SubscribeStar Saturday: Decline, Part I: Afghanistan

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

Events of the past few years give one the distinct sense that the United States—and, indeed, Western Civilization—is in a steady decline.  As I wrote in an old post:

We’re no longer the Roman Republic, but we’re not the Roman Empire in the 5th century, either.  We’re more like the Roman Empire in the 2nd or 3rd centuries:  coasting along on the remnants of a functioning system, with a play-acting Congress shadowing the motions of republicanism.

We’re in what might be called the “decadent” phase of our existence:  past generations forged a nation from their sweat and blood; their successors solidified and consolidated on those gains, creating a powerful economy and culture, and winning major wars; their successors are currently coasting along on the fruits of their ancestors’ efforts.  But a culture, a nation, a civilization can only coast for so long before it loses all momentum entirely.

The recent unpleasantness in Afghanistan is a stark illustration of our current decadence—and our blind arrogance.  We believed we could plant a functioning democratic republic in a land that has been war-torn and riddled with autocratic warlords since time immemorial with an investment of twenty years of blood and treasure.  Instead, we botched a pull-out, abandoning American citizens and military equipment in the process, allowing the Taliban to seize control of the entire country in a leisurely weekend.

Ironically, The Pretender Biden was probably the perfect patsy for American withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was about nineteen years overdue.  Every administration has known we needed to get the heck out of a place known as “The Graveyard of Empires,” but no one wanted the bad optics of a withdrawal.  Biden is so senile and mentally foggy that he probably still doesn’t realize what he did, and certainly doesn’t feel any shame about abandoning Americans to the Taliban.

But even given our incompetent, mentally hobbled executive, the withdrawal from Afghanistan—quite necessary, I think—was botched so terribly, it condemns the entire US government and our military leadership.  Any ten-year old could have said, “Yeah, get all the weapons and people out first, then withdraw the last of the American troops.”  Instead, we did the exact opposite.  Ripping off the Band-Aid and getting out of Afghanistan was necessary, but did we have to rip the skin clean off the arm?

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Supporting Friends Friday: Nebraska Energy Observer

Well, it was inevitable—after dedicating an extremely popular edition of Supporting Friends Friday to the irreplaceable Audre Myers, I had to dedicate one to the man and the website that gave her an outlet:  Neo and Nebraska Energy Observer.

I’m not sure how I discovered Nebraska Energy Observer, but I suspect it involved Neo leaving a comment on one of my posts a couple of years ago.  I’m generally suspicious of unknown commenters, as the Internet is full of trolls interested in harassing right-wing bloggers, but I quickly figured out that Neo was one of the good guys.

My initial perception was that Neo was obsessed with English history, and I figured his blog was largely dedicated to the “special relationship” between the United States and our erstwhile mother country.  That relationship is, indeed, an important focus of Nebraska Energy Observer (though you’d never guess it from the title), but the blog covers a wide range of topics (including, of course, reflections on the life of an electrical lineman in Nebraska).

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Major Loot

In 2014, Hobby Lobby purchased a tablet containing an excerpt from the Epic of Gilgamesh, perhaps the oldest epic work of literature in Western Civilization.  The tablet is 3500-years old, and Hobby Lobby won the tablet in a Christie’s auction, paying $1.6 million for it.  Hobby Lobby displayed the tablet in its Museum of the Bible, which houses a number of rare and ancient artifacts.

Now, Hobby Lobby has forfeited the tablet to the US Department of Justice due to it shady provenance.  It seems that the original seller falsified a letter of provenance to show that the tablet had entered the United States before laws against importing rare artifacts were enacted.

To make matters worse, Christie’s apparently knew that the letter was questionable, but withheld that information.

Unfortunately, that means Hobby Lobby took one on the chin financially.  I’m not sure what the fate of the original smuggler is, but I imagine he’s long gone and living the sweet life.

The bigger question, though, is what should be done with such artifacts?  Current US policy seems to be to return them to their country of origin.  While that might seem to the be simplest policy, is it really best for the preservation of the artifacts—and our cultural heritage?

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Lazy Sunday CXXII: MAGAWeek2020 Posts

In my enthusiasm to for the animal kingdom a couple of weeks ago, I neglected to kickoff MAGAWeek2021 with a Lazy Sunday retrospective of MAGAWeek2020 posts.

Well, better late than never.  Here’s all the goodness from MAGAWeek2020, which went pretty heavy on the first couple of decades of the twentieth century.  Even my post on a contemporary figure, Tucker Carlson, had some Progressive Era ties:  The Tuck is a big fan of Theodore Roosevelt, who enjoyed two separate posts last year.

Remember, these posts are available in full if subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  I’ve included links to the preview posts here on the blog, as well as the direct links to the full posts on my SubscribeStar page.

With that said, enjoy!

  • #MAGAWeek2020: Theodore Roosevelt, Part I” (post on SubscribeStar) – This first post on Theodore Roosevelt details his early life:  his childhood illness and his strenuous efforts to overcome it; the death of his mother and wife one the same day; his move to the Dakotas; and his command of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War.
  • #MAGAWeek2020: Theodore Roosevelt, Part II” (post on SubscribeStar) – This second post on TR examines his presidency in greater detail.  TR was a trailblazing president of the Progressive Era, and while some of his notions would rankle conservatives today (as they did at the time), he was, perhaps, the greatest populist president since Andrew Jackson.
  • #MAGAWeek2020: The Tuck” (post on SubscribeStar) – Speaking of populists, this profile celebrates the elitist who wants leaders to care about the people they govern.  Tucker Carlson is the only major voice in the mainstream media who advocates for an American First, pro-nationalist, pro-populist message.  He’s not the only such voice, but he’s the only one currently with the legitimacy of the mainstream press behind him—even as the National Security Agency is spying on him!  But, as I always say, you can’t cuck The Tuck!
  • #MAGAWeek2020: Calvin Coolidge” (post on SubscribeStar) – Calvin Coolidge has enjoyed a bit of a revival in recent years as a stand-in for the tax reform debate.  In many ways, he was the antithesis to Theodore Roosevelt’s gutsy, activist style of leadership.  Coolidge took the role of president seriously, chiefly the idea that he was merely presiding over the country, not lurching into towards reform.  His steady, quiet, hands-off leadership allowed the country to flourish, and he holds the distinction of being the only president to shrink the size of the federal budget by the time he left office.

Well, now you’re all caught up.  Lots of good stuff to read—and just for $1 a month!  You can’t beat that, eh?

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Tip The Portly Politico:  Support quality commentary on politics, education, culture, and the arts with your one-time donation.

***NOTEThis link is NOT a subscription to my SubscribeStar Page; it is for a one-time donation/tip via PayPal. To subscribe to my SubscribeStar page, use this URL:   https://subscribestar.com/the-portly-politico***

Lazy Sunday CXXI: MAGAWeek2021 Posts

Last week was MAGAWeek2021, a week dedicated to the men, women, ideas, events, and things that, in their own way, MADE AMERICA GREATMAGAWeek2021 posts were SubscribeStar exclusives.  If you want to read the full posts, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.

In case you missed any of these posts, no worries!  You can catch up on them now with this edition of Lazy Sunday.  Here’s all the greatness in one convenient post:

So, with all that goodness, why haven’t you subscribed yet?  Hmmmmm?

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Tip The Portly Politico:  Support quality commentary on politics, education, culture, and the arts with your one-time donation.

***NOTEThis link is NOT a subscription to my SubscribeStar Page; it is for a one-time donation/tip via PayPal. To subscribe to my SubscribeStar page, use this URL:   https://subscribestar.com/the-portly-politico***

MAGAWeek2021: Washington’s Miraculous Escape from New York City

This week is MAGAWeek2021, my celebration of the men, women, and ideas that MADE AMERICA GREAT!  Starting Monday, 5 July 2021 and running through today (Friday, 9 July 2021), this year’s MAGAWeek2021 posts will be SubscribeStar exclusives.  If you want to read the full posts, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  You’ll also get access to exclusive content every Saturday.

On Wednesday of this MAGAWeek2021 I wrote about the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, a key early victory for the Americans in our Revolution that protected coastal South Carolina from British occupation for four years, diverting the Redcoats to the North.  An unfortunate side effect of that victory was the increased concentration of British troops in and ships off the coast of New York.

Soon, General George Washington and the Continental Army found themselves besieged in Brooklyn Heights, New York.  The British General Howe had Washington’s forces surrounded and outgunned.  Facing total annihilation—or, even worse, surrender of the Continental Army just six weeks after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington made the decision to evacuate his men across the East River onto Manhattan Island on the night of 28 August 1776.

At daybreak, only about half of the Continental Army had made it across.  Defeat seemed imminent, even after the daring river crossings in the dead of night.

But then, something miraculous happened.

To read the rest of today’s MAGAWeek2021 post, head to my SubscribeStar page and subscribe for $1 a month or more!

TBT^16: Happy Birthday, America!

Since 2018, I’ve been reblogging my original “Happy Birthday, America!” post, which dates back to 2016 and the old Blogger site.  Each year I add another layer of commentary to to the original post, which essentially analyzed and discussed very briefly Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

My view on Lincoln’s role in American history has shifted somewhat in five years, but it’s undeniable that the Gettysburg Address is a powerful, succinct speech.  The Address, unlike my windy blog posts, is the quintessential illustration of the principle that “less is more.”

Like last year, this year’s post is a bit delayed due to the way the Fourth fell this year (on a Sunday).  It was a very quiet Independence Day:  my younger brother had my girlfriend, myself, and another friend over to have hot dogs and burgers, as his wife and kids were away visiting family.  I manned the grill, turning the dogs like a human-operated convenience store hot dog roller.  The thin, diner-style smash burgers my brother made were delicious, especially with American cheese.

This year was the first in awhile that didn’t really feel like the Fourth of July, even though last year’s celebration was during the supremely unfree Age of The Virus.  I suppose the holiday snuck up on me, and with the nation in the state it is, perhaps I just wasn’t feeling all that patriotic.

Nevertheless, I reminded myself that America has been on the ropes before, and we’re not going to let some bug-eating, gender-confused CommieNazis destroy our hope.

With that, here are several posts commemorating July Fourths past:

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MAGAWeek2021: The Battle of Sullivan’s Island

This week is MAGAWeek2021, my celebration of the men, women, and ideas that MADE AMERICA GREAT!  Starting today (Monday, 5 July 2021) and running through this Friday, 9 July 2021, this year’s MAGAWeek2021 posts will be SubscribeStar exclusives.  If you want to read the full posts, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  You’ll also get access to exclusive content every Saturday.

For all the talk of the American Revolution’s origins in Massachusetts with Lexington and Concord in 1775, the war was largely won in the South.  Indeed, Cornwallis’s forces surrendered to Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781.  Washington was able to trap Cornwallis at Yorktown, however, due to earlier victories in South Carolina and North Carolina.

One of the earliest such victories was mere days before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Battle of Sullivan’s Island.  Fought on 28 June 1776, the battle is well-known to South Carolinians, as spongy palmetto logs were used to construct the fort.  British cannonballs harmlessly socked into the logs, and the treacherous sandbars forced some British ships aground.

This battle secured South Carolina against British invasion until 1780.  The victory routed the British naval assault, leading the British to move their fleet northward, to New York.

The battle also immortalized the palmetto tree as a symbol of South Carolina, which joined the liberty crescent on the Moultrie Flag.

To read the rest of today’s MAGAWeek2021 post, head to my SubscribeStar page and subscribe for $1 a month or more!

MAGAWeek2021: Red Meat

This week is MAGAWeek2021, my celebration of the men, women, and ideas that MADE AMERICA GREAT!  Starting today (Monday, 5 July 2021) and running through this Friday, 9 July 2021, this year’s MAGAWeek2021 posts will be SubscribeStar exclusives.  If you want to read the full posts, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  You’ll also get access to exclusive content every Saturday.

Is there anything more delicious and American than steak?  Red meat is, perhaps, the finest meat God ever created.  Sure, pork and chicken are wonderful in their own ways—who doesn’t love pulled-pork barbecue?—but nothing beats a good steak.

Indeed, the noble Texas Longhorn is virtually a symbol for the Old West, just like the cowboys that guided him to market on the long drives of the nineteenth century.  The Texas Longhorn, according to Oklahoma State University’s Department of Animal Science, a product of natural selection, meaning the breed is the only beef cattle in the country that is not the product of human-guided animal husbandry or selective breeding.  Instead, the cattle adapted to survive specifically in North America, after cattle brought over by Christopher Columbus and early Spanish explorers made their way into what is now the American Southwest.

The Black Angus—a breed most Americans will recognize from endless restaurant adverts—is the most common beef cattle breed in the United States.  Grilling Black Angus steaks and burgers was no doubt a major part of many Americans’ Independence Day.

It’s no exaggeration to say that beef built the West, and fed the country in the process.

To read the rest of today’s MAGAWeek2021 post, head to my SubscribeStar page and subscribe for $1 a month or more!