Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Clintons do Barnum and Bailey


Image result for bill clinton taking saudi money


There’s a sucker born every minute.

                                                 P. T. Barnum



Hillary and Bill Clinton will launch a nationwide speaking tour after the 2018 midterms that will take them to 13 cities in the United States and Canada, according to an announcement Monday by promoter Live Nation.” (Washington Post, October 8, 2018)

There is something about the Clintons and cynicism that make them seem inseparable, sort of like the inseparables in that old song, “Love and Marriage.” “Can’t have one without the other.”  This WP announcement last month (above) should make even a longtime Clintonista feel a bit embarrassed. During their long-term romance with the American people, the Clintons, no doubt, have experienced many feelings; but shame has never been one of them.

The Washington Post might consider issuing a correction on this piece. The “launch” was made decades ago. This duo has been speaking for a very longtime leaving in the wake unforgettable, inspirational gems like, “I did not have sex with that woman,” “What difference does it make now?” and a “vast right-wing conspiracy” floating around somewhere.  Clinton speeches are often boring and self-serving, but they are almost always predictable in content – about matters exculpatory or pecuniary, for themselves, of course. So, one must wonder: what could they possibly have to say at this point that in some form or other we haven’t already heard?

The answer, of course, is nothing. “The unusual tour will take the Clintons mainly to friendly territory — including several large Democratic-leaning cities such as Philadelphia, Seattle, Detroit and Boston, as well as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal…” (WP) “Unusual tour”? It is good to know that the WP staff writers, always trying to step up to the challenge of helping the Clintons appear serious, wholesome, and most important of all, respectable, know how to manage their euphemisms. “The unusual tour” is better than “the Clintons are on their usual pocket-lining prowl for spare cash.” Where better to pick it up than in the ‘easy pickin’ “Democratic-leaning cities.”  Canada? Well, I think “follow the money” is the operative phrase, and a country that settles for Justin Trudeau as its Prime Minister is certainly an appropriate venue for the ole Slickster and his little lady to work their magic. “Friendly territory” would probably not include West Virginia – too many of those coal miners Hillary wanted to see unemployed; not enough extra cash to throw into the Clinton collection plate.

This tour resembles the Golden Oldies concerts done by the 60s/70s rock-n-roll has-beens. Like the grey-haired rockers past their prime and pinning for their groupies, the Clintons just cannot call it quits. In the not-too-far future, with Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” as background music, look for some fresh-faced young interns to wheel out the blanket-covered, slack-jawed Bill and Hill in their wheel chairs, waving feebly and still seeing dollar signs floating around through their stroke-dimmed eyes. Audiences, no doubt, will be found who shell out just to look at them. Not having to listen to them talk about themselves will be a vast improvement over the current tour.

For now, however, there is good news:

Tickets for “An Evening with President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton” will go on sale later this week; prices for a single event are listed as ranging from $59.50 to $375.” (WP)

It wasn’t all that long ago when fifty or sixty minutes-worth of wisdom from either Our Lady of Chappaqua or Arkansas “Elvis” went anywhere from a quarter to three-quarters of a million dollars. But for some inexplicable reason the Saudi princes, Goldman Sacks executives and the Kazakhstan dictator no longer care to throw their spare change out for Clintons to pick up and funnel into their coffers, I mean their charity work. Now for a measly sixty bucks a head you can bring the whole family and can get an entire “evening” of enlightenment and that vintage Clinton charm from both Madam Secretary and the ex-Pres.

Continuing with the Washington Post’s promotional efforts:

The event is billed as an opportunity to hear the Clintons ‘provide a unique perspective on the past, and remarkable insight into where we go from here,’ including their views on ‘one of the United States’ most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections.’”  “Unique” perspectives on the past are sort of a Clinton trade mark, coming now, apparently, at a reduced bargain basement discount. But they are not as creative and original now as back when the First Couple were partying in the White House and renting out the Lincoln bedroom to prospective donors. During the Lewinski business Bill’s perspective, shall we say, was beyond unique: snagged by his statement that “there's nothing going on between us” had turned out to be false, because he had no ongoing relationship with Lewinsky at the time he was questioned, he responded “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Not exactly Churchillian, but it is certainly a keeper, one for the ages, and captures in a short, simple and truly remarkable sentence both the style and substance of the man from Hope, Arkansas. 

For unique perspectives on the past, Hillary, unfortunately, does not possess Bill’s talent for a succinct and paradigmatic phrasing to address sometimes difficult matters that come into question. Back in 2014, as she was eying the Presidency, Hillary was on stage with NYT Clinton-sycophant and obnoxious know-it-all, Thomas Friedman, who asked her to summarize her accomplishments in her tenure as Secretary of State. For a question she cannot or does not want to answer, Hillary’s approach is to lay down a dense cloud of verbal smog until her listeners’ eyes begin to glaze over. Click on this two-minute You Tube video to experience a masterpiece of mindless, dithering incoherence while watching Freidman looking on like he’s having a petit mal seizure. Then try to comprehend why anyone would pay this woman a quarter million dollars or more for a speech. With this question, Friedman inexplicably had stepped out of his assigned role and asked Mrs. Clinton a real question.  He was supposed to have posed it this way: “Secretary Clinton, in the face of Republican hostility, nay-saying and sexism you did all of these wonderful x, y and z things as Secretary of State. How do you feel about that?” It is obvious, body-language wise, at the very beginning of the video that the finger-pointing Mrs. Clinton was not happy with the way Mr. Friedman’s put the question to her.

But let’s move on from “unique perspective[s] on the past” to “remarkable insight into where we go from here…”  Yes, but who exactly is the “we” that will be going somewhere? Probably not the 62 million “deplorable”, “irredeemable” bigots who didn’t vote for her. The Clintons have always quite selective about who gets to be one of their “we’s” – not that it always works out well to be one. Just ask Monica Lewinski, Susan McDougal or Webster Hubbell. But as we see, it doesn’t cost as much as it used to.

It is obvious where the Clintons are going from here, and it is not quietly, graciously into their long overdue retirement. Rumors now have it that Hillary is planning yet another Presidential run in 2020. What is remarkable is that the Democrat bosses, the MSM and the “progressives” who desperately want one of their own back in charge, default to subsidizing Hillary’s delusions and resentment, stroking her demanding ego and pretending that she is something other than a whiny, pathetic loser.  She will never figure out that she is a loser.  But it’s time to let her sulk about it on her own and on her own dime. Please go away Hillary. You had your shot. You blew it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

My Victimhood is Bigger than Yours, or, “Genocide” Isn’t What It Used To Be


“My victimhood is bigger than yours” (hereafter MVBY) is a very popular game these days, particularly around election season.  MVBY is easy to play, but you can best acquire expertise by going to a university, any university, and major in one of the “studies” disciplines – Women Studies, Gay/Lesbian Studies, African American Studies, Latino Studies or maybe Queer Theory or Post-Colonialism. There are a lot of options to choose from, and the best part is that when finished, you are fully equipped to make life miserable for anyone who doubts the particular version of victimhood you espouse. Almost all of the degrees come with an easily mastered vocabulary of handy accusations, insults and slurs, an in-your-face attitude that will intimidate most people, and a self-righteous certainty that is invincible to counterarguments and can withstand the response of anyone courageous enough be critical or skeptical of your point of view.  

Some of the more gifted graduates go on to prestige jobs at cable networks like CNN or national newspapers such as the New York Times and Washington Post. They get well paid to complain about “racism,” “sexism,” "anti-Semitism" and “white supremacy” and enjoy unmasking the bigotry of the rubes who voted for Trump. Other graduates become teachers in the schools and universities. They conduct the “consciousness raising” so that the next generation of victims knows how even better to articulate its grievances, formulate its demands, and as former President Obama put it, “Get in their face.” Those who prefer administrative-human resources “work,” will find that the “Diversity Industry” is an employment growth-sector. The rapid expansion of victim groups has stimulated demand for appropriately credentialed personnel to pursue the workplace perpetrators of microaggressions, racist dog whistles and hate speech. For the more physically oriented and less intellectually gifted victim-credentialed folks, there are opportunities for street work. Join Antifa or BLM, put on a mask, smash some storefront windows, and beat up anyone who appears to display racist tendencies or Nazi sympathies. For the less physically oriented, lawyers are aplenty. They will help you target and maximize the impact of your accusations of discrimination, harassment and abuse.

However, to get a better sense of how the politicians and the educators help make MVBY a national past time and turn schools into propaganda mills, consider this recent development in Connecticut. From the Hartford Courant, October, 21, 2018.

Connecticut lawmakers moved closer on Monday toward requiring the state's school districts to teach students about the Holocaust and other genocides, voicing concern about an uptick an anti-Semitic acts and an apparent lack of knowledge among many young people about such atrocities. While the state Department of Education has made an optional course on genocide available to districts, legislators said many have not used it. ‘We have not done enough to educate the young,’ said Democratic Rep. Andrew Fleischmann of West Hartford, who voiced concern about recent polling that has shown a lack of awareness about the Holocaust and the six million Jewish victims. ‘It's not clear why we would have districts not teaching this profoundly important subject.’”

The article goes on to add that “The House of Representatives voted 147-0 in favor of the bill following a somber and poignant debate.” Really? One has to wonder: just how “somber and poignant” a “debate” could be with a vote of 147 to 0 as the outcome? How long did it last? It sounds more to me like the sorts of voting that took place in the Council of People’s Commissars back in the halcyon days of the USSR. “No” is not a career-enhancing move, as everyone, wink-wink, understands. “It's not clear why we would have districts not teaching this profoundly important subject.  Come on Commisar Fleischmann! You are just being polite. We all know what is going on in these districts. 

Did anyone in this somber debate raise what seems to be the most obvious question: Why should the teaching of “Holocaust and other genocides” be mandatory? Representative Fleischmann says that this is a “profoundly important subject.” Fine, but let’s drop the preacherly pose, set the scolding aside for a moment and be upfront and honest: what is “important” is an outcome heavily conditioned by self-interest and self-identity. Engineers argue that mathematics and physics are profoundly important subjects for instruction, for English teachers, literature and grammar. Devout Catholics want their children to be taught to believe in the sanctity of life and the mortal sin of abortion, for feminists, the equality of women, access to abortion, and the social construction of gender are very important.

Why then does the Holocaust merit privileged status as a mandatory topic in the schools?  The last 3000 years or so of history is full of mass murder, atrocities, rape and pillage. So much to choose from, so where do you draw the line? You could fill up the entire K-12 years with nothing else. Given the heavy moralizing that energizes the teaching of these sorts of topics, unfortunately, the efforts inevitably twist themselves into tendentious, fact-selective enterprises of enforced dogma that suffer absolutely no critical or skeptical reaction – true believers are the intended outcome, anything else is punishable heresy. Look what happened to Larry Summers a few years back at Harvard. Being a certified victim, or related to a victim of any atrocity gives the claimant enormous moral, and possibly political, leverage, which is why, it should seem obvious, that victim-status has become such a coveted commodity that comes with a vast advocacy network and legal enforcement apparatus. To wit: “Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation making the commission of a hate crime a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Violence and threats based on a person's gender also were deemed hate crimes. The state's previous law only protected gender identity or expression, not gender,” also from the Hartford Courant article.

But on with the somber Connecticut lawmakers: Who then should teach the American children about the “Holocaust and other genicides”? Before attempting to answer the question, it is reasonable to conclude that the upper-case “Holocaust” is going to be the centerpiece of attention given the “uptick of anti-Semitic acts” that young people seem to be unaware of, as noted by Alan Levin, the regional civil rights chairman of the Connecticut Anti-Defamation League, who was cited in the Hartford Courant article. One can speculate about ADL priorities operating in this venue, but what about the lower-case afterthought, the “other genocides”? Well, to borrow an old Cricket metaphor, that is a bit of “sticky wicket” because, you see, from the very beginning of its coinage by Raphael Lemkin and its attachment to Hitler and the Third Reich, “genocide” has been a tool of cynical ideologues used in the service of self-interest.  In a review, of Stalin’s Genocides by Norman Naimark (Princeton University Press) Aaron Rothstein writes in “Bodies Count”:

Norman Naimark, the Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of East European Studies at Stanford, wonders why Lemkin, and those who followed his analysis at the United Nations in writing the Genocide Convention, created a concept that incorporated Hitler’s killings—the attempt to extirpate the Jews was an attempt to exterminate an ethnic group (and nation)—but did not extend as far as Stalin’s murders. Naimark points out that Lemkin’s 1933 argument, unlike his 1944 book, included a reference to the extermination of a “social collectivity.” Such collectivities include political parties or groups organized around particular ideas; they could be almost any group considered to be a political opponent. In Lemkin’s earlier analysis, the attempt to exterminate such groups would also have been considered genocide. But not in 1944. And not in 1948, either, when Lemkin’s work influenced the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. That document also leaves out social and political collectivities, stating that genocide includes the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” Naimark suggests that the reason for this alteration in the concept was simple, but it has had large consequences: Lemkin did not want to upset Stalin who, despite brutally exterminating political groups in the Soviet Union, was vital to the Allied war effort against Hitler.

Yes, it was extremely important not to “upset Stalin” which meant that his mass-murders – millions of Ukraine peasants, the Katyn Wood massacre, as well as his extensive mass-deportations and ethnic cleansing during WWII, and the million-plus slave-laborers in the Gulag – would have to be conveniently overlooked. Lemkin himself in a recent study by Anton Weiss-Wendt, who directs research at the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Oslo, Norway, emerges as an unsavory opportunist. In a review:

Rather than the ‘saintly figure’ of popular accounts, Weiss-Wendt instead presents Lemkin as ‘a rather odious character— jealous, monomaniacal, self-important, but most of all unscrupulous’, complicit in the gutting of his own creation. As early as 1947, Lemkin himself favored the exclusion of political groups in order to secure adoption of the treaty, and enlisted the World Jewish Congress in this effort.” (Holocaust and Genocide Studies, September, 2017)

Genocide as a moral and legal concept from its establishment by the United Nations Genocide Convention in 1948 has been selectively applied and politically manipulated so as to make its current application a dubious polemical ploy that certifies victimhood with an exclamation point. The Wikipedia “List of Genocides by Death Toll has a total of thirty-five genocides that range back to 135 BC, “the Punic battle of Carthage.”  It also cites the “Canadian residential school system (Canadian genocide)” that claimed somewhere between “3,200 and 32,000 lives over 120 years” (a multi-generational conspiracy apparently). Not on the list was Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” that in five years killed between 20 and 40 million Chinese. The Wikipedia list also states that “Scholars are divided and their debate is inconclusive on whether the Holodomor [Stalin’s terror famine that killed three to five million Ukrainians] falls under the definition of genocide.” When what counts as “genocide” is elusive enough to put the “scholars” in opposition over 3 to 5 million dictator-designed dead people and inclusive enough to put the Canadian residential school system in the dock over 3,200, it is time, the next time you hear the word, to kick the dog and go out and mow your lawn.    

In 2012 Paul Preston, a prolific British historian of the Spanish civil war, published a massive work entitled, The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth Century Spain. Preston just couldn’t help himself: he says so in the Prologue to the book (xi). So now, it seems, “Holocaust” is going the way of “genocide” with Franco joining the ranks of Hitler in the “circles of evil” rankings. This made Preston wildly popular with the Spanish leftists who are now set to evict Franco from the hated Valle de los Caidos and who will probably soon blow the place up. I don’t know, however, if Preston heard from the Anti-Defamation League and Deborah Lipstad, the self-appointed guardian of Holocaust orthodoxy, with accusations of trademark infringement, but, clearly, there are powerful incentives to push the envelope of guilt and inflationary pressure at work for those who toil at manipulating the nomenclature-of-evil, trying to move their favorite victim-class to the front of the line.

So, to return to the question: Who then should teach the American children about the “Holocaust and other genocides”?  Here, from the Hartford Courant, is the Connecticut solution:

Under the legislation, local and regional school boards must include the topic in their social studies curriculum beginning with the 2018-19 school year. It is estimated the mandate could cost districts less than $5,000, but the legislation allows local school officials to use free, online resources and to accept grants and donations to cover the cost.”

Churchill’s firebombing of 131 cities during WWII, immolating hundreds of thousands of German civilians, including women and children – war crimes under international law (Jörg Friedrich, Der Brand: Deutschland Im Bombenkrieg, 1940-1945, Propylean, 2002);

The predominant role that Jewish Bolsheviks played in the murder of the Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, fourteen year old son and four daughters -- bayoneted to death (Mark Weber, “The Jewish Role in the Bolshevik Revolution and Russia's Early Soviet Regime,” (The Unz Review);


























Monday, September 24, 2018

Is Donald Trump a Fascist?

                                                            
Image result for frankfurt school
Herbert Marcuse                                                                  Angela Davis

Anyone just returned from a visit to Mars or recently awakened from a two-year coma will be shocked to discover that America teeters on the precipice of a Fascist dictatorship. That’s correct. Donald Trump is a Fascist or at least a close approximation. That would be the message emanating from the Illuminati, folks like New York Times columnist, Peter Beinart with the question inquiring minds have been anxiously pondering: Is Trump a Fascist?

The piece opens:  “The list of Trump-era jeremiads keeps growing: ‘The Road to Unfreedom,’ ‘Can It Happen Here?,’ ‘Fascism: A Warning’ and now ‘How Fascism Works,’ a slim volume by the Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley that breezes across decades and continents to argue that Donald Trump resembles other purveyors of authoritarian ultranationalism.” I haven’t read Stanley’s slim and breezy book, but Beinart’s friendly review fails to convince me that it would be of much use in navigating the world of Fascism or be particularly enlightening about the nature of Trump’s plans for building an American Reich.  

Then there is Robin Wright writing for the New Yorker, “Madeleine Albright Warns of a New Fascism – and Trump.”   Fascism: A Warning” Albright wrote with the help of someone named Bill Woodward. The book, says Wright, is “both provocative and scary.” Provocative? I give up. Scary, though, is that someone of Albright’s supposed stature, a Georgetown University professor and a career diplomat who has toiled in the highest regions of world politics, would write something so embarrassingly juvenile and simple minded as the following.

“He [Trump] won the Presidency because he convinced enough voters in the right states that he was a teller of blunt truths, a masterful negotiator, and an effective champion of American interests. That he is none of those things should disturb our sleep, but there is a larger cause for unease. Trump is the first antidemocratic president in modern U.S. history.”

How is one to cope with the Trump-induced sleep disturbance? It is, of course, unprecedented that a politician would run for office, brag about how terrific he is at doing what he thinks the voters want him to do and then it is discovered that he is not quite up to it all. We know that pre-Trump, the guys who got themselves elected President were all straight arrows who did what they promised to do. Sure. At least Trump, unlike his immediate predecessor, confined himself to boasting about how great he would make America and did not promise to “heal the planet.” And, what is one to make of the howling non-sequitur, “Trump is the first antidemocratic president in modern U.S history”? Actually, I think there is a lot of competition for that distinction. FDR would be a top contender. When he ran for reelection in 1940 he promised the electorate, the voters that he knew wanted no part of the off-shore slaughter going on in Europe, to keep U.S. troops out of it, while secretly conniving with Churchill and British intelligence services to get America into the war. When it was over he and Winston gift-wrapped a big chunk of Europe for their comrade-in-arms, “Uncle Joe”, who we all know was a very democratic sort of fellow.

Albright’s “warning” gets even scarier: “He [Mussolini] used the term ‘drenare la palude,’ or ‘drain the swamp.’” Q.E.D. It’s settled: Trump is not only a Fascist but a shameless plagiarist as well. I’ll run the risk of ageism and suggest that Mrs. Albright at 80 years old should find a comfortable rocking chair, some knitting needles and send her ghost-writer, Bill Woodward off to do what he seems better equipped for – churning out term papers for lazy college kids.

The professors, the NYT scribblers, and Madeleine Albright clearly think they are on to something.   They have grasped what escaped the 62 million Americans who voted for Trump. Check that. Actually, Hillary Clinton realized that almost half the country was already flirting with Fascism. Late in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election campaign Clinton called Trump supporters “irredeemable … thankfully, not part of America.” Now, were someone to attempt to translate candidate Clinton’s slur into German it would not be too much of a stretch to use for “irredeemables” “Untermenschen,” supposedly a term favored by members of a political party in Germany of the 1930s to say of certain sorts of folks that they were “thankfully, not part of Germany.” So much for irony, apparently the grasp on which is not one of Mrs. Clinton’s strong suits.   

But back to the burning question: Is Trump a Fascist? Consider: Trump has never claimed to be a Fascist and most likely resents being called one. Remember that Mussolini (Fascism’s founder), Hitler (the German version), Oswald Mosley (the British version) – the original Fascists, the gold standard to which Trump is constantly compared – proudly announced themselves to the world as Fascists. They strutted around in black and brown uniforms, staged massive parades with banners, made the stiff-armed Roman salute every ten minutes, and bragged about how superior Fascists were to everyone else. While claiming superiority, mainly for himself, Trump has never called himself a Fascist. For a while he called himself a Democrat, rubbing shoulders with the Clintons, for a period he claimed to be an independent, and now he says he is a Republican. Moreover, why in the world would Trump, who worships success, “winners”, identify in any possible way with three colossal losers, guys whose careers terminated with suicide, a firing squad, and prison? Look how it turned out for George Lincoln Rockwell.

Perhaps Trump is secretly a Fascist. Times have changed. These days brandishing your Fascist bona fides is not a good career enhancement strategy, will not move you into many useful or sophisticated social circles and, not to mention, for guys a turnoff for most women. This doesn’t seem plausible either. One could not be a serious Fascist over a long period of time, even secretly, without giving some indications. Trump is 71 years old, and until he ran for President in 2015, no one seemed to have the slightest clue or fear that he was Mussolini redux, plotting the destruction of “our democracy.” And, that was after decades of being a high profile, New York City and media celebrity with a decadent playboy life style that invited national attention. That raises what seems to be an obvious question: after so many years with no indication, just when did Trump become a crypto-Black Shirt? People don’t typically, all of a sudden, become Fascists in their late 60s. Fascism is, or was, a young man’s sort of thing.  Mussolini, Hitler, and Mosley were all combat veterans from the WWI trenches, deeply disillusioned with the outcome, radicalized at relatively early ages in the aftermath and openly hostile to and alienated from their countries’ political establishment. Trump was an ambitious rich kid who skipped Viet Nam, became a workaholic hedonist, got even richer, then bored and turned to politics later in life, never alienated from American society, rather one of its more colorful jet-setters.  

Another possibility is that Trump is a Fascist but doesn’t know that he is one. Which would explain the son-in-law. So, whatever it is Trump thinks he is, he’s is confused, clueless or deluded and is acting like a Fascist without realizing it. Donald Trump doesn’t strike me be as a particularly introspective or self-reflective man, but I happen to opine that being a Fascist is a lot like being a Communist, a Socialist or a Feminist. You think and operate with a tightly (fanatically?) embraced set of priorities because you firmly believe the world is not currently the way it should be and you are determined to fix it. Many unflattering things can be said about Donald Trump, but “fanatic” is not one of them.

So, whatever President Trump is, rest assured, it is a safe bet that he is not a Fascist. He most certainly is a guy deeply unpopular with the smart set, those who best know how the current political fashion shows are supposed to unfold, who set the protocols and select those who get to call the shots. They are cultural snobs and professional moralists and virtue mongers whose favorite word is “democracy” but who actively despise the demos, the “irredeemables” who occasionally, as with Trump’s election, spoil the arranged outcome and defy their betters. “Fascist” is the worst the sophisticates can think of to call those who get in their way and crash their invitation-only parties, a word with powerful imagery connected to long dead men who now live timelessly as ontologized evil. There are many people to blame for getting us into this mess. At the top of my list are the Frankfurt boys who helped wreck the universities: Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm, et al. Many of their disciples, unfortunately, are now running the show.  


Friday, July 13, 2018

Franciso Franco, Donald Trump and the Future of Fascism


The Socialist party in Spain is taking power and it appears that high on its agenda is to interrupt the eternal slumber of General Francisco Franco in his gothic mausoleum, Valle de los Caidos. With the shifting tectonic plates of Spanish politics his posthumous eviction appears to be on the near horizon, a savory morsel of venganza for the Spanish left over the Franquistas.


Forty-three years after his death and the restoration of the Spanish monarchy and almost eighty years since his civil war victory over the Spanish Republicans the hatred of the Spanish left for the dead Caudillo continues unabated. In the long run Franco abjectly failed in Spain to stem the modern, secularizing tides of change that were washing over the rest of Europe. Unforgettable and unforgiveable, however, is that he was on the wrong side of history, opposed by the “progressives” of his time, and thus, not supposed to win in 1939. That he did with the help of Hitler and Mussolini makes his memory an unrelenting abomination.


Whenever progressives lose they think and act as if they stand on the brink of an apocalypse, as was in stark evidence recently in the reaction of the American left to the improbable defeat of Hillary Clinton who sneered at Trump as a Fascist of sorts whose supporters were “irredeemable.” Trump, like Franco, was declared to be on the wrong side of history and not supposed to win. For the progeny of the communists, socialists and anarchists who succumbed to Franco’s Nationalists, his victory and subsequent dictatorship must be rendered a political and moral cataclysm fit only for execration.  Revenge is to be vented symbolically upon his tomb and his memory.    


A recent article in the New York Times on the planned demolition of Franco’s crypt quotes Paul Preston, who has written prolifically on Franco and the Spanish Civil War.


Paul Preston, a British historian and biographer of Franco, said that Spain was an anomaly in Europe in keeping a ‘place of pilgrimage for its fascist dictator’ — there are no monuments to Adolf Hitler in Germany or in Austria, nor to Benito Mussolini in Italy. Among the more than 250,000 visitors to the Valle de los Caídos each year, Mr. Preston said, many are devotees of Franco ‘brought up to believe that he was a benefactor for Spain.’”


Preston does not bother to speculate as to what sort of considerations might move these misguided “devotees” of the Generalissimo. Certainly, they would be nothing that would make any sense to the normal, rational sorts of people who read the New York Times and reflect thoughtfully on all matters of politics. You see, Preston, while nominally a historian, is really a high functioning, sophisticated member of that school of moralists whose theorizing is firmly anchored to the ghost of Adolf Hitler, the ne plus ultra of wickedness and depravity who seems to be always busy reincarnating himself as Trump, Putin, Bush II or whoever is the current menace of right-thinking people said to be “strangling democracy” somewhere. For moralizing purposes, this “Hitlerizing” approach works very well leaving no moral ambiguity to contend with; those who are good and those who are evil are clearly distinguishable. Those who are evil are supremely and unequivocally so, which by contrast makes those who are good paragons of virtue and moral rectitude. When a brand new Hitler comes to town, no need for further conversation, debate or compromise; taking to the streets, brandishing anti-Fascist bona fides, and active resistance is the only moral option. Franco, for Preston, was just an Iberian cutout of the Austrian Corporal, and so anyone who might even attempt to offer an attenuating perspective on his life and career, would have to be castigated as a Brownshirt apologist, drooling away on the fringes. (See: Fosterspeak: Santiago Carrillo, the Last Stalinist)


For historical understanding, however, Preston’s work will not be especially helpful. He remains invincibly oblivious to the reasons that explain why, unlike the absence of monuments for Hitler and Mussolini in contemporary Germany and Italy, there were and are monuments to Franco in Spain. Franco died of natural causes in his old age having prudently kept his country out of World War II (refusing Hitler’s entreaties to draw Spain into an alliance) and having prepared for a peaceful succession of power to a constitutional order. This was in stark contrast to the dramatic, violent exits of Hitler and Mussolini that capped the epic destruction and ruin that their reigns brought to large portions of the planet. The Germans after Hitler’s demise got the Nuremberg Trials; Spain upon Franco’s death got King Juan Carlos, a decent and benevolent man. Spain was never occupied by conquering foreign armies (no Spanish women by the tens of thousands raped and murdered by Red Army soldiers), its citizens never forced or bribed to behave in ways deemed “appropriate” by their Soviet, British, French and American occupiers. Finally, Spanish Catholics might well consider Franco a “benefactor” of sorts given the fate of religious people in communist governed lands throughout the twentieth century. Catholics fared better in mid-twentieth century Spain, then they did in, let us say, Poland.


The Socialists in Spain have been in the Franco decommissioning mode for some time. In 2007 they passed the Law of Historical Memory (Yes, that is not a parody) and commenced the renaming of streets and buildings and the removal of monuments and statues having anything to do with Franco. The Valle de los Caidos has, of course, always been their grand prize. Historical “memory” in contemporary western Europe is a state monopolized enterprise and incorrect thinking about touchy subjects is subject to punishment. To make certain Hitler reigns historically supreme and unchallenged as the Avatar of Evil, historians who depart from the officially sanctioned narratives about German iniquities and culpability are labeled as “holocaust deniers,” their morally opprobrious opinions deemed sufficient to subject them to criminal prosecution. When the state resorts to the criminalizing of unpopular opinions, however, one has to wonder what defects or limitations there might be with the orthodox version that require persecution of the sceptics. Since the dissenters are so obviously deluded and/or ignorant that no normal person would pay them attention, why do they need to be threatened with prison?


The American left has no Franco statues upon which to vent their anti-Fascist fury, but the 2016 Presidential surprise election of Donald Trump was immediately followed by his predictable Hitlerization. Statues and monuments signaling “white supremacy” are now the targets of our very own antifas and Black Lives Matters gangs who seem to resemble the church-burning, priest-murdering, nun-raping, anti-Fascist Spanish anarchists of the 1930s. The attempted mass-murder last year by Bernie Sanders supporter, James Hodgkinson, of dozens of Republican Congressmen and the encouragement by national Democrat leaders for their supporters to engage in the harassment and physical intimidation of Trump administration officials portends an escalation to unprecedented levels of violent political conflict.   


Just recently, the NAACP called for the sandblasting away of Confederate carvings on Stone Mountain GeorgiaThe north face of Stone Mountain depicts three Confederate figures — Confederacy President Jefferson Davis and generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Work on the carving began in 1923, according to the park’s website. It is 400 feet above ground and the entire carved surface covers about three acres. It is larger than Mount Rushmore.  A protest march on July 4th included Black Panthers armed with AK-47s and AR-15s.



Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams called for the removal of the giant carving that depicts three Confederate war leaders on the face of state-owned Stone Mountain, saying it “remains a blight on our state and should be removed.’”

The left in Spain and the U.S are set on destroying the symbols of a past that make them feel bad. In Spain the memory of Franco seems to poison their waking moments even though he has been long dead and widely forgotten in most of the world. In the U.S. the memory of slavery and Jim Crow, though ancient history, continues to arouses their resentment.

Purging Franco from public spaces and tearing down Confederate statues, however, is not going to make the moralists on the left feel better because feeling bad (angry, resentful, vengeful) is the high octane emotional fuel that runs the engines of cultural Marxism. Left-wing ideologues and activists gain political traction by leveraging the grievances of victim classes, by churning up their anger and turning it against the oppressor classes. Victims who don’t realize that they are victims and feel bad about it are of no use, and without self-conscious, agitated victims, cultural Marxism is like a fast car with no wheels; it goes nowhere.

What helps to keep the bad feelings fresh, invigorating and thus efficacious for members of the victim class is a demonizing vocabulary at their disposal that enables them to portray the oppressors as malignant cretins who have no place in a modern, progressive society. Which is why “Fascist” remains one of the favorites in the left’s lexicon of abuse and why Hitler keeps reappearing whenever progressives experience some resistance to their planned march to perfect equality. The logic is obvious and primitive. “Hitler would be against ‘x’ (‘x’ being the latest progressive fashion); therefore, your opposition to ‘x’ means you must be like Hitler.”  “Fascism” has the ideal, goose-stepping imagery and historical connotations from the 1930s that make it the perfect, all-purpose smear – the Gestapo, concentration camps, racial persecution, cult-worship of the leader. 

Real flesh and blood Fascists were extinguished by WWII Allied armies, and those few today who imitate the originals occupy the only the far reaches of the social fringe. Thus, the curious irony: while neo-Nazis and Klansmen are few and far between, and while no one in their right mind today wants to be connected with anything resembling Fascism, for the left, it seems, a sizeable portion of the U.S. is made up of them, including our President. The overreach should seem silly and obvious to all but the most deranged fringe of the left. But the smear will persist widely because the left needs Fascists to affirm their own virtue and rationalize their escalating assaults on free speech, religious freedom and historical symbols that offend them. Without the specters of Hitler, Franco, the Klan, sandblasting monuments and renaming streets might seem like a waste of time and effort.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Monuments, Museums and the Racial Reconciliation Racket


Image result for whites sorry for slavery

 Montgomery, Alabama (CNN)One of my first thoughts when I arrived in Montgomery, Alabama, and encountered the spring heat was this: How did enslaved men, women and children endure day after day?
                                                   Nia-Malika Henderson

The exotically forenamed Nia-Malika Henderson is a senior political reporter for CNN who, according to her by-line, “reports on the politics, policies and people shaping Washington with a focus on identity politics.” Just wondering, would a reporter so named be pursuing anything other than identity politics?  “Identity politics” has become a euphemism for an ideology whose central premise makes racism the defining feature of both historical and contemporary America and holds white Americans morally culpable for the all of the social and economic disparities that mark black-white race relations. White privilege and whiteness have become the twenty-first century’s scarlet letter with rituals of contrition and petitions for forgiveness as basic requirements for sustaining social and professional respectability.  

Ms. Henderson recently wrote a piece for CNN about her visit to Montgomery, Alabama where she experienced The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration that opened on April 26th.  She reports that “The memorial captures the brutality and the scale of lynchings throughout the South, where more than 4,000 black men, women and children, died at the hands of white mobs between 1877 and 1950. Most were in response to perceived infractions—walking behind a white woman, attempting to quit a job, reporting a crime or organizing sharecroppers.”

Some curious folks out there might pause and puzzle over just how much “peace” and “justice” will come out of this sort of a museum. But whatever skepticism or misgiving someone might entertain should quickly dissipate with the realization that “memorial” and “museum” are not quite the right words to describe what the creators of this project have in mind. Here is what a visitor will be in for.

From the website: “The memorial is more than a static monument. In the six-acre park surrounding the memorial is a field of identical monuments, waiting to be claimed and installed in the counties they represent. Over time, the national memorial will serve as a report on which parts of the country have confronted the truth of this terror and which have not.”

You need to read this slowly, pause and consider carefully what is going on and why it should make you very nervous and deeply suspicious, particularly, “Over time, the national memorial will serve as a report on which parts of the country have confronted the truth of this terror…” Whoa! Cultural Revolution, China, anyone? So, the old “white supremacy” monuments are being torn down at a dizzying pace, and now up goes a memorial-museum where the curators promise (threaten?) at some indefinite future time to come to your county of residence and determine whether you and your neighbors have “confronted the truth,” i.e., whether you constantly ruminate about how terribly, both in the past (enslavement) and present (mass incarceration), white people treat non-white people. What exactly will that confrontation involve and what will happen to you if your efforts to respond to the confrontation are deemed unsuccessful? Certified attendance at MLK prayer breakfasts will not be sufficient. It sounds like the “peace and justice” envisioned will be something like the fate of white farmers in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe or, closer to home, the experience of the property owners in Ferguson, Missouri staring at their burned-out ruins when the rioting mobs were done.   

Somehow, the contemplation and understanding of history (what memorials and museums are supposed to be all about) do not seem to be what visitors to this site are supposed to come away with, and what exactly will the “reconciliation” look like? The objective is the stimulation of anger and bitterness on the part of black Americans; guilt and submission on the part of whites. This is another step up to the complete racializing of American politics which is increasingly marked by a systematic campaign of recrimination, resentment and hostility directed at middle class white Americans with the purpose of leveraging collective guilt through historical grievances and exerting collective retribution against people who had no part in them.  

From the Legacy Museum website: “Why build a memorial to victims of racial terror?  EJI [Equal Justice Initiative, the 501c3 non-for-profit sponsor] believes that publicly confronting the truth about our history is the first step towards recovery and reconciliation. A history of racial injustice must be acknowledged, and mass atrocities and abuse must be recognized and remembered, before a society can recover from mass violence. Public commemoration plays a significant role in prompting community-wide reconciliation.”

Whoever wrote this must live in an alternate universe. In contemporary America reminders of its “history of racial injustice” are relentless and ubiquitous. The main-stream media is obsessed with it. Pop-culture and the entertainment industry cannot get enough (“Black Panther,” anyone, The “Color of Water” or “Hidden Figures” just in the last year or so). Sports? Try watching ESPN or NFL football to attempt to escape the “national conversation on race” the professional scolds running our institutions keep telling us we have to have. Look at the content of public school curricula or the subject matter of social science and humanities courses at most universities and the reverence and sensitivity required whenever the “civil rights movement” is mentioned. Recall then-President Obama’s rumination that “racism is in our DNA.” Consider the single most memorable line coming out of the 2016 American Presidential campaign from Hillary Clinton. “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.” So, this business of “publically confronting the truth about our history” is actually going on at a breakneck pace with truth as the biggest casualty. 

The orthodoxy of pervasive, systemic, institutional racism as the defining feature of American society is well defined and ruthlessly enforced by the most powerful forces that shape our culture. As it is with all firmly entrenched orthodoxies, punishment falls heavily on any and all transgressors. Nothing outside the boundaries of orthodoxy can be countenanced as the truth. Religious orthodoxy bans transgression as heresy; communist orthodoxy banned it as false consciousness and counter-revolutionary thinking; identity politics orthodoxy dismisses it simply as “hate.” Recently Mark Zuckerberg in an appearance at a Congressional hearing seemed genuinely flummoxed when asked by Senator Ben Sasse to define “hate speech.” One gathers from his dumbstruck look that he thought that the answer was just too obvious. How could anyone as bright as Sasse even raise it as a serious question? Hate speech is whatever would stimulate the disapproval of the feminists, black studies professors and sociologists who populate the faculties of our prestigious universities or would upset the diversity commissars who manage sensitivity training sessions and enforce speech codes at the corporations.   

Consider the fate of Amy Wax, a senior law professor when she strayed outside of what are normally the tightly secured boundaries of identity politics orthodoxy at the University of Pennsylvania. Together with her colleague Larry Alexander, she published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer that among other things said:

America’s less progressive culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.”

One might be tempted to think that not following this script might have something to do with the current “mass incarceration” of black males which is one of the grievances of EJI’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice. But Professor Wax’s suggestion that something other than racism has had a bearing on this ongoing catastrophe was clearly a transgression of major proportions. This along with some of her other violations of the PC code has aroused the fury of students and colleague faculty members at Penn and she is now a persona non-grata, pulled by her dean from teaching first year law courses and routinely pilloried by the illuminati in the local and national media outlets. Only tenure has saved her from a complete professional decommission, termination and expulsion from the university.     

The rage and condemnation cascading down on Professor Wax is completely understandable and instructive. She is not some unemployed West Virginia coal miner who supported Donald Trump, or your run of the mill bigoted Republican politician from fly-over country. She is a brilliant, full Professor at an Ivy League university with a record of teaching excellence who possesses a medical degree from Harvard in addition to her law degree and who also happens to be Jewish. Which make her the ultimate insider, a member of an elite club that prides itself on its progressive politics and its unconditional embrace of the ideology of victimhood. As a high-status member, you do not step out of this pristine, prestigious tent, turn around and piss back in. The keepers of the tent are all about making sure an insider, especially one with her stature, is punished to the max for violating the code. Otherwise, someone on the outside might begin to suspect that the members of the club are not quite as virtuous or perspicacious as they pretend to be.

But let us return for a moment to the alternate universe of the EJI and the truth we are supposed to confront.  “EJI believes that publicly confronting the truth about our history is the first step towards recovery and reconciliation…” The “first step”? Really? Apparently the last 50 years or so of race relations in American society have gone down the memory hole for these earnest EJI reconciliation specialists. Much can be said on this topic, but consider just a few highlights that might be considered as “first steps” and beyond: the 1964 Civil Rights Act; the creation of EEOC; Affirmative Action; Section 8 of the Housing Act; Minority Contract Set-Aside Program; University of California v. Bakke (1978) decision; Oprah; the official beatification of Martin Luther King Jr.; two black American Presidents (Bill Clinton, honorary per Toni Morrison), two black Secretaries of State, two black Attorney Generals; black domination in national athletics and prominence in the entertainment and music industries.  One can go on and on, but this should be sufficient to demonstrate that it would highly delusional to believe that “community wide reconciliation” is where any of us are heading. 

I wish the best for the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum and hope my county of residence will be ready for the coming confrontation. In order, however, to advance their efforts at “publicly confronting the truth about our history” now that O.J. Simpson will soon be walking freely among us, let me suggest that another memorial should be erected close by: The Nichole Simpson Brown--Ron Goldman National Memorial. It would be dedicated to victims of racially motivated miscarriages of justice. It could be set up as a site of interactive learning with Johnny Cochrane impersonators doing seminars on race pandering and jury nullification. It could also feature galleries with photos of the bloodstained crime scene, OJ trying on the gloves, video clips of the OJ white Bronco-Police caravan, the circus courtroom antics and best of all, the wildly jubilant black response to the announcement of the jury’s not-guilty verdict. "Who cares if he did it? The white bitch and her Jew boyfriend had it coming", I think, was the message the jurors were sending. (For the record: no white rioting followed this grotesque perversion of justice.) This memorial, however, would eschew the “peace and justice,” and “reconciliation and recovery” crapola that the EJI folks use to disguise their own project of grievance mongering and racial animosity to sound like anything other than what it is, casus belli.