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Ilana Mercer


Police becoming 'Tasers R Us' - By Ilana Mercer
Safari Scholarship Reinvents History - By Ilana Mercer
Dubya The Devaluer - By Ilana Mercer


Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Police becoming 'Tasers R Us'
Stun gun is the nonlethal weapon of choice, and it's being used more often
By Ilana Mercer

Columnist for and Free-Market News Network. Her Web site is and her blog is at

Liberty is a simple thing. It's the unassailable right to shout, flail your arms, even verbally provoke a politician, unmolested. Tyranny is when those small things can get you assaulted, incarcerated, injured and even killed.

Evidence of tyranny in America is mounting. For the offense of questioning Democratic Sen. John Kerry persistently and vociferously at a Florida university last month, Andrew Meyer, a journalism student, was pounced upon by campus police, tasered, detained overnight and charged with violently resisting arrest (a felony), and disturbing the peace (a misdemeanor).

The law was brought into disrepute once more in a suburb of St. Louis last month when police Sgt. James Kuehnlein terrorized and threatened to fabricate charges against a motorist, Brett Darrow.

In yet another episode last month memorialized in online video, Ohio patrolman Richard Kovach stands over a handcuffed woman and repeatedly tasers her. Sadistically, Kovach keeps jolting the helpless woman, who allegedly was drunk and disorderly at a local bar. Disoriented, she is seen crawling on the ground, her head slamming against the police car.

Discharging an electrical current into a human being is not without its dangers. It can cause permanent heart-muscle damage. If the person is thin, has exposed skin, a preexisting heart condition, or is on certain drugs, a tasering can result in death, warns John McCrie, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Emily Delafield was tasered for 160 seconds during an April 2006 confrontation with police in Green Cove Springs, Fla. She died of heart failure, linked to the electrocution. The burly bullies who killed her were, apparently, incapable of otherwise restraining the wheelchair-bound woman.

Are such violations on the rise? Or are they simply more likely to be videoed, in the age of YouTube?

The former, McCrie says. "There are more Tasers out there," and cops are eager to test them out. "Police have long sought to have a nonlethal weapon, and this is the weapon of choice. And so they're just inclined to … overuse it sometimes."

The cases of Meyer and patrolman Kovach's victim, Heidi Gill, 38, exemplify an excessive use of police force, McCrie told CNN. Ditto the case of the disabled, now-dead Delafield. "If a person is threatening a police officer," or someone else; if he's about to take his own life, or to do something dangerous – throw a bomb, for example – using a Taser is then reasonable, Mccrie said.

Otherwise, there can be no excuse for deploying a dangerous device to tackle someone who is confined, cuffed, or nonconfrontational.

With distressingly few exceptions, the punditocracy, left and right, gleefully agreed that it was OK for campus police to assault Meyer, the pacifist protester. The young man's videotaped cries of "Don't tase me, bro" provided endless comic relief. Representing the ruling class – and also no friend of freedom – Kerry concurred. Virtual bags of bloggerel were devoted to rationalizing the incident: Meyer had orchestrated the disturbance; Darrow was in the habit of baiting cops. Blah, blah.

Even if these assertions are true, so what? These incidents are not about an annoying kid, who might have been playing to the cameras (Meyer). Or an insufficiently subservient subject (Darrow), who dared to assert his rights to his sovereign (Sgt. Kuehnlein). What's at stake is the proper role of law enforcement in a free society. Free people grasp that assaulting a person who has not harmed a soul is unconscionable. Fail to recognize this simple thing, and you are no better than a slave – or perhaps you haven't internalized that you too could end up on the receiving side of such usurpations.

Freedoms, you say, are secure so long as citizens can check police excesses by recording, photographing or videotaping these public servants performing their duties. Not so. The police can video us without our consent, but we film them at the risk of a felony prosecution.

"There's been a rash of arrests of late for videotaping police," writes Radley Balko, a vice and civil liberties specialist as a blogger and a senior editor with Reason magazine. Balko has catalogued countless cases where individuals who've filmed police excesses have been arrested on felony wiretapping charges and threatened with lengthy jail sentences. Balko has called for a repeal of laws "explicitly forbidding the recording, photographing or videotaping of police officers. [W]hile they're on duty, they serve the public. And the public, their employer, should have every right to keep them accountable."

As Thomas Jefferson said, "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

Safari Scholarship Reinvents History
By Ilana Mercer

Hollywood is usually the main peddler of historical fiction, the kind the public doesn't hesitate to accept as Bible from Sinai. For some time now, Hollywood has been getting stiff competition from unexpected quarters. Now coming to an African Studies department near you is some startling information: The venerable Greeks, the founders of Western Civilization, stole their philosophical and scientific know-how from Egypt. Egypt, and not Greece, is the fount of Western tradition.

In an unchronicled trip, Aristotle is said to have sojourned to Egypt with Alexander the Great, smuggled books out of the Alexandrian library, and slapped his name on these books, promoting them as his own. He wasn't alone. Socrates, Pythagoras and Plato were plagiarizers in their own right. Is there no end to the antics of those White Bad Boys?

You may never have given much thought to the skin color of the ancient Egyptians. Artifacts at least indicate that they were a diverse people, more Benetton than black. That the Egyptians were actually black Africans, then, must come as a surprise. Elizabeth Taylor had no business playing Cleopatra. The Macedonian of the Ptolemaic bloodline was really a long limbed lack woman. Even the Sphinx had negroid features. That is until it fell prey to one of the first 'documented,' racially motivated acts of vandalism. The facial crater the Sphinx stoically bears comes from being socked on the nose by Napoleon's racist troops. There go those White Boys again.

This mythistory is called Afrocentrism. It's promoted by a number of undistinguished African academics and taught to students across North America from grade school through to the university level. Accordingly, Africans have an ineffable claim against Europeans. For how does one put a price on the mugging of a civilization?

Unlike the equally nonsensical Holocaust denial, which immediately raises establishment and media ire, this remedial revisionism has been met with little objection. For the most part, rebutting this bunk has fallen to a Greek Classicist by the name of Mary Lefkowitz.

To this end, Lefkowitz would have mined Afrocentric books such as Black Athena by Cornell's Martin Bernal, Stolen Legacy by George G. M. James, and the school tracts known as the Portland African-American Baseline Essays. The Science Baseline Essay claims no less that thousands of years ago Egyptians-cum-blacks "flew in electroplated gold gliders, knew accurately the distance to the sun, and discovered the Theory of Evolution. According to Cheikh Anta Diop, a Senegalese Afrocentrist, Africans invented everything from Judaism, to engineering, to astronomy, including dialectical materialism (although Marxism is no cause for inventor's pride.)

One nagging question: Afrocentrics claim that practically every reprehensible occurrence in history is the doing of the Great White and his linear thinking. Why, if Eurocentric culture is so horrible, would they want to lay claim to it? By coveting it, aren't Afrocentrists providing the ultimate validation of Western Civilization?

Furthermore, entire civilizations are not typically the kleptomaniac's item of choice. As Lefkowitz points out in Not Out of Africa, "If the Greeks had learned their philosophy from a large theoretical literature produced by Egyptian writers, surely some trace of that literature would have remained in Egypt." But there's no point searching for congruity where there is only African chauvinism.

Nor should one search for methodological coherence. For scholars whose mission it is to promote a view of African superiority, Afrocentrists are doing a poor job. Their methodology consists in neglecting chronology, treating myths as history, and using citations fraudulently so that these don't support the crux of the argument. In Afrocentric works, hypothesis morphs into fact, authorities that don't bolster a thesis are recruited in its service, and absence of proof becomes evidence of conspiracy. Accompanying the dogged repetition of the lie are the vicious ad hominem attacks leveled at the few scholars who dare confront the evidence.

An example of the jarring deceptions is a reference to the Egyptian Mystery System whence the Greeks allegedly stole their philosophy: the reference comes not from an authentic historical text, but from eighteenth-century French fiction and Freemasonry. Also amusing is that the city of Alexandria was founded only after Alexander's conquest of Egypt, and the library from which Aristotle allegedly pilfered his genius was founded after the philosopher's death.

Such mythical thinking thrives and is nurtured in a culture that eschews objective truth. Where once there was an understanding that there exists a reality independent of the human observer, students are now taught that truth is a social construction, a function of the power and position—or lack of them—a person or groups hold in society.

Casting fact and objective truth as no more than a perspective is a handy bit of egalitarianism: if nothing is immutably true, then all positions are but a matter of preference and can claim equal validity. This vortex is the scaffolding for Afrocentrism; the public school system its perfect foil.

Why pedagogues haven't rejected Afrocentrism outright is because it's seen as a means to increase self-esteem among young Africans. Self-styled victim groups, notably natives and women, have had their suppurating historical wounds similarly tended with curricular concessions. Self-esteem no less than multiculturalism is an article of faith and a project of the public school system; it is the very embodiment and instantiation of the therapeutic state. Of course, the raison detre of public schooling lends itself just as well to teaching the mythology of Holocaust denial in order to allay the guilt that plagues students of German descent.

In the words of John S. Mill, "A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another." Imbibing politically correct victimology and its attendant myths is imperative in the scheme of things. Adapted to the public school system and its mission, history is doomed to be more palliative than factual.

Posted by Knorrig on WSAS at 8:10 AM

Dubya The Devaluer
By Ilana Mercer

When it comes to our personal finances, we understand how and why a poor credit rating and history influence the way we’re treated in the market place. Max out your credit card and businesses and banks will turn you away. But when a government runs up the sort of tab that plunges a country’s currency into a crisis, economists take to talking in tongues.
“It’s driven by the fact that U.S. data is continuing to deteriorate,” one expert prattled, according to WND. Others habitually frame effects as causes: The housing bubble is to blame. Financial reporter Diane Francis of the neoconservative National Post has concocted a currency conspiracy. "There is a Currency Cold War being waged by Russia, Iran and various allies such as Venezuela,” she fulminated.
Back on terra firma dollars are being dumped. Consumers generally dump stuff they don’t want. The global currency market isn’t exempt from the immutable laws of supply and demand. Another immutable economic truism is that, if profitable, people will do business with those they dislike. Markets, money markets too, reflect a bias toward profit. If the dollar were good for it, it would still be king of all currencies, irrespective of how the world feels about the US.
For the first time since 1976, the Canadian dollar is worth more than the US dollar. The Australia dollar is predicted to soon reach parity with ours. And the euro is at an impressive $1.4283. According to His Holiness Alan Greenspan, a third of all foreign exchange reserves are now held in euros.
Foreigners—governments and individuals—simply don’t have faith in the American currency. Back-to-front thinking ignores that the dollar’s depreciation preceded its dumping.
The devaluation of the dollar is Dubya’s doing. The slide began in early 2002, confirms the Cato Institute’s James A. Dorn, commensurate with the debt Bush began to amass, when 9/11 fell into his lap. The national debt—the total amount of money owed by the government—is now well over $9 trillion. It increases on average by $1.50 billion per day, by the Debt Clock’s math. Every American (bar politicians, illegal immigrants, and other tax consumers) is on the hook to the tune of $29,893.82.
When they’re not borrowing to feed their appetite for our assets, Bush and his brigands press the Federal Reserve and the printing press into service. Day and night they flood the market with paper money unbacked by gold or real assets. (You gotta “fund” those unwinnable wars, the laptop bombardiers scold.) This increase in the money supply is inflation.
Republican Party partisans swell the chorus—and state the obvious—by warning us that Democrats will raise taxes. As horrible as a tax hike would be, it is nothing compared to what Dubya’s dilution of the dollar has done to American assets.
Inflation is a hidden tax. We’re being taxed surreptitiously in lieu of the debt. More fiat paper money in the system means that every unit depreciates. “Any substantial increase in the quantity of money,” explained Henry Hazlitt, in Economics in One Lesson, “will reduce the purchasing power of each individual monetary unit—in other words, that will lead to an increase in commodity prices.”
Depreciation of the dollar spells higher prices and hardship for those of us who are removed from power and from the new money.
Unlike present-day Republican Party boosters, Ronald Reagan understood this: “The truth is that inflation is caused by government,” he observed. “It's caused by government spending more than it takes in, and it will go away just as soon as government stops doing that.”
The fate of the dollar is in the grubby paws of the parasitic class, not Russia, Iran, Venezuela, or even China. The much-maligned Chinese act as our creditors by funding our debt. But rather than indict the real currency culprits—and compel them to stop stealing America’s future—Americans make China a repository of their anger. Consequently, a Demopublican contingent of protectionists (and vote procurers) demanded not long ago that Bush muscle China to change its monetary policy.
Again, that’ll hurt ordinary Americans, not politicians or parties to the Military-Media-Industrial-Congressional-Complex. (Economist Robert Higgs has pegged all “defense-related” spending alone at “approximately $1 trillion per year.”) China’s artificial devaluation of the yuan benefits the American consumer, who, consequently, enjoys cheap goods. Uncompetitive American rent-seekers (and a few rabid pet owners) are the only ones complaining about cheap Chinese goods.
Given the debasing of the greenback, hastened by Ben Bernanke’s lowering of the interest rates, dollar-denominated assets are no longer as attractive to our foreign creditors. Their yields are declining as well. Hording dollars could very well contribute to inflation in China, forcing it to act out of national self-interest and discard dollars.
The upside? China will get both barrels for what Dubya has done to the dollar.



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