create darkness,
I make success and create disaster;
I, Yahweh, do all these things."





LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails