Brexit Voted Still Again and Buying Indoctrination

via Victory Girls; Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy/Public Domain

So Teresa May’s (very slightly) modified Withdrawal Agreement failed still again in Parliament yesterday. That’s a very good thing since what it primarily did was sell British sovereignty and the legislative role to the EU. The law says Britain leaves on WTO terms at the end of the month, but the cowardly Parliament and government are openly working to thwart the law. What happens now? I have no clue, if you do, tell me. What should happen is a general election and the replacement of every dishonorable member who has forgotten who he works for and what they told him to do. Most of the government and a fair slice of the (not so) Civil Service would be improved by spending some time at Her Majesty’s Tower of London. Sadly, that is the most unlikely outcome. The swamp in Westminster may be deeper and more viscous than the one in Washington.


In other news, now comes news that some 50 people are at some place in the process of being arrested for bribery. It seems they thought their kids needed some extra help to get into those elite schools that educate swamp creatures, so they paid someone to lie for them. Toni Williams at Victory Girls explains.

About 50 people have had arrest warrants issued, been arrested, are negotiating their arrest or are being pursued in connection with a college cheating scandal code named “Operation Varsity Blues”. Parents paying to get their mouth breathing, drooling spawn into schools the little idiots are not qualified to attend. If you missed the press conference today, it was absolutely jaw dropping. Not shocking or surprising just jaw dropping.

While the rest of us honorable schmucks were paying for college board prep tests (my son wouldn’t go) or at least begging our little cherubs to get a good night’s sleep prior to the test (nope to that one, too), these elitists, who are so much better than we are, schemed with a weasel named William Singer to phony up the test scores for the college boards, create phony elite athlete profiles and get their kids into college as athletes or just plain bribe college officials. And, then as if these elitists didn’t disdain us enough, they claimed the costs as charitable contributions on their tax returns. You cannot make this excrement up.

Actress Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky on Full House) and her husband, Target fashion designer, Mossimo Gianulli are two of the parents caught in the web of lies. From Deadline Hollywood:

Loughlin and her spouse Mossimo Gianulli “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” asserts the grand jury indictment.

Gianulli has been charged.

No real surprise, I think, except the prosecutions. And for that matter, anybody think these spawn went to school to learn anything useful, or just to get a meaningless piece of paper for the wall, and a four (or more) year party. So while the illegality should be punished, I don’t see many victims here, the parents had way more money than sense, the schools have long since giving up educating for indoctrinating, and the kids are there for the sex, and drugs, and rock and roll, or whatever it is now. Hard to get too excited.

Cabaret, Haffner, and Chicago

My friend Brandon Christensen over at Notes on Liberty each evening does a post with a few links, which are often interesting. The day before yesterday had one that struck me, so let’s take a look.

In an article entitled The Unromantic Truths of Weimar Germany, Marilyn Macron is essentially reviewing Blood Brothers by Ernst Haffer. The book was originally published in 1932 and banned a year later by the Nazis. Ms. Macron starts this way.

EVEN HALF A CENTURY ON, Cabaret heavily informs perceptions of Weimar Germany. The popular, Oscar-winning 1972 musical features garter-clad Liza Minnelli and elegant Joel Grey slinking their way through a decadent Berlin underworld of sex and style, and it all seems so glamorous. The reality for most Germans at the time was, of course, colder, duller, and much more miserable.

But no one wants anything to do with misery. It’s not the kind of thing viewers and readers pay money to experience. If you dress up misery with tuxedos and boas, though, and hide the accompanying desperation under makeup and sequins, you get decadence, and decadence sells. German writer Alfred Döblin filtered this aesthetic into his classic 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz. Christopher Isherwood was similarly taken in — his 1937 novella Sally Bowles, later collected in The Berlin Stories(1945), was the basis for Cabaret.

They wrote of Berliners who knew how to commodify decadence. Of aristocratic gangsters who wouldn’t do a job without top hat and tails. Of Apache dancers, Brylcreemed villains, and two-mark whores with fire-red curls. There were discreet champagne lounges in basements, secret entrances, and trapdoors. The observer of this falsified and superficial milieu would find Berlin’s actual criminal underworld deathly dull. Nothing of interest there at all. Except, perhaps, real people with real needs, and few ways to get those needs met.

She’s right though, that undertone that runs through Cabaret does give you a feel for what is coming. A newer version, set in the US, with much the same feel of desperation about it is Chicago, another fine effort, this time about what might have been instead of what was.

Haffner’s writing is of the short-lived Neue Sachlichkeit, or New Objectivity, movement that rejected romanticism and expressionism in favor of realism. His collage of the exploits and exploitation of these boys shows them fully responsible for their actions but also indicts German society as a whole. In this, his prose pairs well with the vitriolic caricatures of Dada/New Objectivist artist George Grosz, a contemporary of Haffner’s who left for the United States in 1933.

Grosz’s works were mainly done in pen and ink to emphasize the starkness of his subject matter. Of his claustrophobic collage A Funeral: Tribute to Oskar Panizza, he sought to portray, he said, “[A] gin alley of grotesque dead bodies and madmen […] A teeming throng of possessed human animals […] think that wherever you step, there’s the smell of shit.” A Funeral is an artistic analogue of Blood Brothers, in which Haffner writes, “And the big beer joints with their lively oom-pa-pah music from early morning on, they are just waiting rooms for armies of pimps, unemployed and casual criminals.”

All very interesting, and I wonder if it has implications for our time. For aren’t we seeing the same things, decadence, missing fathers, self-harming or more or less defeated mothers leading to feral young people, surviving however they can? How different is Haffner’s Berlin to present-day London, or Chicago? I don’t know and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know. But what I really don’t want is to find out they are the same. Neither the United States nor Weimar Germany survived the thirties as they were before. Neither did the world.

The book is now on my wish list. And do read the linked review.

As for Haffner himself, Macron tells us…

Beyond being a creative risk, Haffner’s humane depiction of the gang members turned out to be a grave political error: the Nazis banned and burned Blood Brothers within a year of its publication, during the notorious May 1933 Bebelplatz book burning. Sometime after, the writers’ union affiliated with the Third Reich, the Reichsschrifttumskammer, summoned him to appear. It is believed that he did.

Haffner was never seen again.

There is a lesson in that, as well.

CPAC: Trump

I’m going to delay the Sunday Funnies, this week. Because I want you to watch America’s best comedian, America’s best cheerleader, and best of all America’s president, at CPAC, for a bit over 2 hours.

 

One of my British friends commented:

The CPAC speech today, by Donald Trump, is a must watch, much of it off script. Everything you would want from a speech. I cannot imagine any of the lamebrains in this country ever being able to do anything like this.

Well, he’s correct, but I can’t imagine many people anywhere who could do this. We got very lucky when Donald Trump decided to run.

And yes, there is an executive order coming that will deny federal funding and research to universities that do not protect free speech. Good.

And more and more, decent honest people all around the world, are seeing through the globalist and media (redundancy alert) deceit, and recognizing what we saw in 2016, a good basically decent man who loves America, and knows that generally what is good for Americans is good for the common people everywhere.

A Stab in the Back: Brexit

Click to embiggen

Samizdata brings us “this twitter thread from Matthew Goodwin.”

One critical point about vote for #Brexit is that it marked the first moment when a majority of British people formally asked for something that a majority of their elected representatives did not want to give. It was always destined to lead us here

Contrary to popular claims, we now know from a dozen + studies that Leavers knew what they were voting for. They had a clear sense about how they wanted to change the settlement; they wanted powers returned from the EU & to slow the pace of immigration

We also know that for large chunks of the Leave electorate this vote -a rejection of the status quo- was anchored in high levels of political distrust, exasperation with an unfair economic settlement & a strong desire to be heard & respected

I do not think that it is hard to imagine what could happen if Brexit is delayed, taken off the shelf altogether or evolves into a second referendum that offers Remain vs May’s deal, which Leavers would view as an illegitimate ‘democratic’ exercise

We have evidence. (1) Professor Lauren McLaren has already shown that even before the first referendum people who wanted to reform the existing settlement but who felt politicians were unresponsive became significantly more distrustful of the entire political system

(2) Professor Oliver Heath (& others) have found that as British politics gradually converged on the middle-class at the expense of the working-class the latter gradually withdrew from politics, hunkering down and becoming more apathetic

This is partly why the first referendum was so important, where we saw surprisingly high rates of turnout in blue-collar seats. Because for the first time in years many of these voters felt that they could, finally, bring about change.

And we’d already seen an alliance between middle-class conservatives and blue-collar workers to try and bring about this change when they decamped from mainstream politics in 2012-2015 to vote for a populist outsider

So I think that we do know what the effects of a long/indefinite delay to Brexit, or taking it off the table altogether, will be. Either we will see a return to apathy & ever-rising levels of distrust which will erode our democracy and the social contract from below, or …

Another populist backlash, anchored in the same alliance of disillusioned Tories & angry workers who -as we’ve learned- are very unlikely to just walk quietly into the night. If anything, this will just exacerbate the deeper currents we discuss here

More on that thought later. But yes, this is very close to what I am hearing, almost entirely Brexiteer. Over at Law and Liberty, Samuel Gregg takes a close look at the politics involved and such.

That, however, is not how most of the British political class sees Brexit. As in the lead-up to the referendum, gloom-and-doom is being voiced from across the political spectrum at Westminster. This owes something to the fact that Prime Minister Theresa May’s tenuous hold on the House of Commons—not to mention her own Tory party—means that her government has to negotiate with multiple groups with wildly divergent views of what Brexit should be or if it should even occur. To say that this process has not been going well is an understatement. It’s further complicated by the fact that many government ministers and MPs from all parties, the majority of the civil service and large segments of the press opposed Brexit, have never accepted the referendum result, and resent the entire exercise.

Keep reading but my take is that Britain has the same problem that we do, the bureaucracy has revolted and taken over the joint with the acquiescence (often verging on outright support) of the legislators themselves. The voters no longer matter to many of these.

Dan Mitchell tells us that economically a Hard (I actually prefer WTO) Brexit will be far more beneficial to Britain than any deal, let alone the travesty of May’s withdrawal agreement. He’s right and he’s also where we found the picture that leads this article. More sense and more cartoons in the article.

My views on Brexit haven’t changed since I wrote “The Economic Case for Brexit” back in 2016.

It’s a simple issue of what route is most likely to produce prosperity for the people of the United Kingdom. And that means escaping the dirigiste grasp of the European Union.

And finally, Mark America takes a look at the Brexit situation noted in our first link, in an American historical context.  His conclusion is the same as mine.

What happens when a referendum is held, but three years later, the government responsible for enacting the results of the referendum has failed to comply?  We’re about to learn the answer to that question, as the people of the UK have been betrayed by their government.  The people voted for “Brexit” very nearly three years ago.  Their government promised to carry out their wishes.  They wanted to leave the European Union.  Instead, rather than accede to the lawful demands of the people, the government has conspired to ignore those results, spending most of the intervening time trying to re-litigate the case in order to convince the public that it should not “Brexit.”  At this point, given this coup d’etatagainst the rule of law, the people of the UK would be justified in any action undertaken to forcibly remove the current government, cast off the parliament, and reform government anew.

Keep reading, he makes the case as well as anyone I’ve read. Well, except this guy:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

With his pen, Thomas Jefferson that day secured for America the support of about a third of Britain’s population. And now again, those same words call Britain itself, to hold itself to the higher standard that the English speaking world has always embraced. Will they? That is up to them. Remaining free, whatever the cost, is a judgment each of us must make for ourselves. But, I know what my decision would be. We shall see what sounds the Gales of April bring to our ears.

Grace, Jussie Smollett, and Atticus Finch

Actors Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Brock Peters as Tom Robinson in the film ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, 1962. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Ben Domenech had some thoughts that started with the Jussie Smollett fake crime, but they didn’t stop there. All in all a very good Federalist piece.

The Jussie Smollett claims of surviving an attack by racist, homophobic, MAGA-hat wearing supporters of President Trump prompted a swathe of too-soon takes about what his reported incident says about the country, with an assist from all too gullible members of the media, and a few presidential candidates too. Now, with a bit of a remove and thanks to the dogged reporting of local Chicago reporters, the story of this botched attempt at a hate crime hoax takes on a very different character. John McWhorter argues that it’s an indication of the rise of “victimhood chic” – and he’s right. But there’s something else here, too – a lesson in the shifts in assumption about our political opponents, and the decline of grace in America.

Consider Aaron Sorkin’s twist on the dramatic tale of another race-focused hoax, in his Broadway version of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. As you may know, this Jeff Daniels’ led version of the story is meant to be the tale from an adult perspective, and Sorkin does a good job of explaining the differences in a recent sit-down with Marc Maron. Sorkin struggled with giving Atticus Finch a flaw – necessary for the iconic figure to have a character arc. From the perspective of Scout the child, Atticus can do no wrong. But this is an adult take, so Atticus must become Atticus over the course of the play.

The flaw Sorkin chose to inject into Finch is telling: that he shows too much grace and forgiveness toward racists. In the interview with Maron at around the 30 minute mark, Sorkin explicitly says that “There were fine people on both sides” is the same as “liberal high mindedness that we’re going to try and understand everyone” and that “it’s bullshit.” In Sorkin’s view, it speaks to the aggressive politics of the times – that Finch is too forgiving of the racism of those who surround him, and that “sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and fight.”

I, and I suspect you, can certainly sympathize with both sides here. We struggle to see the good in our opponents, just as we always have, even as we struggle with the old beast, that wants to take our revenge, even at the cost of the rule of law. That we so far have, is, I think, the mark of a very high civilization. It’s telling I think that in the United States, and in Britain, the forces of tradition display the prudence that Jefferson spoke of, while the French, the Germans, the Italians, and others take to the streets, in large numbers. But we, the Anglos-Saxons, who freed all Europe in the last century, stiffen our upper lips and fight off the urge to revolt, saying there are some fine people on the left. But as demonstrated in the past, there is a point where that forbearance has outlived its usefulness, and then the wrath of the Anglo-Saxons come into play. It is never a pretty sight, for then, these words become operative.

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on, His truth is marching

Cromwell, just as much as Sherman, would recognize those words.

Ben goes on to quote C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity to good effect.

“For a long time I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life—namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. . . . Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.

“Consequently, Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery. We ought to hate them. Not one word of what we have said about them needs to be unsaid. But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is anyway possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere, he can be cured and made human again.

“The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, “Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,” or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker.

“If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything—God and our friends and ourselves included—as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.”

He is, of course, correct. We can see it happening with the left, and we can feel the urge in ourselves to go there, as well. But, as Ben ends.

This is a question about whether we are going back into darkness. Belief that your tribe is good and other tribes are evil is what everyone thought for most of human history. The human heart tends toward tribalism before tolerance. We can go back to that world. It still lives in all of us. Fighting it is the challenge, particularly at a time when the most audacious thing you can do is show some grace.

A Failed Coup

Victor Davis Hanson in American Greatness reminds us that for the last three years, we have been living through something unique in American History, an attempted coup against the legitimately elected President, by the bureaucracy. With the help, of course, of the so-called news media, and much of the coastal elite. Here’s VDH:

[T]he illegal effort to destroy the 2016 Trump campaign by Hillary Clinton campaign’s use of funds to create, disseminate among court media, and then salt among high Obama administration officials, a fabricated, opposition smear dossier failed.

So has the second special prosecutor phase of the coup to abort the Trump presidency failed. There are many elements to what in time likely will become recognized as the greatest scandal in American political history, marking the first occasion in which U.S. government bureaucrats sought to overturn an election and to remove a sitting U.S. president.

Preparing the Battlefield
No palace coup can take place without the perception of popular anger at a president.

The deep state is by nature cowardly. It does not move unless it feels it can disguise its subterranean efforts or that, if revealed, those efforts will be seen as popular and necessary—as expressed in tell-all book titles such as fired FBI Directors James Comey’s Higher Loyalty or in disgraced Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s psychodramatic The Threat.

In candidate and President Trump’s case that prepping of the battlefield translated into a coordinated effort among the media, political progressives and celebrities to so demonize Trump that his imminent removal likely would appear a relief to the people. Anything was justified that led to that end.

All through the 2016 campaign and during the first two years of the Trump presidency the media’s treatment, according to liberal adjudicators of press coverage, ran about 90 percent negative toward Trump—a landmark bias that continues today.

Journalists themselves consulted with the Clinton campaign to coordinate attacks. From the Wikileaks trove, journalistic grandees such as John Harwood, Mark Leibovich, Dana Milbank, and Glenn Thrush often communicated (and even post factum were unapologetic about doing so) with John Podesta’s staff to construct various anti-Trump themes and have the Clinton campaign review or even audit them in advance.

Some contract “journalists” apparently were paid directly by Fusion GPS—created by former reporters Glen Simpson of the Wall Street Journal and Susan Schmidt of the Washington Post—to spread lurid stories from the dossier. Others more refined like Christiane Amanpour and James Rutenberg had argued for a new journalistic ethos that partisan coverage was certainly justified in the age of Trump, given his assumed existential threat to The Truth. Or as Rutenberg put it in 2016: “If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, non-opinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable. But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place?”

But as far as most of America is concerned, they do, and all concerned will, I think, pay a price for their foolishness. If they don’t, well America will change, and not for the better. There are two years left of Trump’s first term, it’s time to clean house.

And there is a hell of a lot of trash needing to be taken out. It’s time to begin, now that we can all see the dim outline of the beast, slouching across the horizon.

Hard to improve on VDH’s ending, so I won’t even try.

In sum, the Left and the administrative state, in concert with the media, after failing to stop the Trump campaign, regrouped. They ginned up a media-induced public hysteria, with the residue of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s illegal opposition research, and manipulated it to put in place a special counsel, stocked with partisans.

Then, not thugs in sunglasses and epaulettes, not oligarchs in private jets, not shaggy would-be Marxists, but sanctimonious arrogant bureaucrats in suits and ties used their government agencies to seek to overturn the 2016 election, abort a presidency, and subvert the U.S. Constitution. And they did all that and more on the premise that they were our moral superiors and had uniquely divine rights to destroy a presidency that they loathed.

Shame on all these failed conspirators and their abettors, and may these immoral people finally earn a long deserved legal and moral reckoning.

I fear that we may, with Yeats, see an awful vision.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
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