December 17, 2013

Watch out for the hate speech crusade, says Peter Berkowitz. It is sweeping universities like Harvard Law School, where “stifling of unpopular opinions by declaring them hurtful occurred at an institution whose very mission involves the vigilant protection of liberty of thought and discussion. They testify to the wisdom of our constitutional tradition, which keeps regulation of even genuinely hateful speech out of the hands of the state and leaves to the people the vital task of criticizing those who utter hate speech and defending those it targets.”

Forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Rami Bleible/Reuters)
Forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Rami Bleible/Reuters)

Speaking of elite educational institution, look out for the academic boycott of Israel by the American Studies Association. Elliott Abrams explains, “There are 200,000 dead in Syria and millions of refugees, zero academic freedom in China. … well, why go on; none of these matters seems worthy of notice by the ASA. It is illuminating that one of the endorsers of this move (actually, it is the second name that appears) on the ASA web site is Angela Davis, former Communist Party candidate for national office and now professor of Feminist Studies Emerita at UC Santa Cruz. She, like the ASA, has long been blind to human rights abuses -– except in Israel. This move by the ASA will not harm Israel, but it is enlightening for anyone with children attending or soon to be attending college that this group of academics harbors such an extraordinary bias.”

Check out of the Middle East, and this is what happens. “Sometimes it seems that Secretary of State John Kerry lives in an alternate universe, one in which the Palestinian Authority seeks peace, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is liberal, Iran’s Islamic Republic seeks only to generate electricity, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a leader who for the good of humanity might give up power to an opposition against whom he maintains a military edge. Hence, Kerry is moving full-steam ahead with plans for the ‘Geneva II’ conference to discuss Syria’s future.”

Scratch out that idea for the second term to-do list. “The White House on Monday tamped down on suggestions the administration could offer Edward Snowden amnesty. There has been talk that the former contractor for the National Security Agency could get amnesty in exchange for returning documents outlining the government’s top-secret surveillance programs. But White House spokesman Jay Carney said at his press briefing that the administration’s position on Snowden’s need to return home to face justice had not changed ‘at all.’ ”

Recall that Obama wanted to pull out anti-missile sites from Poland to placate Russia. Here’s the result: “Poland is worried about the possibility Russia has deployed Iskander missiles in the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, and will consult with its NATO partners on the issue, the foreign ministry in Warsaw said on Monday.”

Why not boot out some people? “With the calamitous debut of Obamacare, candidates for the chopping block would seem obvious. On Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, when asked whether she’d offered her resignation, dodged the question. Perhaps President Obama is waiting for the program to enjoy a period of calm before making subordinates walk the plank. But it may be that he, like some predecessors, realizes that firings are a two-edged sword: They signal decisiveness but send a message of an administration in disarray.” Or maybe Obama is a rotten manager.

Like Obama,  the late senator and Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern also found out how cumbersome, incompetent and ill-designed government can be. “After he retired from politics, [McGovern] purchased the leasehold of Connecticut’s Stratford Inn. The politician turned businessman quickly discovered how difficult government had made running a business. In a 1992 column for The Wall Street Journal, McGovern confessed, ‘In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business… I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.’ ” Why are liberals always the last to know?

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.