I’ve been asked to comment on the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. No thanks. I was doing something else Saturday night (details below), but, even if I weren’t, I’d rather shampoo the cat than sit through that, regardless of who’s president. I loathe both the fake self-deprecation of the politicians (which is mostly just another form of self-regard), and the fawning defanged jabs of the comics, and the cringe-making neediness of the journalists in attendance. An utterly repulsive spectacle.

And that’s on a good night. Whatever his other gifts, this particular president doesn’t seem willing even to fake self-deprecation – so the idea of the commander-in-chief pretending to be a good sport is largely abandoned, and the laughter of the sucks-ups is even creepier. And now I’m going to blow-dry the cat.

~Speaking of glittering social occasions, it was at one such last week that John Kerry made his “apartheid” crack about Israel, for which he has since “apologized” in the sense of voting for Israeli apartheid before he was against it. But, aside from that, what I found interesting about this classic Kinsleyan gaffe was that he made it at what was meant to be an off-the-record briefing with no press present. Yet somehow one guy managed to get in the room. As Laura Rosen Cohen comments:

You know what the extra bonus thing is?

A reveal of how idiotic, stupid and useless American “security” has become.

What a joke.

It’s like the TSA, security kabuki theatre.

Indeed. But this isn’t the TSA. This isn’t a kid hopping over the fence and boarding a Hawaii-bound jet at the Norman Y Mineta International Airport, hilariously named for the Transportation Secretary who inflicted post-9/11 TSA security kabuki on America, now and forever, yea unto the end of time. No, the Kerry event was being hosted by the Trilateral Commission, widely believed by gazillions of conspiracy theorists to be the shadowy organization secretly running the world.

So they’re supposedly behind everything that happens anywhere on the planet, but they can’t keep some hack from strolling in without a badge and recording their top-secret off-the-record briefing? Gee, it always looks so much harder in the conspiracy thrillers.

~On the other hand, a conspiracy movie for our times: All The President’s Dudes.


Dear John,

Every few years a messiah arrives in Jerusalem, shakes hands, makes demands and promises to make peace in our time. Then when the whole thing blows up in his face, he throws up his hands and flies back blaming the ungrateful Jews for not embracing his vision.

So many false messiahs have come before you, squinting against the bright sunshine, pounding the table at meetings, downing martinis and fantasizing about the Nobel Peace Prize that they were sure was waiting for them at the end.

And they left with nothing except sunburn and simmering rage.

Did you really think you would be any different? Were you so delusional that you imagined you could succeed where career diplomats with a lifetime of experience in the region had failed?

It’s not as if you had a good track record negotiating anything. Do you remember meeting Madame Binh in Paris? What about carrying Daniel Ortega’s peace offer after assuring everyone that he wasn’t a Communist? Right before he flew to Moscow. And let’s not gloss over your visit to Assad. Was that peace in the air or was it just the nerve gas?

I know you don’t have time to remember all your diplomatic triumphs. Or like Hillary, any of them.

You went to Paris to aid the Viet Cong. You went to Nicaragua to aid the FSLN terrorists. You went to Israel to aid the PLO. The USSR fell, but your old nostalgia for Communist guerrillas and killers hasn’t deserted you. It’s why you failed. And it’s why you’ll fail over and over again.

No matter what the PLO did, you blamed Israel. Just as no matter what the Viet Cong or the Sandinistas did, you blamed America.

The PLO can call for Israel’s destruction, champion terrorism and ally with Hamas, but your minions will still provide anonymous quotes saying that the PLO can’t be expected to negotiate while Israel possibly considers building houses in Jerusalem.


Judge Blocks Witch-Hunt Against Wisconsin Conservatives By Arnold Ahlert

The relentless efforts by Wisconsin leftists to undermine Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow conservatives—by any means necessary—has taken another hit. In a 26-page decision, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa granted a preliminary injunction halting a politically-motivated John Doe investigation that probed campaign spending and fundraising by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign, Eric O’Keefe, his Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG), and other conservative entities. “The Defendants must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation,” Randa wrote.

Randa illuminated his contempt for the investigation. “The defendants are pursuing criminal charges through a secret John Doe investigation against the plaintiffs for exercising issue advocacy speech rights that on their face are not subject to the regulations or statutes the defendants seek to enforce.This legitimate exercise of O‘Keefe‘s rights as an individual, and WCFG‘s rights as a 501(c)(4) corporation, to speak on the issues has been characterized by the defendants as political activity covered by Chapter 11 of the Wisconsin Statutes, rendering the plaintiffs a subcommittee of the Friends of Scott Walker (―FOSW‖) and requiring that money spent on such speech be reported as an in-kind campaign contribution. This interpretation is simply wrong.”

As a result, Randa ordered that the plaintiffs “and others” are “hereby relieved of any and every duty under Wisconsin law to cooperate further with Defendants‘ investigation. Any attempt to obtain compliance by any Defendant or John Doe Judge Gregory Peterson is grounds for a contempt finding by this Court.”

The ruling completely undermines the efforts of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, who launched the probe in mid-2012, shortly after Democrats’ failure to remove Walker in a recall election prompted by the passage of Act 10. That piece of legislation limited the power of unions to collectively bargain, setting the stage for a ferocious pushback that included Democratic state legislators fleeing the state to prevent a vote on the issue, an effort to effect a liberal majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the purpose of overturning the law, and the attempt to remove Walker in the aforementioned recall vote that ultimately failed.


It is not enough to say that this is old material, that a special committee is a diversion, that a rehash of the events will not find the Administration culpable when previous attempts failed, that it is time to move forward, to ensure that such killings will never happen again.

There is no question about the latter: we should not let such a tragedy recur, but neither should we allow the cover-up to go unpunished. The former represents a dereliction of duty; the latter, a fraudulent depiction of events for political purposes. A cover-up amplifies the original crime. Loyalty is a worthy trait, but when taken to extremes it becomes a defense of the indefensible. Every Administration has had incidents they would prefer never happened. Most were done not at the insistence of the President, but erroneously on his behalf, an example being a young aide like Ben Rhodes who apparently represented what he believed to be the President’s wishes in an e-mail.

Most offenses are of no great consequence, and disappear into the mists of history. But in a serious incident – as this was, with four people killed including a U.S. Ambassador – it is the cover-up that almost always proves fatal. Yet, Americans are a forgiving people. Admitting mistakes, while hard to do, is almost always accepted. In the early years of the United States, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was seduced by the wife of a political enemy. Hamilton publically admitted his guilt; so the planned blackmail attempt came to naught. People are as forgiving today as they were 220 years ago.

Until Benghazi, the best known example of a massive cover-up in my lifetime was that of a second-rate burglary at the Watergate Hotel and Office complex on June 17th, 1972. Nixon was running for re-election. By October 10th the FBI had tied the break-in to the Nixon re-election campaign. Nevertheless, on November 7th Richard Nixon won re-election with one of the largest majorities in U.S. history. In May 1973, Eliot Richardson, the Attorney General-designee, tapped Archibald Cox as a special prosecutor. The October massacre, with Nixon firing Cox and Richardson resigning, occurred on the 20th of the month. Nixon’s White House finally turned over some of the tapes in December, but with an eighteen and a half minute gap. In April 1974, still stonewalling, the White House turned aver 1200 pages of edited tapes. On July 23rd, more than two years after the break-in, the Supreme Court (which included four Nixon appointees, including Chief Justice Warren Burger) ruled unanimously that executive privilege did not apply and all tapes must be turned over. Three days later the House passed the first of three articles of impeachment, charging obstruction of justice. Thirteen days later, on August 8th 1974, Richard Nixon became the first U.S. President to resign. Partisanship did not mar justice, as is the case today.


A Partisan Probe Defeated Democrats whiff on Governor Scott Walker once again.
By Christian Schneider

Early in the morning on October 3, 2013, armed officers showed up at the homes of Deborah Jordahl and R. J. Johnson. Their homes were illuminated by floodlights perched on sheriff deputies’ vehicles as officers seized business papers, computer equipment, phones, and other devices. While their residences were raided, Jordahl and Johnson were restrained under police supervision and denied the ability to contact their attorneys.

Jordahl and Johnson were not part of any illicit drug ring. They hadn’t been trafficking in human organs or distributing child pornography.

Their crime? Supporting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

Jordahl and Johnson run the Wisconsin Club for Growth, an independent organization that promotes free-market policies. When Walker battled the public-sector unions in 2011 and 2012, the Club raised funds and ran advertisements supporting restrictions on government-union bargaining power.

After Walker prevailed in a much-publicized June 2012 recall election, the Club’s activities drew the interest of Milwaukee’s Democratic district attorney, John Chisholm. In August of 2012, Chisholm initiated a “John Doe” investigation that alleged “illegal campaign coordination” between Walker’s campaign committee and independent groups like the Club. In total, 29 conservative-leaning groups were targeted. At the same time, the activities of independent-expenditure groups on the left were ignored.

This was the second John Doe investigation that forces on the right had faced since Walker began his campaign for governor. In 2010, a Doe probe of Walker’s tenure as Milwaukee County executive (the office he still held while running) resulted in convictions for several of his ex-staffers — one for child enticement, one for stealing money from a veterans’ fund, and one for sending political e-mails on government time. But the investigation shut down in March of 2013, with Walker having been cleared of any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, federal judge Rudolph Randa effectively shut down the Left’s latest attempts to target conservatives in the state. Acting on a complaint by the Club and one of its national directors, Eric O’Keefe (who detailed the harassment he has suffered during the probe in a Wall Street Journal article last November), Randa halted the investigation and ordered the return of all property seized by law enforcement, as well as the destruction of any information and materials gained in the investigation. According to Randa’s ruling, the Club is no longer required to cooperate with prosecutors in any way.

The ruling is especially timely because Walker is up for reelection this November. Democrats were certainly going to make the investigation a central point in their attacks on Walker, as they did with the first Doe probe. The Club for Growth will also now be able to resume raising money and participating in issue advertising, though O’Keefe believes the cloud of the investigation has cost his group $2 million in lost fundraising.


The whole discussion of what constitutes sexual harassment was put on national display when Anita Hall accused Clarence Thomas of the most ridiculous “dirty talk” and brought about the absurd hearings on his nomination, with a tom-cat like Ted Kennedy, of all people, scolding about harassment of women….rsk
The Obama Administration’s Deserving Victims The campus sexual-assault controversy is of liberal higher ed’s own making.

For decades, universities have nurtured the most lunatic forms of feminism, denying the biological differences between males and females, promoting the idea that Western civilization is endemically sexist, and encouraging in their students ever-more-delusional forms of victimhood. It is therefore deeply gratifying to see these same universities now impaled by the very ideology that they have so assiduously promoted.

The Obama administration has released the names of 55 colleges and universities that it is investigating over their sexual-assault policies, part of an accelerating campaign against universities for allegedly turning a blind eye to the purported epidemic of campus rape. The list is top-heavy with the elite of the elite — Harvard, Princeton, UC Berkeley, Swarthmore, Amherst, and Dartmouth, among others. A more deserving group of victims would be hard to find.

Parroting over 20 years worth of feminist propagandizing, the White House claims nearly 20 percent of female college undergraduates are sexually assaulted during their college years. To put that number in perspective: Detroit residents have been fleeing the city for years due to its infamous violent crime. And what constitutes an American urban crime wave? In 2012, Detroit’s combined rate for all four violent felonies that make up the FBI’s violent-crime index — murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — was 2 percent. The rape rate was 0.05 percent. And yet, despite an alleged campus sexual-assault rate that is 400 times greater than Detroit’s, female applicants are beating down the doors of selective colleges in record numbers.

Stanford, one of the 55 colleges under investigation by the Department of Education for allegedly ignoring sexual violence, this year received over 42,000 applications, at least half from females, for a freshman class of about 1,700; every other elite college was similarly swamped with female applicants. According to the White House Council on Women and Girls, “survivors” of the alleged campus sexual-assault epidemic “often” experience a lifetime of physical and mental infirmity that includes depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome. How could highly educated baby-boomer mothers, who have spent their maternal years fending off phantom risks to their children from pesticides and vaccines, suddenly send their daughters off to a crime scene of such magnitude, unmatched even in the most brutal African tribal wars? What happened to the Sisterhood? Shouldn’t it be warning its members and forming alternative structures for educating females? Instead, every year, millions of girls walk into this alleged maelstrom of violence like innocent lambs to slaughter. Even more puzzling, every year those same girls graduate from that cauldron of predation in ever more disproportionate numbers, and go on to lead highly lucrative careers.

It should not be necessary to tell a feminist that rape is the most violent crime — with the emphasis on crime – that a woman can experience, short of murder. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports list rape as the second most serious violent felony. If the campus feminists really believed that campuses are experiencing an epidemic of criminal sexual assault, they would demand that every campus sexual-assault allegation be brought in criminal court, where the assailant can be sentenced to years in prison if convicted. Instead, they favor secret proceedings before an increasingly byzantine set of campus tribunals made up of judicially clueless bureaucrats and professors whose most severe punishment is expulsion. Imagine if a stranger broke into a female’s dorm room at night and raped her at knifepoint. Would that case be taken to the campus Title IX gender-bias tribunal? Unlikely. If someone were merely robbing females of their iPads at gunpoint around the campus library, that case, too, though far less serious than rape, would most certainly be prosecuted criminally.

There are several reasons why no one is pushing to bring campus sexual-assault cases to court. It certainly helps that the procedures before college gender tribunals are egregiously stacked against defendants. The Obama administration recently recommended that campuses deny students facing sexual-assault charges the right to cross-examine their accuser, a trend already well underway on campuses across the country. It also wants campuses to use a flimsy preponderance-of-evidence standard for guilt, and to allow repeated proceedings against a student after an initial acquittal, as KC Johnson and Hans Bader have explained.


From Amnesty International online, May 7:

Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia’s authorities to quash the outrageous sentencing today of Raif Badawi in connection with an online forum for public debate he set up and accusations that he insulted Islam.
Raif Badawi, co-founder of the “Saudi Arabian Liberals” website, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals (about US$266,631) . . .
Badawi was first jailed in 2012 . . . He was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes.
Last December, an appeals court overturned his conviction and sent the case to Jeddah’s Criminal Court to be reviewed.


Wind energy undercuts coal and nuclear power, harms the land and wastes money.

The U.S. Senate is poised to resurrect Washington’s most conspicuous, wasteful taxpayer subsidy—the wind-production tax credit.

This giveaway expired in December. Yet on April 3 the Senate Finance Committee gave it new life by approving a $13 billion, two-year renewal within a package of 55 “tax extenders.” Once again, Washington is proving Ronald Reagan’s observation that “the nearest thing to eternal life that we’ll ever see on this Earth is a government program.”

The wind-production tax credit was first enacted in 1992. At the time, wind-power was considered a kind of “infant industry,” needing help to bring its technology up to speed and lead to lower costs. The tax credit has since been reborn eight times, even though President Obama’s Energy Secretary Stephen Chu in 2011 said that wind power is a “mature technology.” A mature technology should stand on its own in the marketplace.

The 2.3-cent tax credit for each kilowatt-hour of wind-power electricity produced is sometimes worth more than the energy it subsidizes. Sometimes in some markets, for example in Texas and Illinois, the subsidy is so large that wind producers have paid utilities to take their electricity and still make a profit.

The wind-production tax credit should not be renewed for three principal reasons:

1) It wastes money. The proposed two-year extension would cost taxpayers nearly $13 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Taxation. In 2013, when Congress renewed the subsidy for one year, the cost was nearly $12 billion over 10 years. This is more than the federal government spends on energy research in one year.


How the government created a federal hunting license for the far left.

In the U.S., the politics of the left versus the right rolls on with the predictability of traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. It’s a lot of honking. Until now. All of a sudden, the left has hit ramming speed across a broad swath of American life—in the universities, in politics and in government. People fingered as out of line with the far left’s increasingly bizarre claims are being hit and hit hard.

Commencement-speaker bans are obligatory. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice withdrew as Rutgers’s speaker after two months of protests over Iraq, the left’s long-sought replacement for the Vietnam War. Brandeis terminated its invitation to Somali writer Hirsi Ali, whose criticisms of radical Islam violated the school’s “core values.”

Azusa Pacific University “postponed” an April speech by political scientist Charles Murray to avoid “hurting our faculty and students of color.” Come again? It will “hurt” them? Oh yes. In a recent New Republic essay, Jennie Jarvie described the rise of “trigger warnings” that professors are expected to post with their courses to avoid “traumatizing” students.

Oberlin College earlier this year proposed that its teachers “be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.” The co-chair of Oberlin’s Sexual Offense Policy Task Force said last month that this part of the guide is now under revision.

I think it’s fair to say something has snapped.

Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich was driven out as CEO for donating money to support California’s Prop. 8. An online protest tried to kill Condi Rice’s appointment to the Dropbox board of directors over Internet surveillance. Incredibly, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston didn’t cave.

Earlier this year, faculty and students held a meeting at Vassar College to discuss a particularly bitter internal battle over the school’s boycott-Israel movement. Before the meeting, an English professor announced the dialogue “would not be guided by cardboard notions of civility.”

The Real Palestinian Refugee Crisis by Asaf Romirowsky

Perhaps the most insurmountable and explosive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the so-called “right of return”—the demand that millions of Palestinians must be allowed to “return” to the State of Israel under any peace agreement. While Israel has made clear that it cannot agree to this, since it would effectively destroy Israel as a Jewish state, the Palestinians have steadfastly refused to compromise on the issue. This has made the “right of return” the primary obstacle to any peace agreement.

Despite the latest round of peace talks, there is little sign that the Palestinians are willing to change their stance. Indeed, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has unequivocally stated, “Let me put it simply: the right of return is a personal decision. What does this mean? That neither the PA, nor the state, nor the PLO, nor Abu Mazen [Abbas’ nom de guerre], nor any Palestinian or Arab leader has the right to deprive someone from his right to return.” Abbas is by no means alone in this. In fact, whenever it appears that Abbas might waver, the reaction tends to be swift and ferocious.

At one point, for example, Ali Huwaidi, director of the Palestinian Organization for the Right of Return (“Thabit”) in Beirut, lashed out at Abbas, saying,

Regardless of Abbas’ statements, the right of return is guaranteed, individually and collectively, through UN resolutions. The refugees will not give up their right no matter where they are living today. Abbas is worried about flooding Israel with five million refugees while Israel has brought one million people from the former Soviet Union and no one complained about this. Our refugees will not accept any alternative to their right to return to their homeland and we do not care what Abbas’ position is.

But how many actual refugees are there? Surely over the years, many of those displaced have passed away, and such status does not normally transfer from generation to generation.

The issue is so emotive because, in many ways, Palestinian identity itself is embodied in the collective belief in a “right of return” to “Palestine.” Along with the belief that resistance to Israel is permanent and holy, Palestinian identity is largely based on the idea that the Palestinians are, individually and communally, refugees; that they have been made so by Israel; and that the United Nations should support these refugees until they can return to what is now Israel.

This belief is passionately safeguarded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The organization was established in 1949 following the failure of the Arab war against Israel’s independence, and its original mandate was to provide services to the approximately 650,000 Arabs displaced by the conflict. Today, it is essentially a massive social welfare system serving millions of Palestinians, primarily in the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. At the same time, its activities go well beyond simple humanitarianism. It plays a distinctly political role in Palestinian society, working to further the cause of Palestinian nationalism through politicized education, activism, anti-Israel propaganda, and other activities.

In effect, UNRWA has come to depend on the refugee problem itself. While the refugees benefit from its services, the organization benefits even more from the refugees. They are, of course, the organization’s raison d’être. UNRWA has no incentive whatsoever to resolve the Palestinian refugee problem, since doing so would render it obsolete. As a result, the agency not only perpetuates the refugee problem, but has, in many ways, exacerbated it. In doing so, it has made Israeli-Palestinian peace all but impossible.

UNRWA’s role in perpetuating and even expanding the refugee problem is a complex one; but, more than anything else, it is the result of the agency’s own definition of a Palestinian refugee—which is unique in world history. The standard definition of a refugee, which applies in every case except that of the Palestinians, includes only those actually displaced in any given conflict. UNRWA has defined a Palestinian refugee as anyone whose “normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” But it has also continually expanded this definition, now stating “the children or grandchildren of such refugees are eligible for agency assistance if they are (a) registered with UNRWA, (b) living in the area of UNRWA’s operations, and (c) in need.”

As a result, the number of official Palestinian refugees—according to UNRWA— has expanded almost to the point of absurdity. The best estimates are that perhaps 650,000 Palestinians became refugees in 1948-1949; but UNRWA now defines virtually every Palestinian born since that time as a refugee. That number now reaches well into the millions. This is quite simply unprecedented. In no other case has refugee status been expanded to include subsequent generations over a period of decades.

UNRWA’s involvement in Palestinian society is equally unique. Its role there has expanded from simple refugee relief to one of the most important and influential Palestinian institutions. In particular, the agency now employs nearly 30,000 people, most of whom are Palestinian. This makes UNRWA the single largest employer in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and indispensable to the Palestinian economy. As such, there is a strong economic incentive to keep the prosperous organization afloat.

It cannot be said that the agency is ungenerous to its subjects. When the world hears words like “refugees” and “refugee camps,” it instinctively pictures desperate people living in tents or shantytowns. This generates automatic sympathy and financial support for organizations like UNRWA, which regularly receives monetary contributions amounting to millions of dollars. All this is due to the belief that these funds provide humanitarian aid and help with the assimilation of Palestinian refugees. In many cases, the reality is entirely different. UNRWA-administered refugee camps are often fully-functioning suburbs of Palestinian cities, with water, electricity, and even satellite television.