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Unexamined Premises

Capons of America, Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Brains

May 10th, 2014 - 9:26 am

At first glance, this is not only risible but actively ridiculous: a bunch of metrosexual beta males apologizing for their very existence. And, in fact, it does seem to be a parody — if Stephen Parkhurst’s previous work is any guide — although many conservative sites have fallen for it, owing to its extreme plausibility. But behind every parody is more than a grain of truth so, just for fun, let’s follow the granular subtext of this exercise in cultural-Marxist nastiness.

It begins with Saul Alinsky’s famous Rule No. 4: “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.” Leaving aside the fact that there is no single “Christian Church” (a mistake common to non-Christians), and that Christianity comprises the Catholic Church, the Greek/Russian Orthodox Church and various declining sects of Protestanism, among others, the central issue here is to make “the enemy” (Alinsky’s words) face the consequences of his own imperfectibility. That any contradictions and consequences are entirely in the head of the Alinsky side matters not; after all, in psywar, it’s not what’s true that counts, it’s what you can get the enemy to believe:

Right now, the Leftist meme being pushed is “inequality.” We see it everywhere, starting at the top, with President Obama carping about it in speeches, in the sudden prominence of a book nobody will ever read, in Eric Holder’s Justice Department using the cudgel of “disparate impact” as its weapon of choice against the nation as founded. Because, the thinking goes, if all men really are created “equal,” how can you possibly object to any action government takes to rectify a perceived “inequality”? Well, you can’t — unless, of course, you can reason past the formulation “if A then B.” But the modern Left understands that few can or will — and even if they could, the sound-bite hegemony of the media will rule out any substantive discussion of C, D, or E. As the AlinskyDefeater notes:

This tactic is genius in its simplicity. The idea is to keep the attention on your opponent by simply peppering them with the ways in which they fail to be perfect. No one is perfect and so the rule is powerful. In fact, it is one of the most powerful tactics in the Alinsky arsenal.

It’s simple and effective because it’s false, taking no account of the actual crooked timber of humanity (in Sir Isaiah Berlin’s famous phrase), nor of the fundamental “unfairness” of Nature herself. It’s false because it assumes facts not in evidence (white male “privilege”) and purposely targets a single group, without remarking upon the fairness, or lack of it, of other societies (female, non-white, whatever). In other words, it assumes a conspiracy — the Big Meeting Theory of History — in which European men got together in the Caves of Lascaux or somewhere similar, and made a binding pact for all eternity. Never mind that they could have no knowledge about the existence of other human societies; they were Oppressors, and that would be that.

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Why Benghazi Matters

May 5th, 2014 - 11:06 am

One year ago today, I wrote the following here at PJ Media:

No matter what happens with Darrell Issa’s congressional committee meetings this week, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the Obama administration, and the cause is Benghazi. It’s impossible to overestimate the blowback that has been gathering steam for the past seven months, now about to erupt with full force. Few reputations will emerge unscathed, Obama’s presidency will be crippled, Hillary Clinton‘s 2016 candidacy will be destroyed — and perhaps some new heroes will be born…

That’s because, right from the jump, the administration has been lying through its teeth about what happened on the night of Sept. 11, 2012 — the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, as it happens. It transparently lied about the Mohammad video, threw the scapegoated filmmaker in jail (where, last time I looked, he still is), and convened a bogus “accountability” board to whitewash the whole damn thing so as not to disrupt the precious Narrative that Osama was dead and al-Qaeda was on the run.

It was all a lie, of course, and some of us knew it at the time. I wrote about it repeatedly on the Post’s Op-Ed page: you can find examples here, here and here. In this case, however, what happened in Benghazi, Foggy Bottom, the White House, and the Obama re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago was (as the saying goes) worse than a crime: it was a blunder. And that blunder may now bring down the man who never should have been president in the first place, for grotesque dereliction of his duty as commander-in-chief….

In the year since, we’ve learned a lot about Benghazi, including the extreme heroism of the brave men who put up the fight of their lives against hordes of savages armed with modern weapons. We’ve learned as well that the subject makes the Left profoundly uncomfortable, and that requests for more information by folks we used to quaintly call “decent Americans” have been met with the usual leftist mockery, eye-rolling, sarcasm, sneering and dismissal. We’ve even learned a little more about where the president might have been that night, before grabbing some winks and jetting off to Las Vegas the next day for the only part of the job he takes seriously, a campaign fund-raiser.

You can read further thoughts on Benghazi and the latest developments by people I admire, including my friend and PJ colleague Andy McCarthy –

Benghazi is not an ordinary scandal — it involves an act of war in which our ambassador, the representative of the United States in Libya, was murdered (along with three other Americans) under circumstances where security was appallingly inadequate for political reasons, and where the administration did not just lie about what happened but actually trumped up a prosecution that violated the First Amendment in order to bolster the lie. Only in the Manhattan-Beltway corridor do people think Benghazi is a GOP concern driven by 2016 political considerations.

– and the editors of National Review, who write: “The White House misled the American public about a critical matter of national interest, and it continues to practice deceit as the facts of the case are sorted out. That, to answer Hillary Clinton’s callous question, is what difference it makes.”

But, before we get further bogged in lawyerly detail about who said what to whom about what when during the upcoming congressional investigation, let me cut to the chase:

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No job too tough

No job too tough

From Peggy Noonan’s column in the Wall Street Journal today:

But he seems increasingly passive. He is not passive when it comes to his political fortunes—he goes out and speaks and tries to rally the base—but even there, and certainly when it comes to governing, he seems bored, as if operating at a remove. Valerie Jarrett was once quoted saying he’s so exceptionally gifted that he’s been bored most of his life. It seems to me more likely an exceptionally gifted person would be exceptionally interested in and alive to the wonder and drama of things. I think her meaning was that only the most demanding and important of jobs would consistently arouse his engagement and focus. But he seems pretty bored as president…

The aspect of the presidency he seems to enjoy most is the perks—the splashy vacations, the planes, the hoops, the golf. When his presidency is over there will be the perks of the post-presidency—foundations, libraries, million-dollar speeches, staff, protection. A literary agent estimated he’ll get up to $20 million for his memoirs, Michelle Obama perhaps $12 million. So no, you don’t get the impression he’ll have to suffer for where he stands, or who he is.

Jarrett’s observation about the man who is, at least nominally, her boss has received a lot of attention since its appearance in David Remnick’s biography of Obama, The Bridge. And it certainly fits right in with the media-fueled notion that the Pride of Punahou is intellectually brilliant — a judgment not shared, by the way, by Obama’s fellow students at Harvard Law, who created the “Obamamometer” to measure his epic-scale apple-polishing. As some idiot wrote over at National Review Online a few years back:

So the other day, I was having lunch on the patio at Orso’s with a fellow screenwriter, and as we watched all the suits making deals that didn’t include us, all the actresses who aren’t going to be in our movies, and all the agents who won’t return our phone calls, this writer leaned over to me and whispered, “Have you heard about the Obamamometer?”

I won’t keep you in suspense. Turns out that this writer knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who went to Harvard Law with B. Hussein Obama Jr., and, the story goes, such was Barry’s monumental capacity for sucking up to his professors that the “Obamamometer” was established to calibrate and quantify the most egregious, shameless brown-nosing, and it quickly became the gold standard of Uriah Heep-dom in Cambridge, Mass. “That was a 10 on the Obamamometer,” the Harvard men and women would whisper when someone rose to the unctuous level of Barry at his best. Who knows, maybe they still do.

Still,  in the words of historian Michael Beschloss, Obama’s the “smartest guy ever to become president” — words that, no doubt, Beschloss would like to eat right about now:

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Chicago, the Shame of a Nation

April 28th, 2014 - 7:47 am

It should come as a surprise to just about nobody that Chicago is the most corrupt big city in America, and long has been. The setting for the godfather of all gangster movies – Scarface, the Shame of a Nation, starring Paul Muni as a thinly disguised Al Capone, directed by Howard Hawks — Chicago has flaunted its outlaw status in the country’s face for nearly a century. And continues to do so, now that one of its own occupies the White House.

Consider this news item, which got no play in the national media beyond the Windy City, whose newspapers have long understood the criminal nature of their municipal government — even if, in the grand tradition of Jake Lingle, they occasionally act as incubators for members of the party. It seems that the former city comptroller, Amer Ahmad — a convicted criminal nonetheless hired by mayor Rahm Emanuel to oversee the city’s finances– is now on the lam; hardly a surprise coming from adherents of the criminal organization masquerading as a political party.

Facing up to 15 years in prison and stripped of his U.S. passport, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s former city comptroller ordered his wife this week “to get him a fake birth certificate from Pakistan for a passport,” according to court records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times. Now, Amer Ahmad is on the lam, and a judge issued a warrant Friday for his arrest…

Ahmad — who has continued to live in Chicago since resigning from his $165,000-a-year City Hall post last summer — pleaded guilty in December to being part of a large kickback and money-laundering scheme when he was Ohio’s deputy state treasurer.

The crimes occurred before Ahmad joined Emanuel’s administration in April 2011. An outside investigation that City Hall commissioned to review Ahmad’s conduct revealed no criminal wrongdoing by Ahmad or his staff. That investigation cost Chicago taxpayers $825,000.

Left unanswered is why Ahmad was hired in the first place to mind the city’s money. But don’t worry — he didn’t cost Chicagoans one red cent!

Chicago taxpayers spent $825,000 to find out that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s now-convicted former City Comptroller Amer Ahmad did not cost them a penny beyond his $165,000-a-year salary. The $825,000 was paid to the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and the accounting firm of Grant Thornton for a 47-page report that concluded that Ahmad did not defraud cash-strapped Chicago as he did in Ohio…

An embarrassed Emanuel flatly denied that he should have known about Ahmad’s alleged wrongdoing in Ohio and promised an exhaustive investigation — with Inspector General Joe Ferguson and Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton overseeing the forensic audit.

Ahmad’s arrest warrant is here. [UPDATE: He's been apprehended in Pakistan, after sneaking across the U.S.-Mexican border on foot.]

Ahmad was raised in Ohio by Pakistani immigrant parents. After his guilty plea, Ahmad remained free on bail but surrendered his passport. Though his sentencing date hasn’t been set, he faces up to 15 years in prison and has agreed to pay $3.2 million in restitution. Ahmad had been a rising star in the Emanuel administration before abruptly resigning last summer, saying he wanted to seek a job in the private sector…

Ahmad pleaded guilty in December to federal conspiracy and bribery charges, admitting he used his Ohio government position to secure “lucrative state business” for Douglas Hampton — his high school classmate and financial adviser — “in exchange for payments” to himself and others.

In his plea agreement, Ahmad said Hampton made secret payments to him, and, as Ohio’s deputy treasurer, he steered state securities brokerage work to Hampton. Prosecutors said Ahmad and a business partner — Joseph M. Chiavaroli, also of Chicago — hid those payments by passing them through an Ohio landscaping company they owned.

Interestingly, there’s somebody named “Mohammed” involved in this story as well. And who is he? According to his indictment, he’s an immigration lawyer who last December pleaded guilty to federal charges of “aiding and abetting honest services wire fraud” as part of the general indictment of Ahmad et al. for bribery and money laundering.

Hampton also funneled cash to Mohammed Noure Alo, an attorney, lobbyist and close friend of Ahmad from Columbus. Altogether, Hampton got about $3.2 million in commissions for 360 trades on behalf of the Ohio state treasurer’s office. Ahmad and his co-conspirators — who have all pleaded guilty — got more than $500,000 from Hampton, according to prosecutors.

For more news on “the city that works,” please turn the page –

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Obama--Biden-selfie-jpg

BFFs for, like, ever

Referring to Barack Obama’s use of the word “stinkburger” at an appearance at the University of Michigan, George Will had a column the other day, “Barack Obama, the adolescent president,” in which he made this observation about the current commander-in-chief:

Try to imagine Franklin Roosevelt or Dwight Eisenhower or John Kennedy or Ronald Reagan talking like that. It is unimaginable that those grown-ups would resort to japes that fourth-graders would not consider sufficiently clever for use on a playground… Anyone who has tried to engage a member of that [adolescent] age cohort in an argument probably recognizes the four basic teenage tropes, which also are the only arrows in Obama’s overrated rhetorical quiver.

Will listed the cheap tricks in the president’s repertoire — straw men, the “you-have-no-argument” assertion, the “everything is just fine” non-argument, and “my opponents are poopy-pantses.”  Okay, he didn’t exactly say that, but Obama’s unshakable belief in his own moral and intellectual superiority “is an assertion that has always been an Obama specialty. It is that there cannot be honorable and intelligent disagreement with him.”

What Will left off his list — or perhaps it’s simply implicit in everything the campaigner-in-chief says these days — is mockery. A quick Google search turns up 129,000,000 reference to Obama mocking somebody or other — Mitt Romney, Republicans, his ideological foes, the Special Olympics, you name it. Lest we forget:

Elsewhere, I’ve characterized this tendency of Leftists to treat everyone who disagrees with them with contempt as the Lefty Sneer. It’s one of their unloveliest traits, and one that goes back as far as I remember, which is to the mid/late sixties. What can’t be defeated in honest debate can be dismissed with an insult, which is what passes for cleverness in certain quarters. Did Obama really think his “stinkburger” crack was even worthy of a dorm-room bull session, much less a presidential appearance? Regarding Joe Biden’s debate with Paul Ryan in 2012, I wrote at  NRO:

In perhaps the most personally disgraceful performance in the history of debates, Joe Biden smirked, mugged, snorted, and sneered his way through 90 minutes of heckling his opponent, Paul Ryan — often aided and abetted by the moderator, Martha Raddatz, who was every bit as bad as we all feared the ex-wife of president Obama’s Harvard Law School classmate, Julius Genachowski, would be.

And the Left loved it. Why? Because in their hearts, they think we deserve it, and have it coming to us for the crime of disagreeing with them. The depths of their animosity danced across Biden’s toothy visage all evening, Ryan’s reasonable arguments, delivered reasonably, being met with sneering condescension and a wonted air of smug moral superiority. For the libs, this was a dream performance, and all the Right could do, like Ryan himself, was grin and bear it.

But don’t think such debate tactics are the exclusive province of the Left. Oh, no.  Just check out the guy atop the next page.

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Who’s Next?

April 22nd, 2014 - 7:58 am

Birds of a feather, and all that: the Peaceful and Tolerant Left loves nothing better than heroic, godlike, even martial imagery as it pursues its relentless agenda to remake the world by any means necessary. Remember: they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit. Vorwaerts in die Zukunft!

In the Beginning were the German Beards:

And the Beards were Good

And there were Beards

And the Beards were good.  The Beards were also inspirational. Although they flopped in Germany and Britain, they managed to convince the Russians to pick up hammers and sickles and begin slaughtering millions of their fellow citizens, in order to show them the Light — like these guys:

Die Strahlen der Sonne vertreiben die Nacht,

Die Strahlen der Sonne vertreiben die Nacht

And these guys:

The People, united, will never be defeated

The People, united, will never be defeated

The Beard  on the next page really knew how to rouse the rabble to mass murder:

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Take this sign and shove it

Take this sign and shove it

I have little to add to John Hinderaker’s analysis of the Bundy ranch standoff, except this: if the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency, thinks it can establish “First Amendment Areas” while it goes about its business, it and the rest of the federal bureaucracy need to think again. First, the moral case for Bundy (who, as Hinderaker correctly notes, doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on):

Over the last two or three decades, the Bureau has squeezed the ranchers in southern Nevada by limiting the acres on which their cattle can graze, reducing the number of cattle that can be on federal land, and charging grazing fees for the ever-diminishing privilege. The effect of these restrictions has been to drive the ranchers out of business. Formerly, there were dozens of ranches in the area where Bundy operates. Now, his ranch is the only one. When Bundy refused to pay grazing fees beginning in around 1993, he said something to the effect of, they are supposed to be charging me a fee for managing the land and all they are doing is trying to manage me out of business. Why should I pay them for that..?

So let’s have some sympathy for Cliven Bundy and his family. They don’t have a chance on the law, because under the Endangered Species Act and many other federal statutes, the agencies are always in the right. And their way of life is one that, frankly, is on the outs. They don’t develop apps. They don’t ask for food stamps. It probably has never occurred to them to bribe a politician. They don’t subsist by virtue of government subsidies or regulations that hamstring competitors. They aren’t illegal immigrants. They have never even gone to law school. So what possible place is there for the Bundys in the Age of Obama?

Well, this is what you get with gangster government. But, just as in the 1930s, when corrupt big-city machines like Tammany Hall worked hand-in-glove with both politicians and criminals — but I repeat myself — it’s going to take the public to rise up and destroy the rackets. Where is the Tom Dewey of our time, the two-fisted racket buster who sent legions of crooks to the slammer? We’re still waiting.

But a “First Amendment Area?” That’s something every American needs to denounce, as loudly as possible. No federal agency has the right to do this, and in a decent administration, the bureaucrat who thought up the idea and ordered the signs posted would be publicly defenestrated pour encourage les autres. There is, however, no accountability in the Obama administration and its corrupt enablers in Congress, for whom everything is a racket — either a source of personal enrichment or an opportunity to mete out some punishment to the regime’s ideological enemies.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The BLM’s stunt violated every one of the amendment’s proscriptions except the “establishment” and “free exercise” clauses, and Obamacare is working hard on those. For the record, here’s the official spokesdroid’s explanation for the zones:

While anybody can express their free speech any time on open public lands in accordance with the codes and ordinances that exist, there are temporary closures of some of the public lands related to this impound operation and those are in place for public safety. So we identified two areas where the public could safely and conveniently express their opinions without having to go through the codes and ordinance process and apply for permits.

So this is the country we live in at the moment: militarized local cops and weaponized federal agencies, whose bureaucratic whims are enforced at gunpoint. It’s not the country I grew up in, nor one in which any right-thinking American would want to live.

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Come back Eliot Ness, your country needs you

Come back Eliot Ness, your country needs you

Another day, another chronicle of Democratic Party malfeasance. Enjoy:

In Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa of California has just leveled an explosive charge against his Democrat counterpart on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee — to wit, that the gentleman from Maryland colluded with the IRS to harass a conservative organization fighting for honest elections:

Issa said records obtained last week from the IRS show communications from the office of ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., about True the Vote, a Texas-based, non-profit conservative group that aims to prevent voter fraud.The communications at one point involved Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official whom Issa’s panel is poised to hold in contempt of Congress on Thursday for refusing to provide testimony about her involvement in targeting conservative groups.

“The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings’ staff,” a statement from the Oversight panel reads.According to Issa, Cummings and his staff sought “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities,” from True the Vote.

Naturally, the honorable gentlemen denies the charges:

Cummings said the letter from Issa and others Republicans is “a desperate attempt to shift the focus on tomorrow’s contempt vote away from the serious Constitutional deficiencies in these proceedings.”

Did somebody say “contempt vote”? (UPDATE: it just happened.) What kind of nefarious activity might occasion such a thing? 

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Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. And sometimes there are simply not enough words to do it justice:

 

With Hillary and Jeb waiting in the wings!

With Hillary and Jeb waiting in the wings!

Is this a great country, or what?

And Speaking of the Cold Civil War…

April 6th, 2014 - 11:48 am

walsh_kahane_radical_conservatives_4-6-14-1

This excerpt is from the book Rules for Radical Conservatives by the noted Leftist radical, “David Kahane.” If you don’t know who David Kahane is, click here. And here. Buy it, read it, weep, and enjoy it if you can:

Despite all the evidence of the past several decades, you still have not grasped one simple fact: that, just about a century after the last one ended, we engaged in a great civil war, one that will determine the kind of country we and our descendants shall henceforth live in for at least the next hundred years – and, hopefully, a thousand. Since there hasn’t been any shooting, so far, some call the struggle we are now involved in the “culture wars,” but I have another, better name for it: the Cold Civil War

In many ways, this new civil war is really an inter-generational struggle, the War of the Baby Boomers. America’s largest generation, the famous “pig in the python,” has affected everything it’s touched, from the schools of the 1950s (not enough of them) through the colleges of the 1960s (changed, changed utterly), through the political movements of the 1970s and ‘80s (revolution and counter-revolution), and into the present, where the war is still being waged. For the dirty little secret is that all those fresh-faced kids, crammed together in public-school classrooms, have hated each other almost from the moment they first drew breath, and realized that they were to be locked in lifelong, mortal competition with the dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of other kids their same age. From their first moment of self-consciousness, they were aware that they would have to fight for everything they got: for the love of their parents, for a desk in the classrooms, for a place in the elite colleges, for a job, for a title, for money, for everything.

It was back then, shoulder to shoulder in those crowded, stinky classrooms, benighted places where there was scarcely a grief counselor ever to be seen, where Attention Deficit Disorder and the whole host of other imaginary diseases we have since inflicted on you had not yet been invented (any kid claiming ADD would have been laughed at and, in Catholic school, probably slapped upside the head by the nuns), and where the idea of filing a lawsuit on just about any pretext would have been considered trashy, that our respective sides developed our deep antipathy for one other. My crew was resentful that we had to share space, not only in the classroom but on the planet, with inexplicably happy alien beings like you, who, at best, ignored us as you got on with your lives in pursuit of the chimerical “American Dream,” or worse, treated us with contempt as we whined, moaned, bitched and complained about the awful unfairness of life and the vast evil all around us and all that jazz. Just because you happened to be the so-called “majority” at the time didn’t mean we couldn’t start planning ways to take you down, to change things, to effect a fundamental transformation of your society. Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is now ours.

You admired strength, resolve and purposefulness; we were stuck with weakness and indecision. You saw the world as something to be conquered; we saw the world as a hostile force needing to be appeased. You dealt with life head-on, never complaining and never explaining; we ran home and told our mommies. You cheered when macho neanderthals like John Wayne or Steve McQueen kicked some “bad” guy’s butt, and swelled with pride at that whole faked “moon landing” charade, while we ogled Jane Fonda as Barbarella atop that anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi, and rolled around naked in the mud at Woodstock. Think of us as Cain to your Abel, hating you from practically the moment we were born, hating you for your excellence and your unabashed pursuit thereof while we were the ugly stepchildren. Well, Cinderfella – how do you like us now?

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