The Swamp Strikes Back

Somewhere in a swamp far, far away, the lords of the Dark Side are laughing.  They could have ignored the Christian knight from the strange and insignificant world of Alabama.  But that is not the way of the Darth lords. Opposition must not only be vanquished, but any and all who refuse to give obeisance to the Empire must be destroyed utterly.

When the accusations broke concerning Roy Moore, we shouldn’t have been surprised.  Naturally, it was a dirty trick — that goes without saying.  This is a man who has been in the public eye for at least 25 years and has been removed from office twice by a netherworld Kangaroo court styled “The Court of the Judiciary”, something that few states have and no voter understands.  Actually, he wasn’t removed the second time as the Kangaroo Court didn’t have the votes.  Instead to get around their own rules, they merely barred him from his salary and from the Bench! How likely is it then that the Swamp wouldn’t have already known these accusations if they had existed?

Besides, the Swamp itself created this knight’s notoriety with help from their ACLU squires and Media minions.  He was an unknown local judge until the Left learned he had the unmitigated temerity to post a copy of the Ten Commandments on his courtroom wall, something that used to be common all over America.  He fought successfully to keep them on that wall and became a famous figure.  He later ran for Chief Justice of Alabama promising to install a monument to the Ten Commandments, and he won overwhelmingly.  When the enemies of the people stymied his efforts to install this monument inside the Court, he settled with putting it into his administrative building.  In a futile attempt to placate the Dark Side, he included other famous precursors of our law. “Diversity” is the mother’s milk of the Swamp Empire but they would not be so easily placated.  This was an impertinence up with which they dare not put.

It was an easy matter to shop a liberal federal judge to order the removal of the monument.  Sound familiar, Mr. President?  Seizing upon this opportunity to try to break the power of unelected judges who fail to follow the Constitution, separation of powers, federalism, etc., he refused. No doubt he hoped that he might find support from fellow conservatives who had complained so vociferously about the overreaching Judiciary.  The RINO governor gave tepid lip service but no real support, the RINO president was silent and the RINO State AG condemned him and argued for his conviction by the Kangaroo Court.  This former AG, Bill Pryor, now sits on the Court of Appeals and many want him to be our next justice on the Supreme Court.  Please spare us.

People outside of Alabama probably think Roy Moore was impeached.  Oh yes, we have impeachment in Alabama, but it isn’t necessary.  Most people assume Roy Moore was removed from office because of some abuse of power on the Bench.  That also is not true.  He was removed for decisions that arose from his position as administrative head of the judicial department.  This is green eyeshade stuff, which simply boggles the mind.  You ought to see the list of lower level swamp rats who made up this kangaroo court so the bigwigs could pretend to keep their hands clean.

Several years ago, the Swamp ousted an outsider governor merely by having an opposition prosecutor trump up charges of stealing from himself.  Governor Hunt was convicted by a local jury (not of his peers and not from his town).  It too was a set up.  The Swamp led by the lieutenant governor quickly blocked him from returning to his office.  Governor Hunt had to fight many years to clear his name, which he managed to do long after his term had expired (naturally).  He was an evangelical Christian like Moore. But his real crime, like Trump’s, was for not being “by the Swamp, of the Swamp and for the Swamp”.

In Washington, there are calls for impeachment, but more often the Swamp just drives people out with innuendo, special counsels, hit pieces, and lying polls.  They somehow convince voters that they shouldn’t vote for them because they are imperfect or ignorant or unsophisticated, or in the case of Trump, that he is a vain and vulgar New Yorker. While some of that may be true, and all people have their foibles, it is not the reason for their animus.  The Swamp hates them for what they represent.  They hate individuality and they hate our freedom to choose our own champions.  They really hate democracy, i.e., they hate us.  Ultimately, we must support Roy Moore and Donald Trump for what that represent.  They are we and we are they.

I trust that before the special election, President Trump will realize how much he has in common with Roy Moore and will give him his full support.  The Empire is full of  swamps to drain.  May the Force be with us.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

What’s better for Turkey Day than some tidbits from Mark Steyn?  Enjoy your dinner or supper, and don’t forget that Thanksgiving is for thanking God for the many good things He has bestowed upon us.

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Another Week of Winning and a Reminder of What We Are Losing

I just saw President Trump sign an executive order to suspend needless Obamacare regulations and allow for companies to purchase out-of-state plans and join insurance associations.  This is wonderful news for middle class workers.  It makes one wonder how Obama lasted eight years when it was clear he was trying to destroy the middle class.  It seemed he wanted just two classes: proletariats and party elites. Socialists just hate the middle class.  It stands between them and their dictatorship.  The middle class’s very existence exposes the lie of the socialist dialectic.

Another week, another overblown weather event, this time in the “person” of Hurricane Nate.  This bare hurricane came ashore in Mississippi and caused a little havoc on the coast.  Once again there were dire predictions for us in central Alabama but except for a couple of normal, small tornados, it didn’t amount to much more than rain and a little wind.  I called a friend in Mobile during the event to see if he was in his “safe space”.  He was at home watching TV and listening to the rain.  I asked about the wind to which he replied, what wind?  No doubt, we would have cancelled work and school again had Nate visited us on a week day.  Please weather people, stop the Munchausen syndrome.  A major hurricane (not a 1 or 2) is a scary event for coastal areas in its direct path, but the rest of us don’t need the angst.

The latest edition of Alabama Alumni Magazine gave me a couple of laughs and a major groan.  The laughs came with the article about 50 things you love about UA.  Never mind that most of them are not things I love or even think about.  However, it reminded me of Dr. Charles Perry (QDEP) whose teaching method in his popular and infamous courses on the history of Greece and Rome consisted of memorizing lists of things one associates with those times.  My favorite was the 20-something things one thinks of when one thinks about Egypt.  Sand was number one.  Pyramids and Cleopatra were in the list too.  (“Anyone who says that Cleopatra was Egyptian might as well be wearing a sign that says ‘I am ignorant’ because Cleopatra was a Ptolemy.  She was Greek!”)

My groan came with item number 5 (or was it 15?  I’ve already thrown the magazine out.)  It happened to be the Mound on the Quad.  It’s all that’s left of Franklin Hall, which the Editors tell us “burned during the Civil War”.  I actually do remember the Mound though not so fondly as the article proposes.  Every school boy used to know the story of the “Burning of the University of Alabama” by the Yankees in the last days of the Civil War.  It was a completely barbaric and unnecessary act.  The student body had disbanded and gone home.  The University was empty but the Union soldiers still  took glee in destroying the library, residence halls and classrooms.  The War itself would be over within a week.  Reminding people of the event is history and it’s important to understand the mental state of the people who could order the burning of a place of learning.  It doesn’t mean Alabamians should be angry about it or that we haven’t long since forgiven the transgression.  But we should remember it.  It’s useful to remember the past when working through the problems of the present.

My professor friend commented that he would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the editorial meeting that begot that wording.  Were they afraid of triggering the liberal professorate or the Yankee students they recruited to come watch football?  Words have consequences and so does history.  One might as well say “Jews died during WWII” or “Hiroshima was burned” or “Britain gave America her independence in 1783”. It might be factually accurate but it doesn’t tell the story,  and it certainly doesn’t educate the contemporary generation.  We live in an age where facts and reflection aren’t important, but rather the conclusions others have made for us. And their conclusions are all that matter.  History and its literature don’t matter.  Is it that memories are bad for the psyche? Or is something more sinister going on?

People don’t mean to denigrate coaches when they say that history is left to them to teach.  The elites decided long ago that history gets in the way of whatever it is they are peddling.  Handing its teaching over to coaches was just a matter of convenience for everyone involved.   All that matters now is technology, the current opiate of the masses.  This sad state of affairs didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t always because of forethought.  But its eventuality has greatly aided the anti-American types in their quest to destroy the concept of American exceptionalism.

American exceptionalism like individuality doesn’t help the elites convince us of the need for giving up our liberty to buy some temporary security.  George Santayana said that those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it.  Apparently that’s the point.  It doesn’t behoove the powers that be for us to learn the lessons of the past since they are Hell bent in making sure we keep repeating the same mistakes. So pesky history like the middle class must be destroyed as it too exposes the lie of the socialist dialectic.

Munchausen Weather Syndrome

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Oh where oh where will she go?

Narratives and Fake News

With all the talk of fake news, it is easy to overlook fake weather and sports stories.  They too have a narrative that becomes the story rather than a set of facts that tells a story.  The narrative of last year’s election was the coronation of Hillary Clinton. Sure no one liked her but she couldn’t lose. Sports narratives too are commonplace.  ESPN makes a living at them. They get so caught up in the narrative about a player, team or league that they lose sight of the game.  Maybe it’s because ESPN cares more about politics than sports these days.

Fake weather is a version of fake news.  It usually has to do with the political narrative called climate change.  Hurricane Harvey brought so much rain to Texas that zealots maintained the cause must be climate change.  Never mind that hurricane experts debunked them with numerous worldwide instances of stalled depressions.  Undaunted, they just set to work on another chapter titled Irma. Here’s a particular egregious example of the trend: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/hurricane-irma-is-on-track-to-change-the-course-of-florida-history-w502128

Irma was no more than a gleam in a weatherman’s eye, a wave off Africa, when ominous talk began about her being the ONE that could destroy Florida and all life there as we know it.  As Irma grew, the Weather Channel (owned by that paragon of objective reporting that gave us MSNBC) breathlessly touted their little girl.  They were like parents who text their kids’ latest selfies or send you videos of their recitals.  They even created a new level for her— category 6!  She would be a star, knock them dead in Florida and put Miami under water.  And for a while, Irma did wreak havoc on unfortunate islands such as Barbuda, St. Maarten and Puerto Rico.  Surely, she would achieve even more in the USA.

Exaggerated Prognostications

In the old days, Americans waited to see where a hurricane was going before worrying about it.  But that won’t do any longer.  Now every weather possibility becomes a ticking bomb with everyone glued to the screen awaiting the doom. Before the Florida governor could order evacuations (seems ages ago), the president had tweeted his love and support for Florida.  British papers like the Guardian and the Daily Mail got in on the act.  Miss Irma was the very European model of a modern major hurricane. It was the nightmare scenario, the days and weeks and months and years after tomorrow!  Irma was going to destroy Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Canaveral, Saint Augustine, Jacksonville, Savannah and Charleston one by one. And it wasn’t a matter of if but when.

Consequently every bit of good news about the massive storm got downplayed or ignored.  It wasn’t supposed to hit Cuba, and when it did, the storm weakened.  It didn’t travel up the more populous East Coast but turned into the cooler Gulf side where dryer air and wind shear weakened it further. One wall of the hurricane collapsed, and when it finally made landfall, it rapidly downgraded to a category 2 and then to a 1.  These fortuitous events were met with more gloom: Irma will re-strengthen, the Keys will be inundated, Tampa Bay will be unprepared, the storm may linger off shore.  The Media that had hoped to show pictures of utter devastation were reduced to showing the usual aftermath of a hurricane, e.g., downed trees, power lines and coastal flooding (or looters who took advantage of evacuated cities).

Hurricanes By Proxy

The hyperbole was bad enough in coastal Florida where the hurricane was a potential catastrophe, but inland areas got a mandatory invitation to the disaster too.  As the weakened storm headed toward Georgia (networks would say “hurled”), forecasters predicted it would remain a tropical storm for a considerable timeThis is still a very, very dangerous storm!  Meteorologist James Spann, who is practically a secular saint in Birmingham, had calmly said for days that there was little about which to worry as his viewers were on “the good side” of the storm.  He confidently predicted some wind and rain.  But his sane forecasts were a waste of air time.

When Alabama’s governor declared a “state of emergency” for counties that border southern Georgia, a supposedly routine action to free up resources to cope with possible damage, the frenzy began in earnest.  Auburn University led the way by announcing they would not risk having classes on Monday.  Other schools and colleges in east Alabama followed.  All well and good, but it did not stop there.  The Media never bothers to differentiate between a state of emergency for certain counties and the rest of Alabama.  And government officials don’t seem eager to set the record straight perhaps because of their self-importance or their desire to be seen protecting constituencies.  No doubt they figure they won’t be penalized for over-reacting.  Thus emergencies anywhere are now emergencies everywhere.

Somehow it became customary that whenever the governor makes such declarations, schools that find it necessary to close are exempt from making up the lost days as State law requires.  Unsurprisingly, almost every school board in Alabama found it necessary to cancel classes for Monday (and many for Tuesday as well).  They hurried to make these pronouncements even as it became apparent that they weren’t necessary at all. Wind speeds in the Florida peninsula and Georgia simply did not live up to the predictions. Everyone conveniently forgot the cool dry air mass, unusual for early September, that covered the State.  So as originally predicted, temperatures stayed low, light rain fell and winds were never especially high.

School closings for dubious weather emergencies are the new normal.  The cliché one hears is “out of an abundance of caution”.  They certainly make it abundantly clear that school is an option.  Nowadays, school is routinely suspended for moderate tornado and snow threats with the result that students often sit at home watching the rain.  Now they’ve freshened it up to include breezy winds.  And since schools introduced collaborative learning with less individual work, no studying and little learning, students really don’t miss much other than free meals.   Of course, parents may have to skip work to mind their children while they all watch the gentle rain fall from Heaven, but it’s quality family time. Forget the old virtue when school was the moral equivalent of work and instilled the discipline one would later need on the job.  Now everyone can stay home together — Workers and Students of the World, Unite!

Stop the Insanity!

Cyclones by themselves are scary and dangerous, and there will too often be death and destruction. However, when the narrative overtakes the reality just for ratings and profits, it crosses the line into fake news.  False alarms will make people reluctant to heed warnings when there is actual danger. During the Harvey floods, broadcasters tried in vain to find words to describe the massive inundation.  Years of exaggerating thunderstorms and a few inches of rain had left them speechless in a real calamity.  So they just repeated a litany of “this is really, really, really serious”.  Isn’t it time to save severe warnings for the times and places where there is “really, really, really” bad weather?

The President Is NOT a Class President

It seems only yesterday Obama voters were complaining about his policies and expressing shock over his disdain for their livelihoods.  They couldn’t believe that he used his office to further an ideology rather than to help them prosper.  They seemed unaware that the president follows in the footsteps of George Washington.  But unlike General Washington, a modern president has more power, more reach and more responsibilities.  Most voters mistook their sober duty to vote in the election for an opportunity to be accepted by the celebrity left.  They were like students voting for the popular boy or girl who promised them longer breaks and more flavors of ice cream.  They never paused to ponder that they were handing the presidency to a person who would have real power, not just a picture in the yearbook and a speech at graduation.

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The founders knew that they were risking a lot in creating the presidency.  His powers and the manner of his election took up a great deal of the debate in the Constitutional Convention, and it is the reason that his election was left to a College of Electors and not to Congress and especially not directly to the people.  Politicians wasted no time creating political parties, the purpose of which was to nominate ideologically responsible candidates for president and other offices.  Congressional caucuses exercised the nomination power for the first twenty-five years or so, and then the Democrats led the switch to conventions chiefly because Andrew Jackson hadn’t benefited from the caucus system.

The convention system turned the selection of nominees over to State parties and their bosses.  Though this “improvement” usually insured a bland candidate, it had the salutary effect of making sure the national government stayed out of the way.  The Progressives hated this so they replaced the party bosses with the primary system.  Direct primaries along with the advent of radio and later television led to the rise of campaigns independent of both national and State parties.  Thus the president truly became the people’s champion.

This modern campaign reached maturity with the Kennedy-Nixon race in 1960.  Not only was a junior senator with no executive experience elected, but it was also the first election where television clearly influenced the result.  Since then, more often than not, the election of the president has depended on which candidate connected more with the people whether by his looks, his shtick, or his charisma.  Often this had more to do with perception than with reality.  One author called this phenomenon “The Selling of the President”.

Perhaps this silliness didn’t hurt the country much at first.  However, as Congress delegated more authority to the president, he was able to act more boldly and independently.  Judges usually acquiesce even when a president decides to act outside his authority.  Even when the Courts act, it takes years and it’s up to the president to implement their decisions.  And when there is a crisis, any president will take on emergency powers with little resistance.

The nadir of the modern campaign was 2008.  Barack Obama was marketed as everything that was cool.  His cool pretty much began and ended with the fact that he was biracial of foreign parentage who was also good at reading inane speeches from a teleprompter.  He was the first “post racial” president — to quote an 80s song, he was “just too sexy for his shirt”.  Of course, this sexiness was in the eye of the beholder.  But there were a lot of gullible beholders.

All parties play with this gimmick, of course. Hillary would have been the first woman president.  How about Marco — he speaks Spanish.  Bobby Jindal is Indian.  And Elizabeth Warren might be an Indian too.  Policy details have little to do with their presentation, that is, until one of them gets elected.  Then those hidden details come out.  The Democrats usually have to hide their agenda.  Republicans while more forthright about theirs show more ambivalence in implementing it.

The 2016 campaign was different.  One by one, the voters rejected the plastic candidates foisted on them.  Donald Trump didn’t have the usual qualifications, but he had some regard for them and the Constitution and still knew how to get things done. Trump wasn’t advertised like a new soft drink or detergent.  Policy issues dominated his campaign, and voters responded to that. As the wag said, we weren’t with him; he was with us.  Yes, Trump was a celebrity but he was elected in spite of it, not because of it.

It would behoove voters to stop acting like school children and insist on candidates who have qualifications and the character to know the limits of the office. In addition, policy DOES matter.  Voters must insist on knowing details of what a candidate proposes. In a democratic republic, this requires diligence and maturity on the part of the voters.  It is doubtful they will have this kind of discipline very often.  Unfortunately, voters will probably return to buying a packaged candidate and swoon yet again over their new prom king or queen.

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Senatus Populusque Americanus

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Doddering John McCain in one of his ever frequent truculent moods stated the other day that President Trump needs to realize that the Senate are not his subordinates.  Well, thank you, Cicero. Whom does he think he’s kidding?  Since 1933, the U.S. Congress has routinely given away its authority to assorted boards, regulatory agencies and bureaus.  President Obama made this more efficient by skipping the congressional giveaway step.  Why wait for a slow acting Congress?  The people cannot wait, so just issue a decree.  Senators like McCain may complain that Obamacare waivers, open borders, et alia are illegal presidential assumptions of power, but they don’t do much about it.  Until when Trump calls their bluff by canceling an illegal action like DACA, then senators call foul and decry the damage the undoing of the thing they opposed will do.  So much for defending their senatorial prerogatives.  If this doesn’t make congressional action subordinate to presidential authority, I don’t know what does.

In the days of the Roman Republic, the Senate was the supreme law making body.  The Assembly of plebeians could meet and propose legislation and their tribune could champion it, but all action had to be approved by the Senate.  If the tribune got out of line, id est, became too populist, his broken body could end up in the Tiber.  They don’t yet actually throw House speakers into the Potomac but like tribunes, they don’t last long.  As the Senate reminds us ad nauseam, all legislative action must end up with them in what they proudly call “the world’s greatest deliberative body”.  This phrase becomes laughable once you realize the Senate deliberates for decades.  In Rome, one had to be a patrician to serve in the Senate.  In America’s Senate, it’s been inverted.  One doesn’t have to be a patrician to be elected to the Senate (though it doesn’t hurt); however, if you stay around long enough, you become a patrician for life.  Today’s senators don’t get a white toga with crimson piping but they get the modern day equivalents:  feted at parties, rolled out to comment on network news, holding appointees hostage, pontificating in feckless hearings, criticizing the president and, of course, always aspiring to replace him.  Being a senator is now an end in itself.  Enacting legislation is not required, and is strictly secondary. 

As in the last days of the Roman Republic, this state of affairs cannot be sustained.  Today it is called “gridlock”.  Rome had a mechanism for it.  They simply made their consuls dictator for a year or two.  It was a dangerous thing to do, but it beat the alternative.  Obama updated the concept by declaring that he had a pen.  With it, he signed his unconstitutional dictates.  He didn’t bother to get congressional authority not just because they would still be debating it but because there isn’t any constitutional way to do it.  Rome improvised too with a couple of extraconstitutional triumvirates and finally settled on a princeps to be consul for life.  This Caesar then relieved the Senate of any further responsibility.  Thus they could all pretend the Republic still existed and the Senate could keep all the perks they relished.  Sound familiar?  And as a bonus, a senator might always hope to be the second consul. He could open festivals, cut ribbons, etc. in that superfluous role unless, of course, the emperor preferred to appoint his horse.

But Senator McCain can be of good cheer in MMXVII.  If one cannot be a horse, at least one can be a horse’s ass.

The Past Is Passé: There Are No Lessons to Learn Much Less Forget.

I always tried to teach my students that though societies, tastes and cultures change, human nature never does.  People are complex creatures and can act well or badly, be criminals or heroes, reprobates or saints, but all must be judged in the context of their time and culture.

It always concerned me that the AP High School Curriculum diminished the learning of events, literature and people in favor of inculcating a set of conclusions about how history has created our present society.  When students learn the conclusions before learning the whole history, it strips historical characters of all humanity leaving them little more than stick figures who are merely sexists, bigots, and zealots.  And never mind that the conclusions students learn belong to others and may or may not be the ones they would come to if they learned the history for themselves.

Teaching cultural history is a necessary antidote for what otherwise becomes a self-indulgent exercise that glorifies people living today.  It is simply not true that contemporary people are better than those who went before.  But believing so makes it easy to turn past heroes into non-persons, tear down memorials, remove historical figures and their literature from textbooks and ultimately reject the beliefs and rights of people who hold a dissenting view of the past.

And we are now seeing the tragic effects of this lack of cultural transmission.  Below is a link to a piece where Mark Steyn writes on the same theme.  I hope you enjoy it and wish all my readers and followers a fun Labor Day weekend.

The Totalitarianism of the Now by Mark Steyn

I had thought the floodwaters of Texas had at least momentarily submerged the left’s war on history. But I see a Hillary Clinton staffer called Logan Anderson has been triggered by a white man with a Confederate flag on his boat rescuing black people in . . .

Source: The Totalitarianism of the Now