Monday, May 08, 2017

MORAL ILLITERACY by Richard Kirk (Amazon Kindle)

Most Americans are now morally illiterate—incapable of engaging in serious moral analysis. Exhibit A in favor of this proposition is the frequency with which the rhetorical challenge, "Who's to say what's right or wrong?" is used to shut down moral discussion--and then met with confused silence by the question's victim. The first chapter of this book provides a succinct and convincing reply to that challenge. Subsequent chapters analyze other comments designed to avoid serious moral reflection--statements like the following: "It's just entertainment," "Ethics is really personal," "I gotta be me," "Be true to what you believe." The substitution of the term "value" for "virtue" and the modern redefinition of the term "hypocrisy" are additional linguistic shell games that have contributed to Americans' inability and unwillingness to engage in meaningful moral discourse. The former change makes possible the morality-negating declaration that one is "entitled to his own values," while the latter disposes of the no-longer-popular aphorism, "Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice gives to virtue." A concluding chapter explains "What went wrong?" and points an accusing finger at the electronic traveling salesmen who replaced the moral guides who provided most of our ethical instruction prior to the advent of mass electronic communication. This changing of the moral guard is an immensely important and little-discussed cultural event that substituted advertisers, celebrities, and media movers and shakers for the ministers, parents, and persons of character who traditionally provided the lion's share of moral messaging in actual communities. The philosophical roots of our nation's moral illiteracy are also discussed briefly in this work, but these comments do not by any stretch of the imagination constitute a ponderous philosophical lecture. On the other hand, individuals who find moral discourse quite distasteful, will find the contents of this book hard to swallow.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

My Review of "Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer"

Not since Hannah Arendt’s portrait of Adolf Eichmann has there been a more provocative analysis of evil as that provided in Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer’s work detailing the crimes, trial, and personality of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, “America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.”

“Banality” was the word Arendt chose for Eichmann’s bureaucratic officiousness in the Third Reich’s Ministry of Death.  That term, however, hardly fits the acts of a self-assured abortionist who regularly snipped the spinal cords of babies born alive, kept infants’ feet as trophies, ran an illegal prescription drug mill, and hired assistants who were totally unqualified to perform medical duties in a filthy, ramshackle facility.  What’s surprising about Gosnell, however, is that his greed and macabre callousness existed alongside an often cheerful disposition that accompanied various acts of charity.  Consequently, Gosnell had a good reputation among most of the poor community he both served and exploited.

Additionally, the authors’ prison interview with Gosnell gives the impression of a self-confident individual with at least moderate intellectual and artistic talent -- a man with a positive outlook on the future who enjoyed traveling abroad, namedropping (a friend of slain late-term abortionist, George Tiller), and playing Chopin on the piano.  Nevertheless, Gosnell clearly overestimated his professional and intellectual abilities as indicated by his desire to represent himself in the trial at which he was ultimately found guilty on three counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison -- a sentence the doctor is confident will one day be overturned.

The term “banality” does comport, however, with the lassitude and indifference displayed by Pennsylvania’s abortion-oversight bureaucracy --  whose officials were all too willing to forego inspections, let gross violations slide, and dismiss even complaints associated with the deaths of two women Gosnell treated.  Pennsylvania’s pro-choice Republican governor, Tom Ridge, comes in for special criticism by the authors for his “hands-off” policy vis-à-vis facility inspections -- though they also note that the state’s bureaucratic malfeasance extended well beyond Ridge’s tenure.   

Accordingly, Gosnell’s late-term abortion house of horrors was exposed not by folks charged with the responsibility of making abortions “safe,” but rather by a cop investigating the source of some illegal prescription drugs.  The unsanitary conditions in Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society
clinic -- e.g. cat feces, urine stench, milk jugs stuffed with aborted baby parts -- raised enough concerns to begin a probe of Gosnell’s “official” practice. 

The death of another patient opened additional investigatory doors.  This immigrant from Bhutan (mislabeled “the Indian woman” by Gosnell) had the misfortune of being heavily anesthetized by one of Gosnell’s unqualified assistants who took orders over the phone from the absent doctor.  Lies told by Gosnell and his staff about the treatment of Karnamaya Mongar didn’t deflect Detective Jim Wood and district attorneys from finally attempting to determine how far Gosnell had gone beyond the illegal distribution of prescription drugs.

Eventually the prosecution brought seven murder charges against Gosnell for killing live babies plus another charge for Mongar’s death.  Though the practice of “snipping” the spinal cords of late-term babies was common at Gosnell’s clinic, the prosecution required clear evidence that infants long since deceased had actually been alive before being murdered.  However, since there was no other logical reason for utilizing this unusual procedure on aborted fetuses, the authors estimate that Gosnell, who specialized in late-term abortions, killed “hundreds” and possibly “thousands” of live babies over the decades.

McElhinney and McAleer’s work provides an extensive account of Gosnell’s defense, presented by one of the state’s premier attorneys, Jack McMahon. McMahon’s cross examination of a prosecution witness who occasionally performed legal abortions at a prestigious hospital contains some of the most damning testimony in the book.  The defense lawyer argued skillfully that there is precious little difference between what Gosnell is accused of doing to live babies at his poor community facility and the legal approach to a live fetus (i.e. baby) after an attempted abortion in an upscale hospital.  In the halting words of a respected female physician, they would “just keep it warm you know.  It will eventually pass.”         

The book also highlights other legal absurdities.  In Pennsylvania, for example, it is legal to abort a fetus at 23 weeks and 6 days, even a minute before day 7, but it is a crime to carry out the same abortion a minute later -- a distinction akin to legally sucking the brain out of a baby a few inches before it exits the womb or illegally snipping its spinal cord moments later.  Ironically, Gosnell, who regularly manipulated ultrasound data to fit abortions within the state’s legal limit, appears to have believed Pennsylvania permitted abortions up to 24 and a half weeks, as his incomplete and often inaccurate records regularly noted the age of late-term fetuses as 24.5 weeks.

Given the brutal nature of late-term abortions, it’s hardly surprising that our pro-choice national press devoted minimal time to Gosnell’s trial.  After all, wall-to-wall coverage would doubtless raise profound questions about the morality of abortion and especially late-term abortions -- as it did with Gosnell’s pro-choice jury and the book’s once pro-choice author, Ann McElhinney.  Only a prominent USA Today editorial penned by The Daily Beast’s Kirsten Powers prodded mainstream journalists into providing slightly more coverage.

This gripping and detailed book about Gosnell is a further attempt by McElhinny and McAleer to remedy that widespread media blackout.  In the near future the same husband-wife team will release a feature-length film to further publicize the largely suppressed truth about “America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.”   

When one considers what this book reveals about the gruesome details, moral incoherence, and institutional trappings surrounding late-term abortions, it becomes easier to see how an arrogant, controlling doctor like Kermit Gosnell could continue for decades cheerfully snipping live babies’ spinal cords and committing medical malpractice on a grand scale.  After all, Gosnell is precisely the type of person who would be drawn to such a macabre specialty, all the while deeming his den of depravity a service to the community.     


Abortion and the Banality of Evil

Not since Hannah Arendt’s portrait of Adolf Eichmann has there been a more provocative analysis of evil as that provided in Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer’s [work] detailing the crimes, trial, and personality of Dr. Kermit Gosnell ...

Friday, January 13, 2017

"Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer"

I have long thought that the widespread practice of abortion (c.50 million since 1973, and over a million a year currently) is the "original sin" at the heart of America's moral depravity. The upcoming book and movie about abortionist Kermit Gosnell exposes in gruesome detail the largely unspoken and unseen reality of this depravity.
The following material is from BREITBART:
Gosnell — who has been called America’s “most prolific serial killer” — operated what the 300-page grand jury report later called a “baby charnel house,” in which he regularly killed babies born alive at his clinic, which itself was staffed with inexperienced nurses and littered with blood-stained furniture and the remains of fetuses stored in basement freezers. Gosnell was later convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and hundreds of lesser charges, and in 2013 was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
But before the film comes out, McAleer and McElhinny will release Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer, through Regnery Publishing on January 24. The book details the investigation that ultimately brought Gosnell down, and also examines the mainstream media’s reluctance to cover the story due to its subject matter.
In this exclusive excerpt from the forthcoming book, McElhinney describe how she came to investigate Gosnell’s story and why it changed her thoughts about the practice of abortion forever.
"I never trusted or liked pro-life activists. Even at college I thought them too earnest and too religious. I thought the shocking images they showed were manipulative. I distinctly remember my argument: a heart transplant is gross to look at, too. I don’t want to look at pictures of that, and heart transplants are brilliant. So back off, prolifers with your scary pictures. I also didn’t trust the provenance of the pictures; I was sure they had been photo shopped.
If the anti-abortion position was so strong, it should be able to argue without resorting to emotionally manipulating its audience with fraudulent horror pictures.
Once you have this mentality, it’s very easy to completely dismiss pro-life activists. And the universities of the world are teeming with young people just like that young person I once was.
Fast forward to April 2013 and Kermit Gosnell’s trial in Philadelphia, when everything changed.
Nothing in the intervening years had shaken my feelings on the subject.
But the images shown in the courtroom were not from activists, they were from police detectives and medical examiners and workers at the 3801 Lancaster Ave clinic. The expert testimony describing “good” abortions was from OB/GYNs who had been performing abortions for thirty years. The witnesses swore an oath to tell the truth and to present the evidence, and they did, under pain of penalty for perjury.
What they said and the pictures they showed changed me. I am not the same person I was.
Abortion arguments from pro-abortion advocates tend to avoid any actual talk of how an abortion is done and what exactly it is that is being aborted. I know a lot about both now.
I now know that what is aborted is a person, with little hands and nails and a face that from the earliest times has expression. The humanity in all the pictures is unmistakable, the pictures of the babies that were shown as evidence in the Gosnell trial—first, second, and third trimester babies, in all their innocence and perfection.
I also know that in a proper, legal abortion babies are poisoned in their mother’s womb by injecting a needle filled with potassium chloride into the baby’s heart. Then the baby is suctioned out in pieces. If the baby is bigger, forceps are used to pull it out in pieces— an arm, a leg, the head often torn from the torso. If the head is too big to pull out, the abortionist makes a hole in the base of the skull and the brain is sucked out to collapse the skull so the head can come easily. That’s how it’s done when it’s done well.
Reading the testimony and sifting through the evidence in the case in the research for this book and for writing the script of the movie has been brutal. I have wept at my computer. I have said the Our Father sitting at my desk. I am no holy roller—I hadn’t prayed in years—but at times when I was confronted with the worst of this story I didn’t know what else to do.
I have had a profound sense of the presence of evil in the actions of Gosnell and his staff and their complete lack of conscience. Most disturbing of all is the banality of the evil; in the clinic they joked and laughed amidst the carnage.
I am absolutely certain that the dead babies spoken of in court were unique people whom the world will now never know. I hope this book and the movie go some way to mark the fact that they lived and in their short lives made a difference. Time will tell. This story can change hearts and minds; it has mine.
I can’t reconcile the certainty of the babies’ humanity with the fact that killing babies in the womb at these same ages is perfectly legal in many parts of the U.S. Kirsten Powers put it eloquently: “Regardless of such quibbles, about whether Gosnell was killing the infants one second after they left the womb instead of partially inside or completely inside the womb—as in a routine late-term abortion—is merely a matter of geography. That one is murder and the other is a legal procedure is morally irreconcilable.”
The jurors had to listen to the stories of the lives and deaths of Baby Boy A Abrams (29.4 weeks), whose photograph is on the Internet; Baby Boy B (twenty-eight weeks), whose frozen remains were found in the clinic—the medical examiner’s photograph of him with his neck slit is online—Baby C, who breathed for twenty minutes before Lynda Williams “snipped” his life; Baby D, who was delivered in a toilet and tried to swim to safety before Adrienne Moton slit his windpipe; Baby E, who cried before Dr. Gosnell cut his neck; and Baby F, who moved his leg up to his chest before he was killed. They saw pictures of the forty-seven dead babies discovered at the clinic the night of the raid, their remains stuffed into old milk cartons and kitty litter containers.
These babies sent Gosnell to prison. But more than that, they are the most eloquent evidence we have ever had of the reality of abortion.
The media have tried to ignore their stories.
We will not."
"Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer," is due out January 24 from Regnery Publishing.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Chappaqua Hill' -- The Bleach Bit Tantrum

Chappaqua Hill' is throwing a fit,
O'er the email fuse Comey has lit.
A congenital liar,
Her pantsuit on fire,
As she yells, "Where the hell's my BleachBit!"

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections, by Fred Lucas

Who should read Fred Lucas’s book, Tainted by Suspicion?  Folks whose knowledge of Aaron Burr comes primarily from a milk commercial, individuals who think Benjamin Harrison was one of the Beatles, and especially moderately informed voters who labor under the illusion that there once was a golden age of political decorum in the United States.  Indeed, even history buffs are likely to discover a plethora of new facts and perspectives by perusing Lucas’s analysis of The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections -- specifically the elections of 1800, 1824, 1876, 1888, 1960, and 2000.

“Historiphobes” should be pleased to know that Lucas, a veteran White House correspondent, doesn’t overwhelm readers with unnecessary facts and generally focuses attention only on relevant details.  Most folks will easily cover one or two elections in a single sitting -- without the twin dangers of drowning in mind-numbing minutiae or being starved with cartoonish oversimplification.

For each contested election Lucas provides a succinct portrait of the primary candidates, issues, and campaigns -- descriptions that belie any notion of a kinder, gentler era of political discourse.  Indeed, on the whole, one could easily conclude that modern campaigns are less vicious than their 19th century predecessors.  In 1876, for example, Democrats chanted “Tilden or blood” when it appeared the supporters of Rutherford B. Hayes were going to string together enough disputed electoral votes to overturn what appeared to be a Tilden victory -- a victory achieved, one must add, with the help of KKK vote suppression in the South.  Fortunately, Tilden was more politic than his most ardent supporters, especially since both he and Hayes (subsequently known as “Rutherfraud”) were ready to end Reconstruction.    

The election of Jefferson in 1800 stands out from the others as it represents the nation’s first transfer of power from one fledgling party to another -- a transfer accomplished peacefully despite palpable distrust of the man Federalist partisans denounced as an atheist with sympathies for a French Revolution that only recently had produced a bloody “Reign of Terror.”  These fears led some members of the House of Representatives to consider Aaron Burr a preferable alternative to Jefferson when both received the same number of electoral votes for President.  Lucas clearly explains the reasons for this Constitutional crisis and points to a little-known player who helped avoid a rupture that would have threatened the existence of the young republic.  In addition, Lucas offers insights into Aaron Burr’s political life that adds a degree of complexity to the simple portrait of Burr as the unprincipled person who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and sought to become Emperor in the Louisiana territory.      

Twenty-four years later, Andrew Jackson, principal founder of the Democratic Party, was willing to wait till 1828 to capture the Presidency that eluded him in a four-way race where he received a plurality, but not a majority, of electoral and popular votes.  Lucas describes the relevant ins-and-outs of the perfectly legal decision by the House of Representatives to award the Presidency to John Quincy Adams.  This decision, however, was denounced as a “corrupt bargain” by Jackson supporters when another contender in the Presidential race, Henry Clay of Kentucky, was named Adams’s Secretary of State.  Old Hickory’s successful 1828 campaign began promptly when he was nominated by the Tennessee state legislature in 1825.  So much for the idea that only modern campaigns seem interminable. 

Older folks are probably familiar with the chicanery that occurred during the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon race.  While Lucas provides a few specific examples of election fraud in Kennedy’s favor, he’s doubtful they changed the ultimate outcome of the election. This is certainly a debatable point since, as Lucas notes, Kennedy carried Illinois by a mere 9,000 votes and Texas by 46,000.  A little-recalled aspect of the 1960 election that Lucas also explores involves the Alabama ballot that was split between five Democrat electors pledged to Kennedy and six unpledged electors who ultimately voted for Virginia Senator Harry Byrd.  Given this split, it’s plausible to argue that over half of the Democratic vote in Alabama wasn’t for Kennedy.  Thus, Nixon, at least according to Congressional Quarterly, actually won the national popular vote by 60,000.  Perhaps the most significant detail in Lucas’s account of the 1960 election is Nixon’s patriotic reason for not contesting the vote.  Such a legal battle amid the Cold War would send the wrong signal to nations about America’s democratic system. 

Lucas’s discussion of the 2000 Bush-Gore election provides a detailed but readable summary of the litigation in Florida and concludes that, as in all the other cases, nothing was stolen.  He emphasizes that while the Supreme Court split 5-4 in favor of stopping the Florida recount, it was a 7-2 vote that rejected the hand counts taking place in only four select Democratic counties, with varying standards.  Lucas also notes that Bill Daley, son of the Chicago mayor whose political machine cranked out phantom votes for Kennedy in 1960, was a prominent member of Gore’s legal team.  On the other side, of course, was Florida Governor Jeb Bush, George W’s brother.

A “what if” chapter concludes each election analysis.  What if Gore had been President?  What if Grover Cleveland had won in 1888 instead of Benjamin Harrison? (That election was never formally contested but was included because Cleveland won the popular, but not the electoral, vote.)  Citing various historians and journalists, Lucas illustrates how widespread opinions are on these what-if questions.  He thus adds to Yogi Berra’s observation, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” the fact that it’s also very hard to make predictions about the past.  I feel safe, however, in predicting that anyone who reads Tainted by Suspicion will be wiser for the effort.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already, by Roger L. Simon

Why do few people change their political views “even in the face of literally earthshaking world events” like 9/11?  Roger Simon’s answer to that question is “moral narcissism.”  His book explains the nature and consequences of this malady that was largely spawned by members of the “Least Great Generation,” folks, including the author (1943), born during or shortly before World War Two -- radical-wannabes that include John Lennon (1940), Tom Hayden (1939), Abbie Hoffman (1936), and Gloria Steinem (1934).    

An illustration of moral narcissism not employed by Simon is the Seinfeld character, Elaine -- a woman whose sense of moral worth is derived from opinions that coincide with fashionable progressivism (Greenpeace activism, contempt for pro-lifers, contempt for her boyfriend’s “Jesus fish,” contempt for Christian music radio presets, contempt for women wearing fur coats).  Despite a largely self-centered, shallow, and promiscuous life, Elaine is convinced she’s a “good humanitarian” and proves it by self-consciously complimenting her waitress on “doing a great job.”  

The examples provided by Simon, unfortunately, aren’t fictional and have had disastrous, perhaps fatal, consequences for the nation -- fashionable anti-capitalist Marxism (espoused by thousands of well-compensated professors as well as Pope Francis); a nostalgia for racism that stokes racial hatred by inventing micro-aggressions that supposedly explain and thus excuse black criminality; climate-change ideologues who declare the issue settled (a ridiculously anti-scientific assertion) and who label anyone who dissents from the media-enforced consensus (even MIT’s premier climatologist, Richard Lindzen) a “denier.”   

Radical environmentalism is another arena where moral narcissism flourishes, a movement whose DDT ban, spawned in 1962 by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, led to hundreds of thousands of malaria deaths in Africa.  Then there is the non-judgmental, all-religions-are-equal view of Islam that blames Western imperialism for causing terrorism -- a pat-oneself-on-the-back brand of “tolerance” that ignores or chooses to remain ignorant of Islam’s bloody, expansionist history prior to the era of Western imperialism.

The primary goal of moral narcissism is not “to do” good, but rather “to feel” good about oneself for having “the right opinion”-- i.e. opinions promulgated by those who deem themselves superior by virtue of their “enlightened” views.  These moral mandarins consist primarily of left-wing politicians, leftist academicians, the mainstream media, and almost all the entertainment industry.  Like Seinfeld’s Elaine, it isn’t how one lives one’s life that counts; it’s the political and moral slogans one mouths.  Indeed, the moral stature gained from being politically au currant serves as absolution for what used to count as personal moral failings -- an arena where non-judgmentalism is demanded by political correctness, at least with respect to ideological soulmates.   

Sympathy for Fidel Castro boosts one’s moral standing since Castro supposedly believes in a utopian socialist state where folks contribute according to their abilities and receive according to their needs.  Never mind that the dictator lives “a lifestyle, including yachts and private islands, that would be the envy of George Soros, while his citizens suffer in penury under constant surveillance, the specter of imprisonment looming.”  Identifying with various victim groups and spouting politically correct mantras likewise “allows Hillary Clinton to go from undergraduate Alinskyite to Chappaqua plutocrat with a net worth in the tens of millions without missing a beat.”  The destructive consequences of leftist policies for minorities aren’t what matter.  What matters is that Hillary and the current narcissist-in-chief feel morally superior to Rubes in flyover country.

Just when you think Simon is becoming tiresome (as he does when repeating polling statistics about gay marriage) he provides a critical insight in chapter 24 that should have been placed near the book’s beginning: “Moral narcissism . . . is a way of explaining away evil, blaming all ills on social causes and therefore pushing back the necessity of examining the human soul or one’s own, of not seeing the possible darkness within . . . moral narcissism obscures reality and therefore threatens democracy. That not everything is perfectible, that there is evil in the world, and that evil is likely to remain forever.” In short, self-scrutiny is replaced with verbal orthodoxies promulgated by an American nomenklatura eager to secure moral status, financial perquisites, and a stream of personal indulgences by endlessly repeating politically correct slogans that are overwhelmingly destructive when applied to the real world -- slogans that promise financial and personal retribution for “bigoted” dissenters.

One major mistake in Simon’s analysis is his wrongheaded O’Reillyish attempt to appear “fair and balanced” by briefly pointing to moral narcissism on the right -- as if opposition to gay marriage or to abortion on demand were in the same league as vacuous shibboleths like refusing to acknowledge radical Islamic terrorism.  Far from being rewarded for the former views, believers are ostracized and punished by the dominant P.C. culture.  Moreover, no serious Christian or Jew would use these moral views to evade self-scrutiny.  Simon’s brief foray into narcissistic equivalence has the effect of putting serious, self-sacrificial morality in the same category as a self-deluding political ruse that rejects any morality existing outside the self -- as if principled abolitionists would be biased “moral narcissists” not much different from slaveholders who mouthed the slogan “popular sovereignty.”

This same confusion infects Simon’s final chapter, which presents his self-proclaimed “bias” as a neocon-libertarian, someone who favors intervention abroad and libertarian lassitude at home. The latter part of that equation does, indeed, represent a degree of “moral narcissism” on the author’s part, allowing him a small measure of expiation from colleagues in the fields of literature and entertainment for the grievous sin of rejecting, for the most part, the self-inflating worldview they embrace with a frantic death grip.

Despite these lapses, Simon’s book is well worth the time taken to understand the head-snapping moral contradictions that permeate the worlds of George Soros (chapter 21!), Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.         

Deception: The Making of the YouTube Video Hillary and Obama Blamed for Benghazi, by Kenneth Timmerman

This book by Ken Timmerman contains several blockbuster claims that match Wag the Dog deception in their audacity -- claims backed with evidence ranging from extremely solid to highly plausible.  In the former category is the assertion that neither the Cairo riots on September 11, 2012, nor the Benghazi attacks that began later that night were inspired by the infamous YouTube video produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the shady Coptic Egyptian living in Southern California.   

By now informed observers concede the latter point, but most are unaware of the evidence demonstrating that the earlier Cairo riot had long been focused on demanding release of the Blind Sheikh.  As Timmerman puts it, the one-minute, thirty second “Arabic language trailer, which virtually nobody had actually seen, was only tacked on at the last minute to attract additional bodies to a demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that had long been in the works.  It did not drive the crowds, or the organizers.  It was simply an afterthought.”  Indeed, on September 10, in an interview with the Blind Sheikh’s son and the brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, CNN reporter Nic Robertson explained, “This is the protest calling for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman” -- an interview that all but disappeared from CNN’s website after the media eagerly adopted Obama and Clinton’s YouTube spin on both Cairo and Benghazi. 

In Deception, Timmerman provides an Afterword that focuses on the Iranian Quds Force commanders who were actually behind the well-organized and long-planned Benghazi raid.  Anyone desiring more details on that attack, however, should consult Timmerman’s previous work, Dark Forces: The Truth About Benghazi (2014).  Even when it became obvious (after the Presidential election) that the White House YouTube explanation was  deceptive, little information was provided about the terrorists actually involved -- and none was disseminated about the central role played by an Iranian regime the Administration was eager to portray as a reasonable treaty partner.      

Perhaps the most damning assertion in Deception is the claim, backed by substantial evidence, that the Obama Administration intentionally promoted the YouTube video so that, in the aftermath of Benghazi, it actually became a cause celebre in the Muslim world.  Obviously the “promotion” of the video was accomplished via denunciation, but the $70,000 spent for air time on seven Pakistani television channels “only served to further inflame Muslims and to spark more violent protests: 83 in all, by the time it died down a month later.” Journalists facilitated this audacious project by gullibly repeating the blame-the-video narrative that was “pre-cooked and spoon-fed” to them “by anonymous sources at the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.”     

The shadowy internet vehicle for widespread dissemination of the video was NewsPoliticsNow, whose NPN3 channel not only removed the video after it went viral but also went off the air and “erased all trace of its existence -- at least to ordinary users.”  NewsPoliticsNow appears to be related to a company called Stanley, Inc. which, according to its website “provides services to the U.S. federal, civilian, defense and intelligence agencies.”  Stanley, Inc., in turn, has as its corporate parent, CGI, the group that “won the initial $678 million contract to build the Obamacare website” and whose Senior Vice-President, Toni Townes-Whitley has “long-standing ties to First Lady Michelle Obama.”  Moreover, other top Stanley and CGI execs “are big Democrat party donors” and CGI Federal president, Donna A. Ryan “enjoyed high-level access to top Obama administration officials.” 

In short, Timmerman provides readers with numerous indicators that the Obama administration helped the video go viral while creating the impression that they had “absolutely nothing to do with it.”  The immediate goal of this deception was to deflect responsibility from the administration for the disaster in Benghazi, but another benefit was to create public pressure for what became (via Nakoula’s dubious imprisonment) backdoor enforcement of blasphemy laws in the U.S.  After all, Secretary Clinton not only promised grieving relatives that the maker of the video would be punished, she also “embraced news laws banning blasphemy as Secretary of State and instructed the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to vote in favor of them, reversing years of U.S. opposition.”  UN Resolution 16/18, which includes serious restrictions on free speech, was apparently being utilized by DOJ official, Tom Perez, when, instead of assuring Congressman Trent Franks that the Department of Justice would “never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against a religion” instead responded by criticizing “hate speech” and “racist speech” -- a detour consistent with Perez’s past support for the idea that criticism of Islam constitutes racial discrimination.

Unfortunately, the preceding topics constitute less than half of Timmerman’s book.  The rest of the work is largely devoted to the legal and personal woes of Cindy Lee Garcia, the actress who, unwittingly, portrayed the mother of the young pre-pubescent girl (Aisha) given to Muhammad as one of his many brides.  While Cindy’s story merits inclusion on a summary basis (especially in light of Google’s unusual unwillingness to remove the offensive video promptly and that corporate giant’s close White House ties) many readers will be distracted by the space devoted to Cindy’s thoughts and travails.  Yes, Google and probably the White House were putting Cindy through a legal and personal hell, but at the same time dozens of folks were being killed abroad because of the Administration’s strategy of deception.  Meanwhile, the American public was being bamboozled in the midst of a Presidential election.  Finally, the video-maker wound up in prison for several months, for what was, de facto if not de jure, a blasphemy charge.  Anyone wishing to focus primarily on the major issues outlined in the review above might want to employ other Timmerman materials -- or read this book selectively.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Ty Cobb Libel

I'm wondering whether the lefties at ESPN will care about the historical libel perpetrated against Ty Cobb by a series of journalists--beginning with a lying drunk, Al Stump, and continued by a series of lazy and complicit journalist-historians who don't bother to check facts that are available for anyone who cares to consult them. Those unvarnished facts are summarized in the linked Imprimus article by an actual non-lazy historian--Charles Leerhsen.