The Bookworm Beat 11-1-15 — the Daylight Saving Time edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I like to Fall backwards, since it means I rise with the sun, which is a lot easier than getting up in the deep of night. Still, I’ve been discombobulated today, my computer has been balky, and my brain sluggish. Both the computer and I seem to have Daylight Saving jet lag. Jet lag or not, though, I have articles to share:

Should anyone in America ever be too big to jail?

I was absolutely horrified when a McClatchy article suggested that Hillary is just too darn important to prosecute for her myriad, deliberate, and quite damaging national security violations:

But most who spoke to McClatchy say it’s unlikely the former first lady, senator and Cabinet secretary will face charges because of her high profile and the hurdle to prove she knew the emails contained classified information when she sent them to others.

“She’s too big to jail,” said national security attorney Edward MacMahon Jr., who represented former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling in 2011 in a leak case that led to an espionage prosecution and 3½-year prison term. He cited a pattern of light punishments for top government officials who have mishandled classified information while lower level whistleblowers such as Sterling have faced harsh prosecutions for revealing sensitive information to expose waste, fraud or abuse in government.

Is this what our democracy has come to — the claim that Hillary Clinton, whose public career has been marked by corruption since her debut at Watergate — gets a pass because she’s just too darn elite and special?

Of course, that’s not the only problem with the McClatchy article. As my friend Wolf Howling wrote me,

I disagree with the premise of the article. We still do not have an explanation for why over 600 requests for additional security were ignored. No mid-level “security professional” would ever deny those requests in light of the continuously degrading situation in Libya as a whole and Benghazi in particular.

Knowing a bit about military bureaucracy and security, I find it impossible to believe that Hillary was not briefed on those requests and that she remained deliberately ignorant of all of the increasingly serious security incidents in and around Benghazi in the months leading up to 9-11-12. My strong suspicion is that the decision to deny increased security was a political decision made at her level or higher.

It is too bad indeed that the Benghazi committee, having discovered these 600 security requests made to the State Dept in the year prior, did not run these to ground and find out why each one was denied and by whom before questioning Clinton. She has a hell of a lot to answer for with the deaths of those four men.

And of course there’s Hillary’s relationship with Sid Vicious, one that runs the gamut from “merely” corrupt to definitely criminal.

Our government, abandoning constitutional restraint, resembles the mafia

Hillary, of course, is a symptom of a deeper wrong in American government. We’ve strayed so far from our Constitutional roots, one that saw the Founders envisioning a government of limited powers, subordinate to the inherent rights of the individual. Since Roosevelt, and with increasing speed and force under Obama, we’ve gone back to what Kevin Williamson correctly describes as a “protection racket,” although our government is more “racket” than “protection”:

Over the years, economic success and administrative demands eventually transform bands of roving bandits into bands of stationary bandits. One popular theory of the state — one that is pretty well-supported by the historical evidence in the European context — is that this is where governments come from: protection rackets that survive for a long enough period of time that they take on a patina of legitimacy. At some point, Romulus-and-Remus stories are invented to explain that the local Mafiosi have not only historical roots but divine sanction.


The problem for the U.S. political class is that the provision of actual public goods is nowhere near large enough of an enterprise to justify all of the clients they want to pay on the public payroll or all of the large, complex, lavishly funded agencies that they want to establish for the purpose of putting themselves in charge of them. So they have to return to the old protection-racket model: Much of American government today exists simply to stand between you and your own goals to collect a fee.

If you read “Franz Kafka in Footie Pajamas,” about the Department of Labor’s ferocious effort to drive out of business a company that relies on some (rewarded) volunteer work, you’ll see exactly what Williamson means. (If the article is behind a paywall, Google it, and you should get a usable link.)

Soon, there’ll be no one left to pay for the welfare state

Bernie Sanders is an anachronism, preaching a socialism that peaked in Europe in the 1960s, when Europeans were still having a few babies here and there. Now, of course, Europeans have stopped breeding, and Americans are doing the same. Worse, the people both nations have shipped in — Latin Americans here, Muslims there — are not getting with the “social contract,” the one that requires them to work for the old and rich, with their children in turn working to support them in their old age. Daniel Greenfield argues convincingly, as Mark Steyn so often has, the demographics is destiny and we’re dying on the welfare/entitlement vine.

The Obamacare collapse

We predicted it here; and predicted there; heck, we predicted it everywhere: there was no way Obamacare could be financially viable. The co-ops are collapsing with exponential frequency.

If we have Ted Cruz in the White House when the last co-op closes, we’ll switch to a free-market model with some government oversight to prevent fraud. If we have Bernie or Hillary in the White House (or even Jeb!, Chris Christie, Trump, and some others), the co-op collapse will be the justification for single payer healthcare.

When that happens, on paper we’ll all appear to have a doctor.  The reality, though, will be that we’ll have a Hell of a time seeing that doctor and, when we do, we’ll get minimal treatment — kind of like the guys and gals trapped in the VA system.

San Francisco — City of the Insane

San Francisco used to be such a lovely city. I still remember it before the hippies took over Haight Ashbury, creating a toxic cloud of Leftist lunacy that has now engulfed the whole damn place. How else can one explain the fact that one SF neighborhood is struggling with the horrors of labeling as a “criminal” someone who steals bicycles?

Orwell understood what was happening. The hapless fools in San Francisco who are not hard Lefties are nevertheless allowing themselves to be swept away by the language perverters.  They have no idea how badly this will all end.

The Leftists close in on free speech

Popehat, a pleasantly geeky, libertarian-ish site that focuses on “law, liberty, and leisure,” has compiled the “tells” that will alert you to media efforts to to squelch free speech. I urge you to visit the article and to bookmark it, so that you can refresh your recollection whenever you read something squirrelly from the drive-by media.

Islam and rape

Lately, whenever I see an article about the way Muslims bring rape into parts of Europe that had previously boasted very low incidents of rape, I post it on Facebook with the notation “rape culture.” Invariably, I get nothing but silence from those of my Leftist Facebook friends who have, in the past, fulminated about the campus rape culture.  That “rape culture” involves situations in which the wrong kind of look, a mutually drunken hook-up, or a soured consensual relationship can result in a man’s being forever labeled a “sex offender.”

The Lefties’ heavy silence doesn’t stop me, of course. Every American, especially every Leftist, will eventually need to understand what a real rape culture is, so that they can be less insane about college campuses and more incensed about Obama’s plan to bring this true rape culture to American shores. Germany, with its projected 20,000,000 Muslims by 2020 is going to find itself with its women in hiding (either in homes or burqas) or its women heavily armed and, with luck, its rape-happy Muslims realizing that they need to change their evil ways.

Going with the flow is not heroic

A zillion years ago in blogging years, I did a long, rather cumbersome post explaining why then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wasn’t heroic for illegally issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. My starting point was Henry David Thoreau’s concept of Civil Disobedience, which required that one take an unpopular stand against an inherently illegitimate law and then be willing to suffer legal punishment for that stand. That was both a citizen’s duty and, depending on the punishment, a heroic act. For a mayor to do something lauded in every media outlet in America, with no negative repercussions whatsoever, was anything but heroic.

In fact, the last person to make such an actual heroic stand was Kim Davis. Unlike Newsom, Davis was ridiculed and abused across America and then sent to jail for her refusal to accept the Supreme Court’s sloppy, maudlin, inane, legally baseless contention that the Constitution has long been hiding a right to same sex marriage. That was true, heroic Civil Disobedience.

Eventually, everyone in the blogging world catches up with me. And yes, that’s feigned arrogance. I am joking. Still, there was something familiar about David Harsanyi’s article pointing out that there’s nothing heroic about moving in lockstep with the Leftist herd. The real difference between Harsanyi’s post and mine is that his is way, way better, and I strongly urge you to read it.

I wish I’d had Mike Adams as my college professor

I went to Berkeley, where many of the professors, even in the late 1970s/early 1980s worked hard to squelch intelligent, independent thought. Mike Adams has a different approach to his students. Call it the “tough love approach to free speech.

The earth continues to yield up its treasures

Long before the glory that was ancient Greece, there apparently was the glory that was pre-ancient Greece. If you haven’t yet checked out some of the sophisticated and beautiful treasures found in the 3,500-year-old grave of a Greek warrior, you are denying yourself a great pleasure.