Harvard, MIT and Penn Take a Position on Genocide

Today the presidents of Harvard, Penn and MIT were summoned before a House committee for questioning about anti-semitism on their campuses. I haven’t watched the whole testimony, but this clip is getting a lot of attention. Elise Stefanik asks each president whether calling for genocide of the Jews would violate that school’s code of conduct with regard to bullying or harassment. None of the witnesses had a clear answer to the question:

The presidents said that calling for genocide could be bullying or harassment, depending on the context. The required context was never made clear. There was a suggestion that a call for genocide would be bullying if directed toward a particular student or group of students, but given the universality implied by genocide, application to a particular individual might seem superfluous.

The presidents also said that it would be bullying or harassment if it turned into conduct. Like actually committing genocide? Stefanik asked. I have no idea what the presidents meant by this. Attempted murder? They didn’t say.

The presidents’ effort here was obviously to preserve their faux role as guardians of free speech–it’s OK if someone just says, in the abstract, that all Jews should be killed–while acknowledging that problems could ensue, like when actual Jewish MIT students had to seek refuge from a hostile mob in the library.

What is striking to me is how unintelligently these three academics answered Stefanik’s questions. There are actually some interesting issues here, which a smart and principled administrator could have spoken about in a compelling way. But these academic hacks had nothing insightful to say, and were just trying to get out of the hearing as fast as they could, smirking all the while. I would only add that a Harvard student who wrote that all blacks should be murdered–say, in a conservative student paper, if Harvard had one–would not have a future at that institution. There would be no discussion of “context.”

If there are still people who think we should defer to the views of academics because they are smarter than we are, this short video segment should help to disabuse them of that idea.

I may have more to say tomorrow if I have time to watch the entire testimony of these witnesses.

What Innocent Civilians?

The Biden administration is demanding that Israel take even more extraordinary measures to avoid harming “innocent civilians” as it tries to eradicate Hamas. Around the world, politicians and others express dismay at the alleged number of innocent civilians who have been killed by Israeli bombardments, even while admitting that Hamas’s casualty numbers include its own terrorists, people killed by terrorists’ awol missiles, and so on.

But my complaint is more fundamental. Watching videos of Israeli captives being paraded through Gaza, and seeing “civilians” spitting on them, hitting them, joyously celebrating their capture, I have asked: where are these innocent civilians we keep hearing about?

In the Times of Israel, Avigdor Liberman makes the point in a column titled “Innocents in Gaza? Don’t be naive.”

[T]here is no shadow of a doubt that among those who took part in the attack on southern Israel, provided the intelligence on the homes of the residents, and led the mob in the second wave of looting and destruction were Gazans who worked in the kibbutz communities they invaded. They earned a living and ate in the homes of the massacred residents, some of whom were the very residents who helped Gazans and their families when they were sick, and took care of transporting them from Gaza to Israel for life-saving treatments in Israeli hospitals.

Meanwhile, scenes within Gaza paint a sickening picture:

Some will say Gazans are afraid of Hamas and that is why we have not heard any condemnation from them, but the scenes we witnessed every evening when our kidnapped were being transferred to the Red Cross and the testimonies of those who have returned from captivity suggest otherwise. It’s clear that Hamas has massive support in Gaza: The frenzied crowd jeering and spitting on the abductees, the testimonies of Israeli children who say they were beaten by Gazans of all ages, and the demonstrations of joy and support for terrorists throughout Gaza testify to the cruelty of a populace that educates its children to hate Israel and is raising a new generation of terrorists and supporters of terrorism whose goal is the destruction of the State of Israel and all its citizens.

The story of Roni Krivoi, who was kidnapped from the Supernova festival by the bad guys, is a case in point. Roni managed to escape from captivity and hide for a few days until Gazans caught him and returned him to his captors. …

Further evidence of the cooperation of the population can be found in the corridors of Shifa Hospital, where the hospital director and other senior doctors helped the terrorists hide hostages and turn the hospital into a haven for terrorists. But it’s not only in hospitals that you find collaborators, it’s also in private homes of Gazans, including a reported case of an UNRWA employee, where hostages were held in terrible conditions.

Like people everywhere, Gazans express themselves on social media. No one forces them to publish posts cheering on the massacre of Jews, but that is what they do:

This reality is also reflected on social networks in the Arab world and in Gaza, where an avalanche of posts are words of praise and wall-to-wall support for Hamas and the horrible acts of October 7th.

So tell me, where are those innocent people in the Gaza Strip hiding?

The idea that Hamas is the source of Gaza’s sickness, and that Hamas can be excised leaving a normal society, is false. Hamas is a symptom, not a cause. The root cause of Gazans’ horrific actions is their culture, which promotes Jew-hatred above all other virtues. Unfortunately, the people of Gaza are suffused with that sick culture and, seemingly with very few exceptions, have bought into it. Calling them “civilians” doesn’t change that reality.

Those Lucky Argentines

Economist Javier Milei is Argentina’s newly-elected president. Apparently inflation finally got so bad that in desperation, the voters turned to someone who actually understands economics. But in addition to being an academic, Milei is a media personality and an articulate advocate for libertarian and conservative positions. This minute and a half clip from an interview is the most cogent commentary I have seen from a politician in a long time. It is a good sign that Elon Musk apparently agrees:

“Social justice is unjust.” We need more American politicians who take on the shibboleths of the left so directly.

Of slimy filaments & dirty threads

Democrat Rep. Dan Goldman made news at a House hearing last week. He alleged without a scrap of evidence that the Hunter Biden laptop hard drive might have been altered by Rudy Giuliani. According to Goldman, the hard drive “was not authenticated as real.” It’s as real as Goldman is fake.

The episode reminded me of one of Alger Hiss’s claims of innocence following his conviction of perjury. According to Hiss at his 1950 sentencing hearing, “I am confident that in the future the full facts of how Whittaker Chambers was able to carry out forgery by typewriter will be disclosed.” See Allen Weinstein’s riveting history Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case for the full story. (Weinstein briefly revisited the case here.)

Goldman also reminded me of Dan Rather’s defense of the authenticity of the fabricated Killian documents in his memoir Rather Outspoken. Like Hiss, Rather sees himself as a victim rather than a perpetrator. He pleads guilty only to “putting a true story on the air.” According to Rather, “There is a through-line, a long and slimy filament that connects the ‘murder’ of Vince Foster to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and to the discrediting of the Killian memos.” That “slimy filament” is “a dirty thread” that “stretches all the way .  .  . to the birther movement.” Rather Shameless would be more like it.

One thing about the left. They never give up. They never give in. They persist beyond the limits of shame and disgrace.

The editors of the New York Post take up the latest twists in the Hunter Biden saga, courtesy of the Washington Post. The Washington Post now draws on the contents of the Hunter Biden laptop hard drive (haven’t they gotten the memo from Goldman?) to dispute the new findings in the case:

If there is a definition of irony, it is this: The Washington Post, which once doubted Hunter Biden’s laptop, is now quoting Hunter Biden’s laptop — in defense of Hunter Biden.

When The Better Post first revealed the laptop in October 2020, The Lesser Post dismissed it as “not able to verify or authenticate,” and “not a story.” It suggested it could all be a Russian plot.

Then the evidence became too much to ignore, and so DC’s most boring broadsheet enlisted two security experts “to validate nearly 22,000 emails” from the laptop.

In a sign of just how insufferable they are, the writers said there was still the possibility there may be, could be, possibly be something not true on the laptop.

All that hedging flew out the window Monday, though, when Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) revealed a series of monthly checks sent from Hunter Biden’s law firm to Joe Biden. There’s not a trace of doubt when the Minor Post writes, “Comer mischaracterizes Hunter Biden car payment reimbursement to his dad.”

Let us pause here to take a deep breath before we continue:

In “an email verified by a Washington Post forensic analysis” from the laptop, the paper reports, “the three payments were actually for a 2018 Ford Raptor truck Joe Biden had purchased that Hunter Biden was using.”

To be clear, we don’t doubt this email is authentic. We have interviewed many people who all confirm messages from the laptop. Hunter Biden has never denied it’s his laptop. We have reported, many times, about how the Bidens co-mingled funds, with emails about Hunter paying for Biden family bills. And there is a message on the laptop noting a $1,380 payment to “JRB” in relation to a Ford Raptor.

If the Bank of Biden shenanigans sound suspicious, it’s because they are — Follow the first family’s money

But isn’t it beyond gall that a media outlet that has dismissed and made excuses for every Biden action is willing to use the laptop it disparaged because it may help Hunter?

Or course, as usual, the Petty Post misses the forest for the forensically authenticated trees. Hunter probably was paying back his dad for a truck — using money he “earned” selling the Biden name to foreign companies. The scandal is not what the cash was for. It’s where it came from.

What was Hunter Biden selling? The joy of having the son of one of the most powerful figures in America on speed dial. What did Hunter promise them in exchange? The ability to get his dad on the phone? To invite him into a meeting? We know that both those things happened. The Other Post knows these things happened, too, they just take Joe Biden’s insistence that he did nothing wrong at face value.

If this were a Republican, perhaps the Washington Post would care more about the ethical implications. But no. If there wasn’t an actual envelope full of cash handed to Joe, or a closet full of gold bars, it isn’t a scandal.

Even if there was, you can still serve in the Senate. And that’s the definition of shameless.

The editorial of the Major Post is accessible here with links. I give the editors of the Superior Post special credit for humor and mockery. As Henry Kissinger would have put it, the editorial has the added advantage of being true.


The almost unbelievable atrocities committed by Hamas on Israelis continue to come to light and there are more to come. They almost appear to be something new under the sun. Consider, for example, the rape variations employed by Hamas as a tool of war. This morning the Associated Press provides a reported backgrounder on Hamas’s hostage strategy. Atrocities are implicit in the story. Today the Times of Israel adds that “Hamas drugged freed Gaza hostages to make them seem happy…”

As I say, there is more to come. It is anticipated in State Department spokesman Matthew Miller’s observation yesterday: “It seems that one of the reasons [Hamas terrorists] don’t want to turn women over that they’ve been holding hostage — and the reason this [ceasefire] pause fell apart — is that they don’t want these women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody.”

We have all read about the 45-minute compilation of atrocities on film prepared by Israeli authorities for private viewing to selected journalists. I will take a look as long as I can stand it some time next week in Minneapolis. John Spencer has posted a Twitter thread on the video that can be accessed via the tweet below.

Here are Spencer’s concluding comments in the thread.

The Biden administration has taken to lecturing Israel in public. Most recently, Vice President Harris read off the script she had been handed in Dubai by the administration’s deep thinkers. The White House transcript is posted here. It is difficult to do justice to the multidimensional disgrace involved. The editors of National Review do a good job “Kamala Harris’s Performative Scolding of Israel.” I recommend the whole thing to interested readers.

As I write this morning, the Times of Israel has just sent out notice of its compendium of “Those we have lost.” Again, I recommend the whole thing to interested readers.

Realize this

This morning the Supreme Court hears oral argument in Moore v. United States. It could be one of the most important cases to be heard by the Supreme Court this year. In it the Court has certified this question for review (references to “App.” are to the appendix to the petition for review filed with the Court by counsel for Mr. and Mrs. Moore):

The Sixteenth Amendment authorizes Congress to lay “taxes on incomes … without apportionment among the several States.” Beginning with Eisner v. Macomber, 252 U.S. 189 (1920), this Court’s decisions have uniformly held “income,” for Sixteenth Amendment purposes, to require realization by the taxpayer. In the decision below, however, the Ninth Circuit approved taxation of a married couple on earnings that they undisputedly did not realize but were instead retained and reinvested by a corporation in which they are minority shareholders. It held that “realization of income is not a constitutional requirement” for Congress to lay an “income” tax exempt from apportionment. App. 12. In so holding, the Ninth Circuit became “the first court in the country to state that an ‘income tax’ doesn’t require that a ‘taxpayer has realized income.”‘ App.38 (Bumatay, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc).

The question presented is:

Whether the Sixteenth Amendment authorizes Congress to tax unrealized sums without apportionment among the states.

The case has been widely covered in the press over the past few days, as it is by the Wall Street Journal story here (December 3) and by the Associated Press in the superficial story here (December 4). The stories are full of dire warnings about what a ruling in favor of the taxpayer might do to the tax code. The real threat is to the Democrats’ dream of a wealth tax. Thus the assault on the Court’s conservative justices.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin has gone so far as to write Chief Justice Roberts seeking the recusal of Justice Alito. Unfortunately, Durbin is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is big and he is swinging. Justice Alito rejected the recusal request made in Durbin’s letter by order dated September 8, 2023, and posted online by the Court here. Justice Alito found Durbin’s letter to be without merit.

I have not followed this case but hope to listen to a recording of the oral argument and read the tea leaves.

Why We Are Careening Toward Bankruptcy

The United States is, as Mark Steyn says, the brokest nation in history. And yet, as our national debt rises higher and higher, and the cost of servicing that debt begins to drive out essential federal spending–like defense–there is no end in sight. For decades, the fiscal insanity in Washington has been palpable, and yet the political will to do anything about it is lacking.

Why is that? This News Nation/Decision Desk HQ poll of 3,200 registered voters offers some insight. The poll is interesting in many ways, but I want to focus on just one question:

Which of the following statements is closest to your views on how to reduce the federal budget deficit?

There is only one way to regain fiscal sanity: reducing spending, especially on entitlements. That is where the money is. And yet, this is how Americans answered the question:

* Raise taxes on the wealthy to pay our bills: 26.73%

* Lower taxes on the wealthy to stimulate economic growth: 10.82%

* Close tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy: 40.58%

* Cut social spending programs, like Medicare and Social Security: 3.76%

* Something else: 9.17%

* Not sure: 8.93%

If you aggregate “Raise taxes on the wealthy” and “Close tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy,” you get two-thirds of Americans’ responses. And 82% of Democrats’ responses. This is magical thinking. Upper-income people already pay vastly more than their fair share of federal taxes, and you can’t steal enough from them to close the deficit. And the idea that trillions of dollars can be raised by closing unspecified “loopholes” is sheer fantasy.

I am in favor of cutting taxes for everyone, especially the “wealthy” who are now overtaxed, but we are long past the point where tax cuts alone can regenerate the economy enough to bring our budget into balance.

Meanwhile, fewer than 4% (2% of Democrats!) advocate the only practical course: cutting spending. No wonder there are few in Congress who are willing to take on the intractable problem of out of control spending. We are heading toward a cliff, and we will need to get a lot closer to driving off it before voters and politicians will be willing to take serious measures. That delay will cause incalculable damage.