Friday, April 28, 2017
By Daniel Kreps
April 7, 2017
(Photo: Jo Lopez)
E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt will release his first solo LP under the Little Steven moniker in nearly two decades when he unleashes Soulfire in May.
She believes in the efficacy of reason and in the free exchange of ideas; her enemies do not.
By Rich Lowry — April 28, 2017
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Because the California National Guard couldn’t be mobilized in time, Ann Coulter had to withdraw from giving a speech at Berkeley.
If you take it seriously, that’s the import of UC Berkeley’s decision to do everything it could to keep the conservative provocateur from speaking on campus over safety concerns.
“If somebody brings weapons, there’s no way to block off the site, or to screen them,” the chancellor of the university said of Coulter’s plan to go ahead and speak at an open-air forum after the school canceled a scheduled talk.
The administrator made it sound as if Coulter would have been about as safe at Berkeley as she would have been addressing a meeting of MS-13 — and he might have been right.
We have entered a new, much less metaphorical phase of the campus-speech wars. We’re beyond hissing, or disinviting. We’re no longer talking about the heckler’s veto, but the masked-thugs-who-will-burn-trash-cans-and-assault-you-and-your-entourage veto.
Coulter is a rhetorical bomb thrower, which is an entirely different thing than being a real bomb thrower. Coulter has never tried to shout down a speaker she doesn’t like. She hasn’t thrown rocks at cops. She isn’t an arsonist. She offers up provocations that she gamely defends in almost any setting with arguments that people are free to accept, or reject, or attempt to correct.
In other words, in the Berkeley context, she’s the liberal. She believes in the efficacy of reason and in the free exchange of ideas. Her enemies do not.
Indeed, the budding fascism that progressives feared in the Trump years is upon us, although not in the form they expected. It is represented by the black-clad shock troops of the “antifa” movement who are violent and intolerant, and easily could be mistaken for the street fighters of the extreme Right in 1930s Europe. That they call themselves anti-fascist speaks to a colossal lack of self-awareness.
It is incumbent on all responsible progressives to reject this movement, and — just as important — the broader effort to suppress controversial speech. This is why former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean’s comments about hate speech not being protected by the First Amendment were so alarming. In Dean’s defense, he had no idea what he was talking about, but he was effectively making himself the respectable voice of the rock throwers.
Dean’s view was that “Berkeley is within its rights to make the decision that it puts their campus in danger if they have her there.” This justification, advanced by the school itself, is profoundly wrongheaded.
It is an inherently discriminatory standard, since the Berkeley College Republicans aren’t given to smashing windows and throwing things when an extreme lefty shows up on campus, which is a near-daily occurrence.
It would deny Coulter something she has a right to do (speak her mind on the campus of a public university) in reaction to agitators doing things they don’t have a right to do (destroy property, among other acts of mayhem).
It would suppress an intellectual threat, i.e., a dissenting viewpoint, and reward a physical threat.
This is perverse.
For now there is a consensus in favor of free speech in the country that is especially entrenched in the judiciary. The anti-fa and other agitators aren’t going to change that anytime soon. But they could effectively make it too burdensome for certain speakers to show up on campus, and over time more Democrats like Dean could rationalize this fact by arguing that so-called hate speech doesn’t deserve First Amendment protection.
So, it isn’t enough for schools like UC Berkeley to say that they value free speech, yet do nothing to punish disrupters and throw up their hands at the task of providing security for controversial speakers. If everyone else gets safe space at UC Berkeley, Coulter deserves one.
If the anti-fa are willing to attack free speech through illegal force, the authorities should be willing to defend it by lawful force.
Heck, if necessary, call out the National Guard.
— Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2017 King Features Syndicate
Thursday, April 27, 2017
By Ann Coulter
April 26, 2017
Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a sign supporting his plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico that he borrowed from a member of the audience at his campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Photo by Jonathan Drake/Reuters
Fake News' question of the week: Will Trump risk a government shutdown over the wall?
The media flip back and forth on who's to blame for a government shutdown depending on which branch is controlled by Republicans. But the "shutdown" hypothetical in this case is a trick question.
A failure to build the wall IS a government shutdown.
Of course it would be unfortunate if schoolchildren couldn't visit national parks and welfare checks didn't get mailed on time. But arranging White House tours isn't the primary function of the government.
The government's No. 1 job is to protect the nation.
This has always been true, but it's especially important at this moment in history, when we have drugs, gang members, diseases and terrorists pouring across our border. The failure of the government to close our border is the definition of a government shutdown.
This isn't like other shutdowns. Democrats can't wail about Republicans cutting Social Security or school lunches. They are willing to shut the government down because they don't want borders.
Take that to the country!
As commander in chief, Trump doesn't need Congress to build a wall. The Constitution charges him with defending the nation. Contrary to what you may have heard from various warmongers on TV and in Trump's Cabinet, that means defending our borders -- not Ukraine's borders.
Building a wall is not only Trump's constitutional duty, but it's also massively popular.
Although Trump doesn't need congressional approval for a wall, it was smart for him to demand a vote. Let the Democrats run for re-election on opposing the wall.
Let Sen. Claire McCaskill explain to the parents of kids killed by illegals that she thought a wall was inhumane.
Let Sen. Angus King say to the people of Maine that instead of a wall that would block heroin from pouring into our country, he thought a better plan was to sponsor a bunch of treatment centers for after your kid is already addicted.
Let Sen. Chuck Schumer tell us why it's OK for Israel to have a wall, but not us.
Let open borders Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio tell African-Americans that it's more important to help illegal aliens than to help black American teenagers, currently suffering a crippling unemployment rate.
Republicans are both corrupt and stupid, so it's hard to tell which one animates their opposition to the wall. But the Democrats are bluffing. They're trying to get the GOP to fold before they show us their pair of threes.
Now that Trump has capitulated on even asking for funding for a wall, the Democrats are on their knees saying, "Thank you, God! Thank you, God!"
No politician wants to have to explain a vote against the wall. What the Democrats want is for Trump to be stuck explaining why he didn't build the wall.
Then it will be a bloodbath. Not only Trump, but also the entire GOP, is dead if he doesn't build a wall. Republicans will be wiped out in the midterms, Democrats will have a 300-seat House majority, and Trump will have to come up with an excuse for why he's not running for re-election.
The New York Times and MSNBC are not going to say, "We are so impressed with his growth in office, we're going to drop all that nonsense about Russia and endorse the Republican ticket!"
No, at that point, Trump will be the worst of everything.
No one voted for Trump because of the "Access Hollywood" tape. They voted for him because of his issues; most prominently, his promise to build "a big beautiful wall." And who's going to pay for it? MEXICO!
You can't say that at every campaign rally for 18 months and then not build a wall.
Do not imagine that a Trump double-cross on the wall will not destroy the Republican Party. Oh, we'll get them back. No, you won't. Trump wasn't a distraction: He was the last chance to save the GOP.
Millions of Americans who hadn't voted in 30 years came out in 2016 to vote for Trump. If he betrays them, they'll say, "You see? I told you. They're all crooks."
No excuses will work. No fiery denunciations of the courts, the Democrats or La Raza will win them back, even if Trump comes up with demeaning Twitter names for them.
It would be an epic betrayal -- worse than Bush betraying voters on "no new taxes." Worse than LBJ escalating the Vietnam War. There would be nothing like it in the history of politics.
He's the commander in chief! He said he'd build a wall. If he can't do that, Trump is finished, the Republican Party is finished, and the country is finished.
COPYRIGHT 2017 ANN COULTER
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Monday, April 24, 2017
The Osage Indians Struck It Rich, Then Paid the Price
By Dwight Garner
April 12, 2017
If you taught the artificial brains of supercomputers at IBM Research to write nonfiction prose, and if they got very good at it, they might compose a book like David Grann’s “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.”
This is not entirely a complaint. Grann’s new book, about how dozens of members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma in the 1920s were shot, poisoned or blown to bits by rapacious whites who coveted the oil under their land, is close to impeccable. It’s confident, fluid in its dynamics, light on its feet.
What it lacks is the soulful, trippy, questing and offhandedly cerebral quality of his last and best-known book, “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” (2009). That volume is deservedly regarded as one of the prize nonfiction specimens of this century.
That was a book with a personality. It seemed to be written by someone who was, as Charles Lamb said of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an archangel a little damaged. There was some strange junk in its cupboards.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” has cleaner lines, and it didn’t set its hooks in me in the same way. But the crime story it tells is appalling, and stocked with authentic heroes and villains. It will make you cringe at man’s inhumanity to man.
About America’s native people, Saul Bellow wrote in a 1957 essay, “They have left their bones, their flints and pots, their place names and tribal names and little besides except a stain, seldom vivid, on the consciousness of their white successors.”
The best thing about Grann’s book is that it stares, hard, at that stain, and makes it vivid indeed.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” describes how the Osage people were driven from their lands in Kansas onto a rocky portion of northwestern Oklahoma — out of sight, out of mind. It became apparent within a few decades, however, that immense oil deposits pooled below those Oklahoma rocks.
The Osage people became wealthy from leasing their mineral rights; so wealthy that white America, stoked by a racist and sensationalistic press, went into a moral panic, a collective puritanical shudder.
“Journalists told stories,” Grann writes, “often wildly embroidered, of Osage who discarded grand pianos on their lawns or replaced old cars with new ones after getting a flat tire.” A reporter from Harper’s Monthly Magazine wrote, ominously: “The Osage Indians are becoming so rich that something will have to be done about it.”
Something was done about it. The federal government appointed white guardians to monitor many of the Osage members’ spending habits. Even tiny purchases had to be authorized. The chicanery and graft were remarkable. Then things got worse.
Tribe members began to be killed. They were, in the evocative words of a reporter at the time, “shot in lonely pastures, bored by steel as they sat in their automobiles, poisoned to die slowly, and dynamited as they slept in their homes.”
Few if any of these crimes were solved. Who cared about, Grann writes, using the intolerant lingo of the times, a “dead Injun”?
These murders were an embarrassment for the still-green F.B.I., however. J. Edgar Hoover sent a former Texas Ranger, the perfectly named Tom White, to investigate. It was dangerous work, and White had steely nerves and the upright aplomb of Henry Fonda in “Twelve Angry Men.”
“Killers of the Flower Moon” builds to a cinematic court scene filled with outrages and recantations. White gets his man, a local cattleman and a figure of genuine evil. But it is among Grann’s larger points that these murders were hardly the work of one human. It took a village — a “culture of killing,” in his words — to eliminate this many people.
The government estimated that 24 Osage members were murdered. As Grann pores over the evidence, however, he realizes the number was almost certainly higher, perhaps in the hundreds.
He spends time with the descendants of some of those killed, and he pokes through old files and turns up new information. His own outrage, though kept at a simmer, is unmistakable. “While researching the murders,” he writes, “I often felt that I was chasing history even as it was slipping away.”
The period photographs in “Killers of the Flower Moon” are exceptional in their impact; they bore into you. If the book has a heroine, it is an Osage woman named Mollie Burkhart, whose sisters and other family members are picked off one by one. The beautiful and implacable faces of Mollie and her brown-eyed sisters gaze, as if in accusation, across the ages.
Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker and always a welcome byline to find there. Reading his book reminded me that the magazine’s founding editor, Harold Ross, once dreamed of starting a serious true-crime magazine he planned to call “Guilty?”
This never came to pass. Grann’s book investigates one painful splinter of America’s treatment of its native people, and it snips the question mark off Ross’s title.
KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON
The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
By David Grann
Illustrated. 338 pages. Doubleday. $28.95.
The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
By David Grann
Illustrated. 338 pages. Doubleday. $28.95.