Trump Calls Off Cold War II | The American Conservative

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Source: Trump Calls Off Cold War II | The American Conservative

The “Trump Doctrine”…? Patrick Buchanan on President Trump’s “clear, consistent, and startling” diplomatic message:

“Looking back over the week, from Brussels to Britain to Helsinki, Trump’s message has been clear, consistent and startling.

“NATO is obsolete. European allies have freeloaded off U.S. defense while rolling up huge trade surpluses at our expense. Those days are over. Europeans are going to stop stealing our markets and start paying for their own defense.

“And there will be no Cold War II.

“We are not going to let Putin’s annexation of Crimea or aid to pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine prevent us from working on a rapprochement and a partnership with him, Trump is saying. We are going to negotiate arms treaties and talk out our differences as Ronald Reagan did with Mikhail Gorbachev.

“Helsinki showed that Trump meant what he said when he declared repeatedly, ‘Peace with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.’”

I must say, I agree.

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The Queen meets the President of the United States of America and Mrs Melania Trump | The Royal Family

Today The Queen met the President of the United States of America and Mrs Melania Trump at Windsor Castle.

Source: The Queen meets the President of the United States of America and Mrs Melania Trump | The Royal Family

“Today The Queen met the President of the United States of America and Mrs Melania Trump at Windsor Castle.

“A Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards, gave a Royal Salute and the US National Anthem was played by the bands of the Coldstream and Grenadier Guards…

“The Queen and the President then inspected the Guard of Honour. Later The President and First Lady joined The Queen for tea.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder: the conversation continues

An old and cherished college friend sent me the linked article, below, with this notation: “Interesting article and perspective from ALA’s office of intellectual freedom of the (former) LIW award.”

ALA Laura Ingalls Wilder Award ALSC


Will some librarians consider it right to purge her works from library collections? We hope not.

Source: Laura Ingalls Wilder Award – when is it censorship? – Intellectual Freedom Blog


Following is my reply:

It is indeed an interesting article and perspective, and I’m glad the conversation is continuing. There is a lot in that article with which I agree. And of course, the ALSC has a perfect right to rename their award if they want to, regardless of my or anyone else’s opinion of the action!

But just as James LaRue points out – accurately – that books must be taken in their entirety, and in context, so too, I believe, must actions. And I cannot help but take this action in the context of a time in our social history in which nearly every icon of our past is under attack, one way or another.

This most recent spasm of historical iconoclasm began in the summer of 2015, when that despicable nutcase killed those poor people in Charleston, SC; and it began with attacks on Confederate flags, rapidly spreading to other iconography: street, park, and school names, and then monuments. But it didn’t end there. The Confederacy was just low-hanging fruit. I haven’t kept as precise and voluminous records as I should have, in retrospect, but some examples that come immediately to mind:

The statue of Teddy Roosevelt – our most progressive President at least until his cousin FDR, and possibly until JFK – was attacked, where it stands in front of the Museum of Natural History in NYC. The very gravesite of Andrew Jackson, certainly a controversial figure but also an American President and the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, has also been attacked, and his picture on the $20 bill is to be replaced. Thomas Jefferson’s statue has been defaced on the very campus of the university (University of Virginia) he founded; here in Maryland, the statue of Francis Scott Key has been defaced, and the National Anthem he gave us attacked (completely erroneously) as racist.

In 2016, students at Yale University’s English Department (!!!) launched a petition calling on the English department to abolish a core course requirement in “Major English Poets” to study canonical writers including Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton, saying that the reading list had too many white male authors. Ummmmm… to what demographic do they think that major English poets belong??? That was the most high-profile, but not the only, report of such doings I recall reading. I find myself wondering what Nancy and Del, or Bob and LeRoy, even Ira [former professors we shared – liberals all, but in the old-school sense], would think about all this…

There are similar attacks on culture, history, and heritage going on throughout the West. I could, with a little brain-searching and research, probably come up with dozens of additional examples; these are just those that came to me with a few minutes’ thought. But it is within the context of these sorts of shenanigans that I interpret the decision to strip Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from that award.

Yes, the essay you linked makes some good points, and, as I say, I agree with a number of them. But it is possible to come up with good, noble-sounding, perhaps even nobly-intended, justifications or rationalizations for each and every one of the incidents I described above, and many more than I did not mention. But taken as a whole, looking at the big picture, what I see is the history, heritage, and culture of the West – indeed, Western civilization itself – under attack. Sustained, persistent, intentional.

I would be fundamentally and vigorously opposed to the destruction of any culture! I am certainly opposed to the attempted destruction of my own. In the larger scheme of things, removing Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from an award is not going to make or break Western civilization. But making that decision, even for the best-intended reasons, is another stone removed from the wall. Keep taking enough out, and how long before the whole structure tumbles?

Her response was very gracious:

“I do see what you’re saying. And wish I knew the answers… if there are any. And I will always love and respect you my dear friend!”

I replied,

“It is very mutual, my dear friend! And we are living in a time concerning which people many centuries in the future may scratch their heads… or shake them, with sadness. I very much fear that if we continue as we seem to be going, we are on the cusp of a new Dark Age.”

Her response was sober, and sobering:

“I think we both hope you are wrong about that! But I have to wonder…”

Indeed we do. We do indeed…

Scrubbing Laura Ingalls Wilder Is A Dangerous Step Toward Ignorance | The Federalist

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Pretending things that make us uncomfortable never happened isn’t going to make America better, or make American children more informed.

Source: Scrubbing Laura Ingalls Wilder Is A Dangerous Step Toward Ignorance

I do not fully agree with this article, because I do not fully agree that we need to continually apologize for, or even “contextualize,” everything that occurred in our past that makes some present-day observers squeamish. But I certainly do agree with the title (“Scrubbing Laura Ingalls Wilder Is A Dangerous Step Toward Ignorance”)!

And I also agree with the comment of a dear Facebook friend (who is also a follower of this blog; she may choose to identify herself if she wishes), who wrote, in response to a Wall Street Journal article which, unfortunately, is behind a firewall,

“Those who refuse to acknowledge history are doomed to repeat it. This is ridiculous. I should have expected this, I suppose, when they began badmouthing Twain’s work. The Little House books teach a great deal about the time they were written, in an entertaining way so that people will actually remember. Modern mores are already taught now, and people should be trusted to be able to filter through, seeing the changes in time periods as far as attitudes go. Ignoring history doesn’t make it go away.”

To which I can only add, “give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile”… “don’t let the camel’s nose in the tent”… whatever image you use for it, the truth remains: if you start to permit people to alter, suppress, or remove history, there’s no telling where you’ll end up. Nowhere good, that’s for certain!

It started with Confederate flags, then moved to renaming schools, streets, and parks, then to removing monuments. It started with the Confederacy, but has expanded to include Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Francis Scott Key – even Washington and Jefferson. And in literary terms, English poets, Mark Twain and, now, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

These are people who do not understand, or even try to understand, removing, altering, or destroying that which is not understood; people placing the worst possible construction on works and people which and who are complex and multi-faceted. Simplistic responses from – pardon me for saying so, but it’s true – simple minds.

It is depressing and disillusioning. What has happened to this country? We used to be so much better than this!

The Red Hen, The Murder of Southern Hospitality and The Spirit of Destruction | The Stream

What happened to Sarah Sanders Friday night [June 22nd] at the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia is an abomination.

Source: The Red Hen, The Murder of Southern Hospitality and The Spirit of Destruction | The Stream

Most of us, I suspect, have heard of this incident, and I have commented on it elsewhere. My issue with the episode – aside from the rudeness, which, granted, was extreme – is the hypocrisy. I do believe that a business has or should have the right to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all.

(But the time to make that decision is before you have begun to serve them; kicking them out in the middle of dinner, unless for disruptive behavior, is extraordinarily unjust, mean-spirited, and inappropriate, in my book.)

But what really gets my goat is that this is seen as acceptable, even praiseworthy, by some or many Democrats, while at the same time, a Christian baker who politely declines to craft a special cake for a same-sex wedding – even offering to help the parties find someone who doesn’t share his moral compunctions – is excoriated by the Left-wing establishment. And don’t even get me started on Maxine Waters…

That, however, brings us squarely back to that pesky issue of civility, or as this article names it – appropriately – hospitality. Don’t want to serve someone? Fine, don’t: but politely turn them away at the door, don’t wait until they’ve ordered and are eating before you kick them out. Once you have welcomed them into your establishment, no less than if it were your home, they are your guest, and deserve to be treated as such, unless they do something egregious.

This goes (as does Southern hospitality in general) all the way back to the ancient Celts, who believed that even an enemy could not justly be attacked, once he had been afforded guest-right within one’s hall. So long as he behaved himself, a guest was sacrosanct – and sometime even boorish behavior was tolerated, so long as the person was a guest. This is the tradition, and reasonable expectation, that was turned on its head by the owner of The Red Hen, one that goes back literally millennia. No wonder many people are up-in-arms about it!

It would be as if the aforementioned Christian baker had started working on the cake, and then, half-way through, decided, “Y’know, I don’t think I should be doing this. I’m going to stop, and tell them to go somewhere else.”

Worse, even, because traditionally, an inn, tavern, or by extension, restaurant, has been seen as a “house,” and those served are “guests,” in a way that customers at an ordinary business are not. Again, the owner should be free to decide who he or she lets into his or her house, but once guest-right has been granted, they should be treated like the guests they are.

Unfortunately, as this article points out, this is part of a larger problem, a larger societal malaise. Civility, courtesy, and the traditions which mandate and enforce them, are out of vogue with a dismayingly large percentage of the population, these days. Iconoclasm, and destruction of traditional norms and mores, is becoming the “new normal,” among too many segments of our present society.

But of course, actions have consequences; and while some folks may have applauded the actions of Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner and a transplanted New Yorker (surprise, surprise… a Yankee, or perhaps one ought to say, a “damned Yankee”), many others did not – and that includes other businesses in town, who realized the damage this has done to the image and reputation of Lexington, Virginia, itself. As the article puts it,

“If you come across I-40, then head north for several hours on I-81, Lexington is a natural place to stop, but not necessary. How many will now drive on by, worried that their presence is not welcome? ‘That’s the place that wouldn’t serve Sarah Sanders.'”

GOP Congressional candidate Ben Cline quickly tweeted,

“On behalf of my hometown of Lexington, I want to apologize for the rudeness of one liberal New York transplant (who also happens to be Meryl Streep’s cousin). We hope you will come back and enjoy our area’s true southern hospitality,”

while Historic Downtown Lexington’s Facebook page pleaded,

“We do not condone the actions of Stephanie Wilkinson, owner of the Red Hen Restaurant and Director of Main Street Lexington.

“The negative impact and nasty backlash towards our little community is downright appalling.

“Please do not condemn our town for one persons actions.

“To The People, Mr. President Trump & Secretary Sarah Sanders we sincerely apologize for the poor behavior and decision of ONE PERSON!”

In a fine example of democracy and free enterprise working the way it should, Ms Wilkinson was voted out as director of Main Street Lexington, and The Red Hen itself was closed for ten days, although it reopened yesterday – unsurprisingly, to both protests and defenders. Its ultimate disposition remains in doubt. But this controversy is a symptom of a larger disease, one battle in a larger war.

That war is, as I have pointed out in more than one post on this blog, a war against Western civilization itself, and the norms and values that underpin it. Here in the U.S., the most recent outbreak of hostilities began with attacks on the Confederate flag, moved on to renaming streets, parks, and schools, then to removing monuments linked to the Confederacy.

But the War Between the States was only low-hanging fruit; soon protesters were attacking monuments to people who had nothing to do with the Confederacy, including Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Francis Scott Key – even Washington and Jefferson. And since his election, they have been going after not only President Trump but, now, anyone associated with him.

Anyone who thinks that this was about the Confederacy, or slavery, or anyone who think it’s merely about the President, is sadly deluded. This is, as one Facebook friend of mine has phrased it, a slow-moving Kristallnacht against our nation, and against Western civilization / Christendom itself. As the linked article aptly notes,

The spirit that has been unleashed on this nation is one of destruction. It has but one goal. Remove Trump from office? No. You’re deluded if you think it stops there. He’s just one chunk of flesh and blood. The goal is to consume in fire. To consume common decency, to consume friendships, to consume civil discourse, to consume any hopes of compromise and problem solving, to consume our nation.

It must be resisted, as the article again states, “with fervent prayer and determined voices.” Indeed! Let us do so.

Happy Independence Day (U.S.)!

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Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans! May God grant us the wisdom to cherish and preserve what our Founders gave us.

The Collect for Independence Day.

O ETERNAL God, through whose mighty power our fathers won their liberties of old; Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Our Country

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

— from The Book of Common Prayer 1928.

Today is the “Fourth of July,” America’s Independence Day, when we celebrate the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, which was enacted (actually on the 2nd of July) by the Continental Congress in 1776. While as a Royalist and Anglophile, I have some regrets about this, as an American I am grateful for it, and deeply respect our Founders and those who have fought for our freedom in the years, decades, and centuries since.

And in light of some of the things that have been going on in Britain in recent years – mass immigration of alien peoples with alien creeds, a BREXIT that so far has gone nowhere, and an increasing stripping of the “rights of Englishmen” for which we Colonials were originally contending from the people of Britain itself – I find myself increasingly glad that we are not part of that. We have our own problems to deal with, without a doubt (and mass alien immigration is one of them, as is the existence of many who would strip us of our rights if the Constitution allowed, and/or who seek to find ways to circumvent the Constitution), but at least we are free from the specific problems that England, and the rest of Britain, are facing.

So it is a joy to celebrate our independence on this day, and today was a very good celebration of Independence Day for me, personally. I spent it in Gettysburg, in good company – with dear friends of mine – doing a good thing: living history. We were interpreting the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry “Rough Riders,” of the Spanish-American War: the war which not only helped to bring the U.S. back together after the horribly divisive War Between the States (the “Civil War,” so-called), but also established us as a world power. It was a real pleasure to be educating people about this little-known and almost forgotten, yet extremely consequential, conflict, and we had the opportunity to talk to quite a few very interesting people in the process!

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It was intensely hot and muggy: rather reminiscent, in fact, of the conditions in Cuba, 120 years ago, when the Rough Riders, led by then-Lt. Col. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, participated in the assault on San Juan Heights outside Santiago, and then the attack on Santiago itself, to liberate the island from the Spanish. One can argue whether we should have been doing that, as one can argue many events in history; but there is no question that that war transformed the United States, effectively overnight, from an agricultural backwater to a world power. Interpreting one of the most famous episodes in that conflict was good way to spend the Fourth of July, heat, humidity, and bugs notwithstanding! Although I confess that it feels good to be clean, and in air conditioning, now. And bed will feel good, as well!

Judicial Watch Files House Ethics Complaint Against Maxine Waters | Judicial Watch

In encouraging individuals to create “crowds” who will “push back” on President Trump’s Cabinet members at private business establishments and in seemingly trying to prevent these Cabinet officials from obtaining basic necessities without fear of assault and violence, Rep. Waters seems to be violation of House rules (Washington, DC).

Source: Judicial Watch Files House Ethics Complaint Against Maxine Waters For Inciting Violence and Assaults on Trump Cabinet – Judicial Watch

As my dear late mother would have said, “it all depends on whose ox is getting gored.”

In the aftermath of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, and earlier, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and her staff being heckled out of another restaurant where they were holding a working dinner (these incidents referenced in a separate post), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has upped the ante, calling on Leftists to harass and verbally assault Cabinet members still further:

“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them! And you tell them that they are not welcome, anymore, anywhere.”

And even if this were acceptable – which it is not – how long until verbal assault tips over into actual assault? As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton points out in a formal letter filed with the House Office of Congressional Ethics,

“In encouraging individuals to create ‘crowds’ who will ‘push back’ on President Trump’s Cabinet members at private business establishments and in seemingly trying to prevent these Cabinet officials from obtaining basic necessities without fear of assault and violence, Rep. Waters seems to be violation of House rules, specifically:

‘A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall conduct himself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House. [House Rule 23, clause 1.]’

“We hereby request that the Office of Congressional Ethics conduct a preliminary investigation into whether Rep. Maxine Waters violated House Rules in encouraging attacks on Cabinet officials.”

The Red Hen incident seems to have particularly upset a lot of people, probably because in this case it was not outside protesters, but the owner of the restaurant herself who asked Ms Sanders to leave. Actually, though, and perhaps surprisingly to some, that’s not what bothers me, per se.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it was mean-spirited and inappropriate! But I happen to believe that any business owner has, or should have, the right to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason – or no reason, for that matter. With the understanding, of course, that actions have consequences, and customers may choose to vote with their feet, and their wallets. But I am, and have always been, a firm believer in freedom of association, for businesses no less than for individuals.

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What aggravates me is that the Democrats, and Leftists in general, are so damnably selective in how, when, and to whom they apply this principle! The owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, VA, refusing to serve Press Secretary Sanders is praiseworthy, according to them.  A dress designer ostentatiously announcing that she would refuse to design a dress for Melania Trump (which she had not been asked to do) is admirable.

These are examples, so the Leftist narrative goes, of people courageously taking a stand for their principles. But floral designers and bakers, among others, declining to create special items for LGBT weddings, because they believe that would make them participants in something which their religious faith and moral sensibilities do not allow – that is unconscionable!

Well, here’s a recommendation for Democrats, Socialists, and others on the (il)liberal Left: pick one, and stick with it. Either it’s okay for all, or it’s not okay for all. You don’t get to have it both ways; you don’t get to pick and choose who gets to refuse service based on whether or not you agree with their social and political viewpoint. As it stands, you’re making yourselves look (even more than usually) like petulant, idiotic children.

But as I’ve commented previously, logic and rationality do not seem to be the strong suits of the current Left; unintended irony and double-standards appear to be their stock-in-trade. Or as I commented at the start, it all depends upon whose ox is getting gored…