A Consequential President

Winston Churchill wrote that in Edwardian times (around the First World War) there were “great events and small men”. Seems to me that now, a full century later, it has come around again. I have never seen so many apparatchiks in the Washington establishment. (Note that this applies full force to all of Europe (including Great Britain) as well as Washington. They are so busy trying to blame each other, or especially anybody trying to accomplish anything, that government has pretty much stalled. Except of course, for the social causes that no rational person could ever support.

So much of this reminds me of the death throes of the Soviet Union. The gravy train is off the rails but those living on it are managing to believe it is not, and will continue forever. And they will do their best to destroy anybody who tells any part of the truth. Clarice Feldman brings her talent to bear on this.

Once when my son was about 6 or 7 I took him to the circus with some of his friends. The acrobats, clowns, and lion tamer in the center ring enthralled the other kids. Not him. He turned to me and said, “How do you think they make money producing a circus? I think it’s the concessions.” It struck me then that among the people in the world, there are some — too few, actually — who are not distracted by spectacles, but, instead, keep their eyes on the bottom line.

That’s how I see the President. His stated goals have always been to make us safe, get the economy booming, enable a job-creation economy, and make life better and safer for all Americans.

As the news is filled with tittle-tattle about the phony baloney Russian collusion story and moronic punditry, the president keeps plowing on with his agenda. American Digest lists 220 things the President has achieved while in office, despite the vitriolic attacks on him and what appears to be a silent coup by the press, bureaucrats, and entrenched officeholders.

The thing that is most apparent here is that not a single one of the cretins is honorable enough to openly state what they believe. Instead, they sneak around doing their damage to the country, simply to preserve for a few more months their rice bowl, and then they’ll do it again. We’ve always (all countries do) had these useless mouths to feed, so do corporations, in fact. In fact, anytime in my lifetime, at least, when you see court cases or legislation, that favors one group over another, whether it is ‘affirmative action’, the feminist movement, public workers unions, even (since the sixties) the traditional unions, you are seeing the incompetent band together to steal the fruits of the competent. Thing is, it always damages the country, and this time because they are perfectly willing to leak national security material, they damage it more severely and directly than normal. Clarice again.

The stock market is booming although the NYT twists itself into a pretzel to deny the President’s role in this, per Tom Maguire:

Just imagine how different the tone of The Resistance would be if the stock market were in hideous retreat, as per Nobel Laureate Krugman’s infamous early prediction in response to Trump’s election.

But that pesky stock market keeps going up! So the Times explains why, doing their Very Bestest to keep Trump out of it. Spoiler Alert: They nearly succeed.

‘Wall Street, Climbing Sharply, Skips Washington’s ‘Soap Opera’

By Nelson D. Schwartz Aug 2, 2017

Despite the disorder in Washington — with a revolving door at the White House and roadblocks on Capitol Hill — Wall Street and corporate America are booming.

The disconnect was evident Wednesday, as the Dow Jones industrial average passed the 22,000 mark, a new high. At the same time, blue chips like Apple, Caterpillar and U.S. Steel have all reported strong earnings in recent weeks that surpassed analysts’ forecasts.

“None of the soap opera in Washington matters,” said Frank Sullivan, chief executive of RPM International, a Cleveland-based maker of specialty coatings and sealants like Rust-Oleum. “Nobody in business cares about who talked to who in Russia.”’

[snip]

But a market surge based on political hopes has been replaced by one more firmly grounded in the financial realm.

Besides steady economic growth or less regulation, investors also have been encouraged by the loose reins of central banks like the Federal Reserve, which have helped keep interest rates not far above their historic lows. Inflation, too, remains tame, with price increases in recent months actually falling short of the Fed’s targets.’

[snip]

Well. Presidents often get more credit for the economy than they deserve, but I think Trump deserves some credit for being Trump and a lot of credit for not being Hillary.

Then there is the Russian nonsense…

Another longtime investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh in salty language edited out here, claims insider knowledge that Seth Rich downloaded the DNC emails. They were not hacked, but leaked.

He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC, and you know, by the way all this sh*t about the DNC, um, you know, whether it was hacked or wasn’t hacked, whatever happened, the democrats themselves wrote this sh*t, you know what I mean? All I know is that he (Seth) offered a sample, an extensive sample, you know I’m sure dozens of email and said “I want money”. Then later Wikileaks did get the password, he had a Dropbox, a protected Dropbox, which isn’t hard to do, I mean you don’t have to be a wizard IT, you know, he was certainly not a dumb kid. They got access to the Dropbox. He also, and this is also in the FBI report, he also let people know, with whom he was dealing, and I don’t know how he dealt, I’ll tell you about Wikileaks in a second. I don’t know how he dealt with the Wikileaks and the mechanism but he also, the word was passed according to the NSA report, “I’ve also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problem”. Ok. I don’t know what that means.

[snip]

I have somebody on the inside, you know I’ve been around a long time, and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy and he’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me. I have what they call in my business a long-form journalism, I have a narrative of how that whole [%^&$] thing began, it’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation and [*(&]ing the [*(&]ing President, at one point when they, they even started telling the press, they were back briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, [%^&]ing c Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Service, who leaked it. I mean all [nonsense]… I worked at the New York Times for [*(&^]ing years, and the trouble with the f[%^&*]ng New York Times is they have smart guys, but they’re totally beholden on sources. If the president or the head of the (???) to actually believe it. I was actually hired at the time to write, to go after the war in Vietnam War in 72 because they were just locked in. So that’s what the Times did. These guys run the [*(&^]ing Times, and Trump’s not wrong. But I mean I wish he would calm down and had a better a better press secretary, I mean you don’t have to be so. Trump’s not wrong to think they all [*(&)]ing lie about him.

Clarice goes on to deal with Comey and Mueller and you should read it, it’s just as important.

You know, Trump’s swamp meme is quite appropriate, if you’ve ever tried to walk in a swamp, well, it can be done, often more effectively than a boat, but progress is difficult, as you’re walking through waist (or deeper) water while standing in mud, and sometimes sinking knee-deep in that. It’s exhausting and quickly so. I give Trump a lot of credit for keeping on, not many men would. You get to a certain age, rocking chairs have their appeal.

Will he succeed? I don’t know. But I suspect something is moving in that swamp, and it’s ugly. The American people have after about 20 years (or more) of this nonsense had just about all they are going to take. If Trump loses, especially in the wrong way, say to this so-called ‘slow coup’ – well I have a feeling that there could well be a counter coup, which will be neither quiet nor slow.

Interesting times, indeed! I think we’ll give T.S. Elliot the last word today

                   I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Don’t Fence Me In: Claim The Inheritance

How sad is that? Almost makes you cry, doesn’t it? We all like the fact that reports say the Millenials are the most conservative generation since the ‘Greatest Generation’, but there is nothing to celebrate in an American generation being risk averse. Ben Domenech wrote about it in The Federalist, and it’s worth commenting on.

Space is the next frontier. Throughout the history of America, we have been a nation driven by the idea of the frontier—a place where law was slim and liberty was enormous, where you could make your way in the world based on your own ambition and abilities, not fenced in by the limitations of society. The idea of the frontier is a stand-in for the idea of liberty. The danger for the millennial generation today is that even as they inhabit an era providing utopian degrees of choices, they have become too fearful to actually make those choices and seize the future liberty allows. In so doing, they deny their inheritance as Americans.

OK, a break, I simply can’t resist…

We have an abundance of evidence on this front. Millennials are extremely reluctant to invest or risk their capital. UBS found that in the wake of the financial crisis, millennials appear more risk-averse than any generation since the Great Depression. Brookings has analyzed the sense of displacement driven by technology, seeing Spike Jonze’s “Her” as a prediction of the world as it will be when millennial values drive society. And Megan McArdle has written eloquently about the fear of failure of any sort, even in the smallest ways, that animates young Americans. […]

Once there was a country born without an inheritance. It was a civilization carved by the rejected refuse of the old world, by the religious freaks, criminals, bastards, and orphans. They were the type of men and women willing to risk all to cross the wine-dark sea in search of their fortune. They came from all the corners of the world, and in this land they worked the good earth and made their way. In time they built marketplaces and cities and governments, and threw off the shackles of their far-off, old-world rulers to make their own law. Where other revolutions had been crushed, they prevailed. They risked it all, and won.

Still, some were restless. So the risk-takers pulled up stakes and moved further west, finding the edge of civilization and making their homes there, and bringing their language and their law with them. They were called to the promise of the golden light of the horizon, so they journeyed west and further west, from sea to shining sea.

But the risk-takers never stopped. Their families had come from nations where inheritance was all—where blood was royal or serf, and the class of those who sired you charted your future, not the ability of your mind or the strength of your will. This truth they denied, and out of this audacity was birthed a society that, slowly but surely, through march and blood and slaughter, embraced the equality of all under law. […]

This is an American inheritance, but it is not a birthright. It must be claimed. And it is an open question whether the children of the children of those who rescued the old world will claim it. […]

There is comfort in the safety gained. But, slowly and surely, there is something lost, too—an idea that once lived here, in this new world. It was a belief that we are not prisoners of our destiny, that the world we pass on can exceed the one we were born into. This is not a uniquely American belief, but a human one, although not all cultures acknowledge or honor it. It was here in America where this belief was uniquely understood from our inception in our creed. We are born with an equal claim to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of what lies beyond that far horizon. To deny this is to break faith with our own humanity, rejecting what is best in ourselves.

I don’t have a lot to add except that if you care about America, or especially the idea of America, you need to read Ben’s article and apply it to yourself, and especially encourage those coming after us to take the longhorn by his horns, and risk it all. That is what won America. My life hasn’t been what I dreamed of as a boy – I didn’t get rich, nor did I marry Ann Margeret. But I have had a hell of a good time, and while I never worried overmuch about tomorrow, I made due allowances and did what I perceived to be my duty. No man can do more, nor should he ever wish to do less, to paraphrase Robert E. Lee.

I’m reminded of an American girl from Brooklyn, about 150 years ago, or so. It seemed she had it all, a doting daddy, a reasonable education, and more money than she knew what to do with. As it happened she went to England, and rumor had it had an affair with the Prince of Wales, and married the son of the Duke of Marlborough, and they had a son, who became perhaps the greatest Prime Minister of Great Britain. In the very dark days after Dunkirk, he quoted a poem, which pretty well summarizes the American experience.

 

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

 

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
ln front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright

It still is, if we make it so.

White Horse, Paris, and Death Worship

Well, guys, we made it to another Saturday. It was quite a week wasn’t it? Another really great speech from the President, which led to the greatest display of cognitive dissonance in history – thinking at one and the same time that our withdrawal from the Paris Accord will be the end of the world, and at the very same time thinking that it doesn’t really matter, since it wasn’t binding. Well, it always matters what the United States signs off on, and there is still a bunch of us that insist the United States of America is a sovereign country and will so remain. Seem like Donald Trump agrees with us.

Then there was the abortive Kathy Griffin publicity stunt, that backfired so badly that Chelsea Clinton and Keith Olberman both objected to her leftist stunt, well she screwed up. In truth, I feel a bit sorry for her, I can remember when she was mildly amusing (so mildly that I can’t remember what TV show she was on). She’s a D-list comedienne because she used to be rather cute, and with F-level talent. Well, few have underestimated the level of American entertainment.

But she’s unimportant, worshipping death has never been an American pastime. We tend to focus on the future, intensely, and find ways to go there, life is our thing. I can also remember a saying that I heard from a US Marine

It’s God’s job to judge the terrorists…

It’s our mission to arrange the meeting!

That works pretty well for me, for a whole lot of the nonsense we are dealing with now.


In other news, whoever these death worshippers of Anti-fa or whatever group of losers are, they have apparently run out of Confederates in Texas, or something. They’ve decided that a statue of Sam Houston, the first President of Texas must go.

Well, good luck with that, Texans, even more than most Americans are rather proud of their heritage, as they should be, and have a reputation of reacting rather strongly to people messing with it. Been that way since Col. Travis drew that line in the sand with his saber, I doubt it’s changed.

GK Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy, in 1908 that

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.”

He’s right of course, and the foundation of that is that all we have, we have built on the shoulders of our forebearers. He also wrote

” The theory of a complete change of standards in human history does not merely deprive us of the pleasure of honouring our fathers; it deprives us even of the more modern and aristocratic pleasure of despising them.”

 

But we go on. Trusting God and in ourselves as God gives it to us to see us. Not Gott mit uns, but We are on the Lord’s side -we hope. And if you can’t see the difference, you need some education.

When things are dark, or streaky, like now, a couple of verses of Chesterton’s Ballad of the White Horse, introduced to me by my dearest friend run through my mind. I love the whole poem, but it is much too long to post here. They are these.

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher

The lines are repeated in a different context toward the end as Alfred gathers the Saxons for what will prove the last and successful battle

“And this is the word of Mary,
The word of the world’s desire
`No more of comfort shall ye get,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.’ 

Now it proves the flint against which the iron of resolve is sharpened, and the Saxons rally and they win, even though all had seemed lost.

Let’s finish with a couple of verses that reminds us of the outcome.

And this was the might of Alfred,
At the ending of the way;
That of such smiters, wise or wild,
He was least distant from the child,
Piling the stones all day.

Alfred has faith and he had patience, and he had resilience; he lacked the capacity to despair. In short, he possessed all the Christian virtues. He listened to Our Lady and he understood her advice, and so, at the height of the battle:

The King looked up, and what he saw
Was a great light like death,
For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
As lonely and as innocent
As when between white walls she went
And the lilies of Nazareth.

 

The Feast of Bede the Venerable

The first great English historian, patron of writers and historians, writer of what is still the standard history of Anglo-Saxon England in his Historia Ecclesiastica, the only English-born Doctor of the Church, and the first to translate the Bible into English. He was born about 672 and died on 26 May 735, which, as it is this year, was the feast of the Ascension.

From A Clerk of Oxford:

[…]This is a lovely coincidence (or occasional mercy, rather) because the feast of the Ascension and the words of its liturgy were in Bede’s mind, and on his lips, as he lay dying. We know this because a moving account of Bede’s death was recorded by a monk named Cuthbert, a former pupil of Bede’s and later abbot of Wearmouth-Jarrow. Cuthbert was present at Bede’s deathbed, and this is how he describes his death.

For nearly a fortnight before the Feast of our Lord’s Resurrection he was troubled by weakness and breathed with great difficulty, although he suffered little pain. Thenceforward until Ascension Day he remained cheerful and happy, giving thanks to God each hour day and night. He gave daily lessons to us his students, and spent the rest of the day in singing the psalms so far as his strength allowed. He passed the whole night in joyful prayer and thanksgiving to God, except when slumber overcame him; but directly he awoke, he continued to meditate on spiritual themes, and never failed to thank God with hands outstretched. I can truthfully affirm that I have never seen or heard of anyone who gave thanks so unceasingly to the living God as he.

O truly blessed man! He used to repeat the saying of the holy Apostle Paul, ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’, and many other sayings from holy scripture, and in this manner he used to arouse our souls by the consideration of our last hour. Being well-versed in our native songs, he described to us the dread departure of the soul from the body by a verse in our own tongue, which translated means: ‘Before setting forth on that inevitable journey, none is wiser than the man who considers – before his soul departs hence – what good or evil he has done, and what judgement his soul will receive after its passing’.

The English translation of John’s Gospel which Bede was working on at his death has not survived, and nor have any of Bede’s other English writings (it’s not clear whether his ‘Death Song’ was of his own composition, or if he is quoting a poem he knew). But a century or so after Bede’s death, an Anglo-Saxon poet composed a poem on the Ascension which must be one of the greatest poems ever written on that subject. I quoted it at length here, but this is my favourite part:

Swa se fæla fugel flyges cunnode;
hwilum engla eard up gesohte,
modig meahtum strang, þone maran ham,
hwilum he to eorþan eft gestylde,
þurh gæstes giefe grundsceat sohte,
wende to worulde. Bi þon se witga song:
‘He wæs upp hafen engla fæðmum
in his þa miclan meahta spede,
heah ond halig, ofer heofona þrym.’
…Wæs se siexta hlyp,
haliges hyhtplega, þa he to heofonum astag
on his ealdcyððe. þa wæs engla þreat
on þa halgan tid hleahtre bliþe
wynnum geworden. Gesawan wuldres þrym,
æþelinga ord, eðles neosan,
beorhtra bolda. þa wearð burgwarum
eadgum ece gefea æþelinges plega.

So the beautiful bird ventured into flight.
Now he sought the home of the angels,
that glorious country, bold and strong in might;
now he swung back to earth again,
sought the ground by grace of the Spirit,
returned to the world. Of this the prophet sang:
‘He was lifted up in the arms of angels
in the great abundance of his powers,
high and holy, above the glory of the heavens.’
…The sixth leap,
the Holy One’s hope-play, was when he ascended to heaven
into his former home. Then the throng of angels
in that holy tide was made merry with laughter,
rapt with joy. They saw the glory of majesty,
first of princes, seek out his homeland,
the bright mansions. After that the blessed city-dwellers
endlessly delighted in the Prince’s play.

Here is where English, British, and American written history begins, where it ends depends, in large part in our diligence in studying what has come before.

Also: Bede’s death — NEWMAN LECTURES.

My folk, what have I done to thee?

Our friend A Clerk of Oxford: ‘My folk, what have I done to thee? with some of William Herebert’s Improperia, appropriate to the day.

My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

For from Egypt I led thee;
Thou leadest me to rood-tree.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

Through the wilderness I led thee,
And forty years I cared for thee,
And angels’ bread I gave to thee,
And into rest I brought thee.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

What more should I have done
That thou hast not underfon? [received]
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

I thee fed and clothed thee,
And thou givest vinegar for drink to me
And with spear stingest me.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

I Egypt scourged for thee
And their offspring slew for thee.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

I divided the sea for thee,
And drowned Pharaoh for thee,
And thou to princes sellest me.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

With beam of cloud I led thee,
And to Pilate thou leadest me.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

With angels’ meat I fed thee,
And thou buffetest and scourgest me.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

From the stone I gave drink to thee,
And thou with gall givest drink to me.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

Kings of Canaan I for thee beat,
And thou beatest my head with a reed.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

I gave thee a crown of kingdom [i.e. kingship],
And thou me givest a crown of thorn.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

I great honour gave to thee,
And thou me hangest on rood-tree.
My folk, what have I done to thee?
Or in what thing angered thee?
Speak now, and answer me.

A Portrait and a Poem

Apropos of nothing much there is a new official portrait of Melania Trump.

A fine looking woman, perhaps more lovely than Jackie Kennedy, even. I’d say she’s the only one in likely contention, at least amongst the moderns. Not that looks tell us much, but that ring also tells you something, I suspect.

In other news, yesterday in 1593, George Herbert, the Welsh-born poet and Anglican cleric was born. He is one of Jessica’s favorites, and has become one of mine as well. Here’s why.

Peace

Sweet Peace, where dost thou dwell? I humbly crave,
Let me once know.
I sought thee in a secret cave,
And ask’d, if Peace were there,
A hollow wind did seem to answer, No:
Go seek elsewhere.

I did; and going did a rainbow note:
Surely, thought I,
This is the lace of Peace’s coat:
I will search out the matter.
But while I looked the clouds immediately
Did break and scatter.

Then went I to a garden and did spy
A gallant flower,
The crown-imperial: Sure, said I,
Peace at the root must dwell.
But when I digged, I saw a worm devour
What showed so well.

At length I met a rev’rend good old man;
Whom when for Peace

I did demand, he thus began:
There was a Prince of old
At Salem dwelt, who lived with good increase
Of flock and fold.

He sweetly lived; yet sweetness did not save
His life from foes.
But after death out of his grave
There sprang twelve stalks of wheat;
Which many wond’ring at, got some of those
To plant and set.

It prospered strangely, and did soon disperse
Through all the earth:
For they that taste it do rehearse
That virtue lies therein;
A secret virtue, bringing peace and mirth
By flight of sin.

Take of this grain, which in my garden grows,
And grows for you;
Make bread of it: and that repose
And peace, which ev’ry where
With so much earnestness you do pursue,
Is only there.

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