Ed Driscoll

Ed Driscoll

B.B. King in Home Hospice Care

May 2nd, 2015 - 12:31 pm

There was some confusion yesterday when singer Ben E. King of “Stand By Me” fame died that it was actually legendary bluesman B.B. King. Today, we learn that while B.B. is still alive age 89, he’s not well. “King remains in hospice care Saturday at his home in Las Vegas,” USA Today reports:

King’s longtime business manager Laverne Toney says the musician had a good night and she welcomed the concern about his health. Toney has legal control over King’s affairs.

King first informed his fans Friday via Facebook.

“I am in home hospice care at my residence in Las Vegas,” wrote the blues legend. “Thanks to all for your well wishes and prayers.”

The Clarion-Ledger reports King was briefly hospitalized Thursday for the second time in a month. The Hall of Fame member was diagnosed with diabetes decades ago.

Last night, the London Daily Mail ran an article with the harrowing headline, “BB King was being abused by his manager before he was hospitalized with a minor heart attack, according to blues legend’s daughter:”

Patty King said the blues legend’s long time handler Laverne Toney refused to let her take him to hospital after he’d suffered a heart attack.

According to TMZ, there is an ongoing battle between Patty and Toney, who lives with the 89-year-old in Las Vegas.

Patty reportedly became worried when her father wouldn’t eat and his urine turned orange, and decided to take him to hospital

But when Toney — who has the power of attorney over the guitarist — refused, his daughter called the police.

Responding officers concurred that he needed medical attention and summoned paramedics, who then brought him to hospital.

It was there doctors diagnosed he had had a mild heart attack.

Patty and her boyfriend have already accused Toney of elder abuse, as well as burglary. In November they filed a police report accusing her of fleecing up to $30million and several items of jewelry from the 16-time Grammy winner, as well as withholding his medication.

While police investigated the accusations, no charges were filed against her.

Whatever is going on there, it doesn’t sound good. As the Daily Mail notes, King “toured as recently as last year, but was forced to drop out suffering from dehydration and exhaustion after a show in Chicago.”

B.B. King was one of my teenage idols when I first started learning the electric guitar. I used to love watching King’s regular appearances on the Tonight Show, backed by Johnny Carson’s crack orchestra, with his powerful vocals and incredible vibrato on the guitar, his fingers transforming bent single-string notes into alternately sweet and stinging tones. I was fortunate to see him in September of 2007 Concord Pavilion in northern California. King, then 81, headlined a show with the opening acts of Etta James and the great soul-singer Al Green. By this period of his career though, B.B. King’s set resembled that of another electric guitar legend in his later years, Les Paul. King, once a powerful performer (Four words: Live at the Regal) was seated throughout his entire set, which was filled with sentimental shaggy dog stories between numbers, and only occasionally playing guitar, unlike the old days when he could simply wail on “Lucille,” his Gibson semi-hollowbody electric.

Still though, as with Les, I’m very glad I got to see B.B. King live – and I hope that many others will too going forward, but the articles over the past two days don’t sound promising.

Manolo, the world’s first superstar shoeblogger finally comes clean as H.D. Miller, chair of the Department of History, Politics and Philosophy at Lipscomb University in Nashville:

In April of 2002, I launched a political rant blog under the title “Travelling Shoes”, a blog that lasted three years, was widely read, and has since thankfully disappeared from the internet, taking with it opinions about politics that I would like to forget I ever held. After that, my history as a writer took a surreal turn, and in October of 2004 I became one of the first fashion bloggers, a pseudonymous figure cited in the press as both one the funniest things on the internet, and a model of how fashion blogging was changing commerce. I did very well from that venture, well enough to quit being an academic and move to Argentina for a year. Unfortunately, that year was 2008, the year of the economic crash. By early 2009 advertising had dried up and my business was in trouble, and so I moved back to the States and went back to work in the real world, back to the academy.

I met H.D. around 2008 when he was still deep undercover as Manolo; it was a brilliant strategy, creating a niche for himself as a pioneer in the then-new world of fashion blogging (which is now ubiquitous, with loads of one-person fashion blogs and photo-oriented Tumblr sites, and established publications adding blogs to their Websites after initially sneering at the notion in the early naughts). And simultaneously, a way to completely depoliticize a blog by establishing a new identity, along with the outrageously affected tone of the European panache that was the shoe-blogging style of the Manolo.

Has the Manolo persona been retired? If so I will miss him. Perhaps I will wear the shoes of the blue suede in his honor today.

Or not. “I Felt A Great Disturbance In The Narrative,” Kate McMillan writes at Small Dead Animals:

Kate links to this spot-on observation by Ace in the wake of the racial equality of the six Baltimore officers accused of killing Freddie Gray: “‘Anti-Americanism’ is a culturally-approved safe harbor for expressing one’s own (forbidden) jingoism,” and building on Mr. Obama’s infamous remark early in his first term that “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism:”

A Greek man thumping his chest at how jingoistic Americans are — he’s not saying “we’re all equal.” He’s saying Greeks are superior. He’s saying Americans are stupid for getting the question of “Who is Best?” wrong.

Likewise, many minorities now employ a constant, codified, ritualized attack on White People as their method of engaging in some bumptious, egotistical Racial Triumphalism.

And this becomes more obvious every single day.

Guys? If you think your own culture or race is the best, stop being dishonest, and just express your honest chauvanistic and/or racist feelings.

Stop using the nasty passive-aggressive subterfuge of always strongly, strongly implying that you are Superior to Whitey as your chickenshit method of proclaiming racial superiority.

Just come out and own your own ego-driven, hateful, backwards, ignorant cracker-ass racism, for god’s sakes.

Which brings us to Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, who writes that Baltimore city’s state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby “just bought herself some trouble over Freddie Gray” Note this line from Mosby, who sounds very much like she’s already prejudged the case:

“To the people of Baltimore and demonstrators across America, I heard your call for ‘No Justice, No peace,’” she said. “Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.”

“This should be alarming to anyone in the justice system,” Jazz writes:

Cries in the streets of “No Justice No Peace” are certainly protected, First Amendment speech, but they are also a strongly implied threat of lawlessness which stands apart from whatever perceived injustice is being protested. To have the State’s Attorney echo that on the steps of the courthouse was off-putting to say the least. What’s more, it was a very direct signal that the crowds threatening the state with “no peace” had secured a victory by having Mosby stand up in public and declare that she would “deliver justice” for Freddie Gray long before there has been a trial, to say nothing of a conviction of officers who are innocent until proven guilty. How does one promise what justice will look like before a determination has been made?

Well, yes. But then, as PJTV alumnus Steven Crowder tweets:

Our Source was the New York Times

May 1st, 2015 - 12:54 pm

First class journalism and/or photo editing there, fellas.

Why are all great writers conservative? Liel Leibovitz has the answer in Tablet (H/T: Kathy Shaidle):

If you’re even remotely familiar with literature, you will, of course, recognize this theme right away: Provincial lad, starstruck, muscles his way into the gilded literary heavens, learns that they are just as plain as the earth, and sobers into a real writer. The aforementioned Balzac captured it all nicely when he named his novel Lost Illusions. Pick a novel at random, and you’re just as likely as not to find one of those sad young literary men, be it Marcel gazing at the dimming glamor of the aristocracy or Nathan Zuckerman learning that his icon, E.I. Lonoff, is, in close quarters, not much of a literary lion at all.

But that’s not my story. My story is new, and much more terrifying. What I learned, in my years of orbiting the intelligentsia, wasn’t that the allegedly learned and refined weren’t really that refined or learned; it’s that they weren’t really intellectually, emotionally, or morally present at all.

If you want to know what I mean, just read a few of the select explanations provided this week by the writers who chose to sit out the PEN dinner. “A hideous crime was committed,” wrote the novelist Peter Carey, “but was it a freedom-of-speech issue for PEN America to be self-righteous about?” And this, from a letter signed by 26 of contemporary literature’s most vaunted, arguing that Charlie Hebdo “seems to be entirely sincere in its anarchic expressions of disdain toward organized religion. But in an unequal society, equal opportunity offense does not have an equal effect. Power and prestige are elements that must be recognized in considering almost any form of discourse, including satire.”

Can you imagine Balzac arguing that a novelist mustn’t scrutinize the poor and the rich alike, as the poor—poor souls—are too underprivileged to pass through literature’s relentless magnifying glass? Or the Bard abandoning Othello lest someone walk away convinced that all Moorish generals were murderous thugs? That would be—to borrow a phrase associated with Wallace Shawn, another of the letter’s signatories—inconceivable. Writers, real ones, grasp for as much of humanity as they can hold in their embrace. Their motto is the one forged by the Roman playwright Terrence millennia ago: “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.” I am a human being; nothing human is alien to me.

To the dolts who declined to partake in the PEN gala, Terrence’s words are as much a lifeless relic as the language in which he wrote. They, and the hordes of others in their circles, ask of a work of fiction not whether it is a thing of truth and beauty but where it might fall on a spectrum of insensitivities, real or imagined, and just how ill-at-ease it might make some readers feel. In Whitman they seek only affirmation of his homosexuality, in Woolf something to say about gender and power. They see no splendor in the leaves of grass, nor the beauty of the pale footfall of the light emanating from the Lighthouse. They seek nothing but confirmation of their preconceived notions, narrow and hard. The torch of their talent they affix to a wall where it lights, always and only, a thin sliver of the known world.

But then, as Danial Hannan wrote yesterday in the Washington Free Beacon, “If you start from the conviction that you’re standing up for the underdog, you will naturally assume that your political opponents are for the powerful. You will subliminally screen out evidence that challenges that view…They’re not playing to the gallery. They’re not sloganizing. They genuinely believe that we conservatives went into politics because we hate the poor.” Having such massive blinkers limiting your worldview to Thomas Nast cartoons (or worse, Herblock) is a surefire way to produce unreadable works.

This is yet another sea change that occurred in the 19th century, as the rules of “Progressivism” were being formulated and the Enlightenment was being smashed. In 1927, French author Julien Benda wrote in The Treason of the Intellectuals, “Our age is indeed the age of the intellectual organization of political hatreds,” as Jonah Goldberg notes in the latest edition of National Review on Dead Tree (sadly behind the paywall, at least for the moment):

Benda’s diagnosis of the West’s intellectual betrayal — or rather his diagnosis of the intellectuals’ betrayal of the West — is an underappreciated marvel. From Socrates until the end of the 19th century, according to Benda, it was the job of the clercs to uphold universal ideals for all mankind. Humanity “did evil for two thousand years, but honored good. This contradiction was an honor to the human species, and formed the rift whereby civilization slipped into the world.”

In other words, our hypocrisy is what made our humanity recognizable. Barbarians are rarely hypocrites; animals never fall short of their ideals — for they have none.

But according to Benda, the intellectuals could not bear the burden of this contradiction. The rise of nationalism, socialism, and all the ethnocentrisms that disguised themselves in such cloaks amounted to a rejection of universal ideals in general and of the Enlightenment in particular. Intellectuals, for the first time, sided with the mob over Socrates. Indeed, the mob itself, with its particular appetites and desires, became the new beau idéal. “Those who for centuries had exhorted men, at least theoretically, to deaden the feeling of their differences . . . have now come to praise them, . . . be it ‘fidelity to the French soul,’ ‘the immutability of their German consciousness,’ [or] . . . the ‘fervor of their Italian hearts.’” The Christianity that proclaimed in Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” gave way to the Aryans and socialists alike who proclaimed Jesus their blue-eyed savior or the “first socialist.”

“In Benda’s formula, this boils down to the conviction that ‘politics decides morality,’” my fellow PJM columnist Roger Kimball wrote in the New Criterion in 1992 (not behind a paywall; definitely read the whole thing):

To be sure, the cynicism that Callicles espoused is perennial: like the poor, it will be always with us. What Benda found novel was the accreditation of such cynicism by intellectuals. “It is true indeed that these new ‘clerks’ declare that they do not know what is meant by justice, truth, and other ‘metaphysical fogs,’ that for them the true is determined by the useful, the just by circumstances,” he noted. “All these things were taught by Callicles, but with this difference; he revolted all the important thinkers of his time.”

In other words, the real treason of the intellectuals was not that they countenanced Callicles but that they championed him. To appreciate the force of Benda’s thesis one need only think of that most influential modern Callicles, Friedrich Nietzsche. His doctrine of “the will to power,” his contempt for the “slave morality” of Christianity, his plea for an ethic “beyond good and evil,” his infatuation with violence—all epitomize the disastrous “pragmatism” that marks the intellectual’s “treason.” The real problem was not the unattainability but the disintegration of ideals, an event that Nietzsche hailed as the “transvaluation of all values.” “Formerly,” Benda observed, “leaders of States practiced realism, but did not honor it; … With them morality was violated but moral notions remained intact; and that is why, in spite of all their violence, they did not disturb civilization.”

Which brings us to Matt Welch at Reason, who notes that “145 Intellectuals Agree: Dead Cartoonists Aren’t Worthy of Free-Speech Award if Their Murderers Come From a Disadvantaged Minority: Charlie Hebdo’s posthumous critics pen an authoritarian anti-speech manifesto,” a particularly chilling thought given that today is May Day.

“When Minimum-Wage Hikes Hit a San Francisco Comic-Book Store,” as explored by Ian Tuttle at NRO:

I’m hearing from a lot of customers, ‘I voted for that, and I didn’t realize it would affect you.’”

So says Brian Hibbs, owner and operator of Comix Experience, an iconic comic-book and graphic-novel shop on San Francisco’s Divisadero Street, of the city’s new minimum-wage law.

San Francisco’s Proposition J, which 77 percent of voters approved in November, will raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 by 2018. As of today, May 1, Hibbs is required by law to pay his employees at Comix Experience, and its sister store, Comix Experience Outpost on Ocean Avenue, $12.25 per hour. That’s just the first of four incremental raises that threaten to put hundreds of such shops out of business.

Hibbs opened Comix Experience on April Fools’ Day, 1989, when he was just 21 years old. Over two-and-a-half decades, the store has become a must-visit location for premier comic-book artists and graphic novelists, and Hibbs has become a leading figure in the industry, serving as a judge for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and as a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s board of directors. He notes with pride that his store has turned a profit each year — no small task — since its very first year.

But that may not last. Hibbs says that the $15-an-hour minimum wage will require a staggering $80,000 in extra revenue annually. “I was appalled!” he says. “My jaw dropped. Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb.”

He runs a tight operation already, he says. Comix Experience is open ten hours a day, seven days a week, with usually just one employee at each store at a time. It’s not viable to cut hours, he says, because his slowest hours are in the middle of the day. And he can’t raise prices, because comic books and graphic novels have their retail prices printed on the cover.

What is a small-businessman to do?

Well, science fiction offers one possibility:

Mary Whitehouse Finally Triumphs in England

April 30th, 2015 - 12:44 pm

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The sexy girl atop this post really is necessary to the plot — honest. But first, some backstory to explain why she’s there. If you’ve ever read a history of Monty Python’s Flying Circus during its years on the BBC (before it entered into near continuous reruns on PBS starting in the mid-1970s), at some point, the name Mary Whitehouse will pass by as a fleeting reference. Here’s how Wikipedia explains her:

Constance Mary Whitehouse, CBE (née Hutcheson, 13 June 1910 – 23 November 2001) was an English social activist known for her strong opposition to social liberalism and the mainstream British media, both of which she accused of encouraging a more permissive society. She was the founder and first president of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, through which she led a longstanding campaign against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). A staunch social conservative, she was disparagingly termed a reactionary by her socially liberal opponents. Her motivation derived from her traditional Christian beliefs, her aversion to the rapid social and political changes in British society of the 1960s and her work as a teacher of sex education.

Born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, Whitehouse became an art teacher, at the same time becoming involved in evangelical Christian groups such as the Student Christian Movement and Moral Re-Armament. She became a public figure via the Clean-Up TV pressure group, established in 1964, in which she was the most prominent figure. The following year she founded the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, using it as a platform to criticise the BBC for what she perceived as a lack of accountability, and excessive portrayals of sex, violence and bad language. As a result, she became an object of mockery in the media, especially by the BBC.

During the 1970s she broadened her activities, and was a leading figure in the Nationwide Festival of Light, a Christian campaign that gained mass support for a period. She initiated a successful private prosecution against Gay News on the grounds of blasphemous libel, the first such case for more than 50 years. Another private prosecution was against the director of the play The Romans in Britain, which had been performed at the National Theatre, which she withdrew when it became clear she was about to lose.

Whitehouse’s campaigns continue to divide opinion. Her critics have accused her of being a highly censorious figure, and her traditional moral convictions brought her into direct conflict with supporters of the sexual revolution, feminists and gay rights campaigners. Others see her more positively and believe she was attempting to halt a decline in what they perceived as Britain’s moral standards. According to Ben Thompson, the editor of an anthology of Whitehouse-related letters, in 2012: “From Mumsnet to … feminist anti-pornography campaigns [and] the executive naming and shaming strategies of UK Uncut, her ideological and tactical influence has been discernible in all sorts of unexpected places in recent years.”

And how. Which brings us to “Britain’s Crazy Decision to Ban ‘Beach Body’ Ads,” as explored by fashion journalist Lizzie Crocker in the Daily Beast:

Protein World’s ad campaign went up in London’s tube stations several weeks ago, prompting a scathing, widely-shared editorial in The Guardian.

Writer and co-founder of the Vagenda blog, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, had returned from Cuba to jarring reverse-culture shock in the “dark, putrid bowels of London’s underground system.”

It was only after visiting Cuba, a totalitarian country where there are no advertisements, that she realized “how much my field of vision is occupied without my consent by images and messages that want to sell me stuff (and, being a woman, it’s usually based on claims that it will make me look better).”

The emphasis here is mine. Cosslett is not simply deploying the language of sexual assault in a heavy-handed metaphor. She’s applying victimhood rhetoric to the larger feminist cause, depicting women as emotionally fragile and easily-traumatized, no matter how banal the offense.

Cosslett feels “attacked” by marketing messages from brands like Protein World, which “will continue their sexist advertising tactics for as long as we let them.”

But her “call for resistance” is patronizing to women with its demands that they be protected from everyday imagery. Now that the ASA is intervening with Protein World’s campaign, they won’t be assaulted by the sight of a model’s navel on a large billboard in the tube.

As Iowahawk tweets today with a flashback to Orwell’s 1984, “The Junior Anti-Sex League is on the case” against the above “Doubleplus ungoodthink hotbod.” To understand how England transformed itself in a half century from postwar “Swinging London” to the censorious socialism predicted by Orwell, over on the right-hand side of the aisle, Robert Tracinski of the Federalist explains “The Paradox of Dogma: How the Left Is Crippling Itself.” As with most of the left’s worst ideas, it starts on college campuses:

The cultural and political left is cocooning itself in a bubble of ideological uniformity. This is intended to totally suppress dissent on key issues by making it impossible for anyone to even express a divergent opinion. The result is to entrench leftist dogma, in the hope that a whole generation will graduate from college unable to engage in thoughtcrime.

That’s the dilemma for anyone trying to overturn any aspect of this dogma. How can you debate an issue and change anyone’s mind, when the discussion has been rigged so that your viewpoint is dismissed as illegitimate before anyone has even heard it? So the new orthodoxy seems impenetrable and its hold on the young unbreakable.

Yet the safe space described by Shulevitz, with its Play-Doh and frolicking puppies, captures the infantilizing nature of the ideological bubble. As Shulevitz puts it:

People ought to go to college to sharpen their wits and broaden their field of vision. Shield them from unfamiliar ideas, and they’ll never learn the discipline of seeing the world as other people see it. They’ll be unprepared for the social and intellectual headwinds that will hit them as soon as they step off the campuses whose climates they have so carefully controlled. What will they do when they hear opinions they’ve learned to shrink from? If they want to change the world, how will they learn to persuade people to join them?

If I were to come up with one idea for how the left could cripple itself over the long term, it would be: teach your young adherents that ideological debate is an abnormal trauma and that it is a terrible imposition to ever expect them to engage in it. It is a great way of raising a generation of mental cripples. And that is exactly what they have set out to do.

The result, as Reason’s Nick Gillespie vividly describes back at the Daily Beast, is that 21st century universities “are raising human veal that cannot even stand on their own legs or face the sunlight without having their eyeballs burned out and their hearts broken by a single deep breath or uncomfortable moment. I’m just waiting for stories of college deans carrying students from class to class on their backs.” Like myself, Nick received his education just before political correctness began to fully descend upon college campuses:

Attending Rutgers in the early ’80s, you could walk from one end of the centuries-old College Avenue Campus to the other and encounter screaming matches over divesting the stocks of companies that did business in South Africa, whether Nicaragua was already a Soviet satellite, and the supposedly self-hating theology of Jews for Jesus.

Hardly a week went by, it seemed, without a public demonstration for and against the burgeoning gay rights movement, a protested showing of the anti-abortion movie Silent Scream, and debates over how great and/or evil Ronald Reagan actually was. The whole idea of college was about arguing and debating, not shielding ourselves from disagreements.

Even as it seemed to be an all-you-can-eat buffet of exotic new ideas, outrages, and attitudes, it wasn’t paradise, and I shudder to think of the insensitivities that were taken for granted by the privileged and internalized by the oppressed of the day. Nobody wants to return to the days when campus was segregated by race, gender, and lest we forget, class.

But the way students and especially administrators talk about college today, you’d think parents are paying ever-higher tuition so their children can attend a reeducation camp straight out of China’s Cultural Revolution. It’s as if college presidents, deans, and the ever-increasing number of bureaucrats and administrators and residence-life muckety-mucks walked away from Animal House firmly believing that Dean Wormer was not only the hero of movie but a role model. At all costs, order must be enforced and no space for free play or discord can be allowed!

In America, Dean Wormer has won. In England, Mary Whitehouse finally triumphed. How’s that “Progressivism” working out these days?

Update: Latest version of the Newspeak Dictionary has been published. Outer Party members are advised to discard previous doubleplusungood oldthink versions immediately:

More: Allahpundit rides the PC Mobius loop: “We’ve reached an odd moment culturally when leftists in the government hector us to lose weight and avoid the health risks from obesity while leftists outside the government hector us to stop ‘body-shaming’ and accept that people come in all shapes and sizes. Can’t wait to find out who wins!”

Spot-on observation by Danial Hannan, conservative member of Parliament, in the Washington Examiner. Hannan writes, “to a greater degree than most of us care to admit, our political leanings are expressions of our character traits, and are not dependent on empirical data:”

If you start from the conviction that you’re standing up for the underdog, you will naturally assume that your political opponents are for the powerful. You will subliminally screen out evidence that challenges that view. As Danusha Goska put it in American Thinker not long ago, “Never, in all my years of leftist activism, did I ever hear anyone articulate accurately the position of anyone to our right. In fact, I did not even know those positions when I was a leftist.”

Do rightists also caricature their opponents? Yes, but not to anything like the same extent. A 2012 study by Jesse Graham, Brian A. Nosek and Jonathan Haidt asked conservatives and liberals to answer a series of questions as themselves, and then to answer them in the imagined personae of a typical conservative and a typical liberal. It found that the liberals were the least able to accurately to guess their opponents’ views, seeing conservatism as a kind of moral failure.

They’re not playing to the gallery. They’re not sloganizing. They genuinely believe that we conservatives went into politics because we hate the poor.

Read the whole thing. As Hannan writes, “In all the years I’ve been in politics, I’m not sure I’ve shaken a single socialist out of the ‘you conservatives hate poor people’ shtick. The only way to answer, I’ve found, is to say: ‘Yup, you’re right: we want to turn them into rich people.’”

But then they would be evil. Unless they were Democrats.

Return with us now to the happy fun years of MSNBC, when in 2009, merely opposing Mr. Obama’s spendthrift fiscal policies was “racism straight up,” and 2012, when words like “golf” and “Chicago” were racist dog whistles. (As James Taranto deadpanned at the time, if you’re hearing dog whistles, you’re the dog.)

Today, MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, married to Obama’s former White House chef (the Obamas attended their wedding), unleashes her inner racialist for all to see, while interviewing a far left Salon hack:

Brittney, you bring up this point in your writing today that it is as much a black-white issue as much as it’s a black-black issue. I mean, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is a black woman. Barack Obama is half-black, half-white, but is identified as a black president and they’re using the word thug. Now, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has since apologized, but the president seems, if we’re to believe the White House press secretary, defiantly sort of doubling down on this is how I describe looters and people who perpetrate violence.

As someone noted on Twitter, while the Baltimore CVS was being picked clean live on MSNBC Monday night, Wagner referred to it as a “possible” looting. The previous week, as the Weasel Zippers blog spotted, “Wagner Thinks Photo Of Boston Bomber Giving Middle Finger Just Him Being A 19 Yr Old.” MSNBC viewers — they blow up so fast these days!

On the other hand, if you worked at MSNBC, wouldn’t you be doing anything you could to escape? Perhaps, as with Martin Bashir’s scatological attack on Sarah Palin in late 2013, which resulted in his firing, this is all a coded cry for help. Has anyone checked the video at Real Clear Politics to see if Alex is blinking SOS in Morse code?

In the meantime, as Greg Pollowitz of Twitchy quips, “This is a really good week. Thug, thanks to POTUS, and Obama is half black, thanks to @alexwagner, are now  approved for use.”

You stay classy, NBC and Comcast.

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The New York Daily News is more populist than its crosstown rivals at the New York Times, which is understandable given its tabloid format, and while it’s usually not as far to the left in its tone, it’s still a left-leaning newspaper. And we’ve seen since the mid-naughts, certainly since January of 2009, Democrats in America lean very far to the left, indeed. But no, Baltimore isn’t America’s crisis, it’s the left’s. As Kevin D. Williamson wrote yesterday at NRO, “Riot-Plagued Baltimore Is a Catastrophe Entirely of the Democratic Party’s Own Making,” particularly given that the city hasn’t had a Republican Mayor in nearly half a century.

Responding to Kevin’s article at the Corner, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If Republicans were responsible for the systemic, intergenerational failure of urban America, liberals would have an easy explanation: racism. That would be unfair to say of Republicans, and it’s unfair to hurl the charge at Democrats, too (Though a certain kind of liberal condescension is a kind of racism, I suppose.). But since they are incapable or unwilling to discuss the obvious explanations  – corruption, cronyism, incompetence etc — liberals must offer an even broader indictment of “the system.”

When you start with a premise that excludes the obvious facts, you can end up saying some impressively stupid things.

David French (welcome aboard, btw) posted this last night. CNN’s Brooke Baldwin seems to believe that the real culprits behind the riots just might be veterans returning home from Bush’s wars. She doesn’t use the phrase “Bush’s wars” but it’s implied (variants of this theory are like catnip for liberals, desperate to turn veterans into either victims or villains). As David rightly notes, the “veterans did it” angle is absurd on its face. The kids jumping up and down on burned-out cop cars clearly didn’t spend two tours in Fallujah or Kandahar. Moreover, the people most “ready for battle” aren’t the veterans of conflicts abroad, but veterans of the Battle of Ferguson. These migratory professional instigators think it’s bold and revolutionary for thugs to burn down middle class black shops and the chain drug stores low income people buy their medicines from.

As Jim Geraghty writes in his daily “Morning Jolt” email today, “No, We Don’t All Need to Do Some ‘Soul Searching’ over Baltimore.” In his speech after his constituents spent Monday “communicating,” as the New Republic would say, with Baltimore drug stores and old people’s homes, Mr. Obama claimed, “I think there are police departments that have to do some soul searching. I think there are some communities that have to do some soul searching. But I think we, as a country, have to do some soul searching.” Jim responds, “No, we don’t!”

This is not a time for the usual “Socialism of Blame” where responsibility for what happened gets spread far and wide and equally to everybody.

Why do we have to do some soul searching? We didn’t do anything to Freddie Gray, the man who died after being arrested. The police actions are being investigated. We didn’t set fire to a senior center under construction. We didn’t run into a CVS and grab everything we could. We didn’t set police cruisers on fire, or jump atop smashed police cruisers.

You know who’s responsible for the punctured fire hose? The SOB who reached down with a knife and stabbed the fire hose!

All over Twitter Monday evening, people linked to that video and asked, “Why would he do that?” as if the answer were unimaginable. He did it because he didn’t want the firefighters to put the fire out. He wanted the businesses to burn. He wanted the buildings to burn. He wanted to destroy. This may reflect his inability to create anything of value in his life so far, or it may reflect an anarchic desire to see destruction, which motivates many arsonists. After a while, the “why” stops mattering that much. It pales in comparison to the need to stop a guy like this.

“We, as a country, have to do some soul searching”? I’m sure there’s a significant chunk of you who have never even been to Baltimore.

We can shut down our entire chain of soul stores and do a complete inventory, counting what’s on every shelf, and it’s not going to change one fact on the ground in Baltimore.

But this is all part for the course when a crisis entirely made of “Progressive” policies occurs. As Jonah wrote in Liberal Fascism:

In the liberal telling of America’s story, there are only two perpetrators of official misdeeds: conservatives and “America” writ large. progressives, or modern liberals, are never bigots or tyrants, but conservatives often are. For example, one will virtually never hear that the Palmer Raids, Prohibition, or American eugenics were thoroughly progressive phenomena. These are sins America itself must atone for. Meanwhile, real or alleged “conservative” misdeeds—say, McCarthyism—are always the exclusive fault of conservatives and a sign of the policies they would repeat if given power. The only culpable mistake that liberals make is failing to fight “hard enough” for their principles. Liberals are never responsible for historic misdeeds, because they feel no compulsion to defend the inherent goodness of America. Conservatives, meanwhile, not only take the blame for events not of their own making that they often worked the most assiduously against, but find themselves defending liberal misdeeds in order to defend America herself.

In the first volume of The Age of Reagan, Power Line’s Steve Hayward explored in depth how the liberal-mandated relaxed policing of the 1960s and ’70s led to the collapse of cities as diverse as Detroit, Newark, and New York. As we mentioned back in March, even as the rot was quickly settling in under his watch, New York’s Mayor John Lindsay ran for a second term in 1969 with campaign ads designed to scare the hell out of voters. The ads told them explicitly that if they didn’t reelect him, New York would soon resemble its war-torn neighbor just across the Hudson:

Over the next five years, Hollywood would crank out a succession of films shot on location in Lindsay’s New York that today serve as inadvertent documentaries to illustrate just much further the city would descend: Death Wish, Taxi Driver, the Panic in Needle Park, etc.

Could New York revert back to that form? On a local level, Bill de Blasio is doing his best to weaken the “Broken Windows” police crime-fighting techniques that allowed Rudy Giuliani reclaim the city from New York more feral elements. On a national level, Hillary Clinton  running on the good memories of the 1990s under her husband’s administration (and ahem, a GOP Congress and Senate to keep his worst excesses in check) and is once again simultaneously running against the reason why the 1990s aren’t looked back on as a total repeat of the 1970s: “Hillary Clinton calls for overhaul of crime policies put in place under Bill Clinton,” the Washington Post notes today.

What could go wrong?

In any case, with Democrats’ attacks on police, on a campaign level, with Molotov cocktails by their more enthusiastic young supporters in places like Ferguson and Baltimore, and by their operatives with bylines and minicams in the media, the next few years could be very ugly indeed for America’s cities, no matter which party wins in 2016.

Exit quote:

“Riot-Plagued Baltimore Is a Catastrophe Entirely of the Democratic Party’s Own Making,” Kevin D. Williamson writes at NRO. Kevin is spot-on as usual:

Would any sentient adult American be shocked to learn that Baltimore has a corrupt and feckless police department enabled by a corrupt and feckless city government? I myself would not, and the local authorities’ dishonesty and stonewalling in the death of Freddie Gray is reminiscent of what we have seen in other cities. There’s a heap of evidence that the Baltimore police department is pretty bad.

This did not come out of nowhere. While the progressives have been running the show in Baltimore, police commissioner Ed Norris was sent to prison on corruption charges (2004), two detectives were sentenced to 454 years in prison for dealing drugs (2005), an officer was dismissed after being videotaped verbally abusing a 14-year-old and then failing to file a report on his use of force against the same teenager (2011), an officer was been fired for sexually abusing a minor (2014), and the city paid a quarter-million-dollar settlement to a man police illegally arrested for the non-crime of recording them at work with his mobile phone. There’s a good deal more. Does that sound like a disciplined police organization to you?

Yes, Baltimore seems to have some police problems. But let us be clear about whose fecklessness and dishonesty we are talking about here: No Republican, and certainly no conservative, has left so much as a thumbprint on the public institutions of Baltimore in a generation. Baltimore’s police department is, like Detroit’s economy and Atlanta’s schools, the product of the progressive wing of the Democratic party enabled in no small part by black identity politics. This is entirely a left-wing project, and a Democratic-party project.

When will the Left be held to account for the brutality in Baltimore — brutality for which it bears a measure of responsibility on both sides? There aren’t any Republicans out there cheering on the looters, and there aren’t any Republicans exercising real political power over the police or other municipal institutions in Baltimore. Community-organizer — a wretched term — Adam Jackson declared that in Baltimore “the Democrats and the Republicans have both failed.” Really? Which Republicans? Ulysses S. Grant? Unless I’m reading the charts wrong, the Baltimore city council is 100 percent Democratic.

Because there’s no way for the left to process that, let alone admit it publicly, news anchor Brooke Baldwin of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO is blaming military vets for the Baltimore riots, as John Nolte writes today at Big Journalism:

In a pathetic suck-up interview with Democrat Congressman Elijah Cummins, Baldwin never once had the moral courage to ask the failed Baltimore City congressman if the left-wing policies ushered in by a half-century of a Democrat monopoly in Baltimore might have something to do with the city’s ills. Instead, she said of young military veterans who become police officers, “I love our nation’s veterans, but some of them are coming back from war, they don’t know the communities, and they are ready to do battle.”

The context was a discussion about increased training and retraining for the Baltimore police.

There’s no question Baldwin is hoping to launch a narrative with that smear.

This is pure CNN; throwing out anti-science smears towards the best people this country has to offer while it is in reality the rioters who are “doing battle.” It is savages who are looting and burning and causing anarchy, not the police. But it is the Baltimore police who have 15 wounded among their ranks. It is the Baltimore police who calmly did not do much battle during Monday night’s riots.

Meanwhile, David Simon, the creator of the Time-Warner-CNN-HBO series The Wire blames “reactionary governance” — again, despite Baltimore’s last GOP mayor having departed nearly 50 years ago:

Here’s what Simon really means, from Brett Martin’s best-selling 2013 book, Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad:

As much as Simon was devoted to the romance and art of journalism and, more important, to nonfiction, even he had to concede that fiction film and TV were the primary communication media of his era. “To get a best-selling novel on the New York Times Best Sellers list, you need to sell a hundred thousand copies. A poorly watched HBO show is going to draw three or four million a week. That’s ten times as many people acquiring your narrative.” And that mattered because, to Simon and his partner, Ed Burns, The Wire was explicitly a piece of social activism. Among its targets, large and small, were the War on Drugs, the educational policy No Child Left Behind, and the outsize influence of money in America’s political system, of statistics in its police departments, and of Pulitzer Prizes at its newspapers. The big fish, though, was nothing less than a capitalist system that Burns and Simon had begun to see as fundamentally doomed. (If Simon was a dyed-in-the-wool lefty, Burns practically qualified as Zapatista; by ex-cop standards, he might as well have been Trotsky himself.)

Because yeah, that’s what’s driving the riots in Baltimore, too much wide-open laissez-faire capitalism.

At the risk of comitting the cardinal sin of “riot shaming,” here’s an Allahpundit-esque exit question, which will never be explored on any Time-Warner-CNN-HBO channel:

Update: Remembering Martin O’Malley’s anti-gun law. As with Detroit, Baltimore is a leftwing dream come true.

This is CNN:

Gee, really, Wolf — did you forget all of this? I know things go down the memory hole quickly at CNN, but that’s ridiculous, even for the Clown-car News Network. Meanwhile, the single smartest thing the mayor of Baltimore has done over the past three days:

CNN certainly got their full quota of riot porn tonight, and we’ll try to cover some of the “highlights,” by mashing together some of our short earlier posts tonight. But first, talk radio’s Larry Elder and John Nolte of Big Journalism explain how old media’s Mobius loop works:

 

A CNN camera crew discovers firsthand that their network’s Mobius loop has a nasty slingshot effect: Shot:

Chaser:

Still waiting to see the omelet, but those eggs won’t break themselves, right, Sally? A similar incident happened in Ferguson back in August, when MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was pelted with rocks, after Al Sharpton arrived early on what Andrea Mitchell Orwellianly described as “a peace mission.” While CNN is now largely in the business of running documentaries, aside from occasional interruptions for plane crashes and riot porn, we shouldn’t exempt Time-Warner-CNN-HBO’s original entertainment division from our coverage of Baltimore. Shot:


Chaser:

Lawrence Meyers at the wonderful Breitbart site Big Hollywood had an excellent takedown of David Simon last week. Simon, author of the brilliant book Homicide and creator of the excellent television show The Wire, is also, according to the book Difficult Men, a self-obsessed and bullying leftist. Recently, he attacked conservatives and, indeed, the U.S. Constitution they are trying to defend. Simon says:

If original intent included the sadism and degradation of human slavery, then original intent is a legal and moral standard that can be consigned to the ash heap of human history. Hardcore conservatives and libertarians who continue to parse the origins of the Constitutions under the guise of returning to a more perfect American union are on a fool’s journey to decay and dishonor.

I leave it to Meyers’s strong piece to take down this nonsense, as indeed he does.

But here’s what bugs me. The Wire (which is, to some extent, based on the year Simon spent with the Baltimore Homicide Squad while researching Homicide) takes place in a city without conservatives, even without Republicans. There has not been a Republican mayor of Baltimore since 1967. And much of the show’s genius lies in its depiction of the brutalized life of black people in the city’s ghetto.

So we have a writer who has seen for himself, and who has shown us, the effects of Democrat governance on a city, the dehumanization of the poor that is the direct result of leftism and the corruption that inevitably springs from it. And yet Simon blames conservatives!

“The Unbearable Blindness of David Simon,” Andrew Klavan, November 10, 2013.

Related: Meanwhile, back at the other entertainment/propaganda division of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO:

 

 

Elsewhere within the hermetically sealed cocoon of old media, as the left continues to devour itself, an NBC spokesman implies Baltimore’s mayor is racist. Shot:

Chaser:

So is the NBC spokesman saying that the Baltimore mayor is another “Lying Ass Bitch,” as he’s wont to imply in his personal war on women?

Fortunately, Baltimore’s mayor is calling on another NBC employee to ease tensions in her beleaguered city. Ease them? I meant wildly inflame them of course, by calling in the prince of peace himself, Al Sharpton. This will end well:

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake gave an emotionally charged press conference on Monday night, calling the people looting the city “thugs” trying to tear the city apart.

“I am at a loss for words,” she said. “It is idiotic to think that by destroying your city you’re going to make life better for anybody.”

The massive protests came the same day as the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died a week after sustaining mysterious injuries while in police custody.

Rawlings-Blake instituted a 10 p.m. curfew for the entire city*. She said people who want peace should come to quell the unrest, mentioning Al Sharpton specifically.

Gee, what could go wrong?

And note this: “Anderson Cooper catches B’more mayor in a contradiction: Blames press for broadcasting negative images, will use them to track down rioters.”

* Starting tomorrow. “Hear that, looters and rioters? The mayor is really going to start cracking down starting 10 pm tomorrow night!”, As Jim Geraghty tweets. Using the failed Democrat mayor’s own Oberlin-approved rhetoric, another Twitter user adds, “Tonight there is a safe space for those who want destruction.” And speaking of safe spaces to riot and burn down the city, Maryland’s governor wonders why Rawlings-Blake waited so long to call in the National Guard.

And finally, at the PJ Tatler, Robert Wargas looks at the blue-on-blue violence of war-torn Baltimore and asks, “How Long Does America Have?”

Late Update: Mary Katharine Ham of Hot Air spots “one Baltimore mom (or other relative) [who] delivered the symbolic slap pretty much everyone wanted to deliver unto punk looters and rioters.” Our blogging software is balking at the Instagram code, so click over to watch. As MKH writes, “Nicely done, Mom. The world was uncharacteristically united on Twitter in applauding her…forcefulness.”

The left continues to devour itself. Shot:

Chaser:

 

So is the NBC spokesman saying that the Baltimore mayor is another “Lying Ass Bitch,” as he’s wont to imply in his personal war on women?

This will end well:

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake gave an emotionally charged press conference on Monday night, calling the people looting the city “thugs” trying to tear the city apart.

“I am at a loss for words,” she said. “It is idiotic to think that by destroying your city you’re going to make life better for anybody.”

The massive protests came the same day as the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died a week after sustaining mysterious injuries while in police custody.

Rawlings-Blake instituted a 10 p.m. curfew for the entire city*. She said people who want peace should come to quell the unrest, mentioning Al Sharpton specifically.

Gee, what could go wrong?

And note this: “Anderson Cooper catches B’more mayor in a contradiction: Blames press for broadcasting negative images, will use them to track down rioters.”

* Starting tomorrow. “Hear that, looters and rioters? The mayor is really going to start cracking down starting 10 pm tomorrow night!”, As  Jim Geraghty tweets. Using the failed Democrat mayor’s own Oberlin-approved rhetoric, another Twitter user adds, “Tonight there is a safe space for those who want destruction.” And speaking of safe spaces to riot and burn down the city, Maryland’s governor wonders why Rawlings-Blake waited so long to call in the National Guard.

“‘Face the Nation’ Should Face-Up to Its Appalling and Unfair Question,” Mark Hemingway writes at the Weekly Standard:

Over the weekend, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation. Here’s one of the questions that outgoing host Bob Schieffer asked him:

SCHIEFFER: I’m going to start with probably the most vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and that is Tony Perkins. He is the president of the Family Research Council. And, Mr. Perkins, I’m going to say this to you upfront. You and your group have been so strong in coming out against this — and against gay marriage that the Southern Poverty Law Center has branded the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group. We have been inundated by people who say we should not even let you appear because they, in their view, quote, “You don’t speak for Christians.” Do you think you have taken this too far?

Now a quick refresher on the background between the Family Research Council and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). In recent years, the SPLC has been fairly loose in its designation of “hate groups,” and has applied the label to groups in ways that are baffling (e.g. Catholics who go to Latin mass). It has also appled the label to groups that are distasteful but perhaps not what one thinks of when they think of “hate groups” (e.g. pick-up artists). One may not like what the Family Research Council stands for, but there is no serious argument that it is a “hate group,” let alone an organization that does not represent the views of very significant number of Americans.

That CBS News would lend credence to the accusations of the Southern Poverty Law Center — a once noble organization that has destroyed its credibility in all sorts of ways in recent years — is questionable enough. But let’s recall this notable episode:

As Hemingway notes, in 2012, “Floyd Lee Corkins entered the lobby of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. He was carrying a backpack that contained 15 Chick-fil-A -sandwiches, a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol, and 100 rounds of ammunition. Corkins has since pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing for the crimes he proceeded to commit”:

Why did Corkins select the Family Research Council as a target for killing? “A detail sure to reignite the culture wars that erupted around the shooting is the fact that Corkins told FBI agents that he identified the Family Research Council as anti-gay on the Web site of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” wrote the Washington Post during Corkins’s trial. The SPLC defended keeping its map on the website after the attempted shooting spree, even though it had been pilloried many other organizations for far less threatening rhetoric.

Beyond championing the hate-filled SPLC, Schieffer’s melodramatic set-up to his interview with Perkins is akin to Peter Sellers’ “You can’t fight here, this is the War Room” gag in Dr. Strangelove. By describing Perkins as the Boogieman, Satan Incarnate, the Font of Evil in America, doesn’t that make him especially newsworthy? Or should we assume that every figure that CBS interviews is offering viewpoints approved by the network? Remember, CBS is a network that has gone out of its way to produce fawning interviews with Saddam Hussein, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Castro. Are their opinions CBS approved?

Probably, come to think of it. After Walter Cronkite left CBS, he started speaking up for increasingly nutty causes, such as “One World Government.” When Dan Rather left, Mr. Objectivity began hosting fundraisers for the far-left Nation magazine. Bob Schieffer is set to retire this summer; based on the track record of his former CBS colleagues, his columns and speeches after he’s free to go full Bullworth should be loads of fun to read.

(And if you thought Schieffer was bad as a TV host, just wait ’til his successor plugs in his lavaliere.)

Related: CNN lies About Ted Cruz and his take on gay marriage supporters.

Shot:

Chaser:


Still waiting to see the omelet, but those eggs won’t break themselves, right, Sally?

Related: “TNR editor says #FreddieGray rioters are just ‘communicating:’”


So just to review, for the left, Sarah Palin’s clip art is violent eliminationist rhetoric. But attacking firemen, journalists, innocent bystanders and looting businesses is mere “communication.” Orwell — and presumably former TNR publisher Marty Peretz — weep.

Earlier: Shock Video: Reporter Mugged by Black Mob in Baltimore.

Shot:


Chaser:

Lawrence Meyers at the wonderful Breitbart site Big Hollywood had an excellent takedown of David Simon last week. Simon, author of the brilliant book Homicide and creator of the excellent television show The Wire, is also, according to the book Difficult Men, a self-obsessed and bullying leftist. Recently, he attacked conservatives and, indeed, the U.S. Constitution they are trying to defend. Simon says:

If original intent included the sadism and degradation of human slavery, then original intent is a legal and moral standard that can be consigned to the ash heap of human history. Hardcore conservatives and libertarians who continue to parse the origins of the Constitutions under the guise of returning to a more perfect American union are on a fool’s journey to decay and dishonor.

I leave it to Meyers’s strong piece to take down this nonsense, as indeed he does.

But here’s what bugs me. The Wire (which is, to some extent, based on the year Simon spent with the Baltimore Homicide Squad while researching Homicide) takes place in a city without conservatives, even without Republicans. There has not been a Republican mayor of Baltimore since 1967. And much of the show’s genius lies in its depiction of the brutalized life of black people in the city’s ghetto.

So we have a writer who has seen for himself, and who has shown us, the effects of Democrat governance on a city, the dehumanization of the poor that is the direct result of leftism and the corruption that inevitably springs from it. And yet Simon blames conservatives!

“The Unbearable Blindness of David Simon,” Andrew Klavan, November 10, 2013.

Related: Meanwhile, in another entertainment/propaganda division of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO:

Bill’s message will very likely go unheeded by those who need it the most, which is too bad — after four or more years of being coddled in socialist academia, the class of 2015 could certainly use the wake-up call.

Of course, if today’s kids really are book burners, it’s because they learned it from their professors, such as these two members of San Jose State University’s Meteorology Department. They proudly snapped a photo increasing their carbon footprint by planning to burn a book skeptical of today’s global warming mania, before realizing that posing as proud book burners has a distinctly Teutonic “partying like it’s 1939″ look to it, and deleted the shot. Fortunately, not before it was caught by Anthony Watts in 2013:

Of course for digital information, Soviet-style airbrushes often work better than Nazi-style book burnings: “Georgetown demands edits to Christina Hoff Sommers video.” As Laurel Conrad of the Legal Insurrection blog asks, “I wonder if Georgetown ever heard of the Streisand Effect?”

In sharp contradiction to the book burners and video censors above, one college professor though has had enough:

A Texas A&M, Galveston, professor decided to fail his entire class after he claimed that they cheated in class and were disruptive and rude.

In a letter he sent to his strategic management students, Professor Irwin Horwitz claimed that he had seen cheating, heard false rumors about himself and other students and had been called a ‘f****** moron’ to his face.

Horwitz’s email said that every single student in the approximately 30-person class would fail because of the behavior he had witnessed during the semester.

The university has said that the failing grades Horwitz’s wishes to give out will not hold.

No, of course not. The parents have paid too much money for their kids not to sail through.

Related: “Pray This Woman Never Teaches Your Children.”

Once a Clinton flak catcher, always a Clinton flak catcher: “The former public face of Bill Clinton’s White House—and current host of ABC News’ This Week—George Stephanopoulos was floored [or at least pretended to be for the cameras -- Ed] as two prominent journalists and the Republican Speaker of the House from his Clinton days, Newt Gingrich, laid out for him just how bad the ‘Clinton Cash’ book is for his old bosses,” Matthew Boyle writes at Big Journalism:

“My point is they took money from foreign governments while she was Secretary of State—that is clearly illegal,” Gingrich said. “This is not about politics. It’s illegal. It’s dangerous to America to have foreign governments get in the habit of bribing people who happen to be the husband of the Secretary of State or next president of the United States.”

Halperin then stuck the knife in.

“Here’s why you know this is serious, because almost any Democrat who’s not Clintons’ payroll will tell reporters and others privately that these are serious issues,” he said. “Forget the politics. These are serious issues. The question for me right now is all these donors who gained and all these people who paid President Clinton to give speeches, what kind of communications did they have with people in the government? That may not be a quid pro quo, but everybody knows that a lot of those donations were from people who wanted access to the Clintons.”

And Heilemann twisted it.

“We have examples now where Barack Obama’s administration knew this was a potential problem,” he said. “That’s why they set up the agreement they had with the family—the agreement they had with Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton when she took the job as Secretary of State. There are now several that we know of at this moment—several documented instances—where whether or not it’s illegal they broke their agreement with the administration.

“When you think about the president having the standard of being the most transparent and open administration in history, what the Clintons have done here clearly is not the most transparent and open. I think that whether it’s illegal or not, they violated the spirit of Barack Obama’s presidency.”

Allahpundit-style exit quote:

Update:


Time for a special prosecutor?

‘We’re Addicted To Judgment Porn’

April 27th, 2015 - 11:47 am

“Social media networks have become the number-one distributors of judgment porn, where people get high on another person’s low,” Hans Fiene writes at the Federalist:

In November of last year, when hackers leaked a number of Sony co-chair Amy Paschal’s emails, we tweeted screen shots of the damning correspondence because we found perverse enjoyment in her humiliation over typing what we never would have typed. Last week, when footage surfaced of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry berating a tow lot employee, we hashtagged our insistence that ESPN can the uppity blond because, not perceiving the irony, we won’t stand to look at pathetic, inferior human beings like her.

A couple days later, we woke up bored with McHenry and pointed our wagging fingers at Ben Affleck, insisting that he was a typical Hollywood elitist for pressuring a PBS show not to air the rather humiliating piece of information that one of his ancestors was a slave owner.

This is the general formula for the distribution and consumption of judgment porn: Person A does something he or she shouldn’t have done and that transgression is somehow made public. We, then, unable to control our desire for satisfaction at his or her expense, make that humiliation even more public and justify doing so with feigned outrage and how-dare-they-isms. Then, after the high of moral superiority wears off, we look for another humiliated subject to feast upon, and we begin the cycle again.

Feasting On Other People’s Shame

At its core, judgment porn is no different than the traditional kind. Just as we know that countless women who have left the porn industry would give anything to scrub the Internet clean of the sins they committed during their years of brokenness, we also knew that Paschal would have done anything to cover up the record of those humiliating emails. But we still refused to avert our eyes because, like all forms of pornography, it felt good to get high on someone who had fallen so low.

Just as we know that a girl who texts naked pictures to her boyfriend wouldn’t have done so if she’d have known the entire school would see them, we also knew that McHenry never would have insulted the appearance and education of that tow lot employee if she’d known that her words would end up on YouTube. But we still publicized her sin all the more because, in that moment, she was the judgment porn equivalent of a dirty skank and dirty skanks don’t deserve to have their sins covered.

Just as teenage boys are ready for a new object of lust ten seconds after feasting upon the shame of the latest girl to show up naked in their texts, so the judgment porn addicts will be ready to find a new target immediately after decrying the last one. Affleck’s perfectly understandable family-whitewashing will be forgotten the next time a hot mic catches someone body-shaming Kelly Clarkson or crassly body-affirming Kim Kardashian, whichever transgression appeals to us more that day. Then we’ll lustfully share a video of people who didn’t know they were being filmed doing something racist before lasciviously hashtagging our outrage at someone who kicked a dog on a security camera.

I’m not sure if “judgment porn” is the best phrase, but that’s probably my own bias after watching how the has tacked the word “porn” onto just about everything — guitar forums routinely describe photos of expensive vintage instruments as “guitar porn,” photos of expensive shoes have been described as “shoe porn,” and I’m sure every hobbyist/collector can find similar examples in his own field of interest. But there’s no doubt that the more self-aware of the mob on the Internet addicted to “shaming” will themselves look back on this era with a fair amount of shame themselves for their actions.

At least one hopes. That is, assuming that this isn’t all the forerunner of the Left going into full French Revolution/Kristallnacht mode, of course.

Related: “Gay Businessman Who Hosted Ted Cruz Event Terrorized: ‘I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days. I made a terrible mistake.’” — “If we weren’t mistaken, we’d think liberals are intolerant.”