Friday, January 31, 2014
Another Black hate crime covered up?
The shooter was black; The victims were white
As suspected from the beginning, the media outlets suggesting that the Maryland mall shooting was the result of some sort of a love triangle were merely speculating. According to the Washington Post today, they still have not established any links between the shooter and his two first victims (Aguilar shot at multiple people after killing his first two victims, wounding one who was treated and released).
They also conducted a lengthy interview with the store owner where Aguilar purchased his shotgun, and the interaction seemed quite routine.
The Post then notes this potentially very relevant detail almost in passing:
"Two law enforcement officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said Aguilar kept a journal in which he described suicidal thoughts. When the young man’s mother reported him missing Saturday, they said, a police detective was sent to the home. He began reading the journal, but Aguilar’s mother demanded he stop.
Later, after authorities identified Aguilar as the shooter, police seized the journal. In addition to the references to suicide, it contains notes expressing hatred of certain groups, according to the officials, who did not elaborate in detail."
Let’s be very clear: we do not know if those targeted and shot in the mall belonged to those “certain groups” that Aguilar expressed hatreds towards. It is interesting, though, that a mainstream media so obsessed with attempting to link “certain groups” to gun crimes, is so incurious here.
Frankly, one has to wonder if the MSM fears that a minority vegan skateboarder might have hatred towards the very same groups that the Washington Post and other media outlets would like to scapegoat if they could, undermining their preferred narrative.
11-Year-Old Girl's Cupcake Business Shut Down by Government Officials
After-school jobs are tougher to keep, apparently, than they used to be. On Sunday, a Belleville News-Democrat story featured 11-year-old Chloe Stirling of Troy, Ill., a sixth-grader at Triad Middle School who makes about $200 a month selling cupcakes.
On Monday, the long arm of the law - in this case, the Madison County Health Department - put an end to that.
"They called and said they were shutting us down," Chloe's mother, Heather Stirling, told the Post-Dispatch.
Furthermore, Heather Stirling said the officials told her that for Chloe to continue selling cupcakes, the family would have to "buy a bakery or build her a kitchen separate from the one we have."
"Obviously, we can't do that," Heather Stirling said. "We've already given her a little refrigerator to keep her things in, and her grandparents bought her a stand mixer."
Heather Stirling said she wasn't looking for special consideration for her daughter and would be willing to get the necessary licenses and permits to run a business.
"But a separate kitchen? Who can do that?" Heather Stirling said.
Amy Yeager, a health department spokeswoman, said the county was only applying the law governing all food-selling businesses.
The latest Leftist attempt to revise history
There is only one answer to the Labour demand that David Cameron apologise for Margaret Thatcher’s handling of the 1984-85 miners’ strike, and it is the one the lady herself would have given: ‘No, no, no!’
To judge from his robust response yesterday at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron seems in no mood to say sorry.
It may suit Labour to perpetuate the myth that Mrs Thatcher pursued a vendetta against the miners. The truth is quite different.
In reality the mines had long been uneconomic and had been sustained by huge state subsidies for decades before the strike.
The previous Labour governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan closed many more pits than Mrs Thatcher. Curiously, Mr Miliband is not offering to apologise on their behalf.
The more militant miners used violence to intimidate those who wanted to work, culminating in the so-called Battle of Orgreave, where thousands of picketing miners fought police at the Orgreave coking plant in Yorkshire.
Yesterday, with shameful cynicism, Labour moved to put pressure on the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to conduct a Hillsborough-style inquiry into police tactics.
Orgreave was not a tragedy like Hillsborough. It was a pitched battle between 10,000 miners and 5,000 police resulting in dozens of injuries and hundreds of arrests.
Police were bombarded with bricks and stones. A few officers may have used excessive force, but they were under extreme provocation.
Some miners later sued the police, with 39 of them receiving nearly £500,000 in compensation for assault, unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution. But this cannot be compared to Hillsborough, where 96 died and there was a systematic police cover-up.
There is no justification for the IPCC to mount an investigation of Orgreave, let alone a ruinously expensive inquiry, because the main facts are known and always have been.
I have no doubt Labour has mounted this campaign because they would like to change the subject from the present state of the economy — which is at last booming again — to old grievances.
It is in their interest to claim the Tories deliberately engineered and escalated the strike in order to crush the unions.
Their argument has been given a spurious plausibility by secret papers recently released under the 30-year rule, which makes public Cabinet papers three decades after they were created. Yet the new documents do not substantially alter what was already known.
No one should be surprised that contingency plans were made to declare a state of emergency and use troops to move coal stocks or food supplies if the strikes continued. It would have been irresponsible for any government not to prepare for the worst.
Nor is there anything shocking about the ‘secret’ proposal by the chairman of the National Coal Board, Ian MacGregor, six months before the strike, to close 75 pits over three years.
The pit closure programme was no secret. It was dictated by dire economic necessity.
There is nothing in these new documents to justify Labour’s conspiracy theory that the Conservatives deliberately sought to escalate the dispute ‘guided by a complete hostility to the coalfield communities’, as Labour MP Michael Dugher put it earlier this week.
The state of crisis was caused by the impossible demand by the miners’ leader, Arthur Scargill, to keep all pits open, even if they were losing huge amounts of money.
Those who do not remember the miners’ strike may find it hard to understand how desperate Mrs Thatcher’s predicament then was. Her predecessor, Ted Heath, had tried to take on the miners, imposing a three-day working week to conserve electricity.
He called a general election in 1974, asking voters: ‘Who governs Britain?’ He lost and a broken-backed Labour government, which lived in fear of the trades unions, took office.
In 1977, as a young reporter, I met the leader of the Scottish miners, Mick McGahey.
He was an unashamed Communist and boasted openly of his comrades’ determination to turn Britain into a socialist paradise. Many others saw the miners as the vanguard of socialism, including Ed Miliband’s father, Ralph.
Mrs Thatcher came to power in 1979 with the explicit aim of curbing union power. Even in her first term, however, she was forced to yield to the threats of the National Union of Mineworkers. She reluctantly granted new subsidies to uneconomic pits, because she was warned that they could bring the country to its knees.
No sooner had Mrs Thatcher, newly confident after the Falklands War victory, been re-elected, than the militant new leader of the NUM, Arthur Scargill, sought to call a national strike intended to bring down her government.
Scargill was a Stalinist who did not believe in democracy. He sought to intimidate his members, at first by mass picketing and later by mob violence, aimed not only at ‘scabs’ who crossed the picket lines but at their families and anyone who helped them.
One taxi driver, for example, was murdered for driving miners to work by having a concrete slab dropped onto his car from a road bridge.
In June came Orgreave, which marked a new escalation of violence by Scargill and his men. This is the pivotal moment in the highly charged battle which has been seized upon by today’s opportunist Labour Party.
Scargill continued to hold the country to ransom, though he was losing ground. Then, in March 1985 the leadership of the NUM defied Scargill and voted to call off the strike.
It must be admitted that Margaret Thatcher was not entirely magnanimous in victory. She could not forgive ‘the enemy within’, those militants who had sought to derail the stability and prosperity of their own country, and her enemies have not forgiven her.
This has left a bitter legacy in our culture — think of films such as Billy Elliot.
But such criticism of our greatest peacetime Prime Minister should not be allowed to obscure her achievement. Thirty years later, we can see clearly that the defeat of the miners’ strike was a blessing for the whole nation.
It made possible the Thatcher revolution — both economic and social — of which we are still the beneficiaries.
Labour’s call for an inquiry is nothing but a cynical ploy. Orgreave was no Hillsborough. And David Cameron has nothing to apologise for.
Chuck Schumer is a fascist
“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies — we must redouble those efforts immediately.”
That was Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), speaking at the Center for American Progress on January 23, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
This statement did not occur in a vacuum, and there is context. It was a speech about how to “weaken” and “exploit” the tea party. And he is not referring to hypothetical rules the IRS might implement, he is telling the Obama Administration to move forward with new IRS rules proposed in November that will severely restrict the speech of tea party and other 501(c)(4) organizations.
Even though Congress has not voted to change rules governing these groups that have been in place decades. In fact, Congress explicitly rejected doing so when the issue came up in 2010 via the DISCLOSE Act. To say nothing of the fact that suppressing political speech clearly violates the First Amendment of the Federal Constitution.
Let’s be clear. Schumer thinks — like Obama who at a recent cabinet meeting said “we are not just going to be waiting for legislation” to act — that somehow the executive branch has the power to make and change law as it sees fit. And that one of the laws this all-powerful executive can enact is to restrict the speech of political opponents.
A clearer statement in favor of fascism — the ceding of legislative powers to the executive and the suppression of dissent — cannot be found in recent American discourse by an elected official.
New agency rule will squelch dissent
Merriam Webster defines fascism as “a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government.” There’s actually a bit more to the ideology, but let’s just take the plain meaning of the word.
A government where the executive can make laws without approval of the legislative branch is by definition dictatorial. The new IRS rule, which was brought to no vote in Congress, clearly falls into that category.
And that the new rule will suppress political speech of government opponents is beyond question.
It disregards the statute itself that only explicitly prohibits electioneering of 501(c)(3) charities, but not (c)(4) social welfare groups. Instead it seeks to modify a 54 year old agency rule that currently allows (c)(4) organizations to engage in electioneering activities so long as it does not constitute a majority of their activities.
Now, limitations will be imposed not simply on advocacy for or against a candidate for public office, as has been the case for decades, but on any communication that even mentions a public official who happens to be a candidate. Specifically, the regulations will define “certain communications that are close in time to an election and that refer to a clearly identified candidate as electioneering communications.”
This would be a return to the “functional equivalent of express advocacy” that was struck down in Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC (2007).
The rule also applies blackout periods 60 days prior to the general election and 30 days prior to primary elections at the federal, state, and local level. Such blackout windows have been repeatedly ruled unconstitutional in federal court, in South Carolinians for Responsible Government v. Krawcheck, et. al (2012) and in Citizens United v. FEC (2010).
Now, the agency will no longer consider the costs of communications in determining eligibility for the 501(c)(4) tax status. It will use a far more subjective, content-based standard: “the expansion of the types of communications covered in the proposed regulations reflects the fact that an organization’s tax exempt status is determined based on all of its activities, even low cost and volunteer activities, not just its large expenditures.”
It will even consider past advocacy that occurred prior to the rule change in an ex post facto manner: “The Treasury Department and the IRS intend that content previously posted by an organization on its Web site that clearly identifies a candidate and remains on the Web site during the specified pre-election period would be treated as candidate-related political activity.”
For organizations that operate websites that go back years or even decades, this might require purging archives of articles written that might mention an official who happens to be a candidate in particular election cycle.
To put the new rule into perspective, this particular article criticizes Chuck Schumer. But he is not up for reelection again until 2016. Under the new rule, it might be okay to leave this piece up in 2014 and 2015, but once he’s on the ballot again, we might have to take it down.
That is, lest anyone come to the realization close to the election of the indisputable fact that Chuck Schumer is, by definition, a fascist — whose views on speech and political dissent he disagrees with have no place in a free society, let alone qualify him for the elected office he seeks.
Schumer himself in the speech specifically said who the targets of the new rules are. They are meant to silence, as he put it, “Tea Party elites [who] gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”
That is, the truth as he sees it. And if Chuck Schumer represents the government’s position on free speech, or the lack thereof, then Obama has truly succeeded in transforming America into a system that will punish its opponents with the force of law, political violence, or worse.
The Friends of Abe
The Schumer speech came the same week it was revealed that a group of conservative and traditionally minded entertainers in Hollywood applying for tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status wherein donations are tax-deductible had been put on the IRS “Be On the Look Out” (BOLO) target list.
Called the Friends of Abe — named after Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president — the group is claiming that in the application process, which has still not been approved after two years, the agency demanded access to its membership list. The group refused.
What makes this significant is that if the list had been made a part of the application process, it could have risked the information becoming public. Once a 501(c)(3) application is approved, it is a matter of public record.
What are not public are groups’ donors and members who, in the case of Friends of Abe, fear professional repercussions in Hollywood for being conservative.
This is precisely the sort of disclosure that the Supreme Court struck down in NAACP v. Alabama (1958). Then Justice John Marshall Harlan’s majority opinion stated, applying the First Amendment via the Fourteenth to Alabama, “We hold that the immunity from state scrutiny of membership lists which the Association claims on behalf of its members is here so related to the right of the members to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in so doing as to come within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
In so doing, the Court said that a group’s membership lists could not be forcibly disclosed. Here, the Court protected a constitutional right to anonymity particularly when a disclosure requirement threatened the ability of a group’s members to speak freely.
There is no allegation that Friends of Abe was engaged in electioneering. There were no ads it purchased or mailings that were sent out endorsing candidates. Having meetings and expressing conservative values, or even engaging in a limited amount of issue advocacy — which are allowed by both the statute and rules governing 501(c)(3)s — comes nowhere near the electioneering activities prohibited under those rules.
There are thousands of (c)(3)s across the country that do the same exact thing on all sides of the political spectrum that have never had trouble getting their applications approved.
What can be done?
The only leverage Republicans in Congress have is to insist that the IRS regulations be prohibited as a condition of increasing the debt ceiling or funding the government at all.
Their refusal to do so lest there be a government shutdown is nothing short of weakness. They are in effect standing by and do nothing, making them little better than those who stood by silently in the 1920s and 1930s as political dissent was systematically squelched in Italy, Germany, Russia, and elsewhere.
Is that unfair? In the least, Republicans appear content waiting for courts to act on this issue while the censorship goes on unabated. This is not a case of the Federal Election Commission enforcing the congressionally enacted McCain-Feingold campaign finance statute, as in the past. That has already been overturned.
This is a rogue agency creating rules out of whole cloth to squelch dissent and enforcing them as if they were law in defiance of repeated court rulings calling those very rules censorship. To sit idly by now is inexcusable.
Do Republicans defend the American people’s right to dissent against government injustice, or not?
Perhaps Aldous Huxley was correct, when he wrote to George Orwell in 1949 that “the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.”
Maybe elected Republicans are content being serfs, and they are no longer the party of Lincoln that once fought slavery in all its forms. The Friends of Abe would do well to take note.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.