Paglia on Trump: and Fiorina, Oh My

Donald Trump, Jon Stewart (Credit: AP/Richard Drew/Jacquelyn Martin)

In her recent Salon interview, Camille Paglia said this about Donald Trump, and the campaign in general so far:

So far this year, I’m happy with what Trump has done, because he’s totally blown up the media!  All of a sudden, “BOOM!”  That lack of caution and shooting from the hip. He’s not a president, of course. He’s not remotely a president. He has no political skills of any kind. He’s simply an American citizen who is creating his own bully pulpit.  He speaks in the great populist way, in the slangy vernacular.  He takes hits like a comedian–and  to me he’s more of a comedian than Jon Stewart is!  Like claiming John McCain isn’t a war hero, because his kind of war hero doesn’t get captured–that’s hilarious! That’s like something crass that Lenny Bruce might have said!  It’s so startling and entertaining.

It’s as if the stars have suddenly shifted–because we’re getting a mix-up in the other party too, as in that recent disruption of the NetRoots convention, with all that raw emotion and chaos in the air.  To me, it feels very 1960s.  These sudden disruptions, as when the Yippies would appear to do a stunt–like when they invaded Wall Street and threw dollar bills down on the stock exchange and did pig-calls!  I’m enjoying this, but it’s throwing both campaigns off. None of the candidates on either side know how to respond to this kind of wild spontaneity, because we haven’t seen it in so long.

Politics has always been performance art.  So we’ll see who the candidates are who can think on their feet.  That’s certainly how I succeeded in the early 1990s.  Before that, the campus thought police could easily disrupt visiting speakers who came with a prepared speech to read.  But they couldn’t disrupt me, because I had studied comedy and did improv!  The great comedians knew how to deal with hecklers in the audience.  I loved to counterattack!  Protestors were helpless when the audiences laughed.

From Salon, and yes, I going to have more to say about this interview later.

Basically, I agree with her on this (and some other things), she tends to be one of the most satisfying writers around, and this is no exception. Why? Because she thinks!

Trump is doing necessary work, in helping to blow the cover off the Democratic Party and its alliance (or perhaps tryst is a better word) with the old media. But Trump would not be a viable president, even if he got elected, not to mention the fact that he’s been (arguably) a conservative for about five minutes. People change, and most of us have, but usually fairly slowly, and over time. Trump is for Trump, and that’s his entire program. He spent most of his life supporting Democrats, especially the Clintons and is an exemplar of what a crony-capitalist, working through mob connected, corrupt unions can do. That history is not going to save the country.

Now, the other day, Carly Fiorina gave a speech at the Reagan Library. She’s an impressive lady. It’s much too soon to be deciding (for me, at least) on a candidate. but her blend of resume, experience, not excluding foreign affairs, and leadership, and a willingness to talk straight, is very appealing. It’s also low-key and pretty much devoid of histrionics while invoking both Reagan and Thatcher. I particularly like the way she handles questions here.

So, enjoy, and I’d be interested in what you think, as well.


“On Point” with Tomi Lahren

I thought this went up yesterday, but my files say different. So here it is!

Well, this may or may not be the way to win friends and influence people. But it is an excellent example of the use of a declarative sentence.

I couldn’t agree more with her

Iran, Hubris, Appeasement, and Despotry

Jonathan S. Tobin had some thought on the Iran treaty, they’re good thoughts, well presented, so let’s look in on them.

Following through on its strategy of trying to make Congressional approval of the Iran nuclear deal irrelevant, the Obama administration pushed through a resolutionimplementing the agreement today at the United Nations Security Council. Both Congressional Republicans and Democrats attacked that move, but that did not deter the president and his foreign policy team from following through on their plan to make an end run around Congress. This arrogant slight to the legislative branch will add fuel to the fire of critics of the Iran pact as they push to shame Democrats into making good on their past promises to insist on an agreement that would, at the very least, live up to the administration’s past promises about inspections and transparency. Yet even in the face of this presidential chutzpah and staggering betrayal of principle, the odds still heavily favor his effort to get the necessary votes from his party to sustain this strategy. Thus, while those Democrats who view their campaign pledges about both the Iranian threat and the security of Israel as still binding should be focusing on the gaping holes in the agreement, they should also ponder the presidential hubris that is at the core of this effort to marginalize their Constitutional obligation to weigh in on the most important foreign treaty signed by the United States.

That arrogance was on display yesterday as Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows. Their blithe assurances about the deal make the U.S. safer could be dismissed as mere hyperbole but their insistence that there is “no such thing in arms control as anytime, anywhere,” inspections of nuclear sites is not only a lie. It is also a direct contradiction of their past pledges on the issue. Indeed, Moniz specifically said, “We expect to have anywhere, anytime access” to Iranian military sites in April during an interview with Bloomberg.Kerry has been navigating a similar zigzag course on a host of other issues regarding the deal including that about Tehran coming clean on past military nuclear research.

Continue reading Presidential Hubris and Arrogance Drive Appeasement of Iran.

I have no argument with anything he says here, but some extension may be in order.

I usually don’t refer to this mess as appeasement, and for a reason. Chamberlain was a good, decent, and honorable man. He sincerely believed perhaps that Munich would work, and he knew that Great Britain was not ready to fight the war. The analogy I use is that Britain at the time of Munich, was in much the same spot as the United States was at the time of the Argentia Bay meeting, just starting to spool up for the fight, and with a very divided population, just coming to grips with the fact that Hitler wasn’t the comic-opera figure that they had been making fun of since at least 1933.  See Charles Utley for the best explanation of the kerfluffle of the (6-year-old Queen’s Nazi Salute). Like him, my first thought was that quote from the blitz.

When she was advised by the Cabinet to send her children (Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose) to Canada to avoid the blitz she gave a straight forward answer: “The children won’t go without me, I won’t go without the King and the King will never leave.”

That tells you all you will ever need to know about the royal family.

Iran is a completely different case, the United States can eliminate Iran whenever we care to exert ourselves, I’m rather amazed we haven’t, given the provocation. There is simply no great power contest here as there was in 1938. This is a simple sell-out of American principles (at least since 1945), and the hubris of attempting to use the UN to override the Congress is simply a continuation of Wilson’s attempt to sell off American Sovereignty to anyone but America, combined with what has become traditional for this administration, a blatant disregard for American Constitutional law.

This administration has always and continuously followed those precepts, to denigrate America in the world, and to subvert the checks and balances that have served us so well. That the current Democratic Party has gone along with this is no surprise. It has been their policy since 1972. But the feckless, mendacious, acquiescence of the rest of Congress, to their own detriment, is hard to understand, and even harder to stomach.

We have about a year and a half of this despicable president left, and then, hopefully, a major rebuilding job, if, and only if, we get our heads out of sand (or other less pleasant places) and elect people who know what it means in the modern world to lead, to have principles, in other words, to be an American. If we don’t, America, and Western Civilization itself, are likely doomed by 2020, since Europe has surrendered, and the UK seems to have lost whatever principles it ever had. It’s hard to believe Cameron has the same job as Chamberlain, let alone Churchill, he’s such a mealy-mouth cretin. And in any case, as Nigel Farage said last Friday, the EU will bleed Briain dry supporting the ones who will not work in southern Europe. A sad end for a people who have been prosperous since King Alfred the Great established the very first nation-state.

And those are the stakes, for Congress right now, and for us as citizens in the next year. Is America to continue, dragging civilization along, or simply sink into the abyss with Rome and the others. It’s up to us to decide.


70 tears ago yesterday, the world changed. When the world’s first atomic device was triggered in New Mexico. I note that this, the American atomic program is still the fastest to ever yield a result, even though it had to do all the theoretical work, as well. I have deep qualms about the fact that the Iranians will apparently be joining this exclusive club, so far we have kept this genie bottled up. But there is still plenty of time for J. Robert Oppenheimer’s prediction, and quote, to come true.

I am become Death,

The Destroyer of Worlds

from the Bhagavad Gita.

In a sadly related event, yesterday is also the anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the first landing of human beings on the moon, and their safe return.

Also, in 1960,  USS George Washington a modified Skipjack-class submarine successfully test fires the first ballistic missile while submerged.

97 years ago today, Czar Nicholas II and hs family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

And today, in 1054, three Roman legates break relations between Western and Eastern Christian Churches through the act of placing an invalidly-issued Papal bull of Excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia during Saturday afternoon divine liturgy.

Overall, probably not our best day, as human beings.



Bring Me Men

w704It’s been a bit more than a week since we celebrated the 4th of July in our usual bombastic style. I find it fitting that we celebrate like a bunch of kids, we are still a very young nation. Still we are in our young adulthood, and most of the time, we probably should act like it.

I spent a good part of the weekend reading about our failures, mostly of vision. I topped it off last night with a television series documenting the men that built America, and yes I mean built. Tom Scott, Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Edison, Westinghouse, Tesla, and yes, sadly Frick, as well. Men of vision, and will made of cast iron, who never did understand the word ‘No’.

Quite a contrast to the willful children we are watching who want to be our president, let alone the feckless ‘community organizer’ who is. I think there will be more articles about this, not least because I’m hardly alone in what I’m seeing, and some of the others will be featured here. But for today, let us have a poem, by Sam Walter Foss

The Coming American

On the Fourth of July we all love to dilate
With the thought that we are inexpressibly great;
That we’re all legatees of fate’s fairest bequest,
And that destiny’s egg has been laid in our nest;
That we’ve climbed up the sides, up the roof, and sublime
We stand on the top of the ridge-pole of time.
The horizon’s too narrow to limit our stride,
And infinite space is too small for our pride;
Heaven’s vault is too small our hosannas to ring,
And the zenith too low for our gestures to swing;
Our heads are too tall for the low-studded sky,
And we call for “more room!” on the Fourth of July.

‘Tis a day you expect that the orthodox bard
His poetical bunting will flaunt by the yard;
‘Tis a time you expect his tumultuous Muse
To explode at the end of a sky-rocket fuse.
Still I venture to tempt the bold heretic’s curse,
And tremblingly give my unorthodox verse.

For aren’t we too old to be pleased, like the boys,
With glory and gunpowder, thunder and noise?
Too old to sit down in unruffled sedateness,
And muse on our grand and ineffable greatness?
The loud days of our national boyhood are over,
The barefooted freedom of dew and of clover;
And let us throw off, with the boy’s outworn jacket,
The old day of rollic and revel and racket.
Those days are now passed; they will not come again
We are men. Let us grapple the problems of men.

And as men, may we not, on the Fourth of July,
Some specks in our history’s amber descry?
As the politic small boy will creep, on the sly,
To the side of the table that’s nearest the pie,
So we press around — and the crowding is great —
To the luscious pie-side of the table of fate.
But the small boy will learn, as the swift years go by,
There are viands transcendently better than pie.

Let us look at the sum of our work ‘neath the sun.
Have we yet done as much as the old past has done?
We have built our large cities of marble and brick;
But our Shakespeares and Platos are not very thick.
We have urged them to speak with the best of good-will;
But our Miltons are mute and inglorious still.
Our dawn has now passed, and the morning grows late;
But our absentee Angelos linger and wait.
Our hastening noonday encroaches on morn:
But our Darwins and Newtons have yet to be born.

From the dead buried past there are phantoms arise,
With scorn in the cavernous deeps of their eyes;
And they say, “We have searched for him, patient and far,
Through your broad-acred Land of the Evening Star.
We have called for him long; but his voice is still dumb.
Our brother still lingers; our peer does not come.”

But we have had epics of mighty designs
On manuscript ruled with the longitude lines.
On a continent-manuscript, boldly and free,
We have written our epics in railroads; and we
Have worked out our dramas. Each act is an age;
And a land from the sea to the sea is our stage.
We have grappled with nature, and tamed her.
The fen,
The swamp, and the forest, the wolverine’s den,
The home of the bison, the haunt of the bear,
The thronged and the tall-towered cities are there;
And the nest of the serpent, the wild dragon fen,
Resound with the shouts of the children of men.

Now the snake’s hiss is hushed, and the wolf’s howl is dumb,
Has the hour not struck for our poet to come?
Now our cables are laid, and our railroads are wrought,
Build us temples and fanes for the high-priests of thought.
Now our prairies by million-trod pavements are lined,
Build us highways that stretch to the frontiers of mind.

Now our cities are sown by sea, river, and glen,
Let us look for a harvest of epochal men;
Let us look for a Voice from the wilderness sent
To teach us a wise and divine discontent,—
Discontent at mere bulk, tossed by waves and by breeze,
With no pilot soul on the rudderless seas.
Let us look for great bards whose tones, fervent and strong,
Shall burst like the morn through our twilight of song;
Wise prophets, whose sky-lifted eyes are alight
With a gleam that is caught from the future’s far height,
Who see through the fogs o’er the valley outspread
The sunburst of hope on the mountains ahead.
Is it not time to grow, in town, village, and glen,
A strong breed of men who are saviours of men?
Strong pioneer souls who shall blaze out the way
From the frontiers of night to the borders of day?
Shall not this maternal pure soil of the West
Foster sages and seers on its matronly breast?
Shall we not find once more, in these late years again,
The pride of old Homer, wise shepherds of men?
Let us beckon these men, with our favor and praise,
And giants shall grow in the earth in these days.

We are large, and our largeness there’s none to deny;
But Fate calls, and who answers with brave “Here am I”?
Little Athens was small, but her soul still survives
With gifts of its graces in millions of lives;
But Scythia was large, and the long ages tread
On the answerless dust of her myriad dead.
Little Concord — great sons made this small village great;
Great Chicago — ah, well! We will listen and wait.

There is music, I know, that is hopeful and blithe
In the swing of the sickle, the sweep of the scythe;
In the lisp of the foreplane, the smith’s anvil-peal,
In the roar of the mill, and the clash of its wheel;
There’s a music that’s timed to the rhythmical beat
Of the quick-step of Fate in the thunderous street;
There’s a music that’s played by the breeze and the gale
In the creak of the mast and the flap of the sail;
And there’s something that smacks of an epical strain
In the clank of the engine, the sweep of the train.
This music, though mixed with the toilers’ tired moan,
And mingled with heart-break too deep for a groan,
Is wrought out at length in an anthem sublime
That fills without discord the wise ear of Time.

But this is but prelude Fate’s orchestra plays,
To the strains that shall come in the fulness of days;
For the age-lengthened rhythm beat out by the Fates
In the building of cities, the founding of states,
In the earthquakes of war, in its thunder and groans,
In the battles of kings, and the crumbling of thrones,
Is but prelude that’s written by Destiny’s pen
To herald an epoch of masterful men.

In that day we shall worship, by wisdom made whole,
Not greatness of bulk, but perfection of soul;
And the thought-millionaires with our full acclaim then
Will be wreathed and anointed the leaders of men.
And methinks our Great Fate, from the hills to the sea,
Has sent forth this call to the years yet to be: —

Bring me men to match my mountains;
Bring me men to match my plains, —
Men with empires in their purpose,
And new eras in their brains.
Bring me men to match my prairies,
Men to match my inland seas,
Men whose thought shall pave a highway
Up to ampler destinies;
Pioneers to clear Thought’s marshlands,
And to cleanse old Error’s fen;
Bring me men to match my mountains —
Bring me men!

Bring me men to match my forests,
Strong to fight the storm and blast,
Branching toward the skyey future,
Rooted in the fertile past.
Bring me men to match my valleys,
Tolerant of sun and snow,
Men within whose fruitful purpose
Time’s consummate blooms shall grow.
Men to tame the tigerish instincts
Of the lair and cave and den,
Cleanse the dragon slime of Nature —
Bring me men!

Bring me men to match my rivers,
Continent cleavers, flowing free,
Drawn by the eternal madness
To be mingled with the sea;
Men of oceanic impulse,
Men whose moral currents sweep
Toward the wide-infolding ocean
Of an undiscovered deep;
Men who feel the strong pulsation
Of the Central Sea, and then
Time their currents to its earth throb —
Bring me men!

Video Saturday

I haven’t watched this one yet, I’ll be watching it with you. But when Scott Johnson over at Powerline tells me it’s worth my time, it invariably is. So here it is.


Bret Stephens from DHFC on Vimeo.

On a completely different subject, this one I have watched and enjoyed, although it is slightly NSFW. From Two Nerdy History Girls.

Have a good weekend.


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