Monday, December 31, 2012

So true

The day that baseball died: Happiness was Roberto Clemente, and then he was gone

If you were a kid growing up in Pittsburgh 40 years ago, you probably feel a little different when New Year's Eve rolls around from the rest of the revelers out there. It was on Dec. 31, 1972, that Pirates Hall of Fame right fielder Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash while delivering relief supplies to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua.

Crazy Tea Partier?

No. The incomparable Dr. Thomas Sowell:

The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit — replacing what works with what sounds good.

A great day in history

December 31, 1942: USS Essex Commissioned

With the coming of World War II, design studies of probable Essex successors were curtailed and the construction of additional ships of the class greatly expanded. Ultimately, two civilian shipyards and three Navy yards built the 24 ships actually completed. Following an accelerated construction period, the Essex herself was commissioned 31 December 1942, and 16 more were commissioned by the end of the war. Arriving in the Pacific, starting in August 1943, these new ships created and perfected-in conjunction with the CVLs and new mobile logistic support forces-one of the most impressive weapon systems of all time, the fast carrier task force.

Starting with the 31 August 1943 strike by the Essex and Yorktown (CV-10) against Marcus Island, 14 of the class participated in the war against Japan. Ten were damaged, eight by kamikaze attacks. Only one, the Franklin (CV-13), was nearly lost. She made it back to the United States on her own power but never saw active duty again.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A sobering report from Egypt

Obama Gives Cold Shoulder to Egyptian Secular Democrats

What the Brotherhood is doing in Egypt is holding a gun to the head of its opposition trying to pass a constitution that so far failed to garner a greater support among Egyptians.

Once that becomes the law of the land, the race is on to turn Egypt into another theocracy headed by an Islamist fascist regime that soon after will threaten the security of the free world. At the heart of it is the Obama administration and its failed foreign policy, and what I see as the desire to destroy moderate Egypt and turn it over to the fanatic elements of the society, creating a monster that will turn on its creator.

David Gregory must go to jail or go to Cleveland

It is the only way he and NBC News can maintain their journalistic independence.

If he is not prosecuted, then he is the recipient of a big favor from the Powers That Be.

How can he viewers trust him to be a vigilant watchdog in D. C. when he owes them such a debt?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:8-14

Thursday, December 20, 2012

John Ziegler: Defender of Lost Causes

The man who defended Sarah Palin in Media Malpractice is dismantling the media narrative about Joe Paterno.
The Framing of Joe Paterno

UPDATE (12/22/12) : He has an op-ed from today's Harrisburg paper:

NCAA president Mark Emmert completely misses the mark on Penn State

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Remembering the lies and a hero

A couple of interesting reviews of the new play about the Times's man in Moscow during the worst of Stalin's horrors.
Stalin’s Sock Puppet

Book Review — ‘The Party Line’

We need to remember the cynical lies of Walter Duranty and the part The New York Times played by giving him a microphone. To dismiss it as old news is to help perpetuate Duranty's and Stalin's successful propaganda efforts.

Even after 80 years, the truth is still lagging behind the lies. Haynes and Klehr amply document that in their book In Denial the historical profession spent decades minimizing the Stalin's crimes including the genocide in the Ukraine. A couple of years ago Howard Kurtz beclowned himself because he did not remember (know?) this episode in journalistic history.

We should also remember the heros of this time. Gareth Jones did what journalists are supposed to do. He dug up the facts and then informed his readers. Of course, this made him a marked man in Stalin's workers paradise. This site is dedicated to his memory and his work.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rescued from the memory hole

At Last, Honor for Albert Wedemeyer, a Great American Soldier

If the United States had listened to Wedemeyer, World War II might have ended in 1943, with Soviet Russia’s armies still within her own borders, sparing the nations of Eastern Europe their forty year nightmare in the grip of Soviet communism. Even more relevant to our own times, China would not be the stew of communist -- or pseudo-communist -- wealth and power it is today. In 1945, Wedemeyer urged President Franklin Roosevelt to give Nationalist China the military and financial aid it deserved. Alas, Roosevelt’s declining health left him too addled to make a decision of that magnitude. Wedemeyer’s advice was as ignored as it had been when he declared that a massive invasion of Europe could end World War II in 1943.

How did Wedemeyer become World War II’s forgotten prophet? The answer to that question is a tale of the perils of coalition warfare combined with ideological bias, treachery, and treason. McLaughlin tells the story in calm matter-of fact prose, which makes it even more astonishing.

Friday, December 14, 2012

“We lost the battle but we won the war for Polish freedom,”

Polish president makes Reagan tribute on martial law anniversary

President Bronislaw Komorowski laid a wreath beneath the statue of late US president Ronald Reagan in Warsaw on Thursday evening, marking the 31st anniversary of martial law in Poland.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

things that make you wonder


Sen. Menendez Had an Illegal Alien Sex Offender Working as an Unpaid Intern; Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security Instructed ICE to Delay Arresting Him Until After Menendez's Reelection

A real CIA sex scandal

When I read this article I was left both angry and puzzled.
Spy's Case Offers Rare Glimpse Inside CIA

A highly decorated former CIA deep cover operative’s long quest to nail the spy agency for obliterating his career in retaliation for exposing the security violations of a senior agency official and her State Department husband gets a rare public hearing Friday.

“Peter B,” whose full name and former duties remain classified, contends that he lost his CIA job because he had learned about an affair that the husband of his supervisor, Margaret “Peggy” Lyons, was carrying on with a Taiwanese spy.

What is wrong with CIA? Does no one there care about security?

How does someone with Ms. Lyons’s record get hired at “a government security contractor”? And how does a security company with employees like Ms. Lyons remain a government contractor?

Why is this not a bigger story? It has everything-- sex, spies, whistle-blowers.

Garry Wills-- philistine hipster

When Brubeck Wasn’t Cool

It is worth mentioning, as well, that the Brubeck who is a hapless punchline here for Garry Wills is the same Brubeck who, four decades later, was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, and of whom Barack Obama said at the time, “You can’t understand America without understanding jazz, and you can’t understand jazz without understanding Dave Brubeck.”

If only it were true

An interesting piece on "managerialism" past and present:
HBR Celebrates Its Graveyard Of Obsolete Management Ideas
Denning is spot on about the many failures of managerialism. I fear that he is too optimistic, however, about the future.

The new way of running organizations is not just a different set of management practices. It’s really a change in an ecosystem—from an ecosystem of hierarchical bureaucracy, internally focused and grinding along with the production of outputs, to an ecosystem that is agile and very externally focused on client-perceived outcomes.

It’s a paradigm shift from a mindset of “you take what we make” to “we want to understand your problems and will do whatever it takes to solve them”, as Ranjay Gulati has pointed out in his marvelous book, Reorganizing For Resilience (2010)

The paradigm shift entails a change from a world in which workers and customers are manipulated as things to a world in which workers and customers are interacted with as human beings.

If that really is the future, then sign me up. There are counter-currents at work, however, that make me wonder if the immediate future really belongs to the new paradigmers.

1. Whole industries have discovered that they can make billions in profit by manipulating their customers. Credit cards, cell phones,and cable TV companies have become masters at nickel-and-diming their customers through hidden charges, stealth price increases, and quality fade.

2. We are in the midst of a Christmas shopping season in which retailers took away Thanksgiving for millions of their employees. Does anyone really think that this happened after respectful interaction with said employees?

Monday, November 05, 2012

Today's outrage of the day

Buried Bombshell: CBS Video Shows Obama Refusing To Call Benghazi A Terrorist Attack...On September 12th

As Fox News' Brett Baier points out, that directly contradicts Obama's pre-planned statement during the second debate with Romney. You know, the one where hacktastic Candy Crowely vouched for Obama's lie.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I guess that's what they mean by 'nuance'

NYT, 1992: Bush's 2.7% GDP Growth Is a "Gross National Letdown" NYT 2012: Obama's 2.0% Growth Is "Steady Improvement"

"Trust matters"

The Omertà Administration

We know this much: What Barack Obama said is unambiguously false. Members of his administration have not provided information to the American people about Benghazi as they have received it. And in many instances, the opposite has been true. The Obama administration has used every means at its disposal to avoid sharing information about the Benghazi attacks—not only with the American people, but with Congress, too.

Crushing dissent is the next new thing for Facebook

From Patterico:
Facebook Censoring SEALS to Protect Obama

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Benghazi cover-up

I think that this post at Powerline has a lot of interesting analysis in it.
Benghazi: A Reader Assesses the Evidence [Updated]
This is very telling:

So what we have here is the first huge contradiction between Panetta and the military and the CIA. SOMEONE sent those guys from Tripoli, but it was not the military. Why was it ok to send 8 lightly armed American guys from Tripoli into harm’s way to rescue 30+ people in Benghazi, but not ok to send a heavily armed special forces contingent who have trained for just such a scenario?
Panetta’s excuses do seem nonsensical in light of what actions were taken to help the Benghazi personnel.

David Halberstam makes an important point about scandals and investigative reporting:
Time was on the side of Woodward and Bernstein. A story like Vietnam or Watergate has a balance of forces of its own. At first the charges are deniable, the existing structure holds, powerful men with powerful positions can keep their troops in line. All the weight is on one side, and reporters like Woodward and Bernstein are a tiny minority, seeming puny by comparison. But there is the momentum, The denials slowly weaken, events undermine the denials so there have to be more denials, and each denial is a little weaker than the previous one. … Slowly the people who are issuing denials lose credibility, and the reporters begin to gain credibility.

Of course, the pace of this process depends on having enough reporters ask enough questions to chip away at the cover stories and self-serving spin. On Benghazi, most of the press have been slavish lapdogs.

For example, take our local failing daily. On Sunday, they wrote this about Libya:

The president, however, has tough questions to answer. What the administration truly knew before the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, needs to be made clear and quickly.

The only problem is, the “demand” came in the editorial that endorsed Obama for re-election. That is all the evidence one needs to know that the White House does not need to answer any tough questions quickly. Running out the clock---- stalling until election day, is working just fine with the working press.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Any editorial board that takes JFK conspiracy loons seriously is the wrong place to look for hard-headed logic or intelligent analysis.


Here is an hour-long interview with the author of the new biographer of Joe Paterno
WITF "Smart Talk"

The author does yeoman's work trying to clear up some of the major factual errors that lie at the heart of the prevailing narrative.

Why Mark Steyn is the go-to guy

Benghazi bungle requires act of urgent political hygiene

We also learned that, in those first moments of the attack, a request for military back-up was made by U.S. staff on the ground but was denied by Washington. It had planes and Special Forces less than 500 miles away in southern Italy – or about the same distance as Washington to Boston. They could have been there in less than two hours. Yet the commander-in-chief declined to give the order. So Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods fought all night against overwhelming odds, and died on a rooftop in a benighted jihadist hell hole while Obama retired early to rest up before his big Vegas campaign stop. "Within minutes of the first bullet being fired, the White House knew these heroes would be slaughtered if immediate air support was denied," said Ty Woods' father, Charles. "In less than an hour, the perimeters could have been secured, and American lives could have been saved. After seven hours fighting numerically superior forces, my son's life was sacrificed because of the White House's decision."

Is Joe Biden a psychopath or is this evidence of advancing senility?

'Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?'
Biden's bizarre question angers father of Navy SEAL who died in Benghazi attack
VP made inappropriate comment to Charles Woods, father of SEAL Tyrone
Father angered by White House reaction to deadly assault in Benghazi
UPDATE (10/31):
Does anyone in the media worry that the currently-serving Vice President isn't mentally all there? We had a National Panic about this when Sarah Palin was running for the post. Not a week goes by that Joe Biden doesn't have a senior moment, but apparently it's now okay that the Vice President might be ever so slightly mentally checked out.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How a journalistic icon covered an election year scandal

Media apologists offer two arguments for refusing to cover the Benghazi attack and its many unanswered questions:

1. People don’t care
2. It’s too close to the election.

I think this piece by Alcia Shepherd is relevant on both counts.
If Walter Cronkite Said It Was A Story, It Was

First, I think it is easy to mistake “don’t care” with “haven’t heard about it.” The average citizen is very different from the news junkies who work in newsrooms.

Nixon campaign operatives broke into the Democratic headquarters inside the Watergate building on June 17, 1972. The Washington Post and others jumped on the story initially but it still didn't have much traction four months later. A Gallup poll in October 1972 showed that 48 percent of the country did not recognize the word Watergate.
Second, Walter Cronkite was not afraid to take on the Watergate story during the 1972 election season.

The ground-breaking, two-part special ran on Oct. 27 and 31, 1972. These two stories were a turning point for the saga that would grip the nation for most of the next two years.

Cronkite's first piece ran for nearly 15 minutes in a 22-minute broadcast the unprecedented equivalent of a newspaper turning two-thirds of its front page over to one story. [The second story ran for 9 minutes.]

The CBS Evening News devoted over half of its air time over two nights to the Watergate story.

They did not just cover it, they demanded that viewers pay attention. At the time they had the biggest megaphone in the country and Cronkite used it days before the election.

America's most trusted newsman said Watergate was a story the nation should be interested it and therefore it was.

That’s a key element of “explanation space”: signifying what events are important and what events are not.

We are in a vicious circle”: The public doesn’t care because the MSM treats the story as unimportant. The deciders use public indifference as a reason to ignore the story.

Hmm…. Maybe this guy has a point.
Benghazi and Obama: the media is trying to shore up this desperate administration

Now it certainly can be argued that there is no story because there is no scandal. Right now facts are scarce and the big picture is obscure.

The same thing was true of Watergate in 1972. Ben Bradlee worried that the Post might be on a fool’s errand. He was reassured by superlawyer Edward Bennett Williams:

If they’re [the Nixon campaign]clean why don’t they show it? Why are there so many lies? I’ll tell you why. Because you’ve got them.

Jacques Barzun, R. I. P.

He was 104. He wrote an 800 page best seller when he was in his 90s. That's a good run by anyone's standards

Cultural historian, author Jacques Barzun dies

(HT: Steve Sailer)

Barzun was one of those astounding historians (now perhaps an extinct species) who combined broad learning with graceful writing.

I can heartily recommend any of these books. All of them stand up to re-reading.

Media scandals: will it be sauce for the gander?

Two British media scandals have jumped the pond.

First, the phone hacking scandal has new legs.
CNN keeps quiet over claims against Piers Morgan

The American media was all over this story last spring when the target was Rupert Murdoch. Will they show the same interest now that CNN's Piers Morgan is the one who stands to be embarrassed?

My Magic Eight Ball says--- ARE YOU KIDDING?

A much more serious scandals swirls around the NY Times and its new CEO.
New NYT CEO: BBC sex scandal doesn't alter Times support

The Jimmy Savile scandal and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The Reuters headline understates the seriousness of the scandal. It appears that the late Jimmy Savile was the BBC's Jerry Sandusky with a victim count that may reach in the hundreds.

The Paterno rule (promulgated by the MSM in the wake of the Sandusky scandal) demands that Mark Thompson step down at the Times. After all, he was the man in charge while the serial abuser was active.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Donald makes an even bigger fool of himself

Call the waahmbulance: Thin-skinned conservafraud Donald Trump attacks Malkin as a ‘dummy’

A feature not a bug

Christina Romer: Obama Is No Roosevelt

Economist Christina Romer defends the stimulus she helped devise and delivers a few laughs in the process. Among the lessons learned from the stimulus experience she notes the importance of salesmanship and public confidence

I've argued before that the Obama administration made a cynical decision not to follow the FDR model and that they are now paying the price for that miscalculation.

September 2009

So it turns out that the Obama brain trust was more realistic than Republicans and many conservatives. They understood that Michael Barone was correct: the US remains a center-right nation. While many Republican “strategists” thought the public had rejected all things conservative, the new administration recognized that their agenda lacked popular support.

Hence, their cynical desire to “not let a crisis go to waste.” The administration hoped that they could lock in their programs while the public was stunned by the financial meltdown and the Obama honeymoon.

December 2010
There is some truth in this assessment. I would also argue that the administration stumbled because it was too cynical, too insular, too high-handed, and too partisan.

If ever there was a president with the opportunity to become a second FDR, it was Barack Obama in January, 2009.

Yet the administration rejected Roosevelt’s focus of his first 100 days: relief, recovery, reform. Nor did it follow his example and rally broad national support for his programs. Instead, the tone and direction were set by the hyper-partisan Rahm Emmanuel: “never let a crisis go to waste.”

The administration was almost eager to move the economic crisis to the back burner while they and the liberal Congress pushed forward with long-standing items on their wish list (cap and trade, health care reform, immigration reform, etc.). Inside Washington, it might seem smart to see a crisis as an opportunity to pass progressive legislation. To the people who are bearing the brunt of the recession, it seems like an abdication of leadership or a heartless betrayal of trust.

No surprise, then, that the stubborn economic weakness has been a drag on Obama’s approval numbers. It is not just that the public is impatient; many voters rightly sense that the White House felt little urgency to fix what was obviously broken.

September 2011

In the Hundred Days Congress did little more than rubber stamp the legislation that flew from the White House to Capitol Hill. That might not be the best way to govern, but it left no doubt that Roosevelt was the Man with a Plan (actually many plans). FDR also used the new medium of radio to connect with voters via his fireside chats. He was at the center of the public debate-- at once the towering authority figure in the White House and the reassuring voice in everyone's living room.

Obama often seemed to disappear off-stage during the major battles of 2009. He deferred to congress and let them craft most of the major legislation. He allowed Reid and Pelosi to move at a glacial pace on important issues like financial reform. The White House was unable or unwilling to find a modern equivalent of the fireside chat that would let Obama sustain public support for his programs.

Maybe, just maybe, the voters did not sour on Obama because he confronted problems that were beyond the powers of government. Perhaps, remembering Roosevelt, they fault him for not trying hard enough to solve the problems they care about most. If i am right, then progressives owe the president an apology. It is not that he did too little for them, it is that he tried to do too much.

June 2012

Unfortunately, the Administration chose to operate as a arm of the most partisan members of Congress instead of fashioning a program and platform of its own. On the really crucial issues, the president ratified the proposals of Pelosi, Dodd, Frank, et. al., rather than crafting his own, more centrist program

For the record

Obama wrong about bayonets

Hoover and Pearl Harbor

I found this paper fascinating.
The FBI’s Role in the Pearl Harbor Attack(.pdf)

However, mounting new evidence clearly demonstrates not only that the Pearl Harbor commanders shouldered the blame unjustly but that the FBI secretly and shamelessly contributed to this result. Specifically, the FBI successfully: (1) shielded investigation of its own failures from all Pearl Harbor investigations; (2) acquiesced to the Commission Chairman’s perjury to Congress; (3) secretly influenced Congress’ report to protect the FBI at the expense of the Army and Navy; (4) secretly made false accusations against Admiral Kimmel and General Short; and (5) conspired to withhold evidence from the Attorney General.

Just another example of the sort of dirty bureaucratic games that Hoover played every day he was with the Bureau. That's old news but the article shows that Hoover's lies and distortions still color the historical record.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

First rule of counterintelligence: never say never

While rummaging through some old files, I ran across this review essay from 2000:

The Plot Thickens

One passage turned out to be unexpectedly revealing.

In 1992 KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin defected to the British and brought with him an enormous trove of detailed notes he made of the KGB files he handled. Historian Christopher Andrew mined these notes to produce a revelatory book on the KGB.

Andrew is a respected and prolific scholar of Soviet and British intelligence. Thomas Powers (the reviewer) is an astute writer who is no neophyte on the spy beat.

So it was something of a shock to read this:
Nor, Andrew says, do Mitrokhin's six cases of notes suggest that major Soviet spies in the United States and Britain remain undiscovered.
Nine months after this review appeared, the FBI arrested Robert Hanssen. He had been a Soviet/Russian spy for 22 years. For 13 of those years, Mitrokhin was still with the KGB. Yet, apparently, he never saw a hint in the Moscow files that the KGB had a high level source in Washington.

That is no criticism of Mitrokhin; it is simply a useful reminder that the fragmentary revelations from spy agencies never give us the complete picture.

Christopher Andrew, however, is a different issue. He is an inveterate defender of Britain's intelligence bureaucracies and is quick to use his insider status to disparage investigators who raise troubling questions about old spies. See this essay for an example:
Christopher Andrew and the Strange Case of Roger Hollis
Chapman Pincher provides another example of Andrew's tendency to push his evidence too far. Before Andrew worked with the Mitrokhin material, he co-authored a book with KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky (KGB: The Inside Story, 1990). Because Gordievsky claimed to have worked on an official history of KGB operations in Britain, his knowledge is deemed definitive and his judgments were treated as well-nigh definitive when it comes to Cold War mysteries.

Yet, as later investigations revealed, Gordievsky revealed nothing about Geoffrey Prime while the latter was betraying Anglo-British secrets to the Soviets. Nor did his historical studies include the activities of Melita Norwood and Kitty Harris-two agents who helped steal atomic secrets for Stalin.

Gordievsky may have known a lot, but he hardly knew everything.

Robin Winks displayed a more sophisticated understanding of the intelligence game in Cloak and Gown:
[Angleton] had the professional's necessary interest in ambiguity: an intense commitment to the elimination of ambiguity where sources conflicted (rather than the amateur's tendency to attempt to reconcile conflicting statements, as though both might be true, rather than both being false) combined with the ability to live with the unreseolved so that one did not force a premature resolution out of sheer discomfort. Ambiguity related, of course, not merely to factual accuracy; perhaps more important, it related to moral meaning (326-327)

[There are] no secret documents in the romantic sense of the words. On any important subject, there is no single document or even group of documents that contain "the secret." No spy could know enough to spot such a document if it existed, and no vacuum cleaner approach to espionage, even should it gather up two or three documents of the highest importance, would lead without all the analytical skills of the humanists to any valid conclusions. Documents do not speak: they do not declare that they are "the offbeat thoughts and recommendations of a highly-placed but erratic advisor," not a draft intended only for discussion, not a record of a decision rescinded orally the next day. (462-463)

Chris Matthews is deranged

He thinks he coulda' been a contender

What Matthews just described is a Mary Sue fantasy. He's just constructed a fanfic in which a character much like Chris Matthews, who is in fact also named Chris Matthews, bails Obama out of his troubles using his Street Smarts and Irish blarney in an alternate universe America of 2010-2012.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The case of the dog that barked too soon

Why did the Chicago Tribune tip-off Blogo?

The Blago File

Follow-up question: Why doesn't Patrick Fitzgerald care?

All of which leaves the reader still wondering why a U.S. attorney with a record of not tolerating leaks would be so sanguine about this one, even going so far as to thank the Tribune and then, presumably, grant it exclusive access to hundreds of hours of wiretap evidence. Was Blagojevich’s arrest—occurring, as it did, before any quid pro quo was finalized—a surgical strike intended to warn Jesse Jackson Jr. and, perhaps, Obama’s top aides that they, too, were under surveillance? Coen and Chase don’t even raise the possibility.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

CNN circles the wagons (UPDATED)

Mark Whittaker, CNN's Managing Editor:

Let’s start with a big round of applause for Candy Crowley for a superb job under the most difficult circumstances imaginable. She and her team had to select and sequence questions in a matter of hours, and then she had to deal with the tricky format, the nervous questioners, the aggressive debaters, all while shutting out the pre-debate attempts to spin and intimidate her. She pulled it off masterfully.

More at Powerline.

It says a great deal about the MSM that CNN is backing Crowley for her bizarre intervention in the debate.

Bryan Preston reminds us of the key fact:

More than a Week After Benghazi, WH Spox Jay Carney Admitted that Administration Had Not Called It a Terrorist Attack

Crowley is relying on a Clintonian parsing of the record to defend Obama.

Jeffrey Lord asks a good question:

Did she at any point say to some Obama staffer something along the lines of "Oh by the way, I have the transcript of the Rose Garden statement on Benghazi with me for the debate"?

She hasn't said.

But suffice to say, there are a lot of people raising the question of behind-the-scenes coordination -- all stemming from Obama's instruction (and it certainly sounded like an instruction) to "Get the transcript." Followed instantly by Crowley complying -- and silencing Romney on the topic.

My fearless prediction: Howard Kurtz will defend Crowley to the hilt on Sunday's "Reliable Sources"

UPDATE: As predicted, Kurtz did what a good lap dog does.

Although i do wonder if using Dan Rather to vouch for Crowley was really a good idea.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Looks like lying is contagious

Candy Crowley’s Big Lie of a “fact-check”

And that, perhaps, is why Crowley did it—so that she could wreak the maximum damage on Romney, carry the largest bucket of water possible for Obama, and count on the fact that any corrections that emerged would reach only a small fraction of the number her lie did.

Bryan Preston

This is the moment that debate moderator Candy Crowley jumped up from behind her desk and tackled Mitt Romney just as he was striding toward a game-changing touchdown. The replacement refs of the NFL had nothing on Crowley. They merely got calls wrong. I don’t recall them ever slipping into a linebacker role and making a game-saving tackle for any team.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Joe Biden's big lie

Joe Biden's War On The Truth

Catholics push back against one of Smirkin' Joe Biden's many preposterous debate assertions.

Friday, October 12, 2012

VP debate reactions


Jeffrey Lord
Biden Loses by a Smirk
Hot Air
Angry old man yells at Paul Ryan for 90 minutes
Fred Barnes
Biden Bombed

A good man gone

Vietnam vet Plumley dies; featured in war movie

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Basil L. Plumley, a renowned career soldier whose exploits as an Army infantryman were portrayed in a book and the movie "We Were Soldiers," has died at 92 — an age his friends are amazed that he lived to see.

HT: Paul Davis

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why some newspapers deserve to die

A troubled (redundant: is there any other kind? ed.) local paper decided to offer their paying customers a preview of tomorrow’s VP debate.

High drama: How Joe Biden can defeat Paul Ryan in VP debate

The deciders drew on their vast professional expertise and offered up a piece that was part meandering paean to gaffe-prone Joe and part slap-dash hit job on Paul Ryan.

The real WHAT WERE THEY THINKING moment comes at the end. Here we find the brief bio that tells the reader why they should pay attention to the astute analysis just presented.

Harry “H.C.” Nash is a writer and painter living in Williamsport. He is marketing a book titled “Patsy of the Ages: Lee Harvey Oswald and His Nation Half a Century Later.”

That’s right. The Harrisburg Patriot-News is offering political “analysis” by a loony* JFK conspiracy theorist who believes that “a deliberate fraud was perpetrated by officials of the U.S. government to conceal the conspiracy that assassinated the president.”

*Bryan Burroughs:

What Bugliosi has done is a public service; these people should be ridiculed, even shunned. It’s time we marginalized Kennedy conspiracy theorists the way we’ve marginalized smokers; next time one of your co-workers starts in about Oswald and the C.I.A., make him stand in the rain with the other outcasts.

Monday, October 08, 2012

I guess some voters are more important than others

Here in Pennsylvania our voter ID law was put on hold for the November elections. The courts were concerned that some voters would be disenfranchised.

The local press treated the law as big news and a big political issue.

I have no illusions that this case of voter disenfranchisement will get any attention whatsowever.

Obama’s Invisible War Against Military Voters

Almost no one has noticed that the Obama administration is waging war administratively against the voting rights of America’s warriors overseas. This bureaucratic assault comes in the form of the Obama administration’s unconscionable foot-dragging on the implementation of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009. The legislation passed, in part, because the nonpartisan Military Voter Protection Project discovered in 2008 that under 20 percent of 2.5 million military personnel voted by absentee ballot. By 2010 that figure had shriveled to just 5 percent.

But the Obama administration, which moves at light-speed to undermine common-sense state voter identification laws, hasn’t bothered to set up half of the installation voting assistance offices (IVAOs) required under the MOVE Act. The law was created to help deployed soldiers, many of whom are constantly on the move, to exercise the right to vote that they risk their lives to protect. IVAOs are supposed to help military personnel find their way through the maze of confusing voting rules enforced by the nation’s 55 states and territories.

Two historians

Stephen Schwartz
Eric Hobsbawm, 1917–2012

The British Stalinist writer Eric Hobsbawm died on October 1, aged 95. I hesitate to refer to him as a “historian,” as other commentators doubtless will, given his extraordinary career as a purveyor of totalitarian lies.

A.N. Wilson
He hated Britain and excused Stalin's genocide. But was hero of the BBC and the Guardian, Eric Hobsbawm a TRAITOR too?

In his book The Age Of Extreme, published in 1994, he quite deliberately underplayed the Soviet Union’s attack on Finland in 1939-40, saying it was merely an attempt to push the Russian border a little further away from Leningrad. He also omits any mention of the massacre of 20,000 Polish soldiers by Russian Secret Police at Katyn.

In the same book, he dismisses the appallingly violent suppression by the Nazis of the Polish resistance in the 1944 Warsaw uprising - when a complacent Soviet army ignored desperate pleas to come to the Poles’ aid - as 'the penalty of a premature uprising'.

Roger Kimball

Eric Hobsbawm, 1917–2012

In the annals of moral idiocy, the Marxist British historian Eric Hobsbawm, who died yesterday at 95, will ever enjoy a conspicuous place. A gifted and prolific writer, the Egyptian-born Hobsbawm was utterly absorbed by the ideology that fired his youthful dreams of utopia. How he must have savored the fact that he was born in 1917, the year of the Bolshevist revolution in Russia which ushered in so much poverty, misery, terror, and freedom-blighting totalitarian oppression. “The dream of the October Revolution is still there somewhere inside me,” Hobsbawm wrote in his memoir Interesting Times in 2002, “I have abandoned, nay, rejected it, but it has not been obliterated. To this day, I notice myself treating the memory and tradition of the USSR with an indulgence and tenderness.”

Ron Radosh

Eugene D. Genovese: 1930-2012. Rest in Peace

One of America’s best historians, Eugene D. Genovese, passed away two days ago. He was one of my long-time friends. I knew him when both he and I considered ourselves Marxists, and his scholarship, integrity, forthrightness and outspoken and principled positions made him a figure that everyone had to contend with. Anyone who was lucky enough to have known Gene, even when at times they found themselves on opposite sides from him in a political battle, knows how much they learned from him, and how lucky they were to have had the chance to engage with him.

Hobsbawm kept his mind shut against inconvenient fact. Genovese, even as a Marxist, had a lively intelligence and an honest, open mind.

Guess which one was showered with honors?

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Polls: Remember Carter's "re-election"

Jeffrey Lord:

How Carter Beat Reagan

No matter what the polls say, we should remember the words of advertising great Bill Bernbach:

We are so busy measuring public opinion that we forget we can mold it. We are so busy listening to statistics we forget we can create them.
Poll Games

A forgotten story is finally told

Here's a review from the Economist:

The Vivisection of Poland

THE biggest gap in most histories of the second world war is what happened to Poland. By the war’s end it had lost not only a fifth of its population but also its freedom—despite having fought from the first day to the last against the Germans....

But until Halik Kochanski’s “The Eagle Unbowed” nobody had written a comprehensive English-language history of Poland at war. A British-born historian whose own family’s experiences dot her pages, she weaves together the political, military, diplomatic and human strands of the story. She ranges from the fatal weaknesses of pre-war Poland (divided, cash-strapped and isolated) to the humiliation of Britain’s victory parade in 1946 when the organisers invited Fijians and Mexicans, but not Poles.
(HT: Bieganski the Blog)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Libya: Blunder or scandal?

Stephen Hayes:
Permanent Spin

So we are left with this: Four Americans were killed in a premeditated terrorist attack on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, and for more than a week the Obama administration misled the country about what happened.

This isn’t just a problem. It’s a scandal.

(HT: Beldar who leaves room for a lot of blunder inside the scandal)

Two other pieces that together make the case for SCANDAL:

First, In from the Cold looks at what we knew or should have known prior to the Benghazi attacks.

Who Knew, Redux

Mr. Stevens and his colleagues didn't have to have to die--it's that simple. There were warnings of a possible attack up to three days prior, from Libyan officials and Egyptian intelligence. There are also indications that the Brits knew something was up and shared that information with us, but to no avail. Ambassador Stevens, who reportedly told co-workers he "had a price on his head," elected to travel to the unsecure Benghazi facility, with no dedicated security detail. However, it is unclear if Stevens received the latest threat information before setting out for the consulate.

Next, Mark Steyn weighs the harm done to free expression in the wake of the attack and the spin.
Bowing to the mob

For background, this CSPAN interview with Richard Miniter paints a devastating picture of the Obama style-- lazy, disengaged, and besotted with self-regard.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Michelle Malkin captures the essence of David Brooks

Eddie Haskell Brooks

New York Times columnist David Brooks is the Eddie Haskell of the Fourth Estate. Like the two-faced sycophant in "Leave It to Beaver," Brooks indulges in excessive politeness while currying favor with political authority. He prides himself on an oily semblance of maturity and rational discourse.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Unconventional wisdom

Charles Gasparino
Soft on Wall Street

Among the many falsehoods pushed at last week’s Democratic Convention is that this is the party of the people, unafraid to hold Corporate America responsible for its many ills.

Judging by the records of the last two Democratic administrations, just the opposite appears to be true. Certainly, President Obama and, to some extent, Bill Clinton like to talk a good game in terms of class warfare, but under both men, real corporate crime-fighting has been at best a side issue — despite the immense amounts of white-collar fraud their administrations faced.

In fact, neither Obama nor Clinton can hold a candle to the corporate crime-fighting record of George W. Bush, that supposed lapdog for large corporate interests.

Ross Douthat on a conservative classic

Ross Douthat on a conservative classic

The Quest for Community in the Age of Obama: Nisbet’s Prescience

The whole thing is a gem (as is Nisbet's book) but i thought these two passages help explain why Romney is struggling:

Many conservative politicians have been better friends to big business—ignoring Nisbet’s warning that “decentralization is just as necessary in the operation of the other great associations of modern society”—than they have been foes of big government.

The Ayn Rand Express is just a fast track to defeat.

Worse still, since Obama’s elevation to the presidency, America seems once more divided between “the party of the state” and “the party of the individual.” Conservatives are cracking open Atlas Shrugged and shouting about socialism, but they seem to have lost the appetite for thinking through the problem of community in an individualistic age—which is, of course, precisely the problem that make socialism so appealing in the first place.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


The Katyn Massacre Cover-Up

Winston Churchill had said he he would "sup with the devil" if it would help bring about victory. So he—and Franklin Roosevelt—did. They allied themselves with Stalin, even pretended, at least publicly, that he was a fine man and the Soviet Union an even finer place. Now, with the release of numerous documents from the National Archives about Stalin's murder of over twenty thousand Polish officers and intellectuals in the Katyn forest in 1940, we know in even more detail just how far they were prepared to go to extol and defend the Soviet Union.

Stalin's aim was to break the spirit of the Polish nation, to destroy its governing class. The Nazis discovered the graves in the spring of 1943 and tried to blame the massacre on the Soviets. Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels hoped the announcement would cause dissension among the wartime allies. But Churchill and Roosevelt were having none of it. England had gone to war over Hitler's invasion of Poland in September 1939. Churchill and Roosevelt didn't want to disrupt relations with Stalin, who was always accusing them of trying to cut a separate peace with Berlin. What Katyn indicates, I think, is that the West had effectively given up on Poland's freedom far before the Yalta conference.

The new documents prove that the US government knew that the NKVD committed the atrocity. The public defense of Stalin was a cover-up, not an honest mistake about who did the killings.

Realpolitik explains why FDR and Churchill chose this course. Stalin was a necessary ally in the war with Hitler and Japan. Still, there are some interesting historical threads which deserve to be followed.

Adam Scrupski from 2004

Historians Have Yet to Face Up to the Implications of the Katyn Massacre

No one who was not alive and aware in the United States during the war can imagine the deference to the Soviet Union and its war effort exhibited by Franklin D. Roosevelt's war-time administration and the American media. For example, not only did the Office of War Information blame the Katyn executions on the German army; OWI also implicitly threatened to remove licensure from the Polish language radio stations in Detroit and Buffalo if they did not cease broadcasting the details of the executions. In all the long years when Alan Cranston served as U.S. Senator from California no one mentioned his part as an OWI functionary in the intimidation of the Polish-American radio station managers. The London-based Polish government-in-exile, whose leaders had requested a Red Cross investigation of the affair, was characterized as having "stupidly walked into Goebbels' trap".

Perhaps the OWI functionaries had motives beyond placating a dangerous ally. As Klehr and Haynes note in the book on Venona the OWI was penetrated by by Soviet intelligence. Of special note:

But after the war several members of the OWI's Polish-language section emerged as defenders of the Communist takeover of Poland and as close relatives of officials in the new Polish Communist regime.

Siege of Vienna

First posted 12 September 2003

In the summer of 1683 the Ottoman Turks advanced up the Danube, occupied Hungary, and, in July, laid siege to Vienna. They had 200,00 men and over 300 cannon. The defenders of the city numbered less than 22,000 only 6,000 of whom were regular soldiers; the remainder were civilians pressed into service at the start of the siege.

The relief of the city was complicated by European politics. Louis XIV of France hoped to gain German territory on the Rhine while the Hapsburgs were occupied in the east. To that end, he worked to create am anti-Hapsburg alliance with Hungary and Poland which would deny Austria aid against the Turks. (Incidentally, the Ottoman artillery were commanded by a Frenchman, a former Capuchin no less).

By September, conditions were desperate inside the city- low supplies, disease, and weakening defenses. The Hapsburgs had raised a relief army of only 21,000. But, fortunately, Poland had spurned Louis's maneuvers and sent an army of 24,000 under their King John Sobieski.

On September 12, the two relief armies and the forces inside the city attacked the besiegers. The critical moment came in mid-afternoon when Sobieski sent his cavalry into the heart of the Ottoman camp. The battle became a rout. The next day the Polish king wrote his wife: "the Vizer took such hurried flight that he had time to escape with only one horse."

He also noted the Turks "left behind a mass of innocent Austrian people, particularly women; but they butchered as many as they could." Separate from that slaughter, the Ottomans had sent 67,000 Austrians east as slaves and 14,000 girls to the harems of Constantinople.

Sobieski's troops captured the Ottoman battle flag ("The green standard of the Prophet") in the fighting. This he sent to the Pope with the message "Veni vidi, Deus Vicit" ("I came, I saw, God conquered").

The lifting of the siege is usually marked as the turning point for the Ottoman empire. For centuries they had advanced against Europe, conquering the Byzantium empire, capturing lands in the Balkans and islands in the Mediterranean. After 1683 they began 250 years of retreat. (Funny how many of these critical turning points find the Poles fighting on the right side).

Today is the 329th anniversary of the lifting of the siege.

Monday, September 10, 2012

This is how the world ends

Not with a bang but a tramp stamp

A Few Arguments Against Tattoos
Doctors traced an outbreak of skin infections back to bacteria in the ink.

An editorial in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine drew attention to the outbreak of skin infection caused by tattooing. The bacteria that cause the infection are of the same family as that which causes tuberculosis. They are difficult to detect, grow in culture, or treat.

The infecting bacteria can be transmitted even where the tattoo “artist” practices the strictest hygiene, for it is the inks that have been contaminated before use from sources such as water.

This calls to mind Tom Wolfe's great essay "The Great ReLearning". Jonah Goldberg discusses it here.

Years ago, Tom Wolfe wrote a wonderful essay called the "Great Relearning." He first came upon the idea while reporting on the San Francisco hippie scene in 1968. "At the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic," Wofe wrote, "there were doctors treating diseases no living doctor had ever encountered before, diseases that had disappeared so long ago they had never even picked up Latin names, diseases such as the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot."

The reason all of these diseases turned up is simple. The thousands of hippie migrants seeking free love and communal living had deliberately "thrown off" all the accumulated "bourgeois" hang-ups of their parents. Which meant giving up on showers, sex with people you know by name and other "old fashioned" concepts of hygiene. This in turn brought back creepy-crawlies not seen since the age of toga parties.

Wolfe's essay is here.

Ed Driscoll gets it

‘Operation Demoralize Is Working Just as Planned’

Friday, September 07, 2012

Physician heal thyself

The local paper ran the Cass Sunstein piece on polarization and information cocoons.

It's hard, but electorate can escape from partisan cocoons

I wonder if anyone in the newsroom understands that Sunstein's research applies to them?

Sanctimonious puffery

Clueless in the bubble

Cass Sunstein explains the root cause of Rathergate

The rotten heart of investigative journalism

Journalism and its watchdogs

Poynter is supposed to uphold professional standards and improve the practice of journalism. It's pretty sad when they turn to Wendy Murphy as an expert on covering sexual assault cases.

What Ebony story can teach journalists about covering sexual assault

This is not a one-time lapse in judgement. See this KC Johnson piece from earlier this year:

Poynter and The Serial Fabricator

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The weakness of our current public intellectuals

Or "Our civic debates are getting dumber because our Thought Leaders are greedy and superficial."

Justin Fox:

Niall Ferguson and the Rage Against the Thought-Leader Machine

The path to lucrative thought-leaderdom blazed over the past couple of decades was to establish yourself with dense, serious work (or a big, important job) and then move on to catch-phrase manufacturing (I spent a few weeks following Tom Friedman around in 2005, and learned that he had made this transition very deliberately). Nowadays ambitious young people looking to break into the circuit often just aim straight for the catch-phrases. Speakers bureaus need pithy sales pitches, not complex erudition — and while speaking fees might be spare change for Mitt Romney, for journalists and academics they often represent their only real shot at a top-tax-bracket income.

The result is an intellectual environment that seems to increasingly reward the superficial, and keeps rewarding those who make it into the magic circle of top-flight speakers even if they don't have anything new or interesting to say.

I touched on this a while back in this post:

Conquest's Laws

One of the laws is "everyone is conservative about what he knows best." As i noted then:

In a business context Conquest's Law suggests that those who promote the Next New Thing-- be they consultants, IT salesmen, journalists, or would-be gurus-- fall into one of two categories:

1. Ignorant, naive amateurs whose knowledge of the subject is superficial but whose enthusiasm is genuine.

2. Cynical hucksters who know better but hope their audience does not.

As for the executives who fall prey to the charlatans and enthusiasts, this passage by Andre Maurois often fits:

Like all intelligent men who are not in any way creative, Sir Robert Peel was dangerously sympathetic towards the creations of others. Incapable of formulating a system, he threw himself voraciously on those he came across, and applied them more vigorously than would their inventors.

I hope this book makes it to America soon

The Spy Who Loved by Clare Mulley: review
Miranda Seymour thrills to The Spy Who Loved by Clare Mulley, about the intrepid agent Christine Granville.

Spies like her
A biography of a uniquely brave and complicated patriot

The Spy Who Loved:
The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville by Clare Mulley

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Boring and biased is no way to go through life

The Harrisburg Patriot-News just announced that they will publish only three days a week beginning in January 2013. The editor, Cate Barron, discussed the reasons for this move with our local NPR station (listen here)

As Ms. Barron explained the new strategy, she focussed on forces beyond the control of the paper-- rising production and logistical costs, falling advertising revenue, demographic trends.

They did not discuss one of the few trends that journalists can directly influence: falling public trust in newspapers and journalists. According to Pew Research the credibility of major news organizations is at its lowest point ever measured (they started tracking this in 2002.

This seems important. Newspapers need more paying customers. Yet many potential and former customers view them with suspicion and think that the product is tainted.

The response of most journalists when faced with this problem is to explain it away. Journalism is fine, it is the public that's biased or stupid. This head in the sand posture is an odd stance for a profession that is supposed to look hard facts right in the eye.

They remind me of GM circa 1982. Faced with declining sales and evidence that the public was shifting to foreign cars, Detroit blamed everything and everybody but themselves. It was the high dollar, unfair trade practices, customers who did not know what was good for them, governmental regulations.....

The excuses kept coming while Detroit kept shrinking.

I expect that the MSM will share the same fate.

Most newspapers also suffer because they are boring. One that isn't is the UK's Daily Mail. Not surprisingly, it is enjoying growing readership both on paper and on the web. Its website has more readers that the New York Times.


A badge of honor, but maybe not the best business model

The newspaper today and tomorrow

Lots of good stuff here

Clarice Feldman

Media Madness, and the Reckoning

As it turned out, Mitt Romney headed out to flood stricken Louisiana at the close of the convention, and only after that became known did Obama cancel his fund raising plans elsewhere and head out there, too.

In fact, Obama has a history of ignoring all citizens suffering from catastrophe. In 2009 when an ice storm killed 42 and left millions of Americans without power or water or shelter, Obama hosted a lavish Super Bowl cocktail party with $100/lb Wagyu beef appetizers. Worse, as Chalian was leveling that mendacious, hate-filled charge, Obama was chatting online on Reddit with his supporters, not flying to the scene of the destruction.


An Oldie but a goody

Jonathan Last:

American Narcissus
The vanity of Barack Obama

HT: Steve Sailer

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Joe Paterno and the Freeh Report

The media narrative is running far in front of the known facts. Powerline has several excellent posts:

The case against Joe Paterno: Weak to non-existent on the current record

I am aware that a consensus exists that former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno acted improperly in connection with Penn State’s response to allegations of child molestation committed by one-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. This consensus led to the removal of a statue of Paterno, whose contributions to Penn State as a coach and financial contributor were enormous.

The consensus emerged from the report of Louis Freeh regarding Penn State’s actions related to the sexual abuse committed by Sandusky. But a friend of mine — a top-notch lawyer and former federal prosecutor — has carefully reviewed the Freeh Report. He concludes that the Report does not establish wrongdoing by Joe Paterno. Having now looked at the Freeh Report, I agree.

The case against Joe Paterno, Part Two

Unfortunately, I suspect that the journalists and talking heads who reported that Freeh’s report contains new, damaging evidence regarding Paterno read only the first part of the report. Once one reads the actual evidence, I think it becomes clear that the case against Paterno remains (for now) what it was before Freeh started investigating — that he should have done more, not that he concealed misconduct out of a bad motive. The more damning case that Freeh wants to make is based on speculation, not evidence.

The Freeh report challenged

Twenty-nine former chairs of the Penn State faculty Senate have blasted Louis Freeh and the NCAA in connection with their actions in response to the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal. As to Freeh’s report, they state: “On a foundation of scant evidence, the report adds layers of conjecture and supposition to create a portrait of fault, complicity, and malfeasance that could well be at odds with the truth.”

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Jerry Pournelle on the Obama strategy

Of course the notion is to let a thousand skunk cabbages bloom, and those which become really foul can be disowned. Meanwhile, the steady beat will discourage voters and many of those who have decided they don’t want to vote for Mr. Obama may call a pox on both houses and stay home. The unions continue to get out the vote and the absentee ballots and whatever boxes of votes that can be discovered the day after election day – or a week after if needed – and this will result in the reelection.

It’s possible. Of course it works only if the voters let it. They figure that people who will be so disgusted that they’ll stay home were lost to Obama to begin with. That’s a desperation strategy and it is contemptuous of the American People.


He sounds surprised

Do Business Schools Incubate Criminals?
Scandals Reflect Failure of Business Education

We are dealing with a drop in ethical standards throughout the business world, and our graduate schools are partly to blame.


The way to teach these ethics is not to set up a separate class in which a typically low-ranking professor preaches to students who would rather be somewhere else. This approach, common at business schools, serves only to perpetuate the idea that ethics are only for those students who aren’t smart enough to avoid getting caught.

C. S. Lewis covered this ground eons ago:

And all the time-- such is the tragicomedy of our situation-- we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that our civilisation needs more 'drive' or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. we laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the gelding be fruitful.


I would sooner play cards against a man who was quite skeptical about ethics but bred to believe that 'a gentleman does not cheat' than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had be brought up among sharpers. In battle it is not syllogisms that will keep the reluctant nerves and muscles at their post in the third hour of the bombardment. The crudest sentimentalism (such as Gaius and Titius would wince at) about a flag or a country or a regiment will be of more use. We were told it all long ago by Plato. As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule mere appetites by means of the 'spirited element'. The head rules the belly through the chest-- the seat as Alanus tells us, of Magnanimity, of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments. The chest-- Magnanimity-- Sentiment-- these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.