By Bob Parks
There is this cutesy little web encounter by four prominent media women lamenting the fact that the Obamas are being unfairly labeled as "elitists". To be fair, many candidates attempt to label each other "out of touch" with their potential constituents. Some are born with the ol' silver spoons in their mouths; some are nouveau riche, and some cash-in during and after their terms of office.
But it would appear the ladies, Joan Juliet Buck (Vogue), Lesley Stahl (CBS), Liz Smith (NY Post) and Whoopi Goldberg (The View), don't think the elitist criticism is fair when applied to Barack and Michelle Obama.
JOAN: What is this thing of Obama being perceived as an elitist? Is it important? Is it going to harm him? What do you think?It's a rather lengthy four-way, and you can check it out at your leisure. However, there was one exchange within that interview that prompted me to do some digging. You see; one of the side effects of being an elitist seems to be the belief that you're smarter than everyone else. That could be one reason (aside from the "evil" component) that politicians tell tall tales, believing that the consumers of those whoppers are too stupid (and in awe of them) to discern fact from fiction. Hillary Clinton obviously believed she could get away with her Bosnia delusion, while Barack Obama stated he never personally witnessed a negative Pastor Wright sermon. When publicly presented with the facts, they both recanted.
LIZ: I think it does harm him. And the National Review story on Michelle Obama complaining to ladies in Ohio about how could the two of them live on $500,000 a year, and how they couldn't pay for their children's tennis and dancing lessons, or piano lessons, or something. But, honestly, you have to admire the Obamas. They're an upscale, young American couple. They're a model for every downtrodden person in America. So, I think a little elitism goes a long way. But do I think the Obamas are intellectual elitists, probably. They're smarter than the rest of us.
In the conversation, Whoopi Goldberg appears to have committed a similar offense.
WHOOPI: No, but that's the way it is with us. And I'll tell you something, this thing that happened at that dopey John Kerry fundraiser .Apparently, a lot of people got it wrong then, Whoopi. If we were all fed a load of hooey, how come she didn't sue the Associated Press, as well as all the other media outlets that repeated the "slander"? Celebrities sue the National Inquirer all the time when misquoted.
JOAN: What thing?
WHOOPI: I was accused of doing something that I didn't do on stage. And not one Democrat stood up and said, "I was there, that's not what happened." Nobody said .
LIZ: You were accused of making a nasty remark about George Bush. Is that right?
WHOOPI: I was accused of making disgusting, rude, ugly, crappy remarks about the president. And that's not what happened. And before I got off the stage it was already on the AP wires. And there were people making ugly, crude, nasty remarks about the president that night. But I wasn't one of them.
JOAN: But it stuck to you and nobody stood up for you?
WHOOPI: None of them. None of them stood up and said, "Wait a minute. That's not what happened! This is not what went down."
According to Reuters, "The New York Post said of Goldberg's appearance at the event: `Waving a bottle of wine, she fired off a stream of vulgar sexual wordplays on Bush's name in a riff about female genitalia.'"
Bad-Taste Digs at W During Dem Gala Cost Big Fat GigIf her comments never happened, she could have sued the hell out of SlimFast.
Whoopi Goldberg was. canned (yesterday) by the makers of SlimFast over her X-rated barbs about the President. Goldberg stoked outrage last week with an extended filthy rant (involving jokes based on the sexual connotations of President Bush's last name and Vice President Cheney's first name), which delighted the partisan crowd that packed a. Democratic fund-raiser....
- N.Y. Daily News, July 15, 2004
"Ads featuring Ms. Goldberg will no longer be on the air."So who are we to believe? The many Hollywood celebrities who reportedly laughed their butts off at her comments at that infamous fundraiser?
- Terry Olson, Slim-Fast General Manager
Kerry could be seen laughing uproariously during part of Goldberg's tirade - and neither he nor Edwards voiced a single objection to its tone when they spoke to the crowd.The problem with elites is their egos. As they believe they know more than the rest of us, they believe they can tell us whatever they wish, as it's usually for our own good (and their personal self-aggrandizement). The problem is, for all they believe they know, there are some of us out here who will take the time and do the research, and blow their little lapses in judgment out of the water. Just ask Dan Rather.
- Fox News, July 10, 2004
Elitism isn't the problem. The elitist allergy to the truth is, right Whoopi
The Leftist media have not won yet
Smoothstone says "changing the lexicon restores truth to the Middle East narrative." He is exactly right. We have not only to change the lexicon in the ME, but in every place the multi-cults have distorted reality with their use of euphemisms and their cries of `racist' or `intolerant' when someone tells the truth. It helps to create a positive reality by using constructive terms. Conservative Swede once referred to himself as a "kafircon" -- a term that is humorous and much better than "islamophobe." To affirm what is good about *us* is much more generative of creativity than to point to the things we fear.
I fear the undermining of Western culture by an aggressive worldview founded on a principle of scarcity; a nomadic, primitive, tribal mentality arising from a harsh desert environment. Tribal beliefs (even those adapted by the politically correct to designate who is acceptable and to exclude those who are not) weaken the ties that bind community. And the sense of community is essential to our survival as civilized beings. For his example blogger Smoothstone uses part of this editorial from last week's Jerusalem Post writer, Michael Freund:
Amid all the doom and gloom that seems to fill the news of late, here is a neat little statistic that offers a glimmer of hope. Despite years of relentless propaganda and concerted media indoctrination, a majority of Israelis continue to hold patriotic views.The faith I point to has nothing to do with religiosity or with organized denominational faith. When Menachim Begin said "faith is perhaps stronger than reality, for faith itself creates reality," he was not referring to the cult, the code or the creed of the varieties of Jewish religious belief. He meant the commitment we have as human beings in the project of fostering what is best in ourselves. That exploration is more crucial than anything merely technological In fact, the engine of our endlessly creative work in technology is simply our human nature. What has so distorted extremist Islam is its refusal to allow scope for this basic imperative. They are reduced to finding new and creative ways to kill.
In its latest monthly peace index survey for March 2008, Tel Aviv University's Steinmetz Center for Peace Research found that, by a wide margin, the majority of Israeli Jews view Judea and Samaria, the heartland of the Jewish people, as "liberated" rather than "occupied" territory. Summarizing their findings, the researchers noted that, "We were surprised to discover that even though, over the years, the concept of `occupation' has become more common both in the political discourse and the media, today a majority of the Jewish public defines the West Bank as `liberated territory' (55%) and not as `occupied territory' (32%)."
This is an astonishing and welcome bit of data, for it demonstrates unequivocally just how strong and resilient the bond still is between the people of Israel and their land. Even with the onslaught of negative portrayals of Jewish settlers over the years, and the persistently poison pens of various Israeli journalists, the bulk of Israelis have remained immune to the venom. They continue to see this land as ours and have not allowed the mainstream media's cynicism and disapproval to cloud their most basic of instincts.
No less interesting were several other findings contained in the survey, which further underline the durability of the public's patriotic leanings. By a margin of 57% to 23%, or more than two to one, Israeli Jews oppose a return to the pre-1967 borders, and a clear plurality (47% vs. 40%) now agrees that the Oslo peace process was "a mistake."
Not surprisingly, the authors of the survey suggest that "the hard-line positions that most of the Jewish public now takes" are attributable to "pessimism", as though recognizing that Oslo has failed is merely a function of mood swings, rather than taking a cold, hard look at reality.
To be sure, not all the results were encouraging. The poll found that strong support remains for the establishment of "two states for two people" despite the Palestinians' ongoing failure to curb terror and halt anti-Israel incitement and violence. But even there, a dose of realism has begun to creep in. For the results also showed that nearly three-quarters believe that even if an agreement is signed with the Palestinians, "it will not, from the Palestinians' standpoint, end the historic conflict with Israel." In other words, deep down, most Israelis acknowledge that the thrust of the conflict with the Palestinians is not about land, but about our very existence.
What are we to make of all this? Consider the following: if more than 40 years after the Six Day War, just a third of Jewish Israelis consider the territories to be "occupied," then it means that however vocal and strident the Left might be, they remain nothing more than a small and unpersuasive minority in this country. For all the sympathetic coverage, reports, articles and editorials that have amplified its position over the years, the Left has clearly failed to do more than dent the nation's underlying attachment to places such as Hebron, Bethlehem and Shiloh.
This represents a colossal failure on their part in the battle for public opinion. While they may have succeeded in altering the reality on the ground by establishing the Palestinian Authority and supporting the Gaza withdrawal, the Left has not succeeded in wearing down our faith. And, as Menachem Begin pointed out in The Revolt, "Faith is perhaps stronger than reality, for faith itself creates reality."
The findings of the peace index also point to a tremendous opportunity. They underline the fact that Israelis are not "suicidal" or "lemmings," as some on the far right are wont to believe. Rather, they continue to hold on to a healthy set of nationalist values and beliefs, however unpopular these might be among our media elites.
Perhaps that is precisely why the media does its best to shut us up and shut us out. Indeed, just think what would happen if Israel had a more impartial media, one that actually gave equal time and respect to those who remain loyal to the Land of Israel. Imagine the difference it would make if there were one - even one! - major media outlet that allowed Israel's right to air its views alongside those of the left. It would, quite simply, revolutionize the entire political system.
In the United States, media baron Rupert Murdoch tapped into the disconnect between the liberal media and America's conservative impulses by creating Fox News Channel. Within a few years, Fox had rocketed to the top of cable news ratings, leaving CNN and MSNBC in the dust. In an October 2006 interview with the Financial Times, Murdoch explained the secret of Fox's success. He said, "The real story about Fox is the business story. The real thing is by being fair and balanced - by putting on both sides all the time - we really have changed the political equation in this country." "People think we're conservative," he added, "but we're not conservative. I mean that it has given room to both sides, whereas only one side had it before. I think people are responding to that very strongly."
There is no doubt that Israelis would too. Just imagine if Israel had its own version of Fox News - balanced yet patriotic, fair yet loyal. It would further energize the country's underlying nationalist and Zionist proclivities, and possibly even invigorate the near-dormant political right. Hence, establishing such a channel should become a top priority for those who wish to preserve the land of Israel and protect her from harm. For, if the peace index teaches us anything, it is that the right must never make the mistake of writing off the Israeli public or giving up on them as a lost cause. The public can see through the mainstream media's left-wing political agenda, and they are obviously hungering for something new and different.
Now is the time to do something about it. And a good place to start would be to change the channel, and give the Israeli people a media they can be proud of. One that isn't ashamed to wave the flag and boost the country and its values. What a breath of fresh air that would be.
For the sake of this particular discussion, I don't care if we just randomly "happened" or if there is some larger force, which spun us out of clay and set us going. The important truth is that we ourselves still spin miracles out of gossamer. Isn't that amazing?
Meanwhile (indulging in a little "racist" profiling), I would love to see an Israeli channel similar to Fox News. For certain, shortly after its creation there would appear a second Israeli-type Fox News, one that could argue with the first version. Whatever else they might be, those would be lively places, full of sparking quarrels, rhetoric and alarums -- all the better for broadening our knowledge and experience. The world would be a richer place. Why, I might actually buy a television
Mormon Case Trips Alarm among liberty-lovers
I wrote earlier this month about the fundamentalism Mormon sect whose ranch was raided by Texas authorities on suspicion of child abuse. Libertarians have been up in arms regarding what they regard as “police state tactics” on the part of Texas, holding more than 400 children separate from their parents on the basis of a single, anonymous phone call alleging that an underage girl was forced to bear children and needed the state’s protection.
Developments in the story prompt me to come down on the side of the alarmists. During the hearing regarding whether the children should remain in the state’s custody pending further investigation, child psychologist and state witness Bruce Perry testified that the group’s belief system is abusive.
Earlier Friday a cult expert told the judge in the West Texas polygamous sect child custody hearing that the group’s belief system is abusive. Psychiatrist Bruce Perry testified that teen girls don’t resist early marriages because they are trained to be obedient and compliant.This is a matter of concern to me. Who wants the state to have the right to decide which beliefs are “abusive” and which are not? Crimes usually address behaviors, not beliefs. The state has every right to investigate abusive behaviors. But abusive beliefs? I’m sorry, we’ve just stepped over a line that civil liberties cannot tolerate. How long will it be, do you suppose, before the state decides that teaching that homosexuality is offensive to God constitutes an abusive belief? Should the state be able to declare a belief system “abusive” if a church teaches that wives should be submissive toward their husbands? Is it possible that the state may eventually decide that to teach teenagers that premarital sex is wrong and that adults should refrain from sexual activity until marriage, constitutes an abusive belief system? Keep in mind, I’m not asking if you think that’s abusive — I’m asking if the state should be permitted to make that assessment.
Perry took the stand in a hearing concerning 416 youngsters removed this month from a polygamist compound near Eldorado and placed with Texas Child Protective Services. Perry, who’s an expert on children in cults, says while the teen girls believed they were marrying out of free choice, it’s a choice based on lessons they’ve had from birth.
The psychologist in question acknowledges that the individuals he interviewed seemed psychologically healthy. He just thinks the beliefs are abusive. Too authoritarian, you see. I’d probably agree, but if the state can take my children away because they dislike my beliefs, liberty is an illusion.
Members of the sect have reportedly been evasive about who is married to whom, so it’s unclear to whom specific children belong. The court has ordered the children held for genetic testing so they can determine whether the law was broken. If you’ll recall, the law in Texas says that young women may not marry before the age of 16, with or without their parents’ consent. Furthermore, the legal age of sexual consent in Texas is 18 outside of marriage. Consequently, girls who are pregnant before they turn 16 constitute prima facie evidence that a crime has been committed. I have no libertarian objection to the state of Texas proceding in this direction; they have appropriate probable cause that a crime has been committed, and they’re exercising due diligence.
Also in the “due diligence” department, Texas Rangers are investigating the possibility that the original distress call might have come from a disturbed individual who has a history of calling in false alarms. They’re seeking a “person of interest” in Colorado Springs who may have been the source of the original complaint. Police originally received a call from someone who claimed to be Sarah Jessop Barlow, a 16-year-old who was beaten and forced to cohabit with an older man. Police have not located anybody of that name, and members of the Fundamentalist LDS church claim that she does not exist.
This is a difficult arena. Cult groups push the envelope of what behaviors the state can tolerate, while hiding behind a completely appropriate shield of religious liberty. The massacre of the Branch Davidians in Waco, back in 1993, marked a sort of extreme reaction we all want to avoid. Today, Texas is skirting the edge of allowable law enforcement; we need to speak up about which parts of their conduct are appropriate, and which cross libertarian alarm wires.
Will Muhammad image ignite holy war?
'Why We Left Islam' 1st American book to picture 'prophet' on cover
WND is already being denounced as a hate site by radical Muslims in anticipation of its release next Tuesday of "Why We Left Islam," the first U.S. book ever to feature an image of Muhammad on the cover.
"This book is put out by WND Publishing (sic), which promotes hate every day on its extremist anti-Muslim hate site," Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the New York Daily News. "The editor is a guy who suggested air-dropping pig's blood over Afghanistan. There are 7 million American Muslims and over a billion worldwide who love Islam and practice it peaceably on a daily basis."
Joseph Farah, an Arab-American and the only person ever to serve as editor of WND, said, in response, he has never advocated air-dropping pig's blood over Afghanistan.
"CAIR can always be counted upon to make wildly untruthful and reckless claims about others, while maintaining a hypersensitivity about its own concerns," said Farah. "Here, for example, Hooper makes this claim that WND promotes anti-Muslim hate on its site every day, offering only one example - and that one is totally untrue. Why other responsible media outlets continue to offer CAIR a platform for making such outrageous statements is beyond me. How many CAIR staffers and officials need to be indicted and convicted before my colleagues recognize these people as the extremists they are?"But it's not just the cover of the new book, which sports a 10th century mosaic image of Muhammad, that has the Islamist lobby apoplectic. "Why We Left Islam" also contains brutally honest testimonies from former Muslims who have left the religion despite the threat of death. "Why We Left Islam" shows the potentially ugly realities of living under the Islamic yoke. The book is edited by British journalist Susan Crimp and Islam expert Joel Richardson, using a pseudonym because he already has had death threats against him.
"If Muslims rioted around the world after a Danish newspaper published a political cartoon making fun of Muhammad, what will they do in response to this?" wonders Farah, himself a former Middle East correspondent of Lebanese and Syrian ancestry.
The book is filled with first-person stories of former radicals who began to question the Quran and ultimately changed their lives. Khaled Waleed, for instance, said he was indoctrinated with the same type of teaching as fellow Saudi Arabian Osama bin Laden. "Our teacher and other Islamic scholars told us that as Muslims, we are the best people in the world," he writes. "I listened to my imams and was disturbed when they used abusive language to describe non-Muslims as the grandsons of monkeys and pigs ... [they] told me that it was my duty to revile and ridicule non-Muslims."
Waleed says the attack on the World Trade Center changed him: "On Sept. 11, 2001, I saw the real face of Islam. I saw the happiness on the faces of our people because so many infidels were slaughtered so easily. I saw many people who started thanking Allah for this massacre."
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.