Friday, March 13, 2015

The Wafer-Thin Mint

         For anyone, such as myself, who has reviled the Clintons for decades, the current stir over Hillary's secret e-mails, which even Foggy Bottom doesn't have access to, may seem like manna from Heaven.
          But not so fast!  After Whitewater, Rose Law Firm, Vince Foster, the Arab Winter, and Benghazi, why this?  It reminds me of the scene in Monty Python and the Meaning of Life where the enormously fat guy explodes because he ate a mint.  Years of skullduggery, and all anyone cares about is her e-mail?  Some might say that it is the straw that broke the camel's back, but I harbor deep suspicions that the news media, who have been consistently uninterested in any story that reflects badly on Obama or the Clintons to this point, are now trying to take down Hillary.  It's like someone who has nearly eaten themselves to death being done in by a mint.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

The Court Party

        Two internet stories present themselves regarding the 60th anniversary of the Selma march.  The first is that the NYT edits George W. Bush out of the photograph of present-day commemorators.  The second is that Mediaite calls out John Boehner and Mitch McConnell for not attending.  Now the obvious conclusion is that if the New York Times edits out Republicans attending Selma, there is no point in Crying John and The Turtle attending anyway.
         The penetrating commentary will be that it is pointless for Boehner and McConnell to pretend to care about liberty while they allow Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to run roughshod over them.  Loretta Lynch, even worse than Eric Holder, is almost certain to be confirmed as AG.  When exactly is the esteemed John Boehner to act as though budget decisions are actually in his hands (as they are)?
          In Illinois, our only Republican Senator, Mark Kirk, is more concerned with gay marriage than with keeping the leftist extremists out of the Federal judiciary.  My congressman, Aaron Schock, says that Apple Computer informed him how important amnesty is.  Then he sends out fundraising letters where he pretends that he opposes amnesty.  And all the while, Congressman Schock has spent millions decorating his offices to look like "Downton Abbey!"  No better analogy for these Republicans exists than the Court Party Whigs, like Robert Walpole, so comfortable with their ministerial privilege that they forgot what Whigs typically believed.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Lynch Mob

          Loretta Lynch will be the new Attorney General thanks to Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), and Jeff Flake (R-Arizona).  The fact that Ms. Lynch expressed an open willingness to disregard the law mattered not a whit to these three men.  


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Clownish Naivete

      I have always thought that John Dewey was a crypto-bolshevik.  While reading Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley, I saw the following attributed to him:  "a renewal of faith in common human nature, in its potentialities in general, and in its power in particular to respond to reason and truth, is a surer bulwark against totalitarianism than a demonstration of material success or a devout worship of special legal and political forms."  In other words, we don't need the Anglo-American legal tradition, the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution.  People are just so extraordinarily wise that they can discern tyrants before they elect them.  Have you ever heard of an educated person being so naive?  Can you imagine why such a writer would be considered sacred writ in education colleges?

          The sunny optimism of assuming that people always support justice and progress.  From John Dewey to Marie Harf, nothing is new under the sun.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Country Party

       Estase has been observing that in many ways the current situation bears resemblance to 18th century Britain.   During the reign of Queen Anne, the Tories started to self-destruct by their open Jacobitism.  As a result, there was no longer a real Tory/Whig conflict anymore.  As someone once said, in the late eighteenth century the two parties were the Whigs and the fools.  The real conflict became one between Court Party Whigs, who tolerated expansive government, and Country Party Whigs, who did not.   Another terminology was "Real Whigs" or "Commonwealthmen," as denoting people who were old line Whigs of the type of Locke and Collins.
           The term "TEA Party" has become current in contrast to the mainstream Republicans, who basically want an economy version of the liberal agenda.   Such conservatives revile John Boehner and his accomodationist version of Republicanism, which has little to say about hot-button issues like immigration, other than a willingness to grant amnesty.  To use the language of the Elegant Eighteenth, John Boehner is a Court Party politician.  Expansive executive power bothers him not a whit.  Other than the fact that Robert Walpole was a genius with money, and John Boehner pours it out like water, John Boehner could be the reincarnation of Flimnap.  
            Many conservatives like to point out the elitism of referring to middle America as "flyover country."  How appropriate it would be to rename the TEA party the Country Party.  A counter to the unchecked power of the executive is just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Foggy Bottom: Smarter Than the Peasants Since 1792

         You know you really have to hand it to the State Department.  Just one day after my blogpost "Don't Monkey With a Buzzsaw" came out, the striped-pants brigade opined that Vladimir Putin was an Asperger's patient, thus explaining his "authoritarianism."  Oh, OK.  So if you won't cooperate with the U.S., you have a medical problem.  Very respectful of a foreign head of state.
           Perhaps instead of "Striped-pants brigade," I should call Foggy Bottom "the Striped-skirt brigade."   A blonde with Zooey Deschanel glasses named Marie Harf (rhymes with "barf?") came out yesterday, saying that ISIS was a problem because of lack of economic opportunity.  Yes, really.  Today, Ms. Harf is claiming that her critics (i.e.:  people with active central nervous systems) "lack nuance."  So, in other words, if you think that ISIS are cold-blooded ideological butchers, you just aren't terribly smart.  Foggy Bottom:  Smarter Than the Peasants Since 1792.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Practical Men Not Suited to Crises

       "And I am particularly amazed by this feature of the philosopher's argument, that people who admit their incapacity for steering in calm weather--because they have never learned how or wanted to know--these same people offer to take the helm in the greatest storms.  They make a habit of saying openly, and even boasting, that they have neither studied nor taught anything about the methods of organizing and preserving commonweaths, and they think that such knowledge belongs not to wise and learned men but to men of practical experience in these areas.  But then what is the sense of promising their aid to the commonwealth under the pressure of necessity when they have no idea of how to guide a commonwealth when there is no such necessity, something that is much easier to do?  For my own part, even if it were true that a philosopher should not willingly lower himself to take part in civic affairs, but should not refuse to do so under the compulsion of a crisis, still I would think that the knowledge of public administration is something that philosophers should by no means neglect, because they ought to prepare in advance whatever they might need, even if they do not know whether they actually will."  Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Re Publica, Book I, Paragraph Eleven (Zetzel trans.)