Tuesday, July 23, 2013
No lurch is too far: Far Left magazine now honors anti-American terrorist
The dwindling number of people still reading Rolling Stone knows that just as MTV no longer is a music station, this is not just a music magazine. Nevertheless, the magazine's covers are almost always rock and pop stars, and sometimes movie and TV actors. In recent months, that list has included glamorizing shots of Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber (who's now "Hot, Ready, Legal").
But nearly every issue also carries political commentary from fiercely frothing leftist writers like Matt Taibbi. When the editors decided to put Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover, they knew they were courting controversy. They must have known they were chasing notoriety by insulting people who lost relatives or their own limbs in Dzhokhar's terrorist attack.
What must have been the reaction of the parents who lost 8-year-old Martin Richard?
The victims and their families surely choked when the magazine responded to the furor by claiming, "Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, our thoughts are always with them and their families." What arrogant nonsense.
Boston's liberal Democrat mayor, Tom Menino, delivered a scathing rebuke in a letter to publisher Jann Wenner. "The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them."
Rolling Stone claimed the cover story would showcase everything writer Janet Reitman found by spending "two months interviewing dozens of sources — childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents, many of whom spoke for the first time about the case — to deliver a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster."
And then they put his picture, James Dean-like, on the cover. They claimed this kind of reporting is part of their journalistic tradition. It isn't.
Their tradition has not included regular covers with newsmakers or notorious bombers. When their journalism on Afghanistan abruptly ended the career of Gen. Stanley McChrystal in 2010, the cover displayed Lady Gaga nearly nude, her body covered only by a thong bikini and two machine guns.
Some tried to defend Rolling Stone by noting that several news organizations had used the same picture of Tsarnaev, including the front page of The New York Times.
But Rolling Stone occupies a special zone in the popular culture, where top musicians hope and pray to know they've "made it" by making the cover.
If Sports Illustrated had put Dzhokhar on its cover, that would also be jarring. They could have. They didn't. They put cops and a disoriented runner on the cover at the time of the murders.
The text of the cover doesn't glorify the killer. It reads: "The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam, and Became a Monster."
But that glimmer of sadness for the bomber's lost childhood, the disappearance of a "charming kid with a bright future," shows more effort to find a terrorist's moral center than the magazine showed any of the last three Republican presidential nominees.
Last year, Rolling Stone's cover carried a cartoon of Mitt Romney in a top hat and an ascot with the words "Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital." Matt Taibbi sold Romney as pure evil:
"Romney's run has been a shimmering pearl of perfect political hypocrisy. ... Romney chose his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — like himself, a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who'd be honored to tell Oliver Twist there's no more soup left."
In 2008, John McCain was also a cartoon on the cover, with the words "Make-Believe Maverick: A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty."
Rolling Stone also ran two cartoon covers of George W. Bush, both making him look very much like a chimpanzee. Keith Olbermann lovingly promoted the 2006 cover titled, "The Worst President In History?" They followed in 2008 with "How Bush Destroyed the Republican Party." Both were written by socialist historian Sean Wilentz. In 2006, Wilentz admitted to Olbermann, "I think the cover actually is a bit over the top."
When Obama was inaugurated, the magazine did it again with a more serious illustration of Bush 43 and a cover story that was completely made up. "Exclusive! Bush Apologizes: The Farewell Interview We Wish He'd Give."
No one expects Rolling Stone to follow up with a cover that imagines "Dzhokar Apologizes: The Prison Interview We Wish He'd Give." If they had ever really had the Boston victims in their hearts, they might. But they don't.
Harvard Historian Warns the State Is Causing the West’s ‘Great Degeneration’
Jay Lehr reviews "The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die" By Niall Ferguson
What causes rich countries to lose their way? Symptoms of decline are all around us: slowing growth, crushing debts, increasing inequality, and aging populations. What exactly has gone wrong? Niall Ferguson argues in this book that the intricate framework of our institutions is degenerating.
Representative government, the free market, the rule of law, and a free society are each addressed in separate chapters of this brief book. These institutions set the West on the path to prosperity, and they have dramatically declined Ferguson, tells us.
Governments have broken the implied contracts among generations by heaping IOUs on our children and grandchildren. Our markets are hindered by overly complex regulations. Why is it 100 times more expensive to bring a new medicine to market than it was 60 years ago? he asks. And he wonders if the Food and Drug Administration would prohibit the sale of table salt if it were put forward as a new product because of its toxicity in large doses.
Having been more than 20 times wealthier than the average Chinese as recently as 1978, the average American is now just five times wealthier, Ferguson notes. In a whole range of dimensions the gap between the West and the rest has narrowed dramatically. In terms of life expectancy and educational attainment, some Asian countries are now ahead of most in the West.
Ferguson argues these declines in institutional leadership have been partly a result of a lack of transparency, which could not be allowed in private business. The only hope for improvement will come when all institutions enter into the daylight.
Complexity vs. Simplicity
Today it seems that the balance of opinion favors complexity over simplicity, rules over discretion, codes of compliance over individual and corporate responsibility. Ferguson believes this results from a flawed understanding of how financial markets work.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 is a nearly perfect example of excessive complexity of regulation, according to Ferguson. The Act requires that regulators create 243 new financial rules, conduct 67 studies, and issue 22 periodic reports.
The author shows that the most regulated institutions in the financial system have become the most disaster-prone. Furthermore, no one is regulating the regulators. Ferguson draws parallels between economic development and Darwin’s theories of biologic development.
Reminiscent of Tocqueville
Ferguson’s analysis calls to mind that of Alexis de Tocqueville nearly 180 years ago. Many persons can recall Tocqueville’s complimentary essays in his book Democracy in America, in which the French political philosopher and historian favorably describes the national character and institutions of America during his travels around the country in the 1830s. Readers of Democracy in America seem to have forgotten his warnings. He anticipated a future society in which associational life has died.
“I see an innumerable crowd of like and equal men who revolve on themselves without repose procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls,” Tocqueville wrote. “Each of them, withdrawn and apart is like a stranger to the destiny of all the others; his children and particular friends form the whole human species for him; as for dwelling with his fellow citizens, he is beside them but he does not see them, he touches them but does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for his self alone.
“Thus, after taking each individual by turns in its powerful hands and kneading him as it likes, the sovereign extends its arms over society as a whole. It covers its surface as a network of small complicated, painstaking, uniform rules to which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls can not clear away to surpass the crowd, it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them and directs them; it rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.”
Tocqueville saw the state -- with its seductive promise of security from the cradle to the grave -- as the real enemy of civil society. Ferguson is in sympathy with this view.
Need for Private Schools
Toward the end of his both depressing and hopeful book, Ferguson makes a great case for dramatically increasing the number private kindergarten through grade 12 schools. He notes American universities, largely private, are considered among the best in the world, whereas the nation’s government-run K-12 schools are widely regarded as having sharply fallen in quality and behind those of many other nations. He says to expect continued educational mediocrity until there are substantially more private and charter schools that must compete for students.
In his closing paragraphs he quotes much of President Barack Obama’s “You Didn’t Build That” speech, which he delivered while campaigning for reelection in 2012.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” Obama said. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Ferguson calls it the voice of a state destined to further degeneration.
R.I.P. Larry Grathwohl
Our friend, Larry Grathwohl, has died.
Larry served our country above and beyond the call of duty by infiltrating Weather Underground subversives and reporting on their seditious plots to the FBI, on which he would later testify before Congress.
Lest people think that the Weather Underground is a forgotten movement from US history, many of its former leaders now hold prominent roles in academia and serve in key Obama administration positions. The WU still calls the shots, having exchanged bombs for briefcases, and actively promoting the destruction of America.
This year Larry republished his book Bringing Down America, which chronicles his experiences with the Weathermen, and went on a book tour. We met him when he visited Florida and became friends.
He was funny, had a sharp mind, and was an eloquent speaker. We consider ourselves lucky for being able to spend some quality downtime with Larry and on several occasions pick his brain about his life with the radicals and beyond, over a bottle of Maker's Mark, his favorite.
If the world were fair, the news of Larry's passing would be scrawled across every news broadcast. But in a world run by the former subversives, "fairness" means lynch mobs, government-organized theft, suppression of the truth, and glorification of crime.
If the world were fair, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Mark Rudd, et. al, would be in federal prison, schoolchildren would be taught the real definition of communism, and American ideals would continue to be the guiding light of the free world.
With the passing of Larry Grathwohl, America grew a little dimmer.
Israelis, Palestinians skeptical about Kerry's peace talks
The talks are just a facesaver for flip-flop Kerry (who probably still has the hat)
Israeli and Palestinian officials voiced skepticism Sunday that they can move toward a peace deal, as the sides inched toward what may be the first round of significant negotiations in five years.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced late last week that an agreement has been reached that establishes the basis for resuming peace talks. He cautioned that such an agreement still needs to be formalized, suggesting that gaps remain.
In his first on-camera comment Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to lower expectations by saying the talks will be tough and any agreement would have to be ratified by Israelis in a national referendum.
Netanyahu pledged to insist on Israel's security needs above all — saying his main guiding principles will be to maintain a Jewish majority in Israel and avoid a future Palestinian state in the West Bank becoming an Iranian-backed "terror state."
"I am committed to two objectives that must guide the result — if there will be a result. And if there will be a result, it will be put to a national referendum," he said at the start of his weekly Cabinet meeting. "It won't be easy. But we are entering the talks with integrity, honesty, and hope that this process is handled responsibly, seriously and to the point."
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Posted by JR at 12:42 AM