by baldilocks

When Malaysia Flight 370 went missing and no wreckage could be found, most normal people had quickly figured SkyWorldthis out:

At a press conference today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed what many, including Slate, had already inferred about the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: that it had not succumbed to an accident but instead been diverted as a result of “deliberate action by someone on the plane.”

It turns out that Flight 370 flew on for seven hours after contact was lost.

But, some observers are still failing to think outside the box of normalcy.

If the plane landed safely and the passengers weren’t killed, why haven’t we heard any ransom demands? The perps might be covering their tracks, or they might be letting the world media whip themselves into a frenzy.

Ransom demands? Really? That’s so August 2001.

For some set of persons to be bold enough to commandeer a triple-7 should not be so surprising. Isn’t that the very reason that our country has inflicted the TSA on airline passengers in the USA for the last twelve years?

I certainly hope that there are at least a few intelligence agency employees who have more imagination than Slate’s JeffWise.

Here’s what I think:

  • The pilot/co-pilot or both were in on the plan.
  • Many of the passengers were in on it.
  • They all landed safely.
  • Innocent passengers have probably been killed.
  • The perpetrators are planning some creative mayhem with their new triple 7—more creative than 9/11.
  • No one non-Muslim will like it when this plan comes together. This was merely the first phase.

I remember when voicing these kinds of suppositions would elicit labels like conspiracy-theorist and paranoid lunatic. But, then I remember being told that I was out of touch with reality when I called Barack H.Obama a socialist. That was in 2007.

Our new, abnormal world has been long in the making, but it’s still pretty easy for some to hold onto their normalcy bias. That won’t last much longer.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help 

Baldilocks mini

keep her blog alive!

___________________________

If you become one of the 55 3/4 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure

 

 the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis but do so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of the original 

members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right

Please specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plug the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!monthlyGrand Fedora : $100.00USD – monthlyBeanie : $2.00USD – weeklyCap : $10.00USD – monthlyHat : $20.00USD – monthlyFedora : $25.00USD – 

Links.Chainsby baldilocks

Have you noticed that there are some people—many people–who have no concept of time?  No, I’m not referring to the chronically tardy–though I do suspect that many of them are unable to perceive (imagine) time also. I’m talking about those who fall into the following categories:

  • Unable to consider individual events from the past as anything but singular and isolated occurrences, e.g. unable to connect those events with each other and—further–with contemporaneous, on-going events,
  • Unable to use known, available and pertinent information/ideas to analyze the sum (or, to use a better mathematical term, the product) of events in order to come to a plausible conclusion as to what is going, and
  • Unable to take that conclusion and reasonably project what may happen in the future.

Such people are not able to think strategically. It can be selective and temporary dearth; often due to a syndrome to which almost all of us are prone: wishful-thinking.

A related phenomenon: normalcy bias.

[Normalcy bias] causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects.

Many do not want to or cannot put together the events, which have lead this country to its present state, much less come to a reasonable conclusion.  However, I don’t fall into either category.  Believe me, sometimes I wish I did.

But the more I learn about the history of the twentieth century, the more I consider that history against what is known about human nature, the more I observe the state in which this country finds itself in at present–the more I believe that the peril anticipated by all too many observers, was planned.

It is the imperative of all to  face this.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published i

n 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help 

Baldilocks mini

keep her blog alive!

___________________________

If you become one of the 55 3/4 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure

 

 the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis but do so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of the original 

members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right

Please specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plug the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!monthlyGrand Fedora : $100.00USD – monthlyBeanie : $2.00USD – weeklyCap : $10.00USD – monthlyHat : $20.00USD – monthlyFedora : $25.00USD – 

 

 

by baldilocks

As the opposite is so for many of us in America, citizens reared in other countries have little understanding of politics, history, and culture(s) in the USA.  I am in a special place in that my biological father is Kenyan and my siblings from the Old Country have trouble understanding the political opposition to Barack Obama—especially mine. To them, he is of our tribe and our brother who should have our support no matter what.  

Therefore, I am in the process of composing a series of posts meant to help the Kenyan part of my family understand that opposition. I may post them here, but for this particular post, I want to expand on an idea/observation which stems from an encounter I had this morning and, later, try to relate it to the upcoming posts. Call it a preamble.

After waking this morning, I got up, washed my face, brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes, and, without breakfast or coffee, went to get my hair cut (shaved). Black barbershops have a justifiable reputation for being places where real talk occurs and, sometimes, where shouting and anger occur.  Being un-caffeinated, I was in no mood to get into any conversation; much less, a political one with a bunch of liberals, but my barber alerted the room that I was a Republican. So the game was afoot.

Many wonder why black conservatives refuse to talk to black liberals about conservatism. It’s simply this: they won’t STFU long enough to let you complete an idea.  In addition, having to, once again, listen to able-bodied, able-minded, working, responsible, black adults go on about what the “white man” owes “us,” made me want to scream, though I restrained myself.

Being out-numbered 3-1, being talked over multiple times, being insulted more than once, not being allowed to answer proffered questions, and having my actual answers ignored, at some point–out of frustration–I let the “conversation” go. However, I was able to put forth a couple of ideas which I had not completely articulated in the past. One follows in a longer form than I was able to get out earlier today.

Black people—not just those who are American—view white people in the same manner that anti-theists view God. Anti-theists are different from atheists. Even though the former deny God’s existence with their mouths and keyboards, they believe in Him…and they hate Him. Many black people have a similar view of white people: they view all of you as their hated masters–yes, still, in 2014—but their masters, nonetheless. Moreover, as our masters, it is your duty to feed, clothe, and house us; and to give us anything else we ask of you.

As history shows, before the Civil Rights Era, most black Americans were Republicans; now, because of well-crafted strategy implemented by LBJ, et al., most are Democrats. That strategy is based on the real slavery mindset: that whoever provides the most things—whoever is the most generous patron to black people–is a friend to black people.  LBJ knew this; therefore, he strove to transform his party’s image into that of the good and generous patron.

Patron:  5 :  a master in ancient times who freed his slave but retained some rights over him

Even though the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 respectively disallowed patronage and de facto serfdom, the mindset remains embedded in the progeny of the “former” slaves/serfs . Thus, since the CRA, most black Americans have given their allegiance to the Democrat Party and, because of the mindset, they have certain expectations of white Americans—those expected of a patron.

From that notion comes this one: many black liberals believe that black conservatives give their allegiance to the Republican Party for the exact same reason, and that they are, therefore, sell-outs. (Note that, to black liberals, even politics always involves some imagined sale of black persons.) They are unable to view white persons outside of the master/patron/domination paradigm and cannot envision any relationship between black persons and white persons outside of that perspective. Somebody has to be on top. And, in light of our past[i] and our indoctrinated and unacknowledged feelings of inferiority, most black liberals believe it will be you, my white friends.

Most black conservatives have freed themselves from this mindset, but, like all long-term indoctrination, it remains insidious.

Therefore, I conclude this: until the majority of black people get white people out of their heads and begin view you as equals, the shouts of racism will continue, as will the shout-down of the truly emancipated. Freedom begins inside.


[i] The history of enslavement of black Africans begins well before the European and American involvement therein.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

___________________________

If you become one of the 55 3/4 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis but do so at the $25 levelBaldilocks mini
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of the original members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right

Beanie : $2.00USD – weeklyCap : $10.00USD – monthlyHat : $20.00USD – monthlyFedora : $25.00USD – monthlyGrand Fedora : $100.00USD – monthly

Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plug the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!

by Pastor George Kelly

In 1961, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States.

President Kennedy was the first President born in the new century (B. 1917) and at 43 years of age he was the youngest occupant of the White House since Theodore Roosevelt assumed the reigns of the Presidency at age 42 upon the assassination of President William McKinley.

After he was sworn in as President of the United States, John F. Kennedy gave a stirring inaugural address in which he stated that the United States was committed to the cause of liberty around the globe. Here is a small sampling of his address (paragraphs 2, 4, 5, and 6):

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge—and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.”

The essential question for those of us living today is this: Do we really believe in the basic premises in which the late President stated in his stirring inaugural?

In paragraph two (2) of his address, the late President averred that the world was locked in a contest between two very different set of ideas. One belief system places confidence in the ability of individuals to make their own decisions outside of state / government encroachment; this worldview also possesses as a concomitant belief that all human liberty derives its origins “not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”

Do we share this heartfelt conviction that ultimately our rights come “from the hand of God?”

President Kennedy made his remarks in a world that was split between two Superpowers – the United States and the Soviet Union – which held diametrically opposed worldviews. Much of Eastern Europe existed under either totalitarian regimes or authoritarian governments.

Paradoxically, the 20th century was an age of both War & Wonder. There were breathtaking advances in the field of Science and at the same time the world experienced two world wars in which more than 60 to 80 million or more people perished!

In the aftermath of the Second World War (WWII), the threat of nuclear war hovered over the NATO (United States led) countries and over the Soviet Warsaw pact nations. The threat of nuclear annihilation forced the two great powers to communicate.

Ultimately the NATO nations prevailed in their protracted struggle against the Soviet Union and their atheistic totalitarianism as the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations dissolved; many of the Warsaw pact nations became free autonomous states. It appeared that just perhaps the old Soviet Union (Russia today) and the United States might learn to live in a peaceful and harmonious co-existence.

Hopeful?

Best desired end?

Best Wishes?

Whimsical thinking?

The recent events that transpired in both Crimea and the Ukraine in the past several days make our desires for peace with Russia appear to be a little on the side of “whimsical thinking.”

The current Russian President Vladimir Putin was a former KGB agent in his past career. Mr. Putin once remarked that he felt that the dissolution of the former Soviet Union was one of the worst catastrophes to ever occur in history.

How should the United States and the family of free nations view a man with this type of thinking?

Perhaps a look again at the words from President Kennedy’s inaugural address might point the way forward in our dealings with not only Mr. Putin – but with other authoritarian leaders and potential hotspots such as – China, North Korea, and Syria.

President Kennedy forcefully stated that “the resolve of the United States as a force for good on the world scene must not waver!”

The skeptic will remark – with great accuracy – that our nation cannot intervene in every hotspot or crisis around the globe. Furthermore, since 9/11, the American people show signs of being both “war weary” and “battle fatigued” (Afghanistan and Iraq).

Nevertheless, while we cannot intervene in every world crisis, we must prioritize the potential “hotspots and crises” in the world and assess them according to our Strategic, National, and Vital interests (The Real War – Richard Nixon).

Assistance to our friends in the Ukraine is in our “Strategic Interests.”

Let us assure our friends in the Ukraine – who surrendered their “nuclear arms” in exchange for joining the family of free nations in the early 1990s that the words of President Kennedy still ring true today 53 years later:

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

*******************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Friday and with only 48 hours to go to the end of my payweek my prospect for securing said pay appear bleak.

Not only am I nearly $250 shy of a full pay but this will put me in a hole for the March Mortgage that will require a really big week to dig me out of later.

So I must come to you fedora in hand saying, if you think the writing provided by My Magnificent Seven and myself is worth it and you find my CPAC coverage & interviews worthwhile please hit DaTipJar for what you can.

You my readers are the difference between the success or the failure of this enterprise I ask you to hit DaTipJar and help me succeed.

Now there is another reason to kick in on a more permanent way

DaGuy low rez copy-psd

Under normal circumstance an event with 10,000 potential subscribers should be a goldmine for my quest to pick up 61 more, however I am not in a position to solicit CPAC attendees in this way. (Though I just got a creative Idea as I’m typing this that I might try today or tomorrow.)

In case my cunning plan fails please consider being a subscriber. 61 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of Da Magnificent Seven and my mortgage meaning each month.


This will not only allow the blog to grow & prosper but will give me the peace of mind each month of knowing that the mortgage will be paid without dipping into the savings reserves that have been depleted though the Obama years.

It’s your call.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

I can not attend CPAC this year, but have been paying attention to the speakers; yesterday Senator Marco Rubio’s speech on American exceptionalism defined America’s post-Obama foreign policy, as Mediate rightfully said:

He defined the threats he warned that the United States will face in the near future and defined current and long-term America’s economic challenges in terms relating to the preservation of free trade guaranteed by American military and diplomatic strength.

All the threats come from totalitarian regimes, regimes who do not respect their citizens’ God-given rights: “Any government and any leader who violates those rights is an illegitimate one.”

Rubio asserted that “America must be involved in leading the world”. “There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the spread of totalitarianism. The United Nations cannot do this. In fact, they cannot do anything.”

“If you think high taxes and regulations are bad for our economy, so is global instability and the spread of totalitarianism,” Rubio continued. “What we have in America is the exception, not the rule, in human history. Almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet didn’t’ get to choose their leaders, and they didn’t get to choose their life either.”

Ed Morrissey:

Rubio nails it on foreign policy, and in a way explains why the Obama administration fell into the trap of their own arrogance. Barack Obama campaigned on “hope and change,” and later implied (if not quite stated outright) that he was the change and the hope. The administration seemed to have bought its own hype. The mere fact of his election was supposed to argue that America had already fundamentally changed, and that all that was needed to get imperial-oriented nations like China and Russia to see the light was a reset button or two.

That’s the “fantasy” world inhabited by the Obama administration, as the Washington Post described it last weekend. Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry all seem to believe that just talking about change and hope will mean that nations run by power-seeking leaders will suddenly embrace Utopianism, because — as Kerry explicitly said — that’s the right side of history, and the geopolitical manipulations of Russia and China are on “the wrong side of history.” There is absolutely no evidence for that claim, except for their own declarations that it’s so.

Video of the full spech:

Memeorandum thread.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on Latin American and USA politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan

found that New York lawyer Steven Donziger and his litigation team engaged in coercion, bribery, money laundering and other misconduct aimed at securing a 2011 verdict against the company in Ecuador.

The judge concluded that Mr. Donziger and his team fabricated evidence, promised $500,000 to an Ecuadorean judge to rule in their favor, ghostwrote much of the final verdict in the case and took other actions that “perverted” the course of justice.

In the 2011 lawsuit, Chevron accused Donziger and Ecuadorian plaintiffs of fraud and racketeering in the 2003 Lago Agrio trial that resulted in a US$19billion verdict against Chevron, which had never operated in Ecuador but had inherited an environmental clean-up case when Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001. (The Wall Street Journal has a timeline, and you can read the 500-page Kaplan ruling here.)

Last November Ecuador reduced the $19 billion to $9 billion.

The Aguarico-4 site became a favorite cause among celebrities like Sting, Danny Glover, Cher, Daryl Hannah and Mia Farrow (who on January 27 tweeted that she was “in Equador to check out the toxic #mess left by Texaco-#Chevron” but appears to have deleted that tweet and turned her attention to other matters). These same celebrities have nothing to say about tribal warfare in the Amazon killing hundreds of people, the government’s war against freedom expression, and China’s control of Ecuador’s oil.

The government of Ecuador gives tours to the site, which is actually owned by its own oil company, Petroecuador.

Chevron is right to continue to fight the (now) $9 billion judgement.

I expect that Donziger will appeal: Jack Fowler reported in late January that

Donziger has cobbled a fourth legal defense team, led by Deepak Gupta, who will be assisted by University of Denver Law School professors Justin Marceau and John Campbell.

Judge Kaplan probably expects him to, also, considering his 500-page decision plus 89-page appendix.

Judge Kaplan points out that Donziger is a master at public relations, and Donziger’s strategy of a media campaign “shifting the focus from the fraud on Chevron and the Lago Agrio court to the environmental harm that Donziger [and the plaintiffs] claim was done” will most likely continue.

Over in US, however, the Chevron Case Helped Wreck a Big Law Merger between Patton Boggs of Washington, DC, and Locke Lord of Texas,

Chevron has filed a counterclaim against Patton Boggs in the case, and two sources familiar with the matter told The Am Law Daily that the firm’s potential liabilities on that front contributed to Locke Lord’s decision to call off merger talks.

Last month Locke Lord managing partner Jerry Clements told The Am Law Daily that the potential liabilities and “reputational aspects” of the Chevron matter were a key part of her firm’s due diligence efforts in evaluating a merger with Patton Boggs.

“Reputational aspects” indeed.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on Latin American and US politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog. You can read her posts on the Chevron case here.

********************************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

Speaking of reality, Wednesday is here I leave for DC in a few hours and DaTipJar is at $57 toward this weeks goal of $365 to be on track to pay the mortgage and our writers.

We need 12 tip jar hitters at $25 to get that goal and if that trend doesn’t change it’s going to be very rough around here very fast.

Be part of the solution to fight back against the media meme. Hit DaTipJar below

Now there is another reason to kick in on a more permanent way

DaGuy low rez copy-psd

Please consider being a subscriber. With additional writers we need 61 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of Da Magnificent Seven & the monthly mortgage on a permanent basis AND if you so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of original members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right


Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plus the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!

by baldilocks

Only soft-handed Marxists natter on about the “right” or “wrong side of history.” Countries like Poland, however, have been battered by real Marxism and proceed accordingly.

NATO allies will hold emergency talks on the crisis in Ukraine on Tuesday, for the second time in three days, following a request from Poland, the alliance said on Monday.

In calling the meeting, Poland, a neighbor of Ukraine, invoked a NATO rule allowing any ally to consult with the others if it feels its security, territorial integrity or independence are under threat, the so-called Article 4.

“The developments in and around Ukraine are seen to constitute a threat to neighboring Allied countries and having direct and serious implications for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area,” the alliance said in a statement.

Emphasis mine; Poland knows Russia well.

There’s the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, under which Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR agreed to split up Poland.[i]

There’s the Katyn Massacre. Originally attributed to the Nazis, it was actually perpetrated by the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police); the USSR admitted to the massacre in 1990.

And there’s the Warsaw Pact. Allegedly it was formed counter as counter to NATO and as a “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance” between the USSR and eight other eastern European countries, including Poland. But, as is well-known,  it was de facto enslavement of those countries by Soviet masters.

But Poland doesn’t even have to look to the previous century find reasons to be suspicious of Russia and its goals.

Recall the scrapped agreement for the missile shield technology  for Poland and the Czech Republic. It had been promised by George W. Bush, opposed by Vladimir Putin, and, in the end, was reneged on by Barack H. Obama.  And recall that the turnabout was announced on September 18, 2009—the seventieth anniversary of the day on which Hitler and Stalin carried out their designs on Poland.

And let’s not forget what happened to the Polish leadership in 2010.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and some of the country’s highest military and civilian leaders died on Saturday when the presidential plane crashed as it came in for a landing in thick fog in western Russia, killing 96, officials said.

(…)

Russian and Polish officials said there were no survivors on the 26-year-old Tupolev, which was taking the president, his wife and staff to events marking the 70th anniversary of the [Katyn] massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police.

This grimly ironic accident is still being questioned.

Our leadership and many other observers may not be taking into account—or even be familiar with—the history of this abusive relationship, but it would be safe to bet that the Poles had it in mind when they decided to make their appeal to NATO.

This is not to say that the United States should intervene on behalf of Ukraine. Even if our mandate to do so were morally and politically clear-cut, in the wake of the hollowing out of this nation–militarily, economically, socially, and, most importantly, in the leadership sphere–we are simply not able to help Ukraine or any other nation.

But while the President of the United States continually provides negative examples of an observation made by King Solomon in Proverbs, Poland looks at Ukraine, scrutinizes its own history and soberly ponders reality. Please, God, let there be a few more sober realists in the USA!

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Lithuania invokes Article 4 as well.


[i] In his actions concerning Georgia and Ukraine, Russian president Vladimir Putin has borrowed a strategy from both Stalin and Hitler: both claimed that their attack on Poland was to protect ethnic Ukrainians, Belarusians and Germans in the country—a pretext, to be sure.

Putin used a similar justification, with respect to ethnic Russians living in the Republic of Georgia, for the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, which resulted in the “independence” of formerly Georgian provinces Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both provinces “had been functioning for 15 years outside Georgian control, their de facto independence guaranteed by Russian peacekeeping troops.” Putin is using this same strategy at present as justification for Russia’s incursion into Ukraine–an old form of ethnic cleansing.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

By Pat Austin

I’m missing Ronald Reagan today.

It seems inconceivable to me that we have fallen to such low regard in the world, with our weak, inept leaders, that Russia is once again spitting in our face and laughing behind our back.  It could not be more clear that Vladimir Putin thinks that President Obama is a schmuck who is so self-absorbed with his own celebrity and so far diminished as a leader that all pretense of peace and goodwill are now out the window. I dare say that Putin would not have taken the aggressive steps he is now taking if we had a strong, effective leader like Reagan at the helm.

A couple of weeks ago, Peggy Noonan wrote:

The world is watching. Part of the story in Ukraine is that the people are rebelling against their elites, which have cozied up to Russia for their own purposes. We won’t be seeing less of this kind of thing in the future but more. Don’t we want to be understood to be on the right side of that battle?

You can thank the Obama voters for this new aggressive Russia: the kumbaya-singing, hand-wringing, peaceniks who are so determined to make sure America is not seen as an occupier and a bully.  “Why should we care what happens in Russia?”, they think.  They can’t see the connection.  Certainly Obama can’t see any need to intervene; remember Iran in 2009?  Obama would not dare do anything (but blather in televised speeches on his way to a fundraiser) about Russia’s power grab in the Ukraine lest he be perceived as a war-monger.

Noonan, again:

I think our leaders are now so anxious about appearing to support entangling America in another conflict that they’ve become afraid to voice full-throated support for those who fight for principles completely in line with our own—the right of people to choose their own economic and governmental arrangements, and their right to resist any illegitimate limiting of their freedoms.

Certainly between John Kerry and Barack Obama, Putin must be quaking in his “fur-lined boots,” as Charles Krauthammer said this week.  While Obama pretends to be “gravely concerned” over Putin’s aggression, John Kerry is talking with George Stephanopoulos and declaring that “all options are on the table.”  Certainly Putin is not in the least concerned that these two clowns will fight over Crimea.

Obama and Putin have always had … let’s just say an edgy relationship.  Rather like two men playing a game of Rook while smoking cigars and sipping wine.  But Putin has never been deluded by Obama like many American voters have been.  Putin has always seen Obama for the weak, spineless pseudo-leader that he is; Obama has always wanted to be perceived as cerebral and intelligent:  smart power!  But right now, today, Putin is the one who appears stronger.  And Obama voters are getting exactly what they wished for.

Ronald Reagan once said, “Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.”

Ronald Reagan would weep if he could see this.

 

Pat Austin also blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Psychologists state that it takes roughly twenty-eight days to develop and maintain a new habit.

Perhaps one of the best definitions on what constitutes a habit was but forth by the late Dr. Stephen Covey in his best selling work “The Seven 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Dr. Covey wrote that a habit is the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire. All three of these elements must be present in order to adopt and maintain a new discipline.

The Christian Church (Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical Protestant) enters into one of the two holiest seasons of the year – The Lenten Season – on Wednesday, March 5th of this year; this day is known to Christians as “Ash Wednesday.” (The other holy season is Advent which is observed four weeks before Christmas.) Ash Wednesday formally initiates the Lenten calendar in the Holy Christian and Universal Church.

The importance of Ash Wednesday and the days that follow must not be minimized. It is during this time that the Disciples of Christ seek to enter into the reality of their Savior’s Life, Death, and Resurrection in a deeper way.

Christians practice the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – not as rituals in themselves – but as a means to allow GOD The Father, GOD The Son, and GOD The Holy Spirit to remake, revive, and renew the presence of Christ in their hearts.

Lent is a time of repentance (the Greek word for repentance is “metanoia” which means “changing one’s mind about sin and confessing it as evil and turning away from sin and radically turning to GOD and accepting His forgiveness and grace).

The Advent Season is a time of festivity, fun, and festival. It is during Advent that the Christian remembers that Christ came to the world of men by entering into the womb of the Virgin Mary. Advent is during Christmas time and Christians celebrate this time because it reminds them that Immanuel “GOD is indeed with us!”

Conversely, the Lenten Season is one in which we mourn for our sins and we mourn over the results of the sins of others. Lent forces the Christian to come to grips with his personal sin and failure see how sin causes a separation between him and his relationship with both GOD and other human beings.

The solution to this break in relationship with Almighty GOD is to receive His extended mercy at The Cross.

Lent is not simply about giving up candy, sweets, T.V., Facebook or things that we enjoy – although there is a time and place for this.
Lent marks a time of taking on new disciplines that aid and assist us in our earthly pilgrimage with Christ. We join Christ in His passion as he marches to Calvary.

The Apostle Paul exhorted the believers at Ephesus to put off the old man and to put on the new man created in righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:17 and the verses that follow state these vital truths:

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

Finally, the seven Sundays (40 to 45 days) before Easter are days and times in which the Christian Community pauses, reflects, and meditates on Scripture and allows the Gospel Story – the “Good News” story of Christ’s redeeming love – to enrapture their hearts and bring about needed change from within.

May GOD richly bless each and everyone of you as you walk with CHRIST JESUS THE LORD in pilgrimage during this most Holy Season.
=====================================================================================================================================

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

We turn our attention away from porn stars (and no, looking up a Twitter feed is not a good idea), if we may, to a more vexatious problem: The economics of ruinous populism in Latin America, and how to avoid that in the USA.

Samuel Gregg, in his essay EXORCIZING LATIN AMERICA’S DEMONS
Its populist cultural norms are a killer
, explains that reversing decades’ worth of damage,

such as food-shortages, electricity-blackouts, endemic corruption, the disintegration of rule of law, utterly insecure property-rights, and wild inflation — all of which have helped ArgentinaVenezuelaBolivia, and Ecuador achieve the ignominious distinction of being categorized as “repressed economies” in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom

will take more than just

a dramatic shift of economic incentives away from the relentless cultivation of connections with politicians and bureaucrats, . . .mandated price-and-wage controls, government restrictions on currency and capital movements, the nationalization of industries, import-substitution policies, and the manipulation of official statistics.

A drastic shift in culture will have to also take place: it will require the embrace of “the habits and institutions of freedom.”

Gregg lists abandoning three mindsets:

  •  the widespread clientelismo, where government  dispenses favors and largesse to their followers,
  • the idea that if only the “the right leader” can be found, everything will be fine,
  • the widespread use of the language of conflict.

In other words, abandon Chicago-style politics.

We are experiencing in the USA many of the  ruinous policies that Gregg lists: “the relentless cultivation of connections with politicians and bureaucrats”, wage controls, government dispensing favors and largesse to a select few who can afford the lobbyists, a cult of personality where anyone disagreeing is accused of racism, a language of conflict accompanied by attempts to curb free speech, and the manipulation of official statistics.

It behoves us as citizens to stop these policies. The question is, how?

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on American and Latin American politics at Fausta’s blog.