Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why the Democrats are Falling .... *Hard*

The Democrat party in Washington, DC has suddenly discovered it is hip deep in molasses.

Their health insurance public option is gangrenous. Soon it will kill the entire bill.

Obama, who has suddenly become the President of Chicago, has fled the country to push the Olympics while the deed is done, so that the slow death of the bill won't happen in front of his nose.

And the other Democrat "triumphs" - Crap&Trade, the closing of Gitmo, our hightailing out of Afghanistan and Iraq like they were the fall of Vietnam on steroids - all of them are going nowhere.

Tea parties are on the march. Town hell meetings are filled with enraged, overtaxed citizenry. A half million people filled the Mall just two weeks ago to just say no.


Simple: The Democrats won in November for one simple reason: Half the conservatives in the country stayed home.

And now they're back, and they're exteedingly ticked off.

They stayed home because Bush was not conservative enough. Not because we wanted some Chi-town gladhander shoving a copy of The Little Red Book down our throats.

Byron York gives an excellent analysis of whahappon in today's Washington Examiner.

Money grafs:

In the last few years, public opinion on the role of government was driven by the intense unpopularity of George W. Bush and the Republican Party. Unhappy with Bush and the GOP, voters recoiled from the image of Republicans as the party of traditional values -- even though they basically held to those traditional values in their own lives. ... But that period of revulsion at Bush and Republicans from 2005 to 2008 left a legacy: a Democrat in the White House and large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, at least until 2010. That is why you see Democrats racing to enact their agenda, even as they see the political conditions around them changing. They have the majorities, based on the public's very temporary mood of 2005-2008, and they are determined to put their preferred policies in place no matter what the public thinks now.

The Gallup numbers also suggest that Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate have fundamentally misread their own victories. ... The voters elected Democrats because they were sick of Bush and Republicans. Now Bush and the GOP are gone and out of power. Democrats are doing what they thought the voters wanted. And it turns out the voters didn’t want that at all.


Is it 2011 yet?

Again, A House Divided: A Dream Speech for 2009

[Executive Summary: During last year’s Republican National Convention, staring at the television set and the Oprah/Infomercial setting, and overwhelmed by the unrelenting banality of the whole event, I drifted off to sleep...and dreamed of a tall, plainspoken, bearded man standing before the assembly, speaking words nobody else had the courage to say.....]

Mr. President and Ladies and Gentlemen of the Convention:

We are now many years since a policy was initiated with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to anti-abortion agitation.

Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached and passed.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this society cannot endure, permanently half for life and half for death. I do not expect our society to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.

Either the opponents of abortion, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all hearts.

Have we no tendency to the latter condition?

Let any one who doubts, carefully contemplate that now almost complete legal combination—piece of machinery so to speak—compounded of President Clinton's policy and the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision of 1993. Let him consider not only what work the machinery is adapted to do, and how well adapted; but also, let him study the history of its construction, and trace, if he can, or rather fail, if he can, to trace the evidences of design, and concert of action, among its chief bosses, from the beginning.

The new year of 1973 found abortion excluded from almost every state by state legislation, and from the national territory by congressional prohibition. Twenty-three days later commenced the struggle that ended in repealing those prohibitions. This opened all the nation to abortion; and was the first point gained.

This had been provided for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of "women's rights," otherwise called "sacred right of self-determination," which latter phrase, though expressive of the only rightful basis of any government, was so perverted in this attempted use of it as to amount to just this: That if any individual choose to kill another not yet born, no third shall be allowed to object.

Over the course of the following twenty years, the struggle between the idea of a state's ability to preserve the life of an unborn citizen and the idea of a woman's ability to control her own reproductive life continued, almost invariably supporting the right of the woman over the right of her unborn child and of the state to protect that child. Finally, a law case, involving the question of the ability of the State of Pennsylvania to prohibit even to a limited extent the ability of a woman to kill her child; and both the Pennsylvania law and law suit were brought to a decision in the same month of October, 1992. The name of the Pennsylvania governor defending the bill was "Casey," which name now designates the decision finally made in the case.

Before the then next presidential election, the law case came to, and was argued in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Under the Casey decision the trimester division was divided out of existence, tumbled down like temporary scaffolding—leaving the core like the mould at the foundry served through one blast and fell back into loose sand: leaving the heart of Roe v. Wade kicked to the winds.

The election came. Mr. Clinton was elected, and the indorsement of a pro-choice position by the government, such as it was, secured. That was the second point gained. The indorsement, however, fell short of a clear popular majority, and so, perhaps, was not overwhelmingly reliable and satisfactory.

The then new President indorsed and strongly construed that decision, and expressed his astonishment that any different view had ever been entertained. The President as impressively as possible echoed back upon the people the weight and authority of his indorsement of the right to self-determination.

The several points of the Casey decision, in connection with President Clinton' policy—in his recent studied and deliberate veto of the Partial Birth Abortion ban—constitute the piece of machinery, in its present state of advancement. This was the third point gained.

The working points of that machinery are:

First, that no unborn child, short of birth, regardless of state of development in the womb, even in the ninth month, can ever be a citizen of any state, in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States. This point is made in order to deprive the unborn child, in every possible event, of the benefit of this provision of the United States Constitution, which declares that—

"The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states."

Secondly, that "subject to the Constitution of the United States," neither Congress nor a State Legislature can exclude abortion from any land under United States constitution.

This point is made in order that individuals may fill up the nation with abortion clinics, and thus to enhance the chances of permanency to the institution through all the future.

Thirdly, that whether the unborn child is a human being or not, the United States courts will not decide, but will leave to be decided by the conscience of the individual carrying the unborn child and to her doctor.

This point is made, not to be pressed immediately; but, if acquiesced in for a while, and apparently endorsed by the people at an election, then to sustain the logical conclusion that what a child's mother might lawfully do to the child, in the state of Pennsylvania, then any individual may lawfully do to themselves, in Pennsylvania, or in any other state.

Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with it, the President's veto, to educate and mould public opinion, to not care whether abortion is voted down or voted up.

This shows exactly where we now are; and partially also whither we are tending. It will throw additional light on the latter, to go back, and run the mind over the string of historical facts already stated. Several things will now appear less dark and mysterious than they did when they were transpiring. The people were to be left "perfectly free" "subject only to the Constitution." What the Constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not then see. Plainly enough now, it was an exactly fitted niche, for the Casey decision to afterwards come in, and declare the perfect freedom of the people, to be just no freedom at all.

Why was the amendment, expressly declaring the right of the people to exclude abortion, voted down? Plainly enough now, the adoption of it, would have spoiled the niche for the Casey decision.

Why the President's continued exhortation in favor of the decision? This looks like the cautious patting and petting a spirited horse, preparatory to mounting him, when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a fall.

We can not absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert. But when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workers—Brennan, Blackmun, Clinton and Schroeder, for instance—and when we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortises exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few—not omitting even scaffolding—or, if a single piece be lacking, we can see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared to yet bring such piece in—in such a case, we find it impossible to not believe that Brennan and Blackmun and Clinton and Schroeder all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first lick was struck.

It should not be overlooked that, by the Pennsylvania bill, the people of a state were to be left "perfectly free" "subject only to the Constitution." In what cases the power of the states is so restrained by the U S. Constitution, is left an open question. Put that and that together, and we have another nice little niche which we may, ere long, see filled with another Supreme Court decision, declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a state to exclude assisted suicide from its limits.

And this may especially be expected if the doctrine of "self-determination" shall gain upon the public mind sufficiently to give promise that such a decision can be maintained when made.

Such a decision is all that self-murder now lacks of being alike lawful in all circumstances, regardless of the state of health of the individual, and regardless of the opinion of the state on the matter. Welcome or unwelcome, such decision is probably coming, and will soon be upon us, unless the power of the present political dynasty shall be met and overthrown.

We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of the United States are on the verge of slightly curbing the ability to abort; and we shall awake to the reality, instead, that the Supreme Court has made doctor-assisted self-murder a right.

To meet and overthrow the power of that dynasty, is the work now before all those who would prevent that consummation. That is what we must do. But how can we best do it?

There are those who denounce us openly to their own friends, and yet whisper us softly, that President Obama is the aptest instrument there is, with which to effect the object of resistance to assisted suicide. They do not tell us, nor has he told us, that he wishes any such object to be effected.

They remind us that he is a very great man, and that the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be granted. But "a living dog is better than a dead lion." President Obama, if not a dead lion for this work, [is] at least a caged and toothless one. How can he oppose the advances of self-murder? He don't care anything about it. His avowed mission is impressing the "public heart" to care nothing about it.

Does President Obama believe an effort to adopt this standard is approaching? He has not said so. Does he really think so? But if it is, how can he resist it? For years he has labored to prove it a sacred right of women to kill their children in utero if inconvenient. Can he possibly show that it is less a sacred right to kill anyone else who is inconvenient?

President Clinton has done all in his power to reduce the whole question of abortion to one of a mere right of self-determination; and as such, how can he oppose the ultimate in self-determination—the right to commit self-murder? And as the children of the ill, the inheritors, will probably not ask the protection, he will be wholly without a ground of opposition.

President Obama holds, we know, that a man may rightfully be wiser today than he was yesterday—that he may rightfully change when he finds himself wrong.But, can we for that reason, run ahead, and infer that he will make any particular change, of which he, himself, has given no intimation? Can we safely base our action upon any such vague inference?

Now, as ever, I wish to not misrepresent President Obama's position, question his motives, or do ought that can be personally offensive to him.

Whenever, if ever, he and we can come together on principle so that our great cause may have assistance from his great ability, I hope to have interposed no adventitious obstacle.

But clearly, he is not now with us—he does not pretend to be—he does not promise to ever be.

Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by its own undoubted friends—those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work—who do care for the result.

Two years ago pro-life forces of the nation mustered over fifty million strong. We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us.

Of strange, discordant, and even, hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy.

Did we brave all then, to falter now?—not when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered and belligerent.

The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail—if we stand firm, we shall not fail.

Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.


The preceding is the text of Abraham Lincoln's A House Divided speech, first given in 1858 in Springfield, Illinois. It required very, very little change to apply it to the present day. Alas.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tattered Remnants #012: David Kaczynski


This is a sort of Cain and Abel story in reverse.

I imagine it began with a conversation between husband and wife: an early Sunday afternoon in September 1995, with wife in kitchen, right after lunch, and with husband in the living room, nodding over the New York Times (I am fairly sure he wasn't watching a ball game on TV at the time).

The wife comes into the living room, holding a pan which she wipes with a dishcloth. "Honey?"


"You know? I have been thinking. I've been thinking about it a lot."

"What's on your mind, dear?"

"It's this Unabomber guy that's been in the newspapers these last couple of weeks."


"I read those bits of that manifesto they published. And I've read the biography the police think they have. The bomber is from Chicago, and has connections to San Francisco." Pause. Gulp. "Have you ever thought that it could be Ted?"

* * *

Imagine, if you will, the following scenario:

* You have a very strong belief that your brother is a much wanted serial killer. Do you turn him in?

* It is highly likely that your brother, if captured, will face the death penalty for his crimes. Do you still turn him in?

It sounds like a question from one of those board games that childless couples play at get-togethers with their friends on a Saturday night.

Now imagine that this is not a trivial pursuit, not a game question, but most horrible reality.

David Kaczynski faced precisely this challenge, and managed to solve the puzzle while still saving his brother's life. Today he heads a movement to abolish the death penalty.

And how he solved the dilemma puts him in the forefront of those who should be known as Tattered Remnants.

* * *

For the twenty years preceding the summer of 1995, universities and commercial pursuits throughout the country had been plagued by a series of mail bombings: the bombs themselves carefully constructed, almost lovingly crafted by a fanatic with an incredible sense of attention to detail, who hand-made his creations and used untracably common household ingredients and deadly shrapnel designed to deliberately harm or kill the recipients.

His targets were university researchers, individuals involved in environmental development, and, on one occasion, an airliner. He had killed three, maimed a dozen. Blowing off people's hands and fingers and eyes, mutilating faces, causing endless pain to a few and fear to many. And there was no sign he was about to stop.

The investigation at the FBI attempting to track him down was given the covername UNABOM, for "University and Airline Bomber." This leaked to the press and so this ghost-killer, this untracable anomaly, was given the name "The Unabomber."

The only thing they knew about the Bomber--I won't use the term "Unabomber" as it glamorizes his evil and bloody deeds--was that the Bomber was a very skilled mechanical craftsman, that he was caucasian, with a long thin nose. His packages had been mailed from widely spread points of origin, which meant that he had the freedom and resources to travel around the country to transmit his messages of death. One glimpse of the man in the 1970s rendered a famous composite picture of a youngish man in a 'hoodie' wearing large glasses and a moustache.

They guessed he was from Chicago, since the first bombings occurred there; they also guessed that he had lived in San Francisco for a time; that he had spent some time in Salt Lake City.

But who or where he was drew a complete and absolute blank.

* * *

For several months prior to the Sunday chat, the Bomber sent several letters, including some to his victims, demanding that his manifesto, a critique of modern technology, be published. There was a great deal of debate over the decision to do so. The author of the letters–-he called himself 'FC', for 'Freedom Club', and spoke of himself in the third person-–claimed that if his demand for publication be met, he would cease further bombings. After much debate at the FBI, the decision was taken to give in to the demand The public was told that decision was made to 'save lives'. However, it was done with the hope that someone would recognize the style and substance of the writing and help identify the Bomber.

In September 1995, David Kaczynski spent a day at the local public library, reading everything he could get his hands on about the bomber, and when he read the Manifesto -- it rang a bell.

He was extremely careful with his suspicions. He dug through old family records and found some of his brother's writings, dating back to the 1970s. He went to considerable expense to privately hire forensic writing analysts to compare the samples, with the hope that a match could be found between the writing styles of his brother and the Bomber–or perhaps hoping that a match would not be found. For good and ill, a connection was made. David, through another attorney, then approached the FBI in the months that followed, and tried to convince them that investigating his brother might yield fruit in their long search for the killer.

It took a while. But a lengthy independent investigation by David at his own expense combined with forensic investigation and word-pattern analysis led the FBI to decide to obtain a search warrant.

In April, 1996, Ted Kaczynski was arrested early in the morning at his Montana cabin. The arrest went forward without incident and Ted did not resist. The original draft of his manifesto was found in his possession, as well as a single live bomb. The FBI had finally succeeded: but only because David had given them the clues they needed.

But David's attempt to have himself and his family shielded from the case failed. CBS News and Dan Rather publicized David's contribution to the FBI at the time of the arrest; the only reason they didn't do so before the search warrant was served on Ted was that the head of the FBI, Louis Freeh, had to personally ask Dan Rather as a favor not to go to air the story before Ted was even arrested.

In the days that followed, David found himself betrayed by the U.S. law enforcement personnel with whom he had been working. He had given them the information with the direct understanding that, in exchange for the information that he provided, and in light of Ted's diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia, they would not seek the death penalty against Ted. Federal prosecutors immediately ignored this proviso and, once the arrest was made, the case proceeded in Federal court with an explicit request for the death penalty.

As things turned out, Ted Kaczynski, through a combination of very good lawyering and very bad courtroom behavior, somehow managed to obtain a plea agreement from the Federal government. He pled guilty under a proviso that he would not be subjected to the death penalty, but at the same time, he would receive life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

David received FBI's million-dollar reward. He used a portion of the money to pay for his considerable personal expenses spent for lawyers on this matter. The rest of the money was donated to his brother's victims. David profited not a nickel from his brother's acts or from his own cooperation with law enforcement.

He spent many years counseling troubled youths. He became a vegetarian and a devout Buddhist. In 2001 he became head of an anti-death penalty group.

But there are no pleasing some people. For certain folks, out of a perverted alienation from what is good and right in our culture, find Ted admirable – and David abhorrent, as David turned his own flesh and blood over to law enforcement. The San Francisco Chronicle even dared to call him "His Brother's Traitor" in an article headline.

Anathema sit. David's actions were highly moral, taken from the highest of motives, and pursued with grace, honesty and fortitude. Even though he hadn't spoken with his brother for ten years – even though he had come to abhor his world view – he rightfully believed it better for Ted to be arrested quietly and carefully than either to let him remain free to kill again, or to risk a Waco-style standoff that would likely have left him dead along with, possibly, still others.

Doing the right thing is clearly not always easy. And sometimes a man, no matter how well meaning or just, gets splashed with his brother's criminality or notoriety.

David Kaczynski's actions saved many lives and removed a killer from among us; his actions since, particularly his choice to head up an anti-Death Penalty organization, shows that he has a deeply felt and well cultivated moral sense. The fact that I disagree with him about his stance on the death penalty is immaterial: it is easy to remain civil while disagreeing with a man of honor.

His own words best sum up what motivates the Remnant:

Would I do it again, knowing what I know now? The answer is yes. I believe that we probably saved lives. I trust the values and ethics that moved us to do what we did. I know that it would be a mistake to use others' failures as an excuse to avoid personal responsibility. The truth is a very powerful thing. I believe there's no possibility of overcoming evil with evil, falsehood with silence, violence with indifference. If we want to change the world for the better, we must put ourselves on the line.

David Kaczynski's actions both before and after his brother was arrested show that, whatever madness and evil drove his brother to kill, he himself is certainly one of the Tattered Remnant.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tattered Remnants #011: Jacob Chestnut, John Gibson, Stephen T. Johns

THE GUARDIANS THEMSELVES: Jacob Chestnut, John Gibson, Stephen T. Johns

Two millennia ago, the satirist Juvenal wrote of two men, prominent Romans, on a long trip away from the city. The first one lamented leaving his wife alone at home, as he feared she might not be faithful to him. The second boastfully stated that he had already provided for that difficulty by hiring a guardian to watch his wife and ensure proper behavior on her part. The first man looked at the second and laughed: "Who shall guard, then, the guardians themselves?"

That phrase (and a good one it is) raises the question of who can be entrusted with power.

But then, we must also take note of a second meaning to the phrase: who protects those who protect us?

Like most Americans, I usually view most public-security personnel as something between fixtures at best and annoying droids at worst. Who are these people who tell us to take our shoes off before we get into an aircraft? Why should I subject my computer to close inspection before I so much as enter the federal building? Do I really need to empty the change from my pockets before I walk through the metal detector? And (my pet peeve) why should I take my belt off of my ill fitting suit before I walk into a courtroom?

Security guards are the bottom of the public safety totem pole. They don't get no respect. They don't go on adventures with cool equipment like soldiers; they don't have the glamor and babe-attraction qualities of cops. We usually ignore them. We often get annoyed at them. We decry their necessity as fundamentally anti-freedom.

And yet, once in a while, not often (thank God) we are given reason to remember them and be thankful that they're there. They're the white corpuscles of the public immune system, and sometimes, they go from fixture to hero, and we ask ourselves why we never appreciated them before. Their heroism is instantaneous and comes and goes in a flash, and we ask ourselves why we never saw it before.

We never saw it before because they were the very definition of The Tattered Remnant: silent, dutiful, often bored, but ready to act in an instant when called for, and in so doing, showing the hidden gold within.


In the summer of 1998, I was working on Capitol Hill, in its grungiest, most out-of-the-way attic: the top floor of the "O'Neill House Office Building", located at 2nd and C Street, down the road a block from RNC Headquarters and well separated (like plague bacilli) from the rest of the Hill.

At the time, I had just graduated from law school, and was working for Subcommittee on the Census, helping (I thought) maintain a constitutional, head-count-derived census for the upcoming apportionment cycle and looking forward to a long, successful, money-making career as a Very Important Person.

The O'Neill Building was a dump. It was an ancient building, built originally as a hotel for Congressmen to stay in when they were in town (this was back the days of yore, before elected Members bought homes with mortgages in DC and their home districts). Later on, the building was bought by the House of Representatives outright to serve as extra office space, and to serve as a home for the high-school-aged Congressional Pages (who, I should add, were extremely well guarded and closely watched).

The offices of the Subcommittee on the Census was on the highest, and crappiest, floor of the building; the furniture we were provided looked like they came from an Anacostia garage sale. The Census Subcommittee was on its ten year cyclical uptick of staffing, as the 2000 Census was then fast approaching; but since it was only important two years a decade, they never got any decent diggings.

My office mates were an interesting crew. The Committee Chief was a sixtysomething demographics expert, a wizard well versed in the ancient and dark art of redistricting. His assistant was a porcine, sly, self-important, Machiavellian political operative whose self-opinion far exceeded any of his nominal talents.

The chief counsel--i.e., head lawyer--was the very attractive brunette wife of a senior GOP fundraiser; her assistant, a squat, ugly bottle-blonde with a foul mouth who I think was the model of J.K. Rowling's Dolores Umbridge. This woman owed her position to the fact that her older brother was high in the House staff leadership, working for Tom DeLay, The Hammer, then the third most powerful man in the House.

The mapmaker was a tightlipped, angular Boston Irishman, a true computer geek (in the best sense of the word) who did not say more than five words in the two years I knew him. Our press secretary was the sad, slightly boozy, soon-to-be-ex-wife of a prominent New York neoconservative scion whom I am sure you've heard of; her press assistant was a very-light-in-the-loafers gladhander with a Sinatra fetish. There was a rotating stream of volunteers and interns, mostly young, blonde, and very pretty; one was a flower of New Orleans who we all called "Beeee-yeth."

Then there was myself, probably well out of my geekish element, with an overly long staff title and too little to do. But this was a good thing as it gave me the opportunity to study for the upcoming bar exam without too much difficulty.

Working on the Hill was cool. I got to shake Newt Gingrich's hand once, and later met Dennis Hastert. Important "Members" (the official title of sitting Congressmen) came in and out of our office every day and we learned to know them on sight. Occasionally major fund contributors would come into the office for High Level Meetings With The Honcho, to which I might occasionally be invited.

I used to pat myself on my back for being in such important company. I hardly gave the guys at the front door gate, the poor rentacops in the cheesy uniforms, a second thought.

On July 24, 1998, I was at home, preparing for the Bar Exam, which was only six days off; it was not going well. I was desperately reviewing my very expensive and overpriced Bar Bri Bar Review Materials, and trying to memorize the difference between the Rule Against Perpetuities and The Rule in Shelly's Case (neither of which, BTW, I have ever had occasion to use once in the course of my legal career).

At about 3:45 in the afternoon, and suddenly, without warning, I felt my heart race. Something was wrong. Something had just popped up... and I didn't know what it was. I walked outside. I walked back in. I called my wife on her cel phone, to make sure she was alright (she was). I called my mom–ditto. I went inside again, sat in front of my Windows 3.1, DOS-driven computer with the Laserjet III printer and the $2000 scanner, and stared at it, playing with two floppy disks.

I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't work. Something was wrong.

I turned on the radio, which I kept tuned to WTOP-FM, the All-News, All-the-Time Talk Radio Station.

"Shooting at the Capitol!" the voice shouted. "The Capitol Building and all Capitol Hill buildings on the House Side have been shut down following a shooting on the grounds. At least one is dead, two wounded. Stay tuned to WTOP for this developing story!"

It appears that a man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia thought that he needed to express his opinion to the individuals behind the voices in his head. Driving straight through from Montana to Washington in a day and a half, he tried to enter the Capitol Building's main structure through the Documents Entrance, a staff-only entrance on street level. On entering, when asked to walk through a metal detector, he immediately drew a weapon and shot Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chestnut, a twenty year veteran of the force. He died instantly. The man then charged for the nearest official looking corridor on the first floor.

He chose the main office area for the Majority Leadership of the House. The exact door he barged through was that of the Majority Whip, Tom DeLay.

There he met Detective John Gibson, whose gun was already drawn.

They exchanged pistol fire. The man put multiple rounds into Detective Gibson, wounding him fatally but not instantly. Gibson responded, hitting his target with every round, gravely wounding the gunman and rendering him (as they say) "ineffective." The shooting was over in less than a minute.

Officer Chestnut gave his life with practically no warning or preparation. However, his life was not lost in vain. The sounds of the shots that killed him gave Gibson an opportunity to draw and charge his weapon, so when the man entered into his area, he was able to respond instantly. He disabled the shooter, and subsequently died of his wounds.

Behind the main door guarded by Detective Gibson were Whip DeLay and a dozen or so staffers, who, following proper procedure, dropped behind their desks to avoid being targets. None were hurt. Among those dozen was the elder brother of the girl in my office.

It was like 9/11 in the sense that it was one of those moments where the ordinary are revealed to be extraordinary. The security people, Capitol policemen, and others responsible for maintaining security went from zeroes (in the estimation of those working on the Hill) to heroes overnight.

Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson lay "in honor" (not "in state", but practically the same thing) in the Capitol rotunda, a gesture never before given to the non elected. Furthermore, Jacob Chestnut was the first African American to be granted this privilege.

The day of the funeral, thousands of people, including yours truly plus almost all of those working on the Hill at the time, stood at attention as the motorcade drove their flag-wrapped coffins from the Capitol to Arlington National Cemetery, where they were buried with military honors.

I certainly never met Detective Gibson; he was assigned to the VIP detail and the area he worked I only entered once, long after the incident. On the other hand, I am sure I probably saw Officer Chestnut at the O'Neill on one occasion or another. However, I don't remember having done so. So much the worse for me.

The shooter was never charged; a mad man, he was consigned for life to a Federal facility for the criminally insane. He remains there to this day. This is justice; paranoid schizophrenia I would not wish on my worst enemy. Let him never be free, but let him not be punished.


I look back now, lo! these ten years later, with wonder.

They're all gone, now.

All those Very Important Persons ... all the powerful I knew ... dust in the wind.

Newt Gingrich and Dennis Hastert are "former Speakers." Tom DeLay was forced to resign by a means of an faux scandal for which he was never prosecuted, only indicted (which is enough if you're a Republican, alas).

Our chief was forced out after Newt Gingrich's resignation as Speaker. His assistant, who engineered his removal, found himself back in the pack of the House staff, denied his former boss's job. He haunts the Hill to this day, ineffective in the minority, still waiting for a second chance that will probably never come. (Engineering your boss's downfall tends to discourage future bosses from trusting you.)

The fundraising husband of our chief counsel was convicted and sent to prison because of his connection to the Jack Abramoff scandals. The brother of her assistant, he who hid in Tom DeLay's office during the shootings, was also convicted in connection with Abramoff and as of this writing awaits sentencing. Both ladies are gone as well. Nobody loves you when you're down and out.

Last I heard, only Beeee-yeth survives and thrives on the Hill; she now walks the Corridors of the Powers that Be at the RNC Headquarters a block away from our old haunts.

Oh, yes, and somewhere in there I lost my Hill job too. (Cue best Ms. Piggy falsetto: "Bit-ter? Moi?")

Even the O'Neill House Office Building is gone; it was demolished in 2002. They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot.

Sic transit gloria mundi–-

Today, it's all Democrats, all the time, on Capitol Hill. All of them are so important, now, you know. Things will never change. They'll always be in power, now, and forever, amen.



Yet somewhere in a quiet spot near the Documents Entrance of the House of Representatives there stands a plaque, in memory of two quiet heroes, Tattered Remnants who gave their lives for those far less worthy of honor than they are.


Forgive me for leaving Mr. Johns as almost an afterthought. He deserves better.

Let me say this of his sacrifice, which was much like Gibson's and Chestnut's.

On June 12, 2009, an evil old man, a black-hearted racist and Jew-hater of the lowest sort, tried to invade the United States Holocaust Museum. (I forget his name.) My guess is that the man, who was 88, decided to commit 'suicide by cop'. He brought a rifle to the front foyer of the Museum and tried to blast his way inside.

The shooter was met straight up by a half-dozen security personnel. He shot and killed Stephen Tyrone Johns before the other guards (who were, alas that it is needful, heavily armed) responded and shot the man, disarming him. The man survived and awaits trial for murder.

Stephen Tyrone Johns died later at a hospital. He was 38, and left behind a wife and son.

Like Gibson and Chestnut, he gave his life for the peace and good order of the United States, protecting a building that has become, of its own, a shrine worthy of the highest respect. And like Chestnut, his sacrifice allowed his comrades-in-arms to bring this armed invader down before he was able to harm a visitor.

Thank you, Stephen Tyrone Johns.

Thank you, Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson.

And thank you to everyone who ever had to stand on their feet for a full eight-hour watch being sneered at by the muggles that they protect.

ADDENDUM: January 5, 2010

AP reports that the accused Holocaust museum shooter has died in a prison hospital.

May God have mercy on his soul.

The Census Taker - Definitely Murder, But Was it Political?

It turns out that the dead Census worker was definitely not a suicide.

Of course, even though the region where the killing occurred is rife with meth labs and pot groves, Conservatives WILL be blamed for it.

Like one person sneered in the comments of the story below:

How about hoping that your friends on the Right stop creating an atmosphere of fear and hatred?

We fear and hate that which is terrifying and hateful.

Some 200,000,000+ dead at the hands of the Left since 1917 is a good reason to fear them. And the fact that they're shitcanning the Constitution to impose their agenda is even more reason to fear them.

Eternally accusing others of that which we did not do and that which we do not stand for -- is hateful.

Furthermore: we Conservatives are not Nazis, Confederates, slaveowners, white supremacists, Taliban Christians, lynchers, paid shills of the insurance companies, or running dog capitalists. Thank you for not perpetuating those lies. (Some of us may be racists, but I daresay the rate of racists-per-hundredweight is AT LEAST equal to the left AND right. I say that, judging from leftist policies that keep poor minorities glommed to the government teat whether it's good for them or not and judging that every bit as racist as the most ignorant Georgia cracker redneck.)

Once that is understood maybe, just maybe, we can sit down and have a reasonable discussion about hate and fear.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Census Worker Found Hanged: "FED" on Chest

Uh oh.

This is bad.

Although we need to withhold judgment; it is possible that this was a suicide.

I'm hoping, however, that our friends of the Left don't turn this into another reason to blame conservatives for creating an "atmosphere of hate."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo....

Now let's go have some of the Gaffer's ale, shall we?

1400 kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, g'g-grandkids...

A 99 year old woman in Israel just passed away, leaving behind no less than 1400 living descendants at the time of her death.

Now, I think this is exceedingly kew-well. No question.

Not everyone agrees:

Precisely why we have over population of the human species, and are rapidly destroying the planet.

This woman should have been neutered after her first four kids.

So how many of these 1400 people are on public assistance?

they do conserve water! ever come near one of those hassidim?? pheew!

ummm, "Rachel Krishevsky was 19 when she married her *cousin* Yitzik" That sentance sums everything up. She is an imbreeder and all 1400 are screwing eachother.

Lord God Almighty.

Hey, commenters: Forgotten about the Six Million, haven't we, guys? She would have been 29 years old in 1939. Had she lived in Europe instead of Jerusalem, neutering would have been the least she could have expected. As it is, she simply helped to replace those lost.

And God saw that it was good. End of story.

Call me prejudiced on the matter. I'm the eighth child of a seventh child of the eldest of eight (on Dad's side) and the eighth child of the eldest of ten of the youngest of thirteen (on Mom's side). The mother of the thirteen died in childbirth--giving birth to my grandmother.

I have over 130 living first cousins alone, and the second cousins + first cousins once removed is certainly in the several-to-many hundreds. (Although the g'grandparents responsible for this, yes, blessing, all died between 1900 and 1939.)

And a figo to anyone who thinks that my having many, many relatives is a bad thing.

Tattered Remnants #008: Maj. Sullivan Ballou


The introduction to this series can be found here.

His parents died when he was a small child. He managed to educate himself well: Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts, Brown University for undergraduate work, National Law School in New York. He was called to the bar in 1853 at the age of 24.

He was elected to the Rhode Island legislature and eventually served, briefly, as Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was a strong Republican and aligned himself closely with the cause of emancipation and of Lincoln. When the war broke out, he signed up for service with an infantry regiment and was in Washington, DC, in July of 1861, where his unit prepared for deployment–the First Battle of Bull Run.

Ballou is famous for his last letter to his wife, which was movingly read in The Civil War, the 1990 Ken Burns history series.

The letter, given here in full with spelling as the original, best transmits the profound ambivalence of one of the Tattered Remnant who must choose between the love of his life and the fulfillment of his duty.

Cue Ashokan Farewell here:

July 14, 1861.
Camp Clark, Washington

My Very Dear Sarah,

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more. Our movements may be of a few days duration and full of pleasure — and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine, O God be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battle field for my Country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life to help maintain this Government and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys, I lay down nearly all of your’s, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows, when after having eaten for long years the bitter fruits of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children, is it weak or dishonorable, that while the banner of my forefathers floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, underneath my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children should struggle in fierce, though useless contest with my love of Country.

I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm Summer Sabbath night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying perhaps the last sleep before that of death while I am suspicious that Death is creeping around me with his fatal dart, as I sit communing with God, my Country and thee. I have sought most closely and diligently and often in my heart for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I love, and I could find none. A pure love of my Country and of the principles I have so often advocated before the people — ‘the name of honor, that I love more than I fear death,’ has called upon me, and I have obeyed.

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables, that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind, and bears me irresistibly on with all those chains, to the battle field.

The memories of all the blissful moments I have spent with you, come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and you that I have enjoyed them so long. And how hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our boys grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless, how foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears, every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortunes of this world to shield you, and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the Spirit-land and hover near you, while you buffit the storm, with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience, till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! if the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladest days and the darkest nights, advised to your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours, always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, or the cool air cools your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys — they will grow up as I have done, and never know a father’s love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long — and my blue eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters, and feel that God will bless you in your holy work.

Tell my two Mothers I call God’s blessings upon them new. O! Sarah I wait for you there; come to me, and lead thither my children.


"Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the First Battle of Bull Run."

It must be noted: after its burial, his body was dug up and desecrated by Georgia troops who wanted a Yankee officer's skull as a souvenir. What they left behind–charred bones, a blanket, and a shirt–were returned to Rhode Island. They were given burial with the highest state honors.

Sarah never remarried. She lived to the age of 80 and now lies in the grave next to his at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, RI.

They left no living descendants.

Monday, September 21, 2009

"The Nightmare of Christianity"

The Nation today ran an utterly repugnant article, talking about how excessive Penticostalism ruined the lives of certain individuals raised by religious fanatics and may have turned one man into a serial killer. He could have called it "A Nightmare of Christianity." Buuuuuuutttttt NOOOOOOO. He called it "THE Nightmare of Christianity," as if the story of billions of Christian souls over two thousand years could be melted down and typified by the life of a single sorry-assed murderer.

What utter madness.

Let us see:

One hundred million+ dead Chinese;

Sixty million+ dead Soviets;

Forty million+ dead subjects of National Socialism (and those who fought them);

One point five million+ dead subjects of Pol Pot;

One million+ dead subjects of Yugoslav socialism;

One million+ dead North and South Koreans;

One hundred thousand+ dead American Cold War combatants;

Sixty+ million aborted unborn Chinese;

Fifty+ million aborted unborn Americans;

Forty+ million aborted unborn Europeans;

One dead Russian royal family (kids and all);

One dead American President (JFK);

One dead anti-abortion protester (Pouillon)

... not to mention the unnumbered hundreds of millions+ 'merely' imprisoned, tortured, or otherwise draconianally punished for failure to conform ...

... and all at the hands of the Left since 1917 ...

And they DARE to whine to US about the dangers of ..... Penticostalism?


To The Nation: reread The Black Book of Communism and then get back to us. (I'm sure you've read it: it's all about you.)


I sent a slightly shorter version of this post to THE NATION in response to the Blumenthal article. Their response;

Hmm. It's true that Lee Harvey Oswald considered himself a leftist. However, he was such a confused son of a bitch, acting on his own tangled impulses, that I think it is erroneous to attribute the death of JFK to ideology.

Sandy McCroskey
editor, Nation web letters

Huh. So you're not quibbling about the hundreds of millions, but you quibble about Lee Harvey Oswald?

Jeezus Aitch.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blonde 1, Gator 0

(Note to Everybody Coming Here from Google because they're looking at the above pic: there's more to this blog than a picture of a dead gator and a pretty blonde with big boobs. Click here and check us out!)

The Florida Times reports that the above Arianne Prevost of Satellite Beach, a single mom, bagged an 11-foot, 450-lb. gator on Monday.

With two crossbow shots.

Cool beans.

This posted in fulfillment of Robert Stacy McCain's Rule 5(A).

Today is "International Talk Like a Pirate Day."

September 19 was chosen as it is the birthday of the founder's ex wife.

Arrrr matey.

Tattered Remnants #006A: Jim Pouillon - "Madman"?

Someone left a comment on my blog entry about Jim Pouillon. It's important enough that I'm going to address it here in the main blog rather than in a comment.

The estranged son of the martyred (yes) Jim Pouillon apparently released the following statement about him:

James M. Pouillon criticized his father, slain pro-life activist James L. Pouillon, in an post on on Sept. 13:

It will be impossible for some to believe, but my dad really didn't care about aborton.

He did this to stalk, harass, terrorize, scream at, threaten, frighten, and verbally abuse women. He had a pathologic hatred of women: his mom, my mom, everyone.

After my mom finally left him and he lost his favorite punching bag the violence and abuse that was always contained within our 4 walls was unleased on the people of Owosso.

My dad used the pro-life movement and 1st Amendments foundations to defend him, support him, and enable him. He fooled them all.

He was at the high shool because my niece was there, and female family members were always his favorite targets.

Again, my dad didn't care about abortion. He wanted to hurt people, upset people. He enjoyed making people suffer.

His goal was to be shot on a sidewalk. His goal was to make someone so angry, to make them feel so terrorized, to make them feel the only way they could make him stop was to kill him.

His pro-life stance was the most perfect crime I personally know of. He hid behind the 1st Amendment and was allowed to stalk, terrorise, harass, be obsene [sic], ect. These things are crimes. Offending people isn't a crime, and having different political views isn't a crime, but he committed several crimes over the last 20 years and got away with it.

Yes I really am his oldest son. Owosso is now rid of a mad man.

The Flint Journal confirmed that the post came from his eldest son, Dr. James M. Pouillon, a podiatrist.

And perhaps it is true we are rid of a mad man. But we were rid of a mad man, too, when John Brown's neck was stretched. And if so, like Brown, nothing may become the man's life so much as his leaving of it.

He may have been a bastard. He may have hated women. I leave his judgment to God. "Greater love hath no man than he that gives his life for a friend." Regardless of his motivations, he died for the unborn, even if he did deliberately court martyrdom.

And whatever you may say of him: Even if he was a wife beater, he never killed anybody. Which is far more than I can say about any abortionist--or aborter.

Or John Brown.


A friend of mine observes that the above statement is "too perfect," and that it sounds like Pouillon Jr. is a vehement pro-abort, as "so many medical doctors are" (he's a podiatrist, or something). Pouillon Jr. is likely "horrified" at what his father did for many years.

I'm sorry that young Doctor Pouillon had such an embarassing father. But it's okay. He's rid of him now. Right? :-/


One quote pops into my head:

"It is the first obligation of the agitator to provoke a response." - M.K. Gandhi

Now... THAT'S a War Game!

I've been a proud wargamer for more than 30 years, ever since I bought my first copy of Avalon Hill's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" on my sixteenth birthday.

Best birthday present I ever got (I bought it with birthday money). :0)

Anyway, like all good war gamers, I've always held Monopoly to be, shall we say, a bit... beneath us.

No longer.

It turns out that the British manufactured and distributed POW escape kits and hid them inside of Monopoly games given to British POWs by charities. At least one was actually used, at Colditz. (And to bring the ring full circle, I have actually played an escape-and-evasion game called Escape from Colditz.... although I must admit I don't think there was a Monopoly set hidden inside of it.)

I wish to God I had one of these for my collection. (The story says, however, that they are all gone. Alas.)

Is John T. Elson Dead?

This is the man who asked, in 1966, on the cover of Time Magazine, the question:


I'm sure he has his answer. Whether he's happy about that, however, I for one will not venture an opinion, one way or another.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Devil In The Details




54 F.R.D. 282, December 3, 1971

[EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Once upon a time, a guest of the federal penal system attempted to sue the Evil One for his downfall. The decision that followed (and yes, this is a real decision) has become a sort of a minor comic masterpiece of case law. (It's a shame that the plaintiff was unable to find the defendant to properly serve him papers, especially as we now know, from the 1993 film The Devil's Advocate, that he is a member of the bar of New York. Of course, that raises an additional question: which member?)]

WEBER, District Judge.

Plaintiff, alleging jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. § 241, 28 U.S.C. § 1343, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 prays for leave to file a complaint for violation of his civil rights in forma pauperis. He alleges that Satan has on numerous occasions caused plaintiff misery and unwarranted threats, against the will of plaintiff, that Satan has placed deliberate obstacles in his path and has caused plaintiff's downfall.

Plaintiff alleges that by reason of these acts Satan has deprived him of his constitutional rights.

We feel that the application to file and proceed in forma pauperis must be denied. Even if plaintiff's complaint reveals a prima facie recital of the infringement of the civil rights of a citizen of the United States, the Court has serious doubts that the complaint reveals a cause of action upon which relief can be granted by the court. We question whether plaintiff may obtain personal jurisdiction over the defendant in this judicial district. The complaint contains no allegation of residence in this district. While the official reports disclose no case where this defendant has appeared as defendant there is an unofficial account of a trial in New Hampshire where this defendant filed an action of mortgage foreclosure as plaintiff. The defendant in that action was represented by the preeminent advocate of that day, and raised the defense that the plaintiff was a foreign prince with no standing to sue in an American Court. This defense was overcome by overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Whether or not this would raise an estoppel in the present case we are unable to determine at this time.

If such action were to be allowed we would also face the question of whether it may be maintained as a class action. It appears to meet the requirements of Fed.R. of Civ.P. 23 that the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, there are questions of law and fact common to the class, and the claims of the representative party is typical of the claims of the class. We cannot now determine if the representative party will fairly protect the interests of the class.

We note that the plaintiff has failed to include with his complaint the required form of instructions for the United States Marshal for directions as to service of process.

For the foregoing reasons we must exercise our discretion to refuse the prayer of plaintiff....

In Memoriam: Mary Travers

We note the passing of Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary.

I still have their original album--a Christmas present to me in 1967.

A video of their defining song. God bless you, Mary. And thank you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Muppet Governments

The occasionally broken Free Republic steals a march (or at least some pix) from and runs some "separated at birth pictures" featuring famous people and muppets, like Queen Elizabeth....

and my personal favorite:

In Memoriam: Patrick Swayze

I note today the passing of Patrick Swayze, the actor best noted for getting extremely intimate with Demi Moore in Ghost (and, I might add, he got paid for it too!), as well as appearing in two other classic flicks of the 1980s: the wonderfully un-PC Red Dawn and the dance-pic Dirty Dancing, with Jennifer Grey at the height of her beauty.

He seemed to be an OK guy: he got married in 1975 to his wife Lisa Niemi and, amazingly for Hollywood, stayed married to her 'till death did they part.

However, it should be noted: Dirty Dancing was nothing but a commercial for legalized abortion: Jennifer Grey's father in the movie was seen providing a young girl with money for a then-illegal abortion, which (naturally, this is Hollywood) was "botched." The message is clear: isn't it wonderful that this can't happen today?

The wonderful dance sequences, the music, Swayze's pecs, Grey's beauty: nothing but candy coating for evil.

I'm not blaming Swayze for this; he wasn't the writer/producer, he was just an actor, and an unknown actor at the time, at that.

But mass murder is a structure that does not stand on its own. It requires pillars and load-bearing walls.

Like Dirty Dancing. A far dirtier movie than advertised--in its own way.

Anyway. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Apology to the Pouillon Family

I am sorry to say that I've been misspelling James Pouillon's name throughout the last few days of postings. They have all been corrected.

I hope.

(One of the disadvantages of being a solo blogger.)

We regret the error.

"What happened to civility?"

The Houston Chronicle asks: "What happened to civility?"

And the answer is:


And this.

And this.

And this.

Hey lefties: you cooked the porridge. Dig in.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Could LAX Security CINCUS?

Jay Nordlinger, at NRO, makes the following mention:

A reader wrote, “Jay, you may like the headline I just found on” Well, “like” is the word, sort of. The headline: “Obama to pick LAX security chief to head TSA.”

I'm reminded of the fact that, prior to the Day of Infamy, the chief Naval officer serving at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, held the position of "COMMANDERINCHIEFUNITEDSTATESFLEET"...

... or "CINCUS" for short.

That's right. Pronounced.... "SINK-US."

On December 10, 1941, the official designation became "COMINCH"; Kimmel was relieved of duty a few days later.

I "HOPE" to Christ that Obambi's choice for TSA doesn't get changed under similar circumstances.

Tattered Remnants #007: Janusz Korczak (Henryk Goldszmit)

The introduction to this series can be found here.


When I was the little boy you see in the photograph, I wanted to do all the things that are in this book. But I forgot to, and now I'm old. I no longer have the time or the strength to go to war or to travel to the land of the cannibals. I have included this photograph because it's important what I looked like when I truly wanted to be a king, and not when I was writing about King Matt. I think it's better to show pictures of what kings, travelers, and writers looked like before they grew up, or grew old, because otherwise it might sem that they knew everything from the start and were never young themselves. And then children will think they can't be statement, travelers, and writers, which wouldn't be true.

--Janusz Korczak (Henryk Goldszmit), King Matt the First, 1923 (Translated by Emse Raji Codell)

I first read about Janusz Korczak in a war novel: Mila 18, by Leon Uris, the famous Jewish American teller of heroic (if occasionally tall) tales from the 1960s and 1970s, now, alas, much out of fashion.

I did not know it was about Janusz Korczak that I was reading, however. Uris, as novelists will, combined together two famous figures from history into one, a character named Alexander Brandel. One of the two sources was Immanuel Ringelbaum, a historian and creator of the "Oyneg Shabbos" archives (whom I shall discuss in a later entry of this collection). The other was Janusz Korczak.

In Uris's book, at one point, the Alexander Brandel character is captured during a Nazi German Aktion, that is, an operation to sweep up Jews for shipment to a concentration camp. He is freed, however, before his arrival at Umschlagplatz (the transfer point to the gas chambers) when his friend Andrei Androfski, a heroic former Polish Army officer, goes berzerk and shoots the guards. When asked later why he attacked the Nazis, the Androfski character responds: "It was Alex... I could not let them take Alexander Brandel to the Umschlagplatz."

I can understand that Uris, a former Marine and a wonderful if brutal celebrant of the noble violence of the soldier, could not bear to let one as Korczak walk passively to his death. It was, alas, a bit of wish fulfillment on his part.

For, in real life, Uris's "Alexander Brandel" – Janusz Korczak – did indeed walk to Umschlagplatz. And his long walk to the train is one of the most heartbreaking, yet in its own way glorious, of scenes from the history of the 20th century, and elevated Dr. Korczak to be among the highest ranking of all of history's Tattered Remnant.

Janusz Korczak's birth name was Henryk Goldszmit. He was born in 1878 or 1879 in Warsaw, then under Imperial Russian rule. Little is known of his youth; even the correct year of his birth is uncertain. When he was around eighteen year old, his father died suddenly, leaving the young Henryk as head of his family and chief breadwinner.

As the invaluable Wikipedia tells us, "[i]n 1898 he used Janusz Korczak as a writing pseudonym in Ignacy Paderewski's literary contest. The name originated from the book Janasz Korczak and the Pretty Swordsweeperlady by Józef Ignacy Kraszewski." It is also said that he misspelled the original 'Janasz' as 'Janusz' but chose to stick with the altered name.

That is very interesting. Kraszewski was the leading children's storyteller of his day: it is as if Henryk named himself Henry Potter, or Bilbo Baggin. His own work and life, however, has given him the well deserved name of children's hero in his own right--even though the story from which he took the name has faded from memory.

He studied medicine, and became a pediatrician. He became noted also as the creator and operator of orphanages, in particular the Dom Sierot, the orphanage of his own design for Jewish children in Warsaw.

Having known early on the loss of a father, Dr. Korczak devoted his life to children, particularly the psychology of children and how best to teach them. He was among the first to turn away from the rigid memorization and harsh punishments of the teachers of children of that day. Again, Wikipedia:

Korczak['s]... general concept was that any child has his own way, his own path, on which he embarks immediately following birth. The role of a parent or a teacher is not to impose other goals on a child, but to help children achieve their own goals. His book How to Love a Child begins with the following:

You are saying: "Children are annoying".

You clarify: "You need to always kneel to their perceptions".

You are wrong.

Because you actually need to tip-toe to their perceptions and ideals
Korczak's various works, novels and stories – Child of the Drawing Room, King Matt the First (Król Macius Pierwszy) and its sequel King Matt on the Desert Island (Król Macius na Wyspie Bezludnej), made him quite famous. Once more, Wikipedia:

The later Kaitus the Wizard (Kajtus czarodziej) (1935) anticipated Harry Potter in depicting a schoolboy who gains magic powers (and its popularity in the 1930s, in both Polish and translation to several other languages, was nearly comparable to the present one of the Potter series). Kaitus has, however, in his journey toward becoming a wizard, a far more difficult path than Harry Potter: he has no Hogwarts-type School of Magic where he could be taught by expert mages, but must learn to use and control his powers all by himself - and most importantly, to learn his limitations.

"He ... must learn to use and control his powers ... by himself - and most importantly, to learn his limitations." In that we see the summation of his pedagogical theory. Within the sum of his powers, those children under his authority were left, as far as possible, to find their own way: not abandoned, but left to draw those swords from stones as were within their powers and talents themselves.

Korzcak's career was shadowed by the dark anti-Semitism that dogged his days. In the early 1930s, now famous, and given the title Pan Doktor ("Mr. Doctor"), he had his own radio show, where he broadcast many of his ideas on child-raising. Anti-Semites drove him off of the air after a few months. He went to Palestine in the mid-1930s; as a result of his writing on his visit, many Polish newspapers dropped his column.

Alas, things were not to improve. In 1939, the German Army crushed the Polish military and took Poland at the opening of WWII. Korczak's orphanage was closed and he was forced to move it inside the Warsaw Ghetto. Korczak moved into the ghetto with the children.

In 1942, the SS, Gestapo and all the instruments of Nazi power gathered together for what was called the Grossaktion: the "Great Operation" or "Big Action" to drive all of Warsaw's captive half-million Jews to their deaths at the Treblinka extermination camp. Hundreds of thousands of people were dragged from their homes, put on trains at a train station called the Umschlagplatz ("Assembly Square") and taken to be gassed.

They came for Korczak and his orphanage in the first week of August, 1942. The event was described in Wladyslaw Szpilman's book The Pianist:

One day, around 5th August when I had take a brief rest from work and was walking down Gesia Street, I happened to see Janusz Korczak and his orphans leaving the ghetto. The evacuation of the Jewish orphanage run by Janusz Korczak had been ordered for that morning.

The children were to have been taken away alone. He had the chance to save himself, and it was only with difficulty that he persuaded the Germans to take him too. He had spent long years of his life with children and now, on this last journey he could not leave them alone. He wanted to ease things for them. He told the orphans they were going out in to the country, so they ought to be cheerful. At last they would be able exchange the horrible suffocating city walls for meadows of flowers, streams where they could bathe, woods full of berries and mushrooms. He told them to wear their best clothes, and so they came out into the yard, two by two nicely dressed and in a happy mood.

The little column was lead by an SS man who loved children, as Germans do, even those he was about to see on their way into the next world. He took a special liking to a boy of twelve, a violinist who had his instrument under his arm. The SS man told him to go to the head of the procession of children and play – and so they set off. When I met them in Gesia Street the smiling children were singing in chorus, the little violinist was playing for them and Korczak was carrying two of the smallest infants, who were beaming too, and telling them some amusing story. I am sure that even in the gas chamber, as the Zyklon B gas was stifling childish throats and striking terror instead of hope into the orphans hearts, the Old Doctor must have whispered with one last effort, ‘it's all right, children, it will be all right’. So that at least he could spare his little charges the fear of passing from life to death."

In the end, Pan Doktor did indeed "go to war, and travel to the land of the cannibals." And while his body did not survive the journey, his spirit shines to this day.


There are many memorials today to Pan Doktor. The Polish People's Republic issued a commemorative coin with his image. An asteroid bears his name: 2163 Korczak. His pedagogical teachings were memorialized by the United Nations in the International Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1970. Perhaps most poignantly, in the now-empty fields of the Treblinka II death-camp are some 17,000 stones: one for each village or town that sent people die in that terrible place. Only one of the stones bears a proper name: it reads: "Janusz Korczak and The Children."

But for all those, perhaps the best memorial of Janusz Korczak lies in the pocket of an old man on an Israeli kibbutz.

In January 23, 2008, the New York Times profiled a number of of Korczak's survivors, now old, living in honor in Israel. One of those profiled Schlomo Nadel, who was in Korczak's orphanage, tells the following story:

Mr. Nadel said one of his favorite memories was from Passover in 1933 or 1934. The festive meal would be held in the dining room. But with more than 100 children, Korczak had to find an innovative way to have them search for the “afikoman,” the hidden piece of matzo redeemed for a prize by the child who finds it.

His creative solution: make it a walnut hidden in one of the matzo balls served in the chicken soup.

“Everyone’s spoons were digging into the matzo balls, and I saw I had something hard inside mine,” Mr. Nadel said. “Everyone rushed to see.”

As he spoke, he reached into his left pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. He unfolded it to reveal a dark leather pouch held together with fraying tape. Inside were shards of that walnut.

Let that symbol of the joy of a child be the sign by which he is best remembered.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pouillon: Where is the Outrage?

That's what Jeffrey Weiss of Politics Daily is asking.

It's now two days after the murder of the (yes) heroic Jim Pouillon, and....

[T]wo days after his murder, I can find no statements about it, pro forma or otherwise, on any of the websites of any of the prominent organizations that support abortion rights.

Not NARAL. Not NOW. Not Planned Parenthood. Not Catholics for Choice.

And nothing from Obama.

Like I said a couple of days ago:

Qui tacet consentire videtur.

Silence gives consent.

It's clear:

'We're glad he's dead. Serves him right.'


It should be noted that the White House denounced Pouillon's murder in a statement yesterday afternoon.

'Bout time, Barry.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tattered Remnants #006: James Pouillon, Elijah P. Lovejoy... and John Brown

The introduction to this series can be found here.


I write this at 3:52 in the morning on Saturday, September 12, 2009. My wife and kids are asleep, and all is peaceful.

Yesterday was the eighth anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. It was also the day that a little known man in Owosso, Michigan, named James Pouillon, was shot in front of a high school by a man who hated him for his speech.

The details are sketchy at this point. Pouillon, apparently a kindly person in his sixties, a man in generally poor health (he required oxygen tanks to get by), was locally notorious as "the abortion sign guy". He would sit in public places holding pictures of aborted babies, or sometimes would drive huge trucks around small towns in Michigan driving adorned with similar pictures of aborted children in living color.

That's terribly dangerous business. Nothing is more provocative than pictures of dead and mutilated babies. The tactic of confronting people with the visual evidence of abortion creates deep hostility in some, both among those who are "pro-life" and those who call themselves "pro-choice." One member of my family, for instance, who is profoundly pro-life, finds these pictures deeply abhorrent, and cannot abide either seeing the pictures themselves or those who would wave them in public, both because they are revolting and because they are disrespectful of the dead. Corpses are, or should be, apolitical.

Many agree: The pictures ARE abhorrent. They DO provoke. And, apparently, it cost him Mr. Pouillon his life.

But Mr. Pouillon did achieve something unprecedented: this is the first time to my knowledge that any pro-lifer has died in the cause of the abolition of abortion.

This is something new.

Let me preface the rest of this essay with the following notation: I am an unashamed advocate of immediate, absolute, complete, and utter suppression of legal abortion everywhere in the United States, at once, without exception, and without apology.

Abortion is evil. It must end.

I so believe just as I stand for the absolute, complete, and continued suppression of slavery: for the very same reasons. There is an undeniable parallel between the two, er, practices.

It is not civilized to kill helpless people, any more than it is to keep them in chains. And pretending that they aren't people says far more about the pretender than about the unborn (or the enslaved).

But--I'm not stupid. While I would love to see this occur, I also know that the time for it has not yet come, and will not come for many years. But come, eventually, it will.

I have no illusions that abortion can be totally suppressed. There will be criminals, always, always, who will perform clandestine abortions, just as there will always be car thieves. We still have slavery, even sex slavery, today, 150 years after Abolition. The well known case of Jaycee Lee Dugard illustrates that all too well.

Making abortion illegal won't make it completely disappear; but it certainly will reduce the number of abortions, just as abolition reduced 4,000,000 slaves in 1861 to, oh, one (that we know of) in 2008.

But that said: I do not know enough about James Pouillon to offer his biography in this collection. So, instead, I'd like to talk about two of his historical antecedents.... one as a comparison, and the other, as a warning.

ADDENDUM 15 SEPT 09: Jim Pouillon's obituary can be read here.


For the moment, I'll let the indispensable (well, to me, anyway) WIKIPEDIA, the source of all wisdom and knowledge, and their wonderful OPEN SOURCE LICENSE provision saves me the necessity, for now, to rewrite his biography. Here's what you need to know about the man.

Elijah Parish Lovejoy (November 9, 1802 – November 7, 1837) was an American Presbyterian minister, journalist, and newspaper editor who was murdered by a mob in Alton, Illinois for his abolitionist views.

He had a deeply religious upbringing, as his father was a Congregational minister and his mother a devout Christian. He attended Waterville College ... in his home state of Maine, and graduated at the top of his class. Afterwards, he traveled to Illinois and, after realizing that the area was largely unsettled, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1827. There, Lovejoy worked as an editor of an anti-Jacksonian newspaper and ran a school. Five years later, influenced by the Revivalist movement, he chose to become a preacher. He attended the Princeton Theological Seminary and became an ordained Presbyterian preacher. Once he returned to St. Louis, he set up a church and became the editor of a weekly religious newspaper, the St. Louis Observer. He wrote a number of editorials, critical of other religions and slavery. In May 1836, he was run out of town by his opponents after he chastised Judge Luke E. Lawless, who had chosen not to charge individuals linked to a mob lynching of a free black man.

Lovejoy moved to Alton, Illinois, where he became editor of the Alton Observer. On three occasions, his printing press was destroyed by pro-slavery factions who wanted to stop his publishing abolitionist views. On November 7, 1837, a pro-slavery mob approached a warehouse belonging to merchant Winthrop Sargent Gilman that held Lovejoy's fourth printing press. Lovejoy and his supporters exchanged gunfire with the mob. The leaders of the mob decided to burn down Gilman's warehouse, so they got a ladder and set it alongside the building. They attempted to climb up ladder to set fire to the warehouse's wooden roof, but Lovejoy and one of his supporters stopped them. After the mob set up their ladder along the side of the building for a second time, Lovejoy went outside to intervene, but he was promptly shot five times with a shotgun and died on the spot.

Elijah P. Lovejoy was by our standards today a religious bigot. A fanatical Presbyterian, he attacked other religions openly in his writings. He once called a judge a "papist" for refusing to prosecute those who lynched a black man.

But there is also no questions that he stood up for the rights of black men and women in a time when they were not even recognized as human.

In St. Louis, Lovejoy quickly established himself as the editor of the anti-Jacksonian newspaper, the St. Louis Times, and as the headmaster of a coeducational private school. In 1832, upon influence of the Christian revivalist movement led by abolitionist David Nelson, he decided to become a preacher.[12] He then studied at the Princeton Theological Seminary, and upon completion, went to Philadelphia, where he became an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in April 1833. Upon returning to St. Louis, he set up a Presbyterian church and also became editor of a weekly religious newspaper, the St. Louis Observer. In 1835, Lovejoy married Celia Ann French, who would later bear him two children.

Lovejoy wrote various pieces expressing his siding with social reform movements and New School Presbyterian, as the editor of the “Observer”. Lovejoy criticized Baptists, Cambellites, Roman Catholics and pro-slavery advocates through his writing. He criticized the influence of the religion in St. Luis hardly, and sided with anti-Catholicism views of Lyman Beecher. Although many Missourians disapproved, he supported the freeing and emancipation of slaves. He maintained that he was expressing his freedom of speech, even though many threats were brought against the newspaper.

In May 1836, Frank McIntosh, a free black man who was jailed in suspicion of murder, was hanged by a mob. Lovejoy angrily cried out. The judge presiding over the grand jury investigation of the hanging, Luke E. Lawless, informed the jurors that an insane frenzy gripped the mob. Lawless said that legal action should not be taken against any particular individuals, because the jury did not know about the mob’s mentality. Lovejoy scolded Lawless for not caring about the lynching, calling him a “Papist”.

The day after Lovejoy published his comments... the same mob [returned and] destroyed his printing press. In response, he announced that the paper would move to Alton, Illinois. Once Lovejoy was in Alton, he became the editor ... the Alton Observer. However, his printing press was destroyed yet again by another mob.

Lovejoy’s printing press was stolen three times in Alton by ... pro-slavery groups, and was thrown into the river. He was given another printing press from the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society. Once he had received his new printing press, word went out and pro-slavery mobs decided to destroy it. In October 1837, Lovejoy was asked to leave Alton by many leaders, but he rejected [such a move].... angrily argu[ing] that he has as much right to be [t]here than anyone else.

"Argu[ing] that he has as much right to be [t]here than anyone else"? Shades of Mr. Pouillon, who once sued in Federal court, obtaining $1 in damages, so that he could protest abortion on a public sidewalk.

Mr. Lovejoy, in spite of his name, in many ways does not seem like the kind of person who would be invited to soirees in Hollywood, New York, or Washington. People would view him today as a fanatic, a freak. Well, that he was. But he was an unapologetic advocate for the enslaved blacks held in bondage during a time when even mentioning the subject was considered a serious breach of manners.

Today, we view the advocates of slavery with a combination of loathing, contempt and pity, as well we should. We also remember with honor other advocates of abolition, such as William Lloyd Garrison, John Greenleaf Whittier; Harriet Beecher Stowe; Fredrick Douglass; Charles Henry Langston and John Mercer Langston. And of course, above all, Abraham Lincoln.

But we forget that the pro-slavery advocates had one motivation that we today choose to forget: at every moment, at every instant, owners of slaves were terrified of slave rebellion: the thought that the men who picked their cotton and the women who raised their children (and sometimes bore them!) would rise up one fine day and (to quote Ed Bearss in Ken Burn's The Civil War) "murder them in their beds." And they feared Abolitionists the same way that a man carrying an open gasoline can fears a lit cigarette.

Abolitionists in that century, just as prolifers in ours, were viewed as bloodstained fanatics with the blood of murdered innocents on their hands: the abolitionists with the victims of slave rebellion, and prolifers with the blood of abortionists.

Do not forget that Nat Turner, in 1831--only seven years before the death of Lovejoy--led a rebellion that killed 55 men, women, and children, before being suppressed violently and viciously by fanatical white militias that killed over 200 blacks in retaliation.

It is in view of this fear -- and rage -- that puts the mob that killed Lovejoy in proper context. Again, Wikipedia:

On November 7, 1837, pro-slavery partisans congregated and approached Gilman's warehouse, where the printing press had been hidden. According to the Alton Observer, shots were then fired by the pro-slavery advocates, and balls from muskets whizzed through the windows of the warehouse, narrowly missing the defenders inside. Lovejoy and his men returned fire. Several people in the crowd were hit, and one was killed.

As some began to demand the warehouse be set on fire, leaders of the mob called for a ladder, which was put up on the side of the warehouse. A boy with a torch was sent up to set fire to the wooden roof. Lovejoy and one of his supporters, Royal Weller, volunteered to stop the boy. The two men crept outside, hiding in the shadows of the building. Surprising the pro-slavery partisans, Lovejoy and Weller rushed to the ladder, pushed it over and quickly retreated inside.

Once again a ladder was put in place. As Lovejoy and Weller made another attempt to overturn the ladder, they were spotted. Lovejoy was shot with a shotgun loaded with slugs and was hit five times; Weller was also wounded. Suffering the same fate as its predecessors, the new printing press was destroyed; it was carried to a window and thrown out onto the riverbank. The printing press was then broken into pieces that were scattered in the river.

And so died Elijah P. Lovejoy, with five shotgun slugs in him.

Let it not be forgotten that Mr. Lovejoy died with a gun in his hand--and that, in providing a defense to the building and those inside it, several of the mob had been shot, and one (not further identified) was killed. Mr. Lovejoy died in an act of violence in which he directly participated.

This makes him naturally somewhat ambiguous. Did he contribute to his own death? Almost certainly. And he certainly contributed to the death of the man who attacked his warehouse, if not directly, than as an accomplice.

But one has the option of using deadly force in defense of an occupied building being attacked by a violent mob. That point is established law and was so even then. (To illustrate the point: Here in Detroit, we remember and honor one Dr. Ossian Sweet, a black doctor who was put on trial in for killing a white man while defending his home in 1925 under similar circumstances. Dr. Sweet was eventually acquitted. The judge in his case, Frank Murphy, is honored today by the court building in Detroit that bears his name.)

In short, you have no right to shoot to kill someone to defend an unoccupied building. You can kill to defend one that is occupied. End of story. So the shooting of the man in the mob was, by any standard, a justifiable act of self-defense.

Still. It is possible that a more passively resistant response, a la' Mohandas K Gandhi, would have spared the life of the arsonist trying to burn down the building. It might well also have led to the burning death of everyone inside. (With all respect to the Mahatma, I'll take death by five shotgun slugs over being burned to death any time.)

So Mr. Lovejoy was not a nice guy. He was a fanatic, a religious bigot, and an advocate of something that could have led (or so it was thought) to the murder of innocent (yes, white) people.


He dedicated his career, his work, and ultimately his life, to the cause of the abolition of slavery. He didn't have to do this. He could have just stayed home.

But he didn't. Something made him hear the call of duty at that crucial time and say... "I will do this."

He also spoke the absolute truth: slavery was a crime and those that maintained it were morally criminal.

He stood up and spoke truth, not just to power, but to a raging mob. He paid for his courage with his life.

He was the first white man to die in defense of abolition. And in so doing, he changed the world.

He is however also called today by some the first casualty of the American Civil War.

Let us pray that Mr. Pouillon, God rest his soul, does not come to bear a similar title.


The sequel to the death of Mr. Lovejoy came a few days later at a memorial service in his name. A strange, gaunt man, an utter failure in life in everything he tried, stood at the back of a church and said, "I hereby dedicate my life to the absolute abolition of the institution of slavery."

This man was John Brown.

I will not honor Mr. Brown with a full biography. I believe he was a terrorist. He was viewed by many contemporaries, even Lincoln and Grant, as a misguided fanatic.

Before the Raid at Harper's Ferry, John Brown and his sons murdered five pro-slavery men with swords. And while his actions at Harper's Ferry were for what cannot be denied was a very good cause, they led to the greatest war this nation has ever known.

John Brown has one 20th century parallel, and I do not mean this comparison as a compliment to either man: Timothy McVeigh. Both men were outraged at a vile injustice: Brown's being slavery, McVeigh's being the 1993 deaths of the Branch Davidians at Waco. But their rage at these injustices consumed them and turned them into the very monsters they thought they were fighting. Nietzsche warned us: "Who stares into the abyss should beware, eventually the abyss may stare back at you!" So here.

Both were justly executed.

It is likely that, given the circumstances of the nation in the late 1850s, that armed conflict was the only way to extirpate slavery. But let us also remember the words of Lincoln at the Second Inaugural Address:

The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Let me repeat it: "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh."

Woe to the slave owner. But woe, too, to the men who pointlessly and needlessly murdered in the cause of abolishing slavery.

Let Brown be a warning to the rest of the Tattered Remnant. Don't let rage at injustice turn you into the monster that you wish to fight.