FALLEN INTO THE CHASM
Re: Jeffrey Lord’s Connecticut’s Shame:
Thank you for the article “Connecticut’s Shame.” I feel awful about what is happening in our country and grieve for our future. I don’t understand it and I am looking for understanding. I must stand with President Bush and Israel. I am 55 and I remember learning about the death camps as a youth. I asked my mother why they didn’t do anything to save the Jews, why the world — why SHE — allowed it happen. I remember saying I would never allow such a thing to happen in my lifetime. The Democrats are now on the other side. They are siding with the enemy and they don’t see the simple truth that we are entering WWIII. Their hatred of Republicans, conservatives, and the Jews is self-destructive and will destroy our country and world, I fear! I fear, also, that our union is threatened. Thanks again for the article.
— Kathleen Mary Hensley
Federal Way, Washington
CT is enduring anxiety not shame. The state has no shame. There have always been and always will be anti-Semites. Some people openly express this and other anti bias. I do not believe the few have-no-lifers represent the people of CT in general.
My perception is the people of CT are suffering from acute anxiety rooted in their economic demise. New England is unmistakably loosing good high paying jobs and barely replacing them with retail or service jobs that pay a lot less. Everything else is going up including taxes.
Whose fault is this economic decline? The answer from the Democrats and some Republicans is our current President and thanks to the propaganda that passes as news, the Republican Congress as well. It’s as if he has some magic power to lower the cost of all goods.
In CT you cannot go after the President, so the next in line is Joe Lieberman. But the Senator’s troubles started with the 2000 (it was disgusting to some when he ran for two jobs) ticket and continued in 2004. He missed a lot of votes and seemed disconnected from his constituents. Add to this his unattractive personality and it was a recipe for disaster.
Do not look to CT for any lessons, predictions, or trends. This is the state where just about all the Democrats who ran after the state income tax was instituted got re-elected after a season of demonstrations and spitting at then Governor Weicker.
The Senator got the message and got a public spanking. But come November he will win as the independent because the voters there know there really is no other choice. I suspect that if he announced this was it for him after the primary should he have lost then he would have won. Voting against him in the primary was a free-bee.
— Diamon Sforza
I think what is happening is great. Jews joining the Republicans is really great. They are just a little slower than the blue-collar Reagan Democrats, but welcome aboard. The Dems have been hijacked by far out lefties — let them shrink into oblivion. When we bust up the teachers union I will pop champagne corks. Happy days are really here again.
— Annette Cwik
Mr. Lord is very much on the money in his short discussion of today vs. yesterday as regards “hands across the chasm.” As a denizen of Washington, D.C. in years gone by, I can attest that Harry Truman absolutely hated and detested Republicans, but he knew how to work with them in governance, and knew why that was necessary. Old Harry wasn’t all bad. He loved his wife and daughter and despised the press of the day.
May I be so bold as to proffer an opinion of the primary electoral results of Aug. 8th? In Georgia, we saw that southern Democrats have had quite enough of a certified extreme Leftist wing nut, so Ms. McKinney will be headed out of Congress. In Michigan, a proponent of border control and homeland security with a background as a law enforcement officer won the GOP nomination for Senator from that state. Also in the GOP primary in Michigan, an incumbent liberal RINO was defeated by a significantly more conservative-type Republican, despite the RINO being supported by the national GOP establishment, including Jorge Boosh.
Now juxtapose those results with the results in deep blue, hard left, Connecticut. The ONLY thing Lieberman has ever done wrong was to support the fight against radical Islam. This single issue has brought out such vitriol that even some Democrat activists like Lanny Davis are forced to admit that Dems can be nasty and self-destructive.
I would propose that what we are seeing is that the New England/West Coast, anti-war, anti-America, globalist, one-worlders are further and further distancing themselves from the rest of the American populace in general and electorate in particular. More and more they are taking off their masks and revealing their true selves. I would submit that it is increasingly probable that they will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory come this November. I expect that the George Soros/Daily KOS/MoveOn wing of the Democrat party will flood Connecticut with dollars to defeat Lieberman again in November. Howie Dean and the DNC will now spend money to defeat one of their own incumbents in the Northeast (their stronghold), thus draining resources from the promising contests in the Heartland, like Ohio or Michigan.
The Congressional Republicans, the Jorge Boosh administration, and the RNC have tried their best to position the party to lose the House or Senate or both this November. To me, it looks increasingly like the Democrats will refuse to accept the victory, thus returning the country to the status quo ante for the next two years.
— Ken Shreve
What is wrong with the people Connecticut, aside from its proximity to Massachusetts, is that, up there, knee deep in globally warmed snow and perilously near French Colonial Canada, the enforcers of liberal orthodoxy now sneer at Jefferson’s dream while inculcating Marx.
More productive it would be to wonder what remains right with the people of Connecticut.
— David Govett
Mr. Stein, you are right about our President. He has made some mistakes (don’t we all?). Our President is first and foremost a Christian. As a Christian, he is called by God to protect Israel. That is one thing he is sure to do right. Israel has always been in the heart of God. So, as Christians it must always be in our hearts. If we as a nation ever turn our backs on Israel — we will be done. You are a wonderful writer, Mr. Stein. Keep it up!
— Lisa Chunn
I did not have a chance to see Ben Stein’s article of the 8th until this morning. As usual his thoughts are exquisitely stated and seem so simple to those of us who would strive to be so concise and factual. Are our memories and attention spans so limited that we do not remember the result when last the Jews were not allowed to defend themselves? To remind those who either do not remember or worse those who choose not to do so, millions of Jews (and not a few Christians) were tortured and murdered in horrific ways. What is especially disturbing in the latest go around are the number of apparently self-hating Jews and liberals that seem to agree with enemies of the U.S. and Western civilization.
— Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan
I enjoyed your article; I wish millions would read it, beginning with the Democrats in Congress. The Bush administration believes that democratizing the Middle East will produce peace. Wrong — it cannot be done; thinking so is wishful thinking. Look at Iraq today — it is getting worse. This approach must be abandoned and eventually will, when enough Americans and Jews are murdered — 3,000 Americans plus those before 9/11 and many more Jews were not enough.
The U.S. or Israel needs to strike the immediate enemy, Iran and Syria. (The core enemy is Islam.) We or Israel should unilaterally attack Iran and Syria, and threaten the use of nuclear weapons, and mean it — and use them. Talks have been incessant since 1948, and can resume after Iran and Syria surrender unconditionally (and Saudi Arabia). France, China, Germany, Russia, the UN, etc. will do nothing; they will bark loudly, but so what.
The U.S. and Israel are following a course of endless talks while their enemies grow stronger. The U.S. is following a course of failure in Iraq as we did in Vietnam; we don’t plan to win, unconditionally.
Sooner or later (later most likely) the U.S. will attack, but 1,000,000 or more Americans may have been murdered by then, and Israel might be no more. Wake up America! Where are the sons, daughters, grandsons and daughters of our WWII generation?
— Walter Pazik
San Francisco, California
I enjoyed your piece. As a father with a daughter in Afghanistan, a son-in-law in Iraq and another son going soon I worry a lot, but I know they’ll be OK as their buddies are watching their back. However, I fear who is watching America’s back? When one of our major political parties seems ready to make “nice” with bloodthirsty killers I fear the worst. It may buy us a little time as Chamberlain did in 1938, but it reminds me about the story of the man who rode the tiger. We all know what happened in the end. Please keep writing and I will do the same in my community to help Americans wake up to the fact we are in danger.
— Philip Stanley, Col. USA (Ret)
Re: Christopher Orlet’s The Anti-War Warriors:
While I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Orlet’s main premise, I must disagree with his statement that “…even in the darkest days of the Vietnam War there were no public rallies in support of the North Vietnamese or the Viet Cong.”
I remember the anti-war demonstrations quite clearly. In fact, I participated in a few of them, being a young idiot at the time, and there was invariably a slew of giant North Vietnamese and Viet Cong flags prominently displayed. The radicals in the anti-war movement most definitely supported our enemies.
— Craig Caughman
San Jose, California
I think I know one overlooked reason why “peace” lovers play up to dictators and thugs. Yes, these spoiled brats hate the free society that has given them so very much. Yes, they are almost unbelievably ignorant. Yes, they love the man of action who “gets things done.” But there is another reason — simple, quivering fear.
In his story, “Such, Such Were the Joys,” George Orwell describes his school days at a snotty private school. The school bully was followed about by a group of “toadies,” who called him “strong man.”
Well, I guess that makes a certain sense. Crawl up to the thugs of the world, and although they will look upon you with almost inexpressible contempt, perhaps they will spare you, maybe, at least for a while, perhaps, and isn’t that better than nothing?
It’s a lot like our Old Europe allies, simpering before Vladimir Putin, or the Chinese regime, or the Arab states — but they can show what big he-men they are by spitting upon the United States, who make Europe’s so-called superiority possible in the first place.
— John Lockwood
In a non-PC America, it would be easy to charge those anti-war activists who espouse solidarity with terrorists with treason.
Of course, in this country, we no longer have the ability to charge anyone with treason or espionage. It’s all about politics and gamesmanship now.
I am ashamed of the spineless, incompetent “leaders” of this country.
We have the best government money can buy in this country. They were bought and paid for some time ago. As long as they can continue their jobs in Congress, they’ll continue to serve their masters, which no longer include the American voter. The American voter has been numbed by the constant cacophony of hysterical pronouncements from elected representatives, designed to obscure the real objectives of those in power.
— R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida
Reading the quote: “The powwow was organized by the Stop the War Coalition, a group formed to oppose the U.S.-led war on terror, and which seems intent on importing the tensions and conflict of the Middle East to Europe and Main Street USA” leaves one asking the question: How could this happen? Well, it has happened because we’ve let the “antiwar Warriors” import moral relevancy into our national dialogue as well
— P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s You Can’t Spell Pap Without AP:
WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
This is indeed a marvelous age.
You can squint up your eyes and act the sage
By reporting the news just as you see it.
There are plenty of outlets if you’ll just agree it
Is wise to look down on the middle classes
As you seek to educate the masses.
The truth of your impartings need not matter.
You’ve been blessed with superior gifts and gray matter.
And if your words are too far above them
Just doctor some pictures. The media will love them!
— Mimi Evans Winship
Re: Florence King’s Sing-Song Conservatism:
After reading Florence King’s review, I could not get this question out of my head: Does it taste great? Or is it less filling?
— Karl Maher
I’m gratified to see that other people more quick off the mark have already pointed out that Hal Colebatch’s case against Mel Gibson essentially boils down to a difference of opinion with that actor/director as to how much latitude “artistic license” should have.
Two aspects of Colebatch’s indictment have gone unremarked, however: he implies that Gibson’s Oscar-winning Braveheart bears some responsibility for the completely unnecessary souring of relations between England and Scotland, and he takes Gibson to task for a massacre in The Patriot.
A quick perusal of this magazine’s online archive makes the first charge curious indeed. Mr. Colebatch’s essay of July 21, “Losing Scotland,” pins the allegedly souring relationship between the English and the Scots on a predictable sporting rivalry fueled by the World Cup. Must all concerned be reminded that soccer (football) hooligans have been news items for years, even before Gibson filmed his ode to the Anglo-Scottish past? It might also be noted, however indecorously, that English football fans have a reputation for rowdiness not associated with teams from places like, for example, the Netherlands, or Korea.
Colebatch also took exception to a church-burning scene in The Patriot, by pointing out that it belongs instead to the catalog of Nazi atrocities. That’s true as far as it goes, but the bet here is that Gibson and his The Patriot, screenwriter remembered what Colebatch chose not to dwell on, namely, the fearsome reputation of British cavalry commander Sir Banastre Tarleton. History buffs will recall that colonials of the Revolutionary period recognized “Tarleton’s quarter” as no quarter at all. The man’s other nicknames included “Bloody Ban” and “The Butcher.” With historical fact like that to work from, it’s no wonder that church-burning with congregants inside seemed plausible as well as dramatic. For this, we’re supposed to decry the bias of the director? Give me a break. The inaccuracies of The Patriot are of a class with P.J. O’Rourke’s remark (later cribbed by David Letterman) that a comparison of their respective diets could have predicted the outcome of the American Revolution: “On the British side,” O’Rourke write, “tea and crumpets, and on the American side, raw squirrel and whiskey.”
Mr. Colebatch is welcome to complain about that, and Mel Gibson’s entire cinematic body of work. Gibson should probably have reloaded more often while shooting in the Lethal Weapon movies. (while we’re on the subject of artistic license, would somebody please ask Civil War documentarian Ken Burns why his subsequent project about early feminists obscured the fact that Susan B. Anthony and other suffragettes were strongly anti-abortion? Is Colebatch exercised about Burnsian silence, too, or just the Gibsonian variety?)
Better yet, let’s agree that a rousing chorus of “Rule, Britannia” offered as a rejoinder to films that in certain places have the temerity to hum a few bars of “Cruel Britannia” seems, well, peevish at best.
— Patrick O’Hannigan
Mr. Colebatch’s hand-wringing over the failure of some of Mel Gibson’s professional works to accurately portray history, in a manner that is tilted against England .”..at a time when it seems ‘Anglosphere’ cultural and political unity is of some importance,” conveniently ignores the fact that all of the works cited in defense of his argument were produced prior to Sept. 11, 2001, on which occurred the watershed event that presumably precipitated this unity priority. Anyway, would that the English had felt the same urge toward Western comity generations ago, before its raping and pillaging of Ireland. Mel Gibson aside, Mr. Colebatch, this, at least, is historical fact.
Cry me a bloody river.
— Francis M. Hannon, Jr.
Colebatch clearly has little knowledge of Scottish history. Has he ever heard of the Declaration of Arbroath or John Barbour’s The Bruce? I suspect not.
— Alan Clayton
I find it disturbing that in Mr. Colebatch’s mind, spouting out vile words against Jews is trivial compared to an ACTOR/DIRECTOR being less than accurate portraying historical events. Maybe Mr. Colebatch is himself slightly anti-Semitic. If Hollywood’s attempt at historical events is so grievous, let’s have one written/directed/produced and starring H.G.P. Colebatch! I’m sure it will be a blockbuster.
— Margee Riggle
I write this not only as a conservative, but also as a dedicated student of history and a life long movie buff. While Mr. Colebatch states at the end of his article that Gibson’s statements at the time of his DUI arrest are “not very important in themselves,” and that it “is wrong to scapegoat him for them,” it seems obvious that these statements are what is really bothering him. How otherwise to explain his incredible overreaction to relatively minor inaccuracies in Gibson’s historical films, in an attempt to paint Gibson as just one more left-wing filmmaker.
I have not seen one theatrical motion picture (as opposed to a straight documentary film) with a historical subject that did not deviate, to one extent or another, from strict historical accuracy. There are so many reasons, both financial and aesthetic, that it is necessary to do this when making a theatrical film, that the criticisms for doing so amount to a call for abolition of the historical film genre entirely. The only thing that a viewer can reasonably ask of a historical film (aside from being entertaining) is that it be faithful to the truth in a broader sense. Thus, for example, despite Mr. Colebatch’s criticism’s of certain details of Gallipoli, the historical consensus is that the Gallipoli campaign was poorly executed, resulting in an appalling waste of Australian, New Zealand, and for that matter, British, lives.
The criticism of the inaccuracies of detail in Braveheart are similarly wrong-headed, in particular his characterization of the speech by Gibson/Wallace before the battle of Stirling as “historical codswallop.” To anyone with even a passing familiarity with the poetry of Robert Burns (and someone without such familiarity is likely on shaky ground in a discussion of Scottish history), this speech is obviously based on Burns’ Scots Wha’ Hae, which purports to be a speech delivered by Robert the Bruce to his army before the battle of Bannockburn. So much for the speech delivered in Braveheart as arising from Mel Gibson’s anti English bias. Furthermore there is no historical evidence that the Bruce actually delivered such a speech; does this make Burns’ poem “codswallop,” as well?
Only blatant anti-English bias could have inspired Mr. Gibson to portray the British as villains in a picture about the American Revolution? What could he have been thinking.
Ultimately, the most regrettable aspect of the Gibson DUI incident is the very fact Mr. Gibson had been one of the few major Hollywood actors/producers/directors whose work could appeal to a conservative audience. It is for this very reason that his actions have been such a disappointment to so many, including myself.
— Steven Kelly
And we thought Oliver Stone was the biggest liar in Hollywood!
Had Mr. Colebatch taken a bit more space he might have mentioned a few other distortions in Braveheart. Gibson portrays Wallace as a short (because Mel is short) good-natured man. In fact, Wallace was a big quarrelsome man. A recent biographer has suggested that to modern eyes he would appear a combination of terrorist and serial killer. His “wife” was arrested after Wallace left her house via the window in order to avoid capture himself. “So long, Dear — and good luck!”
Rather than being the orphaned son of a peasant, raised by his uncle, Wallace was the scion of a prominent family whose father sent him to his uncle to be educated. (Or maybe to get the little trouble-maker out of the house.)
I don’t care about Mel’s opinion of Jews — America has room for a few more bigots and racists — but it would be interesting to know what goes on in the fantasy world that is Mel Gibson’s mind. I can hardly wait for his collaboration with Michael Moore.
— Richard Donley
New Lyme, Ohio
I find it significant that neither Hal G.P. Colebatch nor his several detractors made any mention of the film that is the REAL source of Mr. Gibson’s problems with Hollywood.
Making a film that has been described as “the first time Hollywood EVER got Vietnam right,” Mr. Gibson committed HERESY in collaborating with retired General Hal Moore, the officer who as a young Army Lieutenant Colonel had commanded a brand new (and vastly outnumbered) AirCav battalion in the seminal battle of the Ia Drang Valley in November 1965 to bring his riveting account of this harrowing experience — “We Were Soldiers Once and Young” — vividly to life on the big screen. That film not only depicted American heroics on the battlefield, but also conveyed a respectful portrayal of the NVA general commanding his heretofore un-blooded force, unleashed from heavily fortified positions in the dominant Chu Pong Massif to massively and repeatedly attack this small, audacious heli-borne force in a battle that would footprint the tactics of both sides for almost a decade to come.
Personally I found the MOST impressive aspect of this Gibson film in which he starred and directed, was his portrayal of the REAL heroes of Vietnam: the wives of far off soldiers who had to shoulder the massive burden of doubt, the agony, the risk — and for many, the gut wrenching loss — in grace, courage and dignity as they attempted to keep some semblance of sanity in their day to day family lives, living in dread fear of a telegram delivered by a taxicab driver.
In the wake of “The Patriot” which gave a dramatic lesson in WHY we have — and why we NEED — a Second Amendment, “We Were Soldiers” was a direct shot across the bow of the Cry Baby Boom/Blame America First Hollywood Elite establishment. At the time of this film’s release, the Hollywood establishment had invested more than a quarter century, concentrated effort and billions of dollars to portray all Vietnam veterans as crazed, demonic, bloodthirsty, suicidal alcoholics and dope smoking misfits.
Needless to say, in the wake of being thus bitch-slapped by a person once thought to be one of their own, Hollywood smoldered, awaiting an opportunity for payback.
Then came the Gospel taken as literal script by Gibson in his surprising moneymaker, “The Passion” (released on Ash Wednesday), which — like the 18 minute portrayal of the Roman soldier’s enthusiastic application of the scourge — flayed thin-skinned celebrities as a direct rebuke of Hollywood’s blatant and unending contempt for those who believe in God (especially Christians) and indeed took the Hollywood establishment down to the bone in a way that could NOT be ignored: MONEY TALKS.
Hollywood continued to simmer in barely concealed rage.
How can anyone possibly be surprised that Hollywood — and their slavering followers in our so called “news media” — would not PLUNGE headlong into a pool of long awaited vengeance over so trivial an event as a DUI and a few ill considered drunken curses? They have absolutely convulsed themselves to insure that this silly tempest in a chamber pot becomes a story “with legs.”
Speaking of revenge, I have waited a long time for the Cry Baby Boom/Blame America First elite to have their faces rubbed in the feces they have so generously deposited on a once decent society over the better part of four decades: HOW SWEET IT IS!
Mr. Gibson, as far as I am concerned, you are destined to be the John Wayne of the 21st century. If I might quote a line from “Lawrence of Arabia” (in the scene where he is leading his force of desert irregulars on the right flank of Lord Allenby’s drive to Damascus and encounters a Turkish column that has just finished killing and raping the inhabitants of a small indigenous village), might I respectfully suggest you take as your personal motto the battle cry of Lawrence on that fateful day when the forces he unleashed obliterated the Turks with deliberation and comprehensive enthusiasm over a period of several hours: “NO PRISONERS!”
GET SOME, Mr. Gibson, GET SOME.
— Thomas E. Stuart, Vietnam veteran and public school teacher
Well seems to me that if I had a dollar for every historically inaccurate movie that Hollywood has put out, then I would be retired in the Virgin Islands smoking cigars. Since I don’t live there, we can assume that an accurate historical movie is the exception, not the rule, in Tinseltown.
— Robert Shotzberger
Re: George H. Freeman’s letter (under “Sage Stein”) in Reader Mail’s Braveheart in Gallipoli:
Mr. Freeman: Do they not teach ratios in the math classes of Artesia, New Mexico? The remark of the equivalency of Israelis to Americans (12:600) is an obvious ratio, based on the population of each country. Get a life (or a math book)!
— C.D. Lueders
Re: Eric Peters’s Seat Belt Lashes:
I wonder if the people so upset about having to wear seat belts in cars wear them when flying? If so, why?
— Tim Clark
Bay City, Michigan
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