Monday, April 27, 2009

Nobody Here But Us Criminals

Clinton Without the Criminals?

When Obama promised “change,” and then hired virtually the entire Clinton Administration, I was admittedly confused. I thought the age of “change” would avoid inviting the countless scandals that permeated those happy times when Bill Clinton was a Master of the Universe, and impeached. But already we are confronted with a classic Clinton Moment: “A full-court press by Obama’s team is likely to keep ethical questions from sinking the nomination of Treasury Secretary-designee Timothy Geithner,” reports the Politico. After all, Geithner only owes tens of thousands of dollars in back income taxes. He also had an illegal domestic servant, an offense which was considered to be so serious even in the Clinton years that two Clinton nominees for Attorney General were bounced on that account (Hillary Clinton, who was running that show, wanted a woman, so she finally found one who was unmarried and thus unencumbered by children who would need a nanny: Janet Reno).

The Clinton Administration was so rife with crime that America eventually yawned at reports several times a day of new malfeasance, enough special prosecutors to staff the Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn, and stonewalls that would stretch to Rome if put end to end (OK, maybe Alcatraz). The current case of Mrs. Clinton, soon to be another thoroughly unqualified Secretary of State, is instructive. Hillary’s rap sheet would be as long as the waiting list for Redskins season tickets if she were a private citizen, but that did not deter senators of both parties from gushing over her at her confirmation hearings.

Their reception was a far cry from John Ashcroft’s experience eight years ago. The fact that Ashcroft was probably the most qualified Attorney General candidate in recent history did not deter the Democrats – we’re talking about his colleagues – from raking him over the coals at his confirmation hearings, goaded by the usual suspects -- left-wingers and the garden variety pro-aborts. Had Ashcroft exuded even a whiff of impropriety, his nomination would have been dead, of course. Witness the contrast to Hillary, who fairly reeks of criminality in every rehearsed smile. The only conclusion we can draw is that the Democrats are not going to change the beltway rule that has now, alas, become bipartisan: “Criminals Welcome!”

I worked for a major Chicago bank right out of college forty years ago, and was assigned to do some records research in the office of the Cook County Treasurer. Yes, this is the same Cook County that Barack calls home, and the same Daley machine was in power then. A dozen or so patronage employees sat at the huge conference table that dominated the records room, but I was apparently the only one working. Everyone else was just hanging out -- smoking, talking, reading, or talking to Mo, the bookie who ran the newsstand on the ground floor. Well, one day a new, smiling face came in the door. “Steve,” yelled my favorite hack. “When’d you get outta jail?”

“Yesterday!” Steve answered.

“Where ya workin’?”


Apparently, Obama has brought Chicago’s ways to Washington, masquerading as change. They won’t last, of course, but you sure can fool some of the people all of the time. Take Harry Reid, who is called the senate’s “Democratic Leader.” Mr. Geithner’s lapses bothered Harry none at all. “There's a few little hiccups, but that's basically what they are,” he said. “I am not concerned at all.”

Geithner will be handing out trillions, much of it in secret, to his banking pals. But hey, why worry? Isn’t that what change is all about?

Elvis And The Kings

If you ever want to use Elvis Presley’s image, recordings, or lyrics, be prepared to pay big bucks. His estate jealously guards those crown jewels of the man whom folks in Memphis simply call “The King.”

Well, Elvis is not the only bygone king demanding royalties. Over the years, the family of Martin Luther King, Jr., has made untold millions from licensing his works, sending a hefty bill to every media outlet that uses them. That effort can sometimes border on the tawdry: when the controversial decision was made to erect a memorial to King on the Washington Mall, King’s heirs immediately demanded a cut in the action, according to the Atlanta Constitution, or they would not permit his “name and likeness” to be used to raise money for it! I can see the fundraisers now: “Please help us honor you-know who!”

I’ve always gotten a kick out of this charade because I was teaching in Boston University’s Department of Religion when BU finally admitted that “Doctor” King had plagiarized, word for word, more than half of his doctoral dissertation in our theology department years before. In fact, Theodore Pappas, who has done the most extensive research on the subject, found that King plagiarized all the time, even in the popular “I Have A Dream” speech for which his family has demanded – and received – a king’s ransom. So it’s hardly surprising to read that the Atlanta University Center has paid the King Family $32 million for King’s papers, which were placed online for the first time in early January. Not surprisingly, readers are cautioned that, while they can read the papers, they are not allowed to quote them without paying a licensing fee (“please read silently: do not move your lips.”)

The observation of Eric Hoffer, the Longshoreman-philosopher, is probably most appropriate here: “Every great movement begins as a cause, becomes a business, and ends as a racket.”

Henry's Last Gasp

Henry Kissinger just won’t quit. Since 1957, he has advocated a New World Order, and he has seen every crisis since as a perfect opportunity for us all to join hands and leap into his one-world future. His latest piece is a conspiracy theorist’s dream, where he resonates his international billionaire clients (whose identities he has always refused to reveal), and demands that every country, including ours, must "redefine its national priorities." Or else.

Henry probably thinks that would be less work than cleaning house and throwing out the bipartisan gang of self-serving third-raters who have hijacked the American dream for their own power and profit. Instead, the virtuous people of Federalist 57 should relent, honor the hijackers' claim to superiority, let Henry trash the Constitution, and then hire him to write a New One.

You gotta hand it to Henry, he's got chutzpah. He has lived a life of self-indulgent, studied megalomania. “The alternative to a new international order is chaos,” he writes. Well, another alternative is the Constitution, but that’s pretty passé, isn’t it?

Henry’s logic is pretty simple: whatever he and his decadent pals can't control is, by definition, evil. It can be surmounted only by a "global agreement" with new "general rules" that everybody must follow. Big Brother, call your office.

Henry, meet the Leviathan. Unfortunately, Hobbes was wrong and Aquinas and Jefferson were right. The alternative to Henry’s nightmare isn't chaos. The alternative is freedom, following "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."

Two Different Worlds

This year, the March For Life comes just two days after the inauguration. Somehow, I don’t think that many of those “Catholics for Obama” in town for the festivities will be staying on to join us in the March. And what about all those “Catholic” senators and representatives who are “personally opposed to abortion , but …”?

Well, I guess they just want to keep it personal.

No comments: