What kind of thread ties together Alexander Graham Bell, Helen Keller, Sir Joseph Lister, Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil, the Statue of Liberty, and President James Garfield? Interestingly, the thread does exist, it is robust, and the tale of it is a complex one.

It is 1876, and the Centennial Celebration is in full swing in Philadelphia. The Statue of Liberty is there, albeit represented only by its hand that holds the torch. Ohio Congressman James Garfield, as ever thirsty for knowledge, is in attendance with his entire family.

While Garfield is strolling through the Machinery Hall, Alexander Graham Bell, eager to demonstrate his latest invention, a “new apparatus operated by the human voice,” is next door in the Main Exhibition Hall, struggling against near-impossible odds. He is exhausted, he suffers from a splitting headache, he has had to reconstitute his equipment because had arrived damaged or not at all; also, because he had registered late, he was only able to secure a display location in an obscure corner of the Hall.

Then, because of the extreme heat, the judges decide to call it a day. Bell, lurking near the judges’ table, knows that he is whipped.

Except that Emperor Dom Pedro II, who is at the Exhibition as well and also happens to be by the judges’ table, knows Bell, having met him in Boston.

How does the Emperor of Brazil know the young Scotsman? Because Bell, though an inventor, was primarily a talented teacher of the deaf, and it was in that context that the two men had first met. (Of note, Hellen Keller would refer to her meeting with Bell as “the door through which I should pass from darkness to light,” and would dedicate her autobiography to him.)

Dom Pedro espies Bell in the throng around the judges’ table, greets him and asks why he is there. Bell says that he hopes to demonstrate a new invention. Dom Pedro immediately declares that “they” must see it right away. He goes to where Bell’s apparatus is set up and the judges, unable to say no to a head of state, drag themselves along. Bell demonstrates his device by reciting Hamlet’s soliloquy into the microphone. Dom Pedro hears it through the primitive receiver. He is volubly astounded, and voilà, the telephone is born and Bell’s fame and future are assured.

But Dr. Joseph Lister, who is in Philadelphia to lecture on his antiseptic surgery process, is not so lucky. American surgeons, while remarkably inventive and advanced in terms of technique, see no need to sterilize instruments, wash hands, or even to keep themselves and their clothing clean. Poor Lister is met with grumbling and rejection.

Fast-forward to 1881.

A grandiose lunatic named Charles Guiteau, convinced that he is doing the nation a favor, shoots James Garfield, who has now been President for several months. The nation, however, is not grateful: in fact, it is profoundly shocked. Garfield, a Civil War hero, a truly honest and forward-looking man, not to mention the best chance for national healing the United States had had since Lincoln, is universally mourned. The jail in which Guiteau is incarcerated has to be protected by the Army to ensure someone does not assassinate him.

Garfield’s wound is not necessarily fatal, but the treatment proves to be. The doctors who attend Garfield repeatedly probe the wound with dirty fingers in search of the bullet. They keep the President in unclean surroundings and administer treatments that seem ludicrous today. And the President weakens steadily, worn down by worsening infection.

And, unfortunately, the scorned Dr. Lister is not invited to the treatment team…

Reenter Alexander Graham Bell. Because of the doctors’ fixation on finding the bullet, he is determined to help. He recalls that one of his early inventions, called an induction balance, had turned out to be sensitive to the presence of metal. He decides to improve the gizmo and bring it to the White House to help the doctors find the bullet. The device works well, but Dr. Bliss, the dictatorial attending physician who had appointed himself Garfield’s physician and whose reputation now rides on the President’s survival, is convinced that the bullet is on the right side of Garfield’s body. He therefore only allows Bell to search only on the right side. (The bullet, of course, is on the left side.)

Garfield, whose body is now riddled with huge pus-filled cavities, ultimately dies from septicemia. After an autopsy, the doctors finally admit that they had been wrong.

This is the plot – nay, a mere skeleton – of Candice Millard’s masterful Destiny of the Republic, first published in 2011. But the substance of the book is far more than that, giving as it does detailed insight into the main characters’ lives and a thorough and vivid appreciation of the era and its complicated and downright dirty politics. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, this is a book not to be missed.

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George Patton sleeps there, among his troops. Pics taken in 1981.

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The Apple-onians have decided to join K-Mart, eBay, Walmart, Amazon, etc. in taking the Mindless Leap into the River Stupid; in their case, it was by banning all Civil War game apps that contain the Confederate Southern Cross flag. I do not know how well they can swim or how long they can hold their breath, but that’s irrelevant, because so far, the ferocious rapids of River Stupid have killed everyone who has ever taken the Leap (and there have been many). And if anyone ever did survive the Conformist, Transformational, and Slavementality Rapids of River Stupid, it’s a sure bet that the mosasaurus in the Pool of Terminally Poisoned Intellect that lies just beyond the rapids got a live meal for a change. (It’s the best kind of chow, you know, for mosasauri.)

I understand the anger and the pain over the grisly Charleston murders. I know that Dylann Roof, the self-proclaimed “last Rhodesian,” is a racist lunatic, as his  “manifesto” and his evil actions (with an illegally obtained gun) loudly proclaim. I can understand why businesses would no longer wish to sell any Confederate-related materials. I also understand the sudden rush to pull down the Southern Cross, and to this I am not unsympathetic.

And so, before I continue, an aside on my own perspective, if I may. Just for the record…

My feelings on the Confederate flag are pretty strong. I have never liked its public display because, no matter what it stands for in the eyes of many Southerners, it was the battle flag of an army that had fought, however valiantly, for the cause of slavery. No, not states’ rights: the only “states’ right” that the South was really interested in was the ownership, breeding, and trading in human beings. The Confederate Constitution is clear on this.

Article I, Section 9 tells us the following:

  • Subsection (1) forbids “…[t]he importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America…”
  • Subsection 2 states that “Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of, or Territory not belonging to, this Confederacy.”
  • And Subsection (4) is clear as a bell. “No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.”

Then there is Article IV.

  • Section 2, Subsection (1) allows to you travel anywhere in the Confederacy without fear of losing your human property. “The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.”
  • Section 2, Subsection (3) guarantees the return of human property to its rightful owner. “No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs,. or to whom such service or labor may be due.”
  • Section 3, Subsection (3) guarantees that slavery will expand to new territories, fully protected by the Confederate Congress. “The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.”

Beyond that, from what I can see, the Confederate and United States Constitutions are similar, except that the Confederate Constitution makes the central government weaker, though not quite as impotent as the Articles of Confederation had done.

But to return to the original topic…

Remove wargame apps that show the Southern flag? That’s a kneejerk reaction which is so idiotic that it beggars description. What will Apple do next? Ban all apps that contain the swastika, the red star, the hammer and sickle, or whatever other emblems of 20th-century slave-owning socialism might exist? How will the Nazis and the Soviets – two of the key 20th-century slave-owning societies on a massive scale – ever recognize each other in Eastern Front wargames? And, of course, Korean War gaming is out too, because it must show the flag of North Korea and especially that of Communist China – another slave-owning society on a scale far more massive than the Confederacy.

To me, what Apple just did no longer reflects teetering on the edge of the slippery slope. It shows a self-imposed, slavish hunger for conformity that has driven Apple management to take the Leap, dragging what is best in American democracy with it into the white waters of River Stupid, there to struggle for survival.

And the mosasaurus is waiting downstream, grinning, because it knows that, in the end, everybody gets eaten.


Posted in 1984, 20th-Century Socialism, Afrocentrism, bigotry, Civil War, democracy, memory hole, multiculturalism, Orwell, racism, terrorism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Back in 2008, I had penned the rant that I reproduce below. But I was too modest in my scope then, restricting myself as I did to Eastern Europe. The world is getting obamized, as Victor Davis Hanson ably demonstrates in his latest article.

If I wanted to be nice, I would wonder politely why it is that Barack Obama is essentially giving a free hand to every dictatorial and terrorist regime in the world. But I don’t want to be polite any more. He does it because such regimes sing his song, and he rushes to embrace them. To him, as to them, we Americans and everything we stand for are the enemy who must be contained. One is almost tempted to quip that, after seven years of observing Obama’s foreign and domestic policies, one sees an essential identity between Obama’s and Osama’s plans for this country and its traditional allies.


In Munich in 1938, the western powers decided to abandon the democratic and well-armed Czechoslovakia to National Socialist Germany even though honoring their military commitments would very likely have caused the fall of Hitler. What followed is, as they say, history.

Now, exactly seventy years later, we hear a rumor that President-elect Obama seems to be getting lukewarm on affirming his support for yet another courageous Eastern European nation, this time when the Russians have rattled their sabers. For Poland, which had made a major commitment to U.S. and NATO security by accepting U.S. anti-ballistic missiles on its territory, the implications of any waffling on the U.S. President’s part are staggering.

I hope these rumors are untrue; but one way or another, I submit that Mr. Obama must now come out with a clear statement of support for our European allies. This is easy enough with regard to the leftish regimes in Western Europe; but it will take genuine statesmanship, not to mention cojones, to declare unconditional support for all those newly liberated nations in Eastern Europe which have suffered for so many years from depredations by the powerhouses of terror to their immediate west and east, and which are still clearly at risk from the east.

Mr. Obama, all you have to say is this: “The United States of America remains true to all its commitments to all our European allies. All plans to improve European security will proceed as planned. This includes the deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system to Poland and the Czech Republic to guard against the nascent missile threat from Iran and other rogue nations. I reiterate that this system is not, and never was intended to be, a threat to Russia.”

If Mr. Obama blinks and tragedy strikes, whether swiftly or insidiously, it may be that we will soon speak of the Obamization of Eastern Europe where, just a few decades ago, we had spoken of Finlandization — or worse. This is not a legacy that this lower-case “d” democrat would want on his conscience.

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I listen, with wry amusement and not a little incredulity, to the tortured verbal stratagems that Obama administration officials use to define or justify their positions. It strikes me that their perspective is that:

  • They do not make mistakes.
  • Even if something seems to be a mistake, is really is not, “because Obama.”
  • Any attempt to pursue a mistake and hold Obama accountable is an intolerable attack on his dignity, not to mention [–fill in your favorite smear(s)–].
  • If Obama’s cohorts determine that what seems to us to be a lie or an illegal act is, in their eyes, a necessity, then it is the truth, and completely legal.
  • The Obama administration is vastly more severe on itself than we could ever be; any attempt to police it should be left up to it. No one else is competent to do so.

This is a well-worn doctrine that Franz Kafka had clearly defined in the 1920s, showing it up for the nonsense it is. It is a pity that Obama and his followers have learned nothing from literature, not to mention history, and that they continue to think that we are as dumb and gullible as the denizens of Kafka’s novels. The following passage in Kafka’s The Castle is particularly enlightening:

[The village chairman, to surveyor K.] “…I want this man cleared of all blame even in your thoughts. One of the operating principles of the authorities is that the possibility of error is simply not taken into account. This principle is justified by the excellence of the entire organization and is also necessary if matters are to be discharged with the utmost rapidity. So Sordini couldn’t inquire in other departments, besides those departments wouldn’t have answered, since they would have noticed right away that he was investigating the possibility of an error.”

“Chairman, allow me to interrupt you with a question,” said K., “didn’t you mention a control agency? As you describe it, the organization is such that the very thought that the control agency might fail to materialize is enough to make one ill.”

“You’re very severe,” said the chairman, “but multiply your severity by a thousand and it will still be as nothing compared with the severity that the authorities show toward themselves. Only a total stranger would ask such a question. Are there control agencies? There are only control agencies. Of course they aren’t meant to find errors, in the vulgar sense of the term, since no errors occur, and even if an error does occur, as in your case, who can finally say that it is an error.”

And then there is The Trial:

[a priest talking to K.] “…No matter how [the doorkeeper] appears to us, he’s still a servant of the Law; he belongs to the Law, and is thus beyond human judgment. In that case one can’t see the doorkeeper as subordinate to the man. To be bound by his office, even if only at the entrance to the Law, is incomparably better than to live freely in the world. The man has only just arrived at the Law, the doorkeeper is already there. He has been appointed to his post by the Law, to doubt his dignity is to doubt the Law itself.” “I don’t agree with that opinion,” said K., shaking his head, “for if you accept it, you have to consider everything the doorkeeper says as true. But you’ve already proved conclusively that that’s not possible.” “No,” said the priest, “you don’t have to consider everything true, you just have to consider it necessary.” “A depressing opinion,” said K. “Lies are made into a universal system.”

The proverbial fly in the ointment is the stubbornness of K., who insists on calling it as he sees it: “Lies are made into a universal system.”

As, indeed, we must keep doing. Indeed, one might say that we are all K. now.

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Wow.  Just wow.


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Some people are just not that fond of water, except for spreading it all over the floor while slurping it up…


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This falls under the rubric of “Extreme Obamite Cleverness” (EOC).

For many years, Israel had a policy of demolishing the homes of individual Palestinians who had engaged in terrorist acts against Israel.  This policy was quite controversial, and about ten years ago, Israel had largely abandoned it.  But because of the increasing violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered its full reinstatement.  (h/t Weasel Zippers)

Mind you, we are talking about demolishing individual homes of individuals who were proved to have engaged in terrorist acts, for instance Muhammed Naif El-Ja’abis, who had stolen an excavator on August 4, 2014, ran over pedestrians with it, injuring several and killing one, before ramming it into a public bus, overturning the bus and then hitting it repeatedly with the scoop.

US-HONDURAS-DIPLOMACYNot good, says Jen Psaki, the spokeswoman of the U.S. State Department.  In fact, very bad.  According to her, targeting of individual proven perpetrators of terrorist attacks is “collective punishment.”  She also bemoans the fact that the demolitions “would only heighten tensions in the region.”

One has to assume that, because she is spokeswoman for the Obama State Department, this is in fact the official position of the Obama administration.

Newsflash, Miss Psaki.  Collective punishment refers to taking action against a group of people, not individuals, hence the use of the word “collective.”  But given the Obamite track record vis-à-vis the Jewish state, my impression is that the term was used deliberately because the 1949 Geneva Convention defines collective punishment as a war crime.  The underlying formula is pretty simple: Israel + any act of self-defense against Palestinian terror = war crime.

I have the impression that far too many people accept this at face value.  However, if one digs a little deeper, one finds out that, under some circumstances, the Geneva Convention actually permits reprisals.  The definition of a reprisal is pretty clear, at least to me: “Reprisals refer to acts which are illegal if taken alone, but become legal when adopted by one state in retaliation for the commission of an earlier illegal act by another state.

In my view, this definition fits the situation perfectly, to wit:

  • Earlier illegal act: Muhammed Naif El-Ja’abis carried out a terror attack with a stolen excavator, killing at least one Israeli and wounding several.
  • Reprisal, made legal by the initial illegal act: the Israelis demolish his home.

Psaki’s use of the term collective punishment instead of reprisal, especially without mentioning the earlier terror attack, continues the long Obamite tradition of demonizing Israel and giving the Palestinians a free pass.  And that attitude, not the Israelis’ reprisals against individual terrorists, “heighten tensions in the region.”


Posted in bigotry, Israel's right to self-defense, Obama, Obama administration, Palestine, State Department, terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


imagesburSylvia Burwell, a loyal Obama apparatchik who was appointed as Secretary of Health and “Human” Services in June 2014, has her priorities perfectly straight.  On November 11, she reiterated that one of her goals is give Obamacare to illegal immigrants.  Supposedly, we need to take this step “as a nation.”  On the other hand, she is less than concerned over the plight of American citizens in rural areas where local hospitals, their main source of care, are being driven to extinction by the demands of Obamacare.  Rural residents in many areas now have to drive long distances to find care, and the time lost sometimes translates to permanent injury or even death.  This storm has already swept through Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Colorado, but never fear!  Burwell assures us that HHS will “work to incorporate feedback” from rural hospitals on how it’s going, adding smugly: “Transition takes time.”  That seems to be her way of being “particularly acutely focused” on the challenges facing rural hospitals.

Nice thought.  But reality always finds a way to intrude.

To quote Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen: “I don’t want to be in a Kentucky where a farmer has to bleed out in a field because he doesn’t have access to a rural hospital, or a woman with a troubled pregnancy can’t get the help she needs to deliver a healthy baby.”

Adds Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges.  ‘There’s a “golden hour” after heart attacks, trauma and stroke in which treatment is needed to prevent loss of heart muscle and brain tissue.’  In other words: too long a ride to a hospital, and you risk permanent damage or death.

Makes perfect sense.  Medical care for illegals (i.e. potential Democrat voters) but not for rural Americans.

Seems like Burwell is the perfect replacement for what’s-her-face.





What next?  Obamacare for drug cartel members and for ISIS, in the hope that they will be grateful and start making nice?


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