30 April 2016

More Relevant in 2016 Than in 1979

Sometimes I feel so low-down and disgusted
Can’t help but wonder what’s happenin’ to my companions
Are they lost or are they found
Have they counted the cost it’ll take to bring down
All their earthly principles they’re gonna have to abandon?
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

I had a woman down in Alabama
She was a backwoods girl, but she sure was realistic
She said, “Boy, without a doubt
Have to quit your mess and straighten out
You could die down here, be just another accident statistic”
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

All that foreign oil controlling American soil
Look around you, it’s just bound to make you embarrassed
Sheiks walkin’ around like kings
Wearing fancy jewels and nose rings
Deciding America’s future from Amsterdam and to Paris
And there’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

Man’s ego is inflated, his laws are outdated, they don’t apply no more
You can’t rely no more to be standin’ around waitin'
In the home of the brave
Jefferson turnin’ over in his grave
Fools glorifying themselves, trying to manipulate Satan
And there’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

Big-time negotiators, false healers and woman haters
Masters of the bluff and masters of the proposition
But the enemy I see
Wears a cloak of decency
All nonbelievers and men stealers talkin’ in the name of religion
And there’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

People starving and thirsting, grain elevators are bursting
Oh, you know it costs more to store the food than it do to give it
They say lose your inhibitions
Follow your own ambitions
They talk about a life of brotherly love show me someone who knows how to live it
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

Well, my baby went to Illinois with some bad-talkin’ boy she could destroy
A real suicide case, but there was nothin’ I could do to stop it
I don’t care about economy
I don’t care about astronomy
But it sure do bother me to see my loved ones turning into puppets
There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend

--Bob Dylan, Slow Train Coming




29 April 2016

More Pat More Better

Wherein Pat Buchanan weighs in on Donald Trump's America First foreign policy speech. Read on:
 _____________



At Last, America First!
Thursday - April 28, 2016 at 9:14 pm
By Patrick J. Buchanan

Whether the establishment likes it or not, and it evidently does not, there is a revolution going on in America.

The old order in this capital city is on the way out, America is crossing a great divide, and there is no going back.

Donald Trump’s triumphant march to the nomination in Cleveland, virtually assured by his five-state sweep Tuesday, confirms it, as does his foreign policy address of Wednesday.

Two minutes into his speech before the Center for the National Interest, Trump declared that the “major and overriding theme” of his administration will be — “America first.” Right down the smokestack!

Gutsy and brazen it was to use that phrase, considering the demonization of the great anti-war movement of 1940-41, which was backed by the young patriots John F. Kennedy and his brother Joe, Gerald Ford and Sargent Shriver, and President Hoover and Alice Roosevelt.

Whether the issue is trade, immigration or foreign policy, says Trump, “we are putting the American people first again.” U.S. policy will be dictated by U.S. national interests.

By what he castigated, and what he promised, Trump is repudiating both the fruits of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, and the legacy of Bush Republicanism and neoconservatism.

When Ronald Reagan went home, says Trump, “our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which ended in one foreign policy disaster after another.”

He lists the results of 15 years of Bush-Obama wars in the Middle East: civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans killed, trillions of dollars lost, a vacuum created that ISIS has filled. 

[...]

To the neocons’ worldwide crusade for democracy, Trump’s retort is that it was always a “dangerous idea” to think “we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming Western democracies.”

We are “overextended,” he declared, “We must rebuild our military.” Our NATO allies have been freeloading for half a century.

NAFTA was a lousy deal. In running up $4 trillion in trade surpluses since Bush I, the Chinese have been eating our lunch.

This may be rankest heresy to America’s elites, but Trump outlines a foreign policy past generations would have recognized as common sense: Look out for your own country and your own people first.

Instead of calling President Putin names, Trump says he would talk to the Russians to “end the cycle of hostility,” if he can. 

[...]

“Our goal is peace and prosperity, not war,” says Trump, “unlike other candidates, war and aggression will not be my first instinct.”

[...] 

Military intervention for reasons of ideology or nation building is not an Eisenhower or Nixon or Reagan tradition. It is not a Republican tradition. It is a Bush II-neocon deformity, an aberration that proved disastrous for the United States and the Middle East. 

The New York Times headline declared that Trump’s speech was full of “Paradoxes,” adding, “Calls to Fortify Military and to Use It Less.” 

But isn’t that what Reagan did? Conduct the greatest military buildup since Ike, then, from a position of strength, negotiate with Moscow a radical reduction in nuclear arms?




“We’re getting out of the nation-building business,” says Trump.

“The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony.” No more surrenders of sovereignty on the altars of “globalism.”

Is that not a definition of a patriotism that too many among our arrogant elites believe belongs to yesterday?

27 April 2016

If He Means It, What a Refreshing Change in U.S. Foreign Policy

"America First", in the sense of acting in the interests of our country as a sovereign nation-state, is the only sensible foreign policy: resisting global governance, refusing to pick fights with Russia, refraining from needlessly attacking countries, defending our borders and our people, and refraining from dictating to other countries when our interests are not implicated.  

Like I said before, assuming arguendo that any of this matters, Trump's stated foreign policy is the only one that is different from the past twenty-five years.

26 April 2016

One with Nineveh and Tyre: Or, Pat States the Obvious

Yes, Pat Buchanan states the obvious here, but someone needs to keep pointing it out to all our wonderful contemporaries stuck with the attention span of a hummingbird:

If God is Dead...
by Patrick Buchanan

In a recent column Dennis Prager made an acute observation.

“The vast majority of leading conservative writers ... have a secular outlook on life. ... They are unaware of the disaster that godlessness in the West has led to.”

These secular conservatives may think that “America can survive the death of God and religion,” writes Prager, but they are wrong.

And, indeed, the last half-century seems to bear him out.

A people’s religion, their faith, creates their culture, and their culture creates their civilization. And when faith dies, the culture dies, the civilization dies, and the people begin to die.

Is this not the recent history of the West?

[...]

And while the European peoples—Russians, Germans, Brits, Balts—shrink in number, the U.N. estimates that the population of Africa will double in 34 years to well over 2 billion people.

What happened to the West?

As G. K. Chesterton wrote, when men cease to believe in God, they do not then believe in nothing, they believe in anything.

As European elites ceased to believe in Christianity, they began to convert to ideologies, to what Dr. Russell Kirk called “secular religions.”

For a time, these secular religions—Marxism-Leninism, fascism, Nazism—captured the hearts and minds of millions. But almost all were among the gods that failed in the 20th century.

Now Western Man embraces the newer religions: egalitarianism, democratism, capitalism, feminism, One Worldism, environmentalism.

These, too, give meaning to the lives of millions, but these, too, are inadequate substitutes for the faith that created the West.

For they lack what Christianity gave man—a cause not only to live for, and die for, but a moral code to live by, with the promise that, at the end a life so lived, would come eternal life. Islam, too, holds out that promise.

Secularism, however, has nothing on offer to match that hope.

Looking back over the centuries, we see what faith has meant.

When, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the West embraced Christianity as a faith superior to all others, as its founder was the Son of God, the West went on to create modern civilization, and then went out and conquered most of the known world.

[...]

Today, however, with Christianity virtually dead in Europe and slowly dying in America, Western culture grows debased and decadent, and Western civilization is in visible decline.

Rudyard Kipling prophesied all this in “Recessional”:

“Far-called our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday/Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!”

[...]

And what of America, “God’s country”?

With Christianity excommunicated from her schools and public life for two generations, and Old and New Testament teachings rejected as a basis of law, we have witnessed a startlingly steep social decline.

Since the 1960s, America has set new records for abortions, violent crimes, incarcerations, drug consumption. While HIV/AIDS did not appear until the 1980s, hundreds of thousands have perished from it, and millions now suffer from it and related diseases.

Forty percent of U.S. births are out of wedlock. For Hispanics, the illegitimacy rate is over 50 percent; for African-Americans, it’s over 70 percent.

Test scores of U.S. high school students fall annually and approach parity with Third World countries.

Suicide is a rising cause of death for middle-aged whites.

Secularism seems to have no answer to the question, “Why not?”

[...]

Bishop Edward Rice Appointed Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau

I'm on the move, but I wanted to make sure to post early notice of this. Congratulations to His Excellency Bishop Rice, who will head up the Church in Southern Missouri. Story at the Review.


25 April 2016

"I Am Thirsting for Truth"

Day after day we hear so much untruth from the appointed leaders of our own Church; it wears us down.  When will it end?  The recent gleeful squeaking of Cardinal Kasper that the pope intends not to preserve all things (or is it anything?) as they were is my starting point today. It isn't that the truth is under attack from without, or that it is betrayed from within by those who should be its guardians.

No, it is the unrelenting attack and betrayal that burn. They don't stop. They won't stop until we apostasize or until we are crucified. God's mercy can never be separated and considered as something apart from His truth.  The Truth, the Person of Jesus Christ. We need a deeper act of faith; we need humility and childlike trust in the God Who will, sooner or later deliver us.  We must be faithful to death, through death.  It comes.

______

"Ah! eternal Word, tell me, I beg You, what prevents the Holy Spirit from accomplishing all His work in the soul? You tell me that the first impediment is malice; another impediment is the self-will of those who want to serve You, but in their own way. We want Your Spirit, but we want Him in the way that pleases us, and as much as pleases us; in this way we make ourselves incapable of receiving Him. At other times, lukewarmness is the hindrance; we think we are serving You and do not realize we are serving ourselves. But You, O Lord, want to be served with humility and sincerity, without self-love. Thus Your Spirit takes no rest but in a soul which He finds plunged in humility. Alas! O loving Word, I should like to know what I ought to do about these hindrances, for what good will it do me to understand them, if I do not know the cure for them? Now, I see plainly that the remedy for malice is a simple right intention; the remedy for self-will is a will so dead to self that it wills only what You will. The cure for lukewarmness is the ardor of charity, which like fire, comes into our hearts and burns up all tepidity" (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).

"Come, O Holy Spirit, sanctify me! Come, O Spirit of Truth, fill me! Your divine Wisdom will establish me in the truth. I am thirsting for truth, and wish it to rule over my mind, my words, my affections, and my actions, avoiding everything that is opposed to it, not only lies, but also dissimulation, duplicity, and lack of sincerity with myself.

"Come, O Spirit of Peace, bring me Your peace! That profound peace which dilates the soul and prepares it for Your operations, that peace which calms and dominates all the sensible part of the soul and even the superior part.

"Come, O Spirit of Charity, inflame me and inspire me with Your love, so that I can pour it out over the souls whom I would bring to You! Oh! transform me into love; only thus shall I be able to fully respond to Your call, and be of use to the Church" (St. Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.).

--from Divine Intimacy, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

22 April 2016

Meatless Friday: Tough Guy Edition

I have in the past recommended Alexander Fiske-Harrison's captivating, modern-day exploration of the Spanish bullfight, Into the Arena. It is in parts intensely personal and in others detached, and takes a serious and non-sloganeering look at the beauty, danger, and some of the problematic elements of the corrida.

Well, bullfighting is dangerous business, and not just to the bull.  I recently came across this article in GQ by Fiske-Harrison on the very famous, very brave, and recently horribly gored matador, Jose Juan Padilla. This great bullfighter stands as something of a metaphor for the current state of the art in Spain.

Padilla is famous for his willingness to fight the fiercest and largest breed of bull, the Miura. After begin gored in the face-- losing one of his eyes-- Padilla has returned to the ring.  As difficult as it must be to stand up to a bull at any time, I couldn't imagine trying to do it with a reduced field of vision and no depth perception.

I wonder what he would think of grown men using a girl's bathroom?


From the full article:

Jose Juan Padilla: The Last Matador



[…]Nowadays, most matadors don't place their own banderillas, delegating the task to their assistants. However, Padilla is Padilla. This time, though, somewhere around umpteenth time he must have performed this particular move, something went badly wrong. He tripped.

Running past the bull, a foot tapped an ankle and he was down, the bull on him like a vengeful, snorting locomotive - all coiled black muscle channelled down into a point the circumference of Louboutin stiletto; like an iron skip balanced on a nail. Crunch.

The horn entered under Padilla's left ear, cracking the skull, ripping the auditory nerve, and then into the jaw, smashing through both sets of molars, exploding his cheekbone as surely as a rifle bullet and coming out through the socket of his left eye. If you can stomach to even look at the images (let alone the YouTube video), just be pleased the tragedy was all over in a matter of seconds.

His team took the bull off him; distracting the animal's resurgent aggression with their bright capes. Padilla, astonishingly, got up. He was holding half his face in his right hand. Cheek, jawbone and eyeball, like the contents of a butcher's bin, rested in his upturned palm as he walked towards the edge of the ring. "I can't see, I can't see," repeated the fighter. As he walked out, the 42-year-old's legs, unsurprisingly, buckled - blood loss and nervous shock eventually getting the better of his breathtaking machismo. He was rushed to the ring's infirmary and from there out into the city of Zaragoza and to the Miguel Servet Hospital. By now the entire nation was following the sirens.

A team of expert surgeons - general, trauma, plastic and nerve-specialists who usually work on face transplants - worked desperately to try to piece together the skull with titanium, prevent the loss of the eyeball, prevent infections from a horn wound so close to the brain, and generally stop Padilla from flatlining. They succeeded. Just. Although he came away with his life, what Padilla had lost was 15kg of his usual 70, his left eye and the mobility in the left side of his face - and that was just the physical injuries.

More miracles were to come: ten days after this horrific accident, the unthinkable happened. Wheeled out by his bullfighting and medical teams, Padilla announced to the attending press that he would be returning to the ring. He couldn't walk, couldn't eat, and could only half-see, half-hear and half-speak, but what he said was that he was coming back. Back into the ring. Back to fight the bulls. It was only then that I knew I had to be there with him.

[…]

At the end of 2011, bullfights were banned in Catalonia. The regional capital, Barcelona, is Spain's second city, and the closure of its ring La Monumental was a serious blow to bullfighting aficionados. In fact, the official figures show that the number of bullfights across Spain have fallen by a third since 2007 - from 2,622 five years ago to 1,724 in 2010. Many believe this decline mirrors the start and longevity of Europe's financial crisis - bullfighting coming under pressure in Spain because of public-subsidy cuts.

But come 2012 and something is stirring amid the ranks of matadors and the lovers of the bullfight. What's clear is that such staunch defenders of tradition are not going to give up their beloved arenas quietly - they've been scrapping for their livelihoods for centuries, after all. Over the last 12 months there's been a shift, if not in the ever-diminishing figures, then certainly in the mood.

[…]

So what of Juan José Padilla? How does the ageing, one-eyed matador fit into Spain's broader picture? Well, for many, Padilla - after announcing his injury-defying return to the ring - has somehow become symbolic of bullfighting's predicament in its homeland. And perhaps its last hope. Could Padilla - a man from humble beginnings whose feats have been so defined and so adored by the sport and who cheated death in the arena - face down all the odds and rise again triumphantly, lifting bullfighting back into favour, and back into the hearts and minds of those countrymen who once loved the spectacle?
Some believe that if anyone can, Padilla can. For some, Padilla's return to the ring has become less about one man's personal victory, and more a symbol of Spain's integral survival.

No pressure, then.

DiLorenzo Sums it Up

Over at LRC Blog:



The End Game of Human Evolution
Thomas DiLorenzo    

American presidential candidates debating whether a 40-year-old man in a dress should be allowed to go into the Little Girl’s Room.