REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM
- Koni, we hardly knew ye. When National Public Radio began playing classical music, we knew Konstantin Chernenko had gone to his reward. The new Soviet tyrant and his wife, Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev, whom some Westerners have compared to John and Jacqueline Kennedy, must have extraordinary pillow talk:
On a recent visit with her husband to Britain, Mrs. Gorbachev drew praise for her cultivated manner and dress. A philosophy graduate from Moscow University, she is said to teach Marxist-Leninist theory there now. (New York Times, March 10, 1985)
- Students at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will vote on a referendum, April 2-9, which asks for university transportation to "ground zero" sites, where nuclear missiles are likely to strike and thus provide a quick death. (Los Angeles Times, February 22, 1985)
- Red Dawn, titled Die Rote Flut, has been withdrawn from a dozen theaters in West Germany following protests about it.
The Frankfurt-based Anti-fascist League said the American film is spreading "warlike and national antagonisms as horrendous, slanderous, and barbaric as we experienced under Nazi rule." . . .
The league called on the West German government to denounce the movie and demanded that it be removed from all West German theater houses on grounds it violates a constitutional ban on incitement to war.
"Obviously this hate film is supposed to help West Germans more easily digest the basing of American first-strike weapons," the league said, comparing the film's message to the rabid, anti-communism of Nazi propaganda czar Joseph Goebbels. (Los Angeles Times, January 12, 1985)
- Mary Frances Berry and Blandina Cardenas Ramirez, a.k.a. the U.S. Civil Rights Commission's silly sisters, dissent in the Commission's report on a recent affirmative action case, Firefighters Local Union No. 1784 v. Stotts:
Civil rights laws were not passed to give civil rights protection to all Americans, as the majority of this commission seems to believe. Instead they were passed out of a recognition that some Americans already had protection because they belong to a favored group; and others, including blacks, Hispanics, and women of all races, did not because they belonged to disfavored groups. If we are ever to achieve the real equality of opportunity that is the bright hope and promise of America, we must not deny our history and present condition by substituting illusion for reality. (Toward an Understanding of Stotts, January 1985)
- Historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., stridently protests President Reagan's Central America policy:
. . . Mr. Reagan faces the obstacle of the Boland Amendment, which prohibits U.S. support for the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government. When asked about the Boland Amendment in his press conference, our president responded with an airy reference to "some of the proposals that have been made in Congress." The Boland Amendment is no proposal. It is an act of Congress, signed into law by Ronald Reagan. (Wall Street Journal, March 1, 1985)
A Journal editorial on the same page noted that the Boland Amendment had "expired at the end of 1983...."
- And the Ku Klux Klan is a laundromat chain:
The Institute for Policy Studies describes itself as a nonprofit educational research organization specializing in the study of national security measures and relying on foundation grants and private donations. (Los Angeles Times, January 5, 1985)
. . . the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal group often critical of U.S. defense planning. . . . (Los Angeles Times, February 14, 1985)
- The Physicians for Social Responsibility, a group claiming 32,000 doctors, dentists, and health professionals in the U.S., meet to discuss the horrors of nuclear war. Among the speakers was a Dr. Ulrich Gottstein of Frankfurt, West Germany. In his homeland, he relates,
Eight thousand MDs have signed an oath stating that medical treatment for victims of nuclear war is an "illusion," and that they would refuse to participate in medical preparations for nuclear war.
In World War II, he said, some German doctors, a minority, participated in research, torture and killings in prison camps. But, he vowed, "We physicians of the present day shall not again break the Hippocratic oath." . . .
Ed Begley Jr. emceed a gala Saturday night banquet honoring Carl Sagan. Goldie Hawn was there, to tell everyone she was happy "to be with a group that can face the truth about nuclear war." (Los Angeles Times, February 13, 1985)
- The electoral college selects the President, and the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Times, and politicians show their peculiar understanding of American politics:
The archaic electoral college system represents a compromise reached by the Founding Fathers between direct election by the people or having presidents chosen by Congress. It dates from the days when the United States was a young, agrarian nation, and the old system has survived more than 500 proposals for abolition or major change. (Los Angeles Times, December 18, 1984)
Why all this falderal? Because the founding fathers didn't trust us. Despite the efforts of tricksters who would tell you it has something to do with big states vs. small states, the Electoral College is a monument to elitism.
Simply put, the framers of the Constitution could not imagine anything as radical as having the chief executive of a nation—the democratic counterpart of a king—elected by the common people. (Washington Times, December 18, 1984)
Speaking to reporters today, the House majority leader, Jim Wright, called the Electoral College "a relic of the powdered wig and snuffbox era."
"It's a charming exercise," the Texan said, but "I think it's outlived its usefulness."
A few minutes after the [electoral college vote] counting ended, Representative George W. Gekas of Pennsylvania, a Republican, called for creation of a Presidential commission to review the machinery of the Electoral College. (New York Times, January 8, 1985)
- Dan Rather, interviewing Secretary of State George Shultz at the Geneva talks:
When you were sitting in the room with [Soviet Foreign Minister] Gromyko, as a person, as a human being, did you sense that you were sitting across the table from a friend and fellow inhabitant of the planet, or that you were negotiating hard and tough with an enemy? (CBS Evening News, January 8, 1985)
- But Jesse Jackson knew why the talks did not get any further than they did: "Jackson claims they inevitably must reach an ideological impasse, because 'Neither man was authorized to feel.'" (The Cooper Point Journal of Evergreen State College, January 17, 1985)
- On consecutive pages (5 and 6) of the Los Angeles Times, January 17, 1985:
"U.S. Apologizes to Poland for Radio Slap." The U.S. government dissociates itself from that [Radio Free Europe] broadcast and regrets any implication of similarity between Nazi Germany and present-day Poland, and particularly between Adolf Hitler and [Polish dictator] Gen. Jaruzelski," State Department spokesman Alan Romberg said. . . .
"Police Proposed Throwing Polish Priest from Train, Witness Says," A secret police captain charged with kidnapping and killing a pro-Solidarity priest proposed to intimidate the cleric by tossing him from a moving train, a witness testified Wednesday.
- Sweden, one committed neutral: "Sweden massed 22,000 soldiers on its border with Norway today in its largest military exercise since World War II, aimed at showing it is ready to repel attacks from the west as well as the east." (New York Times, February 25, 1985)
- At a University of Southern California conference co-sponsored by the United Nations, several speakers denounced growing "ethnocentrism" and "cultural brainwashing" in Western and particularly in American education.
Most Westerners are brought up to believe that progress stems solely from the European Renaissance, Erskine Childers, [director of information for the U.N. Development Program] said. "This is simply not true. . . . Most of the ideas for progress were drawn from what today is considered the Third World. . . ."
Sometimes, [U.N. population student Stephen] Viederman said, population problems are . . . more a matter of population distribution than absolute numbers. He cited the Bhopal disaster in which 2,000 Indians were killed. . . . Because [the Union Carbide] plant offered jobs, the plant was almost immediately surrounded by shanty towns. . . .
If buses or other means of commuting had been available to workers, Viederman suggested, the death loll would have been much lower. (Los Angeles Times, February 27, 1985)