Kevin D. Williamson writes: Applause was a serious business in the Soviet Union, as it is in Cuba, as it is in Venezuela, as it is in all unfree societies and at our own State of the Union address, which is modeled on the ex cathedra speeches of unfree societies. The less free you are, the more you are obliged to applaud. Joseph Stalin’s pronouncements were greeted with perfervid applause, which would continue, rapturously — no one dared stop — until Stalin himself would order its cessation.
“The desire to rule is complexly mixed up with the desire to be ruled, just as the most masterful among us bow the lowest and grovel the most enthusiastically when presented with a strongman-savior.”
But what to do when Stalin was not there? The mere mention of his name, even in his absence, would trigger fanatical applause, and nobody wanted to be the first to stop. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn related one famous story:
The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter.
Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel.
That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them.
That same night the factory director was arrested.
Stalin is long gone, and the Soviet Union, too, having been deposited, as Ronald Reagan predicted, onto the “ash heap of history.” But the craven instinct on display in the scene Solzhenitsyn described remains.
The desire to rule is complexly mixed up with the desire to be ruled, just as the most masterful among us bow the lowest and grovel the most enthusiastically when presented with a strongman-savior. There is something atavistic in us that is older than the human part — the inner chimp — that makes those who listen to its voice keenly aware of their places in the social hierarchy. Even a predator instinctively recognizes a predator higher up the food chain.
“The language there is interesting: She did not write that Price ‘did not applaud,’ ‘refrained from applauding’, or even ‘failed to applaud,” but that he refused to applaud, a formulation that converts passivity into a positive act, one from which we are to derive something of significance about his fitness for the role of secretary of health and human services.”
Which is not to say that National Public Radio’s Marilyn Geewax is a Stalinist, but rather that they were what she is, representatives of the same species.
Geewax, who is a senior business editor for NPR, is very interested in applause. This week, she expressed some concern that Representative Tom Price has been nominated to serve as the next secretary of health and human services. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] *SIGH* John King Whimpers Lovingly With The Thought of Hillary Clinton Running for Mayor of New York CityPosted: January 15, 2017
‘I think they made a mistake here. And when people make mistakes, they should apologize.’
Mark Finkelstein writes:
…not only does Pelosi implicitly accept the scurrilous allegations as true, her implication would seem to be that Trump is being blackmailed…(more)
DONALD TRUMP: A thing like that should never have been had, and it should certainly never have been released.
NANCY PELOSI: I always wondered what did Russia have on Donald Trump?
CHRIS WALLACE: Bob, what do you think, and this is something we discussed with both of our guests, of the way that the intelligence community handled the so-called Russia dossier, and overall, how do you think of the way they’ve handled Donald Trump?
BOB WOODWARD: I think what’s underreported here is Trump’s point of view on it. And you laid it out: when those former CIA people said these things about Trump, that he was a recruited agent of the Russians —
WALLACE: — a useful fool
WOODWARD: — yeah, and a useful fool. I mean, they started this in Trump’s mind, he knows the old adage, once a CIA man, always a CIA man. And no one came out and said those people shouldn’t be saying things. So then act two is the briefing when this dossier is put out.
I’ve lived in this world for 45 years, where you get things and people make allegations. That is a garbage document. It never should have been presented as part of an intelligence briefing, as you suggested, other channels have the White House counsel give it to Trump’s incoming White House counsel. Read the rest of this entry »
Paul Bedard writes: A leading House Republican charges that President Obama is implementing a “scorched earth” exit strategy aimed at undermining President-elect Trump first months while cementing his own legacy through a frenzy of midnight regulations.
“I do believe that the retaliation if you will with Russia was appropriate for conduct, but it was appropriate for conduct going back weeks, months, or even years. And that’s one of the challenges is, the Russians see this as the desperate act of a dying administration, not as a measured response to their misconduct.”
California Rep. Darrell Issa also hit Obama’s post-campaign effort to blame Russia for the outcome of the election, which has sparked some Democrats to suggest that the results are illegitimate.
“That’s where President Obama is going to come up with shortages in his legacy because there’s going to be an asterisk saying, basically President Obama had questionable actions during the transition.”
— Rep. Darrell Issa
“President Obama is not going softly into the night. He very clearly wants to leave what some call scorched earth, or at least troubled waters,” said Issa on this weekend’s Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson.
The show, titled “Exit Strategy,” focuses on Obama’s last minute moves, including the wave of regulations being flushed through the a government. Read the rest of this entry »
Chris Cox is the head of ‘Bikers for Trump.’
Chris Cox surveyed a small park near the U.S. Capitol, his German shepherd by his side. Wearing a Harley-Davidson jacket and a crocodile-skin cowboy hat adorned with the animal’s teeth atop his moppy, curly hair, Cox made for a particularly discordant sight in the heart of federal Washington on a misty weekend morning.
But Cox had logistics to sort out, an Inauguration Day demonstration with motorcycle die-hards from across the nation to plan.
The 48-year-old chain-saw artist from South Carolina was an early and enthusiastic supporter of President-elect Donald Trump. Now that his guy has won, Cox wants to ensure that the group he founded, Bikers for Trump, strengthens its political muscle during Trump’s presidency and beyond.
The group obtained a permit for what is expected to be the largest pro-Trump rally held by a private group in the nation’s capital timed to the inauguration. Cox calls the planned event at John Marshall Park a “halftime rally” and said there will be speakers, musical performances and upward of 5,000 bikers in attendance.
As he walked through the park with his dog, Trigger — the massive “Bikers for Trump” patch on the back of his jacket visible from every vantage — Cox began planning where to put the stage, the speakers and the portable toilets.
“Bikers are strongly organized locally,” Cox said. “They just haven’t been organized nationally before.”
Cox launched the organization in October 2015, back when Trump was still running what was considered a quixotic campaign. Since then, he has hosted rallies throughout the country, with his biker group growing to tens of thousands of mostly white men, many of whom are veterans.
During Trump’s own rallies, and at the Republican National Convention, the group has served as a vigilante security force, providing human barricades between supporters and protesters.
When Cox got Trigger a few months ago from the Czech Republic through trades he made with a guy he met at a Trump rally in South Dakota, he joked about naming the new pet Keith Schiller, after the head of security for the Trump Organization.
Ultimately, Cox said, he wants to transform bikers into a distinct voting bloc, akin to the Christian Coalition or Teamsters. His group is composed of members of established groups such as Bikers for Christ and Veteran Bikers MC, and Cox says there are many more unaffiliated “lone wolf” bikers to still bring into the political fray. But the plausibility of creating a unified voting bloc remains to be seen, particularly considering there are at least two other Trump motorcycle events happening in the District around inauguration. Read the rest of this entry »
— Harley (@softail12) November 17, 2015
“Take it from me, taking truth to power can be powerfully unsettling if that power sets its sights on you and attacks you and dismisses you and ignores you. It didn’t matter so much when it wasn’t about you before, CNN. Very different now that it’s you being singled out, CNN. Doesn’t seem very fair now, does it? …
Isn’t it obnoxious and unfair how some celebrate your plight? Kind of feels like the way you celebrated ours, doesn’t it? They say payback’s a bitch. If only you would take a moment to rewind the tape and see the shoe is on the other foot. Or am I confusing it with the one now kicking you in the ass?
You see, it’s hard to tell from where I sit. Back then, your silence was deafening. Very different now, isn’t it? And I suspect — just suspect — not much fun.”
Some of this is at least a little unfair. When Obama and Anita Dunn first uncorked the War On Fox in October 2009, they tried to freeze Fox out of the White House pool. That prompted the White House Correspondents Association to protest, and within a few weeks, that freeze ended — even if the combative nature of Obama et al on Fox did not. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON— Carol E. Lee and Felicia Schwartz report: The White House plans to announce that President Barack Obama is undoing a longstanding policy that allows Cuban émigrés who reach U.S. soil without visas to stay in the country and apply for a green card after one year, administration officials said.
The special exception for Cuban immigrants — known as the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy — has been in place since the 1990s. It allows Cubans who make it to U.S. soil to stay, while those caught in transit are sent back.
Those who are permitted to remain also may be eligible to receive benefits the U.S. grants to refugees fleeing persecution, including cash assistance and health care coverage.
The policy, essentially encouraging Cubans to flee their country, has long been part of the economic, immigration, and foreign policy tool kit used by Washington, and has been opposed by Havana, which considers it a drain on its resources. No other immigrants are provided similar allowances.
Mr. Obama’s decision to reverse the policy one week before he leaves office marks one of his final moves to solidify his effort begun in 2014 to restore U.S. relations with Cuba. Putting Cubans on equal footing with immigrants from other countries would be a sign of more normalized relations. But it is also a step the Cuban government has wanted the White House to take.
The wet-foot, dry-foot policy grew out of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which gives the U.S. Attorney General discretion to treat Cuban immigrants differently than those from other countries. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the number of Cubans trying to leave the country skyrocketed, resulting in often dangerous flotilla escapes. In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton spearheaded a policy change that provided that anyone caught at sea would be sent back to Cuba. Read the rest of this entry »