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JAMES TARANTO: Race Against Time: Is there a high-minded justification for Dems’ divisive rhetoric?

This column probably isn’t the first to notice a recent intensification of liberal and Democratic rhetoric about race. Last month Paul Ryan was the object of a Two Minutes Hate for some comments on the culture of poverty “in our inner cities,” which, as The Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial, were no different in substance from things President Obama had recently said.

This Sunday, as Politico notes, Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN’s Candy Crowley that “to a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism.” He did allow that “not all” House Republicans are racist, though he didn’t specify how many or which ones he thinks are.

Last Wednesday Eric Holder, in a speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, complained that he had faced “unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity,” ABC News reports. “Look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee. What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

Although Holder didn’t specifically accuse his adversaries of racial motives, others, including Crowley, assumed that was what he meant. Politico reports that in her interview with Israel, “Crowley said that Holder believes ‘the treatment he has received in the House . . . would not have happened if he were not African-American.”

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, appearing on Sharpton’s MSNBC show, went so far as to suggest that Republicans had been soft on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius because she’s white, as the Daily Caller reports incredulously.

For this rise in the racial temperature we blame not global warming but political cooling. As November approaches, Democrats face not only an unfavorable election map but an increasingly chilly electorate. From last month’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza pulled presidential approval numbers for four key Democratic constituencies. Obama was below 50% among three of those groups: single women (48%, to 45% disapproval), Hispanics (49% to 46%), and voters under 30 (45% to 48%). Only among blacks was approval still strong, 78% to 12% disapproval.

By way of comparison, in 2012 Obama won the votes of 67% of single women, 71% of Hispanics, 60% of under-30 voters and 93% of blacks. It’s reasonable to surmise that the racial appeals are a reaction to this desperate political situation, an effort to minimize Democratic losses by motivating the party’s base to turn out.

My advice to Republicans is to target the Dem base with ads showing how they’ve been betrayed. The truth should be enough to get them to stay home.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Coalition of the Disappointed: Obama fires up racial and gender resentments to get out the vote. Telling, isn’t it, that at this point in his Presidency he doesn’t have any actual, you know, achievements to stress?

If I were the GOP, I’d be targeting Obama’s base with ads and messaging stressing how much worse off they are than they were six years ago. It wouldn’t be hard. That said, the GOP hasn’t been very smart about such things — ironically, because they’re afraid of being called racists.

JUST AS ALL CRITICISM OF BARACK OBAMA HAS TO BE RACIST, ALL CRITICISM OF HILLARY WILL BE DEEMED SEXIST: Media Matters writer cries sexism over column critical of Hillary Clinton. That’s how you have to play it, when your candidate can’t withstand normal criticism.

STANDING UP TO THE RACIST BULLIES OF THE LEFT: Dropbox Unswayed By Anti-Condi #DropDropbox Campaign.

Related: Dropbox, Condoleezza Rice controversy: More proof liberals are the new intolerants.


OVER ON TWITTER, R.D. Brewer writes, “Would it be too much to ask for the establishment GOP to become better politicians?”

And apparently, the answer is yes, it is too much to ask. I mean, look: I understand that the NRSC is an incumbent-protection club. That’s basically its job. But to introduce baseless charges of neo-Confederate racism in a GOP primary is beyond inept. Honestly, if you can’t find a real, instead of imagined, problem with a primary challenger then tout the virtues of your guy. And if your guy doesn’t have any virtues to tout that would be better than a baseless charge of neo-Confederate racism, then maybe just keep your mouth shut.

Good grief. You want party unity, don’t falsely tar fellow Republicans, and their grassroots supporters, as racists. Are you trying to get people to stay home in November?


The comparatively wealthy Hollywood film industry is, once again, fighting for hundreds of millions of your tax dollars, pitting California and Los Angeles against cross-country locales that are also giving up public incentives for the chance to host productions.

Politicians often fall over themselves in order to give your tax money to multi-billion-dollar media corporations despite these factors: Studies show the return is negligible; ultra-white Hollywood doesn’t hire a workforce that even comes close to reflecting L.A. (or even America); and the industry appears to rely heavily on workers imported from out-of-state.

I say, repeal the Hollywood tax cuts!

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Judging Obama’s Economy By His Own Promises. I’m sure that’s racist, somehow.

SEEMS LIKE THERE ARE A LOT MORE RACISM HOAXES THAN THERE ARE ACTUAL EPISODES OF RACISM: Racist dorm door writing was hoax, Grand Valley State U police say.

MESSAGING: The Gadsden Flag: Too Racist for Government Buildings, But Just Right for Obamacare Propaganda! Only a historical illiterate — which is to say, pretty much all modern lefties — would think there’s anything racist about the Gadsden Flag. As for the ObamaCare version, well, that’s just pathetic.

MEDIAITE: Rothman: The Left’s Laughable Effort to Label Paul Ryan ‘Racist’ Crumbles. Yes, but just as the Koch attacks aren’t really about the Kochs, but about discouraging other rich people from becoming donors, so the racial attacks on Paul Ryan aren’t so much about Paul Ryan as about discouraging Republicans from talking about poverty.

ROGER SIMON: “Whatever you think of Rand Paul, he’s actually doing something that politicians rarely do — talking at length to audiences who don’t usually agree with him. And winning over new friends in the process.”


The country is changing. Whole new groups are ripe for the picking, most obviously the young who are being so completely raked over by the Obama administration via Obamacare and the rest of the entitlements so many of them know they will never see. They were ready to applaud at Berkeley.

And African Americans — when, since the end of Jim Crow, have they done worse than under the Obama administration with its record black unemployment numbers and horrifying statistics on out-of-wedlock births in their community? Consciously or unconsciously, Democrats have been waging a “War on Blacks” since the days of the Great Society. It’s been a disaster for African Americans, a nightmare, in truth.

But where are the Republicans, the party of Lincoln, on that? They should be in the black communities talking to them about it, suggesting ways to make things better. Instead, they just sit around getting annoyed when the Democrats call them racists. Play offense, not defense.

Indeed. Especially as the Dems have lots of experience on offense, not so much on defense.

IRA STOLL, FACT-CHECKING THE AHISTORICAL PAUL KRUGMAN: TARP and the Tea Party. “The fact that the Tea Party hates TARP undercuts Professor Krugman’s argument that the Tea Party is all a bunch of racists who oppose government subsidies for poor black people but not for rich Wall Street bankers. But Professor Krugman goes ahead with that argument anyway, in defiance of the facts.” Because that’s just how he rolls.

FORMER POLITICO REPORTER DISCOVERS THAT working retail is hard. Do tell. I worked retail all the way through college. It’s one reason I finished college and went on to law school. I still have little burst blood vessels in my feet from standing for 9am to 9 pm shifts. And, unlike him, I wasn’t working in retail because racist jokes and domestic-violence charges made me unemployable elsewhere. I did, however, manage to take pride in my work without regarding that as some sort of character flaw.


Asians in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond joined forces Friday to rally against a proposed Senate constitutional amendment that they said would punish their children for working hard to achieve the American Dream.

Olivia Liao, president of the Joint Chinese University Alumni Association, said Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 5 is racist because it allows public education institutions to give preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

Well, that’s basically correct.



JOHN FUND: Three Cups of Tea: The Tea Party still holds the high ground this year for its third national election. “The Tea Party turns five years old this week, and the mainstream media are filled with stories saying it has lost clout and influence. Certainly the unfair assaults on it as racist and extremist have taken a toll, but in terms of where the political landscape is right now, I’d easily take the Tea Party’s tactical position over that of its liberal critics. . . . In politics it helps to be right, and most of the warnings tea-party advocates issued about the Obama administration have been validated by events.”


By the way, 3 years ago today, in the Wisconsin protests, which included teachers who were calling in sick to absent themselves from the classroom, doctors stood on a street corner under a sign that read “I’m a doctor/Need a note?” They were real doctors, putting their names on notes that the protesters could use to excuse their absence from work.

When lefty politicians or groups break the law, the press’s attitude is “politics ain’t beanbag.” But that forbearance doesn’t extend to Republicans. The reason for this is that the press is largely made up of Democratic operatives with bylines. Plus, from the comments:

Ho-hum another anti-GOP hack job from the WAPO. How ordinary.

Meanwhile, no curiosity about the IRS and Obamas ongoing violations of the 1st, 4th and 5th Amendments of the Constitution, as well as usurping the legislature.

It’s interesting to watch the press try to do oppo-research and battlespace-prep on every GOP figure who gets mentioned. These are the same people who told us that looking into Obama’s background — or lack of actual accomplishments — was racist, and that looking into Hillary’s background — or lack of actual accomplishments — is sexist.

JOHN DICKERSON: “Let’s all agree to not talk about Monica Lewinsky for at least two years. In fact, let’s not discuss any of the ‘events’ in the Clinton marriage.”

Hmm. Nobody minded talking about Mitt Romney’s much more distant past.

Related: Byron York: Why Hillary Clinton’s past is fair game in presidential race.

Of course Clinton’s recent experiences are relevant to a presidential run. But so are her actions in the 90s, the 80s and even the 70s. It’s not ancient history; it reveals something about who Clinton was and still is. And re-examining her past is entirely consistent with practices in recent campaigns.

In the 2012 presidential race, for example, many in the press were very interested in business deals Mitt Romney made in the 1980s. In the 2004 race, many journalists were even more interested in what George W. Bush did with the Texas Air National Guard in 1968, as well as what John Kerry did in Vietnam that same year. And in 2000, a lot of journalists invested a lot of time trying to find proof that Bush had used cocaine three decades earlier.

So by the standards set in coverage of other candidates, Clinton’s past is not too far past.

That’s especially true because there will be millions of young voters in 2016 who know little about the Clinton White House. Americans who had not even been born when Bill Clinton first took the oath of office in 1993 will be eligible to vote two years from now. They need to know that Hillary Clinton has been more than Secretary of State.

Those voters need to know, for starters, that Mrs. Clinton once displayed incredible investment skills. In 1978 and 1979, when her husband was attorney general and then governor of Arkansas, she enlisted the help of a well-connected crony to invest $1,000 in the highly volatile and risky cattle futures market. Several months later, she walked away with $100,000 — a 10,000-percent profit. Cynics thought the well-connected crony who executed the trades might have paid her the profits from good trades and absorbed the losses from bad ones, but Mrs. Clinton insisted that she developed her investing acumen by reading the Wall Street Journal.

New voters also need to learn about Mrs. Clinton’s checkered history as a lawyer and the game of hide-and-seek she played with federal prosecutors who subpoenaed her old billing records as part of the Whitewater investigation. After two years of defying subpoenas and not producing the records, she suddenly claimed that they had been in a closet in the White House residence all along.

New voters also need to learn about Mrs. Clinton’s purge of the White House travel office, which was done to steer business to another Clinton crony. There’s no doubt she directed the 1993 firings of long-time White House employees although she testified under oath that she did not. Years later, prosecutors concluded that “Mrs. Clinton’s sworn testimony … is factually inaccurate.”

And the Lewinsky scandal, in which Hillary helped attack Lewinsky, and numerous other women like Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, in order to protect Bill. War on women? On the inconvenient women, certainly.

Also: Why Monica Lewinsky is relevant: Liberals have redefined sexual harassment. “Rand Paul has cagily been reminding us of the fact that Bill Clinton is a sexual predator. That DOES matter now, because it demonstrates just how painfully hypocritical democrats are with regard to the treatment of women. Clinton is a sexual predator and Hillary was his enabler.”

Plus: The Vetting of Hillary Already Labeled ‘Sexist’ in the Media. Makes sense. After all, vetting Obama was supposed to be racist, or something.

UPDATE: Limbaugh: Dems Can ‘Attack Palin’s Whole Family,’ But GOP Won’t Dare Target Hillary.


The Nation: Why the Curious Right-Wing Silence on Michael Sam?

The Onion: Conservative Acquaintance Annoyingly Not Racist.

CALLING OUT RON FOURNIER for shady race talk.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, RACE RELATIONS WOULD BE LOUSY. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Poll: 33% of blacks say Americans are racist, 76% say race relations are bad.

THEY DOUBT HIM BECAUSE THEY’RE RACIST: Poll: 73 percent say Obama NSA reforms won’t boost privacy.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, WE’D SEE RACIST FEDERAL JUDGES. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! 8-year study: Black federal judges ‘conditioned’ to go easy on fellow blacks.

Black federal judges, inspired by racial “solidarity” and “conditioned” in life to sympathize with other blacks, side with African-Americans filing discrimination cases in significantly higher percentages than white judges, according to a first-of-its-kind study.

The California State University, Northridge study of 516 discrimination cases in federal courts over eight years found that black federal judges side with black claimants 32.9 percent of the time. For white judges it was 20.6 percent.

But when the study looked at how black and white judges ruled on discrimination claims made by “non-black claimants,” there wasn’t any difference.

Boy, those people who told me what would happen if I voted for Mitt Romney sure were smart. I guess I should have listened to them.


Finally on this point, why does the American MSM almost never mention tribes, except occasionally as an afterthought, and never speak about how countries like Libya are organized socially, and how that affects their politics? There are so many examples of this that it cannot simply be a coincidence. This is not the place to go into detail, but it comes down, I think, to a form of political correctness that tacitly prohibits any mention of what might be taken even to imply that Libyans (or Yemenis or Syrians or Egyptians, or Pashtuns, or…) might in some way be pre-modern, as we understand the term. (Actually, they’re less aptly described as pre-modern than simply as different, but lowest-common-denominator Enlightenment universalism is very bad at acknowledging the dignity of difference.) That kind of appellation is considered just this side of racist in the higher etiquette of American Enlightenment liberalism, deeply dented, as it has been, by the nonsense of anti-“Orientalism” regnant now for more than a generation in academe. Yes, it was at university where our elite press reporters and their august editors learned this stuff.

As long as our elite press censors itself in this manner, an objective socio-political description of these (and other) countries will remain impossible, and a distorted understanding will inevitably feed misbegotten policy adventures like the Libya war. I would like to be able to assure you that what ails the academy and the press does not afflict the clear-eyed professionals at the CIA and the State Department and USAID and the NSC and the officer corps of the uniformed military. Yes, I would like to… but a lot of these guys went to those same universities.

America has been ill-served by its higher education establishment in a number of ways.

OUR RACIST MEDIA: Outrage as MSNBC panelists make Mitt Romney’s adopted black grandchild the punchline of a joke.

JOSH LEVIN IN SLATE: The Welfare Queen: Ronald Reagan made Linda Taylor a notorious American villain. Her other sins were far worse.

Four decades later, Reagan’s soliloquies on welfare fraud are often remembered as shameless demagoguery. Many accounts report that Reagan coined the term “welfare queen,” and that this woman in Chicago was a fictional character. In 2007, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman wrote that “the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen [was] a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews says the whole thing is racist malarkey—a coded reference to black indolence and criminality designed to appeal to working-class whites.

Though Reagan was known to stretch the truth, he did not invent that woman in Chicago. Her name was Linda Taylor, and it was the Chicago Tribune, not the GOP politician, who dubbed her the “welfare queen.” It was the Tribune, too, that lavished attention on Taylor’s jewelry, furs, and Cadillac—all of which were real. . . .

When I set out in search of Linda Taylor, I hoped to find the real story of the woman who played such an outsize role in American politics—who she was, where she came from, and what her life was like before and after she became the national symbol of unearned prosperity. What I found was a woman who destroyed lives, someone far more depraved than even Ronald Reagan could have imagined. In the 1970s alone, Taylor was investigated for homicide, kidnapping, and baby trafficking. The detective who tried desperately to put her away believes she’s responsible for one of Chicago’s most legendary crimes, one that remains unsolved to this day. Welfare fraud was likely the least of the welfare queen’s offenses.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Hyper-Regulated Lawlessness. “The political significance of the ‘welfare queen’ story rests on how many of them are out there. A single person scamming the welfare state does not, by herself, represent a devastating indictment of the welfare state. It matters how easy it was, and whether a large number of people participate in such activities, albeit on a less grandiose scale than ‘the haughty thief who drove her Cadillac to the public aid office’ and wore ‘expensive clothes and oversize hats’ to her trial. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of scamming going on, and the Left is not even slightly interested in cracking down on it, or even admitting it’s a problem.” For them, it’s not a problem. It’s a funding mechanism.

ROBERT VERBRUGGEN ON Whites’ Fear Of Being Labeled Racist.

JAMES TARANTO: Hey, you know what’s racist? Citing crime statistics.

Of course it’s an editorial judgment, and by definition it’s the editor’s to make. But if readers are not permitted to question the editors’ judgments, what’s the point of having a comments section at all?

Finally we come to “crime statistics.” We tweeted the post last night with the comment: “News website bans discussion of crime statistics in comments,” which prompted Eyer to respond: “That’s a gross mischaracterization.” We’ll concede it was a slight exaggeration, but Eyer made a concession of her own by posting a comment to her own post this morning acknowledging: “I have edited the portion above on crime statistics to clarify exactly what I’m talking about.” We didn’t save the original; the following quotes are from the edited version.

“We’ve seen an uptick in commenters posting FBI crime statistics in an attempt to paint the problem as one of race,” she writes. “Usually these crime statistics are not helpful to the discussion because they lack other details, such as socioeconomic status, that give context.” So we’re back to “poverty” as the cause of crime.

The overall thrust of Eyer’s rules is to ensure that discussions of race at MLive conform to the media stereotype of black victimization at the hands of white oppression. . . .

These days elite culture, including the news media, routinely vilify whites, especially “white males.”

As we’ve noted before, feminists also frequently stipulate that they’re vilifying white males, even when race is irrelevant. Eyer promises in conclusion: “Next up, I will address issues related to gender.” We can hardly wait.


FIRST AUBURN, NOW THIS: James Taranto: What’s the Matter With Alabama? A student editor grovels after another cartoon kerfuffle.

For the University of Alabama’s football team, the Nov. 30 season finale against intrastate archrival Auburn ended almost as disastrously as ObamaCare began (and as it has continued). After leading 21-14 at the half, the Crimson Tide gave up a touchdown to the Tigers in the third quarter. Each team scored again during the fourth, leaving the score tied, 28-28, with seconds remaining in regulation.

Alabama was driving, but it looked as though the clock had run out. It turned out, however, that Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon had managed to get out of bounds with a single tick left. Rather than take a knee and go to overtime, Alabama decided to try a long field goal–which missed and was returned for 109 yards and a touchdown by Auburn’s Chris Davis. Final score: Auburn 34, Alabama 28.

Auburn went on to play in this past weekend’s Southeastern Conference championship, in which the Tigers defeated the Tigers, 59-42–possibly the most confusing pigskin matchup since the 1976 Grey Cup.

This isn’t a sports column, but there’s a reason we opened with a nine-day-old play-by-play. Back in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama loss led to a kerfuffle last week involving the student newspaper, the perplexingly named Crimson White. Its cartoonist drew a strip, published Thursday, depicting the final play under the title “This Is What Happens in OBAMA’S AMERICA.” The last two words were in massive letters, drawn in horror-movie style, with what was supposed to look like blood dripping from them.

Later that day, editor Mazie Bryant posted “A Statement From the Editor-in-Chief” in which she explained that “the cartoon was meant as satire . . . as a lighthearted look at some of the more absurd explanations given for Alabama’s collapse at the end of the Iron Bowl game against Auburn last Saturday.”

Only in Obama’s America could something so obvious have eluded anyone. “Unfortunately,” Bryant noted, the cartoon “has been perceived by many readers as having racist intentions.”

That’s because — and I want to be clear here — those readers are idiots. Naturally, some of them were also college administrators. But as Taranto goes on to demonstrate, not all college administrators are idiots. Which, these days, seems like news. . . .

START A PROGRAM TO HELP MEN’S HEALTH, GET BUSHWHACKED BY ANGRY FEMINISTS: “Movember is divisive, gender normative, [and] racist.”

How is it racist? “Movember reinforces the ‘othering’ of ‘foreigners’ by the generally clean-shaven, white majority.”

Othering? President Hayes is not amused.


IT’S COME TO THIS: Dana Milbank: Obama’s photo policy smacks of propaganda. Funny, a reference to Obama and Stalin used to mean you were a doubleplusungood racist bitterclinger.


Shortly before receiving the medal of freedom from President Obama, Oprah Winfrey gave an interview to the BBC in which she seemed to chalk up much of the opposition to the president to racism: “I think there’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs … because he’s African American,” she said.

Her claim reminded me of the times when, as a child of the ’70s, my father would ask an odd question about my friends, “What is he?”

“Huh?” I’d ask.

“You know, what is he — Italian? German? Lebanese? What is he?” my father replied.

I had no idea what my friends’ ethnic origins were. It was only when I traveled with my father to the north side of Chicago where he grew up, and he pointed out which ethnic groups had lived in various parts of town, that I understood.

Well once all the out-of-it geezers die off, that kind of silliness dies with them.

ROGER KIMBALL ON Crystal Mangum’s murder conviction and the aftermath of the Duke Lacrosse false-rape case.

Travel back to 2006. Syracuse University early on got into the act when it decided not to accept as transfers any students from the Duke lacrosse team—not just the three accused chaps, mind you, but anyone contaminated by having played lacrosse for Duke. “I think it would be inappropriate,” sniffed Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross. (Where is he now? Llama farming in Peru? Nope. Still athletic director at Syracuse.)

But there are at least two other aspects of the case that deserve comment. One is the role of the media, which pounced on the story with unseemly delight. Oh, how The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and countless other bastions of liberal self-satisfaction loved it! Race. Class. Sex. Victimhood. It was the perfect morality tale. Those white jocks at “the Harvard of the South” just had to be guilty. And what a good time we were all going to have lacerating the malefactors while at the same time preening ourselves on our own superior virtue!

The editorials, the op-eds, the comments, the analyses poured forth non-stop, demonstrating that one of the deepest human passions is the urge to self-righteous pontification. The novelist Allan Gurganus epitomized the tone in an op-ed for the Times in April 2006: “The children of privilege,” he thundered, “feel vividly alive only while victimizing, even torturing.” You don’t say? Even sports writers got into the act. Selena Roberts located Duke University “at the intersection of entitlement and enablement, . . . virtuous on the outside, debauched on the inside.” By August 2006, as District Attorney Michael Nifong’s case was betraying worrisome fissures, the Times published a 6,000-word article arguing—“praying” might be a more apposite term—that, whatever weaknesses there might be in the prosecution’s case, “there is also a body of evidence to support [taking] the matter to a jury.” As the Times columnist David Brooks ruefully noted after the tide had begun to turn, the campaign against the athletes had the lineaments of a “witch hunt.”

Indeed. Richard Brodhead, Duke’s president, got out his broomstick and suspended the accused students, fired the lacrosse coach, cancelled the rest of the team’s season, and pandered to every possible PC interest, but especially to those baying for the heads of the accused. (One commentator estimated that only 3 percent of Brodhead’s statements could be construed as supporting the accused students.)

And then there was the Duke faculty. As Vincent Carroll, writing in the Rocky Mountain News, noted, “the most astonishing fact, hands down, was and remains the squalid behavior of the community of scholars at Duke itself. For months nearly the entire faculty fell into one of two camps: those who demanded the verdict first and the trial later, and those whose silence enabled their vigilante colleagues to set the tone.”

Particularly egregious was the behavior of the “Group of 88,” a congeries of faculty activists and fellow-travelers who signed “What Does a Social Disaster Sound Like?,” a full-page manifesto published in April 2006 in the Duke student newspaper. The statement, which purported to be “listening” to students on campus, mingled anonymous student comments with racialist agitprop. “Regardless of the results of the police investigation,” ran part of the introductory comment, “what is apparent every day now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of racism and sexism.” There followed a mosaic of histrionic proclamations: “We want the absence of terror,” one student is supposed to have said. “But we don’t really know what that means.” “This is not a different experience for us here at Duke University. We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists . . .”

Some of the Group of 88 were common or garden-variety academic liberals—timid souls whose long tenure in the protected purlieus of the university surrounded by adolescents has nurtured their risible sense of self-importance and political enlightenment. But a good percentage were radicals more devoted to political activism than scholarship. Indeed, one scandal that still has not received sufficient publicity is the preposterous pseudo-scholarship purveyed by many trendy academics. A look at the CVs of many members of the Group of 88 provides a case in point, partly shocking, partly embarrassing.

Mostly pathetic.

WHITE MEN LEAST RACIST in deciding who to date. Interestingly, of all the people I follow on Twitter, only the black women tweet about how they wouldn’t date outside of their race.

WHEN CORRECTING MINORITY STUDENTS’ GRAMMATICAL ERRORS is racist “micro-aggression.” If you can’t take having your grammar errors corrected, you’re too dumb and immature to be in college, much less graduate school. Unsurprisingly, this was in the school of Education.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich is Racist, Says Portland School Official. Remember, these schools supposedly teach children critical thinking.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: ObamaCare Debacle Could Kill Big Blue:

Sounding like some kind of Fox News contributor, the left-leaning Edsall goes on to point out that the Obamacare dream ignores some basic realities about the way the world and the government work. Democrats pitched the Affordable Care Act as a law that would let the haves keep their doctors and their plans while giving more care to the have-nots, meanwhile offering Amazon levels of service to all comers through a magical website. Now that the quest for that kind of system is looking more like a misguided unicorn hunt, Edsall suddenly, horribly, begins to see just how foolish and utopian the whole project was . . . But as critical as these words seem, Edsall remains a loyal son of the left even as he mourns what he fears may be the greatest liberal failure since the Vietnam War. He blames the Obamacare debacle on the selfishness of middle class American whites— nasty, unenlightened racists that they are—who want to hog all the health care for themselves rather than share equitably with people of color. . . .

Here Edsall is simultaneously overestimating the policy sophistication of the white middle class and underestimating its morality. While it is true that, as Edsall points out, Obamacare is an aggressively redistributionist program that intends to shift hundreds of billions of dollars away from the middle class to the poor, I don’t think many voters have done the math on this. They are not reacting to the $455 billion in Medicare cuts that help to feed the Obamacare beast because not many people really understand how the new system is supposed to work. And at the same time, unlikely as it may sound to the finely tuned consciences of the New York Times editorial page, there are scores of millions of middle class white Americans who don’t hate minorities and would actually like to see things go better for them.

Edsall is not the only one who doubts the goodwill of many middle class whites. Over at the proudly port-listing Plumline blog at the Washington Post, Greg Sargent hammers the theme that America hates Obamacare because America hates poor blacks.

It’s a dumb and desperate argument, but what else have they got? And it flatters the oikophobia of their core readership, such as it remains. Quoth Mead:

Middle America isn’t frothing over Obamacare because we are a nation of racist policy wonks who did the math and hate the blacks. The public is angry first (as Edsall mostly seems to understand) because of the supremely infuriating blend of incompetent arrogance our Second Lincoln has brought to the greatest domestic challenge of his presidency. They are angry because an expensive and cumbersome new piece of social engineering looks badly engineered. But in the second place, they are angry because the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and its journalistic spear carriers in the MSM systematically misrepresented the nature of the new system.

They lied about the plan then, they’re lying about the racism now. That’s who they are, that’s what they do.

THE RACIST ROOTS OF BICYCLE LANES? “It’s almost all young white males. All these bike lanes and other amenities, paid for with our tax money? It’s almost all for white males. Oh, how it would pain Madison liberals to admit it!”

ARNE DUNCAN apologizes for “clumsy phrasing” in racist “White moms” remark.

Background: Jay Carney won’t condemn Arne Duncan’s “white suburban moms” comment. It’s funny how under this administration “white” has become an all-purpose epithet.

Related: Duncan tries to quell uproar over Common Core comments. “The remark lit up social-media sites, prompting pointed responses from bloggers, an open letter from a school superintendent, digital images of Duncan’s official federal portrait with the word ‘bigot’ emblazoned across it, and one congressman’s call for Duncan’s firing.” He’s a putz. He should go.

SECRET TREATIES: Law Professors Call for Public Process for Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Chapter. I’m pretty sure that makes them terrorist anarchists or something. Maybe racists, too.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Moral Decline Of Oprah.

Multi-billionaire Oprah Winfrey, after her surreal $38,000 handbag “racism” encounter in Switzerland, has just weighed in again on race and the presidency, as yet the nth way of hyping her new film: “There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African American. There’s no question about that and it’s the kind of thing nobody ever says but everybody’s thinking it.”

Nobody ever says? Has she read a newspaper columnist or turned on MSNBC lately?

Aside from her historical ignorance, Oprah Winfrey has increasingly turned to the race card to explain the president’s plummeting polls. In her race-obsessed world, Syria, Benghazi, the NSA, IRS, AP, and ACA messes do not explain why a reelected president crashes from a recent 60 percent approval rating to less than 40 percent in less than a year.

Instead, in Oprah’s no-win, racialist world, to the degree that Obama is popular, Americans are considered for the time being as not racist; to the degree that he is not, the country suddenly is collectively under suspicion (e.g., “everybody’s thinking it”).

That Obama might be utterly inexperienced in the manner of Jimmy Carter, less than veracious in the manner of the impeached Bill Clinton, or suffering the same second-term blues of Ronald Reagan during Iran-Contra or popularity crash of George W. Bush after Katrina simply cannot for Oprah be true of an African-American president, who for some reason must not suffer the same fate and treatment as almost all who have held the highest office.

In the words of Tony Katz: “It’s not his race. It’s that he’s awful.” To Oprah, however, it’s all about his race. That’s why she supported him in 2008, and it’s why she’s smearing his opposition now: Racial loyalty trumps all. Her fans figured this out in 2008, of course, which is why she’s a comparative nobody now.

BYRON YORK: Four years ago, GOP showed exactly what was false about Obama’s keep-your-coverage promise.

It is now painfully evident to millions of Americans that President Obama’s promise that they could keep their current health coverage under Obamacare wasn’t true. But what has received less attention in the current uproar is that back in 2009, when Obamacare was under debate and Obama was making the promise, some Republicans saw precisely what was wrong with it, and said so. And when those Republicans challenged the White House, the White House had nothing to say.

Go back to June 23, 2009. The House Education and Labor Committee, chaired by Democratic Rep. George Miller, held a hearing on a draft of Obamacare. Christina Romer, then chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, testified. Among the Republicans who questioned Romer was Rep. Tom Price, who is also a doctor. Price pressed Romer to cite a basis for the president’s promise, and in the process predicted much of what would happen more than four years later, in late 2013. Obama’s promise fell apart right there in the hearing room.

Follow the exchange. But note that the press continued to treat Obama’s promise as true — and the critics as lying racists — until, oh, about last week or so.

Related: 27 Democratic senators who promised you could keep your health coverage.

POLITICO: “I don’t know how he f—-ed this up so badly,” said one House Democrat who has been very supportive of Obama in the past.

Obviously, now suddenly a racist, per Oprah.

BACKLASH: Far Right Has Strong Showing in Socialist France.

According to a new survey by BFM TV, a French station, nearly one in two French voters (46%) think Marine Le Pen is the best opposition candidate to take on the ruling Socialist party. That’s a lot of support for a far right politician who once compared Muslim blocking French streets during prayer times to the Nazi occupation of France in WWII

The poll wasn’t asking respondents for the politician they’d like to see become president, and it wasn’t asking which politician they like the most. The 46 percent were saying Marine Le Pen is the best opponent to the ruling Socialist Party. Still, that’s quite a lot of support for someone so controversial.

Le Pen frequently courts controversy. She’s been called racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim. But she remains popular. Her party recently won a small election in southern France where disillusionment with Francois Hollande and his Socialist Party runs strong.

Le Pen’s popularity could have repercussions beyond France’s borders. She and Geert Wilders, a far-right politician in the Netherlands, are exploring the possibility of creating a pan-European Eurosceptic movement.

Read the whole thing. But is Geert Wilders really “far-right?” Maybe by Netherlands standards.

VAMPIRES: Shirley Sherrod Lawyers Seek to Sue Widow of Andrew Breitbart. Shirley Sherrod’s a self-confessed racist. She’s also an asshole. I hope she ends her life broke and in jail.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Eric Holder’s 2014 Racial Politics: The Attorney General tries to reverse a Supreme Court ruling by the back door. “It’s telling that Mr. Holder prefers to file lawsuits rather than take up the Supreme Court’s invitation to modernize the Voting Rights Act for current racial conditions. The Congressional Black Caucus has said it is working on a new formula for preclearance, but such legislative labor doesn’t get the headlines that lawsuits against GOP-run states do. All the evidence suggests that Mr. Holder’s real motive here is political. Portraying voter ID laws as racist helped to drive Democratic voter turnout among minorities in 2012, and the White House wants a repeat in 2014. Never mind if the suits eventually fail in court. The goal is to elect more Democrats in the meantime, even if it means needlessly increasing racial polarization.”

It’s not needless. They really need racial polarization.

JAMES TARANTO: The New Face of Prejudice: A focus group turns into a smear campaign.

The unsurprising part–the part Wilkinson finds “shocking”–is that some of them, specifically the Tea Party and evangelical Republicans, speak in rather harsh terms about the president. If Wilkinson actually finds this shocking, he must be about 17 years old, which is to say too young to remember how liberals (including elite ones in academia, arts, entertainment and journalism) spoke contemporaneously of President Bush.

According to Wilkinson, the Tea Party and evangelical Republicans’ “default position” toward Obama “is essentially abject terror.” In truth, some of the examples he cites are actually quite anodyne: “What is he really thinking?” asks one “Tea Party Man.” Another simply says: “Background.” An “Evangelical Woman” says, “His motives behind his actions,” which would be a tautology if it were a complete sentence. An “Evangelical Man” says: “He wants to fundamentally change the country.” If our theory is right, Wilkinson isn’t old enough to remember that Obama himself said the same thing.

Admittedly, some of the comments are on the truculent side. Each of these is from an “Evangelical Man”: “Not a US citizen. Supports Terrorists.” “I don’t believe he’s a Christian. He’s a tyrant.” “He supports everything that is against Christianity.”

Then again, isn’t it possible that the Evangelical Men are on to something? Obama did, after all, describe as his “spiritual mentor” a so-called pastor whose most famous pronouncement was “God damn America!” That would seem to indicate a theological understanding that is at odds with that of most Christians, especially American Christians. . . .

There must be a word for somebody who does what Stan Greenberg did here, which is to smear and attempt to marginalize a whole group of people, without evidence and based on the color of their skin.

Ideally, it should be a word that carries as much sting as “racist.”

Feeling superior to flyover people is a key tenet of modern liberalism. It’s just gotten more vicious.

BLUE MODEL UPDATE: California Teachers Association Members Don’t Have To Pay For The Union’s Political Operations.

The state’s second-largest lobbyist in terms of dollars spent is none other than the California Teachers Association. In the course of a decade, the CTA has spent more than $50 million alone lobbying politicians for legislation aimed at protecting and expanding its interests, usually at students’ and taxpayers’ expense. Few teachers realize, however, that they don’t have to finance the CTA’s political agenda. California may not be a right-to-work state, but most public school teachers have the right to a yearly rebate of $350 to $400 from their union—money that would otherwise line CTA lobbyists’ and political consultants’ pockets. . . .

Republican or conservative teachers are paying the union to support candidates and causes they oppose. For apolitical teachers, the question is why they should pay to support any causes or candidates at all? But teachers can forgo paying the political portion. It bears repeating that several U.S. Supreme Court rulings deny unions the right to force members to subsidize their political agenda. Teachers never hear this message when they join the CTA. They often aren’t aware that “agency-fee payers” (nonunion members) can request a rebate, even though they’re still forced to pay for “chargeable expenses” that are “germane to the union’s representational functions.”

To make teachers aware of their union membership options, the California Teachers Empowerment Network and the California Public Policy Center have launched the California Teacher Freedom Project. Its aim: to inform California teachers that they don’t have to pay for their union’s costly hyper-partisan agenda. The project’s website provides step-by-step information on how teachers can become agency-fee payers, get the yearly rebate, and join nonunion, nonpartisan, professional alternatives.

I’m sure that’s somehow racist or something.

DAVE CARTER: When The Bleeding Heart Becomes The Iron Fist.

Whatever the perceived shortcomings of Ted Cruz and his hardy band of stalwarts, they’ve performed a remarkable public service by highlighting the fate that awaits all who rub wrongly the translucently thin skin of King Barack the Petulant. The Spartans may have had their shields, Native Americans their tomahawks and arrows, the Samurai may have wielded his sword with all the deadly grace of a tiger in mid-attack, but pound for pound, nothing comes close to the audacious stupidity of “Barrycades” and people in pointy little Smokey the Bear hats, poised to protect America’s monuments from law-abiding citizens.

Welcome to liberal utopia, where barriers are not erected against terrorists or illegal aliens on our nation’s borders, but rather against citizens, and where wheelchair-bound veterans enroute to honor their comrades face tighter security than terrorists enroute to murder a US Ambassador. This is where up is down, wrong is right, illegality is celebrated as progress, and where Constitutionalism is derided as racist. No longer relegated to the fever swamps of academic fancy, utopia has acquired real estate and made known its demands.

“Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual…” the First Lady warned us, and she wasn’t just whistling Alinsky either.

Read the whole thing. Meanwhile, pranksters may wish to respond to the shutdown by blocking off federal employee parking lots with orange cones.

SO FEARS OF BEING CALLED RACIST ONLY GET HIM A 2% MARGIN NOW? “49% of all people in the poll say that Obama is acting like a responsible adult in this budget battle, with 47% describing him as a spoiled child.”

Of course, there’s this, in the comments: “From what I know of spoiled children, their methods get results.”

TRUTH-TELLING: Oberlin College Blames The Blogosphere For Pointing Out That Racism Hoax Was A Hoax. “As we have documented before, and as the records released this morning further demonstrate, the Oberlin administration knew no later than February 27 that this was a hoax by students trolling for a reaction. There were no KKK supporters or Neo-Nazis prowling the hallways and buildings. Yet the Oberlin administration never told the students, the alumni, or the media. Instead, the Oberlin administration allowed students to live in fear. In the email last night, there still is no acknowledgement that the primary culprit behind this was a liberal pro-Obama ‘anti-racist’ activist, and that it was not what it seemed. Oberlin thereby furthers the damage done by the hoax.” For these people, it must always be 1963. Acknowledging reality would mean facing unpleasant thoughts.

AARON ALEXIS: Obama Fan. “First we learned that Alexis didn’t use an evil AR-15 to kill all those people. Instead, he used a nice, friendly, Biden-approved shotgun . . . Now we learn that Alexis was a Prius-driving, African-American liberal who liked Obama. Facts aren’t much fun, eh, libs? So now the MSM narrative will magically transform this mass murder from ‘yet another damning indictment of gun-toting, right-wing racist America’ to ‘the completely isolated actions of a misunderstood victim of society.’ Just watch. It happens every time. And every time, they think we won’t notice. Meanwhile, their ratings and their circulation numbers continue to plummet, and they blame everybody but themselves.”

TUNKU VARADARAJAN: Miss America, Meet India’s ‘Dark’ Side: An ugly wave of abuse greeted the new Miss America because of her origins, but in India she would be considered too dark to succeed.

The Girl Next Door can be a dark-skinned daughter of immigrants from Andhra Pradesh, a state in the southeast of India whose inhabitants speak Telugu, 13th in the list of the most-spoken languages worldwide. Take a bow, America. (Compare this country with mostly dark-skinned Brazil, which has had not a single nonwhite Miss Brazil.) . . .

In a nutshell, what Indians are saying (many openly and some with chagrin) is that Davuluri is too dark, too dusky, for the conventional standards of Indian beauty. In India a light skin—“fair” is the word most Indians deploy in the vocabulary of beauty—is prized in women, and lightness of skin is elevated above all other facial features as a signifier of beauty. It matters not one whit that Davuluri’s physiognomy is immensely pleasing to the eye, that her smile could light up a small cricket stadium, that her lustrous hair is a thing to marvel at, because her epidermis is far too many shades removed from “fairness” for her to be considered beautiful. This matter is, in the Indian dialectic of beauty, nonnegotiable. In matters of pigment, Indians can be as dogmatic as party chieftains once were in Stalin’s Moscow.

As a forensic exercise, I encourage you to Google “Miss India” and compare the complexions of the winners of the last 10 years with that of Davuluri. The preference for light skin isn’t confined to beauty pageants. It dominates the acres of classified matrimonial ads in Indian newspapers. It figures casually and brutally in schoolyard banter, where dark-skinned children are dismissed as “kallu” or “blackie” by confreres sometimes with skin barely half a shade lighter. (Imagine the lifelong impact on a girl who, from her earliest days at school, is looked upon as ugly because of her complexion.) It affects the health of young girls, who are often prevented from playing outdoor sports because being in the sun could “blacken” them. It figures, even, in the adoption business, where dark-skinned orphans and foundlings struggle to find a home. (A friend tells me of his experience with an adoption agency in Mumbai: he and his wife were looking to adopt, and months into the process, after they were close to settling on a child, the agency told them that there had been a child they could have considered very early on. But the agency had decided not to present her as an option … because she was “too dark.”)

The worst culprit of all in India’s culture of pigmentocracy is Bollywood. In all its decades of existence, there have been no more than three or four leading actresses—or “heroines,” as they are called in India—who might be described as dark. So year after year, in film after film, Indians receive the message that there can be no beauty, no glamour, without light skin: 99 percent of India’s movie stars don’t share a complexion with 99 percent of Indians.

Nonsense. Only white Americans — preferably Republican — can be racist.

WEAK HORSE: Frustrated Dems Increasingly Defying Obama. So, in other words, the Democratic Party is growing more racist?

Related: Vulnerable Dems Flee From Anti-Gun Nuts in Party: “Do vulnerable Democrats want to see this issue on the radar again? Probably not.”

“SMART DIPLOMACY” BEARS MORE FRUIT: Anti-Americanism Spreads in Syrian Refugee Camps.

Over a million Syrians have fled the war over the past six months, bringing the total outside the country up to 2 million. Half of them are children. Whether or not the U.S. intervenes, that overall figure is expected to climb to over 3 million by year’s end. UNHCR officials describe it as the worst refugee crisis in 20 years.

“Why don’t Americans and your media pay attention to this crisis?” Ahmad Hasan, who worked as a taxi driver outside Aleppo until his family fled to Amman earlier this year, asked me. . . .

A strong undercurrent of anti-Americanism also is shaping young minds within the camp. Uprooted and uneducated young men sit idle, spreading rumors and videos of violence back home via social media sites — Zaatari has its own Facebook page — often devoid of context. Boredom and lack of education make for a potent cocktail. Kids I interviewed play a version of war, where one team is the Assad regime and the other is the FSA.

Such populations may be nurturing a new generation of angry Muslim youths who view the United States, and especially its president, as hypocritical at best, and enablers of Assad’s war crimes at worst.

“Everybody is against the Syrian people,” said a former lieutenant in the Syrian military I met in Zaatari, who defected to the opposition. He was sitting on a cot in a prefab caravan, surrounded by other Syrian men wounded in the war. “We’re giving our blood but for Obama that is not enough.”

After cursing the American president in Arabic, he continued, “Obama is ‘Hussein’ – son of Muslims. If he were a Christian he would support us. But he’s a Muslim.” He shakes his head and his eyes tear up. “It’s always Muslims against Muslims.”

It’s sad that there are so many racists in Syria.

UPDATE: Joe Klein: Obama’s ‘Damaged His Office and Weakened the Nation.’ Yeah, pretty much.

WHIPSAWED BY THE PARTY LINE: So this piece at The Atlantic yesterday — published at noon — tries to connect people opposing Obama’s attack-Syria plan with (in the Democrats’ latest buzzword) “Neo-Confederates.” But then, within hours, Obama himself had turned Neo-Confederate, asking Congress to postpone his vote. Oops! The window where you were racist if you didn’t want to bomb brown people has slammed shut.

BUZZFEED ON THE INTERNET’S REACTION TO OBAMA’S BOMB-SYRIA PLAN: The memes are running 10-1 against, Mr. President.

They left out this one:


ILYA SOMIN: Thoughts on the Text of the Obama Administration’s Proposed Authorization to Use Military Force in Syria.

UPDATE: Seen on Facebook:


ALSO, IT’S RACIST NOT TO SUPPORT A WAR WHEN OBAMA IS PRESIDENT: Mia Farrow slams ‘British bystanders’ over Parliament’s Syria vote.

COMRADE, YOUR LOYALTY TO THE STATE IS IN QUESTION: Allison Benedikt: If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person. Does that mean she thinks Barack and Michelle are bad people? Racist.

ASKING QUESTIONS IS RACIST, I’M SURE: A Few More Questions Before We Bomb Syria.

THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT IN THE 21ST CENTURY, IF YOU WANT A CLASSIC RACISM INCIDENT YOU PRETTY MUCH HAVE TO FAKE IT UP: Jersey City high school candidate for student gov’t sent racist texts to himself, school official says.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Chris Lane murder: Is a racist dimension of the crime being discounted? Yes. Next question?

I PRETTY MUCH ASSUME THAT ANY “RACIST INCIDENT” IS PROBABLY A HOAX NOWADAYS: Meet the privileged Obama-supporting white kids who perpetrated cruel Oberlin race hoax.

One of the two students removed from Oberlin College earlier this year for allegedly circulating virulently racist, anti-Jewish and anti-gay messages around campus is an ardent leftist and committed supporter of President Barack Obama, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

Dylan Bleier, one of the two students, organized a voter registration drive on behalf of Obama before the 2008 election. That voter drive is still listed on the website for Organizing for Action, the non-profit group whose mission is to advance Obama’s agenda.

The Oberlin Police Department identified Bleier and his partner in the spree, Matt Alden, as two of the principal architects of a month-long spate of racist, anti-Jewish and anti-gay messages at the small, private campus.

The good news about America in 2013 is that if you’re a lefty and you want a racial incident to fire up the troops, you pretty much have to make it up yourself.

MARK HEMINGWAY: The Media’s Double Standard: Some hate crimes are less hateful than others.

The Family Research Council shooting is one of the few inarguable examples of politically motivated violence in recent years, yet looking back a year later, the incident has garnered comparatively little attention. Corkins openly admits he selected the Family Research Council because the Christian organization is one of the leading opponents of gay marriage in the country. He had Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack because the CEO of the fast-food chain was under fire for publicly supporting a biblical definition of marriage. Corkins said he planned to “smother Chick-fil-A sandwiches in [the] faces” of his victims as a political statement. And in case that didn’t make his motivations transparent, right before Corkins shot Leo Johnson, he told him, “I don’t like your politics.”

There are some illuminating contrasts between the media’s handling of the political dimensions of the Family Research Council shooting and the shooting of Representative Giffords. In the latter case, the media rushed to assume political motivations and were quick to blame, of all people, Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate had put out a map with crosshairs over Giffords’s congressional district as part of a list of Democratic-held seats “targeted” for defeat. But Giffords’s shooter, Jared Loughner, appears to have serious mental problems. And there is no evidence whatsoever Loughner saw this map or that allegedly violent political rhetoric—even “campaign” is a term borrowed from war—was in any way a cause of the Giffords shooting. That didn’t stop serious news organizations from lending institutional credibility to the irresponsible allegations. The Washington Post ran a story headlined “Palin caught in crosshairs map controversy after Tucson shootings.” And though Giffords was shot in January 2011, as recently as this year in an article on gun violence the New York Times saw fit to remind readers that “many criticized Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential nominee, for using cross hairs on her Web site to identify Democrats like Ms. Giffords.”

By contrast, the media handled awkwardly the revelation that Corkins admitted to plotting mass murder as a means of furthering a popular liberal cause. . . . The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was once a laudable civil rights organization that sued racists and violent extremists. Now it regularly demonizes anyone who runs afoul of its knee-jerk liberal politics, and despite this it is still regularly cited by the media as a “nonpartisan” watchdog. Some of the SPLC’s newly targeted “hate groups,” such as pickup artists, are merely kooky or distasteful. Others singled out by the SPLC, including Catholics who go to Latin mass or Christian organizations similar to the Family Research Council, are well within the mainstream. Tellingly, the SPLC doesn’t just name the Family Research Council on its website—it posts the council’s address on a “hate map.” That map is still on SPLC’s website, and the organization refused calls to take it down after the Family Research Council shooting.

Why should they? It’s doing what they want, and it’s not costing them anything.

OBVIOUSLY RACIST: Shock: Satirist Depicts the President as a Monkey.

YES, ALMOST CERTAINLY. NEXT QUESTION? Is Oprah Pushing Racism Story to Promote New Movie?

My favorite bit is this, though: “We have to come to grips in this country that we have unconscious bias.” In this country. Oprah’s story was about Switzerland. Maybe the unconscious bias is in assuming that everyone’s as racist as Democratic media folks.

Plus, from the comments: “A story about personal experience with racism probably shouldn’t be set in a Swiss boutique for rich tourists. For future reference.”

And pushback from the store: “Maybe she was somewhat offended because she was not immediately recognized.” Hey, it’s not like she’s still on TV or anything.

Finally, Oprah rows back and TMZ isn’t having any of it: Passive Aggressive Oprah Gives BS Apology for Switzerland Racist Flap. “O’s full of it. What did she think was going to happen when she went on national TV and cried racism? The media was just going to ignore that?? Oprah once ragged on hamburgers and single-handedly CRIPPLED the beef industry. She knew damn well how the media was going to handle the Switzerland situation … which is why she went to the media in the first place. Her mission was to destroy the shop.”

Turns out she did more damage to her own brand. What’s left of it.

UPDATE: “I don’t know why she is making these accusations. She is so powerful and I am just a shop girl.” Race-talk these days is mostly a way for the powerful to keep the ‘shop girls’ in their place.

AS PEOPLE YAMMER OVER RODEO CLOWNS, it’s worth remembering stuff like this.

OBAMA IS BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER: FireDogLake calls out Kos: “Markos Moulitsas’ Ugly, Reverse-Racist Smear.” “Please, Mr. Moulitsas, tell us, what is the proper, non-privileged, multi-cultural view of the ‘privacy issue’? Is it one that stays within the confines of what’s allowed by the Democratic Party? Is it one that is relevant to the war on women, or voting rights, or immigration, but ignores the collapse of the rule of law and the justice system (which is far from a ‘white privileged’ issue)?”

RACISM, CONVERSATIONS, and the sound of one hand clapping. “If it is acceptable for the President of the United States or the Attorney General to regale us with a remembered litany of racial slights, why is it racist and wrong for Victor Davis Hanson to share memories that left an imprint upon him? Why is it racist and wrong for me to do the same?” Because shut up.

JAMES TARANTO: It’s Always Selma Again: On the cheapening of civil-rights history.

Jackson is not alone in seeking to trivialize civil-rights history. As Commentary’s Seth Mandel noted the other day, Rep. John Lewis–who suffered a fractured skull when a racist mob beat him on Bloody Sunday–in 2008 scurrilously likened the McCain campaign’s criticism of Barack Obama to the Birmingham church bombings. Lewis has a long history of similar comparisons, and his undisputed heroism 48 years ago does not excuse his inflammatory and irresponsible rhetoric.

Some of the efforts to evoke the civil-rights movement today are downright laughable. The Washington Times–in a story reporting that the Smithsonian Institution is trying, no joke, to acquire the sweatshirt Trayvon Martin was wearing when George Zimmerman shot him in self-defense–reports: “The National Museum of African American History and Culture is set to open in 2015 and will display objects related to the Civil Rights Movement, such as the handcuffs used to restrain Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.”

Was Gates arrested at Selma? Unlikely, since he was 14 at the time. It’s a safe bet the event in question is the one that happened in Cambridge, Mass., in 2009, when Gates was trying to break into his own home and a passerby mistook him for a burglar and summoned police. This column sympathized with Gates. But to characterize the kerfuffle as “related to the Civil Rights Movement” is ludicrous.

Yes, but if you admit that Selma is in the past, people will have to rethink a lot of things. Including their own self-image. Meanwhile, a reminder from the real civil-rights era: Bull Connor was a member of the Democratic National Committee.

MICHAEL BARONE: Forget The Old South: Trayvon Martin Was No Emmett Till. But if you see things as they are, you can’t engage in reflexive moral superiority, and bullying. Where’s the fun in that?

MEGAN MCARDLE: We Don’t Need Tougher Standards For Self-Defense.

Right now, it feels wrong to many people because a boy who was walking home with Skittles and iced tea has ended up dead. But as lawyers say, “hard cases make bad law.” The law will always have some sad cases that can’t be prosecuted, or some cases where someone doing something understandable gets jail time for breaking the law. Laws written in response to public outcry about those hard cases are usually bad laws. They are the equivalent of deciding to give everyone an ANA test because of the tragic death of someone with undiagnosed lupus.

In both cases, we’re focusing on the emotional impact of the false negative that is right before us, and not all the other cases where false positives could be disastrous. Imagine that someone you have had words with — your editor, perhaps — attacks you, and there are no witnesses to the attack. Fearing for your life, you stab him, and he dies. Should the law require you to prove that you acted in self-defense, beyond a reasonable doubt? How could you?

Imagine now that it is a black teenager attacked by a racist 23-year-old looking for a fight, or a woman whose abusive boyfriend finally threatened to kill her. Do you want those people to have to prove that it was self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt? Should the prosecution be able to send them to prison for decades because it’s possible that they were the aggressor — not even likely, just possible? Should they have to wait until they have suffered life-threatening damage in order to justify protecting themselves?

That seems insane to me.

Which is why you’ll never get a gig at MSNBC. But, to be fair, many of these people would be happy with special rules for black youths, or battered women, or whatever, so that they get the result they want. And if the categories don’t fit, well — you can always re-arrange them ad hoc, as the media did when they turned part-black, part-hispanic George Zimmerman into the reincarnation of Bull Connor.

Related: Cathy Young: Zimmerman Backlash Continues Thanks To False Media Narrative.

This narrative has transformed Zimmerman, a man of racially mixed heritage that included white, Hispanic and black roots (a grandmother who helped raise him had an Afro-Peruvian father), into an honorary white male steeped in white privilege. It has cast him as a virulent racist even though he once had a black business partner, mentored African-American kids, lived in a neighborhood about 20 percent black, and participated in complaints about a white police lieutenant’s son getting away with beating a homeless black man.

This narrative has perpetuated the lie that Zimmerman’s history of calls to the police indicates obsessive racial paranoia. Thus, discussing the verdict on the PBS NewsHour, University of Connecticut professor and New Yorker contributor Jelani Cobb asserted that “Zimmerman had called the police 46 times in previous six years, only for African-Americans, only for African-American men.” Actually, prior to the call about Martin, only four of Zimmerman’s calls had to do with African-American men or teenage boys (and two of them were about individuals who Zimmerman thought matched the specific description of burglary suspects). Five involved complaints about whites, and one about two Hispanics and a white male; others were about such issues as a fire alarm going off, a reckless driver of unknown race, or an aggressive dog.

In this narrative, even Zimmerman’s concern for a black child—a 2011 call to report a young African-American boy walking unsupervised on a busy street, on which the police record notes, “compl[ainant] concerned for well-being”—has been twisted into crazed racism. Writing on the website of The New Republic, Stanford University law professor Richard Thompson Ford describes Zimmerman as “an edgy basket case” who called 911 about “the suspicious activities of a seven year old black boy.” This slander turns up in other left-of-center sources, such as

It has to be 1963 forever. Otherwise they’d have to ask some tough questions — of themselves. Read the whole thing.

THEY KEEP DOING THIS STUFF: ABC’s Misleading Edit of Juror B29.

Yesterday Breitbart News noted the ABC interview with Juror B29. The big news was that Maddy–her last name was never used to protect her privacy–had told Robin Roberts “George Zimmerman got away with murder.” And indeed if you watch the Nightline edit of the interview she does seem to say that without hesitation or reservation.

However, William Saletan at Slate points out that the unedited interview seems to show something different. Maddy actually hesitates twice when answering Roberts’ question which contains the statement “George Zimmerman got away with murder.” As Saletan points out “she looks as though she’s trying to reconcile the sentiment that’s been quoted to her—that Zimmerman ‘got away with murder’—with her own perspective. So she repeats the quote and adds words of her own, to convey what she thinks: that there’s a justice higher than the law, which Zimmerman will have to face ”

I agree with Saletan’s take on this. Maddy appears to be offering a response to a statement that was presented to her. You can see Maddy’s unedited response in the clip below (Scroll in about 2 minutes). . . . NBC is still being sued by George Zimmerman for the misleading edit of the 911 call which made him appear racist. ABC seems to be similarly misleading viewers about what juror Maddy said and meant in an effort to generate headlines.

It’s like you can’t trust journalists to report the news rather than manufacture it.

OTHER THAN THAT, THE STORY WAS ACCURATE: The New Republic has corrected Richard Thompson Ford’s Zimmerman piece:

This article has been corrected. Zimmerman called various law enforcement officials 46 times, not just 911, as originally stated. He made the calls over an eight-year period, not over the course of 15 months, as originally stated. The original sentence also cited a call Zimmerman made about a seven-year-old boy; the clause has been removed as it implied that Zimmerman was reporting suspicious activity. It appears that Zimmerman made the call out of concern. We regret the errors.

You can see the list of Zimmerman’s calls here, and it hardly suggests he was an “edgy basket case with a gun,” as the piece still asserts. And of course, there’s the glaring error of treating Zimmerman – who would count as a “diversity hire” at any law school in America — as an honorary “white” for purposes of raising the race issue. If there’s anyone too quick on the trigger to be found in this matter, they appear to be writing for The New Republic. . . .

UPDATE: Just for yuks, here are the first 5 calls on the list:

8/12/04: Reports male driving pick-up without car seat
9/20/04: Neighbor’s garage door open
8/20/04: Reports white male walking in the road carrying a paper bag, presumably drinking
3/17/05: Pothole
4/27/05: Neighbor’s garage door open

Sounds like Death Wish: The Sequel all right . . . .

THE POWER OF NEGATIVE THINKING: How Academia Turned George Zimmerman Into A Racist.

“I COULD TELL SHE WAS A LEFTY FROM THE WAY SHE WROTE THE AMPERSAND:” Ann Althouse on “Proud Racist” Renee Vaughan of the Texas Campaign for the Environment:

It’s a harsh consequence to become — for all time, on the web — Renee “Racist and Proud” Vaughan. She’s apologized — sorry she got busted. You know how apologies are. But I doubt that she’d be sorry if her trick had worked and amplified the legend of the racism of Zimmerman and his defenders.

It’s entirely fitting that her name should be forever linked to the motto “Racist and Proud,” because that isn’t a lie. It’s true. It is racist to press the racism template onto the Zimmerman story, and it is done with full intent to stimulate feelings of race-based anxiety in vulnerable minds. That is heartless and evil.


UPDATE: A reader emails:

You just posted the link to Althouse about “Proud Racist” Renee Vaughan, and already her name has been pulled from the Texas Campaign for the Environment staff page. But you can still see her listed at this cached copy from earlier. That was quick!

Indeed. Perhaps they’ve let her go, as someone who’s publicly “Racist And Proud” might reflect poorly on their brand.

AFTER BEING BUSTED FOR FALSE-FLAG OPERATION, Leftist Texas Activist Apologizes for Smearing Pro-Zimmerman Group With Hateful Racist Sign at Rally. Her name is Renee Vaughan. Her employer, the Texas Campaign For The Environment, has also apologized. Nonetheless, I hope the picture of her standing with a sign reading “We’re Racist And Proud” winds up being tagged to both. . . .

FALL FOR IT, OR GIVE IT A HELPING HAND? Video Proof: Media Fall for Hoax Racism at Pro-Zimmerman Rally.

CATHY YOUNG: How Media Lies Have Distorted A Tragedy. “President Obama spoke some undeniable truths when he noted that the African-American community’s reaction must be seen in the context of a long, terrible history of racism. But there is another context too: that of an ideology-based, media-driven false narrative that has distorted a tragedy into a racist outrage. This narrative has transformed Zimmerman, a man of racially mixed heritage that included white, Hispanic and black roots (a grandmother who helped raise him had an Afro-Peruvian father), into an honorary white male steeped in white privilege. It has cast him as a virulent racist even though he once had a black business partner, mentored African-American kids, lived in a neighborhood about 20 percent black, and participated in complaints about a white police lieutenant’s son getting away with beating a homeless black man.”


Zimmerman shot when he was pinned down and getting his head bashed into concrete. Stand-your-ground has to do with retreating when you can. Even aside from the fact laws can’t ensure that bad things never, ever happen again — or else why is there murder? — stand-your-ground made no difference in Zimmerman’s situation. . . .

We need something concrete.
.. Speaking of concrete, does anyone at these rallies mention that Martin bashed Zimmerman’s head on the concrete?

Of course not. Mentioning that would be racist.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE, ATTACK-THE-WHISTLEBLOWER EDITION: Watchdog decries ‘unprecedented’ treatment by Dems at IRS hearing.

The government watchdog who issued the report that found the IRS was targeting conservative groups was turned into a punching bag by Democrats in the second half of a tense hearing Thursday, leading Inspector General J. Russell George to chide lawmakers for their attacks on his office.

“This is unprecedented,” he said of his treatment before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the end of the hearing. The first half of the hearing was devoted to testimony from IRS officials who claimed higher-ups in Washington, D.C., were involved in applying additional scrutiny to Tea Party and other groups.

But the second half featured George and his associates, and ended up becoming a forum for Democratic lawmakers to accuse him of effectively ignoring potential signs that liberal groups may have been targeted as well. They pointed in part to IRS documents that suggest “progressive” groups may have been singled out.

George, though, said he didn’t see one of those packets until last week. He said he was “disturbed” it took so long for the IRS to produce the documents.

Hey, it took a while to make them look convincing. . . . And it’s obviously racist of the Democrats to go after a black man this way.


Earlier Thursday, a veteran IRS worker testified that officials from a Washington office led by a political appointee intervened in the screening of Tea Party applications, saying publicly for the first time the IRS chief counsel’s office was involved in the controversial program.

Carter Hull, a recently retired tax law specialist, had earlier come under scrutiny after an employee in the Cincinnati IRS office told congressional investigators that he had been micro-managing her review of Tea Party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status. But Hull revealed that he, too, was taking orders from up the chain of command.

Hull specifically said he was told to forward documents to an adviser for embattled IRS official Lois Lerner — who first revealed the targeting of Tea Party groups and has since refused to answer lawmakers’ questions. But Hull said he was then told to send documents to the Office of Chief Counsel for their review — which is led by political appointee William Wilkins.

Reminder: Back in 2009, Obama “joked” about auditing his enemies.

JAMES TARANTO: Shut Up and Speak Honestly: Holder urges candor. Does he mean it?

To be sure, the smug mockery of twits like Yglesias and Klein, while it does not contribute to the honest conversation Holder claims to want, is not much of a detraction from it either.

On the other hand, the “racist” label is intended as a conversation-stopper. And “this isn’t the first time Cohen has come under fire for making insensitive comments about young black men,” as Calderone notes. In 1986 two dozen protesters gathered outside the Post’s headquarters to protest (among other things) a Cohen column that appeared in the newspaper’s Sunday magazine. According to a contemporaneous account from United Press International, Cohen “sided with city jewelry store owners who refuse to allow young black men to enter their shops because of a fear of crime.” Executive editor Ben Bradlee issued a printed apology. Hiatt’s unapologetic stance is encouraging by contrast.

That said, Hiatt’s suggestion that Cohen’s detractors “seek to stifle” his views poses a bit of a conundrum.They are, after all, doing nothing more than expressing their views, and one imagines that Madden, for instance, honestly believes Cohen’s views make him a “racist.”

But an honest conversation requires more than honesty. It requires a willingness to engage constructively with people who hold views with which one disagrees, or that one finds disagreeable. In that regard, Cohen measures up while his detractors fall short.

If America is a “nation of cowards,” it is likely because many people with views similar to Cohen’s prefer to avoid the subject rather than endure the unpleasantness and potential serious repercussions that come with the accusation of racism. Holder’s call for honest conversation would have some force if he exhorted fellow liberals and fellow blacks to be sensitive to the reasons for these inhibitions. Absent that, it’s more lecture than conversation.

Like Obama, when Holder says “conversation,” he means “shut up while I lecture.”

WHY ARE THE DEMOCRATS SO RACIST? National Journal: The United States Senate Just Lost Half of Its Black Senators. “On Tuesday, Rep. Edward Markey became Sen. Edward Markey. In doing so, the Democrat brought the Senate’s black membership from 2 to 1. . . . Cowan’s exit leaves Republican Tim Scott as the only black U.S. senator.”

WILLIAM SALETAN: You Are Not Trayvon Martin: His death wasn’t about race, guns, or your pet issue. It was about misjudgment and overreaction—exactly what we’re doing now to the verdict:

It turned out I had been wrong about many things. The initial portrait of Zimmerman as a racist wasn’t just exaggerated. It was completely unsubstantiated. It’s a case study in how the same kind of bias that causes racism can cause unwarranted allegations of racism. Some of the people Zimmerman had reported as suspicious were black men, so he was a racist. Members of his family seemed racist, so he was a racist. Everybody knew he was a racist, so his recorded words were misheard as racial slurs, proving again that he was a racist.

The 911 dispatcher who spoke to Zimmerman on the fatal night didn’t tell him to stay in his car. Zimmerman said he was following a suspicious person, and the dispatcher told him, “We don’t need you do to that.” Chief prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda conceded in his closing argument that these words were ambiguous.

Read the whole thing. But remember: This was never about Zimmerman or Martin. It was about firing up Obama’s black vote, and keeping his guilty-white-liberal supporters from abandoning him over his many broken campaign promises. Remember: If the GOP wins, blacks will be gunned down in the streets and women will be turned into walking uteri!

UPDATE: Michael Graham: “Amerika” Rants Get Verdict Wrong:

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson told me the same thing. He participated in Sunday’s march protesting Zimmerman’s acquittal. “You can shoot an unarmed black man in America and get away with it,” the councilor said.

“Really,” I replied, “so does that mean that I could shoot you and get away with it?”

Jackson insisted the case was more complicated than that. But it’s not, and that’s why many Americans are so annoyed with the hand-wringing and protests. Comedian Marlon Wayans tweeted out, “They traded us one O.J. and a Barack for a Zimmerman.” But the Martin shooting was the opposite of the O.J. case.

The evidence of O.J. Simpson’s guilt was overwhelming. The jury had to make a race-based decision to ignore the mountain of evidence and find O.J. not guilty.

In the Martin case, the prosecutors always had a tough job of overcoming Zimmerman’s self-defense claims “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

So a case goes the way the facts and law indicate it’s likely to go — and this proves to Democrats that America is racist?

“USA! KKK! How many kids have you killed today?” was the chant in Providence this weekend.

See the above. It’s all agitprop for low-information voters. If it damages the social fabric, so what? Power is all about power. Our political class has no sense of responsibility or shame.


The decision, of course, will be one hundred percent political. But there’s a problem: FBI records: agents found no evidence that Zimmerman was racist. But remember: For Obama et al., it’s never been about Zimmerman, or about Trayvon Martin. It’s about keeping blacks — and guilty white liberals — heated up and on the plantation, instead of defecting in disgust over Obama’s scandals and broken promises. So they’ll be demonizing everyone in sight between now and 2014.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S POST-RACIAL AMERICA: Twitter Lynch Mob Threatens To Kill George Zimmerman. I hope someone will report all these threatening tweets to the FBI.

UPDATE: On the other hand, as usual, people are behaving better in real life than they do on the Internet: “Note: No one is rioting. I heard predictions that there would be riots, and I always thought these predictions were unseemly (if not actively racist). After the verdict was announced, CNN had a reporter in the crowd outside the courthouse, seemingly looking for angry black people to interview — and not finding any.”

Well, they rioted in Oakland, but that’s hardly news.

JUSTICE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Judicial Watch: Zimmerman Prosecution Might Have Been Forced by DOJ-Organized Pressure.

Related: Did the Department of Justice Stir Up Trayvon Martin Riots?

Also: CNN: Ex-Sanford police chief: Zimmerman probe ‘taken away from us.’ “Bill Lee, who testified Monday in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial, told CNN’s George Howell in an exclusive interview that he felt pressure from city officials to arrest Zimmerman to placate the public rather than as a matter of justice.”

The Administration needed to increase racial tension to boost black turnout in 2012.

UPDATE: In fact, an InstaPundit reader nailed this over a year ago, as another InstaPundit reader just pointed out in an email:

One of your readers, David Horwich, made the point last March that the President rallied to Trayvon Martin’s side in order to shore up his numbers with blacks:

“IMHO, what’s going in in the WH these days is really, really bad poll numbers. How else can one explain an investment in clearly polarizing issues like picking a fight with both the church and Rush Limbaugh, race-baiting with Trayvon, a flirtation with an advocacy of gay marriage, Stalin-esque striking down of voter ID laws, et. Al. The softness in numbers with the black population must really be stark, otherwise, why bring this stuff up? There’s no upside with independent voters with any of these issues.”

Eight months later Obama won, but barely, and only because of near unanimous support from blacks during the first presidential election in American history where black turnout exceeded white turnout. Going forward, there is no further upside for Democrats with blacks. So either we should expect to see Democrats pivot to another group or we should expect to see more race-baiting histrionics. My bet is on the latter.

Sadly, I think that’s right.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader David Preiser thinks there’s more to it than that:

It was really all about restoring the desired amount of white, liberal guilt, and keeping those unsure of another Obama term on side. Just like those Duke professors didn’t care about falsely arresting and possibly convicting those lacrosse players of rape because they felt we “needed” to discuss the larger issue of rape and remind everyone how bad it is, we “needed” to have a national discussion about how we’re still a racist country, the police are racist, etc. White guilt, white votes. So the allegedly post-racial President who was supposed to at last help us get past racial division has deliberately made it worse than it has been in a long time.