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Belmont Club

Buyer’s Remorse

July 8th, 2014 - 4:28 pm

The sad thing about many high school English literature readings is they are assigned too early in life for many students to fully appreciate. Works like Crime and Punishment, Lord Jim and especially The Rime of the Ancient Mariner are all about sin and expiation, themes perhaps imperfectly grasped by teenagers whose consciences are still developing. For examples, why the heck should an old sailor barge into a wedding party and harass the guests with his shipboard stories?

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

He holds him with his glittering eye—
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Mariner hath his will.

High school kids aren’t old enough to be the Ancient Mariner. But pundits are. Peggy Noonan’s recent piece The Daydream and the Nighmare comes closest in spirit to the Rime in any article of late.  She seizes the reader by the hand and regales him with a tale of albatross, possession and a ship driven by ghosts.  The albatross in her tale is president Obama and the vessel is the Ship of State.

I don’t know if we sufficiently understand how weird and strange, how historically unparalleled, this presidency has become. We’ve got a sitting president who was just judged in a major poll to be the worst since World War II. The worst president in 70 years! Quinnipiac University’s respondents also said, by 54% to 44%, that the Obama administration is not competent to run the government.

Like the derelict in Coleridge’s poem the Ship of State careens around, never making port, as if on some three hour cruise destined run for 98 actual weeks on TV. Yet the weird thing, Noonan says, is that even as Obama’s ship draves on, there is no apparent object to its wanderings.  It seems driven by some malignant compulsion:

But I’m not sure people are noticing the sheer strangeness of how the president is responding to the lack of success around him. He once seemed a serious man. He wrote books, lectured on the Constitution. Now he seems unserious, frivolous, shallow. He hangs with celebrities, plays golf. His references to Congress are merely sarcastic: “So sue me.” “They don’t do anything except block me. And call me names. It can’t be that much fun.”

In a truly stunning piece in early June, Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown and Jennifer Epstein interviewed many around the president and reported a general feeling that events have left him—well, changed. He is “taking fuller advantage of the perquisites of office,” such as hosting “star-studded dinners that sometimes go on well past midnight.” He travels, leaving the White House more in the first half of 2014 than any other time of his presidency except his re-election year. He enjoys talking to athletes and celebrities, not grubby politicians, even members of his own party. He is above it all.

Perhaps the adjective Noonan is looking for is “artistic”. She writes, “you get the impression his needs are pretty important in his hierarchy of concerns.  All this is weird, unprecedented. … He’s waiting for history to get its act together and see his true size.” This is reminiscent of another great man. When Nero’s end came his judgment of himself was “qualis artifex pereo” — ‘what an artist dies in me’.

Noonan notes that Obama seems to himself too great for his country, too great for the world, too great for the Age.

“The world seems to disappoint him,” says the New Yorker’s liberal and sympathetic editor, David Remnick.

That’s what it looks like from inside the White House. Nikolas K. Gvosdev, a professor at the Naval War College, describes what it resembles from outside the Oval Office. He calls it “The Stumbles Doctrine”: the process of getting into trouble, “hold my beer” style without the slightest coherent idea what you’re doing.

The problem, in the end, is that the United States appears to be stumbling into a policy of confronting and containing Putin’s Russia without the necessary commitments or frame. If this was a deliberate choice—and over the past several months, the Obama administration seems to have embarked on an ambitious program of “triple containment” (Iran, China and Russia)—then it does not seem to have made adequate preparations. If, on the other hand, this is an unexpected and unwelcome development, then it does not seem to be doing all that it could to indeed provide Russia with the “exit ramp” from the crisis. Without knowing how we got into this imbroglio, it may prove all the more difficult to find a way out.

A Red Line with Russia here, a Red Line with China there and pretty soon you could be talking real Red Lines.  It’s so eerie that Noonan actually seems scared. So she’s going around telling the story of the albatross to anyone who will listen.

The unspoken mesage in Noonan’s piece is ‘how can this be happening? When is this nightmare going to end? I mean this could be dangerous!’  We’ve been conditioned to regard problems as things ‘someone’ will fix. In the movies Dudley Doright cuts the heroine loose from the tracks in the nick of time. But in Coleridge’s universe, as perhaps in real life, we only recover after the loss of an arm or some fingers. At best the train leaves enough for the surgeon to patch together again.

The nation’s intellectual elites made a big vanity purchase in 2008 and the damage from that purchase cannot wholly be undone. Peggy Noonan herself endorsed Barack Obama in 2008.  She then wrote glowingly of him:

He climbed steep stairs, born off the continent with no father to guide, a dreamy, abandoning mother, mixed race, no connections. He rose with guts and gifts. He is steady, calm, and, in terms of the execution of his political ascent, still the primary and almost only area in which his executive abilities can be discerned, he shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make. We witnessed from him this year something unique in American politics: He took down a political machine without raising his voice.

That collective purchase is going to leave a mark.  The payment’s due. David Leonhardt of the New York Times fears that “teenagers today may grow up conservative” because of their experience with Obama, a world where the synonym for poverty, unemployment, war and stagnation is “liberal”. History is funny in that way. It doesn’t let one off the hook. Kids a hundred years hence are going to learn that this generation screwed up. This generation threw it all away. It can’t be hidden in the talking points. Perhaps this is as it must be, so posterity can hold us up to be negative role models. 

‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand!
And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
As is the ribbed sea-sand.

An orphan’s curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man’s eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.

And what a bill it is: the price for all the babies tossed into the dumpster, money borrowed and wasted and the lies we told ourselves. It’s forced on us if only because there are no private vanity purchases where selecting men who control nuclear weapons are concerned — only smart buys and stupid ones — and this was a stupid buy. As any high school student might have told you from the Cliffnotes cheat sheet on Crime and Punishment,  suffering is part of the price of redemption, not just for yourself, but for everyone.

All at once he bent down quickly and dropping to the ground, kissed her foot.  … ”What are you doing to me?” she muttered, turning pale, and a sudden anguish clutched at her heart. He stood up at once.

“I did not bow down to you, I bowed down to all the suffering of humanity,” he said wildly and walked away to the window. … ”you have destroyed and betrayed yourself for nothing. Isn’t that fearful?”

Perhaps the saddest thing about Obama is what Dostoevsky points out. They exchanged it all for an empty suit. The elite traded their heritage: the greatest country in the world for a bowl of pottage that held nothing. That’s what really hurts. How many would now be glad to have what they threw away?

It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
Like a meadow-gale of spring—
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze—
On me alone it blew.

Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The light-house top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own countree?

We drifted o’er the harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray—
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.

There’s a long way to go. Past the tides of wanting something for nothing, beyond the desire to be hip above all and clear of the unaccountable compulsion to speak in vocal fry tones; past the rocks and shoals of things to come which no one can be sure of surviving.

It’s a long voyage before we round the headland and glimpse the harbor. Until then we are bound to sail the seas in the ship Life-In-Death, or as it is now called, Hope-’n-Change.  But all voyages end at last and there is honor in redemption, victory in survival.

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone: and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom’s door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the Ancient Mariner. Well here’s our chance.

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Top Rated Comments   
Noonan, Christopher Buckley, ...there were swooners galore.

Obama did not become unserious, Obama was always Frank Abagnale. He hid who he was...and being found out didn't change him. It changed the swooners.

Obama is the product of a lifetime swimming in the tide pools of Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Don Warden, Rashid Khalidi, the New Party, the Midwest Academy, the Socialist Scholars.

Obama is who he always was. A dorm room BS artist, a slacker and a seditionist.

He hasn't changed a bit in the last six years.

But we have. He had nearly destroyed us.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
In college, I began reading George Will and truly enjoyed his passing references to The Great Works and Great Events of History. I appreciated the threads he wove that tied human history with current events. Over the past seven years (?!) of reading Wretchard's posts, he has delivered commentary that far surpasses anything I ever read by Mr. Will - and with greater frequency, perspective, care, depth, currency, and candor. Several times per day, I look to see if there is a new post.

Wretchard, if I could nominate you for President, I surely would. Your words bring back to life the American ideals and a willingness to confront reality that we are losing to both the hoi palloi and the hoi oligoi.

Well done, sir!
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is most aggravating to see a fool like Noonan use her gifts after the fact, and after having aided and abetted our destruction.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (135)
All Comments   (135)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
"Noonan, Christopher Buckley, ...there were swooners galore.

Obama did not become unserious, Obama was always Frank Abagnale. He hid who he was...and being found out didn't change him. It changed the swooners."
"He hid who he was..."

Yes and no:
Although he practiced deception, he also described his methods and his aims in his books and elsewhere, his record in the Senate, and by his attendance at Rev. Wright's White Lovefests.

The Swooners ignored all this with predictable and now unpredictable results.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is a peculiar aspect of the human soul that while some people desire what is good for them, others desire what is bad for them. Some people desire freedom. Others desire slavery. Of those, some prefer to be masters while others prefer to be slaves – slaves who dictate to their masters.

There is a certain kind of person who claims to desire freedom yet will punish anybody who is not abusive toward her. She is contemptuous toward those act honorably toward her, while she rewards and flatters those who treat her with contempt.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Obama presidency was created by that kind of person – it was created by people filled with deep masochism. It was created by people who gravitate toward those who treat them with contempt, by those who are attracted to the most foreign, dangerous, and by extension “exciting” ideas. Greek philosophers may claim that people want what is best for themselves, but history has repeatedly shown otherwise. It is the spoiled brat who did nothing to deserve his abundance who typically has the worst death wish.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Vidkun Quisling may have imagined that he was using the Nazis to gain power in Norway, but few people were fooled about Quisling being a quisling. Pierre Laval thought he could manipulate the Nazis, but he became a quisling too. Puppets like to imagine they have more influence than they really do, or that they gain more by associating with tyrants than they lose from their reputations.

Quislings are rather like children who play with snakes – they think they know what they are doing, but they don't have a clue.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amazing the hard lessons that can be forgotten in a single generation.

I only know of these things by reading and conversations with some who lived through events, so only my imagination and undisciplined logic lend them substance...

Regular citizens in the Soviet Union could be arrested and sentenced to years in prison or the "Gulags" for a wide range of offenses:

Speaking with foreigners (in public or private)

Listening to unauthorized radio or TV channel broadcasts

Reading unauthorized books, newspapers, essays, etc.

Attending Christian, Jewish, and other religious liturgical services

Criticizing government officials or official policies of the government

Failure to report persons observed doing any of these prohibited acts.

(of course, these do not BEGIN to address the atrocities of Stalin against entire cities and provinces... I'm just talking about the NORMAL everyday repression of soviet "citizens.")

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Officials in Nazi Germany were not shy about arresting, torturing, and executing their own citizens, certainly after the open war progressed. Very few people seem to be aware that the Nazi government BEHEADED over 20,000 German citizens arrested and prosecuted for dissent, including such vicious acts as passing out pamphlets questioning Nazi policies. Many more were hanged, and many times that number were sentenced to prison and hard labor. Many German citizens ended up in the same concentration camps as the rest, because of overheard criticisms and bitter jokes, or observed acts of vandalism or graffiti against the Nazis.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This is just to say that INTIMIDATION is an underlying purpose for a lot of what we see going on. Many of the unprecedented problems we now observe are MANUFACTURED and intended to piss away our energies and resources just dealing with them as responsible citizens do. But behind all that is the menacing, intentional poisoning of the nation, and the increasingly open threat to use the government's hegemonic franchise on violence against any who oppose its tyranny.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does anyone know what the Long Running Script Is? repeatedly stops or stops and crashes my browsers.

Seems to happen after interacting with the page by posting, etc...
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm using the latest version of Firefox with the Ghostery plug-in, and haven't been having any problems.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, but very likely it is in one of the ads that has been served to you along with the content you want. Sometimes deleting cookies, etc., improves ad quality, bt no promises...
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I mentioned earlier, I suspect this is a DoS hack by someone trying to disable Pjmedia. I have found that Firefox under OS-X is unusable on this website. However Safari seems to be more usable but also has problems.

My guess is the bad guys will shutdown Belmont Club prior to the November elections with web hacks unless Pjmedia hires some really sharp network guys to counter act them.

Wretchard may wish to have a Plan-B ready in case that happens, i.e. an alternate website location with bullet-proof server software.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had a similar experience with Firefox. I went back to using Chrome, to which I added AdBlock, and have had much better stability and performance.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
This thread has expired so this will be my last comment.

People often recommend Chrome. My concern about Chrome is that it comes from Google. I do not trust Google when it comes to privacy and can easily see Chrome serving as some sort of Trojan Horse. Google started out as an innocent Silicon Valley start-up preaching "Do no evil" but slowly morphed into an octopus, heading towards the extreme evil of Microsoft. Come to think of it, back in the early days of DOS, Microsoft was an innocent small company of geeks who only wanted to play with computer technology. The old cliche that "power corrupts" seems to be true.

For what it's worth, Safari now runs even worse than Firefox for access to Belmont Club. The hacker behind this sabotage knows what he is doing. I wonder if he is an American or works for a foreign government?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
NewsMax: Jim Bridenstine: Border Tours Like Soviet-Era Media Management

Rep. Jim Bridenstine on Tuesday said the Obama administration's management of visits to the U.S. border to observe the immigration crisis is comparable to tactics of the former Soviet Union.

"The center told news outlets by email that 'the media can come. It'll be a 40-minute tour, but you can't ask questions. You can't talk to the staff. You can't talk to the medical doctors. You can't talk to the children"Bridenstine said.

He said that he and the news outlets were instructed that they were not permitted to take pictures but that photos would be sent to them for use and he was told he could attend the facility on Saturday.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
My "beer coming up through your nose due to choking laughter moment" was provided by "He once seemed a serious man. He wrote books, lectured on the Constitution." (This after I first observed and pondered the photo of him talking to the guy with an equine head.)

Really, I must say, though I loathe, detest, and abominate Pharaoh Putt-Putt, I REALLY have a low opinion of Peggy.

An Préachán
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Supposedly Boehner disagress with Palin about impeaching Obama, refer to:

First of all, The Washington Post is MSM so the story is immediately suspect (still probably true).

Obama should be impeached with the end objective being his conviction in the Senate followed by removal from office and concluding with criminal proceedings against him as a private citizen.

Having a Bill of Impeachment immediately die in the Senate as happened with Clinton's impeachment would be a waste of effort and only weaken the office of the President. The time to begin the impeachment process against Obama will be in January after the Republicans have fully gained control of the Senate. The court challenges that Boehner is currenlty organizing will provide the list of "high crimes and misdemeanors" that will be on the Bill of Impeachment. Removing Obama from office will be politically tricky and require strategic planning. Obama's operatives in the MSM will fight the process at every step.

P.S. I think the PJM website software behind Belmont Club has been hacked. The Java scripts are now so slow that the Belmont Club is almost inaccessible. I had to write this comment off line and then submit it in a single paste.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Republican orchestra may be better off with a guest conductor. In 2011, Dennis Kucinich functioned as a “guest conductor” of opposition against the USA's participation in the Libyan civil war. Many of the opposing votes came from Republicans, but he conducted the orchestra and he took the heat from the mainstream media.

If a bona fide leftist such as Dennis Kucinich or Nat Hentoff led the charge against Barack Obama, he would take the heat off the Tea Party. The Tea Party would vote but otherwise keep a low profile. Even better, if somebody such as Tavis Smiley got elected to Congress with the express intention of impeaching Obama, that would be a game changer.

It may be a bit late for electing a leftist anti-Obama Democrat in this year's midterm elections, though. I have my doubts that even a Democrat who campaigns in Tea Party country on a platform of impeaching Obama would be able to defeat an establishment anti-impeachment Republican within the present political climate.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I respectfully disagree. I oppose impeachment for all the usual reasons, but mainly because I think the proceedings would fail and thus become a debacle for the opposition. Also I am in principle against impeachment, also for the usual reasons. Americans who supported and voted for Obama deserve him, good and hard, and they should have to live out his presidency with him. Preventing people like Obama from becoming president or continuing in office are what elections are for and if people don't avail themselves of the electoral process for this purpose than they should have to live with the consequences. And to be sure I shouldn't have to live with those consequences but that's democracy for ya. Maybe next time I'll try harder to keep his ilk out of office. That's also democracy for ya.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with Eggplant wrt to The Rest of Us and The Country, but I'm with you here based on the old axiom of when someone is doing a great job of showing what a loser he is, stand back and get out of his way.

Impeachment would simply allow the MSM to go back to bashing the racist, hate-filled Republicans 24-7.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Old Doug said:

"Impeachment would simply allow the MSM to go back to bashing the racist, hate-filled Republicans 24-7."

This is certainly true. I would argue that Boehner recognizes this and by saying that impeachment is not on the table, he is attempting to divert the MSM from launching their propaganda campaign against impeachment prior to the November elections. However it is my contention that Boehner's comment is a canard and that he intends to initiate impeachment after the Republicans secure their majority in the Senate. It is my belief that the Republicans will have only a slender majority in the Senate. Therefore Obama's conviction after impeachment will require a significant number of Senate Democrats agree that Obama is unfit to hold public office. They will agree to this only after they are convinced that their party will be swept from office if Obama continues to remain President. Of course, the MSM will do everything in its power to obfuscate and confuse people concerning the need to remove Obama from power. This will be a subtle exercise of propaganda versus counter-propaganda and/or a modern day version of Nero fiddling as Rome burns.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the Republicans obtain a majority in the Senate, would it not be possible to instigate Joint Congressional Investigations into many of the items which would make up a Bill of Impeachment? While impeachment might be too far a reach, putting a few hard-hitting prosecutors to work, talking about jail time, and maybe granting immunity to a few underlings who were forced to do the dirty work and don't want to take the rap. Some of them will squeal. Maybe grab the headlines for two years leading up to November, 2016.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Quite a web The Left/MSM Conglomerate weaves.
How far we've fallen.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Roughcoat2 said:

"Americans who supported and voted for Obama deserve him, good and hard, and they should have to live out his presidency with him."

Unfortunately, the rest of us who opposed Obama from the very beginning will have to continue to live with him.

I'm not 100% certain that the nation can survive 2 more years of Obama. His impeachment maybe our only path towards national survival. I really hope that I'm wrong about this because I believe that conviction in the Senate is a long shot.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
radag brown:

Thanks for your response and for re-posting it. You're right, I probably would have missed it if you hadn't reposted.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some Buyer's Remorse in Brazil

"WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – During the 7-1 loss in the World Cup semifinals against Germany, Brazil soccer fans became so outraged with the score that they began chanting “Ei, Dilma, vai tomar no cu,” which translates to: “Hey, Dilma, go f*** yourself in the a**!”

Brazilian fans are angry with President Dilma Rousseff, for allowing the government to spend more than $11 billion dollars to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Fans began chanting around the 40th minute of the match that became the worst defeat since Brazil’s 1950 World Cup loss to Uruguay.

Those protesting against Rousseff believe that the money invested to host the World Cup could have been put to better use by building up schools and hospitals or helping poor neighborhoods like Cidade de Deus."

If Americans yelled that at Obama, he'd do it. It's just another form of "leading from behind".
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Skinny Butt should delegate that task out to his Well-Endowed First Lady.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
In the form of Obama Americans have been provided the fulfillment of their desires--a lie and strong delusion that they are permitted to believe, that the elevation of Man and Man's engineering can supplant God and all the representations of Him that have been provided to point the way.

Obama is the personification of the wish-fulfillment of these generations, and he is god to them, thereby. If you observe how man has related to his idols over history, then all the behavior of Americans comes into focus.

What is occurring now, therefore, is the withdrawing of the Mandate of Heaven from America. There has been great pleading with its people for over 100 years, to repent and return to loving God and loving neighbors--instead of killing them, stealing their bread and houses, and seducing one another to depravity, idol worship of any physical and philosophical bent you can imagine, and so on.

But, divine patience runs out. Eventually love for others demands that justice be dispensed--an example made. The troubles that rock this Ship of State are the strongest warnings to change your mind ("repent") and thereafter change behavior. I have little hope that they will be heeded, and so the blows will come faster and stronger until nothing but ashes remain.

The foreigner who observes from afar with hiss in horror of it all, and those few who remain may call on God and live, but I wonder if they will call themselves Americans.

34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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