Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Which is the Party of the Rich?

I should say right off that I am not interested in class warfare, unless its (non-violent) warfare against the ruling class.  And, unlike many, I appreciate those who use their wealth for good ends.  But I do want to do my part to blow up that old meme that the Republican Party is the Party of the Rich.

I have my issues with the Republican Party, but the numbers indicate that the Democrat Party is more the Party of the Rich.  Check out Matthew Continetti’s article, particularly page 3 where most of the numbers are.

Seven of the ten richest counties in the country voted for Barack Obama in 2012, many of them by huge margins. Six of the ten are in the Washington, D.C., metro area, which has benefited from government employment and payment regulations, from government contracting, and from consulting, lobbying, and lawyering for clients petitioning the government. The median income of Falls Church City, Va., is $121,250 dollars. In 2012, Falls Church City voted for Obama 70 percent to 30 percent.

Democrats represent eight of the ten richest congressional districts in the country. Democrat Carolyn Maloney represents the district with the highest per capita income of $75,479. Outgoing congressman Henry Waxman represents the district with the second-highest per capita income of $61,273. The only two Republicans on the list are Representative Leonard Lance, whose New Jersey district ranks seventh, and outgoing Representative Frank Wolf, whose Virginia district ranks tenth. The average per capita income of Democratic House districts is $1,000 more than Republican ones.

Do read him to find out more.  What gets my blood boiling is that six of the ten richest counties in the U. S. are in the Washington, D. C. area and that they vote heavily Democrat.  So these people are getting rich off us taxpayers, and they vote to keep looting us.

If I had my druthers the District of Columbia would be expanded to swallow up these parasites so they would no longer have representation in the House and Senate.  But since that is not happening, I am warming to the idea of an Article V Constitutional Convention.  It is past time for the rest of the country to take power away from the Washington area Feds and their affluent and parasitic supporters.

Hat tip to Ace.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

OUTRAGE: Presbyterian Agency Denies Christians Are Persecuted

It never fails.  Several times a year, the mainline Presbyterian “Church” does something that makes me glad I left that putrid denomination decades ago.  But the latest act is outrageous even by Presbyterian standards.  I am at a lack for polite words, so I’ll get right to it.

In response to a resolution addressing worldwide persecution of Christians, the Presbyterian Mission (HA!) Agency Board (PCUSA) responded thus:

The Church is called to prayer for those who suffer due to their faith. The Presbyterian Mission Agency reminds commissioners and advisory delegates the suffering of the church in the world is not only due to “persecution”, but there are many factors involved. These include geopolitical and economic factors. The General Assembly should consider all the factors that result in and contribute to sectarian violence. Use of the word “persecuted” mischaracterizes the nature of the maltreatment of Christians in the world, and in many cases would be an unhelpful exaggeration.

So Christians aren’t really persecuted, and saying they are is often “an unhelpful exaggeration”?  To get an idea what an outrageous statement this is, go to Open Doors and look around for a few minutes if you have the stomach to handle it.  For a “church” to deny that Christians are being persecuted in the world is vile.  It is not only unchristian; it is inhuman.

The church has long honored its martyrs and suffering confessors, both past and present.  For a Presbyterian agency to deny the nature of their suffering today . . . . Oh that’s right.  The PCUSA is no longer part of God’s Holy Church.  It proved that decades ago.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Norfolk Churches

Although I have visited England four times, twice for extended periods, I have not yet found it feasible to make my way to Norfolk to visit its medieval churches about which I have heard so much. 

I hope to remedy that omission one day.  But in the meantime, I have found two excellent websites with copious photographs that are the next best thing to visiting Norfolk’s churches in person.  Medievalists be warned that these sites are addicting.

Amateur Hour at the State Department

It was not enough that State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki engaged in downright silly hashtag diplomacy with Russia last week…

Now she has cited as reputable sources . . . the Daily Kos and Think Progress.  Hacktastic.

This is the sort of amateurism that has taken over the State Department under Obama, Hillary, and Kerry.  It is amusing, yes, and I guess I should be lighthearted about it. 

But I do not know whether laughter or utter fright is the appropriate response.  Hillary’s foolish negligence has already cost four lives at Benghazi.  And now State acts this way as the Russian bear lunches on the Ukraine?

The Kremlin surely must be laughing.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

One of John Paul II’s Finest Moments

John Paul II’s canonization this weekend brings to mind an episode which I still consider one of the finest moments of the 20th Century papacy.

In the 70’s and 80’s, the Catholic Church was plagued by Marxist Liberation Theology and its Communist priests.  One of them was Ernesto Cardenal of the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.  The church told him to resign his position in that Communist regime, and he refused.

When Pope John Paul II visited Nicaragua in 1983, the regime hoped to use the visit for propaganda purposes as it combated the Contras.  Cardenal himself made a big show of kneeling before the Pope as he arrived, supposedly hoping for a blessing.

John Paul would have none of it.  Instead of blessing him, he openly scolded him on the tarmac as the world watched.

John Paul went on to put Communists in their place both in and outside the church.  And for that I remain grateful.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Charles Murray’s Letter to Azusa Pacific Students

I am slightly preoccupied this morning and in a fog thanks to a fire alarm first announcing the weakness of its battery in the middle of the night.  (But I am being redundant.  Fire alarms always first announce the weakness of their batteries in the middle of the night.)

But I cannot let pass an open letter from Charles Murray to the students of Azusa Pacific University, particularly since it is a good companion to yesterday’s post.  It happens that he was long scheduled to speak there.  But the oh-so tolerant and sensitive “Shut Up” cabal let their disapproval be known, and his appearance was “postponed.”

Murray uses the occasion well to confront the increasing vapidity of U. S. higher education and its “Shut Up” culture.  He begins:

I was scheduled to speak to you tomorrow. I was going to talk about my new book, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead,” and was looking forward to it. But it has been “postponed.” Why? An email from your president, Jon Wallace, to my employer, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said “Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday’s conversation.” This, about an appearance that has been planned for months. I also understand from another faculty member that he and the provost were afraid of “hurting our faculty and students of color.”

You’re at college, right? Being at college is supposed to mean thinking for yourselves, right? Okay, then do it.

Indeed, U. S. universities are becoming institutes of indoctrination rather that places where actual thought and listening to competing views is encouraged.  But, as I said, I am too much in a fog to say much more, so do go read Murray’s excellent letter for yourself.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fascism at Cornell

This sort of thing so disturbs me and so feeds my pessimism about education, the rule of law, and free speech in America that I don’t know how to begin except to get to the incident at hand.

A brave Cornell student wrote a column for the campus newspaper decrying how under “rape culture” hysteria, protections for students accused of rape have been virtually eliminated in university tribunals:

…the belief that rape must be prevented by “any means necessary” has been used to justify the elimination of key protections for students accused of rape in campus judicial systems. Some want the claims of the alleged victims of rape to be accepted as true, and not scrutinized in a fair legal proceeding. Just two years ago, Cornell stripped those accused of sexual offenses of the right to retain an attorney in University proceedings and the right to cross-examine their accusers. A student accused of a sexual offense at Cornell is now not able to directly ask the person who is making a potentially life-ruining accusation a single question about the incident. This is an inexcusable erasure of the fundamental right to confront one’s accuser, a right that has existed for all of our country’s history. Such rights are not superfluous. They protect us against arbitrary action by those who hold the levers of power.

To make matters worse, the University has dropped the standard of proof in sexual assault cases from “clear and convincing evidence” to “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that a Cornell student accused of a violent offense that is sexual in nature will not have the legal safeguards given to others whose alleged offenses were non-sexual. With the punishment being so severe and so much on the line for the accused, how can we accept such a low standard of proof?

Given that this university has a tremendous power to punish students, we have an obligation to make sure that the innocent do not get hurt….

Eminently reasonable.  And the problem is just not at Cornell.  The stripping of protections of the accused has occurred at many American universities, and that encouraged by the Obama regime:

In April 2011, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights sent a letter to college and university presidents laying out guidelines for handling reports of sexual assault and harassment. One key recommendation was that such complaints should be evaluated based on a “preponderance of the evidence”-the lowest standard of proof used in civil claims. (In lay terms, it means that the total weight of the believable evidence tips at least slightly in the claimant’s favor.) Traditionally, the standard for finding a student guilty of misconduct of any kind has been “clear and convincing evidence”-less stringent than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but still a very strong probability of guilt.

But what was the response to student’s column at Cornell?  A group of little fascists Cornell students decried that the column was printed at all and demanded an apology.  Further they accused the student of trying to “erase” the rights of rape victims.  This from their conclusion is particularly rich: 

While open conversation is important, it cannot be secondary to or a substitute for action.

In other words, “our agenda trumps your free speech.”

Those students are the ones who are trying to erase the rights of the accused and even to silence those who advocate for the rights of the accused.  They want tribunals in which being accused of a crime is tantamount to being guilty.  And they want those who dissent shamed and punished.  How familiar . . . and how convenient for little totalitarians who have an agenda to shove down people’s throat.

Alarmingly, this totalitarian “shut up” culture is, again, not at all confined to Cornell.  The question is how far will we allow it to go off campus in America.

Monday, April 21, 2014

On Transcendence (and its poor box office)

On Easter Sunday afternoon, I took some youth to see Transcendence.  (And I promise – no spoilers in my comments.)  The IMAX movie theater was sparsely attended.  And the box office numbers from the weekend indicate people were not seeing Transcendence across the nation.  Its run has not started well – and that in spite of the rarity of my seeing a movie on its first weekend!

I find that sad.  Transcendence is a thoughtful movie that raises questions about both the apparent good and not as apparent dangers of man playing God via technology. Both the tower of Babel and the saying “the ends do not justify the ends” came to mind while watching. 

And it goes to pains not to take sides.  Oh, it seems to take sides for a time, but later makes clear things are not so simple.  It becomes intentionally ambiguous about who are the good guys and the bad guys.  Indeed afterwards, one of the more reflective youth interpreted the movie and the good and evil of the actors differently that I did and pointed out ethical issues I had missed.

The ambiguity may frustrate some.  And the movie has gotten mixed reviews at best.  But I think the decision not to take sides is wise and makes the point that questions about man playing God via technology are important, must be addressed, and at the same time are not at all easily answered.

Too many movies are tendentious.  Transcendence is not, and that is particularly good given the subject.  I think this movie deserves a better hearing that it is getting.

My only complaint is the very end seems a too obvious opening for a sequel.  But given the weak box office, a sequel seems unlikely.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let us not skip Holy Week

I wished I had something profound to say in the middle of Holy Week.  Perhaps my lack is out of fatigue as I traveled yesterday with some friends to visit a friend in a nursing home.  In any case, I urge readers not to skip Holy Week, particularly the darkness of Thursday through Saturday, of the Last Supper and betrayal, of the arrest and trials, of the crucifixion and burial, in order to rush to Easter.

In most of my pre-Anglican years, that is more or less what I did.  It is not that I despised the Lord’s Passion; I most certainly did not.  An emphasis on Holy Week was just not part of my worship tradition and had not yet become a part of me.

During those years, Easter also did not mean as much to me as it does now.  That is no coincidence.  Yes, I knew well that my life is bound up in Christ’s resurrected life.  But I do not think one can fully appreciate the light and joy of Easter until one goes through the darkness of Holy Week, and of Lent for that matter.  And that I did not do.

Carl Trueman has written on how excising the dark and the tragic from our worship impoverishes it and ourselves.  I think that applies double to Holy Week.  As the risk of using a banal illustration, a movie that proceeds straight from happiness through happiness to a happy ending is likely to be cloying and forgettable.  Not only is life not that way, but the dark times help us to appreciate God’s light.  Neither good movies nor good religion skip over them.  It is not for nothing that early in his Gospel, St. John proclaims, “The light shines in the darkness.”

So my humble recommendation to those who want to have a joyous Easter is first to have a contemplative and, yes, dark Holy Week.  Observe and think upon the Passion of our Lord, who – as the Collect for Holy Monday notes – “went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified.”  Therefore let the rest of this prayer be our prayer and practice in life and worship.  “Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Let the Collect for Holy Wednesday be our prayer also.

Assist us mercifully with thy help, O Lord God of our salvation; that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts, whereby thou hast given unto us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jeremy Pemberton Must Be Disciplined

The Telegraph headline is not overwrought.  The Church of England is now indeed facing a crisis as a CofE priest, the Rev. Canon Jeremy Pemberton has legally married his male partner.  The crisis is that the Church of England is now forced to decide whether a priest entering a gay “marriage” will be disciplined or not, with difficult consequences no matter what the church decides.

As I’ve said a year ago, a church that does not care enough about truth to discipline does not care enough about truth, period.  And, although the American church setting differs from the English, we have seen time and again in this country what happens to churches when they refuse to defend truth with church discipline.  Apostasy, once openly tolerated, gains more and more power and drags churches down into the pit.  Look at how my former denomination, the mainline Presbyterian Church, and The Episcopal Church have imploded in recent decades.  The implosions began when open moral and/or doctrinal apostasy (which are often the same) was not disciplined.

Perhaps readers think I am making too much ado about the issue of marriage.  But marriage is certainly important enough to the Lord to be a prominent part of the Creation account and to be made an icon in scripture of the relationship between Christ and his church.  Literally perverting that icon is apostasy indeed.

Not to mention that gay marriage is a key presenting issue between the orthodox and libchurchers in England and worldwide.  The Church of England may continue to try to please both sides, but Pemberton’s act hastens the day when the CofE must choose.  And at least one side will be very unhappy no matter what the Church chooses.  I assert there is a right choice; but there is no easy choice in this matter.

If the Church of England does not wish to follow the well trodden and broad path of apostate and increasingly irrelevant denominations, it must discipline the apostasy of Jeremy Pemberton.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hannah Overton Hearing Before Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Back in 2012, I mentioned the Hannah Overton case and the prosecutorial misconduct perpetrated against her.  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest Texas criminal appeals court, has paid an unusual amount of attention to this case and held oral arguments on it last week.

The court has long had a reputation for not being very sympathetic to those seeking to overturn convictions.  The Presiding Judge Sharron Keller is, rightly or wrongly, rather infamous in that regard.  But the attention they have given to this case and signs of the high court’s unease with the number of wrongful convictions in Texas are good signs.

Pamela Colloff, who has followed the Overton case closely for years, has written an update which summarizes the hearing.

Please pray for Hannah Overton and her family and for a just ruling.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Obama Pushes Voting Fraud in Texas

From Politico.  But it appears *someone* attempted to edit it.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday joined the larger Democratic effort to spotlight voting rights ahead of this year’s midterms, blasting “active efforts to deter people from voting often and after their demise.”

“Apparently it’s fairly active here in North Carolina, uhhh, Florida – oh @#$%, what state I’m I fundraising in today?  My telepromptr is off.  Oh that’s right.  I used Fort Hood as an excuse to get taxpayers to pay for this trip. Texas,” he told supporters at a Houston fundraiser. “The idea that you’d purposely try to prevent dead people from voting? Un-American. Liveist! RACIST! Those RIGHT-WING Republicans not only want to kill your Grandma; they want to keep her from voting after she’s dead! How is it that we’re putting up with that? We don’t have to.”

On Friday, the president will continue his election-year push in a speech to Al Sharpton’s National Get in on the Action Network.

Attorney General Eric Holder delivered his own address to the group Wednesday in New York, recounting the Justice Department’s efforts on the issue since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act last year.  The cocaine was flowing; so his address was received enthusiastically.

“Let me be very clear: Protecting the right to vote multiple times for future citizens, felons, and people of deadness — the action - And you know how Easy Al likes to get in on the action, ha, ha- that truly makes our nation in control of the Democrats an exceptional one — will continue to be a priority for this administration, for this Department of Justice, for this IRS, for Elijah Cummings, for this president, and for this attorney general,” Holder said.

Democrats see a voting rights pitch as another way to drive up midterm turnout among core Obama voters — most prominently African-Americans, but also Latinos, unmarried women, dead women, dead men, illegal aliens, felons, welfare recipients, abortionists, IRS agents, trial lawyers, and current and recently graduated college students — the groups, party operatives point out, most likely to still vote Democrat no matter much Obama and Hillary screw up at risk from restrictive voting laws.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Rep. Blake Farenthold: "I Don't Think Mr. Holder Should Be Here"

Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder went up to Capitol Hill yesterday.  Most of the press attention was on a confrontation between him and Rep. Louis Gohmert.  But I find a statement by my Congressman, Blake Farenthold, more significant.

Farenthold declined to ask any questions, saying Eric Holder should not even be there and should not even be paid since he has been found in contempt of Congress.  Further, he rightly suggested jail rather than the hearing room would be a more appropriate abode for Holder.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

You know, I understand that this Committee has the constitutional duty of oversight over the Department of Justice and that's why we have Mr. Holder here today – but I don't think I can be a part of eroding the constitutional balance of power, favoring the executive over the legislative.

I don't think Mr. Holder should be here. He's in contempt of this body. I've called for his resignation, I've sponsored articles of impeachment and, this week, I'm going to be introducing legislation that would prevent federal employees who are held in contempt of Congress or who fail to fully comply with a Congressional subpoena from being paid their taxpayer-funded salary. I'm going to try and get that [the legislation] included with the appropriations bills that’ll be going through.

I’m committed to maintaining the constitutional balance of power and the authority this branch – this Legislative Branch – has, and I just don’t think it’s appropriate [that] Mr. Holder be here. If an American citizen had not complied with one of the Justice Department subpoenas, they would be in jail – not sitting here testifying.

But I realize there are questions to be asked, and I’ll yield the remainder of my time to Mr. Gowdy.

It was a needful statement, said with a sense of sadness more than anger.  Perhaps that is why it is not getting much press.  But watch for yourself.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Why We Must Fight the Leftists and Their Thought Police

We have seen in the past hundred years that there are times when detachment from civic and political life is not an option.  When the bad guys in civic and political life are not just wrong-headed and not just evil even, but are determined that people who choose not to support their evil are punished.  Allowing the Nazis and the Communists to take power bit by bit were not viable options.  And trying selfishly to stay detached from it all hardly worked.  To paraphrase some dark humor, you may not be interested in totalitarians, but totalitarians are interested in you.

We are now at such a time.  Totalitarian-minded Leftists, among whom the Pink Shirts are just one manifestation, are taking more and more power in American political and civic life.  And they are not satisfied with defeating their freedom-minded opposition.  They want to vilify and crush them, not unlike their totalitarian forebears, with cries of “bigot” and “racist” and “homophobe” and the like and with demands for firings and boycotts.  And, as in the 20th Century, these are only the beginning. 

Us of a mindset of traditional values and freedom are the new “Dirty Jews” of the Fascists, to be vilified, ostracized, and worse.  Just as in the Soviet Union, being an open Jew or not a member of the Communist Party made one a 3rd Class citizen, if even that, today’s Leftists want to do likewise with those who do not agree with them.  (More noble-minded people of the Left, such as Andrew Sullivan, are excepted from this critique.  But they are a shrinking minority.)

That is the direction the United States is now heading.  We used to have an unspoken agreement (if imperfectly adhered to) that we contest for our values in the public sphere, but we have enough genuine tolerance for political adversaries that we respect their freedoms to speak, associate, and live that we value for ourselves.  The Leftists are shattering that agreement every day.

And we cannot rely on the Constitution or the law or the Supreme Court to protect us.  For the Supreme Court is but one vote away from turning Constitutional rights protecting the individual from the predations of those in control of the state into collective rights.  And even now, the Supreme Court will not even hear the case of a photographer who does not want to be forced by New Mexico law to take photographs against his conscience.

I revere the Constitution.  But when every branch of the Federal Government breaks their oaths to defend the Constitution, we can no more stop the Leftist thugs with the Constitution than we can stop drug gangs by reading to them the Ten Commandments.  We have trusted the government to defend us.  But the government itself is attacking our freedoms and threatening to become even worse in so doing. 

I regret that we as a country have gotten to this point, but it is time to fight and stop the Leftists and their Thought Police by whatever means are ethical, effective, and necessary.  We may not win.  But doing nothing will ensure that we will lose and head for a gulag that is oh-so “tolerant” and “inclusive.”  Jay Caruso has summarized the situation well, concluding (I’ve edited his saltly language slightly.):

This is the United States of America. Yet we have a reached a point where people have to fear for their jobs because a bunch of self appointed leftist [jerks] believe they get to determine what people are and are not allowed to think or believe.

[Imprecations upon them.]

There needs to be serious push back against these left-wing fascists because where does it end? Today it’s a donation to a cause the hard left deems inappropriate. Tomorrow it will be a politician you voted for. Then they’ll go after the websites you like to frequent…. The list can go on for quite some time.

We have a choice to make. We can either kick these punks back into their little sewer of “tolerance” or we can allow them to continue to permeate our culture, attempting to shame the masses into believing exactly as they do.

I choose the former.

As do I.  As. Do. I.

Monday, April 07, 2014

More on Mozilla and the Pink Shirts (Or You think I’m ticked?)

Mozilla and the Pink Shirts are finding out the hard way that a lot of Americans do not like the squelching and punishment of free speech.  The backlash is so great that Mozilla has decided to clam up.

And if you think I’ve been worked up over the firing (or the equivalent) of Brendan Eich, read Matt Walsh’s post on this matter.  The beginning will give you the flavor:

Dear gay rights militants, dear progressive tyrants, dear liberal fascists, dear haters of free speech, dear crusaders for ideological conformity, dear left wing bullies:

You will lose.

I know you’ve got legions of sycophants kowtowing to you these days, and the rest you’ve set out to destroy — but you will lose.

So, you’ve tracked another dissident and skinned him alive. You’ve made an example of Brendan Eich, and now you dance joyously around his disemboweled carcass. You have his head on a spike, and you consider this a conquest in your eternal crusade to eradicate diversity and punish differing opinions. You launched your millionth campaign of intimidation, and now another good man has been dragged through the mud, to the sounds of taunting and jeering and death threats.

Please read the whole thing.  It is a wonderful rant I can only envy.  Walsh’s main thesis is that Pink Shirts with this episode have discredited themselves for all to see.  Addressing them still, he writes:

You fancy yourselves the ideological descendants of civil rights pioneers, but these tactics put you in the same vein as book burners and Puritan witch hunters. When your story is ultimately told, it’ll read more like The Crucible than the Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

And that’s why you’ll lose.

You might have fooled society forever if you’d just kept singing about love and kindness, and never started bombarding Christians with your bitter hate and hostility. You might have gained some lasting ground if you hoisted your banner of free love, and never used it to diminish free speech.

But the proverbial cat is out of the bag. You’ve been made.

Because of your own behavior, when people like myself tell the world about the vicious death wishes and vulgar hate mail we receive from your kind on a DAILY basis, everyone will believe us. It’s no secret anymore. Without question and without exaggeration, the ‘gay rights movement’ is the angriest, most ruthless, most controlling, most intolerant of all the ideological enterprises in the country. Now, everyone knows it.

So you’ll lose. People are starting to see that you are the pigs on this Animal Farm, and the equality of which you preach is a very unequal equality indeed.

I certainly hope Walsh is correct about this outcome.  I am not as confident in the American people as I once was, but he may be right.

George Will also points out that the Pink Shirts are “sore winners” who “unsatisfied with victory… want to stamp out and punish people for their previous views.”

And he sagely notes that this episode makes the full disclosure of political donations problematic.

This case is an example of why some of us who used to be for full disclosure no longer are. The people advocating full disclosure in campaign contributions say we just want voters to be able to make an informed choice. That's not what they're doing at all. They really want to enable themselves to mount punitive campaigns and to tear people and chill political speech.

Exactly.  In the current toxic atmosphere belched out by the progressives and their ilk, we not only need a secret ballot, we need secret donations to at least a substantial extent so people can participate in the political process without fear of retaliation and black listing.

Richard Fernandez has written a thoughtful column about the culture war and the raw and dangerous power behind it.

The removal of Eich is about fascism.  It’s about one group of people forcing everyone else to bow to their hat on a pole; it’s about book burning, compelling obeisance to, as Jame Surowiecki put it, “a universal ideology” in a manner so bald that even those who might gain politically in the short term from it are horrified by its crudity.

Kevin Williamson looks at various Lib/Left efforts to squelch and punish free speech.  He begins (And, again, do read it all.):

The word “liberal” has taken a beating over the last few days: A Mozilla executive was hounded out of his position at the firm he co-founded by left-wing campaigners resolved to punish him for having made a donation to a successful California ballot initiative that defined marriage in traditional terms; Adam Weinstein, whose downwardly mobile credibility has taken him from ABC to Gawker, called for literally imprisoning people with the wrong views about global warming, writing, “Those malcontents must be punished and stopped”; Mr. Weinstein himself was simply forwarding a dumbed-down-enough-for-Gawker version of the arguments of philosophy professor Lawrence Torcello; Katherine Timpf, a reporter for Campus Reform, faced a human barricade to keep her from asking questions of those attending a feminist leadership conference, whose organizers informed her that the group was “inclusive” and therefore she was “not welcome here”; Charles Murray, one of the most important social scientists of his generation, was denounced as a “known white supremacist” by Texas Democrats for holding heterodox views about education policy; national Democrats spent the week arguing for the anti-free-speech side of a landmark First Amendment case and the anti-religious-freedom side of a case involving the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; Lois Lerner, the Left’s best friend at the IRS, faces contempt charges related to her role in the Democrats’ coopting the IRS as a weapon against their political enemies; . . . .

The convocation of clowns on the left screeched with one semi-literate and inchoate voice when my colleague Jonah Goldberg, borrowing the precise words of one of their own, titled a book Liberal Fascism. Most of them didn’t read it, but the ones who did apparently took what was intended as criticism and read it as a blueprint for political action.

Welcome to the Liberal Gulag.

That term may be perverse, but it is not an exaggeration.

It is indeed not an exaggeration.  The Bookworm also points out the attacks on our freedom are more dangerous than that from a Gay Mafia.  It is more like a Soviet:

Yes, there’s thuggery involved, which is a mafia tactic.  But unlike the mafia, which was just in it for the money, the new Soviet is in it to subordinate the individual and his beliefs entirely to the will of the Leftist state.

Nor is this thuggery a fringe movement.  While I am very honored here at the Bookworm Room to have gay readers who understand that the safest place for all individuals (regardless of race, color, creed, gender indentification, sexual orientation, etc.) is in a nation that leaves the individual alone, I can tell you that every one of my Leftist friends on my “real me” Facebook, gay or straight, applauds the gay Soviet’s successful thuggery against Eich.  These Facebook friends are, without exception, affluent, educated, successful, and vocal, and they think it’s a great thing that a productive man who has never once been accused of fomenting any discrimination in the workplace was the target of an attack aimed at destroying his livelihood.

This time, it was the non-governmental Leftist collective that acted, but you know they were thinking how much better it would be if they could just outlaw opposing thought. Why convince someone that your position has merit when you can more easily destroy them, which has the useful feature of sending a strong message to any other heretics out there?

And guess who is next?  Us Christians.  Heck, we are under attack already.

Some may think “turning the other cheek” is the operative scripture in this situation.  But, particularly since it is not just us Christians under attack, I think it is Proverbs 25:26 (ESV):

Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain

is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.

Friday, April 04, 2014

It Is Time to Stand Up to the Pink Shirts UPDATED

Yesterday was a dark day for free speech in America.  Because he gave a political contribution six years ago to defend traditional marriage, namely to Proposition 8, Brendan Eich was hounded from his CEO job at Mozilla.  The Pink Shirts demanded his resignation and the board of Mozilla caved like a house of cards.

One may say I am getting worked up against an exercise of free speech.  Those who are convinced that opposition to gay “marriage” is intolerable bigotry worthy of banning from society spoke out and were listened to.  And this was not a government attack on free speech.

But using one’s free speech to say that those one disagrees with must be silenced and fired from their jobs is abusing free speech to attack free speech.  Private citizens have the legal right to act so odiously in America.  But it is still an attack on free speech and one to be called out and opposed.

And do not be too sure the Feds are not supporting the Pink Shirts.    Remember the IRS leaked the names of Proposition 8 contributors to the Gay Mafia’s Human Right Campaign, aiding Pink Shirt attacks on them.

And please do not think this is merely a gay rights issue.  The firing of Eich (Oh, yeah.  He “resigned.”  Yeah, right.) is a successful attack on free speech.  And there are gays and gay rights supporters who are appalled at this attack.  Andrew Sullivan:

The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

Gay marriage supporter Moe Lane is urging a boycott of Mozilla’s Firefox browser.  I heartily join him in so doing.

And gays also are targets of the Pink Shirts.  One such example:

[Brandon] Ambrosino is a liberal gay male who has enraged they gay community by writing, among other things, that the gay left “routinely scour the private lives and social media accounts of our political opponents in the hopes of demonizing them as archaic, unthinking, and bigoted”

For these and other sins, Ambrosino has made himself an enemy to the very group of which he is a part.

What is perhaps most galling is that the Pink Shirts insist they are acting in the name of “tolerance” and “inclusion”.  (Sound familiar?)  This e-mail from GLAAD stands out:

Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all.

. . . Unless you disagree with GLAAD, of course.

The Pink Shirts are a different version of the bullies they so self-righteously oppose.  Like all bullies and like all who attack free speech in America, they must be stood up to and opposed.  Or they and other Leftist Brown Shirts will continue to march and trample upon our freedoms.  And free speech will more and more be mangled to mean: “You’re free to agree with the mob. You’re not free to disagree with the mob.”

David Fischler does a brilliant send up of the PC Doublespeak from Mozilla.  For example:

We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.

We forgot that freedom of thought was not supposed to exist at Mozilla, and didn’t remember fact enough. Self-flagellation will begin immediately.

Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.

We built an auto da fe in the company atrium, and Brendan was gracious enough to jump right into it.

Totalitarians and their toadies are so good at lying and at removing all meaning from language to lie.