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Belmont Club

Dover Beach

August 17th, 2014 - 4:22 pm

It is said that in the dungeons of Dzerzhinsky square, where many an Old Bolshevik languished before execution, the walls contain this scrawled inscription: “why?”

Disillusion for James Risen of the New York Times has come early. Risen, who is about to go to jail for revealing how Iran gained vital intelligence called president Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.”

Risen faces jail over his reporting of a botched intelligence operation that ended up spilling nuclear secrets to Iran. The Justice Department has long been seeking to force him to testify and name the confidential source of the account, which is contained in his 2006 book State of War.

Risen recently failed in an attempt to have the supreme court review an order for him to testify, and acknowledges that he has exhausted all his legal options against the Justice Department’s pursuit of him under the controversial Espionage Act. In the face of incarceration that could come as early as this autumn, he is resorting instead to journalistic defiance.

But it’s not just Risen who’s feeling cynical. Edmund Wright of the American Thinker says that for the first time in his memory, conservatives have stopped reflexively supporting law and order.

One of the fascinating layers of the Ferguson riot story is how this tragedy has exposed what is a rapidly changing attitudinal climate towards law enforcement officers (LEOs). What was for years a stable predicate — conservatives being reflexively ‘law and order’ and inherently giving cops the benefit of the doubt — while liberals with the built in ACLU type disdain for cops tending to always assume the worst of those in power – is now a vortex of confusion, cross currents,and contradictions.

It’s not a total flip-flop of the convention, but it’s moving in that direction. After all, we’ve seen Rand Paul and Eric Holder agree on this in the past week. Did I mention confusing and contradictory?

Consider: many young liberals have of course discovered a love for big government, and take to Twitter and Facebook to support cops harassing Tea Party types and Nevada ranchers just as they cheer the IRS and Lois Lerner persecuting conservative business people and political groups. Meanwhile, liberal voters in Boston cheered their ‘Boston Strong’ reaction to the Marathon bombers, which to me looked a lot like an entire city cowering from a wounded young teen — while LEOs with Seal Team Six fantasies trampled on every liberty they could for 48 hours — brandishing Kevlar, automatic weapons, neo-Nazi style helmets and riding around neighborhoods in hummers and kicking down doors.

The media, long willing to challenge the cops and take the victim’s point of view, have been silent, or even dismissive, of recent fears by the right of militarized police departments and massive ammo buys by the Feds. Worship of Obama and support for public sector unions has trumped their former concerns apparently.

Somewhere the counterculture of the 1960s crossed paths in the night with Barack Obama. The phrase “we are the people our parents warned us against” has been replaced by “we are the people we’ve been waiting for.”

Caroline Glick says “Under Obama, America has switched sides.” Which side was that?

The alternative view is that he’s on all sides at once. Leon Aron, a resident scholar and the Director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute tries to make sense of the frankly amoral posture of the modern political elites. They seem so far above the fray as to be beyond good and evil itself. In neither Ukraine nor Gaza has the West once seen fit to identify the good guy. There are no more “just wars”.  Aron thinks it’s postmodernism.

Two reasons in the post-modern canon could provide an explanation. First, while someone’s victory implies someone’s defeat, “peace” – no matter how fraudulent or short-lived – superficially has no losers, and for that reason is vastly preferable. Second, the “right” and “wrong,” the “just” and “unjust,” the “good and evil” are inherently suspect because values themselves are suspect. Western opinion makers appear to have learned from elite universities that “values” are “individual” and “subjective.” As a result, they must be taken out of political discourse and decision-making. Hence, too, the coverage by the elite media of the West of both wars as “conflicts” in which the word “just” or its synonyms never once appear, both sides are somehow equally at fault, and therefore a victory by one side is not more morally agreeable than by the other.

So strong are these ideological imperatives that not even a tragedy can influence them. Neither the downing of the MH17, almost certainly by a Russia-supplied surface-to-air missile, nor the murder of three Israeli teenagers nor repugnancy over the deliberate sacrifice of civilians by Hamas can introduce morality into these wars and make victory over evil preferred to peace.

Yet another, more cynical interpretation of the phenomenon that our dear leaders believe are “no more just wars”  – just wars; that morality is a mug’s game and the worst thing that could happen, from the business point of view, is for morality to creep back into the picture.

I can see Al Sharpton signing on to this idea. What would he do without the Michael Browns and Trayvon Martins? Under this theory one should forget the white and black hats and simply remember it’s always about the money. Riots, civil wars and epidemics are good for business.  Always follow these simple rules and you’ll be alright.

  1. Never get shot with your own merchandise.
  2. Always have a fool-proof way to get paid.
  3. Never pick up a gun and join your customers.
  4. Never go to war. Especially with yourself.

My guess is that Stalin had a version of these maxims on his desk. The only mystery is whether any of the Old Bolsheviks waiting to die in Cheka cellars ever figured it out.

One of the most difficult things in the world is, with cold eyes, to continue to believe in love.  That is the biggest gamble you can take; and the only one worth taking. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

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Top Rated Comments   
Understand your concerns, Itellu. In fact, it still grates on me to this day that Jose Guerena's killers did not face justice for some level of murder charge.

However, on the other hand, you're asking every civilian man in uniform that carries a gun to subject himself to an aggressive prosecutor if he uses that gun to defend himself. His life, liberty, property, and family hang in the balance, at the whim of folks like the Florida DA who went after Zimmerman. You're asking them to become Zimmerman for the rest of their lives, whichever way the verdict went.

The problem with your scenario is justice is in this day and age, a political tool. There are no reliable, impartial prosecutors, judges, or juries who I'd trust with my life, and that's exactly what your asking a cop to do, every time he's pressed to defend himself. The result will be a lot of dead and crippled cops, cops who will not venture out into "Indian territory" to aid the citizens that they are charged to protect, and a lot of dead citizens, too.

The tools to monitor and discipline police activity are, and always have been available. In a day before the Democrats made the DOJ a political tool, there was also a "backstop" at state and federal levels, to protect against corrupt local authorities violating citizens rights. None of that exists anymore.

The last thing we need is another sweeping law to punish the law enforcers, just because outlaws are running the State and Federal justice departments. That's the path to rule by fascism and autocrats. "Break" all of the key institutions providing citizens and protections to the citizens, and they offer a "better alternative" in guise of jack-booted partisan thugs (See Hitler's SS). It IS a final solution, but not the one you intended.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a third choice.
Obama may not have switched sides.
He may not be on all sides. He may be on no side.
He may be the Nowhere Man.

As someone who has had law enforcement training I was considering the most likely but unproven scenario for Fergusen was that the thug assaulted the officer and failed to take his gun and the officer then exited his car and shot the thug who was attempting to flee the scene. If that happened them it was not a good shot. It would be an understandable error in the circumstances, the officer was not a rookie but it is possible that he either acted correctly or not. If it was not a good shot I would understand how it could happen but it would still be a tragedy, despite the criminality of the deceased.

The new story based on the overheard conversation on the tape would change that. If the 300 lb. assailant was moving aggressively to confront the officer he had previously assaulted and the assailant was not deterred by verbal commands then the officer was at Deadly Force in the Continuum of Force scale, and it was therefor a good shot. This is not a certainty. the evidence is an off camera conversation heard in background on a tape. That tape must be carefully examined to see if this is genuine or a false interpolation. The body must be reexamined and forensics rechecked to determine if the deceased was retreating or advancing.

The public is often shocked to hear that police are not expected to use any means possible to detain or subdue a criminal. As I was told Deadly Force should be used to save your life or the life of another officer. Deadly Force may be used to protect a civilian. Everyone who did not know that distinction raise your hand. Deadly Force should not be used on a fleeing suspect who does not pose an imminent threat to life.

If you are alone and a suspect to large to wrestle with is escaping, and you cannot cripple him with a baton blow, and the suspect is not armed and does not pose an imminent threat to life, then file your paperwork and go home. If the criminal is advancing on the dirtbag son of the richest guy in town who knocked up a friends sister then you can shoot. Alternatively you may want to call for back up and yell "Please stop or you will be in violation of article umptysquat of the criminal code Sir."

For the post-modern Progressives facing unnuanced Muslim terror the simple explanation may suffice. Terror works and the elites are terrorized. They are now well into the stage of submissive compliance and their psychology could best be explored on a lay level if you so choose by reading about alternative sexual lifestyles. They will easily yield what the terrorists want in terms of Jewish Christian Zoroastrian Hindu Buddhist or Bahai victims. The fact that the elites doing the yielding don't really like the victims anyway just makes it easier to rationalize.

The good news of the day is that apparently the Kurds have regained partial control over the Mosul Dam. This may be another case, as when the Seals rescued the Merchant Captain, when a local commander took the ball and ran further than Obama intended. That may be to cynical. If the administration wanted this then good but we must wonder why. There is still the possibility that the ISIS may just attempt to destroy the dam out of spite. If it fails the Americans will get the blame.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Conservatives have lost their default approval of police power because they sense all that that power is more likely to be directed against them than anywhere else.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (80)
All Comments   (80)
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Has anyone else noticed that these racial excitements run in cycles that just happen to synchronize with the election cycles?

400 people a year are shot by police in this country and THIS ONE gets riots? And the rioters are out-of-towners too.

The Republicans are endorsing the militarization of cops issue to hedge their position with black voters rather that come out for law and order, as usual. Smart move - for once.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
murder rates are up in washington dc for the first time in 5 years.

Murder rates are up 10% in NYC this year
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
someone with tools might want to check quickly on murder rates in various cities around the country.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
These numbers could be statistical noise or they could be trends. I just have not looked deeply into the matter.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Outsiders included black panthers from San Francisco and white communists from Chicago came in to exploit the situation.

Here a radio caller confirms the story told by officer wilson and others about what happened just before the shots were fired..
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was reported today by the washington post that the Fergusen kid was shot from the front and that he had marijuana in his blood.
We learned earlier that the kid roughed up a convenience store clerk to get his swisher sweets.
AUDIO: Rush Limbaugh On The Michael Brown’s Stolen Cigars: Swisher Sweets Purchased By People Who Love Marijuana
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
"while liberals with the built in ACLU type disdain for cops tending to always assume the worst of those in power"

Not quite: The left's disdain was only for those in power here. The left from the very beginning had great sympathy for those in power in fascist Italy or Communist Russia and always looked for excuses for what they did.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
As a state prosecutor for a quarter of a century, I can tell you that 95% of all cops will never fire their service weapon in the line of duty during a 30-year career. The term "trigger-happy" is inappropriate-any discharge of an officer's service weapon in NC results in: 1. Immediate confiscation of that weapon; 2. Investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation; and 3. Being placed on desk duty until the investigation is complete.
If their actions are justified, they are back on the street. If their actions are not justified, they will never work another day as a sworn officer with any department.
Whether the Brown shooting was justified is impossible to answer at this point. Whether a good number of the nation's police departments are becoming over-militarized, the answer is clear as well-they are.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, what about the overdone, SWAT shock and awe, 3 am no-knock home invasions to serve warrants over petty issues, and the lack of accountability when they gun down a man who wasn't even the suspect, and all to frequently, the police are in the wrong house?

When did the concerns about the police officer's safety *completely* trump the harm they're doing to civilians?

IMHO, if there's little enough drugs that you had to bust in the door to keep them from flushing it all, there wasn't enough to bother with in the first place.

The police get to mis-characterize the dead guy as a 'potential gang member', or 'major narcotics trafficker' - they have the press, lawyers and money to get the narrative they want. It's gotten to the point where I don't believe them, and I don't believe the criminals, either - they sound like politicians and scapegoaters.

Far too many arrests end up 'plea bargained', because the state has relatively infinite resources to prosecute people who have nothing. It seems like a game to get the most points. I take a cynical view of the federal money that rewards them for how many convictions for politically sensitive crimes - VAWA being a notorious example, as being a huge conflict of interest that reduces law enforcement to rent-seeking the best revenue stream.

As a veteran, I'm disgusted with what a mockery all of this makes of "The Rule of Law.", with a contempt that I used to reserve for ambulance chasers.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
The answer to the Rodney King beating was to take brutality out of the equation leaving two courses of action: ignore or shoot to death. That's what the people wanted, compliance or death.

I for one would prefer the beating.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure who the people Obama intended to speak to were with his “we are the people we’ve been waiting for” bit. But, being from Generation Y as I am, I grew up waiting for the Nicaraguan paratroopers over my high school, waiting for the last can of beans in burnt-out London, waiting for Damn Dirty Apes, waiting for first against the wall, waiting for... etc.

The biggest surprise of (our collective) life is that we are, in fact, still alive. The people "we" were waiting for were going to end the world. So, hearing such a triumphant cry makes me only reach for the Garand and a clip of AP shells my father kept perpetually on a LOS to the front door.

On a cheerier note, all of the above greatly explains the perverse fascination with zombie culture these days....
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
OldSalt said: The problem with your scenario is justice is in this day and age, a political tool.

I suppose you're right, and that's the bigger problem. Yet I don't want the police to become a force for just those overzealous prosecutors. I don't want to hesitate to call the police when I need them because a bunch of drunken donut-eaters are just going to kill me instead of help me and then laugh about it. We've had two cases recently in Los Angeles where trigger happy cops, in high pressure and ambiguous situations, killed the citizens rather than the perps. The common factor is "trigger-happy", and I don't think any of the five or so I've mentioned were ever put in court. However, wrong death lawsuits *are* filed and settled for millions of bucks, which isn't much good for the city, either.

The trial of Scooter Libby was about as big a mistrial of justice as you could have, and even (!?) the Supreme Court has been issuing howlers over the last few years.

Things are just getting out of control, aren't they. Maybe these cases are even rarer than they seem and it's just that they stand out, after all it's a big world. But we've had a run of them lately, and there are reasons to think this is a new and widespread problem.

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know about you, but here in Austin, I wouldn't call the police, even if my life were on the line, unless the bad guys were dressed up like a pit bull.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe our new mantra/chant should be:

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Al Sharpton is but a two bit small hustler looking for quick pay out.

The rushing to judgment and the usual agitprop are important, because the Revolutionists know their own useful idiots, to establish THE Narrative.

Two points - (1) Reichstag fire; (2) The ends Justifies the means.

In my mind, it must be frustrating for these revolutionists to no ends that Americans haven't taken up the baits. No matter how many opportunities these guys manufactured so far.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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