January 20, 2015

It’s almost tragic that I have to link this, but…

The left simply can’t let some heroism exist, particularly when it is offered in defense of country. That, to them, is merely jingoistic, racist, macho gun-nuttery — of the kind that allows them to sit in their salons and their martini bars and piss on the very people who keep them free so that they can continue belching out distorted narratives and outright falsehoods as a way to cover for their own cowardice: which is to say, by turning real sacrifice into a wingnut caricature, they are able to elevate their own rejection of that sacrifice into a self-servingly “brave” stance against the established status quo, the idea that soldiers protect their freedoms. In that way, they redefine heroism (“look at the brave and controversial dissent I offer from the comfort of my den, where my Apple Pro Book often sits! Aren’t I edgy?”) to cover for their own moral, intellectual, and even physical cowardice.

This observation aside, it’s worth noting the extent they’ll go to to bring down those who they recognize they could never ever on their best days even approach in terms of human worth.

So allow me to say this here and now: fuck the bloated ostentatious cravenness of Michael Moore and Seth Rogen; fuck the faculty lounge recriminations of fey metrosexuals and gentrified, soft, city gals pretending to write nuanced counter narratives instead of the intentionally misleading alternate histories they’re hoping will stick like goat heads to the fabric of American lore; and fuck Jesse Ventura, too.

If you need so badly to try to pull yourself up on the back of a dead SEAL whose very dumps you aren’t fit to smear yourselves with, you’re doing life wrong.

The end.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 4:32pm
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January 20, 2015

a CITIZEN JOURNALIST prepares himself for tonight’s State of the Union Address

I only have 2 episodes of “Bar Rescue” on the DVR, but if Obama goes longer than we all hope he will, I’m covered: I have yesterday’s “Castle” and at least one “Love it or List it” in the queue.

So. God Bless America. And I guess He can go ahead and bless Canada, too, in this very limited case.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 3:28pm
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January 20, 2015

“Price of Electricity Hit Record High in U.S. in 2014″

There’s that “necessarily skyrocket” chicken, coming home to roost. CNS News:

Even as gasoline prices plummeted and the overall energy price index calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics declined, electricity prices bucked the trend in the United States in 2014.

Data released today by the BLS indicates that the electricity price indexes hit all-time highs for the month of December and for the year. 2014 was the most-expensive year ever for electricity in the United States.

The annual price index for electricity, published by BLS today, was 208.020. That was up from 200.750 in 2013.

[…]

The seasonally adjusted electricity price index for the month of December was 210.151, according to the BLS. That sets an all-time record for the seasonally adjusted monthly electricity price index. The previous high was 209.341 in March of this year. In December 2013, the seasonally adjusted electricity price index was 203.740.

The average price for a kilowatt hour of electricity in the United States was 13.5 cents in December. That is the highest average price for KWH of electricity in the month of December since the BLS started recording the December monthly price for a KWH in 1978. In December 2013, the average price for a KWH was 13.1 cents.

It is, naturally, important to remember, as Obama pats himself on the back for falling oil and gas prices this evening — the single factor keeping our economy from complete stagnation, which is a result of the private sector push for US energy independence (see, for instance, the success of fracking in Colorado, my home state) and OPEC’s attempts to undermine that success by artificially keeping prices low to lower profitability margins on our energy production — that everything good about our economy is happening in spite of Obama, whose politicized and regressive EPA has gone after coal, leading to the record highs in electricity prices, and has announced it will now go after methane, the end result of which will be to try, along with OPEC, to cripple the booming private energy business in the US.

Or, to put in more bluntly, it is important to remember that Obama is a big fat Marxist liar and an opportunistic egoist.

Not that you didn’t already know that. Just thought I’d put a bit of an exclamation point on that before the State of the Union propaganda push this evening.

Don’t mention it.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 3:25pm
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January 19, 2015

from the protein wisdom archives: “There’s no such thing as race (and it’s a good thing, too)”

It’s become something of a tradition for me to re-post this essay on MLK day, given that it was first written and published back in 1996 in response to an essay in the University of Denver’s Clarion newspaper that laid out, unwittingly I suspect (but in the clear language of the multiculturalist’s faux-emotionalist assault on individual sovereignty and its elevation of social Balkinazation as a matter of civic pride and, indeed, intellectual nuance, tolerance, and enlightenment, to a form of talismanic righteousness, so complete has the left’s tribal propaganda taken route), the trajectory of leftist thought — designed to foster a PC culture in which identity groups create and then are given providence over their own historical narratives, with any outliers considered inauthentic or delusional (suffering from false consciousness). When protein wisdom started in late 2001, I added a few tweaks to bring the piece up to date and place it in the context of the 911 attacks.

Now, nearly 20-years after the original was written for a mostly academic audience, the argument herein, in my opinion, holds firm — and is perhaps even more relevant today than back when I wrote it as a kind of “teachable moment” intended to problematize the ethnic and racials studies cant that had become so pervasive as to hold the position of found truth: the melting pot was a racist attempt to rob peoples of their heritage; whereas the “quilt” or the “salad” bowl was meant to promote feel-good notions of co-existence that simultaneously and incrementally eschewed assimilation.

So here it is again. The left has no desire to learn from it, naturally. And many on the right would just as soon I shut up. Which is fine. So long as they have to admit, to themselves at least, that by marginalizing me for these past number of Obamayears, they’ve attempted to silence a voice that only sought to aid them structurally (rather than superficially, with “political strategy” and “long-view” pragmatism that can’t help but to implode under its own pretentious and ponderous weight) in the battle against leftist that is taking place, primarily, in the arena of language, interpretation theory, and narrative privileging.

From 1996 (and subsequently reprinted and re-posted here as an occasional to mark Dr King’s birthday): “There’s no such thing as race (and it’s a good thing, too)” — appended to which are a couple of rejoinders offered over the years to critics of the piece:

****

In many different contexts, people have continued to identify the Other by reference to phenotypical features (especially skin colour) which therefore serve as indicative of a significant difference.  Moreover, they have continued to use the idea of “race” to label that difference.  As a result, certain sorts of social relations are defined as “race relations,” as social relations between people of different “races.” Indeed, states legislate to regulate “race relations,” with the result that the reality of race� is apparently legitimated in law (Guillaumin 1980).  Thus the idea of “race” has continued to be used in common-sense discourse to identify the Other in many societies, but largely without the sanction of science (R. Miles, Racism, 1989, 1995).

In a widely noticed racial identity case in Louisiana, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, remarking that “the very concept of racial classification of individuals is scientifically unsupportable,” ruled that Mrs. Susie Phipps, “who had always thought she was white, had lived as white, and had twice married as white,” was not in fact white because her parents, who had provided the racial information on her birth certificate, had classified her as “colored.” “Individual racial designations are purely social and cultural perceptions,” the court said; the relevant question, then, was not whether those “subjective perceptions” correctly registered some biological fact about Phipps but whether they had been “correctly recorded” at the time the birth certificate was issued.  Since in the court’s judgment they had been, Susie Phipps and her fellow appellants remained “colored” (W. Benn Michaels, Our America:  Nativism, Modernism, and Pluralism, 1995).

IN THE WAKE of the 9/11 terror attacks, many Americans felt, some of them for the very first time, a strange and welcomed emotion—a fillip of unabashed patriotic zeal.  And, seizing upon this feeling, they chose (however temporary the change, but given the extraordinary nature of the circumstances), to privilege their common national identity over the more fashionable multiculturalist mandate that it’s somehow wiser to “celebrate our differences”– a weak, bumper-sticker formulation of a much stronger ideological position (that of radical egalitarianism) that for years now has been insinuating itself into education and public policy. 

BUT IN A recent spate of news and commentary—be it pundits questioning the ethics of “racial” profiling, or the fallout over the racial makeup of a commemorative statue, or Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz’s announcement that he was taking down a portrait of George Washington (“an old white man,” as Markowitz put it) that hangs in his office to replace it with a portrait of color—we’ve been reminded yet again that we as a country are not nearly through grappling with racial issues.  And today, on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., our minds can’t help but (re)turn to ideas of race relations, if only to gauge how far we’ve come in the thirty-four years since Dr. King’s assasination.  As one university newspaper columnist put it, on King’s birthday, we should be doing nothing if not striving to “learn the culture behind the color.”

AND THERE’S REALLY nothing surprising in this challenge; after all, “learning the culture behind the color” merely echoes (however simplistically) the widespread challenge of many contemporary race theorists who would prefer us to think of “race” as “culture”—as a phenomenon born out of a variety of complex social convergences—and not as a product of any essential* (biological) difference.* That is, contemporary racial theory remains committed to the idea of racial identity, even as it strives to proceed without the appeal to biology that once gave racial identity its primary force. 

SO, WHAT DOES it mean to redescribe “race” as “culture”? The force behind this transition from race as something essential into race as something socially constructed is our skepticism over racial difference being somehow biologically determinable. That is, once science (in the mid-1930s) gave up the idea that black blood, say, differs from white blood, it was forced to give up the idea of essentialism that traditional racialists relied upon to separate the races (those familiar with American history are here reminded of the “one drop rule,” a legal statute committed to the idea that black blood made a difference to the intrinsic identity of the person who “carried” that blood in his/her veins).

TODAY, HOWEVER, we recognize that there is no such thing as “black blood” or “white blood,” and so in order to account for our perceivable differences—in order, that is, to continue the project of racial identification—race theorists have sought to turn the essentialist project of racial identification into the anti-essentialist project of racial construction. In short, the “racial” has become the “cultural,” and the “cultural” has become the supposedly anti-essentialist foundation for group identity.

THE QUESTION, then, is this: if “race” is now “culture,” and “culture” is an anti-essentialistic social construct, how can we account for our “differences”?  Clearly, pigmentation is not full proof; after all, many of those who think of themselves as black don’t “look black,” just as many of those who think of themselves as white may not “look white” (historically, this failure of perception to secure racial identity manifests itself in this country in the 19th and early-20th-century phenomenon of “passing”).  Which would suggest that the answer, if it is the aim to continue the project of racial identity, must rest elsewhere—with the constructionist’s notion of culture. 

BUT IF CULTURE IS DEFINED as the set of beliefs and practices adopted or performed by a specific group of people, then the idea of using “culture” as a means of determining race is equally problematic. Under such conditions, all that is required to adopt a particular racial identity is to believe in the things that “they” believe in, to practice the things that “they” practice. Which means that once we stop believing those beliefs or practicing those practices, we’ve ceased to belong to that culture, ceased to belong to that race.

BUT SURELY shedding your racial identity can’t be as simple as removing a hat—which means that something else must underlie claims for racial identity, something other than either the essentialist’s appeal to biology or the anti-essentialist’s appeal to practices and beliefs. This “something else” or “something other,” the argument goes, is “heritage”—defined as a cultural tradition or body of knowledge handed down from prior generations.

AS WITH “culture,” however, staking racial identity claims on heritage proves just as delicate and dubious a maneuver. Because a cultural tradition or body of knowledge can be handed down, presumably, to anybody (through education, for instance), then the real claim offered here is that the particular heritage in question must already somehow belong to the person who receives it if indeed it is to count, in a meaningful way, as her/his heritage. Which is only to say that in order to know which heritage is yours, you must first know who you are.

BUT WHAT IS IT that allows you to know who you are, and so to decide which history—which heritage—is yours? If, for instance, you are a black child adopted into a white family, what is it that makes you “black”? If the answer is heritage, then your identity presumably depends upon which heritage your adopted parents choose to teach you, or which you choose, ultimately, to teach yourself. But how does your learning your black heritage (assuming this is what you choose to do) count as your having learned your “true” heritage? That is, what is it that makes a particular heritage yours to learn to begin with?

ONE ANSWER commonly offered by race and identity theorists is the idea of group “memory”—the charge being that to “remember” a particular past, rather than simply to learn about a particular past, is what makes that past your past. But how do you go about “remembering” something you’ve never actually experienced?  That is, how do your “memories” of a non-experienced past come to count as memories at all?  And more importantly, what is it that differentiates your “memories” of a particular past from someone else’s “knowledge” of a particular past?  Can a young Jewish boy really “remember” the Holocaust any better than a ninety-year old German woman who worked around the camps?  Can a young black girl really “remember” slavery?  (Do modern-day Texans really “remember” the Alamo?) Or is what’s happening here simply a matter of your remembering having learned a pre-chosen history in order to claim it as your own?

THE POINT of all this being that to think of race as somehow socially constructed is to think of race, ultimately, as something essentially essential. Because what makes your memories yours, what makes your heritage yours, and what makes your culture yours is your insistence, ultimately, that it is yours by right, yours by birth, yours by essence. And so race, as it turns out, is either an essence or an illusion. Those who believe race to be an essence (say, the KKK, who base their ideas on bad science) have no need for a project of qualifying race as a social construct; and those who believe race to be non-essential have no grounds, theoretically, for promoting racial identity other than that same bad science (which, it turns out, underlies the constructivist argument), or else their social concern that we somehow need to continue the project of racial identity, for whatever the political reasons.

AND PERHAPS they are right. But maybe it’s time to seize on the lessons learned in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks; that is, maybe it’s time we put aside our differences in order to construct a singular American identity. After all, we are each individuals, which is what makes us, ultimately, a nation.

*written in commemoration of MLK Day and posted January 2002

****

update:  A few commenters have questioned the notion that there is no scientific evidence for “race,” noting that allele distribution, etc., supplies the data for a scientific exploration of racial categorization, and rehabilitates “race” from the perspective of the hard sciences. 

But there is a problem with such assertions, which tend to redefine race for the express purpose of saving it as a category.  In this way, they are no different than the social constructionists I discuss in the essay proper, who likewise try to empty race of its signification in order to bend it to their will.

What follows is my response to Steve Sailer, whom I debated on this very question several years back:

Continue Reading →

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:45am
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January 19, 2015

MLK Day: yearly retrospective

Brunch protests. LGBT “white space” protests. Burning minority-owned businesses. An administration populated with the black student extras from The Strawberry Statement

Yeah: let the racial healing continue!

When Obama was nominated I wrote that should he be elected he’d set race relations back 50 years — though I certainly wished he’d fail.

He hasn’t.

We’re living in the “benighted States of America” Rabbit, Redux’s Skeeter railed against — only it’s 44 years hence, and it didn’t have to be this way. Sharpton, Holder, Obama, Dyson, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright: these are the people who piss on Dr King’s legacy while laying claim to it, straining to keep alive racial divides and open erstwhile cauterized civil wounds, luxuriating in the tensions and chaos they will into being. These race hustlers and political cynics need to keep pitching the narrative of a racially-polarized country, because this is how they are able to tribalize us, rob of us of our individual autonomy, and secure power for themselves.

Which, no wonder they’re reluctant to be judged by the content of their characters.

(h/t J Geraghty)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 8:06am
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January 18, 2015

Obama’s State of the Union: “Death is a tax loophole” [Darleen Click]

… and by golly, how dare parents and grandparents pass the property and assets they spent a lifetime earning on to their own kids!

President Barack Obama is proposing new taxes on the wealthiest Americans that would limit their profits from investments and make it harder for them to pass assets to heirs. […]

He would increase the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 28 percent from 23.8 percent. The rate was 15 percent when Obama took office in 2009, meaning that he’s proposing to almost double it over his two terms in office.

He would also impose capital-gains taxes on asset transfers at death, ending what the White House calls “the largest capital gains loophole.” Under current law, assets held until death aren’t subject to those levies, creating an incentive for wealthy people to hold onto them. Heirs only have to pay capital-gains taxes when they sell and only on the value above what the assets were worth at death.

Of course, Obama’s Marxist Dreams from his Father don’t really touch the uber-wealthy who cuddle up the The State. It is barrier to keep the moderately wealth, the entrepreneurs and small business owners from moving upwards.

And it is further accomplished by shackling the lower classes with an blatant appeal to covetousness.

The administration argues that all the gain that occurred before the parent’s death unfairly escapes tax. In a fact sheet distributed on Saturday, the administration said the current treatment of inherited assets—which it refers to as the “trust fund loophole”—is “perhaps the largest single loophole in the entire individual income tax code.”

“This proposal is probably the most impactful way that we could address the manifest unfairness in our tax system while also supporting greater middle-class opportunity,” a senior administration official said Saturday of the proposed changes to inherited asset taxes.

Among other things, the current policy reduces disputes over prices paid for assets long ago. But critics of the current rule say it is outdated. The administration argues it would unlock capital by removing an incentive for holding valuable assets for generations.

As if forcing Miss Finklestein to sell her great-grandmother’s painting by Monet because she is unable to pay The State for the privilege of keeping it in the family (especially after finally recovering it after the Nazi’s had confiscated it) is going to put a bonus into her neighbor, Mr. Smith’s, paycheck.

The administration’s proposal would treat bequests and gifts—other than those to charitable organizations—as taxable events, requiring tax to be paid.

And let’s not forget, outright class bribery

It also would create or expand several significant tax breaks for low- and middle-income households, for instance by establishing a new $500 credit for families in which both spouses work, and by tripling the value of the child care credit to $3,000 per child. The changes also would significantly expand the availability of the child-care credit to more middle-income households.

What’s that you say, having one mom or dad at home is wrong? Let’s nudge those people out of the awful thought-crime of raising their own kids!

This is what they are, this is what they do.

My contempt and hate for them knows no bounds.

Posted by Darleen @ 6:15pm
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January 17, 2015

Progressives and Islamists — rooting out blasphemy of utmost importance for both [Darleen Click]

Remember the ironically-named “Truthy Project”?

Internal emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon through a public records request from Indiana University about “Truthy” reveal that the school monitored “hate tweets” and shunned media outlets critical of the project after details of the federally-funded study were made public last year.

Officials called a Free Beacon reporter a “faux journalist” for reporting on the taxpayer-funded project designed to root out “misinformation” and detect “hate speech” on Twitter. Truthy, which received almost $1 million in financing from the National Science Foundation (NSF), was responsible for suspending conservative Twitter accounts and removed part of its website that monitored political users, following the Free Beacon’s reporting. […]

Internal emails reveal the university’s initial reaction to the Free Beacon’s report on the project in August, which detailed Truthy’s goals to identify “false and misleading ideas” on Twitter and “detect hate speech and subversive propaganda.” The article also revealed head researcher Fil Menczer’s support for numerous progressive groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, Greenpeace, and MoveOn.org.

Compare with Islamist theocracies:

Muslims argue that the West should “respect prophets” by outlawing insults to Mohammed and a panoply of prophets gathered from Judaism and Christianity. But the Islamic view of Jesus is equally blasphemous to Christianity. And Islam considers Christianity’s view of Jesus to be blasphemous. […]

Muslims who question freedom of speech are not calling for a special status for all religions, but only for their religion. They don’t intend to censor their own Hadiths which claim that Jesus will return and break the cross or that the apocalypse will climax with Muslims exterminating the Jews. Their objections aren’t liberal, but exclusively theocratic. They want a blasphemy law that exclusively revolves around them.

Totalitarians who know better how to run your life than you do — and they want the power of The State to enforce their will.

If you’ve ever wondered at why the Left embraces or apologizes for such groups as CAIR, Hamas, the BDS movement, and agitates for legislation like “hate crimes” statutes, this is it.

Leftism is a religious ideology with more in common with Islamism than Judaism or Christianity.

(h/t Glenn Reynolds)

Posted by Darleen @ 1:22pm
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January 17, 2015

New Republic’s Dennis Jett sneers at American Sniper; Chris Kyle as ‘hate-filled killer’ … [Darleen Click]

How much should we trust Jett’s judgement?

I have not seen American Sniper.

How precious.

Next up, Jett will undoubtedly be clutching his pearls and calling for the fainting couch …

Posted by Darleen @ 12:44pm
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January 17, 2015

“Al Qaida is on the run” [Darleen Click] UPDATED

ramirez_20150115

Nothing to see, just no-label “extremists”

BRUSSELS – Belgium said on Saturday it will deploy up to 300 soldiers to help guard vulnerable sites in its two largest cities, as governments across Europe stepped up security in the wake of the terrorist attacks in and around Paris last week.

The troops will be deployed progressively from Saturday, and will concentrate on the capital, Brussels, and the port city of Antwerp, Prime Minister Charles Michel said, following a meeting with his cabinet that lasted into the early morning hours Saturday. […]

The troops will help guard “strategic and vulnerable places,” including foreign embassies and institutions of the Jewish community, that face a higher threat level, Defense Minister Steven Vandeput told Flemish broadcaster VRT.

Antwerp has a big orthodox Jewish community, while Brussels host embassies not only to Belgium, but also to the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

**********************************************

The “Moderate Muslims” of Pakista (via geoffb)

Pakistani police have clashed with crowds protesting over an image of the Prophet Muhammad published in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The authorities used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the demonstration, near the French consulate in Karachi.

The protest was part of a nationwide rally called by Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamist party. […]

On Thursday, Pakistani politicians passed a motion condemning Charlie Hebdo for publishing the latest cartoon.

Religious leaders openly called for journalists at the magazine to be hanged, and several religious groups called for protests after Friday prayers.

And the No-Label Extremists in Niger (also via geoffb)

At least two churches have been set on fire in the capital of Niger amid fresh protests against French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Saturday’s protests began outside Niamey’s grand mosque with police using tear gas a day after at least four were killed in the second city of Zinder.

The French embassy has warned its citizens to stay indoors.

Posted by Darleen @ 11:12am
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January 16, 2015

In the midst of measles outbreak, anti-vaxxers “stand firm” [Darleen Click]

stupid_it_burnsBut but but it is the conservatives and “climate deniers” who are Anti-Science(tm)

ALISO VIEJO (CBSLA.com) — Parents who have opted against vaccinating their children are standing firm with their decision amid California’s worst measles outbreak in 15 years.

A measles scare shut down Sharp Health Care in La Mesa in San Diego County Wednesday, where six people went to the urgent care unit with rashes and measles-like symptoms.

The clinic’s closure in San Diego is just the latest in a string of measles-related scares since authorities said dozens of people contracted the disease at Disneyland during mid-December.

Parents at an Aliso Viejo park say think their choice to not vaccinate is still the best one.

“Well, I realized, reading through the books and knowing what was inside all these vaccines, I just didn’t feel comfortable putting them into my child,” parent Christy Thompson said.

The outbreak at Disneyland, which has sickened 26 people in three states, is the worst in 15 years, according to state health officials. A significant number of those patients were not vaccinated against the disease, and included children too young for the vaccine.

It should be noted that these are not people with ignorance borne of poverty or lack of education. Aliso Veijo is an upper-middle class neighborhood with median a household income of $98,000.

Posted by Darleen @ 6:32pm
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