Bret Stephens: Ferguson, Lies and Statistics

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Here’s a story for the media: a community in which honest people are afraid to tell the truth

Bret Stephens reports: Darren Wilson has been exonerated, again, in last August’s shooting death of Michael Brown, and that ought to be as much a vindication for the onetime Ferguson, Mo., police officer as it is a teachable moment for the rest of America.

“…honest people can’t tell the truth for fear of running afoul local thugs enforcing ‘the narrative reported by the media.’ Or is that more of a story about the media?”

It won’t be. The story line has failed, so the statistics have been put to work.

GRAND JURY VERDICT ON THE MICHAEL BROWN SHOOTING

“At least half that fable was put to rest last week by an exhaustive Justice Department report. It demolishes the lie that Brown was shot in the back, along with the lie that he was surrendering to Mr. Wilson, hands in the air, when he was shot. It confirms that Brown physically assaulted the officer, who had good grounds to fear for his life.”

That the claims made against Mr. Wilson were doubtful should have been clear within days of Brown’s death, and again in November after a grand jury, having heard from some 60 witnesses, declined to indict the officer—an outcome one outraged commentator denounced as having “openly and shamelessly mocked our criminal justice system and laid bare the inequality of our criminal jurisprudence.”

APTOPIX Police Shooting Missouri

“Is this racism? The Missouri Statistical Analysis Center notes that in 2012 African-Americans, about 12% of the state’s population, constituted 65% of murder arrests and 62% of murder victims. To suggest that the glaring statistical disproportion between relative population size and murder rate is somehow a function of race would be erroneous and offensive…” 

Yet if anyone was openly and shamelessly mocking the criminal-justice system, it was so much of the media itself, credulously accepting or sanctimoniously promoting the double fable of Ferguson: that a “gentle giant” had been capriciously slain by a trigger-happy cop; and that a racist justice system stood behind that cop.

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“…Yet tarring a police force as racist for far smaller statistical discrepancies is now one of the privileged “truths” of 21st century America.”

At least half that fable was put to rest last week by an exhaustive Justice Department report. It demolishes the lie that Brown was shot in the back, along with the lie that he was surrendering to Mr. Wilson, hands in the air, when he was shot. It confirms that Brown physically assaulted the officer, who had good grounds to fear for his life.

And it confirms that eyewitnesses either lied to investigators or refused to be interviewed out of fear of local vigilantes. Read the rest of this entry »


Washington Post: 50 Years Ago, March 8, 1965

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ccording the wire reports carried by the paper, more than 600 marchers had been walking across the bridge. Some were singing songs. Others were praying. Then officers on horseback descended on them. Almost 100 people were hospitalized with serious injuries.

[Fifty years after ‘Bloody Sunday’ march, struggles endure in Selma]

On page A3, the articles continued, and included a photo of a young civil rights leader named John Lewis being beaten by an Alabama State Trooper. (Lewis, now a Democratic congressman from Georgia, recently reminisced about Selma.)

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The following day, the story pressed on. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had called for clergy to join the marches — prompting ministers from around the nation, many of them white, to travel to Alabama. Meanwhile, protests began here in D.C.

According to a March 9, 1965 piece by Post staffer Richard L. Lyons, 175 people picketed at the Department of Justice. Three of them attempted to enter the Attorney General’s office, and one had to be physically dragged away. Later in the day, another 25 people staged a sit-in at AG Nicholas Katzenbach’s office, and several Democratic members of Congress issued statements of outrage. Rep. James O’Hara, a Democrat from Michigan, declared that the beatings of the marchers were a “storm trooper action taken a the direction of a ruthless demagogue,” referring to Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

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By now, hundreds more demonstrators had begun arriving in Selma at King’s request. A second march was planned. State officials instructed King and the others not to go on with the march. Federal officials declined to directly intervene. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Court Shuts Down D.O.J. Over Voter ID, Holder Loses in the Carolinas—Again

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Significantly, Judge Schroeder cited the testimony of DOJ’s own experts against it.”

From capitalisminstitute.org: Voter ID laws are a pretty simple concept that enjoy widespread support.  Voter ID laws simply state that anyone showing up to vote at the polls must provide a valid ID of some sort, to prove that they are who they claim to be.voter-fraud

[Related: thinkprogress.org goes completely cuckoo bananas over loss of Democratic party’s long-cherished corrupt voter fraud advantage, repeats discredited claim that it’s “bad for voting rights”]

Voter ID laws help prevent and cut down on voter fraud, and help to protect the integrity of elections.  Progressive Democrats abhor voter ID laws, and Attorney General Eric Holder has attacked such laws in multiple states, claiming they are racist and prevent minorities from voting.

From The CornerHans A. von Spakovsky elaborates:

Attorney General Eric Holder suffered a huge loss on Friday in his war on election integrity. A federal judge refused to issue a preliminary injunction against North Carolina’s omnibus election reform law that includes voter ID, as well as measures such as the elimination of same-day registration…

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Holder Loses in the Carolinas—Again

Spakovsky continues,

…Significantly, Judge Schroeder cited the testimony of DOJ’s own experts against it. This included one expert who admitted that black turnout in North Carolina is on par with that of whites, and another DOJ expert who acknowledged that the black registration rate is higher than that of whites. That makes it a bit difficult to argue that state officials have been discriminating against minority voters. Read the rest of this entry »


Meet The New Counterculture: Modern Conservatives Employ Tactics Formerly Associated With Radical Left

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This is reported from the perspective of a highly regarded liberal media institution regarding conservative culture as an alien, unfamiliar phenomenon. (even though conservatives occupy about 90% of the land mass of the U.S.) so the Post‘s unavoidable bias is hard to miss. There are (or will be) better, more balanced articles about this, but this one certainly has its merits.

For the The Washington PostPhilip Bump reports:

The American counterculture was once defined by hippies marching on the streets of San Francisco or taking over buildings at Berkeley. This overlapped during the 1960s with the Supreme Court of Earl Warren, the popular benchmark of an activist judiciary.

“John Hawkins suggested that conservatives ‘learn from what he wrote and give the Left a taste of its own medicine.'”

[Also see – Packed Murrieta Town Hall Sounds Alarm On Illegal Immigrant Invasion]

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A scene from Murrieta. (REUTERS/Sam Hodgson)

[More – Deportation of Minors Drop 80% Under Obama]

That was then. Now, this group is older, whiter, and much less likely to have voted for Eugene McCarthy.or-die

“Townhall.com ran an essay arguing that conservatives should see Saul Alinsky’s famous how-to guide Rules for Radicals not as a reason to mock their opponents, but as a useful guide for their own protest.”

In Murrieta, California, scores of conservative protesters block buses filled with immigrants from arriving in the city. In Nevada, hundreds rally to bolster rancher Cliven Bundy’s fight against what they see as improper government intrusion. These are to some extent offshoots of a broader, fading movement — the tea party — which saw protests at statehouses, over phone lines, and at the Capitol as a critical form of engagement. Read the rest of this entry »


LBJ a Liberal Hero? In Your Dreams, Pal

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Michael Kazin writes:  From 1964 to 1968, close to 34,000 Americans died in South Vietnam. We will never know how many Vietnamese women, men, and children perished during those years, but the total, according to most estimates, was at least one million. Among the dead were tens of thousands of civilians—blown apart by explosives dropped from planes, burned to death by napalm, or gunned down by U.S. troops whose commanders told them that, in a village considered loyal to the Vietcong, they should “kill anything that we see and anything that moved.” Their commander-in-chief was Lyndon Baines Johnson.

This past week, on the golden anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, four of LBJ’s successors went to his library in Texas to praise his character and his deeds. George W. Bush lauded him for turning “a nation’s grief to a great national purpose.” Jimmy Carter chided his fellow LBJtallDemocrats for not emulating Johnson’s determination to fight for racial equality. Barack Obama remarked that LBJ’s “hunger” for power “was harnessed and redeemed by a deeper understanding of the human condition, by a sympathy for the underdog, for the downtrodden, for the outcast.” Bill Clinton reflected that Johnson “saw limitless possibilities in the lives of other poor people like him who just happened to have a different color skin.”

Some liberal journalists echoed the chief executives, past and present. LBJ, wrote my friend E.J. Dionne, presided over “a consensual period when a large and confident majority believed that national action could expand opportunities and alleviate needless suffering. The earthily practical Johnson showed that finding realistic ways of creating a better world is what Americans are supposed to do.” Not a word about those countless people in Southeast Asia whose lives reached their unnatural limits when they encountered an American infantryman with an M-16 or a bomb dropped from a B-52.

Of course, to remember what the United States, during LBJ’s tenure, did to Vietnam and to the young Americans who served there does not cancel out his domestic achievements. But to portray him solely as a paragon of empathy, a liberal hero with a minor flaw or two, is not merely a feat of willful amnesia. It is deeply immoral. Read the rest of this entry »


Conflicting Reports: Eric Holder to Step Down This Year?

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will step down this year, he said in an interview with the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin in the magazine’s Feb. 17 edition.

The most controversial, combative, distrusted, divisive, nakedly political, and openly partisan Justice Department in decades may be about to have an overdue transition? The Washington Times reports: In a feature article, Mr. Holder said he plans on staying in his position “well into” the year.

eric-holder-tallLast November, Mr. Holder told CBS News he didn’t have “any plans” to step down.

Mr. Holder has made voting rights the test case of his tenure, the New Yorker reported. He has been a vocal critic of the Supreme Court case that invalidated key parts of the Voting Rights Act and has supported Congressional action to renew and revise the law.

During his five years as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, Mr. Holder has also weighed in on other controversial Supreme Court decisions…Washington Timesmore

Meanwhile, just yesterday, David Jackson at USA Today reported Attorney General Eric Holder has “no specific plans to step down by the end of 2014“, Obama administration officials say, contrary to a new magazine report.

The New Yorker, in a piece about Holder’s battles over voting rights, said President Obama’s attorney general “will leave office sometime this year.”

That is a misinterpretation of a frequent Holder comment that he plans to stay in the job until at least most of 2014, officials said….


The DOJ’s Radical Civil Rights Division

ebo Adegbile after arguments at the Supreme Court, February 27, 2013.

Debo Adegbile after arguments at the Supreme Court, February 27, 2013.

Obama’s pick to helm the division seems to hew to a racialist view of civil rights

John Fund writes:  President Obama’s last head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division was Thomas Perez, a highly controversial radical. Perez is now the secretary of the Department of Labor. (He was confirmed in July this year by a vote of only 54 to 46.) When looking to replace Perez at the DOJ, President Obama could have chosen to improve the Civil Rights Division — after all, the Justice Department’s own inspector general concluded in a report earlier this year that the division was guilty of “deep ideological polarization” and a “disappointing lack of professionalism.”

Instead, Obama has picked someone who clearly shares Perez’s worldview, Debo Adegbile, the senior counsel to the highly partisan Senate Judiciary Committee. He will also be the fourth head of the division who has worked at the Washington office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. This group, which has a rigid view of civil-rights enforcement, has recently lost several high-profile court cases. Just last February, Adegbile went before the Supreme Court to defend Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which required that many states (mostly Southern) have all changes to their voting laws precleared either by the DOJ or in federal court. The Supreme Court properly decided that this portion of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional, given that much of the data used to decide which states needed preclearance dated from 40 years ago.

Read the rest of this entry »


Allegedly Educated People Don’t Know: A Higher Percentage of Republicans Than Democrats Voted for Civil Rights Act

President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act...

L.A. Times Mangles History: Democrats ‘Led the Passage of Civil Rights Legislation’ in the Sixties?

By Tim Graham

Memo to the Corrections Department at the Los Angeles Times: The following sentence is utterly unhistorical. “Since Democrats led the passage of civil rights legislation that marchers pushed for in 1963, Republicans have struggled to recover with black voters”.

Civil rights legislation of the 1960s was favored more by Republicans than by Democrats, so how did Democrats “lead the passage”? With three reporters contributing to the story – Kathleen Hennessey, Richard Simon, and Alexei Koseff – none of them could locate the actual Sixties voting record as they labored to make the GOP look bad for the Democratic unanimity of the event:

Read the rest of this entry »


Attorney General Eric Holder: “SCREW the Supreme Court, I HATE Texas”

Yep: Justice Department suing Texas over voter ID law  

BY ERIKA JOHNSEN

Back in June, the Supreme Court struck down a big part of the Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional, ruling that Congress needs to identify places where racial discrimination at the voting booth is so endemic that it requires federal intervention to override a state’s sovereignty in conducting elections. The 1965 law originally required that states with a history of discrimination apply for DOJ permission or court approval before altering their voting laws, but the Justices threw out those 50-year-old definitions and essentially freed Texas from federal court supervision — and it didn’t take long for Attorney General Eric Holder to declare that he had no intention of abiding by the historical checks-and-balances norm supplied by the Supreme Court. Read the rest of this entry »


Hillarys Racial Politics

She makes a polarizing pitch that ignores trends in voter turnout.

Hillary Clinton began her 2016 march to the White House last week, and it wasn’t a promising debut. The former first lady and Senator used her first big policy speech since leaving the State Department to portray American election laws as fundamentally racist. The speech was longer on anecdotes than statistics, so allow us to fill in some of the holes.

“In 2013, so far, more than 80 bills restricting voting rights have been introduced in 31 states,” Mrs. Clinton told her political base of lawyers at the American Bar Association. She portrayed these laws as part of an effort reaching back years to “disproportionately impact African-Americans, Latino and young voters.” And she threw the Supreme Court in as part of this racist conspiracy, assailing its recent decision finding the “preclearance” section of the Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional.

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She claimed the High Court had “struck at the heart” of the law, though all it did was eliminate a section that had forced such states as Mississippi to meet higher legal burdens for election laws than other states with a worse current record of minority voter participation. “Now not every obstacle is related to race,” Mrs. Clinton added, “but anyone who says that racial discrimination is no longer a problem in American elections must not be paying attention.”

No one thinks racial discrimination has vanished from American life or the human condition. But as for minority voting, Mrs. Clinton is the one who hasn’t been paying attention. In particular, she must have missed the May 2013 Census Bureau study on “The Diversifying Electorate—Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2012 (and Other Recent Elections).”

Read the rest of this entry »


The Racializing of American Politics

Even the exit polls now force people to put themselves in a racial category.

This is the most violated saying in American public life.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s acclaimed call in 1963 for a colorblind society has been displaced, at least in our politics, by an obsession with racial categories. That is the meaning of racialization.

It may be over four decades since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, but whenever America votes today, the exit polls can’t move fast enough to divide voters by the color of their skin. Mere moments after the 2012 exit polls were released, a conventional wisdom congealed across the media that the Republican Party was “too white.”

Let us posit that this subject wouldn’t have been raised if the bottom hadn’t fallen out of the GOP’s share of the Hispanic vote. When George W. Bush attracted 40% of the Hispanic vote in 2004, there was no cry that the Republican Party was “too white.” The GOP’s problem with Hispanics today is a tangle of issues involving the law, labor and assimilation that is hardly reducible to the accusation that the party is too white.

In virtually every instance, the idea that the Republican Party is “too white” is dropped with almost no discussion of what exactly that means. The phrase is being pinned like a scarlet “W” on anyone who didn’t vote for the Democrats’ nominee. It’s a you-know-what-we-mean denunciation. Its only meaning is racial…

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via Henninger – WSJ.com.