How to Handle an Octopus

According to an article in People magazine, the late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher didn’t take sexual harassment lying down.

 

Fisher’s longtime friend, Heather Ross, “opened up to a Tucson, Arizona, radio station 94.9 MixFM about her own experiences with sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood, in the wake of the allegations leveled at producer Harvey Weinstein.

 

“Ross revealed,” the article states, “that an unnamed Oscar-winning producer (not Weinstein) had invited her for dinner and, when he picked her up, he pulled the car over and climbed in on top of her, pinning her to the seat. Ross managed to push the producer off her but as she fled, he said, “You’ll never make a movie in my town and get the F out of my car,”, she told the radio show.

 

“When Ross confided in her friend Fisher, the late actress took matters into her own hands.

 

“About two weeks later, she sent me a message online and she said, ‘I just saw [blank] at Sony Studios,” Ross said. “I knew he would probably be there, so I went to his office and personally delivered a Tiffany box wrapped with a white bow.”

 

Ross continued, “I asked her what was inside and she said, ‘It was a cow tongue from Jerry’s Famous Deli in Westwood with a note that said, ‘If you ever touch my darling Heather or any other woman again, the next delivery will be something of yours in a much smaller box!’”

 

Now that’s how you handle an octopus.  It’s unlikely that producer ever bothered Ross or any other female acquaintance of Fisher’s again.  No useless pleading with the offender, no pretty speeches before adoring, feminist audiences, no panel discussions on women’s talk shows.

 

Various schools of though exist on how to handle such men.  You might be able to talk your way out of a potentially dangerous situation as my mother did when she was young.  It was the holiday office party.  Mom had had enough.  The participants had become too inebriated and she decided to go home.

 

In those days, the elevators had elevator operators.  This elevator operator was a huge man.  He stopped the car at midfloor, cornered Mom in the elevator, planted his Popeye-sized arms above her and requested a kiss.

 

“How ‘bout a Christmas kiss?”

 

Mom was fairly tall for a woman, but this gorilla still towered above her.  There was no escape.

 

“Oh,” she demurred.  “It’s been such a long day and I’m so tired.  How about another time?”

 

He thought it over and took his beefy arms away

“Okay, E.” he said, and restarted the elevator.

 

Mom was accustomed to seeing her father beat her mother.  Once, she threw herself in front of her mother when Grandpa was about the throw a leaden glass bowl at her.  On her wedding night, she warned my 6’2” father, a World War II veteran, that he ever hit her, he had better sleep with one eye open.

 

“Because,” she announced.  “I’m going to have a knife under my pillow and I will kill you.  But first, I’m going to wake you up because I want you to know who it was who got you.”

 

Many women of her generation were trained not to resist such men.  But then, they were coached not to entertain ungentlemanly men in the first place (my grandmother must have missed that lesson).  They were also taught that if a man hit them, they probably deserved it.  Gentlemen were taught that it was unmanly to hit a woman, no matter the provocation.

 

No gentleman would think of taking advantage of a woman.  The world was filled with cads, though, and as women were generally believed unable to fend one off, she didn’t travel without a male relative or good friend.  Those who knew how to handle one could take care of themselves.

 

For those who could not fend for themselves, life could be a nightmare.  One of Mom’s friends, whose husband was an executive, found her husband was a monster who once held her and the children at knifepoint in their house.  Finally, they slipped the youngest girl out the kitchen window to run for help.  After her divorce, she became a wildly successful real estate agent.

 

Other girls suffered their fates silently and apparently willingly.  The girl in the green car was one such notable tragedy.  The girl in the green car was famous all over campus.  A beautiful girl with long, curly blonde hair and a willowy figure, any guy on campus would have been proud to have this lovely woman on his arm.

 

Instead, she chose a tall, good-looking athletic type.  It’s always best to stick with your own kind, more or less, when it comes to looks.  This type however would get her into his green car and proceed to pummel her, always in full view of some part of the campus.

 

Sometimes it was on what we called “The Airstrip” a very long parking lot on the west side of the campus.  We were in the midst of a Murder and Detective Literature class discussing, of all literary characters, James Bond, when the teacher found he no longer had the attention of the class.

 

He turned to find the spectacle of the Girl in the Green Car taking place down below in the airstrip.  Who was the girl?  Who was the guy?  Why did she stay with him?  Why didn’t somebody do something?

 

“We’ve tried,” the men in the class told him.  “But he locks the car doors and we can’t get to him.  We’d sure like to.”

 

“And she won’t get out of the car,” I added.  During one beating, the campus men were actually threatening to break the windows if he didn’t stop.  But our valiant campus police warned them that if they broke the window, they would be arrested for destruction of private property.  There was nothing they could do if the girl refused to leave the car.

 

I approached the car and tried to reason with the beauty.

 

“Just get out of the car,” I said.  “We’ll help you.  Just unlock the door and get out.  You don’t have to stay with him.”

 

“Shut up!” the boor shouted.

 

“The door isn’t locked; just get out!”

 

The guy hadn’t noticed the unlocked door.  He leaned over and slammed it down.  It didn’t matter.  She’d already shook her head sadly.  The creep started the car and screeched off down the road.

 

For myself, though I tell the story reluctantly, as an older teenager who had recently joined the local community band, I found it difficult to fend off all the arms that constantly finding their way around my shoulder.  I tolerated it, so long as the hands didn’t get any busier.

 

But there was one old goat who just wouldn’t take “no” for answer.  He went way beyond the friendly arm around the shoulder.  His arm was usually around my waist and I had much to do to writhe myself from his grasp.  I was no sooner free than he got hold of my arm, dragging me back again.

 

I found myself in the ridiculous situation of a tug-of-war around the parking lot, with all the band’s men laughing merrily.  One of the women scolded me because it was a “man’s” band (they’d only recently allowed female musicians to join) and if I wanted to “belong” I had to accept certain behavior.

 

Flabbergasted, I concluded that no one was going to help me.  Now he had me again, both his arms around my waist.  His old goat lips were pursed in kissing mode.  Like hell.  The fire was in my eye.  Since his hands were around my waist, mine were free.  I put them up to his neck.

 

Thinking success was near, he pulled me even closer.  My hands went around his throat like a magnet – and I squeezed.  Hard.  Harder.  And harder.  At last, he had to let go because he was choking.

 

I let go.  His hands went to his own throat as he gasped and choked.  His face was turning an interesting shade of pale blue, although the color was coming back.  The band members were outraged – with me!  A 19-year-old flibbertigibbet who didn’t know when someone was just having “fun” with her.

 

“Belle!” they cried angrily.  “You were choking him!!”

Indeed.  He needed a good throttling.  Not all of the guys were “handy;” they were perfect gentlemen.  The ones who weren’t – well, after that, they made sure to ask my permission before putting an arm around my shoulder – and those hands never went further.

 

The old goat complained for months that he didn’t understand what he had done wrong – and that I was crazy.  Whatever.  He never touched me again.

 

There are, of course, your perfect strangers who not only don’t care if you say, “No,” they consider it an invitation.  In those situations, there’s one only thing a girl can do – call for help.  Or in my case, “Arthur!”

 

I’ve told this story before, but I’ll repeat it here once more for emphasis.  I was in the college parking lot; it was my graduation day.  I had gone ahead of my family to go to the gathering place for graduates.  A strange man approached me.

 

“Where ya goin’, girly?” he sneered.  Girly?

 

I assessed the situation, and yelled, “ARTHUR!!” at the top of my lungs.

 

“’Arthur?’” the creep scoffed.

 

In the meantime, my irritated younger brother had replied, “What?!”  I turned to see my family approaching, with 6’4” ‘Arthur’ in the lead.  By the time, I turned back to my accoster, Arthur was towering behind me.

 

The creep cringed.

 

“Yeah,” I said.  “’Arthur.’”

 

Stumbling over his feet, the creep ran backwards for a moment, then pounded pavement in the direction of the road, the same way the Guy in the Green Car made his escape. Arthur laughed.

 

“Who’s your friend and what’s his hurry?”

 

“Do you know that guy?” my other brother asked.  The guy was still running, his arms and legs turning in wild circles.  He thought I’d turned away a potential suitor.

 

Chivalry and prayer do work sometimes.  Keep that mental image in your minds, girls.  If I were an artist, I’d draw or paint it for you.

 

A friend’s pre-teen daughter was being bothered by the boys at school.  A pretty young lady with long, silky dark hair, the boys had given themselves permission to stroke it.  One day, the young lady had enough, grabbed hold of a boy’s finger and bent it backwards until it broke.

 

Society frowns upon such “unladylike” behavior.  But if society will not protect us, or cannot protect us in the case of strange rakes and determined perverts, then we must protect ourselves.  We must not be overwhelmed by the notion of male strength, except in the direst cases.

 

Those dire situations can be avoided, with a little more caution and prudence.  While we must not be overwhelmed by male prowess, we should neither kid ourselves in our right or ability to go where we want, when we want, as women.  They are stronger than we are (well for the most part).

 

Bad things can (and often do) happen to women (and even men) who go walking down dark alleys, deserted streets, and empty parks.  There is safety in numbers.  Still, “clubbing” until the wee hours of the morning brings on the prospect of unfortunate consequences, and not necessarily from your pick-up.  Late-night partiers are prey for late-night predators.

 

If women insist upon the full rights of emancipation, then they must be prepared to defend themselves, as smart women always have.  Last night, Oprah Winfrey spoke of telling men that their “time’s up.”  However, today, Facebook and Twitter are full of pictures of the Big O consorting with none other than Harvey Weinstein himself, and even offering up pretty girls to him as bait.

 

Yet her followers want her to run for President in 2020.  That would certainly give new meaning to the phrase, “Madam President.”

 

Women have always had the power to protect themselves.  They don’t need a social consensus.  All they need is to get their hands around the problem – and apply pressure.

 

Or a box from Tiffany’s.

How to Handle an Octopus

 

According to an article in People magazine, the late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher didn’t take sexual harassment lying down.

 

Fisher’s longtime friend, Heather Ross, “opened up to a Tucson, Arizona, radio station 94.9 MixFM about her own experiences with sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood, in the wake of the allegations leveled at producer Harvey Weinstein.

 

“Ross revealed,” the article states, “that an unnamed Oscar-winning producer (not Weinstein) had invited her for dinner and, when he picked her up, he pulled the car over and climbed in on top of her, pinning her to the seat. Ross managed to push the producer off her but as she fled, he said, “You’ll never make a movie in my town and get the F out of my car,”, she told the radio show.

 

“When Ross confided in her friend Fisher, the late actress took matters into her own hands.

 

“About two weeks later, she sent me a message online and she said, ‘I just saw [blank] at Sony Studios,” Ross said. “I knew he would probably be there, so I went to his office and personally delivered a Tiffany box wrapped with a white bow.”

 

Ross continued, “I asked her what was inside and she said, ‘It was a cow tongue from Jerry’s Famous Deli in Westwood with a note that said, ‘If you ever touch my darling Heather or any other woman again, the next delivery will be something of yours in a much smaller box!’”

 

Now that’s how you handle an octopus.  It’s unlikely that producer ever bothered Ross or any other female acquaintance of Fisher’s again.  No useless pleading with the offender, no pretty speeches before adoring, feminist audiences, no panel discussions on women’s talk shows.

 

Various schools of though exist on how to handle such men.  You might be able to talk your way out of a potentially dangerous situation as my mother did when she was young.  It was the holiday office party.  Mom had had enough.  The participants had become too inebriated and she decided to go home.

 

In those days, the elevators had elevator operators.  This elevator operator was a huge man.  He stopped the car at midfloor, cornered Mom in the elevator, planted his Popeye-sized arms above her and requested a kiss.

 

“How ‘bout a Christmas kiss?”

 

Mom was fairly tall for a woman, but this gorilla still towered above her.  There was no escape.

 

“Oh,” she demurred.  “It’s been such a long day and I’m so tired.  How about another time?”

 

He thought it over and took his beefy arms away

“Okay, E.” he said, and restarted the elevator.

 

Mom was accustomed to seeing her father beat her mother.  Once, she threw herself in front of her mother when Grandpa was about the throw a leaden glass bowl at her.  On her wedding night, she warned my 6’2” father, a World War II veteran, that he ever hit her, he had better sleep with one eye open.

 

“Because,” she announced.  “I’m going to have a knife under my pillow and I will kill you.  But first, I’m going to wake you up because I want you to know who it was who got you.”

 

Many women of her generation were trained not to resist such men.  But then, they were coached not to entertain ungentlemanly men in the first place (my grandmother must have missed that lesson).  They were also taught that if a man hit them, they probably deserved it.  Gentlemen were taught that it was unmanly to hit a woman, no matter the provocation.

 

No gentleman would think of taking advantage of a woman.  The world was filled with cads, though, and as women were generally believed unable to fend one off, she didn’t travel without a male relative or good friend.  Those who knew how to handle one could take care of themselves.

 

For those who could not fend for themselves, life could be a nightmare.  One of Mom’s friends, whose husband was an executive, found her husband was a monster who once held her and the children at knifepoint in their house.  Finally, they slipped the youngest girl out the kitchen window to run for help.  After her divorce, she became a wildly successful real estate agent.

 

Other girls suffered their fates silently and apparently willingly.  The girl in the green car was one such notable tragedy.  The girl in the green car was famous all over campus.  A beautiful girl with long, curly blonde hair and a willowy figure, any guy on campus would have been proud to have this lovely woman on his arm.

 

Instead, she chose a tall, good-looking athletic type.  It’s always best to stick with your own kind, more or less, when it comes to looks.  This type however would get her into his green car and proceed to pummel her, always in full view of some part of the campus.

 

Sometimes it was on what we called “The Airstrip” a very long parking lot on the west side of the campus.  We were in the midst of a Murder and Detective Literature class discussing, of all literary characters, James Bond, when the teacher found he no longer had the attention of the class.

 

He turned to find the spectacle of the Girl in the Green Car taking place down below in the airstrip.  Who was the girl?  Who was the guy?  Why did she stay with him?  Why didn’t somebody do something?

 

“We’ve tried,” the men in the class told him.  “But he locks the car doors and we can’t get to him.  We’d sure like to.”

 

“And she won’t get out of the car,” I added.  During one beating, the campus men were actually threatening to break the windows if he didn’t stop.  But our valiant campus police warned them that if they broke the window, they would be arrested for destruction of private property.  There was nothing they could do if the girl refused to leave the car.

 

I approached the car and tried to reason with the beauty.

 

“Just get out of the car,” I said.  “We’ll help you.  Just unlock the door and get out.  You don’t have to stay with him.”

 

“Shut up!” the boor shouted.

 

“The door isn’t locked; just get out!”

 

The guy hadn’t noticed the unlocked door.  He leaned over and slammed it down.  It didn’t matter.  She’d already shook her head sadly.  The creep started the car and screeched off down the road.

 

For myself, though I tell the story reluctantly, as an older teenager who had recently joined the local community band, I found it difficult to fend off all the arms that constantly finding their way around my shoulder.  I tolerated it, so long as the hands didn’t get any busier.

 

But there was one old goat who just wouldn’t take “no” for answer.  He went way beyond the friendly arm around the shoulder.  His arm was usually around my waist and I had much to do to writhe myself from his grasp.  I was no sooner free than he got hold of my arm, dragging me back again.

 

I found myself in the ridiculous situation of a tug-of-war around the parking lot, with all the band’s men laughing merrily.  One of the women scolded me because it was a “man’s” band (they’d only recently allowed female musicians to join) and if I wanted to “belong” I had to accept certain behavior.

 

Flabbergasted, I concluded that no one was going to help me.  Now he had me again, both his arms around my waist.  His old goat lips were pursed in kissing mode.  Like hell.  The fire was in my eye.  Since his hands were around my waist, mine were free.  I put them up to his neck.

 

Thinking success was near, he pulled me even closer.  My hands went around his throat like a magnet – and I squeezed.  Hard.  Harder.  And harder.  At last, he had to let go because he was choking.

 

I let go.  His hands went to his own throat as he gasped and choked.  His face was turning an interesting shade of pale blue, although the color was coming back.  The band members were outraged – with me!  A 19-year-old flibbertigibbet who didn’t know when someone was just having “fun” with her.

 

“Belle!” they cried angrily.  “You were choking him!!”

Indeed.  He needed a good throttling.  Not all of the guys were “handy;” they were perfect gentlemen.  The ones who weren’t – well, after that, they made sure to ask my permission before putting an arm around my shoulder – and those hands never went further.

 

The old goat complained for months that he didn’t understand what he had done wrong – and that I was crazy.  Whatever.  He never touched me again.

 

There are, of course, your perfect strangers who not only don’t care if you say, “No,” they consider it an invitation.  In those situations, there’s one only thing a girl can do – call for help.  Or in my case, “Arthur!”

 

I’ve told this story before, but I’ll repeat it here once more for emphasis.  I was in the college parking lot; it was my graduation day.  I had gone ahead of my family to go to the gathering place for graduates.  A strange man approached me.

 

“Where ya goin’, girly?” he sneered.  Girly?

 

I assessed the situation, and yelled, “ARTHUR!!” at the top of my lungs.

 

“’Arthur?’” the creep scoffed.

 

In the meantime, my irritated younger brother had replied, “What?!”  I turned to see my family approaching, with 6’4” ‘Arthur’ in the lead.  By the time, I turned back to my accoster, Arthur was towering behind me.

 

The creep cringed.

 

“Yeah,” I said.  “’Arthur.’”

 

Stumbling over his feet, the creep ran backwards for a moment, then pounded pavement in the direction of the road, the same way the Guy in the Green Car made his escape. Arthur laughed.

 

“Who’s your friend and what’s his hurry?”

 

“Do you know that guy?” my other brother asked.  The guy was still running, his arms and legs turning in wild circles.  He thought I’d turned away a potential suitor.

 

Chivalry and prayer do work sometimes.  Keep that mental image in your minds, girls.  If I were an artist, I’d draw or paint it for you.

 

A friend’s pre-teen daughter was being bothered by the boys at school.  A pretty young lady with long, silky dark hair, the boys had given themselves permission to stroke it.  One day, the young lady had enough, grabbed hold of a boy’s finger and bent it backwards until it broke.

 

Society frowns upon such “unladylike” behavior.  But if society will not protect us, or cannot protect us in the case of strange rakes and determined perverts, then we must protect ourselves.  We must not be overwhelmed by the notion of male strength, except in the direst cases.

 

Those dire situations can be avoided, with a little more caution and prudence.  While we must not be overwhelmed by male prowess, we should neither kid ourselves in our right or ability to go where we want, when we want, as women.  They are stronger than we are (well for the most part).

 

Bad things can (and often do) happen to women (and even men) who go walking down dark alleys, deserted streets, and empty parks.  There is safety in numbers.  Still, “clubbing” until the wee hours of the morning brings on the prospect of unfortunate consequences, and not necessarily from your pick-up.  Late-night partiers are prey for late-night predators.

 

If women insist upon the full rights of emancipation, then they must be prepared to defend themselves, as smart women always have.  Last night, Oprah Winfrey spoke of telling men that their “time’s up.”  However, today, Facebook and Twitter are full of pictures of the Big O consorting with none other than Harvey Weinstein himself, and even offering up pretty girls to him as bait.

 

Yet her followers want her to run for President in 2020.  That would certainly give new meaning to the phrase, “Madam President.”

 

Women have always had the power to protect themselves.  They don’t need a social consensus.  All they need is to get their hands around the problem – and apply pressure.

 

Or a box from Tiffany’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on January 9, 2018 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Too Smart for the Room

There they go again! To paraphrase the great Ronald Reagan.  “They” are the Liberals and the Liberal Media, and their current target is President Donald J. Trump and the question of his “mental stability” and his intelligence level.

 

Trump finds himself in very good company:  Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush all had their intelligence questioned.  Harry S. Truman, clerk and haberdasher, was probably the poorest presidential public speaker in modern presidential history.  He had the misfortune to succeed the great orator, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and to be followed a presidency later by John F. Kennedy.  JFK’s intelligence ought to be called into doubt for following his father’s lead in supporting Adolf Hitler, although there’s no question JFK was witty and had a way with words.

 

Does Donald Trump have that same way with words?  That depends on whether you study his speeches or his tweets.  He’s given some remarkably good speeches for a businessman and casino owner.  On the other hand, Chief Executive Officers need to be good speakers because they have to give quite a few speeches during their careers, especially if they want to make it to the top.

 

Putting aside the fact that Trump already was at the top, once he became a serious candidate, so did his speeches.  He won over enough doubters to win the election simply by making the theme of his speeches the American people.  No great effort for a salesman and businessman.  Any businessman can tell you it’s always about the customer, and the customers, in this case, were the American people.

 

Tah-dah!  Voila!  We shouldn’t have had to be geniuses to figure that out, yet we couldn’t or the Media Elites couldn’t.  But he did.  Even Bill Clinton knew that and we couldn’t had a dopier or more doped-up president than Bill Clinton.

 

Instead, the Left is judging Trump by his 143-word Tweets, a medium invented by a Harvard graduate attempting to rate the college co-eds by their looks.  Adolescents glommed onto this Internet invention, and its little brother, Twitter, and have transformed it into a 21st Century phenomenon.  Twitter is hardly the medium for discussions on Platonian class divisions.

 

The Left’s latest complaint is a new anti-Trump book by low-brow author Mike Wolff, “Fire and Fury.”  The author claims to have interviewed Steve Bannon who made disparaging remarks about the President, his son, Donald Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner.  Bannon recently retracted the statement about Donald Jr.  Still the book insists the Trump’s White House aides consider him incompetent and mentally unfit.  Interesting charges if you’re seeking to impeach him.

 

This follows outrage over a presidential Tweet about Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear button and the size of the President’s nuclear button.  The Left is in a panic that KJU might take offense and press his.  The Left should be worried, since the missiles are aimed at the cities in which they live.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, we Conservatives are about as concerned as if KJU was contemplating his belly button.  So unstatesmanlike of Trump to tweak KJU in this manner.  Doesn’t Trump realize KJU is a maniac, the scion of a long line of maniacs?

 

If they feel that way, then maybe Jimmy Carter, our “nuclear scientist” president shouldn’t have given North Korea the keys to the silo back in the 1990s, with the help of former Presidents Clinton and Obama.  Shouldn’t a nuclear scientist president know better?  Who’s calling whom a numbskull here?

 

The same Hollywood gurus who gave us such notable low-brow entertainment as The Simpsons, SpongeBob Squarepants, and Dumb and Dumber complain about Trump’s supposedly low mentality.  The President actually is a perfectionist with a great appreciation for art and beauty.  Can our post-Dadaists say the same?  He’s not a wordsmith because that was not his original calling.

 

But he is trying.  Twitter is not the medium for flowery prose; it’s a stick-it-to-‘em venue where the quickest fingers score.  Does his game need “finessing”?  Maybe.  Not in the sense that he needs to consult his Thesaurus, but that he needs to fine-tune his wit.  At the moment, it is rather broad.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But he’s not hitting the bulls-eye, as it were.

 

Take nuclear buttons.  The operative word here is “buttons.”   He probably should have gone straight for Kim Jong-Un’s belly-button.  Or KJU’s lost his buttons.  The Left has taken itself so seriously that it’s lost its sense of humor, fortunately for Trump, or they would have turned these jokes on the president.  There’s a whole world of button humor out there at the President’s disposal.

 

Trump should make some mention of what book he’s reading at the moment.  Given the popularity of the new film about Churchill, The Darkest Hour, Churchill’s seven-volume history of World War II would be a good choice.

 

The British Parliament, largely left, was just as nervous about Churchill tweaking Hitler and fearing what he might do if he was denied the Sudetenland, as Liberals are anxious about Trump tweaking KJU and by proxy, China, and their military development of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

 

Named after the Sudetes Mountains in Czechoslovakia, ethnic Germans had overwhelmed this circular region around Czechoslovakia, much as the Mexicans and Spanish-speaking peoples are invading California and the Southwest.  Hitler maintained that lands harboring German-speaking peoples should be ruled by Germans, even if they had displaced and even murdered the original inhabitants.

 

No amount of “diplomacy” was going to assuage Hitler; as Churchill tried to explain to the British and French governments, the Fuehrer was simply buying time until he could completely overwhelm all of Czechoslovakia and claim it for the Third Reich, as he had Austria earlier in 1938.  Rather like what the Liberals are doing to California, now that enough illegal aliens from Mexico and Central and South America have infiltrated the Golden State, they’re demanding that California secede from the United States of America.

 

Trump is simply putting North Korea – and China – on notice that the United States doesn’t fear them and their saber-rattling.  North Korea is a side-show, to distract our general population (which isn’t very hard) from the much greater danger China’s Spratly Islands coup poses to the free world and especially to our Eastern Pacific allies – Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

 

We Conservatives should not give the Liberals any credit for their diploma-rattling criticisms of Trump.  The headlines tell us that they’re nothing more than a group of elitist, coke-snorting, cheating, lying, Marxists who despise any individual freedom, except their own.  We should be more offended at the Republican Party’s snarky dismissal of Trump, in which they also thumb their noses at us, the American people who voted for Trump.

 

In another era, squeamish presidents and future presidents fired two of World War II’s most outstanding generals:  George Patton and Douglas MacArthur.  Patton was fired for registering suspicions about the intentions of the Soviet Union; MacArthur was fired for advising that China be invaded while we still had the ability.

 

Trump is a president in the vein of these two outspoken, politically-incorrect generals.  Trump is in prestigious company.

 

According to an article by Mark Bowden in the June 2013 edition of The Atlantic, President Abraham Lincoln’s contemporary critics considered him a buffoon.

 

‘Idiot,’ ‘Yahoo,’ ‘Original Gorilla’: How Lincoln Was Dissed in His Day

The difficulty of recognizing excellence in its own time

 

Lincoln as a frightened raccoon, Punch, January 11, 1862 Library of Congress

 

“By nearly any measure—personal, political, even literary—Abraham Lincoln set a standard of success that few in history can match. But how many of his contemporaries noticed?

Sure, we revere Lincoln today, but in his lifetime the bile poured on him from every quarter makes today’s Internet vitriol seem dainty. His ancestry was routinely impugned, his lack of formal learning ridiculed, his appearance maligned, and his morality assailed. We take for granted, of course, the scornful outpouring from the Confederate states; no action Lincoln took short of capitulation would ever have quieted his Southern critics. But the vituperation wasn’t limited to enemies of the Union. The North was ever at his heels. No matter what Lincoln did, it was never enough for one political faction, and too much for another. Yes, his sure-footed leadership during this country’s most-difficult days was accompanied by a fair amount of praise, but also by a steady stream of abuse—in editorials, speeches, journals, and private letters—from those on his own side, those dedicated to the very causes he so ably championed.

 

“George Templeton Strong, a prominent New York lawyer and diarist, wrote that Lincoln was “a barbarian, Scythian, yahoo, or gorilla.” Henry Ward Beecher, the Connecticut-born preacher and abolitionist, often ridiculed Lincoln in his newspaper, The Independent (New York), rebuking him for his lack of refinement and calling him “an unshapely man.” Other Northern newspapers openly called for his assassination long before John Wilkes Booth pulled the trigger. He was called a coward, “an idiot,” and “the original gorilla” by none other than the commanding general of his armies, George McClellan.

 

“One of Lincoln’s lasting achievements was ending American slavery. Yet Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the famous abolitionist, called Lincoln “Dishonest Abe” in a letter she wrote to Wendell Phillips in 1864, a year after Lincoln had freed the slaves in rebel states and only months before he would engineer the Thirteenth Amendment. She bemoaned the “incapacity and rottenness” of his administration to Susan B. Anthony, worked to deny him renomination, and swore to Phillips that if he “is reelected I shall immediately leave the country for the Fiji Islands.” Stanton eventually had a change of heart and lamented her efforts against Lincoln, but not all prominent abolitionists did, even after his victory over slavery was complete, even after he was killed.

 

In the days after Lincoln’s assassination, William Lloyd Garrison Jr. called the murder ‘providential’ because it meant Vice President Andrew Johnson would assume leadership.

Lincoln masterfully led the North through the Civil War. He held firm in his refusal to acknowledge secession, maneuvered Confederate President Jefferson Davis into starting the war, played a delicate political game to keep border states from joining the rebellion, and drew up a grand military strategy that, once he found the right generals, won the war.

 

“Yet he was denounced for his leadership throughout. In a monumental and meticulous two-volume study of the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (2008), Michael Burlingame, the professor of Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, presents Lincoln’s actions and speeches not as they have come to be remembered, through the fine lens of our gratitude and admiration, but as they were received in his day. (All of the examples in this essay are drawn from Burlingame’s book, which should be required reading for anyone seriously interested in Lincoln.)

 

“Early in the war, after a series of setbacks for Union troops and the mulish inaction of General McClellan, members of Lincoln’s own Republican party reviled him as, in the words of Senator Zachariah Chandler of Michigan, “timid vacillating & inefficient.” A Republican newspaper editor in Wisconsin wrote, “The President and the Cabinet,—as a whole,—are not equal to the occasion.” The Ohio Republican William M. Dickson wrote in 1861 that Lincoln “is universally an admitted failure, has no will, no courage, no executive capacity … and his spirit necessarily infuses itself downwards through all departments.”

 

“Charles Sumner, a Republican senator from Massachusetts, to whom Lincoln often turned for advice, opposed the president’s renomination in 1864: ‘There is a strong feeling among those who have seen Mr. Lincoln, in the way of business, that he lacks practical talent for his important place. It is thought that there should be more readiness, and also more capacity, for government.” William P. Fessenden, the Maine Republican, called Lincoln ‘weak as water.’

 

“For anyone who struggles to do well; to be honest, wise, eloquent, and kind; to be dignified without being aloof; to be humble without being a pushover, who affords a better example than Lincoln? And yet, as he saw how his efforts were received, how could even he not have despaired?

 

“His wife said that the constant attacks caused him ‘great pain.’ At times, after reading salvos like Henry Ward Beecher’s, Lincoln reportedly would exclaim, “I would rather be dead than, as President, thus abused in the house of my friends.” Lincoln would often respond to the flood of nay-saying with a weary wave of his hand and say, “Let us speak no more of these things.”

 

Democracy is rowdy, and political abuse its currency, so perhaps the invective aimed at Lincoln was to be expected. But how do we explain the scorn for Lincoln’s prose?

 

No American president has uttered more immortal words than he did. We are moved by the power and lyricism of his speeches a century and a half later—not just by their hard, clear reasoning, but by their beauty. It is hard to imagine anyone hearing without admiration, for instance, this sublime passage from the first inaugural address:

 

‘I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.’

 

“Yet this speech was characterized by an editorial writer in the Jersey City American Standard as “involved, coarse, colloquial, devoid of ease and grace, and bristling with obscurities and outrages against the simplest rules of syntax.”

 

“As for the Gettysburg Address—one of the most powerful speeches in human history, one that many American schoolchildren can recite by heart (Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth …) and a statement of national purpose that for some rivals the Declaration of Independence—a Pennsylvania newspaper reported, “We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them, and they shall be no more repeated or thought of.” A London Times correspondent wrote, “Anything more dull and commonplace it wouldn’t be easy to produce.”

 

“And the second inaugural address (With malice toward none, with charity for all …), the third major pillar in Lincoln’s now undisputed reputation for eloquence, etched in limestone on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.? A. B. Bradford, a Pennsylvania pastor and a member of one of the oldest European families in America, wrote that it was “one of the most awkwardly expressed documents I ever read … When he knew it would be read by millions all over the world, why under the heavens did he not make it a little more creditable to American scholarship?” The New York Herald described it as “a little speech of ‘glittering generalities’ used only to fill in the program.” The Chicago Times, a powerful voice in Lincoln’s home state:

 

“We did not conceive it possible that even Mr. Lincoln could produce a paper so slip-shod, so loose-jointed, so puerile, not alone in literary construction, but in its ideas, its sentiments, its grasp.”

 

“Poor Lincoln. By all accounts he appears to have been the gentlest and most honorable of husbands and fathers, and yet he found little solace even at home. Burlingame records the constant duplicity and groundless suspicion, the nagging criticism and jealous rants of Mary Todd Lincoln, who, on a steamboat home after her husband’s triumphant entry into a fallen Richmond, reportedly flew into such a rage that she slapped him in the face.

“It is surprising how widespread [the criticism] was,” Burlingame told me recently. “And also how thin-skinned he could be. But that was the nature of partisanship in those days; you never could say a kind word about your opponent.”

 

“As if things have changed.

 

“Of course, Lincoln was elected twice to the presidency, and was revered by millions. History records more grief and mourning upon his death than for any other American president. But the past gets simplified in our memory, in our textbooks, and in our popular culture. Lincoln’s excellence has been distilled from the rough-and-tumble of his times. We best remember the most generous of his contemporaries’ assessments, whether the magnanimous letter sent by his fellow speaker on the stage at Gettysburg, Edward Everett, who wrote to him, “I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes”; or Edwin Stanton’s “Now he belongs to the ages,” at the moment of his death; or Frederick Douglass’s moving tribute in 1876 to “a great and good man.”

 

“This process of distillation obscures how Lincoln was perceived in his own time, and, by comparison, it diminishes our own age. Where is the political giant of our era? Where is the timeless oratory? Where is the bold resolve, the moral courage, the vision?

 

“Imagine all those critical voices from the 19th century as talking heads on cable television. Imagine the snap judgments, the slurs and put-downs that beset Lincoln magnified a million times over on social media. How many of us, in that din, would hear him clearly? His story illustrates that even greatness—let alone humbler qualities like skill, decency, good judgment, and courage—rarely goes unpunished.”

 

A high IQ is an indication of potential, not a guarantee of success, or even good intentions.  Ambitious tyrants can easily persuade a populace that they know better than the general population simply by dint of their superior intelligence.  They can charge into the public forum with a head full of doctored facts and figures the public has neither the ability nor the resources to refute.  Witness the Climate Change debate:  selected, falsified figures have fueled a specious campaign to punish Capitalist industry and regulate the lives of average people.

 

Having once referred to climate change as “Global Cooling” and then, “Global Warming,” and then twisting themselves into mental pretzels by claiming that severe cold weather is really evidence of severe warm weather, the title is now simply, “Climate Change.”

 

A high intelligence quotient is a fine thing.  But sometimes, common sense is good enough.

 

 

Published in: on January 8, 2018 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

AG Sessions Stops Pot Plot

According to a report by the USA Today Network and published in the North Jersey (Bergen) Record today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an opponent of legalizing the sale of marijuana, “is moving to end an Obama-era policy under which six states and the District of Columbia permitted no-questions-asked marijuana sales since 2012, according to a memo from his office.”

 

New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy (D – “D for Dope”?) vowed to legalize marijuana in the Garden State if elected. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, another dopey Democrat, stated the state legislature was likely to vote on permitting adult use of the drug early this year.

 

The reasoning for the legalization is that a preponderance of arrested pot-heads are Black. Liberal light-heads argue (rightly, actually – if there’s hope at all of recovery, it’s in a rehab center, not a jail) that placing them in jail for pot use will not change their habits.  Nor will it change the opinions of users already mentally incapacitated by this brain-damaging drug.  They won’t believe a thing any expert says about the dangers of marijuana once they’ve smoked this weedy version of Kool-Aid.

 

They’re all in. The idiots.

 

Marijuana affects the hippocampus area of the brain according to medical experts such as radio host Michael Savage who, the last few days, has been campaigning against the legalization of marijuana. He’s told his audience that pot has a particularly devastating effect on the brains of male adolescents.

 

Warnings are good, but if such experts are to break through this artificially-induced mental haze they must be specific with their facts. Pot-heads have a full-developed agenda about the so-called harmlessness of marijuana.  They argue that smoking a joint is no different than having a few drinks.  Not true.  You don’t need to be a medical expert to know that the effects of marijuana are immediate.  The effects of alcohol depend upon how accustomed you are to the effects of liquor.

 

One beer could knock yours truly out for the night. Princess Diana’s limousine driver Henri Paul was three times over France’s legal limit and yet showed no outward signs of being intoxicated.  Pot makes you an instant idiot.

 

Dr. Savage stated that marijuana affects the hippocampus area of the brain. The hippocampus is a small organ located within the brain’s medial temporal lobe and forms an important part of the limbic system, the region that regulates emotions. The hippocampus is associated mainly with memory, in particular long-term memory. The organ also plays an important role in spatial navigation.  In short, it affects your ability to drive, whether it speeds up your responses, as alcohol does, or slows it down, as pot users claim.

 

I’m no genius, no matter how Savage might grouse. I don’t claim to be.  I never have.  I was exposed to chloral hydrate as a young girl.  It smelled like almonds, not pears, but the effects took years to wear off and helped pretty much permanently impair my memory. No matter what your IQ is, it’s only an indication of potential, not a guarantee that you’ll become a rocket scientist.  Therefore, I can speak with some authority when I say people who voluntarily inhale or otherwise ingest these drugs for “recreational” purposes are completely out of their minds.

 

Since I’m certifiably no “genius” here are the facts I’ve gathered from Wikipedia, with all the pertinent links, on the scientific components of marijuana, or cannabis, to use its scientific name:

 

Anandamide, the main component in pot:

 

Anandamide, also known as N-arachidonoylethanolamine or AEA, is a fatty acid neurotransmitter derived from the non-oxidative metabolism of eicosatetraenoic acid (arachidonic acid) an essential ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. The name is taken from the Sanskrit & Pāli word ananda, which means “joy, bliss, delight“, and amide.[1][2] It is synthesized from N-arachidonoyl phosphatidylethanolamine by multiple pathways.[3] It is degraded primarily by the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme, which converts anandamide into ethanolamine and arachidonic acid. As such, inhibitors of FAAH lead to elevated anandamide levels and are being pursued for therapeutic use.[4][5]

 

Recreational drug use is the use of a psychoactive drug to induce an altered state of consciousness for pleasure, by modifying the perceptions, feelings, and emotions of the user. When a psychoactive drug enters the user’s body, it induces an intoxicating effect. Generally, recreational drugs are in three categories: depressants (drugs that induce a feeling of relaxation and calm); stimulants (drugs that induce a sense of energy and alertness); and hallucinogens (drugs that induce perceptual distortions such as hallucination). In popular practice, recreational drug use generally is a tolerated social behavior, rather than perceived as the serious medical condition of self-medication.

Recreational drugs include alcohol (as found in beer, wine, and distilled spirits); cannabis and hashish; nicotine (tobacco); caffeine (coffee and black tea); and the controlled substances listed as illegal drugs in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971) of the United Nations. What controlled substances are considered illegal drugs varies by country, but usually includes methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine, and club drugs. In 2009, it was estimated that about 3% to 6% of people aged 15 to 65 had used illegal drugs at least once (149 to 270 million).[1]

According to addiction researcher Martin A. Plant, many people go through a period of self-redefinition before initiating recreational drug use. They tend to view using drugs as part of a general lifestyle that involves belonging to a subculture that they associate with heightened status and the challenging of social norms. Plant says, “From the user’s point of view there are many positive reasons to become part of the milieu of drug taking. The reasons for drug use appear to have as much to do with needs for friendship, pleasure and status as they do with unhappiness or poverty. Becoming a drug taker, to many people, is a positive affirmation rather than a negative experience.”[  Plant, Martin A. (1980), “Drugtaking and Prevention: The Implications of Research for Social Policy”, British Journal of Addiction, 75: 245–254, doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.1980.tb01378.x

 

Following is a comparison list of the most commonly-used “recreational” drugs:

  • Alcohol: Most drinking alcohol is ethanol, CH 3CH 2OH. Drinking alcohol creates intoxication, relaxation and lowered inhibitions. It is produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts to create wine, beer, and distilled liquor (e.g., vodka, rum, gin, etc.). In most areas of the world, apart from certain countries where Muslim sharia law is used, it is legal for those over a certain age (typically 18–21). It is an IARC ‘Group 1’ carcinogen and a teratogen.[24] Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening.
  • Amphetamines: Used recreationally to provide alertness and a sense of energy, whether for all-night studying or all-night dancing. Prescribed for ADHD, narcolepsy, depression and weight loss. A potent central nervous system stimulant, in the 1940s and 50s methamphetamine was used by Axis and Allied troops in World War II, and, later on, other armies, and by Japanese factory workers. It increases muscle strength and fatigue resistance and improves reaction time.[25] Methamphetamine use can be neurotoxic, which means it damages dopamine neurons.[26] As a result of this brain damage, chronic use can lead to post acute withdrawal syndrome.[27]
  • Cannabis: Its common forms include marijuana and hashish, which are smoked or eaten. It contains at least 85 cannabinoids. The primary psychoactive component is THC, which mimics the neurotransmitter anandamide, named after the Hindu ananda, “joy, bliss, delight.” The review article Campbell & Gowran (2007) states that “manipulation of the cannabinoid system offers the potential to upregulate neuroprotective mechanisms while dampening neuroinflammation. Whether these properties will be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in the future is an exciting topic that undoubtedly warrants further investigation.”
  • Cocaine: It is available as a white powder, which is insufflated (“sniffed” into the nostrils) or converted into a solution with water and injected. A popular derivative, crack cocaine is typically smoked. When transformed into its freebase form, crack, the cocaine vapor may be inhaled directly. This is thought to increase bioavailability, but has also been found to be toxic, due to the production of methylecgonidine during pyrolysis.[28][29][30]
  • LSD: A popular ergoline derivative, that was first synthesized in 1938 by Hofmann. However, he failed to notice its psychedelic potential until 1943.[31] In the 1950s, it was used in psychological therapy, and, covertly, by the CIA in Project MKULTRA, in which the drug was administered to unwitting US and Canadian citizens. It played a central role in 1960s ‘counter-culture’, and was banned in October 1968 by US President Lyndon B Johnson.[32][33]\

Note how the Wikipedia researchers downplay the negative effects of marijuana, compared to the more so-called hard-core drugs. This is the Puff-the-Magic-Dragon propaganda used by proponents of marijuana.  Supposedly, it doesn’t harm you; it just makes you “giggly” and what’s wrong that.

 

What’s wrong is the same thing that is what’s wrong with the over-consumption of alcohol. One toke of pot puts you in about the same state as someone who has consumed a good deal of alcohol – enough to make the legally drunk.  Marijuana has no middle-ground.  Even second-hand smoke will make you feel woozy, woozy enough to be a dangerous driver if you happen to be out in public.  One drink won’t (necessarily) make you drunk.  One whiff of pot will.

 

If this thing were a pill, its users would be welcome to it. The communal nature of marijuana – and its long-term effects on the brain – are what make it objectionable.  We need experts like Dr. Savage and others to expound upon the effects of marijuana on myelin, or white matter, the pale, fatty tissue that creates a protective wrapping around nerve fibers, or axons.  Destroy the white matter, and the message doesn’t travel along the axons, the telephone wires over your brain that connect the synapses, the axon terminals of neurons, where information is stored and sent on to other parts of the brain.

 

Myelin takes a long time to develop, to wrap around your axons. Full development isn’t completed until late adolescence, somewhere between age 21 and 23.  That’s why drug use in adolescents is so dangerous.  Being social creatures, adolescents, particularly male adolescents, revel in playing Russian roulette with their brains in order to gains social acceptance.  These dour creatures have no sense of humor, and so must resort to artificial means to become human again.

 

Drug use and abuse goes back to ancient times, when ancient Greek cults advocated the chewing of laurel leaves and ivy. The female Oracle of Delphi, according to a recent documentary, has been found to have been sitting above some natural gas (possibly methane – pew!) vent, causing her to experience violent hallucinations.

 

Novices seeking entry into cults, even Christian cults, were forced to take hallucinogenic drugs as part of their initiation rites. The drugs apparently caused some sort of hypnotic trance which enabled their handlers to control them and prevent them from revealing the cult’s secrets.

 

Sounds like great fun, doesn’t it?

 

What tyrant wouldn’t want that kind of control over his or her subjects? Blind acceptance?  Ritualistic insanity?  Indoctrination of young, useful idiots?

 

Go to work, Doctor Savages of the world. Do tell the young what they’re doing to themselves and to our society.  High praise to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his boss, Pres. Trump.  Please keep us from plunging into a drug-induced abyss.

 

Legalized, those of us who don’t want to find ourselves in a perpetual drug-haze will have no legal recourse. My condominium complex refused to support complaints against cigarette smoke.  What chance we do have against pot users?

 

Please keep the world as sane as you can. Don’t let the potheads of the world do this to us.

 

 

Published in: on January 5, 2018 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jerusalem: Whose Holy City is It?

When last we left Jerusalem, in the Bible that is, the Holy City had been sacked by the Romans in 70 A.D.

 

God leaves Jerusalem in pieces at the end of the Old Testament, although according to the Roman Catholic Bible, the Maccabees attempt to resurrect it.  Angered by their weeping over the death of Tammuz, during which Tammuz’ followers defile the Holiest of Holies, God sends  Nebuchanezzar of Babylon to conquer it.  Still, by the end of the New Testament, the city is in Roman hands.

 

On Dec. 6, 2017, Pres. Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, stating that the United States Embassy to Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

 

In retaliation, the United Nations voted 128-9 to declare the United States’ action as “null and void.”  Thirty-five of the United Nation’s 193 members abstained from the vote.  Ignoring Trump’s threat to withhold U.S. aid from any country that condemned the United States’ move, the U.N. declared that Jerusalem’s final status must be decided in final negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.

 

Since then, the Liberal world has been up in arms over Trump’s declaration.  The city is at the heart of the dispute between Israel and the Muslim Palestinians.  Jerusalem is divided, with the three major religions all claiming her as their holy capital.  At present, the Al-Aqsa mosque sits on the site of the former temple at Jerusalem.  The mosque’s golden dome was built by none other than Mohammed Bin Laden, Osama Bin Laden’s father.

 

Few, if any, cities in the world have been as controversial as Jerusalem, as conquered, reconquered, attacked, besieged, and debated as the Holy.  Jesus promised that the “Old” Jerusalem would pass away and that a “New” Jerusalem would come down from Heaven, dressed as a bride, white and pure, for her groom.

 

Pres. Trump demonstrated courage in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  As far as the Muslims are concerned, once they conquered, it was theirs for all time, no matter whether others reconquered it or not (which Israel did in the Six Day’s War in 1967).  The world, in fear of Muslim retribution, side with the descendants of the ancient Canaanites, a pagan people who practiced human and animal sacrifices, worshipped the sun, the moon, and fire.  To the Hebrew god, Jahweh, the pagan Canaanites were an abomination, especially in regard to their sacrifice of children.

 

But the Jerusalem Pres. Trump is recognizing is still a political capital, no matter how religious the government might be.  By every right, Israel won the last war, whether Liberals like it or not.  Previous, supposedly “indigenous” claims notwithstanding, to the victor go the spoils – and the city.

 

A stubborn anti-Semitic disease has overspread Europe, as Muslims mount a bloodless invasion of Western Europe, the Far East, and in time, the United States.  Much of the dissension over Trump’s declaration is political in nature, inasmuch as the Liberal Left is a secular sect of nonbelievers.  The enemy of their enemy is their friend.  Muslims and Liberals have become fast friends.  The Liberals, many of whom are non-practicing Jews, have abandoned their once fierce denunciation of anti-Semitism.

 

The battle has not yet joined.  The heart of Jerusalem is not the Knesset but the former Jewish temple.  Jewish people may rule their temporally, as governors of the state of Israel.  They are loyal to their Jahweh (God) but His temple has been expropriated by a people He might use as tools but of whom the Bible tells us He does not approve.

 

In Habakkuk, we are told:

 

1  A pronouncement that Ha·bakʹkuk* the prophet received in a vision:   How long, O Jehovah, must I cry for help, but you do not hear?a How long must I ask for help from violence, but you do not intervene?*b   Why do you make me witness wrongdoing? And why do you tolerate oppression? Why are destruction and violence before me? And why do quarreling and conflict abound?   So law is paralyzed, And justice is never carried out. For the wicked surround the righteous; That is why justice is perverted.c   “Look among the nations and pay attention! Stare in amazement and be astounded; For something will happen in your days That you will not believe even if it is told to you.d   For here I am raising up the Chal·deʹans,eThe ruthless and impetuous nation. They sweep through vast stretches of the earthTo seize homes not theirs.f   They are frightening and fearsome. They establish their own justice and authority.*g   Their horses are swifter than leopards, And they are fiercer than wolves in the night.h Their warhorses gallop forward; Their horses come from far away. They swoop down like the eagle rushing to feed.i   All of them come bent on violence.j The assembling of their faces is like the east wind,k And they scoop up captives like sand. 10  They scoff at kings And laugh at high officials.l They laugh at every fortified place;mThey pile up a dirt ramp and capture it. 11  Then they move forward like the wind and pass through, But they will become guilty,nBecause they credit their power to their god.”*o

 

Still ultimate salvation awaits the faithful of Jerusalem, when God will make war against all those who curse her.

 

“The word of Jehovah of armies again came, saying:  “This is what Jehovah of armies says, ‘I will be zealous for Zion with a great zeal,a and with great wrath I will be zealous for her.’”  “This is what Jehovah says, ‘I will return to Zionb and reside in Jerusalem;c and Jerusalem will be called the city of truth,*d and the mountain of Jehovah of armies, the holy mountain.’”e  Zechariah 8:3

 

 “This is what Jehovah Lord of Hosts says, ‘Let your hands be strong,*k you who now hear these words from the mouth of the prophets,l the same words that were spoken on the day the foundation of the house of Jehovah of armies was laid for the temple to be built. 10  For before that time, there were no wages being paid either for man or for beast;m and it was not safe to come and go because of the adversary, for I turned all men one against another.’

 

11  “‘But now I will not deal with the remaining ones of this people as in the former days,’n declares Jehovah of armies. 12  ‘For the seed of peace will be sown; the vine will produce its fruit and the earth its yield,o and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remaining ones of this people to inherit all these things.p 13  And just as you became an object of cursing among the nations,q O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you will become a blessing.r Do not be afraid!s Let your hands be strong.’*t 14  .

 

“For this is what Jehovah of armies says, ‘“Just as I had determined to bring calamity on you because your forefathers made me indignant,” says Jehovah, Lord of Hosts, “and I felt no regret,u 15  so at this time I have determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.v Do not be afraid!”’w 16  “‘These are the things you should do: Speak the truth with one another,x and the judgments in your gates must promote truth and peace.y 17  Do not scheme calamity against one another in your hearts,z and do not love any false oath;a for these are all things that I hate,’b declares Jehovah.”

 

Some fear that Trump has sounded the trumpet call for the beginning of Armageddon.  They tremble as cowards in the face of a final judgement.  The Liberals and pagans have no fear for they don’t believe.  Our world has degenerated thanks to their efforts.  Every fallen child is a victory to them.  European leaders hear the howl of the Muslim mobs at their gates.  They have good reason to fear.

 

The Muslims are strict and strident in their beliefs.  They (perhaps rightly) see themselves as Allah’s scourges, driving the wicked before them in righteousness.  We have allowed ourselves to generate into a corrupted culture.  Many Conservatives would dispute this characterization.

 

Conservatives generally have nothing to fear if they’ve remained faithful to their creed, attending church every Sunday to worship God, giving to the poor not just from their checking accounts or credit cards but from their hearts and souls, and remaining modest and honest.  Materialism, however, is rampant in our culture.

 

What would we give, what we sacrifice to see real peace, the peace and justice of Jesus Christ, return to Jerusalem, God’s former seat of power?  Would we hail Him as ruler of the Earth?  Would we acknowledge his sovereignty?  Would we recognize Him?  Many, as we hear by their protests, would not.   Some things have not changed.  Only a handful welcome the return of the true king, and the trials and tribulations which must first precede His arrival.

 

A first step is the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  Right now, only the United States and some island nations in the Pacific will even recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s temporal capital, much less as the spiritual capital of the Judeo-Christian world. The Muslims fear an attack on the mosque they’ve built over the old Jewish temple.  The secular world fears a devastating war following such an attack and see this recognition of Jerusalem, the political capital as a first step and denounce it.

 

One of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem was named as “Urusalima” on ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, probably meaning “City of Shalem” approximately 2400 B.C.).

 

During the Israelite period, significant construction activity in Jerusalem began in the 9th century B.C. (Iron Age II), and in the 8th century the city developed into the religious and administrative center of the Kingdom of Judah.  Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.

 

The part of Jerusalem called the City of David, was settled in the 4th millennium B.C.  In 1538, walls were built around Jerusalem under the Muslim conqueror Suleiman the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters.  Modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the Old City’s boundaries.

 

A city called Rušalim in the execration texts (ancient Egyptian hieratic texts, listing enemies of the Pharaoh, most often enemies of the Egyptian state or troublesome foreign neighbors of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt c. 19th century BCE) is widely, but not universally, identified as Jerusalem.

 

Jerusalem is called Urušalim in the Amarna letters of Abdi-Heba (1330s BCE).  The name “Jerusalem” is variously etymologized to mean “foundation (Sumerian yeru, ‘settlement’/Semitic yry’ ‘to found, to lay a cornerstone”) of the god Shalem,” who was thus the original tutelary deity of the Bronze Age city.  A tutleray deity or spirt is a guardian, patron, or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture, or occupation.

 

One type of tutelary deity is the genius, the personal deity or daimon of an individual from birth to death. Another form of personal tutelary spirit is the familiar spirit of European folklore.

 

The form Yerushalem or Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) first appears in the Bible, in the Book of Joshua. According to a Midrash, the name is a combination of Yhwh Yir’eh (“God will see to it”, the name given by Abraham to the place where he intended to sacrifice his son) and the town “Salem.”

 

The earliest extra-biblical Hebrew writing of the word Jerusalem is dated to the Sixth or Seventh Century and was discovered in Khirbet Beit Lei near Beit Guvrin in 1961. The inscription states: “I am Yahweh, thy God, I will accept the cities of Judah and I will redeem Jerusalem,” or as other scholars suggest: “Yahweh is the God of the whole earth. The mountains of Judah belong to Him, to the God of Jerusalem.

 

Shalem was the name of a god of dusk in the local, Canaanite pagan religion, whose name is based on the same root S-L-M from which the Hebrew word for “peace” is derived (Shalom or Salam in modern Hebrew and Arabic). The name thus offered itself to etymologizations such as “The City of Peace,” “Abode of Peace,” “dwelling of peace” (“founded in safety”), alternately “Vision of Peace” according to some Christian authors.

 

The ending -ayim indicates the dual, thus leading to the suggestion that the name Yerushalayim refers to the fact that the city initially sat on two hills.  However, the pronunciation of the last syllable as -ayim appears to be a late development, which had not yet appeared at the time of the Septuagint (also known as the LXX, it is a Koine Greek translation of a Hebraic textual tradition that included certain texts which were later included in the canonical Hebrew Bible and other related texts which were not. As the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is also called the Greek Old Testament).

 

An ancient settlement of Jerusalem, founded as early as the Bronze Age on the hill above the Gihon Spring, was according to the Bible named Jebus (e.g., Judges 19:10: “Jebus, it [is] Jerusalem”). Called the “Fortress of Zion” (metsudat Zion), it was renamed by David as the City of David, and was known by this name in antiquity. In Greek and Latin the city’s name was transliterated Hierosolyma (Greek: Ἱεροσόλυμα; in Greek hieròs, ἱερός, meaning “holy”), although the city was renamed Aelia Capitolina for part of the Roman period of its history.

 

The Aramaic Apocryphon of Genesis of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1QapGen 22:13) equates Jerusalem with the earlier “Salem” (שלם), said to be the kingdom of Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18. Other early Hebrew sources, early Christian renderings of the verse and targumim, however, put Salem in Northern Israel near Shechem (or Sichem), now Nablus, a city of some importance in early sacred Hebrew writing. Possibly the redactor of the Apocryphon of Genesis wanted to dissociate Melchizedek from the area of Shechem, which at the time was in possession of the Samaritans. However that may be, later Rabbinic sources also equate Salem with Jerusalem, mainly to link Melchizedek to later Temple traditions.

 

In 2016 Israeli archaeologists announced they had unearthed a 7,000-year-old settlement from the early Chalcolithic period.  The archaeologists describe the discovery as the oldest of its kind in the region. The Israel Antiquities Authority asserts that the stone houses and artifacts confirm “the existence of a well-established settlement in the Jerusalem area as long ago as the Fifth millennium B.C.”  Ceramic evidence indicates occupation of the City of David, an area considered to be the initial nucleus of historical Jerusalem, as far back as the Copper Age (c. 4th Millennium B.C.).  The first settlement lay on what some call the Ophel Ridge, i.e. the south-eastern hill at whose foot the Gihon Spring gushes forth.

 

When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, Jerusalem and Judea came under Macedonian control, eventually falling to the Ptolemaic dynasty under Ptolemy I. In 198 BCE, Ptolemy V Epiphanes lost Jerusalem and Judea to the Seleucids under Antiochus III. The Seleucid attempt to recast Jerusalem as a Hellenized city-state came to a head in 168 BCE with the successful Maccabean revolt of Mattathias and his five sons against Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and their establishment of the Hasmonean Kingdom in 152 BCE with Jerusalem as its capital.

 

In 63 BCE, Pompey the Great intervened in a struggle for the Hasmonean throne and captured Jerusalem, extending the influence of the Roman Republic over Judea.  Following a short invasion by Parthians, backing the rival Hasmonean rulers, Judea became a scene of struggle between pro-Roman and pro-Parthian forces, eventually leading to the emergence of an Edomite named Herod.

 

As Rome became stronger, it installed Herod as a Jewish client king. Herod the Great, as he was known, devoted himself to developing and beautifying the city. He built walls, towers and palaces, and expanded the Temple Mount, buttressing the courtyard with blocks of stone weighing up to 100 tons. Under Herod, the area of the Temple Mount doubled in size.

 

Shortly after Herod’s death, in 6 A.D., Judea came under direct Roman rule as the Iudaea Province, although the Herodian dynasty through A.D. Roman rule over Jerusalem and the region was challenged in the First Jewish–Roman War, which ended with a Roman victory. The Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, and the entire city was destroyed in the war. The contemporary Jewish historian Josephus wrote that the city “was so thoroughly razed to the ground by those that demolished it to its foundations, that nothing was left that could ever persuade visitors that it had once been a place of habitation.”  Roman rule was again challenged during the Bar Kokhba revolt, beginning in 132 A.D. and suppressed by the Romans in 135 A.D.

 

Following the Bar Kokhba revolt, Emperor Hadrian combined Iudaea Province with neighboring provinces under the new name of Syria Palaestina, replacing the name of Judea. The city was renamed Aelia Capitolina, and rebuilt it in the style of a typical Roman town. Jews were prohibited from entering the city on pain of death, except for one day each year, during the holiday of Tisha B’Av. Taken together, these measures (which also affected Jewish Christians) essentially “secularized” the city. The ban was maintained until the 7th century, though Christians would soon be granted an exemption: during the 4th century, the Roman Emperor Constantine I ordered the construction of Christian holy sites in the city, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Burial remains from the Byzantine period are exclusively Christian, suggesting that the population of Jerusalem in Byzantine times probably consisted only of Christians.

 

In the 5th Century, the eastern continuation of the Roman Empire, ruled from the recently renamed Constantinople, maintained control of the city. Within the span of a few decades, Jerusalem shifted from Byzantine to Persian rule, then back to Roman-Byzantine dominion. Following Sassanid Khosrau II‘s early 7th Century push through Syria, his generals Shahrbaraz and Shahin attacked Jerusalem (Persian: Dej Houdkh‎) aided by the Jews of Palaestina Prima, who had risen up against the Byzantines.

 

In the Siege of Jerusalem of 614, after 21 days of relentless siege warfare, Jerusalem was captured. Byzantine chronicles relate that the Sassanids and Jews slaughtered tens of thousands of Christians in the city, many at the Mamilla Pool, and destroyed their monuments and churches, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This episode has been the subject of much debate between historians. The conquered city would remain in Sassanid hands for some fifteen years until the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius reconquered it in 629.

 

Jerusalem reached a peak in size and population at the end of the Second Temple Period, when the city covered two km (0.77 square miles) and had a population of 200,000.

 

Byzantine Jerusalem was conquered by the Arab armies of Umar ibn al-Khattab in 638 A.D. Among Muslims of Islam’s earliest era it was referred to as Madinat bayt al-Maqdis (“City of the Temple”) which was restricted to the Temple Mount. The rest of the city … was called “Iliya, reflecting the Roman name given the city following the destruction “The Noble Sanctuary”, while the city around it became known as Bayt al-Maqdis, and later still, al-Quds al-Sharif:  “The Holy, Noble.” The Islamization of Jerusalem began in the first year A.H. (623 A.D,), when Muslims were instructed to face the city while performing their daily prostrations and, according to Muslim religious tradition, Muhammad’s night journey and ascension to heaven took place.

 

After 13 years, the direction of prayer was changed to Mecca. In 638 A.D., the Islamic Caliphate extended its dominion to Jerusalem. With the Arab conquest, Jews were allowed back into the city. The Rashidun caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab signed a treaty with Christian Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius, assuring him that Jerusalem’s Christian holy places and population would be protected under Muslim rule.

 

Christian-Arab tradition records that, when led to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the holiest sites for Christians, the caliph Umar refused to pray in the church so that Muslims would not request conversion of the church to a mosque.  He prayed outside the church, where the Mosque of Umar (Omar) stands to this day, opposite the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. According to the Gaullic Bishop Arculf, who lived in Jerusalem from 679 to 688, the Mosque of Umar was a rectangular wooden structure built over ruins which could accommodate 3,000 worshipers.

 

Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, West Jerusalem was among the areas captured and later annexed by Israel while East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was captured and later annexed by Jordan. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War and subsequently annexed it into Jerusalem, together with additional surrounding territory.

 

One of Israel’s Basic Laws, the 1980 Jerusalem Law, refers to Jerusalem as the country’s undivided capital. All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the residences of the Prime Minister and President, and the Supreme Court. Whilst the international community rejected the annexation as illegal and treats East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, Israel has a stronger claim to sovereignty over West Jerusalem.

 

Strange that this debate should come during the Christmas season – originally a pagan holiday, Saturnalia, and traditional [death] feast of Adam and Eve.

 

Last night I lay a-sleeping There came a dream so fair, I stood in old Jerusalem Beside the temple there. I heard the children singing, And ever as they sang, Me thought the voice of angels From heaven in answer rang Me thought the voice of angels From heaven in answer rang. Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Lift up your gates and sing, Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna to your King!

 

And then me thought my dream was changed, The streets no longer rang, Hushed were the glad Hosannas The little children sang. The sun grew dark with mystery, The morn was cold and chill, As the shadow of a cross arose Upon a lonely hill. As the shadow of a cross arose Upon a lonely hill. Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Hark! How the angels sing, Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna to your King!
And once again the scene was changed,

New earth there seemed to be I saw the Holy City

Beside the tideless sea The light of God was on its streets,

The gates were open wide And all who would might enter

And no one was denied.

 

No need of moon or stars by night, Or sun to shine by day; It was the new Jerusalem That would not pass away.
Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Hark! How the angels sing, Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna to your King!
Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Sing for the night is o’er! Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna for evermore!

 

The Old Jerusalem may remain the physical capital of Islam, but it is a false flag.  Or Old Jerusalem may be restored to her pagan believers, with their idols and the flaming cauldrons into which they cast their infants.  Or Jerusalem may be once again the property of the Jews, in which they will be recognized as an Earthly nation but whose temple will either remain in the hands of later usurpers or be destroyed yet again in yet another catastrophic war in which the material stands in place of the spiritual.

 

The Jewish and Christian Bible tells us all these things will come to pass.  But then a “New Jerusalem” will come to replace it, ruled not by Man at all but by God.

 

 

Published in: on December 27, 2017 at 4:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Tax Cut Man Cometh

Just in time for Christmas, Congress finally – and with a huge “Bah, Humbug!!” from Senate Democrats – passed President Trump’s tax cuts.

 

Passage of the bill, just before the end of the year and the looming congressional recess, is a major political score.  The victory has been a long battle with Capitol Hill since his inauguration in January.  Trump’s numerous attempts to dismantle ObamaCare failed due to internal Republican divisions and unified Democratic opposition. The tax bill includes one major rollback of the Affordable Care Act, repealing the individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or face a penalty.

 

President Trump celebrated his triumph hours yesterday after the House sent his $1.5 trillion tax package to the Oval Office by praising Republican lawmakers, referring to them as fellow tax “warriors.”  In spite of Democrat opposition, GOP leaders vowed that the bill’s popularity would improve once taxpayers experience the reality of the tax cuts.

 

The Tax Policy Center estimates that 80 percent of taxpayers will see a tax cut next year.

 

Not every taxpayer in every state is going to experience that flush of economic health.  In Liberal Blue States, such as New Jersey, where taxpayers are accustomed to writing off their state taxes on their federal returns, that “gift” is going to vanish.  They will experience the reality of just how severely their state governments tax and regulate the citizens and the businesses.

 

With an income of barely $2,000 per year, this blogger won’t feel.  But Big Brother will.  He’s willing to endure that bite if the majority Liberals feel it.  Moderates who pay little attention to their taxes and think they’re making some grand, humanitarian gesture by paying high taxes (some of the highest rates in the land) might not feel so generous towards their legislators when they see their bills.

 

New Jersey is quickly becoming a Socialist state.  Only two types of people live here:  the affluent, living in suburbs just outside the city who willingly submit to what amounts to double taxation by living here and working in New York; and those living off government subsidies – drug addicts, criminals, illegal aliens, chain immigration families on their fourth and fifth generations.

 

We Conservatives welcome the elimination of the state tax cut on our federal returns if will encourage limousine liberals and their symbionts to flee the state for greener collective pastures – if taxpayers in other states will even have them.  Let them return to New York where most of limousiners came from.

 

A few weeks ago, we experienced a tremendous explosion that rattled the house from basement to attic.  All the years we’ve been here, we’ve been accustomed to the explosions from the nearby rock quarry; it was just a part of life.  Early on, the explosions drove the snakes out of Federal  Hill.

 

This was no ordinary explosion though.  After the initial blast, which as fierce even by this quarry’s standards – it not only shook our house but you could actually hear other houses being shaken and everything in the kitchen shook on the walls and the windows rattled – there followed a strange, keening “PAWOINNNNG” sound.

 

I remembered hearing something like it in one of the Star Wars prequel movies:  an acoustic bomb.  We think the rock strata may have been disturbed.  This range of hills sits on an extension of the Ramapo Fault.  The strange sound may have been the release of pressure in the rocks.

 

A release of pressure at work is welcome.  A release of pressure in your naval cavities is a relief.

 

A geological release of pressure – that may not be such a good thing.  Our town, in its wisdom, granted the quarry permission to basically flatten Federal Hill to the bare earth.  The passage this blast created will be a future road between Bloomingdale and Pompton.  That might mean a very quick ride to my mother’s house.

 

It also may mean future earthquakes.  Thank you so much, future moochers of Bloomingdale-Lakes.  My mother’s house – and all of those built on the hill – sit upon a rock foundation.  Those future high-density warehouses will be situated upon sand.  Avalon Bay already sits upon a sandpit.

 

Good luck to you when the next earthquake comes along.  We don’t have California-style earthquakes here.  At least, we never used to.

 

Between the elimination of the tax cuts and possible future tectonic activity, the wealthy Liberals who plunked themselves down here in our midst may think better of settling in the Garden State, our home.

 

Thank you, President Trump!

 

 

Published in: on December 21, 2017 at 3:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

No Such Thing as a Free Internet

The repeal of the Net Neutrality Act, first introduced by the FCC in 2015 and hailed as one of Obama’s great successes, was met with great acclaim by Republicans and apocalyptic horror by Democrats.  Well, they would greet any victory by President Trump with doomsday gloom.

 

As defined by Wikipedia, Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.  For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

 

The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003, as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier, which was used to describe the role of telephone systems.

 

Under an “open Internet” schema, the full resources of the Internet and means to operate on it should be easily accessible to all individuals, companies, and organizations.

 

Applicable concepts include: net neutrality, open standards, transparency, lack of Internet censorship, and low barriers to entry. The concept of the open Internet is sometimes expressed as an expectation of decentralized technological power, and is seen by some observers as closely related to open-source software, a type of software program whose maker allows users access to the code that runs the program, so that users can improve the software or fix bugs.

 

Proponents of net neutrality see this as an important component of an “open Internet,” wherein policies such as equal treatment of data and open web standards allow those using the Internet to easily communicate, and conduct business and activities without interference from a third party.

 

In contrast, a “closed Internet” refers to the opposite situation, wherein established persons, corporations, or governments favor certain uses, restrict access to necessary web standards, artificially degrade some services, or explicitly filter out content.

 

During the 1990s, creating a non-neutral Internet was technically infeasible.  Originally developed to filter harmful malware, the Internet security company NetScreen Technologies released network firewalls in 2003 with so-called deep packet inspection capabilities. Deep packet inspection helped make real-time discrimination between different kinds of data possible, and is often used for Internet censorship. In a practice called zero-rating, companies will reimburse data use from certain addresses, favoring use of those services. Examples include Facebook Zero and Google Free Zone. These zero-rating practices are especially common in the developing world.

 

Sometimes Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will charge some companies, but not others, for the traffic they cause on the ISP’s network. French telecom operator Orange, complaining that traffic from YouTube and other Google sites consists of roughly 50 percent of total traffic on the Orange network, made a deal with Google, in which they charge Google for the traffic incurred on the Orange network. Some also thought that Orange’s rival ISP Free throttled YouTube traffic. However, an investigation done by the French telecommunications regulatory body revealed that the network was simply congested during peak hours

 

Between July 15 and September 15, 2014, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received 3.7 million comments to change the Internet to a telecommunications service, which would allow the FCC to uphold net neutrality. On Feb. 26, 2015, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled in favor of net neutrality by reclassifying broadband access as a telecommunications service and thus applying Title II (common carrier) of the Communications Act of 1934 as well as section 706 of the Telecommunications act of 1996 to Internet service providers. On March 12, 2015, the FCC released the specific details of its new net neutrality rule. And on April 13, 2015, the FCC published the final rule on its new regulations. The rule took effect on June 12, 2015.

In 2015, the United States Telecom Association (a trade association representing large telecom companies) filed a lawsuit against the FCC challenging the net neutrality rule.  The Association argued that “the FCC reclassifying broadband carriers as ‘common carriers’ is an overreach on the part of the FCC.”  The challenge sparked “a huge legal battle as cable, telecom and wireless Internet providers sued to overturn regulations that they said went far beyond the FCC’s authority and would hurt their businesses.”  In June 2016, in an 184-page ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld, by a 2–1 vote, the FCC’s net neutrality rules and the FCC’s determination that broadband access is a public utility, rather than a luxury.  [Editor’s italics]

 

In the last sentence of the above paragraph lies the dilemma.

 

Cable television, first introduced in the early Seventies, was hailed as the entertainment salvation of the middle class.  No longer would we be enslaved the Big Three Networks, with their solidly Left-leaning news broadcasts led by anchors who, for the most part, had worked for previous Democrat presidential administrations and subversive programming designed to undermine suburban communities united by a general Judaic-Christian religious background and work ethic.

 

Cable television promised low subscription prices (about $7 a month in Seventies money) and advertising-free programming.  You could pick and choose your programming without having to watch a commercial for General Electric or General Motors.

 

Watch your favorite, current movies from the comfort of your own living room.  Technology threatened cable television’s monopoly on that particular feature with the advent of the video player – VHS, followed later on by the DVD, and now streaming.  Cable television revolutionized the industry as much as color television sets (yes, once upon a time television viewers actually had to “tune” their tv sets, much the way we still tune radios today; eventually television manufacturers introduced committed channels) and solid-state electronics

 

Cable television had only one, minor catch:  your community selected which provider would send you the content through your television line.  Individual choice was out of the question.

 

But who cared?  For seven bucks a month, you could have movies, movies, (and nothing but movies and CNN) all day and night.  Welcome to the Seventies, yeah!

 

Yeah.

 

Next to there not being a free lunch, there was no such thing as a good thing that would last.

 

Pretty soon, those movies were coming with commercials.  Cable television just couldn’t resist the temptation of those huge advertising dollars.  Besides, now they could afford more content providers:  TBS, TCM, and the Discovery Channel were early providers.

 

Then, the subscription prices began to rise.  At first, a dollar or two a month here, and six months or a year later, another two or three dollars.

 

Today, my cable bill, from Optimum.com (previously known as Cablevision), is $183 (since beginning this post, I received my December bill, raising the price from $179 to $183) per month.  That includes my telephone bill (a measly $19 per month), the actual cable bill (approximately $95 per month), and the modem for the computer connection ($50 per month).  Plus a $7 charge for sports viewing.

 

That’s a whopping amount of money for some pretty poor content these days.  The old channels are still there along with some new ones.  But some of them like AMC, which was originally American Movie Classics, have completely changed.  AMC is now runs re-runs and some pretty pathetic prime-time shows, as do the other channels.

 

Comedy Channel.  Well, we’ve always known what they’re all about.  But why do we have to pay for it?  The History Channel has kept up its original mandate and added some cool series like American Pickers and The Curse of Oak Island.

 

The Discovery Channel, another cable television pioneer, now gives us such programs as Naked and Afraid (please, put a towel on it!), but also provide some man-pleasers such as Dirty Jobs.  The rest of us must keep on clicking.

 

Some nights I spend up to 15 minutes checking out what I call the “Upper Channels” – Channels 150 plus on Optimum – trying find something to watch.   Channel 150 – the Velocity Channel – is cool to watch if you like cars.  It’s great for watching with your Significant Guy.  Sometimes it’s a last resort even when He isn’t there.

 

You’d think the Crime & Investigation Channel would offer something for the intelligent-minded.  But no.  What you get is alligator police on Cajun Justice and other such fare.  MTVLive.  Forget it.  Strictly for Dead Heads.   POPH.  Never even stopped to look.  Just a blur of reruns.

 

NatGEO Wild!  The nightmare of my television existence.  Unemployment has provided me the opportunity of caring for my 93 year-old Mom and her home.  That’s okay.  But this is the only channel she wants to watch.  Meaning I have to put up with lions hunting and killing gazelles, with Mom glorying over every vicious mouthful of torn flesh and the screaming agony of the dying animal.

 

AAAAAaaaaaaugh!!  Once I served undercooked mashed potatoes in my desperation to escape the wild kingdom.  It’s her television – there’s nothing I can do about it.  So, bring on the hunters stalking the elephants with helicopters, the bears murdering one another’s cubs, and the snakes swallowing rabbits.

 

On and on up the Channel stream I go, back at home, finding about as much savory programming as the lioness scouting the savannahs of Kenya.

 

In March of 2012, I lost my job.  Once my unemployment benefits ran out, along with any chance of gainful employment in the working world – not only had I been downsized (along with everyone else in the office) but I was stamped out-of-date.  That meant downsizing my budget.  The thing that had to go was the cable television.

 

I had to keep the telephone and the modem so I’d have a compute through which companies could reject me at 4x speed.  While I was still employed, one of my favorite Conservative radio and television hosts had been given the sack – or did he give himself the sack.  Instead, he decided to start his own channel.

 

In order to receive the program, you had to get a “box” (or you could use a game box if you were fortunate enough to own one) to code-in the signal to receive the program.  You still needed your computer modem.  However, you could Glenn as well as any number of streaming providers, some better than others.

 

So, I cancelled my cable television, except for the broadcasts, and started streaming.  Looking over the options, I chose Netflix as my subscriptions, and also signed up for some free providers.

 

Netflix was great!  I’m proud to say I’m an original subscriber.  They didn’t have much in the way of original programming back then.  Netflix did offer much in the way of old films and television programs.  Thus, began my binging habit.

 

I binged myself silly on shows like Law and Order and West Wing, and all the Star Trek series that I’d missed because I have so many evening activities.  Too bad they took Law and Order away.  And movies!  The movie buff in me was thrilled.  Love is a Many Splendored Thing.  Tora, Tora, Tora.  The Longest Day.

 

Alas, my significant guy was not so thrilled.  He missed his Fox News Channel on my television.  I told him, you want, you pay for it.  He agreed, so back came the Cablevision.  He paid up for awhile, but then he fell off the wagon.

 

He thought I would finally find a job and pay for my own television.  So did I.  We were wrong.  I reminded him of his agreement to pay, and he’s resumed his $50 a month share of the bill.

 

At first, he was squeamish about Netflix.  Of all things, he missed the commercials, the very thing he hates about television.  We’d be watching a series program and at the blank space where the advertising would be, he’d squirm and become cranky.

 

“What is this?” he cried.

 

“It’s where the commercial would be,” I replied.

 

“Well, I don’t like it.  Let’s just go back to the regular television.”

 

“But that means watching commercials, which you hate,” I said.  “Why don’t we just stay on Netflix?  Why don’t you like it?”

 

“I don’t know!  I just want to go back.”

 

But since Netflix began offering original programming – specifically The Last Kingdom, about the rule of King Alfred, the Great – he’s become hooked.  Now we don’t even bother searching fruitlessly through the cable channels – we go straight to Netflix.

 

Welcome to the next generation of television viewing – live streaming.  Not only can you watch television through your streaming box, but if you have the means to buy one, you can watch the Internet through your new Smart TV.

 

Not only can these new televisions live-stream, they live-stream from the Internet. If your favorite channel – say Fox News – offers live-streaming (which Fox does), you can watch it your new Smart TV.

 

And of course, you can watch Netflix.  Or Hulu or Amazon.  You choose.  The days of cable television networks dominating your television viewing or overcharging for it are over.

 

Or are they?  Enter the repeal of the Net Neutrality rules.  This was an Obama ruling, which made it instantly bad for Conservatives.  The Net Neutrality rule promised that the government, through the content providers, wouldn’t do precisely what it was doing:  discriminating against lawful [Conservative] content, blocking websites and apps, throttling [slowing down the speed] the transmission of content [when they weren’t actually shutting your entire computer down], and generally social policing private communications on public sites like Facebook and Twitter by blocking the ability to “Share” a post.

 

An Army veteran friend is a victim of this last tactic.

 

The only thing that Net Neutrality didn’t protect us from because it was happening anyway was “paid prioritization” which creates fast lanes for wealthy or favored communicators.

 

Now that Net Neutrality is out of the way, companies and broadcasters are free to create paid prioritizations.  They’re fighting over these rights like hound dogs fighting over a steak bone.  The company that rules the transmission wire (whether overhead or underground) will dominate the Internet.

 

Here is the socialist/communist tug-of-war for which its advocates have long been clamoring.

 

Capitalist and Communists alike have long argued that cable television – in whatever form you receive  it – is a privilege, not a right.  That’s what the 2015 court decision declared. Television is not a necessity of life, like your house, your clothes or your food, or a “utility.”  Other than access to news, if you can’t afford to subscribe to it, then don’t buy it.

 

The wealthy are happy to accommodate the truly impoverished through outrageous prices and burdensome, and unexplained, government fees.  They actually boast of being able to afford programming of which the humble Middle Class can only dream.

 

It’s like being able to go to Disney World or Atlantis on vacation.  Eat your hearts out, Working Class people.  So what if you can’t afford it?  We can and that’s just too bad.  The poor can’t afford to go, either, so what are you complaining about.  Just be glad you have a job to meet your basic needs.  You can’t have everything (but we can – ha ha ha).

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  But we always find a way.  Netflix was my television salvation (at least for awhile).  Now you’ve suddenly discovered the wonders of Netflix (The Last Kingdom, The Crown, Shetland, and others).  You want it, too, which you can certainly have and at a bargain price.

 

But that’s not good enough for you.  Capitalism is the best economic system in the world.  But it does have its Dark Side.  Not to worry – Communism has no Light Side at all.  That dark side is called “Paid Prioritization.”

 

BLOCKING Internet service providers could not discriminate against any lawful content by blocking websites or apps.

THROTTLING Service providers could not slow the transmission of data based on the nature of the content, as long as it is legal.

PAID PRIORITIZATION Service providers could not create an internet fast lane for companies and consumers who pay premiums, and a slow lane for those who don’t.

 

The New York Times reported:  “Many consumer advocates have argued that if the rules get scrapped, broadband providers will begin selling the Internet in bundles, not unlike how cable television is sold today. Want to access Facebook and Twitter? Under a bundling system, getting on those sites could require paying for a premium social media package.”

 

Or Netflix.

 

According to Wikipedia:  There is some disagreement about whether “peering” is a net neutrality issue. In the first quarter of 2014, streaming website Netflix reached an arrangement with ISP Comcast to improve the quality of its service to Netflix clients. This arrangement was made in response to increasingly slow connection speeds through Comcast over the course of 2013, where average speeds dropped by over 25 percent of their values a year before to an all-time low. After the deal was struck in January 2014, the Netflix speed index recorded a 66 percent increase in connection.

 

Netflix agreed to a similar deal with Verizon in 2014, after Verizon DSL customers’ connection speed dropped to less than 1 Mbit/s early in the year. Netflix spoke out against this deal with a controversial statement delivered to all Verizon customers experiencing low connection speeds, using the Netflix client. This sparked an internal debate between the two companies that led to Verizon’s obtaining a cease and desist order on June 5, 2014 that forced Netflix to stop displaying this message.

 

Companies with a stake in the future of streaming are selling devices by which you can access the streaming universe.  You still need a modem, usually with a computer attached.  Despite Netflix’s affiliation with Verizon, it’s still the most independent of the ISPs.  Amazon, Google and others are offering devices, but if they don’t exist yet, there probably will be strings attached in the future which will “encourage” users to favor their programming and throttling other content providers.

 

The fear is that the increasingly popular Netflix will raise its prices, just the way Cablevision raised its prices as more customers signed on, demanding better content.  Netflix will be hard pressed to resist the temptation to raise prices, increasing their profit margin.

 

Affluent viewers who once would never have given Netflix a second glance are now gazing fondly at the “crown” jewel of its programming, “The Crown” (about the reign of Elizabeth II of Great Britain).  Evidently, they haven’t yet discovered the glories of that other English monarch, King Alfred the Great (“The Last Kingdom”) also now in its second season.

 

The nice thing about buying a streaming device is, that for now, you pay upfront for it and own it forever – no monthly fees.  Some older, Luddite viewers might balk at the idea of having to buy a modem and a computer along with it.  But those viewers are aging out.  The majority of the population (about 60 and under) is completely computer savvy.  We eldster Baby Boomers are not the computer dolts the younger generation seems to think we are.

 

Can you say “Wang”?  Do you even know what it is?  A computer system based on DOS language, the language current website managers must use to edit their content once it’s posted.  We don’t need training.  Baby Boomers created the Internet, for gosh sakes.

 

Our economy is shifting, however, and dividing right down the middle.  In the future, viewers will either be incredibly affluent or on government assistance.   Broadcasting capitalists don’t care who pays the price for the product or service.  They don’t care whether an individual customer pays privately or the government forks over the cash.

 

Conservatives are happy that President Trump repealed the Net Neutrality Act.  Redefining broadband from a “utility” to a “service” means that welfare recipients and other scofflaws can’t demand streaming service as a “necessity” the way they have cable service; that’s what all the fees on your cable bill cover.

So, the bottom line on Net Neutrality isn’t government censorship; it’s all about the money and the subscription fees.  Whoever pays the most gets the best and fastest.  Tier service will be a reality in the future.

 

What was once an economical alternative for the hard-working Middle Class will become the viewing ground of the affluent.  For those of us who jumped on the Netflix bandwagon early, it’s been a marvelous decade or so.  We’ve still had to cling to our cable television to some degree.

 

Now, just when it seems we’ll be able to cut the cable almost completely, the golden remote will vanish from our grasp.  Satellite reception is an unrealistic option in cloud-bound areas.  DirectTV, courtesy of FIOS/Verizon, bundles its programs so that you’re prevented from getting exactly what you want and pay for unless you pay their full freight.

 

To say that the Middle Class wants “free” television is both unfair and untrue.  What we want is an affordable subscription service with our own choice of what we consider good programming, not an unsatisfactory-but-deal-with-it package.  Why must non-sports fans pay a “fee” for something to watch, for instance?  Cablevision has something for everyone, but everyone pays a huge chunk of change for a piece of that televised pie.

 

Cable television has been “collectivized.”  Not surprisingly, as the costs rise, viewers are bailing out in favor of the new kid on the block.  Netflix has an incredible variety of entertainment programming, although it has no news or sports.  This Christmas stores are advertising new “Smart TVs”, the costliest of which offer Internet capability.

 

So long as we’re physically attached to wires – or any other technology we ourselves don’t control – we will be puppets caught between two masters – corporate broadcasters and the government.

 

Stay tuned.

Published in: on December 20, 2017 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Star Wars VIII: The Lost, Last Jedi – A Review

After the heart-breaking death of the beloved Star Wars character, Han Solo, in 2015’s The Force Awakens, despite pleas from the Star Wars franchise and its stars not to read spoiler notices, this die-hard Star Wars fan wasn’t taking chances:  bring on the spoilers for The Last Jedi.

 

Braced for what was to come, we went to see Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi.

 

You’d have to be an idiot, or at least not a kool-aided Star Wars fan, not to notice the huge clues the producers gave about Luke Skywalker’s fate – for instance, comparing actor Mark Hamill’s age for No. 8 to that of actor Alec Guinness (the original Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi) in the original Star Wars.

 

“Death is a natural part of life…” Yoda tells Anakin Skywalker in The Revenge of the Sith.  “Rejoice for those who have transformed into the Force;  miss them not, mourn them not.”

 

That’s all the spoiler information you’re going to get.

 

Because The Last Jedi is a terrific movie that deserves not to be spoiled.

 

The movie is full of surprises from beginning to end. Certainly, it’s not as much fun as the original 1977 Star Wars fun.  No Star Wars movie ever will be, at least as long as the producers cling so desperate to the Dark Side, determined to kill off its heroes.  Even the unfairly maligned prequels were better than The Force Awakens.

 

By contrast, Last Jedi is a romp.

 

Divulging any of the plot is to give it away. Since fans are most concerned with the fate of the series’ original hero, Luke Skywalker, we find him as we did at the very end of The Force Awakens, facing the last nameless heroine, Rey (Daisy Ridley), about to present him with one of his old lightsabers (really, he’s thrown away or lost so many, antique collectors in that galaxy far, far away must be getting rich hunting them down and selling fake Luke Skywalker lightsabers).

 

If you’ve been thinking that he’ll take back his lightsaber and nostalgically reignite it – well, you’re wrong. The audience, including the Other Half, were shocked and apparently angry at what he does with it.  Leaving only one person in the entire theater laughing.

 

Luke Skywalker has changed. Decidedly – and not for the better, we’re supposed to believe.  Gone is the idealist young crusader with the Prince Valiant haircut, the callow youth moping behind the scenery-blasting Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and the nuclear missile Princess Leia (“firecracker”) somehow just doesn’t do justice to her spirit.

 

What Rey finds is a cynical, embittered hermit crab ensconced alone on his private island on the worst planet that’s farthest from the brightest spot in the galaxy. What a relief he is, too.  With Han Solo gone – and Princess Leia’s fate sealed with the death of actress Carrie Fisher late last year shortly after finishing production on this movie – someone has to take on the duties of sarcastic, sardonic, and appreciably funny wag.

 

 

Actor Mark Hamill, long shackled by expectations of being the idealistic hero, relishes Luke’s crabbiness. In short, Luke Skywalker, while he’s grown old has also grown up.  He’s a hoot of a coot.  When he finally agrees to give Rey three brief lessons in being a Jedi, he instructs her to close her eyes and tell him what she sees through the Force.  As he taunts her, it’s still inexplicable why the audience wasn’t laughing more.

 

Don’t they get it? Or don’t they want to?  Yoda was as cross and stern a Jedi master both with Anakin (with whom he failed miserably) and Luke as you’d ever want to experience.  Most of us would have stormed out of his hypocritical classes.  Why do we expect the now-matured Luke to be any different?

 

Luke has succumbed if not to the Dark Side, then at least to Depression. He blames himself for his failure to train his nephew, Ben Solo – or Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).  Luke couldn’t bring himself to kill the young Kylo, who had already been courted by the villainous Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke.

 

He wants no more to do with the Jedi Order, although he is living on the island where the original Jedi Order was founded. He finds neither enlightenment nor salvation on the island; on the original servants of the Jedi.

 

Rey explains that she was sent by his sister, Leia, to bring him back to join the renamed Rebel Alliance, now called “The Resistance.”

 

“What do you expect me to do?” he asks Rey. “Take on the whole First Order single-handed.”  Not even a legend can take on a whole fleet of First Order metal-heads, led by his deranged nephew.

 

Still, this request from his sister only plunges Luke further into despair. But a reunion with Chewbacca and especially his old droid, R2D2, bring him out of his funk.

 

The reunion with R2 revives the Luke Skywalker we came to know and love. The reunion is touching and nostalgic.  He doesn’t agree to return, necessarily, but does agree to train Rey properly in the ways of The Force.

 

Meanwhile, the Resistance is struggling, even under the capable leadership of Leia. No “Princess” please or any other titles – i.e., “General,”  “Mistress,” or “Mrs. Solo.”  Just plain “Leia.”  Poe Daemaron (pronounced “Di-ma-ron”) returns as the hot-headed, very cool Resistance pilot.

 

Poe (Oscar Isaac) is frustrated with the caution of the Resistance Leadership. Against the orders of Vice Admiral Holdo (a purple-haired Laura Dern) and General Leia herself, he leads a risky bombing raid on a First Order battleship.  The raid is only partially successful and leads to a dangerous depletion of Resistance fighters.

 

Ever the firecracker, Princess Leia physically gives him what-for, telling him to get his head “out of the cockpit.” She has plans for his evident leadership capabilities.  With him is his trusty, roly-poly droid, BB-8.  His pal Finn (John Boyega) makes a sloshy return.  In the background are old friends R2D2 (aboard the Millennium Falcon) and C3PO, still assisting the Princess.

 

The First Order has a new device which seriously imperils the diminished Resistance fleet and its personnel. Unless it can be destroyed, there will be no place for the Resistance to hide.  A new, feisty character in the person of a low-level Resistance technician, Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) is introduced, definitely a candidate to replace the beloved character of Princess Leia, who obviously can’t return, not even as a Force ghost.

 

She, Poe, and a reluctant Finn, hatch a plot to travel to a casino planet (shades of the ancient Battlestar Galactica television series) to find a brilliant codebreaker who can help them destroy the device on the First Order’s lead ship.

 

The journey is a strange diversion that doesn’t accomplish the mission the way they think it will. In the end, the Resistance must resort to other means to destroy the First Order ship.  Many secondary favorites in the Star Wars series meet their doom in this darker, middle sequel.

 

The Resistance makes its escape to a nearby planet with even more losses, until only a handful of the band is left, hiding in a salt mine as Kylo Ren tracks them down. Even the plucky Princess Leia admits they’ve come to the end of the road.

 

A connection seems to exist between Rey and Kylo. Advertisements warn viewers not to spoil the scene show in a commercial that shows them reaching out to one another.  There’s really nothing to spoil.  But much that should be taken with a huge grain of salt.  Don’t believe everything you hear, especially from a Sith Lord.  There are truths – and half-truths.

 

The connection is so strong that they can actually see one another, which is reminiscent of the connection between Luke and Leia. As far as we know, their connection was only verbal.  But we don’t know that they couldn’t see one another.  In fact, a clue in The Empire Strikes Back would indicate that Leia could see Luke (“Turn around, Chewie; I know where Luke is”).

 

How such a bond could exist between two apparent strangers as Kylo Ren and Rey has yet to be explained. Alas, we must wait for an explanation – and probably more revelations – in the as-yet unnamed Star Wars IX.  A sagacious Star Wars fan would keep in mind that Leia was adopted and never told who her parents were.

 

When all is lost, a hero must show up, one way or another. Even a lost hero (“lost” in the sense of having lost his way).  No need to tell you who or how.  Suffice it to say that the younger generation of Resistance fighters is in awe when he appears.  A tender and emotional but quiet reunion with Leia results before the final showdown.

 

The final scene of the movie is a tribute not just to that hero, but to all that hero’s fans.

 

Last Jedi wisely stays away from the subject of Han Solo’s funeral. Originally intended to take place in this film, the producers wisely chose to leave it out entirely.  Rey speaks for all the Star Wars fans when she tearfully screams at Kylo Ren, “Why did you kill him?!  Why did you kill your father?”

 

His answer is lost in the overkill of the Dolby Sound system, as is the conversation between Luke and the ghost of Yoda. Apparently, it’s something along the lines of, “You know the answer; there is no ‘why.’”

 

Hope remains for the future generation of Star Wars heroes (and villains). This generation needs no translators to tell them what their droids are saying.  Given the new generation’s droid savvy, it would seem that the comical C-3PO is going to be phased out in the future.  We don’t see that much of R2, either,  who’s pretty much sidelined and overshadowed by the newer BB-8 (ignore those commercials about a faceplate-off between BB-8 and his First Order counterpart – doesn’t happen, at least not in this movie).

 

Happily for original Star Wars fans, Disney is planning a whole slate of Star Wars films that take place within the time bracket of the prequels and the original three movies. Solo: A Star Wars Story is slated to premiere in the spring, to be followed by an Obi-Wan story.  Dare we hope for a young Princess Leia movie?  And of course, a very young Luke Skywalker movie.

 

Plans are also afoot to expand the franchise beyond its current time-frame, to follow the adventures of Rey, Finn, Rose, and the dashing Poe Daemaron. There’s something for everyone in the Star Wars universe.

 

“Hope can be a powerful force.” Laini Taylor.

 

May the Hope be with you.

 

Published in: on December 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Getting Away with Murder in San Francisco

Last week, the verdict came in. The murderer of Kate Steinle, Jose Inez Garcia Zarate, was acquitted of all charges, including involuntary manslaughter.  He changed his story twice – first, he said he’d been shooting at a sea lion, then that he found the gun wrapped in a cloth under a bench on which he was sitting and that it accidentally discharged while he was picking it up.  Yet the jury didn’t even consider his own admission because it wasn’t his gun and because the police discovered a chip in the concrete.

During the Warren Commission investigation of JFK’s assassination when the members were told that a shot had ricocheted off some concrete near the underpass, slightly injuring a bystander, they dismissed it.

The shot ricocheted off the concrete deck of the pier, striking Steinle in the back, according to the defense. She died two hours later.  The gun, which had been stolen from a Bureau of Land Management agent in San Francisco, was a Sig Sauer.  According to the defense A key point of contention was the ease with which the weapon could have been fired accidentally.

A supervising criminologist at the San Francisco Police Department crime lab testified that the gun was in excellent condition and would not have fired without someone pulling the trigger. The defense emphasized that the Sig Sauer pistol has no external safety mechanism to prevent accidental firing, and pointed to a record of even police trained in the use of Sig Sauer pistols having made accidental discharges. As examined by the criminologist, it was placed in single-action mode (where the hammer is cocked), rather than double-action mode (where a single pull of the trigger both cocks and releases the hammer). While it is typical for a gun that has been fired to be in single-action mode

According to a report by radio station KHSU, on their website:NEXT: 10AM Go For Baroque

KHSU (MP3)

Democracy Now!

A retired San Francisco crime scene investigator testified Monday in the high-profile murder trial over the 2015 slaying of Kathryn Steinle that “firearms do not fire by themselves.”

 

It’s a simple point that’s at the heart of whether defendant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate will be found guilty of murdering 32-year-old Steinle, whom he had never met, as she walked with her father on San Francisco’s waterfront.

 

To justify a murder conviction, the prosecution had to prove Garcia Zarate intended to fire the gun at Steinle or a crowd of people gathered on Pier 14 about an hour before sunset on July 1, 2015. The defense is arguing Steinle’s death was an accident: that Garcia Zarate picked up an unknown object wrapped in cloth from beneath a rotating metal chair on the pier. The gun was stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger four days before the killing, and the defense argues it accidentally fired as Garcia Zarate unwrapped it.

 

Assistant District Attorney Diana Garcia called since-retired SFPD officer and crime scene investigator John Evans to testify on Monday. He said the initial investigation of the pier on July 1, 2015, turned up no evidence.

 

But after a bullet that had been flattened on one side was extracted from Steinle’s body, Evans and his team of crime scene investigators returned to the pier, determined through an “exhaustive search” to find the place where the bullet struck before it hit Steinle in the back.

 

And on July 5, 2015, investigators found a chip in the concrete 12 to 15 feet from where Garcia Zarate was believed to be sitting and about 78 feet from where Steinle fell to the ground.

 

But that one point alone was not enough to reconstruct the trajectory of the bullet, Evans testified. He would need two “known, fixed points” that the bullet hit in order to determine the bullet’s path.

 

Instead, Evans conducted what he called a “vector analysis” to see if it was at least possible for the shot to have originated from approximately where Garcia Zarate was sitting, ricochet off the concrete and hit Steinle.

 

They did it by pointing a laser from one of a pair of metal chairs. (It was unclear which one Garcia Zarate was in at the time of their investigation, Evans testified.) He found an unobstructed, straight line from the chair to the divot in the concrete, and another line from there to approximately where Steinle was standing.

 

Prosecutor Diana Garcia asked Evans whether he’d formed an overall opinion about the shooting, and he was allowed to answer over objections from Garcia Zarate’s defense attorney.

 

“A human being held a firearm, pointed it in the direction of Ms. Steinle, pulled the trigger and fired, killing her,” Evans testified. “That is the only way this could have occurred, that is reasonable.”

On the ricochet, Evans described an action he called “jerking the trigger,” in which a person — generally an inexperienced shooter, pulls the trigger harder than necessary, causing the barrel to dip. He said that can result in what he called a “skip shot.”

 

“It can be intentional or unintentional, but it’s where the bullet that is fired strikes a hard surface in the direction of the target but short of the target,” he said.

Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez tried to deconstruct Evans’ conclusion during cross examination.

 

“A trajectory analysis was not conducted because we don’t have the basic elements of a trajectory analysis,” Gonzalez said in court. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I’ve never seen a witness talk about a subset of trajectory analysis called vector analysis. I’m surprised.”

 

Gonzalez went through a long line of questioning about whether a ricochet would change the direction that a bullet was traveling. Evans said it did, vertically, but from the top, down or from the perspective of the shooter, it would still appear to be a straight line.

 

“I didn’t find it convincing,” Gonzalez said outside of court. He said the defense plans to call expert witnesses on bullet trajectory. “They’re going to tell you that bullet hit the concrete, and it’s not traveling straight anymore. It’s moving to the side, it’s moving vertically, and every time you do that, you’re going to have a different result. That’s the whole point.”

The American people, on the whole, were not convinced. Guns don’t kill people; people do.  If in pulling the trigger poorly, forcing the barrel to go down, then Zarate would seem to have been aiming at Steinle.  A video caught him throwing something into the water before walking away.

But the left-wing jury – some of whom were illegal immigrants – were completely convinced, even though the gun was not produced in evidence to determine whether the gun had a “sensitive” trigger.

The verdict was not a pronouncement on crimes committed by illegal aliens in that sanctuary city; it was a verdict on Donald Trump’s presidency and his determination to deter illegal immigration, convict and deport illegal immigrants (who by their very presence in the United States are criminals), and build a wall on the southern border of the United States to deter their influx.

Yes, more needs to be done than building a big, beautiful wall. Two-thirds of illegal immigrants overstay their visas.  But since they usually take up residence in big cities that give them sanctuary, they’re not likely to be arrested.  Not only aren’t they being arrested, but federal authorities are being prevented by city governments from carrying out federal laws.

What’s more, they’re graciously invited to vote in our polling places – and our juries.

The race card theory of defense began in the 1980s. The theory posited that defendants should be acquitted, even if a preponderance of evidence is found against them, on the grounds that minorities have suffered 400 or more years of “injustice” and their time has come.

That’s social justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on December 15, 2017 at 12:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Big “But” in Trump’s Statement to Soldier’s Widow

Democrat Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson charged Pres. Trump with making an insensitive comment to the widow of a soldier killed during an ambush in Niger.

Wilson charged the president with saying, “He [Army Sgt. La David Johnson] knew what he signed up for,” a response often made to Liberal charges that a soldier died needlessly.

But according to a CNN report on Oct. 18, Wilson didn’t include the full statement. There’s a big “but” in what Trump said.

The president told Johnson’s widow in an official consolation phone call, “He knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurts.”

He may not have even said that much. The President claims that Wilson’s accusation is a total fabrication. The clause certainly softens the perception of what he may or may not have said in what the White House calls “a private conversation” which Wilson listened to on a speaker phone.

The accusation came just in time to overshadow an excellent speech the President made to the Heritage Foundation in Washington. The speech was at least carried by Fox Business News Network, if no other carrier.

The president hit all the points guaranteed to earn the gratitude of Conservatives:

He defended the American flag

He denounced Obamacare, following up on his executive order repeal after Congress failed to keep their promise to do so.

He placed the blame for the current Venezuelan crisis where it belonged – on Socialism.

He blasted the extremely burdensome”, “outdated” and “complex” tax code that has harried businesses and citizens alike, and restated his administration’s commitment to phase out the existing tax code, coupled with the “horrible” and “unfair” ‘death tax’.

 

“Our team will ensure our companies stay in America, grow in America and hire in America”, Trump boasted.

Finally, he restated his belief that America is poorly served by the overweening bureaucracy that makes doing business in the United States untenable, costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year, and encroaches upon the freedoms guaranteed by the Founding Fathers.

He restated a popular phrase he has coined, inspired by the Founding Fathers, that “Freedom is not a gift from the government; it is a gift from God.”

Liberals would never admit to it, but a statement like that sends them into a state of anxiety. They don’t want the citizens of the United States, whom they’ve been brainwashing (mainly through academia), to get the idea that government representatives are actually accountable to the people. Their theory is that once elected, they have a mandate to wield their power as they see fit and proffer their loyalty to an invisible, indiscriminate constituency that works against the interests of real Americans.

They had to concoct a diversion from Trump’s Heritage Foundation speech before anyone heard that deadly (to Liberals) word – “freedom”. So they made a hash of this nonsense about the phone call to the black soldier’s widow. The propagandist media compliantly publicized out of all proportion into 24-point, capitalized-hysteria headlines.

Anything to keep attention away from that dangerous word – freedom.

Trump has been giving wonderful, patriotic speeches which explains why the Media and Hollywood have been working overtime to denounce the president in every possible manner.

They’re in big trouble, though, now that the Rosatom scandal has finally resurfaced, thanks to Sean Hannity. Hannity has revealed that Mueller had planned to railroad Trump and exonerate Hillary long before anyone ever thought. He’d already written a draft of her pardon for her various crimes.

Yet another reason for the cognitive charlantry by the Leftist Media. Their army of late-night fools may woo the young and stupid, the high and low-lifes, and the college idiots. But the truth is still out there. You can’t laugh away the Dow Jones at 23,000.

President Trump – keep on giving those awesome speeches about freedom, get rid of Obamacare, build that wall, and reform the tax code.

It’s what you signed up for.

 

 

Published in: on October 19, 2017 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Merging the Boy Scouts with the Girl Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America just announced that they will begin allowing girls to become Boy Scouts. Among the reasons, they cite demand by one-parent families who want to reduce the amount of time they spend driving their little scouts around to different meetings and dwindling attendance in the Boy Scouts.

The Boy Scouts began having problems as early as the 1950s when troops began allowing younger boys into the organization. The original age for a boy to enter the scouts was 12 years old.  The older scouts felt they were being asked to “babysit” the much younger scouts, whom they regarded as children.

The entrance of younger children in English scouting began soon after the creation of the Boy Scouts. In 1914, Boy Scouts founder Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell began implementing a program for younger boys that was based on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. The Wolf Cub program began in 1916, and since that time, Wolf Cubbing has spread to other European countries with very little change.

In America, hundreds of Cub Scout-age boys and their families were clamoring for a program of their own. As early as 1920, Scout executives at the first national training conference discussed the needs of younger boys. The BSA, however, felt it wise to postpone any action until there was more objective evidence.

By 1929, the new Cubbing program (it wasn’t called “Cub Scouting” until several years later) was taking shape and was introduced as a demonstration project in a limited number of communities. Its structure was similar to today’s Cub Scouting, except that dens were led by Boy Scout den chiefs. The plan included a neighborhood mothers’ committee to encourage Cubs and den chiefs.

In 1930, Cub Scouting was formally launched, with 5,102 boys registered at the end of that first year. By 1933 the time had come to promote Cub Scouting throughout the country as a part of Scouting. All experimental restrictions were removed, and the first national director of Cub Scouting was appointed.

Den mother registration was optional for the first few years. By June 1938, 1,100 den mothers had registered and soon became an important part of Cub Scouting.

The first dens met weekly at a member’s home, where boys played games and enjoyed crafts and ceremonies. The pack met weekly or semi-monthly for games, den competitions, awards, stunts, and other activities. Cubs advanced from Bobcat (for all new members) to Wolf (age 9), Bear (age 10), and Lion (age 11) and joined a Boy Scout troop at age 12.

In 1949, the age requirement was lowered to between 8 and 10 for Cub Scouts. It was then that the older scouts began to complain.  In 1982, Tiger Cubs was started based on shared leadership of boy-adult partner teams and the school year calendar. In 1986, Cub Scouts could register as second-grade boys.

 

 

Scouting’s history goes back to the turn of the 20th century when Baden-Powell, a British Army officer stationed in India, discovered that his men did not know basic first aid or the elementary means of survival in the outdoors. He realized he needed to teach his men many frontier skills, so he wrote a small handbook called “Aids to Scouting”, which emphasized resourcefulness, adaptability, and the qualities of leadership that frontier conditions demanded.

After returning from the Boer War, where he became famous by protecting the small town of Mafeking for 217 days, Baden-Powell was amazed to find that his little handbook had caught the interest of English boys. They were using it to play the game of scouting.

Baden-Powell had the vision to see some new possibilities, and he decided to test his ideas on boys. In August 1907, he gathered about 20 boys and took them to Brownsea Island in a sheltered bay off England’s southern coast. They set up a make-shift camp that would be their home for the next 12 days.

The boys had a great time. They divided into patrols and played games, went on hikes, and learned stalking and pioneering. They learned to cook outdoors without utensils. Scouting began on that island and would sweep the globe in a few years.

The next year, Baden-Powell published his book, “Scouting for Boys,” and Scouting continued to grow. That same year, more than 10,000 Boy Scouts attended a rally held at the Crystal Palace; a mere two years later, membership in Boy Scouts had tripled.

About this same time, the seeds of Scouting were growing in the United States. On a farm in Connecticut, a naturalist and author named Ernest Thompson Seton organized a group of boys called the Woodcraft Indians; and Daniel Carter Beard, an artist and writer, organized the Sons of Daniel Boone. In many ways, the two organizations were similar, but they were not connected. The boys had never heard of Baden-Powell or of Boy Scouts, and yet both groups were destined to become Boy Scouts one day.

But first, an American businessman had to get lost in the fog in England. Chicago businessman and publisher William D. Boyce was wandering through the fog when a boy appeared and offered to lead him to his destination. When they arrived, Boyce tried to tip the boy, but the boy refused and courteously explained that he was a Scout and could not accept payment for a Good Turn.

Intrigued, the publisher questioned the boy and learned more about Scouting. He visited with Baden-Powell as well and became captured by the idea of Scouting. When Boyce boarded the transatlantic steamer for home, he had a suitcase filled with information and ideas. And so, on Feb. 8, 1910, Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America.

The “unknown Scout” who helped him in the fog was never heard from again, but he will never be forgotten. His Good Turn is what brought Scouting to our country.

After the incorporation of the BSA, a group of public-spirited citizens worked to set up the organization. Seton became the first Chief Scout of the BSA, and Beard was made the national commissioner.

The first executive officer was James E. West, a young man from Washington who had risen above a tragic boyhood and physical disability to become a successful lawyer. He dedicated himself to helping all children to have a better life and led the BSA for 32 years as the Chief Scout Executive.

Scouting has grown in the United States from 2,000 Boy Scouts and leaders in 1910 to millions strong today. From a program for Boy Scouts only, it has spread into a program including Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venturers.

The Beginning of Cub Scouting

Back in England, younger boys were eager to become Boy Scouts. In 1914, Baden-Powell began implementing a program for younger boys that was based on Rudyard Kipling’s “Jungle Book.” The Wolf Cub program began in 1916, and since that time, Wolf Cubbing has spread to other European countries with very little change.

In America, hundreds of Cub Scout-age boys and their families were clamoring for a program of their own. As early as 1920, Scout executives at the first national training conference discussed the needs of younger boys. The BSA, however, felt it wise to postpone any action until there was more objective evidence.

In 1925, Dr. Huber W. Hurt, a research psychologist and veteran Scouter, was authorized to study existing organizations for younger boys, such as Boy Rangers, Boy Pioneers, American Eagles, and Boys’ Clubs. He found that only one boy in 50 participated regularly in any type of organized leisure-time program. He also found that younger boys responded better to leadership and program efforts than older boys. He worked closely with Ernest Thompson Seton. Both men recommended that the BSA adopt a program for younger boys, with older Boy Scouts as leaders, to tie into home, church, school, and Boy Scouting.

The National Executive Board authorized the Chief Scout Executive to thoroughly investigate the matter. An advisory committee worked with the BSA to develop a plan and produce the necessary literature. Advice was obtained from leading psychologists, sociologists, teachers, school superintendents, professors of education, college executives, and recreation and welfare directors.

By 1929, the new Cubbing program (it wasn’t called “Cub Scouting” until several years later) was taking shape and was introduced as a demonstration project in a limited number of communities. Its structure was similar to today’s Cub Scouting, except that dens were led by Boy Scout den chiefs. The plan included a neighborhood mothers’ committee to encourage Cubs and Den chiefs.

In 1930, Cub Scouting was formally launched, with 5,102 boys registered at the end of that first year. By 1933 the time had come to promote Cub Scouting throughout the country as a part of Scouting. All experimental restrictions were removed, and the first national director of Cub Scouting was appointed.

Den mother registration was optional for the first few years. By June 1938, 1,100 den mothers had registered and soon became an important part of Cub Scouting.

The first dens met weekly at a member’s home, where boys played games and enjoyed crafts and ceremonies. The pack met weekly or semimonthly for games, den competitions, awards, stunts, and other activities. Cubs advanced from Bobcat (for all new members) to Wolf (age 9), Bear (age 10), and Lion (age 11) and joined a Boy Scout troop at age 12.

In 1949, the age requirement was lowered to between 8 and 10 for Cub Scouts. In 1982, Tiger Cubs was started based on shared leadership of boy-adult partner teams and the school year calendar. In 1986, Cub Scouts could register as second-grade boys.

Cub Scouting in America is different from the younger-boy programs of other countries because it is centered in the home and neighborhood. With the encouragement of family and leaders, boys enjoy a program that covers a wide variety of interesting things. It suggests activities that boys enjoy doing on their own when adults are not supervising them. These activities are particularly suited to boys of Cub Scout age and are different from those they will encounter in Boy Scouting.

A strong influence from Kipling’s Jungle Book remains today. The terms “Law of the Pack,” “Akela,” “Wolf Cub,” “grand howl,” “den,” and “pack” all come from the Jungle Book. At the same time, the Gold and Silver Arrow Points, Webelos emblem, and Arrow of Light emblem are taken from our American Indian heritage.

The Boy Scout leaders may have thought putting the older boys in charge of the younger ones was a great idea; but the 12 year-olds of the time didn’t appreciate babysitting the ever-younger scouts. They wanted to be able to hike and camp without wiping homesick noses.

 

If the Boy Scouts have found their membership dipping, they shouldn’t be too surprised. In 2015, after much government pressure, including being forbidden to hold their meetings in public spaces, the Boy Scouts caved and allowed homosexual men to lead troops.  Now homosexual leaders are involved in the scouts at all levels, including the executive, decision-making level.

 

After that came the acceptance of gay and transgender scouts.

 

The other reason for the membership fall-off is the gradual consumption of rural and suburban woodlands for ever-denser housing and an increase in urban immigration. Boy Scouts – and their families – must travel ever farther to find the open space for activities such as hiking and camping.

 

Don’t think that the Girl Scouts of America are thrilled with this progressive movement by the Boy Scouts. Why would girls need to join a Boy Scout troop when Girl Scout troops already exist?

 

I hated the Girl Scouts. I hated selling their stupid cookies.  The Girl Scouts were much too feminist for my liking.  If we’d baked our own cookies and then sold them, that would have been great.  But all the Girl Scout organization was interested in was raising funds.

 

But I didn’t want to be a Boy Scout, either, even though I felt they had a much better organization (back then). Boy Scouts were for boys after all, and even though I was made an honorary Boy Scout after the Boy Scout leader heard how badly I was treated in the Girl Scouts, there was still that line that I couldn’t cross – and didn’t want to, really.

 

Oddly, in recent years, the Boy Scouts have tried to copy the Girls Scouts’ “business model” forcing the boys to “sell” candy bars and popcorn and so forth. The boys also hold car washes, which is much better because they’re actually involved in earning the money.

 

The boys in the Boy Scouts don’t want to be Girl Scouts. They don’t want to associate with the Girl Scouts.  The BSA has assured the public that the girls will have their “own” troops but we all know that won’t last.  The Boy Scouts’ homosexual leaders want to associate with the Girl Scouts – although the Girl Scouts’ ultra-feminist leaders aren’t having any of it.

 

Those who’ve infiltrated the Boy Scout organization have an agenda – to destroy the Boy Scouts’ quasi-military, self-reliance-oriented playbook. In the socialist future they want to create, there should be no individual initiative, no independence; they want to foster reliance on the government and a culture of communal “teamwork”.  They certainly don’t want to encourage survival skills that might make the scout independent of communal authority.

 

If the Boy Scouts wanted to increase their membership, adding girls to the mix isn’t exactly the way to encourage boys to join. The pacifist elements in the organization will rejoice at the eventual disintegration of the Boy Scouts of America.  In borrowing the Boy Scouts’ history, it was necessary to edit the story of the lost Chicago businessman from “groping” in the fog to “wandering” in the fog.

 

Was it an unfortunate choice of words on the part of the writer?

 

Or a Freudian “slip”?

 

If the Boy Scouts of America fold up their tents, it will just be another chapter in the sad decline of American culture.

 

 

Published in: on October 12, 2017 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment