Sunday, November 30, 2014

Last Call For Religious Freedom (For Some)

To recap, the First Amendment allows for freedom of religious worship, unless Islam.  Wait, there's no "unless Islam" part?  Could have fooled Minnesota Republican Jack Whitley.

A Minnesota Republican who posted inflammatory remarks about Muslims on his Facebook page resigned from his position as the chairman of the Big Stone County Republican Party on Friday.

Jack Whitley told the Associated Press he had no plans to resign, but was asked to by other board members after his comments became national news.

Whitley had said he was opposed waterboarding terrorists because he believed that Muslim “parasites” should be killed.

After facing criticism for the remarks, he doubled-down, adding that Muslims should either convert to Christianity or leave the United States. He also said that Muslims don’t deserve First Amendment rights because Islam “infringes on the peace and the tranquility of this nation.”

“If you want to consider this a call to arms, then so be it,” he wrote on his Facebook page, which has since been made private.

But remember, liberals are the intolerant ones because the First Amendment applying to anyone other than Christians is "PC fascism" against Baby Jesus.  Besides, if you have a problem with the First Amendment applying only to whom Republicans say it applies to:

If you want to consider this a call to arms, then so be it

Then the Second Amendment will remedy it, right?

Held To A Different Standard

Whether or not you believe the White House turkey pardoning tradition is endearing or insipid (or both!) the fact remains that while Obama is in the Oval Office, he is held to a different and higher standard than previous occupants.  And the same apparently goes for his daughters, Sasha and Malia.

A Republican staffer apologized on Friday for comments she made about the way Sasha and Malia Obama dressed for the turkey pardoning ceremony on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Lauten, the communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), wrote in a Facebook post that the Obama girls did not dress with "class" and looked like they were dressed for "a spot at a bar."

Yes, that's right, the First Daughters are under attack for being teenagers.  Well, teenagers who are a little different than the previous ones.

Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.

There are many things wrong with this, but let's start with the way Lauten is trying to slut shame Obama's daughters.  As a reminder, this is what they were wearing Wednesday:


How awful.

Exactly what's wrong with what Sasha and Malia Obama are wearing?  OH NOES YOU CAN SEE HER KNEES.  And remember, this is from the same group of people constantly complaining about how the War on Women is a myth, and that liberals are fascists who are controlling every aspect of how we look and dress in a too politically correct world.  They are teenagers, dressed as such.

And yet she has the unmitigated call to tell the daughters of the first African-American president in US history to "stretch" and "rise to the occasion?"

No, this is a snarling Republican operative putting two young women of color in their place, plain and simple. The assumption of privilege here is overwhelming.

As usual with these cases, her apology was even worse.

"I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager. After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly how hurtful my words were," she wrote. "Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no pace in my heart. Furthermore, I'd like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience."

I'm sorry you thought I was offending you, and I prayed for hours, so I'm off the hook.

Even more privilege assumed.

Remember, she's a political PR professional, hired as such.  If anything, she's woefully incompetent and should be fired.

On second thought, Republicans should probably promote her.  I'd love to see this person in charge of the GOP's 2016 campaign messaging.  And remember kids, Sasha and Malia are fair game in the eyes of the GOP.

The Grand Screwing In Ferguson, Con't

Andrew "Aptly Named" McCarthy at National Review wonders out loud why the "race hustlers" even made Darren Wilson go to a grand jury after shooting Michael Brown.  After all, the "facts" were Wilson, as a cop, had only to tell his side of the story to end the case right then and there.

For the American Left, a bedrock myth is that white cops kill black kids. It derives from the overarching myth that casts racism as our indelible national sin. As Heather Mac Donald explains, citing exhaustive criminology studies, it flows seamlessly from the quackery that dismisses the disproportionately high incidence of violent crime in African-American communities as an illusion — as the product of police racism and the consequent hyper-targeting of black boys and men, rather than of racial differences in patterns of offending.

Darren Wilson was a white cop and Michael Brown was a black teenager killed in a violent confrontation with Wilson. Therefore, Brown was the victim of a cold-blooded, racially motivated murder, Q.E.D. That is the myth, and it will be served — don’t bother us with the facts.

Once you’ve got that, none of the rest matters. In fact, at the hands of the left-leaning punditocracy, the rest was pure Alinsky: a coopting of language — in this instance, the argot of grand-jury procedure — to reason back to the ordained conclusion that “justice” demanded Wilson’s indictment for murder. And, of course, his ultimate conviction.

I could spend the rest of the day rehearsing why these legal claims are specious. Particularly risible is the story line that the grand jury convened by St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch was a sham — a story line that is itself an elaborate fraud.

Prosecutors can indict a ham sandwich, we were lectured, because the state’s burden in a grand-jury proceeding is so scant. Prosecutors need not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, as they must do at trial; they merely need show probable cause that a crime was committed — and by the person of whom it was alleged — and a trial should therefore be held. There was conflicting testimony about who the aggressor was in the Wilson–Brown confrontation; therefore, the story line goes, there was more than enough cause to indict Wilson and let the ultimate determination of guilt — and you can be sure they mean guilt — be made at a public trial. McCulloch instead used the grand jury to exculpate Wilson, a white (cop) privilege that a black defendant could never dream of obtaining.

To describe this as nonsense is a slander on nonsense. It is freely conceded that the grand-jury inquest into Brown’s killing was more a political than a legal exercise. That, however, was the result of intimidation by the Left’s race-mythology agitators — very much including the president and the attorney general of the United States. It was clearly not aimed at benefitting Wilson.

McCarthy hits all the notes in his piece:  Liberals are like Stalin, Mussolini, and of course Saul Alinsky, Obama is a race agitator, and since Wilson, as a cop, would never have been convicted, there was no reason to even bring the case to a grand jury.

And of course, the real victim here is Darren Wilson, who has been "forced" to resign for a crime he didn't commit.  Or rather, what he did commit was not a crime in the death of Mike Brown.  Brown is dead, but of course with McCarthy and the right, that's not the point.  The community raised half a million for Wilson, and he'll have a nice retirement from his job now.

Congrats, here's your bonus for killing a black kid.  And for no extra charge, we get McCarthy here to dictate the tale of Darren Wilson, Real American Hero, who did his job by killing one of those "thugs".

The same people who tell us that liberals are unapologetic fascists are the same ones who see no problem with domestic law enforcement being judge, jury, and executioner.  That's not strange at all, is it?

[UPDATE] National Review editor Rich Lowry reinforces the "lesson" of Ferguson:

But what I really object to is you can discuss all of these problems, but let's not pretend that this particular incident was something it wasn't. If you look at the most credible evidence, the lessons are really basic. Don't rob a convenience store. Don't fight a policeman when he's stopped you and try to take his gun and when he yells at you to stop with is gun drawn, just stop and none of this would have happened.

To recap, failing to obey a police officer is punishable by summary execution.  Oh well. Eggs get broken, America.

Sunday Morning Read: Art Is Theft, Art As Theft

Your Sunday morning long read is Robert Kolker's NY Magazine piece on the bizarre story of artist Jasper Johns and his assistant James Meyer, and how the reclusive artist is accusing Meyer of stealing his work.  But there's always more to the story than just simple theft, especially when the artist has always been secretive.  And since Johns's work has sold for tens of millions of dollars in the past, well, when you involve sums of money like that, things always get complicated.

Johns’s primary studio — a large, fully renovated old barn on the grounds of his 130-acre estate in Sharon, Connecticut — is a reflection of his personality. There is no Jeff Koons–like army of implementers doing his bidding and no Andy Warhol–like Factory of hangers-on in the corners, watching it all happen. He only occasionally allows visitors; the few assistants he’s employed are meant to recede into the background, there but not there. It was in Sharon that one friend, the art dealer Francis Naumann, first met Johns’s longtime studio assistant James Meyer.

Given how withdrawn Meyer was around Johns, it’s a little remarkable that Naumann managed to get to know him at all. Stocky and mostly silent, Meyer seemed mainly to be on hand to help Johns move things around in the studio; he would join them for lunch, too, but rarely took part in the conversation and almost never shared an opinion. After a number of visits, Meyer let Naumann know that he, too, was an artist. “He was painting a little like Jasper,” the art dealer remembers, “though, of course, he was completely unknown.” When he learned that Meyer had dyslexia and had difficulty writing the personal statements and other literature that an artist needs to be noticed by gallery owners and dealers, Naumann offered to help. “Every once in a while he would send me something that he wrote, and I would try to put it into better English.”

Naumann’s next brush with Meyer — the important one — took place in the spring of 2009. Naumann was contacted by a fellow art dealer named Fred Dorfman, asking if he knew of any collectors in the market for a small work by Jasper Johns, a 12-by-14-inch black-and-white drawing on plastic — “a complete and fully finished, beautiful drawing” signed by Johns, Naumann says. Dorfman emailed a photo of the drawing to Naumann, who then sent it to a client of his, a New Jersey–based collector named Frank Kolodny, who fell in love with it. Soon after, Naumann learned that the person selling the drawing was Meyer. On the face of it, he insists, the news that Johns’s longtime studio assistant was unloading one of his boss’s works struck him as only slightly peculiar. Artists like Meyer “always need money at one time or another,” Naumann says.

Given everything that’s happened since, it’s not surprising that Naumann sounds a little defensive when he tells the rest of the story. It made sense at the time, he says, that Meyer would, over the years, have received at least one of Johns’s works as a present. In fact, Naumann had once seen a Johns drawing not so different from this one hanging above the fireplace in the home of Sarah Taggart, Johns’s secretary. It also made sense, Naumann says, when he learned that Meyer had set two conditions on the transaction: The sale could not be public, and the buyer could not resell the drawing for eight years. “You can’t go tell the artist, ‘I’m selling the drawing you gave me,’ ” Naumann says. “It might make it a little bit uncomfortable if he’s still working for the guy.”

They agreed on a sale price: $400,000. Naumann says he conducted the appropriate due diligence. He negotiated for Kolodny to be allowed to break the eight-year sale restriction if Meyer stopped working for Johns for any reason. He had Dorfman send him a copy of an official record kept in Johns’s office, verifying the work was a gift to Meyer. And he got a sworn affidavit from Meyer himself saying the work was authentic, he’d owned it since 1995, and he had the authority to sell it.

What he didn’t do, however, was pick up the phone to try to discuss the sale with Johns. Better, he thought, to be discreet — and sensitive to the studio assistant who was parting with an artistic treasure he no doubt had witnessed the master create. For the same reason, he says, he never spoke with Meyer. This couldn’t have been an easy decision for the man. Why rub it in?

It would be another three years before Naumann, along with everyone else, would learn the truth — that the page from Johns’s ledger was a complete forgery; that the drawing, though a genuine artwork by Jasper Johns, never belonged to Meyer; that Meyer had covertly pulled it from a file drawer in Johns’s studio; and that there’d been a lot more where that came from

The whole story, I think, would make an excellent movie. Meyers is an artist in his own right, a frustrated one, obliterated in the shadow of the great Jasper Johns, and that's where things get very fuzzy.  Do read the story.
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