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May was histrionic. June could be historic.

Saturday, 25 May, 2019

When Prime Minister Theresa May stepped up to the lectern outside No. 10 Downing Street yesterday to announce she was stepping down as Tory leader on 7 June, a weary press and public exhaled a sigh of relief. Yes, there were pious expressions of sympathy from pundits declaring to be moved by her emotional statement, but their tears, unlike those of the genuinely upset Mrs May, were of the crocodile kind. Theresa May will be judged as one of the UK’s worst leaders. That’s the harsh reality. She took office at a time of crisis, but also opportunity. The Brexit vote was a democratic demand for change, but she wasted that opportunity, and then drove Great Britain deeper into crisis.

Theresa May was a technocrat, and the kind of politics preferred by technocrats is best exemplified by the Brussels bureaucracy. Not everyone wants that kind of politics, though. So, what next? Brexit means Boris writes Stephen Robinson in The Spectator. This bit will strike a chord with all those members of the typing class who have struggled with deadlines:

“I can’t say I know Boris well, despite our once having been Telegraph colleagues, mostly on different continents. I cannot say I even like him that much. I resented him when I edited the paper’s comment pages for filing his column three hours late, which meant I couldn’t get home to see my infant children.”

In the end, May was histrionic. June could be historic.


The stupid cult of Russia & the Latin American Idiot

Wednesday, 1 May, 2019

May Day: The comrades are unfurling their red flags and dreaming of revolution. There will be rallies today for expropriation in Berlin and against capitalism in London.

Which reminds us that it was none other than the great George Orwell who said that “Socialism… smells of machine-worship and the stupid cult of Russia.” And it was the same Orwell who brilliantly described the typical Russian commissar as “half gangster, half gramophone”. Which sounds just like Corbyn. But Orwell wasn’t done. “The fact is that Socialism, in the form in which it is now presented, appeals chiefly to unsatisfactory or inhuman types.” Which sounds just like Maduro.

These withering observations have to be placed in context. Orwell was a lifelong democratic socialist and the context in which he made his remarks was the delivery of The Road to Wigan Pier manuscript in 1937. The book had been commissioned by Victor Gollanzc, who ran the Left Book Club, and its 40,000 members regularly received a work that reflected their beliefs. Gollanzc hoped that a work about poverty in the British Midlands would fit the bill. The first half of Orwell’s book depicted the awful conditions in which the coal miners worked and described the sordid nature of their housing. A clear case for socialism, felt Gollanzc. But it was the second half of the book that upset the apple cart.

Orwell stated plainly that the British working class would never take socialism seriously. The notion of a classless society was a delusion, he wrote. Adding insult to injury, he noted that ordinary people could not identify with the Marxist ideologues because they were objectionable cranks, teetotallers and health-food fanatics. He was particularly scathing of those who peppered their sentences with “notwithstandings” and “heretofores” and got excited when discussing dialectical materialism. Gollanzc was shocked and wanted to publish the first part of the book only, but Orwell was a man of principle, not a gramophone, and he stuck to his guns.

Orwell is gone, but all is not lost. The Peruvian thinker Alvaro Vargas Llosa patrols a similar beat and a decade ago, in “The Return of the Idiot,” he wrote: “European journalists like Ignacio Ramonet and some foreign correspondents for outlets such as Le Nouvel Observateur in France, Die Zeit in Germany, and the Washington Post in the United States, are once again propagating absurdities that shape the opinions of millions of readers and sanctify the Latin American Idiot.” Llosa was on target, especially when noting the curious penchant of Western intellectuals to admire thuggish leaders who sprout anti-American slogans and pay lip service to The People. Interestingly, their admiration for these thugs — Castro, Ortega, Chávez, Morales, Correa, Maduro — somehow never leads the same intellectuals to depart the decadent West for the glories of the Workers’ Paradises.

In the 1993 Fall issue of Dissent, Günter Grass, the German winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999, wrote: “Cubans were less likely to notice the absence of liberal rights…[because they gained]… self respect after the revolution.”

Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s reply was perfect: “Reality check: How would you feel, Günter, about trading your bourgeois liberal rights, including the right to publish, for a bit of Cuban dignity?”

Looking at the misery of those parts of South America then in the hands of the “carnivorous” left, Alvaro Vargas Llosa concluded: “Until the Latin American Idiot is confined to the archives — something that will be difficult to achieve while so many condescending spirits in the developed world continue to lend him support — that will not change.”

But it will. As Sam Cooke sang: “It’s been a long time, a long time coming / But I know a change gonna come.”


Russiagate is this generation’s WMD

Sunday, 24 March, 2019

In light of Mueller, Matt Taibbi says that while the Iraq war faceplant damaged the reputation of the press, Russiagate has just destroyed it. He goes so far as to declare: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD. Snippet:

“Either Trump is a compromised foreign agent, or he isn’t. If he isn’t, news outlets once again swallowed a massive disinformation campaign, only this error is many orders of magnitude more stupid than any in the recent past, WMD included. Honest reporters like ABC’s Terry Moran understand: Mueller coming back empty-handed on collusion means a ‘reckoning for the media.’

Of course, there won’t be such a reckoning. (There never is). But there should be. We broke every written and unwritten rule in pursuit of this story, starting with the prohibition on reporting things we can’t confirm.”

What a shabby, amoral, vile, dishonest trade the news industry has become.

Mueller


Waiting for Mueller

Thursday, 21 March, 2019

If the rumours are to be believed, the anticipated report of the Mueller Investigation will “drop”, as they say in the jargon of the #MSM, sometime tomorrow. If Mueller finds that Donald Trump, or any members of his family or any of his advisors had colluded with alleged efforts by the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, the White House will be gravely damaged and the remaining days of the Trump presidency will involve trying to get through a humiliating and damaging obstacle course designed by the Democrats and the media to reduce the incumbent to zero.

If, on the other hand, Mueller does not finds that Donald Trump, or any members of his family or any of his advisors colluded with alleged efforts by the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, the Democrats and the media will be exposed as frauds of the highest order and their credibility well be reduced to zero.

This is a high-stakes game. All in!


It’s satire. Or is it?

Saturday, 16 March, 2019

The Onion


The Bolivarian nightmare

Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Venezuela is one of the richest countries in South America, but thanks to the criminal regimes of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro it is now in economic, social and political ruin. The basics — food, water, healthcare — are either unaffordable because of hyperinflation or controlled by the thugs disguised as the nation’s security forces. Chavez and Maduro declared that their goal was to redistribute the nation’s oil wealth to help the poorest Venezuelans but their senseless and wicked policies have resulted in the impoverishment of millions. Shop shelves are bare, children are suffering from malnutrition and people are fleeing the country in droves. This tableaux of horrors does not represent an aberration of socialism, however. Rather, is the inevitable result of socialism.

The only hope now for Venezuela is Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized by Washington as the nation’s interim president. He can end the Bolivarian nightmare and help his land recover from the trauma it has endured since 1998.

Juan Guaidó


The eighth post of pre-Christmas 2018: August

Thursday, 20 December, 2018

Our review of the year has reached August and on the 18th of that month our post here was titled “JG Ballard and the rage of the Angelas.” It dwelt on the comically terrifying totalitarianism of the left. Ballard was ahead of his time and one can only imagine the scorn he’d pour on today’s “activists,” who peddle their victimization rackets for attention and profit.

********

In his latter days and in his final works, the great JG Ballard, who died in April 2009, focused on how bored (and boring) materialism and media have made people. It’s not surprising, Ballard said, that the educated would do things like take to the streets in favour of dictators, support terror groups, denounce freedom and join crazed movements. And wasn’t he the prophet! Ballard lampooned all this brilliantly in Millennium People. Here, the narrator has infiltrated a middle-class “Antifa” group and attends a protest against a cat show in London with Angela, a revolutionary:

Angela stared across the road with narrowed eyes and all a suburbanite’s capacity for moral outrage. Walking around the exhibition two hours earlier, I was impressed by her unswerving commitment to the welfare of these luxurious pets. The protest rallies I had recently attended against globalisation, nuclear power and the World Bank were violent but well thought out. By contrast, this demonstration seemed endearingly Quixotic in its detachment from reality. I tried to point this out to Angela as we strolled along the line of cages.

“Angela, they look so happy. They’re wonderfully cared for. We’re trying to rescue them from heaven.”

Angela never varied her step. “How do you know?”

“Just watch them.” We stopped in front of a row of Abyssinians so deeply immersed in the luxury of being themselves that they barely noticed the admiring crowds. “They’re not exactly unhappy. They’d be prowling around, trying to get out of the cages.”

“They’re drugged.” Angela’s brows knotted. “No living creature should be caged. This isn’t a cat show, it’s a concentration camp.”

“Still, they are rather gorgeous.

“They’re bred for death, not life. The rest of the litter are drowned at birth. It’s a vicious eugenic experiment, the sort of thing Dr. Mengele got up to.”

Satire is our only defence against the Angelas of this world. What a tragedy JG Ballard is not with us now to write about the scourge of “identity politics.”

********

Tomorrow, here, the ninth post of pre-Christmas 2018 is about saving hay and souls.


Camille Paglia on 2020 and beyond

Sunday, 9 December, 2018

We are sleep-walking through the “graveyard of liberalism, whose once noble ideals have turned spectral and vampiric,” says author, academic and thinker Camille Paglia. Speaking to Spectator USA, she discusses, inter alia, 2020 and Trump. Snippet:

“If the economy continues strong, Trump will be reelected. The Democrats (my party) have been in chaos since the 2016 election and have no coherent message except Trump hatred. Despite the vast pack of potential candidates, no one yet seems to have the edge. I had high hopes for Kamala Harris, but she missed a huge opportunity to play a moderating, statesmanlike role and has already imprinted an image of herself as a ruthless inquisitor that will make it hard for her to pull voters across party lines.

Screechy Elizabeth Warren has never had a snowball’s chance in hell to appeal beyond upper-middle-class professionals of her glossy stripe. Kirsten Gillibrand is a wobbly mediocrity. Cory Booker has all the gravitas of a cork. Andrew Cuomo is a yapping puppy with a long, muddy bullyboy tail. Both Bernie Sanders (for whom I voted in the 2016 primaries) and Joe Biden (who would have won the election had Obama not cut him off at the knees) are way too old and creaky.

To win in the nation’s broad midsection, the Democratic nominee will need to project steadiness, substance, and warmth. I’ve been looking at Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Governor Steve Bullock of Montana. As for Hillary, she’s pretty much damaged goods, but her perpetual, sniping, pity-me tour shows no signs of abating. She still has a rabidly loyal following, but it’s hard to imagine her winning the nomination again, with her iron grip on the Democratic National Committee now gone. Still, it’s in her best interest to keep the speculation fires burning. Given how thoroughly she has already sabotaged the rising candidates by hogging the media spotlight, I suspect she wants Trump to win again. I don’t see our stumbling, hacking, shop-worn Evita yielding the spotlight willingly to any younger gal.”

Where is Oscar Wilde when we need him? He cut through “the insufferable arrogance and preening sanctimony in his era’s self-appointed guardians of morality,” says Paglia and someone similar is badly needed now to expose and ridicule the virtue signalers and social justice warriors who are determined to destroy civilization.

Camille Paglia


Diarist of the Day

Monday, 26 November, 2018

26 November 1992: “A perk of the place [House of Commons] is a free medical check-up. The doctor (thirty-something, a touch insipid, a specialist in ‘occupational medicine’) comes in two or three times a week and is available in a small, airless makeshift surgery located in the Cromwell Lobby. He did all the usual tests and I was given the usual verdict. ‘A little more exercise probably wouldn’t do any harm. Most people put on a stone or so when they come here. You haven’t done so badly. Moderation in all things.’ My cholesterol is at the upper edge of the range. Why did I lie about my alcohol consumption? I said half a bottle of wine a day and it must be two-thirds. (I assume everyone lies and when you say half a bottle he puts down two thirds.)” Gyles Brandreth


Smartphones are almost everywhere

Sunday, 18 November, 2018

It’s estimated that 40 percent of the world’s population now has a smartphone. For three billion people, writes Alan Taylor in The Atlantic, “these versatile handheld devices have become indispensable tools, providing connections to loved ones, entertainment, business applications, shopping opportunities, windows into the greater world of social media, news, history, education, and more.”

Here, Nigerian refugee Aicha Younoussa poses with a smartphone in front of her tent in a refugee camp in southern Chad.

In Chad

Here, attendees take photos of President Donald Trump as he attends the 2018 Young Black Leadership Summit in the East Room of the White House.

President Trump in the White House

Here, three women take selfies in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.

Piazza del Duomo


You’ll never be the drama critic for the NYT…

Sunday, 4 November, 2018

…If you’re a “deplorable,” that is. The author of Bullshit Jobs, David Graeber, observes:

Conservative voters, I would suggest, tend to resent intellectuals more than they resent rich people because they can imagine a scenario in which they or their children might become rich, but cannot possibly imagine one in which they could ever become a member of the cultural elite. If you think about it that’s not an unreasonable assessment. A truck driver’s daughter from Nebraska might not have very much chance of becoming a millionaire — America has the lowest social mobility in the developed world — but it could happen. There’s virtually no way that the same daughter will ever become an international human rights lawyer, or drama critic for the New York Times. Even if she could get into the right schools, there would certainly be no possible way for her to go on to live in New York or San Francisco for the requisite years of unpaid internships. If the son of a glazier got a toehold in a well-positioned bullshit job he would likely be unable or unwilling to transform it into a platform for the obligatory networking. There are a thousand invisible barriers.

Bullshit Jobs