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When Sainthood Fails: The Flawed Apotheosis of John McCain

In "April is the cruelest month" forum on April 28, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Few Americans noticed recently when a movement to rename the oldest Senate office building collapsed.. The effort was the brainchild of Chuck Schumer. Driven by what appeared to be uncontainable grief, he tweeted: “Nothing will overcome the loss of Senator McCain; but so that generations remember him I will be introducing a resolution to rename the Russell building after him.” This was, of course, the same Chuck Schumer who previously raged against McCain’s “Five-hundred dollar shoes,” decried his lack of empathy “with the plight of the average person,” and who, during the congressional bail-out mania of 2007, characterized McCain’s suspension of his presidential campaign to resume his senatorial duties as “nothing more than a prolonged photo op” during which, Schumer grumbled, McCain contributed nothing “except for an occasional, unhelpful statement.” Now, gripped by an anguish too painful, apparently, to conceal, Schumer recalled a different John McCain…the saintly McCain—the incomparable statesman whose tragic loss rendered not only Schumer, but every news anchor, politico, editorialist, and show-business personality in America, utterly bereft.

Renaming the building was genius. Republicans would approve because McCain was, after all, a Republican;, and one whose tendency to break ranks with his party seemed oddly representative of the GOP’s weakness for breaking ranks with its electorate. Democrats would approve because McCain’s style of bipartisanship reliably advanced the progressive agenda. Besides, the building in question—an elegant triangular edifice in the Beaux-Arts style—was ripe for a nomenclatural sandblasting, being named for Democratic icon Richard Russell Jr.–a diehard segregationist whose bigoted legislative record recalls a political lineage Democrats prefer nowadays to conceal.

“Ha! Here I stand, while them idiots is out knockin’ over statues of Kate Smith!”

User sabotage–again!

But the impulse died aborning. Schumer’s resolution never gained traction, probably because he never actually bothered introducing it. Ultimately, the only institution to officialize the name change was Google, which impishly contrived to have all searches for the Russell Building return information about “the McCain Senate Office Building,” until the resultant confusion incurred waves of protest, whereupon Google dropped the effort and blamed the matter on “user sabotage.”

The Russell Senate Office Building–briefly renamed by GOOGLE-invading saboteurs.

The principled conservative…

Schumer’s beau geste fizzled for the same reason McCain’s secular sainthood proved ephemeral: The nation’s brief bout of McCain-o-mania sprang from an unholy alliance of  Democratic Leftists, GOP moderates, and disenfranchised conservatives, bound by a common appreciation of McCain’s postmortem utility as a foil to Donald Trump. In life, McCain’s usefulness to liberals stemmed from his fondness for “going maverick,” or rather, for thumbing his nose at his party’s leadership and swerving leftwards. If death lowered the curtain on his legislative rascality, it afforded the Senator a brief afterlife as a makeshift heirogram–an effigy held aloft to rally the righteous and depose the Great Usurper. Saintly McCain became the Anti-Trump—the “principled conservative”–always poised to spring across the aisle to engineer some new compromise thwarting border security, upholding Obamacare, frustrating the Christian Right, advancing Gay marriage, or combating planetary destruction.

One swampy morning….

Nothing says “kumbaya” like a good funeral!

Put another way, McCain was cast as  Ahura Mazda, Trump as Ahriman. The mythic juxtaposition–light versus darkness–was advanced, implicitly or explicitly, in every media treatment of the Senator’s passing. TIME drove the point home for readers too dimwitted to catch on by themselves, explaining that, “While President Donald Trump had been notably excluded from the [funeral service], it was clear many of the speakers — from both political parties — had him on their minds as they mourned McCain, a political giant who died after a brutal fight with brain cancer.” Just as perceptively, if more giddily, The New Yorker described the funeral as “the biggest resistance meeting yet,” noting it “was all about a rebuke to the pointedly uninvited current President of the United States, which was exactly how McCain had planned it.” Absent, apparently, any awareness of paronomasia, The New Yorker nailed the atmospherics, reporting that McCain’s funeral took place on a “swampy Saturday morning.”

As if…

If death made McCain indispensable in the short term, it also ended his usefulness as a walking, talking media prop.  Democrats had no real interest in pursuing the man’s deification, and Republicans sensed the inadvisability of affronting 623 million Trump voters.  Newscasters pivoted from hagiography to slander, professing disbelief that even so infamous a bunch of haters as the political Right would deny John McCain—statesman, war hero, champion of Senatorial outreach—praise on the event of his passing. Anchors frowned over remarks about the Senator that seemed insufficiently fulsome, wondering aloud if they constituted “hate speech.” Even Leftist Kelly Hayes recoiled at the uniform saccharinity, “As if telling the full, truthful story of his life and career were an insult to the senator and his loved ones.” As if, for that matter, the point even required “as if.”

Gregory Green-Ass, the early years….

Granddad, Dad, and Gregory Greenass.

McCain’s family was naval–his father and grandfather both four-star admirals. In keeping with expectations, he entered the Naval Academy, graduating 894th in a class of 899. Proceeding to the Pensacola Naval Air Station McCain quickly earned a reputation as “a sub-par flier” and a partier. By his own admission he “did not enjoy the reputation of a serious pilot or an up-and-coming junior officer.” Barely passing flight school, he crashed two airplanes after graduating, and damaged a third.  In Spain, he attempted to fly his A-1 fighter-bomber between a pair of electrical pylons, hitting one in the process and knocking out power for thousands. In his autobiography he wrote “My daredevil clowning had cut off electricity to a great many Spanish homes, and created a small international incident.” Reassigned to a cushy diplomatic post, McCain laudably volunteered for combat in Vietnam. Assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany, he flew 23 combat missions over Vietnam, making him a true war hero by any reasonable standard–but 23 missions were far fewer than most pilots aboard the Oriskany had flown, thus McCain was dubbed “Gregory Green-Ass.”

A true war hero with 23 combat missions.

“Jousting with Charlie and… Triple A?”

With the possible exception of the senior Bush, John McCain is the politician most famous for being shot down. During a bombing raid on a North Vietnamese hydroelectric plant, he deviated from tactical convention on approach. “I knew I should roll out and fly evasive maneuvers,” he wrote, “…but I was just about to release my bombs…and had I started jinking…I would have never had the time nor, probably, the nerve to go back…” at which point, according to McCain, “I released my bombs, then pulled back the stick….in the instant before my plane reacted, a SAM blew my right wing off.” Except, it didn’t. Other pilots flying the mission unanimously reported anti-aircraft fire, not a surface-to-air missile, blew the the wing off McCain’s A-4E Skyhawk. Why McCain always insisted he was hit by a SAM is perhaps an issue best left to psychoanalysts–but the official Navy report is unambiguous; he was hit by “AAA fire,” not a missile.

An A-4 Skyhawk–with both wings.

Hanoi John

Welcome to North Vietnam!

McCain again flouted protocol bailing out. Pilots were taught a specific procedure for ejecting from a stricken A-4E, but McCain ignored it. As a result, he broke both arms and his right leg even before angry North Vietnamese fished him out of Truc Bach Lake.  This later paid unexpected dividends when voters assumed news footage of the imprisoned McCain hobbling on crutches or trussed up in casts amounted to evidence of torture. In fact, as he concedes in his memoirs, McCain immediately offered information to his captors in exchange for hospitalization. Bad form, but of little practical consequence; even the toughest pilots broke at the “Hanoi Hilton,” and there is no doubt McCain was tortured and beaten, although he later wrote his treatment was “less harsh than might be accorded other prisoners,” because of “the propaganda value the Vietnamese placed on possessing me.”

Mostly self-inflicted.

McCain famously rejected an offer of early release–an offer the communists made because his father was a full admiral. TIME concertized McCain’s version of events, marveling at his decision to choose “prison in Hanoi for years rather than accept a release he considered dishonorable.”  But this story, too, is equivocal.  The senior American POW in Hanoi during McCain’s imprisonment adamantly opposed any American accepting early release, and military code required the ranking officer’s permission. McCain, then, had every reason to suppose his request would be denied.  Obviously, he could have sidestepped regulations and accepted the offer unilaterally—but doing so risked censure and even charges of collaboration down the road. Thus, although the story of McCain refusing early release is true, a dearth of workable options probably shaped his decision.

The Reaganite who schooled Goldwater

“Wait a minute, John–what’s with the hand buzzer?”

Released in keeping with the 1973 peace accords following five-and-a-half years of imprisonment, McCain retired from the Navy in 1981. Moving to Arizona, he ran for congress in 1983, campaigning as a dyed-in-the-wool Reaganite. In 1987, he ran for the senate, defeating his Democratic opponent by 20 percentage points. As a freshman senator, McCain resumed his support for the Reagan agenda. He defended “Reaganomics” despite zero grasp of supply-side theory, opposed abortion, voted in defense of school prayer, and appeared every inch the Cold Warrior. Yet, according to McCain, during a private meeting with the retiring Barry Goldwater (whose vacated seat McCain occupied), Goldwater offered, “You know, John, if I’d beaten Lyndon Johnson in ’64, you wouldn’t have spent all those years in a North Vietnamese prison camp.” McCain recalls quipping, “You’re right, Barry. It would have been a Chinese prison camp.” McCain loved telling the story, and true or not, the anecdote was subtly evocative of a deeper truth: John McCain enjoyed kicking members of his own party in the shins–especially those who represented seniority–or, one might go so far as to say, father figures.

“And anyway, John–why would Taiwan put you in a prison camp?”

When Newt Gingrich’s posse of young conservatives swarmed congress in 1992, McCain applauded their arrival but opted out of Gingrich’s “contract with America.” Instead, he gravitated toward several top Democrats, including Tip O’Neill, Paul Simon, and Mo Udall.  He soon began voicing support for various social programs, most notably the Americans with Disabilities Act. The legislation foundered when Republicans, to McCain’s considerable annoyance, took umbrage at several of its zanier entitlements.  Nevertheless, the media praised McCain’s enlightened willingness to join forces with liberals, painting him as a beacon of hope in a GOP too long wedded to grumpy intransigence. The accolades were not lost on McCain.

The reformer….

Nobody at McCain’s farewell service mentioned the Senator’s first association with campaign finance reform, otherwise known as the Keating Hearings. It was 1990, and the Washington Post reported grim news: “The Senate Select Committee on Ethics today will open what are expected to be exhaustive and contentious public hearings in the highly publicized ‘Keating Five’ case…” According to the Post, the hearings promised “a rare tour of the netherworld of campaign fund-raising and its impact on Washington’s official business.” Of the five, the only accused Republican was John McCain, whose earliest associations with campaign finance cast him as a poster child for its abuse. Accused of inappropriately intervening with federal regulators on behalf of Keating, a major campaign donor, McCain took a beating in the press, but avoided more serious consequences by agreeing to confess poor judgement.

Approaching the nominative contest of 2000, McCain recast himself as a campaign reformer par excellence.  Crossing the aisle in search of allies, he found a ready accomplice in Russ Feingold, (D-WI). While McCain thundered demands for action, Feingold’s staff crafted legislation. One telltale indicator of the bill’s toxicity was the selection of its co-sponsors as recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. McCain, of course, was the real point of the conferral. The bizarre idea that collaborating with liberals constituted heroism precisely fit the establishment’s long-maintained flimflam that joining it demands guts.

McCain always considered the act among his proudest achievements. In reality, it not only subjected political campaigns to a host of big-government intrusions, but also increased the media’s power to sway elections. The Heritage Foundation called it “wrongheaded and unconstitutional.” Even the Washington Post disapproved, noting that “…perversely, the ban on ‘soft money’ left individual and corporate donors free to direct their funds to outside groups, where donations are concealed from public scrutiny.” In 2010, the Supreme Court struck down the act’s more odoriferous sections, ruling that, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.” The Left howled indignantly, as did McCain, as did President Obama, who managed to cram “Big Oil” “Wall Street Banks” and “Health insurers” into a single denunciatory sentence. 

Standing tall against Big Oil!

The environmentalist….

During the ‘90s, McCain voted five times to defund nuclear research and scrap federal loan guarantees for additional plants. In 2005, newly convinced that planetary survival hinged on capping greenhouse gas emissions, McCain reversed himself and called for taxpayer assistance to nuclear developers. In 2007, despite a decade spent stagnating nuclear development, McCain advanced legislation to underwrite 45 new reactors in the United States, amounting to $3.7 billion in subsidies. To his dismay, environmentalists voiced outrage.

Some leading authorities on the threat of nuclear power.

In response, McCain announced senate hearings on “climate science,” (during which Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, straight-facedly congratulated him for “speaking truth to power”).  McCain co-sponsored three bills addressing global warming. Naturally, this meant additional regulation of businesses accused of greenhouse gas production, but McCain’s bill, co-sponsored by Al Gore’s former running mate, Joe Lieberman, included cap-and-trade proposals amounting to generous allowances for companies wishing to buy or sell permissions to pollute. Like so many climate activists, McCain and Lieberman obviously considered global apocalypse tolerable, provided substantial revenue could be raised in advance. The bill was defeated, after which its second iteration, relabeled The Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act, was killed by an even larger majority.  Again, McCain found himself at odds with his party’s worldview, his frustrations soothed by accolades from the liberal mainstream. Oddly, during a 2010 radio interview, McCain solemnly denied ever supporting cap-and-trade–an assertion that, although factually dismissable, may have been heartfelt. As so often in such instances, the fine points of his own legislation may have eluded him.


Jake Tapper, pondering the significance of “other technologies.”

As recently as 2017, the Senator appeared on CNN, nodding fervently as Jake Tapper assured viewers that “hurricane Irma was more intense…because of climate change,” and pressed McCain to explain his party’s irrational opposition to what Tapper called “the overwhelming scientific consensus…that [global warming is] real and it’s man made,” McCain shook his head, perfectly conveying his vexation before declaring, in less than perfect syntax, “I don’t know because I can’t divine their motives; but I know this: There are things happening with the climate in the world that is unprecedented.” Tapper wondered aloud what measures might yet preserve life on Earth.  McCain paused, perhaps recalling the legions of incensed environmentalists dunning him for promoting nuclear power. Wiser for the experience, he assured Tapper the problem could be solved with “solar power and other technologies.” Tapper nodded so emphatically, one might have thought McCain just salvaged the unified-field theory.

The reproductive mugwump…

As early as 1999, McCain was softening on abortion, saying of Roe v. Wade, “I’d love to see a point where it is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.”  McCain certainly didn’t invent the sophistry that withdrawing federal funding for abortion would somehow force swarms of women to subject themselves to abortions, but he obviously deemed it persuasive. He offered the identical canard in a San Francisco Chronicle interview, insisting that overturning Roe v. Wade meant forcing untold numbers of women to illegally abort their children. Realizing, however, that he could not wrangle the GOP nomination in 2000 with such rhetoric, McCain repackaged himself for the occasion as emphatically pro-life, even voicing support for South Dakota’s particularly aggressive ban on abortions.

Peerless

“So in other words, John, I am selecting John Edwards as my running mate, because you’re not quite hypocritical and sleazy enough for me!”

In the aftermath of “W’s” election, McCain took especial delight in playing the gleeful obstructionist to Bush as often as circumstances permitted. In the Atlantic, Joshua Greene gushed, “As a reform-minded foe of corporate welfare, Big Tobacco, and the Republican right, he is peerless,” noting that McCain was “Bush’s most vociferous critic, [having] voted against the president’s tax cut, forced his hand on campaign finance reform…[and co-sponsored] “numerous bills with Democrats…” In fact, after his primary defeat in 2000, McCain gave serious consideration to bolting the GOP. He even approached John Kerry, suggesting himself as Kerry’s running mate come 2004.  Challenged about the matter on Good Morning America, McCain sputtered,”John Kerry is a very close friend of mine. We’ve been friends for years. Obviously, I would entertain it. But there’s, I see no scenario, no scenario, no scenario where I, I foresee no scenario where that would happen” (read: Kerry said ‘no’).

The Rainbow Warrior

McCain’s ping-ponging views on homosexuality were dizzying. In 2004, he voiced support for Gay marriage, but shifted in 2005, supporting the proposed federal ban of Gay marriages. In early 2006, his views evolved in a fashion presaging the per saltum conversions later experienced by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  McCain now waxed eloquent in opposition to the ban, but spoke supportively of it during the nominative campaign. In 2008 he won the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans who applauded his recrudescent support of same-sex marriage and “Gay rights.” In 2013, McCain assured Anderson Cooper he had never changed his position on Gays, adding somewhat ambiguously,”I have admired your forward position and stand on this issue!” 

Anderson Cooper–pondering the implications?

The infamous GANG of FOURTEEN

By 2005, “W” wearied of Democrats sandbagging his judicial nominees, and urged Senate Majority Leader Frist to pursue “the nuclear option.” Frist began preparations to circumvent Democrat filibustering against numerous long-overdue judicial appointments. But at the crucial moment, John McCain went—maverick.  He and six of his fellow Republicans huddled in secret with Democrats, devising a “compromise” that would “preserve the filibuster”—or, less disingenuously, preserve the Democrats’ ability to apply it unconstitutionally to blockade Bush’s appointments. But if Republicans felt sucker punched, the media were positively aglow. The New York Times trilled “The bipartisan ‘Gang of 14’ that struck a deal to save the filibuster could start to be a powerful force for centrism…” Centrism, then as now, meaning that impulse–unique to Republicans–to dissemble capitulation as bipartisanship.  For John McCain, it was an annealing moment. He had stumbled upon the perfect formula for stiffing kindred authority figures without risking political damage: Hotfooting the GOP. The media called it “going maverick,” and the GOP didn’t call it anything, because Republicans, then as now, were terrified of the media.

2005: The usual suspects take a bow, the press goes wild!.

Losing gracefully.

That’s right, Sonny–and don’t get up, or I’ll REALLY hit you!”

If the 2008 presidential race had been a boxing match, it would have been the second Clay/Liston fight, except that Liston didn’t punch anyone in his own corner. Candidate McCain’s eruptive oppositional traits often resulted in kidney shots delivered to would-be allies, while Obama and his coterie of Marxian ideologues were spared even glancing blows. During a town-hall meeting, McCain handed the microphone to a supporter who told him, “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he’s not, he’s not — he’s an Arab.” McCain immediately snatched the microphone back and proceeded to scold her, telling her, “I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments, I will respect him. I want everyone to be respectful, and let’s make sure we are.” Naturally, the establishment waxed effusive, and just as obviously, the woman misspoke, substituting “Arab” where “Kenyan” was intended.  But many wondered what sort of political campaign permitted nothing ill to be spoken of the opposition candidate.  Pitted against a radical leftist raised by a dedicated communist ideologue, a parishioner for 20 years in Reverend Wright’s rabidly anti-American, antisemitic church, an author whose weird duo biographies brimmed with communist motifs and racial biases, and whose political career was launched by unrepentant terrorists, McCain could only shout his praises. “I have to tell you,” he assured another audience,  “…[Obama] is a decent person and a person you do not have to be scared as [sic] president of the United States.” Distracted, perhaps, by the passion of the moment, McCain neglected to add, “So vote for me!

Mark McKinnon–sending “a great message.”

Meanwhile, McCain’s senior media adviser, Mark McKinnon, informed reporters he would quit the campaign if asked to issue any criticism of  Obama–a departure from his job description alarming enough, one might suppose, to draw McCain’s ire–but no.  Next, despite helming the most phlegmatic presidential bid in American history, McKinnon resigned anyway. Campaigning against Obama, in and of itself, proved too much for his conscience, thus McKinnon bade the McCain camp farewell. As a parting gesture, he paused to remind reporters that Obama’s election “would send a great message to the country and the world.”

The next George Wallace…?

Old Reliable: John Lewis once again grapples with the “seeds of hatred,” sown, this time, by that dog-whistle  segregationist, John McCain.

If McCain was attempting to preserve his romance with the establishment, it was a fool’s errand. His media admirers dumped him the moment he entered the general election, and no wonder: They discovered McCain was a racist. His painfully genteel political advertisements were labeled “racially tinged attacks” by the New York Times. Bill Press of CNN denounced them as “deliberately and deceptively racist,” while Keith Olbermann, whose fulminations issued from MSNBC in those days, explained the perplexing absence of any apparent bigotry in McCain’s ads as evidence of McCain’s diabolic reliance on “almost subliminal racism.” Meanwhile, of course, Georgia Representative John Lewis, always available to affect outrage when nudged by the DNC, traipsed dutifully to the microphones, warning Blacks that McCain was “sowing the seeds of hatred and division.” “There is no need for this hostility in our political discourse,” Lewis moaned. “What I’m seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history.” By way of emphasis, Lewis branded McCain an infamous segregationist, comparing him to Alabama governor George Wallace (who was, in fact, a Democrat, but never mind).

The next Bill Clinton…?

Iseman on CBS–“can you prove you didn’t have the affair you say you didn’t have?”

Worse, McCain turned out to be an adulterer–a trait the Left deplores, if exclusively in Republicans. The New York Times broke the scandal, even then quoting “unnamed sources” detailing McCain’s extramarital fling with lobbyist Vicki L. Iseman. It was fake news of the kind America’s “paper of record” would become synonymous with a decade later, but it must have dumbfounded McCain, who not only discovered he was embroiled in an illicit romance, but one the NYT’s unnamed sources described as so lurid that “some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself.”

Why, those pork-rind munching NASCAR watching hayseeds wouldn’t know a true conservative if they had a power lunch with one at Charlie Palmer!

But if groveling to the leftist media proved suddenly ineffective, it also made solidifying McCain’s presumptive base nearly impossible. Ironically, the only politician firing up conservative voters in 2008 was Barack Obama. Belatedly, McCain’s strategists realized that while conservatives would rather vote for McCain than Obama, they didn’t actually have to vote at all. True, McCain made a point of professing his ardent conservatism on talk radio whenever elections neared, showering hosts–whom he privately despised–with folksy accolades on the order of, “Ahhh, your doin’ Godsh work, Sean, yer doin’ Godsh work!” But if placating crackpot radio listeners with a few disingenuous soundbites wasn’t closing the deal, something more was needed.

Palin to insignificance….

Nobody in McCain’s camp wanted Sarah Palin on the ticket. Her inclusion was a means to an end.  Unaware she was viewed as a necessary evil by a staff that considered her values and lifestyle primeval, Palin accepted the invitation to be McCain’s running mate and, as anticipated, provided an immediate boost to the candidate’s anemic poll numbers. She also caught the Left completely off guard. At first, the ex-Miss Wasilla, and runner-up Miss Alaska ignited a national craze. Hair salons teemed with women demanding the Palin hairdo, glitzy magazines and tabloids made her face unmissable at check-out counters, and everyone wanted to hear about Alaska.  An amusing characteristic of the liberal establishment is its endemic cumbersomeness–the price paid for immensity.  Countless sources of influence and persuasion require marshaling before any issue can be caused to appear valid or invalid–or any individual painted as laudable, laughable, or detestable. And because progressivism’s best and brightest cannot be everywhere, it often occurs that certain channels of indoctrination overseen by lesser lights, simply miss the memo.  Palin’s positive reception by unalert elements of the popular press exemplified this systems glitch, but the system moved swiftly to universalize the approved narrative.  When the  counterattack came, every conduit at the establishment’s disposal gushed venom.

Killing Sarah

Late night comedians, the ladies on The View, Charlie Rose, Time and Newsweek, NPR, every “respectable” TV news network, every “reputable” newspaper, plus the usual swarm of glittery Hollywood ninnyhammers, set the record straight. Sarah Palin was a risible clodpoll, completely unsuited to national office, embarrassingly uncultured, frighteningly reactionary, cruel to wildlife, opposed to women’s reproductive rights, recognizably psychotic, and prone to uttering the most bizarre nonsense at the drop of a hat. True, she might be attractive, in a cornball, trailer-trashy way,  but she’d  brazenly capitalized on that genetic happenstance by objectifying herself in patriarchally repugnant beauty pageants, thereby implicitly body-shaming women the world over. Saturday Night Live did  yeoman service, enlisting comedienne Tina Fey–who resembled Palin–to impersonate her each week as a ditsy, inarticulate bumpkin.

Tina Fey–the reason every liberal in America still thinks Palin said she could see Russia from her house.

Then came the CBS interview. Were it not for Katie Couric’s finely honed journalistic skills, Palin might never have been exposed as–well–vague on the details of the Bush administration’s economic bailout plan, and even more appallingly, disinclined to enumerate for Couric what books and periodicals she relied on for information–a question every conservative candidate should expect, and no Democrat need ever fear. Those few observers within the fold brave enough to criticize Couric’s blatantly calculated hatchet job only stirred the anchorette to fits of righteous indignation. The former TODAY hostess shrilly ostended her journalistic integrity, a quality she reiterated on the Tonight Show while guffawing with David Letterman at Palin’s buffoonery. Shortly afterwards, Couric received the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Walter Cronkite Award, which rather tellingly cited ” the impact the interview had on the election…”

Remember, people: Good journalism just slants the facts, but GREAT journalism wins elections!

Cherchez la femme! 

McCain adviser Wallace–with helpers like her, who needed opponents?

Who marched the freshly arrived vice-presidential candidate into Couric’s minefield? Senior McCain staffer Nicole Wallace did the deed. Overriding Palin’s request to enter the journalistic shark tank by degrees, Wallace insisted on CBS, and lined up Couric for the interview. “Katie really likes you,” Wallace told Palin, “She’s a working mom and admires you as a working mom. She has teenage daughters like you. She just relates to you. … Believe me, I know her very well. I’ve worked with her.” Only the last parts were true. Couric openly despised Palin, mainly because of the Alaskan’s staunch opposition to abortion. Why, then, would a top McCain staffer send her own candidate into an obvious ambush?

With friends like these…

After Palin’s media mauling, McCain said he’d really wanted Democrat Joe Lieberman for his VP; but Lieberman would have driven off Red-State voters–and was no fun to look at.

Nicole Wallace co-hosted The View, and works for MSNBC. She teamed up with Brian Williams (of SEAL Team 6 fame) for MSNBC’s live election coverage in 2016.  She currently serves NBC as a chief political contributor, frequents Morning Joe, and guest-hosts the TODAY show. In 2011 Wallace told MORE magazine, “Katie nurtured and mentored me professionally…our friendship grew out of that.” Sarah Palin, then, was prepped for her interview with Couric by an unregenerate liberal who was Couric’s compatriot and outspoken admirer.  Yet, rather than express outrage at such treachery in his ranks, McCain turned on Palin as soon as her political utility waned. Blaming Palin for the failure of the most willfully self-negating campaign in political history became a team sport among McCain advisers. In post-election interviews McCain made a point of expressing his regret about tapping Palin, grumbling that he wanted Joe Lieberman on the ticket, but was “talked out of it.” When he publicized his regrets in a book, Palin admitted feeling “gut punched,” but withheld criticism. When McCain found himself embroiled in a tougher-than-usual reelection struggle at the height of the Tea Party’s drive to extirpate RINOs, he begged for Palin’s endorsement and she gave it, despite all the cheap shots, and snarls from her own supporters. McCain ultimately repaid the favor by barring her from his funeral.

Palin’s 2016 endorsement of Trump obviously rankled McCain, who probably found it less amusing than depicted here. This once-viral, now conspicuously dated TWITTER meme is surely a contender for the Internet’s “most-embarrassingly-premature-and-awkwardly-unretractable miscalculation” award. Except, do they even have those?

The Obama years…

After winning the Nobel Peace Prize and installing the freshly rehabilitated Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state, Obama set about so thoroughly destabilizing the Middle East that only a shamelessly complicit media could call the result “Arab Spring.” First, Obama focused on radicalizing Egypt. where President Hosni Mubarak, America’s longtime ally, found himself abandoned and all but dragged out of town by Hillary Clinton. Republicans should have demanded explanations, but Obama’s popularity left them dumbstruck. John McCain, on the other hand, spoke out confidently, telling reporters. “The rapidly deteriorating situation in Egypt leads me to the conclusion that President Mubarak needs to step down and relinquish power.”  After Mubarak’s departure a hastily staged election handed the presidency to Mohammed Morsi, a rabidly anti-Semitic, Hamas-affiliated, Muslim Brotherhood terrorist to whom Obama promptly dispatched 400 Abrams tanks and a squadron of F-16 jets as palace-warming gifts.

On to Tripoli!

Having fundamentally transformed Egypt, Clinton and Obama set their sights on neighboring Libya. Citing the Libyan dictator’s terrorist past, Clinton declared Muammar Qaddafi an intolerable menace to civilization. In reality, the Libyan despot was no threat at all, having been pummeled into neutrality by President Reagan, who responded to the dictator’s terrorism in the 1980s by blowing up his air force, sinking his navy, and bombing his palace. Given time to consider, Qaddafi renounced terrorism, normalized Libya’s relationships with the West, and agreed to pay reparations to  victims of his past exploits. In turn, the U.S. dropped Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. During the second Bush presidency, Qaddafi unilaterally abandoned his nuclear program as further evidence of reform.

Obama was criticized for shaking hands with guest-of-honor Qaddafi at the White House–but he made up for it shortly afterwards by killing him.

Obama acknowledged Libya’s progress by inviting Qaddafi to Washington, making Obama the first American dignitary to shake the Libyan’s hand, and the first to throw him a White House dinner. But no sooner had Obama’s guest returned to Tripoli than he found himself prey to the implacable—if often incomprehensible– wrath of Hillary Clinton, whose profound disapproval was shared, it transpired, by the President.  By way of emphasis, Obama secured a UN resolution authorizing NATO air strikes against Libya, declared a no-fly zone over the country, persuaded the British to impose a naval blockade augmented by the USS Enterprise, and fired no fewer than 110 cruise missiles at the country. For these exertions, the only rationale specified was “to deny the Libyan regime from [sic] using force against its own people.”

With Hillary in Benghazi….

Muammar Qaddafi, just dead after his whirlwind tour of Misrata.

Despite meeting with Qaddafi outside Tripoli in 2009 and promising him military assistance in appreciation of his mended ways, McCain now endorsed bombing him. He applauded Hillary’s no-fly zone, demanded still-tougher sanctions, and urged Obama to arm the local takfiris–bad actors already running amok amid the havoc. Qaddafi ultimately fled the capital in a convoy of military and civilian vehicles, but NATO aircraft attacked, killing 50 Libyans and scattering the rest into the hills.  Captured by the jihadist Misrata militia, Qaddafi was shot in the stomach, stabbed in the anus with a bayonet, dumped in the back of a pickup truck and driven around town while various factions took turns shooting, stabbing, punching, and buggering him. As the AP photos emerged of his mutilated carcass, Hillary famously cackled “we came, we saw, he died!” Libya, of course, dissolved into a cesspool of warring Islamic radicals, human traffickers, and drug cartels. Earlier in the conflict, however, John McCain dropped in on a “fact finding tour” during which he expressed every confidence that deposing Qaddafi would inaugurate an age of peace and tranquility for the region. He then paused for a photo op with a group of area rebels, telling reporters, “They are my heroes!” As it happened, McCain’s heroes that day were armed militants from the obscure eastern-Libyan township he was visiting–a place called Benghazi.

Standing tall in Syria….

“Da, Mr. President, da, your thoughts on geopolitics are endlessly fascinating–is that a Four-in-hand, or a Half Windsor?”

Obama next targeted Syria, already a terrorist state by any rational valuation, led by Bashar Assad, a Jew-hater’s Jew-hater who also despised America and Europe, financed aggression against our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, tortured or murdered political opponents, and routinely bombed or gassed his own people; but despite such portfolio enhancers, Obama mistrusted the dictator’s western attire, education, sexy, westernized wife, and the crafty alliances by which he assured his survival—so secular–so distinct from the fanaticism of a proper jihadist. Offputtingly, one of Assad’s crafty alliances was with Vladimir Putin, who showered him with advanced Russian antiaircraft missiles as soon as Obama made threatening remarks. Since a major loss of American planes and pilots over Syria would oblige a level of retaliation Putin knew Obama couldn’t stomach, the ploy seemed ironclad. But from Obama’s standpoint, a surrogate ground war against Assad was even better than getting NATO to bomb him; it allowed Obama to arm and train every band of  jihadists in the vicinity and re-brand them “freedom fighters.”

“And now that I’ve mastered the technology, it’s way better than belching or making farting sounds with my armpit!”

Unless one grasped Obama’s worldview, the Syrian action made even less sense than its Libyan antecedent. John McCain, however, thought it was brilliant. His support was instrumental in persuading the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs to approve aid to Obama’s freedom fighters. Only three members of the committee proved obdurate enough to resist McCain’s impassioned call to arms–namely, Tom Udall, Chris Murphy, and Rand Paul. During Paul’s speech enumerating the high risks and inherent illogicality of Obama’s war, McCain took pains to be observed playing poker on his iPhone. Once again, McCain ‘s only complaint was that Obama wasn’t pouring enough money, advisers, and materiel into the region fast enough to supply the “good guys,” who in this instance comprised a hodgepodge of militant Sunni factions variously affiliated with Hamas, ISIS, Iran, Al Qaeda, and Ansar al-Sharia–an Al Qaeda affiliate.

 “…that would be regrettable.”

Freedom fighter update: The jihadists formerly known as Northern Storm recently merged with the larger Islamic Front, whose name pretty much says it all.

Never one to sit idly by when impulsivity beckoned, McCain personally (and in point of fact, illegally) flew to the embattled region to “ascertain the facts on the ground.” Once in country, he managed to press the flesh with more anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Israeli jihadists than Bashar Assad normally hugged in a fortnight.  The Senator made sure to demonstrate solidarity with the “freedom fighters,” posing with their leaders for several publicity photos.  In doing so, he managed to grin his way through group shots with such notables as Mohammed Nour and Abu Ibrahim, both members of the Sunni “Northern Storm Brigade” just back from kidnapping eleven Lebanese Shia pilgrims after undergoing terror training in Iran.

“Say–none of you guys are, uh, ‘kidnapper terrorists,’ or anything, right?”

Over the news cycle, the Senator’s office produced four disparate (and mutually exclusive) rationalizations for their boss’s unfortunate group shots, none of  which seemed necessary given that  McCain’s communications director, Brian Rogers, clarified matters when the scandal first broke, telling reporters nobody in McCain’s office had any idea whom the Senator met, or with whom he was photographed. McCain had no idea either, Rogers admitted, adding “if he did meet with kidnapper terrorists, that would be regrettable.”

Whacko-birds…

“Two things, Rand! First, I didn’t call you a whackobird this time–and second, I made it perfectly clear there’s a strong possibility your election was legitimate!”

During Barack Obama’s presidency, McCain voted in support of Obama’s policies more than half the time, while his contempt for other Republicans, especially any who questioned his positions, intensified. During Rand Paul’s oracular effort to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan as Obama’s CIA director, McCain (and bff Lindsay Graham) pointedly walked out to enjoy a convivial White House dinner with Obama.  Asked subsequently about the efforts of Paul, Ted Cruz, and Rep. Justin Amash, to block Brennan’s appointment, McCain sneered that his fellow Republicans were “probably legitimately elected,” but were nevertheless “whacko-birds.” Why it took whacko-birds to resist the installation of an Islamophilic, pro-communist, serial prevaricator as top man at Langley, McCain didn’t say. Asked about his whacko-bird status, Paul told reporters, “I treat Senator McCain with respect. I don’t think I always get the same in return.” McCain soon removed any doubt by taking the senate floor to claim Paul was “working for Vladimir Putin,” an accusation that, if dumbfoundingly absurd, was at least less puerile than “whacko-bird.”

First blood…

McCain’s hostility toward Donald Trump dated from January, 2000, when Trump first considered a presidential run.  A media darling in those days whose political aspirations might well prove subversive to GOP interests, Trump enjoyed generous coverage. During an appearance on CBS, the interviewer asked Trump’s opinion of Senator McCain, and Trump, who shot from the lip then as now, mused, “He was captured, Does being captured make you a hero? I don’t know. I’m not sure.” Trump’s Socratic approach did nothing to assuage McCain’s fury, but the Senator bit his tongue manfully. After all, Trump was a clown, undeserving of attention from a man of the Senator’s stature. 

Ask an honest question and it’s the end of the world!

“The, quote, Mexicans….”

A serious candidate!

In 2015, however, Trump invaded McCain’s preserve, officially entering the primaries. Even then, McCain restricted himself to reprimanding Trump for his quote “about the, quote, Mexicans.” The reference was to Trump’s statement that Mexico didn’t send its “best people” across the border. “They’re bringing drugs,” Trump told his audience. “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Maladroitly phrased by any standard, the characterization blatantly transgressed the statutes of political correctness. An ebullient press chorused “gotcha!” McCain was content to affect concern–after all, Trump had slit his own throat–the clueless outsider was doomed to weeks of apologizing to notable Mexican Americans, kissing immigrant babies at the border–and even then, he was done for.

The Senator complaining Trump rallies fire up the crazies.

And indeed, a veritable task force of media doyens visited the full wrath of the nation’s elites upon Trump’s miserable brow, deploring his “racially charged comments” by tumult. But Trump’s numbers went up, even as his mouth remained in overdrive.  In Iowa, he further provoked McCain, saying of him, “He’s not a war hero because he was captured.” In response, McCain informed reporters that Trump rallies “fired up the crazies.” Trump, in turn, called McCain a dummy (whacko-bird might have been funnier), and aimed a twitter storm at the Arizonan. Again, decrees issued from the the standard array of incensed experts, reminding everyone that questioning John McCain’s character was prohibited, and tantamount to political suicide.

Detente

McCain, endorsing Trump for president–while looking less enthusiastic than at any time since Truc Bach Lake.

But by April it was clear Trump would slide by Cruz for the nomination. McCain announced he would boycott the Convention. Then he thought he wouldn’t. Then he told reporters he would vote for Trump in November, “because I’m a proud Republican and I support the Republican party.” Trump, true to form, reversed himself on the spot, declaring, “You know, frankly, I like John McCain, and John McCain is a hero.” In October, when Trump mismanaged a point about soldiers with PTSD, journalists seized the opportunity to claim he’d called returning soldiers weaklings. McCain, however, defended the candidate, citing the obvious distortions of his remarks by the press. Trump thanked him. For a moment, it seemed detente might prevail. But two days before Trump’s debate with Hillary Clinton, the Washington Post and NBC simultaneously leaked the infamous “Access Hollywood” video featuring Trump’s porcinely salacious dialogue with Billy Bush. 

Billy Bush–the bush leaguer crucified for Trump’s sins.

Smitten with equal degrees of jubilation and high-mindedness, the punditry unanimously ruled Trump’s candidacy annulled. Commentators immersed themselves in debates over which more suitable Republican should replace Trump on the ticket. Trump, however, apologized, and resumed his campaign. He not only weathered the crisis, he regenerated his mojo and forged ahead without further avertence to the elite’s established protocols. Flummoxed yet again by the cretin from Queens, establishment nabobs resorted to killing him in effigy–turning their wrath on Bush.  A first cousin to “W” and Jeb Bush, Billy was always viewed askance by his media comrades, but now he was toast. Officially aghast by Bush’s abject willingness to listen–eleven years earlier–to Trump ‘s lewd braggadocio, the Today Show’s producers fired him, after which the entire NBC network fired him. The hapless Bush regained visibility only briefly, in 2017, when he was hospitalized after being hit in the head by a golf ball.  In retrospect, the only significant casualty of the Access Hollywood fracas was the McCain/Trump treaty. The Senator un-endorsed Trump, declaring it, “impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy.”

“Stronger Together?”

“A very emotional and touching thing…”

McCain told reporters he refused to vote for Donald Trump, suggesting he might write in his “old, good friend,” Lindsay Graham–a gesture so futile it made the effort of voting seem pointless. McCain denied any intention of voting for Hillary, but never made a secret of his admiration for Mrs. Clinton, whom he more than once insisted “would make a good president,” and at least once claimed “would make a good Secretary of Defense.” Producers of an HBO documentary about McCain confessed shock that he and Clinton were so close. “She genuinely loves this guy and thinks the world of him,” gasped producer George Kunhardt. “They both lit up when we discussed them with each other. They…genuinely love each other. It was a very emotional and touching thing from our point of view.” Anyone apart from producer Kunhardt shocked to learn John McCain was outspokenly enamored of Hillary Clinton, has been shockingly inattentive. That Hillary got McCain’s vote in 2016 is unprovable, but highly probable.

A Deep State of delusion?

Fiction author Michael Steele–selling the dossier at least once to everyone.

In his final memoir McCain acknowledges alerting the FBI to the so-called Steele dossier, this century’s most famous work of spy fiction, and responds to his critics with characteristic churlishness, huffing, “I did what duty demanded…I discharged that obligation, and I would do it again. Anyone who doesn’t like it can go to hell.” Of all the conspirators involved in the golden-shower hoax, McCain is probably the the one player who genuinely fell for it. His insistence that a staffer fly to England to purchase a physical copy of Steele’s fantasy, his belief that “duty demanded” handing the FBI leadership a copy (one of which they’d already paid for and obtained), his decision to leak a copy to BuzzFeed with no apparent sense he was passing along hogwash, and his wide-eyed eagerness to supply Hillary Clinton with the document her own campaign commissioned and financed, bespeak an almost touching naivete. Exactly when McCain realized it was all rubbish goes unrecorded, but appearances suggest he was callously diddled into fronting for the same coalition of swamp dwellers that beguiled and exploited him for decades.

The final eye poke….

From its earliest manifestations, Senator McCain vociferously opposed Obamacare. He not only voted against the Affordable Care Act, he voted for repeal in 2011, 2015, and 2017, twice riding pledges of repeal to reelection. During his final campaign in 2016, Politico complained, “John McCain is running for reelection like it’s 2010,” adding, “the Arizona Republican has made his opposition to Obamacare…a central point of his campaign, by all accounts, the toughest reelection fight of his career.” McCain told Politico, “Eight of the counties in my state will now only have one [health insurer]. They’re staring at 65 percent increases in their premiums. They’re very upset.”

But when it really mattered, the principled conservative threw the game. Reporting from the senate floor, Cheryl Chumley of the Washington Times recounted events succinctly: “Just feet from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, McCain stands, extends his arm. The chamber is silent. Suddenly, McCain cups his hand and with a quick flick, turns his thumb downward. Gasps echo and McConnell’s mouth draws tight. McCain lumbers back to his seat, and Obamacare repeal fails, 49-51.” Perhaps McCain’s terminal diagnosis liberated him from catering to voters. After all, his 2008 presidential platform included a government healthcare initiative similar to Obama’s. Perhaps he valued the opportunity to inflict one last spectacular kick to Donald Trump’s shins above keeping faith with his constituents. By any measure, the defense McCain offered for his double-cross (that skinny repeal lacked a replacement plan) is nonsense. The putative necessity of  swapping Obamacare for some bigger, better, socialist plan, is more reminiscent of Trump in his less discerning moments than anything McCain is on record demanding. No, McCain’s grandiose moment of thumbs-down duplicity was his final digitus impudicus in the face of…who? Trump? The GOP? Daddy? The temptation to say McCain’s true motive was interred with his bones is probably unwarranted. He probably wasn’t sure what it was either.

 

 

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KNIFE VIOLENCE: IT’S TIME TO RECOGNIZE THE THREAT! (WOOF calls for common-sense knife laws to control this silent killer in our midst!)

In "April is the cruelest month" forum on April 1, 2016 at 1:25 am
Girl-With-Knife-830x550

Has America’s romance with the knife gone too far?

Back to Blood

In a scene that seemed borrowed from the pages of a Tom Wolfe novel, the edgy/arty patrons of the ultra-chic Art Basel Miami Beach exhibition at the Miami Beach Convention Center watched in rapt fascination as a woman amongst them was stabbed repeatedly in the neck and arms during the show’s main event. Initially, witnesses uniformly assumed they were being entertained, mistaking the assault for a theatrical enactment. The stabbing occurred adjacent to the collected works of Naomi Fisher and Agatha Wara, two artists whose presentation was collectively entitled “The Swamp of Sagittarius.” Artist Fisher subsequently explained that “A guy walked up to me and said, ‘I thought I saw a performance, and I thought it was fake blood, but it was real blood!’”

Miami stabbing victim suffers for art.

Miami stabbing victim suffers for art.

As it dawned on Fisher the stabbing was not a guerilla theater recital, she exclaimed, “It’s horrible … I’m so freaked out…I feel nauseous.”  But it was no time to quibble over grammar. As local artist Rudy Perez casually snapped cell phone photos of the victim slumping to the floor with bloodstains spreading across her white blouse, security guards hastened to cordon off the scene. Attendees showed no signs of panic, however, since the majority of them misconstrued the newly strung police tape as part of the show. Enthralled by the spectacle, two Coconut Grove women stood at the tape’s edge and sipped champagne until a reporter convinced them that the stabbing was genuine. “It makes me very nervous,” declared onlooker Sune Smith, whose friend, Amanda DeSeta added “It’s a very strange place for something like this to happen.” Gregg Hill, a visiting New York sculptor, agreed. “I never would have thought there would be a stabbing at Art Basel,” he told reporters. “People didn’t really know what had happened. It was calm and everyone was milling around and talking.”

“Inhale, Exhale” by artist Naomi Fisher–who apparently only becomes “freaked out” and “nauseous” when the violence is three dimensional.

The victim was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. Her assailant was arrested at the scene. Calm has returned to the brie-and-chablis sybarites of Dade County’s art community—but the events of that bloody December 4th remain of the utmost moment, symbolizing as they do an unchecked reign of violence both in America and abroad attributable to a weapon statistically proven to be five times deadlier than the nefarious ‘assault rifle.’ Absolutely silent, concealable, and capable of inflicting an infinite number of wounds without reloading, this historically fabled instrument of death may have flown for decades below the radar of the liberal establishment, but it has not escaped the keen eye of WOOF, and we devote ourselves in this article to exposing it as the societal menace it is. Yes, Woofketeers, we refer here to that most insidious, most commonly employed, widely disseminated and historically favored of all murderous utensils— the knife!

Avoid the jelly!

Fasail Mohammed--just another schoolyard juvenile delinquent.

Fasail Mohammed–just another schoolyard juvenile delinquent.

Faisal Mohammed was a computer science and engineering major at University of California, Merced; but on November 4th he forgot about all that and, with a broad smile on his face according to witnesses, set about stabbing and slashing people in the vicinity of his freshman general education class. Faisal had carved up four victims by the time police arrived on the scene and shot him dead. Wounded were two of Faisal’s fellow students, a university employee, and a construction worker. Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke was the first public official to remind reporters that Mohammed’s actions should in no respect be considered terroristic, pointing out that young Faisal was merely upset with certain persons on campus.

Sheriff Warnke shows obvious relief at the discovery that Mohammed’s attacks were unrelated to terrorism.

Nothing in Mohammad’s history, Warnke assured the press, nor on his computer, nor in his belongings, indicated anything other than “personal motivations” for the attack. Nor did Sheriff Warnke consider the fact that Mohammad’s backpack contained zip-tie handcuffs, petroleum jelly, a night scope, and a hammer to break windows, indicative of anything other “than a teenage boy that got upset with fellow classmates and took it to the extreme.” True, Sheriff Warnke later  confirmed that a printout of the Islamic State (ISIS) flag was prominent among Faisal’s belongings and yes, Faisal also jotted notes to himself reminding himself to, “continually praise Allah,” while knifing his classmates, and yes, he left a manifesto that prominently averted to Allah as well as the author’s desire to behead quite a few people, but investigators insisted there were no indications of any associations with terror. The petroleum jelly, by the way, was to squirt on the floor, causing first responders to slip and fall. In the event, it seems not to have worked, but we knew you were probably wondering.

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“Exceptionally rare!”

dylan quick

Dylan Quick fantasized about stabbing people since childhood.

An attack by a knife-wielding student on a college campus near Houston back in 2013 left 14 people wounded – two of them seriously – and might have sufficed to put authorities on alert  regarding the potential dangers of knife ownership in America, but the Liberal Establishment shrugged off the attack in which Dylan Quick, 20, ran the breadth of the Lone Star College’s CyFair campus, slashing fourteen students as he went.  The local  newspaper accurately denounced the knife attack as “yet another brazen daytime assault” but authorities quickly trotted out criminologist Grant Duwe, flown in all the way from the Minnesota Department of Corrections, to explain that such concerns were unwarranted. “Mass stabbings are exceptionally rare,” Duwe told reporters, adding that since 1901 there have only been seven mass stabbings in a public place in the USA where four or more victims were killed. ” Duwe omitted any discussion of knife attacks before 1901, knife attacks wounding less than four people, and knife attacks occurring in other-than-public settings. With a bit of prompting from reporters, however, he recalled that “Mass stabbings usually occur in the home, where the suspect uses a knife on unsuspecting family members.”  (Oh, those! ) James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University, Boston, explained that Mr. Quick’s slashing spree was “unlikely to lead to anything resembling a national debate on knife safety or tighter regulations on their sales,”  because “knives just don’t create that same sense of fear.” Well, gentle readers, WOOF is here to change all that!

Stabbing people often seems to appeal to couples. Andrew and Alecia Schmuhl (above) are charged with a torture-and-stabbing home intrusion in Virginia. Both Schmuhls were arrested following a 4 mile car chase. Andrew was wearing only a diaper. WOOF is not making this up.

Stabbing people often seems to appeal to couples. Andrew and Alecia Schmuhl (above) are charged with a torture-and-stabbing home intrusion in Virginia. Both Schmuhls were arrested following a 4 mile car chase. Andrew was wearing only a diaper.

According to Duwe (rhymes with Bowie– Jim that is, not David), the “first major high-profile mass stabbing” in the USA was the 1989 case of Ramon Salcido, a vineyard worker in California who killed seven people, including his wife and two small daughters, before fleeing to Mexico. Salcido was later extradited and convicted of the murders. Indeed, these slayings constituted a vicious example of knife violence—but Duwe’s assertion that the Salcido case was the first high profile stabbing incident is ridiculous.

swirchblade knifeOne of America’s most notorious mass murderers, Richard Speck, began his criminal career on January 9, 1965, when he assaulted a woman in a parking lot in Alabama, brandishing a 17-inch carving knife and demanding she keep quiet and  yield to him sexually. The lady, being a Texan, chose to struggle and yell instead, so Speck fled and was subsequently arrested and briefly imprisoned.  In 1966 Speck stabbed a man in a barroom brawl but was freed after paying a ten dollar fine for  disturbing the peace. Next, he raped a 65 year old woman at knife point and committed several additional felonies before finding his way to the  townhouse at 2319 E. 100th Street in Chicago where he famously proceeded to kill nursing students Patricia Matusek, Nina Jo Schmale, Pamela Wilkening, Suzanne Farris, Mary Ann Jordan, Merlita Gargullo, and Valentina Pasion, with a switchblade. Suffice it that knife slayings were prominent in the news during the early ’60s.

Orhan Cerimagic and Brittney Mitchell are charged with a stabbing home invasion in a Chicago that authorities say left two people dead on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Otherwise, they make a cute enough couple...but we don't think he's good enough for her.

Orhan Cerimagic and Brittney Mitchell are charged with a stabbing home invasion in Chicago that authorities say left two people dead on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Otherwise, they make a cute enough couple…but we don’t think he’s good enough for her.

Among many sordid crimes that rounded out that twisted epoch, the whole Charlie Manson imbroglio was a stab-and-slash fest.  True, one assailant brought along a 22-caliber “Buntline Special” and used it here and there to partial effect, but almost everyone murdered during the Tate and LaBianca killings was hacked, slashed or stabbed to death by everything from kitchen knives to a chrome-plated bayonet, contributed by Manson.  For that matter, so-called “serial killers” tend overwhelmingly to prefer  knives over other available weaponry. The sundry murders of young females committed by Edmund Emil Kemper III (who served as the basis for “Buffalo Bill” in Silence of the Lambs); the ritualistic slayings performed by dedicated Satanist Ricardo Leyva Muñoz Ramírez (nicknamed “The Night Stalker” by Los Angeles tabloids in the mid ’80s); and the bloody trail of corpses left by Tommy Lynn Sells, a Texan who may have killed as many as 70 people before his capture in 1999, provide only a minute sample of such crimes–each directly traceable to an abnormal fascination with knives!  

manson family

The “Manson Family” in 1968–apparently they literally crawled out from under a rock.

Serial Butt Stabber remains at large…

Victim of parking lot poker undergoes treatment in Maryland.

Victim of the parking lot poker undergoes treatment in Fairfax, VA.

The sado-sexual fixation many assailants exhibit with regard to penetrating a victim’s flesh by stabbing or cutting is a documented psychological aberration. In his 2002 compilation The  Concise   Dictionary of Crime and Justice, Mark S. Davis refers to this obsession as “piquerism,” which the author defines as a “sexual interest [in] penetrating the skin of another person, sometimes seriously enough to cause death…a paraphilia and a form of sadism.” Often, these tendencies surface in less than homicidal intensity. Over the summer of 2011, numerous shoppers at the mall in Fairfax, Virginia were assaulted by a felon local newscasters dubbed the Serial Butt Stabber. The mystery stabber repeatedly assailed  female shoppers in the mall’s parking lot, jabbing their buttocks through their clothing and then making good his escape.

Piquerism–a looming epidemic?

“Hmmmm…”

Or, take the sad case of Frank Ranieri. Long before the mysterious butt slasher of Fairfax Virginia entered the picture, Frank Ranieri was arrested in the Arden Heights section of Staten Island and charged with assault. The police report states that Mr. Ranieri was in the habit of paying women “large amounts of money,” in receipt of which, the ladies agreed to allow Mr. Ranieri to jab their posteriors with “sharp objects.”  In the end (no pun intended) Mr. Ranieri got off with ten years probation.

Dr. Mark Griffiths is Mark D. Griffiths is an English chartered psychologist focusing in the field of behavioural addictions. If he discovers us, he'll probably loaths us, but he has a swell blog--and besides, we love everybody!!

Dr. Mark Griffiths is an English chartered psychologist focusing on the field of behavioural addictions. If he discovers us, he’ll probably loaths us, but he has a swell blog–and besides, we love everybody!!

Let’s move on to Dr. Mark Griffiths who maintains a fascinating website devoted to “addictive, obsessional, compulsive and/or extreme behaviours.” In an article on the subject of piquerism, Dr. Griffiths first notes “the relatively regular incidence of piquerism in the popular media,” and then admits he “was quite surprised to find next to nothing academically” despite the fact that “there are numerous examples of such practices.” He further laments that “There are passing references to piquerism in the clinical and forensic science literature but nothing…on the prevalence or etiology of the disorder.” Well, see, Dr. Griffith? That’s just where we here at WOOF come in handy–alerting the public to what academia won’t acknowledge…take, for example, the article in which we exposed “liberal delirium” as a mental disorder. (The casually or intensely curious may locate our article by clicking here. Those who find most WOOF articles annoyingly turgid may wish to scroll down to the heading “Bury my Heart at U of C ” and save time!)

teen with knifeHappily, Dr. Griffiths finds some solace in the book  Juvenile Sexual Homicide  (2002) by Dr. Wade Myers,  Dr. Myers having devoted an entire section to the topic. Suffice it for our purposes that Myers’s accounts of sado-sexual teenage murder are too appalling for the genteel eyes of our readership, but would prove more than sufficient, if consulted, to establish to any reasonable person’s satisfaction that piquerism often attains a homicidal intensity reflecting  sexual motivation. Those among our gentle readers who are willing to risk being appalled in the name of science may view the entire story on Dr. Griffith’s excellent blog site by clicking here.  Chillingly, after consulting Dr. Richard Walters (Omega Crime Assessment Group, and former prison psychologist for the Michigan Department of Corrections) Dr. Myers concluded that: “The prevalence rate of piquerism is unknown.” Yipes. And this fact alone suggests that it is time we have a national discussion about—knives!  

Do androids dream of electric carving knives?

And this thought necessarily leads us to Sigmund Freud. We know. We are asking a lot of our beloved readers–expecting them to keep up with this screed’s weaponological sardonicism, and simultaneously abide a revisitation of Freud’s largely superannuated hypotheses. But we are interested here only in the Viennese cokie’s theorizations pertinent to knives–or put more subtly, the meaning of phallic symbolism in his writings on the unconscious.  Restricting ourselves (so as not to unduly tax the patience of our beloved readers) to Freud’s theories of dream analysis, we offer this portion from the Shrink Meister’s  A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (1920), which we have severely truncated, first in order to maintain pertinence, and second, as a further gesture of considerateness toward our readers:

Am early 20th century hanging lamp. What was Sigmund thinking?

Am early 20th century hanging lamp. What was Sigmund thinking?

“The dream has a number of representations for the male genital that may be called symbolic… the male organ has a symbolical substitute in objects of like form… symbolized by objects that have the characteristic, in common with it, of penetration into the body and consequent injury, hence pointed weapons of every type, knives, daggers, lances, swords… as well as its representation by other objects that have the power of elongation, such as hanging lamps, collapsible pencils, etc.”

Salvador Dali designed the scenery for Gregory Peck’s symbolic dream sequences in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1945 “Spellbound,” a thriller immersed in psychiatric theory that otherwise makes only slightly more sense than most of what Freud wrote.

Salvador Dali designed the scenery for the symbolic dream sequences in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1945 “Spellbound,” a thriller immersed in psychiatric theory that otherwise makes only slightly more sense than most of what Freud wrote.

Thus spake Freud. The overly punctilious may complain that we are leaving hanging lamps and collapsible pencils out of our discussion, but one can search the available records extensively and find no data indicating that either of these devices has been employed to commit murder, or to advance anyone’s fetishistic obsession with bodily penetration in such a way as to constitute a menace to the public. Similarly, we omitted Freud’s lengthy analysis of zeppelins, which have it in common with lances and swords that they are rarely problematic nowadays. But we are certain that the larger portion of our readership already knew most of this stuff, so, many among you may be wondering, what are we up to here? Let us speak frankly on that point (no pun intended):

By the way, Freud thought water emitting devices such as showers were all male symbols, so Janet Leigh was sort of double-maled in

By the way, Freud thought water emitting devices such as showers were male symbols, so Janet Leigh was sort of double-maled in “Psycho.”

Freud is derided nowhere more enthusiastically than in the archives of WOOF, but we maintain that the phallic implications of penetrative weaponry are among the few clearly reasonable interpretations offered in his theories. Thus, we ought not to discard the baby with the bathwater as we dismiss the questionable, highly unlikely, and patently ludicrous components of Freudian teachings. Or, to offer a Chestertonian inversion of our own devising, “Sometimes a cigar is absolutely not  a cigar.”  But knowing that knife violence is almost certainly a physical expression of humankind’s hellbroth of unconscious impulses and repressions is only to say that a deep, ungovernable, and trans-cultural fixation on the sexual symbolism of knives must be acknowledged as a driving factor in the ever-increasing incidence of stabbings and slashings.  Also, even more forebodingly, the realization that knives represent an all-too-frequently irrepressible expression of man’s most deeply concealed urges underscores the need to wipe out knives altogether as the only means of rescuing our civilization.

And all this having been said, we have addressed only the psychoanalytic explanation of knife violence.  A more complete understanding of the problem requires us to examine the more obvious inducements provoking wave after wave of these attacks.  Sadly, this will oblige us to (briefly) avert to behavioral psychology, which contains all the theoretic excessiveness of psychoanalysis and none of the charm.

Could a Bobo doll stand up to Anthony Perkins?

tony perkinsIf you paid attention the time you had to take that Intro to Psych class, you will recall the world-famous Bobo doll experiment. It made a behavioral-psychology superstar out of Albert Bandura and proved  that even the simplest and most  predictable result can pass for revelation if documented in the proper patois. Here is the basic idea: the experiment began with a Bobo doll placed in a room–Bobo dolls being those inflatable punching bags that are weighted at the bottom so that no matter how often they are punched or shoved they always return to the upright position.  For reasons that remain obscure, they usually bear the image of a clown. Anyway, the Bobo toy was in placed in a room and then 36 boys and 36 girls from the Stanford University nursery school were hauled in. One by one they were placed in a the room and given some toys to play with; but they were warned that the Bobo doll was only for grownups. In half the cases, an adult entered the room and by pre-calculated degrees began to show more and more aggression toward the doll, hitting it with his fists, bashing it with a mallet, slapping it, sitting on it, and all the while verbally abusing it.  But in the second group, the other half of the kids were placed one-by-one in the same room, the difference being that the attending Bobo Doll was spared any indignities since the adult was instructed to refrain from any aggressive actions or utterances.

A Bobo Doll

A Bobo Doll

In case you aren’t already way ahead of us, the results showed that children exposed to the aggressive adult models were far more likely to act out violently than those who were not.  Put less decorously, the children in the first group, once isolated with Bobo Dolls of their own, proceeded to beat the holy bejesus out of them at rates in considerable excess of children in the second, non-violent group. In fact, the children who not did observe an adult modelling violence or hurling obloquy at a Bobo Doll treated their own dolls humanely by an overwhelming majority.  Are you surprised, gentle readers?  Of course not–anyone with a functioning brain could have predicted Bandura’s findings, so why did he bother?  He had two unspoken motives. First, he wished to scientifically verify that observing violent actions induced children to behave violently because doing so would make his research irresistibly topical. It was 1961, and concerns were ballooning that violent television programs might be creating armies of little hoodlums all over America. Obviously, Bandura’s findings no longer exercise any restraint whatsoever on televised violence, the current levels of which  make laughable the concerns of parents, pastors, and politicians who, in the dawning ’60s, worried that kids might go psycho watching  Gunsmoke, or  Bonanza. But Bandura is useful to our current purpose, since his findings lend scientific credence to the argument that knife violence is partly promoted by depictions of such violence in media, and has been for quite some time.

batman talks bobo dollThe second unspoken motive we confidently attribute to Bandura was his desire to make a splash in the field of behavioral psychology by establishing his theory of “social learning.” This theory, that people learn through observing and imitating modeled behaviors, may again strike readers as so dumbfoundingly obvious that even the dimmest percipient could have confirmed it without involving a single Bobo Doll or nursery-school pupil.  But pause here to consider that the entire behavioral school of psychology was in that day dominated by the preternaturally unimaginative B. F. Skinner (you know, the guy who conditioned pigeons to play ping pong). Bandura’s study and theory of social learning demonstrated that Skinner’s hypothesis–that all human and animal behavior results from reinforcement or punishment and nothing else–was actually kind of moronic. And this achievement alone justifies the Bobo doll experiments in our view! But the next obvious question related to our current discussion remains unresolved–namely,  how do these seemingly disparate theories combine to explain the raging epidemic of knife attacks in our own time?  But wait, there’s more!

gang debsWhat is the real cause of knife violence?  We owe it in fairness to the pundits of the Left to factor in the liberal belief in “the instrumentality effect hypothesis.” That is, the notion that the mere presence of the object somehow induces an adjacent person to employ it violently.  On the Left this has long meant that even if one concedes–however briefly and purely for the sake of argument– that people occasionally kill people, the onus is otherwise instantly transferred to the weapon itself.  It is canonical in liberal lore, therefore, that guns somehow encourage otherwise placid individuals to pick them up and shoot people. So in the name of socio-scientific consistency, we must conclude that knives, too, somehow seduce vast numbers of otherwise normal Americans to perpetrate mayhem. It seems we’ve only to pick them up, say, to peel an onion or  fillet a mackerel, and all too often the unintended result is an otherwise inexplicable surge of psychopathic homicidality.  Thus, in applying the liberal template to our quest for knife control,  it seems incumbent on us to acknowledge forthrightly that the cause of knife violence is quite possibly knives. That said….

Ouch! West Side Story made knife violence high-brow--after all, they danced in between stabbings.

Ouch! “West Side Story” made knife violence high-brow–after all, they danced to Stephen Sondheim arrangements between stabbings.

No matter how ardently one subscribes to the instrumentality effect hypothesis, certain societal trends must be taken into consideration as well.  From a “social learning” perspective, numerous cultural factors appear to stimulate knife violence nowadays quite apart from the simplistic supposition that mere availability impels otherwise  average citizens to snatch up a blade and succumb to homicidal mania. Thus, the influence of pop culture would seem an obvious component of our national proneness to piquerism, and this influence is supported by Bandura’s experiment. The knife as an instrument of salaciously vicious bloodletting has long been the stuff of tawdry paperbacks, sleazy comic books, and innumerable films over the decades. While the “classic” West Side Story romanticized teenage violence for generations to come, Rebel Without a Cause conjoined the switchblade in the popular psyche with the magnetic screen persona of James Dean. Countless films from the ’50s to our present time sensationalize the knife as an expression of post-adolescent rebellion.

James Dean's knife fight in

James Dean’s knife fight in “Rebel Without a Cause” happens at the Griffith Observatory–symbolizing that we cannot escape what our stars ordain, or maybe that the universe will end “at dawn”–or–something really meaningful along those lines…

The imagery of nihilistic youths clicking their switchblades open to initiate violent confrontations is enshrined in films such as Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (the book was better), Walter Hill’s The Warriors, (Last Man Standing was better) Glenn Ford in 1955’s seminal Blackboard Jungle (which recurrently touched off riots among teenagers in the audience) and even Burt Lancaster (sporting a crew cut!)  in The Young Savages. These relatively polished efforts did not differ in their depictions of the knife as an instrument of empowerment from countless low-budget teen-sploitation mellers like  Naked YouthKey WitnessHigh School Confidential, Juvenile Jungle and the never-to-be-forgotten Switchblade Sisters.

Into our living rooms!

children and TVEven as the movies manufactured lurid tales of switchblade duels and rumbling teenage gangs, the TV screen began to offer Americans a variety of knife-related entertainments. The most relentless barrage, ironically, came from the highly successful Christian programming of the mid ’50s and early ’60s. Yes, Christian. Few today remember This is the Life, a show so ancient it actually began its first season on the now-long-defunct Dumont Network. The idea was a simple one: every week some character or characters who resided in the fictional city of Middleburg would get into a deeply disturbing personal dilemma, usually ethical, criminal, marital, or grief-related.  Things would look pretty hopeless, but in the nick of time the kindly, and uncannily sagacious Pastor Martin (Lutheran church, Missouri Synod) would appear and put folks back on the track for spiritual deliverance. The show’s willingness to deal with controversial subjects of that era was often applauded as courageous.

“Don’t do anything rash, now, son! Whata-ya-say I give Pastor Martin a call?”

But the issue This is the Life seemed to deal with more often than any other was juvenile delinquency, and that usually came with switchblades!  In fact you could reasonably anticipate a televised  dose of knife-brandishing delinquency courtesy of the Lutheran church just about any Sunday morning before the indefatigable Pastor Martin stepped in to lead everyone to God.  And if that didn’t pay off,  you could check out the show’s various imitators. Yes, other churches took note of the recruiting power of the Lutherans’ popular TV series and began shooting their own versions. The Southern Baptist Convention hit the airwaves with This Is the Answer (1958-1961), while Insight drew on the Catholic perspective. Frontiers of Faith and The Eternal Light soon appeared on NBC and the ecumenical anthology Crossroads often included Hollywood personalities in stories drawn from the putatively true-life experiences of priests, ministers, and rabbis. Naturally each of these programs took note of the ratings boost teenagers in leather jackets commonly produced, so if you couldn’t find knife crazy delinquents on one program, you could reasonably expect them to pop up on one or more of its competitors.

Scott Forbes played JIm Bowie with verve and wit--but the real star was that great big knife!

Scott Forbes played JIm Bowie with verve and wit–but the real star was that great big knife!

Besides the Christian onslaught, there were shows like The Adventures of Jim Bowie and Northwest Passage that made knives a central theme every week…as well as a variety of detective and police dramas that often dealt with nefarious stabbers and slashers. Today, of course, the carnography on television is hyperbolized to an extent that would affright Sam Peckinpah, galvanizing our latent national piquerism and interacting symbiotically with “the instrumentality effect hypothesis.” The obvious result is our climbing rate of knife violence–and  TV is only getting worse.

In NBC's

In NBC’s “Northwest Passage” Keith Larson even pointed at maps with his knife–he just couldn’t keep his hands off the thing!

Reaping a harvest of Karo Syrup and RFD 40.

We have already established that television violence in the time of the Bobo experiments was almost genteel by comparison to the contemporary product. Today, knife attacks are fake blooddepicted much more extravagantly and in lingering, almost fetishistic detail.  Owing to the modern ubiquity of  color TV (we hear they even have it in Russia now) the current exploiters of our national obsession with slash-and-stab entertainments are able to fill our screens with riveting spurts of carefully contrived scarlet. Today’s network, cable, and dish dramas spray the camera lens with color-conscious concoctions–usually variations on Sam Peckinpah’s Karo Syrup and red food dye recipes. All of these advances, sadly, must be viewed also as a national exposure to Bandura-style”social learning” courtesy of an industry that constantly floods our living rooms with one big, never-ending Bobo-doll experiment.

...Remaining scrupulously devoid of any redeeming social value...

…Remaining scrupulously devoid of any redeeming social value…

We realize that many of our readers do not watch much television and may therefore hike an eyebrow at our assertion that the situation has reached paraphilic proportions. We pause, therefore, to offer a few prime examples, and prime examples must suffice since a complete catalog of similar programs would quickly swell to encyclopedic proportions. For starters, unless we’ve missed something worse, the most unabashedly brutal program devoted to little other than massive displays of slashing and stabbing while remaining scrupulously devoid of any redeeming social value is the recently cancelled but unforgettably nauseous The Following.  To add more gore to this show than Fox’s Standards-and- Practices committee would ordinarily approve, Executive Producer Kevin Williamson boasted he used “certain tricks” to outfox Fox, and they must have been good ones, because the show’s violent ends seemed endless, supplying enough Karo Syrup and food dye to distract viewers from the absurdity of the story line and the absence of anything resembling character development or engaging dialogue. Permit us, gentle readers, to belabor the example of The Following despite it’s removal from Fox’s schedule, not because it deserves commemoration, but rather because it typifies the kind of “social learning” to which national audiences are more and more subjected.

Emma Hill (Valorie Curry) comes in second in a knife fight.

Emma Hill (Valorie Curry) comes in second in a knife fight.

Perhaps character development was deemed pointless (no pun intended) since almost nobody goes more than a few episodes before getting slaughtered.Actually, the show’s most nuanced (though conformingly psychopathic) character, Emma (Valorie Curry), lasted two seasons before being knifed to death in a knife fight with Claire (Natalie Zea), who was knifed to death in the first season but returned (don’t ask!) to out-knife Emma in the second.  For most of those seasons the driving plot line consisted of Kevin Bacon, an alcoholic agent recalled to FBI duty because he is the only person capable of tracking down the diabolical serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), chasing his nemesis.  But Bacon can’t catch him either, largely because like almost all protagonists of his ilk he never remembers to call for back up, and when he does his reinforcements always get there too late, or get there on time only to be duped by the killer’s brilliant machinations.

following promo

Purefoy and Bacon, both obviously immersed in their characters!!

Besides the fact that Purefoy as Carroll isn’t interesting enough for the role, the character of Carroll isn’t interesting enough either, Carroll being a failed writer and a college lit professor whose obsession is Edgar Allen Poe. Really? Would the Marquis de Sade be too highbrow? Baudelaire?  Anyway, to distract us from these deficiencies, producer Williamson has Joe kill a bunch of people, and also asks us to believe that while in prison, via the Internet, Joe established an army of fanatical supporters–an army, seemingly, at least the size of China’s. Members of this underground force are perfectly okay with undertaking suicidal missions of mass mayhem on cue; hence the series title, and a great excuse for having almost any background character or passerby suddenly pull an ice pick or a butcher’s knife and pounce on some blood-squirting cast member about whom we might care a bit had he or she ever been presented as more dimensional than a cardboard cutout (no pun intended).

The-Following-eye-stabbing-ep-1.nocrop.w670.h343

Members of serial killer Joe Carroll’s army of brainwashed psychos even stab themselves in the eyes when short of options.. (Warning: You may contemplate doing likewise if you attempt to binge watch “The Following,”)

criminal mindsA similar, though far more skillfully crafted killer-of-the-week program is Criminal Minds, on CBS.  Our heros are members of an FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) devoted to psychologically profiling criminals, almost always blade-crazy serial killers.  The  series follows a personality-rich group of profilers as they set about catching various criminals by psychologically profiling them with mind-boggling proficiency. Despite the fact that none of the lead characters has a degree in psychology, (except the boyish Dr. Reid, resident genius, who holds three PhDs, but only a BA in psychology), the team never misses, solving one case every week and usually killing the evil doer(s) just in time to fly home to Quantico in their private jet while one of them overdubs a profound quote from somebody or other, usually at least vaguely pertinent to the hour’s events.

Taking time to flesh out its characters and infuse small doses of psychiatric and philosophical wisdom has made the show’s graphic immersions in blood, guts, skinnings, dismemberments, beheadings, disembowelings, and exsanguinations seem socially justified, or so the audience seems to feel– Criminal Minds is well into its 12th season.

lizzie with knife

Lifetime’s  Lizzie can barely stop stabbing people long enough to catch her breath.

Not to be outdone, the Lifetime channel opted to reboot the legend of Lizzie Borden–a legend that required a positively surreal amount of embellishment before it could serve as the basis for a weekly television drama. Armchair criminologists will recall that Miss Borden’s family occupied a relatively upscale residence in the pastoral township of Fall River–a sleepy Massachusetts hamlet where nothing out of the ordinary ever happened–until Lizzie’s father and mother were found brutally axe murdered in their home. Lizzie was arrested and tried for the murders, but acquitted. The only additional crime of which she was ever accused was shoplifting, and those charges were dropped without the issuance of a warrant. These facts notwithstanding, Lifetime’s series portrays the reclusive spinstress as a female Hannibal Lector, except that she doesn’t eat anybody. Perhaps by way of sublimating this omission, Lizzie slashes, hacks, and stabs people to death at a rate Hannibal would frown upon as distastefully wanton. Despite the program’s devotion to serving up scene upon scene of blade thrusting, hatchet hewing, blood spurting slaughter, viewers seemed to prefer their mayhem in that time slot on the contemporary side (Revenge on USA), or zombified (The Waking Dead on AMC), or dissembled as haute cuisine (Cut Throat Kitchen on the Food Channel). Lifetime cancelled Chronicles after one season, citing low ratings as the determining factor and giving dozens of hack reviewers (no pun intended) the opportunity to observe that Lizzie got the axe.

lizzie with axe

We haven’t room here, of course, to discuss every TV program currently contributing to America’s rising tide of piquerism.  It would seem negligent, however, to omit certain exemplary titles from our discussion. Consider the recently cancelled Dexter, featuring a lovably picaresque serial killer who, for eight full seasons, only chopped up bad guys, so nobody was too bothered by it. Wives with Knives brought us three seasons of true stories, each featuring wives who used knives on their husbands. Fargo, The Sons of AnarchyThe Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Vikings, Stalker, Game of Thrones–all deserve mention.

“Wives with Knives”

A problem of international magnitude!

Looks like this Israeli picked the wrong day to leave his Uzi at home.

America is not alone in its seeming insouciance to the threat posed by unregulated knife possession. Many of the countries that most comprehensively restrict gun ownership exhibit the highest rates of violent crime, particularly stabbings. Great Britain has long been lax in its efforts to control knives.  In May of 2013 two Muslims hacked a British soldier to death in east London. The assailants had time to tell stunned onlookers “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you,” before police arrived and shot them. Terror-related knife violence surfaced again in east London this December 5th when a blade wielding man yelling “This is for Syria!” and “All of your blood will be spilled!” slashed the throat of a hapless commuter in the Leytonstone tube station, and was about to wade into a cluster of cowering women and children when he was tackled and subdued by angry commuters.

Better life? Surrender your knife!

concerned ladies

Can the U..S. afford to let England and Europe take the lead in promoting knife-violence awareness?

Britain, however, has lately taken a convincing lead in controlling the situation! Enlightened organizations now wage private advocacy campaigns to eliminate the threat of knives in the United Kingdom. The visionary members of “Save A Life, Surrender Your Knife” are even placing knife-collection bins throughout the UK so that conscientious English citizens can anonymously divest themselves of any potentially lethal cutlery.  The Scotland-based national initiative “No Knives/Better Lives” maintains a substantial web presence advocating the elimination of bladed weaponry across Great Britain, with major youth programs driven by catchy slogans like “Choose life, not a knife!” and “Remember, there is no safe place to stab someone!”  Why can’t America get on board with some equally inventive policies?

kitchen imagesAnd let’s set aside the myth that “tactical” or Assault Knives are the only kind used in the commission of crime—far from it! In 2005, the BBC reported a study by the British Medical Journal including a statistical analysis proving that  kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings committed in the UK. Apparently, a shocking number of homicides occur in British kitchens owing, perhaps, to the widespread use of alcohol while cooking is underway. The resultant diminishment of self control and rise in impulsivity lead to a startling number of slayings linked to meal preparation because, as the BBC so starkly observed, “a kitchen knife often makes an all-too-available weapon.”  A team from West Middlesex University Hospital notes violent crime is on the increase in Britain – and kitchen knives are used in half of all recorded stabbings!

Of course certain chefs like Eric Ripert (depicted) will flout these common-sense efforts at publis saftey--but can't they be charged under the RICO act or something?

Of course certain chefs like Eric Ripert (depicted) may flout these common-sense efforts to promote public safety–but maybe they can be charged under the RICO statutes.

Arguments that knives are necessary for cooking have been dismissed by experts. The BBC consulted ten top chefs from around the UK, and  learned that “pointy” knives “have little practical  value in the kitchen.” None of the chefs consulted by the BBC thought that knives were particularly necessary to their craft, and all agreed that big pointy knives were utterly uncalled for “since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.” True, researchers found that even stubby knives can cause “a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault” but remained unlikely to “penetrate inner organs.” By comparison, a pointy kitchen blade pierces the body like “cutting into a ripe melon.” Thus researchers want to impose bans on pointy knives to curb the waves of culinary violence in England and Scotland.  Indeed, consider all those fabulously popular cook-off shows that are everywhere nowadays–those seemingly innocent culinary entertainments that are cast more and more as gang rivalries with huge, flashing knives chopping, slicing, and dicing in nearly every scene!  No matter how innocently intended, these shows too must be viewed as part of the problem–sending Bobo-style  messages spreading waves of of piquerism among countless unwitting gourmandes and  other unwitting viewers.

Seemingly innocent? Think again, America!

Just harmless kitchen fun?  Mais non! Think again, America!

Ironically, Red China remains oblivious of the threat posed by unregulated knife ownership even as it spares no effort cracking down on free-enterprise ventures such as this privately owned and operated gun factory in Shanghai!

Ironically, Red China remains oblivious of the threat posed by unregulated knife ownership even as it spares no effort cracking down on free-enterprise ventures such as this privately owned and operated gun factory in Shanghai!

Red Chinese police destroyed 113 illegal gun factories and shops during a three-month crackdown in 2006. Police seized 117,000 guns, but the Communist government has been slow to address the elephant in the room, namely that outbreaks of knife violence occur in China with an almost uncanny regularity. Despite the horrifying nature of these mass slayings, Chinese authorities have proved slow to seize knives from the citizenry, and slow to criminalize their possession! Stranger still, the ruling communist oligarchy actively encourages mainland youth, both male and female, to learn knife fighting. Because of this it is no exaggeration to report that knife attacks constitute a problem of near-epidemic proportions in Communist China. To list these assaults and review them in detail would require more space than can be spared here, but a couple of examples may suffice to underscore the situation’s gravity. Back in 2014, the Chinese city of Kunming in the Yunnan province came under attack by eight screaming men and women, all armed with knives. The killers focused their efforts on commuters milling about the railway station at 9:20 am. Before the police arrived and “neutralized” them, the attackers managed to slash and stab 143 civilians, 33 of whom died.

According to a Red Chinese news source The People's Daily, Chinese high school girls shout “'kill, stab, slash and jab” as they learn knife fighting, which is part of their standard curriculum. Clearly, China’s paraphilic obsession with knives has spread far beyond the criminal element!

According to a Red Chinese news source The People’s Daily, Chinese high school girls shout “’kill, stab, slash and jab” as they learn knife fighting, which is part of their standard curriculum. Clearly, China’s paraphilic obsession with knives has spread far beyond the criminal element!

China is plagued by the problem of unprovoked, seemingly motiveless attacks on its population, most often carried out by seemingly deranged citizens brandishing knifes or meat cleavers. Recently, a September 2015 attack by nine assailants left 50 workers dead at a Chinese coal operation in Aksu, Xinjiang, China. After carving up the government security guards, the assailants swarmed into off-duty bunkhouses filled with sleeping coal miners, and mercilessly stabbed and slashed them. Besides the fifty dead, an additional fifty were left horribly wounded. The killers escaped into the mountains and ravines surrounding the camp site and remain at large.

The ideal solution

spork

A nation that invented the “spork” can certainly be relied upon to create new, 21st century kitchen implements able to apportion a pizza or sunder a juicy steak without the potential to disembowel, slash, stab, or amputate built into our current dinnerware.

Obviously, the surest way to end this floodtide of knife violence in our own country is to ban all knives. There is a general misconception on the part of the public that only certain knives are used in attacks on humans, but as we have clearly demonstrated, this is far from the case.  Ideally, therefore, we should strive to eliminate all knives from production, purchase, or private ownership. To compensate for this absence in the kitchen and at the table, American ingenuity can be relied upon to produce a solution that satisfies legitimate cutting needs without providing death-dealing instrumentation to the ever-increasing swarms of piquerists and other varieties of stabbers and slashers in our midst! After all, the same free-enterprise system that gave us the “spork,” can presumably deliver the “spife,” or the “nork,” or the “fornifoon”, or some equally viable means of circumventing knife ownership while providing options for chefs and diners who find it occasionally necessary to sever a food item! Meanwhile a massive public information program would be required to create public awareness–and to launch knife buy-back programs on a national scale.

knives compilation

All knives can be put to lethal use–including each of these deadly but widely distributed models. From left to right top: Military knife; special forces “assault” knife; “Bowie” knife, knife commonly distributed to militarized youth groups. Lower left to right: “chef’s” special; standard “butter” knife, painter’s utility knife; so-called butterfly knife; and rubber knife–which often serves to lure children into full blown piquerism! All these models and many more are proven to be completely unnecessary to civilized living and should be banned from manufacture and private ownership!

The grim reality…

Confiscation could result in a lucrative knife smuggling epidemic.

Confiscation could result in a lucrative knife smuggling epidemic.

But let’s face the facts, gentle readers, it would prove impossible to confiscate every knife owned by every citizen of the United States, besides which, of course, some families maintain hunting and fishing traditions that may legitimately be argued to require some degree of knife usage. Add to this the grim reality that knife smuggling from Canada and across the wide open Mexican border would soon foster mammoth black-market enterprises likely to exacerbate the situation–even as knife registration would end in a morass of paperwork impacting overextended government knife registrars while providing no sure means of authenticating who had genuinely given up every knife, and who might be secreting knives within the home or burying them in the rose garden.  Sadly, confiscation, while it might work in England, or  possibly even Canada, must be set aside as utterly impracticable in America. So what is to be done?

Figures don’t lie!f5860e35dd3a76303af33c639c0e3cdd

Let’s re-examine the record, straight from the data banks of the FBI, shall we?  According to the Bureau, knives or other cutting instruments were used to kill 1,490 victims in the United States in 2013 whereas rifles (including what Liberals like to call ‘assault rifles’) were associated with only 285 murders. More recent statistics from 2014 reveal that 1,567 people were murdered with knives in the United States, versus a mere 248 murders committed with any sort of rifle, assault-type or otherwise.  Gentle readers, a grotesque trend is obvious! If we cannot eradicate knives from our culture, we owe it to ourselves and our communities to obtain protection for our families and our fellow citizens. Clearly, to paraphrase NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, the surest way to stop a bad guy with a knife, is a good guy with an assault rifle! Here are some suggestions on how to ready yourselves, supplied by WOOF’s very own “Guns and Whamo” editor, Bang Gunley (not his real name).  Even if you have never considered owning an “assault rifle” before, we beg you to reconsider before you and your loved ones are mercilessly hacked to pieces by some psychopath transmuting his unbearable levels of sexual dysmorphia into a homicidal rampage and clutching a big, sharp, knife!  Right now, as we polemicize, New York City is experiencing a 20 percent increase in stabbings and police say they cannot explain the sudden upswing and aren’t certain how to combat it. As of March 13th of this year, police records disclosed 809 such incidents in the Big Apple, compared to 673 a year ago.

__________________________________________________

Don’t be caught unprepared! –byline: Bang Gunley)

This segement courtesy of WOOF's firearms editor and technical adviser, Bang Gunley (not his real name). Mr. Gunley's face is intentionally not shown as his various services to American clandestined and security personnel make him a target for evil doers should his identity become known.

This segment courtesy of WOOF’s firearms editor, Bang Gunley (not his real name). As always Mr. Gunley’s face is intentionally not shown as his various services to American clandestined and security personnel make him a target for evil doers should his identity become known.

As should be evident from everything that’s been said above, knife wielding felons are a major and ever-increasing problem in 21st Century America–and anyone who can understand simple math must be persuaded by this point that a far safer possession than a knife, yet a possession that has the fire power and the magazine capacity to defeat any aggressor armed with a knife, is the good old American assault rifle. Awhile back, we of the Guns-and-Whamo division of WOOF proved that assault rifles aren’t readily available in our country–sad to say–even though liberals think they see them everywhere. But the tried and true guns available in all rational states of the Union–the kind that liberals call assault rifles–and others that while less criticized by Senator Feinstein can be just as useful–are more than enough to protect ourselves from all those blade-crazy assailants the FBI tells us are out there! So to obtain protection that the government’s own research has proven to be comparatively safe, yet more than sufficient to deter maniacs with anything from letter openers to machetes, let’s check out some options!

Sir Winston Churchill didn't let bad press keep him from proudly displaying his own drum-fed Thompson from time to time.

Sir Winston Churchill didn’t let bad press keep him from proudly displaying his own drum-fed Thompson from time to time.

Many contemporary semiautomatic firearms have seeped into the public’s consciousness because of sensationalized news coverage of crimes involving them (or allegedly involving them) and may therefore seem tainted by association. You’ve probably heard of the Bushmaster, for instance. (I recommend their 16″ A2 Heavy Carbine.) Concerned about the weapon’s image? Remember, no gun was more associated with massive criminality than the Thompson submachine gun during the “roaring ’20’s.”  Every gangster movie showed Thompsons blasting from automobile windows, obliterating storefronts, or mowing down rows of screaming, writhing thugs in portrayals of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Even movies about Bonnie and Clyde routinely showed the outlaw couple brandishing twin tommy guns despite the fact that the Barrow Gang didn’t use them. Clyde preferred a sawed-down Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and made one for Bonnie too, who became highly proficient with it.

Yet despite its reputation as a gangster gun–the infamous “Chicago typewriter,” favored by Capone’s mob, Pretty Boy Floyd, Dillinger and Machine Gun Kelly, the Thompson served admirably in World War II and Korea and won universal respect as the close-quarters firearm of choice for several decades. By the same token, the classic silhouette of the all-American AR-style rifle or carbine should bestir a sense of pride and independence in the hearts of patriots despite progressive efforts to tear these extraordinary firearms from our grasp and smear them at every opportunity!

And when it comes to keeping the American spirit alive, hopeless romantics may prefer to own a classic Colt product, and there are plenty available.  (I recommend the Match Target HBAR model for lovers of the rampant pony!) Most contemporary “assault rifles” of this type come chambered for readily obtainable .223 ammo, and besides the noble Colt and infamous Bushmaster, Les Baer, Mossberg, Del-Ton, Windham, and Smith and Wesson all offer excellent guns of this type!

ar2

Despite its association in the public mind with violent crime, the Bushmaster is a first rate performer as a self-defense tool, and makes a dandy door prize too!

Looking for a little more punch in case of especially burly psychopaths? Try the new, improved AR-10 from Armalite, the folks who started it all! Bored for the powerful .308 Winchester cartridge, this beauty combines updated striking power with all the traditional charm of the classic M-16! Prefer something in designer camouflage from a legendary maker of sporting guns? Why not snag a Remington R-15 Predator carbine in .223 caliber or in optional  .204 Ruger? Both versions sport a magnificent coat of spritely MAX-1 HD camouflage that will have you exclaiming, “Out of sight!” And by the way, most manufacturers now offer a variety of pink and other exotic DuraCoat finishes sure to win favor with the ladies.  You say you prefer a shorter, more maneuverable gun but crave the classic look of the M-16?  The AR-15 carbine was the personification of these features in Vietnam, except it almost always jammed and suffered other inbuilt deficiencies. Fear not, however, because the good folks at Armalite now offer the new improved M15 Carbine series– the spitting image of the original with none of the bugs!

Yes, some ingenious entrepreneur has even created the

Yes, some ingenious entrepreneur has even created the “Hello Kitty” AR-15.

Those seeking a Cadillac AR experience will find Sabre Defence provides its classy new M4 Tactical model ready to accessorize with optic sights, but with  with flip-up iron sights for those who prefer them. This model also boasts a free-floated quad-rail fore-end, the CTR collapsible buttstock, and an Ergo pistol grip. And for the lady of the house, I recommend the optional Tactical Gill Brake, which cuts way back on unseemly recoil! How can you resist?

21 foot rule

even the loudest proponents of the “21 foot rule” would rather be holding a .357 than a knife if things got real!

But no matter what firearm you choose, you will be arming yourself and your family with peace of mind, knowing that despite all the baloney on the Internet, nobody really wants to bring a knife to a gunfight– and unlike the helpless masses of Europe and the British Isles, you have a second amendment that allows you to take the  necessary steps to thwart any slicing, slashing head cases that lurch your way!  We hope the government soon awakens to the need to provide poorer Americans, or those who are retired and living on fixed incomes, with free or partially subsidized AR-15 style weapons. Surviving knife violence shouldn’t depend on your income. Not in America. But in the meantime, see your local gun shop owner for advice on obtaining protection with a weapon that is not only five times less dangerous than a knife by the FBI’s own admission, but also part of what America is all about:  guns! WOOF PRINT 

cowgirl

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