Friday, August 18, 2006

Waffen SS and Wiretaps

Good Morning. A few new items got past NSA censors today.

  • The Constitution has been in assisted living for the better part of the last five years. Thursday it had a nice little outing in the sun, compliments of a 73-year-old federal judge, a Carter appointee, who declared the Bush junta's NSA-wiretapping scheme unconstitutional. The reactionaries were quick to pounce. Liberals are dancing. Libertarians may be breathing a bit easier, though with them you never know anymore. Pierre has "A Brief Hang-up On Wiretaps."
  • It's not as big a story here as it is on the other side of the Atlantic because literature barely has a cult following in the United States anymore, foreign literature even less, and history no memory at all. But Gunter Grass's revelation that he was a Waffen SS in the waning days of World War II has Germany breaking up all over again--either in stitches or in vengeful self-righteousness. Helped by lustful memories of his own, Pierre defends the author of "The Tin Drum" in "The Stoning of Gunter Grass..."
  • How do reactionaries politely, intellectually call Islam a terrorist religion and get away with it? Roger Scruton shows how in his smelly-styled "Islamofascists," compliments of the Wall Street Journal's aromatically challenged OpEd page.
  • Candide's Latest has been a beehive lately: too much to recap here, but it's always there.
A special thanks to the many new subscribers of the last couple of weeks: the numbers are up, the response gratifying. Remember to check the front page of The Notebooks for roving updates. Have a good

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Terror Doctrines

Good Morning. A couple of new items today.
  • Any lingering doubts about the British terror plot's extent and veracity? The Britain plot sounds too much like a variant on the WMD story — more fear than fact, more tell than show. I don’t buy it, even though it’s not a question of whether terrorists will strike — at some point they probably will — but whether they need to strike at all to have the desired effect, and whether we’re interested in stopping them. In both cases, the answer is no. See "Fear, Deception, Terror: The Bush legacy"...
  • Candide's Notebooks Contributor Ohdave gives us a review of Ron Suskind's "The One Percent Doctrine." See "Dick Cheney's Junta..."
  • If you haven't yet read Thomas Franks's "What's the Matter With Kansas," his brilliant book about the working class and heartland Republican fixation on sticking with GOP politics that are squarely against their self-interest, perhaps it's time you do. Failing that, the New York Times has had Thomas Frank provide a few guest columns on its OpEd pages while its regular riters appear to have adopted the French vacation schedule for the month of August. Here are two tasty treats from Frank: "The Spoils of Victimhood," where demolishes the myth of Bush or the Republicans as enacting any sort of "insurgency" against the Washington establishment, since they are the establishment; and "A Distant Mirror," which opens thus: "By now, even the most dedicated “values voter” is aware that an orgy of plunder and predation grinds merrily on in the capital, yet if polls are to be believed, the Democrats can persuade almost nobody to switch their vote on that basis. That’s because, while they have many nice slogans on the subject, Democrats offer no larger theory of corruption, no way to help voters understand what is essentially Republican about the pillage currently being visited on our national government.
Remember to check Candide's Latest for... well, the

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Cease-Fire on paper Only

Good Morning.
  • By the time you read this a cease-fire was to have gone into effect in lebanon (at 1 a.m. Monday, EST). Here are Pierre's Cease-Fire Fantasies...
  • In today's Recommendations, Even Sunday evening it was evident that the Lebanese government, with hezbollah providing the weaponry, would shoot itself in the foot: it's a no-go on sending lebanese troops to the south. Great Israeli novelist David Grossman three days ago publicly called on the Israeli government to end its war in lebanon. On Sunday, Grossman learned that his 20-year-old son was killed in operations with the Israeli military inside Lebanon. And the New York Times tries to be fair and balanced in an analysis of what it takes to fairly report a war in the Middle East. All and more here...

The day promises many developments. Stay tuned with the latest in the Recommendations