June 21, 2004

Gardening Break

RUNNING ABOUT FOUR WEEKS BEHIND this year due to a variety factors (not the least the collapse of my plan to return to East Tennessee), I'm working hard, fast and furiously to get a vegetable garden planted before it is absolutely too late. I put the tiller on the tractor yesterday -- normally about a one-hour chore but complicated into a half-day project by the need to replace an idler pulley, which required cannibalizing a similar part from another piece of equipment and adapting it -- and today I will till the two fenced gardens: one is 65' x 65', the other is 110' by 30'. If all goes well, this evening I'll begin planting. The beans, broccoli, cucumbers and squash will do fine; so will the tomatoes (providing there is any Stupes left at my usual source). The corn and pumpkins will be doubtful -- generally they have to be in the ground before the Solstice -- but I'll plant them anyway just in case the Goddess of Gardens answers my fervent prayer and blesses me by holding off the autumnal frost long enough to give the corn and pumpkins time to mature. Wish me luck; at least the Moon is right. Anyway, the point of all this is that I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next few days, and then will be back for one last encore before launching my own site – with a lot of help and encouragement from Linda of course.

Meanwhile, though it was yesterday, Happy Summer Solstice; Goddess and gods bless us every one. And I surely hope y’all partied hearty...

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posted by at 09:16 AM : Comments (0)

June 18, 2004

Focal Point

THE GOOD NEWS THAT Linda was talking about yesterday is that I will soon have my own blog. The details are being sorted out – it will be a few days yet at least, partly because I want to track down some design ideas (and am utterly dependent on others for making those concepts become reality), partly because I haven’t decided whether to continue under my own name or under a screen-name I have used on another (very major) site for the past three years.

Now on to the day’s links: the first and most important is a story about President Reagan’s farewell address, something I missed entirely because by 1989 I was completely out of journalism and too busy struggling to survive to pay any attention to current events (yes, I have been guilty of that all-too-common American failing myself). But it turns out Reagan’s farewell was as profound in its own way as only a few other presidential farewells have been in theirs – notably in that Reagan warned against the dire consequences that would befall us if we somehow forget our own heritage.

This of course is precisely what has happened. The domination of the public schools by feminists whose goal is the subversion of American liberty and the destruction of Western Civilization, the subsequent perversion of education into matrifascist indoctrination, and the resultant theft of American ideals from our children (for that is precisely what it is) is at the very heart of today’s controversies. For example, how can one support the liberation of Iraq when one has been taught that America is the great “white patriarchal oppressor”? Or worse, that we are fully equivalent to Nazi Germany in racist evil and imperialistic intent.

The retrospective on Reagan’s farewell address – a reminder that is undoubtedly long overdue – is available here.

Two of today’s subsequent links address manifestations of the sociopolitical blindness that afflicts our society precisely as a result of the vehemently anti-American direction taken by our public education system. One describes the hypocritical refusal of mass media to show any footage at all reflecting the horrors of the Saddam Hussein regime (or re-run 9/11 footage) even as it maximizes coverage of Abu Ghraib and thereby portrays the United States precisely as so many public school teachers portray it: as the new Nazi Germany. This report, which originally appeared in National Review Online and which includes some truly horrific descriptions of Saddam Hussein’s torturers at work, is here. The other link describes the all-out war minority gangs are waging on U.S. citizens in Los Angeles and discusses how the same legacy of public education – the deliberately induced ignorance of the citizenry – so thoroughly hamstrings the police. This essay, a scathing commentary by a retired cop, is available here.

Lastly, let me share another bit of good news – that my home-made mower-head spring, which I crafted from the broken old one and on the basis of a 22-year-old recollection made a guess at the proper heat treatment of the steel (June 15) -- has now made it through something like two acres of grass cutting and seems to be working just fine. Too bad repairing our education system is not nearly so easy.

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posted by at 01:11 PM : Comments (1)

June 16, 2004

Unfocused

Yesterday was a thoroughly exhausting day -- nothing bad, not even negative, just utterly draining. I didn't get back from town until nearly midnight, thus didn't get an opportunity to test my mower-head repair, and am in enough need of sleep I'm going to put off blogging until tomorrow...or maybe even the next day, since I really didn't take a break this weekend, either. See y'all later.

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posted by at 12:25 PM : Comments (0)

June 15, 2004

Focal Point

I DON’T HAVE TIME for a lot of comment this morning because it’s a more-than-full day: an hour in the dentist’s chair, which really takes about three hours because of the drive, but also gives me an opportunity to visit civilization, thereby extending the trip to about half a day. And then when I return, there’s the test-flight of another major repair job in the ongoing saga of squeezing maximum service life out of the tractor’s 30-year-old mower-head.

For the mechanically minded (and if you’re not, skip to the next paragraph), this time it was a broken spring -- irreplaceable without at least a three-or-four-week wait. Meanwhile it has given me yet another an opportunity to teach my neighbors inventive combinations of Anglo-Saxon and Korean profanity and then later to successfully test my mechanical ingenuity. The result now awaits final re-assembly and performance-testing of my heat-treating skills: a connecting link had broken off the spring, which is a fairly heavy one-inch-diameter, six-inch-long coil attached to an idler that tensions an interior drive belt system that powers three rotary blades from a single external central pulley – the central pulley driven by a long belt off the tractor’s power-takeoff. I made a new connecting link by clamping the coil spring in a vise, stretching out two loops, heating the two loops with a torch, bending them to the appropriate shape, heating them again to the same dull red, and quenching them in oil (theoretically – if I remembered correctly a text I read 22 years ago – thereby restoring an approximation of their original temper). Then I reinstalled the spring. This is what you do when you “think boat” – the sort of emergency repairs you make as a boat engineer. Today I’ve got a whole pasture to mow, so we’ll see if it worked.

Meanwhile here’s another one of Spengler’s excellent columns, this a biting analysis of U.S. intelligence failures and an urgent plea to recognize that what we are fighting is not a war on terrorism but rather mortal combat with jihadist Islam. If you read nothing else today, whether from this site or any other source, read this. The link is here.

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posted by at 10:18 AM : Comments (0)

June 14, 2004

Focal Point

BACK IN THOSE HALCYON DAYS when I was a member of the working press and especially when I was a desk editor, I tried – over and above the flow of breaking news and follow-ups on stories we were already running -- to get into the paper material people weren’t likely to find anywhere else. This ranged from humorous items (the woman who went to her automobile to drive to the supermarket, found two skunks copulating in the car’s front seat and raised a big stink that ended with a hysterical telephone call to the sheriff), to serious stories about environmental or economic questions (how federal manipulation of milk prices means you pay more as demand declines). Sometimes it was a local story, sometimes it came off the wires; sometimes – when I was a reporter or a columnist – it was a story I covered and wrote myself. But most of my opportunities for that sort of selection were during the years I was what newspapermen of my generation jocularly called a “rim-rat” – a city editor, a copy editor or an acting telegraph editor, one who sat either around the rim of the huge round center-slotted copy desk typical of those years, or in the slot itself as “the slot man,” the editor in charge.

Those were the times when sport-coats and neckties were mandatory but newsrooms were nevertheless as comfortable as good saloons, as smoke-filled as Boss Tweed’s office at Tammany Hall, alive with the rhythmic energy of hundreds of fingers pounding manual typewriters, the muted soft percussion of the wire-service teletypes and sometimes the dread electrifying ring of their alert-bells, the insistent buzzing of telephones and murmur of purposeful conversations, the counterpoint “ka-chunk” of pneumatic tubes connecting newsroom with composing room and then finally the bass crescendo of the press run, the One Star coming off the rollers at midnight and setting the entire building atremble, the first of the five editions we would publish before dawn. Old-time newsrooms even had their own characteristic smell, a combination of tobacco smoke and ink and the curiously toasty odor of newsprint – every newsroom in America smelling much the same – perhaps on some sublime level the source of the phrase “hot off the presses.” Those of us who worked in such places were fiercely proud of what we did and delighted we had escaped the florescent-lighted hells of insurance offices and executive suites. But not any more: in today’s politically “correct” newsrooms, smoking is absolutely forbidden; the advent of the computer has quieted the production routines to a library whisper, and if you get drunk more than once a year in what used to be the most notoriously hard-drinking occupation on the planet, the bosses will force you to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. Old timers I know – white men my age or slightly younger who have managed to keep their jobs through all the feminist purges and affirmative-action layoffs – say that today the only difference between a newsroom and an insurance office is there’s probably a lot less back-stabbing in the insurance business. The band-of-brothers newspapering I knew is thus gone forever, but I feel about it the same way I do about the steam locomotive and the 1903 Springfield rifle -- I am infinitely grateful to have been on extended intimate terms with it, and the world without it seems a diminished place.

Returning to the point from which I distracted myself by nostalgia, the basis upon which I pick stories for this blog – especially the links that go into “Focal Point” – is an updated version of my old preference for choosing items people are not likely to find anywhere else. Though I hadn’t given it a great deal of thought until this weekend, the common denominator in these stories is that they show us some aspect of our world we might not otherwise see. Sometimes this is merely some new research about our environment or the creatures we share it with – the link in “Dog Story” is a good example. Sometimes it is an infuriating disclosure like two of those linked below, a nonexistent “endangered species” and a desperately needed technology obstructed by environmental absolutism. Sometimes it is the advent of a potentially revolutionary technology – one that could literally change the world -- just as the new Zeppelins described in another of the following links might someday do. And sometimes it is the story of a person felled or jeopardized by undeserved misfortune – or perhaps someone who has been outrageously failed by America – like another of the links below.

Of all these kinds of stories, the last are typically the most controversial. Over the years I have written dozens of them myself, and with the notable exception of the disclosures of my own somber circumstances (the results of which it is much too soon to judge), the people I have written about were always profoundly helped by my reporting. For example, in the case of a newly widowed woman who was hadn’t worked since her teens, had three school-age children to care for and was being forced onto “welfare” by complications in settling her late husband’s estate, my stories generated several offers of jobs, one of which turned out to be the beginning of a new and lucrative career. Having witnessed that cause-and-effect relationship many times, I finally persuaded myself that my own circumstances deserved the same opportunity and indeed were just as newsworthy in terms of illuminating the fact that life in America does not always work out as planned. The risk – and I knew this from the very beginning – is that in every community there is a small, flint-hard subculture of people who revel in asserting their alleged superiority over the less fortunate, and these self-proclaimed ubermenschen invariably wrote letters to the editor demanding to know why we were wasting newsprint writing about “worthless trash,” or as one correspondent said, “baby-breeding bums just looking for lots of pity and a free ride.”

I have always wondered at the unique fury such stories evoke, and this weekend – probably because of its synchronicity with President Ronald Reagan’s funeral – it occurred to me that the answer is that stories like the widow’s prove the Ronald Reagan vision of America (as a perpetually happy Disneyland) is both hollow and false. Before I go further, let me make it very clear I recognize President Reagan’s greatness: his victory in the Cold War marks him as the greatest commander-in-chief of the 20th Century, just as the Asia Times columnist Spengler said (Focal Points, June 8). But in terms of Reagan’s attitudes toward the poor or afflicted – note especially his lethal indifference to AIDS victims – he was probably the most heartless president ever to occupy the White House. I suspect the similarly heartless people who wrote antagonistic letters in response to my “widow” story in 1980 held a similar cotton-candy theme-park view of America -- and they were enraged to frothing frenzies not at the socioeconomic malfunctions that had brought the widow to the threshold of the “welfare” office, but rather at me for disclosing that our society sometimes fails to perform as promised – and that sometimes (usually for no apparent reason) it turns viciously on our own people. Unlike those who view Disneyland as the microcosm of the American macrocosm, I take America’s socioeconomic failures as a given – and I believe that part of our true greatness is that disclosure of those failures often ameliorates them at least – and many times remedies them completely. Thus I do everything in my power to facilitate that process – even for myself.

Today’s links are more numerous than usual:

ENVIRONMENTAL FOLLIES R US: When you read the first of these links, about an allegedly endangered mouse that never existed at all, remember the infamous Washington state Lynx Hoax, in which state and federal biologists (in service to an environmentalist/ecofeminist anti-hunting, anti-trapping agenda) were caught planting lynx hair in places lynx had never lived. The story of the phantom mouse that was so powerful it put house cats on leashes is here. Then when you read why neither California (nor any other place in the United States) is building petroleum refineries, remember the mouse that wasn’t, and reflect on the outrageous prices you’re paying for gasoline and diesel. The no- refinery report is linked here

DER ZEPPELIN BEDERBACKENKOMING: The Germans are once again refining the concept of lighter-than-air flying machines, incorporating the lessons of the ill-fated Hindenburg (including the use of non-inflammable helium) for the possible development of a new energy-efficient mode of trans-Atlantic luxury travel, as reported here.

MORE ON THE FIGHT AGAINST CANADIAN SHARIA: The campaign against the forcible imposition of sharia on Canadian Muslims is gaining support and momentum, as updated here.

ABANDONED BY HER GOVERNMENT: Dawn Marie Wilson was busted by the Mexicans on utterly trumped-up drug charges, thrown into a typically filthy Third World prison, and is in dire need of medical care she is methodically denied. But the greatest most damning outrage of all in this case is the fact her plight is being deliberately ignored by the U.S. government – though it remains to be seen whether this is just another part of the Bush Administration’s disgraceful concessions to Mexico, an especially vicious manifestation of the administration’s undeclared war on Americans who go to Canada or Mexico for cheaper prescription drugs, or perhaps both. An infuriating report on the Wilson case is linked here.

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posted by at 02:21 PM : Comments (2)

June 13, 2004

Soap Opera II: an Open Letter to David

(The following began as a my reply to a comment from David appended to the post entitled “Soap Opera” (June 9), below. But it grew too long to save there. And since it deals with issues that are significant beyond the immediacies of my own life, I think it actually belongs here, on the main thread.)

I APOLOGIZE FOR THE fact this is so very long. But its length is mandated by my Southron-proud and deeply offended need to address David’s apparently insulting inference that writing honestly about my own troubles is somehow trolling for a “free ride” -- that what I am doing here is therefore merely an electronic variant of the silent begging the sad-eyed derelict with the “help me” sign does at the exit from the local Safeway parking lot. If I misunderstood – if no insult was intended – then I apologize for that too.

The fact of the matter is that my pension is so far below the poverty line, it qualifies me for a broad spectrum of “welfare benefits” – none of which I have ever applied for – solely because I recognize that submitting myself in abject serfdom to the malicious whimsey of a “welfare” bureaucracy I know to be both malevolently feminist and vindictively authoritarian is to start down a road that could only end in a shortcut to the graveyard. This is hardly the behavior of someone on a quest for a handout.

I have managed to get by for the past dozen years by living in the pump-house on property that until two years ago belonged to my two best friends. The pump-house has neither bathroom facilities nor hot water, but with my own carpentry skills, I converted a 20x20-foot storage space adjacent the small pump-room (which contains the well-head) into a reasonably comfortable wood-heated one-room cabin with a very adequate cold-water kitchen. For toilet and bathing facilities I use the “big house,” the main house on this fenced but mostly-wooded tract of rural land.

As to my cabin itself, I frankly love the place. Its windows are underscored by potted plants, and its interior walls are a geometric collage of crowded bookshelves, framed photographs, wooden cabinets and a homemade rack that accommodates three fly rods and two extra-long spinning rods – not that I am allowed to fish any more, not since the state has gated-off all the access roads to the back country and turned nearly all the rivers to catch-and-release streams. Even so the cabin is home to me and my two canine companions – in several senses more home than I have ever known – and the prospect of leaving it is profoundly saddening.

I was never charged a penny rent because of the primitiveness of the accommodations, but I nevertheless felt it was my duty to help out as much as possible with all of the diverse chores associated with rural living, and I am also a skilled organic gardener. So each year I raised a substantial crop of vegetables for myself and my friends, and I volunteered my labor whenever else it was possible too. It was a good arrangement for everyone concerned. My friends, a married couple who have known me through three decades, were both still working then, and to a large extent, I became the defacto caretaker of their property. In other words, I am anything but the bum David seems to have implied I am.

This informal partnership was to last forever – until all of us became too old, or died off or whatever. But three years ago the husband retired and discovered that – thanks to the shenanigans of his employer – his pension was only half what he expected it to be. He and his wife had no choice but to sell this place. Their intent, in recognition of all of the work I had done here, was to use the proceeds of the sale to help me finance returning to Tennessee – where, unlike Washington state, hunting and fishing is not increasingly de facto illegal. Another alternative, particularly if I turned up a worthwhile job somewhere locally, was to help me finance the purchase of a reasonably-sized travel-trailer or a smaller mobile home – so I could keep my dogs and avoid the no-firearms clauses that are increasingly part of rental agreements in Washington state: a dire legacy of the fact that, by law, renting a house or apartment here requires “voluntary” relinquishment of all one’s Bill-of-Rights freedoms while inside the dwelling or on the landlord’s property.

By the summer of 2002, I had decided to return to East Tennessee and was especially looking forward to visiting the many still-wild places I had fished and hunted during my boyhood. I would rent a small apartment there owned by one of my half-sisters on fenced property that would accommodate my dogs and allow for vegetable gardening. But then an in-law suddenly offered to buy the Washington state place if I would remain here to help her care for it. This seemed to everyone to be the perfect solution, especially since all of my efforts – which included construction of two large vegetable gardens (one 110' x 33', the other 66' square) – would stay, as it were, in the family. Hence I agreed, and on that basis the transaction was completed. But by the spring of 2003, a lot of old family antagonism had resurfaced, and I was once again the family hate-object, just as I had been during my entire childhood. My desire to escape that – it is depressing to live in a situation where every human interaction includes a reminder of how much I am despised – led me last February to ask the half-sister if the apartment was still available. She said it was, and my plans progressed from there.

I should note here for David’s sake that the radical difference in living cost between Western Washington (comparable to NYC and tied with San Francisco for the nation’s highest housing costs) versus East Tennessee (lowest cost of living in the U.S.) made the apartment very affordable. Once again, contrary to David’s apparent implication, this was anything but a “free ride.”

Then on the 8th my half-sister notified me that she had changed her mind. My post entitled “Soap Opera” was the immediate result. The long-term result is that now in all probability I am inescapably doomed to become one of the homeless. Not tomorrow, not next week, not even next month. But almost certainly before this time next year. And not homeless in terms of sleeping under a bridge somewhere; more likely homeless and sleeping in a tent on the side of some mountain – that is, if I can find a way past the gates and into the back country that doesn’t entail a 15 or 20-mile hike. In this context – and Linda please don’t take offense -- Internet access (or anything else unrelated to immediate survival) is simply irrelevant.

Next let me address David’s notion that “we are all responsible for our current conditions.”

If by this David means that it is our duty to cope as best we can with whatever burdens fate imposes on us, I could not agree more. That is precisely the understanding of reality that prompted me (at age 16) to talk myself into a copy-boy’s job on The Grand Rapids Herald in the fall of 1956 and within a few weeks convince Sports Editor Bob Host to let me try my hand at taking high school sports results over the phone and writing the details into stories. That experience took me to a much more lucrative stringership at The Grand Rapids Press and finally (thanks to a genuinely vicious family betrayal) to identical but substantially lower-paying work at The Knoxville Journal, which in turn led to a full-time job when I returned from a Regular Army enlistment in late 1962. All this in spite of a family that was at best uncooperative, at worst maliciously obstructive. Once again, not exactly a “free ride.”

But if what David means when he says “we are all responsible for our current conditions” is synonymous with “whatever is happening to us at any given moment is our own fault,” than I am profoundly disappointed to discover he is yet another otherwise-bright American who has fallen for the human-potentialist bunkum that “we create our own reality,” a notion that, reductio ad absurdem, says the women Ted Bundy murdered all chose to die exactly as they did, that the inmates of Dachau were there at the threshold of the gas chambers by choice, and that the three-year-old polio victim suffering in an iron lung is fulfilling the dream of a lifetime. In other words, just as untold millions of rapists have claimed, “she really wanted it.”

Whether it is the drivel spouted by Werner Erhard and his brainwashed “est-ies” or the nonsense proclaimed by “Lifespring,” the notion that “we create our own reality” is truly the apex of Occidental hubris. It is apparently the tragicomic result of a genuinely idiotic misunderstanding of the ancient Taoist/Zen concept of Tao and “suchness” and how suchness – reality with all its iridescent metaphysical nuances – is experienced. The misunderstanding (and I am being charitable here, because other more ominous conclusions are probable) derives from the fact that a number of writers on Zen have noted that nothing whatsoever exists outside of consciousness. While at first this seems no more than a statement of the obvious, its visual and emotional internalization is often the initial step in a novice’s passage toward enlightenment, a state of being that Alan Watts, in a deliberate play on Judaeo-Christian theology, describes as “at-one-ment”: the ineffable condition Zen calls satori, in which all distinctions between self and other vanish. What we are talking about is thus a profoundly powerful experience, all the more compelling to Americans because it is an experience that has been thoroughly purged from Judaism and Christianity, probably because it was so absolutely central to Druidical Paganism – note for example Taliesin’s “there is no thing in which I have not been.” But it remains an experience that is exclusively spiritual. It is no more relevant to understanding modern socioeconomic reality than the Japanese rape of Nanking is relevant to understanding Zen. Yet whether accidental or deliberate, its misrepresentation as “we create our own reality” is very useful as a goad to force people into the ratrace – no doubt the reason est, Lifespring and its kindred have found such weighty support in the boardrooms of corporate America, particularly as mandatory indoctrination for lower-level sales and managerial employees.

The foregoing is such an implicit indictment of private enterprise, I should perhaps point out here that I am a conservative not because I exalt the free market, but rather because I have seen the infinitely malignant evil of bureaucratic omnipotence – not in some far-off realm like Soviet Armenia, but right here in the United States. I do not exalt the “free market” as an alternative because in truth the “free market” does not exist. What we have in the world today are ultimately only two economic doctrines: one, variously labeled “socialism” or “Communism” or “fascism,” inevitably leads to ever-more-powerful bureaucracies; the other, variously labeled “free enterprise” or “capitalism,” is in reality merely “monopolism” and is thus nothing more than an updated version of feudalism, complete with a vast underclass of serfs.

I believe that anytime we are choosing labels for socioeconomic phenomena we should employ the “by-their-works- so-shall-ye-know-them” test. Thus we might call the ideologies of socialism, Communism and fascism bureaucratism because the construction and expansion of bureaucracies is inevitably and demonstrably their paramount result. We could call monopoly capitalism moneyism because the acquisition of money is avowedly its sole purpose.

Bureaucratism is at its core the endorsement of parasitic hierarchies: a colossal pyramid scheme on the most outrageous scale imaginable. Ironically it claims to minimize or transcend the human jungle but instead becomes exactly like that quintessential jungle creature: the leech. Bureaucracies produce nothing and they enslave the people they pretend to serve. But their greatest evil is that without exception they sanctify bigotry and petty malice as policy, and do so utterly immune from any system of checks and balances or appeals, thereby squandering human lives that might otherwise have amounted to a great deal more. The ultimate example of bureaucratism is not the Soviet Union, in which the bureaucracies failed to self-perpetuate, but rather the Third Reich, where the bureaucracies functioned like clockwork even after the Reich itself had failed.

Moneyism on the other hand embraces the reality of the human jungle and provides – albeit only to the extent of its schemes for assigning fiscal worth – some limited opportunity for genuine achievement and real advancement. The maintenance of these opportunities demand in turn the guarantee of some small degree of individual freedom, which is tolerated specifically because it allows the system to be self-correcting – the pivotal distinction when contrasting moneyism to bureaucratism. The ultimate example of moneyism is organized crime.

My personal conservatism derives not from any real enthusiasm for moneyism but rather from the fact I recognize it as the lesser evil – not to mention the ultimate property-rights foundation of all our concepts of freedom and civil rights, and truly the only choice under which the human creative impulse has anything more than the chance of the proverbial snowball in hell.

Which brings me back to my own circumstances. With his reference to “They,” David seems to suggest I avoid acknowledging my own errors. This is an absurd contention: the decisions that brought me to my present impasse, all of which date from the 1980s, were mine alone. In each instance, these decisions were carefully and thoughtfully made on the basis of the best information available to me at the time, and in each instance that information proved to be wrong. Not because I misread it, but because repeatedly during those unspeakably awful years I was deliberately lied to by a few employers and a long succession of bureaucrats. In other words, my ultimate error was the error of trust – a manifestation of my abused-child’s profound desire to avoid conflict unless I am safe behind the shield of press credentials – and I hope I am at last strong enough to guarantee myself it is a mistake I will never again repeat.

But it was not error alone that flung me into this cesspool of seemingly inescapable poverty. The destruction by fire in 1983 of literally all my life’s work – all the drafts and research notes for two book projects; the associated photographs; a separate body of photographic work dating back to 1952 and my first camera (many of the images shown and/or published); journalistic research files; an irreplaceable collection of award certificates and letters of commendation from 1963 onward; unpublished poetry and short fiction; all but 11 years of a journal I had begun keeping in 1954 – all this and so much more, the loss could go on for many pages. The material devastation, which will weigh upon me until I am in my grave, is that the fire robbed me of all hope of any sort of a genuinely comfortable retirement. The psychological devastation – very much part of the robbery process – included a ruinous bout of clinical depression that stole at least half a decade from my life.

Literally, the fire seemed an act of god. As it was described to me (I was in New York City when it occurred and the house that burned was in northwestern Washington state), the bearings in a relatively new electric alarm clock seized – something the fire investigators said they had never heard of happening before anywhere. The clock, on a bedside table, overheated and set fire to a folded newspaper. The newspaper set fire to window curtains. The house – a century-old pioneer home built of cedar logs – went up like the proverbial tinderbox. The house was rural and isolated. The blaze was not discovered until the structure was, in the parlance of firefighting, “fully involved.” The most eerie and profoundly disturbing fact of all is that – according to the remains of the clock – the fire started at exactly 4:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, which is 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time – precisely the moment I was meeting with a publishing-house editor in Manhattan to plan the marketing of a large segment of my work. Hence the fire was not only like an act of god, but like a lightning bolt of divine vengeance for some sin I cannot even imagine.

Clearly David did not know these things. Perhaps that is why he spoke of my alleged need to “find somebody to help” – which I happen to think is an absurd shift out of focus for someone who is having trouble helping himself – but the fact remains that helping others by providing vital information was one of the primary motives behind both of the lost-forever books and indeed remains one of the chief reasons I write. Moreover this is not fantasy; my belief that my own insights are useful to others has been confirmed more times than I can count. The problem is not their usefulness; it is rather the fact one of the expressions of the values inherent in moneyism is that no one is willing to pay for my skills (or anyone else’s) unless they can be shown to have a direct connection to the bottom line.

If I were advising a client, I would tell him to advertise, advertise, advertise. Which is unabashedly one of my reasons for writing this blog: perhaps it will get my message out to some potential buyer – perhaps even strongly enough to motivate a sale.

Beyond my alacrity with words I literally have no other useful talent. My knack for visual thinking is as keen as ever, but my photographic and design skills are as obsolete as the T-square and the Speed Graphic. True, I can still do physical work – but only for short periods of time, and even then, all too often at terrible cost in terms of subsequent arthritic pain – which makes my manual labor and gardening abilities utterly useless as potential income earners. An eight-hour day clearing brush – something I would not have flinched at even a decade ago – is forever beyond me.

Hence if I am forced by circumstances to stop writing, there is no way I will be of any use to anyone. Indeed there is no other aspect of me that is of any potential value at all save to my dogs and my few remaining human friends, who cherish me merely because I am. And the number of my friends continues to dwindle – most of my lifetime friends have already died.

Despite the limitations in my skills menu, I continue to prospect for job opportunities. I have met several times with employment counselors, but the problem that invariably stumps us both is the fact that journalism skills don’t transfer well. The two realms that offer the best fit are intelligence work and law enforcement – fields for which I am too old by several decades. After that is teaching, from which I am excluded by formal education requirements. Next on the list is public relations, but that invariably involves running the gauntlet of corporate personnel-office scrutiny, and the fact that journalists of my generation were typically iconoclasts and troublemakers by profession (often hired for precisely those reasons) guarantees my unsuitability for the corporate realm – its own yes-man ethos even more harshly conformist than a Victorian girls’ finishing school. The one area in which there is some legitimate reason for hope is the whole field of non-profit social service agencies, as in the various organizations that serve the aged or the severely disabled. Here the problem is not lack of interest on the part of potential employers, but lack of funding. One director with whom I spoke a few months ago said he would be delighted to have me edit his newspaper, but there had been no funding available for the job since his last editor was downsized out the door three years ago.

Some of my former employers are still alive, and their respect for my talent – particularly my ability to ferret out difficult, complicated stories and make them truly understandable to average readers – is unchanged. But they agree I am a kind of dinosaur, a relic of the old, blue-collar, start-out-as-a-copy-boy regime that is now so throughly disparaged. And they believe -- probably correctly -- that I would never be accepted in any major newsroom of today, with its academic snobbery, its victim-identity cultism and its genuinely Stalinist political “correctness.” Hence what I look for is a backwater weekly or a small rural daily. Not only would I probably fit right in, I can no longer really imagine living in a city again – even a small city. There is something dreadfully addictive about stepping out into your yard and looking up at the stars – their cold brilliance undiluted by city lights.

And maybe, since I will keep plowing the ground, something will turn up. I surely hope it will – and of course I will pounce on it if it does – but at the same time I have learned from bitter experience it is better to harbor no hopes at all about the outcome.

Meanwhile I think David may owe me an apology for apparently suggesting I am a sniveling bum. But in any case it is I who owe him thanks – for without his incentive, this essay might never have been written.


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posted by at 03:01 AM : Comments (2)

June 11, 2004

Dog Story

IN MUCH BETTER TIMES than these, I had a big dog named Lee Roy. He was a boarding-kennel accident, half purebred Rottweiler, half purebred Golden Retriever, but he looked very much like a purebred Rotty with a long powerful tail. I got him when he was seven weeks old, a rowdy pup nobody else wanted, and from the very beginning he was a genuine character who in the too-short 13 years of his life generated enough anecdotes to fill an entire book. One of the ways he often delighted me and some of my closest friends as well was by playing what we all eventually understood to have been dog jokes – jokes that were all the more astonishing for the fact they were obviously carefully thought out.

There were three humans living on this land in its two houses then, just as there are today, but the psychodynamics were very different, because the other occupants were near soul-mates completely unlike the hostile kinfolk who live here now. The bigger house was then occupied by the people who are my two best friends in the entire world, a man named Jim and his wife Mary, and I was in the smaller house as I am today. Between us we had six dogs, three apiece, and Lee Roy was the leader of the entire canine pack.

Lee Roy first played what we took to be his most favorite dog joke one day in 1995 when Mary drove into town for groceries.

Because this is a rural area and the store is ten miles distant and we all practiced fuel economy even when gasoline was relatively cheap, we would almost invariably check with each other before shopping (“I’m going to the super market; do you need anything?”), and more often than not the answer was yes. It was August and clear and hot, and on this particular day I was stacking firewood – both houses here are heated by wood and we burned ten to 12 cords a winter – and Mary walked back to the woodshed to tell me she was going to the grocery store, and I said I needed a gallon of skim milk, and if they were still on sale, “a couple of bags of those Tostados,” which are un-flavored tortilla chips that go very well with tuna salad and other such summertime dishes.

Lee Roy and some of the other dogs had been keeping me company while I was stacking wood, but the others had gone off to hunt feral cats, and a little while ago Lee Roy had carefully even meticulously chosen a chew-stick by sniffing the entire unstacked four-cord pile dumped from our wood man’s truck. I had seen Lee Roy do this enough times to know he was looking for a length of cedar – Pacific Northwest dogs love to chew cedar just as Southern dogs love hickory sticks and sassafras poles – and soon of course he found what he wanted and carried it to a shady spot just out of my way and after a suitable interval of contemplating his treasure, he began to gnaw it. But now as Mary and I talked he stopped chewing and looked up and appeared to listen intently.

An hour later Mary returned with the groceries, and Lee Roy met her at the gate to the property. While Mary was unloading her own purchases from the back of her pickup truck, Lee Roy jumped up into the truck bed, peered into each of at least a half-dozen sacks until he found the two bags of Tostados, then snatched both bags and took off on a dead run toward the woodshed, about 100 yards away from the driveway where Mary had parked. I had gone into the barn, which is adjacent the woodshed, to get a hammer and nails to repair one of the firewood cradles, and as I stepped out into the sunlight again, there was Lee Roy rattling the Tostados bags as if to make sure I saw them – the bags dangling from his mouth, one on each side of his massive head. Then he ran full tilt to my house, laid the bags on the doorstep, and came prancing back all tail-wag and satisfaction and proud wolfen grin.

I was of course enormously impressed and hugely perplexed as well – how in the world could he have done that? – but I soon dismissed it as some sort of inexplicable coincidence and went back to stacking wood. But a few weeks later he did exactly the same thing with a head of celery, and not long after that, with two packages of pork chops – and no, he didn’t eat the meat until I cooked it and offered him some. That sort of product-recognition thing became so commonplace, Mary and Jim and I sometimes joked that Lee Roy was obviously a dog who could understand English better than some humans – and probably read it better as well.

What follows is a report that suggests Lee Roy might not have been joking at all. The research is summarized here. After you read it you’ll probably understand why now I think LeeRoy had maybe picked up on the fact we three humans are uncannily attuned to canines and was just trying to share with us that much more of himself. That we took it as a joke rather than a serious attempt at communication says volumes about why no one has yet responded to our attempts to communicate with other worlds.

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posted by at 01:42 PM : Comments (0)

June 10, 2004

Focal Point

OPINION POLLS ARE PROBABLY among the most misunderstood elements on the American political scene, and for that reason they are almost reflexively denounced by the partisans of whichever side is behind in the most up-to-date ratings. The usual accusations are that the pollsters are biased, or that the pollsters deliberately skewed their sample to obtain results pleasing to one side or another, and in either case are unfairly attempting influence the outcome of the election. But while it is true questions can be biased to produce desired responses – polls by anti-Second Amendment activists are a classic example of this sort of disinformation – such purposeful manipulation nevertheless renders the poll useless as a picture of reality: garbage in, garbage out. And I can’t think of any instance in which opinion- poll results demonstrably changed the outcome of an election (though it is surely arguable that election-day exit-polling may do so), nor have I ever known or heard of any documented proof that even a single voter was moved to switch candidates or positions on the basis of pre-election poll results. Poll-bashing – save where the polls are clearly dishonest (like those run by the down-with-self-defense looneys) – is thus mostly an exercise in pointless expulsion of hot air.

What a well-constructed poll can do – and this is its great utility – is provide campaign managers with a kind of statistical report card on how well (or how poorly) they are doing at any given time. For this potential to be fulfilled, the pollsters have to craft their questions properly, and they have to poll a sample of the population that is not only statistically random (and therefore truly representative) but is carefully selected to include only respondents who are likely to vote. Any error in the research model – the questions – or in the sample itself will render the results misleading and therefore worthless, a lesson learned the hard way by more than one local political campaigner. For the layperson, probably the best way to think about pre-election polls is that they are indeed analogous to report cards. Just like those dread reports to parents schools issue after some specified “grading period,” polls evaluate a campaign on its deportment and scholarship, with levels of achievement (or lack thereof) measured by how a campaign’s grasp of issues resonates with likely voters.

Thus President Bush’s declining poll numbers are – or should be – increasingly a matter of concern among his campaign advisors. Support for the President has already dropped beneath the point at which any other incumbent has won re-election, and the reason is obvious: the ruinous combination of the administration’s own blunders at home and abroad, and the gross magnification of these blunders by a media establishment that is more hostile to George Bush than to any other President in my lifetime and possibly in the entire history of the Republic. A third factor in this equation is the increasing aloofness – many would call it arrogance – of the President himself, a stance disturbingly reminiscent of his own father and the debacle of 1992. Instead of rebutting his critics, Bush ignores them – precisely as if he expects to be re-elected by Divine intervention – which some of his more rabid detractors have indeed already charged.

While there is little doubt the apparent resolution of the Iraqi crisis via the United Nations has deftly co-opted one of the Democrats’ two issues, the other – the economy – remains the one upon which Bush can yet lose the election. Despite the statistical recovery that is unquestionably underway, there remain stubborn pockets of unemployment throughout the nation. Some of these hard-hit areas are key electoral-college states. All of them are afflicted by staggeringly high fuel prices, and in some – my home state of Washington among them – runaway fuel prices have already sent shipping costs soaring and thus triggered inflation in the price of food and other necessities. The President’s decision to cut taxes and let the marketplace solve its own problems without additional federal interference was brilliant – and some economists say it may have prevented a full-fledged depression. But neither the President nor his associates have been successful in telling this story to the electorate, and the results of the poll linked here (for which thanks are due Andrew Sullivan), merely underscore that fact.

Another big reason the President is losing ground is that Second Amendment advocates have seen through the eyewash of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s “individual right” proclamation and are increasingly disaffected by the grim reality of Bush’s own stated anti-gun positions. These include support for renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, enactment of new prohibitions on private firearms sales and gun shows, and most of all, his support for the draconian NICS Improvement Act. NICS Improvement, formerly named the “Our Lady of Peace Act,” (Google either title) would begin the imposition of New York City-type gun controls on the entire nation by criminalizing even minor mental illness, and on that basis – labeling all mentally ill persons “mental defectives” no matter the brevity or mildness of their condition – would expand the universe of prohibited persons accordingly. This would eventually ban as many as half of all U.S. citizens from firearms ownership – no exceptions, no appeals – and thereby deny them forever any meaningful right to self defense.

But from the perspective of the War and America’s defense against Islam’s renewal of its 1300-year onslaught against civilization, the most telling aspect of Bush’s opposition to the Second Amendment is how he continues to allow two anti-gunners, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, to brazenly obstruct the will of Congress that the nation’s commercial airline pilots be armed – just as pilots were in the years of “airmail” service. The obstruction is old news, so there is no doubt Bush approves of it. But in this instance, Bush’s hidden anti-Second Amendment agenda is endangering the nation, as documented here.

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posted by at 11:13 AM : Comments (0)

June 09, 2004

Soap Opera

MY SO-CALLED “FAMILY,” WHICH is second to none in treachery and hatefulness, has betrayed me once more, and as a consequence, I will not be returning to East Tennessee this summer after all – or for that matter ever again. In truth – and it is a bitter truth I have avoided for most of my 64 years – I have had no family at all since 1945. In that year, my mother’s intended post-partum abortion was interrupted by my father, which saved my life. But shortly thereafter, following the inevitable divorce, my father married his secretary and attempted to abandon me in a Virginia orphanage, but was forbidden to do so by the court. Since that time I have lived with the bitter knowledge that I am quite literally the human equivalent of a dog no one wanted. To my father I was never more than an object of embarrassment and contempt, while to my stepmother I was a despised burden. My mother hated me too – her attempt at ending my life on Midsummer’s Eve demonstrated her true feelings beyond any scintilla of doubt – and most of her family regarded me as an unwelcome reminder of an episode best forgotten.

But stupidly – like the dog who returns to an abusive owner out of the desperate fantasy that the next time it will somehow be better – I allowed myself to be victimized (or at the very least betrayed) by these people again and again, fantasizing that it didn’t really matter I was only a “half” brother or a “half” nephew or – worse – someone who had witnessed the infinite viciousness in my own mother’s heart and thus could not ever be trusted by any of her siblings and kin. Like an abused dog, I believed if I but tried just a bit harder, I would be accepted, perhaps even loved -- and like an abused dog, I was only kicked again.

That will not happen any more. After the events of yesterday, I have banished nearly all these people from my life. I will not let any of them -- even the ones I have not formally rejected -- into my life ever again. And if that means I spend the remainder of my years alone save for my two canine friends – friends who sense my emotions and thus were uncommonly solicitous all day -- so be it.

I post a summary of this wretched matter because it will undoubtedly affect the future of my participation in this blog. As I promised Linda, I will continue posting for as long as I can and as often as I can. But at some point – at most in about a year – I will be ousted from the house in which I now live, the plug will be pulled on my Internet connection, and whether there will be anything in the way of writing from me beyond that moment is profoundly unlikely. To continue blogging would mandate that I find income at least double my tiny pension – and for a long-unemployed 64-year-old man, no matter what the degree of his talents, that is simply not realistically possible anywhere in today’s America. Indeed it would require a miracle: something that happens only to others, never to me. Once again, I am a dog no one wants or needs or has any use for, and probably the very best I dare hope is merely to remain at large and out of the pound for however many more months or years fate allows me to live.

Even so, I post on this miserable topic not to whine and whimper and practice self-humiliation (though I recognize there are many who will take it as all of that and worse) but rather in the hope someone somewhere might offer a useful, perhaps even life-saving suggestion.

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posted by at 12:56 PM : Comments (9)
» Ripples links with: Micro-Business 101- Addendum

Focal Point

I AM PROFOUNDLY UNCOMFORTABLE with the Bush Administration’s decision to involve the United Nations in the war in Iraq. But UN involvement is not the turn-about the jeering Democrats and some conservatives claim. It is instead the resumption of pre-war politics, and I am uncomfortable with it precisely because it unfortunately restores the credibility of an organization that was once literally the hope of the world but which has deteriorated into the most powerful criminal cartel on the planet – a fact vividly demonstrated by the truly obscene Oil-for-Food scandal.

Involving the UN also reeks of election-year desperation, a reversion to the tried and (un)true merely because so doing will steal an issue from an opponent, rather like Bill Clinton’s sudden decision to take welfare reform away from the Republicans. Even so there is no denying the tactic’s effectiveness: for now when John (Neville Chamberlain) Kerry complains of the situation in Iraq, it will be a complaint against the UN – one of the Left’s most sacrosanct of sacred cows – which means it will most likely be a complaint never uttered at all. The result will no doubt help President Bush regain some of the lost support that is so vividly reflected by recent polls, but if he continues his stumblingly passive campaign performance, I question whether that will be sufficient to ensure his re-election, especially given the unprecedented hostility of mass media.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the UN’s unanimous endorsement of post-June-30 Iraqi sovereignty, a long-range plan summarized by Paul Wolfowitz – the existence of which suggests determined Defense may have used the UN gesture as cover and concealment to take back the Iraqi policy-helm from always-treacherous State – is available here.

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posted by at 12:22 PM : Comments (0)

June 08, 2004

Focal Points

IN A DAY OF reading tributes to President Ronald Reagan, the following are two of the very best I could find – best as measured in terms of uniqueness: originality of approach and disclosure. I had hoped to discover three, but finally contented myself with these. One is by Spengler, the always-thought-provoking Asia Times columnist, who says President Reagan was the greatest commander-in-chief of the 20th Century. It is available here. The other is by Wesley Pruden, editor-in-chief of The Washington Times, and portrays the greatness of Reagan’s presidency and personhood in the context of the venom spewed by his present-day enemies, here.

DIPLOMATS, SPOOKS AND THE NEW YORK TIMES: A troubling report by Joel Mowbray suggests somebody at The Times conspired with anti-Bush Administration elements at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency to discredit Ahmed Chalabi and wreck the administration’s plans for postwar Iraq. The link is here.

SLEEPING MAKES US SMARTER: Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have discovered that sleep allows our brain cells to integrate new information so we awake better able to use it. The report doesn’t say so, but this function of sleep is obviously analogous to what happens when you download a program and then re-boot your computer to finalize the installation. The details, already integrated, are available here.

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posted by at 10:19 AM : Comments (2)

June 06, 2004

Rest in Peace, President Reagan

Severed from the Internet as I was, I did not learn until just this minute of former President Ronald Reagan's death. Because my coverage of his presidency was always from afar, for the next 24 hours I will post nothing more here, so readers can focus on eulogies of this great American by writers who genuinely knew him. Requiescat in pace, Mister President.

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posted by at 01:15 PM : Comments (0)

The Reality You Have Accessed Is...Disconnected

Thanks to a screw-up at my local ISP, my Internet and e-mail services were shut off for most of Saturday but were restored early Sunday morning.

While I still don't know the reason for the error -- apparently a paperwork mistake arising from the recent addition of a second telephone line gave birth to a DSL disconnection blunder -- that is why I never I never returned to post weekend reading as promised, for which I apologize.

(What is there, some kind of karmic or astrological obstruction monster lurking in my neighborhood? Maybe that was the bright light in the sky the other night...which you can see for yourself here.)

In any case -- fate, the gods of the Internet and the troll that lives inside my computer all willing -- I'll be back with more tomorrow.

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posted by at 11:48 AM : Comments (2)

June 04, 2004

Focal Point

THIS IS POSTED LATE again today, not because of any personal trauma but because I was obstructed by persistent site-access problems early this morning, their source undetermined. My apologies for any resultant inconvenience.

Other obligations including the need to get my dogs Brady and Jasmine their annual inoculations will keep me busy for most of the rest of the day, but I’ll be back sometime this evening to post a couple of offerings for the weekend. Then it’s “have a good weekend” and farewell until Monday.

*********

I WAS A CHILD during World War Two. I have proud memories of the war effort at home including my late father’s diligently compensatory service for the War Production Board – he had been in the Army in the 1930s, had shot in match-competition using the now-legendary 1903 Springfield, had made corporal in a time when promotions were rare and slow, and had demonstrated such a remarkably high level of military skill, there is little doubt he would have seen action as a sniper and probably eventual promotion to officer-grade in some marksmanship unit – but much to his profound frustration, he was barred from further military service by a heart condition that was the legacy of childhood rheumatic fever. This was indeed the greatest frustration of his life, especially since the problem was not discovered until “new” medical standards were imposed at the end of his first enlistment, sometime in 1936 or 1937, the details unclear to me because he never talked about them or the profound and devastating blow they represented.

But I also have much more recent and deeply infuriating memories of the American home-front in another war, recollections of “anti-war activists” who spat upon and otherwise viciously harassed veteran soldiers returning from Vietnam. These "activists," a vast mob of infinitely selfish, morally imbecillic cowards, made no secret of the fact they despised all military veterans no matter what the war, and in many instances their "activism" included hurling human feces at men who instead should have been given ticker-tape parades and showered with rose petals. Thus because Tom Brokaw was very much a part of the so-called anti-war movement (though as far as I know he never spat on soldiers or pelted them with dung), I have always felt his “greatest generation” accolade was subtly condescending – an especially cruel form of damnation via praise. This is particularly true since Brokaw is surely one of the members of the hate-America-first school of modern journalism – though he is far from its most obnoxious perpetra(i)tor -- which has always made his suffusions of praise toward World War Two veterans seem vaguely hypocritical: the sort of thing you feel but can’t really single out for proper expression.

But now comes David Gelernter refining and articulating my half-formed thoughts on the subject as perfectly as if he had read my very own subconscious mind – in fact doing it far better than I could do because Gelernter makes points that would never have occurred to me – all of which results in a significant and vitally thought-provoking essay available here.

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posted by at 10:12 PM : Comments (0)

June 03, 2004

Focal Point

AGAIN IN DEFENSE OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT: I am posting much later than usual because I badly wrenched my shoulder clearing brush with a tractor yesterday evening -- a tree-branch caught my canvas coat and nearly yanked me out of the saddle -- and I am still a bit muzzy from painkillers. But I want to share the following link because of its ruinous Second Amendment implications.

Remember the "Our Lady of Peace Act"? It has been renamed the "NICS Improvement Act" and remains alive in both houses of Congress. Just like its predecessor, this measure to "improve" the National Instant Check System would criminalize mental illness. Lawyers familiar with mental health law and advocates for the mentally ill all agree its enactment would condemn any and all mentally ill individuals as "mental defectives" no matter how minor or temporary their affliction. The proposal would also add the names of anyone so condemned to a national computer-maintained roster of officially declared untermenschen, and on that basis would permanently deny the right of firearms ownership and thus also the corollary right of self-defense.

These facts become profoundly significant in light of the claim that as many as half the people of the United States will at sometime in their lives suffer from diagnosable mental illness. While the 50 percent estimate is sometimes disputed, the following figures are not in dispute at all: a just-completed American Medical Association study that at least one in four U.S. residents currently admit suffering from some form of defined mental illness.

Every one of these folks would become permanently prohibited persons – no exceptions, no appeals – under the NICS Improvement Act. They would be forever denied their right to own guns and thus forever denied their right to defend themselves if attacked or victimized.

Bear in mind too the NICS Improvement Act is supported by a broad coalition in both houses of Congress: Democrats and Republicans, anti-gunners and the National Rifle Association – with the NRA once again showing the infinite hypocrisy of its Nazi-like hostility to anyone who is mentally ill – never mind the brevity or mildness of the condition, and never mind the fact that the mentally ill are statistically no more violent than any other subgroup in America (and considerably less violent than some).

The link to the AMA survey – vital information in this ongoing debate – is here.

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posted by at 09:03 PM : Comments (5)

June 02, 2004

Focal Points

TODAY’S FOCAL POINTS begin with a correction: my frequent and always welcome e-mail correspondent Allegra tells me I got it wrong when I credited her with writing out the Lakota story of the original White Buffalo encounter (May 27). Allegra says the text was forwarded to her by a woman whose screen name is danu, lower-case letters intentional, and Allegra asks me to post according. Since I should have double-checked with Allegra on the source of the text (but didn’t because I was in a hurry), the fault is ultimately mine. The lesson – of course – is an old one: “never assume anything.” Sorry, folks.

But that’s not the only lesson here today. There is another, and I think it is far more important:

My first version of the above correction included the phrase, “describing the Lakota myth of the White Buffalo.” Then suddenly I was struck very hard by the nasty ethnocentric prejudice (and implicit belittlement) in almost any non-anthropological use of the term “myth.” Would we unthinkingly label a Bible-story a “myth”? Do we speak of the “myth” of Jesus? Then how dare we – myself very much included – label a story “myth” that is every bit as important and spiritually significant to the Lakota (and to the Plains People in general) as the Christmas story is to Christians or the Passover story is to Jews? And why in the name of all the gods that are did it take me until I was 64 years old to figure that out? Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Now on to today’s links:

THE PRESIDENT FINALLY GETS WITH IT: As regular readers of this site know, I am a Bush supporter who has nevertheless been relentless in my criticism of the President. But now there is reason for genuine praise that seems genuinely deserved. Because I did not see the event in question, I can provide no firsthand comment – save that if the following account is true (and I have every reason to believe it is), it offers the bright new possibility of a desperately hoped-for and clearly necessary tactical change in the President’s re-election strategies. The link to this uplifting report is here.

ANOTHER UN/TERRORIST OUTRAGE: Michelle Malkin scores another of her journalistic coups with an exclusive report on how United Nations officials knowingly allow Islamic terrorists to borrow U.N. ambulances to haul terrorists from one ambush site to another. The terrorists are also using the ambulances to transport suicide-bombing equipment, in one instance concealing a bomb under a sick Palestinian child. But Malkin’s most infuriating disclosures are that many of these ambulances were paid for by U.S. taxpapers – and that the U.S. mainstream media is deliberately suppressing the story, no doubt in service to the Big Lie that “Islam means Peace.” But Malkin clearly knows that what Islam truly means is “submission” – submission to slavery, submission to sharia, submission to the global caliphate – and her eye-opening report, a vital read, is available here.

UNDER THE RADAR, FAST: This is an important description of warfare in Iraq and a scathing analysis of its aftermath of howling critics and pontificating politicians. I won’t give away the story with more detail, but I emphatically urge you to link to it, here.

THE QUAGMIRE OF POST-WAR GERMANY: While I knew there had been substantial unrest in conquered Germany – how could there not have been after a dozen years of Adolf Hitler’s agitation and Josef Goebbels’ propaganda – I did not realize the extent of the troubles. But this report provides an interesting perspective on events in post-war Iraq. It suggests that restive populations may well be the norm in all such circumstances – a disclosure that makes the administration’s blunders of planning and intelligence all the more objectionable, but also gives what occurred an aura of inevitability. A thought-provoking read, the link is here.

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posted by at 02:32 PM : Comments (0)

June 01, 2004

Matrifascism: Subversion by a Sisterhood of Apocalyptic Hatred

by Loren Bliss

PROBABLY THE MOST thought provoking comment I have ever received in response to something I wrote – and this includes all the reports and commentaries I produced during my 30-year journalism career – was posted on this site sometime Sunday by blogger David St Lawrence. It is available in the readers’ remarks following “None Dare Call It Feminism” (below). But for the sake of convenience, suffice it to note that David was responding to my description of the utterly unfounded, viciously ruinous sex-abuse charges that swept across America during the 1980s and 1990s, and more specifically to the fact this devastating plague was vindictively spawned by matrifascist bureaucrats in service to specific matrifascist doctrines. The epicentral passages of David’s letter are quoted here:

These women seem like the spiritual descendants of the Harpies of Greek mythology.

Since every action generates mutual action before it arouses an eventual counter-action, what other monsters of history will arise before we see another generation of heroes and heroines drive them back into the darkness?

Armageddon anyone?

Again for the convenience of readers, here is a slight revision of my reply (itself available in the comments following “None Dare...”) which is repeated here as the beginning of a much-enlarged response:

Very perceptive, David. I knew a few of these hatred-spewing neo-Harpies personally during my New York City years, and there was indeed a seeming aura of psychic darkness around them -- an observation one would hardly dare verbalize in haughtily secular Manhattan, but which in realms more spiritually aware would at the very least be recognized as a valid concern.

To me, however, the most frightening element of all is simultaneously more karmically indicative and more mundane: the utterly black kinship matrifascism shares with genuine N.S.D.A.P. (National Socialist German Workers' Party) Nazism -- a kinship spawned of the fact both ideologies are founded entirely on hatred.

That the Nazis' hate-objects were specifically defined by ethnicity or race, while the matrifascists despise the entire male half of humanity, suggests to me the matrifascist potential for ultimate evil is thus many times greater. The Nazis' hatred begot a World War and the most murderous genocide in human history. What then will matrifascist hatred beget?

The notion of matrifascism as a causative factor in Armageddon is one that had frankly escaped me -- and its ring of truth is utterly chilling.

To my knowledge, no other writer has explored -- even superficially -- the doctrinal similarities between formal Mein Kampf Nazism and the brand of feminism that began to emerge in the United States during the middle 1970s. While Grace Shinell was merely one voice among many – and hardly more readable than the turgid “English-grammar-is-patriarchal-oppression” feminist norm – Shinell’s work came to my attention because it was included in an issue of the Heresies Quarterly (Summer 1978; Google: “Heresies Collective”). This expensively produced hardbound volume was officially dedicated to the topic of “the Great Goddess” and hence was (presumably) valuable source material in my then-ongoing research for the lost book “Glimpses of a Pale Dancer,” the manuscript, photographs and notes for which were all destroyed by fire in 1983. In any case, it was after reading Shinell in June of 1978 that I compounded the noun “femiNazi” – though it was probably one of those constructions that occurred to many writers simultaneously. I then employed the term several times in my journal, and first used it publicly in a newspaper column later in 1978 or perhaps in 1979. A number of years afterward – as femiNazi became de-Nazified by overuse – I substituted “matrifascist,” which I think is far more descriptive (See “None Dare....”) but obviously has yet to catch on.

My copy of Heresies was burned to ashes, but because of the curious randomness of the fire damage, I lost only about two thirds of the year-by-year journal I had begun keeping in 1955, this during a part of my 15th summer spent in the woods of northern Michigan. Many of my post-1970 journals survived the fire entirely, and were later discovered – damp and charred around the edges – beneath the rubble of the collapsed two-story house. Even now, after 21 years, they still reek of the conflagration. The following is an excerpt from my 1978 journal, revised slightly to tighten up the writing, the quotations after the title-citation directly from Shinell’s text:

Shinell begins “Women’s Primacy in the Coming Reformation” by recounting scientific evidence allegedly supporting the notion the male gender is intrinsically inferior, and concludes by urging that science and “magic” be combined to abolish the male gender all together, presumably so that males can fulfill a secret desire of being reincarnated as women. Shinell also contends that “an entirely natural fear of extinction” leads men to commit what she considers the ultimate sacrilege, “destruction of creation,” by which she means war, ecological abuse and all the other ills for which feminism blames the male gender. “Sperm banking and cloning experiments,” Shinell argues, “demonstrate that the reduction and even the extinction of the male sex is practicable – and history makes it warrantable.” In other words, here is the rationale for the feminists’ final solution: employing, once again, precisely the methods pioneered by Heinrich Himmler.

The next paragraph – especially given matrifascism’s present-day glorification of women who kill – was truly prophetic:

Shinell is an extremist among extremists, a true femiNazi, and fortunately her ideological sisters seem predisposed to be more tolerant. But that is no guarantee they will always be so. In just a decade, feminism has moved from the outskirts to the mainstream of Western Civilization, and Shinell’s is merely the logical product of the female rage and scorn that have been released and mobilized in the process. To accommodate the genocidal ethos Shinell has proposed, feminist slogans (“All Men Are Rapists/All Women Are Victims”) need not be revised at all – and the feminist notion that “the personal is political” could easily be used to elevate to the status of holy revolutionary every woman who has ever murdered her father, husband, lover or son. Had Elisabeth Bathory’s uncounted victims been male instead of female, this blood-drinking Hungarian countess would no doubt already rank among the femiNazi saints.

Feminism’s doctrinal turn toward wholesale state-sanctioned slaughter would be alarming enough if feminism were but one in a broad spectrum of leftist ideologies. But the fact of the matter – something else few writers dare acknowledge – is that since the early 1970s, the matrifascist strain of feminism has been steadily ousting Marxism as the dominant ideology of the American Left. By the mid-1980s, matrifascism had triumphed: its demands for political “correctness” and enforcement of various victim-identity shibboleths (including the moronic mandate to “celebrate diversity”) would become oppressive, zero-tolerance norms on campus, in the workplace and even in the military. Indeed, it would not be unfair to describe the college-campus and workforce cults of political “correctness” as the feminist-movement’s men’s auxiliaries – membership in which is an absolute prerequisite to sexual license – as far too many apprentice, college and military-age males clearly understand and are driven by hormonal needs to accept without question. The young male’s fear of involuntary celibacy is a powerful goad to compliance, and leftist exploitation of it is an old story -- note the anti-draft (and thus pro-Viet Cong) poster from the late 1960s: Joan Baez and her two sisters in sluttish pose and slatternly attire beneath the banner headline, “Girls Say Yes to Boys Who Say No.”

Moreover publication of Shinell’s work in the Heresies quarterly gave its murderous viewpoint the very imprimatur a decade-earlier version – by Andy Warhol’s infamous assailant Valerie Solanis – had most assuredly lacked. Solanis, though she has become a present-day matrifascist heroine, was a certified lunatic who in 1968 tried to murder Warhol with a stolen .25 caliber automatic she evidently bought from some junky acquaintance. Before the shooting, Solanis had written a diatribe entitled “SCUM Manifesto” – “SCUM” an acronym for “Society for Cutting Up Men” – from which the ideas in “Women’s Primacy” were obviously derived, and which has since become one of the dark gospels of matrifascism. But Solanis was essentially a street-person, a grubby hanger-on at Warhol’s studio, while Shinell was a creature of the New York literary scene even before she became a feminist ideologue; she was in fact an associate of the prestigious Millay Colony, a retreat for writers and artists founded by the sister of Edna St. Vincent Millay. And Heresies was probably the most ambitious publishing project in the history of the feminist renaissance. It was also by far the most prestigious, in large measure due to its extensive (but mostly unpublicized) endorsement by the federal government in the form of substantial grants from the taxpayer-funded National Endowment. For the feminist movement at large, which by 1978 had become both monolithic and viciously conformist, anything published in Heresies automatically acquired much the same infallible authority traditional Roman Catholics grant to edicts of the pope.

Thus 26 years later it is instructive to contemplate just how far the matrifascist brand of feminism has already thrust the United States in the direction of tyranny. It would take a volume the size of my Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary to document all of the erosions of American liberty that have been inflicted on us by matrifascism, whether directly (as in the ongoing onslaught against the Bill of Rights) or indirectly (as in public education that maliciously subverts American liberty by denouncing American principles as falsehoods and exalting, for instance, Islam as a true “religion of peace.”)

The most glaring example of matrifascism’s tyrannical impulse is of course the campaign against the Second Amendment, complete with froth-at-the-mouth denunciations of all weaponry as the means by which men originally overthrew “the ancient harmonies,” and even more venomous attacks on firearms owners that specifically denounce guns as logical expressions of the American/Occidental “rape culture” – the ultimate refinement of the hated penis. As clinically irrational as these claims may sound, the fact remains that in slightly more than a decade – and in spite of (or perhaps because of) just such assertions as those cited – feminism vectored the so-called gun-control movement from a lunatic-fringe hysteria into a powerful faction within the American political mainstream.

Though it is less commonly recognized, matrifascist assaults of equal intensity are underway against the First, Fourth, Fifth and Tenth amendments as well: examples include “hate-speech” prohibitions, zero-tolerance policies in public schools, suspension of rules of evidence in rape and sexual harassment cases, and the brazenly ex-post-facto Lautenberg Amendment. (Additional reading on these topics will be listed in a partial bibliography at the end of this piece.) The reason these onslaughts so often remain unpublicized is that the institutions which traditionally protected us from such tyrannies – the press and the American Civil Liberties Union -- have both themselves been co-opted by matrifascism. The biased state of the media has long been obvious, though it is frequently – and incorrectly – identified as merely “leftist,” when in fact its oust-Bush, down-with-American-liberty, banish-Western-Civilization reactions are specific expressions of the matrifascist agenda: belittlement of traditional males and the subversion of “patriarchy” by any and all means possible. The ACLU’s downfall was far more clandestine; public notice of its new role as a matrifascist front was withheld until its sponsorship of demonstrations on behalf the murderess Andrea Yates, who methodically drowned each of her children, but in matrifacist eyes was guilty of nothing more serious than post-partum abortion times five.

Which brings us directly to the uncomfortable topic of abortion itself. A major argument of anti-abortion forces is that the deaths of untold millions of unborn infants is in fact a feminist-perpetrated holocaust and thus links feminists and Nazis in an unholy twinship.of mass murder. While this assertion undoubtedly contains elements of truth, use of the term “feminist” in such a context is slanderously imprecise. Not only does it obscure the vital fact that by no means all “feminists” are “matrifascists, ” it also ignores an apparently quite large and growing group of feminists who oppose the hoary matrifascist shibboleth of “free abortion on demand” yet strongly favor keeping abortion legal in limited circumstances. However, thanks to the matrifascist tactic of always portraying the women’s movement as rigidly unified on all matters of doctrine and intent – a ploy further enforced by censorship of both news reporting and academic inquiry -- the number of such feminists remains unknown. (It is an aside, but my own contention is the term “feminist” should be an honorific, limited to women who demand equality before the law but correctly recognize they would not even be able to articulate their objectives were it not for individual liberties established by the American Revolution and protected by the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. )

Caught up in their own anguish, the anti-abortionists allow their chronic outrage to become a red herring, with the result both they and the general public miss a vital point: that the likenesses between matrifascism and classic, Mein Kampf Nazism go far beyond the horrific carnage resulting from the morally imbecillic use of abortion for gender-suppression or casual (as opposed to emergency) birth control. Here are just a few of those similarities:

– The Nazis believed in an original golden age of Aryan hero-ubermenschen overthrown by uppity untermenschen and uncontrolled mongrelization, a fast-and-loose adaptation of symbolism found in pan-Germanic folklore. The matrifascists believe in an original Age of Matriarchy, the time of the “Ancient Harmonies,” a belief borrowed from the metaphors of pre-Christian Greek and Celtic myth but interpreted literally and then given a nasty political twist by addition of the matrifascist doctrine the “harmonies” were overthrown only when women foolishly allowed men to have weapons.

– The Nazis proclaimed themselves the only true fighters for German freedom. The matrifascists proclaim themselves the only true fighters for female equality and female rights in general.

– Josef Goebbels’ unequaled mastery of media manipulation allowed the Nazis to position themselves as the rightful protectors of Germany and to define German identity. Thus they increasingly dominated the German elections and finally came to power. Matrifascist control of information allows matrifascism to position itself as the rightful protector of women’s interests, the final arbiter as to the needs of womanhood and the nature of female identity, and thus to increasingly dominate America in every realm at all levels.

– The Nazis denounced liberty as an expression of decadence cunningly designed to facilitate the economic and political manipulations of an “International Jewish Conspiracy”and thus the reason for Germany’s suffering under the Treaty of Versailles. Matrifascism denounces liberty as the facilitator of “patriarchal oppression” and therefore the root cause of all female suffering.

In this context – because matrifascism underwent a similar experience – it is worth mentioning the failed Munich Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923, after which Hitler was imprisoned and thus given time to refine the theories he set out in Mein Kampf, most of which he wrote in his poshly comfortable “cell” at the fortress of Landsberg. The Nazis’ post-putsch goals remained the same – total domination of Germany -- but their tactics changed radically: now instead of agitating on street corners they would infiltrate the establishment. Matrifascism’s eerily parallel tactical revision followed the devastating failure of feminism’s nationwide 1971 effort to mobilize the National Welfare Rights Organization as an army of “raised-consciousness” militants. Brandishing the slogan “Welfare Is a Feminist Issue,” demanding an immediate moratorium on social services to males and proportional increases in stipends and services to females, slumming feminists agitated in nearly every NWRO chapter in America. But welfare mothers wanted no part of it – especially the feminist intent of abolishing military disability stipends – and the feminists were angrily expelled as “Little-Miss-Fluff-bottom college girls,” “stupid troublemakers,” or simply “Communist rich-bitches.”

With their usual penchant for historical revision, the matrifascists attempted to dispose of the entire embarrassing episode by dropping it down the Orwellian memory-hole. I doubt there is a feminist text today that mentions the NWRO debacle at all. But I remember it very well: I was the press officer for one of the NWRO-affiliates targeted for “mobilization.” I also remember vividly how the feminists responded to their ouster: enraged to tears and spitting venom with every word, they bitterly denounced welfare mothers as “hopelessly reactionary” and retreated to the posh towers of academe – where it was decided that a saner and by far safer tactic would be to simply infiltrate the welfare bureaucracy. It is probably no coincidence that -- during the next 20 years -- the infiltrators and their ideological sisters vengefully feathered their own nests with a 5,390 percent increase in welfare administrative costs while slashing stipends and services to the poor by more than half – at least 59 percent. (These numbers are derived from data in Statistical Abstract of the United States, and they are not typos.)

Indeed the matrifascists have already employed all of the techniques outlined by Hitler in "Mein Kampf." The only way a minority party can achieve power, der Fuehrer said, was by alliance with, and eventual takeover of, one or more of the organs of the state: the Nazis' alliance was thus with the military, with the German education system, with the monopolist pillars of the German economy (Krupp et al) and with the judiciary of the doomed Weimar Republic. In the case of matrifascism, there was not so much alliance as infiltration. The matrifascist takeover of the informational media, the public-school and higher-education systems at all levels, the entire social-service bureaucracy, and a substantial portion of the American judiciary is already complete.

But not all matrifascist infiltration efforts were aimed at the establishment. Another target – this in the mid-1970s – was the rapidly growing neo-Pagan movement, a phenomenon that in its early years tended to be instinctively environmentalist but otherwise mostly apolitical.

From 1967 through about 1973 or 1974, the feminist renaissance was instinctively hostile to religion of any kind – a bias no doubt resulting from the substantial Marxist influence that was part of its ideological foundation. But feminists of all types reserved their greatest antagonism for the Pagan renaissance, a movement that was the new feminism’s exact historical contemporary, but took place in the greater Counterculture rather than in the rarified atmospheres of urban bohemian political ferment and the revolutionary-faddist “affinity groups” that had so developed. Indeed the New Paganism was most likely to be found in partnership with the Back-to-the-Land movement, another Countercultural trend for which its feminist contemporaries had nothing but disdain, and in any case the neo-Paganism of that period was by definition almost exclusively a rural phenomenon. Even if its initial visions arose in urban circumstances, its visionaries were typically compelled by the strengths of their newfound convictions to return to rural living or embrace it for the first time.

The ultimate symbol of this spontaneous renewal of humanity’s most ancient and enduring spirituality was the reborn Great Goddess, in the late 1960s not yet named or even clearly seen, described by the poets of the period as the unnamed Mother of Dylan’s “Hard Rain,” Mother Earth, Mother Nature, rock opera’s “Acid Queen” and the nameless Muse of Tim Buckley’s exquisite poetry, to whom he sang, “if you tell me of all the pain you’ve had/ I’ll never smile again.” The feminists’ initial response was to ignore the semiotic implications of these developments and scornfully dismiss the Mother/Muse as yet another expression of the alleged “eternal male chauvinist conspiracy” to oppress women. But by 1970 the Goddess had been clearly identified by Shawn Phillips, Julie Felix and a few other such rock poets, and on many rural communes was already being invoked by name.

Within five years, sometime after the emergence of matrifascism as the dominant feminist ideology in the United States, most probably between 1974 and 1976, matrifascism made a curiously sudden 180-degree turn and began deliberately attempting to co-opt the Goddess as its own, to reshape Paganism into an exclusively female spirituality, and to radically politicize its adherents.

Even allowing for the early political/metaphysical cross-pollenation facilitated by Mary Daly and others like her, the dire implication of matrifascism’s sudden about-face has been obscured by the fact feminism has long since made peace with most creeds and denominations, to such an extent a great deal of mainstream Christianity and Reformed Judaism now has a definite feminist flavor if not a toxic matrifascist taint. But there is a vast difference between a reformist movement gradually gaining acceptance within the society it is attempting to change, and an avowedly revolutionary movement suddenly making an alliance with a group of people it formerly went out of its way to denounce not only as enemies but as reactionaries and obstructionists. The former process mirrors normal sociopolitical evolution. But a change of position as sudden and unexpected as matrifascism’s reversal of its stance toward Paganism suggests something far more sinister: a movement influenced (if not specifically directed) by some unknown power in service to some clearly subversive purpose -- and what in all human history is more subversive (and ultimately more divisive) than setting one gender against the other?

Yet having said all that, its conspiratorial implication seems almost too absurd a suggestion to allow into print. Almost -- for I also know enough of the history of intelligence operations to remember the post-Soviet disclosure that every organization founded in Europe to overthrow Russia’s Communist government was a creation of the variously-named KGB, a ruse to keep track of genuine enemies of the state. Hence the question is not “if” but “whom”– and there the answer is thoroughly reassuring: while many governments possess the requisite arrogance, and several probably possess the requisite skill, none possess the necessary equal measures of subtlety and patience. But the fact remains that the matrifascist turn-about raises several questions that have never been answered.

As far as I know, most Pagans have resisted the constant matrifascist pressure to shrink Paganism to a one-gender, female-separatist practice, but the vast majority – male and female alike – have abjectly surrendered to matrifascist political indoctrination. For example, Starhawk -- influential author of The Spiral Dance and therefore one who should surely know better – is an enthusiastic supporter of Islamic terrorism, presumably because Islam is a fellow enemy of “the ruling white patriarchy,” which of course includes both Israel and the United States. Yet Starhawk also writes passages like this: “At a time when every major ecosystem on the planet is under assault, calling nature sacred is a radical act because it threatens the overriding value of profit that allows us to despoil the basic life support systems of the earth. And at a time when women still live with the daily threat of violence and the realities of inequality and abuse, it is an equally radical act to envision deity as female and assert the sacred nature of female (and male) sexuality and bodies.” Apparently she is utterly, mindlessly heedless of the fact that under Islam, such words would condemn her to be tortured to death by a mob of chanting savages flinging jagged rocks. Or perhaps – like so many other matrifascists – Starhawk truly believes that the infinite horrors inflicted by a triumphant global caliphate will bring about a world-wide uprising of women, the collapse of patriarchy, and the final triumph of “gynocracy”: the female supremacist version of the Third Reich.

“But O don’t you know all that about exterminating men and imposing gynocracy and all is just...um, rhetoric?”

“Right. That’s exactly what the Germans told themselves whenever der Fuehrer ranted about exterminating the Jews.”

Even given matrifascism’s apocalyptic rationale – which certainly appeals to a vaguely Mansonoid, let’s-get-it-over-with mentality that has plagued America since the time of Mutually Assured Destruction -- I do not understand how people of normal or greater intelligence can be anything but hostile to totalitarian ideology no matter how seductive its promises. The plain truth is that without the protection of this nation’s founding principles, Paganism would not be allowed exist, the resurrection of the Goddess would have been slaughtered at its first moments, and the mothers of the feminist renaissance would have been lined up against some already-blood-splattered stone wall and shot. In this context, matrifascism’s oft-repeated declarations of sisterhood with Paganism and reassurances of a shared common purpose are profoundly suspect. An absolutist movement that once condemned all spirituality and even now would give government unlimited authority over all realms of living (including expressions of spirituality) could easily make another 180-degree ideological turn to once again oppose spirituality – just as deftly as Hitler set aside his non-aggression pact with Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union. Ultimately of course my rejection of matrifascism is fueled by the love and trust I bear for the ideals upon which America was founded – especially the constitution I swore 45 years ago to defend with my life -- but it is ever reinforced by my knowledge of history: especially of its wars, its Burning Times and its persecutions.

Meanwhile the matrifascists are ever more hostile to those same ideals and increasingly indifferent to that self-same history – if they even know it at all. The following speaker is the infamous Canadian matrifascist Sunera Thobani, professor of women’s studies at the University of British Columbia, and she is commenting on the U.S. response to the attacks of 9/11:

“...there will be no emancipation for women anywhere on this planet until the Western domination of this planet is ended.”

“Love thy neighbor. Love thy neighbor, we need to heed those words. Especially as all of us are being herded into the possibility of a massive war at the (behest) of the United States. We need to hear those words even more clearly today. Today in the world the United States is the most dangerous and most powerful global force unleashing prolific levels of violence all over the world.

“From Chile to El Salvador, to Nicaragua to Iraq, the path of U.S. foreign policy is soaked in blood. ... But do we feel any pain for the victims of U.S. aggression? 200,000 people killed only in the initial war on Iraq. That bombing of Iraq for 10 years now. Do we feel the pain of all the children in Iraq who are dying from the sanctions imposed by the United States? Do we feel that pain on an every-day level? Share it with our families and communities and talk about it on every platform that is available to us? Do we feel the pain of Palestinians who now for 50 years have been living in refugee camps? U.S. foreign policy is soaked in blood...and I think it is the responsibility of the women's movement to stop that, to fight against it.”

In other words, it is the responsibility of matrifascists everywhere to subvert the defense of American liberty and Western Civilization against Islam’s 1300-year jihad. Which is clearly happening, whether by the calculated erosion of our freedoms, the psychological and chemical castration of our male children, the methodical thievery of our unprecedented historical legacy from children of both genders, the hostile manipulation of information via media and classroom to discredit the war, hamstring the government, banish the Bush Administration, topple American liberty and destroy Western Civilization – all of this to “overthrow the white patriarchy” and symbolically hack off the despised metaphorical penis of a culture at least 4000 years old.

Never mind that matrifascist success will facilitate the triumph of Islam and thus subject every female on the planet to real genital mutilation. Never mind it will condemn every woman on earth to wear the burka.

As David St Lawrence said: “Armaggedon, anyone?”

*********

Some suggested reading:

Hentoff, Nat, Free Speech for Me – But Not for Thee, Harper-Collins: New York, 1992.

McGowan, William, Coloring the News, Encounter Books: San Francisco, 2001.

Shirer, William L., The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Simon & Schuster: New York, 1959 (rev. edition 1990).

Sommers, Christina Hoff, The War Against Boys, Simon & Schuster: New York, 2000.

Sommers, Christina Hoff, Who Stole Feminism? Simon & Schuster, New York, 1994

Suggested Googles:

Mary Daly
Andrea Dworkin
Guns and Feminism
Lautenberg Amendment
Catharine MacKinnon
Valerie Solanis
Sunera Thobani


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posted by at 02:37 PM : Comments (3)

May 28, 2004

None Dare Call It Feminism

by Loren Bliss

THE ONE MOST inviolable taboo in mainstream American journalism – even on a so-called “conservative” publication such as The Wall Street Journal – is the absolute prohibition against any acknowledgment whatsoever of the dark side of feminism: the female-supremacist, all-men-are-rapists, down-with-American-liberty, exterminate-patriarchy cult that is both the hate-mongering leadership-circle and the vast vindictive rank-and-file of the feminist movement in the United States.

This taboo – and the fact that it is so harshly enforced no mainstream journalist dare even say it’s name -- is yet another proof that ideas have consequences. The tyranny of silence and acquiescence by which the taboo is enforced is the logical result of perhaps three circumstances: the extent to which this brand of feminism is the dominant post-Marxist ideology of the Left, the fact that is very nearly the only ideology among female journalists, and the corollary fact that the peculiarities of internal mainstream-media politics and economics have given this relentlessly authoritarian brand of feminism absolute control of the national information flow – a totality of censorship that would be the envy of both Hitler and Stalin.

Many years ago I began calling this brand of feminism “matrifascism” to distinguish it from the libertarian mode of feminism that is courageously insistent on genuine female equality before the law. The (almost extinct) libertarian brand of feminism recognizes that none of the expansions of freedom characteristic of the past two centuries would have been possible without the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. For this reason, libertarian feminists – who as far as I am concerned are the only “real” feminists -- do not sullenly yearn for the destruction of all that America represents.

“Matrifascist” is a made-up word, a noun compounded of “matriarchy” – a society ruled entirely by women – and “fascism,” usage of the latter neither hyperbolic nor rhetorical given matrifascism’s unabashed preference for the more egregious forms of tyranny. Indeed, matrifascists believe fervently in a “natural” female-supremacist hierarchy of genders that is directly derived from the ubermenschen/untermenschen concept that was the basis of German Nazism. Hence matrifascism’s long-term goal is the establishment of a female-supremacist state, “gynocracy,” which closely resembles the Third Reich even unto its extermination camps: in this case to be used for ridding the planet of all males save those essential to sperm banking.

And no, I am not writing fiction: read (if you can find it) Grace Shinell’s manifesto of gender-cide, “Women’s Primacy in the Coming Reformation,” in Heresies Summer 1978 (Google: Heresies Collective). Then read just about anything by Mary Daly, Catharine MacKinnon or Andrea Dworkin. Or merely pick up a random copy of Ms. Magazine. Shinell, Daly, MacKinnon, Dworkin, Myriam Miedzian – these and their ideological sisters are the doctrinal mothers of matrifascism, and they control the American feminist movement just as surely as Stalin ran the Soviet Communist Party and der Fueher directed its National Socialist counterpart.

Which is why, in all of the mainstream media accounts of the “sex abuse” hysteria that swept through the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s – the atrocity of the Salem witch-hunts magnified to national scale, with literally hundreds of innocent lives ruined forever – no one ever reads that the ultimate cause was feminism run amok. But research the cases, and from Middlesex County, Massachusetts to Wenatchee, Washington, that is the one common denominator they all share: matrifascists (typically social workers and welfare bureaucrats) goading the prosecutions forward, male officials too cowardly to resist, and newspapers standing by – male journalists appalled but terrified to silence even as many of their female counterparts behaved like latter-day incarnations of Madame Lefarge. Some of the most grossly outrageous miscarriages of justice in American history were the result.

But a few women most assuredly did not play the Lefarge role of cheerleader at the guillotine.

One of these was Kathryn Lyon, a Washington state lawyer who was not connected to the Wenatchee cases but was nevertheless infuriated by them and took a leave of absence from her job to research and write a book entitled Witch Hunt: a True Story of Social Hysteria and Abused Justice. This was the first public exposure of what was really happening in Wenatchee. The press, politically “correct” to a fault, behaved just exactly as I described above, first reporting nothing at all, then – always under female bylines – cheering on the prosecution.

Finally, as usually occurs when light is shone on injustice and corruption, the publication of Lyon's book slapped the system back to some semblance of sanity and facilitated the beginning of reforms. The most important of these was that the Department of Social and Health Services lost some (but by no means all) of its unprecedented power to function, totally above and beyond any rule of law, as a matrifascist secret police agency. Since then, all of the convictions have been reversed, though based on the most recent information I could obtain, DSHS – furiously defended by a klatch of matrifascists in the legislature – continues to vindictively imprison Wenatchee children who refuse to testify against parents and neighbors. Because DSHS has proclaimed these children “victims” who are “not ready to disclose,” they can be held until they turn 18.

The terms “feminist” or “feminism” never once appear in Lyon’s report, though she does examine – rather scathingly and in some detail -- how political “correctness” dictated the media response.

Tactics similar to those employed by DSHS were used in the Middlesex County cases, but there the real victims – the operators of the Fells Acres Day School – eventually found a skilled and dedicated defender in the person of The Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz, whose reporting revealed not only an obscene miscarriage of justice, but the undeniable fact that a cabal of unspeakable tyrants – matrifascists and leftists in general – rules the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This is by far the most damning indictment of Edward Kennedy, John Kerry or indeed any other politician who claims the Bay State as home ground, for virtually all of its public officials were more than willing – merely in the interest of pandering to the witch-hunt and thus furthering their own careers – to sacrifice the maliciously prosecuted and wrongfully convicted Fells Acres folk. Rabinowitz made this and many other ugly facts about Massachusetts clear in her stories about the Fells Acres cases, and there is no doubt her efforts were instrumental in winning freedom for the Amirault family, the unfortunate proprietors and operators of the school.

In her most recent report, Rabinowitz describes Gerald Amirault’s first quietly joyful days outside the penitentiary in 18 years. But even now, summarizing all that was done to the Amiraults in service to the vile matrifascist doctrines that America is a “rape culture” and “all men are rapists,” Rabinowitz never once dares use the term “feminism.” The link to her story – actually a rather uplifting read despite its circumstances and its disappointing omission – is here.

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posted by at 03:01 PM : Comments (2)

May 27, 2004

Thank You, I'm Sorry

I WANT TO thank all of you who have commented on my various essays and moments of self-disclosure, and I want you all to know I'm genuinely sorry I didn't start replying to any of you until last night, when I responded to comments dating back to May 24. A big part of the reason for my apparent non-responsiveness was that I was thinking about how I might reply to folks who took the time to write to me, but I was caught up in playing with various ideas from my newspaper years, none of which seemed suitable for a blog. Then I saw how Linda herself handled it, and -- duh -- there was the answer. To use a cliche that would be a lot more appropriate if these words were on paper, I wasn't seeing the forest for the trees. But the tanglewood is behind us, and I promise that from here on -- at least to the extent time allows (and your letters warrant) I will indeed try to respond to each and every one of you, answering in the "Comments" section just as I have begun doing. I say again: thank you.

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posted by at 11:51 AM : Comments (0)

Focal points

RANDOMNESS IS THE watchword of today’s focal points, which probably makes this entire feature a contradiction in terms, but so be it.

First -- because it’s a perfect example of the kind of random oddity that I always find interesting (and sometimes profoundly thought provoking) – German physicists have concluded the cosmos is shaped like the Eiffel Tower. But after you’ve finished sneering, jeering, or making jokes about the now-inevitability of jack-suited SpaceNazis goose-warping across the galaxies, focus intently on the shape of the Eiffel Tower and contemplate this: imagine the tower as an abstract expressionist’s upside-down rendering of a striking snake. The snake has just launched himself at his adversary; his mouth gapes open, his fangs are bared, his body is elongated into a straight line that tapers toward his tail. Now shift realities: the serpent’s fangs are the legs of the tower, the serpent’s head is the base, the serpent’s body is the long tapering length of the tower, with the grid-work representing scales. Then reflect on Einstein’s theory the universe is not linear -- that it curves back upon itself. In other words, if the universe is shaped like the Eiffel Tower but is curved, one end toward the other, it is also shaped like a serpent who consumes herself -- perhaps to perpetuate her own being. What does that suggest? The Ouroboros: the cosmic snake said to encircle the earth. Once again, ancient metaphysical symbolism may have anticipated modern physics – not because we were visited by aliens from some distant planet of missionary pedagogues, but because the human mind is as infinitely powerful as the universe is infinitely large. A link to the universe-as-Eiffel-Tower story is here.

Because it is just maybe the most telling example I have ever found of another sort of infinity – the limitless arrogance of bureaucrats – next is a story about why life in the European Union will soon be as regimented as life in the Third Reich, but without the politically suspect diversions of torchlight parades. This is not hyperbole, nor is what comes next a non-sequitur: I am an unabashed dog lover. I have joyously lived with dogs all my life -- dogs of various breeds and sizes (though most have been middling-large to very large), and all of them have been enough part of my household to have specific responsibilities that range from watchfulness and threat-analysis to the complexities of various sorts of hunting. We live under the same roof and spend quality time together indoors or out. Hence I know exactly how dogs behave when strangers of either the bipedal or quadrupedal variety attempt to steal their bones – bone theft and bone-theft prevention are in fact carefully practiced skills among canines of all breeds and subspecies – and I believe the dog-robbing bureaucrats in this episode deserve not only a severe chomping but a long succession of three-legged gestures of contempt. The link to the report that so raised my hackles and set me a-snarling is here.

Lastly, though I am not much of an Ann Coulter fan, there is no doubt she sometimes speaks truths no one else dare utter. Her column this morning is just such an essay, and it contains facts the major media have chosen to downplay or ignore. It mellowed me right out – no small feat after my contemplation of the bone-thieves of the EU, during which my dogs Brady and Jasmine both joined me in bare-fanged growling at the text on the VDT. I hope Coulter’s prose will bring a smile to your face just as it brought a smile to mine -- which of course set both my dogs' tails a-wagging too. The link to this good medicine is here.

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posted by at 11:03 AM : Comments (0)

White Buffalo Calf Born in Arizona

I DID NOT get back to this machine until much later than I predicted. Another in the ongoing successions of domestic crises stole away my time. But here is what I had intended to post:

(With a grateful tip of the hat to Allegra, who also wrote the following intro:)

Two thousand years ago, they say, in the Black Hills of Dakota, a white buffalo calf appeared to the Lakota and suddenly transformed herself into a beautiful Indian maiden.

The Sioux called her ''White Buffalo Calf Woman'' and received from her all their sacred ceremonies and the Sacred Peace Pipe.

Lakota prophecy holds that the birth of a white buffalo calf would be a sign that White Buffalo Calf Woman has returned again to purify the world– to restore harmony and spiritual balance.

The birth of such a calf, as described by Allegra and foretold by the legend she relates, is announced here

Which prompts me to add the following verse of traditional poetry:

The white man’s god has foresaken him
Let us go and look for our Mother
...We shall live again...

These lines are from a Cheyenne Ghost Dance song, part of the Ghost Dance religion that swept the plains tribes in the 1880s and ended – after Christian missionaries objected to the rebirth of aboriginal spirituality – with the massacre at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890. But perhaps that is partly wrong. Perhaps the Ghost Dance did not end at all. Perhaps the Ghost Dance was but a prelude to the rebirth of something far greater. And perhaps that is yet another reason Islam wages such relentless war on America.

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posted by at 06:45 AM : Comments (3)

May 25, 2004

Straight talk about November, the Second Amendment and Iraq

by Loren Bliss

I DIDN’T HEAR the President’s speech, but I read its text, which said nothing new, was less compelling than the average speech by an average legislator during an average day in some average statehouse, and – at least according to some commentators – was badly marred when the President stumbled over the pronunciation of Abu Ghraib. I voted for George Bush in 2000, and I will vote for him again in November, though this second time I will vote for him only because I have no other choice. Voting for the alternative – John Kerry, the foreign-policy reincarnation of Neville Chamberlain – seems to me tantamount to voting to wave the white flag: to surrender American liberty and Western Civilization to the nonexistent mercies of Islam’s global caliphate, a reality I cannot contemplate without literally gnashing my teeth.

Nevertheless I think it is now a foregone conclusion Kerry and the Democrats will win the election – in all of the history of opinion polling, no President whose popularity is as far down the commode as Bush’s is now has ever won re-election. And I think that means those of us who are firearms owners and Second Amendment advocates (sadly, the two are not synonymous) had better begin bracing ourselves for an onslaught of gun controls far harsher than anything yet imposed or perhaps even imagined.

I think we’ll see the “assault weapons ban” renewed and expanded two ways: just as Michigan’s Sen. Carl Levin attempted a few years ago and has pledged to attempt again, by confiscatory prohibition of any civilian ownership of obsolete U.S. military firearms including antiques dating back to the birth of the Republic; and as Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the Million Matrifascist Moms are demanding, by outlawing civilian possession of all semiautomatic arms including .22s, and all manually operated arms with magazine capacities greater than five rounds.

Also I think we’ll see gun shows shut down permanently, and all firearms sales and even firearm gifts between private individuals banned. Based on what the Democrats have attempted in various state legislatures, the gift ban would probably include a provision prohibiting anyone under 21 (or perhaps under 18), from so much as handling firearms or perhaps even being in proximity to them, even with adult supervision – and extremely harsh penalties for violations. Nor is my concern the least bit overstated: Clinton Administration Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala reportedly wanted it made a criminal offense for firearms to be kept in any household that included children, a position endorsed publicly by Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund (one of Hillary Clinton’s favorite organizations). Edelman was actually quoted as saying gun owners are by definition unfit parents.

But most of all I think we’ll see the universe of prohibited persons dramatically expanded by federal enactment of laws that are already in force in New York City and New Jersey. These provisions criminalize any allegedly abnormal mental condition. The moment you are so diagnosed, your ownership of firearms becomes a penitentiary-time felony, no exceptions, no appeals, no matter the brevity or mildness of the affliction. In both New York City and Jersey, where such restrictions have been in effect for decades, this has come to mean in practice that a single outpatient trip to a psychiatrist, psychologist or even a grief counselor (all of which by law must be reported to the authorities) disqualifies you from firearms ownership forever. Universal gun registration – mandatory in both places – then brings a police-department firearms-confiscation squad to your door forthwith. By some estimates, fully half the people in the United States will at one time or another suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder, which means a nation-wide version of such a measure would shrink legal firearms ownership accordingly.

Indeed this would be its primary objective. The Democrats have long schemed to impose just such restrictions nationwide. Meanwhile, creation of the national mental-patient roster it would necessitate is one of the favored albeit little-known objectives of the Communitarians, unapologetic advocates of tyranny who have become a powerfully influential faction within the Democratic Party’s policy-making circles. (The acknowledged Communitarian purpose of the mental-patient roster is the alleged enhancement of public safety that would supposedly result from imposition of harsh restrictions on the mentally ill – controls distinctly reminiscent of the Third Reich, where they were a precursor to forcible euthanasia.) But for the Democrats in general – who are probably more malicious and vindictive than any political party in U.S. history – the payoff would be vengeance pure and simple: the almost-total destruction of the hated “gun culture,” both by halving the number of legal firearms owners and completely prohibiting firearms instruction for children and youths, all in revenge for the succession of defeats Second Amendment advocates have been regularly inflicting on the Democrats since 1994.

Moreover, if the history of other attempts to restrict firearms ownership via mental health criteria is any indication, the entire Second Amendment community will remain cowardly, cravenly silent. The National Rifle Association is in fact actively collaborating on one such effort, the so-called Our Lady of Peace Act (overwhelmingly passed by the House in 1992 and reintroduced in both House and Senate), which mental health professionals say would felonize firearms ownership by anyone with any formally diagnosed mental illness. It would also indelibly and forever stigmatize as a "mental defective" anyone who was even briefly mentally ill – never mind the fact that the mentally ill are no more prone to violence than any other American subgroup (and far less prone to violence than certain subgroups we probably need not name). That the term "mental defective" is yet another nasty echo of the Third Reich makes it all the more outrageous an NRA director, Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), is one of the sponsors of the legislation.

But in reality this is an old and exceptionally ugly story. In 1994, the matrifascists who ran the Washington State Democratic Party worked via their ideological sisters in the state Department of Social and Health Services to sneak through the chaotic final moments of the legislative session a measure that criminalized firearms ownership by anyone who had participated in any mental health treatment program, in-patient or out-patient, that lasted longer than two weeks. This would have included any one-session-per-month therapy program of more than a single session. The law, which had been narrowly defeated twice but was re-introduced at the last possible minute by DSHS in violation of several promises, was enacted as part of the so-called “Youth Violence Act,” in reality the most draconian anti-gun measure the state has ever imposed, and it was sent to Gov. Mike Lowry – an outspoken anti-gunner himself – for signature. Not one Second-Amendment-advocacy group in the entire state spoke up; all tucked their tails between their legs, wet themselves and hid, cringing in terror lest the anti-gunners accuse them of lobbying to “let crazies have guns.”

Instead, the state Department of Veterans Affairs jumped into the fight. Long at odds with DSHS over the giant welfare bureaucracy's institutionalized feminist hostility to military veterans -- and now furious at what was clearly an especially vicious betrayal -- DVA officials alerted the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and several statewide mental-health professional organizations, and these groups formed an informal coalition that convinced Lowry to item-veto the measure. The veto was a bold move on Lowry's part, one that may have cost him his political career. When his anticipated run for a second gubernatorial term was suddenly blocked by questionable sexual harassment charges a year later, there were rumors it was revenge for his refusal to sign into law the matrifascist attempt to radically increase the number of Washingtonians prohibited to own firearms.

The point, of course, is that the Democrats feel it is absolutely safe to try to limit gun ownership via mental health exclusions – they have learned from long experience even Republican politicians are afraid to object, and they know beyond any scintilla of doubt the Second Amendment community won’t lift so much as a finger to stop them. In this context, Google “Our Lady of Peace Act,” and note that the reasoned objections to the proposal come almost entirely from mental health professional associations, which universally denounce it as an especially egregious attempt to criminalize (and further demonize) mental illness.

And how were we reduced to such dreadful prospects? The short answer is the incessant blundering of President George Bush, by which he squandered and flung away each and every one of the formidable advantages with which he entered the 2004 election campaign. A much longer and more detailed answer – at least as it concerns the ruinous and astonishing screw-ups in Iraq – is provided by the expert criticism of Laurie Mylroie, who despite her former association with the Clinton Administration has been one of Bush's staunchest supporters in the war against terrorist Islam. Mylroie's most recent analysis is available here.

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posted by at 01:46 PM : Comments (4)

May 24, 2004

Focal Points

So many important and/or interesting links this morning, I will confine my comments on each one to a paragraph or two.

First – because I believe aesthetics is generally more basic than politics (though often only because politics is one of the many expressions of aesthetics) – here is a link to a sampling of Leonard Nemoy’s Shekhina photographs: his visions of the female manifestations of the Divine, (so phrased because as far as I have been able to find out, Nemoy does not use the term “Goddess” in his description of his work). A couple of folks including Linda justifiably grumbled that my commentary of May 17 linked to a story about Nemoys’s photographs that had no illustrations. This was true, but it was the news item I was interested in, more specifically the semiotic significance of the photographer’s intent, and the lack of illustration was not for want of trying: I merely neglected to mention I had Googled “Leonard Nemoy Shekhina” and come up with bupkes, while “Sheknina” itself -- Hebrew for the female manifestations of Yahveh -- merely linked to a number of sites on Judaism. A subsequent, more thoughtful search, finally under “Leonard Nemoy Photographs,” predictably led to a bunch of Trekkie artifact-sites but also linked to the gallery’s own webpage, here.

I would be dishonest if I did not add that I am vaguely disappointed with Nemoy’s work. His photographs are technically perfect – exquisitely so – but only two of the images shown here (the left-most and right-most frames in the second row from the top) evoke even slightly the physical reactions Robert Graves describes as indicative of both true poetry and the presence of the Goddess: “...the hairs stand on end, the eyes water, the throat is constricted, the skin crawls and a shiver runs down the spine...” Having some knowledge of such matters myself, I regard Graves’ description as unsparingly accurate. Which makes me once again curse the crippling limitations of my own poverty as expressed in the fact I have no scanner nor any other means to transmit visual images and thus have no way to share the few surviving prints from “Glimpses of a Pale Dancer,” work that accompanied me to New York City as part of the book proposal and thus escaped destruction in the 1983 fire. So unless you knew me in Manhattan c. 1969-70, when I first began articulating these images, or unless you lived in Bellingham in 1971, in the Seattle area during the mid-1970s or in Tacoma in 1981, and thus saw examples of my “sandwiches” or photographic collages in various galleries (when the work bore the titles “Premonitions of the Celtic Twilight” or “Divinations in an Equinoctal Fire”), you will have to take my word for it that first-time viewing of this material does indeed often produce the reactions Graves described -- and powerfully so (or so I have many times been told). Though I suspect not even the most profoundly moved viewer experiences anything quite as enrapturing as the phantom electricity that coursed through my body when I stood in the amber gloom of my darkroom and first watched these images emerging on paper coated with alchemical silver – the emulsion emitting a slow, barely audible sibilance of exhalation as the vision became real.

Next on the agenda is a combination of politics and art – a Hindu site that quotes beautifully from the Upanishads, and with an irony that is sometimes as cutting as a tulwar, documents Islam’s 1300-year war on civilization – something with which the Hindu population of the Indian subcontinent has had long, bloody and intimate experience. This is probably another instance of preaching to the choir, but I found the site usefully informative, interestingly composed and compelling enough I bookmarked it. The site is named Satyameva Jayate which I suppose is Dravidian, and which the author says translates as “Truth Alone Triumphs.” The link is here.

On the subject of Islam and its innate and infinitely vicious oppression of women, here are more details on the growing resistance to Canada’s attempt to “celebrate diversity” by imposing a limited form of sharia on Canadian citizens who are of Islamic extraction. Canadian women – including women who have survived the beatings and mutilations characteristic of Moslem upbringing – are rallying to battle this outrage imposed by Canadian political “correctness,” and it appears even the Canadian feminists (who not long ago were condemning Western Civilization as a phallocentric culture of rape, slavery and exploitation) are finally beginning to wake up to the reality of the Islamic threat. The link is to The Toronto Star, which is normally so self-righteously “multicultural,” you get the feeling it would have advised the 1939 Czechs to refrain from expressions of nationality lest they hurt the feelings of the “visiting” Germans. But not now, at least not here.

Lastly, I cannot count the number of times I have called some company to complain, request technical information or perhaps even place an order, and the telebot who flung untold humans out of work and now answers the phone demands I choose a language: “for English, press one.” I find this demand both infuriating and insulting, exactly as if we were the downtrodden subjects of a land conquered by people who speak Some Other Language. It doesn’t help that for many years I have been aware of the undeclared (and genuinely unholy) alliance between Cheap Labor Republicans and Big Bureaucracy Democrats: an alliance that is selfishly destroying the United States with virtually unrestricted immigration -- all in the name of depressing wages, expanding social services and thereby guaranteeing the continued omnipotence of both plutocrats and bureaucrats. Michelle Malkin is furious about it too, and the resulting denunciation – an example of Malkin at her caustic best – is available here.

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posted by at 01:59 PM : Comments (2)

May 19, 2004

focal point

For those of you who are wondering if it is only your imagination that mass media is suppressing the story of how Muslims tortured Nick Berg to death in the name of Islam and its chief demon Allah by hacking Berg’s head off with a butcher knife, here are links to reports by Dennis Prager and Brent Bozell, each documenting the infuriating extent to which your suppressed-story suspicion is demonstrably true.

While most of us have long recognized “the media” as becoming an ever-greater source of leftist agitation even as it becomes an ever-less-important source of real information, few of us – myself included (and remember I was part of mass media through four decades) – ever imagined the media would so blatantly cross the line from bias to maliciously providing aid and comfort to the enemy. But by suppressing and/or downplaying the Nick Berg story, simultaneously suppressing and/or downplaying the story of the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal (which is literally the most expensive, far-reaching criminal conspiracy in human history), and at the same time radically overplaying the non-story of the prisoner abuse -- mainstream media has indeed crossed that line. It is no longer informational media with a leftist, pro-Islamic bias. It has now clearly allied itself with the enemy – especially with his propaganda apparatus -- and it deserves to be condemned accordingly.

But how did this happen?

Most of us are at least dimly aware of the various feminist essays on educational practice – manifestos like Myriam Miedzian’s Boys Will Be Boys: Breaking the Link between Masculinity and Violence – that urge strict, often draconian measures to achieve what amounts to the psychological castration of all male children. These measures include compulsory “anti-violence conditioning” for boys (reinforced by forcible medication whenever feminist-indoctrinated officials deem necessary), discouragement of “male” instincts by bans on competitive sports and even competitive scholarship, and ultimately such beyond-the-schoolyard “reforms” as revocation of the Second Amendment and prohibition of firearms ownership by anyone save police, soldiers and a handful of others carefully screened by a presumably now-thoroughly feminized (and therefore trustworthy) bureaucracy. Indeed, says Miedzian, the mere existence of the Second Amendment is like providing “pyromaniacs with matches” in that it allows instinctively violent males to have access to guns.

Much of this sounds too far out for anything but satirical consideration until we pause to reflect that Miedzian’s brazenly matrifascist theories (and others just like them) have been embraced as infallible dogma by the nation’s schools of education and are precisely the source of the vicious zero-tolerance policies our public schools have adopted for the malicious persecution of such grave political crimes as drawing pictures of armed soldiers, playing cops and robbers at recess, and in one dreadful case – in which the life of a male honor student was destroyed forever by summary expulsion and subsequent prosecution as a felon – driving an automobile to school in which a cased, unloaded hunting rifle had forgetfully been left locked in the trunk.

The common denominator in every one of these instances and thousands more like them is the unacknowledged belief of teachers and school officials that the real purpose of public education is not instruction in basic skills or even precepts of culture but rather fighting a total war against “male violence” – a total war that to the public remains mostly unknown, and very deliberately so. If this war were reduced to a single slogan, it would be the statement so often repeated by the matrifascist spokeswomen of the all-males-are-rapists faction of feminism: “Boys must be raised to be like little girls.”

Thus in the culture-war – which is really a gender-war (waged by a circle of man-hating harpies so enraged they would destroy American liberty and even Western Civilization to topple what they decry as the “patriarchy” of the hated penis) – the teachers have become the zampolitiki of America’s children. And these new commissars have virtually as much power over our children as their former Soviet counterparts wielded over the oppressed peoples of the Gulag Empire.

But don’t just take my word; an eye-opening primer on the whole disturbing subject is The War Against Boys, by Christina Hoff Sommers.

Apparently America’s mass media – which is staffed from journalism schools as dogmatically matrifascist as the colleges of education (and is therefore as matrifascist-dominated as any zero-tolerance classroom) – has now decided that it’s job is to take over at the very culture-point where the teachers and school officials relinquish control. In other words, as the teachers are zampolitiki to the nation’s children, so now are mass media to be zampolitiki to the culture at large.

Certainly this was the openly acknowledged intent of the feminists who demanded “compensatory promotion” – immediate appointment to key editorships or coveted reporting assignments, with full waver of the years of experience and informal apprenticeship hitherto required. Such demands were first voiced at New York City and NYC metropolitan-area newspapers in the late 1960s and early 1970s – I was there – and by the end of the ‘70s, the same antagonistic brand of radical feminism had metastasized throughout American journalism. I even knew some of the original militants personally: one of the places I drank during 1969 and 1970, and again when I was in Manhattan in the middle 1980s, was the fabled Lion’s Head, a writer’s bar and classic Greenwich Village saloon, and many of these women drank there too. Their hatred of all things male was obvious by 1970; by the ‘80s they made no secret of the fact their intention was to get absolute control of the national information flow – and eventually to use that control to abolish American liberty, destroy Western Civilization, “overthrow patriarchy” and impose a female-supremacist version of the Third Reich.

For measurements of matrifascism's success, look at our public schools and our mainstream media together. Whether zero tolerance or maximum distortion, its an expression of the same ideology.

Thus the parallel – by now probably approaching obviousness – between the tyrannically anti-male frenzies of the zero-tolerance classrooms and the self-righteously anti-war, anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Western-Civilization tirades of the mainstream media. Indeed what we see in the media is merely the Miedzian manifesto writ fretfully large: the notion that war, America, Judaeo-Christianity and Western Civilization are all “intrinsically violent” “male” institutions that must be tethered and castrated lest all life be swept from the planet. Better red than dead. Better Islam than extinction. Better the burka than the burying ground. And George Bush from this perspective is the very worst of the lot: the archetypical white warrior male, of whom generations of drilling soldiers formerly sang (in the halycon years before political “correctness” ended all such joyously proud singing), “their heads are up/ their dicks are out/ their balls are swingin’ in cadence-count” – which is precisely why the matrifascists and eunuch-sycophants of the mass media hate Bush so much, and why it would not matter if he had won election by a landslide, had fought no wars at all, and had never blundered even once. By his mere flight-suited, cowboy-hatted, pickup-truck existence, President Bush is the symbol of that one gutsy kid whose maleness they cannot ever suppress -- anathema to those who would force all the males of the entire nation “to be like little girls.”

But what if America is defeated, and as a result of America’s defeat, Islam’s global caliphate is triumphant? What if all females are subjugated, sexually mutilated, forced into burkas? According to strict matrifascist doctrine, that will be just what it takes to bring about a final world-wide revolution by women – an uprising that would “rescue” humanity from the absolute darkness of Islam merely by substituting the equal darkness of “gynocracy.” Thus my assertion – often jeered at by those who have never read the hateful gospels of matrifascism or witnessed the infinite malevolence at its core – that "matrifascism" is precisely what American feminism has become, and that as such, it is the most dangerously subversive movement in human history.

The media – most of it – is now simply behaving in accordance with the matrifascist script.

Hence two more links. One is a discussion of the dangers of multiculturalism, a thoughtful essay that grew out of a local Maryland political controversy (about which I know nothing) but is linked here because its general observations about the subversion of American liberty and the deliberate belittling of Western Civilization unfortunately apply throughout our nation. The other, from Somalia, is yet another portrait of what life under Islam is truly like, available here, yet another reflection of what is at stake in this war.

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posted by at 12:48 PM : Comments (0)

May 17, 2004

few dare acknowledge Islam's ultimate hatred

by Loren Bliss

Four days ago I wrote a half-dozen relatively brief paragraphs to accompany a focal-point link to yet another bright bit of evidence underscoring the reality of the resurrection of the Goddess. The work was written in an interlude of intense creativity, its segues were more poetic than logical, and in general I was pleased with its form and content. But then Fate intervened, and the source of my pleasure was destroyed by some mysterious quirk of electronics just as I was about to save it to this site. What follows is reconstruction and enlargement of what I said in that aborted effort:

Quite frankly I believe the resurrection of the Goddess is the most important news of the past two thousand years at least. It is a story the pressures of which I have lived with knowingly since 1969, and unwittingly for 18 years before that. The details behind those statements – and my own associated personal odyssey of ferreting out hidden truths of folklore and modern semiotics and attempting to assemble them all in a coherent form that would earn proper readership and recognition – was the subject of a nearly finished but now-forever-lost book tentatively entitled “Glimpses of a Pale Dancer.” Its manuscript, the accompanying photographs and all the associated research notes were destroyed in the fire that burned the late Helen Farias’ residence to the ground in 1983. Ironically, the fire occurred just as samples of the text and photographs – particularly the latter – were beginning to seriously interest some heavy-duty publishing industry types in New York City.

A second book, an effort on which Helen and I were informally collaborating, was also lost. This was never titled, but we thought of it as simply “the archaeology project.” It had begun as a spin-off of our extensive but separate research into Goddess-related questions c. 1971-1976. Helen had read an early draft of “Dancer” and ever afterward said that it and the works cited in its bibliography – especially those by Robert Graves – gave her “the vocabulary to describe what (she) always knew was true.” Eventually she would enlarge that vocabulary to become one of the world’s leading scholars on the history of the Goddess and a significant writer on female spirituality in general. But the archaeological matter quickly separated itself from those inquiries and evolved into a quest of its own: a cataloguing of evidence, megalithic and linguistic, that Europeans of the late Bronze Age had gone beyond their extensive Eastern North American settlements, reached what is now Washington State and remained here long enough to erect astronomically aligned standing stones and hew deep, similarly functional trenches from the solid rock of certain remote mountain tops. Using a system based on Helen’s first-ever compilation of aboriginal place-names and my own conjectural “megalithic grid” (derived from the astronomical alignments of one known site and probable alignments between that site and others), we had identified another 30 possible sites. Of these, we had explored a dozen, eliminated six, and in 1977 extensively photographed and mapped six others. The work lagged when Helen went to graduate school in London and I took a part-time college teaching job and started a freelance photography and media- consulting business to supplement my newspaper salary, but it was always our intention to take up the quest for archaeological evidence again as soon as time allowed -- until of course the fire made that forever impossible by destroying all our data: Helen’s painstakingly assembled vocabularies; my maps, map overlays, photographs, site reports, and raw field notes. (Helen's death in 1994 had no connection to the fire.)

I had merely skated over these matters in that lost post of four days ago – writing about the fire and all of its attendant losses is dreadfully painful even now, 21 years after the fact – but perhaps it was my very avoidance that so angered Fate and thus prompted the glitch that obliterated everything I had said. In any case, this writing here tonight is very different: it is structured less poetically and more in keeping with linear logic, and the content is thus much more fully developed.

The lost May 12 post began with a blistering condemnation of that ultimate obscenity called Islam for its mutilation murder of Nicholas Berg, who was not beheaded by a single clean merciful stroke but was tormented by slow throat-hacking butchery until his screams finally gagged to silence and his head came off by its hair and the knife-wielder triumphantly brandished Nick Berg’s head and the chorus of killers grunted their repugnant Allahu Akbar doggerel over the twitching corpse -- Goddess take Nick to her bosom and the vengeance of Cerridwen be on all of Islam, so mote it be.

I deliberately avoided saying that last Goddess part in the lost May 12 post, and perhaps that incipient apostasy – the fact I so rarely proclaim my Paganism in public – is another reason Fate chose to smite me with an inexplicable glitch. Or maybe it was the Christian god smiting me for what I said next:

Listening earlier that day (or maybe the day before) to President George Bush promise that Nick Berg’s killers would be “brought to justice,” I thought about how this same President had so glibly but now obviously so falsely promised that justice would also be done in Fallujah for the murders of four American civilians there, and then I remembered how many other times in this life we have been spoon-fed this exact same smugly patronizing, patently false pablum: by President Carter after the outrages in Tehran, by President Reagan after the outrages in Lebanon, by President Clinton after the outrages in Somalia, and now here was George Bush for whom I had voted in 2000 joining all the others who had lied about “justice” being brought to our enemies, and I realized what he was saying was nothing more than another invitation to “step right up.” Suddenly I knew I had lost all of whatever faith I ever had in George Bush’s leadership because it was now obvious this is a President who is nearly as shackled as any Democrat by the ethos of political “correctness” and the shibboleths of victim-identity cultism and the drooling- idiot mandate to “celebrate diversity.” We do not need “diversity.” What we need is Nolichucky Jack or maybe Heinz Guderian, but what we have instead is a Good Shepherd who turns the other cheek, grants Fallujah an amnesty and calls Islam a “religion of peace.”

Unfortunately come November we will have to choose between President Bush, whose record of bungling both at home and abroad is literally breathtaking and probably without precedent in the history of the Republic, and Candidate Kerry, who has already told us he regards Islam’s 1300-year war against civilization as a mere crime problem, intends to treat it accordingly, and thus makes no secret of his intent to surrender (even more) United States sovereignty to that international criminal cartel known as the United Nations. Apparently we have arrived at a point in history akin to that period in the Dark Ages when kings were immortalized with names like Hugo the Sluggard, Charles the Simpleton and Phillip the Flatulent. That too was a time of Islamic horrors -- horrors widespread and grim -- and it took Charles Martel to halt the Moslems at Tours and the Polish hero John Sobieski to finally rout them at Vienna 951 years later: blessed achievements bought dearly by the blood of Westernesse, reversals for which long-begrudging Islam has ever sought revenge. Which is precisely the dread background of the awful choice we will make in November: a chronic bungler versus a man whose contempt for America is so great, he has wantonly given aid and comfort to our foes and no doubt will do so again, even as he will probably further undermine our liberty, compromise our borders and – based on his colleagues’ well-documented disrespect for the Constitution – almost certainly attempt to silence his critics with unapologetic tyranny, probably with violently disastrous results. Verily, I fear for the Republic.

Paranoia? No indeed. The following, which my colleague Linda fished out of the Kerry for President website and passed onto me, is especially instructive:

President Kerry did the absolutely right thing (Editor’s note: by banishing a blogger named Kos from the Kerry website). Because Kos is a part of the mainstream left and a DNC insider, the average American could get the idea that his comments are a reflection of the Party’s feelings about American and Americans. The sheeple might think that we hate America and all that it stands for. We do of course, but they must not find that out until we have seized the levers of power. Then there’s gonna be some changes baby. (Posted by Bob in MN on April 3, 2004, 10:44 p.m.)

Anyone who doubts the veracity of our reporting can see for themselves: the link to the site is here, after which you simultaneously type [ctrl] [f], wait for the search form to appear, then type “gonna be some changes” into the appropriate blank (without the quotation marks) and hit [enter].

The insufferably self-righteous ideological smugness of today’s Democrats – reminiscent of Nazi Party members or Soviet Communists of yore – is yet another reason I will of course vote for the bungler. Conservative though I may be, ultimately I am also a libertarian, and at the very least, I think George Bush will do less harm than John Kerry to the Republic I love and to the Constitution I swore an oath 45 years ago to defend with my life “against all enemies foreign or domestic.” Moreover some of Bush’s advisors might finally figure out how to take a page from the Russians or the old German Wehrmacht or the Philippine Insurrection or perhaps even the American Indian Wars (which really offer the best historical parallels to the present struggle) and wage a proper, unapologetically brutal war against the infinite brutality of Islam. Though on this point, I deeply disagree with my colleague Linda: to me, the sin of Abu Ghraib is not that the prisoners were abused – they are not U.S. citizens and hence are not protected by our Constitution, and neither are they prisoners of war, so they are not protected by the Geneva Accords and the Rules of Land Warfare. Indeed, as enemy terrorists, they are technically not protected at all – and the great ruinous sins of Abu Ghraib are thus (first) that U.S. security had become so astonishingly lax that word and pictures of the abuse leaked out; that (second) the U.S. media has distorted what is hardly more than frat-house hazing into the morally imbecillic equivalent of slow beheadings and deaths by plastic-shredder; and that (third) the same media is now using its own malevolent distortions as part of an unprecedented jihad against both the President and the nation. Which is not to deny the role the President’s constant bungling has played in fueling the media’s scorn – anyone who appoints a notorious out-sourcer to head a program ostensibly intended to curtail out-sourcing surely deserves whatever jeers he provokes. Alas, we need far better. At this point in history – especially given that 9/11 was more than anything else Islam’s declaration its 1300-year-war against civilization is once again renewed – we need nothing less than an Arthur to lead the battle against the encroaching Islamic darkness. But the bungler is surely better than the would-be tyrant.

I find it no coincidence that Islam, which is founded on the sadistic subjugation of women and the savage torture and killing of all dissidents and non-believers, has launched its newest effort to enslave all humanity in a global caliphate by attacking the U.S. just as what I think of as the Second Wave of the resurrection of the Goddess is beginning to crest. (In this reckoning, which was central to the lost book “Glimpses of a Pale Dancer,” the First Wave was the spiritual quest at the core of the old 1960s Counterculture: the self-proclaimed “Revolution in Consciousness” that -- whether by conspiracy, folly or both – was too soon perverted into a mere travesty of its original self, a maelstrom of drug-abuse, zomboid faddism and the general human tendency toward the lowest common denominator of chaos.) In any case, the Second Wave is the institutionalization of many of the beliefs and visions that, in First Wave times, would have gotten the visionaries themselves institutionalized had they even dared speak of them. Visions of the Goddess have now spread far beyond the existential paganism of the art scene and the purposeful Paganism of resurrected modern practice, so that even in mainstream Jewish and Christian worship there is now recognition of the female aspects of the divine. The most recent example of this – or at least the most recent example to come to my attention – is the collection of photographs made by Leonard Nemoy (yes, that Leonard Nemoy, Spock of Star Trek fame) now showing in a Northhampton, Massachusetts gallery. Which brings us finally to the link I mentioned in the opening paragraph, available here. As Buffy Sainte- Marie sang so very long ago, “Goddess is alive/Magic is afoot” – which I think is precisely the underlying, epicentral (and almost entirely unacknowledged) reason the master-misogynists of Islam have now renewed their war against Westernesse. Islam has chosen the United States as its primary target not only because we are the nation where women are more proudly free than anyplace else on the planet, but because we are also the nation wherein recognition of the Goddess is most widespread and growing the fastest. In this context, the semiotic implications of the Statue of Liberty are profound.

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posted by at 01:39 AM : Comments (2)

May 14, 2004

focal point

I am still trying to find or reconstruct the would-have-been commentary my computer inexplicably ate three nights ago, so far without success. This was first infuriating, then profoundly dismaying, now merely depressing, and for three very separate reasons: it was unusually good writing in that it segued through a half-dozen seeming unrelated subjects and tied them into a single package of relevance (something I often attempt but don’t always achieve); the style of the prose itself represented a major breakthrough in my (often difficult) journey beyond the impersonal, imperial voice of professional journalism – a journey I hope is toward the letter-from-a-knowledgeable-friend tone that seems characteristic of all the more effective blogs; and, lastly, it was the first time I have ever mentioned in print or publicly acknowledged the fact that, 32 years ago, I was one of the two human victims of an infinitely ruinous house-fire.

The other person and I escaped physical injury simply because neither of us was present when the house burned, though the flames killed the owner’s three very beloved domestic cats. The house was a huge old cedar-log pioneer cabin on rural property in Washington state that had remained in the owner’s family since construction of the house, barn and outbuildings in the 1870s, and I had stored my files, books and a number of other possessions in one of the house's vacant rooms when I returned to New York City in 1983. The owner, the late Helen Farias, who was one of my dearest and closest friends, was at work at Western Washington University 20 miles away when the fire broke out, and she learned of what had happened only when she returned at the end of the day. The emotional blow was devastating and the material loss was immeasurable: Helen’s home was burned literally to the ground, her animals and gardens were dead, and all her work and all of mine were ashes. The latter included two books in progress – one a collaboration with Helen – plus all the related photographs, drawings and research material, and nearly everything else of any creative or professional consequence I had done prior to that awful moment. The fire was of course one of those disasters that reshapes a human life from top to bottom – it certainly had that impact on me – but the cannons of journalism (at least journalism as I learned to practice it) demanded I remain silent about the entire matter. The lost blog was thus a kind of Coming-Out, the long-range implications of which I cannot possibly assess, and I am especially vexed Fate chose to obstruct it as it was obstructed – though in this life, Fate has only very seldom been my friend.

That said – and presumably now that you understand the reasons for my sulking absence (though I apologize nevertheless) – we have arrived at today’s focal point, a link to a far brighter and more attractive subject, both literally and figuratively. Our Declaration of Independence tells us that the cornerstones of American freedom are “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and though Islam finds the entire ethos infinitely infuriating, it is Islam’s secretly envious pornographically minded hatred of our potential for earthly happiness – especially the decidedly sensual pursuit of earthly happiness by women – that powers and inflames Islamic blood-lust to global magnitude. Hence – not only because it will surely infuriate Moslems and is thus an appropriate uplifted finger of defiance in the face of the false god Allah and his sodomitic, whore-son bastard of a Prophet, but also because it prompted me to smile myself out of this morning’s lingering dark mood -- here is a delightful example of that light-hearted proud exquisite brazenness so typical of the women of Westernesse, especially women who live on the island of Manhattan (which Mayor John Lindsay used to call “Fun City,” and which during my youth in the late 1960s was most assuredly just that): some Fun City Fun courtesy of The New York Post and one of its staffers (who is herself clearly working hard to overcome the old, stuffy canons of journalism).

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posted by at 12:17 PM : Comments (0)

May 12, 2004

out of focus

Nothing new today thanks to the fact the computer gods -- who have always despised me for the Typewriter-Age blasphemer I truly am -- snatched away six hours of work the very second it was completed. Subsequent searches of this computer consumed another nearly four hours and turned up nothing, so I can only assume the work is gone forever, and that my effort was therefore a total waste of time and energy. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe not.

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posted by at 09:14 PM : Comments (0)

May 11, 2004

focal point

The first of today’s focal points is the grisly story of a Palestinian woman who as a young girl survived the Islamic ritual of “honor” killing. She had been seduced – essentially raped and impregnated – by a neighbor, and her family’s response was to douse her with gasoline and set her afire, then try to poison her when the burns alone failed to kill her. I link to it with a shudder of genuine repugnance, but I think it is essential reading because it reflects more graphically than anything I have ever seen the obscenity of Islam, the dreadful fate that awaits all women everywhere should the forces of the global caliphate prevail, the unspeakable horror that confronts Israel every moment of its existence -- and thus precisely why it is our soldiers are in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting for the survival of American liberty and Western Civilization. Thanks to The Ottawa Citizen for defying the cult of political “correctness” to publish this report, available here.

As bright Yang against the foregoing dark Yin, the second of today’s focal points is an intriguing discussion of periodic cicadae and prime numbers, specifically 13 and 17, speculating on how these cicadas -- who are loudly emergent this year -- might have arrived at prime-number life-and-mating cycles. The resultant probabilities should give us hope. If cicadas can evolve lives measured in prime numbers and thus escape their natural predators, perhaps homo sapiens sapiens can evolve a future blessedly free of “honor” killings, suicide bombings and indeed all other forms of Islamic atrocities and terrorism. Meanwhile, let us contemplate the wondrous workings of nature, which we can do by going here.

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posted by at 07:53 AM : Comments (0)

May 10, 2004

focal point

There is really nothing new from the Middle East. Islam continues its assault on American liberty, Western Civilization and all persons or things Jewish, and most of all rages at the fact the proud women of Westernesse have never (even at the times they were most exploited) been forced to wear the cloak of self-loathing that is the burka or suffer the genital mutilations prescribed by gleefully sadistic mullahs.

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., and throughout the land it governs, there is really nothing new either. An economic crisis looms at the gas pumps, but the politicians continue their assaults on each other, on taxpayers, on the Constitution, on the very intelligence of the human species and – most of all – on the ability of America to defend herself, no matter whether the assaults are deliberate expressions of subversive intent or coincidental exclamations of simple incompetence.

In other words, though Sunday was Mother’s Day (the modern echo of a very ancient holiday originally convened to honor the Great Goddess, the Mother of All Being), nothing has changed during the weekend. Hence – precisely to counteract the karmic Standstill of changelessness (readers of the I Ching will understand) – today’s focal points are expressions of change: change of focus, change of face, change of pace, yes and perhaps also a microcosmic and entirely positive version of the typhoon that is said to result when some Taoist butterfly is unusually vigorous in winging from blossom to blossom. Hence what we have here today is a summertime variant of a thoroughly secular but nevertheless utterly delightful Christmas song: “these are a few of my favorite things.”

The first link is to a dog story. Dogs are unquestionably my most favorite of all living creatures, genuinely down-to-earth and truly magical all at once, and this story illustrates some of the more wonderful attributes of canine consciousness and being. I caution that it will probably not leave you dry-eyed, but whatever sadness it evokes, it seems to me it is the kind of sadness that is more blessing and inspiration than cause for depression, close kin to the triumphant sadness of a life ended in some heroic cause or victory, and thus an undeniable expression of profound gratitude that such benevolence exists, however ephemeral it might seem. The story – of a very special dog who served a very special need – is here.

In one of the more intriguing accounts that surfaced during the weekend’s flow of news, a British newspaper reports that 100,000 Greeks are attempting to revive classical paganism. The revivalists may even include rural folks who never abandoned paganism, though the story merely implies this and does not make it clear. In any case, these pagans are encountering all sorts of obstructions from the fact Greece is officially a Greek Orthodox Christian country. Among the obstructions is an absurd ban on using the Parthenon – a temple of Athena – for its original purpose. Once again we see how infinitely blessed we were by our Founders, who gave us a Constitution that protects religious liberty (the recent efforts of the Left to pervert the Constitution into a weapon against Judaeo-Christianity not withstanding). The Grecian link is here.

Last is the sort of story you should keep to show your children or grandchildren when they lament that there is nothing left anywhere on earth to investigate or explore. It is a description of a recently discovered phenomenon in Africa – a widespread, curiously repetitive circular formation that is apparently a creation of nature but nevertheless stubbornly refuses to yield its secrets to science. It is thus a bit like the Appalachian balds (said by the Cherokee to be the mountain-top shrines where the fair-skinned Old People invoked their gods – magically kept clear of trees even now in anticipation of the gods’ return) or the Mima Mounds of Southwestern Washington (about which local Indian myth says absolutely nothing – at least nothing that has been shared with White Eyes). The African link is here. I hope you appreciate my whimsical mood and eclectic choices.

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posted by at 02:01 PM : Comments (1)
» Rocket Jones links with: Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

May 07, 2004

out of focus

I cannot focus well enough to post anything of genuine value today; the constant oppression of an apparently endless wave of personal setbacks has once again strangled this column at birth. The project by which I had intended to finance my return to East Tennessee has proven impossible – a direct consequence of the unreported but growing economic panic triggered by runaway fuel prices – and there are no other fund-raising options available to me, now or ever. Given the fact the fuel price-hikes are likely to be permanent, and the fact the attendant economic dislocation is likely to last for many more years than I (at age 64) am likely to have left, this means I am now forever trapped in a hopelessly uncertain, thus infinitely miserable living situation – an emotional miasma from which there is no longer any possibility for escape. Hence my selfish, straw-clutching need for the dark comic relief of gallows humor, as in a strange episode where life not only makes a mockery of art, but imitates the deliciously outrageous satire of South Park at that, a story available here. Perhaps it is only my present frame of mind, but I think elements of this story are extremely funny, especially the solemnly reported part about “swords,” all the more so in the context of fanatically self-righteous, zero-tolerance public-school bureaucrats who clearly know nothing whatsoever about the elaborate adventure-fantasies of boy-children. I truly hope none of you are offended by my choice; perhaps I will feel somewhat better tomorrow.

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posted by at 11:13 AM : Comments (3)

May 06, 2004

focal point

Anyone who doubts that hatred of all things Jewish is already institutionalized in certain organizations within the United States need only listen to National Public Radio’s brazenly antagonistic coverage of Israel: as if even the most depraved acts of the most viciously fanatical Islamic terrorists are thoroughly justified by the mere existence of the Jewish homeland state. This is one of the main reasons I stopped listening to NPR long ago – its bigotry, formerly subtle, had become as blatant as a Ku Klux Klan rally.

Occasionally while I was still listening to NPR I wondered if perhaps I was hearing something akin to the hateful propaganda with which the German people were deluged in the years just before Hitler’s electoral triumph. During the period in question, the late 1920s through the middle 1930s, the Germans were the best educated, most literate people on earth: one study I remember from my long-ago undergraduate days stated that in the years of Hitler's ascent, Germans also had the planet’s highest-per-capita numbers of houses wired for electricity and therefore the greatest per-capita numbers of telephones and radios. Of course the Germans also suffered from genuinely ruinous inflation – something the obscene spiral of petroleum prices is bound to inflict on the United States -- but even allowing for the climate of fear and rage such inflation inevitably produces, the fact that an electorate so well educated and so materially modern so enthusiastically embraced Adolf Hitler and his “final solution” surely puts the lie to all the bleeding-heart theories that tyranny is bred of poverty, deprivation and ignorance. Moreover, “embrace” is precisely the correct verb, for the man known as Der Fuhrer had spelled out in graphic detail on the pages of Mein Kampf his intent to exterminate the Jews – just as the Arafats and imams with whom NPR is so toxically smitten make no secret of their genocidal intentions today.

Precisely because I do not listen to NPR, I missed NPR reporter Julie McCarthy’s denunciation of a murdered Israeli mother and her five murdered children for “provoking” their own slayings merely by their presence in Gaza. Though the world already knows of the atrocity itself, it is entirely proper to repeat the names of its victims: the roll-call of the dead is one of the ways my Scots ancestors invoked the divine curse of vengeance on their enemies. The murdered mother’s name was Tali Hatuel, and she bore in her womb a son, who was slain but 30 days from his birth. Knowing expectant parents – having been one once myself – I don’t doubt the son had already been named too, but apparently today’s journalists are such craven cowards, no one possessed enough courage to defy pro-abortion censorship and ask what that dead boy’s name might have been. The other four murdered children were Tali’s daughters, ages 11, 9, 7 and 2 respectively; their names were Hila, Hadar, Roni and Meirav. The two Islamic “heroes” (the title with which the Palestinian terror organizations have already canonized the slayers) disabled the mother with a burst of gunfire and gleefully shot each of her children in the face while the children were still conscious and screaming in terror. Finally one of the two killers pressed the muzzle of his 9mm pistol against Tali’s infant-swollen belly and fired three times to destroy the precious life within. Then the two terrorists fled but were promptly wasted by Israeli riflemen – unfortunately clean quick ends for gloating sadists who deserved to be gut-shot and left on some desert anthill in ever worsening agony to contemplate the slow approach of their own extinction.

Probably if I had heard Julie McCarthy say what she said about Tali Hatuel and her five children, I would have picked up my radio and hurled it across the room and my blood pressure would have surged somewhere past the 200-psi mark and maybe some blood vessel somewhere in my skull or chest cavity would have blown and I would now be one of the staffers pounding a phantom Royal Standard in the great newsroom in the sky, so I am once again glad I stopped listening to NPR years ago. But Jeff Jacoby of the The Boston Globe did not stop listening to NPR and he heard everything McCarthy said, and this is part of what Jacoby said in response: “In NPR's warped moral calculus, Tali Hatuel and her children are in early graves not because Palestinian culture celebrates the mass murder of Jews but because Jews have no business living among Arabs. If McCarthy had been reporting from Birmingham in September 1963, would she have blamed the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on the provocative ‘presence’ of the four black girls who died in the explosion?" The rest of Jacoby’s remarks are just as worth reading and are available here.

But whether you read this Jacoby piece or not, here is the thing to bear in mind: Israel’s war and our war is the same war – the defense of liberty and civilization against Islam’s 1300-year onslaught. The men who murdered Tali Hatuel and murdered her daughters Hila, Hadar, Roni and Meirav, and murdered Tali’s unborn son whose name no reporter was brave enough to ask – these killers are the very same savages we are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. If we do not win this war in those places, we will eventually be fighting it here at home, and the doom of Tali Hatuel and her children will be the fate of our very own kin.

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posted by at 01:47 PM : Comments (3)

May 05, 2004

focal point

I don’t have a lot to say today. I spent a good part of yesterday doing springtime chores rather than surfing the ‘Net, so instead of linking to some breaking story, I’m going to dig into my special-occasion file – special occasions such as “I’m too tired to blog,” with the “tired” part just now underscored by the fact I tried six times in a row to get quotation marks (“) but could only get single quotes (‘), then began bitterly cussing the machine – and felt an absolute fool when I discovered I’d been hitting the caps lock instead of the shift key. Tired indeed: so much for competence, verve, alacrity – not to mention simple intelligence – all the qualities a writer allegedly possesses in abundance. Thus my apologies to anyone who is disappointed by the brevity of today’s remarks.

Back to the topic of Focal Point, what follows is a psychological profile of Muslims prepared by two research psychiatrists and summarized by the formidable Phyllis Chesler PhD. Chesler is the bold pioneer who turned the realm of psychiatry on its sexist head something like 33 years ago with Women and Madness, a seminal (or perhaps I should say “ovarian”) work that exposed how, in far too many instances, the science of mind had been perverted into a vindictive scheme for furthering the oppression of women.

(Yes, you’re hearing me right, and this is neither a sudden about-face nor the emergence of a contradiction. It’s absolutely true I condemn victim-identity cultism, and I especially deplore matrifascism – the Nazi-influenced brand of feminism, predominant on the Left and in the United States in general, that has as its objective the overthrow of American liberty, the destruction of Western Civilization and the imposition of “gynocracy,” a female-supremacist version of the Third Reich, with males as the new untermenschen. But I have always been profoundly supportive of genuine female equality – especially intellectual equality and equality in the contexts of civil rights and equal pay for equal work – and one of my private definitions of Hell is a personal relationship with a woman who is incapable of thinking for herself or holding her own in a conversation.)

In any case, the doctors about whom Chesler writes have extensively researched the phenomenon of Islam from a psychoanalytic perspective, and their conclusion, bolstered by the overwhelming evidence of terrorism, suggests that the group mentality of Islam and the individual mindset of a Ted Bundy – particularly in terms of a truly infinite hatred of the female gender – are virtually the same. Thanks to Front Page Magazine, Chesler’s dramatic preview is available here. Think of it as a follow-up to my April 30 Focal Point, which linked to a women-as-entrepreneurs story I described as not only something for all of us to be proud of, but a perfect example of just what it is Islam despises most about America – the blessed fact that women here are genuinely free to live the lives they choose.

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posted by at 01:32 PM : Comments (1)

May 04, 2004

focal point

I understand Linda’s rage at the now-deservedly-dead Muslim fiends who murdered the pregnant Israeli mother and her four daughters yesterday in Gaza. Indeed there is a part of me that is sorry the two terrorists were not gut-shot and left to die slowly in screaming agony, for it is obvious the lesson of maximum suffering is the only kind of lesson these people understand. Which is of course why I am so angry over the fact that – thanks to an absolute failure of leadership – we have now frittered away our advantages at Fallujah so thoroughly, the mainstream media is reporting that the key terrorist leaders, smug at having shamed the “Great Satan” once again, have withdrawn from the city and escaped through the strong but nevertheless undermanned Marine blockade. There is a staggering quantity of payback coming due in Fallujah, Big Time, and I can only hope the Marines will yet have adequate opportunity to mete it out as deserved.

Meanwhile, again thanks to National Review Online, here is more utterly damning analysis of what has gone wrong in Iraq and what might yet be done to salvage the situation. However, before I type out these hyperlinks, I think it needs to be stressed that the Charley Foxtrot in Iraq is all at the level of the civilian administrator and above – that the performance of the troops and their commanders is as fine as anything ever witnessed in modern warfare and may in some instances be without peer. I say this because at least one person with whom I regularly exchange e-mails mistakenly believed I was criticizing the military effort – something I most assuredly have not done (and would not think of doing) simply because I am not there on the ground in Iraq, have no access to the operations order and its intelligence annex, and in any case have no current knowledge of Army or Marine tactical doctrine. The small-unit tactics with which I am familiar are those of another era: the era of the U.S. Rifle Caliber .30 M-1, the Browning Automatic Rifle and the .45ACP caliber M1911A1 Colt, with the 12-gauge M1897 Winchester trench gun as the favored close-quarters weapon. Moreover I am told on good authority that a five-man fire team today has many times more firepower than the eleven-man infantry squad of my youth, which in its heyday was itself considered more formidable than any comparable formation on earth. In any case, my point here is that – especially since I was once a soldier myself – I would not presume to criticize the brave and long-suffering people who are actually doing the fighting or leading the fighters. If I have given any impression to the contrary, I can only apologize and take full blame for not expressing myself with sufficient clarity. That said, here are the NRO links: The first, by Michael Rubin, adds important details to the emerging portrait of a State Department that is (once again) so out of control it is brazenly sabotaging the President’s intent. The second, from David Frum’s blog, adds additional dimensions to our understanding of the crisis. Bottom line, President Bush may well have been hornswoggled by his advisors, quite possibly by Secretary of State Colin Powell himself.

One more point before I shut this machine off and go to bed: another frequent e-mail correspondent wrote to me yesterday morning that she thought I had given up on Iraq – that I had concluded our cause there was lost. This is surely not true, and I carefully re-read everything I posted here yesterday to see if I could find the source of her misconception. I could not, but at the same time I could see my words left an overall impression of angry negativity, and again I have to accept the fault is mine for not making it clear I believe we can still prevail in Iraq – that indeed I am certain we dare not fail, lest our failure drag all of the world into darkness. That my correspondent thought I believed otherwise was all the more worrisome because she is such a perceptive and talented writer. She is certainly not one of the knee-jerk, Bush-can-do-no-wrong cheerleaders who decry any criticism of the President as High Treason and – by their attempts to censor the flow of ideas – are the very people who contribute most to the unspeakable possibility we might fail. What we need now is precisely the conservative criticism the cheer-leaders would silence. To paraphrase the old-time Southern radio preachers of my youth, it is the duty of all of us “out here in Internet-land” to respond accordingly -- even if that response is merely e-mailing hyperlinks to one another with a “you gotta read this” memo attached. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of American liberty and Western Civilization.

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posted by at 11:11 AM : Comments (1)

May 03, 2004

focal point

Reading the news reports out of Iraq, I am struck more than anything else by the utter chaos they portray. Even allowing for so much of the media’s obvious hate-America bias – and most of all, its infinitely vindictive anti-Bush bias -- it is clear the U.S. and its allies have totally lost control of events in Iraq. However it is spun, the situation is what military men of my generation would have aptly labeled a “Charlie Foxftrot” – phonetic alphabet-speak for “Cluster-Fuck” – a term of art used in those halcyon years before political “correctness” mandated all soldiers speak like Sunday-school teachers, lest they be charged with “sexual harassment.” Iraq would also be described as “FUBAR” – Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. Indeed all that is lacking is the appearance of a well-known Marine Corps sub-demon of the pre-PC era – no doubt banished since Tailhook: Needle-Dick the Bug-Fucker, infamous for fomenting grief, whether on the battlefield or off. Indeed, based on the media reports, ‘ole Needle-Dick is there already in Iraq and has clearly joined hands with that insufferable prick Murphy.

But what is happening is absolutely nothing to make light of despite my former-soldier’s penchant for indulging in latrine humor at the expense of the chain of command. Frankly I don’t know which disturbs me more: the fact Iraq is on the verge of becoming yet another in a long, miserable succession of U.S. foreign-policy failures dating to the ascendance of the State Department in aftermath of World War II (think Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iran, Lebanon, Somalia ad nauseum -- not to mention the breathtaking betrayal of our Israeli, British and French allies at Suez in 1956, which truly was “all about the oil”); the fact that the neo-conservative intellectuals in the Pentagon (the very officials I hoped would save us from U.N. treachery and diplomatic-corps folly) have now apparently been checkmated by the ruling clique of careerists, Neville Chamberlain clones and anti-Jewish bigots at State; or finally the fact that the loss of Iraq means not only the loss of the most vital strategic toehold in our defense against Islam’s 1300-year war on civilization, but also the loss of the 2004 election to the internationalist/appeaser John Kerry (who regards this 1300-year war as a mere crime problem). A Kerry victory would lead ultimately to the loss of the war itself, and -- via the inevitable triumph of the global caliphate -- the descent of humanity into such darkness as will make the post-Roman Dark Ages a time of enlightenment by comparison: a darkness so black humanity will never recover. That is what is at stake in Iraq. We need an Arthur, a Gwydion, and all we have is George Bush, with mounting proofs of his ineptitude, whether in Iraq or at home.

I have been convinced for some time now that part of the problem with the war against Islamic terror is that far too many people both in and out of government fail to take it seriously, memories of 9/11 not withstanding. Hence the war becomes a playing field for politics-as-usual (with the “usual” radically intensified by the antagonisms that divide the U.S. into to two increasingly hostile camps). Thus too it becomes a court upon which the mainstream media play out their malicious “gotcha” games – never mind that these morally imbecilic expressions of the competition for viewers and/or readers sometimes savagely wound the U.S., precisely as did the CBS broadcast of the Iraqi prisoner-abuse pictures last week. Which broadcast surely underscores my point. POWs are often abused, especially if they are terrorists or terrorist cadre. Hence -- if we truly believed ourselves at war -- we would have in place such stringent operational security measures, those photographs would never have been taken, much less leaked. The fact such op-sec orders were not in place mirrors a chain-of-command failure of truly staggering proportions. Had we attempted to fight World War Two with such careless attitudes and slipshod practices, we would all speak German today.

Because I long ago read The Ugly American, a novel by Eugene Burdick
and William Lederer about a notably homely American civil engineer (hence the title) who did more in a day for a Southeast Asian people than all the Lord Plushbottoms of the diplomatic service were able to do in a year; because The Ugly American was a novel so powerfully truthful it moved President Eisenhower to try to reform the diplomatic service; because I had covered politics and had been on speaking terms with some of the Cold War’s more astute politicians; because I study history the way some people study the weather; because in my own personal ethos, journalism is not a job but a way of life, something that one is and therefore can never truly retire from – and yes, perhaps because of this more than anything else – I still watch public affairs as closely as when I was paid to do so. And for all these reasons, and probably for a lot more reasons too subconscious to articulate, I have watched events in Iraq with suspicion ever since I ran across the text of a Radio Free Europe report speculating that the Bush Administration’s sacking of Lt. Gen. Jay Garner represented a profound defeat for the Defense Department and a huge triumph for the State Department. Garner, an up-by-the-bootstraps professional soldier who knows the Middle East intimately, had been viciously trashed by U.S. media – in retrospect, almost certainly in service to the same State Department clique that has repeatedly leaked damaging material about various Bush Administration plans and projects. Garner was hastily fired by the administration, and his replacement -- L. Paul Bremer, a State Department favorite and member of the pampered Ivy League aristocracy, a professional diplomat whose expertise is Northern European affairs (and not the Middle East) -- was clearly some kind of payoff, whether to satisfy a partisan political debt or reward a cabinet-level backstabber. Indeed, it was Burdick and Lederer all over again. But I still hoped for the best, if only because I recognize the critical importance of victory in Iraq.

Until a few days ago, all I had were growing suspicions I was watching yet another in the long and dismal successions of State Department Charley Foxtrots brought about by the lethal combination of arrogance, ineptitude, stupid optimism and the singularly American psychoses of a desperate craving to be loved by murderous savages rather than feared and respected by them. But now – little by slow – the story is coming out, and I can only pray it grows the legs it deserves. Here are two links to disclosures about what happened to Lt. Gen. Garner and what the dire consequences are: the first is to a scathing report in National Review Online, the second to a more general but nevertheless important column in The Palm Beach Post. And for anyone who doubts what is truly at stake in this war, I offer in conclusion an especially grisly report from Turkey, where the stubborn persistence of “honor killings” proves that Islam is probably beyond redemption.

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posted by at 03:19 PM : Comments (1)

May 01, 2004

lost weekend

Sorry, no picks or focal points this weekend, and maybe not ever again on any weekend. My sanity requires two consecutive days off -- especially now that all this other stuff is happening in my life.

Which reminds me: there's good news relative to my living situation and thus also to my continued participation in this blog: sometime this summer I will move back to East Tennessee, the region of Appalachia in which I grew up. Yes, I will be temporarily silent, but after a several-week hiatus to drive across the country with one of my sisters and both of my dogs, then get established in my new dwelling and finally get reconnected to the Internet, I will resume my daily posts. I might move the posting in some new directions, too -- new for me, that is -- but the Muse is now only whispering, and I am still not certain what She is saying. After all, one of the unavoidable conditions of old age (or too much time at shooting ranges) is deafness...

More later, as it develops, including the relevant dates. Meanwhile, have a good weekend!

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posted by at 10:46 AM : Comments (3)

April 30, 2004

focal points

I’m not inspired to be my usual gloomy and caustic self this morning – too geriatric-sore from a long day of outdoor chores yesterday, including a very hard fall (fortunately on very soft ground), the result of hauling on a tough cluster of vines that, instead of slowly uprooting, gave way all at once and without warning. The laws of physics being what they are, the sudden release sent me toppling over backwards, landing with such force it flung my sun-helmet at least ten feet, and prompted both my dogs to come on a dead run, then carefully sniff me from head to toe to make sure I was alive and unhurt. These are big dogs, a Rottweiler/Labrador and a Brittany/Springer, and their concerns are not easily dismissed at any time, but at this moment, as I lay on the ground marveling at my own foolhardiness, their attentions were especially welcome – and comforting.

Hence in deference to sundry aches and pains I’ll take a break from the usual presentation of outrages, miscarriages of justice and subversions of libertarian principles, and focus instead on a story that made me grin from ear to ear. It is, of all things, a thoroughly positive report about a welcome achievement by the business community in Utah – the kind of story a Chamber of Commerce touts with pride and preserves in its portfolio, but it is also precisely the sort of thing a towel-headed mullah for some moronic band of Islamic terrorists would brandish as ultimate proof of “the evil decadence of the Great Satan” and absolute justification for genocidal jihad. Indeed, it is my belief the achievements of these Utah entrepreneurs explain exactly why it is Muslims so hatefully wish us dead and so maliciously plot our extinction – that this little news item out of Utah says more about America and why Islam demands its destruction than all the millions of words of politically “correct” analysis written by all the cadres of alleged experts. Thanks to the selfsame modern technology the Taliban would banish, you can see for your self how resourceful Utah folk defy Muhammad and his murderous minions – and how they do it so naturally and so well, they probably don’t give the Islamic threat much more than a moment’s thought. I’m not from Utah – have never even been there, in fact – but I hope you glean the same fierce nationalistic pride and cultural delight I got from this story, available here.

Speaking of pride, I have never made a secret of the fact I am a used-to-be newspaperman, and I remain proud of the stories I covered, the governmental misconduct I exposed and the awards I won, though I am ever more ashamed of the extent to which journalism itself has deteriorated into a propaganda apparatus for the hate-America Left. But – thank all the gods that are – there remain outposts of newspapering’s Old Ways. With great thanks and a wolfen grin of appreciation to the Lucianne.com contributor who goes by the screen-name of Allegra, what follows is something to savor over a good cup of coffee, an opinion column by a genuine old-school editor (a man I would be proud to work for and am surely proud to claim as a colleague), available here.

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posted by at 01:18 PM : Comments (1)

April 29, 2004

focal point

Tentatively – because this entire site is a work in progress – what were formerly “picks” are now “focal points.” Which could change again, but might not. Hence this, a focal point:

Most of us are happily far removed from the venomous hatreds of the present-day Left. We are aware those hatreds exist, and if we know something of the political history of America or perhaps even of the world, we know that a Left built on an epicenter of pure hatred is a unique phenomenon -- that hate-based political movements were something formerly limited to the very far around-the-bend Right: Nazis, fascists, Ku Klux Klanners. Whether in the Germany of Hitler, the Spain of Franco or some Klavern headed by a local Grand Dragon, it was the Right that spewed unabashed hatred, and the Left that responded with reason and rhetoric and ideology: the Manifesto versus jackboots and fists; dialectic materialism versus the fury of a legion of Horst Wessels; freedom songs versus burning crosses. Such was the picture of reality in the time of my childhood, the 1940s and the 1950s – especially growing up as I did in a leftist household, where political discussion was as much a part of the daily fare as bacon, eggs and coffee at breakfast. The Right was ignorance and stupidity and hate; the Left was knowledge and wisdom and love.

To be sure, the love was sometimes Armed Love, for the Left had teeth indeed: the teeth were called the Red Army, and its fangs were those of the Russian Bear– the Bear that, once enraged, had not stopped attacking until he had devoured the German eagle whole. The Red Army was an army of heroes who had saved the world from fascism. As it says in “Song of the Plains”: “heroes go riding across the prairie/ yes it’s the Red Army are the heroes...” In the time of my childhood, there was probably not a leftist household in America that did not have -- quietly tucked into a corner behind the 78 rpm albums by the Ink Spots and Carmen Miranda and Dinah Shore -- a plain dark red cloth-covered binder of a half dozen exceptionally thick records lettered in Cyrillic, blue on the red cover, silver on the blue paper labels at the centers of the disks themselves: the Red Army Chorus, violent hope of all the leftist world, terror of the capitalist boardroom. (“Let us all now rise and sing...”) But there was no hatred in it – anger, yes, but mostly solidarity and pride, and no hatred at all – or no hatred that I ever saw, and as a child I was especially wary of such things.

The Left today, with its manifesto trashed and its hatreds manifest, is thus much more like the Right of yesteryear – one of the primary reasons I stopped identifying with the Left – or considering myself a leftist – many many years ago. Undoubtedly the Left’s present-day epicenter of hatred and hatefulness is the legacy of its history: the demise of Marxism, the subsequent rise of victim-identity cults: feminism (especially the Nazi-influenced brand of feminism I call “matrifascism”), which was the first and is still by far the most dominant; “Afrocentricism,” which is no more “African” than Richard Nixon’s ghost, and thus in truth should call itself “Negrocentricism” but does not have the requisite honesty; various other groups (for example MEChA) that all stridently assert the claim, “I am more victim than thou.” Matrifascist or MEChAnoid , they all agree that the ultimate Axis of Evil is the dread alliance between the brain and the penis of the White Male. But it is the matrifascists I blame most of all, for it was their ideologues who first voiced the morally imbecillic shibboleth that “the personal is political”– and so licensed an entire subculture to legitimize its cowardice, hysteria and infantile rage.

As I noted at the beginning, most of us are happily removed from all that. We served out our enlistments, and now we no longer have to carry the obligatory spare handkerchiefs to wipe the pacifist dung and matrifascist spittle from our faces, whether metaphorically or otherwise. But the hatred we have escaped lives on, and even thrives, like maggots on a secret corpse or roaches beneath the drainboard, and now that we are at war again, it has festered itself back to its Vietnam-era intensity -- dung, spittle, subversive malice and all. The following, from the student newspaper at the University of Massachusetts, exemplifies the leftist malevolence I am talking about and is available here. It’s author’s website is here.

And please, tell me your reaction to occasional postings like this. I am both proud to have ferreted such material out and ashamed that it exists at all, but I believe it is essential reading if we are to truly know our enemy – a knowledge I think is prerequisite to victory. What do you think?

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posted by at 03:33 PM : Comments (3)

April 28, 2004

pick of the day

I know of no one else who has dared say it in print -- for the gag imposed on mass media by “multiculturalism,” “diversity,” and politically “correct” censorship is truly suffocating our minds -- but the implicitly obvious revelation of Claudia Rosett’s galaxy-class reporting on the Oil for Graft scandal is that the United Nations itself has deteriorated into a typically corrupt and murderous Third World oligarchy. That this has occurred under the leadership of Kofi Annan, who is of course himself a Third Worlder, is surely no coincidence.

Meanwhile, Rosett has unearthed new, profoundly disturbing evidence that OFG’s ultimate objective – almost certainly in the mind of Saddam Hussien but maybe also in the hate-America, down-with-Western-Civilization mentality of the Third Worlders who under Annan have come to dominate the U.N.’s vast and obscenely powerful bureaucracy – was to bankroll Islamic terrorism and create an impregnable infrastructure to guarantee an endless supply of both money and materiel. These disclosures – of a network so huge and diabolically intricate, it seems to me it could just as easily hide weapons of mass destruction as clandestinely transfer them -- are available here.

Next, as if to underscore the ubiquitous nature of the Islamic threat, I have found (thanks to Lucianne.com, for which see the "news site" links below) a second story -- this one from the disturbingly uncritical “celebrate-diversity” perspective of a Washington Post reporter named DeNeen L. Brown -- about how the Canadians are allowing their resident Muslims to impose a limited form of sharia: the Qur’an-based law under which, throughout the Islamic world, women suffer genital mutilation, are stoned to death and slain in “honor killings.” Of course the Canadian government claims these atrocities won’t be allowed in Canada, and its spokespersons angrily dismiss all objections to the imposition of sharia as racist bigotry, never mind it is now undeniable the theocratic Islamic camel has gotten his nose ominously far into the proverbial tent of North American religious and political freedoms.

The real issue in the sharia-in-Canada controversy – an issue not even the most dense and perfumed smokescreen of political “correctness” should be allowed to obscure – is the horrific fact that our northern neighbor has now officially begun to abandon the liberties that are the very wellspring of Western Civilization: liberties arduously distilled from a 5,000 year admixture of Pagan reverence for life, British tribal customs, Greek philosophy, Roman concepts of governance, Nordo-Germanic common law, Judaeo-Christian belief in Free Will, and -- most of all -- the blood of patriots dating all the way back to the age of Standing Stones and the legendary Tuatha de Danaan. Brown’s sympathetic account ignores all these critical points, but nevertheless contains vital information, not the least its unspoken (and ultimately subversive) enthusiasm for sharia itself. Brown's report is available here.

Not to let the suicidal cult of “moral equivalence” have the final word, I will close today’s rejoinders with a line from a poem called Preiddeu Annwm, an invocatory celebration of transcendent bravery by the eloquent Taliesin, whose work derives from British myth at least as ancient as Stonehenge:

“I will not allow praise
to men of drooping courage...”

(Think of skirling pipes, a rising Moon, and mist blowing amidst tall stones.)

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posted by at 01:24 PM : Comments (1)

April 27, 2004

pick of the day

Involuntary euthanasia has become so commonplace in Holland, elderly people now fear going to the hospital even for relatively minor procedures, lest they return home in a coffin or by way of a crematorium. How these dismal circumstances came about -- how a modern democracy embraced the Nazi solution to the “problem” of aging -- is discussed in a provocative essay here, which warns that in the U.S. we are already taking gradual steps in the same direction...steps that will surely quicken into a headlong dash if our nation adopts socialized medicine.

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posted by at 11:47 AM : Comments (1)
» Spacecraft links with: Alternatives To Getting Old

April 26, 2004

picks of the day

Yesterday thanks to Lucianne.com (see news-site links below), I read a story about a Pennsylvania school official who, with some help from an Associated Press writer, has deftly tied together nearly the entire feminist hate-America agenda – everything but abortion, that is -- in a screed focused against the Second Amendment. According to the report – these lines are lifted directly from its text – rural schools in Pennsylvania are becoming more violent because of a gun culture, family instability, demographic changes and limited mental-health services...hate groups are adding to violence in rural schools...children have access to guns and they know how to use them...more minority populations have settled in rural areas and more rural households are now headed by women...rural districts are not prepared for these societal changes...some children are not receiving the support they need. In other words, what we have here is almost the Full Gospel according to matrifascism: rural is bad, armed is worse and liberty is intolerable. The official’s solution is not spelled out but is obvious nonetheless: forcibly disarm the people, disenfranchise all white males, restructure the family so that all households are headed by women, and impose a No Child Left Unbrainwashed/No Male Child Left Psychologically Uncastrated act, the latter enforced by matrifascist-indoctrinated ''guidance counselors,'' with prescription-drug-writing authority of course. The AP dispatch – which had my blood pressure still off the scale hours after I read it – is available here.

You won’t learn it from AP (or any other source under politically “correct” censorship), but in the down-with-liberty sweepstakes, the Pennsylvania official’s Hispanic surname becomes an issue too. According to a Financial Times report published last week, a growing number of Hispanic peoples in Central and South America now distrust democracy so thoroughly, they would enthusiastically endorse a return to dictatorship if it improved their economic circumstances. (Unfortunately I don’t remember if this was a majority or just a rapidly expanding minority. I had tagged the report as a possible “pick,” and in any case something I wanted to study thoroughly, because it seemed obvious that -- once again -- the viciously totalitarian legacy of the old Spanish Empire was raising its ugly head. But then when I returned to the report, I discovered that re-linking it requires a paid subscription.) Meanwhile, in the U.S., 71 percent of Hispanics say they believe imposition of gun control is “extremely important” or “very important.” While the precise meaning of “gun control” is not defined in the data cited, use of the adjectives “extremely” and “very” generally indicate opposition to the Second Amendment and support for prohibition of the private ownership of firearms. The source of the 71 percent figure is here. The significance of such information is that it supports the claims of those who say the uncontrolled influx of Hispanics, especially illegals, is subverting American cultural values – including our nation’s historical commitment to individual liberty.

Demographic data aside, obviously not all Hispanics support MEChA’s plan to turn the Western U.S. into “Aztlan”– a province of Greater Mexico – or seek to topple the U.S. Constitution and impose the Democrat/matrifascist version of the Marxist “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Special Forces Master Sgt. Roy Benavidez, the son of a Texas share-cropper, was a Hispanic and an American patriot of the first order. He is also a genuine American hero, a man literally of the stature of Leonidas, or the legendary warriors Beowulf and Cuchulainn. The account of M/Sgt. Benavidez’ astounding bravery and how by sheer willpower he rescued a number of his comrades from certain death is as gripping as anything of its kind I have ever read, whether in modern military history, Homeric hexameters or bardical celebrations of the Spartans, the Celts and the Norse. Anyone else who reads it cannot but applaud – as did I – the fact that M/Sgt. Benavidez’ courage was at long last acknowledged with a much-deserved Congressional Medal of Honor, executive-ordered and personally presented by President Reagan. The story of M/Sgt. Benavidez should be required reading in every eighth-grade classroom in America, but – especially if certain bureaucrats of Pennsylvania pedagogy have their way -- it will no doubt be censored in the name of pernicious “anti-violence conditioning” (which in most public school systems has long since morphed into a wholesale war against the First Amendment). The Benavidez epic is available here. (It may be necessary to provide zip code, gender and birth year to activate the link.)

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posted by at 11:32 AM : Comments (1)

April 24, 2004

pick of the weekend

First the bad news. If you are an American unfortunate enough to suffer from chronic pain, you probably already know you are for all intents and purposes accursed, and that your accursedness is entirely because of the War on Drugs and its obscenely puritanical attitude toward pain: better you suffer unspeakable agony than be allowed proper pharmaceutical relief. Thanks to this zero-tolerance viciousness, government-intimidated doctors are generally terrified to prescribe the painkillers you need, and if – in agonized desperation – you persist in trying to obtain such drugs, the Authorities gleefully await the opportunity to pounce and maliciously destroy your life. Linked below is just such a story. The facts alone are an outrage, the portrait of an atrocity by vindictive prosecutors and a compliant judiciary. The unspeakable horror the report leaves out is that the victim has almost certainly been given a defacto death sentence: he is white, has no criminal background whatsoever, has neither Mafia nor Aryan Nations connections, and once in prison is thus sure to be repeatedly gang-raped by predatory blacks, many of whom are AIDS carriers delighted to deliberately infect “whitey” as “a revolutionary act.” The relevant link is here.

Now the good news, especially for those of us who believe the ‘’global warming” hypothesis – the favorite shibboleth of the Luddite faction of the environmental movement – is at best questionable: more knee-jerk emotionalism and subversive ideology than diligently postulated science. The likelihood that the "global warming" hysteria is based on incomplete evidence and is thus at least premature is the underlying message of recently discovered data on the Ordovician Ice Age, which is throwing a curve into some of the favored notions about greenhouse gasses and planetary heat retention -- largely because this particular global freeze-out occurred when the atmosphere contained five to 10 times the standard pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide. This report, which summarizes the unknowns of the Ordovician mystery, is a follow-up to the global-warming story Linda posted on the 22nd and is available here.

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posted by at 01:51 PM : Comments (1)

April 23, 2004

picks of the day

Another twofer. The morgue of the Bethany College student newspaper reveals a younger John Kerry with his trousers at half mast, denouncing American liberty as “a farce,” available here, and a British journalist accurately describes the United Nations as a “ship of fools” – and the worst possible solution for the problems of Iraq, linked here.

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posted by at 12:52 PM : Comments (1)

April 22, 2004

picks of the day

Two picks today. One is an unusually vivid portrait of the long-suffering Iranian people, and how part of the agenda of terrorist Islam is to rob the Iranians of their ancient (and surprisingly libertarian) pre-Islamic heritage. While this sort of legacy-thievery is surely not new to scholars, who struggle with the residue of its Christian variant whenever they attempt to study the great cultures and civilizations of pre-Christian Europe -- the true and unimaginably ancient foundation of Western Civilization – it is nevertheless a kind of deliberate cultural genocide most Americans (with the tragic exception of American aboriginals) have never encountered. Though the Taliban wantonly destroyed the antique Buddhas of Afghanistan, the cylinder of Cyrus yet lives, and its 25-century-old ideals have come back to terrify the mullahs, just as reported here. The second pick, from a New Zealand newspaper, shows just how clearly the folks Down Under comprehend the terrorist nature of Islam and the magnitude of its threat – a much more accurate understanding than is typically allowed past the politically “correct” censorship of North American media. The New Zealand report is available here.

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posted by at 11:30 AM : Comments (1)

April 21, 2004

pick of the day

Thanks to computers, I collect stories and hoard then against times of need. The Village Voice ran a superbly thought provoking essay on outsourcing a month ago, and I clicked it aside as a possible pick, then shunted it to the bottom of the pile as other developments took precedence. But today is a slow news day -- nothing more than the obligatory denunciation of the usual suspects and the predictable rehash of the usual scandals – so the best, most complete, a-plague-on-all-their-houses discussion of outsourcing I’ve seen anywhere is now available here.

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posted by at 12:06 PM : Comments (0)

April 20, 2004

pick of the day

Regular readers of this site have probably already guessed that I am harshly critical of the present-day U.S. public education system – that I believe it has been “dumbed down” not accidentally but deliberately – and that the dumbing-down is part of a much broader, mostly feminist-directed effort to subvert American liberty, destroy Western Civilization and thus overthrow “the white male patriarchy.” An essay by Alan Caruba makes many of these same points, says a lot more too, and is available here.

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posted by at 01:54 PM : Comments (1)

April 19, 2004

picks of the day

Two picks today – one about the War, the other about the 9/11 commission.

The first link is to a report by Niall Ferguson, a historian who is both a professor at New York University and a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Ferguson’s piece is in The New York Times and may require registration, but the hassle is well worth it, for The Times, though presently the captive of a cult of anti-American leftists under Pinch Sulzberger, is nevertheless still our national newspaper of record. And this essay -- which, by the way, urges ruthless suppression of the Iraqi uprising – discuses a vital aspect of Iraq history most Americans probably don’t know: that the British ruled it, first directly and then indirectly – and by necessity with an iron hand -- from 1920 until 1955. Alas, the entire chain of command running U.S. operations in Iraq is apparently ignorant of this critical history -- a profound indictment, breathtaking in its implication the conditions exposed nearly 50 years ago by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer in The Ugly American still cripple our foreign policy today. The Ferguson piece is available here.

The second link is to an essay about increasing partisanship on the 9/11 commission and how it is compromising the commission’s credibility, with author John Carlson approaching the issue from a refreshing new perspective: instead of damning the commissioners who have already become notorious for their partisan demagoguery, Carlson focuses on the most non-partisan member of all, Commissioner Slade Gorton. Carlson notes that though Gorton was a Republican U.S. Senator from Washington state for 18 years, Gorton's questioning of witnesses is both unique and exemplary in its cool objectivity, an essential characteristic for all other commissioners to adopt -- that is, if the commission is to achieve the ends for which it was officially convened. I agree – and suspect Gorton’s example is likely to be ignored (if not deliberately suppressed) by the national media -- but I post the essay for another reason too: Gorton is not well known outside of Washington state. For example, few non-Washingtonians know that he is man of uncompromised principles – a gentleman of the first order. He is also a true defender of the Second Amendment, and before he was elected senator, he was probably the finest attorney general in the state’s history -- one of Gorton’s accomplishments was to give Washington the toughest, most user-friendly consumer protection law in the nation. After winning his Senate seat and two re-elections, always by easy margins, his defeat by Maria Cantwell in the 2000 election was a loss not only for Washingtonians but for all America. Gorton was beaten by only 2,229 votes, one of the many dismal consequences of the takeover of the state Republican Party by genuinely Talibanic Christian Fundamentalists during the 1990s. By their intolerance of all other viewpoints – especially their advocacy of defacto theocracy – the fundamentalists drove some 60,000 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents out of the GOP and into the Libertarian camp. The Democrats – in Washington primarily a party of the far (and often venomously anti-American) Left – have securely dominated the state ever since. The lesson – and its application to November 2004 – should be obvious. Hence this link to introduce readers of Civilization Calls to Gorton, and thereby illustrate something of the magnitude of the loss that – thanks to the authoritarian fundamentalists – we Washingtonians sustained in 2000 election.

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posted by at 11:41 AM : Comments (1)

April 17, 2004

pick of the weekend

This weekend’s pick is actually a foursome of contemplative readings: Two essential essays by conservatives who recognize the necessity of the Iraqi front in the war against Islamic terror, but pull no punches in pointing out the glaring Bush Administration follies that led to the present crisis, available here and here. British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s forthright defense of the urgent necessity for victory in Iraq, a truly eloquent presentation, (in contrast to which, our own officials’ breathtaking inarticulateness seems ever more shameful), available here. And last but surely not least – as if to renew our memories of the dreadful cost in blood that earned the very freedoms we now all too often take for granted -- the poignant story of the archaeological work that has revealed so many of the secrets of the ill-fated C.S.S. Hunley, the world’s first operational submarine, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship, and yet another proud testimony to the determined ingenuity that was so characteristic of the doomed Confederate States of America, here.

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posted by at 12:36 PM : Comments (1)

April 16, 2004

pick of the day

Once in a while, even the nation’s most deliberately mediocre paper can successfully defend the public interest, and with the disclosures linked below, USA Today has done just that, whether by accident or as a harbinger of a major format change remains to be seen.

Though it is almost an aside, what adds a man-bites-dog dimension to this whole story -- or more precisely, the story behind the story -- is that USA Today is generally regarded as the very antithesis of serious journalism, a national-circulation version of the typically mercenary Gannett local daily. I knew several people who worked for Gannett papers, and based on their (fairly constant) complaints, Gannett editorial personnel are routinely either singled out for fast promotion to the business-side of management or reduced to the operational status of clerks: they were hired as journalists, to be sure, and they were maybe once proud of their talents and achievements, but unless they have the desire and aptitude to become bottom-line types, they are soon forced by the economic realities of the Age of Monopoly Media to accept defacto demotion to the singularly unfulfilling role of information-industry production-line workers, demoralized men and women whose uninspiring duty is merely to pack the spaces around the day’s advertisements with copy crafted to retain the patronage of the advertisers. The costs of this MBA-ruled approach – the cost to an informed public and especially to truth itself – are obviously ruinous. But Gannett is not alone in this sad malfeasance; it is more-or-less evident at most U.S. newspapers today, and it is gravely intensified in the many newsrooms oppressed by word or story quotas. The recent journalistic scandals – Jayson Blair et al – are merely one of its predictable consequences. The hate-America bias of so many of today’s reporters and editors, inflamed by newsroom working conditions and encouraged by upper management as part of a devil’s bargain to minimize labor costs, is another. The most glaring result, however, is the steady deterioration in both the quality of reporting and the significance of the reports – a deliberate decline in which Gannett has surely been one of the leaders.

In any case it thus came as a huge surprise to me to discover, courtesy of the always-reliable Lucianne.com (see link in "News Sites," below), a USA Today story that is not only of major significance, but could actually be pivotal in shaping U.S. foreign policy. Moreover, it centers on a decidedly troublesome and potentially infuriating revelation: the fact that merely because of one antagonistic essay written by a lone Brookings Institution academic who is hostile to America’s survival and therefore terrified of American power, the Senate is now making plans to shackle the U.S. military’s special operations capabilities with the same crippling chains that already bind the nation’s intelligence apparatus – the lessons of 9/11 be damned. USA Today’s report is available here. A summary of the academic’s manifesto is available here, while this links to her professional biography. Let us hope the major media – especially the conservative media – grow this story the legs it deserves.

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posted by at 02:38 PM : Comments (1)

April 15, 2004

pick of the day

The abrasive arrogance of Jamie Gorelick – a high ranking member of the erstwhile Clinton Administration who now sits on the 9/11 Commission – is so overwhelmingly huge it is evident even in the briefest glimpses of her televised performances. There is a smirking, self-congratulatory quality about Gorelick unlike anything I have ever witnessed on the part of any American official male or female, a smugness disturbingly reminiscent of Stalinist bureaucrats, Mafia dons and untouchably corrupt Third World dictators. Not that I am particularly surprised. The glaring elitism evidenced by Gorelick’s demeanor was endemic in an administration notorious for its brazen commitment to matrifascist ideologies of political “correctness,” victim-identity cultism and war against the “white male patriarchy” -- so hypocritically respectful of Islamic terrorists’ rights, it facilitated the outrages of 9/11 just as surely as it murdered Branch Davidians and persecuted firearms owners. But even those damning facts pale in light of the always troublesome but now ever-more-disruptive conflict of interest between Gorelick’s former command role in the Clinton/Reno Justice Department and her present position as a commissioner. The Wall Street Journal explores why Gorelick should be forced to resign from the Commission in disgrace and then subpoenaed before it as a hostile witness, with a summary of her thoroughly compromising but curiously unpublicized history available here.

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posted by at 12:01 PM : Comments (1)

April 14, 2004

pick of the day

I did not have a lot of time to sort through the day’s news because of the demands of a grave crisis in my personal life – the ongoing dissolution of a relationship turning suddenly even more sour than usual, and the attendant, growing possibility I will soon be without a home or even the kind of Internet access essential to continue my contributions to this site. Hence my participation in this blog may soon become erratic or may even end entirely, a likelihood for which I apologize in advance, especially to those faithful readers who visit this site daily. Meanwhile, from last night’s much-abbreviated survey of on-line news, here is a pointed commentary by a veteran newsman who properly denounces the Democrats for poisoning the 9/11 commission with malicious partisanship.

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posted by at 03:48 PM : Comments (4)

April 13, 2004

pick of the day

Having witnessed the Washington state gubernatorial candidacy of theocracy-advocate Ellen Craswell in 1996, I no longer doubt that authoritarian Christian fundamentalists truly are plotting to overthrow the Constitution of the United States, and like anyone else who follows contemporary politics, I strongly suspect at least some of those plotters have found a comfortable home in today’s national Republican Party. Craswell’s nomination surely made the GOP-fundamentalist connection clear in Washington state, with ruinous consequences for Republican Sen. Slade Gorton’s re-election campaign in 2000, when conservatives of secular values and non-traditional spiritualities abandoned him in droves. More recent events suggest the authoritarian fundamentalists are busy at the federal level too. Last month President Bush revealed his opposition to homosexual unions and his support for a draconian Constitutional amendment that could nullify the right to privacy (see "Dreadful Alternatives," for which you must scroll down to March 8). Just a few days ago, The Baltimore Sun reported that Attorney General John Ashcroft is waging nationwide war on pornography – a massive effort that will divert untold manpower and uncounted millions of dollars from the fight against Islamic terrorism. Lost in the hurly burly of the initial press reports is the frightening probability Ashcroft’s Porn War could be the death knell for the First Amendment, with dire implications for the rest of the Bill of Rights as well. This truly alarming analysis – by attorney Eugene Volokh, a leading authority on Constitutional law – is available here.

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posted by at 11:33 AM : Comments (1)
» Who Tends the Fires links with: From so far Beneath the fold it's off the Page...

April 12, 2004

A Bit of Perspective on the Crisis in Iraq

by Loren Bliss

While I freely acknowledge the strategic necessity for invading Iraq and have never doubted our ability to prevail in Iraq militarily, even before the invasion I was troubled by the fact our post-World-War-II history of attempts to manage the non-military aspects of foreign policy is one of chronic failure – failures typically caused by a ruinous combination of ignorance, arrogance, misguided optimism and a neurotic craving to be loved rather than feared and respected. It makes no difference which party is in power; Republicans and Democrats are equally inept -- think not only Cuba, Vietnam and Southeast Asia in general but most especially Iran and China and Eastern Europe.

More to the point, examination of every one of these foreign-policy debacles demonstrates conclusively that – whatever the other causative factors may have been – each of the disasters were ultimately manifestations of a basic flaw in U.S. society itself: an aggressive, sometimes vicious anti-intellectuality expressed in an appalling ignorance of history, geography and foreign language that was endemic to the United States even when its public education system was controlled by militantly patriotic conservatives in the years immediately after World War II. It is an ignorance as crippling as nationwide illiteracy – a mind-withering, liberty-eroding ignorance that has radically worsened with the capture of public education by the hate-America, down-with-Western-Civilization cult of the post-Marxist, feminist-dominated Left.

Hence I was profoundly skeptical about the non-military aspects of the Iraq operation from the very beginning – all the more so because the apparent (and sometimes strident) anti-intellectuality of the Bush Administration was a veritable microcosm of the selfsame factors historically responsible for all the other post-World-War-II U.S. foreign policy failures. My awareness of the thoroughly disheartening results of a Brookings Institution study of 33 U.S. foreign policy crises between 1946 and 1976 merely intensified my skepticism: this study, cited by Walter C. Clemens Jr. in America and the World, 1898-2025, found that in the "short-run some three-fourths of the outcomes were favorable, but that, three years after the initial show of force, the success rate dropped to less than one-half. Beyond the initial success, American policy failed to achieve goals in nearly two-thirds of the incidents."

Nevertheless, despite my skepticism, I had fervently hoped the Bush Administration would prove the exception to the rule, that it would not duplicate the abysmal foreign-affairs records set by its Democratic and Republican predecessors in all the years following the epic triumphs of reconstructing Germany and Japan. Thus, except to sometimes complain that I thought we were being far too gentle a conqueror in Iraq, I remained mostly silent about my doubts.

No more. While mass media is busy playing sophomoronic “gotcha” games in its ongoing vendetta against the Bush Administration, not one single columnist or commentator seems to have grasped the horrific significance of the past few days’ events. The obvious intelligence failure that left the U.S. and allied troops unprepared for the Iraqi uprisings, the uprisings themselves and the fact they are so widespread, the concurrent unraveling of the Iraqi provisional government – all of these are symptoms of an impending failure not merely of the Vietnam class but rather a region-wide disaster approaching the 1949 loss of China in magnitude and consequence.

In this context, to be silent -- or to reflexively support President Bush with stubbornly mindless, cheerleaderish denial of the overwhelming evidence of the administration's ruinous mistakes in Iraqi governance -- is merely to worsen the crisis. Indeed, what the administration needs most of all is criticism that is both outspokenly harsh but patriotically beyond question. Perhaps then the administration will adjust its policies accordingly, so that we may (once again) subdue terrorist Islam, just as Charles Martel did at Tours in 732 and John Sobieski did at Vienna in 1683. For if we fail -- if by our own folly we are driven from Iraq and from the Middle East -- the global caliphate will indeed become a reality, and humanity will face the darkest and longest dark age ever, perhaps one lasting for all the remainder of human time.

That said, let me add that I passionately support President Bush’s re-election. While I have major differences with the President on domestic policy (and many libertarian concerns rising from the coterie of authoritarian Christian fundamentalists with whom he surrounds himself), the fact remains that Kerry and his hate-America followers have already pledged they will, in effect, surrender the world to terrorist Islam – this by treating Islam’s 1300-year war against civilization as a mere crime problem. Bush's re-election is the only antidote to that awful prospect. But Bush’s re-election is doomed unless there are radical improvements in Iraqi governance.


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posted by at 01:24 PM : Comments (1)

pick of the day

Today's pick adds another dimension to the above commentary on the Iraqi crisis; it is a discussion by Chidanand Rajghatta in The Times of India recalling The Ugly American, the once-influential novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer that prophetically documented U.S. foreign policy failures in Southeast Asia, thereby prompting President Eisenhower to make a sincere (but ultimately ill-fated) attempt to reform the State Department and the diplomatic service. While Rajghatta's work has a distinctly angry flavor and makes several points with which most conservatives would probably disagree, it nevertheless provides an interesting perspective on how the war with terrorist Islam appears from much shorter range. Rajghatta's assertion that from one U.S. presidential administration to the next, "There is...very little institutional record or memory, and even less inclination, that can help U.S. mandarins learn from past mistakes," is an undeniably justified indictment. His complete essay is available here.

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posted by at 12:54 PM : Comments (1)

April 10, 2004

pick of the weekend

Sometimes – given a skilled writer – a “mere” book review becomes a vehicle for profound insight, and this weekend’s pick is a rare example of just such an essay. It is ostensibly Asia Times contributor John Parker’s critical review of a volume entitled Anti-Americanism, by Jean-Francois Revel. The book is a French intellectual’s formidably logical condemnation of the world-wide hate-America cult – no, your eyes are not deceiving you – but Parker's splendid review is, in its own right, a mercilessly ironic deconstruction of anti-American hysteria. Parker's writing is as caustic as anything by H. L. Mencken, and it is quite possibly the best such work I have ever seen. Here is a sample passage:

Indeed, it is not the slightest exaggeration to say that in 2004, anti-American sentiment has become the biggest single obstacle to human progress. It sustains repressive dictatorships everywhere; excuses corruption, torture, the oppression of women, and mass murder; provides ideological oxygen for vile, stupid "revolutionary movements" like the Maoist insurgents in Nepal; and has even promoted the spread of disease (as when, for example, Europeans haughtily dismissed Bush's AIDS initiative as insincere - God forbid that they should concur with any policy of the wicked Bush, even at the cost of a few million more African lives). By focusing monomaniacally on "why America is wrong", instead of asking "what is right", the global anti-American elite has massively failed to fulfill the most fundamental responsibility of the intellectual class: to provide dispassionate, truthful analysis that can guide society to make proper decisions. And it has contemptuously cast aside the irreplaceable, post-Cold War opportunity to irreversibly consolidate the "liberal revolution" praised by Revel - in which inheres the only true hope of lasting, global peace and development - all in the name of redressing the gaping psychological insecurities of its members.

Parker’s review is not a quick and easy read, but like the book that is its subject, it is a long-overdue antidote to a toxin that is notorious for paralyzing the intellect. Parker's writing is deliciously sarcastic and delightfully thought-provoking, something to relish, contemplate and share with friends, available here.

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posted by at 12:42 PM : Comments (2)
» Common Sense and Wonder links with: Anti-Americanism

April 09, 2004

pick of the day

Compulsory wearing of the Burka is only one of the outrages women face under Islam, and it is a mere inconvenience compared to the horror of female circumcision – removal of all or part of the clitoris, often with a shard of glass wielded by some dirty-fingered crone who was similarly mutilated during her own girlhood. Hence it seems profoundly contradictory that so many Western-world feminists – especially the female supremacists who are properly labeled “matrifascists” – enthusiastically support Islam and its terrorists. Surely these women are aware of Islam’s epicentral and overwhelming misogynism, even if they are ignorant of the doctrinal connection between Islam and clitorectomy. But the ugly fact of the matter is that matrifascists are so envenomed by their hatred of American liberty and Western Civilization in general, they reflexively regard any “enemy of the white patriarchy” as a suitable ally with whom to make common cause. Moreover, the matrifascists believe that the forces of “herstory” are irrevocably on their side – that Islamic triumph and imposition of its global caliphate will inevitably lead to worldwide revolution -- a final, epic gender-war in which all forms of patriarchy or even positive male identity will be banished forever. Once patriarchy is toppled and slain, the victors would impose “gynocracy,” a female-supremacist system based on the combination of an all-female version of the Nazi ubermenschen and Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat: a matrifascist utopia complete with extermination camps to rid the world of all males save those deemed essential to sperm banking. (And no, this is not dementia; see Grace Shinell’s “Women’s Primacy in the Coming Reformation,” Heresies, Summer 1978 -- that is, of you can find a hard copy, since Google has conveniently censored Shinell's essay from its on-line version.) Meanwhile,
here
is a Dutch report that documents Islam’s endorsement of the mandatory savaging of female genitalia.

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posted by at 12:09 PM : Comments (1)

April 08, 2004

pick of the day

Terrorists are not the only perpetrators of Islam’s 1300-year war on civilization. It is also fought by a vast and often clandestine army of lawyers, academics and lobbyists, united in their malevolent determination to destroy the “infidel” cultures of the Occident and the Orient, and on the ashes impose a global caliphate – the harshest, most mercilessly vicious regime the human mind has ever contrived. Exaggeration? Alarmism? Neither. Note carefully the following quote:

“Islamists in Canada have recently set up an Islamic Institute of Civil Justice to oversee tribunals that would arbitrate family disputes and other civil matters between people from Muslim origin on the basis of the Islamic Sharia law. This is the first time in any western country that the medieval precepts of the Sharia have been given any validity. One can imagine that the Islamists will use this as a lever to work for similar recognition in many other western countries. After all, if Canada is prepared to recognise Sharia law in this way why not every other country in the west.”

The writer is a Canadian feminist named Azam Kamguian, who has been rudely awakened to the profoundly subversive dangers of multi-culturalism – the very ideology that has already prompted the human-rights outrage of Canada rejecting the liberties born of 25 centuries of Graeco-British law and imposing a modified form of Sharia on all Canadian Moslems. Like too many feminists, Kamguian is not a particularly inspiring writer – the matrifascist prejudice that prosodic excellence is a concession to “patriarchal oppression” is clearly evident in her work. But her words, available here, are nevertheless worth reading, especially as a terrifying omen of what the multi-culturalists and their Moslem allies might attempt even in the United States. And for anyone who seeks the truth about Islam, the site on which Kamguian is featured is a Must Read, well worth exploring in depth.

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posted by at 12:17 PM : Comments (1)

April 07, 2004

pick of the day

The Left constantly compares the war against Islamic terrorism – especially the fighting on the Iraqi front and sometimes even Israel’s struggle for survival – to the Vietnam War. The leftist position is that Vietnam was a classic example of failed “American imperialism,” that because of the courage and determination of the Viet Cong and their Communist-block allies, Vietnam became first a deadly quagmire for the American soldiers and finally the one great disaster in United States military history. There is no doubt Vietnam was a dreadful loss, both for the U.S. and for our South Vietnamese allies, but the leftist version of how this came about -- as we shall see here -- is a self-serving revision of history that borders on outright falsehood, a fact that becomes ever more relevant as the Left becomes ever more strident in its claims that the debacle of Vietnam is repeating itself in the Middle East.

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posted by at 11:55 AM : Comments (1)
» Who Tends the Fires links with: From so far Beneath the fold it's off the Page...

April 06, 2004

pick of the day

The Council on American-Islamic Relations aka CAIR bills itself as a kind of Muslim anti-defamation organization, but it is in fact a wealthy and influential lobby dedicated to the defense of the religion whose name literally translates as “submission,” and it is venomously outspoken in its condemnation of any slight against Islam, whether real or imagined. CAIR is also one of the primary sources of the deliberate falsehood that Islam means “peace” – a lie eagerly embraced by millions of non-Muslim Americans whose abysmal ignorance of history makes them easy prey to all such happy-face fabrication -- especially the politically “correct” denial that the atrocities of 9/11 marked the resumption of Islam’s unspeakably bloody, 1300-year war against the civilizations of the Occident and the Orient. If CAIR’s repeated protests against actual (or more often imaginary) expressions of anti-Muslim prejudice were accompanied by resounding condemnations of Islamic terrorism, CAIR might make a vital contribution toward reducing the growing suspicion with which non-Muslim Americans view their Islamic neighbors. But CAIR remains stonily silent on this crucial topic, and at long last a major U.S. journalist – in this case Joel Mowbray -- takes the group to task for its outrageous hypocrisy. Mowbray’s report is available here.

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posted by at 09:56 AM : Comments (1)

April 05, 2004

Picks of the Day

Two interesting picks this first Monday of 2004 daylight saving time:

Number one is another story from the Australian press, this one an exclusive interview with a private-sector spook who says the secret, unacknowledged reason for invading Iraq was to pressure Saudi Arabia to stop financing Islamic terrorism. This report also notes that while Iraq “is the most strategically located nation in the Middle East,” the difficulty of explaining such realpolitik – even to some supporters – prompted the Bush Administration to settle on the “weapons of mass destruction” rationale. The story doesn’t say so, but here is yet another expression of a singularly American problem: thanks largely to leftist domination of public schools, our people have been deliberately dumbed-down into the most abysmally ignorant population in the industrial world, so benighted that a real dialog between citizens and elected representatives is increasingly difficult. Thus the ruinous reduction of complex matters to sound-bites and bumper-stickers, complete with the danger such oversimplifications will trigger crises of their own – just as the WMD issue has already. Even so, the report, available here, says President Bush had no other choice. It is a compelling read, not the least because it supports my own view of why the war is so necessary.

Number two discusses an often-overlooked aspect of the 2004 presidential campaign – the strong, sometimes bitter opposition of Vietnamese immigrants to John Kerry. Many of these immigrants are now citizens, and when they cast their ballots in November, they intend to vote against the man who – as far as they are concerned – betrayed them twice, siding with the Communist enemy not just during the anti-war movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s but again as recently as 2001. Here is the story, complete with commentary noting – once again – how a Kerry position is marred by curious and ultimately damning contradictions.

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posted by at 10:23 AM : Comments (2)

April 03, 2004

pick of the weekend

Remember the mummified Scythian woman that archaeologists dug up in Eastern Russia 11 years ago? Unless my memory is playing tricks, the preliminary reconstructions of what she had looked like when she was alive portrayed her as a striking red-haired beauty with Eurasian facial features. Buried as she was – dressed in thigh-high suede leather riding boots, sheer silken blouse and woolen skirt, accompanied in her grave by six horses – she was clearly an aristocrat, undoubtedly an accomplished horsewoman and most likely someone who in today’s world would be applauded as “a woman who runs with the wolves.” Apparently – or so the people in the region surrounding her grave believe – she was also much more: a priestess, perhaps a uniquely powerful sorceress. Citing the curious difficulties archaeologists had in opening her 2500-year-old grave and the series of earthquakes that have rocked the region ever since, locals folks say her spirit is angry, and that she will not rest until she is returned to her tomb. Here is a link to an entertaining Australian newspaper story. For more authoritative information on this topic, including an unusually frank admission by archaeologists that disturbing psychic phenomenon accompanied their work on the site where the woman was found, here’s a link to a NOVA program-transcript.

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posted by at 11:49 AM : Comments (2)

April 02, 2004

pick of the day

Christopher Hitchens has repeatedly distinguished himself by being one of an exceptionally small group of outspokenly pro-war leftists. Hitchens’ ideology is libertarian enough that he understands the nature of the Islamic menace and why the religion whose very name means “submission” is so infinitely threatening to American liberty – and anathema to all civilization whether Occidental or Oriental. Hitchens thus recognizes that Islam must be stopped at all cost, lest it succeed in its tyrannical dreams of enslaving the entire planet as Caliphate Earth. In this essay Hitchens discusses the significance of Fallujah – implying, in his concluding lines, that what an Islamic mob did in Fallujah is just what an Islamic mob might do to "infidels" in Baltimore or Denver or Atlanta -- that is, if the global caliphate were to become reality.

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posted by at 09:25 AM : Comments (1)

April 01, 2004

pick of the day

James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” column in The Wall Street Journal is one of my favorite daily must-reads, but Tuesday’s edition was among the best ever. Not only does Taranto excoriate the terrorists of Fallujah, he denounces Bill Clinton for cravenly withdrawing from Somalia after the similar incident there in 1993. Then he comments on several other matters relevant to the war, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s curious belief that diversity and multiculturalism will somehow convince terrorists to be less terrible, and the woefully under-reported Saudi Arabian tactic of waging war against the “infidels” by hiking oil prices -- yet another expression of Islamic vengefulness against the Bush Administration, the people of the United States, and civilization in general. Here is the link.

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posted by at 09:56 AM : Comments (1)

March 31, 2004

pick of the day

In a trend that bodes ill for the November election, the Left is behaving ever more thuggishly. First there was the widely reported trashing of Republican Headquarters in Ohio, then the goon-squad tactics by Democrats in Boston, now the violent assault by pro-immigration activists on Karl Rove’s home in Washington D.C. Sunday. While many Americans may regard these recent episodes as unprecedented, the ugly truth of the matter is that they are not – mass media has merely downplayed the escalating plague of leftist violence that was initiated by the feminist movement in Seattle nearly 30 years ago. The first matrifascist vandalism occurred there in 1975 and 1976 – bridges and buildings spray-painted with the slogan “all men are rapists” and churches and public buildings defaced with “end patriarchy” and “goddess rules” – but these outrages were mostly ignored by the media. Since then the epidemic of vandalism has spread nationwide: war memorials are an especially common target. While all such hooliganism is moronic, the incident at the Rove residence was unusually notable for its ironic idiocy. Here is an especially scathing commentary from The Wall Street Journal.

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posted by at 09:41 AM : Comments (1)

March 30, 2004

pick of the day

Sometimes I run across a story that has absolutely no relationship to contemporary politics or any other “serious” topic of the day, but is nevertheless compelling. Perhaps it illustrates some dimension of human reality on which we seldom focus, or perhaps – often for reasons I can’t quite put into words – it simply appeals to my sense of whimsey. Today’s pick is one of those pieces that works for me on both these levels: it is an informative report on how scientists are probing fossilized feces for genetic clues as to whether Neanderthals communicated verbally (much as we do), or were merely limited to grunts, groans and sign language. It’s a fun, interesting read, available here
.

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posted by at 10:21 AM : Comments (1)

March 29, 2004

pick of the day

The outrageous prices of prescription drugs – and the ruinous cost of medical care generally – is one of the major hot-button issues in American politics. But the associated controversies seem to be losing much of their former intensity. Perhaps this is because a growing number of U.S. voters recognize they are damned no matter what – that unless they are exceptionally wealthy, they are going to be victimized by the health care system regardless of who is in charge. It is increasingly evident, for example, that socialized medicine will solve nothing -- that it would merely shift responsibility from a tyranny of greed to a tyranny of ideological self-righteousness, granting absolute and unlimited authority to a bureaucracy that is already infamous for vindictive enforcement of gender and race quotas -- note the well-documented discrimination against white male military veterans (and Caucasian males in general) by feminist-dominated social service agencies. But it is also ever more obvious that continued tolerance of the present, monopoly-ruled health care system merely reinforces the near-absolute power and authority of those who are responsible for its notorious abuses. Here is a gripping report on how drug makers sought to keep lucrative cold and diet remedies on the market even after their own study linked them to deadly and crippling strokes.

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posted by at 09:33 AM : Comments (1)

March 27, 2004

pick of the weekend

Remember the persistent allegations that the Oklahoma City bombing – though carried out by American neo-Nazis – was the result of an Islamic terrorist operation? The possibility is not at all far-fetched. LA Weekly writer Jim Crogan says the upcoming trial of Terry Nichols may finally result in examination of all the relevant evidence, including the material apparently suppressed by Janet Reno’s Justice Department, probably on orders from the Clinton White House. While Crogan does not speculate on the government’s motives, it seems obvious that – if indeed there was a Clinton Administration coverup (and it surely appears there was) – its purpose was ideological: reinforcement of “diversity” doctrines associated with political “correctness” and yet additional Clintonesque denial of Islam’s 1300-year war against civilization. Crogran’s detailed report is available here. As to the connections between neo-Nazis and Islamic extremists, the best sources are reports from the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center. While SPLC’s credibility has been severely damaged by its recent, hysterical condemnation of the pagan renaissance as “racist,” its documentation of the neo-Nazi/Moslem connection is probably the best such material available to the civilian community, accessible by clicking here.

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posted by at 08:07 AM : Comments (0)

March 26, 2004

pick of the day

Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism official who has so resoundingly denounced the Bush Administration, claims he is a Republican with no political axe to grind. But Federal Election Commission records show this is untrue – that all Clarke’s financial contributions have gone to Democrats. Here are the damning details, including additional facts that shed light on Clarke’s probable anti-Bush, pro-Kerry motives.

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posted by at 09:36 AM : Comments (0)

March 25, 2004

picks of the day

Astute readers will note that today the above title is plural – two “picks of the day” rather than the customary one. Both links are to reports that focus on the Clinton Administration’s ruinous failure to respond adequately to Islamic terrorism.

The shorter of the two, an article The Washington Post buried on page A21, documents how President Clinton’s “mind-set” led to repeated refusals to take decisive action against Islamic terror. It thereby exposes as a deliberate lie the double-pronged claim by Richard Clarke that fighting terrorism was among the Clinton Administration’s topmost priorities, but that the Bush Administration somehow failed to grasp the immediacy of the terrorist threat. The Post’s report is available here.

The longer piece, a full-length Front Page Magazine essay by David Horowitz, is much more damning: it reveals the alarming extent to which Clinton’s characteristic “mind-set” was not the accidental result of poor leadership but was instead the deliberate expression of hate-America ideology – the leftist ideologies of Bill and Hillary Clinton themselves and of many of Clinton’s key appointees. This article is a keeper – the best, most thoroughly documented and compellingly rational summary I have seen anywhere of the extent to which today’s Democratic Party has become a subversive cabal and thus cannot be trusted to govern. Almost as a bonus – and surely a boon to secular conservatives and conservatives who practice alternative spiritualities – the Horowitz report includes an eloquent warning against the dangers of fundamentalism. It is a long read but worth every minute it takes, something to peruse at your leisure, to download for your personal archives and to disseminate to all your friends and acquaintances, available here.

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posted by at 10:12 AM : Comments (0)

March 24, 2004

pick of the day

Ever wonder why George Soros and so many other Democrat fat-cats – not to mention that rich Democrat fat-cat named John Kerry who’s running for President – are enthusiastic supporters of higher taxes? Truth is, plutocrats of the Kerry-class aren't troubled by tax hikes because their legions of accountants guarantee that increased taxes won’t touch them at all – that the burden will be shifted entirely onto the backs of working people much further down the socioeconomic ladder. Here’s an eye-opening analysis by a conservative economist.

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posted by at 08:02 AM : Comments (1)

March 23, 2004

pick of the day

Mass media has resoundingly denounced Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for refusing to recuse himself from a case that involves Vice President Dick Cheney, stridently proclaiming a “conflict of interest” because Scalia once went duck hunting with Cheney. But in an unusually brazen demonstration of bias and hypocrisy, the same publications and broadcast outlets have totally ignored the much more profound conflicts of interest in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s association with radical feminism and her willingness to subvert the U.S. Constitution by making the American judiciary subservient to foreign laws and treaties. This outrage is detailed here in an especially damning report by Accuracy in Media.

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posted by at 09:48 AM : Comments (0)

March 22, 2004

pick of the day

Unprecedented media bias gave America the impression that John Kerry’s victories in the recent Democratic primaries were underwritten by record voter turnouts, but the truth is quite the opposite. The Democratic turnout nationwide was the third lowest ever, and in some states, these turnouts set all-time record lows. Here is a revealing report that cites data from a reliable, non-partisan source.

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posted by at 08:17 AM : Comments (0)

March 20, 2004

pick of the day

One of the many Big Lies that props up the cult of political “correctness” and its doctrines of moral equivalence and “diversity” is the claim that Islam means “peace.” In fact Islam means “submission” – a significant truth repeatedly made clear by the Qur’an itself – which explains much of Islam’s reflexive antagonism not only to American liberty but to any expression whatsoever of the human impulse toward individual freedom and democratic governance. Another of the PC-cult’s Big Lies is that American Moslems do not share the malevolent anti-Jewish hatred that is one of the defining characteristics of Islam elsewhere in the world. Here is a report that tells a very different story.

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posted by at 06:57 AM : Comments (0)

March 19, 2004

Pick of the Day

THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE to developing an adequate defense against Islamic terrorism is that the institutions of American liberty are not organized to wage war on an enemy identified solely by religion. We can make war on hostile states, and we can even (as we did in the Cold War) make war on hostile ideologies -- though there too we were severely restrained by our own legal prohibitions against the suppression of speech and ideas. But the Constitutional taboo against making war on a given religion is nearly absolute, and in the case of Islam -- which even in its most liberal forms is implacably hostile to Occidental notions of democracy and community -- this not only imposes a gag on forthright discussion of the Islamic threat, it also provides Islamic terrorists with a vast loophole through which to attack civilization and further their infinitely oppressive quest for a global caliphate. Here, by an Irish journalist, is an unusually forthright discussion of the problem.


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posted by at 04:56 AM : Comments (1)

March 18, 2004

Understanding Spain

by Loren Bliss

Mass media has generally treated the outcome of Sunday’s Spanish election as a major victory for Islamic terrorists and a huge defeat for the Bush Administration and its anti-terrorist coalition, but this assessment – while no doubt accurate – overlooks the extent to which the dismaying election result was the logical outgrowth of long-simmering Spanish anti-Americanism. From this perspective, the chief impact of the March 11 terrorist attack was that it enabled the Socialist Workers Party to turn the election into a referendum on the popularity of the United States – the first such referendum in Spanish history – which gave voice to resentments that have lingered at least since the Spanish Civil War and more likely since the Spanish-American War of 1898.

That this is the correct understanding of Sunday’s socialist victory – and that other Western European nations will probably follow Spain’s lead in repudiating alliance with the U.S. – is strongly suggested by an essay published in the Fall 2003 edition of Hoover Digest. Written by Russell A. Berman, Stanford University’s Walter A. Haas professor in the humanities and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, the essay is entitled "Europe and America: a Cultural Divide?" Its basis is opinion-poll data that describes the disturbing extent to which not only the Spanish people but Western Europeans in general were avowedly hostile toward the United States long before the atrocities of the 11th.

Here are key passages of Berman’s eye-opening work:


"According to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, 57 percent of the French, 54 percent of Germans, and 56 percent of Spaniards held unfavorable views regarding the United States in June 2003. In contrast, unfavorable views were held by only 26 percent of the British and 38 percent of Italians, figures that explain part of the history of British and Italian support for the United States in the Iraq war..."

"Data regarding unfavorable attitudes toward Americans as people (rather than toward the United States government) show less antipathy but nonetheless a still troubled picture, with a similar distribution: 42 percent of the French, 29 percent of Germans, and 41 percent of Spaniards (as compared to 18 percent of Italians and 15 percent of the British) view Americans unfavorably. The difference between the two sets of data shows that some parts of the European population do indeed distinguish between the government and the people but that there is nonetheless considerable anti-Americanism directed broadly at the people and the culture.

"When the topic of the public opinion survey shifts to the spread of ‘American ideas and customs’—as opposed to attitudes toward the government or the people—the results become even more pointed: 27 percent of the French believe that the spread of American ideas and customs is good, but an overwhelming 72 percent consider it bad. Similarly, 24 percent of Germans think of American ideas as good, while 72 percent see this influence as bad. The attitudes of the British and Italians are, again, somewhat less severe than elsewhere in Europe: 56 percent of the British see the spread of American ideas as bad, as do 45 percent of Italians. When asked specifically about American ideas of democracy, 65 percent of the French, 55 percent of Germans, and 61 percent of Spaniards said they disliked them.

"Perhaps most telling, when asked to choose between the freedom to pursue one’s goals without state interference and, alternatively, the power of the state to guarantee that nobody is in need, 58 percent of Americans opted for freedom. The results in Europe are very different. In no European country was there majority support for individual freedom as opposed to the power of the state. In Great Britain, only 33 percent chose freedom, in France 36 percent, in Italy 24 percent, and in Germany 39 percent. Interestingly, the importance of individual freedom attracts greater approval in parts of the developing world than in Western Europe: Guatemala is at 61 percent, Ghana at 63 percent, Nigeria at 61 percent, India at 53 percent, and Pakistan at 61 percent—levels of support for freedom that put Europe to shame. On this issue so crucial to the relationship between state and economy, American individualist attitudes are closer to the rest of the world than is the European trust in the role of the state.

"This difference in values between the United States and Europe is only part of the larger cultural divide. In the post–Cold War world, this gap has entered public discussion more forcefully than in the past and has contributed to the recent political dueling in the context of the Iraq war. These transatlantic tensions cannot be simplistically explained away as the fault of particular politicians..."

(Ed. note: Emphasis added. -- L.)

Since the data shows Spanish attitudes to be little different from those of France or Germany – note especially the 61 percent opposition to American modes of democracy – the outcome of Sunday’s election was clearly inevitable even before the terrorist attacks, never mind that pre-election polls showed the socialists losing by a slender margin. This fact is further reflected in the election result itself: the SWP garnered 42.6 percent of the vote, a figure significantly close to the 41 percent of the Spanish population that dislikes the American people (and is presumably antagonistic toward the U.S. government as well).

But there is another element at work here that was beyond the scope of Berman’s revealing analysis -- the harder-to-quantify fact that Spanish support for socialism never died. The ill-fated Spanish Republic (1931-1939) was primarily a socialist endeavor. Though the republic eventually deteriorated into Soviet-dominated Marxist tyranny under pressures of the Spanish Civil War – the arms embargo imposed on the republic by the U.S., Britain and France is rightfully blamed for giving the U.S.S.R. the upper hand – popular support for socialism remained strong throughout republican Spain.

All such sentiments were of course brutally suppressed by the eventual victory of the fascists under Gen. Francisco Franco in the civil war (1936-1939). But while Nazi Germany and fascist Italy were Franco’s topmost supporters, the victory left in its wake a lingering anti-Americanism as well. There was not only the matter of the embargo, which helped Franco even as it wounded the republic: there was also the fact that several American corporations, especially Texaco, had given Franco pivotal support in unpunished defiance of the Non-intervention Pact, to which the U.S. was an important signatory. Indeed it is arguable that Franco would have lost the war without Texaco’s guarantee of uninterrupted petroleum supplies.

After Franco’s death in 1975, it became apparent that socialism had merely been driven underground, and with the ascension of King Juan Carlos I and the end of the fascist reign of terror, widespread support for socialism quickly re-emerged – nearly as strong as it had been in the days of the republic. And the Spanish have long memories: with the resurrection of socialism came bitter recollections of how the U.S. paid lip-service to non-intervention but actually aided Franco.

No doubt incoming prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the winner in Sunday’s election, played on these lingering grievances by emphasizing the fact his own grandfather was one of the approximately 600,000 socialists executed by Franco. Zapatero, who has resoundingly denounced the Bush Administration and the entire war on terror, is also notorious for deliberately disrespecting the U.S. flag by sitting down when it passed during a public ceremony – an unprecedented breach of protocol for a politician that nevertheless further bolstered his popularity. (The flag incident is discussed near the bottom of a Washington Post transcript, which may be found by clicking this link.)


Indeed, there is enough documentation of Spanish anti-Americanism that it warrants a category of its own on Google. For example, a February 2003 news analysis by John Vinocur in the International Herald-Tribune states that "Spanish anti-Americanism...goes back to the Spanish-American War," in which Spain lost to the U.S. the last remnants of its once-vast colonial empire, and that today’s anti-American agitation "brings together the anti-globalist, anti-capitalist, anti-clericalist and anti-Semitic elements of the country's right- and left-wing extremes." (Here is the link to the IHT report, which is also relevant in that it details some of the ambitions of the ousted conservatives.)

Hence – despite the staunchly pro-American position of outgoing prime minister José Maria Aznar – Spain’s role in the anti-terrorist coalition was probably doomed from the beginning, particularly given the double-barreled combination of the anti-Americanism unique to Spain and the anti-Americanism common to Western Europe in general.

Which suggests that the real error of the U.S. was yet another glaring intelligence failure: the likelihood the U.S. has never understood how to make use of what the old Soviet KGB regarded as "cultural intelligence" – data about the dominant attitudes in a given society – and the apparent total disregard of the overwhelming probability Spain would prove an unreliable ally from the very beginning. As a consequence, the forces of terrorist Islam have now achieved an unprecedented propaganda victory: an opportunistic, exclamatory expression of long-simmering anti-Americanism that can easily be distorted to appear as if a once-proud Western European nation has suddenly and abjectly surrendered.

Based on the Pew polling data – particularly its troubling evidence regarding the serflike attitudes of today’s British subjects – the alliance with Britain may be similarly ill-fated. The wretched truth of the matter is that Western Europe – Britain included – is probably already lost to Islamic terrorism, just as Spain was lost long before the attacks of 3/11. If the definition of a serf is one who is slavishly dependent upon an overlord and quite content with such a restricted state, the Pew data demonstrates that the Western European majority has already reverted to a modern version of the selfsame degraded condition from which it was liberated less than three centuries ago. And as long as serfs are clothed, fed, housed and cared for, they do not care if their cause is benevolent or malevolent, or if their master is god or demon.

Hence, through absolutely no fault of its own, America may indeed stand alone, and much sooner than anyone publicly anticipates. In this dreadful context, the fact that one of our own great political parties has been captured by those who favor dependency, appeasement and surrender shows just how dangerously compelling the cult of serfhood has become – that it is literally an invitation to national suicide. The only rational alternative – the only hope for the survival of American liberty and what remains of Western Civilization – is the Bush Doctrine: warrior-like assertion of America’s absolute right to defend itself by all means necessary -- and the whining serfdoms of this planet be damned.

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posted by at 12:03 AM : Comments (1)

March 08, 2004

Dreadful Alternatives

by Loren Bliss

I AM STRICKEN by such a painful sense of betrayal, its pangs have not dulled even slightly with the passage of nearly two weeks. On the basis of everything I can discover, the proposed Constitutional amendment endorsed last week by President Bush is a Trojan Horse cunningly designed by its fundamentalist Christian authors to undermine every last vestige of America’s 228-year experiment with liberty, and its clandestine intent is to clear the way for imposition of a theocracy as viciously heavy-handed as anything characteristic of the Taliban.

What I am reporting here are dire analyses by others presumably far more qualified than I to pass judgement on Constitutional matters. The following is an excerpt from libertarian-conservative Andrew Sullivan’s blog on 26 February, the day after the President announced his support for the proposed amendment:

"THE FMA AS TROJAN HORSE: Here's an email from a Republican lawyer who sees the religious right amendment as a device to do far more than just deny gay couples constitutional protection. The amendment is just the beginning of the religious right agenda:

‘Now that opponents and proponents of gay marriage are all riled about the FMA its time to talk about the true impact of including a definition of marriage in the Constitution. The potential impact of inclusion of the FMA will effect every American straight or gay because the FMA is not about gay marriage, it is a dangerous Trojan Horse that could completely redefine the powers of the federal government. As an attorney who is researching this issue, let me explain to the best of my ability, why I haven’t been sleeping well since Tuesday.’

‘Under the Constitution of the United States there is no express right to privacy, rather this right to be free from excessive government interference in our personal lives has arisen from Supreme Court precedent that cites the lack of regulation of intimate relationships and the protections of the bill of rights as the basis for an inference of the right to privacy. The right to privacy, according to the Supreme Court, is found in the penumbras and emanations of these two factors. A shadow of a right, very delicate and now threatened.

‘By including a provision regulating the most intimate of relationships into the Constitution, the traditional analysis that the court has used to limit government power will be fundamentally changed and the right to privacy, if it is not destroyed completely, will be severely curtailed. As a result, decisions like Roe v. Wade, (Abortion), Griswold v. Connecticut (Birth Control), Lawrence v. Texas (Private Sexual Acts), will all be fair game for re-analysis under this new jurisprudential regime as the Constitutional foundation for those decisions will have been altered. A brilliant strategy really, with one amendment the religious right could wipe out access to birth control, abortion, and even non-procreative sex (as Senator Santorum so eagerly wants to do).

‘This debate isn’t only about federalism, it’s about the reversal of two hundred years of liberal democracy that respects individuals. So why isn’t anyone talking about this aspect of it?’

"With luck, this agenda will be revealed as this amendment is discussed and debated. The most important thing to remember is who is behind this amendment: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, Robert Bork, Rick Santorum. For them, gays are just the beginning, the soft targets before the real battle. Memo to straights: you're next."

Seeking additional expert opinion, I read the above to a lawyer named David Minikel, who works out of a busy office near Tacoma, Washington, and whose judicial victories include winning one of his clients a rare pardon from President Bush in 2002. Minikel said he agreed that the proposed amendment, if approved, "would open a Pandora’s Box," because until now the thrust of the Constitution "has always been to limit government power, not expand it." Which means, Minikel added, the fears expressed by Sullivan and his correspondent are "legitimate concerns."

Moreover, "the only time the United States ever tried to amend the Constitution to discriminate against a class of people – those who drink – it was a disaster." The 18th Amendment imposed national prohibition; it required the 21st Amendment to repeal it. And the 18th Amendment, said Minikel, "was an aberration" -- apart from that one instance, the function of the Constitution has always been "telling the government you can’t take away our rights."

Astute readers will note that I have gotten this far in this essay without once using the terms "gay" or "lesbian" or "homosexual" in my own remarks. That is because what is happening here is related only incidentally to individual expressions of sexuality or love – which the demagogues of the authoritarian right are using as a kind of latter-day Reichstag Fire to stir up homophobia, encourage gay-bashing and panic the electorate into enacting dire measures.

Thus the proposed federal marriage amendment– a logical outgrowth of the kind of theocratic thinking Ellen Craswell made infamous via her allies’ own web pages. Craswell was the 1996 Republican nominee for governor in Washington state, and her nomination marked the subversion and brazen takeover of the state GOP by a vindictively authoritarian fundamentalist fringe group, a veritable Taliban of intolerance and theocratic intent. Here are some representative samples of Craswell’s ideology:

"As Christians consider their responsibility, there are three vital principles to remember.

"First, government is God's institution! Civil government exists and functions by God's command, not because cave men created a social contract.

"Civil government began in Genesis 9:1-7, when God instructed Noah after the flood. In Exodus 20-22, God through Moses gives a specific pattern for civil government.

"Scripture is full of God's sovereignty and interest in civil government. In Daniel 2:20-21, God removes and sets up rulers. In Proverbs 21:1, he turns a ruler's heart. In Romans 13:1, He ordains civil powers. Clearly, government is not a secular institution but a God-ordained institution.

"A second key principle is that God has every right to direct His institutions. Indeed, Scripture reveals God's will, rules and leadership qualities for the home, the church... and the government!

"God also gives qualifications for leadership, both in the church (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and in civil government (Exodus 18:21). Imagine our state and nation under leaders with these Biblical qualities: ‘able’ and ‘fears God’ and speaks ‘truth’ and ‘hates covetousness’!

"The third vital principle to remember is that secularizing government is an affront to a Holy God! We are often told that government and politics should be secular. But would we allow Biblical Christianity to be excluded from our homes or churches? So why quietly capitulate to arguments saying we should keep God's Word and God's people out of God's institution of civil government?

"We need to petition God for revival before privatization of our faith results in complete secularization of government.

"The role of a civil leader is to enable government to fulfill God's purposes...Having ‘done our own thing’ for decades, we are now suffering the gaping devastation of crime, broken homes, abused and aborted children, sexual immorality, drug and alcohol problems, corrupt government, reckless taxing and spending, warped welfare programs and deficient education...Half-hearted measures will never solve these full- scale problems. The answer begins with a return to God and His ways."

Anyone who is not sufficiently troubled by the Talibanic tone of the material quoted above -- or anyone who merely wants to contemplate the full text of this brazen rationale for theocratic tyranny -- can access the entire manifesto, entitled, "The Biblical Basis for Christians in Politics and Government."

Predictably, the debate over the proposed marriage amendment is already more bitter than anything I’ve witnessed in years – maybe ever. The sheer venomousness of the authoritarian fundamentalists’ hatred of homosexuals is as appalling as it is infuriating, and the fundamentalists’ self-righteous intent to prohibit civil unions merely underscores the extent to which the cancer of religiously motivated intolerance – with all the associated risk of tyranny – is still gnawing at the American body politic.

But would the amendment as proposed in fact prohibit civil unions? Here is its exact wording:

"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution nor the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

The proverbial fly in the metaphorical ointment lies in the phrase, "marital status or the legal incidents thereof," which includes health insurance for domestic partners, survivors' rights and a variety of other boons that were formerly granted only to the legally married. Extension of those benefits to unwed domestic partners was typically the result of a long hard fight, whether via the courts or labor negotiations or both, and the prohibition against "any...law" nullifies the basis of all those victories. When President Bush attempted to reassure the public the amendment he had endorsed would in fact continue to support domestic partnerships, he apparently did not know of what he was speaking.

Nor are homosexuals the measure’s only intended victims. Prohibition of domestic partnerships could inflict particular hardship on elderly heterosexuals like myself – people retired and on fixed incomes who might choose to live together for companionship but cannot afford the tax hikes and pension reductions that would be imposed by formal matrimony. For this reason, I surely hope the American Association of Retired Persons is paying attention to this controversy. If not – since I belong to AARP – maybe I’ll send the organization’s officers a copy of this column in the hope it will alert them to the danger. It would not be incorrect to label the proposal a compulsory marriage act – an attempt to restructure law so that "the legal incidents" of marriage are available only through marriage itself – which the ensuing debate has already made clear is part of the fundamentalists’ malicious intent.

Moreover, the controversy has of course already again cloven the conservative community into its authoritarian and libertarian factions – a schism of precisely the sort I was discussing last week in "Divide et Impera" but of much greater and more potentially ruinous magnitude. The most important question is how much the split – which grows more acrimonious by the moment – will damage Republican prospects in November. Based on what happened in Washington state in the 2000 elections, when anger at the fundamentalists cost Sen. Slade Gorton (D-WA) his seat and gave control of the Senate to the Democrats, I believe the President’s decision to ally himself with those who would wreck the Constitution and impose theocracy will be a costly one – very costly indeed.

The greatest tragedy is that now we as Americans face a jarringly unsatisfying choice. We are offered John Kerry, who pledges to render us defenseless by dismissing Islam’s 1300-year war on civilization as merely a crime problem, or George Bush, who has cast his lot with those who would pervert America into the Christian version of a Talibanic state. I cannot recall a time in U.S. history when we faced such pivotal questions but were left with such dreadfully limited alternatives. It will not surprise me if voters elect to stay home in droves.

As to the fate of the measure itself, I take a lot of comfort from the words with which David Minikel concluded our conversation: fortunately, said Minikel, the Founders designed the Constitution so that it could not be changed in the heat of passion, and as a result, amendments have been few and far between. A debate of the sort underway now is healthy precisely because it compels people to think – "and when you think about (this proposal), you immediately start getting cold feet."

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posted by at 07:21 PM : Comments (2)

February 26, 2004

Divide et Impera

by Loren Bliss

Modern-day conservatives belong ultimately to one of two groups: "authoritarians" or "libertarians." These groups are instinctively opposed to one another – often venomously so – but they are nevertheless united under the umbrella of the Republican Party by a common belief in the role of the United States as chief facilitator of global free-enterprise.

This libertarian/authoritarian alliance is simultaneously the Republican Party’s greatest strength and its Achilles heel. The GOP’s ideological melting-pot gives it the potential of speaking to the broadest possible spectrum of the American people – everyone from small business owners to topmost executives of Fortune 500 companies, from senior-citizen retirees to rank-and-file trade unionists of the sort who voted for Ronald Reagan (and view trade unionism an expression of enlightened self-interest), from soldiers and police officers to contractors and consultants. But the alliance has never been truly comfortable, and because the core beliefs of the two conservative groups are diametrically opposed, the party is always in danger of splitting into warring camps.

Smaller in number -- older, wealthier and often more dominant in Republican organizations -- the authoritarians are difficult for me to describe objectively simply because I have first-hand experience of their vindictiveness. In truth, most authoritarians are well-intentioned people who have merely not yet recognized that liberty is essential to the expression of free will and who thus believe overmuch in rigid hierarchies, whether determined by wealth, office or some combination of both. But their ranks include a tiny but disproportionately powerful cadre of Christian fundamentalists -- would-be tyrants whose identity is proclaimed by their self-righteousness, prudery, intolerance and a frightening preference for theocracy over constitutional government. There are also – often in league with the fundamentalists – a few surviving fascists of the Nixon/Pinochet/Franco variety, supporters of oligarchy and corporate colonialism. Indeed, despite his resignation in disgrace, the late President Richard Nixon remains one of the chief authoritarian idols, and there are at least a few authoritarians who no doubt secretly still idolize the late Adolf Hitler as well. Some may belong to the infamously conspiratorial John Birch Society. Others probably have darker connections.

Meanwhile, the libertarians – who include a substantial number of former leftists driven out of the Democratic Party when it was taken over by matrifascists and other authoritarian victim-identity cultists – are Bill-of-Rights literalists, devout believers in the Jeffersonian notion that government is best when it governs least, and passionate subscribers to the concept of "live and let live." They are probably by far the larger group of today’s conservatives – younger, more secular-minded and certainly more committed to the notions embodied in the Bill of Rights. They deeply respect the Founders, especially Thomas Jefferson, and they think highly of Ayn Rand. They are the epitome of what has been described as "South Park Republicans" or "granola Republicans"– as concerned about the environment as they are hawkish on national defense -- and they are unlikely to idolize any modern politician living or dead. But their very individualism often puts them at odds with the present-day Republican hierarchy, and the resultant standoff is undoubtedly a major factor in the growing membership of the Libertarian Party

Despite the conservative community’s vast potential for schism, it is only rarely some controversy actually divides it – and thus nominally Republican voters – into mutually hostile factions. But that is precisely what occurred in Washington state during the U.S. senatorial election of 2000, with the result that Republican incumbent Slade Gorton – a genuine gentleman whose lengthy history of honorable public service had hitherto drawn support from all quarters – lost to the Democrat Maria Cantwell by only 2,229 votes.

Despite Washington’s leftist reputation – President Harry Truman’s postmaster general once referred to "the 47 states and the Soviet of Washington" – it is an instinctively conservative state: definitively conservative ballot measures (like Initiative 200, which outlawed affirmative action) typically pass by 75 percent majorities. But Washington’s conservatives are predominantly either secular or non-traditionally religions: according to census data, only 28 percent of the state’s families regularly attend traditional Christian or Jewish religious services, and the fastest growing religion in the state is Wicca, a branch of Paganism. In this context it became a significant campaign issue when Gorton refused to repudiate the viciously intolerant, harshly authoritarian Christian fundamentalists who controlled much of the state GOP apparatus.

The fundamentalists had run theocracy-advocate Ellen Craswell ("The role of a civil leader is to enable government to fulfill God’s purposes") in a losing campaign for governor in 1996 – and in 2000 the Libertarian Party was poised to take advantage of the secular and non-traditionally religious conservatives’ lingering anger. Hence Libertarian candidate Jeff Jared got 64,734 votes, most of which would normally have gone to Gorton. Cantwell, an anti-Second Amendment eco-feminist, won after an automatic recount, and control of the Senate shifted back to the Democrats – with disastrous results both for President Bush’s appointments and the new administration’s efforts to assert control over the federal bureaucracy.

Another such example of conservative disunity was evident Monday on the Internet discussion-site Lucianne.com, in an unusually long double thread – still running early Tuesday morning – of posters’ responses to disclosures of John Kerry’s hatefully treasonous remarks about U.S. soldiers and Kerry’s equally offensive rants against National Guardsmen. A particularly astute poster who goes by the screen-name NorthernDog remarked that he "had not previously connected Kerry’s trashing of the NG today with the fact that it was NG troops that fired at Kent State," adding that, "I think this is a shorthand way for (Kerry) to tell anti-war protestors of the 1970s that he is still on their side." It was a connection I had not made either – not until I read NorthernDog’s remark – but it surely seems that is part of Kerry’s underlying purpose.

However the greater objective of this especially devious and singularly nasty Democrat strategy was revealed when the contributors to the threads began to discuss Kent State and immediately divided into two increasingly hostile camps: the authoritarians, who like their idol President Nixon applauded the shootings; and the libertarians, who noted that it is an "obscene atrocity" whenever people are murdered for exercising their First Amendment rights – whether at Kent State or at Waco. The Authoritarian quoted below goes by the screen-name Laocoon10; the Libertarians are respectively Shab93 and Wolfgang von Skeptik. Their exchange is abbreviated to save space:

Authoritarian: "The National Guard at Kent State in a very real sense saved America."

Libertarian: "No Guardsmen ever stuck by a story that they fired because they felt they'd been fired upon, or were in any danger whatsoever. An (Ohio) NG officer later admitted...he tried to plant a handgun on the body of Jeffrey Miller...‘Martial law’ was not formally declared. Classes were on...one fatal victim was escorting a hearing-impaired student to class. Another (fatality) was an ROTC student... the ROTC building...was burned down two days earlier... more than an hour after protestors had been disbursed and authorities were in control...and pardon my tinfoil hat, but it was later proven that FBI agents... burned down a campus ROTC building in Alabama in 1969."

Authoritarian: "... I simply don't care about what the leftist Spanish Inquisition squeezed from the Guardsmen in the post-mortem of Kent State. Some are almost certainly forced "confessions" designed to spare the soldiers legal and financial burdens...Kent State was a lot of things, but it was not an obscene atrocity... we owe those soldiers far more than any of us know."

Libertarian: "Anyone who believes Kent State ‘was not an obscene atrocity’ must of necessity then believe the government had equal right to murder the Branch Davidians at Waco..."

Authoritarian: "...With "friends" like this so-called "conservative"assisting the jackbooted secular Democrat statists, you can see why many parts of the nation are in such deep trouble...You and I have absolutely nothing in common. Stick with your Democrat buddies...I want nothing from you or your friends."


This impassioned debate took place Monday on a website noted for its informed posters and intelligent discussion -- and most of all for being several days ahead of the curve in terms of reflecting trends within the greater conservative community. If the discussion of Vietnam-related issues could bring out that much antagonism on Lucianne, what might it do to the Republican Party in general? As a poster who goes by the name of Thomcat put it, the discussion was "what digging up a septic tank would be like." In other words, the re-opening of all those old and bitter wounds – which I believe is precisely the clandestine intent of Kerry’s ploy.

Indeed, when you look at it logically, no other conclusion is possible. The Democrats have no internal need to emphasize Kerry’s military service or that he was decorated for heroism – in fact they have constantly demonstrated that military service is repugnant to them. Nor do they have any internal need to defame the President by linking him to the atrocities the Ohio National Guard committed at Kent State: in the minds of Kerry supporters, those connections – bogus though they are – already exist. Thus, by simple process of elimination, the only purpose for Kerry’s constant harping on Vietnam is to be found outside the Democratic Party – and only in the damage the resurrection of such truculent issues could do to Republican unity.

Which brings us back to the object lesson of the 2000 senatorial election, and the likelihood Washington state has once again been used as John Ehrilchman testified in the Watergate hearings it had so often been used in the past -- as a proving ground for techniques of oppression.

It is an article of faith among most conservatives – at least among the conservatives I know personally, and among the conservatives whose posts I read daily on Lucianne – that former co-Presidents Bill and Hillary Clinton vehemently oppose Kerry’s candidacy. But the emergence of this astonishingly clever divide et impera tactic suggests the opposite conclusion. ("Divide and rule" was originally the slogan of France’s Louis XI, and not a statement by Machiavelli, to whom it is mistakenly attributed.) Indeed, Hillary played a major behind-the-scenes role in the Cantwell campaign, which won precisely by inflaming the selfsame division between libertarians and authoritarians, and it is therefore my best guess Hillary is behind the resurrection of the Vietnam and Kent State controversies too – and for precisely the same reason. America was dreadfully torn by those fevered, often frenzied disputes, and after reading the "Protesting America" threads on Lucianne throughout the day Monday, it was clear the wounds of that wretched time have never healed. And if Lucianne is what I believe it to be – a microcosm of the conservative macrocosm – then this Hillary-type divide-and-conquer operation surely promises resounding success for those who would see President Bush defeated in November.

But I do not believe that is what will happen.

Let me stress that while I have many differences with the President, I believe Bush’s defeat in November would be a tragedy of unthinkable proportions for American liberty and Western Culture in general. The Democrats have already stated they intend to treat Islam’s 1300-year war against civilization as nothing more than a crime problem – precisely the head-in-the-sand stance that invited the attacks of 9/11, precisely the stance that will allow radical Muslims to impose the unspeakable tyranny of their proposed global caliphate on the entire planet.

Moreover I am profoundly uncomfortable with President Bush’s re-election prospects. By renewing the effort to re-enact the so-called "assault weapons ban" – a truly egregious assault on the Second Amendment – Bush has betrayed his gun-culture supporters, and by proposing what amounts to a blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants, he has alienated most of his conservative base – and probably two-thirds of the electorate as well. In my part of the country, these positions have left many people who voted for Bush in 2000 saying, "I’m damn sure not gonna vote for Bush in 2004. He’s no better than the Democrats on guns and immigration, and now with the economy down the commode, a Democrat is exactly what we need. And since all these lost jobs went overseas and aren’t ever coming back, what we need is not just a Democrat, but a Democrat with a WPA-type make-work program." Hence Bush’s growing unpopularity as reflected in the polls.

Meanwhile, there’s the astoundingly venomous intolerance of the conservative authoritarians inflamed by Kerry’s resurrection of the Vietnam and Kent State issues – an intolerance the Democrats probably believe will force libertarian conservatives out of the Republican Party, probably into the Libertarian Party and perhaps even back into Democrat ranks. But in this instance I believe the Democrats have uncaged a tiger that will eventually savage its own handlers. Much as a psychologically dysfunctional family so often pulls together to turn on those who expose its scandals, so will the politically dysfunctional family of America pull together and turn on those who three decades ago spat on its soldiers and now dig up the buried corpses of Vietnam and Kent State and fling shovels of grave-dirt in the face of the entire nation. The turning-about will not happen tomorrow, and it will not happen next week. But by October it should be obvious. Indeed, I think by maliciously unearthing the issues of Vietnam and Kent State, the Democrats may very well have guaranteed the re-election of President Bush.



Loren Bliss was a journalist for 30 years – variously an editor, editorial-page columnist, public affairs writer and investigative reporter. He has covered politics, education, transportation, crime, and sociological issues. He is also a poet and has written several essays on the resurrection of the feminine aspects of the Divine and the resultant renaissance of Paganism. This is his fifth column for Civilization Calls.

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February 20, 2004

Resurrecting Vietnam (II)

by Loren Bliss

The passage of years has soft-focused most of the details of a disturbing incident that occurred in May 1970 -- a brief but wrenching encounter with mob violence a couple of months before I left New York City and traveled west to recover from a ruinous divorce and return to college -- and now, nearly 34 years later, all but a few of the images of what happened that night have dwindled into the increasing and often merciful vagueness that so often veils our memories of long-ago. But the justifiably terrified expression in the uniformed soldier’s uniquely colored golden-green eyes remains as clear as ever. I’m sorry I don’t also remember his name – though he identified himself to me with a grateful handshake after we l