Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Summer is upon us here. And we can expect Bushfires. 

It is nearly 50 years since the huge devastation of the '67 fires that took so many lives and wiped out so many homes. 

Every year we have huge fires. 

Every year we struggle, watch homes go, send men and machines into forest and farm.

Last year we lost a huge tract of the State: wilderness, where firefighters could not get to because it is locked away with no access roads. Entire species were lost. Forever.

Why? Greenies.

The year before an entire town went and the Tasman Penninsula was cut off for weeks.

And we still do not have even ONE fire-fighting plane.

Not one.

Just one of those could serve the entire State.

Or one or two of these.

Something agile to help MEN

Something that can uplift a lot of water fast and get it to the right spot quickly. And douse the fires.

But we do not have even one.

Hundreds of Millions of dollars will go up in smoke and flame again this summer.

Keep a wet towel handy because there will be no fire-fighting planes to save you.


The Scourging of the Church

Where are the Knights who would  ride to save Christendom?  They were two a penny back in my day. Every lad wanted some shiney armour and a sword. Heck they made them from wood and bits of cloth and played in the fields. The 'Good vs Evil' game was played long before cops and robbers. 

Most little lads never became Knights of course. Second sons had a better 'push' than first sons, and the farm boys rarely made it to high rank. Many from high family and low went to the Monastic life, or trade or profession, farming, fishing etc: only a few fought for Good; there were even those who went to the dark side. . But we needed those 'Good warrior' sorts. We still do.

Because the idea, the practice, the life-changing positivity of Christ's Church was, is and for a while yet will always be countered by dark forces. It would be no exaggeration to say that Christianity has always been put to the test - and the whip - by both secular and supernatural forces.  And often those corrosions operated right within the Church.

The recent American elections shone light onto some dark corners of the battlefield. There the corruptions  apparent when the Church does the State's bidding or where in Thrall to State operators, were made clear to any with eyes to see and a mind acute enough to understand. 

And America is not alone, or even ahead. It used to be said that where America goes, Oz follows. That is barely the case anymore what with the speed of communication and the ubiquity of socialism's mendacities and downright lies. And not just socialism - itself a mean, skanky, deceptive  shadow of proper Christian cooperation and help to one's neighbour : feminism, atheism, 'humanism', communism, Islamism and the plethora of isms that water-down 'truth', demean and diminish life, abound.

We had two fine folk in the Tavern yesterday, shine more light. My good friend Mishka Gora for one.  And a double-act of  Jason & John. Mishka was lamenting the Oz situation and asking hard questions. Jason and John gave some hard and frankly depressing answers from the other side of the Pacific.   

They all needed good Ale to lubricate their throats.
A Crying Shame
“How did we get into this mess?” 
That is the question that has plagued and paralysed me these past few months. 

You see, my archbishop is currently embroiled in a legal and political controversy. He’s got better things to do – he knows he is responsible for the souls of so many and he shepherds his flock accordingly – but the laws of the state have made it illegal for one person to offend another. 
Predictably enough, someone has felt offended by the Church’s teaching on marriage. 
Whooda thunk, eh? 
In effect, the jobs of the archbishop and all his priests have become illegal.
In the midst of this turmoil, I came across a photograph of a priest and a little girl at her First Communion. I was just after a suitable picture for my own daughter’s upcoming First Communion, but my focus was drawn to the priest each time I looked at it, and I recognised it was exactly what I had been looking for, a picture that emphasised the priest acting in persona Christi rather than the pretty white dresses of most First Communion snapshots. But the historian part of me wanted to know more.
It turns out the priest in the picture was Blessed Andrés Solá y Molist, a Catalonian-born Claretian priest martyred in Mexico on the 25th of April 1927 at the age of thirty-two.
He was executed by the state, merely for being faithful to the Church and continuing to do his job. His so-called crimes were to hear confessions, conduct marriages, baptise children, and administer Communion. 
And once again the question popped up: “How did they get into such a mess?” How did a Catholic country get to the point where priests were shot for doing their job?
Now, Mexican history is not my area, and I have no intention of delving into it in any depth, but even a cursory glance at 'what happened' reveals that it was all legal. 
The Mexican Constitution of 1917 forced secular education of Mexican children. It didn’t allow Church officials to vote or comment on public affairs. Public worship was only permitted within Church buildings by government-registered priests (who were often forced to ‘marry’), and institutional buildings such as schools and hospitals were handed over to the state. Monasticism was prohibited. These anticlerical articles were not amended until 1991.
It’s eerily familiar, but it is not at all like the persecution of Christians we’re seeing in the Middle East. There, the pattern is ‘the Saturday people, then the Sunday people’. 
First, they came for the Jews, and now they are killing and expelling the Christians. 
The warnings are clear. Things in Australia hardly bear comparison, and yet there are hints of persecution more along the lines of the Mexican Revolution… ‘in the wind’. 
We have state-sanctioned indoctrination of our children into transgender experimentation (masquerading as an anti-bullying campaign). A retired brigadier has been arrested for praying the Rosary outside an abortion clinic. My archbishop has been taken to a tribunal for commenting on marriage (within a Catholic school). 
All this has been legal. 
Indeed, all of these developments were enabled recently by either the election of legislators – practising Catholics among them, alas – and/or the passage of legislation.
Obviously, laws matter. The buck stops with the legislators. They make the laws, and they are the ones who can undo the laws. But why don’t these restrictive laws stop at merely containing the Church within certain bounds? What is so threatening about the job priests do?
The answer to this can also been seen in the photo I mentioned – 
Solist’s ‘crime’ was to act in persona Christi. 
It is through the Eucharist that we have Communion with God – we receive Him physically as well as spiritually. It is a foretaste of Heaven. In my daughter’s catechism, there is a picture of a ladder leading to Heaven and on each of the rungs the names of the Sacraments are inscribed. 
If the state has the power to take away our priests, they can pull out that ladder from underneath us. 
And this is why the story of one hundred children receiving Communion for the first time in Alqosh, an Iraqi town near the ISIS front line gives us such hope. The last Jew was expelled in 1948, but Christians still guard the synagogue and its tomb of the prophet Nahum. These children and their parents have not given up the good fight.
So where does all this leave us, Western Catholics who face a different sort of threat? No doubt there are a multitude of ways in which we will be called to defend the Church, but what can each and every one of us do?
I registered an answer to that question as I listened to my archbishop on the radio. He had answered the host’s questions with clarity, insight, and humility, but the host ended the conversation with an attempt to undermine everything he had said by bringing up the topic of sex abuse. 
And I realised that the attacks on our Church rely so much on us being too ashamed to defend ourselves, too ashamed to defend our priests who are the lynchpin of our future as Catholics. 
Daily we pray to Jesus “lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy”, but do we extend our own mercy to those who need it most?
There is a direct correlation between the clergy and the faithful. If we are so faithless as to be ashamed of being Catholic, there will be fewer and fewer babies to baptise, fewer and fewer children making their First Communion, and fewer and fewer boys called to the priesthood. 
Not just decorative

We need to ‘come out’ rather than avoid telling people we are Catholic. We need to wear crucifixes; display them in our homes, schools, and hospitals; and never be ashamed of “Christ crucified”. 
We cannot fulfil Our Lord’s great commission while acting ashamed. 
To quote His Holiness, Pope Francis: “The Church is holy because it proceeds from God who is holy. It is not holy by our merits; we are not able to make her holy. It is God, the Holy Spirit, who in his Love makes the Church holy.” 
And that is something of which we must not ever be ashamed.
Mishka goes right down to the farm-boy and girl in us. We may not be powerful, or in the news, nor do we exercise Legislative Power, but we can show the world that we are Christians.          


For example (I would not have you do what I would not), you will rarely see me around the Tavern or the Town without my Rosary clearly visible. Not ostentatiously, but 'there'. 

But we do have some matters to be ashamed of. 

Perhaps not so much of what we, individually, have done (commission) but of what we have not done (omission). We have not spoken out to and at the leadership. Just as we all too often do not turn out to vote in civil elections, so to do we act in a lacsidaisical manner with our Bishops and priests. We  allow tham to let the Church fall into disarray and do not stand with the sound and fearless ones when the firing sqauds are formed up.

Jason Jones and John Zmirak helped us look at the 'political' situation in America.

Bishops and politicians: God or Mammon; you cannot have both. 

The taxpayer is taken for a ride so that bishops have 'influence', but strings are attached. If bishops are to command votes, they need to be damned careful lest they be damned. And they need to be clear.
Catholic America
Could the Democrats’ Anti- Catholicism Teach Bishops to Stop Feeding the Crocodile?
The recent batch of emails released by Wikileaks reveals that leaders in the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, are engaged in a high-level conspiracy to 
infiltrate and corrupt the Catholic church. 
These high-level Democrats speak of the church as if it were a murderous Arab dictatorship (like Gaddafi’s) which must be overthrown in a “Catholic spring.”  
They hope to help that project along by crafting hand-puppet organizations of pro-choice, anti-marriage activists with Irish or Italian last names, whose leaders claim (as Tim Kaine claims) to be Catholic. 
Those groups act in the media to counter and discredit the moral teachings of actual, faithful Catholics, including our shepherds, the bishops.
Back in the 1930s and 40s, the Democratic Party in America used to act like the Catholic bishops’ friendly pet iguana — and the Church was able to do enormous good in the public square, rebuking evil elitists such as Margaret Sanger, defusing sympathy for Communism among Catholic union members, and inserting family-friendly policies into Roosevelt’s New Deal. (Back in this time, the Catholic bishops could also cripple a Hollywood movie they deemed to be immoral by issuing a boycott via the nationwide Legion of Decency.)
Catholic bishops’ influence has nearly vanished in recent decades, and the Democratic Party has grown up to be something quite different: 
an abortion-hungry secular crocodile that wants to devour Americans’ liberty — including our First Amendment rights. 
But Catholic bishops have never been willing to face this ugly fact. 
They’re still hazily dreaming about the decades when they walked the corridors of power, chit-chatting with President Kennedy or Mayor Daley. They imagine that handing the lizard one tasty snack after another will make the Democratic Party once more the friendly pet they remember.
Instead, they need to heed Churchill, who said: 
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
Hillary’s campaign chairman hopes to usurp the authority of Catholic bishops, who are obliged under pain of hellfire to repeat the Church’s 2,000-year teaching on such fundamental doctrines as the sanctity of life and of the family. 
Earlier this year, we learned that billionaire leftist (and Democrat party donor) George Soros tried to hijack Pope Francis’ visit, and turn it into a campaign tour for pro-choice Democrats.
Combine this revelation with:
the fact that Hillary Clinton told the United Nations that Christian churches must be forced to change their beliefs about abortion, in the name of women’s “fundamental rights” guaranteed by international law.
the fact that President Obama’s solicitor general implied that church institutions that won’t recognize same-sex marriage are equivalent to white supremacists, and could have their their tax exemptions revoked.
the fact that California Democrats tried hard to close every faithful Christian college in that state by revoking routine federal funding.
This adds up to just one thing: The Democratic Party wants to persecute the Catholic church, and every other Christian church that has stayed faithful to core biblical principles.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
We were glad to see Archbishop Charles Chaput respond with outrage to the latest Democratic attack on Catholics’ religious liberty. But we have to ask Chaput and other American bishops — 
what took you so long? 
Why have you appeased the Democratic party for so many decades by fudging Catholic social teaching, distorting its core principles to skew to the political left, making it appear to any uninformed observer that the Democratic party is in line with Catholic teaching on every major political and economic issue — except for that party’s curious blind spots on abortion and sexual politics?
But it gets worse. I have seen this all too often. Some Catholics confuse socialism with Christianity: Marx with Christ. They see 'community' where communism and the boot exist. They ignore Christian fellowship and 'Love they Neighbour', unless it comes with a State (Taxpayer) hand-out and the inevitable strings.
Catholic bishops have given the false impression that the Democratic Party is “more Catholic” than its conservative opponents on a long list of issues:
Immigration, where the GOP platform is much closer to the Catechism of the Catholic church than the Democrats’ call for virtually open borders and generous welfare for illegal foreign residents. But bishops have pretended that the Church somewhere (not in the Catechism, certainly) demands virtually unlimited immigration.
Gun rights, where bishops have repeatedly claimed that advocacy of Americans’ fundamental right to self-defense is somehow a violation of the “seamless garment” of Catholic concern for innocent life.
They forget 'sell your coat and buy a sword'. 
Health care, where Catholic leaders such as New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan implied that the church demands something close to socialized medicine, and backed Obamacare — then were shocked, shocked to discover that when a secular government gains control over 1/6 of the U.S. economy, it will impose its own secular values — including abortion and contraceptive coverage.
Economics, where Catholic bishops routinely back the extreme demands for raises in the minimum wage, pretending that Pope Leo XIII’s call to deal justly with starving factory workers in 1880 requires that every employee in America, at every age and level of expertise, receive a so-called “living wage” that can support an entire family.
In two books, The Race to Save Our Century and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism, each of us has gone carefully through the actual texts of binding Catholic social teaching, and refuted these politicized claims. 
Instead, we presented the core (Whole Life) principles of historic Christian teaching on politics and economics, and applied them carefully to contemporary conditions. 
We invite all Christians to read them, and see which party’s platform is more Catholic, more Christian. 
As conservative Catholics — also demeaned in Clinton campaign emails — have argued over decades, it is no accident that the same Democratic Party that supports abortion and sexual license also backs big government and secularism. 
The lockstep support of every important Democrat in the U.S. for abortion on demand in fact flows from the same core premises that yield every other plank in the Democratic platform:.......................
Human life is not dignified, not sacred, not informed by the order of divine creation which we can know by the same natural law that tells us of our political rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
No, life is cheap, and short, and kind of sad, so it’s our job to make people as comfortable as we can. To yield the greatest number of pleasurable moments for the greatest number of voters, we need a big state that protects us from ourselves, guarantees our sexual “freedom,” and doesn’t rely on discredited virtues such as thrift, diligence, self-control or prudence. 
A party that believes that, and forms all its social and economic policies accordingly, will never let bishops graft onto it extraneous claims that unborn life is somehow sacred, and religious liberty more important than sexual liberation. 
The left knows better — as John Podesta and company have made painfully clear. The progressive left cannot be appeased with support for open borders, big government, even actual socialism. 
You will have to surrender marriage. 
You will have to back abortion and like it.   
You will have to worship the emperor.
 We are in dire need of Muscular Priests. Warrior Bishops. Lay people willing to stand and 'Hold the Line'. 

We, and I include all people of good will and unsullied hearts, need to arm-up, practice their Holy Warcraft skills, and take back the City.

Here we had three in the Tavern showing us the way.

Drinks for each.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Esther's House

I went out to dinner the other evening. Most unusual for this old man but it was for a good cause, and it gave me just the opportunity to wear the new regalia. I made mention a while ago about visiting my armourer on my overseas trip as age brings a change in size. Well he also does a fine line in finery other than simply steel and hinges. And I was rather taken by an off- white linen jacket - the sort one might have seen worn by James Bond in Havana, or was that Terry Thomas? 

I did have need for something soft to go under the chain mail underpants, and having acquired just the manly thing, the jacket seemed a good idea too. So I wore both !

I don't do dinners usually. Unofficial or Official. An era past, they were common, and the Black Tie was just the thing for The Governor's House parties but a Hermit Tavern Keeper does not need such anymore.

But there are other houses.  Like Esther's. It was a large dinner.

150 pro-babies, pro-woman, anti-abortionists gathered next door to the Hobart abortuary, well within the 150 mtr ‘bubble zone’ in defiance of the infamous Law passed by the Tasmanian Parliament (under Labour and Green control at the time).

I listened to the speakers and shared the fine company of so many good people. And in doing so raise a lot of money for a fine lady, Gaylene James who is going well beyond the usual calls of Christian Duty, providing assistance and Love to those who are experiencing a crisis pregnancy.

Esther’s House Pregnancy & Early Parenting Support Service is a Tasmanian State-wide Service operating from an outreach position. Professional volunteers assist women who are struggling with a challenging, unplanned and/or crisis pregnancy and/or into early parenting. They go to the client – supporting them emotionally and physically in their own home.

“At Esther’s House we want to be the help to new and extending mums that many of us needed ourselves during our own experiences of challenging pregnancies.”

Esther’s House is in the business of moving obstacles to ensure women can make independent, confident and fully informed choices regarding their reproductive health... ultimately, we want to see women facing an un-planned or crisis pregnancy empowered to embrace any situation fearlessly.

Gaylene said:

Project Esther was formed in November 2013 in response to the passing of the Tasmanian Reproductive Health Act. In our early days we didn’t have a name or a focus, we just knew we wanted to make a difference – do “something.” Something to shed light on the detrimental affects of abortion and offer alternatives – real alternatives.
I remember waking up one November morning with the words “Esther’s Choice” on my heart. Over the next few days I read through The Book of Esther. And wow, I was just in awe at how many parallels I could draw between Esther’s story and my thoughts regarding this issue. Esther’s Choice was a choice that both Kathy and I had subconsciously, already made – to help God to save His people.
Kathy, there is the same Kathy with whom I dined last month in Melbourne and prayed with her outside the Croydon abortuary. 

Esther chose to yield her life to God’s purposes, and God used her in a mighty way to deliver the whole Jewish population from a death sentence. Similarly, we believe that Project Esther is inspired by God and that He is using us to accomplish His will to change hearts and save HIS babies.
Our ultimate goal is like that of Esther, who wrote an edict that was entered in official records (Esther 9:29 – 32). We want to see and are believing for the writing of a new law that will overturn the current Tasmanian Reproductive Health Bill and pass a bill that recognizes “Life” from the moment of Conception!
You can find out more about Gay and her efforts  here....

There are people for who one can give the respect they earn and deserve.  Gay qualifies. 

She is a Warrior. 

I was pleased to see members of my own Traditional Latin Mass group mixing in harmony with christians from all denominations.

Our Government in Tasmania actively hounds people who try so hard to provide love and assistance to mothers thinking of killing their babies.  Gay and others - and I - work nevertheless, for them.

Oh, and my armourer? 

Outfitter to Knights and the Larger Gentleman.

Speak with Mr Chris Ferns and mention that I sent you. He will fit you up well.


Monday, November 28, 2016

The French are Revolting too.

I had a bit of fun  the other day suggesting that the Irish were revolting. Now the French are at it. It would appear my dark musings in early November were not unfounded and that we are just a step away from civil wars breaking out. Hopefully they will not lead to the sort of bloodshed that previous ones have brought with them. Hopefully too the benign aspects of the Catholics in both Ireland and France can stem the urges and passions.

Let me remind you....
We become so used to Politics being seen as a Left-Right divide that we overlook other often more pertinent factors that differentiate us. The Good-Evil dimension for instance. The Moral-Immoral dimension and the Religious-Atheist one. Some people deny morality altogether. They lump all religions together into the same basket and throw them all out. They are so blind as to see, for example, Islam and Christianity as being 'equally bad'.
The 'Right' and 'Left' are imagined to have 'extremes' Oddly, those who are moral people and  Christian get lumped in with the 'Far Right', whatever that is. Usually the big bogeyman of the right is described as 'Nazi', despite Nazi being the short-form of National Socialist. Ie 'Left'. It shows a curious blindness or perhaps bloody-mindedness of some on the left that they do not recognise even their own left hands.
The current malaise du jour is Islam and its mayhem all over Europe and the middle east. People forget that the last time Islam invaded the west it was Catholics who pushed them back. Not 'christians', but Catholics.  And the current influx of those same violent islamists is causing the Catholics to regroup again and to gear for the fight. 
It is most noticeable in France.
And we were reminded of that by several voices in the Tavern. Christine Niles started the ball rolling. Nice gal Christine: 
After years of abortion, gay "marriage" and migrant violence, French Catholics have had enough
Christine Niles - Anchor-woman for Church Militant
A handful of years ago, Le Front National, or National Front Party of France, was viewed as a far-right fringe group not worth taking seriously. Today, Marine Le Pen, Catholic head of the populist party running on an anti-EU, anti-immigration platform, is a serious contender in France's upcoming presidential elections. So, too, is François Fillon, poised to take the lead in the presidential run-offs next spring.

In a recent shock poll, Le Pen came out on top over her rivals at 28 points, a full eight points ahead of Nicolas Sarkozy, former president of France.
And in the first round of primaries for Les Républicains, Sarkozy's party, another conservative Catholic came out way ahead: 
Fillon — father of five, married to his wife of 30 years, and a practicing Catholic. 
Once trailing behind in the polls, Fillon has emerged as the frontrunner to represent Les Républicains in its run against Le Pen's Front National in France's presidential elections in May 2017. He is enjoying his highest scores in the most strongly Catholic regions of France, particularly Brittany and Pays de la Loire.
With at least 3.5 million votes cast and turnout exceeding expectations in the French Right's first ever round of primaries on November 20, Fillon won 44.2 percent of the vote, a full 16 points ahead of his nearest rival Alain Juppé, who only gained 28.4 percent, while Sarkozy, who had hoped to re-emerge as France's president, came in last at 20.7 percent of the vote. 
Fillon is by far the most conservative among the three. He voted against gay marriage when it was initially proposed, has vowed to fight adoption rights for same-sex couples, has voted against IVF babies for single mothers and lesbians, and has fought against radical Islam, supporting a ban on burkinis and speaking out on behalf of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
A large chunk of Fillon's supporters come from La Manif Pour Tous ("Demonstration for All"), a secular initiative begun in 2013 as a reaction to French legislators' decision to ram through same-sex marriage, contrary to the will of the people.
France has held the largest - and unreported - protests against gay marriage and abortion.
The Manif's purpose is to defend the right of children to both a mother and a father, and its annual rallies are some of the largest pro-family gatherings in Europe, with numbers reaching well over a million (although they are consistently underreported in the secular press). Each year, atheists march alongside Catholics, Protestants and Muslims in protest against what they see as French legislators' destruction of the family.
The wildly popular Manif gave rise to a traditional Catholic political movement, Sens Commun ("Common Sense"), which has backed Fillon from the beginning.
Juppé ran on a more centrist platform, deriding Fillon as too traditionalist and out of touch. "I'm the most open to modernism and I feel closer to the Pope than Sens Commun or La Manif pour tous," Juppé said.
But Fillon responded in Le Parisien, "Alain Juppé has presented a program that seems to me out of step with the center of gravity of the Right, but also the country, which is more right-wing than it ever has been."
In the populist wake of Brexit and Donald Trump's historic win, Fillon is being proven right. 
French Catholics are rejecting the compromise represented by Juppé in favor of a more traditionally conservative platform. 
And the wider French populace is roundly opposed to the socialist vision of current French president Franćois Hollande, suffering the lowest approval ratings in the country's history. Leftwing leaders are asking that Hollande not seek re-election in order to allow other leftist and socialist politicians to seek the candidacy.
Trump's win shocked the French world, with Le Pen declaring triumphantly the next day, "Nothing is immutable. What has happened this night is not the end of the world, it's the end of a world."
"The political and media elites that were heavily chastised this morning can no longer ignore it," she said," The French referendum (against the EU constitutional treaty) in 2005, the Greek one in 2015, the recent electoral successes of patriots in different European countries, the massive vote by the British in favour of Brexit and now Donald Trump — all are democratic choices that bury the old order and stepping stones to building tomorrow's world."
The second round of primaries for Les Républicains will take place November 27 to determine who will represent the party going into next year's presidential elections.

Christine's assessment deserves a long, cool drink.  Note though how the Catholic resurgence, a Conservative urge, is being seen as 'Far Right'. 

Will Kirby was on hand to tell of European reaction to this French movement to the Good, the Moral and the Religious. As you can imagine, the EU bureaucrats are frantically holding committee meetings and producing regulations.
EUROPE TREMBLES: Brussels in crisis as Le Pen storms into shock poll lead over rivals
BRUSSELS was facing a growing political crisis today as polls showed French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has stormed into a shock lead over her presidential rivals.
A series of bombshell surveys suggested that the Front National chief will wallop all of the conservative candidates in the first round of the race to become the next leader of France. 
Eurosceptic Ms Le Pen, who has vowed to lead the country out of the EU, scored between four and nine per cent higher than either of the two centre-right politicians she is expected to battle for the keys to the Elysee Palace. 
However, she still faces an uphill task to clinch the top job because of the nature of France’s voting system, which requires candidates to win more than 50 per cent of the electorate over a two-round process. 
Polling conducted earlier this year indicates that the controversial FN chief will eventually lose out to whichever conservative candidate she comes up against by a comfortable margin in the second part of the contest. 
Hmmm. One wonders how much of that is wishful thinking and how much is the left-leaning MSM. 
Regardless, the fact that a third or more of French voters are now prepared to back a candidate who openly advocates dismantling the EU project will send shivers down the spine of a Brussels elite struggling to comprehend the surging populist tide on its doorstep. 
After the results were released, Ms Le Pen tweeted: “I am the patriotic candidate, I’m fighting in the name of the people. That is the meaning of my bid for the presidency.” 
And some political commentators are already drawing comparisons with Donald Trump’s shock run to the White House as France’s centre-right party prepares to choose between two tired establishment stalwarts for its presidential candidate. 
The conservatives will pick either Francois Fillon or Alain Juppé - both former prime ministers with less than scandal-free reputations - after controversial ex president Nicolas Sarkozy dropped out of the race to represent the party. 
Either man will present a certain risk, with Ms Le Pen bound to pounce on their chequered records in office and engage in the same anti-establishment rhetoric which served Mr Trump and the Brexit campaign so well. 
And the shock surveys released this week show that, in the first round of voting, the anti-immigration politician would beat Mr Fillon by 29 per cent to 20 per cent, and Mr Juppé by a narrower margin of 30 per cent to 26 per cent. 
However, experts have warned that shock events like Mr Trump’s election and the Brexit vote, which caught the establishment totally by surprise, show how surveys are now likely to be hugely underestimating levels of support for radical candidates. 
A poll published immediately after the US elections showed that French voters overwhelmingly believe that the FN leader has the most to gain from the Republican’s stunning victory earlier this month which seriously rocked Brussels. 
And in a sign of the growing panic gripping the EU project, the current French prime minister Manuel Valls has admitted for the first time that a Le Pen victory is “possible”. 
Mr Valls said: “If she does make it to the second round she will face either a candidate of the left or the right. This means that the balance of politics will change completely.”
Earlier this year bureaucrat Martin Selmayr, the right-hand man of Brussels chief Jean-Claude Juncker, summed up the EU’s feeling towards the FN leader and other eurosceptics when he tweeted that her election would be a “horror scenario”. 
Last week Le Pen appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show and reaffirmed her belief that global anti-establishment sentiments could boost her chances of becoming France’s next president.
She said that Trump’s victory “made possible what had previously been presented as impossible".
She added: “This is really the victory of the people against the elites."
During the last French elections in 2012, Le Pen came third behind Mr Sarkozy and eventual winner Francois Hollande, who has gone on to become the most unpopular president in the country’s history. 
If the leftists in France (and Europe) are like the American ones - and let's face it, some lead and some follow, some are far worse and some still pussycats - we can expect them to show a violent side. They will blame the 'far right' of course, but that is in their philosophy, very like the Islamists. 

A peaceful and orderly transition in politics is what democracies are supposed to be about.

Democracy has had a pretty good run so far, but all good things come to and end.

Pay for Peace.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Its a Dog's Life

Customers are not disuaded from bringing their dogs into the Tavern.  We like dogs here.  I have  had several dog friends going back to the time I was about as big as my boots are now.  Leo was my first. (Named after Leofric, an Earl of my acquaintence). Back then in my younger, more medaeval days, the 'dog' was portrayed on the tombstone of a Knight's Lady. That is, if she had been a fine gal and not a rude, nasty one. Even in those distant days they came in all sorts. Dogs and ladies. The dog was a symbol of fidelity and loyalty, so its place on her tomb showed that she was appreciated.

Connection with the lady though is less well known than the connection that men have with dogs. 
A dog is a man's best friend, 
so the saying goes, and one could argue that a man is a dog's best friend too. I hasten to add that a good wife is more than a best friend. Whew. I could have been in strife there ! 

And we are told that all dogs came originally from wolves. Men and dogs have been together ever since the wolf adopted us.

And since then he  (all dogs are he, even when she. Cats are she) has been a constant, loyal companion.

Man is the one ubiquitous species on this planet. Man has gone everywhere: lives everywhere. No niche has been left unexplored. 
And the dog has gone with us. He has helped us to see places in more safety than we might otherwise have deserved. 

Most of the time the dog finds a reciprocated loyalty and Love. Well, I speak of the Anglophile nations generally. Many non-anglo do not appreciate dogs; some people in anglo countries can be wicked to dogs too. They have a heart that is faulted.

Toby chased his dog into the UK bar the other day which set off this train of thought and conversation. He had a right tale to tell. But we shall get to him later.

Just think how life would be without dogs.  They are not simply animals. They are companions. They are friends. They are comforters. They work with us. They share adventures, indeed they sometimes lead us into adventures. They ride on our cars, fly in our planes, pull our sledges, even go to war with us. They help the sick and the disabled. They play with us.

The cold does not put them off.

They visit the sick.

They will do very un-doggie things when we ask.

 They will go into danger, just to be with us.

They will be our eyes.

We make extraordinary demands upon them and they wag a tail.

I had a couple a while back. A gorgeous, golden Lab that I called Debbie, (After Debbie Harry, 'Blondie'). Got her as a pup. She loved the water, was playful and  funny. Almost as funny as 'Sam' a similar male dog I had when serving in the Military. He would play hide and seek in the long grass of the airfield, leaping out at me as I walked past and then disappearing again. But Debbie was a real water baby. 

I decided she needed a 'steadying influence'. An older male dog. So I went to the pound and found a perfect companion for her. Jet was a pure-bred Barb Kelpie. (That's an Oz sheepdog). A champion. 

His pedigree was longer than mine and he has sired champions too. The stud-owner had 'got rid' of him at four years old because that is about the 'end' of super-stud life. He didn't even know his name: could not come to the call; had been on a chain for most of his life. 

Jet had never seen water and when I took him to the beach he would leap up and down in the small waves yelping a Debbie as she swam out a hundred yards off shore. Excellent dogs both.

Toby Young has a fine, young chap too. I will let him tell us and then come back with some ale and mention what happens when we are not kind.

Looking after my dog Leo is a full-time job
Up to three walks a day, all full of stressful adventure
I’ve just spent a day looking after our one-year-old vizsla and, to be blunt, I have some sympathy with Michael Heseltine’s decision to strangle his mother’s alsatian.
 Not that Heseltine (ex-MP) did. It was a shaggy dog story, it seems.

Not that my wife is out of town. Caroline argued that because  (due to work) I’ll now be spending so much time away from home I am morally obliged to take on the lion’s share of dog duties before I start.
His Leo, not mine

My responsibilities began with a walk in Gunnersbury Park. Now, to be fair, this isn’t a monumental chore. Gunnersbury Park is one of Acton’s hidden gems. Indeed, it’s so glorious that the people who live within a thousand-yard radius of it deny that they live in Acton and claim to be proud residents of ‘Gunnersbury’. Of course, no such place exists outside the imagination of estate agents, but if I lived nearby I’d make the same boast. It’s a good size for a dog walk — about 200 acres. A brisk stride around the perimeter takes approximately an hour.
In other ways, though, it’s less than ideal. It contains 17 listed buildings, all in varying states of disrepair, and until last year the whole Gunnersbury estate had been largely neglected since it was sold to two neighbouring local councils by the Rothschild family in 1926. That ownership split meant neither side took responsibility for its upkeep. But last December a joint, £40 million restoration project was unveiled by the leaders of Hounslow and Ealing councils, and since then the park has been a hive of activity. 
Yeah, yeah. Get on with it man. 

Great news for local residents, but not so good for us dog owners since it’s now a giant building site, with plenty of opportunities for mischief.
For instance, there’s a fenced-off area containing a stagnant muddy pool and preventing Leo from squeezing through a gap in the fence and immersing himself in this disgusting primordial soup is next to impossible. It doesn’t help that the local dog walkers — the professionals, who walk half a dozen dogs at once — actually encourage their charges to jump in the pool, presumably because they don’t have to give them a bath afterwards to get rid of the foul stench. 

That job falls to the owners who have been foolish enough to hire them.
OK, so that wasn’t too bad, apart from Leo ending up smelling like a fishmonger’s underpants. 

It was the second walk that was the tricky one. Yes, that’s right, Leo is so high–maintenance that he requires at least two walks a day and preferably three. And the word ‘walk’ is misleading because he spends most of his time running at full pelt, usually as far away from his owners as possible. If he does less than three hours of exercise a day, he runs round the house instead, leaving a trail of broken glass in his wake. 

You think I’m exaggerating, but a couple of weeks ago he ran into the bunk room on the first floor where two of my sons sleep, saw a squirrel in the garden and tried to leap through the sash window. Unfortunately, it was closed at the time. The cost of getting it replaced was slightly under £200 — one of Leo’s less expensive weekends.
So the second walk was on Wormwood Scrubs — another beautiful green space not far from my house. Trouble with the Scrubs, though, is that horses are regularly ridden down its footpaths. For Leo, that means plenty of lovely horse poo for rolling in, and I mean proper, down-and-dirty rolling so that scarcely an inch of his fur remains uncontaminated. 

But that’s a mild irritation compared with what happens if he actually sees a horse. He launches himself at it like a missile fired from a tank and immediately tries to engage it in a species v. species death match. 

Invariably, the horse just ignores him, as it might some irksome little gnat, at which point he goes completely bananas. Anyway, on this day it ended as it usually does with Leo being launched several feet into the air by a sharp kick to the ribs. Unfortunately, the brute is completely indestructible. Even ‘Tarzan’ Heseltine might have difficulty putting him down.
On one level, I admire Leo’s indomitable spirit. 

The eagerness with which he hurls himself into every adventure, no matter how dangerous, is sort of admirable. But on the other hand, he takes up an unbelievable amount of time. It’s like having five-year-old triplets. Thank God it will be Caroline’s turn soon.
Yes, they are demanding. And that is why so often we find abandoned, ill-treated, downright abused dogs. 

Man can be more animal than animals.

Dogs are sentient. They are intelligent. They have personalities, and learn. That makes them as vulnerable as children. They get into mischief and annoy those who do not have the necessary Love in their hearts. People who themselves do not know loyalty and fidelity. 

Thank goodness for those that do and who go out of their way to rescue the dogs so afflicted by bad ex-owners. But even then, the care given takes some getting used to. The initial reaction is often fear.

Here are two dogs who have a life now. They previously did not even have a dog's life. 
If you are squeamish, don't look. 
The outcomes are fine enough but the initial parts are a shock to anyone who loves animals.

Jet was a great dog. Abandoned by a breeder. Taken on by me. I loved him.

If you want a dog, there are many about. Many deserving of a man (or woman) with a big heart.

The rescue of a dog is akin to a soul going to Purgatory. So much filth to be washed off. Fur cut away. Medical aid provided. Wounds tended. Time to heal. Time to learn to trust again. 

Painful. Frightening. The dog is confronted with 'other-worldly' creatures, far and away more powerful. He is suffering from neglect, just as we humans in our sins suffer from self-administered neglect. The dogs need that patient kindness.

So do we.

Time for a cool drink, I think.

Love your dog. Love all the creatures around. Lt Dunbar opened himself to a relationship with a wolf. Both could have easily inflicted devastating damage to the other. 

But they became best friends.