Taking Back the Momentum

Recently I got into a discussion with one of my on-line friends, Tyler (The Portly Politico) about whether the Dissident Right was correct when they said that the only path forward was dividing up the country between the Left and the Right.  Now this division could take several directions.  The one everyone always mentions is some kind of civil war with armies and battles.  But a more likely direction would be some kind of loosening of the ties between states and the federal government to the point where differences on legal and criminal matters end up making them essentially different countries but keeping the parts of the federal government that benefit everyone like the armed forces and interstate highways.

I stated that I thought that something like that was possible but was not necessarily what needed to be done to straighten out the mess we’re in.  What would make sense is for the redder states to start asserting themselves on policy issues where the federal government has been pushing their Leftist ideas on the states.  A good example would be the abortion laws that some of the southern states have recently passed.  Take a stand that you know the Left hates and make them squirm.  It’s not enough to pass good legislation.  You have weaponize your actions in the same way that the Left does.  Another fruitful avenue would be anti-discrimination laws that would allow an employee to take his employer to court for being forced to celebrate something like say, the rainbow coalition that goes against his religious beliefs.  Or if the company has openly used diversity as a cover to favor some candidates over others then they could bring this into a state court for adjudication.  There’s nothing that a corporation hates more than to have to pay out fines and then have surveillance done on them by government.

An easy one is to go after Leftists in red states.  Texas should immediately enact some laws that criminalize the abetting of an illegal alien presence in Texas and then jail all the city politicians in Austin who have made it a sanctuary city.  Basically, set up some traps and force them to either follow the illegal immigration laws or go to jail.

If you look at these ideas you can see that they are the mirror image of what the Left does to us in places like California.  They pass laws that take some recent court decision and use it as a club to beat any conservatives who happen to live under their jurisdiction.  Eventually the Supreme Court might find the law unconstitutional, but in the meantime, they’ve made life hell for their enemies.  That’s what our side needs to start doing.  Make them pay a price.  And with the Supreme Court nominally against them on a lot of these issues, they won’t have any recourse.

These types of actions have several good effects.  First off, morale; bad for theirs, good for ours.  Secondly, doing things that everyone said was impossible changes opinions, emboldens people who have already given up to give things another chance.  Who knows?  Maybe we can even flip the Dissident Right back to civic nationalism.  And lastly it gives you something to build on.  Other states will get the idea and join in.  Once you have enough momentum even the Supreme Court might get enough courage to reverse some imaginary constitutional right that a former court made up.

What it’s going to take is some governors and legislators in red states to start coordinating with a Republican President to let some of these types of actions go forward.  Sure, the Ninth Circuit Court will scream bloody murder but as long as it’s out side of their jurisdiction they can’t do anything concrete.  Hollywood will boycott the states.  Good, let them.  The states have to start learning to say no to blackmail.  This is the perfect time to start.  The economy is good and there are plenty of business opportunities that aren’t beholden to leftists.  So, if the Chamber of Commerce squawks the Governor can tell them to count their tax blessings that they aren’t in California.

Part of the problem all along is the Republican Presidents have never tried to rein in the Deep State.  They are enormously strong but so is the executive power of the presidency.  If it can be coordinated with the power that the state legislatures and governors have at their disposal, real progress can be made.  And once again we see that all this comes back to having a Republican president who actually is on our side.

 

Tyler Over at the Portly Politico Has Added His Two Cents on Dissident Right and the Civic Nationalists

Tyler has a lot of good things to say about the topics we’ve both been seeing on the political stage.  Plus he says some good things about me, so how can I resist.

 

The State of the Right, Part II: Dissident Right and Civic Nationalists

White Shoe: How a New Breed of Wall Street Lawyers Changed Big Business and the American Century by John Oller – Book Review

Tyler over at the Portly Politico sent me this recommendation. I read the review and it sounded interesting for you history buffs.  Here’s his message followed by the link to the original book review at the bottom of the post.
A buddy of mine wrote a great book review for his blog, Corporate History International, that I thought might be of interest to you.  It’s a review of John Oller’s White Shoe:  How a New Breed of Wall Street Lawyers Changed Big Business and the American Century.  He touches upon some of the historical parallels between the Progressive Era and our current times, albeit subtly.

 

White Shoe: How a New Breed of Wall Street Lawyers Changed Big Business and the American Century by John Oller

New White Shoe Review for You

 

The Portly Politico Explains the Hereditary Nature of Mitt Romney’s Treachery

Any of you readers under the age of 50 wouldn’t be expected to remember that Mitt Romney’s father ran for president against Richard Nixon back in 1968.  Tyler over at the Portly Politico has a very enlightening essay about the elder Romney and the nature of the Romney spinelessness.

Their behavior brings to mind that classic Firefly meme, “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”

The Portly Politico Sums Up Carlson’s Essay

Tyler does an excellent job condensing Tucker’s 15 minute video clip to a two minute read.

Watch the video if you have the time

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/01/03/tucker_carlson_we_are_ruled_by_mercenaries_who_feel_no_long-term_obligation_to_the_people_they_rule.html

but read read the summation if you can’t spare the time, it’s well written.

Tucker Carlson’s Diagnosis

 

 

Portly Politico – A Very Dokken Christmas, Part III:  Under Lock and Key

1985 was a great year.  President Ronald Reagan began his second term in office, The Portly Politico was born (not the blog, just me), and Dokken released their finest effort to date, the start-to-finish gem Under Lock and Key.

 

Their third studio album was also their most commercially successful up to that point, perhaps due in part to a more commercial sound.  That said, Under Lock and Key isn’t just a Def Leppard sound-alike, or full of crowd-pleasing power ballads.  It’s an album that rocks consistently, and even the mid-tempo material is full of fist-pumping fury.

 

Take the opener, “Unchain the Night.”  Just like Tooth and Nail’s “Without Warning,” Under Lock and Key kicks off with a brief but effective instrumental intro (albeit part of the title track, instead of a separate tune), this time with synthesizers.  I crank this part up as far as my Dodge minivan’s sound system will allow for the full, gut-punching effect—after a slow synth arpeggio drop, the guitars kick in full blast, and “Unchain the Night” truly begins.

 

I don’t know exactly what Dokken is trying to convey when he sings, “Never unchain the night/don’t tell me that the love is gone/never unchain the night/’Cause tomorrow’s another turn,” but it’s powerful, and a powerful earworm.  I also can’t help but note the contrast with Breaking the Chain’s title track, which is all about breaking free of personal and emotional chains (a later chorus in “Unchain the Night” ends with “I’m never gonna set you free”—dang).

 

“The Hunter” is an equally effective second track.  It’s the perfect song before heading out for a night on the town, as it’s all about being a hunter on the prowl, “Searching for love on these lonely streets again.”  A common theme in rock ‘n’ roll is the pantheric nature of the wandering troubadour, never fully satisfied with his lot in life and love, constantly stalking the concrete jungles for a shot at romance—or unbridled lust.  It’s not as intensely sexy as Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night,” but it gets the point across well.

 

The third track, “In My Dreams,” is a solid track, and was a minor hit for the band.  Here the fullness of the band’s ensemble vocals is heard from the get-go.  It’s a strong rocker, and one that showcases the band’s overall style and range well.

 

But for money, the best track on the album is “Lightnin’ Strikes Again,” a furious, intense, full-throttle rocker that never lets up.  Like sitting through a raging thunderstorm, you can feel this track in your bones.  It features an incredible, multi-measure drum fill that sounds like acoustical lightning, and some of Don Dokken’s finest vocal work as he leaps to seemingly impossible heights, with a call-and-response, “Lightnin’!/Lightnin’ Strikes Again!” repeats until the end.

 

The rest of the album is solid throughout; if anything, my failure as a reviewer is how hooked I am on “Lightnin’ Strikes Again.”  When I listen to Under Lock and Key, I force myself to listen to the last five tracks, not because they suck, but because “Lightnin’ Strikes Again” is so good.  “It’s Not Love” is a fun song about breaking with an obsessive girlfriend (not fun if you’ve ever experienced, but the song handles it cheekily).  “Will the Sun Rise” is a brooding, beautiful, sad tune about warriors setting off in a post-nuclear war, and asks dolefully if they’ll ever see the sun or sky again.

 

Most reviewers recommend Under Lock and Key as a good place to start with Dokken, and I will repeat that advice unabashedly.  It represents a mature version of the band, and it has something for almost any taste (as long as you’re broadly into hard rock and heavy metal from the 1980s).  It remains one of my favorite albums of all time; if not in the Top Five, it’s definitely in the Top Ten.  Highly recommended.

Portly Politico – A Very Dokken Christmas, Part II:  Tooth and Nail

We continue our yuletide celebration of Dokken with the 1984’s Tooth and Nail.  After the tepid performance of 1983’s Breaking the Chains, Dokken found themselves in debt to the tune of a cool half-a-million, and Elektra contemplated dropping the band.  Don Dokken and his management convinced the label to give the group one last shot; thus, the tenacious title.

 

That tenacity paid off, and is heard in every riff of Tooth and Nail.  If Breaking the Chains had some gems, Tooth and Nail shines like a diamond throughout.  Indeed, it’s a testament to the band’s songwriting that their third album, Under Lock and Key, would improve upon Tooth and Nail’s sonic attack.

 

Simply put, this album rocks, while also offering up more pop-oriented tunes.  Dokken opens the album with an atmospheric instrumental opener that’s just the right length.  I’m a big fan of extended instrumental introductions, so long as they lead somewhere.  “Without Warning” lives up to its title, as it seamlessly, suddenly transitions into the full-frontal assault of the title track, “Tooth and Nail.”

 

“Tooth and Nail” is the kind of opening rocker that should start every metal album.  The track is fast and fun, with an excellent, memorable chorus.  Don Dokken had been working with a vocal coach in Germany, and his improved range and technique are evident on “Tooth and Nail,” as he hits a stratospheric “Straight to the top!” toward the end of the song.

 

There are several other standout tracks, including the power ballad “Alone Again,” a song that helped boost flagging album sales.  Some listeners scoff at power ballads, but I love them if they’re executed well, with solid dynamic contrast, memorable choruses, interesting bridges, etc.  “Alone Again” doesn’t quite get to the level of, say, Heart’s “Alone” by these metrics, but it’s fun to sing in your car.

 

For my money, though, “When Heaven Comes Down” is a solid, underappreciated rocker, one that demonstrates the strength of the backing vocals.  Don’t underestimate the power of good backing vocals (see also:  Michael Anthony on almost every Van Halen song).

 

“Bullets to Spare” and “Turn on the Action,” the album’s closer, are similarly rockin’ affairs, though I’m partial to the latter.  “Bullets to Spare” is the kind of cheeky tune that makes me love the macho humor of glam metal, but “Turn on the Action” sounds like the kind of tune that could have come on the heels of “Tooth and Nail” to make for the iconic double-rocker-opener that I crave.

 

Ultimately, Tooth and Nail helped get the band off life-support, and set the stage for the exquisite Under Lock and Key—the subject of our the third and final album in our series A Very Dokken Christmas.

Portly Politico – A Very Dokken Christmas, Part I:  Breaking the Chains (1983)

To celebrate the Christmas season, I’d like to explore 80s hair metal giants Dokken’s first three albums, starting with their 1983 debut, Breaking the Chains.  The story of this album is curious in itself, as there are actually two versions:  one recorded in 1981, then in another with the classic Dokken line-up of Don Dokken, George Lynch, Mick Brown, and Jeff Pilson (Pilson played bass on the tour, but not on the album).  The best treatment of that story is The Rageaholic’s Metal Mythos: DOKKEN video; indeed, that video first turned me on to Dokken, a band I’d almost entirely missed in past forays into 80s metal.

 

This review will cover the 1983 album, as that’s properly when “Dokken” as such began (some pressings of 1981’s Breakin’ the Chains—note the dropped “G” in the ’81 version’s title—listed the artist as “Don Dokken”).  Also, I haven’t heard enough of the ’81 cut to comment upon it adequately.

 

Breaking the Chains kicks off with its excellent title track, a tune that’s both rockin’ and sleek.  It’s central riff—built around a persistent transition from E minor to D to C, and back again—is simple but effective, and resolves nicely into the G major of the distinctive chorus.  Like much of 80s hair metal, the tune effortlessly combines a brooding sense of rock ‘n’ roll machismo with a catchy, radio-friendly chorus.

 

The album’s second track, “In The Middle,” is another mid-tempo rocker, but feels like a missed opportunity.  The opening track itself, while exquisite, is already a slower tune.  The decision to follow that up with another andante selection makes for a lackluster double opener.  Dokken would perfect the “rockin’-double-opener” approach on future albums, but the best tracks on Breaking the Chains await.

 

Really, the album doesn’t really get cooking until the fifth track, “Live to Rock (Rock to Live),” an unapologetic rocker all about, well, rockin’ out.  I’ve yet to give this track the “drive test” I referenced in my Down to Earth review, but I’m sure it would pass.  Speaking of the drive test, Dokken follows “Live to Rock” with “Nightrider,” which sounds like driving a sports car with a panther on the roof through the rain-slick neon of an 80s night.  These two tracks should have appeared a bit earlier on the album.

 

The album closes with a live recording of “Paris is Burning” from a 1982 show in Berlin.  That track rips open with a George Lynch guitar solo that sounds like Van Halen’s “Eruption.”  That kind of guitar pyrotechnics is missing from most of the record, so this live recording is a welcome addition to the album.

 

Much of this initial effort is enjoyable but forgettable, but there are some real gems on Breaking the Chains, not just the title track.  All in all, it’s a solid record that points to the intensity and power of future Dokken releases.