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If You’re Still Thinking Bob Barr Might Make A Good Candidate Despite That Baby Doc Thing . . .

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I urge you to take a few more strolls down memory lane.  Let’s take the older post first.  Note the date:

September, 2011: Gaming The System: DragonCon Founder Edward Kramer Caught With Another Boy 

“Are we actually supposed to believe that Bob Barr and his partner, Edwin Marger, knew nothing about Ed Kramer’s real physical condition when they claimed he was too sick to attend court in 2009, or that he had basically fled what little court-ordered control they had managed to wrangle for him under extremely questionable circumstances?  Well, here’s some clues:

Ed Kramer sporting a Barr ’08 button

Here’s Ed Kramer in either 2007 or 2008.  He claimed he was too sick to stand trial for molestation, but he looks like he was having a really good time campaigning for his lawyer, Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr.  If anyone knows more about this photo, please contact me.

Ed Kramer at the 2008 DragonCon

Here’s Ed Kramer hanging out at DragonCon when he was supposed to be housebound and in such serious pain from a “spinal injury” that he couldn’t stay awake for trial.  Hundreds of people saw him hanging out at a hotel in downtown Atlanta after midnight, chilling with some guy in latex shorts carrying a bongo drum.  What, they couldn’t pick up a phone when they saw the following story in the newspaper a few months later?  You know . . . acting to protect kids from getting raped, like their favorite superhero might do?

Read the rest of my 2011 post here

Now fast-forward a mere 26 months.  Bob’s client didn’t waste much time after Barr got him sprung from protective custody . . . again, check the date:

December, 2013:  Ed Kramer Guilty of Child Molestation: Now Will Bob Barr Face Consequences for His Role in the Deception?

After leaving Congress in 2003, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr reinvented himself politically in dramatic ways.  He aligned with the ACLU, began advocating for the legalization of marijuana, and ran for president on the 2008 Libertarian Party ticket.  Now Barr is attempting to rejoin the Republican and conservative mainstream in a bid to secure Georgia’s 11th District congressional seat, where he is currently a leading contender.

Barr’s about-face on issues that alienate conservative voters left many wondering what he really stands for.  His role in the notoriously corrupt defense of now-convicted child molester Ed Kramer should raise more questions in voters’ minds.  Here is my previous post on Kramer’s decade-long manipulation of the justice system.

Edward Kramer, co-founder of the sci-fi and fantasy convention, Dragonconpled guilty in a Georgia courtroom yesterday to three counts of child molestation in a case that has been delayed thirteen years, thanks to repeated efforts by Kramer himself to claim medical incapacity.  Barr served as Kramer’s attorney until early 2013, when he decided to run for office again.  But Barr did not just serve as Kramer’s lawyer: he held the sci-fi purveyor up as the victim of a religion-fuelled witch-hunt; he helped him deceive the court regarding his client’s capacity to sit through a trial, and he helped him acquire an eyebrow-raising bond agreement that enabled Kramer to flee the state illegally, resulting in Kramer’s arrest in 2012 for endangering another child — a 14 year old boy Kramer had in his motel room in Connecticut.

As if these facts aren’t bad enough, Barr used the molester’s defense to promote his new libertarian politics.  You cannot separate the Kramer case from the person Barr is offering to voters, even if he tries to distance himself now.

In 2007 Barr told an audience at the Federalist Society that Kramer was a victim of his new pet peeve, prosecutorial over-reach.  Despite the fact that it was Kramer himself who had created the delays, Barr insisted that it was the fault of the state.  The video of Barr promoting Kramer’s case as a civil rights issue has, curiously, been scrubbed from the internet in the last 24 hours, but Barr’s incredibly sophomoric amicus brief on behalf of Kramer is going to be harder to erase.  Barr should be called on to re-release the video: he isn’t running for dog-catcher; he’s running for Congress, and his behavior and expressed beliefs between 2003 and 2013 should not be hidden from voters this way.”

Read the rest of my 2013 post here

Now — back to the future:  for those of you gearing up to send in whiny comments about how “everyone deserves a defense lawyer,” don’t bother.  Of course they do.  What child molesters don’t deserve is decades on the run while their lawyers use dirty tricks to keep them from facing justice in a courtroom.  And that is what Bob Barr did for this piece of human trash.  I don’t see how anyone could seriously believe Barr did not know that his (now former) client’s alleged “profound disability” was and is a stunt.

Porter on [April 2013] called two witnesses who testified about seeing Kramer, a science-fiction author and film buff, at movie sets in Kentucky and Connecticut taking behind-the-scenes pictures and video clips. Both the witnesses, one who was a makeup artist and another who was an audio/visual producer, testified that Kramer seemed to have no serious problem breathing, standing or walking around. They also said Kramer did not have an oxygen tank with him at the movie sets

Someone in the media ought to ask candidate Barr how much he billed his client — cough, the taxpayer — AND cost the court system — cough, the taxpayer — for everything from Ed Kramer’s faux vapors before every court date for over ten years to the medical privileges he demanded in prison to the gas mileage on the cop car that had to haul Kramer back from his 2012 woodland adventure in Connecticut.  Some details are here, but it’s hardly the final tally.

 

Will Privatizing Child Protection Protect Georgia’s Children? Yes and No.

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As Georgia prepares to follow in Florida’s footsteps in privatizing child protection services, there has been a lot of politicking but little talk about the real issues that lead to failures to protect children “in the system.”  Privatization in Florida has been a very mixed bag, with some counties improving their performance and other counties mired in scandals involving the private non-profit agencies hired to protect children.  It’s reasonable to expect that Georgia will fare a little better, but don’t expect the failure rate to drop — or rise — significantly.

The failures lie in policies enforced by the courts, and nobody is talking about reforming those policies.

Like Florida, Georgia plans to eventually privatize the services that come after an investigation has determined a child is in danger, namely: foster care, family “reunification” interventions, and adoption.  State workers will continue to be responsible for investigating abuse, and courts will still be responsible for deciding if a child should be removed from a home, returned to a home, or adopted.

Private agencies do a great job with adoption, and some of them do a better job than the state in supervising foster care.  Much of this care is already done through public-private partnerships in Georgia.  But in all the politicized talk about private versus public, little has been said about the real  problem with our child protection services.

The problem is the mandate to keep families together or achieve “reunification” as soon as possible.

Approximately a decade ago, many states began to move towards a model of keeping families together, no matter the cost.  Florida went further than Georgia, though it wasn’t an issue tied to privatization because that part of child protection is still performed by state agencies.

And now Florida is counting the bodies.

In an extraordinary report, the Miami Herald investigated the deaths of 477 children who  had prior contacts with child protection services.  477 — since just 2008.  The Herald makes a strong case for blaming the mandate for “family preservation” for many of those deaths:

They tumbled into canals and drowned, baked in furnace-like cars, were soaked in corrosive chemicals, incinerated, beaten mercilessly, and bounced off walls and concrete pavement. One was jammed into a cooler posthumously; others were wrapped like a mummy to silence their cries, flattened by a truck, overdosed and starved. An infant boy was flung from a moving car on an interstate. A 2-year-old girl was killed by her mom’s pet python.

The children were not just casualties of bad parenting, but of a deliberate shift in Florida child welfare policy. DCF leaders made a decision, nearly 10 years ago, to reduce by as much as half the number of children taken into state care, adopting a philosophy known as family preservation. They also, simultaneously, slashed services, monitoring and protections for the increased number of children left with their violent, neglectful, mentally ill or drug-addicted parents.

Public or private, the child protection system is dealing with multigenerational problems that are far more severe than most people realize.  It’s easy to criticize government social workers, or to lash out at efforts by private agencies.  The hard part is acknowledging that “family preservation” may be the wrong goal:

Rather than go to court to force parents to get treatment or counseling, the state often relied on “safety plans” — written promises by parents to sin no more. Many of the pledges carried no meaningful oversight. Children died — more than 80 of them — after their parents signed one or, in some cases, multiple safety plans.

• Parents were given repeated chances to shape up, and failed, and failed and failed again, and still kept their children. In at least 34 cases, children died after DCF had logged 10 or more reports to the agency’s abuse and neglect hotline. Six families had been the subject of at least 20 reports.

The decision to prioritize family unification was made by bureaucrats and politicians from across the political spectrum.  Liberals defend state agencies and argue that biological parents should receive as many resources as possible to keep their children; conservatives argue for the primacy of family and against state involvement.  Failure is bipartisan:

“It’s the system that’s broken. When numbers take over instead of outcomes for people, you are doomed to failure,” said James Harn, a 30-year law enforcement officer who spent his last nine years as a commander supervising child abuse investigators at the Broward Sheriff’s Office before leaving a year ago. “They want to keep families together, but at what cost?”

Prioritizing family preservation is just one policy error.  Others involve the increasingly hands-off attitude towards the family arrangements of women living on public services and the leniency granted to serial offenders in the courts.  
Social workers have had little power since the 1960’s to insist that women on welfare live alone with their children, rather than inviting a boyfriend, or a series of men into their state-subsidized homes.  These unattached men frequently abuse the children they are living with:

The night before Aaden Batista died, his killer played a baseball game on his Xbox, smoked marijuana and gave the toddler a bath.

As Aaden’s mother, Whitney Flower, worked as a medical assistant at a nearby hospital, Jason Padgett Sr. prepared the toddler for bed, putting on his diaper before, ultimately, viciously shaking him and slamming his head on the floor. . .

Aaden became part of the yearly count of children killed at the hands of paramours — child welfare’s oddly genteel term to describe boyfriends or girlfriends of custodial parents. Protecting children from abusive paramours is one of the great challenges facing the Department of Children & Families.

“Paramours are a huge red flag,” said Richard Gelles, dean of the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as chairman of child welfare at the school. “They are enormously over-represented as the slayers of young children.”

Under-prosecution and under-incarceration, especially for domestic violence, presents another problem.  Expect this problem to grow worse as “Right on Crime” Republicans, left and right-wing libertarians, leftists, and liberals join forces to shrink our criminal  justice system and empty the prisons.  Their political kumbaya moment is going to mean more violence, more crime, and more murders.   You need only peruse the Miami child death report to find evidence of hundreds of people who have been granted serial leniency in our allegedly-harsh justice system:

In the pre-dawn hours of May 5, 2009, Jasmine Bedwell had to make a decision: Take more blows or more chokes — but try to rescue her son from the clutches of her enraged boyfriend — or go find help. She left and borrowed a cellphone to call 911.

 
 
 

 

 

Maureen Faulkner: Stop Mumia Abu Jamal’s Lawyer, Debo Adegbile, From Department of Justice Appointment

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There is a Change.org petition drive you need to act on TODAY!

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Vote “No” to the Confirmation of Debo Adegbile to the Department of Justice
Petition by Maureen Faulkner
Los Angeles, CA

PLEASE SHARE THIS PETITION WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND COLLEAGUES!

As early as Tuesday [UPDATE: THE VOTE HAS BEEN DELAYED UNTIL WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5], the Senate will vote to confirm Debo Adegbile as the next Assistant Attorney General to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. This confirmation must be stopped.

Thirty years ago, Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was violently murdered by Mumia Abu-Jamal, a member of a racist group that advocated violence against police. A jury convicted him and sentenced him to death for the brutal crime.

In the three decades that followed, Abu-Jamal filed appeal after appeal – each rooted in lies, distortions and allegations of civil rights violations. Today, as Officer Faulkner lies in his grave, Abu-Jamal has become a wealthy celebrity and continues to spew his vitriol from prison.

Old wounds were ripped open again, and additional insult was brought upon our law enforcement community when President Obama nominated Mr. Adegbile for the Department of Justice post. Mr. Adegbile previously led the Legal Defense Fund at the NAACP. In that position, Mr. Adegbile chose to throw the weight and resources of his organization behind Abu-Jamal. Attorneys working under Mr. Adegbile’s supervision have stood before rallies of Abu-Jamal supporters and openly professed that it was “an extreme honor” to represent the man who put a hollow based bullet into Officer Faulkner’s brain as he lay on the ground wounded, unarmed, and defenseless.

While Mr. Adegbile may be a well-qualified and competent litigator, through his words, his decisions, and his actions he has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated that he is not the best person to fill this position. Clearly there are others with similar qualifications that would be better choices.

The thought that Mr. Adegbile would be rewarded, in part, for the work he did for Officer Faulkner’s killer is revolting. Please set aside any partisan feelings you have and do the right thing when you vote on Mr. Adegbile’s confirmation. Please vote “no.”

………………………………………………….

Previous TINATRENT.COM Posts On Officer Faulkner and the Pro-Mumia Movement:

Mumia Abu-Jamal and Marty Hittleman: California Teachers Endorse a Cop Killer, Get Caught, Blame Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Maureen Faulkner is Right: The Fight Against Mumia Will Never Be Over, as Amnesty International Proves with Their Holiday Catalogue

More on Mumia

I Will Be on Cliff Kincaid’s Roku Show Wednesday Night Talking About Immigration . . .

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. . . the plight of American workers, and why Republicans and Libertarians don’t seem to care.

Who’s with us

Who’s against us

Who’s hiding behind trees pretending they have “no position at all”

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Tune in to the show on the America’s Survival website at 9:00 or on Roku at the America’s Survival channel.  Writes Cliff:

. . . watch it live on our homepage on Wednesday night at 9:pm Eastern www.usasurvival.org by clicking on the Roku image on the right side. 

 

An Academic Friend, See Thru Edu, and a Great Book on Great Books and the Common Core

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The subtitle for this blog is:   Academia.  Crime.  Politics.

It has been pointed out to me on several occasions that the slogan is redundant.  I agree.

But there are still a few people in academia who stand up to the gaseous tyrants who make up ever-larger portions of the tenured class.  Bob Paquette of Hamilton College is one of them.  Dr. Paquette is a much-respected historian of slavery, with decades of accolades for his work.  But when he spoke out in defense of teaching Western Civilization and against the unhinged radicalization of academic programs at his college, he found himself on the receiving end of the usual, intellectually incoherent backlash.

How unhinged and intellectually incoherent?  The details are the stuff of vaudevillian humor:

So a Weather Underground terrorist, Ward Churchill, and a Raelian sex cult cloning scientist walk into a faculty lounge in upstate New York . . .

Read the rest here.

Paquette blogs at the website See Thru Edu, which is an essential resource on higher education for conservatives.  He takes the Tea Party movement seriously (like few in academia).  I want to point readers to two recent blog posts he wrote, one about the treatment of Sarah Palin, and this essay, which I encourage you to read and share with anyone who has or will have children attending college:

How Our Universities Breed Intolerance

[T]he Tea Party … have elicited a torrent of denunciation on elite college campuses and have spurred restless nights for the barons of both the Republican and Democratic parties. [They] have an independent, populist, and anti-elitist bent.  No matter who is manning the presidential helm, they have concluded, the country they love remains tossing and turning in waters ever more dangerous to them and to their traditional values, which they once thought were mainstream.  They see themselves being squeezed in a vise in which the turning device, attached to the upper clamp, manufactures the energy for the lower clamp to screw from below. In their search for a moral social order, they feel increasingly betrayed by many of the country’s most important institutions:  government, churches, unions, and schools.

… [Tea Partiers] represent legions far more diverse than your typical university faculty. They wear blue collars as well as white collars, populate northern and southern climes, and collectively groan under growing burdens of taxes and statist regulation.

The essay offers advice to parents of college-bound students, with more to come in future work:

Take this advice.  The brand of elite colleges is overrated and has more to do with the screening process of able admissions officers than the value-added during four years of matriculation.  Many of the chaired professors at elite universities have little intensive contact with undergraduates. Few bear the onerous tasks of intensively grading exams and papers. Outstanding teachers exist at every major institution of higher education in the country.  The trick is locating them. For that you need an insider. A professor whom you can trust to direct your son or daughter to the best, that is the most knowledgeable, demanding, and nurturing professors in their fields, those willing to spend time with serious students, is worth his weight in Ivy-League tuition dollars.

With its focus on higher education, See Thru Edu does not often discuss Common Core.  But Mary Grabar of Dissident Prof has posted there, and she recently introduced me an amazing new book: Terrence Moore’s The Story-Killers.  I’m only one chapter into it, but I can’t recommend it highly enough, as both a great read about the importance of literature instruction and a devastating, substantive critique of contemporary education reforms.

Moore is a teacher (and former Marine) — if you’re going to read one book about Common Core, this is it.

And if you’re in Atlanta area, Terrence Moore is coming to Gainesville on January 13 to speak with Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project and State Senator William Ligon in an event sponsored by the Georgia Concerned Women for America.

The fight has only just begun.

Political Science’s Hateful Pseudoscience: Harvard’s Theda Skocpol Wants The Tea Party to Stop Participating in Politics

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Unlike literature professors, whose impenetrable secret twin languages and embarrassing fixation on their own genitals tend to keep them off the editorial pages, political scientists are always with us, especially during elections, when they slap on their wizard hats to make predictions that range from the pseudo-wise (I predict there will be . . . an election on November 7) to the pseudo-scholarly (Obama is magic!).

Political science just keeps getting worse as the last holdouts from a generation that at least feigned objectivity die off and get replaced by ideologues who are so far removed from objectivity that they’re feigning scholarship instead.

Nowhere is this tendency more obvious than in the growing field of Tea Party Studies.  No, they don’t call it that, but they might just have to invent a name to tell the paramedics.  Tenured political scientist types contemplating this citizen participation movement become so unhinged that their normally pseudo-scientific discourse spins off into something that virtually needs to be translated back into English from banshee.  All the shrieking is surely tough on those last five unreconstructed poly-sci professors cowering at the end of the hall, longing for the days when they could quietly feed voter lists into the Harwell Dekatron.

I’ve been trying to read the growing crop of academic Tea Party books alongside the growing crop of academic Occupy books, but it’s like watching a coven try to stab their mothers to death while using a Ouija Board to wake up the chicken they had for dinner last week.  One would think, based solely on evidence from the library shelf, that the many, many millions of highly constructive participants in the Occupy movement managed to cure cancer using only the consensus model of decision-making while the two dozen or so Tea Partiers were busy out back burning tires and forcing the womenfolk to mend their pointy hoods for them.  And I realize that last bit is not funny, but it is a not-inaccurate description of what academicians think about the Tea Party: they think (to use the word loosely) that Tea Partiers are murderous, calculating-yet-stupid racists who need to proactively be wiped from the earth, or at least the voter rolls, if ever American politics can be made to emanate goodness and light again.

Take, for example, this essay by the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University, Theda Skocpol.  There’s a lot to laugh at, from Ms. Skopol’s breathless Cosmo style of describing her own scholarship (she deploys a “full panoply of research”) to her bizarre euphemism for virtue: “active government.”  Then there’s her evidence for proving that the Tea Party is stupid: Tea Party members, she tells us breathlessly, sometimes vote for different people during primaries:

During the last election cycle, no far-right candidate ever consolidated sustained grassroots Tea Party support, as those voters hopped from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum.

For those of you unschooled in the full panoply of the academic method, what Skocpol is saying here is that Tea Partiers are so stupid that they actually hold differences of opinion, unlike Democrats, who are demonstrating only intellectual prowess when they, say, dump Hillary Clinton in the 11th hour because Barack Obama’s handlers managed to paint a big R on her forehead while his aides snapped photos of themselves drunkenly fake-raping a cardboard cutout of the former First Lady.

Once you get the hang of the theoretical framework (Democrats good: Conservatives eeevil; Tea Party rrracist), the rest of Skopol’s work isn’t hard to grasp — because there isn’t any of it.  It also can’t be very hard to write, which at least makes her efficient at playing faux populist while carrying water for the insider trading billionaires, hedge fund owners, real estate developers, trust fund babies and other secretive Democracy Alliance types who pay her and her fellow intellectuals to criticize the Tea Party . . . by accusing them of being dupes for secretive billionaires, hedge fund owners, real estate developers, and trust fund babies.

Out here in the non-academic air, such behavior is called psychological projection, or just dishonesty, but in academia it goes by the name of civic engagement, and Ms. Skopol is one of the most civic engagers around, being director of the Scholars Strategy Network, which describes itself as “a federated membership association for civically engaged scholars at colleges and universities across the United States.”  It is really a multi-campus-based propaganda tool for the Democratic Party.

The practice of political science was bad enough when its confidence men merely combined the calculated dishonesty of political operatives with the logorrhea of the intellectual class.  But now that academia has tipped to full-throttle leftism, it has grown both more shrill and less intelligent, even at its own invented games.  Ms. Skocpol actually presents, as evidence of Tea Party malfeasance, the fact that Tea Parties sometimes produce voter’s guides.  The voter’s guide is an entirely ordinary political tool used, of course, by all political parties, but in the hands of the Tea Party it becomes, to Skocpol, a de facto weapon of malevolence:

[V]arious right-wing tracking organizations … keep close count of where each legislator stands on “key votes”—including even votes on amendments and the tiniest details of parliamentary procedure, the kind of votes that legislative leaders used to orchestrate in the dark.

Horrors.  The Tea Party is so actually civically engaged that its members want to know how congressional voting works and to share that knowledge with others.  How dare they question the totemic rituals performed by our Capitol Hill Overlords.  This sort of thing would be funny if it were not disturbing that an endowed Chair at Harvard would argue that citizens should not look too closely at politics — and that she does so in the name of civic engagement.

But the kicker is this: Skocpol doesn’t just think the Tea Party is full of stupid people.  She wrote the editorial in question in order to dumb down her “research” to make it accessible to the little people on her own side, the ones who agree with her politics.  That is the mission of the Scholars Strategy Network, though of course they put it differently on their homepage.  It is a measure of how little she thinks of the little people of the Left that she doesn’t admit to them that Scholars Strategy Network itself promotes political report cards as she denounces the Tea Party for using political report cards.

And so Theda Skocpol efficiently conflates all the magical beliefs driving political science today: if the Right does something like voting, it’s bad; if the Left does anything, it’s noble — and — if political scientists are doing it, it’s obviously above reproach.

 

Ed Kramer Guilty of Child Molestation: Now Will Bob Barr Face Consequences for His Role in the Deception?

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After leaving Congress in 2003, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr reinvented himself politically in dramatic ways.  He aligned with the ACLU, began advocating for the legalization of marijuana, and ran for president on the 2008 Libertarian Party ticket.  Now Barr is attempting to rejoin the Republican and conservative mainstream in a bid to secure Georgia’s 11th District congressional seat, where he is currently a leading contender.

Barr’s about-face on issues that alienate conservative voters left many wondering what he really stands for.  His role in the notoriously corrupt defense of now-convicted child molester Ed Kramer should raise more questions in voters’ minds.  Here is my previous post on Kramer’s decade-long manipulation of the justice system.

Edward Kramer, co-founder of the sci-fi and fantasy convention, Dragoncon, pled guilty in a Georgia courtroom yesterday to three counts of child molestation in a case that has been delayed thirteen years, thanks to repeated efforts by Kramer himself to claim medical incapacity.  Barr served as Kramer’s attorney until early 2013, when he decided to run for office again.  But Barr did not just serve as Kramer’s lawyer: he held the sci-fi purveyor up as the victim of a religion-fuelled witch-hunt; he helped him deceive the court regarding his client’s capacity to sit through a trial, and he helped him acquire an eyebrow-raising bond agreement that enabled Kramer to flee the state illegally, resulting in Kramer’s arrest in 2012 for endangering another child — a 14 year old boy Kramer had in his motel room in Connecticut.

As if these facts aren’t bad enough, Barr used the molester’s defense to promote his new libertarian politics.  You cannot separate the Kramer case from the person Barr is offering to voters, even if he tries to distance himself now.

In 2007 Barr told an audience at the Federalist Society that Kramer was a victim of his new pet peeve, prosecutorial over-reach.  Despite the fact that it was Kramer himself who had created the delays, Barr insisted that it was the fault of the state.  The video of Barr promoting Kramer’s case as a civil rights issue has, curiously, been scrubbed from the internet in the last 24 hours, but Barr’s incredibly sophomoric amicus brief on behalf of Kramer is going to be harder to erase.  Barr should be called on to re-release the video: he isn’t running for dog-catcher; he’s running for Congress, and his behavior and expressed beliefs between 2003 and 2013 should not be hidden from voters this way.

Ed Kramer, Out and About

Ed Kramer claimed for more than a decade that his medical condition prevented him from participating in a trial.  He claimed he was in excruciating pain, that he couldn’t walk or move or sit up, that he was not able to breathe.  Yet there are pictures of him from this time happily participating in a Dragoncon convention, and after Barr helped him get cut free from house arrest (a strange request from an invalid), he fled to another state and began filming a movie, where he was caught with the 14-year old boy in his custody.  He continues to play these legal games today.

Barr was not just Kramer’s defense attorney: he helped Kramer remain free through serial deception, then he helped Kramer blame the system — and the public — for trial delays he had actually created.  Along the way, Barr used Kramer’s case to assert that our justice system is corrupt and untrustworthy.  This is Barr’s political record for the last six years: by all means let him run on it.

Kramer avoided trial for almost a decade. He was released from house arrest in 2009 and the case remained in a holding pattern for two more years before he was allegedly spotted in a Milford, Conn., hotel room with an unsupervised 14-year-old boy.

Barr stayed involved in the Kramer case until it didn’t until it didn’t serve his political goals to be involved anymore.  He even lacks a strong commitment to injustice, is the best that might be said.

Lysenkoist Healthcare Promotion, Courtesy of the New York Times

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In its never-ending quest to act as the Official Organ of the Obama Administration (OOOh -Ah), The New York Times is finding new inspiration in Trofim Lysenko, the Stalinist agronomist whose peasant background, unwillingness to acknowledge errors, and willingness to send his scientific critics to their death catapulted him to the head of the Soviet Institute of Genetics.

Lysenko promised to “turn the barren fields of the Transcaucasus green in winter” through a process of exposing seedlings to cold, but his primary success lay in purging “bourgeois” adherence to the scientific method and replacing it with a “proletarian” belief that the plant world would respond to Marxist-Leninist pressures in ways identical to humans.  Unfortunately, because plants lack the forethought to worry about other plants sending them to Siberia, Lysenko met only with limited scientific success.

However, his ideas spawned a tremendously successful academic-political movement, Lysenkoism, which proved that militant adherence to Marxism/Leninism combined with public humiliation of politically incorrect peers could transform entire intellectual disciplines with great efficiency.  What wheat seeds refused to do, intellectuals adapted to, and by the 1940’s, Lysenkoist mediocrity was so prevalent among un-purged Russian scientists that the Soviets were, happily for us, stymied in their efforts to build nuclear weapons.

The practice of Lysenkoism begins with a political hypothesis (ie. “Stalin will like this”) and proceeds to subjugate all data to that theory.   It is not so much a scientific method as a filing system, like all grand collectivist schemes, and what it produces mainly is more bureaucracy, rather than more bread, or automobiles, or healthcare.

But Lysenkoism is very good at manufacturing bureaucracy.  Freed from the constraints of reality and the limits of the natural world, academics have proven to be especially resourceful at institutionalizing pet beliefs.

Beliefs are easier to grow than wheat, and for this reason, Lysenko retained absolute power in the Soviet Academy of Sciences until he didn’t anymore, at which time he was declared officially no longer “immune to criticism” and deposed in the manner to which he had become accustomed to deposing his enemies.

Nonetheless, Lysenkoism beats on in the heart of every utopian bureaucrat.  It moistens the pen that writes thousand-page regulatory bills and re-animates the botoxed brows of Today Show hosts who toil in the fields of daytime television, squashing dissent to the President’s Healthcare Great Leap Forward.

Granted, our cadres of official journalists are still awaiting the Great Leap Forward in media centralization that was sadly postponed when the Internet amplified voices other than their own.  They can only dream of confessions like this one, written (or at least signed) in 1949 by one Professor B. Kederov after he failed to appropriately admire one of Trofim Lysenko’s proclamations.  The idea that a thought crime could consist of not praising a leader fulsomely enough would have seemed alien in America a few years ago:

I consider it my party duty to state that I fully agree with the criticism and definitely denounce the sermon of alien cosmopolitan viewpoints that I permitted myself to carry out.  The danger of such viewpoints becomes especially obvious now, when all along the ideological front our party and the entire Soviet nation are engaged in a determined struggle against corrupt bourgeois ideology and against bourgeois cosmopolitanism as the ideological weapon of American imperialism; in this condition, the slightest advocacy of cosmopolitan viewpoints is direct treason to the cause of communism.

Lacking, for now, the power to extract public confessions, our fourth estate is limited to accusing the President’s opponents of thought crimes like racism and churning column inches of apparatchik prose  denouncing “bourgeois” opposition to Obamacare’s record-breaking harvest of successes.

Such reporting requires papering over of great expanses of facts to the point of Lysenkian absurdity.  For example, in response to the high costs already being imposed on small businessmen and other individual insurance purchasers, the Times on Sunday ignored that problem entirely, denounced the naysayers, and proclaimed that Obamacare was actually helping people who dream of becoming small businessmen in the future.  Don’t look at dour old facts, said the Times, look to the possibilities of an imaginary future.  This is Lysenkoist reporting at its best:

In the weeks since the health insurance marketplaces of the Affordable Care Act went online, a well-publicized ripple of alarm and confusion has permeated the ranks of small-business owners. But less well known is the response of another contingent: newcomers to entrepreneurship who see the legislation as a solution to the often insurmountable expense of getting health insurance.

The article profiles Rajeev Jeyakumar, co-founder of an “online job marketplace” website who just found out that he qualifies for enough public aid to pay $74 a month for health insurance in Manhattan that “even includes dental,” he gloats.  Lucky him: we are all subsidizing his teeth cleaning as he plays venture capitalist.  But Jeyakumar is chipping in by “refraining from using his Citi Bike membership or playing sports, lest he sustain an injury requiring medical care” until his taxpayer-subsidized health insurance kicks in.

The moral of this tale is understandably fuzzy, as the Times leaves out all pertinent facts, such as how much Mr. Jeyakumar’s health insurance will cost if he actually earns any money and ceases to be subsidized by the rest of us, or what he had planned to do if he had been mowed down by a bus prior to the time that the mere promise of Obamacare magically transformed him into a socially conscientious, non-Citi Bike-riding citizen.

Both Mr. Jeyakumar and Constantina Petrou, another web-based consultant profiled in the article, believe that they can now hire employees because of Obamacare.  Petrou claims she has been unable to hire full-time employees because of the price of healthcare but that Obamacare may enable her to do so “depending on the new costs of coverage.”  These costs, which would seem to be the point, are not further discussed.  Jeyakumar imagines he will tell his still-imaginary future employees to “shop the new health care exchanges on their own” and “bump up their salaries to cover the cost.”  Petrou “will either pay for a portion of the individual plans that her employees shop for on the exchange, or she may take advantage of tax credits and offer a small group plan,” the costs of which are also not discussed.

All of these options existed before the magic of Obamacare, only the promise of cheaper coverage has been replaced with the reality of massive price hikes.  But there is no need to discuss this if you are the New York Times and the purpose of your article is to attach negative adjectives like “alarmed” and “confused” to small businesspeople who are not appropriately “excited” and “happy.”

Besides, notes the Times, many more jobs are being created thanks to the problems that have been created by Obamacare.  Even the failure of the website and the “alarm” and “confusion” of small business owners are turning out to be job creators.  When government policies create a famine, the peasants will find new markets for their potatoes:

Jack Hooper is among those who see the law as a business opportunity … As he began investigating his own health care options, he realized that the Affordable Care Act could provide more than just access to coverage for his family … He anticipates that premiums will remain expensive, pushing many Americans to high-deductible plans, and that these people will need help in managing care-related expenses.

Hooper anticipates meeting that need, and he anticipates a big demand for his services:

Based on his previous experience working for the federal government, he says, he is not surprised by the problems that have emerged in the Healthcare.gov site. Entrepreneurs like him will end up providing the ultimate solutions to the problems that have emerged from the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Hooper says.

In other words, Mr. Hooper’s future small business success depends on charging money to small businessmen who cannot afford to pay medical bills that are not covered by the expensive new insurance they are required to buy under Obamacare: Obamacare is thus “opening doors for entrepreneurs.”  The series of magical beliefs required to commit this to the page probably wouldn’t make a Lysenko blush, but step-by-step we’re getting there.

Laying Out the Lies of the Left

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This is Leszek Kolakowski.  He is worth getting to know at this juncture in history; his essay, My Correct Views on Everything, is a classic rejoinder by an aging man who has seen the worst of the twentieth century and learned from it, addressed to somebody who has seen the worst of the twentieth century and is still making excuses for it.

That person is E.P. Thompson, seen here being admired by vast audiences for his views, roguish hair and faux-peasant sartorial choices.  If you attend a fairly rigorous college, or any arts and sciences graduate school, you will likely be assigned Thompson but not Kolakowski.  You are also likely to be attending a place where the school’s president earns far more annually than 99.9% of all those nasty “capitalist” businessmen being demonized by the faculty, who simultaneously do not think that it’s a bad thing for tenured professors and university presidents to get rich off the labor of others because their highly original thoughts on the horrors of capitalism merit six figures a year and a stable of adjuncts and grad students to do all the real teaching.

How much money do these gilded thinkers receive?  Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz, 600K annual retirement; Ohio State’s Gordon Gee, a $5.8 million package, including funds to pay taxes on what the taxpayers are paying him.

But Joe the Plumber is the greedy capitalist.

It makes perfect sense that a Thompson would be worshipped in such idiot temples and a Kolakowski not so much cast out as utterly erased.

In the kingdom of the blind, blind people are probably going to gang up on you and poke your last good eye out.

There is a far too modest book reviewer on Amazon whose description of Howard Zinn is too scatological to repeat — do find it yourself — but he explicates Leszek Kolakowski beautifully:

Kolakowski’s writings about Marxism are incomparably better than anyone else’s. For one thing, he knows the subject inside and out, having apparently read everything that Marx and his disciples every wrote, having spent much of his life in a communist country, and having evolved from Party member, to revisionist, to outspoken opponent. Then there is his matchless talent for lucid exposition: Marx’s ideas, muddled and impenetrable in their original form, become perfectly clear when Kolakowski talks about them.

As a critic of Marx, Kolakowski is scrupulously fair and objective, while pulling no punches. His analyses are models of honest, careful, trenchant criticism. His essays are also quite entertaining, full of self-deprecating irony, and biting sarcasm.

No one excels K. in the dissection of Leftist argumentation. In a highly amusing rebuttal of E. P. Thompson’s “open letter”, Kolakowski slams Thompson’s use of double standards: Whatever goes wrong in capitalist countries is attributed, by definition, to “the capitalist system”. Whatever goes wrong in socialist countries is excused as a “transitional phase” and/or is attributed to the remnants of capitalism, or to “capitalist encirclement” or to some other non-communist influence. An even-handed, empirical comparison of the two systems would show, says K., “…that the only universal medicine (the Left) has for social evils (state ownership of the means of production) is not only perfectly compatible with all the disasters of the capitalist world – with exploitation, imperialism, pollution, misery, waste, national hatred, national oppression – but that it adds to them a series of disasters of its own: inefficiency, lack of economic incentives and, above all…a concentration of power never known before in human history.”                                                                                           — Kurt J. Acker, “bookmuncher”

Sort of sounds like Obamacare, doesn’t it?

~~~

Now to the lie of the week.  It is expressed visually and verbally — amplified through the newspaper layout — and once you see it, it is impossible to un-see it, though I can’t show it to you because the page won’t upload.  Suffice to say, on Thursday, the top, left-hand corner of the New York Times featured this article:

G.O.P. MAPS OUT WAVES OF ATTACKS

OVER HEALTH LAW

TELLING VOTERS’ STORIES

Focus on Oversight by House Panels Meets With Successes

By JONATHAN WEISMAN and SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON — The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.” “Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”

The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack . . .

The article and headline insinuate that the public’s complaints about Obamacare are being manufactured by Republicans in shadowy back rooms.  The fact that Democrats also meet in back rooms to create shadowy messaging accusing Republicans of manufacturing the public’s complaints about Obamacare is not mentioned, of course, because the Times reporters are participating in that messaging.

So, it’s OK.

When Democrats do something, it’s good; when Republicans do the same thing, it’s evil.  Simple, once you get the hang of it.  For example, Weisman and Stolberg breathlessly report that the Republicans are using a “playbook” on healthcare, as if every single legislator in both parties did not have a similar playbook on each issue of import.  This is disgraceful stuff even for the Times, ugly bias and dishonesty disguised as reporting:

A 17-page “House Republican Playbook” walks members through “messaging tools” like talking points, social media tactics and “digital fliers”; details lines of attack; offers up a sample opinion article for local newspapers; and provides an extensive timeline on the health care law and an exhaustive list of legislative responses that have gone nowhere.

A message of the week is presented to the Republican members at the beginning of each week, Ms. McMorris Rodgers said. A “Call to Action” email chain distributes relevant breaking news. A new website, gop.gov/yourstory, is collecting anecdotes from each member.

Oh, no: a website collecting anecdotes?  Here is the White House website for collecting anecdotes by immigrants:

Unless you are one of the first Americans, unless you are a Native American, you came from someplace else. That’s why we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants. And we’ve always been better off for it.”

—President Obama

Share your own story to help remind Washington that we need an immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

Here is the Democratic website for collecting anecdotes about how the ACA has helped people:

Are you a young adult who has been able to stay on your parents’ plan? A small business owner who has received tax credits for providing insurance to your workers? Maybe you no longer have a lifetime limit on your insurance policy—ensuring that you’re able to continue receiving treatment for an illness without getting hit with astronomical medical bills. Or perhaps you’re a senior who now has access to free preventive care that you have put off for too long.

We want to hear from you.  How has health care reform changed your care?

I could go on and on . . . and on.  But you take the point: the New York Times is falsely asserting that the Republicans are doing something other than the ordinary political activities practiced by both parties.

Jonathan Weisman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg are lying about this.  Technically, the lie is a lie of omission — they do not admit that Democrats use identical message tactics, and they do not mention the playbook the other side is using in this specific debate.  But it’s a sleazy, highly orchestrated lie nonetheless.

It’s also not the only bold untruth on the Times’ front page yesterday.  The editors didn’t stop at a single act of sophistry above the fold.  They didn’t merely accuse their enemies, the Republicans, of astroturfing a real citizen movement; they also shamelessly pretended, in the next article, that messaging that actually is crafted by professional activists (and Times journalists) was merely an example of people speaking their minds:

Illegal Immigrants Are Divided Over Importance of Citizenship

By JULIA PRESTON

Glendy Martínez is waiting anxiously to see if Congress will ever pass legislation to allow immigrants like her, without papers, to stay in the country legally. But frankly, she says, she does not care if it will include any promise of citizenship.

With the earnings from her job in a Houston hair salon, Ms. Martínez, 30, is supporting one child born in Texas and three others she left behind in her home country, Nicaragua.

“So many people back there depend on those of us who are here,” she said. “It would be such a help if we could work in peace …”

And so on.  Apparently the Times just spontaneously found all these people saying the same thing about not wanting citizenship — by sheer coincidence.  No astro-turfing there.  No mention of messaging research by CASA de Maryland or La Raza or any of the dozens of well-heeled George Soros-funded groups agitating for open borders.  No mention of the paid trainers teaching people what to say to the media.  No mention of rooms with whiteboards and bunches of computers where the elected officials from NALEO analyze which messages work or don’t work with the public as they plot to slip immigration amnesty through during the holidays, while we’re busy and don’t particularly want to be screamed at for being racist for a few festive weeks.

No “multilayered, sequenced assault,” which is the exaggerated militaristic argot Weisman and Stolberg sneeringly used to smear the opponents of Obamacare.

Incidentally, the Times is also being deceptive about the desire of illegal immigrants to become citizens — note that in the article they carefully avoid citing any of the recent and well-publicized statistics on the subject, substituting personal stories or alleged personal stories (told by people who are already lying by being here) for facts they apparently would rather not address.

Fact: 87% of illegal immigrants recently polled by NBC want nothing less than full citizenship:

Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, an immigrant advocacy organization, said that practically everyone her organization works with hopes for citizenship rather than merely a green card.

“A lot has changed between 1986 and today,” she said. “There used to be a view that the line was blurred . . . but I think the line has become brighter about whether you’re a citizen or not and how you’re viewed.”

Many feel that only naturalization will allow them to feel fully engaged and accepted in their new country. “They don’t want to be a second-class citizen,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director at CASA de Maryland, an advocacy group.

The Times article uses old numbers, the very numbers that have been recently discredited.  Weirdly, they do so by attributing those numbers to Republicans, as if they were worried about being caught in a lie and decided to insinuate that it was Republicans, not them, who believed the wrong data.  Do they sit up in the Times newsroom all night, straining to create even more disinformation?  The article itself was probably crafted specifically to help run cover for the recent polls, which were not received well by those who don’t want to see blanket amnesty — in other words, most Americans.  Thus, the Times is committing its own “multilayered, sequenced assault” on both inconvenient truths and on the people who express beliefs they wish to silence or discredit.

Funny work for a newspaper.  In America, that is.  This sort of raw propaganda would be right at home in several of the places from which Leszek Kolakowski fled.

 

See also: Don’t Let Anyone Silence You On The Illegal Immigrant Amnesty Bill . . . Especially Other Republicans

 

 

Seventies Redux: Jim Jones, Rosalyn Carter — A More Innocent Time

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Thanks to Peach Pundit for linking to my logorrhea on healthcare navigation.  One of the fun things about being back in Georgia — as opposed to Florida, with its tedious palm trees, balmy beaches, and light traffic — is having an institutional memory of the political scene.  I spent twenty years in downtown Atlanta.

Once, when I was new to the city, I got off work around 3 a.m. from my job on the docks of the Georgia World Congress Center.  I drove past the Ponce de Leon Krispy Kreme donut shop, which looked way to scary to patronize, and went to an all-night grocery story instead.  In the dairy aisle, there was this wired guy who looked like he was coming from an adult costume party: he had on what  looked like a sort of mini-cape, with giant epaulets and lots of braid.  He had cornered an old woman and was lecturing her on the crucial differences between Jumbo and Large eggs.

Weird, I thought, and crossed the grocery story off my list of places to go to in the middle of the night.

Some time later, I saw the egg man holding a press conference on TV.  He was Atlanta Chief of Police (and future Clayton County Commissioner) Eldrin Bell.

Weird, I thought, and crossed Ponce de Leon off my list of ways to drive home from work.

Before I moved to Atlanta in 1988, the only thing I really knew about Georgia was that Jimmy Carter came from there.  Or, near there.  I’m sorry to say that where I came from, everything south of the Newark existed only vaguely to us.  To people in Poughkeepsie, Carter’s drawl, and Miss Lillian, and Billy all seemed as exotic as The Dukes of Hazard.  My parents, however, had loved the way the Carters walked to the White House on inauguration day, like ordinary people.

But sadly, there are no ordinary people in politics.  This week marks the 35th anniversary of the murder/suicide of some 900 people belonging to the communist cult called Jonestown.  Oh, you didn’t know it was a communist cult?  Did you know a communist killed JFK?  That Sirhan Sirhan, who killed RFK, was a cult hero to the American communist group, The Weather Underground?

Communism was still as common as herpes in the Seventies, something that’s very hard to explain to anyone under sixty today.

The list of politicians who helped Jim Jones create his communist third-world-hellhole-turned-murder-camp is long, weird, and disgraceful.  Jonestown wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill cult — it was a racket for stealing welfare and social security benefits from the vulnerable people lured there with the help of politicians like Harvey Milk, whose culpability is conveniently forgotten by those who wish to turn Milk into a martyr because he was openly gay and murdered in office.

Current California Governor Jerry Brown, Walter Mondale and Rosalyn Carter also hobnobbed with Jones, pre-massacre, and Communist Party member Angela Davis used her position as a professor at UCLA to abet Jones in events that led up to the massacre — something the highly-esteemed Dr. Davis does not include in her definitely for-profit speeches to academic audiences today.

Note the Bill Maher poster (?) behind the dancing soon-to-be mass murderer

The taxpayers of California are currently supporting an entire academic sub-discipline dedicated to Jones:  Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple, aka Jonestown apologetics, is ironically housed in the Department of Religion at San Diego State University.  Read my essay about the politicians and academicians involved with Jones here:

Mass Murderer Jim Jones: Religious Extremist or Atheist Stalinist?  Answer: What’s Best for the New York Times?

Tonight, Cliff Kincaid will be talking about the communists and the JFK assassination on the America’s Survival Roku channel and the online site Kenney TV — watch here on Roku, or live on the internet at 9:00.  And for evidence about the Soviets’ involvement in the JFK murder, here is Cliff’s article, Why the Communists Killed Kennedy, which references important work by Ion Mihai Pacepa and Humberto Fontova, two experts who are worth reading on this subject and others.

More stomach-churning Seventies nostalgia next week  . . .

 

 

Healthcare Navigators: It’s Not Who They Are, It’s What They Are

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The Georgia political blog Peach Pundit has issued a challenge to readers to find out if the “healthcare navigators” hired in Georgia to “educate” and sign people up for the Affordable Care Act are as corrupt as these Texas navigators caught on tape counseling people to lie about their income by the indefatigable videographer James O’Keefe.

I did a little research and found a range of credibility among the nonprofit groups that are either receiving federal tax dollars directly or are “partnering” with the people who received grants to provide navigation in Georgia.  But their credibility is not the real problem, as I’ll explain below.

According to Georgia Health NewsSEEDCO and UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Science and Cooperative Extension are receiving federal grants to provide navigators in Georgia.

In the (not so) private market, individual insurers are also “navigating” their customers through the health care exchanges with no federal grant money — unless you count the fact that they’re taking advantage of Obamacare by raising rates while simultaneously claiming victimization from the law, despite getting huge new pools of customers.  New customers’ premiums are largely paid for by their current customers through federal subsidies mandated by the law — so what’s not to love?  The insurers are putting on a good show of complaining, but what they’ve been doing under the sheets with the infamous Ms. Fed at the Crony Capitalism Motel would blow away the usual black light hotel bedsheet Primetime exposé.

My little family of two is facing a premium increase of between 180% – 240% next December for virtually the same high deductible plan we have now — and I know that the government and the private insurers are heading off to Vegas together to blow that wad on a good steak dinner together, despite all the finger-pointing on both sides, such as this blindingly insane class war Cokie Roberts/Kaiser Family Foundation video you really have to watch to believe.

Do note that we’re self-employed and buy our own insurance, so we don’t really count as humans under the ACA.  Think of us as the lab rats, the 5% already thrown into the nearest cages and hooked up to the electrodes.  What happens to us now will be happening to people in group plans later on, a timeline I still cannot believe is legal, unless by “legal” you mean “first screw all the people without lobbyists.”

you’ll be joining us in here soon

“Navigation” seems like a new concept to many people, but within the government subsidized healthcare/welfare industry — Medicaid, Medicare (yes, it is subsidized), WIC, Section 8, EITC and so on — there are always people doing some type of “navigation.”  In our current bifurcated economy, where the rich advocate for the poor to live like kings, navigators paid for by taxpayers help poor people sign up for every other-person’s tax dollar for which they could possibly qualify.  Many of these expenditures are a healthy and noble — supporting the truly disabled, for example — but when people play the system, we’re not only losing money to them; we’re paying navigators to teach them how to most efficiently pick our pockets.  And there is a lot of intentional deception that goes on, deception that gets systematically overlooked by the government employees administrating these programs.  Many of the most suspect Welfare Maximization Accomplice grants are laundered through university research — for example, I know of a university-based program in Florida geared exclusively at signing up illegal immigrant families for public benefits, though nobody would admit that out loud.

Academics play bag man in fiscal crimes against taxpayers all the time, reaping government grants and career advancement by pretending they are doing research, when what they’re really doing is handing out other people’s money, then using big words to declare the handout a success.  Studying themselves playing Daddy Warbucks with taxpayer sawbucks is how sociologists and others climb the tenure ladder.  They choose their favorite nonprofit, “partner” with them, then praise the nonprofit’s excellent performance in solving social problems, even if the executive director made off to Jamaica with all the money.

So long as it was stolen in a spirit of helping the poor, Professor Poodle can still brag about his commitment to the underclass when he’s not busy fuming about Fox News at the Departmental Nondenominational Solstice Holiday Party.

The fraud angle of all this ballooned under community organizer Obama, by design. Every rebranded ACORN worker out there offering free Obamaphones to welfare cheats is a navigator.  So I’m glad to see James O’Keefe doing what he does better than anyone — giving people a glimpse of the underbelly of our corrupt welfare state.

But fraud is a feature, not a bug of this system.  Another round of firing allegedly “rogue” employees for doing precisely what they were hired to do in the first place is the only reaction we can expect from the powers-that-be.  The rogue navigators aren’t really rogue –they represent the very spirit of the thing.

~~~

The real problem with navigators is what they are actually navigating — the collapse of boundaries between big corporations, big nonprofits, and the government.  So it doesn’t matter so much whether the entity doing navigation has a good reputation or a bad reputation: the activity itself fuels the belief that the highest calling of civic life is to transfer as much money as possible from working, taxpaying people to people who avoid working and paying taxes.  In a way, the Sharpton-level fraudsters handing out government-subsidized-iphones to crack dealers are the least harmful actors on the stage: they are expendable clowns, while the real damage is being done with subtle efficiencies by Chamber types who span the political spectrum.

~~~

In Georgia, the groups involved in government-subsidized healthcare navigation have a range of reputations.

Georgia Watch is a well-known consumer organization boasting a transparent track record of their activities.  Their board of directors (readily accessible on-line) includes Clark Howard, who has a great and very much well-earned reputation for advocating fiscal responsibility.  Their tax records are up to date, and they are responsive to questions posed to them.

Still, there are problems with what they’re doing, which I’ll get to below.

On the other hand, SEEDCO, which recently received $2.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services to provide navigators in Georgia, has an extremely troubling record of padding claims about numbers of clients served.  How troubling?  The New York Times actually went after them; the federal government actually filed charges against them, and they were actually found guilty of those charges, something that happens to big nonprofits wasting/stealing tax dollars about as frequently as the moon turns to blue cheese.  Luckily for SEEDCO and their extremely well remunerated CEO, Barbara Dwyer Gunn, the feds settled on the hilarious punishment that they must pay back a fraction of the taxpayer money they fraudulently pocketed and agree to actually follow, you know, laws from now on.

This is a fabulous example of white collar criminals getting away with a slap on the wrist.  But you won’t hear much whining about this sort of prosecutorial lenience from the usual sources because Ms. Dunn (400K plus a year) is a “social justice” worker running a noble “nonprofit” helping the “underserved.”

B.D.G.: her salary sure wasn’t docked for tax fraud

Incidentally, SEEDCO funnels taxpayer dollars to some Georgia nonprofits that also offer an incomplete or not very credible face to the public.  For example, recent tax filings by the Asian American Resource Foundation Inc in Suwanee do not list the names of board members.  Nor does the group’s website, though it boasts of “an 11-member Board of Directors, which is comprised of a diverse and committed group of African American, Asian and Caucasian men and women from the business and faith-based communities within greater Atlanta.”

Is this really a problem?  Yes, it is, because AARF receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal HUD grants and has done so over a number of years, during which time they continued filing those incomplete 990 tax forms.  Their tax forms state vaguely that the group “provides education to the unskilled with state grant and support shelter for homeless or the poor with federal HUD grant.”  This really smacks of dialing it in.  If AARF was some small, amateur nonprofit, I’d allow that filing mistakes were made.  But when it’s my money going into somebody’s pocket and they produce a tax return like that — well, if I hadn’t worked in the nonprofit service provision industry in Atlanta for years, I guess I’d be surprised by that kind of systematic non-compliance.

But I did.  So I’m not.

Other SEEDCO grant recipients in Georgia that fail to offer much information about how they’re spending our money include SPARC, the Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center (SPARC).  I couldn’t find a record of their 990s on the comprehensive GuideStar site.  Yet SPARCC boasts of involvement in VISTA/AmeriCorps, which is a federal program that provides select nonprofits with free (ie. taxpayer funded) full-time workers and more free (taxpayer funded) money for supervising those workers.

In other words, it is a program that gives free activists and boatloads of administrative money to left-wing nonprofit organizations, courtesy of the taxpayers.

SEEDCO gives grants to these agencies and many more like them — but the money they are giving away is taxpayer money.  In 2011, the taxpayers gave them $31 million, virtually their entire budget, and they played kingmaker with it, handing it out to left-wing groups that do various types of activism.  Much of their work is touted as “job readiness”, but the real business they’re in is coalition-building for political ends under the flag of “social justice” or “anti-poverty” or “family assistance.”  Such coalition building on our dime has been the major racket of the Left since the Clinton administration (actually longer, but the contemporary movement dates to then).

The worst thing is that, at some point, this became an uptown game, and everything else in the economy ceased to exist.  Once the health insurance companies and home mortgage banks jumped into bed with the feds (joining academia and big nonprofits in there), the result was unelected, unaccountable mega-coalitions like the ones below — chewing off larger and larger portions of government activities and control over tax dollars.  Big corporations love this scheme because they can pretend to be “socially responsible” while protecting their interests with elected officials, who also want to appear socially responsible while they reward their friends sitting on the same boards.  Foundations such as Annie E. Casey provide a charitable public face for the corporations that donate to them and for the politicians who give these silk-stocking “nonprofits” our money — and control over bigger and bigger parts of government.

Taxpayers aren’t just squeezed out: they are now demonized.

Here are some examples of “nonprofit” partnerships paid for by demonized taxpayers:

Or this:

Or this:

• AbellFoundation
• AltmanFoundation
• AnnieE.CaseyFoundation
• ArthurM.BlankFamilyFoundation
• BaltimoreCommunityFoundation
• TheCenterforWorkingFamilies,Inc.
• ClarkFoundation
• ColumbiaUniversity
• ConnecticutAssociationforHumanServices
• ConstellationEnergyFoundation
• ExxonMobil
• FordFoundation
• FoundationfortheCarolinas
• ICFInternational
• KresgeFoundation
• Mayor’sFundtoAdvanceNewYorkCity
• MDRC
• MemphisBioworksFoundation
• Michigan Association of United Ways
• MizuhoUSAFoundation
• NationalCommunityActionFoundation
• NeighborWorksAmerica
• NewYorkCommunityTrust
• PloughFoundation
• RepublicBank
• ResCare,Inc.
• RobinHoodFoundation
• SingleStopUSA
• StarrInternationalFoundation
• TheAaronandLillieStrausFoundation
• TennesseeCommunityServicesAgency
• TheAlvinandFannyB.ThalheimerFoundation • TrinityWallStreet
• TulsaCommunityActionProject
• United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta
• United Way of New York City
• UpperManhattanEmpowermentZone
• vanAmeringenFoundation
• WachoviaWellsFargoFoundation
• WalmartFoundation
• Harry&JeanetteWeinbergFoundation
• WorkForceEssentials

  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Georgia Department of Human Services
  • Louisville Metro Department of Community
  • Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Maryland Department of Human Resources
  • NewYorkCityCouncil
  • New York City Department of Housing
  • New York City Department of Small Business Services
  • NewYorkCityHumanResourcesAdministration
  • New York State Department of Health
  • New York State Department of Labor
  • New York State Office of Children and Family Services
  • New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
  • Tennessee Department of Human Services
  • U.S.CentersforMedicareandMedicaidServices
  • U.S.Congress
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • U.S.SmallBusinessAdministration

What are these lists?  The first block is corporate and government partners of The Center for Working Families, the Georgia branch of a national nonprofit that claims to help “working families” gain “independence” through all the usual pathways: green job training funded by government referendums, plus maximization of the welfare state through “application assistance for over 21 [programs] such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, TANF, Together RX, PeachCare for Kids and utility assistance” and “Referrals for comprehensive services including childcare, training, education and certifications, rental assistance and legal assistance.”

In other words, navigation.  They maximize public benefits for people.  We pay for it coming, and we pay for it going.  Doubtlessly they’re in on healthcare navigation too.

I’ve worked with many such nonprofits, and the only people getting anything other than more welfare benefits out of it are the people employed by the agency itself.  And there is real human tragedy behind this: CWF actually boasts on their website of having helped a whole 19 clients “create or expand” a full-time “microenterprise.”  That’s approximately two jobs invented for each massive corporate or government “partner.”  The “entrepreneur” page features a picture of a woman operating an ice cream truck, hardly stable employment, and the page notes that some of the businesses actually existed before CWF provided more resources.  And doubtlessly that’s the best they can do.

The rest of their work is the sort of government-mandated job preparation stuff we’re already paying for two, three, five, or ten times over through K – 12 education, community colleges, colleges, and public social service agencies.  Organizations like CWF are uniquely valuable to the Democratic party agenda, however, because they spread tax money around to high-powered activists in the community who “pay back” at election time.  And for the most part, the money and services go down a rat hole — something I also watched in Atlanta year after year after year when I worked in social service advocacy and “outreach.”

CWF’s annual budget?  2.9 million in 2011, the latest reporting year.

The second list, above, is the partnerships of the Asian American Resource Foundation, which, like CWF, also receives money from SEEDCO and also from the state and from HUD.

And the third list is SEEDCO’s own corporate and government partners and donors, none of whom, apparently, bothered to notice while SEEDCO screwed the taxpayers blind.

Like all ingrates, SEEDCO also fails to acknowledge their biggest donor: you.

Don’t expect an invitation to their next black-tie gala, either.

We are living in the age of Faux-lanthropy.  Faux-lanthropy is a polygamous marriage between big business, big nonprofits, and the big welfare state — a union of super-rich leftists, crony capitalists, dumb-yet-dangerous Marxist academicians, and the unproductive poor, all united against the dwindling middle.  To understand the way this works in detail, read my report on faux-lanthropists and the Recovery Act at America’s Survival — Obama Stimulus Dollars Funded Soros Empire.  In short: the super-rich partner with government social welfare advocates and their academic poodles to create poverty programs and services that are then paid for by ordinary taxpayers, who are endlessly demonized.

The ugliest, most cynical examples of faux-lanthropy are spawned in the financial services industry, where billionaires who cashed in on the mortgage bubble then got bailed out by the taxpayers now play in the platinum sandbox of New York City.  The Big Apple effectively exterminated its last middle class resident around the time Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went belly up, so there’s nobody to harsh the vibe as former investment bankers play Lady Bountiful to gang-bangers on our dime while sending their own kids off to tony private schools in Millbrook.

But this sort of behavior happens in Georgia, too.  SEEDCO is an example of faux-lanthropy, but so is Georgia Watch, despite the good people on their board and the good deeds they tout on their website.  They are just as bound up in promoting the interests of certain crony capitalists as their less ethical peers.  If anything, the fact that they have reputable leaders makes it worse.

Such is the seduction of “doing good.”

You simply can’t claim to be “advocating for consumers” when your board is loaded with big businessmen engaging in political partisanship on an issue that affects millions of consumers negatively and enhances your board members’ bottom lines positively.  That flies in the face of Georgia Watch’s entire mission, and I’m astonished that they don’t see that and — at the barest minimum — include disclaimers on their website about their board members’ fiscal interests.

You also can’t claim to be objectively evaluating the effects of the new healthcare exchanges when you’re taking money from a corrupt entity like SEEDCO to promote the new healthcare exchanges.  I reached out to Georgia Watch last week and asked them to disclose the money they are receiving from SEEDCO (cough, the taxpayers) on their website, and Elena Parent, their Executive Director, wrote the following back to me:

We are going to be completely overhauling our website soon. Right now posting things on it isn’t easy. I’m happy to tell you we are funded for 1/4 of a navigator which is $15,000 all in (salary, travel, equipment, benefits) through the SeedCo consortium.

You see, it’s really hard to change a website.  I wonder if Georgia Watch accepts that excuse from the big industrialists who don’t sit on their board.  And yes, Ms. Parent, that is an awfully teensy-weensy grant from SEEDCO, but you don’t really need the money and you are prominently listed on their homepage as their Georgia partner, thus granting your (state) political credibility to them and their (federal) government influence to you, which is the real point of such partnerships.

There’s more than one type of currency in lobbying . . . and other political acts.

One of the awful things that happens in nonprofit advocacy is that people start to believe their own hype.  There’s nothing nonprofit about the nonprofit world: 99% of it is just political lobbying for this or that client group and this or that special interest.  The salaries are outrageous and the graft is greater than anything private industry has managed to accomplish since the Gilded Age.

That’s why all sorts of big businesses do more and more of their business and political work — and lobbying — through 501-c3s, foundations, and coalitions, right and left.

Georgia Watch’s board of directors:

  • Natalie Allen, International Anchor, CNN
  • Phil Baldwin, CEO, CredAbility
  • Raymond P. Carpenter, Carpenter & Associates, LLC, Chairman, Georgia Watch Board of Directors
  • Beth Cayce, Founder & CEO, CaraVita Home Care
  • Dennis Creech, Executive Director, Southface Energy Institute
  • Leonce Crump, Pastor, Renovation Church
  • John Dalton, MD, Orthopedic surgeon, Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow
  • Kathy Floyd, Advocacy Director, AARP of Georgia
  • Clark Howard, Nationally Syndicated Host, The Clark Howard Show
  • Jimmy Hurt, Attorney, Hurt Stolz
  • Allie Kelly, Sr. Vice President, Georgia Conservancy
  • Danny Orrock, Counsel, Crawford Communications
  • Charlie Tanksley, Founding Partner, The Barnes Law Group, LLC
  • Martha Wilber, MD, Associate Medical Director, Kaiser Permanente

So Georgia Watch is a big cheerleader for Obamacare.  Why is this a problem?  Well, for one thing, they have Kaiser Permanente on their board, and if that doesn’t scream “conflict of interest,” I don’t know if those words mean anything at all.  Now, it’s fine to have Kaiser (and the AARP) on your board, but don’t then pretend you don’t have skin in the game.

These “champions of Georgia consumers” have also been silent on Obamacare’s negative effects on consumers.

When Georgia Watch goes after Georgia Power or some of the other industries they monitor, they apply a very different set of standards than the ones they practice themselves.  I have no particular love for Georgia Power or any other company that engages in crony capitalism while monopolizing a service I must purchase, but I also see no difference between Georgia Power profiting from their government monopoly in energy and Kaiser Permanente profiting from their new government monopoly in healthcare (yes, it’s essentially a single-payer monopoly they divvy up with other big healthcare insurers — all the worst aspects of our old system and the worst aspects of socialized medicine, rolled up into one).

The hypocrisy is galling.  Here, for example, is what Georgia Watch says is wrong about Georgia Power’s new nuclear plant — the one they are fighting in the courts “on behalf of consumers”:

In a series of cases before the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to monitor the cost of constructing two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, Georgia Watch is working to protect consumers. A legal dispute between Georgia Power and its Plant Vogtle contractors over cost overruns from project design issues and schedule delays could end up costing Georgia Power ratepayers $400 million or more! In a brief filed at the Commission on August 3, 2012, Georgia Watch once again called on Commissioners to approve a risk sharing mechanism as a means of protecting ratepayers. Currently, the entire cost of overruns is unfairly borne by ratepayers alone.

This is Georgia Watch’s battle cry: consumers are being soaked; prices are too high; Georgia Power is forcing the public to shoulder its expenses and overruns; it’s unfair.

And here is what Georgia Watch says about Obamacare’s overruns (such as: the $600 million website fiasco; forcing some consumers to shoulder costs before others; duplicative spending on dubious navigators; the horrible lies about “keeping your plan,” and most importantly, the lies about saving money, while middle-class people like me get throttled with 200 – 300% price increases):

They say . . . nothing.

Actually, it’s worse than that: they’re behaving as if none of these things are happening to consumers.  They’re running cover for their own board members while pretending to be a consumer advocacy organization.  Isn’t it funny how many millions of words have been spilled over the alleged astro-turfing of the Tea Party by the Koch brothers, while huge crony industries on the Left escape similar scrutiny when they really astroturf issues — carrying water for the government, and even using our tax dollars to do it?

Unfortunately, as with the probable outcome of James O’Keefe’s latest exposé, nothing much changes when the system is jerry-rigged to maximize dependency on the government.  That’s what navigators for the new healthcare law — and many other programs — are really doing.  So to expect something different from them is sort of like trying to turn a sow’s ear back into a pig.  It’s just as impossible as all the other things you try to do with the darn thing.

 

 

 

Don’t Let Anyone Silence You On The Illegal Immigrant Amnesty Bill . . . Especially Other Republicans

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[Scroll down for: Ten Things To Do to Oppose the Gang of Eight’s Amnesty Bill]

Last Thursday, Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota) appeared on the Glenn Beck show with a troubling message.  “We’re losing badly,” Bachmann said about the fight against the Gang of Eight amnesty bill for illegal immigrants.  “A lot of your viewers don’t even know we are in the middle of that fight right now,” Bachmann told Beck.  “We need your viewers to melt the phone lines and say ‘Don’t vote for any immigration bill until the border is secure.’”

“This is the most important item in the next four years, what’s going to happen in the next couple weeks,” she said, “We have a very short window, six weeks, to kill this bill.”

Congressman Steve King (R–Iowa) called the immigration bill “far worse” than Obamacare:

If somehow there was an offer that you’re going to get one or the other . . . I would take Obamacare before I’d ever accept this amnesty plan.

King said that amnesty now would lead to perpetually open borders: “If you grant amnesty, you can never promise that you can enforce immigration [laws] again.”

“The [immigration] bill is worse than universal healthcare, “ warned Glenn Beck, “Listen to me, it is worse than universal healthcare, and in the coming days as we get closer, we will explain why it’s worse than universal healthcare. It is the death knell of the country.  There is no recovery from this one.  None.  No recovery.”

Rush Limbaugh said the bill would add millions of “instant Democrats” to the electorate.

So where are Beck’s viewers, Tea Party and 912 activists?  Why aren’t they “burning up the phones” as Bachmann is calling for, and leading the fight against the movement to grant citizenship to 30 million people who have or will come here as illegal aliens?

Did election losses fray nerves?  Are Tea Partiers demoralized by the parade of turncoats (Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Kelly Ayotte) among people they helped elect, especially Rubio?  Are the lies peddled in advertisements aired on conservative talk radio and TV by the fake conservative group, Americans for a Conservative Direction, taking a toll?

I think all of these things are true.  Also true is that social conservatives and Tea Party activists are sick of being tarred with false accusations of racism, which happens whenever they try to weigh in on virtually any social issue.

As Democrats pile on with their usual, visceral “Racism” charge against those who oppose mass amnesty, I couldn’t blame anyone for wanting to avoid such ugliness.  It’s not easy to stare down public officials and smirking editorial page editors shrieking “racist” at you.

But the immigration bills is a transformational event, far more important than any other issue in Washington right now.  It is time for the grassroots to pay attention, as Bachmann says.

The “racism” charge simply needs to be ignored.  It won’t go away, no matter what we do or say.  Every single person in the Tea Party could pack up and go home, unplug their computers, and stop voting tomorrow, and ten years from now, President Holder and the Southern Poverty Law Center would still be holding blue-ribbon conferences at the White House to discuss the Rising Tide of Tea Party Hate.

You’re a racist is the eternal default of people who have no intention of speaking honestly about what will happen if we grant citizenship to enough low-income, low-education, illegal immigrants to increase America’s population by 10%.  That’s 30 million people — the equivalent of entire population of Canada, or fully 1/4 of the current population of Mexico (Arnold Ahlert observes that both pro- and anti- amnesty groups agree on the 30 million figure).

But it’s not just liberals and Democrats throwing the “R” word around.  You also hear it, or some coded equivalent, from many political operatives on the Right, and this is a terrible development that needs to be looked at carefully.  Some in the Republican Party and and some (not all) national libertarian groups are using the same shame tactics as leftists to pressure others on the Right to not weigh in on the immigration debate.

I’ve heard stories on the ground from people who have been told that if they speak out on immigration, the whole movement will be seen as racist.  Don’t let anyone pressure you that way.

Last Friday, Rush Limbaugh explained the willingness of many Republicans to support amnesty this way: “The Republican Party is embarrassed by its own base,” Limbaugh said.

I assume that some Republicans think there is a new group of people that would become their base. If they just got rid of these pro-lifers, if they just got rid of this religious crowd, if they just got rid of the Christians, if they just got rid of these gun nuts.

Turncoat Marco Rubio is certainly playing from this game book.  Thankfully, Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are now beginning to mobilize people against this legislation.

For the past two years, I have travelled around Florida speaking to citizen patriot groups.  I’ve come to believe that pressure from people on our own side is the main reason that Beck listeners and Tea Party and 912 groups (and many registered Republican) have been hesitant to enter the fight against an amnesty bill that they personally oppose and recognize as an existential threat to America.

Making this problem worse is a troubling dynamic in Tea Party/912 organizing.  While the majority of people I’ve met in this movement identify themselves as social conservatives first, the minority of libertarians involved — who are often pro-open borders, pro-gay marriage, pro-pot legalization, and even pro-abortion rights — have an outsized influence over the far larger numbers of traditional values conservatives.

This outsized influence is magnified by the presence of national libertarian groups that siphon power off the grassroots while claiming to speak for them.

I don’t say any of this as a blanket condemnation of all people who identify themselves as libertarians.  Some of the people I admire the most in politics are diehard, capital “L” Libertarians (myself, I was writing fan letters to Ayn Rand and stumbling through Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology way back in high school).  And some national libertarian groups like Campaign for Liberty are airing the view of members who oppose the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill.  They may even be doing more to fight this legislation (I would appreciate confirmation of this).

But I’ve also witnessed aggressive attempts within the movement to dominate and silence people who want to talk about subjects like illegal immigration and abortion.  And when libertarians define everything that they don’t want to talk about as a “social issue” and then demand silence on social issues, they’re just being liberals who don’t want to pay taxes.

A big source of this problem is the outsized influence of national organizations like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.  Although they provide training resources and leadership in campaigns, they also pressure the grassroots to abide by their agendas, and on amnesty they both curiously claim to be “sitting the fight out,” which is no different from supporting the bill.

In fact, deep-pocketed players all over the Right are currently pressuring Tea Partiers to sit down and shut up about immigration.  Grover Norquist has been flogging ugly racial charges against the Tea Party, as Ann Corcoran details in this excellent blog.  Jeb Bush is flouting bizarre anti-facts about needing illegal immigrants to teach Americans about family values at his (very vaguely named) American Action Forum.  Daniel Greenfield has a wonderful takedown of Bush’s immigrant fertility derangement.

FreedomWorks once at least talked about a no-amnesty plan, but now they are vigilantly avoiding the entire subject of  illegal immigration.  The grassroots needs to realize that, by whispering to Beltway insiders about how they’re “sitting out” the immigration bill, FreedomWorks is for all practical purposes actually supporting amnesty.  And if they claim you as a member, they’re essentially saying that you do, too.

Americans for Prosperity in Florida [disclosure: I did freelance and volunteer work for them] is arguably more coercive with the grassroots.  They have a habit of culling names from grassroots organizations and claiming these people as their membership.  If you ever attended an AFP event or volunteered on their phone lines or went to hear one of their speakers, AFP lobbyists in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. are probably claiming that you are a member of AFP and that they are speaking for you.

And what they’re saying is that you’re “sitting out” the immigration bill along with them, which really means supporting amnesty.

Don’t let AFP, or anyone else, do this in your name.  Tea Party and 912 activists need to take a hard look at the people and groups claiming to be speaking for them.  Don’t give away your power to anyone.  And if you are a member, let them know how you feel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

I believe the majority of people involved in citizen patriot movements oppose the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill.  But if we don’t make ourselves heard now, we might as well give up the fight.

When amnesty supporter and presidential hopeful Jeb Bush claimed at the recent Faith and Freedom conference that “immigrants are more fertile . . . and they have more intact families,” CNN reported that his “arguments . . . were met with near silence from the conservative crowd.”  In contrast, the crowd loudly applauded Michelle Bachmann’s fiery denunciation of “amnesty.”

But it’s time to do more than applaud.  Following is a toolkit for lobbying against the Gang of Eight’s bill, countering the lies being told, and educating your friends and fellow Tea Party/912 members about the facts on amnesty and illegal immigration.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ten Things To Do to Oppose the Gang of Eight’s Amnesty Bill

 

#1: Educate Yourself About the Facts

Before we talk about amnesty for illegal immigrants, we need to understand who is here and the many ways they’re already accessing government benefits.  When I worked in social services, I came to know a lot of low-income immigrants, legal and illegal, and those who weren’t living with someone with legal status and taking advantage of their public benefits still had multiple ways to access funding on their own.  Anybody, for example, who tells you that the Gang of Eight’s bill will deny subsidized healthcare to illegal immigrants during a waiting period is lying.  They already receive publicly funded healthcare through multiple sources: emergency services, Medicaid, FQCHSs (look it up), Disproportionate Share Hospitals, state programs that enroll illegal immigrants, federal and state programs that support pregnancy and deliveries, and special grants funneled through universities and research hospitals.

None of this is going away.  Instead, expect doors to medical programs to open very quickly for 30 million mostly low-income beneficiaries of amnesty.  When people in residence here start on the path to citizenship, who will argue against including them fully in Obamacare long before the 10 or 13 year delay has ended?

And there are other forms of welfare that promise to explode as well.

#2: Educate Yourself About the Lies

#3: Understand the Earned Income Tax Credit

Around January 1, tax preparation offices pop up all over the small Florida tomato town that is my sometimes-home.  No, they’re not for thrifty taxpayers seeking to get an early start on April 15: they’re storefronts for processing Earned Income Tax Credit checks.  For a fee, these storefronts fill out the paperwork for “refund checks” of up to $5,666 that go to pretty much anyone with children who can claim a limited income.  The word “refund” does not mean refund for taxes paid: the EITC is a “cash assistance” welfare program built into the IRS to dispense money to people who pay no federal taxes.  It’s like Christmas — after Christmas: in poor neighborhoods, car dealerships and electronics and furniture stores hold “tax” sales where non-taxpayers use taxpayer’s money to buy themselves consumer products.  It isn’t uncommon to see store windows with giant “EITC” signs, or slogans like “Mo Money, Mo Money” around EITC season.  Police even pick up patrolling in some places to prevent EITC-cash related robberies and burglaries.

It is also, of course, a program subject to massive fraud –  $11 – $13 billion a year in recent years.  So even though illegal immigrants aren’t supposed to qualify for EITC largesse, many apply for and get the money anyway by lying about social security numbers, other identity fraud, or lying about children who don’t exist or don’t live here.  There are even loopholes built into the system to allow some illegal immigrants to legally receive EITC — $4.2 billion was distributed to illegal immigrants in 2010.

Of course, EITC give-aways will skyrocket as soon as 30 million of Jeb Bush’s “extremely fertile” illegal immigrants and their families gain legal status . . . and nobody is even sure whether illegal immigrants will qualify for back-payments of EITC for previous years.  Such details, you see, aren’t something the taxpayers need to worry their little heads over.

I doubt the Gang of Eight would tell us the truth about it anyway, even if they knew what the truth was.

 #4: Get Your Hands on This One Amazing Book

Actually, whether you support or oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, you should read Darrell Ankarlo, a former talk radio host in Arizona.

In Illegals: The Unacceptable Cost of America’s Failure to Control its Borders, Ankarlo travels between Mexico and America to discover why and how people enter this country illegally.  He opens a window, showing us who is coming here, how they get here, and what this all means for both Mexico and America.  Ankarlo seems a little crazy, in a good way.  He is empathetic towards everyone — a rare achievement.

If the Gang of Eight had started with this book and encouraged other people to read it, the nation would be having a real conversation about illegal immigration right now.

#5: Know Your Enemies

Illegal immigrants aren’t the enemy.

But the racially divisive, leftist activists who are using illegal immigration to challenge America’s sovereignty are enemies.  You need to learn about their real intentions — and where the country is heading if the Gang of Eight succeeds.

Jim Simpson has published absolutely essential reports on the radical groups running the illegal immigration lobby: CASA de Maryland: The Illegals’ ACORN is a must-read, as is this follow-up report.

Radical Hispanic separationist groups such as MEChA and Nation of Aztlan have strongholds in some cities and on college and university campuses, especially in Arizona and California.  Here is a primer introducing these groups.  Here is the website for the National Brown Berets: their radical mission statement should be read and understood.

La Raza is seemingly more mainstream, but they share much of the mission and attitudes towards America expressed by more radical groups.  In contrast to those groups, however, La Raza is entirely mainstreamed in the political Left.  It receives significant taxpayer funding to underwrite its race-based activities (nearly 10 million dollars in 2010), and can call upon scores of high-ranking elected officials to do its bidding.  A former high-ranking La Raza official serves in the Obama administration.  Here is an exposé on La Raza.

La Raza claims to be nonpartisan, but in reality they operate like any other aggressive race lobby, making demands on both parties but inevitably siding with the Democrats.  Look at the La Raza site to find a pdf of a disturbing 2012 speech by La Raza president and CEO, Janet Murguîa.

#6: Bring the Discussion to Your Tea and 912 Groups — NOW!

IRS, NSA, Benghazi, the economy, Syria . . . it’s overwhelming.  But as Michelle Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Steve King, Louis Gomert, and . . . oh yeah, Obama are telling us (see this great John Hawkins piece), the amnesty bill needs to take precedence over all these other issues because it is speeding through Congress and will create irreversible political changes . . . changes that will give rise to even more uncontrollable Washington scandals.

Too many Tea Party groups are looking elsewhere.  Of course, holding the IRS accountable is important; Common Core needs attention.  But it’s time, now, to talk about illegal immigration.

Next month will be too late.  Heritage Action has resources for your state.

#7: Thank Our Allies

Those fraudulent Americans for a Conservative Direction ads airing on talk radio and television shows, including Glenn Beck’s The Blaze and the Rush Limbaugh Show, have been confusing audiences, but the ads do not reflect the shows’ hosts’ views.  In fact, Rush and Beck have been calling for immediate action against the Gang of Eight’s amnesty plan.  Be sure to thank them.

The Heritage Foundation, Judicial Watch, Numbers USA, Center for Immigration Studies, the Eagle Forum and others are standing strong against amnesty.  Thank them too.

#8: Encourage Our Friends, Cautiously

I don’t always see eye to eye with the national libertarian organizations partnering with Tea Parties, especially when they issue top-down directives to grassroots groups.  I believe that the Tea Party/912 movements need to get back to their local roots and work with nationals only when the relationship is really a two-way street.

Part of this involves donating more of your money locally, instead of sending it to wealthy national organizations.  Also, ALWAYS check a group’s tax forms before donating anything to them, and ask for detailed information about staff salaries and how your money will be spent.  Go to Guidestar to view the 990s of all nonprofit organizations.  The site is very easy to use: just register, and you can view any organization’s 990 for free.  I’m happy to answer individual questions about researching 990s.

Local membership groups also need to make sure nobody is claiming to speaking for them on contentious issues such as immigration, or saying one thing to Tea Party groups and another to the RNC bigwigs in Washington.  It’s great to partner with national organizations when you agree, but don’t give away your power or voice to them.  When you work together, maintain your identity and name, and get proper credit for your contribution to any activity.

NEVER hand over your membership list to anyone, and share your membership list only when you are working in an equitable coalition where all parties agree to keep primary ownership of their lists.

One more word on money: when you work with any individual or group, demand that they be transparent about money and other resources they are receiving from any source.  You might be very surprised to learn how much money the Tea Party leader sitting next to you at a conference is getting for their participation, especially if they are pushing a view that you don’t agree with.

Doing these things can help create healthier and stronger alliances between national groups and your local organization.  And in that spirit, I encourage activists who have worked with FreedomWorks, AFP, and other national entities to reach out to them and let them know how you feel about the Gang of Eight’s Amnesty legislation, and ask them to discuss their position with you.  If you have volunteered for their organization in the past, they owe you that.

We may find more common ground on this legislation if we agree to look for it together.

#9: Don’t Let Anyone Call You A Racist . . . And Don’t Let Them Lie to You

I don’t mean the Democrats: they just don’t care what we think.  But Republican and conservative organizations that are smearing amnesty opponents with slurs and crude misrepresentations of our positions deserve to hear from us.  Here’s a short list of the people who merit a critical phone call, e-mail, or tweet:

And finally — Get off the Rubio Bandwagon, by Glenn Beck

#10: Call Your Legislators . . . today

and tomorrow and the day after that.  As Michelle Bachmann says, it’s time to burn up the phones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Abject Intellectual Bankruptcy of the CUNY Occupy Researchers

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I’ve been too busy to post lately, what with moving.  And staying put.  But sometimes the universe plants a goose egg so giant that you have to say something about it just to squeeze out the door.

Changing the Subject: A Bottom-Up Account of Occupy Wall Street in New York City

by Ruth Milkman, Stephanie Luce and Penny Lewis 

And so we have this, a 51-page “study” by the esteemed sociologist of SEIU apologetics, Ruth Milkman, and her peers: Stephanie Luce (living wage academician and activist) and Penny Lewis (ACORN shill/labor prof).  These three ladies practice their activism and their academics on your dime, taxpayers, at the portentous-sounding Joseph P. Murphy Institute for Worker Education of the CUNY School of Professional Studies, which is not to be confused with the CUNY School of Unprofessional Studies, which is not to be confused with a dead parrot.

The JPMIWWE openly claims to be building the union movement and serving “the educational, policy, and research needs of unions and their members,” also all on your dime.

I bet you didn’t know you were paying for that.

Frances Fox Pivens is an associated scholar at the program, which explains a lot, though it doesn’t quite explain what someone whose contribution to society consists of encouraging people not to work actually does in a Labor Studies department.

Just one more drop in the ironic abyss of the intelligentsia.

A Dead Parrot

 Frances Fox Pivens

The Occupy study, which is delighting journalists and Media Studies Professionals everywhere by reinforcing their belief systems, asserts that Occupy Protesters are actually well-educated and employed, with a full third earning more than $100K per year.

Gee, how do you do that while living in a tent and banging on drums all day?

Well, it’s done with magic.  The magic is called sociology, an obscure religion practiced, according to Iris Murdoch, by people “who had got into an intellectual muddle early in life and never got out.”  Because sociologists don’t have to do things like build bridges or solve math problems or cure cancer, their definitions of science can be a bit loosey-goosey.

How loosey-goosey?  Well, this much: the Occupy study, which is 51 pages long and paid for with your tax dollars, arrived at the conclusion that all those Occupiers who slept, raped, pooped, and drummed in the streets for months on end were actually educated, employed, and well-off.  The researchers arrived at this conclusion by surveying an entirely different group of people who showed up for a different event months after the Occupy camps were disbanded.

In fact, only 10.3% of the people they surveyed said they had stayed in an Occupy camp.  The other 89.7% did not.

In case you’re wondering what the labor professors actually do when they aren’t doing this type of thing, it looks a heck of a lot like this.

Mark Nuckols: Sovereign is as Sovereign Does on the Magnitsky Act

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I have known Mark Nuckols since I was a teenager.  That is to say, a very very long time.  When I was 18, he knew more about politics in the real world than anyone I knew, which of course got him into endless trouble in academia, where they like their politics self-congratulatory and utterly detached from reality with a heaping helping of abject admiration on the side.

Despite being Jeopardy smart (or perhaps because of it), Nuckols never quite fit in in American academia.  You need only watch this video of Mark appearing on the Jon Stewart program to understand why.  I have to warn you, though: it is an unusual video.  I take no responsibility for it.

Nuckols teaches law and business at Moscow State University and the Russian Academy of National Economy.  Here is his latest article, from The Moscow Times.  It’s an interesting take on international human rights, a subject usually explored only by self-congratulatory people utterly detached from reality and seeking abject admiration from others:

The Magnitsky Act Is Wrong

25 November 2012 | Issue 5021
By Mark Nuckols

The Moscow Times

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer who exposed the fraudulent use of corporate documents of his client to defraud both his client and the Federal Treasury of $230 million. Rather than arrest and prosecute the persons Magnitsky testified were responsible for this crime, prosecutors had Magnitsky himself arrested and imprisoned. After enduring 11 months of inhumane treatment, Magnitsky died in police custody under suspicious circumstances. His death is a tragedy and miscarriage of justice and demands a thorough investigation by the Russian government. Unfortunately, however, the wheels of justice in Russia often fail to turn as they should, particularly when they threaten wrongdoers in the government.

The U.S. Congress has responded with the Magnitsky Act. . .

Obama should veto this bill if it passes Congress. . .

Read the whole thing here.

For more on the use and abuse of human rights law, see my post:

Disappearing Adria Sauceda: The Nun, The SNAP, The Law Professor, The President, His Newspaper and the U.N. Defend Torture-Killer Humberto Leal

 

Typing Monkey: Welcome Back. To the Same Old Place That You Laughed About.

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The day after the election, I posted a very  interesting article from someone who chooses to be known only as the Typing Monkey.    Some people thought I had written the article, but I am not and never have been a Typing Monkey.  I am a human being.

He has written again, perhaps in response to my post on Peter Hitchens.  Who knows what motivates a typing monkey?  He writes hard truths, as monkeys will.  For readers unfamiliar with British politics who link through to the Hitchens article, it’s probably useful to know that Tories would be the Republican Party, and Labour is the Democratic Party.

SOME THOUGHTS ON A PETER HITCHENS ARTICLE FROM 2007 

This article was written by Peter Hitchens in 2007, but it is, I think, very relevant to the present discontent of the Republican Party.

We are not necessarily bound to arrive at the same conclusions, so don’t get distracted by the first few paragraphs Hitchens writes. It is his analysis of our political times from a conservative perspective that is useful.  I don’t agree with everything about where Hitchens ends up, but his view of where we are now is pretty telling.

Hitchens’ fundamental insight into the present American conservative discontent is that we lose elections to the extent we are stuck in a rut of defining ourselves as more or less like the opposition.  At this point, we need to stop arguing about whether we should or should not concede on, say, immigration. The key thing to realize, for those few of us who haven’t already, is that the Republicans side has already and repeatedly conceded on almost every recognizably conservative position, because the Party isn’t actually a conservative party.

The Republicans are at best a lower taxes liberal party that’s conservative only to the extent that it can take fake positions on issues where meaningful change is politically impossible, all in the service of getting into power so that they can lower taxes and get rid of regulations. It loses because it promises nothing for most voters but less of what the Democrats are offering.

Hitchens isn’t the first person to say this, but he says it bluntly and in a way that deflates some popular myths that could use deflating, especially with regard to Republicanism and the USSR, a crucial bit of misunderstood (to the extent it’s not forgotten) history.

Reagan Republicanism, like Thatcherite Toryism, worked in large part because the Party could make any number of concessions to the emerging center-left consensus in society while retaining its identity as the national security and lower taxes party.  Thanks, Evil Empire.

In the process, though, the Republican Party lost its ability to present itself as a party with a coherent message that people believe in. The Democrats have an extremely coherent message, which is that Republicans are out of touch, racist plutocrats or inbred rednecks who want to starve your relatives to death and kill your gay friend whereas Democrats are the Party that will give you stuff.

The only response to that message from the Republicans has been “NO WE’RE NOT, AND YOU CAN’T HAVE OUR STUFF,” which didn’t work in kindergarten and still isn’t working today.

Since the early 1990s, Republicanism has been reduced to an economic ideology centered on a single premise: lower taxes and less regulation are good for what ails us.  As they actually stand for little or nothing else, they end up being a screen upon which Democrats project prejudices and fears.

Yes, this is where you tell me the ten other things you think Republicans stand for or should stand for.  It doesn’t matter.  ‘Reduce taxes and reduce regulation’ is the only coherent, consistent message coming from Republicans.

A half-hearted defense of “social issues” that aren’t actually relevant to how the federal government is conducted have done little more than brand Republicans as the Party of the elderly relatives with embarrassing opinions that the young, hip Democrats have to listen to around the holidays when they return to the town they were born in for?an obligatory visit.  For better or worse, Republicans are now the party of less regulation, less taxes, and out-of-date opinions.

Let’s talk about each in turn.

On the issue of regulation, out here in the real world, decades of “de-regulation” schemes have taught the American public that deregulation in practice ends up favoring financial parasites almost if not more than the regulatory process did. Both parties promise to help consumers and small businesses, but neither party has much credibility here.  And the Republicans are branded as the party of the financial parasite class, even though the real plutocrats are largely Democrats.

Taxes: the problem with lower taxes as a platform is you can’t starve the beast when the beast turns out to be your grandparents. Even if you think they’re racists. The war over entitlements is over; the AARP won, and it’s now time to move on to other things and let the house of cards collapse on its own. Mitt Romney ran on a bunch of things, but all the American public heard was — “We’re going to take away social security and leave you to starve to death in the gutter like an animal.”  Yes, there may someday be a time to revisit all of this, but in the short run we’re paying taxes and spending money on entitlements, and it’s time to think about what other things we might stand for.

Which brings us to everything else and, oddly, the European Union.  All the talk about the EU in the Hitchens article might seem irrelevant to Americans, but there is a similar issue in American politics, little discussed but still (I would argue) the key to understanding what’s really going on in the political world today.

Our elites are increasingly part of a global community that has little concern for or connection with our nation and little to offer except consumer culture. This is happening and has largely already happened. The only question is what to do about it, and this is a question the Republicans are largely ignoring because a glimpse under the rock gives you an uncomfortable amount of insight into why Republican politicians and pundits are basically Democrats with a slightly different regulatory and tax policy.

Ross Douthat has more in common with Paul Krugman than he has with anyone who is likely to read this.

This is the time of year when people watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and lie to themselves about the reality that, in the real world, George Bailey left his small town in upstate New York in the 1940s along with all of the other college educated people, as the manufacturing jobs and the town collapsed. What is left subsists on tourism, small scale drug trafficking, and increasingly sophisticated extraction of the remainder of the local natural resources to feed a world economy that cares about them significantly less than it cares about the inhabitants of Shenzhen, Slovakia and Chennai.

A few college professors might imagine they are rebuilding the Front Porch Republic of small town American life, but even they will mostly admit that they don’t have much in common with the folks who grew up in the college town they live in, other than nostalgia.

However, plenty of other people — more or less half of us — still live in these places, and the Republican strategy is basically to pander to them.  As opposed to the Democrats, who demonize them. The Republican strategy is ultimately the losing strategy, though, because even the 60,000 odd people who still live in Utica, NY (down from 100,000 or so in the 1960 census) know that the future is in Chengdu (population 14 million), and that Indian gambling and fracking are short term solutions at best.  And no, my point isn’t that China is “winning” and we’re losing.  No one cares much about China as a place as opposed to a profit center, and all those jobs are going to Vietnam anyway.  Or maybe that was last week.

The point is, while the Republican Party was draping itself in the flag and ostracizing the people who vote Republican but worry about a “one world government,” our economy went off shore and took much of our government with it.  It probably isn’t coming back, but pretending this never happened doesn’t help.

Which is why Ross Douthat’s prescription to save the Republican Party is more entitlements for poor white people.

What do I think the answer is? Glad you asked. First, we need to get serious about acknowledging how profoundly we’ve lost, and how seriously damaged the Republican Party and its brand have become. All those jokes that Glenn Reynolds makes about Obama and Carter? This is the Carter era for Republicans, only worse. Welcome back. Your dreams were your ticket out.

But, what next? Maybe the people in Utica need to start talking to the people in Chengdu.

Here is where more complications creep in.  There are plenty of people who talk about how America was founded as a Christian country and have a copy of the painting of George Washington praying in the snow hanging prominently on the wall in their den. But the number of these people who would vote for a genuine Dominionist candidate rapidly approaches closer to zero with each passing year, even if we define Christian?Dominionism in a way that allows girls to get jobs as lawyers and divorce their husband if they really want to.

This was never a Christian country except in the important sense that most everyone around during the first hundred years or so happened to be Protestant, until we started letting in all the Catholics. In fact, that was more or less the entire point of America from the outset — this was where you can to get away from state religions so you could have your own private theocracy on your own land. See, e.g., Utah.

I’ll tell you a secret — I love and respect the Protestants I’ve met in the right wing but, as a Catholic, I have difficulty entirely forgetting the somewhat troubled history between Catholics and Protestants which formed the crucible from which modernity emerged. The truth is that many of our national values emerged as a way of allowing space for different religious traditions to come together to work out what we might have in common in terms of values. We’ve lost track of that, some of us.

And no, I’m not saying we should become multi-cultural. Liberalism is, of course, happy to just offer as a different solution that we let people believe whatever they want, even if this means putting women in bags in New Jersey, as long as the liberals stay free to do whatever they want to do with their own time on the Upper West Side, the assumption being that those women in bags will eventually  liberate themselves and move to Manhattan just like the liberals liberated themselves from whatever small town or suburb they grew up in. They get to have the mantle of tolerance without seriously having to contend with the reality of what they are tolerating, and they get away with this because we’ve allowed the argument to be framed in terms of Christians versus Muslims. On those terms, we’re racists, and relativism wins. We need a serious critique of relativism and a values platform that is not tied to any specific religion.

I know, I know. But listen. If authentic human values are there, the Christians will show up. So will a surprising number of atheists from the Upper West Side — there are values voters there too, and the fact that they currently see those values reflected back at them from the fun house mirror of the left doesn’t mean that all is lost.

And the people in Chengdu will show up for American values if we have them to offer. Just by leaving the farm and showing up in the big city, they’re voting for American values. We need to stop letting aging hippies like Steve Jobs define what that means.

How does that work in practice? That’s the only way it does work. The Republicans got in this mess by coming up with pretty theories about the economy and sacrificing our values and all reason to those ideas. We get out of here by finding practical solutions to local problems that we have in common with people all over the world. Conservative solutions.

Let’s start by looking at something frivolous like gay marriage.  There is a serious marriage problem in this country.  It’s called “single parent households.” Gay marriage is a complete distraction from it. Democrats actually have a response to the single parent problem. In fact, most of what Democrats are is defined around a variety of policy responses to this problem, however flawed and however much they are arguably also the source of the problem in the first place: see, e.g., War on Poverty, welfare rights, WIC, public schools, Section 8, Title VII.  Republicanism has allowed itself to be defined entirely around negative responses, i.e. arguing for fewer entitlements on the theory that they encourage dependency, and resisting popular social movements deemed to be “threats” to marriage, from gay marriage to rap music.  Democrats look at the divorce rate among Republican candidates for President and are justifiably amused.

The right response? You will see a lot of variations on one proposal coming from the pundit class — concede to the changing culture. Okay, sure, but what else do we bring to the table except an argument about entitlements the other side is able to use to paint us as greedy hypocrites who actually want single mothers to starve to death? Sure, we’re feeding millions of single mothers every day at the church food bank, but America doesn’t know that, and it isn’t a political platform. And the technocratic, wonky reforms on offer (vouchers anyone?) are justifiably viewed by voters as being just another plank in an increasingly suspect, lower taxes/less regulation platform, instead of a serious attempt at reform.

The answer?  Do what the liberals did in the first place: take over the entitlement state from within. Not as a secret campaign to destroy it, but in a serious effort to reform it into a conservative solution that actually helps people. Welfare reform worked. It stopped working not because it was repealed but because the bureaucrats who run the programs figured out ways around it.

This doesn’t mean endless expansion of government, just acceptance of the idea that some government is necessary, and that government can further our values. Throwing the mentally ill out of institutions didn’t save any money; it just put a few nurses out of business and put a lot of SSI/Medicaid functionaries into business, not to mention full employment in quasi-private NGOs for a vast army of “homeless activists” and their ilk.  The doctors are just working out of a different office. It would be a better system if the people involved actually cared more about treating the mentally ill and giving them shelter than “empowering them” to spend the day masturbating in our?public libraries. And it wouldn’t necessarily be more expensive.

People all over the world are working on these same problems, and they aren’t all coming up with liberal solutions.

There is a lot more to say here, but I don’t want to get too caught up in specifics. One more example — immigration. The dirty secret with immigration is that there are many dirty secrets.  It’s not just people with nannies and lawn boys who benefit from cheap labor.  Small business owners benefit; family farms benefit.  Even some of what’s left of the “white working class,” i.e. the contractor who bids your home renovation project and then sends a bunch of Ecuadorians to do the actual work, has a stake.  Pretty much everyone who doesn’t benefit is suffering from illegal immigration and in more ways that people realize.  Topping that list is the countries the immigrants flee from.  Also hurting: anyone — anywhere on the economic spectrum who follows the law, because they have to compete with everyone who doesn’t.

The obvious solution is to punish people who hire illegals. We already have a bureaucracy in place to do this, called the Internal Revenue Service. Another dirty secret – defanging the IRS, a major Republican initiative, had the consequence of vastly increasing the amount of cheating going on, in this area and others. If and when we seriously attempt going back to enforcement instead of collusion in fraud, we will find that it is much easier to enforce laws that impact American small business owners than it is to enforce laws that disproportionately impact impoverished immigrants with little or no property, who came here from countries where the rule of law is notional at best. I’m not saying we stop enforcing the immigration law, I’m just saying the FIRST thing to do at the federal level is enforce the tax code and the rest of the existing law, and to do that we need to take back control of the bureaucracies.

Yes, that’s the easy part and leaves us with the hard part is deciding how much immigration we want and finding authentic and convincing ways to justify attempts to limit immigration as motivated by something other than racism. I didn’t say the Left was going away. But being honest is a good start on the road to a values-based policy argument, isn’t it?

Which leaves us with taxes. We’ve already talked about regulation — take over the institutions and make them (more) rational, conservative and human. But in the end we’re not going to be able to ignore the fact that putting people into government puts people in institutions where they have a built-in incentive to obtain and spend other people’s money.

Let’s have some ground rules, though. First of all, anyone who tells you they know how to adjust the tax code in order to create jobs (looking at you here, Mitt) is lying, and everyone knows it. Second, let’s admit that no proposal for adjusting the tax code in the abstract exists in the abstract — any change to the status quo will help some people, hurt other people, and have some uncertain impact on the economy. For example, Obama’s never seriously proposed “Buffett tax” was really a proposal for a new tax on capital gains administered in some vaguely defined way like the Alternative Minimum Tax. Pretending that this would have no impact on the economy because this is just free cash lying around for the taking is disingenuous. Let’s not be that way.

Second, here’s a modest proposal. Maybe, for right now, as difficult as this may be for some of us, the tax code is the last thing we should be talking about. Maybe we should be talking about how to spend the money we get, and some of this talk needs to be positive proposals for things to do with government money that help people, that?encourage private citizens to help people, and that generally accord with our values. If there are specific things we can recommend about the tax code that will help, by all means. But ordinary people hear the Republican Party talk about reforming the tax code and they think, for good reasons as well as bad, about rich people screwing the system, entitlements going away, and the end of their mortgage interest deduction. Tax reduction was a winning strategy once upon a time. It isn’t any more.

Again, I’m not talking about new entitlements or any of the big plans and schemes you see coming from the left wing of the party. I’m talking about local problem solving with a global perspective, informed by real values.

Yes, I know. The free market will save us. Bureaucracy is the root of all evil. There’s a war on Christmas. We’ve been peddling that for years, and where has it gotten us? I’m not even saying it’s wrong. I’m saying we need to stop worrying about ideology and start working on putting our values to work making this country a better place to live in.

What did I hear you say? The Tea Party? The Tea Party is complicated.  Social conservatives and the libertarians both showed up, because both groups feel disenfranchised by a party that is increasingly only interested in propping up “serious,” centrist, Democrat-lite candidates. They’ve been reading the Constitution and understand that marginal tax rates are not the beginning and end of the problem. It’s the rest of us that need to catch up.

One more example, just to be clear about what I am and am not saying here: abortion.  Roe v. Wade (more cogently Casey v. Planned Parenthood) is the law, and it isn’t going anywhere without a shake-up of the judiciary much more extensive and complicated than one side or the other replacing a justice or three. Contrary to what might be believed in places like Washington D.C. and New York City, while we sit around and parse the opinions of political candidates about whether there should be a rape exception to a law criminalizing abortion that does not exist and will not exist and in the real world for the most part never actually existed, the people who are serious about opposing abortion moved on and started doing stuff.  They didn’t just give in; they gave up on grand strategies, and they’re out in the wilderness actually doing stuff, marching through the institutions, changing people’s minds.

That’s why you haven’t heard so much from them lately. The rest of us need to get with the program.

 

 

In Florida Political Press Today . . .

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They’re Just Not That Into You: Republicans And The Hispanic Vote

November 20, 2012

By Tina Trent

Election day in Tampa was like the calm after a cancelled hurricane warning.  Dire predictions of long lines and voters turned away at the polls did not materialize.  Outside polling places, a few Tea Partiers squared off against droves of professional activists from the alphabet soup of leftist organizations: AFL-CIO members (do they ever have jobs to go to?), National Lawyer’s Guild lawyers, and all those Democratic PACs the media studiously ignored, including the in-your-face pro-Obama 1911 PAC.

read the rest here

They’re Just Not That Into You: Post-Election Reading Suggestions

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One might consider sending this self-help book to Republicans imagining that they might out-pander Democrats for Latino votes.  Or, less painfully, they could read Mickey Kaus’ (yes, that Mickey Kaus) excellent advice.

Meanwhile, in the comments, Mr. Mittens weighs in on the suggestion posted earlier this week to reflect on the election by reading Edward Gibbon’s Decline And Fall of the Roman Empire:

there was only one form of christianity at the point in time gibbon was writing about- and he went on the criticize the entire religion especially as used by the state or a prince to advance secular power over people- how it was used to deprive people of the freedoms they were guaranteed as roman citizens.

he mentions also specifically the weakening of the soldier class by the influx of non-roman troops for pay but does make special mention of some christians not living for this world but the next to the point of marching into courts of law and demanding to be martyred. he was pointing out their detachment from the world and secular concerns.

he himself was a Roman Catholic convert (which was then an act of treason) until his horrified family dragged him home from Oxford and shuttled him off to the Continent to be ‘corrected’ by a Calvinist minister. instead, he learned french and latin then wrote ‘decline and fall’ which was lambasted primarily for his pointedly very age of reason/rationalist/enlightenment negative view of christianity. the sections specifically dealing with christianity were banned (along with the more salacious descriptions of roman depravity which he was also highly critical of and felt contributed to the fall).

when obama was elected for the first time, i was drawn to gibbon again. gibbon would completely recognize the 911 of our tragic situation. we’re well past decline. i understand that sort of detachment now- i want none of this. it’s an american group suicide-shouldn’t we all be dressed in warm up suits and trainers , waiting for the next comet to shoot by?

“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

“The principles of a free constitution are irrecoverably lost when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.”

so many relevant gibbon quotes…

it is despairingly ironic the the first volume of ‘decline and fall’was published in the year america gained her liberty-1776. the founders saw too what gibbon saw-a democracy is lost and slides into despotism when people become irresponsible and just vote themselves or demand free crap. one can’t legislate for people to want to be free- give them a cell phone and an EBT card and they’ll happily go back to being ruled by tyrants especially if that tyrant allows them to enact revenge upon others.  — Mr. Mittens

Heaven’s Gate Members: Pinning Their Hopes on Comet Hale-Bopp

Myron Magnet Pops a Gasket

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He’s actually writing about Obama’s re-election:

  I can’t help remembering that in the course of my adult life, the Britain I first knew half a century ago has run through its allotment of ruin and is now almost unrecognizably transformed from the stiff-upper-lip, never-say-die redoubt of fair play and free-born Englishmen of very recent stereotype. Now it is the land where snarling, shaven-headed louts beget still more louts upon a succession of compliant, abused sluts as clueless as they about what makes a meaningful and decent life; the land where stately ancient towns turn into nighttime circuses of drunken, vomit-smeared degradation, as young people purposely divest themselves of their human rationality and civility; the land where, to show their pride in a National Health Service they think proves their country’s unique compassion and social equality, the curable sick obediently die in accordance with official protocols that ensure that outcome; the land that jails citizens for free speech it deems “hate speech”; the land that, even when it had Royal Navy ships mightier than Lord Nelson could imagine, had sailors so cowardly and undutiful as to let Iranians in outboard motorboats take them captive without firing a shot, making the great ships useless.

Read the rest here.

Post-Election C.P.R. from Sultan Knish

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If you don’t know Sultan Knish, you need to read this:

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Game Called on Account of Darkness

 

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish

A week ago we sat waiting out the storm when the lights flickered and went out. One moment we were sitting in a lit room, the television flashing picture and sound, the internet feeding news, and then we were in the dark.

At first we expected the lights to come on at any minute. Any hour. Any day. And then living without water or power, day after day, it seemed as if the light would never come back.

And then, unexpectedly, after almost a week, they did.

The lights have gone out in America now. They may come back. They may not. It’s up to us. No one is going to come help us do it. Other countries have America. We have ourselves.

Readers will notice that this site did not predict any Romney landslides. It did not engage in empty cheers or promise that he would win half the country and restore moral leadership. That’s not what this site is about. This site is about the hard truths and now as we sit in the dark, let’s pass out some of those around the room.

We can blame Chris Christie, Sandy or Romney’s last debate performance. But let’s look at the actual election.

Romney outlasted the primaries because he was the most electable. Two blue state politicians, as bland and inoffensive as possible, ran on the economy, not on war or social issues, and managed to convince many Democrats that they could fix the economy. He got a white turnout to match that of Ronald Reagan and crowded rallies. And none of it was enough.

Romney had an excellent machine. But Obama had the bigger machine that was more than a collection of SuperPACs. It was the urban political machine, with its suburban tentacles, fed by taxpayer money and integrated into every budget. The time when it could be beaten the old way may be passing.

The people who came out to worship Obama stayed home. Romney’s rallies drew big crowds. But when all was said and done, the lines of people who feed off the political machine were there, and the handlers of the machine cast their multiple votes and carried off their manifold frauds because their own private economy depended on it.

Every time people ask me why the left has such a grip on this country, my answer is because they worked for it. It’s the answer that most people don’t want to hear, but it’s true. The left has been planning this for a while. They have been playing the long game, building the infrastructure and indoctrinating generations. And to beat them, we will have to do the same thing.

The right is 40 years behind the left and it remains a disorganized collection of potentials seeking a compass point. The “right” that got behind Mitt Romney consists of millionaires who want fewer regulations and easier imports from China, of social conservatives who are mainly ignored, except when voter turnout becomes an issue, libertarians who want more freedoms, and the non-ideological small business middle class and the struggling working class sensing their country and way of life slipping away from them.

Those groups could be welded together into a movement every bit as tribal and protective of its interests, capable of engaging in collective action on behalf of its own interests, as the urban machine vote. And that may already be happening with the Tea Party. But the counter-revolution of the bourgeoisie isn’t here yet. And there’s plenty of work to do to make it a reality.

The Republican establishment had its shot, twice. It put up moderate non-objectionable candidates. And it lost. It has no policies, beyond keeping the system going, and it has no ideas and no agenda, besides winning. It is a decadent political class fused with an even more decadent pundit class that views elections like these as a game, not as a life-and-death matter. It makes up lies and tells them to its base and hopes that the base will then forgive and forget being lied to and used one more time.

It’s not done, by any stretch of the imagination. Right now, Christie is patting himself on the back and drawing up a list of advisers for a 2016 run. And a dozen equally loathsome personalities are doing the same thing. And they may even get their way. But that doesn’t really matter. This is a long game and to win it, we have to think long term.

Moderation does not win elections. If you think it does, go look at the smirking face of Barack Obama. And then imagine him running for office back when Bill Ayers was building bombs. America’s new rulers were once considered far more extreme and unpopular than the Tea Party. Embracing radical and unpopular ideas is not a losing strategy. It is a short term losing strategy and a long term winning strategy so long as your ideas can be used to build a movement capable of turning those ideas into an organizing force.

The question is whether a right-wing movement can emerge that will make the vast majority of small businessmen in this country feel as negatively about a Democratic president as welfare voters feel about a Republican president?

This election has come close to testing that proposition. The time has come to test it further. The left went after gun owners, the way that it went after business owners, and the NRA used its hostility to build a powerful coalition of gun owners who broke the will of the elected left and made them turn on easier prey.

The key is organization. The left built its machines by convincing entire groups that they had a binding interest in a reflexive opposition to Republicans under a Democratic umbrella. Consolidating an opposition based on the same principles, that same sense that its financial oxygen will be cut if the Democrats win, is doable. But it cannot begin and end with the financials.

This is a cultural war and living in denial of that is senseless. Those social issues? They belong on the table. Because the alternative is that the table will belong to the left and we will be stuck arguing the level of regulation that is appropriate in a society whose entire moral imperative is based on the values of regulation.

Most people, left and right, want a society based on values. Opting out of the values debate means that we lose by default. Yes some of that is unpopular. It will make some elections unwinnable. Much like supporting gay marriage twenty years ago. The left kept going and it won because that is how the game is played.

These are all building blocks, but they are still scattered pieces. The right I am describing is based on the left. It is the mirror image, a counter-revolutionary pushback against the left’s intrusions into the lives, values and work of its people. And that isn’t enough. A counter-revolution that is reactive will fail. It is why the Romney campaign was doomed from the start. It is why the Tea Party isn’t enough. It’s not enough to be against things. It’s not enough to be for things because they are the opposite of the things that the people you are at war with are for.

A movement needs a deeper sense of passion. It must be fueled by a certainty that it holds the answer to the problems of its society and its civilization. It must believe that its existence would be necessary even if the left did not exist. And it must be willing to do anything to win.

This is not a mere battle of elections. The left occupied and won other fields long before it had a shot at doing anything like taking power. It is first of all a battle of ideas. And it is a battle of structures. And that means a conservative cultural war will be necessary and conservative structures must be built within the system. Rather than making arguments, we must create facts on the ground.

That’s a tall order and we are way behind. And tactics like these are not very palatable to many of us, because they resemble what the left does. They would rather expect people to naturally do the right thing. And that’s nice. I would very much like people to do the right thing. I would like to stop by one of those long lines that I saw today at the polls, almost as long as the one for free government stuff, and show them a graph of the national debt and the debt that their children will owe. I would like to think that it would change their minds. But I know better… and so do you.

The left got this far by having a plan. We will either find a plan or we will be gone. America will go the way of Latin America, with gated communities, conservative oligarchs, violent ghettos and red politicians screaming about power to the people. There will be no law, just men with guns and newspapers, and generals in convenient positions, and suitcases full of cocaine in the right hands. If you like this system, it’s probably only a generation away. Given enough immigration from south of the border– maybe less. And then California turns into Brazil and America turns into California.

We can stop this, but we won’t do it without building a movement that can stand up to the left, without assembling machines that will bring together many of the same people who voted for Obama, and we won’t do it if we are too afraid of the consequences of fighting a culture war with the left to get started.

It is dark now. On my side of the coast, the time approaches 1 AM. The dark end of one day and the beginning of a new day. It all depends on how you look at things.

Revolutions are not born out of success, they are born out of despair. They rise out of the dark hours of the night. They come from the understanding that all the other options are running out. Sometimes you have to fall down to rise and sometimes you have to hit bottom, to gather one last breath and fight to reach the top.

This is still a wonderful country. It is the finest place that this civilization has produced. Despite the events of the last day, it is worth fighting for.

Tomorrow: Post-Election Autopsy

Something Else Barack Obama and Bernadine Dohrn Share, Besides Secrets with Terrorist Bill Ayers . . .

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. . . they find vicious murders of women pretty funny.

Bernadine Dohrn in December 1969, joking about the Manson family murder of Sharon Tate:

Dig it! First they killed those pigs and then they put a fork in pig Tate’s belly. Wild!  Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, and then eating a meal in the same room, far out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson!

Barack Obama in October 2012, joking about O.J. Simpson’s attempt to flee justice after murdering his wife Nicole:

“You didn’t know this, but for all you moms and kids out there, you should have confidence that finally somebody is cracking down on Big Bird,” Obama said, alluding to the famous O.J. Simpson chase scene. “Elmo has been seen in a white Suburban. He’s driving for the border.”

Sharon Tate’s blood on her living room wall

Nicole Simpson’s blood on her backyard walkway

Who jokes about things like this?

Sharon Tate was nearly nine months pregnant at the time she was killed.  She had been stripped and tortured before death, a rope strung around her neck and hung from a beam.  She begged the killers to temporarily spare her life, kidnap her, and let her deliver her baby before they killed her.  They laughed and killed her anyway.  She was buried with the body of her deceased son cradled in her arms.

After Tex Watson stabbed Tate to death, Susan Atkins stuck her finger in Tate’s wounds and wrote the word “pig” on a wall with her blood, an act that delighted Bernadine Dohrn when she heard about it.  Dohrn and other Weathermen adopted a four-fingered “fork” salute to signify the act of stabbing Tate in her pregnant stomach.

Bernadine Dohrn at the infamous Flint War Council, where she praised Sharon Tate’s killers

Still not funny: Dohrn, now a “Children’s Rights Law Professor,” smiling with her FBI Most Wanted poster

The 1969 Manson murders (five dead at Tate’s house, two more victims the next night) were intended to start a “race war” between blacks and whites. Ringleader Charles Manson hoped that pinning the brutal crimes on black radicals would anger whites enough to foment all-out war between the races.  Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers shared Manson’s vision of an America where blacks wreaked bloody vengeance on white society.  Dohrn’s “fork salute” was a celebration of such imagined violence: a proxy race war acted out by white hippies on a pregnant white woman’s body in the name of “civil rights.”

O.J. Simpson celebrates his wrongful acquittal

Twenty-five years later, the acquittal of O.J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman was similarly celebrated.  Remember where you were?  Was anybody cheering?  Why were they cheering?

Ronald Goldman’s father and sister, stunned after the acquittal

The acquittal of O.J. Simpson was viewed by many on the Left as a sort of transhistorical balancing of the ledger, despite the warping of the scales of justice needed to achieve it.  Pick a body — pick two bodies — string them up, then give a get-out-of-jail-free card to the killer because of his race.  If the Southern Poverty Law Center had any honor, they would record O.J.’s acquittal as a hate crime alongside old cases of Klansmen who avoided prison for similar crimes.  It was a moment of deep division for the American people and a source of glee only for those who take pleasure in sowing such divisions.  There was nothing funny about it, just as no sane human being would find anything funny about sticking a fork into Sharon Tate’s pregnant stomach.

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, proudly reminiscing about their days “underground” to a groveling reporter

Thomas Sowell recently described Obama this way:

If you want to know what community organizers do, this is it — rub people’s emotions raw to hype their resentments.

Ironically, he said this before Obama told his O.J. Simpson joke.

 Being “post-racial” doesn’t mean that you get to joke about a murder with grim race overtones that tore the country apart.

Especially if you’re the president.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And then, there’s this:

Calif. Parole Board OKs Manson Follower’s Release

LOS ANGELES October 5, 2012 (AP)  A parole board panel has recommended the release of a former Charles Manson follower imprisoned for 40 years for a double murder Manson engineered, but it’s not the last hurdle Bruce Davis will face as he seeks his freedom.
Bruce Davis: helped slaughter two people in 1969, but he did take classes in prison
Davis has been recommended for parole before.  Then-Governor Schwarzenegger rejected the recommendation.  Governor Jerry Brown will likely be making a similar decision very soon.  The last time Davis was recommended for parole, the California Parole Board argued that he deserved to be free because “he had no recent disciplinary problems and had completed education and self-help programs.”
Education and self-help programs.  Like this one.
According to his lawyer, Davis is also an unusually exemplary person who ministers to fellow prisoners and possesses special insight and so on.  They all do.  Prisons are filled with magical, entirely misunderstood people: it’s like a cross between Sound of Music and The Green Mile in there:

Davis became a born-again Christian in prison and ministered to other inmates, married a woman he met through the prison ministry, and has a grown daughter. The couple recently divorced . . . Davis also earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in philosophy of religion.

Well that’s nice.  He also helped torture two men to death.  But, meh.  Bygones.  The last thing the parole board wants to do is dig up the past:

“While your behavior was atrocious, your crimes did occur 43 years ago,” parole board member Jeff Ferguson told Davis, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Elsewhere, in that unfortunately named thing called The Washington Monthly, the blog boards are incandescent with the thought that we would be so crude as a people to even imagine incarcerating anyone for life, particularly for the crime of merely torturing and killing two lesser-known, non-movie-stars.  One commenter offered the following justification for releasing Davis:

[He] didn’t participate in the more sensationalistic murders but rather only those of musician Gary Hinman and the caretaker at the Spahn Ranch, Donald Shea.

You know.  B-listers.

I’ve been predicting this day for years: now that the Left has priced the death penalty out of existence, their new, all hands on deck mission will be to eliminate Life Without Parole.  It is already presumed, in many circles, that believing in life sentences is a worse crime than murder itself.  Soon, the only way to end up behind bars will be to recommend sending people like Bernadine Dohrn or Charles Manson there.

 

Announcing Connecting the Dots, a Film by Agustin Blazquez and Jaums Sutton

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I’m one of the people interviewed in the film.  I talk about my experiences on the Left, including my brush with ACORN when they were pretending to provide services to rape victims . . . in order to promote their anti-police activism in crime-tormented New Orleans.  Ugly stuff.

 Filmmaker Agustin Blazquez

Other Films by Agustin

Click here for the Connecting the Dots preview.

 

 

“Swedish Artist Laughs in the Face of Islamist Death Threats,” and, Trevor Loudon in Bradenton, FL

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Cliff Kincaid reports . . .

Lars Vilks, the Swedish artist who drew Islam’s prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog and lives under a constant death threat, was in New York City on 9/11, as anti-American violence started to unfold in the Middle East. He described how the Islamists have repeatedly tried to injure or kill him over the last several years.

Vilks spoke at an “International Freedom Defense Congress” sponsored by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer amid tight security, proving that the problem regarding Islam isn’t a drawing or a film but rather an ideology that sanctions violence against its perceived enemies and which has a presence on American soil. . .

The event demonstrated that, whether it’s a drawing, a cartoon, or a film, the Islamists will always look for something or someone to riot about and use as an excuse to kill. But rather than reaffirm our First Amendment rights, the Obama Administration has made it clear that they want to silence those who criticize the “religion of peace.”

. . . What is coming to America, courtesy of the Obama Administration, is more scrutiny of and threats against those who are labeled Islamophobes by such groups as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress.

Europeans are already experiencing these frightening developments, as critics of the prophet Muhammad are being physically attacked, murdered, or subject to prosecution for “hate speech.”

In order to counter this threat here and abroad, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer launched the “International Freedom Defense Congress” of Stop Islamization of Nations (SION), on whose board I serve. It is designed to safeguard our constitutional rights before they are stripped away by an administration working hand-in-glove with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group of Muslim countries which wants to silence critics of Islam.

Geller is the founder, editor and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com and Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch.

Read the rest here.

~~~~

Tuesday night, September 18, Trevor Loudon will appear in Bradenton, Florida at Tea Party Manatee.  Although he is a lifetime resident of New Zealand, Trevor knows more about the American political system — right down to the background of your local state representative — than almost anyone I know.  His knowledge of American politics puts America’s tenured political scientists to shame.

When I was attending graduate school at E***y University, I used to have a running joke with a wise and lovely administrator: she and I would send each other clippings from the Atlanta Journal Constitution whenever a certain esteemed political science professor weighed in weightily on political news.

We’d quote: “Professor X predicts an election will be held on November 6.”  And then dissolve into giggles.

That was the sort of thing he’d say, and then get quoted for saying, and then collect his $250K salary for STOPHeD: stating the obvious with a PhD.

Trevor Loudon is the opposite of all that.  And yet, academics still find the nerve to scorn the Tea Party.  If only they knew . . . even a fraction of what they don’t know and refuse to see:

TPM General Meeting:Guest Speaker – Trevor Loudon

Date: September 18, 2012Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Location:  Show mapMixon Fruit Farms
2525 27th Street East
Bradenton, FL 34208

Email: info@teapartymanatee.org

Trevor Loudon 

TEA PARTY MANATEE WILL BE HOSTING
Trevor Loudon
Meeting will start at 6 pm

Trevor Loudon is a New Zealand political activist who was vice president of the ACT New Zealand Party from 2006 to 2008.[1]He has been involved in politics in Christchurch for many years, most notably the Campaign for a Soviet Free New Zealand[2]a group which published dossiers on people involved in the anti-nuclear movement, declaring them to be communists and “connecting the dots” between them and their supposed Soviet masters.[3]

He describes himself as “[Believing] in freedom with responsibility, not freedom from responsibility. My ideal society is one in which government is slashed to the bone and people are free to reach their potential.” In addition to his libertarian economic views he is strongly anti-communist, in a 2006 post to his blog (see below) he stated “Socialism, is in short a manifestation ofmental illness or major character deficiency.”[4] he has also stated a belief that communists are responsible for “supplying much of the world’s illegal drugs,” although he supports drug legalization (while being personally against drug use).[5] He is a self-described “student” of the Zenith Applied Philosophy, an offshoot of Scientology. In 2006 he wrote on his blog “I have studied at Z.A.P. from 1976 to 1982, 1986/7 and 1999 to current. I am enjoying my studies immensely at the moment and plan to continue indefinitely.”[6]

Meanwhile, here’s a Victoria Jackson bonus track:

There’s a Communist in the White House

And don’t forget this guy, this very, very happy guy from the Occupy Tampa movement.  Nobody can hate this guy:

The Last Call To Attention

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I kept thinking about this video as I watched decent young police officers cope with the protesters at the Tampa Republican National Convention.  Watch the whole thing, and you’ll realize why Churchill (the better part of his nature) isn’t dead in Britain.  Soundtrack, too.

Piffle has been circulating in the media all week about how the RNC and the DNC were calm because police didn’t arrest protesters like those terrible cops did in 2008 in St. Paul.  Bunk.  The RNC and the DNC didn’t see as many arrests because the protesters didn’t show up to break windows and hurl bottles at police.  If that’s the result of better intelligence work, more power to it.  Don’t pretend it was the police who needed to adjust their attitudes.

There are still unanswered questions about the failure to arrest high-profile activists who invaded the RNC and DNC repeatedly and interrupted nationally broadcasted speeches.  Medea Benjamin and her colleagues disrupted several speakers including Romney, yet the security forces inside the convention halls simply let them go.  Who was in charge there, and why wasn’t Benjamin held to the same standards as ordinary citizens?  I’m assuming it was the Secret Service that made the call.

 

Journalism Means You Never Have To Say You’re Sorry

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A couple of years ago, I tried to correct a false statement in the New York Times.  Sisyphean task, I know.  But this wasn’t one of those big, ideological falsehoods: it was a technical misrepresentation of a sentencing law.  Which led to a big, ideological falsehood, but at least the task at hand was manageable: replace the misrepresentation of the law with an accurate description.

An embarrassed editor contacted me: the mistake was a fairly big miss on their part, and it completely undermined the point of the op-ed.  But, he told me, they did not permit corrections of authors and content in the letters page.  Would I write a different letter that offered the correct version of the law as additional information for interested readers, rather than calling it a correction?

Why not just run a correction, I asked.  They preferred not to in cases like this, he said.  I suppose corrections are for important people with press agents:

New York Times correction Sept. 13, 2012: Because of an editing error, the TV Watch column on Tuesday about Katie Couric’s show, “Katie,” and other new daytime talk shows, misidentified the host whose show focused on inspiring stories in its premiere. He is Jeff Probst, not Steve Harvey. The column also misstated the date of the premiere of Mr. Harvey’s show, “Steve Harvey,” and the date of an episode on which he held a social media version of “The Dating Game.” The premiere was Sept. 4, not Sept. 3, and the social media dating game show was broadcast last Thursday; it was not the premiere.

At the time, I was shocked that the Times wouldn’t permit comments in the letters page that reflect negatively on their content, but I have since learned that this is pretty standard among print dailies.  Keeps the narratives and memes nice and elastic — and entirely under their control.

Victorian séance: perfect metaphor for media bias

 So I was not surprised to see that the Tampa Bay Times (the new euphemism for the St. Petersburg Times) didn’t bother to “correct” the record after they went on a wild tear yesterday trying to blame the violence in Libya and Egypt on Terry Jones, the Gainesville pastor who burned a Koran last year.

If Jones was a left-wing agitator, the Times would love him, of course.  If he was a conceptual artist who suspended crucifixes in human urine, or a lawyer for the A.C.L.U., or Larry Flynt, they’d write long, glowing reviews of his art and/or politics and/or epistemology.

But “Piss Mohammed” just doesn’t resonate in leftist media, so instead of being a much admired conceptual artist, Terry Jones is a hate criminal.  Mind you, the Times loves the hate criminal they’ve made of him.  They so love him that they try to hang him around the neck of every single politician who doesn’t agree with their in-house stance on terrorists who commit murder and fly planes into buildings and burn down embassies (apologize to them for hurting their feelings because America should be ashamed of itself).

Yesterday, the Times just couldn’t wedge enough pictures of Jones onto their website.  The murder in Syria?  It was Jones.  The laughable Innocence of Mohammed film, which bears a remarkable resemblance to Ed Wood’s 1953 masterpiece, Glen or Glenda?  All Jones’ fault.

The Tampa Bay Times, you see, isn’t merely a newspaper.  It is home to a prestigious journalism institute for journalistic ethics, the Poynter Institute, which has morphed in recent years into a sort of identity politics police arm for the fourth estate.  So the Times has a much higher responsibility than other newspapers to blame everything bad that happens in the world on narrow-minded, doltish, prejudiced, redneck, white, “Christian” male Americans.  Blaming Jones for violence in the Middle East isn’t just a job for the ink-stained acolytes of the Times: it’s their religion.

And since we now have at least five faith groups bouncing off each other in one story, little wonder that the headline’s complicated:

Ambassador, three staffers killed after film, ‘trial’ backed by Gainesville pastor Terry Jones spark unrest in Libya, Egypt

Take a good look at that title.  It’s not a normal headline.  But they had to find a way to get Jones out front before the facts came in:

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three American members of his staff were reportedly killed Tuesday in riots sparked by outrage over a film backed by Terry Jones, the Gainesville pastor whose burning of Korans last year led to days of rioting in Afghanistan.

Well, that was yesterday, this is today.  And the news is that the protests/riots/uprisings were planned weeks ago, and Jones in no way factors into the violence, except in the overheated fantasies of newspaper reporters.  So does the TBT retract, or even correct, their now-discredited story?

Heck no.  Who do you think they are?  Politicians?  Ordinary people?  No, they’re journalists.

So today, instead of admitting that they had made a giant mistake fueled entirely by their intense desire to Blame America First, the Times ran another feature story about Jones.  In the context of their failure to be truthful yesterday, and the unspoken fact that they were the ones paying “attention” to Jones yesterday, today’s headline is pretty funny.  Shameless and funny:

Anti-Muslim pastor gets attention, not credit for deadly Libya attack

But it only gets funnier.  Right out of the gate, the Times pretends it has been trying really hard to ignore Jones, but he keeps ending up on their front page.  That’s his fault, too: he’s so bad, he’s responsible for terrorism and journalism:

Controversial Gainesville preacher Terry Jones, largely ignored by the Florida media since his attempts to burn Korans in 2010, is again in the spotlight for his alleged support of a film that may have sparked protests in Egypt and Libya on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Now comes the dog-ate-my-correction part:

But Jones’ connection to the mysterious anti-Muslim film is weak, and the motivation for the violence seems far more complicated.

The Obama administration said Wednesday that it suspects the attack in Libya may have been a planned and organized assault rather than a spontaneous uprising.

Others, including the London-based think tank Quilliam, said the assault “was a well planned terrorist attack that would have occurred regardless of the demonstration, to serve another purpose.”

Citing sources in Benghazi, the think tank said: “(W)e have reason to believe that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi came to avenge the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi, al-Qaida’s second in command killed a few months ago.”

A day before the attack, the leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, urged Libyans to avenge the killing, Quilliam noted, and roughly 20 militants were present, prepared for military assault with rocket-propelled grenade launchers that do not typically appear at peaceful protests.

Oh.  So is the Tampa Bay Times going to retract everything they said about this yesterday?  Of course not.  They just double down on reporting that newspaper reports were wrong, you know, somewhere out there in the vague unnamed journalism ionosphere:

Nonetheless, much of the blame for the protests was aimed at the poorly-made film Innocence of Muslims. . .

 Then they blame Jones some more for their relationship with Jones.  Remember, it’s all his fault.  White-trash dog whistle emphasis added:

None of that stopped Jones from trying to capitalize on the renewed exposure, even if his connection to the film was tangential.

The slow-tongued leader was unapologetic as he greeted media at his Dove World Outreach Center, a large prefab warehouse which reportedly claims about 50 members.

He said he promoted the film during an “International Judge Muhammad Day” and planned to show a clip of the film at his church on Sept. 11. But he couldn’t get the video to work. He also acknowledged he couldn’t livestream the event on the Internet, refuting some reports.

“As we tried to show it, all of the sudden our Internet wouldn’t work,” he told Orlando’s NBC affiliate. He wouldn’t say how many people were in attendance.

Refuting some reports.  Like, their’s.  I wonder why they don’t call such reports “hasty” or “premature” to offset Jones’ “slow tongue.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hilariously, on September 9, the Tampa Bay Times published a big fat valentine to . . . the Tampa Bay Times praising itself for practicing journalism with the highest ethical standards of anyone.  Times editor Neil Brown didn’t hold back in praising himself for his courageous stance against political bias:

You can handle the truth

“We have disrupted the status quo in American politics,” says my colleague Bill Adair, editor of PolitiFact and our Washington bureau chief.

We launched PolitiFact — featuring its now trademarked “Truth-O-Meter” graphic — in August 2007 with a handful of journalists . . .

Today there is more fact-check journalism under way than ever before. Reporters at Factcheck.org (one of the earliest and most credible initiatives), the Washington Post Fact Checker and other newsrooms are diving deep into the claims of politicians, asking the most basic question: Is it true?

Why would there be a backlash against that? It’s all about power.

The candidates, the political parties, the super PACs, the cable TV and talk radio shows — they all spend millions of dollars in order to shape what you believe. There are no question-and-answer sessions after you watch a campaign ad; there are no meaningful disclosures of where their info comes from. Beliefs are declared with authority and impunity and crafted to look like facts. The strategy is clear and not at all new: Say something strongly and frequently enough and perhaps it will be accepted as truth. . .

The underpinning of fact-check journalism is this tenet: Words matter. If you don’t believe that, then journalism that checks the veracity of political speech may not hold much interest for you.

At PolitiFact, we wrote “Principles of the Truth-O-Meter” to help guide our work. Words matter was the first principle. The second principle: Context matters. And another important principle: We show our math and explain where we got all our information. So you don’t have to take our word for it, you can look it up yourself. No anonymous sources.

And so on.  I was blushing as I read it.  Newspapers are the only bastion against political bias?  No anonymous sources?  OK, Neil.  Prove it.  Fact check your own coverage of this story.

What Presidents Used to Say When America Was Attacked

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It should be noted that Barack Obama began talking about Islam yesterday hours before the attacks on Americans in Libya and Egypt.  Delivering his speech commemorating September 11, before violence broke out, Obama could not resist inserting a boilerplate reassurance that Americans are not a danger to Muslim people.  In doing so, he turned a speech that was supposed to be about the murder of Americans by a foreign enemy into another apology for the imaginary straw-man of American Islamophobia:

I’ve always said that our fight is with al Qadea and its affiliates, not with Islam or any other religion.

Note that he attributes the goodwill part of the message only to himself.  I’ve always said that.  He didn’t say “America has always know that their fight,” or “Americans have always said, and I too believe.”  The distinction between us and him is necessary to turn the memorial for Americans into a negative message about Americans.  By nightfall, Obama’s administration was saying much more against imaginary American straw-men: first there was the statement of apology coming from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo because a film mocking Mohammed was allegedly “causing” the takeover of the embassy; later there was the “three a.m.” first responder apology from Obama himself:

 

Obama: While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.

But there’s the rub: the violence is far from “senseless.”  It is utterly imbued with meaning and intent.  One intent, the primary one, is to rub salt in the wounds of America on September 11; the other is to engage in a strange waltz of accusation and apology with Obama and his proxies.

And Obama stepped up for the dance, not as blatantly as he did in 2009 during his “apology tour” culminating in his Cairo University New Beginning speech, but the message remained intact.  The New Beginning speech was a sort of an apex (or nadir, depending on your perspective) of apologies for the sins of being American: as such, it is now reprinted in rhetoric and composition anthologies and widely assigned to schoolchildren and college students as an example of rhetorical perfection and presidential diplomacy.

My writing partner Mary Grabar has just published an excellent guide for students who find themselves subjected to lessons on Obama’s New Beginning apologia in their English or Social Studies classes.  Mary and co-author Brian Birdnow provide students with the types of resources a real lesson on Obama’s speech might include: background on recent Middle East diplomacy; discussion of rhetorical devices; and comparisons of the Cairo University speech to other presidential speeches.  You can buy the book at Mary’s website, Dissident Prof.

Obama’s response to last night’s “middle of the night” presidential crisis was merely a doubling-down on his insistence that Americans need to keep apologizing to the Muslim world.  This is a complicated dance, too, enforced by an industry of professional accusers.  Obama could have easily framed his response to avoid insulting Americans on the anniversary of 9/11, but he instead chose to rub salt in those wounds on that day, too.  So be it: it’s a bracing reminder of where he stands.

We are very far away from what a president is supposed to be to his country.  More and more students are forced to contemplate Obamas’s apologies (and respond to them correctly in the classroom, of course), but I wonder how many are also familiar with the speeches made by F.D.R. after Pearl Harbor and during the D-Day offensive.  It’s painful to revisit these in light of Obama’s performance of the last two days.

FDR’s Pearl Harbor Address

    

FDR’s D-Day Speech

And don’t forget this one.

 

Watcher’s Council Nominations: Empty Chair Edition

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The Watcher’s Council

 

 

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday.

This week’s contest is dedicated to Clint Eastwood. Who proved once again that a man, even a president, has got to know his limitations. And of course, to Professor Bill over at Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion for a brilliant idea.

Council News:

This week, Right TruthTinaTrent.comAsk MarionBoker Tov, Boulder and The Pirate’s Cove took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status with some absolutely excellent pieces.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category.

Then just return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

Easy, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members, while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!

Award for the Most Weirdly Inappropriate Thing Projected by the Media onto the Tampa RNC . . .

8 comments

. . . surprisingly doesn’t go to Salon Magazine, despite Will Doig’s extraordinarily inaccurate and unhinged hate-fest aimed at Tampa Bay’s OS (Sin, Original) of failing to buy the kiddies that multi-billion dollar choo-choo train to Disneyworld that nobody needs but would somehow magically transform Central Florida into Seattle.  Will continued his no-choo-no-peace rant on Russia Today — of course between jetting in from whatever fabulous city he was previously gracing and jetting off to the next one.

Will, sweetie, we already have food trucks.  And, better Cuban sandwiches.  And a plethora of tattoos.  And rain.  Wash your face and calm down.  Then go contemplate your own carbon footprint.

Nope, Slate Magazine wins for the weirdest and most inappropriate projection onto the Republican Convention.  And even more weirdly,  it wasn’t the slightly vicious, slightly dull observer Dave Weigel checking the emotional baggage this time; it was Brian Palmer, who usually writes columns explaining what you should do if a wild Kangaroo attacks you, or how to live without sunlight.

Palmer turned his incisivey, sciencey eye to the Romneys’ marriage.  The article starts out seeming normal, but since Slate isn’t Redbook Magazine, there’s no reason to be terribly surprised when it turns nasty:

Should You Marry Your High-School Sweetheart?

It worked for Mitt and Ann Romney.

By Brian Palmer|Posted Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, at 5:11 PM ET

During her Tuesday night speech at the Republic National Convention, Ann Romney talked about meeting her future husband at a high-school dance. It worked out for Ann and Mitt Romney, but do statistics support the decision to marry your high-school sweetheart?

The premise of this column is simply weird.  Who besides the media would watch a politician and his wife talk about their happy marriage and close family and start scribbling away about divorce?  Maybe a political strategist for the opposing candidate who wants to paint his opponent as a privileged, out-of-touch chap.  But this is a journalism story, not a memo to the Obama campaign, right?  Wrong:

Marrying young is one of the most reliable predictors of divorce, especially for women. Those who wed during their teens—Ann Romney was about a month shy of 20 when she married Mitt in 1969—have only a 54 percent chance of remaining married for 10 years. Marrying between the ages of 20 and 24 boosts those odds to 69 percent, while holding off until age 25 lifts the 10-year marriage survival rate to 78 percent. It should be noted that Ann Romney’s marital behavior was fairly typical of her generation: In 1970, the average first-time bride was approximately 21 years old. Today, the average is 26 years old. By some calculations, that change accounts for most of the decline in the national divorce rate over the past 30 years.

Umm, the divorce rate has fallen because marriage is disappearing.  I thought this was supposed to be sciencey.  Now, for a little Mormon splicing:

Conventional wisdom might hold that the Romneys’ Mormon faith diminished their likelihood of divorce, but religion actually plays a somewhat complicated role in the success of a marriage. The divorce rate for Mormons is slightly higher than that of the general population during the first three years of marriage, probably because Mormon women marry younger than their non-LDS peers.

OK, big question: is Palmer comparing Mormon newly-marrieds to the general population of newly-marrieds, or to the general population of newly marrieds who marry between 20 and 24?  Because, he’s straying from making any point at all.  Just asking.  I like statistics.  They feel so bracingly . . . busy.

Mormons who make it through that adjustment period, however, are more likely than other Americans to remain married. In addition, Ann Romney was an Episcopalian when she met Mitt, but, by some accounts, she was raised in a largely nonreligioushousehold. That would render her more likely to divorce than people raised by more religious families.

This is where the article gets creepy.  Reducing Ann Romney to a statistic is bad enough: lumping her into a statistical group to which she doesn’t belong smacks of wish-fulfillment.  And plucking an individual out of the story she’s telling about her life and wedging her down into an unrelated social issue isn’t merely exploitative: it’s exploitative in a particularly  partisan way — to mute the story she’s telling and replace it with Romney-bashing.

It’s as if the reporter is trying to cast Ann Romney as a disobedient Julia, refusing the state’s ever-so-well-intentioned efforts to husband her.  She’s being the anti-Stepford Wife, no matter how hard they try to make her into the Stepford Wife.  Meanwhile, the Stepford Wife has morphed into a husbandless, eyeless, and mouthless Democratic robot sitting in her imaginary dollhouse waiting for her government benefits check to come so she can meet her girlfriends for a night on the town.

 Massive fail, Brian.

But there’s more:

One statistical factor working in the Romney marriage’s favor was the couple’s geographic location. According to recent studies, couples in left-leaning, blue states are significantly less likely to divorce. The divorce rate in the Romneys’ current home state, Massachusetts, is the lowest in the country, and Michigan, where they wed, boasts fewer divorces per capita than bright-red Utah.

So you see, the Romney’s don’t have a happy marriage because they built it: they have a happy marriage because they statistically absorbed marital success by living in proximity to enlightened Democrats in Massachusetts.

You know, like the Kennedys.

 Well, thank God for journalists.  Because if they weren’t here to tell us such things, how would we possibly know them?

 

 

Best Takedown of Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, Renée Feltz . . . and Mumia Supporters Everywhere

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Brandon Darby interviewed by “journalist-activist” Renée Feltz at the RNC . . . it’s an educated deconstruction and crack primer on Leftist media tactics, Leftist cop-hating, and how very, very quickly their house of cards can fall.

Brutal and refreshing.

Is WEDU, Tampa, Culpable in Democracy Now! Stunt to Disrupt Romney Speech?

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Last night, as Mitt Romney gave his nomination speech at the RNC, Code Pink protesters trailed by Democracy Now! cameramen tried to shout Romney down.  Video here.  Breitbart story here.  This is the ultimate offense in a week of similar stunts to disrupt the proceedings of the RNC.

The important part of this story, locally, is that WEDU, the flagship public television station in Tampa Bay, has been hosting Democracy Now! during the convention.

WEDU’s Vice President for Content, Jack Conely, told me in a phone conversation today that he unilaterally made the decision to air Democracy Now! as a special service to viewers during the RNC.  He said he considers doing this a “nice courtesy” because of the local angle of their reporting this week.  He added that WEDU “give[s] a platform to all sorts of different political programming.”

Well, no it doesn’t.  And as far as the “local” angle goes, now they have made a nest for media activists who clearly knew in advance — and colluded in — an attempt to disrupt the speech of the Republican party’s candidate for president in the station’s hometown.

Mr. Conely needs to explain how the Democracy Now! deal came to pass.  He also ought to apologize to the Republican Host Committee for getting his station entangled in such an ugly incident.  And if he knew about the plans to disrupt the speech, he needs to resign.  Remember, we’re paying this guy’s salary.

When the election rolls around, voters also need to remember that we’re paying for all this behavior by being forced to subsidize PBS.  I wonder if there’s any connection between Mitt Romney’s announcement that he will cut off public funding for PBS and this puerile stunt.  If so, it looks even worse for WEDU.

See Cliff Kincaid’s article about Romney and PBS here.

What The Heck Does Democracy Look Like, Again?

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Today was the last day of the Republican National Convention.  I’ve spent the last week watching the media watch the protesters slowly ripen in the Florida sun, then hurry back to television studios to transform images of the sad, stinking, minuscule, drum-banging, shouting debacle into images of noble massings of freedom fighters — using no tool other than the magic of media bias.

Much of this bias depends upon behaving as if the protesters are victims, rather than instigators of violence and authors of every last one of their own problems.  The New Yorker’s Nathaniel Stein wins the prize for the most fictional imagining of non-existent police cruelty.  I have not and will not be reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but Stein’s whiney attempt at protester pathos certainly sounds like it — sounds like channeling cheap S & M porn.  That is the really offensive thing: how the protesters are exhibitionists; how they force the rest of us to deal with them acting out on the streets.

Remember when civil disobedience meant you got arrested to make a point, and didn’t whine about it?  Not anymore.

The media worked extremely hard to whitewash the protesters’ behavior and message.  But thanks to endless egos and the magic of the internet, there’s a factual record.  Tonight, protesters live-streamed themselves flailing around Tampa shouting “One Two Three Four, It’s a F*****g Class War; Five, Six Seven, Eight, Organize To Smash The State” . . . interspersed by incredibly embarrassing comments scotching the live feed — lots of metrosexual chest-puffery and breathless self-congratulation, hysteria about “safety in numbers” though the police were patiently humoring them, and the occasional butchering of a Woody Guthrie song.

They chanted “Get those animals off those horses” about the police.

They chanted “Let’s Dance Anarchy” while jumping up and down.  Yet, they’re clearly older than 18.

They blew weirdly emasculating noisemakers.

It’s pathetic.

And they wonder why nobody shows up anymore.

Not that you’ll hear or see any of that on the evening news.

Plus, their puppet sucks.

One of the things that struck me this week was the difference between young protesters and young cops.  Tattooed, druggy, dirty, self-indulgent, screeching, potty-mouthed kids versus clean-cut, earnest, polite, healthy-looking, disciplined, serious kids.  This does not reflect well on the Left.

I heard several police officers express concern for the protesters.  They brought them food and watched to make sure the naive runaways among them didn’t end up tangling with the more unhinged homeless people sharing tents with them at the camps.

In return, the protesters screamed “pigs” at the police and complained that they weren’t handing out enough free water.  “One bottle is pathetic,” someone sneered.

Enough with the patience and prudence.  It’s time for tough love for these infants.  Or, at least, accurate coverage by the media.

 ~~~

Speaking of which, I was downtown at the Citizens United tent at the RNC today, watching the premiere of Occupy Unmasked.  The filmmakers had graciously invited Medea Benjamin from Code Pink to see the premiere, which was nice enough, but it meant that the rest of the audience had to be subjected to Benjamin blathering on self-importantly during the Q & A.  There’s such a thing as being too nice: the woman is unhinged.

At the same time, and likely in collusion with Code Pink, a busload of protesters tried to invade the Apollo Beach power plant near my home.

If you or I did these things, we’d be arrested.  But the protesters have created pressures that force the rest of us to babysit them.  This is the essence of the Occupy movement: radical dependency projected outward on society.  Performative dependency consisting of childish actions and shrieks that escalate until we’re forced to react.

After invading the power plant, protesters used chains, superglue and PVC to handcuff themselves together on the pavement.  Police had to get tools and cut them apart.  That’s our tax dollars dripping away in a tidal wave of adolescent stupidity.

If you’re not going to arrest them, just leave them to bake on the Florida asphalt.  They won’t do it twice.

A curious thing about the Apollo Beach power plant: the warm water running from its drainpipes makes an appealing environment for manatees.  The result is a strange symbiosis of nature and human energy production.  What would it take for activists to stop seeing the human world as a purely evil place?

Manatees at the Apollo Beach Power Plant

Here’s a nice image to close out the Republican National Convention.  A police officer rescuing a baby squirrel.

Because, you know, that’s the way police are.