Political Science’s Hateful Pseudoscience: Harvard’s Theda Skocpol Wants The Tea Party to Stop Participating in Politics

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Unlike literature professors, whose impenetrable secret twin languages and embarrassing fixation on their own genitals tend to keep them off the editorial pages, political scientists are always with us, especially during elections, when they slap on their wizard hats to make predictions that range from the pseudo-wise (I predict there will be . . . an election on November 7) to the pseudo-scholarly (Obama is magic!).

Political science just keeps getting worse as the last holdouts from a generation that at least feigned objectivity die off and get replaced by ideologues who are so far removed from objectivity that they’re feigning scholarship instead.

Nowhere is this tendency more obvious than in the growing field of Tea Party Studies.  No, they don’t call it that, but they might just have to invent a name to tell the paramedics.  Tenured political scientist types contemplating this citizen participation movement become so unhinged that their normally pseudo-scientific discourse spins off into something that virtually needs to be translated back into English from banshee.  All the shrieking is surely tough on those last five unreconstructed poly-sci professors cowering at the end of the hall, longing for the days when they could quietly feed voter lists into the Harwell Dekatron.

I’ve been trying to read the growing crop of academic Tea Party books alongside the growing crop of academic Occupy books, but it’s like watching a coven try to stab their mothers to death while using a Ouija Board to wake up the chicken they had for dinner last week.  One would think, based solely on evidence from the library shelf, that the many, many millions of highly constructive participants in the Occupy movement managed to cure cancer using only the consensus model of decision-making while the two dozen or so Tea Partiers were busy out back burning tires and forcing the womenfolk to mend their pointy hoods for them.  And I realize that last bit is not funny, but it is a not-inaccurate description of what academicians think about the Tea Party: they think (to use the word loosely) that Tea Partiers are murderous, calculating-yet-stupid racists who need to proactively be wiped from the earth, or at least the voter rolls, if ever American politics can be made to emanate goodness and light again.

Take, for example, this essay by the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University, Theda Skocpol.  There’s a lot to laugh at, from Ms. Skopol’s breathless Cosmo style of describing her own scholarship (she deploys a “full panoply of research”) to her bizarre euphemism for virtue: “active government.”  Then there’s her evidence for proving that the Tea Party is stupid: Tea Party members, she tells us breathlessly, sometimes vote for different people during primaries:

During the last election cycle, no far-right candidate ever consolidated sustained grassroots Tea Party support, as those voters hopped from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum.

For those of you unschooled in the full panoply of the academic method, what Skocpol is saying here is that Tea Partiers are so stupid that they actually hold differences of opinion, unlike Democrats, who are demonstrating only intellectual prowess when they, say, dump Hillary Clinton in the 11th hour because Barack Obama’s handlers managed to paint a big R on her forehead while his aides snapped photos of themselves drunkenly fake-raping a cardboard cutout of the former First Lady.

Once you get the hang of the theoretical framework (Democrats good: Conservatives eeevil; Tea Party rrracist), the rest of Skopol’s work isn’t hard to grasp — because there isn’t any of it.  It also can’t be very hard to write, which at least makes her efficient at playing faux populist while carrying water for the insider trading billionaires, hedge fund owners, real estate developers, trust fund babies and other secretive Democracy Alliance types who pay her and her fellow intellectuals to criticize the Tea Party . . . by accusing them of being dupes for secretive billionaires, hedge fund owners, real estate developers, and trust fund babies.

Out here in the non-academic air, such behavior is called psychological projection, or just dishonesty, but in academia it goes by the name of civic engagement, and Ms. Skopol is one of the most civic engagers around, being director of the Scholars Strategy Network, which describes itself as “a federated membership association for civically engaged scholars at colleges and universities across the United States.”  It is really a multi-campus-based propaganda tool for the Democratic Party.

The practice of political science was bad enough when its confidence men merely combined the calculated dishonesty of political operatives with the logorrhea of the intellectual class.  But now that academia has tipped to full-throttle leftism, it has grown both more shrill and less intelligent, even at its own invented games.  Ms. Skocpol actually presents, as evidence of Tea Party malfeasance, the fact that Tea Parties sometimes produce voter’s guides.  The voter’s guide is an entirely ordinary political tool used, of course, by all political parties, but in the hands of the Tea Party it becomes, to Skocpol, a de facto weapon of malevolence:

[V]arious right-wing tracking organizations … keep close count of where each legislator stands on “key votes”—including even votes on amendments and the tiniest details of parliamentary procedure, the kind of votes that legislative leaders used to orchestrate in the dark.

Horrors.  The Tea Party is so actually civically engaged that its members want to know how congressional voting works and to share that knowledge with others.  How dare they question the totemic rituals performed by our Capitol Hill Overlords.  This sort of thing would be funny if it were not disturbing that an endowed Chair at Harvard would argue that citizens should not look too closely at politics — and that she does so in the name of civic engagement.

But the kicker is this: Skocpol doesn’t just think the Tea Party is full of stupid people.  She wrote the editorial in question in order to dumb down her “research” to make it accessible to the little people on her own side, the ones who agree with her politics.  That is the mission of the Scholars Strategy Network, though of course they put it differently on their homepage.  It is a measure of how little she thinks of the little people of the Left that she doesn’t admit to them that Scholars Strategy Network itself promotes political report cards as she denounces the Tea Party for using political report cards.

And so Theda Skocpol efficiently conflates all the magical beliefs driving political science today: if the Right does something like voting, it’s bad; if the Left does anything, it’s noble — and — if political scientists are doing it, it’s obviously above reproach.

 

Case Update: Frederick Lee Gude’s three murders

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Recently, William Steele wrote to this blog asking about the latest murder conviction involving Frederick Gude, who killed Mr. Steele’s father in southeast Atlanta (my old neighborhood) in 1969.  Gude received a life sentence for that crime but walked out of prison a mere eight years later — eight years for taking a life.  He was sent up again in 1983, got out again, then killed a second time.  For that “voluntary manslaughter,” Gude was sentenced to five years.  He  walked out of prison for a third time in September 2003, then four months later he stabbed his girlfriend to death with an ice pick.  Along the way, he accumulated the usual, heinous, un-prosecuted and under-prosecuted acts of domestic violence, and other serious crimes.  Earlier this year, AJC reporter Steve Visser interviewed Gude’s adult daughter, a Marine Lieutenant Colonel who said this of her father:

“There are some people who shouldn’t walk amongst us” [she said] … “This is his third killing. This is the third one that we know of” … [S]he knew her father as a child – when he wasn’t in prison – but her mother quickly left him behind after he was released from prison the first time. He used to beat her mother and he stabbed at least one relative. Violence, she said, was her father’s defining characteristic.  “Some people kill in the heat of moment,” the Marine said. “For him, every moment is the heat of the moment, if you say something he doesn’t like.”

Frederick Gude: Three-Time Killer

Run-of-the-mill criminals don’t attract elite legal help, but once you’ve accumulated a body count like Mr. Gude’s, and capital punishment is on the table, the suits show up.  For his latest murder defense, Gude secured Atlanta defense attorney Thomas West (on the taxpayer’s dime, undoubtedly).

Thomas West: Not Atticus Finch

Mr. West is one of those defense attorneys who market themselves as civil rights heroes with the assistance of corrupted civil rights groups like the once-storied Southern Christian Leadership Council(SCLC), which long ago stopped doing anything but stealing their donations, accusing each other of stealing, and giving “Drum Major” awards to defense attorneys like West who specialize in returning brute killers back to the communities they victimized before and will victimize again.

For their part, Mr. West and his defense bar peers may fancy themselves modern-day Atticus Finches, but they sure don’t bill in croker-sacks of turnip greens, as the fictional Finch did while helping poor white and black sharecroppers avoid entailment, malnutrition, and lynching.

Today’s defense attorneys deploy sleazy technicalities to help serial predators escape consequences while bleeding taxpayers dry.  Or, as West puts it on his website:

Again and again, the law firm is complimented for the intense attention it pays to each detail of a client’s case, and its willingness to explore every legal angle in order to come up with the best possible outcome for each client.

In client Gude’s case, Thomas West obstructed justice for nine years, at a cost of many hundreds of thousands of dollars to taxpayers (and into his pocket).  Of course, it takes a village to really obstruct justice, and West had help from many quarters, including Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore, who simply didn’t bother to set a trial date as witnesses died and victims hung in limbo.  See here for my previous post on West’s manipulations of the justice system on behalf of Frederick Gude.  That was nearly five years ago, and the case just resolved in 2013.

By holding the justice system hostage with a blizzard of pretrial motions on behalf of Frederick Gude, Thomas West finally succeeded in getting Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard to take capital punishment off the table, as Steve Visser reported last February:

District Attorney Paul Howard, who said Gude’s age persuaded him to drop the death penalty request after Gude turned 69 in July, contended that the lengthy wait not only undermined the case, but also cheated the victim’s family and taxpayers. Two key eye witnesses died while awaiting the trial. By the calculation used by the sheriff’s office, housing Gude cost more than a quarter of a million dollars.

“They have a legitimate question to ask Fulton County about why are you taking so long to dispense justice,” Howard said. “This will make the third person he has killed in our county and he is allowed to sit in jail for nine years. It is unconscionable.”

Also unconscionable?  Thomas West’s vicious remarks belittling the victim of Gude’s latest crime.  West urged the court to go easy on his client, explaining that Gude had done nothing “heinous” because he just stabbed a woman to death with an icepick. Gude’s crime wasn’t a hate crime, you see, because he picked a woman to chop away at forty times (and left her 94-year old aunt locked in a bathroom near the body, where the elderly woman nearly froze to death, but hey, who’s counting?).

Here is West’s explanation for not considering icepick murder + attempted murder heinous:

“We contended it was cruel and unusual to seek the death penalty in a case where you are just accused of killing your girlfriend and not something more heinous. … In the past, the district attorney has not sought the death penalty in these circumstances.”

“Just killing your girlfriend.”  “Not something more heinous.”  Some people’s lives are just more valuable than other people’s lives.  A murder with the right mix of victim and offender will bring out the activists and the mayor marching around all puffed up with candles in little paper cups.  But Gude killed politically insignificant humans using non-heinous icepick torture, so, no heartfelt politician parades for his victims.

Yet despite West’s claim that the murder wasn’t heinous, he acknowledged that the crime scene photos of Gude’s last victim presented some “visual issues” that might have convinced even Fulton County jurors to vote for death.

Visual Issues.  Is there any limit to the degradation this man heaps on innocent victims of crime?

Thomas West was enabled in his serial lies about Frederick Gude’s murders by a criminal justice system that has spent sixty years institutionalizing such lies.  Words like heinous and hate have been warped beyond recognition in the criminal courts.  Unlike criminal investigations and trials in other western nations, our courts have become mechanisms for excluding facts, instead of seeking and weighing them.  Criminal justice is treated like a game, instead of the fullest pursuit of truth.  And so people like Frederick Gude and Thomas West game the system over and over again, with nary a peep from the tens of thousands of law professors and judges who are supposed to address such travesties.

When the justice system is in such institutionalized disarray that a murder trial can be delayed for nine years while attorneys file motions quarreling about how many thrusts of the icepick count as heinous, or a child rape trial can be delayed for more than a decade while Bob Barr and his peers argue about whether a professional fantasy role-player’s pretend illnesses can get him cut loose from the ankle-bracelet that is keeping him from raping more little boys, it’s time to start talking about whether the problem is something other than over-incarceration.

The worst part, besides the denial of justice, is that we actually pay these jerks to make such arguments.

Appallingly, Mr. West now uses his defense of Frederick Lee Gude as an advertising tool, featuring Gude’s case prominently on his website.  Gude will probably start appealing to be released early due to his advanced age any day now, which likely means more money in Thomas West’s pockets.  Nice little justice system we’ve got here.
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If anyone has information about Frederick Gude’s trial or his other crimes, please contact this blog.  Identities must be confirmed but will be kept anonymous.

Common Core: The Bluest Eye Debate

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I’m coming late to the discussion about the inclusion of Toni Morrison’s novella Bluest Eye on high school reading lists (it is a popular choice for high school and college English classes as well as women’s studies classes, and this popularity predates the relatively new Common Core standards debates).  Some activists who became aware of the Toni Morrison book through their opposition to Common Core are arguing that Bluest Eye endorses child molestation because the book contains a character who is a molester speaking in the first person, and Morrison herself has made comments to the effect that she is trying to get readers to see his point of view, comments that are being taken out of context and misconstrued.  Incidentally, the book is also extremely graphic, more graphic than many people who are weighing in to defend it seem to be aware of — I suspect many of them didn’t actually read the book.

I don’t think The Bluest Eye is in any way an endorsement of pedophilia.  But I also don’t think that it, and other “problem story” books like it, are appropriate for literature classes — nor that they are put on the curriculum for their qualities as literature in the first place.  We’ve turned English and literature classes (excuse me, language arts) into social problem encounter sessions — sessions that often devolve into narcissistic competitions between varying claims of victimization.

This isn’t a new development: when I attended high school in the early 1980’s, Ordinary People was the “problem story” we were spoon-fed.  I remember embarrassing classroom discussions where the teacher seemed to be screening us for The Warning Signs of Suicide Attempts By Nice Middle-Class Kids, and to this day I also remember the general horror when she tried to make us talk in class about references to masturbation in the story.  To make things worse, rather than just being about thinking about Elizabeth McGovern, who played the love interest in the film version, masturbation was presented therapeutically — as the solution to anxiety recommended to the main character by his earthy white-ethnic psychiatrist — so there were layers upon layers of creepy psychologizing and equally creepy racial stereotyping being imposed on us.

I remember thinking at the time that the moral lesson of Ordinary People was the opposite of the moral lesson of Johnny Tremain.  I also thought it might be a sneaky exercise in making us appreciate reading Shakespeare.  For that, at least, it was effective: I gladly embraced the rigors of Elizabethan verse after wallowing in the claustrophobic wimpiness and snide references to female WASP frigidity unleashed by Robert Redford in his unpleasant movie version of that unpleasant, practically anti-literary novel.

Poor Mary Tyler Moore, too.

The Bluest Eye isn’t appropriate for children.  Full stop.  And though it is generally recommended only for 11th and 12th graders, I don’t think it’s appropriate for them, either, because any protracted classroom discussion forces students to engage in a sort of competitive demonizing — whites and child molesters being the targets — while simultaneously forcing discussion of extremely graphic sexual assaults, which is not appropriate for any literature classroom — including college classrooms.

Yet, Bluest Eye doesn’t endorse pedophilia. It accurately depicts the ways pedophiles view their crimes — how they seek tacit approval from society while abusing and grooming their victims.  It’s a powerful book for that, though the ways I have seen it taught have much more to do with creating tension between students of different races based on the child character’s feelings about whiteness.  And the way Morrison conflates “whiteness” with child molestation from the victim’s perception is disturbing.

It might be a good book for a college or graduate-level psychology or criminology course if the purpose of the assignment was learning about the dynamics of sex offenses involving children.  It’s also beautifully written, though I think Morrison cribs an awful lot — pretty much everything stylistic — from Faulkner.

The justification given for such readings — the claims that “social problem” books should be taught to “sensitize” and give voice to victims and help them speak out — is largely just self-aggrandizement by educators.

The activists who became aware of The Bluest Eye through their scrutiny of Common Core materials are certainly on the right track.  Through fighting Common Core, they are gaining an ever-deepening understanding of what academia has become.  The movement is maturing impressively fast, and the deeper they dig, the more evidence they’re uncovering about the ways that Common Core is both a new threat to local control of education — and just the latest iteration of the political and emotional manipulation that took over K – 12 classrooms a long time ago.

But to say that The Bluest Eye is sympathetic to child molesters is not defensible.

 

Political Organizing Notes: The Irony of ALEC versus Better Georgia (and Their Apologists at the AJC)

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I have no use for monied special interests of any political stripe. But conflating the conservative business lobbying group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) with the Trayvon Martin tragedy, as Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal Constitution does here and has done elsewhere, is unspeakably sleazy.

Jim Galloway: Giving Indignation a Bad Name

The AJC used to practice some standards in its political reporting. No matter where Galloway’s predecessor stood on issues, he made an effort to be even-handed, and this sort of character assassination was not routine.  No more: Jim Galloway sets a deeply nasty, unprofessional, uninformed tone.

How uninformed?  It’s amazing how fast sloppiness takes over when the newsroom stops even trying to present a facade of objectivity.  This AJC story uncritically apes a press release from the vaguely-named, doesn’t-practice-what-they-preach group, Better Georgia.  And by being busy with such uncritical aping, Jim Galloway and his trusty polysci sidekicks miss some pretty glaring flaws —  one might call them ironies — in the Better Georgia report.

But “miss” is not quite the right term: “cover-up” is better, as I’ll explain below.

By all means take a look at the ALEC report from Better Georgia — you’ll see revelations of a bunch of $12 lunches and so on. Horrors!  Is it really possible that giant special interests buy legislators lunch, send them to conferences, and give them money for their campaigns?

The point is not that these are good things: outsized influence in politics is not good, but, contrary to what Better Georgia wants you to believe with their breathless exposé, everyone in politics does it.   Verizon does it and the ACLU does it; Apple Corporation does it; the Eagle Forum does it; Planned Parenthood does it; the Christian Coalition does it.

More to the point, Better Georgia does it, but what is even more ironic than just doing it is how they do it: they do it by engaging in precisely the same tax-deductible sleights-of-hand that they condemn in ALEC and others.  They do it with money funneled through various nonprofit schemes, some unaccountable, some with changing names, some using precisely the same tax reporting loopholes they scream about when other groups use them.

Ironically, Better Georgia is the real fake grassroots organization with a top-down agenda — an accusation they falsely fling at ALEC, which doesn’t pretend to be what it is not.  Better Georgia is the Georgia office for ProgressNow, a Soros-funded network of powerful leftist political operators who use their state-level groups to gain credibility in the media (a not-too-difficult task with sycophants like Jim Galloway to carry their water) and to present a local face.   Depending on the state, chapters of ProgressNow focus on different issues to mobilize local activism, but they focus mainly on the progressive/leftist/Democrat/public school employee/NEA agenda.

After all, that’s where state political power resides: educator unions are pretty much the biggest leftist power base, especially in Republican-controlled states.  In right-to-work  Republican states, they’re among the few unions powerful enough to make demands at all.  Teacher’s unions and other progressive groups use Better Georgia as a shell organization as scores of lefty foundations and donors from elsewhere help perpetuate and bankroll the fraud.  It’s a way for Democratic Party operatives to extend their state-level reach through faux-local politics.  Just take a look at their website: it’s a confection of professionally manufactured vagueness, right down to the neutral-sounding name and odd lack of detail.

Contrast this with ALEC, which openly names its corporate members and openly promotes its political agenda, no matter what you think of that agenda.

Better Georgia could not perpetrate this fraud without armies of lackeys in the media and in academia.  Ironies abound: in thousands of newspaper stories and a growing dungheap of pseudo-academic “studies,” the Tea Party, which is an actual grassroots movement, is attacked by the Jim Galloways of the world for being an astroturf group.  Meanwhile, Galloway and his editors at the AJC help perpetrate a deception by reporting on Better Georgia as if it were a real “grassroots” group arising spontaneously from citizen action, rather than the brainchild of a group of professional DNC operatives.

In some ways, Better Georgia has a similar profile to Americans For Prosperity, a national nonprofit of the right that partners (and I mean partner) with Tea Party groups.  I realize heads might explode at this comparison, but I think it’s apt in several ways.  In both cases, a national nonprofit that is not entirely transparent about its motives and organization creates state offices to maximize its influence on state-level legislation.  In both cases, the big nonprofit claims membership from among the ranks of local activists and purports to speak for those activists on a wide range of issues and legislation.  Both have people who join locally, but Better Georgia, being part of a leftist, union-driven movement, probably speaks more seamlessly for individual members’ interests because those interests — growing the government dependency culture, defending union and public worker turf, opposing school choice, socializing medicine  — march in lockstep with its members’ paychecks and pocketbooks.  The relationship between AFP and Tea Party groups is much more voluntary, and often much more rocky, a fact that speaks well for the Tea Party and even sometimes for AFP — at least when they play fair, which isn’t always the case.

AFP tries to use the power of the grassroots to advance their agenda, but the Tea Party and related groups are fiercely independent and genuinely citizen-led.  While they often have common cause with AFP, AFP is not the Tea Party, though in Florida in particular they pretend as if they run the movement, and I have seen some very ugly efforts in that state to try silence Tea Party activists.  I doubt Better Georgia has such problems — precisely because a victory for Better Georgia generally means that the taxpayers, and not their members, are on the hook for one thing or another: taxpayers are the grudging involuntary “partners” in Better Georgia’s every scheme.

And of course the media hysterically demonizes the Koch brothers, who make many jobs in this state and elsewhere and are reportedly very ethical employers, no matter the problems with AFP.  ALEC is similarly the victim of relentless media smears, a trend that is accelerating with this recent Better Georgia report — and the reports simultaneously generated in other states by other ProgressNow “affiliates.”

Better Georgia’s report on ALEC is pure partisan agitprop.  I haven’t had much time to look at it, but one thing immediately jumps out: the research selectively focuses on donations to Republicans in this state while ignoring donations made to Democrats by the very same companies.  This is a very useful side-effect of the state-based pseudo-activism model.  For example, in Republican-majority Georgia, ProgressNow’s front group Better Georgia can attack every company that donates to Republicans; meanwhile, their group in California, Courage Campaign, can avoid criticizing the same companies when those companies donate to the Democratic elected officials there.  That’s political expediency at its slickest (check out the website of Better Georgia’s California partner to see a less covert version of the group’s radical aims).

Also, when it takes three paragraphs to describe how a school choice bill for handicapped students is a Tool of the Man, you’re either not very good at producing agitprop, or you are very good at it.  It’s hard to tell, however, how good Better Georgia really is at manufacturing agitprop because they’re getting such a helping hand from the media — and the taxpayers, who were forced to fund that Grady High School video.

If there were real political reporters left at the AJC, there would be some semblance of nuance in discussions about Better Georgia, ProgressNow, ALEC, AFP, the Tea Party, and a host of other political issues.  Readers might even learn something when they read the AJC, which changed its slogan a few years ago from Covers Dixie Like The Dew to the highly funny yet less amusing following non-trifecta: Credible. Compelling. Complete.

Ed Kramer Guilty of Child Molestation: Now Will Bob Barr Face Consequences for His Role in the Deception?

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After leaving Congress in 2003, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr reinvented himself politically in dramatic ways.  He aligned with the ACLU, began advocating for the legalization of marijuana, and ran for president on the 2008 Libertarian Party ticket.  Now Barr is attempting to rejoin the Republican and conservative mainstream in a bid to secure Georgia’s 11th District congressional seat, where he is currently a leading contender.

Barr’s about-face on issues that alienate conservative voters left many wondering what he really stands for.  His role in the notoriously corrupt defense of now-convicted child molester Ed Kramer should raise more questions in voters’ minds.  Here is my previous post on Kramer’s decade-long manipulation of the justice system.

Edward Kramer, co-founder of the sci-fi and fantasy convention, Dragoncon, pled guilty in a Georgia courtroom yesterday to three counts of child molestation in a case that has been delayed thirteen years, thanks to repeated efforts by Kramer himself to claim medical incapacity.  Barr served as Kramer’s attorney until early 2013, when he decided to run for office again.  But Barr did not just serve as Kramer’s lawyer: he held the sci-fi purveyor up as the victim of a religion-fuelled witch-hunt; he helped him deceive the court regarding his client’s capacity to sit through a trial, and he helped him acquire an eyebrow-raising bond agreement that enabled Kramer to flee the state illegally, resulting in Kramer’s arrest in 2012 for endangering another child — a 14 year old boy Kramer had in his motel room in Connecticut.

As if these facts aren’t bad enough, Barr used the molester’s defense to promote his new libertarian politics.  You cannot separate the Kramer case from the person Barr is offering to voters, even if he tries to distance himself now.

In 2007 Barr told an audience at the Federalist Society that Kramer was a victim of his new pet peeve, prosecutorial over-reach.  Despite the fact that it was Kramer himself who had created the delays, Barr insisted that it was the fault of the state.  The video of Barr promoting Kramer’s case as a civil rights issue has, curiously, been scrubbed from the internet in the last 24 hours, but Barr’s incredibly sophomoric amicus brief on behalf of Kramer is going to be harder to erase.  Barr should be called on to re-release the video: he isn’t running for dog-catcher; he’s running for Congress, and his behavior and expressed beliefs between 2003 and 2013 should not be hidden from voters this way.

Ed Kramer, Out and About

Ed Kramer claimed for more than a decade that his medical condition prevented him from participating in a trial.  He claimed he was in excruciating pain, that he couldn’t walk or move or sit up, that he was not able to breathe.  Yet there are pictures of him from this time happily participating in a Dragoncon convention, and after Barr helped him get cut free from house arrest (a strange request from an invalid), he fled to another state and began filming a movie, where he was caught with the 14-year old boy in his custody.  He continues to play these legal games today.

Barr was not just Kramer’s defense attorney: he helped Kramer remain free through serial deception, then he helped Kramer blame the system — and the public — for trial delays he had actually created.  Along the way, Barr used Kramer’s case to assert that our justice system is corrupt and untrustworthy.  This is Barr’s political record for the last six years: by all means let him run on it.

Kramer avoided trial for almost a decade. He was released from house arrest in 2009 and the case remained in a holding pattern for two more years before he was allegedly spotted in a Milford, Conn., hotel room with an unsupervised 14-year-old boy.

Barr stayed involved in the Kramer case until it didn’t until it didn’t serve his political goals to be involved anymore.  He even lacks a strong commitment to injustice, is the best that might be said.

Is Katherine Ann Power Violating the Law by Profiting from the Murder of Officer Walter Schroeder? Did Boston University and Oregon State Help Her Break Parole?

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In 1970, Katherine Ann Power helped murder Boston Police officer Walter Schroeder in a bank robbery.  Power was a college radical who was helping arm the Black Panthers by robbing banks and stealing weapons.  Thanks to her violent acts, rather than any discernible academic accomplishment, she is now a celebrity in academic circles, like many other violent terrorists of her time, including Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Susan Rosenberg, judge and “human rights” law professor Eleanor Raskin, and Obama Recovery Act advisor Jeff Jones.

Officer Walter A. Schroeder

Officer Schroeder, a member of an extended family of Boston police, left behind nine children who were raised by their mother in public housing following his death — and at least four of his children followed him into police work.  Schroeder’s brother John, also a police officer, was murdered on the job three years after Schroeder’s death.

As the Schroeder family mourned their losses, Power went into hiding, aided disgracefully by feminist activists who sided with a murderer over the widowed mother and nine children she left destitute.  Such is the power of sisterhood.  Power’s boyfriend and fellow murderer-cum-political-activist, Stanley Bond (they met at Brandeis, which was admitting ex-cons like Bond as part of a government rehabilitation project), was a prison pal of serial rapist-murderer Alberto DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler.  But of course, hanging with serial killer rapists is no impediment to sanctification if you also hate the right people, like police.  By preaching the murder of cops, then murdering a cop, Bond and Power earned eternal approval in faculty lounges.  A feminist collective in Connecticut helped her change her identity after Schroeder’s murder.  Then a group of lesbian activists in Corvallis, Oregon helped her become a restauranteur.

In 1993, Power emerged from hiding and received a token sentence for her crimes.  She was also on the receiving end of a tidal wave of positive publicity for the story she composed about her time in hiding, most disgracefully from Newsweek Magazine, which grotesquely equated her “travails” in the underground with the suffering of Schroeder’s nine children at his death.  Equally grotesquely, the New York Times’ Timothy Egan portrayed Power as a suffering, traumatized victim of conscience — and a pretty terrific cook, to boot:

The therapist, Linda Carroll, said she had never seen a psyche so battered as that of the fugitive, Katherine Ann Power. It was impossible for her to believe that this bespectacled cook with the terrific polenta recipe, a person who would cry at any mention of family, had spent 14 years as one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 10 most wanted fugitives … Earlier this week, Ms. Power had a reunion with her family in Boston. On Wednesday, she was led in shackles to court, where she pleaded guilty.  Ms. Carroll saw her patient on television on Wednesday night; she saw that she was smiling. “I burst out crying,” she said. “I was so proud of her. She had walked away but she had walked away as a whole person.”

Carroll, Egan, and other attention-seekers piled on, shilling stories of their encounters with the beautific Power.  The murderer was credited with possessing a special sense of peace and enlightenment, something she is now monetizing in places like Taos, where she recounts her “journey”; the horrors of her brief prison sentence, and her current status as a “practical peace catalyst,” as she puts it.  This is a schtick she had perfected before emerging from hiding in 1993, when she hurried from perfunctory non-apologies to the family to immediately demanding attention through a “victim-perpetrator reconciliation program.”  Such programs, like many prison rehabilitation schemes, have become taxpayer-funded platforms for killers to goose their narcissistic pleasure through recounting crimes and claiming theatrical remorse.
At the time Powers was convicted, she was given a sentence that forbade her from profiting from her crime.  Her parole ended in 2013, and she is now making up for lost time, and cash: she has published a book, and the “Peace Studies” program at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where she lived in hiding for years, is honoring her this month.  Somebody should look into the legality of her earning money now from the murder of Officer Schroeder.

But even if she is permitted to profit now, did Power violate parole prior to 2013?  Powers’ sentence, and whether college and university presidents in Boston and Oregon helped her violate it, deserves further scrutiny.  Oregon State promoted her at an event that was held in 2001, while her parole restrictions on profiting from crime were still in place; they also awarded her a degree in Ethics that arguably was granted to her because of her notoriety.  Is there a paper trail on that?  She received a liberal studies degree from Boston University while incarcerated, a degree in which she wrote about herself being in prison: was this not profiting from her crime, too?

It is time to take a hard look at the blood money being earned by unrepentant criminals like Katherine Ann Power.  And any police officer residing in Oregon should call Oregon State to protest the current deification of a terrorist who preached the murder of police and then murdered a police officer.  You’re paying for it with your tax dollars — in fact, given the federal subsidies that are the lifeblood of all of higher education, we’re all paying for Katherine Ann Powers and her murderous academic peers.  Here is the contact information for the Oregon State’s president.

Katherine Ann Power, Enjoying her Newsweek Cover

When Katherine Ann Power was featured as a damsel-in-distress on the cover of Newsweek, one of Walter Schroeder’s children, then-Sgt. Claire Schroeder, delivered this powerful response:

“When Katherine Power and her friends robbed the State Street Bank in Brighton with semiautomatic weapons, my father responded to the call. One of her friends shot my father in the back and left him to die in a pool of his own blood. Katherine Power was waiting in the getaway car, and she drove the trigger man and her other friends away to safety.

“Twenty-three years later, Katherine Power stands before you as a media celebrity. Her smiling photograph has appeared on the cover of Newsweek. She has been portrayed as a hero from coast to coast. Her attorney had appeared on the Phil Donahue show. [She] is receiving book and movie offers worth millions of dollars on a daily basis.

“For reasons that I will never comprehend, the press and public seem more far more interested in the difficulties that Katherine Power has inflicted upon herself than in the very real and horrible suffering she inflicted upon my family. Her crimes, her flight from justice and her decision to turn herself in have been romanticized utterly beyond belief.

“One of the news articles about this case described it as a double tragedy–a tragedy for Katherine Power and a tragedy for my father and my family. I will never comprehend, as long as I live, how anyone can equate the struggle and pain forced upon my family by my father’s murder with the difficulty of the life Katherine Power chose to live as a fugitive.

“Some of the press accounts of this case have ignored my father completely. Others have referred to him anonymously as a Boston police officer. Almost none of the stories has made any effort to portray him in any way as a real human being. It is unfair and unfortunate that such a warm and likeable person who died so heroically should be remembered that way.

“One of the most vivid pictures I have of my father as a police officer is a photograph showing him giving a young child CPR and saving that child’s life. I remember being so proud of my father, seeing him on the front page of the old Record American, saving someone’s life. Years later, when I was a 17-year-old girl at my father’s wake, a woman introduced herself to me as that child’s mother. I was very proud of my dead father.

“More than anything, my father was a good and decent and honorable person. He was a good police officer who gave his life to protect us from people like Katherine Power. I do not doubt for a moment that he would have given his life again to protect people from harm. He was also a good husband and he was a good father. I have been proud of my father every single day of my life. I became a police officer because of him. So did my brother Paul, my brother Edward and, most recently, my sister Ellen.

“My father had so many friends that we could not have the funeral at the parish where we lived because it was too small. On the way to the church the streets were lined with people. As we approached the church, the entire length of the street looked like a sea of blue–all uniformed officers who had come to say goodbye to my father. I saw from the uniforms that the officers had towns and cities all across the United States and Canada. I felt so proud but so hollow. I remember thinking that my father should have been there to enjoy their presence.

“When my father died he left behind my mother, who was then 41 years old, and nine children. He wasn’t there to teach my brothers how to throw a football or change a tire. He wasn’t there for our high school or college graduations. He wasn’t there to give away my sisters at their weddings. He could not comfort us and support us at my brother’s funeral. He never had a chance to say goodbye. We never got a last hug or kiss, or pat on the head.

“Murdering a police officer in Boston to bring peace to Southeast Asia was utterly senseless then and it is just as senseless now. The tragedy in this case is not that Katherine Power lived for 23 years while looking over her shoulder. The tragedy is that my father’s life was cut short for no reason, shot in the back with a bullet of a coward while Ms. Power waited to drive that coward to safety.”

As the late Larry Grathwohl observed, the terrorists of the Weather Underground, the Black Liberation Army, the Black Panthers and other violent groups were not seeking peace: they were seeking communist victory and protracted, bloody revolution on the streets of America.  It is shameful that Oregon State University is honoring a murderer and terrorist in a so-called “peace program,” or any other academic pursuit.  It may be illegal that they endowed her with academic privileges and resources in the past.  Anyone wishing to share information for making the case that Powers illegally profited from her role in the murder of Officer Schroeder at Oregon State, Boston University, or at the Unitarian Churches that hosted her “peace” talks should contact this blog.

In 1970, Katherine Ann Power was radicalized by Stanley Bond, a killer empowered by the Brandeis University scholarship he was given because he had committed violent crimes; 43 years later, Power is being similarly empowered to deliver her coded messages of hate to new generations of impressionable students.  Whether or not Katherine Power can be held responsible for breaking the terms of her parole, it is time to start holding colleges and universities responsible for the fiscal support and academic honors they shower on people who murder police and others.  These academic officials have made their institutions accomplices to murder.

Lysenkoist Healthcare Promotion, Courtesy of the New York Times

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In its never-ending quest to act as the Official Organ of the Obama Administration (OOOh -Ah), The New York Times is finding new inspiration in Trofim Lysenko, the Stalinist agronomist whose peasant background, unwillingness to acknowledge errors, and willingness to send his scientific critics to their death catapulted him to the head of the Soviet Institute of Genetics.

Lysenko promised to “turn the barren fields of the Transcaucasus green in winter” through a process of exposing seedlings to cold, but his primary success lay in purging “bourgeois” adherence to the scientific method and replacing it with a “proletarian” belief that the plant world would respond to Marxist-Leninist pressures in ways identical to humans.  Unfortunately, because plants lack the forethought to worry about other plants sending them to Siberia, Lysenko met only with limited scientific success.

However, his ideas spawned a tremendously successful academic-political movement, Lysenkoism, which proved that militant adherence to Marxism/Leninism combined with public humiliation of politically incorrect peers could transform entire intellectual disciplines with great efficiency.  What wheat seeds refused to do, intellectuals adapted to, and by the 1940’s, Lysenkoist mediocrity was so prevalent among un-purged Russian scientists that the Soviets were, happily for us, stymied in their efforts to build nuclear weapons.

The practice of Lysenkoism begins with a political hypothesis (ie. “Stalin will like this”) and proceeds to subjugate all data to that theory.   It is not so much a scientific method as a filing system, like all grand collectivist schemes, and what it produces mainly is more bureaucracy, rather than more bread, or automobiles, or healthcare.

But Lysenkoism is very good at manufacturing bureaucracy.  Freed from the constraints of reality and the limits of the natural world, academics have proven to be especially resourceful at institutionalizing pet beliefs.

Beliefs are easier to grow than wheat, and for this reason, Lysenko retained absolute power in the Soviet Academy of Sciences until he didn’t anymore, at which time he was declared officially no longer “immune to criticism” and deposed in the manner to which he had become accustomed to deposing his enemies.

Nonetheless, Lysenkoism beats on in the heart of every utopian bureaucrat.  It moistens the pen that writes thousand-page regulatory bills and re-animates the botoxed brows of Today Show hosts who toil in the fields of daytime television, squashing dissent to the President’s Healthcare Great Leap Forward.

Granted, our cadres of official journalists are still awaiting the Great Leap Forward in media centralization that was sadly postponed when the Internet amplified voices other than their own.  They can only dream of confessions like this one, written (or at least signed) in 1949 by one Professor B. Kederov after he failed to appropriately admire one of Trofim Lysenko’s proclamations.  The idea that a thought crime could consist of not praising a leader fulsomely enough would have seemed alien in America a few years ago:

I consider it my party duty to state that I fully agree with the criticism and definitely denounce the sermon of alien cosmopolitan viewpoints that I permitted myself to carry out.  The danger of such viewpoints becomes especially obvious now, when all along the ideological front our party and the entire Soviet nation are engaged in a determined struggle against corrupt bourgeois ideology and against bourgeois cosmopolitanism as the ideological weapon of American imperialism; in this condition, the slightest advocacy of cosmopolitan viewpoints is direct treason to the cause of communism.

Lacking, for now, the power to extract public confessions, our fourth estate is limited to accusing the President’s opponents of thought crimes like racism and churning column inches of apparatchik prose  denouncing “bourgeois” opposition to Obamacare’s record-breaking harvest of successes.

Such reporting requires papering over of great expanses of facts to the point of Lysenkian absurdity.  For example, in response to the high costs already being imposed on small businessmen and other individual insurance purchasers, the Times on Sunday ignored that problem entirely, denounced the naysayers, and proclaimed that Obamacare was actually helping people who dream of becoming small businessmen in the future.  Don’t look at dour old facts, said the Times, look to the possibilities of an imaginary future.  This is Lysenkoist reporting at its best:

In the weeks since the health insurance marketplaces of the Affordable Care Act went online, a well-publicized ripple of alarm and confusion has permeated the ranks of small-business owners. But less well known is the response of another contingent: newcomers to entrepreneurship who see the legislation as a solution to the often insurmountable expense of getting health insurance.

The article profiles Rajeev Jeyakumar, co-founder of an “online job marketplace” website who just found out that he qualifies for enough public aid to pay $74 a month for health insurance in Manhattan that “even includes dental,” he gloats.  Lucky him: we are all subsidizing his teeth cleaning as he plays venture capitalist.  But Jeyakumar is chipping in by “refraining from using his Citi Bike membership or playing sports, lest he sustain an injury requiring medical care” until his taxpayer-subsidized health insurance kicks in.

The moral of this tale is understandably fuzzy, as the Times leaves out all pertinent facts, such as how much Mr. Jeyakumar’s health insurance will cost if he actually earns any money and ceases to be subsidized by the rest of us, or what he had planned to do if he had been mowed down by a bus prior to the time that the mere promise of Obamacare magically transformed him into a socially conscientious, non-Citi Bike-riding citizen.

Both Mr. Jeyakumar and Constantina Petrou, another web-based consultant profiled in the article, believe that they can now hire employees because of Obamacare.  Petrou claims she has been unable to hire full-time employees because of the price of healthcare but that Obamacare may enable her to do so “depending on the new costs of coverage.”  These costs, which would seem to be the point, are not further discussed.  Jeyakumar imagines he will tell his still-imaginary future employees to “shop the new health care exchanges on their own” and “bump up their salaries to cover the cost.”  Petrou “will either pay for a portion of the individual plans that her employees shop for on the exchange, or she may take advantage of tax credits and offer a small group plan,” the costs of which are also not discussed.

All of these options existed before the magic of Obamacare, only the promise of cheaper coverage has been replaced with the reality of massive price hikes.  But there is no need to discuss this if you are the New York Times and the purpose of your article is to attach negative adjectives like “alarmed” and “confused” to small businesspeople who are not appropriately “excited” and “happy.”

Besides, notes the Times, many more jobs are being created thanks to the problems that have been created by Obamacare.  Even the failure of the website and the “alarm” and “confusion” of small business owners are turning out to be job creators.  When government policies create a famine, the peasants will find new markets for their potatoes:

Jack Hooper is among those who see the law as a business opportunity … As he began investigating his own health care options, he realized that the Affordable Care Act could provide more than just access to coverage for his family … He anticipates that premiums will remain expensive, pushing many Americans to high-deductible plans, and that these people will need help in managing care-related expenses.

Hooper anticipates meeting that need, and he anticipates a big demand for his services:

Based on his previous experience working for the federal government, he says, he is not surprised by the problems that have emerged in the Healthcare.gov site. Entrepreneurs like him will end up providing the ultimate solutions to the problems that have emerged from the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Hooper says.

In other words, Mr. Hooper’s future small business success depends on charging money to small businessmen who cannot afford to pay medical bills that are not covered by the expensive new insurance they are required to buy under Obamacare: Obamacare is thus “opening doors for entrepreneurs.”  The series of magical beliefs required to commit this to the page probably wouldn’t make a Lysenko blush, but step-by-step we’re getting there.

Laying Out the Lies of the Left

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This is Leszek Kolakowski.  He is worth getting to know at this juncture in history; his essay, My Correct Views on Everything, is a classic rejoinder by an aging man who has seen the worst of the twentieth century and learned from it, addressed to somebody who has seen the worst of the twentieth century and is still making excuses for it.

That person is E.P. Thompson, seen here being admired by vast audiences for his views, roguish hair and faux-peasant sartorial choices.  If you attend a fairly rigorous college, or any arts and sciences graduate school, you will likely be assigned Thompson but not Kolakowski.  You are also likely to be attending a place where the school’s president earns far more annually than 99.9% of all those nasty “capitalist” businessmen being demonized by the faculty, who simultaneously do not think that it’s a bad thing for tenured professors and university presidents to get rich off the labor of others because their highly original thoughts on the horrors of capitalism merit six figures a year and a stable of adjuncts and grad students to do all the real teaching.

How much money do these gilded thinkers receive?  Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz, 600K annual retirement; Ohio State’s Gordon Gee, a $5.8 million package, including funds to pay taxes on what the taxpayers are paying him.

But Joe the Plumber is the greedy capitalist.

It makes perfect sense that a Thompson would be worshipped in such idiot temples and a Kolakowski not so much cast out as utterly erased.

In the kingdom of the blind, blind people are probably going to gang up on you and poke your last good eye out.

There is a far too modest book reviewer on Amazon whose description of Howard Zinn is too scatological to repeat — do find it yourself — but he explicates Leszek Kolakowski beautifully:

Kolakowski’s writings about Marxism are incomparably better than anyone else’s. For one thing, he knows the subject inside and out, having apparently read everything that Marx and his disciples every wrote, having spent much of his life in a communist country, and having evolved from Party member, to revisionist, to outspoken opponent. Then there is his matchless talent for lucid exposition: Marx’s ideas, muddled and impenetrable in their original form, become perfectly clear when Kolakowski talks about them.

As a critic of Marx, Kolakowski is scrupulously fair and objective, while pulling no punches. His analyses are models of honest, careful, trenchant criticism. His essays are also quite entertaining, full of self-deprecating irony, and biting sarcasm.

No one excels K. in the dissection of Leftist argumentation. In a highly amusing rebuttal of E. P. Thompson’s “open letter”, Kolakowski slams Thompson’s use of double standards: Whatever goes wrong in capitalist countries is attributed, by definition, to “the capitalist system”. Whatever goes wrong in socialist countries is excused as a “transitional phase” and/or is attributed to the remnants of capitalism, or to “capitalist encirclement” or to some other non-communist influence. An even-handed, empirical comparison of the two systems would show, says K., “…that the only universal medicine (the Left) has for social evils (state ownership of the means of production) is not only perfectly compatible with all the disasters of the capitalist world – with exploitation, imperialism, pollution, misery, waste, national hatred, national oppression – but that it adds to them a series of disasters of its own: inefficiency, lack of economic incentives and, above all…a concentration of power never known before in human history.”                                                                                           — Kurt J. Acker, “bookmuncher”

Sort of sounds like Obamacare, doesn’t it?

~~~

Now to the lie of the week.  It is expressed visually and verbally — amplified through the newspaper layout — and once you see it, it is impossible to un-see it, though I can’t show it to you because the page won’t upload.  Suffice to say, on Thursday, the top, left-hand corner of the New York Times featured this article:

G.O.P. MAPS OUT WAVES OF ATTACKS

OVER HEALTH LAW

TELLING VOTERS’ STORIES

Focus on Oversight by House Panels Meets With Successes

By JONATHAN WEISMAN and SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON — The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.” “Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”

The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack . . .

The article and headline insinuate that the public’s complaints about Obamacare are being manufactured by Republicans in shadowy back rooms.  The fact that Democrats also meet in back rooms to create shadowy messaging accusing Republicans of manufacturing the public’s complaints about Obamacare is not mentioned, of course, because the Times reporters are participating in that messaging.

So, it’s OK.

When Democrats do something, it’s good; when Republicans do the same thing, it’s evil.  Simple, once you get the hang of it.  For example, Weisman and Stolberg breathlessly report that the Republicans are using a “playbook” on healthcare, as if every single legislator in both parties did not have a similar playbook on each issue of import.  This is disgraceful stuff even for the Times, ugly bias and dishonesty disguised as reporting:

A 17-page “House Republican Playbook” walks members through “messaging tools” like talking points, social media tactics and “digital fliers”; details lines of attack; offers up a sample opinion article for local newspapers; and provides an extensive timeline on the health care law and an exhaustive list of legislative responses that have gone nowhere.

A message of the week is presented to the Republican members at the beginning of each week, Ms. McMorris Rodgers said. A “Call to Action” email chain distributes relevant breaking news. A new website, gop.gov/yourstory, is collecting anecdotes from each member.

Oh, no: a website collecting anecdotes?  Here is the White House website for collecting anecdotes by immigrants:

Unless you are one of the first Americans, unless you are a Native American, you came from someplace else. That’s why we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants. And we’ve always been better off for it.”

—President Obama

Share your own story to help remind Washington that we need an immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

Here is the Democratic website for collecting anecdotes about how the ACA has helped people:

Are you a young adult who has been able to stay on your parents’ plan? A small business owner who has received tax credits for providing insurance to your workers? Maybe you no longer have a lifetime limit on your insurance policy—ensuring that you’re able to continue receiving treatment for an illness without getting hit with astronomical medical bills. Or perhaps you’re a senior who now has access to free preventive care that you have put off for too long.

We want to hear from you.  How has health care reform changed your care?

I could go on and on . . . and on.  But you take the point: the New York Times is falsely asserting that the Republicans are doing something other than the ordinary political activities practiced by both parties.

Jonathan Weisman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg are lying about this.  Technically, the lie is a lie of omission — they do not admit that Democrats use identical message tactics, and they do not mention the playbook the other side is using in this specific debate.  But it’s a sleazy, highly orchestrated lie nonetheless.

It’s also not the only bold untruth on the Times’ front page yesterday.  The editors didn’t stop at a single act of sophistry above the fold.  They didn’t merely accuse their enemies, the Republicans, of astroturfing a real citizen movement; they also shamelessly pretended, in the next article, that messaging that actually is crafted by professional activists (and Times journalists) was merely an example of people speaking their minds:

Illegal Immigrants Are Divided Over Importance of Citizenship

By JULIA PRESTON

Glendy Martínez is waiting anxiously to see if Congress will ever pass legislation to allow immigrants like her, without papers, to stay in the country legally. But frankly, she says, she does not care if it will include any promise of citizenship.

With the earnings from her job in a Houston hair salon, Ms. Martínez, 30, is supporting one child born in Texas and three others she left behind in her home country, Nicaragua.

“So many people back there depend on those of us who are here,” she said. “It would be such a help if we could work in peace …”

And so on.  Apparently the Times just spontaneously found all these people saying the same thing about not wanting citizenship — by sheer coincidence.  No astro-turfing there.  No mention of messaging research by CASA de Maryland or La Raza or any of the dozens of well-heeled George Soros-funded groups agitating for open borders.  No mention of the paid trainers teaching people what to say to the media.  No mention of rooms with whiteboards and bunches of computers where the elected officials from NALEO analyze which messages work or don’t work with the public as they plot to slip immigration amnesty through during the holidays, while we’re busy and don’t particularly want to be screamed at for being racist for a few festive weeks.

No “multilayered, sequenced assault,” which is the exaggerated militaristic argot Weisman and Stolberg sneeringly used to smear the opponents of Obamacare.

Incidentally, the Times is also being deceptive about the desire of illegal immigrants to become citizens — note that in the article they carefully avoid citing any of the recent and well-publicized statistics on the subject, substituting personal stories or alleged personal stories (told by people who are already lying by being here) for facts they apparently would rather not address.

Fact: 87% of illegal immigrants recently polled by NBC want nothing less than full citizenship:

Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, an immigrant advocacy organization, said that practically everyone her organization works with hopes for citizenship rather than merely a green card.

“A lot has changed between 1986 and today,” she said. “There used to be a view that the line was blurred . . . but I think the line has become brighter about whether you’re a citizen or not and how you’re viewed.”

Many feel that only naturalization will allow them to feel fully engaged and accepted in their new country. “They don’t want to be a second-class citizen,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director at CASA de Maryland, an advocacy group.

The Times article uses old numbers, the very numbers that have been recently discredited.  Weirdly, they do so by attributing those numbers to Republicans, as if they were worried about being caught in a lie and decided to insinuate that it was Republicans, not them, who believed the wrong data.  Do they sit up in the Times newsroom all night, straining to create even more disinformation?  The article itself was probably crafted specifically to help run cover for the recent polls, which were not received well by those who don’t want to see blanket amnesty — in other words, most Americans.  Thus, the Times is committing its own “multilayered, sequenced assault” on both inconvenient truths and on the people who express beliefs they wish to silence or discredit.

Funny work for a newspaper.  In America, that is.  This sort of raw propaganda would be right at home in several of the places from which Leszek Kolakowski fled.

 

See also: Don’t Let Anyone Silence You On The Illegal Immigrant Amnesty Bill . . . Especially Other Republicans

 

 

Seventies Redux: Jim Jones, Rosalyn Carter — A More Innocent Time

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Thanks to Peach Pundit for linking to my logorrhea on healthcare navigation.  One of the fun things about being back in Georgia — as opposed to Florida, with its tedious palm trees, balmy beaches, and light traffic — is having an institutional memory of the political scene.  I spent twenty years in downtown Atlanta.

Once, when I was new to the city, I got off work around 3 a.m. from my job on the docks of the Georgia World Congress Center.  I drove past the Ponce de Leon Krispy Kreme donut shop, which looked way to scary to patronize, and went to an all-night grocery story instead.  In the dairy aisle, there was this wired guy who looked like he was coming from an adult costume party: he had on what  looked like a sort of mini-cape, with giant epaulets and lots of braid.  He had cornered an old woman and was lecturing her on the crucial differences between Jumbo and Large eggs.

Weird, I thought, and crossed the grocery story off my list of places to go to in the middle of the night.

Some time later, I saw the egg man holding a press conference on TV.  He was Atlanta Chief of Police (and future Clayton County Commissioner) Eldrin Bell.

Weird, I thought, and crossed Ponce de Leon off my list of ways to drive home from work.

Before I moved to Atlanta in 1988, the only thing I really knew about Georgia was that Jimmy Carter came from there.  Or, near there.  I’m sorry to say that where I came from, everything south of the Newark existed only vaguely to us.  To people in Poughkeepsie, Carter’s drawl, and Miss Lillian, and Billy all seemed as exotic as The Dukes of Hazard.  My parents, however, had loved the way the Carters walked to the White House on inauguration day, like ordinary people.

But sadly, there are no ordinary people in politics.  This week marks the 35th anniversary of the murder/suicide of some 900 people belonging to the communist cult called Jonestown.  Oh, you didn’t know it was a communist cult?  Did you know a communist killed JFK?  That Sirhan Sirhan, who killed RFK, was a cult hero to the American communist group, The Weather Underground?

Communism was still as common as herpes in the Seventies, something that’s very hard to explain to anyone under sixty today.

The list of politicians who helped Jim Jones create his communist third-world-hellhole-turned-murder-camp is long, weird, and disgraceful.  Jonestown wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill cult — it was a racket for stealing welfare and social security benefits from the vulnerable people lured there with the help of politicians like Harvey Milk, whose culpability is conveniently forgotten by those who wish to turn Milk into a martyr because he was openly gay and murdered in office.

Current California Governor Jerry Brown, Walter Mondale and Rosalyn Carter also hobnobbed with Jones, pre-massacre, and Communist Party member Angela Davis used her position as a professor at UCLA to abet Jones in events that led up to the massacre — something the highly-esteemed Dr. Davis does not include in her definitely for-profit speeches to academic audiences today.

Note the Bill Maher poster (?) behind the dancing soon-to-be mass murderer

The taxpayers of California are currently supporting an entire academic sub-discipline dedicated to Jones:  Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple, aka Jonestown apologetics, is ironically housed in the Department of Religion at San Diego State University.  Read my essay about the politicians and academicians involved with Jones here:

Mass Murderer Jim Jones: Religious Extremist or Atheist Stalinist?  Answer: What’s Best for the New York Times?

Tonight, Cliff Kincaid will be talking about the communists and the JFK assassination on the America’s Survival Roku channel and the online site Kenney TV — watch here on Roku, or live on the internet at 9:00.  And for evidence about the Soviets’ involvement in the JFK murder, here is Cliff’s article, Why the Communists Killed Kennedy, which references important work by Ion Mihai Pacepa and Humberto Fontova, two experts who are worth reading on this subject and others.

More stomach-churning Seventies nostalgia next week  . . .

 

 

Healthcare Navigators: It’s Not Who They Are, It’s What They Are

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The Georgia political blog Peach Pundit has issued a challenge to readers to find out if the “healthcare navigators” hired in Georgia to “educate” and sign people up for the Affordable Care Act are as corrupt as these Texas navigators caught on tape counseling people to lie about their income by the indefatigable videographer James O’Keefe.

I did a little research and found a range of credibility among the nonprofit groups that are either receiving federal tax dollars directly or are “partnering” with the people who received grants to provide navigation in Georgia.  But their credibility is not the real problem, as I’ll explain below.

According to Georgia Health NewsSEEDCO and UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Science and Cooperative Extension are receiving federal grants to provide navigators in Georgia.

In the (not so) private market, individual insurers are also “navigating” their customers through the health care exchanges with no federal grant money — unless you count the fact that they’re taking advantage of Obamacare by raising rates while simultaneously claiming victimization from the law, despite getting huge new pools of customers.  New customers’ premiums are largely paid for by their current customers through federal subsidies mandated by the law — so what’s not to love?  The insurers are putting on a good show of complaining, but what they’ve been doing under the sheets with the infamous Ms. Fed at the Crony Capitalism Motel would blow away the usual black light hotel bedsheet Primetime exposé.

My little family of two is facing a premium increase of between 180% – 240% next December for virtually the same high deductible plan we have now — and I know that the government and the private insurers are heading off to Vegas together to blow that wad on a good steak dinner together, despite all the finger-pointing on both sides, such as this blindingly insane class war Cokie Roberts/Kaiser Family Foundation video you really have to watch to believe.

Do note that we’re self-employed and buy our own insurance, so we don’t really count as humans under the ACA.  Think of us as the lab rats, the 5% already thrown into the nearest cages and hooked up to the electrodes.  What happens to us now will be happening to people in group plans later on, a timeline I still cannot believe is legal, unless by “legal” you mean “first screw all the people without lobbyists.”

you’ll be joining us in here soon

“Navigation” seems like a new concept to many people, but within the government subsidized healthcare/welfare industry — Medicaid, Medicare (yes, it is subsidized), WIC, Section 8, EITC and so on — there are always people doing some type of “navigation.”  In our current bifurcated economy, where the rich advocate for the poor to live like kings, navigators paid for by taxpayers help poor people sign up for every other-person’s tax dollar for which they could possibly qualify.  Many of these expenditures are a healthy and noble — supporting the truly disabled, for example — but when people play the system, we’re not only losing money to them; we’re paying navigators to teach them how to most efficiently pick our pockets.  And there is a lot of intentional deception that goes on, deception that gets systematically overlooked by the government employees administrating these programs.  Many of the most suspect Welfare Maximization Accomplice grants are laundered through university research — for example, I know of a university-based program in Florida geared exclusively at signing up illegal immigrant families for public benefits, though nobody would admit that out loud.

Academics play bag man in fiscal crimes against taxpayers all the time, reaping government grants and career advancement by pretending they are doing research, when what they’re really doing is handing out other people’s money, then using big words to declare the handout a success.  Studying themselves playing Daddy Warbucks with taxpayer sawbucks is how sociologists and others climb the tenure ladder.  They choose their favorite nonprofit, “partner” with them, then praise the nonprofit’s excellent performance in solving social problems, even if the executive director made off to Jamaica with all the money.

So long as it was stolen in a spirit of helping the poor, Professor Poodle can still brag about his commitment to the underclass when he’s not busy fuming about Fox News at the Departmental Nondenominational Solstice Holiday Party.

The fraud angle of all this ballooned under community organizer Obama, by design. Every rebranded ACORN worker out there offering free Obamaphones to welfare cheats is a navigator.  So I’m glad to see James O’Keefe doing what he does better than anyone — giving people a glimpse of the underbelly of our corrupt welfare state.

But fraud is a feature, not a bug of this system.  Another round of firing allegedly “rogue” employees for doing precisely what they were hired to do in the first place is the only reaction we can expect from the powers-that-be.  The rogue navigators aren’t really rogue –they represent the very spirit of the thing.

~~~

The real problem with navigators is what they are actually navigating — the collapse of boundaries between big corporations, big nonprofits, and the government.  So it doesn’t matter so much whether the entity doing navigation has a good reputation or a bad reputation: the activity itself fuels the belief that the highest calling of civic life is to transfer as much money as possible from working, taxpaying people to people who avoid working and paying taxes.  In a way, the Sharpton-level fraudsters handing out government-subsidized-iphones to crack dealers are the least harmful actors on the stage: they are expendable clowns, while the real damage is being done with subtle efficiencies by Chamber types who span the political spectrum.

~~~

In Georgia, the groups involved in government-subsidized healthcare navigation have a range of reputations.

Georgia Watch is a well-known consumer organization boasting a transparent track record of their activities.  Their board of directors (readily accessible on-line) includes Clark Howard, who has a great and very much well-earned reputation for advocating fiscal responsibility.  Their tax records are up to date, and they are responsive to questions posed to them.

Still, there are problems with what they’re doing, which I’ll get to below.

On the other hand, SEEDCO, which recently received $2.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services to provide navigators in Georgia, has an extremely troubling record of padding claims about numbers of clients served.  How troubling?  The New York Times actually went after them; the federal government actually filed charges against them, and they were actually found guilty of those charges, something that happens to big nonprofits wasting/stealing tax dollars about as frequently as the moon turns to blue cheese.  Luckily for SEEDCO and their extremely well remunerated CEO, Barbara Dwyer Gunn, the feds settled on the hilarious punishment that they must pay back a fraction of the taxpayer money they fraudulently pocketed and agree to actually follow, you know, laws from now on.

This is a fabulous example of white collar criminals getting away with a slap on the wrist.  But you won’t hear much whining about this sort of prosecutorial lenience from the usual sources because Ms. Dunn (400K plus a year) is a “social justice” worker running a noble “nonprofit” helping the “underserved.”

B.D.G.: her salary sure wasn’t docked for tax fraud

Incidentally, SEEDCO funnels taxpayer dollars to some Georgia nonprofits that also offer an incomplete or not very credible face to the public.  For example, recent tax filings by the Asian American Resource Foundation Inc in Suwanee do not list the names of board members.  Nor does the group’s website, though it boasts of “an 11-member Board of Directors, which is comprised of a diverse and committed group of African American, Asian and Caucasian men and women from the business and faith-based communities within greater Atlanta.”

Is this really a problem?  Yes, it is, because AARF receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal HUD grants and has done so over a number of years, during which time they continued filing those incomplete 990 tax forms.  Their tax forms state vaguely that the group “provides education to the unskilled with state grant and support shelter for homeless or the poor with federal HUD grant.”  This really smacks of dialing it in.  If AARF was some small, amateur nonprofit, I’d allow that filing mistakes were made.  But when it’s my money going into somebody’s pocket and they produce a tax return like that — well, if I hadn’t worked in the nonprofit service provision industry in Atlanta for years, I guess I’d be surprised by that kind of systematic non-compliance.

But I did.  So I’m not.

Other SEEDCO grant recipients in Georgia that fail to offer much information about how they’re spending our money include SPARC, the Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center (SPARC).  I couldn’t find a record of their 990s on the comprehensive GuideStar site.  Yet SPARCC boasts of involvement in VISTA/AmeriCorps, which is a federal program that provides select nonprofits with free (ie. taxpayer funded) full-time workers and more free (taxpayer funded) money for supervising those workers.

In other words, it is a program that gives free activists and boatloads of administrative money to left-wing nonprofit organizations, courtesy of the taxpayers.

SEEDCO gives grants to these agencies and many more like them — but the money they are giving away is taxpayer money.  In 2011, the taxpayers gave them $31 million, virtually their entire budget, and they played kingmaker with it, handing it out to left-wing groups that do various types of activism.  Much of their work is touted as “job readiness”, but the real business they’re in is coalition-building for political ends under the flag of “social justice” or “anti-poverty” or “family assistance.”  Such coalition building on our dime has been the major racket of the Left since the Clinton administration (actually longer, but the contemporary movement dates to then).

The worst thing is that, at some point, this became an uptown game, and everything else in the economy ceased to exist.  Once the health insurance companies and home mortgage banks jumped into bed with the feds (joining academia and big nonprofits in there), the result was unelected, unaccountable mega-coalitions like the ones below — chewing off larger and larger portions of government activities and control over tax dollars.  Big corporations love this scheme because they can pretend to be “socially responsible” while protecting their interests with elected officials, who also want to appear socially responsible while they reward their friends sitting on the same boards.  Foundations such as Annie E. Casey provide a charitable public face for the corporations that donate to them and for the politicians who give these silk-stocking “nonprofits” our money — and control over bigger and bigger parts of government.

Taxpayers aren’t just squeezed out: they are now demonized.

Here are some examples of “nonprofit” partnerships paid for by demonized taxpayers:

Or this:

Or this:

• AbellFoundation
• AltmanFoundation
• AnnieE.CaseyFoundation
• ArthurM.BlankFamilyFoundation
• BaltimoreCommunityFoundation
• TheCenterforWorkingFamilies,Inc.
• ClarkFoundation
• ColumbiaUniversity
• ConnecticutAssociationforHumanServices
• ConstellationEnergyFoundation
• ExxonMobil
• FordFoundation
• FoundationfortheCarolinas
• ICFInternational
• KresgeFoundation
• Mayor’sFundtoAdvanceNewYorkCity
• MDRC
• MemphisBioworksFoundation
• Michigan Association of United Ways
• MizuhoUSAFoundation
• NationalCommunityActionFoundation
• NeighborWorksAmerica
• NewYorkCommunityTrust
• PloughFoundation
• RepublicBank
• ResCare,Inc.
• RobinHoodFoundation
• SingleStopUSA
• StarrInternationalFoundation
• TheAaronandLillieStrausFoundation
• TennesseeCommunityServicesAgency
• TheAlvinandFannyB.ThalheimerFoundation • TrinityWallStreet
• TulsaCommunityActionProject
• United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta
• United Way of New York City
• UpperManhattanEmpowermentZone
• vanAmeringenFoundation
• WachoviaWellsFargoFoundation
• WalmartFoundation
• Harry&JeanetteWeinbergFoundation
• WorkForceEssentials

  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Georgia Department of Human Services
  • Louisville Metro Department of Community
  • Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Maryland Department of Human Resources
  • NewYorkCityCouncil
  • New York City Department of Housing
  • New York City Department of Small Business Services
  • NewYorkCityHumanResourcesAdministration
  • New York State Department of Health
  • New York State Department of Labor
  • New York State Office of Children and Family Services
  • New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
  • Tennessee Department of Human Services
  • U.S.CentersforMedicareandMedicaidServices
  • U.S.Congress
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • U.S.SmallBusinessAdministration

What are these lists?  The first block is corporate and government partners of The Center for Working Families, the Georgia branch of a national nonprofit that claims to help “working families” gain “independence” through all the usual pathways: green job training funded by government referendums, plus maximization of the welfare state through “application assistance for over 21 [programs] such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, TANF, Together RX, PeachCare for Kids and utility assistance” and “Referrals for comprehensive services including childcare, training, education and certifications, rental assistance and legal assistance.”

In other words, navigation.  They maximize public benefits for people.  We pay for it coming, and we pay for it going.  Doubtlessly they’re in on healthcare navigation too.

I’ve worked with many such nonprofits, and the only people getting anything other than more welfare benefits out of it are the people employed by the agency itself.  And there is real human tragedy behind this: CWF actually boasts on their website of having helped a whole 19 clients “create or expand” a full-time “microenterprise.”  That’s approximately two jobs invented for each massive corporate or government “partner.”  The “entrepreneur” page features a picture of a woman operating an ice cream truck, hardly stable employment, and the page notes that some of the businesses actually existed before CWF provided more resources.  And doubtlessly that’s the best they can do.

The rest of their work is the sort of government-mandated job preparation stuff we’re already paying for two, three, five, or ten times over through K – 12 education, community colleges, colleges, and public social service agencies.  Organizations like CWF are uniquely valuable to the Democratic party agenda, however, because they spread tax money around to high-powered activists in the community who “pay back” at election time.  And for the most part, the money and services go down a rat hole — something I also watched in Atlanta year after year after year when I worked in social service advocacy and “outreach.”

CWF’s annual budget?  2.9 million in 2011, the latest reporting year.

The second list, above, is the partnerships of the Asian American Resource Foundation, which, like CWF, also receives money from SEEDCO and also from the state and from HUD.

And the third list is SEEDCO’s own corporate and government partners and donors, none of whom, apparently, bothered to notice while SEEDCO screwed the taxpayers blind.

Like all ingrates, SEEDCO also fails to acknowledge their biggest donor: you.

Don’t expect an invitation to their next black-tie gala, either.

We are living in the age of Faux-lanthropy.  Faux-lanthropy is a polygamous marriage between big business, big nonprofits, and the big welfare state — a union of super-rich leftists, crony capitalists, dumb-yet-dangerous Marxist academicians, and the unproductive poor, all united against the dwindling middle.  To understand the way this works in detail, read my report on faux-lanthropists and the Recovery Act at America’s Survival — Obama Stimulus Dollars Funded Soros Empire.  In short: the super-rich partner with government social welfare advocates and their academic poodles to create poverty programs and services that are then paid for by ordinary taxpayers, who are endlessly demonized.

The ugliest, most cynical examples of faux-lanthropy are spawned in the financial services industry, where billionaires who cashed in on the mortgage bubble then got bailed out by the taxpayers now play in the platinum sandbox of New York City.  The Big Apple effectively exterminated its last middle class resident around the time Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went belly up, so there’s nobody to harsh the vibe as former investment bankers play Lady Bountiful to gang-bangers on our dime while sending their own kids off to tony private schools in Millbrook.

But this sort of behavior happens in Georgia, too.  SEEDCO is an example of faux-lanthropy, but so is Georgia Watch, despite the good people on their board and the good deeds they tout on their website.  They are just as bound up in promoting the interests of certain crony capitalists as their less ethical peers.  If anything, the fact that they have reputable leaders makes it worse.

Such is the seduction of “doing good.”

You simply can’t claim to be “advocating for consumers” when your board is loaded with big businessmen engaging in political partisanship on an issue that affects millions of consumers negatively and enhances your board members’ bottom lines positively.  That flies in the face of Georgia Watch’s entire mission, and I’m astonished that they don’t see that and — at the barest minimum — include disclaimers on their website about their board members’ fiscal interests.

You also can’t claim to be objectively evaluating the effects of the new healthcare exchanges when you’re taking money from a corrupt entity like SEEDCO to promote the new healthcare exchanges.  I reached out to Georgia Watch last week and asked them to disclose the money they are receiving from SEEDCO (cough, the taxpayers) on their website, and Elena Parent, their Executive Director, wrote the following back to me:

We are going to be completely overhauling our website soon. Right now posting things on it isn’t easy. I’m happy to tell you we are funded for 1/4 of a navigator which is $15,000 all in (salary, travel, equipment, benefits) through the SeedCo consortium.

You see, it’s really hard to change a website.  I wonder if Georgia Watch accepts that excuse from the big industrialists who don’t sit on their board.  And yes, Ms. Parent, that is an awfully teensy-weensy grant from SEEDCO, but you don’t really need the money and you are prominently listed on their homepage as their Georgia partner, thus granting your (state) political credibility to them and their (federal) government influence to you, which is the real point of such partnerships.

There’s more than one type of currency in lobbying . . . and other political acts.

One of the awful things that happens in nonprofit advocacy is that people start to believe their own hype.  There’s nothing nonprofit about the nonprofit world: 99% of it is just political lobbying for this or that client group and this or that special interest.  The salaries are outrageous and the graft is greater than anything private industry has managed to accomplish since the Gilded Age.

That’s why all sorts of big businesses do more and more of their business and political work — and lobbying — through 501-c3s, foundations, and coalitions, right and left.

Georgia Watch’s board of directors:

  • Natalie Allen, International Anchor, CNN
  • Phil Baldwin, CEO, CredAbility
  • Raymond P. Carpenter, Carpenter & Associates, LLC, Chairman, Georgia Watch Board of Directors
  • Beth Cayce, Founder & CEO, CaraVita Home Care
  • Dennis Creech, Executive Director, Southface Energy Institute
  • Leonce Crump, Pastor, Renovation Church
  • John Dalton, MD, Orthopedic surgeon, Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow
  • Kathy Floyd, Advocacy Director, AARP of Georgia
  • Clark Howard, Nationally Syndicated Host, The Clark Howard Show
  • Jimmy Hurt, Attorney, Hurt Stolz
  • Allie Kelly, Sr. Vice President, Georgia Conservancy
  • Danny Orrock, Counsel, Crawford Communications
  • Charlie Tanksley, Founding Partner, The Barnes Law Group, LLC
  • Martha Wilber, MD, Associate Medical Director, Kaiser Permanente

So Georgia Watch is a big cheerleader for Obamacare.  Why is this a problem?  Well, for one thing, they have Kaiser Permanente on their board, and if that doesn’t scream “conflict of interest,” I don’t know if those words mean anything at all.  Now, it’s fine to have Kaiser (and the AARP) on your board, but don’t then pretend you don’t have skin in the game.

These “champions of Georgia consumers” have also been silent on Obamacare’s negative effects on consumers.

When Georgia Watch goes after Georgia Power or some of the other industries they monitor, they apply a very different set of standards than the ones they practice themselves.  I have no particular love for Georgia Power or any other company that engages in crony capitalism while monopolizing a service I must purchase, but I also see no difference between Georgia Power profiting from their government monopoly in energy and Kaiser Permanente profiting from their new government monopoly in healthcare (yes, it’s essentially a single-payer monopoly they divvy up with other big healthcare insurers — all the worst aspects of our old system and the worst aspects of socialized medicine, rolled up into one).

The hypocrisy is galling.  Here, for example, is what Georgia Watch says is wrong about Georgia Power’s new nuclear plant — the one they are fighting in the courts “on behalf of consumers”:

In a series of cases before the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to monitor the cost of constructing two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, Georgia Watch is working to protect consumers. A legal dispute between Georgia Power and its Plant Vogtle contractors over cost overruns from project design issues and schedule delays could end up costing Georgia Power ratepayers $400 million or more! In a brief filed at the Commission on August 3, 2012, Georgia Watch once again called on Commissioners to approve a risk sharing mechanism as a means of protecting ratepayers. Currently, the entire cost of overruns is unfairly borne by ratepayers alone.

This is Georgia Watch’s battle cry: consumers are being soaked; prices are too high; Georgia Power is forcing the public to shoulder its expenses and overruns; it’s unfair.

And here is what Georgia Watch says about Obamacare’s overruns (such as: the $600 million website fiasco; forcing some consumers to shoulder costs before others; duplicative spending on dubious navigators; the horrible lies about “keeping your plan,” and most importantly, the lies about saving money, while middle-class people like me get throttled with 200 – 300% price increases):

They say . . . nothing.

Actually, it’s worse than that: they’re behaving as if none of these things are happening to consumers.  They’re running cover for their own board members while pretending to be a consumer advocacy organization.  Isn’t it funny how many millions of words have been spilled over the alleged astro-turfing of the Tea Party by the Koch brothers, while huge crony industries on the Left escape similar scrutiny when they really astroturf issues — carrying water for the government, and even using our tax dollars to do it?

Unfortunately, as with the probable outcome of James O’Keefe’s latest exposé, nothing much changes when the system is jerry-rigged to maximize dependency on the government.  That’s what navigators for the new healthcare law — and many other programs — are really doing.  So to expect something different from them is sort of like trying to turn a sow’s ear back into a pig.  It’s just as impossible as all the other things you try to do with the darn thing.

 

 

 

Join Me and Mary Grabar Nov. 3 for a NAS-Sponsored Lecture: Weather Underground in the Ivy Tower

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You Are Invited!

Weather Underground in the Ivory Tower:

Transforming Education from Kindergarten to College

A lecture by Mary Grabar and Tina Trent

Free and Open to the Public

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 2:00 p.m. — Refreshments Follow Lecture

The Solarium, 321 W. Hill Street, Decatur, GA 30030 (Oakhurst Neighborhood)

Since emerging from hiding in the 1980’s, former Weather Underground and Black Panther terrorists who once bombed police stations and robbed banks now use college and university campuses to advance their radical politics.   Mary Grabar and Tina Trent, both Ph.D.’s and former college instructors, will speak about the toxic influence of “tenured radicals” on higher education.

Mary Grabar will tell the story of how Weatherman Bill Ayers’ vision of education as classroom-based “revolution” has become the dominant teaching philosophy in schools of education, including Common Core.

 Tina Trent will discuss how the embrace of radical politics by women’s studies departments has led to a campus-based feminist movement that is increasingly anti-law enforcement and actually opposed to efforts to address violent crimes against women through traditional legal channels.

This lecture is made possible through the generosity of the Devereaux F. and Dorothy M. McClatchey Foundation and sponsored by the Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Scholars.

 All are welcome for an afternoon of stimulating discussion.  Drinks and refreshments will be served.  Free parking is available in the parking lot and on the street.  Handicapped accessible.  For additional information, contact tinatrent1@gmail.com.

Timothy Alan Oates: Florida Under Gov. Bob Graham Let Another Child Rapist Free To Rape Again, Thank God for Registries

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. . . The bad old days.  This is Timothy Allen Oates:

In 1987, according to the Tampa Bay Times, he was sentenced to “27 years for ransom, attempted sexual battery on an adult and indecent assault on a child younger than 16.”  Actually it looks like it was ten years.

In any case, he was not supposed to be out of prison until 1997.  Or maybe 2014.  But he only served four years.  He got out in 1991, and guess what he did next?  He went back to prison for additional charges (and some of what may be the same charges).  In 1993, he was sentenced to 27 years and served ten years and nine months.  He got out a second time in 2004.

And then guess what he did next?  We don’t know the whole story, but last month he allegedly molested at least one child younger than 12 and took off for Washington State.

So why was he released in 1991, just a few years after being sentenced for multiple, violent sex crimes?  Why did he receive a sentence of 27 years in 1993 and get out a little more than ten years later?

In order to understand this case, you have to do a bit of digging.  Here is his record with the Department of Corrections.  This first block is the sentencing from 1987.  The second block is the sentencing from 1993.  The third block is the time he actually served in prison.  Look at the dates of the offenses — the 2/1/87 and 9/2/87 offenses appear in both sentencings.  The 5/18/86 charge was only part of the 1987 court decision, while a new 3/1/92 charge appears in 1993.  So my guess is that he was released VERY early for the first set of charges, then re-offended the minute he got out, then was re-sentenced on some crimes and given additional time for the new charges.

There are some other things to understand: he was 23 when he was first sentenced for this set of crimes.  So we don’t know if he had a juvenile record.  He was given a serious second chance, then he went right back into prison.  He got a third chance after his sentence was cut by more than 60%.  Now he’s been caught again.

This is what crime control was like in the 1980’s.  Things got better in the 1990’s, but not enough.  What does it take to put away a child rapist?  I’ll get back to you when we figure that out.

Thank God for sex crime registries.  Without registration, this guy would still be on the loose.  If only the media would mention that once in a while.

Prior Prison History: (Note: Data reflected covers periods of incarceration with the Florida Dept.of Corrections since January of 1983)
Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Prison Sentence Length
05/18/1986 L/L, INDEC.ASLT CHILD U/16 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8607334 10Y 0M 0D
05/18/1986 KIDNAP MINOR FOR RANSOM(ATTEMPTED) 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8607334 10Y 0M 0D
09/02/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8711422 10Y 0M 0D
02/01/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8711423 10Y 0M 0D

Current Prison Sentence History:

Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Prison Sentence Length
09/02/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 03/11/1993 HILLSBOROUGH 8711422 27Y 0M 0D
02/01/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 03/11/1993 HILLSBOROUGH 8711423 27Y 0M 0D
02/01/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 03/11/1993 HILLSBOROUGH 8711423 27Y 0M 0D
03/01/1992 KIDNAP;COMM.OR FAC.FELONY 12/09/1993 PINELLAS 9206504 27Y 0M 0D
03/01/1992 L/L, INDEC.ASLT CHILD U/16 12/09/1993 PINELLAS 9206504 15Y 0M 0D

 

Incarceration History:
Date In-Custody Date Out-of-Custody
10/02/1987 11/27/1991
04/08/1993 01/01/2004

Varieties of Self-Pity and Murder: Aaron Alexis and The New York Times

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Little is known about the twelve victims brutally murdered by Aaron Alexis, but the New York Times, in a banner article, wants you to know that their killer had an “interest in Thai culture.”

Well.  That gives him a softer profile, doesn’t it?  Buddhism, Thai language skills, plus dubious claims about oppression by the police, society, white folks, his neighbors, PTSD, his employment contract, the construction guys parking outside his house, 9/11, and so on, equals victimization lottery for Mr. Alexis.

Delicate embroidery of this monster’s alleged inner conflicts equals gross disrespect for the humanity of his victims.

But . . . he was interested in Thai culture.

Yeah, whatever.

The impulse to humanize some (not all) stone-cold killers is yet another force tearing us apart beneath the pulsing throb of identity politics.  This loser killed twelve innocent people, but in the New York Times he has been vetted and given security clearance for a high-level empathy assignment based undoubtedly on his race, his hobbies, and the particular insinuations of persecution being made in the wake of his bloodbath by people who somehow managed to do nothing all those other times he used a gun to express his inside screamies.

Take his roommates, for example.  They ought to trashcan their Rebel Without A Cause blather about the sensitivities of their mass-murdering “best friend.”  But instead, they’re in the Fort Worth Star Telegram pleading for understanding about how the Alexis they knew felt sad if he couldn’t chip in for the utilities while he spent his time learning the right kind of foreign languages and appreciating their food culture.  The roomies are more circumspect about that gun incident in 2010, when he shot through the floor of his (their?) neighbor’s apartment (missing the woman by mere feet) because he imagined she was being too loud.  Then, he lied to the police about it.

Why didn’t he serve time for that?  Because we live in a police state where everyone in prison has been wrongly convicted, so a neutered justice system decided not to prosecute the Thai-speaking pseudo-traumatized Mr. Alexis, perhaps.

The same result came of Alexis’ 2004 attack when he shot out the tires of a car driven by construction workers whom he also suspected of “disrespecting” him.  How many times, precisely, do you have to unload a gun in the direction of total strangers without suffering consequences for it?

The “media debate” about Aaron Alexis’ twelve murders has already been slotted firmly into the usual categories: we need more gun control from the Left; we need fewer restrictions on guns so people can defend themselves from the Right.  While I side with the fewer restrictions camp, I wish people on all sides would bother to add the caveat: crimes committed with guns must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  Guns don’t kill people: people kill people, and especially, un-convicted recidivists kill people.  Enforcing the law without leniency appears to be the one thing that was not tried.

Slapping this bastard in prison for shooting out his imaginary nemeses’ car tires in Seattle, or for shooting into his neighbor’s apartment in Fort Worth might have shaken him loose of his malaise of self pity — or maybe not — but at least it’s hard to go on a shooting spree from behind bars, and it’s hard to buy weapons when you have weapons convictions.

Why demand more gun control laws when you won’t enforce the ones you have because that might result in people you feel empathy towards serving time?  Why demand unlimited rights to bear arms legally if you won’t defend the law when guns are used illegally?

At different times, Aaron Alexis told police that he had fired a gun in a “black-out . . . fueled by anger”; that he had fired a gun because he had been through 9/11; that he had fired a gun because he had been “disrespected,” and that he didn’t mean to fire a gun at the neighbor he had threatened repeatedly, but his hands were slippery and it went off.

This is what happens when laws are not enforced.  In Seattle, the construction workers whose car tires were shot out by Alexis were curiously unwilling to press charges.  They didn’t respond to police requests and avoided police contact.  Why?  Probably they were here illegally.  When people won’t participate in the system because they’re also criminals, what’s left is anarchy.

And why anyone would defend anarchy while demanding more gun control laws is beyond me.

Meanwhile, the New York Times also wants you to know that Aaron Alexis was himself very extremely diverse.  As if afflicted with verbal incontinence, the Times can’t stop talking about the killer’s diversity or his taste in ethnic food.  Maybe the only people left in the newsroom are so marinated in this blather that they are incapable of writing anything else.  Diversity is the spoon of sugar that makes the banality of evil go down:

Mr. Alexis was born in Queens in 1979 and was representative of the borough’s diversity. He was African-American, grew up in a part of Queens that was home to South Asians, Hispanics and Orthodox Jews, and embraced all things Thai while living in Fort Worth. He worked as a waiter at a Thai restaurant, studied the language and regularly chanted and meditated at Buddhist temples.

What is this, a singles ad?  The bastard killed twelve people.  I don’t care what he ordered at lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tina Trent and Mary Grabar to Speak at Dawson County Tea Party September 10

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That’s tomorrow night!  Please join us.  We’ll be speaking about Common Core and the Sixties radicals who took over K – 12 education in America.  Here’s the link, and I’ve copied the address below:

 

Bring a Friend and Join Us
Sept.10th at 7:00 PM

From Riots in the Streets to the Takeover of Education

45 Years of the Weather Underground’s
War Against America

You will hear the violent past and the almost unbelievable stories about the Weather Underground and how the organization still influences our lives today.

Listen to Tina Trent and Mary Grabar as they speak the truth about the Weather Underground leaders and how those same people “reformed” our educational system and the Common Core movement. They will explain how bomber Bill Ayers and other terrorists were able to evade law enforcement officials for nearly 40 years while morphing into so-called esteemed professors at America’s elite colleges and universities.

Mary Grabar will explain how Ayers’ close associates now promote similarly radical ideas through the Department of Education and the Common Core program.

 

Mary GrabarMary Grabar
Tina TrentTina Trent

Lakeview Center (Map)
2057 Dawson Forest Road
Dawsonville, GA 30534.

On Live Fire Today

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You can hear me speak about the late, great patriot Larry Grathwohl with Larry Pratt on Live Fire, the radio show of Gun Owners of America.

Thank Goodness They Aren’t Hate Crimes: Just Torturing and Burning Three Women in Detroit

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It’s not like a lynching, or what happened to Matthew Shepard.

Well, actually it is just like lynching, and it precisely like what they did to Matthew Shepard, only three times, and using fire.

But whoever did it just did it to women so Eric Holder and Elena Kagan made sure, in 1997 and at the behest of Bill Clinton and an alphabet soup of activists, that crimes like this don’t count as hate.  And non-hate rape-torture-murder is not as bad as hate, as Holder told Congress — “don’t let anyone tell you hate crimes aren’t worse,” he shouted, “they are worse!”

So, according to our nation’s highest law enforcement officer, this is a less-worse-not-nearly-as-bad kidnapping, torture, sexually violating, and burning alive thing.  None of the neighbors being interviewed seem to agree:

DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit police are wondering if they have a serial attacker on their hands after a third woman’s burned body was found on the west side.

The woman’s body was discovered Saturday morning inside a home at the Mildred Smith Manor II apartment complex in the 1300 block of Forest Avenue, between Trumbull Street and the Lodge Freeway.

Fire Chief Jack Wiley said the grim discovery was made after firefighters extinguished a small blaze at the complex.

“It’s a young lady, I think, I’m not sure. All I could see was the leg and it looked like the leg of a lady than more of a man. So, I’m not sure yet,” he said.

Wiley said it’s too soon to tell if the woman, who hasn’t yet been identified, was murdered.

Women do not count as much as gays, or minorities, or Muslim people, or other people who do count.  Get it?

There are three women now — tortured, violated, set on fire.  Where is the Department of Justice?  Still trying to figure out if they can charge George Zimmerman with something.  Women don’t matter; especially, women victims of serial killers don’t matter, because Elena Kagan, the ADL, and Eric Holder didn’t want to muss up the hate crime statistics with the quantities of dead women who tend to accumulate:

Police say it’s the third case in recent weeks where a woman has been set on fire and left for dead. However, investigators aren’t yet sure if the cases are connected. In late July, two women were found just miles apart in vacant fields – both severely beaten and without any clothing.

The first woman was found around 5:50 a.m. July 26 in the 12800 block of Eaton, near Meyers Road and Lyndon Street. Police say the 37-year-old was physically assaulted and had burn marks on her body. She was in critical condition after the attack, but is now in stable condition.

Just over 24 hours later, the second woman was found around 7 a.m. July 27 at Elmira and Iris Streets, near Plymouth and Meyers roads. Police say the woman, believed to be in her 20s to 30s, was physically and possible sexually assaulted. She was listed as unconscious and in critical condition after the attack. Her current condition is unknown.

Of course the media’s in collusion with those who don’t want the following question asked:

Exactly how many women do you have to snatch off the streets, violate, torture and set on fire before someone admits it’s a hate crime?  

They’re keeping real quiet.  Thanks for getting the memo, guys.  Here are some of the journalists studiously not asking that question:

Michael Walsh, New York Daily News

Gina Damron, Detroit Free Press (heck, let’s include the whole FREEP staff — they’ve barely covered it)

Fox News/MyFoxDetroit

The Whole AP

The New York Times hasn’t weighed in at all: they’re too busy blaming taxpayers for not bailing Detroit out again.

How about the activists?

Southern Poverty Law Center?  Nope.  They are, however, reassuring the world that that hate crime in California where Kassim Al Himidi claimed prejudiced Americans broke into his house and murdered his wife in an anti-Muslim hate crime just turned out to be Kassim Al Himidi killing his wife and blaming it on prejudiced Americans.  Thank goodness it wasn’t hate.

National Organization For Women?  Nah.  They’ll warm a bit if the women all turn out to be gay and the attackers are the last three Klansmen blogging in a basement in Lansing.  Otherwise, have at, woman-killers.  Plus they’re super-busy demanding justice for Trayvon Martin and continuing to complain about sexist Superbowl Ads.

The NOW has always been terrible on violence against women.  They didn’t even want to include it in their first mission statement.  Some feminist studies Grrl Friday should take a stab at researching that.

Human Rights Council?  Are you kidding?  As far as we know, these are heterosexual women, not people.

The same thing happened in Detroit in 2011: two burned bodies were found on Christmas day, two others a week earlier.  I can’t find anything else on that case: four women burned beyond recognition.  Here’s another question we should be asking: how did some lives become so cheap to the government?

If Anthony Sowell Had a Son . . .

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. . . he would look like Michael Madison.

Serial Killer Anthony Sowell, murdered at least 11 women in Cleveland

At least, 11 women’s bodies were found in his house

Was a registered sex offender

Was permitted to plead to “attempted rape” in one previous rape case to get let off early

Went undetected for years

Even as women pleaded for help when they escaped him

And neighbors complained of the smell

Serial killer Michael Madison, charged this week with killing three women in Cleveland

Got a slap on the wrist for “attempted rape” charges in 2002

Served four years and was allowed to register as the lowest-level sex offender status

Has apparently told authorities that he was “inspired” by Sowell

Well, thank God these weren’t hate crimes.  Because that might distract Eric Holder.

Bonus: Remember the AP apologizing for calling Sowell a rapist?  ‘Cause he just lived in a house with the bones and body parts of women he had tortured to death sexually.

Double Bonus: That makes three recently caught horrific serial murderer/rapists/torturers of women in Cleveland who did everything but erect neon billboards announcing that their hatred of women drove them to kidnap and rape and torture and murder women . . . but zero hate crime charges.

And don’t forget Walter E. Ellis.

And Charles C. Roberts and George Sodini and Mbarek Lafrem.

Yep, none of those murders count as hate.  Why?  That’s a really interesting story.

Because back in 1997, Eric Holder and Elena Kagan made sure serial rape and murder wouldn’t count as hate if the victims were women.

Yes, that Eric Holder and Elena Kagan.

Funny how everything old is new again.

Larry Grathwohl R.I.P. “Their way of life is not mine”

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Larry Grathwohl has passed away.  

 

When I was in high school, I read Larry’s book, Bringing Down America: An FBI Informer With the Weathermen.  I got it out of the Poughkeepsie public library.

And it changed the way I felt about the Sixties radicals that my teachers, and much of society, wanted me to admire.

Many years later, I was honored to meet Larry at a conference sponsored by Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival.

I was also honored to re-release Larry’s book this year, and we spent some time on the road in Florida introducing the book, and Larry, to new audiences.

Here is the last paragraph of Larry’s book:

The Weathermen’s government will be one of total control over each individual in the society. In Weathermen terminology, this new society will be “one people working in total unity.” This means an elimination of all the individual freedoms we are accustomed to having; it was my absolute belief in the freedoms offered by our form of government that drove me to fight the Weathermen in the first place. Even though I am no longer in the underground movement where I could help prevent violence before it happened, as in Dayton, Detroit, Madison, and Buffalo, while creating as much disunity as possible, I am still working against Weathermen and other radical conspiracies. Their way of life is not mine. 

Larry was a sweet and decent and very wise man.  He risked his life to protect us from murderous adolescent Marxists like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.  Doubtlessly there would be family members of police and soldiers who would be without their loved ones tonight if Larry had not infiltrated the Weather Underground and exposed their crimes.

Many of us are in shock tonight.

–Tina Trent

Brandon Darby writes about Larry at Breitbart

Jim Simpson on Larry at Pajamas Media

 

 

 

Shameless New York Times Shills Jimmy Carter and Terry Gross’ Killer Pal, Wilbert Rideau

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The Times is at it again.

Today they ran another propaganda piece by NPR’s favorite lying murderer, Wilbert Rideau.

Rideau has been playing the race card for decades to admiring gaggles of journalists, after murdering a young bank teller and trying his best to kill two other people.  Not that you’d know that from reading the Times — they erase Rideau’s crimes from the record.  He is black and tells them what they want to hear: therefore, his white victims do not exist.

Today the Times gave Rideau an international platform to whine about how long it takes to get a can of tuna in prison.

This dehumanization of the people Rideau tortured and killed is not even an ethical speed-bump for the criminal fetishist class, which includes Terry Gross (who has a creepy passion for Rideau), Jimmy Carter, and George Soros.  You can read about their connections in my post on the real story of Wilbert Rideau, here.

Missing from the New York Times article, in addition to Rideau’s crimes, is the list of posh awards and privileges he’s been granted.

When I wrote about Rideau, I received very interesting mail from someone who actually served time with this unrepentant murderer.  He tells a very different story about Rideau’s claims of persecution and his behavior in prison — the behavior that got him solitary in the first place.

But with the Times censoring the comment threads today, kiboshing any negative comments about their Wilbur, you won’t hear facts there.

Lies upon lies upon lies upon lies.

There is no barrier of decency — no pile of victims’ bodies — that the Times won’t steamroll to indulge their fantasy of persecuted criminals cruelly imprisoned.

Speaking of twisting crimes to serve political purposes, I recently took a look at Alex Jones.  And while I’m appalled at his willingness to exploit mass murders, whitewash evidence, and even deny that they occurred, he’s an amateur at these things compared to the New York Times.

Jones and his InfoWars followers may be excusing the culpability of some killers in order to indulge a fantasy of “false flag” government plots, but at least they don’t go around handing out literary prizes to thugs who stab women to death (Rideau), or kill cops (Mumia Abu Jamal), or murder women then rape their dead bodies (Winston Moseley, killer of Kitty Genovese and others).

The Times has lobbied for all of these criminals to be released.  They even ran editorials advocating for serial killer-corpse-rapist Winston Moseley to be let out, ’cause he had been “rehabilitated.”  If you want to read the whole sordid tale, you’ll have to go to my homepage and go to page 78 of the pdf there.  It’s a shameful story: virtually nothing you know about the Kitty Genovese case happens to be true, thanks to the Times.  They pretty much invented the whole thing so they could blame Genovese’s neighbors instead of blaming Moseley.

Now there’s a false flag operation for you.

Here are some more New York Times killer whitewashes:

 Father Moloney

Judith Clark

Jim Jones (Jimmy Carter’s all over this killer stuff)

Humberto Leal (Jimmy Carter again)

Patrick Wiese

 

 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not a Hate Criminal, Says Eric Holder, But George Zimmerman Might Be

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not being charged with a hate crime by Eric Holder for murdering three people and maiming dozens of others with bombs he and his brother built in order to kill and maim Americans, but George Zimmerman is being investigated as a hate criminal by Eric Holder for defending himself against severe bodily harm by an assailant who happened to be black.

Col. Nidal Hasan is not being called a hate criminal or a terrorist by the Obama administration for murdering thirteen adults and an unborn child and injured 32 others while shouting “Allahu-Akbar” at the Ft. Hood army post in Texas, but peaceful Tea Party activists have been profiled by the administration as potential hate criminals and terrorists.

The nearly-3,000 victims of 9/11 are not counted in federal hate crime statistics as victims of national origin (anti-American) hatred because, if they were, there would be no point in keeping hate crime statistics anymore, because all that the statistics would show is that Americans are the most significant hate crime victims in the history of America.

What’s the point of that?

 

Don’t Let Anyone Silence You On The Illegal Immigrant Amnesty Bill . . . Especially Other Republicans

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[Scroll down for: Ten Things To Do to Oppose the Gang of Eight’s Amnesty Bill]

Last Thursday, Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota) appeared on the Glenn Beck show with a troubling message.  “We’re losing badly,” Bachmann said about the fight against the Gang of Eight amnesty bill for illegal immigrants.  “A lot of your viewers don’t even know we are in the middle of that fight right now,” Bachmann told Beck.  “We need your viewers to melt the phone lines and say ‘Don’t vote for any immigration bill until the border is secure.’”

“This is the most important item in the next four years, what’s going to happen in the next couple weeks,” she said, “We have a very short window, six weeks, to kill this bill.”

Congressman Steve King (R–Iowa) called the immigration bill “far worse” than Obamacare:

If somehow there was an offer that you’re going to get one or the other . . . I would take Obamacare before I’d ever accept this amnesty plan.

King said that amnesty now would lead to perpetually open borders: “If you grant amnesty, you can never promise that you can enforce immigration [laws] again.”

“The [immigration] bill is worse than universal healthcare, “ warned Glenn Beck, “Listen to me, it is worse than universal healthcare, and in the coming days as we get closer, we will explain why it’s worse than universal healthcare. It is the death knell of the country.  There is no recovery from this one.  None.  No recovery.”

Rush Limbaugh said the bill would add millions of “instant Democrats” to the electorate.

So where are Beck’s viewers, Tea Party and 912 activists?  Why aren’t they “burning up the phones” as Bachmann is calling for, and leading the fight against the movement to grant citizenship to 30 million people who have or will come here as illegal aliens?

Did election losses fray nerves?  Are Tea Partiers demoralized by the parade of turncoats (Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Kelly Ayotte) among people they helped elect, especially Rubio?  Are the lies peddled in advertisements aired on conservative talk radio and TV by the fake conservative group, Americans for a Conservative Direction, taking a toll?

I think all of these things are true.  Also true is that social conservatives and Tea Party activists are sick of being tarred with false accusations of racism, which happens whenever they try to weigh in on virtually any social issue.

As Democrats pile on with their usual, visceral “Racism” charge against those who oppose mass amnesty, I couldn’t blame anyone for wanting to avoid such ugliness.  It’s not easy to stare down public officials and smirking editorial page editors shrieking “racist” at you.

But the immigration bills is a transformational event, far more important than any other issue in Washington right now.  It is time for the grassroots to pay attention, as Bachmann says.

The “racism” charge simply needs to be ignored.  It won’t go away, no matter what we do or say.  Every single person in the Tea Party could pack up and go home, unplug their computers, and stop voting tomorrow, and ten years from now, President Holder and the Southern Poverty Law Center would still be holding blue-ribbon conferences at the White House to discuss the Rising Tide of Tea Party Hate.

You’re a racist is the eternal default of people who have no intention of speaking honestly about what will happen if we grant citizenship to enough low-income, low-education, illegal immigrants to increase America’s population by 10%.  That’s 30 million people — the equivalent of entire population of Canada, or fully 1/4 of the current population of Mexico (Arnold Ahlert observes that both pro- and anti- amnesty groups agree on the 30 million figure).

But it’s not just liberals and Democrats throwing the “R” word around.  You also hear it, or some coded equivalent, from many political operatives on the Right, and this is a terrible development that needs to be looked at carefully.  Some in the Republican Party and and some (not all) national libertarian groups are using the same shame tactics as leftists to pressure others on the Right to not weigh in on the immigration debate.

I’ve heard stories on the ground from people who have been told that if they speak out on immigration, the whole movement will be seen as racist.  Don’t let anyone pressure you that way.

Last Friday, Rush Limbaugh explained the willingness of many Republicans to support amnesty this way: “The Republican Party is embarrassed by its own base,” Limbaugh said.

I assume that some Republicans think there is a new group of people that would become their base. If they just got rid of these pro-lifers, if they just got rid of this religious crowd, if they just got rid of the Christians, if they just got rid of these gun nuts.

Turncoat Marco Rubio is certainly playing from this game book.  Thankfully, Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are now beginning to mobilize people against this legislation.

For the past two years, I have travelled around Florida speaking to citizen patriot groups.  I’ve come to believe that pressure from people on our own side is the main reason that Beck listeners and Tea Party and 912 groups (and many registered Republican) have been hesitant to enter the fight against an amnesty bill that they personally oppose and recognize as an existential threat to America.

Making this problem worse is a troubling dynamic in Tea Party/912 organizing.  While the majority of people I’ve met in this movement identify themselves as social conservatives first, the minority of libertarians involved — who are often pro-open borders, pro-gay marriage, pro-pot legalization, and even pro-abortion rights — have an outsized influence over the far larger numbers of traditional values conservatives.

This outsized influence is magnified by the presence of national libertarian groups that siphon power off the grassroots while claiming to speak for them.

I don’t say any of this as a blanket condemnation of all people who identify themselves as libertarians.  Some of the people I admire the most in politics are diehard, capital “L” Libertarians (myself, I was writing fan letters to Ayn Rand and stumbling through Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology way back in high school).  And some national libertarian groups like Campaign for Liberty are airing the view of members who oppose the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill.  They may even be doing more to fight this legislation (I would appreciate confirmation of this).

But I’ve also witnessed aggressive attempts within the movement to dominate and silence people who want to talk about subjects like illegal immigration and abortion.  And when libertarians define everything that they don’t want to talk about as a “social issue” and then demand silence on social issues, they’re just being liberals who don’t want to pay taxes.

A big source of this problem is the outsized influence of national organizations like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.  Although they provide training resources and leadership in campaigns, they also pressure the grassroots to abide by their agendas, and on amnesty they both curiously claim to be “sitting the fight out,” which is no different from supporting the bill.

In fact, deep-pocketed players all over the Right are currently pressuring Tea Partiers to sit down and shut up about immigration.  Grover Norquist has been flogging ugly racial charges against the Tea Party, as Ann Corcoran details in this excellent blog.  Jeb Bush is flouting bizarre anti-facts about needing illegal immigrants to teach Americans about family values at his (very vaguely named) American Action Forum.  Daniel Greenfield has a wonderful takedown of Bush’s immigrant fertility derangement.

FreedomWorks once at least talked about a no-amnesty plan, but now they are vigilantly avoiding the entire subject of  illegal immigration.  The grassroots needs to realize that, by whispering to Beltway insiders about how they’re “sitting out” the immigration bill, FreedomWorks is for all practical purposes actually supporting amnesty.  And if they claim you as a member, they’re essentially saying that you do, too.

Americans for Prosperity in Florida [disclosure: I did freelance and volunteer work for them] is arguably more coercive with the grassroots.  They have a habit of culling names from grassroots organizations and claiming these people as their membership.  If you ever attended an AFP event or volunteered on their phone lines or went to hear one of their speakers, AFP lobbyists in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. are probably claiming that you are a member of AFP and that they are speaking for you.

And what they’re saying is that you’re “sitting out” the immigration bill along with them, which really means supporting amnesty.

Don’t let AFP, or anyone else, do this in your name.  Tea Party and 912 activists need to take a hard look at the people and groups claiming to be speaking for them.  Don’t give away your power to anyone.  And if you are a member, let them know how you feel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

I believe the majority of people involved in citizen patriot movements oppose the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill.  But if we don’t make ourselves heard now, we might as well give up the fight.

When amnesty supporter and presidential hopeful Jeb Bush claimed at the recent Faith and Freedom conference that “immigrants are more fertile . . . and they have more intact families,” CNN reported that his “arguments . . . were met with near silence from the conservative crowd.”  In contrast, the crowd loudly applauded Michelle Bachmann’s fiery denunciation of “amnesty.”

But it’s time to do more than applaud.  Following is a toolkit for lobbying against the Gang of Eight’s bill, countering the lies being told, and educating your friends and fellow Tea Party/912 members about the facts on amnesty and illegal immigration.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ten Things To Do to Oppose the Gang of Eight’s Amnesty Bill

 

#1: Educate Yourself About the Facts

Before we talk about amnesty for illegal immigrants, we need to understand who is here and the many ways they’re already accessing government benefits.  When I worked in social services, I came to know a lot of low-income immigrants, legal and illegal, and those who weren’t living with someone with legal status and taking advantage of their public benefits still had multiple ways to access funding on their own.  Anybody, for example, who tells you that the Gang of Eight’s bill will deny subsidized healthcare to illegal immigrants during a waiting period is lying.  They already receive publicly funded healthcare through multiple sources: emergency services, Medicaid, FQCHSs (look it up), Disproportionate Share Hospitals, state programs that enroll illegal immigrants, federal and state programs that support pregnancy and deliveries, and special grants funneled through universities and research hospitals.

None of this is going away.  Instead, expect doors to medical programs to open very quickly for 30 million mostly low-income beneficiaries of amnesty.  When people in residence here start on the path to citizenship, who will argue against including them fully in Obamacare long before the 10 or 13 year delay has ended?

And there are other forms of welfare that promise to explode as well.

#2: Educate Yourself About the Lies

#3: Understand the Earned Income Tax Credit

Around January 1, tax preparation offices pop up all over the small Florida tomato town that is my sometimes-home.  No, they’re not for thrifty taxpayers seeking to get an early start on April 15: they’re storefronts for processing Earned Income Tax Credit checks.  For a fee, these storefronts fill out the paperwork for “refund checks” of up to $5,666 that go to pretty much anyone with children who can claim a limited income.  The word “refund” does not mean refund for taxes paid: the EITC is a “cash assistance” welfare program built into the IRS to dispense money to people who pay no federal taxes.  It’s like Christmas — after Christmas: in poor neighborhoods, car dealerships and electronics and furniture stores hold “tax” sales where non-taxpayers use taxpayer’s money to buy themselves consumer products.  It isn’t uncommon to see store windows with giant “EITC” signs, or slogans like “Mo Money, Mo Money” around EITC season.  Police even pick up patrolling in some places to prevent EITC-cash related robberies and burglaries.

It is also, of course, a program subject to massive fraud –  $11 – $13 billion a year in recent years.  So even though illegal immigrants aren’t supposed to qualify for EITC largesse, many apply for and get the money anyway by lying about social security numbers, other identity fraud, or lying about children who don’t exist or don’t live here.  There are even loopholes built into the system to allow some illegal immigrants to legally receive EITC — $4.2 billion was distributed to illegal immigrants in 2010.

Of course, EITC give-aways will skyrocket as soon as 30 million of Jeb Bush’s “extremely fertile” illegal immigrants and their families gain legal status . . . and nobody is even sure whether illegal immigrants will qualify for back-payments of EITC for previous years.  Such details, you see, aren’t something the taxpayers need to worry their little heads over.

I doubt the Gang of Eight would tell us the truth about it anyway, even if they knew what the truth was.

 #4: Get Your Hands on This One Amazing Book

Actually, whether you support or oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, you should read Darrell Ankarlo, a former talk radio host in Arizona.

In Illegals: The Unacceptable Cost of America’s Failure to Control its Borders, Ankarlo travels between Mexico and America to discover why and how people enter this country illegally.  He opens a window, showing us who is coming here, how they get here, and what this all means for both Mexico and America.  Ankarlo seems a little crazy, in a good way.  He is empathetic towards everyone — a rare achievement.

If the Gang of Eight had started with this book and encouraged other people to read it, the nation would be having a real conversation about illegal immigration right now.

#5: Know Your Enemies

Illegal immigrants aren’t the enemy.

But the racially divisive, leftist activists who are using illegal immigration to challenge America’s sovereignty are enemies.  You need to learn about their real intentions — and where the country is heading if the Gang of Eight succeeds.

Jim Simpson has published absolutely essential reports on the radical groups running the illegal immigration lobby: CASA de Maryland: The Illegals’ ACORN is a must-read, as is this follow-up report.

Radical Hispanic separationist groups such as MEChA and Nation of Aztlan have strongholds in some cities and on college and university campuses, especially in Arizona and California.  Here is a primer introducing these groups.  Here is the website for the National Brown Berets: their radical mission statement should be read and understood.

La Raza is seemingly more mainstream, but they share much of the mission and attitudes towards America expressed by more radical groups.  In contrast to those groups, however, La Raza is entirely mainstreamed in the political Left.  It receives significant taxpayer funding to underwrite its race-based activities (nearly 10 million dollars in 2010), and can call upon scores of high-ranking elected officials to do its bidding.  A former high-ranking La Raza official serves in the Obama administration.  Here is an exposé on La Raza.

La Raza claims to be nonpartisan, but in reality they operate like any other aggressive race lobby, making demands on both parties but inevitably siding with the Democrats.  Look at the La Raza site to find a pdf of a disturbing 2012 speech by La Raza president and CEO, Janet Murguîa.

#6: Bring the Discussion to Your Tea and 912 Groups — NOW!

IRS, NSA, Benghazi, the economy, Syria . . . it’s overwhelming.  But as Michelle Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Steve King, Louis Gomert, and . . . oh yeah, Obama are telling us (see this great John Hawkins piece), the amnesty bill needs to take precedence over all these other issues because it is speeding through Congress and will create irreversible political changes . . . changes that will give rise to even more uncontrollable Washington scandals.

Too many Tea Party groups are looking elsewhere.  Of course, holding the IRS accountable is important; Common Core needs attention.  But it’s time, now, to talk about illegal immigration.

Next month will be too late.  Heritage Action has resources for your state.

#7: Thank Our Allies

Those fraudulent Americans for a Conservative Direction ads airing on talk radio and television shows, including Glenn Beck’s The Blaze and the Rush Limbaugh Show, have been confusing audiences, but the ads do not reflect the shows’ hosts’ views.  In fact, Rush and Beck have been calling for immediate action against the Gang of Eight’s amnesty plan.  Be sure to thank them.

The Heritage Foundation, Judicial Watch, Numbers USA, Center for Immigration Studies, the Eagle Forum and others are standing strong against amnesty.  Thank them too.

#8: Encourage Our Friends, Cautiously

I don’t always see eye to eye with the national libertarian organizations partnering with Tea Parties, especially when they issue top-down directives to grassroots groups.  I believe that the Tea Party/912 movements need to get back to their local roots and work with nationals only when the relationship is really a two-way street.

Part of this involves donating more of your money locally, instead of sending it to wealthy national organizations.  Also, ALWAYS check a group’s tax forms before donating anything to them, and ask for detailed information about staff salaries and how your money will be spent.  Go to Guidestar to view the 990s of all nonprofit organizations.  The site is very easy to use: just register, and you can view any organization’s 990 for free.  I’m happy to answer individual questions about researching 990s.

Local membership groups also need to make sure nobody is claiming to speaking for them on contentious issues such as immigration, or saying one thing to Tea Party groups and another to the RNC bigwigs in Washington.  It’s great to partner with national organizations when you agree, but don’t give away your power or voice to them.  When you work together, maintain your identity and name, and get proper credit for your contribution to any activity.

NEVER hand over your membership list to anyone, and share your membership list only when you are working in an equitable coalition where all parties agree to keep primary ownership of their lists.

One more word on money: when you work with any individual or group, demand that they be transparent about money and other resources they are receiving from any source.  You might be very surprised to learn how much money the Tea Party leader sitting next to you at a conference is getting for their participation, especially if they are pushing a view that you don’t agree with.

Doing these things can help create healthier and stronger alliances between national groups and your local organization.  And in that spirit, I encourage activists who have worked with FreedomWorks, AFP, and other national entities to reach out to them and let them know how you feel about the Gang of Eight’s Amnesty legislation, and ask them to discuss their position with you.  If you have volunteered for their organization in the past, they owe you that.

We may find more common ground on this legislation if we agree to look for it together.

#9: Don’t Let Anyone Call You A Racist . . . And Don’t Let Them Lie to You

I don’t mean the Democrats: they just don’t care what we think.  But Republican and conservative organizations that are smearing amnesty opponents with slurs and crude misrepresentations of our positions deserve to hear from us.  Here’s a short list of the people who merit a critical phone call, e-mail, or tweet:

And finally — Get off the Rubio Bandwagon, by Glenn Beck

#10: Call Your Legislators . . . today

and tomorrow and the day after that.  As Michelle Bachmann says, it’s time to burn up the phones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bringing Down America: An FBI Informer With the Weathermen, and a Plea to Police Witnesses

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Larry Grathwohl’s book about infiltrating the Weather Underground is now available on Amazon in Kindle format, and pre-orders for hard copies can be made at the book’s website.  The hard copies should be available for sale within the next few days.  Larry is touring Florida in May, then hopefully in Atlanta, and he is available for interviews.

We are especially interested in hearing from police officers who were attacked by the Weathermen during the Chicago Days of Rage or who were targeted by their fire bombings and other attacks on police.  These stories are being suppressed by the academic establishment and especially PBS, which is trying to make the Weathermen out to be self-sacrificing cultural heroes fighting only for “peace.”  We need to tell the truth about them, their ties to foreign terrorist groups, their violence, and their real plans to imprison and “re-educate” ordinary Americans using Maoist brainwashing they used on their own cult followers.  It is a disgrace that schoolchildren are being taught to look up to these murderous lunatics.

Here are links to some of my previous blogging on the Weather Underground, Susan Sarandon (who plays the Kathy Boudin figure — as heroine — in Robert Redford’s vile and dull paean to the Weathermen, The Company You Keep)  and other sickening cop-killing radicals:

(Weathermen) Marilyn Buck, Cop Killer: Five Less Than Six Degrees of Separation From Barack Obama 

(Sarandon) Aesthetic Tragedy, New York Times Style: Mime Panic Buttons Defunded in California

(Sarandon) Rwanda and Columbine: The Politics of Forced Reconciliation

(Sarandon) Tina Fey Defiles Memory of Murdered Actor and Mocks Male Victims of Child Molestation While Denouncing “Hate Speech”

(Sarandon) The “Benjy Brigade”, Part 1: Boston’s Finest Mount an Attack on an Elderly Victim of Rape

 

(Weathermen) Something Else Barack Obama and Bernadine Dohrn Share, Besides Secrets with Terrorist Bill Ayers . . .

. . . they find vicious murders of women pretty funny.

Bernadine Dohrn in December 1969, joking about the Manson family murder of Sharon Tate:

Dig it! First they killed those pigs and then they put a fork in pig Tate’s belly. Wild!  Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, and then eating a meal in the same room, far out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson!

Barack Obama in October 2012, joking about O.J. Simpson’s attempt to flee justice after murdering his wife Nicole:

“You didn’t know this, but for all you moms and kids out there, you should have confidence that finally somebody is cracking down on Big Bird,” Obama said, alluding to the famous O.J. Simpson chase scene. “Elmo has been seen in a white Suburban. He’s driving for the border.”

Sharon Tate’s blood on her living room wall

Nicole Simpson’s blood on her backyard walkway

Who jokes about things like this?

Sharon Tate was nearly nine months pregnant at the time she was killed.  She had been stripped and tortured before death, a rope strung around her neck and hung from a beam.  She begged the killers to temporarily spare her life, kidnap her, and let her deliver her baby before they killed her.  They laughed and killed her anyway.  She was buried with the body of her deceased son cradled in her arms.

After Tex Watson stabbed Tate to death, Susan Atkins stuck her finger in Tate’s wounds and wrote the word “pig” on a wall with her blood, an act that delighted Bernadine Dohrn when she heard about it.  Dohrn and other Weathermen adopted a four-fingered “fork” salute to signify the act of stabbing Tate in her pregnant stomach.

Still not funny: Dohrn, now a “Children’s Rights Law Professor,” smiling with her FBI Most Wanted poster

 

 

The Abject Intellectual Bankruptcy of the CUNY Occupy Researchers

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I’ve been too busy to post lately, what with moving.  And staying put.  But sometimes the universe plants a goose egg so giant that you have to say something about it just to squeeze out the door.

Changing the Subject: A Bottom-Up Account of Occupy Wall Street in New York City

by Ruth Milkman, Stephanie Luce and Penny Lewis 

And so we have this, a 51-page “study” by the esteemed sociologist of SEIU apologetics, Ruth Milkman, and her peers: Stephanie Luce (living wage academician and activist) and Penny Lewis (ACORN shill/labor prof).  These three ladies practice their activism and their academics on your dime, taxpayers, at the portentous-sounding Joseph P. Murphy Institute for Worker Education of the CUNY School of Professional Studies, which is not to be confused with the CUNY School of Unprofessional Studies, which is not to be confused with a dead parrot.

The JPMIWWE openly claims to be building the union movement and serving “the educational, policy, and research needs of unions and their members,” also all on your dime.

I bet you didn’t know you were paying for that.

Frances Fox Pivens is an associated scholar at the program, which explains a lot, though it doesn’t quite explain what someone whose contribution to society consists of encouraging people not to work actually does in a Labor Studies department.

Just one more drop in the ironic abyss of the intelligentsia.

A Dead Parrot

 Frances Fox Pivens

The Occupy study, which is delighting journalists and Media Studies Professionals everywhere by reinforcing their belief systems, asserts that Occupy Protesters are actually well-educated and employed, with a full third earning more than $100K per year.

Gee, how do you do that while living in a tent and banging on drums all day?

Well, it’s done with magic.  The magic is called sociology, an obscure religion practiced, according to Iris Murdoch, by people “who had got into an intellectual muddle early in life and never got out.”  Because sociologists don’t have to do things like build bridges or solve math problems or cure cancer, their definitions of science can be a bit loosey-goosey.

How loosey-goosey?  Well, this much: the Occupy study, which is 51 pages long and paid for with your tax dollars, arrived at the conclusion that all those Occupiers who slept, raped, pooped, and drummed in the streets for months on end were actually educated, employed, and well-off.  The researchers arrived at this conclusion by surveying an entirely different group of people who showed up for a different event months after the Occupy camps were disbanded.

In fact, only 10.3% of the people they surveyed said they had stayed in an Occupy camp.  The other 89.7% did not.

In case you’re wondering what the labor professors actually do when they aren’t doing this type of thing, it looks a heck of a lot like this.

Watcher’s Council Nominations — Post New Year’s Eve Edition

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Good reading this week.  If you’re in too much of a good mood after the holidays, The Noisy Room should alleviate that.

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Post New Year’s Eve Edition

 on Jan 02 2013 at 4:49 am | Filed under: Nominations

The New Year is upon us and the taxman cometh!Best wishes from all of us for a prosperous happy and healthy 2013, and here’s hoping the current antics of the people we voted for to watch the store haven’t totally knocked the Holiday spirit out of you!

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday.

Council News:

First off, congrats to Bookworm Room for winning the title of Conservative Blogress Diva in Waiting in theThe Grande Conservative Blogress Diva competition.

This week, Liberty’s SpiritRight TruthTina Trent and The Pirate’s Cove took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status with some great pieces.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address ( which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then, just returrn the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members, while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. Pretty cool eh?

So, let’s take a look at what we have this week….

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!

Naomi Wolf, Aaron Greene and Morgan Gliedman: Retro Radical Chic

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A few days ago, the glossy-haired fourth estate of the Occupy Movement, Naomi Wolf, joined other activist/journalists in accusing police, federal law enforcement, and “big banks” of committing “totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent” over Occupy protesters last year.  According to Wolf, Occupy was totally subjected to torturous police crackdowns of their peaceful, non-violent, property-respecting protests, for no reason whatsoever.

Wolf’s description of this “corporate-state repression” is, to be kind, histrionic.  She sees herself and other protesters as deeply and dramatically victimized freedom fighters and visualizes Occupy’s many enemies as some sort of highly coordinated giant squid, or maybe a huge fascist octopus.  I thought it was more like code enforcement, myself.  The main concern of most taxpayers, after all, was the scabies and the defecating in the streets.

Though, I would happily draft the biggest fascist octopus available to silence the round-the-clock drumming circles.

In an editorial in The Guardian, Wolf vividly describes:

a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council [try not to scream as punctuation gets tortured].  And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.

Elsewhere, just yesterday, police busted yet another peace-loving armed-to-the-teeth political activist.  Aaron Greene, reportedly of Harvard University and Kennedy School of Government, had ironically stuffed the Greenwich Village apartment he shares with his very pregnant socialite girlfriend with enough grenade launchers, shotguns, and unstable explosive powder to totally recreate the famous 1970 Weather Underground Greenwich Village Townhouse explosion that killed socialite Diana Oughton and two other Weather Underground terrorists.  The three accidentally blew themselves up as they assembled nail bombs that were to be used to kill scores of servicemen and their girlfriends at a dance at Fort Dix later that night (see here and here for other recent bomb-related arrests of “peaceful” Occupy protesters).

The cynical way of describing this confluence of events would go something like this:

Naomi Wolf/Occupy Movement Peaceful: 0   —   Police: 1 

But, why be cynical?  It’s the most magical time of the year.  And thanks to a “totally integrated” police response to Aaron Greene and Morgan Gliedman’s little home-made lab, Ms. Gliedman is safe and sound and reportedly giving birth in a hospital as I write this, rather than possibly having what’s left of her fingertips peeled off the remains of a smoldering pile of rubble, which was the fate Diana Oughton met in 1970.  Contrary to what Naomi Wolf seems to believe, police possibly saved these two, and a newborn, and who knows who else, today.  The explosives they were messing with were not for amateurs: more than one building reportedly had to be evacuated to deal with their venal stupidity.

1970 Greenwich Bomb Factory Explosion

Morgan Gliedman, 2013: New Mommy

Diana Oughton, 1970: Dead

Yeah, I know.  The resemblance between these two women is downright creepy.  You would think that Ms. Gliedman was trying to look like Diana Oughton.  She certainly appears to have been working on turning out like her.  Hopefully, she will someday have the decency to thank the cops who risked their lives and their own families’ future holiday memories in order to save her from the stupidity of trying to hatch a baby in a retro hippy bomb factory.

  Just Doing My Job, Ma’am

But if I were the police, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for an apology.  Gratitude for being rescued from their own stupidity has never been a virtue of the radical Left.

Naomi Wolf, for example, is shown at the top of this post being arrested at an Occupy protest last year.  By her own description, she apparently believes that the arrest arose merely from her vigorous efforts to educate ignorant police about protesters’ rights by citing a chapter about sidewalk permits from some book she once wrote.  I’m just going to say it: no matter how much we all wish we lived in a world where it was illegal for Naomi Wolf to write book chapters, that’s not what really happened.  Yet, here is just one portion of the breathless, hair-tousled, cop-loathing Patrick Henry-inspired facebook entry she penned to memorialize her arrest:

The [Occupy] protesters were being told that they needed to leave the sidewalk outside of the Huffington Post event because “Huffington Post had a permit” to control the use of the sidewalk. I have a chapter in Give Me Liberty on NYC permits so I knew that could not be accurate. Sidewalks are public spaces and can’t be leased by private entities. I asked for a copy of the permit . . . Some press reports say that I was arrested because I ignored police warnings to get off the sidewalk or that I was arrested for using a megaphone without a permit. Both of these are untrue. I told the protesters that the NYC permit requirement that states that using a megaphone is illegal. . .

And so on.  And so on.

Is anybody else itching to gnaw off their arm to escape this?  Remember, the cops have to be there.

In her recent Guardian editorial, Wolf breathlessly tells the whole world that’s watching (or at least the part of it that reads The Guardian) about a nefarious plot by police, the FBI, and “big banks” located in different cities to use actual cellphones to communicate with each other about completely non-violent Occupy protesters who pacifistically announced in writing in advance their intentions to invade banks, destroy property, and physically attack police officers.

Here’s how Wolf describes this mysterious law enforcement plot to talk with each other on the telephone:

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

Mystifying group disruptions?  Canister missiles to the skulls?  Faceless banks wanting protesters to wet their pants?  Bondage?

Now I’m just going to say this: would it be at all possible for modern feminists to at least try get through an essay about ANYTHING WHATSOEVER without mentioning “bondage”?  Please.

Also, having spent a very stinky week in August tramping around after Occupy protesters who were trying to shut down the Republican Convention in Tampa by creating pure physical revulsion through the wearing of giant sweaty pink vulva costumes, I think I speak with a frisson of authority when I say that there was absolutely no need for anyone to “coordinate” with “big banks” in order to get that crew to soil themselves.

Anyone who has ever failed to properly clean their pet gerbil’s cage knows exactly what the Occupy encampments in downtown Tampa smelled like, all on their own, with no pressure from Wachovia.

Really, do we have to do this Occupy/Sixties nostalgia thing all over again?  Because somebody’s going to get hurt.  It was the cops in Tampa who were being pummeled with abuse as they handed out bottled water to masked “anarchists” wandering around looking for trouble while being trailed by their own personal ACLU attorneys and gaggles of argumentative middle-aged women dressed like vaginas.

Yet, Naomi Wolf apparently still feels that when lit.crit. majors with nary a mouse-pelt of common sense between them announce portentously in AdBusters that they are going to arrive by the tens of thousands to smash bank windows and meaningfully blockade Staples stores in order to transform reality itself with their ideas, police and federal agents should just stick their fingers in their ears and let them do it.

Let me try to explain this is language that can be understood: the police have the right to pick up the phone and trade hippy-punch notes with Sgt. Friday out there on the Left Coast.  OK?

~~~

Speaking of radical chic, it was sort of a Weather Underground thing to mix babies with bomb making, from Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers to Eleanor Raskin and Jeff Jones.  Make that Judge Raskin.  The future judge and her future labor lobbyist spouse were busted in yet another apartment/bomb factory with baby in tow in 1981.

Robert Redford is about to release a film that actually romanticizes all those toddlers-n-TNT moments.  You know, the terrorists will be the good guys.

Remember 1981?  Here are just a few of the police officers who didn’t get to go home to their own children around that time because of the murder campaigns against cops waged by the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, and others.  Always remember that cop-killers are revered by the peace-loving Occupy Movement:

Murdered in Brinks Robbery: Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown

Murdered in Brinks Robbery: Sgt. Edward O’Grady

Murdered in Brinks Robbery: Brinks Security Guard Peter Paige

Murdered in the San Francisco Police Station Bombing: Sgt. Brian V. McDonnell

Murdered during the Assata Shakur escape: Trooper Werner Foerster

It’s only a matter of time — and the sort of self-indulgent cop-hating rhetoric Wolf and many others are spewing — before something ends in tears.

Murder by Leniency? Another Reason We Need To Stop Treating Domestic Violence Like Domestic Violence

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There once was a time when feminist activists tried to make the courts respond to domestic violence the way they respond to violence between strangers.  This was a very good impulse, both morally and rationally, and also in terms of making our justice system operate equitably (in the “equal,” not “social justice” sense of the term “equitable”).

You shouldn’t serve less time for stabbing someone just because she is your wife or was once your wife.  Or your husband.

The law shouldn’t make exceptions for people based on their identities.  Criminal acts should be the only factor determining punishment.  Of course, there is manslaughter and there is murder; crimes of passion and random violence; there are many factors to be considered when two people live together and the relationship is a violent one.  But the goal of making the criminal act, not the relationship, the deciding factor for the punishment is and always has been a good goal.

Those early domestic violence advocates were dealing with a judicial system that did, until surprisingly recently, make it exceedingly difficult to put violent offenders behind bars if the targets of their violence were their own family members.  Things are better now.  They aren’t perfect.  They’re more equal.  The overall path has been towards equality.  And as I write this, I know I will hear from people who feel they were given a raw deal because they are men and the feminists have taken over the courts, so let me say this up front: I happen to advocate for radical equality, not special treatment of anyone, unless they are children, for obvious reasons.  I’m also very suspicious of feminist legal ventures that attempt to excuse murders by women who claim they were suffering from battered woman syndrome and are therefore not responsible for their actions.  If self defense is the defense, so be it.  But there are plenty of women who belong in prison, or deserve to stay there, as much as any other murderer, despite the fact that their victim once battered them.

Having worked with the domestic violence movement, I know enough about the dynamics of the crime to know that men are not infrequently victims too.  That’s actually more reason for us to pursue every domestic violence case objectively and with little consideration for the voluntary relationship involved, except insomuch as the technical elements of that relationship can be considered evidence of a crime.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between the legal reforms of the 1970’s that demanded equal treatment for blacks, or women, or gays, versus the special rights movements that subsumed these earlier efforts.  For a brief window of time, equality was the ambition, and a lot of good came of that.  Those healthy legal efforts led to new sex crime laws, for example, that punished the offender based on his behavior, not on the victim’s identity.  They opened the door for prosecutions of men who raped men and the prosecution of female rapists — virtually all of whom target children.  They enabled battered women to see their violent husbands serve time for beating them, and visa versa.

But then the emphasis shifted to special rights, special protections, affirmative action justice and identity-based law enforcement.  The politicization of crime is spinning wildly out of control these days — illegal immigrants are given special leniency when they can’t produce a driver’s license in Los Angeles, for example; the hate crimes industry is a bottomless pit of prejudicial law enforcement; affirmative action poisons every aspect of employment law and equal rights; federal meddling casually threatens police with career-destroying racial charges for simply trying to do their jobs.   The sheer notion of equality before the law is deemed risible by the “best” legal minds.

Equality isn’t the goal anymore.

We need to get back to that moment when it was the goal.  Because in addition to being the right thing to do, equality worked a hell of a lot better than the alternative.  Inequality of any type, I’ve come to believe, is the handmaiden of leniency.  When any crime is politicized, the courts lose the moral authority they need to maintain every law.

I thought of this when I saw the following headline in the Atlanta Journal Constitution today:

Slain woman predicted her own death

Donna Kristofak was terrified and letting the court know it. John S. Kristofak, who was her husband for 19 years, had been arrested six months earlier as he chased her in a Wal-Mart parking lot. In his car were a butcher’s knife and what police called “a suicide note.”

During a court hearing Oct. 12, Mrs. Kristofak begged a Cobb County judge not to release him from jail. “I fear for my life,” she told Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs, telling the judge that a court-issued order of protection would not stop her crazed ex-spouse.

Early Thursday, fugitive squads arrested Kristofak, 58, after a short struggle at a Motel 6 in Union City, ending a publicized five-day manhunt. He was charged with doing exactly what he’d promised earlier this year: murder.

I have a lot of questions about this case.  What the hell was this man doing out of prison for time served, seven months after trying to kidnap and plotting (with evidence) to murder his ex-wife last March?  Why wasn’t he prosecuted for attempted kidnapping and given a real sentence?  Why wasn’t he given a sentence enhancement for repeatedly violating the restraining order in place against him before the March incident?  What happened to the mandatory minimum of 10 years without parole for kidnapping in Georgia?  Was a protective order used in lieu of prosecuting him for kidnapping?

Why does anybody get time served and probation for attempting to kidnap, with the written intent to kill, anyone?  Ex-wife or no ex-wife?

The judge in this case has more explaining to do, as does the prosecutor and the defense attorney and everyone else involved in what may be an illegal plea deal that left an unsurprised woman unsurprisingly dead.  I’m not saying that any of them treated John Kristofak with special leniency because his target was his ex-wife, but why was he released from prison with such a paltry sentence when he had just set out to kill someone, threatened her repeatedly, stalked her, and then tried to kidnap her from a public place?

Kristofak remained in jail until October, when he cut a plea deal with the court that would sentence him to seven months in jail and have him serve the rest of the 5-year term on probation.

According to the transcript of the guilty plea Oct. 12, Donna Kristofak told the judge: “I definitely want a permanent order of no contact. May I also say that a protective order existed the night of the arrest and I do not feel that will necessarily bring safety.”

Judge Grubbs: “I understand that. It’s a little different with a TPO and filing a protective order. … If he violates the order in this case he gets picked up by the probation violation and put in jail immediately.”

Mrs. Kristofak: “Yes, your honor, I respect that and thank you for that. My fear is that I may not survive that …”

“I understand,” the judge said, cutting in.

“… I fear for my life,” Mrs. Kristofak continued.

“I can’t tell you with 100 percent, I’d be lying to you and I am sorry you are in that position,” said the judge, sounding sympathetic. “But whatever I do, you can go out and, you’ve got that risk but you will have that … copy of the protective order so the minute you get nervous about anything you call the police. … It’s as close as we can get to 100 percent.”

“Thank you, your honor,” Mrs. Kristofak said. “May I ask, your honor, that it is on the record that I fear for my life?”

“It is on the record,” said Judge Grubbs . . .

On December 22, John Kristofak killed Donna Kristofak in the garage of her home.

Keeping Kristofak in prison would have been 100%.  Apparently, the restraining order was a giant zero.

If Kristofak was treated with special leniency in the March crime because his victim was his wife, something needs to be done about that.

If Kristofak was treated with run-or-the-mill leniency for no special reason, something needs to be done about that, too.

 read the article here

Gun Control is a Distraction: the President is Sending Grief Counselors.

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 . . . And, Lester Jackson on Benny Lee Hodge, Sonia Sotomayor, and Apologies for Mass Murderers

Great Leader chatter about Obama healing the nation is engulfing every network news station — including Fox — following the mass killing in Connecticut.  Was it always this way?  I’m thinking back on Columbine, David Koresh, Oklahoma City — is anyone else getting nostalgic for mere partisan political jabs in the wake of grim and senseless violence?  There is something profoundly creepy about the bureaucratic/therapeutic/paternalistic vibe emanating from Washington.  Of course, this is part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to expand their mission beyond crime control . . . to social control.  Flying under the flag of “anti-bullying,” “hate hurts,” “restorative justice,” and “prisoner re-entry,” the Department of Justice continues its Great March behind the Great Leader into people’s lives, this time using the excuse of a nut with a gun.

The goal isn’t merely gun control.  Gun control is a speed bump on the way to social control.

In order to align law enforcement’s activities with the agenda of collectivism, it is necessary to either therapeuticize or politicize every crime.  One or the other: a school shooter is generally therapeuticized.  He falls into the category of “victim,” probably of bullying, so long as he didn’t express any of the select group of “hatreds” that are deemed atrocities and thus politicized.  Luckily for school shooters who target females, that particular preference has been slotted back into the inconsequential category, and as it is the only category of shooter choice that has manifested in recent school shootings, school shooters generally just get counted as victims of social suffering — the therapeutic slot.  The Department of Justice is making noises about social bullying today, for example — it’s the stuff on which they can build expensive and intrusive bureaucracies without violating Eric Holder’s allergy to incarceration and law enforcement itself.

So, expect a lot of talk about bullying from the nation’s federal law enforcement agency — and everyone else — in coming weeks.  Ironically, early reports suggest that the killer in this case may have been systematically encouraged to see himself as a victim of “bullying” and social maladjustment.  There’s something to contemplate as the experts descend on schools throughout the nation to cash in on the actions of one unstable individual: might we produce fewer school shooters if we had fewer school professionals encouraging children to see themselves as victims — of garden-variety bullying, social slights, and social exclusion?

For if there’s one common thread that ties together otherwise diverse killers, bank robbers, terrorists, street thugs, and assorted psychopaths, it’s self-pity.  So as the armies of school psychologists and grief counselors and other soft-soap contract-remunerated social engineers fan out across the land, think about both intended and unintended consequences.  It’s bad enough that the federal government is using a tragedy to grow the bureaucratic-therapeutic federal government machinery, but is it even worse than that?  Are we growing future criminals in the process of therapeuticizing violence?

I was driving through South Georgia when the news reports of the Connecticut shootings broke.  It may be Terrific in Tifton but it’s darn hard to get A.M. radio reception from the highway there, so we had to listen to public radio.  “Obama Will Save Us” positive visualizations popped up immediately, with NPR devoting its earliest hours to Dear Leader chatter and gushing praise for the FBI.  Why the FBI?  Because the federal government was on the way to save the day.  Not that they actually did anything.  But the purpose of NPR is to justify federal powers and federal funding — for themselves and for actual government officials.  So they talked obsessively about how wonderful it was that the FBI was doing this and that for local law enforcement, even though local law enforcement was doing the actual work.

The therapeuticization of justice dictates two responses to crime.  Offenders are transformed into victims of society, and victims are transformed into suspects, at least until they demonstrate that they are also willing to blame society and not the individual offender for victimizing them.  Once everyone agrees that society is at fault, the experts can step in to dictate the cure, which involves creating more therapeutic non-incarcertive responses to crime.  Response is an artful term: it expresses the bureaucratic view that we are one enormous sensate organism reacting with animal reflexes to pain or shock.  If criminals are simply part of the sensate whole, how can we blame them for their actions?  It’s like blaming us . . . well, we are blaming us.  We are all responsible: nobody is responsible.

The alternative view is to accept the existence of moral choice and individual responsibility for crime, followed by judgment and consequences.  As readers of this blog have learned from the anonymous Professor Dunderpants of CUNY’s Media Studies Department, merely believing in such things is considered terribly primitive these days, and not the sort of good primitive that stimulates the anthropology department.  It is bad primitive to  harbor a secret belief in free will these days, let alone express it publicly.

The power to transform criminals into victims and victims into suspects — to dictate not just the administration of justice to the guilty but the emotional responses of everyone to crime — is a tremendous, intrusive power cupped in the hands of the bureaucrats calling the shots.  Fascist power, one might say.  Soft fascism.  The creepy kind.

Therapeuticizing criminals is the end-game of the social roots-theory of crime.  Roots theory was invented by sociologists in the 1960’s who wished to displace responsibility for criminal actions away from the criminal himself and onto society — onto injustice arising from poverty and prejudice in particular.  Poor and minority offenders, the story goes, are not responsible for their actions: they are merely reacting to injustice directed at them when they steal your car or mug your husband or rape your sister.  And social engineering is, of course, the only known cure.  Forty years later, the roots-theory movement has expanded to the point that it may even be applied to a young white male from an upper-class suburb who just slaughtered 20 innocent schoolchildren.  In coming days, even the most rational expressions of anger at the shooter will be quickly smothered by ministrations of therapeuticized justice in the government and the media.

Let the intensive policing of the innocents begin.

          ~~~~~

Related:  Lester Jackson has a compelling article about Justice Sotomayor and judicial sympathy for repeat killers in American Thinker today.  It’s a timely read:

 As detailed elsewhere, pro-murderer media suppression of the truth has played a major role in enabling a wholesale evisceration of capital punishment. Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently provided a graphic example, one that would be excruciatingly painful to survivors of murder victims if they knew about it. Many people unfamiliar with the practices and philosophy of the current Supreme Court would very likely be shocked to learn just what values some justices hold. . .

When pro-murderer justices seek — often successfully — to focus upon criminals rather than crimes, the result is to grant certain perpetrators greater protection against punishment for their brutality than others who commit identical or less serious acts without Supreme Court succor. The reductio ad absurdum, of course, is the Court’s fiat proclaiming a Constitutional right, nowhere to be found in the real document, for the most depraved and vicious barbarians . . .

Read the rest here.

And see also:   Rwanda and Columbine: The Politics of Forced Reconciliation

Watcher’s Council: A Lot Like Christmas Edition

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In the Watcher’s Council again . . . thanks!

Watcher’s Council Nominations – It’s Beginning To Look A lot Like Christmas Edition

 on Dec 12 2012 at 3:38 am |

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday.

Council News:

This week, Ask MarionTina Trent and The Pirate’s Cove took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status with some great pieces.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address ( which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category, and return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week.

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members. while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have this week….

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!

Typing Monkey, Geek Culture

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A Wednesday dispatch from The Typing Monkey, on socialization, the internet, geeks, girls, and dialectical materialism.  Clever monkey.

There is currently a conversation on the internet about whether “girls” are excluded unfairly from “geek” culture. I came across this fascinating post from a young woman named Serenity Caldwell, who took up the conversation as an opportunity to talk about her constant fear that members of the “geek” community might mistake her for Sarah Palin. By which she means “stupid” and not worthy to be a “geek.” She calls these gatekeepers the “fraud police,” and they apparently have a tendency to make “girls” unwelcome in “geek” society.

Her name is Serenity, she’s 24 years old, went to Hampshire and lives in Boston, so I guess the confusion with Sarah Palin is natural.

Anyway, I feel compelled to comment, and she posted this on Tumblr, where you are only permitted to “like,” and then only if you’re a member of the club. I don’t think they allow monkeys, and my feelings are a little more nuanced. So here, for whatever it’s worth, a few things:

1. I was at a wretched party recently. Lawyers and doctors trying to force their business cards on each other. Food was good. Anyway, I was talking to someone in the corner and said, “Maybe in the next life I’ll be good at this.” He said, “The secret is not to care.”

I could write a book about the wisdom hidden in this, but instead I will just point out that any social group is composed of a large number of actual people with diverse and complicated motives for wanting to interact with other people in the group. Making newcomers feel welcome is usually surprisingly high on the list of things that people in these room (any rooms) want, sometimes even too high. Humans are like that. But they want other things, too — food, shelter, procreation, good verdicts. This is also human nature. I am not saying this to imply that people should put up with jerks. I just mean you have to learn to route around people who aren’t paying the kind of attention to you that you’d like. That’s what the internet is for, after all. Networking.

2. It’s possible that the members of what Caldwell calls the “fraud police” know more about fear than she credits them for, and that insight might suggest to her some strategies for dealing with them. Just putting that out there. Maybe I am saying you should (sometimes) put up with jerks. People have hidden depths.

3. Okay, Sarah Palin. I’m not going to belabor the obvious point that some people consider Sarah Palin to be a victim of the same dynamic that Caldwell is talking about. That would look too much like literary criticism. But I would ask Caldwell to think about the fact that there might be a statistically significant fraction of the population who (a) are geeks and (b) actually, honestly like Sarah Palin. Is an unfunny joke and the approbation that might come from broadcasting tedious and shopworn political opinions in a forum where those tedious and shopworn political opinions aren’t exactly novel worth alienating that person?

Answer? Sure, maybe. Am I telling her to like Sarah Palin, or at least shut up about it? No. Seriously. This is the internet, she can say what she likes. My advice is for the young conservative geek who might otherwise have found what she has to say compelling or at least interesting. Or just might want to talk to people like this at parties.

“The secret is not to care.”

4. I think there should be a law that requires the word “geek” to be set off in ironic quotation marks and hyperlinked to the Urban Dictionary definition of “humble brag”.   See also the “Status” chapter in Keith Johnstone’s Impro.

5. Okay, literary criticism. Can’t help myself. The author is a graduate of one of the most expensive colleges in the country, lives in one of the most expensive cities in the country, and has a real job as a writer in a world where that is not a small accomplishment. She clearly is being brought along and mentored by a variety of successful people in her chosen field. And yet she’s trying to associate herself with this discussion about women who are afraid to be heard in the public sphere.

Note that I’m not saying I doubt that she, like all women, experiences sexism. I just find it interesting that she begins the discussion of sexism in her life by denigrating Sarah Palin and ends it with a denunciation of “boisterous braggarts who come into a situation ignorant to the facts and who want to be the center of the discussion—even if they have no idea what the discussion is.”

Her conclusion about the “braggarts” is: “there’s a certain sort of smug satisfaction that comes with taking them down—it’s clear they don’t respect your subject, so why should you respect them?” Kinda ugly when you take it out of context.

Anyway — maybe her status anxiety has more to do with class then gender?

How to Escape the Corryvreckan Whirlpool

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There are days when the weather seems to have blown a fuse, and everything’s skin temperature and slightly damp, and your mood mimics the atmosphere: malaise.

But then something shows up in the post to cheer you up.  I received a delightful piece of hate mail yesterday.  It’s nice to see people making an effort.

The letter is from “Steven,” who claims to be a professor of English and Media Studies but wishes to conceal his real identity.  This raises an obvious question: wouldn’t a professor of media studies know that his e-mail can be traced to the CUNY (CCNY) server from which he sent it?  I’m no Steve Jobs, but even I get that.

I actually sympathize with Steven’s technological pratfalls.  The internet remains mysterious to me, too.  It feels like a sentient yet alien creature living in my house, even inside of me.  We sometimes forget the uncanny nature of modern electronic communication.

Gregor Samsa, having a bad morning

One of the unpleasant uncannyness-es of the internet is its ability to blow past all the social barriers that once defended against unwanted intimacy.  The last thing we need today is more intimacy: we are already practically living in each other’s tonsils.  A dear friend of mine who went a little unhinged while writing her dissertation (an entirely ordinary thing, and she did it charmingly) took to calling language “a virus.”  For a long time, I politely nodded at this, while secretly wondering what the heck she was talking about.  But I think I finally get it.

I am a quotidian thinker: un-theoretical, literal, plodding, and slow — a soil person, not a fire or light person.  In my earth-clumped mind,  Language is a virus means that the antibiotics we currently have won’t work against it.  This is all the more reason to long for the days when one could live like the characters in I Know Where I’m Going!, a movie I recommend to “Steven” to cheer him up, because the very fact of my existence appears to have gotten him very, very, very down.

It’s a nice movie to watch when you are tired of words, because, throughout the entire film, the characters can hardly hear each other, for the wind is howling so loudly.

Among its many virtues, I Know Where I’m Going! introduces the uninitiated to the existence of the Corryvreckan Whirlpool.  Once you know that the Corryvreckan Whirlpool exists, the earth feels like a different place.  Here is some interesting trivia I did not know until I consulted Wikipedia.  If language is a virus, Wikipedia is the herpes of the internet.  But, a good herpes:

In mid-August 1947, the author George Orwell nearly drowned in the Corryvreckan whirlpool.  Seeking to focus his main energies on completing a novel destined to become the dystopian classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell had fled the distractions of London in April 1947 and taken up temporary residence on the isolated island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides.

On the return leg of an August boating daytrip to nearby Glengarrisdale, Orwell seems to have misread the local tide tables and steered into rough seas that drove his boat near to the whirlpool. When the boat’s small engine suddenly sheared off from its mounts and dropped into the sea, Orwell’s party resorted to oars and was saved from drowning only when the whirlpool began to recede and the group managed to paddle the distressed craft to a rocky outcrop about a mile distant from the Jura coastline. The boat capsized as the group tried to disembark, leaving Orwell, his two companions, and his three-year-old son stranded on the uninhabited outcrop with no supplies or means of escape. They were rescued only when passing lobstermen noticed a fire the party had lit in an effort to keep warm.Orwell completed a first draft of Nineteen Eighty-Four about three months after the Corryvreckan incident, with the final manuscript not finished until late 1948.

And here is an excellent story by Robert McCrumb that goes into more detail about Orwell’s encounter with the Corryvreckan Whirlpool.  Every detail of this event grows more interesting as you examine it: the great author misreads a text and nearly drowns for it; Homeric oars must be resorted to when the engine falls off.  Don’t you feel better about the world knowing that passing lobstermen are responsible for the existence of a great literary classic denouncing totalitarian intellectual oppression?  Lobstermen plucked Orwell from the sea!

Somewhere inside, a tremendous unifying metaphor lurks.

Anyway.  Onto Steven.  I think I finally understand why reading his letter made me think of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.  It’s the tone.  One of the difficult things about reading Kafka is the unpleasantness of his main characters.  Even as you witness them suffering horribly, you find yourself inching to the door to escape their elemental whininess:

I’m wondering, Dr. Trent, whether this is blog is a template or if you penned the directions for comments: “Please be nice and tolerant, don’t offend. Thanks!”

I ask because the level of vitriol in your writing seriously undermines your arguments. The problem with allowing emotion, especially anger and contempt, to drive your arguments is that it conveys your fanaticism and leaves your readers convinced your mind was made up before you even began your research.

Now, I have to thank Steven for bringing this information to my attention.  I am obviously deeply opposed to niceness and tolerance, and I had no idea that my readers were being subjected to such a demand when they deigned to weigh in.  Yes, Steven, this blog is a template.  And I intend to obliterate those comment directives as soon as I figure out how to use the internet .

I also like the use of the word “vitriol” here, but I wonder if the sentence wouldn’t have been stronger if Steven had left off the word “seriously.”  Merely undermining my arguments seems work enough, and I don’t think there is such a thing as unserious undermining.

Or is there?

I do not, however, intend to abandon fanaticism, anger, or contempt.  I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with them.

Here, that strange and creepy thing about the internet rears its head: Steven assumes a troubling intimacy with me.  It would be easy just to make fun of his hapless efforts to sound rational and objective — allowing emotion, especially anger and contempt, to drive your arguments — but there is something darker underneath all the academic foppery.  There is an ugly need to control people, to get into their heads and classify thoughts as appropriate and inappropriate, politically correct and incorrect.  Orwell would have quite a bit to say about Steven, if he stooped to bother, but my immediate thought upon reading his letter is of the quotidian, earth-clot sort:

Do not date this man.  He is an asshole.

Or maybe he’s just a tenured professor of media studies.  Some jobs, my clever husband said to me, warp all but the strongest personalities.  Steven continues:            

It’s quite possible that your opinions about the people and events you discuss have serious validity, but the value I attach to your blog is not one you will likely appreciate: I’m going to use it to teach my college media and English students the perils of attacking your readers with furious opinions and political agendas while you call them “facts.” Over the years, I’ve learned how easily they see through hysteria and propaganda, so I expect they’ll have no trouble deconstructing and discrediting a significant portion of your postings.

Again: would anyone want to date this man?

I am worried about the literacy of university professors.  Steven says he teaches media studies and English.  I certainly wouldn’t sign my name to something this inflated and vapidly aggressive and sanctimonious; then again, I wouldn’t write it either.  But stepping back from — oh, content and intent — shouldn’t university professors be a bit better than this at expressing themselves?

In the third brief paragraph of a tiny letter, Steven commits the “serious” redundancy again.  Doubling a redundancy does not minimize it, for good diction does not operate like the Federal Reserve.  What is “serious validity”?  Something is valid, or it is not.  I should note here that the post Steven criticizes is about terrorist Judith Clark and her apologists at the New York Times.  In the imaginary universe of the Times, and apparently Steven’s CCNY classroom, murderers like Clark are actually love-muffins spreading sunshine from their prison cells because the people they killed were pigs who aren’t really human, just cops.

You have to trot a bit to keep up here.  Shedding your moral consistency helps.

the value I attach to your blog is not one you will likely appreciate

Oh no.

I’m going to use it to teach my college media and English students the perils of attacking your readers with furious opinions and political agendas while you call them “facts.”

Steven is going to teach his students about journalistic ethics by anonymously attacking a stranger with inappropriately personal comments.  Do you want to know more?  I know I do:

I’ll leave an additional observation here as well. How many times have you addressed poverty and molestation as a cause of crime? How many articles have you written on police deceit, abuse and corruption? How often have you criticized corrections policies designed to exact revenge and ignore abuse instead of combat recidivism? Until your perspectives prove a more balanced approach to these issues, I will assume you argue for a rigid and unforgiving and, incidentally, deeply anti-Christian approach to crime.

Apparently, I have not criticized policies the appropriate number of times, nor have I scribbled enough on deceit.  I have failed to balance my voice in ways that satisfy our Steven.  He will punish me for being rigid and awaits my rehabilitation.

Sounds like someone needs to spend a little less time pawing over Fifty Shades of Grey.

But, seriously.

It is sad to imagine anyone spending classroom time performing coarse and hysterical deconstructions of blog posts.  And I say that as the author of blogposts.  So, on the off chance that Professor Dunderpants’ students are reading this, let me offer a gentle suggestion: Your school is not giving you a quality education for the money.

If you want to get really depressed about how much money and time you are wasting, I suggest you read an actually unnerving (borderline uncanny) blog — The Last Psychiatrist, specifically his two-part posting, Hipsters on Food Stamps, ought to bring the sensation of malaise barreling down on even the cheeriest sort.

I realize that it’s getting late in the post, and I haven’t said anything yet directly in response to Steven’s criticisms of me.  In keeping with his tone, I suppose I could just argue that I’m being a very disobedient little girl today, but I’m going to offer a bit more.

It doesn’t seem as if Steven actually disagrees with the serious validity of the people and events I discuss.  What he seems to want to do is to ignore my arguments about people and events and deconstruct my writerly identity instead.  This is what far too many people in the academy do all day long.  Rather than teach their students valid things about people and events, all of which takes work, they engage in the masturbatory rituals of deconstruction, which — despite the magic vocabulary involved — generally boils down to one very simple chant:

I am better at social justice than you are.

This is all Steven was writing to me to say.  He felt entitled to say it anonymously because he was speaking for a mob.  I am better at social justice than you are is the only intellectual contribution some tenured faculty make throughout their entire careers these days.

Here’s something else Steven’s students should know: education should be about things that exist somewhere other than your phone, or your professor’s warped and outsized ego.

Beware the Corryvreckan Whirlpool.