The closing of the minds 1

Applause, please, again for Pat Condell.

He confirms in this video that the universities are now institutions that close minds.

There is NO free speech on campus.

Posted under Anti-Semitism, Commentary, corruption, education, Ethics, Leftism, Progressivism, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, March 5, 2015

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A question of blame 1

The Muslim in this video from the British TV channel Sky News is speaking for an Islamic organization called CAGE.

CAGE, be it well noted, is run by former Guantanamo Bay inmates – and is an affiliate of Amnesty International. 

Amnesty International was taken over by extreme lefties decades ago.

Although Amnesty International is not mentioned, this interview illustrates how far the bizarre alliance between Islam and the Left has defiled and contorted a Western institution founded originally to defend the principle of individual freedom.

Hillary selling herself 2

Chelsea Clinton doesn’t care about money.

It seems that almost everybody doesn’t care about money.

Money is very unpopular.

But we will always give it a warm welcome.

(No, we are not asking our readers for donations. We just want money to know that it can make a happy home with us.)

Chelsea’s parents do not say they care much for money. But one can work out that they do from little pointers, like their accumulation of it, through Hillary giving dull ill-informed speeches for a few hundred thousand a pop.

And accepting millions upon millions of dollars from foreign tyrants, notably – believe it or not – heads of Arab states.

The legality of such donations is questionable, but …

Here’s a says-it-perfectly Michael Ramirez cartoon from Investor’s Business Daily:

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While we blame no one for making as much money as he and she can (and regard envy, not “greed”, as a vice), we do not enjoy the stink of corruption. It is reaching our noses now, emanating from news about the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. 

The Washington Post – which, remember, is heavily biased towards the Left, the Democratic Party, and (probably) the Clintons – reports:

The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday.

Most of the contributions were possible because of exceptions written into the foundation’s 2008 agreement, which included limits on foreign-government donations.

The agreement, reached before Clinton’s nomination amid concerns that countries could use foundation donations to gain favor with a Clinton-led State Department, allowed governments that had previously donated money to continue making contributions at similar levels.

The new disclosures … make clear that the 2008 agreement did not prohibit foreign countries with interests before the U.S. government from giving money to the charity closely linked to the secretary of state.

In one instance, foundation officials acknowledged they should have sought approval in 2010 from the State Department ethics office, as required by the agreement for new government donors, before accepting a $500,000 donation from the Algerian government.

The money was given to assist with earthquake relief in Haiti, the foundation said. At the time, Algeria, which has sought a closer relationship with Washington, was spending heavily to lobby the State Department on human rights issues.

While the foundation has disclosed foreign-government donors for years, it has not previously detailed the donations that were accepted during Clinton’s four-year stint at the State Department.

A foundation spokesman said Wednesday that the donations all went to fund the organization’s philanthropic work around the world. In some cases, the foundation said, foreign-government donations were part of multiyear grants that had been awarded before Clinton’s appointment to pay for particular charitable efforts, such as initiatives to lower the costs of HIV and AIDs drugs and curb greenhouse gas emissions. “As with other global charities, we rely on the support of individuals, organizations, corporations and governments who have the shared goal of addressing critical global challenges in a meaningful way,” said the spokesman, Craig Minassian. “When anyone contributes to the Clinton Foundation, it goes towards foundation programs that help save lives.”

Some of the donations came from countries with complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government, including Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.

Other nations that donated included Australia, Norway and the Dominican Republic.

The foundation presents a unique political challenge for Clinton, and one that has already become a cause of concern among Democrats as she prepares to launch an almost-certain second bid for the presidency.

Rarely, if ever, has a potential commander in chief been so closely associated with an organization that has solicited financial support from foreign governments.

[Hillary] Clinton formally joined the foundation in 2013 after leaving the State Department, and the organization was renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Foreign sources, including governments, made up a third of those who have [each] given the foundation more than $1 million over time. The Post found that the foundation, begun by former president Bill Clinton, has raised nearly $2 billion since its creation in 2001.

Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to U.S. political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits.

In a presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton would be likely to showcase her foreign-policy expertise, yet the foundation’s ongoing reliance on foreign governments’ support opens a potential line of attack for Republicans eager to question her independence as secretary of state and as a possible president. 

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the foundation had accepted new foreign-government money now that the 2008 agreement has lapsed. …

Foreign governments had been major donors to the foundation before President Obama nominated Clinton to become secretary of state in 2009. When the foundation released a list of its donors for the first time in 2008, as a result of the agreement with the Obama administration, it disclosed, for instance, that Saudi Arabia had given between $10 million and $25 million.

In some cases, the foundation said, governments that continued to donate while Clinton was at the State Department did so at lower levels than before her appointment. …

Countries that donated to the foundation during Clinton’s time at the State Department also lobbied the U.S. government during that time.

Qatar, for instance, spent more than $5.3 million on registered lobbyists while Clinton was secretary of state, according to the Sunlight Foundation. … Qatar has also come under criticism from some U.S. allies in the region that have accused it of supporting Hamas and other militant groups. Qatar has denied the allegations.

The 2008 agreement laid out that the new rules were intended to allow the Clinton Foundation to continue its “important philanthropic work around the world,” while also avoiding conflicts. It was signed by Bruce Lindsey, then the foundation’s chief executive, and Valerie Jarrett, who was co-chair of Obama’s transition team. 

John Hinderaker at PowerLine justly comments:

Does anyone seriously think that a foreign government would choose the Clinton Foundation as its preferred charitable vehicle unless it sought to curry favor with a) a former president and still leading figure in the Democratic Party, b) the Secretary of State, and c) a possible future president? How dumb do the Clintons think we are?

Moreover, there is reason to suspect that the Clinton Foundation has served as a slush fund to finance the Clintons’ private enjoyments. The New York Post reported in 2013 that the Clinton Foundation had spent more than $50 million on travel expenses since 2003. Think about that: $50 million! That would cover a lot of the globe-trotting for which the Clintons are famous. …

It isn’t a stretch for the average voter to understand that when Hillary extracts $300,000 per speech from public institutions – a laundered campaign contribution that would otherwise be illegal – and the family foundation rakes in millions from foreign governments while Hillary serves as Secretary of State, the Clintons are more interested in cashing on on their position and their notoriety than in serving the American people.

How much does this fountain of beneficence actually give away to “good causes”? That we have not found out. But there is this – also from the Washington Post:

After earning more than $109 million over eight years, the Clintons took tax write-offs for $10.2 million in charitable contributions. In most of those years, that money was donated to the Clinton Family Foundation, and a portion was distributed to charitable causes. …

Between 2001 and 2006, the years for which tax records are available, the family put nearly $6 million into the foundation. The Clintons took a tax write-off for that money even though the foundation gave away less than half that amount- about $2.5 million. …

And there is this August 2013 report from the New York Times – which is even more biased to the Left, yet cannot make everything about the foundation seem above suspicion:

For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in. …

Worried that the foundation’s operating revenues depend too heavily on Mr. Clinton’s nonstop fund-raising, the three Clintons are embarking on a drive to raise an endowment of as much as $250 million …

The foundation, which has 350 employees in 180 countries, remains largely powered by Mr. Clinton’s global celebrity and his ability to connect corporate executives, A-listers and government officials. On this month’s Africa trip, Mr. Clinton was accompanied by the actors Dakota Fanning and Jesse Eisenberg and the son of the New York City mayoral candidate John A. Catsimatidis, a longtime donor.

Today, big-name companies vie to buy sponsorships at prices of $250,000 and up, money that has helped subsidize the foundation’s annual operating costs. Last year, the foundation and two subsidiaries had revenues of more than $214 million.

Yet the foundation’s expansion has also been accompanied by financial problems. In 2007 and 2008, the foundation also found itself competing against Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign for donors amid a recession. Millions of dollars in contributions intended to seed an endowment were diverted to other programs …

The foundation piled up a $40 million deficit during those two years, according to tax returns. Last year, it ran more than $8 million in the red.

Amid those shortfalls, the foundation has sometimes catered to donors and celebrities who gave money in ways that raised eyebrows in the low-key nonprofit world. In 2009, during a Clinton Global Initiative gathering at the University of Texas at Austin, the foundation purchased a first-class ticket for the actress Natalie Portman, a special guest, who brought her beloved Yorkie, according to two former foundation employees. …

In interviews, foundation officials partly blamed the 2008 recession and difficulties in getting donors to provide operating support rather than restricted grants for specific programs for the deficits. …

On one occasion, a team of employees [flew] around the world for months gathering ideas for a climate change proposal that never got off the ground. …

While much attention has focused on Mrs. Clinton’s emerging role within the foundation, advisers to the family say her daughter’s growing involvement could prove more critical in the years ahead. After years of pursuing other career paths, including working at McKinsey & Company and a hedge fund, Ms. Clinton, 33, has begun to assert herself as a force within the foundation. Her perspective is shaped far more than her parents’ by her time in the world of business, and she is poised to play a significant role in shaping the foundation’s future, particularly if Mrs. Clinton chooses to run for president. …

Over the years, the foundation has dived into virtually any cause that sparked Mr. Clinton’s interest: childhood obesity in the United States, sustainable farming in South America, mentoring entrepreneurs, saving elephants from poaching, and more. That list will shift soon as Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea build their staffs to focus on issues including economically empowering women and combating infant mortality.

In the coming months, as Mrs. Clinton mulls a 2016 presidential bid, the foundation could also serve as a base for her to home in on issues and to build up a stable of trusted staff members who could form the core of a political campaign. …

And Mrs. Clinton’s personal staff of roughly seven people — including [Muslim Brotherhood associate] Huma Abedin … — will soon relocate from a cramped Washington office to the foundation’s headquarters. They will work on organizing Mrs. Clinton’s packed schedule of paid speeches to trade groups and awards ceremonies and assist in the research and writing of Mrs. Clinton’s memoir about her time at the State Department …

Which, of course, will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Posted under corruption, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 26, 2015

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South Africa: a failure of power 14

South Africa, though saved some twenty years ago from the injustices of apartheid, is going steadily downhill.

We quote a letter from James E. Martins, teacher and lecturer:

What a fortnight it has been! Really, living in Johannesburg is difficult at the moment.We now have load-shedding daily – electricity cut off from ten in the morning till two in the afternoon. Infuriating. Seeing crowds of people rushing to banks and pharmacies before the blackouts is a disturbing sight. Shades of the Soviet Union …

Trade is suffering severely. I hear from my cousin in Oz that “the South African crisis” has even made Australia’s very parochial news reports. And no wonder! A country collapsing because of monopoly, corruption, and a complete failure to plan adequately should be newsworthy.

We are all  expected to be technologically savvy in the midst of such a crisis. At school, there is constant talk of greater use of smartboards, computer avatars, etc., etc. With the country’s electricity supplies at risk, it might be more sensible if we all polished our “chalk and talk” — and not a bad thing, either! (Nothing is superior to a teacher with personality and passion!) Still, it is maddening to live on “this isthmus of a middle state” between First World and disintegrating Third World. To give a rather trivial example, I do not know whether to complain to the local Post Office or simply to grind my teeth and wait: I have a host of orders from Amazon.UK  that have not arrived yet. Perhaps I should be patient. After all, I received a couple of Christmas cards a week ago. Africa!

By the way, it is estimated that, in Soweto, people owe R2 billion in unpaid rates for services – i.e. electricity. The ANC will never call such offenders to account for they – or their votes, rather – guarantee the ANC’s retention of power.

I attended an Advanced Programme English Conference this weekend, and had to endure everyone swooning over a YouTube snippet of a speech by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, on the “danger of a single reading”. This is the new catchphrase of the trendy Left. She sneered inevitably at white stereotyping of blacks – while unashamedly doing the reverse! – and made cheap gibes at John Locke. I had to button my indignant lips, but, in my own address, I did make an impassioned plea for accurate reading, not simply fashionable ones. Sadly, I fear that many of my colleagues did not realize my words were a criticism of the rapturously received anti-white diatribe. Adichie mocked whites who believe that Africa is a bloodsoaked mess in which helpless people await redemption by white imperialists.

Africa is a bloodsoaked mess. And there may be people who “await redemption by white imperialists”. But if so, they wait in vain.

Posted under Africa, Australia, Commentary, corruption, education, Literature, Race, South Africa by Jillian Becker on Sunday, February 15, 2015

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What’s happening to the world wide web 0

We stand on the opposite side of the Great Political Divide (freedom v socialism) from Britain’s Guardian newspaper. But it covers the news better, and provides more useful information, than most of its competitors.

We quote from an extract it has taken from a book titled, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen.

The story of yesterday’s post was about the US government controlling our uses of the internet. Today’s story is about international controls on this last zone of freedom; and how a country could build a virtual wall round itself to cut itself off from the global internet  – and then enforce extreme censorship within its own “walled garden”.

Each state will attempt to regulate the internet, and shape it in its own image. The majority of the world’s internet users encounter some form of censorship – also known by the euphemism “filtering” – but what that actually looks like depends on a country’s policies and its technological infrastructure. …

In some countries, there are several entry points for internet connectivity, and a handful of private telecommunications companies control them (with some regulation). In others, there is only one entry point, a nationalised internet service provider (ISP), through which all traffic flows. Filtering is relatively easy in the latter case, and more difficult in the former.

When technologists began to notice states regulating and projecting influence online, some warned against a “Balkanisation of the internet”, whereby national filtering and other restrictions would transform what was once the global internet into a connected series of nation-state networks. The web would fracture and fragment, and soon there would be a “Russian internet” and an “American internet” and so on, all coexisting and sometimes overlapping but, in important ways, separate. Information would largely flow within countries but not across them, due to filtering, language or even just user preference. The process would at first be barely perceptible to users, but it would fossilise over time and ultimately remake the internet.

It’s very likely that some version of the above scenario will occur, but the degree to which it does will greatly be determined by what happens in the next decade with newly connected states – which path they choose, whom they emulate and work together with.

The first stage of the process, aggressive and distinctive filtering, is under way. China is the world’s most active and enthusiastic filterer of information. Entire platforms that are hugely popular elsewhere in the world – Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter – are blocked by the Chinese government.

On the Chinese internet, you would be unable to find information about politically sensitive topics such as the Tiananmen Square protests, embarrassing information about the Chinese political leadership, the Tibetan rights movement and the Dalai Lama, or content related to human rights, political reform or sovereignty issues. …

China’s leadership doesn’t hesitate to defend its policies. In a white paper released in 2010, the government calls the internet “a crystallisation of human wisdom” but states that China’s “laws and regulations clearly prohibit the spread of information that contains contents subverting state power, undermining national unity or infringing upon national honour and interests.”

The next stage for many states will be collective editing, states forming communities of interest to edit the web together, based on shared values or geopolitics.

For “edit” read “censor”. States’ governments will decide what values it shares with other states’ governments.

For larger states, collaborations will legitimise their filtering efforts and deflect some unwanted attention (the “look, others are doing it too” excuse). For smaller states, alliances along these lines will be a low-cost way to curry favour with bigger players and gain technical skills that they might lack at home.

Collective editing may start with basic cultural agreements and shared antipathies among states, such as what religious minorities they dislike, how they view other parts of the world or what their cultural perspective is  …

Larger states are less likely to band together than smaller ones – they already have the technical capabilities – so it will be a fleet of smaller states, pooling their resources, that will find this method useful. If some member countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an association of former Soviet states, became fed up with Moscow’s insistence on standardising the Russian language across the region, they could join together to censor all Russian-language content from their national internets and thus limit their citizens’ exposure to Russia.

Ideology and religious morals are likely to be the strongest drivers of these collaborations. Imagine if a group of deeply conservative Sunni-majority countries – say, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria and Mauritania – formed an online alliance and decided to build a “Sunni web”. While technically this Sunni web would still be part of the larger internet, it would become the main source of information, news, history and activity for citizens living in these countries.

For years, the development and spread of the internet was highly determined by its English-only language standard, but the continued implementation of internationalised domain names (IDN), which allow people to use and access domain names written in non-Roman alphabet characters, is changing this. The creation of a Sunni web – indeed, all nationalised internets – becomes more likely if its users can access a version of the internet in their own language and script.

Within the Sunni web, the internet could be sharia-complicit: e-commerce and e-banking would look different, since no one would be allowed to charge interest; religious police might monitor online speech, working together with domestic law enforcement to report violations; websites with gay or lesbian content would be uniformly blocked; women’s movements online might somehow be curtailed; and ethnic and religious minority groups might find themselves closely monitored, restricted or even excluded. …

There will be some instances where autocratic and democratic nations edit the web together. Such a collaboration will typically happen when a weaker democracy is in a neighbourhood of stronger autocratic states that coerce it to make the same geopolitical compromises online that it makes in the physical world.

For example, Mongolia is a young democracy with an open internet, sandwiched between Russia and China – two large countries with their own unique and restrictive internet policies. … Seeking to please its neighbours [and so] preserve its own physical and virtual sovereignty, Mongolia might find it necessary to abide by a Chinese or Russian mandate and filter internet content associated with hot-button issues.

What started as the world wide web will begin to look more like the world itself, full of internal divisions and divergent interests.

And full of tyranny.

Some form of visa requirement will emerge on the internet. … Citizen engagement, international business operations and investigative reporting will all be seriously affected. …

Under conditions like these, the world will see its first Internet asylum seeker. A dissident who can’t live freely under an autocratic Internet and is refused access to other states’ Internets will choose to seek physical asylum in another country to gain virtual freedom on its Internet. … Virtual asylum will not work, however, if the ultimate escalation occurs: the creation of an alternative domain name system (DNS), or even aggressive and ubiquitous tampering with it to advance state interests.

Today, the internet as we know it uses the DNS to match computers and devices to relevant data sources, translating IP addresses (numbers) into readable names, with .edu, .com, .net suffixes, and vice versa. No government has yet achieved an alternative system, but if one succeeded in doing so, it would effectively unplug its population from the global internet and instead offer only a closed, national intranet. In technical terms, this would entail creating a censored gateway between a given country and the rest of the world, so that a human proxy could facilitate external data transmissions when absolutely necessary – for matters involving state resources, for instance.

It’s the most extreme version of what technologists call a walled garden. On the internet, a walled garden refers to a browsing environment that controls a user’s access to information and services online. … For the full effect of disconnection, the government would also instruct the routers to fail to advertise the IP addresses of websites – unlike DNS names, IP addresses are immutably tied to the sites themselves – which would have the effect of putting those websites on a very distant island, utterly unreachable. Whatever content existed on this national network would circulate only internally, trapped like a cluster of bubbles in a computer screen saver, and any attempts to reach users on this network from the outside would meet a hard stop. With the flip of a switch, an entire country would simply disappear from the internet.

This is not as crazy as it sounds. It was first reported in 2011 that the Iranian government’s plan to build a “halal internet” was under way, and the regime’s December 2012 launch of Mehr, its own version of YouTube with “government-approved videos”, demonstrated that it was serious about the project. Details of the plan remained hazy but, according to Iranian government officials, in the first phase the national “clean” internet would exist in tandem with the global internet for Iranians (heavily censored as it is), then it would come to replace the global internet altogether. The government and affiliated institutions would provide the content for the national intranet, either gathering it from the global web and scrubbing it, or creating it manually. All activity on the network would be closely monitored. Iran’s head of economic affairs told the country’s state-run news agency that they hoped their halal internet would come to replace the web in other Muslim countries, too – at least those with Farsi speakers. Pakistan has pledged to build something similar. …

How exactly the state intends to proceed with this project is unclear both technically and politically. How would it avoid enraging the sizable chunk of its population that has access to the internet? Some believe it would be impossible to fully disconnect Iran from the global internet because of its broad economic reliance on external connections. Others speculate that, if it wasn’t able to build an alternative root system, Iran could pioneer a dual-internet model that other repressive states would want to follow. Whichever route Iran chooses, if it is successful in this endeavour, its halal internet would surpass the “great firewall of China” as the single most extreme version of information censorship in history. It would change the internet as we know it.

As the Guardian puts it (not necessarily implying disapproval): the net is closing in.

The president-whisperer 5

Discover the Networks is a superb resource, gifted to researchers by Front Page.

The “networks” are those of the Left. Together they constitute the Vast Leftwing Conspiracy.

We went there to read all about Valerie Jarrett, the decision maker who stands behind Barack Obama and speaks into his ear.

We know that Obama was raised a Communist, so it is not surprising that he picked a Communist to be his closest adviser.

We have extracted some of the most important facts from the Discover the Networks dossier on Jarrett – but urge our readers to see the whole account.

First we learn about her Communist roots.

Valerie Jarrett was born as Valerie Bowman on November 14, 1956 to American parents in Shiraz, Iran. Her late father — a physician named James Bowman — worked as a pathologist and geneticist at a children’s hospital in Shiraz as part of a U.S. aid program to assist developing countries.

Jarrett’s mother is the early-childhood-education author Barbara Taylor Bowman (born1928), who in 1966 co-founded a Chicago-based graduate school in child development known as the Erikson Institute, named after the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson; in 1950 Erikson became a hero to the left by choosing to resign from his professorship at the University of California rather than sign an anti-communist loyalty oath as the school required. Indicative of the Erikson Institute’s radical political orientation is the fact that its board of trustees has included, in addition to Mrs. Bowman, such figures as Tom Ayers (father of the formerWeather Underground terrorist and lifelong Marxist Bill Ayers) and Bernardine Dohrn (longtime wife of Bill Ayers) 

 … and leading member of the Weather Underground.

Jarrett’s maternal grandfather was a Chicagoan named Robert Taylor, the first African-American head of the Chicago Housing Authority. In the 1940s he was involved with such Communist fronts as the American Peace Mobilization and the Chicago Civil Liberties Committee. Also a member of these groups was Frank Marshall Davis, the communist journalist who in the 1970s would mentor a young Barack Obama.

Jarrett’s maternal grandmother, Dorothy Taylor, was a Berkeley, California native who was active with Planned Parenthood in its early years.

When Valerie Jarrett was five, her family relocated to London for one year before settling in Chicago’s elite Hyde Park neighborhood in 1963.

Jarrett earned a B.A. in psychology from Stanford University in 1978, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981. From 1981-87 she practiced law at two Chicago-based private firms. In 1983 she married Dr. William Robert Jarrett, son of the Chicago Sun-Times reporter Vernon Jarrett.

Vernon Jarrett (Valerie Jarrett’s father-in-law) was a pioneering black journalist in the 1940s. He freelanced at Kansas City’s The Call from 1954-58, then returned to Chicago to become the first nationally syndicated black columnist for the communist-influenced Chicago Defender, where he wrote columns extolling the Communist poet Langston Hughes and lifelong Stalinists W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson. Also in the 1940s, Jarrett was a leaderof the Chicago chapter of American Youth for Democracy — youth wing of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). Moreover, he served on a publicity committee for the Packinghouse Workers Union, a Chicago-based entity dominated by the CPUSA. In each of these endeavors, Vernon Jarrett had close contact with the Communist Frank Marshall Davis. When Jarrett died in 2004, he was saluted in the pages of People’s Weekly Worker, the house organ of the CPUSA.

As historian Paul Kengor summarized in 2014: “[Barack] Obama’s mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, worked with the literal relatives of Valerie Jarrett — her grandfather and future father-in-law — in Chicago’s Communist Party circles in the 1940s.” In an earlier piece, Kengor put it this way:

So, imagine where we are today: Barack Obama, Frank Marshall Davis’s political godson, and Valerie Jarrett, daughter-in-law to Vernon Jarrett and granddaughter of Robert Taylor—men with links to pro-Stalinism—are the two dominant figures in the White House, the power center that battled the USSR throughout the Cold War.

Jarrett enters politics: 

Valerie Jarrett entered Chicago politics in 1987 as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Finance and Development in the administration of Harold Washington, the city’s first African-American mayor. Jarrett’s father-in-law, whom The Washington Post called “a key influence in [Harold] Washington’s decision to run for the Chicago mayoralty”, may have facilitated Valerie’s rise through Chicago’s political ranks.

After Mayor Washington’s death in 1987, Valerie Jarrett served as deputy chief of staff for the next mayor, Richard M. Daley. During her tenure in that post, Jarrett met and befriended a young lawyer named Michelle Robinson, (the future Michelle Obama), who at the time was engaged to Barack Obama. In 1991 Jarrett and her colleague Susan Sher recruited Michelle to Chicago’s City Hall, and Jarrett quickly became a trusted confidante of both the Obamas.

From 1992 through 1995, Jarrett served the Daley administration as commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development. From 1995-2003, she chaired the Chicago Transit Board. Sometime in the early 1990s, Marilyn Katz, an activist/public-affairs consultant with close ties to City Hall — and a former Students for a Democratic Society radical — introduced Jarrett to Daniel Levin, a cousin of both Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Rep. Sander Levin (D-Michigan).

She has a lucrative career as a slum manager:

From 1995-2008 Jarrett worked for Daniel Levin’s real-estate firm, the Habitat Company. In 2007 Jarrett became Habitat’s president and CEO, drawing a $300,000 in salary plus $550,000 in deferred compensation.

From 2001-08, the Habitat Company managed Grove Parc Plaza, a federally subsidized, 504-unit public housing complex situated in a neighborhood that Barack Obama had represented for eight years as a state senator. But under Habitat’s management, Grove Parc fell into disrepair and became largely uninhabitable, plagued by a host of unaddressed problems such as collapsed roofs, fire damage, rodent infestation, and sewage backups. According to a 2008 Boston Globe report: “In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale — a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.” Eventually government inspectors seized control of the complex because of its horrid conditions.

Also under Jarrett’s stewardship, said the Globe, “Habitat … co-managed an even larger subsidized complex in Chicago that was seized by the federal government in 2006, after city inspectors found widespread problems.”

But for Jarrett the news was not all bad. Indeed she became immensely wealthy while presiding over the aforementioned slum apartments. As of 2012 Jarrett owned an 11-percent equity interest in Kingsbury Plaza, a 46-story luxury apartment complex developed by the Habitat Company during 2005-07 at a cost exceeding $100 million. On her 2011 financial disclosure form, she valued that investment — which a Jarrett spokesman said was “a direct result of her 13 years working for Habitat” — at between $1 million and $5 million. According to a 2012 report in the Washington Free Beacon: “Cook County records show the Kingsbury property’s worth at approximately $27.2 million, but thanks to a series of legal appeals beginning in 2003, the land and building are assessed at a much lower value for tax purposes. Since 2008, the property has been designated a ‘special commercial structure’ and is taxed at a value of just $6.8 million, or 25 percent of the actual value. Asked how such a property could enjoy such a low taxable value, an official with the Cook County Assessor’s Office told the Free Beacon that the property’s owners ‘must have good attorneys’.” …

She becomes President Obama’s closest adviser:

Following Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election, Jarrett co-chaired the Obama-Biden Transition Project. After that, she was appointed to a prominent position in the Obama administration: Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. In this role, Jarrett was one of President Obama’s (and Mrs. Obama’s) closest and most trusted advisers.

Consider the following observations, by a variety of informed sources, about Jarrett’s importance as an Obama adviser:

  • An Obama 2008 campaign official told the New York Times, “If you want [Barack Obama] to do something, there are two people [he’s] not going to say no to: Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama.”
  • Also in 2008, the aforementioned Susan Sher, who had helped Jarrett recruit Michelle Obama to the Chicago mayor’s office in 1991, emphasized “how incredibly instrumental [Jarrett will] be in virtually everything” in the White House.
  • In July 2009, President Obama himself told New York Times reporter Robert Draper, “I trust her [Jarrett] completely … She is family.” Obama said also that he trusted Jarrett “to speak for me, particularly when we’re dealing with delicate issues”. When asked, the President admitted that he was in the habit of soliciting Jarrett’s input on his every decision.
  • The New York Times described Jarrett as Obama’s “closest friend in the White House”, his “envoy”, his “emissary”, his “all-purpose ambassador”, and the “ultimate Obama insider”.
  • Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank says that Jarrett’s connection to Obama is “deep and personal’, calling her “the real center of Obama’s inner circle”.  Milbank also describes Jarrett as Obama’s “longtime mentor and friend”,  and as someone in a “position of unparalleled influence over the president”.
  • Obama’s former White House communications director, Anita Dunn, says: “Her [Jarrett’s] role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing”.
  • Chicago tycoon Martin Nesbitt says that Jarrett establishes both Michelle and Barack Obama’s “whole notion of authenticity”.  According to Nesbitt, Jarrett channels the Obamas’ inner voice, telling them, for instance: “That’s not you. You wouldn’t say that. Somebody else is saying that. Barack Obama wouldn’t say that”.
  • According to a November 2014 New Republic report: “Jarrett holds a key vote on Cabinet picks … and has an outsize say on ambassadorships and judgeships. She helps determine who gets invited to the First Lady’s Box for the State of the Union, who attends state dinners and bill-signing ceremonies, and who sits where at any of the above. She has placed friends and former employees in important positions across the administration — ‘you can be my person over there’,  is a common refrain. And Jarrett has been known to enjoy the perks of high office herself. When administration aides plan ‘bilats’,  the term of art for meetings of two countries’ top officials, they realize that whatever size meeting they negotiate — nine by nine, eight by eight, etc. — our [the U.S.] side will typically include one less foreign policy hand, because Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president”.
  • Jarrett herself is wholy cognizant of the influence she wields with Obama. “We have kind of a mind meld,” she said in 2009. “And chances are, what he wants to do is what I’d want to do.” On another occasion Jarrett told Vogue magazine, “I kind of know what makes them [the Obamas] who they are.”

Jarrett is deeply concerned with racial issues. After the tape recordings of Jeremiah Wright’s racist, anti-American diatribes threatened to sink Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, it was Jarrett who encouraged Obama to give his “race speech” at Constitution Hall. African-American administration staffers have said that without Jarrett’s patronage, “their opinions and the often-legitimate concerns voiced by black leaders like [Al] Sharpton would have been thoroughly disregarded by the white-dominated senior staff”.

When future White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tried to downplay Obama’s assertion (during the 2008 presidential campaign) that Republicans were emphasizing the fact that Obama “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills”,  Jarrett instructed white staffers: “You guys, you’re not getting this issue right.” After Jarrett’s intervention, candidate Obama told his white staffers that they were too “gun-shy on race issues”. According to a campaign source, “[M]oving forward, the candidate made it very clear to us that we were just a bunch of white people who didn’t get it — which, by the way, was true.”

After Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, Jarrett successfully pushed to loosen restrictions barring government officials from meeting with lobbyists, a rule enshrined in Obama’s executive memo on the Recovery Act [stimulus bill], for fear that other “legitimate” concerns — raised by “civil rights organizations whose directors happen to be registered lobbyists — will not be heard”.

In early 2009 Jarrett lobbied President Obama to create the office of Chief Diversity Officer within the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a position filled soon thereafter byMark Lloyd, an Alinskyite and a former senior fellow at the [George Soros supported] Center for American Progress.

Jarrett also helped recruit Obama’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, who supports the Fairness Doctrine and has argued that Americans should “celebrate tax day”.

Without Jarrett’s patronage, the self-identified communist revolutionary Van Jones would not have gotten his appointment as the Obama administration’s green jobs czar in March 2009. A White House official told Politico that Jones “did not go through the traditional vetting process”. Instead, Jarrett interviewed Jones, a signal that she pushed for his appointment. Indeed, Jarrett gushed to the Netroots Nation conference in August 2009: “We were so delighted to be able to recruit him [Van Jones] into the White House. We were watching him … for as long as he’s been active out in Oakland. And all the creative ideas he has. And so now, we have captured that, and we have all that energy in the White House.” …

Examples are given of how she brought persons with a variety of subversive and (Islamic) terrorist connections into contact with the president, and urged them to promote his agenda. 

She is a keen advocate for “green energy” at any cost:

In 2010-11 Jarrett promoted the California-based solar-power company Solyndra, where one of her wealthiest Chicago connections, billionaire George Kaiser — a leading Obama bundler — held a 35% share in the company. On Jarrett’s advice, President Obama famously visited and publicly extolled Solyndra in 2010, even though auditors were already warning about the abysmal state of its finances. In September 2011 the company declared bankruptcy, but not before it had received a $535 million government-backed loan.

In general, it is her political philosophy that prevails:

In September 2011, Jarrett said the following about what she viewed as the proper role of government:

We have to give people a livelihood so they can provide for their families…. His [President Obama’s] is a moral vision. It’s a vision based very deeply in values and taking care of “the least of these”. And making sure that we are creating a country that’s a country for everybody, not just for the very, very wealthy. We are working hard to lift people out of poverty and give them a better life, a footing, and that’s what government is supposed to do.

A neat summary that of the Left’s eternal pretext for extending government control over every aspect of lifeand the fail-safe recipe for keeping people in dependence and poverty.

There follows a story about her contact with illegal immigrants. In the light of all else that is revealed about her influence over Obama’s policies, a reasonable inference is that Jarrett has had much to do with Obama’s policy of amnesty for illegal aliens. And there is corroboration of this:

A September 2012 New York Times report identifies Jarrett as the person responsible for a number of controversial Obama Administration policy decisions, including …  the president’s decision to allow illegal immigrants to apply for work permits.

Then comes an outline of her influence on foreign policy:

…  Jarrett, prior to the May 2011 U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden, repeatedly urged President Obama not to kill the al Qaeda leader, prompting Obama to cancel the mission on three separate occasions—in January, February, and March of 2011.  …

And she has a large share of responsibility for the administration’s policy towards Iran:

In October 2012 it was revealed that for several months, Jarrett, who had no experience in international negotiations, had been leading secret negotiations with representatives of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, in an effort to develop normalized relations between the U.S. and Iran.

Obama is letting Iran become a nuclear power. When it is (and it may be so even now), it will very likely be the crowning achievement of Valerie Jarrett’s political career.

In sum, Valerie Jarrett, elected to no office, is governing the United States. And not without malice:        

A few days before the November 2012 presidential election, a representative from Jarrett’s office quoted Jarrett as having told several senior staffers the following:

After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay. Congress won’t be a problem for us this time. No election to worry about after this is over and we have two judges ready to go. 

There speaks the spirit of Communism! Of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Castro. Its gloating use of naked ruthless power. Its mean, petty, cruel drive for vengeance on its perceived enemies. Its contempt for the people and their representatives in government. Its determination to have its hands on all the wheels of power and use them to advance its totalitarian ends.

And there are almost two years still to go in which that spirit will be presiding over America.

The lord of injustice 4

President Obama and New York Mayor de Blasio are guilty of encouraging lawless mobs in Ferguson and New York (see here and here). So they both have a share in the events leading up to the murder of two New York police officers, Winjian Liu and Raphael Ramos, last Saturday, December 20, 2014.

More deeply guilty of creating conditions in which those murders could happen, is the outgoing attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, who has been working for racial injustice for years.

This is from PJ Media by J. Christian Adams:

Wickedness has darkened this season of lights in Brooklyn.  It is no surprise or accident that a ghoul like Ismaaiyl Brinsley bathed himself in messages of hate, racial division and anger and then chose to destroy lives.  But Brinsley wasn’t alone in his racially soaked hatred of the police.

For starters, a mob has Brinsley’s back.  This seemingly disconnected mob has been on the prowl in the months since America learned of Ferguson, Missouri.  They’ve smashed up windows of banks in Berkeley, burned up bakeries in Ferguson, and looted, burned, shot, robbed and killed across the nation.  But such mobs are really never disconnected, are they?

When a mob led by Al Sharpton chants on the streets of New York City they want “dead cops,” people should expect dead cops.

The clapping and laughing at the crime scene in Brooklyn as well as the happy-it-happened racialist venom on Twitter leave no doubt that the mob has Brinsley’s back. …

The culture of the West has largely distinguished itself by elevating the dignity of the individual, by treating others as they wish to be treated.

But ideas alone aren’t enough to turn back barbarians.  Sir Winston Churchill understood that leaders must lead civilized people against barbarism. “Civilization will not last,” he said at the University of Bristol in 1938, “freedom will not survive, peace will not be kept, unless a very large majority of mankind unite together to defend them and show themselves possessed of a constabulary power before which barbaric and atavistic forces will stand in awe.”

Without men in power and police on the streets who share these values, history trends toward barbarism.

All of which brings us to Eric Holder and his swarm of lawyers at the Justice Department.  Holder, rather than opposing the lawless, says things to make the mob’s fury seem more justified. 

Holder went to Ferguson and complained that the police even treated him in a racially unfair manner. His stories are always thin on detail and merit closer media scrutiny.

After visiting Ferguson, Holder sent swarms of federal officials into town and made it clear the federal government was on the side of the protesters.  The “constabulary powers” which Churchill spoke of had crossed over.

For those who haven’t paid attention to Holder’s anti-police policies, now is a good time to start paying attention.  And it isn’t just Holder.  He’s hired swarms of other lawyers and put them in important positions where their anti-police attitudes have become federal government policy.

Hans von Spakovsky covered the rabidly leftist backgrounds of the lawyers hired by Holder who police the police.  For example, Christy Lopez was hired as a deputy chief of the section. Prior to working at DOJ, Lopez helped an illegal alien support group called Casa de Maryland teach aliens how to avoid speaking with police officers.  Even worse, von Spakovsky notes:

On her resume, Ms. Lopez proudly references the paper she authored for the liberal American Constitution Society, entitled The Problem with “Contempt of Cop” Arrests. She also highlights the presentation she gave on “Flying While Brown” at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s annual convention. She has made numerous media appearances alleging post 9/11 ethnic profiling. She is also a founding partner of “Independent Assessment and Monitoring,” which provided oversight of police departments and prisons.

Lopez had the perfect qualifications to work for Eric Holder.  She was a crusader against cops. … [And] Lopez isn’t alone.

Every single one of her coworkers hired by Holder is a radical leftist, more often taking the side of the lawless than the law-abiding citizen.  The professional background of attorney after attorney in Holder’s Special Litigation Section reads like a farce.  They’ve worked for Islamic terrorists, black nationalist groups and even an organization called the Junta for Progressive Action. …

These lawyers are not fans of “constabulary powers.”  You cannot fully understand what the Justice Department’s policies are toward police officers without understanding the outlandish personal and professional backgrounds of the lawyers enforcing those policies.

To oversee these dozens of new radical lawyers, President Obama appointed a radical’s radical to lead them —  Debo Adegbile.  Adegbile was Obama’s nominee to head the Civil Rights Division at Justice.  Adegbile’s anti-police history is what eventually sunk his nomination.

In response, Obama and Holder have tapped Vanita Gupta to run the Civil Rights Division as acting assistant attorney general, and eventual nominee.  Gupta is no different than Adegbile … [She] came from the ACLU, where she spent most of her time waging a war against the police. …

After filling government jobs with anti-police radicals, Holder’s Justice Department got busy attacking police departments and law enforcement across the United States.  Actions against police departments have been launched in Seattle, Portland, Cleveland, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Miami, and, naturally, New York City.

In Ferguson, Holder even leveraged federal power to agitate against police officers wearing bracelets of solidarity with Officer Darren Wilson.  In a letter signed by Christy Lopez of the Special Litigation Section, the Justice Department says such bracelets “upset and agitated people.”

The mob was offended, and thus Holder acted.  Holder used his power to attack “constabulary powers,” over jewelry.

To “train” police officers how to behave, Holder’s Justice Department has hired an outfit which has been affiliated with Angela Davis.  That would be the same Angela Davis who was a Black Panther radical. That’s the same Angela Davis who went on trial for the murder of a judge presiding over another murder trial of race radicals who killed a prison guard. Davis is still a racially venomous anti-police radical.  That Holder’s DOJ goes within a country mile of her is a disgrace.

Holder’s lawyers aren’t beyond using lies, deceit and illegal conduct to frame cops either. Take the Justice Department’s prosecution of New Orleans police officers on civil rights charges.  In that trial, Justice Department lawyers illegally and unethically set up fake blogging accounts.  The DOJ lawyers ran a sock-puppet campaign against the cops on trial by posting comments to newspapers.  They commented on evidence and attacked witnesses helpful to the police.

[You must] know who Karla Dobinski is … to understand Holder’s tolerance of any means necessary to convict cops.

Dobinski was one of the lawyer puppeteers in the campaign against cops. Federal Judge Kurt Engelhardt called the DOJ misconduct “grotesque” in a 129-page order that must be read to fully understand the anti-cop rot inside Holder’s Justice Department.

But Dobinski acted even more unethically than her fellow DOJ sock puppets.  … It was Dobinski’s job to guard against any information obtained in the internal affairs investigation conducted by the New Orleans Police Department from being used against the police on trial.  Dobinski’s job was to protect the rights of the defendant cops. Instead, [she] joined in the anonymous DOJ campaign posting [hostile] comments about the cops at newspaper sites. 

When national and local government encourages violence against the very enforcers of law and order that it employs to carry out its prime duty of protecting the life, person and property of every individual, government is betraying the people. Obama, de Blasio and Holder can best be likened to generals who encourage the enemy to attack the troops they command, in hope of the enemy’s victory.

When looting, burning mobs, screaming for “dead cops”, are not only exonerated but actively encouraged by the President, the Mayor of New York, and the head of the Department of Justice, the country has descended into anarchy. First anarchy and then tyranny is what happens whenever and wherever the far Left acquires unconstrained power.

Is it too late to restore the free republic of America that the Founders tried to establish forever on the rock of the Constitution?

Government against its own forces of law and order – a taste of anarchy 4

From our Facebook page:

When the President of the United States, the Attorney General, and the Mayor of New York all line up with the criminals of Ferguson and New York against the police, what should we expect but the murder of policemen?

In Brooklyn, an “anti-police activist” walked up to a police car and shot two policemen who were sitting inside it. One was pronounced dead at the scene while the second died shortly after at a hospital. The gunman ran to a nearby subway station, pursued by other policemen, where he shot himself. Many, many liberals celebrated on Twitter. The murderer has been identified as Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, a Muslim, and a gang member from Baltimore. On Instagram, he announced his intention to murder two policemen in retaliation for the death of Eric Garner. Many of the anti-police demonstrations have explicitly called for policemen to be murdered. Marchers in New York last week chanted, “What do we want? Dead cops!” Today they got them.

 

(Note: We took most of our information from a PowerLine post found here. In our one-paragraph Facebook summaries of articles, we use mostly, but not entirely, the original wording.)

Posted under Anarchy, Commentary, corruption, Crime, Law, News, Progressivism, Terrorism, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 20, 2014

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The free market triumphs again 5

This is from an editorial at Investor’s Business Daily:

As Russia’s ruble plunges, its economy is fast melting down. …

Russia’s central bank raised official interest rates to 17% from 10.5% in a bid to halt the ruble’s stunning plunge, the largest since 1998’s ruble crisis. But on Tuesday, even that desperate rate-hike move failed, as the ruble continued to dive another 4%.

Next up, in all probability, will be capital controls. Putin might even confiscate citizens’ savings by forcing them to swap dollar-based savings accounts for debased ruble ones. This kind of shabby thievery has been done before, but mostly by Latin American dictators. …

How could Russia’s economy go into meltdown mode so fast? …

The major reason for Russia’s implosion is the decline in oil prices. The country relies on selling oil to earn dollars, and the more than 30% drop in oil prices has hit the economy and the currency hard.

A recent estimate by Russia’s Finance Ministry says oil has to average about $117 a barrel for the government to balance its budget. At a current oil price under $60 a barrel, Russia is a fiscal disaster.

The U.S. fracking revolution is a big reason for this. America now puts out more than 9 million barrels of oil a day — up from 7 million barrels just two years ago.

The oil and natural gas fracking boom is happening on private and states’ lands – against the will and the policy of the Obama administration.

As crude prices have declined, oil producers from Venezuela to Saudi Arabia to Iran have felt extraordinary economic pain. Now Russia’s feeling it too, and with political turmoil growing, Russian and foreign investors are leaving the country in droves — and taking their hard currency with them. …

Capital flight is a disaster for the ruble, and is likely to set off double-digit inflation soon.

Interest rates may have to go even higher to stave off a total ruble collapse – 20%? 25%? 30%? No one knows.

But higher rates, soaring inflation, a 60% decline in the stock market and reduced oil revenues mean 2015 is likely to be a nasty year for Russia’s caving economy. …

“Putin’s consistent policy of increasing state economic control may well be leading Russia on the path to stagnation and economic decline,” according to a report issued by the Heritage Foundation in September. …

[Russia’s] reliance on oil exports, the trigger for this crisis, is an obvious one. … Russia also faces a shocking demographic decline — its population is actually shrinking, and it has the odious distinction of being the only industrialized nation in which the average life span is falling. … Russians with skills and schooling are leaving in large numbers, a brain drain. A 2013 survey found 45% of university students wanted to leave the country and live permanently outside the former USSR. What’s left to run Russia’s enfeebled economy is a shrinking, unproductive remnant.

Russia should try a free market economy. It is the only way to prosperity. And then we could have peaceful trading relations with Russia at last. But Russia is very unlikely to do that. The Russian people have never known freedom under the rule of law. They have never wanted it. They get the governments they deserve.

The French pandemonium 4

Today we post under Pages (listed at the top of our margin) the next essay in the series by Jillian Becker titled The Darkness of This World (Part Two).

The title of the new essay is The French Pandemonium (One).

It continues a discussion of the Romantic movement which – the series argues – arises from the same need in the human psyche that requires religion. In France, the most influential poets, novelists, essayists and philosophers have been those who have cultivated rebellion against what they call “bourgeois society”. Some of the most eminent of them bluntly declare that their rebellion is a choice of Evil.

Of course not all the French writers of the post-Enlightenment centuries have been Romantics or conscious advocates of Evil. But those who “chose Evil” stoked the fires of destructive rebellion in generations of European intellectuals and have had by far the greater effect on history. In the twentieth century they became so popular and powerful that they helped create the New Left; incited seasons of violent protest demonstrations on city streets throughout Europe and even on other continents; inspired the formation of European terrorist gangs; and implanted their anti-civilization ideology as a new dogma in schools and academies throughout the Western world, including America. As the series continues it will explain how the anti-Americanism of the Left, even in America itself, springs from the European intellectual movement against our civilization.

Here is the first part of the essay:

A pandemonium is a gathering of all the demons or devils. Devils are expected to be noisy, so the word has come to mean a deafening cacophony of shrieking voices.

What the voices of this pandemonium clamor for, is “Evil”. It is not an insult to call them demons; it is an acknowledgment of their choice. They choose Evil, they call for Evil, they acclaim Evil, they are for Evil.

And what are they against? They are against What Is. They are against our civilization. They are against the bourgeois, whom they hold responsible for everything that’s wrong with our civilization: free enterprise industrialization; liberal democracy; parliamentarianism; conservatism.

It was in France that the clamor was loudest among certain poets and novelists and philosophers to épater le bourgeois – shock the bourgeoisin the nineteenth century, reaching a crescendo between the world wars of the twentieth century, rising again after the end of the second. A racket of foaming hate; a literary hue and cry after the middle-class citizen.

As you may have noticed, the bourgeoisie is, in fact, the all-achieving class. Almost everything of value since the Enlightenment, including the Enlightenment itself, has issued from the middle-class; every invention, every discovery, every advance, with so few exceptions they can be counted on a few of your fingers. But to the demons of poetry and philosophy and revolution, the bourgeois was everything that was wrong with Life: the bourgeois with his politesse, his prudence, his order and cleanliness, his comfortable house, his good-quality clothes, his well-stocked larder, his prosperity, his faithfulness to duty, his thrifty habits … “No, no,” the scornful voices yell, interrupting me. “Its not just that, it’s … it’s … it’s his complacency, his bad taste, his narrow-mindedness, his privilege, his exploitation of underdogs, his obsession with material things – and his stupid sexual inhibition. Those, don’t you see, are the unbearable traits that make him a worthy target of our artistic fury. He does not, cannot feel as we do. Down with him! Grind him into the dust! ”

But it is the againstness itself that characterizes the demons. If every one of those despicable things about the bourgeois were overcome or destroyed (as every one of them was in Communist Russia), and civilization wholly laid to waste, the urge would rage on, its hunger unappeased, hunting its everlasting prey: What Is. To them, as to the Gnostics of old, everything that is here is bad; the good lies beyond.

Whatever words have been used to describe the Paris fashions in scorn – modernism, post-modernism, structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction – they are all expressions of rebellion. To be a rebel is to be heroic. Despised and rejected by the bourgeois herd, the rebel is a martyr to his deep passion for art, his higher vision of a better world.

To protest against the bourgeois idea of what is good, the demons advocated doing whatever the bourgeois considered evil. They placed themselves in a French counter-tradition, a line that runs from Rousseau with his belief in the primacy of feeling and sentiment, through Robespierre with his Terror, the Marquis de Sade with his penchant for sexual torture, the nineteenth century poets Charles Baudelaire with his Flowers of Evil and Arthur Rimbaud with his Season in Hell, and on through the intellectual trend-setters – whom we will come to – of twentieth century French literature and their continuing effects. There are still reigning French demons in the twenty-first century. It is a dynasty of the defiant. …

You can find all of it here.

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