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Quote of the Week

"Extremism is so easy. You've got your position, and that's it. It doesn't take much thought. And when you go far enough to the right, you meet the same idiots coming around from the left."

-- Oakland native Clint Eastwood, in the Feb. 28 issue of Time

March 4, 2005 | Permalink


Does this mean when we get to facism we turn a corner and run into the liberals?

Posted by: Peasant | Mar 4, 2005 5:37:24 PM

Thomas Paine once said, "Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principal is always a vice."

If someone screams "I am a moderate; we should all be moderates" at the top of his lungs and flails around like a lunatic, would he be considered an extremist? Can an "inappropriate" display of emotion be extreme, even when devoid of "extreme" content?

Is Mr. Eastwood right? Is it easy to be an extremist? Is it easy to be an ALF or ELF sympathizer with arguably "noble" values that run counter to society? Is this ideology merely the result of mechanical thought processes or rather the result of an intense philosophical journey?

Was it easy to be Jesus, considered an extremist in his time? Was it easy to be Baruch Spinoza or Jan De Witt (the political leader of the Netherlands in the 1600's), both considered extremists by the conventions of their time. Why were they called extreme? In large part because they were proponents of democracy when the Dutch people did NOT want democracy. Jan and his brother Cornelius (who held a minor political position) were lynched by the towns people, hung in a square in The Hague. Their body parts were proudly displayed in store fronts all over town.

Who shall we call extreme? The townspeople who displayed the body parts? The De Witts with their pro-Democracy stance? Both? Neither?

Even though I suspect I am again somehow criticizing your belief in "the objective" (as opposed to "the subjective"), you are still my favorite extremist!

Have a nice weekend.

Posted by: Charlotte | Mar 4, 2005 6:20:42 PM

Yes, and that is why, Jerry, you and another left wing Politico Tom Hayden have always appealed to the right wing Libertarians.

You guys went so far left that you came around the back side and ended up on the Libertarian right.


Or is this a circular argument?

Posted by: Flap | Mar 4, 2005 7:18:51 PM

Such statements do not shock the artist. In fact, we look forward to seeing them stated again and again as such.

This is indeed the statement of an artist, no? As Mr. Eastwood has firmly established himself as an award winning film director..., an assignment much better suited to his talents than that of any political protocol?

Naughty, naughty, Mayor Brown. You DO know better.


Posted by: corrine gignac | Mar 4, 2005 8:51:13 PM

"The decent moderation of today will be the least of human things tomorrow. At the time of the Spanish Inquisition, the opinion of good sense and of the good medium was certainly that people ought not to burn too large a number of heretics; extreme and unreasonable opinion obviously demanded that they should burn none at all."

- Count Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
Belgian poet, dramatist, essayist, Nobel prize for literature

Posted by: Thomas Hawk | Mar 4, 2005 11:56:58 PM

"Was not Jesus an extremist for love — "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice — "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ — "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist — "Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God." Was not John Bunyan an extremist — "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist — "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist — "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice — or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime —the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment."

- Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968)
American civil rights leader, clergyman, youngest recipient of Nobel Peace Prize in 1964
from Letter from Birmingham Jail (April 1963)

Posted by: Thomas Hawk | Mar 5, 2005 12:01:38 AM

If you're a successful celebrity though, like Dirty Harry, you're on an elite private golf course with your cronies, say at Pebble Beach, and thus avoid the clashes of the "rabble", regardless if they are right-wing nutcases or leftist fruitcakes; though of course you may discuss it later that evening over Merlot with your wifeys du jour at some posh Monterey bistro.

Posted by: hick | Mar 5, 2005 9:26:07 AM

Clint's quote is both true and untrue. It's easy to throw up Jesus and Lincoln, but not easy to be them.

Not every madman is a messiah. Not every messiah is a madman. Knowing the difference between the two is a difficult trick indeed.

Posted by: Sid H. Tha | Mar 5, 2005 12:25:59 PM

Ah, the hipgeoise and their penchant for Buddha.

But once the Germans marched into Paris and the Vichy government was installed, le grande bourgeoisie ran back to gay Paris to enjoy the good life undisturbed by regime change. And the workers, the true patriots of La France ran to the woods and points outside the country.

And Buddha was nowhere to be found, seen or heard)(Bon Voyage,a film NOT directed by Dirty Harry).

Posted by: Be Hikkus | Mar 5, 2005 12:56:00 PM

good work mayor jerry brown......keep on blogging...the people of oakland appreciate a mayor who blogs for the people every day...........

Posted by: Give Me Liberty | Mar 5, 2005 1:04:20 PM

Continuation of my earlier post.....

Suppose we accept the flawed, but commonly accepted paradigm of a left to right political continuum, how does one move right, as Mr. Eastwood suggests, and end up on the left? I am not sure, unless one is talking about both extremes exhibiting a tone level of fear / anger. The extremes could be called shrill and moralistic, but this is probably a gross generalization.

I can, however, see how moving left could result in a position on the far right. The view of the right in my somewhat erroneous continuum would be that the far right wants a few (corporations) in control.

If one accepts the definition of the "left" as the group that protects the voiceless, the powerless, the forgotten ... then the natural progression would be to protect the truly voiceless – animals and nature. They are excluded from our political system, without representation, except by a small-time politician, such as myself, whom you would probably call an "ideologue." Right, Jer?

But I am no more an ideologue than you; we both have our perspectives of the world, and we both alter those perspectives when it makes sense to do so.

Nonhuman species have no standing in court; yet corporations do. Nonhumans are virtually excluded from the conversation in our anthropocentric and speciesist society.

I think a move left means to move away from Democracy – which is really just a rule by the elite (humans) – to an Omniocracy (which I describe as a government of, by and for all living beings). The European Union has added nonhumans to their Constitution, as have Switzerland and Germany. New Zealand, India and Reggio Emilio, Italy have outlawed using animals in ways we normally think acceptable in the U.S. (boiling lobsters alive, keeping fish in small bowls, vivisection, etc.).

We are trailing behind other nations. Even though Arnold says we amend every seven years, I think it would be difficult to sell this idea to our "What's the Matter With Kansas?" country at this time. It would be easier to sell it to the state of California.

You may be thinking what would stuffing a few extra words in the state Constitution really do? Well, words are a powerful tool and an important start. You know that better than most after all your years in politics.

Lastly, why does this move to the left spit us out on right? Because to implement policies that foster the idea that nonhuman species have value "in and of themselves," requires a "top down" government or rule by a few (although not by corporations, of course).

People are self-interested (as are all species) thus cannot be expected to vote against their self-interest. Legislators, however, are different (or should be) because they receive their self-worth from helping others, being fair, inclusive, looking at the "big picture." Plato got this part of his "Republic" right in my estimate.

I'm sure my words will be attacked by some of your feisty bloggers, but these sentiments represent a genuine attempt at discourse and a sincere attempt to influence you – someone who will always have a voice -- regardless of the number of years you choose to remain in politics. There will always be a microphone at your disposal.

Please do me a favor... Ask Dharma what she thinks.


Posted by: Charlotte | Mar 5, 2005 10:35:05 PM

Now stop it Jerry, this is twice this republican has had to issue you official kudos. Clint's quote is a great find and worthy of publication. More to the point though, this stance isn't going to win you any points with Babs Boxer, Howard Dean, Antonio Villaraigosa or Gil Cedillo.

Keep it up! Your party needs some salvaging. It's hellbent attitude of appealing to the far left is precisely why they are diminished. Two, or more, strong parties is what is in the country's best interest. Extremists on either side of the national or statewide debate need to be confined to their perspective.

California (and much of the nation) has no such debate as most state and federal districts have been gerrymandered (with 97% of statewide incumbants re-elected) and the end result is that only extemist points of view are represented. The plethora of Sacramento estremists don't even come close to representing the state and that crappola needs to end.

At this point, and without knowing who the opposition is, I'd support you for AG. Of course, I'd also support you to take the place of that dimwitted Eason Jordan at CNN, but that's perhaps another debate. The point is, I think you should be writing blog columns, MSM columns and helping to actually frame the national debate. You have the smarts, you have the inside knowledge and you certainly have the personal ethics to do so with the barest minimum of personal bias.

Posted by: Lee | Mar 5, 2005 11:15:09 PM

The Clint quote is an offtopic diversion of where we've been going with the discussion. Rehashing old cliches are meaningless in the present discussion.

Jerry, the most truthful thing you've said is the feds are NOT going to give aid to the cities and for the poor and that Oakland is extremely limited in what's previously been state and fed responsbilities.

Therefore, it seems the best thing you can do is to your position as a bully pulpit to support State Sen. Gloria Romero who is working to break down the walls stigmatizing ex-cons and give them access en masse to programs that enable them to turn their lives around. l) Giving the access to HUD housing;2) giving them access to Pell grants 3) giving them access to food stamps 4)pressing for in-prison education and drug rehab programs.5) not lobbying for legislation that further stigmatizes and brands blue collar crime and 5) lobbying for state and fed prgrams for employment programs or supports.

But not setting up token systems and claiming that's helping thousands in need which is growing to millions incarcerated throughout entire country.

After this has been done, then it's up to the individual ex-felon whether or not he either chooses or even has the capacity to turn his life around.

This is something you HAVEN'T done and are not likely to given the fact that you perceive the attorney general position as a law and order position.

Yep, you've adopted the traditional law and order simplistic and moralistic response to problems that are rooted in federal and state social and economic policies in this country such as the abandonment of public work programs in favor of welfare programs that removed work ethics and attitudes. This is an issue that neither left nor right talks about. But its an issue that is affecting a growing number of individuals whether they be welfare recipients in large inner cities who are now seeing all their supportive programs slashed to the bone or workers in red states in the manufacturing or industrial sectors whose jobs have gone south or east. It's impacting the family farmer who is being supplemented by the new marijuana farmers. Afghanistan has been officially declared a Narcotics State after $80 billion was poured into it that wiped out neither terrorism nor poverty.

These are the policies we should be talking about. But Hollywood elites and the liberals are blissfully unaffected. None live in the inner city and don't have poor black neighbors. So they make films debating the "nonissues" like mercy killing and euthanasia while the proposed federal budget cuts even more education and medical programs. Prgrams they don't depend on and never will have to use.

But then if we want to run for Attorney General, we need money from Hollywood don't we? So, your little offtrack diversion makes sense in this regard.

Posted by: Val | Mar 6, 2005 10:12:49 AM

Eastwood's statement is classic and true!

And no, fascist turning the bend wouldn't run into a liberal, but a communist.

Posted by: Mark | Mar 7, 2005 10:32:05 AM

But President Chavez of Venezuela who was re-elected democratically with 58% of the vote says a "new socialism" is the answer to developing countries and is implementing the "Bolivarian" solution in his country. Did they have a facist government in Venezuela before he came in or will they have a facist government after he leaves?

A Venezuelan minister just spoke at the Commonwealth or some such outfit in SF last week about Venezuela's oil deal with Chevron who is building plants down there.

The U.S. is largely dependent now on the goodwill of Red China to maintain the strength of the dollar against the Euro.

It seems to me we better get careful what we say about these commies or else they might pull the plug on our dollars and demand euros. Uh oh, up go interest rates and down goes homeowner equity and becomes negative.

But I can understand how nervous and upset and hence more belligerent our SEcretary of State Ms. Rice is getting. This socialism "thang" seems to be spreading throughout Latin America.

Posted by: Peasant | Mar 7, 2005 11:31:50 AM

Peasant, socialism doesn't work. Never has never will.
Chavez stole the election. The experts that JIMMY CARTER brought down confirmed the election was stolen after studying the evidence for four days. Chavez was LOSING 58-42 percent at noon.
There was no turnaround, just ignore certain areas, and double up on the pro Chavez.
Carter said it was legit after only 24 hours and after only reviewing the evidence showed to him by Chavez officials, and not much evidence at that.
He then took off saying he had a wedding anniversery to celebrate.
Carter said it was legit to make George W. Bush look bad, proving what a pathetic old man he is.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 8, 2005 1:38:14 AM

I believe you are misinformed. The Carter Center convened a panel of experts including those from UC. Berkeley to study claims of voter fraud based on 4 different categories. Read page 130 of the l40 page Carter Center report. http://www.cartercenter.org/documents/2020.pdf
The Carter Center concluded that "none of the statistical studies examined here present evidence of fraud."

Also, the Organization of American STates and the State Department (U.S.) have also confirmed election results.

Whether we like it or not, he won with 60% of the vote when 98% of the vote was in. The question is what are we going to do about it?

Are we going to unilaterally invade every country, assassinate any world leader whose system we don't agree with like Hitler did marching and invading every country in Europe?

BTW, if you want to look at voter fraud read about the recent ballot envelopes that were washing up in SF recently or the thousands they found just plopped somewhere out of sight in SF. Or the ballots that were discounted in Ohio due to the wrong paper weight or the thousands of voters who were purged from the rolls in Ohio before the elections. Or the voting machines that were moved out of highly populated urban areas into suburban areas. Would you wait 9 hours in the rain to vote? Or the fact that Ohio refused to implement i.e., spend federal monitor to change it's obsolete hanging "chad" machines to modern ones. I'm not going to talk about the nonverifiable electronic machines the U.S. uses which are used NOWHERES else in the world.

Let's move the agenda.
So, has Jerry moved from the left to the right, or has the right moved Jerry to the right?

Posted by: peasant | Mar 8, 2005 1:32:39 PM

true belivers on both sides of the aisle are the biggest threat; they are ideologues, and an ideology defines their reality, rather than vice-versa. and jerry can take responsibility for his own very real shift; his interests have changed, thus his worldview has changed. at least he's somewhat flexible.

Posted by: MOE | Mar 8, 2005 4:59:18 PM

So, name the person who is not an "ideologue" and who doesn't have a worldview.

Tell me where the "aisle" is today? And who defines who sits where? Jerry? Does he do the defining? Who defines the terms and positions? Fox News and the other big 4?
Fox News spend their time reporting mainly the Republican National Committee position and blasting Democrats. Are they ideologues?

What about Jeff Gannon the recently discovered male prostitute who was granted a permanent press pass to the White House based on false credentials and used his position to attack other legitimate longstanding press representatives on behalf of George Bush and to formally "out" a C.I.A. agent? That is when he wasn't officially spouting Republican propaganda.

Let's not call these people "ideologues". Let's call them the President and the Mayor. And let's paint anyone who challenges their viewpoint or "cooked" truths as left "subversives" on the wrong side of the aisle.

Let's pin labels so we can silence our critics and suppress the truths that do not support our positions. And, let's call that being "flexible".

Jerry's interests might have changed but human nature has remained basically unchanged. Greed and lust are still driving forces in the world and those who "have" don't act any differently than those who "had" centuries ago. And the labels used to define those that have "rich" and those who don't have "poor" haven't changed either.
Just the name for the advocates, the skeptics, the critics, and the dissenters.

Posted by: Observer | Mar 8, 2005 6:40:47 PM


"Does this mean when we get to facism we turn a corner and run into the liberals?"

No. Fascism has a Marxist pedigree. Hitler and Mussolini were both socialists before they were fascists. In fact, Hitler never thought of himself as anything other than a socialist. That is why he precisely named his movement National Socialism. Fascism is a left-wing ideology, not a right-wing ideology. The extreme right are theocrats, not fascists.

Fascism was invented at the beginning of the last century to address the "Crisis of Marxism." At that time, leading Marxist theoriticians began to recognize the inherent contradictions of Marxism - i.e. that Marxist ends could not be achieved by Marxist means. Fascism was what they came up with to deal with these contradictions. It is Marxism purged of its liberal elements.

When we get to fascism, we will be leaving the socialists behind, who in turn have left the liberals behind. Socialism was the precondition of fascism in the middle of the last century, just as it is today. Contemporary examples are Russia and China.

If you really want to understand the origins of fascism, read von Mises or Hayek. Don't believe what your Marxist professors want you to believe. They just want to distance themselves from the devastation their ideological predecessors wrought in the 20th Century.

Posted by: HA | Mar 9, 2005 4:06:48 AM

In support of my argument, I offer Charlotte as Exhibit A:

"I think a move left means to move away from Democracy – which is really just a rule by the elite (humans) – to an Omniocracy (which I describe as a government of, by and for all living beings). "

Welcom to fascism.

Posted by: HA | Mar 9, 2005 4:24:13 AM


The cries of voter suppression by the Democrats are a myth designed to whip African Americans in particular into a hysteria and keep them on the plantation.

If Democrat election officials in Democrat districts are too incompetent to run an election properly, maybe voters should replace them with someone who can.

Posted by: HA | Mar 9, 2005 4:31:03 AM

"von Mises or Hayek". von Mises was a quack.

The old right-wing, fratboy schtick that "nazis were leftists" is a mistake. Nazis were nationalists and racists, and german corporations--IG Farben, Krupp, Siemens, and others--were completely involved in their rise to power. And there were many theocratic elements to the nazis--as most know, Hitler and other leading nazi monsters were catholic, at least in name; Goering was protestant and the majority of the german infantry was lutheran.

No doubt the stalinists had fascist tendencies, but Marxism was, at least initially, not inherently racist or nationalist--indeed it was an international struggle of working classes. Marxist theory/economics does have serious flaws, but equating it to the nazi/aryan racialists is an insult to whatever good that came out of marxism.

But the current democrats do resemble Mussolini's blackshirts in many respects; they are to be contrasted, however, to the Brownshirted republican militarists and corporatists.

Posted by: skeptic | Mar 9, 2005 10:11:07 AM

Thanks for blogging Mayor.

Posted by: Give Me Liberty | Mar 9, 2005 12:27:55 PM

Some extreme views get pretty cynical, they say "seams that," and then end with the zinger, "goes to show."

I think the Democratic party has forgotten issues such as these that put Clinton in the White House: welfare reform (workfare), more police for the streets, more border agents. People say those are conservitive positions but in fact serve to help low income Americans who in this age are the most ignored. Many since have found hope going back to work along with diminished trouble where they live and have less competition from ilegal aliens lowering competing wages down to nothing thus taking away jobs for them. Education is good too if it gets you a life.

Posted by: Bruce | Mar 9, 2005 10:53:02 PM

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