30 December 2016

Fishburne Military School Honored

News from my home town:
Waynesboro, VA --  Virginia's *oldest and smallest military school for boys has officially been selected to march in the 58th Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC. . . . Although this will be the first time Fishburne Military School has marched in a Presidential Inauguration, the school has been no stranger to national spotlight or high-level dignitaries. Founded in 1879, the Fishburne Military School Corps of Cadets has marched in review for President Calvin Coolidge, Virginia Governors Harry Flood Byrd and Gerald Baliles, Secretaries of the Army Generals Geroge C. Marshall and Eric Shinseki.
Fishburne Military has a long history in Waynesboro. I also have some personal ties to the school. It sits on the very battleground that hosted the Battle of Waynesboro in March of 1865. My grandparents' home was just a few blocks away. My oldest son graduated second in his class from Fishburne as well, and went on to serve in the United States Navy.

More here.

*VMI is actually older, founded in 1839. The operative word here is "boys."

29 December 2016

Thomas Sowell Retires

One of my favorite true intellectuals, Dr. Thomas Sowell, recently announced his retirement from writing a syndicated column. With that in mind, I ran across an article this morning which listed several of his best quotes. Here's a sampling:
The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.
If we are to go by evidence of social retrogression, liberals have wreaked more havoc on blacks than the supposed “legacy of slavery” they talk about.
The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department. [You might ask the same thing about the history department.]
The current hysteria over “fake news” — including hysteria by people who have done more than their own fair share of faking news — shows the continuing efforts of the political left to stifle free speech in the country at large, as they already have on academic campuses.
Dr. Sowell's brilliant and brave honesty will be missed.

26 December 2016

The Winter Patriots

A notice about this film came across my news feed this morning. The timing was, in several ways, quite providential. Of course, it's Christmas time and one of the central events portrayed in the video occurs on Christmas night - Washington's crossing of the Delaware. The timing was providential in another way as well. Though I'm sure some will scoff, I was immediately struck by some of the themes and how they paralleled the recent Presidential election.

"The rebellion seemed doomed. Washington's army, the Americans - the United States - needed a miracle."

Indeed, Washington's army received their miracle in the waning days of 1776; as did we 240 years later in the waning days of 2016.

The  27 minute film produced by Mount Vernon, is very well done and worth the time it takes to watch it.

The film also reminds me that there is a new and "good spirit" of hope in America. I'm looking forward to 2017 with optimism. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

24 December 2016

Merry Christmas From the Shenandoah Valley

Downtown Staunton, Virginia - Image source  
As 2016 comes to a close, I just want to take this opportunity to wish the readers of this blog a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. 

Several of the projects I had hoped to complete in 2016 did not come to fruition. Work continues on all of them, including a total rework of this blog. My hope is to use some of the down time over Christmas to concentrate on that particular goal. I still have lots of things in the works, as always, including the writing of my next book. I hope to have much more to say about that in the first quarter of 2017.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

21 December 2016

Congratulations to Kent Masterson Brown

Congratulations are in order for my friend Kent Masterson Brown. Per Kent's Witnessing History Facebook page:
Kent Masterson Brown was appointed to the Kentucky Film Commission by Governor Matt Bevin on December 20. Brown’s term on the Commission will extend until 2020. The Kentucky Film Commission consists of fifteen members appointed by the Governor. The purpose of the commission is to promote the growth of the film, television, and video production industry within the Commonwealth of Kentucky by marketing and promoting Kentucky as a location destination for motion picture productions for the express purpose of economic development.
I've done reviews of some of Kent's work here and for other publications as well. Kent's film production and author website is here.

19 December 2016

PC Deniers Are Flat-Earthers: Part 13 - Beach Boys Sexist

University of Kentucky Prof. Buck Ryan is accusing the school of a Title IX witch hunt because he sang a Beach Boys song to Chinese students as part of a UK program. The school judged his behavior “sexual misconduct” because the lyrics to “California Girls” are “sexual in nature,” according to Ryan, who made his case against UK in a Lexington Herald-Leader op-ed Saturday.
Source. Academia is, quite literally, becoming a laughing stock.

15 December 2016

Fake News Update #1

Since the echo chamber of academic historians, the media and kooky leftists in government are promoting the fake "fake news" story, I thought this cartoon would be appropriate.

14 December 2016

NFL Great Jim Brown: "I Understand the History of Slavery"

But he ain't buying into academia's narrative, even though Anderson Cooper does a fair job of reciting that narrative.

12 December 2016

Can "History News" be "Fake News"?

I'm just asking. You be the judge. Below are the leading stories and images that loaded on the History News Network's homepage this morning. I encourage you to visit the site and read the articles linked below for yourself. But if you'd rather not take the time to read these transparently partisan screeds (and I w0uld certainly understand), let me quickly surmise their content for you: Trump supporters are bigots, Trump (unlike the Clintons) is selling access to power and is an extremist, Trump is a racist, Trump is Nixon reincarnated, Hillary Clinton is a genius and paradigm of virtue, Trump supporters are Nazis. 

I believe that sums it all up rather nicely.
Read here.

Read here.

Read here.

Read here.

Read here.

Read here.

I would further add that Edmund Kozak's observations about "journalists" and the mainstream media in regard to Trump's victory could be applicable to many "historians" who are freaking out as well:
Those who expected the mainstream media to pause and reflect on its own biases following President-Elect Donald Trump’s victory are surely disappointed. It has become inescapably clear that rather than attempt to break free from the ideological echo chamber in which they exist, liberal journalists in the mainstream media are only doubling down on progressive propaganda — descending ever further into self-parody. . . . "I feel like we've been reporting on this all along but … people don't read us," Ioffe noted before attacking "fake news" — progressives' hot new term for anything that challenges their approved ideological narrative. "We're writing about it but, A) people aren't listening and, B) they don't believe us."
See any similarities? It certainly is shaping up to be a very interesting and deliciously entertaining New Year, isn't it? 😊

09 December 2016

Fake History Makes Fake News

Screen shot of the New York Times website I took with my iPhone November 8, 2016. Facts are stubborn things.

Kevin Levin has written an interesting post at Smithsonian.com regarding the chattering classes' new mantra in the wake of the 2016 election: "fake news." First of all, we get the broad brush criticism of the American Voter:

"the American voter is woefully lacking in the skills needed to judge the veracity of a news website."

I read that as a not-so-subtle way of saying that Trump will be the new president because stupid people elected him. The statement could be interpreted as just more of the type of elitist attitude that created Trump's populist movement in the first place. As Karol Markowicz writing in the
New York Post put it:

Scrambling for an explanation for Donald Trump’s victory, many in the media and on the left [including academia] have settled on the idea that his supporters were consumers of “fake news” — gullible rubes living in an alternate reality made Trump president. [Emphasis mine]
It's all so predictable, isn't it? But if we take Levin's comment at face value, it's important to note that "most American voters" have been educated by the "education establishment". If the American voter is "lacking in skills", the education establishment is, in large measure, to blame, is it not?

Levin offers up the following examples of Fake News:
Among the many headlines from fake news websites include reports that, Pope Francis endorsed President-elect Trump, Hillary Clinton used a body double throughout the campaign, and sold weapons to ISIS.
Yes, there are real "fake news" sites and, yes, there are many pushing myths about American history. Levin points out several of these in his piece. But what's more interesting to me than the examples Levin provides are the examples Levin leaves out about "Fake News." Mercy, where do we start?

How about Brian Williams (formerly the darling of the lefty nightly news) who made false claims about his experiences covering the war in Iraq?

How about NBC maliciously editing the George Zimmerman 911 call?

How about the recent Rolling Stone rape hoax, for which they've been successfully sued?

I could go on; Dan Rather, Jayson Blair (NYT), NBC's staged truck fire for which they, too, were successfully sued by GM, the outrageous fake polls leading up to this election, - it just never ends. Odd, isn't it, how the left has suddenly had a "come to Jesus" moment regarding "honest" news? It's laughable. It's also absolutely absurd. Fake news sites can be easily discredited. Not so with traditional news outlets pushing an agenda.

While it's obvious that mainstream media organizations have lost a lot of credibility (and it gets worse with each passing day) and influence over the last 10 years, does anyone seriously believe that "fake news" on outlier websites, blogs and Facebook pages have more impact on American voters than do major media outlets?

Levin finishes up his piece by advising that the remedy for "fake news" is better history education:

Teaching our students how to discern the difference will not only help them steer clear of fake history and fake news, but reinforce the importance of a responsible and informed citizenry.
On it's face, I agree with that conclusion. But, as they say, the devil is in the details. At least 50% of Americans believe the "fake news" mantra now being preached is itself "fake" and meant to distract from the real source of "fake news" - the mainstream media - as well as to console those on the left over getting their butts kicked in the recent election. The "fake news" slogan now reverberating through the echo chambers of academia, the mainstream media and elites in government is simply their way of assigning responsibility to anyone or anything other than themselves for their epic defeat. It's all so self-serving and transparent. As predictable as it is, it is also extremely irresponsible. As journalist and attorney Glenn Greenwald recently pointed out, the term "fake news" is often used as a label with nefarious political motivations:
The phrase “Fake News” has exploded in usage since the election, but the term is similar to other malleable political labels such as “terrorism” and “hate speech”; because the phrase lacks any clear definition, it is essentially useless except as an instrument of propaganda and censorship. The most important fact to realize about this new term: those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.
In other words, the self-appointed "fixers" for "fake news", i.e. the "real" media, the education establishment, big government types and academia, are actually a YUGE part of the problem. Academia is, in many ways, in bed with the mainstream media and share the same systemic faults as their mainstream media soulmates. Professor Victor Davis Hanson recently pointed this out in a brilliant piece titled: "Universities and the media: arrogant, ignorant, and ripe for reform." He writes:
The university and the media share two traits: Both industries have become arrogant and ignorant. We have created a climate, ethically and professionally, in which extremism has bred extremism, and bias is seen not as proof of journalistic and academic corruption, but of political purity. The recent election, and especially its aftermath, embarrassed journalists and academics alike — and should not be forgotten.
In the aftermath, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing, as they insist that the popular vote alone should have mattered, that the Russians stole the election, that there was voting fraud, but only in the swing states Trump won, or that Democrats did not emphasize identity politics enough — anything other than the truth that a now municipal Democratic party is run by apartheid coastal elites and fueled by identity politics, and that journalists and professors cannot keep society’s trust.
There is, of course, ample proof that journalists "cannot keep society's trust." A recent Gallup poll revealed that Americans' trust in the mainstream media is at an all time low. And Hanson's including of "professors" [academia] same problem is valid as well, and for the same reasons as historian Gordon S. Wood has noted:
The people who came out of the ‘60s are currently in control of the profession and it’s has become essentially race-class-gender issues. Now, a new generation will come along and they’ll want to contest that. . . . But you can’t do much else and still have a career. It’s very difficult for young people to want to work on more traditional subjects. . . . We are cutting ourselves off from the general public [reality] and that's lamentable.
Professor Wood also points out that . . .
College students and many historians have become obsessed with inequality . . . And this obsession has seriously affected the writing of American history. The inequalities of race and gender now permeate much of academic history-writing, so much so that the general reading public that wants to learn about the whole of our nation’s past has had to turn to history books written by nonacademics who have no Ph.D.s and are not involved in the incestuous conversations of the academic scholars.
While I don't want to put words into Wood's mouth and while he does not call what is being taught "fake history", one might infer that as he comes fairly close by noting that many academic historians are not teaching "the whole of our nation's past." Others have been more direct:
What most frustrates Americans is that we are a happy, optimistic, can-do people ceaselessly harangued by media solons, delusional academics, post-sovereign Eurocrats, and the Democrats who love them. While we free and feed the world, they can’t tell us enough that we’re racist, imperialist, torturing louts. We know it’s a libel, an endless stream of slander. But we also know it’s an absurd libel. We’re tired of hearing it, but taking it too seriously would give it power it doesn’t deserve. ~ Andrew McCarthy (National Review)
Bottom line: many academics, "historians" and "journalists" are proposing the wrong solution for the wrong problem. In a very ironic way, both the problem and the solution are staring back at them from the mirror, and yet they can't (or don't want to) see it.

05 December 2016

More on Trump's Historic Upset (Help for the Delusional)

The elites in academia, Hollywood, the media and government are still recovering from Donald J. Trump's historic upset victory last month. After 99% of all the above predicted a Clinton landslide and the death of the Republican Party, the EXACT opposite has transpired. It's an amazing thing to behold. The left continues to have a meltdown. Note the following screen shot from the "History" News Network this morning:

They STILL don't get it. Here's the moronic narrative now coming from academia: White evangelicals are stupid, white women are stupid and Trump voters are Nazis. Unbelievable. (Along these same lines, I'll post some commentary about a recent lecture at Harvard by Civil War historian, David Blight very soon. It's classic.)

While I maintain that most of these elites are so out of touch, that they still can't get their minds around what's happened, there are a few who seem to be making an attempt. This piece at Slate, for example, has some real money quotes about reality:
The Democrats will now control next to nothing above the municipal level. Donald Trump will be president. We are going to be unpacking this night for the rest of our lives, and lives beyond that. We can’t comprehend even 1 percent of what’s just happened. But one aspect of it, minor in the overall sweep, that I’m pretty sure we can comprehend well enough right now: The Democratic Party establishment has beclowned itself and is finished.
And . . .
Think of how wrong the entire national media [and most academic historians in the blogosphere as well - same club] conversation was . . . about how the Republicans were being torn apart as a party. . . . This was wrong. Republicans don’t have a slight edge over Democrats in a decaying political system. Republicans are ascendant. Trump has given them a mission. The country is now theirs.
Memo to academic historians: Remember this about being ‎wrong--almost to the point of being delusional--about so much in America: The first step to recovery is recognizing you need help. And trust me, you need a lot of help. 

02 December 2016

Democrats Channel Calhoun & Embrace Nullification

In regards to sanctuary cities . . .

"We have a massive nullification effort going on in this country. Nullification is what the Confederacy did prior to and during the civil war – nullifying decisions by the federal government. We have now the Left taking a tactic from the Confederacy, from pro-slave states, nullifying federal law." ~ Constitutional attorney, Mark Levin


But, of course, you don't hear anything from Civil War bloggers and historians moral reformers about the left now embracing John C. Calhoun, do you? I'm sure all this has nothing to do with politics. LOL.