Posted by: bkivey | 21 March 2017

Presumption of Guilt

The core concept of Western jurisprudence is that the individual is presumed innocent when accused of a social transgression by the State. It matters little to the accused whether the power of the State is given or coerced when they are faced with the weight of society. The idea that the individual is sovereign and it is society that bears the burden of proof arguably gives the accused an advantage. And as the severity of the accusation increases, the burden of proof is usually more rigorous, until for capital crimes the proof must usually be rigorous and narrow. The legal concept of individual sovereignity is the very basis of individual liberty and freedom.

Unless you live in the Western world, where the accusation is now the proof; a practice that extends even to the courts. Let someone be accused of crime think and it is the accused who must provide the evidence, in essence required to prove a negative, and an exercise with a very high degree of difficulty. In this world the individual is subordinate to the State. Unable to ‘prove’ their innocence on the shifting sands of rule-of-man, the individual must stay silent or be punished.

The Left has used this as a control strategy for decades. Charge someone with being an ‘-ist’ and they are instantly immobilized as they try to extricate themselves from the horrible accusation. It’s not even necessary to believe that someone actually is an ‘-ist’; the stigma is all that’s required. It’s a case of a wholesale transfer of power from a group of people to their detriment. And it’s a voluntary transfer. Wanting to appear to be good people, the accused dare not challenge the accuser, lest additional punishment be warranted.

Control strategies are effective as long as there’s a compatible environment, and the ‘-ist’ strategy is effective as long as those attitudes are prevalent. The world has changed the last half-century and Progressivism hasn’t. A lot of people are really tired of being told how bad they are when they know differently. I’d say that a good part of why the Left lost in 2016 wasn’t just because of their message, but because large parts of their message are no longer relevant.

So if someone calls you an ‘-ist’, just say ‘Prove it’. Then shut up and let them squirm for a change.

The Beat Rolls On

The beating of Duke basketball teams, that is. A day after the men’s team was defeated by South Carolina (7), the Duke (9) women’s team was ousted by Oregon. Unranked Oregon. That’s gonna leave a mark in Durham.


Posted by: bkivey | 20 March 2017

Nowhere To Go but Down

After sweeping defeats in the 2014 elections the Democratic Party decided that the time was ripe to mobilize the Army of the Disaffected. Eighty years in the making through the Progressive Balkanization of American society, the Democratic feudal lords leadership launched a massive media offensive mainstreaming the marginal. The interval between the mid-terms and the Presidential election often felt like society was being sucked into a black hole of irrationality. This wasn’t really an illusion, as the self-proclaimed Party of Anyone But Straight White Males used the Ministry of Truth mass media to pound home the message that America was fundamentally flawed and the whole thing needed to go.

As the election neared the Left threw all their cards on the table. No more pretending to love or even like the country: it was full-on hate and if you didn’t agree you were an ‘-ist’. Dissenters would at least be intimidated into silence. It is a Progressive axiom that politics is personal so any dissension is an attack on the person. Thought crime is hate crime.

When you throw down, people can see what you have, and while the Democrats told everyone they held four aces everyone else saw a queen-high flush. People asked themselves after six years of Democratic power and fundamental changes in the way Americans lived; why was it that society was more fractious than any time since the early 70’s?  Why after decades of Progressive media and academic control were people so unhappy? A President had been elected on a promise of inclusiveness and it had been nothing but divide, divide, divide since. For many people there was a growing divide between propaganda and reality and on Election Day they voted accordingly. The US has not yet reached the societal Stage III cancer of entrenched Socialism.

The Democrats and their Coalition of Victims had their Wile E. Coyote off-the-cliff moment as the sure thing became no thing. The resulting power vacuum imploded the Democratic Party with the sound of failed aspirations; carried live as they happened.

Progressives in the United States have some serious problems. They failed to take, and likely entrench, power at the height of their influence in US history. Much more damaging is the fact that they went all in, to the extent that their Presidential candidate called more than half the populace ‘deplorables’ in a campaign speech. Now many eyes have opened to the fact the Left is about power and control. It’s fitting that the people claiming to speak for the marginal have marginalized themselves.

NCAA Basketball

I enjoy ‘March Madness’. Mostly as a sports fan, because the men’s cagers at schools I went to don’t know from post-season. I watched South Carolina beat Duke in what’s probably the biggest upset thus far. They’ll be talking about that game in Columbia for years: beating Duke in the NCAA Tournament is how programs are made. I do wonder how it is the Gamecocks get to wear ‘Carolina’ on their jerseys. There’s only one Carolina, and it’s not in the Palmetto State.

More Basketball

I mentioned the lack of post-season appearances by my alma maters men’s teams. I give you: the Oregon State (2) women’s basketball team. They’ve been good for a while now: going to four straight Tournaments, two Sweet 16’s, and making the Final Four last year. They lost to UConn, but you have to be wearing ‘Tennessee’ on your jersey to play in that league. Gill Coliseum is less than two hours away, so I’ve seen some regular season and playoff games. Coach Scott Rueck and his staff have a team that’s disciplined and very good at exploiting defenses. They’re fun to watch, and I hope to watch for a while longer.

It’s Spring!

Yay! It’s been a cold, wet Winter this year, and happy to see the trees leafing out. It’ll rain for a few more months, but we’ve likely seen the last freezing day until next Fall.

Dr. Johnny Fever’s Rx:

Had a bad day at the office?

When you get home, cue up Montrose’ Space Station No. 5 on the stereo. You can not use crappy-ass encrypted ‘files’. They’re worse than generic drugs: they sort of sound the same but aren’t nearly as effective. And fie upon you if you’re a rock fan and do not own this album.

Raise volume as high as neighbors/ears/structure can stand.

Let that frustration out with some sweet air guitar licks while Sammy belts it.



Posted by: bkivey | 8 February 2017

2 Timothy 3


While catching up on my reading I went through a couple issues of the local alternative weeklies published shortly after the election. Both papers were wall-to-wall anti-Trump, as if overnight we went from an incipient Worker’s Paradise to a totalitarian State. You’d think the Left would be OK with a repressive, controlling government, but apparently it’s not OK if it’s not their brand of oppression. Dissent is patriotic again.

From the articles and pictures of protesters with their mouths taped over, the casual observer might think that the oppressed people of Amerika were struggling to break free of a tyrant and their oppressive government apparatus. Women and minorities hardest hit, of course.  And the media drumbeat is incessant: Dark Ages the next four years.

Every day I’m continually flabbergasted that the threats these folks are reacting to are a complete fabrication. A whole lot of highly schooled people have created a self-consistent world to which they are reacting logically, if emotionally, and which has no basis in reality. Donald Trump said things with which they disagree, and his actions to date are consistent with his campaign, but as far as coercion of American citizens, I haven’t seen it. Indeed, President Trump has maintained Executive protections for the queer community, and going Obama one better by extending considerations to historically Black universities.

But the Left has set Trump up as the Evil One, and when his actions or lack thereof belie The Narrative, they are stuck. They are invested in their position to the point that to save face they must invent responses to conditions that they have created. It’s insular, self-referential, and not reflective of actual conditions. The Bubble indeed.

We’ve seen this before. After 9/11 Congress passed new lows laws creating oppressive bureaucracies and regulations: chief among them TSA and the ill-named and begotten PATRIOT Act, as well as vastly expanded surveillance powers on citizens. These were areas of legitimate concern to reasonable people, but the Left went completely off the rails. Muslims and Mexicans were going to be rounded up and prison camps for everyone. The government was going to tap your phone and if you were the least bit suspect you’d be ‘disappeared’.

The Left whipped itself to such a frenzy that public calls for the assassination of President Bush were commonplace. After the initial shock of the attacks subsided, the Left looked around and saw that things weren’t anywhere near as bad as they’d sworn they’d be. So for the next several years there was a lot of “Hey, look at me! Look at how I’m standing up to oppression and risking arrest for speaking my mind!”. And we’re seeing that now. These folks aren’t risking anything, and some of them are even aware of that. But virtue-signaling is far more important than sanity. People on the Left aren’t stupid, but they seem to spend their time investing in things that have little to do with maintaining a society, much less advancing it.

Election Protests

As of this writing there are still violent protests against the President. My response probably mirrors that of many other Americans and expressed by Malcolm Reynolds:

“Why are you arguing what’s already been decided?”

Malcolm Reynolds



Super Bowl LI

I thought the NFL was going to stop using Roman numerals.

I wasn’t particularly interested in this game. I didn’t have a rooting interest in either team, and Super Bowls tend to be one-sided affairs. The spread prior to the game slightly favored the Patriots. I was a bit surprised, because Atlanta plays in one of the worst divisions in the league, and the Patriots are, well, the Patriots. I’d seen the Falcons play a few times during the season, and during the playoffs they looked like a complete team. On the other hand, New England had torn up the schedule on the ‘Tom Brady Revenge Tour’.

The first half was all Atlanta. Patriots receivers seemed to be football-adverse: perhaps they weren’t used to catching properly inflated balls. The Falcons defense kept the Patriots offense off the field, while the Atlanta offense was effective. By the end of the third quarter, Atlanta was up by 19 points and it looked like the game was over. I and many others bailed on the bar.

However, this was still New England with Tom effing Brady at the helm. I listened to the remainder of the game on the radio, and as a football fan was pleased and a bit stunned as the Patriots found their offense and reeled off 19 unanswered.

I expected overtime to be played under regular season rules, where each team gets a possession. For this game the league reverted to sudden death, and it was for Atlanta.

From my perspective Atlanta started playing not to lose in the fourth quarter, rather than play to win. This was understandable: the defense had been on the field for much of the game and been very effective, but by the fourth quarter they were tired. Defensive coordinator Coach Richard Smith likely took this into account in calling a more conservative defense. There was also a loss of focus on the part of Atlanta’s offense, when a key series of penalties in the fourth quarter put them out of range of a field goal that would have iced the game. Still, very entertaining from the stands.

Halftime Show

I didn’t watch the halftime show live. I’m not a huge fan of modern musical productions, and I knew nearly nothing about Lady GaGa other than I couldn’t identify any of her songs and she wore a meat dress once. I wasn’t even sure what she looked like.

People I talked to said I should watch the show, so I looked it up.


Lady GaGa is a talented, gifted performer with a flair for showmanship who completely crushed that show. I enjoyed her performance from beginning to end. Heck, I even liked the music. I could have done without the entourage of dancers: any entertainer worth their salt should be able to carry a performance on their own, and she can do that with room to spare. Well done, ma’am.

Super Bowl Commercials

Well, really only one commercial. The halftime video had three embedded commercials, which were annoying because they interrupted the flow of the show, but in this case I didn’t mind so much because Super Bowl commercials are usually worth watching.

Until the Audi commercial.

I don’t know when the spot aired during the game, but in the video it comes during the final song. It’s a solid minute of whining about how unfair society is to women, implicitly citing statistics that have been shown to be inaccurate. I’m sure the folks at Audi thought they were being progressive and forward-thinking, but what they actually did was perpetuate the Leftist Narrative. Of all the ways to portray women in society, Audi chose one of the most negative. The commercial is a complete downer, and coming as it did during the rousing final number, took me right out of the show. Not even Lady GaGa could effect that recovery. If I’ve ever considered buying an Audi, I certainly wouldn’t now.


Posted by: bkivey | 25 January 2017

Grass and Cash

A couple of months ago The Oregonian published an article on Federal and state marijuana eradication efforts. Or more precisely, government efforts to eliminate illegal marijuana grows. As might be expected in a state where dope has been legal for over a year, law enforcement efforts against marijuana have dramatically declined, in no small part because the Feds have been reducing funding since Oregon legalized the drug. At the state level the federal program is overseen by the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, and they don’t want it, to the point where there’s speculation the anti-dope effort may not be run in 2017.

The DEA allocated $200,000 to Oregon for marijuana mitigation: not even a rounding error in the Federal budget, and some folks think there won’t be any Federal funds for 2017. One may reasonably ask why there should be any government money spent on eradicating a legal product, and that’s the interesting part of the story.

What anti-pot efforts there are in Oregon are now focused on protecting legal grows. The shift is from all marijuana is bad to only that grown by non-licensed operations. There is some concern that drug cartels will take business away from legal growers. As one person points out, this doesn’t really make sense. Why would a cartel try to compete illegally in a legal industry? Drug cartels are all about profit, and there’s a lot more of it to be made selling unregulated drugs like meth and heroin than selling something on the street anyone can walk into a store and buy. It’s amusing to me to see law enforcement in the position of protecting people they were looking to bust a year ago.

My opinion is that marijuana should be at least as legal as alcohol. While alcohol can make people act in unpredictable ways, the effects of dope are predictable: it makes people lazy and dumb. No one was ever moved to violence because they smoked some weed. The fact that marijuana remains a Federal Schedule I (readily abused and no medicinal benefits) drug is ridiculous. It was put there by the Nixon Administration in the early 1970’s because they didn’t know what else to do with it, and dope was seen as the ‘gateway’ drug to a short life of shooting up in alleys. The fact that use was more prevalent among racial minorities and the hated hippies didn’t help its case. Some 45 years later and legal in eight states, the fears expressed by Senator James Eastland D-Miss in 1974, that

“If the cannabis epidemic continues to spread at the rate of the post-Berkeley period, we may find ourselves saddled with a large population of semi-zombies – of young people acutely afflicted by the amotivational syndrome.”

have not materialized. Hey Senator, if you really want to afflict young people with amotivational syndrome, get them hooked on government benefits. Oh, wait . . .

Truer Words

The National Football League Players Association held an essay contest asking current and former players to write about what they wished they’d known prior to starting their career, and former player Caleb Campbell had the winning entry. I was struck by the last few paragraphs:

More specifically, I wish I knew that excuses kill more dreams than the lack of talent ever will.

It’s easy to stand afar looking at every reason why your life is not the way you had once envisioned as a child. Whether your coach isn’t giving you a chance, you don’t have enough money in the bank, or your father abandoned you as a child, pointing the finger and making an excuse is the real impediment to your life not moving forward.

Unless you’re willing to silence the ego and come to the place of taking full responsibility for your life, in a world of endless galaxies and unchartered waters, excuses will be your ceiling.

But, I get it.

Deep down you won’t want to confront that the problem might be with you. That the fear of never measuring up to the expectation of others is actually the locked door keeping you out. Or, that the unforgiveness you’ve harbored for the things that happened to you as a child is actually what’s sabotaging your life.

But, it’s in that place of responsibility where true victory awaits.

A victory that destroys limitations and gives you a fighting chance to live out your full purpose for this life.

Australian Open

I tried for several years as a child to learn to play tennis. Mostly on clay and asphalt, because those were the court surfaces available on Army bases. It was about this time between tennis and baseball I discovered that I lacked the fine motor control and coordination necessary for a successful athletic career. Stamina and strength weren’t the issues: I could trade ground strokes all day long. Putting the ball where I wanted was more challenging. Tennis is a sport where you have to be good to play badly, and I was never good.

I watched Serena Williams vs Johanna Konta in the women’s singles, and it was an education in using experience to overcome adversity.

Williams won the first set 6 -2, but started to struggle mightily in the second set. It seemed she couldn’t put a ball on target. Konta went up 3 -1 in the set, and you could see the frustration from Williams. But there aren’t time-outs in tennis. You can’t stop play and talk to your coach or take a breather to collect yourself. Adjustments have to be made in the moment. I figured that Williams would draw on her long experience with championship tennis, and that’s what she did.

Williams used her ground game to get Konta out of position and along with some blistering serves, Konta wouldn’t win another game: she had roused the bear. The penultimate serve in the match was a wicked ace in the corner of the service box that I don’t think Williams opponent even saw. Another ace for triple match point followed.

It’s always a pleasure to watch something done exceptionally well, and seeing an experienced, talented professional make the adjustments necessary to put down a worthy adversary was enjoyable indeed.



Posted by: bkivey | 3 January 2017

The Red Scare

In a story I could not believe was treated seriously, the Democrats apparently lost the election because Vladimir Putin told his State security apparatus to throw the election to Donald Trump by exposing damning emails from within the Democratic Party. This was such a desperate and transparent attempt to spin a disastrous election result I expected the story to die of laughter.

But it didn’t. The Democratic Party’s Ministry of Public Information decided this was a legitimate news story. Based on less evidence than is required for face time with an assistant district attorney, we were supposed to believe those dastardly Russians had worked to put someone in office more hostile to them than the Beloved Candidate. We knew that Progressive social policy is informed by the 1930’s: it seems they’ve advanced their foreign policy to the 1950’s. Progress!

What hasn’t changed is the Progressive thirst for power, and when the Russian angle didn’t work out entirely as hoped in that there wasn’t a massive outcry to ‘re-examine’ the election results, the Left started going after the other red menace, Republican Federal electors.

For Presidential elections there are two Constitutionally – mandated elections: the popular vote, and the Electoral College. Electors are apportioned according to each state’s Congressional delegation. Electors traditionally vote in accordance with their state’s popular vote, but they aren’t required to, and their election takes place some six weeks after the popular vote.

The purpose of the Electoral College is to mitigate vote fraud, and so act as a check on political machines. The delay between elections allows state elections to be certified and for Electors to see if, say, Delaware has 30 million votes for a candidate. It’s a useful institution with real value and relevance.

Unless you’re a Liberal on the losing side. Then a system you’ve lived with your entire life is suddenly ‘outdated’, ‘archaic’, and a ‘relic’. Now the election we were told by finger-wagging Progressives had to ‘be respected’ is suddenly suspect because the ‘right’ person didn’t win. Frankly, I’ll take the Russians. At least they’re consistent, and as one wag at said, if they did influence the election, then the Russians will have ironically saved us from socialism.


Posted by: bkivey | 2 January 2017

Alternate Reality

“This must be what going mad feels like.”

Simon Tam


Firefly 2002

I didn’t know the result of the Presidential election until the afternoon of the day after. I’d cast my vote, and so cast what influence I could. After that it didn’t matter. The results were going to be whatever they were. Judging by the lack of riots and fires I’d figured Clinton had won, and was a bit surprised to find out otherwise. So the dire predictions of the Left hadn’t (yet) come true.

I’ve refrained form commenting on the election because I wanted to see how the Left would handle rejection. As expected, not well. First they went into deep denial, then sought to blame others for their failure. This is all pretty normal for people facing a loss, but what sets the aftermath of this election apart from others is the degree to which the Left has denied reality. They not only refuse to acknowledge the failure, but are so convinced that they are right that they can’t admit any explanation other than the evil Others have taken what is theirs. There is only One True Way for a society to behave, and anything else is the very incarnation of all that is wrong with people.

Progressivism has always been about the cult of personality. There is a Progressive ideology, but it’s the Rule of Man, and so is fractured and inconstant. Progressive leadership consists of those who most loudly proclaim the current Party line while using the modus operandi of manufactured conflict to best advantage. These folks enjoy massive public exposure from the morphing of the Fourth Estate into the Fourth Branch and the near-total takeover of academia and entertainment by the Party. Those who wish to remain in the Party’s good graces must loudly proclaim their support. In the absence of a unifying philosophy greater than the individual a person hoping to improve their lot must curry favor with those increasingly closer to the center of power. It’s very much about who you know, or to whom you profess allegiance.

The subjugation of self to another is the foundation of cults. Cults seek to immerse their followers in an alternate reality dominated by a figurehead. Some, like the more moderate religions and the military, are useful and necessary, but most cults are varying degrees of harmful to their members and society. Fortunately most cults are small and so the damage is limited.

What I was unprepared for after the election was the degree to which half the country appears to be living in an alternate reality. A reality they think is concrete and actual. I saw glimmers of this after Bernie Sanders was ousted from the race. People were actually distraught because they’d put all their eggs in the Bernie basket and now it wasn’t going to happen. Yes, you still have to pay your college loans. But there weren’t a lot of these folks, so I didn’t pay it too much mind.

Then after the election, a lot of pieces like this appeared:

I had been living for less than 48 hours with the knowledge that Donald Trump would be our next President, but the whole year had already been so horrible, I had been taking refuge in ambient house music for months.

The airport was crowded. I’ve flown out of PDX countless times, and was surprised at how many international travelers were departing that morning. Had they all rescheduled their flights to get out of here as soon as possible, before they were all rounded up and deported, or worse? What a mad time to be visiting the US, or to be watching the US, or to be the US.

I felt paranoid, and not without good reason. I tried to peer into the mind and soul of every strange face I encountered. For whom had they voted? Were they friend or foe? I can see no stronger line in the division of this country than one’s feelings about a Trump presidency. Some are feeling a powerfully enabled joy; others, a crushing, defeated sadness. I reside firmly in the latter category. The sadness I feel, and hopefully the anger as well, will dissipate. But in the anti-Trump camp I will reside, until I die. I’m not visiting.

The flight was a blur. I drifted in and out of consciousness, sounds and images from my sleepless night swirling in my head like a dream: Birdo in the Super Blooper. Tracy Does Conan. “Little Fluffy Clouds.” I opened my eyes to see Delta was showing this year’s Ghostbusters remake on its tiny screens. I wondered how, in this culture of swelling misogyny, were we ever going to elect a female president? This country, overpopulated with crying, hate-filled manbabies, couldn’t even deal with women ghostbusters. I closed my eyes, hoping that when I awoke we would be in New York, or back home in Portland, or it would be January 2021, and Bruce Springsteen or Taylor Swift was about to be inaugurated.

We landed at JFK around two in the afternoon. I thought of JFK, then thought of Trump again. I wondered if Trump would have a presidency similar to JFK’s: short, with an exciting ending. We took a Lyft to our Airbnb in Williamsburg. We ate pizza, played pinball, and watched Guardians of the Galaxy on cable. I finally crashed around nine, and slept for about 15 hours.

New York is the city that never sleeps, but it’s the first place I got a good night’s sleep since hearing the worst news of my life.


Hutch Harris is a guest columnist for the Portland Mercury and this piece appeared in the 23 November issue.

“I felt paranoid, and not without good reason.”

Nearly half the country is of similar mind. Without their leader in power they have nothing. Or believe they do. Perception is reality to the extent that when actual reality happened they couldn’t cope. Now the self-righteous fueled projection of the Left is out in full, accusing their opposition of the very things they’ve publicly said they’d like to do. It is mass media incited mass hysteria. It’s irrational and mad and it’s damned frightening.

There are perhaps a couple of glimmers of hope. The first is that the Left has shown itself for what it is. The second is that perhaps some of the more rational people will start to examine their allegiance to the Democratic Party. I’ve seen a few pieces where just such reflection takes place. One may hope the forces of barbarism are not yet completely ascendant.


Posted by: bkivey | 1 January 2017

Holiday Etiquette

We’re at the end of the holiday season in the US, and for no other reason than I want to, I’m posting my holiday practices.


Not working. Never have: not looking to start. Spending time with people, eating like an American, watching football, not giving a damn.


See above. As a nominal Christian I recognize the day for what it is. Christmas marks the start of for what is for all intents and purposes ‘Dead Week’. People ‘work’, but they’re kind of going through the motions. I’m no different. It’s a goal of mine to be able to take this week off. Maybe in Florida.

New Year’s Day

Kind of a non-holiday for me. If I get it off, great! If not, no biggie. I have to get the books squared away for the new year anyway. This year I had it off. All football, all the time.


It snowed about 1/2″ early on New Year’s Day. This isn’t looking good for the Winter. Temps aren’t expected to be above freezing for the next several days, so fun times driving. For those keeping score at home, this weather is well below normal.

It is my sincere wish that everyone find a little peace and progress this year. We’re a small part of a big Universe: let’s make our difference here.




Posted by: bkivey | 1 January 2017

Day One and Done

It’s Day One of 2017: 2016 is done, and happy I am to see it. Not a great year for institutions and famous individuals; the personal year was not so bad. A family funeral in July is still being reckoned with. If you want to see what happened, there’s the archives. This is just a post to review the blogging year.

Best Performance Chronicling the End of Empire Contributor V the K does a very good job tracking the increasing insanity as institutions and individuals completely lose perspective and rationality.

Most Convincing Harbinger of the Apocalypse

Cubs Win!

Those are the only at-large categories this year. A little closer to home:

Most Popular Posts 2016

  1. Nine High IQ Societies
  2. Eight Unusual High IQ Societies
  3. Home Page
  4. Barriers to Social Mobility
  5. PIN Codes for Geeks and Nerds
  6. Pilot Boat Peacock (image)
  7. Glacier National Park Pt 3
  8. How Much Wood Would  A Woodchuck Chuck
  9. Canada Vacation Pt. 6
  10. Stone Knives and Bearskins

Where In The World?

  1. US
  2. UK
  3. Canada
  4. Germany
  5. Brazil
  6. Italy
  7. Australia
  8. France
  9. European Union
  10. Philippines



Posted by: bkivey | 25 December 2016

In Hoc Anno Domini


When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so. But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression – for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the le­gions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impresser to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a cur­tain so that man would still believe sal­vation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of dark­ness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter’s star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

This [Wall Street Journal] editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vernon Royster and has been published annually since. .

Posted by: bkivey | 24 December 2016

The Legal Night Before Christmas

Probably my favorite Christmas Eve parody, this piece has appeared in a number of publications. I don’t know the author, but they certainly deserve full credit. All I’m fairly certain of is they are a lawyer.

Somewhere in Christiandom:

Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter “the House”) a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse.

A variety of foot apparel, e.g., stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick AKA/St. Nicholas AKA/Santa Claus (hereinafter “Claus”) would arrive at sometime thereafter.

The minor residents, i.e., the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e., dreams, wherein visions of confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.

Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as “I”), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the parts of the second part (hereinafter “Mamma”), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g., kerchief and cap.)

Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e., the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance.

At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter “the Vehicle”) being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus.

Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter “the Deer”). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional coconspirator named “Rudolph” may have been involved.)

The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney.

Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.

Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute “gifts” to said minors pursuant to the applicable provisions of the US Tax Code.)

Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as “lookouts.” Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.

However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim:
“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
Or words to that effect.


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