Lockdown smackdown

Calm, cool, collected demo of a central truth of our time: None of the darn fixes made a darn bit of difference to the rises and declines of the currently defined COVID menace.

Lockdowns, shmockdowns. We went to all that trouble with killer effect on economies coast to coast. Gummint gone wild in blue states.


There’s a reason for it.

Lenin knew that part of establishing a one-party state was to control the media. One of the first things he did in 1917 was pushing a Decree on the Press in November 1917 that gave the government the emergency power “to close down any newspapers which supported counter revolution.”

Today, the word “disinformation” has replaced “counter revolutionary” but it’s really the same thing: a set of statements that the State (and its ideologues) deem “false” and “dangerous.” You’d think the media, which unabashedly leans left (which is their right) would be wary of such power. After all, today’s “lie” might be tomorrow’s “history.” Moreover, if the First Amendment — which they claim to love — mean’s anything, it is the notion that there must be room for error in public discourse, or as Justice Brennan put it:

“That erroneous statement is inevitable in free debate, and that it must be protected if the freedoms of expression are to have the “breathing space” that they need to survive.”

more more more if you’re interested . . .

Minutes later: What the heck, here’s the rest:

Post-Trump, we are witnessing a New McCarthyism, where lists are made, and commentators call for “detoxifying” or “cleansing” the public discourse and psyche of any remnants of the motive force behind the previous administration. Self-described “progressive” columnist Jason Sattler said in USA Today that:

“I want to believe that Biden will be able to achieve far more than just detoxing our body politic from Trump while minimizing the unpardonable harm that this wannabe dictator and his GOP co-conspirators did to this country.”

This sounds more like something from the Cheka than it does from genuine “progressivism.” The frightening part — and we should be frightened — is that lawmakers, supported by media outlets, are encouraging the purge. It’s a multi-pronged attack. Cancel culture is encouraged by the media every day, because at the end of the day the by-product of manufactured outrage is more readership. One of the other prongs is to use the power of the State to silence dissent, which can always so easily be labeled “disinformation.”

Mediaite reports that the movement of State control has begun. Democratic representatives Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney demanded that television providers including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Apple, and Amazon say whether they planned to continue providing Fox News on their platforms, in addition to Newsmax and One America News.

You’d think that any “progressive” publisher would recognize the dynamic here. But you’d be wrong. Vice News, one of the wokiest outlets on the web is ironically owned in part by The Walt Disney Company (16%); A&E Networks (20%); TPG Capital (44%); and (surprise, surprise!) Soros Fund Management (10%). And Vice is cheering on the Democratic lawmakers. In their story, the sub-head sets the tone and the narrative:

Lawmakers are demanding answers from Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Cox, and other cable companies who have ‘done nothing’ to stop disinformation on OANN, Newsmax, and Fox News.

In what ought to labeled an Op/Ed, Vice goes on to “report” that:

“While “big tech” has received the lion’s share of criticism for doing too little to combat disinformation in recent years, less talked about has been the role traditional cable TV giants play in circulating dangerous, bad faith nonsense.” [Eshoo and McNerney wrote that] “Some purported news outlets have long been misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds that produce content that leads to real harm.” Eshoo and McNerney also noted that carrying conspiratorial channels not only helps foster radicalization among the “alternative facts” set, it poses a direct threat to public health.”

Even worse, Vice, cheerleading for State control of media, plants a meme we’re sure to see repeated elsewhere. The article gives a passing nod to (OMG!) free speech by saying that:

“Largely because any new laws or restrictions intended to prevent news networks from carrying dodgy purveyors of disinformation would likely run afoul of the First Amendment. As such most wouldn’t survive a legal challenge, especially given the Supreme Court’s rightward lurch in recent years.” (Emphasis added).

You get that? Those “dodgy purveyors of disinformation” are sadly, protected by the First Amendment, and wouldn’t you just know, the First Amendment is now a right-wing thing. It can be laughed off, but I don’t think it’s funny. Much like those with experience in the Second Amendment sphere, genuine defenders of the First Amendment are more and more going to be understood by the public as “right-wing nuts”, “insurrectionists” and “purveyors of disinformation.” Be advised that failure to condemn them will brand you a “fellow traveler.”

Disinformation, indeed. The ghosts of Peter Zenger,Eugene Debs, Lenny Bruce, Mario Savio and William Brennan are surely weeping, and the ghosts of Lenin, Mao and McCarthy are grinning.

Nice job here, by .

When early Lutherans in 1616 got liturgical marching orders and were told to get rid of altars etc. . . .

Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground

. . . and said the heck with that and kept their altars and crucifixes and communion not on the hand and bowing “as if” God were present and seeing the priest “with his back to the people” and going to confession before “communing” and not considering the words of consecration “symbolic,” etc.

Ordered to go low in 1616 by Johann Georg, Margrave of the the Silesian duchy of Jågerndorf, they faced him down.

His decree:

All images are to be removed from the church and sent to the court.
The stone altar is to be ripped from the ground and replaced with a wood table covered with a black cloth.
When the Lord’s Supper is held, a white cloth covers the table.
All altars, panels, crucifixes and paintings are to be completely abolished, as they are idolatrous and stem from the papacy.
Instead of the host, bread is to…

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When Pope Francis puts the paper down and speaks off the cuff . . .

It gives clues on his way of thinking, says veteran Vaticanista Andrea Gagliarducci.

What Pope Francis thinks, or how he reasons, can be understood above all when the Pope speaks off the cuff, raising his eyes from the paper. Sometimes he inserts phrases into a prepared text; other times, he breaks himself completely loose and delivers real, impromptu speeches.

On January 29, at the end of his address to the judges of the Roman Rota for the inauguration of the Judicial Year, Pope Francis gave an example of this “improvised teaching,” by concluding the prepared speech with an informal greeting to Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota and close to retirement.

Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff speech is interesting for two reasons: it indicates what the Pope means by resistance to reforms, and it points to how the Pope looks at the history of the Church.

What did Pope Francis say? First of all, [he] applauded Monsignor Pinto for “the tenacity he had in bringing about the reform of marriage processes.”

There were two main points in that reform: overcoming the double-compliant sentence [streamlining the process] and the instruction on the short trial for causes of matrimonial nullity.

Gagliarducci explains.

For a nullity declaration to be considered valid, there was a need for a double compliant sentence. The ecclesiastical court’s nullity sentence of the first instance had to be confirmed by the ecclesiastical court of appeal. Instead, Pope Francis wanted the first sentence to be already enforceable and for the marriage to be declared null and void . . .

. . . by the local bishop, without confirmation by the Vatican canon lawyer.

Pope Francis wants the bishop to be the first judge — the bishop . . . is the one . . . to decide on the nullity of marriage.

However . . .

. . . bishops [often] do not feel sufficiently versed in canon law, and they benefit from the fact that canonists [pronounce] nullity with the appropriate juridical instruments. . . . the double compliant judgment [bishop plus canonist] served to prevent declarations of nullity from being granted lightly. [This the streamlining.]
Of course . . .
. . . there have also been objections dictated by special interests, because humanity is also made up of corruption.
But the Pope considers all complaints as matters of “special interests.”
“This reform,” he said, “has a lot of resistance.”
After his promulgation, Francis said,
“I received many letters, almost all [from] notaries who were losing their clientele. There is the problem of money. In Spain, they say the monkey dances for money. And I also saw in some dioceses, with sorrow, the resistance of a judicial vicar who, with this reform, lost some power, because he realized that the judge was not himself, but the bishop.”
For Pope Francis, therefore, said Gagliarducci,
The idea that those who have raised criticisms may have done so genuinely, worried about the reform’s functioning, has not been considered at all. Those who object to a decision by the Pope are immediately seen as standing in resistance.
Moreover, for him . . .
. . . there are no motivations other than those relating to special interests. Thus everything is reduced to a certain human pettiness.
He reacts this way when dealing with internal investigations and there is the suspicion of corruption: he attacks harshly, paying no attention to procedural guarantees, starting from the assumption that he is the first judge – and he is, even in civil matters, in the Vatican.
His words [reveal] his vision of the world. Theology has little to do with it. He is a pragmatist, he wants pragmatic solutions . . .
In proposing his immensely controversial relaxing of the marriage bond in his 2016 apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (Latin, “the joy of love”), he
. . . focused on the good of the family, highlighting the difficulties of the spouse who suffered from the nullification and asking judges for a pastoral awareness, giving the example of children who may see their father unable to receive communion because he entered a new relationship.
But in his “exhortation,” he did not give “clear-cut answers, stress instead  . . . personal discernment.” Amoris Laetitia was “a useful pastoral tool,” he said, citing paragraphs that were no help at all in discerning what to do. “No clear-cut solutions,” said Gagliarducci.
In the end, the impression one gets is that, for him, what matters above all is his point of view, his way of seeing things, and that all discernment must be done through that point of view.
Pope Francis seems to interpret the Papacy as proof that God [considers] his thoughts the correct ones [and] there is no point in disagreeing because he sees any different point of view as resistance.
He is theologically ignorant and thinks of himself as the only reliable guide in these matters.
Later: Ignorant? Probably, but surely dismissive.
Nota bene: I rewrote some of this translation from the Italian to make it more clear and more readable.
“Fr McGavin” (the Australian theologian, Fr Paul-Anthony McGavin?)  commented with acerbity, analyzing Francis inside and out:
Autocratic personality traits. There are certain behavioural characteristics that alert us to this personality type. These are now outlined.
Unqualified statement. Whether he goes on for great length, or is short and punchy, the language of autocrats tends to baldness – to unqualified statement.
Immoderate statement. Unqualified statements tend to be blunt and unsophisticated. But it is the unwarranted use of superlatives and exaggerations that characterise the language of autocrats – their language tends to be immoderate.
Restricted emotional expression. The emotional expressions of autocrats generally show a lack of depth and also tend to be diffuse and lack adequate specification.
Diminished affectionate and individuated personal relations. The autocratic person adopts a role identification and relates with people in terms that he sees as serving his dominating role. Personal affection and personal rather than functional and self-serving relations are generally absent. When a person ceases to serve the cause of the autocrat, he is discarded without emotional angst. Over time, the autocrat becomes more remote and handles people “administratively” and at-distance through apparatchiks.
Absoluteness of emphasis. Autocrat can use few words or be quite rambling, but their key statements will typically have an absoluteness about them – their words tend to be diktats.
Predominant reference to extreme values. Life usually occurs along a continuum, and the challenge typically is to find a balance in a dichotomous situation. For autocrats, persons and issues tend to be dichotomous, “one thing or another”, with little tolerance for “in between” that arises where thinking, feeling, and evaluation are extended.
Inconsistencies between general and specific behaviours. The simplistic mind and the simplistic rhetoric of autocrats gives rise to a tendency for inconsistency between their rigid and conventional generalisations and the features of more specific behaviours. It is difficult to “tie down” the autocrat on such points, both because open questioning is rarely admitted, and because resort to confusing rhetoric is often used to cloud inconsistencies. Because autocrats are not introspective, they are untroubled by their own mental inconsistencies and by the inconsistencies between what is espoused and what is practised. If “religious”, they thus can seemingly blithely maintain inconsistent religious espousal and practice.
Stereotypical language. The language of autocrats displays patterns of denial, stereotypical use of cliché, small variability in response and lack of shading, and much repetition. This should be identified as stereotypical language, rather than language that is insightful or expressive of the situations being engaged.
Intolerance of ambiguity. There is an over-lap in these indicators, for behaviour congruent with language usage as captured in the sub-headings just given implies an intolerance of ambiguity. The world of autocrats tends to be “flat”, rather than “multi-valenced”, simplistic and unrefined. They seek unswerving or unambiguous allegiance. They build around themselves organisations of “Yes men”, of minions who police non-conformity and questioning.
Fascinating, to say the least.

Read this and weep about our fair city, Chicago . . .

. . . and she denies everything of course.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has a “thousand percent confidence” in the city’s police superintendent after an inspector general report suggested the department was not equipped to handle 2020’s summer riots.

Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s office reported Police Superintendent David Brown and his staff were “outflanked and underprepared” during the riots . . . .

“The challenges in responding to large-scale protests and unrest amidst a global pandemic were daunting, but the efforts of CPD and the City to stem unrest were marked, almost without exception, by confusion and lack of coordination in the field, emanating from failures of intelligence assessment, major event planning, field communication and operation, administrative systems and, most significantly, leadership from CPD’s highest ranks,” according to the Chicago inspector general’s office.

The report described mistakes made by CPD leadership as having “failed the public” and cited that rank-and-file officers were left to “high-stakes improvisation without adequate supervision or guidance.”

A story of a man in over his head hired by woman in over her head.

Lightfoot, however, backed her superintendent, saying Brown brings “integrity and legitimacy” to the role. [Big flabby words when competence is the issue] The mayor also disputed a claim in the report that said she rejected Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s early offer to call on the National Guard to help Chicago police officers manage the unrest.

“There was never a time that it was offered and we rejected it. That’s simply not true. I don’t even know where that came from,” Lightfoot told reporters on Friday.

Has she taken it up with the Inspector General? Picked his report apart for all to see? Not that we know of.

Why Political Theatre?

He blogs about politics, which he abhors, calling it

corrupt and corrupting, and designed to fool the people into thinking they have some say over the state. In other words, it’s a fraud, and a potent and dangerous one, run by nasties who seek coercive power over others, and love war and other forms of killing.

Nothing you want your children to get mixed up in.

Francis the pope off the rails

The veteran priest from Old Blighty is mightily concerned:

16 February 2021

Wrong again

Really devoted readers may recall that, some months ago, I tentatively floated my theory that, since PF seemed to have gone a bit easier on his abuse and obscenity, perhaps somebody he respected had suggested to him that these things did his cause more harm than good. It seemed to me, in turn, appropriate to go easier on PF. Perhaps you have noticed …

Sadly, I seem to have been wrong. PF has again attacked traditionalist Catholics, apparently considering them a phenomenon parallel to extremist Islam (when did traddies last blow up a concert audience?).

And he has reverted to calling journalists whom he dislikes “Shit-lovers” and “Shit-eaters”.

Frankly, I do not believe that this is how a Roman Pontiff should address the world. Or even a junior curate his parish.

Surely, there must be senior lay Catholics … and I am not referring only to traddies … who find this sort of thing as distasteful or even possibly deranged as I do. Do they ever drop a tactful private word to Cardinals they know? Do concerned Cardinals ever confidentially pick the brains of trustworthy psychiatrists? Behind the scenes, is anybody trying to put together a seemly and becoming way of bringing this pontificate to a tidy conclusion?

(I drafted this piece some time ago, and have left it for my reconsideration before publishing it. I shall not enable any comments.)

Here presented in toto.

Cardinal Cupich Seems to Be the Vatican’s Choice| National Catholic Register

Sunday sermons, weekday observations

Remarkable rundown of popes, bishops, and cardinals in the last 75 years, recounting how it was often a bishop or cardinal’s duty to go against papal policy as regards dealing with rulers.

All popes have their favorites in the US. However, papal favor is not equivalent to wise pastoral leadership.

Not, notably, for two Poles, for instance:

The single greatest churchman of the 20th century, save for his “junior” partner, a certain Karol Wojtyła, was the soon to be beatified Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski of Warsaw, who battled the communists as Primate of Poland for 33 years, 1948-1981. He found himself at odds with Vatican policy for much of that time. First, under the Venerable Pius XII, when senior Roman officials thought that he was too accommodating, and then later, under St. Paul VI, when the Vatican thought him not accommodating enough.

Oh, that paragraph began with the sentence, “Historically, Archbishop…

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Charles Murray’s forthcoming book: ‘Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America’

Speaking truth to power, in this case the power of the woke-left and its allies in major media and corporate America, not to mention the illiberal legislators and operators in today’s Democrat party:

Coming out on June 15 titled “Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America.”

Here’s the description from Amazon:

The charges of white privilege and systemic racism that are tearing the country apart float free of reality. Two known facts, long since documented beyond reasonable doubt, need to be brought into the open and incorporated into the way we think about public policy: American whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians have 1) different violent crime rates and 2) different means and distributions of cognitive ability. The allegations of racism in policing, college admissions, segregation in housing, and hiring and promotions in the workplace ignore the ways in which the problems that prompt the allegations of systemic racism are driven by these two realities.

On the contrary:

. . . America’s most precious ideal is what used to be known as the American Creed: People are not to be judged by where they came from, what social class they come from, or by race, color, or creed. They must be judged as individuals. The prevailing Progressive ideology repudiates that ideal, demanding instead that the state should judge people by their race, social origins, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

Not very progressive, when you get down to it. Problem:

We on the center left and center right who are the American Creed’s natural defenders have painted ourselves into a corner. We have been unwilling to say openly that different groups have significant group differences. Since we have not been willing to say that, we have been left defenseless against the claims that racism is to blame. What else could it be? We have been afraid to answer. We must. Facing Reality is a step in that direction.

Murray “must be the bravest man in America,” writes John Hinderaker, Power Line blogger (and president of the Center of the American Experiment), for taking on another controversial issue (after his The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life in 1994) that is sure to generate both intense praise and criticism.

Hinderaker also said:

Leftists obsessed with race generally only want to talk about two races, black and white, even though those categories are increasingly intermingled, with an occasional nod toward American Indians and “Hispanics,” a meaningless term concocted for the purpose of affirmative action in the U.S. But they prefer never to mention Asians. When liberals talk about income gaps, I like to ask why they think Asians, on average, earn so much more than whites, and what they think the government should do to correct that disparity.

As of 2019 Census Bureau data, whites are 15th among ethnic groups in median income, trailing not only just about every Asian minority, including Iranians and Pakistanis. The case for American “white supremacy” is ludicrously weak, but it may be a capital offense to point that fact out. I hope Charles Murray has the means to hire armed guards, and I hope Encounter Books can withstand whatever crackdown may be coming from the now-fully-regnant Swamp.

Murray takes it once again to the yahoos.