Sir Hollywood the not-so-brave

It’s been decades since Tinseltown was content with just making entertainment.  No, today everybody has to have a message, an agenda and a cause, and these usually overshadow the actual business of TV and movie making (which is probably a large part of why very little worth watching comes out of there anymore).  The big names claim they have an obligation to speak out in support of others, to “speak truth to power.

Unless that power is someone like Harvey Weinstein.

The real story with Weinstein isn’t that an entertainment mogul has been revealed to have used his position to harass and abuse women in the industry.  Frankly, given the stories coming out of Fox News and elsewhere, that much is almost blasé.  No, the real story is why it took so long for this to be publicized.  Now that the dam has broken, it’s like more than half of Hollywood is saying “well, of course there was a problem.  Who didn’t know?”

In other words, when Weinstein was at the height of his power, nobody was speaking truth to him.  On the contrary, if allegations are true, a number of big names in the business were active enablers of his behavior.  Does anyone believe this is the only rock that needed kicking over?  Is it any coincidence that so many child stars (particularly those who work for Disney) seem to grow up and lose their mind?  If Congress can find the time to investigate the use of steroids in baseball, why can’t it find the time to investigate the toxic environment of Hollywood?

Probably because of the money involved.  Weinstein was a generous supporter of the Democratic Party and a very close friend of Bill and Hillary (whose judgement only appears more evil and self-serving by the day).  But money alone doesn’t explain it all.  Does anyone doubt if one or both of the Koch brothers were found in the same circumstances that the media would be demanding every Republican in Washington publicly denounce them?   So why hasn’t anyone brought Weinstein up with Hillary, who is still giving lucrative speeches well after her sell-by date?  Barack Obama, who seemed to be speaking as a shadow president during Trump’s early efforts to reverse his disastrous legacy, also seems strangely silent and out of sight.  He’s far from the only one who’s lost his usually overactive tongue.

It’s called partisan protection.  As Glenn Reynolds frequently says of the corporate media, “just think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines and it all makes sense.” There is so much overlap in the Venn diagram of Democrats, Hollywood and the Media that reporters risk being cast out of the bubble of their incestuous clan if they ask the difficult questions.  So much for “bravery:”

In the absence of personal risk, haranguing the powerful can be soul-satisfying, and sometimes it forges careers, but it isn’t brave by a long shot. Thomas More spoke truth to Henry VIII, and it cost him his head. Dietrich Bonheoffer spoke truth to Adolf Hitler and was hanged in a concentration camp. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spoke truth to the Soviet Union and suffered grievously for it. Stephen Colbert piddled on the president’s rug, and he’s been cashing big-bucks checks ever since.

See the difference?

The protection afforded Weinstein by his liberal enablers doesn’t stop at silence or the reluctance to make him the subject of standard late-night comedy roasts.  Donna Karan, a well-known fashion designer, was forced to walk back comments that perhaps Weinstein’s victims were ‘asking for it’ by the way they dressed!

Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women.   To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?

If a conservative comments on how lasciviously many women dress today, it’s considered “victim blaming” by alleged Neanderthals.  But if such an examination is a way to help out a Hollywood mogul, it’s OK?  Is your head spinning yet at the audacious double standard?  Sure, Karan was pressured to disavow the statement, but the fact she made it shows it’s part of the toxic self-justifying entertainment industry’s environment. It’s easy for them to hold conservatives’ feet to the fire over standards.  It’s harder to do so for liberals, when it appears they have none other than the will to power.

The public has more reason than just simple decency and morality to be outraged. Hollywood derives tremendous benefit from tax breaks and government incentives to churn out their drivel.  In other words, cord-cutting or not We the People pay for this filth.  Just as the immature posturing of NFL players has caused some to look at the League’s anti-trust exemption and frequent use of municipal bonds to build their palatial stadiums, perhaps Weinstein’s downfall should cause America to truly confront the moral sewer that is Hollywood.  Public funding for both (including PBS) should dry up entirely.  Let them earn their profits by making edifying fare that Middle America actually wants, versus their tax-supported propaganda.

Final thought: what are the odds Weinstein actually goes to jail (versus some sort of high-profile “rehab”)?  Roman Polanski and Woody Allen after all, are still considered persecuted entertainers by many in Hollywood.  And there’s not exactly a tradition of holding Leftists criminally accountable these days (see: Hillary, Bill, Huma, Lois Lerner, Loretta Lynch, etc., ad nauseum).

Remember that, when Social Justice Warriors ask if we ‘normal Americans’ have any decency.  It’s called projection.  And they don’t really have the courage of their convictions when it comes to policing their own.

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A greater tragedy

In no way is this post meant to take way from the fact nearly 60 people died, hundreds more were injured, and thousands subjected to terror in Las Vegas Sunday night.  But after reading and watching this, I realized there is a much greater loss we’ve sustained as a nation:

FBI special agent Aaron Rouse said at a press conference Wednesday that the FBI has leads in the investigation of the Las Vegas shooting “all across the United States and all across the world.” …

“This is about informing on an investigation, this is about resolving an investigation, so specifics regarding any individual contact cannot be answered. You need us, you trust us, and the way we have that trust is by using good discretion about what we share.”

At that point I realized: “I DON’T trust the FBI.”  Or the Justice Department.  Or the Department of Homeland Security.  Not at all.  Not anymore.  And I’m certain I’m far from alone.

Isn’t it odd our investigators insisted within 12 hours of the attack that despite the terror organization’s repeated claims, the gunman had no connection to ISIS — but after more than several months and more than 100 witnesses testifying, the Senate Intelligence Committee is still clinging desperately to the idea the Trump campaign colluded with Russia somehow?  How can they be so sure in either case, unless it’s a predetermined outcome?  Isn’t it odd the FBI can remain tight-lipped about investigating Las Vegas, but leaks like a sieve when it comes to investigating a sitting president?  Isn’t it odd that last year the former Director of the FBI, James Comey, could read off what was in essence an indictment of Hillary Clinton and her team’s use of an unauthorized email server, and yet claim there was no need to press charges?  Isn’t it odd that despite conclusive evidence the IRS illegally discriminated against conservative political groups that former IRS official Lois Lerner won’t face any penalties?  Isn’t it odd that a man who boasted to employees on Capitol Hill about his ability to get people “worked over” in Pakistan was allowed to remain in charge of the Democratic National Committee’s information technology support? (And isn’t it odd how supportive–even threatening–the former DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has been of Awan, considering he was in a position to know a lot of unpleasant secrets?)

It’s sad that in the wake of the worst mass shooting in American history I have no confidence our government will level with the public about what happened.  It’s sad that I believe the most sincere participation by concerned citizens in our process of governing is unlikely to produce the desired changes, because of the action of unknown, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who thwart any attempt to “drain the swamp.”

What’s saddest is that being patriotic may soon mean choosing between country and government.  That’s what happens when the latter forfeits the public’s trust.

 

Reality check

Though the sources conflict, there is a general sense among historians that ancient Rome did, indeed, have a practice of keeping the subject of their triumphal processions humble.  While being praised and celebrated by the citizens of of the city, a returning conqueror is said to have been subjected to the presence of either a close associate or an assigned slave, who continually whispered into his ear something along the lines of “remember, you are mortal.”

Regardless how the actual practice occurred, this is an imminently practical idea for any nation that desires the rule of law, and not of men.

One of the largest criticisms during the rise of Donald Trump has been that it seems dangerously close to a cult of personality.  It’s no secret many people voted for him despite of his character traits, not because of them, believing (correctly, in my humble opinion) he was still a better alternative than Her Hillariness.  There is always a danger in such a scenario that people become too willing to overlook faults and flaws in “their” candidate.

Yesterday’s runoff election in Alabama should be taken as an encouraging sign that Trump does not quite enjoy such unquestioning support:

Former judge Roy Moore won the Republican nomination on Tuesday evening in the Alabama special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, defeating the Trump-endorsed former state attorney general Luther Strange.

A strong argument can be made that endorsement by Senate GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did more to damage Strange than Trump’s did to help him.  In the eyes of many (including me), McConnell personifies much of what is wrong with today’s mendacious GOP “leadership.”  That he would strongly advocate (and send significant resources) to Strange after only working with him in an interim capacity of a few months indicates he’d taken the candidate’s measure and decided he fit right in with the business-as-usual crowd.

That is not what the electorate, at least in Alabama and other comparable places, wants. The GOP has demonstrated they are not serious about fulfilling years-long promises to repeal Obamacare, secure the border, protect the American economy or simply put America first.  So it should surprise nobody their conservative base has had enough. That Trump endorsed Strange seems to indicate he was trying to work with McConnell, possibly in hopes of getting the Obamacare repeal or some other agenda item moving forward.  If so, the recent second failure to get a healthcare repeal bill to his desk demonstrates the value of such an effort.  This should be a lesson to the president: the Congressional GOP leadership is less interested in cooperating than they are in co-opting him and his supporters, as they did with the Tea Party.  During the final runoff debate, Strange’s main selling point seemed to be his repetition of the mantra that “Trump picked me.”  That this was unsuccessful is a reassurance the president does not command blind loyalty.

Having been burned too many times by their promises, a large portion of the GOP’s base is now looking to clean house in the party rather than mend fences.  Some — like Tennessee Senator Bob Corker — appear to see the insurgent writing on the wall (Corker announced he will not seek reelection in 2018).  Here’s hoping a number of others–especially John McCain–get the message as well.  ALL of them, not just Trump, need to be reminded that they are mortal.  And since none of them are indispensable to the effort to restore America, they can–and should–be held accountable for failure to support that effort, particularly when the GOP controls the House, Senate, Presidency and most State governorships and legislatures.

Mr. Trump is far from certain to be reelected in 2020.  Yesterday’s special election results should serve fair notice he was sent to D.C. to accomplish specific things.  His next turn at the polls will hinge on whether he does, in fact, accomplish them.

  • Build the wall.  Deport those here illegally.  Period.
  • Return jobs and investment to the U.S. by voiding the globalist drain of disadvantageous trade agreements and corporatist tax policies on our economy
  • Restore American credibility by consistently acting in the best interest of the U.S. in our foreign and military policy.

It’s not rocket science, Mr. President.  Your move.

Say “no” to unqualified voting

We’ve been indoctrinated to believe voting is a “right,” and that much of progress in America is related to the gradual expansion of the franchise to the point where anyone with a pulse can enter a voting booth.  We’ve even become so “inclusive” that some cities are allowing non-citizens(!!) to vote.

Before I get bombarded with the usual Progressive insults, let me state for the record that I do not believe voting should be limited on the basis of ethnicity or wealth (i.e. landowning requirements).  But on the question of voting, there is one thing of which I am certain: the automatic universal franchise for those born here is the worst idea in the history of republican thought.  Why have I reached this conclusion?  Consider this:

A new survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center finds that most Americans are ignorant of many very basic facts about the Constitution.

* More than one in three people (37%) could not name a single right protected by the First Amendment.
* Only one in four (26%) can name all three branches of the government.
* One in three (33%) can’t name any branch of government. None. Not even one.

You can’t do anything in life well without knowing the rules.  Why should voting be any different?  Now, note carefully what the Washington Post (motto: “Democracy Dies In Darkness“) says next:

The protection of constitutional rights is in large part the business of lawyers, judges, government officials, and other experts. But public opinion plays an important role, as well, which it is unlikely to do as effectively if most of the public is ignorant.

No.  Emphatically no.

The informed and invested citizen is the primary protector of our constitutional freedom.  Therein lies a major part of the problem: being informed and taking action requires effort and some level of personal sacrifice (such as leisure time).  For the vast majority of people, this is simply too much work.  It’s well-said that “Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.”  Voting is not a “right.”  It is a privilege, and carries with it the reverse of the coin: responsibility.  To hand over the responsibility largely to “lawyers, judges, government officials, and other experts” (notice the order in which these are listed?) is to hand over the privilege of having a voice as a citizen.  By not acting to enforce the Constitutional role on our various government functions, the public has allowed them to determine the limits of their own power (hint: none).  A true citizen refuses to accept that, and challenges — physically, if necessary — undermining of the Constitution.

The only way to be able to do that is to know the Constitution.  It’s no surprise to anyone who’s read this blog for long that I believe voting should be restricted to those who have passed a civic exam at least as difficult as the citizenship test (which, frankly, is not a high bar).  Such an arrangement does not preclude participation on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, wealth or any of the other categories that have been used historically to deny the franchise.

What it does is require the would-be voter to earn the privilege — something nearly everyone can do (excepting the mentally incompetent, who already are not allowed full privileges in society).  By bestowing citizenship on those who enter our nation illegally, and allowing anyone with a pulse to vote, our nation shows it does not value either.

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”
— Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, 1776

Frankly, studying for an exam is a small price to pay for the franchise.  Others have theorized about requiring much, much more.  (While I don’t subscribe to Heinlein’s exact solution, the requirement to have a “citizen” demonstrate a commitment to something more than their own narrow self-interest would go far to fix what ails us.)

The next time you’re contemplating the sorry state of our nation, just remember it’s likely a good number of the people surveyed were in a polling place last November, and their vote was swayed more by emotions (“I feel like there should be universal health care”) than by knowledge and analysis (“There is no such thing as a free lunch“).

Idiocracy, indeed.

Where does this stop?

It seems the defining characteristic of many, if not most Americans today is the ability to be offended at the drop of a hat.  As sledgehammers and chisels remove all signs of The Late Unpleasantness from public view, the president recently asked what should be an obvious question: where does this stop?  Do we now shroud Washington and Jefferson because their accomplishments are tainted by having been slaveholders?  Do we remove statues of Christopher Columbus because his voyage helped trigger an epidemic that decimated Native Americans?  Even Ol’ Abe is apparently not safe from the rampaging mobs.

Perhaps most importantly, can we even allow people who happen to be an Asian named Robert Lee to broadcast a sports game for ESPN?

The decision to remove an Asian-American announcer named Robert Lee from calling University of Virginia’s home opener — “simply because of the coincidence of his name,” as ESPN inexplicably admits — unsurprisingly lit up the Internet with outrage, jokes and memes…

In its mock-worthy statement, ESPN laments, “It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play-by-play for a football game has become an issue.”

Un-be-lievable.  It’s not just Lee, either.  These crazed activists are literally saying “and the horse you rode in on…”

Over at the University of Southern California, activists are taking issue with the school’s mascot, a horse named Traveler. The mascot, according to his official bio, is “a symbol of ancient Troy. Its rider, with costume and sword, is a symbol of a Trojan warrior.”

So what’s the problem? Robert E. Lee’s horse was also named Traveller — spelled differently, but unacceptable nonetheless.  (emphasis added)

If it pains people so much to be here, where the history of the United States is all around them, perhaps we should encourage them to leave instead of tearing down our national monuments.  African-Americans caught defacing the nation’s history (including either side of the Civil War) should be assumed to identify as African, not American, and deported accordingly.  (See what I did there?)  White liberals caught in the same activity should be asked what country they think is more just, then stripped of their citizenship and given a one-way ticket there.

As a society we’ve allowed the temper tantrums to go on long enough.  Baby needs to learn there are consequences to flinging poo everywhere.

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Summoning the demons

(Note: this is a long post on a highly sensitive subject.  If you don’t have the time (or inclination) to carefully read and consider it all, please don’t read it AT all.)

Since Saturday, I’ve been trying to find the words to express how I believe we arrived at the tragic violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I have no sympathy for idiots who see Nazi paraphernalia as a statement.  History clearly shows where that road leads.

And yet, with all the focus on the swastikas why is it we never have criticism of the Hammer and Sickle often unfurled at various Leftist demonstrations?  Of the Che Guevara T-shirts worn by people who still think socialism or communism is a good idea? History also shows multiple examples of where THAT road leads.  Many of the gatherings of these supposedly “anti-fascist” groups are also violent — in the way that Hitler’s Brown Shirts were violent.  In fact, I think the wisest comment on Charlottesville is that is was a result of two groups descending on the city, looking for a fight.  It did not help matters that the police stood back and allowed the fists on both sides to start flying.  I wonder if anyone will be held to account for that…

We’re rapidly approaching 1930s Weimar Germany all over again – two brands of social collectivist thuggary duking it out for control.

There is more to this, however.  With higher academia firmly under Gramscian control, it’s easy to understand why many young people have a romanticized view of communism’s “liberation” movements and fail to realize “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”  But what trend could be luring other young people towards neo-Nazism or the white supremacy ideas of decades past?

I think much of it’s a belated (though misdirected) defensive response.  Rod Dreher hits the nail on the head: it does no good for the Right to disavow the identity politics of neo-Nazism or George Wallace’s segregationism while the Left continues to make identity politics the center of everything:

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Reason #427,508

…to homeschool your children, rather than handing them over to the State:

A newly filed federal lawsuit claims that police officers groped 900 students at Worth County High School in Georgia during a warrantless drug sweep that yielded no results.  The human rights group, Southern Center for Human Rights, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the students against the Worth County sheriff over an April 14 incident when 40 officers came into the school with no advance notice, KTLA-TV reported.  …

The lawsuit mentions one girl in particular, using only her initials K.A., who was searched by Deputy Brandi Whiddon. The lawsuit goes into disturbing detail about how in-depth Whiddon’s search of K.A. was. KTLA’s report stated:

“Sheriff Hobby entered K.A.’s classroom and ordered the students to line up in the hallway with their hands on the wall,” the suit said. “Deputy Whiddon took one of K.A.’s arms, placed it higher up on the wall, and kicked her legs to open them wider. Whiddon pulled the front of K.A.’s bra away from her body by the underwire and flipped it up.

“Whiddon also looked down the back and front of K.A.’s dress. Whiddon slid her hands from one of K.A.’s ankles up to her pelvic area. Whiddon’s hands went underneath K.A.’s dress as Whiddon felt up K.A.’s leg. Whiddon’s hands stopped on and cupped K.A.’s vaginal area and buttocks. Whiddon then slid her hands down to the other ankle. Whiddon was wearing gloves, but did not change them before or after her search of K.A.”

The story concludes noting the interim superintendent of schools claims the system did not approve “of touching any students,” but it’s pretty clear the school system also took no action to stop what was going on .

Well, at least some education occurred.  Nine hundred students now know first hand that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is dead… and has been for a long time now.  Once they graduate high school they can move on to the adult version of that education: the Transportation Security Administration.