Sunday, December 31, 2017

Keep Your Family Close: A New Year's Tale on What Might Have Been - By Susan D. Harris

Every year at this time, traders at the New York Stock Exchange rededicate themselves to carrying on the 100-plus-year tradition of singing "Wait Till the Sun Shines Nellie."  Sung on both Christmas and New Year's Eve, it's a yearly reminder of another story that originated over 100 years ago.
The story I have to tell begins with a little wagon – handcrafted in 1913 as a gift by John Henry for his young son Lynn, though his son would never see it.  For years it was stowed away, almost hidden, in John Henry's barn.  When John Henry was much older, he pulled the wagon out from under the hay in the barn loft and told the story of the wagon to the first and only person to hear it.
He told a story of meeting and marrying a beautiful young wife, Nellie, and how she gave birth to their son, Lynn, and then to their daughter, Nellie May, three years later.  Nellie May was a strong, healthy baby.  Her mother, Nellie, as was sadly common in those days, died a few days after childbirth.  John Henry was now a widower, left alone to care for his two small children.
Somehow he managed, and well into the next summer, with increasing eagerness, he began working on a wagon for his son's third birthday.  As bees buzzed and August grew hotter, a panic began to bubble, trickle, and then roar through town – just as the river split it.
A cholera epidemic was sweeping through the community.  Reports of the dead and dying gripped families in fear.  Suddenly, little Lynn was sick and dead before his father had even grasped what was happening – before he'd even gotten to see his wagon.  Anxiously, the father watched over Nellie May's crib, hoping she would be spared.  She was not.  Within one week, he had lost both children.  This meant he had lost his entire family within the space of one year.
A newspaper article told of John Henry's "extreme bereavement," and the story spread to newspapers around the region.
How did the grief-stricken man find the faith to survive?  Surely it was his faith in God...and eventually the comfort of a widowed woman with whom he formed a special bond that turned into a lifelong love.
His marriage to Mina was a happy one that would produce five children.  Sometimes, though, when John Henry was especially happy, he would forget himself and sing the song he used to sing to the bride of his youth: "Wait Till the Sun Shines Nellie."  Then he would catch himself and stop.
Though Mina knew she shouldn't, she couldn't help but feel almost hurt when she'd hear him singing it.  Since she and the children knew of his first family and the tragedy that had befallen them, the song inevitably formed an unspoken cloud of sadness as they were reminded of their father's loss so many years before.
Besides the song that he'd sung to Nellie in happy times, John Henry never spoke of his first family – that is, until one day when he was in the barn with his youngest child, Benjamin, now a young man.  Perhaps it was because he was particularly close to Benjamin that he did it, but John Henry went to the loft and pulled out the little wagon – and talked about Lynn for the first and last time.  Benjamin would be the only one to hear the story of the ungiven gift and the only one to see the fine handiwork his father had created for a half-brother he'd never known.
One day, while still a child myself, I saw a news clip of the New York Stock Exchange and the traders singing "Wait Till the Sun Shines Nellie."  Just beginning my lifelong love of old music, I decided to learn it and sing it for my parents.
As I began to sing, my parents looked shocked, stopped me, and wondered where on Earth I learned such an old song.  I told them about the stock exchange...but they simply suggested that it was best I didn't sing it.
Finally, sometime in my teens, I asked why the "Nellie" song wasn't to be sung in our house.  It was then that my mother told me the story of John Henry – my grandfather – and his first family.  Then she told me of the little wagon he had shown my father, Benjamin.  Now I understood why it was best that I not add the song to my repertoire.
My grandfather was born in 1887, and since he lived to a ripe old age, I was blessed to know him.  He visited us regularly.
Still, it seemed strange to me that an event that happened over sixty years before still carried any weight in my family.  Perhaps it was because of the disturbing reality that if that first family had lived, my father would have never been born.  My family would have never existed!
Due to a wide span of time, my grandfather and I did not share the Earth long enough for me to ask him all the questions I would have liked.  Even my father admitted that due to joining the Navy so young, then raising his own family, he'd also never thought to ask his father questions until it was too late.
For instance, my grandfather had made only one mention (that anyone could remember) of his second cousin, Clara, who attended the theater with President Lincoln when he was assassinated.  After all, it was a hot day, and we were all going for ice the conversation ended short, and the subject was never broached again.  It was only just before he died – when he gave us the book of our family genealogy – that we realized how little Grandpa ever mentioned and how little we'd ever asked.
(Maybe, as this new year begins, we should add a resolution to ask our older family members questions like "Where were you when...?"  We might just find out how we got where we are now.)
After my grandfather's talk with my father in the barn, the little wagon from 1913 was never seen again.  Perhaps, like the small sled "Rosebud" in the movieCitizen Kane, it sizzled into obscurity in a furnace where no one knew its history – and where no one had ever heard the song "Wait Till the Sun Shines Nellie."
Susan D. Harris can be reached at

US longevity and illegal immigration - By Marion DS Dreyfus

The always unpleasant and marginally factual Washington Post asserts the population of the US is dying on average years before our wealthy cousins abroad, nations also on the up and aspiring up.
The difference is that the WaPo genius fails to refer to the singular element that differentiates us from most nations:  We have been letting in over a million Other for years, many of them below the educational and health horizons we assume for locals. In addition to that number swelling the ranks upwardly striving, the open sesame exists for all intents and purposes for approximately 30 million unbidden noncitizens, coming in willy-nilly, without any vetting, without documents, and without health certifications civil nations  pride themselves on maintaining.
From 2000 to 2017, approximately 16 million illegals have surged in, stopped by neither Presidents Bush nor Obama.
These figures represent not only a general lowering of national IQ and professionalism, they represent also people whose culinary, sociological and cultural values vary considerably from our generally elevated standards of health and keeping up with the latest views on optimal self-care.
Endless influxes of strangers without the same regard for good nutrition, sleep, avoiding wellness pitfalls almost axiomatically translates into more maternal mortality, early expiry, smoking, diabetes and other ageing diseases that played little part in the consciousness of these newcomers, sneak-ins or welcome-mat types.
Millions of such people lower the threshold of a nation, obviously. Japan, which stringently monitors its visitors and citizens with eagle-like tenacity, permits few outsiders, and even wealthy incomers cannot boast of acceptance in the land of the setting sun, even with a perilously low native birthright. So, the average Japanese lives far longer than most other nationals in even wealthy nations do. The downside is that they are now among the oldest populations in the civilized world.
Presto. The shortfall in years is not due to scurrilous policies of the current sterling administration working so hard to get us back on track.
The early demises are due, rather, to millions of noncitizens bringing their native lack of longevity into the good old USA. Lower rates of maternal and pregnancy attention mean that more mothers die of complications and poor planning as well as belated physician care.
Drugs contribute to earlier death stats. Gang warfare, among them MS13, for instance, brings the mortality rate down another notch or two.
Government statistics do not yet collate (or so we are told) such salient aspects of the avalanche of “migrants,” “asylees” and “refugees” we are entertaining all over the 50 states.
All the fails go into the one pot, and the Washington Post editors forgot to fact check the most obvious contributors to the downward curve of national longevity.
Among other goals set for a foundation with which I am associated is the goal of extending the too-short lives of African women from sub-Saharan countries, where living conditions conspire against managing to have a normal 70 or 80-year time on Earth. President Trump has no part of responsibility for that, Same as he has no responsibility in one short year for any kind of meaningful stat to do with health and life expectancy.
These areas are multipartite, with numerous streams of causality contributing to any measurement after a determined period of time. One must consider many elements before a scientist can make any reasonable assumptions and formulate a fair theory of etiology.
Hat tip: Toss out those who came aboard and brung us their hometown enviro woes -- then watch the lifespan stats re-jigger all the way back where they were trending when President Reagan thought he had licked the invasive foreigner problem by declaring a last-ditch amnesty. The “last” amnesty we were ever to accord.
Which just set the odometer back temporarily to neutral. Meanwhile, the lifespans are still going to keep drifting downward, so long as we keep the borders porous and the opposition party devotedly bringing blankets, a cup of Joe and all the country’s delightful, flashy ‘entitlements’ to the crowded welcome wagon on the Rio Grande.

The Trouble with Conservatism - By Robert Curry

When FDR stole the name of "liberalism" to disguise the fact that he was a Progressive, he succeeded in doing more than simply confusing America's voters in his day, many of whom had been made suspicious of Progressivism by Woodrow Wilson's policies.  Taking for the Progressives the name that once belonged to the American founders was more than a brilliant election-winning tactical masterstroke.  FDR's plan to sow confusion in the minds of the political opposition to Progressivism has become a war-winning strategy.  We see the results all around us.  While flying the flag of liberalism, the Progressives laid waste to the liberal Republic of the American founders.
The classical liberalism of the American founders focused on reining in the powers of government.  The purpose of the founders' design of the government was protecting our unalienable rights from encroachment by people in the government.  Taking their cue from the German thinker GWF Hegel by way of Woodrow Wilson, the Progressives instead put their faith in the state.  They rejected the idea of the American Republic root and branch.  But the original Progressives understood the American people well enough to know that overthrowing the Republic by force and violence was out of the question.  So they set out to overthrow it little by little, progressively.
FDR's capture of the flag of his political opponents made it easier for the Progressives to advance their project.  FDR left without a name the political opposition that wanted America to continue to live according to the Constitution.  What should they call themselves?  As Charles Kesler writes in his book I Am the Change, "FDR suggested, helpfully, that they ought to call themselves conservatives, a designation they were loath to accept because it sounded ...vaguely un-American[.] ... Robert Taft, "Mr. Conservative," was still insisting he was a liberal in 1946." 
They finally gave in and started calling themselves "conservatives."  Giving in had a bad consequence, because the American idea is not conservative.  It is true that the American miracle includes the prudence of the founders, and prudence is a virtue prized by conservatives.  But the American Republic is the most radical regime of liberty, the most radically liberal regime in human history. By calling themselves conservatives and thinking of themselves as conservatives, Progressivism's opposition gradually tended to lose sight of the principles that made America.
Conservatism is fundamentally a disposition.  It represents the political expression of caution and the underappreciated virtue of prudence.  It defends the traditional.  Since drastic, hasty change is likely to have unintended consequences, even terrible ones, we must protect our traditions, make change slowly and carefully, and be on the lookout for unintended consequences, says the prudent-minded conservative.
Probably every society and every time has its conservatives, with tenets specific to each society's traditions.  For example, English conservatives today might want to preserve the monarchy, the Church of England as the established church, and the British aristocracy.  In the same way, those Iranians who opposed the revolution that changed Iran from a monarchy to a radical Islamist theocracy or those Russians who long for the return of the Soviet Union are often referred to as "conservatives."  However, to call them conservative is not to suggest that they hold similar political principles or that their political principles are similar to those of an American dedicated to the principles of the American Founders.
According to F.A. Hayek, whether British, Iranian, Russian, or American, the trouble with conservatism is this:
It may succeed by its resistance to current tendencies in slowing down undesirable developments, but, since it does not indicate another direction, it cannot prevent their continuance.  It has, for this reason, invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing.
Hayek's description does seem to capture the story of the last century in American politics – the Progressives setting the agenda and their opposition dragged unwillingly along a path not of its own choosing.  During the past century, the classical liberal order of liberty, free markets, and limited government has been in the process of being systematically dismantled by the Progressives.  Change has become the name of the political game, and the direction of change is being set by the Progressives.  The rate of change is not the problem; America's problem is the direction.
But worse, because the opposition began thinking of themselves as conservatives, they began to look to traditional conservative thinkers for guidance – thinkers like Edmund Burke, the brilliant and eloquent champion of prudence and tradition but not of the American idea.  Burkean conservatism is a far cry from the classical liberalism of the American founding; it cannot light our way home. 
We need to find our way by making the founders' principles once again our polar star.  If Americans decide to reclaim the limited government and achieve the truly liberal, the classically liberal, society envisioned by the founders, we must be guided by the founders' wisdom.  It will require a complete change of direction.  Slowing the rate of the Progressive advance won't save the Republic.
There is much to undo and a bountiful harvest of progress and liberty to be gained. 
Robert Curry serves on the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute and on the Board of Distinguished Advisers of the Ronald Reagan Center for Freedom and Understanding.  He is the author of Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea from Encounter Books.  You can preview the book here.

The DOJ and FBI rot from the head down. So who's the head? - By Brian C. Joondeph

There is an old expression, "a fish rots from the head down," meaning that in any organization, leadership sets the tone.  For better or for worse.  Where does the DOJ-FBI rot begin?
The Trump-Russia collusion investigation is on life support.  After months of investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his army of highly partisan investigators, spending millions of taxpayer dollars, all Mueller has to show for his efforts is a handful of process crimes that have nothing to do with the original allegations that the Trump campaign worked with Putin to influence the 2016 election.
With 90 percent of media coverage negative toward President Trump, you can be certain that if Trump conspired with Russia to hack the election, these same media would have long ago found evidence of collusion.  But they haven't, have they?  Instead, they hyperventilate over nonsense, such as a truck blocking their view of Trump's golf course, now a three-day story for CNN.
In reality, the only collusion was a bunch of Obama imbeds, scheming and conspiring to drag their coughing and collapsing candidate across the finish line by interfering with the right of Americans to choose their next president.  Then there was a bogus dossier, created as opposition research, used by the FBI and DOJ as a "national security matter" to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on candidate Trump and his family and associates.
The conspiracy was legion, with many agency heads and upper managers working together to undermine an election.  After failing to undermine the election, they then concocted the collusion story to justify a special counsel, staffed with the same Obama administration imbeds, to cover their illegal tracks.  Gateway Pundit compiled a long list of bad actors and actresses participating in this melodrama.
Who's the head of the rotten fish?  Former attorney general Loretta Lynch?  She met with Bill Clinton on the airport tarmac ahead of the election, directing FBI director James Comey to exonerate candidate Hillary Clinton over "gross negligence" in her handling of classified emails.
Or is Comey the head of the fish, as FBI director, tying himself and the law into a pretzel to excuse Mrs. Clinton's criminal behavior?  What about Mueller when he was FBI director, giving a pass to Fast and Furious, the Clinton Foundation, and the Uranium One deal?
How about former A.G. Eric Holder, directing his energies to another bogus narrative, "hands up, don't shoot," rather than voter fraud and the same illegalities that Mueller ignored as FBI director?
Is Hillary Clinton the head of the fish?  Close, but no cigar.  She had her share of scandals with her Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, and her overall "pay to play" approach to public service as secretary of state.  But during her ramp up to running for president, she was not a government employee, despite her family tentacles reaching into many dark recesses of the Deep State.
Her campaign did commission and pay for the phony dossier, but it was beyond her power and influence to convince the DOJ and FBI to dress up the dossier as legitimate intelligence worthy of a major counterintelligence effort, including domestic surveillance.
These players could not have behaved as they did without the approval of the head of the fish, the occupant of the Oval Office – none other than President Barack Obama.  Whether explicit or implicit, his directions were crystal-clear to his underlings – his attorney general, his FBI director, his IRS commissioner, and all the other agency heads serving at his pleasure.
No one working in the Obama administration would take on such chicanery and corruption on his own.  This all had the blessing of the boss.  Don't expect a smoking gun – a videotape of Obama directing his underlings to buy a salacious dossier, gussy it up as an intelligence report, convince a FISA court to permit wiretapping of American citizens, all in an effort to thwart an election.  Maybe there are some incriminating emails floating around, assuming they haven't been wiped from someone's server or hidden from congressional investigators.
But make no mistake that none of this would have happened without the approval of the boss man in the Oval Office.  If his standard were to respect law and electoral tradition, none of this would have happened.  Yet his name is conspicuously absent from lists and photo montages of Deep-Staters working for Mueller or recently "reassigned" to less visible positions within the swamp.
Will a former president ever be held accountable for such misdeeds?  Fat chance.  Bill Clinton, despite the wave of sexual harassment and abuse stories of the past few months, is still a darling of the Democratic Party.
The DOJ OIG report is due in mid-January.  Will this report be a reckoning for President Trump against the swamp?  Will lower-tier players squeal on their superiors to stay out of prison?  Will the thousands of sealed indictments see the light of day, served against the guilty?  Or will it be another whitewash, typical of the swamp protecting its serpents?
I believe the former but fear the latter.  And I am under no illusions that the former president will be held to account, despite serving as the captain of this corrupt ship for eight years.
It's easy to blame Lynch, Comey, Mueller, and their underlings, but they are only the body of the rotting fish.  Not the head.  It's fine to look at the rotting fish body, but answers and accountability come only when the focus is on the rotting head.  Maybe next month, we start dissecting the rotting fish.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter

Vox Popoli: Credit where credit is due

It's always embarrassing when writers who have never worked a single day in their lives at any business that actually makes anything try to opine on matters related to management:

Conservative writer Roger Simon argues that all “remaining Never Trumpers” must apologize for being wrong about the president. He chalks up Trump’s “astoundingly successful” first year to the fact the president is a “quick study.”

But what evidence is there that Trump has actually learned the art of presidential management?

Aside from the mandatory flattery required of Republican elected officials, there’s remarkably little testimony that Trump has involved himself in the process of governing. Tax reform was carried across the finish line by the GOP congressional leadership. Net neutrality was repealed by independent Republicans at the Federal Communications Commission. Foreign policy is a more mixed bag. If the president deserves credit for the defeat of Islamic State, it’s because he let “the generals” do their thing. On the other hand, credit (or blame) for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris accord on climate change certainly goes to him.

In general, it seems to me that Trump’s success (such as it is) is less attributable to sudden mastery of the issues than to staying out of the way of rank-and-file Republican policymakers, activists, and bureaucrats.

What Goldberg fails to recognize is that staying out of the way of competent subordinates is the key to the art of all successful executive management. Donald Trump is the exact opposite of Richard Nixon Lyndon Johnson, who didn't hesitate to get on the phone with a lieutenant in the field in Vietnam in setting a ridiculous new standard for micromanagement in foreign policy.

Micromanagers like LBJ reliably fail for the obvious reason that no one can know everything, master everything, prioritize everything, and be everywhere at once. Only Reagan had similarly developed delegation skills, but he did not choose his subordinates as well as Trump has, and more importantly, Reagan did not hold his subordinates accountable the way Trump does.

None of this should be a surprise. Back in November 2016, I observed, "The God-Emperor is absolutely ruthless when it comes to taking action on underperforming team members. He doesn't care how it looks, he just shuffles the deck and draws."

That's why I expected, and continue to expect, the Trump presidency to be vastly more successful than anyone anticipated. It's why I expect him to easily win re-election in 2020. The great CEOs have always been able to master the delicate balance between staying out of their subordinates' way and stepping in to deal with matters themselves when personal intervention becomes necessary. And lacking business experience as he does, Jonah completely fails to understand Trump's demonstrated mastery of this balance, as he absurdly credits the Republican establishment for Trump's success.

To listen to Trump’s cheerleaders, the biggest obstacle to conservative victories is the party establishment, when in reality it looks more like it’s running the show.

Not only is the GOPe not running the show anymore, it has been largely broken to heel by Trump, as evidenced by the Republican Congress's sudden ability to pass tax reform after repeatedly failing to do anything. The large number of pre-2018 retirements and resignations will further demonstrate that the GOPe is no longer in control, as will the success of Trump-endorsed candidates in the Congressional and Senatorial elections.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

"We Europeans Are Christians": Christmas Address 2017 by Viktor Orbán - Hungary PM

Today the attack is targeting the foundations of our life and our world. They do not want us to be who we are; they want us to change. By the light of Christmas candles we can clearly see that when they attack Christian culture they are also attempting to eliminate Europe…
Editor’s Note: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary delivered this Christmas Address on December 27, 2017.
We await the Christian world’s great festival: the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. In silent waiting we raise our eyes, we free ourselves from the worries of everyday life, and the soul’s horizon opens up. In this special atmosphere we can sum up the past year and think once more about the nature of our tasks in the world for the year ahead.
Whether or not we admit it or realise it, we Europeans live in a culture ordered in line with the teachings of Christ. Here I can quote the well-known words of an earlier Hungarian prime minister, the late József Antall: “In Europe, even an atheist is Christian.” We Hungarians rightly regard ourselves as a Christian nation. Our mother tongue, through which we have grasped and shaped reality, is not related to that of any other European nation. This also has valuable consequences.
From Mihály Babits we know that the Hungarian spirit was born when our Eastern character met Western Christian culture. And we can add that this was the source of the Hungarian worldview and mentality. But this has also caused much difficulty, incomprehension, loneliness and, occasionally, a feeling of being strangers to those around us. Nevertheless, for a thousand years our Christian essence and our living faith have kept us in the heart of Europe. This is why, right down to the present, we remain true to the culture of our mother tongue, and we are proud of the contribution made to the rise of Europe by our nation’s achievements over the course of a millennium.
According to the Gospel of Saint Mark, Christ’s second commandment is “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There has been much talk of Christ’s commandment in Europe nowadays. It is used to rebuke us for declaring ourselves to be Christian, while at the same time declaring that we do not want millions of people from other continents settling in Europe—and that we even refuse to let them in.
But this commandment consists of two parts, and our accusers have forgotten the second part: we must love our neighbour, but we must also love ourselves. Loving ourselves also means accepting and protecting everything that embodies what we are and who we are. Loving ourselves means that we love our country, our nation, our family, Hungarian culture and European civilisation. Within these contexts, our freedom—Hungarian freedom—has unfolded, and can unfold, time after time.
For centuries our lives were shaped by the knowledge that Hungary’s freedom was also a guarantee of Europe’s freedom. It was with this sense of mission that we stood our ground during the period of Ottoman conquest, it was this which sharpened the blades of Petőfi and his fellow rebels, and it was this which emboldened the Lads of Pest. Our Fundamental Law says, “We are proud that our king Saint Stephen built the Hungarian state on solid ground and made our country a part of Christian Europe one thousand years ago”, and “We recognise the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood”.
When we draw the boundaries of our identity, we mark out Christian culture as the source of our pride and sustaining strength. Christianity is a culture and a civilisation. It is within this that we live. The essence is not how many people go to church, or how many pray with true devotion. Culture is the reality of everyday life: how we speak and behave towards one another; the distance we keep from one another and how we approach one another; how we enter this world, and how we leave it. For European people, Christian culture determines the morals of our daily lives. In borderline situations, this gives us a benchmark and a compass. Amidst the contradictions of life, Christian culture shows us the way. It determines our understanding of justice and injustice, the relationship between men and women, family, success, work and honour.
Our culture is the culture of life. Our starting-point—the alpha and omega of our philosophy of life—is the value of life, the dignity that every person has received from God. Without this we could not evaluate “human rights” and similar modern conceptions. This is why we doubt whether we can export this into the life of civilisations built on other foundations.
The fundamental elements of European life are now under attack. There is now a threat to the self-evident nature of European life: those things one should not need to think deeply about, but on which one only has to act. The essence of culture is that if it is not self-evident, we the people will lose our reference points: one will have no footholds, and one will have nothing against which to check one’s clock or one’s compass. Regardless of whether or not we attend church—or if so, which one we attend—we do not want to be forced to celebrate Christmas behind drawn curtains to avoid hurting the feelings of others.
We do not want our Christmas markets to be rebranded, and we definitely do not want to have to retreat behind concrete barriers. We do not want our children to be deprived of the joys of Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus and the Christmas angels. We do not want to be robbed of the Feast of the Resurrection. We do not want our religious festivals and ceremonies to be haunted by anxiety and fear. We do not want our women and daughters to be molested in crowds of New Year’s Eve revellers.
We Europeans are Christians. All this is ours, and this is how we live. Hitherto we have seen it as natural that Jesus was born, died on the cross for us and then rose from the dead. For us our religious festivals are self-evident, and we look to them to give meaning to our everyday lives. Culture is similar to the human body’s immune system: as long as it is working properly, we do not even notice it. It becomes noticeable and important to us when it is weakened. When crosses are airbrushed from photographs, when people seek to remove the cross from a statue of Pope John Paul II, when they try to change how we celebrate our festivals, then every right-thinking European citizen bristles with anger. This is also true of those for whom Christianity—as Gyula Juhász brilliantly put it—is “just paganism with holy water”. And it is even true of those like Oriana Fallaci, who feared for Europe as “an atheist Christian”.
Today the attack is targeting the foundations of our life and our world. Europe’s immune system is being deliberately weakened. They do not want us to be who we are. They want us to become something which we do not want to be. They want us to mix together with peoples from another world and, so that the process will be smooth, they want us to change. By the light of Christmas candles we can clearly see that when they attack Christian culture they are also attempting to eliminate Europe. They want to take our life from us, and exchange it for something that is not our life. In return for the life we have lived up to now they are promising one which is new and more enlightened. This, however, is a utopia: not the essence of real life, but distilled from abstract, theoretical sophistry. Utopias are dreams: potentially wonderful, and therefore alluring. But they are just as incoherent, impenetrable, obscure and meaningless as dreams are. One cannot live in them, or be guided by them.
We cannot claim that Christian culture is the peak of perfection. This is precisely the key to Christian culture: we are aware of imperfection, including our own imperfection; but we have learned to live with this, to draw inspiration from it and to derive impetus from it. This is why for centuries we Europeans we have been striving to improve the world. The gift borne by imperfection is that we are given the opportunity to improve. Those who promise a beautiful, new, mixed world now want to take this opportunity from us. Now they also want to destroy everything that we must preserve for future generations; our duty to do so is derived from the knowledge that, when called upon to do so, our ancestors shed blood to preserve it for us.
Although the fact was forgotten for a while, ever more frequently nowadays I hear that sixty years ago the European Union’s founding fathers marked out the route: Europe, as Robert Schuman said, will be Christian, or it will be nothing. The year 2017 has presented European countries with a historic task. A new task has been given to the free nations of Europe and the national governments elected by free citizens: we must protect Christian culture. We must do this not to oppose others, but to defend ourselves, our families, our nation, our countries and Europe, “the homeland of homelands”.
In 2017 we also saw that leaders of the European countries approach the task in different ways: there are those who say that this problem does not exist; others believe that this is progress itself; and still others have set out on the path of surrender. There are also some who sit on their hands and wait for someone else to solve this problem for them. Hungary’s one-thousand-year history proves that we are not like this. We tread a different path. Our starting-point has always been that we have the right to our own life. And we have defended this right whenever we have had the strength to do so. That is why for years we have been working to strengthen Hungary so that it can finally stand on its own feet again.
As far as 2018 is concerned, we can say that for as long as the national government leads the country, we shall work intelligently, calmly but uncompromisingly to ensure that our homeland remains a Christian culture and a Hungarian country. And we shall do our utmost to ensure that Europe remains European.
 I wish everyone a Happy Christmas.
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Begging The Question, Abortion, And Slavery - Posted by R. Scott Clark

Given America’s sad history with slavery and the shame with which it is regarded today one might think that defenders of Roe v Wade (1973) would be a little more cautious about the rhetoric they use in defense of what they regard as an absolute right to abortion. The two are connected. Recently, defenders of Roe v Wade (1973) submitted enough requests to the State of Nebraska to justify a license plate that reads, “My Body, My Choice.” They did so in response to a pro-life plate that said, “Choose Life.” The rhetoric “My Body, My Choice” is essentially identical to one of the defenses for chattel slavery as practiced by Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries. Slave owners argued that slaves were their property and it is no one else’s business what they did with their property. Paul Finkelman writes, “[th]roughout the Revolution, southern politicians argued that slaves were property, not persons” (p. 113). Were human beings capable of being property, that would be true but it begs the question to assume that humans can be property. In order to justify this way of thinking both pro-abortionists and slavers had to deprive the slaves and infants in utero of their humanity. The pro-abortionists do this with the slogan, “My Body, My Choice.” Like their slave-owning forebears, they too must deprive the humans within their bodies of humanity. There is no question, of course, whether the pregnant woman is involved in having a baby. What is in question is the status of the baby. The slogan, “My Body, My Choice” assumes what must be proven, that the infant developing within the pregnant mother is a mere appendage of the mother.
All of the evidence of what I am aware is to the contrary. As has been noted before in this space, in the study of human biology, we are said to develop from an embryo  (a zygote , i.e., a fertilized ovum then to a blastocyst) in the first 8 weeks to a fetus, which covers the remaining 7 months. To borrow a bit more from that earlier essay, infant humans are humans. Humans conceive human embryos. Those embryos develop into human infants. Our English word embyro is just the Greek word μβρυον (Embyon) for foetus (fetus) and Foetus is Latin for infant. From a biological perspective, all the stuff that determines what we become is already present. From a logical perspective, it makes no sense to say that we become human either in utero or after. Who says? On what basis? Any answer is bound to be either entirely subjective or self-serving.
So, from all that most of us know about basic human biology tells us that the premise of the slogan, “My Body, My Choice” is false. There are, in fact, two bodies in question here: the woman’s and the baby’s. Yes, the woman’s body is intimately involved in the process, so much so that (ordinarily) without the assistance of the mother, that the infant cannot survive without her. Nevertheless, the baby is also a human person. Whatever ignorance beclouded the minds of the majority in Roe and Doe in 1973, such ignorance is no longer possible. We know too much. Anyone who has ever watched the credits of the old Drew Carey Show arguably knows more about human development than did Justice Blackmon in Roe.
The facts will not permit us to grant the premise. It is not “My Body” alone in question. Therefore, the question of whether to end that second, helpless, infant life is not merely “My Choice” anymore than it was ever the slaver’s choice to buy, sell, rape, or murder slaves. Notice the attached poster. They were being sold as if they were a commodity. They were dehumanized and commodified in the same way that rice and fabrics were sold as commodities.
In the few occasions I have had civil discussions with defenders of abortion on demand I have been struck both by how similar their rhetoric is to that of the American slavers and by how unconscious they are of that relationship. Were I to ask them in they are willing to buy and sell their neighbor or, to press the analogy, to take their unconscious, sleeping neighbor to a clinic to have them dismembered, they would be justifiably horrified but at least some of them, are positively proud of their decision to do the same to their unborn children. It does not appear to have occurred to them that they are using the same rhetoric and logic of the slavers whom they rightly abhor. They speak about unborn persons in the very same categories used by the slavers of the 18th and 19th centuries. They treat unborn humans as bad or worse than the slavers did their slaves.
Just as human beings are not mere appendages (your liver does not have its own DNA, if left in safety, a human embryo develops into a mature human, that is not true of your heart) so too human beings are not like rice and beans. The stealing, buying, and selling of humans is a great evil. Certainly man stealing is a sin (Ex 21:16) and the “peculiar institution” of slavery as practiced by Americans in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries was sinful. To the best of my knowledge, it was not exactly like slavery practiced in the ancient near east, which is reflect in scripture, or even like the slavery practiced in the Greco-Roman world, with which Scripture is familiar.
The point here, however, is that the same folk who rightly decry the evil of human trafficking, who denounce heatedly the shameful American history of slavery, nevertheless speak (and apparently think) about unborn humans in the same categories as the slavers they deplore. It is your body but it is not only your body. All that we know from science and experience tells us that human developing within you is a person, endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights. It is one of the great wonders of our deeply confused age that so many are so self-deceived that they cannot or will not see it.

Some mobile games are listening to what children watch - But the developer says its ok because it asks for permission first.

Just in time for the new season of Black Mirror, another report of a company using smartphones to listen in on users has surfaced. The New York Times reported this week that a number of apps are using software produced by a startup called Alphonso and it uses a smartphone's microphone to listen for particular audio signals in TV shows, advertisements and movies. In many cases, Alphonso then has Shazam identify what those audio snippets are and all of the collected data can then be sold to advertisers who can use it to better target their ads.
Alphonso says that its software doesn't record human speech and that its practices are included in app descriptions and privacy policies. Users also have to agree to open up their microphones and location services to the apps before Alphonso's software does any data collection. "The consumer is opting in knowingly and can opt out any time," Ashish Chordia, Alphonso's CEO, told the New York Times. While the New York Timesspotted over 250 games in the Google Play store that used Alphonso's software, as well as some in Apple's App Store, Alphonso says there are around 1,000 apps using its product. And although Chordia said that the company didn't support the use of its software in kids' apps, the New York Times found a few apps geared towards children that did integrate Alphonso's software.
This certainly isn't the first time a company has found itself in hot water for using people's smartphones to listen in on what they watch. Last year, the FTC sent warnings to 12 developers whose apps contained Silverpush software, which used a similar framework to tap into users' viewing habits, and didn't inform customers. And earlier this year, Vizio paid the FTC and New Jersey $2.2 million to settle charges over tracking users' viewing histories across 11 million smart TVs.
While Alphonso says its practices are on the up and up and in accordance with FTC regulations, others say that's not really enough. "We have to be really careful as we have more devices capturing more information in living rooms and bedrooms and on the street and in other people's homes that the public is not blindsided and surprised by things," Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, which works with advertisers on targeted TV ads, told the New York Times. "It's not what's legal. It is what's not creepy."

Lincoln "Partners" with the Police State - EPautos - Libertarian Car Talk

Sexing up the police state isn’t easy – but Lincoln’s trying.
Ford’s luxury line now offers – scratch that, includes as standard equipment– a “complimentary” membership in CLEAR, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s “fast” and “efficient” biometric cattle tag program, already in use at public airports and other public-access venues.
But not, it’s worth a mention, at private-access airports – i.e., general aviation, where the Heimatsicherheitsdienst (that’s Homeland Security Department in the more appropriate – and original – German) does not fondle and grope, nor body scan travelers rich enough to avoid public air travel. This includes, of course, the politicians who gave us the Heimat and the Sicherheitsdienst.
But not themselves.
Just as they exempted themselves from the strictures of Obamacare.
Which is, as Charlie Chan used to say, very interesting.
Maybe the ululating “enemies of freedom” we are constantly menaced by – so we’re told – are too broke to afford a charter flight for their evildoing. They fly coach. This, at any rate, appears to be the thinking. If we assume that preventing “terrorism” via airplane is the true purpose of the TSA.
Which of course, it’s not.
Instead of presenting his papers, old timey-style – and being interrogated (and felt up) by a blue-uniformed government goon until he’s satisfactorily passed his Submission Training session – the lucky Lincoln owner will be greeted curbside by a helpful CLEAR “team member” – we’re all just one big team, you know – who will then “escort” him to a “dedicated” CLEAR lane, where the “customer” (yes, they actually use that term) will step up to a special kiosk for speedier processing via iris scan and fingerprint.
Do this just the once and your unique biological signature will be recorded forever – allegedly in order to hasten your transit through the Heimat. In actuality, to make it easier for the organs of the Heimat to keep tabs on you forever – and not just at the airport. Once your eyes have been scanned, you can be scanned anywhere there is a scanner. Which is eventually going to be everywhere – and already well on the way.
The sell is that you’ll “bypass the usual long lines” and “walk through security in minutes every time.” Temple Grandin – the famous animal behaviorist – developed a similar technique, intended to soothe cattle making the transition from four hoofs on the ground to sides of beef hanging in the meat locker.
Keep them calm – and make the trip more enjoyable.
Two hooves or four, the end goal is the same. And it’s not in the best interests of the cows.
“We are thrilled to be part of Lincoln’s vision to enhance its clients’ lives in new and exciting ways,” exults CLEAR CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker. “There’s a natural fit between our shared focus on making travel simpler at every step along the customer journey.”
Mark that. The “customer journey.”
Just like Temple Grandin’s happy cows.
It’s all logical, as inevitable as C follows B follows A. First, normalize the outrageous. Get people used to affronts, most especially intrusions upon their privacy and personal space without cause.
Routinize the rifling of their possessions, first. Then, compel them to accept being routinely touched – again, without cause – by government workers; and not merely touched, but violated in the most personal way imaginable short of actual insertion. Make them endure this being done to their wives and children, while they stand by, helpless and degraded.
Treat people who’ve done nothing exactly as if they had. Take it a step further and compel them to prove they haven’t done anything as a condition of being treated – after the fact – as innocent.
It was once the case that only those who’d been charged with a serious crime – a felony– were subject to being fingerprinted. Now, we’re being conditioned to accept being fingerprinted and retina-scanned as a luxury by Lincoln.
Such is life in the Heimat.
. . .
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Will War Cancel Trump’s Triumphs? - By Patrick J. Buchanan

Asked what he did during the French Revolution, Abbe Sieyes replied, “I survived.”
Donald Trump can make the same boast.
No other political figure has so dominated our discourse. And none, not Joe McCarthy in his heyday in the early ’50s, nor Richard Nixon in Watergate, received such intensive and intemperate coverage and commentary as has our 45th president.
Whatever one may think of Trump, he is a leader and a fighter, not a quitter. How many politicians could have sustained the beatings Trump has taken, and remained as cocky and confident?
And looking back on what may fairly be called The Year of Trump, his achievements have surprised even some of his enemies.
With the U.S. military given a freer hand by Trump, a U.S.-led coalition helped expel ISIS from its twin capitals of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, driving it back into a desert enclave on the Iraq-Syria border. The caliphate is dead, and the caliph nowhere to be found.
The economy, with the boot of Barack Obama off its neck, has been growing at 3 percent. The stock market has soared to record highs. Unemployment is down to 4 percent. And Trump and Congress just passed the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan.
With deregulation, which conservative Republicans preached to deaf ears in the Bush I and Bush II eras, Trump and those he has put into positions of power have exceeded expectations.
Pipelines Obama blocked have been approved. Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge has been opened to exploratory drilling. We have exited a Paris climate accord that favored China over the U.S.
Though Beijing’s trade surplus with us is returning to record highs, a spirit of “America First” economic nationalism is pervasive among U.S. trade negotiators,
The one justice named to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, appears in the Antonin Scalia tradition. And under Chairman Chuck Grassley, the Senate judiciary committee is moving conservatives and strict constructionists onto U.S. appellate and district courts.
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Politically, however, the year brought bad news, with portents of worse to come. In November, the Republican Party was thrashed in Virginia, losing all state offices, and then lost a Senate seat in Alabama.
Given polls showing Trump under water and the GOP running 10 points behind the Democratic Party in favorability, there is a possibility the GOP could lose the House in 2018.
And though Democrats have three times as many seats at risk in 2018, the GOP losing the Senate is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Should that happen, the conservative dream of a recapture of the U.S. Supreme Court could swiftly vanish.
Recall: Democratic Senates turned down two Nixon nominees and Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork, forcing both presidents to name justices who evolved into moderates and liberals on the high court.
But it is in the realm of foreign policy where the real perils seem to lie. President Trump has been persuaded by his national security team to send Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, for use against the tanks and armor of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Should Petro Poroshenko’s Kiev regime reignite the war in his breakaway provinces bordering Russia, Vladimir Putin is less likely to let him crush the rebels than to intervene with superior forces and rout the Ukrainian army.
Trump’s choice then? Accept defeat and humiliation for our “ally” — or escalate and widen the conflict with Russia.
Putin’s interest in the Donbass, a part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union for centuries, is obvious.
What, exactly, is ours — to justify a showdown with Moscow?
In this city there is also a powerful propaganda push to have this country tear up the nuclear deal John Kerry negotiated with Iran, and confront the Iranians in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Persian Gulf.
But how much backing would Trump have for another U.S. war in that blood-soaked region, after Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria?
Who would stand with us, and for how long?
When Trump declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and pledged to move our embassy there, we had to veto a unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution condemning us. Then the General Assembly denounced the U.S. in a resolution supported by all our key NATO allies, Russia and China, and every Arab and Muslim nation.
A day later, Trump complained on Twitter that we have “foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East.”
What then would justify a new $1 or $2 trillion war with the largest nation on the Persian Gulf, which could send oil to $200 a barrel and sink the global economy?
Cui bono? For whose benefit all these wars?
The Korean War finished Truman. Vietnam finished LBJ. Reagan said putting Marines into Lebanon was his worst mistake. Iraq cost Bush II both houses of Congress and his party the presidency in 2008.
Should Trump become a war president, he’ll likely become a one-term president.

Trump's Energy Success - By Jeffrey Folks

Just six months ago, the Trump administration was attacked for its "slow start."  It was said to be "in disarray," in "chaos," "at war" with itself, and incapable of governing.  Now the list of successes has piled up, making it clear that, if the trend continues, President Trump will become one of our more important presidents.  Far from being a do-nothing administration, the Trump team is a White House on steroids.
One of the president's major successes is in the area of energy policy.  Along with energy secretary Rick Perry, the president is overseeing the recovery of the American energy sector from the low point it hit under the Obama administration.  By a combination of executive orders totally restrictiong drilling on federal lands and EPA assaults on fracking and coal-mining, including a total ban on mountaintop-mining, Obama prosecuted a "war" not just on coal, but on fossil fuels generally.
Now America has become the largest producer of oil and gas and a major exporter of natural gas.  The U.S. now produces significantly more hydrocarbons than second-place Russia and twice as much as Saudi Arabia.  As coal-mining is restored, pipelines are laid, and new wells are drilled, hundreds of thousands of jobs are being created across the economy, not just in drilling and mining, but in support services.
The effect on the economy is already being felt.  According to, a leading employment recruitment site, oil jobs are making a "huge comeback," with "100,000 new jobs by 2018."  And these are high paying jobs: "the average pay of the oil and gas industry is 85% higher than the national average."  Each new job in the energy field creates others in areas like steel production, rig technology, transportation, and general services.  And the money earned in these high paying fields circulates through the economy.
With the passage of a provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowing oil exploration in ANWR, the president has another success.  The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge contains vast reserves of recoverable oil currently estimated at10.4 billion barrels.  Development has been blocked by misguided and ill informed opposition from environmental groups.  Now, with great care for the environment, oil companies will have the opportunity to produce vast amounts of energy while drilling only 3% of ANWR.
According to a report from the House Committee on Natural Resources, "total governmental revenue" from ANWR drilling will run $440 billion.  ANWR alone will create between 55,000 and 130,000 new high paying jobs.
It is not just ANWR.  By removing unnecessary restrictions on fracking and by opening other federal lands to drilling, President Trump is promoting energy independence rather than standing in its way.  He has opened federal lands for drilling, including land in two national monuments in southern Utah.  Vast federal lands in the Western U.S. offer other opportunities.
In April, the president signed an executive order reversing Obama's ban on new offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic.  Current estimates show that almost 90 billion barrels of oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lie under the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.  Those estimates have a way of being revised upward, especially for regions such as these that have not been explored with modern technology due to past restrictions.  Offshore drilling has the potential to produce ten times the number of jobs and government revenue projected for ANWR.  At the high end, that would be 1,300,000 high paying jobs and $4.4 trillion in state and federal revenue.
Under President Obama, American coal-mining suffered a near-death experience.  Now, under EPA director Scott Pruitt, the Trump administration is taking steps to restore coal to its rightful place in America's energy supply mix.  Though it will take years to complete, the reversal of Obama's Clean Power Plan that began back in October will take government out of the frame of "picking winners and losers."  Coal will still have to compete with natural gas, but at least it will be allowed to compete.
The president's accomplishments in the field of energy policy are not limited to fossil fuels.  His Energy Department recently committed $100 million to promoting Transformative Energy Projects intended to spur early-stage innovators.  The department continues to promote alternative energy sources and energy conservation, important contributors to energy independence.  Energy conservation in particular can go a long way toward making America energy-independent.
With the opening of new lands to fracking and conventional drilling and the restoration of mining in the Appalachian region, the energy sector has gone from moribund to robust practically overnight.  One of the president's first actions wasthe elimination of the Steam Protection Rule, which imposed crippling burdens of regulation on the industry.  As a result, production has begun to increase.  
As the U.S. Energy Information Agency's annual "Outlook" makes clear, the future for American energy production is bright.  The Outlook models future production across a wide range of different scenarios, and it concludes that the U.S. "is projected to become a net energy exporter by 2026" in its Reference Case projections but that it may do so earlier under three side cases.  After 2026, the scale of exports expands rapidly in all cases.
Perhaps the most consequential of the president's actions in the field of energy is his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.  While withdrawal from the accord does not have significant immediate consequences, its long-term effect is great.  Its most important effect will be to reduce the possibility of a deluge of environmental lawsuits based largely on the agreement signed by President Obama.  These lawsuits would have blocked American energy production to gratify a self-appointed global environmental elite – at the expense of the American people.    
The president's accomplishments are many, but energy stands out.  America is now the world's premiere producer of fossil fuels.  In just one year, we have gone from a dismal future, in which the government planned to shut down fossil fuels almost entirely by mid-century, to a nation on the cusp of total energy independence.  "Make America Great Again" was not just a clever campaign slogan; it is a reality in the field of energy production, as in so many other areas under President Trump.        
Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).