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Whilst researching the post on the Browder family, I ran across an issue of Solanka, the publication of the old United Communist Party (UCP) in the US.
In fact, this issue would have appeared around the same time the late, one-time party chief Earl Browder received his membership.
If anyone thinks Communism is a ‘nice’ and ‘compassionate’ way of thinking or governing, ask them how they would like to receive the following, typical of the rest of Solanka.
The following excerpted meeting minutes are dated August 14, 1920 (pp. 5 and 6). Note the focus on money, organisation and seeming disregard for Party members as people.
Also observe how much it sounds like a hostile office memo one might receive today. It could have been subtitled ‘Pull a finger out, idiots’.
Did we get our love of corporate acronyms (see last line of memo) from the Commies? I wonder.
In any case, I found this so absolutely frightful I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.
Emphases mine below except for words in caps and italics:
TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE UCP.
Your CEC has just had a meeting. Here’s an account of its decisions and actions.
Information of this character will no longer be published in the Official Organ [The Communist], but will be sent you in Bulletins like this. After reading to the group members, destroy the Bulletin.
VERY special information will not even be published in Bulletins, but conveyed verbally through organizers. Unless you attend EVERY group meeting you may miss something important. Moral: BE THERE.
Still more important is it for your organizers and committeemen to attend all committee meetings. If any refuse to do this, fire them, and put comrades on the job who’ll attend to business.
Here are several specific matters for your action:—
Soviet Russia Resolution. The last page of this Bulletin contains a resolution for support of Soviet Russia. Bring it before your unions.
Raise Defense Funds.The Party has accepted proposition from the National Defense Committee. Dispose of as many Defense stamps as you can to outsiders. Push collection of Defense Fund among non-members in every way you can think of, so that regular receipts can be used for organization work. Forward all funds collected BY MEMBERS through the regular Party channels, whether from stamps or lists.
$50,000 Organization Fund.The tremendous campaign mapped out by your CEC is based on expectation that you will raise the $50,000 Fund necessary to carry it through. Remember that EVERY group should raise $50, or $5 per member, by September 1st .
Intensive Propaganda. There are in this country at least 100,00 Left Wing Socialists and IWWs whom it is perfectly safe for you to approach with Communist message.Your CEC can not do this. Neither can your organizers. This is a task that You Yourselves must do. For this purpose every member is requested to take 5 copies of each issue of the Official Organ in English or some other language. If possible pay for them in advance. Then sell or give them away. The Party can not afford to distribute this free, except 1 copy to every member. But by this plan you can start a vast propaganda campaign at once. Surely there is not a single member who can not do this: Pick out 5 people to whom it is safe for you to talk. Keep after them with each issue until they are ready for membership in the UCP.
Reports and Orders.Your group organizer must make financial reports at least twice a month. Ours can be “a party of action” only if YOU act. See to it that he has something to report from you each time. Tell him exactly how many copies of each language organ to order for you on the requisition blank that he has for this purpose. Only if your group does this systematically can your District Organizer make proper orders and reports to the National Office.
Kicks. If papers you order do not reach you, please KICK to the higher party units until they come through. If we do not hear you holler we take it for granted that all papers and literature reach you OK.
Remember, Comrades: Our Communist Movement is just what YOU make it. Up and AT IT.
Yours in Revolt,
The CEC of the UCP.
I have little time for Christians calling for a redistribution of wealth as a ‘Christlike’ principle. Charity is commonly practised among various world faiths to greater or lesser extents, to the poor and to strangers.
Charity, on its own, does not imply salvation unto eternal life.
As for our own faith, Christ told the Rich Man to give up his possessions which were becoming idolatrous to him. When the Rich Man in his supposed piety could not give these up, Christ left him to his own devices.
St Paul called for charity, but often in contexts meant for fellow church members, not the general populace. He also said that those who do not work shall not eat.
Since the early 1970s, Western welfare systems have become a way of life for some families, in certain cases, spanning three generations as far back as the 1980s.
The taxes — legislated ‘charity’ — on the part of the wealthy are subsidising many, including those who work at low- to medium-paying jobs. The middle classes in North America and Europe are continuously squeezed for more money at every turn.
More and more people are taking from society without putting anything back in — e.g. the famous 47% from the 2012 elections. The knock-on effect is that other services — insurance premiums — go up, too. Again, the middle classes feel this most acutely. Furthermore, how many elderly have had to budget between food and fuel during winter months? This penury has been going on in Britain since the 1990s.
Meanwhile, we read countless newspaper reports of families on the dole who are taking — sometimes scamming the system — and biting the hand that feeds them.
The latest example cited is the Tsarnaev family of the Boston Bombings on April 15, 2013. On April 29, the Boston Herald reported:
The Tsarnaev family, including the suspected terrorists and their parents, benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance — a bonanza ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012, the Herald has learned.
“The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning,” said a person with knowledge of documents handed over to a legislative committee today.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has handed 500 pages of documents concerning the Tsaraev family to the state’s House Audit and Oversight Committee. They will be working with the welfare — ‘transitional assistance’ — authorities to investigate further.
HotAir’s Allahpundit asked how this involuntary and mandatory public generosity (those words are mine) could lead to such violence and hatred (emphases mine):
The Tsarnaevs are an interesting mix of mundane social pathologies associated with being poor and bigger ideological pathologies that most poor people never harbor. Allegedly, both mama and papa Tsarnaev were shoplifters. Dzhokhar dealt drugs for spending money, some of which may or may not have been put towards bomb manufacture. Tamerlan received welfare up until 2012, the same year he took off to do God knows what in Russia and long after he and mom supposedly had that phone call in 2011 about “jihad.” Instapundit linked this interesting Mickey Kaus piece from 2001 about a terrorism/welfare connection in Europe in which ethnic antagonism causes resentment among immigrants and welfare gives them free time to explore ideology, but I don’t know how much that applies to the Tsarnaevs. Dzhokhar, at least, seemed reasonably well integrated at school; “ethnic antagonism” from the public generally was probably less of a factor for them than for European Muslims because they’re white, although the anecdote in the update here suggests there may be more to it than meets the eye. And further muddying the waters of causation is the apparent fact that Tamerlan was simply a bad seed, especially towards women. What happens when you throw a radical, domineering personality into an already bad mix?
The Mickey Kaus piece from Slate in 2001 to which Allahpundit refers is useful. This has all happened before. Excerpts follow, more at the link. Emphases in the original:
Here are some suspected terrorists in the news:
- Zacarias Moussaoui, the French North African charged with conspiracy in connection with the 9/11 attack, became an Islamic radical living in London “while drawing welfare benefits and studying economics,” Newsday reports.
- Ahmed Ressam, the member of Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group who was arrested crossing the U.S. border with bombs designed to blow up L.A.’s airport, moved to Canada in 1994 where he “survived on welfare payments” and petty crime, according to terrorism expert Peter Bergen.
- Metin Kaplan, who heads a German radical Islamist sect suspected of attempting to fly a plane into the Ataturk mausoleum in Turkey, “claimed social [welfare] benefits in Cologne for many years until 2m Deutschmarks ($1.2m) in cash was found in his flat,” reports the BBC.
- Abu Qatada, the cleric who taught Moussaoui and is accused of having links to al-Qaida agents in six countries, avoided extradition to Jordan on terrorism charges by settling in England, where “[l]ike many other London-based Arab dissidents, [he] has received regular welfare checks from the British government—and government subsidized housing,” according to the Washington Post. Abu Qatada’s welfare payments were stopped when it was discovered he controlled a secret bank account containing approximately $270,000.
Kaus says that welfare is a way of keeping people isolated in poorer suburbs and cities. I’ll get to a few perspectives on that below. He says that work is a much better way of encouraging people to integrate:
Without government subsidies, they would have to overcome the prejudice against them and integrate into the mainstream working culture. Work, in this sense, is anti-terrorist medicine. (And if you work all day, there’s less time to dream up ways and reasons to kill infidels.)
Of course, this is not restricted to Muslim terrorists. Riots and wildings seem to have burst out of nowhere over the past few years in England, the United States and France. The most recent wilding was in Chicago’s main shopping district on Holy Saturday this year involving 500 youths and only 28 arrests. France’s trains are the target of immigrant youths attacking ticket inspectors and robbing passengers. England had a harrowing several days of riots in August 2011.
Most of these youngsters (!) are living off the taxpayer then have the ignominy to demand more from them through crime.
This is an intractable problem.
I’m not really interested in talking about the reasons behind it; we all (should) know what they are. I’ve discussed Marxism, the Frankfurt School, class struggle, the Fabians, Antonio Gramsci, Cloward-Piven Theory, maintaining voting blocs, materialism and so on.
This is a call, for what it’s worth, for welfare reform.
Reform could take decades, because there are too many who have an interest in maintaining what has become a cancerous status quo of state benefits. There are more than the recipients involved.
Inspiration Boost has a graphic of Benjamin Franklin along with his thoughts on the welfare state as he saw it first-hand in the 18th century:
Ace at Ace of Spades explored this, taking into account the terrorism and unrest which welfare seems to breed (language alert in the comments, emphases mine):
I think there’s a sociological reason at play too. People will find something in their lives that gives them meaning.
For many people, work does give their lives meaning. Few like work, but most understand the accomplishment of standing on one’s own feet and providing for oneself (and one’s family).
The welfare state may put food in one’s mouth, but it does so at the expense at stripping a sense of accomplishment, belonging, and meaning from the recipient. And that void will be filled by something else. While people do not require meaning, as a strict biological matter, as they require food, water, air, and shelter, they do crave it– it’s probably on the level, as far as centrality to one’s being, as sex.
I knew an Episcopalian rector who often discussed the meaning that people sensed about their lives. He believed that our searches in life — in addition to salvation, of course — should involve one for meaning: meaningful relationships and meaningful work which help to identify most fully who we are.
Some of Ace’s readers said that the Tsarnaevs’ money wasn’t all that much in the grand scheme of things. Yet, a few others wondered just how many Tsarnaevs there are in America and the rest of the West. Reforming welfare would save money which seems increasingly poorly spent. Our societies see no return from it.
They discussed what welfare really means in reality. Sure, we say that it should be ‘a hand up, not a hand out’, but when three generations have made a lifestyle of sucking at the public teat, that’s hardly the case.
Ace’s readers posited that welfare today is protection money — although riots, wildings and terrorism seem to have put paid to that notion.
A few readers were affronted by their supermarket experiences. They searched for bargains and brandished discount coupons. Their shopping trolleys had minced beef when others had cuts of prime steak. One shopper in the juice aisle took advantage of an own-brand BOGOF; she says she saw a woman nearby put an expensive name brand of juice into her own trolley. Ace’s reader gently called the woman’s attention to the BOGOF. The other woman flashed her EBT (electronic benefits card) and said, ‘That means nothing to me’.
This is theft, friends. Ace’s readers are financing this woman as well as the prime steak purchaser. Yet, the EBT cardholders feel no compunction to live modestly. Hmm.
There is also the notion that welfare, for some, is a form of reparations.
And, for others, it is a form of jizya — a Muslim concept of extorting or taking money from non-Muslims. Ace’s reader Hepcat posted this news story from February 2013 involving the radical preacher Anjem Choudary. Emphases in the original from The Sun, except for those in violet:
SCROUNGING hate preacher Anjem Choudary has told fanatics to copy him by going on benefits — urging: “Claim your Jihad Seeker’s Allowance.”
He cruelly ridiculed non-Muslims who held down 9-to-5 jobs all their lives and said sponging off them made plotting holy war easier.
The Sun secretly filmed him over three meetings also saying leaders such as David Cameron and Barack Obama should be KILLED, grinning as he branded the Queen “ugly” and predicting a “tsunami” of Islamic immigrants would sweep Europe.
“You find people are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o’clock. They go to work at 9 o’clock. They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o’clock, watch EastEnders, sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery.
“And at the end of their life they realise their pension isn’t going to pay out anything, the mortgage isn’t going to pay out anything.
“Basically they are going to lose everything, commit suicide. What kind of a life is that, honestly. That is the life of kuffar (non-believer)” …
“Democracy, freedom, secularism, the parliament, all the MPs and the Presidents, all the kuffar’s ideas, everything the people worship, we have to believe that they are bad and we have got to reject them.
“Reject them with our tongue. Reject them with our heart. In our heart have hatred towards them.”
The French have a solution for the Abu Qatadas of this world. I do not know if this will continue under Hollande, but Chirac and Sarkozy followed the policy of deporting radicals first — then sifting through evidence and hearing appeals later. The Sun reports that that between 2001 and 2010, France deported 129 suspected Islamic extremists. During that same period, the UK deported only nine.
So, if a few reading this post still think there should be more wealth redistribution, they’re welcome to it. Only please don’t comment here. Your reasoning and your votes are part of the reason we’re in the state we find ourselves today.
It’s hard to pray for those who hate us and rob us, but, somehow, we must find a way. We must also pray for wisdom — in ourselves and others — to help us overcome this oppressive reality.
The other day I wondered whether we will ever get the truth about what happened in Boston on Monday, April 15, 2013 and the days following.
Those who have been keeping up with live blogs and the news — local and international — have many questions.
On Monday, April 22, an article followed by several hundred comments appeared on Yahoo! News UK: ‘Boston Bombs Suspect “Awake and Responding”‘.
A commenter, Colin, summarised the many questions armchair newshounds have about the event:
17 questions and contradictions about the Boston bombings unanswered ( here they are )
#1 Why were runners being told that a bomb squad drill was taking place during the Boston Marathon?
#2 Why did authorities deny that a bomb squad drill was being held?
#3 According to The Mirror, the FBI is reportedly “hunting” a 12-strong terrorist “sleeper cell” that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were allegedly a part of…
A source close to the investigation said: “We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.
#4 CBS News is reporting that the FBI interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev back in 2011. The mother of the two Tsarnaev brothers insists that the FBI had been in contact with them for up to five years. At first, the FBI denied any previous contact with the two suspects. Will we ever learn the true scope of the previous relationship between the FBI and the Tsarnaev brothers?
#5 Debka is reporting that the Tsarnaev brothers were “double agents” which had been “hired by US and Saudi intelligence to penetrate the Wahhabi jihadist networks which, helped by Saudi financial institutions, had spread across the restive Russian Caucasian.” Could this possibly be true? If so, will the American people be told the truth about these links?
#6 According to their uncle, there were “mentors” that “radicalized” the Tsarnaev brothers. So precisely who were those “mentors”?
#7 What happened during Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s trip to Dagestan and Chechnya last year?
#8 Were the Tsarnaev brothers in contact with a rebel leader named Doku Umarov who is known as “Russia’s Bin Laden”?
#9 Did Tamerlan Tsarnaev post a video on YouTube last summer that expresses a belief that the 12th Imam, Mahdi, will soon come and that an Islamic army with black flags with arise out of a province in Iran known as Khorasan?
#10 Why aren’t we being told that the “pressure cooker bombs” used in the Boston Marathon attacks are very similar to the kind of pressure cooker bombs that are commonly used in the Middle East?…
#11 Initially we were told that Saudi national Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi was a “person of interest” in the case. But now he is scheduled to leave the country with the full blessing of the U.S. government. Why is there such a rush to get him out of the United States?
#12 Why aren’t we being told that Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi was photographed with two other Saudis in the vicinity of the Boston marathon bombings?
#13 Why aren’t we being told of the shocking familial links that Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi has to known members of al-Qaeda? The following is from research complied by Walid Shoebat…
Many from Al-Harbi’s clan are steeped in terrorism and are members of Al-Qaeda. Out of a list of 85 terrorists listed by the Saudi government shows several of Al-Harbi clan to have been active fighters in Al-Qaeda:
#15 Badr Saud Uwaid Al-Awufi Al-Harbi
#73 Muhammad Atiq Uwaid Al-Awufi Al-Harbi
#26 Khalid Salim Uwaid Al-Lahibi Al-Harbi
#29 Raed Abdullah Salem Al-Thahiri Al-Harbi
#43 Abdullah Abdul Rahman Muhammad Al-Harbi (leader)
#60 Fayez Ghuneim Humeid Al-Hijri Al-Harbi
#14 Why did U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have a private meeting with a Saudi foreign minister shortly after Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi was identified as a potential suspect?
#15 Why did Barack Obama hold an unscheduled meeting with the ambassador from Saudi Arabia shortly after Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi was identified as a potential suspect?
#16 Why did Michelle Obama visit Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi in the hospital?
#17 Why did numerous mainstream media outlets openly suggest that “right-wing extremists” were behind the bombings in the immediate aftermath of the attack?
Colin’s questions indicate why people are puzzled and why they are likely to remain so.
It’s telling that this is one of the replies Colin received — a quote from 1954 (emphases mine):
‘Today the path to total dictatorship in the United States can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by the Congress, the President, or the people…
‘… outwardly we have a Constitutional government. We have operating within our government and political system, another body representing another form of government, a bureaucratic elite which believes our Constitution is outmoded and is sure that it is the winning side.
‘All the strange developments in the foreign policy agreements may be traced to this group who are going to make us over to suit their pleasure.
‘This political action group has its own local political support organizations, its own pressure groups, its own vested interests, its foothold within our government, and its own propaganda apparatus.’
-Senator William Jenner 1954
William Ezra Jenner was a US Senator for Indiana at the time he made that statement. He was a Republican and an attorney. His Wikipedia page cites the quotation as follows — with certain points made more strongly:
Today the path to total dictatorship in the U.S. can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by Congress, the President, or the people… We have a well-organized political-action group in this country, determined to destroy our Constitution and establish a one-party state… The important point to remember about this group is not its ideology but its organization. It is a dynamic, aggressive, elite corps, forcing its way through every opening, to make a breach for a collectivist one-party state. It operates secretly, silently, continuously to transform our Government without suspecting that change is under way… If I seem to be extremist, the reason is that this revolutionary clique cannot be understood, unless we accept the fact that they are extremist. It is difficult for people governed by reasonableness and morality to imagine the existence of a movement which ignores reasonableness and boasts of its determination to destroy; which ignores morality, and boasts of its cleverness in outwitting its opponents by abandoning all scruples. This ruthless power-seeking elite is a disease of our century… This group … is answerable neither to the President, the Congress, nor the courts. It is practically irremovable.
In 1952, Jenner alleged that the United Nations was infiltrating American education policy. He served in the US Senate until early 1959; these comments of his precluded his being put up for renomination in the 1958 elections. In 1959, he resumed his private law practice and died at the age of 76 in 1985.
The Republicans might not have liked what Jenner had to say.
His successor, Vance Hartke, was a Democrat and stayed in office until 1977. Were there too many home truths from Jenner, who had allied himself with Joseph McCarthy? At the time, most voters — including Republicans — were no doubt unconvinced or did not wish to know.
In the meantime, my prayers go out to the families and friends of those stricken on Patriots Day 2013 in Boston as well as those who had to leave their homes subsequently during the manhunt. I hope that they soon find the inner calm and answers they need.
On Friday, April 19, 2013, Yahoo!UK had a live blog following events in Boston following the Marathon bombings on Monday, April 15.
Since then, all that day’s entries have been erased.
However, at the time, we learned that a ‘shelter in place’ alert was active in the city. That’s a nice term for ‘stay indoors — police enforcement’. The MBTA, public transport system of buses, trolleys and subways was shut down, even in the suburbs. Taxi service also came to a halt for a few hours. Sports fixtures — baseball, hockey and basketball — were cancelled. The civil service exam to take place on Saturday, April 20, was also cancelled.
We saw pictures of people being evacuated from their homes in Watertown, some distance away from Back Bay, which was closed off from Trinity Church in Copley Square to and including the Prudential Center on Boylston Street.
Reading the many entries and Tweets reminded me of what people said when America’s airspace was closed after 9/11: the terrorists have won. Eventually, this led to extrapolations that such shutdowns would give rise to Sharia law or martial law. Some wonder whether the two are working hand-in-hand.
I do not have an answer, but any time we respond to terrorists or criminal nutcases with lockdowns on the general public, we have a greater problem concerning property rights and civil liberties. Neither Sharia nor martial law respects them.
Triablogue, a confessional blog, examined this recently. Here’s an excerpt:
When I was growing up (60s-70s), lockdowns were limited to prisons when inmates rioted. At least that’s my recollection.
But more recently, you have school lockdowns when a suspected shooter is on the loose. I understand that authorities wish to contain the area to prevent the suspect from escaping, but in the process they are locking students in with the shooter. I often wonder if that’s even legal. Do school administrators (or local police) have the authority to prevent students from exiting the building when they feel–often rightly–that their lives are endangered by hiding huddled in classrooms as the sniper goes from room to room, seeking fresh victims?
Be that as it may, the Boston bombing introduced a citywide lockdown. Hotels were locked down within a certain radius of the crime scene.
What does that mean, exactly? Does that mean there were security guards or policemen stationed at hotel exits? What would happen if you tried to exit the hotel? Would you be arrested? Shot on sight?
Although it maybe convenient for the authorities to declare a lockdown–the better to facilitate their manhunt–is that legal? Doesn’t that really assume an undeclared state of martial law, where normal civil liberties are suspended and authorities can impose a curfew on the citizens?
It looks like we’re beginning to take lockdowns for granted, as a normal part of life, even though that’s extralegal or unconstitutional. When did Americans agree to this? Is this an Act of Congress?
The same questions have gone through my mind. Particularly striking were brief comments on the live blog that said the police hoped people would respond to search requests positively and voluntarily. With regard to martial law implementation, people ask, ‘Why Boston?’ The answer is that it is a comfortably sized city (just under 1m population) and diverse enough for an experiment.
I also remember the days — also in the 1960s and 1970s — when news broadcasts would include requests from the police to search their premises and neighbourhoods for anything unusual. They also advised using ‘common sense’ and contacting the police in case they encountered the suspect concerned. Recall that in those days mobile devices didn’t exist, so a few men together from the neighbourhood would have to think a bit beforehand about what to do if they suddenly found themselves in a dangerous situation. However, a number of them would have served in the Second World War or the Korean and even the Vietnam Wars. They were trained to confront the enemy.
Then, as now, when seconds matter, the police are only minutes away. That said, the difference between then and now is that there was much less traffic, so the cops could respond sooner. Also, more men owned guns and could have wounded a suspect if necessary without many of today’s repercussions.
Now, however, unlike then, we have fewer war veterans and instead are left with a generation of androgynous postmoderns. Playing video games doesn’t always lend itself to searching for a real-life human enemy.
One thing that does not change is the criminal’s preoccupation with an escape route. As I read the live blog I kept thinking that the younger brother could have been anywhere by early Friday afternoon in Boston. He’d run over his older brother the night before in evading the authorities. It doesn’t take that long to drive out of state or even get across the border into Canada.
As it happened, whilst lockdown was in place and the police were doing door-to-door searches — readers, please try to ask for a search warrant before letting the authorities in — the younger brother was still in Watertown, hiding in a boat.
I have read that the area searched in Watertown now looks like a war zone after having had police firing indiscriminately — broken windows, hacked-in doors and other house damage. Who will arrange for that to be fixed and how quickly? How soon will residents be able to return to their homes?
… the orgy of police agency self-congratulation I see in the media strikes me as entirely preposterous. So far as I can determine, it was commercial and personal vidcam and smart phone footage that allowed authorities to finger the Tsarnaev brothers and not official cameras.
After their mugs were known, they were found, confronted and a wild shootout ensued in which the police fired hundreds of rounds and still managed to kill only one of the pair and allowed the other, even though wounded, to escape.
Police are getting more militarized in their organization all the time, but not in certain crucial respects. Specifically, the marksmanship and fire discipline of big city police rank and file are appallingly bad. The recent trigger-happy Christopher Dorner pursuit debacle here in L.A. was just prologue to what the Boston-area P.D.’s did in pursuit of the Marathon bombers. The lockdown order was probably the only reason the Boston, Watertown, etc., P.D.’s didn’t rack up a collateral damage civilian body count even higher than the LAPD, et al, did out here.
Based on the amount of blood the alert householder later found on his boat before the denouement, the escaped wounded brother had to be leaving a significant blood trail. But the cops seem to have made no effort to follow it, either with criminalist UV gear or with dogs. Instead, they decided to lock down the whole city and still managed not to find the guy until after the lockdown was lifted.
For this they’re breaking both arms patting themselves on the back?
Three interesting points about the capture of Tsarnaev the Younger:
1/ The boat, whilst in Watertown, was just outside the lockdown perimeter.
2/ The homeowner found Tsarnaev himself after the lockdown ended, having found the tarp on the boat disturbed.
3/ Thank goodness the man is a cigarette smoker and went out for a ‘breath of fresh air’, otherwise Tsarnaev might still be on the run.
Sometimes, as my late Londoner grandmother-in-law often said, the old ways are the best.
State school supporters — including left-leaning ‘committed Christians’ — often downplay the questionable influence that sex education has on students.
Yet, such plans and lessons have long been part of school curriculum in varying degrees. Four or five decades ago it was generally an annual hour-long talk given by Scouting leaders and/or nurses to classrooms of respective sexes. In Catholic school, we were aged between 10 and 12 at the time. These were optional and permission letters were sent home to parents reassuring them about the nature of the talk yet giving them an opt-out if they objected. The adults giving the talks were members of the churches connected to the schools. No questions were asked of any opt-outs. The parents of nearly all the pupils I knew allowed them to attend the talks.
The lectures, complete with a short slide show from toiletries companies, showed biological diagrams of male and female ‘plumbing’ and described what we could soon expect to experience: changes in our bodies, our emotions and an interest in the opposite sex. Girls learned about menstruation, sanitary protection and the importance of keeping track of their menses using a small calendar.
That said, at the time, there were a few state schools which promoted a mixed class of sex education which lasted for several weeks. The children were also aged between 10 and 12. There is a YouTube video of one of these classes from the mid-1960s. If I find it again, I’ll post it.
As concerned parents predicted at the time, it would all get out of hand. And, now that my generation are becoming grandparents, so it has come to pass.
In 2011, Washington, DC schools decided to implement an examination on matters sexual for students. This was scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2012. In January 2012, prior to implementation, more details emerged about the guidelines for the course, aimed at primary and middle school students from age seven upwards (emphases mine):
A new set of sexual education guidelines have been released by a coalition of health and education groups, which says that young elementary school students should use the proper names for body parts and, by the end of fifth grade, know that sexual orientation is “the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender.”
The non-binding recommendations by Advocates for Youth to states and school districts are to be used to formulate school curricula for each age level, with the goal of giving schools the opportunity to build a foundation that in the long term will better help teens as they grow into adults, writes Kimberly Hefling at the Associated Press.
One of the reasons why the guidelines were collated was because of the inconsistency in the teaching of sex education in schools.
By the end of second grade, the guidelines say students should use the correct body part names for the male and female anatomy. By fifth grade, the guidelines say students should be able to define sexual harassment and abuse.
When they leave middle school, they should be able to differentiate between gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, and those leaving eighth grade to also be able to evaluate the effectiveness of abstinence, condoms and other “safer sex methods” and know how emergency contraception works.
Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Education Abstinence Association, said she does not agree with the topics and goals of the standards:
“This should be a program about health, rather than agendas that have nothing to do with optimal sexual health decision-making,” Huber said.
“Controversial topics are best reserved for conversations between parent and child, not in the classroom.”
Wow. DC’s schools haven’t been the only ones journeying down this path. Certain schools in Europe also helped youngsters feel comfortable with their sexual parts as long ago as the early 1970s. Some regular readers might recall one of my posts on French Socialists from 2011. In it I described Daniel ‘Dany’ Cohn-Bendit’s career after he was deported from France back to Germany for ten years after his activities in the 1968 Paris demonstrations. Cohn-Bendit, incidentally, currently serves as an MEP (EELV [Green] Party) — Member of the European Parliament.
However, in the 1970s he worked as a teaching assistant in Germany. In 1975:
Dany wrote a book called Le Grand Bazar, in which he described his teacher’s aide experiences at the crèche. This is a quote from the book, wherein he describes his sexualisation of his young charges, who ranged from the ages of 1 to 6:
It happened on several occasions that certain kids opened my fly and started to tickle me. I reacted in a certain manner, depending on the circumstances. I would ask them, ‘Why don’t you play together? Why did you choose me — me — instead of the other kids?’ But they would insist, and I would caress them all the same.
In 1982, Dany appeared on the much-watched (and much-missed) highbrow television show, Apostrophes, which discussed the latest books. He said:
You know, a kid’s sexuality, it’s absolutely fantastic … When a little girl, five years old, starts to undress you, it’s fantastic!
Combine all this highly questionable and, to my mind, indecent, interest in children’s sexuality with today’s increasingly unstable home life — single-parent household, boyfriend or deviant relative on the prowl, violence, crime as well as other unhealthy factors for children — and we can end up with millions of maladjusted youths. Sex, naturally, will be at the forefront of their thoughts.
A 2003 study of adolescent girls from homes where the father was absent in the United States and New Zealand concluded:
father absence was an overriding risk factor for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy. Conversely, father presence was a major protective factor against early sexual outcomes, even if other risk factors were present. These findings may support social policies that encourage fathers to form and remain in families with their children (unless the marriage is highly conflictual or violent; Amato & Booth, 1997).
I sincerely hope that school curriculum anywhere will exclude frank discussions of the following activities — this link is a must read for every parent and guardian, even if they concern the NHS and not schools — yet, somehow, I think what is in that URL will be discussed in the classroom.
We also have the issue of paedophilia, which is likely to gain more traction as activists seek to normalise it. Earlier this month, a resolution made its way to the legislature in the State of California. Whilst it is not about paedophilia in so many words — ‘sexual orientation’, rather — the author of the article shot back at her critics with this:
Elsewhere, a gay man, Doug Mainwaring (pron. ‘Mannering’), has written about why he opposes gay marriage. Here is part of what he has to say:
We are in the middle of a fierce battle that is no longer about rights. It is about a single word, “marriage.”
Two men or two women together is, in truth, nothing like a man and a woman creating a life and a family together. Same-sex relationships are certainly very legitimate, rewarding pursuits, leading to happiness for many, but they are wholly different in experience and nature.
Gay and lesbian activists, and more importantly, the progressives urging them on, seek to redefine marriage in order to achieve an ideological agenda that ultimately seeks to undefine families as nothing more than one of an array of equally desirable “social units,” and thus open the door to the increase of government’s role in our lives.
And while same-sex marriage proponents suggest that the government should perhaps just stay out of their private lives, the fact is, now that children are being engineered for gay and lesbian couples, a process that involves multiple other adults who have potential legal custody claims on these children, the potential for government’s involvement in these same-sex marriage households is staggering.
Solomon only had to split the baby in two. In the future, judges may have to decide how to split children into three, four, or five equal pieces. In Florida, a judge recently ordered that the birth certificate of a child must show a total of three parents—a lesbian couple and a gay man (the sperm-providing hairdresser of one of the lesbian moms). Expect much more of this to come.
Now we can better understand why half of French society is so concerned about the state of play with regard to same-sex marriage and with it the right to adoption and assisted reproduction.
On Friday, April 12, 2013, France’s Senate passed legislation approving same-sex marriage. It now remains for their Parliament and Senate to debate and vote on the bill’s amendments.
France has had civil unions (PACS), also open to same-sex couples, for several years. However, the same-sex marriage law would codify other aspects of life as a couple, including adoption and assisted reproduction.
The proposed legislation has stimulated lively debate and demonstrations throughout the country. Whilst nearly two-thirds of French people do not mind same-sex marriage, the possibility of adoption and IVF in that context are more contentious.
Some French people have also been asking what the next marriage law will entail — and rightly so. What about polygamy? Bestiality? Incest?
British actor Jeremy Irons asked whether a man might someday be able to marry his adult son for favourable tax reasons. On April 3, 2013, he discussed this with Huffington Post presenter Josh Zepps. You can see the short video there; I was unable to embed it.
Irons, a modern Catholic, happily married to actress Sinéad Cusack since 1978, was careful to couch his language which wasn’t so much about same-sex couples per se as the evolution of laws relating to marriage and family — the same concerns the French have.
Could a father not marry his son? … It’s not incest between men. Incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don’t breed… If that were so, then if I wanted to pass on my estate without death duties, I could marry my son and pass on my estate to him.
I can see that happening, not immediately, but possibly within a decade or so. Denny Burk Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, points out that this is not an unrealistic eventuality. He cites a Harvard Law Review article from 2006 which discusses incest laws which have been repealed:
The criminal statutes vary widely; indeed, a few states impose no criminal penalties whatsoever on incestuous behavior. Rhode Island repealed its criminal incest statute in 1989, Ohio’s criminal statute targets only parental figures, and New Jersey does not punish acts committed when both parties are over eighteen years old. [source]
The other eventuality I see is the legalisation of polygamy in an effort to please European Muslims. Around ten years ago comments appeared on mainstream British fora suggesting that Britain’s Labour government had turned a blind eye to polygamous unions among obscurantist Muslims; with these went increased tax breaks as more dependents were involved. I haven’t seen any evidence for this, but it would not surprise me if it turned out to be true for tiny pockets of the population. Some mainstream Frenchmen also voice the same suspicions online; again, there is no firm evidence yet that this is occurring.
With regard to parenthood, the same-sex marriage debate has raised interesting legal points on the future of the family. In the United States, CNS reported on March 3, 2013, that the Department of Justice and the American Psychological Association find no evidence that heterosexual couples are necessary to raise children:
“As an initial matter, no sound basis exists for concluding that same-sex couples who have committed to marriage are anything other than fully capable of responsible parenting and child-rearing,” the Department of Justice told the court. “To the contrary, many leading medical, psychological, and social-welfare organizations have issued policy statements opposing restrictions on gay and lesbian parenting based on their conclusion, supported by numerous scientific studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.”
“The weight of the scientific literature strongly supports the view that same-sex parents are just as capable as opposite-sex parents,” says the administration.
To support this argument, one of the documents the administration cites is a “policy statement” by the American Psychological Association. This statement claims that some studies indicate same-sex parents might be “superior” to mother-and-father families, but then concedes there is little actual data on the results of raising children in two-father households.
CNS pulls this together for us (emphases mine):
So far in the history of the human race, no child has ever been born without a biological father and mother. Now, in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Executive Branch of the federal government is arguing that, regardless of the biological facts of parenthood, states have no legitimate and defenisble interest in ensuring that children conceived by a mother and a father are in fact raised by mothers and fathers.
The brief that the Justice Department presented to the Supreme Court discussed children only as items controlled by others, not as individual human beings who have God-given rights of their own. It simply assumes that a child has no inherent right to a mother or father and that the only right truly in question is whether two people of the same-sex have a right to marry one another and that that right encompasses a right to adopt and foster-raise children.
To take this view and be consistent with the principles of the Declaration of Independence—which recognizes the ultimate authority of the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” and says that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”—the Obama Justice Department must advance the assumption that natural law and Nature’s God give children no right to a mother and father and no right not to be legally handed over by the government to be raised by same-sex couples.
Something to consider.
In the meantime, let us pray for the future of Western society.
As many will have grasped, today’s great American debates centre on theonomy versus secularism and small versus big government.
Dr Clark outlines his transition from an Evangelical to a Calvinist and from a Democrat to a small ‘l’ libertarian. I hope that you find his account as enlightening as I did (emphases mine):
My parents were [Hubert Horatio] Humphrey Democrats [1968, the year Richard Milhous Nixon won the Presidency] and I was that when I went to university. Via Plato, Augustine, and one of my profs I moved toward a sort of socialist neo-Platonism. Reading Calvin, however, and an early confrontation with theonomy actually began to cause me to reconsider my politics/economics even while I was in university. In theonomy I saw the same thing of which I had become suspicious in the Anabaptists, an over-realized eschatology. Calvin’s account of the relations between heaven and earth seemed much more biblical and realistic, i.e., it accounted for human experience.
In sem (WSC) I read more and discovered that my earlier politics were the product of an over-realized eschatology combined with ressentiment (envy). I had institutionalized envy, a violation of the 10th commandment and attempted to make a virtue of it. I began to move toward a more libertarian politics.
I’ve also been influenced by my reading of the NT and 2nd century (early patristic) approach to social issues: Christians said virtually nothing about the social ills of the day. There’s not a shred of evidence in the NT that the church as institution or as organism addressed the grave social and economic inequalities of the period. Their chief request of the authorities was to be left alone to live quietly, “in all godliness.”
The closest thing to advocacy for social change that one might find in the NT is the fairly subtle suggestion in Philemon that perhaps Christians ought not to own other Christians but even then it’s not terribly overt. Scripture seems to assume that private property is a fundamental natural right. In Matt 28 our Lord speaks of the “ο κυρις του αμπελωνος (master or owner of the vineyard). without a hint of irony. The point of the parable is that the owner of the vineyard may do with it as he pleases. Without an owner/owned relation, without the assumption of private property, private ownership of the means of production, without employer/employee relations, the parable doesn’t work.
The same is true throughout the OT. Abraham was a wealthy chief/king with vast property holdings and slaves. To be sure, I am reasonably confident that chattel slavery of the sort practiced in the US in the 18th and 19th centuries (and before in the colonies) is not the same sort of slavery condoned by Scripture but, nevertheless, slavery is clearly practiced and condoned in Scripture. As I said, I’m not a theonomist, I’m Reformed. We confess that the Mosaic covenant has expired and has been abrogated (WCF 19) but there is a “general equity” (i.e., natural law or “light of nature” that exists before Moses, under Moses, and after Moses.
The community of property practiced by the apostolic church was a voluntary, private, temporary, ad hoc response to particular conditions. It was never intended to be instituted generally and certainly not by the state!
The early patristic church took the same approach. Here I’m particularly influenced by the Epistle (or Treatise) to Diognetus (perhaps by Polycarp) c. 150 AD. He lays out as clearly as anyone in the period how Christians related to the broader culture (chapter 5). I’ve quoted it a few times on the HB. Here’s an intro. Here’s a section from chapter 5 that I find particularly instructive:
For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of humanity by country, language, or custom. For nowhere do they live in cities of their own, nor do they speak some unusual dialect, nor do they practice an eccentric way of life… For while they live in both Greek and barbarian cities, as each one’s lot was cast, and follow the local customs in dress and food and other aspects of life, at the same time they demonstrate the remarkable and admittedly unusual character of their own citizenship. They live in their own countries but only as nonresidents, they participate in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign country is their fatherland, and every fatherland is foreign. They marry like everyone else, and have children, but they do not expose their offspring. They share their food but not their wives. They are in the flesh, but they do not live according to the flesh. They live on earth but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws; indeed in their private lives they transcend the laws. They love everyone, and by everyone they are persecuted.
The writer to Diognetus understood a distinction that, for much of modern Reformed history, has been lost: the distinction between the visible church as the chief expression of the eschatological ['end times'] kingdom of God on the earth and civil society as a proximate, penultimate society. He harbors no illusions about human perfectibility nor is he a radical. He’s not in the streets demanding anything. He only prays that the magistrate will stop killing Christians long enough to realize that we are no threat to the existing order. He’s no anarchist because he understands the difference between the now and the not yet. Anarchism is premised on a conflation of the two in the civil sphere. That’s why the Reformed denounced the Anabaptist riots and their refusal to participate in civil life: both were grounded in an over-realized eschatology (as was their refusal to baptize infants).
There’s a sketch. A blog is obviously no place to do more than that I but I hope it helps.
Another Easter passes and, with it, no shortage of Episcopal Church closures in the United States.
Americans of a certain age remember the friendly signs with the Episcopalian shield which read:
The Episcopal Church welcomes you
Those, sadly, will go the way of the Burma Shave signs and the dodo.
Where we travel in the US, the Episcopal signs no longer exist. I wonder why … when all one has to read is Virtue Online (David Virtue, that is) for the latest closures:
Virginia City, Nevada – February 2013 – Please pray for the faithful as they struggle to keep St Paul’s the Prospector open:
Right now, the small parish, which was founded in 1861, is struggling to preserve its church, built in 1876 after the original structure was destroyed in the famous Virginia City fire of 1875. Attendance at Sunday services might number only a dozen or so people with a collection of $60 or so, said parishioner Helen Sundt.
Foremost on the list of things to do is to upgrade the church’s massively outdated electrical system. The cost of fixing it will run about $400, but only because a friend of the church is donating his labor, said the Rev. Ken Curtis, pastor.
Avon, Connecticut – December 2012 – Christ Episcopal Church closed:
The Rev. Halsey (“Chip”) Stevens III retired as priest-in-charge last December. Rev. Peter Stebinger has been serving as chaplain for Christ Church since then.
Canaan, Connecticut – February 2013 – This Christ Church hangs by a thread:
If, indeed, the church closes, the effect will ripple through the community. Its faithful congregants will be most directly affected, deprived of the spiritual comfort of a beautiful sanctuary where some of them were baptized and married. A classic stone church, based on the design of Richard Upjohn, the American architect who pioneered the restoration of Gothic architecture for American churches, its construction materials were dug out of Canaan’s rocky hills and it has been a defining presence in the center of Canaan for 168 years. Without its congregation it will become a hollow presence, another rent in the fabric of the town.
Erie, Pennsylvania – February 2013 – The Church of the Holy Spirit closed:
‘Sunday, February 10 is our last day of worship at our church at 501 West 31st Street. From this point on, we will be worshiping with the congregation of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church at 4701 Old French Road,’ said a terse statement at the church’s website.
Totowa, New Jersey – January 2013: Another Christ Church closed its doors after 91 years:
There are not enough parishioners and is not enough money to keep the church going, according to Reverend Mark Waldon, who leads the church.
There are 15 to 20 worshipers on any particular Sunday, he said. While the priest, who has been a member of the church clergy since 1969, can remember a time when there were about 75 church-goers on the typical Sunday.
Gerhardt attributes the decline in membership to the aging population of the church.
Or, perhaps, in some cases, there is something else afoot. The general timbre of the Episcopal Church, maybe?
With a tip of the hat to my Lutheran friend, Dr Gregory Jackson, we find spurious postmodern accounts of the Resurrection at no less than … the Episcopal Cathedral in Washington, DC, featuring their Bishop, Marianne Budde. An Episcopalian, Dr David Virtue (‘VOL’ below), has a go at the bishop.
Excerpts follow, emphases mine:
Washington Episcopal Bishop Marianne Budde, writing in her blog on the subject of Resurrection, opined that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus’ remains in it, the entire enterprise would not come crashing down.
VOL: Actually, Bishop it would. Our faith would be in vain and we would be of all men (and women) most miserable. St. Paul writes in I Cor. 15, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”
BUDDE: Someone once asked me if I thought the resurrection was necessary. He meant it in the most sincere way, as a person of both faith and doubt who wondered if we needed to be bound by so unreasonable a proposition that Jesus’ tomb was, in fact, empty on that first Easter morning. I hesitated in answering because there seemed to be layers of argument behind the question. My answer was yes, resurrection is the foundation of Christian faith, but probably not in the way he meant it.
VOL: What way is that, Bishop?
BUDDE: To say that resurrection is essential doesn’t mean that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus’ remains in it that the entire enterprise would come crashing down. The truth is that we don’t know what happened to Jesus after his death, any more than we can know what will happen to us. What we do know from the stories handed down is how Jesus’ followers experienced his resurrection. What we know is how we experience resurrection ourselves.
VOL: Total rubbish, Bishop. This is pure solipsism and subjectivism. (See above.) There were eyewitnesses to the event. The Bible says the risen Christ first appeared to Mary Magdalene and other women. Even the apostles did not believe Mary when she told them the tomb was empty. Jesus, who always had special respect for these women, honored them as the first eyewitnesses to his resurrection. Now I would have thought, Bishop that you, as a raging feminist, would have latched onto that if for no other reason than that women were the first to see and believe. The male Gospel writers had no choice but to report this embarrassing act of God’s favor, because that was how it happened. Your argument also completely ignores the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection that no serious theologian has ever really denied (and please don’t defer to Spong or Countrymen as they are jokes). St. Paul through Augustine to Cranmer, Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Billy Graham and Rick Warren and tens of thousands of archbishops, bishops and laity in between, have all affirmed the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Not a single Pope has ever denied it.
“How we experience resurrection ourselves…” could just as easily apply to ice cream or a good steak dinner. Building your argument on experience is as vacuous and empty-headed as a teenager announcing he’s hungry after quaffing down an entire 5-course dinner (with seconds) and then declaring that his experience tells him that he wants more.
One Episcopal theologian upon reading Bishop Budde’s take wrote to VOL, “Judicious, seemingly reasonable — and utterly inadequate. We ‘don’t know what happened to Jesus after his death’? Really? Why bother?”
VOL: Actually, Bishop, it is not our “self-consciousness” that is the problem. It is our SINFULNESS …
Your views border on the heresy of Docetism, Bishop, a view that held that the disciples thought his body had been actually reanimated. Docetism taught that Jesus only appeared to have a body, that he was not really incarnate, (Greek, “dokeo” = “to seem”). This error developed out of the dualistic philosophy which viewed matter as inherently evil, that God could not be associated with matter, and that God, being perfect and infinite, could not suffer. Therefore, God as the word, could not have become flesh per John 1:1,14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.. ” This denial of a true incarnation meant that Jesus did not truly suffer on the cross and that He did not rise from the dead.
The basic principle of Docetism was refuted by the Apostle John in 1 John 4:2-3. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”
There are at least seven proofs for the Resurrection Proof that would be well worth your while declaiming from the pulpit in Washington National Cathedral, bishop, and they are these:
#1: The Empty Tomb of Jesus
#2: The Holy Women Eyewitnesses
#3: Jesus’ Apostles’ New-Found Courage
#4: Changed Lives of James and Others
#5: Large Crowd of Eyewitnesses
#6: Conversion of Paul
#7: They Died for Jesus
If you don’t, Bishop, your diocese will continue to rot from the inside out and, in time, die.
Oh, yes, that is a very real possibility, indeed. This is why I urge readers to study the Bible, not their favourite popular authors’ opinions on the Bible. (That said, one will need solid commentaries by proper biblical scholars.)
A number of ignorant Episcopalian clergy wonder what is happening to their congregations. The alert, Bible-believing ones work to repair the damage in their own with scriptural preaching and pragmatic godliness.
It’s interesting that Virtue’s commenters linked ‘white women”s activities to closures, dating from the temperance movement of the 19th century to 20th century holy orders and, from there, to 21st century apostasy. Hmm. I’ll leave you to ponder that one.
My only riposte would be that, whilst I agree, there have been many men of different races who have travelled — and continue to pursue — that same road. I’ve known a few personally.
I realise that that Global South (‘developing world’) understands the clarity between good and evil much better than many Westerners do — partly because of their personal circumstances — but do they have an answer for Westerners balanced on a theological-philosophical plane? How can we in the West persuade our clergy out of the postmodern revisionism of the 20th century back to the eternal truth of Scripture?
If that sounded Episcopalian or Anglican, it was meant so to do.
This is where the Anglican Communion in the West finds itself in the present day.
Lord, who will answer?