Monday, August 31, 2020

The Cathars and the Eucharist

The Cathars were not Christians nor did they belong to any monotheistic religion because they believed in more than one God. From William Hemsworth:

The Cathars were dualists who believed in two gods. One who created everything good and another who created everything evil. Essentially they believed that the god of the Old Testament was Satan, and the New Testament was the God we know. As they did with the Eucharist, they didn’t hold to the validity of any sacraments because the sacraments involve some kind of material. In their view all material is bad.

The human body was an evil construct because in entrapped angels in human flesh. Therefore anything to do with the human body was also deemed evil. Even procreation. Suicide was seen as a good way of escaping human bondage. Yes, they were opposed to the Eucharist as the Gnostics of old were. Their beliefs were dealt with by great saints such as St. Augustine and St. Irenaeus. Again I emphasize that they were not protestants that were persecuted by the Catholic church, but believers in type of modified Gnostic heresy. (Read more.)

Read more about the Cathars in my novel The Night's Dark Shade.


Left-Wing Protesters Harassing People

 From Breitbart:

Protesters harassed people in the streets of Washington, DC, following the last night of the Republican National Convention at the White House. Many of the individuals harassed were Republican politicians and RNC guests who were leaving the convention’s closing ceremonies and were met by protesters shoving, cursing, and shouting Black Lives Matter slogans at them. (Read more.)


Also from Breitbart:

Well, the leader of one of America’s two major political parties said nothing as violence broke out in Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Fayetteville; Atlanta; New York; Nashville; Seattle; Portland; Philadelphia; Chicago; Milwaukee; Salt Lake; Washington, DC; Detroit; Indianapolis; San Francisco; Kansas City; Houston; Charlotte; Cleveland; Pittsburgh; Denver; Dallas; Phoenix; Tampa; Baltimore; Oakland; and Louisville broke out into violence… And now, in a little place called Kenosha.

That’s not exactly fair.

Biden did say stuff. All kinds of stuff that justified and encouraged the violence. He applauded terrorists as “protesters” and assured them their future president stood with them and against law and order.

Even as people of every color and background guilty of nothing more than opening a small business lost everything, Joe Biden sided with, championed, and encouraged those who took that everything.

The man who wants to be our president could not even bring himself to say David Dorn’s life mattered.

I can hardly believe it’s true. We now live in a country where the leader of one of our two major political parties does not have the moral courage to condemn the burning of police stations and courthouses.

I can hardly believe it’s true. We now live in a country where the leader of one of our two major political parties says nothing while terrorists seize a chunk of an American city, including hundreds of homes and a police station — where people die.

We now live in a country where a man who wants to be our president condemns law enforcement and sides with the mob during widespread looting and assaults, sides with the mobs swarming people guilty of nothing more than making a wrong turn, sides with those terrorizing neighborhoods and dragging around guillotines…

I’ve never lived in a country like that.

I never believed it was possible to live in a country like that.

Even more disturbing is the fact that it was not Joe Biden’s humanity or sense of decency or moral outrage that finally forced him to grudgingly condemn the looting and burning of his country… it was the polls.

Were it not for the polls… Good God, I don’t even know what to think about it.

We have crossed the Rubicon. Welcome to a world where six companies own 90 percent of the media, and the media champion and encourage violence and terrorism against us.

Welcome to a world where one of our two major political parties champions and encourages violence and terrorism against us. (Read more.)


Some defend the looting. Those who claim that insurance will cover the damage have never had to deal with an insurance company. From The Post-Millenial:

For Osterweil, whose book is graced with a glossy crowbar, smashing windows, ripping down plywood, breaking into shops and taking that which does not belong to you, is perfectly fine. In fact, she believes that the term "looting" is racially based because the word comes from a Hindi root.

To those who are in the streets committing mass theft, Osterweil attributes the lofty goals of socialist property redistribution towards a more equitable society. And she has no concern, even remotely, for the people who were hurt during the riots and looting.

David Dorn died at the hands of looters and his death was live streamed to Facebook. For Osterweil, Dorn’s death was merely collateral damage in service to a greater cause. His family are suffering a deep loss because criminal thieves believed that their right to property was more important than Dorn's right to life. (Read more.)

From The Daily Wire:

Left-wing rioters set fire to the Portland Police Association (PPA) building on Friday night as the city continues to be rattled by violence from antifa extremists.

“The PPA office has been the site of numerous violent protests over the past few months, and protesters have lit the building on fire several times,” the Portland Police Department said in a statement. “It is located in a residential neighborhood and there is concern that any building fire could spread to occupied homes, especially during the current stretch of dry weather.” (Read more.)

From Mrs. Paul at The Washington Examiner:

Thursday night felt like being in a terrifying dystopian novel. The mob swarmed me and my husband, Sen. Rand Paul, in a tight circle, screaming expletives, threats, and shouting, "Say her name." We rushed up to two police officers, and I believe that is the only thing that kept us from being knocked to the ground. Even pressed against the officers, we were greatly outnumbered.

As the mob grew and became more threatening, we literally could not move, and neither could the two officers for several minutes. The rioters were inches from us, screaming in our faces.

That was the worst part. At first, I attempted to meet the eyes of one of the protesters and tried to explain that Rand authored the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act, but it seemed to just infuriate them more, as they called me a "bitch" and "racist wh---" alongside an endless torrent of "f--- yous."

Mobs are terrifying. They looked at us with no humanity — just a vicious and righteous zeal. After that, I just kept my eyes down and prayed. All I could think of was the driver who was pulled from his car, viciously kicked in the head and left lying in his own blood in Portland, Oregon, last week. (Read more.)


Meanwhile, there came what some call the most Catholic moment in American history. From LifeSite:

Opera singer Christopher Macchio offered a beautiful rendition of the song, cherished by Catholics, from the Blue Room balcony of the White House after President Donald Trump’s speech officially accepting his party’s nomination to run for reelection.

After the sung prayer to Our Lady, Macchio invited the Trump family and guests gathered on the south lawn of the White House to join in singing “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.”

“God will honor those who honor Him (and those who honor the Mother of God the Son),” proclaimed Dr. Taylor Marshall, Catholic author and a member of Catholics for Trump advisory board.  “Ave Maria!!!!” (Read more.)


What Happened to the ‘Lost Colony’

 From the Virginian-Pilot:

The English colonists who settled the so-called Lost Colony before disappearing from history simply went to live with their native friends — the Croatoans of Hatteras, according to a new book.

“They were never lost,” said Scott Dawson, who has researched records and dug up artifacts where the colonists lived with the Indians in the 16th century. “It was made up. The mystery is over.”

Dawson has written a book, published in June, that details his research. It is called “The Lost Colony and Hatteras Island,” and echos many of the sentiments he has voiced for years.

A team of archaeologists, historians, botanists, geologists and others have conducted digs on small plots in Buxton and Frisco for 11 years.

Dawson and his wife, Maggie, formed the Croatoan Archaeological Society when the digs began. Mark Horton, a professor and archaeologist from England’s University of Bristol leads the project. Henry Wright, professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, is an expert on native history.

Teams have found thousands of artifacts 4-6 feet below the surface that show a mix of English and Indian life. Parts of swords and guns are in the same layer of soil as Indian pottery and arrowheads. (Read more.)


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Slavery in Viking Society


From Smithsonian:

The institution of slavery had long antecedents in Scandinavia, probably going back thousands of years before the time of the Vikings. By the eighth century A.D., a considerable population of unfree people lived in the North, their condition largely a hereditary one built up over generations. In the Viking Age, this picture changed dramatically because, for the first time, Scandinavians began to make the active acquisition of human chattel a key part of their economy. This was one of the primary objectives of Viking raids and military campaigns—and the result was a massive increase in the numbers of enslaved people in Scandinavia. (Read more.)

The Great Threat To Democrats

 From Andrew Klavan:

The U.S. is easily the least racist nation on the planet. There is certainly nowhere else with such a multi-ethnic population as committed to keeping its institutions fair. Why, in America, a black person can be elected president — twice — something no other white majority nation can say.

But the idea that all this might be true is a tremendous threat to the Democrats’ near monopoly on black votes. They live on racial division. This is why, in the words of Wall Street Journal Columnist Jason Riley, Democrats “focus their energies on keeping black people angry and paranoid, not on improving black lives.”

This is also why people of color like Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron are sometimes greeted with unprintable racist name-calling from the Left. In a graceful and powerful convention speech, Cameron addressed Joe Biden, referring to his many untoward remarks about blacks. “Mr. Vice President, look at me, I am Black, we are not all the same, sir. I am not in chains, my mind is my own, and you can’t tell me how to vote because of the color of my skin.” If even twenty percent of black voters would say the same, there would be no Democrat Party.

 In their efforts to keep “black people angry and paranoid,” leftists have cooked up the phrase “systemic racism.” I’m not sure this phrase is supposed to have any very definite meaning. I think it’s meant rather to be a license for perpetual grievance. But insofar as it means anything, it seems to refer to the fact that American ideas and ideals derive from places like Greece, Jerusalem, Rome, and especially England where the people’s skin was more or less white.

And yes, it’s true, our ideas did come from those places. And assimilating into a nation based on those largely English ideas often requires some sacrifice of cultural identification. Jews who assimilate have to accept values derived from the same Christianity that has often oppressed them, Irish have to play by the political rules of their age-old enemies the English, and so on. Assimilation is complex and difficult and goes against the natural grain because it puts ideas over instinctive tribal loyalty. It requires grace, forgiveness, and a willingness to align yourself with a history that may not have always been friendly toward your particular group. (Read more.)


Senator Tim Scott:

After starting my business and spending time in local government, I ran for Congress in 2010. The district is based in Charleston, South Carolina…where the Civil War started…against a son of our legendary Senator, Strom Thurmond.

You may be asking yourself how does a poor black kid…from a single parent household…run and win a race in a crowded Republican primary against a Thurmond? Because of the evolution of the heart, in an overwhelmingly white district... the voters judged me on the content of my character, not the color of my skin. We live in a world that only wants you to believe in the bad news… racially, economically and culturally-polarizing news.

The truth is, our nation’s arc always bends back towards fairness. We are not fully where we want to be…but thank God we are not where we used to be! We are always striving to be better...When we stumble, and we will, we pick ourselves back up and try again. We don’t give into cancel-culture, or the radical -- and factually baseless -- belief that things are worse today than in the 1860s or the 1960s. We have work to do...but I believe in the goodness of America…the promise that all men, and all women are created equal. (Read more.)


The Celts in Britain

 From History Extra:

The Greeks called them ‘Keltoi’ or ‘Galatians’, while the Romans knew them as ‘Celtae’ or ‘Gauls’. They were frequently depicted as savage, warlike and dangerous; a very real threat to the survival of Mediterranean culture. Archaeology, however, has shown them to be one of the most important and influential of all ancient civilisations, with their artistic and cultural influence, which spread from Spain to Turkey and Italy to Scotland, still affecting us today.

The ‘Celts’ were not, in fact, a single race, but a series of distinct tribes, albeit bound by common ties of art, custom and religion. Celtic groups existed throughout central Europe, on the fringes of the classical world, from the 4th century BC. For Greece and Rome, they represented the archetypal ‘enemy at the gates’; the ultimate barbarian whose way of life was incomprehensible and completely at odds with their own. (Read more.)


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Marie de Medici, The Queen Behind Luxembourg Palace And Gardens


From Cherry Chapman:

She dismissed most of her late husband’s ministers and relied mainly on her maid and best friend’s husband Concino Concini for advice. He became her most important counselor, from whom she sought direction in all governmental affairs.

Though Marie de Medici is known to have brought in a lot of Italian artists and focused on elevating the arts, she often displeased the French public, who considered her too lavish in spending court money and resented her reliance on her Italian counselor.

She also developed a close friendship with the painter Pierre Paul Rubens who painted a lovely series of portraits of her now housed in the Louvre.

Finding the Louvre palace too dark to stay in, and holding a lot of unpleasant memories, Marie wanted a palace of her own. She dreamed of constructing one that would be full of light and would resemble the Pitti Palace where she had grown up.

With her own money, she bought land from a Count Luxembourg in the heart of left bank and began construction of her new palace in 1615.

Louis and his mother never had a close relationship. I would imagine that Marie, having lost her own mother so young, probably was not able to mother her children with much warmth and affection, as she had little given and modeled to her during her childhood.

The other aspect to consider was that after the death of his father, whom Louis adored, he resented his mother’s attention and closeness to her Italian counselor, and probably felt displaced in whatever affection she could display. This emotional neglect of her son caused Louis to develop tremendous resentment to him and further alienation from his mother. (Read more.)

From The Monstrous Regiment of Women:

Just the day before the king's death, Marie de' Medici had been crowned queen of France in a splendid ceremony. Despite his original "command" that his queen "not meddle in affairs of state," the coronation ceremony had taken place so that Marie's position as regent of France could be strengthened while the king undertook a military campaign in the Netherlands.

Within two hours of her husband's assassination, Marie placed her children under guard to safeguard their security, secured the streets around the Louvre palace, and appeared before the Parlement of Paris to have her regency acknowledged.

In conducting herself as queen regent, Marie decided to model herself on her predecessor and cousin Catherine de' Medici; she aimed for conciliation and appeasement. "Her task," as A. Lloyd Moote defines it, was "avoiding internal turmoil and external danger." Her "success in achieving those twin aims must, in the immediate setting, be considered a major achievement."

After the rivalries and tensions that had culminated in her husband's assassination, the queen's regency was at first welcomed by opposing factions and began peacefully. Marie herself approached her new role as regent with a measure of confidence and optimism; "I can call myself very fortunate and quite consoled because of the good order and great tranquility that begin to be seen in the affairs of this realm" she wrote to her sister three months after her husband's death. But her optimism proved to be ill-founded.

Unlike her model, Marie was not a success as regent. Religious unrest continued to be a problem, and relationships with foreign powers were uneasy. To complicate matters further, her relationship with her son the king was tense. Resentful of the humiliations she had endured during her husband's life, she abandoned his counselors and friends, turning for support to her Italian courtiers, to Rome, and to her Habsburg relatives

For her principal advisor she looked to her friend Leonora's husband Concino Concini, whom she arranged to have appointed maréchal of France, an appointment that "conferred [on him] the second-highest military honor in France."Unlike Henry IV, Louis XIII had been raised a Catholic, like Marie herself; to defuse religious tensions, Marie acted to "curb inflammatory rhetoric" on both sides of the religious debate and "republished the agreement of Nantes in 1612, 1614, and twice in 1615." (Read more.) 

 From Women of Style:

Uninterested and inexperienced in politics, Marie was extremely stubborn and wasn’t lacking ambition although some say she was lacking a better judgment since she relied on her maid and childhood friend Leonora Galigai and her unscrupulous husband Concino Concini to rule.

Concini used Marie to become a Marshal of France even though he never fought a battle and influenced her to dismiss Henry’s able minister the Duke of Sully and open doors for a larger influence of the Roman Catholic Church. Half Habsburg herself, Marie abandoned traditional anti-Habsburg French foreign policy and arranged the marriage between her daughter Elisabeth and the future King Philip IV of Spain.

The weakness of royal authority and the fact that they had Italian outsider on the court and at the royal council, led to the rebellion of princes and prominent nobles of the kingdom which Marie tried to pacify by buying them off, draining the treasury in vain. She also tried to strengthen her rule by adding Armand Jean du Plessis, later known as Cardinal Richelieu to her councils.

During her reign, Marie undertook several large art projects, including building and furnishing of the Palais du Luxembourg, she called “Palais Medicis”. Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens, whom Marie met around the time of her wedding, was commissioned to create paintings glorifying her life and reign and this series of 21 paintings along with portraits of Marie and her family is now known as the Marie de Medici cycle and hangs in the Louvre.

The task of painting Marie’s life and triumphs was a difficult one since Rubens had to create 21 paintings about a woman whose life consisted of marriage, giving birth to six children, one of which died in infancy and political scandals that made any literal description of the events too controversial to execute without angering someone in government.

Rubens, already established as an exceptional painter, turned to classical literature and artistic traditions and used allegorical representations to glorify the queen’s achievements and sensitively illustrate the less favorable events in Marie’s life. He painted extravagant images of the Queen Mother surrounded by ancient goods. (Read more.)

Four More Years!

 From The Federalist:

Thursday night the president stood in stark contrast to his opponent Joe Biden, who ran a convention based on fear of the virus, who embraces a new normal in which petty dictators like Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio control my life, a desperate old man who said he would lock me down again. No. President Trump did what he does best; he spoke to a crowd. There was joy and optimism and patriotism. Instead of fear there was pride. For me, he was no longer the lesser of two evils but a man I dearly hope will remain our president.

It is fashionable these days for former Republicans to gang up and sling dirt at Trump. This is supposed to be meaningful because supposedly they are conservatives. Well, two can play at that game. If their abandonment of Trump is meaningful then so is my embrace. And the difference? They represent a tiny, dying breed of think tank technocrats; I represent a vast constituency of Americans who have come to see the power of his leadership. (Read more.)


From The Western Journal:

“I think often about my ancestors who struggled for freedom. And as I think of those giants and their broad shoulders, I also think about Joe Biden, who says, if you aren’t voting for me, ‘you ain’t black.’ Who argued that Republicans would put us ‘back in chains.’ Who says there is no ‘diversity‘ of thought in the black community.”

Cameron then lashed out directly at Biden.

“Mr. Vice President, look at me, I am black. We are not all the same, sir,” he said. “I am not in chains. My mind is my own. And you can’t tell me how to vote because of the color of my skin.” (Read more.)


We’ve Already Stopped Baking Bread

From Medium:

Now that staying home is the appropriate thing to do, those normally governed by economic expectations are driven towards self-care and introspection. This is not an attempt to pull a silver lining out of a situation that has caused considerable grief, economic strain, loneliness, and fear for millions, but merely to point out that for many of us in the motors of capitalism, it quite literally took a quarantine for us to reconcile with leisure. (Read more.)


Friday, August 28, 2020

The Noble Bandit Fulk FitzWarin


Was Fulk the original Robin Hood? From Ancient Origins:

And one such marcher lord is the hero of the story today. The noble FitzWarin family were prominent lords seated in Whittington Castle in Shropshire. All males throughout the history of the FitzWarin family were named Fulk and our protagonist was the 3rd in line.

His grandfather, Fulk I FitzWarin, had established their seat at Whittington Castle and gained prominence as a marcher lord as he supported the Empress Matilda, in the civil war against King Stephen. For this he was richly rewarded by King Henry II, and thus the noble FitzWarin lords established their wealth and power as marcher lords.

When Fulk III became the Lord FitzWarin upon his father’s death, he was immediately burdened by the land disputes that were begun by his father. The FitzWarin family held the royal manor of Alveston in Gloucestershire, and also the Whadborough manor in Leicestershire. They also had claims to the Whittington Castle, which is connected as the seat of their noble house.

This is most likely true, as the progenitor of their house – one Warin de Metz (Guarin de Meez) – inherited the castle through marriage. But during the reign of King Stephen II, Whittington was granted to the noble Peverel family of landed knights. This led to a series of disputes, as the FitzWarin’s struggled to reclaim their ancestral seat. (Read more.)



Two Conventions

 From The American Thinker:

The difference in tone between the Democrat and Republican conventions could not be more distinct. The four days of the Democrat infomercial were characterized by misery and anger. Not one of the Democrat speakers even smiled. They made it clear, each and every one of them, that they hate this country.

Consider Michelle Obama's scowling face. Every person who spoke exuded rage, fury that President Trump had survived the four years of their demented attempts to destroy his presidency. Even before the election, higher-ups at the FBI, the DOJ, and the CIA had hatched a scheme to prevent his victory. Once elected but before his inauguration, they escalated their treasonous plan, which was constructed out of a tissue of lies. To this day, Adam Schiff continues to promote the many lies he has foisted upon the American people with the eager help of a despicable and immoral media establishment.

This was a grievously corrupt group of people with power to abuse — and abuse it they did. But they failed. Yet they have not been deterred.

They invented out of whole cloth phony scandal after phony scandal. Impeachment based on the phone call with the new President of Ukraine. And now, the most hilarious of all, the removal of mailboxes in order to thwart votes by mail. Everyone knows that an all-mail-in-ballot election would be fraught with cheating, like the ballot-harvesting the Democrats devised for exactly that reason — to cheat.

Yet these Democrats believe that the American people are so mindlessly gullible that they will buy their message of racism, fear-mongering and threats of continued violence. (Read more.)

From LifeSite:
“I now support President Trump because he has done more for the unborn than any other president,” she declared, starting with restoring and expanding the Mexico City Policy that bans foreign aid to international abortion organizations.

“That’s something that should compel you to action,” Johnson concluded. “Go door to door, make calls, talk to your neighbors and friends, and vote on November 3.”

Prior to addressing the convention, Johnson said she “felt a lot of pressure to make the most provocative, impassioned, memorable pro-life…speech ever made,” after which listeners would not “ever be able to say, ‘Wow, we had no idea that those things happen during abortion.’ They’re going to know.”

Last year, Unplanned writer and director Chuck Konzelman testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the film found its official Twitter account temporarily suspended without explanation, and that even after being restored found its followers removed and other users temporarily unable to follow it.

“No one believes in the First Amendment more than the president, and the president will take action to ensure that Big Tech does not stifle free speech, and that the rights of all Americans to speak, tweet, and post will be protected,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany declared in May. “It’s not just bias aimed at President Trump and his employees; it’s also aimed at everyday Americans. It is aimed at the movie Unplanned, as Twitter suspended their accounts and came up with an excuse in the aftermath. Another example is that liberals are allowed to incite violence against the Covington kids, who were in the end proven right; their video was taken out of context. Yet these individuals were let or allowed by Twitter to incite violence.”

The 2020 Republican National Convention began on Monday evening and will run through Thursday evening. The remaining nights of the speech can be watched live through these links, and a full list of speakers can be found here. (Read more.)

From The Daily Wire:

Mrs. Trump also thanked the American people for stepping up during the pandemic, whereas Mrs. Obama went out of her way to blame President Trump for allegedly bungling policy, though he was praised by top Democrats for his leadership.

POTUS “will not stop fighting until there is effective treatment or a vaccine,” Mrs. Trump asserted, thanking healthcare professionals, frontline workers, and teachers for stepping up “despite the risk to yourself and your own families.”

“You put your country first,” the First Lady praised, noting of the businesses and volunteers that stepped in to help, too. “It has been inspiring to see what the people of our great nation will do for each other.”

The First Lady also urged U.S. citizens to look at things from all perspectives, to practice civility, and live up to our American ideals. Violence and looting must stop, she added, and we must never make assumptions based on someone’s skin color.

“We are one nation under God, and we need to cherish one another,” Mrs. Trump closed.

Earlier in the day, the First Lady’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham told Fox News that Mrs. Trump’s speech “is going to be very positive and uplifting, which is her signature,” the network reported.

“She wants to look forward,” Grisham said during an appearance on “The Daily Briefing” with host Dana Perino. “She wants to talk about what she as First Lady plans to do when the president wins another 4 years. But she also wants to lay out for the American people why it’s so important the president becomes re-elected. There will be some personal anecdotes and I think people will be surprised at how great the speech is.”

Mrs. Trump is known for her “BE BEST” initiative, which includes work concerning the devastating opioid epidemic.

“The mission of BE BEST is to focus on some of the major issues facing children today, with the goal of encouraging children to BE BEST in their individual paths, while also teaching them the importance of social, emotional, and physical health. BE BEST will concentrate on three main pillars: well-being, online safety, and opioid abuse,” the White House outlines. “BE BEST will champion the many successful well-being programs that provide children with the tools and skills required for emotional, social, and physical health. The campaign will also promote established organizations, programs, and people who are helping children overcome some of the issues they face growing up in the modern world.” (Read more.) 

From The Hill:

C-SPAN's livestream of the first night of the Republican National Convention has attracted nearly 440,000 views, marking a substantial increase over the start of the Democratic National Convention, which drew 76,000 views.

The numbers for Monday night come ahead of traditional TV ratings from Nielsen Media Research, which will be released on Tuesday afternoon.

According to Nielsen, 18.7 million people tuned in to the first night of the virtual Democratic convention from Milwaukee and Wilmington, Del., on Aug. 17, which featured speeches from former first lady Michelle Obama and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R). (Read more.) 


Also from LifeSite:

Speaking on video from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Sandmann walked the audience through the leadup to the incident, including his fateful decision to purchase one of President Donald Trump’s red Make America Great Again hats because Trump “has distinguished himself as one of the most pro-life presidents in the history of our country.” 

“Looking back now,” he said, “how could I have possibly imagined that the simple act of putting on that red hat would unleash hate from the Left and make myself the target of network and cable news networks nationwide?”

“My life changed forever in that one moment,” Sandmann said. “The full war machine of the mainstream media revved up into attack mode. They did so without researching the full video of the incident, without ever investigating Mr. Phillips’ motives, or without ever asking me for my side of the story.” (Read more.)

And Sr. Dede stole the show. From CNA:

As a physician, I can say without hesitation: Life begins at conception. While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I am saying it because I am not just pro-life, I am pro-eternal life. I want all of us to end up in heaven together someday. Which brings me to why I am here today. Donald Trump is the most pro-life president this nation has ever had, defending life at all stages. His belief in the sanctity of life transcends politics. President Trump will stand up against Biden-Harris, who are the most anti-life presidential ticket ever, even supporting the horrors of late-term abortion and infanticide. Because of his courage and conviction, President Trump has earned the support of America’s pro-life community. Moreover, he has a nationwide of religious standing behind him. You’ll find us here with our weapon of choice, the rosary. Thank you, Mr. President, we are all praying for you. (Read more.)

America's Latest Suicide Attempt

 From Real Clear History:

During the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) administrations, U.S. involvement in Vietnam expanded, but both leaders recoiled from doing what was necessary to win the war. “Having involved itself,” historian Johnson wrote, “America should have followed the logic of its position and responded to aggression by occupying  . . .  North [Vietnam].” Instead, North Vietnam, as well as Laos and Cambodia became, for the most part, privileged sanctuaries for our enemies, largely immune from the full force of American arms and power. This self-imposed restraint, Johnson explained, was “interpreted by friend and foe alike as evidence, not of humanity, but of guilt and lack of righteous conviction.”

At home, the mostly privileged student Left took to the streets in radical protest not just against the war, but also against American society in general. Some students called for overthrowing the “system.” Campuses were “radicalized” and students rioted, Johnson wrote, while “university presidents compromised, surrendered or abdicated.” “What student violence did above all,” Johnson explained, “was to damage American higher education and demoralize its teachers.”

Meanwhile, LBJ’s “Great Society” programs that were designed to end poverty and establish racial justice led to widespread dependence on the federal government and produced what historian Johnson called “a huge and increasingly militant civil-rights movement” that abandoned the proclaimed goal of Martin Luther King, Jr. for a colorblind society. Racially motivated rioting broke out in many places. Much to the liberals’ chagrin, Johnson noted, “the scale and intensity of black violence, especially in the big cities outside the South, advanced step by step with  . . .  vigorous and effective efforts to secure black rights.” (Read more.)


Thursday, August 27, 2020

Ancient Egyptian Bread


From Sapiens:

This spring, as people around the world sheltered at home to avoid spreading or catching the coronavirus, many home cooks cultivated their baking hobby or learned to make sourdough. Some housebound archaeologists took the trend to the next level by replicating baking methods from Roman Pompeii or Neolithic Turkey.

Blackley, for example, is collaborating with archaeologist Serena Love of Australia-based Everick Heritage consultancy to bake bread using what they believe is 4,000-year-old yeast and ancient techniques in his backyard in California. In March, he successfully baked a loaf in an earthen pit, similar to the way the Egyptians baked in the time of the pyramids. The bread was as dense as cake, with a rich, sour aroma and a comforting sweetness akin to brown sugar. “It’s magic,” Love says, “because he’s actually brought the past alive.” (Read more.)

Pushing the Boundaries

 From C.C. Pecknold at First Things:

Yet despite so much acclaim from cultural elites, Doucouré’s film has come under a hailstorm of criticism from the moment Netflix began promoting it with posters of prepubescent girls posing in sexually seductive fashion. Apparently it never occurred to executives at the entertainment company that such a film would be seen as problematic. Cultural elites had vetted it as a sophisticated tale about the over-sexualization of young girls, and an exploration of the tensions between Muslim and liberal cultures. Yet somehow the masses responded with almost instantaneous moral revulsion at the very idea of a film about the sexual awakening of an eleven-year-old child. Many asked, with exasperated skepticism, how a film about sexualizing children could solve the problem of sexualizing children.

In a curious apology following the public outcry, Netflix stated that the company was “deeply sorry” for the marketing and “inappropriate artwork” they used to promote the film, adding that it was not “representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance.” This “apology” sought to put the blame on the “artwork.” Yet the marketing department also used clips and stills from the film itself, which depicts young girls in seductive poses and various states of undress. Critics reasonably replied that the problem seems less with the marketing, and more with the subject matter itself. Some saw a broader trend on display here, not only the normalization of the pedophilic gaze, but also liberal society reaching its perverted telos. After the Netflix non-apology, Princeton’s Robert P. George spelled out such broader implications: “I've long said that our society's dirtiest little secret is the sexualization of children. It was only ‘secret’ in the sense that people could pretend not to know. With Netflix's ‘Cuties,’ that is no longer possible. You know. Everyone knows. No one can credibly deny knowing.”

Sensitive patience with challenging artwork is often commendable. Yet in this case, I think the gag reflex is far more reliable, morally speaking, than the trust that elites often place in vetted purveyors of cultural production. Cuties invites us to gaze for hours upon sexualized images of young girls against the backdrop of Islamic veils, honor, modesty, custom. Whatever the intentions of the filmmaker, or Netflix, your average American is not yet so morally supine as to be blind to the next con. (Read more.)

Restoring American Statuary

 From First Things:

The Garden of Heroes could serve a useful cultural purpose if it teaches patrons, artists, and the public about the work past sculptors have done in commemorating eminent Americans and the great events of American history. If the original works cannot be loaned or donated, the garden should display high-quality replicas.

A great place to start would be with copies, perhaps in an open-air, roofed portico or pavilion, of Houdon’s brilliant portrait busts of eminent personages of the Revolution and Early Republic: Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lafayette, John Paul Jones, Robert Fulton, and Fulton’s friend and benefactor, the writer and diplomat Joel Barlow. (The White House owns the Barlow bust.) Houdon’s busts and his Washington statue are endowed with an inner radiance because they were conceived tectonically, from the inside out. Even the clothed portions of the Washington statue reflect scrupulous attention to the underlying anatomical structure. As a young man, Houdon modeled a life-sized flayed figure, or écorché, in plaster as a study for a statue of John the Baptist. Such anatomical discipline, which plays out in the geometric precision of the forms comprising Houdon’s figures, is scarcely to be found among contemporary figurative sculptors, whose figures are modeled tonally—in terms of the interplay of light and shade on their surfaces—rather than tectonically. This tonal modeling can result in a surface that assumes an autonomous, expressionistic value independent of the underlying form, an anti-classical technique for which Rodin, the founder of modernist sculpture, is well known. Rodin has many “realist” adepts doing their slapdash thing these days. Caveat emptor. (Read more.)


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

From The Royal Collection

 From The Art Newspaper:

Major renovations at Buckingham Palace in London will allow works from the private collection of the British Royal Family—many of which have never before been displayed in an exhibition setting—to go on show later this year.

The exhibition at the Queen's Gallery, set to open in December and run until January 2022, will feature 65 works from the Royal Collection, including drawings by Titian and Vermeer's The Music Lesson (1662-65). A number of the show's works have, since their acquisition, only been displayed to official palace guests and tour groups during annual summer openings.

The works are among 10,000 items from the Royal Collection that are being temporarily relocated as the 18th century building undergoes an extensive refurbishment, which will reportedly cost £369m.

Among the upcoming exhibition's highlights is Rembrandt's painting The Shipbuilder and his Wife (1633), rumoured to be a favourite of Queen Elizabeth II. (Read more.)


Killing Babies in China

 From The Christian Post:

Hospitals in Xinjiang were ordered by China’s Communist government to abort and kill all babies born in excess of its mandated family planning limits — including newborns born after being carried to full term — or face hefty fines, claims a new report.

Hasiyet Abdulla, a Uighur obstetrician who worked in multiple hospitals in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region for 15 years, told Radio Free Asia that maternity wards implemented strict family-planning policies intended to restrict Uighurs and other ethnic minorities to three children.

“Every hospital had a family-planning unit that was responsible for implementation — who had how many kids, when they’d given birth to them — they tracked all of this,” she said.

“The regulations were so strict: there had to be three or four years between children. There were babies born at nine months who we killed after inducing labor. They did that in the maternity wards, because those were the orders.” (Read more.)


Fourth-century Church in Tyana

 From Daily Sabah:

Pointing out that there are very few examples of such churches in Anatolia, Doğanay said the structure is the only specimen of this size in the Cappadocia region. “We had some doubts about the dating of the church. But the coins we found here have confirmed that the church was built in the fourth century A.D.,” he said.  
Aqueducts, pools and Roman baths are other important structures that have been found at the ancient city of Tyana, whose history dates back 4,000 years, Doğanay said. He noted that the ancient city was inhabited continuously for much of those 4,000 years, due in part to its key location at the head of the Cilician Gates (or Gülek Pass), which connects the Central Anatolian region to the Mediterranean coast and the Mesopotamian Basin. (Read more.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Gardening in French

The jardin français of Marie-Antoinette at Trianon

Some great ideas here, although Marie-Antoinette never pretended to be a milkmaid. Of course she would wear simple clothes and an apron when she visited the farm. From Frenchly:

The ‘French garden,” or jardin français, is a concept dating back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the Enlightenment was at its peak, and new discoveries in science and technology produced an ideology formatted around reason, above all else. Everything in nature could be bent to the human will, or so it was believed… including gardens.

While ‘English gardens’ of the time were treatises on romanticism, cobbled together from different themes to create a meandering experience left to each viewer’s interpretation, the French garden was formal, exacting, and precise. Picture Versailles from above: its distinctive curlicues and segmented pathways and flowerbeds and shrubberies, which must be meticulously maintained in order to retain their shape. (Though Versailles did have an English garden, the very one where Marie Antoinette built a miniature hamlet and pretended to be a milkmaid.) Louis XIV commissioned the gardens from André le Nôtre in 1661, personally overseeing every detail, in a process that took 40 years to complete, a fit comparison to the King’s ruling style. (Read more.)


Don't Know Much About History

 From Tom Piatak at Chronicles:

In recent decades the left has used its growing cultural power to paint the darkest possible picture of the history of our country and our civilization. This became apparent as the protests, triggered by the horrific, filmed death of George Floyd, devolved first into riots and then into an incipient Maoist-style cultural revolution. In place after place, rioters targeted statues, monuments, and other commemorations of American and Western history. Statues of Christopher Columbus were toppled or vandalized in several cities, as were statues of Confederate leaders.

Most politicians were all too eager to see such statues go. Virginia’s Democratic governor pledged to remove the magnificent statue of Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Minnesota’s Democratic governor allowed a group of demonstrators to tear down a statue of Columbus at the State Capitol, and California’s Democratic governor ordered a statue of the intrepid explorer removed from the once-Golden State’s Capitol.

Although Confederate leaders and Columbus were perhaps the preferred targets of the vandals, no statue of any white was safe. Other defaced statues included a World War I doughboy, Polish national hero Tadeusz Kościuszko, Winston Churchill in London, Scottish King Robert the Bruce in Bannockburn, St. Junípero Serra in California, and assorted abolitionists, American presidents, and Union soldiers in cities across America.

There are of course non-whites in the mobs intent on defacing the statue of any “dead white male” within reach, but the most striking thing was that the majority of the anti-white vandals seemed to be white themselves. These self-hating products of America’s schools have come to believe that people who look like they do have caused all the world’s problems. They have no pride in their country, in their ancestors, or in themselves.

What these people seek is nothing less than the abolition of America. After all, the rioters insist that the alleged “systemic racism” of police departments requires their disbanding. How can they want any less for all other facets of Western civilization supposedly stained by the same racism?

Of course, what the rioters believe is nonsense. The West has been the world’s most creative and benevolent civilization by far. America not only made enormous contributions to that creativity, but also was the first nation to enable large numbers of ordinary people to achieve a decent standard of living. It was the first nation to think the welfare of average people—the middle class—was important. There are dark chapters in the history of America and the West, but these have counterparts in the history of every other people and civilization. By contrast, its far more numerous bright chapters simply have no equal. 

This crisis may be a terminal one. When countries come to hate their past, they have no future. But the tools of recovery are readily at hand, if we have the wit and nerve to pick them up. We need to once again insist on the superiority of the West and the goodness of America. (Read more.)

From First Things, a podcast on the woke ideology at Catholic colleges.



 From DW:

Korczowski and Pogonowski were among the first prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp, which was set up in the spring of 1940 in the buildings of what used to be Polish army barracks. SS commander Heinrich Himmler liked the location's good transport links, which seemed practical for bringing prisoners to the camp from different occupied regions of Europe.

Three-quarters of the 728 Poles who were moved to Auschwitz from the prison in the southern Polish city of Tarnow were men aged below 30. They were mostly intellectuals and students. The camp functionaries and guards were 30 German criminals whom the SS had brought to Auschwitz from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp a short time previously. 
The Polish prisoners were victims of a German occupation policy that aimed to wipe out the Polish elites. After German troops invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, the Nazi regime incorporated the western regions of Poland into the Third Reich. By July 1940, the occupiers had murdered 50,000 Poles and deported the same number to concentration camps as part of the "Intelligenzaktion," a genocidal operation mostly targeting intellectuals. (Read more.)

Monday, August 24, 2020

Chairs for Bagatelle


 Four chairs, made for the Comte d'Artois and his private residence, the Bagatelle, were recently sold. Artois was the future Charles X and the brother of Louis XVI. Marie-Antoinette was his sister-in-law, not his step-sister. From The Daily Mail:

Four antique chairs made in 1778 for French Emperor Louis XVI's younger brother, Charles X have sold for more than £1 million - despite missing their seats, backs and upholstery. He ordered them to furnish his famous bedchamber at his opulent Chateau de Bagatelle in Paris. His bed is exhibited at the Louvre today. The frames sparked a bidding war when they went under the hammer with auctioneers Artcurial.

They were expected to fetch £450,000 but achieved over double the estimate, selling for £1.06m including fees. The chairs were confiscated during the French Revolution in 1789 before being sold off four years later.

They have changed hands several times in the two centuries that followed and were consigned by a private collector who had owned them for the past 20 years.

The chairs were fashioned from gilded and patinated wood, with carvings of laurel branches and a fire mark B under a crown for the Comte d'Artois at Bagatelle. They were crafted by master furniture maker Georges Jacobs and the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Rode. The suite is said to illustrate the extravagant charter and taste of Charles, who had a close relationship with his step-sister, the Queen Marie Antionette.

A spokesperson for Artcurial, of Paris, said: 'This exceptional suite was executed in 1778 by Georges Jacobs and Jean-Baptiste Rode for the celebrated bed chamber of the Comte d'Artois and future King, Charles X.

'It is a unique suite still preserved in its original condition and one of the most daring examples of the creativity and excellence of the craftsmen at the Royal court's service.

'This suite is leaving France to join another collection owned by great amateurs in love with the French decorative arts, who will take attentive care of them.' (Read more.)


From The Tatler:

The younger brother of King Louis XVI only reigned for six years, from 1824-1830, during the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. He abdicated due to riots, which led to the July Revolution. He was the last of the French rulers from the so-called senior House of Bourbon. He later died in Austria, just six years after leaving France.

Prior to the French Revolution, he had been close to his brother's wife, Marie Antoinette. She once wagered that his new castle, Château de Bagatelle, could not be completed within three months. He won the bet, employing neoclassical architect François-Joseph Bélanger to design the building, which features manicured gardens, and cost over two million livres. (Read more.)


More on the Bagatelle, HERE and HERE.


A Discussion with Danielle Williams-McCord

An interview by Joseph Sciambra about being healed from abuse and from vice.

Why sexual morality is far more important than people may think. (I may have linked to this once before.) From Kirk Durston:

A few days ago I finished studying Sex and Culture for the second time. It is a remarkable book summarizing a lifetime of research by Oxford social anthropologist J.D. Unwin.[1] The 600+ page book is, in Unwin’s words, only a “summary” of his research—seven volumes would be required to lay it all out.[2] His writings suggest he was a rationalist, believing that science is our ultimate tool of inquiry (it appears he was not a religious man). As I went through what he found, I was repeatedly reminded of the thought I had as a philosophy student: some moral laws may be designed to minimize human suffering and maximize human flourishing long term.

Unwin examines the data from 86 societies and civilizations to see if there is a relationship between sexual freedom and the flourishing of cultures. What makes the book especially interesting is that we in the West underwent a sexual revolution in the late 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s and are now in a position to test the conclusions he arrived at more than 40 years earlier. (Read more.)


Black Conservative Declares War on Baltimore Democrats

 From Todd Starnes:

 Klacik, who lives in Baltimore, is running as a Republican for the seat that was vacated by Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died in October after longstanding health issues. “I said, ‘You know what, if I’m going to walk the walk and talk the talk, I’m going to have to get out there and actually get my hands dirty and maybe try to bring some change and some positive impact to the area,’” she said.

She knows the city. She said she has been operating a non-profit for the past eight years that aims to help women secure jobs. The organization has had success stories but one of the challenges in the area is that there are simply no career opportunities, she said.

She said the issue demanded more attention than it has received in the past because residents in the area may graduate college or high school and there is no place to work. She said correcting that issue could solve a lot of the city’s problems.

Klacik pointed out some fundamental issues in the district. She said topics as simple as sanitation can have a major impact on cities, and pointed to how the city used to only respond to only five percent of garbage pickup calls in that area, compared to 100 percent of the calls to other middle-class neighborhoods. She also said there has been no accountability for the billions in federal funding the city receives.

“Someone, in office, is obviously leveraging the urban struggles to get these funds and then it’s just disappearing,” she said. “So at some point in time, somebody has to get into that seat and find out where that money’s going.” (Read more.)


From The Washington Free Beacon:

Baltimore Republican congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik called out former first lady Michelle Obama Wednesday for fashioning herself as a victim in spite of her immense wealth and fame.


The Legend of Prester John and His Lost Kingdom in the East

 From Ancient Origins:

Prester John (known also as Presbyter John or John the Elder) was a legendary figure in Europe during the Medieval and Early Modern periods. Europeans living at that time believed that Prester John was a wealthy and powerful Christian monarch who ruled over a kingdom somewhere in the East, beyond the borders of Medieval Christendom.

This kingdom was thought to be ‘lost’ among the nations of the Muslims and pagans, though no one knew its exact location. Nevertheless, the Europeans were extremely keen on making contact with this legendary ruler, as they were hoping to find a powerful Christian ally in the East in their struggle against the Muslims. Although Prester John’s kingdom was never found, its legend contributed to Portuguese exploration during the Age of Discovery . Thus, indirectly, this fabled ruler had a big impact on world history. (Read more.)

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Anthem of Royal France

  Happy Birthday to Louis XVI! Here is the hymn of the French monarchy, Tchaikovsky's version, used in his ballet of Sleeping Beauty. It is also known as Vive Henri IV.
Vive Henri IV
Vive ce roi vaillant !
Vive Henri IV
Vive ce roi vaillant !
Ce diable à quatre
A le triple talent
De boire de battre
Et d'être un vers galant.
(de 1800 à 1899 : ) 
Au diable guerres, 
Rancunes et partis. 
Comme nos pères,
 Chantons en vrais amis 
Au choc des verres, 
Les roses et les lys ! 
Au choc des verres, 
Les roses et les lys ! 

(en 1774 : ) 
Chantons l'antienne 
Qu'on chantera dans mille ans, 
Que Dieu maintienne 
En paix ses descendants 
Jusqu'à ce qu'on prenne, 
La lune avec les dents. 
Jusqu'à ce qu'on prenne, 
La lune avec les dents.  
Originally from the sixteenth century, the royalist anthem Vive Henri IV was featured in  Collé's 1770 opera La partie de chasse d'Henri IV. In 1774 it was often sung to honor Louis XVI, became popular again during the Restoration in 1814, as is told in the novel Madame Royale. The lyrics celebrate the monarch who was seen by the French people as the epitome of justice, kindness, and virility. It was an attempt to identify the Bourbon dynasty with the popular first Bourbon monarch, Henri IV. Louis XVI had also been seen as sharing with the King from Navarre an easy manner with the common folk, as well as a strong sense of justice and love of the hunt. Early in their reign, the King and Queen held a costume ball where everyone came in dress from the era of le bon roi Henri, with Marie-Antoinette herself garbed as Henri's beloved mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrées. It was part of the Queen's attempt to show that she was loved by her husband, and that she was his mistress as well as his wife. During the Restoration, members of the Bourbon family, especially the daughter of Louis XVI, the Duchess of Angoulême, were frequently welcomed with the anthem. After the fall of the Bourbons in 1830, the anthem was no longer played, and soon became a relic of the past.

Another version.

And another.

And another, along with the ancient coronation hymn, Domine Salvum Fac Regem.


More about Louis and Antoinette's Relationship

Continuing the discussion on BlogTalkRadio in which I analyze Queen Marie-Antoinette's relationship with her husband Louis XVI. The two teenagers first met hours before their wedding, endured many trials and humiliations together, and grew into a devoted couple who could only be separated by death. Was Louis really an ungracious dolt, incapable of being a true husband? Was he himself so completely unlovable as he has often been described? Did sexual frustration drive the Queen to spend money, which is the typical Freudian interpretation? Such questions and more will be explored, based upon scholarship, both old and new. Part One is HERE. Part Two, HERE.

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The American Oligarchy

 From The American Conservative:

No one ever elected Bill Gates to anything. His wealth, and not the democratic process, is the only reason he has an outsized voice in shaping coronavirus policy. The man who couldn’t keep viruses out of Windows now wants to vaccinate the planet. That isn’t an unreasonable goal for a man of his wealth, either. Gates’s foundation is the second largest donor to the World Health Organization, providing some 10 percent of its funds. That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense—and it yields results. In April, Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn’t quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high.

No one ever voted on those lockdowns, either. Like the mask-wearing mandates, they were instituted by executive fiat. The experts, many of them funded through donations given by tech billionaires like Gates, campaigned for policies that radically altered the basic structure of society. Here lies the danger of billionaire power. Without adequate checks and balances, the super-wealthy can skirt the normal political process, working behind the scenes to make policies that the people never even have a chance to debate or vote on.  (Read more.)