"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it."-Winston S. Churchill

"The wandering scholars were bound by no lasting loyalties, were attached by no sentiment of patriotism to the states they served and were not restricted by any feeling of ancient chivalry. They proposed and carried out schemes of the blackest treachery."-C.P. Fitzgerald.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

David Brooks' Column... 

....in this morning's New York Times proves once again why Bill Keller's decision to hire the former National Review columnist was a masterstroke of Editorial page management. This damning column, so filled with faint praise for Democratic frontrunner John Kerry, is a searing indictment of Kerry as a dimestore phony who rails against "Special Interests" on the one hand while taking special interest money on the other hand (such as $10,000 in Chinese People's Liberation Army swag raised by our old friend, Johnny Chung). But it is done with a curiously soft touch that only adds to Brooks' newfound reputation as the best writer on the Times' Op-Ed page.

Bill Keller, the Managing Editor of the Times, has a self-confidence that his predecessor, Howell Raines, lacked. Raines turned the Times, and its world-famous Op-Ed page, into a soapbox for Raines' pet issues (such as his obsession with Augusta National). Reading the Op-Ed page during the Raines Era was like watching a train crewed by the Devil and his Minions plough into a station wagon filled with innocent Girl Scouts in very slow motion.

One could observe Paul Krugman's increasingly frustrated search for the Great Whale of Scandal that would undo the very core of the Bush Administration. Krugman's obsessive hatred of Bush was but a mere reflection of the tragedy that occurs when an academic loses the "fruit cup or carrot cake" battle during the planning for the annual Faculty Luncheon. Bob Herbert, who occupied the Harry Belafonte Chair on the Op-Ed page, never ceased to remind his readers that George Bush and the Republican Party were just two crossbeams, a can of kerosene, and a couple of burlap bags short of a decent cross-burning. Frank Rich, the Times former theater critic-and a man responsible for more unemployment in the New York Theater community than he might care to admit-remained what he was: a theater critic giving voice to the Upper West Side's take on Amerikkka. Finally, one could follow Maureen Dowd's descent into madness, a consequence of her loathing of George Walker Bush and her intense jealously of his wife, Laura. The inconsequential flightiness and breezy condescension of a Dowd Column became legendary among bloggers on the right. For Dowd, wordplay and sentence structure was a substitute for rational argument.

Only Bill Safire, light unto the nations, remained as the Wandering Jew in the Darkness.

All of this was tolerated, nay, encouraged by Howell Raines. And it would have remained that way had Jayson Blair not happened on the scene to embarrass Raines and drive him from the throne. After an interregnum, Bill Keller was chosen as the replacement, and he knew that he needed to bring in a conservative voice to the page. He chose David Brooks. The rest is history. Keller is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, by the way, but at least he had the intellectual courage to go looking outside the shop for some new blood, and new thinking.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Bush Lied, Polonius Died... 


I have been informed by my cousin, Marty Fugate, features editor at Sarasota, Florida's Longboat Observer that I am in need of a correction. In my Jonah Goldberg/Andrew Sullivan post of a two days ago, I made the following remarks:
I cite Roe because what the gay community is doing is to go against what I call the Constitutional Chain of Being. Naturally, I shamelessly ripped this off from Shakespeare's Histories and Tragedies. When the King is killed in Macbeth, the "chain of being" is broken by an act of regicide. All sorts of things begin to happen in the Heavens and the Earth that lead, eventually, to the death of virtually the entire cast. Polonius, the new Caesar, walks in to reestablish order.

Marty, God bless him, brought me up short in a phone call from his office. Polonius was the blowhard in the play, who gave always insightful advice, such as "neither a borrower nor a lender be". It was Macduff who showed up, late from dealing with the Polack, to restore order out of chaos.

My apologies to any readers. It is my policy to correct errors of fact whenever they are brought to my attention.

However, Polonius is still dead. So are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Bush Lied, They Died.

Be Very Afraid.... 

Apparently, the first screenshots from Planetary Senshi Sailor Moon are up. Oh my Dear Freaking God!

You know, after viewing these stills, my first thoughts were that if Jesus Christ could tap dance, we would call him "Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ".

Luna the Cat is an animate CG plushie. And Tuxedo Kamen's mask is, well, "cut out". If you are brave, go here to see shots from the first episode. It takes time to load, but the money shot (aside from the facial expressions on the blue plushie cat after Usagi falls on her) has to be Ami's platinum blue wig that she wears after transformation. Got mannequin?

This stuff is an absolute, must-see howler.

This is the only thing that tempers the dread that I feel on the news that a live-action version of Neon Genesis Evangelion is being produced (with assistance from Peter Jackson's Sideshow WETA, I might add). I should also point out that Spielberg is in pre-production for a live-action Lupin III movie.

But nothing, nothing, passes the smell test like Live Action Sailor Moon.

Tenet's Smackdown 

Yesterday, at Georgetown University, George Tenet cleared the air about whether or not the Central Intelligence Agency was pressured by Big Bad Dick Cheney and His Goons to manufacture intelligence estimates. Courtesy of Citizen Smash, allow me to cite the money quote:

Let me be clear: Analysts differed on several important aspects of these programs and those debates were spelled out in the estimate.

They never said there was an imminent threat. Rather, they painted an objective assessment for our policy-makers of a brutal dictator who was continuing his efforts to deceive and build programs that might constantly surprise us and threaten our interests. No one told us what to say or how to say it.

Read the entire transcript here.

A fine point-by-point analysis of the speech can be found at Gregory Djerejian's Belgravia Dispatch. Almost as important is Gregory's take on the liberal reaction to George Tenet's counterstroke against the "imminent" meme, which can be found here. Apparently, the New York Times is in full spin mode, as they are eager to maintain the "imminent" meme as a bow in John Kerry's campaign quiver.

Not to be outdone, the Senator from Massachusetts had this reaction (full text) to Tenet's address:
“Today, the CIA Director, George Tenet, admitted that the intelligence agencies never told the White House that Iraq posed an imminent threat.  But that’s not what the Bush White House told the American people. They said Iraq posed a ‘mortal threat,’ an ‘urgent threat,’ an ‘immediate threat,’ a ‘serious threat,’ and, yes, an ‘imminent threat’ to the people of the United States

I will bet you even money that that is not the impression gathered by even the most casual listner to Tenet's speech. The intellectual charlatanism of this response speaks more about John Kerry than it does about Tenet or Bush. The Kerry people, at one with their outriders at the Times and other Big Media outlets, have decided that a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse. So they have chosen, deliberately and with malice aforethought, to lie.

But that's politics, I suppose.

What is reassuring to me is that my doubts about George Tenet appear to have been misplaced. If he is rebuilding HUMINT and giving the President the straight skinny six days a week, then that is all that I or anyone else should hope for.

Except for Dowd, of course, who Djerejian expects to be in full, breezy roar within a very short period of time. Just for yuks, I think I'll give her next column (which will, in all likelihood, be about Tenet's speech) a good, full throated Fisking. Just so I can say that I did it, and deserve a wee bit o' the Creature for my efforts.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Jonah Goldberg 

...has a superb article up in today's NRO about the contention that America is more divided today than it has ever been. In this biting essay, filled to the brim with proper historical perspective, is a solid rebuttal of the contention of the Democratic assertion that Bush has necessarily divided America any more than it is.

A good, solid piece of conservative journalism. Well done, Jonah.

Meantime, I've had correspondence with Andrew Sullivan about the Massachusetts Supreme Court's assertion of a right to same-sex marriage in the Commonwealth's Constitution. About gay marriage I couldn't care less. About state's rights and the primacy of the legislature in lawmaking, I have a supreme interest. Sullivan appears to say (in his letter to me, anyway) that, as "Separate but Equal" was struck down in Brown v. Board of Education, I should have no problem with the Massachusetts' courts action, as it was merely interpreting the law.

My problem with Sullivan's reasoning lies in the subsequent conduct of the Court, about which I will discuss further on. Brown, as every man and boy, woman, transgendered, and gender neutral individual in Multicultural America understands, was the decision that overturned Plessy v. Ferguson, the McKinley-era decision that gave color of authority to Jim Crow. Now then, it is important to understand that a properly restrained Court in 1954 did not outlaw segregation. "Separate but Equal" may have been struck down, but it was not until the Congress spoke in 1964 that de jure segregation was outlawed in this country. That's right; Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall did not attempt to have the court force the Congress or any other entity to impose Brown as the law of the land. Instead, they wisely made a large coalition in the Congress and in the nation that led, inexorably, to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In choosing the hard path, King, Marshall and their allies made a consensus on Civil Rights much more enduring. Condoleezza Rice remembers that when she walked into a formerly "whites only" restaurant with her parents in Birmingham the day after Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into Law, the patrons looked up, stared for a moment, then went back to what they were eating. The South of Gone With the Wind had passed into History.

The contrast with Roe v. Wade, for instance, cannot be more stark. Roe was a decision that imposed the Court's view on abortion on the nation at the point of a bayonet. Only because we are law-abiding folk did the people automatically follow the Court's ruling. But it was a mistake that was beyond anyone's understanding in those days. Abortion was culturally accepted in the Seventies (I knew a girl who had one; she had been knocked up by her boyfriend and decided to terminate the pregnancy). But it was not accepted by traditional America. There was no attempt to come to a consensus on that issue. It was imposed from a court that had ruled in favor of the liberal interest groups that had brought the case from Texas to Washington. Those interest groups looked on their opponents not as fellow Americans, but as hypocritical rubes from the NASCAR circuit about which a reasonable discussion could not take place. It was a mistake.

I cite Roe because what the gay community is doing is to go against what I call the Constitutional Chain of Being. Naturally, I shamelessly ripped this off from Shakespeare's Histories and Tragedies. When the King is killed in Macbeth, the "chain of being" is broken by an act of regicide. All sorts of things begin to happen in the Heavens and the Earth that lead, eventually, to the death of virtually the entire cast. Polonius, the new Caesar, walks in to reestablish order. In Western societies, the issues are supposed to be fought out in Parliament by the people's deputies. When that is done, the issue is decided and is considered closed until someone in the Legislature convinces enough people to bring it up again. No one can say that the issue has not been decided by the people's representatives! The Chain of Being is held together. When this does not occur, as in Roe, the issue remains unsettled. March for Life still draws hundreds of thousands of people because a growing number of people don't accept Roe as settled law. They see it as an act of judicial fiat that has led to the executions of millions of unborn children.

I would argue that as a result of judicial fiat, the issue remains as corrosive to the body politic as it was in Jimmy Carter's time. And that is happening again in Massachusetts. Gay advocacy groups have chosen to use the Massachusetts Court to impose a new opinion on the citizens of that state. There was no attempt to go to the legislature and seek a consensus, nor was there an attempt to persuade the public on Civil Rights and Individual Liberties grounds. In their latest stunt, the majority on the Court has chosen, in an opinion, to dictate to the State Legislature a timeline for a mandatory passage of a new law codifying the Court's decision. Sullivan justifies their action thus:

I don't believe people's basic civil rights should be up to a majority vote. That's why we have courts at all - to check majority tyranny. (When was the last time you heard a conservative worry about democratic tyranny?) I do believe in the process of debate, winning over the public, and doing this legislatively if at all possible - because it makes the reform more stable.

The end does tend to justify the means here just a bit, one might think. We have courts to adjudicate cases criminal and civil and to interpret the laws as they are written by the legislature. They were not created, as courts, to protect a minority from tyranny. The fact that minority rights tend to be protected in this country is a happy consequence of the larger issue of the protection of individual rights, not the other way around.

Sullivan would much rather go through the legislature, as he correctly understands that such a reform would be not only more "stable", but also much more accepted by the voters. But, if he can't get what he wants through the legislature, then he has no problem imposing his opinion by judicial diktat at bayonet point.

Andrew Sullivan's problem, it seems to me, is that he automatically asserts that gay marriage is a basic civil right and that should settle the issue. Now there may be no problem with that assertion, but it is an assertion, not a law. Unfortunately, there are tens of millions of people in this country who disagree with him (For the record, I'm not one of them, although I am partial to civil unions as opposed to "gay marriage". My brother is gay, out, and is in a long term relationship with another man. This colors my thinking somewhat, but not on the issue of the Constitutional order.). Just because Sullivan cannot convince them of the rightness of his cause does not relieve him of the obligation of going to the legislature and risking the judgment of the electorate.

Please, Andrew. That's the hard road, but it is the better road.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

I promise... 

... to get back into the blogging business this week. Much has changed. The End is Near, etc., etc.. Lots of activity around the house in an attempt to get it ready for sale. However, I'll try to begin a daily reckoning beginning this Monday.

Be Seeing You,


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?