How does someone get to be a political pundit? How does someone become a political TV talking head? How does someone end up an opinion page columnist for The Los Angeles Times?
Right wing tool Jonah Goldberg has managed to achieve that mass media trifecta. And, in Jonah’s woeful case, his advancement is a victory of nepotism and narrow thinking over intellectual capacity, wisdom and common sense.
Goldberg has somehow become a nationally syndicated political columnist and frequent TV pundit without ever having entertained a serious thought in his lead-lined head. But before we delve into the shallow and flimsy foolishness of his most recent LA Times column — let’s examine how young Jonah rose to his lofty, loony professional position.
Baby Jonah was born in March of 1969 – a year after the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and the onslaught the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. Whatever young Jonah learned about the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960’s he must have read about many years after those epochal events. And his perspective had to have been colored by his mommy, Lucianne Goldberg.
Long before she became infamous for promoting the Monica Lewinsky scandal, publisher Lucianne Goldberg was already up to no good. Her son Jonah was just a one-year old baby when Lucianne co-founded the “Pussycat League” – an organization dedicated to opposing the women’s liberation movement. Jonah turned three during the 1972 presidential campaign while his Machiavellian mom was covering George McGovern’s candidacy as a reporter for the Women’s News Service. Problem was, Lucianne was on leave of absence from the Women’s News Service at the time. (Maternity leave?)
Later, it was revealed that she was being paid to spy on McGovern and those traveling with him.
Right wing toolery and questionable journalism are literally mother’s milk to Jonah Goldberg.
Soon after Jonah graduated from college in 1991, his mom’s creepy right wing bonafides helped him land into a gig at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. He joined National Review as a contributing editor in 1998 and was asked to launch National Review Online. In an intellectually vacant universe dominated by know-nothing blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity — a college-boy, think-tank nerd like Jonah won a reputation as a deep thinker. Much like Paul Ryan (remember him?) was considered a “serious” thinker with respect to the nation’s budget and debt.
And now, Jonah regularly appears on The Los Angeles Times opinion page. What he writes is usually shallow, ill-considered, conservative dogmatic drivel. His column this week is a case in point.
Here’s Golberg’s latest column in The Los Angeles Times, along with my commentary IN BOLD CAPS:
Goldberg: Soldier Girl Blues
The decision to allow women in combat hasn’t stifled the debate.
By Jonah Goldberg — January 29, 2013
What if, during the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney had accused President Obama of wanting to let servicewomen serve in combat? After all, Obama had hinted as much in 2008. What would Obama’s response have been?
HERE WE GO — JONAH STARTS RIGHT OFF BY SETTING UP A STRAW MAN. MITT ROMNEY DIDN’T ACCUSE PRESIDENT OBAMA OF WANTING TO LET WOMEN SERVE IN COMBAT – IT WASN’T EVEN AN ISSUE IN THE 2012 ELECTION. BUT, OH MY, WHAT IF HE DID? (LET’S JUST IGNORE THE FACT THAT JOURNALISTIC JONAH DOESN’T BOTHER TO CITE OBAMA’S 2008 “HINT” ABOUT WOMEN IN COMBAT. WE’LL JUST TAKE HIS WEASEL WORD FOR IT.)
My hunch is that he would have accused Romney of practicing the “politics of division” or some such and denied it.
BOOM! OUCH! JONAH LOWERS THE BOOM! HE GUESSES THAT IF ROMNEY HAD MADE AN ACCUSATION THAT HE ACTUALLY DIDN’T MAKE IN REAL LIFE – THEN OBAMA WOULD HAVE REPLIED IN A WAY THAT JONAH SIMPLY IMAGINES HE WOULD RESPOND. AND JONAH DOESN’T APPROVE! DID IT OCCUR TO JONAH THAT’S HE’S HAVING A FANTASY DEBATE WITH HIMSELF?
In any case, wouldn’t an open debate have been better than putting women into combat by fiat?
OH PLEASE, JONAH! DO YOU REALLY THINK OBAMA WAS THE GUY WHO “PUT WOMEN INTO COMBAT?” DIDN’T BUSH AND CHENEY ALREADY DO THAT? HAVE YOU READ THE HISTORY OF THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, JONAH? HOW MANY WOMEN HAVE BEEN KILLED IN COMBAT ALREADY? THERE ARE NO FRONT LINES IN THESE WARS AND MANY A FEMALE GI HAS ALREADY COME HOME IN A BODY BAG. WOMEN JUST DON’T GET COMBAT PAY – AND THEY DON’T GET THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADVANCEMENT THAT COME WITH COMBAT EXPERIENCE.
You’d think the folks who are always clamoring for a “national conversation” on this, that and the other thing would prefer to make a sweeping change after, you know, a national conversation.
Instead, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the change on his way out. And Panetta has been lionized even though it wasn’t really his decision to make. If the president didn’t want this to happen, it wouldn’t happen. Perhaps Obama let Panetta run with the idea, just in case it turned out to be a political fiasco.
THIS IS A LOT OF ILL-INFORMED, WHOLE CLOTH CONJECTURE ON JONAH’S PART: TWO PARAGRAPHS OF COMPLETE NON-JOURNALISM. DID CUB REPORTER JONAH EVER TALK TO SECRETARY PANETTA – OR EVEN AN UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE (SPEAKING OFF THE RECORD IN THE SHADOWS OF A WASHINGTON PARKING GARAGE) — ABOUT HOW THIS DECISION WAS MADE? OR DID JONAH SIMPLY YANK ALL OF THIS SUPPOSITION OUT OF HIS RIGHT WING RECTUM?
The good news for Obama is that it hasn’t been. Absent any informed debate, polls support the idea.
OHIGOD! A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT GENDER EQUALITY IN THE U.S MILITARY! HOW SHOCKING! I’M SORRY JONAH DIDN’T GET A CHANCE TO MODERATE “ANY INFORMED DEBATE” ON THE ISSUE. IF JONAH HAD BEEN THE NATIONAL DEBATE MODERATOR, WOULD THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HAVE REJECTED THE IDEA THAT WOMEN SHOULD SERVE IN COMBAT? I DOUBT JONAH’S POWER TO MOVE THE MATION’S CONSCIENCE. (SEE, I CAN RAISE STRAW MEN, TOO! IT’S EASY. I SIMPLY IMAGINE JONAH DOING SOMETHING – AND THEN I CAN CRITICIZE HIS ABILITY TO DO THE THING I IMAGINED HIM DOING!)
Indeed, the Republican Party has been shockingly restrained in even questioning what is a vastly bigger deal than the lifting of the half-ban on gays in the military — “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The mainstream media have celebrated the milestone and largely yawned at the skeptics.
Most lacking from the coverage is any attempt to explain how this will make combat units better at combat. Instead, we’re told that gender integration is necessary because without combat experience, it’s hard for women to get promoted.
HERE, JONAH STARTS TO GET IN OVER HIS HEAD. HE WANTS TO APPEAR FAIR AND REASONABLE – BUT HIS PREDJUDICE IS CLEAR AND INESCAPABLE. IN THE NEXT FEW PASSAGES, HE STARTS TO SOUND A LOT LIKE THE INTOLERANT MORONS WHO ARGUED AGAINST BLACK SOLDIERS SERVING ALONGSIDE WHITE SOLDIERS IN COMBAT.
Lifting that glass ceiling is an understandable, even lofty desire. But what does it have to do with making the military better at fighting?
YAWN. ANOTHER CODDLED, SILVER SPOON CONSERVATIVE CHICKEN HAWK SHARES WITH US HIS INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF HOW THE MILITARY WORKS. JONAH EVEN KNOWS MORE THAN A FORMER AIR FORCE INTELLIGENCE OFFICER.
My point isn’t that women should be kept out of all combat roles. Indeed, as many supporters of the move are quick to point out, women are already getting shot at. “In our male-centric viewpoint, we want to keep women from harm’s way,” Ric Epps a former Air Force intelligence officer who teaches political science, told this newspaper. “But … modern warfare has changed. There are no true front lines; the danger is everywhere, and women have already been there in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
True enough. But does anyone believe such changes are permanent? Will we never again have front lines? Or are the generals simply fighting the last war and projecting that experience out into the future?
IS JONAH SERIOULSLY CONJECTURING THAT THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN ARE OUTLIERS – AND THAT, IN THE FUTURE, WE’LL RETURN TO WARS WHERE THE FRONT LINES ARE CLEAR AND WELL-DEFINED? SINCE JONAH IS SO GOOD AT IMAGINING — WHAT WARS DOES HE IMAGINE. OUR BIG, SET PIECE WAR WITH CHINA? IS HE DREAMING OF OUR INVASION OF NORTH KOREA? OR IS HE CONTEMPLATING OUR INVASION OF IRAN — WHICH, OF COURSE, UNLIKE IRAQ OR AFGHANISTAN, WOULD HAVE CLEAR FRONT LINES, RIGHT? HAS JONAH EVER HEARD OF ASYMETRICAL WARFARE? GUERILLA WAR? INSURGENCY? OR IS HE STILL WISTFULLY WATCHING “SANDS OF IWO JIMA” AND “THE LONGEST DAY”?
Heck, if we’ll never have wars between standing armies again, we can really afford to cut the defense budget. Something tells me that’s not the conclusion the Pentagon wants us to draw.
OH, GOOD LORD. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL JONAH TO PUT HIS TOY SOLDIERS BACK IN THE BOX AND CRACK A BOOK ON MILITARY HISTORY? EVEN WARS BETWEEN STANDING ARMIES CAN DEGRADE INTO GUERILLA WAR AND INSURGENCY. SADDAM HUSSIEN HAD A STANDING ARMY IN IRAQ, REMEMBER? THEY JUST DIDN’T STAND VERY LONG AGAINST OUR INVASION. INSTEAD, THEY MELTED AWAY TO FIGHT IN CRAFTIER WAYS: TO DO THINGS LIKE BOMB AMERICAN MESS HALLS IN THE GREEN ZONE.
AND BTW, JONAH – YOU AND I BOTH KNOW THAT, GIVEN THE CLOUT OF THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX – WE COULD HAVE NO ENEMIES AND FACE THE PROSPECT OF ETERNAL PEACE – AND WE STILL WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCE THE PENTAGON BUDGET.
I CAN’T STAND ANYMORE OF GOLDBERG’S COLUMN, SO I’LL CUT TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH…
Obama’s decision hasn’t stifled the debate, it’s merely postponed it until the day Americans see large numbers of women coming home in body bags too.
WE’VE SEEN FEMALE SOLDIERS IN BODY BAGS ALREADY, JONAH. THAT’S WHY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND SECRETARY PANETTA ARE CHANGING THE POLICY – AND ACKNOWLEDGING THAT WOMEN ARE ALEADY SERVING IN COMBAT.
PLEASE, LOS ANGELES TIMES, CAN’T YOU JUST RUN ANOTHER FUNNY POLITICAL CARTOON IN PLACE OF THE BRAYING, BANAL WORK OF THIS HAREBRAINED HACK?
Vic & Paul & Obama & Mother Mary — Blog 2012: The Third Year In Review.
Days after the year 2012 ended, I was delighted to join with my wife, daughters and Cleveland relations to celebrate the 80th birthday of my wonderful mother, Mary Barrosse. I knew I was tardy in posting my blog’s 2012 year-end review — but honoring my mom in the grand style she deserves came first.
2012 was a very busy year on this blog — dominated by the “The Vic & Paul Show” Summer Tour and the momentous Presidential election. Vaudevillians Vic & Paul traveled to Chicago, Cleveland, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles — and President Obama covered even more ground than that (often in one day). We both emerged victorious — and when all was was said and done, Victoria and I might have come out slightly ahead because we don’t have to deal with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.
2012 was also the third year for this blog. And it was a very good year.
Paul’s Voyage of Discovery & Etc. has attracted over 129,900 views in 2012 — nearly doubling the number of visitors that dropped by during this blog’s first two years. (There were 62,900 visits in 2012.) I’ve posted 255 articles since this blog began and you folks have contributed 1,231 comments. Politics and history remain among the most popular topics.
This is not the real subscription sign up box. The real one is further to the right. And up a little…
I continue to be honored that 118 subscribers have signed on to have my posts automatically delivered to them via e-mail. (And 31 more folks follow this blog on Twitter.) Are you a subscriber? If you’re not — then look to your right at the photo of the saluting Matey and follow the simple instructions to “Hop Aboard!”
Most of my posts focus on the main topics I established at the outset of this blog: history, adventure, politics, sailing and rock & roll — plus relentless promotion of The Practical Theatre, my band Riffmaster & The Rockme Foundation, and The Vic & Paul Show. But what posts were readers of this blog most attracted to this year?
What follows is a list of The Top Ten Most Popular Posts of 2012.
Just click on the title of each post to access the original article.
1. Victory at Pearl Harbor
Originally posted in 2010 on the anniversary of the “day that will live in infamy” – this post has become an annual event. A lot of military history fans visit this blog, but I think Pearl Harbor fascinates and resonates with Americans whether they have an interest in military history or not. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks took more American lives – but Pearl Harbor was the shocking opening act in a drama that ultimately made the United States the world’s preeminent superpower. Can we say that we’re a better nation after 9-11?
2. Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!
On December 15, 2010 – the 215th birthday of our Bill of Rights – I wrote this basic primer on the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. For some reason, it’s become one of the most-read post in the history of this blog. I guess that’s because Americans still give a damn about their rights and are keen to understand their Constitutional foundation.
3. The Occupy Wall Street Movement Doesn’t Need Black Bloc Buffoonery
The bold, brave and vital Occupy Wall Street movement has inspired a lot of posts on this blog since 2011 – but this post, written on November 2, 2011, has proven to be the most popular. Maybe that’s because people agree that we don’t need a bunch of cowardly anarchists screwing up a noble movement that ultimately helped to put Barrack Obama back in office. Without Occupy Wall Street, would Romney’s attack on the 47% have evoked such a profound and spirited response?
4. A Childhood Memory of Kent State, May 4. 1970
On the May 4, 2012 anniversary of this very dark day in America history, I posted this personal remembrance of a young Ohioan’s earliest memories of that terrible day.
5. Growing Up in the Space Age
The last American space shuttle launch inspired this July 14, 2011 remembrance of my personal connection to the Space Age. This popular post salutes my fellow Ohioan, John Glenn, who served as both the first man to orbit the Earth and as a Senator from my home state. I wish that my three daughters had grown up experiencing something half as exciting and inspirational as The Race to the Moon.
6. My Book Report: “The Battle of Midway”
What a great book! What an amazing chapter of world history! On January 23, 2012, I wrote this review of a book that captures all the incredible heroism, good luck, and turns of fate that made this epic World War Two naval battle an overwhelming victory that turned the tide of the war against Imperial Japan.
7. A New Presidential Biography Reminds Us Why We Should Like Ike
Even if Los Angeles Times editor Jim Newton weren’t my good friend, I still would have written this September 28, 2011 post extolling the virtues of his excellent biography of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
8. The Top Ten Rock & Roll Singers of All Time
There’s nothing like a Top 10 list to promote discussion on a blog – and this December 5, 2011 post did just that. Check it out – and then weigh in with your own opinion. Just realize that your opinion on rock & roll singing cannot possibly be as informed as my own.
9. 150 Years Ago Today
Since the spring of 2011, we’ve been in the midst of the American Civil War sesquicentennial: the war’s 150th anniversary. Between now and April 2015, there’s an opportunity every day to write the kind of post that I wrote on March 13, 2012.
10. The Wrecking Crew
Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine, Carol Kay, Tommy Tedesco, Leon Russell, Earl Palmer: the cream of Los Angeles studio musicians in the late 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s became known as “The Wrecking Crew”. I’m thrilled that my March 21, 2011 blog article celebrating Tommy Tedesco’s son’s marvelous documentary film about these rock & roll legends has proven to be such a popular post. If you haven’t done it already, start a Google search on “The Wrecking Crew” now. Until then, your rock & roll education is not complete.
So, that’s the best of 2012. Stay connected. Subscribe. And please post those replies!
Here’s to another adventurous voyage in 2013!
And here are the All-Time Top 10 Blog Posts from January 2010 up to today:
1. Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!
2. Victory at Pearl Harbor
3. The Occupy Wall Street Movement Doesn’t Need Black Bloc Buffoonery
4. History & Honeymoon: Part Three
This post was also the #3 post in 2010. 23 years ago, my wife Victoria and I went to Gettysburg and other Civil War battlefields on our honeymoon! I needed no other assurance that I had married the perfect woman. On our 20th anniversary, we returned to Gettysburg. Now both students of the battle, we walked the battlefield on July 1, 2 and 3, 2010 on the 147th anniversary of that critical conflict. My four-part account of our battlefield tramping became one of the most popular items on the blog. (Originally posted July 20, 2010)
5. Aliens Among Us?
I’ve always wondered where singular, epochal, “out of this world” geniuses like William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci and Bob Dylan came from. So, on January 26, 2011, I wrote this speculation on the possible alien origin of such monumental minds. Evidently, my curiosity (if not my Erich Van Daniken “ancient astronaut” fantasy) is still shared by a lot of people who read my blog in the past year.
6. Growing Up in the Space Age
7. Bazooka Joe, Jay Lynch & Me
One of the first posts I wrote for this blog back on January 9, 2010 celebrated my brief but soul-satisfying collaboration with the legendary underground comix artist, Jay Lynch, who gave Vic and I the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write a series of Bazooka Joe comics. It was one of the great chapters in my creative career. The Practical Theatre Company, Saturday Night Live, Behind the Music, The Vic & Paul Show and Bazooka Joe. Can I retire now?
8. The Saints Come Marching In…
This was the #1 post in 2010 — and, like the Saints, has shown staying power. The New Orleans Saints got 2010 off to a great start by winning the Super Bowl. (What about that bounty scandal?) So, why does a man who was born in Cleveland, went to college and met his wife in Chicago, and moved to Los Angeles two decades ago care if the New Orleans Saints finally won a Super Bowl after years of epic gridiron failure? Simple: my daddy was New Orleans born and raised. Who dat say what about dem Saints? (Originally posted February 8, 2010)
9. History & Honeymoon: Part Four
2011 was the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the American Civil War – and that might be the reason that two of my “History & Honeymoon” posts are still among the most-read this past year, including this one, posted on July 26, 2010. This post covers everything from my wife Victoria and I battle tramping Pickett’s Charge on the third day of Gettysburg –to our visit to Philadelphia and the eccentric, visionary artwork of Isaiah Zagar.
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