The Forbidden City

Chances are, anyone who is having the problem described below is unable to read this post.

I’ll explain what happened: Late Monday night I started to get reports on skype and by email that people were getting a “403” error when they tried to access Gates of Vienna. The actual text of the message varied, depending on the browser and operating system, but it would look something like this:

You don’t have permission to access this resource.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Since I am a technical dunce when it comes to website mechanics, I consulted with Vlad Tepes and Henrik Clausen about what was happening. They looked into it, and it seemed that a crucial setting on the site was disabled for some reason, and needed to be enabled. Henrik enabled it, and over the next 36 hours people reported back to me that they were once again able to access Gates of Vienna. So everything was fixed.

But only for about 36 hours. I started getting messages today from the same people, and also additional ones, that the same error message was popping up when they tried to visit this site. It’s only happening in Europe and Israel, as far as I know. I’m getting no emails from the USA, Canada, or Australia about the “403 Forbidden” message. Countries affected include the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Romania, and Israel. And probably others that I’m forgetting. But not on this side of the Atlantic.

I consulted at length with the hosting service, and the setting that Henrik enabled was still enabled. They can’t recreate the problem, since they’re in the USA. So there’s nothing more they can do unless I can give them specific instructions about what needs to be changed.

Something is fishy here. One time could be just a random glitch, but twice? And all within less than 48 hours.

My paranoid intuition says that when whatever it was the major ISPs in Europe tried to do two days ago failed — that is, when Henrik enabled the setting. So they decided to try something else to accomplish the same purpose. I don’t believe this is a coincidental, accidental malfunction — I think it is deliberate.

But then, I’m paranoid.

So… If you have friends, relatives, or acquaintances that report this problem, please explain what I have posted here. And most of the significant content I post is also posted at Vlad’s place, so they can go over there to stay somewhat up-to-date.

I don’t think this is an issue in the USA because not many people are very interested in what’s going on in Europe. I don’t report on Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Nancy Pelosi, Bill Barr, or any other facet of the impeachment circus. I leave that to the specialists, and that’s where all the American traffic tends to go.

But this blog has a wide readership in Europe. Or rather, had — I think my European traffic is probably significantly reduced by now.

All the Leaves Are Brown…

I’ve held off posting this wrap-up about the Autumn fundraiser because I was kind of waiting to see if more of my thank-you notes would bounce. However, I’m still writing them, and I’ve got quite a ways to go. So this is an interim update, and if anything else bounces, I’ll post a further update.

Just three thank-you notes have bounced so far, after two attempts apiece. The intended recipient of the first lives in Southern California.

The second one listed no address with PayPal, so I can’t tell you his location. All I know is that his name makes it likely that he is an Anglophone.

The third is in Georgia (the one in Dixie, not the Caucasus).

If you’re missing a thank-you note, that may the reason. On the other hand, you may be one of the people I haven’t written yet!

The most interesting comment I got in reply was this:

In your fundraising posts, you may wish to consider bragging a bit more about niche, reach, influence, etc., e.g.: “The ONLY/BEST daily roundup of news from non-US sources, with UNIQUE videos and translations.” I know of no other source for this info.

He’s probably right. But I told him that I’m a severe introvert, and not inclined to brag. It just goes against the grain. Yes, more self-promotion would probably be a good idea, but this dog is too old to learn new tricks.

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Here’s the final tally of places (leaving out donors with no listed address):

Stateside: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington

Far Abroad: Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK

Canada: British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Saskatchewan

Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria

The Well of Memory

This post was a “sticky” feature and was on top throughout fundraising week. Scroll down for the whole week’s worth of more recent items.

Autumn Fundraiser 2019, Day Seven

Sunday’s Update: Madonna and Child

At last! We’ve arrived at the final day of Gates of Vienna’s quarterly fundraising week. After today I’ll stop bugging you for three more months.

Tip jarBut this morning I’ll take this final opportunity to remind everyone what this week is all about: Modest donations from lots and lots of readers provide enough wherewithal to keep this website going. The generosity of our donors has enabled us — and now it’s only me — to get by every quarter. Just barely, but I get by.

I’ll have to postpone indulging my taste for champagne and caviar until one of my relatives gets elected to high office and arranges a place for me on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, with a nice seven-figure annual stipend…

If you’ve only just discovered this fall’s bleg, or if you haven’t already hit the tip cup, please go over to the sidebar and make it clink. Alternatively, you can use this handy link.

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My final installment concerning Memory for this fundraising week will be a few more reminiscences of my time with Dymphna.

The photo at the top of this update shows Dymphna and the future Baron. It was taken in the late 1980s, in the late summer or early fall. That summer had been hot and dry — there was a devastating drought early on, in May and June. In some of the photos from June the grass is utterly withered and brown. But by the time this photo was taken there had obviously been some rain, because plenty of green is visible in the background.

When I came across this photo recently, I looked at Dymphna’s face, and it seemed so recent — there she was! And then I looked at the fB — he obviously wasn’t yet two years old. That means that more than thirty years have passed since that early autumn afternoon.

I can remember a lot about what happened between then and now. A few years after the photo was taken I taught the future Baron to read and write, and made him do his sums. Then Dymphna’s mother came to live with us, and I took care of her for a year until she died.

All through the ’90s we were quite poor. I was painting pictures, and not making any significant money doing it. Dymphna was a social worker, and then later had her own housecleaning business. She kept us afloat, but all those years were pretty lean.

Yet we never lacked for anything. My son had no idea we were poor. He had a VCR and lots of videos. I made sure to take him to the beach at least once every summer. We didn’t get to stay at any high-toned beach accommodations, mind you, but that didn’t matter to him — he was just a kid. Staying in a little cabin and eating at Burger King was fine with him.

Just before Y2K I had to stop home-schooling him, because my skills in chemistry and physics were minimal. We sent him to private school, and I found well-paying work as a programmer so that we could afford it. The Lord provided. It worked out.

Just before he graduated from high school, his sister Shelagh, Dymphna’s daughter, died of a methadone overdose. The fB went off to college, and Dymphna went into a tailspin that she never really recovered from.

The foundation of this blog was my idea: I thought it might help her work through the pain of grieving. And it did. Most of you have seen her early work on this site, either when she originally wrote it twelve or fifteen years ago, or in the reposts I’ve been doing since she died. She was a powerhouse of a writer, and putting her heart into her essays help bring her back to the land of the living. Even as her condition worsened (she suffered from fibromyalgia), she kept at it as much as she could, right up until the end.

And now here I am, maintaining the site by myself and dealing with my own pain of grieving. My wife is gone, but she lives on in her writings, and is ever-present with me in this empty house that we shared for forty years.

I will always remember her, as long as memory remains.

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Gentlemanly Conduct

In the last few weeks I’ve noticed a number of new commenters, so now is a good time to revisit this site’s guidelines for commenting.

It will also fulfill a request by Dymphna. Months and months ago she asked me to post the rules for comments used by Mark Steyn’s website, which are similar to ours, and ones that she greatly approved of. I feel guilty that I didn’t do it before she died, but better late than never. Here are the Steyn Rules:

SteynOnline greatly appreciates your comments. We do not, however, publish comments containing: profanity, ad hominem insults, off-topic remarks, overly lengthy responses, commercial or other promotions, ALL-CAPS COMMENTS, incitement to violence or unilluminatingly insulting generalizations about various identity groups. We greatly value comments that are to the point and civilly expressed. Please do not simply put in links. Mark is interested in hearing YOUR comments. A URL is not a comment. Commenters’ email addresses will not be displayed publicly.

These are pretty much the same as my guidelines. The main difference is that I sometimes redact comments that violate the guidelines. If there aren’t too many violations in a single comment, and I’m not pressed for time, I’ll replace the profanity or ad-hominem slights with an acceptable synonym inside [square brackets], or just indicate that a word or phrase (or an even longer section) has been [redacted]. Recommendations that people or groups be tortured, slaughtered, etc. are generally replaced with [intemperate recommendations redacted].

If I don’t have time or am out of sorts, I’ll just delete the comment, which is of course much easier. Repeat offenders — people who just can’t seem to get the hang of the rules, even after having their comments redacted a few times — tend to annoy me, so I just delete such comments.

My habitual shorthand for our guidelines is this: “Gates of Vienna’s rules about comments require that they be civil, temperate, on-topic, and show decorum.”

See also: Guidelines for comments.

Dust Off Those Rusty Keys Just One More Time

Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of Gates of Vienna. It should be an auspicious occasion, but the fact that Dymphna can’t help me commemorate it has kind of taken the starch out of me. I just don’t have that much to say.

So we’ll have some music instead. Thinking about this anniversary made the song “Stella Blue” by the Grateful Dead came into my mind. It was a staple of their live shows for more than twenty years, from 1973 until whatever the last one was before Jerry Garcia died. The studio version was first released in the summer of 1973 on the album Wake of the Flood, but I first heard it at a live show in Philly in March of 1973.

This version is from 1977 at Winterland. It doesn’t include any video footage, but I chose it for Garcia’s fine guitar solos, even if he does blow the words in a couple of places:

The lyrics are below the jump (the official version from Robert Hunter’s collection A Box of Rain):

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Keeping an Eye

I returned a little while ago from the retinologist’s office, where he gave me the latest periodic injection in my left eye, which is being treated for wet macular degeneration.

The good news is that my eyes are doing so well that I don’t have to go in again for three months. Even better: if the condition of my left eye remains stable till then, I may be allowed another hiatus in the ejections. I went almost four years without one in the past (2014-2018), so I remain hopeful.

I’m not back to full functioning yet, so posting will be somewhat light for the rest of the evening. However, I may post a couple of items, and there will be a news feed.

An Autumnal Interlude

I returned late last night from a three-day weekend at an undisclosed (and rustic) location in Quebec. It was more of a retreat than a conference, and there was no agenda as such. A group of like-minded “red-pilled” people simply got together at a picturesque rural venue to eat, drink, and talk.

This enjoyable occasion enabled me to make contact with people I hadn’t seen face-to-face in a long time, and I also met some folks that I’d only known previously through their videos or in email and skype exchanges. I’m a severe introvert, so meeting new people is hard, but it seemed easier when their faces were so familiar from watching Vlad’s videos.

Some of the material that was discussed over the weekend will be made public in due course, and I’ll post it when it becomes available.

It was the last gasp of summer weather in those latitudes. I hail from a southern clime, so when the sun wasn’t shining it felt quite cold by my standards. I stayed inside a lot of the time, but some of the hardier folk from Canada and Europe actually went swimming. They said the water was warmer than the air.

The temperature was 82°F (28°C) when I stepped off the plane last night in Virginia, and it felt WONDERFUL.

I came in too late to post a news feed, but I’m in the process of extracting a lot of items from the email backlog to make an extra-large news feed for tonight.

Going Where the Climate Suits my Clothes

I’ll be leaving shortly on another road trip, and will be gone for a few days. Once again some of my colleagues have volunteered to moderate comments from time to time while I’m gone. However, there will be no news feed until I get back.

This one’s more of a busman’s holiday than the last one, but it will still be something of a break.

Later, dudes and dudettes.

The Dead Letter Office

The thank-you notes for last month’s fundraiser have all been written, and only two of them bounced. One was for a first-time donor in California (it’s amazing how many gifts we’ve gotten from the Left Coast over the years, considering the condition of the state).

The second one was from a recidivist in Alberta. I don’t know what went wrong with that one — I’ve written to him successfully a number of times in the past.

If either of those descriptions fits you, and you haven’t received an acknowledgement, that may be why. And if I missed anyone else (which is possible; I had a lot of notes to write), please let me know.

And then there’s the mystery snail-mail donor in Illinois — you know who you are, but I sure don’t!

A Brief Interlude

I’m leaving this afternoon to visit family for a couple of days. It’s my first trip away from home since Dymphna died — in fact, I haven’t even eaten in a restaurant since then. So we’ll see how it goes.

There won’t be any news feed until after I get back. However, a couple of my colleagues have agreed to check in from time to time and moderate comments, and may possibly even put up some posts. So the blog won’t be completely idle.

See you later, alligator.

A Report to the Shareholders

That’s what I whimsically call donors to Gates of Vienna: shareholders.

They don’t get any financial return on their contributions, but I hope they acquire useful information and insights from all the things I post here.

I strive to provide material that is mostly not available elsewhere. There’s no point in posting essays on Jeffrey Epstein or the presidential candidates for the Democrat primaries — other sites have that stuff pretty well covered. Vlad and I like to dig into the nooks and crannies of international news and post as many translated videos and articles as we can.

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Well, I made it through the first fundraiser without Dymphna. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it, and I still have quite a few thank-you notes to write, but I’m far enough along now that I can tell it’s doable.

This report is somewhat late this quarter, partially because of having to work by myself, and partially because I didn’t retrieve the snail-mail items until Thursday. Here’s the final roster of places where donations came from:

Stateside: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

Far Abroad: Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK

Canada: Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Saskatchewan

Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria

I’ll be back to dun you again about the time the leaves start falling (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway).

Internet Woes

I originally put up this post to supplement the “sticky” fundraiser post after I started having severe Internet problems, and couldn’t update any posts. My Internet connection seems to have returned to normal, more or less, without my even having to call the phone company yet again. Someone at the head office must have reattached the string to the tin can.

Since this post was also sticky, I used it to include some new material, once I could do updates again. Update: Also, Sunday night’s news feed has been posted; look below the fundraiser post.

I worked on six videos today with Vlad, but now something has gone wrong with DTube — there’s always something — and none of the videos will play. Two of those videos were about Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, so while we’re waiting for DTube to fix itself, I’ll present an overview of what’s happening in Italy.

Mr. Salvini is pushing for a snap election. He’s been getting a lot of resistance from his coalition partner, the 5-Star Movement, which is making governing that much more difficult. Yet the Lega — Mr. Salvini’s party — is much more popular than M5S, and Mr. Salvini is the most popular politician that Italy has had in decades. He has by far eclipsed Luigi di Maio, the leader of M5S who serves as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development.

Matteo Salvini has evidently decided that his wave is currently cresting, and now would be the best time to put his case to the voters. If the latest polls are accurate, after the election he will most likely be able to form a government without recourse to the 5-Star movement, perhaps in coalition with Forza Italia (the party of the former prime minister and notorious satyriast Silvio Berlusconi) and Fratelli d’Italia (the party of Giorgia Meloni), and possibly other right-wing parties I’m not as familiar with.

Mr. Salvini is candid, refreshing, and entertaining, and I look forward to his tenure as prime minister. Since assuming the office of interior minister, he has done something very unusual for a politician: he has kept his campaign promises. Even hobbled by the ball and chain of M5S, he has done what he told the voters he would do, to the best of his ability.

Below is a selection of Italian news stories from the past week (hat tips to Reader from Chicago).

From Breitbart:

Salvini Victory: NGO Ship Gives Up on Landing Migrants in Italy, Heads to Malta

The German-based NGO Sea-Eye have announced they will not be challenging the closed port policy of Lega leader Matteo Salvini, opting instead to head for Malta to drop off migrants.

The Sea-Eye vessel Alan Kurdi announced on Friday that they would be changing course from the Italian island of Lampedusa and heading instead to the Maltese port capital of Valletta, Il Giornale reports.

From Voice of Europe:

Italy Vows to Expel Nigerian Migrant Who Sent a Woman to the Hospital After Attacking Her on a Tram

Italy’s national populist interior minister Matteo Salvini has vowed to expel a Nigerian migrant who on Friday sent a passenger riding a Florence tram to the hospital after attacking her.

The attacker, a 22-year-old Nigerian illegal migrant, has already been deported twice, once in 2017 and once in 2018. She punched a 36-year-old woman who sat in front of her, minding her own business, on the tram.

Following the unprovoked assault, passengers on the tram were forced to restrain the aggressive migrant woman until police could arrive to arrest and take her to jail.

From The Express:

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A Return to Normalcy

This post was a “sticky” feature, first posted last Monday, and was on top throughout fundraising week. Scroll down for more recent items, including the killing of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza, a Swedish municipal bus used as a mosque, an essay on Björn Höcke and the AfD, Onan driving a Swedish bus, two reports on the sword murder in Stuttgart, the latest on Matteo Salvini, and last night’s news feed.

Summer Fundraiser 2019, Day Six

Saturday’s update

OK, folks we’ve arrived at the weekend. The Summer fundraiser is almost over, and normal programming will soon resume.

Tip jarThe theme of this week’s bleg is the return to normalcy, that is, to routine. During any given fundraising week, donations from Texas, California, Michigan, Illinois, and Australia are routine. But three of yesterday’s locations definitely are not part of the routine: Israel, New Zealand, and Newfoundland. We get a few donors here and there from the first two — just a few — but as far as I know, we only get one from up there by the Grand Banks.

So here’s to the outliers! Thank you for making the donation statistics that much more variegated and entertaining.

For those of you who are just joining us: this is how I keep this blog alive. When Dymphna was still with us, she would share posting chores with me, regaling potential donors on alternate mornings with her wit and whimsy to persuade them to hit the tip cup on the sidebar (or this link) and contribute to the upkeep of the site — and to keep its proprietors from going hungry for another quarter.

Now there’s just one proprietor, but I still need your help to stay out of the bread line.

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Gates of Vienna has its own weekly rhythm, its own pattern of routine. Or, rather, it used to.

In the early years of this website I was working in Richmond. I would drive down there during the week and come home on weekends. During those few days I spent at home I had the luxury of writing posts and participating in the blog to an extent that I couldn’t match during the week.

Back in those days, I designated Saturday as either Ranting Day or Poetry Day, depending on my mood. If it was time to rant, I could include a graphic of the Ranting Man, as seen here on the left. I love the Ranting Man, and I reserve him for special occasions, not wanting to squander him gratuitously (as I have just now done).

But this Saturday is Poetry Day. And, in honor of the first fundraiser without Dymphna, I’ll feature one of her poems.

Dymphna was an accomplished poet. She only had a few published, in local newspapers and college magazines, but she left behind a rich legacy of unpublished work.

The poem below tells a true story. She wrote it almost a quarter-century ago, shortly after the events it describes. We had somehow acquired a rooster, as a favor to a friend. His harem of hens had been attritted to nothing, and we agreed to give the sorrowful fellow a home. For a while.

He turned out to be an annoyingly violent #$&#!?%! as a guest. Those spurs on his legs were vicious — one time he cut a long slash in my pants leg. So we only kept him for a while; we passed him on to an elderly country woman who had lengthy experience with roosters, and knew how to keep them in line.

I’ll let Dymphna tell the rest of the story:

Rooster Lessons

by Dymphna

He was quintessential pride:
Quick, iridescent and verbose.
His auburn head cocked to look
At me, his comb trembling,
The rumble of his song,
The macho tilt of his tail feathers—
I was enchanted.

Never trust a rooster
Who’s been deposed.
He has problems with attachment,
And the angry edginess
Gives way to bilious melancholy,
As befits a man bereft
Of his women and position.
There is no cure.

How much his chicken brain
Retained of his former life
Is hard to say.
To be unchosen is lonely enough;
To be deposed is a worse fate:
The shame of losing face, place,
With no one to crow for…
An autarch cannot live so.

Our rooster didn’t even try.
He crowed despairingly at odd hours.
He left the cat alone,
But the rest of us were targets
For his rage and loneliness.
Going outside, however stealthily,
Brought him running sideways,
Wings spread, spurs ready.
He gouged a neighbor’s dog.

Held hostage by a rooster.
We eyed each other:
Him on the porch,
Me behind the storm door.
He in rage,
Me in speculation.
How to douse this feathered fire?

Ah, modern medicine:
I waited for him to wander off
And mixed a batch of wheat germ —
His favorite grain —
With a healthy dose of Klonopin
And quickly spread it on the porch floor

Dumb bird ate it all,
Brown and pink fragments
Disappearing down his greedy beak.
Becalmed, he let himself be led
To start another life,
Penned in with guinea fowl.
I hope he finds some solace there.

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Friday’s gifts came in from:

Stateside: Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, and New Hampshire

Far Abroad: Israel, New Zealand, and the UK

Canada: Newfoundland

Australia: New South Wales

Friday’s update

The action in the tip cup (or at this link) really livened up yesterday after Western Rifle Shooters posted a link to this week’s bleg.

Tip jarA WRSA link often causes a sudden, distinct surge of donations. I can sometimes deduce what’s happening even before I see the post over there — I can tell by the fact that most of the new gifts come in from Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, North Dakota, and other locations out there on the Wild Frontier.

So thank you, WRSA. And a special thank-you to WRSA readers who came over here.

The issue of the right to keep and bear arms is looming large in American culture and politics right now, due to the recent mass shootings. Such events always induce a mad rush towards gun control, even among Republicans. When that happens, devotees of the Second Amendment hurry out to buy more guns and ammo before the next anti-gun law is passed.

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The theme of this week’s fundraiser is the return to normalcy. I’ve talked about personal normalcy — that is, my finding a new routine in the midst of grieving — and I’ve talked about the lunacy that passes as the new “normal” in 21st-century politics.

This morning I’ll cover normalcy as it applies to Gates of Vienna. Long-time readers have already heard about the routine workflow at this website, so they can skip this overview if they wish. But newcomers may be interested.

Besides the news feed, there are three principal functions that I strive to perform here: (1) Posting original articles and essays on Counterjihad matters and other topics of interest; (2) Posting translated articles and essays that might otherwise not be available in English; and (3) Creating translated and subtitled videos.

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