Thursday, February 28, 2019

Royal Blue Beauty

From Victoria:
When Chinese porcelain production began to wane in the mid-seventeenth century, it opened up opportunities for European companies to fill the void. In the Netherlands’s city of Delft alone, thirty-two potteries sprang up, each one intent on capturing its share of the market. It was here, in 1653, that David Anthonisz van der Pieth founded an earthenware factory he named De Porceleyne Fles, which translates as “The Porcelain Jar.” (Read more.)

The Socialism of AOC

From Return to Order:
The serious response to AOC is to take her seriously—very seriously. This is because she represents not only herself but a whole class of politicians of the left that will bring the nation to ruin. There are three reasons why her ideology must be opposed.

The first reason is that her ideas are very dangerous to the common good. Just because her persona is shallow does not mean that her ideas are harmless. Any serious response to AOC must separate the shallow persona from her toxic ideology. The superficial exterior only camouflages a philosophy that has brought untold misery to billions.

She is a socialist and proudly so. It must be remembered that socialism was the banner under which the Soviets enslaved nations. Hitler employed national socialism to wreak havoc upon the world. Repressive regimes in China, Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela all invoke socialism. Efforts to “reinvent” socialism have always failed.

Socialism can never be an option for America no matter how it is packaged—be it democratic, communistic, Nordic, third way, nationalistic, Bolivarian, or “for the twenty-first century.” The notion of proudly marching under the banner of socialism, whatever the brand, must be very seriously, deliberately, and efficaciously opposed. (Read more.)

 From Angels of Truth:
First, like I said, the GND is not a proposal. It’s not a plan of action at all. She’s just throwing a wish-list of what she would want done with no actual way of doing it. If she worked in the private sector and showed this sort of “plan” that is actually impossible to accomplish to her boss, she’d be fired for incompetence.

Second, she’s been in office for only two months and she already thinks herself more important than anyone else. She’s already tasted SOME power and she’s drunk off of it.

Need I remind her that just three months ago, she herself was “shouting from the cheap seats” about what she wants? This is her first government position after working as a bartender in New York. How insulting is that to people who do not get elected to power? And this is the mentality I’m talking about. The mentality that the American people are worthless scum of the earth and the people in the government are gods in comparison.

Third, yeah, we’re saying it’s unrealistic, vague and doesn’t address “this little minute thing” (which, in this case, is the insignificant little matter of how exactly we’re going to pay for all of this without bankrupting the country, obliterating our economy and having the nation and its people descend into destitution. You know, the “minute” details).

The Green New Deal, as I thoroughly explained in my article covering it, is flat out impossible in a world that is not perfect. And in a world that is perfect, the Green New Deal is unnecessary. Socialism only works in two places: Hell, where they already have it and Heaven, where they don’t need it. (Read more.)

What Makes a Woman Elegant

From Aleteia:
The renowned runway judge Nina García interviewed several fashion icons, among them the famous Italian designers Donatella Versace, Giorgio Armani, and the Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana duo, asking them a simple question: What do they consider eternally elegant? Rather than pointing to expensive things that only money can buy as the main criterion, the fashion experts spoke of discovering elegance by looking inside. Below is what each designer said about true elegance:
“One could devote an entire book to this question. Another possibility is to respond in the shortest possible terms: elegance is the result of a natural balance between simplicity, taking care of oneself, and intelligence. All this generates that personal poise and special attitude we call elegance. It’s a quality that, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t require deep pockets.” 
Armani reminds us that fashion can be expensive, but real style is not. It’s not about being photo-ready all the time. The elegant woman knows how to live in the simplicity of everyday life, even when not sporting perfectly matching clothes and the perfect hairdo. Beauty isn’t so much achieved through outer perfection, as much as it is a result of learning to love oneself and acting intelligently. (Read more.)

Please do visit the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog. Share

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

La Petite Chambre de la Reine

Miniature of Marie-Antoinette en gaulle

The Swelle Life continues the tour of Marie-Antoinette's "country house" Petit Trianon with photos of the Queen's bedroom and the cabinet with the mechanical mirrors, put in by Madame du Barry. According to Pierre de Nolhac in his biography of Marie-Antoinette:
The rooms that come after, boudoir, bed-chamber and dressing-room, are less important, the ceiling becomes abruptly lower; we feel that we have reached the homely corner of the house. In the time of Louis XV. the bed-chamber was the King's cabinet, and the little boudoir which precedes it included the staircase leading to the entresol, where the library was situated. Marie Antoinette...abolished this communication, and the room that replaced it was called the 'Cabinet of moving mirrors.' It contained a mechanical contrivance by which mirrors were slid up from the floor, and concealed the windows. The apparatus was destroyed and the fragments were sold during the Revolution; but the white marble mantel-piece has been preserved, and also the panels which were carved for the Queen. These, with the panels of the Versailles cabinets, are the most perfect remaining from her reign. The price of them is known; they cost fifteen hundred livres. The narrowest are encircled by rose blooms on their branches; on the others, the shield, bearing fleurs-de-lys, supported by ribbons, appears among lightly - smoking cressets, doves, wreaths and quivers: above these pretty emblems is a lyre, and here and there the Queen's gilded cipher shines in the midst of the roses, between two torches, symbolical of the flame of love. Flowers, as we see, play a large part, suggested by its gardens, in the decoration of Little Trianon. One flower above all has supreme charm for the artist, and on leaving this boudoir, which might be called the rose cabinet, we shall find it, mingled with jasmine and narcissus, in the adjoining room.
On entering the Queen's bed-chamber, a closed sanctuary, securely her own, we must beware of believing, as we would dearly like to believe, that everything in it has been respectfully preserved in its former condition.... The bed is of the Louis Seize style; that is all we can say for it; but the flowers on the quilt were undoubtedly embroidered for one of the Queen's beds, for her cipher and the King's form part of the design. That the hangings in her time were muslin, embroidered in coloured silks, we know from one of the Queen's pages.... Marie Antoinette was fond of nick-nacks, the trifles of art. In the salon there are two vases of petrified wood, mounted in bronze, the design being hop-leaves, with the inscription: 'Jos. Worth fecit Viennae, 1780.' This work by a Viennese artist probably figured in the bed-chamber, where the Queen had collected all the memorials of her country, out of the reach of malevolent curiosity. The time-piece recalls the arms of Austria: two eagles support the dial, surrounded by roses and foliage; beneath the heraldic birds, the emblems of Florian's shepherds are grouped on the pedestal; at the sides are carnations in vases; never has bronze been carved with greater grace, or finer feeling for nature; all the art of Trianon seems to be summed up in this work.
  More photos HERE.


The Myth of Millennial Socialism

From American Greatness:
Perhaps the seeds of Millennial angst germinated during the 2007 financial crisis that plunged the world into wanton chaos, and foreclosed millions of American Dreams—most of them still unrecovered. Like the cognitive imprint the Great Depression left upon the Greatest Generation, the Great Crash tattooed an indelible mark upon Millennials.

The fallout lingers. We are less well-off than other generations at the same age. We earn less, have fewer assets, more debt, and less wealth. Barely half of Millennials earn what our parents did at 30. Which is why so many of my generation gravitate toward Bernie Sanders. And struggle to sympathize with shopworn “conservative” defenses of broken markets, monopolies, and the cowboy capitalism schlocked as laudanum for our pains. Bernie’s prescription may lack. And, yeah, he dances with commies, but his diagnosis fits—offering a critique extending beyond that of the think-tank chant of: “That’s the market.” (Read more.)

The Vikings and Global Warming

From Archaeology News Network:
After reconstructing southern Greenland's climate record over the past 3,000 years, a Northwestern University team found that it was relatively warm when the Norse lived there between 985 and 1450 C.E., compared to the previous and following centuries. 
"People have speculated that the Norse settled in Greenland during an unusually, fortuitously warm period, but there weren't any detailed local temperature reconstructions that fully confirmed that. And some recent work suggested that the opposite was true," said Northwestern's Yarrow Axford, the study's senior author. "So this has been a bit of a climate mystery." 
Now that climate mystery finally has been solved. The study published in the journal Geology. Axford is an associate professor of Earth and planetary sciences in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. The study is a part of Northwestern Ph.D. candidate G. Everett Lasher's dissertation research, based in Axford's lab. 
To reconstruct past climate, the researchers studied lake sediment cores collected near Norse settlements outside of Narsaq in southern Greenland. Because lake sediment forms by an incremental buildup of annual layers of mud, these cores contain archives of the past. By looking through the layers, researchers can pinpoint climate clues from eons ago. (Read more.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

"Building a Culture"

Here is a beautiful essay which could apply to all those who are striving to rebuild a Catholic culture in a pagan world. From The Chesterton Academy of Milwaukee:
There’s an old story—many of you have likely heard it before—of a man walking through the countryside of England when he comes across two stone masons constructing a wall. To the first he asks, “What are you doing?” “Laying bricks,” says the mason. He then turns to the second with the same question, “What are you doing?” “Building a cathedral,” the mason replies. The first man had a task. The second had a vision. The first wasn’t wrong, he just didn’t see the whole picture. 
Now, when you ask many educators today “What are you doing?” they will likely say something like, “We are teaching students skills to help them succeed in college.” And that is indeed a noble goal. However, if you ask me what we are doing at Chesterton Academy, I say, we are building a culture.
Any culture, to thrive, needs at least three things: a story of our past, a hope for our present, and a sacrifice for our future. First, we need a story of our past, a story about who we are and where we come from. In the world today, many people are story-less; they don’t know where they come from and thus they feel homeless. At Chesterton Academy, we teach young people their story through great books and great ideas. We teach them about virtue and sin and life and death through the wisdom of the past and present. We teach them who they are and where they come from, and we teach them where their true home is – heaven.
Second, every culture needs a hope for the present—not just a hope for the future; not just a “someday things will get better” but a “today is a brighter day.” The Church is in desperate need of hope today, and this hope is in our young people. For too long we have treated young people as if they are the future of the Church, as if one day they will lead. But think of all the blessed who didn’t wait for that one day – St. Therese was 24-years-old, Jose Luis Sanchez was 14, Maria Goretti was 11, Antonetta Meo was 6 – the litany of the young goes on and on. The Church today doesn’t have the luxury, manpower, or means to treat our young people as the future of the Church—that is to say, we need them to be the Church right now. At Chesterton Academy, we call young people to live a life of courage and holiness; we teach them what virtue is and how to live it; we take young people seriously, and they rise to the challenge. 
Finally, every culture needs a willingness to sacrifice for a future we may not see with our own eyes; a willingness to die to self so that others may live. As the scriptures remind us, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will not bear fruit.
It has been said (though perhaps more a rich legend than a hard fact) that when the Romans sacked a city, their soldiers would salt the fields to prohibit the possibility of that city growing crops and rebuilding. It was only after decades of digging and tilling; after thousands of seeds fell to the ground and died; after the sacrifice of generations, that the first sprouts of new life arose, and civilization could be rebuilt. 
Many today feel that the soil of our culture has been salted. For generations, it is said, we have forgotten the treasure trove of the past, and thus we have forgotten who we are. For years, it is said, we have treated young people like children rather than calling them to be heroes and saints. And yet, for years now, people have been digging and tilling; for years, people been dying to self and sacrificing to steward our culture and to educate our young people. (Read more.)

Meanwhile, attempts to erase culture are occurring at some Catholic universities.  From The New York Post:
Welcome to the new Orwellian world where censorship is free speech and we respect the past by attempting to elide it. Over the past several years, we have seen a rising tide of assaults on statues and other works of art representing our nation’s history by those who are eager to squeeze that complex story into a box defined by the evolving rules of political correctness. This might be called the “monument controversy,” and what happened at Notre Dame is a case in point: a vocal minority, claiming victim status, demands the destruction, removal or concealment of some object of which they disapprove. Usually, the official response is instant capitulation. As the French writer Charles Péguy once observed, “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.” (Read more.)

Freedom’s Flaw in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

I watched one episode of "Mrs. Maisel" and found it vulgar and crude with anti-Semitic overtones. From The Imaginative Conservative:
But: the comic, as comic, cannot be afraid to say or to joke about anything. Of particular delight and constantly in the comedian’s crosshairs is the Sacred. The family and its secrets, from the noises your mother makes in bed to the mundanity of your father’s prized career, as well as religion, marriage, and even one’s own children are where the true booty of comics is buried—waiting to be dug up and paraded for the world to see. “She’s a comedian: they humiliate their families on stage, that’s their job,” her father tries to explain to a mock tribunal in defense of his cushy and obviously trivial, but nonetheless covert government research position after Miriam reveals harmless but ludicrously classified information on stage. What begins as a cathartic opportunity for Miriam to aim a well-deserved snowball at the eye of the overbearing and often oppressive society around her at the outset has, by the end of the show’s second season, steadily built into an avalanche that threatens to devastate everyone and everything in Miriam’s path, not pausing even for her mother’s sanity, her father’s career, her children’s upbringing, or Joel’s newfound commitment to salvaging what is left of a teetering relationship. In the final moments of the finale of the second season Miriam is finally confronted with the possibility that the consequence of being The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—with her insatiable desire for the spotlight, the liberating power of the microphone, and the wild adoration of the audience—threatens to send Miriam into unconstrained freefall and bring about freedom’s furthest extreme—the tyrant’s freedom of being totally and utterly alone. (Read more.)

Prehistoric Farming

From Archaeological News Network:
The study suggests that food globalization in prehistoric times was driven not by exotic appetites of ruling elites, but by the relentless, season-to-season ingenuity of poor peasant farmers looking for new ways to put just a little more food on their tables. 
"Recent research developments shift the focus from chronology and routes to the drivers of the 'food globalization' process and considers the context in which agricultural and dietary innovations arose and what agents were involved," Liu said. "These studies emphasize the role played by the primary agents of agricultural production, the ordinary farmers in the past." 
By trying new types of seed, plowing fields a little further up or down the mountain or shifting planting and harvest times, peasant farmers used a trial-and-error approach to overcome climatic challenges and expand the geographic boundaries of where certain grains could be planted. Gradually, this experimentation led to vastly improved yields as farmers learned to extend the growing season by planting both spring and fall crops in the same fields. (Read more.)

Monday, February 25, 2019

New Movie about Tolkien

Nicholas Hoult as Tolkien and Lily Collins as Edith, his Lúthien Tinúviel
From Vintage News:
With Peter Jackson’s six Middle Earth films and a TV series in development, it’s hoped audiences will want to know about the man behind the legend. The adventures of Bilbo, Frodo and friends were shaped by his experiences, both good and bad. Movieweb writes “We’ll see how both his high school experiences and his terrifying participation in the first world war shaped and formed this expansive and epic narrative that is still being studied and dissected by professors to this day.” (Read more.)

From Little White Lies:
 Karukoski’s film chronicles the boyhood years of JRR Tolkien, from his time as a plucky orphan (Harry Gilby) shuffled through the state’s childcare system to his stint at university. There, as a strapping young man with the sturdy build of Nicholas Hoult, he formed a so-called “fellowship” of friends and prepared for a great reckoning of good versus evil – not the Battle of Helms Deep, but World War I.

Prior to the glory of a literary career that yielded the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit novels, Tolkien fell for one Edith Bratt, whose steadfast devotion got him through the trauma of combat. She’s portrayed in the film by Lily Collins, who’s having quite a year playing the patient wives of famous (or infamous) men. (Read more.)
Edith Bratt and J.R.R. Tolkien
 Trailer, HERE. Share

“This Storm Will Not Pass”

Not for another century. From Reuters:
Some 200 senior Church officials, all but ten of them men, listened at times in stunned silence in a Vatican audience hall as the women read their frank and at times angry speeches on the penultimate day of the conference convened by the pope to confront a worldwide scandal. Sister Veronica Openibo, a Nigerian who has worked in Africa, Europe and the United States, spoke with a soft voice but delivered a strong message, telling the prelates sitting before her: “This storm will not pass”. (Read more.)

Mark Levin on the Freedom of the Press

People confuse freedom with license. But with freedom comes a solemn responsibility to the truth. From The Conservative Review:
Wednesday on the radio, LevinTV host Mark Levin reviewed the history of the free press in America, showing how what passes for a free press today in the mainstream media is a crock. Levin discusses a Supreme Court decision that weakened state libel laws, enabling the press to abuse its freedom to act as propagandists and mouthpieces for the Left. (Read more.)

Millennials Love Jane Austen

By becoming a writer, Jane gave herself a voice and the ability to express herself to women of her age and class – something that was especially powerful at a time when there were no female politicians, and few women in public life whatsoever, and conventional wisdom suggested that the only way to have any real power was to share a pillow with a successful man. 
She was also a great letter writer, keen to share news, gossip and ideas on a daily basis, although tragically few survive as her sister burnt most of them at Jane’s request. Something else that might chime with a generation facing being worse off than their parent’s one, is that Jane’s life was far from secure. She struggled with money all her life, and often had to rely on her parents. Sound familiar? (Read more.)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Papercut Art

From Colossal:
Artist and self-described crafts-person Maude White (previously) captures gentle moments of beauty and grace in her meticulously detailed paper cut artworks. White has worked in paper for the last several years, first exploring her signature medium with simple silhouettes and popup books. The New York-based artist now focuses on the organic forms of female portraits, flowers, and birds. “Every piece I create has its own identity,” White explains. “The knife, and me, and the paper are all in a dialog together, all talking and getting along. The last thing I do is cut it out of the surrounding paper. It comes alive, or is born, and we meet each other for the first time. It’s a completely living thing apart from me.”

“When I first started cutting paper it was not a career,” White explains to Colossal. “That’s really the way to approach anything, to do it for the joy of it and use it as a way to learn.” By sharing her work online with a Squarespace portfolio site, the self-taught artist has been able to reach a worldwide audience and find success. In addition to her gallery-ready original paper-cuts, White has partnered with Abrams Books and Paralax Press to release two books—Leading with Love and Brave Birds—that bring her artwork and message of uplift to life. 
She shares that the methodical and meditative practice of cutting paper has been a healthy way to express her desire for order and control. In shaping her online presence as an in-demand artist, White explains that it’s very important to her to share this sense of safety and well-being with others: “I like all of my work to be comforting or a safe space. Beauty is a form of love. Creating something beautiful allows people to experience love when they look at it.” (Read more.)

The Real Scandal

And the Spygate Coup. From The Federalist:
The true scandal is not the swirling gossip that Rosenstein mentioned the 25th Amendment, but what has been front and center for more than two years: It’s the dossier, stupid! It’s the dossier, its funding, its creation, and its use. It’s the leaks, the sabotage by political appointees and career DOJ and FBI agents, the media’s complicity, and the triggering of a special counsel, all with the end goal of removing the duly elected president by pressuring Trump to resign or face impeachment.

While we may never learn the full scope of this sting, what is known makes “Spygate”—for want of a better term—the worst political scandal in American history: A dossier funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, and authored by a former British spy (Christopher Steele, who despised Trump), falsely claimed Trump and individuals connected to his presidential campaign conspired with Russia. The dossier was shopped to multiple media outlets and passed off to the Obama administration’s DOJ, FBI, and State Department, as well as several members of Congress and their staffers. (Read more.)

The Moral Law is Not a Burden

From The Catholic Thing:
It is eminently merciful to preach the whole truth and to require that the faithful abide by God’s moral law and the canon laws of the Church: “The moral law is the work of divine wisdom and leads man to the promised blessedness.”(CCC 1950) Consequently, the “knowledge of the divine and natural law is necessary” to do good and reach this goal. (CCC 1955): “The moral law is not a burden, but part of that liberating truth (cf. Jn 8:32) through which the Christian walks on the path of salvation and which may not be relativized.” 
Mueller further reminds us that “[t]he Church is not a man-made association whose structure its members voted into being at their will. It is of divine origin.” It is “Christ himself [who] is the author of ministry in the Church. He set her up, gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal (CCC 874).” Bishops are ambassadors entrusted with a message not of their own making. They must not distort that message. 
Mueller’s strongest point in the Manifesto is the reminder that the true mission of the Church is the salvation of souls. The reality of Hell and eternal damnation for souls who die in mortal sin is something that we rarely hear about from the pulpit. The impression many shepherds give today is that they worry a lot about trying to perfect the social order in this world, and very little about the loss of souls in the next. (Read more.)

The More Coffee You Drink

From Healthy Holistic Living:
Despite the ongoing debate, coffee has long since been correlated with longer life and better health. (1,2) However, a new and extensive study conducted in the UK may have just broken some serious ground, measuring a factor that hasn’t been specifically weighed in the discussion of coffee and longevity: metabolism. (3) 
A study done by researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and Northwestern University using data from the UK Biobank measured the mortality of a massive study group of over 500,000 subjects over a 10 year period. Researchers analyzed the number of cups of coffee subjects consumed on average each day, using non-coffee drinkers as a reference group. The also “investigated potential effect modification by caffeine metabolism,” meaning the impact of their bodies’ ability to metabolize and utilize caffeine more or less quickly. 
Researchers used what is called a hazard ratio to illustrate how much of an effect they observed the variable of coffee drinking to have on the subjects health and lifespan. In this case, a ratio of 1 would mean that there was no observable impact of coffee drinking whatsoever, while a ratio of 0.5 would indicate that coffee drinking subjects were half as likely to die as the non-drinkers. The ratios they assigned to the drinkers of 1-8 cups of coffee a day were ranged from 0.94 – 0.86. This concluded that coffee drinkers of any amount faced a 6% – 14% lower chance of death, which researchers maintain is a hugely significant figure. (Read more.)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Plants with a Hidden Past

From the BBC:
Studies of plants by ancient herbalists paved the way for the formal study of plants by the first botanists, many of whom were also physicians. Today, at least 28,000 plant species are recorded as being of medicinal use. 
Fiona Davison says the long story of the "healing garden" is coming full circle and we're now thinking of gardens holistically as "healing spaces", where, by spending time in them, we're getting some well-being benefit. 
Here are five garden plants that you can still find in your garden, that were once recommended by ancient herbalists. (Note: These plants may not be recommended for medical use today and may have side-effects or be harmful if ingested.) (Read more.)

Schiffting to Phase 2 of Collusion

From Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Schiff turned this week to a dependable scribe—the Washington Post’s David Ignatius—to lay out the next chapter of the penny dreadful. Mr. Ignatius was the original conduit for the leak about former national security adviser Mike Flynn’s conversations with a Russian ambassador, and the far-fetched claims that Mr. Flynn had violated the Logan Act of 1799. Mr. Schiff has now dictated to Mr. Ignatius a whole new collusion theory. Forget Carter Page, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos—whoever. The real Trump-Russia canoodling rests in “Trump’s finances.” The future president was “doing business with Russia” and “seeking Kremlin help.” 
So, no apologies. No acknowledgment that Mr. Schiff & Co. for years have pushed fake stories that accused innocent men and women of being Russian agents. No relieved hope that the country might finally put this behind us. Just a smooth transition—using Russia as a hook—into Mr. Trump’s finances. Mueller who? 
What’s mind-boggling is that reporters would continue to take Mr. Schiff seriously, given his extraordinary record of incorrect and misleading pronouncements. This is the man who, on March 22, 2017, helped launch full-blown hysteria when he said on “Meet the Press” that his committee already had the goods on Trump-Russia collusion. “I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now,” Mr. Schiff declared then. Almost two years later, he’s provided no such evidence and stopped making the claim—undoubtedly because, as the Senate Intelligence Committee has said publicly, no such evidence has been found. 
At an open House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20, 2017, Mr. Schiff stated as fact numerous crazy accusations from the infamous Steele dossier—giving them early currency and credence. He claimed that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page secretly met with a Vladimir Putin crony and was offered the brokerage of a 19% share in a Russian company. That Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort tapped Mr. Page as a go-between. That the Russians offered the Trump campaign damaging documents on Hillary Clinton in return for a blind eye to Moscow’s Ukraine policy. Mr. Schiff has never acknowledged that all these allegations have been debunked or remain unproved. 
There was Mr. Schiff’s role in plumping the discredited January BuzzFeed story claiming Mr. Mueller had evidence the president directed his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. The special counsel’s office issued a rare statement denying the report. There was Mr. Schiff’s theory that the mysterious phone calls Donald Trump Jr. placed before his 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower were to Candidate Trump. Senate Intel shot that down. And don’t forget Mr. Schiff’s February 2018 memo claiming the Steele dossier “did not inform” the FBI probe, because the bureau didn’t obtain it until long after the probe’s start. Testimony from Justice Department officials shot that one down, too. 
With a track record like this, who wouldn’t believe Mr. Schiff’s new claim, in the Ignatius interview, that the key to collusion rests in Trump finances—in particular something to do with Deutsche Bank? But hold on. Where did we first hear that Deutsche Bank theory? That’s right. See pages 64 and 117 of the wild House testimony of Glenn Simpson—head of Fusion GPS, the organization behind the Steele dossier. It’s right there, stuffed in between Mr. Simpson’s musings that Ivanka Trump might be involved with a “Russian Central Asian organized crime nexus,” that there is something nefarious happening on the “island of St. Martin in the Caribbean,” and that Roger Stone is part of a “Turkey-Russia” plot. 
Mr. Schiff is taking his cue for Phase 2 of his investigation from the same Democrat-hired opposition-research group that launched the failed Phase 1. At the start of all the Russia craziness, Mr. Schiff had a choice: maintain the bipartisan integrity of his committee by working with Republicans to find honest answers, or take on the role of resident conspiracy theorist. He chose his path. The rest of us should know better than to follow him. (Read more.)

On the Endlessness of the World Story

From James V. Schall, S. J. at the Russell Kirk Center:
A“happy ending” is rather the beginning of a story within a story. It is but a “fragment” of the “seamless Web of Story.” A “happy ending,” in other words, ends nothing but begins everything that we might desire. Stories and lives that have “happy endings” have a “greater sense and grasp of the endlessness of the World of Story than most modern ‘realistic’ stories, already hemmed within the confines of their own small time.” We have, in other words, the sense that the narration of the lives that we live and encounter are indeed “endless.” They are not simply confined to our own time, even though we are given four score years and ten in this world. 
All things, Tolkien thinks, should have names. The very purpose of man in the universe is to name things, because each “this” thing is not that thing. “Namelessness is not a virtue … and should not [be] imitated; for vagueness … is a debasement, a corruption due to forgetfulness and lack of skill.” Things are luminous with their own light that we are to recognize and name. For things that are not ourselves also show us what we are not and therefore, at the same time, they show us what we are—beings who are to know what is not themselves in the very knowing of themselves. 
Timelessness is something else. “Once upon a time” and “they lived happily ever after” drop our lives into the flow of time that is already going on and will go on with us in it, our story. “The beginning is not poverty-stricken but significant. It produces at a stroke the sense of a great uncharted world of time.” We look back, with memory, on what did happen. We live the story of what we are and where we were, with whom we met, with whom we spent time. (Read more.)

Friday, February 22, 2019

Music at the Palace of Versailles

From San Francisco Classical Voice:
With the Opéra National de Paris celebrating its 350th anniversary with a sumptuous season ranging from Alessandro Scarlatti’s Il Primo Omicidio (1707) through 19th-century masterpieces such as Tristan und Isolde, Simon Boccanegra, and Les Troyens, through to Michael Jarrell’s new opera Bérénice, it’s important to remember that opera in Paris got its start outside the city center, at Louis XIV’s Château de Versailles. 
Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, wanted to have an opera house at Versailles and went as far as hiring designers and designating its location in the palace. For financial reasons, the house was not built during his lifetime, and the court instead staged opera (and ballet and theater) in various locations on the palace grounds, including a palace salon and the stables. For these performances, temporary theaters would be built, then destroyed. During Louis XIV’s reign, despite the lack of an opera house, works by French composers, including Lully and others, were staged at Versailles. 
Louis XV was less interested in the performing arts than his great-grandfather, but because of the traditions surrounding royal weddings, which included a ball, a banquet, and an opera, he decided, in 1768, to build an opera house. His first architect, Jacques-Ange Gabriel, had been working on plans for an opera house since his appointment in 1742, and voilà! By the 1770 wedding of the future Louis XVI to Marie-Antoinette, the Royal Opera House had been built. (Read more.)

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Making Money from Abortion

From The Federalist:
In any event, when Texas stripped Planned Parenthood of $3.1 million in Medicaid funding due to video evidence of executives openly discussing profiting from the dismemberment of human beings—”If this is in the ballpark, it’s fine. If it’s still low, then we can bump it up. I want a Lamborghini,” is just one example of a Planned Parenthood exec haggling over the price of body parts—a district court issued an injunction preventing the state from doing so. The case worked its way to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down the injunction. 
What’s important for this discussion, though, is that court’s opinion also noted that that independent forensic firm had concluded that “the video was authentic and not deceptively edited.” Has anyone in the mainstream media, which worked assiduously to debunk the Center for Medical Progress videos, admitted that their initial position is now, at least, in doubt? If a forensic firm found that the videos had not deceptively edited, what basis does California have for shutting down a journalistic venture? If the video wasn’t deceptively edited, why aren’t major media institutions investigating whether Planned Parenthood profited from the sale of fetal tissue, a felony on each and every count? (Read more.)

Jon Voight on the Importance of Family

From The Christian Post:
Academy Award winner Jon Voight, actor in the upcoming film "Roe v. Wade," attended the 2019 Movieguide Awards and said that God is asking Christians to protect the values of family in these times. "Family is so important and family is being attacked by people who are really trying to tear down the fabric of our society, it's true,” Voight told The Christian Post on the red carpet of the award show on Feb 8. “I don't want to get into any kind of conspiracy stuff but it's really happening so we have to protect the values of our country and the values of family and guide the focused lives; we have to protect that aspect.”

The film “Roe v. Wade” is in post-production and scheduled for a fall release. The pro-life movie is timely as the debate over late-term abortion has reignited in recent weeks after New York's new law allowing abortion up to birth and the introduction of similar bills in Virginia, Vermont and New Mexico. Voight believes the message in the motion picture will now allow people to have an informed dialogue concerning the controversial abortion debate.

“Imagine, God's asking us to help Him out. Can you imagine? That's the greatest thing!” Voight said. “‘Who will go for me,' says God to Isaiah, and he says 'send me,'” the 80-year-old continued. “There's no question that that's really real. We're being asked to do something so what are we going to do? Are we going to sit back and let it roll right into a ditch or step up and save the ship at stake?”
Despite society being bombarded with counter biblical values, Voight insisted that there are still people God has standing in the gap. The veteran actor declared that those speaking truth will have the victory. (Read more.)

Here is a Canadian program dedicated to building healthy and holy families. From Me and My House:
Me & My House is a practical game plan for Catholic parents who are struggling with all the things that parents struggle with. We challenge you to do little things. To make little changes that will make a huge impact on your family. In this Catholic Parenting Program, you will discover the foundations that can strengthen your motherhood and fatherhood. You will learn the habits that can make parenting easier, and the habits that you absolutely want to avoid. In fact, we will get so practical that we'll discuss discipline and how to set boundaries, so that by the end of the program you will have a very clear sense of how you want to build your unique family culture with the children God has given you. We have also included an entire section on the Faith, so that you can begin guiding your son or daughter towards God’s plan for their lives in a way that is natural and effective. (Read more.) 

Wayward Daughters

In Brideshead Revisited, this patient movement of God’s grace in the hearts of the characters is described by Julia’s younger, devout sister Cordelia. Discussing her many lapsed family members, she tells Charles that Julia and the others will all eventually be drawn back to their faith. She reminds him of a passage from G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories that Lady Marchmain read aloud to the family: “I caught him” (the thief) “with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread.”[15] Julia and Kristin wander far from God and yet his grace is secretly present with them always. They may not be aware of this unseen and invisible grace, but it is nonetheless powerfully working in their hearts. 
Sigrid Undset uses another symbol of God’s unseen grace that has silently transformed the human heart. It is not until Kristin’s final hours (after contracting the Black Death—likely because of selflessly nursing people suffering from the plague and burying a woman who had been infected) that she fully comprehends how God in his mercy has been ever faithful to her, despite her unfaithfulness. Never abandoning her, he used every slight opening of her heart towards him as a means of filling her soul with his grace. On her deathbed when she removes her wedding ring to give it away, she realizes that the “M” for the Blessed Virgin Mary that was engraved on the inside of the ring has left a mark on her finger. She has always been Christ’s own and this truth is imprinted on her very flesh. Even while she made herself a stranger to God, he was intimately present, just hidden from her like this secret impression on her skin. (Read more.)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Les Grands Appartements at the Hôtel de Crillon

From The Robb Report:
After a four-year renovation, Hôtel de Crillon reopened in 2017, unveiling a magnificent transformation that has made it one of the most venerable addresses in Paris. And while there are several admirable accommodations, from Suite Marie-Antoinette swathed in blush hues to Suite Bernstein with its 1,205-square-foot terrace, it’s the two Karl Lagerfeld–designed Les Grands Appartements that are the property’s pièces de résistance. 
The legendary icon—who died unexpectedly on Tuesday at the age of 85—had an affinity for 18th-century antiques and even purchased a model of the Hôtel de Crillon at a Christie’s auction several decades ago. With his Appartements, he created one of the most lavish quarters in the French capital. While the two-ton bathtub carved from a single block of Carrera marble serves as the crown jewel, there are plenty of extravagant details found throughout the suites. Textured grey walls in the living room took nine layers of paint to create a ridged effect. The chandeliers all come from the Kaiser’s personal collection, one of which even features crystals that were hand-selected by the man himself. Cherub-adorned red marble fountains from the property’s original courtyard now serve as sinks in the powder rooms. The large-format photographs found throughout the chambers are a result of Lagerfeld’s time behind a lens. And with a touch of a button, a bookshelf in the curated library reveals the dreamiest of walk-in closets. 
Adjacent to Les Grands Appartements with its own foyer is a room dedicated to the designer’s beloved feline, Choupette. Decorated in black and white stripes with a carpet meant to evoke cat scratches, it might be the Crillon’s smallest space, but it’s certainly the most adorable. When all three suites are combined, the pied-à-terre spans over 3,600 square feet. Not only is it one of the largest hotel accommodations in the city, but it’s also the chicest—and perhaps the most stunning example of luxurious living left behind by one of our time’s most prolific designers. (Read more.)

Dedicated to Life

From Live Action:
Pro-life African-American leaders around the country have had enough of the war against preborn black children, and they are working hard to ensure that abortion becomes a thing of the past, not just for African-American women and children, but all women and children. While abortion numbers have been declining in the United States over the last two decades, African-American women have an abortion rate of 25.1 abortions per 1,000 women. Compare that to the rate for White women: 6.8 abortions per 1,000 women. The majority of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities — 79 percent — are within walking distance of minority neighborhoods and have been caught accepting donations to specifically abort Black babies. (Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist.) Most shocking, in New York City, more Black preborn children are killed through abortion than are born. (Read more.)

From The Public Discourse:
Any infant who is born alive, at any stage of development, is a person entitled to the protections of the law and appropriate care as a new patient. There is no scientific or legal reason to distinguish between human beings born after an attempted abortion and human beings born after attempted live birth. A distressed newborn should get immediate emergency care and a professional evaluation to determine appropriate steps to promote his/her health and well-being. Obviously, a distressed newly born baby presents for emergency medical care at the moment of her or his birth, regardless of whether that birth results from an abortion attempt or attempted live delivery. EMTALA mandates hospitals to examine and treat any person who presents for emergency medical care. (Read more.)

Tax Breaks and Loan Forgiveness in Hungary

From The BBC:
Hungarian women with four children or more will be exempted for life from paying income tax, the prime minister has said, unveiling plans designed to boost the number of babies being born. It was a way of defending Hungary's future without depending on immigration, Viktor Orban said.  
The right-wing nationalist particularly opposes immigration by Muslims. Hungary's population is falling by 32,000 a year. Women there have fewer children than the EU average. As part of the measures, young couples will be offered interest-free loans of 10m forint (£27,400; $36,000), to be cancelled once they have three children. Mr Orban said that "for the West", the answer to falling birth rates in Europe was immigration: "For every missing child, there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine. 
"Hungarian people think differently," he said. "We do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children." (Read more.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Ælfric's Homily for Septuagesima

From A Clerk of Oxford:
Septuagesima is not widely observed today, and the opportunities to sing this ancient hymn are therefore few. Hymns about hymn-singing are always interesting to me; the idea of singing together is a powerful image of unity, and in this case the practice of singing - and ceasing to sing - in concert with the Israelites is, as Ælfric explains, an important symbol of how the medieval church saw its relationship with its Jewish heritage. The practice of 'locking' the alleluia is a liturgical re-imagining of one of the most poignant laments in human history, a despairing question which for thousands of years has given voice to many different political and personal situations of loss, exile, and dispossession: 'how can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?' For the medieval church, this question was interpreted as the cry of a universal experience of estrangement: all human beings are in exile and captivity on earth, longing for their home in heaven, and every year through Lent and Easter the church re-enacts its longed-for progression from exile to homecoming, from grief to joy.

Today is one of those occasions on which the modern church has chosen not to sing in harmony with its medieval forebears, but if you would like to make an exception, you can find the tune to 'Alleluia dulce carmen' here. (Read more.)
"Upon the waters of Babylon, there we sat and wept, as we remembered Zion." ~Psalm 136 (Vulgate)

The Destructiveness of Identity Politics

From Intellectual Takeout:
That was not the only time that the privilege concept was forced upon us. Picture being called to an obligatory assembly. You did not know the subject matter prior to attending. As you sit down in your seat, you notice there is a panel of guests sitting on the stage. The lights go down and the topic of the assembly is introduced. The theme is now specifically “white privilege.” Over the next 45 minutes, my white classmates and I learned that what we had accomplished throughout our short lives was tainted because of the “fortunate” color of our skin. According to the speakers, we were hurting those around us without even knowing it. It was now our responsibility to rectify that. Never had I viewed people in this way. That the color of our skin really separated us this much. The administrators knew that they had a captive audience and used that opportunity to their advantage. They presented this topic as fact. I am glad that before this assembly, I never considered that I was greater than anyone due to the color of my skin. It sickened me that anyone would believe that the color of my skin puts me on a greater level than others.
As mentioned in the speech, on the first day of senior year, each student in every class was required to introduce themselves with their name and their preferred gender pronouns. An issue was created over a problem that never existed. It would have been frowned upon for not taking part in this charade. Again, the administration knew that they had power over us, and they foisted their agenda with the knowledge that there would be no repercussions.
These specific events, along with many others, tipped me over the edge. I understood that nobody, parents nor students, no matter how furious they were, was going to do anything to challenge the indoctrination. I was granted the perfect opportunity through the senior speech project, and I utilized it. (Read more.)

Christianity’s Masculinity Crisis

From Crisis:
Here’s where the national security threat comes in. If there ever was a time when males in Western societies needed to be unconfused about their gender, this is it. That’s because we’re surrounded by enemies and potential enemies who are unapologetic about their gender identity and are quite prepared to rule over those weaker cultures that prefer appeasement to confrontation.

Islam, which is a hyper masculine religion, is the world’s fastest growing religion.  Indeed its appeal to basic masculine psychology is one of the chief reasons for its success. In military-like summer camps across the Islamic world, young boys are taught who their enemies are, and they are taught survival skills, hand-to-hand combat, and weapons use. Along with developing fighting skills, the boys also develop a sense of camaraderie and even brotherhood. And, because the training includes religious study, they also often acquire a sense of transcendent purpose. Because this type of life—let’s call it “the purpose-driven strife”—is highly appealing to many young men, the jihad doesn’t have a recruitment problem.

Such an education obviously has the potential for creating a warped sense of masculinity. But it’s well to recall that in former days the elite English schools sought to develop masculine virtues in boys through a combination of chapel, study, and competitive sports. It was thought that by channeling natural masculine drives, boys would be better prepared for the battles of life as well as actual battles. The Battle of Waterloo was famously said to have been won on the playing fields of Eton. The question for today is how should men in Western societies—many of whom have been taught to seek safe spaces when their ideas are challenged—respond when faced with truly toxic masculinity? (Read more.)

From Mary Beth Bonacci:
 I don’t think men need to be what society (or the “patriarchal ideal masculine construct”) decrees that they be. I think men should be what they are. Men are strong. Men are protective. Men are, yes, sometimes aggressive. None of these things are socially conditioned. Masculinity and femininity spring from the way we were created, from our natural physical and neurological makeup.  Men’s bodies have, on the whole, a higher percentage of muscle than women’s bodies do. Just as women’s brains have more interconnectivity between the hemispheres. These and myriad other differences in our physiology give us men and women different — and complementary — gifts.

These are tendencies, not stereotypes. Masculinity isn’t about John Wayne riding into the sunset, any more than femininity is about weak women dropping hankies and fainting. Our individual mileage varies. There are as many unique expressions of masculinity as there are men.  Some men are stronger and/or more sensitive and/or more protective than others. Same with women. But our bodies and brains are fundamentally different, and that leads to certain predictable variations. I don’t believe masculinity is “toxic.” Masculinity is raw material, just as femininity is. Men can use their gifts for good or for evil, just as women can. (But try using the term “toxic femininity” in polite company and see what happens.) For millennia, the goal of society has been to channel those instincts, not to suppress them. Where would we be without masculine strength and aggressiveness channeled toward the protection of society?

But today, there seems to be a movement to neutralize masculinity entirely. I have been saying for a long time that feminism — while laudable and important in many ways — made a fundamental mistake early on in assuming that “it’s better to be a man.” Women are often deemed “equal” to the extent that we usurp male characteristics and excel in traditionally male domains. It makes sense that the next step would be to say that men themselves are no good at being men and need to become more like women.

We’ve come a long way, baby. (Read more.)

From Intellectual Takeout:
If toxic masculinity is only an undesirable kind of masculinity, then we need to ask: what does good masculinity look like? But so far our culture’s answer seems to be: it looks like femininity, which is not very inspiring for most men. 
Furthermore, the notion of toxic masculinity suggests the possibility of toxic femininity, in which case there is no need to target men and boys specifically as uniquely bad individuals. It’s like we are saying: “Whatever is good in you, boys, you share with females, and whatever is bad in you, boys, is just you.” 
If a similar Gillette ad had been directed toward our daughters, maybe we could see how un-motivating this line of reasoning is: “Ladies, some of you are ok. A good many of you are failing. ALL of you could do better. Oh, and please buy our razors.” Men don’t like being condescended to, manipulated, and having assumptions made about them based on their sex. Men and boys, like women and girls, don’t respond positively to sexism (defined here as “prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination based on sex”). 
Male bullying, male violence and male sexual sins cannot be isolated as only the responsibility of males. For instance, increasingly, women raise boys without fathers. If gender is a social construct, as the radical left claims, and children are increasingly raised by single women (40 percent of all births in the US are to single mothers), and women dominate child care, education, medical, counseling, and social work fields, then men cannot be entirely blamed for negative outcomes with sons who are being raised entirely by women, and that they may not even be allowed to see. 
Female misbehavior can be just as devastating as men’s. Our honest experience should teach us that women are capable of being unjust, dishonest, and quite aggressive, (though usually socially instead of physically). However, the recent move to allow women to abort their own children up to the age of birth in New York State should teach us that both men and women are capable of devastating atrocities toward even the weakest and most vulnerable. (Read more.) 

From Return to Order:
The problem of toxic masculinity is not new. When men are given over to their passions, it will always create toxic situations of savagery and barbarity. What is new is the depths to which postmodernity plunges men deeper into sin.  The new solutions not only go against man’s true nature; they annihilate it.

It was the Church that tamed the human passions and proposed models for men that elevated them to unimaginable heights. The Church proposed chivalry giving men an ideal to channel ill-regulated passions. That ideal would capture the imagination of countless men throughout history that persists even today. Moreover, the Church provides the means of grace which makes the practice of these high ideals possible.

For the first time in history, being a man meant admiring and striving for virtues such as mercy, courage, valor, chastity, fairness, protection of the weak and the poor. Being a man meant adopting an attitude of gentleness and graciousness to all women, a practice unknown to the ancient pagan world that often treated them as chattels.  It introduced the idea of honor, service and abnegation even to the point of giving one’s life.

Chivalry enriched manliness immensely. It taught men to extend the scope of their manliness and become Catholic gentlemen. The modern cause of manliness would gain much today if it set the bar high by adopting chivalry as a model. The bar needs to be set high, especially for millennials that crave such challenges. Today’s problem is not toxic masculinity that sets the bar ever lower, but toxic postmodernity where there is no bar at all. (Read more.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Snow Moon

Tonight is the full moon of February, also known as the "Snow Moon." It is also a super moon, the largest we will have until 2026. Please do enjoy the moon pictures on East of the Sun, West of the Moon. According to Time:
Good news for sky watchers and selenophiles, the next full moon is set to be the biggest and brightest of the year, according to NASA. the “super snow moon” as it is being called, will cross the skies Tuesday on Feb. 19. While the upcoming “super snow moon” won’t be the extravagant astronomical spectacle that January’s “super blood wolf moon eclipse” was, it will be larger and brighter, and definitely command attention in the sky. If that isn’t enough, the subsequent full moon in March will also be a “supermoon,” rounding off 2019 with a total of three “supermoons.” In a given year, between two and four full moons can be classified as “supermoons.” Here’s what to know about the upcoming “super snow moon” — and what the best time is to see it. (Read more.)

From Forbes:
There are other intricacies to the Moon's orbit around the Earth, however. It doesn't just make the same ellipse around Earth in a constant fashion. There are other forces at play. For example:
  • The Sun pulls unevenly on the Moon throughout a lunar month: its gravitational attraction is stronger during the new phase and weaker during the full phase.
  • The Earth is more distant from the Sun in July and closer to the Sun in January, causing a slight difference in both gravitational pull and orbital speed.
  • The Moon is sometimes more closely aligned with the Earth-Sun plane and Earth's axial tilt than others, sometimes inclined at only 18 degrees but other times as inclined as 28 degrees.
Additionally, because the Sun always shines evenly but the Moon has uneven speeds in its elliptical orbit, the Moon appears to wobble, or librate, in the sky as viewed from Earth. (Read more.)

Illegal Immigration Is Destroying Families

From The Daily Caller:
Political pundits on both sides of the aisle mocked President Trump over the weekend for declaring the border crisis a “national emergency.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. While many might question how a functioning meritocracy could select such a boneheaded cadre of losers to run our country’s most treasured institutions — and they would be right to do so — it’s best to appreciate our elites for their most impressive talent: the uncanny ability to find new and creative ways to demonstrate just how out of touch they are with reality.

The crisis at the border is real, and it absolutely merits Trump’s “national emergency” designation. The United States is now facing a drug crisis unlike any we have ever seen, due in large part to the unimpeded flow of illegal migration across our southern border. Drugs and crime are inundating our communities and destroying families in the process, mostly in predominantly poor flyover regions of the country where blue-checkmark Twitter rarely visits.

According to the CDC, more than 70,000 Americans died in 2017 due to drug overdoses, a number that has unacceptably quadrupled in just 20 years. Each of these victims of drugs had a family. Many had children. Many were children. Most of these overdoses are related to fentanyl — of which 1,500 pounds was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents during 2017. But how much fentanyl wasn’t seized?

While our nation’s politicians generally recognize the existence of an “opioid epidemic”, they appear unwilling to do anything about it on the supply side. House Democrats have quibbled over increasing funding for border security at ports of entry and outright opposed efforts to strengthen in-country enforcement of our immigration laws. Now Democratic presidential candidates are even going as far as calling for existing border walls to be torn down. Apparently 70,000 drug deaths a year isn’t enough. This shameful callousness from our nation’s leaders toward the victims of the border crisis goes beyond just a disdain for American families. They have also chosen to ignore the humanitarian crisis directly affecting the migrants themselves.

For years, migrant families have been abused and exploited by traffickers, cartels, and gangs. According to a 2017 report from Doctors Without Borders, 31.4% of women had been sexually abused during their transit through Mexico. These women are mothers, wives, and daughters. Who do they report these crimes to when they wish to seek justice? They certainly can’t go to U.S. authorities when they reach their destination for fear of deportation. Because of this dynamic many illegal immigrants become trapped in a cycle of violence and injustice.

Many families have watched helplessly as their young daughters are ripped away from them and trafficked across our border to be sold into prostitution and sex slavery. According to an estimate by the Global Slavery Index, there are 57,000 human trafficking victims in the U.S. By refusing to secure our border and force people to come to the U.S. through the front door, we are aiding and abetting this human horror show.

Only a cold soul could look at photographs (many taken during the Obama administration) of child immigrants in cages and not feel great heartache. But the policy of “family separation” was implemented in direct response to the human trafficking crisis. Many victims of human trafficking are minors who have been taken from their parents and snuck across the border by people claiming to be their parents. These children are threatened with severe punishment and even death and are often too afraid to tell the truth in front of the traffickers to U.S. border agents. Certainly the need for a policy that generated understandable national hysteria merits the declaration of a “national emergency.”

There is plenty of room to debate the merits of the wall or other proposed policies to curb the flow of illegal migration. However, it’s hard to debate that the border crisis isn’t indeed a national emergency, especially since everyone agreed on that before Trump got involved. Republicans cited drug statistics and horrific instances of crime committed by undocumented criminals. Democrats whipped up national hysteria over the “family separation” policy. Immigration activists cited the humanitarian crisis facing migrants. Only now that the president has chosen to act are cynical partisans attempting to downplay the issue. (Read more.)

The Very Effective Soviet Snipers

From War History Online:
Vasily Zaytsev was one of the most successful snipers in the Soviet army. According to documents from the time, he was so prolific that the Wehrmacht sent their own super sniper, Erwin König, to take him out. This allegedly resulted in a sniper duel which ended with Zaytsev killing König during the Battle of Stalingrad.

This is a story that sparks the imagination and resulted in the film Enemy at the Gates. However, there is very little historical evidence to confirm this. There is no official information about who Erwin König was and whether he was ever sent out to kill Zaytsev. The only sources about the duel between Zaytsev and König come from the Soviet army and Zaytsev himself. In his memoirs, Zaytsev refers to König as Herr Koning and identifies him as the head of the German sniper school in Berlin. This was according to documents taken from the body after the duel in Stalingrad. (Read more.)

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Authenticity of Marie-Antoinette's Last Letter

Gio quotes Hilaire Belloc:
Nevertheless I believe the document to be without the slightest doubt authentic, and I will give my reasons for this certitude:

(1) To forge a letter of Marie Antoinette's is peculiarly difficult. There have been many such attempts. They have been discovered with an ease familiar to all students of her life. This difficulty lies in the great irregularity of her method of writing, coupled with the exact persistence of certain types of letter. She never in her life could write a line straight across a page. She never made two "d's" exactly the same, and yet you never can mistake one of her "d's." She never crossed a "t" quite in the same manner twice and yet you can always tell her way of crossing it. The absence of capitals after a full stop is a minor point but a considerable one. She always brought the lower loop of the "b" up to the up stroke, so that it looks like an "f"; she always separated her 'Ts'' from the succeeding letter.

(2) To the faults in grammar and in spelling I should pay little attention — those things are easily copied; but it is worth remarking that on the third line of the letter written in prison she spells the infinitive of "montrer" without the final "r" as though it were a participle, while in the letter written to her brother in 1791 she makes no such error. She puts an "e" in "Jouis" and so forth. All these discrepancies are a proof of the authenticity of the letter. She spelt at random, and her grammar was at random, though she got a little more accurate as she grew older. It would, on the contrary, be an argument against the authenticity of the letter if particular mistakes, discovered in a particular document of hers, were repeated in this last letter from the Conciergerie.

(3) The letter was immediately exposed to public view; the paper was grown yellow, the writing was apparently old, the ink in places faded, the creases deep and worn. Now all these accidental features could no doubt be reproduced by a modem forger with the advantage of modem methods, modem mechanical appliances, modem chemical science and photography. They could not have been achieved by a forger of 1816.

It seems to me, therefore, a document absolutely unassailable. The arguments against it are of the same sort which modem scepticism perpetually brings against every form of historical evidence that does not fit in with some favourite modem theory.
(Read more.)
Read Marie-Antoinette's last letter, HERE. Share