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Wednesday, 1 July 2015
Feel the Hate
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Did you know that Louisiana governor and Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal is a self-hating racist who’s ashamed of his Indian ethnicity? If this seems dubious to you, don’t take my word for it: Ask a progressive.

In one of the most vile and repulsive Web posts I’ve ever seen, this very claim was advanced with the smugness typical of the self-described party of sensitivity and tolerance. But how has Bobby Jindal has sinned against progressive orthodoxy? By disregarding his skin color and mounting a full-throated defense of American exceptionalism. Such statements are of course obnoxious to progressives— every enlightened person knows that America is nothing special—but when their source is a person of color the mob scents blood.

Black Americans who happen to be conservative are familiar with this phenomenon. To be Clarence Thomas is to be reviled as a house slave, an Uncle Tom, a lawn jockey, a race traitor, etc. and so forth. Conservative women come in for the same type of treatment. Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann may possess female biological characteristics but in the eyes of progressives their politics disqualify them from true womanhood. (That many of the same people who seek to gender-purge Palin and Bachmann also insist that Bruce Jenner is an honest-to-goddess woman appears to set up a contradiction in progressive practice, but that’s a topic for another blog post.) So now it’s Bobby Jindal’s turn and I can’t say I’m surprised.

The postmodern Left’s embrace of tribalism is one of the most striking political developments of our time. Bernie Sanders may go around addressing his audiences as “brothers and sisters” but that’s just a rhetorical tic. What Sanders—what the Left as a whole—demands of us today is that we obsess over our differences. This is called “diversity” and “multiculturalism.” Supposedly it fosters mutual tolerance but in practice it encourages division. What, for example, will the Left’s current jihad against the Confederate flag produce? Concord? Respect? Understanding? If that’s what you think, well, may I interest you in zinc futures?

Bobby Jindal is a thought criminal to the Left because he believes that his skin color and ethnicity are less important that his American identity. See, if he spent more time obsessing over his Indian ancestry he’d come to understand just how racist and rotten and imperialistic and generally deserving of contempt Amerikka truly is. And instead of being a self-hating racist he’d be an Amerikka-hating progressive…


Posted by tmg110 at 12:12 PM EDT
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The Bill Comes Due
Topic: Decline of the West

There are several ways of looking at last week’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. One is that it’s a great moment for civil rights. Another is that it signifies the continuing decline of the West. Personally, though, I prefer to dwell on its comicality.

Of course the automatic reaction to the same-sex marriage decision by almost all straight people is (in the immortal formulation of Seinfeld) “Not that there’s anything wrong with it!” Who wants to be thought insensitive or be branded as a homophobe? So folks will nod along with the claim that same-sex marriage is really no different from traditional marriage. But the fact remains that same-sex marriage will never be anything but a smudgy copy of traditional marriage, and everybody knows it.

Gay Americans are so busy emoting, waving rainbow flags, etc. that they haven’t stopped to ask themselves just what it is that the high court has proclaimed. Has it indeed conceded to them the same access to the institution of marriage that straight people enjoy? The justices may say yes but nature’s laws dictate otherwise. Marriage as traditionally defined—the union of one man and one woman—relies first and foremost on the biological support of the organism.  Here I must sin against postmodern orthodoxy by pointing out that men and women are biologically and psychologically different. But perhaps I can redeem myself in the eyes of the postmodern Left by borrowing from Kant, Hegel and Marx: The interplay of those differences—the male thesis and the female antithesis—yields the synthesis that we call marriage. Everything that is characteristic of marriage qua marriage derives from this.

Now obviously two men and two women can’t replicate this dialectical process. True, the partners may have different personalities. But biology is destiny. Though a gay man is sexually attracted to men, not women, his sex drive remains masculine, i.e. promiscuous. What, therefore, is a gay man’s rationale for marriage, particularly in his younger years? Love? Justice Anthony Kennedy seems to think so but I wonder. It seems to me more probable that the majority of male/male same-sex marriages will take place in late middle age, after the parties have sown their wild oats. For gay men same-sex marriage will turn out to be a form of sexual retirement.

Then there’s the question of children. Heather will have two mommies, Johnny will have two dads and what’s wrong with that? Nothing except that it can’t happen in the normal course of biological events. The old crack that a human being can be produced cheaply by unskilled labor doesn’t apply to same-sex marriage. If a gay married couple wants children, some third party will have to be present at the creation: a sperm donor, a surrogate mother, a fertility clinic, an adoption agency. Parenthood by committee—doesn’t sound very romantic, does it? But the main point is that same-sex parenting is expensive, as women past their peak childbearing years who want children and need similar support can attest. So don’t look for too many happy young same-sex parents in their twenties and thirties.  The kids will come later in life—much later—and there won’t be many of them. That’s something to think about, isn’t it?

These being weighty considerations, what’s so funny? Where’s the element of comedy? Well, the morrow of victory is often good for a laugh. Already, as gay Americans savor their great victory—for such it was, there’s no denying it—the worm of discontent has performed a prefatory slither. Andrew Sullivan, an early and passionate supporter of “marriage equality,” laments that society’s embrace of gays is likely to be fatal to gay culture. He has a point. In times past when gays were marginalized and discriminated against, a space existed for a distinctive gay culture and lifestyle. Being gay meant something; it gave one a certain take on things, One of the most memorable conversations I’ve ever had with a chance-met stranger was in Provincetown, Massachusetts, many years ago, in a bookstore. I was perusing a copy of John Fowles’ The Magus. Noticing this, the store clerk, a young man who was obviously if not flamboyantly gay, asked me if I’d read it. (I had.) For the next fifteen minutes we chatted amiably about Fowles and John Le Carré and Brave New World. He had some interesting things to say about the latter, e.g. how Huxley’s hedonistic dystopia was so boringly heterosexual. But it would be, wouldn’t it? I replied, and saw that he took my point.

So maybe that’s the trade-off—because there’s never any free lunch, to get you have to give. Gays are about to be reminded of the truth of this truism. They constitute a mere two or three percent of the US population and their visibility has always depended to some extent on the existence of a concept of gayness—not biological but cultural and even ideological. Probably that culture and ideology will enjoy a continued if zombie-like existence in university departments of queer studies and the like. Out here in the real world, though, it seems likely to wither away.

Gay Americans have access to the institution of marriage now, with all the uncertainties and complications thereunto appertaining. Human nature being what it is, a barrage of grumbling and bitching is certain to follow. And that makes me smile.


Posted by tmg110 at 12:00 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 1 July 2015 4:17 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 30 June 2015
Three for Three
Topic: Liberal Fascism

That characteristic progressive hat trick—malice, hypocrisy, stupidity —is well on display amid the Sturm und Drang of the Confederate flag controversy.

Can there be the slightest doubt that the progressive jihad against the Confederate flag is attempt to exploit a gruesome crime for ideological purposes? Hah! Everybody—everybody—knows that the flag had nothing whatever to do with the racism-inspired mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. But it so happened that the shooter had a Confederate flag plate on his car and that was a sufficient pretext for a political purge. Anyone who displays the Confederate flag or honors the history and heritage of the American South is henceforth to be reviled as a traitor and a racist. Malice: check.

Still, should we not concede that the hatred directed by progressives at a divisive symbol that recalls a dark chapter of American history is sincere? I think not. Progressives had a reasonable, defensible demand available to them: that the Confederate flag ought not to enjoy official recognition by government at any level: local, state or national. Black Americans, after all, have good reason to view it with detestation as a symbol of slavery, oppression and racism. Therefore its presence on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol, in the canton of the state flag of Mississippi, etc. is clearly inappropriate. Be it noted however, that progressives did not restrict themselves to that reasonable position, with which I happen to agree. No, instead we got an outburst of hatred: hysterical charges that anyone who displays the Confederate flag is a racist and a traitor, demands that the Confederate flag be erased from view and memory, vandalism directed against monuments to the Confederacy, etc. Oh, really? To that I can only say: Get back to me when you’ve burned the last Che Guevara flags and tee shirts, comrades. Hypocrisy: check.

There remains the claim that progressives have been very canny in their exploitation of the Charleston shooting to rip down a symbol beloved of conservative whites in the South. As these people represent everything that progressivism hates, was it not clever to deprive them of their flag? I’m not so sure. Northwest Indiana, where I live, is an area not particularly known for Confederate sympathies. So last Friday I was driving to the grocery story when I spotted a big black pickup truck heading in the opposite direction. Flying proudly—and, I suspect, defiantly—from its bed was the Confederate flag. It wasn’t a small one, either.

Stupidity: check.

Posted by tmg110 at 6:50 AM EDT
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Friday, 26 June 2015
The Bubble That Is Bernie
Topic: Politics & Elections

One difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is that he believes what he’s saying whereas she, probably, does not. The self-described socialist senator from Vermont has a past rooted in kooky radical politics; the former First Lady and Secretary of State abandoned her youthful radicalism decades ago. That’s why the Democratic Party base is gaga for Bernie: progressives just don’t think that Hillary is telling the truth when she pledges to “topple the one percent.” Sanders, though, they recognize as a true believer.

Yes, but just what does Bernie Sanders believe? We know who and what he hates: Republicans, the Walton family (not the TV one), the Koch brothers, hedge fund managers, China and Mexico and trade, etc. and so forth. For sure, Sanders is a good hater. And we know, in general terms at least, what he wants for America: a Scandinavian-style welfare state. To that end, he preaches all-out class warfare. As Kevin D. Williamson put it in a recent National Review article, with Sanders it’s Us versus Them—everywhere, all the time. In short, Bernie Sanders is a good hater.

And that’s the funny thing about him because his political style, his “brothers and sisters” rhetoric, his rants against trade and the Koch brothers, blah, blah, blah, is divisive in a manner that makes his stated objective impossible of achievement. Williamson points out that the Scandinavian-style welfare state is made possible (1) by a broad political consensus and a level of social conformity that from the American point of view is positively stifling and (2) the ethnic/racial homogeneity of the Scandinavian (and most European) countries. To put it another way, the political and social environment necessary for the establishment of a Scandinavian-style welfare state does not and probably cannot exist in a large, diverse country like the United States of America.

Thus the over-the-top class warfare rhetoric of Bernie Sanders, his constant bashing of corporations and the rich, his moralizing quackery, is at cross-purposes with his stated goal. The Sanders campaign is one long exercise in naming and denouncing enemies, a nonstop hymn of hate. Now of course such blather appeals to the progressives of the Democratic Party base who can’t stomach Clintonism. But the belief that it constitutes a plausible political program is, in a word, delusional. Bernie Sanders embodies a bundle of attitudes and emotions, but he has no ideas. Between his boilerplate leftie rhetoric and the Scandinavian-style heaven on earth so earnestly desired by American progressives there is no bridge. Sorry comrades, but you just can’t get there from there.

Posted by tmg110 at 7:37 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 26 June 2015 7:38 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Ignorance is Strength
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Recently in another Web venue I posted some comments regarding progressivism’s progressive slide into illiberalism, i.e. the renunciation of its commitment to traditional civil liberties like freedoms of speech and association. This disturbing trend manifests itself in many ways and places, from the US Congress to university campuses. Its signs and symptoms are such things as campus trigger warnings and restrictions on political speech, vicious online campaigns of denunciation and persecution aimed at people who transgress progressive orthodoxy, etc. Examples of progressive illiberalism abound and I cited a few.

For this I was denounced by an interlocutor as a purveyor of “fear and hate.”

This individual—his identity does not matter—responded to my defense of free speech in an odd way. I had cited George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” and quoted him to the effect that if freedom of speech means anything it means telling people what they don not want to hear. While professing to agree with Orwell on that point he went on to claim that Orwell had a problem with free speech. I scoffed at this, whereat my interlocutor cited another Orwell essay, “Notes on Nationalism.”

Like almost everything that Orwell wrote, “Notes on Nationalism” remains well worth reading but it certainly does not include a critique of freedom of speech. I pointed this out and was thereupon invited to participate in a “discussion” of the essay. Having already been accused of spreading “fear and hate” I felt that such a discussion would not be fruitful, and called it a day.

If anything, both “Politics and the English Language” and “Notes on Nationalism” embody a devastating critique of the mind-set that has pushed progressivism in an illiberal direction. The former deals with the corruption of language by ideology; the latter deals with the irrationality of ideological conformity. No one at all familiar with George Orwell will have difficulty imagining what he would have thought, for example, of the current jihad against the “culture of rape” on campus—a campaign based on bogus statistics and driven by mob hysteria in the style of the Two Minutes Hate. In this, as in so many other manifestations of illiberal progressivism, he would undoubtedly have recognized the spirit of Ingsoc, Newspeak and doublethink: willful ignorance reinforcing blatant dishonesty.

In exchanges of this kind with progressives, you really have to expect to be denounced at some stage as a hater, a fearmonger, a bigot, a sexist, a homophobe, a fascist, etc., etc. The name-calling usually starts when you’ve made a cogent point and once the vitriol has been flung it’s time to head for the exit. Why bother to hang around? After all, has not your interlocutor reinforced your point?

I have no doubt, incidentally, that George Orwell would find much to dislike in contemporary conservatism. But characteristically he would judge conservative principles on their merits for, as he said, no argument can be said to be refuted until it has been given a fair hearing. But this classically liberal attitude is one that illiberal progressivism not only violates in practice but rejects in principle. Fear and hate? Those are the twin pillars of a twisted, ugly ideology that falsely advertises itself as liberal, enlightened, rational and compassionate while viciously persecuting the dissenter, the heretic and the unbeliever.


Posted by tmg110 at 11:06 AM EDT
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Sunday, 21 June 2015
Strike the Confederate Colors
Topic: Decline of the West


One again, this time in connection with the racist mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, the vexing issue of the Confederate flag has reared its ugly head. On the grounds of the state capitol in Colombia the Confederate Battle Flag, also known as the ANV (Army of Northern Virginia) Battle Flag, flies near the Stars & Stripes and the state flag of South Carolina. This flag, red with a white-bordered diagonal blue cross bearing eleven stars, was adopted by the Army of Northern Virginia in 1861 because the first national flag of the CSA (Confederate States of America), the so-called Stars & Bars, too closely resembled the US flag. It was thought that amidst the smoke and confusion of battle it might be mistaken for the Stars & Stripes. Several versions of the ANV Battle Flag were produced during the war, most of them similar to the one that flies today over Colombia.


The Stars & Bars was never popular and in 1863 the CSA adopted a new national flag: white with the ANV Battle Flag as a canton. This, the so-called Stainless Banner, lasted until 1865 when, with the war nearly lost it was modified by the addition of a vertical red stripe on the fly. In the decades following the war ANV Battle Flag evolved into a potent political and cultural symbol, expressing the South’s determination to defend its identity and maintain its traditions. Among these traditions was racial segregation in the form known as Jim Crow.


Not surprisingly, black Americans regard the Confederate flag as a symbol of oppression, racism and hate. The flag’s defenders claim on the contrary that its display merely honors Southern heritage, specifically including the heroism of the soldiers of the Confederate armies. Several southern states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi—have incorporated the Confederate flag or its design elements into their state flags and there are periodic protests against this. (Georgia’s flag was recently changed for this reason.)


That slavery was the basic, fundamental cause of the Civil War is an inarguable fact. The admittedly heroic soldiers of the Confederate armies, whether they owned slaves or not, were defending what the South was pleased to call its “peculiar institution.” They were fighting, that is to say, to keep blacks in bondage and the flag under which they fought symbolized that cause. Thus American blacks have good reason to regard the Confederate flag with the same detestation that Jews would no doubt direct against a display of the flag of Nazi Germany. Still, hurt feelings are no justification for restrictions on freedom of speech and expression, of which flying a flag is an example. To outlaw the Confederate flag, to tell individual citizens and private groups that they have no right to fly or display it, would be un-American.


But the use of the Confederate flag by governments—national, state or local—is something else again. Placing an official seal of approval on a symbol that for weighty historical reasons is hateful to a segment of the citizenry is un-American also. Our country’s motto—E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one)—encapsulates a principle of national unity that is contradicted when government at any level embraces such a divisive symbol as the Confederate flag. Let private citizens do as they wish. But in Colombia and anywhere else where they fly by government permission or fiat, let the Confederate colors be hauled down.

Posted by tmg110 at 11:34 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 June 2015 11:42 AM EDT
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Monday, 15 June 2015
The Offensive Offended
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Nowadays it seems that everybody’s offended, all the time. And great deference is given to the offended, the presumption being that their preferences are privileged. Thus if you use a term like “spear carrier” in conversation and this give offense to a person of color, the fact that it’s sourced from opera rather than racism matters not at all. You have given offense. You must apologize. You must, in fact, rend your garments, sprinkle ashes on your head and crawl on your belly like a palace slave before the throne of the Shah of Persia. 

Well, anyhow, that’s what liberals, progressives and lefties want you to do—and quite often they do succeed in getting people to do it. The ideology of offense has gained such credibility that it’s easy for the Left to guilt-trip some poor chump who uttered the word “niggardly.” No doubt you’ll remember that highly revealing affair.


Here’s the thing, though. In many if not most of these cases the parties professing to be offended know quite well that no offense was intended. So it’s reasonable to conclude that they’re playacting: pretending to be offended so they can behave like scolds and bullies. Thus the use of the term “spear carrier” or the word “niggardly” becomes the excuse for another one of those supercilious lectures about the legacy of slavery, the evils of institutional racism, etc, and so forth, blah, blah, blah. And of course we’re all expected to nod along.


There’s another option, however: When someone charges you with racism or sexism or homophobia for using this or that word you can respond: “Take a hike.” I more or less did that several years ago when I used the term “spear carrier” in a casual workplace conversation and found myself charged with uttering a racial slur. As is typical, my accuser didn’t confront me directly but ran off to HR to tattle on me. I was called in for interrogation. When it transpired that the “racial slur” in question was a term derived from the world of opera, I just laughed. When it was suggested to me that one must nevertheless be “sensitive” to the feelings of others I asked for a complete list of banned and problematical words so as to avoid giving offense to anyone in the future. The interview was terminated a few minutes later and that was the end of the affair.


Now of course there are words and terms, once common, that have fallen into disuse because they actually do give offense, e.g. “gyp” for “cheat,” an unflattering, stereotypical commentary on the business practices of Gypsies. We used that word thoughtlessly when I was a kid—in fact, I’m not at all sure that I knew from whence it derived. Just as it’s insufferable nosebleedery to take offense at innocent words, it’s impermissibly crude to give offense by using guilty ones. Grownups should understand this. But the ideology of offense, so assiduously promoted by the Left, assumes that we’re a nation and a world of adolescents.


Adolescent the obsession with giving and taking offense may be, but it’s not frivolous. For the illiberal Left—more and more synonymous with the Left as a whole—it’s a way of shutting down debate and suppressing opposition. Why bother to refute a conservative’s argument when you can squeal and whine about his use of “niggardly” or “queer” or “bossy”? Being offended is a way of plugging one’s ears and covering one’s eyes and chanting “Nah, nah, nah.” Come to think of it, I’m rather offended to hear people with such a mind-set describing themselves as “liberal” and “progressive” and “enlightened.”

Posted by tmg110 at 3:03 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 1 July 2015 12:14 PM EDT
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Saturday, 13 June 2015
ABC Welcomes You to 2015!
Topic: The Media


Some people wonder how an empty suit like Barack Obama could possibly have been elected President of the United States. Surely the American people are smarter than that! Well, as Winston Churchill once remarked, the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. And no, I don’t mean that people are generally stupid. But they are generally ill-informed and for that the news media deserve a supersized share of the blame.


Liberals, progressives and lefties squeal with outrage at every error or omission of Fox News Channel, which they claim isn’t a legitimate news organization at all but the Republican Party’s propaganda machine. (This, incidentally, makes it OK for the Left to indulge its taste for misogyny by mocking and stereotyping the women of FNC as dumb blondes, bimbos and worse.) Ah, but when evidence surfaces that a supposedly genuine news organization has been somewhat less than fair and balanced they’ll say just about anything to change the subject. Example: During an exchange of comments on Quora I mentioned the CBS/Dan Rather debacle—only to be told that Rather’s transgression was nothing compared to those of Chimpy McBushitler and Darth Vadercheney, so there! And I have to say, that prize piece of idiocy absolutely made my day.


So I’m wondering how the Left will respond when this is pointed out to them. It’s ABC’s 2008 weather forecast, in which the network informed us that by 2015—that’s right now—climate disaster will have overtaken the world. In a one-hour special, “Earth 2100,” (produced in 2008 but not aired until 2009) ABC informed its viewers that by 2015 global warming will have caused economic chaos and widespread natural disasters—gas $9 a gallon, milk $13 a gallon, Miami wiped out by a superstorm, New York disappearing beneath rising seawater, etc. Peering further ahead, ABC saw a huge human dieback with global population falling to less than 3 billion. Sample scare quote: “We're going to see more floods, more droughts, more wildfires.”


If you look out the window you’ll note that none of ABC’s dire predictions have come to pass. I don’t buy milk by the gallon so I’m not sure of its price but I do know that if I fill up today I’ll be paying about $2.75 rather than $9 for a gallon of gas. And though I haven’t checked this morning I’m pretty certain that both Miami and New York are still there. In short, “Earth 2100” wasn’t scientifically rigorous good reporting or even a serious exercise in prognostication. It was climate alarmism, pure and simple—a specimen of propaganda that would have excited the admiration of Joseph Goebbels.


Now recall for a moment how the media treated presidential candidate Barack H. Obama in 2007-08. Though it’s true that media coverage of Obama had its ups and downs it was very positive on the whole. There was, indeed, scant inclination to question Obama’s fitness for office on grounds of experience and temperament. While the straight journalism side of the media didn’t succumb to the adulation and hero worship in which he basked, news coverage was certainly influenced by those over-the-top hosannas. Perhaps too it was colored by reporters’ reluctance to take shots at America’s first serious black presidential candidate. Whatever the reason, though, they didn’t ask the hard questions. And the American people received, as we can see now, a totally false impression of Barack Obama. The candidate they voted for was a wooden titan. The real guy turned out to be a small, tiny person.


As with candidates, so with the climate. In the fantasy land of climate alarmists and their numerous media enablers, disaster is always just around the corner. In the real world, though, things are quite different. In recent years it’s become more and more evident that we know a lot less than we thought we did about the dynamics of the planetary climate. Not to put too fine a point on it, the Al Gore School of Climate Catastrophe, ABC’s apparent inspiration, has been outed as malarkey, baloney, twaddle, rot, stuff and nonsense. So if you watched “Earth 2100” in 2009 and were frightened by it, well, I regret to inform you that you’ve been misinformed. Again. And not by Fox News Channel.

Posted by tmg110 at 10:57 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 13 June 2015 10:58 AM EDT
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Monday, 8 June 2015
A Second Front in the War on Women
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Another shot has been fired in the War on Women—not by a Republican, though!


In a characteristically demented rant, leftie nosebleed and former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader took a nasty shot at Hillary Clinton, decrying her “corporatism” and “militarism.” The latter particularly exercised him, apparently because women are supposed to act as peacemakers. “This is the problem of women trying to overcompensate in becoming more aggressive and macho so they are not accused of being soft on the need to kill and war, right? Instead of taking the tradition of women of peace, and turning into a muscular waging of peace of conflict and prevention, she did the reverse.”


So Hillary is just one more uppity broad who doesn’t know her place! Well, at least Ralph didn’t go so far as to call her “bossy.”


Now I get why Nader doesn’t like the Pants-Suited One. Her blatant opportunism, her inauthenticity, the sleaze and dubious foreign cash that trail in her wake, have disquieted many inhabitants of the leftie fever swamp besides him. In their eyes she’s hardly the model of a modern progressive. So who is? Why, Ralph Nader, of course—Ralph Nader, who thinks nothing of mouthing a lowdown sexist slur but would spin into a three-foot hover if you called him on it. After all, back in 2008 when the odious Bill Maher went off on his notorious Sarah Palin rant, Nader called him a sexist to his face on the air and was hailed for it. It takes one to know one, I guess…


This incident, unimportant in itself—for who really cares what a chump like Nader thinks about anything?—is nonetheless telling. It can be taken for granted that if a conservative, male or female, had said something similar about Hillary Clinton the Left would be up in arms. But aside from a squawk on this blog and a bleat on that one…crickets. Okay, sure, it’s understandable that the Left prefers to pass over such incidents in silence. The Right wasn’t all that eager to discuss the rhetorical transgressions of Todd Akin or Richard Murdoch. But there’s more to it than that.


The Left’s outrage over sexism and misogyny is highly selective. Remember when Rush Limbuagh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” and was roundly excoriated for it, up to and including demands that he be taken off the air? Well, there were some at the time who wondered whether Bill Maher, who had called Sarah Panin a “dumb twat” and a “cunt” among other pleasantries, should not be taken off the air as well. None other than Obama minion David Axelrod stepped up to Maher’s defense: “Understand that these words that Maher has used in his stand-up act are a little bit different,” he claimed. “Not excusable in any way, but different than a guy with 23 million listeners using his broadcast platform to malign a young woman for speaking her mind in the most inappropriate, grotesque ways. Nor does Bill Maher play the role in the Democratic Party that Rush Limbaugh plays in the Republican Party, where he’s really the de facto boss of the party.”

Oh, I see: “not excusable in any way” except the way you just excused them. Thanks for clearing that up, Dave!


Feminists are always whining and crying about gender stereotyping and the like, blind to the fact that the ideology to which they pledge their allegiance is a great offender in that regard. Progressive sexism displays itself not only in the stupid comments of people like Maher and Nader but also in the often-voiced charge that conservative women aren’t “real women”—because, you know, real women have all the right progressive opinions. It’s one of the least attractive facets of an ideology that grows uglier by the year.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:30 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 3 June 2015
The Scandalous Plame Affair
Topic: Decline of the West


A recent book by former New York Times reporter Judith Miller lays bare one of the most egregious scandals of the Bush Administration—and no one’s paying attention.


The Story: A Reporter’s Journey recounts Miller’s part in the Valerie Plame affair, a cause célèbre that led to the prosecution and conviction of Lawrence “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.  Libby was supposedly the man who “outed” Plame, a covert CIA agent, after her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times alleging that the Bush Administration had lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.


When the Plame affair went public the Bush Administration decided to hand the case over to a special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald. This turned out to be a bad move. Fitzgerald proved to be a zealot and he became fixated on collecting the scalp of Vice President Cheney. In order to do so he put the squeeze on Libby, obviously hoping to elicit testimony that would enable him to bag Cheney.


There was just one problem: Neither Libby nor Cheney had “outed” Valerie Plame. The culprit was one Richard Armitage, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief deputy, who leaked Plame’s identity to the late Robert Novak. He’d admitted as much to the FBI before Fitzgerald was ever appointed. Moreover, the special prosecutor became aware of all this at a very early stage of his own investigation. Nonetheless Fitzgerald passed over Armitage and fingered Libby, alleging that he’d leaked Plame’s name to Miller.


Libby was eventually convicted of lying to the FBI, and it was Miller’s testimony that sank him. But now she says that the special prosecutor deliberately withheld crucial evidence from both her and the defense, evidence that would have blown up his case. Virtually everything that Fitzgerald alleged about Libby was false. In short, the prosecution and conviction of Scooter Libby was a gross miscarriage of justice resulting from a glaring act of prosecutorial misconduct.


Scarcely less gross was the false narrative—Bush lied, people died—that evolved out of the Plame affair. Relying on the story told by Joe Wilson—that on an investigative trip to Niger at the behest of Cheney he found no evidence that Saddamite Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium—Bush Administration critics and many in the media charged that the President and his close advisers knew there were no WMD in Iraq but elected to go to war anyway. But Wilson had not been sent to Niger at Cheney’s behest. The person who suggested him for the assignment was Valerie Plame—his wife. Nor did he return from his junket with conclusive proof of Iraqi innocence. Indeed, the report he wrote for the CIA suggested the opposite. And in fact an Iraqi trade delegation had visited Niger, a country whose sole export is yellowcake.


As for Plame’s “outing” being a heinous crime, it later emerged that dozens if not hundreds of people in Washington knew that she worked for the CIA. Nor was she any longer a covert field agent. In no way, shape or form had the mention of her name in the media threatened Valerie Plame’s safety. Anyhow, we may be fairly certain that the outrage on her behalf was highly selective: Recall how Left has embraced the dubious likes of Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and, er, Chelsea Manning.


If anyone deserved to be prosecuted over the Plame affair it was Patrick Fitzgerald, who behaved throughout in an unethical, illegal and dishonorable manner. Scarcely less dishonorable was the silence of Richard Armitage and his boss, Colin Powell. Though aware that Libby was innocent they kept their mouths shut and left him to twist slowly, slowly in the wind. That a man like Powell, admired for his probity, enabled the railroading of Scooter Libby is one of the most shocking aspects of this scandal. Since, though, it’s a scandal that reflects poorly not on the Bush Administration but on its critics and opponents you won’t find too many Democrats, liberals, progressives, lefties, etc. who care about it.

Posted by tmg110 at 4:07 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 June 2015 4:08 PM EDT
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