1972 Redux?

Yesterday, I read articles by Victor Davis Hanson on American Greatness, Dr. Tom Borelli on Conservative Review, David Catron on The American Spectator and Clarice Feldman on American Thinker. They al;l said much the same thing. That was yesterday, I have seen many others in the last fortnight or so, and in fact, they are saying what I am saying here today. I’m going to mostly quote VDH here, but any of them will do, and it’s self-evident to your own eyes anyway.

At the rate the Democrats are going, 2020 = 1972. I don’t know if you remember 1972, but the Democrats crashed and burned, losing 49 states to Nixon. But 2020 may be worse. Let VDH tell you.

[W]hat is strange about the new envisioned progressive agendas for 2020 is that no serious Democratic presidential candidate next year could ever run on them.

Instead, what we will see over the next few months are insidious efforts to ignore, disown, or recant endorsements of Democratic candidates for president. And if not, Democrats will be trapped by their own rhetoric and virtue signaling—and end up going the full McGovern in 2020.

Venom. The new progressive Democratic Party is prepared for existential war. Vice President Mike Pence cannot be said to be a “decent guy.” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is old and in the way. America is not much above “garbage.” Immigrants arrive crushed that the “propaganda” did not match the reality of a pathological America. Yesterday’s condemnations from Jeremiah Wright’s pulpit sound mild today. In such a race to the bottom, expect in the next 22 months that each current slur and smear will be seen as counterrevolutionary within 24 hours. Yet most Americans do not appreciate their country being trashed by those who apparently know little about it.

Green Deals. Much has been written about the “Green New Deal,” specifically its socialist redistribution schemes, and its notorious rapid phasing out of the internal combustion engine, which drew the polite ridicule from Feinstein and even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Sound like anything you’ve seen and heard (unendingly)? Me as well, continuing.

Anti-Semitism. The recent failure to condemn explicit anti-Semitism, as voiced by some new anti-Semitic, anti-Israel left-wing congresswomen, reveals that the Democratic Party is captive to an entirely new manifestation of a tired, old ideology. […]

Abortion. It was an unwritten rule that there were two sure ways to lose voters on the abortion issue. Again, ethics and morality aside, there were a few clearly understood no-go, political red lines.

On the pro-abortion side, the red line was usually defined roughly as infanticide, ostensibly killing the baby as it passed through the birth canal or in fact was already delivered. […]

Reparations. There is no national support for reparations for contemporary African-Americans, nearly 160 years after the Civil War.

The argument is neither coherent nor workable. Do immigrant blacks from Africa or the Caribbean qualify despite no American familial historical experience with slavery or Jim Crow?

Open borders and the end of ICE.

Cancellation of student debt.

And on and on and on it goes, where it stops nobody knows. But I’ll bet a fair amount of money that nobody campaigning on half of those points is going to win the election, especially against a candidate that actually fights for his (and our) vision of America. That’s one thing.

But there is another. As David Catron (link above) reminds us; in 1994, the Democrats lost the House majority they had held since Eisenhower. They didn’t get it back until 2006, and lost it again in 2012, regained it in 2018, and are on track to lose it in 2020. Why? Because they have become increasingly (and vocally) radical, all the things VDH discussed above. This is America, and they would be seen as fairly radical, even in Europe.

Indeed, in the UK, the main reason that Teresa May remains the Prime Minister is that Jeremy Corbin also propounds all the stuff above, as so, as horrific as many conservatives perceive her, she was the best least horrible on offer. Sad when the least bad choice wants to give your country’s sovereignty away and pay somebody with billions of tax money for the privilege. That’s how bad Corbyn is.

Forty years ago Margeret Thatcher explained it thusly, “The one thing about leftwing politicians is that they are always fanatical. They never let go. It’s their religion.” Nothing has changed.

It is going to be a very noisy couple of years, as the idiot stepchildren learn a few facts of life, but they will, or they’ll be forcibly retired and then we’ll get on with it. Or they won’t and we may well see another civil war. But I think the first much more likely, the average American voter may well be lazy, but he isn’t stupid, and when the screeching gets annoying, he’s been known to shut it down.

Probably will again.

That Was Close!

Welp, my internet went down quite early this morning, and I just got it up. But I’ve nothing prepared, so…

I’ve had this in my files waiting for an opportunity to share it. It’s one of the great stories in the development of America in the last century. So enjoy!

Sunday Funnies: Late but Hating Hate

Well, I refused to give up an hours sleep last night, so I’m rather late this morning, since they changed the clocks anyway. But a busy week.

In other news: Turkeys vote for Christmas

Or not replacing it!

 

And, of course, and still more double trouble

 

Alex Trebek and an American Tradition

And so, Wednesday brought word from Alex Trebek that he has stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. Nat a good thing when you are 78, or ever in fact. We wish him a speedy recovery, and he will be in our prayers, but…well we are realists.

We’re also fans of Jeopardy, and it seems like we have been all our lives. Probably not least because we have stashed all sorts of unrelated and useless information, the perfect mess for playing Jeopardy, as it were. I can barely remember back at Bedrock High, a jeopardy contest, and quite a few bars over the years where the competition was spirited and friendly.

Mr. Trebek long ago made Jeopardy his own, I know he wasn’t the first host, although I can’t put a name to him, it was a perfect match, of host with program. Just as Monty Hall was on Let’s Make a Deal, Allen Ludden on Password. I can remember Bill Cullen and the GE Colleg Bowl, but it seemed impossibly hard at the time, but I was fairly young. But I’ve met many who find Jeopardy too hard as well.

Christopher Jacobs over at The Federalist makes the point that Alex is the very last man standing, the last real, professional game show host. He’s right, but let him tell it.

Few Game Shows Today

By comparison, few individuals currently on the air besides Trebek have hosted multiple game shows. Regis Philbin might qualify as a possible exception, having hosted a brief revival of “Password” after having helmed “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” But few individuals have hosted multiple game shows because so few game shows currently air.

Television dynamics have changed substantially in recent decades. The growth of syndicated daytime talk shows, beginning in the 1980s, eroded one block of time slots for game shows. And the launch of “Survivor” in 1998 heralded a new era of “reality” television programming in prime time, with cheaper costs and greater appeal to network executives.

From time to time, game shows have reappeared on the television landscape. “Millionaire” single-handedly resurrected ABC’s flagging fortunes in 1999 and 2000, prompting a series of imitators to launch big-money game shows. But ABC aired “Millionaire” episodes so frequently they ran the franchise into the ground, forcing it into daytime syndication, while “Greed,” “The Weakest Link,” a “Twenty-One” revival, and others soon disappeared entirely.

Television studios do occasionally air game shows, often during the slow summer season. When they’ve had a need, they have usually hired comedians—Steve Harvey at “Family Feud,” Drew Carey for “The Price Is Right,” Alec Baldwin for “Match Game”—or talk show hosts—Regis Philbin at “Millionaire” and Michael Strahan for a revival of the “$100,000 Pyramid.”

But the days of a single host making a stable living going from show to show, and developing a distinct identity as a game show host, have long since disappeared from the television marketplace. That makes Trebek not just an icon for fans of “Jeopardy!,” quiz shows, and trivia, but the last of his kind for an entire television genre.

That’s said, I’m a Jeopardy guy, and have been since High School, but dad and my favorite niece both favor The Price is Right, and Mom liked Password.

But I suspect the game show itself may be nearing the end of the road. At it’s best, it was communal viewing, at home as a family playing along, as we all do on Wheel of Fortune, and watching Jeopardy was always best with a group of friends playing along. That’s even true for The Price is Right, mindless as it sometimes seems.

But communal or family events are not doing so well in America these days seems like everybody has the nose stuck in their phone constantly instead of reacting to those they are with.

I’ll take sad for a $1000, Alex.

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.

The Eagle and the Dragon

David Runciman wants you to know that the 21st Century will be China’s just as the 20th was America’s. Isn’t that special! Maybe, but frankly, I doubt it. So does Steven W. Mosher, who writes about that in American Greatness.

Let’s take a look.

America’s best days are behind it, says David Runciman, in his book, How Democracy Ends.

Runciman sounds for all the world like a big “D” Democrat—a member of the political party that, at least since the time of Jimmy Carter, has specialized in “malaise.” The Democrat “two-step” goes like this. First, they cause “malaise” by hamstringing the economy, then they highlight it as an excuse to enact government programs that make even more people dependent upon the welfare state they control.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, specializes in “robust good health.” His booming optimism is reminiscent of Teddy Roosevelt’s. You can almost imagine him charging up San Juan Hill. How invigorating and refreshing to see energy, rather than excuses, in the Oval Office.

Like Roosevelt and Reagan, Trump believes that America’s best days are ahead of it.

Mosher goes on to note that it is China that has started to decline since the American people decided to turn our back on despair and dependency by electing Trump. He says, and I agree, it might have been true if we had elected Clinton.

But we didn’t. We elected Trump, a proven fighter who fights to win and is already doing so, as we see China and the EU start to slip into recession. Mind you, trade is not a strictly a win-lose game. Done properly it is a win-win thing. But the US has been playing a sucker’s bet since 1945, first intended to help the world to recover, and then out of habit until it was starting to really hurt America. To every thing, there is a time, wrote the Teacher, and the time to hurt ourselves to help others is no more.

While the Brits may not have caught on to the fact that America’s best days are ahead of it, the Democrats have. Witness the increasingly panicky calls for impeachment.

When their chief initiative is to carry out a political coup to remove their political opponent from office they are truly out of ideas.

Read his article (linked above) for his observations on China. I agree, from what I see. But he’s an expert, I’m not, but I do have eyes.

Business Insider is also reporting on troubles in China.

According to a paper published in January by Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based research firm, just over one-third of the superrich Chinese citizens in a survey described themselves as “very confident” about the future of the Chinese economy.

On the surface, that seems like a solid number, but it is startling when compared with the same survey two years ago, which showed that nearly two-thirds were very confident in China’s economic future. It is also the lowest number in the 15 years the survey has been produced, Hurun said.

The same survey from Hurun also found that the number of wealthy Chinese who had “no confidence at all” in China’s economic future had doubled from last year’s survey to 14%.

Hurun’s survey of 465 superrich Chinese citizens also found that almost half were considering emigrating or had already made moves to emigrate from China.

Heh! Funny how that happens when you feel you know better than your people. Here it is, more people saying the US will win again.

Why?

You know why!

Because Hillary will never be President.

Always amazing what freedom, politically, and in markets can do.

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