Democrats Seek Civil War, But Will Get Revolution | American Thinker

Democrats understand that an armed America can say, “No!” And they can’t have that.

Source: Democrats Seek Civil War, But Will Get Revolution – American Thinker

“Democrats conspired with foreign agents, lied, cheated, and denied due process to Donald Trump. If they were willing to do that to a duly elected president in order to obtain power, what should Americans expect them to do to them should they refuse attempts to be disarmed?” […]

“Democrats want this war.  Someone should tell them they should be careful what they wish for.”

I fervently hope and pray that it doesn’t come to that – that the worst may yet be averted. But if it does, I think this article is correct: the radical Left is going to get a radical surprise.

 

Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay | The Brookings Institution

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Source: Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay

I am still struggling, myself, to be honest; but back when I was really struggling, I used to (try to) make this point on a number of occasions, when well-meaning friends and relatives tried to tell me that “any job is better than no job.”

Well, no, it isn’t. If it doesn’t make ends meet, it may be worse than no job at all, b/c it may make you ineligible for public assistance… and you still can’t live on it.

People who have never been abjectly poor have no idea how horrible a position that is to be in, and it is often in many ways the “working poor” who have the worst of it, because they are overlooked by most assistance programs: “oh, they don’t need help, they have a job.” Not necessarily true!

This is also why I am not in complete agreement with Mike Rowe, although I respect what he’s trying to do. It is also why I am distrustful of many conservatives’ faith in “the market” to do the right thing: “the market” is made up of fallible, mortal – and often greedy and selfish – human beings, and these do not always do the right thing.

Yes, there are a good number of jobs out there, looking for workers. That is true. But many (most?) of them do not pay a living wage. In which case, what I wrote above kicks in…

[Note: Although many people do it, taking a second job – and sometimes a third – is not really a viable solution long-term, either. I am leaving aside short-term stints, to get extra money for holiday shopping, a vacation, or maybe to fund an unusual purchase; I am also leaving aside “hustling” to turn one’s sideline into one’s career.

I’m talking about working two or more jobs, consistently, to make ends meet. The more hours you’re working, the fewer you have to a) look for a better job, b) perform ordinary but necessary maintenance / domestic tasks, and c) get the rest and sleep you need in order to perform any job(s) at a high level of efficiency.]

As the linked article points out, two-thirds (64%) of low-wage workers are in their prime working years of 25 to 54; more than half (57%) work full-time year-round, the customary schedule for employment intended to provide financial security; and about half (51%) are primary earners or contribute substantially to family living expenses (FWIW, I am currently in all three of these categories).

We have a problem, here, as a society; and we need to work together, as a society, to find reasonable, workable, and effective solutions. The problem is, we’re largely talking past each other.

The Left wants to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, which has the effect of increasing automation, and forcing smaller businesses to lay off workers or even close. The neoliberal/libertarian Right says “just get a job” – which as both the article and my comments point out, isn’t necessarily, by itself, a viable solution to poverty.

I’m not sure what the solution is; if I knew, I’d be making tons of money, myself, from appearing on early-morning talk-shows and giving presentations to well-known think-tanks! But I do know we need to find one. If we don’t, the future looks dire, for a lot of people: and therefore, for society as a whole. This is important!

 


N.B. Perhaps this Chesterton quote, and the concept it embodies, may have relevance for us as we struggle toward a solution…

 

Iranian protesters in Tehran turn against regime after military admits shooting down plane | Daily Mail Online

Iranians protest against the government after a vigil held for the victims of Flight 752 turned into an anti-government demonstrations outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran
Iranians protest against the government after a vigil held for the victims of Flight 752 turned into an anti-government demonstrations outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran.

Iranians have gathered in the streets of Tehran to demand the resignation of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei after the regime admitted it had mistakenly shot down a civilian passenger plane.

Source: Iranian protesters in Tehran turn against regime after military admits shooting down plane | Daily Mail Online

To be honest, many Iranians have been “turned against” the regime for some years, now; but this is one more straw on the back of a well-laden camel. If it will prove the last straw, of course, remains to be seen… In any case:

The Islamic Revolutionary government of Iran has finally admitted to “accidentally” shooting down a Ukrainian airliner filled with mostly Iranian passengers on Wednesday (8 January), but 57 of the victims were Canadians of Iranian descent, and other nations were represented as well. In all, 176 people died. Tehran originally attributed the crash to “technical difficulties,” but that story quickly became impossible to defend.

Iranians shout slogans against the government after a vigil held for the victims of the airplane of Ukrainian International Airlines that crashed near Imam Khomeini Airport turned into an anti-government protest outside Amirkabir University

Now many Iranians are livid at the government, and despite the typical attempts at repression by regime forces, are making their anger known. The Iranian people have been on edge anyway, after months of demonstrations, and more recently the escalation in tension with the U.S.  stemming from the killing of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani (which seems actually to have been received with favor by many Iranians, despite the highly orchestrated funeral “mourning” imposed by the regime).

That action had been followed by an Iranian missile strike against (well, sort of “against”…) U.S. targets in Iraq that seemed rather carefully calculated to avoid U.S. casualties. And in fact, there were none, despite some 15-20 ballistic missiles being fired. While needing to “save face,” it looks very much as if the Iranian regime had no interest in provoking a further U.S. response.

And now this… The Daily Mail (UK) reports that

“Angry crowds gathered on Saturday night in at least four locations in Tehran, chanting ‘death to liars’ and calling for the country’s supreme leader to step down over the tragic military blunder, video from the scene shows.

“What began as mournful vigils for Iranian lives lost on the flight soon turned to outrage and protest against the regime, and riot police quickly cracked down, firing tear gas into the crowd. 

“‘Death to the Islamic Republic’ protesters chanted, as the regime’s security forces allegedly used ambulances to sneak heavily armed paramilitary police into the middle of crowds to disperse the demonstration.”

If the Daily Mail does not feel all that egg on their face, they should look in the mirror, considering that they swallowed hook, line, and sinker the Iranian regime’s reports of widespread grief and mourning over the death of Soleimani, as I noted in an earlier post.

Now we have Iranians – unrehearsed, unchoreographed, uncoerced – chanting “Death to the Islamic Republic,” calling for the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei) to step down, and (in English) “Mad, mad, dictator!” (referring to Khamenei). Hardly the actions of a people bowed with grief over the death of that dictator’s chief minion and enforcer! Indeed, this is more fuel on the fire of the Iranian people’s decades-long grievance against the regime.

A woman gestures during a protest against the government outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran on Saturday

“‘Our enemy is right here; they lie when they say it’s the US’ protesters were heard chanting in one video,” the article quotes one protester, noting that another wrote in Persian on Twitter, “‘I now believe the word of the Great Satan,'” an apparently ironic reference to a favorite term used by the Islamic Revolutionary government to refer to the U.S., since the days of the Ayatollah Khomenei.

“Protesters demanded that those responsible for shooting down the civilian plane be publicly tried and held accountable. The crowd also condemned the Islamic Republic’s paramilitary internal security force, chanting ‘Death to Basij’…

“Anti-regime factions said that the protests reflected the frustrations of Iranian citizens with the government corruption and oppression. 

“‘The protest by thousands of Iranians in Tehran burst the propaganda balloon of the regime regarding Qassem Soleimani’s elimination,’ [emphasis added] said Shahin Gobadi, spokesman of the anti-regime group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, in a statement to DailyMail.com.

“Gobadi said that the protests ‘showed the true sentiments of the Iranians and once again clearly proved that Iran is a powder keg and the Iranian people will not stop until the regime change.'”

Iranians protest against the government outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran on Saturday

It is not only the Iranian people who are outraged. Even Leftist Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “cast doubt on Iran’s claim that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jet,” the article notes:

“Trudeau said the shoot-down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 ‘is one of the issues that we certainly need better answers to,’ during a news conference on Saturday. ‘I am, of course, outraged and furious,’ Trudeau said of the crash, adding that whether the tragedy was an accident or not still needs to be determined.”

While it would not surprise me if Trudeau eventually accepts the Iranian regime’s assertion that one of their anti-aircraft missile batteries mistook the 737 for an American cruise missile – a dubious proposition, to put it mildly – the Iranian people are unlikely to be put off by such evasions.

The Anglophilic Anglican emphatically supports the Iranian people in their quest for freedom, justice, and self-determination.


Update (10:24 p.m. EST, 11 January 2020): Later reports indicate that the regime increased its efforts to break up the protests, after nightfall.

Riot police with shields and batons massed to disrupt the anti-government protests on Saturday night

“Screams were heard as regime forces fired tear gas at the protesters in a brutal crackdown after night fell… As night fell, riot police attempted to break up the protests with tear gas. Cops armed with shields and batons tried to disperse the crowds, and police fired water canons at protesters.”

As of this point, no indication as to how successful the attempts to break up the protests have been. Please join me in praying for the Iranian people.

 

The competing ethics of duty -v- self-interest misread by Harry and Meghan | Gavin Ashenden

Source: The competing ethics of duty -v- self-interest misread by Harry and Meghan | Gavin Ashenden

As reported by the BBC and posted on their Instagram page,

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex” – the above-mentioned Harry and Meghan – “have announced they will step back as ‘senior’ royals and work to become financially independent.

“In a statement, Prince Harry and Meghan also said they plan to split their time between the UK and North America…

“In their unexpected statement on Wednesday, also posted on their Instagram page, the couple said they made the decision ‘after many months of reflection and internal discussions.'”

Here’s an excerpt of that Instagam post:

After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.

“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.

To which Gavin Ashenden, the former Queen’s Chaplain who became a Continuing Anglican Bishop, and more recently “swam the Tiber” to Rome, responds (accurately, in my opinion):

“The announcement from Harry and Meghan will cause a variety of responses from the public. One of them will be sadness. There is a tragic element to the blinkeredness and immaturity that mistakes a bid for independence as ‘carving a progressive role.’

“It isn’t that at all of course. In reality it is choosing between two competing philosophies or ethics.

“One, which the monarchy is founded on and depends on, is a Christian one in which doing one’s duty on behalf of others takes priority over self-interest. The other is a concentration on self-interest and self expression (however it is justified) at the expense of self-sacrifice and duty.”

Indeed. There could hardly be more difference between their proclamation and that of Harry’s grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, in 1947, when she promised her people,

I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

That is the very definition of self-sacrifice and duty, and Her Majesty has lived it, as she promised, all her life long. Her devotion to her people, her realms, and the Commonwealth is unquestionable, as is her sense of duty. A shame it has not run true, through the generations.

Thankfully, HRH Prince William and Katherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William being second in line to the Throne following his father, HRH Charles Prince of Wales), seem rather more solid than the Sussexes. I hope and pray that proves to be the case!


N.B. – Also from the BBC article:

“Former Buckingham Palace press officer Dickie Arbiter suggested the decision showed Prince Harry’s ‘heart ruling his head.'”

I would say that is a pretty good condensation of the saga of Harry and Meghan, in general.

Iranian activist Masih Alinejad: The people of Iran did not mourn Qassem Soleimani’s death | Fox News

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Photo from a 2015 article on Masih Alinejad’s “My Stealthy Freedom” campaign.

Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad told Fox News Friday that the people of Iran did not mourn the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Source: Iranian activist Masih Alinejad: The people of Iran did not mourn Qassem Soleimani’s death | Fox News

Our own media, and many of our politicians, pundits, and talking heads, are all too quick to filter the news through their own anti-Trump biases, take Iranian (and other totalitarian) news media at face value, or both. So there is a narrative that Iranians are livid at the “termination with extreme prejudice” of Quds force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and that we have somehow awoken an Iranian sleeping tiger by killing him.

There is no question that the Iranian regime forces are livid – in part due to fear – or that they will attempt reprisals. We hold those truths to be self-evident. It does not necessarily follow that their public pronouncements speak for the ordinary people of Iran, many of whom would like nothing better than to chuck the mullahs and their minions head-first into the nearest river.

This interview, with Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad – best known for her campaign against the compulsory wearing of the hijab, called “My Stealthy Freedom” – shows that for many Iranians, at least, the death of Soleimani is a source, not of anger and sorrow, but of joy:

“Appearing on ‘America’s Newsroom’ with host Sandra Smith, Alinejad said that the Iranian media staunches ‘freedom of expression’ in the country.

“‘So, all you see in Iranian state television – state media – [is], like, showing some people took to the street mourning and showing their sympathy [towards] Qassem Soleimani,’ she told Smith. ‘But, the fact is this: many Iranians do not see him as a hero and if you go to social media, that they are very happy.’

“‘Why?’ she questioned. ‘Because they have been witnessing how [the] Revolutionary Guard killed people in the streets across Iran.’ Alinejad added that to many Iranians, Soleimani and the Revolutionary Guard are killers and torturers, responsible for acts of terror in much of the Middle East.”

When asked how she herself felt about the killing of Soleimani, she “said that while her dream was to see Soleimani and his cohorts in court, ‘this is what they had to face’ because they are responsible for the ‘misery’ in Iraq and Syria.”

Then there is this, from Baghdad, Iraq, where he apparently was not to popular, either! This video, from Ruptly, shows Iraqis demonstrating in the streets with great joy upon the news of Soleimani’s death.

“Protesters rallied in the streets of Baghdad to celebrate, hours after General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was reportedly killed during a US airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport, on Friday.

“Footage filmed in the early hours of Friday shows crowds gathering in the streets of the Iraqi capital to celebrate the attack, marching and waving Iraqi flags.”

Meanwhile, back here at home, we have the rabidly anti-Trump press thoroughly embarrassing itself in its coverage of the event… the mind fairly boggles.

 

Another one bites the dust: drone strike takes out Quassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian “Quds Force”

In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo provided by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qasem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, that Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport.

Yesterday, January 3rd, 2020, in a drone strike authorized by President Trump, US military forces took out Maj. Gen. Quassem Soleimani, long-time head of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRG) “Quds force,” just outside Baghdad in Iraq. The Quds force is a division which has been described as “primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations” (Wikipedia).

This is another way of saying “a terrorist force,” and Soleimani was a terrorist mastermind. A commentary essay in USAToday – far from a right-wing source – notes that “Iran, using Soleimani’s Quds Force as its spearhead, was responsible for more than 600 American deaths in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, 17% of all U.S. dead in that conflict.” I have seen accounts that put the number closer to 1000 American dead.

The essay – which notes that “Trump had been a model of restraint in the face of increasingly aggressive moves against American allies and interests by Iran and its proxies” – points out that

“The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds force which Soleimani commanded was a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, which gave its members the same status as al-Qaida, the Islamic State or any other such group. According to the Pentagon, Soleimani was actively planning attacks against American forces, something he had done many times in the past,”

and further notes that “Iran has been escalating conflict in the Middle East for years. Iran supports insurgent and militia groups in Yemen, Afghanistan, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, among others,” largely through the Quds force, and its commander, Soleimani.

That drone strike couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fellah.

Anyone who thinks it was a coincidence that Soleimani was in the Baghdad area at the same time as the US Embassy there was under attack by a pro-Iranian, militant Islamic militia, Kataib Hezbollah, is probably incapable of adding two and two, and getting four.

The Kataib Hezbollah militia – founded by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was also killed in the attack – is closely connected to Iran, Iraq’s next-door neighbor to the east; and it is one of the country’s most loyal proxies in Iraq, according to analysts. It is difficult to conclude that Soleimani was there to advise, perhaps direction, and – if things had gone differently – gloat over the capture of the American Embassy.

Regarding al-Muhandis (a.k.a. Mohandes) – killed alongside Soleimani in the drone strike – Samuel J. Culper, intelligence analyst and founder of Forward Observer, notes:

“More than the news is telling you… Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes was the chief planner of the 1983 Beirut Bombing and the 1983 Kuwait bombings with attacks on six key Kuwaiti installations and US and French Embassy’s on 12 December 1983, two months after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings.

“He was sentenced to death in Kuwait for involvement in the 1983 bomb attacks on US and French embassies there but fled the country.

“Mohandes also oversaw Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella grouping of paramilitary groups mostly consisting of Iran-backed Shi’ite militias that was formally integrated into Iraq’s armed forces.”

These are men who, as the old country saying put it, “needed killin’.” But of course, there are the usual explosions of hyperbole – primarily from the Left, naturally, but also from a certain sub-sector of right – about how this is a “dangerous escalation,” and may lead to another Iraq-war-like quagmire, or even “World War Three.” Well, anything is possible. But as this essay in National Review puts it,

“We have no clue how Iran will react to the elimination of its terror chief Qasem Soleimani. Religious fanatics tend to be unpredictable. One thing we can be certain of, however, is that every time the United States acts in its self-interest in the Middle East, a bunch of pundits and policy experts will start spouting lazy tropes about the Iraq War.”

Yep. The thing is – as this essay goes not to note – the issue with the Iraq War was not the Iraq War. We won that, handily and speedily. The problem was the interminable occupation and attempt at nation-building which followed. And as to that, the essay continues,

“As far as I can tell, there’s no evidence that Trump, or anyone else, has any appetite to invade Iran or force regime change. Many brave Iranians are already trying to do that on their own.”

They are, and I wish them well! As to Iranian reaction to the strike,

“Of course an Iran reprisal is likely to come sooner or later, and Americans will also likely be in danger. We shouldn’t dismiss these serious concerns. They are nothing new. Iran has been conducting a terror campaign against the United States and its allies for 40 years. It was the mullahs, not Trump, who ‘escalated’ tensions when Iranian-led militias stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

“Until recently, the Iranians faced few repercussions for hundreds of Soleimani-coordinated murders and the maiming of thousands of American troops. And let’s not forget either that there is not a single conflict in the region that Soleimani wasn’t fueling or coordinating in some way. If this is not an enemy worth knocking off, who is?”

Indeed!

A Tale of Two Embassies… and two Presidents.

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US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, burning on September 11, 2012, following attack by Islamic militants that killed four Americans, including the Ambassador.
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U.S. Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAFTF-CR-CC) 19.2, prepare to deploy from Kuwait in support of a crisis response mission, Dec. 31, 2019.

This was originally written for my Facebook timeline, and is posted here with minimal editing.

Benghazi, Libya, September 11, 2012. Under attack by Islamic militants, the US Embassy requests assistance. None is forthcoming.

As a result, four Americans die, including the Ambassador, Chris Stevens – the first U.S. Ambassador killed in an attack since 1979 – along with Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs, who fell trying to defend the Ambassador against overwhelming odds. The Embassy is burned.

Baghdad, Iraq, December 31, 2019. Under attack by Islamic militants, the US Embassy requests assistance. Within a matter of hours, 100 Marines are airlifted into the Embassy grounds via Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, supported by Apache attack helicopters; further air assets are reportedly overhead.

Shortly after, 750 soldiers – an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the elite 82nd Airborne Division – are wheels-up on their way to Kuwait, with an additional 4,000 troops gearing up to follow, in case additional support is needed.

Now, it’s possible to argue that we shouldn’t be there in the first place, and I might agree with you. But we ARE there: that’s the reality of the situation; American lives were in danger, and the response was quick and, so far at least, has proven effective.

Do some of y’all understand, now, why some of us support President Trump, despite the fact that we might not like or agree with everything he says or does? He puts America first, as an American President should, and when Americans are in danger, he protects them to the best of his ability.

Based on past history, if Hillary Clinton was President currently, we might be looking at another dead Ambassador and another gutted Embassy. That is the difference. You either get it or you don’t. If you don’t, I quite honestly feel sorry for you…

Time’s “Person of the Year”: teenage activist Greta Thunberg

Climate activist Greta Thunberg photographed on the shore in Lisbon, Portugal December 4, 2019

Resisting the temptation to shout at Time Magazine, “How dare you?” (wry smile)

So, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has been named Time Magazine’s 2019 “Person of the Year.” The cover has a dreamy-eyed Greta standing on the edge of the rising sea level ocean, gazing mystically into what one supposes is meant to represent the future. Well, on one level, I suppose she deserves it, in the sense that – for better or for worse – she’s become a household name, and the face of climate change activism. But, leaving sheer publicity aside:

Who better for person of the year than a petulant, hysterical adolescent, angrily chastising adults of many decades more life experience and vastly greater education and knowledge of the world, after generating more carbon pollution by crossing the ocean in a high-tech sailing yacht as part of a publicity stunt than she would have if she’d simply taken a seat on a jetliner like anyone else?

(We’ll leave aside a growing body of evidence suggesting that, a) climate change is primarily natural, as it has always been, not anthropogenic, and b) the cycle seems to be swinging back in the direction of cooling, not warming.)

And of course, she’s being lionized in the same year in which Left-wingers excoriated – and in some cases made death threats against – another adolescent, a boy who exhibited remarkable coolness and composure in the incident in question, for “smirking” at a Native American activist who had invaded his personal space and was drumming in his face.

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Welcome to 21st century America… 🙄

 

“They’re Trying to Wipe Us Off the Map” – Small American Farmers Are Nearing Extinction | TIME

Mary Rieckmann with her son Russell tending to their cows on Nov. 20, 2019.

A perfect storm of factors has lead to the biggest crisis for American farmers in decades. Here’s what it’s like to be an American farmer in 2019.

Source: American Farmers Are in Crisis. Here’s Why | Time

Read this article. It’s important. Yes, it’s filtered through the requisite anti-Trumpism and climate alarmism of the mainstream media. But the reality it describes, for small family farms in America, is one which needs to be understood:

“In the American imagination, at least, the family farm still exists as it does on holiday greeting cards: as a picturesque, modestly prosperous expanse that wholesomely fills the space between the urban centers where most of us live.

“But it has been declining for generations, and the closing days of 2019 find small farms pummeled from every side: a trade war, severe weather associated with climate change, tanking commodity prices related to globalization, political polarization, and corporate farming defined not by a silo and a red barn but technology and the efficiencies of scale. It is the worst crisis in decades.

“Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies were up 12 percent in the Midwest from July of 2018 to June of 2019; they’re up 50 percent in the Northwest. Tens of thousands have simply stopped farming, knowing that reorganization through bankruptcy won’t save them. The nation lost more than 100,000 farms between 2011 and 2018; 12,000 of those between 2017 and 2018 alone.”

That is dismaying, to put it mildly. Indeed, for those of us who can see past the surface numbers to understand the implications, it is deeply frightening.

While there are a number of factors contributing to this crisis, I believe that the threatened demise of American small farms is at base an attack – and I would argue that it is in large measure a concerted and intentional one, by an unholy alliance of convenience between Big Government and Big Corporatism – on food sovereignty.

Every single one of the factors listed in the article – “a trade war, severe weather associated with climate change, tanking commodity prices related to globalization, political polarization, and corporate farming defined not by a silo and a red barn but technology and the efficiencies of scale” – can be traced directly to one of the two entities mentioned above, in some cases both.

So, where does food sovereignty come in – and what is it, anyway, and why does it matter?

Well, food sovereignty is defined as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally-appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” It is in its essence localized and dispersed, rooted in family farms and local communities.

Big corporations hate this because it interferes with their profits, and big government hates it because it interferes with their control – thus the alliance-of-convenience mentioned above.

And yes, some of the factors that affect small farms are (presumably) unintended consequences of other issues – but the responses, the proposed “solutions,” by government and corporate interests alike, are always in the direction of greater centralization (“get big or get out,” or variations on the theme), greater industrialization and automation, more control, less human input and contact with the land, less local sovereignty.

The underlying reality is that food sovereignty is the basis of sovereignty, period. It doesn’t matter what your system of government is – capitalistic, communistic, or anything in between – you are not sovereign if you cannot control your own food supply: if you have to rely on someone else, state or corporation, to provide your food and to control what food is provided, and when, and how.

Now, obviously, most of us (by choice or necessity) are willing to trade a little sovereignty for convenience – we are no longer (for better or for worse) a nation of farmers. But the further we get from local agriculture, rooted in small family farms that are closely tied in with their local communities, the less sovereignty we all enjoy, and the more we are at the mercy of Someone Somewhere Else turning off the tap.

In other words, the demise of small, local, family farms is not just a shame – although it is! very much so – and it’s not just less healthy for consumers, communities, and the environment, although that is also true. It’s also dangerous, for our rights and freedoms, for liberty, sovereignty, independence.

Who controls the food, controls those who rely on it for survival. That’s the bottom line.

A Pledge to the Confederate Flag, by John Field Pankow

Raise Your Battle Flag” (partial) by Celtic Confederate. – this excerpt includes footage from flag-raisings by the Virginia Flaggers. Full version may be found here.

I have not posted much of a Confederate or Southern culture and heritage nature lately, as other issues have taken center stage for the time being. But that does not mean that I have lost my passion for the Southern Confederacy, which (as a friend of mine is wont to points out) “was wrong about slavery” – although many even among the elite recognized it as a moral as well as political evil, and most Confederate soldiers never owned a single slave – “but right about everything else!”

Here, then, by permission , is a Pledge to the Confederate Flag, by my friend John Field Pankow:

I pledge my allegiance to the flag of the Confederacy and to the ideals for which it stood and stands: liberty, honor, chivalry, independence, courage, duty, and love of God, family and home.

On my honor, I promise never to forget the just cause to which so many devoted their lives. I promise to do my best to see that their proud history is truly reported and not defamed. May my voice be strong and true as I tell the story of this flag and its people to my children and their children, and all else who will listen.

And if the time comes when the flag requires my defense, may I have the courage, the strength, and the honor to defend it, at all costs, with all that I have and all that I am.

This I pledge on my sacred word of honor.

John Field Pankow

To which I would add:

(The Rev’d) Thomas H. Harbold

Of course, it could be argued that there is not one single “Confederate flag.” There were three National flags, just in the four years of the Confederacy, and many battle flags, not just “the” Battle Flag, as it has become known.

The First National (1861) was the “Stars and Bars” properly speaking – distinct from, but intentionally similar to, the “Betsy Ross” version of the Stars and Stripes – and that came in four variations (with 7, 9, 11, or 13 stars in the canton), depending on how many states were in the Confederacy at the time:

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The Second National (1863), also known as the “Stainless Banner,” was the first to incorporate the “St. Andrew’s Cross” or “saltire” design as found on the Army of Northern Virginia’s Battle Flag:

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And the third and final design, the Third National (1865), or the “Bloodstained Banner,” added a vertical red bar, primarily to prevent the flag from being mistaken for a flag of truce when hanging from a staff with no wind:

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And of course, there is the one that is best known, called “the Battle Flag,” or “the Rebel Flag”: technically the “Second Naval Jack” (1863-1865). Variations were also used by several field armies (usually square ones closer to the canton of the Second and Third National flags), most notably (as mentioned above) by General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Here is the version usually seen today:

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It was this flag that has become the one most closely associated with the Confederacy in the popular imagination: loved and revered, or hated and despised, according to one’s sympathies. When people say “the” Confederate Flag, this is generally the one meant.

Needless to say, I fall into the “loved and revered” camp! And since we are still in a battle – a “cold civil war,” as some have termed it, or a “second Reconstruction,” as others have noted – it is this flag, the Battle Flag, that I think of when I read John’s Pledge. I encourage others who wish to “sign on” to the Pledge to do so in the comments. God bless, and Deo vindice (“God will vindicate us”)!