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Unexamined Premises

In Praise of ISIS’s Moral Clarity

October 29th, 2014 - 12:15 pm
The Gathering

The gathering… storm

The ongoing collapse of President Obama’s Middle Eastern foreign policy may, in fact, have a silver lining in ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, now gestating in what is left of the fictional country of “Iraq” and the only slightly less fictional country of “Syria.” Whether by accident born of ignorance and indolence, or design born of cultural affinity, Obama’s thorough trashing of the post-Bush order in Iraq (and, soon enough, in Afghanistan, where the last Marines left on Sunday), has done the world a signal favor that ought to be appreciated and acted upon: it has destroyed the Sykes-Picot Agreement that stood for nearly a century, and bequeathed the modern world so much trouble.

It has also awakened part of the senescent West to the raw barbarism of radical Islam: not simply the beheadings, the rapes and the murders, but the cultural destruction that inevitably follows in the wake of Mohammedan conquest. Say what you will about the Moonies, the Scientologists and the Amish — none of them wants to burn down art galleries and opera houses. But totalitarian Islam does. The Taliban’s demolition of the Bamayan Buddhas in March of 2001 should have served as a warning for the horror that were to come just six months later; now, the ancient Christian communities (which long predate the invention of Islam) have been scattered, along with the priceless cultural artifacts of Mesopotamian civilization. But that is what you get when an alien ideology takes control.

One would think this behavior is self-evidently indefensible, but of course in the burgeoning western suicide cult that is liberal Europe and America, it’s merely hideously fascinating and, at root, justifiable; after all, if we don’t have it coming, who does? As ISIS spreads across what we used to call the “cradle of civilization,” a glance at a map ought to alert everyone to the danger:

Any resemblance to cancer is purely coincidental

Any resemblance to cancer is purely coincidental

At the moment, ISIS is heading east, beating up on the Kurds and doing their best to roll up the Shi’a-led puppet government of “Iraq” and itching for its ultimate confrontation with Shi’ite Iran. But look to the north and west (as the Kurds already know), where the rapidly Islamicizing Turkey (Ataturk and his forcibly secular state are a fading memory) offers a ripe target for the restoration of the Caliphate and payback for the humiliation Ataturk visited upon them:

Atatürk’s attacks on Islam were not limited to the government, however. Everyday life for Turks was also dictated by Atatürk’s secular ideas:

  • Traditional Islamic forms of headdress such as turbans and the fez were outlawed in favor of Western-style hats.
  • The hijaab for women was ridiculed as a “ridiculous object” and banned in public buildings.
  • The calendar was officially changed, from the traditional Islamic calendar, based on the hijrah – Prophet Muhammad ﷺ’s flight to Madinah – to the Gregorian calendar, based on the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • In 1932, the adhan – the Muslim call to prayer – was outlawed in Arabic. Instead, it was rewritten using Turkish words and forced upon the country’s thousands of mosques.
  • Friday was no longer considered part of the weekend. Instead, Turkey was forced to follow European norms of Saturday and Sunday being days off from work.

After all of these changes, the Grand National Assembly gave up the charade in 1928 and deleted the clause in the constitution that declared Islam as the official state religion. Islam had been replaced with Atatürk’s secular ideologies.

That was then and this is now. Lately the ISIS advance has slowed and should they fail to take Baghdad — and the half-hearted U.S. response is not going to deter them; only Shi’ite resistance can do that — the savages of ISIS may well turn their attention to softer targets in Syria and even Turkey; and from Turkey, the soft underbelly of Europe — Greece, Muslim Albania and the former Muslim provinces of Bulgaria and parts of Hungary — are just a short boat ride away. When you have revanchism on your mind, expansion or extinction are the only choices:

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Ars gratia artis

Ars gratia artis

There’s always been a strain of intolerant yahooism running through segments of the modern conservative movement, an ignorance and suspicion of the fine arts in all their forms. It’s bad enough when it comes from the populist, talk-radio side of the right wing; it’s worse when it comes from the allegedly more sophisticated side of the movement. But so it has.

Tonight in New York City, the Metropolitan Opera will stage the John Adams-Alice Goodman opera The Death of Klinghoffer, first performed back in 1991 in Brussels under tight security for fear of Muslim backlash (this was a decade before 9/11, remember) and widely produced elsewhere since. This evening, as the audiences file into Lincoln Center, there will also be tight security — but this time the protests come largely from the other side.

The wheelchair protest is planned, the ex-governor continues to speak of his disgust, and those attending the Metropolitan Opera’s latest production Monday will find a first in their programs: A letter denouncing what they’re about to see. This is the swirl of controversy surrounding the Met’s premiere of “The Death of Klinghoffer,” the John Adams opera that is based on the brutal murder in 1985 of Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly Jewish tourist shot by Palestinian terrorists and pushed into the sea from the deck of the cruise ship Achille Lauro.

The controversy, which has sparked protests at Lincoln Center, a letter-writing campaign and the cancellation of the Met’s broadcasts of the opera, seems to have left everybody involved unhappy. “Ignorance is always frustrating,” said Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, complaining this week about the critics, who he believes have been too aggressive in their attempts to block the production.

“It’s unfortunate and it’s wrong,” former New York governor George Pataki said of the Met’s decision to program “The Death of Klinghoffer.” “Just the title says it all. Klinghoffer didn’t die. He was murdered.” And Adams said that the Met’s decision to cancel the movie theater simulcasts and radio broadcasts of “Klinghoffer” was “radical” and “damaging in every way.”

The New York Times noted this morning:

Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, who said that he had received threats related to the opera and that some cast members had been harassed online, addressed the performers and musicians at Friday’s final dress rehearsal to tell them about enhanced security measures. “We just want to take every precaution so that everybody is safe and secure on Monday,” he said.

Although the opera, and the Met’s decision to stage it, is being attacked by a number of religious and political figures, both are being praised by some artistic figures. “Klinghoffer” has been performed earlier in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Juilliard School.

“It is not only permissible for the Met to do this piece — it’s required for the Met to do the piece,” Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public Theater, said in an interview. “It is a powerful and important opera. It tackles an issue that, as we are seeing now, is radioactive in our culture. And precisely because of its radioactivity, that’s why it needs to be tackled.”

At issue is not the quality of the work, but the perception that by depicting the murder of a wheelchair-bound American Jew on board an Italian cruise ship by a group of Palestinian terrorists — and by giving the terrorists their say — the opera is somehow endorsing both murder and Jew hatred. It’s like arguing that because Shakespeare gives Iago many of the best lines in Othello — and because Verdi gives the villain the most memorable aria in his operatic version, Otello —  Shakespeare and Verdi are personally endorsing blasphemy. Similarly, in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, we first meet the lecherous Don in the act of raping Donna Anna, and later he gets dragged down to Hell completely unrepentant; this does not mean that Mozart and da Ponte are celebrating rape.

The problem lies with the opera’s historical-political subject matter. Those who know next to nothing about opera seem to think this is proof of a political argument, forgetting that opera is often about real-life political events, sometimes disguised for censorship reasons (Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera) and sometimes not (Verdi’s Don Carlos, based on the historical play by Schiller). Further, Klinghoffer is not even the first politically themed opera by its creative team — that honor went to Nixon in China, which discomfited its leftist critics with a sympathetic portrayal of the title character, old Tricky Dick himself.

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What a shock: faced with a crisis that could demolish the Democrats in the coming midterm elections and permanently cripple his post-election plans to continue “fundamental transformation,” President Obama has done the only thing he knows how to do — seek a political solution to get him past Nov. 4, in the hopes that he can fool the American public one last time.

ebola poster

The announcement of Ron Klain as the new Ebola “czar” checks all the boxes: Harvard Law, longtime Democrat party op, veteran of the Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry campaigns. The problem is, it checks all the wrong boxes. The Progressive myth is that we ought to have a government of experts — top men! — to handle the nation’s problems in a calm, deliberative manner. The reality is that we have a nation of unscrupulous lawyers, amoral apparatchiks and political hacks whose only area of expertise is manipulating the electoral and governmental systems and getting rich by doing so.

I mean, does this make you feel confident?

After learning this week that an infected nurse had traveled by air, Mr. Obama scrapped most of his schedule in favor of meetings with top national security and public health officials. While praising their work to date on Ebola, the president said they had full plates — including the fight against the Islamic State and the onset of flu season — and another person might be needed “just to make sure that we are crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s going forward.”

Mr. Klain will report directly to Lisa Monaco, Mr. Obama’s homeland security adviser, and Susan E. Rice, his national security adviser, the official said.

Islamic State, the flu season, a lethal virus hitherto confined to Africa — just another day at the office for President Golf n’ Fund-raise. What this appointment — made only under duress, and purely for political reasons, since there is absolutely nothing Ron Klain personally can do to stop the spread of the Ebola virus now that the barn doors at our borders and airports have been left wide open for ideological reasons — tells us is this:

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

September 11th, 2014 - 5:30 pm
Say what?

His Serene Highness, the Emperor Hussein

As if there were any doubt that the imaginary presidency of Barack Hussein Obama is over, the recent calamitous events leading up to this week’s ghastly speech — the only thing Obama knows how to do, apparently, is make a speech — have certainly dispelled them in all except the minds of the true believers and perhaps Michael Beschloss. Short on specifics (“coalition” of whom?), weak-kneed, lily-livered, dispassionate and uninspiring, Obama’s latest address to the nation should be the last time any American takes what the president of the United States has to say seriously. Certainly, nobody else will.

But hey — in the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind that is Obama’s, he’s just doing the job he was hired to do. Put him in front of the TelePrompter, load it up with the latest platitudes, buzz words and poll-tested phrases, and turn him loose. How awful it must be for him to realize that the one-trick pony act that worked so well it got him all the way from Chicago to the White House is now working against him, and has turned him from the messiah into a figure of ridicule.

His mistake — and ours — lay in thinking that he and we had the same notion of what being “president” actually meant. To us, it’s the most important job in the country, a position fit only for a wise man of great experience and sound judgment; we might disagree on the details, but until Obama, every president felt an allegiance to the United States of America and did, by his lights, the best he could for his country. Sure, Woodrow Wilson sought to undermine the constitutional principles of the republic (and, like Bill Clinton, only won the presidency because the Republicans split their vote), but he did so out of misguided and voguish belief in nascent Progressivism — a philosophy he shared with both his GOP opponents, Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft; there were, after all, three Progressives running in that election, evangelists of the same movement that gave us the dreadful 16th, 17th and 18th constitutional amendments.

Obama, however, is something new — the first anti-American president (and, not coincidentally, the first American president raised entirely outside the continental U.S.). Marinated in anti-American propaganda from childhood, and skilfully passed along the quasi-Marxist network of the anti-American Left, he was the perfect stealth candidate in 2008, a man of no particular intellect or accomplishment, whose past was murky and whose background mysterious — an alien simulacrum of an American that presented himself as the anti-Bush, a role he continues to play. As David Rothkopf writes in a brilliant piece in Foreign Policy:

Obama’s presidency is largely a product of a moment in history that likely will be seen someday as an aberration — the decade after 9/11, during which a stunned, angry, and disoriented America was sent spinning into a kind of national PTSD. Call it an age of fear, one in which the country and its leaders were forced to grapple with a sense of vulnerability to which they were unaccustomed. The response of George W. Bush’s administration — entering into the long, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, remaking U.S. national security policy around the terrorism threat — led to a backlash that ushered Obama into office with a perceived mandate to undo what his predecessor had done and avoid making similar mistakes.

The problem is that in seeking to sidestep the pitfalls that plagued Bush, Obama has inadvertently created his own. Yet unlike Bush, whose flaw-riddled first-term foreign policy was followed by important and not fully appreciated second-term course corrections, Obama seems steadfast in his resistance both to learning from his past errors and to managing his team so that future errors are prevented. It is hard to think of a recent president who has grown so little in office.

With the fall elections looming, the figure that once inspired millions is now an albatross around the Democrats’ neck, shunned by endangered candidates who will now perform the time-honored Democratic magic trick of running as “conservatives” before being returned to office to vote in lockstep with the Harry Reid wing of the criminal organization masquerading as a political party. RINOs, of course, do precisely the same thing, viz John McCain, which is why, until we break up the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, nothing will ever really change, except for the worse. 

One might point out that Bush performed the same role from 2006-2008, and his party got what was coming to it in a presidential election in which Bush left no possible successor and the Democrats, true to form, nominated somebody nobody had even heard of a few years earlier. Ever since, we have had, in effect, a fantasy presidency, in which the appearances of the office have been more or less kept up, but the substance is almost wholly lacking. Thus, instead of respecting the separation of powers, Obama has marginalized the Congress and outright attacked the Supreme Court in public, all the while merrily packing the lower federal courts with more ideological infiltrators with law degrees — incubating, like the chest-burster in Alien, until the time is right for them to blast forth and continue their war on the country as founded. Meanwhile, he continues to enjoy the perks, including parties, free travel and endless rounds of golf, at taxpayer expense.

To say we’ve never seen anything like him on the national level would be an understatement, which is why nobody seems to know how to stop him. If you think rule-by-executive-order is bad now, wait until after the elections. Even should the Stupid Party somehow overcome its suicidal proclivities and actually take control of the Senate, it still will not be able to keep him in check should he choose to “rule” exclusively by fiat. After all, he didn’t even respect a Democratic Congress when he had it.

However, there is one regional figure from American history whom Obama very much resembles:

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Time For a New Church Militant?

September 10th, 2014 - 2:25 pm
Saint Mike opens up a can of whupass on Satan; Satan whines

Saint Mike opens up a can of whuppass on Satan

We need more of this:

Cardinal Francis George, head of the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago, said the levers of power in government, education, entertainment, and media are enforcing a “public creed,” a “fake church” that requires all citizens to approve of gay marriage and related sexual anomalies or be punished by the State, just “as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.”

Cardinal George, who was president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2007-10, made his remarks in his Sept. 7 column for the archdiocesean newspaper… “What was once a request to live and let live has now become a demand for approval,” said Cardinal George, whose archdiocese includes about 2.2 million Catholics.

The Cardinal gets it exactly right: pleas for “tolerance” from the Left are almost always a foot in the door for their next non-negotiable pattern of demands. Because there is no negotiating with principles antithetical to your own; even a half-step in the other direction effectively negates whatever it is you stand for. Once a principle is on the table, it’s not longer a principle but merely a policy prescription — and you have already lost the argument. As “David Kahane” writes in Rules for Radical Conservatives:

After all, we seem like such nice people. We preach tolerance constantly (it’s our protective cloak, our defensive shield, our Tarnhelm against your righteous anger), we never resort to violence when a ruinous lawsuit will do, and we’re always ready with an explanation of why your behavior is wrong, immoral, selfish, aberrational, arrogant, or just plain nuts. We will “talking cure” you to death, set the rules for you, force you to stay inside your head while we romp around in the unoccupied sectors.

Stop and think. Don’t you now, on some level, believe that up is down? That black is white? That freedom is tyranny? That good is evil? Of course you do. Because that’s what we want you to think. That’s what we’ve been telling you for more than seventy-five years. There is no position or proposition too ludicrous for us argue, and so beaten down are you that you’re bound to at least consider what we have to say.

But, pace Herbert Marcuse (a Communist thinker much admired in my college days, and another fellow-traveler in the parade of German refugee Marxists from the Frankfurt School who stabbed his adopted country in the front after being given safe haven from the Nazis), who famously wrote that “tolerance is an end in itself,” tolerance is no such thing. It is merely the name we give to an impulse, not a pillar upon which to build the just society that liberal-Progressives claim to want. There is no tolerance in Progressivism other than “repressive tolerance,” and no tolerance in Islam at all. No wonder lefties love implementing “zero tolerance” policies in their schools; it helps prepare the young people for the cultural fascism called “political correctness” to come. 

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sotloffThis just in:

ISIS terrorists released a video Tuesday that claims to show the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff. In the video titled “A second message to America,’’ Sotloff, 31, of Florida can be seen kneeling in orange garb in front of a black-cloaked executioner following news footage of President Obama talking tough about the terror group. Sotloff says into the camera that he is “paying the price’’ for US intervention in Syria. —

Now read this story:

Without offering specifics on any threats or suggestions on how to confront them, the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees urged the White House to work to prevent the Islamic State extremists from launching attacks on US soil. The bipartisan pair shared a dire warning against the IS group, which now has control of vast swathes of Syria and Iraq, has killed civilians from that region and beheaded American journalist James Foley. “This is a group of people who are extraordinarily dangerous,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who leads the upper house intelligence panel. “And they’ll kill with abandon.” In a separate TV interview, Mike Rogers, leader of the House Intelligence Committee warned the leaders of the Islamic State, sometimes also called ISIL or ISIS, are looking for a spectacular attack that would help them raise money and recruit more fighters. “ISIL would like to have a Western-style attack to continue this notion that they are the leading jihadist group in the world,” said Republican Mr Rogers.

And now recall that Sen. Feinstein (“I have a deep belief that these weapons are antithetical to our values”) is one of the foremost proponents of the disarming of the American people — “gun control” — in Congress.  The Left would rather see you die than have the ability to defend yourself. They fear the power of the citizenry more than they fear America’s enemies. What does that tell you about who they are? For how is the threat posed to America by ISIS anything other than a validation of the Second Amendment and your right to keep and bear arms? With the southern border wide open, and the PC Police refusing to answer any questions about who and what is flooding into our country, the necessity of self-defense is no longer merely theoretical.  Intelligence sources confirm that ISIS is seeking a Mumbai-style assault on a European or American city, where the first line of defense would be neither the cops — trained to catch crooks, not repel invasions — or the army but… you. Admiral Yamamoto may not in fact have said that a Japanese invasion of the U.S. was impossible because “there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass,” but the gist certainly used to be right. Is it anymore?

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They’re Not ‘Americans’

August 28th, 2014 - 7:57 am
isis-iraq-war-crimes.si

Minnesotans?

Or “Britons.” Or “Norwegians.” Call them what they call themselves: Muslim members of the ummah:

As many as 15 Somali-American men have left their homes in Minnesota in recent months to travel to the Middle East and join up with ISIS, the jihadist army at war with Syria and Iraq, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

The fighters appear to have made the decision to go fight with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant while the terror group was fighting to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, but some may now be in Iraq, where the marauding group is seeking to topple Baghdad. ”A Muslim has to stand up for [what's] right,” Abdirahmaan Muhumed told MPR News through a series of Facebook messages dating back to the beginning of the year. “I give up this worldly life for Allah.”

You can read more of Muhumed here, but let’s start with these fun facts –

A profile of Muhumed by Minnesota Public Radio this past June described him as a 29-year-old Somali-American who had been married more than once and was a father of nine children. MPR reported, citing the FBI, that at least 15 young men from the Twin Citites’ Somali-American community had traveled to Syria to join Islamic State, the militant group formerly known as ISIS that has captured wide swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

In a Facebook messages to an MPR reporter, Muhumed wrote “I give up this worldly life for Allah” and “Allah loves those who fight for his cause.” A picture posted on the social network showed Muhumed carrying a Koran in one hand and a rifle in the other.

– and be sure to watch the video, in which two clueless Fox babes natter on about the story with the same kind of gravity they might bring to a story about Kim Kardashian.

But hey, what’s nationality these days as long as you have a passport? As “David Kahane” wrote in Rules for Radical Conservatives:

And look at the results: we’ve gotten an entire generation of journalists to frame every issue through the structuralist lens of race, class, ethnicity and gender (which is what we used to call sex before sex became so commonplace that it’s more titillating to think about having gender these days than it is to think about having sex).  It doesn’t matter what the news event: once past the actual report of the event, the press can be counted on now to move the story to the next level, to interpret it in the media’s own alternative universe of bias, discrimination, glass ceilings and unicorns.  Admit that you’re no longer surprised when you read a headline or a Chyron like this:

            Two Swedes charged in plot to bomb airliner.

The first you think of is a couple of big, blond guys who look like Dolph Lundgren, or maybe a guy and gal who looks like a member of the Swedish bikini team.  What you don’t think of – of course you wouldn’t, you filthy racist – are a couple of Arabs from North Africa, who had been living in Sweden as asylum-seekers while they merrily colluded with al-Qaeda and, surfed the jihadi beheading videos on the Internet and exchanged messages of spiritual guidance and consolation with an imam in Yemen.

So sensitive are the members of the American Fourth Estate to the slightest hint of racism – which, under the current definition consists of the very act of noticing that someone is of a different race than you – that they have utterly altered what we used to consider reality: that Sweden was a country, like most European nation-states, of cousins who shared a common language, culture, history and gene pool.  It was not a racist cliché to assume that many Swedes were, in fact, tall, blond and good-looking, it was a fact.  But now the definition of ethnicity has been changed, in part to reflect that all the European countries are undergoing a demographic and immigration-driven hollowing-out, and that what we used to think of as being quintessentially “British,” “Italian” or even “German” will no longer be true in the future, if it even still is, and that henceforth you will be blinded to the demographic changes going on across the pond and right here at home.  And the media leads the way.

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So four chicks and a metrosexual-type guy walk onto a gun range…

Don’t miss the bit around 2:16 where “confused and conflicted” Allison nearly blows away her instructor with her, um, enthusiasm; gotta work on trigger discipline there, girl! And Abe’s comment at 1:56 about bad-assery is priceless.  Dude — cock that shotgun!

The girls’ reaction at the end reminded me of this classic Blackadder sketch. “They will be slaughtered the minute we mince up the hill.”

Meanwhile, back at the Democrat-Media Complex propaganda shop known as Meet the Press, the Wall Street Journal reporter Jason Riley — author of Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed – brings a different kind of discomfiture to the faces of the gentlefolk of the Left, particularly Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington, filling in for recently defenestrated host David Gregory:

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This is the place for you to have your say — to engage, criticize, chime in, insult or just plain vent about the news of the day. I post, you decide in the comments, where I will also mix it up with you. Always wanted to be an op-ed columnist?  Here’s your big chance. Ready…aim… let ‘er rip.

First, the news from Ferguson:

Michael Brown was shot in the head and chest multiple times, according to Mary Case, the St. Louis County medical examiner.

While Case declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation into Brown’s death, another person familiar with the county’s investigation told the Washington Post that Brown had between six and eight gunshot wounds and was shot from the front.

In addition, Brown had marijuana in his system when he was shot and killed by a police officer on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, according to this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

SUB-JP-BROWN-2-master495

Legendary M.E. Michael Baden weighed in earlier:

Dr. Baden provided a diagram of the entry wounds, and noted that the six shots produced numerous wounds. Some of the bullets entered and exited several times, including one that left at least five different wounds.

“This one here looks like his head was bent downward,” he said, indicating the wound at the very top of Mr. Brown’s head. “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”

As I observed on Facebook yesterday:

All the shots hit Brown in the front, and the final shot hit him in the top of his head, indicating he was likely charging the cop when the officer put him down. Looking at Baden’s sketch, it is possible to suggest that the cop was trying to hit him center mass but was missing to the left (common in the case of a right-handed shooter, especially under pressure). My guess is that the two head shots likely came at closer range than the others. We shall see.

It’s hard to see a happy ending for this one.  Black people were understandably outraged at what first seemed to be an unwarranted police shooting (it may still be.  We don’t know all the facts yet.) Still, the ever-helpful New York Times does its best to race-bait:

… majority-black Ferguson has a virtually all-white power structure: a white mayor; a school board with six white members and one Hispanic, which recently suspended a highly regarded young black superintendent who then resigned; a City Council with just one black member; and a 6 percent black police force.

(The Washington Post begs to differ, here.)

There was once a failed, now vanished, state that kept obsessive, taxonomic tabs on racial statistics and I think we all remember what it was. Meanwhile, speaking of fascists, the Democrats in Texas have now sunk to a new low: criminalizing politics. Even lefties like Jonathan Chait are aghast at the indictment of Gov. Rick Perry for the crime of doing his job:

They say a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, and this always seemed like hyperbole, until Friday night a Texas grand jury announced an indictment of governor Rick Perry. The “crime” for which Perry faces a sentence of 5 to 99 years in prison is vetoing funding for a state agency. The conventions of reporting — which treat the fact of an indictment as the primary news, and its merit as a secondary analytic question — make it difficult for people reading the news to grasp just how farfetched this indictment is.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg — a Democrat who oversees the state’s Public Corruption unit — was arrested for driving very, very drunk. What followed was a relatively ordinary political dispute. Perry, not unreasonably, urged Lehmberg to resign. Democrats, not unreasonably, resisted out of fear that Perry would replace her with a Republican. Perry, not unreasonably, announced and carried out a threat to veto funding for her agency until Lehmberg resigned.

I do not have a fancy law degree from Harvard or Yale or, for that matter, anywhere. I am but a humble country blogger. And yet, having read the indictment, legal training of any kind seems unnecessary to grasp its flimsiness.

And just who is Rosemary Lehmberg? Behold the shrieking Dem harridan/DA the Dems are defending by trying to indict Perry:

Jailer: You’ve been arrested for DWI.

Lehmberg: That’s your problem, not mine.

Of course, she didn’t resign — why would she? She’s a Democrat! And now the Travis County thugs are using lawfare against the governor, the same way they did against former Rep. Tom De LayNow you know what happens when a criminal organization masquerading as a political party gets its hand on the levers of government. Remember: they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit. They have to BE stopped. As Andy McCarthy notes, this is now politics as combat, and the rule of law be damned. 

Did someone say “criminal organization“? As John Hinderaker asks at Power Line, “Is Nancy Pelosi a Crook?” Let’s ask Maerose Prizzi herself! 

Lachlan Marklay, writing in the Washington Free Beacon, reports that Nancy Pelosi steered more than a billion dollars in subsidies to a light rail project that benefitted a company run by a high-dollar Democratic donor and in which her husband is a major investor. Here, according to Marklay, is how the scheme operated:

Pelosi has worked for more than a decade to steer taxpayer funds to a light rail project in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood, where Salesforce had planned a new campus. Experts say the project boosted the value of Mission Bay real estate.

The company’s CEO, Marc Benioff, is a high-dollar Democratic donor. Pelosi and her leadership PAC are among the recipients of his generous campaign contributions. Pelosi’s husband is also a major Salesforce investor.

In April, Salesforce sold its property in the Mission Bay area for a significant profit. CEO Benioff, the big Dem donor, obviously benefited from the increase in property values that federal funding helped generate. So did Pelosi, through her husband’s large investment in Salesforce.

Read the whole thing. As George Washington Plunkitt famously said, “I seen my opportunities and I took ‘em.”

Over to you. Follow me on Twitter @dkahanerules.

Let the Daily Debates Begin

August 14th, 2014 - 10:59 am

This is the place for you to have your say — to engage, criticize, chime in, insult or just plain vent about the news of the day. I post, you decide in the comments, where I will also mix it up with you. (Check back throughout the day for updates and new outrages.) Always wanted to be an op-ed columnist?  Here’s your big chance. Ready…aim… let ‘er rip!

This just in: David Gregory is officially out as host of Meet the Press and is being replaced by Chuck Todd, effective Sept. 7:

Confirming one of the longest-running and most tortuous rumors in the television business, NBC News announced on Thursday that David Gregory was being removed from his post as anchor of the network’s Sunday morning discussion program “Meet the Press” and would be replaced by Chuck Todd, NBC’s White House correspondent.

News of the impending switch has been reported on an unofficial basis for several weeks, and the timing of the move was confirmed in a report on the website of CNN on Thursday. But NBC delayed in making the confirmation official until it had finally worked out the terms of Mr. Gregory’s departure.

MTP was never a very good fit for Gregory, the argumentative and blatantly partisan NBC correspondent who stepped in the job after Tim Russert was felled by a fatal hear attack in 2008. The show was hemorrhaging center-right and conservative viewers who had respected Russert’s relative impartiality; whether Todd will be an improvement remains to be seen. Even the lefties at Salon are unimpressed:

NBC took stock of the problems facing its “treasure” of a news program and the diagnosis was that it just didn’t have enough respect with “insiders.” Here’s the thing: “Meet the Press” already has a “loyal following among newsmakers and political junkies.” The show is a pageant of Beltway insiderism in which the least-credible, least-respected talking heads in the industry sit on pundit panels and blurp up conventional wisdom. “Insider cred” is the reason Gregory hung on as long as he did – he’s a member of the D.C. establishment and was able to survive a years-long string of failures out of deference to his own status. If that’s what “insider cred” brings to the equation, then it’s a problem to be solved, not a goal to be achieved.

In that respect, I’m not sure what, exactly, Chuck Todd brings to the table that Gregory doesn’t. He’s a Beltway insider, has a predilection for both-sides-do-it-ism, and exhibits the pundit’s knack for diving timeless truths from a poll’s cross tabs. Sure, he’s a “political obsessive” with access to sources and the attention of newsmakers and “political junkies,” but “Meet the Press” hasn’t lacked for any of those things. And if, as Allen’s report indicates, it’s generally agreed that Todd’s TV chops aren’t up to the level of Tim Russert’s (or even David Gregory’s), then what, exactly, is his appeal?

Meanwhile, on Martha’s Vineyard:

obama dancing

What, me worry?

Your tax dollars at work and play, courtesy of the criminal organization masquerading as a political party, Washington, D.C. division.  Nothing like keeping Barry dancing the night away on the Vineyard, in the style to which you know damn well he’s become accustomed. Luckily, there’s nothing important going on elsewhere in the world:

President Barack Obama was photographed getting his groove on at a Martha’s Vineyard birthday party last night at a dinner where he sat next to Hillary Clinton following her well-publicized criticism of his foreign policy.

Reporters were not allowed into the private dinner celebration at the Farm Neck Golf Club, but White House spokesman Eric Schultz said afterward: ‘The Obamas danced nearly every song. A good time was had by all.’

Nope, nothing happening around the globe. Nothing at all. From Hot Air:

In an open letter to President Barack Obama in Politico Magazine, [Ali] Khedery chided the president for his commitment to a policy of “benign neglect” toward the Middle East. He advised the president to give up on his current team of advisors, who have not served him well leading up to and during this present region-wide crisis, and surround himself with new voices.

“One former aide from your White House team recently told me: It’s not just that they don’t understand. It’s that they don’t want to understand what’s happening in the Middle East. They just want it all to go away,” Khedery wrote. “But it’s only going to get worse.”

Which is why his warning to CNN host Jake Tapper should be that much more disturbing. Unless the United States gets its head around the fact that what is occurring in Iraq has the potential to become a full-fledged regional war (in many respects, it already is), America can expect that “another 9/11 is imminent.”

Naturally, some foreigner or other has to go and rain on the parade:

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius took a shot at Obama on Tuesday for continuing on with his two-week vacation while Iraq burned. ’I know it is the holiday period in our Western countries,’ Fabius said, ‘but when people are dying, you must come back from vacation.’

But heck, it’s great to be king. Especially when you’re the country’s most avid duffer, as Joseph Curl notes here:

As Barack “Eldrick” Obama approaches his 200th round of golf since his election as president, here’s a fact to put that into perspective: Since January 2009, Tiger Woods has played 269 rounds of golf.

And Tiger, beleaguered by injury, is almost certainly done for the year. So that means the president, if he keeps up with his pace of play during his 15-day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard (a round a day) and his normal weekly round, will pass Tiger sometime next spring.

Think about that for a minute. The president of the U.S., juggling the American economy and the entire world’s problems — Iraq is in full meltdown, the Middle East is a powder keg, Russia is moving on Ukraine — has played golf nearly as much as a guy whose day job is playing golf

He may complain about the “One Percent,” but he doesn’t mind being one of them — as long as the American taxpayer is footing the bill.

obama golf

Did somebody say ‘foursome’?

Impeach Obama? Heaven forfend! According to Investors Business Daily, he’s the best asset the GOP has:

Liberals claiming Republicans want to impeach Obama should first explain why Republicans would want to. Obama is Republicans’ greatest political asset and Democrats’ greatest political liability. And for Republicans, he promises to be an asset that continues to pay dividends…

If Republicans are correct and the administration is truly incompetent, its performance promises to only get worse, as allies disappear from Capitol Hill and experienced staffers depart the White House… So from a political standpoint, impeachment is the last thing Republicans should want. They’d be better off repealing the Constitution’s 22nd amendment limiting presidential terms. Right now, Obama’s the best asset they have … and could remain so for some time to come.

Ah, I hear you say, but what about Hillary!? (Via Drudge):

Separated at birth?

I’m sick of people who don’t appreciate their blessings

Let’s ask this guy:

Any questions?

Game over!

Hey — every puzzle has its pieces.

Meanwhile, back in New York City, Mayor DeBlasio proves once more that fascists never change:

Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his unflinching support Wednesday to a call from the city’s top cop that New Yorkers being placed under arrest should submit to police rather than fight back. “When a police officer comes to the decision that it’s time to arrest someone, that individual is obligated to submit to arrest,” the mayor said.

The issue has become a hot-button topic since the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who was put in a fatal NYPD chokehold after he resisted arrest for selling loose cigarettes.

Looking that up in my copy of the Constitution right now.  Little help, here…