Thursday, September 20, 2018

New Eichmann Film Puts the Lie to Hannah Arendt's "Banality of Evil"

September 18, 2018

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Ben Kingsley as Adolf Eichmann in 'Operation Finale'

One of the most notorious lines -- and lies -- that grew out of the trial of Adolf Eichmann for his important role in the Holocaust, was what Hannah Arendt called "the banality of evil," meaning that even the most horrific people can appear insipid. Arendt was assigned to report on the 1961 trial of Eichmann in Jerusalem, but according to contemporaries, she rarely attended the trial. She came to Jerusalem having made up her mind in advance that Eichmann in particular and other perpetrators of the evils of the Holocaust in general, were ordinary nondescript functionaries. She reported on the trial with an agenda. It was not necessary for her actually to observe and listen to Eichmann because to do so might undercut her thesis. So instead she wrote a mendacious screed in which she constructed a stick-figure caricature of one of the most significant perpetrators of the Holocaust.

I use the word mendacious deliberately, because it seems Arendt knew better. One of Hitler's key supporters was Professor Martin Heidegger, perhaps the most influential philosopher of his day. Arendt was his student and lover. After the war, she tried desperately to rehabilitate him. He was anything but banal. Nor were Göring, Goebbels, Himmler, Hitler and the numerous doctors and lawyers who were tried at Nuremberg. Neither were the university students who began by burning Jewish books and ended by burning Jewish children. The perpetrators of the Holocaust -- from those who organized it in Berlin to those who carried it out in the death camps and killing fields -- included some of the most brilliant young men and women in Germany. Many left university to participate in the "final solution" and then returned to highly prestigious jobs in post-war Germany.

Adolf Eichmann was also anything but banal, as a perusal of the trial transcript reveals. In the new film Operation Finale, he is played by Ben Kingsley. Although the film partakes of Hollywood liberties -- a romance between a beautiful doctor who in reality was a man and the film's Israeli hero -- Kingsley's fictional portrayal of Eichmann is far more realistic than the allegedly non-fiction account by Arendt.

The late Professor Telford Taylor -- who was my teacher, mentor, colleague and friend -- had been the chief prosecutor at the Second Nuremberg Trials. He was invited to report on the trial as well. He invited me along as his assistant and translator, but I had just been elected editor-in-chief at the Yale Law Journal and could not accept his offer -- a decision I have long regretted. When he returned, he gave me his account of the trial, which varied enormously from that of Hannah Arendt. Where she saw banality, he saw calculation, manipulation and shrewdness. These characteristics come through far more clearly in the film than in Hannah Arendt's deeply flawed account. In the film, we see a highly manipulative, shrewd judge of character who seeks to use his psychological insights to his advantage.

Nor was Arendt's book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, the only effort by Germans to attribute banality and ignorance to the perpetrators of the Holocaust. In Bernhard Schlink's award-winning book, The Reader, turned into a critically-acclaimed film starring Kate Winslet, a woman who actively participated in the mass-murder of Jews is presented as embarrassed by her illiteracy. Readers and viewers come away believing that she may have been more typical of hands-on perpetrators than the SS and Einsatzgruppen.

Deliberately distorting the history of the Holocaust -- whether by denial, minimization, unfair comparisons or false characterizations of the perpetrators -- is a moral and literary sin. Arendt is a sinner who placed her ideological agenda, to promote a view of evil as mundane, above the truth. To be sure, there are untruths as well in Operation Finale, but they are different in kind rather than degree. Some of the drama and chase scenes are contrived, but what else can be expected of Hollywood? What is important is that Eichmann is presented in his multifaceted complexity, in the manner in which Shakespeare presented Iago, Lady Macbeth and many of his other villains -- not as banal but as brilliantly evil.

It is essential to the past memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as to the future efforts to prevent recurrences of genocide, that we not simplify with ideologically driven and historically false oversimplifications such as "the banality of evil." That mendacious and dangerous phrase should be struck from the historical vocabulary of the Holocaust and the trial of Eichmann, lest we look in the future for banality and miss the brilliance of those who would repeat Eichmann's crimes.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of "The Case Against Impeaching Trump," Skyhorse publishing, 2018.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

We Need To Know If Intelligence Agencies Covered Up The 1996 Crash Of TWA 800

By William F. Marshall
September 18, 2018

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In this 2001 photo, the wreckage of TWA Flight 800 sit in a hangar in Calverton, N.Y. The seats of the plane are pictured in the foreground. The plane crashed off the coast of Long Island, N.Y., on July 17, 1996, killing 230 people. (Ed Betz/AP)

While recently watching a documentary on the Smithsonian Channel about a 1987 plane crash in California purportedly caused by a deranged passenger, I realized a profound shift had occurred in my accepted wisdom, my “worldview.” During its investigation of the crash, the FBI allegedly found a vital piece of evidence at the scene, which led to them identifying a suspect behind the crash.
It dawned on me that I doubted the veracity of both the evidence the FBI supposedly found and of the documentary itself. Then I realized that my doubt was purely a result of everything we’ve learned about the FBI’s involvement in the greatest political crime in America’s history through its pivotal role to undermine Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and in the blatant cover-up of Hillary Clinton’s crimes as secretary of state. It also brought home why President Trump needs to reopen the 1996 TWA Flight 800 plane crash investigation.

Thanks to James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and an ever-enlarging cast of hapless characters, my illusions about the FBI have been shattered. The FBI is no longer sacrosanct. The enormity of what we are discovering about the role of the top leadership of the Obama administration to create and salt bogus “intelligence” into the U.S. national security establishment to spy on, investigate, and try to undermine the opposition party’s presidential candidate is staggering.
It involved the most senior leadership of the FBI, working in tandem with Clinton’s campaign minions and paid spies; the senior leadership of the CIA; the director of national intelligence; the Department of Justice; and possibly officials at the State and Defense departments.

That Brings Us to TWA Flight 800

The FBI’s willingness to participate in such outrageous cover-ups and falsely predicated investigations, and ignore a mountain of evidence contradicting the official government line, should prompt President Trump to revisit what I believe is one of the other great cover-ups in American history, also involving the Clintons: the destruction of TWA Flight 800 on July 17, 1996.
It was destroyed off the coast of Long Island shortly after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport bound for Paris, taking 230 souls with it. That scandal presaged what we saw 20 years later with the whitewash of the Hillary email server case and the counterintelligence operation against Trump’s campaign.
The seminal work about TWA 800 was written by a meticulous, indefatigable investigative reporter and documentarian, Jack Cashill. (Full disclosure: I have gotten to know and work with Jack, a fellow graduate of Regis High School in Manhattan, over the years, and consider him a friend.)
Jack’s latest book on the subject, 2016’s “TWA 800: The Crash, the Cover-Up, and the Conspiracy,” methodically lays out an overwhelming case that the Boeing 747’s destruction was not caused by a random, anomalous spark in the center fuel tank filled with vapors, as the government’s “investigators” contended, but that it was brought down by a missile, in all likelihood fired inadvertently during naval warfare exercises taking place off Long Island in those waters in the time frame of the crash. The exercises were known as Operation Global Yankee 96. The operation involved surface vessels, submarines, and P-3 Orion aircraft coordinating to shoot down practice drone aircraft targets.

Many Investigators Have Questions

Many other serious, credible investigators have dug into the mystery surrounding TWA 800’s destruction. They did not believe the government’s story. They have included Accuracy in Media’s Reed Irvine, retired United Airlines captain and air crash investigator Ray Lahr, retired Delta Airlines captain Nick Gravino, physicist Tom Stalcup, former CBS producer Kristina Borjesson, former NTSB board member Vernon Grose, retired Navy attack pilot and crash investigator Cdr. William Donaldson, Boeing engineers Brett Hoffstadt and Jay Himmelman, and many, many others.
Journalist James Sanders and his wife, Liz, a TWA flight attendant who knew many of the TWA 800 victims, actually were prosecuted by the government and convicted for having materials they’d received from TWA 800’s remains tested for missile residue, the presence of which was confirmed.
A tremendous number of related records have been revealed in the 22 years since that tragedy and its cover-up, which Jack has pored over and detailed in his book. They raise so many questions about the disaster’s true nature.
The evidence contravening the government’s conclusion that it was an accident is too voluminous to detail here, but it includes the following: more than 250 eyewitnesses (including pilots) who saw at least one missile attack the aircraft, nearly 100 of whom saw it rise from the surface of the ocean; scientific analyses debunking the CIA’s ridiculous animated video positing the absurd theory that the crippled aircraft with its nose blown off was able to “zoom” upwards more than 3,000 feet, defying all known laws of physics; and an underwater debris field inconsistent with the on-board explosion (as opposed to missile strike) theory of the plane’s destruction.
To those who can’t envision our highly advanced, technologically unsurpassed Navy being capable of mistaking a huge, civilian airliner for a drone practice target, one has only to look back eight years earlier, to July 1988, to see something very similar, when the U.S. Navy accidentally shot down Iran Air Flight 655, an Airbus A300, over the Persian Gulf, killing 290 civilians. Weapons systems and military operations are highly complex and, simply put, accidents happen.

Yet Another Clinton Cover-Up?

Why would the government engage in a massive cover-up in late 1996, involving multiple agencies, including the FBI, CIA, and National Transportation Safety Board, to disguise the fact that the U.S. military had accidentally shot down a civilian airliner? Probably for the same reason that multiple government agencies, like the FBI and DOJ, would torpedo an investigation into egregious violations of law by a secretary of state running highly classified national security information over an illegal personal server: to ensure that a Clinton won an upcoming presidential election.
To be sure, the great majority of investigators in 1996, perhaps even in 2016, had no idea they were serving an illicit cause, but a handful at the top most certainly did. How else to explain the cooperation of the CIA and FBI on the TWA 800 investigation from day one? Neither had any legitimate role investigating a domestic plane crash. Just as troubling, the Clinton DOJ’s infamous “wall” memo forbade the two agencies from sharing intelligence.
Imagine Bill Clinton in July 1996, fewer than four months before his reelection bid against Sen. Bob Dole, having to go before the American people to admit that the Navy under his watch had accidentally shot down a civilian airliner filled with 230 innocent men, women, and children. Similarly, imagine Hillary Clinton being prosecuted by the Obama Justice Department just months before her own presidential election. Not going to happen.
Eerie Similarities to Clinton Server Case
The political and investigative similarities between the TWA 800 and Hillary Clinton server cases, as well as the anti-Trump investigation, are eerie and deeply disturbing. In light of everything that we have learned that senior officials in our law enforcement and intelligence agencies are willing to do to protect a favored political candidate through the incessantly texting lovers, FBI agent Strzok and FBI attorney Page, the damning DOJ inspector general’s report on the handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation, and Comey’s smug, self-righteous testimony, we need to face this truth: conspiracies of the most egregious sort can and do occur among the powerful governing elite of our country.
Certainly if the FBI were willing to whitewash intelligence information abuses that would send any other American to prison for many years, all to benefit Hillary Clinton, and if multiple agencies were willing to collude to mount an utterly fabricated counterintelligence operation against a U.S. presidential candidate to benefit that same Hillary Clinton, they would be willing to tank an investigation of an accident that would benefit her husband, Bill Clinton.
The FBI must be torn out, root and branch, and reconstituted under new management, a new name, and with new safeguards to ensure these sorts of abuses of its power and resources do not continue. Before that can occur, however, the agency’s sins must be exposed to the light. The families of 230 victims of an horrific disaster deserve as much. Mr. President, re-open the investigation into the cause of the TWA 800 crash.
William F. Marshall has been an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, private, and non-profit sectors for more than 30 years. He is a senior investigator for Judicial Watch, Inc. (The views expressed are the author’s alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.)

Democrats Go Full Stalin on Kavanaugh and Declassification

September 18, 2018

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Ulrich Mühe as Gerd Wiesler in 'The Lives of Others'

Christine Blasey Ford's lawyer has announced that Ms. Ford will not testify until the FBI completes yet another investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh that everyone knows will never happen.

It was already highly unlikely she was ever going to testify; this is a convenient excuse, a stalling game. But it is more than the usual cheap political stunt.  It's vicious, ugly, and more than slightly sadistic. In regards to Judge Kavanaugh, Democrats are channeling Comrade Beria's famous dictum: "Show me the man and I'll show you the crime."

Not only are they despicable to Kavanaugh — a man with an impeccable reputation as far as women are concerned — and his family, but in using the hapless Ms. Ford as a pawn, they are making a mockery of the #MeToo movement, increasing suspicion of women (and men) who come forward in cases of sexual abuse where there is genuine proof and corroboration, not, as in this situation, an amorphous memory without time, place, witness, or remotely contemporary report.

Even Ford's sponsor, Dianne Feinstein, admitted in a rare moment of candor — or was it guilty conscience — that she wasn't sure of the accuser's veracity. Feinstein, a coward terrified of her left flank, walked it back quickly. The California senator has much to answer for, not just the unconscionable sandbagging of Judge Kavanaugh, but also the extraordinary enrichment of her family by the Chinese at the very time she was being chauffeured by one of the communists' spies.

But in the grand tradition of Stalin and Beria, it is our FBI that leads the pack, and the man whose crime they wished to "show" is President Trump. Unfortunately, the tables have turned and the crime stoppers are about to be unmasked as the criminals (cf. Norman Mailer).

Enter Trump's call for the declassification of the FISA documents and related material, including all the text messages concerning Russia, that has been stonewalled by the FBI and DOJ for over a year, making the constitutionally-mandated oversight by congressional committees nigh on to impossible.

Not surprisingly, the press and the Democrats are screaming bloody — the press because they want to control the flow of information for their own propaganda and business purposes and the Dem politicians because the totalitarian impulse and intended sabotage behind the entire Russia probe is about to be exposed with all its spying on Trump's people and the president himself, before and after his election.

The greatest fear is that the actual provenance of this attempted coup will be revealed. Just how high did it go? There's a reason Susan Rice wrote that odd ex-post facto email saying Obama told the other officials to do things "by the book."

No doubt the FBI/DOJ will do their best to slow-walk the release just as they have before. The solution is simple. Trump should give them a deadline. If they still delay, he should fire them. If they use the oh-so-tired-and-ridiculous "sources and methods" excuse, he should fire them nine ways to Brooklyn and shoot them through a cannon. That's the biggest piece of self-serving bull around. Enough of this Stasi-NKVD behavior.

But is this Stalin analogy fair? I regret to say yes. Totalitarianism arrives in different societies in different ways, sometimes unbeknownst even to the perpetrators who, like Lenin, think they are doing the right thing.

America has very different traditions from Russia or China. We are supposed to be immune to totalitarian government because of the magnificent democratic principles enshrined by our founders. But are we? Could it come in through the back door under the banner of people who say and even think they are doing the opposite, who think the other side is the fascist side? Or is it as simple as the fact that to some, the ends still justify the means, even though we have seen on multiple occasions the mass murder that leads to?

The photo at the top is Ulrich Mühe playing a Stasi agent in the Oscar-winning 2006 German film The Lives of Others, possibly the most important movie of this century.

Roger L. Simon — co-founder and CEO Emeritus of PJ Media — is an author and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

British historian tips hat to Stephen Ambrose, though their styles differ

By Ted Lewis
September 10, 2018

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Antony Beevor in his writing barn

Improbably, their paths never crossed.
But Sir Antony Beevor certainly feels at home in the House That Stephen Ambrose Built.
The recently knighted British historian, whose writings on World War II have been as successful in the 21st century as Ambrose’s were in the late 20th, is the keynote speaker for the National WWII Museum’s 2018 International Conference on World War II. The three-day symposium opens Nov. 29.
Featuring panel discussions on topics as such as “Greatest Unheralded Commanders,” and “Churchill: Walking with Destiny,” the conference draws scholars, historians and plain WWII buffs from around the country.
Beevor will focus on his latest work, “The Battle of Arnhem,” the recently released story of the failed Allied airborne operation designed to hasten the end of the war in Europe.
Beevor’s appearance in New Orleans will be one of six in he’s making in the United States to promote the book, his 18th.
It’s Beevor’s fourth time at the conference, which debuted 2006, four years after Ambrose’s death.
“It’s a great pleasure coming back,” Beevor said. “They always manage to assemble an extraordinary collection of historians and writers.
“I must say that to find a conference of this size and scale is really quite something.”
Beevor also used the Eisenhower Center at UNO in his research for his 2010 book on D-Day, which bears the same title as Ambrose’s on the event (there are different subtitles), as well his latest one. Beevor also cites “Band of Brothers,” and “Citizen Soldiers,” both by Ambrose, in “Arnhem.”
Ambrose’s D-Day, published in 1995, is credited as the launching point for the museum, which opened five years later. Ambrose kick-started the project with a $500,000 donation.
“Stephen Ambrose turned more people on (to) the story of World War II than any other person outside of the people who actually fought in it,” said Rob Citino, the museum’s senior historian. “And Sir Antony is one of the five greatest World War II historians working today.
“He’s a great writer dealing with an epic topic. That’s a winning combination, and it’s why his books sell.”
And it’s also why, in a veddy British phrase Beevor uses in “Arnhem,” “It was a great pity,” that they never met.

Different approaches

That meeting would have been interesting because the two took such different approaches toward their life's work. In fact, readers argue which is best.
Ambrose was unabashedly Americentric. His D-Day opus manages to all but omit the British, Canadian and other Allied participation in the Invasion of Normandy.
“It’s a typically American optimistic approach to history,” said Beevor, who has more of a world view. “Some of it’s a scrubbed version such as leaving out the killing of prisoners (included in “Saving Private Ryan,” for which Ambrose was a consultant, a movie Beevor considers “rubbish,” save for the opening landing sequence).
“You’ve got to be completely honest in your writing, even when it’s embarrassing to your country. In many ways for him (Ambrose), it was the story more than the history.”
But, Beevor adds, Ambrose’s style opened the doors for a revived literary approach to writing history, even if it’s sometimes derided in academic circles.
“You have to hit the right balance,” said Beevor, whose first three books were novels. “When you’ve got solid, verifiable material from the archives, you should use it in an accessible way.
“The whole point is to bring to life what it was like at that time. Military history has developed that way in the last 20 years.”

Nostalgia vs. resentment

Ambrose’s sometimes nostalgic approach to the “The Good War,” fought by “The Greatest Generation,” also, in Beevor’s opinion, reflects how the era is viewed differently in America and Britain.
In the U.S., the start of the war helped end the Great Depression well before Pearl Harbor, the country was physically untouched by combat and the end triggered unprecedented prosperity.
In contrast, the war left Britain damaged, bankrupt and without its empire.
Food rationing didn’t end until 1954, and Beevor, who was born in 1946, relates how the government purchased a special shipment of bananas to give the children of the country a rare treat.
“We’d won the war, but to what end?” Beevor asked. “There was great resentment, particularly when Germany became so prosperous in the 1950s and '60s.
“Churchill saw at the peace conferences that Britain was becoming a junior partner. I am afraid he was proved to be right.”
The different outlooks even manifest themselves in the way the war is memorialized.
At the WWII Museum, there is an upbeat feeling despite the obvious horrors of war. At the Imperial War Museum in London, things are more solemn.
There’s also a “heroic failure” theme in British military history, Beevor added, of which “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” is the foremost example. Market Garden also is often seen in that regard, although Beevor hopes to change that, saying, “This was not just about being a bridge too far.”

Civilian suffering

Beevor used extensive British, American, German and Dutch sources in his research.
The foremost American source was the work done by “A Bridge Too Far,” author Cornelius Ryan, on which the 1977 blockbuster movie was based. 
The Dutch archives, Beevor said, were particularly bittersweet.
Before the start of Market Garden, the government-in-exile had radioed, “Liberation is at hand! Keep a diary!”
Many did, and those diaries revealed the extent of the suffering the civilian population endured during the “Hunger Winter,” of 1944-45 when the Nazis starved the people in retaliation for the underground’s role and an estimated 22,000 died.
That was just one of the consequences of a fundamentally flawed plan to capture bridges across the Rhine but instead resulted in what one author called “the last German victory.”
Beevor places the bulk of the blame on Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. 
“Montgomery was wrong on several counts, and his biggest problem was he wouldn’t listen to anyone,” Beevor said. “With all military leaders there is vanity at work, but in this case, Monty was displaying incredible hubris.”
Montgomery at least knew the ramifications of failure. The 1st British Airborne Corps was assigned the most vulnerable drop zone because of the political fallout from an American unit being ravaged, which is precisely what happened.
But Beevor also slams the entire Allied leadership for believing the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler two months before Market Garden meant the Germans were on the verge of collapse.
Fortunately, we all know the eventual outcome, the last clear-cut American victory.
Perhaps that’s a reason why almost three quarters of a century since its end, World War II maintains its high level of interest in popular culture and in successful undertakings like the WWII Museum.
Beevor, who at 72 still loves research (“It’s like catnip to me”) and plans on several more books, has his take on WWII’s legacy.
“More than any other war in history, this was one of moral choice,” he said. “The defeat of  the totalitarian entities fascinates us until today.
“I trust that it will for years to come.”
And on that point, Stephen Ambrose and Antony Beevor would certainly agree.

Andrew Roberts on 'Churchill: Walking with Destiny'

History Weekends 2018: 5 minutes with Andrew Roberts

History Extra

July 19, 2018

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Andrew Roberts has been researching and writing a cradle-to-grave biography of Winston Churchill for four years. At our York and Winchester History weekends this autumn, he will share some of the evidence he has drawn on for his new take on Britain's legendary leader

We caught up with Andrew Roberts to find out what we can expect from his talk, Churchill: Walking with Destiny, at our History Weekends in York and Winchester this autumn…

Q: What can audiences look forward to in your talk at our History Weekends in York and Winchester?

A: A re-interpretation of a very, very well-covered area of biography. I’ve been writing about Churchill-related themes for 30 years now and have published five books with Churchill in the title or subtitle. So I feel “as if all my past life has been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial”.

Q: Why are you so interested in this area of history?

A: It’s the existential story of our country. Does it survive or doesn’t it? Who can’t be interested in it?

Q: Tell us something that might surprise or shock us about this period of history…

A: Out of every five Germans killed in combat on the battlefields of the Second World War, four died on the Eastern Front. So the entire war effort of the Western Allies – Britain, the USA, Canada, the Free French, etc – was expended on killing the fifth German.

Q: What historical fact blows your mind?

A: In the calendar year 1944, when the Germans and Russians produced 40,000 warplanes each, and Britain 28,000, the USA produced 98,000 warplanes, almost as many as the next three largest warplane-producing nations combined.
Such extraordinary production figures were also seen in other areas of war material production. It’s no wonder that Hitler signed his own death warrant when he declared war on the USA.

Q: Which three historical figures would you invite to a dinner party and why?

A: Churchill – to ask him why he nicknamed President Franklin Roosevelt ‘Don Quixote’? Napoleon – to ask what were the ‘zigzags’ that Josephine did to him in bed. Queen Elizabeth I – because everything she said or did is fascinating.

Q: If you had to live in any historical time period, which would you choose and why?

A: Assuming modern medicine and relative wealth, it has to be the 1700–89. The art, architecture, music, literature, sense of possibility and discovery, Enlightenment, political issues and personalities would never afford a dull day.

Q: Which history book(s) would you recommend (excluding your own)?

A: Alfred Duff Cooper’s Talleyrand (2001)Kenneth Rose’s King George V(2000); and Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Catherine the Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair (2016).
Andrew Roberts will be speaking about Winston Churchill at our Winchester History Weekend on Sunday 7 October and at our York History Weekend on Sunday 21 October. To find out more about his talk and to book tickets, click here.
Andrew is also president of Cliveden Literary Festival, which takes place from 29–30 September 2018. He will discuss Winston Churchill in the festival’s Walking with Destiny panel on Sunday 30 September 2018.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Dems “Anita” Brett Kavanaugh

By Myron Magnet
September 16, 2018

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It’s uncanny how closely the Democrats are following the Anita Hill playbook as they try to “Anita” Brett Kavanaugh, looking to prevent his confirmation as a Supreme Court Justice. Like Hill, Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford is a professor who made her accusation in the expectation of anonymity, never dreaming that newspapers from coast to coast would blazon her name across Page One. Hill had received assurances from a Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee staffer that, in all likelihood, Clarence Thomas would quietly withdraw his name from consideration, to spare himself and his family embarrassment. After all, Hill’s friend, administrative law judge Susan Hoerchner, had reportedly sprung a similar surprise on a fellow judge, with complete success, and it may well have been she who urged Hill to try the same tactic with Thomas. But there’s nothing leakier than a politician’s office, and Senate Democrats plainly considered Hill as a mere tool to derail Thomas’s confirmation without any concern about what would happen to her.

I didn’t believe Hill’s accusations back then, and now, having a clear picture of Justice Thomas’s sterling character, and having just reread the transcript of the Hill-Thomas hearings, I believe them still less. What, then, would have been her motivation in accusing the judge? her supporters ask. Though Hoerchner and many of Hill’s allies wanted to bar Thomas from the High Court to ward off any threat to the Roe v. Wade abortion decision, Hill’s own motive may have been her strong disagreement with Thomas’s opposition to affirmative action, about which the Supreme Court would have much to say in the years ahead. Also, those who believe her ask, how would such a prim-seeming young lady know some of the very concrete salacious details of what she claimed Thomas had said to her a decade earlier? The answer: the most graphic detail, complete with photograph, is in a federal appellate case whose transcript was in the library of the federal agency where Hill had worked as a Thomas employee. The other lurid detail comes from The Exorcist, a bestselling book and hit movie during the 1970s. But even supposing that Hill was telling the truth—which I do not—the most you could say, as Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch commented, is that Thomas talked dirty to her. He never touched her.

Having watched Kavanaugh’s testimony and having heard the encomia on his character from the many women whose careers he has fostered as a judge and professor, as well as from his colleagues, I strongly doubt that he did what Ford alleges, and what her allegation suggests was a rape attempt was, by her own description, nothing of the kind—though, following the Hill playbook, she has already taken a lie-detector test and hired a well-known lawyer. But again, supposing it were true—as I do not suppose—he was 17 years old at the time. Do the Democrats really think that a single teenage indiscretion should have a place in confirmation hearings?

But ever since their savaging of Robert Bork, no dirty trick is too dirty for the Democrats when it comes to the Supreme Court. After all, so many of the policy victories they have won in the past half-century have been won from the Court, in its era of interpreting the fictitious “living Constitution,” with all its “emanations, formed by penumbras.” So dedicated were they to preserving what they called “settled law” during the Thomas hearings that they didn’t even blush to have committee member Edward Kennedy—responsible for the gruesome death of a young woman staffer when he was allegedly driving drunk—question Thomas about this charge of sexual harassment.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley should treat this character assassination with the contempt it deserves and hold the committee vote this week, as planned. As even Karl Marx knew, history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.

Myron Magnet is City Journal’s Editor-at-Large and a National Humanities Medal recipient. His next book, Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution,will appear in the spring.

Yellow Journalism of Bob Woodward and the New York Times

September 16, 2018
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It takes no time at all. You listen to Bob Woodward’s halting speech. You read his lumpen prose, and you get right away what undergirds his Trump-phobic tome, Fear: Trump in the White House.
Perhaps naively, the president had expected to fulfill his revolutionary campaign promises to American voters, an assumption that threw Woodward and the D.C. elites for a loop.
If past is prologue, voters don’t—and should not—get their way. After all, the views of Trump voters on American power are polar opposites of those held by the permanent state.
What does Boobus Americanus know? Nothing!
Woodward and the New York Times’ anonymous anti-Trump whistleblower consider the president to be stark raving bonkers for not grasping that Rome on the Potomac moves to its own beat. It does not respond to voters, except to mollify them with “bread and circuses.”
Mostly reflexively, not always consciously, “The Powers That Be” seek to retain and enlarge their sphere of influence. Nothing, not even the venerated vote, is allowed to alter that “balance.”
This means that established fiefdoms and the “thinking” underlying them are to remain unchanged and unchallenged. Foreign affairs, war-making, the post-war economic order and globally guided crony capitalism are examples.
Against this command-and-control apparatus, 62 million Americans rebelled. They liked Trump’s America First ideas enough to elect their champion as president.
The president promised to upend “the post-1945 rules-based international order,” and deplorables applauded him for it.
Had Woodward and his publisher missed the 2016 Trump Revolution? Apparently so.
Incredulous, Woodward grumbled at one Fox News host: “People need to wake up to what’s happening under Trump.”
Again, Woodward is hardly original with this thinking. In the tradition of the Never Trump Resistance, within and without the administration, he and those for whom he speaks have resolved to thwart and discredit every political plank on which Trump ran.
The washed-out journalist then blurted out in disbelief: “Trump said the ‘World Trade Organization is the worst organization in the world.’”
Hyperbole? Maybe. The FBI under James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and now Christopher Wray are easily worse than the WTO.
Like the New York Times’ anonymous op-ed writer, purportedly a member of the Trump Administration, Woodward is exposing the Trump White House for nothing more than its attempts to fulfill voter demands.
Withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement was one such goal.
These senile subversives would like you to believe the president is insane for expecting to move on promises made to American voters. If not to withdraw from international agreements that have compromised ordinary Americans, at least to rework them so they don’t further pauperize our workers.
Who can argue that successive U.S. administrations had ceded the sovereignty of citizens to various supranational systems through international treaty making?
That Deplorables wished to reclaim their sovereignty is nevertheless news to seasoned newsman Bob Woodward.
The Woodwards of the D.C. swamp want to maintain multilateral trade agreements. The smart set call it “sovereign multilateralism,” which is Orwellian for a loss of citizen sovereignty through undemocratic, international treaties.
American workers don’t want their interests lost in this maze of multilateralism.
Thank goodness, gasps Woodward, that the globalist grandees with whom he stands so courageously, and who surround the president (likely directed by his ambitious daughter and the “Kushner-Cohn Democrats”), saved the day:
[D]rafts of a proposal to get out of the Paris climate accord … were removed from the president’s desk,” Woodward says. “[There were] draft statements about withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement—which would have been a disaster—and [former economic adviser Gary] Cohn just took it off the desk.”
To repeat, this was promised on the campaign trail and in Trump position papers. We now know who stole those promises from the American people.
In fact, until Woodward’s revelation, I was under the impression that President Trump in June 2017 had extricated the U.S. from the Paris Accord!
The thing was nothing but a wealth grab from the constituents Trump vowed to protect, with no benefits to the environment, which we all cherish. Besides, the United States has strong in-house environmental protections, including emission controls.
Thanks to Woodward, we now know that the ditching of the Paris Accord never happened.
The outrage animating Woodward—he insinuates that he’s driven by truth, not politics—is shared by the aforementioned New York Times’ anonymous op-ed scribe.
This yellow-bellied purveyor of yellow journalism claims to be a “senior official in the Trump administration,” who “vowed to thwart parts of [the Trump voters’] agenda and temper the president’s “worst inclinations.” (All the good things listed above.)
We thank you, oh, overlord who art in D.C.!
In his piece of pomposity, this anti-Trump White House employee invoked scripted Republican Party policy for his screed, while congratulating himself for being a “first principles” guy or gal (or amalgam).
He, too, has cast as dangerous the Trump positions millions of American voters considered wise. To wit, diplomacy with “President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un” and a cessation of America’s hobby wars.
We deplorables disagree with the New York Times’ unelected, “lodestar” for all things honorable and “conservative.”
NeverTrumpers and Trump haters are on a quest to scuttle an agenda seconded by millions of American voters. To them, the positions emanating from the Trump White House are a crisis of crazy.
To these saboteurs of the president, “crazy” is, very plainly, keeping campaign promises.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Narnia for Grown-Ups

September 12, 2018

Image result for joseph pearce further up and further in
Editor’s Note: The following is an interview with Joseph Pearce. 
Your new book is entitled Further Up and Further In: Understanding Narniatell me how the book came about. Did you bring the idea to the publisher, or did the publisher approach you?
I mentioned to the folks at TAN Books my longstanding desire to write a book on the deeper elements of The Chronicles of Narnia, a sort of “Narnia for Grown-Ups”. They thought it was a great idea and offered me a contract.
Why now for this book? You have written about Lewis in the past (C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church, and of course many articles over the years), so what prompted this book now?
As stated above, I’ve wanted to write a book on this theme for a very long time. The problem was that I had so many different projects that it took a long time for this one to move to the front of the queue.
Why is it important to understand Narnia? Particularly as Catholics, what can we gain from a deeper understanding of Lewis’ world?
Lewis, like his friend Tolkien, possessed the gift of bringing great truths to light through the telling of stories, much as Christ does in His parables and indeed in the story of His life. In reading The Chronicles of Narniawe find ourselves in the presence of great and necessary truths. For instance, the final pages of The Last Battle shine forth the most sublime eschatological theology, akin to the final canti of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
You speculate (and I must agree!) that Chesterton—had he the chance to read them—would have loved The Chronicles of Narnia. Is there a continuity from Chesterton to Tolkien and Lewis, particularly when it comes to how we treat “fairy stories”?
Tolkien and Lewis expressed a great debt of gratitude to the philosophy of myth which Chesterton elucidates in his work, and especially in the chapter “The Ethics of Elf-Land” in Orthodoxy. We can see Tolkien and Lewis as practitioners par excellence of Chesterton’s mythological philosophy.
Have you found any of the seven Narnia books more difficult than the others to “understand”? Or more difficult to explain the understanding to others?
Lewis is always a great teacher, even when he’s writing stories, so none of the works are difficult to understand on a deeper level, though some of these deeper meanings might not be obvious to the casual reader. Hence my desire to write the book. The Last Battle is the darkest of the books, at least until we reach the heavenly light of the final pages, and it contains some of the deepest theological insights. This is why I spend two chapters on this book, and not the one chapter which sufficed for the other books.
How do you feel the film adaptations of the Narnia books have “understood” Narnia? (I know this is a big question, but I am curious to hear your thoughts on the Disney/Walden adaptations, as well as the BBC adaptations from the 1980s which were more direct translations from page to screen.)
I only watched the first of the Disney/Walden adaptations, i.e. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and found it disappointing, mostly because of the vulgarization of the characters. After friends informed me that the later adaptations were even worse, I decided to boycott them. I do like the earlier BBC adaptations, even though they are very low budget and very low tech—or perhaps it’s because they are low budget and low-tech! They have an innocent charm. I have enjoyed watching these with my daughter.
To understand Narnia, one must understand Aslan. How are we to understand Aslan? He is, after all, “not a tame lion.”
Aslan is a figure of Christ in all seven stories, which means that the Christian dimension is centred on a proper understanding of who he is and the role he plays. It is for this reason that I spend a good deal of time in my book highlighting the theological aspects of Aslan’s character, actions and words, and the Christological “signature” that he leaves in each of the books.
 Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would only wish to reiterate what an honour it has been to spend time with this wonderful series of books, going “further up and further in” in pursuit of the deep theology and philosophy that are found in its pages.
Are you currently working on any other books?
I’m always working on new book projects but at this stage, I’d like to keep them close to my chest!
Lastly, since we’re on the topic of Narnia, is it just me or is the line “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it” one of the most clever and pleasantly witty opening lines in all of literature?
It’s not just you. I write about this marvelously memorable opening line to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in my book. And there’s much more to it than meets the eye, especially when, a few lines later, it is linked to some clues about the character and beliefs of Eustace’s parents. Those who read my book will see how Lewis presents us with clues, which are all too easily overlooked, connecting Eustace’s parents to the socialist ideas of George Bernard Shaw. By extension, we see in Eustace’s character the disastrous consequences of raising children with such ideas.
Republished with gracious permission from Catholic World Report (May 2018). 
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