Wednesday, September 2, 2015

If There is No Ferguson Effect, Then There Must Also Be No Problem With Police Brutality

Police across the country are pointing to various assaults on police as "The Ferguson Effect".  Naturally, Black Lives matter activists and various sympathetic "journalists" are angry about this and calling it racism and whatever.  Which is hilariously ironic.

Black Lives Matter is based on stringing together unrelated instances of police violence, in different jurisdictions with widely different police departments and policing policies, and claiming there is a pattern of racism.  The only thing these instances have in common are that the person killed was black.  But the Michael Brown and Vonderrit Myers shootings were justifiable.  The former was found justified after a justice department probe.  The latter was justified because Myers had a gun and was shooting at a police officer.

Others, such as Eric Garner and Tamir Rice were tragic mistakes, but not intentional murder.  Freddie Gray may actually be the result of brutality, but the officer most responsible for his death (the driver, who is charged with murder) is black, so this defeats the "racist" narrative.  Strangely, the one incident that appears to be definitely murder, the shooting of Walter Scott, is mentioned less often than these others.

These incidents really only have one thing in common; they resulted in the death of a black person.  All of the other facts and circumstances are widely disparate.  But a significant number of uninformed citizens are willing to believe that this tenuous string of purely anecdotal, context-free evidence proves that there is prevalent police racism in America.  Well, if that's true, then it must mean that the "Ferguson Effect" is a real thing.

We now have similar anecdotes of police attacks and other violence since Ferguson.  Police report more murders in Ferguson and Baltimore.  Two officers are murdered in New York.  A deputy is shot in the back and killed in Texas.  And last, but most telling, an Alabama cop is pistol whipped with his own gun.  He claims he hesitated precisely because of the national attention on police violence (This is what "Ferguson Effect" means), allowing the perp to have the advantage.  These are not the whole story.  But activist journalists such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and the clown car that is would have us believe that these are not a pattern; that they are unrelated incidents.  This, despite the fact that they are more than willing to connect the dots between every black person killed by a police officer, regardless of differing facts and circumstances.

The evidence supporting the "epidemic of police brutality" and the evidence supporting "the Ferguson Effect" is the same.  Meaning, the evidence is anecdotal, incomplete, and unencumbered by context or nuance.  So, Black Lives Matter activists and their supporters have to make up their minds.  Either the police brutality coverage is overblown, or there is in fact a "Ferguson Effect".  They can't have it both ways.  If their movement continues to have this sort of cognitive dissonance and blatant hypocrisy, they will lose all credibility.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Horowitz Called Idris Elba "Too Street" and Then Wussed Out.

In an interview with the Daily Mail James Bond novelist Anthony Horowitz call Idris Elba "too street" for the role.  Outrage trolls called down the wrath of almighty Twitter, which immediately exploded with random accusations of racism.  Because "street" can only mean "black.".  It couldn't possibly mean that some of Elba's roles are a little scruffy (See: Luther), so maybe he doesn't have the polished image a James Bond would need.

Of course, these accusations all became questionable the second it came to light that Anthony Horowitz said it wasn't a race thing.  He even gave an example of a black actor (Adrian Lester) who he thought would make a suitable Bond.  And he did this in the same interview, before the Twitter explosion.

No matter.  Having already married themselves to the narrative that this was a racist comment, overwrought activists went into denial mode.  The fact that he said it wasn't "a colour thing" meant that it absolutely was.  Their rationale?  If it wasn't about race, he wouldn't have gone out of his way to say that it wasn't.  This is something only possible with liberal logic.  What actually happened is that Horowitz said it wasn't "a colour thing" to alleviate the concerns of an over-sensitive media ready to turn any random adjective into a "code word" or "microaggression".  Ironically, it had the opposite effect.

Others attempted to explain away the Lester reference.  Perennial racebaiter Ta-Nehisi Coates claimed it was "not an out", because Sony wasn't considering him.  The obvious answer to this is: So what?  Horowitz was asked his opinion.  What Sony thought is irrelevant.  The fact that Horowitz could name a black actor who wasn't too street is exactly an out.

Personally, I don't think Elba is "too street".  If he wasn't too street to play a Norse God, he can handle Bond.  Actors can polish up a scruffy image for a role if they need to.  Remember how scruffy actor Harrison Ford once cleaned up and played the President of the United States?  It's been done before.  Horowitz might have been a bit elitist (the Bond image is a sort of high-falutin', tweed-wearing, upper-crusty type. I.E. the opposite of street.), but that's not inherently racist.

The outrage police quickly scared Anthony Horowitz into submission.  Liberal knees jerked right into Horowitz's balls.  So he apologized profusely and caved to the PC overlords.  Maybe he should have had some backbone, like the fictional character he writes about.  Instead, this is yet another example of political correctness run amok.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Slut-Shaming the Republicans Over the Fox News Debate

In the new political paradigm, where candidates receive questions from moderators, Facebook, Twitter, or just get yelled at by annoying ass activists, a new pattern has emerged.  The entire debate can be blamed on the candidates and their party.  At least, that's what the Democrat reaction to the Republican debates on Fox News suggests.  Bernie Sanders slams them for not discussing climate change or income inequality.  Jennifer Granholm slams them on Real Time with Bill Maher for never discussing the middle class. They seem absolutely stunned that the content was entirely controlled by the moderators of the debate and not the candidates.

This is effectively victim blaming.  Slut shaming.  Fox News asked them questions on particular topics, and it's somehow the candidates fault for encouraging Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier and Chris Wallace and Random People On Facebook Who Sent In Questions.  Democrats are implying that Republicans should have known better than to let the reporters control their own debate, and instead should have spent the whole time pontificating on social justice.

It's not clear how we can blame candidates for the content.   Candidates can't just say no to questions.  If they don't answer, it makes them look worse.  Unless it's Newt Gingrich being asked about his personal life.  The only way they could possibly be responsible is if they picked the questions themselves.  That would defeat the purpose of the debate.

Not every news outlet will cover every topic.  Each outlet has their own preferences, their own audience, their own biases.  Go on Fox and get asked about God and guns.  Go on MSNBC and get asked about the merits of wealth redistribution (as long as the wealth being redistributed comes businessmen and not from actors or musicians or athletes) and "white supremacy".  Go on MTV and get asked about boxers or briefs.

So it's a mystery why anyone would complain when the Republican candidates have not been discussing what the Democrats want them to.  If your preferred topic wasn't discussed, it just means you're watching the wrong news channel.  It's not the candidate's fault for answering what's asked.  It's your fault for being too lazy to use the remote.

I suppose any Republicans who are annoyed by this could take comfort in the fact that the tables will be turned after the Democrat debate.  If the Democrats fail to address Republican concerns, I fully expect the press and politicians and activists to let them have it.  Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the others must be heavily criticized for these things they have no control over.  After all, that's what happens with Republicans.  Failure to do so would mean the media does not care about real justice.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Castro Owes Cubans Millions

In the Cuban newspaper propaganda rag, Granma, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro hilariously insisted that the U.S. owes Cuba money.  This, because of a years long trade embargo from when Castro decided to join the ranks of communist aggressors back in the Cold War.  It's not the first time Castro and his pals have blamed the embargo for struggles in Cuba.  But they always neglect to mention that Cuba is perfectly capable of trading with everyone else.  The United States is about 20% of the global economy.  That means Cuba still had access to the other 80%.

Cubans still drive cars from the fifties.  Nobody stopped them from importing cars.  Americans do that all the time.  Restrictions on real estate sales (You need a license to live in Havana) restrict the mobility of the population. A mobile labor force is critical to a modern economy, and restricting where people can live reduces their mobility and hurts an economy.  They've also had to deal with food rationing and lack of transportation, although this was alleviated with the addition of more private markets and private taxis.  Thus, the only small successes they had came from capitalism.  Castro Cuba's lack of freedom destroyed the economy, not inability to trade with America.

The greatest evidence of this is the fantastic success of Cuban-Americans.  Cuban-Americans started as refugees, but formed a thriving community in South Florida.  Their descendants have found success that exceeds the average American.  Cubans living in a free society perform brilliantly.  Cubans living under the repressive Castro regime struggle.  The conclusion is obvious; responsibility for Cuba's failure rests with Castro, not with America.

It is typical of third world douchebag dictators to attempt to redirect blame to external actors.  They run their economies into the ground and blame U/S "imperialism" to cover for their own ineptitude.  For Americans, this is both amusing and infuriating.  The amusing part is that the "wise grandfather" of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales had a little temper tantrum and lashed out at us rather than admit his own mistakes.  The infuriating part is that we know there are still left-wing ignoramuses who will believe him.

The real reason Cubans have suffered is that they are reaping what Fidel Castro sowed.  Although there were minor capitalist reforms, the system remains communist, which has always resulted in disaster.  Cuba has suffered because of communism, not because of the embargo.  The only reason Castro's policies didn't lead to ruin sooner was "sugar daddy" nations like the U.S.S.R. and Venezuela who kept him afloat.  But these nations suffered because of their leftist policies, and now those wells have dried up.  Cuba is in desperate straits because Fidel ran it into the ground.  If anyone owes the Cubans, it's him.  Perhaps he should turn over all of his accumulated wealth, which is almost a billion dollars.

I don't really expect Castro to turn over his money.  I don't expect him to change his mind and accept that capitalism was always the wave of the future, not communism as his pal Kruschev thought.  Castro has entered his "crazy old man off his meds" phase.  It's annoying to hear someone spewing old communist canards, even while enjoying a lavish lifestyle that communists are supposed to hate.  But I take comfort in the fact that eventually he'll die of natural causes the same way his ideology did.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Campaigns Based On Lies Never Succeed

We learned in 2012 that basing a slogan on a lie is a bad idea.  When Barack Obama said "You didn't build that" he was referring to the fact that government builds roads and bridges and infrastructure, not businesses.  He was explaining that government creates an environment of safety, stability, and predictability, all of which encourages entrepreneurship.  Supporting infrastructure, defense, and law enforcement are just a few of the ways that government does this.

So, when the Romney campaign seized on the "You didn't build that!" sound bite and adopted the "We Built It" slogan, I knew it was a mistake.  Even though the campaign was pushing the idea that private business, not public policy, is the primary driver behind the economy (a true statement), the slogan was willfully ignoring the real meaning of the president's statement.  Jon Stewart famously skewered Fox and Friends for it's edited version of the speech.  The entire thing was based on a lie.

Romney's campaign suffered for that, and deserved to suffer.  By deciding that the president had committed a huge gaffe and shown himself to be a statist, planned economics, Marxist douche (which really isn't what happened), the campaign, the party, and the right wing seriously damaged their own credibility.  It made them look unprincipled and partisan; willing to push any narrative that appeared to hurt their opposition, regardless of facts.

In August of 2015, #BlackLivesMatter is making the exact same mistake.  Just a couple of days ago. there was a parade in memory of Michael Brown.  Activists are remembering Michael Brown as a "victim of police violence."  He was actually a "robbery suspect who was shot while resisting arrest."  Despite this, the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" slogan (based on something that never happened), is still popular.  All of this despite the fact that the Justice Department cleared Michael Brown's shooter, Darren Wilson.  All of this despite the fact that the independent medical examination ordered by the Brown family lawyer does not support the narrative.

This is not the only falsehood upheld by the movement.  Activist Deray McKesson claimed that Vonderrit Myers, another black youth shot by police, did not fire at police.  There is overwhelming evidence showing that Vonderrit Myers did shoot at the officer who killed him.  McKesson also bizarrely refused to say when lethal force was justified.  Other activists, including Mark Lamont Hill, have been pushing the "Every 28 Hours" narrative.  Hill claimed that an unarmed black man was killed by cops every 28 hours.  This was thoroughly debunked by Politifact.

Now, there is a valid point to some of what is said by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the same way that the "You Didn't Build That" people had a point.  The former is a movement formed primarily because black people are more likely to encounter police, (frequently with negative results) and mechanisms that hold police accountable seem inadequate.  The latter was a reminder to the more statist/collectivist amongst us that the best way humanity has found to produce opportunity for ordinary people is through free markets.  But in both examples, activists willfully repeated false statements, robbing themselves of credibility and distracting from the true message they were trying to get across.

If the #BlackLivesMatter movement wishes to gain broader acceptance, they must acknowledge where they've gone wrong.  They must acknowledge, as Jonathan Capehart did, that Darren Wilson was innocent.  They must acknowledge that Michael Brown is not a hero or a victim, but a suspect shot during an arrest.  They must acknowledge that some of these shootings of black men were justified and certain others (like Eric Garner) were tragic mistakes, and not acts of racist brutality.  They should direct their focus on incidents that actually appear to be murder.

As the Romney campaign learned, failure to acknowledge facts and building a movement on lies ultimately fails.  If #BlackLivesMatter activists want meaningful reform, they must stop pushing false narratives.  They must not assume that every officer involved shooting is murder, but instead carefully review each case.  If their grievances are not based on facts, they are not legitimate grievances, and there will be no reason to take the movement seriously.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Because of Planned Parenthood, Liberals Obviously Like Halliburton

The Center for Medical Progress has been dropping videos right and left showing some seriously disturbing statements by Planned Parenthood employees.  So disturbing that left-wing politicians, actors, comedians, and judges are circling the wagons.

Planned Parenthood's chief isn't bothering responding; she'd rather smear.  First, she resorted to the old "highly edited video" dodge, implying that the fact that a producer might have removed extraneous material from a video (something all producers do) is evidence of wrongdoing.  Of course, the complete videos were released, neatly defeating the claim that the intent was to deceive.  Then she broadly attacked the Center for Medical Progress, who produced the video, claiming it has "no credibility".  This was merely an assertion; she didn't provide anything substantive to support it.  Refusing to respond to questions and accusations is typical for her; she's ducked key questions in the past.

The most common statement by others on the left is that they "support women's health blahblahblah."  Apparently, Planned Parenthood is the sole provider of women's health.  This seems odd to me, because claims by the president that Planned Parenthood provided mammograms to women were shown to be false.  But that many left wing politicians and actors and comedians couldn't possibly be wrong.  Therefore, it makes perfect sense to conflate the existence of Planned Parenthood with availability of women's healthcare.

This is why the left must obviously love Halliburton.  Oftentimes, Halliburton received government contracts because it was believed that the service being purchased was only available from Halliburton.  Kind of like the belief that women's health is only available from Planned Parenthood.  So, when many of Halliburton's practices were questioned, the left was obviously okay with this.  Halliburton was supporting the troops in Iraq and various other things, therefore being against Halliburton clearly is the same as being against the troops.  The same way being against Planned Parenthood must obviously be the same as being against women's health.  Right?

If only there were a few places that offered the services Planned Parenthood actually does offer.  Things like STD screenings, cancer screenings, and pregnancy tests.  Places like, every doctor's office.  Or, for some of those things, a CVS or a Walgreen's.  Then we wouldn't be stuck with Planned Parenthood if we found out they were breaking the law.  In this scenario, we could defund Planned Parenthood if we caught them breaking the law and give those funds to other women's health providers.

Sadly, Planned Parenthood is clearly the only women's health option available.  It must be.  Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are insisting that attacks on Planned Parenthood are attacks on women's health, so they absolutely have to be the only provider.  The only plausible explanation for the left's defense of Planned Parenthood is a lack of options.  They must believe that even if Planned Parenthood is breaking a million laws, shutting off government funds would kill women's health.  Not a single investigation can be tolerated, unless it's investigating the Center for Medical Progress.

Ten years or so ago there were claims that Halliburton was a unique provider.  Ending the contract would have hurt the troops, and apparently there was no alternative.  Because to not do so would have hurt the troops.  Giving the contract to someone else wasn't an option.  Investigations into law breaking would just be hurtful.  At least, that's what we were told.  Therefore, I predict Hillary Clinton will come out in support of future Halliburton contracts.  For the same reason she supports funding Planned Parenthood.  Because to do otherwise would be hypocritical.

Know The Code: "Cowardly" Does Not Mean What You Think It Means

The Twitterverse is all atwitter (too easy, I know) about the death of Cecil the Lion.  Some-Dentist-From-Some-Place is being accused of murder, is being doxxed by celebrities, and threatened with death.   And it seems like he's being called a "coward" by both right-wing guys, left-wing guys, and internet dweebs.  Which is yet another abuse of the word "coward."

Here's what coward means, courtesy of these guys:


noun cow·ard \ˈka(-ə)rd\
: someone who is too afraid to do what is right or expected : someone who is not at all brave or courageous

The use of "cowardly" is fairly common in the media.  The first time I heard it used in my life, it was used to describe terror attacks.  And those typically are cowardly.  Attacking unarmed, innocent people doesn't take courage.  Attacking armed and dangerous people does.  Even attacking soldiers can be cowardly under the right circumstances.  When Nidal Hassan went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood, he was attacking unarmed people, not soldiers who were armed and ready.  Therefore, it was cowardly

Mass shooters are cowardly too.  Whether it's a movie theater, a college, or an elementary school, someone who feels the urge to blaze away at unarmed people is a giant wuss.  This is probably why these chumps usually off themselves; they're too afraid to face justice after murdering dozens of people.

But occasionally, "cowardly" is used to describe people who aren't cowardly.  This is frequently used to describe ISIS and the Taliban, even when it's not appropriate.  When ISIS attacks the Syrian military or the Taliban attack the Pakistani army, they aren't being cowardly.  When they light helpless prisoners on fire or shoot little girls in the face, that's cowardly.  Also, Chris Kyle may have been a sniper, but he was still in a combat zone and constantly under fire.  So he and other snipers are not cowardly, no matter what Michael Moore thinks.  Unless the sniper is attacking an unarmed person, like the DC sniper or James Earl Ray.

Stalking a wild animal doesn't count as cowardly.  Sure, you're sneaking around, but that's because if the animal is alerted to you it may turn on you.  Just like a sniper in a combat zone, sneaking is necessary to stay alive.  By the way, this is how big cats hunt too; using stealth.  And despite what some say, lions are more than happy to come after you.  I've seen it first hand.

On my last trip to Africa, I went on a short safari.  The preserve, like most zoos, had to keep the lions separate from the other animals to prevent them from eating the other animals.  The fenced in lion area was a square mile or so in size.  As we walked up to the fence around the lion area, one of the teenage girls in our group stuck her fingers through the fence and began teasing a bored looking lion.  The lion very quickly reacted and leapt at the fence.  She very nearly lost fingers.  Another touristy type person wanted to take a picture with a lion behind him.  The second he turned his back, the lion charged the fence.  The fence held, but we learned not to turn our backs on them.

So, if there's no fence and a lion gets pissed off, he will waste your sorry ass and eat you.  Sometimes he'll kill you for no reason at all, like what happened to this poor girl.  This is why stalking a lion is not at all cowardly.  Hunting is not cowardly, unless you plan to shoot animals when they're helpless.  What the dentist did was bad, but not cowardly.

So it's time to stop abusing the word cowardly.  Cowardly means what Webster's says it means.  We shouldn't let it become code for "stuff that I don't like."  PETA provides a perfect example of how not to use the word by describing all hunting as cowardly.  That's crap.  Hunting isn't necessarily courageous, but it's not cowardly.  Terrorism is cowardly.  Killing innocents is cowardly.  Running away from a fight is cowardly.  Abandoning your family is cowardly.  Lots of things are cowardly.  Some putz shooting an endangered animal is not cowardly.  The fact that we don't like it is no excuse for sloppiness and intellectual laziness.

Let's save the "coward" designation for those who deserve it.  Like Zimbabwe's cowardly dictator who sends goon squads to intimidate opponents and voters, and ordered at least one cowardly slaughter.  He's too chickenshit to compete in a real election and sends soldiers to attack civilians.  Which is why we don't extradite the dentist.  We should shun Robert Mugabe's true cowardice.  We should not send one of our citizens, no matter what he's done, to face the twisted justice of an actual coward.