Sunday, February 17, 2019

Porcelain Bust of Marie-Antoinette

A nineteenth century bust of the Queen, via East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Share

Pelosi's Warning

From Tom Piatak at Chronicles:
Nancy Pelosi is warning that, if Trump declares an emergency over the border, a future Democratic President could declare an emergency over gun violence. This argument is intended to frighten Republicans from taking action to prevent millions more potential Democrats streaming from Latin America into the United States.

Republicans should not let themselves be frightened. A future Democratic President could declare an emergency over gun violence, regardless of what Trump does. Indeed, dozens of national emergencies have been declared by prior Presidents. It's not as if Democrats are in the habit of waiting for Republicans before seeking to expand government power.

And Trump will not be arguing that, because he has declared an emergency, he can now do whatever he wants. He will argue that, because he has declared an emergency, specific statutes previously enacted by Congress give him the authority, by their terms, of undertaking construction without any additional authorization from Congress. This is a question of statutory construction, not a question of the Constitutional limits of presidential power. (Read more.)

From The Federalist:
 The concept of universal injunctions would shock most Americans. Such injunctions permit a single one of the more than 600 federal district judges overseeing the case of a single party to block the executive branch from enforcing or implementing a law, regulation, executive order, or policy for every American across the country over the typically many years the case is litigated. Stated simply: Universal injunctions give an unelected judge power over the president, shunting aside the considered judgment of the people’s representatives in Congress and the presidency. (Read more.)

From Townhall:
 Speaking from the Rose Garden Friday morning, President Donald Trump made his case for declaring a national emergency and blasted the media for failing to cover Americans killed by illegal aliens. "We're going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border—and we're going to do it one way or the other," Trump said. "We have removed thousands of MS-13 gang monsters. We take them out by the thousands and they are monsters."

President Trump also appeared to suggest death as a penalty for drug dealers. "We want to stop drugs from coming into our country. We want to stop criminals and gangs...we have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country," Trump said. "Unfortunately we have new Angel Moms...the press doesn't want to cover them." (Read more.)

The West is Stirring

From First Things:
The failure of the “European project” has therefore also been a cultural, artistic, and philosophical failure. Michel Houellebecq aside, Europe in the era of what is called “the European Union” has had no great cultural iconographers capable of summoning up its spirit and essences, and Houellebecq does not flatter it. It is arguable that there never was a united art or literature of Europe, and that only Christianity served to create the impression that there was.

The late French philosopher Jean Baudrillard once observed that, although each part of the American continent feels different from every other part, there is also a pervasive American essence. Europe is not like that. What became “The European Union” was never articulate about itself in cultural terms, but instead resorted to a language and logic of materialism and secular democracy, which writers and artists failed to plumb, bypass, or otherwise negotiate.

The bureaucratic nature of the E.U. has led it to treat culture as irrelevant and non-essential, soul as some residual anachronism, identity as a problem, and faith as something to be “tolerated” at best. In the absence of a cultural and spiritual vision, economics became everything and, inevitably, nothing. In its headlong dash to fulfill its aims in that idiom, the E.U. destroyed the European peoples’ hopes and finally demanded that they lie down and die. (Read more.)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

San Marco in Florence

From Aleteia:
In 1436, when Fra Angelico moved to the newly constructed convent of San Marco in Florence, he was commissioned by the convent’s patron, the rich and powerful Cosimo de’ Medici (who had his own cell as a personal retreat), to decorate the new place of worship and living space for the friars. His famous and often reproduced works, the San Marco altarpieceand The Annunciation, which grace the convent’s public rooms, were much admired and earned him commissions from the Vatican. 
Some of his most beautiful works of art, however, were never meant to be seen by the public. Fra Angelico painted frescoes in the cells of the convent, for his fellow friars who, in their seclusion, used them as aids to prayer and meditation. Art historians have discovered his hand in at least 20 cells in the convent frescoes, including the particularly notable depictions of the Resurrection, the Coronation of the Virgin, and the Annunciation. (Read more.)

Suicide Pact

From PJB at Chronicles:
After reading an especially radical platform agreed upon by the British Labor Party, one Tory wag described it as "the longest suicide note in history." The phrase comes to mind on reading of the resolution calling for a Green New Deal, advanced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and endorsed by at least five of the major Democratic candidates for president. The Green New Deal is designed to recall the halcyon days of the 1930s, when, so the story goes, FDR came to Washington to enact the historic reforms that rescued America from the Great Depression. Only that story is more than a small myth. 
The unemployment rate when FDR took the oath in 1933 was 25 percent. It never fell below 14 percent through the 1930s. In June 1938, despite huge Democratic majorities in Congress, FDR was presiding over a nation where unemployment was back up to 19 percent. World War II and the conscription of 16 million young men gave us "full employment." And the war's end and demobilization saw the return of real prosperity in 1946, after FDR was dead. 
Yet this Green New Deal is nothing if not ambitious. (Read more.)

Death of a Stalinist Spy

From The Spectator:
Morton Sobell, whose obituary noting his 101 years appeared this week in the New York Times, spied for Stalinist Russia about 70 years ago. His life’s real misdeed came about a decade ago, when he admitted that, contrary to his earlier insistence and that of his many champions in academia and the media, he did, indeed, commit espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union. 
“Now I know it was an illusion,” Sobell then reflected of his belief in Communism. “I was taken in.” 
Sydney Gurewitz Clemens lashed out at him in 2008 for how his admission “complicated history and the personal histories of the many millions of people, all over the world, who gave time, energy, money and heart to the struggle to support his claims of innocence.” The fact that he served the greater part of a 30-year sentence, and refused to turn on his former confederates, did not seem to mitigate this grievous sin against the narrative. 
Sydney Gurewitz Clemens, Sobell’s step-daughter, illustrated how in this case the ties that bind often referred to ideological rather than familial ones. David Greenglass, the brother of Sobell co-defendant Ethel Rosenberg, testified against his sister and brother-in-law. The Rosenbergs, despite questions about the level of Ethel’s involvement (Sobell confirmed her involvement in the spy ring), stuck to their line at the expense of orphaning their children. And for decades, progressives who championed the executed couple stuck to it, too.

Sobell, who suspiciously fled to Mexico where he used an alias (he characterized the trip as a family vacation) in the wake of the authorities closing in on the conspirators’ activities, played a massive role in perpetuating this mythology, particularly after his release from prison in the late 1960s after almost 18 years served. 
Sobell maintained his innocence in his memoir On Doing Time, and in 1978 PBS aired the WETA-produced Rosenberg-Sobell Revisited, which argued for the trio’s innocence. As late as 2001, Sobell lamented in the Nation that authors “take for granted that the National Security Agency has published a true decryption of the Soviet cables” in writing about the Venona intercepts clearly affirming Julius Rosenberg’s espionage. He adds, “Strangely, I, a bona fide convicted spy, could not be found anywhere among the hundreds of identified spies, but this was not for lack of their trying.” (Read more.)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Bradgate House

From The Tudor Travel Guide:
Bradgate Park was one of two parks belonging to the Manor of Groby. Its history can be traced back to at least the eleventh century, when an area of land encompassing what is now Bradgate Park was given to a loyal compatriot of William the Conquerer, Hugh de Grentmesnil, who fought with William at the Battle of Hastings. 
Our story, though, really begins in the mid-fifteenth century, when the owners of the estate, the Ferrers family, did a spectacular bit of fortuitous social climbing. This began when the younger son of Reginald Grey, 3rd Baron Grey de Ruthyn, married the heiress, Elizabeth Ferrers, in 1427. It was their son, John Grey, who made the spectacular match with Elizabeth Woodville of Grafton in Northamptonshire. Of course, the family’s fortunes were transformed by Elizabeth’s later marriage to King Edward IV. It would be her eldest son from her first marriage to John Grey, Thomas, who would establish a new house at Bradgate, the power-base of the Grey family during the first half of the sixteenth century. (Read more.)

Day of Mourning for Abortion

On February 23, 2019 we will wear black in mourning for the victims of abortion and as a sign of repentance. From The Activist Mommy:
We are calling for a National Day of Mourning and repentance. We are in desperate need for God to move upon the hearts of young and old in our nation. If our hearts do not break over the killing of these little image bearers of God in the womb, we are dead inside! Join us February 23rd for “A National Day of Mourning.”
(Read more.)

Angels of Death. From Chronicles:
 The state of the Union is divided, as we were reminded not only after but during the President’s speech of February 5.  Republicans chanted “USA! USA!” several times in response to lines delivered to elicit the same; Democrats (upon whom the camera lovingly lingered) competed for the honor of “best sour expression/sneer by an elected official,” and the Emmy goes to Kamala Harris.
Most noticeable, also by design, were the color-coordinated white outfits worn by Democratic congresspersons, who sat stone-faced even during benign applause lines.  They were briefly roused—and oh, was it the favorite moment of the entire CNN panel!—when Trump took credit for placing “the greatest number of women in the workplace,” whereupon the handmaidens leapt off their tails and applauded wildly.  It was a “joke’s on you” moment, or at least that’s what the congresswomen intended by their puerile stunt, since Trump’s misogyny is supposedly to blame for their electoral victories.  But then again, if that explanation is correct, they were celebrating the fact that they were elected only because they are women, and they proved it by wearing clothes that match.  Solidarity, sister!  Women are no different from men, except in every way.
What was truly disturbing, however, was the rationale behind the matching pantsuits and blouses.  The memo went forth from the House Democratic Women’s Working Group the week before the State of the Union Address, urging white as an expression of solidarity with the Suffragettes.  In concrete terms, this means exhibiting a commitment to “reproductive rights,” that misnomer which has nothing to do with the right of reproducing and everything to do with infanticide, an issue that came to the fore twice in the first weeks of 2019. (Read more.)