Friday, July 10, 2020

"A garden hose with a camcorder" - WTF???

I've never had a colonoscopy in my life.  However, now that I'm in my sixties, my medical practitioner is making meaningful noises at me that it's long past time I did.  I keep protesting that everything feels fine, but my quibbles are falling on deaf ears.

That being the case, I thought I'd try to prepare myself by learning from the experience of others.  This guy isn't helping.

"A garden hose with a camcorder".  Eeewwwww!


In an emergency, don't expect to mooch off others

Courtesy of a link at Mom's Scribbles, I came across this article at Prep School Daily.  It summarizes and expands on what I've told many people over the years.

Where Does My Responsibility Begin and End?

I have pondered this question for years.  And I still don't understand the mindset of people who delude themselves into thinking that they don't need to prepare because others will be willing to share, or forced to share, if necessary.  I don't understand those who prioritize material items over caring for their families.  I don't understand those who say they can't afford it, when by all appearances, they can.  I understand money is tight, been there and done that, but you do what you have to do to prepare.  I just don't understand those who say they'll be coming to my house when they can't feed themselves and their children.

And I also don't understand those who do prepare, but say they will be happy to share with all who need it.  Maybe I haven't achieved the level of Christ-like compassion that they have.  I know I have so many faults and sins to overcome.  I'm working on it.  But in the meantime, I take the words of the Apostle Paul to heart:  "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Timothy 5:8).

. . .

... don't make our family out to be unkind or mean for not sharing our food.  You were the one who neglected your family and refused to prepare.  And if you didn't care enough about them to prepare for them, why should I?

There's more at the link, including some blunt, hard questions and choices.  Recommended reading.

The author makes very telling points.  If we fail to prepare for emergencies, why should others who did prepare share their preps with us?  They'll have demands on them from their own family and close circle.  What right do we have to expect them to spend their time, money and resources making the preparations we should have made for ourselves?

Miss D. and I have a limited reserve of supplies for emergencies.  We can live reasonably comfortably, food-wise, for a month, and stretch that to three months on a beans-and-rice diet if we have to.  We also have a small network of close friends with whom we'll share, and whom we'll help if they need it.  I'm more than willing to share my ammo stash with that same circle, knowing that they'll do the same for me if need be.  However, outside that circle, I'm going to be a lot more reluctant to give away things we're very likely to need for our own use.  Unless you have a claim on my wife and I that we already acknowledge, and which we've decided we're prepared to meet, you're likely to get a stony answer.

Looking at the current situation in our country, it's hard to disagree with Divemedic when he says "We are in a violent phase of a revolution, a coup, an insurgency, call it what you will".  With less than four months to go before the elections in November, who knows what may happen?  Are we sure we'll still have a functioning society by then?  In at least some of our larger cities, the answer to that question may well be "No".  If so, what are you going to do about it?  Are you prepared, and do you have sufficient supplies, to ride out the storm?  If not, what?  I suggest you can't rely on others to take care of you - they're going to have more than enough to do to look after themselves.

Prepare yourself for emergencies now, or be unprepared.  It's a pretty stark choice - and there's no realistic third option, like mooching off those who did prepare.


Jumping the shark on "racist" traffic signals

For the benefit of overseas readers, "jumping the shark" is an American phrase meaning that one's taken something to an absurd extreme in an attempt to attract attention to it.  It seems appropriate to describe this article.

A few months back ... I was walking with a friend, her daughter, and my twin sons. My friend is White and I’m not — something I’d never given a second thought until we reached a crosswalk. “Remember, honey,” she said to her daughter as we waited for the light to turn green, “we need to wait for the little White man to appear before we can cross the street.”

I realize that White people like to exert control over nearly everything everyone does, I thought, but since when did this literally include trying to cross the street? ... as a Black dad, I was struck by the language at play. How is it possible that well into the 21st century, parents all over Manhattan — well-meaning, #BLM-marching parents — are teaching their children to ask “little White men” for permission to cross the street? And why doesn’t this seem to bother them?

. . .

... the “little man” is actually a little person, but that little person is still white. Right?

Close. It’s “lunar white,” according to the FHWA: a shade of white with yellow and grey accents that mimics the color of the moon. Lunar white wasn’t chosen because it sounds cool. According to FHWA research, the agency spokesperson says, moonlight offers “the peak sensitivity for the rod cells in the human retina.” In other words, our vision is predisposed to favoring the clarity and intensity of moonlight.

. . .

And there you have it: The government-approved origins of the “little White men” telling us to cross the street at corners across New York ... I am now convinced that technology and necessity, rather than some anti-Black conspiracy, propelled the shift from verbal crosswalk cues to a lunar-white Walking Person. But my heart still sinks at the specter of teaching my sons to ask a White man for permission to do — well, anything. Because so much of the world already insists that we do.

. . .

... that little White man woke me up to the ways that language imparts power and privilege even upon the most banal necessities. And so, as I begin teaching my boys survival basics like riding a bike, waiting in line, and… yes… crossing the street, I’ll work hard to avoid phrases like “little White man.” Obviously “bright light person” rolls off the tongue far less mellifluously, but a bit of extra verbal labor is worth the price of not conceding our power to even one more little White man.

There's more at the link.

I must admit, the first time I read that article, my blood boiled (figuratively speaking).  I was outraged.  How the hell could anybody be so utterly stupid as to equate a non-racial traffic signal with human racism?  The author appeared to be seeing everything through racist-tinged spectacles, so that he could no longer separate technology from the color of human skin.  I found that appalling.

On further reflection, I suppose if I was walking in that man's shoes, I might see things differently.  If I'd been brought up in an environment where everything was seen in racial terms, where it was a staple of everyday life and never allowed to go unmentioned, perhaps I'd feel as he does.  I hope not . . . but I'm forced to admit the possibility.

I've certainly seen that sort of extremism often enough, in Africa and America, in men, women and children.  Speaking as a pastor and chaplain, I'm reminded of Matthew 15:11;  "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."  What we and others "feed" our kids, mentally and spiritually, can in fact determine what comes out of them for the rest of their lives - the way they live, speak, behave, react, whatever.  Racism has to be dealt with in that sense, for both the racist and the victim of racism.  If we see life, and each other, only through racial spectacles, we have no chance whatsoever of living a normal life.  For proof, look at most of the BLM activists currently creating mayhem on our streets.  They're the fruit of that process.

Too many parents bring up their children in that sort of biased consciousness.  It's the same fanaticism that we see in religious hard-liners.  I've heard too many Christian fundamentalists parrot Proverbs 22:6;  "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  Sadly, that's sometimes been taken as Divine license for extremists to beat, starve and torture their kids to force them into compliance.  It usually results in those kids rejecting God and religion in all its forms as soon as they're able to escape.  (That's also why Palestinian TV shows programs to kids that encourage them to become "martyrs", and show them how to wear suicide bombs beneath their clothing.  Same principle.  In effect, the producers of such programs are saying, "Allah wants them to do that!  We're simply teaching them to obey His will!")

I don't think there's an easy answer.  It's too easy to adopt a preaching attitude - "If only people who believed X would live what they say they believe, we'd solve the problem in no time!"  There are an awful lot of gray areas to overcome, and if we haven't been able to resolve them in all the centuries and millennia of human existence so far, we certainly won't do so in our lifetimes.  I daresay our descendants, millennia hence, will continue to struggle with the same conundrums we face.

Nevertheless, I hope the author of that article can get over what I see as his excessive sensitivity to issues of race in everyday life.  I don't for a moment imagine that the lady who told her kids to "wait for the little white man" meant it in racial terms.  Therefore, why take it as such?  Is this a case where racism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder?



Thursday, July 9, 2020

THIS is why you need a gun at present when driving!

Note this video, lifted from social media, where a young activist thug (with a ****-eating grin) demonstrates to other activists thugs how to break vehicle windows and drag people out of their cars.  She claims it's to "defend yourself" by stopping vehicular assault, but anyone with half a working brain cell realizes that's just a politically correct fig leaf.  If these activists thugs weren't terrorizing motorists, there'd be no need for them to "defend themselves".  Why not just get out of the street, and out of the way?

The emergency window breaker to which she refers is freely available, at low cost.  Rioters can equip themselves with one very affordably.

If you aren't sure why they want to break vehicle's windows and cut the driver's seat belt, consider these videos.

If protesters attack you when you're inside your vehicle, expect them to try to break your windows and drag you out.  Be prepared to stop them - the hard way, if necessary, by firing on them if they won't back off.

That's the current reality on many of our city streets.  Be forewarned, and be forearmed.


More useful than I'd thought

Commander Zero, who blogs at Notes From the Bunker, has a very interesting article on the many uses to which a vacuum sealer can be put.

A lot of folks, in my experience, don’t think creatively about the uses for one of these things that have nothing to do with food. So, lemme mention a few of the non-food things I do with mine and maybe it’ll send you down a new road of thought in regard to using yours. (Or getting one.)
  • Compressing high-loft items of clothing so they take up less space in a pack.
  • Preventing powdered items from clumping – The cleanser that comes in the cardboard cans? I put each can into a bag and vacuum seal it so that after years of sitting on the shelf it hasn’t drawn moisture and caked into a rock-like consistency.
  • Water bottles that get left in the vehicle in the winter are vacuum sealed in a bag so if the plastic bottle does explode from freezing (which almost never happens) any leakage is contained. And the water is still potable.
  • All the fire-starting materials in my hunting/bushwhacking packs are vacuum sealed to keep them dry, clean, and in one place.
  • Small first aid items get vacuum sealed for rather obvious reasons.
  • Critical documents are vacuum sealed so they are protected from moisture, wet, etc.

There's more at the link.

I've never thought about some of Commander Zero's suggestions, but they're eminently practical.  It's worth reading his article in full.  You're likely to get a lot of useful ideas.


Either the flag-burners don't get it...

... or they do get it, and they don't care, and they're willing to take the consequences.  Frankly, I can't believe it's the latter.  They couldn't be that stupid - or could they?

That thought was sparked by this meme on Gab.

I understand that image on a visceral level.  It resonates with me, as I don't think it can with someone who isn't a combat veteran - although any veteran, and any veteran's family, will get it to a considerable extent.

Almost a decade ago, I wrote about my buddy Flynn.  He died in combat after an RPG-7 rocket inflicted mortal injuries.

I remember Flynn's face, agony in his one remaining eye, jaw set in a rictus of unimaginable pain, coughing blood through his set teeth, half his left cheek torn away, left eye dangling from its socket, shirt turning bright red with the blood gushing from his punctured and shredded chest, a gurgling, gasping, groaning, never-ending moan torn from his throat as he gargled his life away in the sand . . . and all I could do was inject a syrette of morphine, and hold his hand, and watch - feel - his life slip away between my fingers while the ambush roared and raged all around us.

I had to let go of his hand, and grab my rifle, and return fire . . . and as I did so, I remember hearing the last half-gasping, half-choking rattle in his throat . . . and by the time I could look around again, it was too late. Just a couple of flecks of African dust, lifted by the last breath through his lips, drifting lazily before his mouth, then slowly sinking down to the ground once more, into the muddy blood that spread slowly from beneath him . . . and his one good eye, staring blankly into the dust, and the blood, and the darkness that had taken him from me.

There's more at the link.

Flynn and I fought under the orange, white and blue flag of the old Republic of South Africa.

It incorporated in its central stripe the "Vierkleur" ("Four-color") flag of the old South African Republic (later the province of Transvaal), the "Union Jack" of Great Britain, and the flag of the Orange Free State, a Boer republic adjacent to the South African Republic, and later a South African province of the same name.  Inevitably, it became indelibly associated with the policy of apartheid, and is referred to by many today as the "apartheid flag", even though it predated that policy by many years.

With the advent of a truly democratic government in South Africa in 1994, a new flag was adopted.

It was an artificial concoction by a civil servant, hurriedly thrown together to produce what was at first thought to be a temporary symbol of the "new nation" that was to arise.  (I was there at the time.  One newspaper commented that it "looked like a pair of Y-fronts [a local term for briefs] on its side", to which the designer retorted, "Well, South Africa needs all the support it can get!")  The new flag eventually became permanent, in the absence of any more popular design.

In 2019 the old "apartheid flag" was outlawed from public display in South Africa, and its use is regarded as "hate speech".  I can understand the anger and bitterness the old flag provokes in the hearts of many black South Africans . . . but it was still the flag under which I fought, and for which Flynn and a number of other friends died, and under which they were buried.  I can't simply condemn it as a symbol of racism, because it was never that to me.  It's a symbol of many other things - things that the new South African flag simply cannot express for me.

I'm an American now, and proud of my adopted flag, and will gladly serve under it if need be:  but the old South African flag still has a visceral effect on me.  It goes far deeper than words can express.  I have a lapel badge in the form of the US and (old) South African flags, their staffs crossed.  I shall still wear it with pride if a suitable occasion arises - and it will have nothing whatsoever to do with racism or discrimination.  Those who can't or won't understand or accept that will just have to live with it.

(For that reason, I can understand veterans of Nazi Germany who still respected the Nazi flag after World War II, even to this day.  They defended it as a symbol of their personal patriotism and military service rather than of Hitler and his demented goons.  For them, it really was that, even though the rest of the world could not or would not understand that perspective.  They'd fought under it, they'd bled under it, and many of their friends had died under it.  It went beyond mere words.  I think US veterans can understand that position as well.  My father, who fought against Nazi Germany, certainly did, and respected it.)

And so we return to the image with which we started this article.  When I see people spit on, or stamp on, or set fire to, the United States flag, and disrespect both it and the nation for which it stands, I too feel a visceral reaction of rage.

Have they no idea how many people have died for and under that flag?  How dare they disrespect, not just the flag, but those people and their sacrifice, by their actions?  Have they no conscience at all?  As for the chant "America was never great" in the video clip above, they couldn't be more wrong - but then, most of them have no reference points.  Their liberal/progressive/left-wing teachers have deliberately failed to educate them about true history.  They have no idea that for decades, the USA was, indeed, regarded as "great" by most other nations and their people, and still is by many.

I came here to make a fresh start with my life after eighteen years of civil and military war, unrest, violence and hatred.  For me, believe me, America has indeed been, and still is, great.  I'm proud to be an American, and not ashamed to say so publicly.  I'm honored to be accepted as a brother by my new national family, and I stand tall and proud beside them beneath our national flag.

I therefore understand the visceral scorn, contempt and disgust that the policeman in this video clip must have felt when he took action to defend the flag.  He would have known it was a small gesture against the violence and hatred on display all around him - but it was still a gesture worth making, and I'm glad he did so.

We need more men like that policeman - and a stronger response to the flag-burning thugs he confronted, too.

"If you haven't risked coming home under the flag, don't you dare stand on it".  Yes, indeed - and don't you dare disrespect it, or burn it, or reject it.  If you do, you reject me and all I stand for.  The one necessarily implies the other.

I think a lot of Americans share that sentiment.  I think, if those who are rioting in our streets don't come to their senses, they may find that out, real soon now.  Rejection works both ways.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Problems with and other Chinese e-commerce portals

I've had a number of readers mention, in private correspondence, that they'd like to do business with, the premier Chinese e-commerce Web portal.  However, they complain that paying for goods using US bank accounts or credit cards is often fraught with difficulty.  Transactions are rejected, transfers denied, or some other problem prevents the purchase from being completed.

I experienced this myself yesterday.  I needed a couple of components that simply aren't available from local suppliers, but I found them on  I set up an account there, then tried to register a US bank account for payment purposes, and a US credit card, too.  The bank account was rejected without explanation.  The credit card appeared to have been accepted right up to the actual payment, which was declined - not by my card issuer, but on Alibaba's side (I confirmed this with my card issuer).  In sheer frustration, I eventually canceled my order.

How about you, readers?  Has anyone used or other Chinese e-commerce portals?  How did you get over the payments hurdle?  Can you suggest anything that would make life easier for the rest of us?  I'm sure such international transactions will become more frequent for most of us over the coming years, and I'd like to figure out how to make them work.

Over to you!  Please tell us your experiences in Comments.


EDITED TO ADD:  Some readers have asked, in Comments, why I'd want to buy from China, or provide bank information to that country where fraud and crooked conduct are so notorious.  The answer is simple:  in many cases, that's the only country that makes what one needs.  Some US suppliers have Chinese parts in stock, but they often charge 3-4 times as much as the price in China, and that makes them unaffordable for a small-volume purchaser like me.  By ordering direct, even paying shipping charges, I can save a bundle.

The Crips gang meets BLM and Antifa. Guess who wins?

I was highly amused to be sent a link to this video clip by a friend in law enforcement in Los Angeles.  It allegedly shows an attempt by BLM and Antifa activists to spark a riot in Long Beach, California, a few days ago - in an area controlled by the Crips gang.  (Note their blue shirts, a hallmark of the gang.)

The Crips didn't like that idea at all.  After all, how can they peddle drugs, control crime, and run the place if a riot breaks out?  They made their displeasure clear.  LANGUAGE ALERT - there are a lot of F-bombs going off.  Sensitive readers might want to turn off the sound.

I'd say that made it clear who's boss of that hood, wouldn't you?  White residents would never have been allowed to get away with that without screams of "Racism!" or "Oppression!"  Black gang-bangers . . . not so much.


Be careful when buying gun parts during the shortage

I'm largely done now with helping my friends upgrade their personal defense rifles.  I'm preparing a few AR-15's for sale that are surplus to their requirements;  with just about none left on dealer shelves anywhere, they reckon they may as well convert them to useful cash at the next gun show.

One thing I'm noticing more and more is that many suppliers are out of stock of good-quality components.  What's left are either cheap bits and pieces of lesser quality, or very expensive high-end stuff - and the prices of the cheap components are often inflated until they're as bad as the latter.  It's a seller's market, and buyers have to be very careful.  They may be buying "seconds", or parts returned by other buyers due to some defect or other, or parts that are heavier and/or bulkier than they need to be.

One area where I've noticed this in particular is the availability of lightweight components.  In the first article in my recent three part series on the subject, I said:

Light weight is important.  I therefore select accessories with that in mind, and will almost always take a lighter option over a heavier one.  I suggest that your fully loaded and equipped AR-15 rifle or carbine need not weigh more than 8-9 pounds, and can weigh substantially less if you can do without some of the bells and whistles.  The Bushmaster Minimalist (sadly no longer available, but reviewed here) came in at an unadorned 6 pounds even, and one can build an equivalent weighing no more (or even less) than that by careful selection of components.

I was very surprised last week to weigh an AR-15 pistol upper, with a short 10½" barrel, that weighed over 6 pounds on its own, without a lower receiver at all, much less sights, a light, and other accessories.  Frankly, that's ridiculous!  When I took it apart to see why it weighed so much, I could see that the vendor had simply thrown together all the odd bits and pieces he had left over from regular sales.  It used a heavy-profile barrel, weighing at least half a pound more than a standard profile and probably close to a pound more than a lightweight barrel (often encountered in pistol builds).  The handguard was allegedly made of aluminum, which should be light enough, but it measured over 12 ounces on the scale.  I have aluminum and carbon-fiber-composite handguards weighing half that!  I advised the friend who sent the upper to me to sell it at a gun show, to take advantage of current high prices, and put the money towards something lighter and more appropriate when parts became more freely available.  Until then, he's got a perfectly good carbine upper (which weighs less, even with its 16" barrel, than the pistol upper!), and can use that.

After that, I did a quick check of my own gun safe.  Of my "fighting rifles", most weigh 6-7 pounds unloaded.  They're set up for light weight, rapid handling, and extended carry, where every unwanted ounce can be a burden.  (That's particularly important to me, because with my fused spine and nerve damage, I won't be carrying any gun very far!)  Of those that are heavier, one is set up as a long-range rifle with a 20" barrel and a large telescopic sight, and weighs over 9 pounds - unavoidable with that combination of features.  Another is over 8 pounds, but it's not one I've carried much.  I think I'm going to see whether I can shave another half-pound to a pound off it, by replacing components with lighter equivalents.  I'm here to tell you, the further you have to carry a heavy rifle, the more you regret its weight!

A perennial problem has reared its head yet again:  the care of magazines.  I wrote about this at some length a few years ago.  Too many gun owners have too few magazines;  don't rotate them in use;  and don't care for or maintain them properly.  The magazine is perhaps the most vulnerable part of your weapons system - if it fails, or you run out of loaded mags, you can't defend yourself.  They deserve more attention than most of us give them.  All magazines should be cleaned and checked at least once per year, and those in heavy use more often than that.  Replacement parts are (or were, before the current shortage) freely available;  baseplates, springs and followers.  I have a lot of older aluminum STANAG magazines where the only original part is the body.  Every other component has been replaced.  My polymer magazines haven't needed that, being newer, but they still get an annual checkover.  It's worth the time it takes, for the sake of peace of mind.

Other than that, the AR-15 rebuilding project has been an interesting look at the "state of the art" in civilian carbines.  I emphasize, I haven't been trying to produce military-standard toughness in these weapons.  They aren't going to be bashed around the bush for weeks and months on end, with minimal maintenance, care and attention.  If they were, I'd be producing a very different end product, costing more than twice as much.  For light to medium use in an urban environment by civilians on tight budgets, these are now well set up.  May they never be needed the hard way!


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Church Militant - with pirates!

I had to laugh at this rendition of the "pirate hymn".  I'd never heard of it before.  Clearly, I've lived a more sheltered life than I thought I had!

I'm very glad there's so much good, clean, funny humor still out there, if you look for it.  One gets very tired of profanity in the guise of a joke.


Keltec's P17: It's a very good handgun, if you can find one

In April I put up a "first look" article about Keltec's new P17 .22 pistol.

If you missed the earlier article, please read it before continuing, as this review continues from that point and doesn't repeat the same information.

The great thing about this pistol - and it really is a great thing, compared to some of its rivals - is that it's boringly reliable.  Many .22 firearms are very "picky" about what ammunition they like.  Some will shoot well with this round, but not with that one.  The "pickiness" may even be visible among pistols of the same make and model.  Not so with the P17.  I've fired seven different rounds through it so far:
All performed without a hiccup through the P17, which surprised me.  I was expecting at least a few mis-feeds or failures to fire, on the basis of many years' experience with .22LR pistols.  This one didn't even blink.

The P17 also shot relatively "clean".  .22LR rounds are notorious for leaving powder and lead fouling behind them, requiring some pistols to be cleaned after a few hundred rounds in order to continue functioning smoothly.  (That happened to me most recently with a Ruger Mk. IV, which surprised me;  earlier marks had not given rise to that problem.)  The P17 got dirty, sure, but its function never wavered, and its action remained as smooth as ever, even during a thousand-round torture test run over several days without cleaning or lubrication.  That's a good sign.

The sixteen-round magazines (three are provided with the pistol) are a big plus point.  Most .22LR pistols I know are sold with 10-round magazines, and only two of them at that.  There's nothing wrong with that, but it means more frequent reloading in high-round-count usage.  The P17 can shoot 48 rounds to an "average" pistol's 20 before needing to reload its magazines, a 140% improvement over the lower-capacity weapons out of the box.  That's very useful.

Accuracy was fine, well up to industry standards.  The P17 isn't a target pistol with finely-adjustable sights, but it's well up to plinking use, and I wouldn't object to an informal target-shooting competition with it.  The trigger is very controllable, with an easy let-off that makes accuracy easier.  The checkering on the grip isn't anything to write home about, not providing much friction against your hands;  but we're talking about minimal recoil here anyway, so that's not an important factor to me.  Certainly, I've found the gun very controllable through hundreds of rounds.  If you want something with greater friction, you can install a grip sleeve, or add something like skateboard tape to the front and rear straps.

Perhaps the nicest thing about the P17 is its price point.  Its recommended retail price, complete with 3 magazines, is only $199.99!  That's astonishing value for money in today's market.  It definitely vaults the P17 to the top of the list of rimfire pistols I recommend to others.

For another perspective on the P17, here's a brief review from the NRA Gun of the Week channel.

I really can't think of any negatives about the P17.  Keltec has come up with a winner here.  I'll put my name on the list to buy a couple from my local gun shop, when they eventually get them in stock.  The current shortage of firearms, thanks to panic buying following the coronavirus pandemic and George Floyd-inspired riots, means I'll probably have to wait a long time . . . but the P17 is worth waiting for, IMHO.

In case you're wondering, no, I'm not being compensated in any way to do this review.  I value .22 pistols very highly as a training tool, and as a defensive weapon for disabled shooters who can't handle the recoil of anything more powerful (see my earlier article on the subject).  That's why I wanted to review the P17.  Now that I've done so, the two review guns (generously donated by Keltec) will be passed on (free of charge) to two disabled shooters, who need them far more urgently than I do!


Who will be the left's new Messiah, and when will they take charge?

Matt Bracken put into words yesterday something I've been wondering about for a long time.

Please think a few plays ahead on the chess board, and take a moment to ponder the current power of the latent rage of the millions of Antifa/BLM/RevCom fanatics, considering that they have not yet even found their charismatic cult leader!

Leaderless rage, already rampant, will be multiplied many fold when their electrifying fuhrer emerges.

Imagine the danger they will pose with a popular and charismatic Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Che or Jim Jones figure to lead them, who will be praised by both the Marxist Mainstream Media and the Democrat Party as the 2nd coming of JC.

That's a very good point indeed.

If you look at the wave of unrest and demonstrations that have swept across this country with lightning speed over the past six weeks since the death of George Floyd, a number of things become very, very clear.

  • These were and are not spontaneous demonstrations.  There's far too much evidence of careful organization and preparation, from pre-positioning riot materials like bricks, to organizing the demonstrations with outriders signaling where the police were (and weren't), "colonels" directing operations, different groups of people performing different tasks to keep the pot boiling, etc.  The simultaneous outbreak of such riots in literally hundreds of cities is, in itself, irrefutable evidence of organization.  Who is behind them?  Who prepared all this months, if not years, in advance, ready to take advantage of any suitable pretext to unleash havoc upon this country?
  • That level of organization demands major funding.  We're not talking a few hundred here and a few thousand there:  we're talking tens, if not hundreds of millions, to train organizers, buy equipment (noticed how many of the riot organizers were wearing earpieces and throat microphones, leading to radios operating on common frequencies, and frequently encrypted?  The police certainly have.)  Who has enough money to provide that level of funding?  Why would they do so, so far in advance of the "need", unless they expected to get a return on that investment?
  • This organized chaos also demands a level of prearranged coordination with other power centers such as political parties, news media, social media, etc.  Notice how, the instant the riots erupted, there were journalists, TV stations, newspapers, etc. all ready to report on them, publicize their grievances, and pummel America with propaganda about their cause?  Notice how politicians on the left immediately fell into lockstep in their response, all parroting the same pablum for public consumption?  Notice how many left-wing administrations in cities and states actively sought to promote the rioters' agenda, and restrained law enforcement from moving against them?  Again, that level of coordination implies a much higher level of command and control than mere happenstance could explain - so who's providing it?

Those factors indicate that a truly massive infrastructure has already been prepared, all below the surface and out of sight.  It's like an iceberg.  The top one-eighth is above the surface and visible to the naked eye.  The vast bulk of the thing - seven-eighths of it - is invisible, hidden beneath the water, but its sheer mass dominates and controls the part that can be seen.

That's the situation we're in right now with the unrest in America.  What we see is bad enough, but it's probably only a very small part of what's going on beneath the surface.  Why would it be below the surface?  Why would it be hidden?  Because those running it know it would never be accepted by Americans if it were visible.  They're keeping it under wraps until they can foist it upon us - and they don't plan to do that until they have everything in place to sweep them, and their grand design, into power.  It'll be nothing less than a populist coup attempt, ostensibly driven by the current unrest, but in reality driving that unrest itself, and organizing it for its own purposes.

Who are these shadowy "powers behind the throne"?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I don't think a single figure like George Soros, the bogeyman beloved of right-wing conspiracy theorists, is the mastermind (although he may well be among the cabal running things).  This is far too big and too well organized for that.  It's certainly globalist in scope and intention, based on the comments we've seen come out of populist demonstrations worldwide.  It's clearly antithetical to individual freedom, subordinating that to the interests of the group - society as a whole.  Finally, it's anti-democratic.  Free will and "one man, one vote" are unimportant in its scheme of things.  It would rather organize a shrieking emotional mob to demand, coerce, cajole and insist on something, so that the authorities cave into the mob in the name of "maintaining social peace" - even if that's not what the "silent majority" want.  Human rights are almost always portrayed by the mob as collective rights, not individual.  You want freedom of speech?  Only if it's approved speech!  The individual doesn't count.

How can we get closer to identifying these people and influences?  A good start would be to look at those who've been the eminences grises of previous globalist, populist administrations and leaders, and see what they're doing now.  Anyone wondered what Valerie Jarrett is up to lately?  Notice how she was a major part of Organizing for America, which has since become Organizing for Action?  It's interesting that none of that is mentioned in her Wikipedia page.  One wonders why not.  And who is she reporting to?  She's not the "big cheese", the leader in her own right - she's one facet of the visible part of the iceberg, but reporting to the massive part below the surface.  There are many like her.  Rahm EmanuelEric Holder?  They, and many other former leading lights of the Obama administration, appear to be deliberately trying to stay out of the public eye at present.  That's strange behavior from those who did all they could to get into the public eye, earlier in their careers.  Why, one wonders?  If not them, then who will be their successors?  Iceberg, much?  Above the surface versus below the surface?  What's going on?

I suggest that there are three elements we need to watch very carefully.  I think we'll see some or all of them come into play, and very soon now.

  1. Joe Biden is clearly almost senile, to judge by the evidence available to us.  He's not fit to be President of the United States.  He'll either be kept in place as a temporary, short-term figurehead, with his Vice-President to be the real candidate for power, or he'll be shunted aside for some specious reason at the Democratic Party convention, and replaced with a more exciting, more populist candidate.  What happens may be a combination of both - a populist Vice President who campaigns as if the election were all about him/her as President.  Watch who's nominated for that post, and draw your own conclusions.
  2. Watch for the (probably to be acclaimed by the media as "spontaneous", but in reality pre-planned) emergence of consensus around a popular leader who can be built up in the news as someone capturing the popular imagination.  It may be a demagogue in the mold of a Sharpton or Farrakhan, someone who rabble-rouses, who uses emotion rather than logic or reason to whip up the masses and beat down opposition.  He or she won't debate, they'll demand.  They won't negotiate, they'll issue ultimatums.  Do it their way, or risk civil war.  Some leaders of the riots are already sounding just like that, but they're minor players.  Look for a major player who'll utter the same threats.
  3. A third possibility, possibly closely associated with the second, is the emergence of a "lightbringer" such as former President Obama was expected to be by a large part of the progressive Left.  This person will offer a seemingly reasoned, rational, peaceful alternative to mob violence and excess, but it'll be in coded language that basically demands the same things.  The idea will be to offer him/her to a panicked electorate as a safe choice.  "Vote for this person, and all the nasty rioters will calm down and go away."  Such a candidate will, of course, be just as dangerous to our constitutional republic (if not more so) than a more publicly extreme alternative, but that will be carefully concealed from the electorate by a complicit news media.

The current unrest almost demands its Messiah, a "lightbringer" who will fulfil the desires of all the demonstrators, bring peace to riot-torn cities, and stop those nasty "deplorables", "bitter clingers" and "racists" from imposing their oppression on the rest of enlightened society.  Who will that Messiah be?  Watch closely, and wait.  I don't think it'll be long before we find out.

My best guess?  I'm watching Michelle Obama very closely.  I think, of all the candidates now out there, declared and undeclared, she's best positioned to take advantage of the situation.  Her husband has an enormously positive reputation among the left, which she shares by extension, and his presence on the campaign trail would boost her chances enormously.  Their shared organization, now known as "Organizing for Action", is ready and waiting, an already-structured and -staffed campaign ready to jump into immediate action.

I could be wrong, of course.  It may be that the Obamas are carrying too much baggage from their years in the White House to be trusted with the levers of power once again.  Perhaps someone entirely new is being groomed for the slot.  Whoever they are, the infrastructure is already in place to back them up.  I guess we'll have to wait and see.


Monday, July 6, 2020

Politicians and doctors lied, and people died

I think there needs to be a very thorough investigation into why so many in the medical establishment - not to mention the Democratic Party and their mainstream media allies - were so virulently opposed to the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the COVID-19 virus.

Report after report disparaged it, denigrated it, and said it wasn't useful or needed - frequently without conducting any detailed study of the medication's effects.  However, a new study paints a very different picture.

A Henry Ford Health System study shows the controversial anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helps lower the death rate of COVID-19 patients, the Detroit-based health system said Thursday.

Officials with the Michigan health system said the study found the drug “significantly” decreased the death rate of patients involved in the analysis.

The study analyzed 2,541 patients hospitalized among the system’s six hospitals between March 10 and May 2 and found 13% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine died while 26% of those who did not receive the drug died.

There's more at the link.

It appears that opposition to the use of hydroxychloroquine was, in many cases, predicated on the fact that President Trump supported its use.  Anything he recommended had to be opposed, no matter what!  The fact that this may have killed thousands of people who were denied access to the drug clearly didn't bother his opponents.

As Dr. David Samadi points out (click the first screen capture to go to the original Twitter thread):

I think Dr. Samadi has a point . . . but I doubt whether anyone will ever be held accountable for it.  After all, it's only the "little people", the "deplorables", who died - and they don't count.


Has the Washington State Patrol gone mad?

The death of one demonstrator, and the critical injuries to another, following an attempt to block Interstate 5 in Seattle is tragic enough, from one perspective.  From another, it's mind-bogglingly stupid, a miscalculation so cretinous that the mind struggles to get around it - because in the aftermath of this incident, it's emerged that the Washington State Patrol deliberately set up roadblocks to help demonstrators trying to shut down the Interstate.

One of the Seattle Black Lives Matter protesters struck by a car while blocking Interstate 5 early July 4th has died and her death has forced state cops to re-think their permissive policies allowing protesters to take over freeways.

. . .

It turns out that the driver had to somehow get around a Washington State Patrol blockade put up to protect the protesters.

. . .

The admission that official Seattle had apparently allowed the protesters to take over the freeway was met with incredulity from law-abiding folks, including one who rightly observed that “Seattle looks like a bunch of children learning not to touch a hot stove.”

After shootings, murder – MURDER – rapes, assaults, graft, and other assorted crimes at the Black Lives Matter/antifa autonomous zone, CHOP, in Seattle, and then Washington State Patrol makes the political decision that these same people should be allowed to hand over a swath of an Interstate freeway … ?

It’s gobsmacking. It defies the law of common sense.

For those playing the home game, the First Amendment allows local officials to exercise time, place, and manner restrictions on free speech events. That means they could have arrested people occupying the freeways. But they didn’t. This freeway takeover was allowed by political forces ordering law enforcement to ignore existing law and allowing this I-5 takeover.

Political Seattle let this takeover of the freeway on the July 4th holiday take place. Thousands and thousands of people who wanted to use the freeway to get to their Independence Day activities were literally detoured from their plans by complicit cops for political reasons.

It is a colossal disconnect.

There's more at the link.

I saw something similar in Nashville a few years ago.  City cops actually blocked access ramps to a major Interstate highway, and allowed demonstrators to walk onto it and shut it down.  Motorists already on the Interstate, and who were trapped there by the demonstrators, had to wait for hours until the demonstrators left before they were allowed to continue.  It caused tremendous anger among the citizens of Nashville, and rightly so, IMHO.

Who the hell was responsible for this decision in Seattle?  If it was the cops themselves, every person involved should be fired and blacklisted, so that they can never work in law enforcement again.  If it was a politician who gave orders to the Washington State Patrol to do that, they should be publicly named and shamed, and hopefully thrown out of office at the next election.  This is unconscionable.

Peaceful protest that does not impede the right to freedom of movement is fine with me.  I'll even join in such protests, if I feel strongly enough about the topic in question.  However, others' rights end if they seek to override mine.  The authorities can restrict freedom of movement for public safety and other reasons, sure:  but that does not mean demonstrators enjoy the same right.  What's more, authorities can't legitimately force me, by the wrongful use of law enforcement power, to allow demonstrators to interfere with my rights.

I will not permit or tolerate anyone obstructing me in an attempt to force me to listen to their grievances.  They can request that, sure.  They may not demand that, and they may not coerce that.  They do not have that right, and I won't concede it to them.  Period.  What's more, any attempt to force me to stop and listen to them - particularly involving menacing behavior, threats and the like - will be regarded as a threat to my safety, and the safety of anyone with me.  I reserve the right to defend myself against the threat they pose, if I believe it's sufficiently dangerous to warrant that.

For Washington State Police to take sides in so politicized an atmosphere taints them.  They are no longer acting as law enforcement personnel or peace officers.  By actively helping demonstrators to obstruct the right of movement of other citizens, they are supporting one side in a political debate.  That's intolerable.  Even worse, they have allied themselves with scofflaws and law-breakers - meaning that at least some of the law-abiding will now regard WSP officers as potential enemies, rather than allies.  If the law-abiding can't trust the WSP and/or other agencies to help them when they're threatened by law-breakers, they're going to take their security into their own hands.  Is that really what the authorities in Washington state want? . . . because that's what they're going to get.

I can only hope that every WSP officer who takes his oath of office seriously, and wants to be a peace officer rather than a political flunky, will resign from that force, and look for employment in one that actually tries to do its law enforcement job, rather than be a party to enforcing one-sided political edicts.

This is, quite simply, disgusting, and tarnishes every WSP officer.


Memes that made me laugh 14

Seen around the Internet over the past week.  In an effort to make scrolling through the main blog easier, I'm using a "Read More" tag after the first few images.  If this causes any trouble, particularly for those of you reading this via an RSS feed, please let me know in Comments, so I can fix it.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Sunday morning music

Theme music from various forms of entertainment has been a staple of our existence for millennia.  Opera is one of the best-known examples:  the music from stage performances is often played in completely different settings, divorced from the opera's action, providing entertainment in itself.  Movies are another staple from the last century or so.  Their music has sometimes been good enough to stand on its own, and be played without reference to the plot, actors, etc. where it originated.  Examples are legion.  To name just a few:

Some films that have been less than successful have nevertheless produced some really good theme music, that's played more often than the movies themselves.  This morning I'd like to mention the 2002 remake of "The Time Machine", based on the 1895 novel by H. G. Wells and the earlier, more successful 1960 movie.

The soundtrack from the 2002 movie has taken on a life of its own, and is widely regarded as more successful than the film itself.  Here are two selections from it, the first orchestral, the second vocal.  (The similarities to African tribal music found in the second selection are particularly appealing to me, for obvious reasons.)


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Saturday Snippet: The Little World of Don Camillo

Since today, July 4th, is Independence Day in the USA, now my home country, let me start by wishing all my fellow countrymen and -women the blessings of the day.  Let's remember what our forefathers sacrificed to bring us freedom, and let's not abandon that freedom in the face of the attacks on it by modern extremists.  Let's also celebrate the anniversary in time-honored ways of which our ancestors would approve.  (I bought a thousand rounds of ammunition yesterday, in honor of the occasion.  I daresay that's entirely in line with their expectations at the time!)

Speaking of attacks on freedom, Giovannino Guareschi was an Italian author, satirist and humorist, who lived through the tumultuous years of fascism before and during World War II, followed by the struggle between communism and other political movements in that country in the decades following the war.  It was a time of great social and political conflict, later giving rise to full-blown terrorism from the so-called "Red Brigades" (although they emerged after Guareschi's death).

Guareschi is most famous today for the characters of Don Camillo and Peppone, respectively the parish priest of a small, poor farming village in the Po Valley, and the Communist mayor of the town.  Former comrades in arms during the Resistance years of World War II, the two embody the political struggle between Communism and the Catholic Church in post-war Italy.  Through gentle humor, satire and shrewd argument, Guareschi, a devoted Catholic, sought to counter Communist arguments, but also display the common humanity that should unite people rather than divide them.

The Don Camillo stories were initially published in Candido, a magazine co-founded and edited by Guareschi.  They were soon published in book form, selling millions of copies around the world, and also made into several movies (in Italian) during the 1950's and 1960's.  Here's the first of them, with English narration by Orson Welles.  It and several of the others are available on YouTube.

More than a decade after Guareschi's death in 1968, Terence Hill starred in a remake of the first movie, which had a rather different tone to the books and earlier films.  It was somewhat amusing, but not as successful.

I grew up with the Don Camillo books, translated into English.  I wasn't aware at the time that many of the original stories were left out of the translated editions, because the publishers thought they would not appeal to English-speaking audiences.  Guareschi (and, later, his estate) also appear to have been unaware of this.  When his estate's attention was drawn to the matter around the turn of the century, they withdrew his translated works from circulation until they could arrange for a more complete set of them to be issued, incorporating the missing stories.  Today they are all available in print and e-book editions, for which I'm very grateful.  They remain treasured memories for me, as well as inspirational reading for reflective moments (and just plain funny, too!).

Today I'm going to bring you just one of the stories.  There are literally hundreds more, and I highly recommend them all.  This one's titled "The Elephant Never Forgets".  It's from the volume of stories titled "Don Camillo's Dilemma".

Fulmine was the name of Don Camillo’s dog, but he answered to ‘Ful’. Gabazza Antenore was the name of one of Peppone’s gang, but he answered to ‘Fulmine’. Between the two, the dog was the brainier, which fact is noted simply in order to give some picture of the two-legged Ful, with whom we are concerned in this story.

Fulmine was an enormous fellow, who, once he got going, proceeded with all the grace and implacability of a hippopotamus. He was the ideal man to carry out orders, but  Peppone took special care not to entrust him with their execution too often. And so most of what Fulmine did as a communist activist took place at the Molinetto tavern, where most of the time he played cards. He was an enthusiastic scopa player, and his phenomenal memory made him a formidable opponent. Of course memory isn’t always the deciding factor in a card game, and every now and then Fulmine took a trouncing. But the experience he had one Saturday with Cino Biolchi was worse than anything that had ever happened to him before. He sat down to play with 5,000 lire, and five hours later he was left without a penny. Now, Fulmine couldn’t stomach the idea of going home in this condition.

‘Allow me my revenge!’ he panted, grasping the cards with shaking hands.

‘I’ve given you I don’t know how many thousand chances for revenge,’ said Cino Biolchi, ‘but now I’ve had enough.’

‘Let’s have just one game – all or nothing,’ said Fulmine. ‘That way, if I win, I get my 5,000 lire back.’

‘And what if you lose?’ asked Cino Biolchi.

‘Well, you can see I haven’t got any more money,’ stammered Fulmine, wiping the sweat from his forehead, ‘but I’ll stake anything you say.’

‘Don’t be a donkey,’ said Biolchi. ‘Go off to bed and forget about it.’

‘I want my revenge!’ Fulmine roared. ‘I’ll put up anything … anything at all. You name it!’

Biolchi was an original fellow. And now, after a moment‘s thought, he said: ‘All right; I’m with you. Five thousand lire against your vote.’

‘My vote? What do you mean?’ ‘I mean that if you lose, you promise to vote for whichever party I say in the upcoming election.’

Fulmine didn’t want to believe that Biolchi was serious, but soon he had to believe it. Biolchi had him by the throat, and for Fulmine it was all or nothing.

Biolchi put a 5,000 lire note on the table and gave Fulmine a fountain pen and paper.

‘Just write: “The undersigned Gabazza Antenore solemnly swears to vote on 7 June for such-and-such a party…” You can leave the name of the party blank, and I’ll put it in when I feel like it.’

Fulmine wrote down what he had to write and shot Biolchi a look of resentment.

‘This must remain a matter between you and me,’ he said. ‘And until 7 June, I have the right to have my revenge.’


* * *

Peppone was just leaving the People’s Palace when Fulmine loomed up in front of him.

‘Boss, I’m ruined. I played with Biolchi and lost everything.’

‘All the worse for you. But it’s nothing to do with me.’

‘Well, it is to do with you, because I lost my money and my vote.’

Fulmine told him the story, and Peppone laughed.

‘Forget it, the election is by secret ballot. When you’re in the booth you can vote for whoever you please and nobody will know any better.’

Fulmine shook his head.

‘Can’t be done. I signed a contract.’

‘A contract! It has no value.’

‘I gave my word and we shook hands on it. I’m not the kind of a fellow that breaks his word.’

Fulmine was a hippopotamus and not given to change of mood or behaviour. In place of a brain he possessed an agricultural tractor engine, which, being cast in iron and steel, had its own relentless logic which no one could change, unless he decided to smash the engine to pieces.

Peppone, a connoisseur of engines, now realised that the matter was more serious than it had seemed at first sight. Fulmine was never going to see things his way.

‘It’ll be fine,’ Peppone said. ‘We’ll talk it over calmly tomorrow.’

‘At what time, Boss?’

‘At ten thirty-five,’ replied Peppone barely suppressing either his anger or his preferred response, which had been: ‘You go to hell and all wretches like you!’

So, at exactly ten thirty-five the next morning Fulmine turned up at the workshop, saying: ‘It’s ten thirty-five, Boss.’

He stood there in front of Peppone’s anvil, tired and dismayed, and it was obvious that he hadn’t slept a wink. Peppone’s first impulse was to hit him on his great pumpkin with a hammer. This was the logical and most sensible idea. But even now Peppone pitied the poor fellow, and the hammer found itself lying on the floor instead.

‘You are an ass!’ Peppone shouted. ‘I ought to eject you from the Party with my boot. But elections are coming up and we cannot let our opponents use this to steal a march on us. Here’s 5,000 lire; now go tell Biolchi to return your contract. If he won’t, let me know.’

Fulmine pocketed the banknote and disappeared, but he came back no more than a quarter of an hour later. ‘He won’t do it.’

Peppone put on his jacket and cap and left his workshop, saying: ‘Wait for me here!’

Biolchi greeted him courteously enough.

‘What can I do for you, Mr Mayor?’

‘Forget the Mayor malarkey. I’ve come about that stupid Fulmine. He must have been drunk last night. Take the 5,000 lire and release him from his commitment.’

‘He wasn’t drunk at all. In fact, he was in full possession of his mental faculties. And he was the one to insist on my choice of a stake. Our agreement is clear. Until 7 June I am at his disposal for a revenge match.’

‘Biolchi,’ replied Peppone, ‘if I were to go to the carabinieri about this, they’d lock you up. But since I don’t want to make a public scandal, I’m here to tell you that unless you give me Fulmine’s contract I’ll flatten you out against the wall like an electoral poster!’

Biolchi emitted a nervous little laugh.

‘And then I’d report your assault to the carabinieri. That would be very unwise, would it not Peppone?’

Peppone clenched his fists, but he knew that Biolchi, for the moment at least, held all the cards.

‘All right, then. But if you are not a complete coward, you’ll play the return game against me instead of that idiot.’

Biolchi closed the door, drew a pack of cards from a drawer and sat down at the table. Peppone took a seat opposite him.

It was a desperately hard-fought game, but at the end Peppone went away lighter by 5,000 lire.

That evening there was a meeting of the General Staff at the People’s Palace and he told them the story, giving it due weight and seriousness, and concluding:

‘That scoundrel does not belong to any party, but he is against us – that’s for sure. We must settle this business quietly or else he’ll turn it into a tremendous joke. Has anybody a suggestion about how we can sort this out?’

‘Well, we can’t settle it at scopa, that’s also definite,’ muttered Smilzo. ‘Biolchi will eat us alive. Let’s try offering him 10,000 lire instead of five.’

Although it was late, they went in a gang to knock at Biolchi’s door. He was still up and in restless mood, as if something unexpected had happened. In answer to Peppone’s proposition, he threw out his arms.

‘Too late! I just played cards with Spiletti, and he won 15,000 lire off me, plus Fulmine’s agreement.’

‘Shame on you!’ said Peppone. ‘It was agreed that the matter was strictly between you two.’

‘Quite right,’ said Biolchi. ‘But Fulmine was the first to spill the beans, when he went to you about it. This simply makes us even. Anyhow, I got Spiletti to promise that he wouldn’t break news of it to benefit the clerical party and that any time up to 7 June, he’d give Fulmine a chance for revenge.’

A pretty kettle of fish! The paper was in the hands of the head of the Christian Democrats and there was no telling what use he would make of it. Peppone and his gang went back to headquarters, where Fulmine was anxiously waiting.

‘This is no time for talking,’ said Peppone. ‘We’ve got to act, and act fast. Tomorrow morning we’ll post news of Fulmine’s expulsion from the Party.’

‘What’s that?’ said Fulmine, pitiably.

‘I said that the Party is purging you for undignified behaviour. And I’ll date the expulsion three months back.’

Peppone braced himself for an explosion of anger. But there was nothing of the sort.

‘You’re quite right, Boss,’ said Fulmine in a voice that was anything but thunderous. ‘I deserve to be kicked out like a dog.’ And he laid his Party membership card meekly on the table.

‘We’re not kicking you out like a dog!’ exclaimed Peppone. ‘The expulsion is just a pretence, to stave off an attack from the opposition. After the elections, you can make your little act of confession and we’ll take you back into the fold.’

‘I can confess right now,’ Fulmine said mournfully. ‘I’m a donkey, and after the elections I’ll still be a donkey. There’s no use hoping I can change.’

Fulmine walked dejectedly away, and the spectacle was such that for several minutes Peppone and his henchmen could not settle down to business.

‘We’ll prepare the announcement,’ said Smilzo, ‘but don’t let’s post it tomorrow. Perhaps Spiletti will keep his word.’

‘You can’t know him very well!’ said Peppone. ‘But just as you say.’

* * *

For the next two days nothing happened, and it seemed as if, for a while at least, the silence would remain unbroken. But as evening approached, Fulmine’s wife arrived in a state of agitation at the People’s Palace.

‘He’s gone crazy!’ she burst out. ‘For forty-eight hours he hasn’t eaten. He lies flat on the bed and won’t look at a soul.’

Peppone went to survey the situation, and sure enough he found Fulmine in bed, immobile. He shook the fellow and even insulted him, but could not get him to say a single word or to abandon for even a second his pose of absolute indifference to the world around him. After a while Peppone lost patience.

‘If you’re really mad, I’ll call the asylum, and they’ll take care of you, all right.’

With his right arm Fulmine deliberately fished for an object between the bed and the wall. And his eyes seemed to be saying: ‘If they come from the asylum, I’ll give them a proper welcome.’

Inasmuch as the object in his right hand was an axe, there was no need for words. Finally, Peppone sent everyone else out of the room and said sternly:

‘Surely you can tell me, only me, what’s got into you to make you behave this way.’

Fulmine shook his head, but he put down the axe, opened a drawer of the bedside-table and took out a pad on which he wrote with considerable effort: ‘I’ve made a vow to the Madonna not to speak, eat, move or get up for any purpose whatever until I recover that paper, Signed: Gabazza Antenore.’

Peppone put this note in his pocket and called Fulmine’s wife and daughters to him.

‘Do not let anyone into this room unless he calls them. Leave him strictly alone. It’s nothing serious, an attack of moral hiatus, which requires rest and a strict diet.’

Peppone returned the next evening to inquire after the patient.

‘The same as yesterday and other days,’ said his wife.

‘Good,’ said Peppone with appropriate medical gravitas. ‘That’s the normal course of the affliction.’

Things were the same on the fourth day, and it was this news that took Peppone from Fulmine’s bedside directly to the presbytery, where he found Don Camillo sitting at his desk, reading a large sheet of paper.

‘Father,’ began Peppone, ‘do you know the story of the fool who lost his vote over a game of cards and...’

‘Yes, I happen to be reading it this very minute,’ answered Don Camillo. ‘Someone wants to make it into a poster.’

‘Ah, it’s that scoundrel Spiletti! He gave his word that he’d not go public with this, and that he’d give the loser a chance to redeem himself in a return game.’

‘I don’t know anything about that. All I know is that we have here an interesting document signed in the said loser’s own hand.’

Peppone took from his pocket the sheet of paper Fulmine had given him. ‘Here, Father, you should also publish this other document, signed by the loser, which he gave to me. That will give people the whole story, and be even more interesting if he starves himself to death, as seems quite likely.’

Peppone took his leave and left Don Camillo to read Fulmine’s vow to the Mother of Christ.

* * *

Spiletti arrived at the presbytery fifteen minutes later.

‘Father, was there anything you didn’t like in my draft?’

‘No. But the trouble is that ten minutes ago Fulmine came here to demand a return game.’

‘A return game? Nonsense! I’m giving him nothing of the sort. This document is entirely too precious, and I have no intention of relinquishing it.’

‘What about your promise?’

‘Why should we have to keep a promise made to one of a mob that deals exclusively in lies?’

‘All right, dear Spiletti, but even if you have 100,000 reasons why you should not give Fulmine a return game, he – even when normal – is unpredictable and now he is half-mad. If you deny him this, he is capable of bumping you off like a fly. And although propaganda is important, it is surely more important for you to stay alive.’

Spiletti thought about this and admitted that Don Camillo was not entirely wrong.

‘Let’s play the game, then. But what if I lose?’

‘You mustn’t lose, Spiletti. If you beat Gino Biolchi, then you ought to make mincemeat out of Fulmine.’

‘The truth is that I didn’t beat Cino Biolchi, Father. I didn’t win the paper away from him; he gave it to me so as to get rid of Peppone. Look here, Father, why don’t you play in my place? I’ll say that now the document is yours, and I doubt if Fulmine will come anywhere near you.’

Don Camillo was a shark at cards, and so he said laughing: ‘If he plays with me, I’ll demolish him! And he won’t dare say a word. Never fear, Spiletti, we shall win!’

* * *

The next day Don Camillo went to see Peppone.

‘The document is now in my hands. If your fasting friend wants it back, then I’m his opponent. If he refuses, then it will go on public display.’

‘What?’ said Peppone indignantly. ‘How can a poor wretch who’s had nothing to eat for almost a week stand up to you at a game of cards?’

‘You’re just as much of a wretch as he is, although you eat a large meal every day. If you like, I’ll play against you.’

‘Good enough!’

‘Then it’s 5,000 lire against the famous contract.’

Peppone put a banknote on the table and Don Camillo covered it with the incriminating document. It was a tough game, and Peppone lost it. Don Camillo stuffed the money into his pocket and said:

‘Are you satisfied, or do you want a return game?’

Peppone put up another 5,000 lire bill. He fought hard, but played like a dog. However, Don Camillo played like two dogs and Peppone won.

‘Here’s Fulmine’s agreement, Comrade,’ said Don Camillo. ‘I’m satisfied with the money.’

* * *

Peppone had been at Fulmine’s ‘Liberation Dinner’ for fifteen minutes when Don Camillo appeared upon the scene.

‘Fulmine,’ said the priest, ‘you lost 5,000 lire to Biolchi, is that so?’

‘Yes,’ Fulmine stammered.

‘Well, here they are. Divine Providence has repatriated them to you. Remember this when you are about to place your vote. Do not vote for God’s enemies.’

‘Yes, I know – the small sacrifice that was part of the deal,’ sighed the unhappy Fulmine.

Peppone left the room and waited for Don Camillo outside.

‘You’re a snake in the grass! You use my money to promote Divine Providence!’

‘Comrade, the ways of Divine Providence are boundless!’ sighed Don Camillo, raising his hands and eyes to the sky.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Urban battle rattle?

I found this image on Gab yesterday.  (Clickit to biggit.)

I presume it's riffing off the New York Times' suggestion that Hawaiian shirts have somehow become associated with the "boogaloo" movement - something I'm not certain is any more than progressive angst.  As for being associated with armed people, well, yes, the pattern and loose cut of Hawaiian shirts does help to disguise the fact that one may have a gun underneath it.  That's very useful to those of us with concealed carry permits.  Sadly, following the NYT's article, the shirts are likely to be of no further value for that, because too many people will associate them with armed men - thus nullifying their concealment utility.

Nevertheless, considering that my buddy Lawdog is renowned for his Hawaiian shirts (having even, on occasion, worn them while dispensing his well-known - and frequently very amusing - brand of justice), I think he should sue for law enforcement and tactical copyright infringement!


The McCloskey's need a better class of neighbor

I note with distaste that the neighbors of the St. Louis couple who used firearms in a show of force to defend their home against rioters last weekend have issued a cringing, groveling statement of apology.

"Some of us choose to speak up following the horrific event that transpired on Sunday evening near our homes. As the undersigned, we condemn the behavior of anyone who uses threats of violence, especially through the brandishing of firearms, to disrupt peaceful protest, whether it be in this neighborhood or anywhere in the United States," the letter read.

"As residents of Westmoreland Place," they concluded, "we seek positive action and constructive dialogue that builds and maintains a civil and good society."

There's more at the link.

How very courageous of the McCloskey's neighbors.  I can only suggest that the couple consider a change of residence, because the rest of Westmoreland Place appears ready to throw them to the wolves.

In the cities and towns around here, we'd have the opposite problem.  Peaceful protest, respecting individual and property rights?  No problem at all.  Many of us would probably join in if it's a cause we support - and the police tactics used in the Floyd case are worth protesting.  However, when it comes to rioting as opposed to peaceful protest, all bets are off.  Break and enter private property?  Threaten its occupants?  Like hell!

I think local cops' biggest problem would be to keep the rioters alive and out of hospital, because at least half the homes on most streets would disgorge armed residents of all races, determined - and very well equipped - to protect what's theirs.  (The other half would be passing out burgers and hot dogs, iced tea and ammunition to the defenders.  They'd also be keeping score.  Betting might even be involved.)  That may, of course, be one reason why the rioters haven't tried their luck in these parts.  They know the price they'd have to pay for their shenanigans.

If you live in a place where you can't rely on its residents to uphold and defend the law and stand by their neighbors, may I suggest it's time, and long past time, that you considered moving?

The same goes for crime-ridden cities.  If their administrations care so little for their people that they leave them at the mercy of criminals, why should you reward them with your rates and taxes - not to mention expose yourself and your family to that level of risk?