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A Further Perspective

Race, Politics, and Lies

By 5.5.15

Among the many painful ironies in the current racial turmoil is that communities scattered across the country were disrupted by riots and looting because of the demonstrable lie that Michael Brown was shot in the back by a white policeman in Missouri — but there was not nearly as much turmoil created by the demonstrable fact that a fleeing black man was shot dead by a white policeman in South Carolina.

Totally ignored was the fact that a black policeman in Alabama fatally shot an unarmed white teenager, and was cleared of any charges, at about the same time that a white policeman was cleared of charges in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

In a world where the truth means so little, and headstrong preconceptions seem to be all that matter, what hope is there for rational words or rational behavior, much less mutual understanding across racial lines?

Ben Stein's Diary

Lead Is a Lousy Excuse

By 5.4.15

Herewith a few more respectful thoughts about Baltimore.

First, I am happy to see that now that all decent habits of law enforcement and prosecution have been tossed out by Marilyn Robespierre Mosby, Esq., a sort of calm has returned to one of the most violent cities in America, Baltimore. The sacrifice of the most basic precepts of law have allowed blacks and whites to sing “Kumbaya” together over the dead letters of the Constitution.

But look at something that might scare you even more. Observe how incredibly little it took for that poor confused, weak state’s attorney to fold on basic principles of law. The night roughly one week ago when the riots and looting exploded in some neighborhoods of Baltimore, there were over a thousand marchers. But at most, at the absolute most, a few hundred thugs set fires and looted liquor stores and burned other stores. No one was killed and as far as I know, no one was critically injured. The violence was over by the next evening.

Breaking News

Garland, Texas: There’s Some History Here

By 5.4.15

Last night a free speech event in Garland, Texas was attacked. As this is written, two suspects are dead. One security guard was shot and released from the hospital after treatment for a minor wound.

The event, the “Mohammed Art Exhibit and Contest,” was reported here by Breitbart and here by the Dallas Morning News. It was sponsored by Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and featured keynote speaker Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician and free speech advocate. Both were safe, with Geller finally contacted by Fox News where she was interviewed by anchor Kelly Wright. 

The Right Prescription

Republicans and Race: A Reality Check

By 5.4.15

Last week, even as Baltimore was burning, our “post-partisan” President used the tragedy as an excuse for a political cheap shot. Suggesting that the riots were caused by a paucity of inner city investment, he averred that his agenda “would make a difference right now,” but that he was being thwarted by parsimonious Republicans in Congress. Obama’s claim, which combined a characteristic lie about his own agenda with the insinuation that the GOP is the party of racism, was despicable. But it does offer an opportunity to compare the record of Obama's party on race to that of the Republicans.

The Hillary Watch

Forbidden Questions

By 5.4.15

We continue to be admonished by all-knowing Republican consultants to stay away from Hillary’s health or age lest we be thought insensitive. As to my personal view on Democrat sensibility, it can be described as something that rhymes with “bucket”—to borrow a term from our dear President who is known for neither his decorum nor his sensitivity. So here are a few questions for the likely Democratic nominee.

During the last presidential campaign, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan both released extensive medical records which, according to the New York Observer, “reveal[ed] more than probably anyone ever wanted to know,” including their weight, exercise routines, diet regimes, and what drugs they were on. Might Hillary follow their example and release her medical records? And might they be equally detailed?

Political Hay

Could Alberta Vote Socialist?

By 5.4.15

For eighty years, Alberta has been Canada’s most conservative province. It was in 1935, three decades after attaining its provincial status, that Albertans elected the Social Credit Party to power under the leadership of the populist Evangelical preacher “Bible” Bill Aberhart. He advocated that Alberta establish its own currency in the form of $25 monthly “social credits” to promote greater consumption during the Great Depression. Although this pledge would never materialize, the Social Credit Party would remain in power for 36 years, mostly under the conservative leadership of Ernest Manning (whose son Preston would lead Canada’s Reform Party during the late 1980s and most of the 1990s).

Political Hay

Money In Politics? No Problem.

By 5.4.15

There will be no problem with money in politics this year. Such problems arise only when Republicans have more money than Democrats.

Hillary Clinton has let it get about that she will be spending $2.5 billion this time. If that number is even roughly accurate, it means that she will spend far more than all of her Republican opponents combined.

Hillary will portray the $2.5 billion as (a) a way to get her message out, (b) a way to make the process more inclusive and (c) a way to fight back against the scourges of Wichita, the Koch brothers. Somebody, somewhere will buy her story.

You could say that if the Koch brothers didn’t exist the Democrats would have to invent them. You could say that, but you would be wrong. The Democrats did invent the Koch brothers. Over the past six years, the Koch fundraising circle, as estimable as it is, has never been even remotely competitive with the Obama money machine. Over the next two, it won’t be even remotely competitive with the Clinton machine. The Koch brothers, alas, rarely dominate elections. They just play political villains on TV.

The Hillary Watch

Clinton Changes on Crime

By 5.4.15

“It’s time to end the era of mass incarceration,” Hillary Clinton proclaimed in a scheduled criminal-justice speech Wednesday that gave her the opportunity to address sentencing reform in the context of the troubles in Baltimore. It was a lukewarm effort in keeping with Hillaryland rules. Say as little as possible. Offend no interest group. Let handlers alert the media that the candidate is engaging in a big policy shift that is bound to attract young voters, even if the big policy shift leaves out specific positions on, say, marijuana legalization or the death penalty.

Ben Stein's Diary

Raider Mosby

By 5.3.15

A few notes on what we have learned about law, race, order and the media after Baltimore, the largest city in my home state of Maryland, whose gleaming white stoops once stood for a city’s pride in its law and order and self-discipline.

First, Marilyn Mosby should not be allowed to be a law clerk, let alone a state’s attorney/prosecutor. To prosecute police officers EXPLICITLY to please a mob (“I have heard your cries about ‘no justice, no peace’…”) is exactly the opposite of what a prosecutor should do. That is, to prosecute only when the facts and law demand it. To press charges because a gang of thugs loots liquor stores and promises to loot more liquor stores if charges are not pressed is exactly lynch mob justice. It has nothing to do with the sacred rule of “innocent until proven guilty.”

Usually prosecutors will show at least hint of impartiality in an important case. Ms. Mosby went straight for the jugular and basically said, “The thugs are my bosses and I answer to them and not to the Constitution.” This is a dangerous woman. She bears watching.

At Large

It’s a Riot But It’s No Joke

By 5.1.15

3 demonstrators, 3 police officer wounded in riot; 2 arrested for assaulting police

MK Naguise: I will aim to solve problem of police violence against Ethiopians
—The Jerusalem Post

Should I cry or should I write? Maybe a little of both…

Racial upheaval in Baltimore, Maryland, on the heels of similar events in the Ferguson suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, has precipitated a state fraught with tension. Such episodes were supposed to be a thing of the past. We had been working long and hard as a nation to mend the rips in the social fabric. The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency was to be the final act in consigning racial conflict to the history books. Instead those books are burning and their subjects are on display in a ghetto theater near you.