Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Plot Thickens

 I continue to be bemused by all the people, including some Catholics, who are under the impression that every casual utterance of the Pope is not only to be obeyed but has the power to change doctrine. No pope has the power to alter the laws of God and the natural law. Popes cannot change doctrine but on some occasions they can define or clarify it to respond to the crises of the time. But the Pope is not like the oracle of Delphi whose every utterance should be taken as a message from heaven. I am beginning to miss the Middle Ages when the pope and the emperor would fight it out.

We should be able to trust the Pope. But there were popes who favored Arianism, and popes who plotted to kill people, and popes whose mistresses and illegitimate children lived at the Lateran palace. Popes who give scandal or sow confusion have a lot to answer for.

From Crux:

Questions swirled Thursday about the origins of Pope Francis’s bombshell comments endorsing same-sex civil unions, with all evidence suggesting he made them in a 2019 interview that was never broadcast in its entirety.

The Vatican refused to comment on whether it cut the remarks from its own broadcast or if the Mexican broadcaster that conducted the interview did. And it didn’t respond to questions about why it allowed the comments to be aired now in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday.

In the movie, which was shown at the Rome Film Festival, Francis said gay people have the right to be in a family since they are “children of God.” (Read more.)

An open letter to the American Catholic Bishops, HERE.


Opening the Portal

 From Roman Catholic Man:

Russia (the Soviet Union) became the first country in the world to legalize abortion. What if this opened a gigantic satanic portal, and the ticking clock of Satan’s 100-year unbinding started when Russia was the first to legalize abortion in 1920. Literally, the biggest satanic portal opening one could imagine. Maybe this points to the “errors of Russia”? Maybe, because Russia opened the portal, this is why Russia was singled out for Consecration?

wrote about the potential significance of the 100 years since Fatima, which could be the “100 years of Satan.” At that time, I counted myself among those who speculated that 100 years stretched from 1917 to 2017.

Yet, since 2017, it has been challenging to explain the alarming acceleration of evil. I’ve speculated that it is Satan having a temper-tantrum, as he is doing all he can to regain his “greater strength,” and that could still be true.

The Latin phrase, motus in fine velocior, is commonly used to indicate the faster passing of the time at the end of an historical period. I’ve heard it said that it means, “Things accelerate toward the end.” We are living through an historical hour which is not necessarily the end of times, but certainly could be marked as the end of an era.

Don’t we all know that abortion is the worst genocide in human history, now with 1.7 billion babies slaughtered world-wide since 1973? And, this horror unto God all began just three years after Fatima, as Russia was the first to “open this demonic portal” in 1920.

Don’t we all know that this battle has always been about abortion? The sacrament of the Left. (Read more.)


More HERE.

Meanwhile, in Russia:

President Vladimir Putin has urged the government to improve abortion prevention strategies in an effort to reduce the number of terminated pregnancies and offset Russia's population decline. Putin’s order was made public days after Poland’s top court deemed abortions performed in cases of fetal defects to be unconstitutional. For Poland, which already had some of Europe’s strictest abortion laws, the decision amounted to a near-total ban on the procedure, sparking mass protests in over 150 Polish cities. (Read more.)


Getting Rid of Western Civ

 From the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal:

Several decades ago, one of the strongest movements in the humanities was “revisionist history,” a re-examination of the past that amounted to a Nietzschean “transvaluation of values.” The revisionists didn’t so much change the facts as they did the moral meaning of them. European explorers were not daring adventurers; they were greedy colonizers. Natives were not uncivilized peoples; they were dignified souls with a culture all their own. America was not a “city on a hill,” a beacon of freedom; it was an empire built on racism and conquest.

As it proceeded, their success in establishing a contrary party line on the West and American was astounding.

But there is a big difference between the revisionists of old and the Wokesters of today. The revisionists studied the history and culture of the West and of America and denounced them. The Woke ones denounce the West and America and do NOT study them.

The earlier leftist critics read old authors and exposed their bad social attitudes. The Woke critics say, “If those guys had bad attitudes, why should I read them at all?” The logic is clear to them. If American history and literature and art are packed with exploitation and bigotry, let’s not waste time with it. (Read more.)


Friday, October 30, 2020

Blessed Pius IX and the Revolution


From TFP:

Some see him as a liberal who—mugged by reality—converted, becoming a “reactionary.” Others present him as a pragmatic diplomat who made a miscalculation when he thought he could placate the revolutionaries with a policy milder than his predecessor, the austere and energetic Gregory XVI. Still others say that he was not a liberal and that his policies, permeated with clemency and liberality, were dictated more by his conciliatory temperament than by ideology, and that the Revolution sought to take advantage of this, appointing him as a “liberal” Pope, ready to carry out its designs.

Whatever the answer, the fact is that, as soon as Pius IX cleared up the misunderstanding and energetically put an end to the revolutionary consequences they intended to draw from his acts, everything changed. The revolutionary sectarians responded by inciting the Roman populace to mutiny. The mobs stoned the Pontifical Palace, and the Pope had to leave the Eternal City secretly, taking refuge in Gaeta in the Kingdom of Naples. Meanwhile, the revolutionaries stalked the streets of Rome, sowing terror through an orgy of blood and desecration of churches and convents. Finally, they declared the civil power of the Pontiff to be over and proclaimed the “Roman Republic.”

The Pope appealed to Catholic powers, which uprooted the revolutionaries from Rome and the other pontifical territories. After a few months, Pius IX returned to his capital. (Read more.)


The Biden Crime Family

 From The National Pulse:

Emails between Hunter Biden and his cousin Missy Owens show that the president of Hunter’s Chinese Communist Party-linked firm, Eric Schwerin, repeatedly asked Hunter for an appointment to an Obama/Biden-era presidential commission – a position he ultimately received, The National Pulse can exclusively reveal. After the announcement of Schwerin’s appointment to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, Owens emailed with Hunter to enquire if it was the same person. Or as she put it: “our Eric.”

She followed up by asking how she could secure a position for herself or her mother, Valerie Biden Owens, to which Hunter replied: “I don’t know how much 2016 and nepotism plays into” the selection process. Hunter Biden then pledged to consult with Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff Steve Richetti about a potential appointment for his family members. Roughly one year later, Valerie Owens was nominated by the Obama-Biden administration to be an Alternate Representative of the United States to the 71st Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. (Read more.)

From Church Militant:

A businessman-turned-whistleblower is accusing Joe Biden of lying when he denies he ever discussed business with his son Hunter, offering evidence that the Democratic presidential contender not only involved himself in Hunter's business deals but profited handsomely off them.

"The former vice president has said he had no knowledge whatsoever of his son's business dealings and was not involved in them at all," said Fox News host Tucker Carlson during an hour-long interview Tuesday with Tony Bobulinski, former business associate of Hunter Biden. 

"Yeah, that's a blatant lie," said Bobulinski. "When he states that, that is a blatant lie."

Bobulinski says he twice met privately with the vice president specifically in relation to a contract with a major Chinese energy firm — and not only that: He has emails proving China loaned the Biden family $5 million as part of the deal, in addition to the $10 million annually Hunter received.

Bobulinski was CEO of Sinohawk Holdings, which in 2017 entered into an agreement with CEFC China Energy, a multi-billion-dollar energy conglomerate backed by the Communist Chinese government. An email shows Hunter entered into a three-year contract with CEFC that involved receiving $10 million per year for "introductions alone." (Read more.)


 From The Boston Herald:

Biden’s platform is a risky love letter to social justice warriors and those who believe capitalism is the root of all evil.

For starters, Biden wants to increase the corporate tax rate. The Hill cited an economic study by Kevin Hassett and Aparna Mathur which concluded that corporate tax hikes lead to a substantial decrease in wages and spending, and spurred businesses to move out of the country.

That’s not what we need, especially as a report by Yelp found that 60% of businesses around the U.S. that shut down due to the coronavirus will remain closed forever.

Biden has big plans for spending, some $5.4 trillion for universal pre-K, free community college, clean energy and other programs. The wealthy will foot the bill, thanks to eliminating the Republican tax cuts and making the rich “pay their fair share.”

But a look at data released by the Congressional Budget Office analyzing 2017 household income shows that the top 20% of households already pay 87.1% of federal income taxes and 69.2 % of all federal taxes; and the top 1% of households pay an average income tax rate of 24.4% while the middle 20% of households pays an average income tax rate of 3.3%. (Read more.)


Voting for Abortion is a Crime Against Humanity

 From Crisis:

Abortion is an intrinsic moral evil. It involves carrying out or arranging to carry out the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. An intrinsic evil is an action that is always gravely sinful regardless of the circumstances. There are no exceptions, no grey areas.

The U.S. federal government is guilty of and complicit in intrinsic evil because it permits abortion and funds it with tax dollars. With some 62 million people killed by abortion since it was legalized, not only is the U.S. government complicit in an intrinsic evil, it is complicit in genocide – which the American Heritage dictionary defines as “the systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, or other particularity.” In this case the particularity is the preborn.

To be sure, that does not mean federal employees and U.S. taxpayers are complicit, unless they support it and enable it.

Then who is complicit? This ignominious group includes the original seven Supreme Court justices who voted to legalize abortion in 1973. Presidents who appointed Supreme Court justices they knew to be in favor of keeping abortion legal were complicit in intrinsic evil, as were those newly appointed justices. Senators who voted to approve them also were complicit.

Members of the populace who vote in favor of pro-abortion politicians are complicit in the intrinsic evil of legalized abortion, and therefore commit sin. This is particularly the case when they vote for a presidential candidate who not only would appoint additional pro-abortion Supreme Court justices, but who also wants to enshrine abortion into federal law through an act of Congress. This characterizes presidential candidate Joe Biden. (Read more.)

From Theresa Bonopartis at The Federalist:

Joe Biden speaks of this election as a fight for the “soul of our nation,” and so it is. It is difficult, however, to listen to Biden speak as if he is on some high moral ground when, in fact, he advocates for abortion throughout the entirety of a pregnancy. This disregard for innocent human life goes beyond the soul of our nation. It is a fight for personal souls.

This self-proclaimed “devout” Catholic sadly has the support of some bishops, who tell their flocks they can vote for him “in good conscience.” Anyone who takes the time to contemplate the more than 60 million deaths of innocent babies, however, knows this cannot come from a good conscience, but from an absence of one.

I know about the fight for souls. I have faced it in my own life since that abortion all those years ago when I was tortured with guilt and shame. Those who support abortion blame my Catholic faith for instilling guilt and shame, but I know that’s not it. That agony comes from having seen my son lying on the bed next to me, killed from a saline abortion.

I also know about the fight for souls from the more than 200 new people I hear from each year who are seeking healing from abortion. These women live in pain and regret, often alone in silent suffering in a society that refuses to acknowledge their grief. (Read more.


The genocide of abortion is particularly aimed at black Americans. From The American Conservative:

Benjamin Watson has been a regular speaker at prominent events like the March for Life for years, but Divided Hearts of America is the soft-spoken NFL star’s most significant foray into pro-life advocacy to date. More fundamentally, as our disagreements over the rights of the unborn occur in the context of increasingly irreconcilable philosophical divisions, the new documentary is also a window into the story of our looming national crack-up. Abortion, says one of the film’s interviewees, “is our new civil war. . . in many ways, it’s a great moral battle for the soul of this country.”

Divided Hearts is distinct from other pro-life films not just for its production quality, which is significantly higher than comparable documentaries in the genre, but also for the unique perspective it offers: Watson, a devout Christian and father of seven, is joined by a collection of other leading black pro-life voices—Tim Scott and Ben Carson both feature prominently—to examine the question of legal abortion in the context of the African-American experience. “Black Americans are only 12, 13, 14 percent of the population tops, and yet we’re responsible for between 28 to 36 percent of all abortions in the United States of America,” activist Walter Hoye tells viewers. “That’s not an accident. That’s genocide.” One can draw a direct line from the dehumanization of the black body in chattel slavery to the dehumanization of the black body in the womb. (Read more.)


Many gains have been made under President Trump. From Forbes:

 The Trump Administration signed an anti-abortion declaration with 32 member states in the United Nations on Thursday, many of which are authoritarian regimes or seen as flawed democracies, a move which drastically reframes U.S. foreign policy ahead of the presidential election. The Geneva Consensus Declaration calls on nations to “promote the rights of women and strengthen the family,” but stresses there is “no international right to abortion.”

The declaration was cosponsored by the U.S., Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Brazil and Uganda. Apart from the United States, not one of those countries ranks higher than 95th on Georgetown University’s Women, Peace and Security Index. Other signatories include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all of which are classified as authoritarian regimes in The Economist’s 2019 Democracy Index.  The declaration says both men and women should enjoy civil, political and economic rights and opportunities, but “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning.” 

National sovereignty “in global politics” was also strongly emphasized in the document, an area Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stressed when confronted with international probes into “American Jurisdiction.” (Read more.)


Being the B-List Friend

 Many young mothers go through this. It is important to cultivate a life of happiness at home. We cannot rely on others for our happiness, especially when they do not have the most basic good manners, and let us know when we are being excluded. From Her View From Home:

It’s not fun to be a B-list friend.

When you are the B-list friend, it’s painful to watch a group of your friends walk into a restaurant without you as you drive by on your way home from work. It hurts to hear all about how much fun your friends had last weekend at yet another “Sunday Funday” without you. It’s uncomfortable to sit with your friends at a youth sporting event for our children and listen to them plan their weekend away at the beach—a weekend without you.

I’ve tried to be the planner myself—inviting them over for girl’s nights, or to our house for barbeques, or out for dinner. They come, they laugh, they tell me how much they love me, they say, “We should do this more often,” and then they move on with their A-list friends and forget about me.

I’ve tried to talk to some of them about it, trying to see if I have done or said something offensive or hurtful so I can make it better. But, talking about it almost always backfires into me being labeled “too sensitive” or they tell me I’m “imagining things.” (Read more.)


Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Designer Finds Her Dream Home

 From La Dolce Vita:

I have known interior designer, Alexandra Kaehler for quite a while now. We first connected in the O.G. blogging days and have kept up with each other on Instagram. We are both designing rooms for the Lake Forest Infant Welfare Showhouse this season and I know that we are eagerly anticipating its new opening date. We recently connected when Alex shared photos of her home in Winnetka, Illinois. When Alex and her husband set out to find the right house, they were both shocked that they fell in love with the very first home they saw. It must have been kismet because they went on to buy it. While Alex loved the character and bones of the mid-century home, she had big plans for it. I was drawn to the way she was able to update a very traditional, 1958 home to make it feel perfect for her young, vibrant family! She’s punctuated the spaces with punchy wallpapers, graphic art, and interesting lighting fixtures. You’ll find antiques and vintage finds juxtaposed against modern art, a cheerful use of color, and thoughtful, personal touches throughout the house all of which speaks to my modern-meets-traditional aesthetic. (Read more.)


The Triumph of Justice Amy Coney Barrett

 From Intellectual Takeout:

“There is a tendency in our profession,” Judge Amy Coney Barrett declared at the outset of her Senate confirmation hearing, “to treat the practice of law as all-consuming, while losing sight of everything else.” But, Barrett added in her Oct. 12 opening statement, “I never let the law define my identity or crowd out the rest of my life.”

There is much to celebrate with Barrett’s successful elevation to the Supreme Court of the United States: her impeccable qualifications, her laudable record, her commitment to the Constitution, and the army of devoted family, friends, and colleagues who supported her. But above all else, it is Amy Coney Barrett the person whom we celebrate, because everything we’ve learned through this process has only strengthened our conclusion that she will be a superlative justice.

The confirmation process is a grueling examination of a nominee’s life. When President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the high court, Gorsuch said that he regretted putting his family through it. When it was Barrett’s turn, her opponents distorted her record, launched bad-faith attacks against her religious views, and even attacked her family and her decision to adopt children from Haiti. Nevertheless, each time the scrutiny intensified, Barrett came out looking better. (Read more.)

This Is Not Russian Disinformation

 From The Columbian Herald:

Yesterday we reported on former VP Joe Biden who snapped at a reporter who dared to ask him about his son Hunter. But VP Biden can’t get out of this one. Biden did not let WYOU reporter Andy Mehalshick get through his question before snapping during an event on Saturday. 
“Questions and controversy continue today about Hunter Biden, your son,” Mehalshick began.

“There is no controversy,” he interjected. “That’s all a lie.”

“It’s a flat lie because the president has nothing else to run on.” Biden said. Biden does not want you to believe your own eyes.

Of course, Biden is the one who is lying, as leaked emails have revealed deep levels of corruption and homemade porn of his son smoking crack with prostitutes is all over the internet. But today we have more – much more…Hunter Biden sent the following text to a family friend where he shares that someone is accusing him of being sexually inappropriate around her daughter. This is why Hunter claims he is not allowed to be alone with that person....(Read more.)

From Newsmax:

Hunter Biden's former business associate Tony Bobulinski repeated his claim that Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden is lying about his connection to his family's lucrative business dealings within China and ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

"That's a blatant lie," Bobulinski, who attended the debate as President Donald Trump's guest, told Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" about Joe Biden's denials and "Russian disinformation" dismissal. "In that debate, he made a specific statement around questions around this from the president," Bobulinski continued to Carlson in an exclusive interview. "And I'll be honest with you, I almost stood up and screamed 'liar' and walked out because I was shocked that after four days or five days that they prep for this, that the Biden family is taking that position to the world."

Among the most explosive new claims to come out of the interview Tuesday night was that Joe Biden's brother Jim Biden responded to Bobulinski, who asked how a former vice president would justify doing business with the CCP.

Jim Biden said "plausibly deniability," Bobulinski told Carlson. Bobulinski also added more context to his previous claim he was threatened about not coming forward with his story before the Nov. 3 presidential election. (Read more.)

From The New York Post:

Sen. Ted Cruz teed off on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over the social media site’s censorship of The Post’s Hunter Biden reporting, in an extended diatribe during Wednesday’s Big Tech hearing on Capitol Hill.

“Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report, and what the American people are allowed to hear?” thundered the Texas Republican at the social media mogul. “Why do you persist in behaving as a Democratic super PAC, silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?”

A flat-footed Dorsey, while conceding that Twitter erred in blocking The Post over its reporting — a block that persists to this day — repeatedly insisted that The Post was free to return to the platform, so long as it deletes tweets on the story. (Read more.) 

So Easy to Trick

 From Circe Institute:

It is characteristic of us as fallen humans to want to dodge responsibility and to shift blame to others while preventing clarity from approaching our minds. We are most effective at this when we rob language of its meaning or confuse it. Consequently, in ages when Human-diabolical rhetoric is ascendant, language loses its integrity and power to reveal and becomes a tool for manipulation and control. It breaks down souls and societies and it doesn't take very long to do so.

Why then are we more easy to fool than to deliver from a folly?

I contend that it is quite simple: we are not created to be lied to.

We are created to hear the word of God, receive it, and do it.

But now that we are broken and we don't have ears to hear, we have to practice a form of rhetoric or reasoning that we never should have had to use: we need to learn to evaluate the truthfulness of something we hear.

Because it is so hard to do so, we usually begin by determining whether we trust the person speaking to us. Unfortunately, we usually trust him more for saying what we want him to say than for speaking truth.

The application is perhaps surprising: we have to change the perspective. Instead of asking who can be trusted, we must first make ourselves trustworthy. I don't think there is any other way to learn how lies work. The person who has removed lies from his soul and who wants only to walk in and live by the light of truth is the only person who can actually see reality and identify when somebody else is lying to him. (Read more.)


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Mozart at Pimlico

 From Country Life:

London’s premier design district is home to some of the world’s leading interior-design and furnishing shops, but its refined façades belie a bohemian past, as Carla Passino discovers.

The bronze of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart proudly surveys Orange Square, off Pimlico Road, with a slightly cheeky look on his chubby face. Unveiled in 1994, the statue pays tribute to the Austrian genius who composed his first symphony, aged only eight, when staying at a house up the road (180, Ebury Street). Although Mozart is perhaps their most famous (if rather ephemeral) resident, the streets around Pimlico Road have been home to an array of colourful characters who have given this corner of London a unique identity.

At the time the Mozarts settled in Ebury Street, the area had a distinctly rural feel, not least because it was bordered to the east by Neat House’s market gardens, about 200 acres brimming with the cabbage, celery, cauliflower and asparagus that kept London fed. (Read more.)


The Hunter Biden Scandal

 From The Federalist:

As Matt Taibbi noted last week, the dogged refusal of the mainstream press to cover the story, together with Twitter and Facebook’s decision to block access to the Post’s reporting, might prove to be a bigger scandal than whatever Hunter and his dad were up to in China. Information about the Biden scandal has been so politicized, writes Taibbi, that American audiences can hardly look up anything about Hunter and China without running into “thickets of propagandistic contextualizing” — fact-checks and explainers and op-eds that keep readers away from what substantive reporting does exist, lest they come to their own conclusions about the Biden family business.

But suppression and distraction can only go so far, even when big media and big tech join forces. The longer the Hunter Biden story is out there, the more one can see a kind of psychosis developing in the American press. After weeks of insinuating, without evidence, that the Hunter Biden emails are just “Russian disinformation” and therefore not worthy of serious coverage, the media circulated a Reuters report on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin said there’s “nothing criminal” about Hunter Biden’s business deals. Apparently, if it comes straight from Putin’s mouth it can’t be disinformation.

The American people are not helpless rubes, and they smell a rat. For as much as big media and big tech are trying to control what audiences see and hear, for as much as they try to keep unwanted or counter-narrative information out of the public square, they can’t quite do it. (Read more.)

Tony Bobulinski reveals details of conversation with Joe Biden, HERE

People want to change their votes, HERE.


Lost Languages Discovered

 From Smithsonian:

Now, as Jeff Farrell reports for the Independent, a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that were erased and written over by the monks who lived and worked at the monastery. Many of these original texts were written in languages well known to researchers—Latin, Greek, Arabic—but others were inscribed in long-lost languages that are rarely seen in the historical record.

Manuscripts with multiple layers of writing are known as palimpsests, and there are about 130 of them at St. Catherine’s Monastery, according to the website of the Early Manuscript Electronic Library, which has been leading the initiative to uncover the original texts. As Richard Gray explains in the Atlantic, with the rise of Islam in the 7th century, Christian sites in the Sinai Desert began to disappear, and Saint Catherine’s found itself in relative isolation. Monks turned to reusing older parchments when supplies at the monastery ran scarce.

To uncover the palimpsests’ secret texts, researchers photographed thousands of pages multiple times, illuminating each page with different-colored lights. They also photographed the pages with light shining onto them from behind, or from an oblique angle, which helped “highlight tiny bumps and depressions in the surface,” Gray writes. They then fed the information into a computer algorithm, which is able to distinguish the more recent texts from the originals.

Since 2011, researchers have photographed 74 palimpsests, which boast 6,800 pages between them. And the team’s results have been quite astonishing. Among the newly revealed texts, which date from the 4th to the 12th century, are 108 pages of previously unknown Greek poems and the oldest-known recipe attributed to the Greek physician Hippocrates. (Read more.)


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Paris Home of Pierre Bergé

From Sotheby's:

Sometimes in life you come across exceptional people. Pierre Bergé was one of these. On receiving our book he wanted to meet us. He had come to Tangier to see one of our projects and was impressed. A connoisseur of Morocco who had known the country very well for so many years, he found our interpretation – the link with the past and the subtle hint of Italy that went well with the exoticism of the place – to be remarkable. Some time afterwards he called and asked us to meet up again in Paris. He wanted to show us a house he had owned for a few years and had never lived in. We were partly flattered, partly a little anxious. A cultivated Frenchman, renowned for his entrepreneurial skills and his taste, reserved and rigorous, was calling on two “young” Italians to rethink his house in Paris. He wished to transform the piano nobile, left temporarily abandoned, which he had bought because he did not want to hear footsteps above his head. There was no need for bedrooms because they were already on the ground floor, where he lived. He wanted a place just for the pleasure of walking through it, stopping to leaf through one of the books in the magnificent library, or simply to have fun with us in creating a particular space, different from the kind people expect to find at such an address. (Read more.)


Blinded by Hatred

 I still cannot understand the stupidity that tries to make Trump into a Nazi. If Trump were even vaguely like Hitler, all the opposing journalists would be in concentration camps and half of Hollywood too. Jewish women would be forced to have abortions and Jewish families disarmed. And I don't see any yellow stars, anywhere. Trying to conflate Trump with the Nazis is actually a horrific insult and denigration of the millions of victims of the real Nazis. Plus everyone was trying to escape from Hitler's Germany. If America is so bad under Trump, why do people still risk their lives and fortunes to live here? From Mike Huckabee:

Today’s Must-Read article is from the New Neo blog, where the anonymous female blogger (a former Democrat-turned-conservative surrounded by liberals in NYC) examines how liberals have become so blinded by groundless Trump hatred that they can no longer see dangerous realities, such as the rising anti-Semitism in their own party.

In particular, she cites a column in the Jewish magazine Tablet by Bari Weiss, whom you’d think might understand where the real danger is, since she was driven out of the New York Times for daring to express non-leftist groupthink-approved thoughts. She recognizes the dangers of the fascistic, anti-Semitic radical left, and that Biden will allow it to gain more power, but she can’t even bring herself to consider the possibility of doing the only thing to stop it: voting for Trump. She describes him in purple prose as an “obscenity” who has “normalized bigotry and cruelty in ways that have crippled American society.” As the blogger notes, she offers no specifics as to how he’s allegedly done that.

She then quotes Weiss describing the attributes of the classic liberal that she fears are being lost in the Democratic Party: “…the belief that everyone is equal because everyone is created in the image of God. The belief in the sacredness of the individual over the group or the tribe. The belief that the rule of law—and equality under that law—is the foundation of a free society. The belief that due process and the presumption of innocence are good and that mob violence is bad. The belief that pluralism is a source of our strength; that tolerance is a reason for pride; and that liberty of thought, faith, and speech are the bedrocks of democracy…”

As the blogger points out, those things aren’t under assault in the Democratic Party; they’ve been dead there for years. What Weiss is describing is a conservative Trump voter, but her visceral hatred for “Orange Man Bad” has blinded her to seeing it. (Read more.)


Meanwhile, the Chinese Communists are happy. From The National Pulse:

Appearing in China Global Television Network (CGTN), the op-ed entitled “U.S. Tech Giants Are To Safeguard Election By All Means” argues that social media platforms ought to play an active role in monitoring, disseminating, and, in some cases, censoring election-related content. The article argues in favor of Facebook and Twitter – both of which have unfairly targeted conservative users with bans and blacklists – exerting increased influence over the 2020 election.

Beyond arguing to amplify the sway big tech can undemocratically exert over American electoral outcomes, the article lauded Facebook’s decision to censor a post by President Trump who CGTN describes as peddling “misinformation”:

“Not only is there a risk of misinformation coming from outside the U.S., but from inside, and by key American president himself. Donald Trump in June posted misleadingly on Facebook June that Democrat Joe Biden wanted to “defund” police forces. Fact checkers agreed that this post was either false or deceptive.”

The piece also amplifies Transition Integrity Project-conjured narratives about President Trump refusing to concede the election with its inclusion of a New York Times quote:

“Employees at Facebook are “laying out contingency plans and walking through post-election scenarios that include attempts by Mr. Trump or his campaign to use the platform to delegitimize the results,” according to the New York Times.”
And given CGTN is “supervised, owned, directed, controlled, financed, and subsidized” by the Chinese government according to its Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing, the outlet constitutes a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party’s desires.

The calls for weaponizing social media platform to suppress President Trump’s content is especially concerning given big tech’s coziness with the Chinese Communist Party.

Twitter, for example, employs a Chinese government-linked artificial intelligence expert, and Facebook routinely attends conferences alongside Chinese military collaborators. (Read more.)


Sensationalizing Austen

 I watched one episode of Sanditon but did not care for it. From Law and Liberty:

With little to go on, Andrew Davies needed to extrapolate much to form his Sanditon. There is no romantic plotline in the novel. Yet Sidney Parker is described as a “very clever young man” with “superior abilities” and a “neat equipage & fashionable air,” so it seems reasonable Austen would have favored her heroine with his attentions. Theo James, confident in his crisp and perfectly-tailored attire, has the commanding presence of an Austenian gentleman, though Sidney is too quick to anger.

While Davies needed to expand on Austen’s script, it’s curious that he chose to alter the characters she created. Austen’s Charlotte Heyward is a “sober-minded young Lady, sufficiently well-read in Novels to supply her Imagination with amusement, but not at all unreasonably influenced by them,” while her modern theatrical counterpart comes off as naïve and cavalier. Clara Brereton is transformed by Davies into a calculating and mercenary Machiavellian similar to Mary Crawford, though Austen’s description of her is closer to (a more attractive) Fanny Price. Davies thus deviates much from Austen, though few fans will object to Sidney being caught sea bathing by Charlotte (a welcome replication of Colin Firth emerging dripping from a lake only to encounter Elizabeth later).    

In making certain alterations and extrapolations, Sanditon suffers. It becomes a cobbled combination of scenes and characters from other Austen novels. Charlotte encounters Sidney at a ball at the onset of the series and is promptly humiliated by him, reminding Austen fans of the opening of Pride and Prejudice. In a later episode, another character falls and injures himself in the presence of Sidney and Charlotte. They both respond quickly, and the comradery born of an emergency inculcates reciprocal goodwill and respect for calm judgment. Persuasion’s Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth reconcile in the same manner. By stringing together components from various novels, Davies’ work lacks fluidity and cohesion. Austen characters are not all interchangeable. (Read more.)


Monday, October 26, 2020

Inside Althorp House

From Hello!

Princess Diana grew up at Althorp House in Northamptonshire until she married the Prince of Wales in 1981. The property, which was previously owned by Princess Diana's father Earl John Spencer, is now owned by her brother Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer. It has 90 rooms and 550 acres and is also home to some of the finest European furniture and art you'll ever see. Take a look inside…Charles recently posted about the library on his Instagram account, calling it his favourite room in the house. It features wooden floors with three large patterned rugs, cream walls with endless shelves of books, and a selection of red armchairs and sofas. There are also several palatial chandeliers. (Read more.)


Peace Deal Between Israel and Sudan After Decades of War

 From The Western Journal:

President Donald Trump announced Friday that Sudan will start to normalize ties with Israel, making it the third Arab state to do so in recent months. The deal, which would deepen Sudan’s engagement with the West, follows Trump’s conditional agreement this week to remove the North African nation from the list of state sponsors of terrorism if it pays compensation to American victims of terror attacks. It also delivers a foreign policy victory for Trump just days before the U.S. election and bolsters the embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Recently, the United States brokered diplomatic pacts between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Trump invited reporters into the Oval Office while he was on the phone with the leaders of Israel and Sudan. Trump said Sudan had demonstrated a commitment to battling terrorism.

“This is one of the great days in the history of Sudan,” Trump said, adding that Israel and Sudan have been in a state of war for decades.

“It is a new world,” Netanyahu said over the phone. “We are cooperating with everyone. Building a better future for all of us.” (Read more.)


The Trump rallies you don't see. From The Washington Examiner:

"I can't believe there aren't any newspeople here," said Linda of Greene County, Pennsylvania, as she stood among hundreds of cars and pickup trucks idling in long parallel lines in a vast big-box-store parking lot Saturday, waiting to join the Interstate 70 Trump Train. Indeed, although there were carloads of Trump supporters as far as one could see, and many more on the way from Ohio and West Virginia, and this enormous political event was happening less than two weeks before the presidential election, as far as I could tell, I was the only newsperson there.

It was the biggest political rally no one saw. And gatherings like it have been happening for months in some of the places President Trump needs most to win if he is to be reelected. And, remarkably, the rallies are not the work of the Trump campaign. The road rally in Washington, Pennsylvania, was organized and staged by local Trump supporters, linked together largely by Facebook, who want to show that enthusiasm for the president in western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas is not just strong but stronger than it was when Trump eked out a victory in Pennsylvania in 2016. If Trump wins this critical state, it will owe in significant part to this organic movement and the energetic organizers who have nothing to do with his campaign.

Saturday's rally started in St. Clairsville, Ohio, in the parking lot of a store called Oil & Gas Safety Supply. After hundreds of cars, probably the majority were pickup trucks, lined up there, they became a rolling rally headed east on I-70 to Wheeling, West Virginia, about 12 miles away. There, hundreds more cars were waiting to join, and the much bigger rally returned to the freeway for the 30-mile drive to Washington. That's where Linda and several hundred more people were waiting in the parking lot of the other branch of Oil & Gas Safety Supply. The cars from Ohio and West Virginia exited off the interstate, rolled past the Home Depot, then past Oil & Gas, and then, when the last car had passed, the Washington cars joined it, making one massive line of vehicles heading back to St. Clairsville. (Read more.)


Why Milton Matters

 From The Brazen Head:

Had you suggested, say, 50 years ago, to anybody working as a senior high school English teacher, or an academic in an English Literature department – or even, more generally, to men and women who prided themselves on being widely and deeply read in the great books – they would have been dumbstruck, astonished, appalled that the time would come, by the beginning of the 21st century, not only that the poetry of John Milton would no longer make an occasional appearance in senior English classes and syllabuses, but that it would disappear entirely from university courses in English, and that there would be PhD graduates in the subject (even writing, specifically, on poetry), and university professors of English who had never read or studied a line of Milton’s works. Yet such is the case today. George Orwell, in fact, predicted the future disappearance of Milton as long ago as 1948, when he was writing Nineteen Eighty-Four.

We are becoming familiar with the dismal phenomenon of the ‘cancel culture’, whereby any figure who fails to comply with the enforced principles of the halo-polishing ‘woke’ enforcers of ‘correct’ thought will be vaporised, like a deletion from the Soviet Encyclopaedia. Writers are proving to be fair game in this extraordinary revival of censorship in our time, which, as often as not, is based on risible ignorance of the contexts and nuances of the banished writers’ thought and art – as in the recent cancelling of the American novelist, Flannery O’Connor, a prose-writer of genius, by Loyola University in Maryland. This was stridently supported by people who shamelessly confessed that they had never read a word of her allegedly ‘incorrect’ writings. Blinkered ignorance, through the ages, has been the censors’ and the book-burners’ familiar companion. (Read more.)


Tolkien the Realist

 From the Eighth Day Institute:

Whereas Lewis acknowledges in Surprised by Joy that he was deeply influenced by neo-Platonism, Tolkien absorbed, as by osmosis, the Thomistic realism that hung in the very air of the Birmingham Oratory (founded by John Henry Cardinal Newman). Here Tolkien gained his early religious instruction. Here too, he and his brother Hillary served as altar boys. Both were raised there after his mother’s death. Mabel Tolkien, who died when Tolkien was eleven, appointed Father Morgan from the Oratory as the boys’ legal guardian. The Oratory was his philosophical and spiritual home.

When Pius XII, in his 1950 Humani Generis, declared Thomism the Church’s official philosophy, it was less an imposition than an acknowledgment of the status quo. The catechisms of that day and the preaching (think of Fulton Sheen) reflected how deeply ingrained Thomism was in the intellectual formation of the pre-Vatican II Church.

Romanticism does not come easily to someone formed in philosophical realism.

Tolkien’s fiction certainly constitutes a work of great imagination. But that does not make his work Romantic. All fiction is created from the imagination, including the greatest works of the Realists. Tolkien does not move us by heaping up emotive words or florid imagery. He lets the story itself move us. (Read more.)

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Eastern Eden

From La Dolce Vita:

We worked with George from The ABL Group who did a wonderful job on the construction portion of our room. The design is centered around the “Eastern Eden” wallpaper by Iksel. I had the ceiling lacquered in a barely there shade of pink (Sherwin Williams Venus Pink) to add an element of surprise. The host and hostess Loop chairs (from Bungalow 5) are an homage to Frances Elkins and are upholstered in the Miles Redd for Schumacher Cubist fabric. The side chairs are French antique 19th century Louis XVI upholstered in a Schumacher velvet on loan from designer Amy Kartheiser (SOLD) while the beautiful mahogany flame dining table (SOLD)is from Anna’s Mostly Mahogany. The beautiful chandelier is the The Sarafina Chandelier in white tole by Coleen and Company. The “Keno” jute rug (SOLD) by Patterson Flynn Martin grounds the room and adds a dose of texture. (Read more.)


The Mount Rushmore Election

 From The American Mind:

Leading critical race theorists such as the widely acclaimed, New York Times best-selling author Ibram X. Kendi have made it clear that wiping out “systemic racism” will require rigid racial quotas in all sectors of society and suppression of First Amendment free speech guarantees. Kendi recommends the establishment of a super-powerful federal Department of Anti-Racism (DOA) that would preclear “all local, state, and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield any racial inequity…investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas.”

Antonio Gramsci, an early leader of the Italian Communist Party, famously wrote that the Marxist revolution could not succeed politically until the revolutionary forces had conquered civil society (the culture) and established “ideological hegemony.” This meant the fight was not won until the moral values and core principles that had legitimated the old regime (in Italy, Roman Catholicism) had been discredited and replaced with new revolutionary mores and principles.

In the late 1960s, the German radical student leader Rudi Dutschke called for a “long march through the institutions” of power. Entering the third decade of the 21st century, the “long march” of identity politics/wokeism through leading sectors of American society (universities, media, entertainment, government bureaucracy, woke corporations) has achieved considerable success.

What has been going on in American civil society and politics for the past 40 years is not simply a “culture war,” though it is often disingenuously dismissed as trivial on those grounds (“are we really going to argue over which bathrooms to use?”). In reality, what is at stake is not a minor argument over habits and lifestyles but a “regime change” conflict between two fundamentally antagonistic visions of America and our way of life. This intense division is clearly represented in the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Speaking on July 4, 2020, Biden declared, “American history is no fairy tale.” He decried the “more than 200 years of systemic racism” and lamented the plight of “the marginalized, the demonized, the isolated, the oppressed.” He promised to “rip the roots of systemic racism out of this country.”

In another address, Biden bellowed that not only is there “absolutely systemic racism in law enforcement,” but the problem is much, much broader than that. He continued, “it’s not just in law enforcement, it’s across the board. It’s in housing, it’s in education, and it’s in everything we do. It’s real. It’s genuine. It’s serious.” Biden’s language would seem to indicate just how far left he has moved. After becoming the vice-presidential candidate on August 29, Kamala Harris stated that “the reality is that the life of a black person in America has never been treated as fully human.”

The rhetoric employed by Biden and Harris is not the language of the give-and-take inherent in democratic politics, but the language of delegitimization. A political regime that has “never” treated fellow citizens as “fully human” because of their race; that stigmatizes “the marginalized, the demonized, the isolated, and the oppressed”; and that has been “systematically racist” for hundreds of years is, by all accounts, an illegitimate political regime.

These remarks were made in the context of nationwide rioting and insurrectionary disorder. After the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 there were mass protests across the country. But soon the protests (particularly after dark) became full-fledged riots. (Read more.)

From Catholicism:

No doubt that fact is why some perspicacious commentators have located the root of the current civil disorders in the pernicious influence in academe of the culturally Marxist Frankfurt School, and no doubt that influence has had its role. Students who fell under it in the 1960s went on to become the millennials’ professors.

Whether or not President Trump knows of the Frankfurt School, he certainly sees what is going on. Did you pay attention to his speech at Mount Rushmore on July 4? Listen to him: “Our nation is witnessing a massive campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished.”

Trump has had to spend a great deal of his time during the past four years fending off efforts to remove him from office. It has prevented his doing all that he might to counter the “far-left fascism.” However, it was possible as late as the beginning of this year to hope that nationalist populists in Europe could accomplish more. Then covid-19 hit. The two issues that were propelling the nationalist populists toward success were the mass arrival and movement around the Continent of Muslim aliens, and the open borders that made that possible. These issues disappeared with the advent of the virus. The nations of Western Europe remembered that they had frontiers. Globalism’s golden boy Emmanuel Macron suddenly sounded like Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini. This has very considerably reduced the political strength of the nationalist populists for the time being.

As baneful as is the influence of cultural Marxism, I believe that at least in the U.S. another factor accounts more importantly for the new barbarism we see in the streets and nearly everywhere else. That is the breakdown of the family, the basic unit of society (exactly as affirmed by professional politicians even as they never cease to undermine it by their actions). Our new barbarians did not know family life as it existed before no-fault divorce, the Pill, legal abortion, and the rise of feminism.

The breakdown began in the 1960s. For us Catholics, and through us to the rest of society, I’d date it to 1968 with the failure of the bishops to uphold Humanae vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on the evil of artificial contraception that also reaffirmed Casti connubii, Pope Pius XI’s earlier encyclical on marriage and the family.

Subsequently they followed the lead of probable homosexual and possible Satanist Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, then the most prominent figure of the dominant liberal wing of the Church in the U.S., by espousing his “seamless garment” pseudo-theology instead of continuing to teach (if not always very vigorously) religious doctrine. As long as they did the latter, they spoke of the family as the “domestic church.”

That church had a head, the father, even as the Pope, the Holy Father, is head of the universal Church. What happened to the father? The question brings us to politics – specifically the political left, which is to say the politics of the Revolution that began to unfold with the overthrow of Christian government in France in 1789 and finds expression in today’s America with the presidential candidacy of a septuagenarian advocating socialism in economics and, when it comes to morality, the “right” of a woman to kill her preborn babies. Honore de Balzac, creator of the naturalistic novel as a literary form and Catholic monarchist, makes my point: “When they [the revolutionaries] cut off the head of the King, they cut off the head of every father of a family in the country.” (Read more.)


When Secession Becomes Thinkable

 From The Abbeville Institute:

When asked whether a state can constitutionally secede from the United States, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia brushed the question aside, saying the matter was settled by the Civil War.

He was wrong. A Zogby poll in 2018 found that 39 percent of likely voters, including 42 percent of Democrats, believed that states have a right to secede, while 29 percent were not sure. That means 68 percent of voters were willing to consider what for Scalia was unthinkable. In recent years, some legal scholars also have come to realize they cannot let the Civil War define their thinking about secession.

One of these is Frank Buckley, a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. In his recent book he argues that America is coming apart. “Washington has become the seat of a sclerotic society of special interests, hobbling the rest of us with wealth-destroying rules,” he writes. “The extremism has gone mainstream, and the oracles of respectable liberalism now embrace the vilest left-wing extremists.”

Among those extremists are Black Lives Matter and Antifa, shock troops of a Democratic Party that has embraced the mantra that America is systemically white supremacist. These leftist thugs are allowed to deface and topple monuments to America’s complex national identity while police are ordered to stand down. The two political parties are divided not only by policy but by territory: states, cities, and counties are either red or blue. “In our politics we’re already two nations,” Buckley observes.

When two people are about to come to blows, it is best to separate them. Secession could do that for a deeply dysfunctional and hate-filled America. The question is whether it can be done constitutionally and peacefully. (Read more.)


If It Wasn’t for Jupiter...

 From SciTechDaily:

Venus might not be a sweltering, waterless hellscape today, if Jupiter hadn’t altered its orbit around the sun, according to new UC Riverside research.

Jupiter has a mass that is two-and-a-half times that of all other planets in our solar system — combined. Because it is comparatively gigantic, it has the ability to disturb other planets’ orbits.

Early in Jupiter’s formation as a planet, it moved closer to and then away from the sun due to interactions with the disc from which planets form as well as the other giant planets. This movement in turn affected Venus.

Observations of other planetary systems have shown that similar giant planet migrations soon after formation may be a relatively common occurrence. These are among the findings of a new study published in the Planetary Science Journal.

Scientists consider planets lacking liquid water to be incapable of hosting life as we know it. Though Venus may have lost some water early on for other reasons, and may have continued to do so anyway, UCR astrobiologist Stephen Kane said that Jupiter’s movement likely triggered Venus onto a path toward its current, inhospitable state.

“One of the interesting things about the Venus of today is that its orbit is almost perfectly circular,” said Kane, who led the study. “With this project, I wanted to explore whether the orbit has always been circular, and if not, what are the implications of that?”

To answer these questions, Kane created a model that simulated the solar system, calculating the location of all the planets at any one time and how they pull one another in different directions. (Read more.)


Saturday, October 24, 2020

An American Couple’s Paris Pied-à-Terre

From Architectural Digest:

For this San Francisco–based couple, a place in Paris was always a dream. It all began with a year the wife spent abroad during college, when she met her current husband. Fast-forward to today, and walking into this light-filled, top-floor apartment is breathtaking. With stunning views of both the Invalides and the Eiffel Tower, this gracious space immediately brings to mind the refrain “location, location, location.” 

Before embarking on the search, the clients had enlisted their architect, Sandrine Teze-Limal, to help them. (The clients met Teze-Limal while they were in graduate school.) It didn't take them long. The couple knew they had found their perfect getaway after opening the door to this fifth-floor space in the middle of the elegant 7th arrondissement. It had great bones in a historic building that had been owned by the same person for the past 50 years. Soon thereafter, the couple called on designer Benjamin Wood to help them with the interiors. The clients had met him over 20 years ago in Sun Valley, Idaho, where they were neighbors. (Read more.)


Notre Dame Cathedral Will Be Exactly Restored

 From Return to Order:

As a demonstration of the restoration, craftsmen presented a sample oak truss in front of the cathedral on September 19, 2020. As part of European Heritage Days, carpenters displayed one of the twenty-five trusses that will support the new roof in front of the Cathedral.

The truss was made with medieval carpentry techniques. A Catholic News Agency story on the event quoted architect Romain Greif, who attended the event with his family. He spoke for many when he said, “It’s a moment to see ancestral techniques that last. There is the present and the past, and it links us to our roots.”

The original trusses of giant French oak were built during the thirteenth century but replaced during a nineteenth-century restoration. It will be years before this new truss takes its place atop Notre Dame, but the sample proves that the medieval methods can still be replicated. (Read more.)


Sampson County and the Defense of Western Civilization

 From The Abbeville Blog:

Sampson County is a large, mostly rural county in southeastern North Carolina. Like most non-metropolitan areas of the state, it tends to be conservative, in fact, a long-time bastion of the modern Republican Party in a sea of traditionally Democratic-voting counties.

But Sampson County illustrates what is occurring all over the Southland. And in microcosm in certain ways it symbolizes the retreat of Western Christian civilization in the face of the overpowering forces of revolution now assaulting our heritage and threatening to dismantle our inheritance.

To discuss what is happening in Sampson, we first must talk of the roots of our present upheavals. And that conversation inevitably leads back to education and what has transpired on our college campuses and in our classrooms during the past half century. It should be obvious for all to see, but only in recent years have many “conservatives” really begun to examine the pitiful state of higher education in actual detail. Yes, there have been acute critics and excellent studies, detailing serious problems on campuses across the nation. Notable authors have documented the virtual take-over of academia by the frenzied leftist progressivists, and the practical result that true open inquiry and genuine debate have given way to a “single party” ideological authoritarian control worse than anything ever imagined in the old Soviet Union. (Read more.)