The Icon That Failed
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a speckled history, much of which remains occult. There are some things you just don’t repeat. For example, when the libertarian folks at the Cato Institute take a very critical and skeptical look at the FBI on the occasion of its 100th birthday, they somehow manage not to mention the bizarre facts about J. Edgar Hoover.
JEH was a cross-dressing homosexual in days when that was considered so shameful it made one vulnerable to blackmail. Hoover was held in thrall by organized crime. He declared publicly on many occasions that there was no Mob, no Murder Inc., no Mafia…no well-staffed, sophisticated and far-reaching criminal enterprises at all.
Hoover’s lauded special agents never investigated any of the huge openly operating businesses that were selling drugs, controlling prostitution, practicing extortion, corrupting labor unions, bribing the police and judges and intimidating jurors. Thanks to Hoover, much of the eastern and central USA was in the hands of criminals and beyond the reach of the state and federal governments. The man did tremendous harm to his nation.
A victim of his time, you say? No. JEH chose to remain in power and collude with the Mob, when a better man would have gone into obscure retirement. As the willing instrument of criminals, Hoover was not just tainted but suffused with evil. The man portrayed himself as a paragon of Americanism, but at base, he was merely a greedy coward.
How Cato missed this is a puzzle.
Afghanistan, The Once And Future Battleground
For many months, we have been hearing from sources such as Michael Yon that while things are going well in Iraq, Al Qaeda is making a credible effort to take Afghanistan back. Now the various news media are alerting the world to this development, and of course the US military knows jihadis operating out of western Pakistan are not being effectively countered.
It does not take a crystal ball to say that (a) the USA will be increasingly active in Afghanistan, and (b) air power will be a huge advantage in the effort to bleed Al Qaeda into insignificance. For more on where the action will be, take a look at this.
Follow-Up On A Recent Link: The Balkans
When dissecting and answering the question of whether it is possible to be a good Muslim, the PenPo suggested you read a post by Michael Totten. Here is the next of Totten’s reports on the region.
It’s All A Matter Of What You Consider Important, And These Days, The Imaginary Boogie Man Trumps The Real Killer Who’s Trying To Get In Through The Bedroom Window
(Quotes Obama) “As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.”
Here are the current drought conditions in Kansas. Such a thing is not unknown in the Plains. Obama may have heard of the Dust Bowl, which ravaged the plains before the wise hand of FDR doth stilleth the wind. It seems a bit much to assert with utter confidence that this drought is the result of cars in Boston. But nevermind: if this is the case, then we are obligated, in our interconnectedness, to do our part. To do something about those cars in Boston, and use our shining example to compel China to do something about their coal plants. Of course they won’t, but that’s no excuse for not imposing carbon rations on the Beaners.
Lileks then adds an observation that should make every US voter shift uncomfortably in his seat:
The theme of global climate peril was large in the speech — in the list of things which we must do now, since THIS IS THE MOMENT, terrorism was first, just to get that off the table, and global warming was last. When you write a speech you build to your strongest points, and I suppose for a European audience that’s the barn-burner. Or rather the burning-barn extinguisher. (But) end with a ringing denunciation of Islamists in the bosom of Europe, using her money and tolerance to spread ideas antithetical to the Enlightenment, and everyone looks at their shoes. The “West” is a divisive concept anyway, steeped in blood and sin — the non-sin sort, that is; imperialism and militarism and Catholicism and the rest of the ash-heap notions.
Addendum: Sea levels are not rising, they are falling, and have been for two years.
That Explains The Cape And Tights, Then
Wow, look at Nancy Pelosi! — Hey, that’s some outfit, Nan-Nan; what’s with the new shtick?
“I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” she says impatiently when questioned.
Well, unh, sure, yeah, having super-powers must be a trip. …Whoa, that means there’s no more need for the Botox, right? Cool! Can close your eyes when you sleep now, that’s gotta be a relief. Say, SuperNan, how about putting out some of California’s brush fires? You know, a big lungful of air, and…whoosh! Or did you do that already?
This Would Not Make Obama Smile, But It Is Funny
A weblogger puts up a brief, cute post with a link to the relevant story, and the PenPo salutes his wit:
FINALLY, AN IRAQ POLICY THAT MAKES SENSE: McCain Backs Timeline to Get Obama Out of Iraq.
Links To A Few Interesting Web Pages
What’s really being developed at the US military’s most famous classified base?
LSD, “ecstasy,” and marijuana are bad for you. Which commonly-used drugs are worse? The answers may surprise.
A terror bombing on Wall Street. It happened in 1920.
For decades, coffee has been under attack as bad for you. Relax and enjoy a cup or three.
No surprises here: whales communicate. Of course they do; all social animals, including bees and ants, communicate. This is an interesting article anyway.
A Little News Item Suggests Questions Regarding The Exercise Of Power In A Free Society
Fresh from shattering reverses in Iraq, the boys in Al Qaeda are eager to conquer new worlds — such as, for example, The New World. First things first, though, so they have issued this reminder of their ideological correctness that somehow escaped the notice of virtually all the major media. If you saw it on TV or read it on page 4 of your newspaper, write and tell the PenPo how you get your news, because you are exceptional and therefore interesting.
Then meditate on this: given the information chokehold imposed by multiculturalist/blame-the-USA-first journalists, how is anybody to get a relatively accurate view of events? And does it matter, or is it acceptable for the media to look upon voters as political naifs, and expect them to think and do as directed?
How and when did this shaping of the political process become a legitimate task for folks who scribble and babble for a living? The job description was operative by 1898, when the media generated the Spanish-American War. Before then — and this is generalizing with gay abandon — propaganda was pretty much a government’s job, and/or a task undertaken by the church. These days, big government struggles to use the bigger and more powerful news media to present its case to the populace.
That’s a sea change in how society works, yet no one ever remarks on it.
Some would call the shift of tasks (from information conduit to authoritarian mentor and censor) an egregious arrogation of authority. Note that each US administration has to contend with would-be administrations, and the political process is adversarial. The media, however, constitute an ideological phalanx, a nearly uniform political bloc with tremendous power. Journalists define the terms of the debate.
Can any information oligarchy serve the common weal?
Serious Business For Parents In Particular
Has That Nasty Old Uncle Sam Got You In The Down In The Dumps Again, Bunky?
As interesting as war stories from Afghanistan are and will be — and some are engrossing accounts of heroism… while others make us wonder how in the world these men do it — we shall have to be prepared for the deadly combination of sneering, cynical contempt and total disregard that characterizes the attitude of both the political left (Murtha, Reid, Pelosi and others more sinister still) and the news media. Fighting the people who murdered so many innocents on September 11, 2001 is a cause some cannot endorse.
Perhaps part of that reluctance to support military action comes from the fact that the “progressive” elements of society are confused about the nature of the enemy.
The addle-pated thinking probably begins with Islamist critiques of Western Civilization. The press and the left have long looked down on the essentially middle-class values that unite people of different faiths, economic levels and educational achievements. Thus the assault on the “brown-shoe” US (hicks, hayseeds, yokels, Babbitts, flyover country, gun nuts, Bible-Belt, Elmer Gantry frauds, corporate greed, and so on ad nauseam) makes sense to some in the USA. This is at least in part due to anti-middle-class revolutionary fervor the USA imported from mid-nineteenth century Europe. Looking down with disdain on the parvenue upstarts and agrarian peasants, a self-proclaimed US intellectual elite fostered (N.B.: but did not invent) snobbery and social stratification. Of course contempt for middle class values is quintessentially expressed today by jihadis who, if they could seize power, would certainly execute a huge portion of the USA’s chattering classes, along with many journalists.
Yes, really. Never mind that Osama bin Laden claims the quislingesque Robert Fisk is his favorite journalist. In an AQ paradise, Fisk’s neck would never be completely safe, for he is today just bin Laden’s fool/tool, and once no longer useful, could be and likely would be dispensed with. Fisk probably can’t believe that.
The facts that Al Qaeda does not wear uniforms, has no national status and is excruciatingly puritanical may also leave the news media and the left unsure how to proceed. The fuss over how captured AQ fighters are to be housed, interrogated and ultimately disposed of is the work of reflexive critics of US “capitalist” society. Guantanamo as Devil’s Island is a total, shameless falsehood, but an effective myth nonetheless.
The issues exist partly because many, perhaps even most, “progressives” can only pay lip service to the horrible truth: jihadis are certain that the fabrications of Mohammed are imperatives imposed by the deity that created humanity.
Saying you grasp that fact is one thing; genuinely understanding it is quite another.
Recognizing and crediting the dangerous nature of Koranic fundamentalism is probably much easier for a Bible-believing Baptist than it is for a Unitarian who knows the Devil is not doing his fell work in the world.
As rabid critics of US values, jihadis speak a language “progressives” understand fairly well — at least until the Koran comes out. Both groups loathe Bush, consider anti-Zionism appropriate, and (often hypocritically) revile the USA’s materialism. Jihadis may, therefore, be intuited by “progressives” as philosophical step-strangers-in-law. Yes, that recognition of ideological kinship is slight, but the whiff of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is discernable. Big mistake.
Consider the collectivist, authoritarian mindset of today’s “progressive” critics of the military effort to crush Al Qaeda. One can discern a pattern: many folks on the left are in, but not fully of, Western Civilization. They expose their malformed ethic when they revile the evolved principles of the Enlightenment. Not for them the ethos that proclaims the sovereign dignity of the individual. Not for them reverence for the Western heritage, for that would imply an eagerness stoutly to defend our culture. Like Fisk, they just live here, and they hate the way the place is run.
Maybe The Devil Made Flip Wilson Do It, But God Made Osama Do It — And That Tells Us A Great Deal About Osama And His God
It seems that Osama bin Laden began his career as mass murderer with a light touch. He was originally careful not to promote violence that would cause “collateral damage,” that is, injuries or deaths among uninvolved bystanders. Over time this fastidious approach proved frustrating, evidently, such that Osama, like Ward Churchill, could think of the thousands of victims of the World Trade Center, Pentagon and United 93 catastrophes as “little Eichmanns,” each morally culpable for being on the wrong side. As one weblogger puts it, “The story of (Osama’s) gradual journey towards unlimited warfare was shadowed by religious doctrinal changes which he himself promulgated in order to justify his new policies.”
What’s interesting about this is that Osama’s moral degeneration parallels that of the prophet Mohammed. Confronted by his followers because of his latest hedonistic excess, the wily fraud would retire to his cave, receive the angel Gabriel, get the latest bulletin from The Boss, and then announce to the irritated but gullible multitude that The Prophet was above human law. Everybody else was still expected to obey the law against incest, though.
That’s one convenient religion, Islam. Convenient for the guy who runs the show, that is.
It Will Be A Long, Long Song, But A Swan Song In Any Event
For some years, the PenPo and its predecessor energetically assaulted the biased, bloated and bigoted journalistic establishment. The battle was exhilarating and frustrating, but ultimately, when the ancestor of today’s PenPo flatly predicted the extinction of the dinosaurs — which event proceeds today — that signaled a certain impatience: “Get it over with. Go off somewhere distant and die, damn you!” The impatience indicated boredom.
If you are not bored with the crumbling, stumbling, mumbling, humbling decrepitude of journalism, have a look at this scathing (but somehow uninteresting, these days) assault on the Fourth Estate. Ho-hum….