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Wednesday, 28 March 2012
A Victory for Freedom of Speech
Topic: Decline of the West


For the past two years, the Obama Justice Department (if that’s not an oxymoron) has been pursuing a case against a group of extremist militia members in Michigan. In 2008, the FBI planted an informant inside the so-called Hutaree Militia. The anti-government material passed to the FBI by the informant was used by the Justice Department—by then under Attorney General Eric Holder—to build a case that the group was conspiring to rebel against the government. In 2010, the Hutaree Militia was broken up in a series of raids and arrests. Nine members of the group were eventually charged.


Yesterday, however, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts dismissed most of the charges against seven of the defendants, ruling that group’s expressions of hatred of government authority, extreme though they were, did not rise to the level of sedition. (The FBI investigation uncovered no evidence that the Hutaree Militia was planning actual attacks against the government.) On the contrary, Roberts observed, such speech falls under the protection of the First Amendment.


Given the extreme nature of the Hutaree Militia’s anti-government ranting, the FBI was quite right to monitor the group. But if there was never a specific plot to commit a terrorist act, why bring charges? I have no doubt that the Holder Justice Department was seeking to show its even-handedness: “See? We don’t just pick on Muslim terrorists!” It was a PR stunt, and it backfired.


Was the judge right to rule as she did? Without question—and her legal reasoning applies quite as much to Islamofascist terrorists, environmental extremists, anti-capitalist anarchists, etc. as it does to right-wing hate groups. At a time when free speech is under attack from all quarters—though particularly from the Left—Judge Roberts’ ringing endorsement of the First Amendment is particularly welcome.

Posted by tmg110 at 9:33 AM EDT
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Outsmarting Themselves Again
Topic: Decline of the West


Well, well. Progressives took a victory lap after gathering sufficient signatures to force a recall election in Wisconsin. Their target: Scott Walker, the state’s Republican governor, reviled by the Left for his successful campaign to reign in the power of the state’s greedy public-sector unions. Walker’s foes have been pretty confident that the recall election, likely to be held in June, would go their way.


Unfortunately for their hopes, a new poll conducted by Marquette University shows Walker with a small lead over both of his likely Democratic challengers. (A primary will be held in May to select a Democratic candidate to run against Walker in the recall election.) And while opinion about the governor remains sharply divided, he enjoys a 50% approval rating. In short, Walker seems likely to survive the recall. Looks like the comrades have overplayed their hand.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:49 AM EDT
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Monday, 26 March 2012
Oxymoron Watch
Topic: Liberal Fascism


We have a tie today between “journalistic ethics” and “judicial ethics.”


In this post on “Contentions,” the Commentary blog, Alana Goodman tells how 25 Gannett Wisconsin Media journalists, including seven at the Green Bay Press-Gazette violated Gannett’s journalistic ethics standards by signing the recall petition against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. This interesting tidbit of information came to light after the paper ran a story relating how some two dozen Wisconsin judges violated judicial standards of conduct by signing the recall petition.


But really, all of these people are progressives, so why are we talking about something as fifteen-minutes-ago as ethics? All that matters is results—correct, comrades?

Posted by tmg110 at 4:04 PM EDT
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Get a Rope
Topic: Decline of the West


You know what the uproar over the Zimmerman/Martin shooting down in Florida is beginning to remind me of? The Duke Lacrosse scandal.


In the Duke case, the quasi-official storyline was quickly established: a bunch of rich white college boys raped a black exotic dancer. It was a storyline that flattered the preconceived notions and ideological prejudices of Duke’s progressive faculty and the mainstream media. The former was soon in full cry against its own students, while the latter’s coverage of the case was, with a few honorable exceptions, disgracefully slipshod. But what the hell? Everybody knew what happened!


There was just one little problem: the storyline was false.


A crack whore, an unscrupulous prosecutor, a mob of unprincipled academics and a bunch of lazy reporters almost succeeded in ruining the lives of a small group of Duke students who, because they happened to be white and came from privileged backgrounds, were declared guilty in what passes nowadays for the court of public opinion. Fortunately for them, their families could afford good legal representation, and the case against them was soon shown to be a fabrication. The Duke faculty members who smeared these students have not, to date, apologized for their despicable behavior—not that I’d expect people like that to have a conscience or a sense of shame. It sometimes seems to me that the price of academic tenure is the surrender of one’s soul.


George Zimmerman doesn’t come from a highly privileged background, so the instant rush to judgment that followed his shooting of Trayvon Martin is even more dangerous to him than it was to the Duke students. Zimmerman has been castigated as a racist and a murderer. Lots of people just want to see him destroyed—because the person he killed was a black teenager. All this despite the fact that he appears on the available evidence to have acted in self-defense.


And of course, our insufferable philosopher has stuck his oar in, commanding his loyal subjects to search their souls. (For what he didn’t say.) Can’t the man ever keep his mouth shut?

Posted by tmg110 at 3:51 PM EDT
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Saturday, 24 March 2012
Energy Independence, Despite Barry
Topic: Decline of the West


This story, from the New York Times of all unlikely sources, clearly demonstrates the wrong-headedness of the Obama Administrations fantasy-land “green” energy policies: “U.S. Inches Toward Goal of Energy Independence.”


As the story notes, a combination of declining demand (alas, mostly due to the weak economy) and increased domestic production has dramatically reduced the amount of oil being imported by the United States: from 60% of total consumption in 2005 to 45% today. Moreover, the US has become a net exporter of refined petroleum products.


This turnaround is largely due to policies enacted by the Bush Administration, and President Obama can claim scant credit for it. Where he has the power to do so, the President is done everything possible to stifle domestic oil production. The current boom in production results from oil being pumped on land where the Administration’s writ does not run. Nevertheless, the scale of this increase in production since 2005 shows what would be possible if the United States had a rational energy policy. This country could eventually produce as many as 10 million barrels of oil per day, making America an energy powerhouse to rival Saudi Arabia—and, not incidentally, creating millions of jobs.


The NYT rightly notes that practical energy independence would transform the nation’s national security posture. Though the US could never remain perfectly indifferent to events in the Middle East, energy independence would provide the leverage to make allies like Japan and the European nations, who are much more dependent on oil from that source, to take more responsibility for the stability of the region. It would also give the US much greater influence over oil prices, while rendering the country immune to oil embargos.


This is good news indeed, and it’s a measure of the Obama Administration’s political incompetence that in an election years, it can plausibly be portrayed by critics as a major pothole on the road to  American energy independence.

Posted by tmg110 at 11:26 AM EDT
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Repetition: The Insincerest Form of Flattery
Topic: Decline of the West


This story absolutely cracked me up:


Thomas Buch-Andersen, host of the Danish TV show Detektor, mocked President Obama's political rhetoric in a recent episode. "Obama used a metaphor from boxing to explain Denmark's role in the world," says Buch-Andersen, introducing the segment.

He then roles the tape. "That's fairly typical of the way that Danes have punched above their weight in international affairs," President Obama says at a press availability in the Oval Office with Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark.


"It's nice to be praised," Buch-Andersen remarks. "We punch harder than our weight class would suggest. But how much should we read into his words? According to Obama, are we doing any better than, say, the Norwegians?"


The TV host again turns to the tape, this time showing President Obama in the Oval Office with Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg. "I've said this before, but I want to repeat: Norway punches above its weight," Obama says.


Back to Buch-Andersen. "Hmm. So Norway packs a punch too. But what about the Netherlands? Here, their head of government, Mark Rutte, visits Obama."

The tape roles yet again. "We have no stronger ally than the Netherlands," says Obama. "They consistently punch above their weight."


The TV host continues, pointing to the similar rhetoric Obama used when Ireland's head of state came to town, and then the Philippines.


Buch-Andersen wonders aloud, "Maybe the copy key got stuck on the presidential speechwriter's keyboard."


Thanks a million to Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard for unearthing this priceless example of the Ultimate Communicator’s oh-so-creative rhetoric!

Posted by tmg110 at 9:52 AM EDT
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You're Not White Until You Are
Topic: Liberal Fascism


I see that once again, President Obama was unable to restrain himself. He jumped into the middle of the uproar over the shooting of a black teenager in Florida by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, opining that if he had a son, the kid might look just like the victim.


Leaving aside the point that Obama’s comment could be considered an example of racial stereotyping, what interests me about this incident is the fact that it’s actually a minority-on-minority shooting. The victim, Trayvon Martin, was black and the shooter, George Zimmerman, is Hispanic. Yet you will notice that in the story I cite here, Zimmerman is identified as a “white Hispanic.” When’s the last time you heard that phrase in a news story?


For a decade or more we’ve been told that whites are becoming a minority in America, primarily due to the explosive growth of the Hispanic population. Yet now it seems that some Hispanics, if their skin is pale enough, are being demoted to the ranks of white racism. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to get confused!

Posted by tmg110 at 9:40 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 24 March 2012 2:49 PM EDT
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Friday, 23 March 2012
Why do I have to explain this...?
Topic: Decline of the West


A lesson in basic economics for our philosopher-president: If you make something less expensive, people will use more of it. For example, if you make cars, SUVs, trucks etc. more fuel efficient, thus in effect making gas less expensive, people will drive more. It’s impossible, therefore, to “save energy” via incremental improvements in fuel efficiency. Got that, Barry?

Posted by tmg110 at 3:07 PM EDT
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Thursday, 22 March 2012
One Less Islamofascist
Topic: Decline of the West

In a development that'll save French taxpayers a good deal of money, Islamofascist terrorist and child murderer Mohammed Merah was killed yesterday in a firefight with a French police SWAT team. Merah was dispatched by a bullet in the head when the SWAT team stormed his apartment. Three French police officers were wounded in the shootout, one seriously.

French officials say that Merah was trained by Al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistani Waziristan, a terrorist stronghold.

Too bad for progressives that he was killed. I'm sure they were looking forward to his trial, as an opportunity to shed crocodile tears over this "alienated second-generation immigrant" and denounce the evils of Western imperialism.

Posted by tmg110 at 2:34 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
The Usual Suspects
Topic: Decline of the West


As I expected, the gunman who murdered three French soldiers recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, three Jewish children and a rabbi has turned out to be an Islamofascist terrorist.


Mohammed Merah is a French national of Algerian origin. He has spent at least a couple of years in Afghanistan and Pakistan. French government sources say that he’s been under police surveillance for some time—good job there, guys.


What I found particularly interesting about this story was the media’s reflexive attempt to pooh-pooh a Muslim connection. Instead of doing the responsible thing—refraining from speculation in the absence of facts—the press immediately began to speculate that the killings were the work of a neo-Nazi assassin. That there was no evidence to support this notion, and considerable reason to think that the shooter was probably a Muslim, mattered not at all.


There was also this note of macabre hilarity:


Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad strongly rejected using his people as a justification for the French killings, calling them a "cowardly terrorist attack."


"It is time for those criminals to stop exploiting the name of Palestine through their terrorist actions," Fayyad said in a statement.


Pretty cheeky, considering the source!


And finally, there’s this prize specimen of journalistic buffoonery from the (UK) Telegraph’s Ed West:


It’s easy to get it wrong because so many of the world’s varied extremists, whatever their motivation and however much they might hate each other, focus their anger and loathing on similar targets—the state, the city, modernity, capitalism, and the one group who embody all these complicating, unsettling changes in the minds of lonely, failed young men—Jews. People often make the wrong call because that’s what they want to believe, because it fits into their narrative. The recent shootings in Toulouse are a case in point. Many people kill in the name of jihad but they do not represent Islam or Muslims, the vast majority of whom will be horrified by the Toulouse killings. It is not religion that turns some young Muslim men in the West violent, but the sense of alienation and frustration that inevitably comes from being a second-generation immigrant.


Oh, baloney. To be rudely frank, I don’t believe that “the vast majority” of Muslims will be “horrified” by the killing of Jews. Since when, Ed?

Posted by tmg110 at 12:14 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2012 2:33 PM EDT
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