Michael Barone writes: “‘Shut up,’ he explained.” Those words are from Ring Lardner‘s short story “The Young Immigrunts.” They’re an exasperated father’s response from the driver’s seat to his child’s question, “‘Are you lost, Daddy?’ I asked tenderly.”
They also can be taken as the emblematic response of today’s liberals to anyone questioning their certitudes. A response that at least sometimes represents the uneasy apprehension of the father in the story that they have no good answer.
“We are told that speech codes are necessary because some students may be offended by what others say. In recent years we have been warned that seemingly innocuous phrases may be ‘microaggressions’ that must be stamped out and that “trigger warnings” should be administered to warn students of possibly upsetting material.”
It was not always so. Today’s liberals, like those of Lardner’s day, pride themselves on their critical minds, their openness to new and unfamiliar ideas, their tolerance of diversity and differences. But often that characterization seems as defunct as Lardner, who died at an unhappily early age in 1935.
“Beyond the campus, liberals are also eager to restrict free speech. This is apparent in some responses to those who argue that global warming may not be as inevitable and harmful as most liberals believe, and that while increased carbon emissions would surely raise temperatures if they were the only factor affecting climate, some other factors just might be involved.”
Consider the proliferation of speech codes at our colleges and universities. The website of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education sets out the speech codes at 400 of the nation’s largest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning. The liberals who run these institutions — you won’t find many non-liberals among their faculties and administrations — have decided to limit their students’ First Amendment right of freedom of speech. Read the rest of this entry »
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former CIA officer convicted of leaking details of a secret mission to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions is making his final pitch for a lenient sentence.
Jeffrey Sterling of O’Fallon, Missouri, is scheduled for sentencing Monday afternoon in federal court near Washington.
He faces a recommended sentence of 20 years or more under federal sentencing guidelines for violations of the Espionage Act. A jury convicted him of telling New York Times journalist James Risen about a classified plan to trick the Iranian government by slipping flawed nuclear blueprints through a Russian intermediary. Read the rest of this entry »
Paul Bedard writes: The financial issues plaguing Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign have become too much even for liberal groups, and now Common Cause is calling for an independent audit of donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Amid suggestions that foreign governments donated to the foundation in hopes of getting special treatment from President Obama’s State Department when Clinton was his top diplomat, the group on Friday said a “thorough review” is needed….(read more)
Below is their full release:
Common Cause Urges Independent Audit of Donations to Clinton Foundation
Citing concerns about potential conflicts of interest and the influence of hidden overseas donors, Common Cause called on presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Clinton Foundation today to commission an independent and thorough review of all large donations to the foundation and to release the results.
“As Mrs. Clinton herself observed earlier this week, voluntary disclosure is not enough,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport. “A report in Thursday’s New York Times indicates that the Clinton Foundation violated an agreement to identify all of its donors. The foundation’s omissions create significant gaps in the information that voters need to make informed decisions at the polls.”
To ensure that the audit is complete, Rapoport said the foundation should enter into a contractual agreement with auditors to open its books fully and to make public the complete report of their review.
And to further guard against potential conflicts of interest, the foundation should stop accepting donations from foreign governments and foreign corporations, he said.
“There already is too much ‘dark money’ in our elections, in the form of spending by supposedly independent nonprofit groups that are not required to disclose their donors and operate as sort of shadow campaigns,” Rapoport said. “The Clinton Foundation and any other foundations tied to a candidate or his or her family provide one more way for potential donors to gain access and curry favor from candidates — without the public knowing about it. That lack of transparency creates a clear risk of undue influence and conflicts of interest.” Read the rest of this entry »
Obama’s Brutal Foreign Policy
The Democratic left’s worldview was defined forever by the Vietnam War. LBJ’s budget got caught between guns for Vietnam and butter for the Great Society. Barack Obama is refusing to be trapped by this dilemma. The Obama legacy will be about butter…
We have reached that point. They are not enough.
In just the past few weeks, the following events have happened. They are a blur of chaos and brutality.
Islamic State videotaped its beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya and Egypt’s bombed Islamic State camps in retaliation. An ISIS sympathizer sprayed bullets into a free-speech meeting in Copenhagen. A 4,000-man army post in Yemen was overrun by fighters from al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula. Russian-supported rebels in Ukraine commenced an artillery barrage on Kiev’s forces inside the city of Debaltseve after the grand cease-fire brokered by Germany and France.
Jordan’s King Abdullah asked the U.S. to send aircraft parts and munitions after ISIS immolated a caged Jordanian pilot. Nigeria’s homicidal Islamic jihadist group, Boko Haram, extended its assaults into Niger and Chad. Both Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi separately called on the United Nations, of all things, to organize a coalition to clean up Libya. A Jewish cemetery in France was smashed to pieces.
The reaction of the U.S. government to all this?
The White House this week assembled a “summit” on “countering violent extremism,” where on Wednesday Mr. Obama restated the difference between Islam and the perversion of Islam.
Ukraine’s embattled army, encircled in the strategic railway city of Debaltseve by rebels using Russian artillery and tanks, desperately needed defensive military equipment from the U.S. They didn’t get it. On Tuesday Vladimir Putin said they should surrender. On Wednesday, hours before Mr. Obama spoke to the extremism summit, they gave up.
“Before I go through the elements of this strategy, I want to note how our approach may differ from what others may recommend. We believe in the importance of economic growth, but we insist upon investing in the foundations of American power: education and health care; clean energy and basic research.”
— National Security Adviser Susan Rice
Islamic State’s videotaped barbarism expands, but the U.S. commitment against them in Iraq and Syria will not move beyond limited airstrikes.
Nigeria, like Libya and Iraq, is a nation of vast oil revenue for whoever controls it. Nigeria’s chance of getting support from the Obama administration before it falls into chaos is zero, no matter how many girls Boko Haram kidnaps.
“Leftist realpolitik—melting guns so it can churn more butter—may survive a pullout from the world in normal times. But it’s not going to hold for the next two years, not at this pace, not with Islam’s jihadists using social media to make all of us party to the de-civilizing of the world.”
It is a mistake to think that Mr. Obama’s passivity or indecision are sufficient explanation. What is on offer here is the American left’s version of realpolitik. The decision by the Obama White House not to deploy American resources is thought-out, brutal and unapologetic.
“Eventually Barack Obama will be forced to act, or his presidency will erode politically, taking many Democrats with him.”
President Obama in his Feb. 6 national-security statement explained what he is doing—or not doing. He was precise and clear:
“We have to make hard choices among many competing priorities and we must always resist the overreach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear.”
Short version: He’s not spending real money on any of this. Get over it. Read the rest of this entry »
Laurence H. Silberman: The Dangerous Lie That ‘Bush Lied’: ‘Some Journalists Still Peddle This Canard As If It Were Fact’Posted: February 8, 2015
Mr. Silberman, a senior federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Laurence H. Silberman writes: In recent weeks, I have heard former Associate Press reporter Ron Fournier on Fox News twice asserting, quite offhandedly, that President George W. Bush“lied us into war in Iraq.”
“It is astonishing to see the ‘Bush lied’ allegation evolve from antiwar slogan to journalistic fact.”
I found this shocking. I took a leave of absence from the bench in 2004-05 to serve as co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction—a bipartisan body, sometimes referred to as the Robb-Silberman Commission. It was directed in 2004 to evaluate the intelligence community’s determination that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD—I am, therefore, keenly aware of both the intelligence provided to President Bush and his reliance on that intelligence as his primary casus belli. It is astonishing to see the “Bush lied” allegation evolve from antiwar slogan to journalistic fact.
The intelligence community’s 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) stated, in a formal presentation to President Bush and to Congress, its view that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction—a belief in which the NIE said it held a 90% level of confidence. That is about as certain as the intelligence community gets on any subject.
Recall that the head of the intelligence community, Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet, famously told the president that the proposition that Iraq possessed WMD was “a slam dunk.”
“The Right believes, not without some reason, that the main reason we ended up with a disastrous Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate government — the brief years of which imposed damage that will take much longer to undo — had to do with the foreign policy of George W. Bush and the fiscal incontinence of congressional Republicans during the Bush years.”
Our WMD commission carefully examined the interrelationships between the Bush administration and the intelligence community and found no indication that anyone in the administration sought to pressure the intelligence community into its findings.
“As I recall, no one in Washington political circles offered significant disagreement with the intelligence community before the invasion. The National Intelligence Estimate was persuasive—to the president, to Congress and to the media.”
— Laurence H. Silberman
As our commission reported, presidential daily briefs from the CIA dating back to the Clinton administration were, if anything, more alarmist about Iraq’s WMD than the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. Read the rest of this entry »
GREG GUTFELD: It’s good to see all these vocal free speech supporters, many of whom were silent when [Ayaan] Hirsi Ali, Condoleezza Rice and others were kept from speaking on campuses. I suppose you only express solidarity when it’s cool, and there’s a neat hashtag.
But as we know, one aids terror by blocking speech through the fabrication of offense. We must fight evil, but what happens when the fight is labeled as “bigoted” by the media, our campuses, our leaders? Terror wins.
And so CNN’s Christiane Amanpour calls terrorists “activists.” I’m really not kidding.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR (in a broadcast on the day of the massacre, perhaps even shortly after it took place, given that CNN considered it “Breaking News”): On this day, these activists found their targets, and their targets were journalists. This was a clear attack on the freedom of expression, on the press, and on satire.
Anyway, and editors worrying more about right-wing reaction to terror than terror itself.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF (at MSNBC on Wednesday, Clip 1): I think they should have been more sensitive. I don’t believe in gratuitously offending people.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF (at MSNBC on Wednesday, Clip 2): We have to be really, really careful not to respond to the extraordinary intolerance of these jihadis with our own intolerance.
DAVID ROTHKOPF (at MSNBC on Wednesday, Clip 3): I think we have to be just as worried about the reaction to the attack from nationalists, from right-wingers, from people who have sought to drive this wedge, as it was described earlier, between the Islamic communities and the mainstream communities in Europe.
GUTFELD: I get it. The enemy is pre-ordained. It’s us. Which means Howard Dean is right. This is a cult, a cult of apologists. But Dean is also right when he says this is not a religious issue, which means, if I don’t see Islam when I fight terror, then you cannot see Islamophobia when I fight it.
What should we see instead? Again, a death cult, one that needs no understanding, just eradication. It would be nice for moderate Muslims to help, but if they don’t, we can handle it, it’s nothing personal, Muslims. Just step aside. Read the rest of this entry »
Sol Stern: The Unfree Speech Movement
How did this Orwellian inversion occur? It happened in part because the Free Speech Movement’s fight for free speech was always a charade.
“I realized years later that this moment may have been the beginning of the 1960s radicals’ perversion of ordinary political language, like the spelling “Amerika” or seeing hope and progress in Third World dictatorships.”
Sol Stern writes: This fall the University of California at Berkeley is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a student-led protest against campus restrictions on political activities that made headlines and inspired imitators around the country. I played a small part in the Free Speech Movement, and some of those returning for the reunion were once my friends, but I won’t be joining them.
“‘Tenured radicals,’ in New Criterion editor Roger Kimball’s phrase, now dominate most professional organizations in the humanities and social studies.”
Though the movement promised greater intellectual and political freedom on campus, the result has been the opposite. The great irony is that while Berkeley now honors the memory of the Free Speech Movement, it exercises more thought control over students than the hated institution that we rose up against half a century ago.
“Unlike our old liberal professors, who dealt respectfully with the ideas advanced by my generation of New Left students, today’s radical professors insist on ideological conformity and don’t take kindly to dissent by conservative students.”
We early-1960s radicals believed ourselves anointed as a new “tell it like it is” generation. We promised to transcend the “smelly old orthodoxies” (in George Orwell’s phrase) of Cold War liberalism and class-based, authoritarian leftism.
Leading students into the university administration building for the first mass protest, Mario Savio, the Free Speech Movement’s brilliant leader from Queens, New York, famously said: “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. . . . . And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
“Visits by speakers who might not toe the liberal line—recently including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Islamism critic Aayan Hirsi Ali —spark protests and letter-writing campaigns by students in tandem with their professors until the speaker withdraws or the invitation is canceled.”
The Berkeley “machine” now promotes Free Speech Movement kitsch. The steps in front of Sproul Hall, the central administration building where more than 700 students were arrested on Dec. 2, 1964, have been renamed the Mario Savio Steps. One of the campus dining halls is called the Free Speech Movement Café, its walls covered with photographs and mementos of the glorious semester of struggle. The university requires freshmen to read an admiring biography of Savio, who died in 1996, written by New York University professor and Berkeley graduate Robert Cohen.
“by contrast, one of the honored speakers at the Free Speech Movement anniversary rally on Sproul Plaza will be Bettina Aptheker, who is now a feminist-studies professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.”
Yet intellectual diversity is hardly embraced. Every undergraduate undergoes a form of indoctrination with a required course on the “theoretical or analytical issues relevant to understanding race, culture, and ethnicity in American society,” administered by the university’s Division of Equity and Inclusion. Read the rest of this entry »
For RealClearPolitics, Carl M. Cannon writes: Irritating phrases and words are not confined to political circles, or solely to Washington, although here in the nation’s capital they burrow in and proliferate like obsolete, but entrenched, government programs. This is a call to arms to fight them—but only metaphorically.
15: “WAR ON [FILL IN THE BLANK]” Syria’s civil war has produced 2.5 million refugees and a death toll of 160,000, a tragedy that has galvanized neither major political party into action. So next time a Democrat brays about the so-called Republican “war on women” or a Republican trumpets the Obama administration’s “war on coal,” tell them you’ve seen what real war looks like—and ask what the U.S. can do to stop it.
14. “TAX HIKE” It’s not a “hike.” What are you going to do, put it in a knapsack and take it for a walk? It’s a tax increase. This usage was coined by headline writers because it’s shorter. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who often employs this phrase, has no such excuse.
13. “RIGHT-WING” This term is bandied about carelessly, usually as a pejorative. In “The Devil’s Dictionary,” Ambrose Bierce defined “conservative.” Here is the entry, in its entirety: “CONSERVATIVE, n. a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.” The converse of “right-wing,” a label freely applied to Fox News and countless Republican elected officials, is not “liberal,” it’s “left wing.”
12. “FRANKLY” Rhett Butler made this word famous, but when politicians preface their remarks with “frankly” (or “candidly”), they don’t give a damn about being frank or candid. Usually, it means they’re about to tell a whopper—or recite a talking point. Listen for this usage from now on. It’s a self-administered lie detector.
11. “TALKING POINTS” Pols who recite self-serving spin written by others while answering basic questions about their jobs are essentially reading the stage directions. It suggests they are too lazy to invent their own fibs or excuses—or that they work for control freaks who don’t trust them to know their own subject matter. This is a discordant trait in a high-ranking official, such as U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice or anyone who attended top-notch schools, which also fits Rice. She was a history major at Stanford and a Rhodes scholar with a master’s degree and a doctorate from Oxford.
10. “DOCTOR” In the White House compound and certain media precincts, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden is referred to as “Dr. Biden,” usually in reverential tones. This is understandable—who wants to be called “the second lady”? But, like Susan Rice, Jill Biden has a PhD, not a medical degree. It was also a secret password in the Bush administration to affix “Dr.” in front of another foreign policy official surnamed Rice. Susan Rice, Condoleezza Rice, and Jill Biden are accomplished people, but the old-time newsroom rule is best: If someone isn’t licensed to take your tonsils out, you don’t have to call ’em “Doc.”
[This next one is my personal favorite example of an annoying, overused word–I hear it a lot from POTUS, and also, Brit Hume]
9. “LOOK…” Almost as soon as he arrived in Washington, Barack Obama adopted the off-putting Sunday talk show habit—used promiscuously by Karl Rove—of starting sentences with the word “Look.” Two months after his inauguration, things got so bad that Jimmy Fallon sought to discourage its proliferation by producing a montage, set to music, of Obama saying “Look…” 26 times in an hour-long news conference. To a layman, it sounds like Obama is really saying, “Look here, moron…” But two UCLA professors told Anya Sostek of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that this preamble isn’t as patronizing as it sounds. Manny Schegloff says Obama is signaling that he’s about to provide background information as part of his answer that informs his policy position. His colleague Steven Clayman adds that Ronald Reagan often began answers to questions with the word, “Well”—as a way of preparing listeners for a different answer than they might expect. Or so say Dr. Clayman and Dr. Schegloff. Read the rest of this entry »
Greetings, Class of 2014. So Condoleezza Rice was too offensive for you. Just wait until Monday morning. Did you learn how to spell KFC?
“…1989 happens to be when the Berlin Wall fell. I know, I know, most of you weren’t born, and you get your news from TMZ. A wall falling over can’t be as interesting as Beyonce’s sister punching and kicking Jay Z in a New York hotel elevator…”
Between inviting and re-inviting LeGrand, Rutgers invited and confirmed the invitation of former New Jersey governor and former head of the 9/11 Commission Tom Kean. So the university has two—and, for all I know, still counting—commencement speakers. But Rutgers never got confused enough to invite me.
“Stop taking selfies and Google “Berlin Wall” on the iPhones you’re all fiddling with.”
Eric LeGrand and Tom Kean are uplifting figures. LeGrand has raised hope. Kean has raised hell with the CIA and FBI. I am not uplifting.
Here Is What I Would Tell the Rutgers Graduating Class of 2014…
I hear Condoleezza Rice stood you up. You may think it was because about 50 students—.09 percent of your student body—held a “sit-in” at the university president’s office to protest the selection of Secretary Rice as commencement speaker. You may think it was because a few of your faculty—stale flakes from the crust of the turkey pot pie that was the New Left—threatened a “teach-in” to protest the selection of Secretary Rice.
“Sit-in”? “Teach-in”? What century is this?
I think Secretary Rice forgot she had a yoga session scheduled for today.
It’s shame she was busy. You might have heard something useful from a person who grew up poor in Jim Crow Alabama. Who lost a friend and playmate in 1963 when white supremacists bombed Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Who became an accomplished concert pianist before she tuned her ear to the more dissonant chords of international relations. Read the rest of this entry »
I.M.F. Chief Christine Lagarde Not Approved by Smith College’s Left-Wing Thought Enforcers, Withdraws as Commencement SpeakerPosted: May 13, 2014
For THE NEW YORK TIMES, RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA reports: A week before she was to speak at the Smith College commencement, Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund, has withdrawn from the event, citing protests against her and the fund, the college said Monday.
Her withdrawal comes after Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state,withdrew from speaking at the Rutgers University commencement in the face of protests against her role in Bush administration foreign policy, and weeks after Brandeis University rescinded its invitation to the rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement, after protests over her anti-Islam statements.
Such reversals have become more common in recent years, said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, referring to this time of year as “disinvitation season.” What has changed is not so much the protests themselves, but the willingness of colleges and speakers to give in, adding that many apparently voluntary withdrawals are made at the college’s urging. Read the rest of this entry »