PowerLine – Today’s Kampus Krazy Update
- Where Are We Now?
- Unhinged Leftist of the Week
- Today’s Kampus Krazy Update
- More evidence of our under-incarceration problem
- Documents confirm Eric Holder’s role in Fast and Furious cover-up
Posted: 15 Apr 2016 03:14 PM PDT
That’s the open-ended title of the panel I spoke on last weekend at the West Coast Retreat of the David Horowitz Freedom Center (and special thanks to all of the Power Line readers in the audience who introduced themselves). Where do you go with such a wide-ranging title? I spoke from a few short notes that I scratched out the night before (which I have now lost), but I think it went pretty much something like this:
I’m not going to talk about the election, partly because so much of what I have said up to this point, especially about Trump’s prospects, have turned out to be wrong. Instead I think this panel’s title—Where Are We Now?—begs for taking a step back and looking at some longer term factors that overshadow the election, no matter who wins.
Lately I’ve been thinking of two sayings by foreigners—one probably familiar to most everyone, and one likely not. The first is Bismarck’s famous quip that “God looks after drunks, fools, and the United States of America.” I’m hoping this is still true. To the extent that accident and chance play a huge role in determining political life (the teaching of the classics), I think we’d have to say that America has been pretty lucky though most of its history. Thank God it was Harry Truman, and not Henry Wallace, who was vice president in April 1945 when FDR died; Truman was far from perfect, but he was right on a lot of important questions at that important moment.
The second saying comes from my late Hungarian-born friend Peter Schramm. Peter grew up under Communism, and when the Soviet tanks rolled through the country in 1956, his father said—“That’s it: we’re going to America.” “Why are we going to America, dad?” “Because son, we were born American, just in the wrong place.” That was back at a time when people around the world understood clearly what America meant. I’m not so sure it is as clear to the world any more just what America means, or what it stands for, let alone whether it can be counted upon to defend the West.
Anyway, Peter told me that a favorite Hungarian saying is, “Things are serious—but not yet bad!” Now, I’m starting to think that things are bad. It is likely possible to recover from eight years of Obama with the right leadership, but if Obama is succeeded by Clinton or Sanders—or by a clueless Republican—the damage might be so long-lasting as to be irreversible.
A few observations:
First, events of just the last 10 days should remind us once again that our politics have become all out war—a fact that conservatives, and their weak vessel, the Republican Party, do not like to recognize. Conservatives like order and moderation (in the Aristotelian sense), and recoil from the idea of political warfare, because when things reach that stage, it means things are out of hand. But avoiding the unpleasantness of political life—and avoiding confronting it directly—will not make it go away, but instead guarantee that it grow worse.
One lesson of the Trump phenomenon is that it has revealed that conservatives have been way too timid or conciliatory in confronting the Left—that the latitude for effectively confronting political correctness is much greater than we thought. It ought to be a matter of supreme embarrassment and shame that the most forceful and cogent response to the irresponsible demagoguery of Black Lives Matter has come from Bill Clinton. Never mind that he walked it back yesterday—that’s his problem. Our problem is no public figure on our side has spoken out as forcefully and as plainly as Clinton did.
In this regard, if we can’t win the Bathroom Wars, we might as well load up the lifeboats right now and become the refugees from our own country that the Left longs for us to be. And the most outrageous part of the recent controversy over bathrooms in North Carolina is the role played by big business, which is the most potent force in forcing states like North Carolina to back down from a common sense understanding of human nature. Why have big corporations become adjuncts to leftist identity politics? I suspect a study of corporate HR departments will find they are a hotbed of graduates with degrees in gender and ethnic studies, etc.
About Congress, I will just say that for those who have been critical of Republican leadership over the last few years, the problem is deeper and worse than you think. This is a long subject, having to do with the way in which the Democratic Party deliberately sought over decades to degrade the constitutional role of Congress in ways that many Republican members of Congress do not understand or perceive clearly enough. And it is going to take more than just a Republican president to fix this problem, though I think Ted Cruz understands this issue more profoundly than most of the rest of the GOP presidential field. But this is a very long subject, worthy of a separate complete panel all bit itself.
In summary, the central point of my remarks is to vindicate what I’m going to call the Horowitz Heuristic, or “David’s Desideratum.” For as long as I have known David, he has been saying that conservatives, and their defective organizational vehicle—the Republican Party—has not been vigorous enough in recognizing that the Left is conducting political warfare, and that it can only be beaten back by engaging in political warfare in return. Maybe a few more people are starting to figure out what David has understood all along. Is it too late? As Lincoln said about a real war, “Wars are not won by blowing rosewater through cornstalks.”
Posted: 15 Apr 2016 11:59 AM PDT
Outgoing California Senator Barbara “Call Me Senator” Boxer deserves a Power Line Green Weenie Lifetime Achievement Award for her performance this week in a hearing about energy and climate policy that featured Alex Epstein, author of the cheeky book The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, and Father Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute. Here’s a five-minute highlight reel of Boxer losing ground to Epstein and Sirico:
And as a special bonus, here’s David Zucker’s parody of Boxer’s infamous “call me Senator” disgrace:
Posted: 15 Apr 2016 10:30 AM PDT
Never mind the debate about whether students ought to be able to carry permitted concealed handguns on campus; how about students carrying concealed . . . chalk?
I was expecting it would come to this:
By Anthony Gockowski
DePaul University will no longer allow students to chalk political messages on the sidewalks of its campus because of the “offensive, hurtful, and divisive” nature of pro-Trump chalking found on campus last week.
“While these chalk messages are part of national agendas in a heated political battle, they appeared on campus at a time of significant racial tension in our country and on college campuses. DePaul is no exception,” Depaul’s vice president for student affairs Eugene Zdziarski wrote in a campus-wide email obtained by Campus Reform. “The university has been addressing campus climate issues in an effort to provide an inclusive and supportive educational environment. In this context, many students, faculty and staff found the chalk messages offensive, hurtful and divisive.”
Consequently, Zdziarski explained that DePaul’s status as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization prohibits students from participating in any political activity that could be interpreted as a reflection of the university’s “views or opinions.” Political chalking on Depaul’s grounds, Zdziarski argued, fits this description.
More here from the DePaul campus paper.
Of course, one way to keep any students from being offended is to reinstitute segregation. We’ve seen several universities re-institute racially segregated dormitories and special “safe spaces,” but Chapman University in California is going to have separate (but equal!) graduation ceremonies by ethnic and identity group next month. Here’s their poster:
Meanwhile, we’ve mentioned previously that April is “Whiteness History Month” at Portland Community College, and for moment I’ll pass over the curious coincidence that Whiteness History Month is also Irritable Bowel Syndrome Month (because some things are just too easy). Here PCC Professor James Harrison envisions “a world without whiteness.”
Finally, remember the University of Missouri, which has had to close down four dormitories because new student enrollment has plunged in the aftermath of last fall’s craven capitulations by Mizzou’s feckless administration? Apparently the administration is waking up, taking note of what Ohio State did with student protestors last week, and has sensibly decided: “We want some of that.”
Officials at the University of Missouri are no longer allowing protests that disrupt campus operations.
MU police told a group of 15 student protesters Wednesday that they would face arrest or student discipline proceedings if their protests disrupted university business.
MUPD Major Brian Weimer, who followed the protesters as they went from the Student Center to Jesse Hall, said the university decided to start enforcing an existing policy against disruptions after receiving complaints from people on campus about past protests.
MU spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken cited Chapter 110 of the UM System’s Collected Rules and Regulations, which says the university can “set reasonable time, place and manner restrictions” on all meetings to prevent “interference with the right of students to obtain an education.”
Weimer said the university wants to balance free speech with employees’ rights to do their jobs without disruption.
The student protesters were part of a day of action against racism and student debt coordinated by the Million Student March. The nationwide protest sought tuition-free public college, cancellation of all student debt, a $15 minimum wage for all campus workers and divestment from private prisons by all higher education institutions.
Here’s a mischievous idea for College Republicans on every campus. Make up some t-shirts with Mario Savio’s image on it, but have him brandishing a stick of chalk. Heh.
Posted: 15 Apr 2016 08:58 AM PDT
I’ve argued that America has an under-incarceration problem. Criminals whose records clearly show they should be in jail have, instead, been released and are on the streets committing violent crimes, including some very bloody, high-profile ones.
Here’s another example. Samuel Harviley, paroled from prison less than three months ago, is being held without bond for shooting an off-duty Chicago police officer outside his home earlier this week. In withholding bond, the local judge said that Harviley “poses an extreme danger to the rest of us out in public.”
Indeed, he does. And he did three months ago when he was released early from jail.
Harviley was paroled from state prison on New Year’s Eve after serving four years of a nine-year sentence for a 2011 carjacking, an inherently dangerous crime. A nine year sentence is meaningless if it can be completed in four. Harviley’s early release always posed a danger to the community. Now, it has resulted in the shooting of a police officer.
You’re never going to eliminate the Willie Horton type of situation, the political ads aside, of somebody coming out [of prison] and committing a crime. It’s the nature of the human being. You’re never going to have 100 percent certainty, that’s never going to happen. But it would be a shame to just not ever do any sentencing reform, any criminal justice reform, because of that.
Sentencing reform is, indeed, called for. The system should be reformed so that criminals like Harviley don’t get out of prison after serving less than their half of their sentence. As Chicago Patrol Chief Eddie Johnson says, the Harviley shooting illustrates that the criminal justice system “is broken.” He added:
Until we get real criminal justice reform, the cycle will continue. We have the laws here. We just need to make sure that these criminals are held accountable for their actions.
What a quaint notion.
But let’s return to the unnamed Senate staffer’s remark. Bill Otis has this to say about it:
If sentencing reform were not a cause being pushed by Barack Obama, Al Sharpton and Loretta Lynch, the “Republican aide’s” remark would be blasted, and rightly so, for its dismissive, boys-will-be-boys attitude toward the murders of black children and their mother.
To say that, well, hey, look, we can’t get everything right, so if little girls (girls who, had they been permitted to live, would have had next to no chance of getting a fat job in the Senate) get murdered by a drug pusher we released early, we just have to walk past that and move along with early release for yet more potential killers.
Bill goes on to argue that in any criminal justice system, some sentences will be too long and others not long enough. The question, then, is who should have to bear the costs of this inevitable fallibility. Should it be the criminal, who made his own choices, or the future victim, who never had a chance?
For anyone who values public safety and innocent life, the question answers itself.
Posted: 15 Apr 2016 08:04 AM PDT
“Fast and Furious” is back in the news. The reason? In January, Judge Amy Berman, an Obama appointee, ordered the Department of Justice to produce documents relating to the “gun walking” scandal that Congress had been seeking for four years. DOJ finally produced them, some 20,000 pages worth, this month.
For anyone who, thanks to the Obama administration’s years of stonewalling, has forgotten about Fast and Furious, here’s the short version. In 2010, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agent was killed while on patrol near the Mexican border. The only two firearms found at the scene were semi-automatic rifles the Obama-Holder Justice Department allowed to “walk” as part of Fast and Furious, a firearms trafficking operation. That operation allowed approximately 2,000 firearms to flow illegally into the hands of Mexican cartel associates.
When the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform tried to investigate the scandal, Team Obama stonewalled. First, it denied that law enforcement officers allowed straw purchasers to buy firearms illegally in the United States with the intent to traffic them without apprehension. Almost a year later, it finally admitted that this is precisely what had happened.
Second, when the Committee subpoenaed relevant documents, Eric Holder’s DOJ refused to produce them, citing “executive privilege.” The House voted to hold Holder in contempt and filed suit to obtain the documents. Three and half years later, Judge Jackson ordered production of the 20,000 pages mentioned above.
Having reviewed these documents, Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has released a memo summarizing what they show. Chaffetz states:
More than previously understood, the documents show the lengths to which senior Department officials went to keep information from Congress. Further, the documents reveal how senior Justice Department officials—including Attorney General Eric Holder—intensely followed and managed an effort to carefully limit and obstruct the information produced to Congress.
Holder and his subordinates:
1. Presumed that allegations about gunwalking in Arizona were false and refused to adjust when documents and evidence showed otherwise.
2. Politicized decisions about how and whether to comply with the congressional investigation.
3. Devised strategies to redact or otherwise withhold relevant information from Congress and the public.
4. Isolated the fallout from the Fast and Furious scandal to ATF leadership and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona.
5. Created a culture of animosity towards congressional oversight.
Chaffetz’s memo goes on to substantiate each of these accusations, citing specific emails.
In cases like this, people often say that “the cover-up is worse than the crime.” I don’t think this applies to Fast and Furious because the Obama-Holder Justice Department’s original malfeasance resulted in death.
More broadly, this case illustrates that, whatever the extent of their moral shortcomings, cover-ups probably succeed more often then they fail. Here, Eric Holder largely succeeded in thwarting the Fast and Furious investigation. Four years later, Barack Obama is completing his second term. Sleazy Eric Holder is back at his top tier law firm that reportedly has represented large banks he declined to prosecute for their alleged role in the financial crisis.
And Fast and Furious is all but forgotten.