Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Cake for Easter

From Victoria:
Bring your Easter celebration to a fitting conclusion with the towering splendor of our luscious Coconut Cake. Velvety buttercream, enhanced with extracts of coconut, vanilla, and almond, envelops the three-layer dessert. To achieve a subtle, ruffled appearance along the sides after frosting, draw the blade of an icing spatula around the circumference–starting from the top and gradually moving the knife downward while pivoting the plate. A sprinkle of toasted coconut completes the simple yet stunning presentation. (Read more.)

The Real Collusion

From last April in The American Spectator:
Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.” (Read more.)
 From last summer in Investors Business Daily:
Then there's former CIA chief John Brennan, who has also stepped out of his supposedly apolitical role as a spymaster to make highly charged political comments about Trump. After Trump's comments about Charlottesville, Brennan ripped into Trump for making "dangerous" and "ugly" comments.

He's entitled to his opinion, of course. But it has long been a part of our tradition of government service that former officials serving in a nonpolitical capacity would leave the criticisms of other administrations to the elected politicians. To ignore this tradition runs the risk of tainting the professionalism of the agencies they once headed, and provides evidence that the heavily politicized, entrenched, progressive "deep state" that many Americans believe poses a danger to our republic really does exist.

By the way, Brennan in remarks made last July that can only be called highly questionable suggested that it's "obligation of some executive branch officials" to refuse to fire Robert Mueller, who is heading up the open-ended investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia and its hacking of the 2016 election.

Let's be clear: Trump, should he want to do so, would be absolutely within his rights as president to seek Mueller's firing. Whether it would be politically wise to do so is a separate question. And Brennan's remarks are incredibly self-serving, since he is the one who initiated the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia last summer, in the heat of the campaign. The Obama loyalist did so, apparently, thinking it would fatally damage Trump's campaign.

"It was then-CIA Director John O. Brennan, a close confidant of Mr. Obama's, who provided the information — what he termed the 'basis' — for the FBI to start the counterintelligence investigation last summer," wrote Washington Times national security correspondent Rowan Scarborough last May. "Mr. Brennan served on the former president's 2008 presidential campaign and in his White House."

Brennan, by the way, also aided in making up the bogus talking points used by the Obama administration to lie about what happened in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were murdered. Whose interests was Brennan serving? (Read more.)
From a few days ago in The American Spectator:
It was the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky who coined the phrase the “dustbin of history.” To his political opponents, he sputtered, “You are pitiful, isolated individuals! You are bankrupts. Your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on — into the dustbin of history!”

It is no coincidence that John Brennan, who supported the Soviet-controlled American Communist Party in the 1970s (he has acknowledged that he thought his vote for its presidential candidate Gus Hall threatened his prospects at the CIA; unfortunately, it didn’t), would borrow from Trotsky’s rhetoric in his fulminations against Donald Trump. His tweet last week, shortly after the firing of Andrew McCabe, reeked of Trotskyite revolutionary schlock: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America… America will triumph over you.”

America will triumph over a president it elected? That’s the raw language of coup, and of course it is not the first time Brennan has indulged it. In 2017, he was calling for members of the executive branch to defy the chief executive. They should “refuse to carry out” his lawful directives if they don’t agree with them, he said.

Trump has said that the Russians are “laughing their asses off” over the turmoil caused by Obamagate. No doubt many of the laughs come at the sight of Brennan, a supporter of Soviet stooges like Gus Hall, conducting a de facto coup from the top of the CIA and then continuing it after his ouster. Who needs Gus Hall when John Brennan is around? This time the Russians don’t even have to pay for the anti-American activity. (Read more.)
Meanwhile, Sara Carter reports on the Mueller investigation:
 Special Counsel Robert Mueller III and lead attorney in the Special Counsel’s Office Andrew Weissmann have been connected to one another throughout most of their careers, and both men moved quickly to the top tackling major crime syndicates and white-collar crime. Ironically, both men were also connected in two of the biggest corruption investigations in FBI history. But rarely are Weissmann and Mueller’s past cases discussed in the media. Their past is relevant because it gives a roadmap to the future — now that these two longtime colleagues are charged with one of the most controversial investigations into a president in recent history.

“The integrity of the 'investigation' and of the 'investigators' must be a paramount priority in our criminal justice system at all times,” said David Schoen, a civil rights and defense attorney, who has been outspoken on the special counsel investigation. “Certainly this fundamental guiding principle must be followed when it comes to an investigation of the duly elected President of the United States.  The outcome potentially affects every one of us in very real terms…There were many alternatives to Mr. Mueller and his team and all of their very troubling baggage.” (Read more.)

Friday, March 23, 2018

Ending Abortion

From Life Site:
The pro-life movement must understand and defend the big picture war on the principles of Christianity to be able to win the abortion battle in front of them, said Wiker. “You can’t fix the little picture without fixing the big picture,” he told the pro-life gathering. The Senior Fellow at the Veritas Center for Ethics and Public Life and Professor of Political Science and Human Life Studies at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio addressed attendees of the Bringing America back to Life convention presented Friday and Saturday by Cleveland Right to Life.

The convention, in its ninth year, centers on prayer, action, voting and education for the pro-life movement on the local, regional and increasingly the national level. Wiker also explained, as he says he does for his students, that the addressing the big picture issue entails fighting for life in areas normally considered to be outside the pro-life arena.

There is some serious intellectual work to be done along with front-line efforts, he said. Wiker said he works to help students understand how things went bad with the overall rejection of the sanctity of life. And he stresses to them that the pro-life movement can be defended in any discipline, including philosophy, biology, and mathematics, because of the overall influence those areas have on society.

He detailed contrasts between Christianity and the Epicurean Materialist philosophy for the conference, and how the two opposing philosophies play into the pro-life movement. Epicurean thought seeks to reject a higher power, rejecting with it the idea of human beings made in God’s image and thus the sanctity of life.

They are essentially two different views of reality, said Wiker. The Materialist philosophy of ancient pagan Greek philosopher Epicurus has come to saturate nearly every aspect of our culture, he said, including our way of life and thinking, and our views of law, science, rationality, and reality. (Read more.)

A Vallayer-Coster Portrait of Marie-Antoinette

Part of the collection at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, MD. The Queen appears to be wearing a pendant with a cameo portrait of her husband, Louis XVI. From Vive la Reine.


The Real White House Scandal

From the Conservative Review:
The real problem with the story, Levin said, is that someone on the National Security Council went behind the president’s back to leak information to the press about how high-level White House aides urged Trump not to congratulate Putin prior to the call, and they need to be taken to task. “That skunk, that rat fink, needs to be found, exposed, humiliated, and kicked the hell out of their job, whoever he or she is,” Levin concluded. “You cannot have a leak right under the president’s nose like this. It can’t happen.” (Read more.)
From Sara A. Carter:
“The cards are printed outside National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster’s office and would be collected by his team before being handed off to the president,” said the former official, familiar with the process. “It would make sense that the people who handled the cards or the national security advisors who provided the feedback to the president.”

White House officials will investigate the leaks and a senior White House Official told this reporter in a statement, “If this story is accurate, that means someone leaked the President’s briefing papers. Leaking such information is a fireable offense and likely illegal.” NSC officials could not be immediately reached for comment. (Read more.)

Benefits of Music Lessons

From Music Advisor:
One of the best benefits of learning music is the high impact it has on a child’s academics. Studies show that children who take music lessons are “likely to excel in all of their studies.” Music is a set of repetitive patterns. When children learn these patterns, they’re able to apply these types of skills to subjects such as mathematics. Memorizing music helps students then move on to memorizing math times tables and addition. It also functions as a way to help children improve their memories for subjects such as science. (Read more.)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Charity of the Dauphine

From Vive la Reine:
Mme la Dauphine, who had returned, got out of her carriage, ran toward the woman, and held out some perfume to her nose, which made her come out of her faint. Mme la Dauphine gave her all the money she had with her, but what was even more admirable was the kind and consoling way in which HRH talked to the poor woman. Finally, Mme l'Archiduchesse, who was touched, shed tears and, at that moment, caused more than a hundred spectators to do the same….

Then, having called for her carriage, Mme la Dauphine gave orders that the peasant woman be taken in it back to her cottage which was in a neighboring hamlet.* Her Royal Highness waited right there for her carriage to return; she asked about the care of the wounded man … I cannot describe to Your Majesty the greatness or intensity of the sensation caused by the event, not only among the courtiers, but even more among the people of Fontainebleau….

The public in Paris [seems very moved;] whenever Mme la Dauphine’s name comes up, it evokes a universal cry of joy and admiration.
–Ambassador Mercy to Maria Theresa, 12 November 1773
(Read more.)

The Anti-Trump Effort Backfires

From The National Review:
No one following the Russian-collusion and related dramas should be in any doubt about the steady flow of the balance of damaging evidence away from Trump and on to his accusers. It is clear that the hierarchy of the FBI and analogues in the Justice Department and intelligence services, horrified at the thought of a Trump victory though confident it would not occur, took liberties — in the soft treatment of Hillary Clinton’s email and uranium problems, and in abetting the Clinton campaign’s effort to smear Trump with the Russian-collusion argument.

As the parallel investigations and diluvian leaking have unfolded, the anti-Trump Resistance has received a series of gradually suppurating mortal wounds. The Steele dossier was commissioned and paid for by the Clinton campaign; over a hundred FBI agents and Justice Department lawyers expected Hillary Clinton to be charged criminally, and President Trump was correct in saying conversations by his campaign officials had been tapped, a claim that was much ridiculed at the time. Deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe testified that the Steele dossier was essential to obtaining a FISA warrant on a junior Trump aide (Carter Page), and McCabe and former director James Comey’s rabidly partisan helper Peter Strzok, and his FBI girlfriend Lisa Page, texted suggestions for influencing the FISA judge in the case. The judge recused himself, voluntarily or otherwise, after granting the warrant. Mueller set up his “dream team” of entirely partisan Democrats; McCabe failed to identify to the Bureau his wife as a member and beneficiary of the Clinton entourage and political candidate in Virginia; and the fourth person in the Justice Department, Bruce Ohr, met with Steele, and Mrs. Ohr helped compose the Steele dossier. (Read more.)