All posts by dtwright

Is the cat among the pigeons?

Joe DiGenova, a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Colombia, seems to know what he’s talking about when it comes to the ins and outs of the whole Russiagate mess. What he says here seems to be dynamite.

Apparently the reason that the FBI is resisting Bob Barr’s request for information relating to the Russian “collusion” investigation is that they and the CIA had been illegally spying on Republicans since 2012. The ramifications are immense; if true, this makes Watergate look like a Laurel and Hardy movie. It would certainly explain the hysterics in the mainstream media (our informal Ministry of Truth) and the Democrats over Trump’s action to declassify the surveillance data.

It also highlights yet another reason why the Department of Homeland Security is a Frankenstein monster and a threat to every living American. The FBI used to be part of the Justice Department, so the Attorney General of the U.S. had direct authority over the FBI director. But because it’s now part of DHS, Christopher Wray can thumb his nose at Barr. He feels protected from Trump’s wrath because of all the uproar from Mintrue when Comey was canned.

If DiGenova is right, and Barr pursues this to its conclusion, it could wind up being a huge scandal that Minitrue might be unable to suppress.

Maybe.

Okay, this is getting a little too “THX 1138” for comfort

A couple of years ago I visited a little company in Kansas City, Missouri, that builds “virtual presence” robots. In fact, they had built the one used in the “Big Bang Theory” episode linked here, and had it on display in their offices.

It was fun to sit at a computer and navigate one’s robot around the office suite. And I can see how such robots might be useful in many situations. But I think this is a bit much.

On the other hand, it might improve the odds of not getting shot for reasons of “officer safety.” So there’s that.

What’s that smell?

I’m sure you’re aware of the stinking cesspits that San Francisco, Seattle, and parts of LA have become, and why. So it shouldn’t surprise you that the same kind of thing is happening right here in Trantor, in posh Cleveland Park, of all places, in one of the most beautiful, stately old apartment buildings on Connecticut Avenue. And yet, it’s still rather shocking.

Sedgwick Gardens was designed by the same architect who designed the Wardman Park Hotel and a lot of the really nice houses in Woodley Park. It used to be the kind of place in which respectable middle-class people lived quiet, comfortable lives. Now it’s been overrun by people who defecate in the stairwells, die from drug overdoses, and attack other people, parachuted in by the D.C. regime. That’s the result of a policy of giving extravagant subsidies to drug addicts, bag ladies, and other marginal types, allowing them to live there. The people who run D.C.’s welfare programs aren’t sorry at all:

City officials insist those mistakes have not been made at Sedgwick Gardens, calling the disturbing incidents isolated cases.

“I think the reason the issues at Sedgwick Gardens came to a head is that there were a couple of residents that were causing a problem. That could have been true whether they had a voucher or not,” said D.C. Council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), who chairs the council’s Committee on Human Services. “I want us to be careful not to demonize everyone who finds stable housing through a subsidy because not everybody who needs a subsidy is a criminal.”

Didya get that? It could just as easily have been someone who can afford two or three thousand dollars in rent a month who decided to relieve himself in the stairwell. Besides, all those uptight white people deserve to have their lives upended because, well, just because. The idea that anyone apart from the elites can live safe from the chaos and nastiness they foist on us is just offensive.

Of course, the irony is that the respectable middle-class people being shafted by this arrangement are almost all “woke” Hillary voters. So there is an element of poetic justice here.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen to you.

“Brazil” in Rome

In Terry Gilliam’s film “Brazil,” set in a dystopian, 1984-ish future, the protagonist hires an underground repairman after the mandatory state repair service botches the repair of his air conditioning in a progressively disastrous fashion. That, of course, leads to problems.

In modern Rome, a similar situation apparently exists, in which underground repairmen calling themselves “Gap” surreptitiously repair crumbling infrastructure. They must do their work in secret for fear of offending incompetent officialdom.

Of course, this story being in the Guardian, it has a slight, shall we say … slant:

Critics might argue that citizen action like that of Gap could discourage the government from doing its job: why spend time and money to fix holes when there are residents doing it for free? But Gap members hope their intervention energises the local administration into action.

Yeah. Critics might argue. Which critics, I wonder?

It’s funny that our own news media don’t report this and other stories about what is happening in Europe. It’s almost as if they don’t want the American people to get any ideas.

The story includes a bit about an exploding city bus, which reminds me of a couple of incidents back in the 1980s, in the D.C. area, when a couple of propane-powered tour buses burst spectacularly into flames a couple of years apart — one right in front of the Old Executive Office Building where I worked at the time. I took to calling the tour bus company “Hindenburg Bus Lines.”

Actually, in Rome, it’s not just one city bus. It’s at least 46! That means the Roman bus system deserves the moniker far more than poor Old Town Trolleys ever did. And the reason is, apparently, that diesel engines, which used to be considered wonderful, and which the regimes of most or all of the Western European countries encouraged and coerced people to buy, are now considered evil and polluting. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

So they have turned to natural- or other gas-powered buses. The problem with them is that, unlike diesel, if the gas leaks owing to ham-handed guvvamint maintenance, there’s the risk of fire.

Which reminds me that I saw a Washington Metro bus just the other day that advertised that it was powered by, wait for it, hydrogen, the volatile, extremely flammable gas used in the real Hindenburg. Let’s hope that the maintenance workers of the new Imperial City are a little more competent than those of the old. Ω

Black Privilege strikes again

As I’ve pointed out before, progressives no longer pose as being on the side of the working man (and woman). To the contrary, they openly look upon him with the utmost contempt.

That was hammered home recently by an incident in that seething hive of enlightened White progressivism, Portland, Oregon, when a black “progressive equity activist” played a vicious little game at a Portland establishment called the “Back to Eden Bakery.”

Portland bakery fires employees for denying black woman service after closing

We’re talking about a place that, according to its website, won the award for “Best Gluten-Free Restaurant” in 2016 and 2017. It boasts about its involvement in accepted progressive causes, including the “Basic Rights Oregon Council,” the “Native America Rights Foundation,” the “Trans Women of Color Collective” (I’m not making that up), the “Farm Animal Rights Movement,” and dozens of other fashionable leftist institutions. Conspicuously missing, of course, is any indication of charity or good feelings toward ordinary white people.

The “equity activist” made a point of showing up after the establishment had closed.  Having worked at retail businesses many years ago, I remember that the policy was usually “serve the people who came in before closing time, even if it’s after closing time. If they come in after, turn them away politely with regrets.” That’s because if you keep serving people who come in after closing time, you’ll never close.

In one statement, “Back To Eden Bakery” says that according to its own surveillance video, a black woman named “Lillian”, who is well known in the area as a “professional equity activist”, entered at 9:06 p.m., after the bakery’s closing time. Employees had also turned off the “Open” sign, but several customers (all white) who had already ordered were still inside. Two other white women who went to the bakery two minutes before “Lillian”, and were also informed that the business was closed for the night.

The bakery says “Lillian” left the store briefly and began recording video.

So, we have a professional troublemaker who comes looking for trouble. She’s turned away, as was her goal, and uses that to make a stink. In a more civilized society, such an obvious provocateur  would be be treated given short shrift, regardless of her race. In Bizarro World, however, she has special privilege because she is black, and the poor employees she targeted, because they are white, deserve nothing but contempt:

The bakery’s statement says that even though it does not consider the employees to be racist and that they were following the business’s protocol of closing at 9 p.m., they were fired because “sometimes impact outweighs intent.”

The unfairness of being fired just for being caught in the scheme of an unscrupulous race hustler doesn’t enter into it, nor does the fact that the unlucky employees were just doing as they had been told:

In one statement, the bakery admitted that the employees did not necessarily do anything wrong, “this is more about how a black woman was made to feel” at the business.

Ponder for a moment the astounding cynicism of such a statement. How the white employees feel about being fired from their minimum-wage, hand-to-mouth job doesn’t count. How will they manage without jobs? Who cares? Because  they suffer from “white privilege,” the progressive, tolerant, enlightened, compassionate business owners — probably white themselves — have no problem throwing them out on the street to placate a well-fed “activist” who’s probably never done an honest day’s work in her life.

Ironically, the owners apparently realized their hypocrisy was showing, so they deleted that and other statements from their website.

People who will carry out such a vile act are not all that far from  loading women and children onto cattle cars. That’s the reality behind the facade of compassionate progressivism.

POSTSCRIPT: Now that this incident has received some well-deserved publicity, Back to Eden Bakery complains that it is receiving impolite messages from members of the “Alt-Right,” which have caused them welcome fear and suffering. Welcome, because it allows them to pose as victims, instead of perpetrators.

 

Well, Here’s an Interesting Gambit

Pity poor Robert Mueller. The dutiful hatchet man charged by his fellow ruling-class elites with bringing down the usurper Trump, he’s finding it rough going. After a year and a half, Mueller and his team of vicious anti-Trump lawyers have been unable to come up with any actual evidence of collusion between the hated false Emperor and the evil Designated Hitler, Vladimir Putin. And that was supposedly the whole purpose of his seemingly ill-fated enterprise.

For instance, the story was that the Russians hacked into the Democratic Party’s computer servers and publicized embarrassing information regarding the Party’s unethical suppression of Bernie Sander’s nomination bid. But new evidence now indicates that it was an insider who downloaded the documents onto a thumb drive.

So, to muddy the waters and make it look as if his investigation was going somewhere, he indicted 13 members of a Russian click-bait farm that posted some fake messages and ads on social media sites such as Facebook. In it he charged that the hired internet trolls were actively interfering in the 2016 election and working to defeat Hillary Clinton’s campaign for Emperor.

Apparently, however, the indictment is pretty thin legal gruel, and would face problems if challenged in court. For instance, the trolls didn’t just post anti-Hillary messages. They also went after Trump, as well as posting messages that didn’t address the campaign at all, but stirred the pot with issues such as race, religion, and others. And in fact, much of their activity happened after the election. A friend of mine with knowledge about such things tells me that she thinks the whole effort was an attempt to make money by provoking people to click on pages with advertisements. In any case, the entire effort only spent a few hundred thousand dollars, if that, and may have reached at most a few thousand people. In a campaign in which billions were spent, that’s a pretty tiny drop in the bucket.

But Mueller had two things going for him.

1) He could depend on the hysterical support of Democrat (and some Republican) politicians and the Ministry of Truth. For instance, Democratic Congressorganism Jerry Nadler proclaimed that the indictment was “absolute proof” that the Russians “attacked” the United State, and that it was the “equivalent” to Pearl Harbor.

2) Mueller brought the indictment calculating that the Russians named therein would stay safely in Russia. After all, there’s no way they could be extradited, and what would they have to gain by trying to defend themselves anyway? So the indictment would be moot in any material sense and prevent any necessity of defending it. It could just remain in legal limbo, giving off a stench and adding to the bad publicity being piled on Trump.

Except that now a couple of lawyers have popped up claiming to represent the indicted trolls, who, according to the lawyers, want to defend themselves against the indictment! The only reasonable explanation is that the Russians know that the case is fatally weak. They are demanding discovery, which could make the whole case blow up in Mueller’s face when they expose that weakness.

The one thing that Mueller apparently left out of his calculations was the fact that Russians are really big on the game of chess. That game teaches one to carefully consider all available options and their possible consequences, to think ahead, and to fight carefully, but boldly. We’ve seen one manifestation of this in Russia’s outmaneuvering of the U.S., with far fewer resources, in Syria. Another is the way that the Russian military has developed an array of weapons that allow a country with a GDP a tenth the size of that of the U.S. to credibly deter aggression by the United State.

Meanwhile, the U.S. style of confrontation is to roar, bluster, and imitate a bull in a china shop.

This may be very entertaining, indeed.

UPDATE

Right after the news that the Russian trolls are asking for discovery from Robert Mueller, we get this:

Report: Russian Hackers Posed as ISIS to Attack U.S. Military Wives

I wonder how long they’ve been keeping it on ice, waiting for the moment it’s needed?

Unfair to the Homeless

If you live in a city, you know the problems that vagrants can cause. The stink of stale urine. Trash, broken glass, and and other detritus littering the area. Graffiti-covered surfaces, noise, and general disorder all adding up to a desire to get out of there as soon as possible.

On the one hand, hardly anyone wants to make things even more difficult for people who already have problems dealing with the challenges of life. On the other hand, there is the issue of their making places unlivable for everyone else. When I lived in D.C., derelicts urinating in the stacks of the District’s Martin Luther King library were an ongoing problem, as was being driven away from reading areas by the unwashed stench of sleeping homeless. And only recently a friend of mine entering a D.C. Metro station surprised a homeless guy in the act of defecation when her elevator door opened.

To most people it probably seems that taking steps to prevent or limit such assaults on civilized society, and the damage they cause, is a rational thing to do. One might argue over effectiveness versus cost, or whether certain measures are humane. But the idea that we, as a society, have the right to set certain standards of behavior and  protect property from vandalism would seem to be be pretty reasonable. Unless, that is, you’re R.J. Wilson, writing on a hipster website called URBO:

Hostile Architecture: How Cities Are Designed To Control Your Behavior

The title reveals Wilson’s prejudice on the issue. It refers to items such as park benches designed to discourage sleeping on them, studs on flat surfaces that discourage loitering, etc. In fact, the author is so prejudiced that he (or she) allows his bias to get in the way of good semantics. The items he refers to aren’t meant to control my behavior or yours. Their point is to prevent certain activities, activities most of us aren’t interested in carrying out anyway. And, of course, they aren’t really hostile at all; they’re defensive, and passively so. Their existence is an unfortunate fact of today’s urban living, resulting from the anti-social actions of a few. In a more civilized society, park benches wouldn’t need to be designed to be too uncomfortable to sit on for long periods. The fact that they must makes all our lives a little less civilized.

As if to emphasize the author’s complete lack of a rational perspective, he (or she)  manages to drag in a completely irrelevant reference to antebellum slavery. But it’s not as if communities and property owners have no good reason to try to discourage vagrants, winos, and drug addicts.

I got some firsthand experience of the problems “hostile architecture” attempts to address when I lived in a scruffy Washington, D.C. neighborhood. I often had to oust winos from the alley behind my place. It’s not that I wanted to make life hard for them. It’s just that they would urinate all over the place, leave broken bottles in the alley, get into fights, make a lot of noise, intimidate residents, and generally contribute to an atmosphere of chaos and decrepitude. I also had a lot of bicycle tires ruined as a result of broken glass in the alley — especially at night — and finally had to resort to picking up the bike and carrying it to my back door.

One time I found a couple of winos cracking open a new bottle purchased from the convenience store on the corner. I told them, “Hey, guys, why don’t you move on and find another place to do that.”

The winos were apparently unused to being challenged, and incensed by my audacity. They shrieked, “We got as much right to be here as anyone!” and called me names.

I said to them, “Move along.” When they ignored me I said more forcefully, “I said, MOVE ALONG!”

One of them said to the other, “C’mon, man. That’s the po-leece talkin’!” and they left. But soon enough their places were taken by others.

The disorder promoted by the winos and junkies in the neighborhood had far-reaching effects.  Every morning on my way to the Metro station I would pass at least one car with a window broken out and its interior ransacked. Anything of value that wasn’t bolted down or locked up would disappear in an instant if you took your eyes off it. Burglars ran rampant. And the disorder in common spaces caused people to withdraw from them, and from each other. The people who shared the alley hardly spoke to each other, each keeping to his own building as if it were a fortress. Nobody bothered to maintain the area, which continually stank of urine. Weeds grew in the pavement cracks, dirt and trash accumulated, and someone abandoned an old car behind a vacant house, which neither the house’s owner nor the famously efficient D.C. municipal government somehow ever got around to taking away for an entire year.

The car soon became an overnight shelter for some junkies, who greatly added to the chaos, defecating in the open and scattering used needles around for children to pick up. For a while I would roust them from the car. But then they got used to me and learned to lock the doors, while I got no help from the neighbors — some of whom looked on my efforts as being unfair to the poor junkies.

So the problems of having “homeless” people around aren’t just that they aren’t pleasant to look at, or that they offend some people’s sensibilities, as the author of the article seems to believe. It’s that they do great harm, not only to property, but to communities as a whole. There’s no easy, humane solution, but trying to stop attempts to discourage them from damaging civilized life is simply insane.

The thing is, such insanity is utterly consistent with the modern radical Left’s agenda, which  seeks to tear down the structures and institutions of civilized society, using such proxies as uneducated illegal immigrants and uncivilized “homeless” people to do the dirty work. Giving free rein to an underclass that destroys order and civility is, for them, a feature, not a bug.

You are the Enemy: “Officer Safety” is more important than yours.

I have to say, I was already fed up with all the pompous nonsense about cops “putting their lives on the line,” etc. After all, what about the lumberjacks, farmers, miners, fishermen, linemen, construction workers, and all the others that work at jobs much more dangerous? They put their lives on the line, too, so that we can live comfortably in the modern world, but they don’t rate the same kind of regard, apparently.

Those guys don’t get the enormous traffic-blocking funeral motorcades, with saluting firemen on the overpasses; the lugubrious candlelight vigils; the faked sadness on the faces of newsreaders reporting on some uniformed thug who stumbled into the path of a bullet.

The thing is, after all that blather about “putting their lives on the line,” when the time comes for cops to actually do it, as often as not it seems that they don’t. During the Virginia Tech massacre, for instance, the cops waited outside for 5 minutes, giving the shooter time to take out more innocents before finally making himself safely dead.

They took their own sweet time showing up, too, when Stephen Paddock was mowing down people from his Las Vegas room. Cops were in the building reporting gunfire from the floor above them at 10:12 PM. But somehow they took another six minutes to make it up one floor to his door. And it took them another hour before they finally broke down the door, by which time Paddock had also become conveniently non-hazardous by killing himself. The Las Vegas police department still won’t say when they were first notified there was somebody shooting innocent people.

The same thing happened in Florida last week. There was a “resource officer” — the educationist term for campus cop — on the scene, who conspicuously did nothing. And then three more cops showed up, and also did nothing. They just cowered and listened to the screams of kids getting shot.

As reporters have dug into the incident, more and more police outrages have come to light. First we learned that a woman police captain ordered the deputies on the site to “form a perimeter”, instead of going into the building and stopping the shooter. And now the Miami Herald reports that radio traffic recordings show the “resource officer” ordering other officers to — stay away.

I don’t think this is some kind of anomaly, either. As I pointed out 15 years ago in an essay entitled “You are the Enemy,” police in this country have been trained to view us civilians as “others.” We are seen, not as fellow citizens or taxpayers to be served, but as potential threats. And along with that, they are taught that their number one priority is “officer safety.” Not our safety. Theirs.

That’s why there are so many reports of cops shooting unarmed civilians. “Officer safety” training justifies shooting unarmed citizens first and asking questions later: “The officer perceived a credible threat when the 62-year-old grandmother reached for her purse. It was a justified shooting.”

And it means police work is even more attractive to cowardly bullies than it used to be. Let’s face it, most actual criminals are so pathetic they’re not really much of a threat. In fact, if you want to beat up on them, who’s going to believe them when they say they didn’t resist? Nobody important. Or you can just steal their money and drugs, as the Los Angeles cops did in the Rampart scandal, or the Baltimore cops convicted just a few weeks ago. Or the Chicago cops just indicted. Or the Philadelphia cop recently indicted. Cop rapists is another encouraging trend. Protect and serve!

But every once in a while an actual threat to the citizenry comes along; the kind of threat against which you’re actually supposed to put your life on the line, to save the lives of innocents. And what happens then, Mr. Tough Guy?

So I don’t expect you to protect me or anything. Just, please don’t gratuitously shoot me at a traffic stop, okay? And also, don’t give us any more rubbish about “lives on the line.” That’s all I ask.

The Broward County Sheriff’s incompetence is even worse than you thought

REVEALED: Broward County Deputy Who Gave ‘Stage’ Order That Kept Cops Outside Parkland Shooting

Isn't political correctness wonderful?
Isn’t political correctness wonderful?

 

It turns out that part of the reason four deputy sheriffs loitered outside Stoneman Douglas High School was a captain who ordered them by radio to form a “perimeter” instead of going in and saving some lives.

And guess what? That captain is a woman.

So we have:
  •  A policy of allowing juvenile criminals off the hook to prevent a “school to prison pipeline,” for minority members. Said policy prevented the arrest of the Hispanic shooter even though he had committed crimes, because he was Hispanic. Thus he was able to walk around free and collect an arsenal when he should have been in jail;
  • A cowardly deputy “resource officer” who hides instead of confronting the shooter;
  • A woman commander who orders her charges not to interfere with the killing.
  •  The Sheriff, who boasts of his “amazing leadership” in promoting politically-correct policies and personnel, and in hiring incompetent staff.
  • Plus, the FBI admits it didn’t do what it was supposed to do when it was tipped off that Cruz was dangerous, thus, again, allowing him to run around loose.

We find this out at the same time that they’re telling us we shouldn’t be able to arm ourselves; that we should trust the State to protect us instead.

Ever get the feeling that our rulers don’t really have our best interests at heart?

Google elites show us a distopian future

googlenaziA recent spate of reports about vicious anti-free speech behavior among the management of the tech giant Google is enough to send shivers up one’s spine. They fired one software engineer for arguing that the reason there are fewer women than men in science, math, and technical fields is that they are different.

And get this:

“One of the great things about Google’s internal communication mechanisms (G+, mailing lists, etc), is that, as a manager, I can easily go find out if I really want to work with you,” wrote another individual described on social media as a Google manager, Collin Winter. “I keep a written blacklist of people whom I will never allow on or near my team, based on how they view and treat their coworkers. That blacklist got a little longer today.”

And:

In another post, alleged Site Reliability Manager Paul Cowan warned to employees that “freedom of speech is the right to freely express an opinion. It is most assuredly not the right to express an opinion with freedom from the consequences.”

Cowan continued to reference a post from Google dissidents, who were discussing the blacklists being created by an “SJW cabal” at the company, before defending the concept of punishing anti-SJW employees.

“To be clear: this is, in my opinion, perfectly acceptable,” he declared. “Quoting this as if it were some egregious abuse of power, or of your rights, is laughable… My life, happiness, and mental health, are worth too much to me to burn my precious happy-fu working with people I find contemptible, unpleasant, or even in some cases merely irritating.”

These are high-income, high status people who apparently can say these things in one of the largest, most powerful corporations in the U.S., and not only get away with it, but be positively praised for such statements.

They are the same kind of people who in other times and places herd those they don’t like onto cattle cars. I don’t think they’d hesitate for an instant to do it to you and me if they got the chance.

The only question now is, will they get the chance?