Sunday, July 22, 2018

Isabel and Her Daughters

Queen Isabel of Castile was a conscientious and vigilant mother. To quote:
Isabel was highly preoccupied with her daughters’ moral and religious education and, if her library is a guide, they would have spent time studying the lives of saints and other devotional works. The Carro de las donas, by the Franciscan monk Francesc Eiximenis, was one of a number of “how to raise your daughters” manuals that sat on the royal bookshelf…

In Isabel’s fastidious court, men and women stayed apart. Catherine slept in Isabel’s chamber, along with her sisters. Doctors and other men were not allowed into the quarters until all of them, and the ladies-in-waiting who also slept there, were up and dressed. The women also ate apart in the intimacy of Isabel’s chambers. The infantas and their mother emerged from this feminine bunker only to eat with others when there were important visitors, in which case the full spectacle of the public court went into action…

Segregation did not mean that there was no fun to be had at her mother’s side. Tales of chivalry were told or sung after dinner with Isabel herself sighing at the tragic bits. Among other things, Catherine would have heard the retelling of old battles from the war in Granada. She must also have heard the famous romantic legends of the land she was destined to travel to. Arthur, the Round Table, the Holy Grail, Lancelot and Merlin were all characters in the rich chivalrous imagination of the Spanish court. They were there in Isabel’s books and on her tapestries too…

Board games, chess, word games and cards were played. There was music too, at the table. This may have been devoted to chivalry or courtly love when Isabel was there… Musicians were always on hand. They were, indeed, among the best-paid people at court. Spain already boasted a long tradition of troubadours and popular songs coming especially from north-west Galicia and the Moslem territories of al-Andalus. (Read more.)
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Update on ICE

From Townhall:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency many Democrats want to abolish, recently conducted a raid in Newark, New Jersey and arrested dozens of illegal aliens. The overwhelming majority have serious criminal records. ICE targeted Illegal aliens who had been incarcerated in the Middlesex County Jail and released into the community by local law enforcement without notice to federal immigration officials. The aliens arrested had ICE detainers that were not honored. Newark is a "sanctuary city."

"Of those arrested, 16 subjects had been previously released by MCJ without honoring the ICE detainer and 78% had prior criminal convictions or pending criminal charges. The individuals arrested as part of the operation were nationals of Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, and Turkey," ICE released Friday. "These individuals range from 21 to 68 years old and all were previously arrested or convicted of a variety of offenses. Some of the arrests and convictions included: aggravated criminal sexual contact, aggravated assault, DUI, hindering apprehension, endangering the welfare of a child, battery, theft, burglary, possession of a weapon, forgery, domestic violence assault, disorderly conduct, and illegal entry." ICE also provided additional details on the individuals released by Middlesex County Jail. Here are a few (bolding is mine):
A 32-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested by the New Brunswick Police Department on August 12, 2016, in Middlesex County for Aggravated Sexual Assault- Helpless Victim, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact, Sexual Assault-Force/Coercion, and Criminal Sexual Contact and booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On August 16, 2016, ICE issued a detainer. On May 18, 2018, he was convicted of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact and sentenced to 644 days’ time served, parole supervision for life and registration under Megan’s Law. On May 21, 2018, Middlesex County Jail refused to honor the detainer and he was released.

A 68-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested by the Perth Amboy Police Department on January 23, 2009, in Middlesex County for the crimes of murder–purposely and hinder prosecution-false info and was booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On June 14, 2011, he was convicted of aggravated manslaughter and hinder own prosecution-false info and was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in state prison. On May 5, 2015, the subject was transferred from state prison back to the custody of the Middlesex County Jail as he appealed his convictions. On May 5, 2015, ICE issued a detainer to Middlesex County Jail. On May 22, 2018, the original charge was overturned and he was found guilty of a single felony charge of hindering-oneself-give false information and sentenced to time served.  Even though an ICE detainer was previously issued he was released.

A 27-year-old citizen of the Dominican Republic was arrested by the Perth Amboy Police Department on January 25, 2018, in Middlesex County for aggravated assault - significant bodily injury to a victim of domestic violence, criminal restraint – hold victim, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon and booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On January 30, 2018, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored and he was released.
(Read more.)
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The Origins of Money

From Intellectual Takeout:
Money has been around for most of human history. From Mesopotamia (or even earlier), all civilizations have employed some kind of medium of exchange to facilitate transactions regardless of their geographical locations, legal and economic systems, religious beliefs or political structures. Have you ever wondered why? In a brief essay entitled "On the Origins of Money," the nineteenth-century Austrian economist Carl Menger provides an answer to this question. Menger argues that money emerged spontaneously in different times and places to overcome the disadvantages of barter and facilitate the expansion of trade. Which disadvantages?

Imagine Sandy, a farmer in the Midwest, produces wheat, which she expects to exchange for barley. Two problems arise at this point. First, she needs to find a barley producer with whom to barter her products. This problem can be easily overcome if Sandy goes to a market where another farmer (let’s call him Billy) sells barley. Since both proucts are harvested during the same time of the year, the exchange would easily take place.

But what if we are dealing with products with different life cycles? In this case, Sandy and Billy could only agree on exchanging their products if Sandy accepted the deferral of the payment until Billy’s products have been harvested. This is what economists call deferred barter. Even though deferred barter solves some problems, it has an important limitation: it can only take place within small communities based on mutual trust due to the risks involved for one of the parties. What if Billy decides not to deliver the promised barley? Thus, the use of deferred barter as a system of exchange prevents the expansion of trade beyond the limits of one’s community.

Barter has a second problem. Billy could refuse to trade barley for wheat. He might prefer exchanging his barley for any other commodity or good that better satisfies his needs. This represents another obstacle for the expansion of trade. How did societies overcome these problems?

They did so by using certain commodities as generally-accepted media of exchange, and more specifically precious metals. But why precious metals and not other commodities? According to Menger, gold or silver possess a high degree of saleableness, which he defined as “the greater or less facility with which they may be disposed of at prices corresponding to the general economic situation”. Today we call this property liquidity.

The relative high degree of saleableness of precious metals in relation to other commodities is fundamentally linked to their durability, divisibility, low transport and storing costs as well as the traditional demand for these goods in most places throughout history. The fact that precious metals are more saleable than other commodities implies that it is easier to exchange them for other goods: even though Sandy doesn’t need gold (she wants barley), she will accept it as payment because she knows she won’t have any problem to trade it for barley.

That’s why most civilizations adopted precious metals as money. Since then, money has gone through many changes, some of them spontaneous (e.g. the emergence of paper money) and some induced by the State (e.g. the replacement of commodity standards for central-bank fiat money). (Read more.)
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Saturday, July 21, 2018

One Hundred Years Later

From left to right: Grand Duchess Olga, Grand Duchess Anastasia, Empress Alexandra, Tsarevitch Alexis, Tsar Nicholas II, Grand Duchess Tatiana, Grand Duchess Maria
The Russian Orthodox Church commemorates the murder of the Russian Imperial Family on July 17, 1918. From Metropolitan Hilarion:
The 20th century was a difficult time for Orthodox Christians on the territory of the Russian Empire, which became the USSR after the Great War, the October Revolution and Civil War. But the more the Church endured persecution, the brighter the lanterns of faith and piety shone in the Russian land. From the Tsar and the members of the Royal Family close to him in spirit, from archpastors and simple monastics, priests, deacons to laypersons came forth a powerful spiritual army of the Church Militant. By 1918, the Russian Church showed two sorts of podvig—that of martyrdom and that of confession. Thank God, today we see how the blood of many millions of the host of Martyrs and Confessors who turned the Russian land red became the seeds of salvation for the spiritual rebirth of our people, in the Fatherland and in the diaspora. (Read more.)
A eulogy in honor of the Tsar from Archpriest Andrei Tkachev:
The sovereign emperor has more power today than one hundred years ago. A hundred years ago, propaganda efforts turned him into a monster, personifying the state system, earmarked for ruthless annihilation. Cruelty, indifference, luxury, and debauchery were attributed to the regime. All of this was automatically transferred to the image of the reigning house, and so successfully that yesterday’s “loyalists” silently partook of the murder of the head of state and the whole household.

And today? Today we have been sobered by the events of the previous century. After all, we know that the luxury of the oligarchs exceeds that of the tsars at times, although wholly devoid of any moral justification. The debauchery of today’s global Sodom makes us look at many sinners of former times as at kindergarten students. And the indifference of people to one another in a world where money is the main value is unmatched. As for cruelty, the twentieth century surpassed all. The tongue goes numb here and fingers refuse to type.

The Tsar rises above the age-old lies, appearing before our contemporaries in his human greatness and martyric crown. The question is not in the restoration of the monarchy, but first in the awareness of our past and the improvement of the present. Now, love for the last Tsar is easier and more explainable than at the beginning of the previous century during the treason of some, the indifference of others, and the demonic hatred of others. If at that time he was surrounded by “betrayal, cowardice, and deception,”1 then today, in the world into which he entered with his family, he is surrounded by the fellowship of the saints; more precisely—the triumphant synaxis and the Church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (Heb. 12:23). Today he truly has much more power and personal freedom.

Death clarifies many things. This is one of its functions. Thus, behind the apparent timidity of Sts. Boris and Gleb was hidden their willing sacrifice and refusal to commit fratricide. Not weakness, but strength of a special kind was soon seen in their deaths. As for the ability to fight, Sts. Boris and Gleb have manifested it from the other world—upon enemies, not upon their brothers.

Something similar has already partially happened and continues to happen with the person of the murdered Nicholas Alexandrovich and his assessment in the historical Russian consciousness. But the question does not concern only the identity of the emperor. There’s a whole range of burning questions involved in the discussion: the guilt of the people, the global deep state, the treason of the elites… Inevitability or accident? The head spins.

The Tsar was alone. Between him and the people was a dense, impenetrable layer of bureaucracy and various local authorities acting on behalf of the Tsar, but, obviously not always for the common good. “The Tsar is good, but the boyars are wolves.” This phrase can also be meaningfully said without a monarchy. (Read more.)

Reflections about the sin of regicide, HERE. Pictures of the last Imperial Family, HERE.A Russian liturgy in Ekaterinburg in honor of the family, HERE. Share

The Results Are What Matter

A must-read. From The Spectator:
Every American President has complained about the cheating and imbalance — the NATO penny-pinching-cheapness, the tariff and trade imbalances. In more recent years, the various Bushes complained about it. Even Obama complained about it. But they all did it so gently, so diplomatically. They would deliver the sermon, just as the pastor predictably tells the church-goers on Sunday morning that he is against sin, and the Europeans would sit quietly and nod their heads — nodding from sleeping, not from agreeing — and then they would go back out and sin some more. Another four years of America being suckered and snookered. All they had to do was give Obama a Nobel Peace Prize his ninth month in office and let Kerry ride his bike around Paris.

So Trump did what any effective negotiator would do: he took note of past approaches to NATO and their failures, and correctly determined that the only way to get these penny-pinching-cheap baseborn prigs to pay their freight would be to bulldoze right into their faces, stare them right in their glazed eyes with cameras rolling, and tell them point-blank the equivalent of: “You are the cheapest penny-pinching, miserly, stingy, tightwadded skinflints ever. And it is going to stop on my watch. Whatever it takes from my end, you selfish, curmudgeonly cheap prigs, you are going to pay your fair share. I am not being diplomatic. I am being All-Business: either you start to pay or, wow, are you in for some surprises! And you know what you read in the Fake News: I am crazy! I am out of control! So, lemme see. I know: We will go to trade war! How do you like that? Maybe we even will pull all our troops out of Europe. Hmmm. Yeah, maybe. Why not? Sounds good. Well, let’s see.”

So Trump stuffed it into their quiche-and-schnitzel ingesting faces. And he convinced them — thanks to America’s Seedier Media who are the real secret to the “Legend That is Trump” — that he just might be crazy enough to go to trade war and to pull American boys home. They knew that Clinton and Bush x 2 and Kerry and Hillary and Nobel Laureate Obama never would do it. But they also know that Trump just might. And if they think they are going to find comfort and moderating in his new advisers, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, alongside him….(Read more.)
Meanwhile, every American should be alarmed by certain text messages in the Russian probe. From The Hill:
Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, the reported FBI lovebirds, are the poster children for the next “Don’t Text and Investigate” public service ads airing soon at an FBI office near you. Their extraordinary texting affair on their government phones has given the FBI a black eye, laying bare a raw political bias brought into the workplace that agents are supposed to check at the door when they strap on their guns and badges.

It is no longer in dispute that they held animus for Donald Trump, who was a subject of their Russia probe, or that they openly discussed using the powers of their office to “stop” Trump from becoming president. The only question is whether any official acts they took in the Russia collusion probe were driven by those sentiments. The Justice Department’s inspector general is endeavoring to answer that question. For any American who wants an answer sooner, there are just five words, among the thousands of suggestive texts Page and Strzok exchanged, that you should read. That passage was transmitted on May 19, 2017. “There’s no big there there,” Strzok texted.

The date of the text long has intrigued investigators: It is two days after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named special counsel Robert Mueller to oversee an investigation into alleged collusion between Trump and the Russia campaign. Since the text was turned over to Congress, investigators wondered whether it referred to the evidence against the Trump campaign. This month, they finally got the chance to ask. Strzok declined to say — but Page, during a closed-door interview with lawmakers, confirmed in the most pained and contorted way that the message in fact referred to the quality of the Russia case, according to multiple eyewitnesses. (Read more.)
From The Daily Caller:
The frenzied furor and fomented outrage over President Donald Trump’s reluctance to express blind trust for our “intelligence community” defy reason and reality. In their choreographed cries of contempt for Mr. Trump, the “left’s” increasingly shrill proclamations of political apocalypse make “Chicken Little” look rational. At least we’ve moved on from the impending annihilation from the nuclear war with North Korea.

Power is the only thing leftists worship, and they are unraveling in front of our eyes without it. They can’t control Mr. Trump. That alone drives them insane. They have no policies that work. Cities and states they control are criminal sanctuaries and bankrupt cesspools. Check out San Francisco, Portland and Chicago.

Each of the president’s remarkable accomplishments — from unprecedented high employment, our booming economy and the tax cuts to his historic summit with Kim Jong-un — highlights their abject failures and serves to prick their narcissistic egos. The country is doing better without them every day. Even worse, they are desperate to keep their countless crimes and abuses covered up. We know that there are many honorable, dedicated and legitimate members of our multiple intelligence and law enforcement agencies who strive to protect us the right way every day. So, why might any of us not just declare blind trust for our “intelligence community” writ large? Let me count the ways. (Read more.)
A eulogy of a scandal. From Zero Hedge:
From the latest joke-indictment by Robert Mueller to the hysterical press-coverage of the Trump-Putin summit, the way establishment media has been acting over the past week has been apoplectic. One might imagine, given their response, that the end was nigh and Putin personally commandeered the four horsemen of the apocalypse or something equally Biblical.

However, the certifiable insanity characterizing the media’s reaction to these events is not the focus of this article. Instead, we ask, how is it that the Russiagate issue is still being discussed in the first place? How did we get here, to the verge of a neo-McCarthyist second-coming, despite all aspects of this issue being repeatedly dismissed in the light of evidence? When we part the curtain of staged madness, designed to provoke fear in the gullible and outrage in the skeptical, what do we actually glimpse?

The reality is that Russiagate, the neoliberal war-cry, is only spurred on by a constant shift in narrative focus. Yesterday we saw farcical indictments; today we are consumed by a summit. If the pattern holds, then tomorrow we will be delivered a new take on Mifsud, tailored to deceive and mislead once again.

In a recent Memorandum to the President penned by Bill Binney and Ray McGovern, they noted: “We now have forensic evidence that shows the data provided by Guccifer 2.0 had been manipulated and is a fabrication.” The memo, published with Consortium News, continued: “If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny. It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.”

First, as mentioned by McGovern and Binney, we have the thoroughly debunked Guccifer 2.0 hacking narrative. But wait, we also have the collusion narrative spawned by the dossier produced by Christopher Steele, likewise discredited. Time to focus on a mutated and contradictory version of the Guccifer 2.0 narrative! Before anyone can notice the holes, we are spun back to a new incarnation of the Trump-Russian collusion scandal, Mifsud the most mysterious and magical scholar of them all! Do we sound like a street hawker yet?

In Mifsud, we saw a narrative built to replace the collusion allegations first based on the debunked, laughable Steele dossier. The corruption involved in framing Mifsud as a Russian intelligence asset also became painfully evident, in light of his close ties with UK and Western intelligence figures, and his long-standing history at campuses where these same intelligence agencies – including the CIA and FBI, conducted training programs. This statement brings us to the crux of this piece: what do the unfolding chapters of the Russiagate fairytale have in common?

Each of them has a critical lack of evidence supporting their thesis and has been countered by credible evidence that would require a book to recount in full. Each of these branches has been shoved into the fore of press attention when convenient, for a brief moment becoming the singular focus of the establishment media’s echo-chamber. When their credibility quickly fails in the light of credible countering evidence, they are whipped from view, to be replaced by a freshly fabricated aspect of a different arm of the scandal. Focus shifts like eyes at a tennis match, between the Russian hacking narrative and the Trump-Russia collusion fantasy. (Read more.)
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Justice Department Reopens Emmett Till Murder Investigation

It should have been reopened decades ago. What a travesty. From NPR:
Nearly 63 years after the brutal, racist killing of Emmett Till, a black 14-year-old from Chicago who was visiting family in Mississippi, the Justice Department has reopened the investigation into the killing. The department says it has received "new information" in the case but cannot provide any details about the reactivated investigation. The reopening was announced in an annual report to Congress in March and widely reported on Thursday. Last year, a new book on the killing, The Blood of Emmett Till, combined archival research with new interviews; members of Till's family had hoped the book would lead to the case being reopened. Till's death in August 1955 was followed by an open-casket funeral, which famously laid bare the savagery of his killers. (Read more.)
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Friday, July 20, 2018

Creating a Gracious Home

I love the toile. From Victoria:
When lending her talents to a project, Marsha recognizes that the dwelling must suit its dwellers. “A space that is not livable serves no purpose, no matter how beautiful it is,” she says. The designer considers carefully how each room will function—factoring in clients’ stage of life and way of life—to satisfy unique priorities. In her own quarters, where hospitality is prized, slipcovers give a polished appearance to Chippendale chairs but allow for easy cleaning. She recommends carrying out this idea in washable fabrics with dressmaker details, such as covered-button closures. (Read more.)
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Selling Out to Russia

From Front Page Mag:
Oddly enough the media had no problem with Obama running on a reset with Russia. The reset blamed the bad relationship on Bush and the Iraq War. That wasn't treason.
And here's what happened when Obama met with Putin.
“I’m aware of not only the extraordinary work that you’ve done on behalf of the Russian people ... as president, but in your current role as prime minister,” Obama said during a breakfast meeting at Putin’s country home on the outskirts of Moscow. “We think there’s an excellent opportunity to put U.S.-Russian relations on a much stronger footing.”
Where were the same media trolls shrieking now about praising dictators? Or a failure to defend America?
Obama met with Medvedev at the Kremlin, while Putin received him at Novo-Ogaryovo, where a sumptuous breakfast with caviar was laid out. Trying to make conversation, Obama began by asking rhetorically, “How did we get into this mess [in U.S.-Russian relations]?” In response, Putin gave him an hourlong lecture as to how precisely it had happened. Obama listened without interrupting.
What did Putin get from Obama?
1. A free hand in Georgia
2. A free hand in Syria
3. The betrayal of Poland vis a vis the missile shield
4. The betrayal of Ukraine by refusing to provide its governor with useful weapons
5. A whole bunch of our uranium via Uranium One
6. A deal allowing Russia's Iranian allies to go nuclear
7. Failure to do anything about the same Russian actions that the media is now blaming Trump for. Instead his administration actually issued a stand down order.

What has Trump given to Putin? Nothing. He's come to the defense of Poland and Ukraine when Obama wouldn't. (Read more.)
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