A Certain Familiar Sense

When I was little, one of my favorite times in history class every year was when we studied the Spanish occupation.
From 1560 to 1640 and due to some truly gifted stupid actions of Portuguese kings, the throne of Portugal was occupied by the Philips. The first Philip was the famous Philip of the Armada.
Now the throne of Portugal was acquired as legitimately as any other succession at the time and more legitimately than most. Technically Philip was the late King Sebastian’s nephew. (And possibly first cousin, uncle and grandfather. There is no word on whether the royal lines of Portugal and Spain could play the banjo really well, but if they didn’t it was only because they didn’t have banjos.)
However by the time I studied the occupation or “usurpation” EVERY year of elementary school, great indignation was built towards the Philips. One of the reasons I really liked that lesson is that our prim and elderly school marm would instruct us to bring out our crayons and deface our pictures of Philip of Portugal and Spain. (And for those cringing about destruction of school property, in Portugal you buy your school books. You can sometimes buy them used or inherit them from a sibling — not me, my brother was much older than I and books had changed — but in general everyone from the richest to the poorest bought the school books. I rather suspect, now I think about it, that this keeps the Portuguese publishing system working.)
The reason they were hated, the reason we were instructed to deface the pictures was that while occupying the Portuguese throne, perhaps because they were sure it wouldn’t last, or perhaps because they wanted to reduce the proud and independent spirit of the Portuguese (from their perspective the last of the small kingdoms in the peninsula to be swallowed by the Spanish leviathan) the Philips seemed to go out of their way to destroy all Portuguese interests, possessions and wealth, as well as the Portuguese standing with their allies and the world.
It’s been a long time, and mostly I spent my time studying how to deface a picture, but I remember the Spaniards broke the Portuguese alliance with the English which had lasted almost since before there was England, and save for that interruption has lasted to present day. This meant Portuguese ships could fall prey to the British privateers. They also failed to adequately defend Portuguese colonies and gave some of them away as dowry to Spanish Princesses or perhaps party favors.
There were other things, and the rule must have been felt even at the time as disastrous because particularly in the North a cult of the “King who will return” (in this case King Sebastian, young and possibly nuts or at least a really good banjo player, since his mother was the upteenth Spanish princess the Portuguese kings had married in a row.) He died in a futile attack on the North of Africa (there’s taking the fight to the enemy and then there’s nuts) which left the kingdom without a king. Save the Spaniards.
For years, and then centuries, adding an element of fantasy, the legend grew that he had not died and would return “one foggy morning.”
I must have had a fantastical or romantic bend from early on, because one of my favorite songs was by a group called 1111 (Ah ah) which sang about King Sebastian and how they’d found his horse and pieces of his doublet, his sword and his heart, notwithstanding which he’d come back in a foggy morning to lead the half mad seers and witches of the foggy Northern lands. (Represent, I say, represent.)
However, no matter how bad the Spanish occupation was, in that morality tale it became the inflection point at which Portugal stopped being amazing and became beaten down and down and out. At that moment (even though colonies and empire remained) Portugal was broken in the eyes of the world and in its own eyes.
Yesterday I was talking to my mom and she said the news from the States and the things “your funny critters” (pretty much how mom refers to governments in general!) are doing remind her of the Spanish occupation of Portugal. (She asked if perhaps one of Obama’s names, never mentioned, might not be Philip. As in “perhaps when he was adopted his name was Barry Philip Soetoro.”) And she said “May G-d help you and preserve as only He can.
Needless to say I have nothing against her last sentiment, but I want to say something about it.
Yeah, I too have the feeling of a government trying to reduce a proud nation, either because they hate it (no, don’t bother arguing, they do. Our intelligentsia consider themselves citizens of the world. Mostly because they know NOTHING about the world and think it’s a giant vacation resort and we the only political actors in it, while everyone is our hapless victim.) or simply because they fancy themselves as our perpetual rulers, and a proud and self-sufficient people are hard to rule. I suspect they’re doing what they’re doing in the happy notion it will make us “governable” and since THEY know exactly how to govern us, it’s for our own good in the end. We’ll be prosperous and happy just like France (rolls eyes.) Magically we’ll acquire hundreds of years old buildings which we can contemplate from our coffee shops while drinking ridiculously tiny coffees in our 385 nationally mandated days off a year while the government automagically makes sure no one starves.
However let’s not fall into the Portuguese trap. It makes a certain sense for Portugal, I guess, since it was a monarchy and therefore the king was supposed to embody the country.
But we’re not a monarchy. The president is just the president, and if you think this one is the worst… you might be right, but good Lord not by much. A cursory read of our history will tell you that while we’d never before managed to elect someone who actively hates us (I maintain because he blames us for his father abandoning him) but we elected people who were bound by ideas that would have destroyed us, anyway if they had had time and enough sway.
We are a republic of ideas and of people who believe in that idea. We’re down but we’re not out. I’m not going to lie to you, this one is going to hurt like a b*tch. Our grandkids are still going to be recovering from this clustercongress (congress, you understand in the Kama Sutra Sense.)
But it takes more than a Philip to beat us. We might catch a nuke, we might even lose one or two generations of prosperity, but Philip is just Philip. We’re the USA. Takes more than one man to keep us down as Fat George (the one who didn’t write GOT) found out.
Long after he’s gone we’ll be here and the ideas of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness will be resurgent.
Because this whole government by the people for the people thing? It’s an idea so spectacularly crazy and yet so gloriously daring that it has been lighting the world ever since it was first conceived.
And so it will continue, world without end.

222 thoughts on “A Certain Familiar Sense

  1. “young and possibly nuts or at least a really good banjo player”

    Paddle faster! I hear banjos!

    1. “If Ned Beatty couldn’t get through that gorge unmolested, no Frenchman in tight bike shorts has a prayer!” – Brooks and Dunn providing color commentary for the kayak events in the 1996 Olympics.

      1. I’ve been watching a fair number of early ’70s films lately, and man, was that a bleak era or what? It’s nothing but doom and gloom.

        1. Are you kidding? The Republicans were Democrats and the Democrats were nucking futz! Pop music went from singer/songwriter inanity to Disco excess (somebody actually released a disco version of the theme from Exodus — and radio stations played it!) Good lord, people even wore polyester unashamedly!!!!

          It was a terrible decade, but it was necessary in order to get Thatcher, Reagan and the Ramones.

              1. I’ve been watching the Six Million Dollar Man the last few months. Some of the clothing choices are . . . interesting.

                  1. We had an avocado floor once. This actually did have functional implications: if you dropped a pea, it was very hard to find.

          1. Not just polyester, the stuff that keeps cotton from shrinking, but pure polyester; the stuff is actually dangerous to wear as if you’re in a fire, it’ll melt and stick to your skin (okay, not an everyday concern for most people).

            (And I like to Brick Counsel’s ads against vinyl siding on your house–you wouldn’t wear a suit that was wool in the front and polyester in the back, would you? That’s my educational background showing; I sent resumes to a lot of brick plants and actually got a few interviews back in the day.)

            1. we reran the polyester, skin/clothes melting issue in Iraq. UnderArmor and the like are purely polyester. I know a lady who was a corpsman and has some nightmare stories of flaying guys to get their cooling shirts off after IED attacks.
              I bought a few surplus when the gov’t rid itself of the things. Found I cannot wear them without a cotton shirt between me and the polyester. I reek so bad I can’t stand the smell of myself.
              I have one for bike riding that has something to kill odor and it is better.

          2. I got to see the Ramones twice before they disbanded.

            It was an experience.

        2. Here’s a timely reminder:
          Freedom is everything — celebrating my ‘Americaversary’
          By Karol Markowicz
          Every year on July 20, my mother and I celebrate our “independence day” — our “Americaversary,” the day we came to America from the Soviet Union.

          Today marks 37 years since we arrived in the United States. It was 1978, and though I was a young child I was raised with one mantra from the get-go: You are American, and freedom is everything.

          Members of my family were let out of the Soviet Union in stages.

          My grandmother and her sister were first. They arrived in 1976, two women over 50, starting new lives in a mysterious country they knew nearly nothing about.

          When my father arrived the following year, New York and the country were in turmoil. He worried about what my mom and I would find when we got here.

          It was the Summer of Sam, the New York City blackout. Crime was at an all-time high; Iran was holding our hostages and mocking us.

          There was the gas shortage. And President Carter seemed lost and ineffectual.

          Better days were ahead, but my parents had no way of knowing it.

          Still, no one was reconsidering their decision to come to America. They were free, for the first time in their lives, and there was nothing else like it. And America’s willingness to welcome immigrants with open arms — its beacon of hope to the persecuted and downtrodden the world over — was what saved them.

          Ronald Reagan would become president three years later — and two years after that, I’d get a brother named Ronald.

          As the Soviet Union recedes into history, it’s getting easier for Westerners, especially those born during the Gorbachev era or after the Cold War, to forget what a horrible, backward place it was.

          It’s also worth remembering — perhaps more importantly — that it really was locked in a global competition with America over what the future would look like.

          Getting to America, and getting to be the “us” in the “us vs. them,” meant everything to my family.

          Communism was spreading, and the Soviet brand of hopelessness and misery was spreading with it.

          Today, people forget how evil the Evil Empire really was. Recently, a writer for the food Web site Eater.com favorably reviewed a Soviet-kitsch restaurant in Brooklyn.

          When commenters pushed back, noting that the Soviet Union was responsible for far more death and enslavement than, say, the Confederacy, the writer of the review noted “many noble causes have been promulgated around the world under the hammer and sickle, and the oppression of the present Russian regime rivals that of the Soviets.”

          Only someone who’s had no experience with oppression could write something like that. I’ll never defend Vladimir Putin, but Stalin, who wiped out people by the millions, including my great-grandfather for the crime of owning a bakery, is in a category all his own.

          In college, I heard a lot about how the Soviet Union wasn’t so bad and only American propaganda made it seem so. After all, it had the kind of equality that America could only dream of.
          If you were born here, appreciate it. If, like my family, you’re an American born elsewhere, but got here as fast as you could, be open about how lucky you are that you get to live in the land of the free.

          Such freedom is still a distant dream for so many around the world. If you’re living the dream, acknowledge it and be grateful. I am.
          — — —
          I confess to dreaming about that kind of equality. Those are dreams from which I wake up screaming.

          1. Or, you know … watch this:

            Or watch the whole movie — it’s out there, online.

          2. I remember that era. The thing that reminded me most of it was when the gas prices were shooting up, and the stations started having separate prices for cash and credit.

            Also the prices of books were shooting up. I just barely remember the days when a paperback could still be $1.99.

        3. Alan Arkin and Peter Falk comedies of the 70s, which get no airplay, are a wonderful antidote. Part of the problem with 70s film is literally the film stock – it sepia’s out to browns and grays as the blue rapidly fades, the red slightly fades, leaving only the bleak yellows.

    2. The Habsburg family tree really should be a blackberry thicket. At least the eastern branch started marrying out before they got too many, ah, medically memorable descendents. The Wittlesbachs (who married into the Habsburgs a few too many times) ditto. You almost wonder if the Papal Nuncios to the Habsburg courts kept copies of the family trees on hand for quick reference when writing to Rome about the next marital dispensation request.

      1. European history is not my thing, but I got a glimpse of the thicket when I watched the three “Sissi” films a few months ago. I tried to keep track of the names and relationships, but gave up and just enjoyed the schmaltz.

      2. Oh, heck, that’s amateur land. At one point, they married off some Spanish royal uncle (and cousin a couple-three ways) to some Spanish royal niece, and didn’t even BOTHER to apply for a dispensation. They just got married illicitly and invalidly, waited until a fair number of kids were born, and then legally separated and asked for the Church’s forgiveness.

        Yeah, I don’t know why they didn’t just marry out. It was a Visigoth-pride thing, I guess.

        1. Partiable inheritance was one problem. And the lack of Habsburg-level suitable candidates, plus the desire by both halves of the clan to reunite the Spanish and Austrian holdings.

          Interestingly enough, the out-crosses tended to be pretty d-mn competent: Maria Theresa, Don Jon of Austria, a number of other odds-n-sods over the years.

  2. I thought the Spanish occupation was taking afternoon naps?

    Well, that and slaughtering indigenous peoples, but there isn’t much call for that any more.

      1. I would have thought that “Nobody expects the Spanish Indisposition” was more applicable in regard to siestas.

  3. zero isn’t southern. Thomas Sowell’s intellectuals and society is a great listen.

  4. You know sarah, one of the things I love about you is how hopeful you are, and maybe this is because Im naturally cranky, or because its been most of a decade since Ive been home, or because I’ve always dreamed of living in the post apocalypse, but I’m no longer so sure. Its not even the government per se, but how poisoned our culture has become. When we are mainstreaming delusions ala Bruce Jenner; when the younger generations seems inimical to the idea of work, or independence, or even ownership; when the very idea of the masculinity that built our nation is vilified in popular culture; and socialism is no longer a dirty word; I cant help but feeling like I’m watching the last days of the roman empire. The upper classes emulate the lowest classes rather than vice versa, men would rather become women than stand as men and be counted, adults act like children rather than children wanting to be adults, leviathan has crept into every single imaginable area of private life, and out clueless ruling classes seem to care for nothing but how much they can take into their greedy grasping claws, Im not sure i see a light at the end of the tunnel, and what little I do see seems suspiciously like the flickering flames of a once great city on a hill being sacked by barbarians hordes wearing dresses and screaming “give me moar!’ Some days I think you and Schlicter are right, and if we can just learn to stand up for ourselves politically and culturally they way we do individually we can reverse the rot. Other days I reckon Im better off learning to play the fiddle and enjoying the pretty flames.

    But then I always do get morose and maudlin when I drink.

    1. Hey, relax. I can assure you that every generation feels about the same way concerning at least one decade in their life. I run into it every time I dip into the popular culture of eras past (Scofield’s Law of Popular Culture; we remember the popular culture of past eras so fondly because, mercifully, we don’t actually remember that much of it).

      Jenner is an aberration. The Victorians lionized similar oddities, and not just in Barnum’s exhibitions either. Georgian parents were SURE that the changing definition of marriage (something other than a political/economic treaty brokered by the parents) was going to destroy society. And I certainly remember the “malaise” (read “Fashionable world-weariness”) of the Carter era, and how in vanished like a snowflake in a furnace once Reagan cut taxes and unshackled the oil companies.

      Go find a good english translation of Juvenal. The man was writing 2000 years ago, and what is he complaining about? The political class is corrupt, their wives are immoral, virtue is never rewarded, the thugs have taken over the city streets, and the garbage isn’t getting pick up. Same problem we have now, and now we have modern dentistry and the primary dietary problem of our poor is that they are too fat.

      1. Exactly. Juvenal complained about the same problems.

        And look what happened to Rome.

        1. About two hundred years later. Eastern Roman Empire went along fine for centuries after that. So Wikipedia tells me anyway.

      2. 20 years ago Bruce was an aberration, today is he is our culture, like it or not. While the Muslims and the Chinese defend their own culture vigorously, while Russia is resurgent, we back down because someone calls us names. Tim Hunt is ostracized because he made a joke rooted in truth, Larry Summers is ostracized because he pointed out some basic facts. Any culture that refuses to fight for itself itself will be destroyed because no one else will. Again, I’m drunk and annoyed and I may agree with you in the light of the morning sun. But even at my most optimistic, I feel that any culture that isn’t willing to defend itself with both barrels and fixed bayonets doesn’t deserve to survive.

        1. Look below the surface and there’s more hope. Granted, I live in an area that even Austin ignores (for which we are usually grateful), but people are under-building, people are looking at Jenner with far more pity than admiration, and people are planning for how to get along when the Feds finally hit paralysis. And we, all of us, have a communication system and connections we couldn’t have imagined even ten years ago. It’s not going to be pretty when the Gods of the Copy Book Headings return, but there is a decent-sized group of people who will bite and hold, then rebuild. I’m not quite as cheerful as Dame Margery Kempe (“All will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well.”) but where there’s life, there’s hope.

          Now I have to go figure out what horrible plot complication the muse is going to inflict on poor István Eszterházy next.

          1. “I’m not quite as cheerful as Dame Margery Kempe Julian of Norwich (“All will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well.”) but where there’s life, there’s hope. “

            1. Thanks. My mind is bruised from trying to make sense of numbers from the Weimar hyperinflation this afternoon.

          2. TXRed, I hope your right. Like I said it may just have been too long since I’ve been back home, or maybe I’m just hoping for the apocalypse so i can roam down the highways in a challenger with a 50 cal on the roof, or maybe its just that I got a little too much joker in me and not enough Batman. But either way, I keep expecting to end up in the Deathlands without the benefit of being trained by either Chuin or The Trader.

            1. The younger generations aren’t stupid. What happens to those who don’t go along with the media line? But you have to hang out with them before they’ll take you into their confidence.

              How old would you say ‘younger generation’ is, in your opinion? Unless you’re talking legal minors, I bet there’s some you didn’t even know you knew right here. (Might even be a few minors, but wouldn’t expect them ever to out themselves.)

              1. Holly I never said the younger generation is stupid, just lazy, coddled, and entitled. When I see the desire for “safe spaces” and trigger warnings on college campuses, or my friends who are still in corporate america talk about 25 year old males coming to job interviews with their mommies it makes me wonder if an entire generation has been ruined. But then Im sure part of that is the fact that as an expat I only hear about the most outrageous incidents. But tonight I was out for beers with good friends rather than drinking gin alone in my apartment after a bad day so I am once again sure that, as sarah says, “in the end we win, they lose” But I have no doubt my black mood will descend again sometime soon, it always does.

        2. It’s a good idea to get it out– just remember you’re an American when you’re done. 😀

          It may look like the culture isn’t defending itself, but that’s largely a public matter. “Everybody” may seem to be awful loud about doing the PC thing… but those places you can check, it’s a different story.

          It’s silly to meet someone where they’re strong if you don’t have to, and the loud folks are strong in bulling people over.

          1. I get what your saying foxfier,And if I ever forgot I was American my granny would crawl out of her grave and beat me to death with her flip-flops. But then I think of “Dodge ball”, “no one expects you to attack them up the middle” Again, Im an expat , I experience america second hand, and I have the luxury of saying ” you’re doing it wrong:” without having to deal with it on a daily basis, but fucking hell. IMO if the fact that we haven’t revolted yet isn’t proof of our good intentions, then we really need to bring back tar and feathers.

            1. Keep in mind that the news reporting is in enemy hands. When the Left called for a boycott of Chik-Fil-A the public swarmed the restaurants. When they tried to shame Memories Pizza in Indiana American raised over $800,000 and more in just a few days. And, as mentioned elsewhere this page, Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes By Melissa received donations of $352,500 in about two months after being kicked off the GoFundMe website.

              The MSM reports on the number of missions flown, but nothing about the misses, misfires or returns with full loads.

              1. When the Left called for a boycott of Chik-Fil-A the public swarmed the restaurants.

                Are still swarming, at least up here in… extreme leftoid land. *wry*

        3. I don’t think cspschofield was advocating the bend ‘n’ spread response so much as observing that this is a battle, like that against rust, which offers no respite — and marathons favor those who maintain perspective.

          We shall defend our culture on the beaches, we shall fight on the airwaves, we shall fight in the interwebz and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

          But we shouldn’t think this is a battle which can be won; we merely delay the onslaught that our children and our grandchildren and their grandchildren may defend in their turn.

        4. Oh, please. When he won the gold medal, he was all over magazine covers for weeks. He was a sadly obsessed person with severe body issues then (what else do you call a world class Pentathlete?). He’s still a sadly obsessed person with severe body issues. Yes, the Pretty People are all gushing over him. They’re always gushing over SOMETHING idiotic.

        5. Our culture is becoming more libertarian, and that’s a great thing. It does me no harm if Jenner wishes to call himself Caitlin. If some SJW type berates me over using “himself” they’ll get an introduction to my two middle fingers, if they’re lucky (otherwise MM1 will come out and teach them the meaning of ass-chewing).

          Russia and China pose no threat to us because we can wipe them out in half an hour and they know it. What I’m not quite sure they know is that they can’t do the same to us. Take out Moscow and St. Petersburg and Russia is done. Wipe out Beijing and Shanghai and China is back to the Warring States period. Take out DC and New York and America will get stronger. Even if you posit the loss of every major city and military installation, nobody has enough warheads to take out every podunk town and wide spot in the road, and those are just as American – if not more so – than DC. You cannot wipe out a bottom-up culture, just ask the Babylonians and the Romans.

          That’s why our culture doesn’t defend itself, it doesn’t need to. People will find the beauty of the Renaissance and the wisdom of Aquinas, Plato, and Jefferson on their own. And anyone who tries to eliminate that history will become uncomfortably familiar with the ingenuity of John Moses Browning. All we have to do is keep doing our thing and they’ll eventually come around, because our culture – to a greater extent than any other in history – WORKS. It’s no accident that the greatest period of wealth creation – the world-wide elimination of what our ancestors would call poverty – came with the rise of British, and later American, culture. At the very least we’ll be able to buy them off.

          1. Yet another reason I am a regular here, as a lurker if not always as a commenter. When the black moods descend and I just wanna watch it all burn down, it its this site, and the community here that remind me there are things prettier than flames.

            1. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to light things on fire. And by “things” I mean Progressives.

      3. Georgian parents were SURE that the changing definition of marriage (something other than a political/economic treaty brokered by the parents) was going to destroy society.

        ??? When did England put in such a horrifically anti-Christian definition? Or do you mean the upper class custom, which is one of those perennial sources for martyrs?

        1. Actually, the issue was that marrying to oblige your family (and particularly your parents, who had probably arranged your marriage) was a matter of duty and obedience. So if you married for love, you were disobliging your family and disobeying your parents. And yes, it was usually an upper class issue, although occasionally it came into play with farmers who owned their land, tradesmen, and so on.

          In the lower echelon of society, generally there was more choice, and you were just expected not to marry anybody who’d be a disaster for your family and parents.

          1. So it wasn’t actually a matter of redefining marriage, it was a matter of people worrying about kids destroying their lives, and possibly society as a side-effect….

    2. I don’t really care much about Bruce Jenner, but he’s not the most important issue on Earth. Not even the top twenty.

  5. There were other things, and the rule must have been felt even at the time as disastrous because particularly in the North a cult of the “King who will return” (in this case King Sebastian, young and possibly nuts or at least a really good banjo player, since his mother was the upteenth Spanish princess the Portuguese kings had married in a row.) He died in a futile attack on the North of Africa (there’s taking the fight to the enemy and then there’s nuts) which left the kingdom without a king. Save the Spaniards.

    So, you have a cult based on the return of a king who went off and got himself killed leaving the country without an option of heir other than to turn to the very same country they were now seeking to overthrow?

    At least King Arthur was betrayed by someone.

  6. The only reason Wilson didn’t do more damage was because of the stroke. BHO seems to be in good health, so I don’t see a repeat happening.

    BHO’s policies and actions make perfect sense if you look at them from the perspective of a man who was raised to be an America-hating, Black, Muslim Communist. If he’s not the perfect ‘Manchurian Candidate’, then what would one look like?

    Why the treaty with Iran to allow them to build nukes? (And we’re required by the treaty to protect the nuclear sites from attack and sabotage, if you hadn’t heard. Yes, we’re [Western Powers signatories] required to shoot down any Israeli air strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites. But we’re not allowed to actually do any inspections.) Because, before they blow up New York and Washington, they’ll blow up Tel Aviv. And that’s what’s really important.

    1. “we’re [Western Powers signatories] required to shoot down any Israeli air strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites”

      Say What?

      I’ve heard some dark stuff about this treaty (psa that was running this morning) but *this* was not mentioned. IMO, that alone is grounds to flame the whole thing.

      1. And remember how Iran got into a snit when the Senate pointed out to them that without being ratified, the treaty means nothing?

        1. Notice, as well, that for the “treaty” to go into effect it must first be ratified by the Iranian rubber-stamp parliament.

      2. Scott Johnson, at Power line, provides some interesting summaries of this deal (arguably the worst since Jack swapped his mother’s cow for a handful of beans), including this from notorious right-wing extremist David Frum at The Atlantic:

        1) It has rescued Iran from the extreme economic crisis into which it was pushed by the sanctions imposed in January 2012-sanctions opposed at the time by the Obama administration, lest anyone has forgotten.

        2) It has relaxed the arms embargo on Iran. Iran will be able to buy conventional arms soon, ballistic-missile components later.

        3) It has exempted Iranian groups and individuals from terrorist designations, freeing them to travel and do business around the world.

        4) It has promised to protect the Iranian nuclear program from sabotage by outside parties—meaning, pretty obviously, Israel.

        5) It has ended the regime’s isolation, conceding to the Iranian theocracy the legitimacy that the Iranian revolution has forfeited since 1979 by its consistent and repeated violations of the most elementary international norms—including, by the way, its current detention of four America hostages.

        It isn’t enough that we avert our gaze as Iran ships weapons to Hamas & Hezbollah; it will not suffice that we ignore the thousand Americans killed in Iraq & Afghanistan by Iranian provided IEDs and explosive penetrators. We are now enabling their purchase of the weapons required to attack our ships in the Gulf and exert hegemony over the Straits of Hormuz.

        But President They’ll-Believe-Anything said this was the best deal we could get — leaving us to wonder, “What was the bad deal?”

        1. This sounds a lot like the psa I saw this morning. Maybe I was still to sleep fuzzed to notice the “defend” their facilities.

        2. Of course, we’ll have 24/7 inspections: after 24 days we’ll have 7 minutes to inspect.
          Ex-IAEA Leader: 24-Day Inspection Delay Will Boost Iranian Nuclear Cheating
          Small nuclear facilities are easily hidden, sanitized
          BY: Bill Gertz
          Allowing Iran to delay inspections of suspect nuclear sites for up to 24 days will facilitate cheating by Tehran on the nuclear deal reached in Vienna, according to the former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency who dealt with past Iranian nuclear cheating.

          Olli Heinonen, a 27-year veteran of the IAEA until 2009, also said in the past Iran had “sanitized” two suspected nuclear sites by refurbishing and repainting the locations in an effort to hide illegal uranium enrichment from inspectors.

          The former IAEA deputy director voiced skepticism about the inspection provisions for suspected nuclear sites contained in the deal reached with Iran, the United States, and five other nations on July 14.

          “Iran has not changed its nuclear course. It’s keeping all the options open” for building nuclear arms, Heinonen said, adding that Iran has signed an IAEA additional protocol permitting short-notice inspections but is delaying ratification for eight years.

          In a meeting with reporters, the Finnish nuclear expert said components for nuclear bombs or warheads can be put together in a relatively small space, some 239 square yards in size.

          With a dispute settlement process that gives the Iranians 24 days before allowing inspectors in, hiding nuclear arms development work will be made easier, he said.
          “Much of this equipment is very easy to move,” Heinonen said. “So you can take it out over the night … and then there is this dispute settlement time which is 24 days—you will use that to sanitize the place, make new floors, new tiles on the wall, paint the ceiling and take out the ventilation.”
          — — —

      3. I haven’t seen anything that inflammatory. Bad reporting. The only clause I saw related to defense was *training* the Iranians on *methods* of evaluating defensive measures. In other words, Death By Powerpoint. I doubt very much any actual equipment will change hands, or ordnance. Further, I have great faith in the piss-poor learning culture of fundamentalist Islamic countries, especially anything that has to do with discipline, maintenance, or delegation of decision-making or authority to lower ranks. Our secret weapon has long been the kick-ass NCO 😉 Kerry may attempt to teach the Iranians, but I doubt they will learn and the Israelis have already figured out not to tell us anything classified these days…

        1. I’m going off what I heard from Mark Levin. Haven’t found a copy of the treaty myself. Here’s a link to Gateway Pundit talking about it.
          “Training and workshops”, in the realm of nuclear defense, is not just a power point presentation. Add that to the administration’s previous orders to shoot down Israeli planes crossing Iraqi airspace and you get …

    2. This isn’t a treaty. It’s an agreement between the government of Iran and one Barack Hussein Obama about what the former needs to do in order to get the latter to exercise his power as Chief Executive of the United States to end sanctions. As such it automatically expires January 20, 2017 (it’s also not subject to Senate ratification, though the Corker bill allows Congress to disapprove the agreement).

      1. I hope that the instant the next President is inaugurated, he issues an executive order ending every freaking ONE of Obama’s executive orders, including THAT one. I don’t know if the next President will be bold enough to do that, but he should.

    3. Don’t worry — if the Iranians cheat we can always write a stern letter to the editor. I’m not sure which editor — probably not the NY Times. Maybe the Wall Street Journal, where it will probably get lost in the forest.

      Stephen “Wodkapundit” Green observes this analysis by Stephen Carter of what would follow an Iranian attempt to cheat:

      Let’s take an example. Under the action plan, Iran is permitted to enrich uranium only at its Natanz facility, and only up to 3.67 percent, well below weapons-grade. Suppose that a few years down the road, once things are humming along, the U.S. discovers, through its fabled if imperfect “national technical means,” that Iran has illegally established a second enrichment site apart from Natanz. The U.S. thinks that the regime is using its new, secret facility — we’ll call it Site X — to enrich uranium up to 5 percent, a range not uncommon in light water reactors. This figure would not be sufficient to produce weapons-grade fissile material, but it would still exceed the 3.67 percent allowed under the agreement.

      Now what happens?

      Presumably the U.S. passes the information along to the IAEA inspectors. The next part of the process is guided by Part Q of Annex I of the action plan. Under paragraph 75, the IAEA will ask Iran for “clarification.” If the explanation is not satisfactory, paragraph 76 allows the inspectors to “request access” to Site X. Paragraph 77 entitles Iran to offer an “alternative means” rather than inspection to resolve the issue.

  7. “Because this whole government by the people for the people thing? It’s an idea so spectacularly crazy and yet so gloriously daring that it has been lighting the world ever since it was first conceived.
    And so it will continue, world without end.”
    Your lips to God’s ear sweetie. But I fear that the spark is flickering. We collectively elected and reelected, may the good Lord save and protect us, a red diaper baby, raised in a foreign land under Islam, and trained in arguably the most corrupt city/state machine ever conceived. A stone narcissist, desperate for adulation from the “right’ people, none of which are common Americans unfortunately, his fondest desire is to reduce this great nation to a level commensurate with those countries he respects and admires. Really, below them so as to make up for his perception of our arrogance in thinking ourselves better than the rest of the world.
    Speaking of corruption, if you get the chance read some of those Max Allan Collins detective stories I gave you. Set in Chicago in the late ’20s through early ’60s the accounts of crime, vice, and back room dealings might just make you homesick for Portugal. Growing up in that neighborhood in the era immediately after that I could relate, and when Bama politics start to get frisky I can watch and shake my head as they are rank amateurs compared to an absolutely ruthless Democratic (at least in name) machine.

    1. We collectively elected and reelected …

      Y’know, I wonder about that, indeed I does. Sure, a sizable portion of the electorate can be relied upon to kiss whatever toad vote for whatever candidate their party puts up. And a sizable portion will always proclaim their virtue by rejecting the lesser evil (as if no lesser evil ever stood for election.) In 2008 the fix was in, as much as ever it had been since the Watergate scandal, with the MSM and the Democrat Party (but I repeat myself) having largely guaranteed no Republican could win the presidency.

      But there were irregularities outside the standard, both in 2008 and 2012. MSM misdirection distracting from administration scandals as furiously as they had manufactured scandal in the prior administration, so that many conservatives had programmed hot key combinations to insert the phrase “If this had happened under a Republican …” has been only a part of it. There is also the question of certain precincts in certain cities producing unusually large quantities of votes.

      Moreover, the questions of whence all of Obama’s financial support came. It has been demonstrated that his campaign deliberately eliminated filters intended to identify and prevent foreign donations to our political candidates, it has been shown that no controls were in effect to prevent contributions from non-existent persons, much less restrict the acceptance of such funds only from legitimately certified citizens.

      So I am not exactly sure just what We have done versus what We have allowed to be done to us.

      What’s done is done, of course, and complaints about its legitimacy are fruitless — but for us to recover we must be clear on who and what we actually are.

      1. I’ve often wondered that myself — if the 2012 election was strategically stolen – and how much of Obama’s career has been bought and paid for by foreigners.

        This last week has been so disheartening to us, what with the murders of the Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, following on the murder of that woman in San Francisco by a oft-deported illegal alien. Oh, and the fetus organ sales by Planned Parenthood – revolting, revolting, revolting.

        And response from the WH? on the murders of our own servicemen Oh, yeah – happy Eid.
        It’s very plain to me now that our federal government and the President just don’t give a good g*ddamn about ordinary middle-class citizens, veterans, flyover country residents, or our military. We’re essentially on our own. Good luck in getting us out now to enthusiastically enlist, support and defend … as it seems that only the ruling class really matters,

        1. You will be pleased (?) to know that the POTUS has at last bowed to pressure from everyone short of the Most High and has ordered the flags lowered to half-staff.

          1. He has started consideration of potential appointees to establish a series of commissions and hearings to begin discussion of what, precisely, constitutes “half” and “mast”, with reports on the process of implementation to be presented at the earliest possible time practical for taking a decision on how to proceed with such action.

            Once such a decision has been reached he will them take up the question of the definition of “flags.”

            1. Again from 1776:

              Thompson: . . . and what follow is a complete and up-to-date list of the committees of this Congress now sitting, about to sit, or just having sat: A committee formed to investigate a complaint made against the quality of yeast manufactured at Mr. Henry Pendleton’s mill, designated as the Yeast Committee; a committee formed to consider the most effective method of dealing with spies, designated as the Spies Committee; a committee formed to think, perhaps to do, but in any case to gather, to meet, to confer, to talk, and perhaps even to resolve that each rifle regiment be allowed at least one drum and one fife attached to each company, designated as the Drum and Fife Committee; a committee formed to . . .

              Franklin: Look at it, doctor — democracy! What Plato called a “charming form of government, full of variety and disorder.” I never knew Plato had been to Philadelphia.

        2. Not to be too snarky, but: NOW you’re surprised? I seem to recall your reports from within the belly of the beast. You had to have seen more than you said.


          1. No, not surprised, Mark – I’d not be surprised at all, at the appearance of evidence of massive and strategic voter fraud in 2012. I’m in Texas, where you now have to show picture ID at the polling places now. So I don’t think there was any hanky-panky in Bexar County — but I can hardly say the same with assurance of other counties and states.

            1. As ferociously as the Dems and their activists are fighting voter ID even though the Supremes have upheld it twice? Yeah, there has to be shenanigans.

    2. We elected and re-elected a black man. Everything else is irrelevant. If Barry had been a touch paler and identified with his mother’s culture he MIGHT be the junior Senator from Illinois, most likely a reliable backbencher in the Illinois statehouse. Don’t read too much into his ideology when he was elected (and re-elected) in spite, not because, of it.

      1. No, we elected a half white, quarter black, quarter arab who identifies as black as it got him the most votes. His actions speak to all those formative years in Indonesia studying the world under Islam.

        1. Nope, we elected a Narcissistic Affirmative Action Baby.

        2. His actions speak to growing up as a third-generation socialist, being taught the Soviet agitprop that America was the source of all evil, and coming to power when America was in a struggle with radical Islam.

      2. He also promised Hope and Change and carefully left it up to the voter to determine what he meant by that.

      3. Traditionally, if he’d been born in Dixie his birth certificate would have said “white”, as was customary for mixed-race children.

      4. The great irony of this, of course, is that the one thing Obama is not of African-American descent. He is of African descent, and American descent, but neither of his parents was African-American.

        1. Our unintelligentsia in the MSM have been known to refer to the President of South Africa as being of “African-American” descent.

          For that matter, they are incapable of describing the child of an American and a Boer (who emigrated to the US) as being of “African-American” descent.

          If you subscribe to the Olduvai Gorge thesis, we are all of African descent.

  8. It isn’t that our intelligentsia hate the United States, it is that we embarrass them. America has long-suffered a pretentious (would be) upper-crust who want to be accepted by the pretentious European aristos … for a time their was a tremendous trade in richly dowered American daughters in exchange for nobly titled impoverished European sons. (Indeed, to this day sharks still ply the waters of that cross-Atlantic route, hoping to dine once again on surrendered American virtue.)

    At the same time, Americans have nurtured a breed who disdain the pretensions of those who seek love in exotic places and prefer the approval of their own conscience above that of The World. These people consider the burden of self-governance less than that of tolerating the foolishness of others.

    Even if America falls, victim to our own success (we seem to have moved well into the “third generation” syndrome) the idea of America will outlast our fall. It is forever mankind’s fate to tumble, but it is also our destiny to rise again, occasionally even to learn something from our mistakes.

    Even now there is pushback against the SJWs, and rejection of the delusions of our intellectuals (forever adolescent as they be.) Ours is a country which embodies the principle of creative destruction; while we mourn the destruction let us also appreciate the creativity generated by human liberty.

    1. America isn’t going to fall. It may shrink – I think that if things got bad enough Texas, and quite a lot of the rest of the country between the Sierras and the Appalachians, would secede (really kick the coastal enclaves out of America until such time as they can buy back the devalued assets and the name – much how Baby Bell SBC became AT&T).

      1. If that comes to poss, I suggest a new capitol at the four corners, with a no-heat/no-AC requirement for the new buildings to house the legislature, executive, and any bureaucrats. Should help keep government down to size.

        1. No, no, a moving capitol. In winter, it will be in North Dakota. In spring, Oklahoma. In summer, Florida. In fall, back to Oklahoma.

              1. And winter is Blizzard season in North Dakota?

                Following this logic I might choose Louisiana for the summer rather than Florida — never a cooling breeze, unbelievable humidity and not much in the way of beaches.

                  1. Hammond, Gaars Mill or the like. small, hot and humid. Hammond might be too close to N.O. s so just to mess with them trying to spell or pronounce it … Natchitoches.

                  2. I expect the Bourbon Street-walkers would object to the competition, yes.

                    Of course, I gather that in Louisiana the dead not only vote, they march in the second line.

            1. Fall is Football season, meaning conveniently being able to attend OU and OSU home games. So fall is not a good time for the government to be in Oklahoma.

      2. Down here we’re waiting for the North to secede. But instead of fighting to bring them back, we’re going to run razor wire, set up guard towers, and run the Stainless Banner up our flagpoles.

  9. Timely. I shall use this post to beat a couple of despair mongers hanging about in my brain. Beat them soundly about the head and neck.

  10. A cursory read of our history will tell you that while we’d never before managed to elect someone who actively hates us (I maintain because he blames us for his father abandoning him) but we elected people who were bound by ideas that would have destroyed us, anyway if they had had time and enough sway.

    I believe that he thinks that what he hates about us is not us, per se. He, like many of his generation was influenced by Marxist theory and trained to believe that the country betrayed its initial promise.

    We all here know the litany: They failed to eliminate slavery at the get go. They failed to do justice by the Native Americans. They failed to assure full equality under the law to women, etc., etc..

    Surprise! surprise! they were human. From 1776:

    John: Mark me, Franklin, if we give in on this issue, posterity will never forgive us.

    Franklin: That’s probably true. But we won’t hear a thing, John — we’ll be long gone. And besides, what will posterity think we were — demigods. We’re men – no more, no less — trying to get a nation started against greater odds than a more generous God would have allowed. John, first things first! Independence! America! For if we don’t secure that, what difference will the rest make?

  11. Our grandkids are still going to be recovering from this clustercongress (congress, you understand in the Kama Sutra Sense.)

    The more things change the more they stay the same? From 1776:

    John: I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a congress. Any by God, I have had this Congress! For ten years King George and his Parliament have gullied, cullied, and diddled these Colonies with their illegal taxes — Stamp Acts, Townsend Acts, Sugar Acts, Tea Acts — and when we dared stand up like men they stopped our trade, seized our ships, blockaded our ports, burned our towns, and spilled our blood — and still this Congress won’t grant any of my proposals on Independence even so much as the courtesy of debate! Good God, what in hell are they waiting for?


    John: They may sit here for years and years in Philadelphia!
    These indecisive grenadiers of Philadelphia!
    They can’t agree on what is right or wrong
    Or what is good or bad.
    I’m convinced the only purpose
    This Congress ever had
    Was to gather here, specifically,
    To drive John Adams mad!

  12. Two things, it seems to me, have happened in the last 50-70 years or so which have contributed substantially to the American decline. First, we changed religion. We had been a predominantly Christian nation which by and large strove to adhere to Christian principles in its social relations both foreign and domestic. During FDR’s administration the followers of Marx-Lenin-Stalin successfully evangelized more and more Americans not by doctrinal precept, but by encouraging a change in praxis. IIRC it was Nietzche who said that you couldn’t destroy Christianity by attacking its doctrine, only by undermining its morals. This has been successfully done, Christianity has been replaced by a sort of neo-Marxist hedonism.

    The second thing that happened is America lost the practical knowledge of HOW to exercise civic authority in regards to our elected representatives. Simply showing up to vote is not enough. Our representatives require our constant oversight and direction, not just a thumbs up or down once every couple of years. It is a skill which we have allowed to fall into desuetude and which needs to be relearned and assiduously practiced. The only people I know who are taking this on are the folks over at the Center for Self Governance https://centerforselfgovernance.com/

    1. It is important to recognize the reality that, while the head of our government may be rotting, the body of this nation is recuperating:

      Steven Hayward at Power Line points us to what he calls the
      Feel Good Story of the Day

      After two presidential victories, Mr. Obama presides over a Democratic Party that has lost 13 seats in the U.S. Senate and 69 in the House during his tenure, a net loss unmatched by any modern U.S. president.

      Democrats have also lost 11 governorships, four state attorneys general, 910 legislative seats, as well as the majorities in 30 state legislative chambers. In 23 states, Republicans control the governor’s office and the legislature; Democrats, only seven.

      Such losses help shape the future: An ousted state lawmaker doesn’t run for Congress; a failed attorney general candidate loses a shot at the governor’s office. As a result, the flow of fresh political talent rising to statewide and national prominence in the years ahead won’t be as robust as Democrats hope.

      Look at the average ages of the 2016 presidential candidates in each party. On Inauguration Day, according to the Washington Post #,

      The average age that the possible Democratic contenders would be at inauguration in 2017 is 68.6, just under the 69.3 years that Clinton would be. That’s a full decade older than average inauguration age of the much-bigger, much-younger possible Republican field — the oldest of whom is a gentleman named Mitt Romney. The Republicans average 57 years in age on January 20, 2017.
      Jan, 2015 washingtonpost[DOT]com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/01/12/the-democrats-2016-field-is-more-than-a-decade-older-than-republicans-on-average/

      As we know Mitt is not going to be a candidate, we can strike his 69.9 years from the list, leaving Rick Perry (66.9) as the senior candidate.

      Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal are all under fifty — not that youth and vigor are going to be accorded greater importance than age and experience during this election, unlike the MSM emphasis in 2008.

      Bastard Journalists — I say shoot them all. They aren’t all bad, but trying to find those worth keeping is like Abraham’s plea to G-D to spare Sodom & Gomorrah if only 10 righteous men can be found. Let the honest ones go ablogging!

        1. Reading all this, culminating in the bloodbath that was the 2014 off year election, one might almost suspect that the Republican party was operating from a position of power and authority. Instead, it would appear for all intents and purposes to be populated primarily by mealy mouthed sycophants and professional politicians interested only in feathering their own nests.
          Grass roots conservatives, mostly Republican, are pissed as hell. They came out and handed their leaders control of Congress, and look at what good it did them. We have a president who it would appear can do any damn thing he wants, a SCOTUS that will rubber stamp his actions, and a Congress that can’t seem to find its ass with both hands. Not to mention a slate of potential candidates bound and determined to rip each other to shreds so as to guarantee that Hillary Rodham Clinton slides into the Whitehouse on greased skids.

          1. The party of youth …

            That is a bit of a mistranslation. It actually should be: “the party of childishness.”

    1. Not despairing of contemporary politics. Indeed, putting your hope in them is a sin.

      1. It is, of course, a judgement call. There are graduations between despairing of them and working at them, but the prudent soul must judge where on the scale the society is.

    2. Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

      But not that one. Lots of other sins, but never that. I try to stick to the enjoyable sins — Lust, Gluttony, Pride … I’m not real big on Envy. I mean, when you’re as glorious as I, who is there to be envious of?

          1. Sloth makes me forget to set & turn on the alarm clock when I go to bed. [Wink]

        1. Greed almost made Anti-Hero status before… oh wait, that was Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. 😉

    3. Not from 1776!:

      Sweet misery
      She loves her company
      She’s in a crowd when she is all alone
      She doesn’t care follow you everywhere
      She is most happy when she makes you moan

    4. Is it despair or frustration? I think most of us here know what can be done to fix things. I know I have a LONG list of things that would work. But all those things are politically impalatable for those at the levers in Washington.

  13. I don’t despair. I write. Including a story about a feisty grandma who tells a powerful Russian forest spirit, “You can’t do that – this is America!”

    1. So do I – write, that is. And meantime resisting – sullenly, bitterly and pouring vicious scorn on our would-be aristos.
      My daughter and I have taken steps this week — and in the last year or so: perfectly legal, in that we have been buying and stockpiling … stuff. Better to have and never need, than to need desperately and not have.

        1. One trope I have seen a lot of is the “rebellious prince(ss)” where the first thing we see of the main character is blowing off some royal duty, and anyone who tries to insist on enforcing is a stuffed shirt. Frequently it’s an actual duty. And when it’s ceremonial — well, the reason why protocol is so formalized is that natural and spontaneous behavior between countries tends to come with body counts.

          1. David Weber had a Crown Prince attempting to “dump” his body guards because they’d be in the “way” of his fun (a hunting trip).

            The head of the Prince’s body guards didn’t go along with the Prince’s attempt.

            Fortunately, because some assassins chose this hunting trip to make an attempt on the Prince.

            Even more fortunately, the Prince’s body guards got some unexpected support.

            Of course, since this Prince was one of Weber’s “Good Guys”, the hunting trip could be considered part of his duty as the animal he was hunting might have killed innocent commoners.

  14. You do hear a lot of depressing news these days, but I would remind those in the grip of despair to think about who is doing the telling. Of *course* the news is all gloom all the time–disaster and scandal sell. And even though the media does its damnedest to hide the other side, word still gets out. Think about all the movies they tried to make us like that tanked. That cake store that raised a record amount of donations to pay the punitive fine (even after GoFundMe rewrote their rules to stop it, another fundraising site was found). We’re finding ways to route around the censorship and omerta. We need more.

    Sure, things are bad. But don’t believe people with a vested interest in making you give up. What have you seen with your own eyes?

    1. For example — we saw prodigious quantities of reports on the appallingly large fine imposed by the State of Oregon on those service-denying bakers. How much coverage have you seen of the donations exceeding three times the amount of that fine?

    2. “Happy birthday, happy birthday.
      Miser-y, gloom, despair,
      People dying everywhere.
      Happy birthday.”
      (Sung to the tune “Song of the Volga Boatmen;” appropriate for natal feasts commemorating more than 50 passages of the Earth around the Sun.

      1. Nope. I have been around for 61 years and I refuse to despair. Mind you, I ignore birthdays. [Smile]

          1. And the more they pile up, the more the years keep dragging.

            From my first birthday to my second took double my lifespan. From my last to this one took less than 1/60 of my life.

      2. Snicker. There’s an inadvertently amusing performance of this on the audiobook of one of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books. Obviously Briggs knew the song, and obviously the audiobook reader was trying her darndest to sing the song (and knew the tune, and had a good voice). But nobody had told the audiobook reader how to scan the verses to the melody….

        So if you hear a VERY strange variant of this classic filk at some point in the next few years, you will know that the audiobook version has propagated itself.

      3. We had variant lyrics but that song is a staple at every birthday celebration that doesn’t include my 92 year old grandmother.

    3. I heard about that white supremacist march in the south on the radio; I didn’t hear about how one of the marchers– wearing a shirt with a swastika on it– had chest pains, and was helped to some cool shade and checked up on… by a black cop. Not buy his fellows. (Trooper, by his hat.)

      1. They’ve also been strangely silent about the Black (I suspect they disdain hyphenated Americanism) protesters in support of the Stars & Bars.

  15. Once you hit rock bottom and you can fall no further, the only direction you can go is up.

  16. Wow, I thought it was only Scots who were hopelessly addicted to lost causes–the Portugal thing not America!!!

  17. But it takes more than a Philip to beat us. We might catch a nuke, we might even lose one or two generations of prosperity, but Philip is just Philip. We’re the USA. Takes more than one man to keep us down as Fat George (the one who didn’t write GOT) found out.

  18. either because they hate it (no, don’t bother arguing, they do…)

    Sometimes I think it’s because they really do believe that the chaotic American way of doing things cannot possibly work. I’ve been reading a bit of political history lately, including the era of soviet spies in the United States, and the amazing thing is not just how many of the accused actually were spies, but how many political and thought leaders who weren’t spies, who were patriotic to the extent that they seemed to want America to succeed, still believed that the Soviet planned economy was so superior to the United States that we were doomed to fade against the Soviet future.

    I ran across this both in a biography of Edward R. Murrow, and (as quotes, Sharansky believes the opposite) in Natan Sharansky’s The Case for Democracy where he quotes politicians even in the eighties believing in the superiority of the Soviet system, mere years before the system would collapse; mainly (in Sharansky’s telling) because Reagan and a handful of legislators managed to link weapons deals with increased freedom of emigration and speech.

    Once enough people lost their fear of speaking out, the Soviet Union collapsed. But to most of the intelligentsia, that was a complete shock, because, clearly, the Soviet system was superior to ours.

    1. They can no more believe in “the invisible hand of the market” than they can believe in an “invisible sky friend.” Doesn’t mean they aren’t damned.

      Besides, if a market goes unregulated how are they (and their sisters and their cousins and their aunts) supposed to make a living off regulating things?

      1. Yeah, there’s a lot of that, too. I’m currently reading G.K. Chesterton’s Eugenics and Other Evils and part of it goes into their need for regulating that which cannot really be regulated, and that using the words for things that can be regulated doesn’t change their nature. But that they (the Eugenists) know this; they just expect to be the ones in charge, and promise not to misuse the definitions.

    2. I’ve seen enough to know that in the case of the FDR administration, it wasn’t so much who was a Soviet believer, but who wasn’t.

        1. Not everyone. Ukrainians were ready to greet the Germans as liberators, according to William Manchester’s The Arms of Krupp.

          I think there may have been some people in Germany and Italy who thought the Soviet Union were mistaken.

          1. Manchester is by no means the only source for that assertion about the Ukrainians.

  19. Hope?

    Donald Trump is running for president and BEING TAKEN SERIOSULY.

    There is no hope.

    1. The sad thing is that the worst GOP candidate would be a step up from what we have. I think that Trump would be better than the best candidate from the Democrats. And no, Trump will not be my first choice come primary time.

    2. No, the MSM is pretending to take him seriously.

      Doing so helps them smear the Republican Party as extremist and out of touch. (In fairness to the MSM, from where they sit the GOP is extremist and out of touch; heck, most members of the Democrat Party are extremist and out of touch from the MSM position.)

      1. The media desperately needs Trump to be the face of the Republican Party. He isn’t. Soon the silly season will be over.

        I hope.

      2. He’s currently polling ahead of other GOP candidates including Bush and Walker.

        That means that either the polls are more corrupt than usual, or there’s plenty of idiot republicans “in the ranks” who take him seriously.

        That is not an exclusive or.

          1. Yeah, don’t trust the polls when they’re saying what the Dems want to hear.

        1. Trump is polling well because he’s attacking Progressive ideas. Once an actual conservative starts pummeling the MSM they’ll shoot up in the polls and Trump will go back to his TV show.

          1. Polls at the moment indicate name recognition and publicity. Won’t nobody be crawling across broken glass to pull the lever for Trump.

            1. If Scott Walker or Ted Cruz could start sending the message Trump is shouting but do it “Midwest nice.” They would carry the primary in a walk. And Trump would deserve a goram medal.

              1. The MSM/Democrat hope is to use Trump to discredit the message. If Walker or Cruz or anyone else picks that message up before Trump has rendered it radioactive the Media Cone of Silence will absorb the sound.

                Look at what happened when open-immigration activists trucked an “undocumented” girl from Wisconsin to Iowa in order to try (and fail) to create a Walker viseo-clip to use in attack ads:

                This Is How Scott Walker Responded When A 13-Year-Old Girl Asked Why He Was Trying To Deport Her Dad
                BY ESTHER YU-HSI LEE JUL 20, 2015
                A 13-year-old U.S. citizen of undocumented parents living in Wisconsin twice confronted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, in Iowa on Sunday to ask why their state was part of a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s executive action on deportation relief for upwards of five million immigrants.

                During the five-minute exchange obtained by Voces de la Frontera, Walker told 13-year-old Leslie Flores, “I completely sympathize with the situation you’re all in and others are in,” but said that he wouldn’t drop Wisconsin from the lawsuit because “the president of the United States can’t make law without going through the Congress.”

                Turning to address Leslie’s family, Walker accused Obama of having the chance to fix immigration in his first two years in office, but failing to do so. Walker added that as president, he would make sure to secure the borders and put “in place a system that enforces the laws, and then, then the next president and Congress can deal with these issues going forward. But right now, I’m not blocking anything.”

                Leslie was in Iowa with her seven-year-old brother Louis and her undocumented father Jose.

                Before breaking out into tears, Louis asked Walker, “Do you want me to like come home and come from school and my dad get deported?” Walker sidestepped, stating that he had two nieces who go to school in Waukesha, but that his point was “in America nobody’s above the law.” Instead of addressing the topic of deportation, Walker stated that he hoped kids like Louis would learn in school that “the President and the Congress have to work together.”

                When Jose jumped in later, asking if Wisconsin could be dropped from the lawsuit, Walker stated, “I agree with it, I support the lawsuit because the President can’t be above the law.”

                Watch the extended confrontation here:
                — — —
                Don’t read the whole thing; features the typical conflation of legal and illegal immigration you would expect at Think Progressive.

                1. The problem with using Trump to make the GOP radioactive is that most of the candidates are running away from Trump, and those who aren’t are keeping quiet. Nobody is running toward Trump, so when the hairpiece goes down in flames it really isn’t going to take any other candidates with it. If anything, it would help the GOP candidates with immigration. Any position short of internment camps – and those are more of a Democrat trademark – is going to look pretty reasonable next to Trump. All a candidate has to do is announce prioritizing border security, dealing with sanctuary cities, and deporting serious criminals. Maybe say something about considering a pathway to citizenship once all that is done, but emphasize that it would depend strongly on the situation down the road. I think that position would resonate strongly with everyone to the right of the open borders absolutists, who aren’t going to be voting for a Republican anyway.

                  1. If the electorate were logical I would agree with you, but the polls are full of examples indicating voters are not logical.

                    In 2012, voters thought Romney would be better at handling the economy:

                    And yet the fact remains that:

                    The pollsters asked voters which of four characteristics they most wanted to see in their president. Mitt Romney won among voters who chose three of those characteristics: shares my values, is a strong leader and has a vision for the future. What’s more, he carried them heavily, by between nine and 23 points. In all, 79 percent of voters selected one of these characteristics.

                    Romney lost because he lost among those who chose the remaining characteristic — by 63 points, 81-18. That characteristic? Cares about people like me.

                    The president “caring about people like me” is down in the bottom 10% of reasons I would vote for anybody, somewhere between “brushes & flosses regularly” and “apologizes when he farts.”

                    Many times polls have found significant broad public support for a number of issues such as tuition vouchers, only to see that support drop when it is identified as a “Republican” issue. The Democrat (and MSM, but I repeat myself) survive by smearing Republicans, convincing a significant percentage of the voting public that Republicans are burning black churches, looking to re-institute the (Democrat) policy of race slavery, poisoning the air, water and land, deny minorities the right to vote, cancel Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security (and literally push granny over a cliff), put women in binders while denying them birth control (and possibly imprisoning them on baby-generating farms),and planning to round up 12 million people and shove them over the border into Mexico.

                    Idiocy? Sure — but their vote counts the same as yours or mine and their vote can be relied upon to cast their ballots as if their lives depend on keeping Republicans out of office. Well, that and because they don’t actually have to cast their ballot — the local Democrat party member or unionist (again, I repeat myself) will see that ballot is cast for them, without ever having to leave the comfort of their hovels.

                    1. The 2012 election wasn’t an issues election, it was a turnout one. The Obama campaign debuted some new techniques to get voters out, while the Romney campaign’s turnout efforts were…less than successful. Remember that less than 10,000 voters in the right states completely changed the outcome. Also recall that Obama benefited from unprecedented turnout and support from the black community. Since there isn’t going to be a black candidate on the ticket (I doubt Carson makes the VP cut) the Dems are operating from a significantly weaker position than they enjoyed in 2012, which was a close election.

                    2. “The 2012 election wasn’t an issues election, it was a turnout one.”

                      Not to mention a fraud one, with precincts reporting turnout > 100%, and no donation limits for Obama.

                    3. That is aside from the point that the goal is to trash the GOP brand, establishing sufficient voter aversion that:

                      A: Democrats will be motivated to vote lest women be put in binders, etc.

                      2, Independents will be reluctant to choose the devil they don’t know and embarrassed to publicly support a party which might cause them to be called names (e.g., raaaaacist, sexxxxxxxxxis, homophobe.)

                      c) Republicans will stay home rather than support an imperfect candidate (and all candidates are imperfect) who is 1) too extreme B: too moderate 3 – not “just right” on [insert issue here].

                      Choosing the rantings of a minor (Todd Akin) candidate and demanding of all other Republicans whether such statements are orthodoxy is as much a part of the MSM playbook as is ignoring the wilder things said by any Democrat and refusing to ask their candidates questions about Planned Parenthood or the Southern Poverty Legal Connivers.

                    4. And what Jerry and others mistake for despair is the clear eyed recognition that

                      a) what we have here is the warm-body democracy described in your post, which the Founders did not intend for the country and which their system of checks and balances will NOT handle, and

                      b) that we have already reached that point described by Churchill where “you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival.” and are rapidly approaching “a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

        2. You can always stir up the idiots with enthusiastic shouting. The idea that a Clinton donor who made a fortune pushing the eminent domain envelope against private property rights and felt entitled to a free trip to Epstein’s Pedophile Island is simply not to be borne…

    3. It’s not so much that the Donald is being taken seriously as that he’s saying things that no one else has had the guts to say out loud. He’s a gadfly nipping at the heels of the rest of the GOP crowd. Doing some good in that things that need saying are, but also doing more than a little damage to the rest of the pack. And that aids and abets Hillarybeast, so not overall such a good thing.

      1. This. People are glad he’s finally saying what so many have been stewing over. I suspect that’s why he’s doing well in the polls – it’s in part a protest vote over immigration and the lack of law enforcement. And it will shock the bourgeoisie (in this case the Main Stream Media).

  20. “Automagically” that’s a great word. I hope I have a good opportunity to borrow it someday.

    1. This far ahead of the election the polls are one way to say “Tell us more about that topic”, so yes, a protest vote.

  21. A while back, I mentioned a video in which a person who was present heard Bill Ayers and the other 25 or so leaders of the Weather Underground discuss liquidating 25 million Americans in reeducation camps in the US Southwest. I was not able to point to the video, but NeoNeoCon has it on her blog today, 7/21/15. The title of the individual entry is “What does the hard left have in mind for America?”

    1. And comments like that are why I’m ready to start shooting the bastards; I see no reason to repeat the mistake my grandparents generation made with Hitler and not take them at their word. Once I take them at their word, it becomes purely a matter of pragmatic self-defense.

  22. Our intelligentsia consider themselves citizens of the world. Mostly because they know NOTHING about the world and think it’s a giant vacation resort and we the only political actors in it, while everyone is our hapless victim.

    That is one of the best descriptions of their blindness that I’ve everread. What’s more, they totally don’t get that they are treated like kings abroad because of American wealth and power, which makes the foreign regimes leery of angering America by molesting American citizens; if they hailed from (say) Nigeria or the Philippines, they might not be treated with such tender regard.

  23. Because this whole government by the people for the people thing? It’s an idea so spectacularly crazy and yet so gloriously daring that it has been lighting the world ever since it was first conceived.

    The problem is people are imperfect. They pursue self-interest to the detriment of the society as a whole. The Constitution was meant to restrain this facet of human nature, but ever since the political started finding penumbras etc, the Constitution has been abandoned.

    “Thou shalt not covet.” As long as people accepted this precept, things went pretty well. Human nature responds better to promises of free stuff, and that is why government and republics self-destruct eventually.

    1. Wash your mouth. Self interest is not in general to the detriment of society as a whole. Note the left uses “votes against their self interest” to describe voting for the right, but are wrong. It’s more “votes against money handed to them and for a healthy economy.”

      1. Could have chosen another way to say it.
        Milton Friedman, in Free to Choose made the statement several times “No one spends someone else’s money as carefully as he spends his own.

        US deficits, approved by both parties, along with unfunded liabilities in Medicare and Social Security have put you on a downward spiral that I can’t see reversing. And now your president seems to be willingly handing over power to the UN. ‘What could go wrong?’

        Pretty much everything.

      2. Oh, and the selfishness I was writing about above is that of the ruling class elites. The constitution was meant to restrain them, but they have slipped the bonds.

          1. If you belong to the elite and can get what you want by demanding that citizens provide it, who needs money?

      3. He did say at the cost of others– them spending money for what they think is a good goal is a neutral act. Them spending my money on what they think is a good idea, outside of agreed-on frameworks…

    1. Romans had two centuries or so as a republic, and over a millennium as an empire if I remember correctly. Let us hope we do not follow the same trajectory.

  24. When you get so low that you decide it just doesn’t matter, that the GOP is as bad as the Dems, just driving off the cliff at 60 instead of 100, keep this in mind: the squishiest Republican who might realistically get elected is probably Jeb Bush. In four years, at the end of that first term, there are four Justices who will be over 82 years old.

    Per Terence Jeffrey,

    According to the birthdates listed on the Supreme Court website, the court’s nine current justices will have an average age of 75 by the time the next presidential term ends on Jan. 20, 2021.

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest justice, was born on March 15, 1933. She is now 82. When the next presidential term ends she will be 87 years and 10 months old — or 87.8 years old.

    Antonin Scalia, the second oldest justice, was born on March 11, 1936. He is now 79. When the next presidential term ends, he will be 84 years and 10 months — or 84.8 years old.

    Anthony Kennedy, the third oldest justice, was born on July 23, 1936. He is now 78. When the next presidential term ends, he will be 84 years and 5 months — or 84.4 years old.

    Stephen Breyer, the fourth oldest justice, was born on August 15, 1938. He is now 76. When the next presidential term ends, he will be 82 years and 5 months — or 82.4 years old.

    You cannot credibly argue it won’t matter whether Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton is nominating those replacement Justices. Even if the two were inclined to nominate the same person, Jeb would have to heed his Right and Hill would veer to her Left.

    Similarly, the two won’t be appointing the same (or even equivalent) cabinet secretaries nor administrators at various agencies. Government is far more than just the Chief Executive, it is everything downstream from there.

    Besides, we can rely on the MSM to do their frickin’ job in opposition to a Republican president.

    So get out the vote.

    1. Sigh. There should have been a Close Italics tag after squishiest, with the post-quote italics coming on again at “do their frickin’ job.

      Curse you, WP, for denying us preview capability!!!!!

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