[Paleopsych] RE: [Fwd: OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today - March 2, 2005]
shovland at mindspring.com
Wed Mar 2 17:50:57 UTC 2005
The idea that the left is aligned with radical islam
is an example of a big lie.
The frame is that since we don't support the imperialist
ambitions of the Neo Cons, we must be supporting
the bad guys.
Supporting the Baathists was the official policy of the
US for most of the years that Saddam was in power.
It is a right-wing President who has done more than
anyone before him to create a theocratic state in America,
making us more like Iran.
I think the real purpose of the war was to install a new
puppet regime and retain control of the oil, which is
perfectly easy to understand on a practical basis,
even if it is morally decrepit.
My "Democratic Family Values" piece was an attempt
to formulate a vision. I send faxes to Congress almost
every day in order to shift their conscious toward my
I recently heard that circa 1974 the Republican party
was in such bad shape that they weren't making the
mortgage payments on their headquarters.
A similar renaissance is starting on the left, but don't
expect to hear about it on CNN, Fox, or MSNBC or
any of the corporate media.
It's at the level of the committee's of correspondence
and the pamphleteers of the American revolution.
From: Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. [SMTP:ljohnson at solution-consulting.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2005 8:58 AM
To: Steve Hovland
Subject: [Fwd: OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today - March 2, 2005]
Here is a thought provoking piece.
Steve, you have some real talents, and I wonder if you could help the
Left formulate real programs instead of, as Soderberg does, just hoping
Bush will fail. This is NOT the party of FDR, of Harry Truman, and
clearly is not the party of JFK. They had a foreign policy vision. There
is nothing on the left that is equivalent to the American Century
project. Three years ago I was saying that the real reason to invade
Iraq is to create a foothold for democracy in the middle east, and now
it is happening. The Left needs a global vision that is not based on
supporting Baathists (see www.frontpagemagazine.com and look at the
discussions about the alliance between the left and radical islam).
You could play a key role in helping your fellow leftists formulate some
transcendent vision. The Right will need a stronger Left if America is
to flourish, since power corrupts and it is vital to have dialog.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today - March 2, 2005
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2005 11:11:06 -0500
From: OpinionJournal <OpinionJournal at wsj.com>
Reply-To: OpinionJournal <OpinionJournal at wsj.com>
To: botw at djoj.opinionjournal.com
Best of the Web Today - March 2, 2005
By JAMES TARANTO
'But as an American . . .'
We hardly ever watch Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,"
but our TV happened to be tuned to it last night when erstwhile Clinton
aide Nancy Soderberg, author of " The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse
of American Might
(foreword by Bill Clinton, blurb by Madeleine Albright) came on. We're not
sure what possessed us to turn on the sound and watch, but we're glad we
did, for it was a fascinating interview. Here's a TiVo-assisted transcript
of most of it:
*** QUOTE ***
Stewart: This book--it talks about the superpower myth of the United
States. There is this idea, the United States is the sole superpower, and I
guess the premise of the book is we cannot misuse that power--have to use
it wisely, and not just punitively. Is that--
Soderberg: That's right. What I argue is that the Bush administration fell
hostage to the superpower myth, believing that because we're the most
powerful nation on earth, we were all-powerful, could bend the world to our
will and not have to worry about the rest of the world. I think what
they're finding in the second term is, it's a little bit harder than that,
and reality has an annoying way of intruding.
Stewart: But what do you make of--here's my dilemma, if you will. I don't
care for the way these guys conduct themselves--and this is just you and I
talking, no cameras here [audience laughter]. But boy, when you see the
Lebanese take to the streets and all that, and you go, "Oh my God, this is
working," and I begin to wonder, is it--is the way that they handled it
really--it's sort of like, "Uh, OK, my daddy hits me, but look how tough
I'm getting." You know what I mean? Like, you don't like the method, but
maybe--wrong analogy, is that, uh--?
Soderberg: Well, I think, you know, as a Democrat, you don't want anything
nice to happen to the Republicans, and you don't want them to have
progress. But as an American, you hope good things would happen. I think
the way to look at it is, they can't credit for every good thing that
happens, but they need to be able to manage it. I think what's happening in
Lebanon is great, but it's not necessarily directly related to the fact
that we went into Iraq militarily.
Stewart: Do you think that the people of Lebanon would have had, sort of,
the courage of their conviction, having not seen--not only the invasion but
the election which followed? It's almost as though that the Iraqi election
has emboldened this crazy--something's going on over there. I'm smelling
Soderberg: I think partly what's going on is the country next door, Syria,
has been controlling them for decades, and they [the Syrians] were dumb
enough to blow up the former prime minister of Lebanon in Beirut, and
they're--people are sort of sick of that, and saying, "Wait a minute,
that's a stretch too far." So part of what's going on is they're just
protesting that. But I think there is a wave of change going on, and if we
can help ride it though the second term of the Bush administration, more
power to them.
Stewart: Do you think they're the guys to--do they understand what they've
unleashed? Because at a certain point, I almost feel like, if they had just
come out at the very beginning and said, "Here's my plan: I'm going to
invade Iraq. We'll get rid of a bad guy because that will drain the
swamp"--if they hadn't done the whole "nuclear cloud," you know, if they
hadn't scared the pants off of everybody, and just said straight up,
honestly, what was going on, I think I'd almost--I'd have no cognitive
dissonance, no mixed feelings.
Soderberg: The truth always helps in these things, I have to say. But I
think that there is also going on in the Middle East peace process--they
may well have a chance to do a historic deal with the Palestinians and the
Israelis. These guys could really pull off a whole--
Stewart: This could be unbelievable!
Soderberg:---series of Nobel Peace Prizes here, which--it may well work. I
think that, um, it's--
Stewart: [buries head in hands] Oh my God! [audience laughter] He's got,
you know, here's--
Soderberg: It's scary for Democrats, I have to say.
Stewart: He's gonna be a great--pretty soon, Republicans are gonna be like,
"Reagan was nothing compared to this guy." Like, my kid's gonna go to a
high school named after him, I just know it.
Soderberg: Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's
hope for the rest of us.
Stewart: [crossing fingers] Iran and North Korea, that's true, that is true
[audience laughter]. No, it's--it is--I absolutely agree with you, this
is--this is the most difficult thing for me to--because, I think, I don't
care for the tactics, I don't care for this, the weird arrogance, the
setting up. But I gotta say, I haven't seen results like this ever in that
Soderberg: Well wait. It hasn't actually gotten very far. I mean, we've
Stewart: Oh, I'm shallow! I'm very shallow!
Soderberg: There's always hope that this might not work. No, but I think,
um, it's--you know, you have changes going on in Egypt; Saudi Arabia
finally had a few votes, although women couldn't participate. What's going
on here in--you know, Syria's been living in the 1960s since the
1960s--it's, part of this is--
Stewart: You mean free love and that kind of stuff? [audience laughter]
Like, free love, drugs?
Soderberg: If you're a terrorist, yeah.
Stewart: They are Baathists, are they--it looks like, I gotta say, it's
almost like we're not going to have to invade Iran and Syria. They're gonna
invade themselves at a certain point, no? Or is that completely naive?
Soderberg: I think it's moving in the right direction. I'll have to give
them credit for that. We'll see.
Stewart: Really? Hummus for everybody, for God's sakes.
*** END QUOTE ***
We've long been skeptical of Jon Stewart, but color us impressed. He
managed to ambush this poor woman brutally, in a friendly interview. She
was supposed to be promoting her book, and instead he got her to spend the
entire interview debunking it (at least if we understood the book's thesis
correctly from the very brief discussion of it up top).
She also admitted repeatedly that Democrats are hoping for American failure
in the Middle East. To be sure, this is not true of all Democrats,
Soderberg speaks only for herself, and she says she is ambivalent ("But as
an American . . ."). But we do not question her expertise in assessing the
prevailing mentality of her own party. No wonder Dems get so defensive
about their patriotism http://www.opinionjournal.com/pl/?id=110005545 .
Interesting too is Stewart's acknowledgment of his own "cognitive
dissonance" and "mixed feelings" over the Iraq liberation. It's a version
of an argument we've been hearing a lot lately: As our Brendan Miniter
http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/bminiter/?id=110006355 puts it,
"The president's critics never seem to tire of claiming that the war in
Iraq began over weapons of mass destruction and only later morphed into a
war of liberation."
Miniter correctly notes that "this criticism isn't entirely right," but for
the sake of argument let's assume it is. What does it mean? President Bush
has altered his arguments to conform to reality, while his critics remain
fixated on obsolete disputes. This would seem utterly to refute the liberal
media stereotype. Bush, it turns out, is a supple-minded empiricist, while
his opponents are rigid ideologues.
Two mostly Muslim ex-Soviet states may be joining the democratic
revolution, reports the Times of London: "Western observers denounced
Sunday's polls in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, although monitors from former
Soviet states said that they were fair."
In consonant-deprived Kyrgyzstan, opposition candidates allegedly won only
three seats in the parliamentary vote. "Opposition supporters have begun
protests to disrupt the second round of voting--to be held on March 13 in
more than half of the constituencies. Many are calling for a 'tulip' or
'lemon' revolution comparable to Ukraine's Orange Revolution and the Rose
Revolution in Georgia in 2003."
In Tajikstan, where the ruling party supposedly won 80% of Sunday's vote,
"a coalition of opposition parties is threatening to boycott the Government
and parliament unless new elections are held, but is thought to be too weak
to overturn the results."
Hearts and Minds
*** QUOTE ***
"Our military and the insurgents are fighting for the same thing--the
hearts and minds of the people--and that is a battle we are not winning."--
"Thousands of mostly black-clad Iraqis protested Tuesday outside a medical
clinic where a suicide car bomber killed 125 people a day earlier, braving
the threat of another attack as they waved clenched fists, condemned
foreign fighters and chanted 'No to terrorism!' "-- Associated Press
ea/iraq&cid=540&ncid=1480 , March 1
*** END QUOTE ***
Interestingly, the text of Kennedy's infamous speech seems to have
disappeared from his Web site; the above link is to the Yahoo cache. We
guess it's a good sign that he no longer stands by the speech, but we'd
think more highly of him if he actually owned up to his mistake.
Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.
Mike Godwin, Meet Robert Byrd
Despite their diminishing numbers, Senate Democrats still seem determined
to use a procedure called "cloture," whereby 41 senators can filibuster and
prevent a vote, to prevent the Senate from acting on numerous judicial
nominees who have the support of a Senate majority. Republicans are
considering a change in the Senate rules to do away with the requirement
for cloture in judicial nominations, a change Trent Lott infelicitously
dubbed the "nuclear option."
Yesterday Sen. Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat, former Ku Klux
Klansman and the Senate's longest-serving member, took to the floor to
denounce the idea, in terms that were overheated to say the least:
*** QUOTE ***
We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy, have never stopped being a
nation of laws, not of men.
But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel
and unjust ends. Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler's dictatorship
rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law.
Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his
opposition in the Reichstag to support it. Bullock writes that "Hitler was
prepared to promise anything to get his bill through, with the appearances
of legality preserved intact." And he succeeded.
Hitler's originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in
modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the
state: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power
and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of
legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law
on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality
And that is what the nuclear option seeks to do to Rule XXII of the
Standing Rules of the Senate. . . . For the temporary gain of a handful of
"out of the mainstream" judges, some in the Senate are ready to callously
incinerate each senator's right of extended debate.
*** END QUOTE ***
Byrd went on to extol the filibuster as a way in which "the minority can
challenge, agitate, and question," and a measure that vindicates "the power
of even a single individual through the device of extended debate." Of
course, this is no longer true. Although once a single senator could block
action through extended debate, today 60 can cut off debate and force a
It used to take a two-thirds vote, as Byrd should know from his own
experience. Byrd's characterization of "extended debate" as a way to
preserve minority rights is curious in light of his own history, which the
Senate Web site
*** QUOTE ***
At 9:51 on the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert C. Byrd completed
an address that he had begun fourteen hours and thirteen minutes earlier.
The subject was the pending Civil Rights Act of 1964, a measure that
occupied the Senate for fifty-seven working days, including six Saturdays.
A day earlier, Democratic Whip Hubert Humphrey, the bill's manager,
concluded he had the sixty-seven votes required at that time to end the
debate. . . .
Never in history had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off
a filibuster on a civil rights bill. And only once in the thirty-seven
years since 1927 had it agreed to cloture for any measure.
*** END QUOTE ***
The final vote to end debate was 71-29, just four more than necessary to
cut off debate. Nine days later the Senate passed the Civil Rights Act. So
the device of extended debate--used by Byrd among others--was an important
reason it took nearly a century after the ratification of the 14th
Amendment for Congress to make good on the amendment's promise of equal
protection for minorities. To say the least, Byrd would not seem the best
spokesman for the filibuster as a means of vindicating minority rights.
And what about this Hitler stuff? Is this another example of the paranoid
style of politics? We suppose we could argue this either way. Certainly
we've heard folks on the Angry Left invoke Nazi Germany in a paranoid vein,
and it does fit with Richard Hofstadter
he_paranoid_style.html 's characterization of the paranoid's mentality:
"What is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute
On the other hand, sometimes the invocation of Hitler reflects mere
intellectual laziness, not paranoia. And perhaps Byrd doesn't understand
why comparing his domestic foes to Hitler is inappropriate. After all, the
man is 87. Maybe he's just too old to remember the horrors of Nazi Germany.
Fool and the Gang
America-hating "ethnic studies" professor Ward Churchill finally managed to
dodge disinvitation and give a speech on a college campus last night. The
venue was the University of Wisconsin's Whitewater campus, and Churchill's
hometown paper, the Rocky Mountain News, carried a prespeech report
yesterday. Noteworthy are the contrasting responses of the College
Republicans and the College Democrats:
*** QUOTE ***
The school's College Republicans are hosting a vigil this afternoon in
honor of Sept. 11 victims outside the hall where Churchill will speak.
"He's engaging in hate speech," said freshman Greg Torres. "If you want to
stand and yell that stuff on a street corner, that's one thing. But this is
no different than bringing in the Ku Klux Klan." . . .
Also, just prior to Churchill's address, a student rally celebrating free
speech--and Churchill's appearance--will take place on campus, sponsored by
the College Democrats, the campus Green Party and the Whitewater United for
*** END QUOTE ***
Last month, as we noted
http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110006306#dean , Democratic
National Committee chairman Howard Dean demanded the resignation of a local
Republican official who had called the Democrats the party of Lynne
Stewart. Will he make a similar demand of the Whitewater College Democrats
for calling them the party of Ward Churchill?
Same Reporter, Different Kerfuffle
A clarification is in order of a point in our Monday item
http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110006354 about the Valerie Plame
kerfuffle and the New York Times. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is
demanding the phone records of two Times reporters not in the Plame case
but in a different investigation.
Not Even Brian May?
"Queen Doesn't Recognize Famous Guitarists"--headline, Associated Press,
Spot the Idiot
Yes, it's the University of Massachusetts-Amherst's Daily Collegian again.
Fish in a barrel, we know, but they keep writing 'em. This one is from
*** QUOTE ***
Is doing something like forcing a 42-year-old waitress who just
accidentally got pregnant and already has two teenage kids, no husband, no
health care and osteo-arthritis to carry to term worth sacrificing the
safety and freedom of yourself and everyone you know? Do you really have
such a need to stop two consenting adults from getting married just because
you don't consider their relationship to be legitimate, proper or anything
other than something you watch on cable after dark, that you're willing to
risk a biblical execution (stoning, burning or hanging) over it? There's
just no way to oppress someone without ultimately oppressing yourself as
well. You can't have your self-righteous cake and the freedom to eat it in
a relatively safe, sane democratic society too.
*** END QUOTE ***
An Automotive Fetality
"A San Jose man may face manslaughter or murder charges after a hit-and-run
crash involving a pregnant 15-year-old girl," reports the San Jose Mercury
*** QUOTE ***
The girl, who was a passenger in the car allegedly driven by Louis Vincent
Brackett, 19, Friday evening, delivered a stillborn 31-week-old fetus
Monday. . . .
On Friday, Brackett was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Jail on
suspicion of felony drunken driving and felony hit-and-run. The district
attorney's office is reviewing the case to determine whether Brackett
should be charged with manslaughter or murder in the death of the fetus.
*** END QUOTE ***
We are getting very close now to pinpointing the exact moment when a fetus
turns into a child. In last week's article about the karlrovian conspiracy
Australian women, Greg Barns
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/213105_abortion23.html put it at
somewhere between 22 and 32 weeks after conception:
*** QUOTE ***
Other groups, to support their case for a ban on late-term abortion, have
taken to highlighting two rare and extreme cases in which a 32-week-old
child with suspected dwarfism was aborted at the Royal Women's Hospital in
Melbourne and a 22-week-old fetus was aborted in the Northern Territory and
lived for 80 minutes.
*** END QUOTE ***
Thanks to the San Jose Mercury News, we now know that a fetus is still just
a fetus at 31 weeks, so the transformation into a baby occurs sometime in
the 32nd week of pregnancy. Yet note that whereas according to Barns an
Australian child can be "aborted," in California Brackett may be charged
with "manslaughter" or "murder" for "killing" a mere fetus. We guess
Australia just has a more enlightened attitude about reproductive rights.
(Carol Muller helps compile Best of the Web Today. Thanks to J.T. Kurth,
Drew Anderson, Stephen Henry, Barak Moore, Betty Bliss, Samuel Walker, Ron
Ackert, Tom Jackson, Tom Maguire, Jonathan Hutchinson, Thomas Dillon and
Teresa Hanson. If you have a tip, write us at opinionjournal at wsj.com , and
please include the URL.)
Today on OpinionJournal:
- Review & Outlook
http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006361 : The
Supreme Court continues its liberal social activism.
- Gabriel Schoenfeld http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110006359 :
How is it that America's intelligence analysts don't recognize ham and
think bin Laden is "gentle"?
- Barrymore Laurence Scherer
http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110006360 : The West Point band plays
more than Sousa marches.
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