Category Archives: Culture Wars

Information Warfare, both foreign and domestic

The other day, I mentioned that the timing of the Seth Rich conspiratorial story, that alleged Rich leaked the DNC  emails to Wikileaks, smelled like more Russian influence efforts to get the Right latching onto this and cast doubt on the Trump/Russian collusion stories.  Assuredly, the mainstream media and Dems have way overplayed and sensationalized the Trump/Russian connections too, but the timing of the Rich story was odd.  The story originated with a FOX news affiliate and the entire story fell apart under closer examination, but when the story broke, The Drudge Report had that headline emblazoned across the top all day.  Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh believed and hyped the story, without any fact-checking.  Hannity clung to the story, even when it was obvious the story has no factual basis.

So, the story was intended to get Trump, his mouthpieces and the Right frothing against, not only Democrats, but also to distrust the FBI and American intelligence agencies… again.

Here’s what I suspect is going on and yes, it’s a conspiracy theory too:

Remembering timelines is important and adding new information into the timeline, as you come across it and remembering that timelines don’t end – the story always continues.  The Russians aren’t idly sitting on their hands now or declaring victory with Trump’s election, they are still busy with their information warfare efforts in America – to create chaos, to undermine the American political system, to damage America’s image in the world and to destroy the American people’s trust in their own government.

I suspect FOX News has been a tool the Russians exploited for Russian influence operations since it opened shop in America.  I suspect the same thing with The Drudge Report, which came onto the scene with breaking the Lewinsky scandal.  The Drudge Report has never invested in creating an appealing website.  Really, it’s a visually unappealing site, but it’s caché comes with what stories get highlighted at the top.   That America’s political class and media take The Drudge Report so seriously is why that site garners so much attention and has so much influence.  In recent years, The Drudge Report has worked to mainstream conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones and his “InfoWars” as a “news” source.   That Donald Trump, a believer in Alex Jones type “reporting” is now president is a boon to the Russian information war effort.

The rest of this post is all a repeat on what I term  a mass media saturation strategy, which came into being with the Clinton “war room” in the 1992 presidential election, so feel free to skip it if you’re tired of my repetitive messaging;-)

I believe this media messaging strategy is really information warfare ( a military swarming strategy juxtaposed to an information battlefield).  Since the Clinton impeachment scandal in 1998, I strongly suspect there is a strong, hostile foreign intelligence influence involved in manipulating American politicians, the American media and the American punditry circles.  The Clintons launched an all-out scorched earth information war to keep President Clinton from being removed from office.  To repeat, ad nauseam, here again are the components:

Here are the components:

  • Talking points and buzz word messaging, which are relentlessly repeated by both political operatives and the media. (mass brainwashing)
  • Mass media domination of the messaging, to control the 24/7 NEWS cycle, which requires mass media collusion.
  • Relentless repetition of polling data by both the political operatives and media, to facilitate the manufacture of opinion cascades (winning in all the polls)

It can NOT work without that media collusion.

Until Trump, with the help of FOX News collusion & Wikileaks leaks, only Democrats had successfully used this strategy.  The mainstream media colludes with the Democrats and political Left in America.

I’ve cover all of this many times before, so here are some interesting bits and pieces in this ongoing information war.  American partisans have blinders on and when it comes to “Russian influence”, they want to pin the Russian influence on their American political opponents.  Republicans will accuse the Dems of emboldening the Russians, because the Obama administration kowtowed to the Russians and Iranians, to secure the Iran deal and because President Obama did not take an assertive American posture in dealing with America’s adversaries.

Trump, although it’s doubtful he was actively “colluding” with the Russians, he assuredly welcomed the Russian influence efforts, because they were benefitting him.  Trump also took a hostile approach toward American intelligence agencies and the FBI, who were working to thwart and expose the Russian influence efforts.  If there is actual Russian collusion within the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, I would expect the Russians to operate using third-party intermediaries, so they can maintain complete deniability and to mask their collusion.  In fact, I would not be surprised if the intermediaries were not even aware they were being manipulated to promote the Russian information warfare memes and messaging.

Like I said the other day, the Russians are many things, but being stupid enough to entrust a loose cannon, like Trump, who blurts and tweets everything based on whims,  with the knowledge of Russian operatives identities, seems very unlikely.  Anyone who trusts Trump is a fool, the same is true of Hillary Clinton, who would even sell Bill Clinton down the river to save herself… if he didn’t know where all the bodies are buried… so to speak.

Against this history of information warfare, which I wrote about on the Excite politics message boards during the Clinton impeachment scandal, when Trump entered the 2016 presidential race and the media started repeating he was the “GOP Insurgent”, immediately my “information warfare” antennae went up.

Initially, throughout most of the GOP primary all the cable news networks spent a great deal of time promoting the “GOP Insurgent” and they gave him millions of dollars in free media, in addition to endless coverage in their punditry air time.  In early 2016, a shift took place, as it became obvious Trump had the GOP nomination locked up.  CNN, MSNBC and major news outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post went “full fascist” mode, painting Trump as a dangerous fascist, while FOX news dug in on a 24/7 Trumpathon.

President Trump assures that the Left will stay in full-throated Trump Derangement Syndrome mode, that much of the Right will discount everything they say and that Trump, who truly is a LOOSE CANNON, will flail about and create chaos and mayhem in his wake.  Hillary Clinton would have been the same chaos, albeit in a less flamboyant way.  The Russians have the dirt on the Clinton Foundation money-laundering and assuredly they are sitting on all the emails from her home-brew server, which they would have wielded to blackmail her or leak to create political damage and hamstring her presidency.  There was no better choice between Trump and Hillary.

So, watch closely how FOX News has dismantled its Trump chorus, first with ousting Roger Ailes, now their star, Bill O’Reilly and it seems obvious Sean Hannity is on the chopping block too.  FOX News is now not leading the cable prime time.  I suspect there will be more critical reporting on Trump at FOX  in the near future, because the Russians want the Trump presidency to be an endless Reality TV, scandal-plagued nightmare, that makes America the laughingstock of the world.

The Russians don’t want a successful American president, who unites America.  We have had nothing but very extreme partisanship and a complete disintegration of shared American ideals since the 1960s counter-culture revolution, with a short lull during the early Reagan years, and then a downhill slide since the early 90s.

The mass media saturation strategy continues, as does the information warfare, both foreign and domestic.

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Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, Culture Wars, Foreign Policy, General Interest, Hillary's Email Scandal, Politics, The Media

Trump Derangement Syndrome and the Resist Contagion

The mainstream media and political Left have devolved into extreme Trump Derangement Syndrome, even more unhinged than their 8 years of Bush Derangement Syndrome.  Spasms of Twitter-induced, retweeting mass hysteria erupt almost daily.  The Washington Post and New York Times are destroying their credibility way more than President Trump ever could, by running one story after another, with anonymous sources, that later (often within hours), they have to retract or correct, as the stories fall apart.

It is obvious that some former Obama officials, some intelligence officials, some Democratic officials, and Clinton staffers are engaged in running a full-court press effort colluding with sympathetic journalists to run their “Resist” effort, which is a euphemism, that really means trying to incite public sentiment for the impeachment of President Trump.  It is more of the Clinton scorched earth mass media saturation to, overthrow President Trump.  Yes, that’s what “resist” really means when you work tirelessly to destroy and oust a legally-elected President.  None other than Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, publicly stated that the 2016 Presidential election voting showed no signs of foreign tampering, so if you are “resisting”, as in trying to manufacture public opinion through mass media saturation of ginned up negative stories about Trump/Russia collusion, in hopes of urging Congress to act to impeach a President,  you are trying to overthrow a President, by any means possible.

In numerous blog posts (listed in #Never Trump&NeverHillary, Above the Law, and The American Divide), I’ve covered all of this before, but here’s a list that covers where I’m at with the Comey firing:

  1. Comey acted inappropriately on July 5th when he publicly exonerated Hillary Clinton and introduced his made-up “intent” provision in the law on mishandling classified information.  Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, after her totally inappropriate meeting with former president, Bill Clinton, in Phoenix, the week before Comey’s press conference, placed Comey in a difficult situation.  She did not recuse herself, but said she would accept Comey’s recommendation.  Comey rolled over and gave a recommendation with his “no criminal intent” statement.  He should not have even given a press conference, but should have turned over the investigation findings to the Department of Justice.  He should have said, “making a recommendation is not in my purview.,” and thrown the ball back into Loretta Lynch’s court.  As soon as Comey rolled over, Lynch came out and announced she was accepting Comey’s recommendation and closed the investigation.  That was a media farce played ON the American people.
  2. Comey reopened the investigation in October, due to internal FBI pressure from evidence brought to his attention in regards to the Weiner investigation.  Huma Abedin had sent Clinton emails to Weiner’s laptop, some of them containing classified information.  Comey sent a letter to Congress to inform them, but that letter was immediately leaked to the media.
  3. Democrats and their mouthpieces in the media screamed that Comey needed to be fired.  All sorts of leaks poured out of the FBI in those days the Clinton email investigation was reopened, like leaks about ongoing criminal investigations in several states into Clinton Foundation corruption.  Everyone from Nancy Pelosi to Elijah Cummings was screaming that Comey should be fired and that the FBI was just a bunch of “Trump fanboys”.
  4. Comey closed the reopened Clinton investigation and the media moved into high-gear with the Trump/Russia collusion story
  5. Trump will say or do anything, much of it seemingly based on how he reacts to media coverage of himself.  Trump seems very obsessed with looking “strong”, “tough”, “smart” and “a good leader”.  He loves to play games and manipulate people, especially manipulating his aides vying for his favor and manipulating journalists and pundits, who went all-in on running the Clinton scorched earth propaganda campaign during the election.
  6. The Clinton campaign ran and continues to run a scorched earth media effort to destroy Trump.
  7.   Wikileaks appears to be a Russian front operation.  Putin appears to have made a calculation to interfere in the US election by leaking information that not only damaged Hillary Clinton, it discredited the media as being little more than an arm of the Democratic Party, colluding to run Clinton talking points and aiding in advancing the Clinton campaign’s media strategy.  Many prominent journalists sat on negative Trump stories during the GOP primary, holding them to unleash in the general election to aid Hillary Clinton.  They were active participants in the Clinton scorched earth effort to paint Trump as a fascist and bury him in dirt during the general election.  Wikileaks released numerous stolen emails between journalists and DNC officials/ Clinton staffers showing media collusion to advance the Clinton campaign’s media messaging.
  8.  President Trump, both in the campaign and as president, has made many disturbing comments, from praising Wikileaks and Putin, to disparaging US intelligence agencies.
  9.  President Trump has several associates, who have been involved in his 2016 campaign and/or cabinet, who have some disturbing connections to the Russian government.
  10. There is reporting that the FBI recently requested more resources for their Russian interference in the 2016 election/Trump associates’ connection to Russians investigation, thus raising serious questions into the timing of Trump’s firing of Comey.

Does any of this amount to collusion with the Russians or treason?

Nope

But it sure does indicate a need for more investigation.

Kevin Williamson, at National Review,  covered it way better than I could:

No, It is not ‘Treason

And as a final reminder, with the Left it always boils down to redefining what words mean and that is part of a very long effort in their long march through our institutions, which I have written about many times, like here, here, here and here.

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Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, Culture Wars, General Interest, Hillary's Email Scandal, Politics, Public Corruption

Musings on motherhood

Women, from all political sides,  get so hostile and defensive whenever modern feminism is challenged.  Most American women have completely bought into modern feminist dogma, ready to do battle for “equal rights” for women in the workplace and “women’s rights” issues, as defined by feminist mouthpieces.  The few women who don’t cling to modern feminist dogma, usually cite fundamental religious beliefs of various stripes as defining their views on marriage and family.

It’s hard to say anything that counters some of the very negative consequences modern feminism has had on children, families, women, men, marriage and male-female relationships.  And most glaringly, it’s taboo to mention the negatives that modern feminism has spawned culturally, because to do so has to mean you’re misogynistic, trying to keep women down, a right-wing zealot, a hater, or just a meanie.

The issue isn’t about women working or staying home, the real issue is how traditional families were grounded in providing a safe, stable environment to rear children.  Absent a stable family, children end up unruly, undisciplined, at risk to all sorts of dangers being unsupervised and unmoored to any values, and totally at prey to the vagaries of pop culture and peer pressure.

People today define their lives in terms of personal happiness, rather than in issues larger than themselves.  That is what I mean, when I refer to the “I” culture.

Above all else Americans are consumed with finding “happiness” and doing whatever makes them “happy”.  America was grounded in a belief in individual liberty, but the “pursuit of happiness”, that most Americans believe means that they are free to do whatever they want, is not what the clause “pursuit of happiness” really means.

James R. Rogers, department head and associate professor of political science at Texas A&M, writes:

““Happiness” in the public discourse of the time often did not simply refer to a subjective emotional state. It meant prosperity or, perhaps better, well-being in the broader sense. It included the right to meet physical needs, but it also included a significant moral and religious dimension. In correspondence between James Madison and James Monroe in 1786, Madison notes that “happiness” cannot simply be identified with meeting people’s interests, but includes a higher reference:

There is no maxim in my opinion which is more liable to be misapplied, and which therefore needs elucidation, than the current one that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong. Taking the word “interest” as synonymous with “ultimate happiness,” in which sense it is qualified with every necessary moral ingredient, the proposition is no doubt true. But taking it in its popular sense, as referring to the immediate augmentation of property and wealth, nothing can be more false.”

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2012/06/the-meaning-of-the-pursuit-of-happiness

While assuredly, women, just as men should follow their dreams and pursue whatever careers they choose, when one becomes a “parent”, personal happiness must take a backseat to duty to your child.  This sense of duty has become very muddled by modern feminist dogma, where at every turn, there is a promotion of government-funding of childcare, devaluation of mothers who stay-at-home to care for their children and relentless glorification of “women-who-have-it-all”.

The complete devaluation of stay-at-home mothers has led to many women who are stay-at-home moms to not take their duties seriously and to put little real effort into rearing their children.  In turn, many (perhaps even most) men do not take stay-at-home mothering as a serious undertaking.  Instead, many men will respect career women, but disparage stay-at-mothering and equate it to sitting at home watching soap operas.  Modern feminists have worked diligently to promote this image of stay-at-home mothering, as not worthy of respect or dedication.

If you want to be completely discounted as someone worth listening to, be a homemaker. Hardly anyone takes homemakers seriously, even most homemakers themselves, where most of them feel compelled to list other things they do besides caring for their family, that their situation as a homemaker is just temporary, or that they are engaged in some other activities pursuing a career.

Devotion to taking care of your children and home, as serious work, should be promoted as real work and worthy of dedication.  This applies to stay-at-home mothers and to working mothers.

That taking care of  your children and creating a stable home environment should come before your own “happiness”, escapes many men and women today.  The concept of  duty to your children, as the preeminent responsibility as a parent doesn’t even register with many parents and in our consumer-focused culture, the fixation on buying children more “stuff” substitutes for meaningful dedication to teaching children values and manners.

The fact that many mothers don’t really define their primary duty as caring for their children, but rather in terms of career and personal happiness speaks to the success of modern feminism at working systematically to destroy traditional family structure.  It is as much a “long march through the institutions” as communism and other progressive ideologies.  All of them strive to tear down western civilization and replace it with their socialistic utopias (nanny state solutions), under the guise of people being “happy”.

It’s all about breaking through “glass ceilings” and cheering on the “first woman” to achieve another career milestone. Sure, it’s nice that women can pursue whatever careers they choose, but biological reality has not changed and neither has the real necessity that children require devoted, dutiful parents to place caring and nurturing them to adulthood, as the single most important duty of their life.

This isn’t about choosing either a career or staying at home, it’s about that however mothers manage their lives, dutifully caring for their children should be the top priority, not their own  “happiness”.

Motherhood is the most important job you will ever have.  Take it seriously.

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Filed under Culture Wars, General Interest

The Men

Fitting with the family topic, here’s a really interesting article at National Review:

The Revival of American Masculinity Starts at Home

This fits in with a theme covered in several previous LB posts:

Gimme a knife, an essay by my friend, Gladius Maximus

Survival: the Mind-set

Where have all the real men gone?

Gentlemen: America’s endangered species

 

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When everyone gets a gold star

” In the days when all properly brought up little American girls stitched their samplers, as all little boys did their chores, they wrote verses in each other’s Autograph Albums to record the eternal friendships of first days in school.  Their careful Spencerian penmanship is faded now on the brittle pages where you read two verses often repeated, the first usually signed by Abner or Joseph, the second by Eliza or Phoebe:

When Duty whispers low, “Thou must,”

The youth replies, “I can.”

And

Straight is the line of Duty,

Curved is the line of Beauty.”

p. 52, chapter on Cross-Stitch, Woman’s Day Book of American Needlework, by Rose Wilder Lane, published in 1961

The oft repeated line for little boys comes from an 1863  Ralph Waldo Emerson poem titled Voluntaries.  Sage Stossel, in a piece in The Atlantic explains that the poem, “paid tribute to those prepared to sacrifice all for the sake of the Union. The final four lines of the stanza below are among Emerson’s most famous, and have been inscribed on veterans’ memorials around the country.”  That “Duty” the above verses speak to is a concept America’s founding fathers embraced and which J. Rufus Fears, the late historian and professor of Classics at the University of Oklahoma, described simply as:

“Civic virtue: The willingness of the individual to subordinate himself to the good of the community.”

In previous posts I’ve expounded on the demise of civic virtue in America and how it all begins in American families and communities, where the seeds of civic virtue must be planted and nurtured.   We have child-rearing experts, from child psychologists to educational professionals to celebrity experts and yet in bygone eras, most people, with few resources, managed to train and educate their children to be citizens of good character.

For a needlework book, Rose Wilder Lane, managed to explain a great deal of American history, along with the history of American needlework.  In the chapter on Cross-stitch, Lane offered photos of several American samplers, which young girls stitched to both learn how to stitch and as a future reference for various stitches.

Many of the samplers contain the girl’s name, age, and the year the sampler was stitched.   Some of the most beautiful samplers were stitched by girls  as young as 9 or 10 years old.  These girls designed their own samplers and diligently stitched them as Lane describes:

“Dutiful those little girls were required to be, silently repressing their rebellion while they did their daily “stint” of stitching that must be done before they would be allowed to play.  And the beauty of their work is in its four-square character, strictly faithful to the straight line  Yet, it is a gentle beauty, for in the beholder’s eye the straight line becomes a curve of vines and flowers, of woodland bird and rabbit and deer and of the darling dog and the long-tailed mouser on the hearthrug

So those grim hours of duty unexpectedly produced the deep joy of work well-done, a triumph earned by difficult self-discipline.”

p. 52, chapter on Cross-Stitch, Woman’s Day Book of American Needlework, by Rose Wilder Lane, published in 1961

Lane also describes a sampler completed by a girl, aged 14 and points out how that girl lacked self-discipline and should have been ashamed to produce such shoddy workmanship at her age.  Lane dissects how the girl began her sampler using harder stitches and patterns, which she abandoned for simpler stitches and poorly drawn motifs.  Lane attributes this to indulgent parenting and that the results show that girl was not required to do her “stint” of stitching daily.

The thing that Lane is referring to is the character-building beliefs and attitudes that created people like our founding fathers.

These beliefs dominated until progressive attitudes in the late 1800s gained a foothold and throughout the 1900s this new belief system trampled civic virtue.  The age of “I” took hold, where at every turn the belief, that above all else, “how you feel matters most”.   The suggestion, that there is value in self-discipline, self-restraint or self-sacrifice, in anything, will be met with anger and hostility.  You will be quickly cast as mean and a hater.

American academia is filled with nostrums to fix the social and political ills, that experts and pundits galore all agree are destroying America.  Most fixate on political panaceas rather than address the cultural attitudes and mores that produce our corrupt political morass.  It’s politically incorrect to point out the failures in parenting, the failures of individual citizens to learn civic values and live them, and the failures of the American spirit.  And into this self-indulgent culture, those who suggest “standards”  or behaviors that bolster the values, upon which civic virtue is built, will be attacked immediately as mean-spirited fascists.

In our schools, kids today are taught to care more about their own feelings than about learning to read, think, or acquire knowledge.  In the early 90s, our oldest daughter was in elementary school.  She wrote an essay and received a 100 as her grade on this pathetic effort.  I asked her teacher how on earth this essay deserved a 100 and the teacher acted like I had grown horns.  She lectured me about how important it is to encourage “creativity” and how I didn’t understand how fragile children’s emotions are, etc. etc.   For the record, children are completely self-centered and need to be taught how to care about other people.

The problem with my daughter’s essay was she used no capitalization and no punctuation and she sure isn’t ee cummings.  In addition her spelling was appalling, so it was almost impossible to make sense out of what she had written.  I knew my daughter could spell, write and use punctuation much better than her lazy effort.  When we got home, I told my daughter that despite what her teacher said, trying to do your best matters and that I knew she could write much better than that effort.

When everyone gets a gold star, a gold star means nothing.

I worked in Walmart almost 15 years, holding several positions, including being the department manager in fabrics and crafts a number of years.  Working in Walmart is like a social laboratory of American social pathologies, especially the fixation on “stuff”.   Speaking as a hoarder of craft and sewing supplies, I diagnosed my own bad behaviors years ago and am still working on gaining more discipline about my craft and needlework shopping habits.  The buying-too-much-stuff problem is a common behavior among way too many needleworkers, hobbyists, computer gamers, sportsmen, outdoorsmen and in every recreational pursuit.  Each pastime comes with a lot of “stuff” that we want.

Often, when talking to customers who were new to craft and sewing supplies, I would discuss what they were working on or wanted to work on and direct them to the supplies we carried.  I also would often direct them to websites or books where they could learn more about the basics of that particular craft or needlework.  There’s a mindset in America that has taken over quilting and needlework, that if you buy the “right” stuff (expensive frames, gadgets, fabric), you will be able to create beautiful work.  The entire building blocks, of learning the basics first and taking the time to practice those basics skills, are lost in the mindless pursuit of buying more and more “stuff”.

This same attitude prevails in the attention-seeking Reality TV culture and social media culture, where even thousands of cross-stitchers have their own floss tube channels, where they talk about their cross-stitch and offer support and encouragement to each other (mostly to promote mindless acquisition of more “stuff” and starting lots of projects).  Although, in the mix there are plenty of amazingly talented needlewomen out there.  For the record, I am just a competent cross-stitcher, who works hard to keep my stitches neat on the front and back of my work.  I have the build of a PA Dutch farm woman, as befitting my heritage, and I have large hands and wear a ladies size 11 shoe. Mine are not the dainty fingers of a needleworker.

Whenever I learn a new type of needlework, I try to learn the basics first and practice a lot.  My mother taught me simple rules about embroidery and I still follow them.  These rules are in the instructions in almost every cross-stitch kit and book too.  They aren’t my mother’s rules, but the time-tested standards for embroidery, of which cross-stitch is a popular type of embroidery.

Anywhere in social media, I run into issues stating facts or an opinion that offends someone or evokes anger, so it was no surprise to me that on floss tube, I would offend someone.  The prevailing attitude is it’s taboo to say anything is wrong, apparently, even when what people are promoting is not only wrong, it’s a recipe for disaster for new stitchers.  Some stitchers started a facebook group called “Stitch Maynia”, which began as some event in May, where they focus on starting a new cross-stitch project every day in May.  Their focus is all about starting new projects, not about finishing what they start. They believe they are promoting cross-stitching and doing something good.

There’s now also a common attitude among many stitchers that it doesn’t matter how the back of their work looks, it’s all about that stitching makes them happy.  If you don’t care that your work is sloppy and a messy back on needlework is sloppiness (that’s a FACT), fine, but once you have a facebook group and a floss tube channel, with thousands of followers, well, you can become a corrupting influence very quickly.  This happens with Reality TV stars constantly too.

I tried to point out to a fairly new cross-stitcher that from years of experience with needlework and crafting, that starting too many projects leads to lots of unfinished projects and also added stress.  To keep track of this madness, there are floss tubers waxing on about all their “WIPs” (works-in- progress) and the spreadsheets, stitch journals and stitching schedules, they are using to keep track of it all.  Into this chaos, they insist they love stitching and starting so many things makes them”happy”.  For a new stitcher, this approach assures lots of wasted money, lots of unfinished projects and lots of poor needlework.

There is no foundation, of focused practice and good stitching habits, upon which excellent stitching is built.

One of the ladies who promotes sloppy needlework at Stitch Maynia quickly tried to tell me I was wrong and that it’s all about being happy stitching and that the back doesn’t matter.  She also told me she has 20 years experience at cross-stitch.  I didn’t even bother to respond, because it’s lost on her.  She has no idea how sad it is to smugly state she’s proud of doing sloppy needlework for 20 years. Sadder still is most of these needlewomen, caught up in this “feel-good” ethos will follow her advice and believe I am mean for stating that standards in needlework (just like everything else we take pride in) matter.  She proudly told me Stitch Maynia has 9,000 followers.

People of good character, not government programs, build a society based upon civic virtue.

Good work habits matter.  

Practice matters.

Lazy, sloppy habits and work should not be cheered on or promoted, in tasks, whether small or large.

Learning self-discipline is the key to building good character.

It really is that simple.

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Filed under American Character, Culture Wars, General Interest, Things That Matter

A teachable moment

Over the weekend I saw a short news clip of a reporter interviewing attendees at a “Tax March” in CA.  They were asked what they were protesting.  Several gave various incantations of Trump is not their president, but one woman apparently had read the full march organizers’ talking points, judging by her list of invective against Trump and demands that he release all his tax returns.  This woman claimed President Trump is breaking the law by not releasing his tax returns.

She is wrong, of course, as there is no legal requirement that presidential candidates release their tax returns, although there is a tradition.

In typical leftist fashion, the Tax March came with its own symbolic gesture – the Trump chicken:

“Tax March, it turns out, also has an unofficial mascot: a giant inflatable rooster known colloquially as “Trump chicken.”

A Seattle-based illustrator completed a design in November for a company that wanted a statue for the Chinese New Year to commemorate the Year of the Rooster. The original 23-foot fiberglass statue was installed outside a shopping mall in northern China at a time when relations between China and the United States were especially strained.

An activist in San Francisco later came up with the idea of buying replica inflatable chickens for use in the Tax March, Ms. Taub said. She said the chickens were a “good symbol” for the march, both because she said Mr. Trump was too scared to release his tax returns, and because the chickens are more fun and entertaining than tax policy.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/15/us/politics/tax-day-march.html?_r=0

Most Americans live in a reality-based world, so they’re not paying any attention to the Left’s Trumper tantrums anymore.  These marches aren’t galvanizing millions of mainstream Americans to take to the streets.

Most Americans have accepted that Donald Trump is the President of the United States and even within the Left’s ranks there’s discord and growing disagreement about how to counter Trump and his agenda.

Far beyond the rancor of partisan politics in America, the very fact that most Americans still believe in following The Constitution and haven’t been swayed by the Left’s relentless efforts to overturn the 2016 election, through massive mass media propaganda efforts, sparks hope for America’s future.

Despite all the dumbing down in America’s schools and despite the wasteland of American culture, that most Americans still believe in playing by the rules makes me optimistic for America’s future.

Perhaps, the 2016 Presidential Election will turn out to be both, a pivotal and a positive, to borrow the Left’s catchphrase… teachable moment.

I am hoping for many more.

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Threads of Civic Virtue

“God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to defend it.”

– Daniel Webster, 1834

I’ve been spending more time sorting through sewing and craft supplies lately, trying to organize my sewing room, than following politics and the news. However, being an inveterate news junkie is a habit that isn’t easy to break, so I’m still reading some news online daily.  Watching the endless scorched earth battles of President Donald Trump pitted against the Left, the Democratic machine, and the mainstream media disgusts me and fills me with great concern for America’s future.  I wonder, “Who are we and what really matters to us?”

This post isn’t going to be about needlework, but needlework is the thread with which I’m going to try and sew the larger issue of liberty and personal sacrifice to preserve liberty into a blog post.

Through watching needlework videos from around the world on YouTube, I came across some “community” of counted cross-stitchers called “floss tube”, who post videos about their counted cross-stitch projects.  The usual floss tube video seems to be about an hour, divided into sections of show and tell about finished projects, works-in-progress (WIPs), and “Haul” (more cross-stitch junk purchased).  Then there are a few floss tube contributors, like the expert needlewoman , Mary Rose, named after Mary, Queen of Scots, who present much shorter, highly educational and deeply thoughtful videos that deal with much larger life lessons.

The poem she is referring to is a poem, The Life That I Have, which she stitched and is combining with a floral design.  Sounds silly and pointless, until you consider the poem:

The text of the poem, by Leo Marks:[1]

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours.
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause.
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Life_That_I_Have

Mary Rose explains the history of the poem and how it became famous, in the WWII movie, Carve Her Name with Pride, which is based on the true life story of British spy heroine, Violette Szabo, who was just an ordinary young woman working in a department store in London at 19:

“Just four years before, she was Violette Bushell, a pretty, Paris-born girl selling perfume at the Bon Marché department store in South London. Then she met Etienne Szabo, a charming, 31-year-old officer with the French Foreign Legion, at a Bastille Day parade, and they married five weeks later. But Etienne soon shipped off to North Africa, where General Erwin Rommell and his Panzer divisions were on the move through the sands of Egypt. Szabo was killed in October 1942, during the Second Battle of El Alamein. He would posthumously receive the Croix de Guerre, the highest French military award for bravery in battle, but he would never see his daughter, Tania, born to Violette in London just months before he died.”

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/behind-enemy-lines-with-violette-szabo-1896571/#6ADyiWlgBSWG0i4T.99
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This young WWII widow, with a young daughter,  joined the British Special Operations Executive (SOE).  She was captured by the Nazis after being injured parachuting into France on a mission.  She was executed in 1944 in the German concentration camp, Ravensbrück.

The poem above is a poem code, which Leo Marks used as Violette Szabo’s code to send messages.  Leo Marks was a British cryptographer in World War II.

Violette Szabo, didn’t have the education or background to be a likely choice for a SOE agent, but in that day recruiters for the SOE were looking for unique people, with unique character and skill sets.  The Smithsonian Magazine article, Behind Enemy Lines with Violette Szabo, describes her:

“…she was fluent in French and, though just 5-foot-5, athletic and surprisingly strong for her size. She was already a crack shot in a family comfortable around guns and target practice; under rigorous SOE training, she became an accomplished markswoman. Reports described her as a persistent and “physically tough self-willed girl,” and “not easily rattled.””

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/behind-enemy-lines-with-violette-szabo-1896571/

Like so many of her generation, Violette Szabo, knew liberty is precious and worth fighting to preserve.  How she lived though, by courageous self-sacrifice, says more than all the focus-group tested speeches, ever delivered  by self-serving, pompous, iconic feminist windbags, like Hillary Clinton.  This 23 year-old war widow, with a tiny daughter, parachuted into France and here’s how she conducted herself:

“Two days after landing, a car transporting Szabo to a rendezvous was stopped at a German checkpoint. With weapons and ammunition in the car, Szabo and the resistance fighter accompanying her had no choice but to open fire and try to flee in the confusion. Szabo twisted her ankle, but urged her companion to go on without her while she sheltered behind a tree and provided covering fire. According to two of her biographers, Szabo held off the German pursuers until she ran out of ammunition, when she was captured and taken away for interrogation, still defiant and cursing her captors.”

http://www.theweek.co.uk/64502/violette-szabo-how-ww2-heroine-earned-her-george-cross

How important messages are sent and received matters.   Leo Marks used his original love poem as a secret code.  Violette Szabo’s selfless courage speaks of a civic virtue, desperately needed, but rarely found in our rudderless trash culture these days.

In today’s world, where checking the “right” boxes for educational background and resumé or knowing the “right” important people matters more than actual character or talents, I doubt our intelligence “experts” would even notice the talents of a heroine like Violette Szabo.  Assuredly, assessing character is a rare ability in America, where the two major parties’ 2016 presidential candidates were both pathological liars and willing to say or do anything to win.  That millions of people cheer on two such morally-bankrupt characters speaks volumes about we, the American people, and what we think matters.

My blog is just my opinions.  When I write posts, often I walk away not sure I expressed what I really intended to say.  Storytelling isn’t my strong suit.  In fact, in most things in my life, I don’t have a great deal of talent.  That’s the truth.  I love needlework, but I’m not a “natural” at it and I don’t produce any heirloom-quality pieces.  Most of what I stitch are small or medium, not highly complicated patterns and I try to keep the back of my work as neat as the front.  My writing is much the same… a great love of writing, but not nearly the skills and talent, that I wish I had.  With just about everything I have done in my life, I had to practice… a lot, to become even halfway decent at it.  So, I stitch things that I like, even small, simple things, like this, that I want to turn into a small quilted wall-hanging for in my I love America room:

wp-1490373121466.jpg

Being willing to listen, with not only an open mind, but an open heart matters.  Often, not only messages come in surprising ways (like via a needlework video), sometimes they are delivered by highly unlikely messengers, like Mary Rose, sitting in her  “stitchblisscorner” chatting about needlework.




Here’s a link to a 2015 news story about Violette Szabo’s medals:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11755734/WWII-heroine-Violette-Szabos-George-Cross-fetches-260k.html

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