Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Something Wonderful: Scissors / Hands

The Putter who puts scissors together at Ernest Wright and Son Ltd Scissors.

[HT: The ever admirable A Continuous Lean.]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 29, 2014 12:29 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Just In Case You Forget What Barbarians They All Are.... Money or Not

Courtesy of one Riaz Badshah, who probably thinks this is just nifty.

HT: Cobb



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 28, 2014 5:39 PM | Comments (30)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And now for something completely refreshing....

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Red by Anastasia Galaktionova

"With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 28, 2014 4:22 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
So Obama, Biden, Holder, Reid, Pellosi, McCain, Jerry Brown, Hillary, and Bill are just standing around in a field talking when....



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 28, 2014 4:12 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Here Comes Everybody!

This is all not going to end well. Not well at all.... at sea in Europe and on land along our own borders.

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Massimo Sestini's remarkable photograph of an open boat carrying 227 illegal immigrants heading north across the Mediterranean.

"In the first half of this year sixty thousand illegals have arrived on Italian territory. If the flow continues at this rate, this year's total will be 120,000 — twice as many as in 2011, the record year so far. A growing problem? Oh yeah.

Sicily alone has received 53,000 of those sixty thousand this year. That's more than one percent of Sicily's population.
Should Europe at large be afraid? Sicily's population is one percent of the EU, so you could say: "Eh, one percent of one percent — surely Europe can absorb them."
And what's to be afraid of, anyway? Immigration boosters, Club for Growth types, open-borders libertarians, the Wall Street Journal, and what Steve Sailer calls the NAABP, the National Association for the Advancement of Billionaire People — Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheldon Adelson — They'll all tell you that these are just willing workers whose labor and skills will grow Europe's GDP.
Maybe. But turn to the next page of the Journal and there's an article about self-driving cars. I guess we won't be needing cab drivers much longer, then. How many workers do today's robotized factories need? Are these boatloads of illegals really an economic boon to Europe?
Does the expression "the 20:80 society" mean anything? That's a society foreseen by a couple of German authors back in the nineties, one in which only twenty percent of the adult population is needed to provide all goods and services. The other eighty percent basically live on welfare. "The 20:80 society": If you haven't heard this expression, trust me, you soon will." -- Via Radio Derb Transcript

And now..... with an extra helping of irony....Neil Diamond's Coming To America

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 28, 2014 12:18 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The White Whale: America’s Voyage 1851 and 2014

On Moby Dick, first published in 1851, and recast for July 4th, 2014

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Humanity on its raft. The raft on the endless ocean. From his present dissatisfaction man reasons that there was some catastrophic wreck in the past, before which he was happy; some golden age, some Garden of Eden. He also reasons that somewhere ahead lies a promised land, a land without conflict. Meanwhile, he is miserably en passage; this myth lies deeper than religious faith. -- JohnFowles, The Aristos

How fares the good ship America during this, the 238th year of our voyage? Many would say that with its new captain setting a new course it sails on into fairer days and calmer waters now that our demons at home and abroad are being mollified and made more sociable. Many others, now more than half, would say that we tack between Scylla and Charybdis with a more than fair chance of being driven onto a lee shore by the gusting headwinds. All would agree our present position was unforseeable even two years ago and that our present passage is fraught with danger.

Dangerous passages are nothing new to the good ship America. She’s weathered many but never one quite so close run as that of 1860 to 1865 when a fire in the minds of Americans burned so hot they required the blood of 620,000 to quench them. We did not sail into that maelstrom in a year or so. We were bound there, some would say, from the founding.

I think, however, that the Civil War first loomed on the horizon during the rise of Transcendentalism in New England. That period began in the early 19th century and flowered during the literary period of 1850 to 1855 that is known as the American Renaissance. Transcendentalism was the first secular Great Awakening and perhaps its most enduring. Emerson and Thoreau are the chief avatars of the movement as it is known today and much of contemporary American progressivism bears the marks of those two men.

I’m not interested in them at present. Once entrancing both Emerson and Thoreau have come to seem softer to me of late. Both have taken on the consistency of store-bought bread. Instead I’d like to look at the more rugged work of an outlier of transcendentalism, a prophet who came late to the dance, Herman Melville.

Melville was, unlike many other transcendentalists, the very opposite of an intellectual dilettante. He was an Abraham in a land of Lutherans. Melville was a man with a harsh experience with ships and how they fare upon stormy seas. Melville was a man with rough hands. Melville was a man that, having voyaged further out, did – for a few years at least – see deeper in. And in seeing deeper in and leaving behind a record of that vision in his masterwork, Melville still has something to say to us today about the state of America, the experimental nation.

Long sea voyages have strange effects on writers as the mystical and melancholy work of Conrad shows most clearly. The same effects, at first submerged, were to surface in the work of Melville in one gigantic book and then submerge again raising only ripples on the surface of his subsequent writing. Prophecy is a harsh task master and more often that not consumes the vessels through which it speaks. So it was, in the end, with Melville.

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 27, 2014 11:12 PM | Comments (29)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Will the Sleepers Awake? (May, 2002)

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[Preface to an Old Essay: Before there was an American Digest, there was another American Digest. It was begun as a response to 9/11 and was hosted on the servers of Penthouse.com which was, of course, a subset of Penthouse Magazine. In that time and in that place I was the VP in charge of Penthouse.com for Bob Guccione, the man that owned the company then. Both that man and that company are now gone from the face of the earth as is the first iteration of American Digest/New York City/2002. Except, of course, for some pages snagged and held at The Way Back Machine.

One of my readers reminded me of these scattered back pages the other day and looking through them I found a couple of items that still had some relevance to them from a time and a city under siege. This is one of them. The title, “”Will the Sleepers Awake,” is taken not from the famous Bach cantata (although that works well with the piece) but from a much more obscure book by the now forgotten poet Kenneth Patchen called Sleepers Awake on the Precipice. At that time, 2002, and in that place, New York City, it seemed to be an adequate title for a country roughly awakened and -- even then / even so soon -- slipping back into the arms of Morpheus, god of dreams.... back into the dark arms in which we slumber today.]


Just before dawn in Brooklyn Heights a dream woke me.

It was one of those troubled dreams where emblems and visions and snippets of your past and present lives cascade in an obscure but oddly familiar setting; a setting I’ve seen before in dreams; a setting I call “The Eternal City.” In those years I kept a notepad by the bed and, upon waking, I dutifully scribbled dream notes for discussion later in the week with my therapist. In those years I’d take notes for my therapist both out of fear of forgetting, and out of fear that I would again find myself “in session” with nothing substantive to talk about that seemed worthy of discussion.

Millions of Americans know, have known, or will know this petty little fear; you've paid for the hour, the hour is "all about you," and yet this stuff, your 'stuff ', seems only shameful and small and not really worth discussing at all. It’s, frankly, boring.

Millions also know the response to this complaint from the therapist. 'It is your therapy and it is supposed to be all about you, and it's in these petty and small details that you find out the larger truths that will, it is hoped, will lead you into some future where, when all is understood, all is forgiven.'

In therapy, confessions, or even "sessions of sweet, silent thought," the secular seek this odd forgiveness for what we have become in ever increasing numbers. We seek it because we live in a culture that has given us nothing larger than ourselves and, even though we might yearn for things larger than ourselves, there seems to be nothing but ourselves at hand. So we work with this small lump of clay that will never be the stone of Mt. Rushmore.

Abandoning God to his heaven in the sphere outside the universe, we seek recognition and forgiveness from the therapist, even though he insists it is ourselves that will forgive us. Rediscovering God we seek recognition and forgiveness, even though our priests cannot be trusted and will tell us to "Go and sin no more.”

Now, it seems, we seek forgiveness from our dreams.

But we wake up from dreams and the world awaits us, much the same as it was the day before, and the work of the world is also there to be done, whatever our roles in that work may be, most of which are, if we were frank, absurd.

And the world is not all about ourselves but pressingly, inevitably and enduringly about all the others with whom we share the world, its sordid and strange past, it's perplexing present and its unknowable future.

In our immediate orbit of work and family it is, in a sense, "our world" and is what we make it day by day. But our world is a small splinter of the larger world of every expanding and overlapping circles where greater issues and duties than our small needs, fears and hopes hold sway. And, at times, these larger circles of events and moments impinge on our small and pleasant worlds and draw our attention to them.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 27, 2014 10:34 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
American Digest's Birthday: "These go to eleven...."

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American Digest: June, 2003 to June, 2014. "What a long strange trip...."

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11 (eleven i/ɨˈlɛvɨn/ or /iˈlɛvɛn/) is the natural number following 10 and preceding 12.

In English, it is the smallest positive integer requiring three syllables and the largest prime number with a single-morpheme name. If a number is divisible by 11, reversing its digits will result in another multiple of 11. As long as no two adjacent digits of a number added together exceed 9, then multiplying the number by 11, reversing the digits of the product, and dividing that new number by 11, will yield a number that is the reverse of the original number. (For example: 142,312 x 11 = 1,565,432. 2,345,651 / 11 = 213,241.) 11 (number)

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 25, 2014 8:11 PM | Comments (28)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Lest We Forget

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United States Special Operations soldiers stand atop shipping containers at a base in the Central African Republic

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - - George Orwell

Col. Jessep: Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom.... You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. A Few Good Men



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 25, 2014 3:43 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Do Not Watch While Operating Heavy Machinery

Rube Goldberg meets MTV in MC Escher's warehouse.

OK? Go!

[How was it done? Here's how....]

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 24, 2014 7:02 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Don't Hear Much About Urkraine Lately. Must Be Nothing Happening There

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Pro-Russian separatists walk at the site of the crash of the Il-76 Ukrainian army transport plane in Luhansk, June 14, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists shot down the plane with an anti-aircraft missile as it came in to land early on Saturday in the eastern city of Luhansk, killing all 49 military personnel on board. Photos of the Week: 6/14-6/20 - In Focus - The Atlantic



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 24, 2014 12:37 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Waiting for the War

Back in 2012 in a comment on Side-Lines: "Since the election I’ve noticed a very gloomy and defeatist mindset circulating on the right," John the River remarks, "Just waiting for the war to start. Civil War if we just want to separate, Revolution if we want to take it back."

He's not the first to think or to say this. Nor, even though I admire and think the same thought, is he the first to be wrong. For if John really is "waiting for the war to start," he'd best pack a lunch. It's going to be a long wait.

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards. On the road to tyranny, we've gone so far that polite political action is about as useless as a miniskirt in a convent." - Claire Wolfe, 101 Things To Do 'Til The Revolution



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 24, 2014 9:01 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Happy Acres speaks for me when he says:

I didn’t expect the collapse of western civilization to be this goddamn funny.

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HappyAcres



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 23, 2014 2:42 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
First Moon Party: How We Live Now



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 23, 2014 9:20 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
7 Hard Drives Failing: What are the odds? These are the odds.

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I run a data center. Disk drives that are left running continuously last between two and three years. Three years is about 36 months.

The odds of a disk failing in any given month are roughly one in 36. The odds of two different drives failing in the same month are roughly one in 36 squared, or 1 in about 1,300. The odds of three drives failing in the same month is 36 cubed or 1 in 46,656. The odds of seven different drives failing in the same month is 37 to the 7th power = 1 in 78,664,164,096.

Of course this is very simplified because disk failure modes are more at end-of-service-life rather than linearly spread over median life. So what if I am off by a factor of 4X? This crude calculation gets us into the same astronomical ballpark. You could insure against this event happening by buying lottery tickets. --theBuckWheat Comment at Doug Ross @ Journal: GEORGE WILL ON MIRACULOUS IRS COINCIDENCE OF CRASHED HARD DRIVES: "Religions Have Been Founded on Less"



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 22, 2014 11:14 PM | Comments (24)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Core Samples [Updated]

The Consequences of Syria | World Affairs Journal

The reality is, however, that the United States has never been able to deter or contain Iran.
No American policy-maker has ever pushed back against the Iranians for their misbehavior. I’m not just faulting Obama here. I’m also faulting the Bush administration, the Clinton administration, and the Reagan administration which also sought a rapprochement with the clerical regime. No one has pushed back for 35 years.

Kids Today: American Exchange Student Gets Stuck In Giant Stone Vagina In Germany | The Daily Caller


The scandal of fiddled global warming data : The US has actually been cooling since the Thirties, the hottest decade on record.


Kerry: 'I'm Working Hard to ... Have Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Ambassadors' [and get them assigned to Muslim countries]..... The Weekly Standard


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Why attach the propeller to a perfectly normal car?

Firstly, because you can!
Second, because you can rid your car of transmission, clutch, brakes and many other conventional systems.
         Dark Roasted Blend: Cars with Propellers, Part 1
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Final Proof Global Warming Purely Political |

Proof-stories are those that say
“The science predicted this-and-such, and here is the evidence verifying the prediction.” These were common in the early days of the panic, back in the late ’90s when temperatures cooperated with climate models, but are now as rare as conservatives in Liberal Arts departments. The reason is simple: there is little in the way of proof that the dire predictions of global warming are true, and much evidence, plain to the senses, that they are false.

Taste: The chili pepper that makes your head explode --

Currently rated as “the world's hottest chili pepper” by Guinness World Records, the pepper averages 1,569,300 on the Scoville Heat Unit scale, with peak levels of over 2,200,000. In comparison, a regular jalapeno pepper comes in at around 8,000 units.
- ODDEE

Cheney: Another 9-11 Coming

"The next time, it will be with far deadlier weapons than airline tickets and box cutters.
There's been a 58% increase in the number of groups like al Qaeda -- Salafi-Jihadists, and it stretches from west Africa all across north Africa, east Africa, through the Middle East all the way around to Indonesia -- a doubling of the number of terrorists out there.

Here's why I ban laptops from my classrooms:

because we're reading and discussing books.
We look at page after page, and I and my students use both hands to do that, and then I encourage them to mark the important passages, and take brief notes on them, with pen or pencil. Which means that there are no hands left over for laptops. And if they were typing on their laptops, they'd have no hands left over for turning to the pages I asked them to turn to. See the problem?
         laptops of the Borg - Text Patterns

Neo-Conservatism, for example,

was a cosmopolitan revolt
against the traditional bourgeois conservatism of the previous era. More precisely and practically, it was an attempt to fuse the worldly liberalism of the first half of the 20th century with the traditional, American social conservatism of the second half of the 20th century. It was a complete failure.
          The Z Blog › Ramblings on Hyphen Conservatism

Occasionally life throws you a melon, an egg, or a Ming vase,

but you have to be ready.
I've seen far too many people push away perfectly good fruit, because they're scared of what people might think if they ever get caught catching bananas from strangers.
         Worst Movers Ever | The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys

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“I was stunned.

House after house, block after block
was filled with incredible Craftsman homes, Tudor homes, and Victorian mansions. I'd never seen anything like it. I couldn't figure out why I'd never heard of this place,” he said.
         Los Angeles’ West Adams neighborhood

“Roth is full of shit,”

he says without hesitation.
Jonathan Franzen is undeserving of his reputation, as is Jonathan Lethem. The postmodernist Lydia Davis is “ridiculously overrated.” Paul Auster, too: “I can’t read him anymore.” The subtle redesign of The New Yorker has been a “dreadful error.” The upstart Brooklyn lit mag n 1 is a “crock of shit.”
An Angry Flash of Gordon

In a world of constant disagreement of every little thing on Tumblr nearly 250,000 people agree....

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This guy [Dwight Howard] is an asshole.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 22, 2014 10:42 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Transluscent Hands: Christ in the Carpenters Shop

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"Another haunting work of Georges de la Tour in his tenebrist style is Christ in the Carpenters Shop, completed in 1645 and which hangs in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. 

"It is a depiction of Joseph, a descendant of the house of David, husband of Mary and "€œfoster father"€ to Christ, who was a carpenter in Jerusalem. In Georges de la Tour's depiction we see Joseph leaning forward, busy drilling a hole in a block of wood with his auger, the shape of which mirrors the shape of a cross.  He is in his workshop watched over by Jesus whose face radiates in the large frame.  Once again the depiction of the two characters is swathed in darkness with only their faces and upper bodies lit up by the flame of the candle held by the boy.
"Jesus is seated and holds a candle to illuminate what Joseph is doing. It almost seems that it is the face of Jesus which is illuminating the scene and not the light of the candle. The act of holding up the light for Joseph to see by has an allegorical reference to Jesus Christ being the Light of the World as mentioned in the New Testament (John 8:12)." On Georges de la Tour

“…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.…”



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 22, 2014 3:03 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Locate & Identify Enemies of Freedom

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 20, 2014 7:01 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
No Airstrikes But Obama Considering Special Forces To Iraq

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Via WELCOME TO THE RIGHTLY GUIDED:



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 20, 2014 12:56 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses.... "

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"'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country.

All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth [fifteenth] century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment!

"Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world." The Crisis, Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 20, 2014 9:20 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The First Terrorist War - Five Years Later Ten Eleven Years Later -- and counting
"Beyond victory in the First Terrorist War is a greater goal. What we must seek is not merely the "control" and "containment" of terror, for terror in this guise cannot be controlled or contained. We must come to the deeper understanding that only a complete victory over the global Radical Islamic forces can prevent the onset of a confrontation more terrible than the current war." -- AD, 2003

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Mumbai

[Originally published @ American Digest in it's first year, October, 2003 ]

Sections of "The First Terrorist War"

1. Calling the War By the Right Name.
2. Not Process But Victory Restores Freedom
3. Playing for Time is Playing to Lose
4. The Goal of Radical Islam is Our Destruction
5. The War of Two Religions
6. The Unspoken Role of the Ballistic Missile Submarines
7. Avoiding the Islamic War by Winning the Terrorist War

"[Arabs] were incorrigibly children of the idea, feckless and colour-blind, to whom body and spirit were for ever and inevitably opposed. Their mind was strange and dark, full of depressions and exaltations, lacking in rule, but with more of ardour and more fertile in belief than any other in the world. They were a people of starts, for whom the abstract was the strongest motive, the process of infinite courage and variety, and the end nothing. They were as unstable as water, and like water would perhaps finally prevail." -- T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

1. Calling the War By the Right Name.
In a war, "Know your enemy" is one of the first axioms in formulating a strategy for victory. It is an axiom the United States has ignored for over two seven years. Instead we’ve seen a host of euphemisms and slogans thrown up in the belief that, having had many decades of a life where ugly things are given pretty or neutral names, Americans can no longer "bear very much reality."

In the years between September 2001 and today, the public has had little asked of it and seen nothing happen on our soil that alarms it. All is quiet on the western front. [Update April 2013. This is no longer true.]

Foggy thinking, attractive in politics, means defeat in war. War requires "a mind of winter;" a mind that is precise, cold, and unrelenting. War requires that we call things what they are and cease to skirt issues that make us, "uncomfortable." Vague names create fluffy policies, hamstrung strategies, and wishful thinking. This is where we are drifting.

To say we are "involved" in a "war on terror" extends our infatuation with euphemism and obfuscation into dangerous territory. The phrase lulls us into a state where all dangers seem unclear and distant. The "war on terror" joins an expanding list of "wars on..." such as drugs, poverty, or profuse paperwork in government. The "war on terror" implies a "process" rather than a campaign; an indeterminate series of unresolved encounters rather than decisive actions that lead to an end, to peace.

Peace is the goal of war. To accept a perpetual "war on terror" is to accept a plan for mere "management" rather than victory. The failure to plan for victory is the construction of a plan for defeat.

To those with a clear vision of this war and a knowledge of history, it is a lie that we are "involved in a war on terror." Our presidents, pundits and policy wonks may prefer it that way, but war is not the same as being "involved in a business slump" or "involved in a troubled relationship."

Wishful souls in the West may see the war as a "process;" as an exercise in supply chain management. Our many millions of avowed enemies do not. Our enemies have no truck with vague thinking and phrases front-loaded with vacillation and pusillanimous wishing. Their thinking is driven by an ancient religious doctrine designed to manipulate, exploit and harness societies into servitude.

Our enemies commitment to our destruction is adamantine. It is no accident that many of their spiritual leaders speaking from the centers of their faith call for the death of the "Crusaders." Obfuscation has no place in their plans except as if creates confusion and doubt among us. Our enemies' goals are the same goals they have held for more than 500 years. They are the goals announced several times a week in tens of thousands of mosques throughout the world. For our enemies, the wars of the Crusades and the wars surrounding the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire were merely prologues to this war.

One such wave (and not the least) I raised and rolled before the breath of an idea, till it reached its crest, and toppled over and fell at Damascus. The wash of that wave, thrown back by the resistance of vested things, will provide the matter of the following wave, when in fullness of time the sea shall be raised once more." - T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Our present reality, brought home to us in the cataclysm of September 11 (and last week in Mumbai), is that we are now fighting The First Terrorist War. We had best know it by that name. When we persist in calling it the "war on terror" our implied goal is control and containment; a "management problem". This is a lethal illusion.

In war the only acceptable outcome is complete victory. A negotiation does not end a war - - as Oslo shows. A partition does not end a war - - as we learned in Vietnam. A cease-fire does not end a war -- as we saw in the Gulf War. The Cold War taught us that a wall does not end a war. Only victory, clear and decisive, ends war and creates peace. To date, we have failed to learn this lesson. In life, when a lesson is not learned, it is repeated.

In war, language is a strategic asset. Indeed, we see daily how language,here and abroad, is used to weaken the resolve of the United States. The central problem in calling The First Terrorist War the "war on terror’ is that the phrase soothes us into accepting less than victory; makes us accept war-without-end as a new deal; a new normality where terror is accepted as the status quo. This is the state in which Israel has existed for decades as terrorist violence becomes the scrim screen against which that nation's life lurches on. Although our present foreign policy may impose this on Israel, a garrison state may, over time, prove less popular here at home. We are not yet the kind of country that easily accepts "The Forever War."

2. Not Process But Victory Restores Freedom

An open-ended "war on terror," like a ‘war on drugs" invites a continuing erosion of small liberties. As this persists, once rare infringements on liberty become the norm. If it is to be the case that the shoes of all air travelers are to be inspected from now until the last ding-dong of doom, we will all be wearing sandals on airlines for the rest of our days. In this, many are correct to be wary of the long term effects of The Patriot Act.

Short of military conquest, a free society does not lose its freedom. Rather, freedom is lost through small infringements on liberty and dignity in the name of security. A perfectly safe state is a state without freedom. As our policies look to sustain rather than defeat our enemies, we are to that degree held hostage to both our policies and our enemies. When war is reduced to a process, that process becomes a self-renewing system in the same way that the "war on drugs" has become institutionalized in our lives; a normal part of the background noise that defines our days. A strategy based on "management," on diplomacy rather than victory, leads only to the establishment of internal organizations dedicated to their own perpetuation.

During the Civil War and the World Wars of the last century certain freedoms were, at times, curtailed, infringed or suspended. Following victory in 1945 these freedoms not only returned but even greater states of equality and liberty emerged. Had the Second World War ended in a negotiated stand-off at the Rhine and Okinawa, a state of war would have continued for an unknowable time and, in such a state, a less-free United States would have been a certainty. Only the destruction of the Axis powers yielded a peace out of which freedom surged, not only in America but in the lands of her former enemies as well. Victory yields freedom in peace. An armed process yields only stasis.

3. Playing for Time is Playing to Lose
Our enemies (many of whom have studied and lived or now live among us) know us better than we are prepared to know either them or ourselves. In order to reform, rearm and launch future attacks they depend upon our belief that we are effectively managing the "war on terror." At the same time they know that, absent any large attacks, we will grow weary with small but constant losses tallied daily by our "caring and sensitive" media. They depend upon us being lulled back into the state of slumber we enjoyed on September 10th. And we grant their wishes.

If they are as wise as they are ruthless, our enemies will continue with their strategies of constant attrition and small, distant attacks. They will, for the present, avoid large shocks to the nation in hopes that the ambitions of our political factions and the intellectual lassitude of our major media will result in the defeat of the present administration in the coming elections.[Check... ] The goal of this strategy is the expectation of a more somnambulant administration less invested in war and more inclined towards the failed policies of appeasement, negotiation and payoff. [... and double check.]

When that happens our present "war on terror" will become even softer; will be said sotto voce if said at all. It will be supplanted by something resembling "a diplomatic initiative to ameliorate terrorism." In effect we shall find ourselves, as we have so often in the past under liberal guidance, trying to buy out way out of the "war on terror." Our error will be believing that we are dealing with reasonable extortionists rather than blood enemies. And the measure of our leaders’ cowardice will be how deeply they promote this belief and the false hope it engenders.

4. The Goal of Radical Islam is Our Destruction
The consequences of a political and military stand-down would be to allow our enemies the time, basing and mobility to grow in numbers, advance in training, achieve greater tactical position within and about our borders, and acquire ever more sophisticated and powerful weapons. Once they have advanced to the next level of lethality they will strike us again with an effect on our lives, liberties, property and economy more extreme than 9/11.

The goals of the Radical Islamic forces arrayed against us are the same as their factotums, the Palestinians, have for Israel. In the jihad against Israel we can see what the Islamic forces have in mind for us: the complete destruction of our systems, the occupation of our land, the usurpation of our government, and the death or conversion of all our citizens. These are the goals of Radical Islam as understood by their fundamentalists and as tolerated by the vast majority of believers.

Much has been written about these goals. Most of our scholars conclude they are only fantasies. A nuclear weapon detonated in Seattle does not care if a fantasy set it off.

Whether the goals of Radical Islam can be achieved is a matter for history to determine. It is the belief that they can be achieved that brings the First Terrorist War upon us. To the extent that we fail to recognize the intensity and commitment of our enemies in this war; to the extent we fail to match their passion for our destruction with our passion for victory; to the extent we cast our lot with our "process" as they cast their lot with their god, we weaken our ability to decisively defeat them.

Ours is a "war on terror" while theirs is a "Jihad." Our efforts are a process. Theirs are directed by divine mandate. Whether you are of a secular or religious persuasion, it is well to remember that if you go to war you’d best have God on your side.

It is time to put away the feeble designation of our actions as the "war on terror" for it is not "terror" that shooting wars engage. Wars engage combatants, armies, populations, institutions, nations and religions. It is unpopular, almost unsayable, to designate the First Terrorist War as a religious war, yet all serious people know that this is the case and that this, in the end, is what it shall come to.

5. The War of Two Religions
Through the violent attacks of a Radical Islam, two religions have been brought into conflict. The first is that of Islam, a faith that at its core requires absolute submission from its adherents, and looks towards the subjugation of the world as its ultimate apotheosis. As the youngest of the monotheistic religions, Islam is at a point in its development that Christianity passed through centuries ago. And it is not with Christianity that Islam is currently at war. Islam is saving that for the mopping up phase of its current campaign. The religion that Islam has engaged is a much younger one, the religion of Freedom.

As a religion Freedom has been gaining converts since the success of the American Revolution enabled it to go forth and be preached to the world. Freedom is easily the most popular of the new religions and historically converts nearly 100% of all populations in which it is allowed to take firm root. This is the religion which we have lately brought to Iraq.

The genius of the religion of Freedom is that it allows all other religions, from the venerable to the trivial, to exist without fear of censure or destruction. Indeed, the only thing that the religion of Freedom firmly forbids is the destruction of Freedom itself. "Thou shalt not destroy Freedom" is Freedom's single commandment. And Freedom has been shown to resist efforts to destroy it in the most ferocious way. It’s enemies would do well to ponder the fate of previous attempts to do so.

On September 11, the agents of Radical Islam began their attempt to destroy Freedom by attacking it at its core. The reaction of Freedom to this assault has been, once you consider the destructive power of the weapons systems it possesses, measured, deliberate and cautious. This is because Freedom, although sorely wounded, does not yet feel that its very existence is threatened. A more serious attack at any time in the future will put paid to that specious notion.

Following a second attack at a level equal to or exceeding September 11, any political opposition to pursuing our enemies with all means at our disposal will be swept off the table. The First Terrorist War will begin in earnest and it will not be a series of small wars with long lead times and a careful consultation of allies. The war will become, virtually overnight, a global war of violent preemption and merciless attack towards the spiritual and geographic centers of our enemy. Arguments revolving around the true meaning of ‘imminent’ will be seen as they are -- so much factional prattle. Due to the nature of the enemy, the First Terrorist War will be fought here and there and everywhere. It does not matter when or where the second serious strike on the American homeland takes place, it only matters that on the day after this country will be at war far beyond the current level of conflict.

6. The Unspoken Role of the Ballistic Missile Submarines
Since 9/11 there is one element of our strategic forces that has not been discussed. Indeed, you seldom hear a question asked about its status. That element is our fleet of ballistic missile submarines. We currently possess 18 of these "ships," but a ballistic missile submarine is known not as a ship, but as a "strategic asset."

Each submarine has 24 missile tubes. Each tube holds one missile with from 5-8 nuclear warheads. Each warhead can be targeted separately from the others. The range of these missiles is classified but is thought to be in excess of 6000 nautical miles. The total number of warheads is approximately 50% of US strategic warheads. In sum, any single one of these strategic assets can create the end of a significant portion of the world. At present roughly 40% of this fleet is deployed at unknown and unknowable locations throughout the world’s oceans.

Originally built in order to deter, these strategic assets now assume a more aggressive role in the First Terrorist War. Because of the religious nature of the war, our enemy is unlikely to be deterred by the threat of obliteration. He will view that as highly unlikely since it would, of necessity, involve us in the deaths of large number of civilians in countries known to harbor or be friendly to Islamic terrorists. He believes we would not employ these weapons. This misunderstanding of the history of Western democracies under arms and in a state of total war invites global tragedy.

Nevertheless, the character and goals of our enemy are as fixed as the words of the Koran and he is not to be dissuaded by the threat of annihilation. Only actual annihilation will, in the end, suffice and yield victory. In attempting to achieve this annihilation we can only hope that the political and military situation does not evolve to a level where the submarines would have to play a role.

7. Avoiding the Islamic War by Winning the Terrorist War
Because we are large, lumbering, impatient and somnambulant our enemy depends on these factors to defeat us. He uses the opportunities of Freedom in order to make war upon it. He is able to infiltrate our society and institutions. He is able to be infinitely patient. He plans for the decades while we can barely manage to plan from one fiscal quarter to the next.

This is a war that will play out over years and will not be resolved in months. In order to gain victory and defeat our enemy we must put in place policies and strategies that cannot easily be altered by reports, polls, or election cycles. In order to achieve this we must be, as we were in the Second World War, united in purpose. It is, sadly, the nature of our society today that September 11th's unity was fleeting. To find this unity we must suffer through one more horrendous attack the nature and timing of which will not be of our choosing.

Still, as surely as the next attack will come, so will the unity that it creates in its wake and at that point the full power of Freedom’s Arsenal will at last be used to defend it. This is the social and political conundrum that confronts us in the First Terrorist War. And this is why the war must be divorced from ‘process’ and the goal of victory be cut into the stone of the American soul.

During the Second World War, our system, with few alterations, brought us through to a peace in which there were greater freedoms than before the war. Victory validated our way of life. Not only were our freedoms intact in 1945 but they were poised, with the economy, for a great expansion throughout the rest of the century and into this. If you had proposed, in the summer of 1946, that within 50 years all minorities would be fully enfranchised, that women would be fully liberated, that homosexuals would be a dominant force with their enfranchisement only a moment away, and that an African-American could be elected President, you would have been dismissed as a socialist dreamer. And yet, here we are.

The same situation can also be envisioned as the result of our victory in the First Terrorist War at the end of a less-clear but no less threatening passage of arms. But this will only happen if we remain clear about the real nature of the First Terrorist War, and committed to unequivocal victory regardless of the costs in lives and treasure. Only by matching the determination of our enemy to destroy us will we prevail. The only thing that can defeat us are a dull reliance on management, a fascination with process rather than victory and the reluctance to believe the extent to which our enemy desires our annihilation.

Beyond victory in the First Terrorist War is a greater goal. What we must seek is not merely the "control" and "containment" of terror, for terror in this guise cannot be controlled or contained. We must come to the deeper understanding that only a complete victory over the global Radical Islamic forces can prevent the onset of a confrontation more terrible than the current war.

What we must press for in the Terrorist War is a victory so decisive that we can, in the end, avoid the larger war lurking on the not-so-distant horizon - - a true war between civilizations. That war, should it come, will not take the name of The Terrorist War, but of The Islamic War.

The Terrorist War is still a struggle that can be fought and won with conventional means. An Islamic War, should it come, would engulf the world and be anything but conventional.


"Some of the evil of my tale may have been inherent in our circumstances."T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 19, 2014 7:21 AM | Comments (25)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Can You Imagine?: On the American "Elites"
“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” — André Gide

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But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

-- Sonnet 18

In the end, it is not our failure to learn from history that condemns us to repeat it, but our mind's turning away from even the briefest glimpse of what the dark passages of history were like that damns us. We may know, but we refuse to see. We blind our own mind's eye. It is our inability to imagine the most evil things that all men are capable of that corrupts us.

No, do not say "our inability" to imagine. Say rather, "our refusal" to imagine since the imagination itself -- if we were honest -- can indeed visualize carnage and depravity with ourselves as the actor and never the acted-upon. Our mind can and does see things that we cannot stand to admit we see. Our imagination can bring to itself an image -- and hold in our mind's eye things -- of infinite vileness.

And in such images we see, most of all, ourself. And so we turn away, turn away, and assign what we may have imagined, might have seen, if only briefly, as but a bad dream, a short nightmare; something that will pass at dawn when 'the sleep of our reason no longer breeds nightmares.' It is how we live. Now and again when we tire of our wars not because they are wrong but because they endure.


In America, the only depraved things that actually happen -- we are assured daily -- are those of individual criminals, they are never the responsibility, the known and foreseen result, of the crimes of a whole people that "could not" imagine, that "refused" to imagine, and so turned away, turned away. A portion of a people that granted, if only they were left alone, permission to be vile to another more animalistic portion of the same people.

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Many years ago, when I was a book editor in Boston, I spent a day with the distinguished Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld. My purpose was to, as we said then, "woo the author" and acquire him and his books for the house. Aharon Appelfeld had just won the Israeli Prize for literature and was considered, if not a "hot property," at least one that would, as we also used to say, "add luster to the list." Since my publisher, Houghton Mifflin, was the publisher that had given the English-speaking world Mein Kampf in 1939 and continued to sell it at the time, the addition of a celebrated Israeli author writing in Hebrew was a luster devoutly to be wished.

I had dutifully read all of Appelfeld's works available in English (translated from his chosen language of Hebrew) and put on my very best suit, my very best tie, and my very best Bahston editorial manner. Since he had won prizes and high critical regard the house had no problem with taking him for a lunch at Loch Ober, a Victorian era restaurant with a menu the size of a small town phone book and prices that were, even then, astronomical. I was pulling out all the stops in the "designed-to-impress-editorial-express." Appelfeld was, as I now dimly recall, not the sort of man to be at all impressed by the vanities of the world.

Today the Internet entries for Appelfeld give his pre-Israel life a short entry. The Jewish Virtual Library states:

"Aharon Appelfeld was born in Czernowitz, Rumania, and deported to a concentration camp at the age of eight. He escaped and spent three years hiding in the Ukraine before joining the Russian army. A post-war refugee, he made his way to Italy and immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1946. He currently resides in Jerusalem."
Short with no sweetness about it, that paragraph sums up an experience that most living Americans can only dimly perceive; that most living Americans know nothing about and about which, if the truth were told, most living Americans wish to know less than nothing; something we "refuse" to imagine. It is a very short story about a boy's life taken out of its halcyon first years, plunged into the deepest dark bloodpools of genocide, and left there to steep.

Wikipedia's brief entry for Appelfeld notes:

"In 1940, the Nazis invaded his hometown. His mother was killed and Appelfeld, a boy of eight, was deported with his father to a concentration camp in Ukraine He escaped and hid for three years before joining the Soviet Army as a cook. After World War II, Appelfeld spent several months in a displaced persons camp in Italy before immigrating to Palestine in 1946, two years before Israel's independence...... Aharon Appelfeld is one of the foremost living Hebrew-language authors, despite the fact that he did not learn the language until he was a teenager. His mother tongue is German, but he also speaks Yiddish, Ukrainian, Russian, English and Italian. With his subject matter revolving around the Holocaust and the sufferings of the Jews in Europe, he could not bring himself to write in German."

At my lunch, and subsequent afternoon spent with Appelfeld, some of the brief details in the biographical facts of his life were filled in.

There were the years in hiding, the years when he pretended to be an orphan, a refugee, a Gentile -- anything other than what he was, a Jew escaped from the camps. There was his passage as "a cook for the Soviet Army." As a cook of around 13 at the time one wonders what his actual duties were.

After the war the entry notes that Appelfeld "made his way to Italy." According to him this 'making of way' entailed walking for over three months across the entire landscape of a shattered and gutted Europe. What he saw on this tour of the ashes of that culture is something that recurs in his books, as are the things he did to survive that time and reach Israel as a survivor. To know what he saw and suffered and did to survive you need to read across the whole of his work since they appear only in flashes, like snatches of bad dreams and nightmares fitfully remembered.

At the time we met, I'd read Badenheim, 1939, the story of how upper middle class Jews in Germany came, by stages, to their doom. It is a book in which the horrors do not unfold on stage, but like the great Greek tragedies, wait off stage in the wings of history to gather up and destroy a whole people who, like so many now, "refuse" to imagine what awaits them; "refuse" to imagine how their "Happy World" can ever change.

Little of my conversation with Appelfeld remains in my memory save for one question and answer. I asked him what he thought his single message and driving force behind his writing was. His answer was essentially and in paraphrase, "As a Jew no matter how safe you think you are, no matter how assimilated you think you and your family might be, you aren't. You are never safe and you are never assimilated. You know could always happen again. You know it will."

From time to time his statement comes back to me when I'm faced with the inexplicable actions, the weak thinking, the unfathomable ignorance, and the cultural cringing of my fellow countrymen in our present era. Yesterday [ July 8, 2007 ] it was the bizarre editorial from the New York Times calling for immediate retreat and surrender in Iraq. Entitled somewhat poetically "The Road Home" the editorial is a monument to "the refusal to imagine" mindset that has overtaken so many Americans after years of the unremitting media water torture on the issue of Iraq. It's key passage reads:

"It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.... Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide."

When I first read this blithe gush issuing -- without heart or care or conscience -- from whatever mind originated it, and passed by whatever chortling editorial process approved it, I felt the twinge of nausea that I often feel when reading the carefully crafted and anonymous twitterings of that paper's editorial pronouncements. But, like most of those moments, I stopped ingesting it and, in time, my nausea passed.

Later that day I was speaking with a friend and the subject of the editorial came up. My friend was mystified by it, hard pressed to understand how a paper like the Times, a paper filled with intelligent people whose families had had no little experience with genocide, could so blithely advocate a policy which would, if carried out, condemn hundreds of thousands if not millions of Iraqis to death in a thousand brutal ways that we all would "refuse" to imagine. What could possibly be the motivation, the obsession, the vile-on-the-face-of-it commitment to such a policy? Didn't they understand what it would mean?

My answer at the time was that while the editorial board, the publisher, and the Finzi-Contini owners of the New York Times knew full well what it would mean, they didn't care. The settling of political scores and the advancement of their internal political agenda was what mattered. It was indeed the only thing that mattered and their agenda was simple -- they sought "The Restoration" of The Floating World.

The inevitable genocide of the Iraqis would take place off their stage and would not trouble their sleep on beds made plush by three inches of Memory Foam. Of course, their media companies and their minions would report the killings in due course and in the appropriate tone -- taking care not of offend whatever entities were their reporters' hosts for the viewing of the slaughter -- but the slaughter itself would not matter. Their bubble would not be pierced. Their catered dinner parties would go on undisturbed. Their parades would roll through the Village without rain. Their dogs would be walked for them and their dogs' droppings scooped and disposed of for them. Their hands would not touch the droppings.

Their summer homes in the Hamptons would be cleaned and buffed for them. Their waiters at their beach clubs would bring them their beverages on a tray and they would sign for them. Their drivers would always be waiting at the door for them, cars washed, polished and swept. Their power tables at breakfast and lunch would always be set and reserved for them. They would again be welcomed at White House fetes and the bedrooms there would be prepared for them.

It would all be as if George Bush and September 11, and Afghanistan, and Iraq had never happened. There would even be Bill Again -- playing that cool saxophone, smoking those big cigars, and laughing into the long and languid summer nights in the Rose Garden. All would be as it once was. This they could imagine.

Whatever might or might not be happening in Iraq then would be reported as the reports of summer storms in the Midwest tracked as green and red blurs by radar are seen on the Weather Channel -- distant thunder never coming closer. They would "refuse" to imagine it had anything to do with them, that it was anything that could happen to them. After all, the new New York Times Building was several miles from Ground Zero. That was Downtown, they were Midtown.

No. They were safe at last. They were fully assimilated into the safest country on Earth; the Finzi-Continis of our time. They were, once again, fully-vested members of the power elite of the United States of America. They weren't running some dying newspaper on the West Side of Manhattan. They were back. Whatever happened elsewhere was the fault of the previous lost years. History could never happen to them. History, once again, was at an end. History was, once again and this time for good, something that they actually "could not imagine."



First published July 9, 2007 and lo, five years later, they have learned exactly nothing: Yesterday in the wake of the massacres in Syria we have the New York Times whining little editorial, The Massacre at Houla , which seems to feel the opponent of Obama is the point of the story and "sanctions" the only solution:
Sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and others are having an effect. Still, a United Nations arms embargo and the toughest possible comprehensive economic sanctions are long overdue. Russia has the most leverage, but, inexcusably, it still sells arms and coal to Syria and uses its Mediterranean port of Tartus. We can see no easy solutions to Syria, despite Mitt Romney’s facile criticism of President Obama. In a campaign statement issued on Tuesday, Mr. Romney called for “more assertive measures to end the Assad regime.”
What small and contemptible minds.



Posted by Vanderleun Jun 18, 2014 1:11 AM | Comments (37)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? - Job 38

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Massive 'ocean' discovered towards Earth's core | A reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans has been discovered deep beneath the Earth's surface. The finding could help explain where Earth's seas came from.

The water is hidden inside a blue rock called ringwoodite that lies 700 kilometres underground in the mantle, the layer of hot rock between Earth's surface and its core.

The huge size of the reservoir throws new light on the origin of Earth's water. Some geologists think water arrived in comets as they struck the planet, but the new discovery supports an alternative idea that the oceans gradually oozed out of the interior of the early Earth.

"It's good evidence the Earth's water came from within," says Steven Jacobsen of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The hidden water could also act as a buffer for the oceans on the surface, explaining why they have stayed the same size for millions of years.

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6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. Genesis 1:6-8 KJV - And God said, Let there be a firmament - Bible Gateway

Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Water dissolving...and water removing
There is water at the bottom of the ocean
Carry the water at the bottom of the ocean
Remove the water at the bottom of the ocean!

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Isaiah 40



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 17, 2014 2:16 AM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Queen FTOUS: The First Tranny of the United States

One assumes this is a mere satire. I mean it just has to be satire. I mean it can't be just bad craziness. Right? Right.

Viral Video Claims To Have Evidence Michelle Is A Man

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 16, 2014 8:12 AM | Comments (20)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Albert John ('Van') Van der Leun: A Sharp Man

alooksharpbesharp.jpgMy father liked sharp. He was a Gillette kind of man. He liked to look sharp, feel sharp and be sharp. I never saw him unshaven except very early in the morning before he’d had a chance to lather up. Beards? He was a child of the hard parts of the Depression and beards were for bums.

My father favored the flat-top for himself and his sons. Butch Wax was a staple in our house and four males could go through a jar a week. He grudgingly accepted my 3-inch “Ivy League” cut once I went off to the university, but was never reconciled to the longer and longer hair that came later.

My father was a sharp-dressed man. He liked the snap of a freshly laundered, starched and ironed white shirt. His suits were always cleaned and pressed and his shoes shined to a military gloss. I still have many of his gold and silver tie-tacks and cuff-links and although I seldom wear them, I do wear them. They make me feel sharp.

My father was a car salesman and a good one. He was a sharp salesman; one that was always looking for what the customer actually wanted as well as what the customer could really afford. For every minute selling, he spent five qualifying. He didn’t boast about being the top salesman at the lot, although he usually was. He did boast that he had the fewest repos of all the salesmen, and the most repeat customers. He liked to sell people cars that he knew they could afford. His most repeated instruction to me was, “Never try to profit off of another’s misfortune.”

My father hated smooth. He liked plain talk and despised euphemism and manipulation, especially among salesmen. He’d fire car salesmen working under him if he caught them lying or even shading the truth to make a sale. He looked at every deal brought to him for approval that the buyer didn’t have the credit for as a failed sale and wouldn’t approve them. “A man that will lie to a customer will lie to you,” he’d say. “Bad for the buyer and worse for the business,” he’d say. “If you let a man buy what he can’t afford on credit, you’re going to be taking the car back and making an enemy. We’re here to get cars off the lot, not see them come back after repossession. A man who can’t make his car payments is a man who can’t maintain his car. A salesman who’s so smooth he’s selling people cars bigger than they can afford is a salesman who’s taking a kickback from the repoman.”

My father was a man for whom honor was essential. Did my father sell as many cars as he could have? Probably not, but he raised three boys well and without want. My mother worked hard, day in and day out, as my mother and did, in the final analysis, a pretty good job of it. My father saved carefully and retired all debt as quickly as possible. When he died, a relatively young man after years of expensive medical treatments, my mother was still set up comfortably for life.

My father despised debt and avoided credit. Educated by himself, he’d seen the worst of the depression and, during one hard winter in Pittsburgh in the 30s, had to hang out by the railroad tracks to pick up lumps of coal fallen from the trains in order to heat his home.

My father was a life-long Democrat, and despised Richard Nixon for his five-o’clock shadow and his smooth palaver. He felt the same way about Kennedy. “He looks sharp but when you listen to him he’s just too smooth a talker.”

What would my father think about a President who was a both a sharp-dressed man and was smoothly talking the country into buying trillions of dollars in deficits and entitlements?

Like he said, “A salesman who’s so smooth he’s selling people cars bigger than they can afford is a salesman who’s taking a kickback from the repoman.”



Posted by Vanderleun Jun 15, 2014 11:41 AM | Comments (43)  | QuickLink: Permalink
My Father

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The Interface
--for my father, Albert John Van der Leun

1.
The empty rituals and dusty opulence
of the nightmare's obvious ending dwindle,
and the sounds of departing automobiles
fade into the humm beyond the cul-de-sac.
Inside the house my mother sits quietly,
surrounded by the plates of finger food
that everybody brought and no one ate,
and wonders if she should begin to take
clothes from the closet, call the Goodwill.
Some blocks away, the minister hangs
his vestments on a peg, and goes to lunch.

I drive the Skyway to the town named Paradise,
park his car at the canyon's rim, and sit awhile
in the hot silence of the afternoon looking out
at the Sierra mountains where, in June, the winter lingers.
On the seat beside me a well-taped cardboard cube
contains what remains of my father. I climb out
and, taking the cube under my arm, begin to climb
down the canyon's lava wall to the stream below.
The going is slow, but we get to the bottom by and by
and sitting on some moss, we rest awhile, the cube and I,
beside the snow-chilled stream.

The place we have come to is where the pines lean out
from the rounded boulders lodged above the stream;
where what the stream saves builds up in the backwater,
making in the mounds of matter an inventory of the year:
Rusted tins slumped under the fallen sighs of weeds,
diminishing echoes of the blackbird's gliding wings,
laughs buoyed in the hollow belly of stunted trees,
gears, tires, the bones of birds, brilliant pebbles,
the rasping windwish of leaf fall crushed to dust,
the thunk of bone on bark, the thud of earth on wood,
the silence of soft ash scattered on chill waters.

And in such silence, he fades forever.

2.
The stream, its waters revolving round
through river, ocean, clouds, and rain,
bears away the hands and eyes,
but still the memory remains,
answering, in pantomime,
the questions never asked:

Are these reflections but the world without,
carried on but never borne onward, westward,
towards sunlight glazed on sea's thigh?
Or are such frail forms shaped upon the waters all
the things that are, and we above immersed in air
the forms that fade and only the mere mirrors of the stream?

Is this life all that is and, once life lost,
the end of all that was, with nothing
left to be, with no pine wind to taste,
nor sun to dapple mind with dream?
Is all that is but ash dissolving,
our lives but rain in circles falling?

Or are we yet the center of such circles,
our fall a rise above the shawl of night,
where all shall shine contained within
that single soul, that heart of stars;
that interface where souls and suns
and Earth's far scattered waters meet?

Meet in that one hand whose palm
still remains held out forever,
held out and for forever open
even in the coldest light of day.



Posted by Vanderleun Jun 15, 2014 11:10 AM | Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Arabs could be swung on an idea as on a cord"

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Committed to Obama’s forest road, Western security chiefs are already warning a new generation of al-Qaeda, more powerful than the last, has been forged in the furnaces of Syria, Libya, Iraq, Africa and Afghanistan ready to attack. We already know, if we haven’t guessed already, that Obama’s is not going to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, which in any event, Pakistan already has. It’s more than likely the West will face attacks in the near future that will make 9/11 look like a Sunday School picnic by comparison. -- Belmont Club サ In Search of Plan C

Chapter 3 of Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence

If tribesman and townsman in Arabic-speaking Asia were not different races, but just men in different social and economic stages, a family resemblance might be expected in the working of their minds, and so it was only reasonable that common elements should appear in the product of all these peoples. In the very outset, at the first meeting with them, was found a universal clearness or hardness of belief, almost mathematical in its limitation, and repellent in its unsympathetic form. Semites had no half-tones in their register of vision. They were a people of primary colours, or rather of black and white, who saw the world always in contour. They were a dogmatic people, despising doubt, our modern crown of thorns. They did not understand our metaphysical difficulties, our introspective questionings. They knew only truth and untruth, belief and unbelief, without our hesitating retinue of finer shades.

This people was black and white, not only in vision, but by inmost furnishing: black and white not merely in clarity, but in apposition. Their thoughts were at ease only in extremes. They inhabited superlatives by choice. Sometimes inconsistents seemed to possess them at once in joint sway; but they never compromised: they pursued the logic of several incompatible opinions to absurd ends, without perceiving the incongruity. With cool head and tranquil judgement, imperturbably unconscious of the flight, they oscillated from asymptote to asymptote.*

They were a limited, narrow-minded people, whose inert intellects lay fallow in incurious resignation. Their imaginations were vivid, but not creative. There was so little Arab art in Asia that they could almost be said to have had no art, though their classes were liberal patrons, and had encouraged whatever talents in architecture, or ceramics, or other handicraft their neighbours and helots displayed. Nor did they handle great industries: they had no organizations of mind or body. They invented no systems of philosophy, no complex mythologies. They steered their course between the idols of the tribe and of the cave. The least morbid of peoples, they had accepted the gift of life unquestioningly, as axiomatic. To them it was a thing inevitable, entailed on man, a usufruct, beyond control. Suicide was a thing impossible, and death no grief.

They were a people of spasms, of upheavals, of ideas, the race of the individual genius. Their movements were the more shocking by contrast with the quietude of every day, their great men greater by contrast with the humanity of their mob. Their convictions were by instinct, their activities intuitional. Their largest manufacture was of creeds: almost they were monopolists of revealed religions. Three of these efforts had endured among them: two of the three had also borne export (in modified forms) to non-Semitic peoples. Christianity, translated into the diverse spirits of Greek and Latin and Teutonic tongues, had conquered Europe and America. Islam in various transformations was subjecting Africa and parts of Asia. These were Semitic successes. Their failures they kept to themselves. The fringes of their deserts were strewn with broken faiths.

It was significant that this wrack of fallen religions lay about the meeting of the desert and the sown. It pointed to the generation of all these creeds. They were assertions, not arguments; so they required a prophet to set them forth. The Arabs said there had been forty thousand prophets: we had record of at least some hundreds. None of them had been of the wilderness; but their lives were after a pattern. Their birth set them in crowded places. An unintelligible passionate yearning drove them out into the desert. There they lived a greater or lesser time in meditation and physical abandonment; and thence they returned with their imagined message articulate, to preach it to their old, and now doubting, associates. The founders of the three great creeds fulfilled this cycle: their possible coincidence was proved a law by the parallel life-histories of the myriad others, the unfortunate who failed, whom we might judge of no less true profession, but for whom time and disillusion had not heaped up dry souls ready to be set on fire. To the thinkers of the town the impulse into Nitria had ever been irresistible, not probably that they found God dwelling there, but that in its solitude they heard more certainly the living word they brought with them.

The common base of all the Semitic creeds, winners or losers, was the ever present idea of world-worthlessness. Their profound reaction from matter led them to preach bareness, renunciation, poverty; and the atmosphere of this invention stifled the minds of the desert pitilessly. A first knowledge of their sense of the purity of rarefaction was given me in early years, when we had ridden far out over the rolling plains of North Syria to a ruin of the Roman period which the Arabs believed was made by a prince of the border as a desert-palace for his queen. The clay of its building was said to have been kneaded for greater richness, not with water, but with the precious essential oils of flowers. My guides, sniffing the air like dogs, led me from crumbling room to room, saying, 'This is jessamine, this violet, this rose'.

But at last Dahoum drew me: 'Come and smell the very sweetest scent of all', and we went into the main lodging, to the gaping window sockets of its eastern face, and there drank with open mouths of the effortless, empty, eddyless wind of the desert, throbbing past. That slow breath had been born somewhere beyond the distant Euphrates and had dragged its way across many days and nights of dead grass, to its first obstacle, the man-made walls of our broken palace. About them it seemed to fret and linger, murmuring in baby-speech. 'This,' they told me, 'is the best: it has no taste.' My Arabs were turning their backs on perfumes and luxuries to choose the things in which mankind had had no share or part.

The Beduin of the desert, born and grown up in it, had embraced with all his soul this nakedness too harsh for volunteers, for the reason, felt but inarticulate, that there he found himself indubitably free. He lost material ties, comforts, all superfluities and other complications to achieve a personal liberty which haunted starvation and death. He saw no virtue in poverty herself: he enjoyed the little vices and luxuries--coffee, fresh water, women--which he could still preserve. In his life he had air and winds, sun and light, open spaces and a great emptiness. There was no human effort, no fecundity in Nature: just the heaven above and the unspotted earth beneath. There unconsciously he came near God. God was to him not anthropomorphic, not tangible, not moral nor ethical, not concerned with the world or with him, not natural: but the being , thus qualified not by divestiture but by investiture, a comprehending Being, the egg of all activity, with nature and matter just a glass reflecting Him.

The Beduin could not look for God within him: he was too sure that he was within God. He could not conceive anything which was or was not God, Who alone was great; yet there was a homeliness, an everyday-ness of this climatic Arab God, who was their eating and their fighting and their lusting, the commonest of their thoughts, their familiar resource and companion, in a way impossible to those whose God is so wistfully veiled from them by despair of their carnal unworthiness of Him and by the decorum of formal worship. Arabs felt no incongruity in bringing God into the weaknesses and appetites of their least creditable causes. He was the most familiar of their words; and indeed we lost much eloquence when making Him the shortest and ugliest of our monosyllables.

This creed of the desert seemed inexpressible in words, and indeed in thought. It was easily felt as an influence, and those who went into the desert long enough to forget its open spaces and its emptiness were inevitably thrust upon God as the only refuge and rhythm of being. The Bedawi might be a nominal Sunni, or a nominal Wahabi, or anything else in the Semitic compass, and he would take it very lightly, a little in the manner of the watchmen at Zion's gate who drank beer and laughed in Zion because they were Zionists. Each individual nomad had his revealed religion, not oral or traditional or expressed, but instinctive in himself; and so we got all the Semitic creeds with (in character and essence) a stress on the emptiness of the world and the fullness of God; and according to the power and opportunity of the believer was the expression of them.

The desert dweller could not take credit for his belief. He had never been either evangelist or proselyte. He arrived at this intense condensation of himself in God by shutting his eyes to the world, and to all the complex possibilities latent in him which only contact with wealth and temptations could bring forth. He attained a sure trust and a powerful trust, but of how narrow a field! His sterile experience robbed him of compassion and perverted his human kindness to the image of the waste in which he hid. Accordingly he hurt himself, not merely to be free, but to please himself. There followed a delight in pain, a cruelty which was more to him than goods. The desert Arab found no joy like the joy of voluntarily holding back. He found luxury in abnegation, renunciation, self restraint. He made nakedness of the mind as sensuous as nakedness of the body. He saved his own soul, perhaps, and without danger, but in a hard selfishness. His desert was made a spiritual ice-house, in which was preserved intact but unimproved for all ages a vision of the unity of God. To it sometimes the seekers from the outer world could escape for a season and look thence in detachment at the nature of the generation they would convert.

This faith of the desert was impossible in the towns. It was at once too strange, too simple, too impalpable for export and common use. The idea, the ground-belief of all Semitic creeds was waiting there, but it had to be diluted to be made comprehensible to us. The scream of a bat was too shrill for many ears: the desert spirit escaped through our coarser texture. The prophets returned from the desert with their glimpse of God, and through their stained medium (as through a dark glass) showed something of the majesty and brilliance whose full vision would blind, deafen, silence us, serve us as it had served the Beduin, setting him uncouth, a man apart.

The disciples, in the endeavour to strip themselves and their neighbours of all things according to the Master's word, stumbled over human weaknesses and failed. To live, the villager or townsman must fill himself each day with the pleasures of acquisition and accumulation, and by rebound off circumstance become the grossest and most material of men. The shining contempt of life which led others into the barest asceticism drove him to despair. He squandered himself heedlessly, as a spendthrift: ran through his inheritance of flesh in hasty longing for the end. The Jew in the Metropole at Brighton, the miser, the worshipper of Adonis, the lecher in the stews of Damascus were alike signs of the Semitic capacity for enjoyment, and expressions of the same nerve which gave us at the other pole the self-denial of the Essenes, or the early Christians, or the first Khalifas, finding the way to heaven fairest for the poor in spirit. The Semite hovered between lust and self-denial.

Arabs could be swung on an idea as on a cord; for the unpledged allegiance of their minds made them obedient servants. None of them would escape the bond till success had come, and with it responsibility and duty and engagements. Then the idea was gone and the work ended--in ruins. Without a creed they could be taken to the four corners of the world (but not to heaven) by being shown the riches of earth and the pleasures of it; but if on the road, led in this fashion, they met the prophet of an idea, who had nowhere to lay his head and who depended for his food on charity or birds, then they would all leave their wealth for his inspiration. They were incorrigibly children of the idea, feckless and colour-blind, to whom body and spirit were for ever and inevitably opposed. Their mind was strange and dark, full of depressions and exaltations, lacking in rule, but with more of ardour and more fertile in belief than any other in the world. They were a people of starts, for whom the abstract was the strongest motive, the process of infinite courage and variety, and the end nothing. They were as unstable as water, and like water would perhaps finally prevail. Since the dawn of life, in successive waves they had been dashing themselves against the coasts of flesh. Each wave was broken, but, like the sea, wore away ever so little of the granite on which it failed, and some day, ages yet, might roll unchecked over the place where the material world had been, and God would move upon the face of those waters. One such wave (and not the least) I raised and rolled before the breath of an idea, till it reached its crest, and toppled over and fell at Damascus. The wash of that wave, thrown back by the resistance of vested things, will provide the matter of the following wave, when in fullness of time the sea shall be raised once more.

Chapter 3 of Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 15, 2014 2:43 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Contemporary American Classics: Addicted to Love

It's a simple concept: Smoking hot brunettes in tight black dresses playing ZZ Top electric guitars. You have to make a conscious effort to even notice Robert Palmer.

Result: Never. Gets. Old. Never

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 14, 2014 9:50 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Waiting for the Barbarians by C. P. Cavafy

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What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

                The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

                Because the barbarians are coming today.
                What laws can the senators make now?
                Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

                Because the barbarians are coming today
                and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
                He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
                replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

               Because the barbarians are coming today
                and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

                Because the barbarians are coming today
                and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

                Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
                And some who have just returned from the border say
                there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

-- C.P. Cavafy 1904

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 14, 2014 2:40 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Feuilleton du Jour de la Weekend

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Devil Dogs: The Mysterious Black Dogs of England Moments after the church was fried, a massive black dog burst through the doors, careening through the aisles. Two men knelt in prayer. The monster shot past them, and as he did he “wrung the necks of them bothe” and they fell over dead where they prayed. As quickly as he appeared, the dog vanished, leaving nothing but scorch marks on the floor and two corpses in his wake.


"Chelsea Clinton earned an annual salary of $600,000 at NBC News before switching to a month-to-month contract earlier this year, sources with knowledge of the agreement told POLITICO. "Chelsea Clinton has no skills, other than a famous name and a twat. The latter is a dime a dozen in infotainment. That leaves the former and makes this nothing more than bribery. The Z Blog › Casual Corruption

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This is the time of festering: But we are not going to save Iraq and we are not going to save Syria. It’s over. That’s what the Middle East wanted, and it’s what the Middle East is going to get. The Beginning of the End of Iraq? | World Affairs Journal

IRS Claims to Have Lost Over 2 Years of Lerner Emails | House Committee on Ways & Means Due to a supposed computer crash, the agency only has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame. The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.

One Cʘsmos: Postmodern is the New PremodernGod doesn't just gives us one book to work with. For that matter, nor does science really work from just the one book of material reality. Rather, there are always four books, the book of nature, the book of the human subject, the book of history, and the book of revelation.
The Z Blog › Panera Bread is Evil

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The Most Famous Farm Dog: Lassie So they said fire the other collie and hire this one,  and let’s shoot it in color and make it an A-picture. So after they bumped it up to an A-picture, it became one of the most successful pictures of the year, and spawned five sequels at MGM, the next one being "€œThe Son of Lassie", which also introduced Elizabeth Taylor who had a small part as the child in the movie. And I think of all the Lassie movies, "€œSon of Lassie"€ might be my favorite because of the really incredible work the dog does in the film.
America in 2034 | American Renaissance The triumph of the boring. The expanding underclass will thrive on its goodies-rich dependency, a modicum of cultural autonomy, and the election of rabble-rousing black office holders. Meanwhile, middle-class blacks will enjoy sinecures, especially in government.
Mt Everest Journey : Everest Avalanche Tragedy [Now in 3d!] Discovery Channel

coloncleanse.jpgHillary Clinton's Book Reviews On Amazon Are BrutalSickening:I became violently ill before finishing the first chapter and had to burn it in a bio-hazard incinerator. Dangerous stuff. Boring:The directions on shampoo were more interesting than this. I feel like the Clintons owe me 4 hours of my life back. Toilet Paper:Totally unequivocally pure unadulterated stinky no good terrible crap. I would not recommend using this as toilet paper, maybe kindling, do not waste your money.

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COULTER: Cantor Loses by 11 Million Voters | Truth RevoltSixty-five thousand ballots were cast in the Cantor-Brat contest. That is not a large turnout for a congressional primary election -- it's gigantic. In Cantor's 2012 primary, 47,037 people voted. In the only other two congressional primaries in Virginia on Tuesday -- the day with all that rain! -- 38,855 people voted in one and 17,444 in the other.

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A Short History of the Executioner—Blog—The AppendixOne did not simply become an executioner; rather, one was generally born into the profession. Though not legally hereditary, the office was usually recognized as a family trade. The title of executioner passed from eldest son to eldest son; younger sons and nephews remained in the family business, filling vacancies in other cities or working as assistants. Daughters of executioners invariably married sons of executioners, therefore providing an endless bounty of death’s choreographers.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 14, 2014 2:03 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Candidate Hill[Because Vagina!]ary is doing just fine!

Seriously, no worries.

Honest.

Would she lie?



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 13, 2014 5:37 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Debacle

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!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

- - Kipling,Recessional

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Meanwhile, in 2014, the always perceptive Belmont Club » On The Subject of Last Helicopters takes a detailed look at the forthcoming humiliation and human disasters wrought by Obama:

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"If the embassy is evacuated, it will leave what is perhaps one of the most lavish and expensive diplomatic facility in history in the hands of al-Qaeda. It contains what is probably a huge intelligence facility. “The 104-acre compound — already its biggest and most expensive in the world — currently houses 1,350 U.S. government employees in the heart of Baghdad’s International Zone and will increase its capacity because the U.S. is consolidating overall diplomatic property in Baghdad down by one-third. The most interesting upgrade is the construction of a data hall in an existing classified embassy annex building that will cost $20 to $35 million. It will require ‘electrical/telecommunication system upgrades [and] extensive mechanical and plumbing systems,’ according to a June 12 notice from the State Department.”

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"But great though the loss of the buildings will be, the blow in terms of intelligence gathering capabilities, networks, facilities and dislocation will be monumental. No one knows how many translators, sub-agents and locals who have risked their lives for the US will be left twisting in the wind. It will be no easy task to thoroughly efface the work of years. Yet it will have to be done if al-Qaeda is not obtain the greatest intelligence windfall of its career. President Obama may find a way to screw that up too, for even to be properly defeated requires a competence he may lack."

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Now it is not good for the Christian’s health to hustle the Aryan brown,
For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the Christian down;
And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear: “A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.”

Rudyard Kipling.THE NAULAHKA



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 13, 2014 12:35 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Obama's War on Straw Men

There is pleasure in the wet, wet clay
When the artist's hand is potting it.
There is pleasure in the wet, wet lay --
When the poet's pad is blotting it.
There is pleasure in the shine
of your picture on the line
At the Royal Acade-my;
But the pleasure felt in these
is as chalk to Cheddar cheese
When it comes to a well-made Lie--

To a quite unwreckable Lie,
To a most impeccable Lie!
To a water-right, fire-proof, angle-iron, sunk-hinge, time-lock, steel-faced Lie!
Not a private handsome Lie,
But a pair-and-brougham Lie,
Not a little-place-at-Tooting, but a country-house-with-shooting
And a ring-fence-deer-park Lie.

-- Rudyard Kipling



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 13, 2014 9:15 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Feuilleton du Jour Friday

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A Retro Fathers Day Fit for a King | Envisioning The American Dream Once upon a time, but not too long ago, all Dads were king. Not only for a measly third Sunday in June, but to believe the mid-century American advertiser, the head of the household was the sovereign ruler of his suburban dominion the year round.


Who knew? Frog's tongue 'can lift three times own body weight'
America in 2034: People will gleefully abandon their privacy. The result will be an ever more extensive (and effective) witch hunt. Already, anonymous commentators in Sweden were (illegally) exposed by hackers, and the media showed no compunction about hounding them from their jobs. Donors will also be targeted. Already, “point and stutter” seems to be the sole occupation of American journalists.
IN KARACHI, THE DELIVERY MAN COMETH | One Friday night, a friend came over to commiserate because we’d had a horrible week. I served her a McDonald’s Happy Meal. On a tray.
Vanilla Is The Old Black Until 1841, when a twelve-year-old slave on the French-owned island of Réunion discovered how to hand-pollinate the vanilla orchid, its production was limited to the habitat of its natural pollinator, a small bee native to Veracruz, Mexico. Even today, vanilla is hand-pollinated, and, as a result, costs more than $100 per kilo, making it second only to saffron as the most expensive spice.

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See More of BOHN against Communism, 1952| Retronaut


"This Video Seems Silly, But It Makes A Good Point" @ Clickhole
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Oregon Wildfire Used As an Incredibly Dramatic Backdrop for Wedding Photos

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Gary U.S. Bonds at Seventy-five : How much longer? “I don’t know—fifty years?” he said. “I ain’t going nowhere.”

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Hamilton man arrested again for having sex with pool float: Edwin Tobergta, 35,was arrested Wednesday morning after a witness observed him standing naked on Route 4 in Hamilton simulating sex with a pink pool floatation device. According to the police report, the witness said he was in full view of nearby businesses and passing cars.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 12, 2014 11:29 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Pomplamoose [Now Improved and UPDATED w/ Eva Cassidy]

Schooled! Now updated and improved with Eva Cassidy. [Who says I don't listen to my readers.]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 12, 2014 1:55 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Biden in 2010: Iraq Will Be 'One of the Greatest Achievements' of This Administration



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 12, 2014 1:22 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"This Video Seems Silly, But It Makes A Good Point"


Clickhole



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 12, 2014 12:08 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And Now "The Rout in Iraq" Brought to You in Living Color By Barack Obama

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"Hope and Change" in Iraq

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How's that "Hope and Change" working out for you?

“Mosul: Iraq Crumbling before our eyes”. The Internet is rife with pictures of al-Qaeda triumphantly inspecting millions, perhaps billions of dollars worth of captured, American made military equipment. It’s like Vietnam all over again, except this time the NVA are continuing the attack all the way to New York.

Unless the rot is stopped, ISIS will soon be at Baghdad’s gates and al-Qaeda’s affiliates will soon possess one, perhaps two major Middle Eastern countries plus trillions of dollars in oil resources. Libya, Iraq, perhaps Syria. They will be on the border of Saudi Arabia, able to credibly menace the energy lifeline of the Western world, a fact that can only play to Putin’s advantage.
The dangers of abandoning such a vital region were always obvious. Those who have not read my 2010 post, The Ten Ships, might take the time to do so now. It’s good for a laugh, not because it is so “brilliant” but because it’s so obvious. It explains how Obama’s political petulance made him ignore fundamental military strategy by ignoring the obvious center of Islamic militant gravity the Middle East in favor of redeploying the ground forces to a PR fantasy campaign in Afghanistan.
There’s nothing in place available to stop al-Qaeda. The forces that might have are locked up in the Southwest Asia, sustained at the mercy of Russia and Pakistan. Obama has been faked out; the AQ have gone around him for a layup to the basket. He may lose Iraq and its border with Syria before the year ends. Afghanistan’s fall will follow almost immediately thereafter, behind the last American troops, whose safe exit from the landlocked country is now by no means guaranteed. The Russians lost more than 500 men going out in 1989 — and they only had to cross a land border a short distance away.Belmont Club サ The Day of Reckoning

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Taking things seriously in Iraq

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Taking events seriously at WH.gov.


‫ Islamic state convoy in Mosul pictures



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 12, 2014 11:26 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hillary: Because Vagina

"These five guys are not a threat to the United States. They are a threat to the safety and security of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s up to those two countries to make the decision once and for all that these are threats to them. So I think we may be kind of missing the bigger picture here. We want to get an American home, whether they fell off the ship because they were drunk or they were pushed or they jumped, we try to rescue everybody."

[neo-neocon: Spread this video, please: Hillary Clinton on the Taliban Five and American security]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 12, 2014 11:21 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
False Flags: The Map is Not the Territory

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"This claims to show all the places where "gun incidents" have occurred in schools just since the Sandy Hook shooting, a total of 79.

Seventy-Nine gun incidents just since December 2012! -- It turns out that with closer analysis, you see that almost every one of those flags is only vaguely related to schools. Many are suicides by schoolkids not at school. Many are gang-related shootings, drive-bys and such that took place near a school. Several are from robberies and drug deals near a school, and so on. Not mass shootings at schools at all. And that's not just kids schools, its universities and other learning institutions as well.... In other words, the chart is deliberately loaded up with false flags, literally, to prompt that visceral emotional response. It was designed to get you to emotionally connect Sandy Hook with any gun use near a school or involving school kids. And in this, it was deliberately false as so often this kind of attempt is.
Taylor @ Word Around the Net: THE MADNESS OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

Source: ‘Wow’: Journalist Attempts to ‘Debunk’ Anti-Gun Group’s List of ‘School Shootings in America Since Sandy Hook’ — Here’s What He Found | TheBlaze.com



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 12, 2014 11:08 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
DEAR SEN. McCONNELL AND SPEAKER BOEHNER: Here are the Terms of Your Surrender

My Dear Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell,

The American people are tired. They are tired of your hatred for the conservative base, your insults of the American people, and your utter disregard for the Constitution.

In your petty quests for power, you both spend more time, energy and resources plotting against your party's base rather than fighting the most lawless and destructive president in American history. The national debt will have doubled under this President, the IRS and other arms of the government have been weaponized, the Justice Department is busy race-baiting and attacking Obama's political opponents, China and Russia are rapidly arming up, Iran is rolling non-stop to acquire nuclear ICBMS, and the Middle East is on fire.

And still you focus on pathetic political infighting, as if this is some sort of game.

We've had quite enough, thank you.

The following are the terms of your surrender and they are non-negotiable:
1. Speaker Boehner: you will, on or before the departure of Eric Cantor from the position of House Majority Leader, name a suitable and real conservative to that role (e.g., Jeb Hensarling or Jim Jordan).

2. Senator McConnell: you will, on or before the departure of Eric Cantor from the position of House Majority Leader, name Senator Ted Cruz to the post of Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee and, should the Republican Party take the Senate, will name him Chairman of that committee.

3. You will both cease pushing for any Amnesty, immigration or other deal until the border is secure from the unfolding humanitarian and refugee crisis.

Failure to meet these requirements will result in the following actions:

1. Speaker Boehner: I will do my level best to encourage the 30 percent of Ohioans who supported your primary opponents to vote for your Democrat rival. As you know, it would not take many Republicans to defect to unseat you. There is no point in having a Republican Speaker of the House if he or she has no desire to resist the increasing epidemic of lawlessness.

2. Senator McConnell: Likewise, I will do my level best to encourage the 40 percent of Kentuckians who supported your primary opponent to vote for your Democrat rival. Again, it would not take many defections to unseat you -- and based upon the polling, you could lose regardless. I am convinced that there is absolutely no point in having a Republican Senate Majority Leader who is unwilling to fight.

These are my terms and they are non-negotiable.

A reply is unnecessary. Your actions will suffice.

Signed: Doug Ross @ Journal
Feel free to reproduce this post in its entirety.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 12, 2014 10:03 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Pigs Are Busting Out All Over

After Monday's porcine pop-out in Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Slaughterhouse @ AMERICAN DIGEST we find yet another piggy who decided not to go to market.

Pig's Daring Escape From Truck On Its Way To Slaughterhouse



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 12, 2014 9:37 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Feuilleton du Jour Thursday

neo-neocon :

"One thing I would hate to see is a civil war in the Republican Party that hurts their chances in 2014. First things first, and first is stopping or at least slowing down this president in the damage he can do before January of 2017."
[Sure, but the only way to do that is to make Joe Biden president.]

The Rout in Iraq: The Tweets tell of a monumental collapse.
”Jesus. “30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters … Surreal scenes in #Mosul, #Iraq as US trained troops leave behind their uniforms and flee from #ISIS to #Kurdistan. ”

The results of last night’s election in Virginia.
Official Washington is busy interpreting the results in a way that pleases them. That’s to be expected. Inside the halls of power, the managers and technocrats hate you. They hate everything about you. Middle America has been their enemy for so long they no longer recall why. They simply know their guy was thrown out of office by the voters in favor of a guy who sounds like Pat Buchanan with a PhD. There has to be a reason that does not indicate failure on their part. They will tell themselves all sorts of stories rather than face the truth. The reason is they cannot face the truth. The Z Blog › MARs Counter Attacks


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And next? This map, from the Institute for the Study of War explains clearly what ISIS' ambitions in the middle east are: creating a grand nation-state that basically controls virtually all of Syria and most of Iraq (including an unknown amount of petroleum deposits and refineries, for those wondering why crude is higher today). Mapping Al Qaeda's Grand Ambitions In Iraq And Syria | Zero Hedge

Meanwhile.... once upon a time in the West...

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Question of the year! Is the lake pictured on every iPad secretly CURSED by the ghosts of disabled babies who were thrown into its waters because they wouldn't survive?



Even Toilets Aren’t Safe as Hackers Target Home Devices - Bloomberg

If the enemy is in superior strength, evade him. Sun Tzu (ApplyArtofWar) on Twitter

Why I'm pulling my kids out of public school: Today's public school atmosphere is all about accountability and not about the actual needs of the child.

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Gun-toting parents square off with daughter's abductors to save day - When the door opened and the men stepped inside, the parents unleashed gunfire. The mother missed with her lone shot, but the father hit both men, killing Mr. Johnson.

Steyn: Cantor Buried : Eric Cantor Blew $168K at Steak Houses; Brat Spent $122K Overall.

Richard Dawkins, Cyclops of Science must be one execrable speck of a man.

There is no suggestion by anyone - Obama, Republicans, media - that this "government-wide response" might ever include enforcing US sovereignty at the border for which the government is nominally responsible. No, that's just crazy talk. Instead, the comprehensive "government-wide response" to the invading forces is to house them, feed them, clothe them, school them, and Obamacare them. Cantor Buried :: SteynOnline

Neatorama: Spam-Filled Donuts To make this culinary marvel, he slices open an ordinary glazed donut, adds a layer of spam, then re-assembles the components and deep fries them.
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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 11, 2014 10:18 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television ... North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

"Hillary, Cantor, Al Qaeda/Iraq, open borders; Just reading the headlines on Drudge makes my brain go into vapor lock." - chasmatic

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Meanwhile, our scholarly research into Marilyn Monroe continues with "The Battle of the Bosoms"



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 11, 2014 8:37 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Feuilleton du Jour

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"Remember us?"

"Obama administration's biggest achievement so far"- Remus Sadam Out, Al Qaeda In: Militants Overrun Iraq's Second-Largest City As Government Forces Flee { ** }
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"We're Back!"



Amnesty and Cantor both DOA for 2014; HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER CANTOR DEFEATED IN PRIMARYCantor says "immigration reform could be an economic boon to this country." Brat responded to Cantor's baby-talk, saying immigration "lowers wages, adds to unemployment, and the taxpayer pays the tab for any benefits to folks coming in." -- Ann Coulter

In Billy Clinter and the Chamber of Semen, Billy realises that he splinched while he was apparating, which had never happened before. This is all the fault of Moaning Monica, the intern who haunts the anteroom at Housewhites and has the rare power of Parcelmouth, the ability to look into the eye of the Basilisk, the world's smallest snake, without being petrified. When Harry Met Hillary SteynOnline

These Early Examples Of Film Will Shock You The first American film ever made, Monkeyshines was the creation of William Dickson to test the Kinetograph format.

The Air Loom Similar gangs, Matthews said, were operating looms all over London to influence the thinking of the nation’s leaders. The tortures included “fluid locking,” “cutting soul from sense,” “stone making,” “thigh talking,” and “lobster-cracking,” which Matthews also described as “sudden death-squeezing”

Sultan Knish: Winning the War Waving around Bin Laden's head is a good way to distract them from the fact that the United States has lost the war in Afghanistan, that Obama's own strategy there failed badly and cost numerous American and British lives, and that we are turning the country over to the Taliban.

Educators Disease Reaching Epidemic Levels, Experts | William M. Briggs“There is no cure. Nothing in the pharmacopoeia has had the least impact,” he said. “There are some intriguing results with nicotine, which seems to act as a restorative in some of the patients. Unfortunately, part of the manifestation of the disease is an unreasoning, pathological horror of tobacco. We can’t get near most of the patients without they turn violent.”

Conclusions: Potential and subclinical injury to erectile tissue caused by electrosurgery on the penis cannot be underestimated. - PubMed - NCBI

“Cold War Woman.”Starring a hot Kim Hunter as a frigid woman with Jack Klugman as the husband, the actors
“ portray a married couple deeply troubled by the most personal of emotional problems in a dramatization based on case histories, professional reports and taped interviews…today despite the American woman’s privileged status, her club memberships, college degree and kitchen full of appliances a great number of her kind is in distress.”
The Frigid Woman in the Cold War

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{ ** As of May 29, 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Defense casualty website, there were 4,487 total American deaths (including both killed in action and non-hostile) and 32,223 wounded in action (WIA) as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a part of Operation New Dawn, which was initiated on September 1, 2010, there were 66 total deaths (including KIA and non-hostile) and 301 WIA. }

"Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished"

[Update from the comments: As an actual former nuclear target analyst, I assure you that the destruction sequence in the video is much too slow. An accurate animation, from the same POV, would be:

1. Flash of blinding light that turned the entire screen pure white

2. Light fades to be replaced by dense smoke and flying debris, pretty much nothing else visible

3. Smoke and vapor clear (not quickly) to reveal absolute devastation.

But what there would not be a slow-rolling "wave" slogging outward from ground zero. It would be super-supersonic.

If the frame was wider view, you would also see flammables bust into fire well before the blast wave reached them since the infrared from the fireball would be intense and infrared travels at 186,000 miles per second. - D. Sensing]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 11, 2014 2:35 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Confirmed: Obama's "Staff" is Composed of 110% Extremely Stupid Low Information Apes

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Every day in every way it's time to play: "What's wrong with this picture?"

[Hey, if we can put a man on the moon, why can't we put the president there?]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 10, 2014 4:17 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Amnesty: "Do it for the Children!"

Ola, chicos y chicas, que ora esta?
[Trans: "Hey kids, what time is it?"]

WH Wants $2 Billion to House Illegal Immigrant Children | Truth Revolt As tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors cross into the United States illegally from Mexico, the Obama administration admits it didn't anticipate how many would come -- and it is asking Congress "for additional (taxpayer) resources to meet this challenge."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 10, 2014 1:13 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
“Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion,”

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Matthew Continetti explains the party that never ends at the White House:

"I like to imagine the conversations at these parties. How are they structured? Is there any awkwardness at the beginning? Does it take a few drinks to get things going? I imagine that there is plenty of hesitant and anodyne talk about children, about movies, about basketball, about the weather.

"When the discussion turns to domestic or foreign affairs, though, the clichés must be stifling:

"How can the Republicans be so obstructionist and rude and luddite, what happened to the nice moderate conservatives they used to have in the Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush administrations, have you seen the latest essays by Ezra Klein and Michael Tomasky and Ta-Nehisi Coates, who cares what the media says, E.J. Dionne says you are doing A-OK, what’s it like to hold the nuclear football, have you been to Eric Ripert’s newest restaurant, weren’t the Afghan and Iraq wars terrible mistakes, people have got to recognize America can’t go its own way in today’s integrated, global, flat world, the Wire is Shakespearean, what are you going to do about the polar bears, we need to appreciate the value of other cultures, America doesn’t have such a clean record itself you know, my son just took a job in Dubai, wasn’t Sheryl Sandberg brilliant in her City Colleges of Chicago commencement speech, let’s touch base on the new youth outreach project Mark Zuckerberg is standing up, do you watch Mad Men, politics is a relay race and we just have to keep going until we hand the baton to the next person, where do you come up with all of those beautiful words, we leave for Beijing next week, Putin doesn’t understand how we do things in the twenty-first century, God that Bibi is so unreasonable, who are your favorite authors, it’s time for a real conversation about race, is Homeland like real life, this is the sushi place to go to in Los Angeles, you are a real role model for young men not only in this country but all around the world, I watch House of Cards but my wife prefers Orange is the New Black.…
"The earnestness, the posing, the sentimentality, the affected and knowing tones, the blather, the sanctimony, the insinuation, the phoniness, the small talk, above all the endless putting on airs before the most gigantic ego known to mankind—that wine had better be good."

This and more is at Dialing It In | Washington Free Beacon



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 10, 2014 11:28 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Feuilleton du Jour

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Across America, Police Departments Are Quietly Preparing For War | Zero Hedge



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The Fat Man: Almost 100 of Fats Domino’s records were hits. He didn’t like to leave his home town, and performed mainly in New Orleans 1949 till 2012, usually to a full house. That’s 63 years for those weak in maths. Fats is in his 80s now and is not so regular a performer.

Secret Science Reform Act of 2014 | William M. Briggs “To prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.”

Liberals: "They’re a bunch of authentic geniuses on a runaway train wondering what went wrong."Belmont Club サ A Sudden Realization



"Teachers are some of the most deluded people you will find in modern America.... Public sector employees always worry about status and no group frets over it more than teachers. "The Z Blog › Teacher Delusions

Coca Cola uses the sun to cool drinks

Immigrants bringing diseases across border? : LeMenu-- Scabies, chicken pox, MRSA staph infections, we are starting to see different viruses....

The Japanese: Nuked too much or not enough? Exhibit #58,659Japanese researchers have developed a robotic glove like device that can simulate the sensation of touching someone's boobs.

Colleges are full of it: Behind the three-decade scheme to raise tuition, bankrupt generations, and hypnotize the media - Salon.com

Seattle Hero Inundated With Wedding Gifts And All-Expense-Paid Honeymoon | Truth Revolt As of Monday morning, the $5,000 goal was shattered with a whopping $48,236 raised to pay for the couple's wedding and honeymoon.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 10, 2014 2:04 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Slaughterhouse

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This little piggy will not be going to market after escaping from a moving truck on the way to a slaughterhouse.

The sow, who has since been nicknamed Babe, after the Hollywood film, was captured jumping 16ft to freedom in south China.


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A witness said the pig climbed over the backs of her fellow porkers before leaping out of the slaughterhouse van.

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Miraculously she escaped unhurt and has now been adopted by police who responded to the incident in the Guangxi region.

‘She saw one chance of freedom by clambering on the backs of the other pigs and took it.

‘She deserves her chance of life and she has got it. She will never be eaten here.’

"Never be eaten here." Yeah, right.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 9, 2014 11:31 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Supply and Demand

"The Waterford Chronicle requests that persons supplying the Journal with obituaries will attend to the following scale of prices;

for a simple death two shillings and sixpence. For the death of a person deeply regretted, five shillings. For the death of a person who lived a perfect pattern of all the Christian virtues, and died regretted by the whole country, ten shillings. For the death of a person who possessed extensive literature and profound erudition, superadded to which, his whole life was remarkable for piety, humility, charity, and self-denial, one pound. For the death of a lady, whose husband is inconsolable for her loss, and who was the delight of the circle in which she moved, one pound ten shillings. For the death of a gentleman, who had only been six months married, who was an example of every conjugal and domestic virtue, and whose widow is in a state of anguish bordering on distraction, two pounds. For the death of an aristocrat, who was a pattern of meekness, a model of humility, a patron of distressed genius, a genuine philanthropist, an exemplary Christian, an extensive alms-giver, profoundly learned, unremitting to the duties of his station, kind, hospitable, and affectionate to his tenantry, and whose name will be remembered and his loss deplored to the latest posterity, five pounds. For every additional good quality, whether domestic, moral, or religious, there will be an additional charge." – Birmingham Journal, Aug. 21, 1830
[ – Futility Closet]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 9, 2014 7:44 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hubble unveils a colourful view of the Universe

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have captured the most comprehensive picture ever assembled of the evolving Universe — and one of the most colourful. The study is called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UVUDF) project. -- ESA/Hubble Even web-scale, this image is big so...

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 9, 2014 7:12 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What is a "Feuilleton?"

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"Among the favorite subjects of such essays were anecdotes taken from the lives or correspondence of famous men and women. They bore such titles as “Friedrich Nietzsche and Women’s Fashions of 1870,” or “The Composer Rossini’s Favorite Dishes,” or “The Role of the Lapdog in the Lives of Great Courtesans,” and so on. Another popular type of article was the historical background piece on what was currently being talked about among the well-to-do, such as “The Dream of Creating Gold Through the Centuries,” or “Physico-chemical Experiments in Influencing the Weather,” and hundreds of similar subjects." -- Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 9, 2014 10:16 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Feuilleton du Jour

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The Wildies of Alberta They have the look of a Shetland pony

—short, stout, strong but not sleek. They have evolved to climb hills and cross bogs, they can run through the bush backwards. You could ride one if you captured it and decided to train it, but “it’s like riding a Dodge with no tires.”

Limbaugh: Republicans Won't Impeach Obama -- and Democrats Will Not Abandon Him - There is no political will to do it.
And without that, it's a waste of time, if you don't have the political will. Meaning, if the Republican Party doesn't have the gonads, and if the American people are not desirous of it, then it's just whistling into the wind.

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Cut Off Glassholes’ Wi-Fi With This Google Glass Detector “These are cameras, highly surreptitious in nature,
with network backup function and no external indication of recording. “To focus on the device is to dance past a heritage of heartfelt protest against the unconsented video documentation of our public places and spaces.”

We need a theory of jerks. We need such a theory because,
first, it can help us achieve a calm, clinical understanding when confronting such a creature in the wild. Imagine the nature-documentary voice-over: ‘Here we see the jerk in his natural environment. Notice how he subtly adjusts his dominance display to the Italian restaurant situation…’
Aeon

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“Going Out of Business” The list of dramatic markdowns is breathtaking.
They include trading away five murderous terrorists for a likely Army deserter, an open invitation to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to cross the Mexican border, and a decision to recognize the terrorist group Hamas as part of the Palestinian government.On the home front, environmental regulations will cost thousands of coal miners their jobs and drive up the cost of electricity for millions. The ObamaCare mess is hardly resolved, and the Veterans Affairs scandal keeps getting worse.
New York Post

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Like a jalopy falling apart on the road, dropping a screw here and a spring there, the Obama administration
is gradually shaking itself to pieces. It can go on for a long time shedding parts, but eventually the axle falls out. Centralized regimes may seem to collapse suddenly, but in reality they have usually been fall apart for a long time. The process usually follows this path. First their narratives become so infested with lies they go out of sync with their own administrators on the ground. In the second stage their edicts become unenforceable from sheer impracticability. Grandiose plans are announced, “pivots” are ordered, Red Lines are drawn, all manner of schemes are announced with a maximum of hoopla — but everybody ignores it. They know the latest fad will pass and the regime will Move On. At some point the entire structure of governance becomes a system of workarounds with all real power devolved to the man on the ground.
Belmont Club

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If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. This means they must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians proper become merely the scientists' puppets.
Technocracy is the form to which a planned society must tend. Now I dread specialists in power because they are specialists speaking outside their special subjects. Let scientists tell us about sciences. But government involves questions about the good for man, and justice, and what things are worth having at what price; and on these a scientific training gives a man's opinion no added value. Let the doctor tell me I shall die unless I do so-and-so; but whether life is worth having on those terms is no more a question for him than for any other man.
C.S. Lewis Essay - Willing Slaves of the Welfare State



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 9, 2014 10:04 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Presence of Malice: Against the Conservative Portrait of the President

[Note: Somehow this essay from 2011 never really goes out of style.]

glumobamaportrait2left.jpgWe can survive many traits in presidents, but malice is not among them. In the unfolding saga of the Libyan adventure I note that, even though it is early innings, a popular strain of conservative criticism centers around the always popular idea of 'stupidity in government;' with a variant on the subset of ‘the president is not as smart as he thinks.’ The popular variant this time is: 'deep down, Obama is shallow.' This notion includes various complimentary subsets such as 'he is lazy,' 'he is incompetent,' 'he's hooked on the perks and doesn't care for the work.' All comfortable notions that imply that the critic is, conversely, smarter, more diligent, and more fit to make governmental decisions than the president. The problem here is that the critic is not the president and hence has no power to do anything remotely presidential.

I'm no friend of conspiracy theories. The truthers who imagine that hundreds of people have all kept the federal government's dark roll in 911 hold no attraction to me. Too complex and with a membership that is too substantial to keep such secrets. The birthers who look to finally exposing the odd origins of the president who seems to have sprung from the brow of Zeus? Too irrelevant if true, since it will not alter the election, and, if false, pure fritterware.

At the same time, I acknowledge that there are conspiracies in the world. By extension, the most successful conspiracies would involve a very few people with a lot of access to money and power. Taking one more step, one would have to posit that the perfect conspiracy would not involve even a few people, but only one person with access to money and power.

That person would be a sociopath but if he was the right sociopath in the right place at the right time his native intelligence, high or low, stupid or smart, wouldn't really matter. What would matter would be the level of his maliciousness. It would not matter what his real IQ was but rather his level of cleverness and his innate shrewdness. Indeed, to the clever and shrewd person a critical conversation involving whether he was being "stupid" or "lazy" only works to his advantage since is draws attention away from malice and gives him more time and space to pursue his goals. As Machiavelli knew, and Stalin proved, when the ends secure pure power, the means are irrelevant and history rewritable.

Many pundits love to remind others that when it comes to politics it is best to ignore what politicians say and, instead, to watch what they do. True enough but politicians say so much that ignoring it becomes almost impossible. And so the pundits are inevitably drawn back down into the maelstrom of spin saying, "He said this, but he did this," as if blather resulted in brains splattered on a highway instead of the cruise missile launched from offshore at dawn.

The almost inevitable conclusion to this habit of mind is for dissenting liberal and victorious conservative pundits alike to cite Hanlon's razor ( “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”) when discussing the recent actions of the president. I suspect this is a habit of mind that suits Mr. Obama down to the ground. He would prefer it to other, darker, conclusions.

Hanlon's razor is often called, mistakenly, Heinlein’s Razor in reference to the dean of science fiction writers, Robert Heinlein. Heinlein’s Razor is more to my purpose here since it states, "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice."

Self-identified conservatives, it seems to me, are only too happy to “rule out malice” when it comes to examining the actions of this oddest, most alien, and most unconnected to the American earth of presidents. I believe this is because it is both comfortable and gratifying for conservatives to do so. Conservatives love to think of themselves as being not only reasonable and right, but polite as well. Progressives are only too glad to help them smother in this self-nullifying delusion.

For example American Thinker’s "Obama in Exile" from yesterday holds him up as a buffoon, an incompetent:

“Obama is being chased by his own incompetence, forced to face it, unable to stare it down. Privately he must admit he is over his head and no one -- not in the legislature, in the labor unions, in the deep pockets of George Soros nor the salons of liberal media apologists and sympathetic academics -- can save his doomed presidency.”

To which I would respond, "Well, maybe in your happy world." In describing the president as he does the writer tags all the bases -- incompetent, secretly shamed, sold-out, "Soros!" (the conservatives "Halliburton!"), media (liberal, bien sur), and by all means let's not forget all those metrosexual intellectuals in the academy.

The portrait here is of some hapless, sad-sack of a fellow ready to be decked out in the bulbous red nose, the clown shoes, and the strap-on poo-poo cushion, as he slinks disconsolately off the center stage of History. It's a mindset that presupposes that the portrait of Dorian Gray is actually to be an Emmet Kelly self-portrait in pastels. It's a comforting vision, but it is wrong. Deeply wrong and more deeply dangerous.

This posture first and last underestimates a man who has, by hooks and by crooks and by force of will, put himself in a place where he can now, at will, fire many cruise missiles into a foreign country without so much as a “Mother Jones, may I.” It is a habit of mind that not only underestimates Obama, it misunderestimates him by several orders of magnitude. It is well to remember that calling an American president "the most powerful man in the world" is not just a figure of speech.

Such an intellectual posture is typical of a classic American conservative attempting to come to grips with this strange phenomenon who holds the keys and the go-codes to the armed might of the United States of America. It is an attitude that worships the lie that a person occupying the role of the president of the United States must, he simply must, have the best interests of the nation, as he has come to understand them, at heart. It’s a bright and shiny concept and has a lot of innate attractiveness to the American conservative mindset. But like many contemporary conservative concepts it has little to say to the darker reality we face; a reality in which the chief executive of the nation is hell-bent on a malicious program whose intent is permanent harm to the nation he has perversely sworn to serve and protect. To a man who has no other gods before him the phrase "So help me God" means nothing.

This dark reality that confronts us is prefigured in our Declaration of Independence which alludes to the causes of the first American Revolution when it notes, in passing, “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design.”

To break this down I note that the recent abuses of power and the usurpations of governing traditions must now be seen as a “long train.” Surely in the last two years we have seen many such abuses and usurpations from the appointment of czars and the subsequent stacking of the employee decks at all government departments, the endless acts of stealth reparations, the budgeting and legislation that continually increases indebtedness and hence the bonded servitude of present and future generations of productive citizens, the twisted department of selective justice that is wholly devoted to the protection and enhancement of the rights of the “government-driven classes” at the expense of a color-blind enforcement of the law. All of these, and many others, can be seen to pursue “invariably the same Object;” the wholesale destruction of the United States to such a degree that a few more years of the same will make a recovery exceedingly difficult even as it it opens the country to further attacks from within and without. Taken all in all, it amounts to something that, arising not from an “administration” but from the ego of one man, “evinces a design.”

The recent adventure into Libya, or shall I say ‘above Libya,’ is the first time in living memory we’ve seen the will of one man, even an American president, order and carry out an American military mission without even bothering to ask the American congress if it minds his messing about in a foreign country. In essence, one man in one day set in motion the power of the American military without any of the barest of rituals that normally come before. For conservatives to say that he is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief is to miss the point that he is much more a commander now than he was a week ago.

Rituals are important in government as are precedents. In bypassing the rituals, Obama has set a precedent, one that will be repeated next time under an even flimsier pretext. One of the goals in bombing Libya was not just to use military power against some unpopular dictator, but to test if he could use military power -- on a weekend and while out of town -- at will. Conservatives might ask if the Congress will ignore and the military will obey un-Constitutional orders while missing the fact that they just did.

The wise Caroline Glick hints at this brave new exercise of the divine right of kings and its malicious motivation in "America’s descent into strategic dementia:"

“The first side in the debate is the anti-imperialist camp, represented by President Barack Obama himself. Since taking office, Obama has made clear that he views the US as an imperialist power on the world stage. As a result, the overarching goal of Obama’s foreign policy has been to end US global hegemony.”

Richard Fernandez alludes to other anti-American benefits that accrue to the malefactor of such a malevolent power play in Belmont Club’s "Suez II:"

“President Obama publicly expressed hope for regime change in Libya while accepting that the military mission will fall short of it.... By weirdly going along with the Paris and London only to leave them in the lurch Washington will humiliate its strongest allies in Europe. The damage to NATO and the Western alliance will be considerable, even leaving aside Turkey’s feelings. It will call into question whether America can still be relied on to be the regional hegemon, a question that is being asked all over the world.... The goal of aspiring regional powers is simple: to scatter US alliances in the area, either with a view to Finlandizing them or getting them to switch allegiances. And here is Barack Obama, handing it to them on a silver platter. By letting France and Britain get on the carpet then yanking it out from under them, Barack and Hillary are doing a phenomenally effective job of destroying the faith their predecessors sought to build.”

By instigating a military operation at his whim, Obama has created a situation at home where many conservatives are spending their time either applauding him-- "Bad dictator, must go" -- or bathing in the warm soup that Obama’s over-reached and will be, somehow, undone and hoist by his own petard. With their conservative blinders on they overlook the many months between now and the possible inauguration of some candidate acceptable to them in late January of 2013, some 21 months in the future.

A man with a much more reactionary bent to his thinking, such as myself, would note that 21 months is an extremely long time to have a rogue ego and malicious mind actively guiding and making the day-to-day, life and death, decisions of the nation. Twenty-one months of appointments, foreign policy, executive orders, and the odd military adventure here or there, can add up to a lot of problems unless your goal is the weakening of the United States. In that case, it might just be enough time after all.

Even Obama's most rabid supporters outside of his army of apparatchiks must surely sense that there is something “off” in the psychic structure of the current president. Most attribute it to his “yearning” to make the country ‘worthy’ of it’s place at the head of the nations. I suggest that it is something alarmingly dark and destructive. I suggest it comes from a psyche that, for many, many reasons stretching back to infancy, is so structured that it loathes the country down to its marrow, much as the psyche must loathe itself, and that is working, daily, on dismantling the nation with nothing except pure malicious intent. Why? Because it can.

Do I know this for a certainty? I cannot say, but “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design.”



Posted by Vanderleun Jun 9, 2014 4:06 AM | Comments (106)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A 3 Minute Sermon



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 8, 2014 1:48 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The lord is a very very busy man..."

When you walk through the garden
You gotta watch your back
Well I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track
When you walk with Jesus
He's gonna save your soul
You got to keep the devil
You gotta keep him
Down in the hole

He's got the fire people
He's got the fury
At his command
You don't have to worry
Hold on to hold on to Jesus' hand
We'll all be safe from Satan when the thunder
When the thunder starts to roll
We got to keep the devil keep him on down
Down in the hole

That red horned lousy low life
Underneath our boots

Praise the Lord

I don't know what it is

Two dollar

That demon meister

Three dollar

That prince devil
Just see if you can come up with a figure
That matches your faith
You say how much has Jesus done for you
And we got to go in with our
Hydraulic system and blast him out

People can I get an amen

All the angels
They start to sing
All about Jesus' mighty sword
And they'll shield you with their wings
People they'll keep you close to the Lord
Now don't pay heed to temptation
For his hands are so cold
You gotta keep the Devil
Keep him on down in the hole
Down in the hole
Down in the hole
Down in the hole

Well people I got to speak about something
Can I get an amen
Can I get a hallelujah
Praise the lord
Have mercy

The lord is a very very busy man
I do what I can

But Jesus is always going for the big picture
But he's always there to help us out of the little jams too

Down in the hole
Down in the hole
Down in the hole
Keep him down in the hole
We got to keep the Devil
Down in the hole

We got to keep the Devil
Keep him on down in the hole

Down
Down down down
Mighty devil

I send you down below my boots

Down down

Filling my life
With anger and strife
Go down mighty Devil
Find a place to live

Down down down

Tom Waits

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 7, 2014 1:16 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
70 Years Ago: Both Sides Now



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 6, 2014 11:09 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
June 6: A walk across a beach in Normandy

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Today your job is straightforward. First you must load 40 to 50 pounds on your back. Then you need to climb down a net of rope that is banging on the steel side of a ship and jump into a steel rectangle bobbing on the surface of the ocean below you. Others are already inside the steel boat shouting and urging you to hurry up.

Once in the boat you stand with dozens of others as the boat is driven towards distant beaches and cliffs through a hot hailstorm of bullets and explosions. Boats moving nearby are, from time to time, hit with a high explosive shell and disintegrate in a red rain of bullets and body parts. Then there's the smell of men near you fouling themselves as the fear bites into their necks and they hunch lower into the boat. That smell mingles with the smell of cordite and seaweed.

In front of you, over the steel helmets of other men, you can see the flat surface of the bow’s landing ramp still held in place against the sea. Soon you are in range of the machine guns that line the cliffs above the beach ahead. The metallic dead sound of their bullets clangs and whines off the front of the ramp.

Then the coxswain shouts and the klaxon sounds and then you feel the keel of the LST grind against the rocks and sand of Normandy as the large shells from the boats in the armada behind you whuffle and moan overhead and then the explosions all around increase in intensity and then the bullets from the machine guns in the cliffs ahead and above rattle and hum along the steel plates of the boat and the men crouch lower and then somehow together lean forward as, at last, the ramp drops down and you see the beach and then the men surge forward and you step with them and then you are out in the chill waters of the channel wading in towards sand already doused with death, past bodies bobbing in the surf staining the waters crimson, and then you are on the beach.

It’s worse on the beach.

The bullets keep probing along the sand digging holes, looking for your body, finding others that drop down like sacks of meat with their lines to heaven cut. You run forward because there’s nothing but ocean at your back and more men dying and… somehow… you reach a small sliver of shelter at the base of the cliffs. There are others there, confused and cowering and not at all ready to go back out into the storm of steel that keeps pouring down. And then someone, somewhere nearby, tells you all to press forward, to go on, to somehow get off that beach and onto the high ground behind it, and because you don’t know what else to do, you rise up and you move forward, beginning, one foot after another, to take back the continent of Europe.

If you are lucky, very lucky that day, you will walk all the way to Germany and the war will be over and you will go home to a town somewhere on the great land sea of the Midwest and you won’t talk much about this day, or any that came after it, ever. They’ll ask you, throughout long decades after, “What did you do in the war?” You’ll think of this day and you will never think of a good answer. That’s because you know just how lucky you were.

If you were not lucky that day you lie under a white cross on a large lawn 70 long gone years later. Weak princes and fat bureaucrats and traitors mumble platitudes and empty praises about actions they never knew and men they cannot hope to emulate. You hear them, dim and far away outside the brass doors that seal the caverns of your long sleep. You want them to go, to leave you and the others to your brown study of eternity.

"Sixty-nine years? Seems like a lot to the living. It’s but an inch of time. Leave us and go back to your petty lives. We march on and you, you weaklings primping and parading above us, will never know how we died or how we lived. If we hear you at all now, your mewling only makes us ask, among ourselves, 'Died for what?'

"Princes and bureaucrats, be silent. Be gone. We are now and forever one with the sea and the sky and the wind and the steel rain. We march on."



Posted by Vanderleun Jun 6, 2014 12:31 AM | Comments (35)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"One dead, three wounded:" Meanwhile, in my neighborhood, on a beautiful summer afternoon....

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We're in Year 2 of this local "Ceasefire" effort in the City of Seattle.

One dead, three wounded in shooting on Seattle Pacific University campus "Authorities say that a man walked into a building at Seattle Pacific University and opened fire, killing a 20-year-old man and injuring three others. NBC News reports that the suspect is in custody, and police say that no one else is being sought.

"Seattle police say that the man entered Otto Miller Hall, the school's engineering and math building, carrying a shotgun. Four people were shot before the man stopped to reload, and at that time a student security guard pepper-sprayed him. Other students then jumped in and pinned him to the ground.

"A spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center said that a 20-year-old woman is in surgery in critical condition, while two others are in satisfactory condition."

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This crime scene is four blocks from my home. Seems like the "Washington Ceasefire" is breaking down in the hood.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 5, 2014 11:54 PM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Screaming Eagle at 93: Pee Wee Martin of the 101st Airborne

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70 years later, D-Day vet Jim 'Pee Wee' Martin jumps again: Martin was part of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division that parachuted down over Utah Beach in their bid to retake France and, eventually, the rest of Europe from Nazi Germany. They actually touched down in enemy-controlled territory a night before what's referred to as D-Day. His jump Thursday in the same area was different and -- despite his being 93 years old now -- a whole lot easier.
"It didn't (compare)," Martin said, "because there wasn't anybody shooting at me today."

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Type: Airborne
Role: Air assault Infantry
Size: Division
HQ Fort Campbell, Kentucky
Nickname "Screaming Eagles" (special designation)
Motto "Rendezvous With Destiny"
Mascot Bald Eagle a.k.a. "Old Abe"



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 5, 2014 11:29 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
On the Day Before D-Day

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"Good will always prevail, but there is no limit to the amount of suffering that will be required for that victory to occur.

If men stand up early on, the suffering will be minimized because it will be spread over many people. The worst that might happen is that some folks go to bed scared for a while, but widespread bravery will allow good to prevail without much suffering. If, however, there is a decided lack of courage displayed by a large group or society early on in an advance by the powers of evil, that aggregated courage requirement will be borne by a relative few at a later time. The longer this goes on, the worse it will be for the few who have to bear the weight of the cowardice of the broad society. The one about BRAVERY AND COWARDICE | Barnhardt

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 5, 2014 11:24 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Good Things About Seattle: You Can Take Big Walks

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In The Cascades

Above the trail to the summit
Clouds climb the mountains --
Hands through water, fingers of rain,
Smoke in dreams, as steps accumulate,
Placing first one foot, then the other,
Pacing out the rip-rap of the years.

Below the snow ghosts swirl behind
Drifts of leaf-shimmer, billowed veils
Of wind whose whispers echo back
Across the distant silence singing
To the tempo of the breath:
"Once only, once only, only once."

Above the stream in the ravine.
Watched by sentinels of stone, of fir,
Of trees so tall their tops dissolve
Into the breath of the mountains.
Ebony glints of ravens' wings
Banking into green on darker green.

Below it's all been settled long ago.
Only on foot, step by step,
Can you climb up, beyond,
And out of time -- except for the weight
You carry on your back; gossamer
Thread spinning down into the Labyrinth.

At the crest, looking back, looking below,
Herds of mule deer graze beneath pylons
Where a survey crew measures the steel river,
For a grid of concrete and copper cables
Connecting the Matrix coiled on the coast.
Above, the mountains' shoulders shatter the rain.



Posted by Vanderleun Jun 5, 2014 6:25 PM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Great Steak on Coals: Grilling in Excess of 1000 Degrees

You're welcome.

Steak on Coals : ALTON BROWN
Software:
2 pounds inside skirt steak, cut into three equal pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Procedure:
1. Remove the steak from the fridge and lay over a cooling rack set in a half sheet pan and season the steak liberally.

2. Fire up one chimney starter of natural lump charcoal. Once white and ashy, distribute evenly in the lower level of your charcoal grill.

4. Using a blow dryer, blow the charcoal clean of ash. Immediately lay steaks directly onto the hot coals for 35 to 40 seconds, then flip and repeat. When finished cooking, place the meat onto heavy duty aluminum foil, wrap, and rest for 15 minutes.

6. Remove the meat from the foil, reserving foil and juices. Slice thinly across the grain of the meat. Return to meat and toss with the juice. Serve immediately.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 4, 2014 11:24 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Everything is Broken

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“It gets really hurtful when I think, this guy was worth my son’s life? My son who was patriotic? Who was a true soldier? Who defended his country with his life?” Andrews told Army Times via phone on Monday. “That guy was worth that? I don’t think so.” Gold Star mom: 'This guy was worth my son's life?'

3 More Members Of Bergdahl's Platoon Speak Out...

Joshua Cornelison, 25, who was a medic in the platoon: “He was very, very quiet. He kept everything very close to the vest. So, after he actually left, the following morning we realized we have Bergdahl’s weapon, we have Bergdahl’s body armor, we have Bergdahl’s sensitive equipment (but) we don’t have Bowe Bergdahl.” At that point, Cornelison said, it occurred to him that Bergdahl was “that one guy that wanted to disappear, and now he’s gotten his wish.”

Evan Buetow, 27, who was a sergeant in the platoon:said Bergdahl asked him how much of a cash advance he could get and how to go about mailing home his personal computer and other belongings. He also asked what would happen if his weapon and other sensitive items such as night vision goggles went missing. He said he told Bergdahl that, as any soldier would know, that would be “a big deal.”

Matt Vierkant, 27, was a team leader of another squad in Bergdahl’s platoon. Asked about the statement Sunday by National Security Adviser Susan Rice that Bergdahl served “with honor and distinction,” he said: “That statement couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t know if she was misinformed or doesn’t know about the investigations and everything else, or what.” He said Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers knew within five or 10 minutes from the discovery of disappearance that he had walked away. “He said some strange things, like, ‘I could get lost in those mountains,’ which, at the time, that doesn’t really strike you as someone who is going to leave their weapon and walk out.”

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 4, 2014 9:02 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Marilyn Monroe vs the Potato Sack

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Continuing our strictly scholarly study into the life and times of Marilyn Monroe American Digest is proud to present the little known saga of Monroe and the Potato Sack:

The story is that Marilyn was once chastised by a female newspaper columnist for wearing a low-cut red dress to a party at the Beverly Hills Hotel. According to Marilyn, the columnist called her cheap and vulgar. Not stopping there, the writer then suggested that the actress would look better in a potato sack. So, Twentieth Century Fox decided to capitalize on the story by shooting some publicity stills of Marilyn in a form fitting burlap potato sack just to prove she would look sexy in anything. The photos were published in newspapers throughout the country. vintage everyday: Marilyn Monroe and the Potato Sack Dress, c.1951

Do the photos "prove she would look sexy in anything"? We report. You decide.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 3, 2014 4:48 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Lying Blink Rate of Benghazi Rice

This is a 53 second clip called "Susan Rice: Bergdahl Served With 'Honor and Distinction' ." We all know what a feckless liar and traitor Rice is from her previous Obama guzzling turns before the press. What's interesting here is that her liar's blink rate is through the roof. She's lying so fast you can barely keep up with her hummingbird's wings velocity of her blinks. I've tried to count a couple of times and I think it is somewhere north of 65 times in her 30 seconds of screen time.


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That’s What Melts His Butter



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 3, 2014 10:41 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

Billy Ocean with the high powered backing vocals of Kathleen Turner and friends.

Ah yes, Kathleen Turner. Lest we forget....

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 2, 2014 5:04 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Colonel by Carolyn Forche

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"What you have heard is true. I was in his house. His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son went out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English.

"Broken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had dinner, rack of lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for calling the maid.

"The maid brought green mangoes, salt, a type of bread. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief commercial in Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was some talk then of how difficult it had become to govern. The parrot said hello on the terrace. The colonel told it to shut up, and pushed himself from the table.

"My friend said to me with his eyes: say nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to bring groceries home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this.

"He took one of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around, he said. As for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go fuck themselves.

"He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on the floor were pressed to the ground."

Carolyn Forché : The Poetry Foundation



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 2, 2014 11:12 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hallelujah

6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Hallelujah: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 19

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 1, 2014 8:19 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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