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Archive for the ‘The Week In Review’ Category

 

cinco de mayo battle of puebla

The Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862.

Welcome one and all to this year’s TWIR Edition Cinco de Mayo! For those of you not down with the whole Cinco de Mayo thing, it’s a Mexican holiday celebrating the Mexican army’s 1862 beat down of the French at the battle of Puebla.

While reading through the Wikipedia entry on the Cinco de Mayo, I found this interesting little bit,

Cinco de Mayo has its roots in the French occupation of Mexico, which took place in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48 and the 1858-61 Reform War. The Reform War was a civil war which pitted Liberals (who believed in separation of church and state and freedom of religion) against the Conservatives (who favored a tight bond between the Roman Catholic Church and the Mexican State).

The article doesn’t say where the liberals’ got their idea about the separation of church and state, but one would suppose that the US Constitution, ratified less than a century before, had at least some effect on their thinking.

Contrary to what the ACLU would like you to believe, the separation of church and state is a Biblical idea, one that took root in nations influenced by the Protestant Reformation. Long before Clarence Darrow showed up for the Scopes Monkey Trial, Calvinists were diligent about keeping government out of their churches and churches out of their government.

On the other hand, the Roman Church-State does not look too kindly on this idea. For Rome, church and state are one, which goes a long way to explaining the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. Roman prelates would find some poor soul guilty of heresy against Holy Mother Church, say, disbelieving the doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the mass, and then proceed to turn him over to the civil authorities who could carry out the “appropriate” punishment for the “crime.”

On a slightly less serious note, the Cinco de Mayo has become, in recent decades in the US, another excuse to party.

For example, when I went to the University of Cincinnati back in the day, there was this annual thing called the Cinco de Stratford. Stratford was a street near campus where a lot of the frat houses were located. And every May 5th they’d hold a big bash.

This was a long running event, until finally one year things got a bit out of hand. As I recall, the evening’s festivities turned into something of a riot, the crowning glory coming when some joker decided to set fire to a couch in the middle of the street. Neither the University fathers nor the Cincinnati cops were terribly amused. And that, as they say, was that.

But enough already about the Cinco de Mayo. Let’s look at the goings on from this past week.

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North-Korea-condemns-US-for-ICBM-launch-from-California

North Korea expresed outrage after the U.S. Air force announced the successful launch of an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile, the Minuteman III, on Wednesday.  Photo by Ian Dudley/U.S. Air Force/UPI.

Long long ago, in a strip mall far far away, nerdy teenagers used to hang out in now almost mythical places known as video arcades.

 

For a quarter, you could zap space invaders, blow up asteroids, or play the part of some Italian plumber named Mario.

I know all this, you see, because I lived it. Yes, I was a first generation gamer, tokens in pocket, hanging out with my fellow freaks and geeks in the backroom of Baker Street Books – yes, believe it or not, the local bookstore had a game room – to see who could get high score on Gorf.

In an age of Xboxs, 60 inch flat panel monitors, and online gaming, I suppose all that sounds pretty quaint. But this was the golden age of the video arcade, and we had a blast.

One of the most popular games from this period was Missile Command. The goal of the player was to protect his cities from being nuked by using anti-ballistic missiles to shoot down the enemy’s incoming ICBMs. If you lost your cities, it was, in classic video game lingo, GAME OVER.

In retrospect, I suppose a game like that, inspired by the Cold War as it was, served to add a bit a levity to what was the deadly serious, ever present threat of nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union.

And speaking of the Cold War, all the headlines about North Korea and nuclear bombs this past week brought back memories of those bad old days when we were regularly treated to newscasts featuring stony faced Leonid Brezhnev, massive eyebrows and all, watching columns of Red Army soldiers, tanks and missiles pass before his reviewing stand in the Kremlin.

Those same headlines also got me to thinking about the foolishness of America’s interventionist foreign policy, and how intervention, once the decision is made to start it, can take on a life of its own.

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FrexitYet another week has come and gone, and an interesting on at that. What is more, the week ahead has the potential to prove even more interesting, most and especially due to Sunday’s French elections. Let’s take a look at it.

To Frexit or Not to Frexit

For the past four years of so, every time there’s talk about such and such a country leaving the European Union (EU), the convention has been to tack the first letter or two of said country’s name to the word “exit” to describe the event.

As far as I’m aware, the first time this was done was with Greece back in 2012. At that time, it was common to hear talk about a Grexit (Greek exit) from the EU.

Brexit, British exit, was all the rage last year. An unlike the various and sundry other “-exits” threatened the past few years, it appears that this one actually will happen. The Brexit win in last June’s vote was a joyous occasion, almost enough to make this Yank break out into a chorus of Rule Britannia.

This brings me to the possibility of a Frexit, which as I’m sure you can guess by now is short for French exit from the EU.

The first round of the French elections will be held Sunday, with the top two vote getters moving on to the final round on May 7.

This year, the buzz is all about Marine Le Pen, representative of the National Front party, whose platform includes cracking down on Muslim immigration and removing France from the EU and the ending France’s use of the EU’s common currency, the Euro.

The polls are close, and not being much of an expert on French politics, I won’t venture to predict the outcome of Sunday’s vote. But I will say that if Le Pen succeeds in winning one of the top two spots Sunday, there is an excellent chance your 401(k) plan will take notice on Monday.

This is another way of saying that should Le Pen make it through to the final round of France’s presidential election, we’re probably looking at a period of significant market volatility over the next few weeks, by which is Wall Street code speak for “this sucker’s goin’ down.”

If Le Pen wins the final election on May 7, that likely will signal the end of the EU as we know it. Frexit will be on like Donkey Kong and the euro, the world’s second leading currency behind the dollar, may very well be a thing of the past.

Globalism in the sense of centralized world political authority, of which the EU is but one expression, is ultimately a doctrine of the Roman Church-State. That is to say, it is the product of the mind of the papal Antichrist, who hates self-governing, independent nation states, for they represent an affront to his majesty, power, and right to rule the world.

To the degree that globalism prospers, Rome rejoices. To the degree that it is rejected, the followers of Christ take heart.

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Trump_Syria_MissilesThis past week, what has it brought? Quite a bit and nothing good. At least that’s how it looks from where I sit. Among the gifts that came our way were a flip-flopping president, wars and rumors of wars, and the traditional IRS tax deadline.

Put Not Your Trust In Princes

The psalmist tells us, “Put not your trust in princes, not in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” Wise words those, and one’s that Christians would do well to heed when talking politics. And the words and actions of President Trump drove this point home this past week.

America First. That was a consistent motto of Trump the candidate.

This platform was not original with Trump. It hearkened back to the days prior to WWII when a movement by that name arose. The goal America Firsters was to keep America out of WWII.

In Trump’s case, it was a reference to the many ongoing conflicts the US has found itself in.

Trump made a number of excellent statements during the campaign about having better relations with Russia and ending America’s involvement in Syria.

Trump questioned NATO calling it obsolete. And he was exactly correct in doing so.

But this past week, Trump repudiated all this.

Late last week, on the flimsiest pretext, he lobbed 59 Cruise missiles at Russia’s ally Syria. This one act likely destroyed any hope of Trump ever repairing relations with Russia and embroiled the US deeper than ever in the Syrian conflict, a war which the US has no business fighting.

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Susan_Rice,

Susan Rice

The news came fast and furious this past week I seem to say that a lot, but the past seven days have been off the charts. Let’s take a look at it.

On Trump

It seems like longer than that, but it was just last weekend that alt-media superstar Mike Cernovich revealed that Obama administration official Susan Rice was the one who requested the unmasking of Trump transition team officials.

In March Trump sent and outraged tweet claiming that Obama “wiretapped” him, which prompted howls of protest from the mainstream media. Trump had no proof they said. What do they say now?

If one were to take the term “wiretap” in the strictest literal sense, then the revelations about Rice do not support Trump’s allegation. But if we understand “wiretap” as a general term for surveillance, then, yes, the story certainly does back up Trump.

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Happy April Fool’s Day! And good April Fool that I am, I find myself hard at work once again to bring you my weekly blogging awesomeness.

Well, okay. Maybe awesomeness is a little too strong. I’ll settle for weekly blogging not-too-horribleness.

At any rate, I am kinda pumped about this week’s topic, namely the Federal Reserve. In short, I’m fed up with it.

But more than that, there are few things in life that bring joy to my heart more than the thought of dishing out a good beat down to ne’er do well boys and girls at the dear Federal Reserve.

I find it, how shall I say….cathartic. Yes, that’s it! Cathartic! And since it’s been a little while since I’ve dissed the Fed, I expect that it will prove all the more so.

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Panopticon_5.jpgEnglish philosopher Jeremy Bentham is best known today for his utilitarian ethics, in which he posited that “the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the measure of right and wrong.” This of course is far from Christian ethics which posits that the law of God is the measure of right and wrong.

Perhaps less well known is that Bentham left directions that, upon his death, his body was to be publicly dissected and his head mummified.

His requests were dutifully carried out, and the philosopher’s mummified haed actually was for many years put on public display at University College London.

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Eventually, the head became the object of student pranks and was removed from public view.

The college administrators who made this decision apparently did not share Bentham’s utilitarian ethics. Had they done so, they would have been forced to leave his head on public display, subject as it was to all manner of abuse. After all, Bentham’s mummified noggin provided far more happiness to far more people when it was available to the student pranksters than it ever did after it was locked away.

But there’s another development for which Bentham is famous. Oddly enough, it’s for an idea he had for a new type of prison that he called the Panopticon.

In Bentham’s words, the Panopticon was,

A building circular… The prisoners in their cells, occupying the circumference – The officers in the centre. By blinds and other contrivances, the Inspectors concealed… from the observation of the prisoners: hence the sentiment of a sort of omnipresence – The whole circuit reviewable with little, or…without any, change of place. Once station in the inspection part affording the most perfect view of every cell.

Admittedly, Bentham’s design was rather ingenious. But the idea of an all seeing eye in a guard tower, men who had the power to obverse all while they themselves remained unobservable, that’s just a bit creepy.

Thankfully, we don’t have to deal with this kind of surveillance in our everyday lives. Or do we?

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