Security On The Never-Never Saves No One At All: Biden, Debt And Defence And Fear of Fiscal Implosion

(This discursive mini-essay does not pretend to be complete. It invites discourse.)

Jackie Kennedy Onassis died on this date in 1994. “If you bungle raising your children,” she said, “I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”

Perhaps humankinds most important children are the nations we have created.

“All politics is personal.” said American President Joe Biden, quoting himself, in his first meeting with then new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese last year.

On the surface? Maybe yes.

But what about the politicians’ essential job of sustainable government. That involves spending the money we do have wisely.

Biden’s personal commitment to Albanese has taken a hit with the cancellation this week of a visit to Australia for a Quad meeting.

Instead Biden needs to deal with the debt ceiling crisis in America.

A lot is at stake:

Almost exactly three years ago my friend, Shelly, who was then in San Diego, wrote for this blog:

America, like ancient Rome, will be destroyed from within long before the actual enemy invasions begin.

I believe the dissolution of America is inevitable.

Pax Americana will end soon, if it hasn’t already.

The coronavirus reaching U.S. shores was like striking a match in a room packed with gunpowder.

Under most circumstances the amount of damage one spark could do would be limited but these are not normal circumstances.

“How can we turn back time and not strike that match?” is not the right question.

What we need to ask is:

“How did all this gunpowder get to be in the smoking room?”

Security On The Never-Never Saves No One At All (No nation can finance defence long term by accruing more and more debt.)

Since Australia’s great wartime Prime minister, John Curtin said, “Australia looks to America.” on December 27, 1941, Australia has relied on America to feel safe in the world.

But now America in Canberra, represented by JFK’s daughter, Caroline, as ambassador, flies the flags you can see at the top above. What would Caroline’s dad say?

The defence of Australia ………… you get what you pay for ……..

Australia needs a solvent America.

Who is working to reduce debt?

Geoff Fox, 19th May, 2023, Down Under

A Poet’s Questions #1 When did Jackie Kennedy die ?

Jackie Kennedy Onassis died on this date in 1994.

But when did Jackie Kennedy die?

Where did Camelot go?

Jackie herself said, “Now, I think that I should have known that he was magic all along. I did know it – but I should have guessed that it would be too much to ask to grow old with and see our children grow up together. So now, he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man.”

Such is life?

Geoff Fox, 19th May, 2023, Australia

Women For Freedom #36 Dorothy Levitt

British journalist and racing driver Dorothy Levitt died 101 years ago on May 17 1922, with a unique catalogue of achievements summarised like this on wikipedia:

“She was the first British woman racing driver, holder of the world’s first water speed record, the women’s world land speed record holder, and an author. She was a pioneer of female independence and female motoring, and taught Queen Alexandra and the Royal Princesses how to drive. In 1905 she established the record for the longest drive achieved by a lady driver by driving a De Dion-Bouton from London to Liverpool and back over two days, receiving the soubriquets in the press of the Fastest Girl on Earth, and the Champion Lady Motorist of the World.”

She advised women drivers: Don’t be afraid of your car. Dress well. Don’t forget your gun. You can fix your own car.

Geoff Fox, 17th May, 2023, Down Under

IWOTA #7 Lady Gregory cultural nationalism

Isabella Augusta Persse, who became a famous literary figure as Lady Gregory after marrying Sir William Henry Gregory, was born on this date, 15 May, 171 years ago, in 1852 in County Galway, Ireland.

Wikipedia reports that study of her grandfather-in-law’s letters lead to a shift in her politics “from the “soft” Unionism of her earlier writing on Home Rule to a definite support of Irish nationalism and Republicanism, and to what she was later to describe as “a dislike and distrust of England”.” (The anglosphere is a very big place.)

Lady Gregory took her motto from Aristotle: “To think like a wise man, but to express oneself like the common people.”

I call her an Indigenous Woman Of The Anglosphere (IWOTA) because of her wonderful skill in the English language.

Here are some examples:

“I’ll take no charity! What I get I’ll earn by taking it. I would feel no pleasure it being given to me, any more than a huntsman would take pleasure being made a present of a dead fox, in place of getting a run across country after it.”

“It takes madness to find out madness.”

“It’s best make changes little by little, the same as you’d put clothes upon a growing child.”

“If I had not married I should not have learned the quick enrichment of sentences that one gets in conversation; had I not been widowed I should not have found the detachment of mind, the leisure for observation necessary to give insight into character, to express and interpret it. Loneliness made me rich—’full’, as Bacon says.”

“There’s more learning than is taught in books.”

“It was among farmers and potato diggers and old men in workhouses and beggars at my own door that I found ………. the expression of love, and grief, and the pain of parting, that are the disclosure of the individual soul.”

“It is not always them that has the most that makes the most show.”

“I don’t know in the world why anyone would consent to be a king, and never to be left to himself, but to be worried and wearied and interfered with from dark to daybreak and from morning to the fall of night.”

“The way most people fail is in not keeping up the heart.”

“There is lasting kindness in Heaven when no kindness is found upon earth.”

George Bernard Shaw once called Gregory “the greatest living Irishwoman”.

God Bless Freedom (because that’s how we really learn who we are)

Geoff Fox, 15th May, 2023, Down Under

Previous Indigenous Women Of The Anglosphere include Rosa Parks, Shirley Temple, Mrs Patrick Campbell, Mary Astor and Audrey Hepburn.

Being A Mum #1 Cate Blanchett Month #2

Men, women and children need to live with love; this is an indispensable foundation of human society. – my words from August, 2018.

The glorious gaze of Cate Blanchett reasserts Faith in Being A Mum.

Today, the 14th of May, is Mother’s Day in Australia and the 54th birthday of mother-of-four, and dual Oscar winning Australian born actress Cate Blanchett.

Here are some of her thoughts on being a mum:

“Children are spirited, passionate, political, demanding. They are also heartbreaking. They constantly extend parents and so parents are constantly confronted with their failures, don’t you think? I’d rather presently live life this way than not.”

“My husband and I worry about our generation trying to be friends with their children rather than parents of their children. If you’re going to try and make your children like you, you’re in dangerous waters I think.”

“I always tell my boys that my situation ― having the ability to work or not to work as I choose ― is not the case for all women ……….. I hope that one of the good things about the more modern way ……….. is that we are all able to see that there is a lot more that unites us than divides us.”

God Bless Family

Geoff Fox, 14th May, 2023, Down Under (I was a registered midwife for three decades.)

(The above picture by of Cate Blanchett with words added by Geoff Fox is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence.)

Great Americans #7 Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper died relatively young at sixty years of age, six days after his birthday, on the 13th May, in 1961.

This was nine years after a sensational understated starring performance in High Noon, the immortal anthem to individual moral courage in the face of criminal danger.

Cooper won both the Oscar and Golden Globe for best actor for his haggard unwavering demeanour in High Noon.

The American Film Institute named him the 11th best male star of Hollywood’s Classic Cinema. The Academy gave him.a lifetime achievement award in 1961.

High Noon has always been one of my favourite movies, ever since I first saw it on television in my early teens. Half a century ago.

When Frank Miller, a criminal who had vowed to kill Kane, is headed back to town on the midday train on Kane’s wedding day, Kane tries and fails to rally the support of the terrified towns people. Marshall Kane tells his predecessor:

“I’m having trouble getting deputies.”

Former Marsall Martin Howe explains in response:

“People got to talk themselves into law and order before they do anything about it. Maybe cos down deep they don’t care. They just don’t care.”

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Nothing’s changed.

Geoff Fox, 13th May, 2023, Down Under

The Fabric Of The West #1 Australia 1a (A Penal Colony)

On the 13th of May, 1787, about 1500 people (mostly “criminals”) and 11 ships under the command of Arthur Phillip set sail from Plymouth, England, to establish a penal colony in Botany Bay, Terra Australis, the Great Southern Land.

The human beings involved in this were mostly people who wished to be back home in England. As is clear the words of the song, “Botany Bay“.:

“The captain that is our commander
He sails by the stars and the sun
If e’er well I live I’ll return again
To me darling sweet kisses I’d run.


If I had the wings of a turtle dove
I’d soar on me pinions and fly
I’d fly to the arms of me Polly love
And in her sweet bosom I’d lie.”

This song was born in burlesque at the Gaiety Theatre, London, in 1885, but quickly found its way to Melbourne, Australia, in 1886.

It lives as a folk classic in the hearts of very many Australians.

I remember how much I loved singing the chorus, as best I could, perhaps from the back seat of the car, with my dad in the driver’s seat in front, when I was a little kid.

Australia, a nation born as a penal colony, is now the home to massive human rights abuses and to police forces which trash the rights of some citizens but not others.

The nation of my birth.

Where I could try to sing with my father.

I dont know it anymore.

With sadness almost beyond belief.

Just like those transported here.

So many years ago.

Geoff Fox, 13th May, 2023, Down Under

Women For Freedom # 35 Doris Day

“I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile, and I want to make people laugh. And that’s all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy.”

– Doris Day, who died on May 13, 2019, 4 years ago today, died famous both for her wholesome public image in the sixties and her later work for animals through her Doris Day Animal Foundation.

In the movie “Love Me Or Leave Me” which was nominated for 6 academy awards (winning Best Story for Daniel Fuchs), Day was a dime a dance nightclub singer who had two love interests in a smalltime gangster played by Jimmy Cagney (nominated for Best Actor) and her singing coach played by Cameron Mitchell. She marries and divorces the Cagney character because of his jealous violent rage, but the singing coach becomes her second husband later. By the end of the movie the gangster accepts that reality.

Fellow actress of the time, Elaine Stritch, said of Day’s performance “She was up, she was honest, she was forthright — I could tell she was scared, but she got over it. She was brilliant in the movie she did with James Cagney ………”

When jimmy Cagney was give n a life achievement award Day spoke these words, “you breathe life into your own performance. and make the rest of us really look good that’s because you are there and tonight you make the whole world feel good just because you’re here. I wish it were possible to tell you what knowing you means to me Jimmy.

Day was lifelong friends with Clint Eastwood and Rock Hudson, who nicknamed her “Eunice” because it made him laugh ……… Day said of him: “If there is a Heaven, I’m sure Rock Hudson is there because he was such a kind person.”

God Bless American Freedom which enabled Doris Day to rise from normal middle class beginnings in Cincinnati, Ohio to have a great Hollywood and television career, and then help and be loyal to those she loved.

Geoff Fox, 13th May,2023, Down under

Great Americans #6 Martha Graham

Martha Graham was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania on May 11, 1894, into a strict Presbyterian family.

Wikipedia describes her artistic goal as: “to make dance an art form that was more grounded in the rawness of the human experience as opposed to just a mere form of entertainment.” 

Here is what she had to say about herself, humankind and art:

“No artist is ahead of his time. He is the time. It is just that others are behind the time.”

“People have asked me why I chose to be a dancer. I did not choose. I was chosen to be a dancer, and with that, you live all your life.”

“Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.”

“I hope that every dance I do reveals something of myself or some wonderful thing a human can be.”

“Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire.”

“Dancers are the messengers of the gods.”

“Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.”

“The body is a sacred garment. It’s your first and last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor.”

“The only sin is mediocrity.”

The influence of Graham on dance has been compared to the influence of Picasso on painting, Stravinski on music and Frank Lloyd Wright on architecture.

Geoff Fox, 11th May, 2023, Down Under

Great Americans #5 Doris Eaton Travis

Doris Eaton Travis made her Broadway debut at the age of 13 and one year later was the youngest ever cast member of the Ziegfeld Follies.

After her career in stage and screen ended, she was a dance instructor with Arthur Murray Dance Studios for three decades, rising through the ranks to own & manage nearly twenty dance schools.

Travis retired from the dance studio business in 1968. She moved with her husband to Norman, Oklahoma, and established a ranch. Initially on 220 acres , it grew to 880 acres. Many of the quarter-horses bred and raised there were successful in racing. The ranch operated until 2008.[

In 1992, Travis graduated cum laude  from the University of Oklahoma.

In 1999, she made a film appearance with a small role in the Jim Carry vehicle “Man on the Moon.”

At the age of 100, in 2004, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Oakland University.

In January 2008, in Miami Beach, at the age of 103, Travis was the Grand Marshal of the opening parade for the Art Deco Weekend festival.

She died on May 11, 2010, one month after her final dancing performance on April 27 the same year at an Easter Bonnet show.

On May 12, the lights of Broadway were dimmed in her honor.

God Bless America, a nation where, just 13 years ago, a 106 year old accomplished, intelligent woman could entertain people dancing 93 years after starting that career on Broadway.

Will that strong free and open culture survive?

Or is it bound to crash?

Sadly, I suspect that we will not see her like again.

Geoff Fox, 11th May, 2023, Down Under