Patterico's Pontifications

5/10/2011

Richard Cohen’s Exceptionally Wrongheaded Essay

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:22 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

So Richard Cohen decided to tackle “[t]he myth of American exceptionalism” and well… it goes about as well as you would think it would.  It’s a tour de force of either mind-numbing stupidity or just plain dishonesty.  Let’s read it together, shall we?

He starts right off by declaring that

“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,” W.E.B. Du Bois wrote in 1903 — and I will not quibble. But the problem of the 21st century is the problem of culture… what I would call the culture of smugness. The emblem of this culture is the term “American exceptionalism.” It has been adopted by the right to mean that America, alone among the nations, is beloved of God. Maybe so, but on some days it’s hard to tell.

So right off the bat, he is getting it wrong.  That is not what the doctrine of American Exceptionalism is about and a quick Google Search would find a plethora of informed statements on the subject.  For my money the best summary is Stephen Calabresi’s that “the idea of America as a special place with a special people called to a special mission[.]”  And it has been present for well over four centuries.  A classic example of that exceptionalism was found in the X, Y, Z affair, where the French expected American diplomats to engage in the same casual corruption that every other nation engaged in.  Our diplomats refused for little other reason that we were Americans and we were different.

Alas, he goes on:

The term “American exceptionalism” has been invoked by Mitt Romney, Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and, of course, Sarah Palin. I would throw in Michele Bachmann, since if she has not said it yet, she soon will because she says almost anything. She is no exception to the cult of American exceptionalism.

So he accuses Bachmann of being about to say it because “she says almost anything.”  Did an editor actually read that line?  She says almost anything?  Really?  Does she say “Karl Marx was right?” or “the Jews should be wiped out” because somehow I doubt it.  It’s really fascinating to watch a person actually demonstrate irrational hatred toward the woman.

Then he goes on to explode the “myth” of American Exceptionalism (that is, to kill his straw man) by basically arguing that America is cursed, cursed I tell you:

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Two Obama Appointees, and One Clinton Appointee, Hear Obamacare Appeals in the Fourth Circuit

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:47 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Oral argument in the Virgnia Obamacare cases is coming this morning and they drew the judges by random chance and announced who would be hearing the case, today.

A three-judge federal appeals panel comprised of two Obama nominees and a Clinton nominee will hear arguments later this morning in two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the national health care law.

The makeup of the U.S. Fourth Circuit of Appeals panel is crucial, because in lower court rulings so far, Democratic judges have upheld the law while Republican judges have declared it unconstitutional.

The judges on the panel will be Obama nominees James A. Wynn, Jr and Andre M. Davis, who will sit on the panel along with Clinton nominee Diana Gribbon Motz.

According to the Fourth Circuit, the panel is chosen by “a computer program designed to achieve total random selection.”

In certain cases, the entire court will rehear a case, what’s referred to as en banc, but only if a majority of all active judges in the circuit agree to it. While once seen as a very conservative court, the Fourth Circuit has become more liberal over time, especially in the past few years, because Obama has been able to name four judges to the court.

Oy, I do not envy Cuccinelli this morning.  I suspect the best we can hope for is a loss with an embarrassingly badly written opinion.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

So Does This Mean That Funding PBS and NPR Violates the Establishment Clause?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:45 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Now first, you guys should take all of this reporting with a grain of salt if only because reporting on legal issues is so typically poor in relation to American courts, and I have no reason to believe that it gets better when Britain is involved.  Of course, I also don’t know how to do independent legal research in regard to English law, so I am not going to be able to fact check this.  Still if this story is accurate, the law is going positively batty in Britain:

Rules to prevent religious discrimination can now also be used to protect a belief in the BBC’s ethos of public service broadcasting, a tribunal has ruled.

Its extraordinary decision elevates the BBC’s core principle to a place in the law equivalent to Christianity.

And the move leaves the way clear for long-serving employee Devan Maistry to sue the Corporation for wrongful dismissal.

South African-born Mr Maistry, who worked for the BBC Asian Network, says he suffered discrimination for six years until he was dismissed last year.

He has filed a claim for ‘religious or belief discrimination’, which allegedly took place against his philosophical view that ‘public service broadcasting has the higher purpose of promoting cultural interchange and social cohesion’.

So, is this a crazy ruling by a crazy judge?  Well, it’s certainly within the realm of possibility, but the statement that it was a cause of action “for ‘religious or belief discrimination’” (emphasis added) suggests that there might even be a statutory basis for this.  In other words, the crazy ones might be in the legislative chamber.  Or it might merely be referring to a prior precedent, because it turns out that this craziness has been going on for a while.  From a November, 2009, article:

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Are There ANY Sane Liberals Left?

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 3:54 am

[Guest Post by Lee Stranahan]

Here are three news stories. Tell me if any of these seem particularly partisan to you…

To my mind, this is all basic stuff. Right and wrong, good and bad. Ethics 101. Who is in favor of fraud, sabotage and violence?

The unfortunate answer seems to be — most liberals today.

These are all news stories that were broken by people who didn’t assume they would be that controversial. I know, because I’m one of them. My story about Congressman Sanford Bishop covering up Pigford fraud was published on the front page of The Huffington Post. It ended up getting a total of seven (that’s 7) comments; something unheard of for a front-page story on HuffPost. There’s no question in my mind that if that story had had exactly the same facts but had been about a Republican – let’s say, Michele Bachmann — that it would’ve gotten thousands of comments.

Instead, my reporting the Pigford story has gotten me called a racist and a traitor.

The second story there relates to Brandon Darby, who helped stop violent attacks that were planned during the Republican convention in Minnesota. Whatever’s happened to me for reporting a story that really shouldn’t be controversial, it’s been 100 times worse for Brandon. The New York Times printed false information about Brandon and refused to retract until he sued them. Brandon has also been the target of a campaign labeling him as a “snitch.” This is all because Darby help stop violence.

The third story is about the class on unions being taught by two socialist/communist activists in Missouri. And those people who likes to throw around the term "communist" loosely but one of the professors brags about being a member of the Communist Party and actually brings someone in from the Communist Party to recruit students as members, I think it’s a pretty fair assessment.

If you haven’t read about what’s going on in Missouri, I’m going to link to it again right here because the article written by student Philip Christofanelli is well worth your time. Based on my experience and what I’ve seen Brandon go through, my heart sank a little when I read this paragraph from Philip towards the end.

Both my grandfathers were proud union men, and I respect their hard work, which provided my parents and my family with a comfortable lifestyle today.  I resent the fact that these professors’ irresponsible approach to this course has made legitimate union members appear ridiculous. I hold academic freedom as one of the most important tenets of our Constitutional Republic.

This saddened me because I know that Philip probably thinks that holding a fair and reasonable position will exempt him from being attacked. I know better and I feel sorry for what this young man is in for.

This is not a matter of being moderate or centrist. I think it’s going on here is the idea that somehow the ends justify the means. It’s the nagging feeling some liberals have that somehow, somewhere some conservatives might actually be right about something.

This is stupid. This is no other way to put it. It’s stupid. Take a look at the comments over here on Rock Story about Andrew Breitbart’s recent dustup with Al Pires about the Pigford scandal. You’ll see one or two people express momentary confusion that Breitbart seems to be making a valid point. Here’s an example; a comment named Bodoblock says…

Through all this shouting and name calling…can someone explain to me what all this is about again? My general lack of knowledge on this subject makes Breitbart look like he’s saying something worthwhile. Pires unfortunately does not argue well here. He resorts to name calling and seems elusive. Breitbart appears the better man in this (whether he actually is or not).

But just as quickly as a scintilla of rational thought starts to dawn in someone’s head, the liberal mob stamps it down. Is their argument based on facts? Rational deduction? Nope. They just don’t like Breitbart because they’ve been told by the left for about a year now how bad Andrew Breitbart is. A couple of examples…

Why does the media give this racist hog any respect or attention?
Somewhere out there is a photo of this man in his Klan costume. Some day soon it will reappear and he will be silenced. Again.

How can a serious journalist have Andrew Breitbart on his show? Breitbart has become synonymous with a malicious, slanderous attack on working class people through the use of doctored video.

Blah blah blah. Nobody dealing with the facts. It’s intellectual bankruptcy of the highest order and its common. It’s routine.

Liberalism is dead if liberals aren’t able to hold coherent, common sense positions.

– Lee Stranahan


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