Saturday, July 27, 2013

Today's Tune: Glen Campbell - Hey Little One

Glen Campbell's 'See You There' Gives Old Songs New Relevance

By Glenn BurnSilver
July 26, 2013

There's always been a dark edge lurking behind the glittery pop and warm strings of Glen Campbell. Yet, it's taken an unexpected album, culled from a series of time-killing studio outtakes, to reveal this side of Campbell.See You There, coming August 6 on Surfdog Records, takes more than a handful of Campbell's best-loved hits and refashions them into soul-searching, gritty, raw, emotional, and evocative numbers.

"There's more resonance to the songs as he's aged," Kim Campbell, Glen's wife of more than 30 years said during a recent phone interview with Up on the Sun. "He wanted to re-sing them and do them a little more mellow and laid back."

The 77-year-old Campbell's voice has deepened over the years, but that only serves to give these stripped-down songs -- including "Galveston," "Gentle on My Mind," "True Grit," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Rhinestone Cowboy" -- more texture, heartfelt depth, and anguish. Brush away the pop trappings, and the longing and heartache that embodies these songs surfaces.

Campbell cut the new vocal tracks during the sessions for Ghost on the Canvas, his previous release. Between takes for that album, producer Julian Raymond asked Campbell to sing some of his hits, accompanying himself on guitar, and maybe with some other, limited instrumentation.

"Julian wanted to hear Glen sing some of his classic hits. It was more Julian's choice, what Julian was loving at that moment," she recalls. "But Glen loves all his stuff. He's never been one to record a song he didn't like. They were playing around."
But even playing around Campbell gave each song his full attention. The tracks proved powerful enough that Raymond eventually passed a disc of the recordings to Surfdog Records owner Dave Kaplan, who "melted" the instant he heard the opening vocals to "Hey Little One."

"I said, 'this needs to be heard,'" Kaplan tells Up on the Sun by phone from his Encinitas, California headquarters. "When I heard those three words, I thought, honestly, from my heart, this is an absolute no brainer."

"(Kaplan) was so excited that he asked if he could build around the tracks and try to make something special out of them," Campbell says. "We trust him, and we were excited to hear what he could do with them."

Kaplan enlisted longtime collaborator and co-producer Dave Darling and stripped the demos clean everything but Campbell and his guitar. The pair then supplied new instrumentation, including banjo, pedal steel, accordion, banjo and a little fuzz, in reconditioning the masterpieces to be "more artistic and minimalistic."

"When you first listen to them you're so used to the old versions that it takes a little bit to get used to," Campbell adds. "When we heard the finished pieces we were just really happy. Glen had a big smile on his face. He was very pleased."

Kaplan took a few minutes to discuss the process of making See You There (which also includes several holdover tracks from the Ghost on the Canvas sessions), beginning with his introduction to the demos, giving the songs proper respect, and the hair-raising moment he played the completed album for Glen and Kim Campbell.

Up on the Sun: So, Glen sang new vocals for a number of his songs during the Ghost on the Canvas sessions. How did you come to hear these recordings?

Dave Kaplan: Julian (Raymond) just gave me a CD of the recordings. From what I understand, I wasn't in the room, it was like, "Hey Glen, let's do 'Wichita Lineman' with just a few people in the room." So it was a very basic arrangement and it never seemed there was a strategy, it was just something to do. After a couple years there was this collection of songs and he handed me this CD one day.

That must have been exciting.

The first notes I heard was "Hey Little One," and that's why I opened the record with it, so listeners will get the same experience I did. I heard those three words and almost melted into my chair. I said, "this needs to be heard."

The first thing on my mind, like anyone else's, was why would you do these songs again, they are masterpieces? "Wichita Lineman," "Galveston," "Phoenix..." why would you do it? And, is the intention just to put out another Glen Campbell record because of the sad reality of his inability to keep doing this much longer. Of course, that was resonating: This better have supreme justification.

So when I heard those three words, I thought, honestly, from my heart, this is an absolute no brainer. It was stunningly otherworldly. It was that good. It was very emotional, haunting, uplifting, exciting and sad all at the same time because of what we know about Glen and the brilliance of that voice. I've been doing this a long time, almost 30 years, and I don't know what it is about a voice, it either speaks to your soul or not. And this is one of the one's in all recorded history that does it the best.

Glen's voice on these songs still sounds commanding and rich.

I asked Julian if I could take this collection and do something that respects these vocals, almost trying to stay out of the way and not go near the original approaches -- you're not going to make them better.

How do we respect these vocals and make them deserved to be heard again; make it authentic and artistic, but not a commercial mission? Make it so that on the day I take these to Glen and Kim at their house there's a little hair rising on their arms, a little choke back tears, because it's such a moving record?

We took a year with many, many, many, many, many different approaches. I don't know how many times we tried "Rhinestone Cowboy" until we figured out to take everything away -- everything, and put a guitar in. When we heard that, it was, "Oh my God, that's it."

That song in particular it struck me as being so different from the original. The whole pop-hit aspect was gone and now we're getting the core of the song, which is really an aching, painful song on the inside.

I'm glad you say that because, to be honest, I had no idea that's what we were going for. We just keep trying it and it kept sounding like exactly what I was not going to let happen. We weren't just going to put "Rhinestone Cowboy" on the record because it needs to be on the record. I wasn't going to do it.

This record was already mastered with a different version of the song, but I kept thinking, this ain't going to happen. In my gut it just wasn't right. I so frustrated my partner in this, David Darling, because it just couldn't go out like that. But when we tried (the current version) it shocked the crap out of me.

All of a sudden it was like there was a darkness to "Rhinestone Cowboy." Whoever thought you could make that statement? There was loneliness and darkness and you couldn't picture Glen on that beautiful horse; that good-looking guy in the cowboy hat with the white smile. That's not what it was about anymore.

And we can't help but know that behind the story there is a 77-year-old legend who was so bold and courageous to come out with a public illness and that's obviously a subtext to everything about Glen now, which makes us really sad. But when you have something like this, it honors the man.

And he liked it?

One of the most nervous moments, and one of the best moments of my music career was the first 30 seconds of hitting play when we finally had this ready to present to Kim and Glen and seeing the smile on his face.

You started with vocal tracks Glen had previously recorded. Did Glen come in and touch anything up, and was everything else the work of other musicians brought in to play around the vocals?

This had, I'm proud to say, nothing redone. A lot of the guitar is Glen's on there. There's some of the old Glen guitar because he sang as he played them in the studio. There's Glen guitar and Glen vocals, but ... I asked Julian if I could strip away everything that wasn't Glen, and put around it a more artistic and minimalistic approach from what he gave me.

The first time I listened to the album, I was stunned and listened to it several times. It made me think of the Johnny Cash American Recordings, only rather an album of songs stripped bare and brutal, the fresh instrumentation balances the raw emotion enough that it really captures Glen's strength, but also the original essence of each classic song.

It's meaningful for me to hear you say that. There's a lot of burden on the shoulders of that man and his whole family. If you look at all the things we've done (including the American Treasure box set), we try to honor him. I have no idea if this will go anywhere or get on the radio, but to get a (positive) reaction makes it all worthwhile. We hope it goes the right way; there's a big risk.

But I'm telling you, when I heard the words "Hey," "Little" and "One" come out of that man's voice, I was determined to make this record.

Glen Campbell - See You There Track Listing. (Listen to "Hey Little One.")

1. Hey Little One
2. Wichita Lineman
3. Gentle On My Mind
4. I Wish You Were Here
5. Waiting on the Comin' of My Lord
6. What I Wouldn't Give
7. Galveston
8. By the Time I Get to Phoenix
9. There's No Me...Without You
10. True Grit
11. Rhinestone Cowboy
12. Waiting on the Comin' of My Lord feat. Jose Hernandez & Mariachi Del Sol De Mexico

‘The Conjuring’ depicts family’s reported haunting in Burrillville farmhouse in ’70s

Journal Staff Writer
July 17, 2013

The Conjuring in Burrilliville, then and now.

Frieda Squires/The Providence Journal
July 17, 2013: Andrea Perron, author of The House of Darkness, at the Jesse Smith Memorial Library, Harrisville, for a book signing. The haunted house she grew up in has been made into a movie, "The Conjuring" which opens nationally this Friday.

Shortly after Roger and Carolyn Perron moved their family into an 18th-century farmhouse in Burrillville in 1971, they said, demonic spirits began to haunt them.
“Mrs. Perron said she awoke before dawn one morning to find an apparition by her bed: the head of an old woman hanging off to one side over an old gray dress,” reads an August 1977 story in The Providence Journal. “There was a voice reverberating, ‘Get out. Get out. I’ll drive you out with death and gloom.’ ”
An orange oozed blood. Doors slammed shut or would not shut. A young voice cried, “Mama. Maaama.”
And that was just the start of a series of incidents that culminated in an investigation by ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren — an episode that inspired the new movie “The Conjuring,” which opens in Rhode Island on Friday.
There are still things that Andrea Perron, who grew up in the house, will not talk about.
“Let’s just say, there was a very bad male spirit and five little girls,” she said by phone from her home outside Atlanta, where she lives with her mother and one sister.
“Oh boy, that was something else, that Harrisville case,” Lorraine Warren, now 86, said this week from Los Angeles, where she attended the movie’s national premiere. “It was a very, very negative case. There were small children in that house.”
The Perron family moved into the 14-room farmhouse in Burrillville’s Harrisville section with their five daughters in 1971. Andrea, the eldest, was 12 at the time.
She said the haunting started as soon as the family moved in and seemed to be particularly focused on her mother.
“The most difficult thing was that we did not understand it,” said Carolyn Perron, 74, from Atlanta.
“Some elements of the film are very accurate and some are fiction,” said Andrea Perron, noting both she and Mrs. Warren had handed over all their files and writings.
In the movie, Carolyn seeks the help of the Warrens. But Andrea said the Warrens were brought in by a paranormal group in Rhode Island and one day just arrived at the front door.
“Mrs. Warren came into the house knowing nothing,” Andrea said, But, she added, “She stepped into the kitchen and said, ‘I feel a dark presence, and her name is Bathsheba.’ ”
The Warrens later concluded the Harrisville house was haunted by Bathsheba Sherman, who had lived there in the early 19th century. She had been a practicing Satanist, according to the Warrens’ account in The Journal, “who had murdered her young daughter as a sacrifice to Lucifer. So that she might remain on the premises to haunt the house for ever more, the woman followed established black rituals and took her own life. She hanged herself — hence her apparition to Mrs. Perron, according to the Warrens.”
She had also cursed anyone who subsequently lived on the property. The Warrens told The Journal there had been many tragedies over the years, including suicides, accidents and drownings.
The Warrens were to subsequently gain fame for their investigation of the Amityville Horror. That case — the subject of a 1977 book and a film two years later that starred James Brolin, Margot Kidder and Rod Steiger — involved the haunting of a house on Long Island where six members of one family were shot to death in late 1974.
Mrs. Warren said last week that one of her biggest concerns about the Harrisville haunting was the family’s lack of religious faith. “At that particular time, the people did not have religion,” she said. “It was very dangerous.”
She said that at one point she looked into a corner and saw “the most grotesque thing I have ever seen in my life.” She said she had called out for it to “go away in the name of God.”
“It was awful, honey,” she said. “You only have your faith as your protection. I always had my faith. God protecting me allowed me to do this.”
The haunting culminated in a terrifying night during which Carolyn Perron was possessed by Bathsheba.
“We were not prepared for what happened that night,” said Andrea Perron, noting that the Warrens had arrived for an intercession with “a caravan” of people, including “a priest, a medium and technical people.”
She said it was “not technically an exorcism,” but that she and her sister Cindy were hiding and “saw everything that happened, the power of evil in this life.”
“The only time I was truly terrified in that house was the night I thought I saw my mother die,” she said. “She spoke in a voice we had never heard before,” and “a power not of this world threw her 20 feet into another room.”
Carolyn Perron described the events that night as “dreadful,” and added that “the Warrens tried to help, but we essentially found things got worse around them.” Andrea Perron said her father was so upset by the events of that night that he asked the Warrens to leave.
“She was possessed,” Roger Perron, now 77, recalled Wednesday by phone. “… Her entire body was distorted. … And it lasted several hours, until they de-demonized her.
“And then I threw them out.”
Although the movie portrays the events of that night as ending the haunting, the Perrons recall several more years of learning to live with as many as nine spirits.
“Eventually,” Mrs. Perron said, “the family accepted the fact that we were not living there alone.”
Ed Warren died in 2006, but his widow said she is still active investigating paranormal cases. She also runs the private Occult Museum in the back of her house in Monroe, Conn., with the help of her son-in-law, Tony Spera.
Now 54, Andrea has since self-published two volumes of a trilogy about the hauntings, “House of Darkness, House of Light.”
And now there is the movie. “The Conjuring,” a Warner Bros. film shot in North Carolina, stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren, and Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor as Roger and Carolyn Perron. Andrea Perron is played by Shanley Caswell.
“The cast is perfect,” said Andrea Perron. “The children resemble us as children and have our personalities as children,” she said, adding that that while Lili Taylor does not look like her mother, Taylor’s acting skills captured her mother’s personality.
And, she said, director James Wan captured “the essence of what we went through.”
The publicity surrounding the movie makes it “a very exciting, nerve-wracking experience,” said Andrea Perron.
The movie is rated R, she noted, but “there’s nothing gratuitous, no violence, no sex, no bad language.
“It’s just too scary.”
For more information, go to

Lorraine Warren: 'ghosthunter' extraordinaire


Lorraine Warren at home in Connecticut
Lorraine Warren at home in Connecticut Photo: MARK MAHANEY
A clapboard house in a quaint Connecticut town is not where you’d expect to find a 7ft satanic icon.
But in the low-ceilinged basement of this otherwise unremarkable home is a fierce array of unholy artefacts: human skulls, African fertility figurines, even a demonic doll, Annabel.
The last miscreant to touch Annabel was, apparently, dead within hours, having lost control of his motorbike and careered into an oncoming lorry.
This is the Occult Museum, Ed and Lorraine Warren’s private collection of macabre relics gathered from thousands of haunted locations. For decades the Warrens were the most celebrated 'ghosthunters’ in America, investigating more than 3,000 cases of possessions, poltergeists and hauntings.
'People called us in to work out if what was going on in their homes was real, or if it was just in their heads, or other people making up stories,’ Lorraine, now 86, tells me over tea and ginger biscuits on her sunny veranda.
The Warrens would verify the phenomena and establish their cause – perhaps a grisly killing had happened on the site, leaving behind unhappy souls. Then they would rid the premises – or, in possession cases, the people – of the supernatural presence.
If it all sounds like the rather preposterous plot of a horror flick, well, in a way, it is. The Conjuring, starring the Oscar-nominated actress Vera Farmiga as Lorraine and Patrick Wilson as Ed, is in cinemas next month.
It tells the story of the Perron family, who were plagued by dark forces in their home in Harrisburg, Rhode Island. The Warrens have called it their most intense and disturbing investigation.
'A lot of [the film] is very accurate,’ Lorraine says, sipping her tea. She is smartly dressed in navy trousers and jumper, with a lemon chiffon scarf around her neck. She seems remarkably unfazed by being the subject of a big-budget Hollywood film.
'There’s a little artistic licence – for example, the staircase never exploded – but much of it is true.’
The Warren family home is a benign but scarcely less eccentric answer to the basement beneath it. Every inch of flat surface is festooned with candlesticks, photographs and china creatures.
'Annabel' in her glass case at The Occult Museum in the basement of Lorraine Warren’s house (left); with her husband Ed in the 1970s (right)
There are living creatures too: five cats, a terrier, a corgi, two enormous, heavily feathered and highly vocal roosters and a hen – all of which live indoors with Lorraine.
Ed died in 2006. 'I’ve always had lots of animals, especially birds. I treat them as friends, because they are,’ she tells me fondly, as Einstein the rooster lets rip with an enthusiastic crow.
The Warrens were well known by the time the Perrons contacted them; they had worked on the notorious Amityville case. In the mid-1970s America was electrified by the travails of the young Lutz family in New York.
The Lutzes were aware that Ronald DeFeo Jr had shot and killed six members of his own family in their Long Island home a year earlier, but later said they weren’t bothered by it when they moved in.
But then swarms of black flies appeared in the dead of winter, objects catapulted themselves across the room and unexplained bite marks appeared on the family’s bodies. The mother, Kathy, levitated and took on the appearance of a 90-year-old hag.
The Warrens were invited into the home by a television producer who had been working at the property with several other parapsychologists since the Lutzes had fled. Ed said he suffered heart palpitations for weeks after visiting the house.
Somewhat improbably, the Warrens had made their name investigating a haunting at the Westpoint military academy in 1972. Despite the best efforts of the academy’s top brass, details of the case were leaked and the Warrens found fame.
Soon, they were travelling the world – at the invitation of clergy, home-owners and institutions – to investigate hauntings and give lectures. They inspected Whitby Abbey, Stonehenge and Borley Rectory in Essex, reputedly the most haunted house in England.
The Warrens never charged for their services, making a modest living from their speaking engagements and from the sale of Ed’s paintings.
The couple had been working since the 1940s but Gerald Daniel Brittle, the author of The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren, believes that the alternative lifestyles of the 1970s brought with them a renewed interest in the occult.
There was a dramatic upswing in reports of spirit phenomena throughout the decade. Stories such as The Exorcist – not to mention The Amityville Horror – became bestselling books and blockbuster films.
Be that as it may, Lorraine firmly believes that her clairvoyant and psychic abilities are a 'gift’ from God. 'I think God had to have given it to me,’ she says.
Her belief in the existence of evil, demons and possession is tied up with her Catholic faith. She tells me that sometimes prayers and a rosary would be enough to 'neutralise’ the spirits.
'You could try to command them, in the name of Jesus Christ, to go back to where they came from. But sometimes they would fight back,’ she says.
For a more stubborn spirit, the Warrens would call in the clergy to perform an exorcism. 'We had one bishop who was really supportive and helpful. But there are very few exorcists around these days.’ If a priest was not available, Ed himself would sometimes perform the rituals.
Artefacts collected from Lorraine's ghostbusting career
Lorraine grew up the eldest of three children in Milford, Connecticut, in a middle-class family. At the private Catholic girls’ school she attended she began to see 'lights around people’ when she was about 12.
'I confided in one of the nuns, my French teacher,’ she recalls. 'I told her that her lights were much brighter than Mother Superior’s. I just assumed others could see them too.’
The sister told her to stop being so fanciful, and the school packed her off to a retreat home for a weekend, where she was not allowed to talk or play – only pray.
'After the retreat home, I was worried what my parents would think, and what the nuns would think. I never wanted to be different, I always wanted to fit in,’ she insists. 'So I tried to deny what I could see, even to myself.’
Ed, meanwhile, grew up nearby in the city of Bridgeport in what sounds like a less happy home. His mother was often absent – Lorraine’s son-in-law, Tony Spera (who is present during our interview), suggests alcohol may have been to blame.
His father was a policeman who often worked night shifts, leaving Ed alone.
'There would be footsteps, strange knockings, and Ed and his sister would hear what sounded like their grandfather’s cane walking up the stairs, long after he was dead,’ Lorraine tells me. It left Ed with a lifelong obsession with haunted houses.
The couple met when they were both 16 and Ed was a cinema usher. 'I looked at his shoes, which were shined to perfection, and I looked at the crease of his trousers, and I thought what a nice young man he was,’ says Lorraine.
Ed joined the navy during the Second World War, and they married at 17, while he was on leave. After the war, Ed would read news stories of hauntings around the country.
An amateur artist, he would paint the houses in the reports and use his artworks to introduce himself to the inhabitants. 'He wanted to see if the same things he had seen and heard were happening to other people,’ Lorraine explains.
Ed applied policing methods gleaned from his father in his paranormal investigations, asking questions and taking notes. Lorraine worked entirely on instinct. 'Everything came naturally to me,’ she says.
'I would get them to let me go round the house on my own, without any prior knowledge of what they had experienced, to see what I discerned. And I would sit on the bed – where people spend a third of their life, that’s where you get the best vibrations – and names and visions would come to me,’ she says.
Was she ever frightened? 'I have been thrown up in the air by the power of a demonic spirit,’ she says. 'And it’s not easy to go back to your work after that. But you have to.’ She shrugs.
'I won’t say it didn’t bother me, though. And it was a difficult shift to come back to our home afterwards and put a case behind us. I would take off all my clothes I had been wearing to do the work in and wash them immediately. And we would never tell Judy anything that went on, of course.’
The Warren’s only child, now 67 and a bank clerk, Judy has inherited her mother’s abilities, according to Spera. He talks of his in-laws in awed tones. 'Lorraine and Ed were the pioneers, the trail-blazers,’ he says. Judy, he adds, 'is psychic, but hasn’t fully developed it. She was rather put off by what her parents did, and doesn’t like having a lot to do with all this.’
Spera runs the Warrenology tours: for $109 (including dinner with Lorraine) one can spend an evening taking in the Occult Museum, the local graveyard and old footage of the Warrens apparently performing an exorcism on a local farmer.
According to Ed’s accounts in The Demonologist, he witnessed people levitate during exorcisms, watched them vomit gallons of putrid substances, and saw bodies swell to twice their size.
Spera plays me the well-worn video of the farmer’s exorcism. Although there are some strange elements – most notably, the man does not blink in the final three minutes of footage – it is disappointingly undramatic; there is certainly no levitating or spewing of bile.
A scene from the forthcoming film The Conjuring, which is based on a case investigated by the Warrens
Though Spera keeps a running commentary on what I am apparently observing – the farmer supposedly spitting drops of blood and speaking backwards in Latin, and barely distinguishable crosses appearing under his skin – I am less than convinced.
Ray Garton, a horror novelist who collaborated with the Warrens on a book, has been a longtime critic of the couple. 'Everyone has the impression of the Warrens as your favourite kooky aunt and uncle – I did when I first me them. That fell apart fast,’ he says.
Together they wrote about a haunting in Southington, Connecticut. In the late 1980s the Snedeker family moved into a former funeral home and began reporting supernatural phenomena: water in a mop bucket would turn blood-red and women in the family were sexually assaulted by unseen forces.
The Warrens divined that the funeral workers had engaged in necrophilia, angering the spirits. But when Garton interviewed the Snedekers their stories constantly changed and were contradictory.
He informed Ed, he tells me, and 'Ed said, “Well, these people are crazy. All the people who come to us are crazy. It’s always hard to get a story out of them, so use what you can, then make the rest up.”’
Garton asked his publisher that the resulting book, In a Dark Place, be sold as fiction – a request that was denied.
Lorraine is unconcerned when I put this to her. 'My husband was brilliant at his work,’ she says, simply. 'And he never felt he could be put down by people who didn’t believe in it.’
The Amityville case has also long been rumoured to be a hoax. In 1979 DeFeo’s lawyer, William Weber, claimed that he, the Lutz family and The Amityville Horror’s author, Jay Anson, invented the story 'over many bottles of wine’.
Lorraine flatly rejects this: 'So many people don’t have any faith at all and they don’t want to believe in things that might harm them.’
Although she is growing frail, Lorraine still occasionally agrees to investigate a haunting. 'But it was incredibly difficult to carry on working after Ed died. We were such a team,’ she says.
A few years ago Jim Anziano, a retired Catholic priest, moved into the Warren home, and now helps manage the tours. As I leave, I overhear him telling Lorraine that a satanic bible, which had been missing from the museum, has suddenly reappeared.
'Well, what do you make of it, Father?’ Lorraine asks. 'Something supernatural?’ he posits. 'Or perhaps someone just put it back.’
'The Conjuring’ is out on 2 August

Friday, July 26, 2013

Why Won't the Media Cover Huma Abedin's Ties to Global Jihad Movement?

By Diana West
July 25, 2013

Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton

Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton

Nationalized health care was one of the first programs enacted by the Bolsheviks after they seized power in 1917. Nearly a century later, the U.S. enacted “Obamacare.”

Who won the Cold War again? This is one of the questions I work over in my new book, “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character” (St. Martin’s Press). Can we realistically claim liberty and free markets triumphed over collectivism when today there is only a thin Senate line trying to fend off Obamacare’s totalitarian intrusions into citizens’ lives? We see perhaps a dozen or so patriots led by conservative ace Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, gallantly mustering forces to defund further enforcement of this government behemoth aborning. (Call your senators and ask them to join – or tell you why they didn’t at the next town hall.) How can we maintain that the republic endured when a centralized super-state has taken its place?

So, once more, who really won the Cold War? The question is better framed when we realize that the battleground where the Free World met Marx was also psychological. Consciously or not, we struggled against an insidious Marxist ideology that was always, at root, an assault on our nation’s character.

The most recent manifestation of victory over the American character shows through the Anthony Weiner-Huma Abedin scandal. This scandal is a paradoxical double whammy of both exposure and cover-up.

Everyone knows (too much) about the exposure part: Anthony Weiner, candidate for mayor of New York City, turns out to be a recidivist pervert. The fatuous conversation that has followed this “news” has turned on the decision of Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, to step forward to try to salvage her husband’s bid for public office. The Wall Street Journal’s response to Abedin’s decision was typical: “Watching the elegant Huma Abedin stand next to her man Tuesday as he explained his latest sexually charged online exchanges was painful for a normal human being to watch.”

The media want to know why the “elegant Huma” – Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide and former deputy chief of staff – would do such an inelegant thing. Was this couple’s therapy writ large? Was it for their child? Was it … love?

True, the barbs of Huma’s ambition – as naked as her husband’s dirty pics – have broken through the gauzy chatter. But cut off from context, they, too, end up perpetuating what is, in fact, the great Huma Abedin cover-up.

It is not enough to analyze Huma Abedin as a “political wife.” Abedin is also a veritable Muslim Brotherhood princess. As such, the ideological implications of her actions – plus her long and privileged access to U.S. policy-making through Hillary Clinton – must be considered, particularly in the context of national security.

But talk about paradoxes. In an era when the most minute and lurid descriptions of her husband’s anatomical and sexual details are common talk, Huma Abedin’s familial and professional connections to the world of jihad are unspeakable.

In a nutshell – quoting former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy writing at National Review this week – Huma Abedin “worked for many years at a journal that promotes Islamic supremacist ideology that was founded by a top al-Qaida financier, Abdullah Omar Naseef.” That would be for at least seven years (1996-2003), by the way, during which Abedin also worked for Hillary Clinton.

Let this sink in for just a moment. The journal Huma worked for – which promotes Islamic supremacism and was founded by al-Qaida financer Naseef, who also headed the Muslim World League, a leading Muslim Brotherhood organization – is called the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. It was edited first by Huma’s father, Syed Abedin, and now by her mother, Saleha Abedin. Saleha is a member of the Muslim Sisterhood. Mother Abedin also directs an organization (the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child) that comes under the umbrella of the Union for Good, another U.S.-designated terrorist organization. As McCarthy reminds us, “the Union for Good is led by Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi, the notorious Muslim Brotherhood jurist who has issued fatwas calling for the killing of American military and support personnel in Iraq as well as suicide bombings in Israel.”

Given these alarming professional and family associations, it is hard to imagine how Huma Abedin ever received the security clearance necessary to work closely with the secretary of state. But she did, and from her powerful post, she undoubtedly exerted influence over U.S. policy-making. (In his National Review piece, McCarthy lists specific actions that bespeak a shift in U.S. foreign policy to favor the Muslim Brotherhood.)

Isn’t the Abedin-Clinton national security story at least as newsworthy as Weiner’s private parts?

At this point, only McCarthy’s National Review piece reprises these well-documented facts. In other words, it is not only CNN and the New York Times that draw blanks for their readers. Most “conservative” outlets, including Fox News, the New York Post, The Blaze, and Rush Limbaugh, are ignoring this story, too.

If the Abedin-Muslim Brotherhood story rings any bells, it is probably because of Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Last summer, Bachmann, along with four other House Republicans, raised the issue of Huma Abedin among other examples of possible Muslim Brotherhood penetration of the federal policy-making chain. They asked inspectors general at five departments, including the State Department, to investigate their concerns, but nothing happened – nothing, that is, except that Bachmann was crucified, by Democrats and Republicans alike for asking urgently important questions about national security.

This made the entire subject, already taboo, positively radioactive – with Huma Abedin becoming the poster victim of this supposed “McCarthyism” redux. End of story. Never mind facts. Never mind also that in his day, Sen. Joseph McCarthy was asking urgently important questions about national security, too.

But don’t worry. We “won” the Cold War. Obamacare, here we come. At this rate, we’ll declare “victory” in the so-called war on terror and, before you know it, become a leading outpost of the caliphate.

The Graffiti on the Wall

By Mark Steyn

National Review's Happy Warrior
July 23, 2013

Timing is everything, even in apocalyptic doom-mongering. When my book America Alone came out in 2006, the conventional wisdom was that its argument about Europe's demographic death spiral was "alarmist" (The Economist). Seven years on, it's so non-alarmist that even the Washington Post is running stories about the Continent's "plummeting" birth rates. The Post's focus was on a small corner of the Portuguese interior, wherein their reporter met Maria Jesus Rodrigues, 87, who recently moved into the old folks' home from her nearby village. The youngest resident is 57. Not in the old folks' home, but in the village. That's to say, the entire parish qualifies for membership in the AARP, which regards you as a potentially "retired person" from the age of 50.

"Retirement" is an invention of the 20th century, and will not long outlive it. When everyone's a senior, nobody is — because, if there are no young people around to pave the roads, police the streets, weed your garden, fix your roof, give you a bed bath, and change your feeding tube, you're going to have to do it yourself. In The Children of Men, P. D. James's dystopian novel of a world turned mysteriously barren, the roads are potholed and broken, and the buildings crumbling, for want of a sufficiently able-bodied population to maintain them. By 2021, the year Lady James's story is set in, much of inland Portugal will be approaching the same condition — not through biological affliction, but through a kind of silent mass consensus that this is no longer a world worth bringing children into. "A country without children is a nation without a future," warned Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Portugal's president, in 2007, since when the fertility rate has nosedived. Why would you have a kid in Portugal? The country's youth-unemployment rate is over 40 percent. In Spain it's 57 percent, and in Greece just shy of 63 percent.
I don't know the rest of the country terribly well, but I love Lisbon, and I love returning there. There is something about the jacarandas in bloom that always reminds me of a brief youthful fling long ago.
Because I was young, and she was young and lovely, I find it sad to think of Portugal as a geriatric ward with insufficient "carers" to change the bedpans. Today, Lisbon remains an architecturally splendid city — a beautiful museum, as one Commonwealth foreign minister described it to me after a flying visit. But the buildings are defaced from top to toe with graffiti, which the stylish Portuguese ladies bustling through the upmarket boutiques no longer even notice. Even as a beautiful museum, Lisbon is already decaying. "The writing on the wall" is from Belshazzar's feast, but who knows his Bible in post-Christian Europe? So, even when the writing is all over every wall, nobody sees it.

Once upon a time, Portugal was an empire that reached as far as Brazil. Now the empire is a backwater, and soon it will be a graveyard, and then an untended graveyard. I wrote in these pages four years ago that this was the first demographic recession, a valse macabre between economic sclerosis and population decline. Eurostat, the European Commission's official statistics agency, is now singing the same mournful dirge: In May, they released a report titled "Towards a 'Baby Recession' in Europe?" By 2011, the fertility rate had fallen in two dozen countries, and in none is it at replacement rate.

The Eurostat report makes much of the difference between fertility rates varying from 2.05 in Ireland to 1.2 in Romania. But the easiest way to get the picture is to take a map of the Continent and draw a diagonal line from northeast to southwest. In northern and western Europe, obstetrics is still just about a viable profession; in eastern and southern Europe, the maternity wards are out of business. One can speculate about the reasons for this difference: The Left argues that it's because of a more generous social safety net in the northwest than in the Mediterranean states and the recovering Soviet satellites. On the other hand, it's obvious that Denmark, Belgium, France, and Britain's healthier fertility rates owe something to the fecund Muslim populations they've attracted. A united Germany has a foot in both camps, being both prosperous with generous maternity benefits and a large Muslim population, and well down the demographic death spiral.

Setting Islam to one side, there is a horrible enfeebling fatalism on both sides of that demographic line. As I wrote in my "alarmist" book seven years ago, the future belongs to those who show up for it, and the nations that built the modern world — which is to say the last half-millennium of human history — have collectively checked in to one of those Swiss euthanasia clinics. In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt spoke to the National Congress of Mothers about the citizen who consciously forgoes "the blessings of children": "Why," he declared, "such a creature merits contempt as hearty as any visited upon the soldier who runs away in battle, or upon the man who refuses to work for the support of those dependent upon him, and who though able-bodied is yet content to eat in idleness the bread which others provide."

Today, millions of able-bodied citizens are content to eat in idleness the bread provided by others, and it is a long time since Europeans were called on to fight any battle. But a society that has nothing to die for has nothing to live for. Only the Portuguese can change the destination they're headed to: have a kid, have two or three, and vote for the possibility of a future.

Today's Tune: Reckless Kelly - Wicked Twisted Road (Live)

Mann vs. Steyn: Heresy Shall Be Crushed

By Daren Jonescu
July 26, 2013

Michael Mann

Remember when scientists and other truth-seekers used to get all riled up about the way the Catholic Church treated Galileo? The outcry was not over the fact that Galileo was a "peer-reviewed" researcher, and therefore beyond question. Quite the contrary: the argument was that, from the point of view of the quest for truth, no one, including the representatives of official orthodoxy and authority, ought to be regarded as beyond question. In the Michael Mann lawsuit against Mark Steyn and National Review, it is the "award-winning researcher" who is joining the fight for Church orthodoxy, while the defendants are the persecuted Galileos.

Mann, of course, is the creator of the famous "hockey stick graph" that has been employed doggedly throughout the doctrinaire climate science community and the mainstream media as proof that the Earth has shown a marked and unprecedented increase in global mean temperature during the brief period of industrial society's extreme CO2 production, which increase is consequently cited as proof that man's industrial activity is causing the temperature rise. Let us leave aside the climate religion's little logical problem, namely the contradiction between (a) its complete dependence on the premise that rising CO2 levels can and do have an immediate and substantial effect on global temperature, and (b) its attempts to dismiss the significance of the fact that global temperature has not increased significantly since 1995 while CO2 emissions have continued to rise, on the grounds that this is supposedly too short a period to prove anything.

The concern in this context is not so much the truth or falsity of the global warming theory, but the implications of this lawsuit, and its social importance, should Mann actually win.
Steyn, along with many researchers on whom he has leaned in developing his critique, have questioned both the methods and the conclusions of the research which led to Mann's hockey stick graph. In particular, there has been a good deal of concern over the possibility that Mann cherry-picked his Siberian tree ring samples in order to present the strongest data in support of his anthropogenic global warming conclusion, by discarding the samples which would have muddied the (desired?) statistical result. Then there was the infamous "hide the decline" e-mail scandal involving Mann's British colleague Phil Jones of East Anglia University. Both Jones and Mann were investigated and exonerated -- by their own respective universities, which have built much of their recent prestige and global influence on the global warming research industry led by Mann and Jones.

Now a U.S. district court judge has joined the academic employers and ideological beneficiaries of the famed global warming scientists in rejecting out of hand any suggestion that Mann might have engaged in questionable research practices. In her denial of the defendants' request for dismissal of the case, Judge Natalia M. Combs Greene draws a line between harsh opinions expressed independently of factual claims (acceptable speech), and harsh opinions expressed on the basis of false factual claims (unacceptable speech). Hence, Steyn's and NRO's accusations that Mann's hockey stick graph is "fraudulent" and "intellectually bogus" are, the judge concludes, unacceptable expressions of opinion, as they claim to be based upon facts (the e-mails and information about the tree ring samples, for example), whereas:
[A]ssertions of fraud "rely on facts which are provably false" particularly in light of the fact that Plaintiff [Mann] has been investigated by several bodies (including the EPA) and determined that Plaintiff's research and conclusions are sound and not based on misleading information. (p. 15)
Aside from the fact that the passage, like many in Judge Combs Greene's discussion, is a grammatical nightmare -- due to the slip "and determined," she literally says that "Plaintiff has determined that Plaintiff's research is sound" -- notice that she singles out the EPA as a particularly reputable independent investigator in defense of Mann's research. Given that the EPA is a federal agency led by appointees of a U.S. administration thoroughly invested in the climate change narrative, and currently moving to take drastic economic steps on the issue through the agency of the EPA itself, and that the EPA's own website declares its adherence to the climate change science and has made climate change-based regulation and activism its primary mission for the coming years, the judge's particular reliance on the EPA's judgment of Mann as evidence against the defendants' harsh criticisms reveals the court's disingenuousness and/or complete confusion about the nature of the public debate on this issue.

Mann has taken his critics to court -- all of them, in effect, with Steyn and NRO as stand-ins -- for saying his research is fraudulent and bogus. The court has upheld the legitimacy of his suit by citing the support of his research by precisely the organizations with the greatest vested interest in his vindication -- including government agencies deeply involved in climate change advocacy (EPA and NOAA), and a public university. The message: the State is on board with Mr. Mann, and has had enough of his work being challenged.

There has been much discussion of late of the use of the IRS, the DHS, and potentially the NSA, to thwart and intimidate opponents of the progressive agenda. The concern is not only that such uses of government agencies and resources are unjust in themselves, but that they will -- and are intended to -- have a "cooling effect" (if we're still allowed to talk about "cooling") on opponents and critics of government policy. Mann's lawsuit and the judge's rejection of the defendants' move for dismissal are further evidence of the use of state authority to intimidate and silence private criticism, i.e., to put the squeeze on the unreserved pursuit of controversial but legitimate free speech.

Again bringing to bear the weight of the predictable judgment of Mann's supporters and beneficiaries, the judge argues:
Having been investigated by almost one dozen bodies due to accusations of fraud, and none of those accusations [she means "investigations"] having found Plaintiff's work to be fraudulent, it must be concluded that the accusations are provably false. Reference to Plaintiff, as a fraud is a misstatement of fact. The NR defendants' reference to Plaintiff as "the man behind the fraudulent climate-change 'hockey stick' graph" is arguably [she means provably] a misstatement of fact (the evidence indicates otherwise as Plaintiff's work has been found to be sound). (p. 19)
The official supporters of global warming theory, who have used Mann's hockey stick graph as a chief support beam in their edifice of anti-freedom policy advocacy, national sovereignty circumvention, and a rich cottage industry of academic grants, university specializations, and career-boosting publication records, have all "looked at the evidence" and concluded that Mann conducted his research in the purest spirit of good science. Therefore, anyone who suggests, however hyperbolically, that his work does not meet the standards of good science, is out of line, and deserves legal retribution.

The lesson here: the Church condemned Galileo, or any scientist who seemed to contradict Church doctrine, because they were afraid of the public challenge -- i.e. afraid official doctrine could not withstand the presence of an alternative position. Mann's lawsuit might suggest a similar discomfort on the part of the supporters of the unraveling "science" of anthropogenic global warming/cooling/climate change. Governments throughout the world (the "Church" in this case) are taking active steps to undermine human freedom and to eliminate property rights in the name of a scientific position that is rife with alarmists working under the auspices of scholarly research, and models and predictions that are daily being contradicted by facts.

Hundreds of scholars like Michael Mann and Phil Jones, in the face of legitimate challenges to their theories, not just by men but by reality, have chosen to circle the wagons, to obfuscate and deny all problems with their proposals. Furthermore, knowing that their theories are being used to buttress political action of a most undemocratic and questionable sort, they have said nothing to dilute the fervor with which their ideas and models are trumpeted as rationalizations for tyranny.

In response, some critics and skeptics (this one included) have taken to portraying some of the global warming theorists themselves in an unflattering light; tangible losses of liberty tend to cause men to question the integrity of those who are providing the intellectual support for the practical degradations they are facing. This personal side of the anti-climate change argument is therefore perhaps unavoidable. For the representatives of the government-approved status quo on this issue to brand these personal criticisms as "provably false," and to allow a defamation lawsuit to proceed against those who make them, seems to fall within the standard contemporary rubric of today's progressive assault on humanity. Heretics will be condemned; beware all ye who would question the Church.

For all the progressive outcry in defense of Mann, his defenders (including, apparently, Judge Combs Greene) seem to have no problem with the smear of all who question the climate change pseudo-orthodoxy as "flat-earthers," "anti-science," "extremists," and "lackeys of big oil." What about the thousands of legitimate, accredited scientists who believe anthropogenic global warming is untenable, including even some (well-buried) dissenters within the UN's IPCC itself? If a court can decide that Mann's research "and conclusions" have been sufficiently vindicated as to be judged provably "sound" -- that is, sound enough to be regarded as legally unassailable -- then what does this imply about the research and results of all those who believe they are proving Mann's conclusions false? The implication is clear enough: anthropogenic global warming is one area of truth-seeking that is no longer merely "settled science" (whatever that means), but is now settled law. It is now, apparently, legally dangerous to question this theory, unless one prefaces one's questions with the proviso that the research supporting the theory was conducted with the purest scientific heart, and that its conclusions are sound. Meanwhile, again, the same proviso need not be proffered when ripping up the research, opinions, and character of the "flat-earthers."

The story of Galileo's condemnation is typically presented as an example of the struggle of independent scientific investigation against coercive authority. We're looking through the other end of the telescope now. Men are being condemned by coercive authority in the name of science. A district court judge has determined that Michael Mann's hockey stick graph is "provably sound" science in good standing, because his friends -- and in particular his government friends -- say so. Skeptics shall be silenced.

Final Note: Judge Combs Greene recently announced her retirement from the District of Columbia Superior Court as of September, 2013, and is under review for her requested appointment as a senior judge.  (At least you won't have to worry about her working as a substitute English teacher.)

Page Printed from: at July 26, 2013 - 05:25:22 AM CDT