January 26, 2015

Question of the Day: On the Need for ID

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:07 am

As I continue to fight my personal Cold War, an obvious question slapped me in the face: Why am I supposed to simply accept the need to present an ID so I can buy certain cold medicines, while at the same time I’m supposed to be outraged beyond belief that I have to present an ID so I can vote?

January 20, 2015

A ‘Statist of the Union’ Response From C.S. Lewis

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:17 pm

I got an email today suggesting that I post a one-hour video.

Usually, no matter how good it might be, I don’t do that without also posting excerpts for those who don’t have the time to get through a full hour.

When I indicated that to David Theroux of the Independent Institute, he pointed me to a transcript of that video, which effectively serves as a response to yet another “Statist of the Union” speech by President Barack Obama:

Key excerpts (bolds are mine; some paragraph breaks added by me):

… Throughout his work, Lewis infused an interconnected worldview that championed objective truth, moral ethics, natural law, literary excellence, reason, science, individual liberty, personal responsibility and virtue, and Christian theism. In so doing, he critiqued naturalism, reductionism, nihilism, positivism, scientism, historicism, collectivism, atheism, statism, coercive egalitarianism, militarism, welfarism, and dehumanization and tyranny of all forms.

Unlike “progressive” crusaders for predatory government power over the peaceful pursuits of innocent people, Lewis noted that “I do not like the pretensions of Government—the grounds on which it demands my obedience—to be pitched too high. I don’t like the medicine-man’s magical pretensions nor the Bourbon’s Divine Right. This is not solely because I disbelieve in magic and in Bossuet’s Politique. I believe in God, but I detest theocracy. For every Government consists of mere men and is, strictly viewed, a makeshift; if it adds to its commands ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ it lies, and lies dangerously.”

… “Of all tyrannies,” he stated,

a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.

… Throughout his books, he defended the rights and sanctity of individuals against tyranny not just because he opposed evil, but because he considered a life in freedom—including both social and economic freedom—to be essential: “I believe a man is happier, and happy in a richer way, if he had “the freeborn mind.” But I doubt whether he can have this without economic independence, which the new society is abolishing. For economic independence allows an education not controlled by Government; and in adult life it is the man who needs, and asks, nothing of Government who can criticize its acts and snap his fingers at its ideology.”

…  (Rodney Stark has pointed out that although almost every other early culture and religion viewed human society in terms of the tribe, polis, or collective, “it is the individual who was the focus of Christian political thought, and this, in turn, explicitly shaped the views of later European political philosophers.” 

This focus produced a radical change in a world where, despite notable but limited exceptions of political decentralization, slavery and nearly universal and unyielding despotism had ruled, where people were treated as mere members of a group without rights. With Christianity, each and every person is “a child of God” or a holy object (res sacra homo) who has free will and is individually responsible for the choices he or she makes.

… As a proponent of natural law, Lewis was a supporter of the “law of equal liberty” but a firm critic of imposed egalitarianism for any reason. He further understood that egalitarianism is too often a cloak for envy (the sin of coveting) and that such appeals for regimentation are tyrannical

… Lewis understood that without this necessary natural-law framing of social, legal, and political culture, mankind would no longer be recognized as worthy of rights or even common decency, but instead would be left defenseless to any and all forms of oppression …

… Lewis fully understood that democracy, if unchecked, becomes egalitarianism and will trample on liberty as a collectivist force for evil by celebrating pride and envy as it fosters tyranny.

… recognizing the implications of every development in the galloping socialism of post–World War II England (Lewis wrote): “The modern State exists not to protect our rights but to do us good or make us good—anyway, to do something to us or to make us something. Hence the new name ‘leaders’ for those who were once “rulers.” … We are less their subjects than their wards, pupils, or domestic animals. There is nothing left of which we can say to them, ‘Mind your own business.’ Our whole lives are their business.”

Certainly damned near it.

January 19, 2015

Pathetic: Both Michael Moore and Seth Rogen Pretend Their Tweets Didn’t Criticize ‘American Sniper’

Your truly noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) how Michael Moore tweeted, in part, that “We were taught snipers were cowards.” Earlier today, Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters observed that Seth Rogen, whose “The Interview” movie was at least partially salvaged financially by freedom-of-speech supporters on the left and right who watched it online and in person in select areas, tweeted that “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the (Nazi propaganda) movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.”

Tonight, both Moore and Rogen are in keister-covering walkback mode. Predictably, both are pretending that they didn’t imply and say what they really implied and said.

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@Sierra Marlee Won Twitter Twice Last Week

Filed under: Activism,General,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:00 am

January 11 and January 12, the former with the help of @haff_j:

SierraMarleeJan11andJan12Tweets.png

January 16, 2015

Positivity: Venezuelan bishops condemn imposition of socialism

Filed under: Activism,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Caracas, Venezuela (bolds are mine):

Jan 13, 2015 / 01:09 pm

The Venezuelan bishops conference issued a pastoral exhortation on Monday calling on authorities and citizens alike to an ethical and spiritual renewal in order to come out of the current economic and social crisis facing the nation.

The Jan. 12 letter warned that “Marxist socialism is an erroneous path, and therefore should not be instituted.”

The bishops began their letter by recalling the events that took place at the beginning of 2014, when political upheaval lead to 43 deaths and hundreds injured.

“That grave crisis showed the need for dialogue among government leaders, the opposition, and other sectors. Thanks to the exhortations of Pope Francis and the participation of the apostoli cuncio Archbishop Aldo Giordano, among other things, a dialogue was launched that unfortunately never continued beyond the first few meetings,” the bishops said.

In recent months, the situation has worsened due to a growing economic crisis rooted in massive external debt, uncontrolled inflation, the devaluation of the currency, and shortages of basic necessities, they explained.

Adding to this widespread corruption, the drop in oil prices, and government inefficiency, the main problem and cause of this crisis is “the politico-economic system of a socialist, Marxist or communist nature,” the bishops wrote.

“This system is totalitarian and centralist, it establishes control of the state over all aspects of the lives of the citizens and public and private institutions. It also threatens freedom and the rights of persons and associations and has led to oppression and ruin in every country where it has been tried,” the bishops said.

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 14, 2015

Three Major December Media Misfires

All truly “cringeworthy.”

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This column went up at PJ Media late Sunday evening and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday.

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The Columbia Journalism Review claims that the mission of its bimonthly magazine and CJR.org, its companion online effort, is “to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society.”

The flip side of that mission should be to identify, criticize and discourage incompetence, dishonesty and bias. CJR.org’s alleged year-end compilation of “the worst journalism of 2014″ — “a recap of this year’s most cringeworthy news blunders” — does an extraordainarily poor job of that.

It’s only an alleged year-end list because CJR published it on December 22, following the herd of dozens of other annual list presenters who couldn’t wait until 2014 actually ended.

It’s also an extraordinarily weak list. Rolling Stone’s now-exposed fabricated account of the fraternity gang rape that didn’t happen at the University of Virginia topped the list, but only one of the other items in its compilation — the entirely made-up story of Mohammed Islam, the 17 year-old who suckered New York Magazine into believing that he had made $72 million in the stock market — is anywhere near as “cringeworthy” as at least three other egregious media misfires in December alone.

Here are those three December candidates, all of which did not become known until after CJR’s premature publication.

1. “Peaceful” Ferguson protester confesses to arson and burglary.

For several months, 18 year-old Joshua Williams was a media and leftist darling at those Ferguson, Missouri mob gatherings serially misidentified as “protests.” Williams “perfected the skill of catching the attention of journalists and using them to elevate his claims of police brutality to national attention,” and was “quoted or photographed in countless articles in publications including the New York Times and USA Today.” The Associated Press photographed him marching “arm in arm” with black radical Cornel West in October. In mid-December, Williams, who was constantly begging others for money, somehow made it to Washington and spoke at one of Al Sharpton’s affiliated whine festivals.

Shortly after Christmas, the media hero was charged with and reportedly confessed to “1st degree arson, 2nd degree burglary and misdemeanor theft” in the torching and looting of a QuikTrip convenience store in Berkeley, Missouri on Christmas Eve. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch apparently had a hard time getting over being jilted, headlining Williams, after his arrest, as a “Protester who advocates peace.”

2. The Lena Dunham postscript.

In early December, John Nolte at Breitbart’s Big Hollywood thoroughly debunked and discredited the details Lena Dunham had included about her alleged rape in her Not That Kind of Girl memoir. “Barry,” a name only later identified as a pseudonym, could not have been Oberlin College’s “campus’s resident conservative.” Among other things, there was no “Barry” who had “a flamboyant mustache,” a job at the campus library, or “purple cowboy boots.” Nolte “could not find a Republican named Barry who attended Oberlin during Dunham’s time there who came anywhere close to matching her description of him.”

On December 9, the day after Random House, Dunham’s publisher, covered its legal keister by exonerating a “Barry” who did attend Oberlin during the time in question, Dunham posted a pathetic I’m-a-victim non-defense at BuzzFeed, claiming that she had made up details about her attacker to conceal his identity. Two days later, responding to several media insinuations to the contrary, Nolte made it redundantly clear that “Breitbart News never once questioned whether or not Lena Dunham was raped.”

What followed is what should have made CJR’s “blunders” list.

On December 31, J.K Trotter at Gawker, who appears to have set out to perpetuate the straw-man criticism against Dunham’s detractors, reported something far more troubling:

The 2012 proposal for Not That Kind of Girl recounted the same night of unwanted unprotected sex—and supplied enough specific biographical detail to identify the man being described.

The final manuscript of Not that Kind of Girl contains a significantly altered version of Dunham’s original account.

Trotter is nearly certain that he has identified the attacker Dunham described in her 2012 proposal. His name is at the link for those who are curious, but the fundamentally important point is that this person “did not affiliate with either major political party until 2012, when he formally registered as a Democrat,” and “does not appear to have ever been an on-the-book Republican.”

Thus, Dunham’s rape story, even assuming she was indeed raped, was from all appearances originally packaged in 2012 to smear Republicans and conservatives for an act committed by someone who was neither. When revised two years later, it was further dressed up with more juicy details not traceable to a specific person to enhance the smear’s memorability.

It would seem that no one at Random House or at any other publisher who might have seen Dunham’s original proposal and read the final product has ever questioned the credibility of her underlying story. This is either astonishing negligence or intensely hostile groupthink. Are these people all that lazy and clueless, or were Dunham’s fabrications okay in publishing land because her story attacked liberalism’s enemies?

3. The Imaginary Kwanzaa “Parade.”

In recent years, the annual late-December Kwanzaa parade in South Central Los Angeles has fallen on hard times. In 2011, the second-last year the Los Angeles Times covered it, the paper claimed that “hundreds” attended, but could only muster a photo showing a half-dozen participants and about the same number of onlookers.

On December 26, 2014, apathy won. A CBS-Los Angeles reporter tweeted a photo showing an empty boulevard with no spectators captioned, “People in #SouthLosAngeles disappointed by lack of turn-out for #Kwanza parade. Parade lasted 10 mins.” (What “people”?) Two minutes later, he tweeted: “Parade is over.” It was never a real parade. It wasn’t even a motorcade.

But then, in an online report, CBS-LA, despite its own reporter calling out a non-event, descended into full fictional cringeworthiness, making it appear as if a genuine parade had occurred:

LA Celebrates Start Of Kwanzaa With Parade Along Crenshaw Boulevard

The 38th annual KwanZaa Gwaride parade made its way down Crenshaw Boulevard Friday, marking the start of the seven-day festival of Kwanzaa.

Some participants walked the parade carrying signs underlining important issues to the community, such as police brutality, home foreclosures, judicial corruption, transparency in government and environmental racism.

Never has one of the favorite sayings of Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds been truer: “It’s Potemkin villages all the way down.”

And all the way up – to the see no liberal media evil folks at the Columbia Journalism Review.

January 12, 2015

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Three Major December Media Misfires’) Is Up

It’s here.

It will go up on Wednesday morning here at BizzyBlog (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

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The three major misfires identified in the column relating to Joshua Williams, Lena Dunham, and the fake Kwanzaa parade in Los Angeles barely scratch the surface of media malfeasance in December.

The following additional items, all of which appeared or took place in last year’s final month, many of them in its final ten days after many outfits had issued their year-end good/bad lists, were arguably more blatant and deserving than all but two of the items the Columbia Journalism Review designated as “cringeworthy” blunders” of 2014 (as noted in the column, CJR was accurate in selecting the Rolling Stone-UVA gang rape fabrications and New York Magazine falling for the story of a kid who claimed to have made $72 million trading stocks):

  • Politico Magazine arguing the “everything is awesome” for President Obama (article; related NewsBusters post by Tim Graham). I didn’t know ISIS had stopped beheading people. Oh, that’s because they haven’t.
  • Vox.com completely making up and then having to retract its claim that December 21, 2014 would be the longest night ever. This is just one of 46 “f-ups” Kevin Draper at Deadspin identified on December 30. That 46 excludes unhinged opinion pieces like Max Fisher saying that asking Muslims to disavow terrorist acts is “bigoted and Islamophobic,” or Zach Beauchamp arguing that animals should have some citizenship rights. If we were to add those, the real total might be more like 460.
  • CNN including Brittany Maynard on its list of extraordinary persons of 2014. Maynard’s “extraordinary” accomplishment was participating in an assisted suicide — her own. This horrible lack of judgment at least partially explains the network’s awful year in the ratings.
  • The press’s repeated and deliberate promotion of the The “Hands-up! Don’t Shoot!” Myth about Michael Brown before his death in Ferguson, Missouri.
  • Ignoring the dishonesty of Howard Zucker, the Andrew Cuomo administration official who supported a fracking ban in New York to protect his family and his children, when he has neither.
  • Ignoring New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to get other politicians to condemn the NYPD while pretending to want reconciliation, and possibly even enlisting the New York Times, which issued a disgraceful editorial smearing Gotham’s police force last week, in that effort.
  • Fox News’s Shepard Smith and unhinged Washingtonian Eleanor Clift separately telling audiences that they hope that a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations doesn’t ruin what they apparently think is currently an island paradise.
  • The press pretending that a December congressional report on the IRS scandal had nothing new. Horse manure. As the Daily Signal reported, “The nation’s tax chief decided not to tell Congress that the IRS was targeting conservative groups, an action that would have brought to light the misconduct before the 2012 election …
  • And last but certainly not least, the “26 Ways the Media Botched Their Reporting on the Latest Benghazi Report,” documented by Sharyl Attkisson at the Daily Signal.

Even this list leaves about a half-dozen genuine botches on the cutting room floor.

CNN’s Jake Tapper: ‘I Was Ashamed’ by U.S. Leaders’ Absence at Paris March

Reacting this morning to the non-presence of any U.S. official above this country’s ambassador at yesterday 1.5 million-plus-person solidarity march in Paris, CNN’s Jake Tapper pulled no punches.

In a commentary posted at the network’s web site, Tapper wrote that “as an American … I was ashamed.” He questioned how U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder “had time to do the Sunday shows via satellite but not to show the world that he stood with the people of France.” He also quipped that “episodes of The Good Wife’ on CBS” have had more Obama administration representation. Excerpts follow the jump.

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January 11, 2015

U.S. High-Level Absence From Paris March Controversial — Except at AP

Thus far, the nation’s de facto news gatekeepers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, have utterly failed to address the growing worldwide controvery over the absence of U.S. representation above the ambassador level at Sunday’s solidarity march in Paris in the wake of Wednesday’s Charlie Hebdo massacre. Crowd estimates for the Paris march range from “hundreds of thousands” to over 1.5 million.

The New York Daily News is calling the absence of a top U.S. leader “a glaring exception,” and devoting its entire front page to telling our government that “You Let the World Down.” The UK Daily Mail is treating the situation as a snub, also observing that Attorney General Eric Holder “was in Paris for a terrorism summit held on the march’s sidelines, but he slipped away and made appearances on four American morning television talk shows just as the incredible rally was starting.” But Angela Charlton and Thomas Adamson at the AP, in report carrying a 7:07 p.m. ET time stamp (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), apparently found nothing unusual in the U.S. non-presence:

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Code Pink Gets Reuters Coverage — For a Protest Group of 20

The ability of tiny numbers of far-left fringe group demonstrators to get undue press attention virtually any time they want continues to be intensely annoying.

In mid-2007, Barack Obama made closing the prison at Guantanmo Bay a core promise of his 2008 campaign. That was 7-1/2 years ago. Obama has been in office six years. Gitmo is still open. So naturally, the aggrieved professional protesters at Code Pink organized a demonstration against Gitmo remaining active on yesterday’s 13th anniversary of the prison’s opening — at former Vice President Dick Cheney’s house. They got far more ink and bandwidth than they deserved from the press, including Reuters — i.e., far more than nothing.

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January 10, 2015

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Calls Charlie Hebdo Terrorists ‘Activists’

The list of unhinged statements and rants coming from left-leaning journalists in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris is getting miles long.

Among them all, one especially sticks out. In one of the earliest retreats to twisted, gutless characterizations of the Charlie Hebdo terrorists, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who is also ABC’s global affairs anchor, called them “activists.” Greg Gutfeld of Fox News commented on Amanpour’s annihilation of the English langauge and went after the “fear of (right-wing) backlash” mindset on Friday.

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January 7, 2015

Just Received an Email With a One-Word Message

Filed under: Activism,National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:34 pm

That message:

Necessary.

It relates to this suggestion:

ZombiePJMheadline010715

Zombie is correct. It is necessary. Now it’s done:

MohamBomb

December 31, 2014

Stop the Presses: Jesse Jackson Said Something Sensible — On Immigration

Call the Ripley’s Believe It or Not people. Have smelling salts available. What follows will surely be one of the more unusual things you’ve seen or heard this year.

In the midst of his otherwise odious Silicon Valley race-hustling shakedown effort, Jesse Jackson said something that made sense — so much sense that the rest of the press, which usually hangs on every word of his nonsensical pronouncements, has virtually ignored it, and will probably continue to.

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LAT Laments How Mega-donor Steyer Was Not Decisive in 2014 Midterms

Chris Megerian at the Los Angeles Times, in a report first published online on Tuesday, had a difficult time trying to downplay the fact that Democrat and leftist mega-donors outspent their Republican and conservative counterparts by an overwhelming margin during the past election cycle.

But Megerian made the best of it, giving readers the impression that David Koch, of the supposedly evil Koch brothers, was the fourth-largest such donor. Times editors did their part to keep the news as quiet as possible by publishing the obviously national story in the California secion of its Wednesday print edition.

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December 30, 2014

Global Sea Ice Hits Record, Warming ‘Pause’ Continues; Alarmists and Their Media Friends Hardest Hit

The Associated Press is obsessed with global warming. It currently has seven items at its national site containing that term.

Two of them relate to how the U.S. is allegedly exporting more pollution, and therefore more global warming, to other countries even as it supposedly is cleaning up its act. These are the kinds of stories which the rest of the press would eagerly jump on if a Republican or conservative were in the White House, but they’re basically getting the silent treatment (AP’s Monday afternoon before Christmas publication may also have dampened interest). But the item I want to pick on predictably comes from the wire service’s “Science Writer” and chief global alarmist Seth Borenstein, who two weeks ago set out to convince readers, with the help of a ginned-up federal report, that “The ice is melting! The ice is melting!” (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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