Mark Nuckols: Sovereign is as Sovereign Does on the Magnitsky Act

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I have known Mark Nuckols since I was a teenager.  That is to say, a very very long time.  When I was 18, he knew more about politics in the real world than anyone I knew, which of course got him into endless trouble in academia, where they like their politics self-congratulatory and utterly detached from reality with a heaping helping of abject admiration on the side.

Despite being Jeopardy smart (or perhaps because of it), Nuckols never quite fit in in American academia.  You need only watch this video of Mark appearing on the Jon Stewart program to understand why.  I have to warn you, though: it is an unusual video.  I take no responsibility for it.

Nuckols teaches law and business at Moscow State University and the Russian Academy of National Economy.  Here is his latest article, from The Moscow Times.  It’s an interesting take on international human rights, a subject usually explored only by self-congratulatory people utterly detached from reality and seeking abject admiration from others:

The Magnitsky Act Is Wrong

25 November 2012 | Issue 5021
By Mark Nuckols

The Moscow Times

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer who exposed the fraudulent use of corporate documents of his client to defraud both his client and the Federal Treasury of $230 million. Rather than arrest and prosecute the persons Magnitsky testified were responsible for this crime, prosecutors had Magnitsky himself arrested and imprisoned. After enduring 11 months of inhumane treatment, Magnitsky died in police custody under suspicious circumstances. His death is a tragedy and miscarriage of justice and demands a thorough investigation by the Russian government. Unfortunately, however, the wheels of justice in Russia often fail to turn as they should, particularly when they threaten wrongdoers in the government.

The U.S. Congress has responded with the Magnitsky Act. . .

Obama should veto this bill if it passes Congress. . .

Read the whole thing here.

For more on the use and abuse of human rights law, see my post:

Disappearing Adria Sauceda: The Nun, The SNAP, The Law Professor, The President, His Newspaper and the U.N. Defend Torture-Killer Humberto Leal

 

Typing Monkey: Welcome Back. To the Same Old Place That You Laughed About.

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The day after the election, I posted a very  interesting article from someone who chooses to be known only as the Typing Monkey.    Some people thought I had written the article, but I am not and never have been a Typing Monkey.  I am a human being.

He has written again, perhaps in response to my post on Peter Hitchens.  Who knows what motivates a typing monkey?  He writes hard truths, as monkeys will.  For readers unfamiliar with British politics who link through to the Hitchens article, it’s probably useful to know that Tories would be the Republican Party, and Labour is the Democratic Party.

SOME THOUGHTS ON A PETER HITCHENS ARTICLE FROM 2007 

This article was written by Peter Hitchens in 2007, but it is, I think, very relevant to the present discontent of the Republican Party.

We are not necessarily bound to arrive at the same conclusions, so don’t get distracted by the first few paragraphs Hitchens writes. It is his analysis of our political times from a conservative perspective that is useful.  I don’t agree with everything about where Hitchens ends up, but his view of where we are now is pretty telling.

Hitchens’ fundamental insight into the present American conservative discontent is that we lose elections to the extent we are stuck in a rut of defining ourselves as more or less like the opposition.  At this point, we need to stop arguing about whether we should or should not concede on, say, immigration. The key thing to realize, for those few of us who haven’t already, is that the Republicans side has already and repeatedly conceded on almost every recognizably conservative position, because the Party isn’t actually a conservative party.

The Republicans are at best a lower taxes liberal party that’s conservative only to the extent that it can take fake positions on issues where meaningful change is politically impossible, all in the service of getting into power so that they can lower taxes and get rid of regulations. It loses because it promises nothing for most voters but less of what the Democrats are offering.

Hitchens isn’t the first person to say this, but he says it bluntly and in a way that deflates some popular myths that could use deflating, especially with regard to Republicanism and the USSR, a crucial bit of misunderstood (to the extent it’s not forgotten) history.

Reagan Republicanism, like Thatcherite Toryism, worked in large part because the Party could make any number of concessions to the emerging center-left consensus in society while retaining its identity as the national security and lower taxes party.  Thanks, Evil Empire.

In the process, though, the Republican Party lost its ability to present itself as a party with a coherent message that people believe in. The Democrats have an extremely coherent message, which is that Republicans are out of touch, racist plutocrats or inbred rednecks who want to starve your relatives to death and kill your gay friend whereas Democrats are the Party that will give you stuff.

The only response to that message from the Republicans has been “NO WE’RE NOT, AND YOU CAN’T HAVE OUR STUFF,” which didn’t work in kindergarten and still isn’t working today.

Since the early 1990s, Republicanism has been reduced to an economic ideology centered on a single premise: lower taxes and less regulation are good for what ails us.  As they actually stand for little or nothing else, they end up being a screen upon which Democrats project prejudices and fears.

Yes, this is where you tell me the ten other things you think Republicans stand for or should stand for.  It doesn’t matter.  ‘Reduce taxes and reduce regulation’ is the only coherent, consistent message coming from Republicans.

A half-hearted defense of “social issues” that aren’t actually relevant to how the federal government is conducted have done little more than brand Republicans as the Party of the elderly relatives with embarrassing opinions that the young, hip Democrats have to listen to around the holidays when they return to the town they were born in for?an obligatory visit.  For better or worse, Republicans are now the party of less regulation, less taxes, and out-of-date opinions.

Let’s talk about each in turn.

On the issue of regulation, out here in the real world, decades of “de-regulation” schemes have taught the American public that deregulation in practice ends up favoring financial parasites almost if not more than the regulatory process did. Both parties promise to help consumers and small businesses, but neither party has much credibility here.  And the Republicans are branded as the party of the financial parasite class, even though the real plutocrats are largely Democrats.

Taxes: the problem with lower taxes as a platform is you can’t starve the beast when the beast turns out to be your grandparents. Even if you think they’re racists. The war over entitlements is over; the AARP won, and it’s now time to move on to other things and let the house of cards collapse on its own. Mitt Romney ran on a bunch of things, but all the American public heard was — “We’re going to take away social security and leave you to starve to death in the gutter like an animal.”  Yes, there may someday be a time to revisit all of this, but in the short run we’re paying taxes and spending money on entitlements, and it’s time to think about what other things we might stand for.

Which brings us to everything else and, oddly, the European Union.  All the talk about the EU in the Hitchens article might seem irrelevant to Americans, but there is a similar issue in American politics, little discussed but still (I would argue) the key to understanding what’s really going on in the political world today.

Our elites are increasingly part of a global community that has little concern for or connection with our nation and little to offer except consumer culture. This is happening and has largely already happened. The only question is what to do about it, and this is a question the Republicans are largely ignoring because a glimpse under the rock gives you an uncomfortable amount of insight into why Republican politicians and pundits are basically Democrats with a slightly different regulatory and tax policy.

Ross Douthat has more in common with Paul Krugman than he has with anyone who is likely to read this.

This is the time of year when people watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and lie to themselves about the reality that, in the real world, George Bailey left his small town in upstate New York in the 1940s along with all of the other college educated people, as the manufacturing jobs and the town collapsed. What is left subsists on tourism, small scale drug trafficking, and increasingly sophisticated extraction of the remainder of the local natural resources to feed a world economy that cares about them significantly less than it cares about the inhabitants of Shenzhen, Slovakia and Chennai.

A few college professors might imagine they are rebuilding the Front Porch Republic of small town American life, but even they will mostly admit that they don’t have much in common with the folks who grew up in the college town they live in, other than nostalgia.

However, plenty of other people — more or less half of us — still live in these places, and the Republican strategy is basically to pander to them.  As opposed to the Democrats, who demonize them. The Republican strategy is ultimately the losing strategy, though, because even the 60,000 odd people who still live in Utica, NY (down from 100,000 or so in the 1960 census) know that the future is in Chengdu (population 14 million), and that Indian gambling and fracking are short term solutions at best.  And no, my point isn’t that China is “winning” and we’re losing.  No one cares much about China as a place as opposed to a profit center, and all those jobs are going to Vietnam anyway.  Or maybe that was last week.

The point is, while the Republican Party was draping itself in the flag and ostracizing the people who vote Republican but worry about a “one world government,” our economy went off shore and took much of our government with it.  It probably isn’t coming back, but pretending this never happened doesn’t help.

Which is why Ross Douthat’s prescription to save the Republican Party is more entitlements for poor white people.

What do I think the answer is? Glad you asked. First, we need to get serious about acknowledging how profoundly we’ve lost, and how seriously damaged the Republican Party and its brand have become. All those jokes that Glenn Reynolds makes about Obama and Carter? This is the Carter era for Republicans, only worse. Welcome back. Your dreams were your ticket out.

But, what next? Maybe the people in Utica need to start talking to the people in Chengdu.

Here is where more complications creep in.  There are plenty of people who talk about how America was founded as a Christian country and have a copy of the painting of George Washington praying in the snow hanging prominently on the wall in their den. But the number of these people who would vote for a genuine Dominionist candidate rapidly approaches closer to zero with each passing year, even if we define Christian?Dominionism in a way that allows girls to get jobs as lawyers and divorce their husband if they really want to.

This was never a Christian country except in the important sense that most everyone around during the first hundred years or so happened to be Protestant, until we started letting in all the Catholics. In fact, that was more or less the entire point of America from the outset — this was where you can to get away from state religions so you could have your own private theocracy on your own land. See, e.g., Utah.

I’ll tell you a secret — I love and respect the Protestants I’ve met in the right wing but, as a Catholic, I have difficulty entirely forgetting the somewhat troubled history between Catholics and Protestants which formed the crucible from which modernity emerged. The truth is that many of our national values emerged as a way of allowing space for different religious traditions to come together to work out what we might have in common in terms of values. We’ve lost track of that, some of us.

And no, I’m not saying we should become multi-cultural. Liberalism is, of course, happy to just offer as a different solution that we let people believe whatever they want, even if this means putting women in bags in New Jersey, as long as the liberals stay free to do whatever they want to do with their own time on the Upper West Side, the assumption being that those women in bags will eventually  liberate themselves and move to Manhattan just like the liberals liberated themselves from whatever small town or suburb they grew up in. They get to have the mantle of tolerance without seriously having to contend with the reality of what they are tolerating, and they get away with this because we’ve allowed the argument to be framed in terms of Christians versus Muslims. On those terms, we’re racists, and relativism wins. We need a serious critique of relativism and a values platform that is not tied to any specific religion.

I know, I know. But listen. If authentic human values are there, the Christians will show up. So will a surprising number of atheists from the Upper West Side — there are values voters there too, and the fact that they currently see those values reflected back at them from the fun house mirror of the left doesn’t mean that all is lost.

And the people in Chengdu will show up for American values if we have them to offer. Just by leaving the farm and showing up in the big city, they’re voting for American values. We need to stop letting aging hippies like Steve Jobs define what that means.

How does that work in practice? That’s the only way it does work. The Republicans got in this mess by coming up with pretty theories about the economy and sacrificing our values and all reason to those ideas. We get out of here by finding practical solutions to local problems that we have in common with people all over the world. Conservative solutions.

Let’s start by looking at something frivolous like gay marriage.  There is a serious marriage problem in this country.  It’s called “single parent households.” Gay marriage is a complete distraction from it. Democrats actually have a response to the single parent problem. In fact, most of what Democrats are is defined around a variety of policy responses to this problem, however flawed and however much they are arguably also the source of the problem in the first place: see, e.g., War on Poverty, welfare rights, WIC, public schools, Section 8, Title VII.  Republicanism has allowed itself to be defined entirely around negative responses, i.e. arguing for fewer entitlements on the theory that they encourage dependency, and resisting popular social movements deemed to be “threats” to marriage, from gay marriage to rap music.  Democrats look at the divorce rate among Republican candidates for President and are justifiably amused.

The right response? You will see a lot of variations on one proposal coming from the pundit class — concede to the changing culture. Okay, sure, but what else do we bring to the table except an argument about entitlements the other side is able to use to paint us as greedy hypocrites who actually want single mothers to starve to death? Sure, we’re feeding millions of single mothers every day at the church food bank, but America doesn’t know that, and it isn’t a political platform. And the technocratic, wonky reforms on offer (vouchers anyone?) are justifiably viewed by voters as being just another plank in an increasingly suspect, lower taxes/less regulation platform, instead of a serious attempt at reform.

The answer?  Do what the liberals did in the first place: take over the entitlement state from within. Not as a secret campaign to destroy it, but in a serious effort to reform it into a conservative solution that actually helps people. Welfare reform worked. It stopped working not because it was repealed but because the bureaucrats who run the programs figured out ways around it.

This doesn’t mean endless expansion of government, just acceptance of the idea that some government is necessary, and that government can further our values. Throwing the mentally ill out of institutions didn’t save any money; it just put a few nurses out of business and put a lot of SSI/Medicaid functionaries into business, not to mention full employment in quasi-private NGOs for a vast army of “homeless activists” and their ilk.  The doctors are just working out of a different office. It would be a better system if the people involved actually cared more about treating the mentally ill and giving them shelter than “empowering them” to spend the day masturbating in our?public libraries. And it wouldn’t necessarily be more expensive.

People all over the world are working on these same problems, and they aren’t all coming up with liberal solutions.

There is a lot more to say here, but I don’t want to get too caught up in specifics. One more example — immigration. The dirty secret with immigration is that there are many dirty secrets.  It’s not just people with nannies and lawn boys who benefit from cheap labor.  Small business owners benefit; family farms benefit.  Even some of what’s left of the “white working class,” i.e. the contractor who bids your home renovation project and then sends a bunch of Ecuadorians to do the actual work, has a stake.  Pretty much everyone who doesn’t benefit is suffering from illegal immigration and in more ways that people realize.  Topping that list is the countries the immigrants flee from.  Also hurting: anyone — anywhere on the economic spectrum who follows the law, because they have to compete with everyone who doesn’t.

The obvious solution is to punish people who hire illegals. We already have a bureaucracy in place to do this, called the Internal Revenue Service. Another dirty secret – defanging the IRS, a major Republican initiative, had the consequence of vastly increasing the amount of cheating going on, in this area and others. If and when we seriously attempt going back to enforcement instead of collusion in fraud, we will find that it is much easier to enforce laws that impact American small business owners than it is to enforce laws that disproportionately impact impoverished immigrants with little or no property, who came here from countries where the rule of law is notional at best. I’m not saying we stop enforcing the immigration law, I’m just saying the FIRST thing to do at the federal level is enforce the tax code and the rest of the existing law, and to do that we need to take back control of the bureaucracies.

Yes, that’s the easy part and leaves us with the hard part is deciding how much immigration we want and finding authentic and convincing ways to justify attempts to limit immigration as motivated by something other than racism. I didn’t say the Left was going away. But being honest is a good start on the road to a values-based policy argument, isn’t it?

Which leaves us with taxes. We’ve already talked about regulation — take over the institutions and make them (more) rational, conservative and human. But in the end we’re not going to be able to ignore the fact that putting people into government puts people in institutions where they have a built-in incentive to obtain and spend other people’s money.

Let’s have some ground rules, though. First of all, anyone who tells you they know how to adjust the tax code in order to create jobs (looking at you here, Mitt) is lying, and everyone knows it. Second, let’s admit that no proposal for adjusting the tax code in the abstract exists in the abstract — any change to the status quo will help some people, hurt other people, and have some uncertain impact on the economy. For example, Obama’s never seriously proposed “Buffett tax” was really a proposal for a new tax on capital gains administered in some vaguely defined way like the Alternative Minimum Tax. Pretending that this would have no impact on the economy because this is just free cash lying around for the taking is disingenuous. Let’s not be that way.

Second, here’s a modest proposal. Maybe, for right now, as difficult as this may be for some of us, the tax code is the last thing we should be talking about. Maybe we should be talking about how to spend the money we get, and some of this talk needs to be positive proposals for things to do with government money that help people, that?encourage private citizens to help people, and that generally accord with our values. If there are specific things we can recommend about the tax code that will help, by all means. But ordinary people hear the Republican Party talk about reforming the tax code and they think, for good reasons as well as bad, about rich people screwing the system, entitlements going away, and the end of their mortgage interest deduction. Tax reduction was a winning strategy once upon a time. It isn’t any more.

Again, I’m not talking about new entitlements or any of the big plans and schemes you see coming from the left wing of the party. I’m talking about local problem solving with a global perspective, informed by real values.

Yes, I know. The free market will save us. Bureaucracy is the root of all evil. There’s a war on Christmas. We’ve been peddling that for years, and where has it gotten us? I’m not even saying it’s wrong. I’m saying we need to stop worrying about ideology and start working on putting our values to work making this country a better place to live in.

What did I hear you say? The Tea Party? The Tea Party is complicated.  Social conservatives and the libertarians both showed up, because both groups feel disenfranchised by a party that is increasingly only interested in propping up “serious,” centrist, Democrat-lite candidates. They’ve been reading the Constitution and understand that marginal tax rates are not the beginning and end of the problem. It’s the rest of us that need to catch up.

One more example, just to be clear about what I am and am not saying here: abortion.  Roe v. Wade (more cogently Casey v. Planned Parenthood) is the law, and it isn’t going anywhere without a shake-up of the judiciary much more extensive and complicated than one side or the other replacing a justice or three. Contrary to what might be believed in places like Washington D.C. and New York City, while we sit around and parse the opinions of political candidates about whether there should be a rape exception to a law criminalizing abortion that does not exist and will not exist and in the real world for the most part never actually existed, the people who are serious about opposing abortion moved on and started doing stuff.  They didn’t just give in; they gave up on grand strategies, and they’re out in the wilderness actually doing stuff, marching through the institutions, changing people’s minds.

That’s why you haven’t heard so much from them lately. The rest of us need to get with the program.

 

 

Post-Thanksgiving Indigestion

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Watcher’s Council Reads:

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Am Yisrael Chai Edition

 on Nov 21 2012 at 3:54 am | Filed under: Nominations

The Israelis finally got sick and tired of having rockets, Iranian supplied missiles and mortars being fired at their civilians by Hamas and decided to do something about it. And as always, every time Israel defends itself, it’s somehow controversial.

The whole scenario reminds me of the old movie ‘Groundhog Day’. The Israelis are attacked, they defend themselves, they’re forced by international pressure to stop short of totally eradicating the threat, there a sort of ceasefire and the whole cycle repeats itself a few years later once their enemies regroup and re-arm.

The same accusations of ‘disproportionate response’ likewise resurface each time. Protesters in the EU probably know by now to store those defaced Israeli flags with a swastika replacing the Mogen David in the closet for future use rather than buying new ones.

The case of Gaza is particularly egregious. When the Israelis agreed to sign on to the Road Map and ethnically cleanse Jews from Gaza as one of the conditions, they were given iron-clad security guarantees by the U.S., the EU,The Egyptian government and the Palestinian Authority who were supposedly going to be running the place that Gaza would never be allowed to become a security threat to Israel again.

Surprise, surprise.

At this point, the entire situation is something Lewis Carrol couldn’t have dreamed up in his wildest opium fantasies.

Israel has nothing to do with running Gaza, yet they’re deemed ‘occupiers’ officially by the UN.

Hamas is an openly genocidal organization, yet the Israelis are faulted because negotiating with Hamas has been a dead end.And they’re also expected to treat seriously with countries like Egypt and the Palestinian Authority that defend them.

Israel is at war now with Hamas, yet Gaza still receives gas, electricity and water courtesy of Israel.

And wackiest of all, here we have terrorist entity shooting Iranian supplied missiles at Israel’s major cities and hiding behind a civilian population and it is the Israelis who are being told on one hand they have a right to defend themselves and in the same breath are cautioned not to defend themselves by dealing with the threat decisively, something any other nation would do in a heartbeat.

Secretary of State Clinton is in the region and there are rumors of another ‘ceasefire’ being brokered. Unfortunately, there’s no lasting peace possible in this instance without removing Hamas from the equation permanently. We’ll see what develops.

This week’s contest, of course, is dedicated to the land and people of Israel, her armed forces and to a true and lasting peace.

For those of you interested in investing a little time seconding that sentiment, my friend Lori Lowenthal Marcus of Z-Street has something happening this week that will allow you to get directly involved with the Decision Maker in this situation if you wish.

It’s geared towards Jews, but those of you whom aren’t can improvise quite easily, and your input will be most welcome.

-Selah-

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

Council News:

This week, Ask Marion and Right Truth took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status with some excellent pieces they sent in.

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

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) in the comments section of any entry no later than Monday 6PM PSTin 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.

Simple, no?

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

And last but not least, I and my fellow Council members also join together in wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.

OK! 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!

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In Florida Political Press Today . . .

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They’re Just Not That Into You: Republicans And The Hispanic Vote

November 20, 2012

By Tina Trent

Election day in Tampa was like the calm after a cancelled hurricane warning.  Dire predictions of long lines and voters turned away at the polls did not materialize.  Outside polling places, a few Tea Partiers squared off against droves of professional activists from the alphabet soup of leftist organizations: AFL-CIO members (do they ever have jobs to go to?), National Lawyer’s Guild lawyers, and all those Democratic PACs the media studiously ignored, including the in-your-face pro-Obama 1911 PAC.

read the rest here

Loren Herzog and Wesley Shermantine Tortured and Killed People: Thank God They’re Not Hate Criminals

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Which in the eyes of our law makes their crimes less horrible, even if you kill dozens of people, piling up so many bodies you have to map out dump sites.

But, it was just women.  And a few little girls and babies.  And some men.  So you won’t hear Eric Holder fulminating about how important it is that we have Removed These Hate Criminals From Society.

Wesley Shermantine

Loren Herzog: Not a Killer Killer, Just a Manslaughterer

Oops, silly me.  We actually let Herzog go free.

Loren Herzog was released after anti-incarceration activists in California got his multiple murder sentence reduced to manslaughter with help from the California Appeals Court.  Score another point for our out-of-control rules of evidence.  Herzog confessed repeatedly and was read his rights repeatedly, but some lawyer colluding with a bunch of self-important judges decided that they would strike a blow for postmodern adjudication and overturned his murder convictions, giving him manslaughter instead.  Herzog then got time off for “good behavior” and walked out of prison in 2010.  The prosecutors had decided to bargain with him, rather than trust a jury to convict him again.  Why?  Probably because it’s California.

No word on why they didn’t even try to pop him for three strikes.  But three-strikes is unfair and has been overturned by the public.  In California.

Pretty sexist term, manslaughter.  Somebody should make a federal case about that.

Maybe then Eric Holder would be interested.

The Sixth Appellate District in California declared that their decision to throw out the multiple confessions in Herzog’s case should not be used to decide other cases.  In other words, they knew they were being grotesquely political in their actions but cut him loose anyway to make themselves feel above politics.  Judges’ self-esteem matters more than justice.

The San Joaquim Record weighed in with a ludicrous editorial about Herzog’s imagined “rehabilitation.”  Journalists like to see themselves as little balloons of righteous sensibility floating above the angry rabble:

[S]ince he could eventually be among us, we hope he succeeds.  We hope he becomes the productive member of society he so utterly failed to become before.

Aww, how touching.  How . . . rational.  But maybe it’s not the smartest Hallmark moment to hope for a serial killer to “succeed.”  That’s about as digestible as the court hemming and hawing about whether they should require Herzog to hold a job.  This is how the black robes spend your money, while money couldn’t be found to dig up and identify all the bodies.  Nobody was ashamed enough to tamp down the parroting rituals of the sacrament of rehabilitation, not even in this case.

The new normal in criminal justice is psychotic.  California is now well into demonstrating the logical endgame of the “root causes” theory of crime, which blames an unfair society, not criminals themselves, for the crimes they commit.  Root causes theory is the prerequisite for dehumanizing victims to the point that their offenders assume their place in the pantheon of sympathy emanating from courtrooms and newsrooms.  A mother can wait decades to get her daughter’s tooth or a bone fragment to bury, but there is a system in place to counsel serial killers on their job prospects when the state cuts them loose.

Michaela Garecht

Cyndi Vanderheiden

Kimberly Billy

Chevelle Wheeler

JoAnn Hobson

Now, if these murders were viewed as hate crimes, federal money would be raining down, and Herzog would have never, ever walked free . . . see how the game works?

Californians just voted to speed-dial their crime sentencing back to the Seventies.  A $2.4 million dollar donation from George Soros, and another cool million from Stanford Professor of Dismissing Murder David Mills greased the skids.  Expect more horrific injustices to pile up, like Herzog and Shermantine’s forgotten victims.

As ordinary criminal law gets gutted financially and ethically, the sanctimonious and prejudiced Hate Crimes enforcers scour the nation to make examples of people who use homophobic slurs while robbing people, or who spray paint ugly words on innocent sidewalks.  This is how we make some people less human than others.  Ironically, George Soros funds the hate crimes movement at the same time he funds movements to excuse other murderers.

The mere existence of hate crime laws makes the justice system deeply . . . unserious.  Maybe we should expect unserious outcomes.  When someone can admit killing a dozen people, and it doesn’t create outrage when he is released from prison, and the courts decide just to not try him for most of his crimes, while at the same time a faked racial slur sparks mass federal investigations and months of headlines, can anyone call that serious?

It’s not justice anymore: it’s a clown show.  Prostitution, not adjudication.  Holder and his peers have sold off pieces of our law enforcement system to the racial, ethnic and gay activists who scream the loudest, while bending over backward to “re-enter” ordinary murderers and rapists back into society.

As Judge Dredd says, there’s no justice, there’s just us.

This is Loren Herzog’s attorney Peter Fox, who crudely suggested that his victims get over their anger at Herzog.  “It’s not fair to call him a killer.  He is just guilty of having the world’s worst friend,” is how Fox characterized Herzog, who regaled investigators with details of multiple, vicious killings committed with his friend Wesley Shermantine back when they were caught in 1999.  Here is one recent development:

A bag of remains returned by sheriff’s deputies to the mother of one victim was later determined by a forensic anthropologist to contain commingled fragments of at least two other people, one believed to be a long-missing child.

The only tiny silver lining on this fat cloud of horror?  Herzog killed himself last year when Shermantine, who is still on California’s death row, started telling police where to find more of the bodies.  Of course, until Herzog’s death he was using our tax dollars to litigate for himself, the type of litigation that we are required to pay for.  Meanwhile, investigating his murders is something the prosecutor’s office has to hold a bake sale to underwrite.

Prioritizing expenses is the least noticed part of the criminal justice system.  Vicious killers can wake up in the morning and demand a hearing on any frivolous thing, and they are provided with attorneys and court dates and endless bites at the apple to challenge the most absurd non-issues relating to their cases.  This is the world defense attorneys and the ACLU have built.  Meanwhile, their victims have to lobby to have the murder sites excavated so they can have something to bury — a bone or a tooth.

David Mills, “advocate for social justice”

Thanks, George Soros.  Thanks, Eric Holder.  Thanks, David Mills and the rest of the warped Law Professoriate, who can detect teardrops sparkling in the eyes of serial killers while mocking the mothers of murdered girls.  Thanks, especially, ACLU.  And thanks, voters of California.

The horror show you make is the horror show you now have to live with.

 

They’re Just Not That Into You: Post-Election Reading Suggestions

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One might consider sending this self-help book to Republicans imagining that they might out-pander Democrats for Latino votes.  Or, less painfully, they could read Mickey Kaus’ (yes, that Mickey Kaus) excellent advice.

Meanwhile, in the comments, Mr. Mittens weighs in on the suggestion posted earlier this week to reflect on the election by reading Edward Gibbon’s Decline And Fall of the Roman Empire:

there was only one form of christianity at the point in time gibbon was writing about- and he went on the criticize the entire religion especially as used by the state or a prince to advance secular power over people- how it was used to deprive people of the freedoms they were guaranteed as roman citizens.

he mentions also specifically the weakening of the soldier class by the influx of non-roman troops for pay but does make special mention of some christians not living for this world but the next to the point of marching into courts of law and demanding to be martyred. he was pointing out their detachment from the world and secular concerns.

he himself was a Roman Catholic convert (which was then an act of treason) until his horrified family dragged him home from Oxford and shuttled him off to the Continent to be ‘corrected’ by a Calvinist minister. instead, he learned french and latin then wrote ‘decline and fall’ which was lambasted primarily for his pointedly very age of reason/rationalist/enlightenment negative view of christianity. the sections specifically dealing with christianity were banned (along with the more salacious descriptions of roman depravity which he was also highly critical of and felt contributed to the fall).

when obama was elected for the first time, i was drawn to gibbon again. gibbon would completely recognize the 911 of our tragic situation. we’re well past decline. i understand that sort of detachment now- i want none of this. it’s an american group suicide-shouldn’t we all be dressed in warm up suits and trainers , waiting for the next comet to shoot by?

“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

“The principles of a free constitution are irrecoverably lost when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.”

so many relevant gibbon quotes…

it is despairingly ironic the the first volume of ‘decline and fall’was published in the year america gained her liberty-1776. the founders saw too what gibbon saw-a democracy is lost and slides into despotism when people become irresponsible and just vote themselves or demand free crap. one can’t legislate for people to want to be free- give them a cell phone and an EBT card and they’ll happily go back to being ruled by tyrants especially if that tyrant allows them to enact revenge upon others.  — Mr. Mittens

Heaven’s Gate Members: Pinning Their Hopes on Comet Hale-Bopp

The American Election Through the Politically Incorrect Looking Glass

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1.  My favorite overseas editorialist is Kevin Myers of the Irish Times.  He has to be overseas — imagine if anyone wrote this in America:

THE quadrennial invitation from the US embassy arrived yesterday: it is for me to enjoy American ambassadorial hospitality while watching television coverage of the presidential election. . .

. . . virtually all the Irish guests will be supporting Barack Obama, because he’s a Democrat, which indeed he is, and also because he’s “black”, which he isn’t: though even if he were, to elect someone because of his race is as stupid as rejecting him on the same grounds. . .

Now, it goes without saying that all US presidential elections are contests between two certifiable lunatics, who freely want to embitter their declining years with the Middle East, and Afghanistan, and North Korea and that outdoor madhouse, the EU.

And of course, their running mates are two slightly lesser lunatics, though with this slightly sinister dimension to their ambitions: both probably — if only deep in their sub-conscious — dream of a certain Texas school book depository moment, followed by a dramatic swearing-in and a state funeral wherein their heroic, steely-eyed modesty is probably sufficient to win the next election. (Psychiatrist, anyone?)

However, we need such lunatics, just as we need other lunatics to push their wrists through u-bends in lavatories in late December, as we need other lunatics to clean outside windows 20 storeys up on windy midwinter days, and other lunatics to wander over minefields with metal detectors. And so on.

But that said, there’s something pretty disturbing about politicians’ desires to rule other people’s lives, with their apparent addiction to the degrading ignominies of the electoral process.

Which is why I’d vote for any politician that says he wants to do less for me, and meanwhile, he’ll be as invisible and as silent as possible: hence my instinctive support for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

I also like their honesty: they’re both openly religious men.

I’m not sure whose religion is more absurd, the one that believes that a lost tribe of Israel ended up in the US around 400 AD, and that the new Eden’s going to be in Missouri — sorry, chaps, I’ve been to Missouri, even Louth is more likely — or the one that maintains that the body and blood of Jesus are eaten every time one takes communion.

Yet funnily enough, liberal critics of Republicans’ religious beliefs never mention Mr Obama’s.

It’s not that media bias is debatable in the United States: it is so vast that one needs to be separated by an ocean to detect the edges.  You can read the rest here.  Myers hasn’t weighed in since the election.  But here is his ‘Equality’ is the Feminist Right to Whinge for while you’re waiting:

Why do so many women claim to seek what they do not really want, namely, equality? They don’t want the equality to become steeplejacks or coalminers or lumberjacks or deep-sea welders half a mile under a North Sea oil rig. They want equality in banking and in medicine, but only provided that they don’t have to keep anti-social hours . . .

Have you ever heard of anything being “offensive to men”? Of course not . . . is it actually possible to be a militant feminist and a caring nurse? . . .in universities, feminists have turned petulance into an academic discipline and sulking into scholarship. So the simple fact that women haven’t risen to the top of everything is not related to the lack of those hormones that make men into billionaire bankers, commandoes, racing-drivers, mountain-rescuers, lifeboat men, murderers, muggers, football mobs and rapists, but to that transparent but impenetrable silicate horizontality, the Glass Ceiling . . . [women] generally don’t do chess or portraiture, or higher maths or aligned parking or astronomy, and they invent almost nothing, even feminine-hygiene things. . . Ah, here come the sisters, with their gelding shears, and no, they didn’t even invent those either.

If we all talked this way, we’d probably get along better in the long run.  But to give an indication of where we’re heading instead, Myers recently found himself charged with “Breach of Principles” for another editorial he wrote:

Ombudsman John Horgan found the article was in breach of Principle 2 (Distinguishing Fact and Comment) and Principle 8 (Prejudice) of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines . . . The Ombudsman found the newspaper had failed to “distinguish adequately between fact and comment”, and the breaches were “capable of causing grave offence”.  A number of other complaints relating to truth and accuracy were not upheld.

~~~

2.  I keep waiting for American conservatives to adopt Peter Hitchens, as liberals did his brother.  He can be choleric and not always in an interesting way, but he understands American conservatism far better than many of its native spokespeople.  Immunity to political correctness seems to be thriving everywhere but here despite the lack, elsewhere, of the speech protections we enjoy.  Why is that?

Here is Hitchens on our election:

A Louse versus a Flea. Who really cares about the US Presidential Election?

You can decide which is which. It’s about the only thing in doubt.  My interest in US politics has been fading ever since I lived there, and saw it at first hand. But it sank to near-zero during the last Presidential election, when the Obama campaign became a showbusiness frenzy, devoid of reason and much more like the early, screaming years of the Beatles than like a bid for office. Yes, we can what, exactly?

I actually felt slightly sorry for Mr Obama. I had first heard of him during the previous election, in 2004, while on a visit to the pleasant town of Normal, Illinois. There was some talk, in the Illinois media, of him as a possible future star.

He had sounded modest and humorous, acknowledging that, in the age of Osama bin Laden, the name ‘Barack Obama’ might be a handicap. I thought of getting in touch with him, as one sometimes does, but put the idea to one side and never did anything about it. I doubt if anyone would have been much interested. . .

[J]ust over four years ago, I went to Chicago and, with some useful help from American-based colleagues, set out to find out a bit about Barack Obama. It wasn’t devastating. I failed to uncover the full truth about Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, being more interested in his apparent friendship with William Ayers, the former ‘Weatherman’ . I found that Obama was very much part of the unlovely Daly machine in Chicago, that his voting record in the Illinois State Senate was far from courageous, and basically that we wasn’t a very distinguished or experienced person.

It was pointless. The marketing men, and the machine men had got hold of him by then, offered him all the kingdoms of the world and swept him up into the world of bright TV lights where ( as so many otherwise unqualified people do) he glowed with a sort of electronic virtue. I think he is an intelligent person with some self-knowledge, and I do sometimes wonder if he ever regrets allowing himself to be turned into a brand and a star. But if so, it is too late. How can anyone, transformed in this way ever come back to the status of ordinary husband, father, colleague and friend? They go off as human beings to the nominating convention, or wherever the key moment is, and they never come back again.

But by then there was no audience for critical stuff. John McCain was obviously a loser, and himself not that attractive. I wouldn’t have minded if it had just been a rational decision to go for the younger, more modern guy. I wished that skin colour didn’t matter. But as the election approached I found I just didn’t care very much if he won or not. I just knew, when he did so, that his victory was a victory for multiculturalism and its allies, but so what? This only confirmed the direction the Republic had taken under Clinton, and which George W. Bush had done nothing to reverse, while he busied himself with idiotic foreign wars.

For a proper conservative, American national politics is a desert. You can choose between declared liberals and neo-conservatives who are liberal on all important issues. And that’s it. Or there’s dear old Ron Paul, who is another sort of liberal, really.  But he’s not important anyway. There’s nobody who is really socially conservative, above all nobody who will act (it’s decades too late anyway) to end the lax immigration politics which have revolutionised the country and will render it unrecognisable within 30 years. There’s nobody who will rescue the married family, or protect and recreate manufacturing industry so that ordinary people have proper honest work to do again, or reform the schools, or devise a foreign policy that actually makes the country safer.

What absolutely amazes me about this election is the way that leftish commentators try to build up Mitt Romney as some kind of conservative monster. If only he were. But his own record shows otherwise (and I might add, his running mate, whose name I can never remember, is a keen student of Miss Ayn Rand, another liberal) . . . the ‘Romney is a raging conservative’ claim must be an effort to make a dull contest between two mediocrities, for an over-rated office that isn’t really all that powerful,  appear more interesting than it is.

I shan’t be waiting up for the results. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

If that’s not enough for you, click here.

What’s The Difference Between A Bunker and a Padded Cell, Again?

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This appeared in the mail this morning:

Some thoughts on the election:

1. They totally stole the election. It doesn’t matter. Get over it.

There is a significant fraction of the liberal left that genuinely
believes everything they read in the Nation, even the articles the
people who write for the Nation don’t really believe. These people
will tell you there is no voter fraud in this country. They are, of
course, morons.

The movement people, when they are being honest (don’t expect to see
this on television), will tell you that voter fraud is a necessary
evil, because any serious effort to eradicate it would have the side
effect of depressing minority turnout and unfairly prejudice their
candidate. They also seriously think that laws against voting by
felons are racist and evil and thus worthy of civil disobedience.
These people created a regulatory system around elections (or lack
thereof) that may very well have won the election for Barack Obama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t matter. The economy is in shambles and Obama barely phoned
in a campaign without any real policy substance other than a vague
promise that we will continue to move “forward” towards a progressive
utopia. He should have lost big. See below.

2. Like it or not, there is now an Obama mandate.

You will see a lot of people talking about how this was a close
election. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that Obama got
re-elected with a left of center platform in terrible economic times,
with control of the Senate. One of two things will happen. Either the
economy will improve and he will get to pretend he did something other
than hand out a lot of candy while we waited out an awful business
cycle. Or the economy will get worse. But it is increasingly obvious
that even a continuing shambles in the economy will not help the
Republicans.

Romney would have done better in the elections if he had spent the
entire election cycle in a motel room smoking crack with Ukrainian
prostitutes. The Republicans will not learn the right lessons from
this, but they will inevitably respond to it. See below.

3. The Obama Mandate is to sacrifice our future on the altar of entitlements.

The worse things get, the better it will be for Democats. The
Republicans have been running for years on the notion that working
people have to protect their interests against a parasite class of
entitlement recipients. But this platform has always papered over the
fact that a huge proportion of entitlement recipients are retirees,
and as the bad times get worse it papers over how many of the ordinary
working majority, of every race, class and creed, are dependent on the
government.

Moreover, people increasingly realize a hard truth about
bureaucracies, which is that unserious attempts to “reform” them
usually end up hurting the class of law abiding and generally worthy
recipients without significantly reducing abuse.

The establishment take-away from this election will be that Romney
lost because he was too “extreme” about entitlement reform, so you
will in the future see Republican candidates proposing increasingly
minor “reforms” as a way of paying lip service to voters who care
about entitlements, without scaring the rest of the population. This
is a stupid strategy that everyone will see through and treat with the
contempt it deserves.

Entitlement reform has been an obvious necessity in this country for
decades. The old saying about socialism is that eventually you run out
of other people’s money. What they don’t talk about is how dire things
look when you do run out of money, and how long it can take. And this
electorate seems entirely content to play this out until the bitter,
bitter end.

4. Bill Ayers won this election.

After Obama and control of the Senate, the big winners in this
election were marijuana and gay marriage. The culture wars are over,
and conservatives decisively lost.

To the small extent that this election was not about Republicans
having a losing message on entitlements, it was about the fact that
Republicans aren’t and have never been cool. I’m not talking about
messaging any more, I’m stating a fact.

Being cool didn’t use to be a requirement for public office. But it is
now. A significant fraction of the American population would rather
die than be associated with anything they think of as being uncool.

I don’t by any means intend this as mere disparagement. Being cool is
about actual substantive positions in our society. It is cool, for
example, to have gay friends or even be gay and to have generally
positive feelings about gay sex.

And that’s cool with me. The problem is we’re talking about culture
here, and culture isn’t friendly to nuance. Culture is tribal. So if
you say, like the Republican party, “We love gay folks, but…” — you
lose. And the solution is to either keep losing or capitulate and
always be the party that used to be homophobic and probably secretly
still is.

You heard a lot of talk last night on Glenn Beck’s internet
“television station” about how we have to reform education because
this all happened in our schools. On the one hand, they are right.
Bill Ayers lost the revolution in the 70s and won it back school
district by school district in the 80s and 90s. On the other hand,
even if it were realistic to suppose that conservatives could possibly
do something to change the status quo in education in this country, it
still takes generations to make a difference that way. This may be the
only way forward, but it’s not going to win the White House in 2016.

And it still doesn’t address the part of this that is about the
entertainment industry.

5. This election was primarily about race but really had nothing to do                                                               with race.

I predict that in the next election the Republican candidates will be
Rubio and probably a Catholic white ethnic like Chris Christie (not
kidding here) against Hillary Clinton and some cool kid that no one
has ever heard of like, say, Huma Abedin. Clinton will win handily.

Talk about race in this country has become a shorthand that liberals
use to talk about entitlements (see above) and the culture wars (see
above). It has very little to do with actual racism, or any
definition of “racism” that is not simply premised around whether you
agree with the Democrats about entitlements and the culture wars. I
have known serious racists in my life. They look and behave nothing
like Mitt Romney. Most liberals actually understand this but pretend
not to understand it because they think it’s funny.

The Republicans are desperately upset about this dynamic, for two
reasons. The first is the fact that they are not, actually, racists.
The second is the realization that race is being used, unfairly, as a
way of constantly rubbing their nose in the fact that they have lost
the two key battles they somehow cannot admit to themselves they have
lost (again, entitlements and culture).

The obvious move is to try and find or manufacture as many hip, young,
minority candidates as possible. See, e.g., pretty much everyone on
Glenn Beck’s network except Glenn Beck. This is a distraction, in the
same way that trying to get younger people to vote Republican by
posting stuff on Twitter is a distraction. People don’t actually vote
based on bullshit and pandering. They vote for what they believe in,
and they don’t believe in what the Republicans are selling.

6. Libertarians are going to leave or take over the party.

Romney was, if we are being honest, a pretty lame candidate. I grew to
like the guy in the debates, but the truth is no one was especially
excited by him. Setting aside how he was portrayed by the left, people
on the right saw him as a bland, centrist candidate whose primary
audience was not plutocrats (those people voted overwhelmingly Obama)
but older, affluent and suburban — those people rightly perceived by
everyone as being on the losing end of current history even as they
are tirelessly propped up by the left as oppressors of the “99%”.

Again, not saying the winning strategy is to go out and find someone
cool. My point is, the fact that people turned out for Romney was a
combination of libertarian money, Tea Party anti-Obama sentiment
(which is in substantial part libertarian) and old people going to the
polls and pulling the lever for “R”. Look for the libertarian money to
either dry up or insist on a very different relationship with the
Party going forward.

The left would have you believe that the Tea Party is a bunch of bomb
throwing radicals who also happen to be boring suburban white folks.
Neither is true. The Tea Party is what’s left of the religious right
mixed up with genuine non-religious conservatives. And libertarians.

Libertarians are an interesting and rapidly growing segment of
society. They embrace socially “liberal” positions out of some
combination of an obscure desire to find a way to be right wing and
cool at the same time (see, e.g., Matt Kibbe’s desperate sideburns)
and genuine ideological commitment (see, e.g., David Koch’s support of
gay marriage). They have an essentially neoliberal economic philosophy
but little else that is recognizeably “conservative,” if that word
even has any meaning any more.

They are popular among the young folk and have more in common
philosophically with the significant libertarian fraction of Obama
voters than they do with the core of traditional Republican voters.
They may leave. If they stay, expect the Republican Party to be
increasingly unfriendly to conservatism as an increasingly empowered
libertarian movement within the Party attempts to save the brand from
the taint of association with stodgy old people who go to church and
don’t want their children to smoke pot.

7. Forward, into the past.

It never mattered much who ran on the Republican side. Both parties
are controlled by people who define themselves in terms of an
international elite culture that doesn’t care about this country
except in a fundamentally cynical way. Both parties depend for votes
on a population that increasingly depends on entitlements of various
types and is well aware that no meaningful alternative is being
presented to them. Both parties depend for votes overwhelmingly on
people who are not meaningfully interested in things like civic
virtue. This is what history teaches us happens to democracies. I
don’t have a policy prescription but I will say this one unfashionable
thing — don’t think the way out is through democracy any more.

Go read Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire. I’ll wait. Or I guess you could just re-watch Battlestar
Galactica.

All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.

 

Myron Magnet Pops a Gasket

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He’s actually writing about Obama’s re-election:

  I can’t help remembering that in the course of my adult life, the Britain I first knew half a century ago has run through its allotment of ruin and is now almost unrecognizably transformed from the stiff-upper-lip, never-say-die redoubt of fair play and free-born Englishmen of very recent stereotype. Now it is the land where snarling, shaven-headed louts beget still more louts upon a succession of compliant, abused sluts as clueless as they about what makes a meaningful and decent life; the land where stately ancient towns turn into nighttime circuses of drunken, vomit-smeared degradation, as young people purposely divest themselves of their human rationality and civility; the land where, to show their pride in a National Health Service they think proves their country’s unique compassion and social equality, the curable sick obediently die in accordance with official protocols that ensure that outcome; the land that jails citizens for free speech it deems “hate speech”; the land that, even when it had Royal Navy ships mightier than Lord Nelson could imagine, had sailors so cowardly and undutiful as to let Iranians in outboard motorboats take them captive without firing a shot, making the great ships useless.

Read the rest here.

Post-Election C.P.R. from Sultan Knish

1 comment

If you don’t know Sultan Knish, you need to read this:

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Game Called on Account of Darkness

 

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish

A week ago we sat waiting out the storm when the lights flickered and went out. One moment we were sitting in a lit room, the television flashing picture and sound, the internet feeding news, and then we were in the dark.

At first we expected the lights to come on at any minute. Any hour. Any day. And then living without water or power, day after day, it seemed as if the light would never come back.

And then, unexpectedly, after almost a week, they did.

The lights have gone out in America now. They may come back. They may not. It’s up to us. No one is going to come help us do it. Other countries have America. We have ourselves.

Readers will notice that this site did not predict any Romney landslides. It did not engage in empty cheers or promise that he would win half the country and restore moral leadership. That’s not what this site is about. This site is about the hard truths and now as we sit in the dark, let’s pass out some of those around the room.

We can blame Chris Christie, Sandy or Romney’s last debate performance. But let’s look at the actual election.

Romney outlasted the primaries because he was the most electable. Two blue state politicians, as bland and inoffensive as possible, ran on the economy, not on war or social issues, and managed to convince many Democrats that they could fix the economy. He got a white turnout to match that of Ronald Reagan and crowded rallies. And none of it was enough.

Romney had an excellent machine. But Obama had the bigger machine that was more than a collection of SuperPACs. It was the urban political machine, with its suburban tentacles, fed by taxpayer money and integrated into every budget. The time when it could be beaten the old way may be passing.

The people who came out to worship Obama stayed home. Romney’s rallies drew big crowds. But when all was said and done, the lines of people who feed off the political machine were there, and the handlers of the machine cast their multiple votes and carried off their manifold frauds because their own private economy depended on it.

Every time people ask me why the left has such a grip on this country, my answer is because they worked for it. It’s the answer that most people don’t want to hear, but it’s true. The left has been planning this for a while. They have been playing the long game, building the infrastructure and indoctrinating generations. And to beat them, we will have to do the same thing.

The right is 40 years behind the left and it remains a disorganized collection of potentials seeking a compass point. The “right” that got behind Mitt Romney consists of millionaires who want fewer regulations and easier imports from China, of social conservatives who are mainly ignored, except when voter turnout becomes an issue, libertarians who want more freedoms, and the non-ideological small business middle class and the struggling working class sensing their country and way of life slipping away from them.

Those groups could be welded together into a movement every bit as tribal and protective of its interests, capable of engaging in collective action on behalf of its own interests, as the urban machine vote. And that may already be happening with the Tea Party. But the counter-revolution of the bourgeoisie isn’t here yet. And there’s plenty of work to do to make it a reality.

The Republican establishment had its shot, twice. It put up moderate non-objectionable candidates. And it lost. It has no policies, beyond keeping the system going, and it has no ideas and no agenda, besides winning. It is a decadent political class fused with an even more decadent pundit class that views elections like these as a game, not as a life-and-death matter. It makes up lies and tells them to its base and hopes that the base will then forgive and forget being lied to and used one more time.

It’s not done, by any stretch of the imagination. Right now, Christie is patting himself on the back and drawing up a list of advisers for a 2016 run. And a dozen equally loathsome personalities are doing the same thing. And they may even get their way. But that doesn’t really matter. This is a long game and to win it, we have to think long term.

Moderation does not win elections. If you think it does, go look at the smirking face of Barack Obama. And then imagine him running for office back when Bill Ayers was building bombs. America’s new rulers were once considered far more extreme and unpopular than the Tea Party. Embracing radical and unpopular ideas is not a losing strategy. It is a short term losing strategy and a long term winning strategy so long as your ideas can be used to build a movement capable of turning those ideas into an organizing force.

The question is whether a right-wing movement can emerge that will make the vast majority of small businessmen in this country feel as negatively about a Democratic president as welfare voters feel about a Republican president?

This election has come close to testing that proposition. The time has come to test it further. The left went after gun owners, the way that it went after business owners, and the NRA used its hostility to build a powerful coalition of gun owners who broke the will of the elected left and made them turn on easier prey.

The key is organization. The left built its machines by convincing entire groups that they had a binding interest in a reflexive opposition to Republicans under a Democratic umbrella. Consolidating an opposition based on the same principles, that same sense that its financial oxygen will be cut if the Democrats win, is doable. But it cannot begin and end with the financials.

This is a cultural war and living in denial of that is senseless. Those social issues? They belong on the table. Because the alternative is that the table will belong to the left and we will be stuck arguing the level of regulation that is appropriate in a society whose entire moral imperative is based on the values of regulation.

Most people, left and right, want a society based on values. Opting out of the values debate means that we lose by default. Yes some of that is unpopular. It will make some elections unwinnable. Much like supporting gay marriage twenty years ago. The left kept going and it won because that is how the game is played.

These are all building blocks, but they are still scattered pieces. The right I am describing is based on the left. It is the mirror image, a counter-revolutionary pushback against the left’s intrusions into the lives, values and work of its people. And that isn’t enough. A counter-revolution that is reactive will fail. It is why the Romney campaign was doomed from the start. It is why the Tea Party isn’t enough. It’s not enough to be against things. It’s not enough to be for things because they are the opposite of the things that the people you are at war with are for.

A movement needs a deeper sense of passion. It must be fueled by a certainty that it holds the answer to the problems of its society and its civilization. It must believe that its existence would be necessary even if the left did not exist. And it must be willing to do anything to win.

This is not a mere battle of elections. The left occupied and won other fields long before it had a shot at doing anything like taking power. It is first of all a battle of ideas. And it is a battle of structures. And that means a conservative cultural war will be necessary and conservative structures must be built within the system. Rather than making arguments, we must create facts on the ground.

That’s a tall order and we are way behind. And tactics like these are not very palatable to many of us, because they resemble what the left does. They would rather expect people to naturally do the right thing. And that’s nice. I would very much like people to do the right thing. I would like to stop by one of those long lines that I saw today at the polls, almost as long as the one for free government stuff, and show them a graph of the national debt and the debt that their children will owe. I would like to think that it would change their minds. But I know better… and so do you.

The left got this far by having a plan. We will either find a plan or we will be gone. America will go the way of Latin America, with gated communities, conservative oligarchs, violent ghettos and red politicians screaming about power to the people. There will be no law, just men with guns and newspapers, and generals in convenient positions, and suitcases full of cocaine in the right hands. If you like this system, it’s probably only a generation away. Given enough immigration from south of the border– maybe less. And then California turns into Brazil and America turns into California.

We can stop this, but we won’t do it without building a movement that can stand up to the left, without assembling machines that will bring together many of the same people who voted for Obama, and we won’t do it if we are too afraid of the consequences of fighting a culture war with the left to get started.

It is dark now. On my side of the coast, the time approaches 1 AM. The dark end of one day and the beginning of a new day. It all depends on how you look at things.

Revolutions are not born out of success, they are born out of despair. They rise out of the dark hours of the night. They come from the understanding that all the other options are running out. Sometimes you have to fall down to rise and sometimes you have to hit bottom, to gather one last breath and fight to reach the top.

This is still a wonderful country. It is the finest place that this civilization has produced. Despite the events of the last day, it is worth fighting for.

Tomorrow: Post-Election Autopsy

In American Thinker: What Happens When Ponytailed Defense Attorney Ron Kuby Gets “Mugged”?

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I’ve got an article about Ron Kuby in American Thinker.  Kuby gets punched in the face, and suddenly he’s all for enforcing laws.  I don’t believe he is gay, by the way: he’s posing with a rainbow flag because he’s trying to portray himself as a victim of a homophobic hate crime (people don’t need to belong to identity groups for those groups to be counted as the “real victims” of “hate crime”).

If you’re planning on committing acts of violence against non-protected types of people, Kuby’s still your go-to lawyer, though.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharon Tate’s blood on her living room wall

Nicole Simpson’s blood on her backyard walkway

Who jokes about things like this?

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

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

Bernadine Dohrn at the infamous Flint War Council, where she praised Sharon Tate’s killers

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

The 1969 Manson murders (five dead at Tate’s house, two more victims the next night) were intended to start a “race war” between blacks and whites. Ringleader Charles Manson hoped that pinning the brutal crimes on black radicals would anger whites enough to foment all-out war between the races.  Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers shared Manson’s vision of an America where blacks wreaked bloody vengeance on white society.  Dohrn’s “fork salute” was a celebration of such imagined violence: a proxy race war acted out by white hippies on a pregnant white woman’s body in the name of “civil rights.”

O.J. Simpson celebrates his wrongful acquittal

Twenty-five years later, the acquittal of O.J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman was similarly celebrated.  Remember where you were?  Was anybody cheering?  Why were they cheering?

Ronald Goldman’s father and sister, stunned after the acquittal

The acquittal of O.J. Simpson was viewed by many on the Left as a sort of transhistorical balancing of the ledger, despite the warping of the scales of justice needed to achieve it.  Pick a body — pick two bodies — string them up, then give a get-out-of-jail-free card to the killer because of his race.  If the Southern Poverty Law Center had any honor, they would record O.J.’s acquittal as a hate crime alongside old cases of Klansmen who avoided prison for similar crimes.  It was a moment of deep division for the American people and a source of glee only for those who take pleasure in sowing such divisions.  There was nothing funny about it, just as no sane human being would find anything funny about sticking a fork into Sharon Tate’s pregnant stomach.

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, proudly reminiscing about their days “underground” to a groveling reporter

Thomas Sowell recently described Obama this way:

If you want to know what community organizers do, this is it — rub people’s emotions raw to hype their resentments.

Ironically, he said this before Obama told his O.J. Simpson joke.

 Being “post-racial” doesn’t mean that you get to joke about a murder with grim race overtones that tore the country apart.

Especially if you’re the president.

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

And then, there’s this:

Calif. Parole Board OKs Manson Follower’s Release

LOS ANGELES October 5, 2012 (AP)  A parole board panel has recommended the release of a former Charles Manson follower imprisoned for 40 years for a double murder Manson engineered, but it’s not the last hurdle Bruce Davis will face as he seeks his freedom.
Bruce Davis: helped slaughter two people in 1969, but he did take classes in prison
Davis has been recommended for parole before.  Then-Governor Schwarzenegger rejected the recommendation.  Governor Jerry Brown will likely be making a similar decision very soon.  The last time Davis was recommended for parole, the California Parole Board argued that he deserved to be free because “he had no recent disciplinary problems and had completed education and self-help programs.”
Education and self-help programs.  Like this one.
According to his lawyer, Davis is also an unusually exemplary person who ministers to fellow prisoners and possesses special insight and so on.  They all do.  Prisons are filled with magical, entirely misunderstood people: it’s like a cross between Sound of Music and The Green Mile in there:

Davis became a born-again Christian in prison and ministered to other inmates, married a woman he met through the prison ministry, and has a grown daughter. The couple recently divorced . . . Davis also earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in philosophy of religion.

Well that’s nice.  He also helped torture two men to death.  But, meh.  Bygones.  The last thing the parole board wants to do is dig up the past:

“While your behavior was atrocious, your crimes did occur 43 years ago,” parole board member Jeff Ferguson told Davis, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Elsewhere, in that unfortunately named thing called The Washington Monthly, the blog boards are incandescent with the thought that we would be so crude as a people to even imagine incarcerating anyone for life, particularly for the crime of merely torturing and killing two lesser-known, non-movie-stars.  One commenter offered the following justification for releasing Davis:

[He] didn’t participate in the more sensationalistic murders but rather only those of musician Gary Hinman and the caretaker at the Spahn Ranch, Donald Shea.

You know.  B-listers.

I’ve been predicting this day for years: now that the Left has priced the death penalty out of existence, their new, all hands on deck mission will be to eliminate Life Without Parole.  It is already presumed, in many circles, that believing in life sentences is a worse crime than murder itself.  Soon, the only way to end up behind bars will be to recommend sending people like Bernadine Dohrn or Charles Manson there.

 

Welcome to the Dystopia Liberalism Created

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Is it time to have the conversation yet?  The one where everyone acknowledges that crime is the number one toxin weakening economies, creating unemployment, raising the price of living and taxes, blighting education (charter or no charter school movement; Race to the Top/No Child Left Behind, neither, or both), denying property rights, and shearing the vector of life for tens of millions of Americans?

Crime wounds the educated and socially mobile, but it defines life for the lower classes.  It creates winning and losing zip codes, feeds resentment, and forces working people to strain their budgets in a dozen different ways.  It warps childhoods and corrodes old age.  It destroys the value and even the point of owning private property.  It forces us to constrain our lives — especially, women must do this.  It creates and displaces populations — forget “white flight” — it never was just white, but now more than ever it’s about just getting out if you can.  I recently talked to a young Puerto Rican woman who got out of St. Petersburg, Florida because of the violence (after getting out of Puerto Rico for the same reason) and is now terrified of gang violence in her new, previous rural, inland town, where a multiple shooting left two dead and 22 wounded last year.

Yet we don’t talk about these things because such conversations have been deemed taboo by the elite.

For fifty years now, with few and apparently transient exceptions, a small group of legal activists and opinion-makers have managed to cripple our nation’s ability to control crime.  They do this by preventing the incarceration of criminals.  Then they tell us they’re right because all the people in prison were just caught smoking pot.  How long are we going to put up with this fantasy?  Apparently until the last moving van clears the curb to nowhere.

Here is the everyday dystopia these people have created, in two impressive articles in the Detroit News.  This one, by Christine Macdonald, is especially depressing:

October 9, 2012 at 7:07 am

Poll: Crime drives Detroiters out; 40% expect to leave within 5 years

Detroit — Detroit’s crime crisis is prompting such pessimism that 40 percent of residents plan to move within five years, according to a comprehensive poll of Detroiters’ attitudes about their city and leadership.

Residents overwhelmingly believe the city is on the wrong track and have no faith that city leaders have a plan to turn it around. Crime is by far their biggest worry — even higher than finding a job in a city where some put the true unemployment rate as high as 50 percent.

The survey suggests that, unless city officials can combat violence, efforts to halt decades of decline will fail. The city’s population already has fallen by 1 million over the past 50 years, and residents including Michael LaBlanc said they are ready to leave.

“There’s an aura of fear that just pervades the whole neighborhood,” said LaBlanc, 63, who installed a security system at his northeast side home last week because he’s weary of car thieves and gunfire.

“It’s almost like being in prison. We always like to have at least one person home for security sake.”

The survey is believed to be the most authoritative of its kind in years. Commissioned by The Detroit News and funded by the Thompson Foundation, the survey provided a rare, statistically sound measure of public opinion. Detroiters have been traditionally difficult to accurately poll.

Eight hundred residents were surveyed by land and cellular phone Sept. 22-25 by the Chicago-based Glengariff Group Inc. The survey — which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points — asked residents’ feelings about city leadership, schools, transportation, quality of life and overall optimism.

The results were stark — and despairing.

Nearly two-thirds, 66 percent, say the city is on the wrong track. The poll found low support for all city officials except Police Chief Ralph Godbee, who retired Monday amid a sex scandal that emerged after the survey was conducted.

The survey’s author said crime is the biggest obstacle to stemming an exodus that has seen Detroit’s population drop to about 700,000. The city lost a quarter of its residents from 2000 to 2010, an average of one every 22 minutes.

“Crime is the pre-eminent challenge facing the residents of Detroit,” said pollster Richard Czuba, Glengariff’s president. “That was a defining element of the survey. It’s absolutely the driving factor.

“It shows a tremendous mindset of exodus. If you want people to stay, you have to deal with crime first. That’s devastating for the future of the city and it needs to be dealt with.”

Nearly 58 percent of respondents said crime is their “biggest daily challenge.” That far surpassed unemployment and the economy at 12.8 percent.

The survey suggests that many residents who remain would like to leave but are stuck: More than half, 50.9 percent, say they would live in another city if they could, while 39.9 percent plan to move in the next five years.

LaBlanc has little confidence things will improve.

About a month ago, thieves stole his mother-in-law’s 2004 Chrysler Sebring from their driveway. The thieves tried to get his 2003 Neon but failed, although they destroyed the steering column and transmission. Last week a stolen SUV showed up on blocks at the burned out house across the street.

“At night you can sit here and listen to the gunfire,” said LaBlanc.

Police officials said the media make perception worse than reality. Violent crime is down 12 percent from 2010 to 2012 and police patrols have increased, said Deputy Chief Benjamin Lee.

He pointed to policies that put more officers on street patrols. Police no longer respond to burglar alarms unless security companies verify the need for officers. “Virtual precincts” close some precincts at night, freeing officers from desk jobs. And the department is partnering with the state Department of Corrections to better track recently released prisoners.

“The perception is there is lawlessness and that ordinary citizens aren’t safe,” Lee said. “The reality is … that violent crime is down.”

This man is lying.  It is his job to lie about this.

Police Dept. faces challenges

The bleak attitude of residents comes amid an extraordinarily bad year for the Detroit Police Department.

Police union members, upset over 10 percent pay cuts in a city the FBI deems the second-most violent in the nation, handed out fliers Sunday to baseball fans near Comerica Park. They warned: “Enter Detroit at your own risk.”

Homicides are up 10 percent this year to 298, and the city has endured a string of high-profile, brazen crimes that made international headlines, including the carjackings of gospel music star Marvin Winans and state Rep. Jimmy Womack.

Residents don’t believe city leaders can change things.

Nearly two-thirds of residents, 63 percent, say city leaders have no plans for a turnaround. The poll found an “extraordinary lack of support” for elected officials including Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council, Czuba said.

“I don’t see any forward movement,” said Charles Wilson, a 62-year-old retiree, who added that high crime prompted him to get a concealed weapon permit and plan for an out-of-state move.

“I don’t see the administration doing anything about it. I think they are asleep at the wheel,” he said. “Where does this stop? Show me some milestones, give me some objectives. I don’t see a strategy.”

The downtown resident said he’d like to buy a new Corvette but doesn’t want to make himself a target.

“It’s difficult at best going out,” said Wilson, who is concerned about recent violence including the August shooting at the Detroit Princess riverboat cruise. “You want to be able to dress the way you want to dress. You want to be able to go where you want to go. You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder walking down the street. You just want to be at ease.”

Income, safety divide

Perhaps more worrisome to city officials: 57 percent of those who plan to leave are families with children.

Safety fears are widespread, but greater among women and those making less money: 53 percent of women feel unsafe, compared to 43 percent of men. Fifty percent or more feel unsafe in households with incomes at $50,000 or below, compared to about one-third of those making $75,000 or more.

Demographer Kurt Metzger said the city is becoming a tale of “the best of times and worst of times.” The media have focused on pockets of revival led by prosperous young people moving to Detroit, but many more thousands of residents lack the means to leave, Metzger said.

“It is glum,” Metzger said. “The population of kids in Detroit is going down faster than the overall population. If you can provide a feeling of safety, it would go such a long way.”

The Rev. Jerome Warfield, chairman of the Detroit Police Commission, said he hears “emotional appeals at almost every board meeting from citizens who are fed up with crime.”

“People want a change,” he said.

Wayne State University officials wanted change four years ago — and got it through a unique program that pools resources of nearby police agencies, analyzes real-time crime data and has helped make Midtown one of the city’s most thriving neighborhoods.

The CompStat program, modeled after efforts in New York and Baltimore, attacks emerging crime trends, targets repeat offenders and has cut crime in the neighborhood by 38 percent, said Lyke Thompson, director of the university’s Center for Urban Studies.

Since the program started, rents have soared, vacancies have dwindled and investments have skyrocketed.

“There’s no question in my mind that the improvements in Midtown are because of the creation of a greater sense of security,” said Thompson, who helps lead the effort.

“We can do this citywide if we get the right people in the room — and it’s important because personal safety is the first priority.”

Sadly, this isn’t true, either.  CompStat works well when there is a highly motivated population seeking to improve a neighborhood or borough.  But if the courts remain offender-centric, the gains on the policing end are transient.  If the residents are mired in dysfunction, CompStat doesn’t perform as well as it does in places where citizens augment police efforts with substantial resources of their own, from monitoring devices, to private patrols, to court-watching and lobbying for real sentencing.  Sometimes, according to Second City Cop in Chicago, for example, CompStat just impels criminals to seek less challenging terrain or encourages the downgrading of crime reports (see here too).

Austin Black II, a Detroit real estate agent, said city leaders need to try to replicate Midtown’s crime prevention successes.

“Detroit has a lot to offer people, but crime is a huge issue,” Black said. “Something needs to be done and done fast.

“Whoever wins the election for mayor next year will be the person who best connects with the neighborhoods and offers a real solution to crime.”

Gary Brown, the City Council president pro-tem, said the department has enough resources and should primarily focus on getting more patrol cars in neighborhoods.

“We have to start taking responsibility for our police department taking a stronger role in preventing crime,” said Brown, a former deputy police chief. “If (residents) see a proactive approach, there wouldn’t be this feeling of hopelessness.”

Residents look past borders

In the meantime, residents like Denai Croff are making plans to leave.

The 44-year-old single mother of two is socking away $200 a month from her job at Gethsemane Cemetery to move to North Carolina.

She recently witnessed a carjacking near her duplex at Kelly and Morang and imposes a 9 p.m. curfew for her family most days. The windows have bars and she had her landlord install flood lights.

She lives next door to a memorial to a neighbor who was shot and killed last year, several months before Croff moved to the neighborhood.

“I just think Detroit is not happening right now,” Croff said. “It’s hard to come outside and even feel comfortable.”

“The economy is bad everywhere, but the crime here has really gotten out of hand.”

Who to thank for all this hopelessness?  Obama is a very good choice, since every social movement and activist group he has aligned himself with throughout his life stands against law enforcement and in support of criminals and lawlessness.  Blame the criminals’ lobby running our law schools, Justice Department, and much of the criminal courts.  Blame the ACLU the most: with Eric Holder’s help, they are using creeping federalism to cripple what’s left of law enforcement — see, for example, their handiwork in Puerto Rico, and you will understand why people are fleeing that island, fleeing Detroit, fleeing Chicago, fleeing California . . . and ending up with fewer and fewer affordable places to run to, then flee from.

Holder, Obama, ACLU Director Anthony Romero, Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson — along with under-incarcerated anti-incarceration criminals like Angela Davis, Bernadine Dohrn, and Bill Ayers — and for that matter, some conservatives exploiting the issue in the name of cost savings — have no business telling the rest of us how we should feel about the criminals who affect us, not them.

People who can afford to live anywhere don’t choose places where real crime affects real people.  So when they tell us we need to empty the prisons, you really have to wonder at their audacity.

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.

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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!!!!!!