It never ceases to amaze me how stupid Edward Achorn thinks Providence Journal readers are. Never mind the fact that there is a gigantic conflict of interests to have the Vice President also serving as Editor of the Editorial pages, therefore insuring the paper toes the company line. Let’s leave out the fact he publishes his pro-charter school nonsense while his wife just ironically is employed by the charter school lobby. And disregard the fact he prints climate change denial epistles, homo/transphobic rants, racist nonsense, and blatantly-obvious talking points for the lunatic-fringe of the Republican Party that stopped being conservative and became delusional years ago all in the name of ‘balance’. Let’s just focus for one second on how plain stupid he thinks people are.
On July 23, the Providence Journal printed an ode to the First Amendment and how that dastardly Obama is going to destroy free speech via the IRS. Leaving aside the grammatical issues of having a one-sentence paragraph, Mr. Objectivity treated us to this nugget of honesty:
Judicial Watch, a nonpartisan educational foundation, recently obtained information showing that the IRS wanted to go even further than thwarting the activities of conservative groups: some in the agency appear to have wanted to criminalize them.
Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation’s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach. [Emphasis added.]
There’s shooting fish in a barrel and then there is just obvious laziness on top of lying on top of expecting your readers to never use Google.
Let’s examine, for just a moment, the issue of race. On July 15, the ProJo ran an editorial called EASE AND INTEGRITY that was loaded with dog-whistles and codewords. The editorial superficially was supposed to take on a recent bill proposed by Rep. Cicilline in the Congress that would automatically register voters at the DMV. But then comes this Pulitzer-worthy paragraph:
At the same time, any move to change voter registration procedures must be approached first and foremost with a focus on ensuring the integrity of our elections. Are the motor vehicle departments in Rhode Island and other states up to the task of handling far more instances in which people want to register to vote? And if they are, are proper safeguards in place to prevent duplication, fraud or the registration of non-citizens to vote?
Voter fraud was totally debunked years ago. The Washington Post (not exactly a Leninist rag) launched an investigation and found 31 credible instances of voter fraud out of one billion American ballots cast. Yes, billion with a B. Of course, just to drive it home and get rid of any doubt, Edward R. Murrow Jr. added this for spice:
It is in the narrow interest of politicians to covet votes, whether they are legal ones or not. What would be greatly in the nation’s interest is to make sure all legal voters may readily participate, and — something advocated less often, perhaps, by politicians — that they have a solid grounding in civics and history.
It is an established fact that the voter identification laws that have been passed in this country are targeted towards low-income populations that have neither the time nor resources to obtain a driver’s license, and, as irony would have it, a majority of those people are black or brown folks. Those folks also tend to have been disenfranchised by the education system also and might not have the stellar training in civics and history that Mr. Achorn has. Heaven forbid that these great unwashed masses of negroes and people from Spanish not have memorized the Federalist Papers like Mr. Pulitzer-nominated Journalist. Of course, if he were to consult the Federalist Papers, he might be amazed at this ditty in Paper 52 (numbered 51 in the Dawson edition used by Wikipedia, 52 in my Penguin edition):
The definition of the right of suffrage is very justly regarded as a fundamental article of republican Government. It was incumbent on the Convention, therefore, to define and establish this right in the Constitution. To have left it open for the occasional regulation of the Congress, would have been improper for the reason just mentioned. To have submitted it to the Legislative discretion of the States, would have been improper for the same reason; and for the additional reason that it would have rendered too dependent on the State Governments, that branch of the Federal Government which ought to be dependent on the People alone… As far as we can draw any conclusion from it, it must be that if the People…have been able under all these disadvantages to retain any liberty whatever, the advantage of biennial elections would secure to them every degree of liberty, which might depend on a due connection between their Representatives and themselves.
Or perhaps Number 58/59?
Nothing can be more evident, than that an exclusive power of regulating elections for the National Government, in the hands of the State Legislatures, would leave the existence of the Union entirely at their mercy. They could at any moment annihilate it, by neglecting to provide for the choice of persons to administer its affairs. It is to little purpose to say, that a neglect or omission of this kind would not be likely to take place. The constitutional possibility of the thing, without an equivalent for the risk, is an unanswerable objection. Nor has any satisfactory reason been yet assigned for incurring that risk. The extravagant surmises of a distempered jealousy, can never be dignified with that character. If we are in a humor to presume abuses of power, it is as fair to presume them on the part of the State Governments, as on the part of the General Government. And as it is more consonant to the rules of a just theory, to trust the Union with the care of its own existence, than to transfer that care to any other hands, if abuses of power are to be hazarded on the one side or on the other, it is more rational to hazard them where the power would naturally be placed, than where it would unnaturally be placed.
Leaving the era prior to the invention of the steam engine and turning to more recent events, consider this Letter to the Editor submitted on December 8:
When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his epic speech in Washington, he saved his fondest dream for his children — that they would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.
Character, King understood, has absolutely nothing to do with wealth, fame, skin color, education, gender or much else.
He also knew that those of good character do good things. They respect others. They respect others’ property. They are honest. They don’t cheat, steal or lie. They work hard. This is what King believed fervently.
As we watch the racial ugliness unfold in our country, let us not look at the color of the actors’ skin. Let us look at the content of their character and make our judgments.
This was written when people across the nation were flooding the streets to protest the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and thousands of other black and brown men who were killed by police brutality. Even if the writer was well-intentioned, which I do not doubt, the idea is totally ahistorical. Anyone who has read any legitimate biography of Dr. King knows full well that, at the end of his life, he had found the Democratic Party politicking of his earlier days simply useless. At the end of his life, having spent many years secretly communicating and socializing with Malcolm X, King was moving in a decidedly Leftward trajectory. He had become a vocal critic of not just Vietnam but American imperial endeavors across the globe, saying at Riverside Church in New York on April 4, 1967, one year to the day before his own death:
During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military “advisors” in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru….As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked-and rightly so-what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today-my own government.
As he moved boldly through his final year, King again and again sounded less and less like Gandhi and more and more like the late Minister X, if not Amilcar Cabral. He went as far as embracing a form of Black Pride that is certainly the opposite of the sentiments expressed by the aforementioned Letter to the Editor. For heaven’s sake, Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered shortly after offering a speech of support to a sanitation worker’s labor strike and while he was in the midst of planning a march against poverty that would have challenged not just Jim Crow but capitalism itself as a form of oppression! Of course, something bordering on veracity would totally fly in the face of the traditional narrative of hyper-pacifist King that Edward Achorn is happy to traffic in, a slur against the man’s memory that is itself racist. The image of a pacific-to-no-limit King gives white people a narrative that says legitimate protests from people of color must always be non-violent, must always be within the confines of what the power structure approves, and must never include even basic elements of ethnic pride and self-defense. In other words, dem uppity thugs are wrong because Dr. King said play nice!
Let us now consider the ProJo’s history of trafficking in transphobia. On June 5 of this year, Achorn printed this lovely epistle by Fr. Roman R. Manchester:
I find it repugnant that so many people, especially in the media, have capitulated to gender-bender ideology, and have acquiesced to Bruce Jenner’s desire to be called “Caitlyn” and are referring to him as “her” (“Jenner to world: ‘Call me Caitlyn,'” news June 2).
Have you all gone mad? This may come as a surprisingly blunt statement of the obvious, but Bruce Jenner is not a woman. He is a mentally ill man who thinks that he is a woman, and he cannot become a woman anymore than he can become a kangaroo. No amount of surgery, hormone therapy, makeup, and women’s clothing will ever change his Y-chromosome into an X-chromosome.
As a seriously ill man, Bruce Jenner deserves our compassion, not our mindless, sycophantic patronage. He needs psychiatric treatment and spiritual counseling. Yet, the herd-mentality of our day is a decidedly anti-intellectual one, and is prone to fantasy and moral equivocation.
Never mind the fact that the good Father has no certification as a psychologist, that it is profoundly unprofessional for a man of the cloth to publicly call another person mentally ill, or that gender dysphoria is a certified medical condition. Let’s just consider that, while Ms. Jenner has plenty of money to absorb her tears, not all trans folks do likewise. The homicide and suicide rates of trans people are galling, as are the rates of substance abuse, homelessness, and assault/battery. Mr. Achorn has thrown gasoline on the flames without any shame and does not have to worry because he is too busy reading the baseball encyclopedia to worry about the trans folk whose assailants are given moral support by his Editorial page.
Let’s close with climate change denial, something everyone from Pope Francis to Noam Chomsky agrees exists. On May 4, the energy industry apparatchik Tom Harris wrote this:
Reports such as those of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change illustrate that debate rages in the scientific community about the causes of climate change. Scientists cannot even agree on whether warming or cooling lies ahead, let alone the degree to which we affect it. Yet climate campaigners assert that “the science is settled.” We know with certainty, they claim, that our carbon dioxide emissions will cause a planetary emergency unless we radically change our ways.
This is just plain silliness. There is no denying at this point that climate change is real. As proof, I present the findings of that oh-so-commie-pinko outfit, the US Navy! The Navy has been devoting significant effort to the tracking of global warming for decades and wrote in a 2010 report:
A preponderance of global observational evidence shows the Arctic Ocean is losing sea ice, global temperatures are warming, sea level is rising, large landfast ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctic) are losing ice mass, and precipitation patterns are changing. While there has been criticism on the details of the methods and results found in reports published by the IPCC and other entities, the Navy acknowledges that climate change is a national security challenge with strategic implications for the Navy.
Who’d have thunk it, the military that the ProJo acclaims as the vanguards of all that is great about the United States has said conclusively that a large swathe of articles he prints about climate issues are complete nonsense!
Ultimately Achorn will object and say all these things were done in the name of ‘objectivity.’ But under such auspices, one is forced to wonder if he would have given substantial column inches to Goebbels.