Credit: Babylon Bee.
Oh beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw;
Confirm thy soul in self-control
Thy liberty in law…
– Katharine Lee Bates
It’s hard to come by agreement today on striving for freedom, the mending of flaws, self-control as a virtue, or the rule of law.
I turn to the president born on Independence Day for help. Calvin Coolidge’s 1926 speech in Philadelphia, on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, is a must read counter to cynicism and despair. For example, apologies from the city of Orlando for celebrating America’s birthday; Democratic Socialists in Denver with a flag burning party; and Democratic Party officials in Prima, Arizona, hosting a F**k America themed gala.
The legacy media is silent. When did this behavior by civic officials and major political parties become so unremarkable?
Coolidge’s words are a rebuke to those who would vilify the United States on this anniversary. We need to remember them because among us live those whose great wish is to erase them.
I lift this one slice as the central point today: “grateful acknowledgment of a service so great, which a few inspired men here rendered to humanity, that it is still the preeminent support of free government throughout the world“.
The Founding of the United States was, indeed, a service to humanity, not just to Americans.
We meet to celebrate the birthday of America. That coming of a new life always excites our interest. Although we know in the case of the individual that it has been an infinite repetition reaching back beyond our vision, that only makes it more wonderful. But how our interest and wonder increase when we behold the miracle of the birth of a new nation. It is to pay our tribute of reverence and respect to those who participated in such a mighty event that we annually observe the 4th day of July. Whatever may have been the impression created by the news which went out from this city on that summer day in 1776, there can be no doubt as to the estimate which is now placed upon it. At the end of 150 years the four corners of the earth unite in coming to Philadelphia as to a holy shrine in grateful acknowledgment of a service so great, which a few inspired men here rendered to humanity, that it is still the preeminent support of free government throughout the world.
Although a century and a half measured in comparison with the length of human experience is but a short time, yet measured in the life of governments and nations it ranks as a very respectable period. Certainly enough time has elapsed to demonstrate with a great deal of thoroughness the value of our institutions and their dependability as rules for the regulation of human conduct and the advancement of civilization. They have been in existence long enough to become very well seasoned. They have met, and met successfully, the test of experience.
It is not so much, then, for the purpose of undertaking to proclaim new theories and principles that this annual celebration is maintained, but rather to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound. Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken. Whatever perils appear, whatever dangers threaten, the Nation remains secure in the knowledge that the ultimate application of the law of the land will provide an adequate defense and protection. . . .
It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed. . . .
In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man—these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause. . . .
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers. . . .
Under a system of popular government there will always be those who will seek for political preferment by clamoring for reform. While there is very little of this which is not sincere, there is a large portion that is not well informed. In my opinion very little of just criticism can attach to the theories and principles of our institutions. There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes. We do need a better understanding and comprehension of them and a better knowledge of the foundations of government in general. Our forefathers came to certain conclusions and decided upon certain courses of action which have been a great blessing to the world. Before we can understand their conclusions we must go back and review the course which they followed. We must think the thoughts which they thought. Their intellectual life centered around the meetinghouse. They were intent upon religious worship. While there were always among them men of deep learning, and later those who had comparatively large possessions, the mind of the people was not so much engrossed in how much they knew, or how much they had, as in how they were going to live. While scantily provided with other literature, there was a wide acquaintance with the Scriptures. Over a period as great as that which measures the existence of our independence they were subject to this discipline not only in their religious life and educational training, but also in their political thought. They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power.
What So Proudly We Hail
No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.
Happy Independence Day.
The 20th anniversary of the death of 2,977 Americans, killed in a devastating attack by fundamentalist Islamic conspirators in the name of Allah, is not a time for politicization. This post is not about that.
It is about our ignominious and humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, which our President intended to use as a political prop.
That war is paused. It is not over.
A pall hangs cynically over the day.
Maybe it would have gone better if we’d waited to abandon the Afghanis until October 7th; the 20th anniversary of our first attacks on the Taliban for refusing to extradite the man who financed and planned the 9/11 attack.
We will see if 20 years – there are Afghanis who never before experienced Taliban rule, and have been exposed to American troops – makes an historical difference. I think exposure to American troops is our best bet for a good outcome.
Whether 20 years from now it has made a difference is irrelevant to the reverence we should feel for the people who died in the Pentagon, the Twin Towers, or flight 93. But that’s harder now, with the President’s thumb in our eyes.
Twenty years, or 200, makes no difference to the gratitude we should feel for the Americans who served in Afghanistan. They are all heroes, especially those who gave their lives.
But now the living have to be wondering if it was worth it. To those true to duty, honor, country, I say this: It was. We did not experience another terror attack in those 20 years, and in 2001 we were expecting many. That you served honorably stands apart from the machinations of a senile and petulant old man occupying the White House. Maybe all the Afghan teenagers who experienced a different view of the world will undermine the totalitarians. Especially young women.
We didn’t have to leave this way. Our leaders chose it. Many of those who made and implemented the policies we followed for 2 decades should be held accountable for their lies and corruption. Those responsible for this “ending” should be removed.
First among them is President Joseph Robinette Biden, who betrayed his trust in exchange for a photo op planned for today. That opportunity has vanished in shame and embarrassment. The President cannot not say a single word about sacrifice, unity, or honor that would not be seen as rank hypocrisy. His date certain, unconditional bug out was a cynical political stunt, the cost of which will still be with us 120 years hence. Biden’s quest for political advantage exceeded his fading grasp.
Biden sought to trumpet an end to the 9/11 war so he could make a political ad. Those who didn’t resign in the face of this venal fantasy are also culpable – because how could they not know the intent simply from reading the insane orders?
The President’s remarks will be now delivered prerecorded. He can’t speak clearly, and he can only answer scripted questions. I’ll not be listening, but I am grateful he won’t be on public display.
Here is a truncated, partial timeline of Biden’s perfidy:
On July 1st, Bagram Air Base was abandoned. Our forces slipped away in the night without notifying the Afghan Armed Forces. Biden apparently thought the Afghans wouldn’t take this amiss.
But, President Biden knew the Afghan government was shaky. On July 23rd he urged the President of Afghanistan in a phone conversation to cover it up.
“I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” Biden said. “And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”
I think the picture was quite different for the Afghan President. Especially after we snuck away from Bagram, and left a huge cache of materiel to be looted.
I generally find “whataboutism” objectionable, but Trump was impeached for a more innocent phone call.
By August 15th, Afghan troops gave Bagram up and the Taliban took control. One could certainly predict this would erode the Afghan Armed Forces will to fight. It was also August 15th when people were climbing into helicopters from our embassy’s roof. Possession of Bagram would have been helpful in an evacuation, but the President had adamantly refused to authorize the troops needed to secure it. In any case, by August, we’d have had to seize it from the new Taliban owners.
As recently as September 1st the President’s press secretary is still obfuscating this phone call:
“”I’m not going to get into private diplomatic conversations or leaked transcripts of phone calls,” the press secretary told reporters Wednesday.
“The content of the reporting is consistent with what we have said many times publicly,” she added.”
That much, at least is true. That matters if you think anything they say is forthright. Here’s the President on July 8,
“There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a [sic] embassy in the—of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.”
Even the failure of that prediction did not prompt a reconsideration of methods or timing for extracting Americans from Kabul. Bagram, by then, being a moot point.
Maybe the President should at least have waited for the October 7th anniversary. We might have seen a better execution of the withdrawal and he could still have had his photo op.
As the helicopters left from the roof of our embassy the President retired to Camp David for a week; incommunicado with the American people.
The Taliban have now formed a provisional government including Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is currently wanted by the FBI to the tune of a $10 million reward; no women (Our State Department is disappointed: “We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government.”), and
I can’t help but think about what former President Obama said about president Biden:
“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.”
…in this case Barry, he had help
It’s downstream from Washington.
Yesterday, I wrote of Texas power woes:
Central planners knew reserve dispatchable (on demand) electricity provision was a weakness for renewables’ case, even as renewables raise the importance of dispatchable power. If planners wanted more renewable energy they had to raise electricity prices to fund building the standby generators and securing the fuel supplies they might not use, or take bigger risks across the board.
Wind and solar were not to be dinged for the increased costs they impose on the grid to ensure reliable generating capacity during extreme weather events. Mustn’t have anyone question whether windmills or solar panels are doing the job you hired them for if you still have to have natural gas plants idling in case of bad weather.
Unsuprisingly, wind proponents would prefer the raise rates solution, now that they can act like they’re not responsible for the lobbying that contributed to it. The WSJ notes: “The wind lobby says Texas should have required thermal (nuclear, gas, coal) plants to be weatherized to withstand single-digit temperatures.”
I wouldn’t have phrased it as if the costs might be borne by the conventional power companies. Consumers would pay. And I wouldn’t have accepted the wind lobby’s implication that the thermal power companies were the culprits, since the wind lobby persuaded the regulators to avoid price increases attributable to wind power in favor of higher risk. How do you think the new power transmission lines for windmills and solar are paid for? See also.
When wind lobbyists ask politicians to “require our competition to” it’s just another sign Texas is not a free market in electricity.
Then there are Federal regs.
In this case it seems as if they were used to give Texas a little slap. On Feb 12th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked the President to declare a major disaster for Texas’ 254 counties. The President approved it for 77 counties. Grants are now available for temporary housing, home repairs, and low-cost loans for most Texans. That means large population centers like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin…
You can supply your own theory about why rural Texans are considered to have been less damaged.
By Feb 14th ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) was urging everyone to minimize electricity consumption, and had asked the Department of Energy for permission to exceed Federal restrictions (running fossil fuel plants at only about 60% capacity). The DoE approved this request with the proviso, first suggested by ERCOT, that the power would be sold at no less than $1,500 per megawatt hour, compared to $18.20 per megawatt hour in February 2020.
Note: the $1,500 figure, contrary to some reports, was SUGGESTED BY ERCOT. This doesn’t change anything regarding regulatory conditions, it simply means ERCOT knew what they had to do to get approval. DoE may not have initiated the price floor, but they still imposed it.
The letter later referred to this pricing as “a separate mechanism to help ensure this capacity is deployed only when absolutely necessary.”
Webber, the professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said that cost was a “minimum price” that would ensure plants permitted to bypass environmental restrictions were not given an unfair advantage.
“Emissions controls cost money,” he said. “It would be unfair to let some power plants turn off their emissions controls, which lowers their operational costs, and then to use that lower cost to underbid other generators who responsibly left their controls in place.”
Ted Kury, director of energy studies for the Public Utility Research Center at the University of Florida, said “when wholesale prices get high, the market operator is actually hoping that this sends a signal to folks to stop using electricity.” That works for, say, large companies — but it often ends up being punitive for residential customers.
Yes, prices are signals, but I think in this case Texans had already got the conserve power message. Soon enough they couldn’t buy it at any price. No “unfair advantage” there. And we can’t think of any way to have tiered pricing without sophisticated computer systems. And we don’t have that. Right?
Still, we must be absolutely sure that hoarders, wreckers, exploiters, and saboteurs – like some Aluminum smelter somewhere in Texas – didn’t use any of that power. They might have achieved 2 or 3 days production at the same electricity cost they’d have a week later. They might have forced their employees to drive to work under disaster conditions, and then made them sign NDAs to prevent anyone from ever finding out what evil businessmen do when old people are freezing to death. Or, some Bitcoin miner might have done the same thing, because they are really evil and they’d have comparatively few employees. Yeah, THOSE guys could get away with it.
Well, at least until the digital meter monitor reported their electricity usage.
His decades long audition for the job was unsatisfactory. We’ve rejected the application… what 4 times previously?
Plagiarism. Vilifying others for trivial political advantage. Collegiality with racist Senate colleagues. Vicious, cynical, disingenuous sleight of hand against judicial nominees. Demonstrated lack of personal core principles. Indifference to corrupt trading on his political influence. Accelerating incoherence.
The most recent updates to his CV were objectively disqualifying, but the HR Kommittee has bent the rules and forwarded his resume anyway – with a positive recommendation.
So our MSM certified President of the Elect has proclaimed a ‘mandate,’ pledges to be ‘everyone’s’ President, and calls for ‘Unity.’
Definitions of ‘mandate’ have been reversed if we accept this proclamation.
‘Everyone’ now consists of half ‘persons of interest’.
‘Unity,’ hands tied to a chair, is looking at short lengths of rubber hose under a single, unshaded 150 watt CFL in a small, damp, concrete room with a barred door and no windows. Nobody expects the
Inquisition Truth and Reconciliation Committee.
That’s what his Electedness’ high status supporters propose: “Truth and Reconciliation Committees.” Which, if not for the Orwellian nuance, might be seen as accepting the truth that Trump isn’t remotely in the same universe as Hitler and, at long last, definitively reconciling to their own proof that the 2016 election wasn’t rigged by the Russians with Trump’s active assistance… and maybe conceding that differences of opinion fall under 1st Amendment protection, not the Salem Witch Trials Protocols. Or, even accepting as unifying that ‘all lives matter’.
They are, however, pretty clear that that’s not how they look at unity. They mean something less charitable, more Borg-ish. Since physical assimilation is beyond their immediate grasp, they’re willing to settle for destroying the reputation and livelihood of anyone who supported Donald Trump, ever. Disuniters by definition. They’re making lists. Achieving the unity omelet requires the breaking of 70 million yeggs.
Of course it does. Because Democrats actually believe their own rhetoric. It’s essential to their feelings of self-worth. The redemption of the United States is only possible via the humiliation of half the population.
Miles Taylor, for example, is unforgiving. You most likely won’t remember Mr. Taylor as ‘Anonymous’ in his NYT editorial fantasy about senior White House staff secretly subverting the President. It isn’t clear whether Anonympus was his pen name or his job title, however. Still the NYT called him a principled conservative “senior administration official,” so it must be true.
Mr. Taylor, whose money follows left wing Democrats, wrote a book (anonymously) to cash in on his NYT editorial fame and, after a stint at Google, is now a CNN contributor despite having blatantly lied to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about his identity on air. Mr. Taylor is a swamp gnat presented by the NYT as an éminence grise. The Time’s motive is clear. Mr. Taylor’s would seem to be merely to profit from Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Taylor’s swamp gnat eye view of Americans is this: “We have grown so far apart from each other, I mean, Washington, D.C., is not broken — the American people are broken.” Grown. We’ve grown apart. Passive. No mention of agents. We broke ourselves.
A 2006 High School graduate and holding an MPhil (roughly a Masters) degree in International Relations from Oxford, I doubt Mr. Taylor is actually aware of the 1953 uprising in East Germany, much less Bertolt Brecht’s little poem about it. But Taylor certainly has something in common with the Secretary of the Writers’ Union:
The Solution –
After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed on the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could only win it back
By increased work quotas. Would it not in that case be simpler
for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
The Biden campaign promoted its version of unity by putting the Godwin’s law capstone on more than 4 years of portraying Donald Trump as Hitler, using images< of Nazi Germany. This shows up at 49 seconds into the 4 minute video, which unaccountably does not violate YouTube rules:
Other Biden supporters also participated.
If you really believe this, and the core constituency does, then what would you not do to depose the tyrant? Rigging an election is a moral virtue. And rooting out any and all opposition forever is mandatory.
Not only did the Democrats never accept the results of the 2016 election, they want us to accept the 2020 results without scrutiny or complaint. While they threaten us with the result.
Amy Coney Barrett has been attacked because she received an honorarium for delivering a speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal action group advocating for religious liberty and traditional marriage. This puts them on the wrong side of LGBTQ activists, so the execrable Southern Poverty Law Center has listed ADF as a “hate group.”
Franken used the SPLC lie that ADF has “defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad,” to attack Barrett.
What prompted this post was not one more boringly predictable Leftwing smear on a highly qualified SCOTUS nominee, but the nearly concurrent revelation that Governor Newsom recently signed California Bill AB 2218, establishing the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund. This fund will provide grants in support of gender transition for all ages, including treatment of minor children with powerful drugs such as Lupron, a hormone stimulant used off-label to suppress normal puberty in children diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Its FDA approved use is to reduce the amount of testosterone in men or estrogen in women to treat advanced prostatic cancer or endometriosis, respectively. These are not diseases of children.
For children the effect is to turn boys into eunuchs and send girls into early-onset menopause.
This is becoming the mainstream medical treatment for sexual confusion in children who may not be able to spell “sexual orientation,” and whose appreciation of the lifetime clinical consequences of such treatment is necessarily limited by their life experience. I don’t claim there is no place for such treatment whatsoever, but “life experience,” as a catch phrase for identity group one-upmanship is intended to imply actual experience.
We might suspect the explosion in the number of children seeking ‘gender’ ‘reassignment’ is mostly due to social media proselytizing. Correlation is not causation, but the timing fits: “[In the UK,] there has been a 4,000 percent increase in girls seeking gender reassignment in the past ten years (from 40 in 2009–10 to 1,806 in 2017–18).”
We might reasonably question whether such a powerful drug should be used off-label as a treatment at a time when the effects on a naive patient’s body are irreversible because of rapid growth and sexual maturation during puberty. Among many other very serious side effects, Lupron can cause irreversible sterilization. At minimum it subverts the normal biological development of the brain, muscle tissue, organs, and bones during puberty. There are no long term studies on children who have had their normal puberty suppressed with such drugs.
For children, sex change surgery and powerful hormone treatment are different than for adults. Puberty is a one time opportunity. If you interrupt it, and to the extent you interrupt it, the results are permanent. Worse, there is evidence that a large number of children who believe they are “trapped in the wrong body” later change their minds.
LGBTQ champions dispute studies claiming the number is as high as eighty percent. Some of these studies are a decade old and many have small sample sizes. Of course, a decade ago the sample sizes would have had to have been small relative to the huge increase in ‘transitioning’ children, and we won’t know the results for a decade hence. When it will be too late for these children to change their minds.
I have assembled some links addressing this question from which you may form your own judgment. I have tried to select publications which Progressives will not automatically reject.
This is a 2008 article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NIH). Many more, and more recent links, are included if you scroll down a little.
The NY Times in 2015, “gender dysphoria in young children is highly unstable and likely to change”
A 2017 OpEd in the LA Times, “Gender identity is fixed, but only in adults; the same can’t be said for children, whose gender identity is flexible and doesn’t become stable until puberty.”
This is the WaPo from 2018, “It is hard to know exactly what percentage of gender-dysphoric children will end up “desisting.” Some studies suggest that it’s a large majority, but those studies tend to be small, and there is some argument over whether all those kids were truly gender-dysphoric.”
Emphasis mine. Well, yes, isn’t that exactly the question?
A 2020 Quillette piece, by a psychologist who treats detransitioned individuals. If you read just one of these, I’d suggest this. “[D]ata regarding the medical transition of children and adolescents is limited. As Dr. James Cantor wrote in a peer-reviewed journal article published last month, there are few studies examining adult outcomes for children who present as transgender; and those few studies indicate that the majority of pre-pubescent children who present as transgender eventually drop their trans identity and desist to their natal sex.
Finally, here’s a 25 minute YouTube video from 2017, which I think gives a good overview of the science we have at this point.
Here, I can’t resist a small digression to ask Progressives about banning off-label use of hydroxychloroquine to ameliorate the CCP virus. They have denounced it because they say there have been no double-blind, clinical, peer reviewed, long term trials (actually, because Trump mentioned it). Its side effects are minuscule compared to Lupron. It is overwhelmingly a treatment for informed adults (they’re the ones in danger from the CCP virus), in an immediate emergency, and does not have unknown long term effects – having been in use for 40 years.
California has decided the science of gender reassignment for minor children, who may or may not be transsexual, is settled. This is “state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people in the US.”
But, I will not hold my breath for the SPLC to declare California a “hate group.”