Up to 59 percent of African-American households now view owning a gun as a “necessity,” according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center released this month, and African-American women have outpaced all other races and genders in terms of securing concealed carry permits in Texas between 2000 and 2016, according to demographic information released by the state. It wasn’t always this way — as recently as 2012, Pew had found that less than a third of black families saw gun ownership as a positive. Philip Smith, the founder of the National African American Gun Association, says that politics — and police shootings such as the recent slaying of Philando Castile — have caused the sudden upswing in gun ownership. And, in his opinion, owning a gun is perhaps the only way that African-American men and women can truly protect themselves.
“Regardless of what side you’re on, in the fabric of society right now, there’s an undertone, a tension that you see that groups you saw on the fringes 20 years ago are now in the open,” said Smith. “It seems to me it’s very cool to be a racist right now, it’s in fashion, it’s a trend.”
Marchelle Tigner, a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor, says that black women are particularly likely to be victims of domestic violence. She became a gun instructor, she explained, in order to give other women of color the fighting chance she wished she’d had.
“It’s important, especially for black women, to learn how to shoot,” Tigner said. “We need to learn how to defend ourselves.” Read the rest of this entry »
Larry Celona reports: As mortally wounded NYPD cop Wenjian Liu lay in a Brooklyn hospital in 2014, doctors asked his stricken wife if she wanted his semen preserved so that she might someday have his child.
“Of course she said yes,’’ a friend told The Post — and Tuesday, two-and-a-half years after Liu’s murder, his widow gave birth to their daughter.
Liu’s widow, Pei “Sanny’’ Xia Chen, named the baby “Angel’’ as a tribute to her slain hero husband — whose police hat is now next to her bed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on the Upper East Side, said the pal, fellow cop widow Maria Dziergowski.
The day Chen was artificially inseminated, “she had a dream that Wenjian was there in a white gown looking like an angel and that he handed her a baby, and he said, ‘It’s a girl, a little angel,’ ’’ Dziergowski said.
“So [Chen] knew before everyone that it was a girl.
“The baby’s adorable, smiling, laughing,’’ added Dziergowski, who was with Chen at the hospital Tuesday. “She has a lot of hair, a lot of black hair.’’
Chen — who had only been married to her policeman husband for three months before he and his partner were killed in an ambush by a cop-hating madman — was admitted to the hospital around 12:30 p.m. Monday and gave birth at 4:35 a.m., Dziergowski said. Read the rest of this entry »
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, big banks paid tens of billions of dollars to settle state and federal fraud investigations, yet not one top bank executive was prosecuted. Plus, the eye doctor who first uncovered possible links between erectile dysfunction drugs and permanent blindness. Also, the surprising reason why the federal government is missing-out on some of the best and brightest talent, as it recruits to fight online cyber battles.
The new documentary “City of Ghosts” highlights the citizen journalists behind the website Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently as they risk their lives to document the atrocities in ISIS-controlled Syria.
The website Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) publishes firsthand accounts of the war crimes of ISIS in often horrific detail. City of Ghosts, a new documentary by Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman, tells the story of the citizen journalists who risk their lives to tell the world about the atrocities committed by the Islamic State.
“After ISIS took over the city there really was not any information going in or any information going out,” explains Heineman. “There were no western journalists there. They would be killed instantly. So this group really provided a service to the world to help understand the atrocities that were being committed in their hometown, which just happened to be the capital of the Islamic State.”
Heineman and RBSS Co-founder Abdalaziz “Aziz” Alhamza sat down with Reason to discuss how these citizen journalists are risking their lives to counter ISIS propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »
Peter W. Smith, GOP Operative Who Sought Clinton’s Emails from Russian Hackers, Committed Suicide, Records ShowPosted: July 13, 2017 | |
In a room at a Rochester hotel used almost exclusively by Mayo Clinic patients and relatives, Peter W. Smith, 81, left a carefully prepared file of documents, which includes a statement police called a suicide note in which he said he was in ill health and a life insurance policy was expiring.
Days earlier, the financier from suburban Lake Forest gave an interview to the Journal about his quest, and it published stories about his efforts beginning in late June. The Journal also reported it had seen emails written by Smith showing his team considered retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then a top adviser to Republican Donald Trump‘s campaign, as an ally. Flynn briefly was President Trump’s national security adviser and resigned after it was determined he had failed to disclose contacts with Russia.
At the time, the newspaper reported Smith’s May 14 death came about 10 days after he granted the interview. Mystery shrouded how and where he had died, but the lead reporter on the stories said on a podcast he had no reason to believe the death was the result of foul play and that Smith likely had died of natural causes.
However, the Chicago Tribune obtained a Minnesota state death record filed in Olmsted County that says Smith committed suicide in a hotel near the Mayo Clinic at 1:17 p.m. on Sunday, May 14. He was found with a bag over his head with a source of helium attached. A medical examiner’s report gives the same account, without specifying the time, and a report from Rochester police further details his suicide.
In the note recovered by police, Smith apologized to authorities and said that “NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER” was involved in his death. He wrote that he was taking his own life because of a “RECENT BAD TURN IN HEALTH SINCE JANUARY, 2017” and timing related “TO LIFE INSURANCE OF $5 MILLION EXPIRING.”
“Tomorrow is my last day,” Smith told a man at the hotel while he worked on a computer in the business center, printing documents between 8 and 9 p.m. on May 13, according to the police reports.
One of Smith’s former employees told the Tribune he thought the elderly man had gone to the famed clinic to be treated for a heart condition. Mayo spokeswoman Ginger Plumbo said Thursday she could not confirm Smith had been a patient, citing medical privacy laws.
The Journal stories said it was on Labor Day weekend in 2016 that Smith had assembled a team to acquire emails the team theorized might have been stolen from the private server Clinton had used while secretary of state. Smith’s focus was the more than 30,000 emails Clinton said she deleted because they related to personal matters. A huge cache of other Clinton emails were made public. Read the rest of this entry »
Three years ago, the city of Seattle voted to gradually raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour in the name of human decency and basic fairness. Several cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have done the same thing. Critics argue that boosting wages by bureaucratic diktat leads to fewer hours and jobs for low-income and low-skilled workers.
Now what The Washington Post calls a “very credible” study from researchers at the University of Washington finds that the critics are right. The Post calls this bad news for liberals. But the real victims are low-skilled workers.
The study finds that when wages were increased to $13, employers cut hours by 9 percent. That means that low-skilled workers saw their monthly compensation decrease by an average of $125.
Studies that downplay the effects of minimum wage hikes have mostly focused on teenagers and fast food workers. But the study at the University of Washington paper looks at the impact on workers spanning all ages and all demographics.
The findings may surprise progressives who believe that the only limit to higher pay for workers is the greed and selfishness of business owners. But it doesn’t come as a surprise to those who remain unconvinced that the law of supply and demand can be amended by city councils. Labor is simply another cost for any business, and when the price of something goes up, we tend to buy less of it.
Another takeaway from the study is that if you want to raise the income of low-skilled workers, taxpayers should pay for that burden through direct cash payments or other forms of welfare. Offloading the cost to employers has unintended consequences, even though it’s a lot easier to demonize business owners for being greedy cheapskates than to build a consensus around raising taxes. Read the rest of this entry »
Science Shopping: Seattle Socialists Commission New Minimum-Wage Study After Dismissing Unfavorable Results of First OnePosted: June 29, 2017 | |
City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.
Dan Springer reports: When a University of Washington study came out this week showing Seattle’s minimum wage has cost 5,000 jobs and is hurting low income workers, city leaders attacked the messenger –- a team of respected economists at Washington’s premiere public university.
The researchers, led by Jacob Vigdor, were hired by the city in 2014 to study the effects of Seattle’s $15 wage experiment. The contract called for five years of research. City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.
“The moment we saw it was based on flawed methodology and was going to be unreliable, the Vigdor study no longer speaks for City Hall,” said Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.
Sawant, a former economics professor at Seattle Central Community College who ran for office as a Socialist, accused the UW team of “ideologically editorializing.” She and Mayor Ed Murray then contacted Michael Reich, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
Reich is currently co-chair of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Before earning his PhD in economics from Harvard, Reich was a founding member of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE), a group seeking a “human-centered radical alternative to capitalism,” according to its website.
Reich has authored several studies on the effects of raising the minimum wage. They all concluded that increasing the minimum wage only helps low-skilled workers.
As soon as Seattle politicians knew the University of Washington study found raising Seattle’s minimum wage from $11 to $13 an hour led to a 9-percent cut in hours worked and an average of $125 less earned each month, they commissioned Reich to do his own study and then criticized UW’s research.
According to emails obtained by Fox News, Reich was given a deadline by Murray. His work was to be completed just before the University of Washington team announced its results. Vigdor, the director of the study, shared with city council staffers the preliminary results of the research and provided a timeline for when it would be made public. Read the rest of this entry »
Study in mice reveals how brain circuitry goes haywire after peripheral nerve damage.
Beth Mole reports: Chronic, aching pain after an injury or operation may be all in your head. Researchers now think they’ve figured out exactly how brain wiring goes haywire to cause persistent pain—and how to fix it.
In mice with peripheral nerve damage and chronic pain from a leg surgery, a broken circuit in a pain-processing region of mammalian brains caused hyperactive pain signals that persisted for more than a month. Specifically, the peripheral nerve damage seemed to deactivate a type of interconnected brain cells, called somatostatin (SOM) interneurons, which normally dampen pain signals. Without the restraints, neurons that fire off pain signals—cortical pyramidal neurons—went wild, researchers report in Nature Neuroscience.
But the circuitry could be repaired, the researchers found. Just by manually activating those pain-stifling SOM interneurons, the researchers could shut down the rodents’ chronic pain and keep the system working properly—preventing centralized, chronic pain from ever developing.
“Our findings suggest that manipulating interneuron activity after peripheral nerve injury could be an important avenue for the prevention of pyramidal neuron over-excitation and the transition from acute postoperative pain to chronic centralized pain,” the authors, led by neuroscientist Guang Yang at New York University School of Medicine, conclude. Yang and his colleagues envision future drugs or therapies, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, to tweak the activity of the interneurons to prevent malfunctioning pain signaling.
The study is just in mice, so it needs repeating and verifying before the line of research can move forward. That said, the work is backed by and in-line with a series of human and animal studies on chronic pain. Read the rest of this entry »
Malhar Mali writes:
…Ulrich Baer, a vice-provost and a professor of English at New York University, made an astonishing case against free speech in the New York Times. Baer framed the debate as one of speakers operating to “invalidate the humanity” of others — thus justifying shutting down the speech of speakers students might not be appreciative towards. But in doing so, he revealed far more about his mindset and that of many scholars who operate in the humanities. After all, who do you think teaches students that speech is dangerous, the ideas that cause the “snowflake” reactions we have become accustomed to viewing, or that anyone who is not a straight white male is experiencing oppression at unprecedented levels?
Baer’s article has already been skewered by Conor Friedsdorf in The Atlantic and Ted Gup in The Chronicle. I’m more interested in exploring how Baer argues as it lends us an insight into what’s causing students to behave in the ludicrous ways we have witnessed.
The most comically disturbing statement made by Baer, when referencing the at times odious views of controversial speakers, is:
“When those views invalidate the humanity of some people, they restrict speech as a public good.”
Views that invalidate humanity? The concept that speech invalidates the humanity of entire groups of people is preposterous hyperbole. A listener merely has to reject this idea to leave with their “humanity” intact. Violence is a physical act. Speech is not. If someone punches me, I feel its impact. That is not the same as someone disparaging me to the nth degree with their words. To think that an educator harbors views which effectively conflate words with violence provides us a clue to where students might gain these notions from. (Notions which are then repeated amongst peers until they are eventually parroted out with the zeal of preachers from days gone).
Yet the most important flags from Baer’s piece are that he is a professor of English and that he references Jean François Lyotard (and his book, The Postmodern Condition) as justification for his positions. As Phil Magness, a historian who teaches public policy at George Mason University notes after conducting an analysis of campus disinvitation letters which were also signed by professors, MLA departments, in which English sits, are the communities which most harbor individuals who are opposed to free expression. Describing the trend he sees, Magness writes:
“The pattern in each case is alarming, as it suggests that these and potentially other organized faculty-initiated attempts to impinge upon the academic freedom of their colleagues and their students are not randomly distributed occurrences. Instead they appear to concentrate heavily in the humanities, with English/MLA faculty invariably taking the lead. With that in mind, perhaps it is time to ask: why are so many English & MLA faculty displaying hostility to the academic freedom of their own faculty colleagues and students?”
These are the departments which are the most ingrained with corrosive postmodern and poststructuralist thought — à la Lyotard, Foucalt, Derrida, Lacan. And, as Jason Brennan, a philosopher who teaches in the business school at Georgetown University, points out in conjunction to Magness:
“These just happen to be the departments with the most activism and the lowest quality ‘research’; they’re full of poststructuralists, ideologues, and people who do sloppy work that would never cut it in economics or political science. The faculty least qualified to have an opinion on politics are the ones with the loudest opinions.”
Activist professors incapable of surviving in the more arduous disciplines (see: Autoethnography) are the most vociferous in limiting academic freedom of others. Given all of this, it is no surprise that Baer holds the views that he does. Neither is it surprising that we have professors of English publishing op-eds which ask for limiting speech, such as Aaron R. Hanlon a professor of English at Colby College in New Republic or John Patrick Leary a professor of English at Wayne State University in Inside Higher Education. That Yale is also often the site of the most aggressive student behavior is also calculable. Baer himself gives away how infested the school has become with poststructuralist thought when he writes:
“It is perhaps telling that in the 1980s and ’90s, while I was also a doctoral student there, Yale ultimately became the hotbed of philosophical thinking that acknowledged the claims of people who had not been granted full participation in public discourse. Their accounts, previously dismissed as “unspeakable” or “unimaginable,” now gained legitimacy in redefining the rules of what counts as public speech.”
Keep what Baer says in mind and see this video of students privileging their “personal experiences” over Nicholas Christakis’ arguments. Notice, in particular, what this student says, “Your experiences will never connect to mine. Empathy is not necessary for you to understand that you’re wrong… Even if you don’t feel what I feel…”
I hope you are starting to connect the dots between the “past few decades of scholarship that has honed our understanding of the rights to expression” Baer references and the way students are behaving. Baer uses the same reasoning to censor speech. It is Lyotard’s idea of mini-narratives over meta-narratives taken to terrifying extremes. Personal experience overpowers empirical evidence. Who is anyone to deny my truth and what I feel? Read the rest of this entry »
Bernie Sanders inadvertently raises a critical question as Republicans pursue reform.
James Freeman writes: Vermont Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders deplored the actions of his former campaign volunteer James T. Hodgkinson, who was killed after opening fire on participants at a congressional baseball practice for Republicans on June 14. More recently, Mr. Sanders has been accusing his Republican colleagues of hatching a plan that will result in thousands of deaths.
The anti-Trump ”resistance,” still smarting from its recent loss in a Georgia House race, has apparently decided that it needs someone more radical than Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to lead the opposition to GOP health care reforms. So the organization MoveOn.org has been staging a multi-state tour with Mr. Sanders as the headliner.
The basic Sanders argument, which he has been articulating in various fora in recent days, is that fewer people on government insurance plans will mean more people dying. It seems likely that any health reform plan that makes it to the President’s desk will no longer force people to buy ObamaCare plans, and will give states at least some flexibility in choosing not to provide insurance to people who aren’t sick, aren’t poor and don’t have children.
But will fewer people on government-mandated insurance plans automatically make them less healthy? Mr. Sanders appears to be convinced. He tweeted on Friday: “Let us be clear and this is not trying to be overly dramatic: Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law.” Asked to defend such remarks on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Mr. Sanders said:
I wish I didn’t have to say it. This is not me. This is study after study making this point. It is common sense. If you have cancer and your insurance is taken away from you, there is a likelihood you will die and certainly a likelihood that you will become much sicker than you are today. That’s the fact. Unpleasant, but it’s true.
Speaking of studies, all of America has been participating in an experiment since 2010 to see if a federal effort to extend government-mandated insurance coverage to millions more people can improve our lives. Read the rest of this entry »
Socialist Utopia Setback: Seattle’s $13 Minimum Wage Led To Drop Of $1,500 In Income For Low-Wage EarnersPosted: June 26, 2017 | |
Ben Shapiro writes: Remember that time Seattle’s socialist city council member Kshama Sawant pressed for the city to increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour? I actually debated Sawant on the issue; I asked her if she would be in favor of raising the wage to $1,000 per hour. She misdirected from the issue.
Seattle actually ended up embracing $13 per hour, raising the minimum wage from $9.47 in 2014 to $11 in 2015 to $13 in 2016 under the theory that an increase wouldn’t throw people out of work, wouldn’t encourage part-time hiring, and would inflate salaries enough to allow more affordability in the Seattle housing market.
According to a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research:
Using a variety of methods to analyze employment in all sectors paying below a specified real hourly rate, we conclude that the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016. Evidence attributes more modest effects to the first wage increase. We estimate an effect of zero when analyzing employment in the restaurant industry at all wage levels, comparable to many prior studies.
In other words, restaurants didn’t fire anybody, they just put them on part-time shifts and cut back their hours. That shouldn’t be a surprise, since that’s precisely what happens every time the government places an extra burden on employers. Read the rest of this entry »
Dyke March organizers removed participants waving Jewish Pride flags because they were ‘triggering’.
The Chicago-based LGBTQ newspaper Windy City Times quoted a Dyke March collective member as saying the rainbow flag with the Star of David in the middle “made people feel unsafe,” and that the march was “pro-Palestinian” and “anti-Zionist.”
The Chicago Dyke March is billed as an “anti-racist, anti-violent, volunteer-led, grassroots mobilization and celebration of dyke, queer, bisexual, and transgender resilience,” according to its Twitter account.
Laurel Grauer, a member of the Jewish LGBTQ organization A Wider Bridge, told the Windy City Times “it was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade marching in the Dyke March with the same flag.”
“They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive,” she added. Read the rest of this entry »
OH YES HE DID: Nebraska Democrat Party Official FIRED After Being Caught On Tape Wishing Scalise was DeadPosted: June 23, 2017 | |
“This motherf—er, his whole job is like to get people, convince Republicans to f—ing kick people off f—ing healthcare. I’m glad he got shot.”
Josh Delk reports: An official appointed by the Nebraska Democratic Party was ousted by the state party chairwoman on Thursday after the discovery of a recording in which he allegedly celebrated the shooting of a U.S. House Republican.
In the recording, posted without context on an advocacy site, the official, Phil Montag, is referring to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) when he says, “This motherf—er, his whole job is like to get people, convince Republicans to f—ing kick people off f—ing healthcare. I’m glad he got shot.”
Montag did not deny that the voice in the recording is his but said he believed it had been edited to take his words out of context.
Nebraska Democratic Chairwoman Jane Kleeb fired Montag, voluntary co-chairman of the party’s technology committee, as soon as she heard the incriminating recording. Kleeb told the Omaha World-Herald that her report to the police about the conversation was out of concern that it represented a possible death threat.
“This is the first I am hearing of this,” Kleeb said by email to the paper. “As soon as I heard it, I sent it to the [party] officers and then sent an email to Phil Montag, informing him I am removing him from his appointed position as co-chair of the Technology Committee.”
Read the rest of this entry »
OH YES THEY DID: Courts Dismisses Bogus Charges Against David Daleiden for Exposing Planned ParenthoodPosted: June 21, 2017 | |
In a huge victory, a California court today dismissed almost all of the criminal charges abortion activists filed against the pro-life advocates who recorded undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood selling the body parts from aborted babies.
“We will now turn our attention to dismissing the final count. Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong. The complaint by the California Attorney General is unprecedented and frankly will threaten every journalist who provides valuable information to the public. This final count will also fall.”
— Attorney Mat Svaer of LibertyCounsel
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony charges against both David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Becerra is a longtime abortion advocate with financial connections to the Planned Parenthood abortion company that the two pro-life Advocates exposed in the videos for selling body parts such as fetal brains and livers.
At the time, pro-life advocates said Becerra’s 15 felony charges were bogus charges meant to belittle the expose’ campaign and to cast aspersions on Daleiden and the organization behind the videos. They said the attempt was about drawing attention away from Planned Parenthood’s sales of aborted baby parts.
The San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday dismissed 14 of 15 criminal counts but the pair are still charged with one count of conspiracy to invade privacy. However the court dismissed the charges with leave to amend — meaning Becerra could re-file the charges with additional supposed evidence against the pair.
The court ruled that counts 1-14 were legally insufficient. The state has the opportunity to amend if it can plead a more legally sufficient and specific complaint. The California’s Attorney General filed 15 criminal counts against Merritt, with counts 1-14 for each of the alleged interviews and count 15 for an alleged conspiracy. San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite gave the state attorney general’s office until mid-July to file a revised complaint. Read the rest of this entry »
Carrie Fisher had a drug cocktail in her system when she died in late December after going into cardiac arrest aboard an LAX-bound flight.
Joseph Serna and Richard Winton report: A Los Angeles County coroner’s report released on Monday revealed a mixture of drugs that were in actress Carrie Fisher’s system when she went into cardiac arrest on an L.A.-bound flight and later died.
Fisher’s toxicology review found evidence of cocaine, methadone, MDMA (better known as ecstasy), alcohol and opiates when she was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Hospital on Dec. 23, a toxicology report showed.
The test results “suggests there was an exposure to heroin, but that the dose and time of exposure cannot be pinpointed.” Therefore we cannot establish the significance of heroin regarding the cause of death in this case.”
The tests revealed that the cocaine would have been consumed within the previous 72 hours, according to the autopsy.
Four days later on Dec. 27, Fisher went into cardiac arrest. After 90 minutes of attempting to revive her, officials declared the “Star Wars” actress dead just before 9 a.m.
Her cause of death was listed as sleep apnea with other factors.
In addition to the listed cause of death, the coroner’s statement cited “other conditions: atherosclerotic heart disease, drug use.”
It also said: “How Injury Occurred: Multiple drug intake, significance not ascertained.”
Warmbier returned from North Korea last week in a coma.
Tom Rogan writes: In a Sunday article for the New York Times, Sarah Leonard argues for socialism. Socialist leaders such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, Leonard says, are working with a coalition of young leftists to serve millennials.
An editor at The Nation, Leonard’s case fixes on three points. First, that millennials need stronger union power in order to attain better living standards. Second, that capitalism has failed. Third, that larger government is beneficial.
Leonard is wrong on each count.
She starts by lamenting that “…there is no left-wing party devoted to protecting the interests of the poor, the working class and the young.” Leonard blames declining union influence over political parties. Unions, she says, are the best way to empower the poor, the lower skilled, and the young.
I think not.
At a basic level, unions serve their members, not society. When, for example, a transport union shuts down commuter access to a city, it is not doing so to help commuters. It is doing so to extract wealth from those consumers, via the transport company, and redistribute that wealth to its members.
Moreover, when unions demand absolute protections for older workers, they make it near-impossible for companies to hire younger workers. As I’ve explained, there is a damning correlation between greater union power and increased youth unemployment. Read the rest of this entry »
Kevin D. Williamson: It did not take very long to get from ‘Punch a Nazi!’ to ‘assassinate a congressman’Posted: June 15, 2017 | |
The Alexandria shooting is the continuation of the riots in Berkeley and Middlebury.
This is why the standard liberal motto — that violence is never legitimate, even though it may sometimes be necessary to resort to it — is insufficient. From a radical emancipatory perspective, this formula should be reversed: for the oppressed, violence is always legitimate (since their very status is the result of the violence they are exposed to), but never necessary (it will always be a matter of strategy whether or not use violence against the enemy).
Slavoj Žižek, On Violence and Democracy
Kevin D. Williamson writes: It did not take very long to get from “Punch a Nazi!” to “assassinate a congressman.”
” … the relevant question here is not violent rhetoric but violence itself. The violence at Berkeley and Middlebury did not lead to the shooting in Alexandria — they are part of the same phenomenon: The American Left has embraced political violence.”
A great deal of spittle has been deployed in the debate over whether or to what extent the Left’s recent indulgence of its penchant for violent rhetoric can be linked to the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise and other members of a Republican congressional baseball team by an angry Democratic activist and Bernie Sanders partisan. But the relevant question here is not violent rhetoric but violence itself. The violence at Berkeley and Middlebury did not lead to the shooting in Alexandria — they are part of the same phenomenon: The American Left has embraced political violence.
More precisely, the Left has embraced “anarcho-tyranny.” (Yes, I know what kind of man Sam Francis became; his phrase remains useful.) The anarcho part: Progressives including mainstream Democrats have embraced the sort of violence that has been directed against the likes of Charles Murray as an instrument of liberationist politics.
Representative Val Demings, a Democratic congressman from Florida, shared her view that the riots greeting Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley were “a beautiful sight.” After a physical attack on white nationalist Richard Spencer, Jeremy Binckes of Salon wrote: “Maybe the question shouldn’t be, ‘Is it okay to punch a Nazi?’ but, ‘If you don’t want to be punched in the face, maybe you shouldn’t preach Nazi values to the public?’” A lively debate about the ethics of using violence to suppress certain political views ensued. Short version: Free speech did not experience a runaway victory.
“A Middlebury professor had to be briefly hospitalized after being physically attacked for having invited Charles Murray to campus. That is not free speech. That is violence, and Democrats, judging by their non-response to these episodes, have more or less made their peace with it.”
Things are worse on campus. The editorial board of the Daily Californian defended blackshirt violence on the grounds that, without it, “neo-Nazis would be free to roam the streets of Berkeley.” Read the rest of this entry »
WARSAW (AFP) – The migrants pouring into Europe have changed routes: the crossing between Turkey and Greece is practically closed, but ever greater numbers are risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean between Libya and Italy.
A criminal industry has flourished, while the European Union has beefed up its border agency Frontex to try to check the mass migration.
Frontex is at once both good cop and bad cop, rescuing migrants from sinking boats but also dropping them off at welcome centres where they risk being sent back home.
Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri summed up the situation in an interview with AFP.
– Who are the migrants? –
On the shores of Greece there are now “80 or 100 people who arrive every day, whereas we had 2,500 a day” before the agreement with Turkey, said Leggeri.
Among those who arrive from Africa via the central Mediterranean and Libya, whose number is up by more than 40 percent, most come from west Africa. They are Senegalese, Guineans, Nigerians. In 2016 they totalled 180,000.
They are mainly economic migrants and include many young men but also families and young women. Nigerian women are often exploited as prostitutes in Europe.
“It’s not the poorest who leave, because they have to be able to pay the smugglers,” said Leggeri.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), of the more than one million people who made it to Europe in 2015, 850,000 crossed into Greece via the Aegean Sea. More than half came from Syria and most of the rest from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Following a landmark EU-Turkey accord in March 2016, the total number arriving in Europe by sea fell that year to around 363,000, IOM figures show.
But as the number of arrivals in Greece dropped, the figures arriving from north Africa started to grow.
By mid-April 2017, “some 36,000 migrants had arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year, or an increase of 43 percent over the same period last year,” according to Frontex.
– Who are the smugglers? –
At the beginning of the most dangerous leg of the trip across the Sahara, the migrants are transported by Tuareg or Tebu nomads, for whom it is a traditional commercial activity, Leggeri said.
The Mediterranean crossing however is run by criminal networks, both big and small, as well as lone smugglers.
At the bottom of the ladder there are petty crooks, sometimes migrants themselves, who become the skippers of the small overloaded boats to pay for their own crossing, according to Leggeri. Read the rest of this entry »
To fight state media censorship in Venezuela, journalists are using cardboard television screens to present news reports on city busses. “El Bus TV” is aimed at providing news to people who lack access to the internet or social media.
Don Rosenberg is the father of a young man who was killed by an illegal alien initially held on criminal charges by police, who chose to release the alien to the streets rather than into the hands of immigration agents who wanted to initiate proceedings to deport him. It was this failure that led to the son’s death. It happened in San Francisco, that model of progressive thinking, which has more than once done this with similarly disastrous results to its innocent citizenry.
Rosenberg is among a distressingly large and diverse group of families who have faced similar tragedies. He is now the face of a public service announcement slamming sanctuary jurisdictions, and asking President Trump to make good on his campaign promise to halt federal funding for these jurisdictions.
Shortly after inauguration, the president did issue an executive order to that effect, but as he is coming to learn, executive orders are a lot easier to issue than to see put into action — in part because we live in an aggressively litigious society where progressivists and open-borders advocates have merged to speak with nearly one and the same voice; and in part because bureaucracies are somewhat like gigantic aircraft carriers: mighty and powerful, but disturbingly slow to turn about.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had a great deal of experience with immigration matters in his prior job as a senator from Alabama, has worked diligently to overcome the litigation and press forward with his agenda to make good on the president’s mandate to defund sanctuaries, where grant funding is made available via programs administered by the Department of Justice.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly today announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Notices of Funding Opportunity for 10 DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.6 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. The grants reflect the Department’s focus on funding for programs that address our nation’s immediate security needs and ensure public safety in our communities. (Emphasis added.)
Unfortunately, those grants do nothing of the sort where public safety is concerned, because among the major recipients are a significant number of sanctuary jurisdictions that pride themselves on stiff-arming federal immigration enforcement efforts, and ignoring immigration detainers, including New York City, which to date has not honored one single detainer, even when serious criminals such as sex offenders are concerned. Read the rest of this entry »
Climate and the New York Times
At least on the surface, the Manhattan-based news organization is keeping the faith. The various items in Friday’s editions amount to a collective primal scream against President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate accord. As of this writing, the home page of the paper’s website features stories claiming that Mr. Trump’s decision was “stupid and reckless” as well as “disgraceful” and based on “dubious data” from “distorted reports.” A news report says that Mr. Trump made a political “calculation” to ignore the popular will and instead placate his base. Meanwhile a Times column carries the subtle headline, “Donald Trump Poisons the World.”
But the Times seems to have made its own calculation about the risks of environmental catastrophe. And the only reasonable conclusion is that folks at the Times don’t think burning carbon is quite as dangerous as you might think from reading their product.
Even as the newspaper warns about impending doom if Americans don’t limit their emissions, the Times has also been trying to persuade its readers to dramatically increase theirs. In print and online this week, the Times has proudly presented advertisements for an exciting product offering called, “Around the World by Private Jet: Cultures in Transformation.” It sounds delightful, assuming you like the company:
Fly around the world in a customized Boeing 757 jet for the ultimate in luxury travel. Spend 26 days visiting such places as Israel, Cuba, Colombia, Australia, Myanmar and Iceland. Four award-winning New York Times journalists will accompany you, each for several days as you visit areas where they have expertise.
The Times promises, “In the air, your private jet comes with lie-flat beds and a dedicated cabin crew and chef.” Most Americans, who are generally not as well-heeled as the Times’ target demographic, probably couldn’t leave carbon footprints this big if they tried. And it wouldn’t be easy for the Times to design a less efficient means of circling our beloved planet. This week the print version of the advertisement noted there would be just 50 travelers—on an aircraft that can carry more than 200. Read the rest of this entry »
Mollie Hemingway writes: A draft of a new rule protecting religious adherents was leaked to the press earlier today. The 125-page ruling, if issued and finalized, would temporarily protect the Little Sisters of the Poor and other groups from an Obama-era Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring religious adherents to choose between crippling fines and violating their consciences.
The Supreme Court unanimously overturned lower court rulings against the Little Sisters of the Poor in May 2016, ordering the government not to fine the Little Sisters and telling the lower courts to get the government to accommodate religious beliefs. This interim rule would fulfill that Supreme Court ruling.
The Little Sisters of the Poor are a religious order that serves the elderly poor. The Obama administration’s rule required them to provide abortifacients and birth control in violation of their religious beliefs or be fined up to $70 million each year. In their five-year battle over the rule, they have repeatedly won court victories against this requirement. Courts routinely found the mandate, which the Obama administration kept revising, to be an onerous and unnecessary restriction on religious liberty.
“At long last the United States government acknowledges that people can get contraceptives without forcing nuns to provide them,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel with Becket, a civil liberties firm representing the Little Sisters. “That is sensible, fair, and in keeping with the Supreme Court’s order and the president’s promise to the Little Sisters and other religious groups serving the poor.”
The Little Sisters of the Poor were just one of many groups seeking relief from the mandate that violated religious liberty. Read the rest of this entry »
William Labov, Professor of Linguistics at University of Pennsylvania and author of Dialect Diversity in America, joins David to discuss the various and changing dialects and accents spoken in American English, and the political and economic factors in those dialects.
Washington’s KING-TV reports that a portion of a tunnel that transports trains carrying radioactive material collapsed early on Tuesday morning, with officials warning workers at the facility to take emergency precautions.
A reporter for the station said the tunnel that collapsed is connected to the facility’s uranium extraction plant. Read the rest of this entry »
Feminist author and Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis wrote the recently released book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, which details the insanity of regulating sex on college campuses with administrative tribunals and sexual conduct codes.
“The rules and the codes [on campuses] have been rewritten behind closed doors such that almost all sex can be charged as something criminal,” says feminist author and Northwestern University film professor Laura Kipnis. “It reinforces a traditional femininity that sees women as needing protection, sees women’s sexuality as something that is endangering to them.”
Kipnis’ new book is Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, which explores the insanity of sexual conduct codes and attitudes at American universities. It grew out of Kipnis’ own experience of being investigated under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act at Northwestern for a 2015 essay she published in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Read the rest of this entry »
The ‘Right’ to Health Care.
There isn’t one.
Kevin D. Williamson writes: With the American Health Care Act dominating the week’s news, one conversation has been unavoidable: Someone — someone who pays attention to public policy — will suggest that we pursue policy x, y, or z, and someone else — someone who pays a little less careful attention, who probably watches a lot of cable-television entertainment masquerading as news — responds: “The first thing we have to do is acknowledge that health care is a human right!” What follows is a moment during which the second speaker visibly luxuriates in his display of empathy and virtue, which is, of course, the point of the exercise.
It’s kind of gross, but that’s where we are, politically, as a country.
Here is a thought experiment: You have four children and three apples. You would like for everyone to have his own apple. You go to Congress, and you successfully persuade the House and the Senate to endorse a joint resolution declaring that everyone has a right to an apple of his own. A ticker-tape parade is held in your honor, and you share your story with Oprah, after which you are invited to address the United Nations, which passes the International Convention on the Rights of These Four Kids in Particular to an Individual Apple Each. You are visited by the souls of Mohandas Gandhi and Mother Teresa, who beam down approvingly from a joint Hindu-Catholic cloud in Heaven.
Question: How many apples do you have?
You have three apples, dummy. Three. You have four children. Each of those children has a congressionally endorsed, U.N.-approved, saint-ratified right to an apple of his own. But here’s the thing: You have three apples and four children. Nothing has changed.
Declaring a right in a scarce good is meaningless. It is a rhetorical gesture without any application to the events and conundrums of the real world. If the Dalai Lama were to lead 10,000 bodhisattvas in meditation, and the subject of that meditation was the human right to health care, it would do less good for the cause of actually providing people with health care than the lowliest temp at Merck does before his second cup of coffee on any given Tuesday morning. Read the rest of this entry »