Saturday, August 19, 2017

Steve Bannon, Plain Vanilla Cabinet, Internationalism and Identity Politics. Placing America Below First? Spencer Lawton!

Facts are hard to come by:
Steve Bannon , as with all contrary advisors, served a purpose but he was too disruptive and became a distracting lightening rod and thus out lived his usefulness.  That said, Trump, as with all presidents, needs exposure to different viewpoints as well as a Chief of Staff ombudsman.  If his Cabinet becomes a plain vanilla one he and the nation will be under served.  Time will tell how White House staffing issues get resolved but time is not Trump's ally.  The mass media continue to circle the hen house and he continues his mostly vindictive inane tweeting.

Meanwhile, if numbers account for anything, the D.C Swamp has drained far more, so called,  "Internationalists" than "Establishment Types."

I am not sure I am drawing the correct conclusion but Democrats seem to tolerate radicals/renegades far better than Republicans.  If Waters (see above) was a Republican, I daresay the Establishment would somehow punish/hide her for her views whereas, Democrats seem to relish in them and put her right out front.

As for "Internationalism," I am not sure I understand what that word means because we tend to embrace simple tags for just about anything these days as we engage in the destructive game of identity politics but I find nothing wrong with putting America First as long as doing so allows for flexibility.  Why should I strive to place my nation second or even lower?
I was urged to read this op ed by Bret Stephens and it was sent by a family member.

Bret has always had misgivings about Trump and in this op ed he lets loose with both barrels blazing. There is much to commend in what he writes and though I remain in the jury box reserving final judgement, I both praise him for his article and acknowledge it forces me to think and for this I congratulate him.

A history lesson for those who do not believe history is instructive. Interesting how "tear up" and "tear up" are spelled the same.(See 1 below.)

And some more history:

This film in its entirety is believed to have never been seen before; only shots of the surrender were known. If you are a history buff, you will enjoy this. General McArthur's voice is a rarity in these old film clips. Japanese Surrender- Amazing Footage. This is a 'must see' for the WWII history buff or anyone interested in history. This is an actual film made of the surrender ceremony of the Japanese to McArthur in Tokyo Bay in September 2, 1945. Actual voice of the General, this film has never been shown to the general public before. We always saw the "stills" but never the film. 

Click on site below:
Japanese Surrender  
Again, I am not making excuses for bigotry, White Supremacy behaviour, nor hate from the left but I do believe an imbalance, in trying to make amends for the past. which no one living today was responsible for,  has contributed to a lot of suppressed resentment.  I am sure I have a few prejudice bones in my body like all who are human but stop and think about how we have allowed PC'ism nonsense to take over our lives and dictate what we can think, , how we can act , what we can say etc.

Something that always stuck in my craw was "Affirmative Action."  Reverse discrimination is just that.  A black friend of mine got me to accept it because it got the ball rolling but even he, now, agrees it has gone beyond justification. (See 2 below.)

Another view and more food for thought. (See 2a below.)
Spencer Lawton is a friend and fellow memo reader and someone I respect.  This is an e mail I received from him and his thoughts.

"Very good LTE today, Dick.
I’ve written one too, coming to the opposite conclusion (attached).
We should talk about this sometime.
Keep up the good work. (See 3 below.)"

I told him I would love to have lunch, suggested a date, and said I was glad I did not have to debate him in Moot Court competition.

I understand his logic.  My concern remains the problem with selectivity and history.  Like I have said, the distance between a stature and the library is short.

1)  Your history lesson for the day.
Robert E Lee was married to George Washington's granddaughter. He worked with Grant during the Mexican-American war and became a decorated war hero defending this country. He believed slavery was a great evil and his wife broke the law by teaching slaves to read and write. After the civil war he worked with Andrew Johnson's program of reconstruction. He became very popular with the northern states and the Barracks at West Point were named in his honor in 1962. He was a great man who served this country his entire life in some form or other. His memorial is now being called a blight. No American military veteran should be treated as such. People keep yelling, "You can't change history." Sadly you can. This is no better than book burnings. ISIS tried rewriting history by destroying historical artifacts. Is that really who we want to emulate?

As they tear down this "blight" keep these few historical facts in your mind. No military veteran and highly decorated war hero should ever be treated as such. This is not Iraq and that is not a statue of Sadam.
IN ADDITION:: Lee was also very torn about the prospect of the South leaving the Union. His wife's grandfather, George Washington, was a huge influence on him. He believed that ultimately, states rights trumped the federal government and chose to lead the Southern army. His estate, Arlington, near Washington DC was his home and while away fighting the war, the federal government demanded that Lee himself pay his taxes in person. He sent his wife but the money was not accepted from a woman. When he could not pay the taxes, the government began burying dead Union soldiers on his land. The government is still burying people there today. It is now called Arlington National Cemetery. DO THEY WANT TO TEAR THAT UP ALSO ??
2) “I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America.

Try to have things like the United Caucasian College Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America; and see what happens. Jesse Jackson will be knocking down your door.



Over the past few days I have been astounded by the appalling number of pundits who keep telling me that as a Jew, I have to side with the violent left, over the violent right, as a result of the terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It’s hard to imagine an idea more ignorant of history.

As someone whose Catholic father-in-law was incarcerated in Mauthausen as a “politically incorrigible” enemy of the Third Reich, and whose Jewish father was smuggled out of Russia as a child during a pogrom, allow me to give these folks some advice.

That is, that the violent right and the violent left always end up in the same place, and it never ends well for Jews and other minorities.

Neo-Nazis are scum. Yes, they should have freedom of speech but not freedom from the consequences of their actions.

The murder of Heather Heyer, 32, an innocent counter-protester, when a white supremacist allegedly rammed into the crowd with his car, was terrorism.
Whoever was responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If there were accomplices, they should be hunted down without mercy.

But do not tell me I must therefore side with the violent, left-wing yahoos who clashed with the white supremacists in Charlottesville.

Do not pretend they were defending Jews, or the freedoms on which America was built.

For anyone who thinks the hard, violent left is a friend of the Jewish people, here’s a fun little assignment.
Next time, let yourself be surrounded by them during one of their riots -- anywhere in the world -- bring out an Israeli flag and start talking about what a great country Israel is.

Watch what happens.

Spare us the drivel, which the liberal chattering classes spout ad nauseam, and which provides intellectual cover for the hard, violent left, that you can criticize Israel without being a Jew hater.
Of course you can criticize Israel, the occupation and its treatment of the Palestinians and not be a Jew hater.

Jews do it. Israelis do it. The respected Israeli newspaper Haaretz, does it. For gawd’s sake, so do former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, the equivalent of the FBI, just as the foreign security service, the Mossad, is similar to the CIA.
But that’s not how the hard, violent left constantly demonizes and delegitimizes the Jewish state of Israel, while turning a blind eye to greater human rights abuses all over the world, including, to compare apples to apples, in The Islamic Republic of Iran and The Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

As a wise rabbi once said, in the ancient world, where religion ruled, Jew haters portrayed Judaism as the worst religion, including the blood libel that Jews kill Christians to use their blood to make matzah.
In the twentieth century, when science ruled, the Nazis set out to prove by “science” that Jews were a uniquely evil race.

In our time, where human rights is the dominant paradigm, Jew haters portray Israel, the Jewish state, as the worst violator of human rights, like apartheid South Africa.

Guess who the most vocal supporters of that view of Israel are today?

They didn’t have to riot in Charlottesville.

They infect our universities and journalism and the chattering classes, and they get way more air time than the neo-Nazis.

So, side with the hard and violent left over the hard and violent right? Really? Go to hell.

The monuments should come down. My great-great grandfather was a brigadier general in the Confederate army who was wounded at Antietam and served as quartermaster general of the Confederacy. I am a sixth-generation Savannahian, and proud of my Southern heritage. But this is about monuments, and the year is 2017. A public monument does two things: it glorifies the thing it memorializes, and it says that the public in whose square it appears endorses that glorification.

While the Civil War may have been nobly fought, it was by no means nobly inspired. Those who insist it was all about the sacred principle of states’ rights must deal with the fact that, in his famous “Cornerstone Speech,” delivered in Savannah weeks before the war broke out, Alexander Stephens of Georgia, vice-president of the Confederacy, was explicit:  “Our new government is founded upon exactly [these] ideas; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

To be sure, states’ rights is a bedrock principle of our form of constitutional federalism. But when was the last time anyone erected a monument to the Interstate Commerce Clause? Constitutional legalisms don’t stir passions; questions of human rights do. There is no getting around it: the Civil War was fought because the states’ right to institutionalize and preserve slavery was threatened. It was a tainted cause, and it doesn’t deserve to be glorified.

Do we glorify it? The war was concluded a century and a half ago. That should have put an end to the matter. But for another hundred years the principle beneficiaries of the outcome were cruelly denied that benefit and were shamefully oppressed – there is no more polite term for it – by the people who lost the war (which, by the way, is a wholesale repudiation of the chivalric ideal of grace in defeat). Is it possible that, two generations after the demise of Jim Crow, our society – our community – still embraces the factually misguided and morally bankrupt ideas that animated that era? I think not. And yet, the monuments suggest otherwise. No, they don’t merely suggest it, they proclaim it. Half of our community is descended from the people thus denied and oppressed. If I were one of them, I think I would see such a monuments as constant notice that even if my fellow citizens didn’t actually think my natural place was as a slave, neither did they object to public statements suggesting otherwise – presumably because they focus on the past, but still…..  I’m not one of them, yet it offends me. And I don’t think I’m alone.

Some protest that the loss of these monuments is an eradication of history itself. This is palpable nonsense. If the purpose to be served is the preservation of history, it would suffice to erect informative plaques setting out the historical significance of a place, the actions of a favorite son, or the devotion or sacrifice of a community, in context. But that’s not what’s wanted. What they want is not explanation, but glorification. Thus we come full circle.

This issue arose and came to a head in a civil war soon after the founding of an experiment in self-governance that was unprecedented in human history. There were dynamically complex forces at play in the republic at that early time in our history, when we were at an exquisitely sensitive point in our political and moral evolution. If there was ever a time when, as a community, we might have shared a factual and humane understanding of that era, such that we could see such monuments as quaintly eccentric indulgences, it was probably doomed in the century after the war. Certainly it is beyond imagining now.

The only remaining issue for me is capitulation – or, more accurately, the appearance of it. I believe the issue of race in America is increasingly dominated by people more interested in preserving and exploiting division than in promoting understanding and reconciliation, and it is too often given over to mob action. A mob is mindlessness on the hoof and an implicit threat and, as such, it’s a repudiation of our assumptions about democracy as well as of our institutions for debate and resolution. The idea of yielding on a point advanced in arrogant cynicism or mindless anger is instinctively repugnant. Consider, for example, the mob that sprayed red paint on a monument in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park showing a Confederate soldier laying down his sword, in peace. Who wants to say, “Oh! OK, now that you put it that way.…” But the underlying point is no less legitimate because some abuse it, and no proper interest is served by denying the truth of the message because one doesn’t care for the messenger. To concede merit is not to capitulate ignominiously, but to honor truth.

Neither does it make sense to say we must fight the revisionists at the foot of our Confederate statue lest we lose our footing to oppose the bulldozing of the Washington Monument. If that’s to become a threat, it won’t be forestalled by our fighting in the town square, and if it’s to be defeated it will be by making the necessary distinction, when the time comes, between founding the republic on the one hand and losing an effort to secede from it on the other.

Robert E. Lee himself opposed the construction of such memorials: “I think it wiser… not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.” Let’s follow his advice.

Spencer Lawton
208 Parkersburg Rd.
Savannah, GA 31406

No comments: