Sunday, December 31, 2006

Of Note 

Impeachment as a 'Coup' : Open Letter to Henry Hyde, Chairman House Judiciary Committee

Jerome M. Zeifman, December 14, 1998


As you know, although I continue to be a Democrat, I am fully in support of your present efforts to impeach President Clinton. In that regard it is particularly distressing that ranking Democrat John Coyners (my friend of some thirty years) and the congressional Black Caucus (which I have long supported) are currently charging you and me and other proponents of impeachment of attempting a "coup".

Were I a Republican member of Congress during the upcoming impeachment debate I would as a "matter of personal privilege" request that charging me and others with conspiring in a "coup" against the government be stricken from both the Committee record and the House record. I am deeply saddened by the use of such a word, which at best is spin, if not demagoguery. In simple terms, the removal of President Clinton will not replace him with Bob Dole, but will do no more than make Democrat Al Gore President.

Ironically, as reflected in my recent book and personal diary, at the time of Watergate the position then taken by Mr. Conyers and the Congressional Black caucus was an effort to replace Republican Nixon with a Democrat, then-speaker Carl Albert.

On October 12, 1973, to replace recently resigned Spiro Agnew, President Nixon nominated House Minority Leader Gerald Ford to be our new Vice President. The highly respected Ford had the support of Democrats Speaker Carl Albert and Majority Leader Tip O’Neill as well as the Republicans. When his confirmation was referred to the Judiciary Committee for consideration, it seemed certain that there would be no trouble.

The committee had just started work on Ford’s confirmation when all hell broke loose in the capital. On October 20, vexed by Archibald Cox’s subpoena for his White House tapes, the President had ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson resigned rather than d this. William Ruckelahaus, now acting Attorney General, also refused to fire Cox, and was sacked by Nixon. Solicitor General Robert Bork was next in line. Unflinchingly, Bork fired Cox. The media called it the Saturday Night Massacre. The firing of Cox aroused a new outcry for impeachment. Eighty-four members of Congress introduced impeachment resolutions. On October 24, Speaker Albert referred the resolutions to the Judicial Committee and directed us to act on them.

During the Ford confirmation proceedings it was the position of the Congressional Black Caucus, Father Robert Drinan, Elizabeth Holtzman, and Wayne Owens that Ford should not be confirmed and that Nixon should be impeached--which would have made Democrat Carl Albert president. This would have been the very type of "coup" that Conyers, Holtzman, Drinan and others are now falsely charging against the Republicans.

At our hearings blacks Conyers, Rangel, and Clarence Mitchell of the NAACP (all my personal friends) argued (falsely) that, as Minority Leader, Ford had attempted to derail every major civil rights law authored by former Democratic Judiciary committee Chairman Emanuel Celler. Jordan characterized Ford’s civil rights voting record as "trying to stall a train as long as possible and jumping on when the train is moving and there is nothing left to do."

Despite the objections of the Congressional Black Caucus by November 20, every head count in the House and Senate predicted that Ford would be confirmed. The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration unanimously approved his nomination. During that period I made, among others, the following entries in my diary:

November 26. 1974: We held the last confirmation hearing today with an additional three-and-one-half hours of cross-examination of Ford… In all, the total hearings consumed about thirty-seven hours--of which about nineteen hours consisted of questions addressed directly to Ford by members of the committee. The truth is that no one has really laid a glove on Ford in terms of demonstrating any form of basic corruption or criminality.

November 28: I had scheduled a staff meeting in the morning to complete a proposed draft of the committee report on the Ford confirmation. In the middle of the meeting Rodino called. He is afraid that if he votes to confirm Ford, the blacks and liberals in his district will be distressed. I spent a long time listening to him expound on the possibility of voting to report the confirmation to the full House--and then switching his vote on the House floor to "no." Later in the day we talked further about it. He said he had spoken to Ford privately and had told him that he would help get the confirmation out of committee and onto the floor, but that he might have to vote against him during the recorded votes on the floor. He said that Ford was very understanding and thanked him for his handling of the whole situation in the committee.

November 30: The committee voted to confirm Ford... Rodino voted with the majority. The meeting went well. (T)he members behaved themselves fairly well except for Holtzman, who was sanctimonious and tried to prevent the issue from even being brought to a vote. She brought a formal motion to table the confirmation, then insisted stridently that the committee debate her motion. Even though Rodino advised her gently that under House rules motions to table are not debatable, she started shouting. Rodino had to gavel her down. Tonight I am trying to rest. As I sit in bed recording this tape, the following radio newscast is on the air. "Gerald Ford was confirmed as the Vice President of the United States by the House of Representatives this afternoon by a vote of 387 to 35. He replaces Spiro Agnew. Ford was sworn into office about 90 minutes later during a joint meeting of the Congress as his wife and the President stood beside him. There was never any question about the Ford confirmation, only how soon it would come and how extensive the opposition. ...In the House, the "no" votes totaled 35, all from California, New York, and Massachusetts. Ten of the 16 black members of the House opposed Gerald Ford."

Rodino voted against Ford. After the vote Frank Polk [then--minority counsel) asked me whether this was a matter of conscience or politics... A lot of other people have already asked me that. Several years later, one of Rodino’s detractors was to write: "When Ford’s name was finally placed in nomination, Rodino remarked that never before had any man undergone such an investigation and emerged so well. So what did Rodino do? He voted against confirmation."

Later Rodino was to explain that his vote on the floor in no way reflected on Ford’s integrity or qualifications. Rodino, who represents a largely black constituency, said he voted "no" because he had a fundamental difference In perception with Ford on the government’s role "in serving the needs of all of our citizens." "But," Rodino added, "Jerry wrote me a beautiful letter afterwards."


The present House Democrats who are characterizing the pending articles of impeachment as an attempt at a "coup" are bringing dishonor on themselves and the Democratic Party. Former Rodino Committee members Drinan, Holtzman, Rangel, and Owens (all of whom also opposed the confirmation of Gerald Ford) are similarly dishonoring themselves and our party. As a classical liberal Democrat I am proud to have served as a counsel to the Judiciary Committee under Chairman Emanuel Celler when he successfully brought about the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Acts. I am also proud to be among the supporters of the four Articles of Impeachment against William Jefferson Clinton currently pending in the House.


Jerome M. Zeifman

Former chief counsel, House Judiciary Committee (1973-1974)........................................................

Here is President Ford's view on rebuking Clinton.

Here is Ronald Reagan, running against Ford in the '76 primaries:

""Wandering without aim" describes the United States' foreign policy. Angola is a case in point. We gave just enough support to one side to encourage it to fight and die, but too little to give them a chance of winning. And while we're disliked by the winner, distrusted by the loser, and viewed by the world as weak and unsure. If detente were the two-way street it's supposed to be, we could have told the Soviet Union to stop its trouble-making and leave Angola to the Angolans. But it didn't work out that way."

Here is Ronald Reagan's impromptu '76 party unity speech, delivered at the urging of President Ford:

..."Someone asked me to write a letter for a time capsule that is going to be opened in Los Angeles a hundred years from now, on our Tricentennial.

It sounded like an easy assignment. They suggested I write something about the problems and the issues today. I set out to do so, riding down the coast in an automobile, looking at the blue Pacific out on one side and the Santa Ynez Mountains on the other, and I couldn't help but wonder if it was going to be that beautiful a hundred years from now as it was on that summer day.

Then as I tried to write--let your own minds turn to that task. You are going to write for people a hundred years from now, who know all about us. We know nothing about them. We don't know what kind of a world they will be living in.
And suddenly I thought to myself if I write of the problems, they will be the domestic problems the President spoke of here tonight; the challenges confronting us, the erosion of freedom that has taken place under Democratic rule in this country, the invasion of private rights, the controls and restrictions on the vitality of the great free economy that we enjoy. These are our challenges that we must meet.

And then again there is that challenge of which he spoke that we live in a world in which the great powers have poised and aimed at each other horrible missiles of destruction, nuclear weapons that can in a matter of minutes arrive at each other's country and destroy, virtually, the civilized world we live in.

And suddenly it dawned on me, those who would read this letter a hundred years from now will know whether those missiles were fired. They will know whether we met our challenge. Whether they have the freedoms that we have known up until now will depend on what we do here.

Will they look back with appreciation and say, "Thank God for those people in 1976 who headed off that loss of freedom, who kept us now 100 years later free, who kept our world from nuclear destruction"?

And if we failed, they probably won't get to read the letter at all because it spoke of individual freedom, and they won't be allowed to talk of that or read of it.

This is our challenge; and this is why here in this hall tonight, better than we have ever done before, we have got to quit talking to each other and about each other and go out and communicate to the world that we may be fewer in numbers than we have ever been, but we carry the message they are waiting for." [...]

Here is Christopher Hitchens' unbalanced critique of Ford's foreign policy.

Here is Wesl;ey Pruden saying 'Not so fast' to "Mortuary" Bob Woodward.

Here is the Ford Library and Museum.

Here is an excerpt from the Ford/Carter Debates:

THE MODERATOR: "Governor Carter, your response."

MR. CARTER: "I don't have a response."

THE MODERATOR: "Thank you."

Here is President Ford's 1976 convention speech:

..."We Republicans have had some tough competition. We not only preach the virtues of competition, we practice them. But to- night we come together not on a battlefield to conclude a cease- fire, but to join forces on a training field that has conditioned us all for the rugged contest ahead. Let me say this from the bottom of my heart: After the scrimmages of the past few months, it really feels good to have Ron Reagan on the same side of the line.

To strengthen our championship lineup, the convention has wisely chosen one of the ablest Americans as our next Vice President, Senator Bob Dole of Kansas. With his help, with your help, with the help of millions of Americans who cherish peace, who want freedom preserved, prosperity shared, and pride in America, we will win this election. I speak not of a Republican victory, but a victory for the American people.

You at home listening tonight, you are the people who pay the taxes and obey the laws. You are the people who make our system work. You are the people who make America what it is. It is from your ranks that I come and on your side that I stand. [...]

As I try in my imagination to look into the homes where families are watching the end of this great convention, I can't tell which faces are Republicans, which are Democrats, and which are Independents. I cannot see their color or their creed. I see only Americans.

I see Americans who love their husbands, their wives, and their children. I see Americans who love their country for what it has been and what it must become. I see Americans who work hard but who are willing to sacrifice all they have worked for to keep their children and their country free. I see Americans who in their own quiet way pray for peace among nations and peace among themselves. We do love our neighbors, and we do forgive those who have trespassed against us.

I see a new generation that knows what is right and knows itself, a generation determined to preserve its ideals, its environment, our Nation, and the world.

My fellow Americans, I like what I see. I have no fear for the future of this great country. And as we go forward together, I promise you once more what I promised before: to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best that I can for America.

God helping me, I won't let you down.

Thank you very much."

President Gerald R. Ford 


Vice-President Cheney:

"Mrs. Ford, Susan, Mike, Jack, and Steve; distinguished guests; colleagues and friends; and fellow citizens:

Nothing was left unsaid, and at the end of his days, Gerald Ford knew how much he meant to us and to his country. He was given length of years, and many times in his company we paid our tributes and said our thanks. We were proud to call him our leader, grateful to know him as a man. We told him these things, and there is comfort in knowing that. Still, it is an ending. And what is left now is to say goodbye.

He first stood under this dome at the age of 17, on a high school tour in the Hoover years. In his congressional career, he passed through this Rotunda so many times -- never once imagining all the honors that life would bring. He was an unassuming man, our 38th President, and few have ever risen so high with so little guile or calculation. Even in the three decades since he left this city, he was not the sort to ponder his legacy, to brood over his place in history. And so in these days of remembrance, as Gerald R. Ford, goes to his rest, it is for us to take the measure of the man.

It's hard to imagine that this most loyal of men began life as an abandoned child, facing the world alone with his mother. He was devoted to her always, and also to the fine man who came into their lives and gave the little boy a name he would carry into history. Gerald and Dorothy Ford expected good things of their son. As it turned out, there would be great things, too -- in a journey of 93 years that would fill them with loving pride.

Jerry Ford was always a striver -- never working an angle, just working. He was a believer in the saying that in life you make your own luck. That's how the Boy Scout became an Eagle Scout; and the football center, a college all-star; and the sailor in war, a lieutenant commander. That's how the student who waited tables and washed dishes earned a law degree, and how the young lawyer became a member of the United States Congress, class of 1948. The achievements added up all his life, yet he was known to boast only about one. I heard it once or twice myself -- he said he was never luckier than when he stepped out of Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids with a beautiful girl named Betty as his bride.

Fifty-eight years ago, almost to the day, the new member from Michigan's fifth district moved into his office in the Cannon Building, and said his first hello to the congressman next door, John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts. They belonged to a generation that came early to great duties, and took up responsibilities readily, and shared a confidence in their country and its purposes in the world.

In that 81st Congress were four future Presidents, and others who wished for that destiny. For his part, Mr. Ford of Michigan aspired only to be Speaker of the House, and by general agreement he would have made a fine one. Good judgment, fair dealing, and the manners of a gentleman go a long way around here, and these were the mark of Jerry Ford for a quarter century in the House. It was a Democrat, the late Martha Griffiths, who said, "I never knew him to make a dishonest statement nor a statement part-true and part-false, and I never heard him utter an unkind word."

Sometimes in our political affairs, kindness and candor are only more prized for their scarcity. And sometimes even the most careful designs of men cannot improve upon history's accident. This was the case in the 62nd year of Gerald Ford's life, a bitter season in the life of our country.

It was a time of false words and ill will. There was great malice, and great hurt, and a taste for more. And it all began to pass away on a Friday in August, when Gerald Ford laid his hand on the Bible and swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. He said, "You have not elected me as your President by your ballot, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers."

What followed was a presidency lasting 895 days, and filled with testing and trial enough for a much longer stay. Even then, amid troubles not of his own making, President Ford proved as worthy of that office as any who had ever come before. He was modest and manful; there was confidence and courage in his bearing. In judgment, he was sober and serious, unafraid of decisions, calm and steady by nature, always the still point in the turning wheel. He assumed power without assuming airs; he knew how to treat people. He answered courtesy with courtesy; he answered discourtesy with courtesy.

This President's hardest decision was also among his first. And in September of 1974, Gerald Ford was almost alone in understanding that there can be no healing without pardon. The consensus holds that this decision cost him an election. That is very likely so. The criticism was fierce. But President Ford had larger concerns at heart. And it is far from the worst fate that a man should be remembered for his capacity to forgive.

In politics it can take a generation or more for a matter to settle, for tempers to cool. The distance of time has clarified many things about President Gerald Ford. And now death has done its part to reveal this man and the President for what he was.

He was not just a cheerful and pleasant man -- although these virtues are rare enough at the commanding heights. He was not just a nice guy, the next-door neighbor whose luck landed him in the White House. It was this man, Gerald R. Ford, who led our republic safely through a crisis that could have turned to catastrophe. We will never know what further unravelings, what greater malevolence might have come in that time of furies turned loose and hearts turned cold. But we do know this: America was spared the worst. And this was the doing of an American President. For all the grief that never came, for all the wounds that were never inflicted, the people of the United States will forever stand in debt to the good man and faithful servant we mourn tonight.

Thinking on all this, we are only more acutely aware of a time in our lives and of its end. And we can be certain that Gerald Ford would now ask only that we remember his wife. Betty, the President was not a hard man to read, and to his friends nothing was more obvious than the source of his great happiness. It was you. And all the good that you shared, Betty, all the good that you did together, has not gone away. All of that is forever.

There is a time to every purpose under Heaven. In the years of Gerald Rudolph Ford, it was a time to heal. There is also, in life, a time to part, when those who are dear to us must go their way. And so for now, Mr. President -- farewell. We will always be thankful for your good life. In Almighty God, we place our confidence. And to Him we confirm you, with our love and with our prayers." ..........................

I diagreed with some of President Ford's policies and views, but his integrity and patriotism were unquestionable. And to his eternal credit, he stood with the South Vietnamese people when Democrats decided not just that America should leave, but that the Communists should triumph.

As is their hallmark, the President and Betty Ford were always kind and gracious to me personally. For that, I will always be grateful.

Rest in Peace, Gerald Ford--American.

Friday, December 29, 2006



as we are able to effect it, is finally coming for these, our brothers.

Ronald Reagan:

..."The fallen sailors of the U.S.S. Stark understood their obligations; they knew the importance of their job. So, too, I believe that most Americans today know the price of freedom in this uneasy world. They know that to retreat or withdraw would only repeat the improvident mistakes of the past and hand final victory to those who seek war, who make war, who know it would only invite further aggression and tragedy. So, it's a simple truth we reaffirm here today: Young Americans of the U.S.S. Stark gave up their lives so that the terrible moments of the past would not be repeated, so that wider war and greater conflict could be avoided, so that thousands, and perhaps millions, of others might be spared the final sacrifice these men so willingly made.

So, we ask again: Were they heroes? ``Heroes are not supermen,'' Herman Wouk once reminded us, ``they're good men, and embodied by the cast of destiny, the virtue of a whole people in a great hour.'' And writing of the thousands of such heroes in our nation, men and women who wear our country's uniform in this troubled peace of ours, he asked us to never forget ``to reassure them that their hard, long training is needed, that love of country is noble, that self-sacrifice is rewarding, that to be ready to fight for freedom fills a man with a sense of worth like nothing else.'' And he said, ``If America is still the great beacon in dense gloom, the promise to hundreds of millions of the oppressed that liberty exists, that it is the shining future, that they can throw off their tyrants, and learn freedom and cease learning war, then we still'' need heroes ``to stand guard in the night.''

The men of the U.S.S. Stark stood guard in the night. One of our Ambassadors paid them this tribute: ``They were tough, they were brave, they were great.'' Well, they were great, and those that died did embody the best of us. Yes, they were ordinary men who did extraordinary things. Yes, they were heroes. And because they were heroes, let us not forget this: that for all the lovely spring and summer days we will never share with them again, for every Thanksgiving and Christmas that will seem empty without them, there will be other moments, too, moments when we see the light of discovery in young eyes, eyes that see for the first time the world around them and know the sweep of history and wonder, ``Why is there such a place as America, and how is it that such a precious gift is mine?'' And we can answer them. We can answer them by telling of this day and those that we come to honor here. And it's then we'll see understanding in those young eyes; it is then they will know the same gratitude and pride that we share today, the gratitude and pride Americans feel always for those who suffer and die so that the precious gift of America might always be ours.

The men of the U.S.S. Stark have protected us; they have done their duty. Now let us do ours. Senior Chief Gary Clinefelter showed us how yesterday. He had volunteered to work at the coordinating center here for the families when he received word that his own son, Seaman Brian Clinefelter, previously listed as missing in action, was among the confirmed dead. ``I need to keep working,'' he said. He stayed at his post; he carried on. Well, so, too, we must carry on. We must stay at our post. We must keep faith with their sacrifice. In our great hour, we must answer, as did they, the call of history. It's a summons that, as a nation or a people, we did not seek, but it is a call we cannot shirk or refuse -- a call to wage war against war, to stand for freedom until freedom can stand alone, to live for liberty until liberty is the blessing and birthright of every man, woman, and child on this Earth.

And let us remember a final duty: to understand that these men made themselves immortal by dying for something immortal, that theirs is the best to be asked of any life -- a sharing of the human heart, a sharing in the infinite. In giving themselves for others, they made themselves special, not just to us but to their God. ``Greater love than this has no man than to lay down his life for his friends.'' And because God is love, we know He was there with them when they died and that He is with them still. We know they live again, not just in our hearts but in His arms. And we know they've gone before to prepare a way for us. So, today we remember them in sorrow and in love. We say goodbye. And as we submit to the will of Him who made us, we pray together the words of scripture: ``Lord, now let thy servants go in peace, Thy word has been fulfilled.''

May I point out again, so many of you have known long months of separation from your loved ones, from those young men. You were separated by distance, by miles of land and ocean. Now you are separated again, not just by territorial limits but because they have stepped through that door that God has promised all of us. They do live now in a world where there is no sorrow, no pain. And they await us, and we shall all be together again. God bless you."

"Strength For Freedom" Forever.

Monday, December 25, 2006


"When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way."--the Book of Matthew

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Terror of a Toy 


from "Fancies versus Fads", (1923.)

"It would be too high and hopeful a compliment to say that the world is becoming absolutely babyish. For its chief weak-mindedness is an inability to appreciate the intelligence of babies. On every side we hear whispers and warnings that would have appeared half-witted to the Wise Men of Gotham. Only this Christmas I was told in a toy-shop that not so many bows and arrows were being made for little boys; because they were considered dangerous. It might in some circumstances be dangerous to have a little bow. It is always dangerous to have a little boy. But no other society, claiming to be sane, would have dreamed of supposing that you could abolish all bows unless you could abolish all boys.

With the merits of the latter reform I will not deal here. There is a great deal to be said for such a course; and perhaps we shall soon have an opportunity of considering it. For the modern mind seems quite incapable of distinguishing between the means and the end, between the organ and the disease, between the use and the abuse; and would doubtless break the boy along with the toy, as it empties out the baby with the bath. But let us, by way of a little study in this mournful state of things, consider this case of the dangerous toy.

Now the first and most self-evident truth is that, of all the things a child sees and touches, the most dangerous toy is about the least dangerous thing. There is hardly a single domestic utensil that is not much more dangerous than a little bow and arrows. He can burn himself in the fire, he can boil himself in the bath, he can cut his throat with the carving-knife, he can scald himself with the kettle, he can choke himself with anything small enough, he can break his neck off anything high enough. He moves all day long amid a murderous machinery, as capable of killing and maiming as the wheels of the most frightful factory. He plays all day in a house fitted up with of torture like the Spanish Inquisition. And, while he thus dances in the shadow of death, he is to be saved from all the perils of possessing a piece of string, tied to a bent bough or twig. When he is a little boy, it generally takes him some time even to learn how to hold the bow. When he does hold it, he is delighted if the arrow flutters for a few yards like a feather or an autumn leaf. But even if he grows a little older and more skilful, and has yet not learned to despise arrows in favour of aeroplanes, the amount of damage he could conceivably do with his little arrows would be about one-hundredth part of the damage he could always in any case have done by simply picking up a stone in the garden.

Now you do not keep a little boy from throwing stones by preventing him from ever seeing stones. You do not do it by locking up all the stones in the Geological Museum, and only issuing tickets of admission to adults. You do not do it by trying to pick up all the pebbles on the beach, for fear he should practise throwing them into the sea. You do not even adopt so obvious and even pressing a social reform as forbidding roads to be made of anything but asphalt, or directing that all gardens shall be made on clay and none on gravel. You neglect all these great opportunities opening before you; you neglect all these inspiring vistas of social science and enlightenment. When you want to prevent a child from throwing stones, you fall back on the stalest and most sentimental and even most superstitious methods. You do it by trying to preserve some reasonable authority and influence over the child. You trust to your private relation with the boy, and not to your public relation with the stone. And what is true of the natural missile is just as true, of course, of the artificial missile; especially as it is a very much more ineffectual and therefore innocuous missile. A man could be really killed, like St. Stephen, with the stones in the road. I doubt if he could be really killed, like St. Sebastian, with the arrows in the toyshop.

But anyhow the very plain principle is the same. If you can teach a child not to throw a stone, you can teach him when to shoot an arrow; if you cannot teach him anything, he will always have something to throw. If he can be persuaded not to smash the Archdeacon's hat with a heavy flint, it will probably be possible to dissuade him from transfixing that head-dress with a toy arrow. If his training deters him from heaving half a brick at the postman, it will probably also warn him against constantly loosening shafts of death against the policeman. But the notion that the child depends upon particular implements, labelled dangerous, in order to be a danger to himself and other people, is a notion so nonsensical that it is hard to see how any human mind can entertain it for a moment.

The truth is that all sorts of faddism, both official and theoretical, have broken down the natural authority of the domestic institution, especially among the poor; and the faddists are now casting about desperately for a substitute for the thing they have themselves destroyed. The normal thing is for the parents to prevent a boy from doing more than a reasonable amount of damage with his bow and arrow; and for the rest, to leave him to a reasonable enjoyment of them. Officialism cannot thus follow the life of the individual boy, as can the individual guardian. You cannot appoint a particular policeman for each boy, to pursue him when he climbs trees or falls into ponds. So the modern spirit has descended to the indescribably mental degradation of trying to abolish the abuse of things by abolishing the things themselves; which is as if it were to abolish ponds or abolish trees. Perhaps it will have a try at that before long. Thus we have all heard of savages who try a tomahawk for murder, or burn a wooden club for the damage it has done to society. To such intellectual levels may the world return.

There are indeed yet lower levels. There is a story from America about a little boy who gave up his toy cannon to assist the disarmament of the world. I do not know if it is true, but on the whole I prefer to think so; for it is perhaps more tolerable to imagine one small monster who could do such a thing than many more mature monsters who could invent or admire it.

There were some doubtless who neither invented nor admired. It is one of the peculiarities of the Americans that they combine a power of producing what they satirize as "sobstuff" with a parallel power of satirizing it. And of the two American tall stories, it is sometimes hard to say which is the story and which the satire. But it seems clear that some people did really repeat this story in a reverential spirit. And it marks, as I have said, another stage of the cerebral decay. You can (with luck) break a window with a toy arrow; but you can hardly bombard a town with a toy guy. If people object to the mere model of a cannon, they must equally object to the picture of a cannon, and so to every picture in the world that depicts a sword or a spear. There would be a splendid clearance of all the great art-galleries of the world. But it would be nothing to the destruction of all the great libraries of the world, if we logically extended the principle to all the literary masterpieces that admit the glory of arms. When this progress had gone on for a century or two, it might begin to dawn on people that there was something wrong with their moral principle.

What is wrong with their moral principle is that it is immoral. Arms, like every other adventure of art of man, have two sides according as they are invoked for the infliction or the defiance of wrong. They have also an element of real poetry and an element of realistic and therefore repulsive prose. The child's symbolic sword and bow are simply the poetry without the prose; the good without the evil. The toy sword is the abstraction and the emanation of the heroic, apart from all its horrible accidents. It is the soul of the sword, that will never be stained with blood."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"Let Thatcher Be Thatcher!" 


EVEN Ronald Reagan was no match for the Iron Lady.

Ian Glover:

"A SECRET transcript of a telephone conversation between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan has revealed how the former president tried to persuade the prime minister to stop the Falklands war as British troops were advancing on Port Stanley.

The document shows Thatcher was determined to deliver a crushing victory to avenge British losses. Her response to the peace initiative left the president stammering on the transatlantic hotline. At one stage a clearly heated Thatcher demanded to know what Reagan would do if Alaska had been invaded and the United States had suffered casualties recapturing it.

“I wonder if anyone over there realises, I'd like to ask them. Just supposing Alaska was invaded ...” asked Thatcher. “Now you've put all your people up there to retake it and someone suggested that a contact could come in ... you wouldn't do it.”

“No, no, although, Margaret, I have to say I don't quite think Alaska is a similar situation” said Reagan.

“More or less so,” snapped Thatcher. Reagan feared the pending rout of Argentine forces in the south Atlantic would destabilise the region, damaging Washington's battle against left-wing regimes in Latin America.

But Thatcher, with barely concealed impatience, scotched the plan with a verbal explosion. Reagan could barely get a word in as the prime minister gushed out a torrent of dismissal. “I didn't lose some of my best ships and some of my finest lives, to leave quietly under a ceasefire without the Argentines withdrawing,” she said.

“Oh. Oh, Margaret, that is part of this, as I understand it ...” stammered Reagan, trying to outline a Brazilian peace plan. It called for a ceasefire, Argentine withdrawal and a third-party peace-keeping force in the disputed islands. “Ron, I'm not handing over ... I'm not handing over the island now,” insisted Thatcher. “I can't lose the lives and blood of our soldiers to hand the islands over to a contact. It's not possible.

“You are surely not asking me, Ron, after we've lost some of our finest young men, you are surely not saying, that after the Argentine withdrawal, that our forces, and our administration, become immediately idle? I had to go to immense distances and mobilise half my country. I just had to go.”

The conversation recorded in Washington took place on May 31, 1982, after paratroops had taken Goose Green and were poised with other troops for the final assault on Port Stanley. The State Department was worried that the British advance looked too much like American-backed “colonialism”. Reagan approached the subject carefully, employing some old-fashioned Hollywood charm. “Your impressive military advance could maybe change the diplomatic options ... Incidentally, I want to congratulate you on what you and your young men are doing down there. You've taken major risks and you've demonstrated to the whole world that unprovoked aggression does not pay.”

“Well, not yet, but we're halfway to that,” replied Thatcher, then corrected herself. “We're not yet halfway, but a third of the way.”

“Yes, yes you are,” said Reagan, moving on quickly to outline “... some of our ideas on how we might capitalise on the success you've had with a diplomatic initiative ... ” Argentina might turn it down, he conceded, but “I think an effort to show we're all still willing to seek a settlement ... would undercut the effort of ... the leftists in South America who are actively seeking to exploit the crisis. Now, I'm thinking about this plan ... ”

Reagan got no further. Thatcher stopped listening and butted in. “This is democracy and our island, and the very worst thing for democracy would be if we failed now,” she stated.

“Yes ... ” said Reagan. But Thatcher cut in again. A verbal broadside from Downing Street followed. His contribution to the debate became piecemeal.

“Margaret, but I thought that part of this proposal ... ”

“Margaret, I ... ”

“Yes, well ... ” Defeated, Reagan resorted to charm again. “Well, Margaret, I know that I've intruded and I know how ... ”

“You've not intruded at all, and I'm glad you telephoned,” replied Thatcher. Despite the clash, what shines through is a mutual regard. It is “Margaret” and “Ron” from the first words and Thatcher's acute awareness of the losses.

Five British ships and more than 250 men perished in the conflict. The casualties and Britain's lone battle against Argentina ensured Thatcher had no interest in negotiations once the war had started: “The point is this, Ron, and you would understand it, we have borne the brunt of this alone ... we have some of our best ships lost because for seven weeks the Argentines refused to negotiate reasonable terms.”

In his autobiography, 'An American Life', Reagan referred to the conversation. “She told me too many lives had already been lost for Britain to withdraw without total victory, and she convinced me. I understood what she meant."

And so do I.

Does this remind you of something? Doesn't this all sound eerily familiar?

The Assistant Secretary for Western Guilt, the Under-Over Secretary In Charge of Saying Nice Things About Dictators and State's Victory Prevention Desk must have gotten together and formed some kind of Falklands Study Group:

"The Brits are about to win--how can we stop this?"
"I know--we'll tell the Old Man that a British victory would undermine his inexplicable war on Latin American communism!"
"Great idea! There's just enough of a shred of truth in that to make it plausible."

Reagan acceded to Thatcher because in his heart he knew she was right. He only needed to hear her speak the words to be reminded.

The loss of the Falklands posed no existential threat to England. Had they suddenly disappeared beneath the waves, most Englishmen would have never known the difference. But the loss of reputation can be fatal to a country. The loss of a sense of purpose, the loss of manliness, of honor and of a willingness to defend the legitimate interests of one's country--all these can be fatal to a nation.

This was about much, much more than a few seagull guano-covered rocks. If Thatcher had equivocated, every British Commonwealth would have been up for grabs. The purse-snatching Soviet Mugger-ocracy would have marked her as a helpless old woman. We will never know how many lives were saved and how much suffering averted because she did the right thing.

Ronnie just needed reminding.

Just like us.

"Worst President Ever?" 


"It is as easy as lying; because it is lying."--Chesterton

Just when you think the Clintons are the 'Worst President Ever', up pops Jimmy the Rabbit-Slayer.

Common Sense and Wonder explains how Jimmeh al-Carter didn't just steal Dennis Ross' maps, but altered them to make them mean the opposite of what they actually meant.

Advantage: Jimmeh.

UPDATE: On the other hoof, President Clintons were able to find and recruit fellow like-minded and talented pathological liars like Rahm "The Grave-Robber" Emmanuel, who sat on the Foley e-mails for over a year while serially-lying about it.

You know; For the Children.

"...and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves 

AND our Posterity..."

Ramesh Ponnuru's 'Party of Death' reviewed by Wilfred M. McClay:

"One can agree completely with Ponnuru’s position on rights, and yet feel that too much is left unaddressed by it. We are already too much a culture of “rights talk,” and the individualism inherent in rights talk does not help us understand one of the most important facts about our moral development: that we are deepened and made better, more fully human, by the experience of yielding to inconvenience and making good on our obligations to others, especially in relations, such as those with our families, that are not voluntary, not revocable, and have played a crucial role in defining who and what we are. This yielding includes accepting the burdens of caring for the helpless, the damaged, the infirm, the dying, the suffering, and yes, the unwanted. To say that we do not kill them because they have a right to life is not to explain why we have a responsibility to care for them, and love them, and why we fail ourselves when we fail to acknowledge that responsibility, and seek to offload it onto others. An ailing elderly parent has the right not to be killed, but he does not have the “right” to be loved.

Yet it is one of the central tasks of our humanity that we care lovingly for him, and not merely be instructed by the law that we must resist killing him. “Rights talk” does not necessarily give rise to “responsibility talk.” Sometimes it may have the opposite effect, in luring us into a false sense that we have fulfilled all righteousness merely by dutifully observing the rights of others. One of the many fallacies behind the legal instrument of the “living will” is the thought that the “right” of the abstract individual to decide his medical fate—often basing the decision on ignorant and meaningless projections into a future that few of us can imagine, let alone predict—should take complete legal precedence over the loving input of families on the scene. This is not only a fallacy in practice, since living wills are generally set aside when they get in the way, but a fallacy in theory, since we are never entirely our own, and least of all in moments of profound dependency.

The energies that bind the family cannot be accounted for by rights talk. This is why merely drawing a bright red line of “rights” around the act of embryo destruction, desirable as that is in so many respects, does not really solve our problems. It is not at all hard to imagine a world in which a general desire to boost birth rates, in tandem with technological advances such as the perfection of the artificial womb, would lead governments to make liberal and even systematic use of frozen or “surplus” embryos to repopulate their declining countries. Such developments would fully respect the embryonic right to life, but it would do so in an otherwise ghastly way, by eliminating the need for childrearing parents, and indeed for the natural family itself. It is not the least bit far-fetched to imagine that the “snowflake babies” of today could become the “state babies” of tomorrow, absent a strong commitment to the idea that the individual right to life is not sufficient unto itself, and cannot be separated from our protection, in mores and in law, of the normative human context in which it arises. An emphasis on the inviolability of individual rights, particularly when it is offered without a similar stress on the actual institutions within which individual human lives come to fruition, oddly mirrors the very radical individualism it seeks to counter."

Suppose we find that manufactured embryos don’t produce miracle cures, but only, say, a marginally better Viagra?

Or no cures at all; simply a superior floor polish? Will we build and destroy human lives simply to see our reflection in the kitchen floor? After all, we will already have established the principle that human life is merely a manufacturer’s raw material like lumber or tin. "Ye are as corporations"?

Still No Substitute 


Shelby Steele:

"Only reluctant superpowers go to war with a commitment to fight until they can escape. So today the talk is of "draw-downs," "redeployments," etc. But all these options are undermined by the fact that we simply have not won the war. We have not achieved hegemony in Iraq, so there is no umbrella of American power under which a new nation might find its own democratic personality, or learn to defend itself. We have failed to give "peace in the streets" to the people we are asking to embrace the moderations of democracy. Without American hegemony, these "draw-downs" and "redeployments" are acts of outrageous moral irresponsibility, because they cede hegemony to the forces of menace--the Sunni insurgency, the Shiite militia, the Islamic extremists, the wolfish ambitions of Iran. It was America's weak application of power that made space for these forces to begin with. To now shrink the American footprint further would likely offer the country up as a killing field and embolden Islamic radicals everywhere. For every reason, from the humanitarian to the geopolitical to the military, Iraq is a war that America must win in the hegemonic, even colonial, sense. It is a test of our civilization's commitment to the good against the alluring notion of menace-as-power that has gripped so much of the Muslim world.

Today America is a danger to the world in its own right, not because we are a powerful bully but because we don't fully accept who we are. We rush to war as a superpower protecting the world from menace, then leave the battle before winning as a show of what, humility? We confuse our enemies, discouraging them one minute and encouraging them the next.

Could it be that our enemies are really paper tigers made formidable by our unceasing ambivalence? And could it be that the greater good is in both the idea and the reality of American victory?"

More at The Right Place.

Monday, December 11, 2006

"Attention Housekeeping: 


From Media Blog:

"BAKER: "I hope we don't treat [the Baker-Hamilton Commission report] like a fruit salad and say, "I like this, but I don't like that. I like this, but I don't like that." This is a comprehensive strategy designed to deal with this problem we're facing in Iraq."

NBC's [OBSCENELY OVERPAID] DAVID SHUSTER: The words "fruit salad" could be construed as a reference to cherry-picking and to questions about the Bush administration's cherry-picking of pre-war intelligence."

Certainly it could be construed that way--if the reporter were himself cherry-picking.

If only the Beltway Babblers felt the same way about this:

"I hope we don't treat the Constitution like a fruit salad and say, "I like this, but I don't like that. I like this, but I don't like that." This is a comprehensive Constitution designed to deal with this problem of representative self-government we're facing in America."

Media Blog also has these Steyn-isms:

"Well, I think David Gregory is not typical because he is interested in the David Gregory vaudeville show and if I was in some second-rate vaudeville house in 1873, I might think it was very entertaining. It's lame entertainment for the 21st century because that's not what it's about. This is not about landing a question on Bush. This is about strategic interest of the super power and, in fact, the question for the rest of the world is whether this country still is a super power. It's not the David Gregory show. [...] It's not cut and run it's basically chat and run. We will do a bit of talking as we retreat. I would like to see some discussion from people like David Gregory on what's actually in that report. But there is very little of that."

Maybe they should stop calling it the "White House Press Briefing" , reschedule it for prime-time and re-name it "Educating David--with your host, Tony Snow!"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

An Open Letter 


From: Mr. G. Orwell, Old York

One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. One day this summer I was riding through Letchworth when the bus stopped and two dreadful-looking old men got on to it. They were both about sixty, both very short, pink, and chubby, and both hatless. One of them was obscenely bald, the other had long grey hair bobbed in the Lloyd George style. They were dressed in pistachio-coloured shirts and khaki shorts into which their huge bottoms were crammed so tightly that you could study every dimple. Their appearance created a mild stir of horror on top of the bus. The man next to me, a commercial traveller I should say, glanced at me, at them, and back again at me, and murmured 'Socialists', as you would say, 'Red Indians'. He was probably right--the I.L.P. were holding their summer school at Letchworth. But the point is that to him, as an ordinary man, a crank meant a Socialist and a Socialist meant a crank. Any Socialist, he probably felt, could be counted on to have something eccentric about him. And some such notion seems to exist even among Socialists themselves. For instance, I have here a prospectus from another summer school which states its terms per week and then asks me to say 'whether my diet is ordinary or vegetarian'. They take it for granted, you see, that it is necessary to ask this question. This kind of thing is by itself sufficient to alienate plenty of decent people. And their instinct is perfectly sound, for the food-crank is by definition a person willing to cut himself off from human society in hopes of adding five years on to the life of his carcass; that is, a person out of touch with common humanity.

(more at No Left Turns)

UPDATE: Despite the objections of the Trans-Fattened Community, Bloomberg is considering a run. No, not for Cafeteria Lady--for the presidency. Of the United States. Yes--of America.

Our long national nurse shortage is over.

"Remember Pluto!" 


Washington Times:

"Sen. James M. Inhofe, in one of his final actions as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, yesterday held a hearing to investigate whether press accounts have "over-hyped" predictions of global warming.

"The media often fails to distinguish between predictions and what is actually being observed on the Earth today," the Oklahoma Republican said. "Rather than focus on the hard science of global warming, the media has instead become advocates for hyping scientifically unfounded climate alarmism."

Mr. Inhofe will lose control of the environmental panel next month when Democrats assume the Senate majority, and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California will assume the gavel. She promises extensive hearings on global warming, and yesterday chastised Mr. Inhofe for scrutinizing global-warming coverage."

Rare and Endangered Nicarauguan Spotted Tree Lemur and United States Senator Barbara Boxer:

"In a free society in what is the greatest democracy in the world, I don't believe it's proper to put pressure on the media to please a particular Senate committee's view." --Yes. Once our Media Overlords have spoken, who are we to question their Wisdom? This rule of course won't apply to Mz. Boxer, who will be allowed to "pressure" the media to her little sandanista's heart's content:

FOX ANCHOR JANE SKINNER: "Well, the President would probably argue...."
SEN. BOXER [D-CA]: I hear that you agree with the president. I am not surprised.
FOX ANCHOR: We are just trying to bring both sides.
SEN. BOXER: [angrily] Yeah, you are fair and balanced, thank you very much.
FOX ANCHOR: Indeed we are..."

Is it also proper for two senators to pressure a private company into silence, forcing them to convert to the Official State Religion of Global Warming at the point of a senatorial sword?:

"In light of the adverse impacts still resulting from your corporation’s activities, we must request that ExxonMobil end any further financial assistance or other support to groups or individuals whose public advocacy has contributed to the small, but unfortunately effective, climate change denial myth. Further, we believe ExxonMobil should take additional steps to improve the public debate, and consequently the reputation of the United States. We would recommend that ExxonMobil publicly acknowledge both the reality of climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it. Second, ExxonMobil should repudiate its climate change denial campaign and make public its funding history. Finally, we believe that there would be a benefit to the United States if one of the world’s largest carbon emitters headquartered here devoted at least some of the money it has invested in climate change denial pseudo-science to global remediation efforts. We believe this would be especially important in the developing world, where the disastrous effects of global climate change are likely to have their most immediate and calamitous impacts.

Each of us is committed to seeing the United States officially reengage and demonstrate leadership on the issue of global climate change. We are ready to work with you and any other past corporate sponsor of the denial campaign on proactive strategies to promote energy efficiency, to expand the use of clean, alternative, and renewable fuels, to accelerate innovation to responsibly extend the useful life of our fossil fuel reserves, and to foster greater understanding of the necessity of action on a truly global scale before it is too late.


John D. Rockefeller IV
Olympia Snowe"

To call these senators featherweights is to insult feathers everywhere. This is zealotry. It is a religious inquisition, not science, and they are more fundamentalist than any backwoods cult of Appalachian snake-handlers. Funny; I thought it was Bush who was always "politicizing science". I thought "dissent" was "the highest form of patriotism". Alas, no.

On the positive side however, maybe this will keep Rockefeller too busy to leak classified secrets to the Times. (And congrats to Tech Central Station who received an honorable mention in the letter for "information laundering".)

Boxer continued:

"My other sadness about this hearing is again we're arguing about who believes what rather than moving toward solving the problem."--And her other, other sadness was the time she wept upon realizing that Castroism was not going sweep the Americas. But she's right; how can we nationalize our industries and turn over our economies to the UN if some pesky Americans keep insisting on things like "debate" and "proof"?

Why would Senator Inhofe question the media? Maybe because of this:

February 24, 1895 --New York Times:“Geologists Think the World May be Frozen Up Again.”
October 7, 1912--New York Times: a prominent professor “Warns Us of an Encroaching Ice Age.”
October 7, 1912--Los Angeles Times: “Human race will have to fight for its existence against cold.”
August 9, 1923-- Chicago Tribune: “Scientist Says Arctic Ice Will Wipe Out Canada.” A Yale University professor predicts that large parts of Europe and Asia will be “wiped out” and Switzerland will be “entirely obliterated.”
August 10, 1923-- Washington Post: “Ice Age Coming Here.”
March 27, 1933--New York Times: “America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-year Rise”
January 2, 1939. Time Magazine: “[Those] who claim that winters were harder when they were boys are quite right… weathermen have no doubt that the world at least for the time being is growing warmer.”
1940's: Too busy fighting real enemies to make up climate gobbledy-gook.
1951--Time Magazine: Receding permafrost in Russia proof that the planet is warming.
1952--New York Times: the “trump card” of global warming “has been the melting glaciers.”
1960's--Too busy smoking dope to care.
1974--New York Times: Global Cooling: “Climate Changes Endanger World’s Food Output"
1974--Time Magazine: Global Cooling: “As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval.”
1975 --Newsweek: Global Cooling: "...ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production– with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth.”
1980--Karl Rove builds the first Rovian Weather Machine(tm) based on blueprints designed by Prescott Bush and Albert Speer at the Wolf's Lair in 1943, and begins planning Hurricane Katrina.

These examples are (mostly) from Sen. James Inhofe's excellent speech, found here.

In it, he debunks the UN's "Hockey Stick" projections, the wild CO2 guesses, the manufactured "consent", the dubious computer models, lists some of the many scientists who are skeptical, and exposes His Fraudulency, Prince Albert Gore.

He also points out how Kyoto would wreck economies while producing no results. And how poor people would be kept in Third World zoos simply to assure affluent Westerners their Constitutional Right to Self-Esteem.

We don't know if there even is global warming. And if there is, we certainly don't know if it is natural or man-made. But we do know this:

*Global warming is cause celebre for statists, socialists and trans-nationalists who wish to centralize power, plan economies and establish world governance.

* It is also the dream of every dirt-worshipping, tree-fondling eco-nut extemist who ever hummed "The Circle of Life".

*We also know that Leftist groups fund research over industry by a three-to-one ratio. Not to mention government grants which are often pre-directed at the "correct" outcome. If the industry researchers are "bought", then so are these others.

* The Scrupulously Objective Media has chosen teams and will not tell you both sides of the story--for your own good, of course:

Senator Inhofe: "[60 Minutes' Scott] Pelley told the CBS News website that he justified excluding scientists skeptical of global warming alarmism from his segments because he considers skeptics to be the equivalent of “Holocaust deniers.”

Science? Sure. All for it. But a superstitious cult of Gaia-worshipping green-weenies committing incest with trans-national socialists and Super-Sized Government control freaks? No thanks.

Stop the Brutal Climate Porn!

Exactly Backwards 


Like David Frum, I wondered why it is said that the Battle of Iraq hinges on the Arab/Israeli conflict and not, say, on the Greek/Turk dispute over Cypress.


"Of all the dozens and hundreds of ethnic and territorial disputes to roil our planet since 1945, why is this one so uniquely unsolveable? Germans do not blow themselves up in the streets of Gdansk to protest Polish rule over Danzig. Greeks do not hijack schoolbuses full of Turkish schoolchildren to demand the return of Smyrna. Bolivia does not wage endless war against Chile to revise the outcome of the war of the Pacific.

The Arabs could have had peace with Israel on easy terms at any time since 1949. They have persistently refused it. The Palestinians could have had a state in the West Bank and Gaza at any time since 1967. They have disdained that offer too. Might it not be closer to the truth to say that Arab radicalism is the cause of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute – not the result of it? There is no peace because Israel’s neighbors – and too many of the world’s Muslims – cannot accept the right of a non-Arab, non-Muslim minority to live unsubjugated in the Middle East. That is the true “core” of the dispute, and it cannot be fixed by negotiation.

Indeed, it could well be argued that these endless attempts by Western powers to negotiate Israeli-Palestinian peace make the problem worse not better. [...] From the point of view of the Arabs and Palestinians, Western peace efforts create what a stockbroker would recognize as a unique one-way option. If they win, they win everything. If they lose, they lose nothing. There is no reason for them not to continue rolling the dice forever."

Unless we give them a reason.

The D.C./Del Boca Vista Diplomats all agree. From Joe Wilson to Jim Baker, they all concur from the very bottoms of their Saudi-funded business suits: “The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

Try this:

The United States will not be able to deal directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict until it achieves its goals in the Mid-East.

Beast of the Nature 

"Darwinism can be used to back up two mad moralities, but it cannot be used to back up a single sane one. The kinship and competition of all living creatures can be used as a reason for being insanely cruelor insanely sentimental; but not for a healthy love of animals. On the evolutionary basis you may be inhumane, or you may be absurdly humane; but you cannot be human. That you and a tiger are one may be a reason for being tender to a tiger. Or it may be a reason for being as cruel as the tiger. It is one way to train the tiger to imitate you, it is a shorter way to imitate the tiger. But in neither case does evolution tell you how to treat a tiger reasonably, that is, to admire his stripes while avoiding his claws.

If you want to treat a tiger reasonably, you must go back to the garden of Eden. For the obstinate reminder continued to recur: only the supernatural has taken a sane view of Nature. The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism, and modern cosmic religion is really in this proposition: that Nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a step-mother. The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to the worshippers of Isis and Cybele. Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert. To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved."--G.K. Chesterton

Friday, December 08, 2006

Another Democrat 


United Nations Representative Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Aug. 20, 1984, Republican National Convention, Dallas, Texas:

"Thank you very much for that warm welcome.

Thank you for inviting me. This is the first Republican Convention I have ever attended. I am grateful that you should invite me, a lifelong Democrat. On the other hand, I realize that you are inviting many lifelong Democrats to join this common cause.

I want to begin tonight by quoting the speech of the president whom I very greatly admire, Harry Truman, who once said to the Congress:

"The United States has become great because we, as a people, have been able to work together for great objectives even while differing about details." He continued: "The elements of our strength are many. They include our democratic government, our economic system, our great natural resources. But, the basic source of our strength is spiritual. We believe in the dignity of man."

That's the way Democratic presidents and presidential candidates used to talk about America. These were the men who developed NATO, who developed the Marshall Plan, who devised the Alliance for Progress. They were not afraid to be resolute nor ashamed to speak of America as a great nation. They didn't doubt that we must be strong enough to protect ourselves and to help others. They didn't imagine that America should depend for its very survival on the promises of its adversaries. They happily assumed the responsibilities of freedom.

I am not alone in noticing that the San Francisco Democrats took a very different approach. A recent article in The New York Times noted that "the foreign policy line that emerged from the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco is a distinct shift from the policies of such [Democratic] presidents as Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson." I agree.

I shall speak tonight of foreign affairs even though the other party's convention barely touched the subject. When the San Francisco Democrats treat foreign affairs as an afterthought, as they did, they behaved less like a dove or a hawk than like an ostrich - convinced it would shut out the world by hiding its head in the sand. Today, foreign policy is central to the security, to the freedom, to the prosperity, even to the survival of the United States. And our strength, for which we make many sacrifices, is essential to the independence and freedom of our allies and our friends.

Ask yourself:
What would become of Europe if the United States withdrew?
What would become of Africa if Europe fell under Soviet domination?
What would become of Europe if the Middle East came under Soviet control?
What would become of Israel, if surrounded by Soviet client states?
What would become of Asia if the Philippines or Japan fell under Soviet domination?
What would become of Mexico if Central America became a Soviet satellite?
What then could the United States do?

These are questions the San Francisco Democrats have not answered. These are questions they haven't even asked. The United States cannot remain an open, democratic society if we are left alone - a garrison state in a hostile world. We need independent nations with whom to trade, to consult and cooperate. We need friends and allies with whom to share the pleasures and the protection of our civilization. We cannot, therefore, be indifferent to the subversion of others' independence or to the development of new weapons by our adversaries or of new vulnerabilities by our friends.

The last Democratic administration did not seem to notice much, or care much or do much about these matters. And at home and abroad, our country slid into real deep trouble. North and South, East and West, our relations deteriorated. The Carter administration's motives were good, but their policies were inadequate, uninformed and mistaken. They made things worse, not better.

Those who had least, suffered most. Poor countries grew poorer. Rich countries grew poorer, too. The United States grew weaker.

Meanwhile, the Soviet Union grew stronger. The Carter administration's unilateral "restraint" in developing and deploying weapon systems was accompanied by an unprecedented Soviet buildup, military and political. The Soviets, working on the margins and through the loopholes of SALT I, developed missiles of stunning speed and accuracy and targeted the cities of our friends in Europe. They produced weapons capable of wiping out our land-based missiles.

And then, feeling strong, the Soviet leaders moved with boldness and skill to exploit their new advantages. Facilities were completed in Cuba during those years that permit Soviet nuclear submarines to roam our coasts, that permit planes to fly reconnaissance missions over the eastern United States, and that permit Soviet electronic surveillance to monitor our telephone calls and our telegrams.

Those were the years the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran, while in Nicaragua and Sandanista developed a one-party dictatorship based on the Cuban model. From the fall of Saigon in 1975 'til January 1981, Soviet influence expanded dramatically into Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Yemen, Libya, Syria, Aden, Congo, Madagascar, Seychelles, Nicaragua, and Grenada. Soviet block forces and advisers sought to guarantee what they called the "irreversibility" of their newfound influence and to stimulate insurgencies in a dozen other places. During this period, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, murdered its president and began a ghastly war against the Afghan people.

The American people were shocked by these events. We were greatly surprised to learn of our diminished economic and military strength. We were demoralized by the treatment of our hostages in Iran. And we were outraged by harsh attacks on the United States in the United Nations. As a result, we lost confidence in ourselves and in our government.

Jimmy Carter looked for an explanation for all these problems and thought he found it in the American people. But the people knew better. It wasn't malaise we suffered from; it was Jimmy Carter - and Walter Mondale. And so, in 1980, the American people elected a very different president.

The election of Ronald Reagan marked an end to the dismal period of retreat and decline. His inauguration, blessed by the simultaneous release of our hostages, signaled an end to the most humiliating episode in our national history. The inauguration of President Reagan signaled a reaffirmation of historic American ideals. Ronald Reagan brought to the presidency confidence in the American experience. Confidence in the legitimacy and success of American institutions. Confidence in the decency of the American people. And confidence in the relevance of our experience to the rest of the world. That confidence has proved contagious.

Our nation's subsequent recovery in domestic and foreign affairs, the restoration of military and economic strength has silenced the talk of inevitable American decline and reminded the world of the advantages of freedom.

President Reagan faced a stunning challenge and he met it. In the 3 1/2 years since his inauguration, the United States has grown stronger, safer, more confident, and we are at peace.

The Reagan administration has restored the American economy. It is restoring our military strength. It has liberated the people of Grenada from terror and tyranny. With NATO, it has installed missiles to defend the cities of Europe.

The Reagan administration has prevented the expulsion of Israel from the United Nations. It has developed flexible new forms of international cooperation with which to deal with new threats to world order.

The Reagan administration has given more economic assistance to developing countries than any other administration or any other government, and has encouraged the economic freedom needed to promote self-sustaining economic growth.

The Reagan administration has helped to sustain democracy and encourage its development elsewhere. And at each step of the way, the same people who were responsible for America's decline have insisted that the president's policies would fail.

They said we could never deploy missiles to protect Europe's cities. But today Europe's cities enjoy that protection. They said it would never be possible to hold an election in El Salvador because the people were too frightened and the country too disorganized. But the people of El Salvador proved them wrong, and today President Napoleon Duarte has impressed the democratic world with his skillful, principled leadership.

They said we could not use America's strength to help others - Sudan, Chad, Central America, the Gulf states, the Caribbean nations - without being drawn into war. But we have helped others resist Soviet, Libyan, Cuban subversion, and we are at peace.

They said that saving Grenada from terror and totalitarianism was the wrong thing to do - they didn't blame Cuba or the communists for threatening American students and murdering Grenadians - they blamed the United States instead. But then, somehow, they always blame America first.

When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the "blame America first crowd" didn't blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States. But then, they always blame America first.

When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn't blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States. But then, they always blame America first.

When Marxist dictators shoot their way to power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of 100 years ago. But then, they always blame America first.

The American people know better. They know that Ronald Reagan and the United States didn't cause Marxist dictatorship in Nicaragua, or the repression in Poland, or the brutal new offensives in Afghanistan, or the destruction of the Korean airliner, or the new attacks on religious and ethnic groups in the Soviet Union, or the jamming of western broadcasts, or the denial of Jewish emigration, or the brutal imprisonment of Anatoly Shcharansky and Ida Nudel, or the obscene treatment of Andrei Sakharov and Yelena Bonner, or the re-Stalinization of the Soviet Union.

The American people know that it's dangerous to blame ourselves for terrible problems that we did not cause. They understand just as the distinguished French writer, Jean Francois Revel, understands the dangers of endless self- criticism and self-denigration. He wrote: "Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."

With the election of Ronald Reagan, the American people declared to the world that we have the necessary energy and conviction to defend ourselves, and that we have as well a deep commitment to peace. And now, the American people, proud of our country, proud of our freedom, proud of ourselves, will reject the San Francisco Democrats and send Ronald Reagan back to the White House.

Thank you very much."

No, Ma'am--thank you.

Rest in Peace, good and faithful daughter.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Japan Study Group 


"No compromise is possible and the victory of the democracies can only be complete with the utter defeat of the war machines of Germany and Japan."--Gen. George C. Marshall

"I enlisted in the Marine Corps in June 1940, when I was sixteen...

On December 7, 1941, I was stationed at the N[aval] A[ir] S[tation] Kaneohe Bay. At the time of the attack, I was a Private First Class, waiting in the barracks for the guard truck to take me to the main gate, where I was to stand the 8:00 to 12:00 watch.

We heard what sounded low flying planes and explosions, but as the air station was still under construction, didn't really pay attention to it, though someone commented on the fact they were working on Sunday. Suddenly someone came running into the barracks yelling, "we're being attacked by the Japs." Panic prevailed as we scrambled for our rifles, ammunition was another story. The storeroom was locked, and it took a few minutes to find the supply sergeant and get him to issue ammo without the proper authority.

A couple of us took a water cooled machine gun up to the second deck of the barracks, we planned to mount the gun on the roof as we would have an excellent field of fire on the planes banking around the barracks. One of them boosted me up to the ladder leading to the roof, when I opened the hatch and stuck my head through, here comes a Jap plane so close that I could see the pilot's teeth as he grinned at me. I'll never forget that. We made eye contact.

When I realized there was nothing but training ammunition for the machine gun, I loaded my rifle and braced myself on the ladder, with my elbows on the roof, and got off five rounds. From my perch on the roof I had a great view of the action down by the hangars and the seaplane ramp, Jap Zero's strafing the PBY's moored in the bay and on the ramps. I could see the tracer bullets from the planes and from the ground, as the sailors were returning the fire by now. Everything down there seemed to be burning.

I left my perch on the ladder as I soon realized that I wasn't going to hit a plane going a couple hundred miles an hour with an .03 rifle. I went down to the second deck and joined the rest of the Marines firing at the planes through the windows, we had a good field of fire as the planes banked past the row of barracks after strafing the seaplane ramp and hangar area.

After the first attack was over, I was assigned to a detail that went down into the dependents housing area to evacuate the women and children. During the second attack the Japs strafed our trucks a couple of time but no casualties. We took the dependents to a large storage bunker located at the base of Hawaiilon Hill in the center of the station.

I finally got to my post on the main gate about 11:00 and lived in the guardhouse for almost a week. It seemed like I was either on watch, or I was out with a detail at night investigating reports of parachutist, saboteurs or what have you. It was very scary in the first days after the attack, rumors flying concerning the Japs coming back with a landing force, the blackout, trigger happy sentries all over the island, etc.

The NAS Kaneohe Bay was the first military installation to come under attack. We had 18 men killed in action, we lost 33 PBY's and both of the hangars. We shot down at least three enemy planes, and Chief Ordnanceman John Finn, USN, received the Medal of Honor for his actions that morning."-- Gunnery Sgt. James Evans, U.S.M.C., Ret.

Remember..or Perish.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stop the War! 


When our government first announced its War policy, I supported it.

That seems like so long ago now. Somewhere along the line, I'm not even sure when, I changed my mind.

The carnage goes on year after year. The bodies continue to pile up. Innocent civilians slaughtered with no end in sight. And to what purpose? To protect our "freedoms"?

Even our European allies have a better policy in this War than we do. And much more restrictive Rules of Engagement when faced with killing the enemy. They're right; we need to talk to these people, not kill them.

For all these reasons, the time has come to withdraw...

from Roe v. Wade.

And stop the brutal, senseless, immoral war...

on babies.

As for the Battle of Iraq in the War on Terror, we have no choice but to win. None.

Churchill spoke truly:

"If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

"You ask, What is our policy? I will say; “It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.” You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory—victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."

Ask any baby.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thank You, Ambassador Bolton 


If we are going to be involved--and we are-- in that Turd-Bowl at Turtle Bay, that viper-pit of friends, foes, French whores, Thalidomic thugs, congenital kleptocrats and international welfare recpients that we laughingly refer to as "the United Nations", then we could not have hoped for a better ambassador than John Bolton.

Amb. Bolton has served this country with distinction, honor, clarity, effectiveness, purpose and patriotism. Which is exactly why Democrats want him gone. Thank you, sir.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to flog a dead Silky Pony until such time as John Kerry and John Edwards are elected and the pony walks again on it's own.

Adam Zagorin at TIME:

"The resignation of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations marks another acknowledgement by the White House of the political consequences of the Nov. 7 Congressional election."


No, it's an acknowledgement of the political consequences that result when Republicans, even when in the majority, lack the balls to follow the Constitution.

"He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court...."

Let's examine that sentence. Treaties require Advice and Consent and a supermajority vote of the Senate. Nominees require only Advice and Consent. Therefore, a President, any President, is entitled to a simple majority vote on his nominees.

The Senate may no more insert a supermajority requirement for nominees than they may remove the supermajority requirement for treaties. Yes, the Senate has control of its rules--but the Constitution cannot be amended by a Senate rule. For example, if the Senate passed a rule forbidding drunken Irishmen from serving in the Senate, it would be unconstitutional. Rest easy, fair Teddy.

By invoking a 60-vote cloture rule (to close debate), they have in effect amended the Constitution to require a 3/5ths vote on nominees, instead of the simple majority vote mandated in the Constitution.

When Sen. Robert Byrd (D.-The Robert C. Byrd Memorial State of West Virginia) took to the Senate floor to defend cloture and filibusters, a curious thing happened. Byrd, who is widely hailed as the Godfather of the Constitution, quoted the Code of Hammurabbi. He quoted Dante's Inferno. He quoted the Kama Sutra. He quoted Joe Biden quoting Neil Kinnock. He quoted the instuction booklet to John Edwards' Playstation. He quoted anything and everything...except the Constitution of the United States.

Why? Because the Constitution contradicts him.

Not to mention the fact that no actual filibuster takes place. No one is making speeches. Not one word is ever uttered, nor are any phone book listings read into the Congressional Record. Senators merely announce their intention to filibuster, and that is enough. At least Jimmy Stewart (R.-Hollywood) actually speechified in the Dem's newly-favorite movie "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, 'Grows' in Office and Earns Strange New Respect from the New York Times".

And even Jimmy Stewart's movie-speech was a filibuster of legislation, not of a nominee ...and over pork-barrel spending, no less! If only.

In a bizarre defense of these bizarre silent filibusters, these non-speaking speeches, Senator Byrd decried the loss of "unlimited debate". But even a real filibuster is not a debate. In fact, it is the very opposite of a debate--it's a monologue. Two questions: If , Heaven forfend, the old Byrd should suddenly clutch his chest while attempting an actual filibuster, would that be an Angina Monologue?

And more importantly...is our Constitution "optional"? ..............................................

Here's what we, meaning "I", wrote at the time , when the Gangsters of Fourteen announced their deal :

"Although he was not a party to this deal, this was a failure of leadership on the part of Bill Frist. There should have been a vote on principle months ago, with no nominees involved. By letting it drag on, Frist gave an opening to the grandstanding 'Gang of 14'.

There was a lot of inappropriate touching happening on that stage, most of it involving John McCain and, well, John McCain. McCain of course views voters as illegitimate interlopers trying to unduly influence the outcome of elections.

John Warner was in his full Foghorn Leghorn glory, as much in love today with the sound of his own voice as the first day they met.

DeWine looked like a failed insurance salesman who just found out his wife is cheating with the Top Annuities Salesman, Akron Division, 1993.

And I'm not sure, but I think Lindsey Graham wet his pants.

Several times.

But in his defense, it was past his bedtime.

Snowe, Collins and Chafee are the easiest to understand; they simply want nominees like themselves who would legislate the liberal agenda from the bench while giving it the "Republican" stamp.

Hugh Hewitt nails it:

"Other than the war, there is no issue of greater consequence to GOP activists than the courts, and this includes all GOP activists, not just faith-based conservatives. The sub-parties of national defense and free enterprise inside the GOP know all too well that the courts control many issues, from interpretations of the president's war powers, to the reach of federal regulation over the interstate-commerce clause and tort excesses, to judicial decrees on same-sex marriage and the use of international law to declare state death penalty statutes null and void."

The disfigured filibuster is a constitutional horror, and only the left's babblers pretend otherwise. Writing in a super-majority to the advice and consent clause of Article Two, Section 2 is simple willfulness by a deeply distressed political party, a naked power grab which should have been struck down immediately upon its introduction in 2003, and one which gains false credibility with every day it's left alive."

Jonah Goldberg also makes a good point:

"A second and related annoying assumption is that arguments are bad. Whether you think the Democrats were right or the Republicans were, their disagreement over judicial nominations was healthy. It informed the public about extent of judicial power today. ...But nooooo, once again, the assumption was that arguments are a danger to the republic.

I'm sorry, but the Senate is a debating society. Its job is to debate and then vote on the strength of the arguments presented. Comity and collegiality are fine, but they are supposed to elevate the arguments, not obviate them.

Besides, it is far more dangerous when democracies choose not to have arguments. This is because political arguments represent conflicts of legitimate interests and legitimate perspectives. Intellectually shabby compromises by their very nature don't settle the disagreements, they merely postpone and exacerbate them....This filibuster fight itself is the bastard of Roe vs. Wade. If the Supreme Court hadn't declared that the courts were going to decide abortion and issues like it, then judicial nominations wouldn't be nearly so high-stakes for both sides.

That would have meant forcing the Senate to do what it was meant to do: have a big argument."

It is not a "crisis" everytime Democrats throw a temper tantrum. If it is, then we are in a Permanent Crisis. And what is so wrong with asking that those who were elected by a majority vote conduct a majority vote to ensure that a majority vote is the standard for nominees, just as the Constitution says?

Like the Kansas-Nebraska Act, this deal is not long for this world. Making a Gentleman's Agreement with "Sheets" Byrd is like opening a joint bank account with a crackhead. A crackhead with a gambling addiction, child support payments, unpaid bar-tabs, an angry bookie and Dog the Bounty Hunter filming next season's opener based on the piper's life story.

No, I'm more concerned about what Fresh New Hell the Court will inflict when it senses the impending departure of one of its activist-majority members.

Grow a pair, people. "...............................................................

President Bush:

"I am deeply disappointed that a handful of United States Senators prevented Ambassador Bolton from receiving the up or down vote he deserved in the Senate. They chose to obstruct his confirmation, even though he enjoys majority support in the Senate, and even though their tactics will disrupt our diplomatic work at a sensitive and important time. This stubborn obstructionism ill serves our country, and discourages men and women of talent from serving their nation."

President Bush is right, except that it is not Bolton who deserves an up or down vote. It is the president himself who is entitled to such a vote, and on all his nominees.

And speaking of senators who prevented Ambassador Bolton from receiving an up or down vote, here's John McCain:

"His resignation today is less a commentary on Mr. Bolton than on the state of affairs in the U.S. Senate. For over a year, Democrats blocked his nomination in the Foreign Relations Committee, preventing an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. In so doing, they have deprived America of the right man at the right time at the U.N."

Uhh...can I get you a fresh, hot cup of shut-the-hell-up, Senator? It was McCain's Gang of Fourteen deal that prevented a simple, Constitutional yes-or-no vote for Bolton--and several excellent judges as well. And may well prevent any other decent nominations for the rest of Bush's term.

Sometimes I think McCain is trying to silence voices in his head by silencing every one around him. He wants citizens' groups silenced 30 days before an election. He wants communications between candidates and parties criminalized. When Democrats threw a fit about filibusters, he sought to make the rancorous voices go away by cutting a deal and compromising.

But there's one little thing: The Constitution is not some holy writ; it already is the result of finely-crafted compromises. It is a contract on how we all will live together--and we've already agreed to it. It does not need another layer of compromise grafted on to it, and certainly not by a handful of senators. If they wish to insert a supermajority clause into it, let them do it the old-fashioned way; by Constitutional amendment.

Still not convinced? Since study groups of wise old grey-beards are all the rage today, let me refer you to an expert who is so grey, he's dead:

Alexander Hamilton of the Hamilton/Madison America Study Group, #66:

"It will be the office of the President to NOMINATE, and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to APPOINT. There will, of course, be no exertion of CHOICE on the part of the Senate. They may defeat one choice of the Executive, and oblige him to make another; but they cannot themselves CHOOSE, they can only ratify or reject the choice of the President. They might even entertain a preference to some other person, at the very moment they were assenting to the one proposed, because there might be no positive ground of opposition to him; and they could not be sure, if they withheld their assent, that the subsequent nomination would fall upon their own favorite, or upon any other person in their estimation more meritorious than the one rejected. Thus it could hardly happen, that the majority of the Senate would feel any other complacency towards the object of an appointment than such as the appearances of merit might inspire, and the proofs of the want of it destroy."

Why, I believe he used the phrase "the MAJORITY of the Senate". NOT 'supermajority'.

This kind of thing is one of the reasons Republicans lost the election.

Even voters whose eyes glaze over at the mere mention of the word 'cloture' understand that something is not right. They know they elected 55 Republican senators--yet they could not get a simple yea or nay vote on great nominees like John Bolton or Miguel Estrada. They are constantly told how important the UN is, yet the president has to keep hiring new help. Their senators never have to go on record as being for or against a nominee. There is already far too little accountability in Washington and this just adds to it big time.

Ironically, if we are ever reckless, feckless, foolish and forgetful enough to elect a Democrat president again, and if Democrats have 50 votes, they will immediately return to a simple majority vote for nominees. What the Republicans should have done out of fidelity to the Constitution, the Democrats will do out of pure power poilitics.

Anytime and everytime we depart from our Constitution, we pay a heavy price. Daniel Webster:

"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."

A Constitution...if you can keep it.

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