The Defeatocrat Agenda

The Defeatocrat Agenda
By Peter Brookes
New York Post | October 31, 2006

If the “Defeatocrats,” er, Democrats, triumph next week, taking the majority in Congress, expect U.S. foreign and defense policy to veer sharply left, with little guiding philosophy beyond ABB – Anything But Bush. For many Democrats and liberals, this vengeful approach may provide much-needed therapy after 12 bitter years in the minority. But it’s no basis for a defense or foreign policy.

Other than attacking what the Bush administration is doing, Democrats have done little to articulate foreign and national-security policies of their own. But here are some of the possible outcomes if the majority changes hands on Capitol Hill:

On Iraq, many Democrats – led by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) – have said they’d push for an immediate “redeployment” (i.e., withdrawal) of U.S. troops, leaving who-knows-what kind of nightmare behind.

A premature withdrawal would cause unimaginable instability in the Middle East. And there’s no doubt that jihadists would chalk up Iraq as proof positive that terrorism works – adding it to other “successes” in Lebanon (1983) and Somalia (1993).

Worse, an ignominious U.S. retreat would prove to countless other troublemakers that America is nothing more than a paper tiger.

A liberal majority would also drastically change course on North Korea, pushing for direct U.S. talks with dictator Kim Jong Il – despite his recent missile tests and nuclear blast. Caving in to Pyongyang’s demands for one-on-one negotiations would reward its nuclear brinkmanship and blackmail. The lesson wouldn’t be lost on its nuclear kindred spirit, Iran.

Speaking of Iran, it’s not clear what a liberal congressional leadership would do. They don’t seem to say much about it – other than carp about the White House’s multilateral efforts to curb the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions.

But you could clearly forget about missile defenses to protect the homeland and troops deployed overseas. Liberals see such defenses as provocative. (In fact, leaving ourselves deliberately vulnerable to ballistic missiles is truly provocative – and foolhardy.)

What would a liberal Congress propose regarding the terrorists/terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay? Some of these prisoners are so dangerous even their own countries won’t take them back. What of the Patriot Act, Terrorist Surveillance Program or the terrorism-financing surveillance efforts that have been so successful in preventing another attack on the homeland for more than five years?

Here’s a clue: 90 percent of House Democrats voted against the NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program; 80 percent voted against the terrorist interrogation bill. All these counterterror programs are at risk if House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gets the speaker’s gavel next year . . .

OK, some will say: Don’t worry about Congress. The president holds the real power in foreign affairs and national security. Sure, the prez controls the State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community – the key tools of national security. But don’t constitutional checks and balances give Congress the almighty “power of the purse?”

Through the appropriation process, Congress can fund – or defund – our foreign-policy and national-security efforts, including wars, law enforcement, intelligence, defense and other counterterrorism programs.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem), who’d become chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, gave us a sneak preview of what the Dems might do: “You’ve got to be able to pay for the war, don’t you?” You get the picture: No money – no war.

Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman hit the nail on the head: “America faces a critical question, will it elect leaders who recognize we’re at war and want to use every tool to win it, or politicians who would surrender important tools we need to win?”

The Liberals’ plan for our foreign affairs and national security has been to have no real plan at all, other than categorically opposing whatever the administration is doing to protect us. But having no strategy or policy for conducting our international affairs is certainly no way to keep us safe at home – or advance and protect our interests abroad.

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Conservatives push to counter liberal professors

Conservatives push to counter liberal professors Mike Cronin
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 12, 2006 12:00 AM

For many students, college is an intellectual rite of passage.

The beliefs that students bring to the classroom often collide with what they learn. Professors push students to think critically.

But some Arizona lawmakers think that push has gone too far. They want to tame what they see as left-leaning professors at state universities who they contend wield an unhealthful influence over Arizona’s younger minds.
Their response is a string of proposals that opponents fear could quash academic freedom. The efforts reflect a nationwide trend being fueled by conservative activists.

In Arizona, the moves include:

• A bill enabling students to refuse assignments they find sexually offensive. It failed in March but compelled Arizona’s Board of Regents to pass a resolution supporting academic freedom and advance notice to students of a course’s content.

• An “Academic Bill of Rights,” which Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, plans to introduce next year. Pearce and other legislators hope to meet with David Horowitz, a national activist who lives in Los Angeles, for help in drawing up the bill, which they say would keep liberal bias out of the classroom.

• A law passed in the spring that requires schools to display the U.S. flag and Constitution in every classroom. It puts patriotic symbols in front of every professor and student.

The proposals reflect a distrust of professors among some ranking legislators on higher-education committees.

“University professors lean liberal and not conservative,” said Sen. Linda Gray, R-Phoenix, chairwoman of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee. “They contribute to society accepting immoral behavior. (The classroom) is where they get to the mind.”

Gray said public universities typically do not provide examples of “what a good, normal family life is.”

Student complaints

Last school year, no student at Arizona’s three major universities filed a complaint saying professors imposed their views and values in class.

Still, allegations have come to light, one of which led to the bill on offensive coursework.

At Chandler-Gilbert Community College, a student was so offended last year by a book in Professor Bill Mullaney’s literature and film class that he asked for an alternative assignment.

The 1994 book, The Ice Storm by Rick Moody, deals with two suburban families in the 1970s that engage in sexual experimentation.

Mullaney refused to offer another assignment, saying he presented the syllabus on the first day of class. He told students some of the material might be offensive and that they could drop the class.

The student filed a grievance with the school. School officials rejected the student’s request, instead offering him another class. The student refused and took the matter to Sen. Thayer Verschoor, R-Gilbert.

Verschoor sponsored a bill that would have allowed university and community college students to refuse any assignment that depicts or describes sexual activity in a “patently offensive way.” The Senate defeated it 17-12. Public debate led the Board of Regents to pass its resolution.

‘Bill of Rights’

The most controversial attempt to influence college classrooms is Horowitz’s Academic Bill of Rights.

Lawmakers in 18 states have weighed resolutions supporting some form of the document. Georgia was the only state that approved one, although the university systems of Tennessee, Ohio and Colorado adopted policies that espoused its tenets.

Rep. Laura Knaperek, R-Tempe, who heads two higher-education committees, said the bill to be proposed here next year will be based on Horowitz’s version.

“I have heard more and more over the years that there is less and less tolerance for conservative opinions,” she said.

Faculty members widely view the bill as an attempt to subvert academic freedom, the opposite of what Horowitz claims.

Wanda Howell, a University of Arizona professor and faculty chair, argues that the bill would put state government and university administration in charge of the classroom. Professors no longer would be in control of what or how they taught, or how they graded.

In the name of “academic diversity,” professors say, professors could be forced to censor certain materials.

Horowitz insists his Academic Bill of Rights is “viewpoint neutral.”

“It is to ensure that professors take a scholarly, academic approach in the classroom, so professors teach students how to think, not what to think,” Horowitz said. “It goes for right-wingers (too). It goes for anyone.”

Surveys support the common belief: Most professors are liberal.

Liberal professors

A 2005 study by American and Canadian professors indicated that 72 percent of those teaching at U.S. colleges and universities identified themselves as liberal. Only 15 percent called themselves conservative.

Several students said professors’ liberal views tend to spill out in classrooms in subtle and overt ways. It can trigger lively debates but also intimidate some students.

Blake Rebling, 19, president of the UA College Republicans, said he typically doesn’t challenge his liberal professors’ opinions because they control his grades.

“I don’t want to risk going to law school over that,” the political science major said.

Several professors said instructors should present issues without personal bias and allow for a variety of viewpoints. Teachers should not impose their personal beliefs, and a grade should never depend on a student’s political opinion.

UA political science Professor John Willerton, who specializes in Russia and the former Soviet Union, sees that as the responsibility of the teacher. He grades students on the coherence of their work.

“I want people to think carefully about stereotypical thinking, conventional wisdom. Is the essay well-reasoned with a good introduction and conclusion, and does it have an argument I can find?”

But when Willerton does take a stance, he loves a good debate.

“I really respect a student who will challenge me,” he said. “I don’t want a toady. I don’t want someone who will mimic me.”

Ruth Jones, vice provost for academic programs and a political science professor at Arizona State University, said some professors may cross the line but she doesn’t think it’s widespread.

She sits on a standards committee that would handle the types of cases that conservatives say are rampant in today’s college classrooms. She has never had one.

“The question is: Are we dealing with reality or perception?” Jones said. “Is there a common denominator among students complaining? Sometimes, students are used (by others) to promote an agenda. We need to look at that.”

 

Don’t cry for Cindy, Alfred Nobel Fortunately, someone in Oslo may have noticed that Cindy Sheehan is a total creature of production. Not of hers but of the Democrats, the left, their ceaseless propaganda machine, and the willing acolytes, dupes, sympathizers and followers in the all too enabling progressive press.

Don’t cry for Cindy, Alfred Nobel

Sunday, October 15, 2006

After days on those rapturous tenterhooks, Cindy Sheehan, the highly touted, omnipresent, albeit picaresque peace mom, has failed in her ruthless media driven quest for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. A prize many felt she deserved.

Not that she didn’t have the radical Democrats, the far left loonies, the anti-war crowd, the Dellinger descendents, Father Berrigan’s brood, the few remaining Winter Soldiers, the best the fading 60s had to offer, and the rest pulling for her. But it just wasn’t to be.

But neither John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Ned Lament, nor the inflationary and mystical powers of the famed peanut planting mummer, Jimmy Carter – a Nobel Prize winner in his own right for the providential nuclear arming of a starving North Korea, or was it for the coddling and nurturing of the murderous Fatah, or the atrocious gushing over that brutal island prison warden, Fidel Castro, who can really say now ­ could parlay the sad, tawdry public pirouettes, back flips, and hastily written screeds of that shy shrinking violet to the rapt attention of the dynamite baron’s current committee.

Sadly, it now appears to even the manifold minions of our progressive left, with the hindsight of the award now behind us, that the prize was actually given this year to a man who may deserve it.

Nope, the Prize is going to Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank.

Mr. Yunus has parlayed the small local bank he founded, which offers collateral free loans to the poorest of Bangladesh’s poor to start small businesses, to a customer base of some six million. Interestingly, the borrowers currently own 94% of the banks equity, with the Bangladeshi government owning the remaining 4%, while 97% of the borrowers are women.

When advised of the prize, a humbled and selfless Mr. Yunus said that he would re-invest his prize money in his bank, enabling even more of his fellow countrymen to begin lives of improved economic circumstances.

Can you imagine a Nobel going to such a humble man, who devoted his life to such a decent venture, which overwhelmingly caters to women to boot, when Cindy Sheehan is setting such a beautiful example? That is when she’s not slobbering all over raucous, blood thirsty South American dictators ­ believers in peace, all – blocking roads, writing self-aggrandizing hagiographical narratives tinged with P.T. Barnum accounts of her own supreme importance, demanding air time to further her personal agenda, screeching about the war to end wars, using her dead son as a tool, piling prevarications atop lies on top of hokum, creating more hot house emissions than Albert Gore Jr., while waving the bloody shirt?

I can’t for a second imagine that the Nobel Prize Committee, save for the one that dragged a thoroughly discredited Mr. Peanut to Oslo for his best Bob Barker in a white tie and tails, would have a difficult time finding folks on this planet who would equal or better the peace record of Ms. Sheehan. Though it now appears they have. And it is entirely possible that she was not, gasp, no, even on this year’s program.

Fortunately, someone in Oslo may have noticed that Cindy Sheehan is a total creature of production. Not of hers but of the Democrats, the left, their ceaseless propaganda machine, and the willing acolytes, dupes, sympathizers and followers in the all too enabling progressive press.

Cindy Sheehan appeared at just the right time. And her story – however convoluted, riddled with inaccuracies, laced with problematic and divergent sidebars, sprinkled with outright fabrications, and littered with bunk ­ was glossed over by the Democrats and the left because she provided them with the necessary, however campy and smarmy, street theater they were sorely lacking before her arrival.

Her public life, since her first public appearance, has been crafted by the entertainment industry, with camera angles, the beating of drums, long views, close-ups, second units, grips and gaffers, FX effects, of light and magic, and just plain computerized special effects.

And this sad, sorry woman has played it all out with a Vivien Leigh tragic-comedic effect, not knowing it all was just political theater and then failing to realize she could simply quit play acting, peel off her stage persona, and go home when the director, a Democratic strategist, Harry Reid, an itinerant TV personality, or the local ward boss said cut, that’s a wrap.

Like an episode in the Twilight Zone, Cindy Sheehan seems doomed to continue acting the same painful insensate role even as the play ends, the viewers file out, the theater is closed, and the whole place is gradually covered in cobwebs.

Ms. Sheehan knows no other character to play than the archly grieving socialist, often Stalinist, anti-war mom, enraged at President Bush, embracing every tin horn dictator she can find, and some she can kiss, while the crowd, their attention, and the media gradually abandon her.

Meanwhile, Mr. Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank will continue to aid the downtrodden in Bangladesh, in their millions, for the greater good, in a place which has never crossed the mind of Cindy Sheehan.

And Cindy will disappear from view and suffer the ennui which afflicts those who have hogged the limelight from artificially constructed contrivances and fail to understand why they now stand alone in the darkness.

Across America the fire stations are quieter. Rescue companies are no longer rushing to the homes of Cindy’s now grieving accomplices, bringing life giving oxygen to those who felt giddy through that long evening’s night until Norway’s Aftenposten brought them the news about Mr. Yunus and his prize.

Alfred, please don’t cry for Cindy.