The Foundation Stones [Long Post]

Anyone who knows me, virtually or in-person, knows that I have little use…and little regard for Religion. Not Faith….and the freedom to practice it….but Religion.
But I understand it’s impact [positive AND negative] on culture and society, and every once in a while, usually when and where I least expect it, I come across somebody’s perspective on the larger question of what Faith means to a culture…..and I’m blown away.
I’m currently without the distraction of cable news and political drama [except for fleeting glimpses] and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s allowed me to reconfirm what’s important in life…and political theater ain’t it. I’ve been able to catch up on some quality reading and am currently winding down on The Lion’s Gate, by Steven Pressfield; in my opinion, one of the greatest authors of my time.
In The Lion’s Gate, Pressfield takes the reader through the unfolding events leading up to, during and just after the Arab-Israeli “Six-Day War”. The entire book is phenomenal, the story being told through the post-war interviews with no small number of the veterans themselves. However, one passage struck me as poignant and thought-provoking, over all the rest:
The Jewish religion is not a faith that prizes blind obedience or collective adherence to dogma. Our tradition is cerebral. We debate. We argue. The question is always holier than the answer.
The primal Jewish issue is justice. Judaism is a religion of the law, and the seminal concept of the law is that the minority must be protected. In the Jewish faith, you study. You wrestle with issues. You are a scholar. You deliberate, you dispute. A Jew asks over and over, “What is fair? What is just? Who is a good man, and why?”
I spent only one winter in the yeshiva. What I learned, more than Torah, was to love the teachers, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook and “the saintly Nazir,” Rabbi David Cohen, who embodied these pursuits with such honor and integrity. I learned not so much from them as through them, by watching their actions, hearing their speech, and observing the way they conducted themselves. I learned the history of the Jewish people, the incredible suffering endured by millions over so many centuries, and of Jerusalem, the centrality of this place in the soul of the people, their neshama, and why our return to this site means so much.
The Kotel. The Western Wall, as it is called in English. How did so much hope and passion come to be attached to a wall? Not even the wall of a temple, which the Kotel is not, but even humbler, a retaining wall for the mount upon which the razed temple had once stood. A ruin. How could this mean so much to me? How could it mean so much to our paratroopers who had never studied, who knew nothing of Torah, who did not even know how to pray?
A wall is unlike any other holy site. A wall is a foundation. It is what remains when all that had once risen above it has been swept away. A wall evokes primal emotion, particularly when it is built into the land, when the far side is not open space but the fundament of the earth itself. When one stands with worshipful purpose before the expanse of a wall, particularly one that dwarfs his person, that rises above him and extends on both sides, an emotion arises from the heart that is unlike the feeling evoked by any other religious experience. How different, compared to, say, worshipping in a cathedral or within a great hall or at the foot of some monumental tower.
One approaches the Western Wall as an individual. No rabbi stands beside you. Set your palms against the stones. Is God present? Will the stone conduct your prayers to Him? Around you stand others of your faith; you feel their presence and the intention of their coming, but you remain yourself alone.
Are you bereft? Is your spirit impoverished? Set your brow against the stone. Feel its surface with your fingertips. Myself, I cannot come within thirty paces of the Wall without tears.
The ancient Greeks considered Delphi the epicenter of the world. This is the Wall to me. All superfluity has been stripped from this site and from ourselves. Here the enemies of my people have devastated all that they could. What remains? This fundament alone, which they failed to raze only because it was beneath their notice. The armored legions of our enemies have passed on, leaving only this wall. In the twenty centuries since, those who hate us have defiled it and piled trash before it and even relieved themselves against it. They have neglected it, permitted slums to be built up around it. This only makes it more precious to us.
That morning of June 7, I can’t remember exactly when this happened—maybe on the way down to the Wall with Moshe Stempel and the others. At some point we were climbing the stairs—Yair Levanon, Dov Gruner, Moshe Milo, and I—when we noticed a scrawl, freshly scratched into the stone, in Hebrew:
IF I FORGET THEE, O JERUSALEM, MAY MY RIGHT HAND FORGET ITS CUNNING.
This is a verse from Psalm 137, which also contains the line “By the rivers of Babylon, we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.”
While we grow fat and lazy under a relentless parade of self-indulgent, vulgar, Statist politicians….while we surrender our most basic liberties to the guise of security….we have aging contemporaries who know what it means to fight for their very survival. And they bore the cost stoically.
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Refreshing Honesty…..

From a Anti-Constituion Leftist:

What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be. I think there’s a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs. And I would, too. Unfortunately, what stands in the way of that is hundreds of years of history that have elevated property rights and wealth to the point that that’s the reality that calls the tune on a lot of development.

I’ll give you an example. I was down one day on Varick Street, somewhere close to Canal, and there was a big sign out front of a new condo saying, “Units start at $2 million.” And that just drives people stark raving mad in this city, because that kind of development is clearly not for everyday people. It’s almost like it’s being flaunted. Look, if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents. That’s a world I’d love to see, and I think what we have, in this city at least, are people who would love to have the New Deal back, on one level. They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day-to-day reality.
Bill DeBlasio interview with the New Yorker
What’s sad, is that he’s probably right. Most New York City denizens, probably would gladly surrender their Constitutional and Natural rights to live in a nanny state. Not having to think critically or take responsibility for your life choices…..probably gives you a lot more leisure time.

The Phony “war on Christmas”….Again

Much like the Festivus “Airing of Grievances”, each December should also host the “Airing of Facts”.

“Christ’s Mass” is not the only religious holiday in December….not even the only Judeo-Christian holiday.

Private enterprise should be honored for charting their own path when it regards holiday seasons….is it not celebrated in other cases? Baking of cakes, arranging of flowers, etc…?

Saying “Happy Holidays” is not anti-Christmas.

Those who get their granny panties in a bunch upon hearing “Happy Holidays” are butt hurt that their personal faith is not being elevated and institutionalized at every level, both public and private.

Not hearing “Merry Christmas” from a complete stranger, whose job it is to compel you to spend money in a crass, commercial bastardization of your Holy Day….says more about your emotional insecurities and the depth of your faith, than you realize.

Obama said “Merry Christmas” more than you can admit to yourself.

The institutionalism of your personal faith is also “political correctness”.

Nobody has ever stopped you from saying “Merry Christmas”….but that isn’t stopping the sycophantic group “America First Policies” from airing a television ad “thanking President Trump” for in part, “letting us say Merry Christmas again”. I couldn’t finish typing that sentence without laughing.

– And for extra credit, you are free to pray in school anytime you desire…claims to the contrary, also being “politically correct”.

Merry Christmas!

Support Your Local Sheriff??

Michael Slager will spend 20 years in prison for killing Walter Scott, but only because there was video that put lie to any acceptable rationale for the shooting. There was video of Daniel Shaver getting murdered as well, but the officer was able to spin an acceptable reason. It’s a really damn thin reason, I mean REALLY damn thin, but hey, in the end, some people are just more equal than others. And I know this because twelve people in Mesa, AZ just decided this was so.

I don’t know when it happened, but sometime in the recent past, I stopped arguing against gun control as some high ideal about defending against the tyranny of government. Not because lightly armed citizens have no chance against a modern military, but because it’s a moot point. If it came to a civil war, or a military invasion, there are ways to get your hands on the weapons you need to fight on an equal footing with a modern military. No, I stopped because it’s obvious to me that the very people who rail about fighting tyranny are, far too often, the very same people who eagerly acquit and excuse agents of the state for killing their fellow citizens on the thinnest of pretexts.

The people who demand the right to resist the government with force in one breath, celebrate the use of that force in the next.

We live under the tyranny our peers have voted for, twelve votes at a time.

Link

I like to think I still have common cause with brothers in blue……but with the increased militarization of civilian law enforcement – and the attitude/demeanor that seems to accompany it, no-knock warrants, and senseless shooting of family pets……I have to re-evaluate…..

The Lies of Las Vegas

One would think that Journalists either haven’t been introduced to the concept of Google, or are willfully and maliciously proffering lies in the service of an agenda. People’s exhibit A, MSNBC’s Steve Schmidt:

On Friday night, the panel on HBO’s Real Time discussed gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.
MSNBC political analyst Steve Schmidt told Bill Maher that the Founding Fathers “could no more conceive the idea of an AK-47” when writing the Second Amendment than they “could’ve conceived a spaceship.”
“These weapons were not conceived of, were not understood, were not imagined in the context of the time when the amendment was authored,” Schmidt elaborated, “and we ought to have a real debate in this country about whether we want military weapons… weapons of war in the hand of every Joe who wants to go in and buy 30 of them.”
He then declared that it is “harder to buy cough medicine than it is to buy an AK-47 or 50 of them.”
Mediaite

Well now…it doesn’t take much to conclude that Schmidt has no idea what he’s talking about. Leaving aside the multi-shot projectile weaponry of the early Chinese and Italians [to just name the heavies], and focusing on rifles or man-portable ‘rapid fire’ firearms…we have some distinct examples of Schmidt’s perfidy:

“could no more conceive the idea of an AK-47”

The Ribauldequin
The ribauldequin was the earliest attempt at a volley gun. Also known as an “infernal machine” or an “organ gun” (because its barrels resembled the pipes of a church organ), ribauldequins were made up of many small caliber cannons laid side by side on a flat platform. When the gun was fired, it would spread a volley of cannon shot across the battlefield, chewing up everything in its path. The ribauldequin made its battlefield debut with the armies of Edward the III of England during the Hundred Years War. This first model, which appeared in 1339, featured 12 barrels. In subsequent decades, other versions of the ribauldequin with more barrels were used by medieval armies in Italy as well as in the War of the Roses.

The Puckle Gun
The Puckle gun was invented by a London based lawyer named James Puckle, who had an interest in firearm design. He received a patent for his design in 1718. This was a flintlock firearm fitted with a multishot cylinder, much like a revolver. The cylinders were designed to hold 11 shots at a time. Unlike revolvers, there was a manual crank attached to the back to bring each chamber of the cylinder to the firing position. It was mounted on a tripod and the barrel was about 3 feet (0.91 meters) long. The caliber of this weapon was 1.25 inches (32 mm.). Typical of the era, the firearm came with bullet molds to cast bullets for it.

The Girandoni Air Rifle
The Girardoni air rifle was in service with the Austrian army from 1780 to around 1815. The advantages of a high rate of fire, no smoke from propellants, and low muzzle report granted it initial acceptance, but it was eventually removed from service for several reasons. While the detachable air reservoir was capable of around 30 shots it took nearly 1,500 strokes of a hand pump to fill those reservoirs. Later, a wagon-mounted pump was provided. The reservoirs, made from hammered sheet iron held together with rivets and sealed by brazing, proved very difficult to manufacture using the techniques of the period and were always in short supply.
In addition, the weapon was very delicate and a small break in the reservoir could make it inoperable. Finally, it was very different from any other weapon of the time and any soldier using it needed to be highly trained.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition used the rifle in the demonstrations that they performed for nearly every Native American tribe they encountered on the expedition.

The Ferguson Rifle
The Ferguson rifle was one of the first breech-loading rifles to be put into service by the British military. It fired a standard British carbine ball of .615″ calibre and was used by the British Army in the American War of Independence at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, and possibly at the Siege of Charleston in 1780.[1]
Its superior firepower was unappreciated at the time because it was too expensive and took longer to produce – the four gunsmiths making Ferguson’s Ordnance Rifle could not make 100 in 6 months at four times the cost per arm of a musket.

Nock Gun
While more of a volley weapon than a machine gun, Britain’s Royal Navy hoped the multi-barreled Nock gun would be a serious force multiplier in ship-to-ship boarding actions. The weapon featured seven rifled barrels, each with a tiny vent that led to the priming pan. The barrels would be loaded with standard paper musket cartridges. When the main charge was ignited, sparks would shoot through the vents and set off each of the cartridges at almost the same instant. Developers imagined the Nock would be particularly deadly when used against groups of tightly packed enemy sailors on the deck of a warship.

The Founding Fathers were nothing if not intellectually curious and well-read in regards to philosophy, religion, politic, agriculture, animal husbandry, military affairs…….and scientific inventions. The Founders knew well of the weaponry illustrated above.
Now that his first canard has disabused, let’s move on to the next:

“weapons of war in the hand of every Joe who wants to go in and buy 30 of them.”

Well now…..”weapons of war” Sounds scary doesn’t it kids? Let’s use some intellect and consider what type of weaponry was not designed, intended or and utilized as a “weapon of war”? Grandpappies bolt action rifle? Yep…“weapon of war”. The shotgun over the fireplace mantle? Yep….“weapon of war”. The pistol or revolver you’ve been eyeing at the local gun counter? Good guess!.…“weapon of war”. Do we really need to go on?

And finally,

“harder to buy cough medicine than it is to buy an AK-47 or 50 of them.”

It must either be blissful or maddening to live with this level of stupid. I’ve purchased Sudafed recently, and was required to hand over my driver’s license while the Pharmacist ran my name and address against a database. Done. Walked out pills in hand. To purchase a firearm, one must fill out an ATF Form 4473.
For the uninitiated:

 
A Firearms Transaction Record, or Form 4473, is a form promulgated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in the United States Department of Justice that is filled out when a person purchases a firearm from a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder (such as a gun shop).

 
The Form 4473 contains name, address, date of birth, government-issued photo ID, National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check transaction number, and a short affidavit stating that the purchaser is eligible to purchase firearms under federal law. It contains make, model, or serial number on page three of the six page form. Lying on this form is a felony and can be punished by up to five years in prison in addition to fines, even if the transaction is simply denied by the NICS. Prosecutions are rare in the absence of another felony committed with the gun purchased. Of 556,496 denied transactions between FY 2008 and FY 2015, federal prosecutors prosecuted an average of under 32 cases per year, including 24 in FY 2013, 15 in FY 2014 and 20 in FY 2015.

 
The dealer also records all information from the Form 4473 into a required “bound-book” called an “Acquisition and Disposition Log.[5] A dealer must keep this on file at least 20 years, and is required to surrender the log to the ATF upon retirement from the firearms business. The ATF is allowed to inspect, as well as request a copy of, the Form 4473 from the dealer during the course of a criminal investigation. In addition, the sale of two or more handguns to a person in a five-day period must be reported to ATF on Form 3310.4. – Wiki

 
Of course, we who own and purchases firearms, know well that the “instant” in National Instant Criminal Background Check System is anything but. And sadly, his kindergarten commentary avoids the salient question in his last lie…..why do we allow the State to burden the Citizen in buying Sudafed?

 

Some final factoids regarding the gun control cults tenuous grasp of truth:
If, as they proffer, the 2A had never been interpreted to protect the Citizens right to Keep and Bear Arms, until the Heller decision….why was the first unified effort at gun control not until 1934?
It’s not just media sock puppets who blatantly lie either:
In 2005, Congress passed the deceptively named Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act or PLCAA to provide unique immunity to gun sellers and manufacturers. Unlike virtually every other manufacturer of consumer products, this law means the gun industry cannot be sued by consumers who are harmed by their products. – Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT

 

*Apologies for the weird line spacing. Not sure what’s causing it.

Is Trump ultimately harming Christianity?

Conservative Christian Rod Dreher [who’s written extensively about the “Benedict Option”] opines in the NYT:

Is there anything Donald Trump can do to alienate evangelicals and other conservative Christians who support him? By now, it’s hard to think of what that might be. These are people who would never let men with the morals and the mouths of Mr. Trump and Mr. Scaramucci date their own daughters. And yet, Team Trump has no more slavishly loyal constituency.

This is not only wrong, but tragically so. The most pressing problem Christianity faces is not in politics. It’s in parishes. It’s with the pastors. Most of all, it’s among an increasingly faithless people.

The truth is, Christianity is declining in the United States. As a theologically conservative believer, I take no pleasure in saying that. In fact, the waning of Christianity will be not only a catastrophe for the church but also a calamity for civil society in ways secular Americans do not appreciate.

Is Dreher correct? Though Trump garnered Evangelical support, does his Administration bode well for Christian dominion [no pun intended] over the religious landscape of America?

 

 

SJW’s: It’s not “fair” that you’re smarter the me!!

There are many kinds of privilege besides white privilege: cognitive privilege, for example. We now know that intelligence is not something we have significant control over but is something we are born with. We are living in a society in which success is increasingly linked to one’s intelligence. This is not to say that intelligence is the only factor that is important. All that is implied is that below a certain threshold of intelligence, there are fewer and fewer opportunities. These opportunities are being shifted upward to jobs that require heavier cognitive lifting or else are being replaced by robots. Thus, the accident of having been born smart enough to be able to be successful is a great benefit that you did absolutely nothing to earn. Consequently, you have nothing to be proud of for being smart.

-Source: The Daily Iowan

Now, the author goes on to downplay this theory, in a not-so-subtle attempt to portray it as “starting a larger conversation”……not-so-subtle, in that Mr. Williams links this form of privilege, with so-called “white privilege”. The gold standard among SJW guilt crusades.

It’s arguable if intelligence is innate or is evolved and cultivated, but Mr. Williams alleges that he knows….thus ironically implying that he is guilty of said privilege. Something he pointedly doesn’t cop to in his OP.

Our society deserves the state we’re in….when we accept bullshit such as this.

It’s About Time…

Now copy/paste to the other 49 States……and end the enforced ignorance of firearm safety and the demonization of one of the salient tools that built and defends this nation, from enemies both foreign and domestic.

House Bill 612, filed this week by Representative Jay Adams, would give the state room to develop a firearms education course and allow the class, which would include “firearms safety education as recommend by law enforcement agencies or a firearms association”, to be offered as an elective to high school students.

The course, which would be developed by the North Carolina Board of Education, would not allow live ammunition in the classroom and would also cover the history and mechanics of firearms with a firm emphasis on the importance of gun safety.

From Bearing Arms

 

 

A Lesson for the Trump Bloc

From “Trolling Brilliance” at: Shall Not Be Questioned:

I have to hand it to whoever thought this up. Seriously, this was brilliant. In this, the Era of Trump, this is the smartest bit of opposition activism I think I’ve seen so far. My hat is truly off to you.

For the people who fell for this: shame on you. Educate yourselves. They weren’t passing these flags off to ordinary people on the streets: they were passing them off to what are considered “core conservative activists.” And hey, you waved them with all the red white and blue passion we’d expect from people who only give a fuck about cheering their own team and not a damned thing beyond that.

The stakes are going up folks. If conservatives wants to be taken seriously, it’s time to start acting like that’s the case. Educate yourselves. If you took half the time and resources you spent cheerleading and tried to actually learn something, you might get somewhere.

The GOP would do well to abandon the pursuit of victimhood and political correctness and act like the rational adults they claim to be. For anything else is no better than being  Leftist.