Mortality

So yesterday, George Michael, the big pop star from the 1980s, died of apparent heart failure at the age of 53.  As he was younger than I am, I face the reality that those that grew up with me are passing from the scene.  We should all be thankful for the days that God has given us and one should never be prideful about what one does in his life.  We are given the power to do all things by God.  Jesus told Pontius Pilate in John 19:11 that “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”  We should always be mindful of the days that are ahead of us and that we should do all to further the Kingdom of God and to serve men for His Glory.

Secret Spy!!!

I have a confession to make.  All of these posts from the last year that I have posted have been given to me by my comrades is Irkutsk, Novosibirsk and that greatest of places…Moscow!!  I cannot keep this a secret any longer.  That Washington Post article was the beginning of the end of my undercover work so I must come out of closet and confess that I am a Russian agent who loves vodka and listens to Shostakovitch. Putin is such a cool guy and how dare those people in DC attempt to blow my cover!!    It is my hope that I can go incognito once again and post on the issues of the day…as given to me by my overlords.  Do svidaniya!

Sunset in California

The year was 1970 and still remember my days in California where I traveled with my family between Long Beach, where my Dad was stationed, to Monterey to visit my Grandmother.   Going north on Highway 101, there were little fruit stands along the road and once you got outside Los Angeles, the countryside was green as far as the eye could see.  I could ride in the back of my folks’ station wagon and play in the back without being restrained by a seat belt.  During those summers all of those years ago, I could hear the dragsters from Lions Drag Strip roar down the quarter-mile track and I also volunteered as a scorekeeper at the West Long Beach Little League games.  I could walk with my brother along the road without something bad happening to us.

Today, California seems to be a place where the charming image has since disappeared  In 1970, the state had 19 million people and today that figure is pushing 40 million and small towns like Azusa, Folsom, Gilroy, Encinitas and Tracy are being absorbed into megacities.  The growth of government that started in the days of Pat Brown has now increased to colossal proportions under his son Jerry Brown who is serving his fourth and final term as Governor.  State taxes have gone up, micromanagement of behavior is prevalent with the approval of plastic bag bans, identity politics is rampant where numerous minorities battle it out in colleges and other venues across the state and culture is being reduced to dollars and cents-based appetites.  Classical buildings along Sunset Strip are being torn down to build mega condos and classic buildings across the Southland, as detailed by the wonderful website, Vintage Los Angeles, are being demolished in the name of “progress.”  California is no longer a politically competitive state where Democrats rule the roost and will do so for some time to come until the day of fiscal reckoning.   Once GOP bastions like Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena have long since gone over to the opposing party and even areas of Orange County like Anaheim, Fullerton, Irvine and Buena Park have fallen to the Democrats.  Hillary Clinton, in fact, carried Orange County for the Democrats for the first time in 80 years.

This is a lament because Californians chose the wrong future.  They certainly cannot go back to the days of Boss Radio, smog or Sam Yorty, but in the Golden State’s pursuit of progress, it has lost its soul and only serves the almighty dollar and “diversity” which in reality is uniformity.  It will carry on with expanding government and trying to create paradise on earth, but when the realities hit like the rupture of the stock bubble and the coming shortages of water, the dream will end.  I left California ten years ago and I am glad that I made that decision.

Year of our Discontent

The nation was shocked last Tuesday by the upset victory of Donald Trump in the Presidential election with his defeat of the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  Dismissed as a clown and misogynist, Trump was expected to lose a close race to the better organized and better funded Clinton who had the endorsement of almost every newspaper in the nation.  What caused this tremendous upset victory?

Many pundits were saying before the election that Trump was going to get the vote of old white men who failed to embrace the “diversity” of a changing nation and many of his supporters were derided by Hillary Clinton as being “deplorable.”  Election night was supposed to be a coronation for Hillary and I myself fully expected this to occur.  However, something was rumbling up in the Rust Belt of the old Midwest.  All attention was on Florida and North Carolina, but I watched the returns from the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania.  Lackawanna County which includes Scranton was not going for the Democrats as much as it was in previous elections and next-door Luzerne County which has Wilkes-Barre as its major city was going shockingly for Trump.  No Republican had carried Luzerne since 1988 when the GOP last won the Keystone State.  In the western part of the state, Beaver County was also going for Trump.  This is a county that had not gone to the GOP since 1976.  Pennsylvania was going into the Trump column and spelled bad tidings for Clinton. It was not bigotry or hate that was driving this revolt in the heartland.  It was the resentment of the fact that globalization and mass regulation were doing bad things to areas outside major cities and that the people were being left behind in the new economy.    This “economy” was based on debt, propping up of the big banks and high technology that was confined to the coasts.   The new economy also included government spending and was benefiting areas like Northern Virginia which escaped the effects of the Great Recession of 2008-09.

As the economy left the Rust Belt behind, the people became angry not only at the loss of livelihood, but also at how they were being looked down upon by the people on both coasts as rubes.  They listened to Trump’s message of making America great again and gave Hillary a stunning rebuke that she will never forget as she is past her window of opportunity to ascend to the Presidency.  This revolt was a proper sequel to what happened in the summer when Great Britain voted to secede from the EU for some of the same reasons.

Areas of Britain were also left behind in this new economy and they were also resentful of regulations from EU bureaucrats in Brussels.  The vote to leave the EU was not confined to traditional Conservative areas of Britain, but was prominent in heavily Labor areas like Sunderland, Nottingham, Kingston-upon-Hull and the areas of Wales where coal mining was a part of the economy.  Many workers in the north of England voted to leave as they saw no benefit to being in the EU and they wanted self-determination for their Parliament in London.

The election of Trump and the British vote to leave the EU are the big stories of this year.  Perhaps the effects of these elections might minimal, but it is indisputable that the people still know when they are being lied to by the elites and when they are made fun of.  Let liberty reign.

The Immigration Problem

One of the most controversial issues that splits many in the conservative and libertarian communities is immigration.  Some believe that America is a big “melting pot” and that all should be welcomed while others are fearful of an invasion by hordes of foreigners.

My views on this issue are ones that I have thought of for a long time and I firmly believe that cultural distinctions should allow people to associate with people that they feel that should be comfortable with and that outside forces should not compel people to do anything other.  We see that in ancient times, men would destroy the culture of a country by mixing races of people or expelling them outright.  This was done by the Assyrians when they destroyed the Northern kingdom of Israel under King Shalmanser in 722 BC.  Israelites were deported to Assyria while the Assyians occupied the country and soon intermingled with each other and created the Samaritans.  Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain during the sixth and seventh centuries and pushed the Britons west into modern day Wales and Cornwall.  The Ottomans invaded the Balkans in the 15th and 16th Centuries and wreaked havoc on native populations like the Serbs and the Croats and many Christians were carried into captivity.   In more recent history, the Russians invaded the Baltic states of Lithuania , Latvia and Estonia and began to intermingle with the native populations.

It is clear that cultures were mixed by force during invasions and that they were usually acts of war.  In our past history, races were kept apart by Jim Crow Laws and other segregationist measures. Today, we see the opposite where a forced mixing of people is achieved via anti-discrimination laws and public accommodation laws with even more drastic measures like forced busing being done in recent history. Mass immigration is aggravating the situation where the sets of the different cultures in one area are increased greatly.  What is interesting is that such actions are only contemplated in the West.  What about Japan?  It is very monocultural, yet nobody charges them with racism.  Shall we chide the Navajos for wanting to dwell in their own country and pursue their own way of life and develop their own culture without outside influence?  Our own government oversaw the creation of states such as the South Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor, all of which have distinct groups of people which are very homogeneous.   It seems that self-determination is for other peoples but not for us.   True diversity is beautiful, but the mandated one is to be feared.   America today is not united in any sense of the word.  Politicians pit groups of people against each to gain power and that certain groups are treated with preference over the majority white culture which is made to feel guilty for the oppression it allegedly caused to numerous groups.  The canard of racism is brought up to discourage free association.  But one must ask whether anglos should migrate to Cusco, Peru and create a strip mall, McDonalds culture and weaken the dominant Inca culture there.  Should we impose our culture on countries like Gabon or Bangladesh and make them mini-Americas?  By no means.  Immigration is something that might work, but only if the immigrants adapt the culture of the country they want to live in, but evidence is mounting that they do not wish to adapt.  Balkanization is exploding in this country and that it is time to question the wisdom of mass immigration.

I urge you to listen to Brion McClanahan’s audio blog on what made America a REAL exceptional country and it is not for reasons brought up by politicians or radio hosts that do not know what they are talking about.

 

The Era of the Clown

As of this writing, we seem to be in a grip of an invasion of clowns.  Creepy clowns seem to be roving all over America and world with stories of people being scared by people in funny makeup and that the wearing of clown costumes are now being discouraged by government officials.  To me, it seems to be little more than hype that has been created by the media to bolster their bottom lines.  What should really worry us is the massive infestation of clowns that is in an area known as Washington, D.C.

We have two clowns that are now running for office of the President of the United States.  They promise us the moon and stars and want us to be free from the pains of everyday life.  Just trust them and they will take care of all.  How far have we fallen from the idea of limited constitutional government where the federal government was felt in few places except for perhaps the post office.   All of that changed in the 1930s with the rise of the New Deal.  From that time on, the growth of the Washington government has continued unabated and that our liberties and freedoms are fast eroding and that the debt has risen to almost $20 trillion and will no doubt go higher.   We are now caught in a trap and have no conventional way to climb out without taking austerity measures that will be painful.

No, the American public will have none of that.  We are now reduced to being titillated by the proclivities of presidential candidates on both sides without thinking very deeply on the calamities that are upon us. This fact was well illustrated by Neil Postman who wrote in his best-selling book Amusing Ourselves to Death:

When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

We are indeed in a state of cultural rot.  Reading of books has gone down with people huddled at their computers watching the latest “comedy” on TV which includes bad presidential candidates, various transvestites, raunchy jokes and navel gazing.  Where are the people that wish to create true beauty and peace in our culture?  No, the revelations of Donald Trump reflect the nature of the American people, a nation of culturally immature people that care little about the future and are only interested in the here and now.  Get it while you can because you can enjoy life just once.

If you want to escape the rot, please go to places like the Imaginative Conservative Website, Ligonier Ministries, Acton Institute and other quality websites that wish to restore truth and beauty in the land.  Political clowns won’t save us.  Only when a people humble themselves will any positive change occur.  Stop with the talk of America being the greatest nation on the face of earth or talking about our President being the leader of the free world.  We deserve NOTHING for our embracing a culture of death. God stated in his word:

For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low. — Isaiah 2:12 (ESV)

 

Kaepernick–Right for the wrong reasons

This past week, the sports world has been in an uproar over the refusal of San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick to stand for the national anthem.   Cries of treason and ungratefulness have come from various circles.  Kaepernick for his part stated the following:

“This country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all and that’s just not happening right now.”

The controversy has been dusted up only a few weeks after U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas was criticized for not putting her hand over her heart during the medal ceremony for the All-Around gymnastics title for women at Olympic Games in Rio.  What are we to make over this issue?  Is it right to stand for the anthem and not pay respect for the country?

Kaepernick should have been paying attention for what the American government has done for the many years to our liberties, yet he has been oblivious to the fact that the government has not stood for freedom, justice and liberty for ANYBODY and not just for African-Americans only.   In fact, the liberties that the country has had in the past have been slowly eroding for the past 100 years.  Our interventions during the world wars, the Cold War and the War on Terror have cost us massive amounts of money, an increase of government that dominates all areas of our lives and a general decline of our cultural mores.

Up until just a few years ago, many football games were first opened with prayer and invocations were done by various officials and God was honored.  As you can see about five minutes into this video of the 1966 Gator Bowl, prayer came before the anthem.  With various Supreme Court decisions over the years, prayers at college and high school games have been banned in the name of the First Amendment.  It seems that nationalism is the new religion and that refusal to stand is tantamount to blasphemy.

As far as respect for country, one must ask what is our country.  Is it some mega country covering tens of thousands of square miles or is it our community or our area? When Robert E. Lee fought for his country, it was not the Confederacy, but his home state of Virginia.  When Lee surrendered at Appomattox, it was the beginning of the end for this nation.  We are now an empire that does not stand for liberty of any sort, but for materialism. statism, abortions and a general hubris that has been discussed so well by men like Michael Scheuer, Ralph Raico, Robert Higgs , Joe Sobran and William Grigg.

Andrew Bacevich opened his book “Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country,” with an illustration on how the flag had been elevated to god-like status and that the National Anthem is part of the new civic religion.

Kaepernick might be wrong in his motives, but there are many in America that have the feeling that something is terribly wrong with this country.   I Samuel 8 is a perfect illustration on how a people refuse to abide by the standards of God and instead put their trust and faith in a king to rule over the land.  We do not have a God-honoring nation anymore so why the fuss over someone not standing for a national anthem.

 

A Giant in Bravery and Courage

This is a review of a book that I just posted on Amazon on the experiences of Witold Pilecki, a Polish army officer who volunteered to go to Auschwitz:

In an era where the word “hero” is bandied about a little too much, one can go back to an era where bravery and heroism was done by people who went above and beyond the call of duty.  In this book, the report of Captain Witold Pilecki on his experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp in what is now western Poland is told with stunning clarity and anguish. 

By intentionally involving himself in a roundup by SS officers, he undertook a mission to go inside Auschwitz to see how the camp was being run and to buildup resistance among the Poles who were detained there. Throughout the report, he told of great hardship where “capos” and SS men were extraordinarily cruel to the prisoners where men were put into “commandos” and essentially worked to death (finished off).  Pilecki survived in part by conserving his energy during the ordeal and using his wits to obtain better jobs in the camp that involve lighter labor.

He recorded all of the great horrors of the camp including Soviet prisoners being exterminated all at once with gas and men and women being given phenol injections to procure agonizing deaths.  Others were given too little of the drug and were burned alive in the oven.  Jews were the main targets of these atrocities, but Poles, Ukrainians, Czechs and to a certain extent Catholic priests had a share in this horror.

After being informed that he might be sent to a harsher camp where he might not survive, he planned his escape in April 1943 and accomplished it with a large amount of suspense and drama.  He escaped to the “General government” area east of Krakow where he met men of the Polish Home Army and reported his findings.   The final tragedy was to come several years later at the hands of his own countrymen who embraced the Soviet government and tried him as a spy.  Nonetheless, this story which is contained in this book should be read by all who look for men who were giants.   A brilliant book with a short introduction and informative appendices.

 

The South

I looked forward with great anticipation in traveling with my son to some memorable places in the South, an area rich in culture and history that is fast being forgotten in an era of mass consumerism and living for the moment.  The South is different place.  It is a place where things are slower and the people seem to be more laid back.

My travels took me through the upper deep South with stops in Vicksburg, Tuscaloosa, Chattanooga, Nashville and areas of western Tennessee before coming back home.  It was here that we went to various sites where major Civil War battles took place.  Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Stones River and Shiloh ring in the memory of many down here where even 150 years after the fact, the scars are still present.  The remnants of trenches are still seen at Vicksburg where Union troops dug in for several months of siege before the confederates surrendered the town on July 4, 1863, a date which was the beginning of the end for the Southerners.

Chickamauga and Shiloh were bloody affairs where thousands died in the battles and the massive rows of graves are prominent in those areas as well as Stones River.  It is my firm belief that while the Union was saved, the Republic that we have read in the history books was shattered forever. One need only to watch the inane acceptance speeches of both parties during the past few weeks to see that even the ghosts of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Clay, Calhoun and Webster are fast leaving us.

The South still has the magic of past in it with folks saying “Sir” and Ma’am” to each other, listening to country music on stations such as WSM out of Nashville and folks gobbling up hash browns at Waffle House along the interstate.  The weather was hot and humid, but the sounds and the winds of the night air seem to impress my mind with memories that will last the rest of my lifetime.

Good ole Rocky Top indeed.

Russell Kirk: American Conservative–a review

Here is my review of Russell Kirk: American Conservative that I posted on Amazon: 

In a few short days, I journeyed through the 75 years that Russell Kirk lived on this earth from his humble beginnings in rural Michigan to his final home going at Piety Hill in 1994 by reading this very enjoyable biography by Bradley Birzer, a professor of history at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan.

The strengths are many in this book including the fact that much of the research came through retrieval of the personal correspondence and diaries of Prof. Kirk.  There are also other written letters from people dealing with Kirk and that there was much citing of journals and magazines dating back to the 1950s.

Kirk is shown to be a staunch stoic who bared up to the monotony of being stationed for four years during World War II at the Dugway Proving Grounds 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was here that he saw the expanse of the West and the desolation that was ingrained into his memory for the rest of his life.  It was a world totally different from where he grew up in the forested areas of Michigan.

There is so much more that can be said for the man, but the main points that I took away from this book include the fact that he was his own man who had a unique personality almost to the point of being called an eccentric.  He walked with a sword cane and wore a cape wherever he went.  He also despised modern technology that included the automobile, the radio and most especially the television where he threw a fit when his family watched several programs on the tube and proceeded shortly thereafter to throw the device out of the window.   He felt that technology made people less human and robbed people of imagination and opportunities for introspection.

Kirk was also a man who felt that politics was not the way that men should solve problems.  He departed from this belief in the early 1960s through his support of Goldwater and in the early 1980s when he tried to give advice to Ronald Reagan in terms of promoting conservatism.  By the end of his life, he was very critical of the massive growth of government and especially the military industrial complex and came out vehemently against the Gulf War.

Kirk’s conversion shortly before his marriage in 1964 was another highlight of this book.  The author contended that Kirk’s embracing of the Catholic faith was not instantaneous, but rather developed over the course of many years.  He was in the end a man of faith who had a very Stoic life and instilled that philosophy in his children with the help of his wife Annette.

Also, Kirk was not a man that believed in programs.  No ideology could change the hearts of men, for such things could only do more damage to civilization and mankind.  Kirk strived to return to the “permanent things,” those things that came by tradition and by Faith over the course of centuries.  He was very wary of the novel and the unproven which tended toward radicalism.  Kirk was not a libertarian by any stretch but by the end of his days he sought to form a rare alliance with men like Murray Rothbard who was his bitter enemy back in the 1950s.  Kirk also helped libertarian flavored candidates like Lawrence Reed who now heads the Foundation for Economic Education.

I could go on about the fiction he wrote which was very substantial and the numerous trips he took to Scotland, but suffice to say, you all must read the rest to get an idea on what a great man Russell Kirk was.  We need more giants like him…well not exactly like him or he might come from the grave and give us a knock on the head.