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Founded?
A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past.
Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog.

The children started to discuss the dog's duties.

"They use him to keep crowds back," said one youngster.

"No," said another, "he's just for good luck."

Then a third child brought the argument to a close...

"They use the dog," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrant."

*.*

While on maternity leave, a woman from our office brought in her new bundle of joy. She also had her seven-year- old son with her. Everyone gathered around the baby, and the little boy asked, "Mommy, can I have some money to buy a soda?"

"What do you say?" she asked.

Respectfully, the boy replied, "You're thin and beautiful."

The woman reached in her purse and gave her son the money.

*.*

KABUL — Young Afghan hipster Hesh Gul is making a name for himself in Kabul with his locally-sourced artisan bombs.

“Those big Pakistani bomb factories use their mass-produced fireworks to try to put the little guys like me out of business,” Gul commented as he rolled out a fresh batch of homemade explosives. “They may have started small like we did here at Improvised Explosive Delights, but they’ve really sold out. Their bombs have no heart.”

The IED facilities are located in a newly-gentrified section of Hesh’s village next to a Hole Foods outside of Kabul.

“I don’t deliver by goat because it’s faster,” Gul said, adjusting his horn-rimmed glasses.“I do it because it’s better.”

Mo Jahani, Gul’s assistant, says what they do is really about social justice. “Did you know that ninety-nine percent of Afghanistan’s bombs are owned by one percent of the population?” Jahani sneered, sipping a glass of fair-trade chai. “Sounds like a system rigged to blow at any time if you ask me.”

Gul, an unassuming figure in his skinny jeans and ironic Osama bin Laden t-shirt from Turban Outfitters, casts a big shadow in his community. When he’s not running operations at his shop, his sister says he lives green and is an outspoken feminist.

“Hesh was zero-emission before those Taliban posers destroyed all the roads and infrastructure,” his sister claims. “Hesh also supports equal employment for women in jobs like law enforcement. When I am killed for speaking with you because you are not my husband, Hesh will insist that more women and less men do the stoning.”

Hesh shook his head. “Fewer men,” he corrected as he put on a vinyl record of Arcade Fire.

“And ignore that bag of industrial-grade fertilizer,” Gul remarked. “It’s strictly for making bombs. I wouldn’t be caught dead eating anything grown with that poison.”

USAID administrator Gayle Smith predicts that boutique, socially-conscious businesses like Gul’s will lead to a more prosperous Afghanistan. “Hesh’s business uses over fifty percent reclaimed materials, such as landmines and mortar shells left behind by the Soviets,” says Smith. “And the shop’s bombs are so ineffective, they leave hardly any carbon footprint.”

In addition, Smith noted, using cruelty-free ingredients ensures that no animals are harmed in the production of the bombs.

*.*

A study says people suffering from acne may live longer. If you were looking for the key to longevity, that's zit.

Always follow your dreams. The odds are likely that they'll lead you to the restroom.

I saw this on a readerboard the other day - "I'm not superstitious. Just a little stitious."

A poll says 29% of Americans trust the media's fact checking of candidates. But only .3% actually believe that poll.

Ferrari has already sold out all 200 of their new $2.2-million supercars. They come complete with a turbo engine, leather interior and sixteen speeding tickets.

A study by the University of Nebraska says that telemarketers are more likely to permanently lose their voices. Of course, the big question: when?

Ford has announced they're bringing back the Bronco. They didn't need to announce that a former football player will not be the spokesperson.

Is denial on the rise in the United States?

Former USC and Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich is being charged in connection with a nude break-in attempt of a home in Irvine, California. I’m just afraid to ask where he was carrying his I.D.

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a pair of socks meant to be worn with sandals from 2,000 years ago. They figured the guy was married because they were found on the floor.

*.*

A guy applies to the welfare office. They ask why he needs financial assistance.

"I'm having trouble with my eyes," the man says.

"I can't see myself going to work."

Quote of the Times;
A vast cloud of billowing smoke is certainly no proof of any fire, but only a fool would completely ignore it without attempting further investigation. – Unz

Link of the Times;
http://ace.mu.nu/

Issue of the Times;
What’s Exceptional About American Exceptionalism? By Allen C. Guelzo

The nation was founded on natural law and natural right, not myth or tribal legend.

Americans like to believe that they are an exceptional people. We speak of ourselves as a nation lifting our light beside the golden door, a people who “more than self their country loved and mercy more than life,” in the words of “America the Beautiful.” The first person to apply the term “exceptional” to Americans was a Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, in his prophetic survey of American life in the 1830s, Democracy in America. But the germ of the idea had been around even longer, and it has never lost its grip on our imagination. Rallying Americans to his program for a new “Morning in America,” Ronald Reagan described America in almost mystical terms as a “shining city on a hill.” The light it shone with was like none that lighted any other nation. “I’ve always believed that this blessed land was set apart in a special way,” Reagan said in 1983, “that there was some divine plan that placed the two great continents here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth who had a deep love for freedom.” In his 2012 presidential bid, Mitt Romney hailed America as “an exceptional country with a unique destiny and role in the world.” By contrast, the man who defeated Romney pointedly spoke of America in unexceptional terms, explaining to the Financial Times that if America was exceptional, it was only in the same sense that “the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” American exceptionalism has almost become a modern political litmus test.

But what is “American exceptionalism”—and what is exceptional about it? Reagan’s invocation of the “shining city on a hill” echoed what many commentators have assumed is the basic statement of American exceptionalism: John Winthrop’s layman’s sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity,” which he delivered to the colonists he was leading to find refuge for English Puritans in Massachusetts in 1629. But none of the British North American colonies—not even Winthrop’s Massachusetts—saw itself as an exception to the basic European assumptions about how a society should be organized. All the colonies, in varying measures, believed that societies were organized as hierarchies—pyramids, if you will—with the king at the top, the lords and nobility beneath, and the common folk on the bottom. Like all good pyramids, the colonial one was supposed to be static; each layer was to work reciprocally with the others, not in competition. The idea that people could start small and poor and work their way up to the top was considered dangerous. Those who did make it to the top did so, not through work but through the patronage of those already there. There would remain differences between England and its colonies—as native-born Englishmen would remind their colonial brethren—but those distinctions existed within the same recognizable European hierarchy of kings, lords, and commons.

That might have been the way America developed, too, if not for two events. The first was the Enlightenment, which proposed a radically exceptional way of reconceiving human societies. The Enlightenment began as a scientific movement, and especially as a rebellion by scientists like Galileo and Isaac Newton, against the medieval interpretation of the physical world. Medieval thinkers viewed the physical universe as no less a hierarchy than the political world, with Earth at the bottom, and ascending in levels of perfection through the moon, the planets, the stars, and finally, the heavens. This structure had already begun to come apart in the 1500s, when Niklaus Copernicus insisted that viewing the solar system in this way was contradicted by observing the motion of the planets themselves. But it took its greatest blow from Galileo, who trained the newfangled telescope on the moon and observed that nothing about it looked like the next step up in a hierarchy from Earth. It remained for Isaac Newton to show us that the various parts of the physical world were not related by order or rank but by natural laws and forces, like gravity, which were uniform and equal in the operation.

Eventually, people wondered whether the new rules that described the operations of the physical world might have some application to the political world, too. Taking their cue from the revolution in the physical sciences, philosophers sought to describe a natural political order, free of artificial hierarchies such as kings, lords, and commons. They dared to talk about equality rather than pyramids, about universal natural rights rather than inherited status, about commerce rather than patronage, and to question why some half-wit should get to wear a crown, just because his father had done so. But all the Enlightenment’s political philosophers could offer as alternatives were thought experiments about desert islands or ideal commonwealths, and the kings continued to sit undisturbed on their thrones.

The second event was the one that really gave birth to American exceptionalism: the American Revolution. For in one stupendous burst of energy, Americans overturned the entire structure—political, constitutional, legal, and social—of hierarchy and applied the Enlightenment’s thought experiments about equality and natural rights to practical politics.

The confidence that Americans displayed in the existence of a natural political order based on natural rights and natural law was so profound that Thomas Jefferson could describe the most basic of these rights—to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—as “self-evident.” The Virginia Declaration of Rights—another product of the year 1776—explained that “all men . . . have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” Americans did not merely demand a corrected version of British common law or Britain’s hierarchical society; they proclaimed that they were creating a novus ordo seclorum. Their voice, said Frederick Douglass, “was as the trump of an archangel, summoning hoary forms of oppression and time-honored tyranny, to judgment. . . . It announced the advent of a nation, based upon human brotherhood and the self-evident truths of liberty and equality. Its mission was the redemption of the world from the bondage of ages.”

Creating a new politics in America that broke decisively with the past proved surprisingly easier than we might have expected. Whatever lip service they had paid to the old theories of hierarchy during the century and a half before 1776, the colonists, in everyday practice, had developed their own consent-based civil society, created ad hoc legislatures, written their own laws, and spread landownership so broadly across the North Atlantic seaboard that, by the time of the Revolution, 90 percent of the colonists were landowners. Benjamin Franklin remembered that his father, a tallow chandler in Boston, had no particular education, “but his great Excellence lay in a sound understanding and solid judgment in prudential matters, both in private and publick affairs. . . . I remember well his being frequently visited by leading people, who consulted him for his opinion in affairs of the town or of the church he belonged to, and showed a good deal of respect for his judgment and advice: he was also . . . frequently chosen an arbitrator between contending parties.” Americans like Franklin’s father were, in effect, already desert islands and ideal commonwealths; the political philosophy of the Enlightenment gave them a theory that matched the realities they had been living.

The American mix of Enlightenment theory and practical experience in government produced a result that was seen from the first as—there is no other word for it—exceptional. In revolutionary America, reveled Tom Paine, Americans are about “to begin the world over again. . . . The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the events of a few months.” That “portion of freedom” would be a political order with no ranks, no prelates, no hierarchy; a government that limited itself, and confined itself by a written Constitution; and an identity based not on race or blood or soil or ancestry or even language but on a single proposition as relentlessly logical as it was frighteningly brief, that “all men are created equal.”

In European eyes, this was folly. The American decision to license equal citizens to govern themselves invited anarchy. Too many areas of public life, argued Otto von Bismarck in 1870, required an authoritative government to intervene and direct, and the more that authority was based on hierarchy and monarchy, the better. “Believe me,” prophesied Bismarck, “one cannot lead or bring to prosperity a great nation without the principle of authority—that is, the Monarchy.”

Americans compensated for whatever vacuum was made by limiting government through the invention of private, voluntary associations, “little communities by themselves,” as Pennsylvania leader George Bryan called them, to manage their affairs, without the need for a swollen imperial bureaucracy 3,000 miles away. And so they did: in Philadelphia alone, newly independent Americans created the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and for the Relief of Free Negroes, the Guardians of the Poor of the City of Philadelphia, the Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor, the Hibernian Society, the Magdalen Society for the Shelter and Reformation of Fallen Women, the Society of the Free Instruction of Female Children, the Philadelphia Society for the Free Instruction of Indigent Boys, the Indigent Widows and Single Women’s Society—all without government sanction. Americans took association to the level of an art. Tocqueville surveyed the proliferation of American self-help groups and concluded that “the extraordinary fragmentation of administrative power” in America was offset by the multiplicity of “religious, moral . . . commercial and industrial associations” that substituted themselves for European lords and chancellors.

Thus, American exceptionalism began as a new kind of politics. Americans had not merely done something different; they had captured in living form a natural order that made the old political systems of Europe look as artificial and irrational as fully as Newton’s laws had made medieval physics irrelevant. “We Americans are the peculiar chosen people,” wrote Herman Melville, “the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world.”

But establishing a novel political framework was to create only the first leg of what became a three-legged stool of American exceptionalism. If it was not inherited rank and titles that gave authority in society, then it was up to the free initiative of citizens to make of themselves what they wanted, and with government itself so deliberately self-limited, their energies would run instead in the direction of commerce. They would create not only a new politics but also a new economy—the second leg.

“What, then, is the American, this new man?” asked transplanted Frenchman Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur in 1782. “He is an American,” Crèvecoeur replied, who has stopped doing what others tell him he must do. He has escaped “from involuntary idleness, servile dependence, penury, and useless labour” and has “passed to toils of a very different nature, rewarded by ample subsistence.” Inside the stiff boundaries of hierarchy, Europeans looked down upon labor as slavery and trade as the unsavory pursuit of the small-minded bourgeoisie—in America, there was almost nothing except a bourgeoisie, and it gloried in labor and commerce. British novelist Frances Trollope was appalled to listen to Americans “in the street, on the road, or in the field, at the theatre, the coffee-house, or at home,” who never seemed to talk “without the word DOLLAR being pronounced between them.” But other Europeans were enchanted by the liberty of American commerce. J. C. Loudoun’s Encyclopaedia of Agriculture recommended that its British readers emigrate to America, since the American “form of government” guaranteed that “property is secure, and personal liberty greater there than anywhere else . . . and both maintained at less expense than under any government in the world.” In America, wrote the French evangelical pastor Georges Fisch, in 1863, “There is no restraint whatever on the liberty of business transactions.” Nor did it matter much who succeeded on a given day and who didn’t, because the next day those who were down were likely to be up.

Abraham Lincoln captured this dynamic when he said that in America, “every man can make himself.” There would always be extremes of wealth and inequalities of enterprise. What mitigated those inequalities was an incessant tumbling-up and tumbling-down, so that one man’s wealth achieved at one moment could pass into the hands of others at another. “The prudent, penniless beginner in the world,” Lincoln said in 1859 (with his own history in mind), “labors for wages a while, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land, for himself; then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him.” This, Lincoln believed, represented a “just and generous, and prosperous system, which opens the way for all.” Not all would prosper, but that was no argument against the “system” as a whole.

Significantly, the energy with which Americans threw themselves into unfettered commercial exchange was soon seen as a primary obstacle in the path of a newer enemy of hierarchy—socialism—which emerged out of the self-inflicted wreckage of nineteenth-century aristocracies. Socialism’s great architect, Karl Marx, believed that every society would move out of the old world of hierarchy into capitalism; inevitably, capitalism would yield to socialism; hence, the more advanced a nation becomes in capitalism, the closer it must be to embracing socialism—and eventually Communism.

But Marx was baffled by how the United States defied this rule. No nation seemed more fully imbued with capitalism, yet no nation showed less interest in becoming socialist. This became one of the unresolved puzzles of socialist theory, and it gave rise to frustrated socialists (like Werner Sombart) who struggled with the question: Why is there no socialism in America? Sombart blamed it on the drug of material abundance: socialism, he complained, had foundered in America “on the shoals of roast beef and apple pie.” But another socialist, Leon Samson, had seen better than Sombart that the real enemy of socialism was exceptionalism itself, because Americans give “a solemn assent to a handful of final notions—democracy, liberty, opportunity, to all of which the American adheres rationalistically much as a socialist adheres to his socialism.”

Actually, Marx and Sombart were wrong. There had been an American socialism; they were reluctant to recognize it as such because it came not in the form of a workers’ rebellion against capital but in the emergence of a plantation oligarchy in the slaveholding South. This “feudal socialism,” based on race, called into question all the premises of American exceptionalism, starting with the Declaration of Independence. Nor were slavery’s apologists shy about linking this oligarchy to European socialism, since, as George Fitzhugh asserted in 1854, “Slavery produces association of labor, and is one of the ends all Communists and Socialists desire.” What was extraordinary about this vast step away from American exceptionalism was the titanic effort that Americans made, in the Civil War, to correct it. That struggle—a civil war that (as Lincoln said) understood the American republic to be “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” and aimed at the completion of the project of political equality for all its people—may be the most exceptional moment in all of American history, for there is no record of any other conflict quite like the war that Americans waged among themselves, to “die to make men free.” And everyone, down to the slaves themselves, knew that freedom and equality were means toward social mobility and economic self-transformation, not a frozen egalitarianism. “We have as a people no past and very little present, but a boundless and glorious future,” said Frederick Douglass, himself once a slave—one who nevertheless believed that American opportunity was without a copy anywhere else. “America is not only the exception to the general rule, but the social wonder of the world.”

The third leg of the exceptionalist stool was the attitude and relationship that the United States was to adopt toward the rest of the world, where hierarchy still ruled. This has proved a wobbly leg—it divides even exceptionalists—if only because Americans’ notions of what exceptionalism dictates in terms of policy toward other nations have changed since the Founding.

The novelty of exceptionalism’s first two legs—politics and economics—was so great that it was hard for Americans not to see them as part of a deliberate plan. Even before the Revolution, Jonathan Edwards, the architect of American religious revivals, had viewed America as the linchpin of a scheme of divine redemption for the world. “We may well look upon the discovery of so great a part of the world as America, and bringing the gospel into it,” he wrote, “as one thing by which divine Providence is preparing the way for the future glorious times of the church.” Timothy Dwight, Edwards’s grandson, took to poetry to translate these expectations about America’s role in redeeming Earth from Satan into a sacred mission to proclaim an American political gospel:

As the day-spring unbounded, thy splendor shall flow,
And earth’s little kingdoms before thee shall bow;
While the ensigns of union, in triumph unfurl’d,
Hush the tumult of war, and give peace to the world.

But if God did have a special role for America, it was one that America was strictly charged to keep safe on its own shores; its role would be passive and self-protective. Far from any desire to share their nation’s redemptive culture, Americans tended to regard the rest of the world as a potential threat, eager to strangle the American experiment by the reimposition of empire or by association with more unstable attempts at revolution—as in France. “Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will [America’s] heart, her benedictions, and her prayers be,” promised John Quincy Adams in 1821. “But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” So when the Hungarian revolutionary Louis Kossuth came to America in 1852 to drum up support for his rebellion against the Austrian Empire, Lincoln spoke of him cordially, based on “our continued devotion to the principles of our free institutions.” But Lincoln made it plain that “it is the duty of our government to neither foment, nor assist, such revolutions in other governments.”

We were not, however, always consistent in this. The outsize influence of Southern slaveholding interests in American politics in the 1840s helped drag us into a war with Mexico, for no better reason than to acquire large stretches of territory that Southerners hoped to convert into slave states. We half-blundered into the Spanish-American War in 1898 and found ourselves with a colonial empire on our hands, in the form of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and, for all practical purposes, Cuba. And in 1917, we thrust ourselves into World War I behind President Woodrow Wilson’s notion that American democracy ought to be exported to Europe. These attempts to convert American exceptionalism into a missionary endeavor nearly always met with sabotage by other nations, which resented our claims to some unique political virtue; and they met with serious criticism by other Americans—even outright rejection, as when America declined to join the League of Nations.

But even those criticisms disappeared after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which not only thrust us again into a worldwide conflict but also presented the question of how we could prevent such world crises from erupting. It had been demonstrated one too many times to American policymakers that the European states, left to themselves, were incapable of establishing a peaceful continental order; so we have found ourselves, ever since, forced into the role of savior of civilization, whether through the Marshall Plan, NATO, NAFTA, the Security Council, or sometimes through simple unilateralism.

We have accepted this role since World War II, often because we believed we had little choice. But this role has had an adverse effect on American exceptionalism by repeatedly involving the United States in foreign-policy projects that do not yield easily to American solutions—and that then raise doubts about the exceptionalist assumptions behind those solutions. When we have turned to multilateral or multinational solutions, we find ourselves yoked to European and other allies, which, even if they have long since shucked the mantle of aristocracy and inherited hierarchy, have often replaced it with vast social bureaucracies that serve much the same purpose. If we act unilaterally, we find ourselves hounded by international condemnations of American claims of arrogance based on exceptionalism. If we fail to act, we are accused of isolationism.

The third leg is not the only one to suffer the wobbles. We are, for one thing, becoming less reliant on voluntary associations to accomplish the tasks of American society. We often see this illustrated in statistics showing how millennials have staged an unprecedented withdrawal from American churches, so that the share of Americans who refuse any religious affiliation has risen from one in 20 in 1972 to one in five today. But this is only part of a larger American withdrawal from a broad range of voluntary associations, from the PTA to bowling leagues. Between 1973 and 1995, the number of Americans who reported attending “a public meeting on town or school affairs” fell by more than a third; PTA membership fell from more than 12 million in 1964 to barely 5 million in 1982. Even mainline civic organizations, such as the Boy Scouts and the Red Cross, have suffered declines since the 1970s. In the most general sense, Americans’ trust in one another has declined from a peak in the mid-1960s (when 56 percent of survey respondents affirmed that “most people can be trusted”) to a low today, in which only one in three Americans believes that “most people can be trusted.” Among millennials, it’s as low as one in five.

In the place of voluntary association, we have come to rely on state agencies and administrative law. This development has roots leading back to the Progressivism of the past century, which believed that American society had become too complex to be left to ordinary citizens, who lack the expertise to make government work efficiently. The same conviction animates modern progressives, as illustrated by the notorious 2012 campaign video The Life of Julia, which casts the life of one American as an utterly unexceptional progress through one European-style bureaucracy after another.

We have also seen the rise of identity politics, which has made us shy of asserting the old exceptionalism because every identity is now considered exceptional in itself. One’s identity as an American fades—even becomes optional—beside one’s identity as part of an ethnic, racial, religious, or cultural minority. This moves us a world away from Lincoln’s belief that the proposition set out in the Declaration trumped all other identities. We’re no longer even sure that the Declaration has persuasive power. We are, writes Peter Beinart, “products of an educational system that, more than in the past, emphasizes inclusion and diversity, which may breed a discontent with claims that America is better than other nations.” Even conservative jurists like the late William Rehnquist allowed that U.S. courts should “begin looking to the decisions of other [nations’] constitutional courts to aid in their deliberative process.”

But nothing in our national life has so undermined confidence in American exceptionalism as the erosion of economic mobility. From the time we began measuring gross domestic product in the 1940s until 1970, American GDP grew at an average annual rate of 2.7 percent; from 1970 to 1994, it slid to a growth rate of only 1.54 percent, recovered briefly to 2.26 percent, and then began sliding to its pre-Trump level of 1.21 percent. From 1948 until 1972, Americans in the lower 90 percent of income-earners saw their incomes rise by 2.65 percent annually—almost twice the income growth experienced by the same group between 1917 and 1948. Since 1972, though, the growth rate for the 90 percent has collapsed—in fact, turned negative—and middle-class workers who began their careers in the center of the earnings curve have seen their fortunes decline by 20 percent since 1980. The United States has become as economically immobile as the United Kingdom, where the top 10 percent calcify into a self-perpetuating aristocracy that sees itself as part of global networks of communications and exchange and feels little sympathy for those left behind.

Is American exceptionalism merely an artifact of an earlier, more confident time in our history, which should now yield to the blandishments of globalization and conformity to multinational expectations? Only, I think, if we regard the ideas of the American Founders as being mere historical artifacts, too. What made the American experiment exceptional was precisely that it was not founded (like other national identities) on some myth or tribal legend but on the discovery of natural laws and natural rights as unarguable as gravity and born from the same intellectual source. Unhappily, natural law philosophy has been bumped from its place as the American philosophy by the pragmatism of William James and his heirs, and even more by the values pluralism of John Rawls and literary postmodernism. These approaches were supposed to liberate the mind from the restraint of fictitious narratives of honor, truth, and law—but overthrowing these principles merely became a platform for egotism and unfettered lust for power.

To discount American exceptionalism is to suggest that the American political order itself was only a figment of one nation’s imagination, at one time. If there is no such natural law, then, yes, let us discard exceptionalism; but let us then say that neither the old hierarchy nor the new bureaucracy is wrong, either, and accept that all politics is merely an arena in which power, rather than law or right, determines our future. I believe that the American experiment, based on the Declaration and embodied in the Constitution, belongs to an exceptional moment in human history, and remains exceptional. I believe that the U.S. economy is flexible enough to recover its mobility and astonish the world with its capacity to disrupt artificial barriers. And I believe that we can repair the deviations we have sustained from an overconfident mission-mentality without needing to accommodate ourselves to the mores of globalization. Globalization, after all, has been no great success; its main accomplishment, as Christopher Lasch reminded us in his final book, The Revolt of the Elites, has not been international peace or prosperity but “the cosmopolitanism of the favored few . . . uninformed by the practice of citizenship.”

The task of restoring confidence in our exceptionalism will nevertheless be a daunting one. Exceptionalism will have to become what Lincoln called a “civil religion,” to be “breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap . . . taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges . . . written in Primmers, spelling books, and in Almanacs . . . preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice.” The task will require a determined pushback against progressive unexceptionalism and the idea that only government can ensure efficiency and happiness. It will involve the revival of the rule of law (rather than agencies), the rejuvenation of our voluntary associations, and the celebration of their role in our public life. And it will force us to lift the burden of economic sclerosis, not merely with the aim of producing simple material abundance but also with the goal of promoting a national empathy, in which, as Georges Fisch saw in 1863, Americans rise and fall, and rise and fall again, without the stigma that consigns half the nation to a basket of deplorables.

Can this, realistically, be done? Can we disentangle our public life from the grasp of the new hierarchy of bureaucrats and, overseas, pull back from foreign-policy crusades? Can we, in short, recur successfully to our first principles?

Well, we did it once before.
Catering?
While I was driving through a seedy area of San Francisco, I noticed that, sandwiched between a strip bar and a liquor store sat a storefront with all of its windows suspiciously blacked out.

Over the door was a sign that proudly declared; "Welcome to Kinko's.”

“We have nothing to do with office supplies."

*.*

The minister drove into a sand trap. He picked up his golf club, broke it but didn't say a word.

Then he picked up the golf bag and tore it to shreds but didn't say a word.

He then took out all the golf balls and flung them into the woods but did not say one word.

Finally he muttered, "I'm gonna have to give it up."

"Golf" asked the caddie.

"No" he replied. "The ministry."

*.*

Musician Jokes

A young child says to his mother, "Mom, when I grow up I'd like to be a
musician."

She replies, "Well honey, you know you can't do both."


Q: What do you call a beautiful woman on a trombonist's arm?
A: A tattoo.


Q: What's the difference between a banjo and an onion?
A: Nobody cries when you chop up a banjo.


Q: What did the drummer get on his I.Q. Test?
A: Saliva.


Q: What do call a guitar player without a girlfriend?
A: Homeless.


Q: What's the similarity between a drummer and a philosopher?
A: They both perceive time as an abstract concept.


Q: What's the difference between a jet airplane and a trumpet?
A: About three decibels.


Q: How do you get an oboist to play A flat?
A: Take the batteries out of his electronic tuner.


Q: What's the difference between a SCUD missile and a bad oboist?
A: A bad oboist can kill you.


Q: Why do clarinetists leave their cases on the dashboard?
A: So they can park in the handicapped zones.


Q: What's the difference between a saxophone and a chainsaw?
A: You can tune a chainsaw.


Q: What do a viola and a lawsuit have in common?
A: Everyone is relieved when the case is closed.


Q: Why are harps like elderly parents?
A: Both are unforgiving and hard to get into and out of cars.


Q: What's the difference between a Wagnerian soprano and a baby elephant?
A: Eleven pounds.


Q: Why are violist's fingers like lightning?
A: They rarely strike the same spot twice.


Q: What's the difference between alto clef and Greek?
A: Some conductors actually read Greek.


Vibrato.
Used by singers to hide the fact that they are on the wrong pitch.


Q: What's the difference between a Lawnmower and a Viola?
A: Vibrato


Q: How can you tell when a singer is at your door?
A: The can't find the key, and they never know when to come in.


Q: What's the difference between a dead chicken in the road, and a dead trombonist in the road?
A: There's a remote chance the chicken was on its way to a gig.


Q: How do you get a guitarist to play softer?
A: Place a sheet of music in front of him.


Q: How do you get a three piece horn section to play in tune?
A: Shoot two of therm.


Q: What's the difference between a bull and a band?
A: The bull has the horns in the front and the asshole in the back.


Q: Why are violas larger than violins?
A: They aren't. Violists heads are smaller.


Q: How are trumpet players like pirates?
A: They're both murder on the high Cs.

*.*

"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer." -Bruce Graham

"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."-Unknown

"Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow." --Jeff Valdez

"Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia."
-Joseph Wood Krutch

"Some people say that cats are sneaky, evil, and cruel. True, and they have many other fine qualities as well." --Missy Dizick

"You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats."-Colonial American proverb

"Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want."-Joseph Wood Krutch

I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It's not. Mine had me trained in two days.

*.*

The day I started my construction job,
I was in the office filling out an employee form,
when I came to the section that asked:
Single____, Married____, Divorced____.

I marked single. Glancing at the man next to me,
who was also filling out his form,
I noticed he hadn't marked any of the blanks.
Instead he had written, 'Yes, in that order.'

Quote of the Times;
The fact that the postmodernists dare to be Marxists is also something that I find I would say not so much intellectually reprehensible as morally repugnant and one of the things that – one of the things that the post modernists – postmodern Neo Marxists continually claim is that they have nothing but compassion for the downtrodden. And I would say that anybody with more than a cursory knowledge of twentieth century history who dares to claim simultaneously that they have compassion for the downtrodden and that their Marxists are revealing either their ignorance of history. That’s so astounding that it’s actually a form of miracle or a kind of malevolence that’s so reprehensible that it’s almost unspeakable. Because we already ran the equity experiment over the course of the century and we already know what the Marxist doctrines have done for oppressed people all around the world and the answer to that mostly was imprisoned, enslave, work them to death or execute them. – Petterson

Link of the Times;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB6p5QPVhPI&t=19s

Issue of the Times;
How Catering To Mentally Ill Transsexuals Is Making Our Whole Society Crazy by John Hawkins
When someone is clinically depressed, we’re not encouraged to say, “You should be depressed! No one will ever love you because you’re a bad person!” If we run across someone with Narcissistic personality disorder, we’re not supposed to go, “We are all inferior to you great and mighty one!” If we talk to someone who believes the CIA is reading their thoughts through their teeth, no one suggests feeding their delusion by going, “Yes they do. In fact I know they do because I’ve been listening to your thoughts and knew you were going to come ask me about it.” As a matter of fact, not only do we not do these things, if we are compassionate people, we can recognize that it would be CRUEL to encourage someone’s mental illness instead of helping them back in the right direction.
Believing you should be the other gender is a mental illness. We seem to have no problem recognizing this even in very similar cases. For example, people with Body integrity identity disorder believe they should be missing limbs or paralyzed. They often ask doctors to mutilate them in this way and they are TURNED DOWN because it’s considering unethical for a doctor to destroy a healthy body part. Furthermore, there are people who believe they are Jesus Christ, a Raccoon, and alien or a planet (Yes, really). We don’t just roll with that and say, “Oh you’re a planet! Well, we need to get you into space where you belong” or “You’re a Raccoon, huh? Well, I’ve got a tasty garbage can you can get into in my back yard.”
People who are transsexual deserve our compassion and sympathy because they are living with a mental illness that has a high suicide rate and often leads to a lot of unhappiness. However instead of acknowledging that transsexualism like the mental illness it is and considering it to be a problem for poor individuals inflicted with it and their psychologists, we are treating them like the sane ones and acting like the rest of our society is crazy for not accepting their delusional beliefs as fact. Worse yet, because we’ve wrapped this mental illness in the cloak of Civil Rights, we’ve warped our behavior in bizarre ways.
We’re allowing men, with testicles, that are often sexually interested in women, into bathrooms and changing rooms where women and little girls are in various states of undress. This has already led to numerous incidents (Here’s a far from complete list). Then, if women quite naturally complain about this, they’re treated like they have the problem for not wanting to share that private space with the opposite gender. Yet, the whole purpose of having men’s and women’s bathrooms instead of just bathrooms is so that women don’t have share bathrooms with men.
We are now starting to see men posing as women dominating in certain women’s sports. For example, transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard who transitioned a few years ago has now qualified for the women’s Olympics. This is not a big surprise because men are bigger, stronger, faster than women and everything from men’s hearts, to the length of our legs to our bone structure tends to give us a competitive advantage in sporting events. Yes, you can chemically force down the level of testosterone in a body, but that only takes away a small percentage of man’s advantage. Again, this is why we have “men’s sports” and “women’s sports,” but not just “sports.” It’s because we all know it’s not fair to women to make them compete with men. Yet the women who lose out on chances at scholarships or are defeated in athletic contests they’ve spent years training for because they’re beaten by men are treated as the ones with problems when they’re simply asking for a level playing field.
We’re now regularly seeing small children being allowed to “choose” their gender. Just as one example out of many, Charlize Theron claimed her son came out as transgender at 3. Since when do we allow small children to make massive, life altering decisions like this? We even have some people claiming TODDLERS can change their gender. Despite the fact that “80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria will come to identify with and embrace their bodily sex,” 15 states have already made it illegal to have therapy that tries to reconcile them with their gender. In other words, we simultaneously note than transsexuals struggle with their mental health and have a 41% suicide rate, yet we are working overtime to steer young children towards life altering surgeries, hormones & identity changes despite the fact that many of them would just grow out of it if left alone. This the moral equivalent of child molestation, but we simply shrug our shoulders and ignore it.
Just as we don’t consider it ethical for doctors to chop off the healthy arms and legs of people with Body integrity identity disorder, it should not be considered ethical for a doctor to mutilate a person to look like the opposite gender. Yet not only are we allowing that, increasingly we as a society are paying for it. There are multiple states that pay for the enormous cost (150k is a very rough estimate) of these surgeries and some others even pay for prisoners to get sex changes. Right now there’s a trans employee suing his employer for refusing to pay $40,000 for a surgery to fix his mannish face. But of course, his face looks mannish because he’s a man. So now the big ask is for taxpayers to pay for mentally ill people to mutilate themselves and there are supposedly sane people going along with it.
We can go on and on with this. Have you heard of “deadnaming?” That’s another name for calling transsexuals by the names they were born with. There is a lawsuit over that in Britain. Similarly in Canada, there is – and no, this is not a joke – a guy suing to force women to wax his scrotum. He claims he’s a “she” and apparently has right to have women touch his junk. We now have states changing the name and gender on the birth certificate for a child decades later, as if lying on the birth certificate will make it reality. There is also now a regular argument being made that men who won’t date transgender women are “transphobic.” So the argument is now that straight men who don’t want to date other men pretending to be women are the ones with the problem, not the mentally ill men that have surgically mutilated themselves to appear to be the other sex.
By taking a mental health issue and pretending that it’s a civil rights issue, we’ve turned the mental issues of a tiny slice of the population into mental health issues for everyone else. Suddenly, if Tom decides at 30 years of age that he’s really a woman, it’s your responsibility to pay for it, call him by his new name and send him into the locker room with your daughter to watch her change. All in the name of what, exactly? Having the rest of us act like head cases doesn’t have an upside and there’s really not much evidence that these “sex changes” are helping transsexuals as a group either either.
…”There is huge uncertainty over whether changing someone’s sex is a good or a bad thing,” said Chris Hyde, the director of the facility. Even if doctors are careful to perform these procedures only on “appropriate patients,” Hyde continued, “there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatized-often to the point of committing suicide.”
…The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over 30 years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to 15 years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to 20 times that of comparable peers.
It’s almost like asking mentally ill people what they want to do and then just rolling with it even though you know it’s an extremely bad idea doesn’t work out very well for anyone.
Mock?
There were two old men sitting on a park bench. A blonde woman walks by.

One old man says to the other one, "Ever sleep with a blonde?"

The other old man says, "Many a time. Many a time."

A brunette then walks by. The old man says to the other, "Ever sleep with a brunette?"

The other old man says, "Many a time. Many a time."

A redhead walks by, and the old man says to the other, "Ever sleep with a redhead?"

The other old man says, "Not a wink."

*.*

Two highway workers were busy working at a construction site when a big car with diplomatic license plates pulled up.

"Parlez-vous fran?ais?" the driver asks them. The two workers just stared.

"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" The two continued to stare at him.

"Fala portugu?s?" Neither worker said anything.

"Parlate Italiano?" Still no response.

Finally, the man drives off in disgust.

One worker turned to the other and said, "Gee, maybe we should learn a foreign language..."

"What for? That guy knew four of them and what good did it do him?"

*.*

Capitol One announced Monday that some 100 million accounts have been compromised. Apparently, the crooks no longer need to wonder, "What's in your wallet?"

They're experimenting with "tickling" therapy, saying that it can actually slow down the aging process. This, according to Dr. Goochie Goochie-Goo.

To be fair, President Trump may have dissed Baltimore, but you should hear what the rats and rodents there are saying about him.

There have been two shark attacks in the past few days in Florida. How do they know it's Shark Week?

A study says too much time on the smartphone could make people fat. I read that on my phone the other day at the all-you-can-eat ice cream buffet.

A Singapore engineering company has built a robot that makes noodle dishes in seconds. I suppose now that we've knocked that out, we can get back to working on that cancer thing.

A report says 43 Million Americans struggle with reading and writing. We should probably throw in "tweeting" in there, too.

Scientists at the University of California at Berkeley have created a robot cockroach, that can apparently stand the weight of a human. OK, NOW can we get back to cancer research? I had no idea there were concerns of a cockroach shortage.

*.*

Later, Grandma says, "Boy, I'm really worn out.
I remember being exhausted when our kids were babies, Ben.
Now, with grandkids, I'm exhausted all over again!"

Grandpa replies, "It's to be expected, Bea.
Why do you think they call folks our age re-tired?"

*.*

Those guys at Disneyland who have to wear character costumes ought to form a union.

I'm not really all that concerned about their working conditions.

I just think the picket lines would be a hoot.

Quote of the Times;
If you are capable of understanding that the survival of the British red squirrel is threatened by the mass immigration of the North American grey squirrel, how can you consider it it even remotely objectionable to observe that the survival of the European nations are threatened by the mass immigration of foreign populations considerably larger and more fecund than they are?

Link of the Times;
https://www.neonrevolt.com/2019/07/26/the-biggest-heist-in-american-history-exposing-the-kingston-groups-nefarious-activities-with-usattyhuber-and-genflynn-qanon-greatawakening-neonrevolt/

Issue of the Times;
The Morning Rant: Minimalist Edition
Ace made a really good point yesterday in the comments, that "weaklings turn into vicious monsters when they have a little power over someone else granted by the state. Weakness is an important part of cruelty"
It's why they mock masculinity, because they cannot fathom what it means, and they conflate the real strength of masculinity with what they see themselves doing if they had personal power, and that is where they get the idea of 'toxic masculinity."
But real masculinity is the antithesis of what is exhibited by most of those in power. Helping a woman with her heavy suitcase or opening a door for others or stopping to help change a tire or carrying a few grocery bags to the car is not sexual dominance or the dominant patriarchy or any such ridiculous post-modern idiocy. It is the quiet recognition of reality, and the decision to do one's part in making that reality as pleasant and good as possible. But so many of them are helpless in the face of that reality, and resent and hate those who can help.
And that is why the Left sees an armed America as some sort of dystopian playground combat, in which those toxically masculine men run around flaunting their sidearms and shooting anyone who looks at them funny. The truth of course is that most armed Americans are very careful to avoid situations that require their weapons, and see them as a last resort, when all other options have been exhausted.
But that's how the soi-boys of the Left would behave, and they cannot imagine anyone who wouldn't take advantage of the power and control that they imagine a gun grants to its user. Because deep down inside (and recently not so deep!) they are not confident of themselves and desperately need the validation that they get when they dominate others. It's their most basic and base instinct, and the mark of a less highly evolved being.
That's why they are dangerous, and that's why we must confront them at every turn.
Baltimore?
Mr. Parker saw his son's shiner and demanded, "Jimmy, who gave you that black eye?"

"No one," replied the spunky child. "I had to fight for it."

*.*

SAN DIEGO, CA - A polar bear at the San Diego Zoo has apologized to black bears, brown bears, and all other mammals of color for his "problematic whiteness."

The bear "got woke" after a leftist protesting the zoo for keeping animals in captivity bravely leaped into the bear's exhibit. After eating the protester, the polar bear picked up the book on critical race theory the woman had in her pocket and devoured it, first figuratively, then literally.

"Wow," he said. "I never realized how problematic my existence was before. I really need to think about this."

Shortly after reading the book, the polar bear, whose name is Chad, held a press conference in which he apologized for his many years of not being "woke" to the struggle of non-white animals.

"I am so sorry for everyone I've hurt," he said. "I am hereby canceling myself. Please listen to black and brown bear voices." He also announced that he was donating his remaining walruses to minority bears in need. "The overwhelming whiteness of the polar bear community should give us all paws."

The bear escaped the zoo, devoured several people, and cast himself into exile on an ice floe for his crimes.

*.*

I went out for a run this morning, but I came back after a couple of minutes because I forgot something.

I forgot that I can't run for more than a couple of minutes.

*.*

As told to me by my music teacher....

This guy goes on vacation to a tropical island. As soon as he gets
off the plane, he hears drums. He thinks "Wow, this is cool." He goes to
the beach, he hears the drums, he eats lunch, he hears drums, he goes to
a luau, he hears drums. He TRIES to go to sleep, he hears drums.

This goes on for several nights, and gets to the point where the
guy can't sleep at night because of the drums. Finally, he goes down to
the front desk.

When he gets there, he asks the manager "Hey! What's with these
drums. Don't they ever stop? I can't get any sleep."

The manager says, "No! Drums must NEVER stop. Very bad if drums
stop."

"Why?"

"When drums stop... bass solo begins."

*.*

Game of Thrones received 32 Emmy nominations yesterday.

Hopefully, fans will like how this ends.

Quote of the Times;
In Movie One, President Trump is absolutely, definitely a racist, and any honest person can see it in the way he talks, the people who support him, and his policy proposals. For the viewers of this movie, Trump’s alleged racism is a fact, not an opinion. Therefore, logically, all Trump supporters must be racists because they support a racist president. This view of reality is promoted by CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, NPR, and essentially all of the left-leaning press. In Movie Two, President Trump promised the country he would not be politically correct if elected, and sure enough, he is not. He goes hard at all critics, with uncautious language, and that makes it easy for his political foes to cherry pick the times he criticizes women and people of color, framing those instances as some sort of pattern. Viewers of Movie Two are confused about whether the viewers of Movie One are lying, stupid, brainwashed, or mentally ill. – Adams

Link of the Times;
https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/08/a_health_care_system_thats_the_envy_of_the_world.html

Issue of the Times;
The real reason Democrats defend Baltimore by Liz Peek

Democrats and the liberal media are incensed that President Trump has criticized the mostly-black city of Baltimore, but not for the reasons you might think.
When Trump calls “Charm City,” as it was described by advertisers trying to boost its reputation in the 1970s, “FAR WORSE and more dangerous” than the situation at the Southern border, he highlights Democrats’ Achilles Heel - the wreckage left behind by their liberal policies, and most especially the damage done to minority communities.
They are terrified that black voters will tune in.
When Trump asked black voters in the 2016 election, “What have you got to lose?” he struck a nerve. One of the most startling elements in his unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton was that he won a higher percentage of the black and Hispanic vote than Mitt Romney in 2012, despite incessant media accusations that Trump was a racist.
It used to be that calling someone a racist was a serious and important charge. No longer. Today some Democrats have determined that not only is the president a racist, but so are all of his supporters. Joe Lockhart, CNN contributor and former press secretary for Bill Clinton, tweeted recently, “Vote for @realDonaldTrump and you are a racist.” That kind of over-the-top insult could get Donald Trump reelected.
People who support the president do so for a wide variety of reasons, but Trump voters whom I know mostly support his economic agenda, convinced that growth in jobs and incomes is essential to delivering opportunity for all Americans. Many believe in the power of free enterprise to deliver the American dream, affording those willing to work hard the chance to improve the lives of themselves and their children.
Trump supporters think that Democrats’ push to increase the role of government through higher taxes and more regulation takes away from America’s vibrant entrepreneurship, which attracts ambitious people the world over.
Trump supporters are also fed up with the kind of mindless political correctness that leads to truly idiotic policy-making. Allowing men to compete in women’s sports in the name of gender neutrality is just plain stupid. You don’t need a blue-ribbon committee of medical experts to know that men are stronger and faster than women; they simply are.
Standing by while thugs throw water on our cops, as has recently taken place in New York City, undermines respect for law enforcement and the safety of our citizens. Does that make sense? Berkeley, California, banning gender-sensitive names is also ridiculous. Changing “manhole” to “maintenance hole” does not move mankind forward.
Every day a story comes along that makes millions of Americans roll their eyes, and renew their commitment to voting for President Trump.
Meanwhile, the left accuses the president of racism for inartfully pointing out that the city of Baltimore is a mess. They are incensed - not at the numerous ways in which that city fails its citizens, but rather because President Trump has suggested rather crudely that the legislators in charge of the city and the district are not getting the job done.
He is right, of course. And, he is not the only politician who has pointed out Baltimore’s failings. Bernie Sanders in 2015 described the city as looking like a “Third World country.”
But because the city is largely black, Trump’s criticisms have been cast as racist. In a recent column, New York Times columnist Charles Blow asserted (again) that Trump is a racist. His proof is the frequency with which the president uses the word “infest.” He claims that Trump’s use of the word, as when he tweeted that Baltimore is “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” or, earlier, when he described the presence of MS-13 “in certain parts of our country” as an “infestation,” is evidence of racism.
The Merriam-Webster definition of “infest” is to “spread or swarm in or over in a troublesome manner,” or, in other words, nothing to do with race. But that is irrelevant.
What is relevant is that Trump’s critiques of Baltimore are on the mark. The past three mayors, all Democrats, have left office in disgrace.
As Seth Barron pointed out in a recent piece, the New York Times Magazine last May ran a cover article entitled “The Tragedy of Baltimore.” The piece cited the breakdown of law and order in the wake of the 2015 riots, which the author describes as “nothing less than a failure of order and governance the likes of which few American cities have seen in years.” As Barron notes, Baltimore has the highest murder rate in the nation.
It also has one of the worst school districts, in which, a couple of years ago, one survey showed that in 13 mostly black high schools, not one kid was proficient in math. In 2018, Prosperity Now research revealed that Baltimore’s black unemployment rate was triple that of whites, while a third of blacks in the city had zero net worth and a median income slightly more than half of that claimed by white citizens.
This is the city the left is defending.
Democrats are opposed to charter schools, which families know offer a rare beacon of hope to inner-city kids, and they want to raise the minimum wage, which will eliminate jobs. Moreover, they raise money through soft drink taxes and lotteries that mainly fall on the shoulders of low-income and minority families. These are among the many reasons black voters, who traditionally vote Democratic, could turn to Trump.
That scares the heck out of Democrats, and that’s why they are so angry that President Trump has dared to pull back the curtain on Baltimore. Racism isn’t calling out the failures of Baltimore; racism is not caring enough to do anything about it.
Gate?
An older couple is playing in the annual club championship. They are playing in a playoff hole and it is down to a 6-inch putt that the wife has to make.

She takes her stance and her husband can see her trembling. She putts and misses; they lose the match.

On the way home in the car her husband is fuming, "I cannot believe you missed that putt! That putt was no longer than my dick."

The wife just looked over at her husband, smiled and said, "Yes dear, but it was much harder!"

*.*

We were helping customers when the store optometrist walked by and flirted with a co-worker.

Of course, we all had to stop what we were doing to tease her, but she quickly dismissed the notion of a budding romance.

"Can you imagine making out with an optometrist?" she asked. "It would always be, 'Better like this...or like this?'"

*.*

The world's leading expert on European wasps walks into a record shop...

He asks the assistant “Do you have ‘European Vespidae Acoustics Volume 2? I believe it was released this week.”

“Certainly,” replies the assistant. “Would you like to listen before you buy it?”

"That would be wonderful," says the expert, and puts on a pair of headphones.

He listens for a few moments and says to the assistant, “I'm terribly sorry, but I am the world's leading expert on European wasps and this is not accurate at all. I don't recognize any of those sounds. Are you sure this is the correct recording?”

The assistant checks the turntable, and replies that it is indeed European Vespidae Acoustics Volume 2. The assistant apologizes and lifts the needle onto the next track.

Again the expert listens for a few moments and then says to the assistant, "No, this just can't be right! I've been an expert in this field for 43 years and I still don't recognize any of these sounds."

The assistant apologizes again and lifts the needle to the next track.

The expert throws off the headphones as soon as it starts playing and is fuming with rage.

"This is outrageous false advertising! I am the world's leading expert on European wasps and no European wasp has ever made a sound like the ones on this record!"

The manager of the shop overhears the commotion and walks over.

"What seems to be the problem, sir?"

"This is an outrage! I am the world's leading expert on European wasps. Nobody knows more about them than I do. There is no way in hell that the sounds on that record were made by European wasps!"

The manager glances down and notices the problem instantly.

"I'm terribly sorry, sir. It appears we've been playing you the bee side."



*.*

Congrats to John and Phyllis Cook, who fell in love at an Ohio nursing home and got married. He's 100-years-old, she's 102.

Although, she undoubtedly gets kidded about robbing the hospital bed.

Heard they spent their honeymoon walking to the dining room.

And not a day goes by that they don't say those three words to each other: "What? Huh? What?"

*.*

Fear of that long awaited "Big One" has inspired panic buying in Southern California.

I know my mom and sister went out and cornered the bubble-wrap market.

Need to protect the earthquake wine supply.

Quote of the Times;
Some have asked, “who needs 100 rounds?” If 6 brave, trained, and alert police officers with professionally maintained weapons fired 58 rounds to subdue the Dayton shooter, I’d say my wife deserves at least that many chances to protect herself and my kids when I’m not home. - Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) August 7, 2019

Link of the Times;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazino_affair

Issue of the Times;
John McCain, Jeffrey Epstein, and Pizzagate by Ron Unz

The death of Sen. John McCain last August revealed some important truths about the nature of our establishment media.

McCain’s family had released word of his incurable brain cancer many months earlier and his passing at age 84 was long expected, so media outlets great and small had possessed all the time necessary for producing and polishing the packages they eventually published, and that was readily apparent from the voluminous nature of the tributes that they ran. The New York Times, still our national newspaper of record, allocated more than three full pages of its printed edition to the primary obituary, and this was supplemented by a considerable number of other articles and sidebars. I cannot recall any political figure other than an American president whose passing had ever received such an enormous wealth of coverage, and perhaps even some former residents of the Oval Office might have fallen short of that standard. Although I certainly didn’t bother reading all of the tens of thousands of words in the Times or my other newspapers, the coverage of McCain’s life and career seemed exceptionally laudatory across the mainstream media, liberal and conservative alike, with scarcely a negative word appearing anywhere outside the political fringe.

On the face of it, such undiluted political love for McCain might seem a bit odd to those who have followed his activities over the last couple of decades. After all, the Times and most of the other leading lights of our media firmament are purportedly liberal and claim to have become vehement critics of our disastrous Iraq War and other military adventures, let alone the calamitous possibility of an attack upon Iran. Meanwhile, McCain was universally regarded as the leading figure in America’s “War Party,” eagerly supporting all prospective and retrospective military endeavors with gleeful fury, and even making his chant of “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” the most widely remembered detail of his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign. So either our major media outlets somehow overlooked such striking differences on an absolutely central issue, or perhaps their true positions on certain matters are not exactly what they seem to be, and merely constitute elements of a Kabuki-performance aimed at deceiving their more naive readers.

Even more remarkable were the discordant facts airbrushed out of McCain’s history. As the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and two George Polk awards, the late Sydney Schanberg was widely regarded as one of the greatest American war correspondents of the twentieth century. His exploits during our ill-fated Indo-Chinese War had become the basis of the Oscar-winning film The Killing Fields, which probably established him as the most famous journalist in America after Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame, and he had also served as a top editor at The New York Times. A decade ago, he published his greatest expose, providing a mountain of evidence that America had deliberately left behind hundreds of POWs in Vietnam and he fingered then-presidential candidate John McCain as the central figure in the later official cover-up of that monstrous betrayal. The Arizona senator had traded on his national reputation as our best-known former POW to bury the story of those abandoned prisoners, permitting America’s political establishment to escape serious embarrassment. As a result, Sen. McCain earned the lush rewards of our generous ruling elites, much like his own father Admiral John S. McCain, Sr., who had led the cover-up of the deliberate 1967 Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, which killed or wounded over 200 American servicemen.

As publisher of The American Conservative, I ran Schanberg’s remarkable piece as a cover story, and across several websites over the years it has surely been read many hundreds of thousands of times, including a huge spike around the time of McCain’s death. I therefore find it rather difficult to believe that the many journalists investigating McCain’s background might have remained unaware of this material. Yet no hints of these facts were provided in any of the articles appearing in any remotely prominent media outlets as can be seen by searching for web pages containing “McCain and Schanberg” dated around the time of the Senator’s passing.

John McCain and the POW Cover-Up
SYDNEY SCHANBERG • MAY 25, 2010

Schanberg’s journalistic stature had hardly been forgotten by his former colleagues. Upon his death a couple of years ago, the Times ran a very long and glowing obituary, and a few months later I attended the memorial tribute to his life and career held at the New York Times headquarters building, which more than two hundred prominent journalists mostly from his own generation, including those of the highest rank. Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. gave a speech describing how as a young man he had always so greatly admired Schanberg and had been mortified by the unfortunate circumstances of his departure from the family’s newspaper. Former Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld recounted the many years he had worked closely with the man he had long considered his closest friend and colleague, someone whom he almost seemed to regard as his older brother. But during the two hours of praise and remembrance scarcely a single word was uttered in public about the gigantic story that had occupied the last two decades of Schanberg’s celebrated career.

This same blanket of media silence also enveloped the very serious accusations regarding McCain’s own Vietnam War record. A few years ago, I drew upon the Timesand other fully mainstream sources to strongly suggest that McCain’s stories of his torture as a POW were probably fictional, invented to serve as a cover and an excuse for the very real record of his wartime collaboration with his Communist captors. Indeed, at the time our American media reported his activities as one of the leading propagandists of our North Vietnamese foes, but these facts were later flushed down the memory-hole. McCain’s father then ranked as one of America’s top military officers, and it seems likely that his personal political intervention ensured that the official narrative of his son’s wartime record was transmuted from traitor to war-hero, thereby allowing the younger McCain to later embark upon his celebrated political career.

John McCain: When “Tokyo Rose” Ran for President
RON UNZ • MARCH 9, 2015

The story of the abandoned Vietnam POWs and McCain’s own Communist propaganda broadcasts hardly exhaust the catalog of the major skeletons in the late Senator’s closet. McCain was regularly described by reporters as being remarkably hot-headed and having a violent temper, but the national press left it to the alternative media to investigate the real-life implications of those rather suggestive phrases.

In a September 1, 2008 Counterpunch expose later published online, Alexander Cockburn reported that interviews with two emergency room physicians in Phoenix revealed that around the time that McCain was sucked into the political maelstrom of the Keating Five Scandal, his wife Cindy was admitted to her local hospital suffering from a black eye, facial bruises, and scratches consistent with physical violence, and this same situation occurred two additional times over the next few years. Cockburn also noted several other highly suspicious marital incidents during the years that followed, including the Senator’s wife appearing with a bandaged wrist and her arm in a sling not long after she joined her husband on the 2008 campaign trail, an injury reported by our strangely incurious political journalists as being due to “excessive hand-shaking.” It’s an odd situation when a tiny leftist newsletter can easily uncover facts that so totally eluded the vast resources of our entire national press corps. If there were credible reports that Melania Trump had been repeatedly admitted to local emergency rooms suffering from black eyes and facial bruises, would our corporate media have remained so uninterested in any further investigation?

McCain had first won his Arizona Congressional seat in 1982, not long after he moved into the state, with his campaign bankrolled by his father-in-law’s beer-distributorship fortune, and that inheritance eventually elevated the McCain household into one of the wealthiest in the Senate. But although the Senator spent the next quarter-century in public life, even nearly upsetting George W. Bush for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, only in late 2008 did I learn from the Times that the Phoenix beer-monopoly in question, then valued at around $200 million, had accrued to a man whose lifelong business partner Kemper Marley had long been deeply linked to organized crime. Indeed, close associates of that latter individual had been convicted by a jury of the car-bomb assassination of a Phoenix investigative crime reporter just a few years before McCain’s sudden triumphal entrance into Arizona politics. Perhaps such guilt-by-association is improper, but would our national press-corps have remained silent if the personal fortune of our current president were only a step or two removed from the car-bomb assassins of a nosy journalist who died while investigating mobsters?

As I gradually became aware of these enormities casually hidden in McCain’s background, my initial reaction was disbelief that someone whose record was so deeply tarnished in so many different ways could ever have reached such a pinnacle of American political power. But as the media continued to avert its eyes from these newly revealed facts, even those disclosed in the pages of the Times itself, I gradually began to consider matters in a different light. Perhaps McCain’s elevation to great American political power was not in spite of the devastating facts littering his personal past, but because of them. As I wrote a few years ago:

Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia’s entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.
An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky. One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.

In physics, when an object deviates from its expected trajectory for inexplicable reasons, we assume that some unknown force has been at work, and tracing the record of such deviations may help to determine the characteristic properties of the latter. Over the years, I’ve increasingly become aware of such strange ideological deviations in public policy, and although some are readily explained, others suggest the existence of hidden forces far beneath the surface of our regular political world. This same situation may have occurred throughout our history, and sometimes the political decisions that so baffled contemporaries eventually came to light decades later.

In The Dark Side of Camelot, famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh claimed that secret blackmail evidence of JFK’s extra-marital affairs probably played a crucial role in having his administration overrule the unanimous verdict of all top Pentagon advisors and award the largest military procurement contract in U.S. history to General Dynamics instead of Boeing, thereby saving the former company from likely bankruptcy and its major organized-crime shareholders from devastating financial losses. Hersh also suggests that a similar factor likely explains JFK’s last-minute reversal in the choice of his Vice President, a decision that landed Lyndon Johnson on the 1960 ticket and placed him in the White House after Kennedy’s 1963 assassination.

As I recently mentioned, in the 1950s Sen. Estes Kefauver shifted the focus of his Organized Crime Hearings after the Chicago Syndicate confronted him with the photographs of his sexual encounter with two mob-supplied women. A decade later, California Attorney-General Stanley Mosk suffered much the same fate, with the facts remaining hidden for over twenty years.
Similar rumors swirl around events much farther back in history as well, sometimes with enormous consequences. Well-placed contemporary sources have claimed that Samuel Untermyer, a wealthy Jewish lawyer, purchased the secret correspondence between Woodrow Wilson and his longtime mistress, and that the existence of that powerful leverage may have been an important factor behind Wilson’s astonishingly rapid rise from president of Princeton in 1910 to governor of New Jersey in 1911 to president of the United States in 1912. Once in office, Wilson signed the controversial legislation establishing the Federal Reserve system in 1913 and also named Louis Brandeis as the first Jewish member of the U.S. Supreme Court despite the public opposition of nearly our entire legal establishment. Wilson’s swiftly changing views on American involvement in the First World War may also have influenced by such personal pressures rather than solely determined by his perceptions of the national interest.

Without naming any names, since 2001 it has been difficult to avoid noticing that one of the most zealous and committed supporters of the Neocon party-line on all Middle Eastern foreign policy matters has been a leading Republican senator from one of the most socially-conservative Southern states, a man whose rumored personal inclinations have long circulated on the Internet. The strikingly-sudden reversal of this individual on a major policy question certainly supports these suspicions. There have also been several other such examples involving prominent Republicans.

But consider the far different situation of Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who in 1987 became the first member of the Congress to voluntarily admit that he was gay. Not long afterward, a notorious scandal erupted when it was revealed that his own DC townhouse had been used by a former boyfriend as headquarters for a male-prostitution ring. Frank claimed to have had no knowledge of that sordid situation, and his liberal Massachusetts constituents apparently accepted that, since he was resoundingly reelected and went on to serve another 24 years in Congress. But surely if Frank had been a Republican from a socially-conservative district, anyone possessing such evidence would have totally controlled his political survival, and with Frank spending several years as Chairman of the very powerful House Financial Services Committee, the value of such a hold would have been enormous.

This demonstrates the undeniable reality that what constitutes effective blackmail material may vary tremendously across different eras and regions. Today, it is widely accepted that longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover lived his life as a deeply-closeted homosexual and there seem to be serious claims that he also had some black ancestry, with the secret evidence of these facts probably helping to explain why for decades he stubbornly refused to admit the existence of American organized crime or focus his G-men on efforts to uproot it. But in today’s America, he surely would have proudly proclaimed his sexuality and racial ancestry in an New York Times Magazine cover-story, rightly believing that they enhanced his political invulnerability on the national stage. There are lurid rumors that the Syndicate possessed secret photos of Hoover wearing a dress and high-heels, but just a few years ago Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose desperately placed his eight-year-old transgendered grand-daughter front-and-center in his unsuccessful attempt to win reelection.

The decades have certainly softened the effectiveness of many forms of blackmail, but pedophilia still ranks as an extremely powerful taboo. There seems to be a great deal of evidence that powerful organizations and individuals have successfully managed to suppress credible accusations of that practice for very long periods of time if no group with substantial media influence chose to target the offenders for unmasking.

The most obvious example is the Catholic Church, and the failings of its American and international hierarchy in that regard have regularly made the front pages of our leading newspapers. But until the early 2000s and the breakthrough reporting of the Boston Globe as recounted in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, the Church had routinely fended off such scandals.

Consider also the remarkable case of British television personality Sir Jimmy Savile, one of his country’s most admired celebrities, eventually knighted for his public service. Only shortly after his death at age 84 did the press begin revealing that he had probably molested many hundreds of children during his long career. Accusations by his young victims had stretched back across forty years, but his criminal activities had seemingly been protected by his wealth and celebrity, along with his numerous supporters in the media.

There is also the intriguing example of Dennis Hastert. As the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House in U.S. history, holding office during 1999-2007, Hastert was third in line to the Presidency and even ranked as our nation’s top Republican elected official during some of that period. Based upon my newspaper readings, he had always struck me as a rather bland and ordinary individual, with journalists sometimes even strongly hinting at his mediocrity, so that I occasionally wondered just how someone so unimpressive could have risen to such extremely high national office.

Then a few years ago, he was suddenly thrust back into the headlines, arrested by the FBI and charged with financial crimes relating to what apparently had been his past history of abusing young boys, at least one of whom had committed suicide, with the federal judge who sent him to prison denouncing him as “a serial child molester” at sentencing. Perhaps I’ve led an overly sheltered life, but my impression is that only a tiny sliver of Americans have had a long record of child molestation, and all things being equal, it seems rather unlikely that someone of such a background but who possesses no other great talents or skills would rise to near the absolute top of our political heap. So perhaps not all things were otherwise equal. If some powerful elements held the hard evidence that placed a particular elected official under their total control, making great efforts to elevate him to Speaker of the House would be a very shrewd investment.

At times the unwillingness of our national media to see major stories in front of their very noses reaches ridiculous extremes. During the summer of 2007, the Internet was ablaze with claims that Sen. John Edwards, a runner-up in the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, had just fathered a child with his mistress, and those reports were backed by seemingly-credible visual evidence, including photos showing the married senator holding his new-born baby. Yet as the days and even the weeks went by, not a whiff of this salacious scandal ever reached the pages of any of my morning newspapers or the rest of the mainstream media although it was a top conversation topic everywhere else. Eventually, the National Enquirer, a notorious gossip tabloid, scored a journalistic first, by receiving a Pulitzer Prize nomination for breaking the story that no other outlet seemed willing to cover. Would our media have similarly averted its eyes from a newborn baby Trump coming from the wrong side of the bed?

Over the years, it became increasingly obvious to me that nearly all elements of our national media were often quite willing to enlist in a “conspiracy of silence” to minimize or entirely ignore stories of tremendous potential interest to their readership and major public importance. I could easily have doubled or tripled the number of such notable examples I provided above without much effort. Moreover, it is quite intriguing that so many of these cases involve the sort of criminal or sexual misbehavior that would be ideally suited for blackmailing powerful individuals who are less likely to be vulnerable to other influences. So perhaps many of the elected officials situated at the top of our democratic system merely reign as political puppets, dancing to invisible strings.

Given my awareness of this remarkable track-record of major media cover-ups, I’m ashamed to admit that I had paid almost no attention to the Jeffrey Epstein case until it exploded across our national headlines earlier this month, suddenly becoming one of the biggest news stories in our country.

For many years, reports about Epstein and his illegal sex-ring had regularly circulated on the fringes of the Internet, with agitated commenters citing the case as proof of the dark and malevolent forces that secretly controlled our corrupted political system. But I almost entirely ignored these discussions, and I’m not sure that I ever once clicked on a single link.

Probably one reason I paid so little attention to the topic was the exceptionally lurid nature of the claims being made. Epstein was supposedly an enormously wealthy Wall Street financier of rather mysterious personal background and source of funds, who owned a private island and an immense New York City mansion, both regularly stocked with harems of underage girls provided for sexual purposes. He allegedly hobnobbed on a regular basis with Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, and numerous other figures in the international elite, as well as a gaggle of ordinary billionaires, frequently transporting those individuals on his personal jet known as “the Lolita Express” for the role it played in facilitating illegal secret orgies with young girls. When right-wing bloggers on obscure websites claimed that former President Clinton and the British Royals were being sexually serviced by the underage girls of a James Bond super-villain brought to life, I just assumed those accusations were the wildest sort of Internet exaggeration.

Moreover, these angry writers did occasionally let slip that the fiendish target of their wrath had already been charged in a Florida courtroom, eventually pleading guilty to a single sexual offense and receiving a thirteen month jail sentence, mitigated by very generous work-release provisions. This hardly seemed like the sort of judicial punishment that would lend credence to the fantastical accusations against him. If Epstein had already been investigated by law enforcement authorities and given the sentence one might expect for writing a bad check, I found it quite unlikely that he was actually the Goldfinger or Dr. No that deluded Internet activists made him out to be.

Then these same wild, implausible claims previously found only on anonymous comment-threads were suddenly repeated as solid fact on the front pages of theTimes and all my other morning newspapers, and the former federal prosecutor who had signed off on Epstein’s legal slap-on-the-wrist was forced to resign from the Trump Cabinet. Epstein’s safe had been found to contain a huge cache of child-pornography and other highly suspicious material, and he was quickly rearrested on charges that could send him to federal prison for decades. Prestigious media outlets described Epstein as the mastermind of a huge sex-trafficking ring, and numerous underage victims began coming forward, telling their stories of how he had molested, raped, and pimped them. The author of a long 2003 Epstein profile that had appeared in Vanity Fair explained that she had personally spoken to some of his victims and included their highly-credible accounts in her article, but that those portions had been stricken and removed by her timorous editors.

As presented by these media outlets, Epstein’s personal rise also seemed rather inexplicable unless he had benefited from some powerful network or similar organization. Lacking any college degree or credentials, he had somehow gotten a job teaching at one of New York City’s most elite prep schools, then quickly jumped to working at a top investment bank, rising to partner with astonishing speed until he was fired a few years later for illegal activity. Despite such a scanty and doubtful record, he was soon managing money for some of America’s wealthiest individuals, and keeping so much of it for himself that he was regularly described as a billionaire. According to newspaper accounts, his great specialty was “making connections for people.”

Obviously, Epstein was a ruthlessly opportunistic financial hustler. But extremely wealthy individuals must surely be surrounded by great swarms of ruthlessly opportunistic financial hustlers, and why would he have been so much more successful than all those others? Perhaps a clue comes from the offhand remark of Epstein’s now-disgraced prosecutor, saying that he had been told to go very easy on the sex-trafficker because he “belonged to intelligence.” The vague phrasing of that statement raises questions about whether the intelligence service may not have been one controlled by the U.S. government.

Philip Giraldi, a highly-regarded former CIA officer, put things very plainly when he suggested that Epstein had probably been working for the Israeli Mossad, operating “honey traps” to obtain blackmail information on all the wealthy and powerful individuals whom he regularly plied with underage girls. Indeed, longtime Canadian journalist Eric Margolis recounted his early 1990s visit to Epstein’s enormous NYC mansion, in which he had barely crossed the threshold before he was offered an “intimate massage” by one of the many young girls there, presumably in a bedroom well-stocked with hidden cameras.

Given my personal lack of interest in the Epstein case, then or now, perhaps a few of these details may be garbled, but it seems undeniable that he was exactly the sort of remarkable renegade often faced by Agent 007 in the movies, and the true facts will presumably come out at his trial. Or perhaps not. Whether he lives to see trial is not entirely clear given the considerable number of powerful individuals who might prefer that hidden facts remain hidden, and the Friday newspapers reported that Epstein had been found injured and unconscious in his prison cell.

When one seemingly implausible pedophilia scandal has suddenly jumped from obscure corners of the Internet to the front pages of our leading newspapers, we must naturally begin to wonder whether others might not eventually do the same. And a very likely candidate comes to mind, one that seemed to me far better documented than the vague accusations being thrown about over the last few years against a wealthy financier once given a thirteen-month jail sentence in Florida a decade earlier.

I don’t use Social Media myself, but near the end of the 2016 presidential campaign, I gradually began seeing more and more Trump supporters referring to something called “Pizzagate,” a burgeoning sexual scandal that they claimed would bring down Hillary Clinton and many of the top leaders of her party, with the chatter actually increasing after Trump was elected. As near as I could tell, the whole bizarre theory had grown up on the far-right fringe of the Internet, with the utterly fantastical plot having something to do with stolen secret emails, DC pizza parlors, and a ring of pedophiles situated near the top of the Democratic Party. But given all the other strange and unlikely things I’d gradually discovered about our history, it didn’t seem like something I could necessarily dismiss out of hand.

At the beginning of December, a right-wing blogger produced a lengthy exposition of the Pizzagate charges, which finally gave me some understanding of what was actually under discussion, and I soon made arrangements to republish his article. It quickly attracted a great deal of interest, and some websites pointed to it as the best single introduction to the scandal for a general audience.

Pizzagate
AEDON CASSIEL • DECEMBER 2, 2016

A couple of weeks later, I republished an additional article by the same writer, describing a long list of previous pedophilia scandals that had occurred in elite American and European political circles. Although many of these seemed to be solidly documented, nearly all of them had received minimal coverage by our mainstream media outlets. And if such political pedophile rings had existed in the relatively recent past, was it so totally implausible that there might be another one simmering beneath the surface of today’s Washington DC?

Precedents for Pizzagate
AEDON CASSIEL • DECEMBER 23, 2016

Those interested in the details of the Pizzagate Hypothesis are advised to read these articles, especially the first one, but I might as well provide a brief summary.

John Podesta had been a longtime fixture in DC political circles, becoming chief of staff to President Bill Clinton in 1998, and afterward remaining one of the most powerful figures in the Democratic Party establishment. While serving as as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, his apparent carelessness with the password security of his Gmail account allowed it to easily be hacked, and tens of thousands of his personal emails were soon published on WikiLeaks. A swarm of young anti-Clinton activists began scouring this treasure-trove of semi-confidential information, seeking evidence of mundane bribery and corruption, but instead they came across some quite odd exchanges, seemingly written in coded language.
Now use of coded language in a supposedly secure private email account raises all sorts of natural suspicions regarding what might have been under discussion, with the most likely possibilities being illegal drugs or sex. But most of the references didn’t seem to fit the former category, and in our remarkably libertine era, in which political candidates compete for the right to be Grand Marshal at an annual Gay Pride Parade, one of the few sexual activities still discussed only in whispers would seem to be pedophilia, with some of the very strange remarks possibly hinting at this.

The researchers also soon discovered that his brother Tony Podesta, one of the wealthiest and most successful lobbyists in DC, had extremely odd taste in art. Major items of his very extensive personal collection seemed to represent tortured or murdered bodies, and one of his favorite artists was best known for paintings depicting young children being held captive, lying dead, or suffering under severe distress. Such peculiar artwork obviously isn’t illegal, but it might naturally arouse some suspicions. And oddly enough, arch-Democrat Podesta had long been a close personal friend of former Republican Speaker and convicted child-molester Dennis Hastert, welcoming him back into DC society after his release from prison.

Furthermore, some of the rather suspiciously-worded Podesta emails referred to events held at a local DC pizza parlor, greatly favored by the Democratic Party elite, whose owner was the gay former boyfriend of David Brock, a leading Democratic activist. The public Instagram account of that pizza-entrepreneur apparently contained numerous images of young children, sometimes tied or bound, with those images frequently labeled by hashtags using the traditional gay slang for underage sexual targets. Some photos showed the fellow wearing a tee-shirt bearing the statement “I Love Children” in French, and by a very odd coincidence, his possibly assumed name was phonetically identical to that very same French phrase, thus proclaiming to the world that he was “a lover of children.” Closely connected Instagram accounts also included pictures of young children, sometimes shown amid piles of high-value currency, with queries about how much those particular children might be worth. None of this seemed illegal, but surely any reasonable person would regard the material as extremely suspicious.

DC is sometimes described as “Powertown,” being the seat of the individuals who make America’s laws and govern our society, with local political journalists being closely attuned to the relative status of such individuals. And oddly enough, GQ Magazine had ranked that gay pizza parlor owner with a strange focus on young children as being one of the 50 most powerful people in our national capital, placing him far ahead of many Cabinet members, Senators, Congressional Chairmen, Supreme Court justices, and top lobbyists. Was his pizza really that delicious?

These few paragraphs provide merely a sliver of the large quantity of highly-suspicious material surrounding various powerful figures at the apex of the DC political world. A vast cloud of billowing smoke is certainly no proof of any fire, but only a fool would completely ignore it without attempting further investigation.

I usually regard videos as a poor means of imparting serious information, far less effective and meaningful than the simple printed word. But the overwhelming bulk of the evidence supporting the Pizzagate Hypothesis consists of visual images and screen shots, and these are naturally suited to a video presentation.

Some of the best summaries of the Pizzagate case were produced by a young British YouTuber named Tara McCarthy, whose work was published under the name of “Reality Calls,” and her videos were viewed hundreds of thousands of times. Although her channel was eventually banned and her videos purged, copies were later reloaded to other accounts, both on YouTube and BitChute. Some of the evidence she presents seemed rather innocuous or speculative to me and other elements were probably based upon her unfamiliarity with American society and culture. But a great deal of extremely suspicious material remains, and I would suggest that people watch the videos and decide for themselves.

Around the same time that I first became familiar with the details of the Pizzagate controversy, the topic also started reaching the pages of my morning newspapers, but in an rather strange manner. Political stories began giving a sentence or two to the “Pizzagate hoax,” describing it as a ridiculous right-wing “conspiracy theory” but excluding all relevant details. I had an eery feeling that some unseen hand had suddenly flipped a switch causing the entire mainstream media to begin displaying identical signs declaring “Pizzagate Is False—Nothing To See There!” in brightly flashing neon. I couldn’t recall any previous example of such a strange media reaction to some obscure Internet controversy.

Articles in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times also suddenly appeared denouncing the entirety of the alternative media—Left, Right, and Libertarian—as “fake news” websites promoting Russian propaganda, while urging that their content be blocked by all patriotic Internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Prior to that moment, I’d never even heard the term “fake news” but suddenly it was ubiquitous across the media, once again almost as if some unseen hand had suddenly flipped a switch.

I naturally began to wonder whether the timing of these two strange developments was entirely coincidental. Perhaps Pizzagate was indeed true and struck so deeply at the core of our hugely corrupted political system that the media efforts to suppress it were approaching the point of hysteria.

Not long afterward, Tara McCarthy’s detailed Pizzagate videos were purged from YouTube. This was among the very first instances of video content being banned despite fully conforming to all existing YouTube guidelines, another deeply suspicious development.

I also noticed that mere mention of Pizzagate had become politically lethal. Donald Trump had selected Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, as his National Security Advisor, and Flynn’s son served as the latter’s chief of staff. The younger Flynn happened to Tweet out a couple of links to Pizzagate stories, pointing out that the accusations hadn’t yet been actually investigated let alone disproven, and very soon afterward, he was purged from the Trump transition team, foreshadowing his father’s fall a few weeks later. It seemed astonishing to me that a few simple Tweets about an Internet controversy could have such huge real-life impact near the top of our government.

The media continued its uniform drumbeat of “Pizzagate Has Been Disproven!” but we were never told how or by whom, and I was not the only individual to notice the hollowness of such denunciations. An award-winning investigative journalist named Ben Swann at a CBS station in Atlanta broadcast a short television segment summarizing the Pizzagate controversy and noting that contrary to widespread media claims, Pizzagate had neither been investigated nor debunked. Swann was almost immediately purged by CBS but a copy of his television segment remains available for viewing on the Internet.

There is an old wartime proverb that enemy flak is always heaviest over the most important target, and the remarkably ferocious wave of attacks and censorship against anyone broaching the subject of Pizzagate seems to raise obvious dark suspicions. Indeed, the simultaneous waves of attacks against all alternative media outlets as “Russian propaganda outlets” laid the basis for the continuing regime of Social Media censorship that has become a central aspect of today’s world.

Pizzagate may or may not turn out to be true, but the ongoing Internet crackdown has similarly engulfed topics of a somewhat similar nature but with vastly stronger documentation. Although I don’t use Twitter myself, I encountered the obvious implications of this new censorship policy following McCain’s death last August. The senator had died on a Saturday afternoon, and readership of Sydney Schanberg’s long 2008 expose quickly exploded, with numerous individuals Tweeting out the story and a large fraction of our incoming traffic therefore coming from Twitter. This continued until the following morning, at which point the huge flood of Tweets continued to grow, but all incoming Twitter traffic suddenly and permanently vanished, presumably because “shadow banning” had rendered those Tweets invisible. My own article on McCain’s very doubtful war record simultaneously suffered the same fate, as did numerous other articles of a controversial nature that we published later that same week.

Perhaps that censorship decision was made by some ignorant young intern at Twitter, casually choosing to ban as “hate speech” or “fake news” a massively-documented 8,400 word expose by one of America’s most distinguished journalists, a Pulitzer-prize winning former top editor at The New York Times.

Or perhaps certain political-puppeteers who had spent decades controlling that late Arizona senator sought to ensure that their political puppet-strings remained invisible even after his death.
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