Sunday Funnies: Green Nude Eel Edition

Well, another week where Occasional Cortex proves the point. There really is no intelligent life in there. And so on we go, like a runaway bumper car.

From Italy comes The God Emperor Trump, including the Twitter sword

Might just be the best thing the Italians have given us since this

click to embiggen

Jungle Love

And, of course

Mostly, but not all, from PowerLine, as usual

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Deep State, Brexit, Trump, and Paranoia

There has been lots of hot air expended about all the nonsense (fake news included) since Donald Trump won the presidency. I put my thinking hat on a while ago and came to my own conclusions. So did R.S. (The Other) McCain. They’re pretty much the same. Here some from his post yesterday.

There was a lot of weird craziness in Andrew McCabe’s 60 Minutes interview, including the hare-brained scheme to secretly record President Trump’s conversations and invoke the 25th Amenidment, but perhaps nothing was more revealing than when the fired FBI official said this:

“I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and just won the election for the presidency. And who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage,” McCabe said of the meeting with President Trump. “And that was something that troubled me greatly.”

This is paranoia. […]

Let’s talk a bit about geopolitical reality: China is an economic rival to the U.S., and has been making military moves in the South China Sea. In any long-term military/diplomatic strategy, protecting America’s allies and interests against Chinese aggression is a major consideration. Meanwhile, the regime in Iran is a destabilizing force in the Islamic world, sponsoring terrorism, threatening Israel, and working to obtain nuclear arms.

Given the seriousness of these geopolitical threats, why would McCabe speak of Russia as the greatest “adversary” to America?

In a word, Brussels.

Yup. That’s what I see as well. We like the British have a bunch of political operatives masquerading as civil servants (two lies for the price of one: they are neither civil nor do they think of themselves as servants, of God, let alone the British and American people).

Stacy gives an excellent thumbnail description of European (including Russian) diplomatic history, mostly since 1914, but the main thrusts go back at least to the Napoleonic era, and likely farther. In fact, they form the lynchpin of the Westphalian system.

That’s all very well, I can understand how Brussels and Moscow got to this point, but what on earth makes any of this of more than cursory interest of the United States, let alone the paramount one. But here is your explanation as to why all these years after the demise of the Soviet Union, NATO still exists and maintains a cordon sanitaire around Russia.

Many Americans have always had an inferiority complex vis a vis Europeans, thinking them cultural icons compared to our bumptious people. They may have a point. So did many Romans view Greece. Regardless, America has the power, Europe is simply struggling to control a pretty small sandbox, and in Brexit, they stand to lose their only world power.

Europe has become a backwater, jerkline continent, of no real account to history. It’s almost a continent-size theme park, although there is little reason to go to Germany, you can find equivalent violence in Chicago or Baltimore. It has become irrelevant.

The real action in the world for the foreseeable future will be in Asia. Against China in the east and against Iran in western Asia. Europe has opted to have no role in either of these, although a free Britain (along with the Commonwealth) will have a large one.

Stacy comments:

This obsession with preserving the European Union explains why the same people who hate Trump also oppose “Brexit,” because a re-assertion of British sovereignty threatens the E.U.-centric mentality of the elite, in quite the same way that Trump’s “America first” approach offends those who want to see the U.S. “lead from behind.” Even though Andrew McCabe was never elected or appointed to any post that would require him to have an opinion on U.S. foreign policy, it is obvious that the former deputy FBI director had absorbed the establishment elite’s worldview, including their paranoid fear of Russian influence.

And there he speaks an obvious, but not well known, truth.

Sir Walter Raliegh had a clear understanding of this when he wrote:

For whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself’

Since 1588 the people that have exercised that power have been British and/or American. You’ll remember 1588 as the time that Britain broke Imperial Spain at sea as Spain attempted to conquer the island. We finished the job 300 years later at Manila Bay. Now Europe tries, as they’ve been doing from one direction or another since 1067, hasn’t worked yet, no reason it should now. Even less reason for the line of battle ship of America to follow in the wake of the cock-boat of Europe.

Endings

Well, you may have heard, AOC, or as we are inclined to call her, Occasional Cortex has with some help from her friends, cost New York City that new Amazon headquarters. I’m not a fan of government subsidies to get big businesses to move in, but it is what it is. via the New York Post:

“For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term,” the company said.

“While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

According to the reports I’ve seen, that’s 25, 000 jobs with an average salary of $150,000 per year (Yes, I also think it either insane or obscene, but that’s life). That works out to $3,750,000,000 lost. That’ll leave a mark on tax revenues. And it doesn’t count the other jobs, janitors, food service people, road crews, even ambitious young female bartenders. Nice job, Alexandria.


Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is apparently dead. Science reporter Jacob Margolis told us Wednesday via PJ Media.

“She was bouncing along, doing well, until a massive dust storm engulfed all of Mars in June 2018, knocking out communications with the team on earth,” he explained. The team has not heard from Opportunity since and it is unclear exactly what happened, he said. “The last message they received was basically, ‘My battery is low and it’s getting dark.’ They hoped that the windy season would clear dust off the solar panels (if that was the problem). “

Since then they’ve been pinging her “again and again, every way they knew,” to no avail. “Winter is coming,” said Margolis. “The windy season, which runs from November – January has come to an end, ” which is bad news for the rover because it will be dark and temps could dip to -100 C. The only way she has to keep warm is to move around, so “If components haven’t broken already, the extreme cold will likely serve the final blow…. If the solar panels do start to sip energy from the sun and feed it to the battery, Oppy’s emergency heaters will kick in and it’ll spend that energy warming its little robot heart, which contains its most important components.”

“We have made every reasonable engineering effort to try to recover Opportunity and have determined that the likelihood of receiving a signal is far too low to continue recovery efforts,” said John Callas, manager of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project at JPL on Wednesday afternoon.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine officially declared Opportunity dead in a 2 p.m. EST tweet:

Someday mankind will walk on Mars, and some of the credit will go to #Oppy and the brilliant Americans who designed, built, and operated the rover. Bravo Zulu, guys and girls.

And there a lesson there, Oppy was American technology, designed and built by Americans, designed to operate somewhat autonomously in a known hazardous atmosphere for 90 Martian days and travel 1100 yards. Instead:

NASA said in a statement. “In addition to exceeding its life expectancy by 60 times, the rover traveled more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) by the time it reached its most appropriate final resting spot on Mars — Perseverance Valley.”

Margolis shared what was likely Opportunity’s last photograph:

Nobody does it better!

As Dr. Tanya Harrison, one of the rocket scientists at JPL Tweeted:

.

History of St. Valentine

Not St. Valentine, but a reminder of how much we need women (or men), and God, in our lives

FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS

Who was Saint Valentine and how did he come to inspire Valentine’s Day?

In the early martyrologies, three different St. Valentines are mentioned, all sharing Feb. 14 for a feast day. Unfortunately, the historical record is sparse. The first St. Valentine was a priest and physician in Rome. He along with St. Marius and his family comforted the martyrs during the persecution of Emperor Claudius II, the Goth. Eventually, St. Valentine was also arrested, condemned to death for his faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded on Feb. 14, AD 270. He was buried on the Flaminian Way. Later, Pope Julius I (333-356) built a basilica at the site which preserved St. Valentine’s tomb. Archeological digs in the 1500s and 1800s have found evidence of the tomb of St. Valentine. However, in the thirteenth century, his relics were transferred to the Church of Saint Praxedes near the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where they remain today. Also, a small church was built near the Flaminian Gate of Rome which is now known as the Porta del Popolo but was called in the 12th century “the Gate of St. Valentine,” as noted by the early British historian William Somerset (also known as William of Malmesbury, d. 1143), who ranks after St. Bede in authority.

The second St. Valentine was the Bishop of Interamna (now Terni, located about 60 miles from Rome). Under the orders of Prefect Placidus, he too was arrested, scourged, and decapitated, again suffering persecution during the time of Emperor Claudius II.

The third St. Valentine suffered martyrdom in Africa with several companions. However, nothing further is known about this saint. In all, these men, each named St. Valentine, showed heroic love for the Lord and His Church.

The popular customs of showing love and affection on St. Valentine’s Day is almost a coincidence with the feast day of the saint: During the Medieval Age, a common belief in England and France was that birds began to pair on Feb.14, “half-way through the second month of the year.” Chaucer wrote in his “Parliament of Foules” (in Old English): “For this was on Seynt Valentyne’s day, When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” For this reason, the day was dedicated to “lovers” and prompted the sending of letters, gifts, or other signs of affection.

Continue reading History of St. Valentine. It’s an interesting story.

And that’s the story, as I’ve always known. That part of this post was originally published in 2013, and while there was more of it, it’s not overly relevant now. The day before I received one of those dreaded phone calls. My oldest sister died that day, and the rest of the post was me explaining why Jessica, my fairly new co-blogger at the time, would be taking over for a few days. And she did her usual superb job. I go back sometimes and read her posts, I did yesterday, and it never fails to amaze me how she could say so much in about 500 words, I’m almost always at 7-800 and not as clear as she was. Oh well. Things always change, and we carry on.

In any case, I read an article yesterday about how Charles Wesley, who along with his brother John, founded Methodism, found that loving his wife increased his love of God, and vice versa as well. I wonder if that isn’t true for many of those we admire so much, being both some of the best Christians we know and having those amazing long and seemingly really good marriages as well.

The “Lesser” Wesley

Accounts of the great evangelical revival of the 18th century often neglect the life and thought of Charles Wesley (1707–1788). He wrote well over 7,000 hymns, but his older brother John has almost always been honored as the greater of the two men. Even as a child, Charles tended to be sickly, and illness plagued him for much of his life.

Yet Charles was raised in the same home as his brother John, listening to their father, Samuel Wesley Sr., preach in the Epworth church in Lincolnshire, England. Charles, likewise, learned under the tutelage of their assiduous mother, Susanna, who guided the children in their earliest years and taught them the basics of Christian belief and practice.

At Oxford, Charles was initially rather indifferent to matters of faith. After a year of study, however, he recognized the need to set new patterns. Charles began to take the religious life more seriously, celebrated the Lord’s Supper weekly, and convinced a few of his friends to accompany him in the process.

Do read this one as well, it’ll make you smile (or at least it did me!) and help you to recognize the really important things in life. When I first wrote this, I said, “I was going to continue this with some thoughts on how we celebrate the day now. You know, all the money we spend and how every girl needs a dozen roses or a 4½ foot tall teddy bear and such.”

It’s true, that outward swag doesn’t really mean much, except perhaps to remind her you didn’t forget and that’s important. But what is really important is to love and respect each other. That I think is the key to loving each other, and maybe to loving God as well. At least that’s my 2¢ worth. I’m probably overcharging you though. I think I’m maybe a decent Christian, but I’m sitting here alone, having been divorced for over 20 years, so do as I say, not as I did.

Time to Change Models

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Twitter’s algorithms and content monitoring on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie – RC1D5C3E3B60

When we talk about our freedoms, the ones enshrined in the Bill of Rights are critical ones that ensure the rest, and they are all interdependent. The second does defend the rest, but so does the first, and the seventh and so on. It’s an integral whole, none of which are subject to negotiation.

That said, they do apply in law only to the government, the prohibit the government from doing certain things. In themselves, they do not prohibit private entities from doing those same things. But they hold up the ideal.

A century or so ago, a system was set up, and yes, Theodore Vail had considerable to do with it, that the US Government wouldn’t interfere with certain monopolistic practices of the Bell Companies, and in return, they would strive to supply affordable, universal service. It worked quite well for bringing central station telephone service to even the remotest part of the nation -with an agreed tweak here and there.

But the other thing about the phone company is that they simply did not care what you said on their lines. You could attempt the overthrow of the president, you could threaten to kill those attempting to overthrow the president whatever, the phone company did not care. It was (is actually) a common carrier, if you had the money for the service, it would carry the message, no questions asked.

Now the government, with due process involving some of those amendments we spoke of above might record and use your statements in a court of law, but the key phrase is due process and government. Nobody ever got disconnected by Northwestern Bell for saying something the CEO didn’t like on the phone.

So why this history lesson? Some lessons have seemingly been lost. Ashe Schow in The Daily Wire tells us:

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in an interview last week that the company could no longer “afford to take a neutral stance anymore.”

He made this statement after being asked by podcaster Sam Harris why Twitter’s bans and suspensions always seem to “reliably land[s] on one side of the political divide.”

He pointed out that progressive feminist Megan Murphy – who is no friend to conservatives – was banned for tweeting that “Men are not women” and asking, “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between men and transwomen?” yet unapologetic anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan is still allowed on the platform.

“I don’t believe that we can afford to take a neutral stance anymore. I don’t believe that we should optimize for neutrality,” Dorsey said immediately.

Later in the podcast, Dorsey mentioned the Murphy ban again, saying, “The case you brought up. I’m not sure what was behind that, but I certainly don’t believe it was that one tweet.” He added that most people who are punished by the platform were repeat offenders.

Dorsey, according to NewsBusters, also dodged a question about the First Amendment. Harris had asked him why Twitter couldn’t just ban actual violent speech, but allow all other forms of speech, even those many vehemently disagree with. Dorsey said Twitter’s policies follow “the spirit of” the First Amendment.

Read the rest but you get the gist of it. Twitter itself is taking sides.

US law has assumed that Twitter Facebook, Google, all the others, are like the phone company, simple carriers of information, common carriers that if you pay the fare, will carry the message. It’s a good proven model, but it is inaccurate. Dorsey just denied again that his company is a common carrier, and he’s right, it is selectively choosing messages it is willing to carry from chosen clients. That’s OK too, but it is a different model.

It’s the model of the editorial page of any newspaper, they can print what they want, supporting their opinion. It’s also the model we use here, I’m not required to be fair or balanced, this blog is basically my opinion, what news is here I try to make accurate, but no guarantees.

But there’s another factor here, Bell Tel as a common carrier has no responsibility for the messages they carry. The New York Times is responsible for every word printed on its editorial page.

And so it is time for the lawfare to begin. Doxxing people? – Twitter’s at fault, Threatening public figures? Twitter dunnit. On and on. Time to break these self-righteous protectors of snowflakes, soy boys, and other so-called people that oppose American freedom.

And you know, I suspect the world will be a better place when we have destroyed them, and their owners.

The Company One Keeps

My mother often told me, “You’ll be known by the company you keep”. Somehow it often came up when she didn’t really approve of one friend or another. Invariably, she was right. She was referring, of course, to Proverbs 13:20 “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

Well, not everyone had the advantage of my mother. the Democrats in Washington are one example. Fred Lucas at Fox News explains.

What a difference a year made for Joseph Alcoff.

On Monday, the 37-year-old has a court date in connection with charges he’s facing in Philadelphia that include aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation for allegedly being part of an Antifa mob in November that attacked two Marines, Alejandro Godinez and Luis Torres, both Hispanic. Alcoff and two others charged in the attack have pleaded not guilty.

ANTIFA FIGURE CHARGED IN MARINE ATTACK

But while Democratic officials are distancing themselves from Alcoff now, until recently he was a well-connected, aspiring political player in Washington who may have even had a hand in key policy proposals.

His endorsement apparently mattered when several congressional Democrats in February 2018 issued press releases with his quote backing their bill on regulating payday lenders.

As the payday campaign manager for the liberal group Americans for Financial Reform, Alcoff participated in congressional Democratic press conferences, was a guest on a House Democratic podcast and met with senior officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2016 through 2018.

He was also pictured with now-House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Both committees oversee financial regulatory policies Alcoff was advocating.

Alcoff met with then CFPB Director Richard Cordray and other senior CFPB officials on April 2016, again in March 2017 and a third time in May 2017, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

During this time, he reportedly was an Antifa leader in Washington.

Alcoff’s former employer had little to say about the matter.

“As of December, Mr. Alcoff no longer works for AFR,” Carter Dougherty, spokesman for Americans for Financial Reform, told Fox News in an email.

Dougherty didn’t answer whether Alcoff had been fired or resigned. He also didn’t answer whether the organization was aware of Alcoff’s associations during his employment.

Alcoff was reportedly also an organizer for Smash Racism DC, the group responsible for gathering and shouting threats outside the home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson in November and for heckling Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife Heidi at a Washington restaurant in September. Reports have not said Alcoff was directly involved in either incident; only that he was associated with the group.

Keep reading but there is no real surprise here. We’ve long known that the Dims have nothing but disrespect for those who wear our uniform, for those of different colors, for any of the myriad differences between us, that makes people so fascinating. For the Dims it is simply a crack to apply a crowbar to, to attempt to separate us and play us off, one against the other. They call it diversity politics or intersectionality, or some other made up word. I call it bullshit. The only difference that matters is character, and in that, Joseph Alcoff is entirely lacking. Those that associated willingly with him, Maxine Waters and Sherrod Brown, for example, are no better.

They too are known by the company they keep.