Monday, August 21, 2017

The Real Motivation Behind Civil War Monuments

Two old veterans meet at Gettysburg
From Catholics4Trump:
You might then ask a leftist when any Southern town could have erected a Confederate statue or monument in history and not have had an automatic racist intent. As we know, the true answer is never. But in order to not appear unreasonable, the leftist will tell you, “Well, right after the war and before Jim Crow!”

Ah yes. From the war’s end in 1865 until the 1880’s, the South was a smoldering, devastated, defeated, destitute and wrecked former nation, in many places still under the control of the Union army. One can only imagine that after such an obliterating defeat and while suffering anarchical and poverty stricken conditions in many places, the first thing Southerners would do, instead of working to rebuild their homes, societies and lives, would be to raise millions of dollars and take years to build statues in honor of the generals that had just lost the war. Yes, only in the minds of liberal history majors in 2017 does this make sense.

In addition, if one steps back from following the Social Justice Warriors into the fever swamps of historical revisionism, one would begin to realize that their logic actually makes no sense.  For they make the elementary logical error of Post hoc ergo propter hoc. This is a logical fallacy that states “Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X.”

Thus, just because the boom in Confederate memorials took place from 1900-1918 does not prove it was a result of or in any way inspired by Jim Crow laws which began in the 1880’s and ended in the 1960’s. Instead, the leftists would need to show us hard causation evidence linking the two events. They can’t.

Since leftists believe every Southerner in the United States from 1776 to 2017 was and is a frothing at the mouth racist, you’d think they would easily be able to prove a racist motive from historical documents commissioning these statues and memorials, or perhaps racist speeches given at the dedication ceremonies in front of these memorials.

After all, if even one Southerner who took on the project of building monument to a Confederate general had expressed racist motives you’d expect the left to be plastering this document all over cyberspace. But yet, they have produced not one hint of this evidence. (Read more.)
Veterans shake hands on the 50th anniversary of Gettysburg


Selina Gray, the Heroine of Arlington

Selina Gray was Mrs. Robert E. Lee's personal maid whom Mrs. Lee left in charge of the Arlington house and plantation for the duration of the War Between the States. Selina, a formidable woman, famously told the occupying Union soldiers to keep their hands off of "Mrs. Lee's things." She is credited with saving the family portrait of George Washington, since Mary Custis Lee was the great-granddaughter of Martha Custis Washington. From The Washington Post:
When Robert E. Lee’s wife, Mary, fled Arlington House at the start of the Civil War, she gave her personal slave, Selina Norris Gray, the keys to the mansion and responsibility for the grand house the Lees had lived in for 30 years. Gray fulfilled her duties. She is famously credited with saving from marauding Union soldiers numerous heirlooms belonging to George Washington that were stored in the house.

Now the National Park Service, which administers Arlington House, has acquired what it says is a rare and previously unknown photograph of Gray and, apparently, two of her eight children. The photograph was spotted last month on the Internet auction site eBay by Park Service volunteer Dean DeRosa. The seller, in England, had found the photo in a box of “unwanted” pictures at a British version of a yard sale.

A Park Service statement said that its nonprofit partner, Save Historic Arlington House, bid on the photograph and, “against stiff competition,” won.

“This is a big deal,” National Park Service spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said Thursday. “It’s in­cred­ibly rare to have photos of slaves that we can identify,” she said. “Since slaves were property, it’s really hard to identify the people in images like this. This is a priceless item to add to our collection.” She said the Park Service is sure the double image, which is identified on the back only as “Gen Lees Slaves Arlington Va,” depicts Gray, the older woman in the picture, and probably her children. The Park Service was able to compare the new photo with an identified photo of Gray already in its collection. Anzelmo-Sarles said the new photo is believed to have been taken outside Gray’s slave quarters at Arlington. (Read more.)

Eclipses in Scripture

What the ancient Hebrews believed. From Charisma News:
In Genesis 1:4, the sun, moon and stars are called signs for the appointed times, and the Jewish commentary on the Torah includes eclipses as signs. Another interesting Scripture is Jeremiah 10:2, which tells Israel not to be terrified by the signs in the sky even though the nations are terrified. According to the sages, the sign of the eclipses holds no fear for those who act properly.

We find ourselves concurring with most of these rabbinical beliefs about eclipses. We understand eclipses to be signs from God not only because of Genesis 1:14, but also as signs to the church as announced by Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21). For believers, we agree that eclipses are times of prayer and introspection, a time to unify in Christ as shown by the symbol of the moon, representing believers (Ps. 89:37), joining in the sun, representing Christ (Ps. 19). We also agree that for non-believers eclipses are a warning of judgment to come and therefore and are fearful omens.

Those themes of prayer and introspection for believers and fear of judgment for non-believers are heightened during the 40-day Hebrew season of Teshuvah, which begins with the great American eclipse on Aug. 21 and ends 40 days later on Sept. 29, the Day of Atonement. The world Teshuvah literally means "to return to the presence of the Lord," and the psalm associated by the rabbis with Teshuvah, Psalm 27, speaks of the blessings of dwelling in God's presence. On the other hand, the second Scripture associated with Teshuvah, Ezekiel 33, warns believers of punishment for failure to warn sinners, and warns sinners of judgment to come. Thus, Teshuvah is an invitation to intimacy and a warning of judgment. (Read more.)

See how the eclipse will look from anywhere in America. Be careful. No staring at the sun without special glasses. Share

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Black Victorians

From The Guardian:
The African Choir were a group of young South African singers that toured Britain between 1891 and 1893. They were formed to raise funds for a Christian school in their home country and performed for Queen Victoria at Osborne House, a royal residence on the Isle of Wight. At some point during their stay, they visited the studio of the London Stereoscopic Company to have group and individual portraits made on plate-glass negatives. That long-lost series of photographs, unseen for 120 years, is the dramatic centrepiece of an illuminating new exhibition called Black Chronicles II.

“The portraits were last shown in the London Illustrated News in 1891,” says Renée Mussai, who has co-curated the show at London’s Rivington Place alongside Mark Sealy MBE, director of Autograph ABP, a foundation that focuses on black cultural identity often through the use of overlooked archives. “The Hulton Archive, where they came from, did not even know they existed until we uncovered them while excavating their archive as part of our research project.”

The London Stereoscopic Company specialised in carte de visites – small photographs printed on cards that were often traded by collectors or used by performers for publicity purposes – and, as their name suggests, they were all in stereo which, when seen through a special viewer, gave the illusion of a three-dimensional photograph.

The enlarged portraits of the African Choir, which line one wall of the exhibition, were made by Mike Spry, a specialist in printing from glass plates who was coaxed out of retirement to undertake the meticulous process in his garden shed. They are arresting both for the style and assurance of the sitters – some of the women look like they could be modelling for Vogue – and for the way they challenge the received narrative of the history of black people in Britain.

“Black Chronicles II is part of a wider ongoing project called The Missing Chapter,” says Mussai, “which uses the history of photography to illuminate the missing chapters in British history and culture, especially black history and culture. There is a widespread misconception that black experience in Britain begins with the arrival of the Empire Windrush and the first Jamaican immigrants in 1948, but, as this exhibition shows, there is an incredible archive of images of black people in Britain that goes right back to the invention of photography in the 1830s.”

Near the African choir shots, there is an equally striking portrait of Major Musa Bhai, a Ceylon-born Muslim who was converted to Christianity in colonial India. He accompanied the family of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, to England in 1888 as a high-profile advocate for the organisation. As Mussai notes, there “are several intertwining narratives – colonial, cultural and personal – embedded in these images, but what is often startling is how confident and self-contained many of the sitters are as they occupy the frame.” (Read more.)

Were Confederate Generals Traitors?

And remember, most Confederate soldiers did not own slaves or have anything to do with slavery. They were too poor. The boys who came out of the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee had probably never even seen a black person until they joined the army. From Walter E. Williams:
 The U.S. Constitution would have never been ratified — and a union never created — if the people of those 13 "free sovereign and Independent States" did not believe that they had the right to secede. Even on the eve of the War of 1861, unionist politicians saw secession as a right that states had. Rep. Jacob M. Kunkel of Maryland said, "Any attempt to preserve the union between the states of this Confederacy by force would be impractical and destructive of republican liberty." The Northern Democratic and Republican parties favored allowing the South to secede in peace.

Northern newspapers editorialized in favor of the South's right to secede. New-York Tribune (Feb. 5, 1860): "If tyranny and despotism justified the Revolution of 1776, then we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861." The Detroit Free Press (Feb. 19, 1861): "An attempt to subjugate the seceded States, even if successful, could produce nothing but evil — evil unmitigated in character and appalling in extent." The New-York Times (March 21, 1861): "There is a growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go."

Confederate generals were fighting for independence from the Union just as George Washington and other generals fought for independence from Great Britain. Those who'd label Gen. Robert E. Lee as a traitor might also label George Washington as a traitor. I'm sure Great Britain's King George III would have agreed. (Read more.)
Here is an article about Robert E. Lee from several years ago by African-American scholar Dr. Edward C. Smith:
Lee's life story is in some ways the story of early America. He was born in 1807 to a loving mother, whom he adored. His relationship with his father, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, (who was George Washington's chief of staff during the Revolutionary War) was strained at best. Thus, as he matured in years, Lee adopted Washington (who had died in 1799) as a father figure and patterned his life after him. Two of Lee's ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence, and his wife, Mary Custis, was George Washington's foster great-granddaughter.

Lee was a top-of-the-class graduate of West Point, a Mexican War hero and superintendent of West Point. I can think of no family for which the Union meant as much as it did for his. But it is important to remember that the 13 colonies that became 13 states reserved for themselves a tremendous amount of political autonomy. In pre-Civil War America, most citizens' first loyalty went to their state and the local community in which they lived. Referring to the United States of America in the singular is a purely post-Civil War phenomenon.

All this should help explain why Lee declined command of the Union forces -- by Abraham Lincoln -- after the firing on Fort Sumter. After much agonizing, he resigned his commission in the Union army and became a Confederate commander, fighting in defense of Virginia, which at the outbreak of the war possessed the largest population of free blacks (more than 60,000) of any Southern state. Lee never owned a single slave, because he felt that slavery was morally reprehensible. He even opposed secession. (His slaveholding was confined to the period when he managed the estate of his late father-in-law, who had willed eventual freedom for all of his slaves.)

Regarding the institution, it's useful to remember that slavery was not abolished in the nation's capital until April 1862, when the country was in the second year of the war. The final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation was not written until September 1862, to take effect the following Jan. 1, and it was intended to apply only to those slave states that had left the Union. Lincoln's preeminent ally, Frederick Douglass, was deeply disturbed by these limitations but determined that it was necessary to suppress his disappointment and "take what we can get now and go for the rest later." The "rest" came after the war. (Read more.)
 In the meantime, National Parks Service has issued a statement concrning Gettysburg:
 The National Parks Service has a message for America: We will not remove any Confederate statues from our country’s national parks — and the country’s best-known Civil War battlefield is making that crystal clear. Less than one week after a group of white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the removal of a monument depicting Robert E. Lee, U.S. parks officials aren’t holding back words about their plans for monuments.

“The National Park Service is committed to safeguarding these unique and site-specific memorials in perpetuity, while simultaneously interpreting holistically and objectively the actions, motivations, and causes of the soldiers and states they commemorate,” the parks service said in a statement, according to Penn Live. (Read more.)
Allen B. West reports that the debacle in Charlottesville was a complete set-up. Share

No Happy Harmony

From First Things:
They are no less ambitious than women in any other American college, and most are as focused on success as are their male peers. But many come from conservative Christian backgrounds, where the natural differences between men and women are cele­brated and mothers often stay at home. They appreciate that a woman’s role in the family is something unique and valuable, and they are not persuaded by radical feminist arguments that marriage and motherhood are mere oppression. How then, they wonder, can the longing to have and care for children be combined with a sincere desire to achieve something of value outside the home?

Thus they ask a question at the forefront of popular literature about women and work: How can ­women “balance” professional interests and family? Like countless other women, I’ve had to juggle my obligations as a mother and wife with the demands first of graduate study and then of teaching and scholarship. But I’ve slowly come to realize that this quest for balance, the desire to reconcile radically conflicting demands, is misguided. Work and family evoke from us two distinct modes of being and of relation to others. The conflicts between these modes cannot, if we are honest with ourselves, be wished away or ignored. (Read more.)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fashion at Versailles

For Ladies:
With Marie-Antoinette, elegance and simplicity of clothing was the order of the day at Court. For everyday life, the robe à la polonaise, a modest outfit, was in fashion among women along with the robe à la lévite. Simply dressed in a robe à la polonaise made of grey silk, the queen is putting together a bouquet in a countryside scene, with a rose in her hand. (Read more.)
Actually, the dress in question (above) was blue, not grey; because it is supposed to be a moonlight scene it may appear to be grey.

For Gentlemen:
Men’s attire in the 1780s were comprised of three main parts: the justeaucorps, which was the coat that later evolved to the frac, the waistcoat, and breeches. Shapes were simplified in favour of a more slender silhouette without affectation. The letter which is part of this engraving describes the type of costume: “Habit de printemps à la Française. M. the Count of Provence. This habit, although plainer, is in the same style as the king’s. This type of habit à la française was worn at the end of the Ancien Régime. […] The habit à la française is composed of a justeaucorps, coat and breeches. The justeaucorps, which was looser-fitting than the frac à l'anglaise, was never worn fastened, despite being decorated with buttons and button holes. It had a straight collar made of the same fabric, in contrast to the English-style collars which were turned-over and made of a different colour. The justeaucorps had external pockets whose flaps constituted an essential element of decoration. The waistcoat was very long and had sleeves, meaning it could be worn without a justeaucorps in négligée dress, and was generally made of a different colour; it hung low and had basques in front and behind…” (Read more.)

A Second Civil War?

From PJB:
Two years ago, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called the giant statues of Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson on Richmond's Monument Avenue "parts of our heritage." After Charlottesville, New York-born-and-bred McAuliffe, entertaining higher ambitions, went full scalawag, demanding the statues be pulled down as "flashpoints for hatred, division, and violence." Who hates the statues, Terry? Who's going to cause the violence? Answer: The Democratic left whom Terry must now appease. McAuliffe is echoed by Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate in November to succeed McAuliffe. GOP nominee Ed Gillespie wants Monument Avenue left alone. The election is the place to decide this, but the left will not wait.

In Durham, North Carolina, our Taliban smashed the statue of a Confederate soldier. Near the entrance of Duke University Chapel, a statue of Lee has been defaced, the nose broken off. Wednesday at dawn, Baltimore carried out a cultural cleansing by taking down statues of Lee and Maryland Chief Justice Roger Taney who wrote the Dred Scott decision and opposed Lincoln's suspension of the right of habeas corpus.

Like ISIS, which smashed the storied ruins of Palmyra, and the al-Qaida rebels who ravaged the fabled Saharan city of Timbuktu, the new barbarism has come to America. This is going to become a blazing issue, not only between but within the parties. (Read more.)
More on the violence in Charlottesville from The American Thinker:
I've been suspicious of the nature of the violence at this supposed Alt-Right demonstration since the news first began breaking.  It is no secret that radical elements in the Democrat left have been routinely utilizing violence when it suits their purposes.  We also know via secret tapings by Project Veritas that the Democratic Party has a semi-official director of dirty ops, Dick Creamer, who hires, trains, and emplaces professional disruptors to encounter, engage, and infiltrate conservative demonstrations to foment violence, assuring that the demonstrations then become the targets of negative media attention – naturally, against the conservative side.  Creamer was caught on videotape boasting about his nefarious capabilities when he thought he was in friendly company.

So here we now have another blown supposedly conservative demonstration, where violence erupts and people are killed, and guess who just happens to be a ringleader of the various ultra-right to Alt-Right organizations ranging from KKK and neo-Nazis to the kind of patriotic folks who might go to a Flag Day celebration!  Um, that would be our vaporous political will o' the wisp, Jason Kessler, whose Occupy activities may well have put him in operational cahoots with high-level Democrat operatives.  And owing to the leniency of Virginia open carry laws, too many of Jason's followers just had to parade their personal armories in all their camo combat gear, showing off their minuteman firepower.  My first reaction at seeing those clowns strutting down the street like they were in Mosul was, like that of many of my fellow NRA members and military veterans, shaking my fist and yelling at the TV, "No!  No!  No, you idiots!  No!"  And that kind of award-winning stupidity makes me wonder if the head planner for the event, Jason, Kessler, didn't have that firepower demonstration all lined up and ready to go precisely to make those right-wing tools look just like the fools they were being, while scaring the bejeezus out of the lefties, blacks, and MSM twerps.

There's still not enough evidence on the actual violence, other than the schizophrenic kid who ran over the woman, to make any kind of assessment as to who did what in the confrontations between the right-wing demonstrators and the surprisingly strong counter-demonstration.  I have to wonder if this Kessler fellow, strong Barack Obama-supporter that he is, had a hand in making sure his Alt-Right marchers were clearly guaranteed to encounter a strong crowd of riled up counter-protesters as well.  The reporting of Kessler's background, as well as that of Charlottesville mayor and Democrat activist Mike Signer and Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy, has convinced me that Charlottesville was a Democratic Party black operation, planned, organized, and carried out to its successful conclusion, to make the media portray all these conservative whites as stupid, racist, and violent.  I believe that it was done by this soulless young man, who succeeded in selling himself to the dumb-bunny right-wingers as one of them. (Read more.)
HistoryNet reports on Charlottesville's Civil War legacy:
Here are some fast facts about the city during the Civil War era.

1. Charlottesville, with a population of about 3,000 people, remained on the fringes of the war. Perhaps the only noteworthy conflict was a skirmish on the northern outskirts of town on Feb. 29, 1864, in the so-called Battle of Rio Hill.

2. The Union forces at Rio Hill were led by Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer. But he of the flowing locks bungled it – perhaps foreshadowing disaster 10 years later at Little Big Horn. At Rio Hill, Custer and his 1,500 soldiers attempted to raid a Confederate camp, but Custer mistakenly believed an accidental explosion was enemy artillery fire and fled with his troops, chased out by members of Confederate forces under command of Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart.

3. The University of Virginia, like Charlottesville itself, escaped the war’s ravages. The student body, however, answered the call of the Southern cause. Strong supporters of secession from the Union, about 500 of the university’s 600 enrollees in 1861 joined the Confederate army, as did more than 2,000 alumni.

4. UVA’s enrollment plummeted in the war years. In 1862-1863, there were 46 students enrolled. Only eight went on to graduate, but the university never closed.

5. Charlottesville also contributed to the cause through industry, producing swords, uniforms and artificial limbs. Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood was so pleased with his Charlottesville-made right leg that he declared, “The Charlottesville leg is far better than the French one.”

6. Charlottesville was site of medical facilities, including a hospital, that treated wounded and sick Confederate soldiers. Ultimately, Charlottesville General Hospital treated 22,700 patients during the Civil War and employed 300 people.

7. African Americans outnumbered whites in Charlottesville at the time of the Civil War. In Albemarle County, of which Charlottesville is a part, 55 percent of 26,615 residents were African American. Of those 14,512, all but 606 were free blacks. Today, about 107,000 people live in the county, 81 percent of them white and 10 percent African American.

8. Charlottesville surrendered to Union forces. Despite Custer’s retreat at Rio Hill, he and Gen. Philip Sheridan formally accepted the town’s surrender on March 3, 1865. Little more than a month later, Lee surrendered the Confederacy to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in a ceremony at Appomattox Court House, about 60 miles south of Charlottesville. (Read more.)

Unless We Turn Back to God

From Matt Walsh:
We are divided as a people. I’d say we’re even more divided now than we were during the run up to the (first?) Civil War. At least back then the two sides had some very fundamental things in common. They believed in God, they loved their families, they cared about virtue and valor.

These days, you can’t get a consensus on anything. Forget about living in two separate countries — we’re living in two separate universes. Hundreds of different universes, really. I have little in common with a modern leftist, but I have even less in common with an alt-right neo-Nazi. Who is on my side? I don’t even know anymore. We’re all strangers to each other. Even as men met on the battlefield in 1862 and visited horrific violence upon on another, there existed a mutual respect, a sense of honor, and similarity. We have no respect for one another. We laugh at the concept of honor. We laugh at all that is good and decent. We laugh at each other. We hate each other. That seems to be the only thing we have in common. (Read more.)

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Floral Fantasy

Featured on East of the Sun, West of the Moon: A Floral Fantasy in an Old English Garden, Illustrated by Walter Crane, 1899. Available to read online for free


Next: Banning Our Founding Fathers?

From The Federalist Papers:
This is an incredibly slippery slope. All of America’s Founding Fathers were imperfect men. Most were slave-owners, and I have no doubt others were genuine scoundrels. But we owe them a debt of gratitude no matter what sins they may have committed. As Jay Cost writes: “If I contract somebody to paint my house, and I find out later that he is an adulterer, does that excuse me from paying what I owe? Of course not. By the same token, my debt for the painting does not oblige me to act as though he did not wrong his spouse.”
So it goes with the Founders who owned slaves: We should appreciate them for their endeavors, for our lives are manifestly better because of their struggles, but honoring them does not require us to ignore or excuse their errors. Madison’s home Montpelier, for example, just opened an exhibition, “The Mere Distinction of Colour,” exploring slavery at the plantation.
Wiping out America’s history because there are parts of it that are unsettling or unappealing is a leftist way of trying to re-write what this country was founded upon. If you can depict America’s founders as malevolent, evil men, you can paint the entire nation that way. (Read more.)

Elimination of the "Unfit"

From Herman Cain:
You want to denounce Nazis? Here you go, America. Don't tell me again about the moral imperative to denounce Nazis if you're going to let this slide. As Rob mentioned to me when we were discussing who would write this up, the essence of Hitler's eugenics program was to filter out children who didn't have the traits deemed optimal for the Aryan race. Horrifying? Obviously. You'd have a fit if they started aborting babies for having brown skin, or - if there was some way you could tell - for being gay.

And you should have that fit.

But you don't need to wait. You can have the fit right now, because Iceland is well down this road. There, expectant mothers are given blood tests to determine if there's a likelihood their baby will have Down Syndrome. And if it looks that way? Well, the mothers are informed that most abort under these circumstances. No one wants a child who doesn't have the perfect designer genes, you understand, so Iceland is now to the point where almost 100 percent of mothers who are told their babies will probably have Down Syndrome go ahead and have said babies killed. (Read more.)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bouquet of Flowers in an Urn

From your friendly neighborhood art historian:
Today’s artwork is Jan van Huysum’s Bouquet of Flowers in an Urn, which was painted in 1724. This clever composition juxtaposes a variety of flowers, all of which appear to be in full bloom, with a number of insects such as different kinds of butterflies and ants.

Although the composition looks as if the flowers were placed aimlessly in a bouquet, in reality they weren’t. In fact, the different kinds of flowers shown here, normally bloom in different seasons throughout the year. Thus, it would have been impossible for Van Huysum to have painted this work in one go. Rather, each flower was painted as it became available, arranged within the composition according to the artist’s wishes.

Jan van Huysum’s interest in nature is evident here. Flower painters often had an interest in botanical studies and would spend hours upon hours studying, classifying and drawing each individual flower. Look at this detail! (Read more.)

A Warning from Cardinal Burke

From Life Site:
To treat every word uttered by the Pope as if it were official Church teaching would be to fall into an “idolatry of the papacy,” said Cardinal Raymond Burke in a recent address at a Catholic conference in Kentucky.  The Cardinal, who spoke at the July 22 “Church Teaches Forum” in Louisville, said that Catholics seeking to remain true to Christ and the Church he founded must learn to discern between the “words of the man who is Pope and the words of the Pope as Vicar of Christ on earth.”

“Pope Francis has chosen to speak often in his first body, the body of the man who is Pope. In fact, even in documents which, in the past, have represented more solemn teaching, he states clearly that he is not offering magisterial teaching but his own thinking,” the Cardinal said. “But those who are accustomed to a different manner of Papal speaking want to make his every statement somehow part of the Magisterium. To do so is contrary to reason and to what the Church has always understood,” he continued. 

“It is simply wrong and harmful to the Church to receive every declaration of the Holy Father as an expression of papal teaching or magisterium,” he added. (Read more.)

"My lot walked, my lot starved"

From The Guardian:
The teenage McGann, who would grow up to play Dr Turner in Call the Midwife, was immediately overcome with what he describes as a “weird passion” for genealogy. He solemnly promised his ancestors he would find out more about the history of the McGanns.

Fast-forward 37 years and we are discussing Flesh and Blood, the 300-odd page book that finally fulfils that solemn promise. In it, McGann, who at 54 is the youngest of the four McGann actor brothers, looks back at the history of his family through the lens of seven maladies: hunger, pestilence, exposure, trauma, breathlessness, heart problems and necrosis. He discusses how health and education – or a lack of them – have driven medical progress and social change in Britain, and how these changes have dramatically altered the fortunes of the McGanns.

“My family’s story is intimately related to the progress of this nation, because of the relationship between social history, public health and physical medical health. Until the welfare state, my family subsisted. After the welfare state, they thrived. I feel, in my family, the burden of the legacy of history very keenly.”

McGann, who has an MA in science communications, explains that genealogy is detective work: “You see these wonderful antiquated Latin terms on death certificates and very quickly realise that to understand the cause of death, you have to understand those medical terms in their wider sense. The purpose of genealogy – to gain self-knowledge, to answer questions like who am I? Where do I come from? – has to expand to embrace what a particular medical term means in that time, in that place, right there. I focus on health as an antagonist in the book because that’s the beat that drives the central characters on.” (Read more.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Voynich Manuscript

Recently, I found an interesting site on the mysterious Voynich manuscript, which I have blogged on before. (Via PrWeb.) It is the theory of one scholar that the medieval manuscript, written in an unknown language or code, was the work of the surviving Cathars, who he believes had managed to escape to South America (like the Nazis). The drawings of the plants and animals certainly resemble those which can still be found in South America. Why many of the inhabitants are shown as naked white women with blond curly hair is a yet unsolved question. Also, the Cathars despised the traditional Christian cross and would never have drawn one. It is, however, a fascinating theory. The castle depicted does possibly resemble Montségur, the castle in the South of France where the Cathars made their last stand. According to the Voynich Manuscript site:
 Note those frontal defenses known as M-shaped merlons. Such merlons have been found on castles in northern Italy. I checked them out myself: only two of them predate the fall of Montségur in 1244, but at one point or another those castles were destroyed and rebuilt or construction was expanded later on. In brief, so far, I have found no proof that any Italian M-shaped merlon predates the fall of Montségur.
The Cathars lived in both southern France and northern Italy. Catharism in France came to an abrupt end in the 13th century but continued to live on in northern Italy until the early 14th century. I suspect that the Italian Cathars introduced the M-shaped merlons into Italy in remembrance of those who died at Montségur. (Read more.)
A sunflower

The Rise of the Violent Left

From The Atlantic:
Antifa traces its roots to the 1920s and ’30s, when militant leftists battled fascists in the streets of Germany, Italy, and Spain. When fascism withered after World War II, antifa did too. But in the ’70s and ’80s, neo-Nazi skinheads began to infiltrate Britain’s punk scene. After the Berlin Wall fell, neo-Nazism also gained prominence in Germany. In response, a cadre of young leftists, including many anarchists and punk fans, revived the tradition of street-level antifascism.In the late ’80s, left-wing punk fans in the United States began following suit, though they initially called their groups Anti-Racist Action, on the theory that Americans would be more familiar with fighting racism than fascism. According to Mark Bray, the author of the forthcoming Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, these activists toured with popular alternative bands in the ’90s, trying to ensure that neo-Nazis did not recruit their fans. In 2002, they disrupted a speech by the head of the World Church of the Creator, a white-supremacist group in Pennsylvania; 25 people were arrested in the resulting brawl.

By the 2000s, as the internet facilitated more transatlantic dialogue, some American activists had adopted the name antifa. But even on the militant left, the movement didn’t occupy the spotlight. To most left-wing activists during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years, deregulated global capitalism seemed like a greater threat than fascism.

Trump has changed that. For antifa, the result has been explosive growth. According to NYC Antifa, the group’s Twitter following nearly quadrupled in the first three weeks of January alone. (By summer, it exceeded 15,000.) Trump’s rise has also bred a new sympathy for antifa among some on the mainstream left. “Suddenly,” noted the antifa-aligned journal It’s Going Down, “anarchists and antifa, who have been demonized and sidelined by the wider Left have been hearing from liberals and Leftists, ‘you’ve been right all along.’ ” An article in The Nation argued that “to call Trumpism fascist” is to realize that it is “not well combated or contained by standard liberal appeals to reason.” The radical left, it said, offers “practical and serious responses in this political moment.” (Read more.)
More from The Atlantic, on an old film:
When it first debuted, Don’t Be a Sucker would have played in movie theaters. Now it has made its 21st-century premiere thanks to a network of smaller screens and the Internet Archive, where it is available in full. Almost 75 years after it was first shown, Don’t Be a Sucker lives again as a public object in a new and strange context. (Read more.)

The Great American Eclipse

From Scripture scholar Emmett O'Regan in Unveiling the Apocalypse:
Now that the appearance of the Great American Eclipse is upon us, I thought it would be worth condensing all the relevant material I have written on this subject over the past year into a single post. This will allow new readers a quick catch-up, but should also be worth recapping for those who have already read the previous posts, since it will be interspersed with some important new material.

I have previously argued that this impending total solar eclipse appears to be part of a wider sequences of eclipses associated with the Sign of Jonah mentioned by Christ in relation to the binding of the "strong man", which in turn is closely connected to the period of the unbinding of Satan foretold in Rev 20:1-10 and the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII. This series of eclipses is primarily concentrated on the site of ancient Nineveh, in Mosul, modern Iraq - the city the Prophet Jonah was sent to warn of an impending chastisement. The beginning of the First World War, which many Catholics believe augured the beginning of the period of Satan's greater power foreseen by Pope Leo XIII, was marked by a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh on the exact same date as the forthcoming eclipse, on 21st August, 1914 - the feast day of Our Lady of Knock. (Read more.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Statue

General Robert E. Lee at the University of Virginia
Above is a photo of the statue of General Robert E. Lee, a statue which is at the center of the on-going controversy at the University of Virginia, where there is a movement to remove it on the grounds that General Lee was not only a slave owner but a traitor to his country. The furor over the statue culminated in a riot on Saturday August 12, in which persons masquerading as Nazis and various other demented, antiquated extremist groups clashed with violent so-called anti-fascist left-wing protestors. The event quickly deteriorated into bloody, insane behavior and the death of at least one person, as police were ordered to stand down. (Two police officers died in a helicopter crash, but that was a mere blip on most television screens.) According to police, most of the protestors had out-of-state driver's licenses, leading to the conclusion that many were bused into town to cause trouble by escalating the inevitable violence. I say inevitable because seeing Nazi salutes makes the blood of most normal people boil; people looking for a fight are given an excuse for fighting when they see such aberrant behavior. Personally, I think anyone making the Nazi salute should be arrested. The Nazis were mass murderers and our enemies.  And that goes for waving the Nazi flag, too.

In the meantime I was fighting my own war on Facebook. Among the Facebook casualties of the weekend was a history blogger who unfriended me because I dared to question the party line that Robert E. Lee was Satan-incarnate but Thomas Jefferson was some kind of saint. Jefferson owned slaves as well as Lee, plus Jefferson's slaves were sold to pay his debts after he died. Families were divided. Why is Jefferson lionized and yet Lee is the devil? For bringing that information to her attention I was summarily unfriended as a fascist. Among the other casualties were one of my sisters as well as my best friend from ninth grade. It seems that knowing too much history can be a handicap, but I realized that a long time ago.

I cannot go cheerfully and quietly along with the crowd when what they say contradicts my basic knowledge of certain events and situations. Having grown up next to a Civil War battlefield among Civil War re-enactors, who had ascertained the exact angle of the sun over a hill when a cavalry charge took place in 1863, I have a passing familiarity with the various personalities on both sides of the conflict. Once I lived in the house which was the headquarters of General Lew Wallace (USA), the author of Ben-Hur. And Jeb Stuart (CSA) had galloped down the road near my house to the famous "Sabres and Roses" Ball in Urbana, MD, which he had left for a brief time while he fought and won the battle. I grew up with images of Union soldiers (we called them "Yankees") and Confederates all around me, amid lush farms and grand old homes set in the rolling hills of Frederick County.

Our neighbors were a highly-esteemed African-American family who were, I was always told, descended from the servants of the famous Key dynasty, as in Francis Scott Key, who had owned a great deal of property in the county. I grew up with white and black children, some of the rougher and crueler ones being Caucasian. However, I never personally witnessed any racism towards African-Americans, other than what I saw on television and read about in books. On and off I was picked on by both white and black children, which probably had more to do with my petit-bourgeois smocked dresses and buckle shoes rather than the color of my skin. The bullying continued until sixth grade when I punched an especially large aggressive white girl; after that they left me alone.

  Meanwhile, back on Facebook, I tried to make the point that Robert E. Lee, like Founders George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, was a Virginian, born into a culture where slavery was considered socially and morally acceptable, even as we now hold the institution in horror. Sadly, the Bible was used to justify it. Did Lee do things to the slaves that we would find shocking and horrible? Probably. Slavery is an ugly institution no matter how sugar-coated people want to make it. I say is because slavery is still with us, especially in Africa, Europe, Asia and even in America, where we have an immense problem with human-trafficking. 

 Lee, like Washington, Jefferson and Madison, helped lead a war against the federal government which many believed had committed tyrannical actions. In the case of Washington, Jefferson and Madison, the government was the British crown. Some Americans in the 1770's had great scruples about rebelling against the King and refused to fight. They were branded traitors; most fled to Canada. In the 1860's, many Southerners saw themselves as following in the footsteps of the Founders. Lee was against secession but did not want to fight against his family in Virginia. War and rebellion are ugly; atrocities happened in both the War for Independence and the War Between the States.

Lee was flawed human being who responded to the challenges of his time according to his capabilities, with some devastating failures but also with such successes that he has long been regarded as a great man by both friends and foes. He was the type of leader who inspired both love and heroism, so that his men followed him even when they were barefoot and starving. It was Lee himself who chose to surrender for the sake of their survival. Was Robert E. Lee the same as Hitler? No. Are there lessons to be learned from his life? Yes, many. The statue in Charlottesville should stay.

If Lee's statue is taken down, then logically the Jefferson Memorial might be next, or even the entire University of Virginia. After all, the University was founded by a slave owner (Jefferson), and generations of slave owners were educated there, bringing their slaves with them to school. Do not think that closing down an entire university is too far-fetched. The Soviets closed down lots of colleges and schools. In the middle of Paris there was once a vast palace called the Tuileries; nothing now remains but the gardens. In 1870 it was burned by rioters and later torn down because of what it represented. For that matter, all of Washington, DC might someday be seen as one big monument to dead slave owners. People forget that the old slave market was on the Mall across from the White House, even after Lincoln became president.

Anyone saying a word in the defense of General Lee has lately been branded as a racist, myself included. The fact that anyone would think that they are superior to anyone else based upon the color of their skin has always seemed to me to be the height of stupidity. But what we have witnessed in Charlottesville was carefully planned and orchestrated by hired protestors to aggravate racial tensions and exacerbate political differences. I saw so many Catholics running to condemn racism: "This is a sin!" Of course racism is a sin, like all hatred is a sin; racism is not only sinful but asinine. The fact that Conservatives have allowed themselves to be placed on the defensive for actions which have nothing to do with them shows that they have allowed the Left to lure them into a Marxist view of reality, of social conflict as a means to reach utopia.

Incidentally, my father, a white man, was a card-carrying member of the NAACP during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's in Maryland; as a young businessman he participated in boycotts when doing so could make one unpopular. I was brought up with a loathing of racism in any shape or form. So when people start labeling me a racist just because I do not agree with their Marxist-Maoist rhetoric, they are way off the mark. What I pray for is that we could all focus less energy on the wrongs of the past and more on fighting the various manifestations of slavery, and other injustices, occurring today. The suffering of the present should be our main concern. Share

Charlottesville: What Everyone is Missing

From Allen B. West:
I find it rather odd that so many are seeking to lay blame on President Trump for what happened in Charlottesville. And there are some voices out there who want to blame all white people, and all Republicans. How odd that when it was the New Black Panther Party outside a voting precinct in Philadelphia in black fatigues and with clubs, nothing was said. As a matter of fact, they weren’t even prosecuted for voter intimidation. And when it was the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore fueled by media false narratives and a presidential administration’s rhetoric, there was no blame laid on Barack Obama. It appears to me that there is a blatant hypocrisy when an individual commits a horrible crime, such as in Charleston, South Carolina, and a collective group of people are to be held accountable.

But, when there’s an Islamic terror attack people say, “we cannot rush to judgment” or “this is not indicative of all Muslims”…to wit I agree, but why not call the enemy for what it is” militant Islamic terrorism or jihadism? Why must some be browbeaten into condemning the actions of a few, yet we have others who have fully admitted their support to groups calling for a “resistance?” And where were the voices to condemn the violence in Washington DC on Inauguration Day, or even at UC-Berkeley…or the violence committed against those who support the current president or hold beliefs aligned with Constitutional conservatism?

If we want to condemn groups such as the neo-Nazis and others, then we must also condemn groups such as BLM and Antifa. And we need to stop the cherrypicking, as they all should be investigated. Let’s end this absurdity of trying to connect the Republican Party with the Ku Klux Klan, since it was a creation of the Democrat Party. And I seem to recall Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, infamously known as a grand wizard of the Klan, lauded over at his memorial by Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton. It was Senator Byrd who was vehemently against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but it was Republican Senator Everett Dirksen who supported its passage. (Read more.)
From Matt Walsh:
 Their idiocy is overshadowed only by their moral depravity. The one thing they lack more than jobs and girlfriends is a semi-coherent understanding of history. How many of these neo-Nazi punks even realize that Hitler would have marched them to the gas chambers right alongside the black and Jewish Americans they despise? How many of them had grandfathers and great grandfathers who stormed the beaches to defeat the very movement they now wish to resurrect? Part of me hopes their grandfathers are dead so they don’t have to witness what’s become of their families. Part of me hopes they’re alive so they can take their canes and swat these brats across the head. I don’t condone violence, unless it’s a WWII vet delivering a grandfatherly whooping to his vile, ungrateful Nazi grandson.

It would be very difficult to go too far in criticizing the sorts of “men” who rallied this weekend. I am forced to put the word “men” in quotes because they are only men in the most literal sense. In any other sense, they are cowardly, pathetic little boys desperate for attention. I am not interested in hearing, as I have heard from some people, that these imbeciles were “driven” to this point because of all the racism and hatred on the Left. There is racism and hatred on the Left — a lot of it, and we’ll get to that in a second — but that does not even begin to excuse them.

I have said for years that Leftists ought to be able to express their disapproval of a police shooting without burning down a convenience store. That really is not a high bar to hurdle. In the same way, these people ought to be able to protest racial double standards or Confederate statue removals without becoming actual Nazis. To answer racism or perceived racism by becoming racist is about the dumbest and most indefensible response possible. This applies to the racists on both sides of the fence. Both feel they are justified in acting this way because people on the other side are acting this way. I am so tired of that demented, third grade logic that I could vomit. If you want to be the good guy, you need to be better. If you have no desire to be better, then you are just as rotten as whatever evil or perceived evil you purport to oppose. (Read more.)
From The Federalist:
Violence against Republicans and anyone deemed a “racist” by the Left has gone mainstream. Now, with actual racists showing up and violence ensuing, Antifa and its supporters in the Democratic Party feel even more justified attacking everyone they’ve judged as a fascist, and many in America are tolerating it or at least deflecting blame onto Republicans.

Fueling this are liberals who have been infecting America with the idea that our country is intrinsically racist—a notion Obama perpetuated. It’s in our DNA, he said. We are racist even if we don’t know we’re racist. We’re not judged by our actions or personal guilt, but by those who have determined our collective guilt because of past injustices, our conservative beliefs, politics, and associations. We are the real danger, not anti-fascists who are actually engaging in violence in their ongoing war with the radical Right. (Read more.)

The Mystery of Prester John

From Nobility:
The mythical journey to Rome of a certain Patriarch John of India in 1122, and his visit to Callistus II, cannot have been the origin of the legend. Not until much later, in a manuscript dating from the latter part of the fifteenth-century “Tractatus pulcherrimus” (Zarncke), do we find the patriarch and priest united in one person. The first combination of the two legends appears at the end of the twelfth century, in an apocryphal book of devotions called the “Narrative of Eliseus”. The first authentic mention of Prester John is to be found in the “Chronicle” of Otto, Bishop of Freising, in 1145. Otto gives as his authority Hugo, Bishop of Gabala. The latter, by order of the Christian prince, Raymond of Antioch, went in 1144 (after the fall of Edessa) to Pope Eugene II, to report the grievous position of Jerusalem, and to induce the West to send another crusade. Otto met the Syrian prelate at Viterbo, where in the pope’s presence he learned that a certain John, who governed as priest and king in the Far East, had with his people become converted to Nestorianism. A few years earlier he had conquered the brother monarchs of Media and Persia, Samiardi. Prester John had emerged victorious from the terrible battle that lasted three days, and ended with the conquest of Ecbatana; after which the victor started for Jerusalem to rescue the Holy Land, but the swollen waters of the Tigris compelled him to return to his own country. He belonged to the race of the three Magi, their former kingdoms being subject to him. His enormous wealth was demonstrated by the fact that he carried a sceptre of pure emeralds. (Read more.)

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Z

From Southern Lady:
Annie Zeleskey, who opened The Z last fall with older sister Brittany, recalls, “Growing up, we would always stay at B&B’s, and I loved how cozy and how personal they were.” So as she finished her last semester in the hospitality management program at the University of Mississippi, she hatched a plan with Brittany, who was completing her master’s in accounting that same May: Rather than return to their home state of Texas and the potential corporate careers awaiting them there, the pair would stay in Oxford to pursue their retirement dream, a bed-and-breakfast, several decades early.
From the inviting porch swings out front to the sweet tea with fresh mint served at check-in, Annie and Brittany have turned their college-town cottage into a gracious Southern getaway. Their interior designer mother, Kelley Zeleskey, helped shape The Z’s identity with French country–chic décor and lavish appointments in the three guest rooms, named Live, Love, and Laugh. Then Mary Ann Mewbourn, their grandmother and an expert seamstress, contributed her talents to make the bedspreads, pillows, hand towels, and most of the curtains. “It’s nice to be able to say my grandmother made those,” says Annie, beaming. I feel that it adds a special charm.” (Read more.)

Stop Supporting Left-Wing Universities

And that includes some of those that claim to be Catholic. From Fox News:
A survey by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA found that a staggering 60 percent of university professors identified as “liberal” or “far-left” in 2014 – up from 42 percent in 1990. But interviews conducted in 17 separate Gallup polls in 2016 that found that 70 percent of Americans consider themselves either conservative (36 percent) or moderate (34 percent). In colleges across the country, far-left professors now dominate disciplines like English literature, sociology, and history. Few have anything positive to say about capitalism, the Constitution or the United States in general. As a result, many colleges have become ground zero for propagating every extreme idea the far left can imagine. And they want your money to help them do it. Lots of it. (Read more.)

The Decline of Thought

From The Stream:
Thought has declined because our habits have declined. We rarely ponder things in our fast-paced world. Everyone wants things now, without thought. The motto of so many virtual platforms today is: Don’t make me think. There’s no time to read, no time to write, no time to organize thoughts.
This has resulted in childish behavior. It reflects the infantilization of American society by an all-encompassing government predicted by Alexis de Tocqueville in the nineteenth century. That’s why we live in a society in which college students use coloring books, grown men play video games, and many simply don’t read beyond short texts and headlines. A snowflake generation has developed without the adult social skills needed to confront reality.

When you’re not in the habit of thinking, your primary focus of life becomes childish and impulsive. You fixate on the idea of having fun. Everything revolves around sentiments, emotions and feelings. We rely on government for entitlements and benefits to support lifestyles detached from reality. (Read more.)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Evita...My Argentina

A new favorite author of mine is American novelist Helen R. Davis, whose first novel in her Cleopatra series I have reviewed on this blog. I have since read Helen's earlier novel about Eva Peron, which unlike Helen's later works is not an alternate history. Rather it is like a memoir as Evita herself could have written it. For those who are unaware, Eva Peron (1919-1952), born María Eva Duarte, was the second wife of Juan Peron, the President of Argentina from 1946-1955 and later from October, 1973 until July, 1974. Eva is known by most people as the heroine of the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical Evita; Helen's novel affords a much more intimate portrait of the First Lady who rose from the slums to become the heroine of the poor. While her critics have often accused her of fascism and Nazism, as leftists tend to do of anyone even slightly to the right, Evita was not party to any political philosophy other than her husband's vision for Argentina, which was anti-Communist and pro-family. As for Nazism, Eva never was one, being pro-Israel.

The novel opens while Evita is dying and thinking back over her life. Born out-of-wedlock, Eva grew up in an atmosphere where too often children were deliberately punished for the sins of their parents, especially in a country village. Eva and her siblings were treated with shame and disdain by all the "respectable" people, and condemned to grinding poverty. Her illegitimacy would haunt her until the end of her days. When Eva was raped as a young teenager, she had no recourse to the law because of her lowly status, especially since her attacker was from a "good" family. Determined to raise herself and her family from the literal gutter, Evita sought to become an actress, which at the time was one step away from prostitution. Eventually, she found that her real talent was radio, and was able to make a good living. It was around that time that she met Juan Peron, a rising star on the political scene. When Peron became President, Eva, as his wife, made helping the poor a top priority, which won the hearts of many people. She also became her country's ambassador as she toured the world, making alliances with many leaders. Tragically, at the height of her popularity, she found she had uterine cancer. Her death was met with great mourning in Argentina.

The novel is written as a running stream of consciousness as Evita navigates her way through sordid and degrading situations to becoming the great lady she always wanted to be. Amid her zealous plans to help the needy she is always conscious of her clothes and just about every outfit is described with an almost childlike enthusiasm. In spite of her previous ill-treatment, she is still able to take joy in so many things, according to the author's portrayal. And yet the dark side is never far away, as her past returns to haunt her. Helen Davis is able to get inside her character's head as if they were confidantes. It makes history come alive as it only can in a good historical novel.

(The book was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.)


A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack

From The Nation:
Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept—as the record shows many of them have done.

We come now to a moment of great gravity.

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate.” This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:
  • There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.
  • Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.
This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. Before proceeding into this material, several points bear noting. (Read more.)

Governor Mike Huckabee comments:
You probably didn’t see anything about this in the news, but The Nation – a widely respected, leftwing magazine – just published the results of a forensic investigation into the metadata of the DNC emails published by Wikileaks. It reached two conclusions:

The time stamps prove it was impossible for those files to have been stolen over the Internet because no ISP could have transferred that much data that fast. It had to have been copied directly onto a storage device like a USB stick, which suggests it was an insider leak. And the proof cited by US intelligence agencies of Russian involvement was fraudulent, based on cutting and pasting data into a blank Russian language template.

A reminder: Julian Assange still insists that WikiLeaks didn’t get the files from Russia, and the US intelligence agencies that say this was a Russian hacking were never allowed to examine the DNC’s computers (the DNC having been run by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who seems to freak out at the thought of any legal authorities getting anywhere near her laptop.)
I’m sure this will be dismissed as conspiracy stuff, and maybe it is. But why would the Nation want to join the vast rightwing conspiracy, especially knowing that if the DNC/Wikileaks documents were shown to be an insider leak, it would blow away the “Trump/Russia collusion” mantra that’s been obsessing the media and hampering Trump since Inauguration Day? (Read more.)

Living in a Christian Bubble

It works for me. From Matt Walsh:
At any rate, whenever I am accused of keeping my kids in a Bubble, it is always because I have taken some step to preserve their innocence. That is the one thing we absolutely must not do, according to society. Let the TV and the school system decide when its time for your child to stop being a child. That time, by the way, is right around their second birthday and getting younger.

Well, no thanks. I will proudly house my children in this kind of Bubble for as long as I can. They may have fewer friends and a less expansive knowledge of the most popular cartoon shows and sex acts when they emerge from it, but at least they will have their souls. That’s a pretty good trade, as far as I’m concerned. (Read more.)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Variations on the Dagoty Portrait

 Many variations were made of the 1775 portrait of Marie-Antoinette en grand habit de cour by Jean-Baptiste Gautier Dagoty. Via Harriett Pullman Carolan. Share

Losing a Father

From Austin360:
The 9-year-olds who were separated from their fathers had an average of 14 percent shorter telomeres — that’s the protective portion of the DNA at the ends of the chromosomes. These telomeres naturally shorten with age. At some point, cell division stops when the telomeres are shortened enough. The concern is that having shorter telomeres might mean that your health or lifespan might be affected. The biggest effect researchers saw was in the kids who had experienced a father’s death. Those kids had 16 percent shorter telomeres. Incarceration led to 10 percent shorter telomers and separation or divorce, 6 percent shorter.  How short the telomeres were in the kids who had experience divorce or separation depended on the extent of income loss. The children whose fathers had died or been incarcerated didn’t vary by income loss. (Read more.)

The Divine Hospitality

From Vultus Christi:
Consider the actions of Abraham: he ran to meet his guests; he bowed low before them; he washed their feet; he offered them a place to rest in the shade; he offered them bread to eat and milk to drink. Abraham’s expression of hospitality passed into the liturgy of the Church: the ancient rites of Baptism may be interpreted as an expression of divine hospitality. In ancient times, the feet of the new Christian were washed, his head was anointed with oil, and milk and honey were given him. Water washes and soothes the way–worn feet of the weary seeker; oil is an ointment for the head and face burnt by the sun; food restores strength; and drink refreshes the parched tongue. All of these things, that passed into the rites of the Church, and also into the rites of monastic initiation, bespeak the munificent hospitality of the divine Host. The psalmist says it: “Blessed is he whom thou hast chosen and taken to thee: he shall dwell in thy courts. We shall be filled with the good things of thy house” (Ps 64:5).

In the early ages of the Church, hospitality was numbered, together with chastity and sobriety, among the essential and distinctive Christian virtues. The disappearance of the traditions of hospitality in contemporary culture is evidence of the crisis of dehumanisation that, ultimately, leads to the acceptance and institutionalisation of abortion and euthanasia. Among the Christians of the first centuries, and well into the Middle Ages, and even until the Protestant revolt, hospitality was not merely a personal or familial virtue; it was one of the chief characteristics of the hierarchical community of the Church. Bishops were charged, not only with serving at the altar, governing, and teaching, but also with ensuring an active and attentive hospitality. This hospitality extended beyond the welcoming of strangers and pilgrims to the “hospitalisation” of the poor, the outcast, the sick, and the shamed. (Read more.)

Friday, August 11, 2017

At Water's Edge

From Victoria:
Inspired by his European travels, the second Earl of Bantry transformed his family’s country home into an exquisite showplace of inspired architecture and unparalleled botanical beauty. Bantry House & Garden offers visitors an unforgettable experience within the rugged terrain of Ireland’s southwest coast.

Planted beds that comprise a variety of textures and colors surround the west wing of Bantry House. The oversize windows of the tearoom and café frame enchanting views of the neighboring gardens and woodlands. Manicured hedges surround the wisteria grove on the southern side of the mansion. A path leads through the parterre to the edge of the property’s famous Hundred Steps. (Read more.)