The Bookworm Beat — 8/26/14 mid-day edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingYears ago, during the Bush administration, James Taranto read a despairing AP article in which the Progressive author opined that “everything is seemingly spinning out of control.” Taranto loved that phrase and used it to preface any link to crazy things, or things that made Progressive’s crazy.

That phrase keeps wandering into my mind in this, the sixth year of the reign of the Emperor Obama. With our border having as many holes as a fish net, Obama threatening to grant amnesty to five or six million illegal immigrants, the artificially inflated stock market soaring (thank you QE2) as ordinary Americans face increasing financial hardships, race relations set back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, virulent anti-Semitism on the rise around the world, barbaric Islamism also on the rise around the world, Israel besieged, Egypt slowly running out of food (and won’t the world get really interesting when that happens?), and Russia poised on Ukraine’s border — well, I really do feel as if everything is indeed seemingly spinning out of control. I guess the silver lining is that there’s lots to blog about, so blog I will.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Patting myself on the back here, I’ve long predicted that Sunni Saudi Arabia, afraid of Shia Iran, would make common cause with Israel. That’s finally happening, as the most radical Islamists — both Sunni and Shia — pick up steam everywhere in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia may have funded radicalism, but it did so primarily to keep that radicalism outside of its own borders.  Now, it sees little Jewish Israel as the only bulwark against a radical takeover within those borders.

Hamas Rules of War:  Use Civilians

Hamas supporters are claiming it’s a fraud, but to the extent that the IDF claims to have found a handbook in Gaza telling Hamas fighters to hide explosives in civilian houses, advice that jives perfectly with what Hamas actually did, I’m inclined to believe the handbook is real.  Also, while there’s plenty of evidence that Hamas uses disinformation (often carried out with threats) to advance its cause, I don’t know of any credible charges that Israel or the IDF routinely lie.

You can tell a lot about an administration by its funeral attendance

I often tell my children that you’re known by the friends you keep.  When it comes to presidential administrations, you’re also known by the funerals and memorials you attend.  Ben Shapiro has therefore performed a useful function.  After reading reports about the three White House representatives at Michael Brown’s funeral, he decided to take a look back at the funerals the White House didn’t think were worth its time.  It’s illuminating reading.

Just a reminder, though, that it’s not always a good thing when the White House goes to a memorial service.  Indeed, sometimes it’s downright embarrassing:

No selfie respect

A beleaguered Israel offers a useful comparison in presidential styles

This summer’s war is not, of course, the first time Israel’s been under attack. For example, she was attacked in 1947, right after the UN voted her into existence.  In 1967, on the eve of what would have been a devastating attack by the militaries of surrounding Arab nations, Israel preemptively struck those militaries to protect her own civilians.

And then there was 1973 — the Yom Kippur War. Israel was on the receiving end of a surprise attack and, horrifyingly, lacked the military equipment to counter it in a long war. Scarily, in the American White House was a Republican president who hated Jews. That Jew-hating Republican president saved Israel.

At To Put It Bluntly, you will find an excellent analysis of the way in which Nixon and Obama have approached surprise attacks on Israel. One president showed leadership, the other wishy-washy follow-ship. The contrast is striking.

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VDH looks at the perfect political storm, not to mention the unending series of lies, that got Obama into the White House in 2008

Yet another sterling VDH article, this one analysis the culmination of eight years of Bush hatred, war fatigue, lies and obfuscation, hysteria, and the delusions of crowds, all of which led to an Obama presidency.

As part of this analysis, Hanson points out that the truth about Obama was readily available, but the drive-by media deliberately ignored it, and too many Americans refused to look for it. You didn’t have to look far to find the truth, though, as is revealed in this Spring 2008 post of mine, in which I linked to a variety of articles detailing problems with candidate Obama. It was all there for everyone to see, but the three monkeys were the order of the day:

Three wise monkeys

Obama’s lying administration

One of the themes I’ve pounded since Obama first appeared on the political scene is that he’s a liar. (Examples of that are here, here, and here.) Since we all know that corporate culture flows down from the top, is it any surprise to find that everyone in his administration is equally infected with dishonesty?

Peter Wehner offers only the latest example of the administration’s provable dishonesty.  The subject this time is the administration’s ridiculous contortions as it tries to “prove” that Obama never said that ISIS was a “JV squad.” (The link may be behind a pay wall, but a Commentary online subscription is one of the best bargains around.) The administration is so used to a media both credulous and complicit accepting all of its lies at face that it cannot seem to accept that lies are a bad idea when hard facts exist countering those lies.

The lies America tells blacks

A couple of days ago, I published a long, convoluted post explaining how dreadfully the American Left (with the rest of America tagging along behind) has lied to American blacks, convincing them that they are hapless, hopeless, and helpless victims of a white discrimination so broadly and deeply entrenched that it cannot be overcome.

Today, Andrew Klavan published a short, powerful piece making exactly the same point. His writing is so much better than mine that, if you haven’t yet read my post, ignore it and just head straight for Klavan’s.

Watcher’s Council forum predicting the future in Ferguson

Over at the Watcher’s Council, in this week’s forum council members and honored guests offered their best guesses about whether the grand jury will indict the officer accused of shooting Michael Brown. As always, it’s great reading, offering a variety of viewpoints.

Part of the South’s abandonment of the Democrat Party included its abandonment of racism

If I had to nominate a “must-read” article for today, it would be Mona Charen’s column refuting Charlie Rangel’s libelous claim that, when the South turned Republican, it took its racism along with it, an exodus that disinfected the Democrat party of any residual racism, while infecting the Republican party with America’s original sin (never mind that the Republican party, from its inception before the Civil War, opposed institutional racism). Here are just a few snippets to whet your appetite for this must-read analysis:

It’s true that a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, shepherded the 1964 Civil Rights Act to passage. But who voted for it? Eighty percent of Republicans in the House voted aye, as against 61 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans favored the law, but only 69 percent of Democrats. Among the Democrats voting nay were Albert Gore Sr., Robert Byrd, and J. William Fulbright.


Okay, but didn’t all the old segregationist senators leave the Democratic party and become Republicans after 1964? No, just one did: Strom Thurmond. The rest remained in the Democratic party — including former Klansman Robert Byrd, who became president pro tempore of the Senate.


The “solid south” Democratic voting pattern began to break down not in the 1960s in response to civil rights but in the 1950s in response to economic development and the Cold War. (Black voters in the north, who had been reliable Republicans, began to abandon the GOP in response to the New Deal, encouraged by activists like Robert Vann to “turn Lincoln’s picture to the wall. That debt has been paid in full.”)


These Republican gains came not from the most rural and “deep south” regions, but rather from the newer cities and suburbs. [snip] It was disproportionately suburban, middle-class, educated, young, non-native southern, and concentrated in the growth points that were the least ‘Southern’ parts of the south.”

Read more here.

IRS deliberately destroyed evidence

Back in June, I offered a short commentary about spoliation (i.e., destroying relevant evidence after a lawsuit has been filed), which is a serious no-no in court: “Spoliation is a species of fraud that’s especially disfavored because its purpose is to destroy the integrity of a judicial or investigative process.” If you’re paying any attention to the IRS scandal, which saw a politicized IRS deliberately use its extraordinary powers to stifle pro-conservative and pro-Israel political speech, you’re going to be hearing the word “spoliation” a lot:

The IRS filing in federal Judge Emmet Sullivan’s court reveals shocking new information. The IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry AFTER it knew her computer had crashed and after a Congressional inquiry was well underway. As an IRS official declared under the penalty of perjury, the destroyed Blackberry would have contained the same emails (both sent and received) as Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

This most recent revelation follows closely on the heels of the IRS’s admission that all those lost IRS emails from Lois Lerner and six IRS cohorts weren’t actually lost at all, they were just hard to find. Keep in mind that this admission comes after the IRS, including its director, swore (literally swore, under oath), that the emails were irretrievably gone, since the hard drives had first spontaneously crashed and then, contrary to federal law, been destroyed.

The rule in litigation is that, if you possess documents responsive to a request but they are hard to locate, you have to explain that fact to the court. Moreover, you can also explain why they’re not worth the effort of recovering. What you can’t do is lie, and then lie some more.

I’ve worked in litigation for more than 25 years, and I’ve seen some pretty hard-fought and even dirty lawsuits, but I have never seen this level of dishonesty. Never.

What you also won’t see, ever, is mainstream media coverage about the IRS’s behavior before the lawsuit, when it used its vast, almost untouchable power to silence the administration’s political opponents, or during the lawsuit, when it committed truly heinous frauds against the court.

Time Magazines goes full “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”

My parents, as part of their commitment to being good, informed Americans, subscribed to Time Magazine throughout my childhood (so we’re talking at least the mid-1960s here). I know now that, even back then, Time was beginning to show the Leftist bias that today permeates almost all of the American media.  Still, back in the day, Time was a dignified publication. It may have been “news for the masses,” but it was still news, with actual facts, although these facts were certainly spun in a specific political direction.

Time Magazine in its modern incarnation, however, is worse than garbage. Garbage can still be honest, although the topics are trashy. National Enquirer tells the truth, although there’s nothing particularly elevating about knowing the identity of Hollywood’s fattest stars, who’s having a secret affair on the side, or what crazy demands a given celebrity makes before checking into a hotel.

What’s worse than garbage is repeating as true utterly scurrilous blood libels against Jews. Yet that’s precisely what Time Magazine, a once reputable media outlet, did.  It published as true the ancient blood libel that Israel was harvesting organs from Palestinians, a claim so false that even its original maker, a Swedish “news” outlet, admitted that it had no proof and, moreover, couldn’t care less that the accusation was a lie.

Even worse, Time backtracked on this libel, not because it realized that some low-level staffer had done something egregiously wrong, which would have required a full retraction and apology, but, instead, only when people started criticizing the libel. Seth Mandel explains just how disgraceful Times‘ conduct was:

Here’s the lede: “Time Magazine retracted a report on Sunday which claimed the Israeli army harvested dead Palestinians’ internal organs after a watchdog group accused the publication of propagating a ‘blood libel.’”

That’s putting it kindly. The watchdog group–HonestReporting–did not so much “accuse” Time of propagating a blood libel as point out that Time was obviously propagating a blood libel. Is there another term for Time’s medieval delusions?


There isn’t nearly enough thoughtful analysis in the media or reporters willing to examine and question the assumptions and propaganda they’re fed by Hamas and its NGO allies, instead using reporters on the ground who worship Yasser Arafat. This is often the case when Israel is at war; in 2006, the Reuters practice of using photoshoppers masquerading as photographers led to the application of the term “fauxtography” to Reuters’ work in the Middle East.

But this lack of reporting appears to have spread to Time, and in a particularly offensive way. As hard as it is to believe, media coverage of Israel is actually deteriorating. The race to the bottom hasn’t stopped; it’s just gotten more crowded.

Read the rest here.

HuffPo takes the lead in the “humor” category of the media’s race to the bottom

Time is racing to the bottom in a disgusting fashion.  Other outlets are doing so in more humorous fashion, even if that humor is unwitting.  Take HuffPo, for example, which has published a series of photographs showing scientists suffering the anguish of knowing that only 97% of their colleagues are willing to support predictions about climate change that have consistently, and without exception, been proven false once they played out in real-time.

Each of the scientists is shown trying to look sad, although some just look peculiarly constipated, with a few being reduced to squinching their faces into blank idiocy.  The humor behind these efforts at existential anguish is exquisite.

Even funnier is HuffPo‘s hysterical, apocalyptic language which, when combined with the usual pedantic assurances that, if we just follow the “science,” all will be well, creates a delicious mix that has all the artistic weight of a poem by William McGonagall. McGonagall, as you may already know, is widely acknowledged to be the worst poet in the English language, in no small part because he combined awful prose with a penchant for tragedy and pedantry.  I’ll share with you, first, a bit of HuffPo free verse, followed by a little McGonagall for comparison.

Here’s the HuffPo song of its Progressive people:

“[T]here’s something uniquely frightening about this artist’s attempt to transform global warming data into visceral, human responses.”

“The photos are minimalist but intense, each wrinkle and crease pointing to a human unease we can all connect with.”

“Although their powerful words provide an interesting context for their expressions, we think the faces alone say more than enough.”

And then there’s McGonagall’s famous work about the Tay Bridge disaster, with this masterful closing stanza:

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

Really, other than McGonagall’s more antiquated syntax, it’s hard to tell the two apart.

Scratch a Progressive; find a fascist

With David Gregory out at Meet the Press and Chuck Todd in, Democrat/Progressive strategist and (ahem) thinker Ed Kilgore has some practical advice for the best way in which to make the show edgier and more interesting.  The following gem come in response to the plan by Deborah Turness, NBC’s president, to have a panel of journalists conversing, instead of a one-on-one format, in order to make the show edgy and more interesting:

If Turness is serious about this, we need to organize a grassroots campaign to ask that certain journalists be permanently banned from the panel of Meet the Press, or we’ll boycott the damn thing ab initio. I’d start with Peggy Noonan, Bill Kristol, David Gergen, David Brooks and George Will. Even at their best, they’ve all gotten more airtime than their shaky talents merit. But I’m sure you have dozens more who deserve the Meet Ban. Fire away in the comment thread.

Yes, because nothing says hip, edgy, and open-minded like excluding all opposing views and, instead, having party drones agree with each other. Using this rubric, Pravda was also hip, edgy, and open-minded.

Looking at Kilgore’s dream of a real news show, I was reminded of a post I wrote discussing the differences between conservative and Progressive media:

Members of the conservative media are also more generous with presenting the underlying source material on which they rely or with which they disagree, something that is especially apparent on the radio. For example, on NPR, Robert Siegel will do an eight minute report that begins with his opining magisterially on a subject, and then continues with his editing in carefully selected snippets of interviews with witnesses, actors and experts. Given the limited time format, it’s inevitable of course that the greater part of any given interview is left on the cutting room floor, with Siegel and his staff picking whatever money lines suit the story they wish to present.

On conservative talk radio, however, the hosts will frequently play half hour long clips, not just of people they support, but of people with whose opinion they differ. Likewise, when these hosts have guests on, the guests are not only people with whom the hosts agree, but people with whom they disagree. And in the latter case, you can comfortably settle in and listen to a free-wheeling, although never mean-spirited, discussion with both host and guest called upon to defend their positions vigorously.

A sad end to a sad story

In 2012, the drive-by media was incredibly excited when a video emerged showing Marines urinating on dead Taliban corpses. This proved — proved!! — that Americans were every bit as bad as the Islamists. After all, urinating on a dead body (which is a crude, demeaning act that I don’t support) is exactly the same as torturing and beheading people; cutting off the genitals of ones enemy, whether he’s dead or alive; or dragging bodies through the streets before cheering crowds.  (It’s clear, I hope, that I’m being sarcastic.) At the center of this media storm was Cpl. Robert Richards, a highly respected Marine:

Richards was a scout sniper with multiple deployments to Afghanistan, including one in 2010 during which he sustained severe injuries. Peers and superiors alike praised him for his combat prowess and leadership skills, evidenced by his being hand-selected to serve as the scout sniper platoon team leader for 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, during its 2011 tour.

Although only 28, Richards is dead. The coroner has not announced the cause of death, but Guy Womack, Richards’ attorney and friend, told reporters that the coroner would be examining the medicines Richards was taking, something that hints at an overdose, accidental or intentional.

To the extent Richards did something unworthy of an American fighter, it was nevertheless something that should have been taken care of within the context of the Marines, rather than something that saw him tried and convicted by the American media. Richards didn’t deserve such a pathetic ending to his career. May be rest in peace now.

American universities harm Leftist students too

A Prager University video makes the compelling argument that, insofar as American universities have overwhelmingly Leftist faculties, students who hew Left (or don’t hew in any direction at all) suffer more than conservative students do:


I think henceforth I’ll call this “The Caped Crusader Picture Gallery,” because the Caped Crusader has done it again, providing me with powerful and often funny images:

Impossible to boycott Palestinians

Catholics and the bucket challenge

Proper border response

Woman converting to Islam

Liberal blindness re Islam

Nobody owes you anything

Obama golfs while Foleys grieve

A very funny video about American blacks that highlights the horrible thing mainstream American culture has done to them

Happy face sad faceCaped Crusader sent me a video that simultaneously made me want to laugh and to cry.   Of course, it’s funny that the guys being questioned by the camera man cannot come up with the answer when the answer is embedded in in the question. It elicits the same slightly smug laughter that I always felt watching Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking.” “Boy, those yokels sure are dumb! Ha! Ha! Ha!”


Watching these guys, though, with the backdrop of Ferguson in my mind quickly killed my laughter, though, and simply depressed me. I got even more depressed when Tom Elia emailed this little tidbit: Ferguson, Missouri, which in 25 years has shifted from being a slightly white minority enclave of St. Louis to a primarily black majority community has as its second biggest revenue source the fines and penalties paid into its municipal court:

A report issued just last week by the nonprofit lawyer’s group ArchCity Defenders notes that in the court’s 36 three-hour sessions in 2013, it handled 12,108 cases and 24,532 warrants. That is an average of 1.5 cases and three warrants per Ferguson household. Fines and court fees for the year in this city of just 21,000 people totaled $2,635,400.

The Daily Beast cites the above data to show that it’s in the police’s best interests to have an adversarial relationship with residents in Ferguson, and that’s true. But it’s also a reminder that, since the Civil Rights movement effectively came to an end in 1964 when the Civil Rights Act federalized the movement, it’s become big business to keep blacks institutionally victimized.  Worse, it’s a business in which blacks are complicit.

Let me say here and now that there is absolutely nothing genetically inherent in blacks that leads them to their disproportionate representation amongst the ranks of the violent, the uneducated, and the fatherless. These are cultural traits, not hereditary ones. Moreover, contrary to multicultural mythology, cultural is not fixed. It can change.

The problem we face now is that, since the 1960s “Great Society,” the political and social culture in America, all of which hew Left, have consistently told blacks, “You don’t need to change. You’re perfect as you are. It’s we, the whites, who need to change.” In other words, blacks are the ultimate fulfillment of the self-esteem movement that started in California and picked up steam to infect the United States.

The self-esteem movement tells children that, no matter what, they’re wonderful. It sets no goals, offers no examples, makes no demands. It just says, “You’re wonderful.”

What sounds wonderful in theory proves to be disastrous in fact. Rather than creating a “wonderful” generation of self-confident, moral, self-disciplined, ambitious, strong young people, we’ve created a generation of self-satisfied yet insecure, morally weak, undisciplined parasites. Not all of them, of course, with those saved from the movement having either been home schooled or raised within a home environment that hewed to more traditional values.

Telling many of the latter type of homes are filled with people who, in Charles Murray’s words, don’t preach what they practice.  Within their homes, they drive their children to succeed; in the public forum, though, they dare not tell anyone, especially minorities, that the secret to success in America is to work hard at school, to work hard at work, and to stay on the right side of the law.

American blacks are the ne plus ultra of the self-esteem movement. All criticism of them is banned, including self-criticism. They cannot reform their self-destructive behaviors, because they have been programmed to be narcissistic: they are completely armored against their sins, so armored that they cannot even modify their behavior to blunt what they see as the consequences of inimical behavior from their “enemy” — with the enemy being all people and institutions that are not black and that, therefore, can be blamed for the desperate plight in which American blacks find themselves.

I wrote the above words on Friday, meaning to publish them on Friday and then, when that fell through, meaning to publish them on Saturday. Clearly, I missed both of my self-imposed deadlines. My first duty is to my family, and my family has been demanding. In a way, that’s a good thing, because I had the opportunity to add to my thoughts on this subject.

Tomorrow, the Watcher’s Council will publish a forum asking council members to predict whether a grand jury will indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who allegedly shot Michael Brown. I’m going to give you a preview of the answer I sent the Watcher, since it’s really a continuation of the thoughts I was developing here:

I hate to say this, but I think whether Officer Wilson is indicted depends on the jury’s racial composition. I can’t say what a majority white jury would do, because I don’t have the evidence before me. However, sadly, I have no doubt whatsoever that a majority black grand jury would issue an indictment for first degree murder.

This leads me to a different issue. Back in 1939, when Hattie McDaniel was the first black woman to win an Oscar for best supporting actress as Mammy in Gone With The Wind, she made a brief speech:

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, fellow members of the motion picture industry and honored guests: This is one of the happiest moments of my life, and I want to thank each one of you who had a part in selecting me for one of their awards, for your kindness. It has made me feel very, very humble; and I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything that I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry. My heart is too full to tell you just how I feel, and may I say thank you and God bless you.

It later turned out that the studio wrote those words for McDaniel, especially the bit about her sincere “hope I shall always be a credit to my race,” a line that deeply humiliated her.

I can understand McDaniel’s humiliation about having any words put in her mouth, especially words that emphasized her race, but I’ve never found the notion of being a credit to ones race distasteful. Perhaps that’s because I’m Jewish, and we Jews, like the blacks, have always been the “other” race.

What one Jew does always has the potential to be a negative stereotype applied to all people. Thus, I found Bernie Madoff’s frauds disgusting, because they destroyed people’s livelihoods, but I also found them embarrassing because, as a Jew, I hate it when a fellow Jew feeds into a negative Jewish stereotype.

One of the things I find so incomprehensible about modern American blacks is that they do not impose standards on their fellow blacks. There is no expectation of a self-correcting mechanism. If you’re a black who does bad things, you’re not someone who brings shame on the black community. You are, instead, just another victim, along with the black teens you’ve killed, the Korean or Indian store owners you robbed and pistol whipped, and the whites you injured or murdered in a “knock out” game. The black community, rather than denouncing a drugged-out, weaponed-up, murderous black teen as a disgrace to the race is embraced and has his image printed on t-shirts.

Thinking about it, what I’ve just said isn’t a different issue at all. It explains why I’m certain that a majority- or all-black grand jury would indict the Ferguson police officer in the blink of an eye. As far as they’re concerned, blacks are always the victims no matter how degraded or violent their behavior. And if it’s always someone else’s fault, an indictment against whichever “someone else” happens to be available is a no-brainer. Racial pride, rather than bringing with it high standards, means no standards whatsoever.

I wrote the above words about violence, but they apply with equal weight to education — a concept that has me circling back to the video that opens this post.  America has never heeded Frederick Douglas’s words just to let the black man be:

Frederick Douglas Do Nothing With Us

Instead, having transported African-Americans to this shore, we’ve meddled relentlessly, not just with their persons, but with their culture.  What began as an enslavement of their bodies has continued as an enslavement of their souls.  They are as chained by this perverted “self esteem movement” as they ever were by whips and overseers.  Because they are relentlessly told that they can do no wrong, they are forever foreclosed from the insights and opportunities that would enable them to do things right.

I’ll leave you with Bill Whittle’s indignation about the realities of black life — both as victim and as criminal — about the political system that refuses to acknowledge this reality, and about the race mongers who, along with prisons and townships, profit mightily from a black culture willfully denied insights about itself so that it can change its culture for the better:

Fundamentally, it is not racist to tell African-Americans: “You are just like me. Your life will always be buffeted by forces beyond your control, but I believe that, like me, you came into the world with drive, intelligence, and the capacity to be a moral person. I agree that many of you live in desperately awful environments, but you have it within in you to rise above that and move beyond it. Study hard, work hard, obey the law, and don’t let cretins, whether in your community or in law enforcement or anywhere else, cause you to fall off the path of hard work and righteousness.”

It is racist, though, to tell blacks: “You’re black, so you’re helpless.”

American schools are becoming segregated as a result of “culturism,” not racism

Desegregated classroomA friend asked me what I thought of an Atlantic article pointing to the fact that, sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, America’s schools are once again becoming segregated, as whites (and Asians and East Indians) do whatever they can to flee predominantly black schools. Black schools are academically much, much weaker than white schools and, as the whites flee, the infrastructure of the schools declines.

The article focuses heavily on the fact that academically-oriented black children suffer badly from this de facto segregation, and strongly implies that white racism is at fault. I readily concede that this re-segregation is happening and that the tragic result is that bright black kids are having their futures destroyed. I don’t believe, though, that whites (and Asians and East Indians) are motivated by racism when they abandon previously integrated schools.

The problem isn’t race, it’s culture. (Call it “culturism,” if you will.)  Thus, white parents aren’t saying “I can’t let my little precious go to school with those black people because they are an inferior race who will taint her through contact.” Instead, what they’re saying is “I want my precious to have the best education possible and that requires, among other things, that the other families at the school have the same goal.”

What these white (and East Indian and Asian) parents know is that black culture is not education-oriented. Indeed, for some time, among the children at least, it’s been anti-education, with black children who work hard at school castigated by their black peers for “selling out” or being “Oreos.”

Hispanic culture is also resistant to education. As to that, I actually have some first hand anecdotal data from people who have worked closely with the Hispanic community in the education context.  In the late 1980s, very upper crust Hispanic friends of my family had set up an institution to try to teach Hispanic parents to encourage their children at school. These friends told me that the parents, most from rural areas, had the farmer’s mindset, which is to get the kids out of school and to work as soon as possible. Even though the parents came to America for economic opportunity, they couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea that, subject to some exceptions, education is the key to economic success in America. Children old enough to work were actively discouraged from seeking an education.

Twenty-five years later, my sister-in-law, who works in the Los Angeles school district, tells me the same story: Many Hispanic parents prefer their kids to earn some money sooner, rather than more money later. Sure, there’s a bell curve, with certain black or Hispanic kids and their families focused hungrily on an educational goal but, for the most part, neither the children nor their parents focus their energy on education.

White, Asian, and East Indian cultures, for the most part, are obsessed about education as a necessity for thriving in America. Parents in these cultures understand that the school’s intellectual environment matters.  If the school culture sees every parent in the community demanding hard work and high grades, that will trickle down to the children, who will create a competitive, exciting academic culture. So yes, white parents are fleeing predominantly black schools (and doing so in whatever way possible), but they’re not doing so for the old-fashioned racial reasons. It’s all about education cultures versus anti-education cultures.  Culturism, right?

I anticipate that someone will point out that the same article says that, when the schools were first integrated, the integration was successful. I don’t doubt that. Back then, integrated schools were thrilling, shiny, new toys. As the toys lost their gloss, though, people made less of an effort.

More importantly, though, the integration happened thirty-five years ago. That’s an important date, because it was before political correctness came along to poison things. In the late 1970s and throughout most of the 1980s, teachers could reasonably expect equal effort from Joe Black and Moe White.

Thanks to the scourge of political correctness, however, it’s now racist to expect black students to work as hard and perform as well as white students. Heck, with microaggression, a new twist on political correctness, it’s even racist if the teacher, when he walks into the classroom, says good morning to Moe White before he says it to Joe Black — never mind that Moe White sits next to the door, while Joe Black sits on the opposite site of the classroom.

Culture, not race. Culture, not race. Culture, not race…. Although that’s not quite true.

There is a horrible racism pervading the American education system, but it comes from the Left. The Left has successfully argued that blacks are so mentally inferior to other races that they are incapable of elevating their culture to include good behavior, hard work, and ambition. Until that grotesque Leftist racism is killed, and blacks are recognized as fully equal to other races, and therefore capable of academic rigor, whites, Asians, and East Indians will do anything they can to insulate their children from black (and Hispanic) culture in America’s public schools.

Donald Sterling is the Left’s desperately needed “wag the dog” moment, distracting from their myriad failures

Wag The Dog-01Wag The Dog was a clever black comedy about a president hiring a Hollywood producer to trick the public into believing there was a war in Albania in order to distract the public from a sex scandal right before an election.  The movie came out in 1997, and became forever cemented in the public’s consciousness when, in 1998, Bill Clinton bombed a few pharmaceutical factories right around the time Monica Lewinsky and blue dresses were becoming a big deal.  Donald Sterling is the Left’s new “wag the dog” moment — a racial one, this time, not a martial one, because we live in the age of Obama.

If you think about the Sterling scandal without the attendant hysteria it’s pretty pathetic:  desiccated, insecure, ugly, rich, old man fears that his black/Latina girlfriend’s palling around with handsome, successful, young(ish), black men will make him look like what he really is:  a eunuch with a gold digger on his arms.

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” (3:30)

— “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want.  The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.” (5:15)

— “I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.” (7:45)

— “…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me.  And don’t bring him to my games.” (9:13)

But for the fact that there are a few other racist incidents in Sterling’s past (refusing to rent apartments to blacks or Latinos, and making nasty comments), what you really see here is enormous sexual insecurity. Sterling doesn’t view these black men as inferiors.  Instead, he sees them as a threat to his virility and his relationship with a young woman who, because of her own background, could easily be seen as preferring them to this desiccated, pot-bellied, mean-spirited little man.

Nevertheless, the story overnight mushroomed in an hysteric denouncement of racism, with special emphasis on the fact that Sterling, being old, rich, and white, must be a Republican, a fact that makes him representative of all Republicans.  It was irrelevant that, while Donald Sterling’s official political affiliation is the subject of much debate, it’s pretty clear that he’s been pouring money into Democrat causes, including making very nice with the NAACP for years, resulting in his receiving an NAACP lifetime achievement award in 2009.  It’s also irrelevant that the vast majority of America’s Republicans and conservatives are neither rich nor old, that many aren’t white, and that Sterling’s closest demographic relatives (rich, white, and racist) live in the Democrat party.  (I’m talking to you, Harry Reid.)

I’m not denying that Sterling’s remarks were couched in racial terms, are nasty, and are therefore racist.  But let’s get serious here: Are the privately-stated rantings of an old, insecure man so important that they should result in thousands of news stories, headlines, tweets, Facebook posts, magazine articles, analyses, etc.?

No, his rantings aren’t important at all.  Contrary to what many Americans are being made to believe, this isn’t really about a rich, powerful sports team owner saying mean things about black people. Instead, the Donald Sterling story is about sucking the oxygen out of the news cycle so that people who don’t pour over it as obsessively as you and I do aren’t paying attention to a few other important stories.

What’s important to know is that most people can’t hold that many thoughts or sensations simultaneously.  That’s why, with a few exceptions, multitasking is an illusion and, quite often, especially when cars are involved, a very dangerous one.   A million years ago, my Lamaze teacher told me the human mind’s inability to process more than three, maybe four, disparate bits of information at the same time is the real secret behind Lamaze. The breathing doesn’t change anything in the birth process. What’s important is to drag the woman’s focus away from the pain and put it somewhere else.

In today’s political world, if you’re busy fulminating about a pathetic 80-year-old gnome, you’re not going to have room in your brain or your emotions for myriad news stories that are infinitely more important.  These stories include:

1.  The revelation that there is concrete evidence proving that the lies about the Benghazi attack originated in the White House and were a deliberate effort before an election to hide the fact that the administration knew that Al Qaeda was resurgent and that, despite this knowledge, it failed to protect Americans before and during the attack, leaving four Americans quite horribly dead.  Apparently the administrations fraudulent lies to the American public weren’t limited to Obamacare.

2.  The fact that Secretary of State John Kerry botched the Middle East peace talks so terribly that the Palestinians threw themselves into Hamas’s arms, with Kerry blaming Israel for this failure, before using PLO-esque language to announce that Israel is turning into an apartheid nation. Kerry is either evil or a fool. Who knows? What we do know is that Kerry’s never been either an honest or unbiased broker in the peace talks, and he’s certainly been an incompetent negotiator.

3.  The embarrassing reality that what was once the most powerful nation in the world is now so manifestly weak that, from Russia to Venezuela, with stops at all points in between, including Syria and Afghanistan, every bad actor in the world thumbs his nose at Obama, even as that actor cuts a bloody swath in his wake. I’m not saying that Obama has any ability now to remedy the situation in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, the West Bank, etc. He doesn’t. He knows, the American people know, and the bad guys know that America will not, and therefore cannot, fight. The problem is that Obama got us into this situation in the first place. He radiated weakness like a badly wounded Wildebeest lying in the noonday sun on the African plain. He turned America into hyena bait.

4.  The recent admission that America had another “unexpectedly” slow growth in the first quarter of 2014 (a mere 0.1%), something the MSM-Pravda media immediately blamed on the weather. As Sadie helpfully pointed out to me, the extreme winter, although it hit China too, didn’t slow China’s economy at all. (But do keep in mind that China’s supposedly glowing economic numbers are probably on the extreme end of lies, damn lies, and statistics. The rule of thumb is that data from leftists always lies.)

5.  The ongoing, extreme, exponentially growing disaster that is Obamacare.  At the end of the day, Obamacare’s only success will have been that it managed to use government coercion, threats, and penalties to force 8 million people to sign up for insurance through government exchanges. Wow! Government bullying works. What government bullying couldn’t do was make 20-30% of the new enrollees pay for this insurance; make the enrollment balanced, rather than weighted in favor of the old and sick; get doctors and hospitals to agree to sign onto low-paying networks; lower costs for the middle class people forced off of their good policies; keep deductibles low, etc. Those of us who never drank the Kool-Aid knew in 2009 that only delusional people could believe that you could mandate more coverage and sweep in more people who can’t pay, all the while lowering costs all around.

6.  America’s vanishing privacy.  Sterling may be a stinker, but he thought he was having a private conversation.  Americans should be outraged that they no longer have zones of privacy.  (Although if these zones of privacy really are gone, let’s just banish birth control too.  After all, the main reason the Supreme Court used to justify striking down laws banning birth control was that Americans have an inherent right to privacy.)

All of which gets us back to the ginned-up national outrage about Donald Sterling.  Donald Sterling is a nothing. He may be rich and own a sports team, but the fundamental truth is that he’s a creepy old nebbish whose world views were formed in 1940-something. He’s a relic. He’s meaningless. He’s every old Leftist who goes around mouthing stupid things about black people. (Like Harry Reid, for example.)

Sterling matters only as cover. He’s the fake war in Albania from the movie “Wag the Dog.”  He’s the bombed pharmaceutical factories when people were getting too close to the Lewinsky’s blue dress.  America!  Forget Sterling.  Pay attention to the real stuff!

Double standards, anyone? Look Left.

Harry Reid racismThe more we get contextual information about Cliven Bundy’s comments, the more it’s clear that he was making a valid argument, although doing so in the most painful, inarticulate way, and the way most likely to come back and bite his supporters in the butt.  As best as I can tell, what Bundy was saying is that slavery is slavery, whether you’re enslaved to an individual or a nation.

He’s right, too.  The difference between now and the antebellum era is that blacks have never been masters of their own destiny.  For the vast majority, their status is remarkably indistinguishable from what it once was:  marginal existences; dependency (in the past, they weren’t rewarded for their work; in the present, too many don’t work); and children without fathers.

Today, as an extra fillip to their drab dependency, they get the twin scourges of drugs and crime.  Oh, and there’s one other big difference:  today blacks are directly complicit in their own enslavement.  In the past, starting in Africa, it was other blacks who were complicit in the enslavement process.  Now they do it to themselves.

I’m done with the subject now.  Caleb Howe, however, makes two points worthy of notice:  the way that the RNC chair responded to Bundy versus the way the DNC chair didn’t respond to Pat Quinn’s racist tweets.  The Right instantly tries to distance itself from anything that could smell of racism; the Left does not.

Incidentally, I’m beginning to think that, rather than looking at the RNC’s conduct as virtuous, it’s a huge problem the way conservatives reflexively distance themselves from these things without first investigating.  Having thrown Bundy under the bus, the right cannot resurrect his principled arguments about the way in which government owns people, something antithetical to the principles set out in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Rather than going into stupid panic mode, it would be infinitely better if the right would first stop and think for a minute — and, in the first instance, say something such as, “If Bundy indeed said what he’s accused of saying, and there’s no contextual excuse, we condemn it.  However, we’re not going to indict someone without investigation, etc.”  As it is, they’re constantly stupidly reactive, instead of intelligently proactive.

Cliven Bundy’s racist, or stupidly racially-tinged, rhetoric is irrelevant to the core issue of government overreach

AmericaThe best thing that happened to the Left in the last few days was the fact that Cliven Bundy couldn’t keep race out of the conversation.  It really doesn’t matter whether he was making a valid point about slavery by any other name or if he was making as invalid a point about race as the MSNBC crowd does on a daily basis.  What matters is that his stand against the government correctly brought to people’s attention the fact that our federal government has completely forgotten that it is the people’s servant, not their master.

To use an extreme example, the fact that Hitler was a vegetarian doesn’t discredit vegetarianism.  There may be other, nutrition-based or resource-based, grounds to discredit it, but Hitler’s food predilection says nothing about the merits of vegetarianism or vegetarians.

The same is true for Bundy’s stand against the federal government’s overreach.  There may be reasons to complain about his stand (e.g., “even though the federal government stole from him, the law is still the law, at least if you’re not President Obama”), but Bundy’s inept racial observations have nothing to do with the practical merits of the government’s conduct.

For more, see JoshuaPundit and Noisy Room.

Sonia Sotomayor’s absolutely revolting racism

Justice SotomayorYesterday, Sonia Sotomayor announced that she is absolutely horrified that the 14th Amendment can be used to prevent state government from engaging in race-based discrimination. Some may be a little confused by her argument, given that the 14th Amendment explicitly states that ” No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In ordinary parlance, that means that all laws must apply equally to all American citizens, regardless of anything that distinguishes one citizen from another (such as race, color, creed, sex, etc.).

For sensible people who believe that all humans are created equal, the 14th Amendment is a good rule. But it’s not good enough for Ms. Sotomayor (and yes, I mean “Ms.” because, really, after what she just did, it seems so wrong to give her the honorific “justice”). What did Sotomayor do? She abandoned legal reasoning in favor of ill-informed, racist navel-gazing, and she used the most august court in the land for her platform in feminist, racist idiocy. (I say “feminist” because, even though the case was about race, Ms. Sotomayor promised from the beginning that, rather than following the law, she’d offer ruminations from a “wise Latina.” So all her stuff is a “girl thing,” you know?)

Anyway, in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Sonia (I’m so disgusted by her right now, I don’t even feel like using the generic honorific of “Ms”), wrote a 52 page pile of touchy feely goop about the fact that minorities are inferior beings. Moreover, she felt so strongly about innate minority inadequacies that she felt compelled to read all 52 pages from the bench — clearly, part of the punishment she wished to impose on dead, or still living, evil white males the world over.

I’m not trying to be mean, or anything, but the woman is a walking, talking argument against affirmative action, which advances women, minorities, and other non-white, non-straight, non-Asian, non-Jewish people simply because they weren’t born white, straight, Asian, or Jewish.   Here’s the heart of Sonia’s insanely racist (and non-legal, non-factual, highly navel-based) rant. Sonia starts by attacking the US’s bad history:

For much of its history, our Nation has denied to many of its citizens the right to participate meaningfully and equally in its politics. This is a history we strive to put behind us. But it is a history that still informs the society we live in, and so it is one we must address with candor. Because the political-process doctrine is best understood against the backdrop of this history, I will briefly trace its course.

She’s right, of course. Italians, Irish, Germans, Jews, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, East Asian, etc., all faced horrific discrimination. Peculiarly enough, once the discrimination ended as to these disparate groups, all were able, without any further effort on the government’s part, to ascend to the halls of wealth and power. Sonny’s problem (yeah, I’m at the point where even calling her by the pretty name “Sonia” irks me) is that she firmly believes that what worked for every other minority — just to be left alone — won’t work for blacks and Hispanics.

Before Sonny gets to her conclusion that blacks and Hispanics are inherent deficient (her thoughts, not mine), she takes us on an endlessly boring journey of efforts to discriminate which have all been done away with. Even as she tries to paint America as racially evil, she inadvertently keeps pointing to its self-correct mechanisms.

I sort of fell asleep somewhere when reading her tripe, but when I awoke, I found her claiming that there’s nothing in the 14th amendment that prohibits discriminating on the basis of race, because America’s educational institutions are improved by racial discrimination. No, really. That’s what she said:

Rather, race-sensitive admissions policies further a compelling state interest in achieving a diverse student body precisely because they increase minority enrollment, which necessarily benefits minority groups. In other words, constitutionally permissible race-sensitive admissions policies can both serve the compelling interest of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, and inure to the benefit of racial minorities.

The above stunning quotation is followed by a lot more soporific stuff. Considering how plagued I am by insomnia, I really should have a copy of Sonny’s dissent by my bedside. It makes for exhausting reading. The only downside, of course, would be the inevitable nightmares flowing from her racially carved up universe.

So, anyway…. Blah, blah, blah. And then this, the moment at which she states that the only way to make effective the 14th Amendments constitutional guarantee not to discriminate is to . . . wait for it . . . discriminate:

That view [that the 14th amendment means that the law applies equally to everybody] drains the Fourteenth Amendment of one of its core teachings. Contrary to today’s decision, protecting the right to meaningful participation in the political process must mean more than simply removing barriers to participation. It must mean vigilantly policing the political process to ensure that the majority does not use other methods to prevent minority groups from partaking in that process on equal footing. Why?

Did she just end that deconstructionist, magical thinking rant by asking “Why?” Well, I’ve got the answer, so you can ignore Sonny’s new-Age, victim-based, PC bibble-babble version of an answer. The obvious reason Sonny believes that the government must discriminate, world without end, on behalf of blacks and Hispanics is that, in her mind, these two racial groups are congenitally incapable of partaking in the political process without Mommy and Daddy government holding their hands. Unlike all other minorities who pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, her posse can’t do it. And if that isn’t the most vile racism you ever heard — a Supreme Court justice saying that blacks and Hispanics are defective and will always need government help just to get back — I don’t know what is.

I’m now bored with Sonny. Sonny is pathetically burdened by an unpleasant reality:  she got into college and law school and government work and the Supreme Court thanks to affirmative action.  She had neither the brains nor the self-discipline to make it on her own (unlike the legions of Jews, Italians, Irish, Asian, and East Asian immigrant kids who looked at their often squalid surroundings and made the decision to be the best and, without either government discrimination or aid, rose to the heights.  This painful knowledge goes some way to explaining her embarrassingly self-referential opinion. She knows that she’s inadequate and, rather than admitting to her own mental infirmities, makes herself feel better by telling the American people that all blacks and Hispanics are just as mentally deficient as she is.

Let me say this again: for every other group in America that suffered government sponsored discrimination, after the government stopped discriminating (either against or for them) that group was able to achieve social, economic, and political success within one generation. Sonny is too scared to give blacks and Hispanics that same chance. In order to justify in her own eyes the unfair advantage she got at every stage in her career, she wants to ensure that no black or Hispanic ever has to compete on a level playing field.

Part of Sonny’s decision is her racism, a disdain for blacks and Hispanics that would fit comfortably on a KKK Imperial Wizard’s lips. And the other part of it is her fear that, if they succeed, she’ll have to acknowledge the failure that lies under all the undeserved accolades and professional advancements that came her way.

The Richard Sherman kerfuffle reveals the real racists among us

This is not polite behavior, and I expect better from all people.

This is not polite behavior, and I expect better from all people.

Words have always changed their meaning over time.  Some of the ones that used to have neutral, descriptive meanings came to be seen as insults because of their association with disfavored people in society.  For example, a spinster used to mean a woman (usually single) who spun wool or flax into thread.  It came to mean a desiccated, embittered, lonely single woman.  A bel dam was the French phrase for a beautiful mother.  It eventually devolved into “beldame,” meaning an ugly old hag.

Words for people who originated in non-Northern Africa (notice my carefully non-racial phrasing) have long had a similar problem.  Southern whites used to call them “colored” or used the “N-word.”  People who were not racist came to reject both those words.  The former pretty much vanished; the latter has now become more toxic than the formerly toxic F-word.  (While “nice” people once used the “N” word in polite company but not the “F” word, that distinction has been turned upside down.)

The next descriptive word to come along was “Negro” (from the Spanish word for the color black), a word that was considered polite and respectful.  It too was eventually seen as being a demeaning insult, so the word “black” cropped up.  After that, I kind of lost track.  There was African-American, which confused my kids who thought it referred to all people with dark skin.  They’d see a Ugandan or Nigerian on television, shown in his home village, and lisp “Look, it’s an African-American.”  Then there was the phrase “person of color,” which I’ve always thought is unpleasantly close to the Jim Crow appellation “colored person.”  In any event, I avoid it, because it’s too non-specific, applying almost randomly to blacks (my preferred word), Asians, Hispanics, Polynesians, East Indians, etc.  As a person of pallor myself, I find that vague appellation confusing.

The one constant in the past when it came to blacks and neutral/respectful appellations, was that, as time went by, blacks, supported by Leftist whites (usually in the media and academia) would tell the rest of us that words once used to describe blacks were verboten, and then offer up a new word they preferred.  This cycle played out every ten years or so.

In Obama’s America, however, we’re seeing something new.  Blacks are now taking any negative word and saying “You can’t use that word any more, ever, because to the extent it’s a negative word, you must be applying it to us.”  The latest example of this involves the kerfuffle about Richard Sherman, who voiced a short, boorish tirade against Michael Crabtree.  People looked at Sherman’s behavior and sought adjectives to define it.  Words such as “gracious,” “thoughtful,” “kind,” and “clever,” just didn’t seem right.  Instead, looking at his foam-flecked, maniacal rant, people who cared enough to comment decided that the noun “thug” and its adjective version “thuggish” were more accurate.  I would have used “boorish” (as I did above) or “ill-mannered” if I’d been asked.

By using the words boorish or ill-mannered, I would have been commenting on verbal behavior that was the antithesis of gracious, thoughtful, kind, or clever.  The same presumably holds true for those who thought “thuggish” more accurate than “gracious.”  I doubt it occurred to any of us — it certainly didn’t occur to me — that, by accurately labeling Sherman’s conduct, we were all engaging in dog whistle racism. It’s amazing that we’re all so naive.

You see, it turns out that all of the people who thought that Sherman, an African-American, verbally misbehaved when he shouted out maddened insults at Michael Crabtree, who is also an African-American, are racist.  So, if I get this right, people who reasonably expect a well-paid, professionally successful black man to conform to ordinary social standards, and who therefore express surprise when he doesn’t, are racist.  From which one can reasonably conclude the opposite, which is that the non-racist approach is to look at Sherman’s hysterical rant and say, “Yup, that’s totally normal behavior for one of those black-toned people of color.”

I am not making this up.  According to everyone from Charles Barkley to Bill Maher, being surprised when blacks behave badly means we’re racists.  Well, Messrs. Barkley and Maher, I have news for you:  You’re the racists and, to put it bluntly, you’re disgusting, low-down, dirty, thuggish, debased racists.  My expectations are that people of all races, color, creeds, countries of national origin, genders, and sexual orientations can behave graciously, even when under pressure.  I look at content of character.  You revolting race-mongers have made it painfully clear that you believe that color is destiny, and that the darker the skin color the more people are destined to behave badly.  You ought to be ashamed of yourselves!  There is absolutely nothing to distinguish your views from the views expressed by the mid-19th century trader auctioning slaves off under the broiling Southern sun.

How about a different approach to Holder’s demand that schools stop disciplinining minorities?

out-of-control-classroom-300x225It’s already old news now that Eric Holder has announced that schools must stop disciplining minority students because he feels they are disproportionately the subject of school discipline.  Many who read his edict thought, first, that a ukase against discipline based upon skin color, rather than conduct, was just about the most racist thing they’d ever seen; second, that this will be a disaster for minority children who are seeking some structure in their lives; and, third, that it marks the end of any discipline at all in schools, as each school drops to the lowest common denominator of possible behavior.

Robert Arvanitis has suggested that there is a different way to achieve racial parity — a way that would also expose how appalling Holder’s ideas are without turning schools into out-of-control war zones:

Holder now complains that valid, objective standards for school discipline are nonetheless racist if the results fall disproportionately on minorities.

Forget the rational rebuttals — it is unfair to all the other kids who are deprived of education; it ignores the root causes such as fatherless homes, causes engendered in turn by failed left policies.

Time to fight back in a smarter way. Let’s frustrate the left’s feedback mechanisms just as they themselves try to hijack and distort the real metrics of society.


For every “favored-minority” student disciplined for real cause, we report the required multiple of non-favored kids on comparable status. I don’t mean lie, I mean we actually do things like “in-school suspension.” No harm to records, which are all sealed for college applications and recorded in aggregate anyway.

Now if Holder catches on and seeks separate categories like in and out of school suspension, then we refine it a bit. Everyone is on “in-school” suspension,” and held in separate classrooms. We spend some extra for dedicated tutors for such separate classrooms. And when the real troublemakers fail to show up, then hey, they’re marked delinquent as well.

My point is that there is no rigid rule system the statists can impose, that we cannot game. I have long experience with such things as tax, accounting, and regulatory frameworks. They all fall because of the algebra — it’s called “over-determined equations.” When there are more constraints than free variables, there will necessarily be contradictions and inconsistencies in the system for us to exploit.

So rule away Eric; check, and mate.

My enlightening dinner with Blue State liberals

Dinner party

I had the opportunity the other day to dine with a collection of Blue State liberals.  It was enlightening, not because I actually learned anything from them, but because I learned about them.  It was also a reminder of how far I’ve traveled ideologically, because I used to be one of them.  Looking at them, I don’t regret my journey.

Most of the evening, of course, was idle chitchat, without any political ramifications.  Inevitably, though, politics and ideological issues cropped up.  I’ll just run down a few topics.

Antisemitism in higher education:

I was told in no uncertain terms that Columbia University cannot be antisemitic because it’s in New York.  My offer to produce evidence to support my thesis was rebuffed.  For those of you who, unlike Blue State liberals, feel that facts are valuable, these links support my contention that, New York address notwithstanding, Columbia is in thrall to Palestinian activists and BDS derangement:

100 Columbia professors demand divestment from Israel

Professors preach antisemitism from the Columbia pulpit

Columbia professor Joseph Massad, a one man antisemitism machine

Columbia students delighted at the opportunity to dine with Ahmadinejad

And of course, there’s simply the fact that Columbia is one of the more ideologically Left schools, although that wouldn’t have bothered my dinner companions.

The effect of taxes on investment:

One of my dinner companions is a successful investment analyst.  I asked him if he’d been hearing about any effects flowing from the Obamacare medical device tax.  “No, of course not.  It’s — what?  — a two percent tax.  That’s not going to make a difference to anybody.”  Again, my offer of contrary data was rejected, because it was obviously Fox News propaganda, never mind that it’s not from Fox News.  Stephen Hay, at Power Line, neatly summarizes a Wall Street Journal article predicated on actual investment data:

Today in my Constitutional Law class I’ll be taking up the famous case of McCulloch v. Maryland, the bank case from 1819 in which Chief Justice John Marshall observed that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy,” which immediately set my mind to thinking about . . . Obamacare.  Obamacare’s medical device tax—a tax not on profits remember, but on revenues—is doing its destructive work already.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that “Funding Dries Up for Medical Startups,” noting that “Investment in the medical-device and equipment industry is on pace to fall to $2.14 billion this year, down more than 40% from 2007 and the sharpest drop among the top five industry recipients of venture funding.”  It seems we have to relearn every few years (such as the luxury boat tax of 1990, swiftly repealed when it killed the boat-building industry) the basic lesson that Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan taught us: tax something and you get less of it.  Especially when you tax it like Obamacare, where the tax significantly reduces the after-tax return to investors.

When a 2% tax is on after-tax returns, and it targets a specific industry, surprisingly it does make a big difference to people.  Right now, the difference is at the investment level, but soon it will be at the consumer level, as consumers are less likely than ever before to see life-changing inventions such as the insulin pump or the cochlear implant.

American healthcare compared to other Western countries:  Everybody agreed that America has the worst health care compared to those countries with socialized medicine.  Britain doesn’t count, my fellow dinners told me, because it’s “chosen” to offer bad health care.  My attempts to talk about freedom of choice, market competition, declining government revenue, cost-based decisions to deny treatment to whole classes of patients, etc., were rudely brushed aside.  “That’s just Fox News propaganda.”  Likewise, the liberals also dismissed as “Fox News propaganda” my statement that the studies they’re relying on have as their metric availability of coverage, rather than quality of outcome. I therefore wasn’t surprised when they equally rudely dismissed me when I said that a recent study showed that America has some of the best cancer survival rates in the world.

Since I know that you’d never be that rude, let me just quote Avik Roy, who actually studies the numbers:

It’s one of the most oft-repeated justifications for socialized medicine: Americans spend more money than other developed countries on health care, but don’t live as long. If we would just hop on the European health-care bandwagon, we’d live longer and healthier lives. The only problem is it’s not true.


The problem, of course, is that there are many factors that affect life expectancy. One is wealth. It’s gross domestic product per capita, and not health-care policy, that correlates most strongly to life expectancy. Gapminder has produced many colorful charts that show the strong correlation between wealth and health.


If you really want to measure health outcomes, the best way to do it is at the point of medical intervention. If you have a heart attack, how long do you live in the U.S. vs. another country? If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer? In 2008, a group of investigators conducted a worldwide study of cancer survival rates, called CONCORD. They looked at 5-year survival rates for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, and prostate cancer. I compiled their data for the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and western Europe. Guess who came out number one?

[chart omitted]

U-S-A! U-S-A! What’s just as interesting is that Japan, the country that tops the overall life expectancy tables, finished in the middle of the pack on cancer survival.

I’m not doing justice Roy’s article with these snippets, so I urge you to read the whole thing.  Suffice to say that my companions were uninterested in data that ran counter to their narrative.

The racist inside every liberal:  My dinner companions did concede that culture is a factor in health care, although they stopped short of admitting (as they should have) that a country as diverse as America will never be able to counter cultural differences with socialized medicine.  (Or, rather, they couldn’t admit that it would take overwhelming government coercion to do so.)

One of the guests described a patient with a treatable disorder — i.e., one that could be controlled with a carefully regimented plan of medicine and treatment — who was too disorganized to follow the treatment.  As a result, this person ended up in the emergency room one to two times a month, at great cost to the system.  The healthcare provider finally hired a minimum wage worker to remind the patient to take the medicines and to drive the patient to the hospital.  Another guests said, “Black, right?”  The person who told the story said, “I can’t tell you that, but probably.”  They snickered companionably over the fact that blacks are just too dumb to care for themselves.

Another way of looking at it, though, was that this patient did fine:  The patient didn’t have to fuss with drugs (and their side-effects), got emergency treatment on an as-needed basis, and ended up having a dedicated employee to detail with the finicky little details of disease maintenance.  Who’s snickering now?

The power that maintains slavery:  One of the people at the dinner was a student studying American history.  The curriculum had reached the Civil War.  The student asked a good question:  “I don’t get how the slaves let themselves stay that way.  After all, they outnumbered the whites.”  Good point.  The liberal dinner guests started mumbling about systems, and complexity, and psychology.  And I do mean mumbling.  They didn’t offer data.  They just mouthed buzzwords such as “it’s complex,” or “you have to understand the system,” or “well, there’s a psychology there.”  I interrupted:  “The slave owners were armed.  The slaves were denied arms.  The side with weapons, even if it’s smaller in number, wins.”  To my surprise, none of the liberals in the room had anything to add.

The food was good and my dinner companions were periodically interesting and charming, so the dinner wasn’t a total loss.  Nevertheless, I found dismaying the arrogant ignorance that powers their engines.  All I could think of was my own blog’s motto:  “Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts.”  That was my dinner in a nutshell.