Thursday, December 04, 2014

Progressivism's Last Gasp

Early Sunday morning, 32-year-old Bosnian man Zemir Begic was killed in a hammer attack in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of St. Louis, MO. The murderous assault was perpetrated by three or four teens, described as “black and Hispanic.” Approximately 50 people, mostly, if not all Bosnians, staged a demonstration on Gravois Avenue at Itaska Street on Sunday night to protest the killing. No stores were burned, no businesses were looted. The mainstream media was nowhere to be found.

A picture of Begic can be seen here. And while he is clearly of the Caucasian persuasion, the media that have covered the story prefer to use the term “Bosnian” to describe him. More than likely that is the case because the word “white” would force them to consider the possibility that Begic was killed because of his race, or as a spillover reaction to the jury verdict and subsequent rioting in Ferguson.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson immediately dismissed those possibilities when he spoke with the protesters. He insisted Begic was not targeted because of his race or ethnicity. "There is no indication that the gentleman last night was targeted because he was Bosnian,“ Dotson said. "There’s no indication that they knew each other.”

One is left to wonder how Dotson could reach that conclusion so quickly. Two of the four suspects, ages 15 and 16, are in custody, and police claim to know the nickname of a third suspect still at large, and believe a fourth man may have been involved in the carnage as well. Thus it stands to reason the only way Dotson can be sure there was no racial motivation involved in this murder is to take the word of the alleged murderers themselves in that regard.

One is reminded the entire “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” movement, that reached the heights of absurdity when members of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams entered the field for Sunday’s game with their hands in the air, was based on similar reassurances from eyewitness Dorian Johnson. It was Johnson who insisted that “gentle giant” Mike Brown had been shot in the back while he had his hands up in surrender. And it was the mainstream media, for whom truth and accuracy take a back seat to ratings-driven heat and light, that ran with the lie repeated often enough it became the truth.

Suad Nuranjkovic, 49, was with Begic when he was killed. They were heading home from a bar when Begic’s car was surrounded by at least five teens who began banging on it. Nuranjkovic fled to a nearby parking lot and hid. “I was afraid that if one of them had a gun, they were going to shoot me, so I didn’t know what to do,” he explained. Begic’s wife of six months, Arijana Mujkanovic, was also at the scene and witnessed her husband’s death. “The last thing he did before he actually died was pull me out of the way and put himself in front of me, basically giving up his life for me,” she revealed.

Begic was beaten with hammers, striking his head, face and abdomen. After the attack he was taken to SLU Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and died.

Remarkably – or perhaps predictably – Begic was not the first victim allegedly attacked by this group of thugs. Seldin Dzananoic, 24, was also targeted by a group of teens with hammers on the same street about an hour earlier. He escaped with only minor injuries. “I’m just lucky,” he said. “God is on my side.” And in true keeping with today’s media, it remains unclear if there was a third victim. According to St. Louis’s NewsChannel 5, they spoke with a man who encountered “one of the groups,” who insulted one of his family members. The victim, who asked not to be identified, claims someone struck him with a hammer when he went after them.

His statement following the encounter was chilling. “One of them told me they were doing it for fun, just for the heck of it,” he said. “I’m shaken because it’s the first time I’ve got into a confrontation. I was just trying to protect my family, that’s all.”

Perhaps the most pathetic assessment of this murder and subsequent protest by the Bosnian community was perpetrated by the Huffington Post. “The demonstrations over Begic’s death join the nationwide protests over the grand jury decision to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown on Aug. 9,” the Post stated.

Really? People protesting a clear-cut case of murder by black and Hispanic thugs are part of the nationwide protests engendered by an out-and-out lie, along with a grand jury’s courageous effort not to be intimidated by a bloodthirsty mob? “We’re just angry because we’re trying to protect our community,” said protester Mirza Nukic, 29, of St. Louis. “We’re just trying to be peaceful.”

Begic’s sister, Denisa 23, of Sioux Falls, S.D., illuminated the bitter irony attached to her brother’s death.  "We come from Bosnia because we were getting killed and our homes and families were getting destroyed,“ she said. "Never in my life did I think he would get murdered.”

Denisa also displayed a remarkable sense of proportion in the face of tragedy. "(Zemir) loved everybody. I don’t know what to think of it. It’s so wrong what they did. They didn’t just hurt Zemir’s family. They also hurt their own family because I’m pretty sure their moms will never see them again,“ she said. "I hope justice is served for my brother because he didn’t deserve this at all,” she added.

Justice has a split personality these days. The racialist undertones that from the heart of the Ferguson protests have already been dismissed here. The same media that descended on Ferguson en masse, in all their fact-free, hysteria-inducing, narrative-perpetrating glory, will be nowhere to be found. The thugs who roamed the streets with hammers, “just for the fun of it,” will never have a bounty placed on their heads, or be forced to go into hiding in fear of their lives. Attorney General Eric Holder will not descend upon the scene to determine the motives of those thugs, or conduct a follow-up investigation to see if Begic’s civil rights were violated.

Al Sharpton and his traveling band of racial arsonists will make no grand gestures or statements about the black American thug culture that drives such attacks. Attacks whose percentages dwarf those of every other ethnic group. Attacks in which black-on-white murders far outnumber white-on-black murders. President Obama will not inject himself into the incident, nor will he hold three separate White House meetings to address the concerns of a Bosnian community living in fear. There will be no white equivalent of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan urging his followers to “tear this goddamn country apart!” or telling the parents of white teenagers to “teach your baby how to throw the bottle if they can,” in reference to Molotov cocktails.

Instead Begic will have a quiet funeral held in Iowa, funded in large part by a GoFundMe page on the Internet set up for that purpose. Perhaps at some later date, there will be minimal media coverage of the trial, buried in the back pages of the local papers, or posted on relatively obscure Internet sites. Soon after that, Zemir Begic will be completely forgotten – which is exactly what happens to countless victims whose narrative cannot be exploited by an American left whose pathways to power and relevance rely upon keeping Americans at each other’s throats, irrespective of facts, common sense – or common decency.

Yet in the midst of the current mayhem, I remain very hopeful. Hopeful because the despicable over-reach of the American left remains on display, day in, day out. It is a display that reeks of progressive desperation and hysteria, aided and abetted by a media that no longer hides its affection for it. Either you’re with the mob, or you’re racist collaborator hiding behind “anachronistic” concepts such as law and order, innocent until proven guilty, or resisting the siren song of looting and pillaging. Looting and pillaging, according to Time Magazine’s execrable columnist Darlena Cunha, that are “a necessary part of the evolution of society” and peaceful protesting “is a luxury only available to those safely in mainstream culture.”

It is precisely that mainstream culture rightly appalled by the latest outburst from the usual suspects. One that has no interest in the "fundamental transformation" of their nation into a Third World banana republic as "atonement" for the "sin" of being the greatest nation on earth. It is they who will ultimately prevail, people of all ethnicities, religions, and genders, tired of being told what to think by those who believe they’re too “stupid” to think for themselves. Progressive bankruptcy is unsustainable and headed for the ash heap of history.

One race-bating, riot-inciting demagogue after another.



Opinions Versus Facts

Thomas Sowell

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

Soon after the shooting death of Michael Brown, this 285-pound young man was depicted as a “gentle giant.” But, after a video was leaked, showing him bullying the owner of a store from which he had stolen some merchandise, Attorney General Eric Holder expressed displeasure that the video was leaked. In other words, to Holder the truth was offensive, but the lie it exposed was not.

Many people who claimed to have been eyewitnesses to the fatal shooting gave opposite accounts of what happened. Some even gave accounts that contradicted what they themselves had said earlier.

Fortunately, the grand jury did not have to rely on such statements, though some in the media seemed to. What the grand jury had, that the rest of us did not have until the grand jury’s decision was announced, was a set of physical facts that told a story that was independent of what anybody said.

Three different medical forensic experts – one representing Michael Brown’s parents – examined the physical facts. These facts included the autopsy results, Michael Brown’s DNA on the door of the police car and on the policeman’s gun, photographs of the bruised and swollen face of policeman Darren Wilson and the pattern of blood stains on the street where Brown was shot.

This physical evidence was hard to square with the loudly proclaimed assertions that Brown was shot in the back, or was shot with his hands up, while trying to surrender. But it was consistent with the policeman’s testimony.

Moreover, the physical facts were consistent with what a number of black witnesses said under oath, despite expressing fears for their own safety for contradicting what those in the rampaging mobs were saying.

The riots, looting and setting things on fire that some in the media are treating as reactions to the grand jury’s decision not to indict the policeman, actually began long before the grand jury had begun its investigation, much less announced any decision.

Why some people insist on believing whatever they want to believe is a question that is hard to answer. But a more important question is: What are the consequences to be expected from an orgy of anarchy that started in Ferguson, Missouri and has spread around the country?

The first victims of the mob rampages in Ferguson have been people who had nothing to do with Michael Brown or the police. These include people – many of them black or members of other minorities – who have seen the businesses they worked to build destroyed, perhaps never to be revived.

But these are only the first victims. If the history of other communities ravaged by riots in years past is any indication, there are blacks yet unborn who will be paying the price of these riots for years to come.

Sometimes it is a particular neighborhood that never recovers, and sometimes it is a whole city. Detroit is a classic example. It had the worst riot of the 1960s, with 43 deaths – 33 of them black people. Businesses left Detroit, taking with them jobs and taxes that were very much needed to keep the city viable. Middle class people – both black and white – also fled.

Harlem was one of many ghettos across the country that have still not recovered from the riots of the 1960s. In later years, a niece of mine, who had grown up in the same Harlem tenement where I grew up years earlier, bitterly complained about how few stores and other businesses there were in the neighborhood.

There were plenty of stores in that same neighborhood when I was growing up, as well as a dentist, a pharmacist and an optician, all less than a block away. But that was before the neighborhood was swept by riots.

Who benefits from the Ferguson riots? The biggest beneficiaries are politicians and racial demagogues. In Detroit, Mayor Coleman Young was one of many political demagogues who were able to ensure their own reelection, using rhetoric and policies that drove away people who provided jobs and taxes, but who were likely to vote against him if they stayed. Such demagogues thrived as Detroit became a wasteland.



ObamaCare isn't working: Americans are putting off medical care on cost grounds

Though President Barack Obama and administration officials still insist that ObamaCare is keeping healthcare costs down, the percentage of Americans who have put off seeking medical care for themselves or family due to cost concerns has reached an all-time high, according to a survey released last week by Gallup.

In an October speech at Northwestern University, President Obama touted the "dramatic slowdown in the rising cost of healthcare," tying the phenomenon to ObamaCare. The suggestion, repeated ad nauseam by supporters of the law, is misleading to say the least. An analysis published this summer in Health Affairs concluded that the slowdown in healthcare spending is primarily a result of the Great Recession.

Still, though, the myth continues to be pushed. "[B]ecause the insurance marketplaces we created encourage insurers to compete for your business, in many of the cities that have announced next year's premiums, something important is happening – premiums are actually falling," said President Obama. "That's progress we can be proud of."

Gallup, however, finds that 33 percent of Americans have put off medical care because of cost, the highest figure in the 14-year history of the question. "Last year, many hoped that the opening of the government healthcare exchanges and the resulting increase in the number of Americans with health insurance would enable more people to seek medical treatment," writes Rebecca Riffkin of Gallup. "But, despite a drop in the uninsured rate, a slightly higher percentage of Americans than in previous years report having put off medical treatment, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act has not immediately affected this measure."

Among the most notable findings is percentage of Americans with private health insurance who are putting off treatment. The survey found that 34 percent of those with private health coverage put off medical care in 2014, up from 25 percent in 2013.

While fewer households earning less than $30,000 are putting off medical care, Gallup shows that more middle class Americans are. Thirty-eight percent of Americans earning between $30,000 and $74,999 and 28 percent earning $75,000 or more report foregoing care in the last 12 months, up from 33 percent and 17 percent last year.

Though most of the focus has been on premiums and subsidies, health plans on the exchanges are notorious for eye-popping out of pocket costs, the average of which increased by 42 percent compared to pre-ObamaCare plans. An Associated Press survey released in October found similar results, noting that Americans with high-deductible plans were more likely to forgo seeking care in the event of a major medical problem. For its part, Gallup notes that the percentage of those with private coverage putting off care "may reflect high deductibles or copays that are part of the newly insured's plans."

No one disagrees that healthcare costs needed to be addressed, but ObamaCare -- with its expensive mandates and overbearing regulations -- only exacerbates the problem, creating a dangerous atmosphere for patients who have real medical needs that may go unaddressed because they're been priced out of seeking care.



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