Random Thoughts

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Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Who says President Obama doesn’t promote bipartisanship? His complicity in Iran’s moving toward nuclear bombs has alarmed some top Senate Democrats enough to get them to join Republicans in opposition to the Obama administration’s potentially suicidal foreign policy.

Before the current measles outbreak, measles was once almost wiped out in the United States. But an article in a medical journal more than a decade ago had many parents afraid to have their children vaccinated, for fear that the vaccine causes autism. After scientific studies refuted that claim, the medical journal repudiated the article, and the doctor who wrote it had his license revoked.

If not a single policeman killed a single black individual anywhere in the United States for this entire year, that would not reduce the number of black homicide victims by one percent. When the mobs of protesters declare “Black lives matter,” does that mean ALL black lives matter — or only the less than one percent of black lives lost in conflicts with police?

In politics, never assume that because something is insane, it will not be done. The Holocaust was as insane as it was a moral horror. But it was done. Even after the tide of war turned against Germany and it faced invasion and devastation, Hitler continued to pour scarce resources into the mass killing of people who were no threat.

When someone tries to lay a guilt trip on you for being successful, remember that your guilt is some politician’s license to take what you worked for and give it to someone else who is more likely to vote for the politician who plays Santa Claus with your money.

So long as public schools are treated as places that exist to provide guaranteed jobs to members of the teachers’ unions, do not be surprised to see American students continuing to score lower on international tests than students in countries that spend a lot less per pupil than we do.

Would you go to a funeral if you knew that your presence would be unwelcome and would just add to the pain of the mourners? Probably not. But New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio went to both funerals for the two New York City policemen recently murdered — and gave speeches. That epitomized what a truly despicable human being he is, even by the low standards of politicians.

Demographic “diversity” is a notion often defended with fervor but seldom with facts.

Few things are more irritating, or more phony, than statements from various organizations about their “privacy policy.” What that really means is their invasion of privacy policies — how much information about you that your bank, hospital, or Internet service is going to pass on to other people without your permission.

Somewhere Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes says that the purpose of an education should be to produce a mind that cannot be humbugged. But today our educational system, from kindergarten to the universities, is engaged in the mass production of fashionable humbug — propaganda rather than education.

Some people see discrimination when schools punish black students more often than white students. But schools punish white students more often than Asian students. Lenders turn down black applicants for loans more often than white applicants — but they turn down whites more often than Asians. Most statistics on such things omit Asians, rather than spoil a politically correct story.

President Obama may have gained something politically or ideologically by recognizing Cuba, but just what did the United States gain? Like so much that has been done by this administration, the diplomatic recognition of Cuba demonstrates how safe it is to be our enemy, while our policies toward Ukraine and Israel demonstrate how risky it is to be our ally.

Despite radical feminist organizations’ frequent bursts of outrage, these same radical feminists’ response to the mass capture of school girls by Islamic terrorists in Nigeria, and turning those girls into sex slaves, has been strangely muted. Is this because there is no political mileage or lawsuit settlements to be achieved by expressing outrage at such unconscionable raw savagery in Nigeria?

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

The Law Cannot Be Optional

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The fiasco of “Rolling Stone” magazine’s apology for an unsubstantiated claim of gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house — and the instant rush to judgment of the university administration in shutting down all fraternities, when those charges were made — should warn us about the dangers of having serious legal issues dealt with by institutions with no qualifications for that role.

Rape is a crime. It belongs in a criminal justice courtroom. And those found guilty belong behind bars for a long time.

What could possibly have led anyone to believe that college professors or campus administrators should be the ones making decisions about charges of criminal acts that can ruin the lives of the accuser or the accused?

Many years ago, the late William F. Buckley said that he would rather be ruled by people with the first hundred names in the Boston phone book than by a hundred Harvard professors. Having spent more than half a century on academic campuses across the country, I would likewise rather have my fate decided by a hundred Americans chosen at random than by a hundred academics.

Have we forgotten the charges of gang rape against members of the Duke lacrosse team in 2006 — and how quickly the lynch mob mentality swept across the campus, before there was a speck of evidence to indicate whether the young men were either guilty or innocent?

Do we want people punished based on other people’s preconceptions, rather than on the facts of the individual case? Apparently there are ranting mobs who do, and many in the media who give them a platform for spouting off, in exchange for the mobs’ providing them with footage that can attract an audience.

The law is not the place for amateurs. We do not need legal issues to be determined by academics, the media, or mobs in the streets.

Every society has orders and rules, but not every society has the rule of law — “a government of laws and not of men.” Nor was it easy to achieve even an approximation of the rule of law. It took centuries of struggle — and lives risked and sacrificed — to achieve it in those countries which have some approximation of it today.

To just throw all of that overboard because of mobs, the media, or racial demagoguery is staggering.

A generation that jumps to conclusions on the basis of its own emotions, or succumbs to the passions or rhetoric of others, deserves to lose the freedom that depends on the rule of law. Unfortunately, what they say and what they do can lose everyone’s freedom, including the freedom of generations yet unborn.

If grand juries are supposed to vote on the basis of what mobs want, instead of on the basis of the evidence that they see — and which the mob doesn’t even want to see — then we forfeit the rule of law and our freedom that depends on it.

If people who are told that they are under arrest, and who refuse to come with the police, cannot be forcibly taken into custody, then we do not have the rule of law, when the law itself is downgraded to suggestions that no one has the power to enforce.

For people who have never tried to take into custody someone resisting arrest, to sit back in the safety and comfort of their homes or offices and second-guess people who face the dangers inherent in that process — dangers for both the police and the person under arrest — is yet another example of the irresponsible self-indulgences of our time.

Force cannot be measured out by the teaspoon, and there are going to be incalculable risks every time force is resorted to, because no one can predict what is going to happen in the next moment. Anyone involved can end up in the hospital or the morgue. Let the responsibility lie with whoever forces a resort to force.

When it comes to dealing with mobs, the idea that the police should not show up in riot gear, or with anti-riot equipment that looks menacing or “military” — lest this “inflame” the mob — is an idea that might have seemed plausible to some in 1960. But we have had more than half a century of experience to the contrary since then.

The “kinder and gentler” approach was used in Detroit during its 1967 ghetto riots. More people died in those riots than in any other 1960s riots, the great majority of the dead being black.

 

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

Photo Credit: Dave Bledsoe (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Opinions Versus Facts In Ferguson

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Everyone seems to have an opinion about the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

Soon after the shooting death of Michael Brown, this 285-pound young man was depicted as a “gentle giant.” But, after a video was leaked, showing him bullying the owner of a store from which he had stolen some merchandise, Attorney General Eric Holder expressed displeasure that the video was leaked. In other words, to Holder, the truth was offensive, but the lie it exposed was not.

Many people who claimed to have been eyewitnesses to the fatal shooting gave opposite accounts of what happened. Some even gave accounts that contradicted what they themselves had said earlier.

Fortunately, the grand jury did not have to rely on such statements, though some in the media seemed to. What the grand jury had, that the rest of us did not have until the grand jury’s decision was announced, was a set of physical facts that told a story that was independent of what anybody said.

Three different medical forensic experts — one representing Michael Brown’s parents — examined the physical facts. These facts included the autopsy results, Michael Brown’s DNA on the door of the police car and on the policeman’s gun, photographs of the bruised and swollen face of policeman Darren Wilson, and the pattern of blood stains on the street where Brown was shot.

This physical evidence was hard to square with the loudly proclaimed assertions that Brown was shot in the back, or was shot with his hands up, while trying to surrender. But it was consistent with the policeman’s testimony.

Moreover, the physical facts were consistent with what a number of black witnesses said under oath, despite expressing fears for their own safety for contradicting what those in the rampaging mobs were saying.

The riots, looting, and setting things on fire that some in the media are treating as reactions to the grand jury’s decision not to indict the policeman, actually began long before the grand jury had begun its investigation, much less announced any decision.

Why some people insist on believing whatever they want to believe is a question that is hard to answer. But a more important question is: What are the consequences to be expected from an orgy of anarchy that started in Ferguson, Missouri, and has spread around the country?

The first victims of the mob rampages in Ferguson have been people who had nothing to do with Michael Brown or the police. These include people — many of them black or members of other minorities — who have seen the businesses they worked to build destroyed, perhaps never to be revived.

But these are only the first victims. If the history of other communities ravaged by riots in years past is any indication, there are blacks yet unborn who will be paying the price of these riots for years to come.

Sometimes it is a particular neighborhood that never recovers, and sometimes it is a whole city. Detroit is a classic example. It had the worst riot of the 1960s, with 43 deaths — 33 of them black people. Businesses left Detroit, taking with them jobs and taxes that were very much needed to keep the city viable. Middle class people — both black and white — also fled.

Harlem was one of many ghettos across the country that have still not recovered from the riots of the 1960s. In later years, a niece of mine, who had grown up in the same Harlem tenement where I grew up years earlier, bitterly complained about how few stores and other businesses there were in the neighborhood.

There were plenty of stores in that same neighborhood when I was growing up, as well as a dentist, a pharmacist, and an optician, all less than a block away. But that was before the neighborhood was swept by riots.

Who benefits from the Ferguson riots? The biggest beneficiaries are politicians and racial demagogues. In Detroit, Mayor Coleman Young was one of many political demagogues who were able to ensure their own reelection, using rhetoric and policies that drove away people who provided jobs and taxes, but who were likely to vote against him if they stayed. Such demagogues thrived as Detroit became a wasteland.

 

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

Photo Credit: Facebook

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Which Are More Important: Local Or National Elections?

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Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local.” That may have been true in Tip O’Neill’s day, but some elections are decisively on national issues — and the Congressional elections this year are overwhelmingly national, just as the elections of 1860 were dominated by one national issue, namely slavery.

In 1860, some abolitionists split the anti-slavery vote by running their own candidate — who had no chance of winning — instead of supporting Abraham Lincoln, who was not pure enough for some abolitionists. Lincoln got just 40 percent of the vote, though that turned out to be enough to win in a crowded field.

But what a gamble with the fate of millions of human beings held as slaves! And for what? Symbolic political purity?

This year as well, there are third-party candidates complicating elections that can decide the fate of this nation for years to come. No candidate that irresponsible deserves any vote. With all the cross-currents of political controversies raging today, what is the overriding national issue that makes this year’s Congressional elections so crucial?

That issue is whether, despite all the lawless edicts of President Obama, threatening one-man rule, we can still salvage enough of the Constitution to remain a free, democratic nation.

Barack Obama will be on his way out in two years; but if he can appoint enough federal judges who share his contempt for the Constitution’s limits on federal government power in general, and presidential powers in particular, then the United States of America can continue on the path to becoming another banana republic, even after Obama has left the White House.

President Obama understands how high the stakes are, which is why he is out fundraising all across the country — seemingly all the time — even though he has no more elections to face himself. Obama came to power saying that he was going to fundamentally change the United States of America — and he intends to do it, even after he is gone, by giving lifetime appointments as federal judges to people who share his view that this country’s institutions and values are fundamentally wrong, and need to be scrapped and replaced by his far left vision.

If only Obama’s critics and opponents understood this momentous issue as clearly as he does!

The issue is whether “we the people,” as designated by the Constitution, continue free to live our own lives as we see fit, and to determine what laws and policies we want to live under.

President Obama’s vision is very different. In his vision, our betters in Washington shall simply order us to live as they want us to live — telling us what medical insurance we can have, what doctors we can go to, what political groups shall be favored by the Internal Revenue Service, with more of the same coming in the years ahead, long after Obama has left the White House.

Critics who deplore President Obama’s foreign policies in general, and his weak response to the ISIS threat in particular, as showing incompetence — and who see his incessant fundraising as just a weird distraction — fail to understand how different his priorities are from theirs.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Ebola And Obama

Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service (Flickr)

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is both a danger in itself and a wake-up call for Americans — about President Obama, about the institutions of this country, and, most important, about ourselves.

There was a time when an outbreak of a deadly disease overseas would bring virtually unanimous agreement that our top priority should be to keep it overseas. Yet Barack Obama has refused to bar entry to the United States by people from countries where the Ebola epidemic rages, as Britain has done.

The reason? Refusing to let people with Ebola enter the United States would conflict with the goal of fighting the disease. In other words, the safety of the American people takes second place to the goal of helping people overseas.

As if to emphasize his priorities, President Obama has ordered thousands of American troops to go into Ebola-stricken Liberia, disregarding the dangers to those troops and to other Americans when the troops return.

What does this say about Obama?

At a minimum, it suggests that he takes his conception of himself as a citizen of the world more seriously than he takes his role as President of the United States. At worst, he may consider Americans’ interests expendable in the grand scheme of things internationally. If so, this would explain a lot of his foreign policy disasters around the world, which seem inexplicable otherwise.

Those critics who have been citing Barack Obama’s foreign policy fiascoes and disasters as evidence that he is incompetent may be overlooking the possibility that he has different priorities than the protection of the American people and America’s interests as a nation.

This is a monstrous possibility. But no one familiar with the history of the twentieth century should consider monstrous possibilities as things to dismiss automatically. Nor should anyone who has followed Barack Obama’s behavior over his lifetime, and the values that behavior reveals.

A few critics who, early on, sensed something un-American, if not anti-American, in Barack Obama succumbed to the idea that he was not a native-born citizen. That claim blew up in their faces.

Nor was birthplace crucial anyway. People born overseas have put their lives on the line to defend America, and scientists who escaped from Europe in the 1930s played a major role in creating the nuclear bomb that made the United States a superpower. Conversely, the country’s most notorious traitor — Benedict Arnold — was born on American soil.

Whatever the reason, or combination of reasons, that led to President Obama’s foreign policy disasters around the world — with the crowning disaster of all, a nuclear Iran, looming on the horizon — it cannot be a simple lack of knowledge or experience. Various former members of the Obama administration are telling the same story, of information and advice from knowledgeable and experienced officials being ignored by this vain and headstrong man.

Back in the 18th century, Edmund Burke pointed out that, whatever the institutions of government, most of the outcomes of what it does “must depend upon the exercise of the powers which are left at large to the prudence and uprightness of ministers of state.”

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom