The Bookworm Beat 11-1-15 — the Daylight Saving Time edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I like to Fall backwards, since it means I rise with the sun, which is a lot easier than getting up in the deep of night. Still, I’ve been discombobulated today, my computer has been balky, and my brain sluggish. Both the computer and I seem to have Daylight Saving jet lag. Jet lag or not, though, I have articles to share:

Should anyone in America ever be too big to jail?

I was absolutely horrified when a McClatchy article suggested that Hillary is just too darn important to prosecute for her myriad, deliberate, and quite damaging national security violations:

But most who spoke to McClatchy say it’s unlikely the former first lady, senator and Cabinet secretary will face charges because of her high profile and the hurdle to prove she knew the emails contained classified information when she sent them to others.

“She’s too big to jail,” said national security attorney Edward MacMahon Jr., who represented former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling in 2011 in a leak case that led to an espionage prosecution and 3½-year prison term. He cited a pattern of light punishments for top government officials who have mishandled classified information while lower level whistleblowers such as Sterling have faced harsh prosecutions for revealing sensitive information to expose waste, fraud or abuse in government.

Is this what our democracy has come to — the claim that Hillary Clinton, whose public career has been marked by corruption since her debut at Watergate — gets a pass because she’s just too darn elite and special?

Of course, that’s not the only problem with the McClatchy article. As my friend Wolf Howling wrote me,

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 10-29-15 — the spindle overload edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265So much to share with you (23 separate articles at last count) and so little time. I’ll therefore get right down to business and you might want to give yourself some time to review all these fascinating articles at your leisure:

Another pundit figures out Cruz might be the man

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I support Ted Cruz, and have done so since he took a stand on Obamacare. Ross Douthat (whose writing I respect) has suddenly realized that those of us who support Ted Cruz might be on to something.

Ted Cruz makes sense on taxes

Certainly Ted Cruz’s flat tax plan ought to help people realize that he’s offering genuine change for the better, not just platitudes and painful socialism. Heck, you’d think that all Americans would support a candidate who wants to deep six, or at least severely de-fang, the IRS and, in doing say, make our tax system fairer and make doing business in America more tempting for both American and foreign corporations.

Daniel Greenfield waxes eloquent on the heckler’s veto that is Islam’s stock in trade

After clearing his throat about the Obama administration’s despicable pandering to Palestinian terrorists, along with its sickening chastisement of Israel (this from an administration that would never dare blame the victim if a drunk woman walked naked through a biker’s bar), Daniel Greenfield gets to the real point, which is the fact that the West lets the mere threat of Islamic anger paralyze it.

The world’s one billion Muslims, whose delicate emotions are always infuriated by something, enforce an Islamic status quo in which no non-Muslim dares to violate the Muslim superiority complex.


Some might say that the billion Muslims are just looking for things to get angry at… but that would just make a billion Muslims angry.

When buildings fall or buses blow up, when people are stabbed, shot or exploded by the unofficial representatives of the bilious billion, we go right past the crime to the anger that motivated it. “Why do they hate us?” becomes the question and Muslim anger becomes the pivot of national security policy.

Since Muslim anger causes violence, we stop terrorism by tiptoeing around anything that might make them angry. Minor things mostly like freedom of speech or freedom of religion. If you’re a Coptic Christian who makes a YouTube video about Mohammed, you can be sent to prison when some of the moderate Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda locals murder four Americans while shouting, “Allahu Akbar.”

After weeks of brutal Muslim murders, Kerry has gotten Israel to reinforce a ban on Jews praying at the holiest site in Judaism because it offends Muslims. Next up, maybe Jews will be restricted to the seventh step of the Cave of the Patriarchs again. Because that was the “Status Quo” under the Muslim conquest.

As my lengthy quotation in this “quick hits” round-up reveals, Greenfield’s article falls into the must-read category.

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 10-27-15 — “it’s just another day” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’ve been going through my emails, with 200 down, 300 or so yet to go. Even though I’m only less than halfway through, I’ve discovered marvelous articles hiding in my email box thanks to friends from all over.

Did Merkel unilaterally doom Europe?

We no longer subscribe to the great man or great woman school of history. We’ve also abandoned the notion of high tragedy arising from the hubris of said great men or women. Perhaps, though, it’s time for us to revive that genre.

Daniel Greenfield convincingly argues that Germany’s Angela Merkel, with her mad plan to replace her country’s shrinking, aging population with Muslim refugees, will have single-handedly done to Europe what generations of Muslim conquerors have tried to do, which is to turn it into a part of the global Caliphate:

[Read more…]

Kim Davis: 21st century Civil Disobedience and the federal overthrow of the First Amendment

Kim DavisIf you read the post caption and thought “Kim who?”, you haven’t been following the news lately. Kim Davis is the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who has chosen to go to jail rather than issue a marriage license to gay couples. She is being pilloried on the Left as an utterly evil woman, not to mention a hypocritical one, since she’s apparently been divorced before and has children born out of wedlock.

On the right, many who fancy themselves thoughtful intellectuals are conceding that Anthony Kennedy’s decision legalizing gay marriage is utterly awful (my take’s here), but are adding words to the effect that “the law’s the law, so Davis ought to get with it or quit.” That view is fatuous and simplistic, because there are very big ideas at issue here, and a small town country clerk is proving to be the first American to put both Civil Disobedience and the First Amendment to the test in the 21st century.

Today, Tom Trinko made what I think is the most interesting observation about Kim Davis’s imprisonment, and that is that people on the Left who willfully violate laws governing traditional social norms are invariably celebrated as heroes:

Jerry Brown refused to defend Prop 8 in California thereby refusing to follow his oath to uphold the laws of California, but he’s not in jail.

Obama and Holder both swore to uphold the laws of this great nation but both refused to follow the DOMA law yet neither are in jail.

There are many mayors of sanctuary cities that openly declare their refusal to follow immigration laws yet none of them are in jail.

The DNC has knowingly hired an illegal alien, thereby breaking the law, yet no charges have yet been filed.

A key tenet of the law is that it applies to everyone.

Trinko is right, of course, that we in America have developed two completely separate legal (and moral) systems, one applying to Leftists and the other to conservatives (especially Christian conservatives).  Whether it’s gay marriage, tax fraud, baby mutilation, rioting, illegal border crossing, or anything else, if a Leftie takes a stand, it’s a cause for celebration, while if a conservative makes even a squeak in the direction of ideas that have been part of the American fabric for hundreds of years, that conservative needs to be thrown into the deepest, darkest dungeon.  Here’s a nice poster making just that point:

The double standard on violating the law

All of which got me thinking about classic civil disobedience, something that Americans (and, before then, British subjects) long practiced, that Henry David Thoreau articulated, and that Gandhi and Martin Luther King brought to its modern apex.  Under the Left’s tender aegis, however, civil disobedience definitely isn’t what it used to be.

Although civil disobedience has always been around, it was Thoreau, in the mid-19th Century, who best articulated the doctrine we now recognize. Thoreau objected to a poll tax, because he felt the money was being improperly spent to support slavery and the war with Mexico. Rather than paying the tax, he took a principled stand, refused to pay the tax, and went to prison (from which his friends quickly bailed him out).

Thoreau’s single night in jail inspired him to write an essay about a citizen’s obligation to strike out against unjust laws — and to demonstrate the law’s invalidity through each citizen’s personal martyrdom. In his essay, Thoreau ruminated about irritating laws versus unjust laws, and about vehicles for protesting the latter (e.g., the ballot box or a refusal to comply with an unjust law or a tax that supports something unjust). Significantly, Thoreau felt that a principled stand gained weight from an attendant sacrifice, which is usually imprisonment:

Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place today, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less despondent spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race should find them; on that separate but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her–the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor. [Emphasis mine.]

The Twentieth Century saw two men, on different continents, who understood that when a government acts unjustly the strongest protest is to put yourself in the path of that unjust law, and have yourself punished. Gandhi and Martin Luther King were each willing to accept imprisonment, thereby demonstrating the manifest unfairness and immorality of the laws against which each struggled. Had they meekly yielded to fundamentally unjust infringements of intrinsic human rights, neither would have even appeared as a footnote in the history books.

Nowadays, though, if the right type of Leftist breaks the right type of law, he does so with impunity and to applause. The best example of this in the context of Kim Davis’s true act of civil disobedience took place in 2004, when then-San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome took a stance that is the mirror image of what Davis is doing:  He announced that he was going to ignore California’s laws banning same sex marriage and, instead, have the City issue marriage licenses to all gay couples desiring them.

The consequences that came Newsome’s way as a result of his theoretical act of “civil disobedience” would have surprised Thoreau, Gandhi, and King.  There was no martyrdom involved.  Instead, Newsome was suddenly a fifteen minute wonder, which set him on the path to California’s Lieutenant Governorship (and, he hopes, eventually to the Governor’s chair). The Press oooh’ed and aaah’ed about Newsome’s bravery.

But, really, what was so brave? He wasn’t running any risks politically in San Francisco, where a critical mass of voters approve his step. He wasn’t running any risk of humiliation or ostracism, because he became the media’s darling. No one even mentioned prosecuting him for breaking the law, or impeaching him for violating his official obligations.

Ultimately, what Newsome did wasn’t civil disobedience, it was just a media stunt.  The public most certainly did not have its conscience shocked by the spectacle of a righteous man felled by an unjust government. There was nothing principled going on.  Instead, it was sheer opportunism, without either moral and practical weight.

Davis, however, is engaging in an act of civil disobedience of the type that Thoreau, Gandhi, and King championed:  In the face of an unjust government, one that has asserted an alleged  “civil rights” principle that makes a mockery and a shambles of those rights inherent in the Constitution, King has opted to take a stand.  More than that, she is willing to take the precise stand that Thoreau recommended:  “Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.”

Davis’s martyrdom exposes the terrible think that happened when Justice Kennedy wrote his teary, maudlin encomium to the federal government’s hitherto unknown obligation to smooth the path of love:  The Supreme Court effectively imposed a religious test on government employment.

In Kennedy’s brave new world, if you wish to work for the government, you must abandon a core tenet of your faith.  We are not talking here about religious practices that are less central to the faith, such as rules about attire or diet.  There is, after all, a difference between ritual and doctrine.  For examples, the rabbis have long held that, when orthodox Jews are faced with a choice between hewing to kosher dietary laws or starving to death, they may eat non-kosher food.  What they cannot do, though, is back away from the covenant with God and the Ten Commandments.

The sanctity of monogamous heterosexual marriage is intrinsic to the Judeo-Christian tradition.  In the Catholic faith, it’s a sacrament.  It is a core doctrine, not a ritual.

Going back in time a few hundred years, one of the primary things that drove British people to America’s shores — beginning in 1620 — was religious discrimination.  A significant feature of this discrimination came into being in the late 17th century with various laws aimed at preventing anyone who was not a member of the Church of England from holding public office (civil or military) or working in a university or college.  To get those jobs, one had to take an oath:

I, ____________, profess, testify, and declare, that I do believe that in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper there is not any Transubstantiation of the elements of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever: and that the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary or any other Saint, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitious and idolatrous…

In other words, no non-conformists, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or practitioners of any other non-C of E religions need apply. It was against this backdrop that the Founders, more than twenty years before England slowly started reforming its religious restrictions, enacted the First Amendment to the Constitution, the very first clause of which definitively rejects a religious test for public employment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Today, though, thanks again to Judge Kennedy’s fatuous romanticism and magical constitutional thinking, we are seeing the federal government reject the First Amendment and revert to the Test Act mentality. Davis and others similarly situated are being forced into the equivalent of an oath, by which they effectively must vow as follows:

I, ___________, profess, testify, and declare that I no longer believe in the meaningless of the sacrament of heterosexual marriage despite the fact that it is central to core Judeo-Christian tradition, and has been so for thousands of years, and that up until last year, every mainstream politician in America purported to believe in traditional marriage’s sanctity on religious grounds.  Henceforth, in order to hold my government job, I further profess, testify, and declare that marriage has no meaning other than the joining together before the government of any combination of humans (and perhaps, one day, animals) who orally or through tail wagging profess their love for each other.  My former invocation of traditional precepts is homophobic, hate-filled, and both a micro- and a macroagression.

I warned years ago that, if the gay marriage crowd got its way, we would see the end of the First Amendment and I issued this warning because I foresaw what is happening here:  Because gay marriage is antithetical to mainstream traditional faith it can be forced on Americans only if the federal government requires people to abandon their faith — something directly contrary to the promise of the Bill of Rights.

Kim Davis may not be a pretty Hollywood star or an even prettier San Francisco mayor, and her own approach to traditional monogamous heterosexual marriage may be spotty, but she has proven herself to be a true member of the civil disobedience club, one who is willing to go to jail to defend her civil right to practice her religion freely without the United States government forcing her to abandon core doctrinal beliefs as a condition for employment.

The Bookworm Beat 8-26-15 — the “gruesome GoPro” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265The revolution will be televised — thoughts on the shooting in Virginia

Back in 1969 or 1970, during the height of the 1960s era upheavals, Gil Scott-Heron wrote a poem/song claiming “the revolution will not be televised.” The lyrics implied that the media would be so anodyne that, while revolution was on the streets, those watching their TVs would see only pabulum. What Scott-Heron couldn’t perceive was that, thanks to technological advances, the revolutionaries would create their own television spectacles. We see that most dramatically with ISIS, which enjoys filming and televising its trail of murder, rapine, and destruction, as well as with the American activists who turn life’s frictions into catalysts for riot and revolution.

And today we saw something that managed to have roots both in a protest against life’s friction and in ISIS’s sadistic voyeurism: It turns out that Vester Lee Flanigan, the man who murdered TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, and seriously injured Chamber of Commerce representative Vicki Gardner, (a) committed the murder in part because Parker allegedly made racist comments before Flanigan and Parker ever worked together and (b) GoPro’d the murder:

Murderer's eye view Flanigan Parker

The revolution will be televised, and it will be the revolutionaries, especially the sadistic voyeurs, doing the televising.

Oh, and because the usual suspects have used this horrible murder as ammunition in their war on the Second Amendment, you might want to have as your own talking point the fact that gun crime has dropped 49% since 1993, something the vast majority of Americans do not know.

Donald Trump and Univision’s Jorge Ramos

I do not like Trump. I do not believe he’s a conservative. I do believe he’s a megalomaniac. I sincerely hope he burns out soon, so that more serious candidates (my current faves are Cruz and Fiorina) can get their rightful place in the limelight.

Having said that, I totally understand why people are so enthusiastic about Trump’s demagogic candidacy. Part of it the support comes from people’s sense that a lawless administration needs to be reined in about illegal immigration.

Incidentally, I just made an important point, if I do say so myself. Contrary to Leftist claims, those who support Trump are not xenophobes, trying to lock Hispanics out of the country. They are, instead, ordinary lawful citizens who are horrified by the fact that the current executive branch in this country is willfully violating laws that Congress passed to preserve this country’s sovereignty. It’s not racist to ask your government to enforce its own laws. But back to Trump….

What people like about Trump is his absolute refusal to play by the PC rules that Leftists have long used to stifle conservative speech and action. Ramos was out of line to use his Hispanic heft to muscle into a speech at the Donald’s press conference, and the Donald rightly put him in his place. Then, when Ramos played by the rules and waited his turn, Trump again put him in his place by answering in straightforward fashion questions about the border, pnce again blogging Ramos’s speechifying.

Leftists are bullies who work hard to control speech and thought through whatever means are available. In Trump, they’ve met an even bigger bully than they are.  While I’d hate to see Trump in the driver’s seat at the White House, it’s a pleasure to see him out bully the Left on the campaign trail.

Daniel Pipes on the possibility that Tehran rejects the deal

To those of us watching Obama work hard to hand billions of dollars and unlimited nuclear capacity to the Iranians, it seems inconceivable that the Iranians might reject the deal. Moreover, if that were to happen, I think most of us would have, as our instinctive first response, the thought that it’s good to see Obama humiliated in such a way.

Daniel Pipes, however, argues that the possibility is real that Tehran could reject the deal and that, absent some careful groundwork, if it were to happen, it could have unpleasant ramifications, not for Obama, but for Israel and other opponents of the deal:

Leaders of fanatical and brutal government such as Khamenei’s invariably make ideological purity and personal power their highest priorities and he is no exception. From this point of view – its impact on the regime’s longevity – the deal contains two problems.

First, it betrays Ayatollah Khameini’s vision of unyielding enmity to the United States, a core principle that has guided the Islamic republic since he founded it in 1979. A substantial portion of the leadership, including Khamenei himself, hold to a purist vision that sees any relations with the United States as unacceptable and bordering on treachery. For this reason, Tehran has long been the world’s only capital not seeking improved relations with Washington. These rejectionists disdain the benefits of the deal; they refuse it on grounds of principle.


Second, Iranian opponents of the JCPOA worry about its eroding the Islamist values of Khameini’s revolution. They fear that the businessmen, tourists, students, artists, et al., perched soon to descend on an newly-opened Iran will further tempt the local population away from the difficult path of resistance and martyrdom in favor of consumerism, individualism, feminism, and multiculturalism. They despise and dread American clothing, music, videos, and education. Khamenei himself talks of the U.S. government seeking a way “to penetrate into the country.” From their point of view, isolation and poverty have their virtues as means to keep the Iranian revolution alive.


Back in the West, opponents of the deal will, of course, rejoice if Khamenei rejects the deal. But his doing so also presents them with a problem. After claiming that Obama has given away the store, they must confront the awkward fact that the Iranian leadership turned down his offer. As Obama emerges as an apparent hard-liner who protected American interests and out-bargained the bazaar merchants, their argument collapses. His accusation about their “making common cause” with the Iranian rejectionists will look newly convincing and terribly damning. Israel’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, currently in Obama’s dog house, is especially at risk of being dismissed as foolish.

To avoid this fate, the deal’s opponents must immediately prepare for the possibility of an Iranian “no.”

Read the whole thing here.

The 14th Amendment is not intended to extend birthright citizenship to people who are here illegally

The 14th Amendment’s reference to birthright citizenship was intended to give American blacks citizenship. Blacks did not come to America voluntarily. Whites brought them here forcibly, and then kept them captive. The least America could do was make them and their children citizens of this country.

The 14th amendment was not intended (a) to provide an incentive for people to make a voluntary illegal journey here and then to use the subsequent birth of their children as an anchor to stay in perpetuity or (b) to entice monied people to come here solely for their child’s birth, before returning to their own country. It’s not complicated; it is, instead, a grotesque perversion of our Constitution to hold otherwise.

I actually have thought a fair bit about birthright citizenship because my father was the child of a German Jewish woman and a Polish Jewish man of Romanian decent. His mother had been in Germany for centuries and was a German citizen. His father was a legal immigrant in Germany, but retained his Polish citizenry. My father, although born in Germany in 1919 to a German mother, was a Polish citizen. That’s why, when he and my mother sought to immigrate legally to America in the 1950s, it took him years to get a visa — America wasn’t thrilled at the time about getting more Polish residents. I always thought it was unfair to my father, that he was born in Germany to legal residents, but was a Pole.

The same does not hold true in my mind for people who should not be here in the first place. They weren’t invited, they weren’t forced here, and they didn’t follow the legal process to get here. They are, to my mind, non-people under American law and they should not get any of the benefits that either the law or the constitution extend to people born here, invited here, forced here, and legally welcomed here.

Of course, the media is doing its best to hide from everyone the fact that birthright citizenship is not the reward for every cheat who enters this country.

Yet another blow to the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt

Okay, the story below isn’t really a blow to the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt, because a media that (a) worships Roosevelt and (b) isn’t going to let Americans get a glimpse into the sordid side of Roosevelt’s personality and presidency will never cover it.

The fact is, though, that Roosevelt was either a racist or an exceptionally petty man — or both. Certainly Roosevelt didn’t care that Jews were being slaughtered. He didn’t integrate the WWII military. And he refused to congratulate Jessie Owens in 1936:

Back home, ticker tape parades feted Owens in New York City and Cleveland. Hundreds of thousands of Americans came out to cheer him. Letters, phone calls, and telegrams streamed in from around the world to congratulate him. From one important man, however, no word of recognition ever came. As Owens later put it, “Hitler didn’t snub me; it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send a telegram.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, leader of a major political party with deep roots in racism, couldn’t bring himself to utter a word of support, which may have been a factor in Owens’s decision to campaign for Republican Alf Landon in the 1936 presidential election. FDR invited all the white US Olympians to the White House, but not Jesse.

“It all goes so fast, and character makes the difference when it’s close,” Owens once said about athletic competition. He could have taught FDR a few lessons in character, but the president never gave him the chance. Owens wouldn’t be invited to the White House for almost 20 years — not until Dwight Eisenhower named him “Ambassador of Sports” in 1955.

The gay rights movement is not the same as the civil rights movement

I have to admit to being surprised (rather pleasantly) to see the New York Times run an op-ed from someone pointing out that the gay rights and civil rights movement are not the same. John Corvino is a philosophy professor, so his writing made my eyes role into the back of my head (I could almost see my brain), but I appreciate his careful effort to explain that, while the movements share similarities, they are not the same and that it’s an error to impose draconian government speech restrictions on those who, for reasons of faith, aren’t anxious to embrace gay marriage. Indeed, Corvino makes an argument I’ve been making for years, which is that the civil rights movement saw individuals protesting government conduct while the gay rights movement is using the government to enforce private conduct:

When civil rights laws were passed, discrimination against blacks was pervasive, state-sponsored and socially intractable. Pervasive, meaning that there weren’t scores of other photographers clamoring for their business. State-sponsored, meaning that segregation was not merely permitted but in fact legally enforced, even in basic public accommodations and services. Socially intractable, meaning that without higher-level legal intervention, the situation was unlikely to improve. To treat the lesbian couple’s situation as identical — and thus as obviously deserving of the same legal remedy — is to minimize our racist past and exaggerate L.G.B.T.-rights opponents’ current strength.

Leftists are so damn smug

I’ve had the link to this video on my spindle for about a week now. In the elapsed time since I first tagged it, but didn’t get the chance to write about it, it’s gone viral, even to the point of Ellen Degeneris sending out a tweet. In it, a father videos himself celebrating the fact that his little boy got a “Little Mermaid” doll at the toy store.

Why did I tag it to bring to your attention? Because the father is so smug. Smug is not the right response to a personal family decision. Instead, it’s apparent that this guy knew precisely what kind of traction this video would get and desperately wanted his 15 seconds of fame.

Leftists are so damn greedy

You’ll know without my comments what to make of a lawyer saying that blacks and other oppressed people should steal from big retailers, because the fact that retailers have insurance means that it’s not a crime. Separate from the immorality and racism of what he says, he needs an economics lesson courtesy of Bastiat.

Even Israel supports sharia law

One of the hallmarks of a free society is free speech. One of the hallmarks of a sharia society is that, whether through word or deed, you’re not allowed to criticize any aspect of Islam, especially the pedophile prophet. Yet in Israel, a free country chronically under attack by the pedophile’s followers, the government enforces sharia on Islam’s behalf:

Israeli police arrested a fourth person for calling Mohammed a pig. Avia Morris, the first person arrested described being taunted with cries of “Allahu Akbar” and “Kill the Jews” along with signs of support for ISIS. But it only became a legal matter when the twenty-year-old woman retorted, “Mohammed is a pig.”

Daniel Greenfield has a great deal more on Mohammed’s piggishness and on Western government’s enthusiastic willingness to become an arm of the sharia police when speakers point out Mohammed’s many, many failings:

The response to Muslim violence has been greater extremes of censorship. There is a direct connection between the amount of protective censorship imposed on any criticism of Islam and Islamic violence. The Clinton administration rant about Tatiana’s cartoon took place after the World Trade Center bombing. And yet it would have been unthinkable then to lock up a Mohammed filmmaker, as Hillary and Obama did after the Benghazi massacre. Each new atrocity creates new momentum for censorship.

The Israeli police behave the way they do because the authorities are desperate to keep some kind of peace and it is always easier to censor, arrest and control non-Muslims than Muslims. That is also why the authorities in European countries are far more willing to lock up those who burn the Koran or criticize Islam than the Salafis who patrol the streets as Sharia police and call for a Caliphate.

This is not tolerance. It’s appeasement. It’s cowardice and treason.

Need I point out that these are the same governments that are entirely comfortable with Christs in urine, Marys in elephant dung, and horribly antisemitic pictures of Jews?

No matter how nice Obama makes with Cuba, Cuba is still a nasty place

We have diplomatic relationships with all sorts of nasty regimes. What’s disgusting about Obama and Co. is that they’re pretending that Cuba isn’t a nasty regime. Cracked, of all sites, points out that the Left is lying — Cuba’s a bad place, let by ugly, violent people.

Income inequality and poverty are not the same thing

Writing at Forbes, Harry Frankfurt makes a very important point in response to hysterical screams about income inequality, all of which end up with demands for government mandated wealth redistribution:

It isn’t especially desirable that each have the same as others. What is bad is not inequality; it is poverty. We should want each person to have enough—that is, enough to support the pursuit of a life in which his or her own reasonable ambitions and needs may be comfortably satisfied. This individually measured sufficiency, which by definition precludes the bur­dens and deprivations of poverty, is clearly a more sensible goal than the achievement of an impersonally calibrated equality.


It is not inequality itself that is to be decried; nor is it equality it­self that is to be applauded. We must try to eliminate poverty, not because the poor have less than others but be­cause being poor is full of hardship and suffering. We must con­trol inequality, not because the rich have much more than the poor but because of the tendency of inequality to generate unac­ceptable discrepancies in social and political influence. Inequality is not in itself objectionable—and neither is equality in itself a morally required ideal.

Ben Shapiro and my sister sort of agree

My sister is a rather indifferent libertarian who pays as little attention to the news as possible. However, we had a conversation when I spoke about the fact that voters cannot make informed decisions when the media deliberately hides data. My example was the Planned Parenthood videos showing Planned Parenthood facilities engaging in the sale of human body parts in a way that (a) appears to show them violating laws against profiting from that sale; (b) appears to show them failing to notify the women having the abortions what will be done about those body parts; and (c) makes it clear how revolting the traffic in fetal body parts really is.

When I described the videos to her, my sister was horrified. Libertarian she may be; secularist she may be; government out of my womb she may be — but she understands that there is a moment when that fetus is a viable life and at that moment she believes, as do most Americans, that it’s murder to vacuum it out of a woman’s body and kill it without a damn good reason for doing so. Although she won’t watch it, she would find herself agreeing with Ben Shapiro’s video:

More climate lies

Just in case you wanted to know, NOAA committed the usual acts of climate-based scientific fraud with Oklahoma temperature data.

If you need some inspiration today…

Corporal Todd Love will inspire you.

Dubai — impressive or disgusting?

I’m not a fan of conspicuous consumption, so I find Dubai’s excess disgusting. Having said that, it’s disgusting in a kind of fascinating way.

Fun with fools — another “Found it on Facebook” edition, with help from my Progressive friends

I had so much fun the last time I deconstructed the analytically and factually foolish posters I found on the Facebook pages of my many, many Leftist friends, that I thought I’d do it again.  As before, my commentary is below each poster:

Jimmy Carter Humility Grace Courage

I’ll Yid with Lid the floor on this one.  He describes how he tried to feel true compassion for Carter when the former President announced his cancer.  Unfortunately, Carter sank to his usual depths:

I pretty much decided I would keep silent. Especially when he started his press conference on Friday revealing that the horrible disease had spread to his brain. Well—that was until a reporter asked him what he would like to see happen before he died, and when he answered the former president slandered the Jewish State (see video below):

In international affairs I would say peace for Israel and its neighbors. That has been a top priority for my foreign policy projects for the last 30 years. Right now I think the prospects of are more dismal than anytime I remember in the last 50 years. Practically, whole process is practically dormant. The government of Israel has no desire for two-state solution, which is policy of all the other nations in the world. And the United States has practically no influence compared to past years in either Israel or Palestine. So I feel very discouraged about it but that would be my number one foreign policy hope.

Perhaps it’s all the Times he met with Hamas, ignoring their terrorism and declaring they want peace that has clouded Mr. Carter’s memory.  But the Author of a book with a title calling the Jewish State an apartheid nation forgets history.  The truth is that the last Israeli Premier who did not support a two state solution was Yitchak Rabin. Every prime minister since Peres, Netanyahu, Sharon, Barak, Olmert, every single one of them declared their goal was a two state solution. Heck under Barack and Olmert, the Palestinians were offered deals which gave them 98% of what they wanted and each time they said no.  On the other hand even years after Rabin shook the hands of the terrorist Arafat the Palestinians refuse to recognize the sovereign Jewish State of Israel.

So why would Jimmy Carter take the time to slander the Jewish State at the same time he was announcing the graveness of his illness.  That’s easy, Carter hates Jews.  (Emphasis in original.)

Read more about the utterly despicable Carter here.  I don’t hope for him an agonizing death or anything like that.  But honestly compels me to say that I will be delighted when he is no longer around to slander the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

The fact is that antisemitism is a pretty damn good test of a person’s moral decency — antisemites have none, and Carter is not an honorable, decent man.  He is, instead, a national embarrassment who didn’t have the decency to retire following his utterly ignominious presidency, one plagued by failure, both at home and abroad.  The only thing that saves him from being the worst president ever is Obama’s presidency.  Carter managed to survive long enough to be succeeded by a man even more of an antisemite and failure than Carter himself.  What a sad record for American politics.

The other people did it too defense to Hillary's wrongdoing

I love the moral equivalency here:  Bush and Cheney’s campaign deleted lots of emails, so Hillary didn’t do anything that wrong!

In fact, the RNC did delete a whole bunch of emails in 2007, and they did so in violation of the Hatch act, but the equivalency ends there.  The Bush emails were purely political in nature (hyperlinks and footnotes omitted):

The Bush White House email controversy surfaced in 2007 during the controversy involving the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys. Congressional requests for administration documents while investigating the dismissals of the U.S. attorneys required the Bush administration to reveal that not all internal White House emails were available, because they were sent via a non-government domain hosted on an email server not controlled by the federal government. Conducting governmental business in this manner is a possible violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978, and the Hatch Act.[1] Over 5 million emails may have been lost or deleted.[2][3] Greg Palast claims to have come up with 500 of the Karl Rove lost emails, leading to damaging allegations.[4] In 2009, it was announced that as many as 22 million emails may have been deleted.[5]

The administration officials had been using a private Internet domain, called, owned by and hosted on an email server run by the Republican National Committee,[6] for various communications of unknown content or purpose. The domain name is an acronym standing for “George W. Bush, 43rd” President of the United States. The server came public when it was discovered that J. Scott Jennings, the White House’s deputy director of political affairs, was using a email address to discuss the firing of the U.S. attorney for Arkansas.[7] Communications by federal employees were also found on (registered to “Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc.”[8]) and (registered to “Republican National Committee”[9]), but, unlike these two servers, has no Web server connected to it — it is used only for email.[10]

The “” domain name was publicized by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), who sent a letter to Oversight and Government Reform Committee committee chairman Henry A. Waxman requesting an investigation.[11] Waxman sent a formal warning to the RNC, advising them to retain copies of all emails sent by White House employees. According to Waxman, “in some instances, White House officials were using nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of the communications.”[12] The Republican National Committee claims to have erased the emails, supposedly making them unavailable for Congressional investigators.[13]

On April 12, 2007, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel stated that White House staffers were told to use RNC accounts to “err on the side of avoiding violations of the Hatch Act, but they should also retain that information so it can be reviewed for the Presidential Records Act,” and that “some employees … have communicated about official business on those political email accounts.”[14] Stanzel also said that even though RNC policy since 2004 has been to retain all emails of White House staff with RNC accounts, the staffers had the ability to delete the email themselves.

I am not defending the fact that the Bush White House tried to avoid creating records.  It’s sleazy and the kind of thing one would expect from political operatives.  But come on, Progressive folks!  There is no indication whatsoever that what the White House did exposed America’s highest national security secrets to any Hacker who came along.  Nor is there any evidence that the Bush White House spoliated documents — which is what seems to have happened with Hillary and the State Department, which deliberate destroyed Benghazi records after Congress had called for their production.

Also, by 2007, when the Bush matter emerged, he was in the lame duck phase of his presidency.  There just wasn’t that much political hay to be made of it, so it vanished.  This time, however, we have a perennial presidential candidate who has been in the limelight for more than twenty-years and who, in that time, is consistently caught engaged in underhanded behavior.  Even if the behavior were morally equivalent (which I do not believe), the political implications are going to be different when the issues arise before a candidacy or at the end of an era.

But again, let me say the really important words that make what Hillary did so heinous:  NATIONAL SECURITY and SPOLIATION.  Bad Hillary!  Bad girl!

Curious antrhopogenic attack on Christianity

I adore my dog and my dog, being part chihuahua, adores me with reciprocal ferocity.  I would never confuse myself though into believing that my dog is a moral creature.  Perhaps I’m disgustingly anthropocentric, but I believe morality reflects conscious decisions, not instinct.  That a cat would rescue her kittens is a wonderful instinctive act completely consistent with Nature’s imperative for the continuation of a species.  But that cat did not sit there thinking about the value of her life, versus her kittens’ lives.  She just did what she needed.

Years ago, when my son was very little and announced that lions were bad because they hunted down zebras and gazelles, I said they weren’t.  “Bad” and “good” imply an ability to make choices about good and bad.  When a lion kills, it does so because it is programmed to do so.  Moral analysis is not involved.  My son, bless his heart, understood.  I sure wish the rabid anti-Christians out there had the intelligence of a bright three-year old.

Bernie on private prisons

I have one question:  Why is it obscene?  I understand that we want our judicial system to be from the government, because only the collective will and values of the people should be brought to bear in a criminal case — especially since the government, unlike a private corporation, is theoretically constrained by the Constitution when it comes to criminal process, up to and including sentencing.  But considering government’s gross inefficiencies, it would seem to me that (in theory at least) prisoners could fare just as well in a privately run jail, subject to government oversight and competing market forces, as they could in a government-run jail that answers only to itself, no matter how disgracefully managed it is.

What am I missing?

Warren Buffet against trickle down

There three things I find funny here.  First, Buffet imputes his selfishness to all, as well as confusing charity (which is an altruistic act) with investment (which is a theoretically selfish act that nevertheless yields benefit by pumping money and innovation into the market).  Second, Buffet, all historic evidence to the contrary, thinks that government will do a better job of creating wealth than private capitalism.  And third, Buffet hangs on to his money with a vengeance.  I think I’ll be waiting a long time if I expect Buffet to turn his fortune over to the government for the benefit of the people.

Chris Rock on racists and racism

Anyone see the logical fallacy here?  Rock doesn’t define the racists.  Ordinary people, the one’s who haven’t been brainwashed by our university systems, understand that racism, rather than being endemic in American culture, is almost nonexistent.  Our laws are color-blind and the American people will rarely be caught in acts of overt racism — unless you go trolling through the internet’s underbelly for the few KKK wackos, who lack political power or popular support.

In the absence of real racism, the racial justice hustlers are left with “microagressions” that any sentient being understands are faked in order to browbeat and blackmail (hah! racist pun!) ordinary people.  So, no, we don’t have to stop being “racist.”  We have to stop the race hustlers from lying about what and who we are so that ordinary Americans of all colors can get down to the business of living their lives without government intervention and hustler shakedowns.

As I discuss at greater length below, the problem with American blacks is almost certainly not too little government, but way, way too much. (I’ve also expanded on this thought in a number of prior posts, such as this one.)

African American males end up in jail

Bernie’s good at point out problems.  He’s right that it’s a disgrace that so many blacks end up in jail.  Of course, his solution is “Thank you, government. May I have another dose of toxic condescension” disguised as genuine welfare.  There’s a huge difference between a decent society’s obligation to care for its “widows and orphans” and a racist society’s efforts to keep blacks in perpetual servitude by convincing them that they are incapable of standing and accomplishing things on their own.”  Lyndon B. Johnson sure understood how welfare works, and it’s not for the black’s well-being that’s for sure:

Johnson on welfare and blacks

Keeping people dependent on the government never lets them develop beyond the infant stage. Depriving them of the right to bear arms keeps them at the mercy of criminals. And constantly telling them that, without the government, they are helpless victims would, if the government were a parent and the blacks a child, be parental abuse that everyone would recognize and decry.

American as a Christian nation

As always, you give the Left a little knowledge and it runs riot in ignorance.  While the Founders were adamant that the Federal government not replicate the British government by having a state religion and controlling how citizens worship, the Founders — including the merely “deist/theist” Jefferson — strongly believed that the nation could thrive only on a foundation of Judeo-Christian morality:

“I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.” — Thomas Jefferson

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” — George Washington

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams

Unsurprisingly, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, expressed most clearly the Founders’ belief (no matter their personal relationship to God) that, while the federal government could not be a religious institution, only a Godly people could handle the freedom their new nation gave them (emphasis mine):

Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, “that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.

Oh, and about that quotation attributed to Adams with regarding to the U.S. not being a Christian nation, the giveaway is that it was a part of the Treaty of Tripoli.  Anyone halfway conversant with that treaty (i.e., no Progressives) knows that this was a treaty signed with the Muslim pirates that the Marines defeated the “shores of Tripoli.”  The language was not a disavowal of Christianity but, instead, a reminder that America allowed all people to practice their religion freely, without state intervention (hyperlinks and footnotes omitted):

Article 11 reads:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

According to Frank Lambert, Professor of History at Purdue University, the assurances in Article 11 were “intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers.” Lambert writes,

“By their actions, the Founding Fathers made clear that their primary concern was religious freedom, not the advancement of a state religion. Individuals, not the government, would define religious faith and practice in the United States. Thus the Founders ensured that in no official sense would America be a Christian Republic. Ten years after the Constitutional Convention ended its work, the country assured the world that the United States was a secular state, and that its negotiations would adhere to the rule of law, not the dictates of the Christian faith. The assurances were contained in the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797 and were intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers.”[15]

The treaty was printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and two New York papers, with only scant public dissent, most notably from William Cobbett.[16]

Michelle Bachmann great wall of China

I see this everywhere, and it’s a complete canard, one that could be advanced only by people who don’t know that Michele Bachmann has an LL.M. from William and Mary University.  I was going to add, as a prop to W&M, that it was Thomas Jefferson’s alma mater, but now that he’s been intellectually discredited on account of his owning slaves when doing so was still the norm, I guess that doesn’t help Bachmann.  But back to that stupid quotation:

Several readers asked us to look into whether Bachmann actually made the comments. We obliged and found no evidence backing the claim. We also reached out to Bachmann’s spokesperson, who said the former member of Congress never made the remarks.


We also searched three comprehensive databases — Nexis and CQ, which aggregate transcripts, and Critical Mention, which records video and closed captioning — and found no record of Bachmann ever making those comments.

To our knowledge, she hasn’t appeared on Fox News since Trump announced his candidacy. She has commented on and praised Trump in several interviews on different networks, though she has never mentioned his wall proposal.


We found no evidence that Bachmann ever said this, and her spokeswoman said she did not, in fact, say it. The meme seems to have satirical origins but is now being passed off as fact. We rate the statement Pants on Fire!

Bernie Sanders on Hitler's winHere’s the really interesting thing about Hitler’s win:  He never got more than 30% of the popular vote.  What Bernie doesn’t get is that the real problem with Hitler was his fascism — which is a form of socialism that, rather than nationalizing industry, merely co-opts it.  (I call this crony fascism, and it’s precisely what the Democrats under Obama have been doing for the last seven years.) The reality is that, once a leader and his party gain total control over all facets of government and the economy — which is precisely what Bernie wants to do — you have a recipe for tyranny and war.

Every time I find these posters, and then track down the facts or expose the logical fallacies, I am reminded again that, while I like my Progressive friends because they are, in day-to-day life kind and enjoyable people, when it comes to politics they are monomaniacs, and are precisely as crazy as the nice old lady down the street who lives an exemplary life and then, when she dies, is discovered to have believed that her home was Martian headquarters and that, in order to continue to placate them, her home must be left to her cars, whom the Martians worship.

Monomaniacs can be great people so long as you don’t find yourself dealing with their particular brand of insanity.


The Bookworm Beat 7-25-15 — the Lazy, but interesting, edition

Woman-writing-300x265As you may have gathered from the number of things we did every day on our recent trip to Virginia and environs, ours was not a restful vacation. I capped off the fatigue with a cold and, since our return, have been having a very hard time motivating myself to do anything. My theme song for the week has been Irving Berlin’s Lazy, although I’d have to add fatigue and inertia to the laziness mix:

Still, despite my laziness, I have managed to peel myself off the couch and find my way to the computer occasionally, so I do have some posts to share with you:

Made You Laugh

Before I get to the depressing stuff — and, lately, all the news seems to be depressing — I wanted to tell you about a weekly column my long-time friend Gary Buslik is starting at The Blot. I first introduced you to Gary a few years ago when I reviewed his outrageously funny book Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls: A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood. I’ve since read, though shamefully neglected to review, his delightful travelogue, A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it’s Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Just Waiting to Happen. In both books, and in the various travel articles of his published in anthologies, Gary’s voice is true: erudite, wry, mordant, snarky, self-deprecating, Jewish, and very, very funny.

Since Gary just launched his weekly column, there’s only one week’s worth of writing, but I think you might enjoy it: The Great Jewish Dilemma.

Yes, Martin O’Malley’s link between ISIS and climate change is crazy

Democrat presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley came in for a good deal of derision for saying that ISIS’s rise can be tied to climate change. The obvious reason this is a laughable point is because the most direct tie to ISIS’s rise is, of course, Obama’s retreat, which created a giant ISIS-sized vacuum. My friend Wolf Howling sent me an email which I think nicely summarizes the Obama/ISIS link:

A fascinating article in the NY Review of Books states that it is the Iraqi organization originally founded by Zarqawi, the utterly sadistic terrorist we sent off the mortal coil in 2006. The movement obviously survived him, and this really throws into stark relief the wages of Obama and the Left cutting and running from Iraq in 2010. ISIS is like a bacteria that survives a stunted course of antibiotics. Had we stayed in Iraq, there is no possible way that ISIS could have had a rebirth.

The author of the article tries to make sense of the rise of ISIS. You can read his ruminations. My own theory is two-fold: One, ISIS is preaching the true Salafi / Wahhabi purist doctrine that makes of the world a thing of black and white, where all things that support Allah are pure, while everything that does not is evil and can be dealt with without regards. Thus it is a draw to young Arab men. If you want to see how, here is a fascinating article by Tawfiq Hamid, a doctor who became a terrorist, who discusses the lure of Salafism / Wahhabism and all its deadly toxins.

Two, the ISIS ideology is a draw because it is utterly without bounds in its sadism or cruelty. This also is a draw to a particular segment of Arab men. It is the Lord of the Flies. It is going into a scenario where you will have the power of life, death, and pain with virtually no restrictions.

The fact is that ISIS should not be around today. My word, but Obama has so totally f**ked us in the Middle East . . . . He makes Carter look like Nixon by comparison.

I only wish I’d written that, but at least I can share it with you. So yes, O’Malley is an ignorant moron.

Still, never let it be said that the Left doesn’t protect its own, so The Atlantic has tried to throw a life saver to O’Malley: Martin O’Malley’s Link Between Climate Change and ISIS Isn’t Crazy. The article’s premise is that there’s a connection between drought and unrest. To which I say, “Well, duh!”

Any student of history knows that in primitive societies (and Muslim Middle Eastern countries are extremely primitive when it comes to food production, due to natural limitations, societal factors, and the transfer of food crops to biofuels) anything that interferes even marginally with food production has devastating effects, with war one of the most common ones.

However, as my reference to “students of history” makes clear, droughts have always happened. O’Malley wouldn’t have been a moron if he’d said “the drought they’re experiencing in the region no doubt was a contributing factor to unrest in the Syria – Iraqi region.” But instead, he had to throw in “climate change” — and what makes that so laughable is that we’ve come to the point  which climate change is responsible for everything. I’m awaiting the day when we get an article saying that Caitlyn Jenner’s unfortunate transgender habit of dressing like a male chauvinists’ dream 1950s pin-up girl is also due to climate change.

[Read more…]

Observations about two recent opinion pieces addressing blacks in America

baltimore-riotYou’ve all heard, of course, about the professor who calls reason itself a white male construct:

A philosophy and religion professor at Syracuse University gave an interview to The New York Times Thursday in which he critiqued the notion of pure reason as simply being a “white male Euro-Christian construction.”

Prof. John Caputo was being interviewed by fellow philosophy professor George Yancy for the 13th installment of an interview series Yancy conducts with philosophers regarding racial topics.

Given its emphasis on first principles and abstract thought, it may be tempting to view academic philosophy as a turf where the race of participants matters little, but Caputo says that’s entirely untrue. In fact, race is of central importance, and it’s proven by the mundane phrases philosophers use.

“‘White’ is of the utmost relevance to philosophy, and postmodern theory helps us to see why,” Caputo says in the interview. “I was once criticized for using the expression ‘true north.’It reflected my Nordo-centrism, my critic said, and my insensitivity to people who live in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, no such thing had ever crossed my mind, but that points to the problem. We tend to say ‘we’ and to assume who ‘we’ are, which once simply meant ‘we white male Euro-Christians.’

Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water — reason is what differentiates us from stone age people and blessed us with the longest, healthiest, most productive lives in the history of the world.  But because it’s from white males, it’s bad.

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 6-6-15 — the “I’m still standing” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m sorry for the long silence, but to quote Granny Clampett, “I was just plumb tuckered out.” Between escalating work demands and the usual family demands, I haven’t had either spare energy or spare time. It was only two days ago that I stopped being in denial and accepted that, for the time being at least, I have a 3/4 time legal job that requires a heightened level of commitment and organization. (Incidentally, I’ve found that, for managing large projects, Microsoft’s One Note, when combined with a good calendaring program, is very helpful.) I still intend to blog, but I just need to buff up my time management skills a bit.

And that’s it for the excuses. On to the post itself:

It’s not such a wonderful life

Victor Davis Hanson has scored another home run with his post examining at Obama’s new world order as another Pottersville:

[Read more…]

Watcher’s Council forum on events in Baltimore

The following is how Watcher’s Council members and their friends view events in Baltimore. Good stuff, as always.  I’m embarrassed that I didn’t participate, but the forum is a weekend event and, all too often, my weekends are given over to family matters:

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: What’s Your Reaction To The Baltimore Police Being Criminally Charged?

Wolf Howling :I outlined the basic facts of the case here on my blog.

Three days prior to the arrest of Mr. Gray, a memo was sent through the Baltimore City Police Department mandating that suspects being placed into the police van be placed in a seat and secured with a seat belt. Mr. Gray was simply lain on the floor of the vehicle. Mr. Gray continued to complain and act agitated while in the van. At some point, and perhaps twice, he requested medical aid, which requests were ignored. Within 30 minutes, Mr. Gray was taken from the van by paramedics where he expired a week later as the result of an 80% severing of his spine at the neck. There were no other injuries to Mr. Gray. As Bookworm Room has pointed out, there is some basis to suspect that Mr. Gray’s reported prior exposure to lead may have left him particularly vulnerable to the type of injury that caused his death.

On 1 May, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that six Baltimore City Police officers have been arrested and charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Of the six officers, three are white, three are black, one is a woman. Two of the officers have been charged with crimes relating to wrongful arrest. Three others have additionally been charged with involuntary manslaughter. The driver of the police van has been charged with second degree murder.

So, on the facts above, what is my reaction to the police being criminally charged?

As a threshold matter, Freddie Gray deserves justice, period. That is beyond question. It will certainly mean civil damages for his death. Whether his death involved criminal wrongdoing such that others deserve punishment is a separate question. Equally, those involved in Freddie Gray’s death are entitled to justice. They need to be prosecuted to the degree to which they are culpable, and spared any punishment if they are not.

There is not enough information yet to say for certain if the ends of justice are being served by the arrests of these six officers. My initial reaction, and I dearly hope that I am wrong, is that a lot of this is nothing more than a sacrifice to the racial grievance industry. This is not a planted evidence case, nor a case of brutality by the arresting officers. If they wrongly arrested, that would, in the normal course, be a matter for internal discipline as well as open the officers up to civil suit. But now a wrongful arrest on these facts is being used, in at least three cases, to end careers and criminally prosecute police officers? It appears that all three of them are the white officers, by the way. That seems utterly outrageousjust on the facts available. Indeed, it seems a lynching, no less than that which happened to Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson.

Likewise, charging three officers with involuntary manslaughter, just on the known facts and the lack of established policy regarding transport, seems as if it is quite a stretch. It is far less of a stretch to the extent the charge of involuntary manslaughter is based on failing to timely render aid, if such aid was requested and may have in fact saved Mr. Gray’s life. But it is not clear which evidence is being relied upon to support each charge against each individual.

Lastly, the driver of the police van, a black officer, has been charged with second degree murder. He, having sole custody of Mr. Gray from the time Mr. Gray was placed in the van until he was removed, injured, by paramedics, is likely at least guilty of involuntary manslaughter. That said, a charge of second degree murder, which requires some degree of intent or extreme recklessness, is likely an overcharge, just on the basis of the known facts.

So my reaction is mixed. At least one of the indictments – and perhaps as many as three – are or may well be warranted based on the available information. Several seem like nothing more than a lynching to satisfy the Al Sharpton wing of the left, who would dearly like to turn this into an indictment of racism and police brutality with which to, somehow, blame the right.

Baltimore City is a model of left wing urban governance and has been a social laboratory for nothing but left wing social policies for the past half century. The fact that Baltimore City, as well as its Police Department, are wholly owned subsidiaries of the left, and indeed, are led by minorities, is meaningless to the developing narrative. Already, Joan Walsh of Salon is tweeting that “there is no debate that tragically, black police officers often absorb the attitudes of their colleagues.” Shades of white Hispanics. The left will do anything to insure that whatever comes out of the Baltimore riots, it will not be a platform for rational discussion of the problems besetting Baltimore and inner city blacks. And if justice actually occurs in Baltimore — justice for Freddie Gray as well as the six officers — I am afraid it will be purely by accident.

 JoshuaPundit : I’m sorry…it must be my depraved sense of humor but listening to Marilyn Mosby announce the charges as the crowd reacted like someone had just gifted them all with big screens made me laugh almost as much  as the videos of ‘reporters’ getting beaten up and mugged and still describing their assailants as ‘protesters’  afterwards.

Mrs. Mosby is an elected official (as is her husband, Councilman Nick Mosby, who demanded  the Baltimore PD  ‘stand down’ as the rioting broke out) whose offices depend on the votes of a city that is 68% black whom mostly see this issue through a racial prism. Regardless of what color they are, the police, even black cops, are seen as the enemy. She wasn’t going to make the same mistake the mayor and president of the city council (both black) made of calling the rioters thugs and  then having to grovel and walk back their statements. The video of Baltimore Council president Jack Young appearing with a herd of Bloods and Crips toapologize and refer to the rioters as ‘misdirected youth’ makes me chuckle just thinking about it.

The sad part is the jobs that will be lost, the houses that were burned and the long miles people who live in the neighborhood  and were simply trying to work hard and keep things going  will have to travel to buy groceries or find a pharmacy thanks to these ‘misdirected youth.’ And imagine trying to sell a house here and move to a better neighborhood now.

State Attorney Mosby referred to the arrest as ‘illegal’ and used the term ‘false imprisonment’ in her remarks. OK,  but it seems to me that a number of the criminal charges involved are motivated by a political desire to appease the Mob and will be modified significantly later. And I understand that.

But what we have here, not to be harsh, was  a career criminal whose rap sheet included multiple arrests for things like burglary, assault and lots and lots of drug trafficking arrests.  As a matter of fact, Mr.Gray had an upcoming trial coming up this month based on a December arrest for  selling narcotics. He was a known drug dealer talking to someone on the streets in a fairly crime ridden area when he saw the police and took off running.

Chances are he was pursing his chosen career and realized that a fresh bust could affect his out on bail status, his coming trial and his chances of a plea bargain, so he simply went to try and dispose of his stash before he was caught.  Given his reputation, there was definite probable cause and since Baltimore, like many jurisdictions allows suspects to be held 72 hours before being charged,  I can’t see his his arrest as illegal since he could have been interrogated and the area could have been searched while he was in custody.

The main thing the police seem to be guilty of at this point is not securing Gray in a seat belt in accordance with a general order that came out 3 days before the incident,  and maybe  with getting him a medic in a timely manner. That could certainly be called  that negligence, but murder two? Among other things, the prosecutor will have to figure out some way to establish intent for that to stick.

Of course, if the trial’s held in Baltimore, the jury will be composed of those ‘protesters’ and their allies and will likely resemble a carbon copy of some of the old Jim Crow jurisprudence we keep hearing about.  Or if it’s held elsewhere and some or all of the police are acquitted, it can be used as more fuel for Seething Racial Grievance. So it’s a win-win either way if you take my meaning.

The Glittering Eye : think there’s been a rush to judgment. I understand the states attorney’s motives but whether because she’s inexperienced or ambitious or for whatever reason the theory of the case one would take from her public statements have painted her into a corner that will make it difficult to obtain convictions, particularly on the more serious charges. Note how many of the legal experts have pointed that out.

On the broader question the lynch mob mentality that has set in , not merely on the part of the demonstrators and rioters but on the part of the media and public officials is deeply concerning. We can only imagine the reaction that will occur if these officers are acquitted. That shouldn’t be the case. The presumption of innocence should always be paramount.

I don’t know what happened to Freddie Gray but neither do the demonstrators or the states attorney. We need to keep an open mind until we hear statements made under oath and read official statements on the forensic evidence. I’m beginning to fear for the republic.

Laura Rambeau Lee,  Right Reason : Maryland State Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced criminal charges against six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25 year old black man who died, apparently after suffering lethal injuries while in their custody.

Her announcement came after a night of rioting, looting and violence that left the city reeling and seething in racial anger for several days. It appears to have been a rush to judgment on her part to alleviate the demands of the mob.

In a city with a large black population, black female mayor, and black prosecutor it kind of rings hollow to allege systemic racism is to blame. We should be looking at the Democratic social policies that have run the city for nearly half a century.

When a society makes it easier for people to live on welfare, food stamps and cheap housing than strive to better themselves, the result is another generation of Democrat voters to keep the free stuff coming. The left cries for more money, that not enough funds are going to help the poor. Baltimore has one of the highest amounts of education funding per child in the country. More money does not equate with a good education. No amount of money will help the people living in the poor neighborhoods in Baltimore, or any city for that matter.

This is not systemic racism. What we are seeing is systemic destruction of the family. The left is bent on destroying America by attacking traditional values, instilling feelings of entitlement for perceived grievances, withholding valuable education children need to better themselves, and making them believe they are victims in a country where opportunities do not exist for them.

As we have seen so many times before, it may just come out that the police are found innocent of the charges. What then? The left will never permit a real discussion on the issues facing poor black families in America. In reality, they are slaves to a system created to maintain and grow the power of the left.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD : Marilyn Mosby delivered a clear message when she stepped in front of the cameras to announce charges against six Baltimore police officers at a surprisingly early stage in the investigation.

Mosby deftly framed the serious charges leveled against the officers in a seemingly political context. On one hand, she promised Freddie Gray’s family that she would fight ceaselessly to bring about justice in the case. At the same time, she made it clear that she is not the avenging angel of the African-American community. As in every constitutional democracy, one is considered innocent until proven guilty in the USA.

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, andyou won’t want to miss it.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

Stolen valor exposed right here in our own Marin County

Marine capAlmost five years ago, I wrote a post about 1st Lieutenant Gregory Allen, a retired United States Marine who ran a fitness center in San Rafael (part of Marin County), the purpose of which was to get young people ready for military boot camp. The City of San Rafael was trying to shut Allen’s gym down, and people who supported his mission sent out a flier seeking money to keep the gym open in spite of new fees that San Rafael was imposing on the gym.

In a twist no one could have expected five years ago, it turns out that there was no 1st Lieutenant Gregory Allen, USMC ret. Instead, there was stolen valor:

For more than a decade, “Lieutenant” Gregory Allen pumped up young military hopefuls at his gym in San Rafael, California. The bulky and bald-headed drill sergeant told war stories from his stint in Vietnam, collected donations, and even posed for photos in a U.S. Marines uniform with a Purple Heart and Bronze star.

The only problem: the Marine Corps says Allen, 67, never served. Now the wannabe jarhead is under investigation by the FBI and Department of Veterans Affairs for allegedly faking his entire military record.

The sham soldier’s fall from grace came last week, after one former Marine’s own detective work prompted the federal probe.

“He’s helping young people who want to join the Marine Corps, but he was doing it through lies and deception,” said James Brown, the watchdog who tipped off authorities.

There’s no doubt that Allen genuinely ran a gym and that the gym did mimic the training young people do at boot camp, especially Marine boot camp. Allen’s whole bio, though, was a lie through and through:

But Allen’s story publicly unraveled after a Bay Area TV reporter exposed his dubious military career Friday. He never served in the Marines or in Vietnam, and never received any medals, ABC 7 discovered through a records request.

Instead, the poser Marine enlisted in the Navy in 1968 but was discharged after eight months because of a knee injury that he sustained playing football prior to enlisting.


Brown teamed up with [local ABC news reporter Dan] Noyes to investigate Allen. It all started when the sergeant major for the local Marines asked Brown if he knew who Allen was and why he was taking so much credit for helping young recruits.

Brown told The Daily Beast it wasn’t hard to poke holes in Allen’s story: pictures of the supposed lieutenant did the work for him. In one online photo, Allen stood next to the flag-draped casket of a fallen Marine, but the medals on Allen’s red Marines blazer were out of order. (This Marine was mentored by Allen, and later committed suicide while in the service, Brown said.)

“He’s got a combat action ribbon above the Purple Heart and Bronze Star,” said Brown, a board member of the Wine Country Marines. “Anyone fresh out of boot camp would have known that was wrong. Veterans look at ribbons as resumes.”

In some photographs, Allen donned a Marine Corps Rifle Marksman badge, while in others he had a Rifle Expert badge. But Brown says a Marine can’t be both once you’re a veteran. (“What you have qualified for when you get out of the service, is what you’ve got for life,” Brown said.)

Allen was also wearing a different number of ribbons in various photos.

The fake Marine couldn’t answer questions on the names of his boot camp, class or drill instructors, Brown said.

Adding to the pile of suspicion was the original name of Allen’s gym: “Fitness Boutique.” Brown says Allen transformed his business into a military-style stomping ground 10 years ago after fitness boot camps gained popularity.

Allen has a felony record to boot. He served a three-year prison sentence for violating a restraining order in 1997. According to the ABC7 report, Allen climbed to his wife’s bedroom window and threatened to cut her throat and shoot her.

Apparently Allen dreamed up the whole scam a decade ago in order to capitalize on the growing trend in fitness circles for “boot camp” style training.

Incidentally, Dan Noyes knows the real deal when he sees it: His son just turned down some serious water polo scholarships to enlist in the Marines. Grayson’s a great kid and I know he’ll do the Marines (and his family) proud.

The Bookworm Beat 4-6-15 — the nighttime edition and open thread

Woman writingMy work is done and there’s still twenty minutes to go before the family yields the TV to me. That can mean only one thing: a quick round-up. Yay!

Can the MSM stifle Ted Cruz?

One of the most frustrating things about being a conservative is that conservative politicians tend to be inarticulate. Part of this is because conservative ideas don’t yield easily to the hysterical bumper sticker politics that the Left favors. Part of it is that the media twists the message. And part of it is that the conservatives who get into politics seem to be tongue-tied.

I mention this because of a post Rod Dreher wrote after talking about RFRA to a deeply-closeted conservative law professor. It was the professor who made the point about the absence of a standard-bearer for conservative ideology:

On the conservative side, said Kingsfield [not the professor’s real name], Republican politicians are abysmal at making a public case for why religious liberty is fundamental to American life.

“The fact that Mike Pence can’t articulate it, and Asa Hutchinson doesn’t care and can’t articulate it, is shocking,” Kingsfield said. “Huckabee gets it and Santorum gets it, but they’re marginal figures. Why can’t Republicans articulate this? We don’t have anybody who gets it and who can unite us. Barring that, the craven business community will drag the Republican Party along wherever the culture is leading, and lawyers, academics, and media will cheer because they can’t imagine that they might be wrong about any of it.”

The one person who is emerging as an incredibly articulate spokesman for conservative thinking is Ted Cruz. He’s unafraid and, rather unusually for a man as academically brilliant as he is, capable of being pithy. Cruz can bring in the money quotation:

[Read more…]