Thursday, December 31, 2009

9/11 and 12/25: Obama’s dilemma

After almost a year of his presidency the first impression given by Barack Obama holds up: That he is a smart guy, a nice guy, a guy who wants to do the right thing. But questions arise now as to whether or not he has the ability to do the right thing. It has been proposed here at The Hill and elsewhere that Janet Napolitano be fired. She has no place in her job. But does Obama have the character to fire her? Does he understand management’s necessities? Does he understand battle?

Here, there and everywhere after the terrorist attempt on Christmas Day in Detroit heroically thwarted by a passenger, the original feelings came up again that first surfaced after 9/11. The same feelings I felt when troops were first sent to Tora Bora; mixed feelings that sadness, helplessness would now be vindicated by courage and neutralized by vengeance and possibly justice. George W. Bush said he would bring Osama bin Laden back dead or alive. It was not a bad thing to want then or now.

12/25 might in time and time not far along, prove to be a very good day for George W. Bush. Maybe not so good for Barack Obama. Because Obama from here on out will be compared to Bush.

Obama will be haunted now by a liberal attitude that has poisoned his candidacy and his presidency. Wesley Clark ran for President in 2004 with policies that opposed the invasion of Iraq. Howard Dean also opposed the invasion of Iraq. But what happened, and it was not entirely Dean’s fault, is that a vast swarth of liberal America moved to Dean because they opposed not just the invasion of Iraq but war, they opposed unpleasantness; they opposed violence, THEY OPPOSED ALL WAR; THEY OPPOSED THE IDEA OF WAR. It was a historic carriage from the anti-war movement of the Sixties and Seventies. I attended the first demonstrations that opposed the invasion of Iraq in Montpelier, VT, and the same people were there who were there in the Sixties. People like Dave Dellinger of the Chicago Seven, aging Norma Desmonds, waiting for Max to come in for their final close ups.

This was not Dean’s position. It was not Obama’s. And it was certainly not Wes Clark’s, who said, “When I say I’ll bring back Osama bin Laden dead or alive, I mean it,” But what accumulated in the liberal path to 2008 was a hope that the need for violence would simply go away; a pacifistic denial of the reality of the situation and the responsibilities attached to it that we faced after 9/11. And Obama was seen as the “anti-war” president.

Maybe he is.

12/25 has refocused America’s energies. It has brought us back to square one when half the men in my town were wearing fire fighter’s hats.

War prepares people for more war. World War I displaced the isolationism of the 19th century and conditioned the country for more focused efforts in WW II. Likewise the Mexican War brought America, north and south, out of the benign utopianism of the previous decades and refocused their efforts on moral and political issues.

The first few years in Iraq may have brought such conditioning. The passivism of the Sixties is passing now as that generation passes. The necessities of safety are coming out of denial. This will be the telling year for America and for Obama, the question is, does he have the abilities and the character to face up.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

China kills an Englishman

by Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/30/09

The first thing Master Fogg taught my kids was how to say hello. He would bow from the waist to show respect to the opponent. Then he would make a fist with his right hand and cover it with his left. This indicates that you come in peace but you have hidden strength. Then Master Fogg would uncover his fist and shake it at the kids to reveal his power. With the execution of a British subject China is revealing its fist.

Reports say this is the first execution of a Westerner in 50 years. The Englishman was alleged to be involved in drugs but this is not about a specific criminal offense, as Copenhagen was not about climate change. Like the chairs at Copenhagen, this has symbolic and diplomatic value. It should emphasize the rapidly changing relationships between China and America, China and the West, China and the world. We are beginning to see the realignment of spheres which inevitably follows shifts in economy.

It has been a theme of the Obama presidency that because he is black, because he has an Islamic-sounding name, antagonism between light and dark, rich and poor, antagonisms based on 1,700 year differences and those brand new, would evaporate. This is the stuff of the undergraduate coffee shop. It was escapist for Americans to welcome it and it has been a valuable tool to our competitors and enemies. Iran and China in particular have taken advantage. As Master Fogg explained it so that any eight-year-old could understand it, a competitor’s weakness is as valuable as one’s own strength, and ours is a foreign policy of weakness, theater and denial.

We are entering a historic sea change. I would see it as the end of the kind of leisurely market-based globalism we have experienced since Reagan and possibly a return to nation states and new groupings of nation states.

The key moment came in Copenhagen: Hew Jintao set the table for the new century and formed a practical working quarternity of China, India, South Africa and Brazil. There was no chair for Obama; no room for the West.

This new grouping makes economic sense for China and its subsets. It establishes dominance by the major player with clarity and a touch of violence. Japan has clearly stated – and posted it on the NYTs op-ed page for all to read – that its first friendships are in the East. It makes sense. China is a Marxist/Leninist country. It makes sense that developing countries like Brazil team with China. It makes sense that those countries rich in commodities like South Africa bond with China which is buying up all the stuff. In this regard our foreign policy usually consists of sending Secretary Clinton over there for group hugs with large and colorfully dressed black women in the marketplace. Probably no longer enough. South Africa sent an earlier message to our new African-American president that they wouldn’t be seeing the Dalai Lama now, so as not to upset their new Chinese friends and patrons. It makes sense.

We need to rebuild our approach and our perspective on our place in the world in the new century on very basic levels. I believe we should start at the college level to build responsible, committed and effective citizenship and leadership and once we begin, it will take a generation. We need to think of new relationships and organic conceptualizations which follow the contours of history; which follow the contours of the centuries ahead, not the centuries behind. Possibly the Anglosphere, which includes the U.S., Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand, should be looked at as a vital defense, cultural and diplomatic sphere. We need to send the utopians back to Vermont. We need diplomats like Kennan, we need soldiers like Eisenhower and we have never been further away from that. Maybe a ROTC program for diplomats and government as well as military and if effete northeastern colleges and universities are too fey and transcendent to participate they get not a penny of federal funding for anything else. Like they do it in China.

We need a new professional ethic – possibly one as rigorous as that which China has had for centuries – in which the appointment of political tokens and favorites like Hillary and Napolitano would be considered treasonous and un-American.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

2010 Rising Karma: Palin, Perry, Romney, William Daley. Palin will be nominee.

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/26/09

History turns in a moment: Harper’s Ferry, Trafalgar, Dien Bien Phu. The Democrats may have seen such a moment with Ben Nelson this week in Nebraska so it might be worth marking that page. At year’s end it is worth looking forward to what is likely to rise ahead. These four will be key: Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and William Daley.

Sarah Palin: She was seen from the very beginning as a rising star – a cultural awakener similar to Andrew Jackson – bringing a whole new cultural paradigm to the political process; a new heartland spirit of individualism and self reliance as per Emerson and Barry Goldwater. The widespread, deep and immediate hysteria in the MSM was a sure indication that she was a threat to the old temple and would be a vital new force in the rising century. This week the non-partisan Research 2000, which conducts research and focus groups, states simply, “Palin will be the 2012 GOP Nominee.”

Rick Perry: “I love Sarah Palin,” Perry said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview. The Tea Party movement has found wide support this past year. Recently 41% chose it over Democrat or Republican. Texas governor Perry was the first to stand publically with it and he has not backed down. The influential conservative marketer Richard Viguerie of the Reagan-era Christian Coalition supports this movement but has lamented that this “Constitutional moment” has no leader. Perry is the leader and his status will rise with this movement. The Conservative Party initiatives at NY 23 and the huge Republican victory in Virginia’s governor’s race reflect this new paradigm.

Mitt Romney: Romney has kept a low profile this last year while Perry and Palin have spoken out. But in a speech several months back he called the Town Hall and Tea Party activists “courageous.” There is in fact nothing radical in these initiatives and nothing particularly controversial. They simply go against the ingrained conventional wisdom and the conditioned reflex. To look at some of Romney’s speeches and talks when he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney has long been considering issues that are popular now with the Tea Party people as simple organizational principles evolved from the Reagan Era. He essentially has no conflict with these groups. As it was with Andrew Jackson, at the core of this new public expression is the rise of the western states to political maturity and economic prominence. The main question going into 2012 is who will Palin pick for running mate, Perry or Romney?

William Daley: Stated here first in the Big Question forum at The Hill several weeks back: Obama’s Democrats are in trouble. They need to start again with William Daley prominently in the front room. Suggested that Obama might bring in Daley and his friends, New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger and start from scratch. This weekend, as the Democratic Congress touts its big victory, Daley sounded a warning. In a Washington Post interview he wrote, “Either we plot a more moderate, centrist course or risk electoral disaster not just in the upcoming midterms but in many elections to come.”

Daley, a long-time Democratic activist, is in Washington Post columnist David Broder’s opinion, “ . . . one of the canniest Democrats I know.” Broder said Democrats should heed Daley’s “steer to the center” advice.

Obama is not listed here as part of the 2010 rising karma because his momentum is receding and his status and organization took a major hit at Copenhagen. His profile will continue to recede if the Democrats don’t change their ways. Connecticut senator Chris Dodd was critical this past week of the poor Senatorial decorum of the new people in Congress. It should be expected when Democratic publicists and advisors sent up a constant call in 2008 for a “rock star.” And one new senator in Dodd’s sight is in real life a standup comic. For five years the Democrats have passed over some their best, brightest and most capable people for “rock stars,” celebrities and utopians. Daley saved Al Gore from catastrophic failure in his race again George W. Bush. If Obama does not bring him in and get a new start, the Democrats will not hold against the rising conservative tide.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Congress’s “Lost Weekend”: Rick Perry and Reagan lawyers - More state sovereignty initiatives on the way

By Bernie Quigley

- For The Hill on 12/24/09

The Nancy and Harry show suggests a mad adolescent rush like in those classic Hollywood b movies where the parents go out of town and the teens take over the house (and the Senate) for the weekend. Or the drunken euphoria of Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend. Or Animal House maybe, staring Barney Frank as John Belushi. Wreak havoc now while you can. The grown-ups will be back in force anytime now. But I see it as a long – almost 20 years now - process of irresponsible government and the abdication of public will and responsibility which began with the Clintons and advanced with George W. Bush. A process we hoped would end with Obama. The next president will be an adult, was New York mayor Mike Bloomberg’s auspicious comment as Obama was moving toward Mile High Stadium. Too early to say.

But authority may not come back after the lost weekend. It may find another path. Again this week there were new initiatives awakening the Jeffersonian approach; that is, state and regional defenses against federal malfeasance. Here are three.

Rick Perry opposes “unprecedented federal intrusion”: Gov. Rick Perry this week sent a letter asking other governors to join him in ongoing efforts to assert the constitutional rights of states as guaranteed under the 10th Amendment with regard to the federal health care bill being forced through by Congress. He urged the governors to support and join efforts by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and several other state attorneys general to determine the constitutionality of a compromise in the pending federal health care legislation exempting the state of Nebraska from increased Medicaid costs resulting from the bill’s passage.

Washington state’s attorney general, Rob McKenna, has recently appeared on Fox’s Neil Cavuto’s show discussing the similar issues. He made the point that this kind of state-based initiative was recently pioneered by liberal governers – Arnold Schwarzenegger and others – when they sued the federal government on environmental issues.

States Can check Washington’s Power: There is a way to deter further constitutional mischief from Congress and the federal courts, and restore some semblance of the proper federal-state balance, say David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey in an op ed this past week in the Wall Street Journal. That is to give to states—and through them the people—a greater role in the constitutional amendment process. “The idea is simple, and is already being mooted in conservative legal circles.” Rivkin and Casey, Washington, D.C.-based attorneys, served in the Department of Justice during the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

Vermont will have an independence candidate in the upcoming governor’s race: Fifth generation Vermonter and Kirby businessman Dennis P. Steele, who is founder and CEO of Free Vermont Radio is heading a ticket seeking Vermont independence. Mr. Steele, who is running for Governor, will be joined by Burlington businessman and political activist Peter Garritano, who will announce his candidacy for Lt. Governor. From their press release: “What these candidates have in common is a commitment to bring home the Vermont National Guard troops from Afghanistan and Iraq now as well as a commitment to return Vermont to its status as an independent republic as it was between January 15, 1777 and March 4, 1791.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Is America the new Tibet? What happened in Copenhagen . . .

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/23/09

Those who look for meaning in swirling things in the sky will find them, especially on Winter Solstice. But the older rabbis tell us to look beneath the surface to find essentials, and what happened beneath the surface at Copenhagen is worth reporting. It was a modest nightmare, like one of those unsettling dreams like you are walking on the edge of a cliff, or strolling in public to suddenly realize you are naked, or that you go to your office and someone has taken your chair away. That’s what happened to America in Copenhagen. The new world order came together and they forgot to set a chair for Obama.

I guess they forgot to read Sun Tzu on the ride over as suggested here. The only object of war and politics is to psychologically destabilize your opponent, said Sun Tzu. Like taking his chair away. Everything else will follow from that. But there could be another meaning to that dream; it could mean you are not prepared for the nuance and subtly required for the actions ahead and that could apply as well. Obama arrived late, just at the end, just in time to declare victory, but the Chinese considered it “grandstanding.”

“It was almost unthinkable,” wrote Charles Babington and Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press. “The President of the United States walked into a meeting of fellow world leaders and there wasn’t a chair for him, a sure sign he was not expected, maybe not even wanted.”

It was downhill from the beginning. China would send a second-tier official, Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei instead of Premier Wen Jiabao to meet with Obama, a classic diplomatic snub. At a later meeting they sent an even lower official. “I don’t want to mess around with this anymore, I want to just talk with Premier Wen,” said a rattled Obama.

What is interesting here is that Obama, looking for a friend while cooling his heels in waiting for Wen, headed over to chat with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Then he did some male bonding with his Euro bros, England, France and Germany. Meanwhile, the four-nations known as BASIC – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – gathered together without American representation. Wen agreed to meet with Obama, then changed the time, then after some strategic confusion, didn’t.

Obama expected to meet with Wen alone but after more confusion, aides told him that Wen was in the meeting with the leaders of the three other BASIC countries, apparently talking strategy without him.

The NYTs reported that Obama virtually busted into the room with Hillary in tow, calling out and demanding to know if Wen would see him.

Inside the room he found the started leaders and no chair for him to sit in.

“I’m going to sit by my friend Lula,” he said, moving toward Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. A Brazilian aide then gave his chair to Obama. Babington and Loven based their account on dozens of interviews and statements by key players from numerous countries.

It’s not clear how close a friend Lula actually is to Obama. What seems clear is that India, Brazil and most of the developing countries were taking their cues from China. While France, Germany, England and even Russia were siding up to Obama.

It is very possible to see here the awakening of a new world order and the beginnings of things in an east/west pattern that will work their way through this century and into the next, just as it was possible to see what would rise ahead as the world’s nations postured and posed at Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Could be problems here. I added them up and they have like two billion more people than we have.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

William Butler Yeats and the avatars

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/22/09

Ross Douthat, the best man on the NYTs’ op-ed page, has a good piece this week about the movie, Avatar, the blockbuster hit that is about to set the new zeitgeist. There is some worry in his essay as he correctly points out that this film by James Cameron is an anthem to pantheism, a faith in opposition to the “literal mindedness of the monotheistic religions” that equates God with nature, “and calls humanity into religious communion with the natural world.”

He gives a good appraisal of where we have been sailing these past 60 years. Joyce Carol Oates called what she saw around her in the 1970s a “new pantheism.” Certainly the hippie movement at its best – Ina May Gaskins’ group in Tennessee, for example, and the great San Francisco scene in 1967 – was pantheistic before the hippies turned to Wall Street and Bill and Hillary. And the movies Star Trek and Star Wars were primarily a struggle between Protestant Ethic (Captain Kirk, its avatar) and pantheism (Luke Skywalker); possibly reflecting America’s original struggle between Hamilton and Jefferson. Mel Brooks correctly understood it when he identified the sky walkers as “new druids” in Spaceballs. And although Ronald Reagan declared the Soviet Union to be the Evil Empire, by the last set in the Star Wars series it was clear that reference was being made to the U.S. Congress during the Clinton Presidency and the sky walkers – pantheists – were clearly secessionist. So Douthat’s worries about this movement are well founded.

It is natural to look for avatars at the end of things because they bring new beginnings, but pantheism has most always run parallel with Christianity and the theistic traditions. See the parades this week throughout Germany of Santa and his dark aspect, Black Peter. In County Sligo, Ireland, where I probably have cousins, William Butler Yeats found that the most aboriginal of Catholics – Yeats’ “visionary peasants” - did not believe in ghosts but did believe in fairies, leprechauns, water-horses and fallen angels because “they stand to reason.”

Yeats advised that “Everything exists, everything is true and the earth is only a little dust under our feet.” So he would probably have no problems’ with Avatar. It is wrong to put words in the mouths of the dead, but he might approve.

Yeats saw a far worse fate rising at the beginning of our age which was identified by Yeats and Co. back then the Age of Aquarius; an age which began, incidentally, in the year 2001.

He wrote of a positive avatar born to a prostitute in a Paris slum – Kurt Cobain would come to mind in the story had it been set in Seattle. But he wrote as well the most famous of predictions and the most dreadful: A great golem would appear and bring us slouching to war in Bethlehem. And there we have gone these last ten years, the first ten years of Aquarius and the end of an age in which the center no longer held.

I’m not sure the new age has started yet. I don’t think it has. Yeats wrote at a time when there was no middle class, no electricity, but they would rise in his lifetime. Today we have these things but we have no Yeats and perhaps we have no “Hope and Memory.” And their daughter who’s “name is Art” is absent as well. And Yeats’s day saw the first yearnings to rise into space. Avatar, like Lost and the TV Survivor series presents a yearning at the beginning of our new century to return to earth. It augers for an age of returning to that from which we came. Maybe this century we will find the sisters here again; Hope, Memory and Art, here on earth, our only home.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cordelia Ruth Tucker: Working Class Hero – Hard Hats v. Hippies

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/21/09

There was a time – before Starbucks, before Bill and Hillary, before the Rolling Stones – when liberals supported working class people. No longer. But back then no one represented the strong and fearless heartbeat of American working people like West Virginia coal miners. They were the stuff of legend chronicled in folklore, bluegrass and folk music. In the ‘50s we’d listen in pained silence for word about mine disasters even way up here in New England. We shared in the lives of the miners. If they could find the strength to survive in the mines we could survive on the surface. They were the canaries of our own desire. No longer, as the recent occurrence at Sundail, WV, makes clear.

The signs say it all: “WV Miners Say Go Home Tree Huggers.” Storm clouds appear to be gathering above the Appalachian coal country because of “the slap heard round the cornfields.” What happened, according to AP reports, is Cordelia Ruth Tucker, wearing the fluorescent-striped shirt of a miner, strode past West Virginia state troopers and into a stream of marchers protesting mountaintop removal mining to deliver an audible smack. “The 54-year-old Rock Creek woman isn't talking as she awaits trial on a battery charge,” says the report. “Her neighbor, environmental activist Judy Bonds, says she was on the receiving end of the slap.”

Tree huggers vs. coal miners is an advanced historic theme which began in the mid-Sixties. Then it was hard hats vs. hippies. The papers and news magazines were full of it; pictures of white – always white – construction workers with lunch pails wearing hard hats adorned with American flag decals scornfully watching hippies pass by. It was the time of the three wizards: Ira Einhorn, Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman – dead or in jail now (Einhorn, for murdering his girl friend). As it is with wizards, they inspired others to their labors and these three – icons of the counterculture (Einhorn was co-founder of Earth Day) and hippie movement – found armies including Presidents and Vice Presidents.

The generation which rose from this had many names. They/we were only one generation away from factory, field and mines ourselves most of us. But as the Senate votes this morning on a monumental piece of leisure class entitlement legislation like we have never seen before and very likely will never see again in our country, John Kenneth Galbraith’s phrase coined in 1992, “the culture of contentment” might be the best.

The hard hats v. hippies moment was much like this miners v. tree huggers moment but the incident at Sundial comes at a different point in history. A time when the culture of contentment has reached its endgame. And a time when an amorphous tax revolt in sweeping the heartland. The tax revolt is a movement looking for an agent, looking for a spark. And it so happens this past week that the conservative, libertarian-leaning Tea Party movement is more popular than either the Democratic or the Republican parties, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

MSNBC reports that the Republican Party maintains its net-negative favorable/unfavorable rating in the poll, with 28 percent viewing it positively and 43 percent seeing it in a negative light. For the first time in more than two years, the Democratic Party also now holds a net-negative fav/unfav, at 35-45 percent.

By comparison, the NBC/WSJ poll shows the Tea Party movement with a net-positive 41-23 percent score.

Randy Moss: The way of greatness and nobility . . .

"I've been in this league 12 years, and I've been through a lot. And these shoulders that I have on my body, you can put the earth on it. So just to let you know, I bounced back. I appreciate it."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Culture of Incompetence: Obama’s insidious comment; Hillary must go

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/17/09

In Stephen Colbert’s recent book, “I am American (and so can you),” he said he doubted that Charles Gibson had the seriousness to take on the job at ABC. His concerns were warranted. A favorite of Obama, it should be noted that before they sent him off to the back room, Obama gave Gibson a final infomercial. And the language Obama used, declaring that "the federal government will go bankrupt” if the Congress does not pass a health care bill, was amateurish and obsequious. It was also dark and threatening.

Obama’s planned and planted comment with his MSM favorite has an insidious shadow phase: Obama is beginning to prepare the country for economic collapse and surreptitiously strategizing to blame it on his enemies. Possibly Geithner has warned him about the Elliot Wave theory which gives the dollar a short life expectancy. Possibly he has been reading the commentary of Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, who wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal that Obama’s policies are the equivalent of steering the economy toward an iceberg. Perhaps he was watching inflation tick up and the dollar down.

The agreeability and cooperativeness of Gibson and the MSM Others with government, with information agencies, with lobbyists and international agencies goes beyond the Obama presidency. It has come to create a global culture of professional incompetence. So the New York Times report this morning that as widespread fraud in the Afghanistan presidential election was becoming clear three months ago, the No. 2 United Nations official in the country, the American Peter W. Galbraith, proposed enlisting the White House in a plan to replace the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

It takes until paragraph 13 to get to the name Ashraf Ghani. The NYTs report states that Kai Eide, the top United Nations official in Kabul, wrote last week that Galbraith’s proposal would begin with “a secret mission to Washington,” then “If the vice president agreed with Galbraith’s proposal they would approach President Obama with the following plan: President Karzai should be forced to resign as president.” Then “ . . . a new government would be installed led by a former finance minister, Ashraf Ghani, or a former interior minister, Ali A. Jalali, both favorites of American officials.”

Nowhere in this morning’s NYTs report is the name James Carville mentioned. And it apparently did not raise eyebrows in the MSM or anywhere else that James Carville was running the campaign of Ashraf Ghani. That is, the same group, the Carville Cartel, that has been running the life of the current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband for the past 20 years was running the candidacy of Ashraf Ghani, who the other elements hoped to use to replace Karzai in the planned overthrow of the elected Afghan government.

Richard C. Holbrooke, American envoy to Afghanistan, told the NYTs he was unaware of the idea. “And it does not reflect in any way any idea that Secretary Clinton or anyone else in the State Department would have considered,” he said.
Just another la-di-dah moment; a day in a life. Curious, like those Six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Humph. Must be synchronicity. We always knew the Clintons were avatars. No, this is a global condition of political corruption, plain and simple, with full cooperation of the MSM.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Obama and Wen Jiabao

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/16/09

In Copenhagen this week America meets its equal and opposite counterforce. Nobel laureates, climatologists, world thespians, shamans, pop stars and Al Gore will all be pushed aside, many of them never to be heard from again. And the stage will be left to two people, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

This will not be about climate at all. It will be about who will rule, U.S. or China.

Copenhagen furthers the one world vision of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon and Clinton, the view that was reality then. It is regressive illusion today. This is about the U.S. and China and apart from the few, the clever and the brave like Germany’s Angela Merkel, the rest of the world is chorus. The group would find a better center in Seattle, Vancouver or Singapore.

In a historic cultural moment that so oddly resembles the late 1970s and early ‘80s, the president might be advised to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War on the plane which was a runaway hit back then. Better yet, he might go to the source, the Tao te Ching; the “path of integrity.” Because our culture is a primary opposite of China’s.

We Americans assure that we were born to rule the world. It is as nature intended. It is our natural birth right; a mantle inherited from Victoria, our ancestral mother. Everything about us – even the election of a black president – speaks to the wonderfulness of it. Our symbols are overt, conspicuous and blaring: mile high buildings, mile high egos, mile high stadiums and rhetoric.

China is quiet. The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious and profound says the Tao te Ching. Watchful, like men crossing a winter storm. Alert, like men aware of danger. Courteous, like visiting guests. Yielding, like ice about to melt.

It has been a winning strategy since the Wu priesthood came up with it 6,000 years ago. Let’s see how it works this week in Copenhagen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If you don't like Randy Moss . . .

then you can kiss my ass.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Copenhagen’s Mad Men

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/10/09

If anyone ever deserved to win an award it is the American master Mel Brooks who was honored this week at the Kennedy Center. They might offer an evening showing of Young Frankenstein this week in Copenhagen, a small masterpiece in that popular genre of the mad scientist.

It has been suggested all over this week that the climate scientists, whose studies will be legitimized at Copenhagen, and their politicians have come to see themselves as priests, possibly because as the leaked memos make clear, they ask us to believe what they tell us on faith. It was a staple of Hollywood in the earlier days that the “new truths” of science brought delirium akin to religious cult insanity, manifesting in the excitable or confused “mad scientist.” Jerry Lewis in the Nutty Professor or Ben Linus and the Dharma Initiative today in the Lost series.

These were the new priests of a new religion, scientism, a belief that science could explain all, while faith was disparaged as random, anecdotal and regressive. It was the religion of the ‘50s Mad Men and American capitalism rising to world power. Of communism and socialism as well; indeed, as Newton societies have noted, these forms were based on misbegotten scientific theory. Not all agreed science was the new path to salvation. C.G. Jung, the Swiss psychological pioneer and Freud colleague abandoned science because he felt he had “lost his soul” to it. Kerson Huang, the theoretical physicist at MIT who was with Lee and Yang at the Princeton Institute when they won the Nobel Prize in 1957, said science is simply about measuring things but some things, like love, cannot be measured. Brooks’ parody in fact follows the 1931 original by picturing bringing the golem, Frankenstein, back from the dead in a scene intentionally modeled on a priest at the altar in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

In fact, that “everyone agrees” about climate change, “for goodness sake,” as Al Gore put it, is a symptom of religion gone wild. It is sign and symptom of horde mentality.

“Science is their religion,” said the Cigarette Smoking Man in an X Files episode based on the return of the Christ. If so, the group of Celestial Goreians meeting in Copenhagen this week are its College of Cardinals.

Copenhagen is not about science. Like Kyoto, it is about vast, conspicuous displays of piety, earnest manifestos and promises that will not be kept. But without question, science, scientific theory, engineering and technology over the last 200 years has caused and advanced global warming. It may not lead to solutions.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sarah Palin and the Eggman

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/08/09

Every age has its primary symbols and if you are to go long to understand what will emerge over time and what will recede, they are worth looking at. With the rise of John F. Kennedy came the rustic troubadour Bob Dylan from Minnesota’s north country fair, declaring that the times were a changing. The lyrics of that tune which became the anthem of a generation (mine) paralleled a speech written by Ted Sorenson about the “new men of the Sixties” and delivered by Kennedy in his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles in July 1960.

Symbols can awaken a culture or kill it. They can prevent its future from arising as the red battle flag did in the South for 80 years after the Civil War had ended. Two days today are marked symbolically: December 7, when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese, and December 8, when John Lennon was murdered outside his home at the Dakotas in New York City.

What is remembered and what is forgotten will hinge on these two dates. Lennon, who died 29 years ago today, will be remembered symbolically through a song he wrote in which he called himself the Eggman, an image he likely borrowed from one of his favorite books, Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass which featured Humpty Dumpty and a wise Walrus. A man or woman rising from an egg forms a classic Creation Myth and this symbol has had long historic resonance in Salvador Dali’s great painting of 1943, Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man, depicting the awakening of the “new man” breaking out of an egg in America. Investigation and cross culturing with other Dali paintings – Poetry in America, in particular, painted the same year - clearly suggests that the “new man” in his picture is the Christ entering a new world still a cultural desert in a new millennium.

Every age has its priests as well; true priests, I mean authentic voices that arise who people listen to for authenticity after the winged monkeys subside. Stanley Fish, for example. His opinion turns the tide as there is no living scholar in his generation who writes for the public as respected as he is. His review of Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue, this morning in the New York Times, will have them shifting uncomfortably in their seats, as he says that as one who wouldn’t consider himself a supporter, he found it, “ . . . compelling and very well done.”

This is important and necessary as it saves Fish’s class and lesser colleagues at the New York Times and elsewhere from becoming completely irrelevant to the political process as Palin rises to the political challenges. Rasmussen reports this week that her popularity continues to grow.

And as in the early Sixties, her popularity grows along side a cultural phenomenon and runs parallel to it like a road that follows a river: The Twilight saga, a series of four novels which has taken another young generation still in high school by storm and sold books now into the tens of millions and broke records at the box office. Because embedded in the Twilight stories is another primary myth. Note that the picture on the cover of the fourth book in the series, Breaking Dawn, is the chess piece; the white queen.

These stories brings the ritual death of the Red Queen - who just happens to be named Victoria . . . she gets her head torn off by Edward Cullen in the movie coming out next June - and the victorious return of the White Queen, who’s name is Bella. This references Robert Graves’s mythic masterpiece, The White Goddess, about the beginning and middle of the cycle of the earth mother or Triple Goddess which brought Britannia to life and to world prominence and dominance. The last of England’s “great mothers” was Victoria, the “third mother” or covered moon in the mythic passage, which ends the life cycle. The White Queen – the “first mother” - brings the earth mother cycle to life again.

The story is a Creation Myth, and like Dali’s Geoploliticus Child, it is a North American creation myth. And one like Sarah Palin – whose husband’s maternal line runs to the Curyung tribe of the Yup’ik – which finds intuition and instinct for the “new creation” in Native America.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas in Tennessee (Yearning for Bill)

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/7/09

Not since Andrew Young, Jimmy Carter’s transcendent spirit of diplomacy, raised a pyramid to the sun god and prayed for “power and liberating freedom” while 800 celebrants chanted the ancient mantra, “Sun-nun-nun-nun,” on the steps of the United Nations in 1978 have we seen such fear and loathing. The end is near, signs are everywhere. But the plague suddenly seemed to disappear overnight and only one squirrel fell into the black hole when the Hadron Collider went on-line last week. Note to Copenhagen: Utopianism in Rome, China, Russia was prelude to self destruction. It was in 1800’s America as well and I bet it is everywhere.

But the season of the witch is turning already, even before the Copenhagen counsel of shrouded earth shamans and neo-druids with their bush souls and familiars heats up, turning again to the season of rebirth. Because everything dies and everything is born again and that is the story of Christmas.

The Democrats are a fickle bunch. Wanda Sykes, the late night comic who wants to be the new Oprah, is tired of Obama already. She wants Bill back. That is their fatal yearning. A brilliant philosopher said 15 years ago that a free republic like the one we were handed by Eisenhower at the end of World War II could not exist with political dialogue at the Oprah day-time talk show level. I felt she was premature about that but I did think the Bill yearnings could be fatal to the republic, and there is still time for Bill and Hillary to kill it. Because when we got to Bill and Hillary we entered then some of us into that mystical state of political idolatry akin to that of the Russians in the time of Peter and Catherine the Great.

Obama may not be a great president but he is a superior individual as Eisenhower was, as Kennedy was, as Reagan was. Clinton is not. Gore is not. Hillary is not. And their supporters are a faithless. They will throw Obama to the dogs in a minute and are just waiting for the signal. (Malcolm X warned of this). That signal occurred last week when Obama’s ratings went below 50%. Get ready. Visualize this: A Hillary/Wes Clark (or Jim Webb or Joe Sestak) ticket vs. a Palin/Mitt Romney ticket in 2012. It would send the Woodstock nostalgicos fleeing in a horde up here to Vermont and New Hampshire when they lose every state except Massachusetts.

There was a time when we did not look to stand-up comics for political commentary. It poisons the dialog. There was a time when comics were clever, politicians were warriors and political writers were faithful and more or less responsible. But my favorite Buddhist monk, Leonard Cohen, says everybody knows the boat is leaking, everybody knows the captain lied. And Democrats again are yearning for Bill.

I’ve not seen the 2012 movie yet. They say it is hot. Everybody dies don’t cha know. These end of the world visions which torment Al, the Perfect Master of Fire and Ice, and the others seem largely based on that moment in The Grinch that Stole Christmas when Max, the Grinch’s dog, is teetering on the edge – the tippity-top – of a cliff and all the presents are about to go crashing down on Whoville all at once, smashing toys, Whoville, Betty Lou Who and Max together. It’s not like that.

It’s more like the Eliot Wave theory which has the dollar rising and receding in a natural arc in a 41-some year period, going up, starting in the early Seventies, reaching its peak in Clinton territory, then starting gradually back down the mountain. The crash of the Thai baht in the late 1990s was a turning back; the receding economy of Japan was a turning back, the decision to change the dollar from a perfect, harmonious masterpiece of circles and squares to a bloated, off-kilter deconstructionist contusion was a turning back and the radical mid-stream California recall in 2003 - a hysterical, unconscious cri du coeur for a Strong Man savior - was a turning back. It comes to an end in 1911 thereabouts.

But then somehow, somewhere, it will begin again because it always does. And wherever that is it will always be better to be in Tennessee, especially at Christmas.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Kos, Dems, UFOs, Father William: Five easy pieces . . .

by Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 1/4/09

In an editorial in The Hill this week Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos cites a poll which suggests devastating consequences ahead for Democrats. Before Barack Obama arrived on the scene Kos provided Democrats with new thinking for an intelligent and substantive Democratic party without Marx, Jesus or Bill Clinton by promoting moderates and originals like Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb, Jon Tester, Senator from Montana, and former NATO chief Wesley Clark.

This grouping featured managing excellence (Warner as governor of Virginia), courage (Webb) character and leadership (Clark), an earthy Jacksonian spirit of the heartland (Tester) and esprit (Major Tammy Duckworth – Moulistas, an army veteran, was the founder of Fighting Dems which helped Iraq war veterans get elected to Congress).

Obama is clever but a poor manager and the price will be high. But in all sincerity it is not his fault. His most important feature in 2008 was that he was not Hillary Clinton. He was drafted to circumvent her nomination and the Democrats’ certain loss in the general election. Obama agreed to be the team’s fall guy and may have saved the Democrats from total destruction. The Democrats’ problems today are the price of a former president with 50 gold watches and an Elvis complex who refused to leave the building. Moulitsas might give his new party idea another try.


The darkening drama of Obama and his nefarious Chicago crew suggests that classic Twilight Zone episode in which a UFO lands with a manuscript “to serve man.” Further investigation reveals it to be a cook book. Most troubling about Obama’s new war plan is that it seems to have been prepared not by the war department but by the public relations department. Strategic deception is this gang‘s fundamental approach. Announce a new troop buildup as prelude to an exit strategy. Much like the application of a vast, fatal bailout program then sending the Decepticons around when elections approach to talk vigorously about the need to reduce the deficit.


Being non-theological and following only the master who warns about priests and holy men, my idea of the one true church is any which keeps families together. Because that is what keeps the soul together. So I would be disappointed in seeing Mike Huckabee leaving the political discussion as it heads to 2012. But the tragic twist of fate near Seattle that left four police officers dead will cast a shadow as it is reported that he long ago granted clemency to the alleged killer for other crimes. Huckabee won the straw poll at the Voters Values Summit in September.


The most influential populist conservative Richard Viguerie is calling for politicians to join in what he is calling a “constitutional moment.” He is adding his weight and marketing skills to the so called tax revolt movement. This group rises in credibility as the Colorado governor’s race opens up. The Wall Street Journal reports that Colorado Republicans last week moved to woo restive tea-party activists by setting forth a conservative agenda -- dubbed the "Platform for Prosperity" -- and encouraging all candidates for state office to adopt it.


Old Father William was strangely silent. He and Tom Brady huddled together, passive and bewildered, on the sidelines with their arms drooping by their sides. It was like some big kids had come into the schoolyard and took away the football and wouldn’t give it back. Maybe they never will.