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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘liberal’

Rubin Reports: American History Distorted – How Lawrence O’Donnell Unintentionally Shows Why Contemporary Leftist-Style “Liberalism” Is Wrong

Thursday, May 10th, 2012


The following statement from Lawrence O’Donnell is being widely circulated on the Internet. I’m sure that most of those who read it think these are self-evident truths about history proving that Republicans and conservatives are so obviously evil that the issue is beyond reasonable debate. Such credulity in the face of the current hegemonic narrative is an accurate sign of how American history has been taught to the current generation. It also shows us why we hear the equivalent of “the science is settled” on the difference between the two currently competing views of America.

“What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.”

This statement is well worth analyzing. Begin by noting that while this is supposedly a pro-liberal statement it is actually intended as a pro-Democratic Party statement. The message is by the “Anti-Republican Crusaders” directed explicitly against Republicans. The conflation of the accomplishments listed and the word liberal, on the one hand, and the presentation of Democratic Party as one creates considerable problems for his historical narrative.

As a side remark, I thought the word “Crusaders” was not PC. Weren’t the Crusaders supposedly aggressive, cruel bigots? What will O’Donnell’s radical Islamist allies think of this usage?

In addition, either O’Donnell doesn’t know much about American history or he thinks the American people don’t. Probably both parts of that statement are true.

I am still a registered Democrat but I’m also someone who tries to be an honest historian. The following analysis is academic – in the old sense of the word – and as balanced as I can make it.

O’Donnell’s list is the dominant narrative in America today. You will find it promoted in every mass media outlet and taught as the only possible interpretation of U.S. history in schools. How accurate is it? Well, that’s the third question that should be asked. The first two are:

–Why is it that Obama and the current radicals-pretending-to be liberals have to run on an old historical record rather than their own record in office and the current anti-liberal ideas they propound?

–Why is it that we should assume that the situation faced by America today is the same as it was in 1913 or 1933 or 1964? Perhaps more government and regulation was needed in those years but since we have had decades of more and more of these things isn’t it possible that we’ve had enough, in fact, far more than enough?

These are two questions most of the American people never see.

Let’s go through O’Donnell’s list:

–Liberals got women the right to vote. Of course, the main credit belongs to the women’s suffrage movement. But which ardent supporter of that movement first introduced the nineteenth amendment in Congress? Senator Aaron Sargent who was a—wait for it—Republican from California and a conservative. The legislatures of most of the state passing the amendment were also dominated by Republicans. This was not primarily a partisan or wider ideological issue at the time because many people held views which, in today’s context, would be considered quite contradictory.

–Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. That seem obvious but hold on and let’s look at the facts. The main opponents of civil rights were not Republicans but Southern Democrats. And since the Democratic party put its own interests above racial justice the party held back for many decades on this issue. President Woodrow Wilson was a particularly nasty racist. Most politically active African-Americans were Republicans. Only at the last moment did President Lyndon Johnson really turn around the Democratic Party and it changed course. Yet such people as Al Gore’s father and the powerful ex-Klan leader Robert Byrd continued to oppose civil rights. Liberals and Democrats deserve credit for what they did but they did far less than they claim.

I also seem to recall Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves and Republicans creating Reconstruction while the Democrats were the party of secession, surrender to the Confederacy, the Ku Klux Klan, and Jim Crow.

Note carefully something very revealing here. Liberals “got” women and African-Americans the right to vote. I thought there were powerful grassroots’ movements that forced these changes on the Washington power brokers! Yet O’Donnell accurately reflects the profoundly patronizing attitude of today’s leftist elite toward the little people. Funny, isn’t it? A real liberal or even a historical leftist would stress the role played by the average people who courageously grouped together to bring change. This is one more indication of the isolation of the current political-intellectual ruling elite (which in many ways is profoundly reactionary) from the liberals of the past. According to O’Donnell–and none of the admirers of his statement see the incongruity here!–the white, male establishment of the 1920s and 1960s, respectively, gave out these gifts to dependent people the way that government “gives” rights today. Thank you, master!

Barry Rubin

Tibbi’s Roundup: If You Knew What’s Going On in my Head You’d Blush

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Not related to the image above which is just my treat to you, the same-sex story reminds me of the joke about a guy sitting in the park, starting a light chat with a young woman. After a while, the conversation kind of dies down and the two drift into silence.

So the young woman says to the young man, What are you thinking about?

So he answers, Probably the same thing you’re thinking about…

So she gets up, says, Never seen such a rude person in my life, and walks away in a huff.

You know what I’m talking about!


Thank you, Aussie Dave, for this lovely copy and paste, part of which I shall now copy and paste.

First, AD brings a You Tube clip, which is a Boycott Israel package, with the accompanying text: “SodaStream promotes itself as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to buying soda. But SodaStream is produced in an illegal settlement on stolen Palestinian land with exploited Palestinian labor. Moreover, Israeli settlement industries regularly dump toxic waste into the land and water of nearby villages.”

Now, enjoy this. If you like, go to Dave’s blog for the BDS clip. It’s fun, I promise.

BDS Fail Of The Day SodaStream International Ltd. surged the most on record in New York after the Israeli maker of soda machines said it will roll out its products at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in the U.S. by the end of May.

SodaStream’s first-quarter profit rose to 55 cents per share in the first quarter from 35 cents a year ago, beating the 44-cent median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Aussie Dave, Israellycool


For openers, the Jewish Dems were ecstatic:

Jewish Dems Laud Obama’s Support for Marriage Equality “On behalf of NJDC’s board, staff, and membership, I am pleased that the President has made a decisive statement in support of marriage equality,” said NJDC Chair Marc R. Stanley. “From working to end the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy to ending the Federal Government’s defense of the unjust Defense of Marriage Act, this President has demonstrated an unmatched record of progress in favor of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans. President Obama has admirably continued to demonstrate the values of tikkun olam in his work to make America a better place for all Americans. I am truly proud of President Obama and know that so many others in the Jewish community share my feelings.” NJDC Blog

Agudath Israel not so much:

Agudath Israel Statement on Same-Sex Marriage A political group is entitled to its opinion, no less than a president is to his. But to imply that a religious value like “tikkun olam” – and by association, Judaism – is somehow implicated in a position like the one the president articulated, is outrageous, offensive and wrong.

We hereby state, clearly and without qualification, that the Torah forbids homosexual acts, and sanctions only the union of a man and a woman in matrimony. Avi Shafran, Cross-Currents

Who would have thunk, savvy political analysis from a blog named Daas Torah…

Obama’s “Evolving” Gay Marriage Position Officially, Obama’s position on marriage equality is “evolving”–a stock phrase intended to buy time until a hypothetical second term. By backing gay marriage, Obama would risk alienating a range of potential supporters — including older, rural populists and conservative black Christians — as well as motivating Evangelicals who remain unenthusiastic about Mitt Romney. As it stands, Obama has the support of same-sex marriage advocates even as his fuzziness frustrates them. Planting himself in the muddled middle may be an optimal political tactic. Daas Torah

Harmony among the world’s major religions over stopping gay marriages:

Vatican Rep Wants Alliance with Jews, Muslims, to Combat Gay Marriage European Catholic leaders are reaching out to other spiritual leaders, including those of the Muslim and Jewish faiths, to possibly form an alliance against the proliferation of marriage equality.

In an address to U.K. Catholic bishops, Archbishop Antonio Mennini echoed the words of Pope Benedict, urging the church to take a leadership position in fighting against marriage rights for same-sex couples, the Telegraph reports. His address comes shortly after several clerics of multiple faiths have spoken out against U.K. Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, who kicked off an investigation on marriage equality. Malkah Fleisher, The Jewish Press

Dov Bear using Mad Men metaphor to describe his feelings about gay marriages:

Tibbi Singer

Rubin Reports: Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan – An Anti-Radical Liberal Who Saw the Unfortunate Future Where We Now Live

Monday, April 23rd, 2012


It’s time for a revival of interest in the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the last American politicians with serious intellectual credentials as well (Compare Moynihan to Obama to see how shallow and mythical are the latter’s intellectual attainments). Moynihan was one of the first people to try to deal with the lurch leftward of the liberal and Democratic streams that is now so dangerously dominant in America.

 In 1970, Moynihan wrote: “A post-liberal critique is necessary and we are trying to evolve one: not because we don’t know enough, but because we know too much to be content with the wisdom of the 1940s.”
He was writing in response to three developments. First, the New Left challenge of the 1960s that seems to be furnishing the ideas and personnel running America today.
Second, he refers to the failures and problems arising from an ever larger, more powerful government. Moynihan was particularly interested in how well-intentioned welfare policies had disastrous effects on their victims (I mean — “beneficiaries”).
And third, he was worried by the undermining of the very elite institutions – in particular the universities – that were supposed to be the watchdogs to provide a reality check and keep politicians from straying into dangerous territory. Moynihan wrote, over-optimistically as it would turn out:
“In the best universities the best men are increasingly appalled by the authoritarian tendencies of the left. The inadequacies of traditional liberalism are equally unmistakable, while, no less important, the credulity, even the vulgarity of the supposed intellectual and social elite of the country has led increasing numbers of men and women of no especial political persuasion to realize that something is wrong somewhere. These persons are [our] natural allies.”
Unfortunately, nowadays, these people are relatively rare in academic institutions swamped with ideologues who are proud to be indoctrinators.
Moynihan noticed the increasingly deep divisions in America that have now widened into chasms of conflict:
“America has developed, in Lionel Trilling’s phrase, `an adversary culture’….The ‘culture’ is more in opposition now than perhaps at any time in history….As Richard Hofstadter recently observed, some really surprising event…is going to have to happen to change the minds of the present generation.”
One might have thought that this event would have been September 11, 2001, but it didn’t turn out that way. Perhaps that event will be the Obama Administration’s follies and failures.
All quotes from Steven R. Weisman (editor), Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait In Letters Of An American Visionary, Public Affairs (New York: 2010).
Barry Rubin

Rubin Reports: Secrets of the Soft-Core Obama Supporters

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012


It’s really interesting when I talk to Obama supporters who are soft-core, meaning they are open to discussion and not completely closed-minded or ideologically set in granite. There are several themes that constantly recur in such conversations, though one rarely or never sees these points in print.

Of course, these people get their information from the mainstream media, which protects the administration and repackages its talking points while largely censoring out critical responses and the failures or scandals. But there are also some important assumptions they are making on their own.

A key argument is that Obama really hasn’t done that much to change anything. The subtext of this claim is that the person who believes it is only looking at legislation passed by Congress. In that category, once one goes beyond ObamaCare or the disastrous stimulus plan, this administration has gotten far less in the way of major bills through the legislature than have many of its predecessors.

Leaving aside the fact that the speaker usually doesn’t understand the full import of ObamaCare, the problem here is that most of the changes are invisible. They are the result of regulatory changes made by unelected officials and czars in a wide range of agencies, or of executive orders from the White House. Thus, it is possible to vastly understate the changes to American society made by this administration.

Another area of change is the deep indebtedness that Obama has brought — the massive, wasteful spending, and the inability to get the country out of recession. Here, after almost a full term for Obama, the soft-core Obama supporter doesn’t blame George Bush so much as the difficult situation itself. After all, if Obama had taken over during a boom, the assumption runs, that good economy would still be going on. The implication is that the president doesn’t have too much to do with the economic state of the nation.

Then comes a theme I hear over and over again: Obama is a centrist because he gets along with capitalists. His relationship with the head of General Electric is mentioned, as is the fact that he’s hired people from Wall Street and other such things.  People say things like: to hear the right-wing talk about it, you’d think Obama is some wild-eyed Occupy Wall Street type.

There is no sense of the concept of crony capitalism. Sure the administration is happy to back specific companies if they support its policies and perhaps kick back big campaign contributions.  Obama calls for class warfare and then jets off to big fundraisers with corporate fat cats. That doesn’t make him a centrist but rather someone who knows how to leverage support and intimidate opposition.

Ironically, his behavior — most notably with “green energy” — is the kind of thing that used to be called the most blatant form of corruption, that would have condemned his predecessors to scorching media treatment.

Often there is a foreign policy point. While the “Obama got Osama” theme is big generally, the point I most often hear is that Obama has done well in making America popular abroad. People are shocked when I tell them that I meet diplomats and officials from three dozen countries that are horrified by Obama’s policy. The “Europe loves Obama” theme has long since worn off, as reflected by the media there. And American military officers and career officials are also horrified by what’s going on.

Going back to the “Obama got Osama” chant or talk of Predator drones in Yemen, I reply that this is precisely the problem. Yes, the administration views itself as being at war with al-Qaeda – but that’s it. Almost all other Islamists are viewed as moderates who can be won over in the battle against al-Qaeda. They might be taking over countries and preaching genocide against Jews and the repression of Christians, but at least they aren’t attacking New York.  This policy is destroying U.S. interests in the Middle East.

If my interlocutor is Jewish and friendly toward Israel, he will usually cite Israeli leaders saying nice things about Obama. Of course they have to say those things, I explain, and they should do so. But you should hear what they are saying about him in private. It is obvious here that Israel cannot depend on this U.S. government.

Finally, the soft-core Obama supporter says something like this: “Well, do you think he’s any different from other Democratic presidents? Is there a discontinuity with him?

Many conservatives, like Obama supporters, would agree that he is just a typical liberal, which of course provides a good reason for liberals and Democrats to vote for him and independents to have an excuse to do so.

But this is just not true. Whatever the continuities, Obama has gone much further and with some very different assumptions. Obama’s administration is radical, not liberal, but if his critics minimize his differences, it will help to assure his reelection.

Barry Rubin

An Anti-McCarthyite’s McCarthyism

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Lawrence Hoffman is a politically liberal Reform rabbi who writes about his favorite Jewish books in his own recently released book, titled, not altogether unexpectedly, One Hundred Great Jewish Books.

Hoffman is, of course, entitled to his reading preferences, and several of his choices are certainly worthy of any such list. But what struck the Monitor in skimming the book was the implication in one of his reviews that the late Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist activities had an anti-Semitic subtext.

Now, before coming to McCarthy’s defense on this issue, it must be acknowledged that writing anything that can be perceived as less than condemnatory of Joe McCarthy is bound to upset people, as the Monitor learned firsthand a number of years ago.

On that occasion, the Senate historian had released thousands of transcript pages of executive hearings conducted by McCarthy in the mid-1950s and trumpeted them as groundbreaking, with liberal reporters and editorial writers repeating verbatim his claim that the papers revealed once and for all that when it came to investigating alleged Communist subversion, “McCarthy had shopworn goods and fishing expeditions.”

The Monitor merely pointed out that there was hardly anything new in the documents and quoted conservative writer Wes Vernon’s statement that the Senate historian and other critics of McCarthy “could not cite one instance in which [McCarthy’s] alleged ‘browbeating’ of witnesses ruined lives.”

(Vernon was referring to efforts by M. Stanton Evans, an expert on the McCarthy era, to get someone – anyone – involved in the release of the papers to substantiate the statement, jointly released by Senators Carl Levin and Susan Collins, that McCarthy’s methods “destroyed the careers of people who were not involved in the infiltration of our government.” None could.)

In response to that column the Monitor received an unusual amount of negative feedback from readers – including the Senate historian himself, who in his letter castigated McCarthy for his overall recklessness.

The Monitor has always been fascinated by the way the McCarthy period is portrayed in the liberal media and among left-wing academics – particularly in light of what is now known about the control exerted by Moscow over the American Communist Party and the extent of Soviet espionage in the middle decades of the 20th century.

What makes the McCarthy business a case study in liberal denial and media mendacity is that even after the fall of the Soviet Union and the declassification of cables and documents from both sides of the Cold War, far too many journalists continued to operate in an ideological time warp, seemingly stuck in the 1970s with its backdrop of revisionist historians blaming the U.S. for the world’s ills and American credibility festering at an all-time low in the wake of Vietnam and Watergate.

Anyway, getting back to Lawrence Hoffman, here is what he writes in his chapter on Paddy Chayefsky’s play “The Tenth Man”:

Even though Senator McCarthy wanted Americans to believe otherwise, relatively few Jewish immigrants actively fought for socialism, much less communism.” [Emphasis added]

Hoffman gives no source, nor does he offer any quote from McCarthy, to back up his outrageous claim. So here is a proud anti-McCarthyite guilty of the very sin he imputes to Joe McCarthy.

The truth is, whatever one thinks of McCarthy, one thing he was not was an anti-Semite.

In his superb and widely praised McCarthy biography A Conspiracy So Immense, the historian David Oshinsky notes that “[McCarthy] never engaged in anti-Semitic diatribes or made the loaded connection between Jews and left-wing radicalism. Despite the unrelenting hostility of organized Jewry to his crusade, McCarthy still praised the state of Israel [and] condemned the Soviet persecution of Jews.”

Political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg concurs, writing in his book The Fatal Embrace that “the McCarthyites had no use for anti-Semitism as a political weapon. Indeed, several of McCarthy’s most important aides…were themselves Jews.”

And the late Abba Eban, in his memoir Personal Witness, recalled that McCarthy once summoned him to his Senate office and asked to be added to a list of sponsors of a congressional resolution urging Israel’s inclusion in U.S. foreign aid legislation.

“Israel and the Jews,” Eban wrote, “never became a target of McCarthy’s denunciations.”

Jason Maoz

Shalem College Receives Anonymous $1 Million Gift

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

The Shalem Center has received an anonymous $1 million Gift for Shalem College, Israel’s first liberal arts college slated to open in 2012-13.

In a statement released in their email Newsletter Wednesday, The Shalem Center wrote “[t]he donors, from New York, are committed advocates for Israel and Jewish causes and long-time Shalem friends and supporters. Their unrestricted gift will match the Tikvah Fund’s $12.5 million challenge grant for Shalem College.”

“This generous matching Founder’s Gift will help translate that vision into a new future for the Jewish state and the Jewish world.” Shalem Center President Daniel Polisar said

Jewish Press Staff

Long-Delayed Death Of A Bad Dude

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

In the 1980s, I was an unrefined adolescent from blue-collar Butler, Pennsylvania. I knew nothing and cared nothing about politics. I had no idea if I was a conservative or a liberal, Democrat or Republican, or much of anything else.

But I knew one thing: Muammar Khaddafi was a bad dude.

And now, three decades later, and some 40-plus years after coming to power, he is gone, dispatched to the ash heap of history with other murderous terrorists and dictators: Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Lenin.

I will not here add to reports of how Khaddafi met his final fate, but I would like to share a valuable piece of information that was revealed to me by Bill Clark, Ronald Reagan’s right-hand man and national security adviser when Khaddafi was ramping up in the 1980s.

It was early 1981. President Reagan had just been inaugurated. Alexandre de Marenches, the director of France’s external intelligence agency, SDECE, came to the White House with a highly sensitive plan to remove Khaddafi. The plan was to assassinate the Libyan dictator during a parade, by use of an explosive device placed near the reviewing stand.

“Our answer,” said Clark, “was that we understood their feelings toward the man, but we don’t do assassinations.”

That was because there was an executive order banning assassinations, first signed by President Gerald Ford and supported by President Carter. The Reagan team had no intention of violating the order as one of the first acts of the new administration.

Intelligence sources I consulted confirmed Clark’s recollection of de Marenches’ request.

“He came over to the U.S., probably in early February 1981,” said one source, a high-level CIA “operations” person. “His interlocutor was Vice President Bush. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the removal of Khaddafi. He came to try to get us involved operationally in the plan…. He wanted not just our moral or political support but to get us involved in the actual operation.”

This same source pointed to the “Safari Club,” which was a group of countries – France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the Shah’s Iran – that had banded together for two primary purposes: 1) to fight the spread of Soviet communism in Africa; and 2) to counter Khaddafi, particularly his adventures in neighboring Chad.

The group was formed by intelligence ministers in the mid-1970s, and de Marenches was its catalyst. The group was appalled by America’s unwillingness to no longer stand up to the Soviets; it was post-Watergate, post-Vietnam, Americans had elected an incredibly liberal Congress, and Jimmy Carter was president. The Club sought to fill the vacuum.

De Marenches’ offer concerning Khaddafi was consistent with the concerns of the Safari Club.

As an indication of the confidential nature of his overture, de Marenches did not discuss his offer to the Reagan administration in either of his 1986 and 1992 books. But he did note yet another intention to kill Kaddafi: He said that on March 1, 1978, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat had asked de Marenches for help in “disposing of him [Khaddafi] physically.”

Think of the irony here, and how tragically history unfolds: It was Sadat who would be assassinated, in October 1981. He was killed at a reviewing stand at a parade, shot by Islamists for his “crime” of making peace with Israel.

While Sadat died, Khaddafi was permitted to live. Sadat made peace. Khaddafi left a trail of blood and violence.

And here’s another irony still: Just weeks after de Marenches’s offer to Reagan to assassinate Khaddafi, Reagan was shot, on March 30, 1981, and nearly bled to death.

Dr. Paul Kengor

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/long-delayed-death-of-a-bad-dude/2011/10/26/

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