Tuesday, March 29, 2016
One of the awful jokes about President Ford was that he was such a klutz that he could not walk and chew gum at the same time. Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt of New Jersey has introduced a bill in the New Jersey Legislature that would make it illegal to walk and text at the same time. Texting while walking could receive a $50 fine and 15 days in prison. Her bill would also require pedestrians to use “hands free “attachments on their cell phones. In essence, New Jersey’s existing distraction while driving law would be extended to distraction while walking. Assemblywoman Lampitt explained: “Distracted pedestrians, like distracted divers, present potential danger to themselves and drivers on the road.” She called it “risky behavior.” Welcome to the Nanny State of New Jersey. New Jersey is one of the penultimate Nanny states in America. The Garden State is the state that until this January made it illegal for young entrepreneurs to shovel snow without a permit. Two teenagers were arrested in Bound Brook, New Jersey in February 2015 for shoveling without a permit. The town charged a $450 fee for a 180 day permit. Assemblywoman Lampitt referred to a recent Governors Highway Safety Association study showing that pedestrian deaths have risen in recent years while auto accident deaths have dropped. For example, pedestrian deaths rose 10% in201 while overall traffic deaths dropped 4%. Distracted pedestrians can be a problem. So also are stoned walkers. Next comes “walking while intoxicated.” The next step will therefore be to set up random spot field sobriety testing WPI (Walking While Intoxicated). Pedestrians would be required to walk a straight line. Walking can be boring, with a primordial urge to check one’s watch to see how much longer. Ban the watch instead, especially the new Apple Watch. Smoking and walking is also therefore dangerous, as is biking while smoking or listening to music in the helmet. Walking while talking can be disastrous. Animated conversations can be distracting. Therefore, require all walkers to zipper their lips while walking. Clearly no lip kissing while walking! Walking in the rain can be treacherous, but walking in the snow is downright dangerous. Therefore, all walking should be banned in inclement weather. Everything is distracting while walking, even chewing gum. Walkers discarding ABC (already been chewed) gum on the public walkway should a public nuisance. Let’s therefore adopt a Gerald Ford Statute rendering it illegal to walk and chew gum at the same time. One study shows 72% of all pedestrian accidents occur at night. Of course, you can’t always see walkers on a dark night, especially if they are wearing dark colors. We should therefore ban walking at night unless the walker has operating front and rear lights and a rear view mirror. Pedestrians also run the risk of stepping in dog feces left by those who disobey leash laws. We will also have to start a new war, War Against Unsafe Sidewalks,; i.e. flat walkways without cracks, holes, or bulging roots. We will need to create a new bureaucracy to enforce the new Safe Hoofing in This State campaign with sidewalk inspectors to ensure safe sidewalks and safe shoe inspectors to regulate the safety of walking shoes. Shoes will be inspected every three months. Boots made for walking would be permissible, but not kinky boots. Assemblywoman Lampitt is from Camden, New Jersey, one of the nation’s poorest, high crime ridden cities. Walking on the Wild Side in Camden can be hazardous to one’s life. Living in Camden should be banned. Fort Lee, New Jersey quickly got a reputation four years ago for ticketing walkers on their cell phones. The police chief clarified the report. Only jaywalkers on their cell phones were ticketed. I understand that walking is healthy, except for the decades when R. J. Reynolds Tobacco advertised “I’ll walk a mile for a Camel” cigarette. I recognize that walking while texting is safer than jogging while texting, but it is still an unacceptable risk to Assemblywoman Lampitt. Let’s cut to the chase Assemblywoman Lampitt: We need to ban public walking because it is dangerous and we cannot make it safe.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
The 2016 Presidential Election is by far the most interesting, and perhaps most consequential, in my nearly 7 decades of watching elections. The two Democratic candidates, campaigning for the future, were children of the 60’s and now senior citizens. One appeals to the older voters (Clinton) and the 73 year old the Millennials (Sanders). The Millennials are attracted by the seductive siren of the progressive socialism and inequality of the Child of the 60’s because they know no better. They’ve graduated from college with no meaningful job, but loaded with debt. They blame it on capitalism, because that is what they are taught by the progressive faculties on our campuses. They do not blame their plight on the failed economic policies of the Obama Administration. If anything, they blame President Obama for not going far enough. They did not learn in their economics and history classes of the consistent failures of socialism. They also do not believe in the First Amendment, as a survey of Yale students shows. The leading candidates in the two races have unbelievably high negative ratings. A recent Fox poll shows Trump with a 65% unfavorable rating and 58% for Clinton. Most Americans continue to find the former Secretary of State untrustworthy. Most late deciders have voted for Trump’s opponents. This may truly be an election for the lesser of two evils. The fears about Citizens United have not played out this election. Governor Bush and his PAC supporters poorly spent about $100 million on his campaign, mostly beating up on Senator Rubio. Conversely, Donald Trump has spent only a few million on his campaign. The media, which otherwise abhors the Donald, has provided him an estimated $1.9 billion in free publicity. Senator Sanders has raised tens of millions online from small donors. The Republican “Establishment” is apparently so scared of Donald Trump that they are willing to get in bed with Senator Ted Cruz or even vote for Secretary Clinton. They must be inhaling the leftover grass from the 60’s. The American public is disillusioned with the two parties, but the party elders don’t understand. We are confronted with a sluggish economy, long-term systemic unemployment, the collapse of blue collar jobs and a shrinking middle class, corrupting public employee unions, a nuclear Iran, an aggressive Russian Bear, China filling the vacuum in the South China Sea, global Islamic terrorism, ISIS, deteriorating race relations in the United States, and President Obama’s transformation of the Americans from a people of independence to one of dependency upon the government, The response of Senator Marco Rubio, otherwise an impressive candidate, was to allude to Donald Trump’s hand size, which is an urban myth correlating hand size to penis size. Senator Rubio is better than that. Similarly, he droned on about Donald Trump being a “con.” Governor Bush unsuccessfully spent a fortune in ads and his goodwill in attacking Senator Rubio. Both Florida candidates relied on the advice of campaign advisors, who should never be allowed to advise a candidate again. Both Senator Rubio and Governor Bush looked awkward and non-natural in their attacks. They are better than that. Senator Cruz should be winning handily against Donald Trump. He says the right conservative things to appeal to the base. He comes across though as an angry man lacking empathy. Connecting with the public is an intangible. JFK had it; Nixon did not. Ronald Regan still has it. Neither George H. W. Bush nor Michael Dukakis had it. Bill Clinton has it; Hillary does not. President Obama had it; Governor Mitt Romney could not. Bombs exploded in Brussels and a PAC sympathetic to Senator Cruz dropped a “bomb,” a 15 year old photo of the near naked model, who is now Donald’s wife, Melania. Senator Cruz has denied any involvement with the sympathetic PAC, but has not disavowed it. Donald Trump has responded by threatening to disclose info about the Senator’s wife, Heidi. He has also published side-by-side photos of a hellish looking Heidi and a beautiful, smiling Melania, who incidentally is an immigrant, as is Senator Cruz. Senator Cruz then called Donald Trump a “sniveling coward.” Donald Trump may act like a bully, but certainly not a coward. How low can we go? We are in a War of Epithets: “Sniveling coward” versus “Lying Ted.” Heidi and Melania, two highly successful women, deserve better. The American people deserve better. Senator Cruz claims the mantra of Reagan, but consistently violates Reagan’s 11th Commandment: “Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican.” Reagan was likable; Cruz is universally unlike on a bipartisan basis by his peers. Ironically, the Trump campaign is dependent upon the crossover votes of blue class workers, the Reagan Democrats of the past. Governor Kasich is the Last Governor standing in the campaign. He has survived the gauntlet. This election is so weird that California might be decisive, for once, in the primary season. Secretary Clinton is using California as a political piggy bank. Senator Sanders is currently winning the Left Coast of the United States. Quite surprisingly, the credible Governors Bush, Gilmore, Huckabee, Jindal, Pataki, Perry, and Walker, the Governors who proved they can successfully govern as conservative Republicans, dropped of the race. Governor Christy first embraced President Obama after Hurricane Sandy and has now embraced Donald Trump. Governor Kasich needs 105% of the delegates yet to be decided to win the nomination, or 50.1% of the delegates after the first round in an open convention. He offers Ohio, compassionate conservatism, and the self-proclaimed ‘only adult” now in the Republican ace.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
It's deja vu all over again with the Supreme Court I picked up my pocket constitution to the United States, looking for the clause, which provides a Supreme Court Justice “shall be a graduate of Harvard or Yale Law Schools.” It’s not there, and it’s not in your copy of the Constitution either. I looked for the clause, which says a Justice shall be a graduate of a law school. It’s not there, and it’s not in your copy of the Constitution. Indeed, the Constitution provides no requirements for a justice of the United States Supreme Court. Instead, the Supreme Court has been appropriated by the meritocracy of the east. I published six years ago a column in the Los Angeles daily Journal about the appointment of Judge Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. I’m attaching a copy of it here. www.dailyjournal.com © 2010 The Daily Journal Corporation. All rights reserved. PERSPECTIVE • Jun. 09, 2010 The New Supreme Court: A Meritocracy of the East By Denis Binder Dr. James B. Conant, a young chemistry professor, was the surprise appointment in 1933 as Harvard's new president. He and Clark Kerr at University of California, Berkeley became the leading figures in transforming American higher education in the 20th century from social class-based elitism to merit-based education open to all classes of Americans. Conant recognized that Harvard could not survive as a great university by relying upon its traditional source of students, the old meritocracy of male New England WASPS and prep schools. He marveled at the success of the great public universities in the Midwest and West. Both Harvard and Yale were fairly insular institutions at the time. He wanted to attract more students from public high schools, the Catholics from Boston and Jews from New York. He wanted the brightest professors and students for Harvard to be a world-class research university. He would build the new Harvard based on a meritocracy of the intelligent. His initial steps were small in his 20-year tenure as Harvard's president; he was careful not to offend the Harvard establishment, including alumni, by being too open. Thus, the profiles of his early classes did not vary much from the past. He started by offering a small number of Harvard National Scholarships to applicants from outside the east. But he needed a key to open the gates of Harvard to a new meritocracy, the new elite. His chosen instrument was the SAT. The Ivies went along, and then the SAT and the competing ACT received national acceptance. Grades would be a surrogate for achievement, but the standardized test would become the proxy for intelligence to open the gates of Harvard. Smart students with drive and achievement would become the new meritocracy, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, or gender. Ironically, of course, the SAT has increasingly been attacked in recent years for closing the doors of academia, especially to underrepresented minorities. The seeds of his Harvard policies blossomed after his presidency ended. The Ivies dropped their restrictive admissions practices and admitted women in the 1960s. Berkeley was ranked "the best balanced distinguished university in the country" in 1966 by the American Council on Education, but the Ivies with their new profiles and fundraising abilities soon soared past the public Ivies in prestige. The true Ivies graduate and professional schools admitted the most successful undergrads and they recruited star faculty from less prestigious private and public universities at salaries that could not be matched by their existing institutions. The Ivies, along with their West Coast rival, Stanford, were back on top. Their primacy is reinforced by the subjective objective rating system of U.S. News & World Report. Most global rankings rate Harvard as the best university in the world. The appointment of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court marks the triumph of the new meritocracy. All nine of the justices attended Harvard or Yale Law School. (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg transferred from Harvard Law to Columbia.) Not one of the justices attended a public university, either for undergrad or law school. The last three appointees, Samual A. Alito Jr. and Sonia Sotomayor, along with Kagan, are graduates of Princeton. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. graduated from Harvard and Harvard Law School. The two Justices from the West, Stephen G. Breyer and Anthony M. Kennedy, attended Stanford and then Harvard Law School. Justice Ginsburg was an undergrad at Cornell, Clarence Thomas at Holy Cross, and Antonin Scalia at Georgetown, after being rejected by Princeton. This new Court represents a narrow elite of America - an elite that is unrepresentative of America. The Court has gone from nine Protestants to six Catholics and three Jews, but still represents the eastern elite, the new eastern establishment. Four boroughs from New York City are on the Court, with one justice from New Jersey. Two justices hail from the West, Kennedy from Sacramento and Breyer from San Francisco, but Breyer quickly became a fixture at Harvard Law School, and Kennedy sojourns in Europe during the summer. Thomas is from rural Georgia, but his adult life was on the eastern beltway. Scalia and Kagan escaped from the east for awhile to teach at the University of Chicago, but both remained easterners. None of the nine justices were politicians, and eight proved their credentials by serving on federal Courts of Appeals, with many having initially been vetted in the Justice Department and the Executive Office of the President. Only a few had substantial legal experience in the private sector. None have served in the military. They have experienced little of the kaleidoscope that is America. By way of contrast, the fabled Warren Court represented the educational and geographic diversity of America. Chief Justice Earl Warren was a graduate of Berkeley and Boalt Hall (now Berkeley Law). He also served as Governor of California. The great civil libertarian, Hugo Black, a senator, attended the University of Alabama Law School, while Tom Clark graduated from the University of Texas School of Law. John Marshall Harlan went to New York Law School and Charles Whitaker the University of Missouri Kansas City. Thurgood Marshall, because of racial discrimination, graduated from Howard. Stanley Reed did not even graduate from law school, although he studied at the University of Virginia and Columbia. Several justices graduated from Columbia Law School (William O. Douglas), Harvard Law School (William J.Brennan, Harold Burton, and FelixFrankfuter) and Yale (Abe Fortas, Sherman Minton, Potter Steward and Byron White), but Minton went to Indiana University for undergrad and White was a star football player at Colorado. America's population has shifted to the south and the west, but the Supreme Court has become the meritocracy of the east - the "Northeast Corridor." Today's Supreme Court meritocracy is Conant's vision fulfilled. He would be proud. Denis Binder has extensive experience teaching law, the past 14 years at Chapman Law School, and as a visiting professor this summer at Cal Western School of Law. After receiving his J.D. from the University of San Francisco, he earned a LL.M. and S.J.D. from the University of Michigan School of Law. ********** © 2010 Daily Journal Corporation. All rights reserved.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Professors Joy Karega, Melissa Click, Merille Miller-Young, Saida Grundy, Susan J. Douglas, Steven Salaita, and Ward Churchill: The Un-Magnificent Seven
The University of Missouri Board of Curators voted last week 4:2 to terminate Assistant Professor Melissa Click. Professor Click joins Professor Stephen Salaita and Ward Churchill in the ranks of terminated professors while four others have survived outrageous statements or acts. Professor Click received national attention last fall during the Black protests at the University of Missouri. She stopped Tim Tai, a photographer, who said he had a right to cover the protest in the public space. The video shows her inciting students to yell “Hey, hey, ho, ho, reporters have got to go.” She grabbed the camera of another photographer, proclaiming “You need to get out.” She then screamed out “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here. I need some muscle over here.” A video subsequently emerged from an earlier protest when a police officer placed a hand on her shoulder and said “Get out of the road or get arrested.” She responded “Get your ... hands off me.” She held a courtesy appointment with the Missouri School of Journalism and a regular appointment in the Department of Communications. Her video became the poster child for conservatives. The Republican state legislature was outraged by her conduct. The threat was made to cut the University of Missouri budget by the amount of her salary as well as those of her chair and dean. The Board of Curators recognized her First Amendment Freedom of Speech rights, but explained “However, Dr. Click was not entitled to interfere with the rights of others, to confront members of law enforcement or to encourage potential physical intimidation against a student.” Academic freedom and the First Amendment Freedom of Speech do not protect inciting violence. Journalists, above all others, should value the Freedom of the Press. On the other hand, faculty members at the University of Missouri support Professor Click and decry the lack of due process in her termination. Professor Click published a letter in the Washington Post yesterday. She just doesn’t get it. She explained she had “inexperience with public protests.” Is it because she doesn’t know the difference between Freedom of Speech in a peaceful protest versus incitement to violence? Or is it because protestors are so used to getting away with it on campuses that they are surprised when repercussions occur? She also said: “I am also working to come to terms with how a few captured moments of imperfection could eclipse 12 years of excellence.” It happens all the time in the criminal justice system and Tort Law. Acts have consequences. As part of her apologia she said “But I do not understand the widespread impulse to shame those whose best intentions unfortunately result in imperfect actions.” Did Professor Click never learn the maxim that the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions? And not a word about the University President and the distinguished Provost who lost their jobs at Mizzou. Professor Click's appeal to the Board for a reversal was quickly rejected. A pro-life protest took place in a free speech zone on the campus of University of California Santa Barbara on March 4, 2015. The protesters from Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust held up graphic pictures of aborted fetuses and distributed pamphlets. This is graphic, tasteless, but protected speech. The protesters included a 16 year old and her 21 year old sister. Their mother is a vice president of the organization. Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young teaches feminist studies at UCSB. Accompanied by a few students, she ripped the poster from the teenager and then pushed her. The confrontation was captured on a cell phone and went public. The professor initially claimed a moral right to act as she did, and later claimed she was affected by her pregnancy. Professor Miller-Young was subsequently charged with three criminal counts. A Vice Chancellor of UCSB, between the incident and the charges, emailed the students, warning of “offensive speech” and denounced “various anti-abortion crusaders.” Plaintiffs through discovery learnt that the UCSB not only did not discipline the professor, but also did not even open an investigation. The protesters filed a civil action against UCSB, the professor and the students. UCSB subsequently entered into a confidential settlement, which the plaintiffs termed very satisfactory. The University did not issue an apology. Professor Miller-Young pled guilty to three misdemeanors of grand theft person, vandalism, and battery, receiving a sentence of 108 hours of community service, 10 hours of anger management, and three years probation. We know a double standard exists in the Academy. We know all Hell would have broken loose on the UCSB campus if a pro-lifer ripped a banner out of the hands of a pro-choice demonstrator and then assaulted her. Professor Susan Douglas at the University of Michigan wrote a column in the January 2015 edition of The Times. It was entitled “It’s OK to Hate Republicans.” She wrote: “I hate Republicans. I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of the other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal ‘personhood.” She added that while her views may seem biased “historical and psychological research back her up, and so it’s basically actually a fact that Republicans are bad.” She added that Republicans are really good at being mean because psychological studies show they usually have traits such as “dogmatism, rigidity, and intolerance of ambiguity.” I ask, which faculties and students are trying to silence speech and speakers on campus? Professor Douglas has signed a petition in support of Professor Click. Professor Saida Grundy with a Ph.D. from Michigan accepted a position at Boston University. She tweeted various comments, such as “Why is White America so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?” She said “White masculinity isn’t a problem for America’s colleges; white masculinity is The problem for America’s colleges.” She also wrote: “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses and every year I find it nearly impossible.” The University respected her right to speak, but expressed disappointment with her remarks. Professor Salaita received his Ph.D. in Native American Studies with a literature emphasis from the University of Oklahoma. He was a tenured professor of English at Virginia Tech when he penned controversial remarks in Salon.com on August 25, 2013. He criticized “Support our Troops,” which he claimed was used to stifle debate over United States and foreign military actions. He took off on “unthinking patriotism.” He said that “In recent years I’ve grown fatigued of appeals on behalf of the troops, which intensify in proportion to the belligerence or potential unpopularity of the imperial adventure de jour.” The University respected his academic freedom and took no action against him, but clearly stated that his remarks do not “reflect the collective psyche of the Virginia Tech community.” Virginia Tech was not sorry to see him leave. Professor Salaita accepted an offer from the University of Illinois, sold his house, resigned from Virginia Tech, but prior to the confirmation by the University of Illinois Regents, tweeted vicious anti-Semitic remarks. Three Jewish teenagers were kidnapped and murdered on the West Bank. He tweeted: “You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not ….. I wish all the fucking west bank settlers will go missing.” Other tweets: “When will the attack on Gaza end? Who is left for Israelis to kill? This is the logic of genocide.” “Too much of the Israeli society is cheering the bloodletting in Gaza for me to make a firm distinction between the government and the people.” “Only Israel can murder around 300 children in the span of a few weeks and insist that it is the victim.” “Rednecks need a new slogan. Instead of ‘Kick their ass and take their gas,’ how about ‘#Gaza is a disaster, but Netanyahu is my master.” “Dear outraged Right Wingers, You should know that in addition to opposing Zionism, I support the decolonization of North America.” “Zionist uplift in America; every little Jewish boy and girl can grow up to be the leader of a murderous colonial regime. #Gaza.” “Jeffrey Goldberg’s column should have ended at the point end of a shiv.” His 2011 book is entitled “Israel’s Dead Soul.” A backlash ensued and Illinois’ Chancellor revoked his offer on the grounds that it had not been approved by the Board of Regents. Professor Salaita recently received a $600,000 settlement, with $275,000 to his attorneys, but no position at Illinois. Nor has he yet received an offer from any other college or university in the United States. Professor Churchill wrote a tract in which he referred to the 9/11 victims as “Little Eichmanns.” Professor Churchill was an academic fraud who passed himself off as an American Indian to take advantage of affirmative action and a position as a tenured professor at the University of Colorado. Freedom of Speech and academic freedom protected his statements. His academic deficiencies were known when he was tenured, so he could not be terminated on that basis. Instead, the University found academic misconduct on his part and used that to dismiss him. And now we have Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega at Oberlin University. Professor Karega has posted several inflammatory, anti-Semitic remarks on Facebook. She said Israeli and Zionist Jews were responsible for both 9/11 and the Charly Hebdo attacks in Paris. She said ISIS is a creation of Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service. Oberlin’s President Marvin Krislov met with representatives of Jewish organizations in the Cleveland area. He issued a message recognizing her right to speak. He wrote: “I am a practicing Jew, grandson of an Orthodox rabbi. Members of our family were murdered in the Holocaust. As someone who has studied history, I cannot comprehend how any person could or would question its existence, its horrors, and the evil which caused it. I feel the same way about the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories ...” He added though: “I believe, as the American Association of University Professors says, that academic freedom is ‘the indispensable quality of institutions of higher education’ because it encourages free inquiry,, promotes the expansion of knowledge, and creates an environment in which learning and research can flourish.” Her remarks and President Krislow’s message did not go over well with the Trustees of Oberlin. The Board of Trustees issued a statement after the quarterly Board Meeting. It called her postings “anti-Semitic and abhorrent.” It deployed “anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry,” which “have no place at Oberlin.” Clyde McGregor, Chairman of the Board, said “These grave issues must be addressed expeditiously.” These less than magnificent seven academics reflect much of the leftwing bias prevalent in higher education today. The university is supposed to be a cathedral of learning. Minds are to be opened, and not closed. The university should be a center for reasoned discourse. Alternative views should be explored. Oberlin’s Board Chairman recognized “From its founding, Oberlin College has stood for inclusion, respect, and tolerance. We still do.” Unfortunately much of the Academy does not respect or observe these goals. The Academy is overwhelmingly liberal, much more liberal than the American public. A large number are to the left of Senator Bernie Sanders. Their progressive peers are the mainstream media and Hollywood. A virulent strain of rabid anti-Semitism is spreading through higher education. Professors Karega and Salaita reflect the bias. Many progressive professors believe they represent the mainstream of America. They’re wrong, but don’t recognize it because they teach in a radical echo chamber, listen to NPR, and read the New York Times. As students, they may learn their bias in the classroom and from their academic advisor. They pursue justice, blindly. They often bully, ostracize, or practice academic prejudice against conservatives.
The New York Times tells us today that Judge Merrick Garland Is “well to the Left" of Justice Kennedy. President Obama has thrown down the gauntlet. Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland is his nominee to the Supreme Court. Judge Garland is eminently qualified on paper: Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, partner at Arnold & Porter, Assistant Attorney General, appellate judge for 18 years. Judge Robert Bork in 1987 was also eminently qualified for the Court. However he was “Borked; i.e. demonized to deny the conservative a seat on the bench.” Judge Garland is not politically qualified. The Republicans control the Senate. They will not let President Obama change the balance on the Court. President Obama called Judge Garland a moderate. The mainstream media chimed in echo the Obama Line: The New York Times yesterday called him “the ideal, moderate Supreme Court nominee” with “a solidly centrist voting record. The Los Angeles Times hailed him yesterday as a “centrist” as did USA Today. The LA Times today proclaims his “record of restraint, not a of activism.” The Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse places Judge Garland in the “constitutional mainstream.” She says he is one of the “country’s most respected and experienced federal judges.” He is a moderate and centrist only by the standards of the progressive left. He is only moderate in the sense that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a “moderate liberal,” as defined by President Clinton. Justice Ginsburg is the most consistently liberal Justice on the Court, unrestrained the words of the Constitution or of statutes. She famously said in Cairo during the Arab Spring of 2012 as the Islamic radicals were headed to victory: “I would not look to the US Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.” She doesn’t feel bound by the words of the U.S. Constitution, often looking to foreign law for guidance. I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn to those who believe Judge Garland is a moderate. Judge Garland acknowledged in his remarks as he stood by President Obama’s side his “commitment to follow the law, not make it.” Judge him not though by his words, but by his decisions. The picture is one of consistent liberal dogma. He believes in government, the power of government, the good of government. He is, as is most of the present Supreme Court, the eastern liberal establishment. Today’s New York Times article about the nomination quotes political scientists as saying “Judge Garland is well to the left of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy,” today’s swing vote. If Judge Garland is confirmed, Justice Kennedy’s views and opinions will be irrelevant. A 5 block liberal hegemony will rewrite the Constitution, without the restrain of Justice Kennedy. That is what the nomination is about. That is why the Republicans must continue to him confirmation, at least until the November election. He consistently defers to agency’s extensions of their power. He has consistently sided with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rather than management. He always sides with environmentalists when they sue the EPA, but against industry. One of the major constitutional issues facing Congress is the power of the federal government under the Commerce Clause to regulate isolated wetlands or endangered species. If construed to the extent the Obama Administration has pushed the limits, the effect will be to give land use authority to the federal government over almost all the lands in the United States. He interpreted the Commerce Clause in 2003 to allow the government to protect an isolated species with no economic value. In clerking for Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. he clerked for and learned from one of the most liberal Supreme Court justices of the 20th Century. He is the game changer on the Supreme Court, the final act of transformation by President Obama. His appointment is second in significance only to the election of the next President. It is more important than the election of the next Senate. He will use the Court to judicially legislate. He will join the axis of Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor in redefining the Constitution to give more power to the Government and less power to the people. The Judge Garland vote, or non-vote, is a vote on the future of the United States.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Donald Trump may be a bombastic blowhard who issues inflammatory statements. He’s a veritable flamethrower. He may have trashed immigrants, African Americans, Mexicans, Muslims, women, and the POW’s. He’s called out FoxNews and the Wall Street Journal, Megyn Kelly and Hugh Hewitt. Anyone who opposed him is a loser. He’s trashed the Republican leadership. The Donald is an unabashed, narcissistic bully. Say what you want, Donald Trump is entitled to Freedom of Speech. The response to bad speech is more speech, good speech – not violence. His protestors and demonstrators also have First Amendment Rights - to peacefully demonstrate and protest on the public right of ways by his venues. The demonstrators, protestors, and rioters have no right to break up his campaign speeches or rallies. They have no right to interrupt his speeches. They have no right to interfere with the Free Speech rights of supporters. They may think they do because they have been interfering for decades with conservative candidates. They have stifled speech on campus, often supported by members of the professoriate. They have prevented speakers and commencement speakers from appearances on campus. It's a force of habit. They have demanded safe zones and trigger warnings for themselves while denying freedom of speech to political conservatives. Inciting violence and rioting though is not protected speech. Nor are they popular with the American public. The American people are appalled at the breakdown of law and order, campus unrest, and the collapse of civility in public discourses. They have seen the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore. They have seen a mob take over the University of Missouri. They witnessed an outbreak of political correctness a few months ago. The American people do not like what they see. Applications are in the tank at the University of Missouri. The radical left only believes in Freedom of Speech for themselves. All other speech is to be suppressed. The mainstream media is accusing Donald Trump of inciting the demonstrators and rioters. They don’t need incitement, as they proved in the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle. They don’t need incitement as they have proven on our campuses and in the Occupy Wall Street protests. They don’t need an incitement to riot – just an excuse. Then comes the public backlash. The 1984 Democratic National Convention was in Chicago, Illinois. It was met with large-scale, nationally televised rioting. Richard Nixon was elected President, campaigning not to the radial protestors, but to the “Silent Majority.’ President Nixon learnt from Ronald Reagan in 1966. Berkeley, the city and university, were racked with riots, beginning with the Free Speech Movement in 1964. The popular incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Brown was salivating at the prospect of running against the ignorant actor. Reagan won by almost 1 million votes. He fired the leadership of the University of California Berkeley. The Republican primaries show the American people are fed up. The Republicans, including crossover Reagan Democrats, are voting in large numbers for Donald Trump, and in lesser numbers for Senator Ted Cruz, also an opponent of The Establishment. Donald Trump would not have had a prayer in normal times. Secretary of State Clinton may be winning by large numbers in most of the Democratic primaries, but Democratic turnout is substantially down If Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich were clever, they would support Donald trump against the demonstrators, decry the violence and support his right to speak, and his audience’s right to hear.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
A truck bomb, presumably of Kurdish origin, exploded today in Ankara, Turkey’s capital. The victims include at least 33 dead and 77 injured. Turkey’s President Recip Erdogan is currently waging a war against the Kurdish population in southeast Turkey. The Kurds in turn are waging a guerilla war against the Turks. President Erdogan is also waging a war against the Kurds in Syria, who have rebelled against President Assad and the Syrian government. We need to understand three characteristics of the Kurds. First, they are fiercely independent. Second, they are fighters. Even the woman are fighters. Third, they are extremely resilient. An additional fact is that the Kurds during World War I were promised an independent homeland at the end of the war. An independent Kurdistan did not occur, but is a possibility today, which scares President Erdogan. The Kurdish population in the Mideast is spread over four countries: Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Kurds are estimated to comprise 15% of Turkey’s population, concentrated in the country’s southeast. The Iraqi Kurds have carved out a major part of their Northern Iraq homeland as a semi-independent enclave, complete with oil resources. The Syrian Kurds, whose fighters are called Peshmerga, have also seized land in Syria along the Turkish border. If the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds unite, the pressure will be on Turkey to cede complete or semi-autonomous control to the Turkish Kurds, or watch the new Kurdistan serve as a safe haven for Turkish Kurds fighting for independence. By way of history, the Kurds retained a large degree on independence in the Ottoman Empire. The Sultans knew better than to wage war against the Kurds in the mountainous regions. Thus, a pattern of wary coexistence emerged in which both parties cooperated with each other when it suited their purposes. The heographic area of Armenia contained the presen republic of Armenia and most of eastern Anatolia, today’s heartland of Turkey. The Christian Armenians mostly lived in peace with their Ottoman Overloads until feelings for independence starting emerging in the late 1800’s. Five centuries of peace changed in 1894 when Sultan Abdul Hamid II unleashed the Hamidiye Regiments on the Armenians. These forces were mainly comprised of Kurdish fighters. The Sultan’s purpose was to exert his will, power and force on the Empire. Estimates of the murdered Armenians range between 80,000 to 300,000, with 200,000 as an often-accepted figure. The Armenian Diaspora began as many Armenians emigrated out of Anatolia at this point, often to the United States. The Three Pashas (The Young Turks), Mehmet Talaat, Ismail Enver, and Ahmed Djemal, seized control of the Turkish government in 1913, rendering the Sultan a figurehead. They made several stupid mistakes, starting with entering World War I on the side of Germany and Austria. The Ottoman Empire was doomed. The second mistake was for General (Pasha) Enver to wage war on the Russian Army during winter conditions. His army was decimated at the Battle of Sarikamis from December22, 1914 to January 17, 1915. An army of 118,000 shrank to an effective force of 42,000. 32,000 were killed in action. 15,000 died from illness, especially typhus. He needed a scapegoat, blaming the Armenians for assisting the Russians. The fears then arose that the Armenians in Anatolia would rebel or join the Russians in fighting the Turks. In addition, the Turks needed space for their fellow Muslims who had been evicted from the Balkan countries, which recently won independence from the Ottomans. Having lost most of the European Empire, the Pashas could not risk losing Anatolia. Thus, they unleashed the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2015. They had prepared the Genocide by drafting the young Armenian males into the Army, or more precisely, Labor Battalions, in which they were worked to death, starved to death, or simply murdered. The Armenian population in Anatolia was thereby mostly women, children, and old men. They had few fighters who could resist the genocide. The Kurds took part in the massacres. Several, but not all the Kurdish tribes or people, participated in the genocide. The Kurds moved into the lands abandoned by the Armenians. The end of World War I witnessed the carving up of the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, Turkey itself would be carved up. However, the Turks may have lost several battles and the war, but they still had military units that could fight. Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), the victor at Gallipoli, rallied the Turkish forces in Anatolia and won the Turkish War of Independence. One by one, the occupying forces, the British, French, and Italians, pulled out. The Greeks were decisively defeated on the battlefields. Ataturk consolidated power. There would be no independent Kurdistan carved out of the detritus of the Ottoman Empire. The Kurds rebelled in 1925 and 1927. They were crushed. They rebelled in 1930, 1937, and 1984. President Erdogan is a shrewd politician, using his deep Islamic beliefs and demagogic powers, to win elections. His term as Mayor of Istanbul was interrupted by eight months in prison for religious extremism. He learnt his lesson. Turks know that the Turkey military intervened in Turkish politics by staging military coups in 1913, 1960, 1971 and 1990. They post-World War I military leaders were fulfilling their oath to preserve the secular democracy of Ataturk. Erdogan was elected Prime Minister of Turkey in 2003. One of his first acts was to neuter the powerful military by framing the military leaders and packing them off to prison, claiming coup planning back to 2003. 300 suspects were sentenced to prison in 2012. All were released on July 19, 2014 and 236 suspects acquitted on March 31, 2014. The Turkish military is now under his thumb. Prime Minister Erdogan was elected President in 2014. The Kurds rebelled again, led by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which is listed by both Turkey and the United States as a terrorist organization. Prime Minister Erdogan started making peace with the Kurds in 2009. Hostilities dropped. He reversed course in July 2015. He resumed hostilities. Erdogan has the well-armed, well-trained Turkish Army. The Kurds are waging a guerilla war. Most victims are, and will be, civilians. The Kurds will not be suppressed. They could settle for semi-autonomy in their region of Turkey, but the longer the war continues, the more intransient they will be for independence. They are fighting a guerilla war for independence, with possibly safe zones in Iraq and Syria. President Erdogan cannot allow that, but he may not be able to prevent it. The reality is that the only way the Turks can totally suppress the Kurdish drive for independence is to once and forever unleash a new genocide, a Kurdish Genocide, or evict all Kurds from Anatolia, Iraq, and Syria. That will not happen. The Armenians will resist, as they have in Iraq and Syria. Most of the victims are, and will be, civilians.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
What if conservatives started protesting liberal speakers the way liberals protest conservatives? What if conservatives drive off liberal commencement speakers like liberals do to conservatives? What if conservatives occupy campus demanding safe places? What if conservatives tried to muzzle liberal speech on campuses? What if conservatives issued non-debatable ultimatums to college leaders? What if conservatives refused to hire outspokingly liberal faculty members? What if conservative students disrupted rallies and speeches by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Barry Sanders? What if conservative students challenged and tested the limits of campus free speech? What if conservative students made full use of safe zones and speech codes? What if conservative students demanded trigger warnings from liberal professors every time they professed their liberal bias in class? What if conservative students filed complaints every time a liberal student said or wrote something that outraged the sensitivities of the liberal or was viewed as threatening? What if Jewish students filed complaints every time an administrator, student or professor said or wrote an anti-Semitic statement? What if Christian students filed complaints every time an administrator, student, or professor discriminated against Christianity? What if conservative students mounted protests proclaiming “All Lives Matter?" What if conservatives mounted protests proclaiming “Police Lives Matter”? What if conservative students won control of student government and began to defund left-wing radical organizations? Why don’t conservatives demand, including through protests, the firing of every professor who expresses anti-conservative bias or anti-Semitism? Why don’t conservatives file lawsuits against public campus administrators who deny them their First Amendment rights and seek not only damages but attorneys fees against the individual administrators? And why don’t campus conservatives constantly proclaim the I Have a Dream” quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jt.: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Why don’t they do these acts of the campus liberals? First, they tend to actually vote with their hands and feet rather than their mouths. Second, some universities will undoubtedly attempt to expel them. I have MLK’s Dream.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
Governor Romney delivered an impassioned, ringing speech skewering Donald Trump. If only Mitt had shown such passion four years ago, he might have won, or at least come closer rather than being trounced by President Obama. I voted for Governor Romney. I supported his election. I thought then, and truly believe today, that Governor Romney would have been a much better president than President Obama. He would have bridged the deepening racial gap rather than inciting it. Yet his candidacy was fatally flawed. He was the wrong candidate at the wrong time in American history. Governor Romney is a very smart, decent, humanistic person. Yet he let himself be portrayed as a cold, heartless plutocrat. No response! Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s 2012 Deputy Campaign Manager, said Romney was either a felon or liar on his relationship with Bain Capital. No response! Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid said a critical source told him that Romney had not paid income taxes for ten years. No response! Senator Reid explained his lie later: “We won, didn’t we?” Governor Romney was castigated for having offshore (Swiss) bank accounts. No response! Mitt Romney was leading in the polls in 1996 Massachusetts Senate campaign against Senator Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy’s campaign then ran the Ampad Ad in which workers accused Romney of laying them off after Romney’s Bain Capital acquired the company. No response! Romney lost. Mitt Romney also did not respond to the same claims raised by Newt Gingrich in the primary campaign nor in the general election by the Obama Campaign. No response! Mitt Romney was a genteel campaigner. Donald Trump is a scrappy street fighter. Mitt Romney became a clueless, heartless campaigner. That will not happen to Donald Trump. Governor Romney questioned Donald Trump’s honesty and judgment. He called him a “phoney” and “fraud.” That’s ironic considering the Governor’s political gyrations. He was elected Governor as a moderate Pro-Choice Republican who favored gun control. He enacted RomneyCare, the model for ObamaCare. Massachusetts Republicans have to have these positions on the rare chance they can win an election in the liberal state. The Governor had an epiphany in running for President. He became Pro-Life and opposed gun control. He opposed ObamaCare, but was relatively mute in distinguishing RomneyCare from ObamaCare. The Governor, reflecting the fears of the eastern establishment, brought up echoes of the 1964 LBJ Landslide. The GOP establishment joined the media and LBJ’s campaign in trashing Republican nominee Senator Barry Goldwater. LBJ’s campaigns was symbolized by the brutal Daisy Ad. I was a young, naive liberal in San Francisco in 1964. I believed the calumnies against Senator Goldwater. Only later did we learn that, while the Johnson campaign was depicting Senator Goldwater as an out of control warmonger, LBJ was secretly planning a major escalation in Vietnam. We learnt that the Golf of Tonkin resolutions were based on falsity. Governor Romney still doesn’t get it. Republicans believed President Obama was vulnerable 4 years ago. Governor Romney ran a clueless, tone deaf campaign. He didn't get it then. He doesn't get it now. The two leading Republican candidates, Donald Trump and Senator Cruz, are anti-establishment. Senator Marco Rubio, the recently anointed candidate of the Establishment, is barely hanging on. The outsider Trump is running a non-traditional campaign for the American public, which is disillusioned with traditional politicians. No more Tweedledee, Tweedledum with Republicans leaning slightly to the right and Democrats slightly to the left. They want a fighter. Nobody cares what Romney says today.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Clinton v. Trump (?) The consummate insider v. the Outsider Super Tuesday, the SEC Primary, has spoken. Clinton and Trump are the big winners. Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, absent an indictment. Trump will be the Republican nominee unless Cruz or Rubio quickly drop out. Clinton v. Sanders is a one-on-one competition. She won 8 (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia), and Sanders 4. All 12 states were by majority vote. The Black vote in Southern states was decisive in her victories The Republican race was different. Trump won 7 (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Vermont), Cruz 4 (Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas), and Rubio 1 (Minnesota), but all victories were by pluralities. Not one victor reached 50% in a state. As long as Senators Cruz and Rubio split the anti-trump vote, Trump will win most of the remaining contests by pluralities. That’s all you need in winner take all primaries. Senator Cruz won Alaska, Texas, and Oklahoma. He won enough to stay in the race. Senator Rubio won the caucus state of Minnesota and came close in Virginia. The new favorite of the Republican “establishment” salvaged a reprieve in his sinking campaign. His remaining strategy is simple: win his home state of Florida, keep Donald Trump from winning a majority of the delegates before the GOP Convention, and then depend on a brokered convention to seal the deal. It’s not going to happen. A stolen nomination will result in a Trump third party campaign. Clinton would win by a plurality as did her husband in 1992 and 1996. The Republican establishment can’t take that risk this year. It’s Clinton v. Trump. Fashion your seat belt. It will be the dirtiest, most exciting campaign since LBJ’s resounding defeat of Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964. The Clintons are proven liars and will say and do anything to win. She can’t run on her record. The Clintons are salivating at the chance to run against Trump. They believe they have Trump’s own words and personal history to defeat him. California Governor Pat Brown and President Jimmy Carter also figured they would defeat a B actor, Ronald Reagan. The Clinton strategy is to gin up the Obama Coalition: African Americans, Hispanics, young women, students, and unions. She will add Muslims to the coalition. She has been assiduously been courting the Black vote, echoing Black Lives matter, and the “excessive” mass incarceration rate of African Americans. Her ads will play Trump’s racist rants against Hispanics and Muslims. The bombastic Trump will respond in kind. The mainstream media will pile on, aiding the Democratic cause. Trump’s supporters do not read the New York Times or Washington Post. She will wrap herself around President Obama, whose Administration will not indict her. She will run as the first female nominee. She will run on experience with no actual successes to show. Benghazi was her 3:00am phone call. Her message will include the standard Republican War on Women. Trump will respond with her husband’s personal war on women. Bill’s sex scandals will resurface and reverberate. She will also be unable to keep him muzzled through November. Her campaign fight against economic inequality will be met by cattle futures. Her focus group driven words will be betrayed by an incredibly stupid, inane statement at some point during the campaign. She will tout the success of ObamaCare, but face the millions who lost their existing coverage under ObamaCare. California will once again be irrelevant during the election except as a fundraising piggybank. The Republican establishment will hold its nose, swallow its pride, and vote for Trump. They have no choice. Primary turnout is not always predictive of November turnout. However, the Republican vote is up substantially this cycle while Democratic votes are down. The Reagan blue-collar Democrats are voting for Trump this primary season. They will be the difference if Trump wins in November.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger Also Explain the Donald trump Phenomenon I blogged on February 19, 2016 that Peter Finch as Howarrd Beale in the Movie Network touched a nerve with the American public – the same nerve that Donald Trump is touching today: “I’m mad as hell, and I won’t take this anymore.” I still believe that, but I also suspect the Ventura/Schwarzenegger phenomenom. Both are outsider and entertainers. So is The Donald. Jesse Ventura was a former Navy diver (predecessor to the Navy Seals), then a professional wrestler, broadcaster, author, and actor when he ran for Governor of Minnesota as an independent (Reform Party). He had served as Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota from 1991-1995.He had even earlier changed his name from James George Janos to Jesse Ventura. That’s entertainment. The Democratic (Skip Humphrey) and Republican (Norm Coleman) candidates underwhelmed the Minnesota voters and Jesse Ventura won on a plurality in November 1998. Arnold Schwarzenegger took advantage of the recall campaign against the hapless Democratic Governor Gary Davis to win election as Governor of California in 2003,again by a plurality. He won a resounding reelection campaign in 2006. Let us also remember that Ronald Reagan left the entertainment industry to be elected Governor of California in 1966. He followed in the footsteps of George Murphy, famous as a Hollywood song and dance star, who was elected United States Senator from California in 1964 on his initial run for public office. Both Governor Reagan and Senator Murphy had previously served as president of the Screen Actors Guild. There’s nothing special about entertainers as leaders except that successful entertainers know how to connect with the public. They can read an audience. They know what plays and what doesn’t. There often exists an intangible spark which lets these successful entertainers connect with people, especially large groups. Very few are elitist, for they have climbed the American ladder of success. They inspire others. They also represent an example of success outside politics, and thus do not come across as career, professional politician. They may also seem more trustworthy than your average politician. They acquire a public persona. Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger certainly traded on their public image as strong leaders. Let us not also forget Al Franken, the Harvard educated comedian, who now serves as a Senator from Minnesota and Congressman Fred Grandy (1987-1995), also Harvard educated, from Iowa, who previously starred as Gopher on The Love Boat. Finally we have Clint Eastwood, who served as Mayor of Carmel, California from 1986-1988. He was elected in reaction to the restrictive policies of the then Carmel leaders, who even banned ice cream cones in public. Donald Trump has the potential of following in all their footsteps, never having served a political apprenticeship. It’s entertainment for the people.