American Miscellany

MANY people are too busy to read essays that take longer to finish than a cup of coffee or a couple of cigarettes. However, for those who have 23 minutes to spare (estimate by Read-o-Meter) and who love American political history, I recommend The Price of the 1980s by Christopher Caldwell at Claremont Review of Books. Caldwell’s detailed but highly engaging analysis of how Ronald Reagan inadvertently saved the Great Society socialism of Lyndon Johnson – extending rather than terminating an era of debt-fuelled entitlement, economy-destroying immigration and a desegregation bill that can never be paid – is magisterial.


To fight World War II, the federal government had added $200 billion to its debt—an amount that by war’s end was about the size of the gross domestic product. Although the size of the total credit market (including private individuals) would expand every single year from 1947 to 2008, in the first 35 years after World War II the trajectory of government debt (measured as a percentage of gross domestic product) had steadily declined. Under Reagan it began to rise. In fact, the national debt would triple on his watch. That opened a new chapter in American fiscal history.

Looking at numbers and charts from the 1980s, it is easy to miss the most basic question: Why on earth, at the height of the Baby Boom generation’s productive years, did the government need to borrow in the first place? What did this binge of debt buy? What emergency did it extricate the country from?

 


AT never-Trumper National Review Online, Andrew C. McCarthy has the best and most sober analysis of the Roger Stone sentencing debacle. Because it’s NRO, McCarthy offsets his admission that a seven-to-nine year stretch was preposterously extreme – and born of a demonstrably corrupt investigation (which he lowballs as merely “specious”) – by placing equal blame on the President. Rather than criticise the Mueller-linked officials who came up with the tariff, he argues, the President should have kept silent, empowered as he is to pardon Stone later. McCarthy is bright. Surely he has worked out by now that if Donald Trump can attack and resolve, he will always do both. Stone should be freed on health grounds alone. Nutty as a fruitcake.


IN 2018, Prada in New York marketed and sold these meant-to-be-cute (and presumably expensive) monkey doll trinkets. After civil rights lawyer Chinyere Ezie saw them she was “shaking with anger” and posted pictures on social media. A “blackface” and “racism” firestorm was off and burning. Prada surrendered and removed the monkeys from their shelves. That wasn’t good enough at all for New York City’s Commission on Human Rights which has now reached a deal with Prada after a 12 month investigation. This is real:


The deal, the New York Times reports, includes a promise by Prada to send all of its New York City employees — and its Milan executives — to sensitivity training. Prada has also agreed to allow for external oversight of its business for two years, and to hire a diversity-and-inclusion director (one that
has to be approved by the commission) who will be responsible for “reviewing Prada’s designs before they are sold, advertised or promoted in any way in the United States.” If you think that sounds like an absurd task for a single individual, you’re not alone: The Times piece itself notes in parentheses that, considering “the hundreds of products Prada creates every season, this is a pretty extraordinary task.”

 
The way the political left has now formalised the connection between simians and black people – a connection that only they seem to notice or believe in – is one of the more strange new orthodoxies in the so-called ‘human rights’ firmament. Because, you know, it seems shockingly racist.


THE MARGA memo on reviving classical architecture – discussed here last Thursday – has become a real, old-fashioned debate about aesthetics, morality, beauty and humanity. And we have Donald Trump to thank for it. Funny how standing up for a principle – even an unfashionable one – brings out the best in everyone.

The nation would benefit handsomely if the federal government made it a policy to offer humanistic alternatives to the dehumanized anomie afflicting our contemporary architecture.”


THIS was the Resolute Desk when Kennedy was President. That may be the last ashtray ever to be used on it:

Not all presidents have used the desk; some have preferred another, usually historical, alternative or moved the RD to the president’s private study in the White House residence. Here it is in President Taft’s study. President Hoover used it in the Lincoln Bedroom. It was put to work at one stage in the Treaty Room. George H.W. Bush didn’t use it at all, preferring the “C+O Desk.” As most people know, the little door at the front was ordered by Franklin Roosevelt to hide his leg braces. However, he didn’t live to see it installed. President Truman liked the eagle motif on the new door, however, and decided to order it affixed in 1945. Interestingly, this was prior to his decision to turn the eagle’s head in the presidential seal to face the olive branch of peace rather than the arrows. Hence the eagle in the Resolute’s ‘modesty panel’ faces the weapons of war. Because the desk became so closely associated with Kennedy following the publication of Stanley Tretick’s masterful photographs of the President’s son playing underneath it, it was sent on tour after the assassination before winding up in the Smithsonian. To his very great credit, a President not usually considered resolute – Jimmy Carter – insisted it be returned to the White House immediately when he assumed the office. Anyway, I have to say I like clutter on a desk. President Trump is too neat for my liking. Happiest photo: this one. A replica is as close as she came.

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18 Responses to American Miscellany

  1. Nob

    The way the political left has now formalised the connection between simians and black people

    That was the whole crux of the Adam Goodes saga that led to his beatification for bullying a 13yo.

    “But everyone knows” they lied and lied. They didn’t. But they do now. Great.

  2. Roger

    The Claremont Review is seminal reading.

    Bookmark it, Cats.

  3. How many see the irony where the Left are seemingly the only ones to associate apes with black people?

  4. Cpt Seahawks

    Basilisk? tooth or two on the desk.

  5. Rob MW

    “……….the President should have kept silent,………”

    McCarthy has, overall, given a quite unique insight into the Obama resistance circus targeting Trump and those in Trump’s orbit however, McCarthy has fallen into line with the humourless left media and the Democrat clowns in failing to identify the difference between citizen Trump and the inviolability of the first amendment and the office of the President of the United States.

    Trump clearly states (in 140 characters or less) what his personal thoughts are on any given issue and more importantly, his personal thoughts on the 24/7 ad-nauseam personal attacks against him and those closest to him by his totally insane left wing critics and their unbelievable MSM narrative engineers.

    On the other hand, Trump as the current occupier of the office of the President of the United States he has a policy agenda. His policy agenda rarely, if ever, is articulated through his personal Twitter feed. His mastery of articulating his policy agenda intertwined with personal showman’s humour are always delivered through his political rallies.

    It is this difference in letting his supporters know his first amendment personal thinking and that of his policy agenda through the office of the President of the United States that has punters like McCarthy confused, yet, the difference is as clear as daylight to his supporters who have clearly waited unwearyingly for many decades to know the personal thoughts, and boundless humour and unrepentant positivity of a person, any person, occupying the office of the President of the United States.

  6. Porter

    President Trump is too neat for my liking.

    You don’t want to be photographed with top secret documents on the desk. In my own experience, top level CEOs barely have paper on desks.

  7. Porter

    The monkey doll trinkets are exactly that. Monkey trinkets. How the hell did anyone get upset about that? PETA should be rounding up the lawyers to claim discrimination against monkeys.

  8. BorisG

    I think the executive branch should not interfere with the prosecutors decisions – but clearly Trump would o whatever he pleases.

    I also note that they also demanded huge sentences for Manafort, only to be ridiculed by the judge without, if I remember correctly, any running commentary from DJT.

  9. BorisG

    failing to identify the difference between citizen Trump and the inviolability of the first amendment and the office of the President of the United States.

    LOL

  10. Gerry

    So where does that leave the New York Zoo?

  11. Currency Lad:

    The way the political left has now formalised the connection between simians and black people – a connection that only they seem to notice or believe in – is one of the more strange new orthodoxies in the so-called ‘human rights’ firmament. Because, you know, it seems shockingly racist.

    That’s an interesting point.
    Thank God for the Collectivists, otherwise we wouldn’t have known just what a pack of racist bastards we are.
    (Even when the connection is so tenuous as to be non existent.)

  12. Zatara

    I think the executive branch should not interfere with the prosecutors decisions – but clearly Trump would o whatever he pleases.

    The prosecutors went renegade. They lied to the Attorney General about what sentence they were going to ask for and dropped that bomb in court when it was too late for the AG to rein them in. If anything, Trump helped cover the DoJ/AG F-up and took the heat off them.

    I also note that they also demanded huge sentences for Manafort, only to be ridiculed by the judge without, if I remember correctly, any running commentary from DJT.

    Trump didn’t have to. The Judge in the Manafort case (T.S. Elliot) wasn’t a massively corrupt Obama appointee like the Judge in the Stone case is.

    Judge Amy Berman Jackson has made some ridiculously malicious rulings so far in Stone’s case, like putting him in solitary confinement while his trial was ongoing! She also specifically refused to allow Stone’s defense team to strike down overt Trump-haters from the Jury.

  13. old bloke

    Regarding the Resolute Desk, there was a bloke who used it as a foot rest.

    In other furniture news, the ceremonial chair used by the Governor General was made by Francis De Groot, of bridge-opening fame.

  14. The Sheriff

    The diversity commissar being implanted into Prada is not only ridiculous but is in fact a copy of the way OFAC punishes breaches of international economic sanctions – i.e. people trying to sell nukes, chemical weapons and guns to terrorists. Look at the ZTE case. Just goes to show that the lunatic left now think diversity is as important as counter-terrorism. Absurd.

  15. BorisG

    Now even the staunch trump loyalist AG Barr who played a key role in White House defense in both Mueller investigation and impeachment saga, says he cannot do his job against the running twitter commentary by the president.

  16. Rob MW

    Now even the staunch trump loyalist AG Barr who played a key role in White House defense in both Mueller investigation and impeachment saga, says he cannot do his job against the running twitter commentary by the president.

    Ooooo…….. that’s somehow bad ? Trump’s Press Secretary – Stephanie Grisham responds:

    “The President wasn’t bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions. President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country, including fake news. The President has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law,” Stephanie Grisham said.

    Yeah I know, that straight from the horses mouth comment is somehow funny as well.

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