Monday, July 19, 2010

Oakland continues its downward spiral

In January, 2009, Johannes Mehserle, a 28 year old Bay Area Rail Transit (BART) officer, shot and killed a man in a confrontation. The fatally wounded man, 22 year old Oscar Grant, was unarmed and had been previously involved in a fight. Witness’ accounts have described Grant’s demeanor as anything from relatively compliant to violently resisting. Nonetheless, Oscar Grant was tragically killed when Mehserle drew his pistol and fired, though he claims to have done so in error, having attempted to draw his taser.

But more important to the public than any of the facts in the case is that the man shot was black and the officer who shot him was white, so the assumption that Mehserle killed Grant simply because he was a black man ran wild before any other facts were considered.

The first response to this incident by citizens that want to prove it was a racially motivated killing is probably similar to Barbara Plantiko’s, a protesting immigration lawyer. She just doesn’t “buy that he got confused” when he drew his firearm rather than his taser. A cop should be able to tell the difference between a taser and a gun. Anyone could tell the difference, right?

When calmly presented the choice between the two, I'd wager most citizens could. But what escapes these firearm “experts” like Plantiko is that the situation provides the variable, not necessarily the discrepancy between the weapons. Most citizens have never been in a scenario where a perceived assailant threatens them, and they have never been made to manage the fear that such that such circumstances create. And in this situation, Mehserle, in haste and fear, made a dreadful mistake that cost Grant his life. At least that’s what a jury of his peers found to be the truth.

Still, being ignorant of such scenarios doesn’t stop racially sensitive citizens with a healthy disdain for authority from playing armchair judge and jury to condemn Johannes Mehserle. Apparently, the citizens of the City of Oakland are far more convinced of his murderous intentions than the jury that deliberated and came to their verdict based upon all of the facts presented in the case.

Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, a sentence that carries a certain weight beyond the guilt that will likely plague him throughout his life. But that is not enough for the Oakland citizens thirsting for justice and retribution, so they decided to deliver their own brand of "justice." Riots littered the City of Oakland after the verdict, as its citizens destroyed their own neighbors’ property to express outrage.

I can't say with a straight face that our justice system is infallible, and I cannot say that the verdict was absolutely justified with a ruling of involuntary manslaughter. But what I can say with certainty is that Oakland’s citizens destroying their own community is not a justifiable means of expressing the anger that results from their paranoia of racism, and they should be held accountable.

So perhaps we should finally take the rioters of Oakland to task for their crimes. After all, we can certainly establish their extremely questionable character when it comes to knee-jerk allegations of racially motivated violence and the vilification of the authorities that risk their lives to protect its citizens.

The nation watched in disgust just two years ago, as Lovelle Mixon, a black man with a highly felonious past, killed four police officers after a traffic stop gave way to a shoot-out. He killed the officers, of white and mixed race, while holed-up in his sister’s apartment before the police finally brought him down. The officers slain were family men, and heroes.

But how did some of the scummy elements in Oakland react? They called Mixon’s actions a response to police brutality, and his death a murder. They held ceremonies to mourn the death of a lecherous villain, guilty of breaking our laws and robbing innocent families of their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons. And some even heralded the villain as a martyr whose death spotlighted a racial rift between the city’s police officers and its minority citizens.

Around the nation, we retched in disgust at their shameful display of misjudgment and misplaced ire by the citizens of Oakland. And now, we are to believe that these same citizens have a right to riot because they think Grant’s death was a racially motivated crime?

Not a chance. They’ve lost their credibility in gauging such issues. Therefore, many Americans recognize that the riotous citizens of Oakland are guilty on the counts of provocation, destruction of property, and an inability to act as human beings.

Eric Holder and the Department of Justice, however, don’t find Oakland guilty of those crimes. He finds them victims, and the carnage they have self-inflicted must mean that some kind of wrong was done to those people who are creating the havoc. Therefore, they will take further measures to investigate Grant’s death to see if it was racially motivated, biased against a black man. And if they deem Mehserle guilty of the crime, you can bet they’ll prosecute the case as an example of racism.

And the Department of Justice’s desire to zealously investigate this alleged crime of racism is ironic when you juxtapose it with the fact that they just threw out a case of proven voter intimidation, committed by a man that is unequivocally biased against white people in Philadelphia. But I guess since the citizens of Philadelphia haven’t destroyed their own communities out of anger about that injustice, it’s just not worth the Department of Justice’s time.

William Sullivan

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Federally financed abortions, and the sorrowful conclusion

In spite of the efforts of countless Americans and some of our more honest politicians, Barack Obama has just approved the first taxpayer funding for abortions, to the tune of about 18.5 billion dollars.

So we've been had. Again.

It's irrefutable. When Obama said his Executive Order would prevent federal subsidization of abortions to get the healthare bill passed, he was lying. When Pelosi and her ilk said "there is no public funding of abortion in these bills" to get the healthcare bill passed, she was lying.

Tom McClusky, senior vice president of the Family Research Council’s political action arm, says it perfectly.

“For our efforts to remove the bill's abortion funding, we were called 'deceivers' by President Obama and 'liars' by his allies. Now we know who the true deceivers and liars really are."

We cannot sugar-coat it anymore. There are lying, evil bastards running our country.

And thanks to them, we are all morally implicated. Just think, a month from now, a baby may be violently dismembered and siphoned from his mother's womb. And whether you're pro-life, pro-choice, or anywhere in between, you will have paid for it.

I feel sick.

William Sullivan

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Interesting Viewpoint on Obama and His Views on America

Normally I wouldn't post editorials that are readily available online on this blog but this particular one really struck a chord. Krauthammer takes a step back and analyzes Obama's perceptions about America versus Obama's perceptions of himself.

Obama can be selective when it comes to modesty

Remember NASA? It once represented to the world the apogee of American scientific and technological achievement. Here is President Obama's vision of NASA's mission, as explained by administrator Charles Bolden:

"One was he wanted me to help reinspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and math and engineering."

Apart from the psychobabble — farcically turning a spacefaring enterprise into a self-esteem enhancer - what's the sentiment behind this charge? Sure America has put a man on the moon, led the information revolution, won more Nobel Prizes than any other nation by far - but, on the other hand, a thousand years ago al-Khwarizmi gave us algebra.

Bolden seems quite intent on driving home this message of achievement equivalence - lauding, for example, Russia's contribution to the space station. Russia? In the 1990s, the Russian space program fell apart, leaving the United States to pick up the slack and the tab for the missing Russian contributions to get the space station built.

For good measure, Bolden added that the U.S. cannot get to Mars without international assistance. Beside the fact that this is not true, contrast this with the elan and self-confidence of President Kennedy's pledge that America would land on the moon within the decade.

There was no finer expression of belief in American exceptionalism than Kennedy's. Obama has a different take. As he said last year in Strasbourg, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Which of course means: If we're all exceptional, no one is.

Take human rights. After Obama's meeting with the president of Kazakhstan, Mike McFaul of the National Security Council reported that Obama actually explained to the leader of that thuggish kleptocracy that we too are working on perfecting our own democracy.

Nor is this the only example of an implied moral equivalence that diminishes and devalues America. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner reported that in discussions with China about human rights, the U.S. side brought up Arizona's immigration law - "early and often." As if there is the remotest connection between that and the persecution of dissidents, jailing of opponents and suppression of religion routinely practiced by the Chinese dictatorship.

Nothing new here. In his major addresses, Obama's modesty about his own country has been repeatedly on display as, in one venue after another, he has gratuitously confessed America's alleged failing - from disrespecting foreigners to having lost its way morally after 9/11. It's fine to recognize the achievements of others and be nonchauvinistic about one's country. But Obama's modesty is curiously selective. When it comes to himself, modesty is in short supply.

It began with the almost comical self-inflation of his presidential campaign, from the still inexplicable mass rally in Berlin in front of a Prussian victory column to the Greek columns framing him at the Democratic convention. And it carried into his presidency, from his posture of philosopher-king adjudicating between America's sins and the world's to his speeches marked by a spectacularly promiscuous use of the first-person pronoun - I.

Notice, too, how Obama habitually refers to Cabinet members and other high government officials as "my" - "my secretary of homeland security," "my national security team," "my ambassador." The more normal - and respectful - usage is to say "the," as in "the secretary of state." These are, after all, public officials sworn to serve the nation and the Constitution - not just the man who appointed them.

It's a stylistic detail, but quite revealing of Obama's exalted view of himself. Not surprising, perhaps, in a man whose major achievement before acceding to the presidency was writing two biographies - both about himself.

Obama is not the first president with a large streak of narcissism. But the others had equally expansive feelings about their country. Obama's modesty about America would be more understandable if he treated himself with the same reserve. What is odd is to have a president so convinced of his own magnificence - yet not of his own country's.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Paglia Blames the White, Middle Class for…Viagra?

Camille Paglia, professor of humanities for the University of the Arts and New York Times contributor, has recently written an opinion piece that identifies middle class values as the sociological reason for America’s search to find a pharmaceutical remedy for our epidemically waning libidos.

Well, that’s one way to describe the piece. Another way would be to describe it as an elitist’s indictment of the American middle class, purposefully delivered in what is perceived as high-brow lexicon, seasoned with liberal doses of Marxist disdain for anything “bourgeois.”

Her opinion seems to be that specifically the white, upper-middle class is the root of sexual anxiety that causes our culture to seek a pill that can increase our sexual desire. “The real culprit,” as she describes, began with the “bourgeois propriety” that became prevalent in the nineteenth century. Paglia relates that “as respectability became the central middle-class value, censorship and repression became the norm.” This trend is what she believes led to the “social conformism and religious Puritanism” that attributed to female aloofness from sexual expression in the 1950’s.

She is quick to note that sexual repression of the 50’s “erased the liberated flappers of the Jazz Age from cultural memory,” and suggests that “since the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, American society has become increasing secular, with a media environment drenched in sex.” She goes on to lament, “only the diffuse New Age movement, inspired by nature-keyed Asian practices, has preserved the radical vision of the modern sexual revolution.”

She hearkens to the days of flappers and flower children, as if these eras were periods of sexual enlightenment, and vigorous sex was practiced by all. I would wager, however, that the “sexual liberation” in those eras was largely centralized in speakeasies and universities, respectively, and among the younger, unmarried crowd.

And from that perspective, it doesn’t appear that much has changed. From tweens to forty-somethings, American singles today are practicing wild, random, and uninhibited sex copiously, and our cultural media slather this fact in our face by delivering everything from youthful sex romps to “Sex and the City.”

Kids and singles are still having plenty of sex, so Ms. Paglia must deduce that, outside of older singles that yearn for the sex drive of their younger years, the majority of those seeking pharmaceutical means to have more sex are married men and women.

There are two reasons for this. The first, which she recognizes, is that marriage and family assure that any couple will be forced to meet exhaustive and difficult challenges with children, career, monogamy and monotony, and dealing with those challenges often takes precedence over the desire to satisfy their own primal desires. The second, which she does not seem to recognize, is that there is a multimedia complex that goes to great lengths to convince them that they should be having more sex than they do, because doing so would make their lives much more enjoyable. And it is the social elite, not the middle class, that choreographs this multimedia campaign that has fabricated a sexual crisis in America.

Thanks to technological advances, there is a global trend of people wanting quick solutions to make their lives easier. Given this trend and the middle class’ propensity for juggling jobs, kids, social engagements, housekeeping, and hundreds more obligations, can we blame them for embracing the idea of a magic pill that could make them as sexually satisfied as those happy and interesting people they see on television?

Camille Paglia can blame them. She suggests that it is their fault they’re not as sexually happy as the enlightened ones that are unhindered by such shackles. You see, family life and the obligations therein are precisely the white, middle class’ problem, according to Paglia. She claims that America will never find healthy, sensual bliss until they forego the middle class values that have “driven and drained” our culture. She seems to chide the middle class for their go-go attitude, their drive to excel, their craving of the utmost efficiency in maintaining a family, career, and social life. She bemoans the androgynous relationship between men and women in the workplace, where both sexes populate a professional playing field in their quest to achieve money and success. She contends that such “bourgeois” sensibilities must be the cause of America’s sexual frustration.

But she doesn’t stop there with her assault. She goes on to blame the contemporary white, middle class influences in rock and roll for taking the sexiness out of music. Paglia writes, “The Rolling Stones’ hypnotic recording of Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster,” with its titillating phallic exhibitionism, throbs and shimmers with sultry heat. But with the huge commercial success of rock, the blues receded as a direct influence on young musicians, who simply imitated the white guitar gods without exploring their roots.”

My guess is that for Paglia, when Clapton drew upon the source of Delta bluesman Robert Johnson, it was sexy and cool. But when rock bands today draw upon the source of the legendary Clapton, the music somehow loses its flavor. Perhaps she would conclude that Clapton isn’t poor enough or soulful enough to be the source of passionate music.

Ridiculous as that is, she continues her condemnation by holding white, middle class tastes responsible for Hollywood making a practice of turning boyish waifs into Aphrodites. She says of actresses, “Their current Pilates-honed look is taut and tense — a boy’s thin limbs and narrow hips combined with amplified breasts. Contrast that with Latino and African-American taste, which runs toward the healthy silhouette of the bootylicious BeyoncĂ©.”

She conveys this opinion very matter-of-factly. But the truth is that there are huge swathes of middle class whites that find BeyoncĂ© sexy, and legions of both rich people and poor people, white people and black people, who find Megan Fox sexy. What people find exciting and sexy is extremely personal, ever-evolving culturally, and the variations often transcend race and social class. But Ms. Paglia thinks that only the voluptuous female frame can be found sexy, and the white culture’s apparent inability to agree with her is part of the reason for their sexual woes.

And this highlights the most significant fact that escapes her. American society, including the middle class that makes up its majority, is extremely complex, comprised of many people of different cultures, races, sexual orientations, preferences, and levels of wealth. These aspects of our culture cannot be painted with a broad brush and a palette of ideological generalizations, but those seem to be the only tools at Paglia’s disposal.

Camille Paglia is a very eloquent, talented author, but she is obviously and absolutely disconnected from the middle class, and thereby disconnected from the majority of Americans. And in this article, she simply uses the recent explosion of interest in pharmaceutical aphrodisiacs as a platform to express her vehement disgust for white, middle class’ values, aspirations, and most of all, its utterly “bourgeois” doldrums.

And why shouldn’t that work for her? It’s enough to appease the likewise disconnected editors and readers of the floundering New York Times.

William Sullivan

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Racism's Alive and Well, But Not Like Eric Holder Would Have you Believe...

This video is shocking. All at once, upon seeing it, I was speechless and filled with rage.

I remember watching this guy at the polls with his Panther garb on YouTube back in '08, intimidating voters with his baton and hurling racial epithets. Bad as that was, this video proves his hate goes well beyond racism to the point of evil. He personifies a militant element of racism, and he is not fit to be called a human being. His worth is leagues beneath that of a human being.

And for the love of God, how does this soulless administration exonerate such a man of a federal crime?

It goes without saying that if Klan members sat outside a polling station threatening blacks, they would be rightfully and swiftly prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, because they would be guilty of selectively threatening someone because of the color of their skin. Yet when the shoe is on the other foot, and militant and violent black activists selectively threaten white voters based solely upon their skin color, the uproar is silent and the Department of Justice refuses to do their job.

Eric Holder has chosen to drop the charges in order to discriminately protect these men because of the color of their skin, and therefore he is a racist. And he, and the wretched vermin of the New Black Panther Party, must be taken to task for this unprecedented travesty.

See link below.

William Sullivan