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Here’s What It Looks Like When We Bomb ISIS



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Over the weekend, the U.S. military launched dozens of air strikes in northern Iraq, supporting the Kurdish forces there, especially in an effort to retake the Mosul dam, a crucial piece of infrastructure in the region, from the Islamic State. By all accounts the operation has been reasonably successful, though the dam doesn’t appear to have been retaken completely. It’s apparently been thoroughly booby-trapped by the jihadist group.

The U.S. released a couple videos of U.S. aircraft bombing Islamic State targets, mostly armed trucks:

The U.S. has conducted 15 air strikes near the dam on Monday alone — we know Navy F/A-18s and drones have been involved. 

And here are Kurdish fighters, known as peshmerga, moving forward against the Islamic State (both sides have remarkably similar taste in trucks):

The Iraqi government has also flown 250 members of the Golden Division, an elite division of the army, to Iraq’s northernmost province in order to help retake the dam, which is nearby.

Earlier this month, F/A-18s struck Islamic State mobile artillery that had been shelling Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan:

Good Morning America Mocks Hillary’s Excessive Demands in Speech Contract: ‘Did She Specify Which Color M&M’s She Would Like?’



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The fee for Hillary Clinton’s upcoming $225,000 speaking gig at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas isn’t the only exorbitant requirement stipulated by the former secretary of state in her agreement to appear at the school.

Reporting on recent documents obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal about the Clinton event on Sunday, Good Morning America anchor Ron Claiborne listed Clinton’s demands that she be transported in a private jet and put up in a presidential suite at the hotel of her choice, and that the only record of her remarks be made by a personal stenographer, to whom only Clinton will have access.

“Did she specify which color M&M’s she would like?” host Dan Harris chimed in, garnering laughter from the rest of the desk.

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Former Head of Black Panthers Says His Group, Nation of Islam Controlling Ferguson



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The former chairman of the New Black Panther Party and the president of Black Lawyers for Justice told Missouri Highway Patrol captain Ron Johnson, who is overseeing policing efforts in Ferguson, that his groups, along with the Nation of Islam, are controlling the situation in the embattled city.

During Johnson’s Saturday press briefing to announce the new curfew in Ferguson, Malik Zulu Shabazz, who introduced himself as the head of the lawyers’ group, touted his groups’ “rapport” with locals and influence over the situation. “As you well know, on Thursday night, my group — and thanks to you — my organizers, along with the New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam, we are the ones who put those men in the streets and we controlled the flow of traffic,” he said.

“I personally shut down the avenue at 2 o’clock,” Shabazz said to Johnson. “You were there, and you witnessed that.”

Shabazz warned that the new curfew could be a “prescription for confrontation” between demonstrators and law enforcement given the sudden nature of the rule.

“It ended because we ended it and we have the rapport with the demonstrators — they respect me, they respect us,” he added.

Johnson said Shabazz was “absolutely correct” that those groups helped control the demonstrations, although he said he did not know the names of those groups at the time.

Tags: Ferguson

Web Briefing: August 29, 2014

White D.C. Has Some Dumb Things to Say about St. Louis



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Julia Ioffe is a fine writer, but this TNR dispatch from Missouri — “White St. Louis Has Some Awful Things to Say About Ferguson” — is not her best work.

Let’s start at the top. You’d think that to justify its breathtaking sweep, the “White St. Louis” named in the hed referred to some carefully constructed cross-section of St. Louis’s Caucasoid citizens, or maybe to white city fathers of note or other representatives of white officialdom. But it turns out that “White St. Louis” is the dozen-odd randos Ioffe bumped into at a Starbucks in Olivette — a suburb of The Lou with about 7,000 people.

Ioffe tells us that Olivette is about 60 percent white, and Ferguson is about 60 percent black. These are two raw facts that, lashed together, are supposed to do an awful lot of work, establishing Olivette as both importantly white and starkly contrasted with importantly black Ferguson. But Ferguson is only a little blacker, and Olivette only a little whiter, than St. Louis at large, and in any case both are significantly blacker than America as a whole.

More significant, I guess, is the fact that St. Louis is according to one measure the eighth most segregated city in the United States. But New York, L.A., Chicago, and Boston — hotbeds one and all of right-thinking New Republic readers — are nearly as segregated or more segregated than St. Louis. So the more-than-faint whiff of condescension with which Ioffe ethnologizes the Olivette white folk as walled-off yokels strikes the ear as not only off-key but off-base.

But, fine, leave all that to one side. By and large, the motley of latte-sippers Ioffe assembles to weigh-in on the protests in Ferguson spit anodyne clichés in response to her baiting. But a few say unsubtle things about how that troubled town’s black population hates white people, or are using the killing of Michael Brown as a pretext for mass looting. Ioffe, not content to let this coarseness stand on its own, sexes up the quotes with some mind-reading editorializing: the strip-mall focus group, she tells us, are “scared . . . implicitly, of black people” and assume that “black people, the lust for theft encoded in their DNA, are just barely kept in line by authority.”

This isn’t reporting, it’s servicing the prejudices of readers who’d rather not think that hard.

Look, I understand the appeal of man-on-the-street dispatches. I got my start working for a confederation of community newspapers in North Jersey, and every Friday I’d have to stand in front of a post office or a Stop-n-Shop and ask passersby what they thought about the new megamall at the Meadowlands or the noise at Teterboro airport. 

You learn some things about people after a year or two of doing that sort of thing. Number-one-with-a-bullet is that there’s a reason you call them “man on the street interviews” and not “discourses with perambulating cogitators.” There’s a sort of two-way selection bias at work. On the one hand, the kind of people who can be cornered into spit-balling sound bites on current events tend to give you either content-free bromides or the sort of ham-fisted takes Ioffe coaxed out of some of her lot. When you ask for people’s name and hometown, you get a lot more of the bromides. When you let them give you quotes anonymously, more of the ham fists. At the same time, from the reporter’s point of view, the ham-fisted takes are less boring than the bromides, and almost by definition, the occasional thoughtful, subtle responses you get are far too long to print.

Ioffe’s interlocutors, who probably aren’t representative to begin with, are one and all anonymous. And fairly or not, Ioffe’s decision to embellish their quotes with bonus racism invites us to question whether there were other takes — subtle takes, or bromides, or even ham-fists of a progressive flavor; prosciutto-fists if you will — that she decided to leave out.

It all adds up to not much of anything. In fact, there’s a kind of double dumbness to it. The gang from the Olivette Starbucks has nothing interesting to tell us about Ferguson, and Ioffe has nothing interesting to tell us about them. 

Tags: Ferguson

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The Allies Are More Worried about Iraq than Obama Is



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In two statements on operations in Iraq over the past week, President Obama has repeatedly described the Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL) as merely a humanitarian emergency and a threat to our personnel and facilities in Iraq. He has studiously avoided admitting that it is a threat to Americans at home, for the obvious reason that if he does that, he will face pressure to take decisive action to degrade the Islamic State itself. 

The allies are getting ahead of him, however. The French government has been calling for action against the Islamic State for weeks. And now even British prime minister David Cameron, a barely-visible shadow of his predecessors, admits that the Islamic State is a “direct and deadly threat to Britain.” In a new Telegraph op-ed he writes:

The creation of an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and extending into Syria is not a problem miles away from home. Nor is it a problem that should be defined by a war 10 years ago. It is our concern here and now. Because if we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain. We already know that it has the murderous intent. Indeed, the first Isil-inspired terrorist acts on the continent of Europe have already taken place.

It will be interesting to see whether the allies’ appeals have any effect on Obama. He remains impressively committed to his small collection of ideas about foreign policy. As I argued in my piece on the homepage over the weekend, he has jettisoned the core of the national-security strategy the U.S. adopted on a broadly bipartisan basis after the attacks of 9/11 — particularly its doctrine of shoring up failing states and preventing terrorist safe havens. In fact, as incredible as this may seem, he’s still glad he pulled our troops out of Iraq in 2011. Had we left 10,000 troops there, he recently explained, they would only be sitting in the middle of the current chaos. Never mind the obvious point that those troops could have prevented the current chaos, by controlling the Syrian–Iraqi border, shoring up Iraq’s defenses, and dissuading what would have been a suicidal Islamic State assault on heavily armed U.S. troops.  

We could soon see the French and British putting ground forces in Iraq to clean up the intolerable mess that Obama’s negligence has helped create. Irony of ironies, Obama is unwittingly pushing the French and British to reassert themselves as imperial Great Powers, if only for self-protection. 

On The Giver, Please Forgive Me, But . . .



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After several weeks of reading rave reviews (from sneak previews) for the movie The Giver, which opened to mass audiences Friday night, I rushed out to see it at the first opportunity. Conservatives especially had been going gaga over the film, which was made by the wonderful Walden Media (the Narnia movies, Bridge to Terabithia, etc.). With so many on the right urging people to see it, I half expected to experience the Rapture in its wake. 

Please forgive me, then, for tempering expectations. The movie’s message is wonderful, and its sentiments are very good, and its female lead, Odeya Rush, is quite winsome. (Note: Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, and the underused Taylor Swift get higher billing, because they are more well known, but among the female characters, Rush is the movie’s emotional center and the scene stealer. As for the male leads, including the immensely gifted Jeff Bridges, all the performances struck me as rather anodyne.) Alas, though, as entertainment, The Giver is merely good, not great. It’s all just a little too saccharine, a little too predictable, a little too earnest, a little too prone to treat its central insights as profound and revelatory (when, indeed, some of them border on clichéd), and a little too lacking in internal logic. It is absolutely a film for older children (maybe ages 10–17), because its values are right,  its production values excellent, and its story is somewhat engrossing (and probably more than somewhat so for, say, 13-year-olds). Yet both my wife and I found it at least somewhat lacking in depth and, well, subtlety — not to mention, toward the end, in narrative sense.

(Just to make sure I wasn’t being too curmudgeonly, I searched online just now for any other professional review I could find. The first one I found came from Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle. Now I don’t feel so lonely. She writes: “The film begins to get a bit lost as the story develops and pushes toward a wobbly climax and conclusion.”)

Please look elsewhere for a more formal review and plot summary; suffice it to say here that the movie involves a future land where “the elders” have engineered a culture of sameness, backed by daily injections of mood-leveling pharmaceuticals. Of course, the film’s heroes want to rebel and find bright colors (literally) amidst the black and white and gray of their existence, and they want to express individuality and feel real feelings. How all that is to happen is something you’ll need to see for yourself — and again, this is absolutely not a bad or even mediocre film; it’s a decent way to spend two hours. But there’s really nothing new here, thematically or otherwise. All that was missing was the soundtrack cueing up Bruce Springsteen singing he wants to know if love is wild and wants to know if love is real. (Actually, here it’s not so wild, but pretty tame and entirely chaste, which is a good thing in comparison to Hollywood’s usual bent toward gratuitous flesh.)

I don’t want to discourage people from seeing this movie. It’s pretty good, and a lot better than most of the dreck that comes from Hollywood. And if a church junior-high youth-group counselor is looking for a good change-of-pace outing for his young charges, The Giver more than fills the bill. But, except in its freedom-affirming and life-affirming messages, it’s far from a classic; it’s just pleasant, which these days can be reward enough.

Monday Links



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Ten of the creepiest things superheroes have done. Related: video of things superheroes do that’d be creepy if you did them.

Five delightful science experiments from 100 years ago.

Top 20 technological screw-ups of the 20th century.

Ridiculous Japanese products.

Incredibly intricate hand-cut paper art.

One of the most famous paintings in the White House has a huge spelling error.

ICYMIFriday’s links are here, including the guy who would become King Louis XX of France if the monarchy were restored, ten things dogs hate about humans, and how the frequency of childhood diarrhea affects adult mate choice.

The Value of Life



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Possibly the most sickening thing about America is its racial selectivity. White person kills white person. Zzzzz. Black person kills black person. Zzzzz. Black person kills white person. Zzzzz. White person kills black person — the world stops. Or explodes.

(And if the person doing the shooting is not quite white, à la George Zimmerman, you can add a little bleach, dubbing him a “white Hispanic.”)

It’s not just that some life is held to be more valuable than other life. It’s that the value of life is measured by the color of the person who takes it. Which is a little weird, at a minimum.

Michael Brown’s life or Trayvon Martin’s life would be just as valuable if a person of a different color had done the shooting. But we would not know the victims’ names, of course. (It was proposed that an asteroid be named after Trayvon Martin. I don’t know whether the proposal was carried out.)

I realize that Al Sharpton, Rand Paul, and the rest of America can’t react to the fall of every sparrow. And I know full well about the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. But maybe we could mix it up a little, for variety’s sake?

A Test Case



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Reading a news item, and watching a video that went with it, I thought, “How a person reacts to this probably says a lot about his political philosophy.” A young police officer in Maryland rushed to save a man from jumping off a bridge. Or, if you prefer, to prevent a man from jumping off a bridge. Tackled him, yanked him back, and cuffed him (“for his own safety,” the officer said later).

Did the cop infringe on the man’s freedom? Violate the principle of “Don’t Tread on Me”?

I’m glad he did what he did. Anyway, this is an interesting case — a test case, I think — and one that a person could write pages about, while I’m just doing a lil’ blogpost . . .

For the news item and the video, go here.

Man Bites Dog (Gloriously)



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The happiest news I have heard all month comes in a news article headed “Ohio State trustees won’t reinstate band director.” Said band director was fired “after an investigation showed he knew about, but failed to stop, a sexualized band culture.” (I am quoting the article.) I would have thought that a sexualized culture was mandatory in today’s America, especially on campus.

The chairman of the university’s board said, “We consider the matter closed and we are moving forward as a university.”

Wow. Not only a breath of fresh air, but practically a hurricane of fresh air. OSU’s stance is a blow for freedom — real freedom, not the bondage that today’s America mistakes for freedom.

Out of the Mouths of Resetters



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In a Wall Street Journal editorial about Russia, there was a remarkable sentence. An accurate sentence, but a jarring one — and a telling one. Here it is: “The State Department admitted last month that Russia has violated the 1987 INF Treaty . . .”

You might expect “The Kremlin admitted”; instead you get “The State Department admitted.”

Telling, right?

Safety 101: Encore



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The other day, I had a post headed “Safety 101.” It commented on a moment in Don Giovanni (Mozart’s opera): Giovanni tricks Masetto (simple, gullible) into giving up his arms. Then he beats the snot out of him.

Since then, I have seen Fierrabras (a Schubert opera) (review to come): Charlemagne sends a delegation to the Moorish king, called “Boland” in this opera, to make peace. Boland tells the knights that he will not speak to people of peace while they are bearing arms. So the knights, in a gesture of goodwill, give up their swords. Then the Moors capture them in order to kill them.

D’oh! Chillen, listen to papa: Don’t be givin’ up your arms. Or, as Reagan used to quote, trust, but verify. (Gorbachev hated it when Reagan said this. George Shultz confirmed it in a 2008 interview with me.)

P.S. For a review of Salzburg’s new Giovanni, stage-directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf, with Christoph Eschenbach in the pit, go here.

P.P.S. While I’m doing opera news, let me note the death of Licia Albanese, at a buck-oh-five — 105. (An obit here.) I saw her at a concert five years ago, when she was a mere 100. (See how good my math is?) She was impeccably turned out, her posture was erect, and she was beaming: glad to be greeted by people in the crowd. I of course never heard her live. But the magnetism and all the rest come through the recordings pretty well, no matter how antique and scratchy.

Protesters Appear to Be Firing on the Police



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A city police officer tells me, in an account I cannot yet confirm, that protesters fired on police from multiple directions and that they are hiding, with weapons, down in the bushes and away from the road. Protesters apparently stacked bricks in the street and were engaged in a standoff with police. Police do not know how many protesters might be waiting for them with weapons that they cannot see. “If it was my decision, we wouldn’t have even f****** gone down there,” the officer says, adding that no police officers have been hurt, to his knowledge. It remains unclear what prompted the altercation that resulted in an alleged assault on police officers.

Tags: Ferguson

A Theme Park in the Crimea



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That the EU’s relentless progress towards an ‘ever closer union’ has hollowed out and distorted the politics of many of the democracies of Western Europe ought by now to be far from news. And nor should the fact that the refusal of the EU’s establishment parties to deviate from eurofederalist orthodoxy (despite the disasters of recent years) has driven some voters to throw their support behind parties at which they once would never have considered even looking. A further twist to this tale has come from the way that the politics of these outsider parties have in turn been themselves been distorted by the seemingly unstoppable encroachments of the European superstate, encroachments that have, however perversely, however wrongly, come to make even Vladimir Putin seem, by comparison, oddly congenial.

The Financial Times has a report on just the latest example of this.

A French populist-conservative politician and investor has agreed to build a historic theme park in the Russian-annexed territory of Crimea together with a patriotic Russian financier who has been linked to pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine.

The deal between Philippe de Villiers, leader of the eurosceptic Mouvement pour la France party, and Konstantin Malofeev, a key figure in Russian orthodox conservative circles who support expansionist ideologies, is certain to reignite controversy in Europe over supporting a regime the EU is trying to punish with sanctions.

The Crimean government said Mr de Villiers, Mr Malofeev and Sergei Aksyonov, the Moscow-appointed head of the Crimean government, had signed a memorandum of understanding under which Mr de Villiers’ company Puy du Fou International and Mr Malofeev would invest at least Rbs4bn ($110m) in the park.

Legal experts in Moscow said Mr de Villiers’ planned Crimean venture constituted an open defiance of EU sanctions. Both Mr Malofeev and Mr Aksyonov are blacklisted under EU sanctions against individuals helping or supporting Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

Under the regulation, EU citizens are barred from making any funds or economic resources available to a blacklisted individual. In addition, the EU has also banned technical and financial assistance for projects in Crimea and joint ventures in transport, energy and telecommunications on the peninsula.

“Even if the Crimea-specific provision does not apply to a theme park, which is not entirely clear, the one regarding the blacklist does – an EU person cannot do any business with these people, full stop,” said a foreign lawyer in Moscow. He said there was “no way” the planned theme park could go ahead under the EU sanctions, but added that the agreement was just a memorandum of understanding, there might be no legal consequences for Mr de Villiers yet. “This is just a gigantic PR stunt,” he said.

In a press release, Mr de Villiers did not mention EU restrictions but instead expressed his hope that the project would not be blocked by US sanctions.

“Sanctions are acts of war. Co-operation is an act of peace. We have come to deliver an act of peace,” he said in the release. He added: “The future of Europe is not written on the American continent. It is written on the European continent. Europe has no future without Russia.”

Mr de Villiers, a former communications minister in the government of Jacques Chirac, is a well-known conservative who opposes the EU and, more recently, has spoken out against Islam in France….

Those with long memories may recall that the EU was meant to reinforce the political stability of Europe. That it is now, however inadvertently, helping Putin find some sort of opening in the West is just the latest reminder of how badly matters have gone awry.  

Autopsy: Michael Brown Was Shot Six Times, All From the Front



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An expert medical examiner performing an autopsy at the request of the family of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old allegedly shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., found that he was shot six times, twice in the head and four times in his torso, with all the bullets entering the front of Brown’s body.

The New York Times reported the findings of the examiner, Michael Baden, formerly chief medical examiner for the City of New York. Baden’s illustration of the gunshot wounds:


The local government and the U.S. Justice Department will be performing their own autopsies as well.

The two shots to Brown’s head, Baden said, were likely the last fired and would have stopped Brown immediately, whatever he was doing. Baden found no gunpowder residue on Brown’s body, perhaps suggesting that no shots were fired at close range, but the autopsy didn’t look at Brown’s clothing. Eyewitness accounts of the shooting from civilians have suggested that Brown was first shot while running away from the officer present; this evidence would suggest that may not have been the case.

Baden said that the number of shots fired struck him as somewhat high: ”In my capacity as the forensic examiner for the New York State Police, I would say, ‘You’re not supposed to shoot so many times.’” But he encouraged people not to read too much into the information: “Right now there is too little information to forensically reconstruct the shooting,” he said.

UPDATE: Sources tell the Washington Post that the local-government medical examiner has reached more or less the same conclusion: Brown had six to eight gunshot wounds, all in the front of his body.

Tags: Ferguson

The Press Gets Hit with Tear Gas



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This short video shows some of the tear gas being used, directed into the press parking lot. Police fired tear gas up a hill as people were running away in that direction. Police tried to shoo me and others back toward the tear-gassed area. Warning: Video contains foul language.

 

 

Tags: Ferguson

Police Appear to Be Firing Tear Gas toward the Press in Ferguson



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Police are firing tear gas to clear protesters, and some landed in the press parking lot adjacent to Ferguson Market and Liquor. Some members of the press scrambled up a hill, but the police fired gas up the hill, too. When the smoke cleared, four canisters could be found in the press parking lot. When asked why police fired on the press, an officer responded, “The wind took it.” Bystanders and press personnel who scrambled say that the wind did not take it. There is hardly any breeze in the area.

“Don’t look at me, s*** happens,” the officer said, lifting his gas mask. “Welcome to the club.”

Police officers are preventing everyone from leaving the area, and they are moving further down West Florissant Street toward the QuikTrip gas station and convenience store.

Armored vehicles, SWAT vehicles, and police in fully body armor are pushing down the road. A helicopter is still circling overhead.

Tags: Ferguson

Raymond Gravel, R.I.P.



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Conservative Catholics in the United States frequently bemoan what they perceive as the excessive liberalism of their Church in this country. I have been consoling them for years with the assurance that they have it easy, compared with their coreligionists in our neighbor to the north, and especially in the province of Quebec. La Belle Province, as recently as 60 years ago, was a stronghold of conservative Catholicism, in which the Catholic Church wielded a great deal of clout in political affairs — but, as tends to happen in places where religion has too much power in the secular sphere, a reaction set in that was ferociously anticlerical. In Quebec, the Church responded by veering left.

Consider this news-service story, headlined “Canadians pack Quebec cathedral for funeral of Father Raymond Gravel.” It begins: “St. Charles Borromeo Cathedral was packed as Bishop Gilles Lussier and several priests concelebrated the funeral of Father Raymond Gravel, an outspoken social activist and advocate for Quebec independence.” And it goes on to describe how the late Father Gravel, who had been an elected member of Canada’s Parliament for two years, was loaded with honors in death as he had been in life. Internet homages flowed; politicians and journalists praised him; the mayor of Montreal ordered the city’s flag to be flown at half-staff. (He had been a chaplain to firefighters; even before his death the firefighters had named a building in his honor.)

While he declared his personal opposition to abortion, Father Gravel was an outspoken advocate of abortion rights, and publicly excoriated Quebec’s (and Canada’s) primate, Marc Cardinal Ouellet, for defending the Catholic Church’s position on abortion. In an op-ed in the newspaper Le Trait d’Union, Gravel pointed out that 94 percent of Quebecers disagreed with the cardinal. This latter fact illustrates what I was saying above about the religious and cultural changes in Quebec over the past half-century. It also makes me bristle at the comment of a Radio Canada journalist quoted in the wire-service story: “Raymond said out loud the things that many Quebecers thought but didn’t dare express.” Yes, saying out loud what 94 percent of one’s fellow citizens believe really makes one a profile in courage. This demonstrates perfectly, though, the reactionary-anticlericalist mindset: They are standing up bravely against a foe that was vanquished decades ago, and now exists purely in their imagination — as a bogeyman whose threats justify unthinking adherence to politically correct doctrine.

That’s enough squawking on my part; I have already come too close to violating the spirit as well as the letter of de mortuis nil nisi bonum. Raymond Gravel was a complicated man: In what proved to be the twilight of his years, he simultaneously supported Quebec’s historic euthanasia law . . . and opposed the government’s controversial and highly secular Charter of Values. He had had a rough start in life — as a young man, he was a gay prostitute in Montreal — and he did have a prophetic passion for the unprivileged and the outcasts of society. One wishes he had exercised this passion more evenly, and included within its boundaries the unborn whose lives are threatened. Dead at 61; R.I.P.

Revolutionary Justice



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Certainly any time in America that an unarmed suspect is fatally shot by a policeman of the opposite race, there is a need for concern and a quick and full inquiry of the circumstances leading to such a deadly use of force. That said, there is something disturbing about the demagogic efforts to rush to judgment in Ferguson, Mo. While it is understandable to deplore the militarization of the police that might accentuate rising tensions on the street, and to note that a mostly white police force might be less sensitive to a majority African-American populace, there is as yet not much evidence that the antithesis — a more relaxed approach to crowd control under the direction of a sensitive African-American law-enforcement official — has so far resulted in an end of the street violence or of the looting of stores. Too little police deterrence can be just as dangerous as too much.

It is also an American tradition that those under suspicion are considered innocent until the evidence is gathered, sifted, and adjudicated. Instead, the officer in question has more or less been tried and found guilty by those on the street (some of whom are calling for his death) and the media who reports on them. The governor has been particularly demagogic in blasting as character disparagement the logical release of a video showing the deceased minutes before the shooting robbing a store and brutally intimidating a clerk half his size — a fact naturally of some relevance in the ensuing disputed events.

If in fact the video has been doctored in the prior fashion of NBC’s selective editing of the Zimmerman tape or CNN’s distortion of the Zimmerman vocabulary, or ABC’s massaging of the video of Zimmerman’s wounds, then certainly disparagement is the correct noun; if not, the governor should be ashamed of himself. As of now, we have no accurate idea of whether the officer in question had reasonable cause initially to stop and interrogate the deceased, was first hurt in an altercation over his gun with a robbery suspect, or was charged and put in mortal danger by the deceased — or simply panicked, overreacted, and shot an unarmed man. What little evidence that has so far emerged from eyewitnesses, a video, and the police report remains ambiguous. 

No matter. The gratuitous looting and street violence, the almost instantaneous rush to blast the police by soon to be presidential candidate Rand Paul; the arrival of the usual demagogues — Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson (“state execution”), and the New Black Panther Party — the reluctance to suspend judgment until we learn the circumstances of the fatal encounter and hear from the policeman involved, the unnecessary TV filming of the home of the officer in question, the politically motivated distortions of the media, the now customary editorializing in tense racial matters by President Obama before the facts are established — so reminiscent of the Trayvon Martin case — are all a sort of revolutionary street justice, but do not reflect the rule of constitutional law and do not calm racial tensions.

Tags: Ferguson

Ferguson Protester to Cop: ‘F*** You, N*****’



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Warning: Video contains foul language.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The title of this post was originally “You F***ing N*****” — error due to mishearing.

Tags: Ferguson

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