Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pretentious Liberal Snobs

Let’s put aside the fact that David Letterman’s jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughters were sexist, as NOW and other feminist groups have acknowledged. We should also ask why he thought it was a cutting insult to compare Palin to a flight attendant—and other normal Americans that upper-crust liberals would never associate with.

The obvious answer: they’re snobs.

It’s why they laughed along with another Letterman monologue likening Palin to members of the lowly working class. “She looks like the waitress at the coffee shop who draws a little smiley face on your check,” he said. “She looks like the dip sample lady at Safeway. She looks like the nurse who weighs you and then makes you sit alone in your underwear for 20 minutes.” This was funny to people who look down upon nurses and grocery store workers.

It’s why the status-obsessed Keith Olbermann brags about his “Ivy League” credentials when he actually went to a state school affiliated with Cornell—as if there were something shameful about a public education.

It’s why Michael Moore writes book after book haranguing Americans for being racist, lamenting in Stupid White Men, “[I’m] trying to clock how long it is before I spot a black man or woman who isn’t wearing a uniform or sitting at a receptionist’s desk.” But as of 2005, Moore was spending two-thirds of his time in Central Lake, Michigan—a town that doesn’t have a single black resident.

Obviously, penning sanctimonious screeds about American racism is the job of rich liberals. But actually living in racially diverse neighborhoods is for the working class. (This also explains why popular vacation destinations for the liberal elite, such as Aspen and The Hamptons, are almost entirely white. Conversely, you’ll never see Ted Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi hanging out at the Jersey Shore or other spots frequented by riffraff.)

It’s why a group of Hollywood aristocrats, including Barbra Streisand and David Geffen, illegally constructed fences to keep ordinary people off the public beaches near their Malibu homes. They’re all about the interests of the “little guy”—just as long as the peasants don’t obstruct their view of the ocean.

It’s why the Queen of Liberal Pomposity, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, suggested that George Bush was unfit for the Presidency because her friends made disparaging remarks about him at a Georgetown cocktail hour—as if any normal person cares about liberals’ insipid chitchat at their little parties. (The average home price in Georgetown: $1,435,180.)

It’s why they sneered at former Representative Tom Delay for building a successful pest extermination company (how blue-collar!). They instead admire people who inherited or sued their way to wealth, like John Kerry and John Edwards.

It’s why the liberal media elite fawn over Michelle Obama’s designer shoe collection, while joking that Sarah Palin looks like she belongs “at a TGI Friday’s happy hour.”

Hilarious, but only to liberal snobs who wouldn’t be caught dead hanging out at TGI Friday’s—or any other place they might encounter the “little guys” they claim to represent.


British corruptocrats still trying to hide

MPs were shamed yesterday after the much vaunted opening of their expenses files produced a humiliating cover-up of the most serious abuses. Parliament and its officials were accused of colluding in a £2 million ($4 million) operation to protect the greedy as the supposed new era of transparency was drowned in a sea of black ink.

More than a million pieces of paper - bills, receipts and claim forms - were posted on the House of Commons website shortly before 6am, but thousands of them were indecipherable. Much of the information was blacked out as the MPs, helped by the authorities, censored incriminating material, citing security and privacy. The redactions included addresses, making it impossible to tell from the official version which MPs "flipped" their second homes to maximise returns from the taxpayer or changed the designation of their homes to avoid paying capital gains tax.

Even so, the exposure produced more dramatic developments in a saga that has shaken politics to the core. It was slipped out last night that about 200 MPs had rushed to pay back nearly £500,000 because of public outrage over their claims.

In four years Labour MPs have channelled £235,000 of taxpayers' money to a computing consultancy that operates from party headquarters. Several Cabinet ministers have used their Commons allowance to pay Computing for London to manage communications in their constituency offices.

The papers revealed that Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, asked his accountants to change the wording of an invoice for tax advice before he submitted it to the fees office and controversially claimed it back on expenses.

David Cameron said that he would repay almost £1,000 in overpayments on mortgage, electricity and phone bills. He blamed the overpayment on an "inadvertent administrative error".

The expenses scandal has already ended the careers of 20 MPs, and more are expected to follow.

The cover-up shocked campaigners. Commons officials had removed references to previously revealed absurdities such as the cleaning of moats and the purchase of houses for ducks. The names of companies providing goods and gardening services were also blanked out to avoid having to show where the work was done.

Without earlier disclosures no one would have known that Hazel Blears claimed second home expenses for three different properties in a year, or that the second home of Margaret Moran, who claimed £22,000 to treat dry rot, was in Southampton, 100 miles from her constituency. The official record would not have exposed the Labour MPs David Chaytor and Elliot Morley, who claimed thousands of pounds against mortgages that had already been paid off. This only emerged after their addresses were cross-checked against Land Registry records.

Nevertheless, the political establishment was smarting as the full tawdriness of its claims was laid bare to a public audience. By 4.30pm 250,000 people had visited the website and clicked on 1.5 million pages.

The receipts revealed that the Conservative MP Graham Brady claimed £71 to get back into his house after being locked out and that the former minister John Reid claimed £29.99 for a book explaining basic economics.

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, spent £260 on shredding as he wound up his parliamentary affairs, and claimed £6,990 for repairing the roof of his constituency home two days before leaving No 10. The fees office reduced his claim to £4,453. Others spent a fortune on paper clips, matches, milk frothers, assertiveness training courses and the Racing Post.

MPs themselves were hugely embarrassed by the cover-up. Vince Cable, of the Liberal Democrats, said: "If people had had to rely on this information to find out about their MPs they would have been faced with swaths of black ink rather than information about the flipping of homes and the avoidance of capital gains tax. “It took a huge amount of effort from campaigners, my Liberal Democrat colleagues and other independent-minded MPs to get even this much information released. It's a shame that it is still far less transparent than it could have been."

The Commons authorities spent more than £140,000 trying to avoid publishing the expenses before being defeated in the High Court in May last year. The process of scanning and editing all the receipts from 2004-08 has cost a further 2 million pounds and taken 13 months to complete. Sir Stuart Bell, of the Commons Commission, described the disclosure as unprecedented and said that it was right that information was blacked out to protect MPs' privacy and security.

Maurice Frankel, of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, said: "The mood of the House of Commons was that they did not want any of this information to be published and, failing that, as little as possible."


Britain: Scandal of killers on probation

Criminals are just misunderstood, don't you know?

THE justice secretary, Jack Straw, was facing a scathing attack on Labour’s prison policy this weekend after it emerged that criminals on probation are charged with one in seven murders in Britain.

The Tories unearthed figures which show that in the past three years at least 300 criminals on parole have been charged with murder. A further 130 have faced trial for attempted murder or conspiracy.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow justice secretary, said the figures shattered Straw’s recent claim that the fiasco surrounding the brutal murder of two French students was a one-off case.

Gabriel Ferez and Laurent Bonomo, who were stabbed more than 200 times in a sadistic attack in London last June, were killed by Dano Sonnex and Nigel Farmer. Sonnex should have been in jail at the time in connection with an earlier crime he had committed while on probation.

“We are now learning the true scale of the systematic failings revealed in the tragic Sonnex case. Gordon Brown has released serious offenders early and relaxed the monitoring of those on probation,” Grieve said.

“Dangerous criminals under diluted probation supervision are now being charged with a shocking one in seven of all homicides in Britain. This amounts to a reckless dereliction of this government’s duty to protect the public.

“Only this week, the justice secretary claimed the Sonnex case was a one-off. This now looks complacent in the extreme, not least since the number of murders committed by those on probation is in fact rising,” he added.

The figures show that 129 criminals on parole were charged with murders in 2006-7. A further 107 faced murder charges in 2007-8, with an additional 64 charged in the six months to last September, the latest period for which figures are available.

Probation failures have proved a constant embarrassment to Labour ministers. They were highlighted by the killing of John Monckton, a City financier, at his home in Chelsea, London, in 2004.

He was killed by Damien Hanson and Elliot White, who were both supposed to be under the supervision of the probation service at the time.

After the Sonnex case, David Scott, the head of London probation, resigned. Straw insisted the failures which led to the murders could not be blamed on lack of resources.


Obama, Iran, and the Tiananmen playbook

by Jeff Jacoby

IS BARACK OBAMA channeling George H. W. Bush? Twenty years ago this month, the first President Bush refused to condemn China's communist rulers when they unleashed a violent assault on pro-democracy demonstrators in the streets of Beijing.

For weeks Bush had refrained from encouraging the student-led reform movement that had blossomed around the country. "Clearly we support democracy," he said, but it wouldn't be appropriate for an American president to endorse the protesters' pleas for more freedom. "Exactly what their course of action should be," he demurred, "is for them to determine." Even after the massacre in Tiananmen Square, Bush -- unwavering in his commitment to engagement with Beijing -- would say nothing that might offend the Chinese government. "Not the time for an emotional response," he told reporters. He even spoke respectfully of the Chinese troops. "The army did show restraint. . . . They showed restraint for a long time."

In reacting to last week's rigged Iranian election and the protests that erupted after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the runaway victor, the Obama White House seems deliberately to be taking a page from the elder Bush's 1989 playbook.

"The administration has remained as quiet as possible," the Washington Post reported on Monday, even as images streaming out of Iran showed the mullahs' basij thugs beating and bloodying unarmed protesters. Vice President Joseph Biden told "Meet the Press" on Sunday that while there were "doubts" about the election's fairness, the administration was "going to withhold comment" until a more thorough analysis could take place. But even if he election results were fraudulent, engagement with Iran's theocratic regime would go forward. "The decision has been made to talk," Biden said.

Not until Monday evening did Obama himself finally address the crisis in Iran, and when he did it was Bush-on-Tiananmen all over again -- halting, mealy-mouthed, passive. "I want to start off by being very clear that it is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran's leaders will be," he said, as if that isn't precisely what the mullahs rigged the election to prevent. "I am deeply troubled by the violence that I've been seeing on television," he continued, without a word of censure for the despotic government committing that violence, let alone a demand that it stop.

Like Bush Sr. in 1989, Obama made it clear that he was not going to lift a finger for the courageous throngs in the streets -- and that he was keen to engage the junta, no matter how vicious or contemptible its behavior. "We will continue," he said, "to pursue a tough, direct dialogue between our two countries." Yesterday he repeated that while he does not like to see "violence directed at peaceful protesters," it would not be "productive" for the president of the United States "to be seen as meddling" in Iranian affairs.

But neutrality is not an option. By not unequivocally supporting the Iranian protesters, Obama is aiding their oppressors. Reporting from Tehran the other night, CNN's Samson Desta noted that Iranian students have repeatedly approached him to say that "they want to appeal to President Obama. They say, 'Is he going to accept this result? Because if he does, then we are doomed.'"

Should it really be so difficult for a president who campaigned for office on the themes of hope and change to raise his voice on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of brave Iranians who are risking their lives to bring hope and change to their country? Where is the president who proclaimed on his first day in office that those "who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent . . . are on the wrong side of history?" If he could say it at his inauguration, why can't he say it now?

"Engagement" with the foul Ahmadinejad and the turbaned dictators he answers to has always been a chimera; if that wasn't clear before last week's brazenly rigged election results, surely it is clear now. Iran's ruling clerics, headed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, didn't just endorse the Ahmadinejad approach -- the pursuit of nuclear weapons, the vile anti-Semitism, the demonization of America, the partnership with terrorists, the trampling of human rights. They unreservedly embraced it. Ahmadinejad's fraudulent re-election was hailed by Khamenei as "a divine blessing" and "a glittering event." With such a regime, no compromise is possible. Neither is impartiality. Like the Bush White House in 1989, the Obama White House must make its choice. Will America stand with the mullahs and their goons, or with the long-suffering people of Iran?



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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