Lynch confirmed: DOJ lawlessness to continue

Yesterday, as John noted here, the Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Ten Republicans voted to confirm: Kelly Ayotte, Ron Johnson, Mark Kirk, Rob Portman, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, and Orrin Hatch.

Ayotte, Johnson, Kirk, and Portman face difficult reelection campaigns in their Democrat-leaning or “50-50″ states. Note, though, that Pat Toomey, who likely faces an extremely tough race, cast a principled vote against Lynch and the lawless Obama administration Justice Department should refused to distance herself from.

Susan Collins voted to confirm because she’s not a conservative.

Lindsey Graham voted to confirm because he’s the Arlen Specter of the South. Thad Cochran voted to confirm because he’s the Lindsey Graham of Mississippi.

Jeff Flake voted to confirm because he aspires to be the Lindsey Graham of Arizona. John McCain, Graham’s Arizona amigo, is running for reelection in a Red State. Back in full conservative mode, he voted against confirmation.

Mitch McConnell voted to confirm for deep “institutional” reasons that, no doubt, are beyond my power of comprehension. Orrin Hatch voted to confirm because at least one conservative who should know better always wanders off the reservation in cases like this.

Hatch has declared himself satisfied that Lynch “will be more independent than the current Attorney General and make strides toward recommitting the Department to the rule of law.” I estimate the probability that Lynch will clear this very low bar to be approximately zero percent.

Should Lynch want to surprise us, Bill Otis has come up with a list of ways to do so. My favorite is: “Don’t file Supreme Court briefs that lose 9-0.” Others include: “Respect the First Amendment” and “Don’t usurp congressional powers.”

I estimate the number of Bill’s suggestions that Lynch will follow to be approximately zero.

Clinton cash — “not a shred of evidence”?

Team Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon responded to the New York Times Clinton Foundation/Russian uranium deal story by asserting that there is not a “shred of evidence” Hillary Clinton approved the deal to reward donors of the Clinton Foundation.

The “shred of evidence” cliche is not a happy one for Hillary. After all, she has admitted, in essence, that she shredded tens of thousands of State Department emails, and the server that housed them apparently has been destroyed. If smoking gun evidence were to be found, one imagines that it would be in shreds, literally.

But smoking gun evidence isn’t the form of evidence. Let’s consider another potential “Clinton cash” scandal — the one involving Clinton Foundation supporter Frank Giustra and his interests in Colombia:

Assume the following facts, which have been publicly reported, at least some of which are not disputed: (1) As a candidate for president Hillary Clinton opposed a free trade deal with Colombia, (2) as Secretary of State she supported such a deal, (3) in the interim, Frank Giustra made large contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and (4) Giustra’s interests benefited from the agreement Clinton supported.

If evidence supports each of these propositions, then this is evidence that Clinton changed her position to reward Giustra. To be sure, the evidence is circumstantial, not direct. But such circumstantial, i.e., inferential, evidence is commonplace in civil litigation.

For example, if an employee in good standing complains about racial discrimination and is fired soon thereafter, a jury can infer that the complaint caused the firing. There need not be a document, or other smoking gun, that establishes a causal relationship.

Moreover, as Jennifer Rubin points out, in political corruption cases the government wouldn’t even need to prove a quid pro quo relationship between Giustra’s donations and Clinton’s decisions to support a free trade deal (or to sign off on a uranium deal). It is enough, the government argued successfully in the case of former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell, if a public official is inclined to look more favorably on a donor’s interests because of a financial contribution.

Hillary Clinton is not going to be prosecuted for political corruption. Nor is it realistic to think that the issue of her corruption will arise in civil litigation.

The real question is how the public will view the facts in deciding on her fitness to be president. One would hope that, as Rubin puts, “you can’t prove I’m a crook” will not be the standard.

It certainly wouldn’t be if we were talking about a Republican candidate — the mainstream media would see to that. Since we are talking instead about a liberal Democrat trying to become the nation’s first female president, it’s quite possible that “you can’t prove I’m a crook” will end up being the standard, and that the bar for proving this will be higher than in the criminal law.

Shakespeare: The Ultimate Dead White Male?

In my first public lecture at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2013, perhaps no passage excited a more furious response from some members of the audience than this:

It turns out that at a shockingly high number of universities—though not this one—it is possible to take a degree in English without having to take a single course on Shakespeare, which strikes me as absurd as taking a course in radical philosophy that omitted reading Karl Marx.  On the other hand, if you have a close look at the political science departments around the country that lean conservative or have a strong conservative plurality in the department—these would be Boston College; Notre Dame; Chicago; Georgetown; Loyola; Claremont; University of Dallas; University of Virginia; Kenyon; St. Johns Annapolis; Ashland, Hillsdale; maybe a handful of others—you will typically find in the political science course offerings one or more courses on—Shakespeare. In this contrast I think you can really begin to grasp the very different educational philosophies dividing left and right.  While many English departments now regard Shakespeare as optional material because he’s old, or because he represents the “white Anglo-Saxon phallo-logocentric hegemonic discourse” that needs to be swept away, conservatives think you can find wisdom of permanent value in reading the works of the great dramatist.  Actually conservatives argue vigorously among themselves about how Shakespeare’s politics should be understood: was he the last Aristotelian philosopher, contesting against Machiavelli, or was he in fact simply a more genteel version of Machiavelli?

Well, one graduate student in English was gravely offended (even though I noted specifically that Boulder was not among the colleges ditching the bard), but I couldn’t really make out her objection she was shaking so hard in her anger.

All of this is preface to the latest report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) on “The Unkindest Cut: Shakespeare in Exile 2015.”  From the summary:

At most universities, English majors were once required to study Shakespeare closely as an indispensable foundation for the understanding of English language and literature. But today—at the elite institutions we examined, public and private, large and small, east and west—he is required no more.

The basic finding is unambiguous. Not even one out of ten of the institutions ACTA surveyed required English majors to take a single course devoted to Shakespeare. And as the schools relax requirements relating to Shakespeare and other great authors, courses that have more to do with popular culture and contemporary issues are multiplying. . .

At most colleges and universities, Shakespeare courses can be taken as options within the major, as described in Appendix A. And yet, as a quick glance at existing requirements shows, Shakespeare holds no favored place. A course called “Pulp Fictions: Popular Romance from Chaucer to Tarantino” at the University of Pennsylvania counts the same as a Shakespeare course toward the “Early Literature to 1660” requirement. The catalog description: “… readable, often salacious, and certainly never dull, these ‘pulp fictions’ reveal complex worlds beneath their seemingly simple or gritty exteriors” suggests an interesting course, but it is no substitute for the seminal study of Shakespeare.  So also for “Gender, Sexuality and Literature: Our Cyborgs, Our Selves” that fulfilled Penn’s “Early Literature to 1660” requirement in Fall 2014. At Swarthmore and Bowdoin, “Renaissance Sexualities” can substitute for Shakespeare to fulfill the “Pre-1800” requirement. At Cornell, where undergraduate English majors need to take three pre-1800 courses, Spring 2015 choices include “Love and Ecstasy: Forms of Devotion in Medieval English Literature,” which addresses the question, “What do love, torture, and ecstasy all have in common?” The previous year, “Art of the Insult” fulfilled the same requirement, as did “Blood Politics,” whose course description begins, “Blood is everywhere. From vampire shows to video games, our culture seems to be obsessed with it.”

And The Daily Telegraph has a nice writeup, too.

Wisconsin’s shame

Tom Wolfe mockingly nailed liberal hysteria in the observation that the “dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe,” but that was back in the halcyon days of Richard Nixon in the 1970′s. David French documents the descent of the dark night of fascism in Wisconsin in his May 4 NR story “Wisconsin’s shame.” Megyn Kelly talked with French about it briefly on her FOX News the night before last (video below) before returning to the subject last night.

The Democrats mean to roll out this Darkness At Noon program nationwide; Wisconsin just provides an experimental preview. Attention must be paid.

We interrupt this death march

The Hillary Clinton for President campaign of 2016 launched with all the joy of a death march. With the rollout of Clinton Cash and its associated collaborative projects, Peter Schweizer has interrupted this death march for a reminder of the Clinton essence.

Essence of Clinton gives us first and foremost the voracious and insatiable appetites of William Jefferson Clinton. Neither taste nor shame can limit them.

Madam Hillary serves as his co-dependent enabler. It is not a pretty sight.

They give us naked prevarication as they they follow their old scandal playbook and test new frontiers in scandal management.

They give us massive corruption under cover of philanthropy.

They give us politics as a criminal enterprise.

They show us (once again) how to use a (now adult) child for political purposes. How low can you go?

They show us the power of sociopathology in democratic politics. How empowering to operate freely without a conscience.

They require treatment that would embarrass the Queen as they champion the common man. Jonah Goldberg puts it this way: “The Clintons are like the Tudors of the Ozarks.” Combined with Huckleberry Finn’s friends the duke and the dauphin.

They are gross and disgusting. We owe Peter Schweizer our thanks for interrupting the death march and giving rise to this timely reminder.

Thoughts from the ammo line

The first two installments of Ammo Grrrll’s six-part travelogue can be accessed along with her previous columns by inputting “Grrrll” into our search engine. This morning Ammo Grrrll returns with VISITING MY PEOPLE Part 3: Weather ‘Tis Nobler…:

It could have been infinitely worse, of course. My mother reported just this past Tuesday that Minnesota was snowy and bitter cold. So, in mid- to late-March on the way to or from Minnesota, I could have been stranded in an epic blizzard and still be catatonic in the fetal position in a motel in Wichita. “Possibly the fetal position,” commented Mr. AG, “but never catatonic.” He’s getting Liver and Lima Bean Surprise for dinner.

I encountered no blizzards, but still it was not always easy.

First, let’s talk about the wind. From West Texas, up Tornado Alley, and into Kansas of Toto and Dorothy fame, to Iowa and northern Minnesota, I never had a day without fierce wind. The kind of gale where it’s very difficult to open your car door to fill up at a gas station, until you put your shoulder into it. My wee hands were stiff and sore from clutching the steering wheel to keep the car on the road. What it does for a hairdo shouldn’t even be mentioned. Think Margaret Hamilton in the aforementioned Wizard of Oz., only more unkempt.

I never saw the sun for eleven straight days. Then there was rain. As I left Minnesota headed for Des Moines, there was a light drizzle. When I crossed into Iowa, the rain started in earnest and the temperatures continued to drop. 36-35-34-33. I knew from wretched experience what happens to roads once rain turns to freezing rain and sleet. At 32 degrees, I gave up and left the Highway. In Ankeny, Iowa, I got the very last room in a Marriott Courtyard, which happened to be a handicapped-accessible suite priced at $189.00, plus hefty taxation without representation. I took it in gratitude and warmth and waded back out to get my things. What is more comfy than soaking wet tennis shoes? It was the only pair I had packed as I was not in a covered wagon and had not planned on fording any streams.

When leaving Minnesota, I had put my suitcase in the trunk, closed but unzipped, fixin’ to put a few souvenirs in it from inside the car. Ah, you fellow short-term-memory-challenged persons know exactly where this is going. I grabbed my suitcase and yanked it out of the trunk. It opened (doh!) and everything flew into the wet parking lot, some items at an impressive distance. This increased my resolve to get more attractive underwear. The 5-Second Rule does not work any better for clothing than it does for dropped candy. You never saw anyone shovel clothes into a suitcase any faster, but still it was severely damp. Blessed is she who can laugh at herself for she will never run out of material. Drenched and laughing hysterically, I’m sure I looked like an escaped lunatic. Not for the first time.

The next day my plan was either to end up in Wichita, if I was tired, or Guthrie, Oklahoma. Why Guthrie, you ask? I was tasked with retrieving the little Nexus with the Candy Crush game I had left in my room on the way up. It is debatable which is more embarrassing: leaving the game (more on lost objects in Part Five) or playing the game for hundreds of misspent hours to just shy of Level 500. At least, I’ve never given the malevalent geniuses at King Corporation one thin dime. I used to think Sudoku was addictive. That was just the gateway drug to Candy Crush. Which is yet more pointless, if that is possible.

Now, the way I have always gone from Arizona back to Mordor is 10 East to 20/30 East to 35W North. And, obviously, back the same way. I stick like grim death to those trusted highways, especially if I am alone. Even armed, safety trumps reckless adventure.

But I had borrowed The Paranoid Texan’s Garmin and he had spent considerable time helping me program it. OK, programming it. And even though Guthrie is a straight shot down 35, Garmin was determined for me to see Joplin, MO and Tulsa before I die. She is one bossy little GPS system. She gets wrapped around the axle when I leave the highway to get gas. (“Re-calculating. Again. Sigh.”) I don’t know if she thought I would save 3 minutes or what.

I won’t soon forget Tulsa. I hit it at rush hour in blinding rain and wind. My windshield wipers could no way keep up. Then came the 2-inch hail. The locusts were scheduled, but were crushed by the hailstones. The last 78 miles to Guthrie, Garmin put me on 33 West, something even she just called a “road”, by which she meant a two-lane road with oncoming traffic. Tornadoes were all over the area. Two of my fellow human beings decided that now would be a good time to take their pre-fab homes out for a spin on a flat-bed truck. But it was all perfectly safe what with the “Wide Load” signs on them. At one point we also stopped dead for 20 minutes for some kind of road repair which had turned the two-lane road into a one-lane trail. The poor men standing out there in the hail and the rain had to make us take turns.

And you know what? It was some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever been through. Huge rolling hills, so steep and frequent they reminded me of that old ribbon Christmas candy, all green and spring-like, with one small town after another with great names like Drumright and Cushing, and speed limits of 35 miles per hour. The ominous clouds up ahead full of “tornadic” activity were amazing. Maybe I was high from the negative ions from the storm, but it was one of the happiest afternoons of my life.

Talking Persecution and Politics With Seth and Me

We got to know Seth Leibsohn when he was Bill Bennett’s producer. Now he is a top-notch radio host in his own right. Yesterday he had me on his show to talk about my recent post on the religion of peace, the persecution of Christians in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Minnesota-born terrorists, Hillary Clinton’s stumbling campaign and the progress of the campaign on the Republican side. As always with Seth, it is an informative and entertaining conversation. Here it is:

Or click here to download the interview in its entirety!