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“Leaning” Toward American-Loathing



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Wandering out and down the driveway to get my Washington Post in the
morning can bring a sense of trepidation–especially right now as the
Post has begun a mini-campaign on making the Niger Sentence the center
of Campaign 2004. So I leaf through from the least offensive sections to
potentially the most, savoring a little Sports, then a quick flip
through Metro and Business, Style, and then the front section.

Saturday was one of those days where the Metro section lives up to its
Iraq war pattern of celebrating what they think is courageous “dissent.”
A D.C. motto for the hard left: if you hold a rally, the Washington Post
will come. Saturday’s Metro section features just the latest in a long
series of “anti-war” (pro-inaction) rallies, this one in the fussy
liberal boutique area of Dupont Circle. “At Open-Mic forum, a Yearning
to Open Minds,” reads the headline under a huge picture of a man
standing in front of huge black letters spelling PEACE. Reporter Manny
Fernandez explained the rally was “hosted by the D.C. Anti-War Network
and D.C. Statehood Green Party to repeal the USA Patriot Act and end the
U.S. occupation of Iraq.”

Soon enough, what the tabula rasa “open minds” of the headline are
supposed to accept is revealed: “D.C. activist Adam Eidinger said he
hoped the outlet opens people’s minds to progressive causes. ‘This is
free speech,’ said Eidinger, an organizer with the D.C. Statehood Green
Party. ‘You’ve got to have a discussion in this country to understand
why we want regime change.’” So far, I’m left waiting for an accurate
ideological classification of the events being promoted. “Progressive”
is a clue, although how leaving Saddam Hussein in power can be defended
as progress we could debate.

But in reality the truth is this: these people think Ted Kennedy is a
tool of the establishment. The website of the Washington Peace Center
explains if you scroll down far enough that the “open mic” for “open
minds” was followed by a dance party at the “Paul Robeson Study &
Struggle Center.”

Fernandez does eventually use the adjective “left-leaning activists” to
describe the assembled. It would be nice for reporters to use “leaning”
to describe someone who’s partially of the left, or a centrist
sympathetic to the left. Former Rep. Connie Morella, with a career ACU
rating in the 30s, is a good example. Once again, the assembled in
Dupont Circle think the legislators with zero ACU ratings are part of
the national security state. They are not “leaners” of the left – they
have broken beyond any confining parameters of leftism into a nihilist
Nirvana of decrying American “colonialism” in Iraq.

They are hard-core leftists, people who believe that everywhere America
goes, freedom vanishes and death and pollution and oppression arrive.
The Post usually describes this sort of ideologue in the most favorable
terms: a “peace activist.”

A Small Victory



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According to this AFP story, via Yahoo news,
Belgium has ditched its law which allowed leaders of just about any country to
be indicted for just about anything. The new law will require victims to be
either residents or citizens of Belgium before filing suit.

President Bush can now safely enjoy his fine Belgian chocolates.

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Ny Times Magazine



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WFB is mentioned in the “Lives” column on the last page of
the magazine, encouraging a young Brendan Greeley to try to sail across the
Atlantic and live off a boat in France.

The letters to the editor responding to the
recent SCOTUS Atkins decision are, predictably, opposed to the
execution of the mentally retarded. What is noteworthy is that they also seem
uniformly opposed to the death penalty in general: “until this so-called
civilized nation of ours gets around to abolishing capital punishment altogether
. . .” and “Why is the United States the only Western democracy still using such
a barbaric practice?”

The most interesting article is Elizabeth Rubin’s article on the Iraq-based
Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedeen. While the enemy of my enemy
may be a strategic ally (Soviet Union in WWII) he is not my friend (Saudi
Arabia), and Rubin nicely documents that there is a good reason why Congress
should hesitate before embracing this group with open arms. But she misses one
of the key aspects of the story: Yes, the French recently cracked down on the
organization, but they originally welcomed the group’s leaders with open arms.
Could the French be cracking down on this band of terrorists not to curry favor
with the EU or US, but with Tehran? Amir Taheri hit the nail on the head with
this article, originally written
for the Wall Street Journal.

Web Briefing: August 21, 2014

What An Audience



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I may as well admit that I can recall not only Ronald Reagan but Jackie Gleason. “The Miami Beach audience,” Gleason would say at the end of each of his TV show, which he taped in Florida, “is the greatest audience in the world!”

Which is just the way I’ve come to feel about the audience that reads the Corner. I’ve only been posting for a few days now, but I’ve already received a couple of hundred emails, only three of which have proven abusive and only two of which have attempted to sell me something. The remaining 98 percent have proven friendly, well-written, useful (special thanks to the 30 or so readers who advised me on comic books for my eight-year old, who at this very moment is reading “Essential Spiderman,” one of your recommendations) and, very often, extremely intelligent. In response to my puzzlement over Tony Blair’s eagerness to cozy up to Europe, for example, a reader has just slapped me around a little, rightly reminding me that the British left lives on:


[The European constitution would be] a dream come true for British left-wingers;
with a single stroke of a pen, the EU constitution would implement virtually their entire agenda on British soil. Britain’s leftists would gain powerful allies from the Left on the
Continent (where socialism and other left-wing ideologies are much stronger
politically). And there won’t be a damn thing that Britain’s conservatives
could do about it, short of a full-blown revolution, once that constitution is
adopted.

So, if you’re a leftist, it makes perfect sense. I think we’ve lost sight of
Tony Blair’s true ideology in all the Iraqi war hubbub. Blair’s support for
the Iraq war was an aberration; his true heart lies with the Continent’s Left.”


Readers like that keep this poor boy right where he ought to be, which is on his toes.

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Beyonce Inappropriate



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NBC is taking heat for letting Beyonce perform at Grant’s Tomb on the 4th of July, during the fireworks show. The singer’s and dance crew’s dress and suggestive performance was more the stuff of a nightclub than a presidental monument. One also wonders how much of the at-home on the 4th audience was panting for Beyonce to sing in the first place (Does your mother/father/aunt/etc. know who she is?). I’ve always thought, as hokey as it is, that the D.C. 4th, on the Mall, which airs on PBS, is much more family-4th style.

More On The Food Fight



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More evidence that the food fight is going to be around for a while – editorials like this patronizing piece of preaching on July 10th from the New York Times. It was prompted by Kraft’s insulting – and self-destructive - decision to give its customers less value for money (the food giant is threatening to reduce the portion sizes contained in single-serving packages):

“An industry that has prospered by selling high-fat, high-calorie or sugary foods in ever larger quantities will probably be loath to deviate too much from a proven path to profits. But any smart chief executive will feel the increasing pressure from public health officials to combat obesity and will heed recent warnings from Wall Street that big food companies with a high percentage of unhealthy products face major legal and financial risks. If the companies are really serious about refashioning and downsizing their products, they can give a major boost to the global fight against obesity.”

Let’s go through this one more time. Food companies should serve their customers what their customers want. How much those people choose to eat is up to them, not the food companies, not the regulators, not the legislators and especially not the trial lawyers.


Pearls Before Swine



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Noam Chomsky, the philosopher-cretin of today’s left, on Vaclav Havel’s first US speech (in February 1990):

A “shameful performance” and an “embarassingly silly and morally repugnant Sunday School sermon.”

Quoted in a letter to this month’s Reason magazine.

None Too Bright (2)



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Seen in San Francisco on Friday – a man wearing a coat with the slogan “Selenium causes AIDS, Alzheimers.”

Unorthodox? Perhaps.

He was holding a poster reading “Kucinich for President.”

Nuts, certainly.


None Too Bright



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There was a goofily enthusiastic op-ed in the New York Times yesterday on a movement to rename atheists, agnostics and other such godless heretics. The suggestion is that they should be dubbed “bright.” There’s even a horribly gung ho website to back it up. “Bright?” Oh, come on. That won’t do. Part of the pleasure in not being religious (and I should know) is a certain morbid delight in the thought of the futility of existence – “the dog barks,” as the saying goes, “but the caravan moves on.” “Bright” is far too optimistic and far, far too chirpy. How about “doomed?” It’s accurate (we all are, in the end) and, what’s more, it will give more devout folk a certain grim satisfaction.

Big Smack?



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The snack wars aren’t going away any time soon. Here are details of research purporting to show that “foods which are high in fat and sugar can cause significant changes in brain biochemistry similar to those from drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Once hooked, the researchers say, many people find it almost impossible to switch back to a healthy diet, often leading to obesity.”

Notice the use of conveniently vague words and phrases such as “significant” and “similar to,” but even if we do accept the researchers’ premise that junk food is somehow ‘addictive’ (and I don’t) all that this signifies is that our notions of ‘addiction’ are so vague as to be meaningless. You can prove this by playing a simple word game. Instead of saying that burgers are, say, as addictive as heroin, turn the phrase round to say that heroin is no more addictive than fatty food. Nonsense? Yes.


Don’t Mention The War



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Peter, don’t be too sure that, for the Germans, the EU is a way of losing their national identity. It’s far better to see it as a (politically correct) way for them to impose their way on the rest of the continent. It beats Stukas and tanks, I suppose, so there has been some progress. The French are pleased to go along with this because they believe that they can manipulate German strength to pursue their own economic and geopolitical agenda.

Here’s something you might find interesting:

”The only possible aim of economic co-operation must be the establishment of the European Economic Community. The decisive conclusion in terms of economic policy is that Europe is not to be what one would call a major area or market…in which the old structural rules of the Anglo-Saxon world economy apply; rather, the European Economic Community must be shaped in accordance with new political criteria and will consequently appear different from the economic structures of the past.”

Those words come from a compendium of papers by the president of the central bank and others (Europaische Wirtschaftgemeinschaft, Heinrich Hunke (ed)) published in Berlin in, ahem, 1942.

Dad and Brussels



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Yes, Peter, that is my father. Here’s a shameless plug. Your other question (why the British establishment wants to entomb the UK in an ever more federal EU) is harder to answer. Basically – and very briefly – it’s a poisonous blend of motives. The aim behind the EU has long been the establishment of a corporatist economic system across a continent (the relative economic failures of France and Germany have shown that, in an age of increasingly free markets, such a system can’t survive in one country alone). Including the UK in this project will remove an economic (and intellectual) competitor and will be a good revenge on the hated Thatcher. This managed capitalism (and the revenge on the hated Thatcher) has considerable appeal to the British Left (lest there be any doubt – this includes Tony Blair). Remember that the very structure of the EU offers another advantage – it is not subject to any meaningful democratic review. It is thus, for all realistic purposes, irreversible and so is the economic system it will impose. Elections can be so awkward. It’s worth pointing out that such a regime also implies the existence of a large – and well-paid – apparatchik class, and there are many in Britain who rather like the sound of that.

Of course, all this will mean the destruction of Britain that we all once knew – but for the new ‘progressive’ class that will be no loss at all.

And why did the British people vote for this? That’s easy: they were lied to.


Here



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is the Justin Katz post on the Federal Marriage Amendment that I mentioned earlier. He also has a post subsequent to that mention.

Caffeine On Saturday



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Evidently I was in need of some when I posted about Peter’s show earlier–I wrote that it was David Frum and Christopher Hitchens. It was David Brooks. I had just been clicking on David Frum’s Diary…apologies (I have since corrected the blunder below).

How We Do It



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Thanks for those kind words about Uncommon Knowledge, K-Lo. (I suppose you felt you had to sweeten me up after making me feel superannuated.)

The way we shoot the show is pretty simple. We sit down, make sure everybody has a cup of coffee, then let the cameras roll–typically for about 30 or 35 minutes. Since we owe PBS exactly 27 minutes, our brilliant young director and editor, Ian Albert, always does some nipping and tucking before we hand the videotape over. (During one recent shoot I said “Iraq” every time I meant “Iran” and “Iran” every time I meant “Iraq.” By some miracle of editing, Ian saved me.)

But the magic, I’ve always felt, lies in the talk. Americans watch hundreds of hours of television a month, but how often can they hear a real conversation? Get Hitch and David Brooks to the studio, choose a fascinating topic such as Orwell, then let it happen.

The Passion Trailer



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Harry Knowles’s Ain’t-It-Cool News moviesite has a copy of the trailer for The Passion, Mel Gibson’s controversial film about the final days of Jesus Christ. It looks incredibly well done. This trailer has graphically violent images, so be forewarned. As you’ve no doubt heard, the Anti-Defamation League and a group of scholars affiliated with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (which later distanced itself from them), have issued a condemnation of the movie as anti-Semitic, based on their review of a stolen early draft of the script. It’s hard to believe that this condemnation of a film they haven’t even seen has nothing to do with the fact that The Passion still doesn’t have a distributor. Anyway, check the trailer out for yourself. (Important: make SURE you have the latest version of QuickTime software, which is available for free from Apple.com.)

I cannot wait to see the entire movie — and if it’s anti-Semitic, then it will reap the condemnation it deserves. And if not, not. But “The Passion” deserves the chance to be seen and judged on its own merits. The more people see this trailer, the greater the demand for the movie.

It’s An Insult to The Poverty Striken



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…to claim that they are driven to have sex because of their situation, as the Washington Post reports. AIDS is a death sentence for them. And where do little kids come in? Handing a condom to a 7-year-old kid in any country is still advocating sex for children. What if they are taught not to have sex? What if they are protected? Not young adults but children. To say abstinence is a Bush-ism is to dismiss it out of hand.

Here is a quick look at the situation from someone who lives it everyday — an African missionary, Fr. Steven Mosha, who is supported by our church here in Westchester. He runs a dispensary.


As you might have read in papers, seen on TV and heard on radio, the worst medical situation Africa is going through now is that of the spread of HIV/AIDS followed by malaria and other epidemics such as cholera.

Our dispensary loses almost one person monthly due to AIDS and we have very many admitted due to malaria, most hit are the children.

Last month we lost a victim to AIDS, here is his situation: He was first admitted at the general hospital. When the doctors there knew there was no hope for him, they discharged him. His family could not care for him and they brought him to our dispensary. We took care of him until he died. I was happy to have prayed over him and 30 minutes latter he died. May God rest him in His love.

Now we have another patient but he is not yet badly off. Coughing simply keeps wearing him down. He is a father to five children and cares for two grand children including their mothers. He is a mason and gets very small amount of money. What is worse now is that those who must pay him for services he rendered do not want to pay him. He now cannot buy medicine to keep himself alive. Such medicines here cost a fortune: one month’s dose costs $50 (Tanzania shilling 54,000), in a place where average wage is $30 (30,000) per month and bus fare to go to work costs $20 (20,000) per month!

For our dispensary to be able to take care of its patients we need plenty of antibiotics. USA has a plan to assist Africa with medicines and other medical support in this field of AIDS and malaria. We do need plenty of antibiotics. We, as a small dispensary can hardly have access to this USA Plan from here. Is there something we can do together so that we can get these antibiotics!


We seriously need to train someone to handle these cases and do home visits to continue helping the families especially children of these victims. We have a lady (social worker) whom we would like to send for some study/course in this field of HIV/AIDS but we do not have the funds to train her. If we were to get money we could train her here or send her to Uganda (which has made considerable experience in this matter).

If you can help in any of these matters, please contact Father Steven via email at: [email protected]

Fr. S. Mosha


Teaching Sailors About Reagan



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Warning: This will make many feel very old.

Grain-of-Salt Files



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Iran’s Khatami says he’ll resign if the people want him to. Yup, sure, for the people, by the people–that’s Iran. (Just ask the U.S. State Department. Then ask the young people of Iran.)

What Fma Does-Iii



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Let’s leave sex and sexual relationships out of the picture. Let’s say that the amendment has passed and the Connecticut legislature has enacted a law granting some of the legal incidents of marriage to any couple. Under this law, a friend and you (or two friends and you) can co-sign each other’s loans, or whatever, if you choose this arrangement. (A thoughtful post by Justin Katz suggested this example to me—unfortunately, I can’t find the link right now.) Would the amendment bar this law? Or prevent a court from giving it effect? I don’t see how. The amendment’s wording suggests that states can, by statute, confer some of the legal incidents of marriage on unmarried couples (or groups); and that courts may construe statutes to confer those benefits.

Let’s take another example. The Michigan legislature decides to permit only married couples to co-sign each other’s loans. The state may have other sorts of domestic partnerships, but this isn’t part of the package. Under the amendment, the court may not construe the law reserving this benefit to married people (i.e., implicitly defining it as one of the legal incidents of marriage) as though it applied to unmarried people. That is to say: Whatever the state has decided, legislatively, to reserve to marriage, the courts may not extend beyond marriage. That leaves state legislatures with a lot of running room.

If one takes seriously the legal threat that the amendment’s supporters do—that without the amendment, the courts will impose same-sex marriage—the amendment leaves states with more running room than they’ll otherwise have.

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