PowerLine – Will Anti-Trump Republicans Elect Hillary?
- Power Line University (1)
- Will Anti-Trump Republicans Elect Hillary?
- “Days of Rage” revisited
- The Week in Pictures: Glassy-Eyed Edition
- A Risen in the sun, cont’d
|Power Line University (1)
Posted: 11 Jun 2016 10:21 AM PDT
(Steven Hayward)A number of readers have asked periodically whether any of my courses are online, or available by videotape. Unfortunately not, though I may try to change this next year depending on whether I make a move to a more conventional lecture format. Right now, most of my classes are long, and seminar style, which means lots of classroom discussion and a sometimes chaotic direction that would make for awful viewing. (As one student said to me one time, “Prof. Hayward, you’re not exactly linear, are you?” I think I’ll put that on my business cards: “The Non-Linear Prof. Hayward.”)
There is, however, one segment of my classrooms that is adaptable for Power Line: my frequent use of scenes from the old BBC series “Yes, Minister” and “Yes, Prime Minister.” For one thing, virtually no students have ever seen it before. And you need to entertain students these days. Second, the creators of the show were two graduate students in economics at the London School of Economics (hence the frequent digs at the LSE in the show) who were taken with public choice theory and realized it could make for great comedy. And so much of the show is a brilliantly effective—and accurate—explanation of the perverse self-interested incentives and behavior of bureaucrats. I’ve thought about teaching a whole course on the administrative state drawn entirely from episodes of this series (an idea first suggested to me by Clifford Bates of the University of Warsaw). I usually discover that students go off and watch the whole series on their own after I have shown some scenes.
If you’ve never seen it, the main story line is always the same: the elected minister (and later Prime Minister) Jim Hacker always falls prey to the bureaucratic manipulations of his two senior civil servants, especially Sir Humphrey Appleby, played superbly by the late Sir Nigel Hawthorne. I find students grasp the point immediately, and always gets them talking. Plus it enlivens the course readings that are otherwise deadly dull (because no one, with the partial exception of James Q. Wilson, can make bureaucracy interesting).
My favorite scene to start students with comes from the but the middle of an episode of “Yes, Minister” called “The Whiskey Priest,” but only the whole episode is available on YouTube, so I’ll come back to it in a future post. For now, let’s start off “Power Line University” with this 2:45 long excerpt of Sir Humphrey instructing the younger private secretary Bernard Woolley on why it is important to keep the “right people” in charge of the government. Although this is more than 30 years old, I’m sure it will sound very familiar to a certain candidate’s supporters right now:
|Will Anti-Trump Republicans Elect Hillary?
Posted: 11 Jun 2016 06:33 AM PDT
(John Hinderaker)Yesterday on CNN, Mitt Romney ruled out supporting Donald Trump on grounds of character. Romney called Trump a racist, referring repeatedly to “trickle-down racism,” by which I take it he means racism inspired in future generations by a racist president. When asked at the end of the interview by Wolf Blitzer whether he thinks Trump is a racist, Romney wouldn’t quite say that, but instead responded that Trump’s “comments, time and again, appeal to the racist tendency that exists in some people.” Here is the video; it is only about a minute and a half:
I find the willingness of Republican leaders to allege that Trump is a racist disheartening, if not shocking. We expect that kind of calumny from the Democrats; they accuse pretty much all of their opponents of being racists. (Has Romney forgotten that the Democrats called him a racist, over and over, during the 2012 election? If you have forgotten too, just Google “Mitt Romney racist.”)
Romney’s Exhibit A as evidence of Trump’s racism were his comments about the Trump University judge, which have been discussed ad nauseam. But, while Trump’s attack on Judge Curiel may have been stupid, it wasn’t racist. He merely agreed with liberals that a person of Mexican descent may be biased against Trump because of his position on immigration. What is wrong with that? Ann Coulter’s epic rant is correct:
What else has Trump done that could arguably be racist? His proposed ban on Islamic immigrants if often cited, but that is silly since Islam isn’t a race. Moreover, if he would improve how he articulates his proposal–it isn’t feasible to ban Muslims from immigrating to the U.S., but it would be easy to suspend immigration from majority-Muslim countries, except for refugees from religious persecution–it would be good policy, in my opinion. Likewise, it is absurd to argue that Trump’s stated intention to carry out his constitutional duty by enforcing the immigration laws is racist–yet that claim is frequently made.
Trump has been in the public eye for decades. He has made plenty of enemies and, like any famous, arrogant person, he has lots of detractors. Yet to my knowledge, no one who actually knows Trump or has dealt with him calls him a racist or bigot of any other stripe. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he has never been heard to call anyone a “f****** Jew bastard.”
By endorsing the Democrats’ baseless attacks on Trump, Mitt Romney is doing a terrible disservice, not just to the Republican Party, but to the United States of America.
|“Days of Rage” revisited
Posted: 11 Jun 2016 05:03 AM PDT
(Scott Johnson)Bryan Burrough’s book Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence was published in paperback this past April. I read the book when it came out last year in hardcover last year and flipped over it. I recommend it highly to Power Line readers. Trying to copy Jay Nordlinger’s approach in his Impromptus columns at NR, I wrote about the book in “Notes on Days of Rage (1),” “Notes on Days of Rage (2)” “Notes on Days of Rage (3).” We also recorded a podcast about the book with Burrough that is posted here.
The book is absorbing in itself. It is also surprisingly timely. It is, as they say, relevant. Here are some of my notes from part 2 of the series linked above:
• Burrough tells the story of six terrorist groups that conducted campaigns of “revolutionary violence,” as the book’s subtitle has it, over the period 1970-1985. One common thread that unites the groups is their militant leftism. In addition, each of the groups went “underground” to pursue their activities. What does that mean? How did they go “underground”? What was “underground” life like? I’ve always wondered. Burrough has the story, and it is indeed interesting. As for quality of life “underground,” Burrough presents a mixed picture. For Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, I think it is fair to say, life was good in southern California.
• Burrough’s book covers the SLA through its dissolution. He, therefore, includes the story of Kathleen Soliah’s teaming up with the group and her participation in the crimes it committed to sustaining itself after the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. Burrough does not explore Soliah’s life after the dissolution of the SLA, but she was living an extraordinarily visible and extremely comfortable life as a physician’s wife and mother of three in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul under the name Sara Jane Olson until her apprehension in 1999. She had built up friendships in the Twin Cities’ Democratic establishment and artistic community. After her capture, the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild held a fundraiser for her in St. Paul at which Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison (then an aspiring politician practicing law in Minneapolis) was a featured speaker. We will return to this aspect of the story in part 3 of this series.
• Burrough occasionally credits the members of the six groups with “idealism.” He is unable to fill in the picture of the groups’ revolutionary objectives, however, because their Marxism was little more than the vessel into which they poured their bottomless hate.
• The Symbionese Liberation Army represents a sort of reductio ad absurdum of leftist hatred and nihilism. Burrough recalls the group’s motto: “DEATH TO THE FASCIST INSECT THAT PREYS UPON THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE!” Burrough drily observes that it was “a line that sounded as if uttered by the villain in a 1930s-era Buck Rogers serial[.]”
• When it comes to the SLA, Burrough briefly drops the objectivity he brings to his examination of the history of each group. The SLA did its best to mimic the routines of the Weatherman group, he writes, “but all of it was in service to a worldview that veered between the comical and the truly insane.” I think that is an observation that is generally applicable to the groups under review. Their truly serious object was the active organization and expression of their hatreds.
• Here is Burrough’s account of the SLA’s professed goals: “It sought to abolish prisons, marriage, and rent while attacking ‘racism, sexism, ageism, capitalism, fascism, individualism, possessiveness, competitiveness and all other institutions that have sustained capitalism.’” Plus ça change…
• The SLA was, of course, the group that kidnapped Patty Hearst and compelled her father to undertake the distribution millions of dollars worth of free food to the poor on designated days in the Bay area. Let me devote a separate bullet point to Ronaldus Magnus’s “memorable quip,” as Burrough calls it: “It’s just too bad we can’t have an epidemic of botulism.”
• Weatherman is probably the most famous of the groups that Burrough covers. I had thought that Weatherman and the other groups were largely motivated by opposition to the Vietnam War. Burrough demurs, however, quoting Weatherman member Howard Machtinger: “We related to the war in a purely opportunistic way. We were happy to draw new members who were antiwar. But this was never about the war.” What was “this” about? Burrough writes: “What the underground movement was truly about–what it was always about–was the plight of black Americans. Every single underground group of the 1970s, with the notable exception of the Puerto Rican FALN, was concerned first and foremost with the struggle of blacks against police brutality, racism, and government repression.”
• Burrough traces the emergence of the Black Liberation Army from a succession of black leaders. Beginning with Robert Williams, Burrough traces the line of succession to Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and the Black Panthers Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and Eldridge Cleaver. Burrough identifies Cleaver as the essential inspiration of the Black Liberation Army. “Not only would he emerge as the guiding force behind the Black Liberation Army,” Burrough writes, “but, having forged alliances between black convicts and white Bay area radicals, he created the intellectual framework for what became the Symbionese Liberation Army.”
• Cleaver made his name with the book Soul On Ice, expounding the revolutionary virtue of raping white women. Deemed “an exceptional volume, both in what the author says and in how he says it” by Thomas Lask in the New York Times of March 13, 1968, and “highly readable and often witty” by Charlayne Hunter (as she then was) in the March 24, 1968, number of the New York Times Book Review, Soul On Ice became a publishing phenomenon and Cleaver an international sensation. I looked up those New York Times reviews myself, for the record. Eric Hoffer’s assessment was more reliable than those of the Times. Hoffer observed that Cleaver’s book would more aptly have been titled Soul On Horse Manure, though Cleaver later became a Christian, a capitalist, and, in 1977, a memorable guest of WFB on Firing Line, his second time around on the show.
• The groups whose story Burrough tells conducted a campaign that included thousands of bombings and many horrible murders, yet most have been entirely forgotten. Why? In his epilog, Burrough gives the penultimate word to Joseph Connor. On his ninth birthday, Connor lost his father in the 1975 bombing of the Fraunces Tavern by the FALN in New York City. Burrough notes that “[W]hat truly drives [Connor] ‘mental’ is the notion that modern terrorism on U.S. soil dates only far aback as the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. ‘That gets me every time,’ he says. ‘To think that America thinks none of this ever happened, that it’s not ever remembered, it’s astounding to me. You know, I blame the media. The media was more than happy to let all this go. These were not the kinds of terrorists the liberal media wanted us to remember because they share a lot of the same values. They were terrorists. They were just the wrong brand. My father was murdered by the wrong politics. So they were let off the hook. That what we’re left with today, a soft view of these people, when they were as hardened as anybody. They were just terrorists. Flat-out terrorists.’”
• Burrough also notes that Bill Clinton pardoned 16 of the 18 FALN terrorists convicted in the group’s two bombing campaigns; the other two convicted FALN members rejected Clinton’s offer of pardon. Debra Burlingame condemned these “terror pardons” in a superb 2008 Wall Street Journal column. Kudos to Bryan Burrough for remembering these events in a book that makes it more difficult for us to forget again.
|The Week in Pictures: Glassy-Eyed Edition
Posted: 11 Jun 2016 04:59 AM PDT
(Steven Hayward)So Hillary has supposedly broken through the “glass ceiling” by being the first woman to achieve a major party nomination. Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir are yawning in the great beyond, especially since they never asked voters to vote for them because of their lady parts. And they made it entirely on their own, rather than on the tails (heh) of her husband. Somehow I can’t escape thinking of “Shattered Glass,” the movie about fabulist Stephen Glass; like Glass, Hillary makes everything up. Bernie? Bernie who?
Anyway, extra big bonus line up this week.
And finally (or up first for those of you who read this feature from the bottom up). . .
|A Risen in the sun, cont’d
Posted: 11 Jun 2016 04:05 AM PDT
(Scott Johnson)James Risen is a New York Times reporter who has done great damage to the national security of the United States, some through leaks he has published in the Times and some through leaks the Times has passed. The case of fired CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling involves one such leak on which the Times passed but that Risen included in his book State of War. Sterling was prosecuted and convicted of violating the Espionage Act for the leak. Risen remains at large.
Risen not only remains at large, he is lionized as a First Amendment hero by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes and, most recently, by Sarah Ellison in the current Vanity Fair: “What was New York Times reporter James Risen’s 7-year legal battle really for?”
I have written about Risen and the Sterling case in many posts including “At the Sterling trial” and “Risen at large.” Paul wrote about Risen and Sterling in “Jeffrey Sterling convicted; his accomplice remains free.”
Provoked by the Times, Gabriel Schoenfeld wrote the book on the First Amendment and national security; the book is Necessary Secrets. Gabe has also written the best articles about the Sterling case. For a full understanding of what Risen has wrought in this matter, I urge interested readers to read Schoenfeld’s Weekly Standard articles “Not every leak is fit to print” (2008), “What gives?” (2010), and “A privileged press?” (2014) as well as Schoenfeld’s Power Line post “A Risen in the sun.”
I asked Gabe if he would comment on Ellison’s Vanity Fair article. He writes:
In addition to the links to the Weekly Standard article above, Gabe cites “Why journalists are not above the law” (Commentary, February 2007), “Send this reporter to jail” (Daily Beast, May 2010), and, most recently, “Time for a shield law?” (National Affairs, Spring 2014).