Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

Sharks and Sharia … Equally Misunderstood?

I recently spent some time watching Shark Week on television.  Being fascinated with large predatory fish, I’ve watched many shark programs throughout the years.  And I’ve reached one conclusion: the “liberal” response one is accustomed to when the topics of Islam, Islamists, and their law, Sharia, come up—that they are misunderstood, that we need to respect their ways and be tolerant, that it’s our fault we get attacked—has become so embedded in the Western psyche that it now colors our understanding of the animal world as well.

Almost every shark program follows the same pattern: the large predators are portrayed in all their grandeur, roaming the seas; then we hear of several anecdotes of shark attacks on humans, often with the survivors recounting their experience.

The prevalent theme is this: it’s not the shark’s fault that it attacked and maimed this or that surfer, swimmier, or kayaker.  Rather, humans are responsible for entering the shark’s domain, the ocean.  If anything, then, it’s the human’s fault for getting attacked.  Even great whites, so we are assured, only attack humans by mistake, never intentionally. Finally we get the speech about how sharks are in fact the one’s being mistreated by humans, etc.

To those familiar with the way liberal talking heads constantly whitewash the violence and intolerance of Islam, does this not all sound familiar?  From the notion that “it’s our fault” we got attacked, and we “had it coming,” to the idea that we need to be more “understanding and respectful,” the “progressive” memes are all there.

Similarly, two types of survivors often recount their experiences.  Most explain how they do not at all blame the shark that attacked them; more magnanimously, others say that, since they lost this or that appendage, they have dedicated their lives to protecting sharks.

The second, more atypical kind of survivors openly demonize sharks and come off less “enlightened.”  Such was this one Australian survivor I watched, who seemed the quintessential “hillbilly”—missing teeth and all.  He appeared on one of the programs emphatically declaring that all sharks are “evil.”  In other words, he was something of an ignorant, bigoted “sharkaphobe.”

One important caveat: I am not “hating on” sharks, suggesting they are “evil,” or siding with this or that perspective.  But as a rational person, I know that sharks—especially great whites, bulls, and tigers—are dangerous creatures.  As animals of instinct, I do not believe they have the capacity to act “good” or “evil,” but I do not doubt that, given the chance and especially if hungry, they will attack and eat humans.  (See this atypical article, for example, which suggests that “thousands of missing drowning victims actually die of shark attacks.”)

Rather, the point here is that this business of always apologizing for Islamic violence, insisting that it is some sort of misunderstanding, which “enlightened” Western persons should be patient of if not completely overlook, has so penetrated society that it has metastasized to almost anything and everything that is potentially dangerous, including ravenous sharks.

Nor does the analogy end here.  When Western liberals hold Muslims to a lower standard than the rest of humanity—ignoring the beheadings, massacres, rapes, enslavements, and church burnings habitually committed by the likes of the Islamic State, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, et al.—are they not, in essence, placing such Muslims on a “subhuman” level?  Are they not,  in essence, saying that they are like brute and instinctive animals—sharks for instance—not to be held responsible for their actions?

In the end, however, the shark analogy fails.  After all, sharks attack and kill for survival—like the rest of us carnivores—whereas the Islamists intentionally attack, torture, rape, massacre, mutilate, and incinerate humans simply for not being Muslim.

That is the definition of evil.

Posted at 10:02 am on August 20th, 2014 by

Surprise! There’s an ‘Outlaw’ on the Perry Grand Jury

Another liberal on the Perry grand jury. What are the odds? What. Are. The. Odds?

Apparently, the odds are 100%.

She’s a secretary at a state university. She’s originally from Illinois. She’s nearly 48. She’s black. She voted in the 2008 Democratic primary. Oh, and it appears her maiden name is Outlaw.

“Outlaw.” If you tried to make that up, no one would believe you.

And yes, Tyus does work at UT.

Della M. Tyus, the forewoman of the Travis County grand jury who signed with her curvy script the document that indicted Gov. Rick Perry last week, isn’t your typical Texas grand juror.

But is that good news for justice or another reason to be suspicious of the Perry indictment?

If you’ve read any of my columns lately on how Texas’ flawed grand jury system is overrun with monolithic bodies of mostly white elite retirees, so-called pillars of the community who travel in certain circles and have strong ties to law enforcement, then Tyus might be a breath of fresh air.

The fact that a Texas grand jury indicted a sitting Texas governor might be proof that the system isn’t corrupt, after all.

Or, it’s evidence that Travis County is even more partisan and clownish than anyone previously thought. Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg, who wrote the linked piece, chooses not to go there. Perhaps she’s friends with Rho Chalmers, I don’t know.

This next part is fun.

But political persecution from whom?

The tiny Austin group, Texans for Public Justice, that filed the complaint?

That “tiny” group exists for one purpose: attacking Republicans. That’s literally all they do, and it’s why George Soros funds them. Falkenberg either does not know that, or does, but does not disclose that. Or she doesn’t care. Which is it?

Read the rest, if you want. It’s not all that informative. Though she does work in this quote from a high-powered lawyer:

The truth of the matter is that the grand jury hears only what the prosecutor wants them to hear. This wasn’t a case of a grand jury going out on its own and seeking evidence. This is a grand jury that’s led around in the nose by the prosecutor. That’s what happens with grand juries.

Falkenberg shoots that down in the Perry case, apparently because she feels like it.

Falkenberg is one columnist who doesn’t bury the lead, though, which is that a UT liberal who votes in Democrat primaries was the Perry grand jury’s foreperson. That her maiden name is Outlaw doesn’t mean anything one way or the other. It’s just hilarious.

Posted at 8:41 am on August 20th, 2014 by

Surprise! Perry Grand Juror Is Also a Partisan Democrat Activist

Tuesday night the Houston Chronicle published a story about the grand jury that indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Those grand jurors who spoke with the Chronicle broke the law to do so, and they knew that they were breaking the law. They claimed that they were speaking to the newspaper to counter Gov. Perry’s “spin” on the case.

That’s not the job of a grand jury, by the way.

One of them is a woman named Rho Chalmers. Chalmers tried to get around her lawbreaking by attempting to build this wall of implausible deniability.

Rho Chalmers, who name matches that of a grand juror but would only confirm her service on a jury that ended last week, said grand juries involve careful consideration of facts.

“For me, it’s not a political decision,” Chalmers said. “That’s what a grand jury is about – take the emotion out of it and look at the facts and make your best decision based on your life experience.”

As I asked in the original post about this, how many “Rho Chalmers” can there be out there?

The answer is “not many,” as it’s an unusual name.

So let’s meet Rho Chalmers, Perry grand juror, and active delegate to the Texas Democratic Party’s state convention.

Mediatrackers picks up that story.

More troubling, however, is the fact that Chalmers attended, photographed, and commented on an event with Democratic state Sen. Kirk Watson while grand jury proceedings were ongoing. Watson was a witness in front of the grand jury. On June 27, 2014, Chalmers shared a photo of the Watson event on a community Facebook page she started called Developer’s Dungeon. “Senator Kirk Watson telling the story of the Wendy Davis fillibuster (sic),” she wrote in a comment accompanying the picture.

Who goes to a state party convention? Party grassroots activists. Convention delegates are not your run-of-the-mill low-information voters. They’re true activists. Chalmers participated in the convention’s rules committee as well, which is about as arcane a party function as a person can possibly endure.

She posts pics of her convention credentials online, as if to brag about her participation in it.

Rho-Chalmers-TDPC-Credentials

There’s nothing wrong with being a party activist, of course. But Rho Chalmers was a very partisan Democrat activist from sharply partisan Travis County at the same time she was weighing whether to indict Gov. Rick Perry, Republican.

That stinks.

The grand jury was selected in April of 2014 and its proceedings did not conclude until it returned two indictments of Perry last week. While grand jurors are not generally prohibited from engaging in political activity, Chalmers apparent giddiness at attending an event for a grand jury witness calls into question her ability to objectively scrutinize his testimony. Watson had testified before Chalmers and the rest of her colleagues on the grand jury just one month before Chalmers attended his event. Knowingly seeking out participation in an event featuring a grand jury witness while grand jury proceedings were ongoing also seems highly questionable.

Indeed. And then, after Chalmers helped indict a governor she clearly opposes politically, she participated in a story to counter the governor’s “spin.” That “spin” is otherwise known as his defense, which is something that the grand jury never heard from the prosecutor or the likes of Kirk Watson.

Chalmers has indicated support for Democrat Wendy Davis’ run for governor as well, on her social media. That’s over at the Mediatrackers site.

The indictment of Gov. Perry is a partisan operation from top to bottom. It’s backfiring on the Democrats now. A friend observed that it’s making Perry, who has been governor for 14 years and picked up his share of critics along the way, about as popular leaving office as he was when he first arrived in it.

But Rho Chalmers shows why the legal jeopardy to him is real.

Related: 

Surprise! There’s an ‘Outlaw’ on the Perry Grand Jury

Posted at 8:17 am on August 20th, 2014 by

Naive Mitt Romney Still Doesn’t Get It: Obama Does Not Make Policy ‘Mistakes’

Mitt Romney, once again, proves himself unfit to be a candidate for president of the United States. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be a good president. We’ll never know.

Never.

Barack Obama, on the other hand (the left hand), has shown himself to be an excellent candidate, but a disastrous president.

With apologies to DC Comics, Romney is BizarrObama. Perhaps it’s more faithful to the Bizarro World storyline to say that Obama is BizarrOmney.

On the surface, Romney’s poll numbers climb with each step of Obama’s descending popularity. Where Romney demonstrates towering competence, Obama’s executive effectiveness inhabits the abyss–he’s abysmal. Romney sees the Russian threat clearly, and stands against it. Obama sends Putin a shiny red “Reset” button which, when pressed, reboots Soviet territorial ambitions.

But it goes deeper than that. Romney inhabits a spherical planet on the opposite side of the sun from Obama’s cube, leading him to say things like this

I was not a big fan of the president’s policies, as you know, either domestically or internationally, but the results of his mistakes and errors, in my opinion, have been more severe than even I would have predicted.

The headline quote making the rounds is that Romney, at a West Virginia rally for GOP congressional candidates, said Obama is “a good deal worse than I ever expected.”

This can be explained only by positing the existence of Bizarro World, where everything is a flipped version of life on Earth. Otherwise, we’re left with the inexplicable scenario of a Romney who understands the darkness in the heart of Vlad the Impaler, but finds Barack Obama’s motives inscrutable.

Posted at 8:05 am on August 20th, 2014 by

NBC: Islamic State Is Collecting Foreign Hostages

A day after news broke that the Islamic State beheaded American journalist James Foley, NBC News’ senior foreign correspondent has grim news of the near-term future.

According to Engel, IS terrorists are going about capturing foreigners and trading for them, building a cache of foreign hostages. Engel says the group already has between 30 and 40 western hostages.

IS is still holding American Steven Sotloff. The group tweeted out images of him Tuesday, and warned that his life depends on what President Obama does next.

Posted at 7:42 am on August 20th, 2014 by

Syrian Town Pays Tribute to James Foley, Digs at Obama’s ‘Vague Vision’

It’s not the first time the northwestern Syrian fig-and-olive-producing town of Kafranbel has cited President Obama in its famous signs — see Obama as Pinocchio and a genocide enabler — but it’s especially poignant in their touching tribute to slain journalist James Foley:

 

Posted at 7:28 am on August 20th, 2014 by

Judge Enters Fray Over Jindal’s Move To Get Rid Of Common Core Tests

Thanks, Jeb Bush!

In a blow to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s move to withdraw his state from Common Core education standards, a state judge on Tuesday blocked Jindal’s plan to scrap a key set of standardized tests due to be introduced in the coming school year.

Jindal’s push to ditch Common Core, announced in June and given teeth by his orders to scrap the multistate tests, came amid a backlash against the English and math standards aimed at boosting critical-thinking skills and unifying state guidelines.

Judge Todd Hernandez, in issuing a preliminary injunction against the governor in a lawsuit filed by Common Core backers that is awaiting trial, said plans to drop the tests, slated to serve as a must-pass benchmark for fourth-graders, had sowed uncertainty.

“The evidence is clear that this state of the unknown has caused anxiety and other harm to the parents, teachers, administrators and students in Louisiana,” he wrote.

My opening line about Jeb Bush may have been snark, but it was probably his high profile backing of Common Core that got Republicans like Jindal to back it in the first place. It would be nice if self-described conservative politicians would proceed from a position of skepticism regarding any federal involvement in a state’s business.

Or anything Jeb Bush thinks is a good idea.

Posted at 7:19 am on August 20th, 2014 by

‘It Didn’t Make Sense, But Faith Did’: James Foley on the Power of Prayer in Captivity

After being held for 45 days by pro-Gadhafi forces in Libya in April 2011, journalist James Foley told the magazine of his alma mater, Marquette University, how prayer had gotten him through the time in captivity:

Myself and two colleagues had been captured and were being held in a military detention center in Tripoli. Each day brought increasing worry that our moms would begin to panic. My colleague, Clare, was supposed to call her mom on her birthday, which was the day after we were captured. I had still not fully admitted to myself that my mom knew what had happened. But I kept telling Clare my mom had a strong faith.

I prayed she’d know I was OK. I prayed I could communicate through some cosmic reach of the universe to her.

I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. 
I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.

Clare and I prayed together out loud. It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone.

Finally, 18 days into his captivity, Foley was allowed to call his mom, Diane.

I replayed that call hundreds of times in my head — my mother’s voice, the names of my friends, her knowledge of our situation, her absolute belief in the power of prayer. She told me my friends had gathered to do anything they could to help. I knew I wasn’t alone.

My last night in Tripoli, I had my first Internet connection in 44 days and was able to listen to a speech Tom Durkin gave for me at the Marquette vigil. To a church full of friends, alums, priests, students and faculty, I watched the best speech a brother could give for another. It felt like a best man speech and a eulogy in one. It showed tremendous heart and was just a glimpse of the efforts and prayers people were pouring forth. If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.

Foley was held captive for two years after being taken in Syria. Yesterday, ISIS released the barbaric video of his beheading. Foley closed his eyes during the terrorist’s speech, as if concentrating on prayer before he was murdered.

Posted at 7:11 am on August 20th, 2014 by

James Foley, Radical Islamic Terror, and How Quickly We Forget

Daniel Pearl by  Bosch Fawstin

Daniel Pearl by Bosch Fawstin

My two-word response to the beheading of James Foley and captivity of Steven Sotloff: Daniel Pearl. Americans still suffer under the delusion that oceans are borders. America is so physically huge that we can watch the riots in Ferguson the way we watch the rockets being fired from Gaza or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: From the comfort of our couch. Neither we, nor our families, nor our homes are physically in danger. In truth, we are disconnected. At best, those of us who do pay attention do so through screen media. We participate by commenting on internet forums or through social media, or perhaps writing a check to a charity to help those in need. But we should not confuse compassion or concern for actual awareness.

As I watch what is happening in my second home, Israel, I marvel at the reactionary comments I’ve seen from well-meaning Americans who are confident that if they lived next door to Hamas, they’d just go after the terrorists with Christianity-fueled faith in their Second Amendment rights. It’s so easy to see yourself as the next John Wayne from the comfort of your living room. It’s far more difficult when your family and your home are on the line. Much has been said about the right of those overseas to tell Israel how to run their military operations. From a writer’s point of view, I can remain at best pragmatic by saying that the surreality in which these armchair soldiers dwell is, at least, far more supportive than the stupor that plagues most Americans. For their sake, and the sake of America, I hope the bravado isn’t masking an army of summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.

I recall watching my friends collapse in horror on 9/11. As profoundly moved as I was by the horrific tragedy of that day, my response was simply: Intifada. The reality of countless suicide bombers trolling city streets, blowing themselves and countless civilians up at nightclubs, hotels, or on city buses had become a way of life for Israelis in the ’90s. Because I am so deeply connected to that land I felt that impact in a way most overseas do not. There was no shock in 9/11 for me, only awe at the sleeping America that responded to their alarm clock by repeatedly hitting snooze.

Posted at 7:01 am on August 20th, 2014 by

Dem Congressman Stresses to MSNBC: ISIS ‘Personification of Evil,’ Wants Fight Against ‘Infidels’

A leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee stressed to MSNBC last night that what ISIS wants is “a fight against the infidels” — us.

“It’s hard to imagine a more apt description than evil for what this group represents. They’re beheading people. They’re forcing people to convert. They’re victimizing women and children, starving whole population centers,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said. “They are the personification of evil. And we see this most graphically in this latest barbarous act.”

MSNBC host Chris Hayes then asked, “Is ISIS, ISIL evil?” — adding that there seems to be “a widespread feeling what they’re doing is just monstrous and evil.”

Hayes then said “the situation seems to have gotten better” around Mount Sinjar, where ISIS laid siege to fleeing Yazidis, and questioned whether we’re now at war with ISIS.

“The mission has broadened. It began to protect American citizens as well as the humanitarian crisis you mentioned. It then expanded to protecting critical information, the Mosul dam,” Schiff said. “And it’s a very treacherous and slippery slope, particularly when you talk about a long-term strategic plan of aiding the Iraqis and helping to defeat ISIL. We may not have declared it a war, but when we’re dropping bombs and they’re apparently beheading our citizens, it certainly looks like war.”

“So this is, you know, a very precarious situation. America doesn’t want to be dragged back in. At the same time, this is a group if left to its own device has made it clear they intend to attack us in the homeland.”

“Is this an attempt to bait America into war? Or is it an attempt to warn America away from continued airstrikes?” Hayes asked of the beheading of journalist James Foley.

“I think it may be at a bit of both. This is their way of trying to deter, on the one hand, America from engaging these airstrikes which have really set ISIL back for the first time,” Schiff said. ”At the same time, part of what al-Qaeda has done, part of what ISIL wants to do, is they want to pull us in. These are conflicting objectives. Maybe they see it as a win either way for them. But part of what they’re trying to get is the reaction, part of what they want is a fight against the infidels, and we are apparently the greatest infidel of all.”

“So, I think they have those twin objectives. Maybe most immediately, they want to halt the airstrikes, but that’s simply no going to happen.”

Posted at 6:52 am on August 20th, 2014 by

Congress Reacts with ‘Fear that James Foley Will Not be the Only American to Die’ by ISIS Hands

A Congress in recess began to react late Tuesday to the horrific beheading of journalist James Foley, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) stressing that Foley won’t be the last American to die at the hands of ISIS unless the Islamic State is stopped.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who represents Foley’s native state and where his parents live, said in a statement that ”our hearts are broken for the Foley family.”

“James was an innocent civilian who was bravely performing his job as a journalist,” Ayotte said. “This barbaric and heinous act shocks the conscience and highlights the truly evil nature of the terrorists we confront, who must be defeated. My thoughts and prayers are with James Foley’s family at this extremely difficult time.”

Ayotte replaced Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) as the third senator in the powerful national-security trio including Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Neither McCain nor Graham has yet spoken on the Foley murder, but they have been the loudest voices in the upper chamber for some time warning that President Obama let ISIS get out of hand. “Our senior military, intelligence, and national security leaders have all stated that ISIS is a direct threat to the United States, and we should delay no further in taking the necessary actions to counter it,” they said in a joint statement the day before the gruesome execution video was released by ISIS.

Five days ago, an MSNBC piece accused Graham of “fear-mongering” on the Islamic State.

Foley’s other home-state senator, Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), noted that Foley “was a respected and accomplished journalist who devoted his life to one of our most important freedoms – the freedom of press.”

“Everyone who knew him recognized his dedication to his work and his commitment to sharing his eye-witness reporting of world events,” she said in a statement late Tuesday on her Facebook page. “His murder was a cowardly act of terrorism and underscores the threat that ISIL poses to the freedoms we hold dear. My thoughts are with the Foley family and everyone who knew and loved James, both in New Hampshire and around the world.”

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R-N.H.), who’s aiming to unseat Shaheen this November, quickly issued a one-sentence statement after the devastating news: ”If anyone needed further evidence of the utter inhumanity of Islamic terrorism, this is it. ISIS is pure evil, and they must be stopped.”

Rubio issued a lengthy statement around midnight calling the murder “the latest example of the evil and barbarism of these terrorists.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with the Foley family and with other Western hostages who at this hour are still being held.”

The Daily Beast reported in January that terrorists hold a cache of journalists and aid workers, and moved them east and away from the reach of the Free Syrian Army when they expanded the Islamic State.

“Just as Al Qaeda’s initial killings of Americans abroad foretold the carnage they would unleash within our borders, this barbaric beheading of a defenseless hostage is the clearest indication to date that ISIL has declared war on the United States, on the American people, and on freedom loving people everywhere,” Rubio said. “For more than a year, ISIL has been murdering civilians, raping women and young girls and enslaving them, and carrying out a systematic genocide of anyone who does not share their warped and extremist Islamist views. ISIL cannot be reasoned with, they can’t be negotiated with, and their view of the world is irreconcilable with civilized society.”

Rubio added that he remains “deeply concerned that despite the preponderance of evidence that proves ISIL is a fundamentally evil and dangerous terrorist threat to the United States, President Obama continues to appear unwilling to do what is necessary to confront ISIL and communicate clearly to the American people about the threat ISIL poses to our country and to our way of life.”

“ISIL is not a problem for only Iraqis or Syrians to solve. A piecemeal approach will not eliminate the growing threat to the United States and our allies. If we do not do more to assist our Iraqi partners and those moderate Syrians who are fighting ISIL and directly target ISIL’s leadership and networks in Iraq and Syria, I fear that James Foley will not be the only American to die at their hands.”

Posted at 6:13 am on August 20th, 2014 by

What if the Rioters Were White?

Imagine, if you will, a young white unarmed man shot to death by police under ambiguous circumstances like those which have sparked riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Imagine that, in response to that white man’s death, white militia men, white Tea Partiers, and white professing Christians rallied to the town where it occurred. Imagine they began burning buildings, looting businesses, and defying measures by local law enforcement to maintain order. Then imagine that a charismatic political celebrity, say – Ted Nugent, showed up with an army of conservative activists leading a voter registration drive and said:

Five thousand new voters will transform the city from top to bottom…. Nobody can go to the White House until they stop by our house.… Elected officials don’t have to care about white citizens as long as they don’t fear us at the ballot box.

How would the media and the government respond? Would Attorney General Eric Holder be traveling to the town to personally oversee a civil rights investigation unprecedented in scope? Would reporters wring their hands, pleading for understanding?

It’s fair to guess that the rioters, along with any peaceful protestors, would be categorically labeled racists. Their political allies would be tarred and feathered with political ads and vitriolic media commentary. If the federal government responded at all, it would probably look more like Waco or Ruby Ridge than the restraint which has been shown in Ferguson.

In other words, we are witnessing evidence of a racial double-standard in America. But black people and others of color are not its victims. White people are, along with any of color (like myself) who dare to dissent from the mainstream consensus that historical injustice justifies modern rights violations.

The intervention of Holder in Ferguson stands particularly alarming, because he has demonstrated time and again a blanket disregard for justice wherever race is concerned. Let us not forget, this was the same attorney general who refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panther Party for blatant voter intimidation (standing right outside a polling place with clubs in hand) among other things, and in 2011 implied that white people cannot be the victims of racial injustice.

You want to have a conversation about race? Let’s have it, and let’s cut right to the chase. We are witnessing a regime of institutional racism in this country directed not against blacks, but whites. When the institutions of government and media stand eager to apply a double-standard to one group of people over another based upon skin color, what else do you call it?

Folks like Eric Holder, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other agitators racing to forge political capital from the unrest in Ferguson have no interest whatsoever in equality under the law. Indeed, they have made it clear on several occasions that they advocate for and actively pursue a public policy which treats individuals differently based upon their racial identity and ethnic background. In a word, they seek injustice.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 13:23 minutes long; 12.92 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

Posted at 11:47 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Abortion: The Awesome Lifestyle Option

She spoke in a soft voice, this stout black woman in the next chair.

Mother of 11, she had agreed to be interviewed for a fundraising video that I was asked to help produce, years ago, for a crisis pregnancy center. She told me she had undergone six abortions and also gave birth to five children alive–thus the total of 11. Government social workers in Philadelphia had directed her to a town in Central Pennsylvania, because, they said, it was easier to get assistance there. Social workers in that town had passed her on to my town.

I asked her if she was alone among her Philly friends in having multiple abortions.

“No,” she said, there were others.

I asked if she and her friends ever talked about the abortions. She said they did. I was trying hard to let her tell the story, and to avoid reacting, or imposing my own views on the conversation. (I’m paraphrasing here from a memory that may never leave me.)

“When you talked, what kind of things did you talk about?” I asked her.

Her face was placid, her voice, matter of fact.

“O, well, like if he was ugly,” she said.

“What do you mean?” I thought I knew, but I wanted her to say it. She said she meant what I thought she meant. They talked about whether the father of the baby was ugly. In case I was as dense as I seemed to be, she added that nobody wants to have an ugly guy’s baby.

“What else did you talk about?”

“Like, where am I gonna get the money?” At that time, she said, they needed about $200 for an abortion.

I was really fishing here, but I couldn’t get her to say what I thought was the obvious topic when it comes to abortion. I finally asked.

“Did you ever talk about whether it was right or wrong, or anything like that?”

She squinted at me like I had asked her to solve a quadratic equation, or had suddenly begun babbling in Urdu. The question made no sense to her.

“No,” she said, and I imagined she wanted to add, “How would that ever come up?”

That conversation came back to me recently when I read an op-ed in the Washington Post, headlined “Stop Calling Abortion a Difficult Decision.” The author, Janet Harris, is the former communications director for Emily’s List, a PAC that supports female pro-abortion Democratic candidates for office. No, I didn’t mean to write “pro-choice,” because it’s clear from this article that Janet Harris views abortion-on-demand as a positive, healthy alternative to a life ruined by an unwanted child. In fact, she’s trying to help her friends in the movement get away from the term “pro-choice” with its awkward moral dimension.

Posted at 7:02 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Several Perry Grand Jurors Broke the Law to Explain Why They Think Perry Broke the Law

By Texas law, grand jurors are not supposed to talk to the media about their cases.

That did not stop several of the Gov. Perry grand jurors from breaking the law, specifically, talking to the Houston Chronicle.

The jury, which met weekly for four months, “really tried to keep an open mind and come to a fair decision given all the testimony that we heard,” said Janna Bessin, one of the 12 Travis County residents appointed to serve on the grand jury.

“It’s too bad,” Bessin said, calling the criticism unfair. “But I guess that his side’s job – to really spin it.”

The grand juror here evidently doesn’t understand that they have only seen the prosecutor’s side of the story. The prosecutor didn’t even have Perry testify to the grand jury. That’s not all that unusual, but the fact remains, they only saw the prosecution’s case, not the defense.

One, who asked not to be named, said he expects the public perception to change once the full scope of the prosecutor’s case becomes public.

“I think if and when the facts come out, that’ll change,” the juror said.

All six jury members reached by the Chronicle said they were told it would be illegal for them to discuss the grand jury proceedings. The willingness of some to discuss their thoughts in general terms may indicate frustration with Perry’s defense.

Rho Chalmers, who name matches that of a grand juror but would only confirm her service on a jury that ended last week, said grand juries involve careful consideration of facts.

“For me, it’s not a political decision,” Chalmers said. “That’s what a grand jury is about – take the emotion out of it and look at the facts and make your best decision based on your life experience.”

How many “Rho Chalmers” are there out there?

Now, as to Texas law. Here’s what it says.

Art. 19.34. [365] [416] [404] OATH OF GRAND JURORS

When the grand jury is completed, the court shall appoint one of the number 
foreman; and the following oath shall be administered by the court, 
or under its direction, to the jurors: “You solemnly swear that you 
will diligently inquire into, and true presentment make, of all 
such matters and things as shall be given you in charge; the 
State’s counsel, your fellows and your own, you shall keep secret, 
unless required to disclose the same in the course of a judicial 
proceeding in which the truth or falsity of evidence given in the 
grand jury room, in a criminal case, shall be under investigation.
You shall present no person from envy, hatred or malice; neither 
shall you leave any person unpresented for love, fear, favor, 
affection or hope of reward; but you shall present things truly as 
they come to your knowledge, according to the best of your 
understanding, so help you God”.

Bold added. For the grand jury misconduct.

The grand jurors in the story know the law, yet they broke it. I’m not sure if that means anything to the forward motion of the case or not. I suspect that it doesn’t, because the grand jury aren’t part of the case going forward. Having indicted their ham sandwich, they’re free to go.

But it does say something about the mindset of Travis County’s jury pool.

Frankly, said mindset sucks. Gov. Perry cannot get a fair trial there.

 

Posted at 6:56 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Right on Cue, Battleground Texas Launches Fundraiser Featuring Perry’s Mugshot

Battleground Texas has launched its first fundraiser email featuring Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s mugshot. Here it is.

bgtx-perry-email

 

Texas Democrats have been calling for Perry to resign. In light of the flimsy indictment against him, shouldn’t they be charged with “coercion” too?

Posted at 4:25 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Why the ‘War on Journalists’ in Ferguson?

Two more journalists were arrested last night in Ferguson and briefly detained before being released. Three others were detained without being arrested. Media organizations have expressed growing alarm at the detentions, pointing out that the police are interfering with the ability of reporters to do their job.

Politico:

In response to the arrest of two journalists last week, 48 media organizations sent a letter to law enforcement authorities expressing “deep concern over the unwarranted detention” of the reporters and “other reports of police intimidation and harassment of journalists in Ferguson.” Last week, the ACLU obtained a court agreement, signed by the city, St. Louis County and the Missouri Highway Patrol chief, stating that ‘the media and members of the public have a right to record public events without abridgment unless it obstructs the activity or threatens the safety of others, or physically interferes with the ability of law enforcement officers to perform their duties.”

Pancho Bernasconi, the vice president of news for Getty Images, similarly condemned Olson’s detention on Monday: “We at Getty Images stand firmly behind our colleague Scott Olson and the right to report from Ferguson,” Bernasconi said in a statement. Olson was released after a few hours.

Meanwhile, all three cable networks ditched their regular programming for breaking news from Ferguson late into the night on Monday and early Tuesday morning. MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Craig Melvin had rocks thrown at them while reporting on air, and CNN’s Don Lemon was pushed back by police while reporting from the front lines of the protests.

Despite appearances that the police are trying to smother the story by targeting reporters, the reality is far more prosaic:

In a news conference late Monday night, Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said authorities would continue to arrest journalists due to the chaotic nature of the protests.

“I’m going to tell you in the midst of chaos, when officers are running around, we’re not sure who’s a journalist and who’s not,” Johnson said, according to an audio recording. “Yes, if I see somebody with a $50,000 camera on their shoulder, I’m pretty sure. But some journalists are walking around, and all you have is a cellphone because you’re from a small media outlet. Some of you may just have a camera around your neck.”

“So yes, we may take some of you into custody,” he continued. “But when we do take you into custody, and we have found out you’re a journalist, we’ve taken the proper action. But in the midst of it, we cannot — in the midst of it, in the midst of chaos, and trying to move people on, we have to be safe. … And we are providing protection for journalists. We had, we had a journalist who was trapped in the midst of that gunfire, in the midst of that chaos. And we’re providing protection for them. We took journalists back to their trucks.”

Reporters are trying to cover a riot where there are no battle lines. By definition, it’s a melee — a free for all, with people running around coming in contact with the police who, themselves, have lost formation. There’s gunfire, tear gas, sound canon — total chaos.

It is unrealistic for reporters to think that police approach anyone not wearing blue during a riot with anything but suspicion. This is especially true when they are under gun fire, and Molotov Cocktails and rocks are being thrown at them. It appears that many of the detentions have occurred when reporters either got in the way or were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On the other hand, there have been some questionable actions by police directed at reporters, like the incident mentioned above at the McDonald’s last week where two reporters were roughed up and dragged off to jail.

I’m not sure what it is that reporters want. Do they want the police to protect them when they wander into a free fire zone? The police have a lot more important things to deal with than act as bodyguards for reporters. Do reporters think they should have free rein to run around a riot ignorantly, putting themselves and the police who try to assist them in danger?  The desire to cover the story under such trying circumstances is admirable, but it’s clear that there are many reporters in the streets who haven’t a clue what they’re doing.

That ignorance is going to get one of them killed unless they’re more careful.

 

Posted at 3:43 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

BREAKING: Gov. Perry Enters Austin Courthouse ‘Head Held High’ (Booking Photo Added)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered a courthouse in Austin today for booking. He was indicted Friday on two felony charges, an indictment which has made the Texas Democratic Party and its supporters and consultants a national laughingstock for supporting it.

Perry delivered brief remarks before entering the courthouse, declaring that he will prevail.

The booking will include having his mugshot and his fingerprints taken. The mugshot will work its way into leftwing Battleground Texas, Lone Star Project and Texas Democratic Party emails, mailers and ads very quickly.

When it becomes available, we will also post it here. The Tatler suspects that that mugshot will end up becoming a trophy — for Rick Perry. Because the charges against him are “the stupidest thing I have ever seen, in my career,” according to liberal pundit Mark Halperin.

perry-austin-court

 

Update: Here’s Perry’s full statement, courtesy RightScoop. They have video too.

I’m here today because I believe in the rule of law. I’m here today because I did the right thing. I’m going to enter this courthouse with my head held high, knowing the actions that I took were not only lawful and legal, but right. And if I had to do so, I would veto funding for the public integrity unit again.

You’d think any governor, Democrat or Republican, would expect this important unit with jurisdiction over state officials, be led by someone who lives up to the high standard of conduct and personal integrity. And this issue is far bigger than me. It is about the rule of law. It’s about the constitution that allows, not just a governor, but every citizen to speak their mind free of political interference or legal intimidation.

This indictment is nothing short of an attack on the constitutional powers of the office of governor. There are important fundamental issues at stake and I will not allow this attack on our system of government to stand. I’m going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being. And we will prevail. And we’ll prevail because we’re standing for the rule of law.

Update: Here’s the booking photo.

perry-booking-photo

Update: After the booking, Gov. Perry went out for some ice cream.

Posted at 3:16 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Iowa Farm Bureau PAC Endorses Joni Ernst

More good news.

The Iowa Farm Bureau Political Action Committee (PAC), guided by statewide grassroots input from 99 Iowa counties, has made their ‘Friend of Agriculture’ designations for the 2014 elections. Support of candidates seeking statewide and national offices this fall have been selected based on their support of Farm Bureau policy, voting record and support for Iowa’s rural communities.
“Actions matter,” said Decatur County farmer and IFBF PAC Chair, Lance Bell. “Our PAC takes great care evaluating the candidates’ track records and survey responses to determine who will support issues that directly impact our family farms, businesses and rural communities. We are proud that our process emphasizes Farm Bureau policies, not partisan politics. The fact that 99 counties participated in this process shows our members stand together and believe in supporting the men and women who understand the significance of agriculture in this state.”

Governor Terry Branstad earned the 2014 ‘Friend of Agriculture’ designation for supporting agriculture and rural Iowa. Governor Branstad is running for his sixth term as Governor of Iowa. Bill Northey, running for his third term as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, also earned the designation from the IFBF PAC. In the first open-seat Senate race in Iowa in 40 years, the ‘Friend of Agriculture’ designation goes to Joni Ernst.

Every little bit helps. This is still a very, very close race and it would easily be the biggest pick up for the Republicans on election night. I’ve been saying for weeks that if this race goes to the GOP the whole night could have a landslide feel to it.

On paper, and in reality, this seems like the kind of race Ernst should win in a cakewalk. We do, however, live in an era when Barack Obama was easily elected twice and we’re still not allowed to drug test at the polls.

Posted at 3:08 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Pure Evil: Islamic State Beheads American Journalist James Wright Foley

The Islamic State kidnapped American journalist James Foley on November 22, 2012.

Foley was a freelance photo journalist covering the civil war in Syria at the time.

IS has held him ever since, but today they tweeted out video of his beheading.

They want publicity from this barbaric act, and I’m loathe to give it to them even by writing a few words about it.

But their barbarity needs to be exposed.

President Obama is reluctant to do anything about the Islamic State’s spread, other than to order airstrikes. Over the past few days, those airstrikes have helped the Kurdish and Iraqi forces fight IS. Iraqi forces recaptured the strategic Mosul dam.

But IS is far from broken. They still hold Mosul and several other Iraqi and Syrian cities. They are still capturing Iraqi Christians and Yazidis and reportedly selling captured women into sex slavery. They are murdering people by the dozens, by the hundreds. IS has designs on consolidating its power in Iraq and Syria and using that as a springboard to attack the United States and Europe. Tellingly, the murderer in the IS video of Foley’s execution — which I won’t post here — has a British accent.

IS is still holding American journalist Steven Sotloff. They have tweeted photos of him kneeling in an orange jumpsuit, next to a probable executioner, and declared that his life depends on what President Obama does next.

More: This is a frame from video that aired on CNN last night, from Ferguson, MO.

Posted at 2:13 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

MADD Releases Mild Statement on Rosemary Lehmberg

Ever since the indictment of Gov. Rick Perry, thousands have been calling on Mothers Against Drunk Driving to make a statement about Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s drunk driving.

MADD has released a statement today. Here it is.

MADD supports government officials, regardless of political affiliation, who take drunk driving seriously. At the same time, we are dismayed each time we hear someone has made the choice to drive drunk – especially those we hold to a higher standard, such as elected officials. Drunk driving is 100% preventable and completely unacceptable, no matter the person behind the wheel, their profession or political party.

In the specific case involving Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, MADD Texas publicly expressed disappointment with her actions, and we are grateful that no one was injured or killed. We reiterate that sentiment in light of recent events. Following her sentence, Mrs. Lehmberg offered a monetary donation to MADD Texas, which was accepted and used specifically to serve victims of drunk driving in Texas.

Just like last year’s events now being re-played in the media, we want to steer clear of the politics and focus the story on the importance of making the safe choice to designate a non-drinking driver if alcohol is involved.

Shorter MADD: Donate to us and we won’t come after you.

 

Posted at 1:34 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Russia Wants Cheeky Bulgarians to Knock It Off Already

This is a Soviet-era monument to the workers’ struggle. It’s in Bulgaria.

Vandals gave it a cosplay paint job.

Bulgaria-soviet-monument-painted

 

Here at PJM, we regard this as the photo of the day. We wish we’d thought of it. It’s so #Merica, we wish we could take it home with us.

But the Russians, who are supposedly past all that Soviet stuff, don’t. Russia is demanding that Bulgaria — a sovereign country — stop the vandals, according to the Moscow Times.

The Russian Embassy in Bulgaria has issued a note demanding that its former Soviet-era ally clean up the monument in Sofia’s Lozenets district, identify and punish those responsible, and take “exhaustive measures” to prevent similar attacks in the future, the news agency reported Monday.

The monument was sprayed with red paint on the eve of the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s celebration of its 123rd anniversary, the Sofia-based Novinite news agency reported.

The vandalism was the latest in a series of similar recent incidents in Bulgaria — each drawing angry criticism from Moscow.

What’s up Russia? Are you pining for the bad old days?

Posted at 1:17 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Liberals Are Already Denouncing Today’s Police Shooting in St. Louis

You can often tell quite about people by their gut reactions. It’s their most honest moment, a snap before they’ve considered the nuances and the politics and potential blowback.
Today, police in St. Louis shot and killed a man who was wielding a knife at them. In most times this would be unlikely to become a national story, but with Ferguson’s unrest still very much in the news, it is.

The shooting happened around 1 p.m. Tuesday  at McLaran and Riverview.  Police say the suspect tried to rob the Six Star Market convenience store with a knife.  Chief Sam Dotson said the store owner let the man leave the store.    A St. Louis City Alderwomam witnessed the man walking erratically around and called police.

When officers arrived, the suspect refused to put down weapon despite multiple verbal command by police.    Chief Sam Dotson says the man yelled at officers “shoot me now” several times. Witnesses also confirmed what the man said.

Dotson says the man continued to refuse the officer’s commands, approached within three to four feet of them with the knife in an attack posture.

Both officers opened fire on the suspect killing him.   No officers were injured.

Knives are deadly weapons. It’s too soon to say for sure, but this case sounds like suicide by cop.

That isn’t slowing liberals down, though.

After facing criticism, Maxwell played the race card.

And then she deployed the “just joking” defense.”

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes knows nothing about police tactics or training.

But at least he learns. A little.

But it’s that gut reaction that says so much.

Liberals seem to forget that police officers have families, too.

Posted at 1:02 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Pentagon Not Taking a ‘Position’ on How Police Departments Use Surplus Military Equipment

Pentagon leaders are informally studying how surplus military equipment is distributed to police departments, though a Defense spokesman stressed that after it leaves their hands it’s up to law enforcement to use it as they wish.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “has not ordered a review of this program,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters this afternoon. “He’s simply asked for some more information so that he can have a more informed opinion about it.”

Hagel “has been mindful of the public debate and discussion” about police militarization in Ferguson, Mo.

“He has been given an information paper that provides some more detail to it, and he’s consuming that now,”  Kirby said.

“It’s important to understand this is a program legislated by Congress which allows the secretary to transfer some excess military property to local law enforcement. This has been on the books since 1991,” he added. “And many, many law enforcement agencies have benefited from it. In fact, many citizens of many towns and cities all over the country have benefited from it. But it — but how, as I said before, how and where and under what circumstances the equipment actually gets used is up to the local law enforcement agencies to determine.”

Since 2007 the Defense Logistics Agency has transferred to the Ferguson police department two Humvees, one generator, and one cargo trailer, Kirby said. “In all of St. Louis County, over that same period of time, which includes Ferguson, six pistols, 12 rifles, 15 weapon sites, an EOD robot, three helicopters, seven Humvees, as I said, two of which are being used by Ferguson, and two night-vision devices. That’s what they got,” he said.

When asked if the Pentagon thinks Ferguson “misused” their equipment, Kirby stressed, “We don’t take a position on the way the equipment is being used.”

“That is up to local law enforcement to determine. I will tell you, though, that we have rigorous compliance and accountability standards, and biannually, the Defense Logistics Agency spot-checks many of these local law enforcement agencies in the states to make sure that they’re keeping proper accountability inventorying — keeping an inventory of the equipment. But we do not legislate, we don’t dictate, we don’t — we don’t mandate any kind of certain use. That is up to local law enforcement,” he said.

“And many of the equipment finds use in counterdrug and counterterrorism-type activities that, of course, get right to the protection of the homeland. So we’re not — the — as I said at the outset, how and when and where and under what circumstances the equipment gets used is up to local law enforcement agencies to speak to.”

Posted at 12:38 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Democrats Will Have No Problem With This Abuse of Power

President Obama promised to work with Republicans and to conduct the most transparent government in American history. But after he was elected, he came into his first meeting with Republicans refusing to listen to them because “I won.” He has built a habit of keeping policy making behind closed doors, beginning with the appointment of more policy “czars” than any previous president — czars bypass the Senate’s advise and consent process — and continuing with his current effort to re-write the nation’s immigration laws, because he feels like it and because a divided Congress cannot stop him.

WASHINGTON — When President Obama announced in June that he planned to bypass congressional gridlock and overhaul the nation’s immigration system on his own, he did so in a most public way: a speech in the White House Rose Garden.

Since then, the process of drafting what will likely be the only significant immigration changes of his presidency — and his most consequential use of executive power — has been conducted almost entirely behind closed doors, where lobbyists and interest groups invited to the White House are making their case out of public view.

The death of transparency coincides with the death of democracy — if he gets away with this.

Mr. Obama’s increasingly expansive appetite for the use of unilateral action on issues including immigration, tax policy and gay rights has emboldened activists and businesses to flock to the administration with their policy wish lists. It also has opened the president, already facing charges of executive overreach, to criticism that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, with the potential to reward political backers at the expense of other interests, including some on the losing side who are threatening to sue.

Democrats know that they’re going to lose the Senate this fall. That may leave Obama vulnerable to disciplinary action by Congress, but he has two gambits in hand to deal with that.

The first is the race card. The optics of a Republican Congress impeaching the first black president will be toxic.

The second, ironically, is the kangaroo case against Gov. Rick Perry in Texas. I debated a Democrat consultant on NewsMaxTV earlier today, and one of her talking points is that “both parties are doing” what the Texas Democrats are doing to Perry. She brought up the impeachment talk, of course neglecting to mention that most of that has been coming from Democrats, to force Republicans into foreswearing impeachment as any remedy to Obama’s actions.

Both parties are not doing what the Texas Democrats are doing to Perry. Their indictment of him is unique in Texas history, and is probably unique in American history. If they succeed, Perry will be jailed for decades. Life, in a worst-case scenario — for having done nothing wrong. A conviction would scramble Texas politics, though probably not enough to help the Democrats actually win any statewide office.

Obama is being sued by the House. Jail is not a possibility in that case at all. No one really knows what the House lawsuit can achieve.

Impeachment would not send him to jail either. The most impeachment could possibly achieve, and this is a remote possibility, is Obama’s removal from office. He would be replaced by his own vice president, of course, who would then be the incumbent for 2016.

But you watch. Democrats will denounce the Perry case nationally, and then use it to taint Republicans who aren’t doing anything that’s even remotely similar.

Posted at 12:24 pm on August 19th, 2014 by

Rick Perry Just NUKED Rosemary Lehmberg

RickPAC just released this video, which hits in advance of the other big news in the case today — that Gov. Perry will be booked and have his mugshot taken in Travis County. Democrats will start parading that photo and fundraising off of it within nanoseconds.

This video on Lehmberg is brutal, and deservedly so. And there’s probably more where that came from.

YouTube Preview Image
Posted at 11:31 am on August 19th, 2014 by