EVIL AND STUPID PARTIES SWITCH ROLES, MOSTLY
Not for the first time in US history, the evil and stupid parties have changed places. Being in power seems to be a major cause of this. Generally speaking, the Democrats were pretty good down to 1896. Then they made a turn toward the regulatory state. William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic nominee in 1896, was at least in favor of staying out of wars, whatever might be said about his half-baked economic views. Nor was he quite the ignorant fundamentalist portrayed in cartoons like Inherit the Wind or the one drawn by H. L. Mencken, for that matter.
Many of us used to have an irrational and sentimental attachment to the Republican Party. This rested almost entirely on a brief period in which one faction of that party opposed the New Deal's domestic and foreign interventions. That was a long time ago. We have to deal with what the Republicans have become.
Robert Taft has been dead for fifty years, and with a very few exceptions like Congressman Ron Paul (R., Tex.) the GOP is today worth less than the proverbial powder to send it to an uncomfortable, subterranean clime. In fact, the GOP is of negative value and its existence reopens the question of whether evil positively exists, as against the view that evil is simply an absence of good.
The Democrats are presently fairly useless, but if any of them can throw some sand in the gears of the Republican's traveling Straussian Salvation Show, it would be a good thing; but I must move on to another pressing matter.
THE NEGLECTED IMPEACHMENT POWER
I have fooled you — I am not going to mention the rhetor-in-chief, as there are other fish to fry.
One of the much-ballyhooed reasons for voting for any swine that appears on the Republican ticket is that at least a Republican will appoint decent federal judges. This is better than nothing, you know, and you really owe your soul to a party that gives you anything more than nothing. On the historical record, this argument cannot stand much empirical testing.
As if to prove this, today's papers report that Antonin Scalia, Oracle, has stated that "the Constitution just sets minimums" as far as civil liberties go. Further, he said, "most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires." Wonderful. Why doesn't the Ruler of the World just appoint Mr. Gary Wills to the College of Nine Delphic Oracles and be done with it?
Now if the best we can expect from a Platonic Guardian Oracle appointed by a Republican dunderhead is this, why should anyone ever again vote for a Republican? Could a Democrat appoint a judge with any greater contempt for the notion of constitutionally limited government? I doubt it.
With a left-of-center judge you get constitutional deconstruction and open contempt for the Republic, but you don't have to put up with Straussian secret doctrines and oddball mysticisms somehow equated with "strict construction." Why jack around with all these frills? Intercourse these "conservative" penguins and the Trojan horse they rode in on.
I don't know why the Supremes insist on having some high-sounding quote from Justinian's Code on their building. It would be far more honest to carve in stone for all to see: YOUR ANCESTORS WERE SWINDLED; GET USED TO IT.
These judicial members of the Clownintern are appointed for life. Thanks, Madison, Hamilton, Jay. You've all done very well.
Probably, the impeachment power does not quite reach Scalia's remarks. On the other hand, these are extraordinary times, as the war party never tires of telling us. It seems to me that Scalia should at least recuse himself from any case involving the Constitution for about, say, forty years. If not, there is a potential remedy.
KEEPING A WARTIME DIARY
Get some B-4 paper, as you will need to set up many parallel columns. First, draw a column for news as it comes in; you might label it "Current Fabrications." The story may of course disappear after a day, in which case you must put an asterisk by it. On the other hand, a different version may appear in four or five days, and these you put in column two, "History Re-Written."
The third column, to be called "Now They Tell Us," is for embarrassing retractions, which will surface much later. In the original Gulf War these came along about a year later; with the Internet, they may show up quicker. These will be stories like "Smart Bombs Fail IQ Test," "Civilians Killed But We're Not Very Interested in the Exact Number," and so on.
A fourth column, "Latter-Day Disinformation," is for officially-leaked stories aimed at refuting stories in the third column, stories like "Perle and Wolfowitz Not Linked to Anyone," "Rumsfeld and Cheney Have No Ties to Oil and Gas Industry," etc. A little research will show that such stories were written by the subjects' own secretaries; you can put a little u2018X' by each one, as a token of probable falsehood. Many of these stories will appear in National Review Online and you won't even need to read them before classifying them.
At the end of the year, you should have a dandy little dossier for handing over to the judges at the impeachment hearings for What's-His-Number Bush, or the Stockholm War Crimes Trials of 2005.
March 21, 2003