Berkeley Mayor Justifies Riots
While Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin expressed regret that "the anger of those opposed to allowing a hateful white nationalist may have been a little too exuberant, we must acknowledge their constitutional right to prevent the airing of unacceptable views on the University campus."
Breitbart reporter Milo Yiannopoulos' sold-out speech had to be canceled when 150 masked men went on a rampage blocking traffic, vandalizing the University, attacking police, and assaulting individuals who came to hear the speech.
President Trump's post-riot suggestion that "the suppression of free speech at a heavily-subsidized public university raises questions about the continued federal role in contributing to these subsidies" sparked the Mayor's anger. "Mr. Trump's perspective on freedom of speech is ignorantly one-sided," he said. "Sure, he is all for the promulgation of Yiannopoulos' twisted ideas, but what of the rights of those who don't want to hear them? Shouldn't the majority of the students' preference to silence his hateful messenger rule the day?"
"Perhaps the biggest irony of the whole event is that Yiannopoulos is himself gay," Arreguin observed. "He is a member of a group that the protesters were trying to support by shutting down his speech. He may be feeling aggrieved in the short run, but will benefit in the long run if the Trump tyranny is disrupted by the patriotic actions of those in the streets fighting for social justice. That is why I gave police the order to 'stand down' and let events take their natural course. A decision that I feel was vindicated by the absence of any fatalities and only a minimal $100,000 in property damage."
A similar stance toward rioting was exhibited in Pakistan where Judge Chaudhry Muhammad Azam dismissed charges against 115 Muslim men accused of a rampage that burned the homes of 150 Christian families. "Given the unanimous testimony of the 115 accused that they did not commit a crime, I have no other option but to drop the charges," Azam declared. "Under our law, the testimony of one Muslim is worth four times the testimony of an unbeliever. Since there weren't enough survivors among the alleged victims to produce the requisite minimum of 460 witnesses to rebut the 115 true believers the case cannot go forward."
In related news, a speaker at a Black Lives Matter rally against the Trump Administration drew wild cheers from the crowd when she suggested "we need to start killing people. Smashing windows and burning stuff is a good beginning, but white people won't take us serious if we don't kill some of them."
NY Guv Wants Abortion Protected in State Constitution
Following the nomination of federal appellate court judge Neil Gorsuch for the US Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced a move to amend his state's constitution to make a woman's right to an abortion "safe from judicial meddling by a Supreme Court packed with Trump appointees."
"The right of a woman to choose to terminate a pregnancy that was granted by the Court in their historic Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 must be saved from being callously snatched away after 40 years of successful operation," Cuomo said. "The right to choose is too precious for us to squander. Protecting this right is a core value of our resistance to Trump's tyranny. Embedding this right in our state's constitution is the only sure way of immunizing our state from one of the atrocities this evil man would inflict upon an innocent population."
Amending the New York State Constitution is no easy task. It could be achieved by calling a state constitutional convention, but that would expose other clauses of the constitution to possible amendment. A more narrowly focused amendment dealing solely with abortion could be accomplished if two successively elected legislatures passed an identical amendment bill that would then be referred to the voters. The earliest this could all be completed is 2019.
Not only might the time-consuming amendment process be too late to head off any US Supreme Court action on the issue, it night be futile. The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision overrode numerous state laws on the ground that the US Constitution's right to privacy took precedence over any state's laws. A Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade could find ample justification within the US Constitution to override state laws or constitutions. For example, the victims of the abortion procedure are subjected to cruel punishment (death) without being found guilty of a crime. This would appear to violate both the Fifth and Eighth Amendments.
The complaint by Kim Atkins, board chair of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, "that such an action by the Supreme Court would violate states' rights" bears an ironic similarity to arguments made by Sen. John Calhoun (D-SC) on behalf of the South's "peculiar institution" of slavery in 1838 and Sen. William Fulbright (D-Ark) on behalf of segregation in 1964.
In related news, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) was apoplectic over the nomination of Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court calling him "a maniacal advocate for placing the rights of the unborn over those of women. Fetuses aren't people until they're born. Yet, this judge has a record of putting concerns for the rights of these creatures above those of the women forced to endure their invasion of her body. For the sake of humanity the Senate must not confirm such a monstrous person for our highest judicial tribunal."
Study Shows Islam a Major Motivation for Terrorists
A new study—Talking to Foreign Fighters: Insights into the Motivations for Hijrah to Syria and Iraq by University of Waterloo sociologist Lorne L. Dawson, and George Washington University Program on Extremism Fellow Amaranth Amarasingam—found that religion played the biggest role in spurring Muslims to join the jihad against unbelievers.
"In the liberal way of thinking religion can't logically be a significant motivating factor for terrorist violence," Dr. Dawson observed. "The instinct is to look for socio-economic reasons to explain behavior that makes no sense to secularists. But our findings rebut this premise. The individuals who have actually left western societies to join ISIS or al-Qaeda were generally from middle and upper socio-economic strata. The motives they cited for themselves were predominately religious in nature. In their view, proper observance required them to fight for Islam."
A teary-eyed Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) called the findings "unhelpful in our struggle against the Trump Administration. A bunch of deranged Muslims professing religious inspiration as their incentive for attacking us contradicts the meme of Islam as a religion of peace and feeds right into Trump's plan to erect barriers to Muslim entry to America. This study is out of step with all the other studies that have skirted the religious issue to focus on other factors behind the reasons for terrorism. Hopefully, it won't get much attention in the media."
DOE Nominee Attacked for Supporting Academic Freedom
Betsy DeVos, Trump's nominee to head the US Depart6ment of Education, was assailed in Senate committee hearings for her past association with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). FIRE's positions in opposition to school suppression of freedom of speech and in support of transparent due process procedures for school disciplinary actions drew harsh opposition from Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn).
"FIRE has intruded on universities trying to police their own campuses to ferret out dangerous ideas and non-conforming attitudes," the Senator complained. "School administrators endeavoring to shield not-yet-mature young minds from confusing and confounding influences are being harassed by FIRE's attempt to inject First Amendment standards that school authorities have decided are inappropriate in the academic environment. Ms. DeVos needs to disassociate herself from this radical organization and join the mainstream if she wants us to entrust her with this powerful position of influence."
Casey's communications director, John Rizzo called FIRE's push for due process "a step backward. Their insistence that a person accused of sexual improprieties by another student is somehow entitled to the same sort of Fifth Amendment protections afforded to the accused outside the cloistered confines of the academic community is frightening. It is the Senator's position that requiring the accused to be apprised of the specific allegations against him and to have the right to confront his accuser or the witnesses against him would have a chilling effect on the willingness of victims to come forward. Allowing school officials to quietly expel or otherwise punish the accused enables important institutional objectives to be achieved with minimal fuss."
Personal Income Growth in Obama Years Weakest in History
The year-to-year rate of growth in personal income in the United States was lower during President Obama's recently completed two terms than at any other period recorded in this country's history. In the last year of the Bush Administration the growth rate was 4.7%. In the last year of the Obama Administration the rate fell to 3.4%. This contrasted especially unfavorably to the average 9.5% annual increases during the Reagan years.
Ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) made an effort to defend the Obama record by pointing out that "when Reagan took office the growth rate was 10.8% and fell to 8.5% by his last year in office. This was a 2.3% drop. When Obama took office the rate was 4.7% and only fell to 3.4% by his last year. So, the decline in annual income growth of 1.3% during the Obama years was smaller than the 2.3% decline during the Reagan years."
Of course, the actual level of income over the eight Reagan years rose by more than 100%. The actual level of income over the Obama years rose by a more modest 37%. Perhaps the divergent economic policies of low tax rates and less regulation of Reagan's Administration compared to the higher tax rates and more regulation of the Obama Administration played a role.