Democratic Party Media Run Interference for Hillary

Sarah Palin vs. Hillary Clinton: whom do you think the Democratic Party media prefers? Don’t worry, that isn’t a trick question. Still, no matter how reporters and editors may feel about the two women, it is obvious which one is more newsworthy. Sarah Palin served one-half of one term as Governor of Alaska. While she was, of course, the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008, she is not now, and most likely will not be in the future, a candidate for public office. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is not only a former First Lady, Senator from New York and Secretary of State, she is said to be the odds-on favorite to be the next president of the United States.

So by any normal journalistic standard, it is far more important to inform the public about Hillary Clinton than Sarah Palin, especially as to matters that may bear on Clinton’s fitness for the nation’s highest office. That being the case, the Democratic Party media’s frenzy over a supposed brawl in Wasilla, Alaska, that involved the Palin family is revealing. Even though, as John Nolte points out, the source of information about the altercation was a left-wing blogger who is viciously hostile to Palin and who freely acknowledged that she hadn’t tried to “track down the details of the brawl,” supposedly mainstream news outlets couldn’t get enough of the Palin story. This screen shot shows that the search “Palin brawl” generates almost 86,000 results:

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OK, that’s unseemly, but maybe it was just a slow news day, right? Just kidding. Meanwhile, another story has emerged: an eyewitness report by a former high-ranking State Department official who said that he observed Hillary Clinton’s representatives removing damaging documents from the supposedly comprehensive materials they provided to the Benghazi Accountability Review Board. This story would seem to be the ultimate bombshell: it involves the person who, according to conventional wisdom, will likely be the next president; it relates to the biggest scandal of her public career, in which four Americans, including an ambassador, died; and it reflects directly on her honesty and fitness for office. By rights, this story should receive roughly one million times the coverage of the Palin brawl in Wasilla.

So far, though, that hasn’t happened. The Democratic Party media, desperate to protect their party’s presumed nominee, have tried to bury the story. The Google News search “Clinton state department benghazi documents” returns a mere 2,060 results, about one forty-third the number of articles devoted to the Palin altercation:

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And note what outlets have reported on the Benghazi document scandal: not the New York Times, the Washington Post or the Associated Press, but Fox News, Human Events, Daily Caller, Paul’s Power Line post earlier today, and–somewhat ironically–London’s Daily Mail. This may be another instance where we have to read the British papers to get American news. Here, the exception proves the rule: Media Matters is the only Democratic Party organization to talk about the Clinton document allegations, and it tries to debunk them.

Maybe the liberal press hasn’t had time yet to pick up on Sharyl Attkisson’s report on former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell’s allegations, which appeared early this morning. Of course, it didn’t take them that long to jump on the Palin story. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We will be watching the Democratic Party press over the next few days to see whether its appetite for first-hand, eyewitness accounts of dishonesty by Hillary Clinton and her agents equals its thirst for rumors about Alaska’s former governor.

Is Pelosi a GOP Plant?

Like the email John mentions below, there are ample other reasons to wonder about Nancy Pelosi’s probity. I’ve always heard that she is very skillful at the back-room aspects of party management in the House, and she better be, because when she opens her mouth to speak, you can expect a disaster that could make even John Kerry cringe.

Last Friday on Bill Maher’s HBO “comedy” show, she said, “Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate.” If you can bear to watch nine minutes of Pelosi and Maher, here’s the tape:

But wait, there’s more! Last week she sent out the following tweet:

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Apparently Pelosi has never heard of people moving to Tennessee, Texas, or Nevada (among others) to reduce their income taxes.

Really—is it possible that Pelosi is actually a deep-cover Republican plant, just emerging now to do her maximum damage to Democrats?

DON’T SEND THAT EMAIL

That was the subject heading on the Democrats’ latest fund-raising missive, possibly their most hysterical yet. Today’s email is the latest in a long series; some of the most recent were headed “They’re 100% sure we’ll lose,” “please don’t say no john” and “John, we’re PLEADING.” Democrats know no shame. This is how DON’T SEND THAT EMAIL begins:

From: alert@dccc.org [mailto:dccc@dccc.org]
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 10:05 AM
To: Hinderaker, John H.
Subject: DON’T SEND THAT EMAIL

John, there was a lot of discussion about whether we should send you this email. After much debate, we decided to let you know the hard truth. Here it is:

After “John, we’re PLEADING,” they expect us to believe that they debated whether to send this email?

There’s no good news in this email.

The Koch Brothers are crushing Democrats with their unlimited, secret money.

Despite that ritual reference to Charles and David Koch, all the numbers I have seen indicate that the Democrats are outspending the GOP this election cycle, as usual.

Now some are predicting Boehner will win the largest Republican majority in decades.

We’ll be blunt: President Obama’s final 2 years are at stake. And right now…it’s not looking good.

If we’re going to avoid disaster, we can’t afford to fail ONCE between now and Election Day.

John — we need your help before tonight’s do-or-die mid-month fundraising deadline.

“Do-or-die mid-month fundraising deadline”? There is no FEC deadline in mid-September.

We need 13,658 more donations TODAY if we want any shot at giving President Obama a Democratic House for his final two years.

We’re pleading, John. Can you step up for the President right now?

MIDNIGHT DEADLINE: ALL GIFTS MATCHED!

Thanks,

DCCC

You might think that Nancy Pelosi and her minions would be embarrassed to send out such groveling appeals. But, as Mick Jagger once said in a completely different context, they don’t embarrass easy.

Report: “Queen” Clinton’s “henchmen” scrubbed Benghazi documents

Raymond Maxwell was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Maghreb (North Africa) Affairs at the State Department’s Bureau of Near East Affairs from 2011-2012. When Hillary Clinton removed him from this position and placed him on leave in the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks, Maxwell wrote a poem called “Invitation” which we posted here. The “invitation” as the poem made clear, was to “lynching” and it came from the “henchmen” of “the Queen” (Hillary Clinton).

Now, Maxwell is back in the news, and this time not for poetry. Maxwell tells Sharyl Attkisson that Hillary Clinton’s henchmen were part of an operation to “separate” damaging material before documents were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses in connection with the Benghazi attacks.

The alleged weeding out of documents took place during a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, says Maxwell. He received no “invitation” to this event, but “heard about it and decided to check it out on a Sunday afternoon.” At this point, he had not yet been scapegoated for Benghazi.

When Maxwell arrived, he noticed boxes and stacks of documents. A State Department office director who, according to Maxwell was close to Clinton’s top advisers, was present. Although technically this office director worked for him, Maxwell says she didn’t consult with him about her weekend assignment.

Here’s what happened next, according to what Maxwell told Attkisson:

[The office director] told me, “Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor [where Clinton and her principal advisors worked] in a bad light. I asked her, “But isn’t that unethical?” She responded, “Ray, those are our orders.”

A few minutes later, says Maxwell, two high-ranking State Department officials entered the room. The two have been identified by Rep. Josh Chaffetz as Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan — the leading henchmen at the Queen’s disposal. Mills, who first came to prominence defending Bill Clinton during his impeachment, was not pleased to see Maxwell:

“Who are you?” [Mills snapped]. Jake explained, “That’s Ray Maxwell, an NEA Deputy Assistant Secretary.” She conceded, “Well, OK.”

The Accountability Review Board has been criticized for, among other things, a lack of thoroughness. Its co-chairmen have countered by claiming that they had “unfettered access to everyone and everything including all the documentation we needed.” But Maxwell’s account, if true, shows that the ARB’s access was not “unfettered.”

Maxwell’s allegations are of obvious interest to the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Attkisson reports that Trey Gowdy, the chairman of that body, has already interviewed Maxwell.

Josh Chaffetz, who has also spoken to Maxwell, tells Attkisson that his allegations “go to the heart of the integrity of the State Department” and “are as serious as it gets.” He adds that they have been “followed up and pursued.”

That can’t be good news for the Queen.

Is ISIS really a threat to U.S. security?

Two articles in the Washington Post raise a question worth considering: how much of a threat does ISIS actually pose to the U.S.? The question has two components. First, how threatening is ISIS by virtue of what it can do in the Middle East; second, how much of a threat is ISIS by virtue of what it can do within the U.S. homeland?

As to the first question, Ramzy Mardini of the Atlantic Council argues that ISIS finds itself isolated and encircled by hostile forces — Shiite militias to the East, mobilized Kurds to the North, the Syrian regime and Jordan to the West. According to Mardini, ISIS’s expansionist days are over.

As to the second question, Post reporters Greg Miller and Juliet Eilperin point out that President Obama’s description of ISIS as a threat to the homeland “leaned heavily on what-ifs.” They note, as does Mardini (and as I have), that ISIS has seemed focused on establishing a caliphate in the Levant rather than on committing acts of terrorism in the U.S.

Both the Post reporters (citing Paul Pillar) and Mardini worry that U.S. military action against ISIS will prompt these terrorists to target the U.S. in revenge. This danger might increase if ISIS stalls in the Levant, as Mardini predicts it will.

Given these considerations, does it make sense to wage war (or whatever it is Obama says we’re waging) against ISIS? I think so.

Mardini may well be right that ISIS has peaked as an expansionist force. But, though he points to problems ISIS likely will face within its “caliphate,” he is careful not to say that it will be rolled back any time soon if the U.S. does not intervene militarily.

One can debate the wisdom of U.S. military intervention — even if confined largely to bombing — for the geopolitical purpose of rolling back ISIS. For interventionists decisively to win the debate, there needs to be a direct homeland security justification for fighting ISIS.

I think there is. It’s true that ISIS is focused on the Levant. But it has also talked about attacking the U.S. and Europe. Talk is cheap, but considering the stakes, it’s unwise to ignore what well-organized, well-financed terrorists say about their intentions.

Moreover, ISIS’s threats aren’t just talk. One of its torturers killed four people in an attack in a Jewish museum in Belgium. And an ISIS fighter arrested in France possessed a stockpile of explosives.

But will a successful military campaign against ISIS diminish this sort of threat? I believe so based on the following analysis:

First, the threat ISIS poses to the homeland comes primarily from ISIS fighters holding European and (especially) American passports. The more of these there are, the greater the threat to the homeland.

Second, these passports holders are flocking to ISIS primarily because it has succeeded in establishing a caliphate and, more generally, appears to be the answer to the dreams of Islamists everywhere. As Miller and Eilperin point out, the CIA estimates that ISIS’s ranks doubled, or possibly even tripled, following its successes in Iraq.

Third, if ISIS is “degraded and destroyed” the flow of foreign fighters presumably will stop. Its caliphate will no longer be an attraction. And, of course, ISIS’s existing force will be decimated.

Fourth, if ISIS is not “degraded and destroyed,” it will continue to attract recruits from Europe and the U.S. And if it is contained, as Mardini reasonably predicts will happen, it likely will turn its gaze to Europe and the U.S.

Against these considerations, we must weigh the possibility of revenge attacks on the U.S. The “revenge” argument, though superficially plausible, overlooks the fact that, from the radical Islamist perspective, the U.S. has already committed more than enough offenses to avenge.

Keep in mind that ISIS started out as “al Qaeda in Iraq.” The U.S. helped rout this outfit in 2007. More broadly, we have been in Iraq, killing Islamists and others, since 2003. And we have already killed ISIS members as part of our recent bombing in Northern Iraq. The grievances of radical Islamists against us are legion.

Keep in mind too that fanatical outfits like ISIS don’t require current instances of U.S. military action to feel aggrieved. No then-current use of U.S. force prompted the 9/11 attacks. They were ideologically-based. At root, ISIS is driven by the same fanatical ideology as al Qaeda, from which it sprang.

Mardini argues, foolishly I think, that ISIS has focused on the Levant rather than on the U.S. because of Obama’s “restraint” in the Middle East. In reality, as Mardini argues at length elsewhere in his article, ISIS focused on the Levant out of opportunism. The Syrian civil war, the abuses of Maliki in Iraq, and Obama’s abdication (which Mardini calls “restraint’) provided ISIS with an enormous opportunity for vast territorial expansion.

Naturally, ISIS took advantage of the opportunity. We should not believe for a minute that this means ISIS fighters won’t terrorize the U.S. now that the caliphate is established.

Allah and Ali at Yale

The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale is hosting Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak on campus today. Her appearance has provoked the Yale Muslim Students Association to issue a letter in protest with 35 co-signers (the letter is quoted in part here, here and here). In the spirit of Buckley himself, Yale’s Professor David Gelernter addresses the Yale MSA:

I love your new free-speech concept! Obviously this woman should have been banned from campus and had her face stomped in; why couldn’t they have just quietly murdered her in Holland along with her fellow discomfort-creators? These people are worse than tweed underwear! They practically live to make undergraduates uncomfortable. But let’s deal with the harsh realities. Your inspired suggestion, having Official Correctors speak right after Ali to remind students of the authorized view of Muslim society, is the most exciting new development in Free Speech since the Inquisition — everyone will be talking about it! You have written, with great restraint, about “how uncomfortable it will be” for your friends if this woman is allowed to speak. Uncomfortable nothing. The genital mutilation of young girls is downright revolting! Who ever authorized this topic in a speech to innocent Yale undergraduates? Next thing you know, people will be saying that some orthodox Muslim societies are the most cruel and benighted on earth and that Western societies are better than they are (better!) merely because they don’t sexually mutilate young girls! Or force them into polygamous marriages, countenance honor killings, treat women as the property of their male relations, and all that. Can’t they give it a rest? You’d think someone was genitally mutilating them.

We all know that Free Speech doesn’t mean that just anyone can stand up and start spouting. Would you let your dog talk for an hour to a Yale student audience? What’s next, inviting Dick Cheney? Careful study of contemporary documents makes it perfectly clear that when the Bill of Rights mentions Free Speech, it is alluding to Freedom of Speech for the Muslim Students Association at Yale. We all know that true free speech means freedom to shut up, especially if you disagree with your betters. And true free thought means freedom to stop thinking as soon as the official truth is announced by the proper Authorities — and freedom to wait patiently until then…

UPDATE (by Scott, not Professor Gelernter): It’s a little unclear how many co-signers the MSA actually obtained on its idiotic letter. The Yale Daily News investigates here.

Down with the administrative state

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You may not be interested in administrative law, but administrative law is interested in you. Administrative law is unrecognized by the Constitution, but, according to Columbia Law School Professor Philip Hamburger, it “has become the government’s primary mode of controlling Americans.” He observes that “administrative law has avoided much rancor because its burdens have been felt mostly by corporations.” This is where you come in: “Increasingly, however, administrative law has extended its reach to individuals. The entire society therefore now has opportunities to feel its hard edge.”

Professor Hamburger’s assessment of the proliferation of administrative law may be an understatement. Formal administrative law — the regulations promulgated by the alphabet soup of federal agencies — dwarfs the laws enacted by Congress. To take one vivid example from the front pages of the news in the Age of Obama, the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) runs for 2,800 pages. Democratic House majority leader Nancy Pelosi famously predicted that we would have to pass the bill to find out what was in it. Pelosi was right in more ways than one. By one count published last year, the regulations implementing the act have consumed 10,000 closely printed pages of the Federal Register, at 30 times the length (in words) of the law passed by Congress.

I wrote about the inconsistency of administrative law with what we understand to be our constitutional system in “Crisis of the administrative state.” Searching around online for additional sources of learning on the subject, I happened to discover a listing for Professor Hamburger’s then forthcoming book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

Professor Hamburgers’s book has now been reviewed both in the Wall Street Journal (behind the Journal’s subscription paywall) and the Weekly Standard. I reviewed the book for the August 11 issue of National Review. My NR review appears online as “A new old regime.” See also the essay on the book by Boston University School of Law Professor Gary Lawson forthcoming in the Texas Law Review, “The return of the king.”

Professor Hamburger demonstrates the regressive nature of the Progressive project. He explains and vindicates the original project of the Constitution in erecting barriers to the exercise of absolute power. As Barack Obama brings the crisis of the administrative state to full boil, attention must be paid.

Professor Hamburger gave the keynote speech this past Friday at the George Mason University Law School’s Law and Economics Center program on administrative law (videos of the program are now posted here). Professor Hamburgers’s keynote speech summarizes the themes of his book in 10 points. His speech is posted here and below.

Professor Hamburger’s speech takes up the first part of the video. I watched the speech live online on Friday and thought Professor Hamburger was on fire in these remarks. Following his speech, he was questioned by senior DC Circuit Judge Douglas Ginsburg. All together the video runs 47 minutes, but Professor Hamburger’s speech takes up only the first half or so. If you have any interest in the subject, please check it out.