It’s Wednesday, August 20th, 2014…and here’s The Gouge!

Leading off the mid-week edition, Victor Davis Hanson, in association with PJ Media, presents…

Our ‘Face in the Crowd’

 

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“Elia Kazan’s classic A Face in the Crowd is a good primer on Barack Obama’s rise and fall. Lonesome Rhodes arises out of nowhere in the 1957 film, romancing the nation as a phony populist who serially spins yarns in the most folksy ways — confident that he should never be held to account. Kazan’s point (in the film Rhodes is a patsy for conservative business interests) is that the “folks” are fickle and prefer to be charmed rather than informed and told the truth. Rhodes’s new first name, Lonesome, resonates in the film in a way that Barack does now. Finally, an open mic captures Rhodes’s true disdain for the people he champions, and his career crashes.

So what is collapsing the presidency of the once mellifluous Obama? It is not the IRS, AP, VA, or NSA scandals. Nor did the nation especially fault him for Benghazi or the complete collapse of U.S. foreign policy, from failed reset to a Middle East afire. In each case, he either blamed Bush or denied there was a smidgeon of wrongdoing on his part.

Certainly, the stampede at the border, as disastrous as it was, did not ipso facto sink Obama’s ratings. Ditto the embarrassing Bergdahl deal, in which we traded a likely deserter for five Islamist kingpins. Was it the ISIS ascendance that is leading to genocide and a nascent caliphate? Not in and of itself.

We could go on, but you get the picture that it was all of the above that finally became too much, as Americans turned Obama off because they were all lied out. In all of these scandals a charismatic Barack wheeled out the teleprompter, smiled, dropped his g’s, soared with “make no mistake about it” and “let me perfectly clear,” and then, like Lonesome Rhodes, told the “folks” things that could not be true or at least were the exact opposite of what he himself had earlier asserted.

The result is that should Obama claim again that he is going to lower the seas, cool the planet, or that he is the man whom we are waiting for, Americans would laugh. They would chuckle about more promised recoveries, millions of new green jobs, an expanding economy, or a safer world abroad. Again, we are just too lied out to believe anything our slick version of Lonesome Rhodes says anymore. And that fact may best explain his 39-41% approval rating…

Frankly, anyone who ever believed a word The Dear Misleader said in the first place was either stupid to know different or all-too-willing to believe any yarn the lying douchebag wanted to spin.

Hells bells; this is a man who spends millions of taxpayer dollars for a two-day break from his umpteenth vacation, then focuses not on pressing domestic or international conflagrations, but on strategy sessions to justify additional unconstitutional executive orders decriminalizing illegal immigration and…

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The world is literally burning, and, based on the White House’s own published schedule for The Obamao, the Partier-in-Chief spent TWICE as much time Monday night livin’ La Vida Loca than he spent on national security briefings that morning.

Meanwhile, the Professional Race Hustlers of America’s protestations notwithstanding, according to at least one intrepid…

REPORTER: More than dozen witnesses confirm Ferguson cop's version of shooting... 

 

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Having had the temerity…and honesty…to forthrightly report what she believed to be the facts rather than the Race Hustlers’ pre-determined storyline, the unfortunate Ms. Byers, crime reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has gone off the grid.  Not hard to imagine why, given the tenor of the largely uninformed responses to her tweet:

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In a further blow to the MSM’s representation of Michael Wilson as a “gentle giant”, The Gateway Pundit has now confirmed…

Officer Darren Wilson Suffered “Orbital Blowout Fracture to Eye Socket” During Mike Brown Attack

 

xcranial-.jpg.pagespeed.ic.C_KRI12tTb Any question the backers of the “gentle giant” storyline will claim Wilson’s injuries were self-inflicted?!?

Here’s the juice: we don’t know all the facts concerning what happened in Ferguson that afternoon, but here’s what we do know:

(1).  Contrary to his partner-in-crime’s claims, Brown wasn’t shot in the back.

(2).  Contrary to the idiocy displayed by the Washington Redskins Monday night, given the wounds on his right arm, Brown’s arms weren’t over his head when he was initially shot.

(3).  Contrary to other “eyewitness” accounts, Officer Wilson’s fractured eye socket clearly indicates he was, at some point, under serious assault by an individual significantly larger and stronger than he.

(4).  Contrary to the crazed cacophony from the Left, noting the presence of marijuana in a suspected assailant’s blood does not constitute character assassination.

(4).  Contrary to Progressives’ egregious excuses, a nation of laws cannot have two standards of behavior for citizens of different skin colors in reaction to a police shooting, PERIOD!!!  No “ifs”, “ands” or…

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…”as*holes”!

In a related item offering yet another sterling example of the MSM’s true level of ignorance regarding anything remotely connected to firearms, Puffington Host‘s Ryan Reilly evidently thought he was onto something BIG,…

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…until he learned the differentiate between rubber bullets and disposable foam earplugs.

Next up, read the following quotes attributed to Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, the Black Missouri State Highway Patrol captain born and raised in Ferguson, and you tell us why…

Earlier in the day, Johnson said he had met members of Brown’s family and the experience “brought tears to my eyes and shame to my heart.” “When this is over,” he told the crowd, “I’m going to go in my son’s room. My black son, who wears his pants sagging, who wears his hat cocked to the side, got tattoos on his arms, but that’s my baby.”

Johnson added: “We all need to thank the Browns for Michael. Because Michael’s going to make it better for our sons to be better black men.”

…Johnson should be ashamed, let alone how what was apparently the result of a thuggish theft is going to make ANYTHING better for ANYONE, let alone “black men”?!?

Seriously, we’re beginning to think…

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…Progressives are from a different planet; or we are!

But in the interests of representing all points of view…at least from the correct perspective, i.e., the “Right”, here’s another side to the Ferguson Fiasco from the editors of the Washington Examiner, some aspects of which we respectfully take umbrage:

Ferguson was a racial tinderbox waiting to explode

 

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Riots erupted in Ferguson, Mo., last week after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man. The precise circumstances of Brown’s confrontation with Officer Darren Wilson are not clear, but according to witnesses Brown was unarmed, in the open, and raising his hands above his head at the time he was shot. (Objection, your Honor; Counsel is introducing facts not in evidence.) The rioting and looting that followed are unjustifiable in a civilized society. Those throwing Molotov cocktails and committing other crimes aren’t protesting — they are endangering lives and property and should be prosecuted.

That said, there is still no satisfactory explanation for why Brown’s life ended this way — even if he was suspected in the strong-arm robbery of a box of cheap cigars, as Ferguson police assert. It is hard to imagine any situation in which sound law enforcement judgment would permit the shooting of an unarmed, fleeing suspect in the open on a residential street from 20 feet away. (Uhhhh…unless, of course, the law enforcement officer in question had been assaulted in his patrol care, suffering at a minimum a fractured eye socket while trying to maintain control of his sidearm; then, after chasing his assailant and ordering him to stop, had seen the hulking individual coming at him yet again.)

The vast majority of police officers are dedicated public servants and protectors. What they do is essential to maintaining civilized society. Too many of them die in the line of duty every year. But that’s also why police abuses are such serious matters. They not only violate the public trust, they encourage more distrust of the very people whom society must trust the most.

Officer Wilson deserves full due process and the presumption of innocence, just like anyone accused of a crime. (Which, frankly, you haven’t given him.) But the 53-man Ferguson Police Department is a different matter, if only because there were indications of deep systemic problems long before Brown’s death.

On Friday, the Daily Beast related a 2009 incident in which Ferguson police arrested the wrong man (also black) because he happened to have the same name (Henry Davis) as a wanted offender. Despite noticing that Davis had a different middle name and Social Security number than the suspect, the police held him, then allegedly beat him in his cell, giving him a concussion and causing bleeding from his head. They then charged him with destruction of property — for bleeding on their uniforms.

When deposed in Davis’ subsequent lawsuit, officers involved contradicted their sworn report, insisting that Davis hadn’t been bleeding at all, because (naturally) they hadn’t beaten him. The department also may have destroyed videotape of the jailhouse incident — or at least it conveniently preserved the wrong tape, from 12 hours after the fact. Most importantly, the attorney representing the victim discovered that the department kept no reliable records on the frequency of officers’ use of force, nor on the frequency of citizen complaints against officers.

The initial police response to last week’s demonstrations prompted an important national discussion on the militarization of U.S. police forces. But more closely related to Brown’s death is the quality and transparency of police practices. What is true in all other areas of government is true also of the police: Trust becomes impossible when officials make themselves unaccountable. A police force that does this is a disaster waiting to happen.

Okay, that last line’s a position with which we can hardly disagree.  But riddle us this, Batman: if this incident happened in 2009, why hasn’t the Black majority of Ferguson subsequently elected a city government to address these inequities, real or perceived?

Or can anyone provide data indicating the Ferguson Police Department has engaged in discriminatory hiring practices which have prevented Blacks from joining the force?

Lastly, having likely voted an across-the-board Democratic ticket in local, state and national elections for their entire adult lives, who should the good citizens blame for their current circumstances?!? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me every elections since 1960…?  Any questions?!?

Then there’s this rather intriguing statistic courtesy of Chris Mims writing at the WSJ:

What Happens When Police Officers Wear Body Cameras

Use of force by police officers declined 60% in first year since introduction of cameras in Rialto, Calif.

 

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Sometimes, like the moments leading up to when a police officer decides to shoot someone, transparency is an unalloyed good. And especially lately, technology has progressed to a point that it makes this kind of transparency not just possible, but routine.

So it is in Rialto, Calif., where an entire police force is wearing so-called body-mounted cameras, no bigger than pagers, that record everything that transpires between officers and citizens. In the first year after the cameras’ introduction, the use of force by officers declined 60%, and citizen complaints against police fell 88%.

…What happens when police wear cameras isn’t simply that tamper-proof recording devices provide an objective record of an encounter—though some of the reduction in complaints is apparently because of citizens declining to contest video evidence of their behavior—but a modification of the psychology of everyone involved.

Moving on to the subject of the woman who would likely supplant James Earl Carter as the 2nd-worst President in American history, writing at The American Spectator, Jed Babbin reveals the true nature of…

Hillary Slippary

Her ‘choices’ have been Obama’s all along.

 

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“…Clinton wants to divorce herself from Obama’s foreign policy and be seen stronger and more decisive. Her problem is that she, almost as much as Obama, is the architect of the foreign policy that has alienated our allies, encouraged our enemies, and left a power vacuum where once a superpower stood. And we need to remember how alien to principle Clinton has proven herself. In Robert Gates’s memoir of his time as secretary of defense, he writes that “Hillary told the president that her opposition to the surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary.”

Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices is one of those books that a lot of people buy but almost no one reads. (I have done so, dear reader, to save you the considerable chore of slogging through it.) The book is half Winston Churchill and half Woody Allen. Churchill once said that history would be kind to him because he intended to write it. Mrs. Clinton’s book, as we expected, spins the record of her term as secretary of state in a way calculated to demonstrate her success. But she gauges that success by comedian Woody Allen’s standard: he said that eighty percent of success is just showing up.

If that were the right measure, Hillary Clinton would have been our most successful secretary of state. According to the book, she logged about one million miles in pursuit of American diplomacy. She showed up almost everywhere and talked to pretty much every world leader and wannabe. But for all her effort there’s precious little evidence that anyone was persuaded by her ideas. Most weren’t, except for President Obama for whom she, as secretary of state, was the most important foreign policy adviser.

Republican’s should beat Hillary over the head with this with all the sensitivity of Robert De Niro wielding the baseball bat in The Untouchables.

And in today’s installment of the Environmental Moment, courtesy of AEI and The Hill, Benjamin Zycher notes how, like almost every aspect of the Environazi agenda, continued opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline is…

Silliness quadrupled: The Center for American Progress on Keystone XL

 

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“…let us focus on the blindingly obvious question that Atkin simply ignores: What would the “climate” impact of an annual emissions increase of 110 million tons of carbon dioxide [official U.S. State Department figure for XL emissions] be?

For that, let us use the climate model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, used by both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Global greenhouse gas emissions are about 36 billion tons annually, of which 110 million tons would be an increase of three tenths of 1 percent. What would the predicted temperature impact of that be in the year 2100? Answer: Less than four ten-thousandths of a degree, under the highest (of four) IPCC assumptions about the radiative (temperature) effect of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. Forget the attendant impacts on storms and the like: That temperature effect would not be measurable, in that the standard deviation of the temperature record is about eleven one-hundredths of a degree. More generally: Can anyone actually view that temperature impact as anything other than laughable?

The larger reality is that both Atkin and the authors of the “new scientific paper” simply cannot abide the increases in national wealth and attendant improvement in the economic circumstances of billions of people engendered by technological advance and the application of human ingenuity to the harsh conditions of life. Those are the core benefits of the concentrated energy embodied in fossil fuels, a condition very different from the diffused (and therefore expensive) energy-characterizing wind and other such “renewables.” For the political left, fossil fuels facilitate an abhorrent increase in the independence of individuals from centralized control, notwithstanding the reality that a general improvement in living standards is the driving condition yielding a collective willingness to invest in environmental improvement

In a related item detailing the utter disdain with which the Educated Idiots of the environmental movement view the Unwashed Masses…

Liberal Billionaire: 99.5% of Americans Are Not ‘Super Sophisticated’

 

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Billionaire hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer attempted to explain why there is still a sizable portion of Americans that do not buy in to global warming alarmism by, basically, generalizing virtually all of America as not “super sophisticated.” Speaking at a climate conference hosted by the American Renewable Energy Institute, Steyer said:

I think if you were to go around to most of the — what I would think of as super-sophisticated people who think about politics and policy more than five minutes a month — we are doing really well.

And the question in the United States of America is how are we doing with everybody else, which is the 99.5 percent of the people whose lives are very busy and complicated and pressing and they don’t have a lot of time to think about the things that don’t immediately impact themselves and their family.

Steyer’s sweeping generalization is not a new excuse made for why liberal ideas are not shared by a large swath of the electorate. Coming from a side of the political isle that prides itself on ending “hate” and precluding judgment on those that are not like them, many wealthy liberal activists have been quick to make harsh conclusions about any group of people with whom they disagree. This degree of hypocrisy is rarely topped, but Steyer’s strident defense of the “super sophisticated” 0.5% of America may have reached a new summit of paternalism.

For those a little slow on the uptake, Steyer’s referring to anyone who hasn’t made billions/millions managing a hedge fund, inheriting vast amounts of unearned wealth, living off the taxpayer teat or…winning political office!

On the Lighter Side…

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