Category Archives: Media incompetence/bias

A Short Musing

Why – with the advent of the #MeToo movement and Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein and so on and so forth – hasn’t the “Ke$ha-Dr. Luke” matter been re-evaluated?

Why is Dr. Luke getting a pass?

Maybe he should.  We don’t know.  But on the surface, we think it pretty obvious he shouldn’t.  So we’re a little perplexed.


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Filed under epistemology, Media incompetence/bias

A Moment In Philadelphia

And a missed opportunity.

There are agendas.  Apparently Philly’s District Attorney Larry Krasner has one:  “reform”.  One would think there’d be widespread agreement that reform is in order.  And maybe there is.

But there’s a counterargument, as twitter traffic will attest.  Krasner’s agenda is encountering law enforcement push back.  Perhaps not all law enforcement, but the unofficial-official LEO party line, which is that Krasner coddles criminals and undermines police and in general is just a “disgrace”.

Philly’s federal prosecutor is cheer leading the push back.  Which is kind of odd, but then some seem to believe that this is US DOJ policy.

Not to get too partisan about it all.  We pride ourselves on not being partisans over here at LoS.

And here’s the point.  There is really only one take-away from the #PhillyShooting incident:  it was very fortunate that no one was seriously injured or killed, including the gunman.  The police are to be commended for their restraint and collective good judgment.  The lawyer is to be commended for his heroism and good judgment.  This was an all’s well that ends well scenario by any sensible interpretation.

But the official party line twists the incident into an occasion to take potshots at a reform District Attorney who apparently doesn’t sufficiently toady for the LEO party line, somehow dreaming up an “argument” that the fact anything happened at all is the DA’s fault, and we put argument in quotes because that thesis is too poorly reasoned to be taken seriously as a decent argument.

We’re saddened that the prediction we made in our last post – that we would be the only place where Shaka Johnson’s heroism was noted – came true so unambiguously, so quickly and so readily.  It’s a testament to the raw political power of the LEO party line, and the lamentable media servility to it.  And it is another example of the malignant belief that facts having only one legitimate interpretation can be interpreted in an entirely different way if we suppress the truth enough, and push the falsehood enough.

We hope Mr. Krasner can withstand the barrage, because the lines have been drawn, the sides chosen and the die cast.


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Filed under epistemology, Media incompetence/bias

Heroic Philadelphia Lawyer

His name is Shaka Johnson.  Read all about it here.

This is one of those situations where a lot of folks deserve commendation.  The police were patient and restrained in the face of six of their comrades having been shot.

Yes, shot.  Somewhat miraculously, none of them had life threatening injuries.

So, kudos to the Philly cops.

But Johnson is in a league by himself.  Apparently the gunman was a sometime client who called his lawyer – Johnson – in the midst of the tense standoff.  Johnson goes to the site, the cops put him in body armor and he goes in and convinces his sometime client to surrender.

Wow.  Nice job.  Really, really nice job.

We’ve had a lot of shooting stories lately with really sad endings.  Now we have one – out of Philadelphia, of all places – where everyone went home safe, or at least safely to jail, including the “gunman”.  And the key figure in it all was a lawyer.

Crediting a lawyer with heroism, by the way, is such an alien and disfavored narrative in the media at this point that no outlet is even stressing the obvious heroism shown by the lawyer here.

His name is Shaka Johnson.  It would be nice if we heard that name a lot more over the next few days.  But we’re not holding our breath over here at LoS; our paean is likely to be the only one.

Maybe there should be an annual “John Edland” award for unheralded heroism in the service of peace and justice.  We think 2019 has a hands-down winner already.


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Trade War Counter-Spin

So, farmers are upset and claiming that the “trade war” with China is putting them out of business.

We don’t want to see any productive hard working people put out of business.  Especially farmers.  But we also think there may be foundational and structural adjustments to be made and that it’s not easy to do that without some pain.

The way things have been working, we run enormous trade deficits with China and other cheap labor countries so we can buy trinkets at Walmart for virtually nothing, while China buys up our food from our farmers, which is one of the only things ameliorating our trade deficit with them.  One of the effects of all this is to sustain our relatively primitive agrarian economy while China builds up its relatively more sophisticated manufacturing economy.

There’s a sense in which this arrangement is sort of obviously, you know, unwise.

But there’s a deeper issue.  We have grown very accustomed to cheap food and cheap consumer goods while at the same time we have incredibly expensive housing and health care, and pretty high taxation.  Put another way, we transfer an enormous percentage of our national income to bankers for mortgages, government for taxes, and insurance companies for health care.  This sustains in high fashion a basically parasitic managerial class that draw their income from government, or large institutions that feed off of government directly or indirectly, like banks and insurance companies.  And defense contractors – you know, the MIC.

It’s only our opinion, but we think it’s more economically healthy to pay relatively more for food and necessary manufactured goods, and relatively less for housing and government and weaponry and troops.  So we’d like to see farmers paid more by their own neighbors and countrymen for what would probably wind up being better food, but that won’t happen easily because the parasitic class in New York City and Washington isn’t just going to roll over and take a relative pay cut.

So, you know, it’s a difficult adjustment.  Maybe we can bridge the gap with increased subsidies to farmers.  We’ve been doing a lot of that since the New Deal anyway!

Just a little musing here.


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Filed under financial crisis, Media incompetence/bias

Double Plus Bad Think – Repealed

As some of the cooler heads have pointed out, the practical effect of New York’s new and improved abortion regime is basically nil.  But ideologically it has a lot of oompf.

How so?  New York “liberalized” its abortion law in 1970, three years before the SCOTUS weighed in saying that the constitutional due process “right to privacy” was “broad” enough to encompass, you know, abortion.  How did New York do that?  Not by saying that abortion was a “right”, or that the human unborn was not a “person”; but rather by saying that any abortion taking place within the first six months of pregnancy was a “justifiable abortional act”.  That is to say, or at least strongly imply, that abortion itself was wrong, and would be criminal, but in what became any reason or no reason for a period of time it was “justifiable”, justification also being a criminal law concept described in Article 35 of New York’s Penal Law.

The ideological problem?  Abortion remained a conceptual wrong, the subject of several statutes in the Penal Law in Article 125, which was itself entitled “Homicide, Abortion and Related Offenses”.

How terribly uncomfortable and irksome for one side in the abortion wars.

Fortunately for that one side, in the almost 50 years that have passed since 1970, this curious implied commentary on the nature of abortion, still codified in New York’s Penal Law, has never, to our knowledge, been mentioned in the press, and indeed in all the blather about this recent change in the law has not been mentioned either.  Apparently it has been unmentionable.  And accordingly that one side has never had to confront the implications of what no one can, after all, speak.

And now they surely won’t have to.  The objectionable thought has been purged from the law of New York.  The long-standing oversight from the early days of our reproductive revolutionary zeal has finally been corrected, an intellectual irritant flushed down the collective memory hole where it will no longer trouble us.

That is all the change in the law was about.  It’s to show there’s no going back.


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Anchor Babies, Dred Scott And The 14th Amendment

There are two ways a federal court has subject matter jurisdiction of a dispute.  One is if there is a “federal question” involved.  The other is if there is “diversity of citizenship” between the parties – that is, a citizen of one state suing a citizen of another.

Dred Scott was a slave who lived in bondage in Missouri, a slave state.  Then he was taken for a time to Illinois, a free state where slavery was not permitted under the Missouri compromise law.  When his “owner” tried to take him back to Missouri he sued the man, named Sanford, in federal court claiming that under Illinois law he was an Illinois citizen and Sanford was a Missouri citizen and that the court had diversity jurisdiction to hear the case.

When the case got to the SCOTUS the question was whether there was actually diversity of citizenship to confer federal court jurisdiction over the case.  SCOTUS could not rule that Scott was not a citizen of Illinois, because that was up to Illinois and presented no question for SCOTUS to review.  But they wanted to throw the case out, and so they held that while Scott might be a citizen of a state (Illinois) he was not a citizen of the United States because of his condition of bondage, which made him “property”, and therefore there was no diversity of citizenship and federal courts had no jurisdiction to hear the case.

When the civil war ended the Congress wanted to overrule the Dred Scott case by constitutional amendment.

And that’s what the first sentence of the 14th amendment means:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

It was about the Dred Scott case.  But it says what it says.  We don’t know how, or whether, this sheds any light on current controversies, but we thought it would be appropriate to put it out there so that the debates and discussions could be more well informed.

You’re welcome.


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Wow. Just Wow. Updated.

Apparently, we’re in for another financial “crisis” and the Wall Street Journal wants to be sure in advance that the spin is spun.

President Bush and Tim Geithner and Hank Paulson were the great heroes of the last crisis, you see.  They resisted the detestable Trumpian “populism” of the day to reward their friends with a $12 trillion dollar bailout to “save the whole economy” which was “on the line” in 2008.

Here’s the truth.  The “economy” they were saving is not really an economy as that term is usually and properly understood.  They “saved” the corporatist-socialist political system over which they perched then, and continue to perch today.  We say “saved” because it was a very expensive kick the can down the road maneuver that we must admit has exceeded all rational expectations for effectiveness in delaying things, but of course fundamentally changed nothing.  Which of course to overlords is the point:  the “system” as it is has been good to them.  Why change it?

So as we careen towards the next “crisis” which of course is actually a continuation of the previous one that was never actually solved, we have another thought about things economic.  We made a suggestion some time ago about a jubilee 28th amendment that would cancel existing debt and establish a gold standard.  Talk about a fundamental change.  We still like the idea a lot, but it appears we are the only ones.

Here’s another suggestion for a 28th amendment that is almost as good in theory but way simpler.  And to be frank it would probably be about as popular, but that’s a separate problem:

Neither the United States nor any state shall henceforth impose any tax upon, or otherwise permit the encumbrance of, residential real estate.

See, populism does indeed get out of hand (think French Revolution) but that doesn’t mean it should always be ignored.  It can function as a bellwether.

Anyway, comments on this proposal for a constitutional amendment will be appreciated.

UpdateThey always report it, at least somewhere, so it can never be said that your weren’t informed.


Filed under financial crisis, Media incompetence/bias