June 3, 2015

Click on WORD or PDF for full content



Heather Mac Donald writes on the new nationwide crime wave. With office holders like the president and the mayors of New York and Baltimore, we’re quickly seeing the fruits of left/liberal ideas.

The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.

In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.

Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.

Those citywide statistics from law-enforcement officials mask even more startling neighborhood-level increases. Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.

By contrast, the first six months of 2014 continued a 20-year pattern of growing public safety. Violent crime in the first half of last year dropped 4.6% nationally and property crime was down 7.5%. Though comparable national figures for the first half of 2015 won’t be available for another year, the January through June 2014 crime decline is unlikely to be repeated.

The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past nine months. …

… Contrary to the claims of the “black lives matter” movement, no government policy in the past quarter century has done more for urban reclamation than proactive policing. Data-driven enforcement, in conjunction with stricter penalties for criminals and “broken windows” policing, has saved thousands of black lives, brought lawful commerce and jobs to once drug-infested neighborhoods and allowed millions to go about their daily lives without fear.

To be sure, police officers need to treat everyone they encounter with courtesy and respect. Any fatal police shooting of an innocent person is a horrifying tragedy that police training must work incessantly to prevent. But unless the demonization of law enforcement ends, the liberating gains in urban safety over the past 20 years will be lost.



While a lot of the increased crime comes from policies of foolish mayors, the US Justice Dept. also bears much of the responsibility according to Thomas Sowell.

… The Department of Justice has threatened various local police departments with lawsuits unless they adopt the federal government’s ideas about how police work should be done.

The high cost of lawsuits virtually guarantees that the local police department is going to have to settle the case by bowing to the Justice Department’s demands — not on the merits, but because the federal government has a lot more money than a local police department, and can litigate the case until the local police department runs out of the money needed to do their work.

By and large, what the federal government imposes on local police departments may be summarized as kinder, gentler policing. This is not a new idea, nor an idea that has not been tested in practice.

It was tested in New York under Mayor David Dinkins more than 20 years ago. The opposite approach was also tested when Dinkins was succeeded as mayor by Rudolph Giuliani, who imposed tough policing policies — which brought the murder rate down to a fraction of what it had been under Dinkins.

Unfortunately, when some people experience years of safety, they assume that means that there are no dangers. That is why New York’s current mayor is moving back in the direction of Mayor Dinkins. It is also the politically expedient thing to do.

And innocent men, women and children — most of them black — will pay with their lives in New York, as they have in Baltimore and elsewhere.



And the lawlessness also extends to many prosecutors says Kevin Williamson.

The GOP should turn its attention to prosecutorial misconduct.

As the old Vulcan proverb has it, “Only Nixon can go to China.” And only Nixon’s political heirs can fix the persistent — and terrifying — problems that continue to plague this country’s law-enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices.

Exhibit A: Orange County, California.

The sunny Southern California county with a population surpassing that of nearly half the states has a Republican district attorney, Tony Rackauckas, and a big problem on its hands: Its entire prosecutorial apparatus — all 250 lawyers in the district attorney’s office — have been disqualified from participation in a high-profile capital-murder case following revelations that the office colluded with the Orange County sheriff’s department to systematically suppress potentially exculpatory evidence in at least three dozen cases, committing what legal scholars have characterized as perjury and obstruction of justice in the process.

One of the questions involves a secret database of jail records related to confessions obtained via informants. Sheriff’s officers denied the database even existed, and their deception was abetted by prosecutors, leading an exasperated judge to issue an order noting that they “have either intentionally lied or willfully withheld material evidence from this court during the course of their various testimonies. For this court’s current purposes, one is as bad as the other.” The judge unsubtly recommends prosecution. …



WSJ OpEd on our country’s betrayal of Iraqi friends. 

As the fight to retake Ramadi from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, heats up, I can’t help thinking of my visit to the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province nearly eight years ago, and of America’s broken promises since then.

In September 2007, I was in Ramadi for a gathering of Iraqi and American military commanders, politicians and local tribal leaders who had joined forces with the U.S. to defeat al Qaeda in Iraq. Then-Sen. Joseph Biden was there. “These are difficult days,” he told our Iraqi allies. “But as you are proving, you can forge a future for Iraq that is much brighter than its past. If you continue, we will continue to send you our sons and our daughters, to shed their blood with you and for you.”

It was a noble promise, and Iraqis believed it. The surge in U.S. forces and the “Anbar Awakening” had succeeded beyond all hopes. U.S. troops patrolled casually where just a few months before Marines couldn’t fight their way in. There as a journalist, I walked through one village east of Ramadi where an old vegetable vendor waved to me and said, a grandson smiling on his knee, “Thank you coalition.” …



Mark Steyn posts on this week’s cover of the smug self-satisfied tiresome leftist New Yorker.

The New Yorker cover at right has attracted a lot of comment. It shows Hillary Rodham Clinton outside the locker room trying to get in. But the locker room is full of white Republican males – Walker, Paul, Bush, Cruz, Rubio… Okay, the last couple are Hispanic, but let’s not get hung up on details. And Bush identifies as Hispanic on voter registration forms, but let’s not get hung up on the paperwork…

But, in fact, the GOP has already let a female into the locker room – Carly Fiorina – plus a black guy – Ben Carson – and an Indian – Bobby Jindal. So nothing celebrates diversity like the locker room for the Republican primary debate: whites, blacks, browns, Hispanics, men, women, old, young… Over in the Dem locker room, there’s hardly anybody in there, and the few that are all white, and old: Hillary, Bernie, Elizabeth Warren.

By the way, is there a whiter cultural artifact than The New Yorker? Mark Ulriksen is the cartoonist, and a useful reminder of why I’ll take the Charlie Hebdo crowd any day. He should do a picture of Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal banging to get in the door of his outmoded Republican stereotype.

Also by the way, I hate having to talk like this – to buy into the left’s hideous civilization-sapping trope that identity politics is the only thing that matters: We’ve got two Hispanics; where’s yours? Where’s your Indian? Where’s your transgender candidate? It’s pathetic, but what can you do with an artist who thinks “provocation” means “pandering to the delusion of upscale white liberal solipsists”? …

June 2, 2015

Click on WORD or PDF for full content



Orin Kerr, law prof at GeorgeWashingtonUniversity has a comment on the country’s political class.

If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy.




John Fund says not long after Denny Hastert’s thing become public, people started to wonder where he got the cash. 

Denny Hastert — the former House speaker now indicted for violating regulations on bank withdrawals that were originally meant to snare drug dealers — was a man of integrity according to his former House colleagues.

By the sketchy standards of Illinois politics, that might well have been true. But his fall from grace should prompt other questions about how a former high-school teacher who held elective office from 1981 to 2007 could leave Congress with a fortune estimated at $4 million to $17 million. When he entered Congress in 1987, he was worth at most $275,000. Hastert was the beneficiary of very lucky land deals while in Congress; and since leaving office, he has earned more than $2 million a year as a lobbyist. That helps explain how he could agree to pay $3.5 million to a former student to cover up an ancient sex-abuse scandal.

Denny Hastert used to visit the Wall Street Journal, where I worked while he was the speaker. He was a bland, utterly conventional supporter of the status quo; his idea of reform was to squelch anyone who disturbed Congress’s usual way of doing business. I saw him become passionate only once, when he defended earmarks — the special projects such as Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere” that members dropped at the last minute into conference reports, deliberately leaving no time to debate or amend them. Earmarks reached the staggering level of 15,000 in 2005, and their stench helped cost the GOP control of Congress the next year. …



The NY Times continues to pound the Clintons. This was front page above the fold on Saturday.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Petra Nemcova, a Czech model who survived the disaster by clinging to a palm tree, decided to pull out all the stops for the annual fund-raiser of her school-building charity, the Happy Hearts Fund.

She booked Cipriani 42nd Street, which greeted guests with Bellini cocktails on silver trays. She flew in Sheryl Crow with her band and crew for a 20-minute set. She special-ordered heart-shaped floral centerpieces, heart-shaped chocolate parfaits, heart-shaped tiramisù and, because orange is the charity’s color, an orange carpet rather than a red one. She imported a Swiss auctioneer and handed out orange rulers to serve as auction paddles, playfully threatening to use hers to spank the highest bidder for an Ibiza vacation.

The gala cost $363,413. But the real splurge? Bill Clinton.

The former president of the United States agreed to accept a lifetime achievement award at the June 2014 event after Ms. Nemcova offered a $500,000 contribution to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The donation, made late last year after the foundation sent the charity an invoice, amounted to almost a quarter of the evening’s net proceeds — enough to build 10 preschools in Indonesia.

Happy Hearts’ former executive director believes the transaction was a quid pro quo, which rerouted donations intended for a small charity with the concrete mission of rebuilding schools after natural disasters to a large foundation with a broader agenda and a budget 100 times bigger.

“The Clinton Foundation had rejected the Happy Hearts Fund invitation more than once, until there was a thinly veiled solicitation and then the offer of an honorarium,” said the former executive director, Sue Veres Royal, who held that position at the time of the gala and was dismissed a few weeks later amid conflicts over the gala and other issues. …

… Outside Cipriani, protesters, mostly Haitian-Americans frustrated with the earthquake reconstruction effort, stood behind barricades holding signs.

“Clinton, where is the money?” they chanted. “In whose pockets?”



Jonathan Tobin posts on the above NY Times story.

… But the main point to be gleaned from this incident isn’t just that Clinton has established a lucrative personal appearance business that beggars anything ever attempted by any other retired public official, let alone a former commander-in-chief. The problem is that Happy Hearts is a real charity that does hands-on good works in the Third World. The Clinton Foundation is, at best, a charitable middleman, that funds events where people talk about charity and how best to strategize its implementation. As we’ve learned since Schweizer’s book appearance, the foundation does relatively little actual charity work on its own. Only ten percent of the vast sums it raises from the wealthy and the powerful around the world is spent on charitable efforts. The rest goes to funding conferences where the Clintons and their donors pose as philanthropists and to pay the salaries and travel expenses of those who work for the foundation. That means the money goes to feather the nests of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and, to a lesser extent, does the same for many of their faithful family retainers such as Clinton attack machine hit man Sidney Blumenthal.

So while the large army of Clinton fans and apologists can say that there is nothing illegal going on here, what they aren’t saying is that the Clintons don’t merely leech off the rich. They also live off of the money they extract from smaller charities that do real good works. That’s not merely “distasteful,” it’s disgraceful and unethical. …



Jack Kelly has more on Clinton corruption.

… In more than two decades in national politics, Hillary Clinton has succeeded only at peddling influence and orchestrating smear campaigns against women her husband molested. Ms. Clinton is greedy and corrupt. She has a reckless disregard for the truth and national security. She has a record barren of achievement.

Ms. Clinton is popular with her party despite all this. What that says about Democrats isn’t flattering.



Not only does Clinton hardly ever leave her bubble, Jennifer Rubin says when she steps out she takes her bubble with her. 

More interesting than Bill Clinton’s shell company and the Clinton Foundation’s receipt of thousands of dollars from the just-indicted and widely reviled FIFA (but arguably a FIFA beneficiary, Qatar, whom also sent the foundation money, is much worse ethics-wise), is the newest Clinton pretense. Not the Southern accent — the other pretense. The New York Times dutifully tells us (because the Clinton campaign told them!) that she has “immersed herself in dense briefing papers” (yet has no views we can easily discern) and brings snippets of information from her roundtables back to her policy team. This is nearly as bad as taking and passing on Libya analysis from Sid Blumenthal.

Remember these are handpicked participants. So she is getting information from people who the campaign has made certain will not create discord, disagreement or doubt. Aside from the monochromatic composition of the group, she picks up whatever stray phrase one of these participants happen to use. She now wants to call education an “opportunity system” because one of her hand-picked attendees used that pretentious buzz phrase.

It is remarkable that even when she ventures outside her bubble, it is not actually outside the bubble. She brings her bubble with her in the form of a preselected, fully vetted, non-combative audience.