Interesting, isn’t it? The IRS, EPA, and DOJ scandals all happened before the election. We’re only hearing about them now.
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) May 14, 2013
Yup. Sure is.
– EPA chief Lisa Jackson, alias “Richard Windsor,” resigned in late December amidst a transparency scandal involving the use of fake email accounts to avoid scrutiny. Today, the same organization that sued for access to those emails reveals that the EPA gave green groups fee waivers for FOIA requests 93 percent of the time, whereas the Competitive Enterprise Institute was required to pay 14 out of 15 times.
– The IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups (and small-government ones and ones whose stated mission is to “make America a better place to live”) went back to 2010, when they first started receiving egregiously detailed questionnaires. The White House has known since April, and pinned it on the Cincinnati field office originally, per the IRS commissioner’s apology. Not only is that claim not true—senior IRS officials have known since 2011, as the Washington Post reported last night, and they lied to Congress about it—but the Cincinnati office isn’t just a random peripheral subdivision, it’s the main office for processing exempt organizations claims. Not to mention CNN is now reporting that several other field offices were involved. Both the President and House Speaker John Boehner have promised to look into the matter. On the Senate side, Max Baucus will be heading up the investigation, and he actually encouraged investigating Tea Party groups.
– In the most shocking scandal yet in the president’s war on leaks—alternatively, war on whistleblowers—the Associated Press revealed yesterday that the Justice Department obtained two months’ worth of phone records from more than 20 different phone lines in an apparent attempt to trace the sources of a story about a foiled bomb plot by Yemen-based terrorists. The AP’s CEO has called it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion.”
Not every one of these could have been uncovered by the mainstream press, though all of them have to do with concerns raised by conservatives months or in some cases years ago that weren’t taken seriously. ProPublica’s decision yesterday evening to out the Cincinnati office as their source for confidential tax documents seems especially self-serving in light of the developing scandal. The Washington Post‘s story on Lisa Jackson’s resignation didn’t even mention her pseudonymous emails. You’d think a major newspaper would be concerned enough about transparency to do so. With a mainstream press this solicitous of the administration, is it any wonder they thought they could get away with snooping on reporters’ phone records? American Pravda, indeed.
Update: I guess I should have put that headline in quotes. Also, RNC chairman Reince Priebus has just called for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation.
It’s hard to know which is the bigger deal, Stephen Hawking’s BDS-inspired decision to drop out of a high-powered conference in Israel (a country he has visited several times before) or the Boston Globe’s endorsement of Hawking’s protest. Both actions would have been virtually inconceivable five years ago, and both reflect the broader impatience of mainstream, high-prestige Western institutions and personalities with Israel’s intensifying land-grabbing on the West Bank and its longstanding practice of using the never-ending “peace process” to camouflage policies of slow-motion ethnic cleansing.
Hawking of course is a global celebrity, renowned as a top theoretical physicist who has triumphed professionally despite suffering from the most debilitating of diseases. His defiance is celebrated in graphic form here and analyzed perceptively by the Israeli anti-occupation journalist Larry Derfner here. Derfner doesn’t really like BDS but notes that nothing else to date has worked: the Israeli public seems all too happy to elect governments which support the occupation, the United States is too timid to try “tough love” on Israel, and it’s very difficult for the Palestinians to make non-violent protest effective against an occupier using live ammunition, midnight arrests, and detention without trial. Not that they aren’t trying. Read More…
Jason Richwine, the young conservative scholar who co-authored the Heritage Foundation report on the long-term costs of the amnesty bill backed by the “Gang of Eight,” is gone from Heritage.
He was purged after the Washington Post unearthed his doctoral dissertation at the JFK School of Government.
IQ tests fairly measure mental ability. The average IQ of immigrants is well below that of white Americans. This difference in IQ is likely to persist through several generations.
And the potential consequences of this?
“A lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market.”
Richwine defended his 166-page thesis before Harvard’s George Borjas, Richard Zeckhauser and Christopher Jencks, who once edited The New Republic. But while his thesis was acceptable at Harvard—it earned Richwine a Ph.D.—it has scandalized the Potomac priesthood.
Our elites appear unanimous: Richwine’s view that intelligence is not equally distributed among ethnic and racial groups, and is partly inherited, is rankest heresy. Yet no one seems to want to prove him wrong.
Consider Richwine’s contention that differences in mental ability exist and seem to persist among racial and ethnic groups.
In the Wall Street Journal last month, Warren Kozak noted that 28,000 students in America’s citadel of diversity, New York City, took the eighth-grade exam to enter Stuyvesant, the Bronx School of Science and Brooklyn Tech, the city’s most elite high schools. Students are admitted solely on their entrance test scores.
Of the 830 students who will be entering Stuyvesant as freshmen this fall, 1 percent are black, 3 percent are Hispanic, 21 percent are white—and 75 percent are Asian.
Now, blacks and Hispanics far outnumber Asians in New York. But at Stuyvesant, Asians will outnumber blacks and Hispanics together 19-to-1.
Is this the result of racially biased tests at Stuyvesant?
At Berkeley, crown jewel of the California university system, Hispanics, 40 percent of California’s population and an even larger share of California’s young, are 12 percent of the freshman class. Asians, outnumbered almost 3-to-1 by Hispanics in California, have almost four times as many slots as Hispanics in the freshman class.
Another example of racial bias?
The 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA, which measures the academic ability of 15-year-olds worldwide, found the U.S.A. falling to 17th in reading, 23rd in science, 31st in math.
Yet, Spain aside, not one Hispanic nation, from which a plurality of our immigrants come, was among the top 40 in reading, science or math.
But these folks are going to come here and make us No. 1 again?
Is there greater “underclass behavior” among Hispanics?
The crime rate among Hispanics is about three times that of white Americans, while the Asian crime rate is about a third that of whites.
Among white folks, the recent illegitimacy rate was 28 percent; among Hispanics, 53 percent. According to one study a few years back, Hispanics were 19 times as likely as whites to join gangs.
What about Richwine’s point regarding “social trust”?
Six years ago, in “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the 21st Century,” Robert Putnam, author of “Bowling Alone,” wrote that after 30,000 interviews he found that ethnic and racial diversity can be devastating to communities and destructive of community values.
In racially mixed communities, Putnam wrote, not only do people not trust strangers, they do not even trust their own kind.
“People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ’hunker down,’ that is, to pull in like a turtle … (to) withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.”
With the immigration bill granting amnesty to 12 million illegals, an open door to their dependents and a million new immigrants each year, almost all from the Third World, America in 2040 is going to look like Los Angeles today. Yet, it was in L.A. that Putnam found social capital at its most depleted and exhausted.
If Richwine is right, America in 2040 will be a country with whites and Asians dominating the professions, and 100 million Hispanics concentrated in semiskilled work and manual labor.
The issues Richwine raises go to the question of whether we shall survive as one nation and one people.
If our huge bloc of Hispanics, already America’s largest minority at 53 million, is fed by constant new immigration, but fails for a couple of generations to reach the middle-class status that Irish, Germans, Jews, Italians and Poles attained after two generations, what becomes of our “indivisible” nation?
Rather than face this question, better to purge and silence the Harvard extremist who dared to raise it.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” Copyright 2012 Creators.com.
Amid loud cries of “Witch! Witch! Burn the Witch!” an enraged throng of ideological activists and media pundits late last week besieged the fortress-like DC headquarters of the conservative Heritage Foundation, demanding the person of one Jason Richwine, Ph.D., employed there as a senior policy analyst. The High Lords of Heritage, deeply concerned about any possible threat to their million-dollar salaries, quickly submitted, though they waited until late Friday, the dead-zone period of national news coverage, before announcing that young Dr. Richwine had been expelled into the Outer Darkness.
Only a week earlier, Richwine had reached a pinnacle of his career, listed as co-author of a widely trumpeted Heritage research study demonstrating that Congressional passage of proposed immigration reform legislation would cost American taxpayers some six trillion dollars…or perhaps the figure was six quadrillion dollars.
But then some enterprising journalist discovered the dreadful evidence of Richwine’s horrific heresy, namely that his 2009 doctoral dissertation at the Harvard Kennedy School had focused on the very low IQs of those racial groups providing most of our current immigrants, with his conclusion being that such inflows must be halted lest American society be dumbified into disaster. Taken together Race and IQ constitute an exceptionally volatile mix in modern American society, and ignited by a six trillion dollar spark, the resulting explosion blew Richwine out of his comfortable DC employment. Read More…
Whether the persistence of hipster eulogies is a sign of the West’s cultural stagnation or merely the slipperiness of the term, I couldn’t tell you. What’s incontrovertible is the hipster has been dying for about five years now. It’s true because sensitive, trend-spotting journalists have said so. But as far as I know this is the first time its death has been studied gromatically by political scientists:
Just 16% of Americans have a favorable opinion of hipsters, a new PPP poll on the much-discussed subculture shows. 42% have an unfavorable opinion of hipsters, and 43% aren’t sure. Democrats (18% favorable, 34% unfav) are twice as likely as Republicans (9% fav, 48% unfav) to have a favorable opinion. Voters age 18-29 have a favorable opinion of them (43% fav-29% unfav), but very few voters over age 65 do (6% fav -37% unfav).
Just 10% of voters say they consider themselves to be hipsters – and almost all of those are younger voters. Half of all voters aged 18-29 consider themselves hipsters; every other age group is 5% or less. … 27% of voters said they thought hipsters should be subjected to a special tax for being so annoying, while 73% did not think so. About one in five voters (21%) said they thought Pabst Blue Ribbon, commonly associated with hipsters, was a good beer. Democrats (29%) were more likely than Republicans (23%) to think so, while independents (11%) were least likely.
Almost a majority (46 percent) think they’re soulless cultural appropriators.
My favorite hipster eulogy is still this Adbusters—yes, I know it’s left-wing—piece, for the sheer hopelessness of it, and that it comes from their same political/philosophical position as most of the people we would describe as such. It quotes TakiMag contributor and Vice founding editor Gavin McInnes:
“I’ve always found that word ["hipster"] is used with such disdain, like it’s always used by chubby bloggers who aren’t getting laid anymore and are bored, and they’re just so mad at these young kids for going out and getting wasted and having fun and being fashionable,” he says. “I’m dubious of these hypotheses because they always smell of an agenda.”
In other words, people use the word like they use the word “yuppie”—pejoratively. Since this isn’t something PPP regularly measures, we can’t be sure if opinion has soured, but I suspect not. My guess is the public at large always hated them.
At least now we know what polling firms do when there’s not a big election coming up.
Yesterday’s Post carried this story on Senator Rand Paul’s attempts to reach out to the evangelical community, and carried this choice, heretical-by-libertarian-standards, quote:
In an interview a day before his Iowa trip, Paul, 50, also tried to make clear just what kind of politician he is. “To some, ‘libertarian’ scares people,” he said. “Some of them come up to me and they say, ‘I kind of like you, but I don’t like legalizing heroin.’ And I say, ‘Well, that’s not my position.’ ”
Paul said he believes in freedom and wants a “virtuous society” where people practice “self-restraint.” Yet he believes in laws and limits as well. Instead of advocating for legalized drugs, for example, he pushes for reduced penalties for many drug offenses.
“I’m not advocating everyone go out and run around with no clothes on and smoke pot,” he said. “I’m not a libertarian. I’m a libertarian Republican. I’m a constitutional conservative.”
The evangelicals, at least according to the story, seem to be buying it:
[Pastor Brad] Sherman got that chance Friday when he joined other clergy members at the Cedar Rapids lunch to pose pointed questions to Paul. He said he came away liking what he heard. “He made it very clear that he does not support legalization of drugs like marijuana and that he supports traditional marriage,” Sherman said.
Not so much the libertarians, if Reason’s take (“I can’t help but wonder how Paul would be different from any other Republican president”) and my Facebook feed are any indication. Just like the flap over his position on drones, the outrage seems to be over a less elegant statement of the same position he’s held the whole time. Fair is fair, of course, and it’s entirely reasonable to take a politician at his word, but I have two thoughts.
First, many of the people now denouncing Paul for not wanting to end the drug war also share a sense that he’s concealing his radicalism. Second, assuming Rand Paul were to run in 2016, it’s highly likely that he’ll come out in favor of marijuana legalization, which a majority of voters now support—my guess would be by endorsing state-level initiatives rather than saying he’ll reschedule it at the federal level—but that probably won’t happen until he gets the nomination.
Comments made in the context of buttering up religious-right leaders shouldn’t be overinterpreted, especially given the American Family Association’s signal that they wouldn’t fight Paul on the marijuana issue. And there’s reason to doubt the assumption that the social conservative position is to favor an endless, wasteful drug war that is anything but Christian. Among religious leaders there’s more consensus about its failure than ever before, but radicalism isn’t going to get them to warm up to reform.
It’s also worth mentioning Rand’s carte blanche states’ rights position isn’t very different from his father’s, who, in the GOP presidential debate, didn’t actually say he’d legalize heroin, but that he’d leave it to the states. Despite some sloppy AP reporting to the contrary, the younger Paul believes basically the same thing; it works as rhetorical cover. I guess I part with a lot of libertarians in thinking it’s wise for him to be using it for the time being.
Corey Robin has a long, provocative essay in The Nation about how Austrian economists like Menger, Mises, and Hayek are really just aristocratic, reactionary Nietzscheans. It “seeks to put the Austrians back in Vienna, where Nietzsche was a presiding influence,” according to a blog post at CT, and basically relies on a tenuous connection between the Austrians’ skepticism about the labor theory of value, and Nietzsche’s skepticism of values in general. He writes of Nietzsche:
For that reason, Nietzsche saw in labor’s appearance more than an economic theory of goods: he saw a terrible diminution of the good. Morals must be “understood as the doctrine of the relations of supremacy,” he wrote in Beyond Good and Evil; every morality “must be forced to bow…before the order of rank.” But like so many before them, including the Christian slave and the English utilitarian, the economist and the socialist promoted an inferior human type—and an inferior set of values—as the driving agent of the world. Nietzsche saw in this elevation not only a transformation of values but also a loss of value and, potentially, the elimination of value altogether. Conservatives from Edmund Burke to Robert Bork have conflated the transformation of values with the end of value. Nietzsche, on occasion, did too: “What does nihilism mean?” he asked himself in 1887. “That the highest values devaluate themselves.” The nihilism consuming Europe was best understood as a democratic “hatred against the order of rank.”
Part of Nietzsche’s worry was philosophical: How was it possible in a godless world, naturalistically conceived, to deem anything of value? But his concern was also cultural and political. Because of democracy, which was “Christianity made natural,” the aristocracy had lost “its naturalness”—that is, the traditional vindication of its power. How then might a hierarchy of excellence, aesthetic and political, re-establish itself, defend itself against the mass—particularly a mass of workers—and dominate that mass?
And of the Austrians:
Moralists traditionally viewed the pursuit of money and goods as negative or neutral; the Austrians claimed it embodies our deepest values and commitments. “The provision of material goods,” declared Mises, “serves not only those ends which are usually termed economic, but also many other ends.” All of us have ends or ultimate purposes in life: the cultivation of friendship, the contemplation of beauty, a lover’s companionship. We enter the market for the sake of those ends. Economic action thus “consists firstly in valuation of ends, and then in the valuation of the means leading to these ends. All economic activity depends, therefore, upon the existence of ends. Ends dominate economy and alone give it meaning.” We simply cannot speak, writes Hayek in The Road to Serfdom, of “purely economic ends separate from the other ends of life.”
Though some similarities are clearly evident, it’s a pretty circumstantial, tenuous connection, to which Kevin Vallier has already offered a decisive rebuke over at BHL:
Robin roughly claims that the move to the subjective theory of economic value in economics was a move towards a form of objective value nihilism. Objective value nihilism in turn allows Austrian economists in particular to argue that markets are an expression of morality because markets are expressions of subjective value. And since (Robin assumes) Austrians admit that aristocratic tastes drive economic productivity, we can infer that Austrians believe that aristocratic valuations (and thus aristocracy) expresses moral value. This contorted argument serves Robin’s career-long attempt to shoehorn every non-leftist into a single group of people who hate equality.
Philip Pilkington has another rejoinder to Robin’s piece over at Naked Capitalism (by no means a blog for doctrinaire free-marketers).
(Needless to say, Robin agrees with me that Hayek is a conservative.)
The answer, judging from the image projected by the vice president in an interview with historian Douglas Brinkley in Rolling Stone, appears to be yes.
It’s not far-fetched to think that Biden will run for president in 2016 on Obama’s coattails. This notion surprises many Republicans, who feel Obama is foundering and that Biden, who will be 74 at the beginning of the next presidential term, is too old. But Biden is smart to stay close to Obama, whose public-approval rating hovers just below 50 percent (a number that rises to around 75 percent among registered Democrats). Assuming Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, she will sell herself as a successor to her husband, harkening back to the economic heyday of the 1990s. By contrast, if Biden gets into the race, it will be as an Obama Democrat promising to expand on the record of the last two terms.
A handful of observations about a potential Clinton-Biden rivalry:
1.) “Obama Democrat” and “Clinton Democrat” are no longer mutually exclusive. Hillary Clinton may come to personify the melding of the two political brands. The 2012 campaign saw President Obama rely on Clinton’s speechmaking and retail campaigning acumen to a far greater extent than he did in ’08. The former president’s contribution to Obama’s reelection was second in significance only to Obama’s efforts on his own behalf. In his stemwinder at the Democratic National Convention—an address that was emotionally and substantively superior to Obama’s acceptance speech—Bill Clinton entwined his legacy with that of Obama’s. In the event that both Biden and Clinton run in ’16, Hillary would in effect be able to run as a successor to both men.
2.) ”Experience.” In 2008, Hillary ran on the experience issue and failed miserably. She lost to a junior senator who had yet to complete his first term; the appeal to her service as first lady was laughed out of town. But let’s imagine, for our purposes, that 2016 won’t be a repeat of the novelty act that ’08 was. On foreign policy, in particular, Hillary lacked relevant credentials. This was the one issue portfolio where then-Sen. Biden could plausibly claim the upper hand. Hillary’s stint as secretary of state erases that gap.
3.) Benghazi. If, two to three years from now, the Benghazi issue still hovers over Hillary (which I doubt, but let’s say it will for argument’s sake), Biden will hardly be free of its taint. He brags to Brinkley of his tight relationship to Obama: “Think about it: Even our critics have never said that when I speak, no one doubts that I speak for the president. I speak for the president because of the relationship. And the only way that works is you’re around all the time. Literally, ever meeting he has, I’m in. You don’t have to wonder what the other guy’s thinking; I don’t have to guess where the president’s going.” Recall, in this context, Obama’s remark in the second presidential debate that Hillary “works for me.” By extension, she worked for Biden. If Benghazi still smells in ’16, the stuff will roll uphill from Foggy Bottom.
4.) Age and Sex. Hillary will have one very big advantage over Biden (and other male presidential aspirants) three years from now: She’s a woman. Having checked first black president off the list, Democrats will be eager to finally send a woman to the White House. And those worried about Hillary’s age—she’ll be 69 on Election Day ’16—will be able to favorably contrast her to Biden, who will be 74.
5.) Every waking moment of his life, Joe Biden exists on the knife’s edge of verbal catastrophe.
This blog post from Ross Douthat seems a bit unfair to the voters of South Carolina:
… the fact that South Carolina Republicans took that path, and made his swift and shameless comeback a success, is still a useful indicator of where the energy is on the right — and it emphatically isn’t with people who see the decline of marriage as a bigger issue for conservatism and America than the precise balance of power in the House of Representatives.
…or maybe the energy is just with people who care about the balance of power in the House of Representatives during elections for the House of Representatives.
From the moment he decided to run again Mark Sanford was always going to be taken as a demonstration of Republicans’ hypocrisy. After he won, Meghan McCain immediately took to twitter to say the voters of South Carolina have no moral standing to oppose gay marriage anymore. David Burge promptly reminded her that she wouldn’t exist without a politician’s infidelity. Moreover, though the two candidates’ marital sagas are not remotely comparable, Colbert-Busch did spend a night in jail for contempt of court during her divorce proceedings, so she’s not exactly unsullied either.
Hypocrisy is not hard come by in politics. I’d venture that many of the Republican voters in the first district of South Carolina do care about the decline of marriage, probably more than most. And the idea that voters should just stay home when faced with a bad choice seems at least unrealistic, if not undemocratic.
How would things have played out in a district full of the voters willing to forego representation to send a message about the state of marriage?
As Douthat wrote in a later post today: “a special election to fill out a term in a reliably-conservative seat seems like exactly the kind of high profile, low stakes contest where it makes sense to put moral and theological principle ahead of party.” That Sanford made such a high-profile attempt to reassert himself into politics, and that it garnered such media attention, would have made an inconsequential House election a good opportunity for good old American virtue to reassert itself and thwart everyone’s expectations.
It would have made a nice story, but to believe it was possible require a highly unrealistic view of political behavior and public memory. Sanford resigned as the chairman of the RGA little less than four years ago. By contrast Marion Barry was reelected to DC’s city council five months after being released from prison. Ted Kennedy was reelected with 62 percent of the vote a year and a half after killing someone. Did Michigan voters somehow lose their moral standing to oppose fraud when they elected Charles Diggs while he awaited sentencing for taking kickbacks?
I share some of Douthat’s concerns, but I don’t really understand this logic. The reassertion of virtue he seems to have in mind should have happened in the primary, if it was to happen at all. That voters failed to punish themselves for Mark Sanford’s sins in the general election is neither a surprise nor a disappointment.
Has the bell begun to toll for the GOP?
The question arises while reading an analysis of Census Bureau statistics on the 2012 election by Dan Balz and Ted Mellnik.
One sentence in their Washington Post story fairly leaps out:
“The total number of white voters actually decreased between 2008 and 2012, the first such drop by any group within the population since the bureau started to issue such statistics.”
America’s white majority, which accounts for nine in 10 of all Republican votes in presidential elections, is not only shrinking as a share of the electorate, but it is declining in numbers, as well.
The Balz-Mellnik piece was primarily about the black vote.
Sixty-six percent of the black electorate turned out, to 64 percent of the white electorate. Black turnout in 2012 was higher by 1.7 million than in 2008. Hispanic turnout rose by 1.4 million votes.
But from 2008 to 2012, the white vote fell by 2 million.
This is the crisis of the Grand Old Party: Read More…