Tag Archives: GOP

Camille Paglia, philosophical heroine to left and right, on why Trump is Now and NYT is Yesterday!

I have always admired Camille Paglia as a unique intellectual heroine, dear to the hearts and souls of the deeper intellectuals of both the right and the left.  Here is her latest on Salon.com, which I used to read just for her and Glenn Edward Greenwald. As an aside, when I say “used to” I mean ten years ago or more, back to Salon’s origins in 1995-2005 when I was a devoted subscriber and sometime comment and letter contributor: but Salon has deteriorated and degenerated.  It is not not just unAmerican but Anti-American.  Most of what appears on the pages or screens of Salon.com these days is so offensive and vile…. so blatantly unthinkingly OBOTOID (in support of the 44th) anti-white racist and pro-communist, I hardly ever look at it: BUT CAMILLE NEVER DISAPPOINTS, and I have been following her since she wrote for a literary magazine now defunct based in Austin, Texas—whose name I can’t even remember right now…

THURSDAY, MAY 19, 2016 05:00 AM CDT
Camille Paglia:

PC feminists misfire again, as fearful elite media can’t touch Donald Trump
A boastful, millionaire New Yorker liked the company of beautiful women? This is why NYT can’t lay a glove on Trump
CAMILLE PAGLIA
TOPICS: CAMILLE PAGLIA, DONALD TRUMP, EDITOR’S PICKS, ELECTIONS 2016, FEMINISM, MADONNA, MEDIA CRITICISM, MUSIC, NEW YORK TIMES, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, INNOVATION NEWS, SUSTAINABILITY NEWS, TECHNOLOGY NEWS, LIFE NEWS, NEWS, POLITICS NEWS

Camille Paglia: PC feminists misfire again, as fearful elite media can’t touch Donald Trump
(Credit: AP)
Zap! If momentum were a surge of electromagnetic energy, Donald Trump against all odds has it now. The appalled GOP voters he is losing seem overwhelmed in number by independents and crossover Democrats increasingly attracted by his bumptious, raucous, smash-the-cucumber-frames style. While it’s both riveting and exhilarating to watch a fossilized American political party being blown up and remade, it’s also highly worrisome that a man with no prior political experience and little perceptible patience for serious study seems on a fast track to the White House. In a powder-keg world, erratic impulsiveness is far down the list of optimal presidential traits.

But the Democratic strategists who prophesy a Hillary landslide over Trump are blowing smoke. Hillary is a stodgily predictable product of the voluminous briefing books handed to her by a vast palace staff of researchers and pollsters—a staggeringly expensive luxury not enjoyed by her frugal, unmaterialistic opponent, Bernie Sanders (my candidate). Trump, in contrast, is his own publicist, a quick-draw scrapper and go-for-the-jugular brawler. He is a master of the unexpected (as the Egyptian commander Achillas calls Julius Caesar in the Liz Taylor Cleopatra). The massive size of Hillary’s imperialist operation makes her seem slow and heavy. Trump is like a raffish buccaneer, leaping about the rigging like the breezy Douglas Fairbanks or Errol Flynn, while Hillary is the stiff, sequestered admiral of a bullion-laden armada of Spanish galleons, a low-in-the-water easy mark as they creak and sway amid the rolling swells.

The drums had been beating for weeks about a major New York Times expose in the works that would demolish Trump once and for all by revealing his sordid lifetime of misogyny. When it finally appeared as a splashy front-page story this past Sunday (originally titled “Crossing the Line: Trump’s Private Conduct with Women”), I was off in the woods pursuing my Native American research. On Monday, after seeing countless exultant references to this virtuoso takedown, I finally read the article—and laughed out loud throughout. Can there be any finer demonstration of the insularity and mediocrity of today’s Manhattan prestige media? Wow, millionaire workaholic Donald Trump chased young, beautiful, willing women and liked to boast about it. Jail him now! Meanwhile, the New York Times remains mute about Bill Clinton’s long record of crude groping and grosser assaults—not one example of which could be found to taint Trump.

Blame for this fiasco falls squarely upon the New York Times editors who delegated to two far too young journalists, Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey, the complex task of probing the glitzy, exhibitionistic world of late-twentieth-century beauty pageants, gambling casinos, strip clubs, and luxury resorts. Neither Barbaro, a 2002 graduate of Yale, nor Twohey, a 1998 graduate of Georgetown University, had any frame of reference for sexual analysis aside from the rote political correctness that has saturated elite American campuses for nearly 40 years. Their prim, priggish formulations in this awkwardly disconnected article demonstrate the embarrassing lack of sophistication that passes for theoretical expertise among their over-paid and under-educated professors.

When I saw the reporters’ defensive interview on Monday with CNN anchors Kate Bolduan and John Berman, I felt sorry for the earnest, owlish Barbaro, who seems like a nice fellow who has simply wandered out of his depth. But Twohey, with her snippy, bright and shiny careerism, took a page from the slippery Hillary playbook in the way she blatheringly evaded any direct answer to a pointed question about how Rowanne Brewer Lane’s pleasantly flirtatious first meeting with Trump at a crowded 1990 pool party at Mar-a-Lago ended up being called “a debasing face-to-face encounter” in the Times. The hidden agenda of advocacy journalism has rarely been caught so red-handed.

The supreme irony of the Times’ vacuous coverage is that the early 1990s banquet-hall photograph of the unmarried Rowanne Brewer and Donald Trump illustrating it is the sexiest picture published in the mainstream media in years. Not since Melissa Forde’s brilliant 2012 Instagram portraits of a pensive Rihanna smoking a cigarillo as she lounged half-nude in a fur-trimmed parka next to a fireplace have I seen anything so charismatically sensual.

Small and blurry in the print edition, the Brewer-Trump photo in online digital format positively pops with you-are-there luminosity. Her midnight-blue evening dress opulently cradling her bare shoulders, Rowanne is all flowing, glossy hair, ample, cascading bosom, and radiant, lushly crimson Rita Hayworth smile. The hovering Trump, bedecked with the phallic tongue of a violet Celtic floral tie, is in Viking mode, looking like a triumphant dragon on the thrusting prow of a long boat. “To the victor belong the spoils!” I said to myself in admiration, as seductive images from Babylon to Paris flashed through my mind. Yes, here is all the sizzling glory of hormonal sex differentiation, which the grim commissars of campus gender studies will never wipe out!

Hey, none of this should make Trump president. But I applaud this accidental contribution by the blundering New York Times to the visual archive of modern sex. We’ve been in a long, dry-gulch period of dully politicized sex, which is now sputtering out into round-the-clock crusades for transgender bathrooms—knuckle-rapping morality repackaged as hygiene. An entire generation has been born and raised since the last big epiphany of molten on-screen sexuality—Sharon Stone’s epochal and ravishingly enigmatic performance in Basic Instinct (1992). Maybe we need Trump the movie mogul most of all. Forget all that Capitol Hill and Foggy Bottom tsuris—let’s steer Trump to Hollywood!

*

Dear Camille,

This was a minor point in your essay on “Free Speech and the Modern Campus,” but your comments on the National Museum of the American Indian really struck a chord with me, and I wanted to thank you, since I never saw any appropriately awful reviews.

I visited not long after it opened, in anticipation of seeing an organized, well-structured tour through the cultures, languages, and religions that we have lost (the Smithsonian does a good job in other places!). Obviously, there was nothing but happy talk about how man and nature used to live in harmony, not a word wasted on the linguistic diversity that was lost in North America since 1600, and absolutely no thematic organization across the museum. I had the distinct impression that the curators thought that putting together a coherent program would have been one final, intolerable act of cultural imperialism!

How could you take such amazing ingredients and produce something so tasteless? It was like going to a nice restaurant in anticipation of a wonderful steak dinner and being served a picture of parsley. What a waste!

Chris Dyer
Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh

I totally agree with you! As I said last month in the free speech lecture at Drexel University that you refer to, the beautifully designed National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. has been shockingly furnished like a tacky gift shop, devoid of scholarly substance and clarity of presentation. This is a major scandal that demonstrates the failure of parochial identity politics, which has so distorted American education and directly led to today’s plague of campus political correctness.

In the 1970s, when women’s studies, African-American studies, and Native American studies were hastily added to the curriculum by administrators under public relations pressure, those new programs were not coherently planned or structured in scholarly terms, so they became instantly vulnerable to highly politicized ideology that has limited their wider cultural impact over time. The tragic emptiness of the National Museum of the American Indian (whose major draw seems to be its multi-ethnic cafeteria) is one result of the ghettoization of Native American studies, which should have been incorporated into the broader, well-established fields of world anthropology and archaeology.

REPUBLICAN CRIMES, REPUBLICAN CRIMINAL INTENT, AND THE POLITICAL AGENDA BEHIND IT ALL

Now, culminating the 8 year tragic-comedy, they “bail out” the totally fraudulent securitized mortgage industry, and how?  by spreading the funny money around a little farther….why?  Because this is George Bush’s last chance to avoid post-2nd term jailtime or oblivion by spreading around some money.  The mechanics of the bailout are quite uncertain—where is all this money going to go (all $850 billion?).  If it’s NOT going to homeowners threatened with foreclosure, where is it going?  Why is there a mortgage crisis at all?  If the system were working properly, “lenders” or “mortgage holders” could and would be relatively happy to end up with ownership of homes, right?  And if there were a gap of 3-6 months in re-renting a house or condominium, why should anyone care?  It is because the holders of the notes in securitized bundles are NOT able to foreclose, just as the mortgagees cannot negotiate with the real holders.  There is a gap, and this is the fraud: the gap is created by money-changing for no purpose.  There is no connection between buying a securitized mortgage and receiving money from the sale of property—the entire American economic system since George W. Bush’s daddy came to power has basically been one thing and one thing only: “printing money while on cocaine.”

One could almost believe, indeed, that the Republican party’s rock bottom rot over the past eight years was intended to make all kinds of perverse corruption more palatable, only because a large plurality, if not a majority of the American people believe that ANYTHING has to be better than what George W. Bush has given us.  There has never been a time since July 1, 1776, when it was harder to be “proud to be an American, [or to feel that] where at least I know I’m free.”  On the contrary, in the most punitively incarcerating nation in the world, we lock up 1% of our population in jail only to let the entire government be run by criminals.  And Obama is just another member of the super-elite criminal oligarchy—that’s why he’s got such a good chance of being President.  Ten years ago I would have said that McCain was NOT an insider, but he’s clearly sold out.  Ron Paul didn’t sell out and so they froze his votes at basically incredibly low, and incredibly consistently low, levels everywhere…. Oh, Cry, the Beloved Country!!!!  I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again. 


 

 How conservative greed and corruption destroyed American politics

 

 

Abramoff, DeLay, Norquist, oh my! The spectacular misrule of the GOP was not an accident.

By Thomas Frank

Aug. 07, 2008 | Washington is the city where the scandals happen. Every American knows this, but we also believe, if only vaguely, that the really monumental scandals are a thing of the past, that the golden age of misgovernment-for-profit ended with the cavalry charge and the robber barons, at about the same time presidents stopped wearing beards.
I moved to Washington in 2003, just in time for the comeback, for the hundred-year flood. At first it was only a trickle in the basement, a little stream released accidentally by the president’s friends at Enron. Before long, though, the levees were failing all over town, and the city was inundated with a muddy torrent of graft.
How are we to dissect a deluge like this one? We might begin by categorizing the earmarks handed out by Congress, sorting the foolish earmarks from the costly earmarks from the earmarks made strictly on a cash basis. We could try a similar approach to government contracting: the no-bid contracts, the no-oversight contracts, the no-experience contracts, the contracts handed out to friends of the vice president. We might consider the shoplifting career of one of the president’s former domestic policy advisors or the habitual plagiarism of the president’s liaison to the Christian right. And we would certainly have to find some way to parse the extraordinary incompetence of the executive branch, incompetence so fulsome and steady and reliable that at some point Americans stopped being surprised and began simply to count on it, to think of incompetence as the way government works.

But the onrushing flow swamps all taxonomies. Mass firing of federal prosecutors; bribing of newspaper columnists; pallets of shrink-wrapped cash “misplaced” in Iraq; inexperienced kids running the Baghdad stock exchange; the discovery that many of Alaska’s leading politicians are apparently on the take — our heads swim. We climb to the rooftop, but we cannot find the heights of irony from which we might laugh off the blend of thug and Pharisee that was Tom DeLay — or dispel the nauseating suspicion, quickly becoming a certainty, that the government of our nation deliberately fibbed us into a pointless, catastrophic war.

Bad apples all around

So let us begin on the solid ground of these simple facts: This spectacular episode of misrule has coincided with both the political triumph of conservatism and with the rise of the Washington area to the richest rank of American metropolises. In the period I am describing, gentlemen of the right rolled through the capital like lords of creation. Every spigot was open, and every indulgence slopped out for their gleeful wallowing. All the clichés roared at full, unembarrassed volume: the wines gurgled, the T-bones roasted, the golf courses beckoned, the Learjets zoomed, the contractors’ glass buildings sprouted from the earth, and the lobbyists’ mansions grew like brick-colonial mushrooms on the hills of northern Virginia.

Democrats, for their part, have tried to explain the flood of misgovernment as part of a “culture of corruption,” a phrase at once obviously true and yet so amorphous as to be quite worthless. Republicans have an even simpler answer: Government failed, they tell us, because it is the nature of government enterprises to fail. As for the great corruption cases of recent years, they cluck, each is merely a one-of-a-kind moral lapse unconnected to any particular ideology — an individual bad apple with no effect on the larger barrel.

Which leaves us to marvel helplessly at what appears to be a spectacular run of lousy luck. My, what a lot of bad apples they are growing these days!

Corruption is uniquely reprehensible in a democracy because it violates the system’s first principle, which we all learned back in the sunshiny days of elementary school: that the government exists to serve the public, not particular companies or individuals or even elected officials. We Are the Government, insisted the title of a civics primer published in the earnest year of 1945. “The White House belongs to you,” its dust jacket told us. “So do all the other splendid buildings in Washington, D.C. For you are a citizen of the United States.” For you, young citizen, does the Post Office carry letters to every hamlet in the nation. For you does the Department of Agriculture research better plowing methods and the Bureau of Labor Statistics add up long columns of numbers.

The government and its vast workforce serve the people: The idea is so deep in the American grain that we can’t bring ourselves to question it, even in this disillusioned age. Republicans and Democrats may fight over how big government should be and exactly what it should do, but almost everyone shares those baseline good intentions, we believe, that devotion to the public interest.

We continue to believe this in even the most improbable circumstances. Take the worst apple of them all, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose astonishing career as a corruptionist has been unreeling in newspaper and congressional investigations since I came to Washington. Abramoff started out as a great political success story, a protégé and then a confidant of the leaders of the conservative faction of the Republican Party. But his career disintegrated on news of the inventive ways he ripped off his clients and the luxury meals and lavish trips with which he bribed legislators.

Journalistic coverage of the Abramoff affair has stuck closely to the “bad apple” thesis, always taking pains to separate the conservative movement from its onetime superstar. What Abramoff represented was “greed gone wild,” asserts the most authoritative account on the subject. He “went native,” say others. Above all, he was “sui generis,” a one-of-a-kind con man, “engaged in bizarre antics that your average Zegna-clad Washington lobbyist would never have dreamed of.”

In which case, we can all relax: Jack Abramoff’s in jail. The system worked; the bad apple has been plucked; the wild greed and the undreamed-of antics have ceased.

Misgovernment by ideology

But the truth is almost exactly the opposite, whether we are discussing Abramoff or the wider tsunami of corruption. The truth is as obvious as a slab of sirloin and yet so obscured by decades of pettifoggery that we find it almost impossible to apprehend clearly. The truth slaps your face in every hotel lobby in town, but we still don’t get the message.

It is just this: Fantastic misgovernment of the kind we have seen is not an accident, nor is it the work of a few bad individuals. It is the consequence of triumph by a particular philosophy of government, by a movement that understands the liberal state as a perversion and considers the market the ideal nexus of human society. This movement is friendly to industry not just by force of campaign contributions but by conviction; it believes in entrepreneurship not merely in commerce but in politics; and the inevitable results of its ascendance are, first, the capture of the state by business and, second, all that follows: incompetence, graft, and all the other wretched flotsam that we’ve come to expect from Washington.

The correct diagnosis is the “bad apple” thesis turned upside down. There are plenty of good conservative individuals, honorable folks who would never participate in the sort of corruption we have watched unfold over the last few years. Hang around with grassroots conservative voters in Kansas, and in the main you will find them to be honest, hardworking people. Even our story’s worst villains can be personally virtuous. Jack Abramoff, for example, is known to his friends as a pious, polite and generous fellow.

But put conservatism in charge of the state, and it behaves very differently. Now the “values” that rightist politicians eulogize on the stump disappear, and in their place we can discern an entirely different set of priorities — priorities that reveal more about the unchanging historical essence of American conservatism than do its fleeting campaigns against gay marriage or secular humanism. The conservatism that speaks to us through its actions in Washington is institutionally opposed to those baseline good intentions we learned about in elementary school.

Its leaders laugh off the idea of the public interest as airy-fairy nonsense; they caution against bringing top-notch talent into government service; they declare war on public workers. They have made a cult of outsourcing and privatizing, they have wrecked established federal operations because they disagree with them, and they have deliberately piled up an Everest of debt in order to force the government into crisis. The ruination they have wrought has been thorough; it has been a professional job. Repairing it will require years of political action.

Conservatism-in-power is a very different beast from the conservatism we meet on the streets of Wichita or the conservatism we overhear talking to itself on the pages of Free Republic. For one thing, what conservatism has done in its decades at the seat of power is fundamentally unpopular, and a large percentage of its leaders have been men of eccentric ideas. While they believe things that would get them laughed out of the American Sociological Association, that only makes them more typical of the movement. And for all their peculiarity, these people — Grover Norquist, Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Newt Gingrich, and the whole troupe of activists, lobbyists, and corpora-trons who got their start back in the Reagan years — have for the last three decades been among the most powerful individuals in America. This wave of misgovernment has been brought to you by ideology, not incompetence.

Yes, today’s conservatives have disgraced themselves, but they have not strayed from the teaching of their forefathers or the great ideas of their movement. When conservatives appoint the opponents of government agencies to head those government agencies; when they auction their official services to the purveyor of the most lavish “golf weekend”; when they mulct millions from groups with business before Congress; when they dynamite the Treasury and sabotage the regulatory process and force government shutdowns — in short, when they treat government with contempt — they are running true to form. They have not done these awful things because they are bad conservatives; they have done them because they are good conservatives, because these unsavory deeds follow naturally from the core doctrines of the conservative tradition.

And, yes, there has been greed involved in the effort — a great deal of greed. Every tax cut, every cleverly engineered regulatory snafu saves industry millions and perhaps even billions of dollars, and so naturally securing those tax cuts and engineering those snafus has become a booming business here in Washington. Conservative rule has made the capital region rich, a showplace of the new plutocratic order. But this greed cannot be dismissed as some personal failing of lobbyist or congressman, some badness-of-apple that can be easily contained. Conservatism, as we know it, is a movement that is about greed, about the “virtue of selfishness” when it acts in the marketplace. In right-wing Washington, you can be a man of principle and a boodler at the same time.

The wrecking crew in full swing

One of the instructive stories We Are the Government brought before generations of schoolkids was the tale of a smiling dime whose wanderings were meant to introduce us to the government and all that it does for us: the miner who digs the ore for the dime has his “health and safety” supervised by one branch of the government; the bank in which the dime is stored enjoys the protection of a different branch, which “sees that [banks] are safe places for people to keep their money”; the dime gets paid in tax on a gasoline sale; it then lands in the pocket of a Coast Guard lieutenant, who takes it overseas and spends it on a parrot, which is “quarantined for 90 days” when the lieutenant brings it home. All of which is related with the blithest innocence, as though taxes on gasoline and quarantines on parrots were so obviously beneficial that they required little further explanation.

Clearly, a more up-to-date version is required. So let us follow the dime as it wends its way through our present-day capital. Its story, we will find, is the reverse of what it was in 1945. That old dime was all about service, about the things government could do for us. But the new dime is about profit — about the superiority of private enterprise, about the huge sums that can be squeezed out of federal operations. Instead of symbolizing good government, the dime now shows us the wrecking crew in full swing.

Our modern dime first comes to Washington as part of some good citizen’s taxes, and it leaves the U.S. Treasury in a payment to a company that has been hired to do work on the nation’s ports. Back in 1945, the government would have done the work itself, but now it uses contractors for such things. This particular contractor knows how to win a bid, but it doesn’t know how to do the work, so it subcontracts the job to another outfit. The dime follows, and it eventually makes up a worker’s salary, who incorporates it into his monthly car payment. From there it travels into the coffers of an auto industry trade association, which happens to be very upset about a rule proposed by a federal agency that would require cars to notify drivers when their tire pressure is low.

So the trade association gives the dime to a Washington consultant who specializes in fighting federal agencies, and this man launches challenge after challenge to the studies that the agency is using in the tire-pressure matter. It takes many years for the agency to make its way through the flak thrown up by this clever fellow. Meanwhile, with his well-earned dime, he buys himself a big house with nice white columns in front.

But this is only the beginning of the story. As we make our rounds of conservative Washington, we glimpse something much greater than single acts of incompetence or obstruction. We see a vast machinery built for our protection reengineered into a device for our exploitation. We behold the majestic workings of the free market itself, boring ever deeper into the tissues of the state. Ultimately, we gaze upon one of the true marvels of history: democracy buried beneath an avalanche of money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— By Thomas Frank Copyright ©2008 Salon Media Group, Inc. Reproduction of material from any Salon pages without written permission is strictly prohibited. SALON® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark of Salon Media Group Inc.



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