Patterico's Pontifications


Tiananmen: A Terrible Anniversary

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 pm

On June 4, 1989, 30 years ago, China massacred protesters in and around Tiananmen Square in China.

The event reminds me of the best and worst in people — in their actions at the time, and in reactions since.

The worst is clear, of course. China brutally killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, and sent a message of ugliness and totalitarianism.

And among the worst reactions I know of, there is the famous Donald Trump praise for the massacre:

When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak.

Some extraordinarily dishonest hacks have claimed that is not praise, pointing to the use of the words “vicious” and “horrible.” The kindest thing you could possibly say about such people is that they should never be taken seriously about anything. Ever. The rest of us can read. We are not stupid and, unlike these sycophants, we are not liars.

And yes, it’s critically important to point out the President’s repulsive praise on this awful anniversary.

So that’s the bad.

But then, there are the heroes. Everyone knows about Tank Man, the anonymous man who stood up to the line of tanks. But he should never be forgotten. Here is a picture of him.

Tank Man

Finally, there are the protestors themselves. As I prepare to see the Long Beach Symphony perform Beethoven’s Ninth on Saturday night (never miss a performance if you can manage it!), I commend to you the Following The Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony (affiliate link), a fantastic documentary which tells the stories of different ways in which Beethoven’s final symphony provided solace and comfort to freedom fighters in places from Chile to China. Here is a stirring description of the power of music:

On the square, Beethoven’s Ninth became part of Feng’s crime against the state. Once engaged as an organizer, Feng set up a makeshift broadcasting system, cobbled together with car batteries and loudspeakers provided by both university students and working people from the surrounding neighborhood. The improvised system could not compete with the government speakers that lined the square, broadcasting the droning speeches of Li Peng and other lesser apparatchiks who tried to convince those arriving by the tens of thousands to stay home or return to school.

Feng described a singular moment on the square when Beethoven’s Ninth summed up everything he hoped for his country.

With over a thousand students on a hunger strike in the square, Li Peng announced martial law on May 19. In the square, Feng pulled out a cassette. “The students, when we heard the announcements,” he told me, “we were so angry — and I put on the cassette of Beethoven’s Ninth to cover the voice of the government system. So there was a real battle for voice. Hundreds of thousands of students shouting, as we broadcast the music on the square louder than the government system. I just had a feeling of winning, of triumph.”

Feng played the final movement of the Ninth, featuring the “Ode To Joy” with the key line Alle Menschen warden Bruder (All men will be brothers) because “it gave us a sense of hope, solidarity, for a new and better future. And it was really fantastic that it changed us, transformed us. We feel finally we regained our dignity as human beings. We were separated by the government, but now we are free. We just feel free. So on the square, we feel a collective feeling of joy. We were free at last.”

Yes, it ended in bloodshed and tragedy — an outcome few except the most soulless could praise. But for a moment, music provided unity for people opposing a tyrannical government. And as long as we remember, it will not have been for nothing.

As long as we remember.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Deputy in Parkland School Shooting Arrested, Charged

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 7:00 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Orlando SentinelEx-school deputy Scot Peterson arrested on charges of neglect of duty in Parkland massacre:

When every second counted, school resource officer Scot Peterson, who was the closest person to the gunman during the Parkland school shooting and likely the only one who could have intervened, took cover instead of action and for that he has been arrested on 11 criminal charges.

Peterson on Tuesday was arrested for neglect of duty for the 48 minutes he spent hiding as children and staff died, Sheriff Gregory Tony announced.

More at the link.


The Sad Inconsistency Of New York Values

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:38 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Because of the cruelty involved in declawing pet cats, the state of New York is on its way to become the first state to outlaw the practice:

New York would be the first state to ban the declawing of cats under legislation heading to a vote in the state Legislature.

The Senate and Assembly are both expected to take up the bill on Tuesday.

Declawing a cat is already illegal in much of Europe as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver.

Supporters of a ban in New York include animal welfare advocates, cat owners and veterinarians who argue the practice is cruel and barbaric since it involves the amputation of a cat’s toes back to the first knuckle.

“New York prides itself on being first,” said the bill’s sponsor in the state Assembly, Manhattan Democrat Linda Rosenthal, who said she expects other states to follow suit. “This will have a domino effect.”

There is opposition to the bill:

The New York State Veterinary Medical Society says the procedure should be allowed as a last resort for felines that won’t stop scratching furniture or humans — or when the cat’s owner has a weakened immune system, putting them at greater risk of infection from a scratch.

The report goes on to point out the penalties in place:

Under the bill, people who violate the ban on declawing a cat could face fines of $1,000. Veterinarians could still perform the procedure for medical reasons, such as infection or injury.

Additionally, the bill is expected to pass both the Senate and Assembly next week, and then it will be up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the bill into law.

Given that declawing cats is indeed cruel and barbaric, I see it as reasonable to outlaw or severely limit the practice. Put a slip cover on your damn couch, or just don’t get a cat. However, the inconsistency of New Yorkers and what constitutes the cruel and barbaric is a sad irony, given that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Reproductive Health Act in January, which allowed women to have abortions up until the point of birth. Abortion is now a ‘fundamental right’ in New York and prohibits all limits on abortion.

What has happened to a people that they can be so outraged at the cruel practice of declawing a cat and demand a law prohibiting the procedure, yet simultaneously demand a law that allows them to have a third-trimester, full-term baby be the recipient of a vicious incision made at the base of their tiny head to allow their brain to be necessarily sucked out, thus collapsing the skull so that they can then be expelled from the woman’s body? It is incomprehensible.

Ironically, the same people that demanded a law guaranteeing unrestricted abortion up until the point of birth ghoulishly celebrated their “win” by breaking out into cheers and applause in the State House, and lighting up One World Trade Center in pink:


(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


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