JUST REMEMBER, IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT THERE’S ANY NEWS, YOU CAN PROBABLY FIND IT HERE FIRST (Segue of the Day: 4/24/19)

For the English working class, then. With the fire that is about to be trained on them from all sides, they’ll need every smile they can find.

(The Round Place in the Middle, June 24, 2016)

That was the last paragraph of my Diamond in the Shade post about Manfred Mann’s “Each and Every Day,” on the occasion of Brexit passing in the UK.

I know nothing about British politics and would trust no one for an explanation.

I know a little about human nature and the likelihood of modern bureaucratic states responding to popular will. It’s been three years since the Brits voted to leave the European Union (an event that was a harbinger of Donald Trump’s election in the US a few months later).

Suffice it to say that they haven’t left and the people who voted for the change have been smeared in all the predictable ways by their betters.

From today’s Daily Mail.

We disagree on a wide range of issues – from workers’ and women’s rights to immigration and the NHS. But – and this is a crucial ‘but’ – we agree on the one historic issue that today matters more than anything else: Brexit and the future of British democracy.

That’s Claire Fox, a hard lefty, explaining her decision to stand with Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party., the equivalent of  Tulsi Gabbard standing with Donald Trump. You can read the whole thing here.

So…..Second verse, same as the first:

 

WHEW! FOR A MINUTE THERE I WAS NERVOUS…

(I’ll have my late-night dedication to Robert Mueller up one of these late nights. For now….)

After a day-and-a-half of monitoring my usual social-media feeds and assembling all the Mainstream Media takes, I was beginning to think I would have to do the heavy lifting on the essential meaning of Team Trump’s resounding victory over Team Mueller myself.

Lucky me, fervid anti-Trumper Matt Taibbi has stumbled around and, blind-squirrel style, at least assembled the outline.

Taibbi is still stuck on stupid in the manner of Trump’s intelligence. He seems to think his own initial reading of Trump as some sort of idiot-savant whose lucky streak is bound to end sometime (and probably soon) has somehow held up in the face of everything else he tells us here. But that only demonstrates how much counter-evidence our preferred narratives can withstand.

By all means, read the whole thing. I don’t agree with all of it but he’s got the gist right and suffice it to say that dozens, if not hundreds, of key members of the Swamp State (which I’m still thinking maybe we should call the Rump-Swab State–ya’ll feel free to weigh in on this), are now lying awake nights praying to the God they do not believe in (but who believes very much in them), that Donald Trump is not a vindictive man or at least Ivanka and Jared, the only people who would likely be entrusted with the execution of his response, will make less-than-able consiglieres should he bother to sweep his feckless opposition from the board.

The real message, as always, is that Trump is where he is because he is opposed by people whose depths of corruption, arrogance, and sense of entitlement are built on fifty-plus years of misgovernance and thirty-five of mal-governance and exceeded only by their rank stupidity.

Hey Eddie. It’s been a while. Think maybe you can help a brother out and remind ’em how it is?

POSSESSION IS NOT NINE-TENTHS OF THE LAW…

…It is ten-tenths.

Three Forks, Montana where Lewis and Clark proclaimed the Missouri to begin, is a long way from Charlottesville or Richmond, but the ambitions of the Virginians were very large, extending even beyond the boundaries of the Louisiana sold to Jefferson by Napoleon. The watershed of the Missouri is ample, but Virginian energy rushed with Lewis and Clark [both Virginians, as were Jefferson, James Madison, his Secretary of State, and Albert Gallatin, his Secretary of Treasury who “found the money” for the expedition, doubtless by maneuvers Donald Trump could learn a thing or two from if he really intends to build his wall–my note] across the Continental Divide, down its western slope, and into the basin of the Columbia River, which even Napoleon had neither claimed nor claimed to sell. When they reached the Pacific, Lewis and Clark asserted that the United States owned everything they had traversed, and, for a time, neither the British, Russians, Spanish or Indians, all of whom had a better title, were in a position to dispute them.

(Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson: A Study in Character, Roger Kennedy, 2000)

Thus, was the Empire born.

TO THE REPUBLIC (Late Night Dedication: 2/17/19)

Now that even the “mainstream” (i.e., elite-approved) media is acknowledging (albeit with a wink and a nod) the coup attempt carried out against Donald Trump by his own FBI and DOJ (after Obama’s FBI and DOJ failed to prevent him from winning the 2016 election despite using every trick in their book except assassination), we have the answer to whether or not such public knowledge (and it’s  now very public, heck it even made 60 Minutes, followed immediately by the usual nondenial denial) would cause anyone to turn a hair.

And the answer is . . .

No.

No surprise.

Just another day in the life of the former United States of America, a place I remember well enough to lament its passing:

FROM WHICH WE DO NOT LEARN (Found in the Connection: Rattling Loose End #146)

Vietnam 1907:

Patriots took to the streets and lanes with scissors, giving haircuts to all who wanted them, and to many who did not. The French were rightly suspicious of the political implications of this activity. They were also exasperated at being put in a position where they either had to ignore revolutionary agitation or appear ridiculous by objecting to haircuts exactly like their own. Finally, despite the snickers it aroused, an official investigation was launched into what was called “Le Mouvement de la Tonsure.”…

Although the possession of opium was a criminal offense in France, the French administration purchased raw opium in India and Yunnan, brought it to Saigon for processing, and then sold it at official outlets at a profit of 400 to 500 percent. With sardonic humor, Vietnamese observed that the French at least granted them freedom to poison themselves, a liberty denied the inhabitants of the mother country. But indirect taxation through state monopolies took other and even more invidious forms. The state alcohol monopoly was bitterly resented. Rice whiskey was an essential part of the many feast days celebrated by each family and each village during the course of the year. Not only did the Vietnamese have to pay more money for an inferior product, they were also forced to purchase it in carefully stamped official bottles, which raised the actual cost by about 900 percent.

Predictably, the opium monopoly was threatened by extensive smuggling activity, and the alcohol monopoly resulted in much illicit distilling. The French response was direct, brutal, and effective in the short run. Networks of secret agents and informers were organized, and the law was changed to permit unregulated entry, search, and seizure in private homes in a manner never before tolerated under either French or Vietnamese law. While the use of opium was only encouraged, the purchase of alcohol was made compulsory. Quota systems were established whereby a province was obliged to purchase a certain amount of whiskey each month, based on “normal usage.” Then within each province every village had to buy a certain quantity of whiskey or face harsh punishment on the charge that illicit distilling was being condoned. The evils produced by these techniques of enforcement generated even more resentment than the indirect taxes themselves.

Although the French opium policies were racist and exploitive, and the alcohol monopoly forced the Vietnamese to purchase a beverage they did not like in bottles they did not need at a price they could not afford, the salt monopoly was even worse.

(Neil L. Jamieson, Understanding Vietnam, 1993)

Within fifty years the French had been chased from Vietnam, leaving we who had learned nothing except the astounding profits to be made from the drug trade (especially if you brought it home, where the real money was) to take their place.

They’ve been spiraling downward ever since. Thus to empires.

Ours will go the same way. The massive, across-the-board elite resistance to Donald Trump’s attempt to draw down in Syria and (horrors!) Afghanistan, is more proof that nothing changes in imperial capitals, except possibly the tactics deployed to meet any threat to the status quo.

Hey Freda, tell ’em what the first step on the road to freedom is…

TO EMMANUEL MACRON (Late Night Dedication: 1/5/2019)

The Vests have been joined by extremists from the far Right and the ultra-Left, as well as anarchists intent on causing as much damage as possible.

And you think Donald Trump has it bad.

Macron, whose election in 2017 was celebrated across the Western Elite World as a triumph for Reason and Democracy against the Forces of Darkness, or, at very least, a sigh of relief (not to mention a poke in Trump’s Running Dog Imperialist Yankee eye), now carries an 18% approval rating in the polls.

I don’t put much stock in polls when it comes to fine-tuning–a competent pollster can tip any public poll as much as ten or twenty points in whatever direction the backing donor prefers (or deliver a private number that’s on the nose if, by chance, the backer likes to know something you don’t). But an 18% public number means the Establishment, in France, the EU (always supposing there’s a difference) and elsewhere, has lost complete confidence anyway.

Which is very bad news for Macron, because he is now faced with nationwide street riots, which, despite a recent arrest of one of the “leaders,” are essentially formless, and, worse, free of any comfortably constricting ideology. When the Marxists, the Fascists, the Anarchists and the Populists (meaning normal people who don’t usually see rioting as a solution, in this case called Yellow Vests), are all in the streets, agreeing only on the need for your removal, and everybody knows it isn’t really about rising gas taxes because those have already been addressed, then you might be in need of a dedication.

Here’s what I always play during a riot Emmanuel. Hope it helps. If it doesn’t work the first time, just keep playing it:

PAST NOT PAST (Burma, 1945 Edition)

While watching the Swamp Creatures (Liberal and Conservative, as usual it makes no difference) twist themselves into knots trying to come to grips with Donald Trump’s latest attempt to curtail the Empire by withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan, I’ve taken up George MacDonald Fraser’s WWII memoir Quartered Safe Out Here again, this time with a mind to finish it.

Fraser served in the Burmese theater, which was mostly a British show from the Allied side and, though, the book doesn’t have the easy flow of his great novels (read the Flashman series, people, by all means do) or the sweep of his fine book of film criticism–there’s a reason I’ve attended it in fits and starts–there are still useful insights on nearly every page. There’s more than a little prescience in the following passage, composed as the familiar television faces of that day were celebrating our eminent “victory” in the First Gulf War, of which, more than a quarter-century later, the Syrian and Afghan campaigns constitute the latest phase–the latest opportunity for Victory, which Trump, a relentless “warmonger” as recently as last Spring, is now poised to “throw away.”

Perhaps you have to be an old soldier, watching the T.V. news telling you that the Iraqis are on the run and another couple of days will do it and hip-hip-hooray it’ll be a glorious victory and the boys will be home before you know it, to feel mounting anger as you watch pictures of the tanks rolling and staff officers looking confident at press conferences and studio pundits pontificating–because you know, even if the complacent commentators don’t, that some poor sod is still at the sharp end hoping to God that that bunker is empty and that the ground before it isn’t mined.

(George MacDonald Fraser, Quartered Safe Out Here, 1992)

Tell ’em one more time Freda…

I GOT THE PROPAGANDA BLUES (Why I Still Need Rock and Roll: Session #18)

News, news, news. Always with the news…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjUvfZj-Fm0

Remember, the first rule of modern journalism is that you must be able to go on television, look directly in the camera and lie with a straight face.

The first rule of surviving modern journalism is to always make sure you clear your head when you’ve imbibed a little too much of it all at once.

WAIT, THERE WAS AN ELECTION?

I didn’t miss it. Not really.

I didn’t comment on the lon-n-n-n-n-g lead-up because I had no better idea of what would happen than anyone else.

My only personal interested was voting against Andrew Gillum, the man who, as Mayor of Tallahassee, turned Leon County into the crime capital of Florida four years running. For those who don’t know much about my lovely home state, that’s a rough equivalent of making a docudrama where somebody turns Mayberry into the crime capital of North Carolina (and, apparently in an attempt to practice what he preaches, drawing FBI investigators like mosquitoes in August). And for those who think being Mayor of Tallahassee shouldn’t make you responsible for what happens in all of Leon County, let me tell you what Leon County, where I’ve lived and/or worked for most of my adult life, is.

It’s Tallahassee and a bunch of trees.

I didn’t care who Gillum ran against. I don’t even know who it was. I think it might have been Luciferus Satanicus of Sebastian Inlet. Didn’t matter. Gillum lost, so my night was made. (As with Trump in 2016, I called it hours before CNN did.)

If Gillum hadn’t been running, I probably wouldn’t have voted at all. The ballyhooed Senate race was Worm-Versus-Waxwork. I left it blank.

As for the rest of the beleaguered nation, it turned out the polls and pundits had it about right.

The Senate moved significantly Pro-Trump (call it to the Right it it makes you feel better), and the House moved almost as significantly Anti-Trump (Left and ditto).

Since the House, mired in decades of uselessness, is almost powerless to do anything on its own except conduct investigations which are unlikely to lead anywhere, and pass budgets everyone ignores, I think the Pro-Trump forces emerged slightly stronger in the short run and, due to the ability to move judges onto the Federal bench more quickly and efficiently, quite a bit stronger in the long run. The lifetime appointments can now proceed apace.

Except for their ability to shift courts one direction or the other, and rubber stamp executive orders, legislatures matter little now. If you think the Kavanaugh hearing was a circus full of clowns, wait until it’s Amy Coney Barrett taking over for RBG.

That’s just one more feature of exhausted Empire–government by fiat and decree.

I’m guessing Donald Trump won’t be one to waste that sort of opportunity.

I also don’t think it matters much.

Trump might turn the economy around, shift the emphasis from Wall Street back to Main Street for a while. By some metrics (unemployment, restoring the manufacturing base, hitting “free trade” in the head) he’s already done it.

But he can’t restore the culture or revive the American Narrative.

It’s all headwinds now.

The only people who aren’t getting worked up are me and Eddie.

Must have something to do with being life-long Floridians.

 

TO THE AFGHAN MISSION (Late Night Dedication: 10/19/18)

It’s the little things that tell the tale….

We have been in Afghanistan for nearly seventeen years. A small item in the news today (I’m guessing CNN gave it no more than an hour or two total throughout the first twenty-four hours, plus a few hundred words on their website….and that there will be little or no followup) tells us what we have won.

Two Americans also were wounded in the shooting attack at Kandahar Palace, said Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan. US Army Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was present but uninjured in the attack, a statement from US forces said.

To wit: To win a war, you must take the enemy’s ground and hold it until he gives up. Today we learned that what we are constantly told is the mightiest military force in the history of the world, having occupied, for seventeen years, a country which barely qualifies for the term Third World, cannot guarantee the safety of our top commander in the region inside a prominent government facility.

This means we have taken and held not a single inch of Afghan territory.

Our defeat could hardly be more thorough. Donald Trump should dump his military advisers and fulfill his campaign promise to listen to Freda: