Thursday, February 6, 2020

That Day I Could Never Get The Hang Of

     Seriously, Gentle Reader: Aren’t there days of the week that you find more difficult than the others? For most it might be Monday. For me, it’s...well, any day I feel too shagged out to produce a “regular” essay and must make do with an “assorted” column.

     Like today.

1. New York’s “No Bail” Law.

     The state government of New York has done some very stupid things in recent years – having Andrew Cuomo at the wheel guaranteed that from the start – but this might be the current capper: There is now a state law that forbids a trial judge to impose bail on a detainee charged with a misdemeanor or a “nonviolent” felony. As it happens, there are some trial judges who disagree:

     COHOES, N.Y.—An upstate judge defied New York’s controversial pretrial rules on Wednesday when he set $100 bail for a man charged with a low-level misdemeanor, setting up a larger court fight on a simmering political issue.

     City Court Judge Thomas Marcelle said in an order issued on Monday that he believed setting cash bail was the least restrictive means of ensuring the defendant, Jonathan Johnston, returned to face a charge of aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, which his attorney says carries up to a six-month jail term.

     During a hearing on Wednesday, Judge Marcelle ordered Mr. Johnston be held pending payment of $100 cash or up to a $500 bond. Mr. Johnston’s public defender, Angela Kelley, opposed the judge’s ruling and said she would appeal....

     Judge Marcelle said in his Monday order that “by stripping judges of necessary discretion to control the appearance of a defendant, the legislature improperly interfered with the judiciary’s capacity to fulfill its constitutional mandate.”

     Indeed. Bail required of a criminal defendant who wants to avoid being jailed to await trial does constrain his movement, at least if his bailor is adequately vigilant. But it has another purpose as well: It guarantees that, should the defendant vanish forever, there will be a fund with which the victim of the charged offense can be compensated. That’s the reason for the “Excessive bail” clause in the Eighth Amendment:

     Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

     The Founders had a clearer vision of how a justice system ought to operate than most who came after them – including most jurists.

2. The Party of Slander and Contempt.

     A severe disappointment can make a political movement show us the dark side of its character:

     [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] was quite angry that the President awarded Rush with the Medal of Freedom. She called Rush Limbaugh a “virulent racist.” It’s absolutely untrue....

     CNN’s Jim Acosta spoke slanderously without any evidence. He said that Rush Limbaugh and the President are “divisive” and Rush makes derogatory comments about African-Americans.

     “He was trying to make appeals to the African-American community,” Acosta said. “It can’t be forgotten he was awarding the Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh, who has a history of making derogatory comments about African-Americans. So I think, you know, overall it’s a wash.”

     Ocasio-Cortez and Acosta are the dominant faces of the contemporary Left: the former in elected office; the latter in the media. When they have no substance from which to argue, they revert to slanderous accusations and then insist that their target must prove himself innocent.

     One of the reasons “racist” is the go-to denunciation favored by the Left is that it can be asserted without evidence yet still tarnish its target’s good name. Note how seldom objective evidence accompanies such a claim. Yet many who have been calumnized that way have suffered both personally and professionally.

     This has been the modus operandi of the Left for some time, so many in the Right will shrug and say “What else is new?” What’s new, in this case, is that Rush Limbaugh, a hero to millions who’ve drawn inspiration from his radio show and charity work, is dying of lung cancer. They’ve chosen to slander a dying man.

     Limbaugh will probably shrug it off. The rest of us must not. These vermin must be destroyed professionally: driven into a disgrace so deep that no decent person anywhere will ever again treat with them for any reason. Pour encourager les autres, don’t y’know.

3. Irony So Thick You Could Swim In It.

     Among deceivers and hypocrites in elected office, Elizabeth Warren is highly ranked. Few will be unaware of her use of fictitious Amerind heritage for professional and political advantage. Beyond that, she’s often allowed herself privileges she claims to oppose...when others make them, of course. But her recent comments about the acquittal of President Trump on the House’s indictment charges may set a new record for irony:

     Tyler O’Neill adds this:

     As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) explained in his remarks on Tuesday, Trump's actions involving Ukraine do not demonstrate that the president is "ignorant or indifferent to the Constitution." Furthermore, former President Barack Obama did what Trump is accused of having done — held up foreign aid to Ukraine and investigated his political opponent — and at a far worse scale.

     Trump temporarily delayed lethal aid to Ukraine, but Obama never sent Ukraine weapons to defend itself against Russia. Trump asked Ukraine to investigate potential corruption, but Obama's administration launched an investigation into Trump's campaign on the pretext that Russians were attempting to infiltrate it — without notifying Donald Trump!

     And I shall add this: If an openly corrupt politician can immunize himself against investigation simply by running for office – in Joe Biden’s case, running for a nomination to run for office – then we’d better watch out. There are over 500,000 elective offices in these United States: enough to protect a whole lot of Corrupt-O-Crats.

4. Female Action Heroes And Other Modern Myths.

     Commentator and Christian apologist Denise McAllister has a book coming out that I think I’ll purchase in physical format. Among the matters she addresses is Hollywood’s role in promoting falsehoods about women’s physical abilities:

     Dubrow: In the book you focus on not just communication between the sexes, but how men and women are portrayed in popular entertainment. At one point you mention “the preponderance of female action heroes.” What’s wrong with female action heroes?

     McAllister: Nothing is inherently wrong with female action heroes in fiction. The problem is that we allow fiction to be “proofs” of reality. I can’t tell you how many times when I’ve talked about women being physically weaker than men and that this is why they shouldn’t be in combat, I get the response, “But just look at Brianne of Tarth” (from “Game of Thrones”) or even the fictionalized accounts of Joan of Arc, whose combat role has been highly exaggerated.

     Fiction can be a great vehicle to change how we think, and this has happened when it comes to equalizing men and women through the preponderance of female superheroes and “strong” women in film. We have been brainwashed into actually believing women can be just like men in the physical arena. This is simply not the case, and it’s dangerous to think otherwise.

     Well said – and it’s high time that it be said, openly and fearlessly. While fiction must “make sense” to the reader at the motivational level, speculative fiction – and I include my own two female action heroes in this – is not intended to portray reality at that detail level. Yet the female action hero – which John Ringo has memorably termed “a guy with tits” – is now dominant in all combat-oriented fiction, whether printed or filmed. And that’s giving a lot of young girls and women some very dangerous ideas. Dangerous to them, that is.

5. The Candidate Who Couldn’t Win And Won’t Forgive.

     We all have aspirations. The late George W. Romney, from 1963 through 1968 the governor of Michigan, wanted to be president. He was encouraged to bid for the post by many who knew him. He fell short...but it seems he bequeathed his ambition to his son Mitt.

     Mitt Romney’s political career is largely one of failure. He’s contended in five separate elections: at the state level in Massachusetts and Utah, and at the federal level for the presidency. He won twice – one term as governor of Massachusetts and currently as U.S. Senator from Utah – and lost the other three, including his bid for president in 2012 against incumbent Barack Hussein Obama. It seems he remains desperate for political elevation, having appealed to President Donald Trump to appoint him as Secretary of State. Trump chose otherwise, and it seems to have embittered Romney deeply.

     Romney has been a Republican throughout his political career, but never a conservative:

     For starters, Romney’s track record on religious freedom has been poor. Catholic leaders in Massachusetts, the state in which Romney formerly served as governor, have emphasized Romney’s role in forcing Catholic hospitals to administer the abortifacient Plan B, even if doing so violated the consciences of the employee required to administer the deadly drugs. “The injury to the conscience rights of Catholic hospitals was not done so much so much by the church’s ideological enemies on the Left but by the Romney administration,” C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League, explained to back in 2012.

     Furthermore, as Rolling Stone points out, Romney has flipped on everything from abortion to health care, making it hard to determine whether he means what he espouses at any given moment.

     In a 1994 debate with Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, he proudly announced, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it. I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice.” He “evolved” to eventually arrive at the pro-life position in 2011, at the convenient moment he decided to run on the Republican ticket

     The playbook is the same for health care, where he went from supporting an insurance mandate – arguing that he would love to export the Massachusetts Romneycare model to the nation at large – to accusing Bret Baier of being “wrong” when the Fox host attempted to remind him of this. The Baier interaction occurred in 2011, as Romney geared up for yet another presidential bid.

     Please read the whole article. You’re likely to be appalled by such behavior from a Republican who asked us to accept him as a conservative and elect him president. But more to the point, Romney’s behavior suggests that he has no fixed moral convictions, his attachment to the LDS Church notwithstanding. Political advancement is more important to him than anything else – and revenging himself on the man who not only succeeded where he failed but also denied him further elevation would entirely account for his vote to convict President Trump for “abuse of power.”

     Concerning that charge, please refer to Section 3 above. And concerning any regrets we may harbor about Romney’s failure to unseat Obama in 2012, it’s time to dismiss them. Had he succeeded, Donald Trump would probably not be president today.

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. As my cover artist has just revealed her latest elegant creation, I must put my nose to the fictional grindstone so there will be something between the covers. I’ll probably return tomorrow with more of the usual crap. Until then, be well.


Linda Fox said...

Nice work - I actually like these roundups.

The female action hero thing - I do understand the female desire to be strong enough to rout her enemies. I used to read Action Comics, featuring Supergirl. I loved Wonder Woman (BEFORE the Feminist Left discovered her).

But, by the time adolescence has kicked in, girls are strongly outclassed, in terms of physical strength, by all but the weakest boys. You doubt it? Put even the best female fighter in the ring with a male fighter, and she will find herself beaten to a pulp.

But, seriously, why do 'feminists' oppose guns? They actually do equalize the fight between men and women. With a gun, I have a fighting chance to survive. The innovations in gun design have minimized recoil, lightened the weight of many guns, and reduced the hand strength needed to operate one. My 4'9" sister handles her handguns proficiently, and her gun coach (my son-in-law) says she is one of the best shooters he has seen. This, despite some physical limitations other than her size.

An Armed Woman IS a Wonder Woman.

Margaret Ball said...

The ninety-pound-woman-beats-up-the-two-hundred-pound-man is a fiction trope that's annoyed me for years. I do have some hopes that a correction is coming, thanks to the Trans Wars. As more and more men "identifying as women" take over women's sports, a lot of people who didn't mind the fiction trope are starting to say, "Hey, you know, men really do have an advantage over women in physical strength."

Francis W. Porretto said...

It seems that the "female action hero" notion has grated on more than a few nerves. My main interest in the subject concerns the steady dwindling of the male action heroes who once graced the printed page and silver screen.

If the writer provides his "gal who kicks ass" with an adequate rationale for her way-beyond-her-sex performance, the female action hero is tolerable under the usual rules for "willing suspension of disbelief." However, there is no reason to eschew, much less disparage, traditional male heroes, and there's a lot of that going on.

Borepatch said...

Another thing about Mitt - he yucked it up with the Massachusetts Democrat big wigs when he signed the Assault Weapon ban into law there. Quite the "fierce conservative".

I lived there then, and while Mitt was a decent Governor (about all you could expect for in that state), he's shown repeatedly that he is a liar who has no moral center. Yesterday was just another day in Mittville.