Monday, April 08, 2013

Free Southie: Starting the world again, one red neck at a time

by Bernie Quigley
For The HIll on 4/8/13

“Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car at night?” - Jack Kerouac, On the Road, 1957

I’m not sure why it hasn’t caught on yet since revolutionaries like Ron Paul have gone from outlander to center stage hero, that an original Irish outlaw, like Whitey Bolger, did not claim sovereignty for South Boston. Truth is, Whitey was motivated by a sense of tribal Southie. He could be seen as a political operative gone amok and without a plan or following. His anger is pure. But suppose Whitey had called for a separate state back then: Southie as the 51st state or better yet, an independent entity like a red neck Switzerland, using the Rumsfeld/Kerry model. You declare Irish Southie to be a sovereign state in a “New New England” and bring in sympathizers - maybe in Texas or County Cork where we still have a few cousins - and separatist Scots, Quebecois, Croats and Catalonians - then claim a new federation, as Rumsfeld declared a “New Europe” of his made up friends in old Europe and Kerry attempts today to bond Hamas with Turkey in a New Middle East, united by a common antipathy of  Jews and Israelis. Rumsfeld/Kerry do not really believe in political boundaries. No one  does.

Ron Paul today has begun his own home schooling system. It is a good one, featuring Austrian economics, constitutional government and Bible-based ethics. Glenn Beck has one too and has even started his own utopian paradise in Texas. It is only a matter of time that this thinking is adopted as “alternative curriculum” in like-minded states and regions. We may be at the end of the rope again as Lucky and Pozzo were in the 1950s; waiting, waiting, but the heartland states will wait no longer.

A headline in the Washington Post over the weekend, declared that we are at “the end of everything.” But it is only the externals of the post-war, meaning World War II period, that are falling away – even Joe Biden’s speech this week got that right. Of course, his solution was imperial. Biden, like Bush, uses the utopian socialist H.G. Wells’ phrase: He says we need to form now a “new world order.” But we don’t form order. It rises incrementally through generations then suddenly awakens in time.

We experience today in America writers – David Chase, Matthew Weiner, J.S. Abrams, Kurt Sutter - of the quality and dark rising and awakening kind that Russia experienced with Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Turgenev. They speak to us of the end and the beginning here in the center of the world rising. We will go with them into the night and awaken again in the morning. All of the top down stuff from Bush/Biden/Rumsfeld/Kerry will fall away.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

If Hillary enters, Newt will be President in 2016

B y Bernie Quigley
For The Hill, on 4/5/13

James Carville says he will support the pro-Hillary super PAC. It starts so soon, because something is wrong. And the something has been wrong since 1992. Or maybe since 1968. It may not be cleared up till 2020. As Hillary enters, the National Review reports today that Newt Gingrich won’t rule out a 2016 run as well. These two, Newt and Hillary, are symbiots,  like yin and yang, moon and sun, the Brontë sisters light and dark and Timothy Leary and G. Gordon Liddy. The question still not settled after all these years and generations is, as Alice said, Who will be Master?
I can accurately document the origins of the recent states rights and separatist movements in America with the entry of Bill Clinton into national politics. There seemed something wrong with it. There still does. My feeling is because he was/is primarily not a politician but a generational cultural (cult) figure; that is, a god king like Dylan, Frodo and Jean Genet to the generation which rose in Lincoln Park holding signs, “Chicks up front!” so the evening news would show bloodied co-eds in the Chicago riots in 1968. They bonded thoroughly through  music, grass, Woodstock, on Wall Street and Nantucket and everywhere, because they were all exactly the same age, born exactly nine months after the farewell to arms in WW II.
And Newt became the anti-Clinton. He still is. And he is a strong force still.  Probably he alone of those who stood on stage at the debates is warrior. He dominated the debates when he chose to and brought their few stellar moments.
WSJ’s Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote of the Newt effect at the Iowa Faith & Coalition forum, “He began with the declaration that Americans were confronting the most important election choice since 1860. America would have the chance in 2012, Mr. Gingrich said, to repudiate decisively decades of leftward drift in our universities and colleges, our newsrooms, our judicial system and bureaucracies. . . He would go on to detail the key policies he would put in place if elected, something other Republican candidates have done regularly to little effect. The Gingrich list was interrupted by thunderous applause at every turn.”
I would love to see Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in 2016, but a big country like America possibly must find a Bismarck to hold together and what Paul wants will wait. That would be Newt. And if Hillary runs, Newt will run as well. It is in the nature of politics that every force will find its equal and opposite force; particle and wave, Newt and Hillary. And if Hillary enters, Newt will be President in 2016.
Newt wants the debates to run endlessly as they did last time. He will get his wish and he will win them. Our American condition is formed by TV. In  McLuhanist terms it is sensory/feeling. As we descend the stairs through TV, our definitive representatives become stand up comics and actors and our public advocates are Tina Fey and Jim Carey; our Mozarts, Cyndi Lauper, our Buddhas, Jim and Tammy Faye. World dominium agencies like Bill Clinton’s “global initiative” – with Hilly his agent abroad - effect only a horde and 850 million friends on Facebook mark the death of American individuation. It is what we have become. In time, small groups, possibly in Kentucky, West Virginia or  Appalachia where the fever runs high and the life force is primal, may demand something better, but not today.
Today it is Newt v. the Clinton World Cartel.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Why Rand Paul? David Stockman’s Easter manifesto.

By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 4/3/13

Recently, all 50 states have registered secession requests from the federal government. 16 states are studying the creation of their own currencies. States have taken their own initiatives on gun control, abortion, NDAA and other issues. Lakota Indians in The Dakotas have declared their own republic and so have a band of Vermonters. And Texas wants its gold back from the Fed. What happened?

Possibly David Stockman's iconic four-page manifesto - the "Easter manifesto" - on the op-ed pages of the NYTs last weekend has an answer: America is "fiscally, morally, intellectually” broke he says, and on the verge of collapse. And we have been steadily descending to it for eight decades.

What Stockman writes has been floating through the collective economic unconscious since 2008 with prescient writers, investors and economists  like Marc Faber, Jim Rogers and Harry Dent, popping up on occasion as outside opinion on secondary media. That Stockman’s piece, derived from his new book, “The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America,” appears so prominently today in the NYTs - means it is time. The media will begin to face up. And this time the time is right for Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1981 to 1985. A new generation constellates with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Utah Senator Mike Lee. Likely there will be more to come.

“The Dow Jones and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes reached record highs on Thursday, having completely erased the losses since the stock market’s last peak, in 2007. But instead of cheering, we should be very afraid,” he writes.

Salient themes: In March 2000, the mad money printers at the Fed have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion). Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year, the slowest since the Civil War. Real median family income growth has dropped 8 percent and the number of full-time middle class jobs, 6 percent. The real net worth of the “bottom” 90 percent has dropped by one-fourth. So the Main Street economy is failing while Washington is piling a soaring debt burden on our descendants, unable to rein in either the “warfare state or the welfare state.”
We are state-wrecked, he writes. And when the bubble bursts, there will be no new rounds of bailouts. Instead, America will descend into an era of zero-sum austerity and virulent political conflict.

His is an old voice of conservatism, suddenly new and relevant. And unlike most conservatives of his generation he goes forth today without Reagan or Jesus to prop himself up. The future is bleak, he says, because the United States is broke – fiscally, morally, intellectually – “and the Fed has incited a global currency war (Japan just signed up, the Brazilians and Chinese are angry, and the German-dominated euro zone in crumbling that will soon overwhelm it. When the latest bubble pops, there will be nothing to stop the collapse.  . . “

Friday, March 29, 2013

Has the “Christian” moment passed in politics?

“We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don't take our trips on LSD
We don't burn our draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin' right, and bein' free.” – “Okie from Muscogee,” 1969 Merle Haggard
These days, The Hag likes to suggest that he and Willie Nelson fired up a jumbo with Hillary Clinton, but back in 1969 they were on opposite ends. Right thinking Oklahomans  – Elizabeth Warren would have been a teenager in the mid 60s and a waitress in Oklahoma City – did not do these things “like the hippies  out in San Francisco do.” But today, I’m not sure the distinction holds  up.
The perceptive Ross Douthat, conservative columnist for the NY Times, has written recently of the end of “a Catholic Moment” in public life. A  moment which formed, “At the time of John Paul’s death, the Republican Party’s agenda was still stamped by George W. Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism,’ which offered a right-of-center approach to Catholic ideas about social justice.” But that was a “long eight years ago. Since then, the sex abuse scandals that shadowed John Paul’s last years have become the defining story of his successor’s papacy, and the unexpected abdication of Benedict XVI has only confirmed the narrative of a church in disarray. His predecessor was buried amid reverent coverage from secular outlets, but the current pope can expect a send-off marked by sourness and shrugs.”
Douthat could well be correct in thinking that the moment of politiclized Catholicism has passed. But it might be considered that the Catholic “moment” was a reflection of the rising Southern force of Christian politics and the Evangelical movement which historian Dan T. Carter writes of in “The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics.”
There was to it all a sense of “I’m a Christian and you’re not.” Or as one Texsas wag put it in song, “I’m going to heaven. You’re gonna  fry.”
Carter wrote that the entire Wallace rise and fall was a reaction to the new initiatives of the culture of the 1960s, of the Freedom Riders in the South, the integration decision of Brown vs. the Board of Education, the hippies and so on.
“Journalists might greet this growing counterculture with curiosity, even approval. But Wallace knew – instinctively, intuitively – that tens of millions Americans despised the civil rights agitators, the antiwar demonstrators, the sexual exhibitionists as symbols of a fundamental decline in the traditional cultural compass of God, family, and country.”
Wallace invoked images of a nation in crisis, he says, a country in which thugs roamed the streets with impunity, antiwar demonstrators embraced the hated Communist Vietcong, and brazen youth flaunted their taste for “dirty” books and movies. “And while America disintegrated, cowardly politicians, bureaucrats, and distant federal judges capitulated to these loathsome forces."
But the hippie movement itself may have been a cultural reaction to the rising events  in Vietnam and the threat of the draft. By 1969, I and a half dozen of my friends had already returned from the war in Asia.
But that was now almost 50 years ago. I can barely remember it. And anyone,l hippie, or anti-hippie who still does, is stuck. In the immortal words of Captian Kirk: “Get a life.”
Rand Paul: “The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered,——I don’t think we need to name any names here, do we?”

The conservative’s world opened again with Texas-born Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. He will be helped along by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Utah Senator Mike Lee, and could well be overlapped by Cruz. And conservatives today have the great advantage as they have made the generational leap first. This time liberals will be playing catch up and defense as George Wallace's red neck followers did. They look today to Hillary Clinton only because they cannot let go. But it will be an easy shift for Elizabeth Warren (with former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, they would have the rising generation).