Not Our Kind, Dear

Victor Davis Hanson, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, explains why he longer works for the magazine of William F. Buckley:

I think there were certain people in the Republican movement, or establishment, who felt it is their duty to internally police their own, and that’s kind of a virtue signal to the left.

We are just part of your class, we share the same values as you do, and we keep our crazies. And they are not empirical.

Empiricism is hardly a growth industry, but clinging to tradition has its charms, especially if doing so allows you to strike down your rivals. There’s a long history of keeping crazies at National Review. During his long reign at NR, Buckley famously put paid to the Birchers and anarcho-capitalists like Murray Rothbard, casting them to the outer darkness. Later on, Buckley cast out writers he had championed, including Joseph Sobran and Pat Buchanan, both for anti-Semitism. My father subscribed to NR and I would read it cover to cover in my youth. Once I set up my own household, I subscribed for over a decade, but after a while the value proposition wasn’t there.  

Buckley has been gone for over a decade now, and while his beloved NR is still in operation, it hasn’t been a serious enterprise for a long time. Back in 2016, NR tried to cast the Bad Orange Man to the outer darkness, marshaling dozens of arguments against the Dread Pirate Drumpf, but all their sound and fury signified, well, nothing. Why was that? No one really took NR seriously any more.

While Victor Davis Hanson doesn’t need a particular platform to be heard, his departure from NR means the cupboard is bare. It’s not surprising, truth be told — Republicanism generally signifies nothing. Hanson knows why:

I think there’s an image that a lot of Republicans have, both in politics and they sort of represent a sober and judicious way of looking at the world, and we are the adults in the room.

And it’s more about a culture than it is an ideology.

I’m not convinced it’s even a culture. From our perch in flyoverland, the conservative movement NR embodies is a pose rather than an attempt at understanding, let alone defending, a culture. Back to Hanson:

The original Republican conservative movement, I thought, was going to go back and look at the Constitution, when Jefferson said it won’t work if you pile up everybody in the cities because they will be subject to mass hysteria. Or de Tocqueville, and you look at certain ideas, I thought that’s what we were.

I thought they would be champions of the middle class, but I don’t think they were. I don’t think they wanted to be.

Hanson is clearly disillusioned, but he had to know the truth — any classicist of his erudition understands that grandeur and the trappings of the elite are powerful intoxicants. And currying favor with our betters is lucrative. 

Smack

Justices Alito and Gorsuch pimp-slaps the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) with a rolled-up copy of the First Amendment.

FIllmore County, with the MPCA at their backs, wanted to force a group of Amish families in Fillmore County to either put in septic tanks or be evicted from their homes:

Fillmore County in 2013 started requiring homes to have modern septic systems to dispose of “gray water” from dishwashing, laundry and such. The Amish sought an exemption, saying their religion prohibits that technology. They offered instead to use earthen basins filled with wood chips to filter water as it drains, which are allowed in some states including Montana and Wyoming. But the county went as far as seeking a court order to force 23 families from their homes if they refused to comply, Gorsuch wrote.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the Minnesota courts “plainly misinterpreted and misapplied” the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which was also at issue in the Philadelphia case.

The act “prohibits governments from infringing sincerely held religious beliefs and practices except as a last resort,” Gorsuch wrote, urging the Minnesota court and local authorities to swiftly resolve the dispute.

“In this country, neither the Amish nor anyone else should have to choose between their farms and their faith,” he said.

Trump’s judicial legacy is looking more and more to far outweigh all stress he caused.

Church, State, And The Condition Of The Soul

It’s been a longstanding issue — how does the Catholic Church deal with politicians who are Catholic, but who actively support policies inimical to the faith? Especially now, since Joe Biden, a lifelong Catholic, is in the Oval Office? The nation’s bishops are meeting this week and the matter is coming to a head:

This week at their annual spring meeting, the bishops of the U.S. Catholic Church — the largest faith group in the country — will debate the meaning of Communion and whether Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be barred from receiving it. The conversation and a vote among the church’s top clerics could have significant ramifications because it centers on one of the most intimate moments of Catholic worship and binds it uniquely to a specific political and policy position.

Intimate moment isn’t quite right; rather, the Eucharist is central to the faith. And within the Church, the centrality of the Eucharist means the stakes are high. But if you’re going to rely on the Washington Post to explain the matter, you’re going to get dogma of a different sort:

The vote comes after two decades of deliberate, passionate focus by Catholic political and theological conservatives to make abortion a litmus test for the sacrament, while church teachings on poverty, climate, racism and authoritarianism, among other things, become more subjective to follow. It also comes after years of hardening toward abortion opponents within the Democratic Party.

Much of that description is doubletalk, frankly. We have 2000 years of history with the Church and arguments about politics have been part of that history from the outset, but poverty has always been an ongoing concern. The default position of Catholicism is faith and works, which is why Catholics build hospitals and schools everywhere they go. And ascribing passion as the prevailing emotion for conservatives is cute, when you consider the behavior of the pro-choice side.

I, like Joe Biden, am a lifelong Catholic. Biden is an ostentatious sinner, but so am I. Understanding my faith has been an ongoing effort for me, especially since the Vatican II teaching I received was equivocal on many issues. I am a graduate of a well-regarded Catholic high school in Wisconsin (Top 50 in the country — just ask them!), but the quality of the religious instruction I received wasn’t very good. Scarcity applies not only to economic matters, but also to clear moral instruction. And in this Archdiocese, which harbored monstrous priests for decades, even the clearest moral instruction is tainted. Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and many other Catholic politicians benefit greatly from this loss of trust. But Biden is a Catholic in a secular world. And I cannot know the condition of his soul; assuming that I do would be a sin as well.

Biden is also a symptom of a larger malady. As time has passed, Catholics in the West have been following the same dismal path that mainline Protestants have followed — the buildings remain, but the people aren’t coming. We still get decent attendance at my parish, but the faithful parishioners are aging rapidly and many young families are otherwise engaged on Sunday.

Still, hope remains. COVID has actually helped our parish school, which remained open while their public school counterparts were on a year-long Zoom call with cameras off. Parents who would not have considered enrolling their kids in a Catholic school gave Catholic education a chance and many of them are returning this year. And there is tremendous energy in the Church, mostly in places that were once missionary lands. It wasn’t a coincidence that the current Pontiff came from South America, even though his worldview is decidedly European, but there is a decent possibility that the next Pope will be from Africa or Asia. A revival is not guaranteed, but the Holy Spirit hasn’t left the building.

Pop Life

I’ve never much liked the entire “Seventies Midwestern Arena Rock” genre. 

But among the bands in that genre, it’s Styx that’s always gone beneath and below the rest, the one whose impression to me swerves from apathy into active dislike.  

It’s not that they couldn’t play.   They certainly had live game. 

But unlike REO Speedwagon, or Head East or Trooper or April Wine (I know, they’re Canadian, but they fit the genre) or Michael Stanley Band or any of the others that were more or less like them, Styx’s Dennis DeYoung spent most of the late seventies and eighties whining about how awful being a pop star was, how degrading the machinery of the stardom industry was, and what mindless sheeple the fans were. 

To which I eventually responded “OK – then go to work in a meat processing plant and quit your whining”.

We’ll come back to that.

———-

This is the Sinead O’Connor I suspect most of us remember:


This is the response I suspect most of us, even us Protestant goyim that found, nevertheless, much that was admirable about JPII, would have loved to have made:

Thirty years and change along, and it turns out it wasn’t (just) rabid anti-Catholicism. Turns out she really, really, really loathed being a pop star, and she also had some serious mother issues:

In the book, she details how her mother physically abused her throughout her childhood. “I won the prize in kindergarten for being able to curl up into the smallest ball, but my teacher never knew why I could do it so well,” she writes…O’Connor was 18 when her mother died, and on that day, she took down the one photograph on her mom’s bedroom wall: the image of the pope. O’Connor carefully saved the photo, waiting for the right moment to destroy it.

“Child abuse is an identity crisis and fame is an identity crisis, so I went straight from one identity crisis into another,” she said. And when she tried to call attention to child abuse through her fame, she was vilified. “People would say that she’s fragile,” Geldof said. “No, no, no. Many people would have collapsed under the weight of being Sinead O’Connor, had it not been Sinead.”

Of course, being an “artist” (I put the term in scare quotes not because O’Connor isn’t one – she was an exceptional singer – but because the term has been stretched far beyond meaning these days) means being able to pass the abuse on without ever having to adopt any sort of adult coping skills, which is one of the reasons people go into being one in the first place.

The piece is an interesting read, although kind of depressing by the time you get to the end and really digest it.


Oh, yeah – I said I’d come back to Styx and Dennis DeYoung. I have a habit of saying “we’ll come back to that”, and I don’t, always. I should go back through a few years of this blog’s history and finish some of those threads.

Anyway. DeYoung.

Uh…

Actually, for all the whining about the pop star life he had (and still has), and how vocally I dislike most everything he has ever written, in or out of Styx, DeYoung would seem have avoided the most cliched pitfalls of stardom; he’s abstemious and rigorously healthy, as devoutly Catholic as O’Connor is, well, not, and he’s been married to the same woman for 50 years; he used to take his family on the road to avoid, y’know, all the problems that families get when Dad is on the road all the time. And as whiny as most of his music was, in interviews he’s always been one of the funniest, most genial, and seemingly audibly well-adjusted, grateful people in the music business.

That might be worth an article all by itself.

Duty

I’ve got a lot of Catholic friends who are also conservatives.

I keep asking them – “when is your bureaucracy going to start enforcing the church’s supposed beliefs, like publicly supporting the right to life, or at least not being pro-infanticide, on “Catholic” politicians?

“We will. We will”.

But they don’t. Never.

But is the specter of Joe Biden, a publicly practicing Catholic, being called “the most faithful President in recent history” (by a chattering class that generally regards Christianity as a den of know-nothjing ignorance) and a representative face for Christianity and Catholicism in public, finally goading the Bishops into action?

Maybe, but don’t bet your mortgage payment on it:

But we now hear from a few murmuring bishops that the Church must address Biden’s unworthy reception of Communion. “US Catholic bishops may press Biden to stop taking Communion,” reads a recent AP headline. Nothing concrete, however, is likely to come from these complaints. The U.S. bishops, as a whole, lack the will to withhold Communion from Biden, even though canon law says that they not only have the right but the duty to do so. Canon 915 “obliges the minister of Holy Communion to refuse the Sacrament” to those in “manifest grave sin.” If Biden’s direct facilitation of the killing of unborn children doesn’t fall into that category, what does?

Not being Catholic, I’m not hip to the vagaries of intra-curial politics, but the American bishops strike this Orthodox Presbyterian as not a whole lot more concerned about such things than the ELCA.

Not An Animal

“Protect” Minnesota has a new executive director.

We’ll come back to that.


Modern American “progressivism”, like all its many forebears in the past 200 years, has been all about rallying people against boogeymen. From “monarchists” in the French Revolution, to “Wreckers” in Stalin’s USSR to the Wobbly’s “Bosses”, up through “the patriarchy” and “the man” and “counterrevolutionaries” in Red China and San Francisco in the sixties and seventies, and if you have a hard time distinguishing between ’em, join the club.

Today, the boogeymen…er, boogiepeople on the left are pretty much all the things that people who are included are told to be “anti”. “Anti-Racism” “Anti-Misogyny” (not just sexism, anymore – it’s the more active, more malevolent noun these days), “Anti-Fascism”, “Anti-Transphobia”, and on and on – all of which sounds like good things to be “anti”…

…and, unsurprisingly, when you dig into the “Root Causes” of all those nouns, all things trace back to “Western Civilization” in all its particulars: the Judeo-Christian value on the individual and their worth, value, rights and responsibilities and potential of each and every person, as a person with a mind, a point of view, and at the end of the day an indivisible soul of personal, societal, political, intellectual and metaphysical worth.

Those aspects of humanity are anathema to progressivism in all its flavors. The focus is on the group – the Marxists “classes”, the Nazi’s irreducible focus on race, the modern academic Left’s obsession with a byzantine network of intersectional identity groups. The individual is nothing but a vote (for now), an appetite, a widget to be moved through the production line of life (like Obamacare’s awful caricature of Progressive humanity, “Julia”). Progressivism is “Materialist”. Souls, individual intellects and thoughts and reams, all are ephemeral; humans are widgets that consume and produce, and whose worth and value (to those in power) is expressed via their membership in the collective.

Those widgets have a term. “Bodies”. Not people. Not brains. Not souls.

Bodies.


Anyway – “P”M has a new director. And unlike the dotty, dizzy neverending font of comedy that was Heather Martens, or the serial fabulist The “Reverend” Nancy Nord Bence, the new director presents us with a few surprises.

She’s “a gun owner herself” – which might be seen in several ways. Is “P”M moderating? Are they realizing that the culture war has slipped far enough away from them, especially over this past year, that they have to start speaking to people who need to be convinced?

And she’s apparently incredibly famous, since she apparently just goes by “Rashmi”. I’ve turned “Protect” Minnesota’s website, Facebook feed and other social media upside down, and not been able to find any reference to a last name, which is Seneviratne, by the way.

But even during the reign of the serial fabulist the Reverend Nord Bence, “Protect” MN wasn’t nearly extreme enough in its hatred of guns and (law-abiding) gun owners, enough for some people.

“P”M spawned a breakway group, “Survivors Lead” – basically a woman, Rachel Joseph, with a long history of progressive activism and a story; an aunt who was murdered, according to Ms. Joseph’s story, by a gun.

Quick aside: I don’t minimize anyone’s trauma over having a loved one murdered. But in the many times I’ve heard Ms. Joseph’s story, she’s never once mentioned a perpetrator, someone actually holding and using the gun that killed her aunt; that persons evil motivation, the legal fallout from the murder, whether that person was sentenced or not. It’d be wrong to crack wise – “what, did the gun animate itself?” – but omitting a perpetrator, his/her motives and the like from the conversation is incredibly intellectually dishonest.

Anyway – “Rashmi” and her apparent moderation are not going over well with “Survivors Lead”:

The extreme heckling the not-as-extreme about getting less extreme. That qualifies as “dog bites man”, at the very most.

Rather less so? There followed some more, er, ethnically pointed traffic on one social media feed (from which I’ve long been blocked) or another.

After which “P”M – operating through its usual social media persona, the omniscient third person that used to be Martens and Nord Bence – responded:

On the one hand, watching the agents of Big Left eating each other is one of my favorite spectator sports.

And if the biggest semi-organic anti-gun group in MInnesota (shaddap about Moms Want Action already) is pivoting from pushing Linda Slocum’s gun grab bill to highlighting the inequity of gun control (“Race, class and geography all play into who gets to have a gun and who doesn’t” – which is something every Second Amendment activist has known for 50 years) and speaking in the first “person” to the prudence of victims of violence to arm up, then in culture war terms that’s the sound of the first tank crossing the pontoon bridge at Remagen.

But…”white bodied privilege?”

What the flaming hootie hoo?

I thought for a moment – is this a shot back at the Rachel Dolezals and Elizabeth Warrens of the world, with their flip-flopping identities, by “actual” “people of color”, reinforcing the idea that while you might “identify” with one degree melanin or another, your apparent appearance still wins out in the great privilege lottery (which will, I suspect, get pilloried hard by the Trans crowd, for whom perceived identity is everything? I’ll let the fight that one out).

But no. It’s much less hilarious than that.

It’s “inclusion language” – slang or argot that one class of people use to track who is in, and who is “out” – to be sure. That’s part of it, and people are noticing:

Referring to people as bodies is a reminder, writer Elizabeth Barnes says in an interview, that “racism isn’t just about the ideas that you have in your head.” Barnes is the author of “The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability, The Girl Behind the Wall.” In intellectual discussions, theories about social oppression sound almost disembodied; “we talk about prejudice,” Barnes says, “like it’s just a matter of ideas.” The point is to emphasize the physical violence done to black people through slavery, lynching, and police brutality. In the case of women, the term “bodies” highlights “what happens to women’s bodies in health care contexts, in sexual contexts, in reproductive contexts.”

But behond that?

It’s a nod to the materialism of the left – that the mind, the thoughts, the indivisible soul of the indivisual human being is not merely irrelevant, but inconvenient to the obsession with identity.

Your melanin defines you.

In some ways its a cheap ad hominem – “of course you’d think that, you are (add a reference to your target’s melanin, or lack thereof)”. But pointing logical fallacies out to the foot soldiers of Big Left is a little like arguing salinity with sharks; it’s just part of the water they swim in.

So – gun groups eating each other? Good.

The debate contributing to the ongoing hijacking of the language? Bad.

The whole thing participating, in its own little way, in the further erosion of one of the ideals that’s made Western Civilization the most successful, and humane , civilization in human history?

Worse.

Just So We’re Clear On This…

President Biden, we’re told, is a devout Catholic, which is a good thing…

…as opposed to Amy Coney Barrett, for whom it was a bad thing.

Also – “Ascendant liberal Christianity is an eternal hope on Big Left. Sort of like Blue Texas. There’s anways been a “blue” church: mainline Presbyterians, white Methodists and Episcopoals, ELCA Lutherans, and an awful lot of mainstream Catholics, who have made their peace with abortion in exchange for programs just as easily as “Feminists” made theirs with Bill Clinton.

The “blue” church is “ascendant” because one of its own is in power. These also happen to be the denominations that are in demogrpaphic free-fall.

But there is no narrative but the narrative.

Obligation

It’s that time of year.  I’m receiving exhortations to Give Back such as this one from TCF Bank.  They annoy me.

Why this time of year, particularly?  The message doesn’t explicitly link December to Christmas to Jesus Christ and thence to a duty of Christian Charity, because that would be overtly religious and might offend someone.  But if my obligation to Give Back isn’t a religious obligation, from whence does it arise?  And if it is a religious duty, what if my religion takes a different view and why are you imposing your religion on me? 

How much am I obligated to give back?  10%  More?  Is it a progressive obligation – the more I make, the greater percentage I must give?  Give to whom?  My church or mosque or synagogue, because it’s a religious obligation; or some do-gooder group so I can purchase a bit of vicarious virtue?  Does ‘shopping locally’ count as ‘giving back’ if I shop at a nearby big box retailer because the little stores were closed by decree of King Herod . . . I mean . . . Governor Walz?

I dislike the modern fetish of using Christmas to promote social causes rather than remember Christ.  I prefer the old method of soliciting donations for charitable causes:

‘At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,’ said the gentleman, taking up a pen, `it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir. . . A few of us are endeavoring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink,and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

That pitch appeals to me.  So do the bell ringers at the Salvation Army kettle.  That’s why I never pass one without dropping a buck in the bucket.  I made a special point of withdrawing $20 in ones, just to have them on hand.  Because they don’t engage in silly virtue signaling, they quietly help people in need.

Joe Doakes

1000% on board re the Salvation Army. I never pass one of them without dropping in a buck or five (or at least I never pass ’em twice – I grab cash and break the bill on the way out).

Deplorablx

So why did Latinos vote for Trump in record numbers?

Because they’re a bunch of bitter Jesus Freaks, according to the guy who made “bigger Jebus freaks” a political class and social identity group:

.@BarackObama: “There’s a lot of evangelical Hispanics who…the fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans, or puts detainees— undocumented workers— in cages,they think that’s less important than the fact that he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion.” pic.twitter.com/g13DHGcM7y

Is there a President in history who has so fully incorporated condescension into his brand as Obama?

BTW – GOP outreach to Latinos needs to lead, front-and-center, with this for the next four years.

Also with cooling it with the “Deport-em-all” talk.

My Checklist

My “Black Friday” checklist:Wednesday before Thanksgiving:

  1. Make sure I’ve got groceries and essentials sufficient to get through ’til Monday. Check.
  2. Anticipate the places I need to go for the next three days, and map out routes avoiding major malls, Targets, Walmarts and commercial districts. Check.
  3. Switch on NPR and start counting all the “celebrities” and “newscasters” referring to this next four weeks as the most miserable, dysfunctional time of the year, full of family one hates because of their politics and the onerous nature of having to engage in forced civility while celebrating gratitude and humility while apparently feeling neither. Make sure I have a fresh set of legal pads, since it gets worse every year. Check.
  4. Silently ponder, for yet another year, converting to Russian Orthodox Christianity, at least in part to put Christmas off til January 6 and get some awesome savings on presents in the week between Christmas and New Years. Check.

OK. I’m good to go.

Happy Day After Thanksgiving, everyone!

Subservient

These tweets have made the rounds of conservative social, cable and broadcast media.

Which doesn’t mean they don’t need to be splattered far and wide.

Berg’s Seventh Law is omnipresent:

“Irony” – Judge Coney Barrett is already one of the nation’s most powerful jurists, even if she never gets on the SCOTUS (and here’s hoping she does, and soon). She’s accomplished more in her life, so far, than any of the people yapping on Twitter about “The Handmaids Tale” “parallels” in her faith life.

Just saying – if “People of Praise” preaches “subservience for women”, they’re doing a terrible job of it.

Oh, yeah – Berg’s Seventh Law”

If the left didn’t have double standards…

…well, you know where we go from here.

Pretty Much Any/Every Day On Twitter

THEM: “You are a Christian. You believe in an invisible man that controls everyone and everything. A flying spaghetti monster. I, on the other hand, am a creature of pure reason! I believe in an evidence-based life!”

ME: “I *am* a Christian.”

“And you believe that a fetus isn’t human until it is born, that there are hundreds of genders, that the remedy to climate change is to hand the keys of the world’s economy over to the same people that can’t manage the Drivers License office, that men can menstruate, that the “elite” media doesn’t serve an institutional narrative, that there’s an impending wave of “right wing domestic terror” coming any day now but “Anti”-Fa is just a bunch of idealistic kids.

“You believe that Western civilization for all its faults has no more merit than Iranian or Chinese or Nigerian civilization, that Bjørn Lomborg and John Lott are hacks but Greta Thunberg and David Hogg are voices of reason, that gun control saves lives and that the law-abiding gun owner is a massacre waiting to happen, hat socialism in large, complex, heterogenous societies isn’t a vortex that leads to poverty and massive wealth inequity and death, that open borders lead to freedom, prosperity and justice, that American democracy is defined by and inextricable from slavery.

“You think that our election system is simultaneously run by the Russians but not at all no way no how chock full of domestic election fraud, that all Christians are young-earth Creationists and that faith is the opposite of reason – which would mean that Ben Carson knows less about science than some pinhead reporter at CNN.

“Tell me again about that evidence-based life?”

“Transgressive”

Brazilian “comedy” features a gay Jesus:

The Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos (which literally translates to “back door”) appears to have a real hang-up about our Lord and Christianity in general. Last December the group released The Last Hangover on Netflix, a movie that blends Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples and The Hangover into a night of drunken debauchery where Jesus disappears.
This year, in this new Christmas special, Jesus turns 30 and brings his gay boyfriend home to meet Mary and Joseph.

Pretty daring.

Not as daring as a gay Mohammed would be.

Wonder why nobody’s green-lit that?

Oh, yeah. Christians won’t blow you up.

Not to Hollywood; wanna be really “transgressive”? Portray Christ as the focal point of a western civilization that made your life, and the intellectual (and “intellectual”) freedom to make your lives possible.

You’d never do lunch on Rodeo Drive again, of course, but you’d sure be transgressive!

The Club

It’s no secret that Democrats like Ilhan Omar are openly anti-Semitic and actively seek to destroy Israel.
President Trump says Jews who support such Democrats are betraying their own people and the nation of Israel. 
Paul Mirengoff, writing at Powerline, is upset the President would point this out. Trump is not a Jew.  It’s “inappropriate” for him to speak out.  He “slanders” Jews.
Mirengoff says there are lots of reason Jews might prefer Democrats over Trump, policy reasons or domestic issues.  True, but irrelevant.  If Candidate A says he will give you everything you ever dreamed of, for free, and also will destroy Israel, then voting for Candidate A means you are voting to destroy Israel. 
Mirengoff is the perfect stereotype of the Dave Durenberger – Arne Carlson style of Republican.  It’s no wonder conservatives were sold out time and again while liberals advanced their agenda. 
Being nice is not more important than telling the truth.
Joe Doakes

I suspect Mirengoff (whom I’ve interviewed) is speaking more or less clinically about Jews’ reasons for preferring Democrats, but Joe is correct. It’s easy to “clinical” your way into despotism.

Minnesota’s Intellectual Titan Strikes Again

Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan lights up Rep. Ilhan Omar – and Muslim extremism:

“Omar does not represent me as a Muslim, (she) does not represent millions of Muslims in the Middle East. You know like in Arab countries we call her the Muslim Brotherhood,” Idan, 29, said on the podcast The Sara Carter Show on Aug. 4.

Now, do you remember when Omar was sworn in? The way she got lionized for representing the future for Muslim women in America?

Apparently Rep. Omar does not (I’m adding emphasis):

Shortly after the interview aired, Omar, 37, fired back at Idan on Twitter, saying, “Hey, I might be wrong but I don’t think you are a #MN05 resident and like that makes be [sic] not your representative.”

#IntellectualHeftAtWork

The former Miss Iraq replied, “Seriously @IlhanMN this is your intellectual come back?” She then went on to lambaste Omar as anti-American and antisemitic. In a series of follow-up tweets she accused Omar of pursuing a “Muslim Brotherhood agenda using this democracy to further YOUR & YOUR FRIENDS Islamic socialism goals of dividing & weakening our country.”

I don’t know who I want to see reading this piece more; DFLers, or the rump Xenophobe coalition in the GOP, who keep asking “where are the Muslims pushing back against the extremists?”, and ignoring when…well, Muslims push back against extremists:

On Friday, Idan also blasted Omar for using her platform as congresswoman to advocate for the freedom of Hoda Abdelmonem, a senior member of the Muslim brotherhood, but not to help women “enslaved by mandatory sharia/in jail awaiting an imminent death for speaking out against dictatorial regimes.”
Idan, who now lives in the US, called out antisemitism taught in Muslim countries and voiced support for Israel at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, last month. She was forced to flee Iraq with her family after receiving death threats in November 2017 for taking a selfie with Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman at the Miss Universe beauty pageant.

Maybe Idan can be persuaded to come to Minnesota and run against Omar?

I doubt the DFL will have her, of course.

The PCUSA And The Big Sort

I’m a Christian.

Beyond that, I’m pretty committed to the Presbyterian church. Part of it is that the church traditionally favors ministers who give really good sermons; my dad was a speech teacher, and “giving speaker points” is kind of the family business. More importantly, I believe the Presbyterian book of worship puts less temporal fuzz between man and Christ than any other denomination.

And American democracy was influenced for the better by the Presbyterian church’s manner of temporal government.

But the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US, has been pulling *hard* to the left since I was in my twenties. They’ve dived deep into the “social justice” swamp; some congregations go out of their way to make it *extremely* uncomfortable to dissent with church leadership, not on matters of faith, but on matters of temporal government policy and social belief.

And it shows. The PCUSA is on track to disappear, demographically, by 2040 – worse than the Episcopals. Its membership is collapsing faster than the Cleveland Indians every June. It’s easier to find a closed PCUSA church than an operating one in most of the Twin Cities these days. And church leadership – the “General Assembly” – publicly calls this a feature, not a bug; they rejoice at all those dissenters leaving the PCUSA and going elsewhere. They are, in short, participating enthusiastically in tribalizing America – in pushing “The Big Sort” that is polarizing every facet of American life.

The hiring of a full-time gun control activist wrapped in an ecclesiastical costume is just a further nail in the PCUSA’s demographic coffin. I left the PCUSA 12 years ago; it’s a pity, because I’d leave them again if I could.

And I hate that – the fact that the PCUSA is driving people away from their spiritual home over matters that, in the eternal scheme of things, aren’t what the church is supposed to be into. Several of the most important, formative figures of my life are or were PCUSA pastors. Much of what I am today, at least the good stuff, is because of the influence that my church’s pastor and youth group leaders, and some of my Presbyterian-affiliated college faculty, had on me.

I don’t think that matters to the PCUSA anymore.

And when I say “ecclesiastical costume”, I’m being pretty charitable and neutral:

I expect resistance because when you talk about guns, you are tapping into the part of the brain that protects one’s identity. Guns and identity are linked for many people; that is why I have developed a spiritual practice that helps us shift our bodies from fight-or-flight mode and teaches us to welcome and hold with compassion all the sensations that arise in our bodies. When we connect with one another on the level of personal experience, it leads to empathy. Establishing empathy is key in peacemaking.


I’d be tempted to ask if she thinks that’d work with Nik Cruz, Dylan Roof, Omar Matteen and the like – but then, I’m pretty sure “dodging reality” is the reverend’s stock in trade.

If you’re a Presbyterian? There *are* options. I’ve moved to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The “Presbyterian Church in America” is also out there. I recommend you take a look at it, if you can.

By the way: “thoughts and prayers” – also known as reflection and rational thought – are *exactly* what is needed after a tragedy or atrocity – and nothing about thinking and praying rules out needed action. But thinking (and if you’re a believer, prayer/meditation/mindfulness) are nothing but a benefit when it comes to taking the *right* action.

And anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to logroll you…

…oh, yeah. Never mind.

The Snowiest Flake

75 years ago, thousands of Americans – teenagers or not far removed from it, mostly – waded through the surf into machine gun fire to begin liberating Europe.

This is their legacy of boldness and forthright courage:

Mr. Ford: the National Day of Prayer “stigmatizes” you in exactly the same way the Irish Fair “stigmatizes” Norwegians.

If Atheists managed to jam down a “National Day of Skepticism”, all it would do is keep them occupied (presumbly withe the vegans and crossfitters) while I go about my business.

But then, I’m not nearly that “woke”, so what do I know?

Sign O The Times

Back about the time I took my first carry permit training, the late great Joel Rosenberg told the story of the time in the early 2000s, during a spate of attacks on synagogues, when a very “progressive”, DFL-leaning local congregation called him and a few other prominent gun rights activists who are also of the tribe, and asked if they might not mind – privately and discretely, mind you – bringing a little “insurance” to services with them.

Just in case.

To the best of my knowledge, they did.

It was probably 2-3 years ago I interviewed the guys from Archway Defense, who discussed how frequently places of worship of all faiths are targeted, by everyone from mentally disturbed vandals to outright hate-criminals and terrorists. The rate – for Christians and Muslims, but especially Jews, is far out of proportion with their numbers in society.

And for all the smug, self-righteous virtue signaling of some congregations, the record is pretty clear; congregations who at least quietly take self-defense into their own hands and leave temporal forgiveness to God tend to do better when someone decides to stage their final blaze of glory in their “sanctuary“.

And common sense is driving some of those congregants and congregations to ask the questions that need to be asked.

And Minnesota’s Second Amendment community has some answers.

We've been contacted by a number of folks in the past day inquiring about arming parishioners at their church, mosque,…

Posted by Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus on Sunday, April 28, 2019

Remember – if you want to deter a spree killer, the only thing that needs to be publicly recognized as “potentially armed” is your congregation, school or group’s reputation.

An Opportunity

To:  The Council for American/Islamic Relations
From:  Mitch Berg, Crabby Peasant
Re:  Well, You Know

Dear CAIR:

For starters – condolences about last week’s shooting.   It’s a horrible thing and proves that even the most placid parts of the First World can be awful, anarchic places.  This should be a lesson for a lot of privileged, white, First World “progressives”…

But I digress.

Your Minnesota chair called for Minnesotans to reject Islamophobia:

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a press conference Friday morning in Minneapolis, with a number of speakers highlighting the threat of anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States and across the world.

Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR-MN, called for all Minnesotans to stand against Islamophobia.

“The only way we can move forward is when the average Minnesotan says, ‘Not in my state, not on my watch,’” he said. “That is the only way we can move forward.”

On a couple levels, I couldn’t agree more.  I’ve fought with some of my political party’s moron bigot fringe against “Islamophobia”.  And like a lot of  people like me, I’ve offered to take any Muslim citizen who wants to learn a more active form of self-defense to the range (given that the closest thing to a positive lesson one can take from last week’s atrocity is that “a good guy with a gun” works for Muslims too).

But while we’re talking about bigotry – let’s see to all the antisemitism?

Don’t be coy.  You know it exists. You may not agree it’s a bad thing…

…and right there, there’s the problem.

Any chance you could speak out against that?

Have your people call my people.

That is all.

The Real Problem With Ilhan Omar

Some of my conservative – and in some cases “conservative” – circle of acquaintances are exercised over Ilhan Omar’s Muslim faith. Some of the more hysterical believe she’s the vanguard of an invasion bringing “Sharia” law to the United States.

In its time, the US has withstood attacks by the greatest empire the world has ever known, by international socialism, Naziism and Communism. A seventh-century ideology that can barely feed its own people isn’t going to conquer us. And Muslims make up less than half a percent of the American population; if they manage to impose Sharia on the other 99.5% of the population, the majority will probably deserve what befalls them.

But the problem with Ilhan Omar isn’t that she’s Muslim. It’s that she’s a “progressive“:

Ilhan Omar attended a 2017 conference in Istanbul with left-wing advocates, including a pro-abortion group that calls for “abortions beyond laws and borders,” and activists who aim to “challenge patriarchal structures.”
Rolling Stone recently lauded the congresswoman, who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic comments, as “everything Trump is trying to ban.” Omar told the magazine she was afraid to leave the country in early 2017 after President Donald Trump signed an executive order restricting travel from seven Middle Eastern countries the administration identified as terrorist hotbeds.
“I had just gotten sworn in [to the Minnesota Legislature] two weeks before,” Omar said, remarking on the executive order 13769, signed on Jan. 27, 2017. “There was lots of chaos, people being stopped at the airports. I had a flight scheduled a week after to speak at a human-rights conference in Turkey. I didn’t know whether I could go.”…The conference was in Istanbul, Turkey, which was not affected by the travel ban. Nevertheless, Omar used her upcoming appearance at the International Human Rights Defenders Conference, which was organized by the local Turkish government and the British Embassy in Ankara, as a cudgel to attack the president.

“Progressivism” will destroy this country long before Islam will.

“But she’s an anti-Semite!”

So are “Progressives”. Any antisemitism that comes from her Muslim background is an intersection with her real religion, “progressivism” – not an addition.

The GOP Dumbass Bigot Caucus

GOP precinct in Texas is working on removing a high-ranking officer…

Because he’s Muslim :

 Republican leaders in one of the most populous counties in Texas want to remove a party vice chairman because he’s Muslim, according to emails between party leaders.

The emails delivered anonymously to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram indicate the Tarrant County GOP executive committee plans to vote Jan. 10 on whether to remove Shahid Shafi from his leadership position.

Some in the party say Shafi, a surgeon and city council member in a Fort Worth suburb, may be more loyal to Islamic law or not supportive enough of the party’s pro-Israel platform.

Shafi counters that he supports American laws and the court system, and says he has no affiliation to “any terrorist organization,” as some have alleged. Shafi, who became a U.S. citizen in 2009 and shortly after joined the Republican Party, says he supports the Second Amendment and has never promoted Sharia, or Islamic, law.

Members of the Republican Party’s burgeoning “Dumbass Bigot Caucus” would respond by claiming “every Muslim in the universe obeys every “Hadith” in the Koran to the letter, including the ones about deceiving infidels”, implying that Muslims, regardless of sector or even observance (25% of ethnic/cultural Muslims are non-observant) adhere to their holy texts absolutely, without question and all in the same way, in a way that no other faith does (or perhaps you’ve noticed how not a single Catholic gets divorced or get an abortion, no evangelicals ever root for Notre Dame, and no Jews ever, ever eat pork).

Radical Islam – Wahhabism and radical Shia – and attendant Muslim laws are a threat to western civilization – or at least to weak, fundamentally corrupt and decaying ones, like in Europe. The United States is still, despite the best efforts of progressives, a vibrant, strong, resilient nation, the kind of place people want to come to. We cannot, and will never be, defeated by an external threat – List of all by one that wants to drag humanity back to the seventh century A.D.

Progressivism, on the other hand, is a clear, present, immediate threat to this nation and everything that made it strong, vital and resilient. And this kind of bigotry drives pro-life, pro free market, pro second amendment, pro constitutional, people who happen to be Muslim straight into the arms of the progressives.

It is – I’ll be diplomatic – cripplingly shortsighted, and the kind of thing that needs to be expunged from the party.

Rena Moran And The Pro-Mutilation Lobby

In the last session, legislation that would have added penalties to parents for subjecting their daughters to “female circumcision” – more accurately called “genital mutilation” – passed by a near-unanimous margin in the House, but stalled in the Senate.  The DFLers who opposed the bill carried out the wishes of the far-left “there are no bad cultural traditions in a multicultural society!” crowd, who believe that further regulating the practice of forever crushing a young female’s chance of enjoying sex would keep families from going to the doctor, lead to troubles with immigration authorities, and push the barbaric practice even farther underground.

Not sure I remember having the same deference to Christian parents who were also snake-handlers.  I’ll have to look into that.

The practice is illegal in Minnesota – but taking children to one of the 23 states where it’s not is currently a loophole under Minnesota law.

Mary Franson, the author of the last bill, is back – and pushing it into the face of the multi-culti majority in the House:

Rep. Mary Franson, an Alexandria Republican, said Friedman’s ruling underscores the need for her bill, which passed the House 124-4 in 2017, but never got a vote or hearing in the Senate in the 2017 or 2018 sessions. The Michigan case was the impetus for her bill.

“I will never stop fighting for the safety of little girls, and will keep working to put an end to this barbaric practice and punish parents who subject their daughters to these horrors,” she said in a statement.

Franson is asking for hearings on the bill with the House Health and Human Services Committee.

The committee is chaired by Rena Moran – one of the four DFLers who voted against the bill in the house during the last session.

So the question becomes:  will Rena Moran be standing up for the rights of parents to mutilate their children?