PowerLine -> In key Virginia race, Gillespie focuses on crime and consequences

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PowerLine -> In key Virginia race, Gillespie focuses on crime and consequences

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • In key Virginia race, Gillespie focuses on crime and consequences
  • The Best University Chancellor in America
  • Civil War on the Left, Part 51: Sierra Club vs. Sierra Club
  • Trump’s reckless comments on Bowe Bergdahl
  • At FDD’s national security summit
In key Virginia race, Gillespie focuses on crime and consequences

Posted: 25 Oct 2017 12:54 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)We’re following pretty closely the race for governor of Virginia. Democrat Ralph Northam, the lieutenant governor is leading Republican Ed Gillespie in the polls, but there’s evidence that the race is tight.

These days, Democrats consistently win state races in Virginia. They do so by piling up big margins in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Gillespie is targeting voters in these suburbs with aggressive advertising on television. Although Northam is said to have considerably more money on hand than Gillespie, the Republican is running many more ads in the Northern Virginia market, at least on the television shows I watch — sports and a little bit of cable news.

Many of Gillespie’s ads focus on taxation. In addition, though, he is hammering hard on matters of crime and punishment. I discussed in some detail the ad where Gillespie highlights Northam’s deciding vote in favor of sanctuary cities — a vote Gillespie says increases the threat of the gang MS-13.

MS-13 is a menace in parts of Northern Virginia.

Now, Gillespie is running an ad that slams Northam and Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe for restoring rights to violent felons and sex offenders. The ad states:

Last year, Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam instituted the automatic restoration of rights for violent felons and sex offenders, making it easier for them to obtain firearms and allowing them to serve on juries. One of these felons, John Bowen, had his rights restored two months after being found with one of the largest child pornography collections in Virginia’s history.

McAuliffe and Northam are crying foul. McAuliffe says the ad “a page right out of Donald Trump’s playbook” because it “is based on the same fears and same division” Trump exploited. Northam says Gillespie is lying.

McAuliffe is right. Gillespie is playing to the fears of voters, as Trump did. But that doesn’t mean the ad is unfair or that the fears are illegitimate.

As for the truthfulness of the ad, a Washington Post article, though clearly sympathetic to Northam whom the Post supports, fails to show dishonesty. It’s undisputed that McAuliffe has restored voting and other civil rights to more than 150,000 felons. The governor rather pathetically calls this “one of our greatest feats.” Northam, his lieutenant governor, unequivocally supports McAuliffe’s action.

The action does make it easier for felons, including violent ones and sex offenders, to obtain guns. In the Post’s words, it “help[s] them over the first hurdle to have their gun rights restored, although the felons still need judges to sign off.”

That’s what Gillespie’s ad says — it makes it “easier for them to obtain firearms.” I doubt I’m alone in taking only limited comfort from the fact that a judge still needs to sign off.

The crime rate appears to be rising in Virginia. For example, the state recorded 383 murders/non-negligent manslaughters in 2015. In 2016, it recorded 484. The Washington Post itself reported that in Prince William County, a little south of Washington, D.C. and its close-in suburbs, the murder rate more than doubled in 2016.

Thus, when the Post responds to Gillespie’s ads by saying Virginia’s violent crime rate “plunged by more than a third in the decade ending in 2015,” it deliberately misleads readers. What’s relevant to Gillespie’s campaign is the recent spike in violent crime, not what occurred between 2006-15.

From the standpoint of Northan and the Washington Post, the problem with Gillespie’s crime and punishment ads isn’t that they are irrelevant or dishonest. They are neither. The problem is that they have the potential to win votes, including votes in Northern Virginia.


The Best University Chancellor in America

Posted: 25 Oct 2017 10:25 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Of all the minority populations considered “marginalized” or “vulnerable” on college campuses, Jews are probably the most in danger of “hate speech” attacks and discrimination. Keep in mind that the “alt-right” white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville chanted “Jews will not replace us!”

But Jews also face severe animosity from the campus left. For example, here’s the cartoon the Daily Cal student paper printed about Alan Dershowitz’s recent lecture at Berkeley on “The Liberal Case for Israel.”

And as previously mentioned, a poster promoting Dershowitz’s visit was defaced with a swastika, almost certainly by a leftist.

Berkeley’s new chancellor, Carol Christ, has written to the Daily Cal to condemn this cartoon in no uncertain terms:

Your recent editorial cartoon targeting Alan Dershowitz was offensive, appalling and deeply disappointing. I condemn its publication. Are you aware that its anti-Semitic imagery connects directly to the centuries-old “blood libel” that falsely accused Jews of engaging in ritual murder? I cannot recall anything similar in The Daily Californian, and I call on the paper’s editors to reflect on whether they would sanction a similar assault on other ethnic or religious groups. We cannot build a campus community where everyone feels safe, respected and welcome if hatred and the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes become an acceptable part of our discourse.

I’m generally not fans of university administrators and had some sharp words for the previous Berkeley chancellor, Nicholas Dirks. I typically joke that the job description for college administrators specifies that a spine removal is a job requirement. But Christ is showing not only a spine but considerable shrewdness in defending free speech from the assault of the Antifa left that held the Berkeley campus hostage most of the last year. If you want a hint of how well she is doing this, consider that she’s drawn praise from the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and is being attacked by leftist students on campus.

Incidentally, I sent word to the chancellor’s office that as I know the Wall Street Journal editorial page staff a bit, I could try to get them to rescind their editorial and attack her instead if that would be more useful. But fortunately most campus leftists don’t read the Journal (enjoy The Onion parody, “Berkeley Campus on Lockdown After Loose Pages of the Wall Street Journal Found on Campus“), and so she’s at little risk of blowback from it.


Civil War on the Left, Part 51: Sierra Club vs. Sierra Club

Posted: 25 Oct 2017 09:59 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)In recent years the Sierra Club has been agitating to close down a large coal-fired power plant in Arizona that the Navajo Indians run on their land. But guess what? This coal plant was built way back in the 1960s at the behest of . . . the Sierra Club. So naturally, the Clubbers are currently suffering from 50 shades of liberal guilt.

Bill Corcoran, western regional director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, fesses up in a recent issue of the Club’s magazine, in “The Sierra Club’s Shadowy History With the Navajo Generating Station.”

When, in 2009, the Sierra Club launched a campaign pressing for the closure of the Navajo Generating Station, a massive power plant in the Four Corners region, the move seemed in line with the organization’s new priorities in the age of climate change. The Club’s Beyond Coal campaign was beginning to hit its stride in halting or retiring coal-burning power plants nationwide, and the Navajo Generating Station, the largest coal plant west of the Mississippi River and the seventh-largest source of carbon pollution in the United States, was a natural target. . .

With the Navajo Generating Station now on the verge of closing, this is a good time to step back and review the Sierra Club’s long, twisted history with the coal mines and power plants located on and near the Navajo Nation. In doing so, we can see how the environmental movement has frequently excluded, erased, and marginalized indigenous peoples and their struggles as it has sought to keep landscapes free of industrial exploitation. . .

It seems the Sierra Club put its weight behind a plan to build coal plants instead of more (carbon-free) hydroelectric dams on the Colorado River.

According to Navajo activist leader John Redhouse, who in the late 1960s was a field organizer with the National Indian Youth Council, the Sierra Club’s Brower worked behind closed doors with then–Interior Secretary Stewart Udall and influential congressman Morris Udall of Arizona (the two were brothers) “to come up with the infamous Plan B Alternative to the proposed Grand Canyon hydroelectric dams.” Instead of being sustained by hydroelectric energy from dams, the Central Arizona Project would be fueled by coal mined and burned on Navajo lands. Redhouse writes: “And so Black Mesa, our sacred female mountain and physical and spiritual embodiment of our most beloved Mother Earth, and the sweet female ground waters of the holy Navajo Aquifer, were brutally mined and depleted.”

Some of Brower’s contemporaries have disputed this account, [*] arguing that the coal plants were already being planned by private utilities. But in the recent biography of David Brower, The Man Who Built the Sierra Club, journalist Robert Wyss reports that during congressional hearings in May 1967, Morris Udall forced Brower to look at photos of stripmining operations and asked if that kind of damage was preferable to a dam. Brower’s thought was, “Well, that is not very important country compared to Grand Canyon.”

And now the Sierra Club has caught a full-blown case of Liberal Guilt about Insensitivity to Indigenous People. One of these days maybe they’ll acknowledge the same thing about their opposition to cheap power to the indigenous people of the energy-starved developing world.

[*] Whenever an environmentalist is confronted with an embarrassment or hypocrisy, you can invariably count on him to lie about it.


Trump’s reckless comments on Bowe Bergdahl

Posted: 25 Oct 2017 07:52 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)Sen. Jeff Flake announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election next year. Explaining his decision on the Senate floor, Flake had harsh words for President Trump. Among them were these:

Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused as telling it like it is when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified. And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. It is dangerous to a democracy.

President Trump’s behavior has been reckless, outrageous, and undignified at times. I’m not convinced that this behavior endangers democracy, but on the whole, it isn’t good for the country.

Andy McCarthy argues that reckless comments by Trump about Bowe Bergdahl have jeopardized the military’s prosecution of the deserter. To understand how, we need to distinguish, as Andy does, between comments Trump made as a candidate and comments he made as president.

As a candidate, Trump ripped Bergdahl as a “dirty, rotten traitor.” Reportedly, he even mimicked the sound of a rifle shot as he pantomimed a firing squad executing Bergdahl.

Because Trump was not president at the time, this behavior did not affect the Bergdahl prosecution. Earlier this year, the military judge, in that case, rejected the defense’s attempt to rely on what Trump said before he became president.

Trump has not repeated his words about Bergdahl since becoming commander-in-chief. However, it can be argued that he has incorporated them by reference. McCarthy explains:

[L]ast week, at a White House press conference, he was asked whether his previous attacks on Bergdahl had unfairly prejudiced the court-martial against the defendant. There is only one proper answer to that question or, indeed, to any question to the president about the pending case: No comment.

Alas, that answer does not seem to be in the Trump repertoire. While the president declined to opine on what effect his comments may have had, he couldn’t just leave it there. Instead, he compulsively added, “But I think people have heard my comments in the past.”

Andy says this response “can be interpreted only one way: Trump wanted to make clear that he stands by his prior condemnatory remarks — as if he were making them again.” This may not be the only possible interpretation, but I think it’s the most plausible one.

Accordingly, Trump has placed the prosecution of Bergdahl in jeopardy. This isn’t just McCarthy’s view. Cully Stinson, now of the Heritage Foundation and formerly a military lawyer and judge, share it. He cites the military law principle known as “unlawful command influence.” It forbids any official with the mantle of command authority from taking any action, including making any statement, that could influence a military tribunal that is considering a soldier’s case.

At a minimum, Trump has flirted with a violation of this principle. And he has done even though he knew or should have known, that his earlier comments about Bergdahl were already being used by the defense team. McCarthy reminds us:

Shortly after Trump was sworn in, Bergdahl’s lawyer, Yale’s Eugene Fidell, began arguing that the case against his client should be thrown out on the theory that Trump’s remarks constituted “unlawful command influence.”. . .

In February, after a hotly contested litigation, the judge, Army Colonel Jeffrey R. Nance, denied Bergdahl’s motion on this rationale.

Consequently, all the president had to do to avoid further problems for the prosecution was to avoid further commentary about Bergdahl. Too much to ask, apparently.

So now, the Bergdahl defense team has renewed its motion, even though Bergdahl already pleaded guilty. The military judge is taking the motion seriously.

The judge explained that when he denied the motion to dismiss back in February, he reasoned that the “disturbing” campaign rhetoric could be disregarded because Trump was not in a position of command influence. That rationale, he observed, “tend[s] to be eroded when the now-president of the United States adopts those past statements.”

The judge has adjourned the sentencing proceedings until today, Wednesday, to consider whether Trump’s remarks warrant granting Bergdahl’s motion for a sentence of minimal if any, imprisonment. As McCarthy rightly says, if the “dirty, rotten traitor” gets a pass, President Trump will have only himself to blame.


At FDD’s national security summit

Posted: 25 Oct 2017 06:30 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Last week the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies held a “national security summit” in Washington featuring conversations with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Each was interviewed by an extremely knowledgeable interlocutor: Juan Zarate in the case of Pompeo, Mark Dubowitz in the case of McMaster. For more on the participants, see this page.

In the video below Juan Zarate interviews Pompeo. All I can say is that this is worth your time.

In the video below General McMaster speaks briefly from a prepared text on the administration’s reformulation of our Iran strategy and is then interviewed by Mark Dubowitz. FDD has posted a transcript here.

In his daily Wall Street Journal Best of the Web column yesterday — “What about Bob?” — James Freeman noted in a passing comment on the Corker cacophony “it is interesting to note that someone could listen to Mr. Trump for years, including during the long campaign of 2015-2016, and then decide–after observing him assemble a blue-chip cabinet–that he is somehow unfit to lead.” Indeed, President Trump has assembled something like a national security dream team. From Obama CIA Director John Brennan to Trump CIA Director Mike Pompeo, from Obama national security adviser (and designated liar) Susan Rice to Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster, what a rising up was there!


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