636’s Law

Why do politicians make disastrous decisions with the consistency of iron filings obeying a magnet? Decisions that in retrospect (and frequently in prospect) seem doomed to failure? After 9/11, did it make any sense when, after coming close to the point of capturing Osama bin Laden, the U.S. government began pulling troops, materiel, and intelligence … Continue reading “636’s Law”

The Most Dangerous Man in America

The first crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program arose in late 1994. It was obvious there was not much the United States could do to step in unilaterally and disarm the North Korean regime. Sanctions, the normally inevitable option short of war, had no meaning – the United States had no trade with the North … Continue reading “The Most Dangerous Man in America”

Torture, TV, and
the Banality of Scalia

Hannah Arendt’s analysis of totalitarianism had several flaws, but one of her observations has lodged itself permanently in the national psyche as a handy cliché whenever some human monster is found to have a taste for the art of Walter Keane or, like Kim Jong Il, for pornographic movies: The Banality of Evil. It should … Continue reading “Torture, TV, and
the Banality of Scalia”

For God’s Sake, Don’t Mention the War!

It has long since come to universal notice that Time and Newsweek, the Coke and Pepsi of weekly print journalism, have slid to the level of what were once considered lowbrow publications like People and Entertainment Weekly. Needless to say, these latter two journals threaten to assume the Darwinian niche previously occupied by the lamented … Continue reading “For God’s Sake, Don’t Mention the War!”

Cuckoo in the Nest

Readers of these screeds will have noticed that we have been maintaining a discreet silence of late. The news, such as it is, has concentrated heavily on the presidential horse race: who, when the day after the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November dawns, will occupy the glittering alabaster throne of the American … Continue reading “Cuckoo in the Nest”

Flying Potlatch

Does one American in a thousand know that the Federal government is buying 23 VIP helicopters, each one of which will cost more than the extravagantly expensive F-22 fighter aircraft? A half-billion dollar helicopter – a half billion dollars each! – to ferry political hacks to their campaign events? If the reader was unaware of … Continue reading “Flying Potlatch”

Rumble in the Jungle: The AFRICOM Boondoggle

The government’s assaults on our common sense, our wallets, and our dignity are becoming so numerous that one is hard pressed to keep up. The media pivot like a herd of wildebeests from one scandal to the other – from illegal wiretapping, to torture, to mercenaries, to saber rattling in the Persian Gulf, to $4 … Continue reading “Rumble in the Jungle: The AFRICOM Boondoggle”