The New Terrapin Gazette
Number 191 7 March, 2011
What experience and history teach, however, is this: that peoples and governments have never learned anything from history, nor have they ever conducted themselves in accord with teachings that might be drawn from it.
Eric Holder, The One’s appointed head of the US Department of Justice, has been criticized for what some claim is racially-based favoritism in refusing to prosecute an undisputed violation of federal law. In responding to his critics before a congressional committee, Holder is alleged to have said:
Think about that. When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, and to compare what people were subjected to there to what happened in Philadelphia — which was inappropriate, certainly that — to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all, for my people. To compare that kind of courage, that kind of action, and to say that the Black Panther incident wrong though it might be somehow is greater in magnitude or is of greater concern to us, historically, I think just flies in the face of history and the facts.
The source for the above text is this post.
To hear what Holder said and watch a video of his comments, go here.
Consider carefully what Holder is saying. His first contention is that a comparison has been or might be made, whether by others or by him, between events in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s and more recent events outside a polling place in Philadelphia. He goes on to say that the two events are utterly dissimilar in moral quality and implications. His conclusion asserts that someone is saying or implying that the recent impropriety is “greater in magnitude” or of “greater concern to us, historically.” That conclusion is, he insists, unhistorical and contrary to fact.
This is not a legal scholar talking. Holder’s remarks are those of a demagogic defense attorney trying to get a guilty man acquitted by a jury that he perceives as biased.
A comparison between any events that took place during the civil rights battles of fifty and more years ago and recent alleged voter intimidation in Philadelphia is irrelevant and immaterial. One might as well whine about the outrages of Andersonville, and use them as an excuse to absolve some segment of the population of culpability for their crimes. Are Jews to be above the law today because of the enormity that was Nazi policy?
Further, who has suggested or assumed that voter intimidation in the last two years is “greater in magnitude” than the heroism of civil rights activists a half century ago? Holder implies that such a determination should be made. No reasonable person would assert that before a defendant can be prosecuted today, his act must somehow express an evil of a magnitude greater than the goodness of some specific historical acts committed in support of human rights. The standard Holder proposes as a guide to prosecutorial action is blatantly insane.
Holder has said nothing relevant or rational. He has simply revealed himself as foolish and bitter.
Yet his histrionic posturing does admit of interpretation. The best description of Holder’s mindset is “retributive.” In his inarticulate way, he is saying that because horrible things were done in decades past, a moral debt has accumulated; now political circumstances mean that some of that debt can be paid. Thus the authorities should ignore lawbreakers who belong to an easily-identified group, as long as no one is physically harmed and no property crime is committed. It’s a carte blanche with limitations.
This illogic is intensified by a sense of self-righteous indignation that appears when critics insist that it is not ethical to refuse to prosecute in the abstract interests of retribution. Accused of bias, Holder responds angrily — and validates the accusation with a wildly irrational justification for his deliberate malfeasance. Because Freedom Rider Joe was killed fifty-six years ago, Mike, a mouthy crackpot and wanna-be thug, gets to break a federal law today. Moreover, if John broke that law, he would go to prison — because his genetic endowment is distinct from Mike’s.
Indeed, history does matter, and chickens do often come home to roost. Accordingly one might well ask what the murdered civil rights activists would think of a man who tries to avenge them by frustrating justice. Well, the struggle to make all citizens equal before the law was exactly that; Holder’s blatant racism mocks that noble cause and its humanitarian wellsprings.
Indeed, the attorney-general is conducting a feud. He has scores to settle. His policy is a firm rejection of the values that inspired black folks to insist that they are human beings. By refusing to administer justice with equity, Holder besmirches all that the freedom riders and civil rights workers suffered and even died to achieve. He is a quintessential hypocrite.
Holder is also an irrational and unethical saboteur in today’s evolved justice system. Under his leadership, the Department of Justice is a recidivist agency that threatens to undo hard-won progress and block necessary improvements. Because he does not believe in equal justice under the law, Holder denies the ethical genius of a generation of civil rights activists; that makes him an enemy of US democracy.
Holder has to go.
The fuss in Wisconsin has some Keystone Kops aspects, to be sure; those “doctor’s excuses” and legislators fleeing the state in order to avoid doing the electorate’s work reek of a Mel Brooks farce. Snarling traffic and being permitted to stay in public buildings overnight are not exactly hanging offenses, either. Still the public is not going to be favorably impressed by the nonsense. Physicians do violate their ethics with those fraudulent diagnoses, and the medical establishment is not amused. In the long run, the sophomoric shenanigans of the union picketers are not going to go down well with most voters.
That points to the crux of the emerging political debacle: the majority of people do not belong to a union, and many who do belong don’t agree with the thuggish solidarity. When Obama overstepped his authority by making a federal case of the argument between the governor and the Democrats in the Wisconsin state legislature, the president acted foolishly. As this newsletter noted at the time, the dispute is absolutely not of federal concern, so Obama was unwise to speak out when he perceived “attacks” on the union. The voters are not with him on this one. He’s setting himself and his party up for a defeat.
Demographics matter. When G. W. Bush was running for re-election to the White House, a member of this newsletter’s staff was asked by two officials in the Thai Foreign Ministry who was going to win. The response they got was that a cursory look at the states showed heavy concentrations of likely voters in Flyover Country, while Kerry had little solid support outside the bicoastal collectivist strongholds. Bush would win, the foreign devil said; the bureaucrats did a less-than-credible job of hiding their dismay. It would have been fun to hear their conversation some weeks later — the one that must have begun, “Mister Long-nose was right. How did he know?”
The hirsute, proboscisly-challenged brute knew because he had looked at the voter demographics. He counted the percentages in the big states, and saw at once that if 95% of the votes in Massachusetts and New York went for Kerry, that would mean much less than if Bush beat Kerry by a paper-thin margin in several large non-Bicoastal Elite states. By that time, Kerry had identified himself rather well to most voters (they pretty much knew who and what he was, and they had seen his wife), and there was only slight doubt as to the outcome the election: Flyover Country would decide it, and Kerry was an alien life form in that part of the USA. Folks who were shocked by Bush’s victory had allowed their hate and hope to blind them to obvious facts.
Today’s facts and hate and hope are lining up against Obama. Note that though the Republicans are nowhere close to having chosen their candidate, Obama has already alienated a huge segment of the political middle. He has also animated the “wingnuts,” and given slight hope to the eternally marginalized libertarian-leaning right. It’s the negatives that count, and they are all against Obama. In time, the positives will appear, and Obama will have a rough time making his case to everyone except his hard core union and ethnic supporters.
The unions are not the valuable allies they once were, either numerically or politically. The public tends to perceive public sector unions as greedy, exclusive, stubborn, authoritarian and short-sighted. Unions are not the answer — they are increasingly seen as a fundamental cause of the problem. Wisconsin has only validated that opinion.
It gets worse for the Democrats. In response to a genuinely spontaneous populist revolt against his policies and incompetence, Obama has been promoting a massive campaign of “organizing.” He wants to create an elite corps of political activists who preach collectivist policy to people who, having been taught civics by union members, know next to nothing about political philosophy, the history of the nation, and the aims of governance.
The cynic would say Obama wants to replace ignorance with propaganda. This newsletter would add that The One’s fundamental mindset is that people must cooperate according to a set of rules that pits them against an enemy. That enemy may be the city administration, a large corporation, a state legislature, or a political party, but whatever is is, it must have something that Obamite activists can wrest from it.
As a dedicated community organizer, Obama sees poverty and crime as what is left for the disorganized after evil powers have stripped the masses of their just deserts. Community organizers see targets, not problems. They think in terms of classes, social strata, and ethnic groups. Those abstractions define potential activists and supporters who, working under dedicated leaders, can force the greedy privileged to give up what has been improperly appropriated.
In such a world view, there is no place for free markets and mutually voluntary cooperation. Everyone must march to the mandated drumbeat. Fairness is the goal, and the confiscation and redistribution of wealth is the means of imposing fairness. To cooperate is to merge one’s dreams with those of the group. To cooperate is to obey the commands of the operatives who know how to liberate the disorganized and weak lower strata of society.
In this dystopia, it is holy cant that a fair redistribution of wealth will reduce crime to the vanishing point. Prosperity will be general, rather than restricted to those who inherit it. Unions will promote economic security because workers will own their jobs and will force the greedy rich to give up their hoarded/sequestered wealth.
As an extant organization devoted to communal effort and solidarity, the labor union is the natural tool of dreamers like Obama. That’s why he rushed to complain that in Wisconsin, unions were being “attacked.” Unions are by definition sacrosanct — leave them alone!
The voters do not agree. The unions are not nearly as powerful or as popular as Team Obama thinks. That is why Obama is likely to lose in 2012, and may even step down as his party’s candidate, as Lyndon Johnson did.
In addition to the unrecognized political weakness of the unions, there are factors that will count against Obama — and mean that the presidential election is the Republican candidate’s to lose. Obama’s plan for a Peronist regime that sets the “negative liberties” of the federal constitution aside, unites the proletariat in political struggle against the plutocrats and redistributes wealth by burdening everyone with impossible debt is a set of goals no mere orator can possibly achieve.
Of course a bad Republican choice could leave The One in the Oval Office, but it would have to be a disastrously bad choice (such as Sarah Palin).
That said, note that the facts that put Bush and not Kerry in the White House are very similar to the facts that will almost certainly remove Obama from power. The majority of the voters, sickened by the madness, will turn their backs on the promised Obamite Utopia.
No, the favorable outcome of the election will not end the threat to the nation and signal the rebirth of reason. The Bicoastal Elite will not be destroyed, the press will not learn its lesson or suspend its censorious ways, the academy will not reject the Said-multiculturalist-collectivist dogma it preaches, and children will not be taught by better teachers. The end of the USA’s experiment with Peronism, shocking though it will be for some, will simply dismiss demagogic, radical collectivism from power. What happens next will test the nation’s determination, resilience and ethics. A good end will have to be followed by a better start.
Cleaning up will be a Herculean task.
The Tea Party speaks: “It isn’t just the Democrats that are the problem — the GOP must behave responsibly, too.” That’s good news for the prudent segment of the electorate.
Understanding The Muddle East: a fascinating conversation that will clarify a lot. Highest recommendation.
Could any of this be true?
Janet, you’ve been naughty again! Liar, liar, pants on fire!
China is a huge scam. Its thoroughly corrupt, parasitic officials aren’t ideological communists or Marxists — they think and behave as predators. Ideology is their excuse. Greed is their motivation. The USA’s Obamites are more Marxist than are the rulers of mainland China. Accordingly, one can be forgiven for wondering whether calls for radical reform in other parts of the world (Libya, Arab regions, Iran, the USA’s Tea Party Movement) will inspire rebellion in the largest Asian nation. Prediction is impossible, but one thing seems certain: the huge demographic imbalance between young men and women will be a serious problem in a few years. It was the root cause of the Boxer Rebellion, and can hardly be expected to resolve itself peacefully. — This just located: a contrary view.
Whee! Don’t skip this….
The Bicoastal Elite really is different. Not better, different.
What to do about Libya? For decades, that has baffled many…except Reagan. A British paper reminds the world that “…President Obama fails to see the United States as an exceptional nation, with a unique role in leading the free world and standing up to tyranny. In his speeches abroad he has frequently found fault with his own country, rather than projecting confidence in American greatness.” All right, but what should US policy be? It is clear that the Arabs of the world are bitterly divided on almost everything. Uncle Sam might win the approval of this or that faction, but that success would be highly temporary — and would alienate as many people as it pleased. Consider yourself and your nation lucky that Libya is not next door, for Team Obama cannot cope with Mexico. The Italians are having hysterics over their prospects, and all of Europe is apprehensive. It’s bizarre: Qaddafi (“Gaddafi”?) predicted an Islamic Europe, and the advent of that catastrophe may be largely due to the collapse of degenerate Arab regimes like Qaddafi’s. The overthrow of tyrants is not to be welcomed; the dictators will be replaced by worse men, as happened in Iran. Ultimately, the fundamental values of the population must be good if the government is to be good, and Islamic values promote intolerance, hatred, repression, violence and shocking cruelty. As long as the Koran is considered inerrant, there is literally no hope for its believers — and the non-Islamic world will face an implacable enemy.
Related: “wingnut” commentary on US policy toward Libya. People always want to do something when things go wrong, don’t they? Sometimes the best course of action is to ignore the mess. By the way, somebody should tell the author of the linked post that “critique” is not a verb.
The Koch Bros exposed. Quelle horreur!
Your federal government at work, making life, er, harder to hang onto….
Did you know there is a “TSA Blog Team”? And do you, should you, care? (The right answers are almost certainly “No” and “Yes,” and in that order.) Give this post a read, and then give that read some thought.
Black “Islamist” Jew-hatred. As if things were not bad enough already….
A left-leaning internet news medium looks at how the Tea Party has changed the roles of members of the House of Representatives. Compromise, the path to the current disaster, is said to be threatened by a “dangerous” rift between Tea Partiers and representatives. Interesting. Wacky, but interesting.
The race card: it’s not just Holder who plays it. Guess who else…!
Public housing. The government designs and builds your apartment for you, and lets you live in it for peanuts. Do you suppose Obama supports the concept?
The masthead includes a quote from the works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. The original: Was die Erfahrung aber und die Geschichte lehren, ist dieses, dass Voelker und Regierungen niemals etwas aus der Geschichte gelernt und nach Lehren, die aus derselben zu ziehen gewesen waeren, gehandelt haben. Translation by New Terrapin staff. Awaiting comment from GB.
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Publisher: The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee