Epstein and Company

Yes, know there has been a serious lack of free ice cream. Lots going on in life and in the world. The arrest of Epstein is interesting, and there will be some more serious posts soon dealing with some topics that branch out from it. For now, two quick points.

First, I would ask you to avoid using the term pedophile for him. Pedophiles are attracted to pre-pubescent children, and tend not to be gender specific (they will molest, rape, and abuse either gender). Technically, someone who goes after those who are pubescent to post-pubescent are Ephebophiles. They tend to focus on one gender. Yes, this distinction matters, both for the victims and for some of the larger implications.

Second, I was struck many years ago by a description from one of his victims that when she was used by one of his guests on a flight, that he would quiz her not only on what was done sexually, but what was discussed, the questions he asked, and apparently the answers to some questions that he had her ask everyone. In short, he debriefed her. He was gathering intelligence, and that implies that he has intelligence files on not just public movers and shakers, but on those not in the public eye who have considerable influence shall we say. You didn’t get invited on a flight or to one of his properties off the street — such was offered to those who counted. Which makes me wonder what, besides alleged child porn, was found on his computers and servers… This is potentially huge if nothing happens to derail the process.

Think about that a bit, and about the pressure that has been, and likely is being, brought to bear to get him free and to keep the information he has on very important people safe. Some in the media are saying there’s too much light now, too many people looking, for anything to keep this from going forward and the information coming out. Bull. Desperate people can and will do desperate things, and trust me there are more than a few powerful people out there desperate to shut this down. I hope that it all does come out, but will believe it when I see it. Meantime, the best and safest thing for him is to remain in custody and under guard. He should probably still hire a food taster and run a geiger counter over his salt shaker, just to be safe…

You Can’t Stop The Signal, Though Big Tech Is Trying

Though no surprise that YouTube, owned by Google/Alphabet Inc., pulled down the latest video by Project Veritas that showed them engaging in election interference, I’m sad to see that Vimeo has joined them. The video in question is up on other sites, and it is worth watching. Putting it below just for the grins of it.

Meantime, Vimeo is off my list of potential YouTube replacements. Yes, I am looking at moving/reposting all videos on one or more alternate services as soon as possible. BitChute will get checked out, as if they PO’d PayPal that sounds like points in their favor…

Google Censors Expose Revealing Intent to Interfere In Election

There has been a growing amount of coverage of the intent by some in Big Tech to interfere in the upcoming elections to prevent the “Wrong” candidate from winning ever again. In fact, there is a good bit of coverage of that sentiment in several departments of Google. Project Veritas has just done a major expose on this — and to no surprise Google has censored the video from YouTube (which it owns). So, I urge you to go check out what is up at Project Veritas, and you may also want to check out this post at American Greatness. Hat Tip to Instapundit, who might (maybe?) possibly have a book out dealing with this that you may want to check out if it is out yet…

Meantime, here is the Project Vertias. Note to Google: You can’t stop the signal.

The Assassination Of Forgiveness

The Assassination of Forgiveness 

In watching the news, I’ve noticed several stories where past words or actions have cost people jobs, college acceptances, and more.  It doesn’t matter how many years ago the words or actions took place, the person must be punished now.  

There have been some good and interesting points raised in response.  A common theme on the conservative side is that it is part and parcel of being a post-Christian nation.  A more libertarian approach has been to lament that one can dig back far enough on anyone to find something, and that we really need to stop doing this.  A more rational approach has been to point out that people can learn and grow, and that as such we should not hold the past against the person that exists now.  

The idea of forgiveness is not new, nor is the related concept of rehabilitation.  However, neither has been the norm for much of the history of the world.  Hammurabic and other ancient codes focused on vengeance rather than forgiveness and rehabilitation.  An eye for an eye was the norm throughout most of the world.  

Indeed, the laws of many ancient societies were quite draconian by modern standards.  Slavery and death were widely used punishments, and the actions of one could land a whole family in permanent slavery that extended to offspring.  Torture and maiming were more “moderate” responses for many.  

The key is that any such marked both individuals and family units.  Examples were made so that you saw the lifelong consequences of breaking the law.  There was very little forgiveness, and rehabilitation was largely limited to a minuscule amount that was of use to the governments/leadership in question.  Such rehabilitated were, with certain rare exceptions, never fully trusted again.  

While you can find at least some small amount of forgiveness and/or rehabilitation in some minor philosophies/religions around the world, it truly did not become widespread until the rise of Christianity.  

While forgiveness is a key point to Christianity, rehabilitation is an inferred point.  An inferred point that came to have a huge impact.  

The idea of forgiveness come from Judaic beliefs as outlined in the Old Testament.    A recurring theme is God forgiving his people when they (repeatedly) screwed up.  Which we did (and do) on a regular basis.  This led to the concept of forgiving others who wronged us.  In the Gospels, Jesus expands on this and makes it a formal part of the New Covenant:  as God forgives you your sins, so too should you forgive those who wronged you.  

There is, of course, a lot more too it than that, but this is a column and not a theology dissertation.  I’m just hitting the high points, and am going to do the same for the other key point:  rehabilitation.  

The early Church was given the mission of spreading the Gospels and conversion, with Jesus formally passing  on the ability to forgive sins, as had he, to the Apostles.  Like the concept of Purgatory, the idea of penance grew out of a mixture of tradition (sacrifice to appease God and gain forgiveness) and inference from the words of the Apostles.  Forgiveness was not automatic.  Rather, it was earned by sincere repentance and by doing a task or tasks as penance (punishment) so as to earn that forgiveness.  

Punishment, repentance, forgiveness.  This was quite a concept, and it soon found use outside the Church and became, arguably, a major philosophical concept within the Enlightenment.  The idea that someone who had done wrong could be punished and then released to “sin no more” had appeal.  It allowed productive members of society to be retained (even if they had to move to escape the stigma) while keeping them from becoming a drain on society via crippling, etc.  Yes, I’m oversimplifying and skipping a few steps/centuries.  See above.  

This is a concept that has grown and evolved over the centuries.  It is important for many reasons.  Which is why it and related concepts are hated by authoritarian regimes/philosophies.  

At their core, Christianity and the Enlightenment (and yes, I know the Enlightenment was in many ways a reaction to the Catholic Church) are about the individual.  The Gospels make it clear:  the choice is yours to accept or reject Christ as your savior.  Yes, Christ died for the sins of the world, but the choice to accept that gift is left up to each individual.  The Enlightenment took things further, holding that each individual had both the capability and the responsibility for deciding what was right for them.  No kings or others needed, you can figure it out on your own.  A radical concept that still sits bad with some — I know at least one Catholic scholar who refers to it as “The Endarkenment.”  

For the purposes of my thesis here, both Christianity and the Enlightenment support individualism.  Which is why both are attacked, derided, and persecuted by those of an authoritarian stripe.  Which also extends to the concepts of justice, punishment/penance, and forgiveness that arise from both.  

Authoritarian regimes can brook no dissent and demand the individual be subsumed to the greater good that is the authoritarian state.  Religion is despised for many reasons, with Christianity despised above all because of that core of individualism as well as its allegiance to a higher power.  There can be no power, no religion, but the state and what thoughts it has right then.  

The same goes for forgiveness and rehabilitation.  Authoritarian regimes can’t afford to forgive and forget.  That enemy will always be an enemy, as if they break with any part of the system they break with all.  Therefore, examples must be made, and since authoritarian regimes must always have an enemy against which the people to hate and rage…  

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a master of this.  Dissidents and others were persecuted; those who broke the law became permanent examples to the rest.  A few political types were “rehabilitated” if they admitted they are wrong and the State/Party were right and to be obeyed — but they were never trusted again and a number seemed to fade away permanently not long after.  The National Socialist German Workers Party (yep, the Nazi’s) did it too.  

And today we see it again.  Once a thought criminal, always a thought criminal.  The concepts of personal growth, forgiveness, penance, and such are verboten.  The concept of context is verboten:  there is only wrongthink and it must be destroyed.  That it also eliminates all other outside reference to any other systems/civilizations/etc. is a benefit since no authoritarian regime/philosophy can last if there is anything else to which it can be compared (the Taliban and the Buddha’s), especially if that comparison can show that things were or could be better.  All speech, writing, art, broadcasts, thoughts, etc. must be controlled.  

There is more to this, of course, but this sets the basis for continuing discussions and explorations.  There is a very deliberate attempt to assassinate forgiveness and other key beliefs of Western Civilization.  What we are witnessing now, and have been for a while, are the opening volleys aimed at removing them from our lives.  

Trump’s D-Day Speech

No matter what side you take; no matter your opinion of the man; no matter what else you may “feel” about him/his election/etc. — this is an amazing speech. It reminds me in content of Reagan, though the delivery is delightfully his own. Again, no matter your politics you need to stop, watch, listen, and think.

David Bellavia To Receive Medal of Honor

Long-overdue, and well deserved. To those who don’t know him or his story, allow me to recommend:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2019
President Donald J. Trump to Award the Medal of Honor
 On Tuesday, June 25, 2019, President Donald J. Trump will award the Medal of Honor to David G. Bellavia for conspicuous gallantry while serving as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. 
             
Then-Staff Sergeant David G. Bellavia will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions on November 10, 2004, while serving as a squad leader in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq.  Then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia was clearing a block of houses when his platoon became pinned down.  He quickly exchanged an M16 rifle for an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, entered the house where his squad was trapped, and engaged insurgents, providing cover fire so that he and his fellow soldiers could exit safely.  A Bradley Fighting Vehicle arrived to help suppress the enemy, but it could not fire directly into the house.  Then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia re-entered the house, armed with an M16, and assaulted insurgents who were firing rocket-propelled grenades.  He proceeded to kill one insurgent and wound another, who then ran to another part of the house.  Then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia was soon engaged by another insurgent rushing down the stairs when the previously wounded insurgent reemerged to engage him as well.  Then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia returned fire, killing both attackers.  He then took enemy fire from an insurgent who had appeared from a closet across the room.  He pursued him up the stairs and killed him.  Soon thereafter, he moved to the roof where he engaged and wounded a fifth insurgent, who fell from the roof of the building.  That remarkable day, then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia rescued an entire squad, cleared an insurgent strongpoint, and saved many members of his platoon from imminent threat.
 
PERSONAL BACKGROUND:
 
David Bellavia enlisted in the United States Army in 1999.  After previously serving in Kosovo, he deployed to Iraq in 2004 with Company A, Task Force 2-2, 1st Infantry Division.  He was released from duty on August 16, 2005.  David now has his own daily radio talk show for WBEN in Buffalo, New York.  He continues to serve the military and veteran communities through a number of philanthropic organizations. 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION THE MEDAL OF HONOR:

The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their own lives above and beyond the call of duty while:engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; orserving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life.  There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

Further Confirmation Leaving Facebook Was The Right Decision

Having left pretty much all social media, I missed the “huge” tizzy about a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi. It is reported to have been dropped in frame rate (speed) and had some audio tweaking done to make her sound even more out of it than normal as a bit of satire. Making fun of politicians of all stripes has been a tradition in American even from before the founding of the Republic.

Apparently, that is no longer allowed; rather, it is no longer allowed in regards one party. To do so brings down the wrath of those who think themselves our betters and the fit masters of all. In this case, Kevin Poulsen of the Daily Beast, who took it as his mission to dox the poster. He did so, and he did so with the apparent help of Facebook. Note, this is not that he used Facebook to learn the name of the person alleged to have first posted the video. Instead, Facebook the institution/business/whatever apparently worked with Kevin to reveal the private identity of a user. Why they would do so, other than for political motivations, is one of several questions that need to be asked of Facebook.

You can read about the doxxing here; read the response of the person identified — wrongly according to him — here (and here’s hoping he does sue Poulsen, The Daily Beast (no link love here), and Facebook; and, you really do need to read this reminder that you are not a customer to Facebook, but a product to be used and sold.

So glad I left, wish I had done it sooner.