Our bigness is also beautiful.

National Review just published their “Things We Love About America” issue. I wish it was Independence Day. What essays, only a bitter hypocrite who enjoys the privilege of living here but knows not gratitude for their unmerited blessings could hate these essays. Why not fall in love with our country again? Here is a sample.

“My first memory comes from a road trip. I can still see it now, almost 38 years later: a brilliant red starfish, fat and thrilling to a child’s eye, splayed in a tidepool on a California beach. My family never flew: Whether the destination was California, Arizona, Florida, or Maine, we drove all the way from Michigan. By the time I took my first airplane flight — I was a high-school senior — I had crossed almost every state border in the lower 48, wheels hugging tight to the road. Road trips aren’t all glitz and glamour. I’ve slept in dicey roadside motels. I’ve thrown up in Yellowstone. I’ve gotten suckered into backseat “strength competitions” with my older brother. I’ve visited the world’s largest truck stop — Iowa 80, that vast heartland “trucker’s Disneyland” — more times than I’d like to admit. But I would argue that jumping into a car and tasting the sweet freedom of rolling wherever you want, whenever you want — all while watching this massive, amazing country scroll by — is about as American as it gets.” Heather Wilhelm.

“Calvin Coolidge didn’t quite say that “the business of America is business,” but he could have said the “bigness of America is bigness.” First of all, we’re literally huge—third-largest by area alone, but No. 1 in geographic diversity and cool stuff.  The best junk they’ve got in Canada and Russia, we’ve got too. But those guys don’t have Hawaii or the American southland (and none of this takes into account that the American-flagged moon is ours, thanks to the International Law of Finders, Keepers and the giant cojones it took to colonize the thing in the first place). America is also large of spirit. Foreigners know this and will often tell you this. Abroad, Americans stand out so much, they almost glow. What Texans and Californians are to other Americans, Americans are to much of the world. Our flintiest New Englanders are like cruise directors compared with many Eastern Europeans. We’re a deeply charitable people — far more charitable than any European country, no matter how you measure it.” Jonah Goldberg.

“But as I’ve aged, I’ve come to think that landscape is less an emblem of America than are its admirable and unsung people: at risk of parodying Donald Rumsfeld, the unknown unknowns rather than the known knowns. They more than anything, more than even the genius of its principles and the courage of its founding, are the source of my continuing love of country despite its troubles and failings. As a writer, who by virtue of the profession could not settle into any others, I’ve had a hundred jobs and met a thousand people who, like most, will leave little to no trace in history, and yet, on the scales of virtue, far outshine most of those who, for a time, are remembered. After my windshield was shattered in a Princeton hailstorm, I was led to a shop in a less august town, where, with the coordination of surgeons, young men my age replaced the curving glass. Most of them had just returned from Vietnam and were floating on air, savoring every move in what they did, every note of the music coming over the radio, every breath of air at home at last. Their happiness as they worked was a better expression of America than any rhetoric or essay. I could go on about so many whom I have known: fighter pilots, farmers, cabinet makers, forest rangers, even accountants (the IRS has a very long list), or my friend, a tough cop, who, upon receiving an award for valiantly but unsuccessfully trying to save a baby’s life, broke down and wept on stage until he was taken into the arms of his very short female commanding officer. In the large and bustling audience, everything came to a dead stop, in dead silence, and we were all one. These and the millions like them are the hope and sinew of America, the inheritors and guardians of its principles, good people present in all walks of life, and deeply worthy of our love.” Mark Helprin.

“Immigrants to America never brought with them the idea that they were still European subjects. Nor were our small farmers peasants or serfs. Instead, the United States was the rare consensual government in history in which the middle class, in numbers and influence, defined the society and culture at large. Every man was to be a king, and so his home really was his castle. You can see the modern result of such middle-class chauvinism manifested on the freeway in the huge Winnebago with chairs, bikes, and gadgets tacked onto its sides barreling to a national park — or by listening to the well-informed callers on talk radio who prove to be better informed than Ivy League students. Elites hate jet skis, snowmobiles, and recreational vehicles in part because they reflect that so many have the wherewithal to have fun without the approval or sanction of their supposed betters. The twin of such populist chauvinism has always been a unique informality lacking in most nations abroad. Americans are practical, commonsensical, and self-reliant. The middling classes usually avoid the European gullibility of periodically embracing all-encompassing doctrines and ideologies. They certainly never warmed to the patrón or the manor. The middle classes have found would-be Hitlers, Mussolinis, or Stalins more creepy than spellbinding. So dominant is this ethos of unpretentiousness that even the blueblood and magnate often embrace the fashion, accent, and bearing of the middle class. The aristocratic Ivy Leaguer William F. Buckley famously announced, “I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.” Buckley did not mean just that he resented the overweening nonsense of the eastern liberal intelligentsia. He also perhaps was conceding that men of his own class would gladly admit that the common sense and bearings of the “average folks” had kept the country sane and balanced.” Victor Davis Hanson.

“Envy is a sour, seething desire for someone else’s possessions, whether things, abilities, spouses, or good luck. It’s a universal disease, one of the seven deadly sins, but in my opinion it’s much less likely to afflict Americans. This is a great American virtue. We take this for granted, but we’re blessed that envy isn’t part and parcel of our civic culture. When I was in Dijon in France a few weeks ago, a French friend and I chatted about how uneasy, how sullen and impotent, the French seem now. He said, ‘The French are taught to be unhappy and to blame the state and the rich.’ Blame is envy’s bad-seed baby. Envy is powerful and corrosive. It eats the soul. It reveals a void that comes from a want of freedom and autonomy. You covet what you don’t have and assume you can’t get. Envy and blame are states of being but also states of mind. When people don’t feel free and independent, envy and blame rear their ugly heads and toss their curls. American art has so much landscape and seascape for the obvious reason that they’re ubiquitous subjects, but they’re also open-ended. They evoke freedom and possibility, not limits. Our identity as citizens, as Americans, draws from notions of freedom the way a tree draws water. I think that’s why envy and blame haven’t paralyzed us. Sure, as in any complicated organism, every emotion or trait finds an outlet. We’re a collection of people, and everyone is unique. Americans, though, as a rule don’t envy what others have. We don’t hate the rich. We don’t want to punish them. Americans are far less inclined to play blame games. Puzzling our way out of a bad situation is an instinct well supplied to Americans but less elsewhere. We’ve never been a culture of constraint and limits, which are dead ends. We’re a culture of opportunity. In most of the world, things are fixed, which can mean rigged as well as unalterably set.” Brian Allen.

“It’s fashionable to run men of this country down — and, yeah, some deserve it. But even northern Europe is hardly a manhood paradise by comparison. A German professor boasted to me of his open-mindedness: He let his wife have the car one day a week, so that she could do the shopping. Tyrannical in-laws; spoiled only children; porn, mistresses, and prostitutes as erotic competitors; ruthless diet and fashion industries; and a thousand rigid traditions around domesticity steal European women’s lives. European men are okay with this. American men — with few exceptions — treat you like a human being, in a free, natural way, because they’ve done it from the nation’s youth. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that a young American woman could make a long trip alone in perfect security — woe to anyone who touched her. That expectation endangered me in the developing world; men’s attitudes there forced me to fold in and withdraw. I was relieved to hilarity to settle in the U.S. again, where I could reclaim my whole self, public and private, for people I like and things that interest me. During a snowstorm one year, two young men at a Pennsylvania bus station helped me cross the icy parking lot with my luggage and then stood near me under the awning, talking to each other about frontier history. I realized I didn’t have to worry how I seemed to them, young or old, attractive or unattractive, attached or unattached, well-off or poor. They had no notion of a right to either hunt me or drive me away, as a useful or useless feral creature. I shared their species.Out at the road, a shuttle let out a blind passenger. He began to shuffle across the lot; we stared. Then a middle-aged man next to us set off wordlessly to help. The two younger ones were crushed: They hadn’t displayed an instant, full sense of their duty. “I feel like a tool bag,” one muttered. No, my friend, you’re not a tool bag. You’re one of the greats.” Sarah Ruden.

“Ancestry.com tells me my forebears were 100 percent from the British Isles. But I’m American by birth, and where I live, in Greensboro, N.C., we seem to have a pretty good mix of African, European, Latino, and Asian origins. When I travel to places where only one race or ethnic origin is represented, I get a sense that someone is missing. When I come home to America, nobody is missing. We have citizens whose ancestors came from everywhere. Whether those ancestors came willingly or not, legally or not, were well treated upon arrival or not, makes no difference: Their children and descendants are American now. And if any group of them had not come, we would be a different people, a poorer people. Americans are from everywhere. We include examples of everybody. Wherever you are in the world, you have kinfolk, however distantly related, in America.” Orson Scott Card.

“Some years ago, a man at Davos was singing the praises of America. He was from East Asia—I can’t remember exactly where. One thing he brought up was the matter of group photos. “In my part of the world,” he said, “everyone knows where to stand. There is a hierarchy. Everyone knows his place. In America, no one knows where to stand. They just fall in, and somebody takes the picture.” I thought this was a very interesting observation about our country — one only a foreigner could make. You recall what Aunt Eller says in Oklahoma!: “I don’t say I’m no better than anybody else, but I’ll be danged if I ain’t just as good!” At naturalization ceremonies, the presiding officer—could be a judge, even a Supreme Court justice; sometimes it’s the president of the United States — often says, “You are now just as American as descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims.” (Sometimes they are more so, in outlook and appreciation; sometimes they aren’t.) A few months ago, I landed at JFK Airport after a trip abroad. As I was making for a cab line, I saw an airport official giving a vendor a hard time. The vendor was clearly an immigrant from Africa. He said, in his accented English, “I know my rights!” Made me grin. Once, I was sitting with a group of journalists, questioning the prime minister of Egypt. The Middle Eastern journalists were addressing him as “your excellency.” This struck my ear as odd, especially considering that Egypt was then keen to be seen as a democratic country. Happy to play the brash Yank, I said to the prime minister, “How did someone in your position come to be called ‘your excellency’?” The people around me bristled, audibly. But the prime minister was a good sport, saying with a twinkle in his eye, “Well, 50 years ago it was ‘pasha.’” After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Angela Merkel visited America for the first time. She was in her mid 30s, about to begin a political career. In San Diego, a clerk in a store said to her, “How are you?” This startled the visitor from Germany (East Germany, actually). She found herself saying, “Great!” I like being an American abroad — you can get away with a lot. In Austria, a pedestrian waits at the intersection if the sign says “Don’t walk.” It doesn’t matter if it’s two in the morning, with no car for miles. He waits. My American feet won’t do it. I figure I will be excused, as the American who doesn’t know better. In Salzburg, where I do some annual work, the concert halls are very, very hot. Most people are dressed to the nines. I always take off my jacket. Then something happens. The men around me look at their wives as if to say, “Well, if he’s doing it . . .” The wives will shrug, and the men will remove their jackets, in grateful relief. That’s American leadership, baby.” Jay Nordlinger.

Well, you get the idea. Why not MAGA? That’s not Trump, it’s us, baby!

When narratives lie, they are all the same.

Most narratives, defined in my previous post, are birthed by the desire to protect and justify a vested interest. That’s why most of them lie. Slaveholders protected their vested interests by distorting Bible passages and promoting theories of negro inferiority. The New York Times 1619 Project protects its vested interests —undoing Trump, endearing themselves to their anti-Trump readers and the Democrats—the same way. Distorting and rewriting our history to make it all about racism and slavery. Both narratives are lies, therefore both are the same! A lie is a lie is a lie. There are no better or worse lies. Lying is warfare. Satan is called the “father of lies.” You don’t believe in Satan? Fine. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? No? Fine…until “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”- Philippians 2:9-11.

In the meantime, do you prefer truth to lies? If so, subject all narratives to the vested interest test. One of the most true narratives about our nation is this: To be an American is to believe that the status we are born into is never the final word. We have a spirit of striving, a spirit of hope that goes back to our very beginnings. Does this narrative offend some vested interest of yours? Can you understand that before the colonies that became the United States of America wrested their independence from the British Empire, whatever class and status you were born into was pretty much yours for generations. There was nowhere you could go to have the opportunity to remake your future and the future of your progeny–it was the same everywhere.

What could possibly be the vested interest that lies behind Rob Reiner’s unhinged Tweetstorm? On Wednesday, Reiner raged against Trump via his official twitter account: “Can’t say this enough. Donald Trump is out of his fu**ing mind. He’s moronic. He’s racist. He’s childish. He’s beyond unfit. GOP, step the f*ck up! And Dems, the house is on fire! Get out the Impeachment hoses. Stop this greedy narcissistic soulless fool or say goodbye to US.

On Tuesday, Reiner compared Trump to cancer: “To put a finer point on Trump’s claim that Google manipulated millions of votes in 2016: The President of the United States is out of his f**king mind. Can’t wait until 2020. The cancer is spreading. Televised Impeachment hearings must begin soon!

On August 20, Reiner also tried to rally Democrats against Trump’s “toxic racism”: “There is no whining. There is no complaining. There is no holding noses. We are in an epic struggle for the soul of our nation & the survival of Democracy. If we all pledge full throated support to the Democratic nominee, Trump & his toxic racism will be buried in a landslide.

Piers Morgan used to be somewhat like Reiner, and would still consider himself a proud liberal, BUT he has grown a bit beyond Reiner’s brand of “liberalism.” He says, “Populism is rising because liberals have become unbearable—and I speak as a liberal, OK?” Morgan said, adding that “liberals have become utterly, pathetically illiberal, and it’s a massive problem. What’s the point of calling yourself a liberal if you don’t allow anyone else to have a different view?”

He continued: “You know, this snowflake culture that we now operate in—the victimhood culture, the ‘everyone … has to think a certain way, behave a certain way’ … it’s all completely skewed to an environment where everyone’s offended by everything, and no one’s allowed to say a joke.”

Morgan then referred to the flap over comedian Kevin Hart backing out of hosting the Academy Awards over years-old comments some considered homophobic—and then Morgan showed how slippery the slope can get. “So hosts have gone, and soon every award winner will go because everyone’s a human, and they’re all flawed, so no one can win awards anymore because there will be no platform before they even get on the podium,” Morgan said. “So then: no hosts, no stars. Then no one can make any movies because we’re all flawed, so no actors … So suddenly, where are we?

“The liberals get what they want, which is a humorless void where nothing happens, where no one dare do anything or laugh about anything or behave in any way that doesn’t suit their rigid way of leading a life. No thanks. So what’s happening around the world? Populism is rising because people are fed up with the PC culture. They’re fed up with snowflakery. They’re fed up with people being offended by everything, and they’re gravitating toward forceful personalities who go: ‘This is all nonsense!’

“Which, by the way, it is in most cases. So why are we surprised? I’m not surprised. It doesn’t mean to say I agree with all of it, but it means I can understand it, and I understand why the liberals — my side if you like—are getting it so horribly wrong. They just wanna tell people not just how to lead their lives, but ‘if you don’t lead it the way I tell you to’—it’s a kind of version of fascism. ‘If you don’t lead the life the way I’m telling you to, then I’m going to ruin your life. I’m gonna scream abuse at you. I’m gonna get you fired from your job. I’m gonna get you hounded by your family and friends. I’m gonna make you the most disgusting human being in the world.'” Could he be talking about Reiner?

Isaac Bashevis Singer: “When a day passes it is no longer there. What remains of it? Nothing more than a story. If stories weren’t told or books weren’t written, man would live like the beasts, only for the day. The whole world, all human life is one long story.” John Dos Passos, from a 1941 essay, “The Use of the Past.” It is uncannily relevant to the present: “In times of change and danger when there is a quicksand of fear under men’s reasoning, a sense of continuity with generations gone before can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present and get us past that idiot delusion of the exceptional Now that blocks good thinking. That is why, in times like ours, when old institutions are caving in and being replaced by new institutions not necessarily in accord with most men’s preconceived hopes, political thought has to look backwards as well as forwards.

William McClay speech: “How, we wonder today, could such otherwise enlightened and exemplary men as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson have owned slaves, a practice so contradictory to all they stood for? There is no easy answer to such questions. But surely a part of the answer is that each of us is born into a world that we did not make, and it is only with the greatest effort, and often at very great cost, that we are ever able to change that world for the better. Moral sensibilities are not static; they develop and deepen over time, and general moral progress is very slow. The ambivalences regarding slavery built into the structure of the Constitution were almost certainly unavoidable in the short term, in order to achieve an effective political union of the nation. What we need to understand is how the original compromise no longer became acceptable to increasing numbers of Americans, especially in one part of the Union, and why slavery, a ubiquitous institution in human history, came to be seen not merely as an unfortunate evil but as a sinful impediment to human progress, a stain upon a whole nation. We live today on the other side of a great transformation in moral sensibility, a transformation that was taking place but was not yet completed in the very years the United States was being formed.How, we wonder today, could such otherwise enlightened and exemplary men as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson have owned slaves, a practice so contradictory to all they stood for? There is no easy answer to such questions. But surely a part of the answer is that each of us is born into a world that we did not make, and it is only with the greatest effort, and often at very great cost, that we are ever able to change that world for the better. Moral sensibilities are not static; they develop and deepen over time, and general moral progress is very slow.”

Having so much fun with “re-framing.”

Miley and her (former) patriarch husband.

The NY Times has had such good fun with re-framing the history of our country via their 1610 Project, that San Francisco, once this country’s most beautiful city, now reportedly turning into a cesspool of filth, homelessness and drug addiction, has decided to get onboard. Given that there are now more junkies in San Francisco than there are high school students, the obvious solution to all the rising plagues of crime, filth, homelessness and drug addiction, is…ta da…re-framing! So last month, the city’s Board of Supervisors decreed that there’ll be no more “convicted felons” in San Francisco. Yea, law and order! Well…no. Going forward, ex-cons are to be called, “justice-involved individuals.” Aren’t the people they committed crimes against are also “justice-involved individuals?” So, in other words, victim and criminal are now morally indistinguishable. This is re-framing, woke equality. At least they could designate crime victims as “injustice-involved individuals”, right? No, injustice is only black victims of white crime. There are no longer any “juvenile delinquents.” The whole category has disappeared. Criminals under 18 are now referred to as “young people impacted by the juvenile justice system” –as if the system, and not the kid, committed the crime, which is what the left in fact believes. It’s your fault, not theirs. Check your privilege, Middle America. Drug addicts, meanwhile, are now called “people with the history of substance use.” “Use,” not “abuse.” Get it? Heroin addicts are now the same as insulin-dependent diabetics; both use “substances.” You can’t call one better than the other. They’re both exactly the same. When the words disappear, so does our ability to think about the ideas the words represent.

Speaking of WORDS, will former President Obama be allowed to declare himself a “climate refugee” if his previous predictions come true? In 2015, he told the United Nations that “climate change was the greatest threat against humanity’s future, particularly for those living close to the ocean. No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent droughts and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees.” He forgot to add, “except for Martha’s Vineyard.” According to TMZ, the Obamas are in escrow for an estate owned by Boston Celtics owner, Wyc Grousbeck. They made an offer for the property, listed at $14,850,000. It’s 29 beachfront acres. The main residence is just shy of 6,900 square feet. Wait! Beachfront? Isn’t that, like, almost IN the ocean? I don’t think Martha’s Vineyard is a “shrinking island”, even though McMansions like theirs probably make it feel like it’s getting smaller. But it has incredible views, especially while soaking in the second-floor balcony Jacuzzi. Now if only that is high enough above the rising oceans…..After all, even the Obama’s wealth would take a hit if they paid $15 million or so for an estate and couldn’t enjoy it.

Not to be outdone in the re-framing sweepstakes, modern media sage Miley, Cyrus that is, has decided to re-frame heterosexuality and marriage as “tools of the patriarchy.” If ole Billy Ray ain’t turning in his grave—since he’s not dead yet—he soon will wish he was, if he isn’t already. “Daddies, don’t let your kids to grow up to be entertainment celebs.” That’s the title of my suggested next album for him. Is she really sincere? Well, she’s divorcing Liam, but made sure before she did that he wasn’t okay with her worldwide viral post of kissing a girl. Was it all for woke publicity? Or a way to blame the divorce on Liam’s maleness? Both? Oh, the joys of re-framing!

Still, we’re many years behind our northern neighbors when it comes to such joys. A single father in Canada–not single in terms of “only one”, but single as in unmarried–may have violated his province’s human rights act by asking about the gender and age of a potential babysitter, according to a lawsuit. The father, identified only as Todd, is being investigated by the Alberta Human Rights Commission after a complaint was filed against him in 2017 by the applicant, who claims the father violated the Alberta Human Rights Act. Todd, whose boys were 5 and 8 at the time, posted an ad for a babysitter because he was planning on meeting a friend for dinner the following night. He received several responses, among them one listing skills such as CPR, and first aid, and mentioning a clean criminal record and seven years of caring for children. When Todd asked for age and gender, the applicant, James Crynowski, responded: “I’m male and 28 years old.” Todd’s dinner plans fell through, however, so he stopped corresponding with Crynowski and the other applicants because he no longer needed a babysitter. But Crynowski, instead of following up with Todd, filed a formal complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission on Sept. 1, claiming age and gender discrimination. The commission has not dismissed the case, although Crynowski, who filed a similar case against a mother of a five-year-old boy seeking “an older lady with experience,” lost a case that went to the Supreme Court of Canada, in which he was seeking more than $1,000 in “damages to dignity.”

The Human Rights Tribunals (HRTs) may be named after the Nazi War Crimes Tribunals. They act like Nazis who lament not being able to wear those stylish black uniforms with the double lightning bolts, but who go to their closets every night to see if they still fit, while snorting their schnapps. This HRT Alberta decided that the evidence is irrelevant, because a father of 5 and 8 year old boys must be reluctant to have a 28 year old male “babysitter”. Crynowski, or cry-now-ski, whose “dignity” was damaged by not being hired despite pretending to be “an older lady” for another 5 year old boy (might he have a thing going for 5 year old boys?), needs to be a two time loser with the HRT, but the gig may be too lucrative to give up. I wonder how much he wants from Todd. Cry-now-ski should quit going after little boys and instead pursue Jessica Yaniv, the bulbous pervert who has found another HRT to be a lucrative gig by fining numerous female estheticians for declining the privilege of Brazilian waxing his scrotum. Yaniv (birth name Johnathan) dresses in female clothing, claims to be “transgender” but still gets erections from the movement of ceiling fans, calls his trans-mutation to Jessica “my girls bathroom pass.”

In 2018, Yaniv filed 16 human rights complaints with the British Columbia HRT, charging various waxing and esthetic salon workers with transphobic discrimination for declining to provide waxing and other beautification services to her male genitals. Some of the fines these unfortunate real females have suffered at the hands of the BCHRT (for their very understandable aversion to waxing what must be the most hideous appendages since the Alien franchise debuted) have driven them out of business, but still Yaniv persists. I can see it now. A huge Ginkgo Biloba tree with a heart carved into it saying Crynowski loves Yaniv, or is it the other way around? Nevertheless, the re-framing of Nazi to Human Rights Tribunal is a perv magnet. Are we having fun yet?

BDS, Omar, Tlaib and Israel. Men in Black redux.

Let’s sneak in under a trenchcoat!

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Thursday, 8-15-2019, said Washington “supports and respects” Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country. The diplomat said in a statement that the boycott movement against Israel “is not free speech. Rather, it is no less than economic warfare designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish State. Unfortunately, the itinerary of the Tlaib/Omar Delegation leaves no room for that opportunity. In contrast to the nearly 70 freshmen members of Congress who just recently completed, or who are currently pursuing, a balanced visit to Israel that includes meetings with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the Tlaib/Omar Delegation has limited its exposure to tours organized by the most strident of BDS activists,” Friedman said.

From Michael Goodwin, NY Post: In addition to wanting to go alone, they reportedly refused any government briefings and Netanyahu said their itinerary mentioned only “Palestine,” a country that doesn’t exist and a word often used to deny Israel’s right to exist. According to National Review, the group that planned Omar and Tlaib’s trip, MIFTAH, runs a Web site that publishes anti-Semitic articles and celebrates Palestinian terrorists, several of whom murdered Jewish children. The link guarantees that the trip would have been a nonstop assault on Israel.

After Netanyahu’s rejection, she appealed to Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri for permission to visit on humanitarian grounds, citing her ­elderly grandmother. “This could be my last opportunity to see her,” Tlaib wrote. “I will respect any restrictions and not promote boycotts against ­Israel during my visit.” On those terms, Israel granted Tlaib permission to visit her family.

But when news of the agreement became public, some on the left accused her of caving in to Israel. Immediately Tlaib backed out and attacked Israel, tweeting that the conditions she agreed to were “humiliating” and adding, “I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”

Deri got it exactly right when he concluded that Tlaib’s “hatred of Israel outweighs her love for her grandmother.” History proves that Israel is often held to a double standard, and this case is no different. Virtually every nation bars entry to those who wish it harm, yet it’s an international incident when Israel does it. Dems, following the lead of former President Barack Obama, are harshly critical of Israel, silent about Palestinian attacks and believe in wooing Iran, which threatens to wipe Israel off the map.

The BabylonBee soon outed their plan to sneak into Israel surreptitiously, under a trenchcoat, pretending to be a REALLY tall transsexual version of Will Smith as Agent J in Men In Black. Unfortunately, their plot was foiled when the coat blew open, revealing two heads. Because there were no available men in black extraterrestrial police at the airport, the Sayeret Matkal (yes, they ARE real and you don’t want their gentle ministrations) were called in to deal with what they thought was an alien basketball star. When it was discovered who they really were, the Israeli government offered to bus them to Gaza, where they could board a tramp steamer back to the USA, by way of Somalia, so at least Omar could visit the remnants of her family in prison. Instead, they chartered a private jet back, using leftover undisclosed campaign funds.

A sense of humor might be called for.

Can’t take a joke?

Trump says he wanted to give himself Medal of Honor.So reads the click-grabbing headline on Politico, a typical Perfectionist Progressive website. Outrageous, right? But read on from the body of the report. Underlinings are mine.

“President Donald Trump claimed to laughter on Wednesday that he sought to give himself a Medal of Honor, but decided not to after being counseled against the move by aides. The offhand remark from the president came during his address to the 75th annual national convention of American Veterans, a volunteer-led veterans service organization also known as AMVETS. At the event in Louisville, Kentucky, Trump singled out for praise WWII veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams. ‘Thank you, Woody. You’re looking good, Woody.’ Trump said.

“That was a big day, Medal of Honor. Nothing like the Medal of Honor,” he continued. ‘I wanted one, but they told me I don’t qualify, Woody. I said, ‘Can I give it to myself anyway?’ They said, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’ Amid scattered chuckles, Trump concluded: ‘Great, great people. These are great, great men and women that get congressional Medal of Honor. Thank you, Woody’.”

Chuckles and laughter, from the audience? How dare they treat his remarks like the joking he obviously intended! It just ruins a perfectly good headline! What is this world coming to when someone has a sense of humor?

The narrative and the “grapes of wrath.”

Battle hymn of the Republic

Stephen Hunter, one of my favorite authors, defines the narrative as “the set of assumptions the press believes in, possibly without even knowing that it believes in them. It’s so powerful because it’s unconscious. It’s not like they get together every morning and decide “€œThese are the lies we tell today.”€ No, that would be too crude and honest. Rather, it’s a set of casual, non-rigorous assumptions about a reality they’ve never really experienced that’s arranged in such a way as to reinforce their best and most ideal presumptions about themselves and their importance to the system and the way they have chosen to live their lives.

The particular narrative I want to dissect is the NYT “1619 Project”, described by the pseudo-journalistic “paper of record” as “the reframing of the history of the United States.” What exactly is reframing in this case? According to Erick Erickson, “The Times does not seek to tell the story of the United States. Nor does it seek to add to the story. Instead, the New York Times has a conclusion and is working backwards to twist and contort facts to fit the conclusion. This is activism. The Times is not reporting, but building narratives where they must ignore or fabricate facts.”

Before the majority of Americans became ignorant of our true history and brainwashed by the public educational establishment, the national media and self-seeking politicians, before emotions became the default measure of truth, as our nation was trying to recover from the inconceivable (to today’s pampered drones) sacrifice of the Civil War, how did key figures of the time understand that war and it’s connection to slavery? The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was first published in February, 1862, in the Atlantic Monthly.

It was written by Julia Ward Howe and is included in many hymnals used by Bible-believing churches. Christian congregations sing this song, feeling very patriotic, without knowing what the song means, why it was written, or anything about Julia Howe. The fact is that this song was not written to praise God or Jesus. It was not even written within the framework of historical Christianity. Julia Howe was a social activist and an ardent Abolitionist. Together with her husband, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, they edited the Boston Commonwealth, a prominent anti-slavery paper, to which she also contributed articles, essays, and poems.

In November of 1861, Samuel and Julia Howe were invited to Washington by President Lincoln, where they toured a number of Union Army camps along the Potomac. While visiting these camps, they heard the soldiers singing a song well-known in both the North and the South, “John Brown’s Body Lies a’Mouldering in His Grave.” James Freeman Clarke, a Unitarian minister and fellow Abolitionist, was another member of the tour. He urged her to write a new song fitting that tune for the War effort to replace “John Brown’s Body.” She did so that very night. Staying at the Willard Hotel in Washington on the night of November 18, 1861, Howe awoke with the words of the song in her mind and in near darkness wrote down the verses. She called the result “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Therefore, the purpose of this song was not to praise God or to give testimony to his great works or the blessings he bestows on Christians. It was written to stir the emotions of the Union troops and support the War Against the Southern Confederacy. In this regard, the song was quite successful and immediately became popular with the soldiers.

Verse 1

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;  He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword: His truth is marching on

Mrs. Howe’s eyes saw nothing of “the coming of the Lord” because the Lord had not come. This was her “interpretation” of the second advent: the Union army pouring out divine grapes of wrath on the Confederacy.

Verse 2

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps, They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps: His day is marching on.”

The “hundred circling camps” were the Union Army camps that Mrs. Howe toured at President Lincoln’s invitation. She actually imagined the watch-fires of the camps to be altars built to God! “By the dim and flaring lamps” in the camps, she was able to read God’s “righteous sentence” on the South.

Verse 3

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel, Since God is marching on.

According to Mrs. Howe, the “fiery gospel” is written and spread by “burnished rows of steel”–by rifles and bayonets. What “gospel” is it to which she refers? Not the New Testament Gospel. The word “contemner” is not often used today. It means one who commits contempt. The verb “contemn” means to view or regard with disdain, scorn, or contempt; to despise. The Southern Confederacy is here viewed as having contempt for God. Therefore, to the extent that the Union Army deals with God’s contemners in the South, to that same extent, according Mrs. Howe, God will shed his grace on the Northern soldiers. Here the Southern Confederacy is actually cast in the roll of Satan himself. The prediction of Christ crushing Satan in Genesis 3:15 thus finds its fulfillment in the North crushing the South!

Her interpretation of the Civil War is strictly from the Abolitionist perspective. There is another way to interpret those words. The progressive rhetoric of the day and calls for reparations from Democrat politicians are poured out into a void of willful ignorance as they ignore the body count of mostly white Union soldiers who died that slavery might end. They paid reparations with their lives, The nation lost 2% of its male population.

Verse 4

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat: Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on.

Here Mrs. Howe depicts the choice made by her contemporaries between the cause of the North and the cause of the South as God “sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat.” Of course, God was not then, and is not now, sitting on his judgment seat “sifting” anyone. The judgment seat of God, like the bodily return of Christ to this earth, is an eschatological event. But even apart from that, the fact is that the Southern Army, not the Northern Army, had devout and Godly men such as Lee and Jackson as its leaders. They did not allow their soldiers to curse, they held Sunday services, and they held prayer meetings in their camps.

Verse 5

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, 
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on

Here we see the true purpose of this song: “As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.” “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was written to inspire the Union soldiers who were facing death in their effort to prosecute the war against the Southern Confederacy. Abolitionism, of course, comes out in the phrase, “make men free.” That is the way Mrs. Howe, as an Abolitionist, wanted to portray the goal of the War–to end slavery. However, if anyone thinks the North waged war on the South in order to end slavery and that the South was fighting to preserve slavery, then he knows nothing of the real issues that caused the Southern states to secede from the Union. More about that later.

Erickson sees both the Hymn and the 1619 Project of the New York Times as “an exercise in religious indoctrination. The 1619 is a systematic theology for wokeness. It is also a confession of faith by which heretics can be determined, outed, and marginalized. Should one take any issue with the claims made, no matter how fictitious or devoid of historic accuracy, that person can be labeled a white supremacist. Should one agree with the revisionist reframing, but disagree on the solutions, that person too can be cast out for not doing their fair share to make a heaven on earth. To accomplish all of this, what the left and the Times must do is ignore, downplay, or rewrite the history of 1861 to 1865. They must minimize, downplay, or ignore the deaths of 620,000 men, the majority of whom died, as the ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ declares, ‘to make men free’.” Many modern hymnals change this line to, “Let us live to make men free.” That is not how survivors of the Civil War understood the deaths, but indicates the detached from reality sensibilities of moderns.

Erickson: “The United States very literally paid an atoning sacrifice for the sin of slavery. Union preachers of the day and the President of the United States came to see the war in that light. Prior to the Civil War, more and more prominent Americans began discussing it in that light. The war was divine wrath poured out on the nation for enslaving a population.” How did President Lincoln understand the War? I will end by quoting Lincoln’s 2nd inaugural address: “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. ‘Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.’ If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether‘.”

The Civil War was fought primarily, at least in the visible realm of politics, to preserve the Union (prevent succession of the slave-holding states). But in the invisible, spiritual realm, was it fought to atone for the sin of slavery? Does it matter? Slavery was ended and the Union was preserved, at a terrible cost, which is sneered at and distorted by the New York Times for the sake of preserving their precious narrative. FOR SHAME! Their reckoning will also come. As slavery stored up God’s wrath, perhaps something like that is in store for the lovers of that revisionist narrative.

The greatest lesson: Charles Spurgeon vs. the spirit of our age.

“He that watereth shall be watered also himself.”
Proverbs 11:25

We are here taught the great lesson, that to get, we must give; that to accumulate, we must scatter; that to make ourselves happy, we must make others happy; and that in order to become spiritually vigorous, we must seek the spiritual good of others. In watering others, we are ourselves watered. How? Our efforts to be useful, bring out our powers for usefulness. We have latent talents and dormant faculties, which are brought to light by exercise. Our strength for labour is hidden even from ourselves, until we venture forth to fight the Lord’s battles, or to climb the mountains of difficulty. We do not know what tender sympathies we possess until we try to dry the widow’s tears, and soothe the orphan’s grief. We often find in attempting to teach others, that we gain instruction for ourselves. Oh, what gracious lessons some of us have learned at sick beds! We went to teach the Scriptures, we came away blushing that we knew so little of them. In our converse with sufferers, we are taught the way of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into divine truth. So that watering others makes us humble. We discover how much grace there is where we had not looked for it; and how much the poor sufferer may outstrip us in knowledge. Our own comfort is also increased by our working for others. We endeavour to cheer them, and the consolation gladdens our own heart. Like the two men in the snow; one chafed the other’s limbs to keep him from dying, and in so doing kept his own blood in circulation, and saved his own life. Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and running over.”

This is more than just a lesson for our personal lives. Spiritual poison seeps into our souls in countless ways that we are not aware of, but the Lord Jesus Christ says that it is what comes out of our own heart defiles us. Do you know people who are repellent, in that when you see them coming, you want to cover your face and walk the other way? Yet they are rarely aware of how others react to their garbage, yet they spend their lives seeking approbation. They don’t love, yet seek it desperately. Do you know others who are attractive, whom you would go out of your way to seek the company of? I guarantee you, they are aware of their effect on others, but aren’t seeking approbation, they love, but aren’t motivated by seeking love. Neither of those types of people are dangerous; you are not likely to be influenced by the repellent person, because you recognize poison. You are likely to be influenced by the attractive person, because you want to share in what they put out.

No, the person who poisons your soul, the dangerous person, is the “wolf in sheep’s clothing“, whom I call flatterers, because flattery is probably their salient characteristic. Too many of us don’t recognize that subtle beast, but Jesus Christ, all the apostles, especially Paul, Peter, James, John, and Solomon’s proverbs, explicitly out them and warn us against them: they flatter with their lips, they insert themselves into quarrels which don’t concern them, they gossip and seduce, most of all, they use your compassion to elevate themselves and their causes. First they kindle your compassion, then lament a “problem”, which often as not is just their spin on a situation which needs working out over time. If you yield to the temptation to join their lament (it’s called crocodile tears), they then suggest “solutions” to the “problem”, and if you nod in agreement, what inevitably follows is the person or persons who are opposing their solutions. But to let you know that they aren’t accusing those persons of something (which might result in the wolf having to defend their accusations), it ends with a verbal shrug, like nothing can be done.

Our air and sometimes our water contain poisons, but in 2019 the most noxious poison is our political rhetoric, aided, abetted and magnified by unsocial media, where anyone can anonymously spew garbage into the unsophisticated minds of the masses. What gets into the mind seeps into the soul. Repellent people rarely get elected, though they can sometimes don the sheep’s clothing (known as pulling the wool over your eyes) long enough to get elected. Attractive people can more easily get elected, though they rarely desire to. How many truly attractive people can you name in politics? My question implies that you can actually tell whether someone is attractive (or repellent) by their public persona. What is truly the essential difference between repellent people and flatterers? I believe that repellent people harbor such a negative view of others, or are so wrapped up in themselves, that any attempt at flattery is too strained to fool most. Their common mental illness is depression. The flatterer is usually a sociopath, charming on the outside, calculating on the inside. I assert that most of our politicians are this type.

Twitter might just be the best way today to see into someone’s heart, because it is used so spontaneously. If you refer back to Spurgeon‘s meditation on service, then comb their tweet history, looking for a history of love and service, how many politicians show up? Dan Crenshaw maybe. Two people that come to mind are NOT politicians, but football players: Kurt Warner and Tim Tebow. Their tweet history demonstrates what being attractive is. What does President Trump’s tweet history show? I think his is mostly repellent. That’s certainly his public persona. Can anything be accurately surmised about the private person from their public persona? Might this be an important question of our day? My belief is this: The attractive person is mostly the same inside as they are outside. Warner and Tebow are thoroughly attractive. The repellent person is also mostly same inside as they are outside, though they can be very loyal to selected people they like. What does the Bible say about that? But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. Luke 6:27-28. That’s Warner and Tebow, not Trump.

But repellent people are not nearly as harmful as the flatterers, the wolves. “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”– Acts 20:29. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. “Matthew 7:15-16. Circling back to Spurgeon’s meditation on service, all of us recognize the desirability of being perceived as serving. Politicians especially recognize that and try to position themselves as servants. By the time they attain power, and shed the sheepskin to reveal the “ravening wolf”, it’s usually too late. Social security started out as a program requiring contributions of 1% of the first $1,400 annual income, and received a tax deduction. Benefits were not taxed. Now, contributions are 7.65% of the first $90,000 annual income, are not tax deductible, and up to 85% of the benefits are taxed, depending on adjusted gross income. The full retirement age has been raised from 65 to 67. The system is still insolvent. The trust fund that was intended to provide for those who paid into the system was raided to fund other government programs. But the biggest single reason for its insolvency is the availability of abortion practically on demand. Planned Parenthood alone has aborted over 8,500,000 potential taxpayers since 1970, while the birth rate has fallen. Three federal crimes in the U.S. Code at the time the constitution was ratified have grown to well over 300,000.

Who can possibly unmask the wolves before they get in power? Who can provoke the wolves to show their teeth? The apostle Paul knew that the wolves were scratching at the door of the early church, slavering in anticipation of tearing the flock asunder. The wolves of 2019 are also, though the flock they are fleecing is not only the taxpayers, but the very history and nobility of the “American experiment”. The wolves of the Democrat socialists and their fawning media passionately hate someone who doesn’t fear them, who can provoke them to show their teeth. That’s Donald Trump. No one else has, nor probably can. So despite my believing that he is repellent, he is by far the lesser evil. I just viewed on YouTube, Lee Greenwood singing “God bless the USA” at Trump’s inauguration. The President was enthusiastically singing along, his love for our country evident. Can you, and whomever you vote for, sing these words, and get a tear in the eye while doing so? 

If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife,
I’d thank my lucky stars to be livin’ here today, ‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today,
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee,
Across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea,
From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA,
Well, there’s pride in every American heart,
And it’s time we stand and say….

That I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA.

If you can’t sing this, why are you here?