Talking Real Loud

If most of my Portuguese relatives (instead of one or two) read this blog, I’d be in even more trouble than I am.

The one or two who read the blog get really upset at my America-Pride posts, and even more upset at the USAian short stories.  (Shrugs.)  So much the worse.

I do understand their taking offense, to an extent.  After all I grew up Portuguese and that I love the US and rally to it seems like an insult to them.

It is not an insult, it is what I am, sort of an inner compulsion of the soul.  If my kids should go to say Australia and write endless posts and stories about how much they love it, I’d hope to be able to only sulk a little bit.

But weirdly I think if my dad could read my blog (he doesn’t speak/read English) he would understand, precisely because he is a Portuguese patriot, while the family members getting burned are mostly tres internationale, tres chic, tres moderne, and think patriotism itself is something slightly gauche that belongs in the nineteenth century in a scent of mothballs and a cloud of kids named after kings.

So when I’m publicly patriotic, what I’m doing is worse than insisting on wearing pettycoats and ankle length skirts, which could at least be charmingly eccentric.

Because you see they know, because six generations have learned this now, that patriotism kills.  This was the lesson they took from world war I and, because world war two dressed socialism in funny German outfits, it didn’t shake them.  It never occurred to them that people go to war for many reasons, one of them being that they think they can win, which might or might not be fed by exaggerated pride in their country, but that no one has gone to war UNPROVOKED just because they love their country.

I can’t even imagine the mechanics of that “we love our homeland, it has beautiful fields, let’s go invade next door and kick their ass”  WHAT?

What happens rather is that when a nation attacks for whatever reason, patriotism and national pride allow a nation to defend itself.

I was thinking about this because Julie Pascal (I THINK on facebook) made a comment  about pride and bragging on your homeland being a good thing. It builds confidence and certainty, it gives you something to fight from.  She says she’s not sure a land where its people don’t brag about it might be able to survive.

We used to teach the kids stories about their country and their ancestors (real, or at least theoretically so — more often — in Europe, and ideological in the US.  We taught them patriotism by degrees.

Was the story about Washington and the cherry tree a lie? Perhaps so, but in the grand scheme of things does it matter? It taught them virtues we want associated with the country. Teach them not only what is admirable about our land, but what we want to be admirable about our land. If they believe men of their land are strong and true and lay down their lives for the weak, it will help them to be so.  Virtue is not easy, and taking a good run up to it, and feeling we naturally should do it, helps.

In the same way courage is hard, and you can’t ask people to lay down their lives for something they’ve been taught to despise.

Patriotism never caused wars.  (Not even German Patriotism.  Their desire for a warm water port and markets for their wears did.)  Patriotism is the white blood cells of the culture, the defensive mechanism of the territory.

Imagine — this is easy for me, since I’m a guest in someone else’s house right now — that you live in a really nice house.  It cost you a lot of money.  It took you years to work up to buying it, and it is the house you always dreamed of.  You clean it every day, polish the woodwork, clean the windows.

Now imagine your no-good cousin and his five ill-taught brats come to visit.  Those kids are trumping up and down your polished hardwood floors in steel-toed boots.  Your cousin is sleeping on your leather sofa, slopping beer onto it.  Your no good cousin-in-law has burned something indescribable on the stove.

You’re gonna get mad.  You’re gonna ask them to shape up or ship out.

Now imagine you’re living in a tar paper shack.  It’s objectively a lot more fragile than your big dream house.  But you don’t like it, don’t want to live there, and don’t think it’s a big deal when the kids are poking holes in the walls, and your no-good cousin is spilling beer on your third hand sofa. So you let them.  And come winter you’re going to be mighty cold int hat tar paper shack with the holes in the wall..

Or to make the comparison fairer, take the home we just bought.  It’s a suburban house.  In fact, it’s a d*mn nice suburban house, rather fortunate about its location.  Because we took 25 years working up to it, starting with a starter house of 800 sq feet which we couldn’t sell at the price we bought it.

Sure our new house needs a bit of work.  Sure, in the fullness of time we’ll change the counters to granite, we’ll put wood on the floor instead of the rather ratty carpets on it now, we’ll give it a good painting.

BUT as it is right now it is the best d*mn house we’ve ever owned.  (We didn’t live in Victorians because we wanted to, but because they were usually cheap enough/in bad shape enough when we bought them that we could afford them and the neighborhood was better than the house.  This also means after years of fixing and improving we sold them at a nice profit, allowing us to work up the scale.)

Anyway, imagine instead of making our slow way up, we had made our way precipitously down. Suppose we’d lost a house twice the size and fixed up top of the line and up to the minute.

Then take the same no-good-cousin in law on the wrong side of the blanket as visitor.  You can see how, right now, we’d defend our place tooth and nail, right?  If it were our “make do” and “any place to crash” house?  Not so much.

Same with countries.  If you think your country is the best thing since sliced bread, and that your culture is the best thing that ever happened to mankind, you’ll defend it.  You’ll fight for it.  Long before time comes to fight physically, you’ll have taught any visitor or anyone moving in that your place is something special and that, being so privileged as to be admitted to it, they should be on their best behavior so they can have their kids live in that special place too.

The problem with this war we’re fighting, this attrition and invasion offensive is that the perfect defense for it is the nineteenth century kind of patriotism.  That same patriotism our upper classes have spent a century removing, under the amiable impression they were preventing war.

If France and Germany and yeah, us too, still believed that their country, in itself, was a value, something to care for, something to be proud of, we wouldn’t be in the pickle we’re in.  Terrorists would know that people who love their country would respond to outrages with overwhelming force.  Terrorists might never have started because those of them in the west would have imbibed the message of how wonderful the west was, and they’d have mental tools to shut down the crazy uncle at the back of their head, telling them that their birth-land was best and that their birth religion gives them dominion over every other human.

So I’m sorry if it offends the delicate sentiments (lilac-scented feelings)of any citizen of a lesser country reading this, but the US at least still has vestiges of its white blood cells.  We still fought back when attacked.  Meanwhile the Europeans wring their hands and wish that something would happen to make these nasty people stop attacking them.  Not that they mean to imply that the nasty people are any nastier then them, of course, or that they shouldn’t be attacked, but really….

What they need to do instead is take a hint, and start bragging on their country and loving it, just like we do love ours.  And we too need to start pouring on the bragging, even more than what we feel (if that is possible) to counter decades of public school blame-America-first teachers.  We need to walk really proud, and talk really loud again.  We need to talk about how we’re faster than a jackrabbit, and braver than a mountain lion, how our cowboy boots are seven league boots, and how when an American spits in the ocean it causes a tsunami.

We need to teach the kids to love their homeland.  And to stop frigging apologizing.  In the history of man, there is no nation who ever had nothing to apologize for, but ours has less than most. And even those lands — I’m looking at you Germany — who have a lot to apologize for, have more good than evil in their ancestry.  Start honing the good by praising it and teaching it, and make that evil a foot note.

Walk real proud, talk real loud again.

Or die, and leave the world to nations mired in darkness and evil who never yet apologize for anything and who brag of their hatred for you, when they have nothing else to brag on.

It’s that simple.

And to my little adopted sister, Kate Paulk: if ever there was a time I didn’t want to be out of the country, and I wanted to be there to support you, it was today.  But since I can’t, have a good naturalization ceremony and welcome home to this fractious family that is the best thing to ever happen to G-d’s green land.

Happy naturalization day.  We’ll throw you a shindig later.

322 responses to “Talking Real Loud

  1. It seems to me that at least one of the Brexit drivers was old fashioned patriotism by the English – particularly those of the lower classes. Despite having been told by their betters for 50 years or more that pride in England/Britain is bad, they’ve remained stubbornly patriotic and got gradually more annoyed as the richer urban elites have systematically denigrated their country and heritage.

    They were called racists for objecting to immigration, but I’m sure that was the sneering classes misinterpreting what they were objecting to. It’s not immigrants, its immigrants who don’t respect local traditions and history and try to impose their own instead that was the problem.

    • “[Brexiters] got gradually more annoyed as the richer urban elites have systematically denigrated their country and heritage.”

      And much like the American “elite” Left, and the “elite” Left throughout its miserable history, they insulated themselves from the effects of that denigration. These things never end well.

    • “Immigrants” are people who come to your country and adopt your customs, mores and ethos — who join with you.
      People who come to your country and establish enclaves where they continue the practices, customs, mores and ethos of their former homelands are properly termed “Invaders.”

      • The Other Sean

        Except when they’re termed “diplomats,” of course.

      • And the US government including both major political parties seems more interested in the happiness and welfare of such invaders than most of their citizens.

      • Another synonym is colonist. Rather ironic that traditional anti-colonialists are busy colonizing Europe. Many of the people coming to America want to be learn to be Americans, but they get so many mixed signals that they truly don’t know how. The Libtards are encouraging colonization.

  2. “Because you see they know, because six generations have learned this now, that patriotism kills. This was the lesson they took from world war I and, because world war two dressed socialism in funny German outfits, it didn’t shake them. It never occurred to them that people go to war for many reasons, one of them being that they think they can win, which might or might not be fed by exaggerated pride in their country, but that no one has gone to war UNPROVOKED just because they love their country.”

    This reminds me of the gun control debate, no matter how much proof you have, or how common sense your beliefs are, you simply can’t reason people out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into.

    • Re: Gun Control “no matter…how common sense your beliefs are…

      And the refrain is always about “common sense” gun laws, despite the commonly understood fact that people who intend to commit mass murder don’t generally concern themselves with procedural obstacles.

      “Common sense” They keep using those words…

      • My response is generally, “You don’t get to limit my ability to keep and bear arms. Go away.” Debating the issue is irrevelant; it’s a natural right and the 2nd Amendment forbids the Feds from infringing on it. The 14th extended the 2nd to apply to state and local gov’ts as well. So basically any laws limiting law-abiding citizens ability to keep and bear arms are automatically unconstitutional. Yes, I know, the courts go through all sorts of contortions to pretend these laws meet some sort of constitutional acceptance, but they very obviously don’t.

        • Yep, nobody but a lawyer could here the phrase “shall not be infringed” and think there is wiggle room.

          But that wasn’t actually my point, the point was that there is ample proof that gun control does not work; well, to an extent it does work to keep guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens, which is it’s intent in a majority of cases, no matter how much those proposing it vehemently deny it. But actually even in that case, it tends to make criminals out of law abiding citizens much more often than it makes criminals give up there guns. Murder is already against the law, and has a much higher penalty than illegal possession of a firearm, why would a murderer balk at using an unlawful weapon to break a much more serious law? Are they going to hang him twice because he used a gun instead of an ice pick?

          • Like any other laws, gun control laws are SUPPOSED to provide penalties for malefactors after a crime, not prevent it; laws against theft obviously do not prevent that. There already exist federal laws providing for mandatory, nonparollable, nonconcurrent prison sentences for EACH instance of a convicted felon even just touching a firearm and/or a cartridge; they are part of the Gun Control Act of 1968. If the government would just enforce the existing laws, crime would drop precipitously; we know this because it has been tried. But the federal government has a policy of not pursuing violations of federal gun laws if there are state or local violations, or not, for that matter, so what good are the existing laws? And passing new laws is sexier than enforcing old laws; it tells the proles that the politicians are Doing Something About Crime. Besides, enforcing the existing laws would be Racist or something, and laws that only affect noncriminal gun owners wouldn’t be, as most legal gun owners are white. Proposed gun control laws will not prevent any crimes; they are intended to criminalize things that are currently legal. They will CREATE massive numbers of criminals, as a lot of gun owners will not give them up. Meanwhile, for the criminal class, it will be business as usual…

            Incidentally, the USSC ruled, decades ago, that lying on the Form 4473, the form you fill out when buying a gun from a licensed dealer, is not prosecutable IF YOU ARE A CRIMINAL; requiring that you fill it out accurately violates your 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. Make of that what you will.

      • Common sense gun laws would require the owner to be held responsible for their misuse. They would hold a manufacturer liable if a properly maintained gun failed to operate as designed and sold — not if a wielder misused it.

        Similarly, you could sue Husqvarna if your chain saw slipped its interlock safety and engaged without your hand on the trigger but not if you disabled that safety and deliberately severed your foot, nor if you cut off a large tree limb while standing underneath it, dropping the branch onto you own head.

        • But… but… this is CLEARLY the fault of the manufacturer!

        • Wandered onto the scene after that happened to a neighbor. Chainsaw, man lying on ground, I ran up dreading scene of unspeakable gore. Nah, a limb of the tree he had been working on had fallen loose and fallen onto his head. I stayed till I was sure he was ok and that someone else was there.

      • Example of real common sense gun control: if you need to use both hands on your weapon to reliably deliver the rounds to the target, do it. Leave the flashy stuff to Hollywood.

        • Olympic class Air Pistol Moving Target shooters have excellent gun control.
          “Are you in favor of more Gun Control?”
          The new Howitzers fire a GPS guided, self steering round, so the controls can be fairly simple and still get the rounds on Target, ergo it is less needed..

        • There’s a great scene in Bite Me: Big Easy Nights where the gunowner’s opinion of Jackie’s refusing ear protection and standing like an old-style duelist to fire the gun with one hand is made clear.

        • I learned to shoot one-handed, as the US Army determined was the correct way. “If they wanted you to use both hands, they would have put two handles on it.”

          I’ve tried most of the various iterations of the two-handed grip-of-the-month fads, but I don’t shoot noticeably better that way, so I just keep on keepin’ on…

      • Simple common sense about guns: Offensive use is very much NOT the same as defensive use.

      • “Common Sense Gun Control” – – 1) Never pointing a gun at something (or someone) you don’t fully intend to shoot;

        2) Hitting anything you actually do intend to hit.

  3. A quibble on tar paper shacks:

    It brought to mind a complaint from a historical novel where a man took exception to knocking the chinking from between the logs to make loopholes. “My kids are freezing enough in the winter now, and you go making more holes,” was how it went. There is some truth there, and comes into what my tenant farmer grandfather said was the difference between poor and trash. Poor says “I wish I had better, but I’m going to take care of what I have.” Trash doesn’t care.

    • You care for things you value, shack, mansion, or country. You don’t care for things you don’t value. Shack, mansion, or country.

    • Hierarchy of needs. Ability to respond adequately to imminent attack takes precidence over it’s chilly in here. Once the immediate threat has passed go get a bucket of clay from the spring and gather some moss and we’ll have us a chinking party.

    • Hmmmm shacks… My company sends our equipment all over the world in large crates with the equipment inside wrapped in plastic. One of our guys showed up at a job site in India and found the equipment sitting out bare on monsoonal mud. During his ride back to a hotel in town he spotted brand new shacks with our logo on the walls and plastic covered roofs.

  4. I posted this as a comment on one of those “RIP America” posts you see on Facebook.

    Somebody needs to reread The American Crisis. Look at our history: We’ve whupped the most powerful military of the 18th century – twice, the French, the Barbary states, and Mexico. Then we took some time off to tame a continent and a few dozen Amerind tribes before picking a fight with ourselves because it was the only way to get a decent opponent. After that we took on the Spanish and the Germans. Then we put the most powerful navy in the world on the bottom of the ocean starting with nothing more than a handful of tin cans and some scout ships, and that was a distraction from taking on the Germans again. After that we stared down 2/3 of Asia and forced them to blink, all while rebuilding the very countries we had just spent half a decade bombing back to the Gravel Age. You think Barry the Simple and his racist minions are going to be anything more than a speed bump?

    Is it going to be all skittles and beer? Hell no! If it were easy we’d let the fucking French take care of it. We get the hard problems because we FIX the hard problems. Now grab ahold the line and heave.

    “Well, boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader’s mule, the radio is gone and we’re leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we’d need sleigh bells on this thing… but we got one little budge on them Rooskies. At this height why they might harpoon us but they dang sure ain’t gonna spot us on no radar screen!”

    Is that loud enough?

    And welcome home, Kate.

    • Well said. And seconds on the welcome to Kate. As Scott Ott occasionally says, there are Americans who just haven’t managed to get here yet.

      • And yet there are foreigners born here who refuse to move out.

        There ain’t no justice, I tells ya.

        And Kate – let me echo the thanks of a nation grateful for the love of all who aren’t put off by our crazy uncle Bernie or the fact we don’t keep our crazy aunt in the attic.

        • That is the strongest argument against the idea of America being a propositional nation: Sarah had to move here (geography) and undergo the naturalization process (adopted into the family) to be a citizen.

          Barrack Obama not only stays a citizen despite rejecting every, single thing that supposedly makes up the propositional nation but is considered a natural born citizen (because blood) and allowed to be President.

          I’ve more than once said I’d happily legalize every working, law abiding illegal immigrant if I could make Mexico take leftists and welfare recipents on a 1:1 basis.

        • I just realized that by foreigners born here who refuse to move out you might have easily meant the children of illegals as much as people born citizens who clearly want the US to be anything but the US.

          Every year of this administration, and I suspect every year of Hillary’s, I’m going to become more and more supportive of an amendment that eliminates birthright citizenship and requires an afirmative, and personally disruptive, act (a la Starship Troopers) to become a citizen. That’s less because of anchor babies or birth citizenship tourism than people like our current President.

      • IIRS, decades ago I saw a tee-shirt with a little green man on the front and a US flag and the caption, Alien by birth; American by choice. There’s a story in there, somewhere.

    • freddiemacblog

      All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of
      us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time

      —-Chesty Puller

  5. Exactly!

  6. Yay Kate! Congratulations!!

  7. The problem is, if you are proud of your country, then you will get these strange ideas like the government is here to serve the citizens that care not to import people that don’t care. Consent of the governed? What a quaint idea.

  8. Randy Wilde

    Why do I get the impression that someone’s been listening to the Charlie Daniels Band?

  9. Agreed – we’ve been gaslighted for half a century (or more) regarding our history, capabilities and character – and now we are just saying, No – enough. We see what we are, we know what we know, and we won’t stand any more for our history being distorted.

  10. So if patriotism is the white cells of society, would Nazism be a form of societal lupus?

    • It was socialism using the vehicle of outraged nationalism. I’ll have to ask the medically inclined son.

    • If patriotism is the white blood cells, then Naziism would be acute lymphocytic leukemia.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Nazism has five features:
      1. The Christian heresy of Socialism, as reformed by Marx.
      2. Technocracy, being so impressed by (and ignorant of) processes for improving the making of widgets that one concludes (wrongly) that they can improve the making of men.
      3. Perfection by blood. The belief that Darwin showing that the underlying processes of breeding horses and hounds work on men means that breeding men like horses and hounds is desirable and feasible. (The Soviets were instead into perfecting breeding by education. Implication is that those who go to the most correct schools are most fit to direct the reform. (Aristocrats in other countries happened to be very well placed to monopolize the most correct schools for their get.) )
      4. Some flavor of nationalism. (They needed a population as a reliable base to recruit from.) (Note that the Soviets were Russian nationalists.)
      5. Possibly some year zero/eschatological thinking. (I’m not sure how much was Hitler’s meth/coke habit.) (The Soviets were deliberately trying to emulate the French Revolution.)

      The first three are probably essential features.

      • > The Soviets were instead into
        > perfecting breeding by education.

        Lysenko’s theories thrived mostly because Stalin supported him, then faded sharply after even Stalin realized that they didn’t work. I still haven’t figured out how he managed to keep his post, much less avoid the gulag or a bullet.

        But what’s even crazier is, now that we know more about genetics and how environmental effects can affect “expression”… Lysenko wasn’t right, but he wasn’t entirely wrong, either. Like many things, the more we learn about genetics, the more complicated it gets.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I may have erred in my word choice. ‘Bred’ can also refer to upbringing, and I assume that so can ‘breeding’. My intent was the creation of the New Soviet Man, not Lysenko.

          The modern aristocrats by blood in Europe are reportedly often heavily on the left. The story that they are fit to rule because of qualities in their blood does not sound plausible to the modern ear. If we can instead educate man into perfection, well, the aristocrats have gone to ‘better’ schools, so that makes them a cut above us, fit to rule us.

          • the aristocrats have gone to ‘better’ schools

            For certain values of “better.” Does not apply to all definitions of “school.” Objects in the mirror may appear smarter than they are. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Your mileage may vary.

          • It’s hardly limited to Europe. Back in the days when Scott Walker was leading the Republican field, there were plenty of people declaring his lack of a college degree made him unfit to be president. And 8 years ago, one of the complaints about Sarah Palin was that she had attended a state school rather than one of the Ivy Leagues.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Yes. The reason for mentioning the Aristocrats of Europe is to suggest that leftism serves them as a cosmetic rebranding of the divine mandate of Kings.

          • freddiemacblog

            And, here’s a wonderful example of the upper class being a cut above the rest … inbreeding is such a tragic flaw.

        • As long as you never hit Stalin’s paranoia button, you could survive your mistakes and live, if not thrive, in his system, like several of his cronies in the Red Army who survived defeats that would have had others shot for (Budenny??)

      • #5 is a very common feature of peoples under stress. We usually associate it with Christianity, but Judaism, Amerind peoples (the Ghost Dance), the Xausa in Africa, have all had spasms. Marx’s work posits a Year Zero and rebuilding, and Nazism picked it up there as well as from Christianity and the imagery of Ragnorak in some Norse mythology. There’s a bit of “world race war, best will survive” in the [stuff] that came out of 19th century cultural racism and that grew after 1900.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I don’t know how much of that the Nazis were talking about in the beginning, and how much was late war crazy.

          • There’s an element that goes back to “Mein Kampf” and similar writings, but it got stronger after the Night of the Long Knives and grew during the war.

    • Errr…

      What he said.

    • None of the above. Naziism wasn’t actually solely a thing of “nationalism”, although it did make use of it extensively.

      What Naziism actually was, when you get down to it and examine the tea leaves, was an organized crime “bust-out”, performed on a national level.

      You can’t really look at it any other way. Yeah, they talked good game, but in the final analysis, they never lived up to their words. Their actions are what you have to look at, and the entire Nazi regime starts to look a lot like what happened in Chicago under Capone and the Daleys.

      On top of that, the question of “is it really nationalism when we start conducting pogroms against our own citizens, and begin starting wars and annexing other nation’s territories because they contain the dominant ethnic/cultural minority of our nation…?”. I would submit that the features of Naziism that we think of as being “nationalistic” were not quite so; it would be much more accurate to refer to them as having been “ethnist”, to coin a term. Nationalism in its “true state” would restrict itself to a set geographic area; the Nazis claimed to speak for all “Germanic” people, everywhere, and would no doubt have eventually made the claim that the extensive immigration of Germans to the US gave them the right to territory in North America, despite the intermixture of German-speaking people throughout the nation.

      So, yeah… They had aspirations to a lot more than mere “nationalism”.

      • Yeah, they talked good game, but in the final analysis, they never lived up to their words.

        Well, Hilter provided more Germans cars, which was a promise, than our war against poverty has provided modern poor Americans. Our war on poverty, has provided a bunch of government functionaries with cars and politicians with limos.

        • Ignore the shifting goalposts of how they’re defining poverty these days– from when the “war on poverty” started, to now, what happened to the percent of the population that is what-they-defined-then-as-in-poverty?

          What happens when you remove the actually dysfunctional from that pool?
          (mental disability [not just illness but can’t-function], the disabled who refuse help[there’s got to be some, it’s listed to balance the insane who won’t accept help], criminal populations [both because they tend to have a lot of ‘estimate’ and because it’s not supposed to end world poverty] and I’m sure I’m missing something else)

          I’m pretty sure that you’ll end up with a very small population of wow-that’s-actual-poverty folks, and a lot of “not as well off as everyone else but about lower-middle-class comfortable for the 50s” folks. That’s without any sort of adjustment for “but color TV!” or “computers that didn’t even exist!”

          • The definition of poverty isn’t actually shifting, I don’t think. They no longer define it as an income below a certain dollar level, but as the lowest 10/15/18/whatever percent of people on the economic ladder. Voila, poverty never ends!

            • The gov’t standards for “poverty” are, in theory, an attempt to measure a thing that’s actually there– poverty.

              So if they define it as “the bottom XYZ percent” of anything, that’s a shifting definition. The thing it points at and says “this is poverty” is going to be constantly changing.

              • The definition is a 1960s back of the envelope estimate of what percentage of income spent on food indicates poverty. That is what went into the LBJ laws and has never really been formally defined on the government level.

                Now, poverty advocates (yes, they advocate for poverty IMNSHO) use what drloss is talking about, the bottom 15% so we could all have Trump’s lifestyle as a minimum and they would still claim 45 million Americans in poverty.

                However, I would argue that the War on Poverty has created poverty of spirit and drive, much more than it repaired any poverty of money. A nation whose poor have AC and color TV (which ours do according to the census) but no purpose or reason to exist beyond judge shows in the afternoon because government provides for them like they were a 3 month old is much, much poor than a country where the poor at best have indoor plumbing but each and everyone can reach with work, a middle class life, and can choose to do that work without losing a thing because they are dependent on government.

                • I agree with all points of that– including the poverty advocates definition– I just think it’s important to both be as honest as possible about what it’s managed, and incidentally destroy the “all this time and poverty isn’t solved yet” thing.

            • As long as the effective standard of living for the “people on the economic ladder” keeps rising, then a percentage definition is a shifting one in terms of what living standards qualify as poverty.
              That’s why “poverty” no longer includes just “people who are usually malnourished, inadequately clothed for the season, and live in crowded ill-maintained and under-heated facilities.”

        • I’m not sure. It has definitely provided lots of poor Americans.

      • I’m wrapping up Speer’s “Inside the Third Reich” at the moment. Judging from Speer’s comments, “organized crime” is the closest label I can stick on the NDSAP.

        The first time I read the book I didn’t notice how much power the individual Gauleiters had. Even Hitler wouldn’t/couldn’t keep them in line, and they routinely redirected critical war materiel to build palaces or (probably) their Swiss bank accounts.

        While the Germans are famous for organization, the problem with the Reich was that it really didn’t *have* any organization. Instead, power was juggled between a semiofficial Party patronage system, Bormann, and whoever talked to Hitler last. A factory would get orders to build antiaircraft cannon; by the time the production lines were set up they were under an entirely different ministry and were ordered to scrap all the fresh new equipment and start tooling up to make tank parts.

        Like many organizations, the wonder isn’t that it collapsed, but that it managed to last as long as it did.

        • Once you’re done with Speer, you absolutely have to move on to Tooze, whose The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy makes it even more plain.

          I think the biggest problem with how we’ve framed the whole Nazi issue is that it’s just like the Soviets, and every other “Socialist” regime in history: They’re not political or “social justice” regimes. They are, instead, organized criminal enterprises. Look at Venezuela, for example–Who is the richest woman in the country? Worth something like four billion dollars? Why, ’tis the daughter of our beloved Bolivarian Socialist leader, Chavez. Wonder how the hell that happened?

          And, when you go digging into the details, all you find is petty graft on a scale that boggles the mind. Adolf Hitler, for example, wasn’t satisfied simply to have his damn portrait on stamps sold by the Reichspost, he had to get his cut for the use of his image! Every copy of his seminal work, Mein Kampf that was purchased at the demand of the government got him a cut, and even the ones they bought to give young married couples as gifts got him a small profit. It’s something more out of Al Capone than some serious ideological group. I mean, hell… The pettiness of the whole thing is just incredible, when you get down to it.

          • I am currently reading a biography of Eva Peron, and she makes Hitler, Chavez, et. al., look like pikers.

            One almost has to admire her, not only for her chutzpah, but for the fact that she managed to accomplish this while simultaneously being revered by European elites (when haven’t they revered thieves and tyrants) but by her own commoners, her descamisados. All while feathering her own nest, supposedly having a numbered Swiss account to rival Chavez’s daughters, and one of the largest private jewelry collections in the world. And having a statue of her commissioned (it was never finished) to be built in her honor, with the requirement it “be larger than the statue of liberty.”

            • Eva Peron was what the Left imagined Imelda Marcos to be.

              Not that they can admit it, of course.

          • I’ll snag the Tooze book, then. Thanks for the recommendation!

          • Even the People’s Car was a scam- see Tooze for details.

  11. Larry Patterson

    The other day, saw a meme on FB:
    USA, Texas and his 49 bitches.
    Sad to say, I laughed before I cringed. Patriotism does have caveats, ya know. The US and its Constitution was the best thing that humans have ever built. Wish I had seen it before the fascists Wilson and Roosevelt started dismantling it. That is ______] cynical, sorry.
    So who wins in November, Brownshirts or Reds?

    • The Other Sean

      Whoever wins in November, America loses. The only possible question shall be how badly? Maybe sanity will return in 2020, but I shall not be placing any bets.

      • I don’t know about that. I’ve never been a Trump fan, but he might surprise us. Shrillary, on the other hand, is dismally predictable.

        • The Other Sean

          Trump could potentially turn out less worse than Hillary, and quite possibly the lesser of two evils. But when all the nation ever does is elect the lesser evil, its still not a win for the nation – just a less-severe loss.

          • Trump is the Evil We Don’t Know.

            It is vaguely possible that he might be worse than The Evil We Do Know: Hillary. It is also vaguely possible that he might be better.

            Either way, we need a new, True (Classical) Liberal political party.

    • The Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a fine document. I’d be okay with living with it. But it was a document for showing off, not for running a country. The Party did as they pleased, as the boyars did before them, and no piece of paper was going to limit their power.

      We’re approaching that point with our own Constitution, except from the opposite direction. The Judicial Branch has managed to eviscerate most of it and twist the rest to fit expediency; it is becoming less and less relevant to “the law”, which mostly regards it as an impediment nowadays.

      • Yup, it looks to me that the only possibility of reining in the feral government other than a civil war would be an Article V amending convention called by the states. Of course, if that didn’t work the civil war option would still be on the table…

        • We need an Amendment that reads, “No, seriously, we mean it.”

          • The Second says that, but they still don’t pay any attention to it…

          • That was the basic intent of the 9th and 10th Amendments. There’s a reason why those two clauses are the most ignored parts of the Constitution.

            • We have morons that are Federal Judges that claim the Constitution is outdated, dead, and ignorable. It short it isn’t worth bothering with, and they aren’t going to consider it when ruling on cases. Until something is done to enforce the following of the existing Constitution by those in government, adding on to it is a useless exercise.

              Yes, I just called Posner a moron.

              • It would be helpful is there were law, perhaps Amendment, ensuring that private citizens have standing to sue government on Constitutional-violation grounds.

        • Margaret Ball

          If an Article V convention will help, I’m all for it. But in general I think the constitution is just fine as it stands; the trouble is that it lacks a good enforcement mechanism, and the sneering classes have been ignoring it with impunity for years.

          I’d be very interested in specific suggestions.

          • I doubt we need an Article V convention, and share concern about what rabbits that hound might hunt.

            Instead I propose an amendment to the Constitution:
            Be it understood that this Constitution, as a contract between the American People as Principal, the Federal Government as their Agent, is to be interpreted according to the precedents of contracts: by the meaning of the words of this contract as comprehended by the parties at the time of its formation.

            Call it the Scalia Amendment.

            • And who would present this amendment to the states for ratification? Congress? Of course not. Only an Article V convention would even consider doing so.

              • There, of course, lies the impasse.

                On one side you are right, who in Federal Government (in this case, the Senate I believe) is going to present an amendment to the constitution that limits the size/power of the federal government (ie. their OWN power)? That would be like asking the foxes to make an unbreakable fox-law (there is such a thing, right?) not to raid the hen house.

                On the other side, you have an A5 Convention. Sounds like the perfect solution, until you realize the vast number of people in the US who are perfectly happy to have sugar-daddy government give them free stuff. How do you think “The Bern” got so much support offering free college and anything else he could think of? Then you also have to realize just how easily those vast numbers of people can be steered with lies and/or promises of more largess from said sugar-daddy government. All they have to do is support it and/or vote yes. Think… Free college. Free cell phones for the poor (hey, you don’t hate poor people do you?). Security and happiness knowing that the government is watching THAT OTHER STINKY RACIST group and making sure those horrible rich people PAY THEIR FARE SHARE! how dare they want to keep so much money… who needs all that money anyway? they obviously HATE poor people! etc. etc. etc. And NO, We would only use that power to keep you safe! We would never abuse it by using it against YOU! () Once (if) they got it started, it would just grow and grow until all manors of liberty are a thing of the past; speech, property rights, the right to arms, even the very right to self defense (which a certain, rather large, portion of the party of even bigger government is secretly very opposed to) would all frittered away in an uncontrollable mass of absolute BULLSHIT coming from those who don’t just want to govern… don’t just want to rule… but believe the government should OWN YOUR ASS!

                Yes, I have been exaggerating a bit. But can you REALLY say that we (those who love freedom and liberty… at least I’m assuming) would end up better off on the other end of an A5 convention? REALLY? I’m not sure I have enough trust in my fellow citizens that I would want to take that risk.

                • A critical error in the current Constitution was to give to the President and Congress the power to select the Supreme Court.

                  That should have been a direct function of the States, in order to preserve federalism and wider distribution of governmental power, IMHO. (It sort of was, until it was short-circuited by direct election of Senators via the 17th Amendment.)

                  The Founders thought that Congress, and specifically the Senate, would be sufficiently independent from the Federal Government and beholden to the States to be a safeguard of federalism.

                  They were wrong, much to our dismay.

                  • As originally planned, the Senators were appointed by the States, so their advise and consent was a State action. Even afterward, the Senators acted on behalf of the States in this role, up until Teddy Kennedy made “Bork” a transitive verb.

                  • I don’t think the Founders foresaw how *huge* the Federal government would become, or how much it would isolate itself from “the governed.” At least they didn’t put in checks to keep their new government from going the way of Persia or China with their vast civil service systems.

            • Add to that that in exchange for following it to the letter, we the people will allow the Government and its agents to continue to exist. Fail to follow it as a government agent and you are outside the protection of the law to be dealt with as wolves are (and not with EPA protection either).

            • The Fed isn’t our ruler. It’s our *employee*.

              Something they seem to forget nowadays.

              • Unfortunately, like most union “employees” we don’t have the power to fire them.

              • That’s the sort of thing that gets forgotten when the employer doesn’t manage the employees well. Even a consistent policy of “managing by exception” (aka “toss the bums out”) would help a lot.

          • Well Mark Levin came up with a list. Look up the Liberty Amendments. And Randy Barnett did also: look up the Bill of Federalism. These lists are similar and in many ways complementary.

          • The “sneering classes.” I like the way you think.

      • The Judicial Branch has managed to eviscerate most of [the Constitution] and twist the rest to fit expediency; it is becoming less and less relevant to “the law”, which mostly regards it as an impediment nowadays.

        That is because most judges are, like Richard Allen Posner, are morons. I think it may have something to do with the ivy at certain law schools.

    • The dismantling of the US Constitution began hardly a decade after it was ratified. Look into the Alien and Sedition Acts. Since then, it has been like the incoming tide, the wave washing higher on the shore before draining back, and yet each wave washes a little higher as the beach of liberty is slowly drowned by the ocean of repression.

    • Smart money is on Clinton. She’s a liar, a thief, and incompetent to boot, but none of that matters to her base. And the media loves her. And Democrats are past masters at voter fraud. So best guess 80/20 she slides into office, and continues Obama policies even less effectively than he did. I’m not sure the country will survive four years of that, at least not without serious long term damage.
      Trump? Meh, the only saving grace is that he does tend to surround himself with competent people. If he puts good people in the right positions perhaps things will at least not get any worse.

      • Just one small quibble… Hillary Clinton is NOT incompetent. If she were incompetent, she would be in jail already. She is VERY competent… She just wants different things for America than those of us who love freedom and liberty want. Other than that, I mostly agree with what you said here even though I still have (at least a little) hope that you are wrong about her inevitably winning the election.

        • H. seems competent at corruption, less so at job function (i.e. can we really believe she sold the attack in Libya intending the present results?)

          • I shall cede that point to you. However, I have always gotten the impression that, for Hillary, EVERYTHING is more about politics than about results. Being that she has more than an even chance of being elected president in SPITE of everything she has done, it sure seems to be working for her.

  12. I don’t love my nation because she is great. I love her because she is mine, and it is that love that drives me to make her great.

    • The Senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming, “My country, right or wrong.” In one sense I say so too. My country; and my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.

      – Sen Carl Schurz, 1872

      • The Other Sean

        Carl Schurz may have been a racist scoundrel, but he did have the right attitude about a few things.

  13. Interesting point that the relatives who are angry at you are not patriots. The Brits who condemn Brits who take US citizenship and call them traitors are not patriots either, they are not calling Anthony Hopkins, for instance, a traitor to Britain, they are calling him a traitor to the human race. Hopkins says, “Britain and America are not at war, you know.” He’s politely ignoring the crazy basis of the condemnation.

    • I started to make a comment about Winston Churchill becoming an American citizen (1963), went off to check some facts, rabbited off down “honorary US citizenship”, found that General Lafayette had been decreed a “natural-born citizen” of the State of Maryland, which conferred him natural-born US citizenship under the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution, which Congress upheld when one of his French descendants claimed US citizenship, started to go off on citizenship questions for recent political candidates, and yanked up on the reins hard.

      Welcome home, Kate. There’s plenty of weird to go around!

    • To be fair, Brits calling Brits who become Americans traitors is downright traditional . . .

    • Don’t understand that. Both the condemnation and the taking of US citizenship. After all an Englishman has already won first prize in the lottery of life 🙂 so surely what one does is offer compassion and sympathy to the afflicted

      Although, more seriously, given the idiocies of FATCA and friends being a US resident without citizenship is about the worst of all worlds. You can’t do a bunch of things in the US legally (e.g. owning firearms, voting the bums out) but you can’t also retain concrete (financial) ties with your past because the US Government assumes anyone who has any investment outside the US is a tax evader and forces foreign financial institutions to fill out reams of pointless forms when their customers are US residents. Needless to say most foreign financial institutions simply tell US residents to take their business elsewhere.

      The result of that insanity is obvious. Anyone with any significant foreign assets fails to tell their financial associates about their US address, thereby actually breaking the law.

      • Green card holders can purchase and own firearms.

        • Really? maybe I was just confusing californicate state rules with federal ones. Or maybe I was confused.

        • Green card holders can legally own a firearm according to Federal law. But the Federal law does not prohibit individual states from prohibiting it in their own state, and I know some states will give a CCW to green card holders, while others will not.

      • The policy-making bureaucracies are rather good at doing things with unintended consequences, including a great many that should have been obvious.

        • I understand they are carefully screened for that inability.

          For example, a question on the screening exam might consist of:

          “Given the following situation, what is the likely result of the door being pushed open?”

          The most correct answer would be: “I don’t know; i would have to check with my supervisor.”

  14. Most of these so-called internationalists usually deplore all but their own nationalism. Same Soviet Sh*t, Different Century. I’ll believe they’re internationalists when they take up Esperanto. Then I’ll just laugh.

    I’ll never cease to be amazed at the Europeans who don’t realize that the US defensive shield (known by the euphemism NATO) and massive defense budget is what enables their huge, but still failing welfare states.

    Yet we’re considered the provincial ones.

    • There are none so “provincial” as those who consider themselves “cosmopolitan.”

      • Well yes. That is because, to paraphrase Chesterton, they have experienced five star hotels all over the world and hung out with their fellow cosmopolites and expatriates in every bar between here and Bangkok, and go to great pains to ensure that they never interact with the non-cosmopolitan locals on anything like an equal basis.

        • i.e. the only locals they ever see who aren’t part of the country’s corrupt class are the various wait staffs, and the hookers.

      • “Nothing says ‘yesterday’ as much as yesterday’s ‘tomrrow’…”

    • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

      Of course we are. It goes back to at least Roman times. It’s always the provincials doing the fighting necessary to defend the cosmopolitans.

  15. If my kids should go to say Australia and write endless posts and stories about how much they love it…

    Yeah, I can imagine eldest son doing just this … NOT! 😉

    • Better not let Dave Freer hear you talk like that 🙂
      Australia may be the one notable exception that wouldn’t indicate the kids were bat-guano crazy.

      • I dunno. Sometimes I have a mad passion for Uruguay. Politics suck, country is run down, but still, it is so nifty. It was shameful, how much I enjoyed that Battle of the,River Plate movie,with all the old Montevideo footage.

        • Yeah, but if you have a little money, the politics don’t really matter there. You can do anything you have enough money to make the officials ignore.

      • No, not in anyway an insult to Australia, which I gather has ample charms, but an acknowledgement that, if there is anyone in the Hoyt family more taken by the patriot bug than our esteemed hostess, it is her eldest son.

  16. If you think your country is the best thing since sliced bread, and that your culture is the best thing that ever happened to mankind, you’ll defend it. You’ll fight for it.

    See, that right there is how patriotism causes wars. If the working classes would just see that they are united in their interests beyond national borders, wars would never begin because the people would recognize that it doesn’t really make any difference which cohort of corrupt bloated plutocrats has the reins of their country. Those elites are all internationalists anyway, travelling about, staying in five-star resorts, avoiding taxes and exploiting the workers. Patriotism instills false consciousness and blinds workers to the truth thet the problem is not who holds their reins but the reins themselves.

    It is just as we teach our schoolchildren: if somebody knocks you down and takes your phone, it isn’t worth fighting over and they probably need it more than you do. Besides, you’ve enjoyed significant privilege and didn’t deserve s nice a phone in the first place.

    Now that I’ve explained how patriotism causes wars by making deluded people think they have something worth defending, have any right to defend what they have, you’ll have to excuse me; I need to go rinse my mind out with several shots of rye.

    • Sliced bread is over-rated.

    • Here, have a bottle of Old Overcoat.

    • The nauseating thing in my mind is that I am firmly convinced that a significant portion of the American electorate would find nothing wrong in what you wrote. The blatant sarcasm would not even ruffle the forelocks they grow to show obeisance to their betters.

      • I am confident that a poll of the American Federation of Teachers’ Union would find >85% support.

        • Other than finding your estimate a bit low I totally agree.

          • I suppose it depends — if you count the union members while leaving out those who pay dues only because they’re forced to, then probably >95% (likely 3% would think the statement too conservative while 2% would refuse to confess any opinion.)

    • because the people would recognize that it doesn’t really make any difference which cohort of corrupt bloated plutocrats has the reins of their country.

      Between Trump on one hand, the #RepublicansForHillary (former known as #NeverTrump, specifically those in the broadly defined GOP establishment who were fine with McCain but find Trump too icky) on the other hand, and Hillary Clinton herself on the gripping hand I would say our politicians are striving to prove that statement correct more than any other objective.

    • And after convincing the kids of that, the next step is to steal their candy.
      … so it has always gone.

    • I went prowling around “that” cabinet and found some stuff that still has the US Navy comissery seals on it. It claims to be retsina, I think, and it’s at least 45 years old. That would probably clear your mind, the pipes, the municipal water system, and all the fish out of whatever’s downstream.

      • Retsina? Ugh. Just chug-a-lug some cheap red wine and then lick the fresh-cut side of a pine tree for the same basic effect.

        But I have stuff that has stayed in the shelves for years. Sometime when we were in Spain (1985-1990) my mother (motivated by god knows what impulse, sent me about a pound of caraway seeds from the Penzy’s catalog. We still have about half left, There is some flavor to them still, which is better than one can say for the little tin of Ben Hur cayenne pepper that sat on my Grannie Jessie’s kitchen shelf for more than 40 years. No, she wasn’t an adventurous cook. Not a bit of it.

        • Mukhwas — the after dinner treat known to patrons of Indian restaurants all over this country!

          They may be ordered through Amazon.

        • Hey, I like Retsina! I developed a taste for it in the Dodecanese, which I haven’t lost over the succeeding decades.

      • Oooh – me like retsina! Me likey very much, almost as much as ouzo, which me like nearly as much as Sambuca.

        • Have me suffering from a ear worm – dang you:

          ‘You’ve got the taste of retsina…’

    • While you praise the virtues of sliced bread, I see you take your own bread in liquid form.

  17. News from the bookstore that doesn’t have much to do with this: we got puppies! John who runs the U-Haul from the same building as Bargain Books/Trillion Books brings his boxer female Mercedes in to work, and she was pregnant. Her water broke yesterday, and John rushed off with her to the vet. There should have been six puppies neatly lined up in her, but instead there were ten -TEN – disarranged “like pick-up sticks.” She had to have a C-section, and she and the puppies are here at the store. Mercedes is up and walking -after a C-section, I know what that sounds like to you – and we have ten adorable boxer puppies.

    • One assumes they are not yet Sad Puppies. I know, I know, but someone was going to say it…

      • I’ll admit that my first thought when I saw the words “bookstore” and “puppies” in the same sentence was not about literal baby dogs…

      • Wait until they discover that mama doesn’t have ten teats.
        Now that’s sad puppies.

        • Dog daddy waiting by with a bottle

        • sabrinachase

          Try *16* puppies. Our German Shepard, when I was growing up, was a bit on the bouncy side. The breeder we got her from suggested letting her have a litter, which was supposed to calm her down. So 16 mischievous, hungry little fluffballs show up and I was designated Auxiliary Puppy Feeder. It’s not a bad chore when you are five years old, feeding squirming balls of fur with a bottle. WAY better than dolls, in my opinion.

          (Then, after a brief nap, the little devils would find things to chew or escape from, or, in one overachiever’s case, get his snout stuck in a knothole so all 15 of his siblings were howling to get him free.) And our dog? Didn’t make a damn bit of difference. She was just as hyper as before…

        • Actually I just raised ten puppies, and I counted, female dogs DO have ten teats. If this wasn’t wordpress, I would post of picture of her standing with ten puppies on their hind legs, all attached to a teat.

          • John says,” way more than that, but she’s laying on half of them. I have to flip her over every once in a while.”

    • Ten boxers oughta cut down on shoplifting. Cur-tail it, ya might say…

    • will they still be there next week, so we can visit?

  18. Start honing the good by praising it and teaching it, and make that evil a foot note.

    Evil serves to remind you to be humble. There never was a golden age of mankind when everything was perfect. Mankind seems to either ignore its dirty linen or wallow in it, neither of which is constructive. The recognition of evil can serve as a lesson warning what happens when one does not stick with the good. You point to mistakes and say, for example, don’t follow that siren path that seems to be full of promise — it isn’t. We have made mistakes before, but one reason we are great is that we have learned to strive for becoming better.

  19. Happy naturalization day Kate! Once again our country has become the richer by the choice of someone like you. We thank you.

  20. Patriotism starts at the community level. I’ve been watching with mild dismay the decline of a local parade… I think the housing crash hit hard, because it’s a fraction of the length and interest that it was ten years ago. And attendance shows it. It used to be hard to get seating.

    It really needs a “get out the float” movement.

    • Seriously, though, it’s things like the local festivals and fairs that help build a community as something distinct from just a place where you live.

      • Today with the mobility and electronics, how many really interact with community. Seems that most move out/go to school and never return and no young person wants to live in a small town. Part of why it feels so divided imo.

        • ” no young person wants to live in a small town.”

          This is a fallacy, while not all do, there are any number of young people that want to live in a small town, or more likely, out of town totally. A fair number of them move to larger towns for work rather than any desire to live there, with the thought of moving back to the country when they are older and more financially secure, while others find ways to make a living without moving to towns/cities.

          On the other hand I agree, I have very little desire to interact with community.

          • I probably should have been less absolute. I chose to live outside a city in a suburb near work. But I see a majority of people my age that just laugh at small towns and couldn’t care if they all disappeared. But I’m jaded

            • You’ve seen what happens when you’re *really* counter-cultural, and don’t just adore the city.

              Plus, the folks who want to live in the country/small town are frequently there, not hanging out in the city talking about how delightful it is to be young and live in the city, aren’t we so cool?

              • Ya. Admittedly my choice of town is based off whether they have a volunteer fire dept. But ya. And lots look around and see the daddy that sent them to their room in every traditional suburbian or ruralite

    • There’s a kind of trifecta that might be involved, too– they’re usually:
      organized by a group of folks who know what they’re doing
      the group is getting older
      organizers are dying

      Getting into the group– even if you just want to be a back that isn’t 70 years old!– can be a serious issue, everybody is in a hurry because they’re short handed (George who did that died two years ago, Mary who did that died six years ago, we just lost Lou to the nursing home, my grandkids use to help but they’re across the country these days, Joe’s kids moved away) and there’s just not time to train people you probably don’t even know, it’s easier to get it done yourself.

      Or just not do it at all.

      • So new folks in the population never get involved– and there’s a pretty high rate of people who just like being in charge coming in and taking stuff over, driving it into the ground, and driving off any new people. (that’s in any group, but the way folks move around a lot makes it a bigger problem. You don’t KNOW.)

        • Yup. Some of my neighbors used to be in on the planning, back before the township incorporated and became a city. The population doubled in ten years (during the housing bubble, so rental space is hard to come by.) They’re all retired now…

  21. I don’t always agree with your politics, Sarah, but this post is spot on.

    If you don’t educate the citizens AND the new potential citizens as to why your country is a good place to live and rear children (values which brought the potential new citizens there in the first place), the quality of that place will slowly go down. And attract people who are looking for something, but are certainly not ready, most of them, to bring it with them. Democracy needs to be learned – and you don’t learn it by living under Sharia law. Sharia law is something you flee (if you can, if you’re not comfortable living under it, etc.). There are plenty of places where you can live under it if that is your choice.

    Welcome home, Kate – your choice reminds us that it IS a choice.

    • This was to a large extent the theme of both speakers after we’d taken the Oath of Allegiance.

  22. Interesting comment about French patriotism. From this side of the Atlantic, it has never seemed that the French were lacking in pride for their country. On the contrary, it seems that the French were so obsessed with the idea that everything French is better than everything not French that they make Americans sound downright humble. Are they really suffering from a crisis of confidence in Frenchness?

  23. Hurray, Kate! Now send her kids to school so they casn lecture you on what a horrible mistake you made.

  24. Welcome home, Kate! We need to throw an enormous Hun party next year on July 20 for all the wandering Americans who finally found their way home. (But not at Redquarters, unless it has been a cool summer and we can use the back patio. The shade tree died last year.)

  25. Shocking, simply shocking.

    IRS workers guilty of ID theft, taking bribes, defrauding the feds

    I am appalled at the Far-Right reporting which considers this news.

    • A close family member had ID stolen and only discovered it via a blocked tax return. It had to have been lifted by someone within the IRS, or at one of three medical offices. Clan Red was, shall we say, unhappily surprised by the theft but not by the possible sources of the theft.

    • I have contended since the beginning the reason no one blew the whistle of Learner et al for settling political scores with the IRS is for most IRS functionaries using your IRS authority to settle personal scores is SOP. Learner exploited that knowing any whistleblower could also be outed for mis-use of IRS authority.

      • Don’t remember where I heard it but heard one investigator set anyone he passed on his commute with a nice car up for an audit.

    • And why are they facing prison…was there intent to do any of this?

      • It struck me the other day (left a bruise, it did) that the admonition “Ignorance of the Law is no excuse” essentially means that intent is unnecessary — you cannot intend to break a law of which you have no awareness. Apparently I was mistaken.

        • You forgot to add the caveat: “unless you’re a high-ranking Democrat.”

        • Well, mens rea is a complicated thing. But on the whole, it means you intended to do the criminal act, not that you intended to break the law.

  26. Thank you for all the thank yous! It still hasn’t fully sunk in that the journey is over, but it will, in time.

    • It is a journey without end. Now we march to preserve the America you joined and restore her O/S.

    • Over? Just begun, my friend.

    • Welcome home. [That noise you hear is the conga-rats doing a line-dance through the place in celebration…]

    • Rick Boatright

      Welcome home Kate.

    • They all beat me to it. But yeah, the real journey has just started.
      You thought sad puppies was tough? You just swore to defend our blessed country from all enemies foreign and domestic. Welcome to the big leagues.
      And knowing your abilities both with words and with sharp wooden members, let me say we are damned glad you’re here.

    • Welcome home!

    • welcome Citizen Kate
      and may I note that you are now eligible to run for either house of congress
      just saying

      • Oh gawd no. There’s no way things are THAT bad!

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          But you could if you wanted to. 😉

          On the other hand, unfortunately you can’t run for the Presidency. 👿

          • Well, purely as a hypothetical, a person with a laser printer and enough cash could, I am certain, cause a document to be inserted in the right repository, enabling the discovery of an amazing circumstance of, say, a delayed international flight some appropriate number a years ago, a rush to the local ER for a midnight delivery, and then everyone back on the plane and onward to Oz.

            Of course sentencing Kate to such a horrible fate as a Presidential run would be cruel and unusual to say the least.

            Welcome Home Kate!

    • The first leg of it, yes. Now you march with us.

    • The Other Sean


  27. Christopher M. Chupik

    “Those kids are trumping up and down”

    Your Freudian slip is showing. 😉

  28. Watched bits and pieces of the RNC convention Monday and Tuesday. Don’t know how much coverage made it to Portugal or anywhere else in Europe, but if those folks watched any good bit of it I imagine many a pair of brown pantaloons were made on the spot.
    One of the most outspoken of the speakers was Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee county, not a fan of BLM at all.
    Invocation Tuesday was by a nice lady Sikh who gave it in native tongue followed by English translation. Covered her head for the prayer. Couldn’t tell if she was wearing a knife or not.
    So obviously it was all about white male Christians.
    The one solid takeaway from both nights to me was that there are still people who are proud of their country, ashamed and discouraged by how badly we’ve fallen, but willing to pitch in to make it again the country we know it can be.

    • Trump’s hatred and racism were made clear by the benediction (? closing prayer) by Sajid Tarar, founder of American Muslims for Trump.

    • Oh, was that the lady the media were calling a Muslim?

    • So obviously it was all about white male Christians.

      Oh, yes, of course, why else would an otherwise supposedly intelligent former acquaintance be floating around posting about how the Republican Utopia would ignore everybody else and if it ever came to pass blame the unsolved problems on the left “somehow”.

  29. Was the story about Washington and the cherry tree a lie? Perhaps so, but in the grand scheme of things does it matter? It taught them virtues we want associated with the country.

    No, and it matters a lot; it can’t be a lie because it’s a teaching story– I’ve never been clear on how something that was so obviously a parable got in the position to be “debunked” all the time. I’d be much more surprised if it was based on a true story, more than very broadly. (IE, “When Washington was a kid he did something he shouldn’t, and told the truth because lying as worse than getting in trouble.”)

    Same way that the spin folks put on history matters– the founding father that went over to the UK to talk, and by one story he was trying to snatch power by being made the guy in charge of his area and only signed up with the revolution because he couldn’t, and the other he went over to try to fix problems and came back to join the revolution because that solution was simply not happening. Or the way that John Paul Jones got spun as only coming over and being a freaking hero because he had a price on his head– yeah, that makes sense; those guys want to kill me for killing a guy trying to kill me, so I run away and then deliberately go into battle. Uh-huh.

    • Socialist progressive left are past masters at rewriting history to bolster their current narrative. Always paint those you oppose in the worst possible light. Never give context on why compromises had to be made, why significant changes had to be done slowly over the course of time. And when change is imposed too quickly you wind up with things like the ACW, the bloodiest conflict ever experienced by our country.
      And then you have what Sarah’s running into back in Portugal. Opinions held as gospel truth by everyone gleaned from exposure to our movies, TV, and Ghod bless them our media. No wonder they wouldn’t recognize a real American if one reared up and bit them.

      • Some years ago I was a member of a Linux advocacy group that met regularly on an IRC channel. One of the members was a young guy from Spain who was certain he understood everything about the US because he’d seen a lot of movies. Being (mostly) Americans, we played to his delusion, telling him things like, “Manolo, what you see in those movies just isn’t true. Why, I haven’t been involved in a SERIOUS gunfight in over a month!” We kept getting more and more outrageous to see just when he’d tumble to his leg being yanked nearly out of its socket. Sometimes he never did.

        • Serious problem, the Euro-perception of America. My boss, a couple dozen years back, wed his boyhood girlfriend from Edinburgh. She confessed her big worry when making the journey from there to the Pacific NW was “how often do the Indians attack?”

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            I haven’t had Indians kill my wife and kids in at least two months, maybe three.

          • You mean the hackers from Mumbai, when the Cleveland baseball team gets in a brawl, or the last time that Comanches and Navajo raided the trucks on I-40? 😉

          • Snort. My daughter’s English Book-of-Face friends all are convinced that we in Texas are living in plain wooden shacks with outhouses, where tumbleweeds roll through the dirt streets and there is a gunfight every Tuesday morning.

            No – she tells them; the gunfights are on the South Side, very early on Saturday mornings, usually between the local gangbangers, and they are all stoned to the gills, so their aim is really bad.

            Yeah, she has fun with them sometimes.

          • It depends on if they change the meat on the rollers at the 7-11

          • She said this in the 21st century?

            • Yeah, that’s just crazy talk.

              All the kids nowadays use light sabers, except for a few Steampunkers who favour blasters.

              Heck, even phasers are wholly out of fashion.

            • Very late 20th – and yes. Not a stupid woman, but excessively educated-by-telly.
              OTOH, when I made first trip to Europe last year, I was mildly surprised to find out that, outside of the “old town” area of Miltenberg in southern Germany, one could find things like supermarkets. (Not the sort of thing mentioned or pictured in travelogs, y’know.)
              Our cultural knowledge of other lands is often limited by having learned about them from outdated, incomplete settings in fiction.

          • A British friend visited America a few years back.

            “Before I went, I was afraid I might get shot. If I return, I’m afraid I might get sued.”

      • Not just back in Portugal, mind you…
        These gospel truth opinions are held by Americans who get their knowledge from our movies, TV, and leftist propganda…err, education systems. They think they know America, or at least America as she should be dressed up in International Socialist couture.

      • Those who re-write history are doomed to repeat it.

    • I’ve just read the Ron Chernow biographies of Hamilton and Washington. I highly recommend them; they tell everything, but not in such a way to make the subjects appear worse than they were.

    • > obviously a parable

      Presented to us in the first grade as straight truth.

  30. It is dangerously easy for outsiders to underestimate the ability of an apparently decadent or declining free country to defend itself against an external threat. When I went to university in 1980 the smart money was on the inevitable managed decline of so-called Great Britain into irrelevancy. The help system for the University’s computer system answered “Help England” with “England is beyond all help” and this seemed gently amusing. In Argentina, General Galtieri decided that grabbing the Falklands/Malvinas from Great Britain would be a short victorious war. Turns out the the whole country rallied behind the idea that this irrelevance could project enough power half a world away to grab it back. Even stranger, we won (albeit it was a damn close thing, and relied on sacrificial levels of bravery from the troops involved). See also “…on 9 February 1933. The motion, “that this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country”, was carried by 275 votes to 153.”

  31. I think that this sentiment, Patriotism, is why the Left was so damned DETERMINED that Bush HAD to be an idiot, and Iraq HAD to be a failure.

    Look at Iraq from a distance; we sent less than 200,000 troops into a country that had a military much admired in the region. Ok, add another hundred thousand coalition troops for good measure. That put us at a slight numerical disadvantage. We took down the opposing military in, what, two weeks? Three? The “Fourth largest army in the world”, as we,heard interminably? That’s heady stuff.

    I think the Progs are deathly afraid that if the American people get a real grasp of just how powerful their country is, they may dcide to spread a Pax Americana. And it would work for long enough for the Progs to lose a lot of political ground.

    It wouldn’t be good for us in the long run. We haven’t the temperment of the Colonial British, who made Colonialism work as well as it ever did. But I think the possibility has some of the left needing depends.

    • “You keep using that word, ‘Imperialism’ – I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

    • No offense to our hostess’ predecessors but even the negativity of colonial oppression, the English were probably the best option you have. Most other colonial powers former lands seem to have major, systemic issues. Usually where British colonies go wrong is when the colonized try to immediately invert society vs expand and learn as necessary.

      • The British have good relations with pretty much all of their former colonies. The French have good relations with some of theirs’.

        The other European powers?

        Not so much.

        • Ya. Canada, Australia, us, And to a lesser extent India all came out well. France has a few, although mostly average. Spain and Portugal…well their former colonies citizens are the ones running for our border

          • I’d actually argue India has done best given it has had to do much more overlaying of useful Anglo-Saxon innovations over an existing culture (and one much older than the British one they are borrowing from) while Canada, Austrailia, New Zealand, and the US pretty much just installed British farm team governments where none had previously existed on anything like a similar scale.

            • Yes. In comparison I am saying India is still working on things as the other three are ripping apart supports. Figure US as corrupt now

              • Our company outsources a fair amount of work to India, some of their people come here for training, coordination, etc. One of them, when asked by one of my co-workers whether they resented the British over the raj, replied (more or less) “Oh no, we think the raj was a good thing. It gave us a common language for the first time.”

      • And my Chulhu save you from being colonized by the Belgians or the Dutch.

  32. Yea boxer puppies!
    Congratulations Kate!
    And since it hasn’t come up yet and is yet another feather in America’s cap (and my favorite), 47 years ago today Neil Armstrong became the first human to step foot on the moon.

    • I have long contended there are exactly four people whose name I expect the average human being to know in 1000 years.

      Three are founding figures of a major world religion (Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed) and one is an American. In fact, one of my favorite scenes in a novel is in Shadow of the Torturer where Servain(sp) remarks that one of the guild’s artworks is a picture of Armstrong walking on the moon.

      • kenashimame

        I have a story-world percolating in my mind where starship crews stop and commemorate Armstrong when they pass where the Apollo 11 transmissions are in space. Kinda like when crews hold King Neptune’s court when crossing the equator, except the “Apollo Line” gets one light-year further from Earth every 365 days.

      • That is only because you are space crazy, I suspect that a majority of Americans wouldn’t know who Neil Armstrong was if asked cold (probably most would think he was a bicycler) and as for the rest of the world? Give it a thousand years and probably nobody but a few history buffs, if that, will know who he was.

        • Moses won’t be recognized in a 1000 years? He’s kinda essential to both Christianity and Islam. If there were no Jews there’d be no Christians or Muslims.

          • ?????????????

            Where the heck did Moses come from? I was talking about Neil Armstrong.

          • I expect the average man on the street to recognize Christ, Mohammed, and Buddha because they founded a faith. Moses did not despite his importance and the faith where he is crucial is relatively small. How many Jews are there in China or India compared to Christians or Muslims? In the second most Jewish country in the world (the US…between the US and Israel you can find over 80% of the Jewish population) Jews (broadest definition) out number Buddhists by only 3:1.

            While Moses is important to Christianity I don’t expect non-Christians to know of him because of Christianity. This is similar to the fact I expect people to remember Neil Armstrong more than Yuri Gagarin even though you don’t have the former without the latter.

        • No, space crazy means you know who Yuri Gagarin is. Neil Armstrong did something that stopped the world in a way that only the World Cup does and it did it in countries that don’t stop for the World Cup.

          Man walking on the moon is the fulfillment of a dream arguably as odd as anything we know and will, by my bets, be remembers.

          That the average American less than 50 years latter doesn’t know who is his says less about the long term and more about America having given up on itself.

          For the life of me I don’t know why July 20th isn’t a huge national holiday (or July 19th or a twofer).

          • Sorry, that should be “or July 21st” or a twofer. Not sure if the holiday should be landing or walk and if it should be UTC or EST based.

        • Within a lot less than 1000yrs, I expect there will be a lot of additional space “firsts” – land on Mars, live in habitat, build commercial orbital hotel named after themselves, whatever — to the point where competition for memory and interest will cause both Armstrong and Gagarin to be less-remembered, except to history buffs.

          In fact, such “normalization” – aka “I’m sure there was history but what’s it got to do with what we’re doing now” of space could be taken as success rather than a great pity.

  33. Made me go all the way to the bottom for the celebration… Dang it, no fireworks left.

    Yay! A new citizen of our nation. Officially, that is – Kate, like Sarah, was always my fellow USAian.

  34. Christopher M. Chupik

    Not an American-American, but as a North American, I welcome Kate to our continent.

    • I do believe it was said that the American-Canadian border was the longest undefended border in the world. You didn’t need a passport to cross the border. I even heard of a house that was built on the border.

      • And several towns, which have had to reorganize and erect fences and border controls after the terrorists in DC and Ottawa decreed it…

        • The Other Sean

          The town library built on the border (in Maine and either Quebec or New Brunswick) remains undivided, but you must exit on the side you entered through. There are a few patches of America whose geography puts them on the wrong side of the still-undefended-but-now-legally-controlled border. Getting to America can be a real pain for them; they often face two time-consuming border crossings each way.

          • The Forest Service (and it’s Canadian counterpart) dug up logging roads at the border that used to cross the Idaho/Canadian border indiscriminately; after 9/11. Restricted access to fairly large areas, because due to terrain there were no roads into those areas that didn’t cross the border. Of course the Forest Service sees this as a side benefit, since they would like to restrict/remove motorized access to all FS ground anyways.

            I actually surveyed and marked part of the Washington/Canadian border. This was around the time of 9/11 (I don’t remember, before or after) but it was unrestricted, and not visibly marked (well, until I marked it). We were surveying, setting property corners on the national border, and marking timber to be logged. I probably spent as much time walking on the Canadian side as I did on the US side.

            • The US forest service has been randomly digging up roads since Clinton was in office the second time. Sometimes they have paperwork to justify it– sometimes it gets people killed, and is handwaviumed away.

              • I deleted a long rant on that subject, before hitting Post yesterday. 😦 Earlier in the day I happened to come around a road, only to discover the Forest Service was in the process of digging it up from the other end.

                Their “justifications” often make a sane person stare in open-mouthed disbelief.

                • And that’s before you hit the erosion damage.

                  • Yes, that is their favorite justification. We need to tear up this hundred year old road, and return it to grade, because it is too close to the creek and causing erosion. Wait, what? Taking a hoe and tearing up the road, then piling all the loose soil on a side slope above the creek will cause LESS erosion and sediment runoff into the creek than leaving the old, solid, road? You know, the one that acts like a terrace to catch runoff from uphill above it? With a ditch, to catch the runoff from the road surface itself?

      • Ranchers still sometimes end up crossing the border chasing cattle and only figure it out when the Mounties show up. (Usually in a vehicle, not on a horse.)

  35. The Asian nations appear to get it. Of course, one of the base meanings of “nation” is connected to “race”. And the various Asian ethnicities tend to be very touchy about race. Political correctness is likely to just get you labeled a fool regardless of which of the Asian countries you’re in. The upshot is that they tend to be very proud of their respective countries, even when they know their leaders are a problem (case in point – PRC).

    I think it was Ace that had a link to an article a few days ago that made it clear that the Japanese weren’t particularly interested in Islamic complaints.

    As a corollary to that, I sometimes wonder if the post-WW2 Japanese constitution had a hand in the current malaise that seems to be afflicting young Japanese males. The restrictions on Japan’s military makes it harder (and in some circles, unacceptable) for males to engage in one of their primary methods of achieving ambitions and self-discipline, and also showing love of country.

    That’s just a stray thought, though.

  36. Actually, as in most of Europe, patriotism and even nationalism have been resurrected in Portugal, thanks to the stupidity of those running and ruining the EU for the past few years. There’s nothing like having some foreign bastards try to ruin your life to make people belligerent. :0) Curiously the left wing parties are the ones doing most of the flag waving and doing most of the grumbling agaisnt “those EU bastards” (aka the Germans). Strangely the right wing parties, or at least their current leadership, are clearly eager to do as the EU tells them. The world can be really strange at times. :0)

    I should note that despite the current disenchantment with the EU, the Portuguese aren’t exactly keen to exit the EU. People realize that although things are bad right now, exiting the EU would make things considerably worse for an extended period of time. Not a really attractive alternative. :0)

    Rui Jorge

    • There’s a reason our hostess has gone to some pains to explain that the European right isn’t what we think of in our terms.

      • True. Over here President Obama is seen as a moderate right winger. Political labels can be odd. Over here a republican is a far lefty and a liberal is a right winger, and to some a far right winger. :0)

        Rui Jorge

        • Now, what did give me a little whiplash was my (self-described) left-wing UK friends having fits over Brexit followed by one random French person claiming to be left-wing enough to understand the decision. I was aware it hadn’t been a party-line vote, or at least not as expected, but I should have accounted for different perspectives on the term even within Europe.

          • Over here in Portugal the far left mainstream parties are starting to talk about us leaving the EU. Weird as it may seem they actually share some views with the Brexiters. Politics is odd, and people are really strange sometimes. :0)

            Rui Jorge

            • Are they perhaps waiting for someone – Britain, or anyone else – to demonstrate how to do it without too much hurt?

              • No. Even those that defend an exit have little doubt that it will be quite painful. I guess most people think that there’s still some hope that Europe will gain a bit of good sense. After all miracles do happen. :0)

                Rui Jorge

            • As I wrote in the adjacent British politics post, the far left in the UK used to be in favor of Brexit. But somehow they mostly stopped. Although the Leave campaign did have a few far left nutters that they tried to not give too much publicity too (George Galloway for ex)

        • As Sarah occasionally says, in Europe Left/Right means internationally/nationally oriented philosophies, but the underlying understanding is that government should be in control of pretty much every aspect of life (we call that statism here, or sometimes totalitarianism). In the US, Left/Right means (roughly) statism/individualism, where the left believes government should be the first resort for a “solution” whenever a problem is perceived, and the right believes that individuals should be allowed to solve their own problems either by themselves or by voluntary associations unless these are impossible, and only then should government be involved. By US definitions, pretty much the entirety of European political views are on the left, while by European definitions, the US right can’t really be considered at all.

  37. Proud to call you a fellow American. Or USAin, as the case may be. Sounds like you were born American, you just had to get over here, and I’m damn glad you made it.