Hate Speech and Other Unspeakable Things

JLH sends some pop-culture commentary for a Sunday afternoon.

Hate Speech and Other Unspeakable Things

by JLH

Hollywood loves teaching the unwashed. Any man-caused (sorry — I am a little old-fashioned for the other 76 genders) disaster — such as totalitarian-ism or a nuclear holocaust — can be traced to corporations driven by greed and a lust for power (see Resident Evil), or too-powerful government agencies. The series of films starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne has selected (US) intelligence agencies. Time and again, the story plays out the same way. Jason survives another level of ubiquitous evil. And the agency never cures itself.

I just watched the re-re-re-make of the original Jason Bourne — a man tortured by the deeds he was brainwashed into committing. But wait, the man who recruited him says he did it all voluntarily. Whom to believe? Well his old recruiter and han-dler seems sincere, but, let’s face it, Matt Damon is much better looking, and much better at looking tortured. Besides, they keep killing all the people who try to help him. His only weapon against a monstrous government machine is his continuing winsome appeal to rather nice young women, who volunteer to help him and (don’t) live to regret it.

Once more, Matt Damon shows that he is unparalleled at power-walking to ominous music with a compelling rhythm. Highly classified government villains — in this case Tommy Lee Jones — issue unpalatable orders to unattractive underlings. Jason keeps on walking, stopping occasionally to destroy one of the underlings. Undisturbed by the apparently causeless and unexplainable traffic disasters taking place all around him. And undeterred in pursuing his goal (whatever that is).

But this time, there are some surprises. After his first female supporter becomes a sacrifice to the hunt for Bourne, a second young woman on the inside of the hunt appears to become sympathetic, and suggests that he could change (by not killing every-one who tries to kill him). Unfortunately — and inexplicably — he comes into possession of a recording of her speaking with her CIA superior, in which she admits that if she cannot “bring him in” Bourne will have to be “put down.”

But it’s all right! A young man who was corrupted by the money offered by Tommy Lee Jones for the start-up of his ambitious social media project has entered into a dubious agreement to allow the government access to the secrets of its users. In the film’s redemptive scene, the idealistic young man publicly renounces his arrangement with the CIA. Even the slow-on-the-uptake, senior members of the viewing audience get the point. People who create social media are essentially good people. They have only pure souls and good intentions.

Mark Zuckerberg anyone? Eric Schmidt?

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I mentioned the other night that earlier in the day I had attended a panel discussion sponsored by the Middle East Forum entitled “De-Platforming, A New Problem”, hosted by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC. Daniel Pipes moderated it, and in addition to Rep. Gosar, the panelists were Tommy Robinson (by video link), Anne Marie Waters, Raheem Kassam, and Ezra Levant.

The beginning of the event was interrupted for an extended period (it felt like half an hour, but was probably more like ten minutes or so) by three lefty protesters. As you can see from the screen cap above, one of them represented Code Pink, a far left peace-’n’-justice advocacy group that was co-founded and made notorious by Medea Benjamin.

I intended (and still intend) to provide an extensive write-up of the event. I was waiting for a full video of the proceedings to be released, but unfortunately there has been a glitch: the MEF is having technical problems with the video file, so the public release of footage of the panelists has been delayed.

As a result, the sole video record of the event is the one provided by RT. For reasons best known to themselves, the Russian team chose to focus mostly on the disruption of the proceedings, and omit the substantive remarks by the panelists. The clip I posted earlier has been taken down by Ruptly and replaced with this slightly longer version, which contains a little bit more of what Tommy said along with a few other odds and ends:

For those who are interested, the original two-minute Ruptly video has been mirrored here.

The bearded shouter with the kippa is named Mikey Franklin, who bills himself as a “professional troublemaker”. At one point he had a Facebook page, but sometime within the last 48 hours it has been taken down. However, as of this afternoon he still has active accounts at Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. He also has IMDb cast listings for two productions, and is listed at Netroots Nation.

Except for Facebook, all of the above links were active this afternoon (November 16). For all I know, they may disappear soon, too.

A woman named Caroline Debnam says she was one of two young female protestors at the back of the room. It’s hard to tell from her Twitter postings, but I think she’s the one wearing the Code Pink button in the screen cap at the top of this post.

I also have my suspicions about the man with the grizzled hair and beard who sneered at the Code Pink girl and called her a “snotty little brat”. His behavior was not helpful to our side, but rather served the interests of our enemies. However, if what he did was entirely of his own volition, I apologize to him in advance.

I can’t help but wonder who footed the bill for this operation. And I’m suspicious of the fact that Ruptly had multiple stringers on site, and was able to post an edited video of the disruption very quickly, before I even returned home from the Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy.

I tend to paranoia, but I will refrain from airing all my speculations here, not only because they are just that — speculations — but also because I don’t want to post anything that might end up being actionable in the event that one or more of the speculatees were to take exception to what I say.

The fact that there is no video of the what happened except for the unsatisfactory Ruptly footage makes it imperative that private cell phone recordings of all or part of the event be uploaded to YouTube as soon as possible. If you were taking footage at the MEF gig, please get in touch with me (gatesofvienna [at] chromatism [dot] net), and I’ll help you get the footage to Vlad Tepes. Or, if you have uploaded your footage, please send a link. I haven’t been able to find anything except the Ruptly clips.

One last note: According to his social media accounts, Mikey Franklin is indeed Jewish. However, if you look through his Instagram snaps, you’ll see that neither he nor anyone among his family and friends wears a kippa, or shows any other sign of being Orthodox.

It’s plain that Mr. Franklin reserves the wearing of the kippa for those occasions when he is being a “troublemaker”. The practice would seem to serve two simultaneous purposes:

1.   It provides him with protective cover as an oppressed “minority” when he decides to make trouble; and
2.   It serves to harm the State of Israel and observant Jews in general by associating them with his troublemaking.
 

I’m not saying that purpose #2 is deliberate on his part. But it may sometimes serve the interests of those who would contract with him for his troublemaking services (if such a transaction has ever in fact occurred).

Once again, the above is pure speculation. But all of the information that was at the listed links as of 2:45pm EST is factual.

Readers are free to draw any additional conclusions they like. However, I may not approve them in the comments if I deem them potentially actionable. Circumspection is recommended.

The MEF issued this press release about what happened on Wednesday:

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What I Did on my Winter Vacation

I’m calling it “winter” because the forecast calls for snow here tomorrow.

I arrived home earlier this evening (actually, it was yesterday evening, but I’ll refer to it as today, because I haven’t been to bed yet). Before I even talked to Vlad tonight, he had already been tipped to the RT video below, which shows the interruption of an event — which I attended — by a trio of social justice warriors. You can even see me in some of the footage because I was sitting in the front row, directly in front of the guy who started shouting at the congressman:

RT got the name of the event wrong, and included almost nothing of the real discussion (just a tiny bit from Tommy Robinson), so I’ll explain what it was: It was a panel discussion entitled “De-Platforming, A New Problem”, sponsored by the Middle East Forum and hosted by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC. Daniel Pipes was the moderator, and in addition to Rep. Gosar, the panelists were Tommy Robinson (by video link), Anne Marie Waters of For Britain, Raheem Kassam of Breitbart London, and Ezra Levant of Rebel Media.

In one of the bitter ironies of our time, a group of lefty activists attempted to de-platform the panel of a discussion on de-platforming. In his remarks during the event, Mr. Levant referred to that type of action as “3D de-platforming” — physical disruption, noise, threats, and even violent attacks to prevent people from speaking.

Tommy couldn’t be there in person because his visa didn’t come through in time. I must emphasize that he was not denied a visa; the process simply wasn’t completed in time. The fact that Monday was a federal holiday helped make sure of that. But he and the MEF assure everyone that he will get here eventually (if the Home Secretary allows him to leave, that is).

I’ll have a lot more to say about today’s event and its interruption as soon as I get the time to write it up.

I arrived home too late to do a news feed, so there will just have to be a really big news feed tomorrow (later today).

All That Vanished Glory

One hundred years ago this morning, in a railway carriage parked on a siding in the Forest of Compiègne in France, an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany, officially ending the Great War. The signing took place at 11am French time, so that the occasion is commonly identified as the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. The signatories of the agreement were Marshal Ferdinand Foch (representing France), Admiral Rosslyn Wemyss (representing Britain), and Matthias Erzberger (representing the new republican government of formerly Imperial Germany).

By the time these men gathered to sign the document, four great empires had ceased to exist: the Russian, the Austrian, the Ottoman, and the German. The sole remaining empire, that of the British, hung on for another thirty years or so before its piecemeal dissolution.

More than a year passed after the Armistice before a permanent peace treaty was signed at Versailles in January 1920. Its draconian terms all but guaranteed that the Great War would eventually resume, which it did less than twenty years later. Just think how brief the period “between the wars” was — looking back the same amount of time (7,599 days) from today, we see January 1998, when Paula Jones had just accused President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment and the Monica Lewinsky scandal was waiting in the wings, poised to dominate America’s television screens for the next year or two. As a matter of interest, earlier that month Ramzi Yousef was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Remember all that? Not very long ago, was it?

The time between the wars was so short that any number of men served in both wars. A soldier born in 1900 and conscripted in 1918 had not yet turned forty when Hitler invaded Poland. By military standards he was a bit long in the tooth, but not too old to serve in the new war, especially if he was a career soldier.

So we could say that in a way the Great War lasted 31 years, from 1914 to 1945, with a twenty-year ceasefire in the middle. A ceasefire that gave the continent of Europe two precious decades of peace. During those twenty years of peace — despite the assertion that the Great War had been “the war to end wars” — there was a widespread feeling, especially after 1933, that another war was on the way. Looking back at the literature of the time, one detects a sense of impending doom. And, despite all the efforts of the great statesmen of the day to stave it off, doom eventually came.

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The conflict of 1914-1918 stands as the Great Divide of our time. Looking back from the twenties, the period before 1914 seemed a golden idyll in retrospect. Not that all the signs of cultural rot weren’t already in place before the war — one has only to look at French literature from the fin de siècle or the antics of the British aristocracy during the Edwardian period to realize that decadence and ennui were rife among the literate classes long before Gavrilo Princip fired his pistol at Archduke Franz Ferdinand and blew the old world away.

But all those forces of cultural destruction were given a power assist by the Great War. Lytic processes that had been in their infancy in 1914 were fully mature by 1920. Consider this partial list, beginning with the most important:

Bolshevism. Communism and other forms of revolutionary socialism were already a concern for the intelligence services of Russia and the West in 1914, but the Great War gave them such a boost that they became unstoppable. Assisted by the German general staff, Lenin was able to return to Russia and seize the moment, taking advantage of a society and state that had been severely debilitated by three years of trench warfare.

Once they had consolidated their hold on power, the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union became the vanguard of International Socialism, attempting to export the revolution to the entire world. In the process they spawned their evil twin, National Socialism, through their violent conflict with various other socialist sects. By funding and infiltrating activist groups in the West, they undermined and discredited traditional societal structures — nations, churches, schools, families — to further the destruction of bourgeois values and hasten the revolution.

The forces unleashed by the Bolsheviks survived the death of the USSR and are currently regnant throughout the major institutions of the Western world — the most fateful legacy of the Great War.

Women’s Lib. Female suffrage was already trending in 1914, but the Great War guaranteed that the suffragettes would prevail. The war broke up traditional arrangements between men and women, sending women to work in the factories while men were blown to pieces on the Western Front. Women who had been apolitical became activists and agitators as a result. It’s no coincidence that major Western countries granted women the vote in 1918 and shortly afterwards.

Bobbed hair, short skirts, female employment, sexual emancipation. The “free love” movement existed long before the war — think of the Fabians or the Bloomsbury Group — but after 1918 it spread from the upper and upper middle classes to the rest of society, ushering in the licentious hedonism of pop culture that has become the norm throughout the West.

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The Midterms: An English Viewpoint

From rainy Blighty, Seneca III sends this missive about our Midterms, plus analogous issues from his side of the North Atlantic.

The Midterms, Brexit, Red Meat & Bacon Tax, Bonfire Night Hate Crime, Counter-reproductive Sexual Deviancy and the Madness of the End Times

by Seneca III

When it comes to the Midterm statistics I see it as a half and half result which, whilst not a total disaster, does not bode well. The House Dems are going to do everything in their power to put the brakes on Trump’s agenda, occupy his time and cut down on his room to maneuver with all sorts of claims, investigations and accusations, spurious and otherwise. Four people to watch and whose future demented ranting should go a long way towards helping Trump and the GOP in 2020 are Keith Ellison, MN; Ocasio-Cortez, NY; Nancy Pelosi, CA; and Hussein Obama now that he has been handed a free pass for the immediate future.

All in all there are a tumultuous couple of years ahead of us on both sides of the pond, and the potential for civil conflict has not gone away… in fact, it may have increased, as the result will have fired up the Dems over there and the Remainers over here. They will sooner rather than later go into overreach; the Brexit debacle continues apace and a conspiracy to bind us to the tyranny of Globalism for thirty pieces of Euros is the driving ethos of the political and monied classes. This is not going down well; those responsible are well-known and the temperature is rising.

Red Meat and Bacon Tax. Headline: “Price hike would offset cost of current meat eating to national health systems and help change public behaviour in similar way to smoking tax, research suggests

Sausages, bacon and other staples of the full English breakfast should have their prices raised by up to 80 per cent to prevent nearly 6,000 deaths a year and save the NHS more than £734m, according to a new study.

Raising taxes on red and processed meats enough to offset their cost to the health service could prevent hundreds of thousands of cancers, heart attacks and strokes, University of Oxford researchers said. Globally this would mean 220,000 fewer deaths a year and savings of $40bn (£30.6bn) if every country adopted a tailored levy based on their current levels of meat eating, they added…

…Food section: The World Health Organization declared processed red meat to be a carcinogen in 2015, and unprocessed red meat such as steaks and chops to be a probable carcinogen. However, people in rich nations eat more than the recommended amount of red meat, which is also linked to heart disease, strokes and diabetes.”

(These quotes are from The Guardian but it’s pretty much the same everywhere else, and my emboldened portions in the Food section snippet above tell us where this is coming from and why — after Carbon Tax Fraud comes Food Tax and then probably a Water Tax.)

Point of order: We Homo sapiens sapiens (even though the ‘sapient’ part appears to be in rapid decline) are an omnivorous species and have been so since or even before an anthropoid ape came down from the trees, lifted its knuckles out of the red African earth and stood upright. A significant part of a mammalian omnivore’s diet is animal protein; this is an evolutionary development that has worked well for millennia, not a passing fad, and requires an adequate supply of animal protein containing essential amino acids that cannot be metabolized but must be ingested.

These essential amino acids include the aromatic amino acids (tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine) which are the biosynthetic precursors necessary for the metabolic production of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Without them the human brain functions neither well nor particularly fast and may even atrophy over generations, particularly in conjunction with inbreeding, which tells you everything you need to know about Vegans.

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The Puzzle of American Elections: the Midterms

Dr. Turley explains the phenomenon known as “the American mid-term elections”. They have their own rhythm and rationale:

Our Congressional District, Five, is the biggest in Virginia and takes in a lot of blue bubbles – e.g., Charlottesville. So I was sure the (in)famous Leslie Cockburn (Alexander Cockburn’s sister-in-law) would sweep through those urban enclaves. I was so wrong, so delightfully wrong.

I wish Denver Riggleman III the best and hope his ideas prevail. The House will shift to blue, but at least our District is still red. Just think, we have Nancy Pelosi back with the gavel again. Her looney-tunes pronouncements, her private, government-funded flights home to California and her heavily-fenced estate will continue. But the botox may be over. One can hope.

Meanwhile, in the Swamp, the boats are taking on water. Whatcha wanna bet all those along for the ride are looking for golden paddles?

Matt Bracken: Social Media, Free Speech, and Censorship

Matt Bracken published an essay yesterday at the American Partisan about free speech, Gab.ai, and FreeZoxee. Some excerpts are below:

Bracken: Social Media, Free Speech, and Censorship

Facebook, Twitter and many other social media platforms cost nothing to use, so how do these corporations turn a profit? It’s no secret that they automatically data-mine and analyze all the information posted by their users, then package and sell this information to other corporations to help target their advertising.

But the same automated processes that are exploited by advertisers are also used by these platforms to tilt the ideological playing field in favor of their own leftist so-called social justice agenda. As an example, I have been suspended from Facebook for six out of the past twelve months for posting memes that others report posting with no consequences, indicating that more stringent rules apply to designated certain “bad comrades” than to average users. Hidden algorithms are used to throttle, shadow-ban, and remove followers from targeted users in order to decrease their impact on leftist-controlled social media platforms.

In Britain and Germany, users of social media who complain too vocally about the ill effects of uncontrolled immigration and other counter-PC topics are even arrested and charged with hate crimes, but the primary purpose of these draconian policies is to cause the rest of the population to self-censor their true opinions in order to avoid similar consequences.

Conservatives dissatisfied with this state of affairs have been searching for social media alternatives where their social and political views would not be punished, and many small niche websites have sprung up in an attempt to fill the void. Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba, preaches the gospel of untrammeled free speech, and it’s a seductive message to be sure—but not one without serious hazards. For example, Gab quickly became a haven for perverts who like to share sexualized photos of children that are just a hair below the legal definition of child pornography. And far more notoriously, Gab became a safe haven for radical neo-Nazi fanatics.

Any visitor to Gab would immediately notice the prevalence of these Nazi trolls, who turn every discussion into a screed about the evils of all Jews throughout history. I was a member of Gab for most of the two years of its existence to date, and I personally muted dozens of these Jew-obsessed Nazis. However, the mute function did not remove these sick genocidal freaks from Gab; they only hid them from general view. Unseen, nearly a thousand Gab members joined the recognized sub-group known as the #GABstapo, where their genocidal fantasies and aspirations were freely shared in comments, memes, and videos.

Gab’s founder says that “The solution to bad speech is good speech,” but this cliché carried little weight when these genocidal Nazi freaks were hiding and communicating only among themselves in their private dank cellar, after being muted by normal Gab users. The #GABstapo became a neo-Nazi clubhouse where the members poured gasoline on their genocidal fantasies, and openly wondered when they would move from words to actions. Finally, #GABstapo member Robert Bowers commented to his pals, “screw your optics, I’m going in.” (This online incitement dynamic harkens back to Dylan Roof’s radicalization on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront, where Roof was goaded into carrying out the Charleston church massacre.)

In recent days Torba has made several public videos where he decries the Pittsburgh massacre, while ducking any responsibility for personally building the neo-Nazi playhouse where Robert Bowers was incited and inflamed to commit his horrible crimes. On these videos, Torba actually seems more upset at the damage done to his website than by the Pittsburgh massacre. Torba has also stated optimistically that the post-massacre notoriety will cause Gab to grow to one hundred times its former size, which he has claimed was 800,000 users before its week-long shutdown following the synagogue massacre.

I cannot determine if Torba is a sincere or mistaken believer in absolute free speech on his private website even for crazed neo-Nazis like Robert Bowers, or if he is merely a cynical “Elmer Gantry” preaching the easily-sold gospel of absolute free speech, even after the catastrophic social consequences seen in Pittsburgh

For the past two years I was a member of Gab, increasing my participation in 2018 as the throttling and shadow-banning of conservatives became worse on Facebook and Twitter. When on Gab I muted the army of Jew-hating neo-Nazis until they disappeared from my view, but I knew that their continued presence would prevent Gab from ever reaching its full potential. For example, nobody with the stature and popularity on Twitter of James Woods would ever join Gab, where he would immediately be set upon by platoons of rabid neo-Nazis as a Jew-loving Zionist agent. But despite its manifest shortcomings, lacking any viable alternative, I continued to occasionally post on Gab, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

Then in September I was contacted by one of my online friends who shared my frustration with liberal social media, and held similar reservations about Gab, given its prevalence of frankly insane genocidal Nazi freaks. On his own, he had been designing the architecture for a new group of interconnected social media and content platforms, waiting for it to be ready to take online. This happened around mid-October. Zoxee’s political philosophy matched my own, and since he opened Freezoxee.com, I have been helping him to promote it to a wider audience.

We both see the need for new social media platforms without the liberal bias and shadow-banning of Facebook and Twitter, but also without the sick and evil totalitarian trolls who had infested Gab from its inception and up until today. Freezoxee has a policy of not permitting the proponents of deadly ideologies such as Communism, Islamism, or Nazism to participate. Any legitimate opinion on any topic may be presented, but we do not permit jack-booted neo-Nazis to goose-step aboard the website beneath the swastika flag with screen names like Hitler’s Ghost, while calling for the total annihilation of all Jews.

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Anchor Babies’ Scam and the 14th Amendment

This video by Dr. Turley is quite succinct about the issues surrounding the latest Trump kerfluffle. Make no mistake: while Trump’s announcements may look random, they’re not. Unlike his tweets, his public announcements are part of his larger design to put a halt to the depredations he sees being inflicted on the U.S.

This time, we have President Trump’s announcement about his decision to sign an Executive Order doing away with the concept of anchor babies as a way to get a toehold in the U.S. If you listen carefully you can hear leftist heads exploding from coast to coast.

Dr. Turley provides a brief explanation of the origin of the 14th Amendment and its later abuse by “open borders” advocates. He enlarges the picture to include Europe, pointing to Denmark as leading the charge for welfare “chauvinism” – i.e., that benefits belong first of all to citizens, not to immigrants. [To Danes: please walk across the bridge and tell that to Sweden.]

This latest announcement by President Trump simply follows up on his promise during the primaries to end the whole anchor baby scam. He and Jeb Bush went toe-to-toe in this conflict of ideologies. This new announcement – that he’ll sign an Executive Order ending it – now comes during the last week of the mid-terms. The timing is on purpose.

No wonder there is growing interest about Trump among the black populace. They have been the big losers in the immigration scuffles. Perhaps the Dems thought they had “the black vote” sewed up, thus making it safe for them to promote the new victims…Trump is about to change that, has already changed it. Whether the change makes a difference in the outcomes of the mid-term elections remains to be seen.

Tommy’s Possible Visit to America

From the Middle East Forum some intriguing and welcome news:

The Middle East Forum has, in conjunction with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, invited activist and journalist Tommy Robinson to the United States.

In addition, Rep. Paul Gosar (Republican of Arizona) and six other members of Congress have invited Mr. Robinson to speak to the Conservative Opportunity Society in a closed-door event.

Assuming all the legal issues are sorted out, he will address the public in Washington, D.C. on November 14. Americans will then have a chance to hear Mr. Robinson, a long-time target of UK authorities attempting to silence criticism of Islamism, about his first-hand experience confronting radical Islam and his cautionary tale about political correctness run amok.

The Forum first sprung to the defense of Mr. Robinson’s rights last May when he was arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced to 13 months prison, and jailed — all in the course of five hours — after covering a rape grooming trial involving Muslim defendants in England.

On August 1, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales threw out his conviction and released him from prison, citing a lack of due process. A re-trial was ordered and Mr. Robinson is currently free on bail after a London judge referred the case to the UK Attorney General, saying it was too complex an issue for him to decide on his own.

“Mr. Robinson titled his autobiography Enemy of the State and that title is dismayingly apt,” notes MEF counselor and Legal Project director Marc Fink. “The UK government and press have come down hard on him by way of conveying a general message: discuss Islamic issues with caution. This could be a warning to Americans too, as some voices here argue that ‘hate speech’ should not enjoy First Amendment protection. Is Mr. Robinson’s plight America’s future?”

The Middle East Forum will continue to support Mr. Robinson personally, as well as the general right to publicly discuss controversial subjects — including those related to Islam — without facing legal jeopardy.

Can you imagine the security costs for this visit??

Can you imagine the twisted MSM accounts of his travels… on both sides of the Atlantic??

A Perp Walk For Mohammed

Most readers will remember Bosch Fawstin, whose cartoon won the “Draw Mohammed” contest in Garland, Texas, on May 3, 2015 — the same event at which two mujahideen were shot dead outside the venue when they tried to get inside and kill people.

Geert Wilders was the keynote speaker at that event. His presence (along with that of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller) raised its profile high enough to make it a target for the Great Jihad.

The following cartoon by Bosch Fawstin shows Mr. Fawstin and Geert Wilders perp-walking Mohammed:

I’m not sure, but I think this cartoon was originally intended to be displayed last month during Mr. Wilders’ aborted “Draw Mohammed” contest in the Dutch Parliament.

Thank You!

After a long hiatus, Jonathan Hanks returns with a guest-essay on Brett Kavanaugh, Elizabeth Warren, and the carnival freak show that American politics has become.

Thank You!

by Jonathan Hanks

The past few weeks have been a tumultuous time for the nation.

With the extraordinary spectacle of the Kavanaugh hearings we were all brought to the brink: not only of losing our democracy, but our collective sanity, as well.

You, and I, and millions of other decent and concerned citizens from wide-ranging points of view were horrified, and spent many sleepless nights over the Kafka-esque and circus-like atmosphere which commandeered not only the confirmation proceedings, but the life of the nation itself.

Supposedly wise and prudent lawmakers publicly undermined the bedrock of our Constitutional Republic, all while poring over high school yearbook entries from the early 1980s with the gravity one might have expected from a Stalinist tribunal.

And then, when it seemed like we were right at the breaking point, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine stepped onto the senate floor and addressed her colleagues, and her fellow citizens, and the world — and dispassionately, and intelligently, and articulately brought us back to our senses.

She reminded us that the rule of law was vital, and the presumption of innocence was paramount, and just as importantly she reminded us that we, too, believed these things. And we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Yes, some of us wept. But for many, and I suspect even most, this was ultimately an insufficient catharsis. The sturm und drang of the preceding weeks required even more serious medicine:

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

In one fell swoop, and in what must be one of the most ill-advised political stunts in recent memory, we were finally free to do exactly what was needed most: Laugh!

Within hours of these solemn and pretentious and supercilious pronouncements that somewhere far in the distant past, somehow one thousandth of a remote ancestor’s DNA had managed to make its way into her genetic makeup (and thereby made her way up the academic ladder a whole lot easier), the well-deserved cacophony of contagious lampooning and old fashioned belly-laughter broke out.

Names like Faux-cahontas, and Liar-watha, and Fake-agawea were freely bandied about in public: we all started cackling like a high school sports team who’d drunk a few too many brewskies after a Friday night game.

But it was OK, because this was just the medicine that the nation needed most.

You see, sometimes the lie is so great that the best and only effective retort is hilarity.

Pure and simple.

And people with a functioning Bill of Rights can afford to laugh.

So thank you, Sen. Collins and Sen. Warren.

Each of you had your part to play in our national healing, by reminding us who we are.

And, who we aren’t.

Previously by Jonathan Hanks: A Picture is Worth…

Social Justice: An Analysis (Part 4)

Below is the final part of a four-part guest essay by Richard Cocks about Social Justice. Previously: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Social Justice: An Analysis

Part 4
by Richard Cocks

Who gets to be a student?

In the 1980s in New Zealand, university students tended to be the children of parents who had also been university students. This was at a time when only five percent of the population was admitted to college. Universities were funded by the government at great expense and reserved for the academically capable. Standards were high, with no grade inflation. Every student was literate and/or numerate and tended to be interested in his studies. Nearly every student pursued his own reading agenda and most would take an interest in classical literature and foreign (i.e., difficult) movies.

This fact about the parentage of university students was presented as a problem.

However, far from being unfair, it only stands to reason. The children of academically successful people are likely to have inherited a higher genetically derived intelligence. They are more likely to be exposed to a larger vocabulary from their parents, along with relatively sophisticated concepts. Their parents are likely to read to them and to treat education as valuable and important. There will likely be easy access to books with frequent trips to the library. The parents are more likely to be exemplary role models in their own reading habits. Academic subjects might be treated as interesting and discussed around the dinner table.

Many of these New Zealand students grew up wanting to be educated and knowledgeable. Some of it was just vanity and fear — not wanting to be the only person at the party who did not know about, say, Freud.

In my own case, long before attending university, “The Academic Calendar,” a bound book in which all university courses were listed along with their reading requirements, would be eagerly examined. Practically salivating at the books that would be read and discussed, fantasies of alternative course loads ensued. Imitating a friend of the family meant wanting from the age of seven to be a philosophy professor, before even knowing what philosophy really was.

The advantages of having university-educated parents were ones of class, family and genetic inheritance. Are those advantages fair? They are neither fair nor unfair. They are certainly an undeserved good fortune a.k.a. luck.

Crucially, what is the alternative to such a state of affairs?

Social justice would require “fixing” these advantages. One problem with this is that a student who is less able, less literate, less motivated, less interested, with a smaller vocabulary, having read fewer books would take the other’s place. This is a poor use of resources and creates its own unfairness. The other problem is that social justice attempts a kind of unknowable counterfactual — one of putting someone where they would have been had not social, familial and genetic factors counted against him. Sowell points out that social justice requires non-existent God-like abilities to determine what might have been.

Unintended consequences of social justice

One thing that was attempted in many countries to try to counteract disadvantages acquired “through no fault of their own” was to take children away from parents who were poor, unemployed, perhaps drug- or alcohol-addicted, unsuccessful, with bad attitudes towards education and industriousness and to put those children in more middle-class and successful households. This happened to Australian Aboriginal children and to Native American children among others. This attempt at cosmic justice is now regarded as an abomination, though it was well-meaning. Ripping such children from their birth home changes their likely educational and employment attainments positively, but destroys families and the parent/child bond. It is now completely out of fashion and widely condemned.

However, the desire for cosmic justice continues in other forms and similar sorts of things result from it.

In the 1960s liberal judges argued that amateur criminals often implicated themselves in ways that professional offenders would not. Bizarrely, the judges wanted to even the playing field for the amateurs and instituted the Miranda Rights rule. This means more violent criminals wandering the streets, getting off on technicalities, and more difficulty in prosecuting them. A certain number of extra victims will have died as a result of judges’ wanting amateur criminals to avoid conviction as often as the professionals. Those living in high-crime areas such as inner cities will have particularly suffered, and a very high proportion will have been black. Similarly, justices wanted hard-luck stories concerning murderer’s childhoods to be considered, even though there is no way to tell how much this contributed to their offending. These kinds of considerations mean murder trials commonly extend for three years at great expense, while violent criminals are out on bail.

“Social justice” for criminals means more victims, rapes and deaths, especially among the poor.

Traditional justice means one rule for all. Social justice for vicious murderers means the punishment will vary depending on how bad the killer’s childhood was. This means a different punishment for two criminals who commit the same crime. A criminal who could prove he had a particularly harsh childhood could expect a reduced punishment. Reducing the punishment means there is less of a disincentive to offend. If anything that contributes to his greater chance of offending should mean a lighter sentence, then the rule that criminals with bad childhoods should get lighter sentences will justify giving criminals even lighter sentences, thereby reducing the disincentive to offend, ad infinitum.

Affirmative action programs in California, for instance, were shown to actually reduce the graduation rates of blacks and Hispanics. By putting such students in colleges for which they did not qualify based on their grades, the students found themselves outgunned and at the bottom of their classes. This discouraging state of affairs tends to undermine self-confidence and reduce graduation rates. When the University of California system was forbidden by legal decisions to engage in affirmative action admission policies, the graduation rates of blacks and Hispanics rose by 55%.The number of doctorates among that group in the sciences went up 25% after affirmative action policies were banned. [1]

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God Was Vexed, and Gave All Power to Michael*

We should have put a storm notice up yesterday afternoon, but we were too lazy — Dymphna and I scamped our duties. And then Hurricane Michael dropped by the southeastern Piedmont and laid us low.

The center of the storm passed by quite a ways to the south of us, somewhere in North Carolina. However, it sent a long writhing arm our way, and we were lashed with wind (not too much) and rain (a lot — six inches [16 cm]). We were lucky: we didn’t lose our electricity, but many thousands of others did. There are still wide swaths of Central Virginia without power tonight.

Our Internet connection gave out in the late afternoon, however, and stayed off for more than 24 hours. The torrential rain must have seeped into the equipment and shorted out the transverse hypertonic fimbrilator or something. Or maybe a family of raccoons escaped the high water, gnawed their way through the wall of the server box, and made a nice comfy dry nest inside on top of the digital switching unit.

Anyway, that’s why we disappeared for a day. Dymphna is approving your comments even as I type this. I’ll merge last night’s news feed material with tonight’s, and I prepared several posts and queued them up, waiting until the Intertubes were fixed. Maybe I’ll enlist the younger raccoons to help me put them up quickly…

*   The title is a reference to this poem by Wilfred Owen:

Soldier’s Dream

I dreamed kind Jesus fouled the big-gun gears;
And caused a permanent stoppage in all bolts;
And buckled with a smile Mausers and Colts;
And rusted every bayonet with His tears.

And there were no more bombs, of ours or theirs,
Not even an old flint-lock, nor even a pikel.
But God was vexed, and gave all power to Michael;
And when I woke he’d seen to our repairs.