March 10, 2008
RIGHT HOOK: July 05, AU Edition
Gagging on ‘Deep Throat’
My only regret is that Mark Felt did not rat out Nixon because he was ticked off about rapprochement with China or détente with the Soviets. Rather, Felt leaked details of the Watergate investigation to the Washington Post only because he had lost a job promotion. This will come as small consolation to the Cambodians and Vietnamese slaughtered as a direct result of Nixon’s fall. Oh, well. At least we got a good movie and Jimmy Carter out of it.
Still, it must pain liberals to be praising an FBI man who ordered illegal searches of their old pals in the Weather Underground in the early ’70s. For those searches, Felt was later prosecuted by the Carter administration.
Ironically, only because of Watergate, which Felt helped instigate, could a nitwit like Jimmy Carter ever become president – a perch from which Carter pardoned draft dodgers and prosecuted Mark Felt. No wonder Felt kept denying he was ‘Deep Throat.’
Also ironic is that Felt’s free-love, flower-girl daughter was estranged from her father for decades on account of her rejection of conventional bourgeois institutions like marriage. A single mum, she is now broke – because of her rejection of conventional bourgeois institutions like marriage.
Of course Felt wasn’t Deep Throat. There was no Deep Throat. Now we know.
As most people had generally assumed, the shadowy figure who made his first appearance in a late draft of All the President’s Men was a composite of several sources – among them, apparently, Mark Felt. And now the jig is up.
The fictional Deep Throat knew things Felt could not possibly have known, such as the 18 1/2-minute gap on one of the White House tapes. Only six people knew about the gap when Woodward reported it. All of them worked at the White House. Felt not only didn’t work at the White House, but when the story broke, he also didn’t even work at the FBI anymore.
Woodward claimed he signaled Deep Throat by moving a red flag in a flowerpot to the back of his balcony and that Deep Throat signaled him by drawing the hands of a clock in Woodward’s New York Times.
But in his 1993 book, Deep Truth: The Lives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Adrian Havill did something it had occurred to no one else to do: He looked at Woodward’s old apartment, and found that Woodward had a sixth-floor interior apartment that could not be seen from the street.
In another scene in All the President’s Men, Woodward’s sidekick, Carl Bernstein, goes to a porno theater to avoid a subpoena – and the movie Deep Throat happens to be the featured film! Havill points out that Washington, D.C., had recently cracked down on porno theaters and Deep Throat was not playing in any theater in Washington at the time.
Woodward and Bernstein’s former literary agent, David Obst, has always said Deep Throat was a fictional device added to later drafts of All the President’s Men to spice it up (kind of like everything in a Michael Moore film).
Obst scoffs at the notion that the No. 2 man at the FBI would have time to be skulking around parking lots spying for red flags on a reporter’s balcony. ‘There’s not a chance one person was Deep Throat’, he told The New York Times.
So it’s not really that amazing that the identity of Deep Throat managed to stay secret for so long.
RIGHT HOOK: Nov 05, AU Edition
George W. Bush’s court pick alienated even his friends
Supreme Court nomination may not have been the ideal time for Laura Bush to start acting like ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ Hillary Clinton. Between cooking segments on the American ‘Today’ show recently, Laura rolled out the straw-man – sorry, ‘straw-person’ – argument that the criticism of her husband’s pick for the high court, Harriet Miers, was rooted in ‘sexism’ (which is such a chick thing to say). I’m a gyno-American, and I strenuously object.
The only sexism involved in the Miers nomination is the administration’s claim that once they decided they wanted a woman, Miers was the best they could do. If the the top female lawyer in the US is Harriet Miers, we may as well stop allowing girls to go to law school.
Ah, but perhaps you were unaware of Miers’ many other accomplishments. Apparently she was the first woman in Dallas to have a swimming pool in her back yard! And she was the first woman with a safety deposit box at the Dallas National Bank! And she was the first woman to wear pants at her law firm! It’s simply amazing! And did you know she did all this while being a woman?
I don’t know when Republicans became the party that condescends to women, but I am not at all happy about this development. This isn’t the year 1880. And by the way, even in 1880, Miers would not have been the ‘most qualified’ of all women lawyers in the U.S., of which there were 75.
Women have been graduating at the top of their classes at America’s best law schools for 50 years.
Today, women make up about 45 percent of the students at the nation’s top law schools (and more than 50 percent at all law schools).
Which brings us to the other enraging argument being made by the Bush administration and its few remaining defenders – the claim of ‘elitism.’ I also don’t know when the Republican Party stopped being the party of merit and excellence and became the party of quotas and lying about test scores, but I don’t like that development either.
Contrary to the Bush administration’s disingenuous arguments, it’s not simply that Miers did not attend a top law school that makes her unqualified for the Supreme Court. (But that’s a good start!) It’s that she did not go on to rack up any major accomplishments since then, either. Despite the astonishing fact that Miers was the first woman to head the Texas Bar Association, Miers has not had the sort of legal career that shouts out ‘Supreme Court material’! That is, unless you think any female who passes the bar exam has achieved a feat of unparalleled brilliance for her sex.
There are more important things in life than being Supreme Court material, but – oddly enough – not when we’re talking about an appointment to the Supreme Court. Sen. Arlen Specter defended Miers on the grounds that ‘Miers’ professional qualifications are excellent, but she lacks experience in constitutional law’ – and Specter ought to know. This is like recommending a plumber by saying, ‘He’s a very professional guy, but he lacks experience in plumbing.’
The other straw-man argument being hawked by the Bush administration is that Miers’ critics object that she’s never been a judge. To quote another Bush – read my lips: No one has said that.
I genuinely feel sorry for Miers. I’m sure she’s a lovely woman, and well-qualified for many important jobs. Just not the job Bush has nominated her for. The terrible thing Bush has done to Miers is to force people who care about the court to say that.
RIGHT HOOK: June 05, AU Edition
Ever have one of those millennia?
It’s always important to get liberals to stop complaining long enough to make a hard prediction. This month we will review liberal predictions on the Iraqi elections. When they weren’t claiming the Iraq elections would not take place at all, liberals were telling us that if we let those crazy Arabs vote, the Iraqi people would elect extremist mullahs hostile to the United States.
Well, the Iraq National Assembly has completed filling out the cabinet, and it can now be said that this was liberals’ laughably wrong prediction No. 9,856. (Or No. 9,857 if you count their predictions of ruinous global cooling back in the 1970s, which I don’t because that could still happen.)
Iraq’s first democratically elected government in half a century has a Shi’a prime minister and a Kurdish president and several Sunni cabinet ministers.
Fat Muqtada al-Sadr saw his radical Shi’ite movement humiliated in the January elections. According to a recent poll by the International Republican Institute, two-thirds of Iraqis say Iraq is on the right track.
The minority Sunnis, who once held sway under Saddam Hussein and were told by American liberals to expect major payback from the Shi’ites under a democracy, were chosen by the majority Shi’a government for four cabinet positions – including the not insignificant position of defense minister.
What we’ve learned from this is: Talking to liberals is much more fun now that we have Google.
In a Nov. 9, 2003, news article, The New York Times raised the prospect that ‘democracy in the Middle East might empower the very forces that the United States opposes, like Islamic fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.’
Democracy in the U.S. might have put John Kerry in the White House, too, but you’ll notice they didn’t abandon the idea.
One difference is that the Islamists in Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not democratically elected. Still, the Times said that ‘something similar’ happened in Iran when ‘domestic pressures’ installed the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. By ‘domestic pressures’ in Iran, I gather they meant ‘the Carter presidency’.
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Trudy Rubin claimed to be talking about ‘grim Iraq realities’, explaining to her readers that if elections were held, the new Iraqi government ‘will likely be dominated by religious parties. If the economy stays bad, radical Islamic parties could do well’. So you can see how leaving the tyrannical Hussein dynasty (slogan: ‘We’re the rape room people!’) in place was preferable to that.
Winning the category of Most Wrong Predictions, Lifetime Achievement Award, Katrina vanden Heuvel (Queen of the May at America’s fun-loving Nation magazine) said invading Iraq would lead to ‘more terrorist retaliation, undermine the fight against al-Qaida and make America less secure and possibly unleash those very weapons of mass destruction into the hands of rogue terrorists in Iraq’.
What weapons, Katrina? (Katrina lied, kids died!) Hey! Wait a minute! How can rogue terrorists in Iraq detonate bombs? They’re all too busy flying kites with their children! Hasn’t she seen Fahrenheit 9/11?
After we invaded Iraq, Katrina predicted the U.S. would stay in Iraq as a colonial power – as the only non-imperialist superpower in the history of the world is wont to do. As we paved the way for elections, she said, ‘You know, if there are elections in Iraq, it’s very likely it will not be secular democracy’.
But it’s not fair to quote Katrina. She still thinks the Soviet Union’s planned economy failed because the farmers had 70 years of bad weather.
RIGHT HOOK: May 05
The purposeless-driven left
It’s been a tough year for the secular crowd. There was Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, the moral values election in the U.S., the Christian hostage subduing her kidnapper by reading from The Purpose-Driven Life, and the Christian effort to save Terri Schiavo.
And now, for all the hullabaloo in the media, you’d think the Pope had died.
In defense of one of the Catholic Church’s most ‘controversial’ positions, I wanted to return to a story from a few weeks ago that passed from the headlines far too quickly. The ‘controversial’ position is the ban on girl priests.
I’ll leave it to the Catholics to explain the theological details, but we have a beautiful pair of bookmarks to the exact same incident illustrating women’s special skills and deficits. The escape and capture of Brian Nichols shows women playing roles they should not (escorting dangerous criminals) and women playing roles they do best (making men better people).
Nichols’ murderous rampage began when he took the gun from a 5-foot-tall grandmother who was his sole guard at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia. It ended when an otherwise unremarkable 26-year-old woman appealed to the Christian conscience of this same violent killer holding her hostage.
At 2 a.m. one Saturday night, Ashley Smith went out for cigarettes while unpacking her new apartment. Returning from the store, Smith was grabbed by a man at her front door, who put a gun in her side and told her not to scream.
In Smith’s apartment, Nichols bound Smith’s feet and hands and put her in the bathtub. Later, at Smith’s request, Nichols allowed her to hop into the bedroom, where she began talking to him.
In short order, Smith was reading aloud to Nichols from the Christian book The Purpose-Driven Life – in direct violation of his constitutional right to never hear any reference to God, in public or private, for any reason, ever, ever, ever!
After reading the first paragraph of Chapter 33 aloud, about serving God by serving others, Nichols asked her to read it again.
Smith read to Nichols some more, both from the Purpose book and from another popular book that’s been dropped from all news accounts of this incident: the New Testament. (In the Hollywood version, Smith will be reading from the Koran.)
Nichols told Smith she was ‘an angel sent from God’, calling her ‘his sister’ and himself her ‘brother in Christ’. Nichols said he had come to Smith’s home for a reason, in Smith’s words, that ‘he was lost and God led him right to me’.
This lasted long into the night. They watched Nichols’ shooting people on TV. Nichols said he couldn’t believe he was that man. In the morning, Smith made Nichols eggs and pancakes. Then she left the apartment to call the police. When the cops arrived, Nichols surrendered, utterly transformed.
Heaven help the average liberal if this ever happens to him! What would an urban secularist do? Come, let me read to you from Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men.
It’s also another example of how universities are failing students. Today’s university women would be dead: They know nothing about Jesus Christ and can’t cook a good meal.
Smith saved the soul of a man on a killing spree by talking to him about Christianity. But liberals think this won’t work with the Muslims? We ought to fly this Ashley Smith to Saudi Arabia. We could just make her a box lunch every day and send her on her way.
RIGHT HOOK: Apr 05, AU Edition
Lefties, come back!
Liberals have been completely intellectually vanquished. Actually, they lost the war of ideas long ago. It’s just that now their defeat is so obvious, even they’ve noticed. As new Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean might say, it’s all over but the screaming.
In an editorial last month, The New York Times gave President Bush credit for democracy sweeping through the Middle East or, as the Times put it, “a year of heartening surprises”. Yes, the Middle East’s
current democratization would come as quite a surprise to anyone who puts his hands over his ears and hums during the president’s speeches.
Rolling Stone magazine is making fun of “moveon.org” for having no contact with normal Americans.Their Bush-hating cause has become so hopeless that moveon.org is on the verge of actually moving on.
No one is defending the Italian Communist who claims American forces intentionally shot at her in Iraq. She may have lost some credibility when she backed her claim, that Americans were targeting her, by quoting her kidnappers. She said her kidnappers had warned her to stay away from the Americans because they would only hurt her.
Consider that less than twenty years ago, American TV legends Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace announced at an “Ethics in America” panel that they would not intervene to prevent the slaughter of American troops while on duty as journalists – especially during ratings week. As Wallace said: “You don’t have a higher duty. No. No. You’re a reporter!” It almost makes you wonder if U.S. troops have ever targeted American journalists in the field during wartime. Maybe former CNN President Eason Jordan would know something about that.
Now liberal journalists are pretending to support the troops. They hardly ever call them “baby killers” anymore, at least to their faces.
Democrats are even pretending to believe in God – you know, as they understand Her.
So now, all of America is ignoring liberals. I’m the canary in the coal mine. Twenty-six congressmen have signed a letter denouncing me for a column I wrote recently; for the past few weeks, I’ve been attacked on MSNBC and CNN, in the Detroit Free-Press and on every known liberal blog and radio show. (I especially want to thank Pacifica Radio in this regard.) I personally have shouted their complaints from the rooftops.
Liberals had fallen into my trap!
But there was no point in responding because no one had heard about the liberal denunciations in the first place. It was like explaining a joke: OK, and then they said, “Call me a cab,” and then I said, “You’re a cab! Are you following this? ... Sorry, let me start over again.”
It’s not just that we’re a divided nation, with liberals watching only CNN and conservatives watching only Fox News. I’m pretty sure liberals are aware of me, and I haven’t appeared on CNN for months. It’s liberals the country is ignoring. No one knows or cares what they’re carrying on about in their media outlets. Liberals can’t get arrested. They’re even letting Martin Sheen off with a warning now.
I hate to sound selfish at such a great moment for the country, but this is nothing short of calamitous for completely innocent right-wing polemicists. Liberals are too pathetic to write about. I have nothing to do; my life is over.
Where have all the flowers gone?
RIGHT HOOK: Sep 05, AU Edition
It’s ‘let’s roll’, not ‘let’s roll over’
Since the London bombings, there has been a palpable feeling in the air that another terrorist attack is imminent.
Maybe not as bad as 9/11, perhaps a train or subway bombing. Or maybe something worse. As America’s Republicans were saying repeatedly – captured on Lexis-Nexis for a year before it showed up in a Frank Luntz talking points memo in 2004 – the savages have declared war, and it’s far preferable to fight them in the streets of Baghdad than in the streets of New York (where the residents would immediately surrender). That strategy appears to be working.
Two weeks ago, Gen. Jack Keane, a former deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Army, said coalition forces in Iraq have killed or arrested more than 50,000 insurgents in the past six or seven months. It appears the majority of those were captured and released, but that may be good enough.
Consider the intriguing diary entries of British jihadist Zeeshan Siddique, reported in The New York Times this Monday (somewhat less prominently than the 4 billion front-page stories on Abu Ghraib). Siddique was captured last April in Pakistan by that country’s security forces. His diary is a sort of Plan-a-Jihad journal, much like California seventh-graders were required to write in 2002. (There’s also talk of publishing his diary under the title ‘Hello, Allah? It’s Me, Siddique.’)
In addition to heartwarming entries like the one on the pope’s death – ‘Allah will throw him in hell’ – a number of Siddique’s diary entries suggest that it’s not all sunshine and song for the Islamo-fascists these days. For six weeks, it was all bad news for Siddique – except for news of the Pope’s death, Saul Bellow’s death and the Prince of Monaco’s death, all of which cheered him considerably.
A week later, he is informed by someone, probably not the Prince of Monaco, that ‘the situation is really bad’ and he should ‘just sit tight & wait it out until things get a bit better. Before long, Siddique is vowing to make ‘an all out immense effort’ to ‘rejoin my contingent’.
And then he was captured, too, along with his diary and phone numbers for other al-Qaida operatives and his co-religionists in Britain involved in the failed subway bombing. If you made a movie of this bumbling nincompoop’s misadventures, you’d have to call it Dude, Where’s My Car Bomb?
Siddique’s diary entries refer to Iraq Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari as ‘the dog of the hell fire’ and Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, as ‘Satan’. That’s not the talk of a winner! Siddique’s future as a jihadist may be fading, but he has a good shot at writing speeches for Howard Dean. (He also describes Maya Angelou as ‘America’s national treasure’, so I guess some things are universal.)
Meanwhile, every time Americans get a gander at these lunatics ranting about the ‘Great Satan’ and the ‘Zionist entity,’ we can’t believe we’re at war with such a comical enemy. No wonder they dream of an afterlife with 72 hot teenage girls. These guys are klutzes. Nerds. Dweebs. In the Las Vegas of life they’re at the convention center with the other ‘Star Trek’ fans. Even in Pakistan, Siddique says he is ‘constantly laughed at & ridiculed.’
Ahmed can’t get a date, and now the rest of us have to suffer.
But you will notice, the jihadists are not pouring across the Syrian border to, say, Brooklyn Heights. They are running to Iraq, where they run smack dab into the glorious coalition military forces.
Right Hook: Mar 05, AU Edition
Abortion is too important an issue to be left to judges
Maybe he really is an idiot. On the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade recently – I was going to say “birthday of Roe v. Wade,” but that
would be too grimly ironic even for me – President Bush told a pro-life rally in Washington that a “culture of life cannot be sustained solely by changing laws. We need, most of all, to change hearts.”
Actually, the “changing hearts” portion of the abortion debate is over. We’re now entering the “minds” portion of the “hearts and minds” journey on abortion. We’ve been talking about abortion for 32 years. All the hearts that can be changed have been changed. By some estimates, 35 million human hearts (and counting) have been “changed” by abortion in America alone.
Judging by her comments calling abortion a “sad, even tragic choice,” we’ve even changed Hillary Clinton’s heart.
Hillary went so far as to say she had “respect” for those who believe that “there are no circumstances under which any abortion should ever
I’ve never heard of anyone who thinks abortion should not be “available” to save the life of the mother. If Hillary “respects” even this (nonexistent) lunatic fringe of the pro-life movement, she must adore me!
If, right now, pro-lifers had already succeeded in changing the hearts of every last person in America – including Hillary Clinton! – abortion would still be legal in every state of the union. It’s a “constitutional right” – taking its place alongside all those other “sad,” “tragic” rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, such as religious expression, free speech, freedom of assembly and so on. Who was it who said, “Free speech should be safe, legal and rare”?
Abortion was not terribly popular when Roe v. Wade was first concocted in 1973 – by seven male justices and their mostly male law clerks. We know it wasn’t popular with actual Americans back then because 46 states had outlawed it in a once-common procedure known as “representative democracy.” Reflect on the fact that among the things more popular than abortion back thenf were white-guy afros, lime-green leisure suits and earth shoes.
In a Los Angeles Times poll a few years ago, 57 percent of respondents said they believed abortion was “murder.” Seventy-two percent of women and 58 percent of men said they thought abortion should be illegal after the first trimester. (Among men currently listed on NBA rosters, the figure was even lower.)
Note that men in the poll were more supportive of abortion than women, which is perfectly in keeping with the pro-abortion orthodoxy that men should have no say in this matter, unless they’re saying “yes, dear.” Once again, NARAL and I are in agreement! It’s a “woman’s issue”; could you men please just butt out? Feminists try to make people feel guilty about opposing a “woman’s right” to abortion,but in fact men always support abortion more than women – no matter who takes the poll or how the questions are asked.
Until Roe is overturned, telling pro-lifers they need to be “changing hearts” is like telling the New England Patriots they need to practice more – while never, ever letting them play in the Super Bowl. We’ve been changing hearts for 32 years – I think we’re ready for the big match now. I think Americans would support massive restrictions on abortion. And NARAL agrees with me! How about it, liberals? Prove me wrong! Let Americans vote. Universal Press Syndicate
RIGHT HOOK: Dec 05, AU Edition
MELINDA TANKARD REIST
RU-486 is not the solution for women in crisis
In her campaign launch to bring the abortion pill RU-486 to this country in last month’s Medical Journal of Australia, Cairns obstetrician Dr Caroline De Costa tells the story of a young mother, eight weeks pregnant and seeking abortion. The patient had two small children, both born early due to severe pre-eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure) and her partner was “unsupportive”. She couldn’t get an abortion and her baby was delivered at 26 weeks but did not survive. For De Costa, there is a simple way to avoid this tragic ending: RU-486.
No need to ask why her partner was unsupportive. We don’t know if it was she who really wanted the abortion or if alternatives were discussed. No questions were raised about why the pre-eclampsia wasn’t better managed or whether precautions were taken against premature labour. If only she had taken RU486 when she was two months along, everything would have been OK.
De Costa – and others in the RU-486 cheer squad – are silent about the not-so-neat and simple side of abortion-by-mouth. Such as that the young mother might have delivered the foetus (or “uterine contents” as De Costa so delicately puts it) at home, causing severe psychological distress, or may have bled for weeks and needed a transfusion.
That she may have had “retained products” (foetal parts) and needed a surgical procedure as well - as do 10% of women who take RU-486 - also appears unimportant. One young woman told the New York Times what it was like: “I felt like I was dying...it hurt so much...I couldn’t stop trembling and I felt so hot.”
These medical risks belie claims by Liberal MP Dr. Sharman Stone that RU-486 is the magic panacea for women who don’t have access to medical facilities. Airdropping RU-486 on country women would be a disaster.
Another claim is that chemical abortion is less traumatic. However, questions have been raised about the psychological effects of being completely aware during the abortion, seeing the result of the abortion, and the fact that the woman - rather than her doctor - is essentially carrying out an abortion herself. In fact, some research suggests that this is more traumatic than a medical abortion.
RU-486 carries a high risk of infection, according to Professor Ralph Miech, Molecular Pharmacology professor at Brown University. The drug suppresses the immune system which, in combination with the growth of bacteria, can result in fatal septic shock.
At least eight women (the ones we know of anyway) have died after taking RU-486 – they bled to death, suffered septic shock or other infections. The consent forms for a Canadian trial in which one woman died did not mention infection.
When abortion supporters call for more choice, it seems only to mean more methods of abortion. But research shows many women want choices other than abortion. Significant political will needs to be directed to providing pregnant women with positive and pracitical support and real alternatives rather than just more ways of getting rid of their pregnancies.
Telling women to open their mouths and take their poison pill like a good girl fails them. Women deserve better than that. They deserve creative initiatives which address and ameliorate the myriad pressures which lead to abortion.
Melinda Tankard Reist is Founding Director of Women’s Forum Australia and author of Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief After Abortion (Duffy and Snellgrove 2000) and the forthcoming Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics.