Friday, July 30, 2010

Telling the rest of the story

As is usual the first reports of the mainstream media span the range from "failing to tell the full story" to being "utterly contrived". The latest example of which is the Shirley Sherrod story.

From American Thinker:

Had Andrew Breitbart dutifully written a column detailing how an obscure USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, and her husband, Charles Sherrod, had scammed the government out of millions, the story would have had the range and lifespan of a fruit fly.

Instead, as the world knows, Breitbart released an edited version of Shirley Sherrod's speech before the NAACP that provoked national headlines and caused the NAACP to denounce her and a panicky Obama administration to fire her from her position as the Georgia Director of Rural Development for the USDA.

Then, of course, when the full version of the speech emerged -- which showed Sherrod as a recovering racist, not as a practicing one -- the Obama White House fell all over itself apologizing, and the media turned their guns on Breitbart.

Breitbart, however, had put a potentially huge story into play the only way he could -- through sheer provocation. As he knew, and as we are learning, the story goes well beyond Sherrod's long-ago racist mischief-making with a poor white farmer.

This past Sunday, in his weekly column for the San Francisco Chronicle, "Willie's World," veteran black politico Willie Brown confirmed that "there is more to the story than just [Sherrod's] remarks."

"As an old pro," Brown acknowledged, "I know that you don't fire someone without at least hearing their side of the story unless you want them gone in the first place." Brown observed that Sherrod had been a thorn in the USDA's side for years, that many had objected to her hiring, and that she had been "operating a community activist organization not unlike ACORN." Although Brown does not go into detail, he alludes to a class action lawsuit against the USDA in which she participated some years ago.

In the way of background, in 1997, a black farmer named Timothy Pigford, joined by four hundred other black farmers, filed a lawsuit against Bill Clinton's Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, claiming that the USDA treated black farmers unfairly in all manner of ways, from price support loans to disaster payments to operating loans. Worse, they charged that the USDA had failed to process any complaints about racial discrimination.

The notion that the Clinton Ag Department had spent four years consciously denying black farmers their due defies everything we know about Clinton's use of race and should have made the media suspicious about Pigford's claims dating back to 1983.

Flush with revenue in 1999 and eager to appease this bedrock constituency, the administration settled with the farmers -- more realistically, their attorneys -- for fifty grand apiece, plus various other perks like tax offsets and loan forgiveness. If any of the presumably racist USDA offenders were punished, that news escaped the media.

After the consent decree was announced, the USDA opened the door to other claimants who had been similarly discriminated against. They expected 2,000 additional claims. They got 22,000 more, roughly 60 percent of whom were approved for this taxpayer-funded Lotto.

Despite having a year and a half to apply, some 70,000 more alleged claimants argued that they not only had been discriminated against, but also had been denied notice of the likely windfall that awaited them.

In 2008, for reasons unknown, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa lobbied to give the alleged 70,000 "another bite at the apple." Co-sponsoring the bill was none other than U.S. Senator Barack Obama. In February of 2010, the Obama administration settled with the aggrieved 70,000 for $1.25 billion that the government did not have to give. This money, by the way, was finessed out of a defense appropriation bill.

At the time, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the agreement would close a "sordid chapter" in the department's history, a chapter in which no one seems to have been so much as reprimanded.

The major media reported the settlement as though it were the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. For the last forty years, as the civil rights industry has manufactured more and more absurd grievances -- most notably the Tea Party smear that incited Breitbart's reprisal -- the media have reported on them with increasingly wide-eyed innocence.

In the various stories on the settlement, not one reporter that I could identify stopped to do the math. Pajamas Media did in a detailed article by "Zombie" titled appropriately, "Pigford v. Glickman: 86,000 claims from 39,697 total farmers?"

Although 86,000 black farmers are alleged to have received payments, at no time in the last three decades have there been more than 40,000 black farmers. Nor is there much turnover in the farming business. No entrepreneurial activity involves more long-term investment.

Realistically, of the 40,000 or 86,000, how many could have applied for a USDA loan and been rejected while white farmers in comparable circumstances were getting loans? If there were hundreds, let alone thousands, the heads of loan officers should have been rolling around the USDA floors, but I know of no such purge.

More to the point, out of about $1 billion paid out so far in settlements, the largest amount has gone to the Sherrods' New Communities Incorporated, which received some $13 million. As Time Magazine approvingly reported this week, $330,000 was "awarded to Shirley and Charles Sherrod for mental suffering alone."

Unwittingly, Charles Sherrod shed light on the how and why of the settlement in a speech he gave in January 2010. As he explained, New Communities farmed its 6,000 acres successfully for seventeen years before running into five straight years of drought. Then, according to Sherrod, New Communities engaged in a three-year fight with the USDA to get the appropriate loans to deal with drought.

Said Sherrod, "They were saying that since we're a corporation, we're not an individual, we're not a farmer." Nevertheless, the Sherrods prevailed, but the late payments "caused us to lose this land." In other words, the bureaucratic delay over taxpayer-funded corporate welfare payments cost them their business.

Then, thanks to their "good lawyers," said a gleeful Sherrod, who seems to have fully recovered from his mental suffering, the Sherrods successfully sued the government for "a large sum of money -- a large sum of money." While saying this, he made hand gestures suggesting $15 million. The land itself was admittedly worth no more than $9 million.

Sherrod gave this talk to announce that the FCC had awarded New Communities a radio station in Albany, Georgia, still another race-based corporate welfare boondoggle. Before the award of this station, he added, the Sherrods "had no means of communicating with our people."

The "our people" in question, of course, are black people. With this new voice, the Sherrods will help "stop the white man and his Uncle Toms from stealing our elections. We must not be afraid to vote black."

Yes, indeed -- these are just the people we want spending the money we don't have.

A couple of points need to be clarified. One, Breitbart did not "edit" the tape of Ms. Sherrod speaking to the NAACP. He took and "excerpt" of tape and played it unedited. For Breitbart to be guilty of editing Ms. Sherrod's remarks he would have had to have had to have cut something out of the section he actually played. He did not.

What Mr. Breitbart can be accused of is not presenting the full context of the tape. He did not emphasize Ms. Sherrod's apparent epiphany that the real war is between the "poor and those who have". OK, so Shirley Sherrod sort of gave up the corrosive soul-destroying poison of race hatred for the equally corrosive soul-destroying poison of class hatred.

Everyone sing a chorus of We Shall Overcome.

Sorry, this woman did not "grow" as one commentator commented. All she did was take a sideways step from one kind of Satanic evil to another kind of Satanic evil.

But that wasn't even the point of what Breitbart was trying to accomplish with the Sherrod tape. Remember the context into which Breitbart injected this recording. The NAACP had just condemned the TEA Party for being racist.

An accusation they hurled without a single shred of evidence to support it - apparently it was emanating from the penumbras of the movement. What Mr. Breitbart was showing was the audience at an NAACP gathering showing only approval to the part of Ms. Sherrod's story where she detailed how she couldn't bring herself to help a poor farmer because of the color of his skin.

Mr. Breitbart's point was that if you intend to accuse someone of racism (a charge which carries the same emotional baggage in today's politically correct society that an accusation of witchcraft used to carry in old Salem) you had better not only have ironclad evidence but you had also better be Simon-pure yourself.

Mr. Breitbart had already proved that the left lacked any evidence for their charge of TEA Party racism with his unclaimed one hundred thousand dollar reward for proof that any TP activist had called any of the congressmen or their staffers "nigger" during their attempt to provoke such an outburst by parading through the midst of the protesters during the final push to shove an unwanted socialized health care bill down the nation's throat.

Even though every other person in that shameful little parade had a video recorder trained on the protesters hoping to capture an racial epithet or shouted death threat not one of them (zip, zero, nada) has been able to produce a tape of any such thing actually happening.

With the Sherrod tape Breitbart proved that far from being clean and pure as the wind driven show on the issue of race that the NAACP is (what most of us have known for a very long time) nothing but an organization of black racists - at least at the leadership level.

This is why NAACP leaders being interviewed on Sean Hannity's radio show will struggle like men trying to pass a kidney stone when asked to condemn the New Black Panther Party's voter intimidation, or the Holder/Obama Justice Department's decision to prosecute white defendants in those kind of cases but not black ones.

Of course Ms. Sherrod's comments since her firing have revealed that she has only done an imperfect job of leaving anti-white racism behind. And her husband's recorded comments have done nothing to help her case. And now details like those in the American Thinker article are coming out.

The media is trying to spin this as Breitbart being left with egg on his face and the NAACP and Sherrod winning a clear victory.

A few more "victories" like this and the left won't have an army left.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Repairing our international relationships

From The Times of London:

Europe’s disappointment with Barack Obama’s presidency is laid bare today as the EU’s most senior figure calls for a dramatic effort to revive transatlantic relations. The President of the European Commission told The Times that the new era at the White House was in danger of becoming a “missed opportunity” for Europe. José Manuel Barroso said that the EU-US relationship was not living up to its potential. The criticism follows a series of fundamental disagreements on how to deal with the economic crisis, climate change and trade reform.

It's like this. Socialism is a parasite which cannot survive without a capitalist host to feed upon.

Advocates of Obamacare and other socialized health care schemes like to point out that in the US around 40% of health care costs are already paid by the government through programs like Medicare. This is true but it ignores the fact that it is only possible to give quality medical care to the 40% because they ride on the back of the 60% which remains in the private sector.

The relationship between Western Europe and the United States is much like this. "Old" Europe can only survive if the US remains an economically and militarily strong superpower. European leaders know this even if the average European "man in the street" doesn't.

European leaders disliked George W Bush because he was unwilling to subordinate US interests to European sensibilities. At the end of the day he was going to do what he was going to do regardless of what Europe thought.

Europe's political class believed that Barack Obama would put the American attack dog back on its leash and not let it interfere with business as usual (remember that European politicians were getting millions in under the table payoffs from Saddam Hussein in exchange for subverting the UN sanctions). They also believed that he would keep the American workhorse in harness and pulling the wagon of American prosperity.

What Europe got in B. Hussein Obama was a lazy and childish "man" who believes that he has a birthright to be adored for just showing up and resents the idea that he might have to perform to any kind of external standard.

Eurocrats have gotten out of the habit of listening to their own populations. If they had been willing to listen to their own countrymen they might have forewarned about Obama. While European leaders know that their lotus eater societies require a strong and prosperous America to support them ordinary European people - who have been infantalized by two generations of post-war cradle-to-grave socialism - have no such knowledge.

Average Europeans were willing to cheer Obama to the echo because they sensed in him the same kind of smoldering anti-American resentment they feel themselves. In Obama they saw a man who shared their desire to see America brought down to the rest of the world's level.

European presidents and prime ministers can only watch in horror as Obama attempts to wring the neck of the goose that lays so many golden eggs and pray (there are no atheists in foxholes) that November of this year returns the US legislature to the control of adults who can at least mitigate the damage coming from America's first post-American unreconstructed campus Marxist practitioner of radical identity politics ever to sit in the Oval Office - or at least behind the desk in the Oval Office.

Oh, and Europe. . . In the future be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A chuckle, and a missed opportunity

I'm sure that you've all heard the old saying, "it's an ill wind that blows no good". Well even something as dark and disastrous as the Obama presidency can serve humanity by giving us the occasional belly-laugh. Courtesy of American Thinker:

There's a funny story about Barack Obama at Harvard Law, both funny-ha-ha and funny-peculiar. It involves one of those cloud-borne Himalayan intellects of liberalism, Professor Larry Tribe, the Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law at one of the most prestigious law schools in the United States. Tribe is the legal giant who is always a bridesmaid but never a bride for the Supremes.

And yea verily, the Professor met and held converse with The Blessed Lightworker Himself back in the nineties. The story doesn't say if they were both stoned out of their minds when they got together, but it's the only explanation I can think of. What happened is so weird and so discreditable to all concerned that I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Still, nobody in the liberal media seems to get the joke...which tells you a lot.

Professor Tribe, it appears, made it really big in academic law by writing trendy postmodern articles like "Toward a Syntax of the Unsaid: Construing the Sounds of Congressional and Constitutional Silence," "The Constitution in Cyberspace," "Toward a Metatheory of Free Speech," "Trial by Mathematics," and even "Seven Deadly Sins of Straining the Constitution through a Pseudo-Scientific Sieve," which turned it all into self-parody, because pseudo-science is exactly what made Larry Tribe's big reputation. This academic disease is commonly described as "physics envy." It arises out of academic inferiority complexes, with everybody wanting to do fake physics because that is real science.

If you remember those old po-mo days, that kind of stuff was standard pomotwaddle designed to impress innocent young students and the Board of Trustees. No sane person believed it. Alan Sokal famously hoaxed a po-mo journal into accepting a nonsense physics article, and then revealed their ignorance to the world. Postmodernism never recovered.

Professor Tribe comes right out of a great comedy tradition of long-winded professors spouting obvious claptrap to fool the suckers. Shakespeare used that gag with Polonius in Hamlet. Groucho Marx used it. Molière became famous for his "scholar" in the suckered Bourgeois Gentleman. Greek and Roman comedy writers used it. Every humorist in history has used that shtick, because it's funny. But it takes a postmodern professor of law to make it real.

By the '90s Larry Tribe had risen to become the Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law, based on the depth and profundity of his cockamamie legal scholarship. I guess. And then, a magical moment in history when great minds was Michelangelo and Leonardo, Plato and Socrates, Larry, Moe and Curly.

Barack Hussein Obama Barry Soetoro, Jr. walks into Larry Tribe's office.

Now you can't blame Obama for this one. Poor kid, he just wandered into the big professor's office one day, right off the beach at Waikiki by way of LA and Columbia, a real stoner with a chip on his shoulder about race, because that was the in thing to do. It was a great time for radical chic. Racial rage was the way to get into Harvard in the '90s. Here was a black guy, or close enough, and he had a radical idea for Larry Tribe: Why not apply Albert Einstein to Constitutional law? I mean, why not?

Long sucking sound on a fat joint.

Creaky voice from Barry: "Pass it on, man..."

Larry creaks back, "Yeah, man, good s--t."

Barry: "Cosmic! Like, it's Relativity...or Quantum...or ummm... suthin...Albert Einstein, man...lookut..." (laughter all around).

Suddenly, they both have the same idea.

Larry and Barry in unison: "Let's do it, man!"

I wasn't there, but it's the only thing that makes sense.

So Larry wrote up his Harvard Law Review shtick on "Curved Space and Constitutional Law," and the rigorous peer review process at the Law Review went into high gear, and yes, they okayed it. A real contribution to constitutional law.

Through the magic of Google Scholar, you can dig it out and pass it along to your friends. It's destined to become infamous, right along with that German physics lab that started eco-freaks around the world jumping in unison at one second past midnight, 3/31/2008, to make the planet ring real loud. Pass it around, folks. A lot of them tried it, but not quite enough to jar the earth out of orbit. Too bad.

Now, any high school science teacher could have told Professor Tribe how the curvature of space bears on constitutional law: It doesn't. There is not a smidgen of relevance. None. Physics and the law only get together around bloodstains and such, and even then you have to slug your way through chemistry and biology to get there. Wiser heads should have told the Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, "Don't even go there, Larry -- you'll become a laughingstock." There are real scientists and engineers at Harvard, not to mention students, who can instantly spot the difference between science fantasy and the real thing, and neither have anything to do with the Constitution. So much for getting on the Supremes, Larry. Just don't do it! Don't even think about it.

Larry wrote it up anyway.

Physicist Frank J. Tipler has described Tribe's paper as "crackpot physics," but that was too kind. This is pure out-of-your-mind stone-head Amateur Hour. It makes sense only if you're hallucinating really badly.

And Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. got only a footnote. ("S--t, man, only a footnote? What's the matter, I'm the wrong color or sumthin? You don't want Hussein on that article? You don't like my stash?")

This may be why Elena Kagan was clowning it up for the cameras at the Senate Judiciary Committee rather than for Professor Tribe. Obama never forgets a slight. Plus, even Harvard should be able to spot arrant nonsense from its tenured faculty after three or four decades of reading it. Plus, Larry Tribe looks too heterosexual. Three strikes, you're out!

Still, the lowbrows in Obama's White House and the WaPo still look with superstitious awe at that magic moment in the '90s when two Renaissance Minds met and sparked off a stunning new insight into constitutional law. The stoners at Harvard Crimson were duly impressed, and thought it was Totally Awesome, Man. The Washington Post apostrophized,

Obama analyzed and integrated Einstein's theory of relativity, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, as well as the concept of curved space as an alternative to gravity, for a Law Review article that Tribe wrote titled,"The Curvature of Constitutional Space."

Ah, the sophisticates of D.C. were in bliss. Only physicists and engineers around the world were getting rolling fits of the giggles. Axelrod and the WaPo are still honestly proud of that Einstein-and-the-Constitution story, so much that they publicized it in a WaPo puff-piece for El Jefe Supremo. The WaPo and the White House are still dumb enough to believe it, and they have never heard from a real-life high school science teacher to tell them it's all bull pucky.

In Romania under the Ceauşescus, the state-run media portrayed Nicolae as "The Genius of the Carpathians" and attributed scientific breakthroughs to his wife Elena. We haven't gone quite that far, but the media cult of the personality surrounding Obama is trending into self-discrediting territory.

You know if Obama had been willing to sacrifice one round of golf to actually meet early on with the CEO of BP he might have learned that a new cap was being fabricated to seal the Deepwater Horizon well and that it would take about two months to manufacture.

Then the little tin messiah could have gone before the White House press corps and announced that he had informed the top management of BP that the most likely way to "plug the hole" was to fabricate a new assembly to replace the damaged one and that if they began right then they ought to be able to have it finished in around two months.

Had that happened the mainstream media would now be shouting from every rooftop in the nation that Obama had solved the problem by inventing a new cap for the well and giving the plans to BP.

But it was probably an awfully enjoyable round of golf. Maybe they even topped it off by stopping for bacon cheeseburgers and chili-cheese fries at a trendy burger joint on the way back to the White House.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Kennedy will wait out Obama regime

From The NY Daily News:

WASHINGTON - President Obama may get liberal Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court, but conservative swing-voter Anthony Kennedy says he's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Justice Kennedy, who turns 74 this month, has told relatives and friends he plans to stay on the high court for at least three more years - through the end of Obama's first term, sources said.

That means Kennedy will be around to provide a fifth vote for the court's conservative bloc through the 2012 presidential election. If Obama loses, Kennedy could retire and expect a Republican President to choose a conservative justice.

It is rare for a Supreme Court justice to so publicly bitch-slap a sitting president, but we must admit that the provication has surely been great.

What makes this even more amazing is that in the past Kennedy has been one of the court's most notorious fence sitters who had been showing a marked tendency to tilt to the left.

It would seem that the profound overreach of the Obama regime has shocked him back to sanity. He has in effect promised to remain on the court and be the fifth vote against the destruction of the nation until the Obama agenda joins all the Soviet five-year-plans, German thousand-year reichs and Islamic dreams of a world-wide caliphate in the toxic waste dump of history.

Good for you Justice Kennedy.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Time to say goodbye to Mr. Steele

Rick Moran in American Thinker:

The RNC chairman's comments about Afghanistan were pretty clueless, but I think the growing chorus from GOP heavyweights for Michael Steele to step down is a cumulative effect of his verbal gaffes rather than this particular instance of idiocy.

Bill Kristol:

You are, I know, a patriot. So I ask you to consider, over this July 4 weekend, doing an act of service for the country you love: Resign as chairman of the Republican party.

Your tenure has of course been marked by gaffes and embarrassments, but I for one have never paid much attention to them, and have never thought they would matter much to the success of the causes and principles we share. But now you have said, about the war in Afghanistan, speaking as RNC chairman at an RNC event, "Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama's choosing. This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in." And, "if [Obama] is such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that's the one thing you don't do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?"

Needless to say, the war in Afghanistan was not "a war of Obama's choosing." It has been prosecuted by the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama. Republicans have consistently supported the effort. Indeed, as the DNC Communications Director (of all people) has said, your statement "puts [you] at odds with about 100 percent of the Republican Party."

I think he should have resigned after the fund raising scandals last spring, but GOP insiders thought differently. Now he has not only undercut his own party, but has shown himself to be out of touch with candidates for office who support our mission in Afghanistan.

Steele will likely force the GOP to fire him, knowing how bad it would look for the party to fire one of the few visible blacks in a leadership position. He has banked on this before, but it might not save him this time.

I agree with both Mr. Moran and Mr. Kristol. Michael Steele should step down. I was a supporter of Mr. Steels's appointment as chairman of the RNC, as I supported his unsuccessful run for the Senate. However his performance in office has been disappointing with a continuing series of "gaffes and embarrassments" and it is time he went.

One of the central goals of the "Tea Party Movement" is to effect a change in the way the RNC operates. Now and in the past it has supported any Republican incumbent and any Republican challenger to an incumbent Democrat. This needs to change.

The RNC MUST begin to seek out and support the most conservative Republican who can realistically win in any given house district or state and support that candidate even if it means campaigning against a Republican incumbent.

Mr. Steele has shown time and again that he is not the man to bring about that kind of essential change and it is time for him to go.