Category Archives: Democrat Party

America’s Jacobin Moment

This coercive cultural turn threatens to devour what remains of America’s civic comity and push durable social progress on race and politics out of reach.

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We describe this as a Jacobin moment because it has the fervor and indiscriminate judgment of the revolutionary mind. The guillotine isn’t in use, but the impulse is the same to destroy careers, livelihoods and reputations. The wave of resignations, firings, disavowals and forced apologies at institutions large and small is moving so fast it is difficult to keep track.

This month editors at the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer lost their jobs after staff revolts over an op-ed and headline, respectively. Now the editor of Philadelphia Magazine, Tom McGrath, is resigning after the staff made racial demands. Critics pointed to stories they disliked from 2013 and 2015.

Economists have often been more resistant to ideological orthodoxy than other intellectuals. No longer. University of Chicago economist Harald Uhlig lost his contract with the Chicago Federal Reserve after tweets in which he argued that the Black Lives Matter movement “just torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of #defundthepolice.” Mr. Uhlig said he favored the Democratic Party’s more moderate reform proposals. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, 13 years at the helm, rolled over without a peep.

Economists now want Mr. Uhlig stripped of his editorship of the Journal of Political Economy. New York Times political enforcer Paul Krugman tweeted that Mr. Uhlig is a “privileged white man” and he doubted his “objectivity” to edit the journal. Justin Wolfers of the University of Michigan combed through Mr. Uhlig’s old blog posts and claimed to be outraged that Mr. Uhlig in 2017 criticized left-wing violence.

The purge is being felt across academia. One lecturer was suspended by UCLA’s business school for a blunt email rejecting a student request to make different rules for final exams for black students. Another is facing investigation after reading in class Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” It contains the n-word, so professors may now deny students a classic American document on moral opposition to unjust state power.

At MIT, a chaplain was forced out over an email that condemned George Floyd’s death but also noted his criminal record and said, “Many people have claimed that racism is major problem in police forces. I don’t think we know that.”

The purges have reached into left-wing circles beyond the media. David Shor, an analyst at progressive consultancy Civis Analytics, was pushed out soon after tweeting research from Princeton calling into question the efficacy of riots. The leadership of the Poetry Foundation resigned this month after an open letter denounced the foundation’s statement denouncing systemic racism for being too vague.

In the world of sports, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings cut ties with announcer Grant Napear after he was asked on Twitter his views on Black Lives Matter and replied that “ALL LIVES MATTER…EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!” The coach of Oklahoma State University had to publicly apologize after he was photographed on a fishing trip wearing a shirt bearing the logo of “One America News,” a pro-Trump network.

Entertainment is also being subject to new forms of regulation on artistic expression. HBO announced this month that it is temporarily scrubbing “Gone With the Wind,” the classic Civil War novel-turned-movie, from its video library. Mobs are pulling down statues of Confederate generals, but in San Francisco they also pulled down Junipero Serra, an 18th-century missionary and Catholic saint, and U.S. Presidents are targets (see nearby).

The purges also reach into local schools and governments. A Vermont principal was removed after posting on Facebook “I firmly believe that Black Lives Matter,” but “Just because I don’t walk around with a BLM sign should not mean I am a racist.” The mayor of the northern California town of Healdsburg resigned after doubting police reform was necessary in that community. She was excoriated and told local press that “my intention was to follow through with my term, but basically at what personal price?”

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Some of the targets of these campaigns may have spoken or acted clumsily, but apologists for cancel culture can find reasons to stigmatize or banish anyone. For some, the destruction of social goods like academic freedom and political pluralism is merely collateral damage if the goal is seen as just. We doubt most Americans agree with this unforgiving and punitive approach to cultural change, but the revolutionaries are now in charge with a vengeance.

They won’t stop by themselves because their campaign is essentially about power and control, and they need new villains. But as they march through liberal institutions, they are also laying waste to liberal values of free speech, democratic debate and cultural tolerance.

Someone has to stop this, and first and foremost that means the liberal establishment. The leaders of universities, foundations, museums, the media and corporations need to draw on their remaining moral authority to make the case for a liberal society. There is a risk that anyone who speaks up, however reasonably, will become a mob target. But if one or two lead, perhaps others will follow.

Social comity in a polarized society will not be achieved through coercion and struggle sessions. If liberals won’t stop the Jacobin left, expect a political backlash and social fracture that will make Donald Trump’s Presidency look like a tea party.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-jacobin-moment-11592867349?mod=opinion_lead_pos1

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Black Lives Don’t Matter to Black Lives Matter

Make sure you make it down to the Beatles’ song…  mrossol

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The Epoch Times. 6/22/2020  by Roger L Simon

In case you missed it, and you could have, considering the endless thumb-sucking regarding just how many came or didn’t to the Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 60 were shot, nine fatally, at last count, over Father’s Day weekend in Chicago.

These included a 13-year-old girl in the Austin neighborhood of the West Side. Two hours earlier, in the same area, someone pulled up alongside a blue Honda in an SUV and fired several rounds at the driver, striking and killing his 3-year old son.

Similar carnage occurred in Chi-town only a couple of weeks earlier, over Memorial Day weekend, when 39 were wounded and 10 died, including a 16-year old boy.

And then, of course, we have Minneapolis, where most of the recent contretemps began, where early on June 21, one died and 11 were wounded in a shooting spree.

All of this was black-on-black violence of the most tragic sort.

Where was Black Lives Matter? Nowhere to be found, since the cops didn’t do any of it. BLM doesn’t seem to care about violence done to blacks if the police aren’t involved, even though black-on-black crime is by many multiples more lethal and more common, resulting in exponentially more black casualties.

BLM’s primary interest appears to be smashing the state, creating revolution with their pals in Antifa in order to take power themselves.

But there is another, perhaps more psychologically potent, reason that BLM doesn’t want to deal with black-on-black violence, other than finding some preposterous way to connect the police when it doesn’t exist.

Protesters Demonstrate In D.C. Against Death Of George Floyd By Police Officer In Minneapolis
A protestor waves a DC flag with “Black Lives Matter” spray painted on it next to a DC National Guard Humvee as protestors march through the streets during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody, in Washington on June 2, 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

To do this they would have to raise a question that could be truly embarrassing and elicit shame: Just why haven’t black people been able to improve their own neighborhoods in such places as Chicago, Minneapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis, and Los Angeles?

Why are they in such a miserable state after all this time? Why are so many people still killing each other? Is it all the white man’s fault?

Well, it some ways, it is, if the white man is Lyndon B. Johnson. Before he initiated, for reasons both idealistic and self-interested, the Great Society in 1964, most black families were intact, some say even more so than white families. Then, along came the welfare system and, over the years, as entitlements became more valuable than work, the black family disintegrated. Their communities fell into increasing disrepair.

The vast majority of black children are now born out of wedlock to single-parent homes, the world stacked against them before they can start.

That’s something BLM should want to do something about if real black lives actually mattered to Black Lives Matter.

Of course, it’s not fun. That’s hard work, improving lives on the ground, encouraging people to get off welfare and get jobs, to start businesses, to stay or get married, to stay away from drugs, alcohol, and gangs.

The leaders of Black Lives Matter are obviously bright people. But they are taking the easy way, allowing their anger and their fear of truth to dictate their lives when they, of all people, have so much to offer.

BLM are the very young people who could be improving black communities, and they’re not. They’re directing their energies to the romantic delusion of revolution, as they tear things down rather than build them up.

Lennon and McCartney put it well in an early, similar era:

“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out”

Verse three is even more, actually quite eerily, contemporary, as if John and Paul were singing directly to Black Lives Matter and Antifa in the time of the CCP virus:

“You say you’ll change the Constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow”

How right they were.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning author, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, and co-founder of PJ Media. His most recent books are “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (non-fiction) and “The GOAT” (fiction).

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/black-lives-dont-matter-to-black-lives-matter_3397428.html?ref=brief_Opinions&__sta=vhg.hhksexuhqqhbbv|UJJ&__stm_medium=email&__stm_source=smartech

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The Problem With Police Unions

The Democratic Party- a problem with unions?  Oh, say it ain’t so!!

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Remember the furor in 2011 when Republican governors tried to reform collective bargaining for government workers? Well, what do you know, suddenly Democrats say public-union labor agreements are frustrating police reform. We’re delighted to hear it—if they’re serious.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Sunday said police collective bargaining and arbitration have prevented the city from holding officers accountable for misconduct. Derek Chauvin, the officer charged with killing George Floyd, had at least 17 misconduct complaints against him in 18 years. His personnel file provides little detail about how these complaints were handled. But it appears he was disciplined only once—after a woman said he pulled her from a car and frisked her for exceeding the speed limit by 10 miles per hour. He received a letter of reprimand.

Minneapolis’s Office of Police Conduct Review has received 2,600 misconduct complaints since 2012. Only 12 have resulted in discipline, and the most severe punishment was a 40-hour suspension. “Unless we are willing to tackle the elephant in the room—which is the police union—there won’t be a culture shift in the department,” Mr. Frey said.

Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago officer convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, had been the subject of 20 complaints—ranking in the top 4% of Chicago’s police department—including 10 that alleged excessive use of force.

A jury awarded a man $350,000 after finding Mr. Van Dyke employed excessive force during a traffic stop. Yet Mr. Van Dyke was never disciplined. A task force on police reform after the McDonald murder found that “collective bargaining agreements create unnecessary barriers to identifying and addressing police misconduct” and “essentially turned the code of silence into official policy.”

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Police have a point that complaints against them are often dubious and they need an advocate to defend them. But collective-bargaining agreements go beyond due process and insulate officers from accountability for egregious and serial misconduct.

Some 40 states require or permit collective bargaining for police. A Duke Law Journal study in 2017 that analyzed 178 police union contracts concluded that a “lack of corrective action in cases of systemic officer misconduct is, in part, a consequence of public-employee labor law” that in most states permits unions “‘to bargain collectively with regard to policy matters directly affecting wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment.’”

The authors found that about half of cities had collective-bargaining agreements that required the removal of police disciplinary records after a certain period of time. Cleveland’s contract mandated expunging disciplinary records from department databases after two years. This makes it difficult for supervisors to assess whether officer misconduct is habitual.

About two-thirds of police union contracts also allow or require the use of arbitration in disciplinary cases. Private employers often use arbitration to resolve complaints by and against employees, but cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis allow police unions essentially to select the arbitrator.

A University of Pennsylvania Law Review paper last year found that about half of all union contracts give officers or unions “significant power to select the identity of the arbitrator” as well as “provide this arbitrator with significant power to override earlier factual or legal decisions” and “make the arbitrator’s decision final and binding on the police department.”

The average police department, the paper notes, offers officers up to four layers of appellate review. A quarter of officers fired for misconduct between 2006 and 2017 were reinstated, usually by arbitrators. An Oakland police officer shot and killed two unarmed men within the span of six months, one of whom was fleeing. Oakland paid $650,000 to one of the deceased’s family and fired the officer, but an arbitrator ordered him reinstated a few years later with back pay.

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This lack of accountability is endemic to government collective bargaining. The AFL-CIO’s legendary chief George Meany once said “it is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.” Collective bargaining in business is adversarial. But public unions sit on both sides of the bargaining table since they help elect the politicians with whom they negotiate.

Democratic lawmakers in particular depend on public unions for political support, and disciplinary protections are easy to give away in contract talks. Teachers unions are the most powerful example, as collective bargaining frustrates school reform and protects lousy teachers, relegating low-income and minority kids to failing schools.

If big-city Democrats really want to change police incentives, rather than merely pass reform gestures, they’ll have to address collective bargaining. Let’s see if their social-justice convictions overcome their desire for political backing from public unions.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-problem-with-police-unions-11591830984?mod=opinion_lead_pos1

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The Media’s Self-Censors

Oh, the USA is well on its way to censership by the Left.  You an tell by the absolute silence….   mrossol

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WSJ 6/11/2020

PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

In 1789, America’s Founding Fathers, acutely aware of the political bloodbaths that had consumed Europe for centuries, created a system in which disagreements would be arbitrated by periodically allowing the public to turn their opinions into votes. The majority would win the election. Then, because political disagreement never ends, you hold more elections. Aware of the natural tendency of factions and majorities to want to suppress opposition opinion, the Founders created a Bill of Rights for all citizens, including what they called, with unmistakable clarity, “the freedom of speech.”

Nothing lasts forever, and so it is today in the U.S., where the pre-liberal idea of settling disagreements with coercion has made a comeback.

In the past week, the editorial page editor of the New York Times, the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the editors of Bon Appétit magazine and the young women’s website Refinery 29 have been forced out by the staff and owners of their publications for offenses regarded as at odds with the beliefs of the current protests.

It is impossible not to recognize the irony of these events. The silencers aren’t campus protesters but professional journalists, a class of American workers who for nearly 250 years have had a constitutionally protected and court-enforced ability to say just about anything they want. Historically, people have been attracted to American journalism because it was the freest imaginable place to work for determined, often quirky individualists. Suddenly, it looks like the opposite of that.

The idea that you could actually lose your job, as the Inquirer’s editor did, because of a headline on an opinion piece that said “Buildings Matter, Too” is something to ponder. It sounds like a made-up incident that one might expect in a work of political satire, such as George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”

The issue here is not about the assertion that racism is endemic in the U.S. The issue is the willingness by many to displace the American system of free argument with a system of enforced, coerced opinion and censorship, which forces comparison to the opinion-control mechanisms that existed in Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

In 2006, the movie “The Lives of Others” dramatized how the Stasi, the omnipresent East German surveillance apparatus, pursued a nonconforming writer, whose friends were intimidated into abandoning him. To survive this kind of enforced thought-concurrence in the Soviet Union or Communist Eastern Europe, writers resorted to circulating their uncensored ideas as underground literature called samizdat. Others conveyed their ideas as political satire. In Vaclav Havel’s 1965 play, “The Memorandum,” a Czech office worker is demoted to “staff watcher,” whose job is to monitor his colleagues. You won’t see Havel’s anticensorship plays staged in the U.S. anytime soon.

Other writers during those years of thought suppression sometimes wrote in allegory or fables. In Russia, writers called it “Aesopian language.” We’re not there yet. Instead many writers and media personalities here have chosen to participate in keeping opinion and even vocabulary inside restricted limits.

Some will object that it is preposterous to liken them to a communist party. But social media has become a partylike phenomenon of ideological and psychological reinforcement. It avoids the poor public optics of China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and ’70s, when dissidents were paraded in dunce caps. Today, endlessly repeated memes on social-media platforms, such as “silence is violence,” reduce independent thought to constant rote reminders. Instead of the Stasi, we have Twitter’s censors to keep track of dissidents.

Alarmed parents saw years ago that platforms such as Facebook were being used to humiliate and ostracize teenage girls. It is disingenuous to deny that this same machinery of shaming has been expanded to coerce political conformity.

It is also disingenuous to deny that this ethos sanctions the implicit threat of being fired from one’s job as the price for falling out of line just once. It’s beginning to look like nonlethal summary execution.

The Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse argued in 1965 that some ideas were so repugnant, which he identified as “from the Right,” that it was one’s obligation to suppress them with what he called “the withdrawal of tolerance.” Marcuse is a saint on the American left.

The ingeniousness of this strategy of suppression and shaming is that it sidesteps the Supreme Court’s long history of defending opinion that is unpopular, such as its 1977 decision that vindicated the free-speech rights of neo-Nazis who wanted to march in Skokie, Ill. But if people have shut themselves up, as they are doing now, there is no speech, and so there is “no problem.”

Free speech isn’t dead in the United States, but it looks like more than ever, it requires active defense.

Write henninger@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-medias-self-censors-11591829694?mod=hp_opin_pos_2

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