Saturday, August 30, 2014

The echo of the low dishonest decade


Why Was Hollywood at War with Poland?

The Left was very powerful among screenwriters in that period and many of the most unkind representations of Poles or Poland were the product of radical leftists, often members of the Communist Party. We must also remember that the Left had a particular grievance against Poland for several reasons. First, Poland was widely perceived on the Left as a reactionary country still preserving many of the characteristics of a bygone era. Secondly, the Poles had defeated Soviet Russia in the war of 1919-1921-a virtual sin to the pro-Soviet Left. Finally, Poland was the victim of a double assault in September 1939 by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Hence any mention of Poland immediately raised the issue of Communist collaboration with the Nazis and the brief era when Hitler and Stalin were allies. Hence for the Left, Poland was at least an obstacle and at most an object of hatred. There was no pro-Polish element in Hollywood to counter the Left’s powerful animus against Poland.


Reviews here and here

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Hefner protection racket


Previously:

"Hugh Hefner is one in a long line of preachy perverts"

Whitewashing porn
This is an old article but there is a jaw-dropping passage that destroys the Mr. Playboy's carefully crafted image:

Hugh Hefner’s Hollow Victory

Hiding in plain sight in the June 2001 issue of Philadelphia magazine is Ben Wallace’s essay “The Prodigy and the Playmate.” In it Sandy Bentley, the Playboy cover girl and former Hefner girlfriend (along with her twin sister Mandy), describes Hefner’s current sexual practices in just enough detail to give you a good long pause:

“The heterosexual icon [Hugh Hefner] … had trouble finding satisfaction through intercourse; instead, he liked the girls to pleasure each other while he masturbated and watched gay porn.”

This statement may seem either shocking or trivial. But it points to that which Hefner’s detractors have been saying for years: Pornography stifles the development of genuine human relationships. Pornography is a manifestation of arrested development. Pornography reduces spiritual desire to Newtonian mechanics. Pornography, indulged long enough, hollows out sex to the point where even the horniest old goat is unable to physically enjoy the bodies of nubile young females.
We are left, then, to ponder the original question: Why does the MSM protect and promote Hefner and Playboy? If journalists truly were the iconoclastic skeptics they claim to be, then, debunking the Playboy myth would be a thriving enterprise for the MSM.

Instead we get puff pieces that even Parson Weems would find overly sycophantic.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Flashman


A wonderful appreciation of George Macdonald Fraser's entertaining anti-hero.

Flashman and the Greatest Chronicler of the Victorian Age

Unlike Flashman, there was nothing affected about his heroism. I’d recommend his memoir Quartered Safe Out Here (1992) of his time fighting the Japanese in Burma. But he was more than a good soldier and sage commentator on the futility of modern warfare: he built his writing career, despite having no educational qualifications, to become through the Flashman novels one of the foremost experts on the Victorian era. History is never dull in the Flashman Papers.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

No justice, no peace


The federal trial of the [LAPD] officers was as political as any trial of radicals during the Cold War.

Lou Cannon, Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the Riots Changed Los Angeles and the LAPD,

Yet the same MSM that never tires of telling the story of the poor "victims of McCarthyism" is happy to encourage even greater injustices if the target is a cop or other enemy of the left. (See Duke lacrosse hoax)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Watergate: Beyond the Standard Version


A couple of interesting items on Watergate.

Unified Theory on Watergate

The 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's resignation just passed. The myths around the Watergate scandal are many and deep. Like all bits of American history, there is the official version and the truth. We will never know the truth, but the official version looks shakier with each year. The reason for pushing him out looks quaint as our elected and unelected elite commit far more heinous acts and far greater abuses of power. Members of his team bugged an office? Heh, how simple. Bug the world like Bush-Obama.

John Dean: Behind the Mask of Sanity
It is really rather astonishing. We are 40 years past Nixon's resignation and yet the MSM is still promoting the crude "first draft of history" crafted by Woodward, Bernstein, and Redford.

The MSM does not just ignore the many interesting questions surrounding Watergate, they actively work to shutdown discussion of them.

Related:

An inconvenient book (Part One)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

“I” is for “Impeachment”… and for “Idiots”


Why conservatives lose

Thomas Sowell gets it

LAWSUITS AND IMPEACHMENT

Whenever Democrats are in real trouble politically, the Republicans seem to come up with something new that distracts the public’s attention from the Democrats’ problems. Who says Republicans are not compassionate?

With public opinion polls showing President Obama’s sinking approval rate, in the wake of his administration’s multiple fiascoes and scandals the disgraceful treatment of veterans who need medical care, the Internal Revenue Service coverups, the tens of thousands of children flooding across our open border Republicans have created two new distractions that may yet draw attention away from the Democrats’ troubles.

From the Republican establishment, Speaker of the House John Boehner has announced plans to sue Barack Obama for exceeding his authority. And from the Tea Party wing of the Republicans, former Governor Sarah Palin has called for impeachment of the president.
Calling for impeachment is a great way to fire up parts of the base. As Dr. Sowell points out, it only helps the administration and their allies with the public at large.

Carl Bernstein tells an interesting story from the fall of 1972 when Nixon was cruising to his landslide:

As recounted in All the President’s Men, during this period Bob and I would often meet for coffee in a little vending machine room off the newsroom floor. These were our strategy sessions. Just the two of us, and really bad cups of coffee. We reviewed the status of where we were on each story, and discussed what kind of presentation we would make that day to our editors. Sometimes, we thought, they were awfully slow to recognize the value of a particular piece of our work. We had elaborate good-cop/bad-cop routines that we more or less rehearsed over the coffee. Usually I was the bad cop.

One of our conversations in the vending machine room was intentionally left out of All the President’s Men.

During the fall of 1972 we had established that there was a secret cash slush fund maintained by the Nixon re-election committee CREEP. It had financed the Watergate break-in operation and other campaign espionage and sabotage. The key to discovering the possible involvement by higher-ups was this fund. The CREEP treasurer, Hugh Sloan, and the bookkeeper, Judy Hoback, had after several days of teeth-pulling interview sessions told us that John Mitchell was one of the five who controlled the fund. Deep Throat had confirmed this. Mitchell, Nixon’s former law partner, former campaign manager and former attorney general of the United States, was the ultimate higher-up. The man. And we were about to write a story saying that the man was a criminal.

As we reviewing the story and its implications, I put a coin into the coffee machine and experienced a literal chill going down my neck--a sensation sufficiently vivid, unanticipated and unprecedented that I recall it even now with almost a shudder.

“Oh my God,” I said to Bob. My back was to him. I turned. “The president is going to be impeached.”

Bob sat motionless. He looked at me for a second or two in the strangest way. But it was not a look of skepticism or any sense of dismissing what I had saidnot the look he delivered many times on my occasional flights of fancy.

“Jesus I think you’re right,” said the staid man from the Midwest.

It had not occurred to me that such a thought had crossed his mind too. Even the most partisan Nixon-haters to our knowledge had not suggested such a possibility. It was only three months after the break-in at the Watergate. It would be another twelve months before Congress took up impeachment, and 22 months before Nixon resigned. “We can never us that word in this newsroom,” Bob said.

I saw the point. Our editors might think that we had an agenda or that our reporting was overreaching or even that we had gone around the bend. Any suggestion about the future of the Nixon Presidency could undermine our work and the Post’s efforts to be fair.

We did not tell this story in All the President’s Men because the book was published in April 1974 in the midst of the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation of President Nixon. To recount it then might have given might have given the impression that impeachment had been our goal all along.
Woodward understood that the majority of the public would tune out their reporting if they believed it was fueled by an anti-Nixon agenda.

In Watergate, the public was swayed because they were bombarded for two years with facts, evidence, and arguments. Conservatives and Republicans have done nothing of the sort with the Obama scandals.

Historian Alonzo Hamby on the effort that deposed Nixon:

The Ervin and Cox operations shared information extensively and together constituted the most formidable group of investigators that had ever looked into the dark recesses of any administration. Cox gathering evidence for the quiet legal processes of the courtroom, Ervin and his colleagues accumulating information and arguments for the political processes upon which Nixon's ultimate fate depended.
Republicans, with a few notable exceptions, have shown themselves to be something less than “formidable investigators” or persuasive advocates.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

On Ukraine: Why have we not heard from the “41ers”?


Most Republican criticism of President Obama’s Ukraine policy has come from alumnae and ideological allies of Bush 43. The critics accept the premise of Victoria Nuland’s policies: that Ukraine should be integrated into the EU, that NATO should move its frontiers closer to the Russian homeland, that the struggle with Putin is a zero sum game, and that fomenting a coup against a Putin ally is wise policy.

The critics harp on the need for greater strength, greater resolve, greater confrontation.

The debate is only between imperialist hawks and superhawkish imperialists. The policy differences are small; it is mostly a matter of how loud one rattles the sabers.

I’ve noted before that Bush ’41 had a completely different approach to Moscow and its former satellites. (See here and here).

Here is President George H. W. Bush himself in a speech to the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev in August 1991:

Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based on ethic hatred.
This is a viewpoint that deserves a hearing today.

Morning Chesterton


Not everyone realizes how much of what is called Progress is really procrastination. It is not so much hurrying toward the ideal state; it is rather, hurling the ideal state onwards far in front of us, that it may be a good long time before we catch up with it.
Illustrated London News
4 February 1933


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I wish Ace would tell us how he really feels about Eleanor Holmes Norton

A stupid and impulsive woman who pounds buttons on unfamiliar machinery rather than asking the engineer seated right next to her what the button does is one of the Congressmen dictating every aspect of economic life in the nation.

Here