PowerLine -> A Chappaquiddick Reckoning At Last?

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Daily Digest

  • A Chappaquiddick Reckoning At Last?
  • John Kelly fires back at Luis Gutierrez
  • Irma update
  • Almost blacklisted by Google
  • The gutless Mr. Franken (2)
A Chappaquiddick Reckoning At Last?

Posted: 11 Sep 2017 04:46 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

I paid no attention to the fact that Hollywood was producing a biopic of Ted Kennedy’s famous “accident” at Chappaquiddick in 1969, and would have assumed that it was a typical gauzy pro-Kennedy puff piece if I had known. But Variety magazine, the main trade journal of Hollywood, offers a review that not only says that the forthcoming movie Chappaquiddick is suitably harsh on Teddy, but that he—and the Kennedy reputation—deserve it:

The film says that what happened at Chappaquiddick was even worse than we think. Kopechne’s body was found in a position that implied that she was struggling to keep her head out of the water. And what the film suggests is that once the car turned upside down, she didn’t die; she was alive and then drowned, after a period of time, as the water seeped in. This makes Edward Kennedy’s decision not to report the crime a clear-cut act of criminal negligence — but in spirit (if not legally), it renders it something closer to an act of killing.

But this is just the beginning. The reviewer, Variety chief film critic Owen Gleiberman, piles on:

“Chappaquiddick” is a meticulously told chronicle, no more and no less, and at times there’s a slight detachment in watching it, because it’s too tough and smart to milk the situation by turning Edward Kennedy into a “tragic figure.” . . .

Forty-eight years later, let’s be clear on what the meaning of Chappaquiddick is. Ted Kennedy should, by all rights, have stood trial for involuntary manslaughter, which would likely have ended his political career. The fact that the Kennedy family — the original postwar dynasty of the one percent — possessed, and exerted, the influence to squash the case is the essence of what Chappaquiddick means. The Kennedys lived outside the law; the one documented instance in American history of an illegallystolen presidential election was the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960. He lost the race to Richard Nixon, but his father sealed the presidency for him by manipulating the vote tallies in Illinois. That’s the meaning of Chappaquiddick. too.

I don’t say any of this as a right-wing troll. But those are the facts, and they are facts that liberals, too often, have been willing to shove under the carpet. And they have paid the price. Ted Kennedy became known as “the Lion of the Senate,” and did a lot of good, but when you try to build a governing philosophy on top of lies, one way or another those lies will come back to haunt you. (Hello, Donald Trump! He’s an incompetent bully, but his middle name might be “Liberal Karma.”) As a movie, “Chappaquiddick” doesn’t embellish the incidents it shows us, because it doesn’t have to. It simply delivers the truth of what happened: the logistical truth of the accident, and also the squirmy truth of what went on in Ted Kennedy’s soul. The result may play like avid prose rather than investigative cinema poetry, but it still adds up to a movie that achieves what too few American political dramas do: a reckoning.

I hope Gleiberman has good life insurance and checks his car’s ignition before he starts up every day from now on. Just to be safe, don’t park next to Oliver Stone.

For what it’s worth, some years ago I had a long conversation with someone who owned a second home on Chappaquiddick and was present that weekend, though, as a Republican, he was not at the infamous party. He told me the story went out over the weekend that Kopechne had fallen asleep in the back seat of Kennedy’s car, and that Teddy wasn’t aware she was back there when he drove off the bridge. This doesn’t square with a lot of the circumstances and other facts of the story, leading to the suggestion that this was the first version of an alibi that was abandoned because couldn’t hold up.

This person (now deceased) also said that the Kennedy machine descended upon Chappaquiddick like the Normandy invasion, canvassing the island’s small population to see whether there were any witnesses and tamp down any “rumors.”


John Kelly fires back at Luis Gutierrez

Posted: 11 Sep 2017 03:20 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

I wrote here about how Rep. Luis Gutierrez called John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, a “hypocrite” and a “disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.” Kelly served in the military for more than 40 years.

Gutierrez never served a day. However, he became hysterical over Trump’s decision to phase out the DACA program, while giving Congress the opportunity to implement its protections. Gutierrez claimed that Trump’s action violated a promise Kelly had made. As I demonstrated here, though, there is no inconsistency between what Gutierrez says Kelly promised — no mass deportations of “dreamers” — and the winding down of a program that granted them secure status plus benefits.

Kelly has now responded to Gutierrez. He said:

As far as the congressman and other irresponsible members of congress are concerned, they have the luxury of saying what they want as they do nothing and have almost no responsibility. They can call people liars but it would be inappropriate for me to say the same thing back at them. As my blessed mother used to say “empty barrels make the most noise.”

Kelly also defended the decision to phase out DACA, while giving Congress time to pass legislation that accomplishes the same things:

Every DOJ and DHS lawyer says DACA is unconstitutional. Every other legal scholar – right and left – says the same thing. Trump didn’t end DACA, the law did. That said, I worked and succeeded to give the congress another six months to do something. I am not confident.

It’s not really true that every legal scholar says DACA is unconstitutional. One can find left-wing academics who defend its constitutionality.

It’s telling though that a former left-wing academic initially conceded that DACA-style amnesty would be an illegal usurpation of power by the executive. The professor’s name was Barack Obama.

Rep. Gutierrez’s office responded lamely to Kelly. It noted that “the constitutionality of DACA has never been challenged successfully in court.” But the constitutionality of DAPA has successfully been challenged, and the arguments against DACA are very similar.

In any event, the president of the United States takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. He has thus sworn not to maintain programs that, in his view, are unconstitutional. He need not, and should not, wait for courts to opine.

If the president were considering a program to take some as yet unheard of draconian measure to punish illegal immigrants, it would not do for him to blow off constitutional concerns on the grounds that the constitutionality of the punishment has never been challenged successfully in court. It will not do for Gutierrez, apparently illiterate when it comes to the Constitution, to blow off constitutional concerns over DACA.

Gutierrez owes Kelly an apology. But Kelly probably doesn’t take the open-borders loudmouth seriously enough to want one.


Irma update

Posted: 11 Sep 2017 02:38 PM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

Our Florida hurricane correspondent provides this brief update from Fort Myers and Cape Coral:

Irma passed very slightly to the east of Fort Myers, which was actually worse for the city since it saw nothing but eyewall for several hours instead of getting a respite in the eye. Still, there is little major damage – uprooted trees, a few houses damaged by falling trees, localized flooding, signs damaged or knocked down, widespread power outages (though LCEC has done a very effective job at restoring electricity to critical installations). The vicious storm surge everyone feared largely did not materialize; even Sanibel and Captiva suffered little significant damage. No doubt damage and fatalities would have been worse had a large surge occurred. Miami, Naples and the Keys suffered the most of what damage there was, and only the latter was really smashed. No reports of looting locally and the cleanup is proceeding.

Six deaths are attributed to the storm. Three emergency responders were killed in car accidents, a fourth death was a civilian in a car accident, and a carbon monoxide poisoning from a Miami man who ran a generator in an enclosed space. Only one person was killed by the storm itself, a man on Shark Key (Monroe County) who failed or refused to evacuate or go to a storm shelter and was apparently drowned in his house.

There is not a single other reported death — not at the landfall site in Collier (Marco Island; Naples), not in Lee County, nor anywhere else in the state. As Irma was still a huge Cat 2 storm when it raked most of the peninsula, I attribute the good outcome to Florida’s preparation and its building codes – Florida is a much harder target than pretty much anywhere else in the country. The authorities responded magnificently, organized, efficient, and firm. And the vast majority of people acted rationally and cautiously. I think having Harvey hit two weeks earlier probably prompted even the most blasé Gators to prepare and/or evacuate and/or shelter.

One notable casualty: the 100-year-old Banyan tree at the Edison estate. A shame.


Almost blacklisted by Google

Posted: 11 Sep 2017 05:20 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

In a message addressed to us along with Drudge ReportAmerican ThinkerInstaPunditPJ Mediaand Gateway Pundit, Leo Goldstein writes:

Dear Editors,

You might be interested to learn, that your websites have been almost blacklisted by Google. “Almost blacklisted” means that Google search artificially downranks results from your websites to such extent that you lose 55% – 75% of possible visitors traffic from Google. This sitution is probably aggravated by secondary effects, because many users and webmasters see Google ranking as a signal of trust.

This result is reported in my paper published in WUWT. The findings are consistent with multiple prior results, showing Google left/liberal bias, and pro-Hillary skew of Google search in the elections.

I write to all of them to give you opportunity to discuss this matter among yourselves. Even if Google owes nothing to your publications, it certainly owes good faith to the users of its search.

Intentionally hiding conservative and/or libertarian websites from the customers is an obvious breach of good faith.

Those of you who do not know me are welcome to visit at Climate Realism Against Alarmism.

The almost blacklisted domains:

Best regards,
Leo Goldstein

All I can say at this point is that we are in good company.


The gutless Mr. Franken (2)

Posted: 11 Sep 2017 05:00 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

President Trump has nominated Notre Dame Law Professor Amy Barrett to the Seventh Circuit and Professor Barrett once gave a speech to the legal rights organization Alliance Defending Freedom. The ADF has recently been designated an anti-LGBT hate group by the absurdly misnamed hate cult known as the Southern Poverty Law Center. Drawing on the SPLC’s assault on the ADF and Professor Barrett’s appearance to speak before the group once upon a time, Franken has attacked Professor Barrett as unworthy of confirmation.

Here we have absurdity heaped upon absurdity in the style of McCarthyite guilt by association, but with a twist. At the end of McCarthy’s attacks was the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. At the end of Franken’s attack is the Alliance Defending Freedom. Franken’s performance in the hearing on Professor Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week made for a sickening display of ignorance heaped upon bigotry and dishonesty.

Franken has drawn on the same technique to state his opposition to the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit. In the statement that he released after his pretended four-month study of Justice Stras’s record, Franken announced that he would withhold his blue slip and therefore prevent Justice Stras’s nomination even from consideration by the Senate unless it is dishonored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley. Here are the two operative paragraphs of Franken’s statement (with my editorial notation of falsehoods):

Early in his career, Justice Stras worked as a law clerk for Justice Thomas, one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative members [lie] Justice Stras has described Justice Thomas as a mentor, and at an event hosted by the conservative [lie] Federalist Society, Justice Stras talked about how the jurisprudence of Justice Scalia helped to shape his own views. He said, “I really grew up with a steady diet of Justice Scalia, and I’m better for it.” Justice Scalia embraced a rigid view of the Constitution that favored powerful corporate interests [lie], was blind to the equal dignity of LGBT people [lie], and often refused to acknowledge the lingering animus in laws that perpetuate the racial divide [lie]. As a state court judge, Justice Stras has not often had occasion to consider cases raising these issues, but I am concerned that a nominee nurtured by such an ideology would likely seek to impose it on the litigants before him [libel based on lies].

And as it turns out, there is good reason to be concerned about that. During the presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump proudly declared that he would “appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia.” And to make certain that his nominees would espouse such views, President Trump outsourced the job of identifying them to the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, deeply conservative interest groups that cast skeptical eyes on workers’ rights and civil rights [a lie several times over]. Those groups produced a list of conservative judges for then-candidate Trump to consider naming to the Supreme Court-a list that included Justice Stras.

Again note the McCarthyite approach that makes up the sum and substance of Franken’s opposition to Justice Stras (and of his prospective opposition to Professor Barrett). Justice Stras clerked for Justice Thomas. Justice Stras has spoken highly of Justice Scalia. Justice Stras is supported by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society (putting the facts to one side). Franken, therefore, opposes Justice Stras.

Franken cites nothing from Justice Stras’s scholarly or judicial record to support his opposition. Franken’s opposition is founded entirely on guilt by association — not with the Communist Party or some nefarious organization, but rather with Justice Thomas and with the Federalist Society.

I took a look at Senator Amy Klobuchar’s statement on the Stras nomination last week in “The many moods of Amy Klobuchar.” Klobuchar’s statement supports a hearing for Justice Stras while also supporting deference to Franken’s blue slip. Star Tribune reporter Patrick Coolican declared Klobuchar’s statement — seeking to please all while committing herself to nothing — “peak Klobuchar.” She is a walking parody of a politician.

They put the question squarely to Senator Grassley. Will he respect this nonsense?


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