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Monday, May 16, 2016

U.S. Army Promotes Movie

       Everybody knows the Obama Administration is in thick with the entertainment industry.  (Bought a DVD lately?  Notice that they created an office, complete with scary-looking emblem, devoted solely to movie piracy?)  In 2008, every entertainer from Neil Young to Henry Winkler was boosting a relatively unknown Illinois Senator as the nation's salvation.  Obama is said to have sent personal text messages to Scarlett Johansson.  (And any look at Michelle will tell you why.)  Other than Wall Street fat cats, Hollywood provides the lion's share of funding for liberal causes.
       Even in light of the incestuous relationship between Democrats and Hollywood, it was still shocking to see an Army recruiting commercial that was mostly a plug for the new Independence Day sequel.  How is it that a U.S. military that skimps on weapons and stopped feeding troops hot breakfasts now has the money to shill for Hollywood?  The advertisement in question says nothing about actual service in the real U.S. Army, but focuses on a make-believe force defending Earth from aliens.  You know, if what Oh Blah Blah meant when he promised to fundamentally transform America was letting men in women's restrooms, forcing nuns to buy abortion drugs for their employees, and using the Pentagon budget to get everyone to see a movie, I can safely say that Estase isn't feeling the change.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

A Time for Stoicism

       With regards to Lil' Sweet, the character used to sell Diet Dr. Pepper ("Awesome Adverts"), it seems I may have spoken too soon.  The other day, Estase saw a brand-new Lil' Sweet commercial.  In a world where people still impersonate Elvis Presley forty years after his death, perhaps a Prince-inspired character still makes sense after the death of the Purple One.
       This is a shout-out to the voters of Indiana:  we Illinoisans can feel better about our bad electoral choices now that you chose a womanizing liberal liar who favors socialized medicine over Ted Cruz.  Smooth move, Ex Lax.  
        This is a time for Stoicism.  It seems almost inevitable that whoever is our next president, they will be a disaster.  What is beyond our control is nothing that should disturb us.  Cicero managed to be content even as he was exiled, even as he saw a tyrant destroy the Roman Republic.  One's own morality and excellence are all that we have control over.  To be concerned with anything we can't do anything about is a recipe for unhappiness.  
       Human curiosity, however, impels one to ask why otherwise rational commentators have gone on the Trump bandwagon.   Why does Michael Savage live in San Francisco, ground central for liberal craziness?  So he never runs out of material.  Why does Michael Savage support Citizen Kane, when it's clear he's not a conservative;   and even were he a conservative, he has no way of defeating Hillary Clinton given his habit of insulting entire groups of people?   Because Hillary Clinton being the next president of the United States is good business for someone whose job is castigating liberals.  Think of all the groups Trumpsters have insulted--Muslims, Hispanics, Jews, Catholics.  What are the chances in a general election for someone who has alienated most of the country?  Estase has been in Facebook exchanges with people who called him a liberal and promised to deport him as soon as Citizen Kane is elected.  Some of the die-hard Trump supporters clearly aren't playing with a full deck.  People who wear tinfoil hats aren't an important voting bloc.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Abuses of the Court Party

       "The very desire of that body to have such a trust contrary to law reposed in them, shews that they are not worthy of it.  They certainly will abuse it;  because all men possessed of an uncontrouled discretionary power leading to the aggrandisement and profit of their own body have always abused it:  and I see no particular sanctity in our times, that is at all likely, by a miraculous operation, to overrule the course of nature. . . .Whoever has taken a careful view of public proceedings, so as to endeavour to ground his speculations on his experience, must have observed how prodigiously greater the power of the Ministry is in the first and last session of a Parliament, than it is in the intermediary periods, when Members sit a little firm on their seats. . . .It is no inconsiderable part of wisdom, to know how much of an evil ought to be tolerated;  lest, by attempting a degree of purity impracticable in degenerate times and manners, instead of cutting off the subsisting ill practices, new corruptions might be produced for the concealment and security of the old.  It were better, undoubtedly, that no influence at all could affect the mind of a Member of Parliament.  But of all modes of influence, in my opinion, a place under the Government is the least disgraceful to the man who holds it, and by far the most safe to the country.  I would not shut out that sort of influence which is open and visible, which is connected with the dignity and the service of the State, when it is not in my power to prevent the influence of contracts, of subscriptions, of direct bribery, and those innumerable methods of clandestine corruption, which are abundantly in the hands of the Court, and which will be applied as long as these means of corruption, and the disposition to be corrupted, have existence amongst us."  Edmund Burke Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, pgs. 66, 75, 77.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Champion of the Discontented

       "But an addressing House of Commons, and a petitioning nation;  an House of Commons full of confidence, when the nation is plunged in despair;  in the utmost harmony with Ministers, whom the people regard with the utmost abhorrence;  who vote thanks, when the public opinion calls upon them for impeachments;  who are eager to grant, when the general voice demands account;  who, in all disputes between the people and Administration, presume against the people;  who punish their disorders, but refuse even to inquire into the provocations to them;  this is an unnatural, a monstrous state of things in this constitution. . . .I will not believe, what no other man living believes, that Mr. Wilkes was punished for the indecency of his publications, or the impiety of his ransacked closet.  If he had fallen in a common slaughter of libellers and blasphemers, I could well believe that nothing more was meant than was pretended.  But when I see, that, for years together, full as impious, and perhaps more dangerous writings to religion, and virtue, and order, have not been punished, nor their authors discountenanced;  that the most audacious libels on Royal Majesty have passed without notice;  that the most treasonable invectives against the laws, liberties, and constitution of the country, have not met with the slightest animadversion;  I must consider this as a shocking and shameless pretence.  Never did an envenomed scurrility against everything sacred and civil, public and private, rage through the kingdom with such a furious and unbridled licence.  All this while the peace of the nation must be shaken, to ruin one libeller, and to tear from the populace a single favourite."  Edmund Burke, Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, pgs. 53, 59-60

Monday, April 25, 2016

Awesome Adverts

       Estase has railed against offensive television advertisements.  So it behooves him to give credit where credit is due.  The death of Prince will be mourned by music enthusiasts everywhere, but will also be mourned by those of us who loved Lil' Sweet, the Prince avatar used to sell Diet Dr. Pepper.   These commercials were funny to all of us old enough to remember Prince's heyday.
        Geico Insurance has the best ad agency in America.  Geico's ads are funny and/or cute.  The people at Progressive Insurance, however, are being robbed.  Progressive Insurance has annoying, stupid ads.  The pig on the zip line was genius, as was the swipe at Alec Baldwin where the pig is on an airliner, and is told to put away his phone.  Bravo!
        A company called Slack has created an adorable commercial involving anthropomorphic animals at work.  Estase hopes they air the heck out of this ad.  In a world where vulgarity and gross-outs are commonplace, some ad agencies keep it clean and funny.  Rest in peace, Lil' Sweet.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Bible Inscription

George Faris was born July one {17}76
George Faris was born July the 26, 1770
George Faris was born July the 16, 1721

John C. Hollister his Bible presant from his stepfather the above

John C. Mallis son of Benjamin Hollister and Elizabeth his wife was born in the year of our Lord 1803 April the 4th

Molly Fisher daughter of Jacob Fisher Viletty his wife was born in the year of Lord 1807 January the 7th

                                                  MDCCXCIII
                                                           1793


If you have any information about the family referenced in this inscription, kindly leave a message.

Fear and Stasis, Part Two

      There are several points of comparison between the pissed off British electorate of 1770 that inspired Edmund Burke's Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents and the segment of the American public who find Citizen Kane attractive.  The British rogue John Wilkes was the Donald Trump of his day.  His damning sin was bucking the Earl of Bute, but what he was denied Parliament for was his insult to George III in North Briton #45.  The first time Wilkes was denied his seat, the Middlesex electors were at least allowed to elect a replacement.  The second time, the ministry named a Colonel Luttrell to fill Wilkes' spot.
       The grievances of the British in 1770 were the weak legislature caused by an intrusive executive power (namely, Lord Bute and the Court faction), the fact that competent leaders were unwilling to enter office because of the undermining of ministries (as happened with Pitt the elder and Lord Rockingham), and a public feeling that the executive was overwhelming the legislature.
       The grievances of the Trump faction today are similar.  They include a pushover Congress that does everything the President asks, Congressional leaders who are scapegoats for executive programs, and a public uninterested in empowering Congress.
        The problem with the backers of Citizen Kane is that they want to deal with an emasculated Congress, not by restoring the proper functions of Congress (e.g. by returning to actual budgets, rather than continuing resolutions;  an end to finances being designed in the White House), but by replacing one autocratic President with another autocratic President.   Two years ago, Estase was lamenting the nomination of Sci-Fi Bruce Rauner for Illinois governor.  Estase felt that Rauner's position on abortion was unacceptable, and that Rauner basically wanted to enter public life as a rich man's hobby.  Citizen Kane is forty times worse than Bruce Rauner.  Virtually no position Trump takes is based on facts, reflection or experience.  Limited government and constitutionalism are meaningless to him.  All Trump promises to be is a different type of autocrat.  His ego is so out of proportion to what he is that it is not saying too much to call him a meglomaniac.   His history as a liberal is too well-established for any person to take him as anything other than a Democratic plant.   He refuses to rule out a third-party candidacy, yet another sign that his intention is not to defeat Hillary Clinton, but to split the vote to ensure her election.  Why Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh defend Trump defies logic.  It probably will damage the Republican brand forever if a xenophobic authoritarian enters office as a Republican.  So, unlike the British in 1770, there exists today in America discontent, but a strange, incoherent discontent that aims to remedy a disorder by the same disorder.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

The Discipline of Confusion

     "A sullen gloom, and furious disorder, prevail by fits:  the nation loses its relish for peace and prosperity, as it did in that season of fullness which opened our troubles in the time of Charles the First.  A species of men to whom a state of order would become a sentence of obscurity, are nourished into a dangerous magnitude by the heat of intestine disturbances;  and it is no wonder that, by a sort of sinister piety, they cherish, in their turn, the disorders which are the parents of all their consequence.  Superficial observers consider such persons as the cause of the public uneasiness, when, in truth, they are nothing more than the effect of it. . . .One mob is hired to destroy another;  a procedure which at once encourages the boldness of the populace, and justly increases their discontent.  Men become pensioners of state on account of their abilities in the array of riot, and the discipline of confusion."  Edmund Burke Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents p.45