Eugene Genovese, R.I.P. — Making Crooked Things Straight

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Gene Genovese passed away today.  I was lucky to share a part of Gene’s last years with him and his wife, Elizabeth Fox Genovese, in their home.  I worked for Betsey until her brave death in 2007.  I therefore was witness to one of the great intellectual love stories of our age.

Betsey and Gene started out as prominent Marxist intellectuals and ended their journey as passionate spokespeople for the rebirth of Catholic conservatism.  A perfectly natural path.  Betsey, of course, was the one who led Gene back after “fifty years in the wilderness,” as he wrote in Miss Betsey, his memoir of their marriage.

At the end of that book, Gene wrote:

What everlasting life means I have no idea.  At the risk of contradicting these words, I pray that Betsey and I will be blended spiritually, much as our ashes will be blended in that urn.  We are told that in Heaven we shall see the face of God.  If allowed to enter Heaven, I shall see Him in her smile.

I’ll leave it to others to recount Gene and Betsey’s significance as intellectuals.  I got the delightful parts: watching Gene slip into expensive Italian leather loafers to somewhat uncomplainingly walk the inaccurately named Labradors, Patience and Prudence; watching the two of them spend the morning writing together, then share lunch of good wine, bread, cheese, and salami, then write some more . . . watching in bewilderment as two of the smartest people in the world mistakenly rooted for the wrong New York baseball team.

I also saw the extraordinary passion that carried the two of them through Betsey’s years of suffering at the end of her life.  Gene worried so much, and she worried about him worrying: it was an object lesson in endearment.  He brought the T.S. Eliot book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats to read to her at the hospital: the smartest people in the world with the exception of their choice of baseball team found simple joy in cat cartoons after inspiring the intellectual exodus from Stalinism.

Gene and Betsey’s friends will remember evenings at Nino’s being regaled with Sinatra and martinis, pickled eggplant and stories of their first date.  Some of us will also remember lunches at Roxx Tavern, where the men out front marveled at Betsey’s persistence and the sight of two people so perfectly in love.

What Gene and Betsey taught me was that you can, you must, stop your life and take a different path once you realize you have been traveling the wrong one.  They were smart enough to be grateful.  We should all have such faith.

Eric Posner Jumps the Hate Shark

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Somebody didn’t get the memo.  University of Chicago Law Professor Eric Posner accidentally told the truth about hate crime laws in Slate magazine.  Liberals, Posner writes,

supported enactment of hate-crime laws that raised criminal penalties for people who commit crimes against minorities because of racist or other invidious motives.

Way to flash your hand, Eric.  Raised criminal penalties for people who committed crimes against minorities.  Now that we have that on the table, let’s just stop pretending these laws were ever intended to “oppose hate” no matter who does the hating.

The alternative is that we stop pretending that University of Chicago Law Professors can accurately interpret . . . law.  And we can’t have that, can we?

Also, isn’t it weird that the University of Chicago Law School would randomly end up hiring the son of another University of Chicago Law School professor?  I mean, what are the odds?

   Eric Posner, University of Chicago Law Professor

Eric’s Dad (Richard Posner)

Slate is really batting a thousand this week.  First they splatted out another creepy chapter of Chicken Soup for the Child Molester’s Soul; now this meme implosion.

Slate’s Unbelievably Inappropriate Pro-Child Molester Illustration

I wonder what Thursday will bring.

Announcing Connecting the Dots, a Film by Agustin Blazquez and Jaums Sutton

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I’m one of the people interviewed in the film.  I talk about my experiences on the Left, including my brush with ACORN when they were pretending to provide services to rape victims . . . in order to promote their anti-police activism in crime-tormented New Orleans.  Ugly stuff.

 Filmmaker Agustin Blazquez

Other Films by Agustin

Click here for the Connecting the Dots preview.

 

 

New From Mary Grabar: Bill Ayers and the Common Core

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See Mary’s report at Accuracy in Media today:

Terrorist Professor Bill Ayers and Obama’s Federal School Curriculum

Vision 21: The Good, The Bad, and The Creepy in the DOJ’s New Crime Victim Initiative

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The Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice is busy promoting Vision 21 Transforming Victims Services, the DOJ’s sweeping “new” agenda for providing “services” to victims of crime.  I’m using the scare quotes here because I don’t trust Eric Holder to do anything about crime other than politicize it.

OJP masthead
Vision 21 Transforming Victim Services

Vision 21 is certainly a paean to identity group activism and identity group representation and identity group “outreach.”  True to form, the DOJ leaves no stone unturned in their efforts to kick the justice system further down the road of pure identity-based balkanization.

But the most troubling thing I’m seeing at first glance is the emphasis on providing “services” to victims in lieu of getting justice for them.  It looks like Vision 21 is providing multiple opportunities for activist organizations to exploit crime victims for other ends.  The involvement of groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Soros-funded, pro-offender VERA Institute for Justice suggests to me that one of the primary intentions of Vision 21 is to neuter the voices of real crime victims who demand real consequences and real sentences for violent and repeat offenders.  And, sure enough, Holder’s handpicked leaders have been floating anti-incarceration messaging in the endless “stakeholder forums” that inevitably accompany such initiatives.

Expect to hear a lot about how victims “want to be heard and included more than they want prosecutions.”  Expect offenders to be counted as sort of “co-victims” of crime.  Expect a lot of talk about the restorative justice movement, which was long ago hijacked by advocates for criminals and is now used primarily to keep offenders out of prison, rather than making them take responsibility for their crimes.  The “criminals are victims too” activists who hijacked restorative justice and profit from the vast “criminal re-entry” service industry are running the show at the DOJ.

Visin 21 is certainly a full-employment vision for the criminology profession.  And putting criminologists in charge of anything relating to crime victims is like sticking puppies in tiger cages.  But feeding the criminologists has been a primary goal all along.  Laurie Robinson’s tenure at the DOJ was dedicated to systematically subjugating the criminal justice system to the academic criminologists, in order to, of course, take all that vengeful punishment and incarceration stuff out of the equation (except in the cases of so-called hate criminals).

Now Mary Lou Leary is carrying the full-employment-for-criminologists ball.  FYI, “smart on crime” here means hopefully not incarcerating anyone, no matter what they do, unless Eric says it’s a hate crime:

This focus on careful analysis is one of the Justice Department’s top priorities. We are committed to promoting programs and approaches that are “smart on crime.” Under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, I can assure you that this is more than a mere buzzword. For this Department, being smart on crime means resisting knee-jerk reactions, investing in solid research, and ensuring that evidence is translated so it is useful to all of you on the frontlines.

Get it?  This is supposed to be a statement about victim programs, but Leary is talking “knee-jerk reactions.”  They’re helping crime victims avoid “knee-jerk reactions,” like wanting their offenders behind bars.  This will be accomplished with science.

On the positive side, The National Crime Victim Law Institute and other highly credible crime victim advocates are also involved in Vision 21.  And the initiatives to professionalize and expand evidence collection is money well-spent.

“Swedish Artist Laughs in the Face of Islamist Death Threats,” and, Trevor Loudon in Bradenton, FL

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Cliff Kincaid reports . . .

Lars Vilks, the Swedish artist who drew Islam’s prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog and lives under a constant death threat, was in New York City on 9/11, as anti-American violence started to unfold in the Middle East. He described how the Islamists have repeatedly tried to injure or kill him over the last several years.

Vilks spoke at an “International Freedom Defense Congress” sponsored by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer amid tight security, proving that the problem regarding Islam isn’t a drawing or a film but rather an ideology that sanctions violence against its perceived enemies and which has a presence on American soil. . .

The event demonstrated that, whether it’s a drawing, a cartoon, or a film, the Islamists will always look for something or someone to riot about and use as an excuse to kill. But rather than reaffirm our First Amendment rights, the Obama Administration has made it clear that they want to silence those who criticize the “religion of peace.”

. . . What is coming to America, courtesy of the Obama Administration, is more scrutiny of and threats against those who are labeled Islamophobes by such groups as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress.

Europeans are already experiencing these frightening developments, as critics of the prophet Muhammad are being physically attacked, murdered, or subject to prosecution for “hate speech.”

In order to counter this threat here and abroad, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer launched the “International Freedom Defense Congress” of Stop Islamization of Nations (SION), on whose board I serve. It is designed to safeguard our constitutional rights before they are stripped away by an administration working hand-in-glove with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group of Muslim countries which wants to silence critics of Islam.

Geller is the founder, editor and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com and Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch.

Read the rest here.

~~~~

Tuesday night, September 18, Trevor Loudon will appear in Bradenton, Florida at Tea Party Manatee.  Although he is a lifetime resident of New Zealand, Trevor knows more about the American political system — right down to the background of your local state representative — than almost anyone I know.  His knowledge of American politics puts America’s tenured political scientists to shame.

When I was attending graduate school at E***y University, I used to have a running joke with a wise and lovely administrator: she and I would send each other clippings from the Atlanta Journal Constitution whenever a certain esteemed political science professor weighed in weightily on political news.

We’d quote: “Professor X predicts an election will be held on November 6.”  And then dissolve into giggles.

That was the sort of thing he’d say, and then get quoted for saying, and then collect his $250K salary for STOPHeD: stating the obvious with a PhD.

Trevor Loudon is the opposite of all that.  And yet, academics still find the nerve to scorn the Tea Party.  If only they knew . . . even a fraction of what they don’t know and refuse to see:

TPM General Meeting:Guest Speaker – Trevor Loudon

Date: September 18, 2012Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Location:  Show mapMixon Fruit Farms
2525 27th Street East
Bradenton, FL 34208

Email: info@teapartymanatee.org

Trevor Loudon 

TEA PARTY MANATEE WILL BE HOSTING
Trevor Loudon
Meeting will start at 6 pm

Trevor Loudon is a New Zealand political activist who was vice president of the ACT New Zealand Party from 2006 to 2008.[1]He has been involved in politics in Christchurch for many years, most notably the Campaign for a Soviet Free New Zealand[2]a group which published dossiers on people involved in the anti-nuclear movement, declaring them to be communists and “connecting the dots” between them and their supposed Soviet masters.[3]

He describes himself as “[Believing] in freedom with responsibility, not freedom from responsibility. My ideal society is one in which government is slashed to the bone and people are free to reach their potential.” In addition to his libertarian economic views he is strongly anti-communist, in a 2006 post to his blog (see below) he stated “Socialism, is in short a manifestation ofmental illness or major character deficiency.”[4] he has also stated a belief that communists are responsible for “supplying much of the world’s illegal drugs,” although he supports drug legalization (while being personally against drug use).[5] He is a self-described “student” of the Zenith Applied Philosophy, an offshoot of Scientology. In 2006 he wrote on his blog “I have studied at Z.A.P. from 1976 to 1982, 1986/7 and 1999 to current. I am enjoying my studies immensely at the moment and plan to continue indefinitely.”[6]

Meanwhile, here’s a Victoria Jackson bonus track:

There’s a Communist in the White House

And don’t forget this guy, this very, very happy guy from the Occupy Tampa movement.  Nobody can hate this guy:

The Last Call To Attention

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I kept thinking about this video as I watched decent young police officers cope with the protesters at the Tampa Republican National Convention.  Watch the whole thing, and you’ll realize why Churchill (the better part of his nature) isn’t dead in Britain.  Soundtrack, too.

Piffle has been circulating in the media all week about how the RNC and the DNC were calm because police didn’t arrest protesters like those terrible cops did in 2008 in St. Paul.  Bunk.  The RNC and the DNC didn’t see as many arrests because the protesters didn’t show up to break windows and hurl bottles at police.  If that’s the result of better intelligence work, more power to it.  Don’t pretend it was the police who needed to adjust their attitudes.

There are still unanswered questions about the failure to arrest high-profile activists who invaded the RNC and DNC repeatedly and interrupted nationally broadcasted speeches.  Medea Benjamin and her colleagues disrupted several speakers including Romney, yet the security forces inside the convention halls simply let them go.  Who was in charge there, and why wasn’t Benjamin held to the same standards as ordinary citizens?  I’m assuming it was the Secret Service that made the call.

 

Journalism Means You Never Have To Say You’re Sorry

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A couple of years ago, I tried to correct a false statement in the New York Times.  Sisyphean task, I know.  But this wasn’t one of those big, ideological falsehoods: it was a technical misrepresentation of a sentencing law.  Which led to a big, ideological falsehood, but at least the task at hand was manageable: replace the misrepresentation of the law with an accurate description.

An embarrassed editor contacted me: the mistake was a fairly big miss on their part, and it completely undermined the point of the op-ed.  But, he told me, they did not permit corrections of authors and content in the letters page.  Would I write a different letter that offered the correct version of the law as additional information for interested readers, rather than calling it a correction?

Why not just run a correction, I asked.  They preferred not to in cases like this, he said.  I suppose corrections are for important people with press agents:

New York Times correction Sept. 13, 2012: Because of an editing error, the TV Watch column on Tuesday about Katie Couric’s show, “Katie,” and other new daytime talk shows, misidentified the host whose show focused on inspiring stories in its premiere. He is Jeff Probst, not Steve Harvey. The column also misstated the date of the premiere of Mr. Harvey’s show, “Steve Harvey,” and the date of an episode on which he held a social media version of “The Dating Game.” The premiere was Sept. 4, not Sept. 3, and the social media dating game show was broadcast last Thursday; it was not the premiere.

At the time, I was shocked that the Times wouldn’t permit comments in the letters page that reflect negatively on their content, but I have since learned that this is pretty standard among print dailies.  Keeps the narratives and memes nice and elastic — and entirely under their control.

Victorian séance: perfect metaphor for media bias

 So I was not surprised to see that the Tampa Bay Times (the new euphemism for the St. Petersburg Times) didn’t bother to “correct” the record after they went on a wild tear yesterday trying to blame the violence in Libya and Egypt on Terry Jones, the Gainesville pastor who burned a Koran last year.

If Jones was a left-wing agitator, the Times would love him, of course.  If he was a conceptual artist who suspended crucifixes in human urine, or a lawyer for the A.C.L.U., or Larry Flynt, they’d write long, glowing reviews of his art and/or politics and/or epistemology.

But “Piss Mohammed” just doesn’t resonate in leftist media, so instead of being a much admired conceptual artist, Terry Jones is a hate criminal.  Mind you, the Times loves the hate criminal they’ve made of him.  They so love him that they try to hang him around the neck of every single politician who doesn’t agree with their in-house stance on terrorists who commit murder and fly planes into buildings and burn down embassies (apologize to them for hurting their feelings because America should be ashamed of itself).

Yesterday, the Times just couldn’t wedge enough pictures of Jones onto their website.  The murder in Syria?  It was Jones.  The laughable Innocence of Mohammed film, which bears a remarkable resemblance to Ed Wood’s 1953 masterpiece, Glen or Glenda?  All Jones’ fault.

The Tampa Bay Times, you see, isn’t merely a newspaper.  It is home to a prestigious journalism institute for journalistic ethics, the Poynter Institute, which has morphed in recent years into a sort of identity politics police arm for the fourth estate.  So the Times has a much higher responsibility than other newspapers to blame everything bad that happens in the world on narrow-minded, doltish, prejudiced, redneck, white, “Christian” male Americans.  Blaming Jones for violence in the Middle East isn’t just a job for the ink-stained acolytes of the Times: it’s their religion.

And since we now have at least five faith groups bouncing off each other in one story, little wonder that the headline’s complicated:

Ambassador, three staffers killed after film, ‘trial’ backed by Gainesville pastor Terry Jones spark unrest in Libya, Egypt

Take a good look at that title.  It’s not a normal headline.  But they had to find a way to get Jones out front before the facts came in:

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three American members of his staff were reportedly killed Tuesday in riots sparked by outrage over a film backed by Terry Jones, the Gainesville pastor whose burning of Korans last year led to days of rioting in Afghanistan.

Well, that was yesterday, this is today.  And the news is that the protests/riots/uprisings were planned weeks ago, and Jones in no way factors into the violence, except in the overheated fantasies of newspaper reporters.  So does the TBT retract, or even correct, their now-discredited story?

Heck no.  Who do you think they are?  Politicians?  Ordinary people?  No, they’re journalists.

So today, instead of admitting that they had made a giant mistake fueled entirely by their intense desire to Blame America First, the Times ran another feature story about Jones.  In the context of their failure to be truthful yesterday, and the unspoken fact that they were the ones paying “attention” to Jones yesterday, today’s headline is pretty funny.  Shameless and funny:

Anti-Muslim pastor gets attention, not credit for deadly Libya attack

But it only gets funnier.  Right out of the gate, the Times pretends it has been trying really hard to ignore Jones, but he keeps ending up on their front page.  That’s his fault, too: he’s so bad, he’s responsible for terrorism and journalism:

Controversial Gainesville preacher Terry Jones, largely ignored by the Florida media since his attempts to burn Korans in 2010, is again in the spotlight for his alleged support of a film that may have sparked protests in Egypt and Libya on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Now comes the dog-ate-my-correction part:

But Jones’ connection to the mysterious anti-Muslim film is weak, and the motivation for the violence seems far more complicated.

The Obama administration said Wednesday that it suspects the attack in Libya may have been a planned and organized assault rather than a spontaneous uprising.

Others, including the London-based think tank Quilliam, said the assault “was a well planned terrorist attack that would have occurred regardless of the demonstration, to serve another purpose.”

Citing sources in Benghazi, the think tank said: “(W)e have reason to believe that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi came to avenge the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi, al-Qaida’s second in command killed a few months ago.”

A day before the attack, the leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, urged Libyans to avenge the killing, Quilliam noted, and roughly 20 militants were present, prepared for military assault with rocket-propelled grenade launchers that do not typically appear at peaceful protests.

Oh.  So is the Tampa Bay Times going to retract everything they said about this yesterday?  Of course not.  They just double down on reporting that newspaper reports were wrong, you know, somewhere out there in the vague unnamed journalism ionosphere:

Nonetheless, much of the blame for the protests was aimed at the poorly-made film Innocence of Muslims. . .

 Then they blame Jones some more for their relationship with Jones.  Remember, it’s all his fault.  White-trash dog whistle emphasis added:

None of that stopped Jones from trying to capitalize on the renewed exposure, even if his connection to the film was tangential.

The slow-tongued leader was unapologetic as he greeted media at his Dove World Outreach Center, a large prefab warehouse which reportedly claims about 50 members.

He said he promoted the film during an “International Judge Muhammad Day” and planned to show a clip of the film at his church on Sept. 11. But he couldn’t get the video to work. He also acknowledged he couldn’t livestream the event on the Internet, refuting some reports.

“As we tried to show it, all of the sudden our Internet wouldn’t work,” he told Orlando’s NBC affiliate. He wouldn’t say how many people were in attendance.

Refuting some reports.  Like, their’s.  I wonder why they don’t call such reports “hasty” or “premature” to offset Jones’ “slow tongue.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hilariously, on September 9, the Tampa Bay Times published a big fat valentine to . . . the Tampa Bay Times praising itself for practicing journalism with the highest ethical standards of anyone.  Times editor Neil Brown didn’t hold back in praising himself for his courageous stance against political bias:

You can handle the truth

“We have disrupted the status quo in American politics,” says my colleague Bill Adair, editor of PolitiFact and our Washington bureau chief.

We launched PolitiFact — featuring its now trademarked “Truth-O-Meter” graphic — in August 2007 with a handful of journalists . . .

Today there is more fact-check journalism under way than ever before. Reporters at Factcheck.org (one of the earliest and most credible initiatives), the Washington Post Fact Checker and other newsrooms are diving deep into the claims of politicians, asking the most basic question: Is it true?

Why would there be a backlash against that? It’s all about power.

The candidates, the political parties, the super PACs, the cable TV and talk radio shows — they all spend millions of dollars in order to shape what you believe. There are no question-and-answer sessions after you watch a campaign ad; there are no meaningful disclosures of where their info comes from. Beliefs are declared with authority and impunity and crafted to look like facts. The strategy is clear and not at all new: Say something strongly and frequently enough and perhaps it will be accepted as truth. . .

The underpinning of fact-check journalism is this tenet: Words matter. If you don’t believe that, then journalism that checks the veracity of political speech may not hold much interest for you.

At PolitiFact, we wrote “Principles of the Truth-O-Meter” to help guide our work. Words matter was the first principle. The second principle: Context matters. And another important principle: We show our math and explain where we got all our information. So you don’t have to take our word for it, you can look it up yourself. No anonymous sources.

And so on.  I was blushing as I read it.  Newspapers are the only bastion against political bias?  No anonymous sources?  OK, Neil.  Prove it.  Fact check your own coverage of this story.

What Presidents Used to Say When America Was Attacked

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It should be noted that Barack Obama began talking about Islam yesterday hours before the attacks on Americans in Libya and Egypt.  Delivering his speech commemorating September 11, before violence broke out, Obama could not resist inserting a boilerplate reassurance that Americans are not a danger to Muslim people.  In doing so, he turned a speech that was supposed to be about the murder of Americans by a foreign enemy into another apology for the imaginary straw-man of American Islamophobia:

I’ve always said that our fight is with al Qadea and its affiliates, not with Islam or any other religion.

Note that he attributes the goodwill part of the message only to himself.  I’ve always said that.  He didn’t say “America has always know that their fight,” or “Americans have always said, and I too believe.”  The distinction between us and him is necessary to turn the memorial for Americans into a negative message about Americans.  By nightfall, Obama’s administration was saying much more against imaginary American straw-men: first there was the statement of apology coming from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo because a film mocking Mohammed was allegedly “causing” the takeover of the embassy; later there was the “three a.m.” first responder apology from Obama himself:

 

Obama: While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.

But there’s the rub: the violence is far from “senseless.”  It is utterly imbued with meaning and intent.  One intent, the primary one, is to rub salt in the wounds of America on September 11; the other is to engage in a strange waltz of accusation and apology with Obama and his proxies.

And Obama stepped up for the dance, not as blatantly as he did in 2009 during his “apology tour” culminating in his Cairo University New Beginning speech, but the message remained intact.  The New Beginning speech was a sort of an apex (or nadir, depending on your perspective) of apologies for the sins of being American: as such, it is now reprinted in rhetoric and composition anthologies and widely assigned to schoolchildren and college students as an example of rhetorical perfection and presidential diplomacy.

My writing partner Mary Grabar has just published an excellent guide for students who find themselves subjected to lessons on Obama’s New Beginning apologia in their English or Social Studies classes.  Mary and co-author Brian Birdnow provide students with the types of resources a real lesson on Obama’s speech might include: background on recent Middle East diplomacy; discussion of rhetorical devices; and comparisons of the Cairo University speech to other presidential speeches.  You can buy the book at Mary’s website, Dissident Prof.

Obama’s response to last night’s “middle of the night” presidential crisis was merely a doubling-down on his insistence that Americans need to keep apologizing to the Muslim world.  This is a complicated dance, too, enforced by an industry of professional accusers.  Obama could have easily framed his response to avoid insulting Americans on the anniversary of 9/11, but he instead chose to rub salt in those wounds on that day, too.  So be it: it’s a bracing reminder of where he stands.

We are very far away from what a president is supposed to be to his country.  More and more students are forced to contemplate Obamas’s apologies (and respond to them correctly in the classroom, of course), but I wonder how many are also familiar with the speeches made by F.D.R. after Pearl Harbor and during the D-Day offensive.  It’s painful to revisit these in light of Obama’s performance of the last two days.

FDR’s Pearl Harbor Address

    

FDR’s D-Day Speech

And don’t forget this one.

 

Watcher’s Council Nominations: Empty Chair Edition

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The Watcher’s Council

 

 

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.

This week’s contest is dedicated to Clint Eastwood. Who proved once again that a man, even a president, has got to know his limitations. And of course, to Professor Bill over at Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion for a brilliant idea.

Council News:

This week, Right TruthTinaTrent.comAsk MarionBoker Tov, Boulder and The Pirate’s Cove took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status with some absolutely excellent 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 and 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 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category.

Then just return 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.

Easy, 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. 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!

Award for the Most Weirdly Inappropriate Thing Projected by the Media onto the Tampa RNC . . .

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. . . surprisingly doesn’t go to Salon Magazine, despite Will Doig’s extraordinarily inaccurate and unhinged hate-fest aimed at Tampa Bay’s OS (Sin, Original) of failing to buy the kiddies that multi-billion dollar choo-choo train to Disneyworld that nobody needs but would somehow magically transform Central Florida into Seattle.  Will continued his no-choo-no-peace rant on Russia Today — of course between jetting in from whatever fabulous city he was previously gracing and jetting off to the next one.

Will, sweetie, we already have food trucks.  And, better Cuban sandwiches.  And a plethora of tattoos.  And rain.  Wash your face and calm down.  Then go contemplate your own carbon footprint.

Nope, Slate Magazine wins for the weirdest and most inappropriate projection onto the Republican Convention.  And even more weirdly,  it wasn’t the slightly vicious, slightly dull observer Dave Weigel checking the emotional baggage this time; it was Brian Palmer, who usually writes columns explaining what you should do if a wild Kangaroo attacks you, or how to live without sunlight.

Palmer turned his incisivey, sciencey eye to the Romneys’ marriage.  The article starts out seeming normal, but since Slate isn’t Redbook Magazine, there’s no reason to be terribly surprised when it turns nasty:

Should You Marry Your High-School Sweetheart?

It worked for Mitt and Ann Romney.

By Brian Palmer|Posted Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, at 5:11 PM ET

During her Tuesday night speech at the Republic National Convention, Ann Romney talked about meeting her future husband at a high-school dance. It worked out for Ann and Mitt Romney, but do statistics support the decision to marry your high-school sweetheart?

The premise of this column is simply weird.  Who besides the media would watch a politician and his wife talk about their happy marriage and close family and start scribbling away about divorce?  Maybe a political strategist for the opposing candidate who wants to paint his opponent as a privileged, out-of-touch chap.  But this is a journalism story, not a memo to the Obama campaign, right?  Wrong:

Marrying young is one of the most reliable predictors of divorce, especially for women. Those who wed during their teens—Ann Romney was about a month shy of 20 when she married Mitt in 1969—have only a 54 percent chance of remaining married for 10 years. Marrying between the ages of 20 and 24 boosts those odds to 69 percent, while holding off until age 25 lifts the 10-year marriage survival rate to 78 percent. It should be noted that Ann Romney’s marital behavior was fairly typical of her generation: In 1970, the average first-time bride was approximately 21 years old. Today, the average is 26 years old. By some calculations, that change accounts for most of the decline in the national divorce rate over the past 30 years.

Umm, the divorce rate has fallen because marriage is disappearing.  I thought this was supposed to be sciencey.  Now, for a little Mormon splicing:

Conventional wisdom might hold that the Romneys’ Mormon faith diminished their likelihood of divorce, but religion actually plays a somewhat complicated role in the success of a marriage. The divorce rate for Mormons is slightly higher than that of the general population during the first three years of marriage, probably because Mormon women marry younger than their non-LDS peers.

OK, big question: is Palmer comparing Mormon newly-marrieds to the general population of newly-marrieds, or to the general population of newly marrieds who marry between 20 and 24?  Because, he’s straying from making any point at all.  Just asking.  I like statistics.  They feel so bracingly . . . busy.

Mormons who make it through that adjustment period, however, are more likely than other Americans to remain married. In addition, Ann Romney was an Episcopalian when she met Mitt, but, by some accounts, she was raised in a largely nonreligioushousehold. That would render her more likely to divorce than people raised by more religious families.

This is where the article gets creepy.  Reducing Ann Romney to a statistic is bad enough: lumping her into a statistical group to which she doesn’t belong smacks of wish-fulfillment.  And plucking an individual out of the story she’s telling about her life and wedging her down into an unrelated social issue isn’t merely exploitative: it’s exploitative in a particularly  partisan way — to mute the story she’s telling and replace it with Romney-bashing.

It’s as if the reporter is trying to cast Ann Romney as a disobedient Julia, refusing the state’s ever-so-well-intentioned efforts to husband her.  She’s being the anti-Stepford Wife, no matter how hard they try to make her into the Stepford Wife.  Meanwhile, the Stepford Wife has morphed into a husbandless, eyeless, and mouthless Democratic robot sitting in her imaginary dollhouse waiting for her government benefits check to come so she can meet her girlfriends for a night on the town.

 Massive fail, Brian.

But there’s more:

One statistical factor working in the Romney marriage’s favor was the couple’s geographic location. According to recent studies, couples in left-leaning, blue states are significantly less likely to divorce. The divorce rate in the Romneys’ current home state, Massachusetts, is the lowest in the country, and Michigan, where they wed, boasts fewer divorces per capita than bright-red Utah.

So you see, the Romney’s don’t have a happy marriage because they built it: they have a happy marriage because they statistically absorbed marital success by living in proximity to enlightened Democrats in Massachusetts.

You know, like the Kennedys.

 Well, thank God for journalists.  Because if they weren’t here to tell us such things, how would we possibly know them?

 

 

Best Takedown of Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, Renée Feltz . . . and Mumia Supporters Everywhere

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Brandon Darby interviewed by “journalist-activist” Renée Feltz at the RNC . . . it’s an educated deconstruction and crack primer on Leftist media tactics, Leftist cop-hating, and how very, very quickly their house of cards can fall.

Brutal and refreshing.

Is WEDU, Tampa, Culpable in Democracy Now! Stunt to Disrupt Romney Speech?

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Last night, as Mitt Romney gave his nomination speech at the RNC, Code Pink protesters trailed by Democracy Now! cameramen tried to shout Romney down.  Video here.  Breitbart story here.  This is the ultimate offense in a week of similar stunts to disrupt the proceedings of the RNC.

The important part of this story, locally, is that WEDU, the flagship public television station in Tampa Bay, has been hosting Democracy Now! during the convention.

WEDU’s Vice President for Content, Jack Conely, told me in a phone conversation today that he unilaterally made the decision to air Democracy Now! as a special service to viewers during the RNC.  He said he considers doing this a “nice courtesy” because of the local angle of their reporting this week.  He added that WEDU “give[s] a platform to all sorts of different political programming.”

Well, no it doesn’t.  And as far as the “local” angle goes, now they have made a nest for media activists who clearly knew in advance — and colluded in — an attempt to disrupt the speech of the Republican party’s candidate for president in the station’s hometown.

Mr. Conely needs to explain how the Democracy Now! deal came to pass.  He also ought to apologize to the Republican Host Committee for getting his station entangled in such an ugly incident.  And if he knew about the plans to disrupt the speech, he needs to resign.  Remember, we’re paying this guy’s salary.

When the election rolls around, voters also need to remember that we’re paying for all this behavior by being forced to subsidize PBS.  I wonder if there’s any connection between Mitt Romney’s announcement that he will cut off public funding for PBS and this puerile stunt.  If so, it looks even worse for WEDU.

See Cliff Kincaid’s article about Romney and PBS here.

What The Heck Does Democracy Look Like, Again?

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Today was the last day of the Republican National Convention.  I’ve spent the last week watching the media watch the protesters slowly ripen in the Florida sun, then hurry back to television studios to transform images of the sad, stinking, minuscule, drum-banging, shouting debacle into images of noble massings of freedom fighters — using no tool other than the magic of media bias.

Much of this bias depends upon behaving as if the protesters are victims, rather than instigators of violence and authors of every last one of their own problems.  The New Yorker’s Nathaniel Stein wins the prize for the most fictional imagining of non-existent police cruelty.  I have not and will not be reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but Stein’s whiney attempt at protester pathos certainly sounds like it — sounds like channeling cheap S & M porn.  That is the really offensive thing: how the protesters are exhibitionists; how they force the rest of us to deal with them acting out on the streets.

Remember when civil disobedience meant you got arrested to make a point, and didn’t whine about it?  Not anymore.

The media worked extremely hard to whitewash the protesters’ behavior and message.  But thanks to endless egos and the magic of the internet, there’s a factual record.  Tonight, protesters live-streamed themselves flailing around Tampa shouting “One Two Three Four, It’s a F*****g Class War; Five, Six Seven, Eight, Organize To Smash The State” . . . interspersed by incredibly embarrassing comments scotching the live feed — lots of metrosexual chest-puffery and breathless self-congratulation, hysteria about “safety in numbers” though the police were patiently humoring them, and the occasional butchering of a Woody Guthrie song.

They chanted “Get those animals off those horses” about the police.

They chanted “Let’s Dance Anarchy” while jumping up and down.  Yet, they’re clearly older than 18.

They blew weirdly emasculating noisemakers.

It’s pathetic.

And they wonder why nobody shows up anymore.

Not that you’ll hear or see any of that on the evening news.

Plus, their puppet sucks.

One of the things that struck me this week was the difference between young protesters and young cops.  Tattooed, druggy, dirty, self-indulgent, screeching, potty-mouthed kids versus clean-cut, earnest, polite, healthy-looking, disciplined, serious kids.  This does not reflect well on the Left.

I heard several police officers express concern for the protesters.  They brought them food and watched to make sure the naive runaways among them didn’t end up tangling with the more unhinged homeless people sharing tents with them at the camps.

In return, the protesters screamed “pigs” at the police and complained that they weren’t handing out enough free water.  “One bottle is pathetic,” someone sneered.

Enough with the patience and prudence.  It’s time for tough love for these infants.  Or, at least, accurate coverage by the media.

 ~~~

Speaking of which, I was downtown at the Citizens United tent at the RNC today, watching the premiere of Occupy Unmasked.  The filmmakers had graciously invited Medea Benjamin from Code Pink to see the premiere, which was nice enough, but it meant that the rest of the audience had to be subjected to Benjamin blathering on self-importantly during the Q & A.  There’s such a thing as being too nice: the woman is unhinged.

At the same time, and likely in collusion with Code Pink, a busload of protesters tried to invade the Apollo Beach power plant near my home.

If you or I did these things, we’d be arrested.  But the protesters have created pressures that force the rest of us to babysit them.  This is the essence of the Occupy movement: radical dependency projected outward on society.  Performative dependency consisting of childish actions and shrieks that escalate until we’re forced to react.

After invading the power plant, protesters used chains, superglue and PVC to handcuff themselves together on the pavement.  Police had to get tools and cut them apart.  That’s our tax dollars dripping away in a tidal wave of adolescent stupidity.

If you’re not going to arrest them, just leave them to bake on the Florida asphalt.  They won’t do it twice.

A curious thing about the Apollo Beach power plant: the warm water running from its drainpipes makes an appealing environment for manatees.  The result is a strange symbiosis of nature and human energy production.  What would it take for activists to stop seeing the human world as a purely evil place?

Manatees at the Apollo Beach Power Plant

Here’s a nice image to close out the Republican National Convention.  A police officer rescuing a baby squirrel.

Because, you know, that’s the way police are.

Why Is WEDU Using Our Money To Broadcast Democracy Now! During the RNC? And Other Questions.

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A few days ago, in so-called Romneyville, where anti-RNC protesters are squatting, I watched a television cameraman genuflect before a protester.  The gesture wasn’t technically religious: it is a strategy used to create the impression of a large crowd out of the presence of a handful of people.  Zoom in on a close shot of one or two people; aim the camera close to the ground to capture walking feet: these are shopworn media strategies for inflating protest numbers.

It’s bad enough when “private” media invents story lines this way.  They’re selling the drama of big crowds.  But when we’re the ones paying for the reporting, bias is much more troubling.  And when you mix in the radical reporters blending protesting directly with “reporting,” it’s a toxic soup.

The Tampa media market has what seems to me to be an unusually high number of publicly-funded PBS television and radio stations.  There are four WUSF television channels and four WEDU channels, including its flagship channel, the one that runs the deeply leftist programming interspersed with social engineering cartoons for children.  This week, WEDU is re-running Better This World, a documentary celebrating the violent protesters at the 2008 Republican Convention.  What a nice touch: welcome to Tampa, five anarchists!  Here’s how to make pipe bombs to throw at policemen!

WEDU is broadcasting Democracy Now! for the duration of the RNC.  I find this amazing.  I find it amazing that even the tiniest sliver of our tax dollars are going to subsidize this sort of deceptive, hate-filled, Soros-funded socialist garbage.

How much does Amy Goodman make off the public trough per year?  How about per lie?

Amy Goodman.  Un-ironic Puppet Version.

WEDU’s Vice President for Content, Jack Conely, told me in a phone conversation today that he unilaterally made the decision to air Democracy Now! as a special service to viewers during the RNC.  He said he considers doing this a “nice courtesy” because of the local angle of their reporting this week.  He added that WEDU “give[s] a platform to all sorts of different political programming.”

How much did WEDU spend to give Amy Goodman a taxpayer-funded platform?  “You don’t spend anything extra for Democracy Now!” Conely said, missing the point.  “They didn’t come to me, I made the decision,” he told me when I asked how the “free content” deal was initiated.  This story is developing.

~~~

But PBS isn’t the only taxpayer-funded reporting going on at the Convention.  There’s Voice of America, the “official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government.”  That excellently concise description is from Wikipedia.  VOA is broadcast overseas, and though I generally agree with their claim that they try to be unbiased in their reporting, I was disappointed to see their silly coverage of the protesters.  They uncritically reprinted claims by discredited local “homeless activist” Bruce Wright about protesters “helping” poor people while in Tampa.  They are doing no such thing, and lending credibility to such a false narrative is troubling:

Camp residents have tried to help suffering locals like Thomas Diehl and his companion, Michelle Kelly.  “Right now they are trying to help us get food stamps, medical help for me and her, stuff like that,” Diehl said.

Bunk.  “Romneyville” is a squat for professional activists who are willing to exploit mentally ill homeless people in order to gain attention from the media.  No matter what the New York Times/CNN/Guardian/ABC/CBS/NBC says.  Social services for the homeless are actually provided by real social service agencies located a few blocks away.  Wright is a highly controversial professional activist who has gotten in trouble in the past for his handling of resources for the homeless.  None of this is difficult to figure out, if you bother to actually research a story.

In Frontpage Magazine Today

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RNC Protesters: Behind the Media Spin

The protests are a bust.  The same 200-odd activists showed up at a pro-immigration rally that was supposed to draw many thousands.  A large percentage of the attendees were Scientologists proselytizing the protesters, or staff members of various Soros-funded groups, or self-important ACLU and National Lawyer’s Guild “observers.”  Or, addled teens pretending to be anarchists.

With the hurricane making landfall three states away, protest organizers no longer have that excuse.  The movement committed suicide because leaders refused to denounce violence and vandalism.  The public is fed up with subsidizing adolescent outrage masquerading as speech.

Local media continues to pray for a resurrection, treating the 200-odd protesters squatting in homeless camps with a gravitas they refuse to apply to the RNC convention itself.  That’s the really shameful story.

See Mary Grabar’s writing on the subject here and here.

This Is Not What Democracy Looks Like

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From the Anti-RNC Protests yesterday 

1. Caption contest for the first one . . .

2. Democracy Now?  Check.  Earth First?  Check.  George Soros?  Ka-Ching.  Hint to protesters: those of you who feel as if you’re dying for lack of funds should ask the Florida Consumer Action Network folks how they’re living.  They have plenty of money.  Ask the Code Pinkers to kick in some cash from their pink glitter budget.  They’re not poor.  Ask Joe Redner, who has made plenty in publicity off you, to pony up, as it were.

You’re the ones eating crappy potatoes for supper.  These chicks are wearing $30 water bottles.

3. Capitalism is Cannibalism, so, Vegan Capitalism must mean HUFU.  Watch the video from The Daily Show at the link if you “want to know more.”  That’s my old college chum, Mark Nuckols (on The Daily Show, not the guy holding the sign).  Wish you were here, Mark, instead of exploiting geopolitical instabilities in the former Soviet bloc.  You’d be making a killing in this crowd with your high-quality, tofu-based, human flesh alternative, HUFU.

4. The Food Court.  Yes, it did smell just like that.  I asked one young woman what was for lunch, and she glared at me over two slices of white bread and some weird potatoes and said: “s**t”

5. I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring babies to stuff like this.  I didn’t want to bring my own feet.

6. There were two on-site, ecumenical, Ron Paulites.  Here’s the one who wasn’t starting random fights

Tomorrow: Anarchists versus Scientologists!!!!!!

 

Anonymous is a House-Husband, And Other Gender Benders at the Anti-RNC “Labor” Protest

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The first big march on the RNC was held today in Gaslight Park in Tampa.

Dozens and Dozens of Protesters (photo credit Tina Trent)

I use the word “big” only in the Horton Hears a Who sense.  Although the march threatened to bring “thousands” of union members to the streets, I doubt there were more than 200 people.  Many were reporters or observers from the RNC.

The protesters, such as they were, marched across the street from Gaslight Park at one point and appeared to be boarding a bus.  Then they milled around a bit and marched back across the intersection to the park.  Then they marched off in another direction.  Just like America’s labor movement.

Oddly, only about 50 people had on any type of union shirt at all.  I counted a gaggle of SEIU, a singular Teamster, and one girl wearing the logo of some alternative communications group.  Most of the attendees looked like college kids or otherwise unoccupied Occupiers.  There was a Ward Captain of something, so Chicago was representing.

The Chicago Way (photo credit Tina Trent)

A few men were blowing long, yellow plastic horns that took inordinate effort to produce a weak and muffled blare.  “Miniscule, astroturfed, and not really representing anyone” seemed the real message of the day.

Maybe it was a union march, after all.

Not Funny (photo credit Mary Grabar)

Even so, the most popular messaging was about the so-called “war on women.”  A half-dozen Code Pinkers in symbolic sateen-and-feather representations of human labias morphed into one many-headed vaginae and marched a block and a half to the union protest.  There, they did not blend in.

If You Can Say It, Please Don’t (photo credit Mary Grabar)

I asked one attractive and pleasant young Code Pinker if she thought that staging a protest that would offend people was really an effective way of delivering a message.  She peered up from between the velveteen labial folds hanging around her neck and said, “You mean men?

No, I told her, women would also be offended by the in-your-face vagina costumes.  We went back and forth a bit.  “Don’t you think you’re objectifying women’s bodies?” I asked, suddenly suffering a flashback to Women’s Studies and bucking under the memory of hours wasted reading Luce Irigaray.  Is it women’s language that functions as resistance to the speculum of male speech?  Or does the speculum of female voices threaten male phallogocentrism?

I didn’t want to talk anymore.

The vagina viewed me with vague consternation, her eyes shining with the blank joy of unwavering devotion to a cause.  “Not with everything that’s been going on,” she said, referring to that gift that keeps giving, Todd Akin.  When political speech devolves to debating an articulate young vagina standing on a street corner, what does that make the debater?  I was relieved when Medea Benjamin, acting like some demented Brownie Troop leader, shooed the girl back among the elder vulvae.

But, way to empower women’s voices, Medea.

Back at the main protest site, a man claiming to be with Anonymous milled around holding up an i-pad bearing a live image of some basement-dweller in a Guy Fawkes costume.  Anonymous couldn’t be at the protest, the man claimed, because he was stuck home watching his kids.

Anonymous’ BFF (photo credit Tina Trent)

To summarize: female protesters are turning themselves out on Tampa’s streets in the name of defending feminism, while male protesters are hiding behind computer screens and dime-store face masks to enhance their masculinity.

Mary Grabar and I did find one happy guy who didn’t seem confused about anything.  It turns out the medium is the message, after all.

(photo credit . . . definitely . . . Mary Grabar)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tampa Newspaper, Mayor Crudely Slur Sarah Plain

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Two weeks ago, it was Mayor Bob Buckhorn making dirty jokes about Sarah Palin in the New York Times.  Read the story of the Mayor’s behavior at the link.

Today, it’s the “elite” left-wing paper, the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times), running this act of sexual vandalism against Palin.  This is virtual rape.  And the Times, despite all its hysterics over the Republican “war on women,” (and their much touted “institute for journalistic ethics”) seem quite happy promoting it:

AUGUST 24, 2012

Q&A with the stripper who … imitates Sarah Palin

The Tampa Bay Times’ Stephanie Hayes with Lisa Ann in today’s tbt*:

People said, “You look so much like Sarah Palin.” I wear my hair back a lot and I wear these glasses. I was aware of who she was. But when Hustler called and said “We came up with the name Nailin’ Paylin,” I just loved the name.

Nailin’ Palin.  Think about it.  There’s a stripper who sells the ability to put it to Sarah Palin sexually.  The Mayor thinks this is hilarious.

So why aren’t RNC officials denouncing this?  And why would anyone shake hands with Buckhorn after his sleazy abuse of an important and beloved Republican Party member?  Why don’t they ask him to apologize, at least?  He’s damaged goods.

Todd Akin, Erika Christakis, and the Politics of Rape

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Todd Akin?  Unforgivable.

Republicans being primarily responsible for stupid things said and vicious things done about rape?

Utter bull.

There is one party that has worked to keep violent offenders behind bars and one party that kneels in obedience to defense attorneys who would throw any rape victim under the bus in their eagerness to get every sex offender released early.

The Republicans usually side with the prosecution; The Democrats always side with the defense bar.

So at the end of the day, I’m more disgusted by this Time essay by Erika Christakis exploiting rape victims on behalf the party of unapologetic rapist-defenders than I am by a stupid thing said by one unapologetic Republican hack . . . and immediately denounced by the vast sane majority of the Republican Party.

Dumb conspiracy theories about reproduction and rape don’t kill people.  Political ideology that enforces extremist anti-incarceration policies kills people.

And gets them raped.

I’ve worked to keep rapists behind bars for 25 years.  I can tell you who supports the laws that do that and who opposes those laws.

And that’s why I’m a Republican now.

Ms. Christakis, let me give you a piece of political advice: don’t exploit crime victims in the interest of politics.  It’s unforgivable.

~~~

Matthew Vadum has a very good article on Akin at Frontpage magazine.

Watcher’s Council, Canadian Free Press, Brian Wilson in Toledo

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The protesters are arriving in Tampa (with their pipes, bricks, and tedious adolescent agitprop).

I’ll be on Brian Wilson’s drive-time radio show — Talk of Toledo, 1370 WSPD — on Friday between 4 and 5 p.m. to talk about the protesters.

Media who would like to schedule interviews with me about the protests can contact this website: tinatrent2@yahoo.com.  I’ll be reporting from the protests all next week.

My report for Accuracy in Media, Soros-funded Marxists to “Occupy the RNC” , is getting coverage in Canada Free Press and also on the facebook page for the anti-RNC protesters.  Thanks, Brian Madsen, for your pithy rebut!

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

I’m happy to report that I got an honorable mention at Watchers of Weasels this week — thanks!  I also have a commentary on the effect of immigration amnesty on my small farming town on this week’s Watcher’s Forum.  Here is the commentary, followed by the forum for this week:

Illegal Migration And What To Do About It

Each week, the members of the Watchers’ Council nominate one of their own posts and a second from outside the Council for consideration by other council members in a contest for the week’s best post.

Subcribe to Watcher of Weasels via the following RSS syndicators:
 Add Watcher of Weasels to any feed reader

Watcher’s Council Nominations – ‘Legitimate Rape’ Edition
JoshuaPundit on Aug 22 2012 
Council Submissions:
 Honorable Mentions
Non-Council Submissions

They Shoot Police Horses, Don’t They?

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The Tampa media is busy churning out pleasant stories about all the “creative” and “peaceful” protesters descending on the city.

To get the whole story of what’s coming to Tampa, see my special report up at Accuracy in Media today:

Soros-funded Marxists to “Occupy the RNC”

I’ll have a longer post up later.  For now, two questions:

Do you really think they’d bother dressing horses up like this, in Tampa heat, if the protesters really intended to be “peaceful”?

And, is it OK for vegans to kick horses, so long as they don’t eat them?

Hilarious Fake Polling, Attacks on Stupid White Men: Welcome to the Tampa Bay Times

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The Tampa Bay Times (until recently, the St. Petersburg Times), fancies itself the New York Times . . . only with sandy beaches and really nice water views.

Despite living in paradise, they work very hard to emulate their northern peers’ biases.  In preparation for the coming RNC convention, TBT‘s crack political staff called up 117 of their best friends and asked them what they thought of Paul Ryan, then pretended it was a legitimate political poll:

Exclusive Fla Insider Poll: One in 3 GOPers worry Paul Ryan hurts Romney in Fla

Note that the “survey” included Democrats, too.  Only 62 claimed to be Republican.  Carry on:

So does Paul Ryan help Mitt Romnney in Florida or hurt him?  Our latest Florida Insider Poll surveyed 117 of Florida most plugged in and experienced political minds – campaign consultants, fundraisers, lobbyists, activists –  and found nine out of 10 Democrats see him hurting Romney in Florida and one in three Republicans agreeing.

Bob in Apalachicola, plus 19 other guys who hang out with these people, are a bit piqued at the Ryan choice.  Not really, but the headline says so.  And remember, it’s not just a poll: it’s an “Exclusive Florida Insider Poll”:

“While I think Paul Ryan was a much bolder choice than I would have thought Mitt Romney would have  made, I think it bodes trouble here in Florida with seniors given the “Ryan Plan & Medicare.” If Cong. Ryan can lay out the plan to seniors without “wonkifying” it,
maybe they have a chance,” said one Republican.

Crowed a Democrat:”Romney has had a problem with Hispanics and Women. Paul Ryan not only
doesn’t help but does harm with both groups. The Hispanics Romney had backing from was the hardliner Cubans, where Ryan voted 3 times to lift the embargo. He does real harm to the ticket with Seniors, while bringing nothing to the ticket overall to expand their
coalition. And on top of how the Ryan budget plays with seniors, it creates opportunities with other issues including cuts to infrastructure (See Everglades restoration), massive cuts to NASA, slashes the farm bill spending on research in things like Citrus greening and canker.”

Lean over to your office mate, pretend he’s an “important Democratic insider,” and let him to reel off an anonymous attack on Paul Ryan chock full of all those vital Florida talking points:

PAUL RYAN BAD ON CITRUS CANKER!

Way to get out of the office by noon.

You can’t make this stuff up.  They do, though.

Meanwhile, the editorial department harbors more than one low-rent Maureen Dowd:

The stories white guys tell themselves

By Robyn E. Blumner, Times Columnist
In Print: Sunday, August 12, 2012

Joan Didion wrote, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” I’d modify that slightly for this presidential election year and say, we tell ourselves stories in order to vote. Which is why Mitt Romney maintains a huge lead in the polls among blue-collar white men. . .

White men have been fed the myth of the rags-to-riches, self-made man, the quintessential American narrative that says hard work and perseverance will equate to success. The idea cemented in the male cerebral cortex is that people who start from nothing can work themselves from the Horatio Alger mailroom to the corner office. . .Obama does better among white women and minority voters because they never bought into the self-made-man myth.

Take that, cement cortex myth-believing white men!  And, welcome to Tampa.

 

History Mystery: How Fast Can PBS and the NYT Destroy a Generation of Young Minds?

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Many people were confused by the New York Times’  jaw-grindingly idiotic column yesterday trying to link candidate Paul Ryan to serial rapist and racist revolutionary Elridge Cleaver:

Paul Ryan, Black Panther?

By ADAM GOODHEART, PETER MANSEAU and TED WIDMER

Did Paul Ryan quote a famous 1960s Black Panther Party slogan in his speech on Saturday announcing his candidacy for vice president on the Republican ticket?

For a moment, it sounded that way. Recalling words of advice offered by his late father, Mr. Ryan said, “I still remember a couple of things he would say that have really stuck with me. ‘Son, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.’ Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem, and Mitt Romney is the solution.”

For a moment, “it sounded” like Paul Ryan was stealing banal adages from a Black Panther’s mouth?  Now, that is the sort of felony that can set a Times’ columnist’s heart aflame.  It also may be the flimsiest, most pretend pretext to start telling movement stories EVER.  Once Mssrs. Goodheart, Manseau and Widmer got caught up in their fantasy, however, they ran with it, inventing a scenario in which Ryan’s father, sitting with his son, starts talkin’ about revolution, and Ryan takes the words out of context decades later to attack the noble purpose of the Panthers, because he’s that much of a psychotic baddie.  Or, conversely, he didn’t know about his dad’s conscious, or possibly unconscious, identification with Cleaver.  But, whatever.  The Times guys imagined all this, and then instead of opening a window and getting some fresh air into the room, they committed their fantasy to the page.  And then the Times actually published it as political commentary.  Watch the craziness unfold:

Give Mr. Ryan credit for making the Republicans’ big tent a little bigger. The slogan “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” served as a mantra of sorts for Eldridge Cleaver, the minister of information for the Black Panthers, the extreme black nationalist group . . . It’s perhaps unlikely that Mr. Ryan’s father, a lawyer in Janesville, Wisc., was present at a political gathering in 1968 when the Black Panthers co-founder Bobby Seale, urging his followers to smash “the American Empire,” proclaimed: Everyone falls into two categories. You are either part of the problem – or part of the solution. Being part of the solution means you’re willing to grab a shotgun and take to the barricades, killing if necessary. Being part of the problem means you’re on the other side of the shotgun. There is no in-between.

Where the heck are we?  What are all these guns doing here?

How does someone (three people) actually get from Paul Ryan repeating some conventional Dad adage to delusional fantasies about Mr. Ryan’s father [who has also become an obsession of dim Salon editor Joan Walsh] channeling the Panthers?

But it goes from bad to worse.  According to the deranged fabulists, the Panthers stole this highly original adage from the ultimate leftist hero . . . the white VISTA volunteer.  We are now many, many miles from Paul Ryan’s speech.  But who cares?  We’re groovin’ about VISTA (I have a very funny story about watching people steal taxpayer’s money when I was a VISTA.  Heck, I have several).

So who are these people and why are they projecting their fantasies all over the pages of the Times?

Let me explain: they’re prestigious college professors.

Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience

Historians, to be exact, and this column is yet another sad nail in that once proud profession’s coffin.

I know this stuff is both irritating and ubiquitous.  It’s hardly news when the Times makes up a considerable portion of their content, less so when the topic is Obama.  Or race.  Or Republicans.  Or all three.  But, to paraphrase Starship Troopers (which I, unlike the Times writers, am citing appropriately): this time, You Should Like to Know More.  Don’t look away from this inane babble just because’s it’s inane babble.  Don’t pop a beta-blocker and retreat to the yoga mat.  These journalist-professors may sound like the homeless guy you try to avoid eye contact with in the subway, but unlike you and that guy, the millions of kids exposed to similar babble by these very professors can’t get up and walk away from it . . . because it’s being taught to them in their classrooms.

You see, Goodheart, Manseau and Widmer (through Washington College’s CV Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience’s new initiative, Historically Corrected)  have teamed up with PBS’ equally ahistorical history romp, History Detectives, to splatter yet more Sixties babble and activist-speak all over your child’s education.  This Elridge Cleaver/Paul Ryan exposé is just one little non-footnoted footnote in a vast pedagogical conspiracy to replace learning-as-acquiring-knowledge-of-the-progression-of-significant-events with excited “detective-style” inquiry . . . inquiry designed to lead uninformed students to repeatedly “rediscover” the fabulousness of the Sixties, and the centrality of the Sixties Activist Man in every-important-thing-that-ever-happened.

Think of it as replacing a dull slog through facts about the Revolutionary War with a bunch of equally dull (yet far less challenging) anecdotes about the time your mom’s brother smoked a bunch of pot while watching the Washington Monument levitate (Yes, I know, it was really the Pentagon.  But aren’t facts bourgeois?).

Mary Grabar and I wrote about this PBS-fuelled erosion of learning about history in a report for Accuracy in Media, titled PBS: Re-Educating America’s Schoolchildren, Thanks to Your Contributions.  In it, you’ll find our take on another History Detectives lesson plan, one that curiously parallels this lunatic New York Times piece.  In “Hot-Town: Pigs on the Streets” (yes, that is the title), children are led through a fun, a-historical exercise in which they “investigate” the origins of a poster denouncing the police; contemplate police brutality at the ’68 convention, and then hear from a former Black Panther “client” about all the great lunch programs the Panthers used to run.

You know, when they weren’t busy teaching Paul Ryan’s father to say things like: “a bird in the hand’s better than two in the bush” or “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

Posters . . . activists . . . Black Panthers . . . heroic white VISTA volunteers . . . erudite college professors.  Funny, that sounds an awful lot like that New York Times column.

Welcome to your child’s educational experience, folks.

Elridge Cleaver actually said lots of things, like the time he reflected on his serial-rapist career by explaining:

Rape was an insurrectional act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the white man’s law, upon his system of values, and that I was defiling his women . . . I felt that I was getting revenge

and:

I started out practicing on black girls in the ghetto where dark and vicious deeds appear not as aberrations or deviations from the norm, but as part of the sufficiency of the Evil of a day. When I considered myself smooth enough, I crossed the tracks and sought out white prey. I did this consciously, deliberately, willfully, methodically.

No word yet from the Ryan campaign on how they’re going to work that lingo into his Medicare speech.  But I’m sure the investigators at Historically Corrected and History Detectives are hard on the case.

So remember, as you ball up your Times in disgust — or step past that babbling wino to reach the turnstile — we can’t leave the kids with people like this, people who still keep their sweaty, dog-eared copy of Soul on Ice (the source of those lovely rape quotes) wedged firmly in their Levis as they steer the Porsche into faculty parking.

And by the way, if Paul Ryan got the phrase “you’re part of the problem or part of the solution” from anywhere other than his dad, or just breathing, maybe it actually was from Starship Troopers, which is chock full of bon mots, like this one:

Q: Who needs a knife in a nuke fight anyway?

A: The enemy can not push a button… if you disable his hand.

Think about it.

Smarts and Subsidiaritianism Conquers Republican Identity Politics

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Romney nominated a grown-up.  The best and the brightest of the pack.  Who couldn’t like a candidate who cares enough (for their own good) to send 90 cranky Georgetown professors to bed without supper to teach them not to throw temper tantrums about Catholic principles and big words they do not bother to try to understand before bloviating about them in the public square?

I’m also deeply relieved Romney rejected Rubio.  It’s probably the best chance Rubio has to prove himself in a substantive way, rather than being artificially elevated through the system on the basis of his identity.  Far too many right-of-center pundits carried on about Rubio’s imagined “articulateness” and the “great speeches he was making” while studiously pretending not the see the enormous stumbles that defined his Florida political career.

I don’t care much that Rubio got into a bit of trouble for using the Party’s credit cards (though it doesn’t speak well of his ability to manage money), but he was a little too close to high-ranking crooks; he showed bad faith on illegal immigration, and he accepted a sleazy no-show job with an inflated salary from a community college — while overseeing state expenditures to colleges.  Worse, that’s about the sum total of what he did on the job in Florida, where the Republican leadership (of which he was one) needed a big ethical kick in the pants.

Not fatal, but not pretty, and it should have been enough to blunt the beltway fawning (it didn’t).  I actually trust Rubio to get better with time and think this is good news for him.  He would have had no reason to grow in the job if the punditry had succeeded in crowning him the Republican’s Own-Specially-Articulate-Multi-Cult-Answer to Obama.

The pundits, in turn, should be relieved they dodged a bullet they fired, then ran past, then ducked under, just barely.  Hopefully they will come to see this flirtation in a sober light.  When identity politics become a mantra across the political spectrum, pretty soon all you can hear is the humming.

G.K. Chesterton, of course, would have had something to say to both the fawning beltwayers and the braying Georgetowners.  He scoffed at those with inflated faith in their ability to use a little learning to create a “supernormal and miraculous moral factory, in which perfect men and women are made by magic.”  He was referring to university education but it applies as well to political punditry.

The idea is to defeat Obama, not channel him.

Or, as my friend Chrissy wrote this morning, and I plead guilty only to quoting her: “Cutie-buns for VP!”

 

 

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn: Apologize to Sarah Palin: Updated

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***Updated below***

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is quoted in the New York Times today sexually slurring Sarah Palin.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn

The mayor, who is about to represent the city in hosting the Republican National Convention, apparently finds it terribly amusing that a local strip club is featuring a Sarah Palin look-alike who will imitate the Governor while stripping and selling her body.

This is an act of sexual vandalism against Palin.  Apparently, the New York Times, the Tampa Tribune, and the mayor of Tampa find the degradation merely amusing.

“I wonder whether the look-alike will be able to see Russia from the stage,” the mayor snickered.  In the New York Times.

It’s hard to imagine more inappropriate behavior from the elected official who will welcome Republicans to the city.  In my opinion, he should step away from that job now.  How could he possibly greet Palin after abusing her this way?

The Times deserves censure, too (as does the Tampa Tribune, which ran an earlier, even sleazier version of the story).

Apparently all the Times’ posturing about the dignity of women and the “war on women” doesn’t extend to Republican women.  We’re just supposed to take this sort of stuff lying down:

Over at the back door of the 2001 Odyssey, a limo-size tent with flaps — especially designed for discretion and camera-shy guests — is ready to go up. Déjà Vu is welcoming extra “talent” from around the country in its V.I.P. rooms.

And Thee DollHouse is all Americana: women plan to slip out of red, white and blue corsets and offer red, white and blue vodka. The headliner that week is expected to bear an uncanny resemblance to a certain ex-governor from a wilderness state, known for her strong jaw and devotion to guns and God.

“She’s a dead ringer for her,” said Warren Colazzo, co-owner of Thee DollHouse. “It’s just a really good gimmick to get publicity.”

Here is Bob Buckhorn’s phone number.  Let him know how you feel about embarrassing the city, the RNC, and Governor Palin.  And let the Times and the Tampa Tribune know that they have crossed a serious ethical line by publishing such slimy stories.  Cheap political shots aren’t journalism.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (813) 274-8251

New York Times Ombudsman Arthur S. Brisbane (212) 556-7652, public@nytimes.com

Tampa Tribune (813) 259-7711

~~~ 

***Update*** The Buckhorn/Palin story just got worse: Miami Herald political reporter Marc Caputo is sleazily bragging that the stripper “playing” Palin is the porn star paid by Hustler magazine to star as the Governor in a porn production with an unprintable title (way to go, Miami Herald, for printing it).  Hustler, Miami Herald — now, what’s the difference, again? 

To complain about Marc Caputo, e-mail the Herald’s Ombudsman at: ombudsman@miamiherald.com.  Ironically, the  paper’s ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, just wrote a column, “Looking for Ways to Tame Poisonous Words on the Web,” about commenters who are “venomous, profane and verge on being libelous.”  Schumater-Matos could start by weeding out such behavior in his own staff.

 

How to Whitewash RNC Protesters: The New York Times’ Magic Optic

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The New York Times has begun its serial misrepresentations of the protests aimed at the Republican National Convention in August.

“Tampa Restricts Protests” screams the Times headline.

Of course it does.

They’re reporting through their own freaky version of rose-colored glasses.  That changes the appearance of things.

Below the headline, Times reporter Colin Moynihan manages to troll through twenty paragraphs while only once briefly mentioning the violence and vandalism perpetrated by protesters in the past — and reasonably anticipated again this August.  In his telling, the protesters are innocent lambs being persecuted by society: society is the one throwing trash cans through the protesters’ windows.  The effect is weird.  He’s asking people to believe that the city of Tampa simply woke up one morning and decided to spend millions of dollars to randomly oppress people.  You know, non-Republican, protester people:

During the last three Republican national conventions, police officers have arrested hundreds of people as the gatherings have drawn thousands of protesters objecting to the party’s positions on a range of issues, from wars to the economy to the environment.

Police have arrested hundreds of people.  Why?  Because they objected to positions?  Is that really why they were arrested?

Even for the Times, this isn’t reporting.  It’s an infomercial for the protesters.

The infomercial continues:

[T]his time around, the protesters planning to gather in Tampa the last week in August hope their ranks will be swelled by the Occupy movement, whose members have said that they see the party’s expected nominee, Mitt Romney, as the embodiment of a financial system that favors the rich and corporations over ordinary citizens.

“The embodiment of a financial system that favors the rich and corporations over ordinary citizens.”  The protesters couldn’t have said it better themselves.  Oh, wait.

Tampa isn’t restricting the protesters: the city is bending over backwards and paying pirate’s ransom to Occupiers, “resistRNCers” and other assorted muggers in the impotent hope that, given enough candy, they won’t try to burn the city down.  It’s an unhealthy business, this shelling over of cash and prizes to people because they’re threatening you.

Tampa spent $57,000 to set up a special spot for protesters, along with scores of other expenditures that would be entirely unnecessary if the protesters really intended to obey laws — like the rest of us.  The federal government is spending $100 million of our tax dollars to ensure that violent thugs don’t disrupt peaceful, pre-election gatherings of Republicans and Democrats in Tampa and Charlotte.  So who’s really being “held hostage” and “silenced”?  It’s the public, forced to pick up the tab for all these planned temper tantrums.

Meanwhile, reporters keep mic-checking ornate fantasies about the protesters’ suppression of speech meme:

Protesters . . . said that officials may be using the specter of disorder to justify heavy-handed tactics. They added that over the last few years the authorities in cities where large protests took place have appeared to follow a script that includes pre-emptive detainment, indiscriminate mass arrests and infiltration of protest groups.

I’d like Mr. Moynihan to explain why none of these innocent and peaceful protesters would go on the record and let him use their names in normal quotes, instead of this weird, talk-through-the-reporter’s-hat ventriloquist act he’s performing.

The Occupy model of demanding special access to public property and special privileges — at the threat of destruction — should have schooled public officials to stop “negotiating” with them long ago.  It won’t work, either: after months of earnest and pricey negotiations, wasting our time and money, the protesters are merely changing their URLs and ramping up their threats.  But you won’t read any of that in the Times.  The newspaper sort-of quotes the non-named protesters claiming that they’re not going to commit acts of violence — oh no, not them:

The resistRNC Web site includes a “Notice to Law Enforcement Spying on Us,” which states that the group is not planning violent actions.

Well, if they and the Times say so, it must be true.  Except . . . this snippet doesn’t really capture resistRNC’s zeitgeist.  The resistRNC website actually states that the group, whoever they are, is committed to a “diversity” of tactics, a term which specifically references violent protest.  This silly double-talk signals that violence is expected and that these protesters have committed themselves to supporting violent actions by other protesters.  Here’s the part the Times didn’t quote:

  1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a political diversity within the struggle for social, economic and environmental justice. As individuals and groups, we may choose to engage in different tactics and plans of action but are committed to
    treating each other with respect.
  2. We reject all attempts to create divisions among our movements. We agree to not publicly criticize other parts of our movement or cooperate with state or media efforts to portray good protester/bad protester.
  3. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain appropriate separations of time and space between divergent tactics. We will commit to respecting each others organizing space and the tone and tactics they wish to utilize in that space.

The resistRNC website is directly promoting actions that do not respect the protest guidelines painstakingly negotiated by front-groups and their lawyers with the Tampa City Council.  That means the protesters are planning to break the law . . . unless there’s some third option I’m too semantically obtuse to grasp.  The resistRNC site is also intentionally provocative and threatening, listing hotels where conventioneers will be staying and plotting the sites on a map.  Why didn’t the Times mention that?

Here, not deflected through the Times’ magic optic, is the way the protesters describe themselves.  Sorry in advance for their potty mouth:

You are either for Justice, or you are in our way.  Our target is the power elite, who are fucking over every one of us, and its worse for the people of 3rd world countries as well as the environment.

We are not concerned with the police, who should be fighting for us, or the right, who should stand with us, unless you attack us.

We do not tolerate a threat to our protesters no matter where it comes from.  Self-defense is accepted under our banner of non-violence.

Well, that sounds friendly.  I can understand why reporter Colin Moynihan took them at their word.  Of course, he was also super-busy not finding things out about the one protester he quotes extensively, the Reverend Bruce Wright.  According to Moynihan, Wright is a peace and justice activist planning some event promoting the poor:

[T]he Rev. Bruce Wright, of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, said that he was arranging for an encampment called Romneyville to be set up on private property, where he said the city’s rules will not apply.  “We are looking at it as kind of a refuge,” Mr. Wright said of the camp, adding that on the first day of the convention it will be used as a staging ground for a march meant to highlight the problems of poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

Gosh, you’d have to spend thirty seconds or more googling Wright’s name to learn what locals down here already know about him.  You can read about him here and here and here.  But through the Times’ magic optic, he’s just the hero of Romneyville.

This is far from the first time the paper of record got snowed by some guy they didn’t vet first.

You’d think they’d learn to use that thing called the internet.

But sometimes I can understand not wanting to stare the truth straight in the eye.  You never know what you’re going to find there.  Again, language — and optic nerve — apologies in advance:


Join CODEPINK and V-Day to bring your vagina to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL August 27-30!  
Together, we will bring our resilient, creative, powerful vaginas to Republican fundraisers and to the convention hall. We’ll also take part in the Coalition March on the RNC and other peace and justice actions. 

Sunday, August 26
1-8pm: CODEPINK Convergence and Activist Training Camp 
Location TBA

Monday, August 27

10am: Coalition March on the RNC

Permitted Rally and March

Perry Harvey Sr. Park, 1200 N. Orange Avenue

3-5:30pm: March for our Lives
Join the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign for a march to stop home foreclosures and the criminalization of the poor and homeless. 

11pm: Roving Radical Dance Party

Stay tuned for more events coming on August 28-30!

 

Radicals Coming to Tampa to Disrupt the RNC, Using Your Money . . . and Soros Grants

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The Republican Convention in Tampa is only a few weeks away.  The Occupy movement seems to be missing in action or washing their socks, but other activists are still preparing to disrupt the convention.  Teamsters, Welfare Rights groups, “Graduate Assistant” coalitions, the ‘new SDS’ and coalitions of subsidized professional agitators such as the Committee to Stop FBI Repression are making plans to descend on Tampa.

Last month, these activists used the taxpayer-funded facilities of the University of South Florida to plan their attack.  Why did USF President Judy Genshaft allow our property to be used by a bunch of radicals who are openly planning to disrupt an important political event and violate the speech and participation rights of ordinary Americans?

Here is a description of the protest planning that took place on taxpayer-funded property:

About 50 people from across the country gathered here June 16, on the University of South Florida campus, for the Coalition to March on the Republican National Convention Organizers Conference. There were representatives from more than 30 labor unions, student organizations, anti-war groups and immigrant rights groups from Florida, Minnesota, Illinois and North Carolina, including the Graduate Assistants United at the University of Florida, Students for a Democratic Society, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the United National Anti War Coalition, and Students Working for Equal Rights.

The conference focused on reaching out to groups and organizations opposed to the Republican agenda, in order to bring them to Tampa for the march. . .

Marisol Marquez and Fernando Figueroa, two of the lead Florida organizers for the Coalition to March on the RNC, facilitated a full schedule of workshops and planning sessions aimed at building for the march on August 27, the first day of the convention.

“The Coalition to March on the RNC is a group effort, in every sense of the word,” said Figueroa. “We’re hosting this conference so all of our coalition partners – workers, students, immigrants, and others – can build for this historic march in August behind a unified message and a cohesive organizing strategy.”

Mick Kelly, an organizer of the massive protest at the 2008 Republican Convention urged an all out national mobilization for the opening day of the RNC. Joe Iosbaker, a key organizer of May’s NATO Summit protest, summed up the key lessons of the Chicago demonstration. Tracy Molm of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression noted that the government would work to derail the planned protest. Angel Buechner, of the Twin Cites based Welfare Rights Committee stated that low-income people would join the Coalition’s march. . .

[O]n Friday, July 27, coalition partners will hold demonstrations, pickets and protests outside of local Republican Party headquarters or corporate sponsors of the Convention.

“The city of Tampa insists on restricting our right to protest the agenda of the Republican Party,” said Richard Blake, a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 385 and organizer with the Coalition to March on the RNC. “

Aww, the Teamsters feel “silenced.”  When did the Teamsters start channeling an Oprah audience?  Jimmy Hoffa must be squirming in his grave, wherever that is.

Unfortunately, some city officials in Tampa Bay have been caving to the protesters and granting them special access to elected officials, access not available to the real residents who pay public officials’ salaries and foot the city’s bills.

Occupy Protesters are also coalitioning with the radical Food Not Bombs to protest the RNC.  Food Not Bombs is a group that ought to be watched closely: they operate as a front group, using the excuse that they’re  “feeding vegan meals to the homeless” while they set up camps that serve as cover for radical activists.  FNB is packing up their seitan snacks and heading to Tampa Bay.  Don’t let the happy faces fool you:

Here is an interesting blog post from one local activist trying (and not exactly succeeding) to get involved in the “real” protest planning:

[D]elegations from St. Pete, Lakeland, Sarasota, Bradenton, and Tampa converged on Lykes Gaslight Park in downtown Tampa [June 4]. Occupy Tampa had felt a need to do some planning for the Republican National Convention (RNC) . . .  So far, I know of Resist The RNCOccupy The RNC, and March On The RNC, along with the official RNC itself. Within minutes of arriving at the Regional Gathering, I had gathered that although these separate groups are each coordinating strategy, tactics, and logistics for the RNC, they may not be coordinating with each other. And, at the moment, they are tight-lipped about their plans.

The activist writing this must not be not a member of the “in” group of radical protesters.  Interesting that the activists in charge are keeping such a tight lock-down on their real plans, concealing things from other activists who are trying to get involved in their events.  The blogger continues:

Upon our arrival, Food Not Bombs was on the scene serving a vegan lunch to all attendees. In Sarasota, the thoughtful Food Not Bombs crew has served the hungry during a number of the weekly Occupy rallies. I recognized Katie, who had been active with Occupy Tampa and is now volunteering with Food Not Bombs. I have met many people for whom the Occupy Movement has been a conduit, connecting their sense of injustice and disillusionment with a local activist group that stirs their passion. Like the Occupy Movement, Food Not Bombs is composed of volunteers who are dedicated to nonviolent, societal change. Like Occupy, each local group is autonomous. Like Occupy, there are no leaders and they involve everybody in the decision-making process. And like Occupy, Food Not Bombs supports protests organized by others. With that in mind, it is no surprise that they have decided to have an international convention in Tampa, during the week leading up to the RNC. Undoubtedly, there will be many more groups calling for a national march on the RNC.

Bull.  Food Not Bombs is actually planning a pre-RNC invasion, starting August 20.  They’re calling it VEGANPALOOZA, and it has nothing to do with really “feeding the poor.”  Instead, it will enable FNB to establish camps throughout Tampa and refuse to leave while glomming attention from partisan, naive, or headline-hungry media types.  And what happens when they refuse to stay inside the protest zones meticulously planned by the ACLU and Tampa government?

What, exactly, will happen with all that nice, friendly, egalitarian and inclusive “protest planning” being showered on the activists by our City Council?  The protesters will ignore it, like they do at every event where city officials give them an inch — or a mile.  It’s not about “free speech.”  It’s about disrupting an actually free and peaceful gathering — the Republican National Convention.

The Tampa City Council is setting itself up as a pasty.  They’re bending over backwards to please the ACLU and the National Lawyer’s Guild, as those groups act in bad faith with the city.  Of court they’re being abetted in this by the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Times).

It’s a vegan-based recipe for disaster.  Somebody in City Hall needs to remember who they really work for and start asking some hard questions about the deceptive tactics and “spontaneous” disruptions being planned by Food not Bombs and their peers.

The outsider-blogger continues:

I was not fully aware of the depth of activity nearby. Occupy Tampa is producing a TV show. Occupy Daytona has started a radio show. Occupy Tampa is starting a street theatre group. The OccupPlayers from Bradenton, who performed at the WSLR radio station in Sarasota a couple of months ago, is planning a performance in St. Pete and will make themselves available as requested by other locations. And for those holdouts who still like to read, there is an Occupied Tampa Tribune.

The General Assembly whipped through a number of proposals. All attained consensus, but one. The Tampa Region stands in solidarity with the student protesters in Quebec. The Tampa Region will hold a General Assembly at different locations, every two weeks, until the RNC. A most interesting proposal was brought forward to put out a National Call To Action Against Bain Capital. The actions would take place all over the country on the day Mitt Romney accepts the Republican presidential nomination. There is something almost romantic about this idea. Romney continues to receive a passive profit share and interest in Bain Capital investment funds. Bain Capital always made a profit even when the companies they bought went under, even when many workers lost their jobs, their pensions, and their healthcare. Such vulture capitalism is the poster child for what’s wrong with how our economic system functions. What better time to highlight these cold deficiencies than on the day of Romney’s acceptance speech.

A recurring concern voiced at the Gathering was dwindling participation. Leslie from Occupy Tampa was curious and concerned about attendance at other Occupations. A local religious leader made a plea for presenting a clear and constant message about the profound issues of economic inequality. He is hoping for a format that will draw people in and get them involved. Jason, who is from Tallahasse but has been staying with Occupy Tampa for the last month, threw out a concrete suggestion to the General Assembly. How about renting a truck, covering it with sheets, projecting messages onto it, and driving through Ybor City on a Friday night. Go to where the people are and make a bold statement. Leslie volunteered to coordinate outreach efforts to help bring more people out to participate.

Soon after the General Assembly came to a close, folks made signs and marched around downtown in solidarity with the Quebec students. Students there had called for a tuition freeze. Nightly protests consisted of clanging noisy pots and pans in the streets. The students wore red felt squares to symbolize being financially in the red, crushed by debt. In Canada, as in the United States, tuition hikes are leading to increasing student debt. Even after almost 100 nights of protest, the students hadn’t garnered much community support. But, when the government passed emergency legislation to limit students’ right to assemble and protest, thousands of community members flooded the streets in support. As I understand it, the strike by the Quebec students is the longest and largest student protest in Canadian history. And yet their debt is small potatoes when compared with the $1 trillion in debt taken on by college students in the United States. In addition to marching in solidarity with Quebec students, folks here are motivated by the spiraling student debt in the United States. A jubilant procession from the Tampa Regional Gathering marched through downtown, banging pots and pans and wearing red felt squares.

Oh yeah.  And possibly doing this.

Welcome to Tampa, kiddies.  It’s going to hot in those balaclavas, though:

 

I previously wrote about what is coming to Tampa, here.  In upcoming weeks I will detail the ways some elected officials are selling us out to the protesters.  Meanwhile, it’s time to send the city a polite but firm message: we don’t want to have to pay for anti-social radicals to have air-conditioned public facilities to plan their attack on the city.

We’re already paying enough, getting ready to prevent them from causing chaos in the street — or worse.  And why should we have to pay for this?  Why aren’t the groups listed above being sent the bill?

 

 

How’s That Anti-Cop Crusade Working Out? Rochester Edition.

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Last year, a tedious brew of Occupy protesters and “Cop-Watch” activists took to the streets in Rochester, New York.  They mobilized behind a contemporary flower-child named Emily Good.  Good had been detained briefly after interfering in a police stop that occurred outside her urban hipster-neighborhood home.

After the actual subjects of the police stop slunked into the night, never to be heard from again (and doubtlessly grateful that Good’s hysterics had distracted the police), Good and her supporters tried to make hay out of her arrest.  She granted interviews to CNN and posed for pictures “doing ministry work” in a drop-waist dress, all the while denouncing the “horrors of police brutality” on Rochester’s violent streets.

Good on CNN

But it soon emerged that Good was not the earnest-random-citizen-witness-to-alleged-police-brutality she pretended to be.  Video showing her physically attacking an Olympic torch runner in Canada and feigning abuse at the hands of police during a violent squatter’s protest revealed her real identity as a professional anti-policing activist — one trained to incite and escalate conflicts with the police.  Luckily, the videos of Good’s prior activities were saved by a smart local blogger before Good and her supporters cleansed her Facebook page of evidence of her radical activities.

Good Pretending to Be Brutalized By Police

The Olympic torch video was particularly chilling.  Good and other “native Canadian rights” activists knocked down the woman runner, who was nearly ignited in flames from falling on the torch.  Rather than being chastened by the near-disaster, Good bragged about it online, gleeful that she had interrupted the “Gestapo” Olympic torch run.  She wrote:

The runner actually tripped over all of her security people who were frantically shoving us out of the way.  Anyway, the torch went down!  Hitler started that tradition for the nazi olympics — time to extinguish it!

What sort of person jokes about nearly setting another human on fire?  More importantly, who does such a thing while simultaneously believing she is on the side of angels, who sees herself not as a violent person but as a social heroine, feeding the poor and spreading justice to the dispossessed?  It is to our detriment that we have forgotten about the lost girls of the Seventies, those college-educated daughters turned glassy-eyed cultists who flocked to Charles Manson, shot at presidents, or blew themselves up wiring bombs in their daddies’ townhouses.

John Updike’s story, “The Lovely Troubled Daughters of Our Old Crowd,” says something about the starting point of this sort of social disintegration.  Not precisely, but read it anyway.

Good and her compatriots were protesting the “imperial” Canadian state and the evil corporations hosting the Olympics.  That justified almost setting an innocent woman on fire.

In the mindset of activists like these, anybody who does not agree with their politics is an expendable dupe, and the police are no less than the Gestapo.

Emily Good with Hugo Chavez: Just Another Young Woman Who Cares About Justice

Bread Not Bombs 

Emily Good is a member of the radical activist group Food not Bombs.  Good even wore a Food Not Bombs t-shirt to one television interview in which she denied that she had ever been involved in anti-police activism.  “I have never agitated directly against the police . . . I wouldn’t say I’m an activist against the police at all,” she told the reporter, while wearing a t-shirt for an organization that agitates against police.

In recent years, Food Not Bombs Rochester has hosted events such as: “Open Mic Against Police Brutality and State Repression” and “Support the Police: Beat Yourself Up.”  The reporter didn’t ask Good about her t-shirt during the interview: the media has utterly failed to report credibly on the war on cops being waged by radicals ranging from activists like Good to national lawyer’s groups subsidized by billionaire financier George Soros.

Tampa, beware: the Emily Good story — the media’s epic failure to identify her, or to report on Food Not Bombs’ radical motives and training — is a cautionary tale for the city of Tampa, which is preparing to host the 2012 Republican Convention.  Food Not Bombs is planning to arrive in the city in advance of the convention and set up so-called “feeding stations” providing “vegan food for the homeless.”  These encampments will serve as cover for other radicals.  The local media is taking its marching orders from the A.C.L.U. instead of investigating Food Not Bombs’ tactics.  So the public remains uninformed, while elected officials pander to the professional activist classes instead of asking hard questions of the protestors, let alone holding them responsible for the trespassing and code violations they have committed so far.

 Nothing to See Here: Good Denies Anti-Police Activities While Wearing an Anti-Police  T-Shirt

The media’s failure to notice Good’s shirt would have merely been funny if the stakes weren’t so high.  Cities like Rochester are contending with exploding crime rates, while police budgets are gutted and police find themselves are under attack.

Rochester has been living through a 40% increase in homicides and a 73% increase in shootings.  Nevertheless, the A.C.L.U. keeps encouraging the public to resist all crime-fighting measures.  Through an initiative subsidized and orchestrated by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, A.C.L.U. activists advertise free phone apps that teach people to videotape police and interfere in crime fighting.  Meanwhile, Rochester burns.  Little wonder that people in high crime areas are less enthusiastic about A.C.L.U. lawsuits and anti-cop street-marches than the dilettantes who pack up after marching picket lines and return to nicer houses and safer neighborhoods.

Still, silly as they seem, there’s no underestimating the damage such people can do.

Last year, Emily Good and her trumped-up “persecution” cost the police time and money that could have been spent fighting real crime.  It also tied their hands, as activists descended on Rochester to take advantage of Good’s fifteen minutes of embarrasingly-non-vetted media fame.  Even now, as the murders and shootings pile up, the A.C.L.U. keeps playing by the script, accusing police of brutality no matter what they do to try to quell the crime wave.  But some residents are speaking out in support of stepped-up police protection.  Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Columnist Jermayne Myers recently wrote:

Kudos to Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard and the police department for shifting into over gear to help curb a recent spike in shooting, stabbings, robberies, homicides and other senseless acts of violence and crime in the City.

As I’ve said in the past, our city and its residents have been held hostage by the numerous senseless acts of violence and crime over the past two-three months. With 21 homicides and 95 gun assaults, and still counting as of last week, Rochester is on the path to seeing one of its worse and most violent summers.

One recent tool to help combat this rash of violence and crime is operation “Cool Down”. According to Sheppard, during operation “Cool Down”, additional officers will be highly visible, and engaging people on the street to prevent crime rather than reacting to its aftermath.

I commend and respect Sheppard for not being scared to use these tactics to target and make those that commit crime and violence in the city feel uncomfortable walking or riding around our streets, neighborhoods and communities.

As a young African-American man living in the city, I endorse these tactics (when used correctly) to help reduce violence, crime, homicides and keep our city safe.

I’m sick and tired of hearing about someone else getting shot, stabbed and/or killed on our city streets, and sadly both the victim and perpetrator are young African-American men. If you’re not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about. Just cooperate with police, thank them for doing their job and keep it moving.

This sort of attitude is anathema to the Emily Good and A.C.L.U. lawyers.  Of course, they don’t spend their nights worrying about their families’ safety or hauling bleeding young men to emergency rooms.  As Rochester mayor Tom Richards wryly observed, in response to a predictable media question about the civil rights implications of stepped-up police patrols:

 “The ultimate violation of your civil rights is to be shot to death.”

Neighborhood activists — not radical activists like Emily Good — cheered the increased police activity:

When News10NBC informed her of the police department’s “Cool Down Detail,” [Doreen Brown] was thrilled. “I would be very proud for that to happen. We care about out neighborhood, we care about our neighbors and we would love to have more patrols around here there is too much violence.”

Brown said, “We have people that are terrified terrified. We try to stay together to keep peace. We don’t want it to seem like we just a bad neighborhood with crime, but if we don’t have help from the police, what are we to do?”

 Adults in Charge: Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard and Mayor Tom Richards

The adults solve the problems, while the activists destroy, no matter the human cost.

~~~~

More information about the radical anti-police movement:  The Soros-Funded War on Police

From the Comments. And, Howard Zinn’s Capitalism Isn’t Bad Like the Other Kind. Also, the Haymarket Square Police Memorial.

2 comments

 

The disturbingly-named blog commenter Mr. Mittens (whose mittens apparently prevent him from capitalizing words, which I have mostly corrected below in the spirit of promoting capitalism) weighs in with us on the history of anti-cop violence and other radical activism:

I recently spent some time researching the history of left wing bombing incidents in America- specifically the wave of anarchist terror that washed over the entire globe in the mid to late 1800s through the depression. Lots of attacks on cops. Lots of murdered cops. The radical flower bombers of the late 60?s merely picked up where their anarchist grand daddies had left off. Suddenly, they were marxist revolutionaries- but the same old disregard for the law, disregard for other persons and smoldering hatred of the police. a lot of armed robbery to liberate funds for the revolution. and lots of bombs.The more I studied the more I realized I had been lied to in school-or at least been sold a bill of goods that obfuscated and slanted incidents in favor of the radical leftist terrorists (I take this is because my teachers were of that generation). Next to nothing was taught about the unprecedented level of anarchist/communist violence against persons in the early 20th c- it was all about the brave labor movement and the evil business men and their thug cop storm troopers or the fascist government victimizing immigrants. Nothing about 39 bombs mailed to sundry citizens on May Day. Nothing about the likes of Sacco and Vanzetti being card carrying anarchists sworn to violence. Nothing about Haymarket Square in chicago where 60 police officers were wounded and 7 died when a supposed anarchist heaved a stick of dynamite at them at a rally.

Today, children are very likely to learn about Haymarket Square in their classrooms.  Unfortunately, what they learn is the problem, as I detail in this report with Mary Grabar, published at Accuracy in Media.

And now for an object lesson in radical rewriting of history.  The following “Occupy Education” manifesto was posted in both the (Howard) Zinn Education Project and Rethinking The Schoolstwo radical leftist education websites:

In this age of standardized, scripted curriculum and corporate-produced textbooks, it looks like not everyone is following the script. Teachers are “teaching outside the textbook,” in the slogan of the Zinn Education Project.  This kind of defiant “We’ll decide what our students need to learn, not some distant corporation” needs to happen in schools across the country. We don’t need to take tents and sleeping bags to our town squares to participate in the Occupy Movement—although it would be great if more of us did. We can also “occupy” our classrooms, “occupy” the curriculum. At this time of mass revulsion at how our country—our world—has been bought and bullied by the one percent, let’s join this gathering movement to demand a curriculum that serves humanity and nature, not the rich.

“Bullied by the one percent.”  Is this what your kids are hearing in schools?  Of course, both Zinn Education and Rethinking offer their own “standardized, scripted curriculum and corporate-produced textbooks.”  But they’re the standardizers and the scripters and the corporation, so it’s OK.

Because they’re using their capitalism to teach kids to hate other American capitalism.

Just like they’re teaching a version of history designed to teach children to hate their own country and blame — to be blunt — contemporary Republicans for the existence of slavery and other oppressions that occurred in the past.  Not all slavery, not all oppression — just American slavery and oppression.  The existence of historical or contemporary slavery practiced by other nations, for example, is simply disappeared from the curriculum.  Only America is bad, and, according to these folks, it’s as bad today as it was when people owned slaves or paid children pennies a day to labor in factories.

The Occupy Movement may seem moribund on the streets, but according to this editorial, it’s alive in the hearts and minds of unknown numbers of schoolteachers:

The Occupy movement itself spurred new momentum. In Trenton, N.J., demonstrators briefly occupied the state Department of Education, protesting Gov. Chris Christie’s pro-charter school initiatives. In New York City, members of Occupy DOE (NYC Department of Education) have offered a spirited challenge to Mayor Bloomberg’s undemocratic, handpicked Panel for Educational Policy (PEP). At one meeting, Occupy DOE mocked the PEP functionaries, yelling “puppet!” after each was introduced. As reported in Rethinking Schools, Social Equality Educators in Seattle led an occupation of the state capitol to protest school budget cuts and to stage a citizens’ arrest of legislators for abandoning the state constitution, which proclaims the support of public education as the state’s “paramount duty.” Teachers’ actions inspired hundreds of students at Seattle’s Garfield High School, who walked out of classes and rallied at City Hall in solidarity. Blogs like Occupy Education created a forum for “messages that dare public schools to serve students’ passions instead of politicians and vendors’ coffers,” and feature poignant student artwork displaying different “occupy” interpretations.

One of the most militant of the occupations occurred in Chicago, where more than 100 parents, youth, and community members staged a four-day sit-in at City Hall to protest Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “practice of maligning black and Latino neighborhoods by destabilizing their public schools and selling them off to the highest bidder.” Organized by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), and supported by the Chicago Teachers Union, UNITE HERE, and other community groups, demonstrators demanded that the mayor meet with the community to discuss its well-researched alternative to the Chicago elite’s profit-driven school improvement plans.

They’re also planning to Occupy the Curriculum:

It is equally urgent that we bring this occupy spirit to the struggle to reclaim classrooms and schools from the imposition of scripted, standardized, corporate-produced curriculum. Teachers and community allies must demand—and create—teaching materials about things that matter, within a pedagogy that respects students’ lives and cultures. If we cannot secure the right of educators, parents, community members, and students to determine the nature of the curriculum, then the 1 percenters—the textbook companies, billionaire-run foundations, high-priced consultants, and assorted corporate reformers—will have permanently revised the character of the curriculum.

There are hopeful signs. Some of you may have seen the Rethinking Schools blog in November. We reported on our Zinn Education Project Facebook site, which asked teachers about themes they planned to address in the coming month. The replies reflected a markedly unstandardized curriculum. People were teaching about the history of corporate personhood, the war in Afghanistan, the early women’s rights movement, and the link between industrialization and imperialism. From teachers across the disciplines and grade levels, we hear a defiant tone of “We’ll decide what our students need to learn, not some distant corporation.” This is a cry we need to amplify.

Part of this amplification is apparently going to be to bring “mic checks” to classrooms:

As teachers move to occupy the curriculum, we especially need to turn our attention to investigating the origins of the economic crisis that has laid a blanket of hardship and insecurity over so much of the world. Teachers need to share ways that we are equipping students with the critical skills to interrogate the economic inequality that from year to year yawns ever wider.

But educators can also draw inspiration from the Occupy movement’s playful yet profound expressions of grassroots democracy—the general assemblies, the mic checks, and the myriad ways that occupiers have found to make democracy participatory. The movement holds valuable lessons for school and classroom life.

To summarize: the people who banished memorization and recitation of poems and multiplication tables from classrooms on the grounds that such activities are too “authoritarian” and “hierarchical” are now going to lead children in inane mic checks, during which the students obediently parrot back the teacher’s words.  And that’s not authoritarian and hierarchical because the hierarchical authority figures leading all this mindless chanting are leftists educating children about labor history.

That should work well.

It’s very interesting to read the New York Times on the Haymarket Square  bombing of police officers.  The Times expresses outrage at the murder of police officers, praises their courage, and condemns the terrorists.

Of course, the article as published in 1886. [http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/haymarket/newsnyt5-6.html].

I’ll leave the last word to Mr. Mittens, who describes the fate of the memorial erected to police officers who were killed in the 1886 bombing:

A (Haymarket Square) monument to the (dead police) officers was built in 1889 and continually vandalized. In 1968 on May Day it was spray painted black. The Weather Underground blew it up twice- a memorial to the long dead, working class men who had had families and children. Finally, the city had to move the rebuilt- again- memorial to police headquarters.

The location of where this statue to fallen police officers should stand, Haymarket Square where they were murdered , has been transformed into a memorial to the murderers and bomb throwers- the public square and history re-visioned to remove the crimes committed by radicals. Like the re-visioned , biased history taught in schools. It’s a monument to the long term entrenched bias in our schools- and here you show the ultimate insult, particularly for those of us with family member LEOs: our tax money paying for disinformation and lies.my money paying to teach children that cops are ‘pigs’ and justified targets of misplaced , redirected rage. It’s propagandizing- not teaching.

Well said, Mittens.