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Daily Digest

  • Free Speech? Not In Minneapolis!
    The GOP Senate’s alternative to Obamacare — a first look
    Harvard’s “black only” commencement
    Come See the Museum of Cluelessness
    Cotton does the Times in 10 tweets [with comment by Paul]

Free Speech? Not In Minneapolis!

Posted: 22 Jun 2017 02:55 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)The City of Minneapolis has established a hot line to report speech and conduct that are deemed hateful. The city’s press release says:

Through its 311 service, the City of Minneapolis has opened a new hotline for reporting hate crimes, which are harassing behaviors motivated by prejudice.

That is wrong. “Harassing behaviors” may or may not be crimes; in many cases, depending on how the phrase is understood by people using the hot line, they probably aren’t.

The Director of Minneapolis’s Department of Civil Rights, Velma Korbel, explains the rationale behind the new reporting system:

Since the general election, many of us have experienced, witnessed firsthand or heard of actions of: racism, xenophobia, sexism and bigotry directed at people here and in cities across the United States.

So this is all about the “Resistance” to President Trump’s administration, a fact that is reaffirmed in the next paragraph.

In no uncertain terms, hate-motivated speech and actions have no place in Minneapolis nor will they be tolerated. Activities such as these are against the law.

No, they aren’t. “Hate speech” is, in general, protected by the First Amendment, as the Supreme Court reaffirmed only days ago. And what “hate-motivated speech” might be, I have no idea. Likewise with “hate-motivated actions.” If such actions are crimes, they certainly are against the law; if they are not crimes, they are not against the law. There is no general prohibition against saying or doing things that are motivated by hate, nor can there be.

No one is above the law.

An ironic observation, given that in this instance the City attempts to place itself (and perhaps certain categories of people expected to use the hot line) above the law.

More from the same “Message to the Minneapolis Community” by Ms. Korbel:

Minneapolis is committed to human rights and racial equity for anyone who lives, works, and visits our city. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome here. This department echoes Minneapolis mayor, Betsy Hodges’ resolve and commitment when she stated: “I will not compromise the public safety of the people of Minneapolis to satisfy Trump’s desire to put politics before public safety. Minneapolis is being built and strengthened by people from all over the world and I am grateful for their commitment to our city. I stand with them today and will continue to take that stand as the President-elect prepares to take office.”

Again, it is all about Trump. Which makes you wonder whether expressions of support for President Trump and his agenda would be considered “hate-motivated speech” by those who man Minneapolis’s hot line, or by the city’s misguided–to give her the benefit of the doubt–Director of the Department of Civil Rights.


The GOP Senate’s alternative to Obamacare — a first look

Posted: 22 Jun 2017 11:37 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)Senate Republicans today unveiled their health care bill. It’s 142 pages long. I have not yet read it.

According to New York Times reporters Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan, the Senate bill maintains the structure of its House counterpart, but is more “moderate.” For example, it offers “more financial assistance to some lower-income people to help them defray the rapidly rising cost of private health insurance.”

In addition, according to Daniel Horowitz, the Senate version of the bill strips away regulatory reforms or state waivers contained in the House version. Instead, it “merely loosens existing waiver authority up to the discretion of HHS for a few regulations.”

My sense is that Majority Leader McConnell faces an uphill battle to get 50 votes. Because the bill preserves so many Obamacare requirements, discontent among conservatives is palpable.

Indeed, Sens. Cruz, Johnson, Lee, and Paul have just issued a statement saying they are “not ready to vote for this bill,” but “are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor.” I think you have to assume that McConnell anticipated this reaction and is prepared to negotiate with the conservative Senators.

Meanwhile, though, moderates like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski may balk over the bill’s deep cuts to Medicaid. In fact, Dean Heller, who is up for reelection next year, has already released a statement expressing “serious concerns” about the bill’s Medicaid provisions.

For me, the two big questions for any Obamacare replacement legislation are: (1) is it a substantial improvement over Obamacare and (2) how will it affect premiums and deductibles.

I’m not going to attempt answers to these questions until I knew more about the Senate bill. However, because the Senate bill eliminates the mandate to buy insurance without (as I understand it) reducing coverage requirements, the bill is susceptible to the argument that it’s worse — from the standpoint of viability — than Obamacare. To the extent that this problem is papered over with subsidies ($25 billion, reportedly) that should be problematic for conservatives.

Similarly, as to the second question, I’ve always thought the key to lower premiums and deductibles is doing away with the Obamacare regulations.

The House bill at least provides states with that option. If, as Horowitz says, the Senate bill’s loosening of existing waiver authority for a few regulations isn’t sufficient to signal to insurers enough flexibility to cause them to reduce premiums, then the Senate bill is problematic on that account.


Harvard’s “black only” commencement

Posted: 22 Jun 2017 08:54 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)Earlier this month I wrote about Brown University’s “black only” commencement exercise. It turns out that Harvard had a similar event for its black graduates, the first it has ever held, according to the alumni magazine.

The magazine disputes the notion that the event was “segregated.” “Segregation could not have been a less fitting analogy,” it claims. As evidence, it notes that “friends and family members of all races, watched as students received their stoles, an occasion to reflect on the uniqueness of the black student experience and to mark students’ contributions to, not their separateness from, the academic community.”

By this reasoning, baseball was not segregated before Jackie Robinson because blacks could attend Major League games.

The magazine’s claim that the event was not a reflection on black students’ separateness from the academic community is contradicted by its account of the speeches given. One speaker talked of the problem of “being one of the few black people in predominantly white spaces.” He described his Harvard experience as “living underwater.” Another speaker complained, “our frustration is that these institutions [including Harvard] have not been designed for us.”

One can’t argue with someone else’s subjective sense of alienation. But when that sense is based in part on ignorance, and when the institution from which students feel alienated is stoking the ignorance, something is wrong.

This appears to be the case at Harvard. One of the speakers began his oration this way:

Three weeks before my first day at Harvard, I learned of the murder of Michael Brown. Months later, I listened as my professor struggled to explain the public policy that allowed his murderer to walk free.

Michael Brown was not murdered. Even the Obama Justice Department so concluded. Yet this graduate, a Harvard MBA, not only believed that Michael Brown was murdered in the months following the shooting, before the DOJ issued its report, but continues to believe it today.

Moreover, in this student’s telling, Harvard seems to have fueled his mistaken belief. His professor need not have “struggled to explain the public policy that allowed [officer Wilson] to walk free.” All he needed to do was cite the time-honored concept of self-defense.

Maybe the professor was too cowed or too ideologically blinded to do so. Or maybe the student lacked the intellect or the open-mindedness to grasp the notion.

Cowed and the ideologically blinded professors. Intellectually challenged and closed-minded students. These strike me as the real problems on college campuses today. Segregated graduation ceremonies are just a symptom.


Come See the Museum of Cluelessness

Posted: 22 Jun 2017 07:45 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)I’m currently undercover deep behind enemy lines in Marin County, CA, with what you might call Energy Seal Team Six (see photo at the bottom), though come to think of it, you can tell how bad California is by reflecting that by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County, you’ve actually traveled into a jurisdiction that is less insane than the other side of the bridge.

Anyway, I was looking on the San Francisco Chronicle‘s website looking for an online version of an unintentionally hilarious story I spotted in their print edition, when I stumbled across a different unintentionally hilarious story that is too good not to share with Power Line’s friends and family:

Capitalism Museum Opens in Oakland

You may not have heard, so under the radar have things been thus far, but the Bay Area got its newest museum this week. Situated in Oakland’s Jack London Square, at the intersection of Politics and Art, the Museum of Capitalism opened Sunday, June 18.

The culmination of several years of planning, the startup cultural institution is a formidable effort. Featuring more than 80 artists and artist teams, the first exhibition at the 10,000-square-foot museum is supported by a $215,000 grant from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.

Organizers say the museum is “the first of its kind in the United States.” As a pop-up, it’s anybody’s guess how long it might continue past the Aug. 20 closing of the first show. . .

So, will this museum feature exhibits about Adam Smith or Milton Friedman, or great entrepreneurs of the Bay Area like Levi Strauss or Steve Jobs perhaps? The news story nowhere gives many details beyond listing a bunch of no-name artists. So go to the Museum’s website, where you find this explanation:

The mission of the Museum of Capitalism is to educate this generation and future generations about the ideology, history, and legacy of capitalism. . . Our educational work is crucial for establishing justice for the victims of capitalism and preventing its resurgence.

Hand them this at least: this tacitly acknowledges that Oakland at least has just about stamped out “capitalism.” (I’ll just skip over the fact that this museum was funded by a foundation grant made with money no doubt accumulated by some kind of capitalist enterprise.) Here’s a prediction: this museum will fail the ultimate capitalist market test of getting foot traffic beyond sullen assistant professors of oppression studies from local community colleges and Black Lives Matter field trips.


Holy murderer’s row, Batman: What are Ron Bailey, moi, Robert Bryce, Jeremy Carl, and Alex Bezerow doing in Marin? Hint: we’re almost literally chasing after windmills. The libs don’t have a chance.


Cotton does the Times in 10 tweets [with comment by Paul]

Posted: 22 Jun 2017 04:24 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Yesterday’s big New York Times romp was the inflammatory hit piece “Despite concerns about blackmail, Flynn heard CIA secrets.” The story carried the byline of Matt Apuzzo, Matthew Rosenberg and Adam Goldman.

The thesis of the story was obviously spoonfed to the Times by Senator Ron Wyden (as is pointed out below). The story is based in part on public testimony, but in relevant part I believe it fails to cite a single on the record source. As usual, it seems to draw on classified information. Its apparent purpose is to kneecap CIA Director Mike Pompeo while finding yet another pretext to emit the fog of “collusion.”

Senator Tom Cotton addressed the Times story in a series of 10 tweets. He undermined the story in the first seven and returned with three more for good measure.

Senator Cotton persuades me that there is less to the Times story than meets the eye. And Senator Cotton’s last point — that certain Times reporters “need time to explain to FBI investigators their revealing of highly classified info” — well, that’s where Senator Cotton came in.

Which raises a related point. A sickening hypocrisy lies at the heart of this particular New York Times story. The hypocrisy can be seen with a look back to the point that Senator Cotton, then serving in Iraq, made in his famous 2006 email to the Times.

With their story yesterday, Apuzzo, Rosenberg and Goldman seek to create a scandal out of then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s attendance at the president’s daily intelligence briefings. Flynn was supposedly “compromised” at the time and therefore a security risk. This is the entire premise of their story. Yet the Times continues routinely to act as a conduit of “highly classified info” (to borrow Senator Cotton’s phrase below) from our intelligence agencies to our enemies. Something is wrong with this picture.

Yet another @nytimes story that is “almost entirely wrong,” to quote the former FBI Director about their past reporting… 1/? https://t.co/yqu0SWE3Ut

— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 21, 2017

Implication is D/CIA Pompeo should’ve excluded Flynn from PDB because Flynn was “compromised.” Let’s consider that. 2/?

— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 21, 2017

Democratic partisan Sally Yates claimed Flynn was “compromised” because he misstated to VP the nature of talks with Russian ambassador. 3/?

— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 21, 2017

But this @nytimes story refutes itself, saying Yates told WH of misstatement on Jan. 26, thus eliminating risk of “compromise”! 4/?

— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 21, 2017

Plus, Pompeo confirmed by Senate late on Jan. 23, so on own terms this @nytimes story talking AT MOST about two days! 5/?

— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 21, 2017

Putting aside Democrat Yates’s breathless, overwrought theories of potential “compromise.” 6/?

— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 21, 2017

Which probably were already undermined anyway by this @IgnatiusPost from Jan. 12:https://t.co/7zL4bcIBxQ

— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 21, 2017

And, by the way, if Democrat Yates so worried about Flynn, did she ever try to rescind his security clearance? Did John Brennan? 8/?

— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 21, 2017

@nytimes should spend more time on accurate, logical reporting than just regurgitating @RonWyden talking points. 9/?

— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 21, 2017

Besides @AllMattNYT & @adamgoldmanNYT need time to explain to FBI investigators their revealing of highly classified info. 10/10

— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 21, 2017

PAUL ADDS: This is great. It’s the best use of Twitter to make an actual argument that I’ve ever seen — almost enough to tempt me into getting an account.

I made a similar argument (less elegantly) about Flynn’s situation when I wrote:

Once Yates told the Trump administration [that Flynn was “compromised”], and assuming that someone in the Trump administration let Flynn know it had been so informed, the possibility of blackmail dissipated, it seems to me. The Russians could hardly get anywhere with Flynn by threatening to reveal what he figured the Trump administration already knew.

Even before Yates spoke up, Flynn may well have figured that the Trump administration knew of his conversations with the Russians. As a highly experienced intelligence guy, he probably knew that the U.S. had recorded the conversations.



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