Day: January 1, 2018

Gay Cakes Are Not a Constitutional Right


The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery who in 2013 refused to design and bake a cake celebrating a lesbian couple’s same-sex wedding [sic]. 


The Kleins felt that designing and making the cake to celebrate the 2013 same-sex wedding [sic] would violate their Christian faith.


On Thursday, however, the appeals court upheld the decision by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries to fine the Kleins $135,000.  The hefty financial penalty ultimately forced the couple to close their bakery[.] …


“Freedom of expression for ourselves should require freedom of expression for others.  Today, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided that Aaron and Melissa Klein are not entitled to the Constitution’s promises of religious liberty and free speech,” First Liberty CEO Kelly Shackelford stated.

Creative expression in any form is free speech, which, along with freedom of religion, is supposedly protected in the First Amendment.  People should not be compelled to write or say things they do not believe or agree with, whether it be in the form of ink on paper or frosting on wedding cakes.

The Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in a similar case, Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which the shop refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple to celebrate their ceremony, saying it would be an endorsement that would violate their religious beliefs.  The Colorado courts thought otherwise:

It started over five years ago with a simple request for a wedding cake.  And now, after wending its way through the system, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is finally having its day before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Many legal experts believe [that] it will be the most significant case of the term.  It involves a clash of our rights as citizens, as well as our ideals.


Two of the most precious rights Americans possess are freedom of expression and freedom to practice their religion as they see fit.  Both are enshrined in the First Amendment[.] …


It began in July 2012, when Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, who owned the Masterpiece Cakeshop, to create a custom wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex marriage [sic].  Phillips refused, saying he didn’t wish to promote a same-sex wedding [sic] due to his religious beliefs.


Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  The commission decided against Phillips, declaring he had discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation.


The commission ordered Masterpiece Cakeshop to change its policies, give its staff training on discrimination, and provide quarterly reports for two years on steps taken to comply with the order.


The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the decision and the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear the case.  Last year, Phillips petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming [that] the Colorado ruling violates the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. 

In this case, as Jordan Lawrence writes in National Review, the line between providing a service and expressing a view is being deliberately blurred by liberals to destroy both free speech and religious liberty:

The government must not force creative businesses to create messages that they oppose.  During the Masterpiece Cakeshop oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, the two attorneys opposing cake artist Jack Phillips argued that the justices should not protect Phillips’s freedom to abstain from creating expression he disagrees with.  Their primary argument was that, in their opinion, it is too difficult to draw lines protecting people’s First Amendment right against compelled speech, so the high court should not protect Jack’s rights[.] …


David Cole of the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the Supreme Court should conclude that anything Phillips would create under some circumstances, he must create in all contexts[.] …


[But] a cake artist who agrees to design a rainbow cake for a Noah’s Ark-themed Sunday-school party should not be forced against his will to make the same cake for a same-sex wedding [sic] (like the one that the same-sex couple who visited Masterpiece Cakeshop eventually got for their wedding [sic] reception).  Neither should a cake artist who would craft an elephant-shaped cake for a party at the zoo be forced to create the same cake for a Republican[ P]arty celebration. Nor should a cake artist who is willing to design a cake saying “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” for a Christmas party be required to make that cake for a party hosted by Aryan Nations.

The Masterpiece Cakeshop case is different from saying a hotel or restaurant cannot refuse service to people based on their sexual orientation.  Baking is a wedding cake is a creative process, and you cannot force a baker to create something that violates his religious beliefs anymore than you can force a writer to put on paper opinions he or she vehemently disagrees with.

That the judiciary’s attempt to redefine marriage is a looming threat to religious liberty, as observed here, and may lead to an era of religious persecution not seen in since the days of the Roman Empire is seen in the chilling redefinition of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin and the Senate’s only lesbian.

Baldwin made her remarks on the June 27, 2015 broadcast of Up With Steve Kornacki on MSNBC.  In a transcript of her remarks posted on Newsbusters, Baldwin ignored the fact that it was religious persecution in Europe that led to people fleeing here seeking religious freedom on an individual as well as an institutional level:

Certainly the [F]irst [A]mendment says that in institutions of faith that [sic] there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs.  But I don’t think it extends far beyond that.  We’ve seen the set of arguments play out in issues such as access to contraception.  Should it be the individual pharmacist whose religious beliefs guides [sic] whether a prescription is filled[?] [O]r in this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country.  I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.

Baldwin, in arguing that there is no individual right to religious liberty and expression, misreads the Constitution with its mandate saying Congress shall pass no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.  It is a key phrase in the First Amendment, leading off the Bill of Rights.  These are individual rights fought for in the American Revolution.  These rights are not limited to institutions; rather, they apply to all individuals, just as the Supreme Court has decided that the Second Amendment applies to individuals and not just to state-ordained militias.

Baldwin had been asked the question, “Should the bakery have to bake the cake for the gay couple getting married [sic]?  Where do you come down on that?”  She came down on the side of government coercion and the proposition that church is something you do on Sunday for an hour and otherwise shouldn’t act on your religious beliefs in your daily life.

The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa tried to act on their faith but were ordered to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple based on an order from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.  As the Washington Times reported:


The order affirms an initial ruling in January that found Aaron and Melissa Klein had violated Oregon civil-rights law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony in 2013 and ordered them to pay damages to Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman.

In Iran, gay “wedding” cake and pizza requests are handled a bit more harshly and with more finality than a simple statement from a business owner that his or her faith won’t allow him to cater the affair.  If two men or two women contemplating attempting a marriage had walked into a Tehran pizza shop like Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, the pizza shop that refused to cater a hypothetical event attempting to celebrate a wedding between two people of the same sex, hanging in the public square and not a simple refusal would have been a likely outcome.

Crystal O’Connor, member of the family that owns Memories Pizza, told a local ABC news affiliate that she agreed with Indiana’s version of the federal RFRA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.  “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding [sic], we would have to say no, “she told ABC 57.  Her beliefs and rights and the beliefs and rights of the owners of Sweet Cakes and Masterpiece Cakeshop should be respected

The Hobby Lobby case revolved around the belief of the owners that people should be free to act on their faith in their daily lives, which includes their business life.  It is a belief shared by many, including the Founding Fathers.  As Investor’s Business Daily observed:

So do scores of Catholic and non-Catholic institutions and businesses who argue either that the way they run their private businesses is an extension of their faith or that a church, something the federal government seeks to redefine, is not something that happens one hour a week on a Sunday[,] but 24/7 through the hospitals, schools, soup kitchens[,] and charities they may operate.  They argue that acting out their faith through their works should not be illegal.

To gay advocates, acting on your sincerely held religious beliefs is bigotry.  They ask that their lifestyles be respected as well as their newly discovered right to the benefits of marriage, found in the “penumbras and emanations” of the Constitution that also gave us the right to abortion.  Neither abortion nor marriage is mentioned specifically in the Constitution, but religious liberty and those who say acting on your faith is bigotry are physicians sorely in need of healing themselves.

Liberals’ definition of religious liberty is not very different from Lenin’s and Stalin’s. Investor’s Business Daily once quoted Cardinal George regarding Obamacare and its imposition of the contraceptive mandate on religious institutions:

“Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union,” Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George recently wrote.


“You could go to church, if you could find one.  The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship – no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice[,] and works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith.  We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society.”

One wonders what would happen, or should happen in Sen. Baldwin’s view, if a gay couple walked into a bakery owned by black Americans and asked for a Confederate flag on their wedding cake.  The irony here is that those who profess to be the most tolerant exhibit the most intolerance.  If you demand tolerance of your lifestyle, you should exhibit tolerance of other people’s religious beliefs.  Otherwise, it is you who are the hypocrite and the bigot. 

Justice Anthony Kennedy may have tipped his hand in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, noting in comments during oral arguments:

According to the Wall Street Journal’s live blog, Kennedy wanted to know how the state tried to accommodate the baker’s rights to speech and religious expression, and he expressed his dissatisfaction with the response:


Justice Anthony Kennedy told a lawyer for the state that tolerance is essential in a free society, but it’s important for tolerance to work in both directions.  “It seems to me the state has been neither tolerant or respectful” of the baker’s views, he said.

Well said.  Indeed, the road to oppression and the end of liberty is paved with political correctness.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

One wonders what would have happened if the Sweet Cakes by Melissa case involved not the owners refusing to be coerced to violate their religious conscience by providing a cake not to two same-sex people celebrating their union and calling it a marriage, but rather a Muslim bakery being forced to bake a cake decorated with a cartoon picture of the prophet Muhammad covered with bacon sprinkles.

Would the bakery in that scenario be forced to pay a heavy business-killing fine for actually believing that the Founding Fathers meant freedom of religion when they enshrined it in the First Amendment?  Probably not, even if the ruling was made by a liberal Oregon judge who forget that this country was founded by people fleeing religious persecution and governmental war on their religious conscience:

The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery who in 2013 refused to design and bake a cake celebrating a lesbian couple’s same-sex wedding [sic]. 


The Kleins felt that designing and making the cake to celebrate the 2013 same-sex wedding [sic] would violate their Christian faith.


On Thursday, however, the appeals court upheld the decision by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries to fine the Kleins $135,000.  The hefty financial penalty ultimately forced the couple to close their bakery[.] …


“Freedom of expression for ourselves should require freedom of expression for others.  Today, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided that Aaron and Melissa Klein are not entitled to the Constitution’s promises of religious liberty and free speech,” First Liberty CEO Kelly Shackelford stated.

Creative expression in any form is free speech, which, along with freedom of religion, is supposedly protected in the First Amendment.  People should not be compelled to write or say things they do not believe or agree with, whether it be in the form of ink on paper or frosting on wedding cakes.

The Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in a similar case, Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which the shop refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple to celebrate their ceremony, saying it would be an endorsement that would violate their religious beliefs.  The Colorado courts thought otherwise:

It started over five years ago with a simple request for a wedding cake.  And now, after wending its way through the system, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is finally having its day before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Many legal experts believe [that] it will be the most significant case of the term.  It involves a clash of our rights as citizens, as well as our ideals.


Two of the most precious rights Americans possess are freedom of expression and freedom to practice their religion as they see fit.  Both are enshrined in the First Amendment[.] …


It began in July 2012, when Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, who owned the Masterpiece Cakeshop, to create a custom wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex marriage [sic].  Phillips refused, saying he didn’t wish to promote a same-sex wedding [sic] due to his religious beliefs.


Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  The commission decided against Phillips, declaring he had discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation.


The commission ordered Masterpiece Cakeshop to change its policies, give its staff training on discrimination, and provide quarterly reports for two years on steps taken to comply with the order.


The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the decision and the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear the case.  Last year, Phillips petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming [that] the Colorado ruling violates the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. 

In this case, as Jordan Lawrence writes in National Review, the line between providing a service and expressing a view is being deliberately blurred by liberals to destroy both free speech and religious liberty:

The government must not force creative businesses to create messages that they oppose.  During the Masterpiece Cakeshop oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, the two attorneys opposing cake artist Jack Phillips argued that the justices should not protect Phillips’s freedom to abstain from creating expression he disagrees with.  Their primary argument was that, in their opinion, it is too difficult to draw lines protecting people’s First Amendment right against compelled speech, so the high court should not protect Jack’s rights[.] …


David Cole of the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the Supreme Court should conclude that anything Phillips would create under some circumstances, he must create in all contexts[.] …


[But] a cake artist who agrees to design a rainbow cake for a Noah’s Ark-themed Sunday-school party should not be forced against his will to make the same cake for a same-sex wedding [sic] (like the one that the same-sex couple who visited Masterpiece Cakeshop eventually got for their wedding [sic] reception).  Neither should a cake artist who would craft an elephant-shaped cake for a party at the zoo be forced to create the same cake for a Republican[ P]arty celebration. Nor should a cake artist who is willing to design a cake saying “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” for a Christmas party be required to make that cake for a party hosted by Aryan Nations.

The Masterpiece Cakeshop case is different from saying a hotel or restaurant cannot refuse service to people based on their sexual orientation.  Baking is a wedding cake is a creative process, and you cannot force a baker to create something that violates his religious beliefs anymore than you can force a writer to put on paper opinions he or she vehemently disagrees with.

That the judiciary’s attempt to redefine marriage is a looming threat to religious liberty, as observed here, and may lead to an era of religious persecution not seen in since the days of the Roman Empire is seen in the chilling redefinition of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin and the Senate’s only lesbian.

Baldwin made her remarks on the June 27, 2015 broadcast of Up With Steve Kornacki on MSNBC.  In a transcript of her remarks posted on Newsbusters, Baldwin ignored the fact that it was religious persecution in Europe that led to people fleeing here seeking religious freedom on an individual as well as an institutional level:

Certainly the [F]irst [A]mendment says that in institutions of faith that [sic] there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs.  But I don’t think it extends far beyond that.  We’ve seen the set of arguments play out in issues such as access to contraception.  Should it be the individual pharmacist whose religious beliefs guides [sic] whether a prescription is filled[?] [O]r in this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country.  I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.

Baldwin, in arguing that there is no individual right to religious liberty and expression, misreads the Constitution with its mandate saying Congress shall pass no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.  It is a key phrase in the First Amendment, leading off the Bill of Rights.  These are individual rights fought for in the American Revolution.  These rights are not limited to institutions; rather, they apply to all individuals, just as the Supreme Court has decided that the Second Amendment applies to individuals and not just to state-ordained militias.

Baldwin had been asked the question, “Should the bakery have to bake the cake for the gay couple getting married [sic]?  Where do you come down on that?”  She came down on the side of government coercion and the proposition that church is something you do on Sunday for an hour and otherwise shouldn’t act on your religious beliefs in your daily life.

The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa tried to act on their faith but were ordered to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple based on an order from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.  As the Washington Times reported:


The order affirms an initial ruling in January that found Aaron and Melissa Klein had violated Oregon civil-rights law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony in 2013 and ordered them to pay damages to Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman.

In Iran, gay “wedding” cake and pizza requests are handled a bit more harshly and with more finality than a simple statement from a business owner that his or her faith won’t allow him to cater the affair.  If two men or two women contemplating attempting a marriage had walked into a Tehran pizza shop like Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, the pizza shop that refused to cater a hypothetical event attempting to celebrate a wedding between two people of the same sex, hanging in the public square and not a simple refusal would have been a likely outcome.

Crystal O’Connor, member of the family that owns Memories Pizza, told a local ABC news affiliate that she agreed with Indiana’s version of the federal RFRA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.  “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding [sic], we would have to say no, “she told ABC 57.  Her beliefs and rights and the beliefs and rights of the owners of Sweet Cakes and Masterpiece Cakeshop should be respected

The Hobby Lobby case revolved around the belief of the owners that people should be free to act on their faith in their daily lives, which includes their business life.  It is a belief shared by many, including the Founding Fathers.  As Investor’s Business Daily observed:

So do scores of Catholic and non-Catholic institutions and businesses who argue either that the way they run their private businesses is an extension of their faith or that a church, something the federal government seeks to redefine, is not something that happens one hour a week on a Sunday[,] but 24/7 through the hospitals, schools, soup kitchens[,] and charities they may operate.  They argue that acting out their faith through their works should not be illegal.

To gay advocates, acting on your sincerely held religious beliefs is bigotry.  They ask that their lifestyles be respected as well as their newly discovered right to the benefits of marriage, found in the “penumbras and emanations” of the Constitution that also gave us the right to abortion.  Neither abortion nor marriage is mentioned specifically in the Constitution, but religious liberty and those who say acting on your faith is bigotry are physicians sorely in need of healing themselves.

Liberals’ definition of religious liberty is not very different from Lenin’s and Stalin’s. Investor’s Business Daily once quoted Cardinal George regarding Obamacare and its imposition of the contraceptive mandate on religious institutions:

“Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union,” Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George recently wrote.


“You could go to church, if you could find one.  The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship – no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice[,] and works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith.  We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society.”

One wonders what would happen, or should happen in Sen. Baldwin’s view, if a gay couple walked into a bakery owned by black Americans and asked for a Confederate flag on their wedding cake.  The irony here is that those who profess to be the most tolerant exhibit the most intolerance.  If you demand tolerance of your lifestyle, you should exhibit tolerance of other people’s religious beliefs.  Otherwise, it is you who are the hypocrite and the bigot. 

Justice Anthony Kennedy may have tipped his hand in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, noting in comments during oral arguments:

According to the Wall Street Journal’s live blog, Kennedy wanted to know how the state tried to accommodate the baker’s rights to speech and religious expression, and he expressed his dissatisfaction with the response:


Justice Anthony Kennedy told a lawyer for the state that tolerance is essential in a free society, but it’s important for tolerance to work in both directions.  “It seems to me the state has been neither tolerant or respectful” of the baker’s views, he said.

Well said.  Indeed, the road to oppression and the end of liberty is paved with political correctness.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.



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The New Iranian Revolution: Is It Possible?


Nineteen seventy-nine was a momentous year.  In my little world, college graduation was celebrated with enthusiasm and zeal.  In the world at large, the Iranian revolution occurred – and wreaked havoc and destruction in ways neither the Iranians nor the rest of the world could have ever imagined.

At the time, being an educated and low-information voter, as we know they are synonymous, I paid little attention to these circumstances except to understand that the Shah and his secret police, the Savak, were deposed; a medieval-looking, menacing ayatollah took over the country; and Americans were held hostage, eventually being released.

Fast-forward several years.  Glimpses of this backward country were revealed through various media.  The movie Not Without My Daughter revealed the riveting account of an American woman married to an Iranian and her attempts and eventual success in escaping the hellhole where she found herself.  Geraldine Brooks’s fabulous book, Nine Parts of Desire, about women of the Middle East, also offered a picture of life for women in Iran.  The fatwa declared by Ayatollah Khomeini on Salman Rushdie, forcing him into hiding, became worldwide news.  The Iranian film festival was brought to the United States on an annual basis exposing many of us to the inner workings of Iranian society and their yearning for a freer way of life.  We came to discover that the Iranians, including women, next to the Israelis, were some of the most educated people in the Middle East.

Like many of the readers of these pages who have become more informed – call it a true education – I learned the truth about the repercussions of the Iranian revolution.  Jimmy Carter’s naïve and dangerous proclamations against the Shah, a U.S. ally, were the fuel that ignited the Shah’s overthrow.  Investors Business Daily had a wonderful piece in the mid-2000s summarizing the hideous consequences.  The Shah’s executions over twenty-five years were less than those under Ayatollah Khomeini’s in one year.  The ayatollah, purported religious man that he was, supported Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization, and promised to fund families of suicide bombers attacking Israel.  Hezb’allah (Party of God), a Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization, originated because of a radical Iran.  People suffered gravely under this regime.  In the book Children of Paradise by Laura Secor, there is a section that chronicles the events surrounding the mass executions of political prisoners during the early and later 1980s.

Along the way, I became sympathetic to the plight of the Iranian people.  I used to donate to Freedom House and asked that the funds be directed to Gozaar, an Iranian web portal that provided information to the Iranian people.  Shortly after Mr. Obama was elected, the State Department stopped funding this organization.  Excuses were made for this action.  Some people, especially on the left, believed that Gozaar endangered Iranian NGOs fighting for reform and supported Mr. Obama’s decision to engage rather than fund.

Well, it goes without saying how effective that has been to promote freedom for the Iranian people.  Those of us who see Mr. Obama for who he is were disturbed but not surprised about the events surrounding the 2009 Iranian uprising.  The Green Revolution took hold, and all they asked from our globalist president was rhetorical support.  The response from our commander-in-chief was a deafening silence.  The Iranian people understood the message loud and clear:  not “no can do,” but “no will do.”  Soon their spirits deflated, their will withered, and their oppressors crushed what was left.  Would it have made a difference if Mr. Obama had used his silver tongue and given some support?  We will never know, but being the interloper he has been with so many other countries, it is ironic – or maybe not – that the most powerful leader of the free world could not wish the same for others.

We learned more about Mr. Obama’s motives when he circumvented Congress with a so-called executive treaty by returning billions to the Iranian government in exchange for a promise of nuclear disarmament.  Hasn’t Mr. Obama ever heard of “taqiyya”?  Perhaps he knows it better than we think.  Most important, how did this or any of his actions help the Iranian people?  If anything, it emboldened the tyrannical mullahs.  As of late we heard about Project Cassandra, an investigation into Hezb’allah-linked drug-dealings within our borders, having been stymied by the Obama administration to prevent the nuclear deal from being aborted.  Who knows what else will be uncovered about Mr. Obama’s dealings with the Iranians or those of his Rasputin, Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett?  We may never get the full truth.

Now we have a new sheriff in town.  Unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump does not deliver his message with such mellifluousness, and unlike the elitists of left and right, we “deplorables” are most thankful for that.  He is bold, honest, and direct.  Perhaps, with the help of social media and the internet, his message of freedom through strength is permeating the walls of censorship and reaching the Iranian people.  Their rumblings and discontent are heard loud and clear by this president.  Already, he is tweeting his message of support to the people.

Could the Iranians risk another uprising?  Time will tell.  If they have the will and strength to do so, they should know that freedom-loving Americans support their cause.  Could 2018 be the year?  If so, we could eventually see the beginnings of a new Middle Eastern landscape.  Now, that might seem like a dream, but who would have dreamt that a daring businessman could take on every other GOP candidate; a queen in waiting; and a corrupt, biased press to win the office of president of the United States?

Yes, dreams can and do come true.  Here is to the Iranian people.

Nineteen seventy-nine was a momentous year.  In my little world, college graduation was celebrated with enthusiasm and zeal.  In the world at large, the Iranian revolution occurred – and wreaked havoc and destruction in ways neither the Iranians nor the rest of the world could have ever imagined.

At the time, being an educated and low-information voter, as we know they are synonymous, I paid little attention to these circumstances except to understand that the Shah and his secret police, the Savak, were deposed; a medieval-looking, menacing ayatollah took over the country; and Americans were held hostage, eventually being released.

Fast-forward several years.  Glimpses of this backward country were revealed through various media.  The movie Not Without My Daughter revealed the riveting account of an American woman married to an Iranian and her attempts and eventual success in escaping the hellhole where she found herself.  Geraldine Brooks’s fabulous book, Nine Parts of Desire, about women of the Middle East, also offered a picture of life for women in Iran.  The fatwa declared by Ayatollah Khomeini on Salman Rushdie, forcing him into hiding, became worldwide news.  The Iranian film festival was brought to the United States on an annual basis exposing many of us to the inner workings of Iranian society and their yearning for a freer way of life.  We came to discover that the Iranians, including women, next to the Israelis, were some of the most educated people in the Middle East.

Like many of the readers of these pages who have become more informed – call it a true education – I learned the truth about the repercussions of the Iranian revolution.  Jimmy Carter’s naïve and dangerous proclamations against the Shah, a U.S. ally, were the fuel that ignited the Shah’s overthrow.  Investors Business Daily had a wonderful piece in the mid-2000s summarizing the hideous consequences.  The Shah’s executions over twenty-five years were less than those under Ayatollah Khomeini’s in one year.  The ayatollah, purported religious man that he was, supported Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization, and promised to fund families of suicide bombers attacking Israel.  Hezb’allah (Party of God), a Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization, originated because of a radical Iran.  People suffered gravely under this regime.  In the book Children of Paradise by Laura Secor, there is a section that chronicles the events surrounding the mass executions of political prisoners during the early and later 1980s.

Along the way, I became sympathetic to the plight of the Iranian people.  I used to donate to Freedom House and asked that the funds be directed to Gozaar, an Iranian web portal that provided information to the Iranian people.  Shortly after Mr. Obama was elected, the State Department stopped funding this organization.  Excuses were made for this action.  Some people, especially on the left, believed that Gozaar endangered Iranian NGOs fighting for reform and supported Mr. Obama’s decision to engage rather than fund.

Well, it goes without saying how effective that has been to promote freedom for the Iranian people.  Those of us who see Mr. Obama for who he is were disturbed but not surprised about the events surrounding the 2009 Iranian uprising.  The Green Revolution took hold, and all they asked from our globalist president was rhetorical support.  The response from our commander-in-chief was a deafening silence.  The Iranian people understood the message loud and clear:  not “no can do,” but “no will do.”  Soon their spirits deflated, their will withered, and their oppressors crushed what was left.  Would it have made a difference if Mr. Obama had used his silver tongue and given some support?  We will never know, but being the interloper he has been with so many other countries, it is ironic – or maybe not – that the most powerful leader of the free world could not wish the same for others.

We learned more about Mr. Obama’s motives when he circumvented Congress with a so-called executive treaty by returning billions to the Iranian government in exchange for a promise of nuclear disarmament.  Hasn’t Mr. Obama ever heard of “taqiyya”?  Perhaps he knows it better than we think.  Most important, how did this or any of his actions help the Iranian people?  If anything, it emboldened the tyrannical mullahs.  As of late we heard about Project Cassandra, an investigation into Hezb’allah-linked drug-dealings within our borders, having been stymied by the Obama administration to prevent the nuclear deal from being aborted.  Who knows what else will be uncovered about Mr. Obama’s dealings with the Iranians or those of his Rasputin, Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett?  We may never get the full truth.

Now we have a new sheriff in town.  Unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump does not deliver his message with such mellifluousness, and unlike the elitists of left and right, we “deplorables” are most thankful for that.  He is bold, honest, and direct.  Perhaps, with the help of social media and the internet, his message of freedom through strength is permeating the walls of censorship and reaching the Iranian people.  Their rumblings and discontent are heard loud and clear by this president.  Already, he is tweeting his message of support to the people.

Could the Iranians risk another uprising?  Time will tell.  If they have the will and strength to do so, they should know that freedom-loving Americans support their cause.  Could 2018 be the year?  If so, we could eventually see the beginnings of a new Middle Eastern landscape.  Now, that might seem like a dream, but who would have dreamt that a daring businessman could take on every other GOP candidate; a queen in waiting; and a corrupt, biased press to win the office of president of the United States?

Yes, dreams can and do come true.  Here is to the Iranian people.



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NASA's Rubber Ruler: An Update


The NASA/GISS temperature record is not actually a record of recorded temperatures.  It is simply the most recent version of NASA’s adjustments to older adjustments.  It is not thermometer readings.  It is models all the way down.

In 2012, I wrote an American Thinker article on the status of global warming at the time.  I used the latest available NASA/GISS data to do that analysis, which was the version NASA had on its website on April 30, 2012 (Land-Ocean Temperature Index [LOTI]).

At that time, the data from 1880 through 2011 showed a warming trend of 0.59 degrees Celsius per century.

What is that warming trend using the latest data from NASA’s website (December 30, 2017), using those same exact years (1880-2011)?  The answer is 0.66˚ C.

How did warming accelerate if we are looking at the very same years?

Apparently, the Earth is getting warmer faster than it was five and a half years ago, but not because of actual recorded thermometer readings in those last five and a half years.  It is getting warmer faster because NASA adjusted the data to show faster warming.

When you go to the NASA website, you can download temperature anomalies “1880-present.”  But those data change every month.  NASA adjusts it.  You cannot find any older versions.  NASA makes available only its most recent version.  And NASA does not explain how it adjusts the data.  You must simply trust it.

I still have the data from 2012 only because I downloaded them to a spreadsheet and kept that spreadsheet.

What are the differences between the two sets of data?  See the first figure, which shows all adjustments to data from 1880 through 2011.  NASA made these adjustments after April 2012.


Figure 1.  NASA’s post-2012 adjustments to the 1880-2011 temperature record.

The black line shows the linear regression trend of the adjustments.  To be clear, the trend is of the adjustments to temperatures, not actual temperatures.  It is clear that NASA tends to adjust older temperatures down and recent temperatures up, to accelerate the overall warming trend: from 0.59 to 0.66˚ C per century, just since 2012.

If we look only at the most recent century of those same data (1911-2011), the adjustment trend is even starker: from 0.71 to 0.87˚ C per century.  Again, the only difference is when the data were downloaded from the NASA website.  The same years of data were used in both cases.


Figure 2.  NASA’s post-2012 adjustments to the 1911-2011 temperature record.

And I have no idea how much adjusting NASA did before April 2012.  For all I know, the entire “warming trend” is simply one big “adjustment trend.”

I wrote of NASA’s “rubber ruler” in 2012.  NASA changes the temperature “record,” going back to 1880, every month.  In just one month in 2012, August to September, 60% of NASA’s temperature record changed.  How did temperature readings in August of 2012 cause 60% of the temperatures from 1880 to 2011 to change?  Anthony Watts says NASA is violating the Data Quality Act.

How does one validate a climate model using temperature observations, if those “observations” were themselves adjusted using models?  Real science means using the scientific method, which means using physical measurements to test a hypothesis.

The simple explanation is that NASA is reversing that method.  It apparently uses the global warming hypothesis to adjust physical measurements.  That is not science.  It is the opposite of science.

We need to answer four questions before we take real action to address man-caused, catastrophic global warming:

  1. Is the globe getting warmer?
  2. If so, is man doing it (or most of it)?
  3. If so, is it bad?
  4. If so, is the massive-reductions-in-CO2 approach the best way to deal with it?

The temperature record does not even address the last three of these questions.  Yet even that first, most basic, question is on shaky ground.  One could say that warming is man-caused: men adjusted the temperature record.

I know that NASA adjusted the temperature record in a way that accelerated the warming trend.  What I don’t know for sure is how much of the warming trend is due solely to such adjustments.  One peer-reviewed study says “nearly all” of the warming is fabricated.

I would sure like to look at the science of global warming.  But without physical observations one can trust, how does one do that?  It is all one big “trust us.”  But that is not science.  The “temperature record” is not a record of thermometer readings.  It is a summary of what government-funded people with science degrees think is OK for us to see.

Randall Hoven is a retired Boeing technical fellow with a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees in engineering, which is two more master’s degrees than Bill Nye the Science Guy has.  He teaches at a university now, not on TV.

The NASA/GISS temperature record is not actually a record of recorded temperatures.  It is simply the most recent version of NASA’s adjustments to older adjustments.  It is not thermometer readings.  It is models all the way down.

In 2012, I wrote an American Thinker article on the status of global warming at the time.  I used the latest available NASA/GISS data to do that analysis, which was the version NASA had on its website on April 30, 2012 (Land-Ocean Temperature Index [LOTI]).

At that time, the data from 1880 through 2011 showed a warming trend of 0.59 degrees Celsius per century.

What is that warming trend using the latest data from NASA’s website (December 30, 2017), using those same exact years (1880-2011)?  The answer is 0.66˚ C.

How did warming accelerate if we are looking at the very same years?

Apparently, the Earth is getting warmer faster than it was five and a half years ago, but not because of actual recorded thermometer readings in those last five and a half years.  It is getting warmer faster because NASA adjusted the data to show faster warming.

When you go to the NASA website, you can download temperature anomalies “1880-present.”  But those data change every month.  NASA adjusts it.  You cannot find any older versions.  NASA makes available only its most recent version.  And NASA does not explain how it adjusts the data.  You must simply trust it.

I still have the data from 2012 only because I downloaded them to a spreadsheet and kept that spreadsheet.

What are the differences between the two sets of data?  See the first figure, which shows all adjustments to data from 1880 through 2011.  NASA made these adjustments after April 2012.


Figure 1.  NASA’s post-2012 adjustments to the 1880-2011 temperature record.

The black line shows the linear regression trend of the adjustments.  To be clear, the trend is of the adjustments to temperatures, not actual temperatures.  It is clear that NASA tends to adjust older temperatures down and recent temperatures up, to accelerate the overall warming trend: from 0.59 to 0.66˚ C per century, just since 2012.

If we look only at the most recent century of those same data (1911-2011), the adjustment trend is even starker: from 0.71 to 0.87˚ C per century.  Again, the only difference is when the data were downloaded from the NASA website.  The same years of data were used in both cases.


Figure 2.  NASA’s post-2012 adjustments to the 1911-2011 temperature record.

And I have no idea how much adjusting NASA did before April 2012.  For all I know, the entire “warming trend” is simply one big “adjustment trend.”

I wrote of NASA’s “rubber ruler” in 2012.  NASA changes the temperature “record,” going back to 1880, every month.  In just one month in 2012, August to September, 60% of NASA’s temperature record changed.  How did temperature readings in August of 2012 cause 60% of the temperatures from 1880 to 2011 to change?  Anthony Watts says NASA is violating the Data Quality Act.

How does one validate a climate model using temperature observations, if those “observations” were themselves adjusted using models?  Real science means using the scientific method, which means using physical measurements to test a hypothesis.

The simple explanation is that NASA is reversing that method.  It apparently uses the global warming hypothesis to adjust physical measurements.  That is not science.  It is the opposite of science.

We need to answer four questions before we take real action to address man-caused, catastrophic global warming:

  1. Is the globe getting warmer?
  2. If so, is man doing it (or most of it)?
  3. If so, is it bad?
  4. If so, is the massive-reductions-in-CO2 approach the best way to deal with it?

The temperature record does not even address the last three of these questions.  Yet even that first, most basic, question is on shaky ground.  One could say that warming is man-caused: men adjusted the temperature record.

I know that NASA adjusted the temperature record in a way that accelerated the warming trend.  What I don’t know for sure is how much of the warming trend is due solely to such adjustments.  One peer-reviewed study says “nearly all” of the warming is fabricated.

I would sure like to look at the science of global warming.  But without physical observations one can trust, how does one do that?  It is all one big “trust us.”  But that is not science.  The “temperature record” is not a record of thermometer readings.  It is a summary of what government-funded people with science degrees think is OK for us to see.

Randall Hoven is a retired Boeing technical fellow with a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees in engineering, which is two more master’s degrees than Bill Nye the Science Guy has.  He teaches at a university now, not on TV.



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The Death of Academic Rigor


The notion of academic rigor has fallen on evil times.  In a typical instance of continuing epistemic degradation, Donna Riley, of Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, insists that rigor must be eliminated since rigor is a “dirty deed” fraught with “exclusionary implications for marginalized groups and marginalized ways of knowing.”  It matters little, apparently, if our bridges collapse so long as “men of color and women, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, first-generation and low-income students” are welcomed into the new holistic community defined by “other ways of knowing” – whatever these may be.  Similarly, Rochelle Gutierrez, of the University of Illinois, fears that algebra, geometry, and math perpetuate white male privilege and discriminate against minorities.  Indeed, minority under-performance is often disguised as a form of “mismatching” – that is, the fault lies with the institution for being beyond the student’s intellectual means.  Clearly, the dire situation we are in can only deteriorate as the concept of excellence bites the dust and students are deliberately coaxed into pre-planned intellectual darkness.

The precipitous decline in educational quality in North American schools, colleges, and universities has been amply documented in a plethora of articles and books over the last 20 or so years, including my own efforts in such volumes as Education Lost, Lying about the Wolf, and The Turtle Hypodermic of Sickenpods.  One of the places where we can find real “climate change” is the educational establishment, from kindergarten to graduate school, a mind-sphere where heated rhetoric and frozen accomplishment go hand in hand.  The pedagogical and scholarly climate has become almost unlivable.  Like far too many teachers, I have witnessed the debacle from the trenches – as a supply teacher in the high schools, an ESL instructor, a college professor, a visiting lecturer, a guest professor on the international circuit, and a university writer-in-residence.  The scenario never changed.

Here I am especially concerned with university education.  Wherever we may decide to lay the blame for the disaster of abysmal academic achievement – helicopter parents, substandard public school teachers, the self-esteem movement, a culture of entitlement – the dilemma is compounded by the drumming indoctrination of the political left upon the untutored minds of an increasingly lost generation.  As Jack Kerwick correctly states, “[most of] today’s academics, far from being deep, curious thinkers, are in reality joint-members of a thought-collective.”

The current syllabus in the arts, humanities, and social sciences is dedicated not to a consideration of the Western library, traditional subjects, and “the best that has been thought and said,” to quote Matthew Arnold from Culture and Anarchy, but to the grand social struggles that claim the allegiance of radical ideologues who have come to dominate the classroom.  Rigor, of course, is anathema to them.  Their mandate is not to “educate” in the traditional sense of the term, but to conscript and train an army of immature grievance-mongers (snowflakes), shock troops (Antifa), and future leaders of the social Comintern.  They resemble the “reformers” whom the great Greek poet Constantine Cavafy depicts in a wry little poem, “In a Famous Greek Colony, 200 B.C.” (translation mine, some lines conflated):

Whatever the hindrance and the difficulty

these Reformers immediately suggest radical reforms,

demanding that they be implemented without delay.

And when, finally, they finish their work

it will be a miracle if anything survives at all.

As Janice Fiamengo of the University of Ottawa explains in an article for PJ Media, traditional course content is often replaced by non-academic material dealing with race, class, and gender, “specifically a devotion to ‘social justice’ that masquerades as critical analysis[.] … Many professors devote themselves less to teaching their particular disciplines than to decrying the presumed crimes of the United States, sympathizing with Islamic terrorists and other violent dissidents, calling for the overthrow of the capitalist world order, and condoning plans for the destruction of Israel.”  They teach students to sympathize with the “victims” of the day in the noble cause of social equity and to feel “appropriately empowered in grievance or guilty by association.”  And, of course, to conform to their instructor’s causes, prejudices, and partisanship.

Students have also been afflicted with the sanctimonious foolishness of presentism, in which current social and cultural fads, beliefs, and ideologies are superimposed upon the past.  The actions of our predecessors are judged in the light of our own dogmatic assumptions, as if these were perennial – the end point of history – and not merely transitory.  Thus, Shakespeare is regarded as a straight white male patriarch asserting his cultural authority, to be replaced in portrait and curriculum by black radical lesbian Audre Lorde, by any criterion surely one of the worst poets ever to put pen to paper.

To take an example closer to my home, a student-writer denounces Susanna Moodie’s 1852 Roughing It in the Bush for the crime of “othering” – that is, for having “unduly corrupted reader’s [sic] perceptions” of Ontario’s indigenous tribes in the 1830s as “other” rather than equal or superior, as unlettered hunters and gatherers rather than victims of hegemonic white settler oppression.  In the same way, Confederation poet Duncan Campbell Scott, who worked in the federal Department of Indian Affairs and lobbied for the assimilation of the native populations into the social mainstream in order to improve their social and economic prospects, is bitterly condemned as a white supremacist, a racist and an enemy of “social justice.”

To believe that cultures without writing or the wheel or antibiotics or technology or science are equal or superior to a culture that gave us the Magna Carta; developed cures for smallpox and polio; discovered electricity; put a man on the moon; invented the computer; and produced a Homer, Dante, Dostoevsky, Bach, Michelangelo, Newton, and Einstein is, not to put too fine a point on it, the very depths of fatuous imbecility.  But this is the agenda of the academic left: to create a dumbed down, alliterate and illiterate, and politically indoctrinated generation, which had already arrived at the ivory gates incapacitated for disciplined study, intellectual rigor, and scholarly accomplishment.

I suspect that the decline wrought by a deficient home life, substandard public school teachers, and the lamentable denizens of the university thought-collective – expressions of a rapidly plummeting culture – has gone too far to be reversed and must be allowed to complete its journey into rubble and scree.  Only then may some degree of restitution and rebuilding become possible and the concept of academic rigor return to its rightful place in the cognitive milieu.

The notion of academic rigor has fallen on evil times.  In a typical instance of continuing epistemic degradation, Donna Riley, of Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, insists that rigor must be eliminated since rigor is a “dirty deed” fraught with “exclusionary implications for marginalized groups and marginalized ways of knowing.”  It matters little, apparently, if our bridges collapse so long as “men of color and women, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, first-generation and low-income students” are welcomed into the new holistic community defined by “other ways of knowing” – whatever these may be.  Similarly, Rochelle Gutierrez, of the University of Illinois, fears that algebra, geometry, and math perpetuate white male privilege and discriminate against minorities.  Indeed, minority under-performance is often disguised as a form of “mismatching” – that is, the fault lies with the institution for being beyond the student’s intellectual means.  Clearly, the dire situation we are in can only deteriorate as the concept of excellence bites the dust and students are deliberately coaxed into pre-planned intellectual darkness.

The precipitous decline in educational quality in North American schools, colleges, and universities has been amply documented in a plethora of articles and books over the last 20 or so years, including my own efforts in such volumes as Education Lost, Lying about the Wolf, and The Turtle Hypodermic of Sickenpods.  One of the places where we can find real “climate change” is the educational establishment, from kindergarten to graduate school, a mind-sphere where heated rhetoric and frozen accomplishment go hand in hand.  The pedagogical and scholarly climate has become almost unlivable.  Like far too many teachers, I have witnessed the debacle from the trenches – as a supply teacher in the high schools, an ESL instructor, a college professor, a visiting lecturer, a guest professor on the international circuit, and a university writer-in-residence.  The scenario never changed.

Here I am especially concerned with university education.  Wherever we may decide to lay the blame for the disaster of abysmal academic achievement – helicopter parents, substandard public school teachers, the self-esteem movement, a culture of entitlement – the dilemma is compounded by the drumming indoctrination of the political left upon the untutored minds of an increasingly lost generation.  As Jack Kerwick correctly states, “[most of] today’s academics, far from being deep, curious thinkers, are in reality joint-members of a thought-collective.”

The current syllabus in the arts, humanities, and social sciences is dedicated not to a consideration of the Western library, traditional subjects, and “the best that has been thought and said,” to quote Matthew Arnold from Culture and Anarchy, but to the grand social struggles that claim the allegiance of radical ideologues who have come to dominate the classroom.  Rigor, of course, is anathema to them.  Their mandate is not to “educate” in the traditional sense of the term, but to conscript and train an army of immature grievance-mongers (snowflakes), shock troops (Antifa), and future leaders of the social Comintern.  They resemble the “reformers” whom the great Greek poet Constantine Cavafy depicts in a wry little poem, “In a Famous Greek Colony, 200 B.C.” (translation mine, some lines conflated):

Whatever the hindrance and the difficulty

these Reformers immediately suggest radical reforms,

demanding that they be implemented without delay.

And when, finally, they finish their work

it will be a miracle if anything survives at all.

As Janice Fiamengo of the University of Ottawa explains in an article for PJ Media, traditional course content is often replaced by non-academic material dealing with race, class, and gender, “specifically a devotion to ‘social justice’ that masquerades as critical analysis[.] … Many professors devote themselves less to teaching their particular disciplines than to decrying the presumed crimes of the United States, sympathizing with Islamic terrorists and other violent dissidents, calling for the overthrow of the capitalist world order, and condoning plans for the destruction of Israel.”  They teach students to sympathize with the “victims” of the day in the noble cause of social equity and to feel “appropriately empowered in grievance or guilty by association.”  And, of course, to conform to their instructor’s causes, prejudices, and partisanship.

Students have also been afflicted with the sanctimonious foolishness of presentism, in which current social and cultural fads, beliefs, and ideologies are superimposed upon the past.  The actions of our predecessors are judged in the light of our own dogmatic assumptions, as if these were perennial – the end point of history – and not merely transitory.  Thus, Shakespeare is regarded as a straight white male patriarch asserting his cultural authority, to be replaced in portrait and curriculum by black radical lesbian Audre Lorde, by any criterion surely one of the worst poets ever to put pen to paper.

To take an example closer to my home, a student-writer denounces Susanna Moodie’s 1852 Roughing It in the Bush for the crime of “othering” – that is, for having “unduly corrupted reader’s [sic] perceptions” of Ontario’s indigenous tribes in the 1830s as “other” rather than equal or superior, as unlettered hunters and gatherers rather than victims of hegemonic white settler oppression.  In the same way, Confederation poet Duncan Campbell Scott, who worked in the federal Department of Indian Affairs and lobbied for the assimilation of the native populations into the social mainstream in order to improve their social and economic prospects, is bitterly condemned as a white supremacist, a racist and an enemy of “social justice.”

To believe that cultures without writing or the wheel or antibiotics or technology or science are equal or superior to a culture that gave us the Magna Carta; developed cures for smallpox and polio; discovered electricity; put a man on the moon; invented the computer; and produced a Homer, Dante, Dostoevsky, Bach, Michelangelo, Newton, and Einstein is, not to put too fine a point on it, the very depths of fatuous imbecility.  But this is the agenda of the academic left: to create a dumbed down, alliterate and illiterate, and politically indoctrinated generation, which had already arrived at the ivory gates incapacitated for disciplined study, intellectual rigor, and scholarly accomplishment.

I suspect that the decline wrought by a deficient home life, substandard public school teachers, and the lamentable denizens of the university thought-collective – expressions of a rapidly plummeting culture – has gone too far to be reversed and must be allowed to complete its journey into rubble and scree.  Only then may some degree of restitution and rebuilding become possible and the concept of academic rigor return to its rightful place in the cognitive milieu.



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A Royal Resurgence in Britain


Perhaps once there was a way to get back homeward in British society and to end the role of the British monarchy.  But royalty and enthusiasm for it are going forward with two developments: the reappearance of a new Fab Four and the award of a knighthood in the 2018 New Year’s Honor List to Richard Starkey, aka Ringo Starr, the most well known, if not the best, drummer in the country, for his “services to music.”  He might, with his emollient behavior, have been rewarded for keeping the peace as well as the beat among his fellow Beatles.

In the midst of a host of problems and uncertainties related to the complex Brexit issue, much of the ascendant mood in the country is focused on interest, even adulation of the activities of members of what constitutes British royalty, not limited to the royal family.  Fifty years ago, in the mid-1960s, four citizens, the Beatles, became immensely internationally popular and received tumultuous welcomes wherever they appeared, in Britain, Madison Square Garden, and Berlin.  Symbolically regarded as the cultural icons of the counterculture, they were heralded as the Fab Four, a nickname coined by their publicist.

The old Fab Four were honored in their heyday when all of them in 1965 were given the Order of the British Empire, MBE.  Yet it is a sign of changes in British society and sensibilities that Ringo, sometimes seen as the least accomplished of the Beatles, should be given a knighthood.  Interestingly, one of his fellow honorees in the 2018 list is Nick Clegg, former member of the European Parliament, the former leader of the Liberal Democratic Party who served 2007-2015 as deputy prime minister in the government of David Cameron, and who ironically opposed Brexit and thought it would be deeply damaging to the economy.

The nickname “Fab Four” has now been accorded by the British media to the new four personalities who are the center of attention: the duke and duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, and Prince Harry and his fiancée, Meghan Markle.  The four had a starring role in the royal family visit on Christmas Day to the church in Sandringham, Norfolk.

There is partial if not parallel symbolism in past and present.  The Fab Four Beatles were working-class boys from Liverpool, with grammar school education, coming from broken homes, who transcended their humble origins to become the world’s most successful music group.  Among their triumphs, they invaded and conquered the U.S. pop market, including The Ed Sullivan show.

American citizens since the nation’s independence owe no allegiance to the British monarch or family, though there are some apparent simulations and imitations, in the case of royal musicians: Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, King Oliver, and Count Basie.

Nevertheless, fairy tales can come true if you’re young at heart or a true believer.  The new British Fab Four now feature Rachel Meghan Markle, the 36-year-old U.S. citizen and actress, who comes from a divorced family in South Central Los Angeles, attended private schools, is herself a divorcée and feminist, and is of mixed race.  Her mother, a social worker, is an African-American.

Meghan identifies as half-black, half-white.  With her life experience, racial ethnic background, life as a divorcée, and strong work ethic, she is akin to the norm of 21st-century Western women.

What is important is that her life story makes her what might be hitherto seen as an improbable figure as the fiancée of a prince, Harry, fifth in line to the British throne.  She appears to have been accepted by the royal family, including the 91-year-old Queen Elizabeth, now in her Sapphire Jubilee.  The extraordinary contrast is with the rejection in Britain in 1937 of the twice divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson as the consort of King Edward VIII.

It is intriguing that Meghan, who descended from Africans enslaved in Georgia, glamorous, sexy, a good actress, was shortlisted as one of five possible Bond girls in the next film.  Since she is retiring from acting, her next soap opera performance will be on May 19, 2018 in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in front of the archbishop of Canterbury and Queen Elizabeth II, not in the blockbuster film with Daniel Craig.

Even fairy tales have problems.  International problems intrude with invitations to the royal wedding on May 19.  The 33-year-old Prince Harry has apparently established cordial relations with former president Barack Obama and indeed interviewed the former president during his guest editorship of the BBC’s Radio 4 Today program on December 27, 2017.  Obama is likely to be invited to the wedding.  The dilemma is whether President Donald Trump, of whom Meghan was critical during the presidential election, will also be invited.  The problem is compounded by differences between Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump.

Whatever the decision on the guest list, royalty in Britain survives, with the monarch the national figurehead, symbolic of the unity of the country, and a family devoted to public events.  Some political figures such as Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn may favor the abolition of the monarchy but do not seek to abolish it.  Despite the difficulties and complexities of Brexit, there is little support in Britain for a republic, and no political party has an official policy favoring one.  Meghan and Ringo are showing the way forward.

Perhaps once there was a way to get back homeward in British society and to end the role of the British monarchy.  But royalty and enthusiasm for it are going forward with two developments: the reappearance of a new Fab Four and the award of a knighthood in the 2018 New Year’s Honor List to Richard Starkey, aka Ringo Starr, the most well known, if not the best, drummer in the country, for his “services to music.”  He might, with his emollient behavior, have been rewarded for keeping the peace as well as the beat among his fellow Beatles.

In the midst of a host of problems and uncertainties related to the complex Brexit issue, much of the ascendant mood in the country is focused on interest, even adulation of the activities of members of what constitutes British royalty, not limited to the royal family.  Fifty years ago, in the mid-1960s, four citizens, the Beatles, became immensely internationally popular and received tumultuous welcomes wherever they appeared, in Britain, Madison Square Garden, and Berlin.  Symbolically regarded as the cultural icons of the counterculture, they were heralded as the Fab Four, a nickname coined by their publicist.

The old Fab Four were honored in their heyday when all of them in 1965 were given the Order of the British Empire, MBE.  Yet it is a sign of changes in British society and sensibilities that Ringo, sometimes seen as the least accomplished of the Beatles, should be given a knighthood.  Interestingly, one of his fellow honorees in the 2018 list is Nick Clegg, former member of the European Parliament, the former leader of the Liberal Democratic Party who served 2007-2015 as deputy prime minister in the government of David Cameron, and who ironically opposed Brexit and thought it would be deeply damaging to the economy.

The nickname “Fab Four” has now been accorded by the British media to the new four personalities who are the center of attention: the duke and duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, and Prince Harry and his fiancée, Meghan Markle.  The four had a starring role in the royal family visit on Christmas Day to the church in Sandringham, Norfolk.

There is partial if not parallel symbolism in past and present.  The Fab Four Beatles were working-class boys from Liverpool, with grammar school education, coming from broken homes, who transcended their humble origins to become the world’s most successful music group.  Among their triumphs, they invaded and conquered the U.S. pop market, including The Ed Sullivan show.

American citizens since the nation’s independence owe no allegiance to the British monarch or family, though there are some apparent simulations and imitations, in the case of royal musicians: Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, King Oliver, and Count Basie.

Nevertheless, fairy tales can come true if you’re young at heart or a true believer.  The new British Fab Four now feature Rachel Meghan Markle, the 36-year-old U.S. citizen and actress, who comes from a divorced family in South Central Los Angeles, attended private schools, is herself a divorcée and feminist, and is of mixed race.  Her mother, a social worker, is an African-American.

Meghan identifies as half-black, half-white.  With her life experience, racial ethnic background, life as a divorcée, and strong work ethic, she is akin to the norm of 21st-century Western women.

What is important is that her life story makes her what might be hitherto seen as an improbable figure as the fiancée of a prince, Harry, fifth in line to the British throne.  She appears to have been accepted by the royal family, including the 91-year-old Queen Elizabeth, now in her Sapphire Jubilee.  The extraordinary contrast is with the rejection in Britain in 1937 of the twice divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson as the consort of King Edward VIII.

It is intriguing that Meghan, who descended from Africans enslaved in Georgia, glamorous, sexy, a good actress, was shortlisted as one of five possible Bond girls in the next film.  Since she is retiring from acting, her next soap opera performance will be on May 19, 2018 in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in front of the archbishop of Canterbury and Queen Elizabeth II, not in the blockbuster film with Daniel Craig.

Even fairy tales have problems.  International problems intrude with invitations to the royal wedding on May 19.  The 33-year-old Prince Harry has apparently established cordial relations with former president Barack Obama and indeed interviewed the former president during his guest editorship of the BBC’s Radio 4 Today program on December 27, 2017.  Obama is likely to be invited to the wedding.  The dilemma is whether President Donald Trump, of whom Meghan was critical during the presidential election, will also be invited.  The problem is compounded by differences between Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump.

Whatever the decision on the guest list, royalty in Britain survives, with the monarch the national figurehead, symbolic of the unity of the country, and a family devoted to public events.  Some political figures such as Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn may favor the abolition of the monarchy but do not seek to abolish it.  Despite the difficulties and complexities of Brexit, there is little support in Britain for a republic, and no political party has an official policy favoring one.  Meghan and Ringo are showing the way forward.



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