Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Clintons continue to cover-up for something that the media promises us is nothing

But Jon Stewart assures his sycophants in the MSM that there in no Benghazi scandal

AP: Hillary used more than one device for e-mail while SecState
I wish that the MSM would remember Ben Bradlee's lodestar when the WaPo was the only paper pushing the Watergate investigation:

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.
I also wish the press would stop acting surprised when they discover that the Clintons tell lies. Jonah Golberg from two years ago:

Hillary, Benghazi, and the continuing cover-up
A lot of people in Washington apparently forgot how good Hillary Clinton is at not telling the truth.

Wednesday, in her testimony before both the Senate and, later, the House, Clinton brilliantly fudged, dodged and filibustered. Of course, she's a pro. Clinton was slow-walking depositions, lawyering up and shifting blame when many of her questioners were still civilians down on the farm.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Seeing Time

The early Greek imagination envisaged the past and present as in front of us-- we can see them. The future, invisible, is behind us.... Paradoxical though it may sound to the modern ear, this image of our journey through time may be truer to realty than the medieval and modern feeling that we face the future as we make our way forward into it.
Bernard Knox:
Backing into the Future: The Classical Tradition and Its Renewal (1994)

Monday, March 16, 2015

I wish this viewpoint would receive a hearing

David Warsh:

In fact, many sophisticated Europeans and Americans share the basic Russian view of the situation. They see the campaign to expand NATO to Russia’s southern borders as the fundamental cause of Ukrainian civil war.

Very true

Alan Weiss:

There is no reward for wrestling ideas to the ground and stomping the life out of them. There is a consequence, however, for a closed mind.


But, tell me, why do Democrats assume a hard-drinking 68-year-old who suffered brain damage in a domestic fall two years ago that took her six months to get over will be more on top of her game in 2016 than she was at age 60 in 2008?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lena Dunham

RS McCain:

Lena Dunham is a selfish brat who has been protected all her life from the consequences of her own irresponsibility. Never once in her life has she done anything decent or generous, and instead has made a career of corrupting our culture. She has earned a reputation for dishonest cruelty. Like all such monsters, she cannot stand it when people tell the truth about her. And now she seeks pity as a victim?
I thought of Dunhan when i read Jerome Tuccille's discussion of Martha Gellhorn and her first novel What Mad Pursuit

The book was met with tepid reviews, with most critics unimpressed by her story of three college girls searching for something to believe in as they drank too much and exposed themselves to veneral disease and unwanted pregnancies. The Buffalo Evening News called the novel 'hectic,' and the New York Times said it was crude....It would be more likable if Miss Gelhorn were not so enamored of her own heroine, and if she did not dabble so ineffectually with questions of social justice."
Sounds a lot like Girls

Gellhorn took the criticism to heart

Martha herself was late embarrassed by her novel and refused o bring it back into print after it disappeared from view shortly after it was published.
She moved past solipsistic fiction and became one of out most famous war correspondents.

In contrast,, the critics have lauded everything Lena Dunham does, has done, or might do. A sort of mass hysteria has taken hold.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What do Don Imus and SAE have in common?

Each were at the center of a media firestorm which came at a suspiciously convenient time for the MSM

Emmanuel Goldstein is always a red herring

Remember that the Imus scandal happened right after the Duke hoax fell completely apart. But the Imus story was SO IMPORTANT that the MSM did not have time to discuss the mistakes they made in Durham or the lies they told about the lacrosse players. As i wrote at the time:

One story allows talking heads parade their noble moral sensibility in front of the cameras. The other one highlights their intellectual shortcomings and moral corruption. Which one is filling the airwaves?
See also here.

And it is worth noting, that hateful speech by media figures (both before and after the Imus imbroglio) did not elicit the same around the clock talking head outrage:

Some one owes Don Imus and Nancy Reagan an apology
So now, the most important story in the world is the crude antics of some frat boys on a bus.

Awfully convenient that the SAE story "broke" just after the media-generated hoax in Ferguson, Misouri came crashing down around their heads.

The problem with iconoclasts

Allan Millett:

To some degree, JFC Fuller and Basil H. Liddell Hart provided the public forum for such discussion, but their thirst for celebrity status, book royalties, and international influence as well as their vitrtiolic attacks on the army leadership made their writings suspect with the political and military establishment.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Forgotten chapters in the story of the “Bonus Army”

Every history of the New Deal tells the story of the Bonus Army and Herbert Hoover’s response to it. (Wikipedia) It’s a melodramatic story of a heartless Republican who is swayed by the paranoid fantasies of J. Edgar Hoover and orders his power-crazed Army commander drive the poor huddled masses out of the capital of the country they fought for. People were gassed and beaten; several died.

Barricaded inside the White House, lacking the political instincts to deal with the Bonus Army in a firm but conciliatory fashion, misunderstanding popular attitudes toward it, Hoover had committed and enormous public relations blunder.
A. L. Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy
But the Good and True had their revenge. His action against the protesting veterans helped seal his fate. He loses the 1932 election to FDR and sunlight and happiness return to America.

But what of the Bonus Marchers?

Until I read Jerome Tuccille’s Hemingway and Gellhorn I did not know THE REST OF THE STORY.

This was a problem because I was a history major and covered the New Deal in at least a half-dozen undergraduate and graduate classes. Took a look at the books in my shelves to see what they said about FDR and the Bonus Marchers. From the oldest idolatry-laden volumes to new histories by historians I respect, the story is incomplete.

So here it is.

FDR was no more willing to have the Bonus Army camp out in Washington than was Herbert Hoover. When some veterans came to Washington for his inauguration, he made sure their encampment was in far away Virgina.

In 1935, FDR actually vetoed a bill to pay the Bonus early.

But FDR did play the PR game better than Hoover. He placated the veterans, sent his wife to their encampment for a photo op, and got them out of DC area as quickly as possible.

Some of the veterans were given work by Harry Hopkins’s FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) and sent to worker camps in remote areas.

Hundreds of them ended up in the Florida Keys building and repairing roads.

The camps were primitive, even ramshackle.

In April 1935 an administrator in Florida wrote to Washington and asked that they build several large strong buildings at the camps. “This area is subject to hurricanes and it is our duty… to furnish a safe refuge during a storm.”

Washington ignored him and did nothing.

In September the Keys were hit with a Category Five hurricane. It killed 423 people; 259 of them were veterans who were left to die on small islands with no strong shelter.

Eleanor Roosevelt had no comment.

Ernest Hemingway was at Key West when the storm went through. He saw the devastation and the death. He had plenty of comments.

To his editor Max Perkins:

Harry Hopkins and Roosevelt who sent those poor bonus march guys down here to get rid of them got rid of them all right.
In an article titled “Who Murdered the Vets”:

Whom did they annoy and to whom was their possible presence a political danger? Who sent them down to the Florida Keys and left them there in hurricane months? Who is responsible for their deaths
So there you have the rest of the story. FDR, political expediency, and bureaucratic inertia killed many times more Bonus Marchers than did Hoover, PR ineptitude, and a heavy-handed military response.

But that rarely makes it into the history books or journalist’s hagiographies.

The 'founding fathers' of serious New Deal historiography in the 1950s and early 1960s-- James MacGregor Burns, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and William E. Leuchtenburg-- established a tone that still dominates the study of American politics in the 1930s: a near adulatory perspective, occasionally nagged by a sense that FDR was too 'conservative' to lead us entirely into the promised land of egalitarian social democracy….By and large, most professional historians, up through David Kennedy's recent spendid narrative, still work from within the viewpoint of the founding fathers, or somewhere to the left of it.
A. L. Hamby

Worth a read

The Generation of ’91
It providers further evidence that Victoria Nuland, like Jamie Gorelick, is a true Mistress of Disaster.

Whatever the case, there is ample evidence that the US was in the midst of things, in the form of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s famous phone call to the American ambassador to Ukraine, conveniently taped and made public by the Russians. ....

Strobe Talbott, Clinton’s Rhodes scholarship classmate at Oxford, was at the center of US policy towards Russia throughout the ’90s. A one-time Time magazine journalist, Talbott served as Ambassador-at-Large to the New Independent States before becoming Deputy Secretary of State in 1994.Today he is president of the Brooking Institution....

Talbott’s State Department chief of staff, Nuland, is at the helm of the State Department’s Eurasian affairs today. During the Bush administration she advised Vice President Dick Cheney on the eve of the Iraq invasion and served as US ambassador to NATO.
And remember, Nuland helped push the Benghazi lies and cover-up.

Monday, March 09, 2015

I wish Keviin Williamson would tell us how he really feels

Can we finally—finally!—be done with the Clintons?

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton schemed to subvert record-keeping and transparency rules for reasons that are probably more or less communicated by her surname: The Clintons are creeps and liars and scoundrels and misfits, always have been, always will be. They are the penicillin-resistant syphilis of American politics.
This point is absolutely critical:

When the law does not apply to the lawmakers and law-enforcers, you are not being governed: You are being ruled. And we are ruled by criminals.

If you treat IRS rules the way the IRS treats IRS rules, you go to prison; if you treat federal law the way the secretary of state does, you go to prison. If you treat immigration controls the way our immigration authorities do, you go to prison. If you’re as careless in your handling of firearms as the ATF is, you go to prison. You cook your business’s books the way the federal government cooks its books, you go to prison.

Hillary Clinton is not going to prison. She’s going to release whatever emails she feels like releasing and dare any of you peons or your elected representatives to try to make her do otherwise. You’ll take what she offers, and you’ll like it.

Absolutely fascinating to those of a certain age


The mysterious star who gave us the “Ode to Billie Joe” is revived if not rediscovered.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Stuff Rolling Stone can't say anymore

Michael Bane:

If this was really a sane world, if we lived in a sane world, a no-talent hack like Taylor Swift ... would be washing dishes for Tom Russell.
Found here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Variations on a theme

Theodore Dalrymple,
The Rage of Virginia Woolf

The book is important because it is a naked statement of the worldview that is unstated and implicit in all of Virginia Woolf’s novels, most of which have achieved an iconic status in the republic of letters and in the humanities departments of the English-speaking world, where they have influenced countless young people. The book, therefore, is truly a seminal text. In Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf lets us know without disguise what she really thinks: and what she thinks is by turns grandiose and trivial, resentful and fatuous. The book might be better titled: How to Be Privileged and Yet Feel Extremely Aggrieved.
Carl Rollyson,
A woman of her word

[W]hile a bewildered Virginia Woolf enjoyed the way West brought the world to her, Woolf withdrew from West’s very presence, preferring to dismiss Rebecca because she had dirty fingernails. Bloomsbury was Woolf’s safe haven, but West—certainly just as enamored of creature comforts as Woolf was—journeyed to the Balkans and beyond, to Lebanon and South Africa, in order to understand the nature of the modern world. She was not, in short, afraid of dirtying herself by reporting on great events and movements of the twentieth century, including the Russian Revolution, the New Deal, the Nuremberg and treason trials after the Second World War, and the Cold War.
Theodore Dalrymple,
Small Acts of Disdain

And so, in dealing with her servants, as this interesting book shows, she often managed to think of herself as almost martyred by them; she was always the injured party in any dispute. Her servants worked long hours in harsh conditions, of a kind not met with anywhere in the Western world today, but she nevertheless berated them in her diary and in her letters for their stupidity, their lack of finer feeling or accomplishment, their suspected dishonesty and even their greed when, like Oliver Twist, they asked for more (despite her advanced views, she never offered them more than the going rate, and sometimes a little less, the annual wages of a servant employed by her being at one time no more than one percent of her own annual income). She thought that they were so different in kind from her own class that no real communication could exist between her and them, as if they were aliens from another planet. She wrote repeatedly that subjective understanding of their lives was impossible for her.
Virginia Woolf letter (1928) [From Joseph Pearce, Bloomsbury and Beyond

I have just had a most shameful and distressing interview with dear Tom Eliot, who may be called dead to us all from this day forward. He has become an Anglo-Catholic believer in God and immortality, and goes to church. I was shocked. A corpse would seem to me more credible than he is. I mean, there's something obscene in a living person sitting by the fire and believing in God.
Theodore Dalrymple, "Rage of Virginia Woolf"

If the good life is a matter of judgment, the war proved that all her adult life she had none. My mother, with her wrench by day and helmet by night, did more for civilization (a word that Mrs. Woolf enclosed in quotation marks in Three Guineas, as if did not really exist) than Mrs. Woolf had ever done, with her jeweled prose disguising her narcissistic rage.

Had Mrs. Woolf survived to our time, however, she would at least have had the satisfaction of observing that her cast of mind—shallow, dishonest, resentful, envious, snobbish, self-absorbed, trivial, philistine, and ultimately brutal—had triumphed among the elites of the Western world.

Could the US break apart like post-Tito Yugoslavia?

Sobering Before you say ‘no, of course not’ read this assessment and warning from XX Committee.

Yugoslavia’s Warning to America
Only a fool or a charlatan will deny the ominous parallels.

Note—the author is warning, not predicting: He believes there is still time to avoid Yugoslavia’s fate.

Yet the collapse of Yugoslavia offers several cautionary tales to Americans today, and if they are wise they will heed them and set the United States on a correction course before it is too late. As one who witnessed the dreadful collapse of Yugoslavia and its terrible aftermaths — including the seemingly permanent impoverishment of Southeastern Europe, mired in crime, corruption, and extremism — I would very much like America to discover a far happier fate.

The fate of Yugoslavia was anything but preordained. The United States, whatever its problems, is a far richer and better-run state than anything created by Tito. But the same threats lurk, particularly those of economic degradation caused by debt and made impossible to fix thanks to toxic racial politics. America need not become a vast Balkan horror show — I think it’s more likely in coming decades to become a huge nuclear-armed Brazil, with entrenched economic inequality, often among racial lines, that I find noxious and unworthy of our country — but the fate of Yugoslavia must be avoided at all costs. Our next Civil War would be much more vicious and protracted than the last one, have no illusions.
I also found this discussion interesting but also a little scary:

after the early 1950s, the repressive state apparatus didn’t have to throw many dissidents in prison, as public shaming, including threats of unemployment and loss of housing, cowed most would-be complainers into towing the party line, at least in public.

Orwell meets Sartre

A Totalitarian Wind

Monday, March 02, 2015

Max Peak MSM Blue Bubble

It has to be the media slobbering over Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.

It is not just that they praise him. It is their blithe assumption that all right-thinking people, all thinking people, join in their Hosanas. Critical thinking and nuance are almost wholly absent in the MSM commentary.

They fawn over him when they assess his achievements. Worse, they assume that fawning is the only correct critical posture.

Take NPR’s “On the Media” program and its handling of Colbert and Stewart. Take it, first, because it is supposed to be a critical look at all things media. And, also, because you, the average non-lefty taxpayer are helping to pay these people.

When Colbert left his show, host Brooke Gladstone practically anointed him a saint:

Stephen Colbert, is a brilliant comedian who uses his power for good. He seems to be a modest man. Too modest, perhaps, to see that by lightly shedding the cap of his creation he’s depriving us all of a national treasure. And I’m not joking.
Gladstone and Bob Garfield did not pretend that Colbert was balanced, objective, or anything but a liberal.

Colbert, in the character of a right-wing blowhard, has used irony as a bludgeon against conservative Republicans for 9 years.
Fake pundit Stephen Colbert contained multitudes: political pitchman; self-righteous hack; pompous patriot; sloppy sentimentalist; and of course, oblivious, ignorant boob.
They are so deep inside the bubble that they do not think they have anything to hide. They can dismiss Rush Limbaugh with his vast audience as merely a “right-wing blowhard” while praising comedians with much smaller followings as significant historical figures.

Seen from outside the bubble the Daily Show is your average hit on cable. In comparative terms, its audience is pitifully small. Megyn Kelly and Duck Dynasty reruns “destroy” Stewart in the ratings. More millennials get their news from the old tired evening network news broadcasts.

Yet, inside the bubble, The Daily Show is one of the MOST IMPORTANT PROGRAMS IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISIONS!!!!!!!!!!!

[Yeah, they took it to Eleven]

Brooke Gladstone:

"We've all heard year after year, 'The Daily Show makes me feel like I'm not crazy'"
This is Max Bubbliciousness.

Not only does Gladstone know people who say stupid stuff, she apparently knows many, many people who think this way.

And she thinks all of us think this way and know many people who also think this way.

Inside the bubble, they depend on the mugging of a moderately talented hack comic and his carefully selected videos to hold onto their sanity.

On the Media loves to go against the grain. They usually make special efforts to bring on perspectives that they feel are under-represented in mainstream media. After the Paris atrocities and “Je suis Charlie”, they wondered if the journal went to far and if the demonstrations for free speech might strengthen “islamaphobia” and right-wing nationalism. They love to push back against over-wrought narratives on the dangers of terrorism and epidemics.

Yet when it came to Stewart and Colbert, they joined the coastal narrative and sang “Hosana” as loud as anyone.

It is not as if it is hard to find opposing opinions. For many years the right has questioned the honesty of Stewart’s critical pose when he plays the “clown nose” game. Yet, Gladstone did not mention this, she simply blessed TDS and Stewart for giving us “" a clear-eyed lesson in integrity“" each night.

David Marcus in the Federalist punctured many of the pretentions of Stewart and his fans.

Jon Stewart Was Never A Newsman

Jon Stewart is the perfect poster child for the unhealthy, smug age of outrage we live in. The partisan gulf, from the cliffs of which we scream at each other, grew wider when Stewart attained the mantle of legitimate newsman. Instead of worrying that those who disagree with us would discredit our ideas, we came to worry that we would be mocked like a middle schooler wearing the wrong color on Thursday.
NR’s Kevin Williamson was also brutally clear-headed:

Mr. Stewart is among the lowest forms of intellectual parasite in the political universe, with no particular insights or interesting ideas of his own, reliant upon the very broadest and least clever sort of humor, using ancient editing techniques to make clumsy or silly political statements sound worse than they are and then pantomiming outrage at the results, the lowbrow version of James Joyce giving the hero of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man the unlikely name of Stephen Dedalus and then having other characters in the novel muse upon the unlikelihood of that name. His shtick is a fundamentally cowardly one, playing the sanctimonious vox populi when it suits him, and then beating retreat into “Hey, I’m just a comedian!” when he faces a serious challenge. It is the sort of thing that you can see appealing to bright, politically engaged 17-year-olds.

His audience is not made up of bright, politically engaged 17-year-olds. But Mr. Stewart has pulled off a pretty neat trick: He has, as the half-million or so headlines mentioned above indicate, made fake news into real news, and it is not an accident that the verb “destroys” so often follows his name. Mr. Stewart is the leading voice of the half-bright Left because he is a master practitioner of the art of half-bright vitriolic denunciation. His intellectual biography is that of a consummate lightweight
Gladstone and Garfield do not have to agree with Marcus or Williamson. Honest critic/reporters, especially those who operate as a public trust, would at least acknowledge their viewpoint and, maybe, have them on as guests.

Inside the Bubble, however, credible critics of Jon Stewart do not exist.

Which makes Marcus and Williamson’s point in spades.