Category Archives: Phonies and Assclowns

TSA Fails at One More Thing

tsa checkpointWe know, kind of a dog bites man story. The TSA has failed at everything, and it’s really no good at anything, except turning welfare bums into an angry and corrupt version of Paul Blart, Mall Cop. But from time to time some other branch of government investigates some aspect of the TSA’s work, in this case their Behavioral Detection Officers. Red-on-red ensues.

A BDO is an 82-IQ TSA guy given some pop-psychology training in spotting terrorist “tells,” who then goes out and harasses the traveling public with his insta-expertise. In this case the investigating agency is the amusingly named Government Accountability Office, which always strikes us as something like a Whorehouse Saving It for Marriage Office. The GAO report to Congress is here. The underlying and larger GAO Study is here. The bottom line, per GAO, is that per the psychological state of the art:

[T]he ability of human observers to accurately identify deceptive behavior based on behavioral cues or indicators is the same as or slightly better than chance (54 percent). GAO also reported on other studies that do not support the use of behavioral indicators to identify mal-intent or threats to aviation.

This caused a small splash in the corners of the media that are not in love with the TSA. Some media adore the agency, simply because it’s a welfare program for the mentally deficient that swells the ranks of government worker unions. And others dislike it, for the same reasons. For example, the Washington Times:

Government investigators said Wednesday that there is little evidence to show TSA employees are able to pick out potential terrorists by profiling behavior and that the agency may be wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on the 3,000 officers hired to do so.

TSA Administrator John S. Pistole is scheduled to appear before the Homeland Security Committee on Thursday to talk about the recent shooting at Los Angeles International Airport. [Ranking Member of the Committee Bennie] Thompson said the agency chief will have to explain why he thinks the behavior money is well-spent.

Desperate to preserve the program, TSA defended the research and said its own study shows its officers are “substantially better at identifying high-risk passengers than a random screening protocol.”

The TSA Peepers and Gropers Union wanted Pistole to ask for law enforcement credentials and guns for their mouth-breathing members, but he didn’t.

The Times’s analysis of the GAO paper is OK, so Read The Whole Thing™. But you also should read the whole paper, both to get a sense of the problem in depth (it’s only 14 pages, but that’s much longer than the précis that can be jammed into a news story — or a blog post, for that matter), and because the Times missed something big.

Some or our take-aways from the report:

  • Every boondoggle needs an acronym, and this one is SPOT: Screening of Passengers by Observation Technique. (Down, Spot. Bad dog).
  • “TSA has expended a total of approximately $900 million on the program since it was fully deployed in 2007.” Emphasis ours: this is a billion-dollar boondoggle.
  • “TSA deployed the SPOT program without validating the scientific basis for identifying passengers who may pose a threat” – a 2010 finding that’s unimproved in 2013. (Link to the 2010 GAO report, which is not as negative as the new follow-up).
  • “[T]he SPOT program lacked performance measures.” (2010, again).
  • The ace BDOs identified thousands of “threats to aviation” with their mad psyop skillz, of whom actually 0.0% turned out to be actual threats to aviation. 0.6% of the “threats” they flagged wound up being arrested, but usually because the individual was an illegal alien, had bogus documents, or was wanted on outstanding warrants.
  • A mere 99.4% of the travelers singled out for extra harassment using this methodology were BDO/SPOT false positives.
  • The rate of arrests varied enormously from one airport to another, indicating a lack of standardization, but no airport had higher than 17% of law enforcement referrals (a second stage referral) arrested. The airports with the higher rates of referral are suspected of using racial profiling to find their higher share of illegal immigrants and false documents.

Not all these findings were caught by the Times, and some of them are certainly shocking. But the Times’s reporters also missed, or at least, didn’t emphasize ,the finding that was, for us, the bombshell of the whole piece. It relates to the TSA’s “own study” the Times mentions above, and the GAO says:

GAO found that DHS’s April 2011 validation study does not demonstrate effectiveness of the SPOT behavioral indicators because of methodological weaknesses.… Specifically, as GAO reported in November 2013, these weaknesses include, among other things, the use of potentially unreliable data and issues related to one of the study’s outcome measures.

Let us translate that for you: DHS’s April 2011 study, which was made in response to, and purports to contradict an earlier GAO report critical of the Behavior Analysis Officer boondoggle, was a false, misleading report.

Now, it might have been deliberately false. And it might have been simple incompetence. With DHS and TSA, it’s hard to pick one over the other.

We do know this, and have frequently said so: Not one good, decent, honest, moral, ethical, intelligent or competent individual has ever been employed by the TSA for any purpose whatsoever.

As the non-reaction to the 2010 Government Accountability Office report shows, there is no accountability in government, and there won’t be this time, either, unless Congress takes action (so we could probably have left out all from the comma before “unless,” right?)  But there still is a faint hope. Zeroing out the funding for this wasteful, disruptive, and ineffective project, as Rep. Thompson (D-MS) wants to do, is a good start.

How the Administration plans to celebrate Veterans’ Day

jfonda2Allegedly antisemitic, arguably anti-American, rangey and cadaverous of appearance and impractical and doctrinaire of thought, foreign-born Samantha Power was always a … curious … choice for UN Ambassador. But she is probably a pretty good marker for how the Administration feels about its combat veterans: in general, it prefers those who betrayed them. Power’s Vets’ day message for you: “There is no greater embodiment of being outspoken on behalf of what you believe in — and being ‘all in’ in every way — than Jane Fonda.”

New U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Power didn’t waste her diplomatic skills on Vietnam veterans at a New York speech, praising actress Jane Fonda for “being outspoken on behalf” of her convictions.

Power, 43, was speaking at the United Nations Association of the USA 2013 Global Leadership Awards in New York Wednesday.

“Hi everybody,” Power said, according to a transcript. “You know life has changed when you’re hanging out with Jane Fonda backstage. There is no greater embodiment of being outspoken on behalf of what you believe in — and being ‘all in’ in every way — than Jane Fonda. And it’s a huge honor just to even briefly have shared the stage with her.”

via America’s top UN diplomat has high praise for ‘Hanoi Jane’ | Fox News.

One wonders which of Fonda’s reported actions Power finds worthy of such “huge honor.” Was it crewing-up on a 57mm AA gun? You did recognize the setting of the photo above, yes? Here’s another from the same shoot (without resorting to the most common one):

fonda3

Haranguing POWs on propaganda audio tapes she made for their captors? Haranguing them in person? Informing on them? Precipitating their torture? (She admits all but the last, but still condemns veterans for criticizing her).

Of course, Sam Power is not the only Administration figure who likes Jane Fonda, but dislikes combat veterans (at least, American ones). There’s this knucklehead:

Jane_Fonda_Kerry_1970_25

So what does 70-something-and-wrinkly Hanoi Jane say now? She says vets need to “get a life” and forget about her betrayal. A bit too late for the ones who didn’t survive her buddies, the people who shot them down or the ones who, with her moral and possibly actual, physical, support, tortured them to death. They can’t get a life because they no longer had a life. Thanks, Jane. Thanks, Sam.

So remember that Hanoi interlude, the formative event in the Legend of Jane Fonda. That’s what Sam Power is celebrating; that’s the only A-Level public episode of Fonda’s long and parasitic trustafarian life. Well, some vet already drafted a suitable reply:

janefondahanoijane1

Table for two. Sharia Sam Power is joining her.

Don’t you hate it when the law gets up your….

colonoscopy-procedureIf you have just been pulled over for a moving violation, and you think you just saw a cop checking out your buns, you might just be right.

And if your natural reaction to that is stark staring terror, we’re not going to call you paranoid. Well, we might, but we bet David Eckert won’t. Here’s his story:

[Dangerous criminal Eckert, nabbed for a rolling-stop at a stop sign] appeared to be clenching his buttocks.  Law enforcement thought that was probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity.  While officers detained Eckert, they secured a search warrant from a judge that allowed for an anal cavity search.

The lawsuit claims that Deming [New Mexico] Police tried taking Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform the anal cavity search citing it was “unethical.”

But physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City agreed to perform the procedure and a few hours later, Eckert was admitted.

via 4 On Your Side investigates traffic stop nightmare | KOB.com.

This change of colon-examination venue may have legal consequences. The butt warrant was only good in one county, and it was invalid in the county where Gila Regional was. So the doctors and nurses who particpated there are exposed to potential liability — they went from being all up in Eckert’s nether reaches, to having a bunch of lawyers all up in theirs.

And “all up in” is not an exaggeration. In order, the Gila monsters:

  1. X-rayed Eckert’s abdominal area.
  2. Put on the blue glove. And gave him the finger wave.
  3. New set of gloves, new round of finger waves.
  4. In again, with the enema tube, as a throng of docs and cops kibitzed.
  5. As with the first finger wave, the first enema didn’t work, so they did it again.
  6. Brace yourseld! Here comes enema Number Three.
  7. With the enemas not working, they tried X-Rays again. 
  8. Then they put him under and did a colonoscopy. If you’ve ever had a colonoscopy, you’ve had to sign a mountain of waivers and disclaimers. Not Eckert: these barbers just did it without his permission (or a valid warrant).

Even if the warrant had been valid in the county where all this police interest in David Eckert’s fundamental orifice found expression, numbers six through eight or so took place after the expiration time listed on the warrant.

Asked about the incident, Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante (any relation to this guy?) clammed up and lawyered up.

But hey, they found the drugs, and got a dangerous criminal off the street… right? Well, not exactly. Turns out, there never were any drugs, just a guy with a clenched butt. But if there had been any drugs up this guy’s wazoo, this eight-step collaboration between some cops and doctors who shared a prurient interest in one man’s rectum totally would have found them.

Now what? Well, for the foreseeable future, everybody’s going to be clenching their butts when they meet Deming police. This won’t be an act of planned civil disobedience, or disrespect for the law. It’s going to be simple fear. And at least two doctors are going to be clenching the same anatomical feature in the same way as they come under professional-ethics scrutiny.

So there we were, driving through Connecticut…

"I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that." And the pod bay doors closed… Clunk.

“I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t do that.” And the pod bay doors closed… Clunk.

…and listening to the radio. Former Governor John Rowland (R-New-England-“lite-D”-type) has a talk show, and he was talking about the turrible events taking place at Central Connecticut State University, a hopped-up community college in New Britain. Seems a criminal had been seen (see left, a scary black criminal, although Rowland never said the b-word), and in Rowland’s view, the police very sensibly locked down the campus and flooded the zone with LENCO Bearcats and SWAT mall-ninjas, who ran around going “hut-hut-hut” and at least, unlike their brethren of Boston Marathon fame, didn’t have any reported negligent discgharges.

At 1600 the AUTHORITAHs had a press conference, and fortunately (or unfortunately, as it may be) the traffic was lousy enough that I was still within earshot of Rowland’s show. Most of the conference was taken up by the President of the College, some anonymous hack reaping his reward for toiling in the bureaucratic slave galleys. But when the conference was opened to questions, the press ignored the figurehead and zeroed in on the two police chiefs present: New Britain’s and CCSU’s campus cops’. And we quickly saw that something big was missing from this story of crime and punishment: a crime.

The cops tried to stonewall the press, but the reporters did that annoying reporter thing, asking the same questions over and over as if the questionee is stupid. And it became apparent that there’s a reason reporters do this: if you have people who are not high-handed and accustomed to shoving their way through a hostile media scrum, like these two small-time police chiefs, they will waver and tell you things that they didn’t want to say. The chiefs gave up the following facts with the greatest reluctance:

  1. There was no criminal misconduct, just various snitches trying to ingratiate themselves.
  2. The reason for the alarm? Someone (who turned out to be a student) was turned in to the New Britain PD for… wait for it…. wearing camouflage. He may also have had a sword. Asked if he had a handgun, one of the snitches said he had a backpack, which might have contained a handgun. (Hell, if you watch TV, it might have contained a nuke, too). No one actually saw a gun. The cops admitted this with great reluctance, but the reporters worried it out of them like a terrier gnawing on a rat.
  3. The police locked down the school, cancelled classes, and ran around campus pointing guns at people for the rest of the day.
  4. Students pointed to where the camo-clad menace went — into his dorm room in James Hall. Scores of police swarmed the hall, and arrested the menace, figuring they would figure out charges later, and two of his friends for being his friends.
  5. They then cleared every one of 415 or so rooms in the eight-floor building.
  6. Police admitted very reluctantly, 20+ minutes into the conference, that no weapons were found.
  7. It was 30+ minutes before they admitted that there was no real threat (unless you count a bunch of quasi-trained mall ninjas running around with their fingers on triggers).
  8. It was 40+ minutes in before they admitted that the “suspect” was cooperating, and that what he was wearing was a Halloween costume. 
  9. They said they were going to charge them, but they had run into a small problem of with what. But they were determined to think of something. (As you’ll see below, they did).

John Rowland thought this Stasi-type, informant-driven, zero-evidence dragnet was model police work. (Come in from the cold, Erich Honecker, all is forgiven). When a caller tried to say, “wait a minute, where’s the crime here?” Rowland testily cut him off and broke the connection. But he let people who shared his “let no whiff of liberty infringe on our atmosphere of pervasive, intrusive security” emote at great length. It was a “conversation” as political partisans like to have a “conversation” — all opinions from A to almost B!

Proving his brilliance by agreeing with us, Reason’s Ed Krajewski, er, “observes and reports”:

Central Connecticut State University declared a state of emergency and ordered a campus lockdown after reports of a possibly costumed armed man on campus also carrying what looked like a sword. “Somebody was seen either with a gun or was thought to have a gun,” a university spokesperson told the press. The lockdown ended after police took three people, including at least one student, the primary suspect, into custody. They recovered no weapons, and the Hartford Courant reports that the campus police chief said there was never a threat to anyone.  Nevertheless, even while acknowledging the incident “possibly could have been a Halloween costume,” the campus police chief insisted it “wasn’t a prank because there was concern, there was alarm.”

via Central Connecticut State University Locked Down After Campus Shooter “Scare” That Could’ve Been a Halloween Costume; Campus Police Chief Says There Was No Real Threat to Anyone, Charges Likely – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

The Hartford Courant — which, like Rowland, thinks this was cutting-edge police work — continues to report on this story. Some of the facts they emphasize in their front-page report include:

  1. Students were “alarmed”.
  2. The kid with the costume… which he was still wearing from a weekend party … is charged with “breach of the peace.” (Wait, he didn’t go nuts, the cops did? Oh right, the law doesn’t apply to cops. So you gotta find somebody else). The law-challenged CCSU police chief, one Chris Cervoni, says charges are justified “because there was concern, there was alarm.” So that’s when the Constitution gets suspended.
  3. The costume was supposed to be “Snake Eyes from the GI Joe movie.” Whoever that is. Turns out it’s a popular costume character for kids or adults, available in many versions from retailers like CostumeCraze and Target. (Costume… $32.95. Tuition… free cause Dd’s a professor, as you’ll see below… arrest record… Priceless!)

    Snake Eyes costume

    Note that it’s not even camouflaged. The snitch flunks Mall Cop 101, “observe and report.”

 

We’re not taking away what they’re taking away. Facts we also found in their article include:

  1. The would-be informant who triggered the whole thing is a Marine vet, and — wait for it — a former mall ninja SWAT officer.
  2. The suspect, Dave Kyem, is the son of a CCSU professor. The jokes write themselves.
  3. Despite the small Coxey’s Army of cops, they caught Kyem when… his friends told him “I think somebody got your Halloween costume conduses with a gunman.” And so Kyem called up the cops and said, “Yo.” They arrested him and his two roommates (as of the press conference, the CCSU police chief was hoplessly confused about whether the roommates were CCSU students, but they were).
  4. Kyem has been charged with “breach of the peace,” a misdemeanor. On Corvini’s theory that former-mall-cop angst equals behavior that shocks the conscience, apparently. We’ll see how that fares in court.

We note that CCSU is noted for bilge-low academic standards. It’s nonselective as to admissions (i.e., “fog a mirror”), and its most distinguished (?) professor is legendary academic fraud Michael Bellesiles. (In Bellesiles’s defense, look at the literacy level of these comments on his teaching, which also makes a point about CCSU. Pretty big fall for the guy who won the Bancroft Prize, albeit with a fabricated book. Note also that the CCSU student paper on Bellesiles, linked above, quotes Bellesiles saying “I wish I never written about guns,” which we will give the old phony credit for not having said that way. He’s a fraud, not a dolt; this is just one more data point on CCSU quality).

So it’s not really surprising to read this quote, from student Inassia Woods:

“I was really scared. I was really shaking but I just stayed calm,” Woods said.

You don’t say.

Connecticut? We don’t recommend it. But sometimes it’s between here and there.

Pro-terrorist Reporter, Lawyer smear SEALS with innuendo

AP's Adam Goldman: SEALs are thieves, pirates are victims.

AP’s Adam Goldman: SEALs are thieves, pirates are victims.

The smug mug you see opposite belongs to one Adam Goldman of the Associated Press, a man who never served in the military and doesn’t think much of those who do or have done. You might think that the SEALS who whacked the pirates and rescued the hostage were heroes. Not Adam Goldman, who went to the University of Maryland (oooooh!). Goldman thinks that they’re thieves, and he wants you to think that, but he isn’t man enough to do more than lay the innuendo down for you:

It was an unbelievable story, with a new retelling that hits the big screen Friday with Tom Hanks playing Capt. Richard Phillips. But the official version that unfolded in the Indian Ocean wasn’t as tidy as Hollywood’s, or the versions in Phillips’ own book or in contemporaneous news reports. In fact, many more than three shots were fired, $30,000 went missing and the integrity of the SEALs was questioned.

The unvarnished story begins on April 8, 2009. Four armed Somali pirates scurried up the side of a large cargo ship, Maersk Alabama, and took the crew and Phillips hostage. In a failed attempt to get the pirates to leave, Phillips gave them $30,000 from the ship safe. The pirates eventually abandoned the Maersk, jumping into a lifeboat and taking the cash and Phillips at gunpoint.

via $30,000 went missing amid rescue of Capt. Phillips EarthLink – Top News.

Never mind that the investigation — which included NCIS trying to trip them up while wired to a polygraph — cleared the SEALS. Wherever the money went, the last people known to have it were the pirates.

Of course, Goldman also thinks they shouldn’t have killed the pirates.

This is not surprising. Goldman’s history is one of writing anti-military and even pro-al-Qaeda pieces. Shortly before a couple of scrotes radicalized by the jihad preachers in a Boston extremist mosque blew up the Boston Marathon finish line, Goldman received a Pulitzer Prize for a series bashing the NYPD for keeping an eye on the jihad preachers in extremist mosques. One of his go-to sources, apparently the guy pushing the SEALS-as-thieves story, is a lawyer named Philip L. Weinstein, who represented one pirate (and who wants the missing $30k, perhaps). Weinstein is a a man who never served in the military and doesn’t think much of those who do or have done. Who does he like? That’s easy. He’s become a go-to guy for terrorists, pirates and al-Qaeda.

Weinstein did a great job for the surviving pirate (the clueless genius who went aboard USS Bainbridge to dictate terms, only to wind up in the brig). The guy may get out just this side of 2050, and will be deported back to whatever’s left of Somalia then. And it’s clear that, whether or not he gets his $30k pirate treasure, Weinstein (like Goldman) still has much more affinity for the pirates than the authorities that stopped them.

It’s about what you’d expect from the Associated (with terrorists) Press, whose idea of “journalistic objectivity” in Iraq was participating in terrorist acts including murders of election workers and foreign logistical contractors, and executions of hostages.

Goldman closes the article by quietly damning the movie Captain Phillips for not depicting the SEALs, as he does, as thieves.

Assclown of the Ides: Vietnam phony Joe Ellis

fabricating-phony-vietnam-hero-joe-ellis

This is the picture on Ellis’s faculty bio. It actually dates to the period during which he was caught fabricating his own history.

Even in fields of endeavor that are gigantic septic pools of homogeneous sewage, there’s the occasional stool that breaks surface, emitting more than the usual volume of methane-scented aromatics. In Hollywood, for example, you have Woody Allen, who not only married one of his own (step)daughters, but is now credibly accused of diddling the others, also. (What Who will Polanski do to catch up?) In academia, which unlike Hollywood does not require any particular talent, and employs rather more people rather less productively, it takes great and prodigious strivings for any particular clump to broach the surface of the ordure.

Meet Joseph Ellis.

Joe has some ideas on guns for you. You should believe him because he’s a professor and a big war hero:

There is an opinion abroad in the land that the right to bear arms is unlimited, an absolute right, like the right to vote or the right to a fair trial. ….

And yet, no matter how prevalent or fervently held, the opinion that the Bill of Rights supports and the high court acknowledges an absolute right to gun ownership is just plain wrong.

The language of the 2nd Amendment is quite clear: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” As the minority in the Heller decision argued, and more than a century of judicial precedent at the federal level established, the right to bear arms was not an inherent right of citizenship but rather a right that derived from service in the militia.

via There’s no unlimited right to bear arms – latimes.com.

Ellis is, in reality, an anti-gun academic, writing last month in the anti-gun Los Angeles Times, a paper that is determined always to scold, and never to surprise, its dwindling readership in its dwindling pages. Ellis fits that bill tidily. We’ll leave it to others to address the substance of his arguments, which seem to us to come down to “the Heller majority had it wrong! My fellow partisans in the minority were right!”, but we will note that the Heller majority already did that (address the substance of his arguments), as has done the main body of law professors, which is why the Heller decision comports to what these professors call the Standard Model of the 2nd Amendment.

Ellis’s article relies on his own authority as the self-nominated and relentlessly self-promoted Greatest Expert on the Founding Fathers™ to conclude that they meant, exactly, mirabile dictu, what Northeastern academic liberals like Ellis would now like them to have meant. He does this from time to time. In 2007, he took to the pages of the Washington Post to note his, and George Washington’s, but mostly his hiding behind George’s, disapproval of George Bush and the war in Iraq.

Beyond that framing, we shan’t address Ellis’s argument, except to note that all nine Justices accepted the right as an individual right, a fact Ellis characteristically misrepresents in his op-ed. We’re here to discuss Ellis’s character. Well, let’s begin with John Southard, writing in Spencer Tucker (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War. (p. 1299):

Joseph Ellis, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, is perhaps the most renowned fake Vietnam War veteran. In 2001 the Boston Globe revealed that Ellis had lied to students and the public about having served in Vietnam with the US Army 101st airborne division. Ellis’s record shows that he graduated from William and Mary University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in 1965, went to graduate school at yell University, and then served as a history professor at West Point until 1972. He never set foot in Vietnam.

OK, so the guy made some bullshit Vietnam claims. Can’t even a professor fib a little? Well, on some subjects, no; but Ellis didn’t fib just a little. He told ever increasing lies to every single one of his classes at Mount Holyoke for over a decade, and he used those lies to boost his credibility with an appeal to authority and authenticity: as the New York Times Magazine noted, he trumped critics with the claim, I was there, man.  (Of course he wasn’t, and this Forrest Gump wannabe lied about being at a lot more places than Vietnam-in-combat). The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on 13 July 2001:

The Boston Globe dropped a cluster bomb on the bucolic campus of Mount Holyoke College, where Mr. Ellis is a history professor, by reporting that he had for years been lying to colleagues, reporters, and students about his own role in history.

The Globe reported, and Mr. Ellis later confirmed, that he had fabricated a past in which he was present at some of the most crucial episodes in postwar America: He had said that he was a paratrooper for the 101st Airborne in Vietnam; that he was on General William C. Westmoreland’s staff; that back in the United States, he was an antiwar protester and had participated in the civil-rights movement. He had also claimed to have scored the winning touchdown for his high-school football team in the last game of the season.

Those claims were untrue. Not exaggerated, not inflated: entitely made up. Despite this Academia has generally closed ranks behind the fabulist.

After Ellis’s lies were exposed, Mount Holyoke placed the professor on leave without pay for one year. In 2002 Ellis returned to Mount Holyoke, where he is now the Ford foundation professor of history.

Ellis today, still doing what he does best.

A somewhat more weathered Ellis today, still doing what he does best.

In fact, in 2005, they restored him to a named chair, although he has since been and is currently carried Emeritus. After his exposure as a fraud, as before, he continued to misrepresent his history to his students, albeit less boldly and frequently. He continued in good standing even as Ellis’s serial misrepresentation of his own history featured in two important books about academic fraud:  Past Imperfect: Fact, Fictions and Fraud in American History by Peter Charles Hoffer, which calls Ellis out not just in the pages but in the extended subtitle, and Scandals and Scoundrels by Rob Robin.

The guy’s a star of two books on academic phonies, and they promote him. High standards they’ve got there at Mount Holyoke.

And at the National Archives:

No one here at the archives seems bothered about what Mr. Ellis characterized as “having let stand and later confirming the assumption I went to Vietnam.” After a short talk, which culminates in his speculating about how John Adams might have co-written the Declaration of Independence, fan after fan approaches Mr. Ellis’s table with reverence, almost apologetically. No one asks about Vietnam.

Back to the Chronicle:

Mount Holyoke took a similarly defiant stance; the Globe reported last week (this is in 2001 – Ed.) that the college even attempted to dissuade the newspaper from publishing the original article, calling into question the legal basis of investigating statements made in the classroom.

When the newspaper went ahead, Mount Holyoke’s president, Joanne V. Creighton, issued a statement: “We at the college wonder what public interest the Globe is trying to serve through a story of this nature.”

It is, of course, doubtful that any of his academic fans in Mount Holyoke administration, at the National Archives, or in the press ever served in Vietnam, or any other American war, or know anybody who did. As John Kerry famously said, if you don’t go to school you can wind up in Iraq.

And if you do go to school you can just lie about it later, he ought to have added.

And with the support of organized Academia and the press, Ellis has been comfortable in stonewalling his critics. For example, after making a vague statement apparently written by a lawyer, as the Chronicle reported in 2001 and is still true today:

He has not spoken publicly about the matter since. Reporters had been warned that asking any questions about the controversy would result in “physical ejection” from the room.

Brave, brave Sir Joseph, standing up to his critics. He’s still the lying crapweasel who stood for years in front of the impressionable young girls at Mount Holyoke and told them that they should believe him, not only because he has strong opinions but because his opinions were formed by being there.  The Chronicle, again

Many of Mr. Ellis’s friends say that at first, they simply refused to believe what the Globe had reported. He had taught a popular course on Vietnam and American culture that he enlivened with details based, he said, on what he saw there. He had told colleagues that he And this brings us back to Prevaricating Joe’s LA Times Op-Ed. It’s essentially an Appeal to Authority; Ellis claims that he’s the best authoritity on what Jefferson and Adams and Madison meant, because he’s written so many books on them; he’s the expert, and he’s gotten inside their heads.

Ellis’s academic and popular histories are of a piece with his Vietnam fabulization, then: it’s the I was there, man, appeal made figurative and literary but it is no less a fable than his I was there man, claims about Vietnam, the protests, Martin Luther King’s marches, and, almost certainly, Woodstock.

Because, after all, every bullshit artist of the baby boom generation claims to have been at Woodstock, and Ellis is a prince among bullshit artists.

Peace, out.

NOTE

This post has been edited. Where the Southard quote said “Into thousand and one” has been corrected to “In 2001.” This is an example of what can bite you when you overrely on voice recognition technology, eh. –Eds.

Two Uses of Force Compared

The Miriam Carey Shooting

First, here’s PJ Media’s Jack Dunphy, making the case that the Capitol Police shooting of crazy lady Miriam Carey was, with a couple of caveats, a reasonable use of force:

In evaluating what any individual officer did or should have done in the succeeding eight minutes, it’s important to place oneself in the position of that officer….as the Supreme Court put it in Graham v. Connor, “The ‘reasonableness’ of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.”

He posits a counterfactual which closely tracks Ms Carey’s actions, except the conclusion. The Capitol Police are restrained by a more restrictive ROE and:

She then crashes through the barricades lining the sidewalk at Constitution and Delaware, coming to rest at the steps of the Russell Senate Office Building. She then detonates the 500 lbs. of explosives she carries in the car, killing dozens, including some senators.

He says that like thinning the Senatorial herd is a bad thing. But in all seriousness, that might indeed have been what was on the menu. The cop on the scene has no way of knowing.

He points out that members of the public are saying:

She was unarmed, they say. And she suffered from postpartum depression — and she had a baby in the car. She didn’t hurt anyone. So why did the police have to shoot her? Why didn’t they just shoot out the tires, or use rubber bullets, or do any of a thousand other things other than what they did? Why, why, why?

We think if you’re reading this, you know why they didn’t just shoot out the tires. That’s Hollywood stuff, not reality. (Real-world cops do take out tires sometimes, but with spike strips, which requires preparation, ability to position a cop ahead of the vehicle, and the fleeing vehicle has to be channelized). Ditto, rubber bullets are screenwriter rubbish. The people talking about stuff like that have been misinformed by generations of Writers’ Guild luminaries untainted by exposure to physical reality. If someone is a threat, he must be stopped. There’s really no substitute for lead to center of mass, under combat conditions. We expect Jack would have made those points, too, were he not limited by wordcount.

So here we have a professional — “Jack Dunphy” is a pseudonym, but he’s on LAPD — who has concluded this shooting is justified, and gives good and concrete reasons why we should not ride the asses of the cops involved. (He was, like us, unthrilled by the one idjit who ripped a burst of seven unaimed shots after the fleeing car and across the public spaces in general. Aimed fire at solidly-acquired targets, please).

The José Guerena shooting

Next we have a shooting that is considerably more marginal. Because the homeowner had a gun, albeit he maintained discipline and kept it on safe, unlike the Keystone Kops raiding his house, the cops were arguably in the legal right on the Graham standard. But the $3.4 million settlement they paid, which comes with a de jure denial of any responsibility, is a de facto admission of misconduct that would be criminal — for anyone but cops.

The blogger who’s been all over this has been former Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week (er, two-time W4, it turns out; those responsible have been sacked), Herschel Smith of The Captain’s Journal. And he’s furious. Here’s Smith on the settlement:

I invite you to go back and watch the video again of the raid, and read the report(s).  Jose Guerena got off exactly zero (0) shots at the SWAT team, and the SWAT team killed him (Guerena had more self restraint that I would have in those circumstances).  In the end, no evidence was found linking him or his folks to any of the accused crimes.  The solution in matters such as this is to send a uniformed officer who knocks on the door and asks to speak to the owner of the home.  But the SWAT soldier-boys want to be cool.  You know what I’ve said about this.  Pulling off raids on Americans is cowardly.  If you want to be cool, sign up, get the training, and fly across the pond and do it for real like my son did.

If you recall the raid, what happened is that one of Sheriff Dupnik’s allegedly elite SWAT team, which does about three no-knock (or no-wait-for-reaction-to-knock, as in this case) raids a week currently, 99 out of 100 of which are routine warrant services, fell down and had a negligent discharge in the doorway, because his fat finger was on the bang switch when his fat ass could not negotiate the doorstep. That caused every other cop to open up, target or no, shredding Guerena. These geniuses captured the whole raid on video.

The panicking cops fired 71 shots at point-blank range, scoring 22 hits, mostly in the victim’s periphery, and 49 rounds that lodged variously in the house, other houses, vehicles, and Lord-knows-where. (This is a very large multiple of the rounds fired in the Bin Laden raid and many other combat-zone takedowns of armed, resisting terrorists. The difference is aimed, controlled fire, resulting from fire discipline and training). Despite the indisciplined firing, no bystander or police officer had any more than a near miss. They considered that the blood-soaked, moaning Guerena was probably mortally wounded, and to be sure they held paramedics off until he was definitely dead. It was not police work’s finest hour.

Hence, the settlement.

Smith’s previous coverage of this untrained but very active SWAT Team is here:

And the AZ [Red] Star’s coverage of the settlement:

  • $3.4 Million Settlement in Deadly SWAT Raid “The officers performed that day in accordance with their training,” a spokeswoman sniffed. Probably true… they just don’t seem to have had any.
  • The embattled Sheriff hits the friendly paper’s editorial page: Clarence Dupnik: SWAT Teams hold the line between order and chaos. If this was order, this amateur-night display of terrified contagious fire at, in most cases, no target at all. we’d hate to see chaos. Still trying to litigate the case in the press, Dupnik insists his men “perform admirably” and are “extremely judicious in their use of force.”

In fact, as Smith’s son, a fellow GWOT vet, notes, they’re at or below the level of the Iraqi or many other third-world armies.

Here’s Smith’s closing, which we find hard to beat:

the SWAT soldier-boys want to be cool. You know what I’ve said about this. Pulling off raids on Americans is cowardly. If you want to be cool, sign up, get the training, and fly across the pond and do it for real like my son did.

But go back again and watch the video. People are milling around as if nothing important is about to take place, loud music is playing, and the officers look like they don’t even have the discipline of teenagers playing paint ball.

Sheriff Dupnik is an ass clown, and so it’s appropriate that his SWAT team is comprised of ass clowns. In this case, they’re ass clowns with guns and a badge, and that makes them dangerous and evil.

The lesson that Dupnik and his amateur SWAT gang take away from this is that they got away with it. Expect a repeat.

In Belated Appreciation for Dead Che Day

I'm gonna need some clean up before I go on a t-shirt. ¡Hasta la muerte siempre!

I’m gonna need some clean up before I go on a t-shirt. ¡Hasta la muerte siempre!

Yesterday was Dead Che Day! In all the excitement, we missed it. But fortunately, he’s still dead today. Every day since October 9, 1967 is Dead Che Day around here, and it’s a matter of sheer delight to us that he’s, well, dead. He may be the role model of douchebag college students on six continents, but he’s toasting in Hell, and that’s a fair trade in our book. Although the thousands of Cubans, Congolese, Bolivians and various odds and ends he had shot might have wanted him to suffer more. C’est la guerre irregular, n’est-ce pas?

 

Did he Fight Like a Girl?

"He's resting. He's pining for the pampas."

“He’s resting. He’s pining for the pampas.”

The Daily Caller didn’t think so. They think the girls are better, and have a slide show entitled “9 girls with guns that would make better freedom fighters than Che Guevara.”

Why nine? Because that’s how many bullets executioner Mario Terán plugged him with before the Communist revolutionary, writhing on the floor and biting on his wrist to keep from crying out, finally succumbed to fate.

*Snork*.

And we thought we were cold.

A REAL freedom fighter in a beret -- Didi Nearne.

A REAL freedom fighter in a beret — Didi Nearne.

Unfortunately, the slideshow falls light-years short of the snark. The selections they made show why you should never give an assignment like this to an intern who’s never gotten beyond sighs and self-abuse vis-a-vis real physical women; every one of the nine is some fictional character from some recent Hollywood cartoonish ultra-violent show, except for one fictional character from a cartoonish 1970s classic.

Che deserves better, and worse, than that. He deserves to be compared to real women, not the teenage spankatorium-vision characters that Hollyweird offers up. Our nine real-world women who make better freedom fighters than Che?

You’re welcome to suggest your own: we could have while nines of nines, 99s of 99s, and they’d all be better that that Argentine blowhard. How hard would it be to find nine more WWII resistance characters? Nine more national folklore heroes? Nine more GWOT girls? Easy. And any one of them could take Che with one hand tied behind her back.

How bad was el Che as a freedom fighter? He sucked. Like the turbines of Glen Canyon suck.

Mythbusting Che in Four paragraphs

 

Ché takes aim with a Stechkin APS... probably at the back of some innocent's head.

Ché takes aim with a Stechkin APS… probably at the back of some innocent’s head.

Alvaro Vargas Llosa covers Che in some depth for the Independence Institute, and contrasts him with another historic Argentine, Juan Bautista Alberdi (to Che’s detriment). But for us the best part of Vargas Llosa’s takedown was four paragraphs that accurately describe Che’s military legacy, or lack of one:

Having failed as a hero of social justice, does Guevara deserve a place in the history books as a genius of guerrilla warfare? His greatest military achievement in the fight against Batista—taking the city of Santa Clara after ambushing a train with heavy reinforcements—is seriously disputed. Numerous testimonies indicate that the commander of the train surrendered in advance, perhaps after taking bribes. (Gutiérrez Menoyo, who led a different guerrilla group in that area, is among those who have decried Cuba’s official account of Guevara’s victory.) Immediately after the triumph of the revolution, Guevara organized guerrilla armies in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Haiti—all of which were crushed. In 1964, he sent the Argentine revolutionary Jorge Ricardo Masetti to his death by persuading him to mount an attack on his native country from Bolivia, just after representative democracy had been restored to Argentina.

Ché is a pop-art icon, but he was a lousy guerilla.

Ché is a pop-art icon, but he was a lousy guerilla.

Particularly disastrous was the Congo expedition in 1965. Guevara sided with two rebels—Pierre Mulele in the west and Laurent Kabila in the east—against the ugly Congolese government, which was sustained by the United States as well as by South African and exiled Cuban mercenaries. Mulele had taken over Stanleyville earlier before being driven back. During his reign of terror, as V.S. Naipaul has written, he murdered all the people who could read and all those who wore a tie. As for Guevara’s other ally, Laurent Kabila, he was merely lazy and corrupt at the time; but the world would find out in the 1990s that he, too, was a killing machine. In any event, Guevara spent most of 1965 helping the rebels in the east before fleeing the country ignominiously. Soon afterward, Mobutu came to power and installed a decades-long tyranny. (In Latin American countries too, from Argentina to Peru, Che-inspired revolutions had the practical result of reinforcing brutal militarism for many years.)

The name Laurent Kabila may ring a bell. Yes, he’s the fat, corrupt blood-diamond entrepreneur who overthrew the fat, corrupt Mobutu and precipitated 20 or so years of Congolese civil war. Kabila’s son, Joseph, former commander of Kabila’s child soldiers, inherited the de facto Kingdom of the Congo on Kabila’s assassination. (The country’s paper title is”Democratic Republic of the Congo” and it holds sham elections). Joseph Kabila is an improvement on his violent, incompetent father in one way only: he is not fat.

Back to Che.

Ché, sniveling in his brief captivity. American Félix Rodriguez, left.

Ché, sniveling in his brief captivity. American Félix Rodriguez, left.

In Bolivia, Che was defeated again, and for the last time. He misread the local situation. There had been an agrarian reform years before; the government had respected many of the peasant communities’ institutions; and the army was close to the United States despite its nationalism. “The peasant masses don’t help us at all” was Guevara’s melancholy conclusion in his Bolivian diary. Even worse, Mario Monje, the local communist leader, who had no stomach for guerrilla warfare after having been humiliated at the elections, led Guevara to a vulnerable location in the southeast of the country. The circumstances of Che’s capture at Yuro ravine, soon after meeting the French intellectual Régis Debray and the Argentine painter Ciro Bustos, both of whom were arrested as they left the camp, was, like most of the Bolivian expedition, an amateur’s affair.

Vencer o morir, eh, wise guy? You get "morir."

Vencer o morir, eh, wise guy? You get “morir.”

Guevara was certainly bold and courageous, and quick at organizing life on a military basis in the territories under his control, but he was no General Giap. His book Guerrilla Warfare teaches that popular forces can beat an army, that it is not necessary to wait for the right conditions because an insurrectional foco (or small group of revolutionaries) can bring them about, and that the fight must primarily take place in the countryside. (In his prescription for guerrilla warfare, he also reserves for women the roles of cooks and nurses.) However, Batista’s army was not an army, but a corrupt bunch of thugs with no motivation and not much organization; and guerrilla focos, with the exception of Nicaragua, all ended up in ashes for the foquistas; and Latin America has turned 70 percent urban in these last four decades. In this regard, too, Che Guevara was a callous fool.

Frankly, based on the statements of the Bolivians who killed him we’d accept “bold” but resist the term “courageous” for Che. He begged for his life and offered to deal his comrades away. It was too late; the Bolivians had his comrades, and had no interest in preserving his life.

Vargas Llosa calls Che “The Killing Machine.” That’s probably more a title of Che’s aspiration than actual achievement. True, he was able to order the execution of some thousands of bound prisoners in Havana, but so did many other revolutionaries. As a guerilla leader, he excelled most at getting his own men killed.

His actions in Bolivia are those of a man who had not read his own book. (We suppose it’s possible; someone else could have written the book for him). But he’s gone, and we’re here.

To celebrate Dead Che Day. Every day!

Legal Analysis: how the dog shooter walked

"Well, yeah, I'm lawyered up, but in Commerce, Colorado dogs need extra protection."

“Well, yeah, I’m lawyered up, too, but in Commerce, Colorado, we dogs need extra protection.”

It turns out the fix was in, put in place by a jury instruction that left the jury with no option but to acquit. We’re not lawyers, but Juliet Piccone is, and she says:

A very bare bones description of the defense is this:  an individual can commit a crime and be found not legally responsible for committing that crime if it was the lesser of two evils.  Here’s how the defense worked out in Chloe’s case:

1.)  The jury could find that Price committed the crime of aggravated animal cruelty (the knowing needless killing of an animal) or animal cruelty (reckless or criminally negligent needless killing of an animal).

The jury could then consider whether:

2.) Committing this crime (killing Chloe) was necessary because of an emergency; and

3.) The emergency was not caused by Price; and

4.) Price reasonably believed that committing the crime was necessary to stop an imminent private or public injury, even though that belief may have been mistaken.

It is hard to see any circumstance in which an officer could ever be convicted of any crime under this analysis as long as the officer claimed that he had no other choice and he felt that someone would have been hurt had he not committed the crime.  I respect the jury and I think they had a very difficult job.  I really don’t see how they could have convicted him given this choice of evils defense.

via Verdict in People v. Robert Price, Officer who shot Chloe the dog: choice of evils. | thepicconelawfirm.com Blog.

If we’re reading this right: In Colorado, if a cop commits negligence, error, or crime, but he says he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong, he has immunity.

Piccone reaches the same conclusion we did: don’t call the cops in Commerce. Although she sort of leaves it as an exercise for the reader:

How’s this for a choice of evils:  should you call police/animal control the next time you see a dog running at large?  Or should you pray that the dog goes on its merry way and doesn’t hurt anyone or itself?  In the end, leaving well enough alone may prove to be the lesser of the two evils.

There’s a little more background on this. Piccone attended the trial, and covered it much more thoroughly than local media in earlier posts. For example, some highlights from Day 2 of the Trial:

We know that one bullet lodged itself in the animal control van and otherwise could’ve hit the witnesses across the street and we know that reporters and other investigators found other bullet fragments days if not weeks later).  Chloe was hit in the left flank (this bullet passed through), hind leg (this bullet went through), twice in the neck (one passed through) and once in the shoulder.

[The witness] said after the shooting he was stunned; there was concrete flying; his daughter was hysterical because she had seen the entire thing.  He did not know his son had recorded the entire thing until some time later; he did not tell the police he had the video.  The reason he released the video to the press was because the Commerce City police department had issued a press release lying about what happened, and he wanted to clear his neighbor Carol who had been charged.

That guy was a defense witness — one for the cop. The evidence also showed that the cops worked together on their false statements. And the cops used a sequester order to keep the victim — the dog’s owner — out of the courtroom. This is a common trick used by sleazy lawyers on one side or the other, in this case the defense. Put a victim the jury would sympathize with on your witness list — then never call him. He can’t even sit in the courtroom, now. Judges often nip this in the bud, but this one didn’t.

The defense also kept referring to the dog as a pit bull, despite prosecution and defense having separate DNA results showing that she was just a mixed breed, and the judge having issued instructions to avoid both kinds of prejudice: calling the dog “the pit bull” on the one hand, or by her name on the other.

The dog was not killed outright, but was left to bleed out. One more little detail. What a great bunch there in Commerce.

The cops had previously had to attend dog awareness training, because of another terrified Commerce cop who killed another non-threatening dog earlier. One particularly cowardly cop, Christopher Castillo, who can be seen on the video standing, quivering through the whole incident, amazingly testified that the training “threatened his life!” And his objective was, “not to get bit.”

Remember, far from being a threat to policemen’s lives, no cop has ever been killed in the USA by a non-rabid dog. And the rabies victims can be counted on your fingers — all the way to colonial times. But cops shoot dogs every day. They know the magic five words: “I feared for my life.”

There were some interesting events on Day 1 also. The trial opened with the prosecution striking almost all dog owners from the jury. And animal control officer Arica Boles, who is not a sworn law officer, admitted that she “submitted” (but weaseled on whether she “wrote”) both her and Price’s reports, which are worded identically but are radically different from the events shown on the video. (At the time, the police did not know about the video. When they went public with Boles’s and Price’s false story, they lost the chance to destroy the video because the father of the kid who took it sensibly decided it was safer with the media that with the police). Piccone also has some reports on pretrial motions; obviously she has an agenda (more pro-pet than anti-cop, but in Commerce it’s the same thing) but she’s an informed and keen observer of this whole situation.

When your department is less trusted than the media, you have a problem. But Commerce PD has clearly earned this mistrust.

Why journalists hate you (long)

Guth and the turtleOne reason is that they’re subjected to on-campus indoctrination by professors who hate you. Hate is a pretty strong word, but it sure fits the University of Kansas, where J-school professor (and former dean) David Guth called this week for the murder of NRA members’ children. The University, which in all honesty is better known for its football program than its journalism one (or any academic program for that matter), stands behind Guth. They don’t stand exactly firmly, mind you, but they’re not a major part of KU: just the administration, not something important like the defensive line.

We’re not to worried, because we’re a long way from Kansas, and Guth would have to murder a lot of NRA members kids before he got here. And any one of those parents (and most of the kids) should be able to handle a fuzzy-thinking, rage-addled and podgy professor, no matter how homicidal he is. And he’s pretty homicidal. Campus Reform captured this lovely tweet:

He doubled down on his desire to murder NRA members’ children. “Hell, no, I don’t regret that tweet,” saying it would be “God’s justice.”  He called to the higher-ed blog Campus Reform for “a pox on the NRA” for opposing gun registration and bans. He told Campus Reform:

It absolutely appalls me that after Newtown, we could not have come to some kind of sane agreement on something as simple as the number of bullets in a magazine or the availability of assault weapons.

The Navy Yard shooter had a five- or eight-shot, pump-action shotgun. He wasn’t a member of the NRA. He didn’t even have the gun long, apparently buying it the day before, specifically for his planned murders. These fact had been reported by the time Guth, who also considers himself “a devoted father,” demanded the murder of gun owners’ children.

On his personal blog, Guth shows signs of extreme narcissism:

There are a lot of people online with nothing much to say.  I am not one of those folks.  I hope that you find my comments insightful, provocative and occasionally amusing

And he ended another rant on the NRA with a threat: “Fear the Turtle.” (Guth has an online persona as “The Snapping Turtle,” a reference to his own alma indoctrinata, University of Maryland (whose mascot is the Terrapin). Judging from his build, he’s been snapping at nothing but two professors’ worth of fried food, but we’ve learned to take threats seriously).

Guth is not a native of Kansas. Campus Reform finds he treasures himself as an “independent thinker.” He grew up in eastern Maryland and may be frustrated that he couldn’t be in a J-school somewhere in the Acela Corridor. A degree in journalism from Kansas is unlikely to give graduates entrée to the elite opinion makers. But Guth is a career associate professor at Kansas, 22 years without making full prof. One wonders if the tenure committee saw the same personality we’re seeing now, and if so, why retain him at all?

This won’t surprise you, but Guth’s loathing of guns and gun owners is not newly developed. In 2012, he called for the confiscation and destruction of the “300 million guns” that he held responsible for the Newtown massacre.

For example, how is it we have low tolerance for other nations developing weapons of mass destructions when we have more than 300 million guns on America’s streets threatening our annihilation from within? Sure, there’s the Second Amendment. But if there are reasonable limits on the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights, why is the Second Amendment sacrosanct? Outside of the military and security and public safety officers, no one has a legitimate need for automatic weapons. The very possession of these weapons is an assault on common sense and should be a crime.

Actually, it’s Guth’s grammar and syntax that adds up to an assault on common sense (“weapons of mass destructions”), but as this is his blog, we won’t hold him to the standards to which he probably fails to hold his students. He also somehow blames Donald Trump for the Newtown shooter. We couldn’t really follow his reasoning here. Perhaps Mr Trump has a lot to answer for, but that’s not any part of it.

His blog, which as far as we can tell only we and Campus Reform have written about, is a treasure trove of addlepated cant. From before the Newtown shooting:

I question the mental health of anyone working outside of law enforcement, security and the military who feels his or she must carry a gun with them at all times.

Let’s try instruction by analogy, Guth. I question the mental health of anyone work outside the government who feels he or she should be trusted with the awesome power of a web-offset press or broadcasting microphone. See how it works, or doesn’t work? But his desire for gun bans is a leitmotif of his blog.

In 2013, the word “gun” appears frequently in his blog — 37 times. Just pulling one line from each major mention, here are the quotes:

  • 16 Sep 13: “The NRA has championed a gun culture that is shredding our nation’s moral authority like armor-plated bullets ripping through flesh.” That’s not even a very coherent sentence. “There is no justification for the widespread sale of assault weapons, high-volume magazines or hollow-point bullets. In fact, their sale is a well-documented threat to national security.” Gee, does he also want to ban shotguns and buckshot? Would-be dictators are a well-documented threat to national security.
  • 15 Jul 13: Guth reluctantly concludes that George Zimmerman was not guilty of the Trayvon Martin shooting, but thinks a handgun ban would have avoided the whole thing. “But if you want to be outraged, focus on the guns….  If you want to be angry, be angry at a gun culture that made this tragedy possible.” OK. Because nothing could possibly go wrong in a society where there’s no way of stopping a strong young man with a taste for burglary and assault!
  • 21 Apr 13:  In a post remarkable for incoherence, he seems to attribute the Boston Marathon bombings to “a political disaster, the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass reasonable — and relatively toothless — gun control legislation.” And he compares North Korean princeling Kim Jong-un to, well, just read it: “Speaking of nut-jobs, let me share three words with you: National Rifle Association.”
  • 17 Apr 13: He tees off on his own state representatives and senators, with dehumanizing language and imagery of violence that presages his recent threats. “I referred to the Kansas delegation in the U.S. House Representatives as ‘gun pimps’….Tonight, our two senators joined … in pimping for the gun lobby…. Roberts, Moran and every other Senator who stood with the gun lobby this evening have the blood of future innocent victims on their hands. No, they didn’t pull the trigger. They just made it easier for the bad guys to get the guns. Shame on you. Shame on you.”
  • 09 Apr 13: He excoriates Kansas state representative, particularly Republicans, for “passing gun and abortion laws that are morally reprehensible.”
  • 02 Apr 13: “[A]nyone who tells you that restricting high-volume ammunition magazines and the sale of new assault weapons is tantamount taking away their guns has a perverse sense of self.” We dunno… about 70% of our gun room would be empty pegs with his legislative preferences enacted, and this is before his later calls for a handgun ban. He was pretty worked up: “…only a chump would accept the NRA’s change…. ‘Slaughter in our Schools and Streets’…. blood money.” Then he goes on to support the 2A except for when he opposes it: “I support your Second Amendment right to bear arms – or even to arm bears, if you get off on that sort of thing. But I don’t defend anyone’s right to possess the unregulated firepower of a private army.”
  • 08 Mar 2013: He demands the state “reign in sales of assault weapons and high-volume ammunition magazines that are a clear and present danger to human life.” His reason: “Kansas has 9.7 gun deaths per 100,000 in its population – about 276 a year. These are tangible, living, breathing people.” (Well, not breathing any more, actually). He’s lying about the statistics, though. There were actually 91 murders in Kansas in 2012 (official statistics). If you break out the statistics in this Wall Street Journal graphic (from a subscriber-only article), you can see that there are typically from 1 to 3 civilian justified homicides a year — “gun deaths!”

We’re going to step aside from the list for a moment to elaborate on that, because bogus “gun death” statistics, pimped by gun control outfits like the Kaiser Foundation, are inflated a specific way, and we’re going to show you how to expose the lie. All the statistics you need are on the CDC’s hard-to-navigate Wonder Database. If you go there, you can select the State of interest, the Injury Intent field, the Cause of Death, and the Crude Rate per 100,000 persons. (Note also that in events that have fewer than about 30-40 data points in a state of 3 million, data are unreliable and Wonder refuses to calculate a rate). So here are the numbers:

Kansas Deaths 2010

Intent Cause Deaths Crude Rate/100k
Unintentional Any gun 0 0.0
Suicide Handgun 29 1.0
Suicide Long gun 34 1.2
Suicide unspec gun 147 5.2
Total firearms suicides   210 7.4
Homicide gun 60 2.1

(There were 190 other suicides by hanging and poison. No jumping off cliffs in flat Kansas. There were 17 homicides by other than firearms. Note that this database conflates justified and unjustified homicides. Nobody tracks justified homicides, but Kansas normally runs from 1-3 a year by civilians per that WSJ link. Jim Fisher, an investigative writer who is a former FBI Special Agent, compiled data on police shootings for 2011 and found that Kansas cops committed an additional 7 justifiable homicides, so as many as 10 of those 60 were justifiable, assuming one year is much like another in KS law enforcement. CDC records no fatal firearms accidents in Kansas in 2010, possibly an error).

OK, let’s return to fisking the professor’s blog obsession with the gun folks whose families he now wants dead.

  • 25 Jan 13: He approves Diane [sic] Feinstein’s plans to ban semi-auto guns, but thinks discussion of “mental health” ought to lead to gun owners being committed. Seriously, read the post.
  • 15 Jan 13: He sees President Obama as a “larger than life figure” who, like sports fraud Lance Armstrong, had to “overcome adversary” (?) to bring “hope to millions,” but now are “disappointing to followers because they are much less than they said they were.” Why is he down on The One? Because he needed groupie David Gregory “to remind [him] that he has a gun control agenda.”
  • 08 Jan 13: Turns out he, too, doesn’t like Alex Jones (“a jack-booted, gun-toting loud-mouth”) or Piers Morgan (“fuzzy-haired and fuzzier-thinking”). Turns out his beef with Morgan was this: giving airtime to Jones, not because Jones is a conspiratroid whackjob, but because Jones argued a pro-gun position, which must not appear in the media. Remember, Guth is a professor of Journalism. “I want assault weapons and large ammunition magazines banned.”

In 2012, the word “gun” appeared 17 times. (We’re pretty sure we beat him on that number, but our focus wasn’t on banning the things).

  • 17 Dec 12: “[W]e have more than 200 million guns threatening annihilation from within.” Man, we hate it when the guns start organizing and get all Skynet, or maybe it’s HAL 9000, on us. 
  • 03 Dec 12: “With a gun, it just takes just one moment of anger, misjudgment or insanity to end a life. Frankly, I question the mental health of anyone working outside of law enforcement, security and the military who feels his or she must carry a gun with them at all times.” Exercise for the reader: how many objects can be substituted for “gun” in the above?
  • 10 Aug 12: he changed his party registration over “lack of a gun control debate” after two shootings at Victim Disarment Zones.
  • 08 Aug 12: He misses the point of VDZs: “a gunman has turned a place of retreat and refuge into a slaughterhouse.” (Funny how they never attack an IDPA event). “Why does any law-abiding citizen need a semi-automatic weapon – even one ‘legally’ obtained?” (Apparently ‘legally’ gets scare quotes if he doesn’t like the law).
  • 21 Jul 12: He expressed delight at the Aurora shootings (also in a VDZ), because “without a doubt, gun control will now join the other issues with which we will determine who will lead our nation for the next four years.” He made some noises about “respect” for the Second Amendment (so you know there’s a but coming…), but “I cannot believe that the remarkable Founders of this nation envisioned creating a blank check to allow individuals to amass stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.” Well, at least it wasn’t “weapons of mass destructions” this time.  “…a pattern of unprovoked and irrational violence will remain unbroken until someone has the courage to challenge the myopic National Rifle Association on the need to pass sensible gun control laws. For the love of God…it is time for a cease-fire.”
  • 28 Jun 12: He actually condemned the Fast and Furious program, one of ATF’s gunwalking initiatives that provided thousands of guns to Mexican drug lords to try to create enough blowback to produce stricter gun control. It’s a strangely out-of-character post.
  • 11 Feb 12: He inveighs against permitting licensed gun owners into businesses and on campus. “One can’t help but wonder on what planet do people think mixing guns with young people makes sense?  After senseless massacres at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, how is this a good idea?”  (Both VT and NIU were VDZs, of course). “If…concealed weapons would deter future slaughters, why stop at guns? Let the campus bookstores sell handgrenades and flame throwers.” Nice reductio ad absurdum fallacy, prof.  “It is just as ludicrous as introducing guns into an often-stressful environment dominated by sometimes immature, hormone and alcohol-driven young adults.” Geez. Are any of the undergrads you knew back in the day as immature as some professors? Well, in all honesty, yeah. It’s about a wash.

But the blog, which is helpfully archived back to 2007, tells us something else. Guth’s homicidal, unhealthy fixation on guns is a recent development. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 he never once mentioned the word gun. In 2010, he used it four times, always in relatively descriptive terms, with just one mention of a bill that would “prevent gun violence.” (How, pray tell? There’s a question for people smarter and harder-working than journalism students — or professors. But we digress). The only time he mentions guns in 2011 is in an Eisenhower quote about the defense budget. But the word explodes into significance in 2012 with 17 mentions, and in 2013 it is his White Whale, with 37 references.

You can detect Guth’s change in more than the numbers if you read his whole blog, also. He is a man of unconventional politics, a former Republican who votes half-heartedly for Obama. He is a man of great passions, still mourning the premature death of his first wife even as he celebrates his love for his second. But his emotions are stronger and stronger, and more and more violent, as time passes. For example, he hits Everest highs and Marianas lows as manuscripts are accepted or rejected for publication, even as he recognizes that every paper he’s had rejected ultimately found an outlet. But expressions of dank despair (rejection letters — which any writer could heat an Alaska house with — are “daggers to the heart.” Really? It’s just business) rest uncomfortably alongside a post celebrating the unconditional love of a golden retriever. We certainly are not qualified to diagnose him, only to observe that Professor Guth is a troubled man.

Given the opportunity to condemn Guth’s agitation for and, incitement of, homicide, University of Kansas spokesman Jack Martin declined, standing behind “academic freedom,” says that Guth’s opinions, while they might be taught at the University, don’t “represent” the U. Thanks for clearing that up, Jack. Martin evidently didn’t comment on whether the University’s phony-baloney “inclusive learning and working environment” extends to Guth’s hate-objects, the blood-attainted spawn of folks like us, or whether they just mean “skin color and bedroom activity” like so many universities.

Anyway, if you wonder why journalists hate you and don’t seem interested in reporting facts, consider that they spend four to six years exposed to teachers, mentors and role models like David Guth. Years of indoctrination, back in the day, made a Young Pioneer or Hitler Youth. (Yes, we went there. After all, Guth is already there).

And — he’s probably harmless, being a professor and all, but that’s what people thought about the guy who was hearing voices at the Navy Yard, too. So if you live anywhere near the University of Kansas, you might want to consider taking out a restraining order against Guth, sharing his picture with your neighborhood watch and police, and doing those kinds of things. A restraining order may limit his ability to arm himself, and the cops watching him may be able to prevent him from acting out his homicidal ideations.

Update:

Apparently the homicidal ideations aren’t Guth’s alone. Supporter Mary Brown was so incensed by CampusReform.org’s reporter Katherine Timpf’s article that she appears to have extended Guth’s threat to Timp’s children. (As far as we know, Timpf’s interest is as a reporter and we have no idea if she is an NRA member, which would be her business and not ours). We say “appears” because Brown is even more challenged on grammar, syntax and clarity than Guth. And Timpf was a lot more even-handed than we have been, but she still PO’d the gun grabsters.

Further update:

We’re trying to find video of Timpf’s appearance on NRA News. Apparently that lit a fire under KU staff, and higher-ups overruled Jack Martin’s “casually pro-murder” position. Guth has been directed to give no more interviews, and the Kansas City Star’s Brian Burnes got quotes from Ann Brill, who replaced Guth as dean of the university’s journalism school, and Timothy Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs and Martin’s boss. Brill said what Martin would not: “[W]e do not advocate violence directed against any group or individuals.” Duh. And Caboni didn’t shy away from some criticism, calling Guth’s call for murder “repugnant,” and saying it was “disgraceful” — not for the content, but because “these views were expressed in such a callous and uncaring way.”

Thanks for clearing that up. Weasel.

Caboni set a bar, if a low one, for KU faculty: “We expect all members of the university community to engage in civil discourse and not make inflammatory and offensive comments.” Good luck with that.

(Apparently the KU executives were unwilling to give those quotes to Timpf, who broke the story, preferring to place them with a friendly local reporter. In his story, Burnes downplayed Guth’s statements).