…And That’s The Way It Would Have Been…

Brian Williams NBC NEWS - latimesblogs  Good evening.  This is Brian Williams NBC News reporting your world of May 25, 2005.  Tonight, all signs point to a Presidency in crisis and the whispers of impeachment are in the air, as the Bush administration has been rocked on its heels with a series of scandals that threaten its very existence. 

Democrats howled in protest as President Bush named U.S, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to undertake an internal investigation to review potential Justice Department improprieties related to the  utilizing of Patriot Act powers to investigate reporter Seymour Hirsch of New Yorker Magazine, who built the story of U.S. atrocities at Abu Graib through anonymous sources.  In an unprecedented action that may indicate violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution, Gonzalez was recently reported to have approved naming Hirsch as a ‘co-conspirator’ in order to obtain powers to obtain Hirsch’s e-mails, phone calls and video his visits to government facilities, to get at the source of the leaks within the administration. Attorney General Gonzalez had only recently informed the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, that he had no knowledge of who had arranged for the secret investigation of the reporter. 

Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware(video)”the idea that the Attorney General of the United States can investigate himself  is laughable and absurd, and points to the President using his friendship with Gonzalez as a buffer against any possible connection to himself and an effort to bury the facts.  Well, that won’t be allowed I assure you.”

The recent revelations about the Attorney General regarding Hirsch piggy back recent acknowledgements of a virtual war on the press media, with indications that the Justice Department had previously gathered over two months of Associated Press emails and telephone conversations related to the same story. NBC News  asked Constitutional Scholar Lawrence Tribe to comment.

Tribe (video) ” Brian, this is truly an unprecedented attack on the First Amendment guarantee of Free Speech and the Freedom of the Press.  Our Founding Fathers made these rights the FIRST Amendment because they considered it the vital foundation of a free society.  These series of attacks brink back haunting echoes of Nixon’s Enemies List and can not be tolerated in our democracy.”

On other news, the Senate is initiating hearings to mirror the House’s efforts regarding the President and his team’s actions in the recent calamity of the deaths of Iraqi U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremmer and 3 of his consulate associates when the consulate in Erbil was attacked by Al Qaida.   Information continues to paint a bleak picture for the competence of the Administration in the events that cost Bremmer his life as well as the events that led to it. The Administration’s attempt to suggest the attack on the consulate was the result of a spontaneous reaction to a video, as suggested by the President himself for weeks after the event, appears to have been a coordinated effort of the Administration to avoid an enormous embarrassment before the election, potentially swinging the race to John Kerry.  The meme that Al Qaida in Iraq ended with the death of Al-Zarqawi was obviously threatened by the brazen attack on the consulate and appears to have been covered up throughout the channels of command as high as Secretary of State Condeleza Rice and possibly the President himself: 

(video)Senator Barrack Obama of Illinois – ” the President is ultimately responsible for the safety of his representatives.  We need to know why Ambassador Bremmer was in Erbil in the first place.  Was he trying to arrange for arms to be smuggled to Iranian reactionaries? Where was the President in the long hours the consulate was under attack; was he completely in abrogation of his responsibilities as commander in chief while his Ambassador was assassinated? Why didn’t he call for re-enforcements to protect the survivors and protect this country’s assets and authority?  Why was the President the next day in the midst of a crisis at a fund raiser in Dallas, instead of aggressively organizing the search for survivors and meting out justice to the belligerents? This Senate Committee will not be denied answers.”

Add up such scandals for President Bush, and it appears the threshold to impeachment hearings has been crossed by the new revelation that the President or his team may have used the Internal Revenue Service to harass and suppress progressive organizations prior to the election, thereby cementing his re-election.  Further information is now pouring in from whistle blowers that the President’ re-election team may have coordinated a ‘win at all costs’ strategy that included the illegal use of IRS power to intimidate and weaken opponents such as George Soros, Media Matters, and ACORN  to suppress voter turnout and organizing enthusiasm for John Kerry. 

Senator Diane Feinstein -California (video) – ” the Internal Revenue has to be impartial and above any manipulation as its function strikes at the very foundation of the trust a  free citizen ascribes to his government.  What this Administration has allowed to take place is nothing short of tyranny and we would do well to remember that the first declared Article of Impeachment against President Richard Nixon was abuse of power by subverting the Internal Revenue Service for its own political ends. The time has come for a Special Prosecutor and real accountability.”

The firestorm this President faces from media, this Congress, and the American people is one we have seen before, and the future of President George W. Bush and his administration to maintain a viable governance is very much in doubt on this day of MAy 25th, 2005.  This is Brian Williams. Good Night.

 

(And this parody is very likely the way it would have been, just a few years and with another party at the levers of power…)

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Anatomy Of A Scandal

Clinton impeachment - washington post The anatomy of political scandals in Washington DC, in particular, the ones that take hold versus the ones that rapidly fade are not necessarily predictable.  The elements of outrage usually associated with the temperature of a scandal and therefore its longevity are fickle.  One would assume the age old collection of cardinal or “deadly” sins – wrath, greed, sloth, pride, gluttony, lust, and envy- would be the fundamental constituents of actions considered scandalous from government officials by which the public could not abide, but the reality is that the daily function of large bureaucracies skirt these sins daily without any real concern about admonition. There are instead other sets of considerations that provide the right mix of fuel for a scandal that gives it legs, and these have proved often to be a reflection of their time and the way and by whom the story has been told.  There is every indication that the collective colossus of “sins” present in the current Obama Administration maelstrom of a potential cover-up with Benghazi and abuse of power with the IRS and Associated Press actions have all the elements of the explosive scandals of the past.  As usual, however, the end story will depend on the public’s perception of the extent of the problem, the likability of the culprit, and the media’s handling and interest in investigating of the incident, as to its epilogue and its place in history.

The Shifting Over Time of “Sin” 

For the first 150 years of the American republic, the government was small and non-obtrusive and the private nation was vast and wild.  Scandals were not so much about the private peccadilloes or affairs as they were about advantage- who in private society could win advantages government could provide to overwhelm their competitors.  The crisis in government wasn’t the presence of private marauders like Jay Gould, Andrew Carnegie, or John Rockefeller. Everybody assumed that in the world of cutthroat capitalism, men would do what ever they could to gain advantage. No , the crisis came when government officials personally benefited from the manipulations of such men to gain advantage.  Greed was an accepted sin of private men, not national public servants.  When Jay Gould attempted in 1869 to corner the gold market by using his connections with Abel Corbin, President Grant’s father in law to attempt to influence the President, Grant was forever stained by the association despite history showing that once he recognized what was transpiring he interceded to stop any advantage Gould may have had.  A more direct example was the infamous Teapot Dome scandal of the Harding Administration, in which the Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall was eventually convicted of accepting large bribes to “smooth ” the process of private oil companies to gain oil concessions on public lands, the first cabinet official in American history to serve a prison sentence for official sins.  It additionally may have been the first time  Senate Committee hearings captured public attention by Senator Robert Lafollette’s Senate Committee on Public Lands driving the story through investigation.  Both Presidents Grant and Harding had significant blows meted to their reputations though both used the defense of ignorance of the actions as to explanations as to why the processes continued for as long as they did.

By the 1950s greed was replaced by wrath and sloth, as the Administrations of Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower were accused by Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin of passively accepting and abiding the presence of individuals of Communist sympathies or formal Communist ties in the inner workings and strategy development of the United States at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.  The wrath of McCarthy and the  Select Committee on Government Investigations slammed directly against the sloth of the federal bureaucracy. The obvious problem, described by foreign affairs specialist George Kennan, creator of  the American Cold War Containment strategy, was that “the penetration of the American government from the 1930s onward by members or agents of the American Communist Party was not a figment of the imagination. It really existed, and assumed proportions that, while never overwhelming, were not trivial.  Warnings which should have been heeded, too often fell upon deaf ears.”  The McCarthy hearings became the first to have television take a roll and make the participants actors on the stage of public opinion.  The bombastic McCarthy ever so sure of his righteous position played loose with facts and reputations and made himself an easy mark for character assassination as the villain, ‘ an alcoholic demagogue and destroyer of innocent lives’, and the harried government officials such as Alger Hiss and the legal counsel for the Secretary of the Army Joseph Welch as heroes who were standing up to the Bully’.  McCarthy’s destruction was cemented by a new weapon, the television “expose” when reporter Edward R Murrow on the Sixty Minutes precursor See It Now, took it upon himself to selectively investigate McCarthy’s antics  and profoundly destroy him  in the court of public opinion.  Murrow almost single handedly created the concept of “impartial” investigative reporter hero “above the fray”, who could voice selectively damaging opinions, because their very role as media crusaders could not be impugned.  This model would evolve over the next generation into stratospheric levels with Walter Cronkite pontificating, “and that’s the way it is” at the conclusion of every nightly news broadcast and profoundly effecting Johnson and Nixon Administration actions in Vietnam, culminating in citadel of the reporter as “crusading valorous Knight” in the Washington Post reporters, through an unvetted source “Deep Throat”, taking down a President in the Watergate scandal.

The scandal of the 1990’s flipped the abuse of power concept to the sin of “lust” and clouded further the difficulty of holding a “likable” official accountable for their actions. “Likability” in  the Clinton scandals was not just personal likability but instead professional likability. As the perception of the official as good or bad, progressively developed over time to the media’s perception as to whether the official was “good” or “bad” on a politically conscious level, the argument seesawed around how the story would be framed to a national consensus and began to lead to huge hypocrisies. Feminists who had spent their lives arguing that sexual predatory behavior in the workplace was a crime at the level of rape and who had nearly destroyed the reputation and professional advancement of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court on the basis of alleged remarks in the office place, suddenly closed ranks around a President who stood for their ideals and supported their legislative agendas, while treating women in his workplace like dessert on the menu.  Media that had spent a generation exposing the potential abuses of power by ideologically “bad” presidents like Nixon and Reagan, suddenly made concessions to Clinton as making poor decisions or showing bad behavior as if he was a mischievous school boy rather than the chief executive, chief law enforcement official, and commander in chief of the country who had sworn fealty to the Constitution.  It was left to a new phenomena, the “new” media, a character described as wearing pajamas and providing ‘sourceless’ information, the internet investigator epitomized by someone named Drudge, that stunned the established media and congress into finally performing some semblance of their supposed responsibilities.

The last absurd attempt by the traditional media to be the supreme judge and jury as to impartial investigation was destroyed forever by this new media in 2004, when Dan Rather of CBS News attempted to influence an election by reporting supposed factual documents showing President Bush attempted to use family influence to avoid Vietnam service and get out of National Guard service requirements early, proved by the internet media to be crude fakes within 48 hours.  The obliviousness of the traditional media to their developed bias regarding ideologically “good” versus”bad” Presidents was confirmed in Rather’s stunning cluelessness in later remarks that, although the documents upon which his whole story was based may have been faked, the implications of the story itself were irrefutable.

We are perhaps in the final stage of the development of what stands for the concept of a government scandal in the actions of the Obama Administration.  All the elements of previous scandals are there to be noted.  The use of government finances to influence who will be the winners in private economic markets in the auto industry bailouts and the Solyndra payouts.  The active avoidance of law enforcement responsibilities in current immigrant laws or border security.  The use of cover-up to hide gross negligence in the international theater highlighted by the Benghazi buildup, incident, and aftermath.  The dramatic abuse of power in utilizing the IRS to target conservative groups and individuals to intimidate sufficiently to dis-empower and help swing an election.   The attack on the First Amendment rights to free speech  and the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms. The strong-arming of healthcare industries to “donate” to the government to underwrite the horrendous economic consequences of Obamacare.

We see in this final stage the absurd, oxymoronic argument by the officials of this administration that although an ever growing government is the best vehicle to run impartially all facets of American life, that individual leaders of that government have no knowledge of and are innocent of any wrong doing because the government is too vast for effective management.  We see a media whose credibility has been crushed by several generations of progressive partiality, being forced against their will to shine a light on their political champion from the simple overwhelming evidence of directed malfeasance.  In this President, we have the perfect final stage of scandal, promoted as intellectually brilliant yet apparently ignorant of all the malfeasance beneath him.  The perfect executive who can be trusted with complete control of his society yet who apparently finds out about his administration’s missteps only with the rest of us when reported in the newspapers.  The hands on Commander in Chief who has returned sanity to American foreign policy, only to be an unapologetic no show when a crisis erupts in Benghazi and lives are at stake, chemical weapons are used in Syria crossing the very line he stated was uncrossable, and the people of Iran rise against their dictators in response to his demagogic statements, only to find his support to be thrown to the very dictators he had opined against.

Has the government grown to the point where even sin and morality are passé and marginalized? We are about to find out.

 

 

 

 

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Benghazi: The Scandal Shows Echoes of Watergate

THE 4 AMERICANS KILLED IN BENGHAZIOn September 11, 2012, the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in history on the United States, and just under two months before the re-election of President Barrack Obama,  ugly events in Benghazi, Libya resulted in the deaths of four American patriots whose major mistake was they believed they were the forward representatives and projection of the national integrity and interests of America.  As is becoming progressively apparent, they were instead the unfortunate dupes of an administration that saw its survival as the overarching American interest, and that was comfortable sacrificing perhaps the individuals themselves  if it meant the administration could persevere for another term.

The ugliness that is just being uncovered in congressional hearings has echoes of similarity to a long ago scandal, with similar elements of abuse of power and cover up misdirection.  One forgets that the monster scandal that was Watergate, eventually effecting the resignation of the most powerful man in American governance, the President of the United States, was birthed in a minor event of a political dirty trick, breaking in to an opponent party’s political headquarters, that in the short space of two years led to the connections of cover up, IRS abuse, wiretapping, political corruption of the FBI and CIA, eventual whistleblowers, and eventual ties to the oval office itself.  It broke the political back of Richard Nixon, and would have been easily avoided but for the arrogance and defensiveness of the primary participants. The recent statement on May 4th by Presidential spokesman Jay Carney that “Benghazi was a long time ago” may soon be placed alongside President Nixon’s Press Secretary Ron Ziegler who proclaimed Watergate “a third rate burglary attempt“.  The epicenter of all scandals in democratic governments  is not the event itself, as it is the light the event shines on the ongoing arrogant sacrifice of truth and constitutional adherence. The need for truth and integrity in a democracy, may be the eventual positive principle that these brave Americans, who thought they were fighting terrorism, will have sacrificed their lives defending.  The questions and similarities separated by the four decades between these two superficially dissimilar events are provocative echoes that bear further investigation:

1) The Committee to Re-elect the President:      The politicization of a President’s actions are particularly acute in the year they are standing for re-election.  The President typically forms a re-election team that positions themselves to format a theme and strategy that will lead to victory, as the President theoretically has the burden by constitutional oath to act in the nation’s best interests, not  specifically his own re-election needs.  The two motivations can come in conflict with each other, but one presumes the national interest would supercede any potential storyline.  In 1973, the burglary of the Democrat National Committee offices at the Watergate Hotel was ordered by the head of the President’s re-election committee, Jeb Macgruder, to obtain intelligence as to the Democrat party’s strategy to defeat the President.  The bizarre logic that would suggest a very popular president with a huge lead in the polls against his adversary George McGovern would need such information, defies understanding, considering the risk and illegality of the act.   In 2013, after the Benghazi incident, an immediate and concerted effort to change the facts on the ground,  “scrubbing” of the facts and the trail of communications, possible intimidation of participants,  and deception of the voting public by blaming  the event on an obscure American’s unwatched video was present within days.  The scope of such actions would suggest advanced coordination and involvement of powerful people, whose single mission was to protect the presidential re-election story.  Questions that need to be asked, as to who could achieve such widespread actions and who gave the orders for such coordination, raise the obvious implication that the political arm of the President was directing traffic on an issue of national security.

2) Involvement of the highest officials:    The Watergate trail eventually not only showed the corruption of the political arm but also the corrupted politization of the highest executive branch officials, with the direct tie in of such officials as the head of the FBI, the Attorney General of the United States, the Chief of Staff to the President, and the Chief Counsel to the President. It eventually led to the firing of a Special Prosecutor, the resignation of an Attorney General, and prison sentences for two Attorneys General, two Presidential Counsels and the President’s Chief of Staff.  The trail of the misdirection and possible whitewashing of facts to deceive the voting public regarding the events leading up to Benghazi, the terrorist attack,  and its aftermath, is to this point unresolved, but may point to a Secretary of State or the President’s own National Security Advisor. Linkages this high would suggest malfeasance at the highest levels, particularly if it is shown the Secretary of State perjured herself before Congress.  The driver for the truth, and the ultimate destruction of the Nixon Administration, was the appointment of a Special Prosecutor and the establishment of a Select Congressional Committee.  A few more whistle blowers with Benghazi and the investigation may take on a whole new life of its own.

3) The Establishment of the Select Committee: The Democrats in congress had the most to gain in injuring the President in 1973, but the continuing drip, drip, drip of facts eventually led to increasing participation of Republicans in asking tough questions, as the scope of the cover-up became clear.  One wonders if a bipartisan search for the truth is still possible in today’s blind political obedience, but facts have a nasty way of bringing inevitable conclusions despite the best efforts of some to try to bury or distract.  If the investigation begins to show that involvement of far flung and apparently unrelated scandals are connected by the effort to re-elect the President, such as directed use of the IRS to harass through audit opponents of the President, or the  inter agency manipulations of Fast and Furious, the scope of the scandal will  go in unforeseen directions that may threaten the democrat party’ prospects itself.  That is usually the trigger that brings legislators to “seek the truth” regardless of party, so they are not caught on the wrong side of history.

4) The Hubris of the President:  President Nixon was convinced his entire political life that the political and media elite were out to get him.  The fact that they very well may have been does nothing to obscure the fact that Nixon himself created most of the opponent’s ammunition for his own destruction.  Hubris is defined as extreme pride or arrogance, and the current inhabitant of the White House and the 37th President have much of this flaw in common.  President Obama’s conversion of American international interests as subservient to his overweening desire to “re-fashion” America as a socialist democracy to be cemented through his re-election, is the unspoken driving force behind the tawdry events in Benghazi.  The addressing of previous Benghazi attacks with less, not more security for his on the ground representatives, the apparent sleep through during a direct attack on an  American consulate when the very scope of the attack suggested the need for a reprisal for both safety of the survivors and the integrity of the American prescence, the bold faced lie that a video was the inciting prod for otherwise passive demonstrators to become agitated to the point of violence, fall directly in the lap of the commander in chief.  So many international events that have resulted in the aversion of eyes by this commander in chief suggest instead a more malign neglect designed to progressively weaken America’s position in the world, and risks her safety.  In this particular case, deaths of four Americans punctuated the unwillingness to engage in the very maelstrom he helped create in Libya . We will soon see, I suspect, whether this President can maintain distance from the scandal with the help of his enablers in the media.

Despite the above ruminations, I am not a conspiratorialist, and do not claim that the Benghazi debacle  is a perfect mirror of the more complex Watergate scandal.  Skirting your responsibilities, letting down people who work for you, and being a perfectly awful Secretary of State or President does not rise to the stature of burglary or obstruction of justice.  There is little role in my mind for impeachment committees to form on the basis that the President is crummy at his job.  That is what elections are supposed to be for. The lurking connector out there, though, that becomes the inevitable echo, is if a clear recognition develops that an election was manipulated by the coordinated withholding of crucial information through any means possible, or there exists evidence of premeditated neglect of duty to sacrifice others to save one’s own skin.  Then, the hounds of scandal may be unleashed in unpredictable ways.

 

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People We Should Know #24 – Donald Kagan

The Mentors     In  a humbling perspective, the presence of man as a thinking, actionable being in the scope of time as compared to bacteria as the first living organisms seeking interaction with their environment is a pittance.   The relationship of a few score of thousands of years to the greater than three billion years that bacteria have survived takes shape when one compares it to some objective knowable reference.  In perspective of time as distance, if thinking man were walking in the same travelled steps that bacteria have already taken referenced to the three thousand mile distance between Los Angeles and Chicago, man as a rational creature would occupy only the last 20 feet of the journey.  This brief presence hardly seems worthy of historical adulation, but it is of course the impact made by this relatively new participant to history that makes man’s action so worthy of study.

We have in today’s society a rather arrogant view of our current knowledge base, as if it is infallible and purified to a level of perfect reason, that would make spending time to reflect upon ideas in perspective to past thinkers unworthy.  We see it in such comments as global warming as “settled science”, the Constitution as “outdated”, and the study of philosophy and history less worthy than psychology and social science to “understand” ourselves.  This  concept of all that has come before as immaterial to modern thinking unless in agreement with modern thinking, is a disease that has pervaded our entire educational system.  The current common belief is that a crucial component of modern life is a college degree, with little if any focus on what the degree actually comprises or contributes to modern society. The college graduate of today after 16 years of layered education foundation struggles to recall half of the critical elements of knowledge that codify his or her freedom, or form the basis of reason or literacy.  They graduate from a campus that often has an entire faculty uniform in its political correctness and opinions regarding major societal issues.  The sharing or weighing of ideas comes under extreme stress from those who would suggest that the answers are already confirmed, and that education’s role is to instruct individuals on how to continue to uphold, protect, and at most, perfect immutable facts and theorems.

Perhaps it is the guilty recognition of how far we have fallen in our pursuit of age old concepts of virtue, reason, and truth, that has led to the adulation that was conferred this past week on one the last warriors for time honored educational development of an individual, Yale University’s Professor Donald Kagan.  PowerLine presented for review this week Dr. Kagan’s final lecture at Yale, regarding the evolution of critical thought and its current state in the modern educational process.  Dr. Kagan, one of the world’s most prominent authorities on the ancient Greek city state and the epic issues surrounding the Peloponnesian war, has been a lonely voice for diversity of thought on campus, and has come up hard against the entrenched interests that pervade modern universities and seek to suppress thought and education to students that don’t fit their pre-determined “truth”.  Dr. Kagan has argued for decades for a core curriculum for western civilization at universities to assure all students the background and principles that would allow them to better understand and uphold their responsibilities in a western society.  He sees no prejudice in teaching the roots of reason and truth, laws and obligations, religion and natural science, democracies and republics in the fashion of a student capable of putting these foundational principles to work in whatever they eventually determine to study.  The overwhelming logic of his argument is the primary argument against it applied by the educational forces in power.  To accept the huge amount of intellect and reasoned argument that form the centuries of development and success of western ideals, would be to accept their superiority, and that is a concept the entrenched powers will never accept.

Dr. Kagan is acknowledged to be one of those great formative teachers,  like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle before him, who are able to take obtuse subjects and make them an understandable and relative to the student, in such a way that the teacher becomes their pathfinder to knowledge that is permanently relevant in their lives.  In an educational world where teachers have been required to achieve higher and higher educational degrees, and their students are showing less and less understanding and competence, appreciating a giant in the ancient science of teaching is a pleasure indeed.  Watch below how Dr. Kagan introduces why understanding the ancient Greeks are critical to who we are in his introductory Greek History course at Yale and you will be returned to the power and life changing experience that a great teacher can provide.  Professor Donald Kagan is Ramparts People We Should Know #24, because what we should know to be relevant in our own lives has been a lifetime’s vision of this exceptional teacher.

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American Disconnect

The tragic events in Boston have brought to bear many uncomfortable reminders of the 9/11 horror, but none more all consuming than the need to try to understand the incomprehensible, in the form of the simple question, why? The use of brutal violence against innocents was repeated with the conversion of weapon of choice from plane to pressure cooker, but the intent was the same…to reek havoc, to maim and kill as many as possible.  The application of violence is not unique for such goals.  It happens everyday somewhere on the globe – on the streets of Damascus in Syria, the markets of Kabul, on the subway in London, the transit train in Madrid, the night club in Indonesia, the center city  of Mumbai, India.  The point of such violence is its inherent pointlessness, its anarchistic rage, against those that are seen as insufficiently aware of the bomber’s cause.  What is somewhat new with the Boston tragedy may be seeds of a new reality that America assumed itself to be immune from because of the particular openness of this society, home grown terrorism. On September 11th, 2012, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took an other declaring his fidelity to American values and became an American citizen.  Seven  months later, he declared his complete disavowal of those ideals, in wanton slaughter of his fellow citizens.

It will be along time if ever that we understand the process that converts individuals like Dzhokhar from being an engaged high school athlete earning a scholarship to higher education to a radicalized cold blooded killer in just a few short years.  The strands of two formative impulses are increasingly apparent, though,  the radicalization of a religion, Islam, into promoting the anarchistic impulses of a whole generation of disaffected youths, and the progressive disconnect of American society from the value set of what it means to be an American.  The power of these dark forces to provide the spark to the internal explosive instability in the Tsarnaev brothers is a discussion we need to face.

The use of Islam as a front for radical anarchy has been in front of us now for several decades.  The civil, modern  world has been slow to the recognition of the marriage between institutional Islam and anarchy, but to continue to deny it is ludicrous.  Billions of dollars poured into the celebration of death and martyrdom, the hate spewed from the mouths of mullahs expressing racial superiority, subservience of women, and holy war, the fueling of internet sites linking violence and the means to achieve it, have radicalized a generation of young people who feel no personal connection with their life and need to express their rage and evict their powerlessness. There is no sense any longer arguing about this being a fringe of the religion – it is deeply embedded in its institution.  The President of Egypt, a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, refers to Jews not as people he disagrees with, but pigs.  The President of Iran, looks forward to the day when he can lead the annihilation of an entire nation state, Israel.  The Supreme Leader of Iran, promotes a fatwa demanding the death of an author Salman Rushdie, for the crime of expressing a dream sequence about the prophet Mohammad. A member of the Saudi elite family Bin Laden, promotes a caliphate of 11th century ideals through a network of anarchists murdering thousands of people for two decades.  Until the religion of Islam achieves its own Reformation and enters the modern world, it will continue to use the potent weapons of the 21st century, to attempt to achieve the rejectionist dogma of the 7th century.  The civil world owes it to itself to finally come to grips with this clarity.  The Tsarnaev brothers were rudderless in their hate, until institutional Islam helped weaponize it.

The second thread is a uniquely American one.  The photo above movingly expresses what used to be the immigrant dream – to come to America, to become American meant to leave the rigidity and constraints of a previous life behind, and be accepted as an individual with the limitless possibilities offered in a free society.  It was understood by every immigrant that entered Ellis Island that the sacrifices and struggles  were not behind them, but the societal restraints were.  They would have to learn the language, work long hours, struggle to achieve, but for the generations to follow all would be possible.  The power of a free society was that whatever your roots, the constitutional rights assured you your place in the American dream, because being an American was not where one was born, but what one believed.  It has been assumed that this remains a force today and has kept America free of the disconnected  and disaffected that have plagued other societies. Unfortunately that is a myth we know must additionally face up to.  The Tsarnaev brothers lived the immigrant dream.  From a youth crushed by the extreme prejudice and intense violence of being Chechnyan in the world of Kyrgyzstan and Dagestan, to living in Boston and achieving university status and athletic success, one would assume the juxtaposition would be a positive.  It becomes increasingly evident that with the success of the brothers the isolation and sense of disconnection became increasingly intense.  The older brother previously expressed, ” I have no American friends”.  The younger, superficially expressing the importance of American ideals by bothering to become a citizen, increasingly followed his older brothers fidelity to the superiority claptrap of radicalized Islam, and rejected his potential role in an American free society.  The immigrant process of celebrating your roots while venerating your American conversion was entirely lost on the brothers.  We will probably find out if disconnect switch was Islam, and that we may need to face up to as well.

 

My literary hero, Mark Steyn, reflects on the American disconnect and our role in it through the vagaries of “coexistence” with a religion that teaches that coexistence is an intolerable state.  We have extended our positive desire to accept all cultures for what they are with the damaging idea that all cultures are equal.  A culture that infuses a hatred of others, proclaims religious and racial superiority, declares the female half of the human race subservient and supports their mutilation, seeks the annihilation of nations, and demands our acceptance of such dogma is not an equal culture to modern society.  Our “co-existence” should include a rational and vigorous defense of our society’s freedom, and the disavowal of any thread of acceptance of such culture and such attitudes.  There is no real way to ever eliminate every individual who feels an internal hate for society who ends up acting out that hatred, but we can stop pretending that being American and living in a free society is something to apologize for.  Multi-culturalism should be the drive to incorporate the best principles of a culture, not accept the flaws and flagellation of a broken one.

My heart and prayers go out to the Boston victims.

 

 

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People We Should Know #23 – Martin Cooper

      The 2013 Marconi Award for contributions to information technology and communications science was awarded on April 5th, 2013 to a 20th century giant of the information revolution and its a reasonable certainty that you have never heard of him.  Martin Cooper, a Chicago born Illinois Institute of Technology trained engineer, however, probably did more to affect the way you live today than you can possibly imagine.  Martin Cooper will receive the Marconi Prize in October in Bologna, Italy for his critical vision and work in inventing and developing an indispensable modern tool, the mobile cell phone, and like his award benefactor Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the radio transmission, forever changed the way information could be shared  and propagated, to the everlasting benefit of humanity. For devising a practical tool  that has brought the world to any individual wherever they may be, Martin Cooper readily deserves to be Ramparts’ People We Should Know #23.

Imagine a world without your cell phone and the bounty of links to the world it provides. The phone allows you the power of a computer, the access of a communicator through phone and voice mail, the precise awareness of your location in the world around you through GPS, the networking capability of texting and e-mail, all provided in a device that fits into a shirt pocket.  Martin Cooper visualized it when the world of communication tethered you to a phone number linked by wire to a location and limited to the capacity of the wire to transmit sound or information, but not both simultaneously.  This was the world of 1973, when Mr. Cooper,an engineer for the Motorola Corporation, proved that phone communications could be transmitted in wireless fashion through a portable device powered by its own battery.

The Motorola Corporation was a great exemplar of the power of private capitalism to innovate, something that has been lost in this modern time of government overbearance with shepherding new technologies with companies  such as Solyndra.  It is estimated that Motorola invested over a hundred million dollars in 1970s currency value in Mr. Cooper’s team of visionaries from 1965 until 1993 when the first dollar of profit was finally realized in Cooper’s creation, without a hint that the technology would actually take hold.  Mr. Cooper’s team worked to convert ideas into practical devices.  He stated a large part of his inspiration was the entirely fictional device known as the hand held communicator, a device conceived out of fantasy by Gene Roddenberry, the producer of the Star Trek television show, to allow its fictional characters to communicate with each other and with their ship effortlessly.

The challenge was immense. What passed for the zenith of mobile communication was the car phone, a device that needed engine power and over thirty pounds of installed equipment to work, not exactly the kind of technology that would appeal to the individual walking about. Cooper’s first device was a behemoth, weighing 2.5 pounds, 10 inches long, with a charge lasting twenty minutes and requiring a ten hour recharge, and was indecorously referred to as the “box” or “shoe” phone. But in the fateful year of 1973, Mr. Cooper walked the streets of New York in a public demonstration of his phone, wirelessly called and wirelessly received a phone call, and personal communication was changed forever. From the first practical application of Motorola’s first successful models in the late 1980’s, morphing into the spectacularly successful “flip phone” of the 1990’s, to the incredible power of the iPhone today, dramatic advances in battery capacity, solid state, broadband capacity, and miniaturization were required. But in the space of thirty years, Martin Cooper converted the world to the idea that all information could follow an individual wherever they were, and to the immeasurable benefit of their personal freedom.

Want to know the effect of  Martin Cooper’s vision on our way of life?  The International Telecommunication Union estimated by 2012 that there were 6 billion mobile subscriptions in the world and that the developed world had achieved the saturation point  of over one mobile subscription per person.  87% of the world now has mobile communication capacity and over 73% of what was once referred to as the developing world.  Martin Cooper’s vision  has helped make mobile communications indispensable, practical, and affordable to almost every person on earth that desires it.  It looks like that 100 million spent by Motorola on Martin Cooper was a very good bet indeed.

One can never fail to be amazed at how humans create reality out of fantasy through the simple but magnificent force of their will and intellect.  Martin Cooper, Ramparts People We Should Know #23, proves again that solutions to overwhelming problems are best served by getting out of the way of the incredible capacity of the marketplace to invest in and vet ideas, without the bias of governments that seek to politically control the process.  Despite the billions and billions of tax dollars spent to “invent” a cure to fossil fuels, the likely solution will come from some unknown, obscure thinker, who was inspired by ideas entirely of their own creation, and driven entirely by their own intellectual need to solve the problem.  Somewhere out there, the next Martin Cooper will change the way we live forever.

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A Distant Mirror Into the Genius of Thatcher

Can we ever be sufficiently thankful for the magnificence that is the internet? After yesterday’s Ramparts eulogy reviewing the supernova that was Margaret Thatcher, the perfect record of the young and vibrant Thatcher describing with passion and wonderful intellect the basis for conservative political thought was posted by the Weekly Standard today, and it is a wonder to behold. Can we imagine our current political class engaging in such a thoughtful principle driven discussion of the fundamentals of human action and reaction?  Take a minute and revel- its this snapshot of Thatcher before she won the Prime Ministership that made grown men pause in awe, and drop their pretense that a woman could not lead men, breaking the glass ceiling forever:

 

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Iron Lady

     When I was a little boy, it was interestingly my mother who first connected me to my love of history and the storied greatness of certain of its participants.  She was in the kitchen making a meal, when I wandered in to see if I could catch some early hint of dinner to come.  Normally it would have been a certainty I would get a taste of what was to be created without much effort, but this time she seemed to be in a very serious mood.  “Do you know who died today?” she asked.  Being very young I had no clue; but she pressed onward.  “A very great man”, she said, “Winston Churchill.”  She showed me the newspaper- the entire front page was devoted to him; a large photograph of a smiling man with a cigar flashing a victory sign dominated the front fold.  I was hooked – it seemed the whole world knew this man and saluted his memory.  It was my first contact with greatness universally recognized and it would never leave me.

Historical greatness belonged to another British Prime Minister of the 20th century, and she, Margaret Thatcher, in many ways laid a similar stamp of recognition of greatness from all who knew her, or lived in her time on the stage. She was a warrior for the individual and liberty, a true defender of the Ramparts of Civilization that is the guts and basis for this blog.  Today she passed on, and as it was with Churchill, the recognition of greatness cloaked her memory, and reminded the world of the power of those who back up their intellectual prowess with the power of their principles and the will of their conviction.  At a time when all the world trembled before the darkness of fascism’s power, Churchill radiated the confidence in the eventual victory of a free people.  Some three decades later, when Britain once again had become a shadow of its former self, she resurrected the concept of the power of freedom and individual aspiration, and brought that great nation and much of the free world back out of its self absorbed decline.

For those who believe all things are possible in a free society if you work hard and maintain focus, Margaret Thatcher was the poster child.  Born of absolutely middle class values and capacities, she belied the perceived notion that only the elites of society could have sufficient perspective understanding of societal needs and obligations. She was a bedrock supporter of the idea of individual as owning the ultimate definition of their own existence and fate.  She disdained the idiocy that stereotyped a woman who raised a family and cared for her husband as unable to compete on the stage of egos and intellect, frankly crushing her opposition time and time again in the battle of ideas and the arena of victories with nary a hair out of place on her coiffed hair or a discernible wrinkle in her immaculate dress.   She was a feminist in the truest sense, leading her party and nation through turmoil and victory, not always assuming that her very presence should be proof enough of her capability (unlike a certain American female politician that has spent twenty years being available, and performing poorly when called).

Most importantly, Margaret Thatcher was a person of principles that put her actions where her principles lay.  Like Ronald Reagan, and even more so, she was fully committed to standing on principles at risk of her defeat.  She was a warrior for real conservatism- the concept that freedom and free will best dictate progress, and that progress is the natural evolutionary state of all streams of creativity in the arena of ideas.  She was a chemist, a scientist and a barrister, and recognized that creative streams would need guidance but not correction.  She knew why liberal society failed, and that its failure was the product of expectation not reality.  As Milton Friedman said, and she believed so firmly, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions, rather than their results.”  She was not interested in what felt good, only what worked, and she was particularly derisive of the softcoats in her own party that attempted to undertake shallow copies of their opponents programs in hopes of “appeasing” the voters.  As she strongly projected at the wobbly Conservative Party congress of 1980, ” You turn if you want to.  The lady’s not for turning.” 

She believed conservative, limited government worked, and she stood proudly for it, in the face of vicious attacks on her character.  When they attempted to paint her as infeminant, calling her Iron Lady, as if her forcefulness was somehow “bitchy”, a typical weapon of liberal assassination, she overwhelmed them by grasping the moniker and making it her own.  She withstood the further verbal grapeshot of the left, “racist”, ” snob”, and “hater” and put forth a conservative agenda of privatization, personal aspiration, and firm support for the law to transform the cowering Great Britain of the 1970’s crippled by strikes, moral decay, international withdrawal, and overwhelming socialist regulatory economic stagnation into an economic and independent juggernaut of the 1980’s and 1990’s.  So powerful was her sway, that when the Liberal party under Tony Blair returned to power in the mid 1990’s, no effort was made to return the economic structure away from private development. The lady, it turned out, was not for turning.

The moment of great conviction and return of international influence was  through her steadfast and very public defiance in the face of the twin challenges of Soviet aggression and Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands.  On one front she bolstered the new American President Reagan in his heretical calling out of the Soviet empire as “evil” and stating it would “end up like all totalitarian regimes on the trash heap of history”.  To the other in the face of American indecisiveness, she put Great Britain squarely in the position of defending its territories in recognition of a free people, the Falkland Islanders, selecting their own determination to stay British.  The once great power of Great Britain  again projected halfway across the globe and achieved a victory in a way that most thought impossible without American support.  Thatcher was not about to lose the British capacity to choose its own destiny, as reserved to all free people, even when her best ally could not see a shared interest, other than the philosophic one.

Like all great people, Margaret Thatcher was eventually pulled down by her implacable will, when the furtherance of that will exhausted those who continued to be held by her high standards.  She was thrown out not by her people, but by her party, who made the recurrent failed argument  that a continued rigorous governance on principle had exhausted the population and could no longer be supported.  Once again, the pale copy of ideal over performance led to the defeat of the conservatives, by the liberals led by Tony Blair who recognized the fatal mistake and campaigned as the True Hybrid of Thatcherism and Humanism.  In her later years, as she led a quiet family existence, the chance to forget her successes and rewrite history proved tempting to a media no longer afraid of her brilliance and energy for defense of ideas.  To be great is to eventually be destroyed by those who could not cotton to her greatness.  This proved no different for Thatcher then for her predecessor Churchill or her compatriot Reagan.

Yet death re-writes all history, and the immense imprint of a life overwhelms all superficial efforts to distort it.  The call of contemporary Prime Ministers in her shadow make it clear she is a once in a lifetime figure – no perspectives on Heath, Wilson, Callaghan, Major, Blair, Brown, or Cameron are likely to echo through the centuries as will the Lady Thatcher in the hallowed halls of British Parliamentary history.  She was a leader of people who happened to be a woman, a deliverer of a country who happened to be a commoner, and an intellectual giant of economic governance who happened to be the grocer’s daughter. None of these stereotyped categorizations turned out to matter in the least.   Let them try to knock her down.  She is a force of nature that withstands all slings and arrows.   Margaret Thatcher, a true defender of the Ramparts,  died today at 87, but you will never see extinguished the blazing light  of her effervescent star.

 Be not afraid of greatness.

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.

Twelfth Night   W. Shakespeare

 

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A Crossroads of Western Civilization

My recent neglect of my duty at the Ramparts has been driven by  time constraints, not by the lack of living in interesting times.  I thought I would get ‘back in the saddle’ with a good old fashioned immersion in the complex ribbons of history that have formed our perception of ourselves, our western ideals and way of thinking.  The stimulus is the visit of one of my Swiss relatives who harken from the venerable city of St Gallen, at the Eastern edge of Switzerland, but at the epicenter of many of the fascinating formative influences of modern Europe.

The glory of St Gallen is not in its epic leaders, warrior kings or trading routes.  The little city of St Gallen instead claims its heritage as the home of people who preserved the knowledge of the world when it was considered the least valuable possession of a violent and harsh time of autocracy in Europe.  The center of knowledge of St Gallen was its Benedictine abbey, and the epicenter its magnificent library, a world heritage site.  How so many great books came to populate this library, preserved from the 9th century onward, is the story of knowledge and its battle with  darker forces,  and in the history of its shelves the story of the path to a modern Europe.The creation of a center of knowledge in the central European continental wilderness of the alpinian foothills near Lake Constance is wonder of man’s striving for something more than just existing, and starts in of all places, Ireland.  Christianity had a powerful evangelical influence on Gaelic culture and the concept of knowledge and piety as intertwined concepts made Ireland an oasis of education at one of the truly dark times in history.  The collapse of the Roman Empire in the fourth century led to a multi-century period of tribal control on the continent with war and conflict a constant.  At a time when a man’s life often depended on his ability to stay within the confines of his feudal lord’s domain, Irish monastic evangelism boldly traveled far from home, spread the word of Christ and the process of education that the training entailed.  First across the Irish sea to the western shores of Albion (England and Scotland) and from there to the far environs of the continent, the Irish Evangelists brought not only the word but the idea of knowledge and study with them.  Saint Columbanus with twelve fellow Irish disciples spread across the continent around 610 AD and brought their concepts and evangelistic fervor to the wilderness tribes at the periphery of civilization’s reach.  Gallus, one of Columbanus’s disciples traveled with him down the Rhine, but due to illness, found himself unable to continue with Columbanus’s journey to Italy and was left to fend for himself in the wilderness around Lake Constance. Here he developed a hermitic existence  in the forests proselytizing to the locals.  Upon his death, a little church was established, but it took other events to shape the eventual importance of St Gall.

Elsewhere in Europe other forces were coming to bear.  The monastic tradition of desert isolation so much a part of the early church was being changed by the experiences of the Irish monks and others. Monastic life began to evolve into the fabric of the surrounding populous rather than be completely separated from them, despite the isolation suggested by monasticism.  St Benedict would define rules of monastic life that would provide a bridge between individual isolation and zealotry and the realistic necessities of community life with like minded individuals. The central focus would be service to God, but it began to extend into behaviors with others and  focuses of communal life that suggested the value to this service of activities such as work and education.  This lead to a closer positioning of the monastery to the population, and the monastery as a source of education for the secular class, bonding the religious tradition in a safe embrace with those who would rule the population, and ultimately protect, the monastery.  With the development of large imperial empires on the continent through the resources of the Carolingian kings such as Charlemagne and the later eastern competitors under the Habsburgs. Kings, recognizing the importance of the organized monastery in elevating the capacity of the empire, began to “assist”the placing of abbots who would adhere to Benedict’s rules of order.

Under the auspices of the Carolingian kings, St. Othmar would be the actual developer of the monastery at what was eventually to become the abbey at St Gallen, and the site of the little church that marked the hermitage of Gallus, was converted to Benedictine rules, and became the site of great Benedictine abbey of St Gallen.  The focus of Benedictine monks on introspection and study required the presence of a scriptorium, a place where concepts of religious thought and learning could be secured by monks permanently onto paper, for others to study, and eventually the development of a repository, or library, for the accumulated scripts of the community.  The abbey at St Gallen became acknowledged over time as one of the great repositories of knowledge in Europe, and St Gallen became a prized location for various factions who felt the city belonged in their sphere of influence.  The city became a center for education and eventually industry, with its skill in textiles particularly valued.

St Gallen had made itself valued through its abbey, but the progressive prosperity of the city increased the strains between the abbey and the burgeoning middle class that wanted to control their own destiny separate from the princely power of the abbot. This led to a period of great instability in the fifteenth century, in which the town and its guilds rebelled against the abbey’s administration and the abbot threatened to move to the town Rorschach on Lake Constance.  The city would have none of it and the result was a tumultuous time of conflict that eventually led to the spread of the conflict to the surrounding cantons and the intervention of the Hapsburg Emperor Maximilian. The Hapsburg Empire, thoroughly galled by the ongoing autonomy of the Swiss confederation cantons was not interested in seeing this border city or others like it act independently, particularly when it came to valued assets and progressively the cantons and the empire slid towards war. The Swiss, however, were not amateurs to conflict, having become known as front line troops in the conflicts of the Holy Roman Empire, and Maximilian proved rapidly in over his head, absorbing a humiliating defeat to the Swiss confederation in the battle of Dornach in 1499, ending the set of conflicts known as the Swabian War, and securing the independence of the city state of St Gallen and the other Swiss Cantons until a brief conquest in 1798 by Napoleon.

The abbey was not quite as lucky given the outcome of the Swabian War.  It lost its connection to imperial protection, and with it became vulnerable to the rigid hold it had on its properties.  When the Protestant reformation swept through St Gallen as it did much of northern Europe, the Catholic abbey lost its influence, and in 1803, its existence as a monastery, with only the surviving segments of the functioning monastery, the baroque inspired cathedral and the library.

Though pummeled by forces of history and at various times losing portions of its magnificent collection, the library remains a window into thirteen hundred years of European history, with the particular gemstone of its collection over 2100 hand scribed manuscripts from the Middle Ages, and over 400 preserved manuscripts more than a thousand years old.  Reaching back into the time when the only secure connection of man’s intellect with history was preserved by the isolated monk accepting as a  concept of service to God the hard work of scribing for posterity human thought,  the library stands as a rampart of civilization that has come to us ennobled by time. In the little town of St Gallen there stands some of the brighter embers of man’s capacity for greatness.

 

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Rand Paul and the Rise of the Principlitarians

This week we saw something rare in modern political discourse. The junior Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, invoked one of those archaic legislative tools from the nation’s past, the filibuster,  to awaken the world to the reality that he was going to have a say about the nation’s future.

The venerable filibuster, the action by which a Senate action can be delayed, adjusted, or withdrawn on the basis of a single individual’s action, has been under attack by the controlling interests in Washington, who have been embarrassed by its quirky nature to upset carefully laid plans for culmination of the elites’ agendas. Elite dominance of the legislative process is nothing new, nor is the concept of filibuster.  Cato the Younger, zealotrous defender of the idea of Rome as a republic, formally initiated the concept to foil Julius Caesar’s manipulation of the Senate by devising long winded speeches that would delay any action on Caesar’s requests until nightfall, where , by edict, the Senate had to adjourn. The United States Senate has been the stage of a filibuster over the many years since its founding, for good or ill, but in inevitably as a device to assure an overwhelming majority of support is present for an action, as it takes 60 votes out of 100 Senators to obtain cloture on the filibuster.

Recently, both Republican and Democrat leaders have considered the elimination of the filibuster, for in a closely divided nation, the ability to push things through the Senate has become considerably more perilous.  The filibuster, evoking the rights of the individual against the weight of the majority, has in reality on many occasions been a delay tactic without structure or inherent value.  It has often looked silly with debate being artificially extended with reading into the Senate record baseball statistics, or names and numbers in the phone book.  Rand Paul took the concept and wrenched it back into its deeper reason for existence, “talking back” Senate action on the basis of principle.  In a carefully crafted recitation on the principle of the rights of the individual and the concept of limited governmental powers,  Paul exploded the idea that elemental ideas that founded the nation were from and for another era, and were immaterial to the way the government currently views itself.

Paul invoked intense discussion on whether the government that currently viewed itself as having an ultimate right to view an American citizen overseas as an enemy combatant and thereby attack him without due process, had the same right to deny an American citizen due process on American soil. The war against terrorism over the last decade has progressively placed American military action on the side of decisiveness rather than discretion, and Paul was having none of it.  Paul’s  almost thirteen hour filibuster to delay a vote on John Brennan, the Obama Administration’s nominee to take over the CIA, on the lack of Brennan and Attorney General Holder’s response to one question, whether the United States government felt it had the right to perform a drone strike on an American citizen on American soil without due process, was a wonder of the concept of principle, logic, and philosophical depth.  This was no reading of the phonebook.  In the end, the Obama administration got their vote on Brennan, but not before Paul stunned Washington by gaining the acquiescence of the administration in formal letter response, that it did not have a constitutional right to such action.

Rand Paul and a new group of citizen legislators are filling a need that a jaded Washington has been too long without, the idea that principle matters, and that the country has not entirely succombed to the concept of having their priniciples bought off.  Dismissed as a “a tea party generated son of a kook” by establishment types when the kentuckian Paul first won  the Senate seat in 2010, Rand has instead projected himself into a modern version of  palatable libertarianism, and with measured, intelligent defenses of the most basic rights endowed in the Constitution, a formidalble opponent to the usual Republican”to win we must be more like them” strategy. The idea has intense appeal among people who feel that government and rights are philosophically constructed, and based on principles, not laws that can be changed on a whim to prevailing winds.  The people that Paul appeals to see the Bill of Rights as a critically  secured set of principles independent of time, read the Federalist Papers to understand the Constitution, conceive the framework of the constitution as the living protector of the basis of why an America exists, and find modern disdain for carefully crafted principles disdainful in and of itself.  Paul is not alone, as Senators such as Rubio, Lee, Cruz, and Johnson are of like seriousness and internal mettle.  The concept of “kookdom” is becoming more and more absurd when the “kooks” are arguing individual rights, state rights, budget discipline, right to life, sanctity of the concept of marriage, and reduced American adventurism, while the modern establishment in the form of progressivism is arguing enforced restrictions on speech, ignoring border stability, global warming, alternative lifestyles, abortion on demand, budgetary obliviousness at the expense of future generations, and drone strikes on American soil.

Whether Rand Paul and his fellow Principlitarians can create a new consensus in the country that a serious discussion of ideas and future actions start with a foundation of principles, not desires, formative policy, not reactionary indulgence, is certainly unclear.  The forces represented by President Obama, that use demagoguery and bribes to convince the voter, has always been powerful, and the fuel of trillions of dollars of persuasion is a devastating weapon against the desire for identifying and promoting  personal responsibility and a freedom in life’s choices.  It appears however in the personage of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, principles to live by will not go quietly into that good night.

 

 

 

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