Happy Fifth Birthday LibertyPell

LibertyPell is five and a fifth birthday is important, as my grand daughter will tell you later in the week. She was born in the normal way but LibertyPell was born as a Facebook post.

It went like this: “With trembling fingers, I touched the necessary keys to open the libertyPell group to all comers. I welcome you to check it out and invite you to provide feedback that will help to form the website that will follow.” Facebook tells me this was posted on July 30, 2011.

Mostly the idea has not worked out as expected. The point was to get noticed, write a book, have a fancy literary agent and a publisher eager for every thought that would pop out of my head. I had not heard of Maxwell Perkins at the time but, if I had, I would have added him to the bouquet of my anticipated literary achievements.

That business plan might have worked in 1993 when nobody had websites but, by 2011, online publishing had become too easy and, except for friends or sometimes friends of friends, LibertyPell is well concealed among others with similar aspirations.

The closest I got to the goal was knowing a later occupant of Maxwell Perkins’s desk who also named the endeavor. Does that count?

A wonderful friend and mentor, who has written about politics for nearly six decades, gave consistent advice that has become easier to follow as I learned how hard it was to build a following on the internet. He has always told me that the point was not popular recognition but the relationships created with a smaller number of readers.

This has been true on a global scale: Washington, New York, Newport, Helena, Melbourne, London, Paris and Rome.

Later in the fall, I am going to paddle a canoe for several days on the Buffalo River in Arkansas. This trip came about because a long-ago classmate persisted in telling me how clueless I was and how much I needed to get out and meet some real people. The range of political opinion among the paddlers (at least when measured on the traditional left right axis) is notable. And it entirely leaves out the refugees from “Deliverance,” who might be lurking in wait for a hated resident of the nation’s capital.

Another especially useful idea came from the mother of the soon-to-be five year old.

She thinks I should write about anything other than politics because “everyone hates politics.”

The Pundificator The Team

 

When the mother of the soon-to-be five year old speaks, we have learned to listen and thus was born the Pundificator, who writes on anything that needs Pundification. Google him and see the fame he has achieved. Sneer at the question “did you mean pontificator?” Maybe sometime Google will stop asking something that silly?

Along the way, a foreign bureau was opened in an Oxfordshire village, whence to follow European developments, watch Colin Firth movies with Her Indoorness, defend myself against a large boxer with intestinal issues and debate the West Lothian Question.

Today I had an exchange with an Italian family whom I have known for decades.

There have been no names so far and there is no need for any now.

“Il padre” – Now that you have both nominees, who is going to win?

“LibertyPell” — You are asking the person who was wrong in his prediction on Brexit.

I thought, in the end, that UK would vote to remain because the voters would be frightened of the unknown. I thought they would vote for safety and certainty.

Of course they did not, though perhaps they thought there might not be much danger in leaving the EU.

I continue to think voters prefer the safe and certain. In my view that leads them to Hillary so my guess is she will win.

She will increase efforts to portray Trump as crazy, which he probably is.

He will portray her as dishonest, which she probably is.

Which would we prefer: a crazy president or a dishonest president?

With the exception of Woodrow Wilson toward the end of his term (when his wife and others kept him hidden away and ran everything) I can’t remember a crazy president. On the other hand we have had plenty of dishonest ones.

Each of our candidates has half of the bad things Berlusconi had. Trump has the crazy half and Hillary has the dishonest half. At least we get to choose one or the other.

The great unknown is the possibility of a scandal so outrageous it changes everything.

Hacked emails, the Clinton Foundation, Trump’s business, who knows?

With 100 days to go, I think Hillary will win, but I was also wrong about Zinedine Zidane getting a red card late in the 2006 World Cup final and losing for France. Beware the totally unexpected game changer.

“Il padre” — Thanks. I’ll keep this until next November!

I call “il figlio cresciuto” herein as a witness; he was also interested in the prediction, and “La madre,” who raised the question at lunch. [LibertyPell readers are really smart so there is no need to tell you what il padre and la madre mean, but I might be testing you with “Il figlio cresciuto” the grown son.]

Never imagined that you were supporting France in 2006, glad you were wrong.

“Il figlio cresciuto” — Please forgive me, but I have to correct both of you.

To Dad, I am not interested in the prediction: I am frightened by the outcome, whichever it will be. I wonder if, by constantly exporting their democracy – something that they have been pretending to do for almost a century – the US simply ran out of it.

To Haven, the voters who prefer the safe and certain are almost extinct, by far they are no longer the majority.

Voters nowadays are too ignorant even to understand what is safe or certain. In addition, because of their total lack of education, people are easily manipulated, misled or cheated, by giving them the illusion of being able to obtain unlimited information and express their own ideas through the Internet. If you do not have the intellectual skills to understand what happens and what is told to you, you have no freedom, your vote won’t be free.

This, in my opinion, explains why it is possible that “the Donald” made it to an official nominee talking to the bowels of the voters, and why “Hilary Goddamn Clinton” – a candidate whose biggest merit is being a woman – was the best option that the establishment was capable of setting up and supporting.

This also explains why Italy supports the 5 Stars — a perfect mix of Fascism and Scientology.

Probably all the Brexit thing (not only the result but also the political path that led to the referendum and the turmoil among the supporters of “Leave” after their win) proves that when the voters are transformed from “people” to “masses”, direct and universal suffrage is no longer the lesser evil.

“LibertyPell” — Just to clarify one point, I was not supporting France in 2006.

I always support Italy.

But I do recognize unspeakable stupidity on the field and Zinedine Zidane’s head butt getting him sent off was an example of truly unspeakable stupidity.

Which line in the exchange do you readers think caught my eye? Here it is.

“I wonder if, by constantly exporting their democracy – something that they have been pretending to do for almost a century – the US simply ran out of it.”

Though here is a close second:

“When the voters are transformed from “people” to ‘masses’, direct and universal suffrage is no longer the lesser evil.”

Many thanks to il figlio cresciuto for a wonderful line to mark the fifth birthday and to all of the other readers who have hung in through the growing pains.

The picture shows many candles to grow on but I will try for another five years and see where we are then.

 

 

 

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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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20 comments

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  • While LibertyPell may be among others with similar aspirations, it is singularly enjoyable and enlightening. With appreciation for the creative risks you have taken.

  • Haven, I have very much enjoyed so many of your “pundifications” including today’s version. My birthday was yesterday, July 30, but a few more than 5! I will project at least ten for you also and thanks from me as well for the first five.

    James Arundel

  • Today there seems to be access to most any information , including Hillary’s and DNC Emails. I am quite certain HRC has made mistakes, as in errors. But despite years of the most careful scrutiny by so many, can it be said she is dishonest or crooked, or to share any of the deep character flaws of the Donald? I trust, reasonably, her character and intentions. I wish deeply if someone knows facts that prove deep moral or ethical character flaws rather than just having strong opinions, that they would provide such. I hope your posts continue and reach a wide audience.

    • I am not sure there is much to be said in the realm of comparative flaws. Trump is running away with that race though it did take some work. If flaws themselves were the measure (and this year they don’t seem to be) I would have preferred a higher bar.

  • Congratulations and many thanks for your constant insight, wit and thoughtfulness. Your work is far more interesting than the nightly cable drivel.

  • What the blazes are you up too, Haven?
    Writing a thoughtful blog for educated people, taking a determined disinterested approach and pressing on without fear or favor? Nowadays, who would read that? And where are the “game boy” videos and other You Tube do-dads that are integral to today’s internet? And why do you shun tuning your stuff to a Trump-like fifth-grade vocabulary?

    Regardless, (not irregardless) I suppose I’ll continue reading what you have to say anyway. Happy fifth!