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Big Tech Is Big Brother

TRANSCRIPT: The year is 1984. One company – Microsoft – dominates the computer world. It’s their way or the highway.

Conform or die.

This snapshot in time was perfectly captured in one of the most famous commercials in TV history.

Set in a gray, dystopian future, row after row of men stare blankly at a giant screen from which Big Brother – the all-powerful leader from George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 – addresses them.

Suddenly, riot police burst into the hall, chasing a beautiful, blonde woman in a white shirt and red shorts. Before they can grab her, she hurls a sledgehammer into the screen, shattering Big Brother and his grip on the masses. The narrator informs us that Apple’s breakthrough product, the Macintosh computer, will be the device that sets us all free.

Looking back, Apple largely lived up to its promise. A new wave of companies, each in its own way, followed the example set by Apple’s legendary CEO, Steve Jobs.

Google gave us instant access to vast amounts of information.

Facebook gave us a new way to connect with friends, family, and the world.

Twitter brought this world to us in real time.

And YouTube allowed anyone with a smartphone to become a virtual broadcast network unto themselves.

It was glorious and empowering.

But that was yesterday. Today, it’s 1984 all over again. Big Brother is back – with an important twist. [click to continue…]

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Just the thing for your morning commute

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June 6: A walk across a beach in Normandy

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 within range of the machine guns that line the cliffs above the beach ahead. The metallic death sound of their bullets clangs and whines off the front of the ramp.

Then the coxswain shouts and the klaxon sounds. Then you feel the keel of the LVCP grind against the rocks and sand of Normandy as the large shells from the boats in the armada behind you whuffle and moan overhead. 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. Then somehow all lean forward as, at last, the ramp drops down and you see the beach. Then the men surge forward and you step with them. 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. 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, on that day and the days after, 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 on that day you lie under a white cross on a large lawn 75 long gone years later.

Somewhere above you among the living weak princes and fat bureaucrats and rank traitors mumble platitudes and empty praises about actions they never knew and men they cannot hope to emulate.

You hear their prattle, 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 your brothers in arms to your brown study of eternity.

“Seventy-five years? Seems long to the living. It’s but an inch of infinite 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 and traitors, be silent. Be gone. We are now and forever one with the sea and the sky and the wind. We braved the steel rain. We march on.”



Normandy Today. From the Comments– Chris:

“I took the image on the link at low tide in Normady in 2006. This is literally at the edge of the water looking back to the bluffs where the American cemetery is. Look how damn far that is… it took a good 20 minutes to walk down from the cemetery to the water’s edge. I cannot imagine having gone the other way wet, seasick, with a 60-pound ruck on my back, a rifle that weighed a friggin ton unloaded, and with bullets and mortar shells raining down on me.

It could not be done by the men of today.

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Sense of Events: The awful stakes of D-Day by Donald Sensing

The specter of defeat on June 6, 1944 was overwhelmingly dreadful. The Allies had no other plans. There was no Plan B in case the landings were repulsed.

There are many “pivot” days in human history when the course of human events swung in a new direction because of discrete actions. It is hard to find another moment in all history when so much rested on an outcome of one day as rested on the success of the Allies’ landings on Normandy. In military history, no other day in American history compares. The only single day that comes to mind for me right now is the day of the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC when an Athenian army repelled a Persian landing force. The entire future of Western civilization and the idea of democracy itself lay in the balance. And yet even that may not stand alone as D-Day does because the Persians persisted and the later battles of Plataea and Salamis were probably even more important. So there was no “one day” of paramount importance in the Persian War, even though it was almost certainly the most important war of ancient times.

The Soviets, pushing toward Nazi Germany from the east in 1944, had clamored for years for America and Britain to open a second front against Germany from the west. A second front would compel Germany to draw soldiers and materiel away from the Russian front. Allied claims that operations in North Africa, southern Europe and indeed, the UK-US bombing campaign constituted a second front were scorned by Stalin.

Placating Stalin was one reason the Allies had to invade Germany through France. All the military and political leaders remembered early 1918, when the newly-in-power Soviet government under Lenin had made a separate peace with Imperial Germany. Even though all the Allies had agreed early in WW II that no separate peace agreements would be made, the nag was always there.

Moreover, neither Roosevelt nor Churchill had any desire at all to see all Germany overrun from the east and fall under the hammer and sickle. The only way to prevent that was to place American and British soldiers on the ground inside Germany. Invasion through northern Europe was the only way to do that (Churchill’s claim that an invasion from the south, through Europe’s “soft underbelly,” proved fantastical in rolling up the Italian peninsula. Whatever Europe’s underbelly was, it wasn’t soft.) — READ THE REST AT Sense of Events: The awful stakes of D-Day

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“Our landings have failed and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air, and the Navy did all that bravery could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.” — Dwight Eisenhower

Nothing was a sure thing on D-Day.  And now it is three-quarters of a century in the past. It is, for me, just two years more than a lifetime ago. Could anything like this, like this effort and this level of sacrifice for freedom, be done today?

I imagine that at some point in the not so recent past I would have given a guarded answer of “Yes.” In the present moment, with the nation seemingly overwhelmed on many levels with the dickless wonders that disguise themselves as men, I would have to answer “No.” Even among the younger men who are not planning to declare themselves as women long enough to win a weight-lifting or bicycle racing trophy, I don’t sense the kind of commitment to freedom and liberty needed to launch themselves on some foreign shores. In only 75 years we’ve gone from “The Greatest Generation” to “The Not So Great Generation” and hence to their weak and milksop children and now to their grandchildren of whom many are either testube babies or furbabies.

U.S. Army veteran paratrooper Tom Rice, of the 101st Airborne Division, is seen in Normandy, France, on June 4, 2019

Via What if D-Day Had Failed? | Armchair General Magazine     What follows is not a fanciful supposition but a sobering look at the inevitable consequences of an Allied failure on June 6, 1944.


The truth is that it was never a certainty that Overlord would succeed. Of course, no commander undertakes a military operation of the magnitude of Overlord without confidence in its success. However, given the enormous obstacles that had to be overcome, Eisenhower unquestionably not only recognized that failure was entirely possible but also prepared in advance to accept full responsibility.

A brief look at the daunting challenge Eisenhower and his planners had to accomplish in 1944 reveals why failure was possible. If the D-Day landings were to succeed, each of the following criteria had to be fully met:

Plan and successfully carry out the largest amphibious operation in the history of warfare.
Land over 150,000 troops on D-Day by sea and by air on a strongly defended hostile shore.
Accomplish this while at the same time deceiving the Germans over where the Allies would invade.
Successfully execute this extraordinary operation even though – until the very last minute – the actual site of the invasion was the most heavily guarded secret on the planet, kept from all but the key invasion force commanders.

Individually, each of these prerequisites held the potential to fail; collectively, they represented a very high risk. World War II amphibious operations were all perilous. Sicily, Salerno and the numerous landings in the Pacific were all testaments to the complexity of such endeavors, particularly when the unpredictability of Murphy’s Law was added to the mix. The Sicily landings, for example, were plagued by numerous unexpected and unforeseen problems that included inexperienced transport pilots and lack of aerial discipline, so-called “friendly fire” from Allied ships at sea, high winds and smoke from fires burning on the island. Likewise, Salerno was nearly lost as the result of faulty planning and Mark Clark’s decision not only to ignore the advice of his naval commanders and forego a pre-invasion bombardment, but also to embark the landing craft from far too great a distance from the beaches.

Before the Normandy landings, D-Day was nearly postponed until at least July by bad weather and it was only thanks to the most important and accurate meteorological forecast in the history of warfare that Eisenhower was able to sanction its launch under minimally acceptable conditions.

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Happy Killdozer Day

File Under: “Previews of more sparky coming attractions.”

HT via Western Rifle Shooters Association

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It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions. The Federalist #51

Pelosi Attacks Facebook As ‘Willing Enabler’ of Russia, Still Owns Up to $1 Million in Company Stock  The closing share price of Facebook stock on the date of the initial purchase was $32, a fraction of the $183.50 opening share price Wednesday when Pelosi attacked it as a “willing enabler” of Russia. In her most recent annual disclosure, covering 2017, the investment in Facebook was valued between $500,001 and $1,000,000.

Thoughts from the ammo line |  Who wants to vote for women who eat salad with combs and abuse their staff, or tannish women who clawed their way to fame and fortune the old-fashioned way by sleeping with married kingmaker politicians, or a gay mayor of an unlivable city who thinks America isn’t all that great now or ever, or a semi-hysterical Spartacus impressionist?

Boston radio talker Howie Carr wrote, “Elizabeth Warren, the fake Indian, has an annoying yet revealing verbal tic – whenever she’s about to tell a lie, she prefaces her whopper with the word ‘So.'” Don Surber: Highlights of the News

The Last Longest Day  To Macron, who was born in 1977, D-Day must seem like ancient history. The French president is currently more interested in preserving his alliance with Berlin than in commemorating the reopening of the Second Front against Hitler a full three generations ago.

So what do I do, if I do not read Facebook and Twitter in the morning? How do I get my news, if not from the Valley’s digital overlords? How do I know what is going on – when I do not trust them to inform me? It takes the discipline of the ancient monks – which once I flirted with becoming – and (if you really care) I visit Realclearpolitics, Realclearworld, Quillette, The Imaginative Conservative, Aeon, The Federalist, The American Conservative and – yes I do! – Drudge. So do you, admit it.

The Unraveling Right     The defining feature of American Conservatism since the rise of Buckley and National Review is that it managed to conserve nothing. In fact, the movement was largely born out of the Civil Rights Movement, in which the New Right, as they were called then, conceded the right of free association to the Left. From that point forward, conservatism in America was mostly just a modification of Progressivism, often following it around like a shadow from one new radical idea to the next.

Glenn Reynolds Is Right: Social Media Is Making Us Crazy It’s made me crazier as it has virtually everyone else I know who spends untold hours on Twitter, yelling and screaming at each other unto death, cursing foes and even friends to a fare-thee-well over op-eds and articles most of those same people, on either side, haven’t read in the first place.

MOTUS A.D.: Communism Is Great As Long As You Are One of the Commissars I’m not saying this is where the Jr. Congresswoman from New York is calling home these days (her office wishes not to disclose the actual location due to safety concerns)  but “OMG!” to quote AOC –  it is a newly constructed apartment complex in D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood. And it is adjacent to a Whole Foods with all those rooftop amenities that she thinks everyone should have. How ironic it’s called “The Collective,” no? I don’t care if these rubes are purposeful or genetically committed to communism they are all enemies of the people and menace in our midst. They must be removed.

That Time a Guy Cornered the Liquid Soap Market by Sneakily Buying Literally Every Hand Soap Pump Available in the World When the larger companies tried to release their own take on SoftSoap, they quickly realised that they couldn’t at first because some mysterious, freshly smelling, large penis owning individual had called dibs on almost every suitable pump in the United States set to be produced for the next year.

Tired, Boring—and Dangerous—Celebrity Death Wishing –   Lebowitz thought it was cool to imagine on live television that the president might be chopped up in the manner of the recent murder of Saudi journalist and activist Jamal Khashoggi. A veritable mini-industry of celebrity calls for Trump’s violent death or assassination is now old and boring—and getting dangerous.

Woman Diagnosed With Tumor Actually Had A Tapeworm In Her Brain “We were, like, overjoyed,” said Dr. Rasouli, chief resident of neurosurgery at Mount Sinai. “We were, like, cheering and clapping. We were so happy…When we got in there and saw that it was a tapeworm, we were like: “‘YES!’ We were so happy!”

Cereal Stocker: 1939

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“My Work Here Is Done”

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God, Evolution, and the Frozen Fish Fossil

The Smithsonian looks at the frozen fish above and asks Did This Fossil Freeze a Swimming School of Fish in Time?

The 259 juvenile fish found in the fossil likely belong to the extinct species Erismatopterus levatus. All of the specimens are facing the same direction, and each measures under an inch long. Much like modern schools of fish, the prehistoric one seems to adhere to the laws of attraction and repulsion, with members maintaining enough distance between neighbors without straying too far from the group.

To better gauge the school’s movements in life, the team measured the exact position and direction of each individual fish. Next, Gizmodo’s George Dvorsky writes, the scientists ran 1,000 computer simulations designed to predict the group’s most plausible next position, as determined by factors including water currents and spatial distribution. Overall, the models appear to align with behaviors exhibited by modern fish schools, or shoals, suggesting that the fish in question were, as NOVA Next’s Katherine J. Wu writes, “undulating along in a coordinated fashion,” when they met their demise.

The poet considers the same sort of scenario and asks if perhaps, just perhaps, God had his invisible hand in the mix:

Evolution  By Langdon Smith (1858-1908)

When you were a tadpole and I was a fish
In the Paleozoic time,
And side by side on the ebbing tide
We sprawled through the ooze and slime,
Or skittered with many a caudal flip
Through the depths of the Cambrian fen,
My heart was rife with the joy of life,
For I loved you even then.

Mindless we lived and mindless we loved
And mindless at last we died;
And deep in the rift of the Caradoc drift
We slumbered side by side.
The world turned on in the lathe of time,
The hot lands heaved amain,
Till we caught our breath from the womb of death
And crept into life again.

We were amphibians, scaled and tailed,
And drab as a dead man’s hand;
We coiled at ease ‘neath the dripping trees
Or trailed through the mud and sand.
Croaking and blind, with our three-clawed feet
Writing a language dumb,
With never a spark in the empty dark
To hint at a life to come.

Yet happy we lived and happy we loved,
And happy we died once more;
Our forms were rolled in the clinging mold
Of a Neocomian shore.
The eons came and the eons fled
And the sleep that wrapped us fast
Was riven away in a newer day
And the night of death was passed. [click to continue…]

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I had a lot of questions about what was going on. I assumed I’d get answers when I went in and I have not gotten answers that are satisfactory, and probably have more questions, and that some of the facts don’t hang together with the official explanations of what happened.

JAN CRAWFORD: What do you mean by that?

WILLIAM BARR: That’s all I really will say. Things are just not jiving …Interview with Attorney General Bill Barr

CLIP 1: Republics have fallen because of Praetorian Guard mentality where government officials get very arrogant, they identify the national interest with their own political preferences and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state. And you know, there is that tendency that they know better and that, you know, they’re there to protect as guardians of the people. That can easily translate into essentially supervening the will of the majority and getting your own way as a government official.

CLIP 2: JAN CRAWFORD: You have testified that you believe spying occurred.

WILLIAM BARR: Yes.

JAN CRAWFORD: You’ve gotten some criticism for using that word.

WILLIAM BARR: I guess it’s become a dirty word somehow. It hasn’t ever been for me. I think there is nothing wrong with spying, the question is always whether it is authorized by law and properly predicated and if it is, then it’s an important tool the United States has to protect the country. [click to continue…]

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This man’s carry-on covers all conceivable in-flight situations.

“So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot…” — George Orwell

Switzerland: More Than 80 Percent of Somalian Migrants On Welfare

Academe’s Extinction Event: Failure, Whiskey, and Professional Collapse at the MLA At another, a British academic clad in a winter jacket, assuming a bearing akin to that of the Dos Equis guy, imagined a more equitable academy for the future: “The pluriversity,” he breathed, emanating mystery like strong aftershave, “would exist as a networked decoloniality.”

San Francisco, where streets are named after union organizers and Mexican anti-imperialists, and local landmarks include murals from the Depression-era Public Works of Art Project, is becoming a paradoxical urban space: a homogenous corporate campus run through with threads of public pain. People struggling with addiction and mental illness sleep on the streets outside unicorn startups and shoot up in front of City Hall.

The Lost Picture Show: “There’s going to be a large dead period,” he told me, “from the late ’90s through 2020, where most media will be lost.” If technology companies don’t come through with a long-term solution, it’s possible that humanity could lose a generation’s worth of filmmaking, or more. Here’s what that would mean. Literally tens of thousands of motion pictures, TV shows, and other works would just quietly cease to exist at some point in the foreseeable future.

Suddenly a war over the future of the Internet has broken out. It is perhaps the first major conflict over a nonphysical system in the history of the world and it has come to the front rank virtually by surprise after decades of the public being told tomorrow would be a world without borders.

5G is like Sauron’s ring. As long as it exists someone — the EU, Washington, Big Silicon or Western industry — will wear it. While stopping China might prevent the worst it will not end the threat. 5G is like Sauron’s ring. As long as it exists someone — the EU, Washington, Big Silicon or Western industry — will wear it. The result may not be Beijing’s “virtual cage” but it will potentially be an electronic jail nonetheless. Who can resist wielding such power? [click to continue…]

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The Genius of the Crowd by Charles Bukowski

There is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
Human being to supply any given army on any given day

And the best at murder are those who preach against it
And the best at hate are those who preach love
And the best at war finally are those who preach peace

Those who preach god, need god
Those who preach peace do not have peace
Those who preach peace do not have love [click to continue…]

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KA-CHING! Goes the Trump Rant-O’-Matic

“Trump is known as a builder, but if there’s anything really Trump likes to do, it’s breaking things. Trump broke Kathy Griffin. He broke her really badly. He broke Michael Moore. He reduced Hillary Clinton to a bitter old drunk. He broke both Michael Avenatti and Stormy Daniels. He broke Rosie O’Donnell. He broke his former aide Omarosa. He’s in the process of breaking the anti-Trump propaganda network CNN completely. Everyone who goes up against Trump loses. It’s uncanny how some celebrity or athlete goes off on an anti-Trump rant and then fails professionally in some fashion, sometimes in unrelated ways. Just look at this schadenfreudelicious list. And now I hear that there are supposedly a whole bunch of anti-Trump movie scripts that have lately been floating around Hollywood. It reminds me of the height of the Iraq war when Hollywood released a bunch of anti-Iraq war movies. They were abysmal failures at the box office. They must’ve thought that most Americans were against the Iraq War. But at that time, most Americans supported the war. What a bubble they must live in. They must think that most Americans hate Trump. But that’s the way to get more Trump. And they’re going to get more Trump. Good and hard.” — VIA The Morning Rant @ The Ace Place

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Astronomer by Candlelight; Gerrit Dou   late 1650s 

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars. [click to continue…]

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Check out this shocking photo of a ‘traffic jam’ on the summit of  Everest where approximately 320 people were making their way to/from the summit on May 22nd, 2019.

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“The weed of crime bears bitter fruit.”

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True but Forbidden 27: From Sheep to Nuts

200 Sheep Saw This Guy’s Yard With Its Fence Open And Decided To Give Him A Visit – Now They Refuse To Leave 

Revolutionaries seek to create an earthly paradise by killing everyone who stands in their way. Execution thus becomes the sacrament by which the community is purified. Marxism is more rigorous and unforgiving than any religion in its call for total commitment to   the cause, a standard of which all people must necessarily fall short. Woodpile Report

Just Say No to Saying Sorry –  and let’s get on with it. And a right cross to anyone who says you’re not woke. [click to continue…]

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Not “A Porsche” But “THE Porsche”

Rarest And Oldest Porsche: Yours For About $20 Million

The rarest and oldest Porsche of them all will go sale in August, expecting to fetch about $20 million at auction. The 1939 Porsche Type 64 was the personal vehicle of German car designer and manufacturer Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche.

It’s currently on display as part of a press preview at Sotheby’s auction house in London. This is the only surviving example of the Type 64 and was the genesis of the marque.

“Without the Type 64, there would be no Porsche 356, no 550, no 911,” says Marcus Gorig, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “This is Porsche’s origin story, the car that birthed the company’s legend, and it offers collectors what is likely an unrepeatable opportunity to sit in the seat of Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche.”

As Above, 1939…

Add 80 years of constant innovation and you get… [click to continue…]

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Carentan, O Carentan

The French place flowers on a dead American soldier in Carentan

by Louis Simpson

Trees in the old days used to stand
And shape a shady lane
Where lovers wandered hand in hand
Who came from Carentan.

This was the shining green canal
Where we came two by two
Walking at combat-interval
Such trees we never knew. [click to continue…]

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“Uncle Bill” Lundy claimed to be the last living Confederate Civil War veteran in Florida,
and spent his 107th birthday at Eglin AFB, Florida in January 1955.

It should be noted that Lundy’s actual age and military service have been heavily disputed over the years. William Lundy was allegedly born near Troy, in Pike County, Alabama, on January 18, 1848 (also reported at Coffee Springs, Coffee County). He is said to have enlisted in the last days of March 1864, at age 16; Company D (Brown’s), 4th Alabama Cavalry Regiment (Home Guard) at Elba; and to have been honorably discharged at Elba in May 1865, on account of the close of the war. He moved his family to Laurel Hill in 1890, where he and his wife, Mary Jane Lassiter, raised ten children. He was granted a Confederate soldier’s pension in Florida, no. 8948, of $600 per annum to be paid effective from June 12, 1941. — Rare Historical Photos [click to continue…]

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America in 2020: A Minor Prophecy

11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. Ecclesiastes 9 

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David Warren

“One forgets — purposely in my case — that a large part of the general public cannot cope with wit, drollness, or rhetorical conceits, is rendered apoplectic by dark humour, couldn’t get facts straight if they tried, and cannot read with attention. See the angry comments on almost any website. The Internet encourages not jolly debate, but the lynching behaviour that has come to dominate our political life…

“If, for instance, one has consciously taken God’s side, the Devil gets us so immersed in the political struggle, between Left and Right, that we can only imagine the fight in those terms. This, I think, is why when I or others write specifically on spiritual questions, we are answered with indifference, even from our co-religionists. But put, say, the word “Trump” into it, and there will be a series of explosions. These will come from both his supporters and his opponents, and it will lead only to cacophony, never to the still silence of Our Lord.

“The $64.00 question: What do we really care about? For our salvation, and our neighbour’s salvation, or only for settling some scores?”

*

Another puzzling Idlepost to leave my gentle reader, while I abscond. I shall disappear for a week or two, returning, should God will, in early June.  — David Warren On the dark side: Essays in Idleness

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Small Flags

The cemetery at the top of Queen Anne in Seattle is busy this weekend. This even though a cemetery under all circumstances is seldom thought of as a busy place. We haven’t had busy cemeteries since 1945. Since then the long peace and its sleep was only briefly, for a few years every now and then, interrupted by a small war. The cemeteries fill up more slowly now than ever before. And our sleep, regardless of continuing alarms, deepens.

These days we resent, it seems, having them fill at all, clinging to our tiny lives with a passion that passes all understanding; clinging to our large liberty with the belief that all payments on such a loan will be interest-free and deferred for at least 100 years.

Still, the cemetery at the top of Queen Anne does tend to take on a calm, resigned bustle over Memorial Day weekend, as the decreasing number of families who have lost members to war come to decorate the graves of those we now so delicately refer to as “The Fallen.” They are not, of course, fallen in the sense that they will, suddenly and to our utter surprise, get up. That they will never do in this world. For they are not “The Fallen,” they are “The Dead.”

In the cemetery at the end of my street, of course, all the permanent residents are dead. But those who are among the war dead, or among those who served in a war, are easily found on this day by the small American flags their loved ones who still survive place and refresh. In this cemetery atop Queen Anne hill in Seattle, the small flags grow fewer and smaller with each passing year. It is not, of course, that the size of the sacrifice has been reduced. That remains the largest gift one free man may give to the country that sustained him. It is instead the regard of the country for whom the sacrifices were made that has gotten smaller, eroded by the self-love that the secular celebrate above all other values.

As you walk about the green lawn and weave among the markers, the slight breeze moves the small three-colored flags. Some are tattered and faded. Some are wound around the small gold sticks that hold them up. You straighten these out almost as an afterthought. Then the breeze unfurls them.

Here and there, people tend the grave of this or that loved one; weeding, washing, or otherwise making the gradually fading marks in the stone clear under the sky. Cars pull in and wind slow, careful on the curves, and park almost at random. An old woman emerges from one, a father and son from another, an entire family from yet another. They carry flowers in bunches or potted and, at times, gardening implements and a bucket for carrying away the weeds. It’s a quiet morning. Nobody is in a hurry to arrive and once arrived to leave.

When I lived in Villers-Cotteret , between Compaigne and Soissons, along the Western Front in France, the cemeteries were as quiet but on a scale difficult to imagine unless they were seen.

In the Battle of Soissons in July of 1918, 12,000 men (Americans and Germans) were killed in four days. Vast crops of white crosses sprouted from the fields their rows and columns fading into the distance as they marched back from the roadside like an army of the dead called to attention until the end of time. American cemeteries merged with French cemeteries that merged with German cemeteries; their only distinction being the flags that flew over what one took to be the center of the arrangement. I suppose one could find out the number of graves in these serried ranks. Somewhere they keep the count. Governments are especially good at counting. But it is enough to know they are beyond numbering by an individual; that the mind would cease before the final number was reached.

To have even a hundredth of those cemeteries in the United States now would be more than we, as a nation, could bear. It would not be so much the dead within it, but the truth that made it happen that would be unbearable. This is, of course, what we are as a nation fiddling about with on this Memorial Day. We count our war dead daily now, but we count mostly on the fingers of one hand, at times on two. Never in numbers now beyond our ability to imagine. This is not because we cannot die daily in large numbers in a war. September 11th proved to us that we still die in the thousands, but many among us cannot now hold that number as a reality, but only as a “tragic” exception that need not have happened and will — most likely — never happen again.

That, at least, is the mindset that I assume when I read how the “War on Terror” is but a bumper strip. In a way, that’s preferable to the mindset that now, in increasing numbers among us, prefers to take refuge in the unbalanced belief that 9/11 was actually something planned and executed by the American government. Why many of my fellow Americans prefer this “explanation” is something that I once felt was beyond comprehension. Now I see it is just another comfortable position taken up by those for whom the habits of automatic treason have become just another fashionable denigration of the country that has made their liberty to believe the worst of it not only possible but popular.

Like the graves in my local cemetery, these souls too bear within them a small flag, but that flag — unlike their souls — is white and, in its increasing rootedness in our body politic signals not sacrifice for the advancement of the American experiment, but the abject surrender of their lives to small spites and the tiny victories of lifestyle liberation.

In the cemetery at the end of my street, there are a few small flags. There are many more graves with no flag at all, but they are the ones that the small flags made possible. Should the terrible forests of white crosses ever bloom across our landscape — as once they did during the Civil War — it will not be because we had too few of those small, three-colored flags, but because we became a nation with far too many white ones.

[Originally published Memorial Day, 2007]

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“If you tell someone they have a short attention span often enough, they might believe you enough to get one, but then they’ll forget what channel you’re on.” — TV producer, Fox News, 2002

No section of our society exemplifies ADD more than Big Media whose efforts in spreading fear, uncertainty, doubt, and confusion go forward daily with no signs of stopping and less than zero signs of shame.

Big Media is happy to spread the myth of ADD / HD (Attention Deficit Disorder / Hyperactivity Disorder) affliction. In doing so they point only at the young. They are happy to do it because, in a very real way, it protects them from being seen as the single profession in which ADD / HD is a virus that threatens the lives and happiness of millions.

For centuries it has been unfashionable in the West to kill the messenger. This convention, along with so many others in the post 9/11 world, may have to be reconsidered. [click to continue…]

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