Unexamined Premises

Unexamined Premises

A Police Shooting in Denver: How the Media Frames the ‘Narrative’

February 6th, 2015 - 6:14 am

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It starts with the headline, which may at first seem innocuous until you think about it for a moment: “Outrage follows Denver police shooting of Latina in stolen car.” We’ll get to the story, which was published in the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 4, in a moment, but let’s unpack that hed, which is just loaded with loaded words.

The word, “Outrage,” suggests a widespread, mass reaction to some sort of enormity. “Police shooting” immediately evokes Ferguson, Staten Island and any other place in which there has been a recent confrontation between a “minority” and the cops. And how do we know that the victim was a minority? The very next word: “Latina,” a politically correct identification of a designated victim group who’s just come out on the wrong end of a police shooting.

Finally, this bit of additional information: “stolen car.” Now, you might think at first this hurts the “Narrative,” the consistent socially and culturally Marxist tale the media tells about modern American society. Maybe, you think, the “Latina” was just innocently joyriding around in a car her boyfriend boosted — but as it turns out, she was driving the car. So here’s the underlying media moral: even though the “Latina” may have been a criminal, she didn’t deserve to die for grand theft auto or joyriding; in the “Narrative,” no minority ever deserves to suffer any serious consequence for the commission of a crime because (in the media’s mind) that’s just what minorities do.

In short, we haven’t even started reading the story, and already we know the dramatis personae (good girl Latina, bad guy killer cops). Now it’s just a matter of letting the players do their thing, complete with weeping chorus of relatives, onlookers and ministers in the background:

A row of burning candles and makeshift crosses sits in a bleak alleyway here, marking the spot where 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez’s joyride in a stolen car came to a violent end.

Mimi Madrid Puga, 26 and a youth organizer, gazed at the memorial. “I was Jessie 10 years ago,” she finally said. “I took cars. It’s a rite of passage for many teens, but it shouldn’t carry the death penalty.”

And, bingo — right out of the box we have the character of the Sympathetic Ethnic Bystander, articulating the theme of this tragic playlet. Everybody steals cars, but “it shouldn’t carry the death penalty.” It’s just a rite of passage, like getting that first summer job or making out in the movie show.

Last week, Hernandez and four other teenage girls were cruising Denver’s middle-class Park Hill neighborhood in someone else’s Honda when they were spotted by police.

You know how that happens: you stagger out of the house one morning, hop into a car that looks very much like yours — or not! — and off you go. It’s not until you’re being “spotted by police” that you say to yourself, “this is not my beautiful car!”

The officers said that they ordered the girls out of the car, but that instead Hernandez tried to run them down, so they opened fire. But some of her passengers say the car careened toward police after Hernandez was shot and lost control of it. One officer reported an injured leg, though how it happened is unknown.

Witnesses said she was dragged from the car, apparently unconscious, and handcuffed before she died.

As we learned from Ferguson, eyewitnesses never lie about the interactions between a member of the “community” and the police. Everybody’s on the same page, justice-wise, and only want to serve the truth. Not to mention the inconvenient fact that all of her witnesses were also riding in the stolen car.

And with that setup, away we go:

The incident has sparked angry protests in Denver echoing those held over controversial police killings in Cleveland, New York, Albuquerque and Ferguson, Mo.

“It is extremely troubling that those empowered and permitted to carry guns whose primary charge is to serve and protect are continually involved in the taking of the lives of so many minority children who themselves are not armed,” said the Rev. Patrick Demmer of the Greater Denver Ministerial Alliance.

Ah — an “alliance” has appeared. An “alliance” that, most likely, you never previously have heard of until this moment. And not just any old alliance, but an alliance of “ministers” — holy men (and, probably, women). An “alliance” against — wait for it — killer cops who are “continually” killing unarmed minority children. Would it be better, one wonders, if the minority “children” were themselves armed, the better to give them a sporting chance against the wanton, killer — and at least honorarily — white cops?

Another 17-year-girl was shot dead last week after pulling a knife in a Texas police station. That incident was captured on video.

Always a mistake to bring a knife to a gunfight: “another” incident — in Texas — that has absolutely nothing to do with what happened in Denver…

Denver Police Chief Robert White has vowed to carry out a fair and transparent investigation into Hernandez’s death, but her parents are demanding a federal inquiry.

Because every local police incident, unless it’s between and among white people, demands a federal inquiry. This is how our constitutional republic of limited federal government works. And that quote from Chief White, by the way, is the first you have heard of the famous Other Side — already in full cringe mode. Now back to the Narrative:

“We are dismayed that the Denver Police Department has already defended the actions of the officers and blamed our daughter for her own death, even while admitting they have very little information,” said Jose Hernandez and Laura Sonia Rosales in a statement Friday. “In recent months, police killings have torn apart communities across this nation, and the unjustified shooting of our daughter is only the latest sign of an issue that requires federal oversight.”

Some Southern Poverty Law Center-type lawyer must have written that one. Checks all the boxes: decry “blaming the victim,” reference other “police killings,” and cite the “latest sign” in what’s obviously an ongoing, nationwide police plot to murder gentle giants and joyriding Latinas in boosted Hondas everywhere.

The incident marks the fourth time in seven months that Denver police have fired on moving vehicles they say were being used as deadly weapons. Two of those shootings resulted in the drivers’ deaths.

There’s obviously something going on here — not with the criminals of Denver, but with the cops…

“There are unfortunately too many civilians being shot too frequently in Denver and the rest of the country as well,” said Mark Silverstein, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. “The emerging trend in law enforcement is that if a moving vehicle is coming toward you, don’t shoot — get out of the way.”

That “civilians” is a nice touch, reinforcing the martial notion that the police are at war with the “community.” Plus the ACLU. Do we get another cringe? Of course we do:

Chief White says he is reassessing the department’s policy. ”There is already a high threshold” for firing at moving vehicles, said Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson. “You have to believe your life is in danger.”

Meanwhile, many law enforcement experts say shooting at speeding cars is risky and often ineffective.

“Most progressive police departments in this country and around the world prohibit it, with the very small caveat of saying you can do it if you are trapped,” said Geoffrey Alpert, professor of criminal justice and an expert in police use of force at the University of South Carolina. “Shoot the driver and you have an unguided missile.”

Did Denver move to South Carolina? I don’t think so. But, since we’re writing for a Los Angeles audience, it’s time to throw in a reference to the Industry just for the hell of it:

The physics of accurately hitting a target in a fast-moving vehicle with its hardened rubber, metal and curved glass surfaces make it even more challenging.

“Shooting at vehicles in practice is nothing like you see on television or at the movies,” said Vincent Henry, a former New York City cop and director of the Homeland Security Institute at Long Island University. “Firing a perfect shot with perfect placement is usually not going to happen.”

News flash: firing a perfect shot with perfect placement is usually not going to happen even on the firing range with a stationary paper target, especially when if the shooter is as poor a shot as most beat cops.

In this case, however, Denver officers hit their target, killing the unarmed teenager and sparking widespread outrage.

Now comes the part that, were this the New York Times, would have been in the lede:

The slight, gangly Hernandez was the eldest of six children in the family, which lives in suburban Thornton. She wrote poetry, attended high school and was openly gay. Her parents called her a “beautiful girl who brought love and joy to her family and friends.”

In the Leftist mindset, a multiple winner for the Denver cops: they got to kill an unarmed kid, a Hispanic girl, and a lesbian. Still, there’s a tiny little “but” coming:

But this wasn’t her first run-in with the law. The Associated Press reported that she was cited Jan. 1 for eluding an officer and resisting arrest after being stopped traveling 80 mph in a 55-mph zone.

That’s it. No details about the the Honda, how or why it was taken, who the other passengers were, and, most important, a description of the alleged rundown attempt.

Her supporters worry that she is being vilified unfairly.

“I would say stealing cars is pretty common, but when it’s someone of color the narrative is that they are a criminal,” said Angell Perez, executive director of the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program in Denver. “If a suburban kid gets caught, they are put in a diversion program. Jessie was gunned down. That shows just how disposable young people of color are.”

I would say stealing cars could be fairly described as criminal, without regard to the skin color of the car thief.

We end where we began, with the “youth organizer”:

Back in the alley, Mimi Madrid Puga looked at a small sign that read, “We are sorry for your daughter — God bless you!!”

“In many ways, Jessie was typical. The intricacies of her life don’t matter,” she said. “What matters are young lives. Period.”

Not society. Not the law. Not somebody’s else’s property. Not civilization. Young lives. Period.

And that’s how media bias works. First, find a story that has all the components of the current meme-du-jour. Then link it other stories in which the only similarity has to do with the ethnicity of the victims, and thus further the notion of a trend. Finally, cast the tale as emotionally heart-wrenching as possible, the better to drive home the Marxist  world view of race and class.

None of the foregoing is meant to diminish the pain of the loss of a child. We will never know whether Jessie Hernandez might have gotten her life together and gone on and made something of herself. It’s a tragic story that has played out on the streets of America thousands of times over the past century, regardless of the skin colors of both perp and cop. (Yes, this used to happen to white kids as well.) In our race-obsessed media-driven society, that history lesson seems to have been forgotten:

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As Rocky Sullivan learns the hard way in Angels with Dirty Faces, sometimes it’s not the cops. Sometimes, it’s you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Remember this? Who doesn’t? With one out-of-left-field question, the former Clinton hack masquerading as a newsman, George Stephanopoulos, altered the course of the 2012 election, and the “war on women” was well and truly underway.

These people are so predictable. And yet, the GOP, led by its krack kadres of kampaign konsultants (what do these guys do to earn their money, anyway?), is constantly surprised. Let’s check in with the New York Times, the house organ of Upper West Wide liberalism:

The politics of medicine, morality and free will have collided in an emotional debate over vaccines and the government’s place in requiring them, posing a challenge for Republicans who find themselves in the familiar but uncomfortable position of reconciling modern science with the skepticism of their core conservative voters.

As the latest measles outbreak raises alarm, and parents who have decided not to vaccinate their children face growing pressure to do so, the national debate is forcing the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential hopefuls to confront questions about whether it is in the public’s interest to allow parents to decide for themselves.

And there you have it: it really is that simple. The New York Times and other Leftist media outlets have now put the vaccination “controversy” on the table for the Democrats to use as a weapon against various potential Republican presidential candidates.

Gov. Chris Christie’s trade mission to London was suddenly overshadowed on Monday after he was quoted as saying that parents “need to have some measure of choice” about vaccinating their children against measles. The New Jersey governor, who is trying to establish his credibility among conservatives as he weighs a run for the Republican nomination in 2016, later tried to temper his response. His office released a statement clarifying that “with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated.”

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a physician, was less equivocal, telling the conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Monday that parents should absolutely have a say in whether to vaccinate their children for measles. “While I think it’s a good idea to take the vaccine, I think that’s a personal decision for individuals,” he said, recalling his irritation at doctors who tried to press him to vaccinate his own children. He eventually did, he said, but spaced out the vaccinations over a period of time.

Crazy talk, right? Let’s hear what another prominent politician, Barack Hussein Obama, had to say about it back in the day:

In 2008, as a senator and presidential candidate, Obama discussed the possible link between vaccines and autism. “We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate,” Obama said in April 2008 at a rally in Pennsylvania. “Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included.”

(Shortly after the comments, Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor supplied a video showing that Obama had pointed to a member of the audience when he said “this person included.”)

Obama continued, “The science is right now inconclusive, but we have to research it.”

Yeah, well that was then and this is now. The Times continues battlespace prep for its Democrat overlords, throwing in evolution and “global warming” into the mix just for the hell of it:

The vaccination controversy is a twist on an old problem for the Republican Party: how to approach matters that have largely been settled among scientists but are not widely accepted by conservatives. It is a dance Republican candidates often do when they hedge their answers about whether evolution should be taught in schools. It is what makes the fight over global warming such a liability for their party, and what led last year to a widely criticized response to the Ebola scare.

Former nude model turned anti-vaccine activist Jenny McCarthy

Former nude model turned anti-vaccine activist Jenny McCarthy

To cover itself, only late in the story does the paper admit that vaccination crazies exist on both sides of the political divide and in fact may even predominate on the morally relativistic Left:

The debate does not break entirely along right-left lines. The movement to forgo vaccinations has been popular in more liberal and affluent communities where some parents are worried that vaccines cause autism or other disorders among children.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, also a possible 2016 candidate, was asked on Sunday about vaccinations on the ABC News program “This Week,” and insisted that the science was clear and convincing. “Study after study has shown that there are no negative long-term consequences,” he said. “And the more kids who are not vaccinated, the more they’re at risk and the more they put their neighbors’ kids at risk as well.”

Let’s be clear: vaccinations should be mandatory; this is not a “lifestyle choice” issue; if you think it is, please read Roald Dahl’s heartbreaking account of his daughter Olivia’s death from measles in 1962.

Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.

“Are you feeling all right?” I asked her.

“I feel all sleepy,” she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

Nutbag politicians who endorse or give comfort to the anti-vaccination side — Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann — should be shunned and shunted aside. (Bachmann ended her career with her disgraceful squabble with Rick Perry over Gardasil during the 2012 debates.) Meanwhile, Chris Christie, who put his foot in his mouth over the issue as well, has been attacked by the Times on an entirely different front.

The governor, a Republican now preparing a run for president, shot to national prominence as a cheese-steak-on-the-boardwalk Everyman who bluntly preached transparency and austerity as the antidote to bloated state budgets. But throughout his career in public service, Mr. Christie has indulged a taste that runs more toward Champagne at the Four Seasons.

He has also quietly let others pay the bills.

That tendency — the governor himself says he wants to “squeeze all the juice out of the orange” — has put him in ethically questionable situations, taking benefits from those who stand to benefit from him.

This early on, the GOP simply cannot afford to allow the media to tar it with the brush of yahooism and “hypocrisy,” which of course plays right into the Narrative. But it probably will; we don’t call the Republicans the Stupid Party for nothing. As the Romney candidacy showed, the GOP is only too happy to nominate a pinata for president.

Meanwhile, on the Evil Party side of things, remember this: they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit. And they have people on the payrolls of major newspapers all over the country to prove it.

 

 

 

How to Fight and Win a War: Bombs Over Tokyo

January 30th, 2015 - 12:03 pm
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Sad news:

Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, one of four surviving Doolittle Raiders who attacked Japan during a daring 1942 mission credited with lifting American morale during World War II, has died. He was 94. Rod Saylor said his father died of natural causes on Wednesday in Sumner, Washington.

He was a young flight engineer-gunner and among the 80 airmen who volunteered to fly the risky mission that sent B-25 bombers from a carrier at sea to attack Tokyo on April 28, 1942. The raid launched earlier than planned and risked running out of fuel before making it to safe airfields. ”It was what you do … over time, we’ve been told what effect our raid had on the war and the morale of the people,” Saylor told The Associated Press in a 2013 interview.

Wounded, nearly fatally, at Pearl Harbor just four months earlier, the United States decided the way to even the score was to put planes in the air and show the Japanese that we could hurt them. The Americans didn’t withdraw to the safety of San Francisco and San Diego, nor bomb some useless atoll in the Pacific, or issue a stern warning to the emperor to turn over Tojo and Yamamoto in order to bring them to “justice.”

No — we went right to the heart of the evil of the Empire of Japan and delivered a message that while not militarily significant at that point, nevertheless may have been the decisive act of the war in the Pacific: it shook the Japanese to their core as they realized that what they had hoped would be an easy victory over a demoralized enemy would turn into the gates of Hell for them, with no possibly for victory over an aroused foe who would not quit until it had nuked the bastards.

Contrast this with the pathetic American reaction to 9/11. Go ahead; I dare you. On second thought, let me do it for you. Here’s FDR in his memorable Pearl Harbor speech:

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And now here’s the Conqueror of Iraq and Afghanistan, declaring war not on Islam or Saudi Arabia, but on “terror.” It is instructive to note that those “victories” will not survive his unworthy successor’s presidency. Be sure to watch it all the way to bitter, depressing, futile end, with its “religion of peace” boilerplate, invocation of Allah, and its reference to blasphemy.

“Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them…. Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”

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Except, of course, in the “holy cities” of Mecca and Medina, in which case we will just let them live happily ever after, fulminating against the West and plotting its destruction. The only way to stop evil is to go to its heart, rip it out and stomp on it. To demoralize the enemy and make him understand that he can’t win and therefore must surrender unconditionally, or die. That everything he believes will soon turn to ashes and will henceforth be just a bad memory — just ask the current leader of the Thousand-Year Reich or the “divine Emperor” of Japan. Anything else — anything “proportional” — is just a pinprick and worse than useless, because it only encourages them to keep fighting. 

The 16 B-25 bombers, each carrying five men, dropped bombs on targets such as factory areas and military installations and headed to designated airfields in mainland China realizing that they would run out of fuel, according to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Three crew members died as Raiders bailed out or crash-landed their planes in China, but most were helped to safety by Chinese villagers and soldiers. Of eight Raiders captured by Japanese soldiers, three were executed and another died in captivity.

Saylor told the AP in 2013 that he was one of the lucky ones. “There were a whole bunch of guys in World War II; a lot of people didn’t come back,” he said.

But we won, unconditionally. Are we worthy of their sacrifice? Is this guy?

Pay no price, bear no burden

Pay no price, bear no burden

The next president of the United States will have to clean up both Bush’s and Obama’s messes. Let’s pray he’s up to the job.

 

 

 

A Criminal Organization Masquerading as…

January 27th, 2015 - 12:30 pm
Three men enter, one man leaves... so far

Three men enter, one man leaves… so far

At first glance, the scandal surrounding the soon-to-be-former speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, might appear to be of little interest to the residents of other 49 states, especially Illinois, whose governors progress from the state house to the Big House, and Massachusetts, where the same career path awaits its house speakers. Once again, it’s time to play Name That Party: New York, Illinois and Massachusetts are all thoroughly corrupt fiefdoms, gang-controlled precincts of the criminal organization masquerading as a political party — namely, the Democrats. Now, before someone objects that one of the four Illinois jailbird governors, George Ryan, is a Republican, let me just remind you that in Illinois the GOP long ago joined the Combine as the junior partner in abusing the public trust.

As a wise man once said: the scandal isn’t what’s illegal, it’s what’s legal. Everybody in New York state knows that Albany is a sinkhole of corruption, and has been as least since the days of George Washington Plunkitt and Tammany Hall. Everybody knows that Albany is controlled by “three men in a room” — the governor, the assembly speaker and the president of the Senate (generally, but not always, a Republican). Everybody knows that Albany is always open for business, providing you know how to play ball. And everybody turned a blind eye to it, decade after decade.

One of the reasons is that Democrats and Leftists in general have a high tolerance for corruption as long as it benefits their side; they’re a “party” with no principles except personal self-enrichment and the acquisition of power in order to boss other people around. They dismiss wrongdoing with a good-natured shrug and a “whaddya gonna do?” smirk on their lips. A good example of this was their reaction to Clinton hack Sandy Berger’s theft of documents from the National Archives –

WAIT A MINUTE. Let me back up here. That would be former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger’s theft of documents from the National Archives of the United States of America, for which he received a slap on the wrist and a crack from his old boss about typical Sandy “sloppiness” –

So whaddaya gonna do? Well, how about not putting up with it anymore? In the New York Post, Michael Goodwin has some thoughts about the outhouse/whorehouse in Albany:

The roster of convicted crooks is approaching 40 public officials, but Silver’s case is unique. As speaker for 20 years, he was at the center of every piece of legislation written and every taxpayer dollar collected and spent. He ruled the Assembly like a private fiefdom, and, governors notwithstanding, he was called the most powerful man in the state for good reason.

Nothing moved without his say-so, and according to the federal charges, he turned that power into personal wealth. He “monetized public office,” Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said, adding that Silver “amassed a tremendous personal fortune” of at least $3.8 million through kickbacks and bribery.

One series of charges says he traded $500,000 in taxpayer money for more than $3 million in private gain. He allegedly took cash from a state slush fund and gave it to a doctor, who referred asbestos cases to a law firm that illegally split its share of medical settlements with Silver. Other charges involve a separate law firm, which paid Silver $700,000 over a period of years for helping developers lower their property taxes. That, says Bharara, meant Silver “was on retainer” to the developers.

Not once, prosecutors say, did Silver actually do any legal work. He was paid only for using his public power to help the law firms and their clients. It’s only a slight stretch to say that Silver did most of his alleged thieving in plain sight. Most of the outside money, if not its sources, was publicly disclosed. The taint was screechingly obvious, yet nobody did anything about it.

Whaddaya gonna do? The answer was, until Preet Bharara came along, absolutely nothing. It was understood that part of the price one would pay for living in the Empire State (really, for living in New York City, which completely controls, politically, the vast depopulated mess that is “upstate” New York, has beggared it and just about destroyed it). The state of California forces its residents to pay extra for great weather; New York state, lacking great weather, forces city dwellers to pay extra for just about everything — food, heating oil, taxes and most especially rent and real estate — and then makes them shell out even more for the “opportunity” that comes with living within shouting distance of Manhattan.

The diabolical cleverness of the Democrats is to pretend to be the party of the Little Guy while being the party of the Ugly Guy — the thug with the blackjack, the sniveling weasel lawyer in the back room, the “incorruptible” cop or judge whose smile masks his avaricious, empty soul. The Dependent Class votes for them as a bloc, of course, but so does, in the main, the young, aspirational professional class — making just enough money so as not to feel the fleece too much — which wants to show concern without actually, you know, writing a check, unless it is to the IRS.

What the Wigwam wants, the Wigwam still gets

What the Wigwam wants, the Wigwam still gets

Why Sheldon Silver matters — and why any further indictments issued by Bharara’s office (hello, Gov. Cuomo!) will matter even more — is that he’s not alone. There are Sheldon Silvers all across this land of others, and why not? A country whose primary national product is now Government, at every level, is an open invitation to criminality. Any program can be manipulated and milked. Any bureaucracy can be bilked. Any “justice” system can be massaged (hello, David Gregory!) Like G.W. Plunkitt, Silver seen his opportunities and he took ‘em. There’s a sucker born every minute, and they tend to vote Republican.

None of this is new, of course. New York City and state have been going through periodic fits of breathtaking corruption followed by crime-busting commissions and prosecutors in a yin-and-yang cycle since the mid-19th century. No less a high-rider than Beau James himself — Jimmy Walker, the very popular “night mayor” of New York City in the Roaring Twenties and Gangster Thirties — was brought down by the Seabury Commission, which went after crooked judges and cops during the Walker administration and wound up nailing the mayor himself. Prominent arrests and resignations are usually followed by the election of a “reform” administration — the “Goo-goos,” or “good-government” types — who last just long enough for palms to go ungreased for a while; when the pain of forgone graft starts to bite, they’re out on their ears and the cycle begins again. As Plunkitt put it:

WHENEVER Tammany is whipped at the polls, the people set to predictin’ that the organization is going’ to smash. They say we can’t get along without the offices and that the district leaders are going’ to desert wholesale. That was what was said after the throwdowns in 1894 and 1901. But it didn’t happen, did it? Not one big Tammany man deserted, and today the organization is stronger than ever.

How was that? It was because Tammany has more than one string to its bow. I acknowledge that you can’t keep an organization together without patronage. Men ain’t in politics for nothin’. They want to get somethin’ out of it.

But there is more than one kind of patronage. We lost the public kind, or a greater part of it, in 1901, but Tammany has an immense private patronage that keeps things going’ when it gets a setback at the polls. Take me, for instance. When [Mayor Seth] Low came in, some of my men lost public jobs, but I fixed them all right. I don’t know how many jobs I got for them on the surface and elevated railroads – several hundred.

Let me tell you, too, that I got jobs from Republicans in office – Federal and otherwise. When Tammany’s on top I do good turns for the Republicans. When they’re on top they don’t forget me. Me and the Republicans are enemies just one day in the year – election day. Then we fight tooth and nail The rest of the time it’s live and let live with us.

Whaddaya gonna do? Shelly Silver may be goin’ down, most likely singing like a canary. But there are plenty of others to take his place. From the moment Bill Clinton wagged his finger at us and denied having sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky… and got away with it… the nation has been on a collision course with its day of reckoning. Clinton couldn’t tell the truth about sex. George W. Bush couldn’t tell the truth about his reasons for war with Iraq. Barack Obama can’t tell the truth about anything. The moral caliber of the men and women we elect to high office says a lot about the state of our country’s own moral compass. And right now, it’s pointing due south, with nowhere to go but down. 

Whaddaya gonna doWe’re getting what’s coming to us. At this point, might as well sit back and enjoy the plunge. What else can we do?

 

 

 

 

It’s easy to despise Barack Hussein Obama, perhaps the least qualified man ever to accede to the Oval Office. The empty resume, the imaginary biographies, the laziness, the arrogance, the profligacy with the public treasury, the weakness, the cowardice and the cringing servility when dealing with America’s enemies abroad: his six years as president of the United States — a presidency we will all look back upon someday with wonder, shame and national embarrassment — have been as disastrous and harmful as some of us predicted at the time. The man is a disgrace.

And yet…

obama_being_there_1-6-11_bigThere is one thing, and one thing only, to like about him. And that is his complete and utter contempt for his domestic political enemies and the high-handedness with which he treats them. And why shouldn’t he? As the beneficiary of the Being There presidency, he must retire to the family quarters of the White House each night laughing his head off at the electorate and yet at the same time being utterly convinced of his own rightness. After all, he won, didn’t he?  Twice! If he’s so dumb… how come he’s president?

As Yuval Levin noted in a post over at NRO after the State of the Union speech, Obama acts as if the electorate had not just delivered his party a crushing rebuke in an election in which he said quite clearly that while he may not have been on the ballot, his policies most certainly were. (Not that he cares about what happens to the Democrats after he retires to a live of Secret Service-protected, taxpayer-supported, think-tank enriched utter indolence.) But he appears to be living in a fantasy land of his own device, one in which he, Barry, remains beloved by the masses who didn’t bother to show up at the polls.

 The most striking thing about President Obama’s State of the Union address was how thoroughly and consciously it was disconnected from the political moment. The president addressed the Congress he will face for the remainder of his term, which is the most Republican Congress since 1929, but he didn’t really speak to that Congress or to the electorate that sent it. He made no mention of the recent congressional election and offered no reason to think its results would change his approach to his own job.

Instead, he began by pointing to economic gains that suggest that, six years after the end of the last recession, we may finally see the sort of growth that could merit being called a recovery. He then proceeded to propose a set of policies — giving the federal government far more power over community colleges, cutting taxes for families with two working parents but not for those with a stay-at-home parent, levying new mandates on employers — designed to draw contrasts with Republicans rather than to close distances or to be enacted. Then he painted a rosy picture of international affairs on an Earth-like planet that plainly is not this one. And finally he hearkened back to the promise of his 2004 Democratic Convention speech, which he knows everyone recalls fondly on cold nights, and said it wasn’t too late for Americans to prove ourselves worthy of that speech and its maker, if only we would behave a little less like congressional Republicans.

In short, so far, so nuts. But this presupposes that sanity is currently an operative virtue in the American political system. Alas, it’s not; what counts is a ruthless, Nietzschean Will to Power, against which everything else is either nugatory or negotiable. One man’s tilting at windmills and mistaking sheep for enemy soldiers is another man’s Don Quixote, the crazy hero of his own tale who eventually becomes our hero as well. For Obama, the sheep are the Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, and as long as he can send them fleeing with just a shake of his mighty rhetorical lance, he must be doing something right.

Because, in the current political system, it is the GOP that’s tilting at windmills — in this case, the windmill that what the American people “really said” in November’s election was that they wanted to have both parties work together and “get something done.” This is an even more idiotic delusion than Obama’s, since the clear meaning of the vote — by Obama’s own standard! — was a repudiation of both the Emperor Hussein and his fawning courtiers in Congress (one of whom mysteriously wound up with four broken ribs and the possible loss of his sight in one eye over the Christmas break, an event in which the national lickspittle media has shown exactly zero interest).

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

Now you might think that the beating of the former Senate majority leader, the single most important man to Barack Obama over the past four years, the apparatchik who effectively blocked any attempt at Congressional rollback or oversight of what has become a rogue presidency, might be of interest to the “national media,” that collective of prep-school and college classmates who make up the Praetorian Guard of the Democrat-Media Complex — even if it was an “exercise machine” that administered the beating. (And why, pray tell, is Reid not suing the manufacturer?)

But not in the Cloud Cuckoo-Land that we currently inhabit. Whatever you may think of “fundamental transformation,” the fact is that Obama and his media buddies have done their best to make it a reality, even if it is only a Jedi-mind-meld virtual sort of reality that can still be overturned by the one-eyed man (not Harry Reid) who realizes that in the country of the blind he is king.

A point I’ve made before: Obama resembles no historical figure more than San Francisco’s Emperor Norton, a bona fide 19th-century Bay Area crackpot to whom everybody paid obeisance but not a whit of attention. This should be the GOP response to the Emperor Hussein for the next two years: genuflect when he comes into the room, flatter his overweening vanity, indulge his sybaritic tastes in vacations and restaurants — and then completely and utterly ignore anything he has to say or, more important, actually does under the guise of “executive orders.” The English-South African Emperor Norton issued many executive orders, including the dissolution of Congress and the building of the Bay Bridge, two eminently sensible ideas, as it turned out, and one of which was actually acted upon after his death. Otherwise, he was a beloved figure of fun in America’s most beautiful, wackiest city. 

Here was his proclamation of executive authority:

At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.

—NORTON I, Emperor of the United States.

No wonder Obama calls himself Barack Obama II. Which is exactly the way he should be treated henceforth.

Did somebody say 'trickeration'?

Did somebody say ‘trickeration’?

John Roberts was right: of course Obamacare was a tax. And not just a tax, but a massive new welfare program balanced on the backs of the kulak middle class in the guise of “health care reform.” Like all modern Democrat-led expansions of government, it came as a wolf in sheeple’s clothing, a nasty measure passed by stealth with malevolence aforethought. Hello, suckers!

Those Americans who didn’t get health insurance last year could be in for a rude awakening when the IRS asks them to fork over their Obamacare penalty — and it could be a lot more than the $95 many of them may be expecting.

The Affordable Care Act requires those who didn’t have insurance last year and didn’t qualify for one of the exemptions to pay a tax penalty, which was widely cited as $95 the first year. But the $95 is actually a minimum, and middle- and upper-income families will actually end up paying 1 percent of their household income as their penalty. TurboTax, an online tax service, estimated that the average penalty for lacking health insurance in 2014 will be $301.

And that’s just the beginning. Unless the GOP wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party can actually stop lying to the voters who put it in control of Congress and repeal this monstrosity, the greatest deception in American history will become a permanent, punitive feature of the dwindling quality of life in the land we used to call America.

For this, we can thank not only Mr. Fundamental Transformation, Maerose Prizzi and Sen. Pat Geary, but the legendary low-information voter, who a) thought Obamacare was supposed to mean free health-care and b) never dreamed the tax — er, “penalty” — was going to hit him. The lo-fos must have missed the bit about the IRS enforcing the measure.

“People would hear the $95, quit listening, and make an assumption that that was what their penalty was going to be,” said Chuck Lovelace, vice president of affordable care for Liberty Tax Service. “I think that a lot of people will be surprised when they get in there and find out that their penalty is [based] on their household income.”

The penalty is designed to prod Americans to buy insurance and the penalty for not having it is scheduled to rise considerably: to a $325 minimum or 2 percent of income in 2015, and to a $695 minimum or 2.5 percent of income in 2016.

It’s all in a day’s evil for the criminal organization masquerading as a political party, a gang that has been at war with the American experience since Aaron Burr, one of the founders of Tammany Hall, shot Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and got away with it. Their naked lust for the expansion of their own political power never stops, never sleeps, never quits. Screwing you is, quite literally, their life’s work.

Now even some Democrats are professing to have second thoughts. (They don’t really — they’re just embarrassed the fraud is is not quite working out the way they’d hoped.) The unlovely, soon-to-be-new face of the conspiracy, New York’s senator Chuck Schumer, was first out of the box, followed quickly by former Iowa senator Tom Harkin; Schumer said the Marxist Dems’ first priority should have been — stop laughing! — helping the middle class, while Harkin opined that health-care reform should have been done “the right way” (i.e. “single-payer,” i.e. completely government controlled).

OBAMA-IF-YOU-LIKE-IT-YOU-CAN-KEEP-IT

Over at the Weekly Standard, William Voegeli has a long piece called “Liars’ Remorse” about the pickle the dwindling band of Democrats now finds itself in, electorally speaking. As the monstrous nature of Obamacare becomes ever clearer, even to the lowest of low-information, easily bamboozled, gimme voters, they are faced with a rare situation: their cover has been, at least temporarily, blown. And for this we can thank the gift that keeps on giving, the true id of the Democrat Party and its contempt for the intelligence of the American people: Jonathan Gruber. As Voegeli writes:

The voters’ cognitive deficiencies are a retrospective problem for Democrats, as Tomasky and Hiltzik point out, but also a prospective one. They mean that new government interventions cannot be secured through candor and clarity, but require guile and subterfuge, a position made clear by MIT economics professor and Obama administration adviser Jonathan Gruber. Explaining, in 2012, why the Affordable Care Act taxes insurance companies, which will pass along the costs to policyholders, rather than taxing the insured directly, Gruber said, “It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”

In 2013 he told a University of Pennsylvania audience that the ACA “was written in a tortured way” so that neither the Congressional Budget Office nor the public would see its individual mandate to buy heath insurance as a new tax. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber concluded. “Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”

When, days after the 2014 midterm elections, Gruber’s remarks were publicized, Democratic politicians and journalists scrambled to denounce them, and Gruber himself apologized in congressional testimony for his “glib, thoughtless, and sometimes downright insulting comments.” Disdaining and deceiving the people are indeed affronts to democracy, but are not the only transgressions against American self-government. Gruber’s arrogance was gratuitous, but the deceptions he smugly praised served a Democratic purpose: convincing people that government interventions that can bestow formidable benefits while imposing negligible costs are, despite sounding too good to be true, low-hanging fruit ready to be harvested.

Watch and listen to the cocksure arrogance of this whiny little creep as he gloats about how the administration put one over on the gullible American public:

But not to worry — there’s more where that came from. In his upcoming State of the Union address, Obama is “expected” to propose even more freebies and goodies to his core constituency: wastrels, layabouts, bums and moochers. Here’s The Hill, salivating over the prospect of more government action:

The White House wants President Obama to play the part of Robin Hood at Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Obama hopes to use the big speech to remove a blemish of his presidency: an economic recovery that has left wage growth behind.

Free community college. A $175 billion tax cut for the middle class. Faster, cheaper broadband internet. A week of paid sick leave. Discounted mortgages. Obama wants to move forward with all of these populist proposals for the poor and middle class, and he wants to do so by taking from the rich in the form of higher taxes on the wealthy and Wall Street.

Few of the proposals are going anywhere with a GOP Congress, but the White House sees Obama’s penultimate State of the Union as the president’s last, best chance to lay down policy markers for the next two years —and to frame the 2016 battle for the White House. It’s also meant to ensure Obama remains relevant for as long into his presidency as possible.

Now, you know this is a lie because the Democrats’ lips are moving, but also because no one has been more snuggled up to Wall Street than President Robin Hood. The Democrats are now the party of the very, very, very rich and the indigent and the indolent: they don’t give a damn about the middle class except as it affects them at the ballot box.

Forget the details about Obamacare, whether it works or it doesn’t (it doesn’t); whether it was a noble intention (it wasn’t); whether it can be fixed (it can’t). Instead concentrate on the principle behind the thing: a breathtaking Leftist power grab, so long sought and finally achieved. It’s not the end; it’s only the beginning, unless it is ripped out, root and branch before it’s too late. Over to you, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.

Yeah, right…

Got Hate? Part Deux: The Return of Tanya Cohen

January 14th, 2015 - 2:02 am
Watch your tongue, comrades

Watch your tongue, comrades

She’s back, and better than ever. Miffed and a little hurt, too:

A few days ago, I published an article explaining how the US needs to get tough on hate speech through the law in accordance with international human rights standards, as the US remains the only country in the world – and certainly the only Western country – that has no legal definition of what constitutes hate speech. The article was based on my experiences as a human rights activist who has worked for many different human rights organizations around the world. Immediately after it was published, I received a torrent of hateful and abusive messages. While I am not the least bit surprised that bigots would be so highly threatened by my proposals, I would like to clear some things up.

First up, yes, I do strongly believe in freedom of speech, and I’ve worked with many human rights organizations to protest against genuine restrictions on freedom of speech and expression, such as government crackdowns on LGBT activists in Russia. Freedom of speech is the core of all democratic societies, and it’s a freedom that must be upheld in the strongest terms possible. But the people responding to my column with anger do not seem to understand what freedom of speech is. They seem to make no distinction between free speech and hate speech, and they seem to believe that freedom of speech includes the freedom to say anything.

Does your head hurt yet? The free-speech movement has gone from the freedom to say anything to the freedom to say absolutely nothing about anything you might actually feel passionately about. But it’s all in a day’s work for the New Fascists on the Left. Since this is Tanya Cohen, you simply must read every ridiculous word, even though you’re going to wish for an emergency root canal well before you finish:

Anyone with any kind of basic, entry-level knowledge of human rights will tell you that the human right to freedom of speech always has to be balanced against other human rights, such as the human rights to dignity, respect, honor, and non-discrimination. A human rights-based approach to freedom of speech (such as the one found here) emphasizes that speech has to be restricted when it comes into conflict with other human rights.

This, basically, is her entire argument, and while she’s a terrible, turgid writer, she is worth paying attention to for the crude way in which she gives the entire “progressive” project away: appearing to be arguing in favor of something (in this case, “free speech”), while in fact making the case against it, and then appealing to authority to back up her position.

All human rights groups understand that all governments have an obligation to punish hate speech, and that outlawing hate speech does not interfere with freedom of speech in any way (if anything, it is necessary to outlaw hate speech in order to protect freedom of speech). Amnesty International, for example, has emphasized many, MANY times throughout its long history that hate speech MUST always be outlawed. Here, you can find an explanation from Amnesty International about what freedom of speech REALLY is. Freedom of speech is NOT the right to say whatever you want about whatever you want whenever you want. Freedom of speech – like all freedoms – comes with responsibility. Words have consequences, and your freedom ends when it starts to intefere with the freedoms of others – such as their freedom to live without hatred and oppression.

Remember: real freedom is the freedom to be unfree:

I sent my article to many people in Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and various other places all over the world. The reaction that I got was universally positive. Only American audiences had such a hostile reaction to my column, and I honestly believe that it’s because the concept of human rights is just so utterly alien to most people in the US. Americans do not understand that freedom of speech and hate speech are two completely different things, and that speech has to be restricted in many cases in order to protect human rights.

Many have compared my proposals to Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. These people do not seem to understand that human rights policies exist to prevent something like what’s described in Orwell’s dystopian world from happening, as they prevent people from advocating totalitarianism and other human rights violations.

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The Lessons of Coffeyville and Paris

January 7th, 2015 - 1:47 pm
Violence never solves anything, except when it does

Violence never solves anything, except when it does

In 1892, five members of the famed and feared Dalton gang rode into Coffeyville, Kansas, a town near the border with Oklahoma where some of them had grown up. Their plan was to rob two banks simultaneously and then clear out. They never made it. Alerted to their presence, the townsfolk grabbed their guns and shot them to pieces, killing four of them. An eyewitness recounted:

“…Just at this critical juncture the citizens opened fire from the outside [of the Condon Bank] and the shots from their Winchesters and shot-guns pierced the plate-glass windows and rattled around the bank. Bill Powers and Dick Broadwell replied from the inside, and each fired from four to six shots at citizens on the outside. The battle then began in earnest. Evidently recognizing that the fight was on, Grat Dalton asked whether there was a back door through which they could get to the street. He was told that there was none. He then ordered Mr. Ball and Mr. Carpenter [two bank employees] to carry the sack of money to the front door. Reaching the hall on the outside of the counter, the firing of the citizens through the windows became so terrific and the bullets whistled so close around their heads that the robbers and both bankers retreated to the back room again. Just then one at the southwest door was heard to exclaim: ‘ I am shot; I can’t use my arm; it is no use, I can’t shoot any more.’ “

Those who didn’t have guns rushed to Isham’s hardware store, next door to one of the banks, where the merchant handed them out gratis. When some of the robbers exited the Condon Bank, they were met with a hail of gunfire:

“…The moment that Grat Dalton and his companions, Dick Broadwell and Bill Power, left the bank [the C.M. Condon Bank] that they had just looted, they came under the guns of the men in Isham’s store. Grat Dalton and Bill Powers each received mortal wounds before they had retreated twenty steps. The dust was seen to fly from their clothes, and Powers in his desperation attempted to take refuge in the rear doorway of an adjoining store, but the door was locked and no one answered his request to be let in. He kept his feet and clung to his Winchester until he reached his horse, when another ball struck him in the back and he fell dead at the feet of the animal that had carried him on his errand of robbery.

Law enforcement played a brief role as well:

Grat Dalton, getting under cover of the oil tank, managed to reach the side of a barn that stands on the south side of the alley… [At this point, Marshal Connelly ran across a vacant lot into "Death Alley" from the south to the spot where the bandits had tied their horses.] The marshal sprang into the alley with his face towards the point where the horses were hitched. This movement brought him with his back to the murderous Dalton, who was seen to raise his Winchester to his side and without taking aim fire a shot into the back of the brave officer. Marshal Connelly fell forward on his face within twenty feet of where his murderer stood.

But don’t worry, the story has a happy ending:

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What Is It About ‘Progressives’ and Guns?

January 2nd, 2015 - 12:07 pm
AR-15

Like it or not, it’s in the Constitution

Besides sheer ignorance, that is. John Hinderaker at Power Line does a number on Adam Gopnik’s latest anti-gun musings in The New Yorker:

No one expects sensible commentary on firearms from the New Yorker, but this gun control rant is worth noting because it is so typical of modern liberalism. Facts? Who needs facts? Bullying is all that the left aspires to.

There follows a point-by-point takedown of Gopnik’s piece about the need for “gun control” in the wake of the Newtown shootings, pegged to the recent filing of a lawsuit against Bushmaster, the maker of the AR-15 rifle that seems to have been criminally used in the murders of the schoolchildren of Sandy Hook. (There is some dispute about this.) Here’s Gopnik:

 The news that the parents of the children massacred two years ago in Sandy Hook, near Newtown, Connecticut, by a young man with a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle, were undertaking a lawsuit against the gun manufacturer was at once encouraging and terribly discouraging. The encouraging part is that those parents, suffering from a grief that those of us who are only witnesses to it can barely begin to comprehend, haven’t, despite the failure to reinstate assault-weapons bans and stop the next massacre, given way to despair…

The lawsuit is discouraging because the death-by-gun lobby has successfully advocated for legislative prophylactics that prevent gunmakers, almost uniquely among American manufacturers, from ever being held responsible for the deaths that their products cause. If a carmaker made a car that was known to be wildly unsafe, and then advertised it as unsafe, liabilities would result. The gun lobby is, or believes itself to be, immune. Some experts have outlined legal principles that might let sanity triumph, but it is hard to think it will.

The lawsuit has no chance, of course, as we’ll explore after the page break.

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One size fits all

Big Brother knows what’s good for you

The idea that “liberals” (or “Progressives,” as they now call themselves) are in any way “liberal” has been making me laugh for nearly half a century. Aside from their personal libertinism in matters of sexuality — as Nora Ephron wrote of her former husband, Carl Bernstein, in her roman-a-clef, Heartburn, “he was capable of having sex with a Venetian blind” — which is entirely a product of their own sense of self-involvement, there is nothing “liberal” about them at all. Even as a college student, I could see that their passion for various causes, many of them either illusory or imaginary, always had to end with the blunt fist of the government in your face. And this from people who, back in the day, were protesting against a government run by a president (Johnson) of their own party!

What we’ve seen since, with the ascendancy of the Baby Boomers, is precisely that form of totalitarian “liberalism” in action. More laws, more rules, more regulations, more punishment, more, more, more. Nothing, it seems, can be left to the judgment of ordinary citizens. Everything must be either prescribed or proscribed. As Philip K. Howard wrote the other day at the Daily Beast:

Law is essential to freedom because it safeguards citizens against misconduct and abuse. By drawing boundaries against wrongful conduct, law provides a protective zone of freedom within those boundaries. Companies can’t pollute; businesses can’t cheat; people must honor contracts. On this open field of freedom, people can act spontaneously without undue defensiveness.

Modern law goes a giant step backwards—it often bars people from doing what’s right. Law’s proper role is now seen as instructing people how to make daily choices. Instead of providing the framework for freedom, law has replaced it, creating a legal minefield rather than an open field for free choice.

Howard’s subject is the trammeling of former norms of human behavior — specifically, Good Samaritanism — by a million petty regulations whose purpose ostensibly is to protect, but whose effect instead is to harm:

Every year the rulebooks get thicker. After all, writing regulations is what many regulators do. Did something go wrong? Write a rule. Did someone find a loophole? Clarify it with another rule. Is there an ambiguity? Write a regulation. Lawmaking by legislatures is also a one-way ratchet—Legislators get credit for passing laws, not pruning them. Should unlicensed people be able to give manicures? Pass a law.

Law is good, we assume, so more law is better. The theory is that humans make mistakes and disagree, and therefore it’s good to have rules. Our dream society lies just over the horizon, once lawmakers and regulators figure out how to make the intricate pieces fit together.

In our headlong quest for a legally perfect society, we don’t take the time to take stock of what‘s been created so far. But pause for a second, and look back at what these generations of regulators and lawmakers have created. What you see is a massive, well-intentioned, legal junk pile.

Let’s stop right there: who says all this law has been “well-intentioned”? I would argue the precise opposite. None of this law has been well-intentioned, except by useful idiots, once you get past the surface of the law in question (“the Kiddie Protection Act of blah blah blah”) and look at the intent, which is always to curtail individual freedom and increase the power of the state. And the power of the state always can and must end with a man with a gun arriving on your doorstep and forcing you to his will.

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