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Re: North Korea



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Stan, I share your view of North Korea. Yesterday I posted a nightmare scenario the Times’ Nicholas Kristof foresaw rapidly unfolding in North Korea, re: its nuclear program. It sounded very, very plausible to me. Some readers thought I was also agreeing with Kristof’s conclusion that the administration is somehow derelict for being so silent. Not so. What would Kristof have Bush & Co. say? We really are checkmated there, at least for now. Seems to me that public silence and quiet diplomacy, backed up with military maneuvering, is the least bad course, at least for right now. Believe it or not, there are still some people who think that because North Korea is more dangerous than Iraq, we are hypocrites for going after Iraq. Is it not obvious that the reason North Korea can throw its weight around now is because they acquired nuclear weapons? If Saddam were allowed to get them, we’d be checkmated there too.

Well, Look Like He Does Have Video of Something



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Alan Wolfe and Anti-Americanism in American Studies



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For a devastating account of what the multiculturalist Left has done to the academy, read this Alan Wolfe review of the sad state of the art in American Studies. The most interesting theme here is an anti-Americanism (in American Studies!) so extreme that it drives professors to deny that America even exists. Postmodernism is beset by a paralyzing, politically driven, and ultimately self-contradictory hostility to generalization. Ultimately, of course, we do and must generalize. But post-modernists selectively deploy their insight into the necessarily imperfect and incomplete character of generalization as a kind of magic wand to make things they don’t like disappear. Since postmodernists don’t like America, they try to make it disappear. This is a very fine piece. The madness of the academic Left revealed, in all its glory.

Web Briefing: August 31, 2014

Iraq, Too, Though



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When I say that the Korean situation is much worse than our talk would indicate, I don’t mean we should delay on Iraq. No sense doing that unless we are ready for war in Korea. And unfortunately, I think we’ve been checkmated there. So much is silence on this issue. While our interests overlap to an extent with the South Koreans, they are also very different. The Koreans naturally fear the destruction of Seoul. We dread the destruction of Washington or New York. But the war it would require to prevent the sale of the nuclear material that could take out New York would spell the end of Seoul. An invasion of Iraq is still necessary, but even with great success against Saddam, we are not likely to emerge unscathed from this terrible new world of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

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North Korea



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Allow me to interject a note of despair. (Can’t let Derb have all the fun.) This North Korean situation is bad–much worse than our relative silence on the matter would indicate. (When I say “our silence,” I mean the administration, the mainstream media, the blogosphere–everyone.) I don’t see how the United States can prevent the Koreans from selling bomb grade nuclear material to al Qaeda, Iran, Libya, etc. That would require a war (and quickly), and whatever the final outcome, war would mean mass death in Seoul, for which America would be blamed. Seems to me the odds of a nuclear blast in an American city sometime in the next five to ten years have now edged above 50/50.

Me Stoopid, Too



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In total truth, I won’t let Jonah take the blame for that: I guess I have a defensive den-mother reaction when I think one of the guys is being attacked: I pointed out to Jonah the Goldberg reference in Alterman, reflexively assuming Eric meant our Jonah. SO I lead the Jonah man astray. Maybe we just need our coffee.

Me Stoopid



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My former landlord Eric Alterman has a piece/advertorial up on NRO today in our new regular debate feature. The subject is media bias and Alterman manages to cram a lot of condescension into a mere 500 words (note how many times he uses the word “smart”). A case in point, he offers this gratuitous swipe:

Here’s how I put it in the book: (And for you Goldberg/Coulter fans, those little numbers are called “footnotes.” They allow other people to check your work.)

I thought he meant me and posted a response earlier this morning. We Goldbergs may not all look alike, but when I see the name on my own site I sometimes get confused. Anyway, it was quickly pointed out to me that Alterman must mean Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias. And I unthinkingly erased the entry. I probably should have left it up. Good blogger form requires us to leave our mistakes up so we can atone for them for all eternity. Anyway, I acted too quickly and I still think the jibe is a dumb one. As I understand it, Coulter’s book has plenty of footnotes. And besides, with condescension like Alterman’s, less is more (note how many times he uses the word “smart.”). Still, my apologies if you saw the first post and then saw it disappear. I’m not trying to hide anything.

Book Reccomendation



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For literally more than two decades my dad has been trying to get me to read The Intelligent American’s Guide to Europe by Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (a former NR-nik). I just never got around to it. Last Thanksgiving he brought it down and pressed it into my hands. I finally started skimming through it a couple of weeks ago and now I have to say it is one of the most interesting, wide-ranging, thoroughly engaging history books I’ve ever read. It reminds me of when I first read Modern Times by Paul Johnson. But it’s even more encyclopedic. Almost every sentence — never mind every page — has an “I didn’t know that” or “I never thought of it like that” kicker. He makes statements in parentheses it would take me a year of reading to feel confident enough to make. Alas, I see from Amazon that it’s out of print. But if you spot one in a used book store — and you’re a history buff — you must pick up a copy.

Sounds Like Saudi Arabia



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This morning’s Washington Post: “The Saudi embassy quietly provided the wife of a terror suspect a passport and transit out of the United States in November, after she was subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in New York investigating her husband’s possible links to the al Qaeda terrorist network, diplomatic and law enforcement sources said.”

U.N. Today



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My prediction: The only thing that will make this irrelevant relic budge is if Colin Powell furnishes a videotape of Saddam Hussein and Mohamed Atta meeting in Baghdad.

Tame Lions



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I can count on one hand the number of games my favorite NFL team, the Detroit Lions, have won in the last two seasons. Their 5-27 record is their worst performance in team history, which is both pretty long and pretty miserable by pro-sports standards. Ah, the travails of being born and growing up in Michigan. Now the Lions have gone out and hired one of the best coaches in the game, who also happens to be a Michigan native: Steve Mariucci, who was recently fired by the 49ers for reasons nobody seems able to explain. It’s a great move, and gives even us jaded fans some reason to hope if not maybe next season, then at least maybe in a couple of seasons. So guess who’s complaining? O.J. lawyer Johnnie Cochran! Seems the Lions have erred in hiring a white guy, even though this story notes that the team contacted five minority candidates and that none of them wanted to be interviewed, partly because they thought Mariucci already had the job and partly, I’m sure, because it’s the Detroit Lions, for crying out loud! Memo to Cochran and his buddies: Please, please, please leave my 5-27 team alone. Go pick on someone your own size.

Re: “God of California”



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Rod, not to fall into our traditional positions here, but I think you jump a bit to quickly to condemn the Vatican New Age document. It’s long and I have not read it yet, but the press accounts I read of it, and a quick skim of it (you can find it here), suggest to me that it is not necessarily the outrage your post suggests it is. “The success of New Age offers the Church a challenge. People feel the Christian religion no longer offers them–or perhaps never gave them–something they really need,” the document says. That is something important to address. The document is also an unfinished product, a seeking of feedback, put out by the Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. I think it’s actually a good thing to 1) outreach to people who have left the Church, to show a genuine interest in understanding why they left 2) to help people in the Church to understand what this New Age stuff is about (so they can reach out to friends and family who have become caught up in it, perhaps). The document (which, again, I hope to read in full soon, but have not yet) appears to make clear that a lot of this stuff can be dangerous and tempting–and that if it involves renouncing belief in Christ it is wrong. Seems quite right.

Straw On Iraq



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Apologies…



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…for Corner slowness yesterday. We will do better today.

Follow The Money



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Is some of the money the EU gives the Palestinian Authority being diverted to terrorists? According to some Members of the European ‘Parliament’, Chris Patten doesn’t want to say.

Person The Guns



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The British Army is, er, under fire for sexism. Amongst its crimes, referring to “manning” rather than ‘staffing”. Full details are available in a taxpayer-funded report called Gendered Bodies, Personnel Policies and the Culture of the British Army.

Its title tells you all that you need to know.


Drug War Follies (Ctd)



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Amongst the greatest of the many stupidities of the asinine ‘war on drugs’ is the government’s crusade against ‘medical marijuana’. In the latest chapter of this endless, and depressing, saga, federal prosecutors have now distinguished themselves by securing the conviction of one Ed Rosenthal for growing marijuana – marijuana that was going to be used to treat the sick. The judge who heard the case ruled that the jury could not be told that Rosenthal’s crop was part of Oakland’s medical marijuana program, a plan developed by the city in the wake of the California vote ‘legalizing’ the medical use of the normally prohibited plant. Mr. Rosenthal now faces years in jail and some members of the jury that convicted him are said to be appalled that they were denied the right to hear the full facts before they came to their verdict.

It’s a case that has, understandably, infuriated many (check out Instapundit for more), but the truth is that, while the Justice Department team can – and should – be criticized for wasting government resources in choosing to prioritize the prosecution of a case like this, they were only doing their job. Equally, the judge who excluded any discussion of the ‘medical’ defense was technically quite correct. This seems like a clear case where federal law overrides a state’s jurisdiction and federal law simply does not recognize the defense of medical necessity. What’s more, as Jacob Sullum points out over at Reason, it appears that the jurors did know why the defendant was growing marijuana, even if the poor man was not allowed to talk about it in court.

No, it’s no use blaming the Justice Department, the trial judge or the jury. They all did what they were meant to do. The system worked. And when the system is used to enforce an unjust law, the result will be injustice – as the luckless Mr. Rosenthal has now discovered.

The only solution is to change the law at the federal level. Hoping for a retreat from prohibition is, alas, too much to hope for, but a small, faltering step in the direction of sanity and compassion would be the legalization of medical marijuana.

How about it, Doctor Frist?


Perle Tells It Like It Is



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Doomed From Day One



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Ecumenism Under Fire



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The Episcopal Church in New York directed the Rev. Chloe Breyer (whose memoir I reviewed here) to coordinate its effort to rebuild an Afghan mosque destroyed by American bombs. The liberal church leadership is disappointed that more parishioners didn’t donate money for the cause. And conservative Episcopalian leaders want to know if their liberal co-religionists are as charitable to Christians in the Third World whose churches were destroyed by Muslims.

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