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CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Judge throws out Deerfield’s assault weapons ban. “Judge Luis Berrones issued a permanent injunction blocking the village from enforcing its ordinance. In the ruling, Berrones wrote that the plaintiff gun owners have ‘a clearly ascertainable right to not be subjected to a preempted and unenforceable ordinance’ that prohibits possession of assault weapons, imposes financial penalties for keeping them and allows their property to be confiscated.”

WHEN YOU’VE LOST THE NEW YORKER: The Reckoning of Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In the days since the stunning dismissal of Morris Dees, the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, on March 14th, I’ve been thinking about the jokes my S.P.L.C. colleagues and I used to tell to keep ourselves sane. Walking to lunch past the Center’s Maya Lin–designed memorial to civil-rights martyrs, we’d cast a glance at the inscription from Martin Luther King, Jr., etched into the black marble—“Until justice rolls down like waters”—and intone, in our deepest voices, “Until justice rolls down like dollars.” The Law Center had a way of turning idealists into cynics; like most liberals, our view of the S.P.L.C. before we arrived had been shaped by its oft-cited listings of U.S. hate groups, its reputation for winning cases against the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations, and its stream of direct-mail pleas for money to keep the good work going. The mailers, in particular, painted a vivid picture of a scrappy band of intrepid attorneys and hate-group monitors, working under constant threat of death to fight hatred and injustice in the deepest heart of Dixie. When the S.P.L.C. hired me as a writer, in 2001, I figured I knew what to expect: long hours working with humble resources and a highly diverse bunch of super-dedicated colleagues. I felt self-righteous about the work before I’d even begun it.

The first surprise was the office itself. On a hill in downtown Montgomery, down the street from both Jefferson Davis’s Confederate White House and the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where M.L.K. preached and organized, the Center had recently built a massive modernist glass-and-steel structure that the social critic James Howard Kunstler would later liken to a “Darth Vader building” that made social justice “look despotic.” It was a cold place inside, too. The entrance was through an underground bunker, past multiple layers of human and electronic security. Cameras were everywhere in the open-plan office, which made me feel like a Pentagon staffer, both secure and insecure at once. But nothing was more uncomfortable than the racial dynamic that quickly became apparent: a fair number of what was then about a hundred employees were African-American, but almost all of them were administrative and support staff—“the help,” one of my black colleagues said pointedly. The “professional staff”—the lawyers, researchers, educators, public-relations officers, and fund-raisers—were almost exclusively white. Just two staffers, including me, were openly gay.

During my first few weeks, a friendly new co-worker couldn’t help laughing at my bewilderment. “Well, honey, welcome to the Poverty Palace,” she said. . . . And the unchecked power of the lavishly compensated white men at the top of the organization—Dees and the Center’s president, Richard Cohen—made staffers pessimistic that any of these issues would ever be addressed.

An apt description. But here’s the thing: The SPLC has been an obvious fraud for 20 years or more. Why are all the usual media suspects suddenly noticing now?

Plus: “We were part of the con, and we knew it.” That could apply to the press, too.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Ky. free speech bill cruises through legislature, awaits gov’s signature. The state’s ACLU chapter opposed it, because it might stop lefty groups from shutting down conservative speakers.

Plus, “Utah’s Senate spiked a similar bill earlier in March.” WTF, Utah?

UPDATE: The Kentucky bill is linked in the story but since some commenters haven’t figured that out, here’s a direct link. Read it yourself and see if there’s anything that a civil liberties group should find objectionable. I can’t find anything

AN UGLY TITLE IX TRUTH: St. Louis NAACP: ‘The denial of due process disproportionately impacts African American men.’

The St. Louis chapter of the African-American civil rights organization is supporting state legislation to make campus sexual-assault trials more fair to accused students, the Associated Press reports.

It’s a brave decision for the group, which will undoubtedly face hostility from other progressive organizations that have tarred the legislation as harmful to alleged survivors of sexual assault.

“The denial of due process at Missouri’s colleges disproportionately impacts African American men,” John Gaskin III, president of the chapter, wrote in a statement. “And that’s why we call for immediate due process reforms.”

He defended one of the advocates for the legislation, also black, who is financially supporting a group that is pushing for its enactment.

The Kansas City Star tarred Kingdom Principles as a “dark money group” that is “bankrolling ‘The Missouri Campus Due Process Coalition,’ which is buying ads on social media and conducting polling to measure support of the House and Senate bills that would alter Title IX proceedings in the state.”

“Dark money?” Racist much, KC Star?

JOHN HINDERAKER: Connecticut Supreme Court Makes War On Civil Rights. “The Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision is not a good faith exercise of judicial judgment. The four-judge majority engaged in political activism by issuing an anti-gun ruling that is obviously wrong under the Constitution and federal law. It will be reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. But there is a lesson here: liberals love to talk about the rule of law, but what they mean is rule by lawyers.”

UPDATE: Here’s my piece on the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

CHANGE: Southern Poverty Law Center Fires Founder Morris Dees. “The SPLC announced Thursday afternoon that Dees—who in 1971 co-founded the far-left nonprofit, which has regularly been cited by major outlets over the years for its ‘hate’ group designations that oftentimes lump Republican groups in with actual racist groups—has parted ways with its founder.”

Related: SPLC Co-Founder Morris Dees Fired, Outside Audit Ordered.

“Effective yesterday, Morris Dees’ employment at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was terminated,” SPLC President Richard Cohen told The Montgomery Advertiser in a statement on Thursday. “As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world. When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.”

Dees, 82, co-founded the SPLC in 1971. The organization gained a reputation for taking the Ku Klux Klan to court and then it started labeling and tracking “hate groups.” In recent decades, it started listing conservative and Christian organizations along with the KKK, and last year it settled a defamation lawsuit for $3.375 million.

Dees’s departure is not the only big news Cohen broke on Thursday, however.

“Today we announced a number of immediate, concrete next steps we’re taking, including bringing in an outside organization to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices, to ensure that our talented staff is working in the environment that they deserve – one in which all voices are heard and all staff members are respected,” Cohen said in the statement.

“The SPLC is deeply committed to having a workplace that reflects the values it espouses – truth, justice, equity and inclusion, and we believe the steps we have taken today reaffirm that commitment,” he concluded.

In 1994, the Montgomery Advertiser took a deep dive into the organization’s activities, uncovering some evidence of discrimination against black employees.

Last December, a Baltimore lawyer filed a lawsuit taking aim at the SPLC’s tax-exempt status. His suit is moving toward the discovery period, and SPLC’s decision to clean house may have resulted from this litigation, first reported by PJ Media.

Sounds like there could be more revelations, and shakeups, to come.

UPDATE: This seems right: “The announcement was deliberately vague as to what Dees did to prompt his dismissal from an organization he built into a $500 million smear machine, but it must have been very bad, indeed.” Reportedly, there are claims of both sexual and racial harassment by Dees, according to leaked emails.

“The recent resignation of a black female attorney, Meredith Horton, seems to have been the ‘last straw’ in terms of the SPLC’s issues with women and minority employees.”

Stay tuned.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Maryland lawmakers target state’s handgun permit board over rate of granting appeals, seek to abolish panel.

People free to exercise their rights (pending official review and approval, that is)? We can’t have that.

How about a swap: Abolish the panel in exchange for a must-issue law.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE, KENTUCKY EDITION: Gov. Bevin signs permitless conceal carry bill into law.

THE NEW YORK TIMES DISCOVERS AFRICAN-AMERICAN GUN CULTURE. “In the tumultuous civil rights era of the 1950s and ’60s, black activists and community organizers openly took up arms. And not just those in the more explicitly militant Black Power movement. Martin Luther King Jr., several N.A.A.C.P. officials and other leaders perceived as much more dovish, still carried or stored weapons to defend their households and communities from potential attacks.”

Welcome to the party, pals. Here’s my interview with Prof. Nicholas Johnson of Fordham University Law School, about his book Negroes and the Gun: The Black History of Arms.

I think we should recognize this phenomenon properly:

ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM: Virginia Governor Northam is being asked (by Al Gore among others) to stop “environmental racism.” I don’t know anything about the particular cases being brought to Northam’s attention. But with “environmental racism” things are not always as they seem on the surface.

A few years ago, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights decide focus its attention on the supposed fact that coal ash landfills and ponds are disproportionately located near African Americans..   The report it issued gave our Chairman the perfect opportunity to make an emotional statement decrying “environmental racism” and even blaming it for the cancers in his family. There was just one problem: The Commission’s empirical study (massively downplayed in the report itself) showed that, if anything, coal ash landfills and ponds may be disproportionately located near whites. Facts didn’t matter.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Kentucky lawmakers approve NRA-backed concealed carry bill.

Related: Why the Left Won’t Win the Gun-Control Debate.

COLD WAR II: Canada will allow US extradition of Huawei CFO to move forward.

Huawei financial chief Meng Wanzhou is one step closer to facing sanctions-related fraud charges in the US. Canada’s Department of Justice has issued an Authority to Proceed measure that greenlights the extradition process for Meng, making it that more likely she’ll head south. A British Columbia Supreme Court will set the date for the extradition hearing at a March 6th court date where Meng will appear.

Meng will remain under her strict bail conditions throughout the process, including GPS tracking and constant monitoring by security staff. The Justice Department stressed that this wasn’t a trial, and that it didn’t extradite people if it believed the move would violate Canadian civil rights.

The US’ bid to extradite the CFO is part of a larger US legal battle against Huawei, including allegations the firm stole US trade secrets and violated sanctions against Iran.

With capitalism, albeit of the crony variety, fully embraced by China and Russia, this new Cold War (if that’s what it really is) has all kinds of interesting parameters we didn’t get the first time around.

WAIT, WHAT?

So I guess all the civil rights statutes were a mistake? Or is this sarcasm? Genuinely unsure here.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Oklahoma Becomes 15th Permitless Gun-Carry State.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: The Hill: Gun crackdowns have already led to too many federal abuses.

FEMINISM: YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY… AND BACK: Friday’s briefing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on “Women in Prison” was about how “women are different” from men. The message that they should therefore be treated more leniently was sometimes explicit and sometimes merely implicit, but it seemed to always be there. One of the public commentators declared her goal to be the end all imprisonment for women (but apparently not for men). It was a bit like the 19th century.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: University of Minnesota backs off proposal to punish people for not using preferred gender pronouns.

THIS IS A CONSPIRACY TO DEPRIVE PEOPLE OF THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS, A FELONY UNDER 18 USC 241. WHERE’S THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT? SERIOUSLY. Antifa threatens to ‘shut down’ conservative event.

EXCESSIVE FINES: Don’t get too excited about the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday. All that was decided was that the Constitution’s Excessive Fines Clause applies to the states. The ramifications of that decision must wait for another day.

For more on how some municipalities may rely too heavily on fines and fees for their budgets, you might want to look at my Commissioner Statement in the Commission on Civil Rights’ report entitled Targeted Fines and Fees Against Communities of Color: Civil Rights and Constitutional Implications. It doesn’t cover every angle of the problem of excessive fines and fees, but I hope it makes a few useful points. Among other things, it argues this is not a race issue (though most of my colleagues seemed to think it was).

There are lots of tough issues in this area of the law (and the debate doesn’t always fit the usual left/right paradigm).  (Full report here.)

“ARE CORPORATIONS PEOPLE?” IS NOT THE RIGHT QUESTION: At SSRN, my review of Adam Winkler’s We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights.

As the review details, the book has its pluses and minuses, but establishes a fact that many readers, especially on the left, will find surprising and counter-intuitive: when courts hold that corporations are “people” for constitutional purposes, they generally do so to limit corporate rights. In Citizens United and other cases in which corporations’ constitutional rights have been established, the Court is protecting the rights of the corporations’ human owners, not the corporation itself.

Bonus factoid: The supposedly “reactionary” pre-New Deal “Lochner Court” tried to limit corporations’ ability to assert constitutional rights, but the “liberal” New Deal Court, keen to broaden first amendment protections for corporate-owned newspapers, expanded them.

[Bumped because the link mysteriously disappeared from the original posting]

IT FEELS WEIRD THAT I HAVE TO KEEP SAYING THIS, BUT I GUESS I DO, SINCE PEOPLE KEEP GETTING IT WRONG: A fairly recent report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights asserted that schools in poor and minority neighborhoods receive less money than other schools.  As I think I showed in my dissent to the report, the truth is different: Schools at both the high and low ends tend to get more resources; it’s those in the middle that tend to get less.

One could argue that schools with low-income students need more resources than schools with middle-class students. But it would be nice to have an honest debate about that rather than one full of misinformation designed to outrage people.

CBS’S LARA LOGAN CALLS MEDIA ‘MOSTLY LIBERAL’ IN SCORCHED EARTH INTERVIEW: I’M COMMITTING ‘PROFESSIONAL SUICIDE.’

Why is that? As the Washington Post noted in 2006, even Bill Clinton admitted this was true:

…[Bill Clinton] said Democrats of his generation tend to be naive about new media realities. There is an expectation among Democrats that establishment old media organizations are de facto allies — and will rebut political accusations and serve as referees on new-media excesses.

“We’re all that way, and I think a part of it is we grew up in the ’60s and the press led us against the war and the press led us on civil rights and the press led us on Watergate,” Clinton said. “Those of us of a certain age grew up with this almost unrealistic set of expectations.”

Almost…

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Campus carry bills make headway in WV, SD.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Oklahoma gun bill to remove permit and training requirements clears House vote.

HOW DARE THEY: GOP Pounces By Allowing Democrats To Vote On Their Own Resolution. “Mitch McConnell seizes on actual liberal positions to paint Democrats as radicals.”

If you think this is an exaggeration of the illogical position of Democrats and their Green New Deal, I give you Sen. Ed Markey.

This week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s was going to put the Green New Deal up for a vote. Or, here’s how the Associated Press put it: “McConnell wields Green New Deal as bludgeon against Dems.” Now, of course, such a vote would be a political stunt; because the Green New Deal, introduced last week by Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is, in many ways, a political stunt.

“This isn’t a new Republican trick,” tweeted Markey, who co-sponsored this non-binding resolution that will save the planet, “By rushing a vote on the #GreenNewDeal resolution, Republicans want to avoid a true national debate & kill our efforts to organize. We’re having the first national conversation on climate change in a decade. We can’t let Republicans sabotage it.”

If I’m reading Markey correctly, Democrats don’t merely want to rearrange the global economy is ways which would return billions to poverty and strip Americans of their ability to travel, eat what they like, and otherwise infringe on our civil rights and pursuit of happiness. But first they want to bore us to death talking endlessly about it.

REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Yale Made Me Racist.

Related: Victor Davis Hanson: The Return of Ancient Prejudices.

The stereotyped hatreds were battled by the melting-pot forces of assimilation, integration and intermarriage. Civil rights legislation and broad education programs gradually convinced the country to judge all Americans on the content of their characters rather than the color of their skins or their religious beliefs. And over the last half-century, the effort to end institutional bias against African-Americans largely succeeded.

But recently, other ancient prejudices have been insidiously returning. And this time, the bias is more subtle, and it can be harder to address than traditional racism against non-white populations. The new venom, for example, is often spread by left-wing groups that claim victim status themselves and thus, by their logic, should not be seen as victimizers.

Progressive senators such as Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) have attacked judicial nominees on grounds that they are Catholic, apparently because the Catholic Church and its affiliates officially disprove of abortion and gay marriage. . . .

Universities feel free to discriminate against Asian-Americans because their hard work and excellent preparation often leads to superb grades, test scores and application credentials. In other words, Asian-Americans supposedly distort progressive agendas of proportional representation, disparate impact and diversity by overachieving and being overqualified—purportedly robbing spots from other minority applicants.

Asian-American achievement also disproves the old canard that prejudice makes it impossible to find parity in the United States.

What is behind the rebirth of these old prejudices? In short, new, evolving prejudices.

First, America seemingly no longer believes in striving to achieve a gender-blind, racially and religiously mixed society, but instead is becoming a nation in which tribal identity trumps all other considerations.

Second, such tribal identities are not considered to be equal. Doctrinaire identity politics is predicated on distancing itself from white males, Christians and other groups who traditionally have achieved professional success and therefore enjoyed inordinate “privilege.”

Third, purported victims insist that they themselves cannot be victimizers. So, they are freer to discriminate and stereotype to advance their careers or political interests on the basis of anything they find antithetical to their own ideologies.

The Democratic senators who questioned the morality of judicial nominees’ religion likely would not treat a Muslim nominee in the same manner—although one could make the argument that contemporary Islam has had as many or more problems with gender equity than Western Catholicism has.

Calling any other ethnic group other than Jews “termites” might have earned Rep. Johnson congressional censure. And if professional football and basketball franchises turned away talented but “over-represented” African-American athletes to ensure greater diversity in the same manner that universities now systematically discriminate against Asian-Americans, there would be a national outcry.

What once helped to diminish ancient prejudices was the American creed that no one had a right to discriminate against fellow citizens on the basis of race, gender, class or religion.

But that creed, like anything that gets in the way of Democrats’ grasping for power, was quickly jettisoned when it became inconvenient. And those of us who have been warning about the consequences have been ignored, or dismissed as racists because, well, anyone who gets in the way of Democrats’ grasping for power is by definition some sort of a racist.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Judge sides with gun owners’ groups, overrules Cincinnati’s ban on bump stocks.

CONRAD BLACK: The Democrats’ French Dilemma.

An eminent former cabinet member and I are having an amicable running debate about what level of concern is justified by the steadily more extreme espousal of lunatic policy positions by influential Democrats. Personal income top tax rates of 70 percent (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders), nationalized health care (Kamala Harris), open borders and sanctuaries against federal immigration laws (most audible Democrats), the killing of live new-born children (flirtations by many, apart from the governor of Virginia, who took the initial plunge on his way all the way down last week), and now, a green dictatorship that would radically renovate every building in America, abolish road and air transportation, and require brigades of people to diaper flatulent cows (the inevitable Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, inter alia). My well-travelled friend thinks that as the polls seem to support a good deal of this foolishness, it is very dangerous.

I think it is a welcome development, as in their frustration that Donald Trump has emerged as a serious challenge and not just an electoral fluke who can be easily purged and disposed of, the Democrats are getting everything off their chest in a mighty primal disgorgement.

Radical political change, even mere hustings-posturing and salonniere-bombast, always becomes more and more exaggerated before it snaps back. Genuine revolutionary movements go farther and farther until they reach the law of 22 Prairial—the French Revolution’s “Law of the Great Terror.” The Committee of Public Safety accelerated and expedited executions of the accused, after pro forma trials and on the flimsiest denunciations. (Michael Avenatti-level allegations, in other words).

Then, suddenly, Thermidor arrives. The majority soon is composed of people who think they might be next, chaos is at hand, and a little ordinary government starts sounding like a good idea again. . . .

The United States is not revolutionary France and these explosions of policy idiocy among the Democrats are acts of frustration and dispossession (of a sacred right to govern), and the level of civil disturbance is much less than it was during the worst of the Civil Rights-era divisions and the Vietnam War protests. The country is becoming very prosperous and is certainly not being defeated or humbled in the world, and no serious person is calling for violence, though Maxine Waters and a few of the other Democratic extremists come close at times, and the president has suggested that some of his hecklers could profit from a punch in the face. But instead of the logical course when a party in a democracy is defeated—regrouping and mapping out a strategy to win the next election—what we have is the Democrats fast-forwarding in a race to be the most outspoken and avant garde on every issue, as they watch their whole policy agenda go up in flames.

I’m a bit less sanguine than Black, but the entertainment value is certainly high.

THIS IS NOT YOUR FATHER’S ACLU: The ACLU has never been the paragon of civil libertarian virtue that it’s pretended to be, and, as I documented in my book You Can’t Say That!, in the 1970s began its descent from a liberal civil libertarian organization to mass membership left-leaning organization with a particular interest in civil liberties.

Nevertheless, if you had told me twenty years ago that the ACLU would go so hard-left that the director of the ACLU’s Human Rights program would be publicly defending anti-Semitism, I wouldn’t have believed you. Then again, ACLU founder Roger Baldwin went through a Stalinist phase for a decade or so, so perhaps the ACLU is returning to it roots.

UPDATE: RELATED: ACLU RIP

 

IT’S AS IF THE WHOLE THING IS JUST A SCAM: Green New Deal’s 55 promises that have little to do with climate change: The full list.

Plus: “Claiming to solve one giant mess of a global problem like climate change with a revolutionary plan for change that doesn’t take into account basic economics, civil rights and democracy is dishonest. Claiming to be able to solve that problem and every other problem you can think of at the same time is certifiable.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, INSTITUTIONAL SEXISM EDITION: Jordan Peterson, dozens of academics support complaint alleging Ivy League anti-male bias.

Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychology professor signed onto a Title IX legal complaint against Ivy League school Cornell University claiming anti-male bias.

University of Southern California Ph.D. student Kursat Christoff Pekgoz filed the complaint and more than 185 professors, scholars, and activists signed onto it. The complaint alleges instances of anti-male bias by Cornell, according to documents obtained by Campus Reform.

The 28-page-long document, which was sent to the Department of Justice and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, includes a “List of Exclusionary Programs” at Cornell. Pekgoz claims these programs discriminate against men. The complaint is predicated mainly on the fact that there are no male-only programs at Cornell, compared to a significant number of university-sponsored female-only programs.

“There are no male-only programs operative at Cornell University which can balance the female-only programs listed herein,” the complaint states. For example, the complaint includes the Cornell Women’s Resource Center as alleged evidence of anti-male bias, alleges that the center violates Title IX, and states that there is not an equivalent “Men’s Resource Center” at Cornell. Additionally, the complaint takes issue with the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center, stating that there is no comparable Men’s Health Center at the university.

“There is no equivalent program at Cornell University which focuses on the cardiological needs of men. This is despite the fact that men are twice more likely to have heart attacks through life than women. Also, men are more susceptible to heart diseases than women,” the complaint says, referencing Weill Cornell Medicine, which it says funds or endorses the Women’s Heart Program.

Pekgoz’s complaint also alleges that Cornell violates Title IX by endorsing 390 scholarships on its website, all of which are only open to women.

“There is no rational basis for this endorsement,” the complaint says. “Title IX prohibits an institution from even listing external programs which are discriminatory. The overall effect is clearly discriminatory, given the massive number of female-only scholarships endorsed for the female majority.”

If the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights thinks the complaint has any merit, it will open a formal investigation into the school.

I hope it does decide to look into this.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Sheriffs In New Mexico Stand Against Proposed Gun Laws.

29 out of 33 ain’t bad.

LANCE MORROW: The Longest Day for Trump’s Adversaries: His State of the Union address dramatically advanced his case for re-election in 2020.

On Tuesday Mr. Trump enlarged the public’s idea of himself and his presidency, and in proportion diminished his enemies. That was his most effective stroke on Tuesday night: to make the left seem to be lost in irrelevant obsessions and guilty of misinterpreting—falsifying—America and its values.

He redrew the battleground, leading the discussion abruptly away from progressives’ preoccupations with race and sex. He redefined himself in a more civilized light and sought to lend credibility and bipartisanship to his “Make America Great Again” theme by evoking American history and summoning the better angels. He fetched back to the 20th century’s binary moral perspectives, to the victorious fight against Nazi Germany and to the Cold War against communism.

The speech sought to annul, or at least soften, the left’s radical critique of American history, which has been the theme of elites since the 1960s, and to define Mr. Trump not as a chief of yahoos but a leader of a thoughtful, broadly respectable patriotism. It’s wishful thinking to hope that the speech might help to break the cycle of mutual contempt that has so demoralized the country.

The web has teemed for the past few years with comparisons of Mr. Trump to Hitler, warnings that Trumpism was the start of a new Reich. Mr. Trump installed two Jewish guests in the House gallery—Herman Zeitchik, who went ashore at Normandy in 1944, and Joshua Kaufman, whom Mr. Zeitchik helped liberate from Dachau the following year. The television picture of those two old Jewish men might have come from the epilogue to “Schindler’s List.” Mr. Trump beamed upon them from the podium as if, like Prospero, he had conjured this sweet denouement out of thin air.

The president twice mentioned the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and he proudly took credit for moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. If Hitler was history’s supreme anti-Semite, Mr. Trump did a fair job of presenting himself as the opposite.

The president played a sly game of trapping his antagonists into applauding when they would have wished to sit on their hands or jeer. The white-clad vestal brigade of new Democratic congresswomen, including that one from Michigan who’d proclaimed her intention to “impeach the m—f—,” were seen turning to one another in confusion and trying to decide whether they would look worse applauding or sitting still.

Mr. Trump manipulated the theatrics inherent in the State of the Union, including the TV cameras’ restless and vigilant reaction shots, to his advantage. As he promised that America would never become a socialist country, the camera focused on the glowering self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, who looked like a grumpy old man out of Dostoevsky.

Mr. Trump turned things upside down. Portrayed by the left as a lawless president, he insisted on the rule of law, especially regarding immigration. Condemned as a racist, he defused the issue, to a degree, by embracing prisoners’ rights and condemning discrimination in the justice system.

Yes. As I said yesterday, “One of the most interesting things about Trump’s speech last night is how it seemed calculated to demolish all the standard anti-Trump tropes from the media and from the left and to do so with compelling imagery.”

MODERN COMSTOCKERY: Bikini baristas appeal city ordinance issuing dress code, debate definition of ‘anal cleft.’

How much “anal cleft” is one allow to show while at work? That’s the question one Washington court is trying to answer.

A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing an ongoing legal saga between bikini baristas and the city of Everett over the anatomical phrase “anal cleft” and whether dress codes imposed on businesses violate their civil rights.

Both sides appeared in court Monday to further argue the city’s ordinance, which was passed August 2017, that restricts what employees of “quick-service” restaurants wear by requiring that the “bottom one-half of the anal cleft” be covered, Herald Net reported.

According to the ordinance, employees who work at fast food restaurants, food trucks and coffee stands are required to wear at least a tank top and shorts while at work.

The drive to force pretty girls to cover up and reduce their employment opportunities is designed to force them into the loving embrace of the white-clad, scowling Handmaids Crew.

JEMELE HILL JOKES ABOUT ASSASSINATING TRUMP:

Former ESPN host and current The Atlantic writer Jemele Hill may be getting a visit from the Secret Service soon as she disgustingly joked about killing Donald Trump during last night’s State of the Union Address.

On Tuesday night, Hill tweeted that Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was in attendance at the SOTU, should yell out “GETCHO HAND OUT MY POCKET.”

That statement is a reference to what one of Malcolm X’s assassins yelled out before they killed the 1960s civil rights leader.

Hill writes for the Atlantic, or as editor Jeffrey Goldberg would say, she’s “in the family.” No word yet which of the Five Families he was referring to.

ALEXANDRA DESANCTIS: Democrats Overplay Their Hand On Abortion: In New York and Virginia, state governments are working to loosen restrictions on late-term abortion—and giving the anti-abortion movement an opportunity. “It is unsurprising that abortions this late in pregnancy are vastly unpopular with the American public. Gallup polling from 2018 found that only 13 percent of Americans favor making third-trimester abortions “generally” legal, and only 18 percent of Democrats shared that position. Women reject late-term abortion at an even higher rate than men. A Marist survey from earlier this year found that 75 percent of Americans would limit abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy, and majorities of Democrats and those who describe themselves as pro-choice agreed.”

This is why I think Trump should suggest we adopt a “more European” approach to the issue. Aside from the fun in watching lefties’ heads explode at having this “all civilized countries do it my way” argument thrown back at them, it’s also a political winner.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: South Dakota Becomes Latest Permitless Gun-Carry State.

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem (R.) signed the state’s permitless carry bill into law on Thursday.

The bill, SB47, eliminates the state’s requirement that residents obtain a permit in order to legally carry a firearm. Instead, so long as a resident is legally allowed to possess a firearm, they are legally allowed to carry it concealed on their person.

Noem said the new law is in line with the country’s founding principles and protects South Dakotans gun rights.

“Our Founding Fathers believed so firmly in our right to bear arms that they enshrined it into the Constitution,” she tweeted. “This constitutional carry legislation will further protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding South Dakotans.”

Everytown for Gun Safety described the law as “dangerous,” warned of it having “devastating effects,” and urged its members to contact their lawmakers in opposition to it. On the other hand, the National Rifle Association supported the bill and celebrated its passage.

“On behalf of the NRA’s five-million members, we would like to thank Governor Noem for her leadership on this critical issue,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA. “This law is a common sense measure that allows law-abiding South Dakotans to exercise their fundamental right to self-protection in the manner that best suits their needs.”

Let the record reflect that “Everytown for Gun Safety” is a Bloomberg-funded astroturf anti-civil-rights group.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Supreme Court’s conservatives appear poised to expand Second Amendment gun rights.

If this interests you, I recommend my Second Amendment Penumbras piece.

COLD WAR II: Beijing Set for ‘Ideological Battle’ with U.S.

“Chinese leaders will increasingly seek to assert China’s model of authoritarian capitalism as an alternative—and implicitly superior—development path abroad, exacerbating great-power competition that could threaten international support for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law,” he stated.

Xi and his advisers are imposing new dictatorial measures at home while backing authoritarian regimes around the world. The practice can be “corrosive to civil society and the rule of law,” the DNI said.

Xi also declared last year China will try to launch a program to reform the global governance system that Coats forecast will produce increased Chinese activism internationally and promote “a Chinese worldview that links China’s domestic vision to its international vision.”

“Beijing has stepped up efforts to reshape the international discourse around human rights, especially within the U.N. system,” he stated.

China’s Communists are feeling cocky enough to drop the non-ideological facade they’ve worn since brutally asserting their authority at Tiananmen Square.

IF YOU KNOW A SMART CONSERVATIVE/LIBERTARIAN LAW STUDENT (OR A VERY SMART COLLEGE STUDENT):  … who would like to spend the summer interning for Commissioner Peter Kirsanow and me at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington for absolutely no pay, send him or her here.  Thanks.  We can use all the help we can get.

COLORADO LEGISLATURE WANTS TO DISENFRANCHISE ME IN FAVOR OF NYC AND CALIFORNIA: Colorado Legislature Wants To Game The Electoral College Because Trump!

Look, first thing they did when they seized the state in 12 was institute vote fraud by mail. In the polls I watched, in 12 fraud was already rampant.

BUT even with tighter, better, higher fraud, they still don’t trust us peasants to vote the way they like.  How few of them are there? How many of us? How astonishing is the fraud?

I need a constitutional lawyer (a real one.)  They can’t possibly deny us our civil rights this blatantly.

REPOST:  SUPER BOWL SEX TRAFFICKING: It’s that time of year again—when the Super Bowl host city starts assuring the public that it is doing everything possible to combat the expected explosion of sex crimes. It don’t really blame these cities for ramping up. If it were true that the Super Bowl brings with it the massive sexual exploitation of minors that would be very serious. But it is not true.  Nor is it true that ordinary adult prostitution increases to unusual levels.  The Super Bowl is mostly about … shock alert … a football game (and a few very expensive television ads).

A few years ago the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued an overwrought report entitled “Sex Trafficking: A Gender-Based Violation of Civil Rights.” I wrote a 30-page Statement that was critical of the report. A few pages of it deal with the Super Bowl myth.  I also included a bit about the White Slavery Panic and about Filipina hostesses in Japan.

I reposted this with the links fixed.  Sorry about that.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: All 26 of 26 Gun Control Bills in Virginia Fail to Pass.

JOHN HINDERAKER ON WHAT TO DO ABOUT COVINGTON: Sue The Bastards.

So, what has happened since? The Associated Press has refused to correct its lies. Liberals have threatened the families of the kids from Covington Catholic with death. Liberals have written to colleges, urging them to reject any applications from Covington Catholic students. Liberals have explicitly urged that the lives of the kids who innocently attended the March For Life be destroyed. Twitter has had no problem with tweets calling for violence, as long as the violence is directed against conservative teenagers.

Where do you go when the whole world seems to be against you? You hire a lawyer. Which is what some of the Covington kids’ families reportedly have done. For whatever reason, intolerant liberals on Twitter are frantically deleting tweets denouncing the innocent Covington kids, and in some cases calling for violence against them. Maybe they are just embarrassed at being caught red-handed, lying and purveying hate. But when has that ever embarrassed a liberal?

There is some evidence that the scrambling is due to the threat of litigation.

And it’s well-founded. I should note that people are talking about libel, but there’s also the prospect of a civil rights action for conspiracy to deprive the boys of their civil rights. Trying to get them kicked out of school or bounced from college admissions because they exercised their free speech rights is likely reachable under such an action. And, obviously, trying to organize violence against them is very close to the core of the Civil Rights Act, which was aimed at the Klan, which also went after people’s jobs, families, and lives when crossed.

This case might be a winner. And you know what the lefties say, the process is the punishment.

UPDATE: Lawyer for Covington Catholic HS Families Threatens Lawsuits Against Media Unless They Retract False Stories. “Barnes told PJ Media that he was working with the families to sue the media outlets that defamed them. He said that ‘anyone who doesn’t correct and retract’ their false smears would be subject to a lawsuit and that updated stories merely indicating ‘a more complex picture has emerged’ would not necessarily be enough.”

If there’s a GoFundMe for litigation expenses, I’ll let you know.

TO BE FAIR, THEY’VE FORGOTTEN A LOT OF STUFF: Salena Zito: Amtrak forgot trains aren’t planes.

What happens inside the train matters as well. One of the true charming parts of the ride is the dining car experience. It isn’t just the warm, buttery grits and the crisp bacon. It is the people you meet because of the communal dining.

It was there on the Friday before former President Barack Obama’s first inauguration that I met African-Americans traveling from as far as California by train to attend his inauguration. From veterans of the civil rights movement to young people caught up in his aspirational rhetoric, we were all sitting, conversing, sharing stories, and experiences.

Last Monday, when I boarded the train for the first time this winter, I discovered the warm, buttery grits were no longer an option, replaced by a tub of yogurt and granola. In a box. Dinner now came in a box. So did lunch. Gone were the crisp, white tablecloths, and gone were the people who always cheerfully made whatever meal you wanted.

Why make riding the train pleasant?

AS THE FEDERAL SHUTDOWN CONTINUES: I can’t help it. Yesterday morning when I ran across the shutdown notice on the web site of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (of which I am a member), I smiled so much I spilled my coffee. So far, I am enjoying the break from writing dissents.

If you’d like to get a sense of how the Commission works, check out my dissent on immigration detention centers or on environmental justice. My guess is that after reading them you won’t shed any tears over the Commission’s failure to issue reports over the last few weeks.

While I am waiting for things to start up again maybe I’ll have some time to tend to my cactus garden.  Dealing with prickly plants is good practice for Commission work.

THIS SOUNDS LIKE IT CALLS FOR A FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS INVESTIGATION:

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Cornyn offers ‘reciprocity’ for 17 million concealed carry permit holders.

The ranks of gun owners with approved concealed carry permits has swollen to 17 million, and new legislation offered in the Senate Thursday would make it easier for them to carry their weapons across state lines.

Bolstered by a larger pro-gun caucus in the Senate, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn is introducing his latest version of the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

“This bill focuses on two of our country’s most fundamental constitutional protections — the Second Amendment’s right of citizens to keep and bear arms and the Tenth Amendment’s right of states to make laws best-suited for their residents,” said Cornyn, a top Senate GOP leader.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this important legislation for law-abiding gun owners nationwide,” he added.

He already has 31 co-sponsors.

North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson has introduced parallel legislation in the House.

One doubts that Speaker Pelosi will want to move this, but the recently elected red-state Democrats who gave her the majority may feel differently. Or may feel pressure. I would favor adding language to protect people who carry in places that one state forbids but another may permit by limiting all penalties for carry in unauthorized areas to something like a traffic ticket. In fact, I’d go farther and hold that when a person authorized to possess weapons under federal law possesses a weapon that’s legal under federal law, the greatest penalty a state can assess would be something like a $100 fine.

UPDATE: In the comments, a lot of questions about why the GOP didn’t push this when it had both chambers, summed up this way: “The GOP always gets proactive when there are enough Democrats to stop them.”

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Female Lawyer Gets Tulane University to Stop Discriminating Against Men. “The complaint was filed by Margaret C. Valois, a Virginia Title IX attorney and mother of two sons. Though she typically provides legal counsel to students accused of sexual misconduct, she said she was inspired to file the complaint to fight educational inequity.”

ANGELA DAVIS, WOMEN’S MARCH HONOREE AND CHAMPION OF TERROR, PRISONS, AND TYRANNY. As David Harsanyi writes at the Federalist, “You can tell a lot about people by looking at their heroes:”

There could be an entire book written detailing Davis’s loathsome views and actions (Cathy Young has a good article here.) Still, it’s quite striking to see folks like TED talker Sally Kohn taking to Twitter to let her followers know that she stands with Davis because of her fight against the “prison industrial complex.” In the real world, Davis was an enthusiast supporter of the largest and most lethal prison system the world has ever known.

It was “human rights activist Angela Davis,” as NPR astonishingly described the woman in an article this week, who bought the shotgun that was used in a 1970 Marin County court room kidnapping and shootout that ended up killing a superior court judge and three others. The subsequent manhunt and trial of Davis, a proud lifelong communist, would be a very big deal in Soviet nations.

In 1971, in fact, the CIA noted that Davis’s case had become “a Soviet manipulated international anti-US campaign reminiscent of the orchestrated by Communist propaganda efforts made on behalf of atomic spies, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.” The CIA estimated that at least 5 percent of the entire Soviet Russian propaganda budget had been aimed at propping up Davis. To put that in context, that’s more than was being spent on propaganda directly about the Vietnam War. All schoolchildren in East Germany were ordered to collect flowers and stamps for Davis.

Davis soon traveled to many of these nations to stand with leaders who, collectively, had jailed hundreds of thousands of political dissidents. She visited East Germany, and effusively praised Erich Honecker while the Stasi were torturing political prisoners and his border police were summarily executing those who tried to escape.

Read the whole thing, including Harsanyi noting that Davis “personally assured the people of Jonestown that they would be safe, only two months before their massacre.”

To borrow a passage Mark Steyn wrote on Hollywood red Dalton Trumbo, but with a change in gender, in regards to that famous question, “‘Are you now or have you ever…?’ – the answer is: yes, [she] was. The more interesting question is: How do you feel about getting one of the great moral questions of the century wrong?”

DAVID HARSANYI: Angela Davis, Women’s March Honoree And Champion Of Terror, Prisons, And Tyranny. “U.S. Communist Angela Davis was an enthusiastic supporter of the largest and most lethal prison system the world has ever known.”

When the Women’s March honored the Stalinist cheerleader Angela Davis in 2017, there was almost no pushback from Jewish or liberal groups. You can forgive members of the Resistance, concerned with the impending Trumpian dystopia, for not yet comprehending the bigoted and extremist positions of those leading the Women’s March.

Those who participate in the march going forward, however, have no excuses, since it’s now well documented that Jew-haters, theocrats, and other harebrained fanatics litter that movement. Davis’s continued presence is merely another reminder that the progressive left will tolerate the most odious characters as long as they seek “justice” for a favored cause — in this case Palestinians.

In this regard, Davis isn’t a useful idiot. Just as Davis wasn’t merely a communist sympathizer but a champion of the most reprehensible Soviet regimes, she’s not merely a supporter of boycott, divestment, sanction’s Jewish boycotts but a champion of men like Marwan Barghouti, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades leader who coordinated suicide bombings targeting Jewish civilians.

Yet, somehow, Davis claimed to be “stunned” when, after objections from Holocaust remembrance organizations and other Jewish groups, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute recently rescinded their award that was meant to honor her. The incident spurred the usual suspects to say the usual things. Though most of defenses were predictably vacuous, the habit of ignoring her biography is also journalistic malpractice.

Well, there’s a lot of that going on.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Get Ready for a Financial Assault on the Second Amendment.

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO SUPPORT OUR PREFERRED NARRATIVE: New York Times: Angela Davis Says She’s ‘Stunned’ After Award Is Revoked Over Her Views on Israel.

Let’s get a few basic facts out of the way. Angela Davis was a long-time Soviet apologist (and VP candidate for the Soviet-controlled U.S. Communist Party) who was implicated in the murder of a  judge, though a jury failed to convict despite strong inculpatory evidence. She has never met an anti-American totalitarian dictatorship or terrorist group that she didn’t like.

In short, she likely belongs in prison as an accomplice to murder, and she certainly doesn’t deserve any awards.

An Alabama civil rights organization nevertheless planned to give her an award. Some members of the Jewish community, apparently, objected. With regard to Jews in particular, she has long been complicit in antiSemitism. As recounted in his book Chutzpah, when Alan Dershowitz, who worked on her legal defense, asked her to speak out on behalf of Soviet Jews imprisoned as dissidents, Davis responded that they were all “Zionist fascists” who deserved their fate. She also had a long “professional” association with radical black antiSemites such as Stokely Carmichael.

The New York Times, rather than recounting any of this relevant history, essentially publishes a Davis press release, suggesting that no one could possibly have any objections to her beyond her advocacy for “Palestinian rights.”

And the “mainstream media” wonders why a large segment of the American public doesn’t trust it.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Late last month, we mentioned Manny’s coffee shop in San Francisco. As the Daily Wire noted back then:

You can be gay, intern in the Obama White House, work on Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, and serve as the Silicon Valley fundraising director for the Clinton presidential campaign in 2016, but if you also happen to be Jewish and support the existence of Israel, hard leftists want you gone, as 29-year-old Manny Yekutiel found out the hard way when he opened a café/bookstore in San Francisco’s Mission District.

* * * * * * * *

But on Wednesday, protesters associated with the Lucy Parsons Project, a self-described “radical black queer direction action group,” joined other groups to yell Yekutiel was a “Zionist gentrifer,” and “Zionists out of the Mission!”

A Website called Mission: Local, adds a chilling new detail this week:

And, surely enough, a handful of protesters began showing up, weekly, shouting through bullhorns and waving placards. Someone painted a Star of David on Manny’s exterior along with the words “Fuck Zionism.” A window was broken.

If you believe in nationalizing socialism, painting stars of Davids on Jewish shop owners’ buildings and smashing their glass at night into a fine crystalline state, it’s definitely time to ask yourself, “Are we the baddies?” You are.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): This should be prosecuted as a criminal conspiracy against civil rights, because that’s what it is.

THE MEDIA IS LETTING THE ACLU GET AWAY WITH MASSIVE HYPOCRISY: The ACLU has been very active both politically and in litigation in opposing federal and state legislation that in various ways penalizes boycotting Israel. Commentators up and down the progressive left have been relying on the ACLU for the proposition that this legislation is a violation of First Amendment free speech rights.

For the record, the ACLU is misstating various Supreme Court holdings; as Eugene Volokh has explained, as a general rule there is no recognized right to engage in, as opposed to advocating, an economic boycott.

But let’s assume that the ACLU sincerely believes there is, or there should be, such a constitutional right. One would logically expect that ACLU to therefore be on the side of religious bakers, photographers, caterers, and so on, who choose to boycott same-sex weddings despite civil rights laws that require the contrary. In fact, the ACLU not only hasn’t supported the service providers, it has strongly supported government suppression of these boycotts.

But wait, some interlocutors have told me, there’s a difference between supporting antidiscrimination laws protecting Americans from discrimination, and laws protecting a foreign government from discrimination. There may be all sorts of ideological, moral, and practical differences; there are no constitutional differences. (And note that protecting same-sex weddings from discrimination is not quite the same thing as protecting homosexual individuals from discrimination.)

So from a constitutional perspective, either you support the right to boycott in the face of government attempts to protect a class from discrimination, or you don’t. The ACLU, however, wants to have its (same-sex wedding) cake and eat it too: boycotts against disfavored entities (Israel, or the military in FAIR v. Rumsfeld) are constitutionally protected, but boycotts contrary to laws it likes are not. It doesn’t work that way, and certainly won’t under the current Supreme Court. If any reporter that’s quoted the ACLU on the Israel legislation has asked how the ACLU justifies its hypocrisy on the issue of boycotts and the First Amendment, I haven’t seen it.

UPDATE: RELATED: American Thinker: AntiSemitism, BDS, and the ACLU

SAME UNIVERSITY WHOSE FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATION LED ANGRY, DESTRUCTIVE MOBS AGAINST A FALSELY-ACCUSED FRATERNITY, WITHOUT FACING ANY CONSEQUENCES: A second year medical student has been suspended from the University of Virginia after questioning his professors during a lecture on microaggressions.

Kieran Bhattacharya was suspended from the University of Virginia after the institution alleged Bhattacharya became “unnecessarily antagonistic and disrespectful” during a lecture Bhattacharya says was titled “Microaggressions: Why Are They So Sensitive.”

Bhattacharya published audio recordings, both of the classroom incident that led to his suspension, and of the following disciplinary hearing that led to his suspension.

In the classroom recording, as the lecture concluded and students are allowed to ask questions at approximately 28 minutes in, Bhattacharya took the opportunity to raise several concerns with the professor. . . .

Bhattacharya says he was then summoned by the University of Virginia’s Academic Standards and Achievement Committee for punishment.

During the half hour long meeting, Bhattacharya repeatedly asked what about his behavior was incorrect, and how to remedy it. He was criticized for his decision to record the lecture, and repeatedly told that his “this aggressive, threatening behavior” must be changed.

After repeatedly asking for examples of his unprofessional behavior, one committee member suggested his decision to record the meeting as an example.

They know they’re talking nonsense, and they don’t want donors and taxpayers to realize just how bad things are. So they set out to silence a minority student who’s not buying it.

I recommend a scorched-earth lawsuit. And a Department of Education civil rights investigation.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Leftist Jewish Cafe Owner In San Francisco Told To Get Out For Supporting Israel.

You can be gay, intern in the Obama White House, work on Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, and serve as the Silicon Valley fundraising director for the Clinton presidential campaign in 2016, but if you also happen to be Jewish and support the existence of Israel, hard leftists want you gone, as 29-year-old Manny Yekutiel found out the hard way when he opened a café/bookstore in San Francisco’s Mission District.

* * * * * * * *

But on Wednesday, protesters associated with the Lucy Parsons Project, a self-described “radical black queer direction action group,” joined other groups to yell Yekutiel was a “Zionist gentrifer,” and “Zionists out of the Mission!” The Lucy Parsons Project even tweeted their instructions to do so:

To paraphrase Monty Python’s classic sketch on the Royal Navy, there is no anti-Semitism in the left these days, and when I say none, I do mean that there is a certain amount.

And it seems to be growing rapidly.

Earlier: The Insane Battle To Sabotage a New Apartment Building Explains San Francisco’s Housing Crisis.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): The Department of Justice should be treating these “protesters” as conspiring to deprive people of their civil rights — since, you know, that’s what they’re doing.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Gun-owner rights bill becomes Ohio law after legislature overrode Kasich veto. Kasich is so pathetic.

NEW REPORT OF THE U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS:  Last Thursday, the Commission released a report entitled “Broken Promises:  Continuing Federal Funding Shortfall for Native Americans.”  As the title suggests, its main theme is that Native American tribes should receive more money.

Both Commissioner Peter Kirsanow and I dissented.  My dissent deals mainly with the Commission’s strange insertion of an endorsement of the proposed Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act in the report.  The Commission had taken no evidence on the issue.  As far as anyone can tell, the six-member majority just threw the endorsement in for the pure hell of it.  Kirsanow’s dissent (which can be found in the report) makes the point that throwing more money at tribal entities hasn’t done much to solve the problems of Native Americans in the past, and it really isn’t likely to do so in the future.

A FRIEND ASKED ME WHY I HAVEN’T POSTED ANYTHING YET ON LAST FRIDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION THAT IT IS RESCINDING THE NOTORIOUS OBAMA-ERA SCHOOL DISCIPLINE GUIDANCE: Well … I meant to. But I wanted first to take a moment or two to celebrate.

I suspect many teachers and principals are celebrating too. Polls showed the guidance, which applied disparate impact liability to school discipline, was unpopular with teachers.  Rescinding it will make their classrooms more orderly, and it will also ensure that  students—of all races—will be treated more fairly. When teachers and principals are in control of discipline, the decisions they make will be a lot more sensible than when distant bureaucrats are telling them what they have to do.

Doubtless there will be more pushback in the media about this. Even before the guidance was rescinded, the New York Times was already defending the Obama Administration’s policies by saying they were “adopted after strong evidence emerged that minority students were receiving more suspensions and tougher punishments than white students for the same or lesser offenses ….”

This actual evidence of discrimination is astonishingly thin. It’s true that African American students are disciplined more often than white students (and that white students are disciplined more often than Asian students). But upon thorough examination it turns out that the teachers who refer students for discipline are not flaming racists who make up out of thin air offenses by minority students. Rather, it’s a question of which students are misbehaving.

I have been working on getting this policy reversed for over eight years. (Yes, even before the rescinded guidance went into effect, the Obama Department of Education was going after schools whose policies led them to discipline African American students at disproportionate rates. I had the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights investigate.)

I’ve posted it before, but if you want to understand the issue, read The Department of Education’s Obama-Era Initiative on Racial Disparities in School Discipline: Wrong For Students and Teachers, Wrong on the Law .

ROLLING STONE: Trump has no idea what he’s doing in the Middle East, but neither does the Establishment in wanting to continue our wars there.

You’ll hear all sorts of arguments today about why the withdrawals are bad. You’ll hear Trump has no plan, which is true. He never does, at least not on policy.

But we don’t exactly have a plan for staying in the Middle East, either, beyond installing a permanent garrison in a dozen countries, spending assloads of money and making ourselves permanently despised in the region as civilian deaths pile up through drone-bombings and other “surgical” actions.

But, you know, maybe Trump does have some idea of what he’s doing:

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have sent military forces to areas controlled by the Kurdish YPG group in north-east Syria, Turkey’s Yenisafak newspaper reported.

The paper said the forces will be stationed with US-led coalition troops and will support its tasks with huge military enforcements as well as heavy and light weapons.

Quoting the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the newspaper reported that a convoy of troops belonging to an Arab Gulf state recently arrived in the contact area between the Kurdish PKK/YPG and Daesh in the Deir Ez-Zor countryside.

This comes at a time when Ankara is preparing to launch an expanded military operation with the Free Syrian Army against the Kurdish PKK group in the northeast of Syria.

Furthermore, a Jordanian official reports that Russian forces currently in Syria will take action to restrain Hezbollah and Iranian activity there, according to understandings reached by the U.S., Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

How about that?

TAMARA KEEL: Traveling with Firearms: Tips for the Interstate Concealed Carrier.

We need federal civil rights legislation providing a maximum state penalty of $50 for violations of state laws regarding guns, so long as the firearm and its possession are legal under federal law.

THE STATE OF COLORADO IS STILL TRYING TO DESTROY JACK PHILLIPS. The state-sponsored harassment of Phillips isn’t just about his shop. It’s a warning to all those with unpopular opinions to stay in line:

On June 26, 2017, the day the Supreme Court agreed to hear Phillips’ case, Autumn Scardina, a transgender attorney and activist, called Masterpiece Cakeshop and asked Phillips to design a custom cake with a blue exterior and a pink interior to symbolize a transition from male to female. Phillips politely turned Scardina down. “I was stunned,” the lawyer risibly claimed in her complaint to the Civil Rights Commission.

Scardina, of course, didn’t accidentally ask the most famous Christian baker in the nation to make a “transition” cake. Scardina is leading a crusade against Phillips. In one call, Scardina allegedly asked for “an image of Satan smoking marijuana.” In another, members of “the Church of Satan” asked for “a three-tiered white cake” with a “large figure of Satan, licking a nine inch black Dildo.” “I would like the dildo to be an actual working model that can be turned on before we unveil the cake,” went the request. You can just sense the sanctimonious smugness of people who think this sort of thing is edgy.

In any event, the state of Colorado has allied itself with such activists, formally determining that there was probable cause that Phillips had indeed discriminated against Scardina based on “gender identity.” Of course the baker’s refusal to make dildo and pentagram cakes only proves that Phillips isn’t specifically antagonistic to the newly consecrated belief in malleable “gender identity,” but that he’s shown a consistent adherence to his less malleable Christian values.

As a wise woman once wrote, “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

AGGRESSIVENESS MUST RUN IN THE FAMILY: Nathan Bedford Forrest’s descendants file suit against Memphis.

H. Edward Phillips and attorneys representing descendants of Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest filed suit today in a Memphis Court seeking the return of the Charles Niehaus statue removed December 2017 from Health Sciences Park in the city. They are also wanting all historical signs, including the one removed commemorating U.S. Army Air Corps General N.B. Forrest III killed in World War II, the monument base, copper caskets, earthly remains under it, and the expenses to move the monument to a location of their choosing.

It’s believed to be the first time living descendants of a national historical figure have filed such a suit to protect their ancestor’s grave site and remains.

Attorneys are also seeking compensatory damages alleging in the filing they have a paper trail showing the city knowingly violated its own charter, conspired to violate state law; desecrated a grave, trespassed to a grave, desecrated a venerated object, and conspired to violate the Civil Rights of the Forrest Family, when they removed the monument December 20, 2017.

Two of the actions were reportedly in violation of Tennessee statutes 39-17-311 and 46-1-313 making it a Class E felony to deface or disturb grave sites. District Attorney General for Shelby County Amy Weirich’s office has, to date, not brought charges against any of those reportedly responsible for the actions.

According to the suit filed in 30th District Chancery Court, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and the city council illegally sold and transferred Health Sciences and Memphis Park on December 15, 2017 – five days before changing the city’s charter that permitted them to legally do so. Health Science and Memphis Park were sold to Memphis GreenSpace, Inc. – statues and all – for the sum of $2,000. The properties were valued at around $1 million each.

Stay tuned. This should be some exciting litigation, unless — as I expect — it’s settled.

I’M SURE THE STUDENTS WILL BE CRUSHED: UNC faculty threaten not to teach over Confed statue. “University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill faculty members are threatening not to teach during the first week of the spring semester if the school approves a proposal to house in a new $5 million building a Confederate statue torn down by protesters.”

Lefties are so desperate to recapture the moral high ground of the 1960s civil rights era, but with so little to work with they risk looking ridiculous. And by “risk looking ridiculous,” I mean, they definitely look ridiculous.

THE MYSTERY OF LLOYD GAINES’ DISAPPEARANCE: On this day in 1938, the Supreme Court decided Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada. Star-student Lloyd Gaines applied to law school at the University of Missouri, but was refused admission on the ground that he was black. Instead, the State of Missouri offered to pay his tuition at a law school in another state. The Supreme Court held that it was idiotic to call that equal protection. (No, the Court didn’t put it quite that way.) Its holding was nevertheless limited. It said that that it wasn’t necessarily so that Missouri must admit Gaines to the University of Missouri’s law school. It might be enough to set up a different law school for him in Missouri.

Here’s the weird part: Lloyd Gaines never took advantage of his victory. Months later, he vanished, never to surface again. He left the fraternity house in Chicago where he had been staying, saying that he needed to buy stamps. He never came back.

Some people, including some of his relatives, believe that he was murdered for his role as plaintiff in the case. But there are problems with that theory. Gaines was known to disappear for days at a time. He was that sort of guy. And he was known to be uncomfortable with his role as a civil rights hero. More than a decade later, his mother told a reporter for Ebony magazine that Gaines had written her before his disappearance, “Goodbye. If you don’t hear from me anymore you know I’ll be all right.”  If true, that makes murder highly unlikely. But weirdly, she hadn’t mentioned such a statement in public before (although she’d never personally called the police about her son’s disappearance).  FWIW, she was thought to be highly distrustful of police.  It’s all very strange.

The NAACP circulated a photograph of Gaines, hoping that someone had seen him. There were possible sightings in Mexico City and New York,  but … well … nobody knows for sure.

TWITTER & FACEBOOK — SOCIAL MEDIA COLLIDES WITH HUMAN NATURE. At NRO, David French writes:

Our social-media companies face a series of fateful choices. If they choose to be primarily platforms for human expression, they’ll empower many millions of voices that they despise. They’ll facilitate outcomes they may loathe. If, by contrast, they choose to prioritize progressive ideology and progressive outcomes, they’ll limit their reach, their influence, and their wealth. They’ll open themselves up to aggressive competition.

What’s the lesson here? When you empower people, you find that they have their own will. When you seek to control that will, you find that they’ll rebel. The idealism of tech is dead. Human nature killed it. Nobody can have it all.

Read the whole thing, and then check out Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, who looks at Jesse Kelly’s banishment from Twitter yesterday and concludes:

The answer to this and other examples of ludicrous speech-code imposition isn’t government intervention, however. It’s recognizing that Twitter is basically a social-justice-warrior cesspool and one of the worst places for intellectual discourse possible. Even with benign management, each 280-character bite practically begs to be taken out of context by those with malice. The malignant and arrogant manner in which Dorsey and his team manage the platform make it even worse yet by pretending that all the outrage is somehow justified just because it exists at all, even if it’s nothing more than a pretense for political attacks on perceived enemies.

With that said, it’s still possible to have positive engagement on the platform, at least in the short run. If that’s of any value, stick around and stick up for those who get banned; if not, follow Instapundit’s understandable decision to depart. The biggest lesson from the social-media platforms’ onerous and one-sided interventions is that it’s still best to control your own platform in cyberspace rather than rely on the kindness of Dorseys and Zuckerbergs in the long run.

And finally, speaking of social media and human nature, at Twitchy, Lutheran pastor’s ‘little rant’ about Twitter’s speech police is a definite must-read.”

Exit quote: “[T]he Selma-envy-riddled youngsters want to play both sides in their civil rights movement LARPing. They want to be the heroes on the right side of history. And they also want to be the guys controlling the firehoses…When people imagine Christianity to be foolish and cruel, the religions they invent to replace it are a thousand times stupider and more oppressive.”

ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM: Newly-elected Congresswoman Ilhan Omar tweets that “we need to invest directly in areas that have been harmed by environmental racism—the pollution and environmental degradation experienced by communities of color and indigenous nations.” Okay, maybe. But when the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights did an empirical study on coal ash deposits, most of its members expected to find these deposits are disproportionately found in African-American communities. But surprise! It found the opposite. So of course buried those findings in its lengthy report on environmental racism. I’m not sure race is the best lens through which to look at the problem environmental degradation. If it should be cleaned up, clean it up. If some other action is more appropriate, do that—no matter whose community it is near.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: School Choice Moms’ Tipped the Governor’s Florida Race: DeSantis owes his win to unexpected support from minority women.

Believe it or not, Republican Ron DeSantis owes his victory in the Florida gubernatorial election to about 100,000 African-American women who unexpectedly chose him over the black Democratic candidate, Andrew Gillum.

Of the roughly 650,000 black women who voted in Florida, 18% chose Mr. DeSantis, according to CNN’s exit poll of 3,108 voters. This exceeded their support for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott (9%), Mr. DeSantis’s performance among black men (8%) and the GOP’s national average among black women (7%).

To be sure, 18% of the black female vote in Florida is equal to less than 2% of the total electorate. But in an election decided by fewer than 40,000 votes, these 100,000 black women proved decisive. Their apparent ticket splitting helps to explain why the Florida governor’s race wasn’t as close as the Florida Senate race, though Mr. Gillum was widely expected to carry Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson to victory on his coattails.

What explains Mr. DeSantis’ surprising support from African-American women? Two words: school choice.

More than 100,000 low-income students in Florida participate in the Step Up For Students program, which grants tax-credit funded scholarships to attend private schools. Even more students are currently enrolled in the state’s 650 charter schools.

Most Step Up students are minorities whose mothers are registered Democrats. Yet many of these “school-choice moms” vote for gubernatorial candidates committed to protecting their ability to choose where their child goes to school.

Four years ago, Gov. Scott narrowly won re-election thanks to a spike in support from school-choice moms. In 2016 more than 10,000 scholarship recipients joined Martin Luther King III in Tallahassee to protest a lawsuit filed by the teachers union in America’s largest-ever school choice rally.

Regrettably, Mr. Gillum’s campaign chose to ignore signs that many minority voters view school choice as ‘’the civil rights issue of our time,” to quote Condoleezza Rice.

I don’t regret it all that much.

PUSHING BACK AGAINST IDENTITY POLITICS IN ACADEMIA: FASORP (Faculty, Alumni and Students Opposing Racial Preferences) recently filed Title VI/Title IX lawsuits against the Harvard Law Review and the New York University Law Review (in both cases Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is also named as a defendant for failing to enforce the law). FASORP is being represented by the very talented Jonathan Mitchell, former Solicitor General of Texas.

The NYU Law Review in particular has made itself a rather obvious target. It’s not just that it discriminates; it has quotas. The Harvard Law Review isn’t much better. It has quotas too, but it is a tad more delicate in how it presents them on its web site.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is similar, but applies only to educational institutions. It states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

In Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), the Supreme Court watered down Title VI by construing it to allow colleges and universities to discriminate in the name of diversity. But the Court has consistently come down hard on colleges and universities that set actual quotas (UC Regents v. Bakke (1978)) or set numbers of “points” for an applicant’s race (Gratz v. Bollinger (2003)).

The NYU Law Review sets quotas. Its web site declares that it “evaluates personal statements in light of various factors, including (but not limited to) race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, socio-economic background, ideological viewpoint, disability, and age.” It then goes on to state that “Exactly 12 students will be selected by the Diversity Committee” for membership.” Really? Exactly 12?

The Harvard Law Review is only a bit subtler. It sets aside exactly 18 seats for “holistic review,” quickly adding the it is “strongly committed to a diverse and inclusive membership” and that “[a]pplicants who wish to make aspects of their identity available through the Law Review‘s holistic consideration process will have the opportunity to indicate their racial or ethnic identity, physical disability status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.”

I plan to keep an eye on this litigation.

THE WASHINGTON POST MISSED MY POINT: On Thursday, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights published a report entitled, Police Use of Force: An Examination of Modern Policing Practices. That same day the Washington Post discussed that report. It also described my dissenting statement as stating “that not enough of the public conversion about criminal justice focuses on the rates at which black Americans commit crime.”

Well … I did mention that issue as a possible partial explanation for why the media are so reluctant to talk about high African American victimization rates. But my main point—and the point that took up by far the most pages in my Statement was that African American are victimized by crime at higher rates than other groups. I dealt at length with discussions by Gunnar Myrdal, Charles Rangel, Michael Javan Fortner and Heather MacDonald that police have not always offered African Americans the level of protection that they should.

I never wrote that the public conversation about criminal justice should focus more on the rate at which African Americans commit crimes. Instead, I wrote that “[o]ne of the best examples” of “one-sidedness in the [criminal justice] debate” is “the failure to acknowledge African American victimhood and the need to ensure that the African-American community receives adequate police protection.” Everything seems to focus on too much police presence.

The Washington Post also stated that I “voiced the theory popular among some conservatives and police officials that increased scrutiny of police will result in them abandoning their obligations to protect the public.” (Italics added.) That’s true (although the word “abandon” overstates my position). But the Post doesn’t identify the views of my Progressive colleagues as “popular among some Progressives.” Maybe this is an example of what Hal Pashler and I wrote about in Perceptions of Newsworthiness Are Contaminated by Political Usefulness Bias. Pointing out that an idea is popular among conservatives may be more useful for a Progressive reporter writing for a Progressive audience than pointing out that a different idea is popular with Progressives. Oh well. At least it’s true.

Lesson: If you’re interested in a topic, read the original, not the newspaper version.

THINK OF THEM AS A LEFTIST SUPER-PAC AND YOU WON’T BE FAR WRONG: The ACLU Declines to Defend Civil Rights.

HARVARD’S ANTI-ASIAN ADMISSIONS POLICY: At the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers’ Convention on Friday, the Civil Rights Practice Group (which I chair) presented a panel discussion of Harvard’s discrimination in admissions against Asian Americans. Thank you to the Honorable James C. Ho, Professor Andrew Koppelman, Dr. Althea Nagai, Patrick Strawbridge, and Professor John Yoo for the lively discussion.

As always, I remind everyone that colleges and universities are not doing affirmative action beneficiaries any favors by admitting them to academic programs where their academic credentials are toward the bottom of the class. Students learn more in programs where they are competitive with other students. So if we want more African American, American Indian or Hispanic doctors, engineers, college professors, and lawyers, we should put the brakes on affirmative action preferences and put a stop to discrimination against Asian Americans. See Want to Be a Doctor? A Scientist? An Engineer? An Affirmative Action Leg Up May Hurt Your Chances and A “Dubious Expediency”: How Race-Preferential Admissions Policies on Campus Hurt Minority Students.

THE ACLU TURNED INTO A DEMOCRATIC SUPER-PAC SO QUICKLY THAT EVERYONE NOTICED:

Future historians will have to reconstruct exactly how and why the tipping point has been reached, but the ACLU’s actions over the last couple of months show that the ACLU is no longer a civil libertarian organization in any meaningful sense, but just another left-wing pressure group, albeit one with a civil libertarian history.

First, the ACLU ran an anti-Brett Kavanaugh video ad that relied entirely on something that no committed civil libertarian would countenance, guilt by association. And not just guilt by association, but guilt by association with individuals that Kavanaugh wasn’t actually associated with in any way, except that they were all men who like Kavanaugh had been accused of serious sexual misconduct. The literal point of the ad is that Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein, and Bill Cosby were accused of sexual misconduct, they denied it but were actually guilty; therefore, Brett Kavanaugh, also having been accused of sexual misconduct, and also having denied it, is likely guilty too.

Can you imagine back in the 1950s the ACLU running an ad with the theme, “Earl Warren has been accused of being a Communist. He denies it. But Alger Hiss and and Julius Rosenberg were also accused of being Communists, they denied it, but they were lying. So Earl Warren is likely lying, too?”

Meanwhile, yesterday, the Department of Education released a proposed new Title IX regulation that provides for due process rights for accused students that had been prohibited by Obama-era guidance. Shockingly, even to those of us who have followed the ACLU’s long, slow decline, the ACLU tweeted in reponse that the proposed regulation “promotes an unfair process, inappropriately favoring the accused.” Even longtime ACLU critics are choking on the ACLU, of all organizations, claiming that due proess protections “inappropriately favor the accuse.”

The ACLU had a clear choice between the identitarian politics of the feminist hard left, and retaining some semblance of its traditional commitment to fair process. It chose the former.

They chose . . . poorly.

HOT OFF THE PRESS:  The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights just released a report entitled “Police Use of Force:  An Examination of Modern Policing Practices.”  My individual Commissioner Statement is here.

My main point:  In the Jim Crow South, the biggest problem was that many in law enforcement didn’t take crime in African American neighborhoods seriously.  We’ve come a long way since then.  But if modern reformers aren’t careful, their actions will end up encouraging police officers to offer less protection to African Americans.

MAKE THEM LIVE UP TO THEIR OWN BOOK OF RULES: UPenn Facing Title IX Investigation.

The National Coalition for Men (NCFM) has filed a Title IX federal civil rights complaint against the University of Pennsylvania. The complaint lists twenty-two groups at Penn as being discriminatory towards men. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education is reviewing the complaint. If it believes there is enough evidence suggesting possible sex discrimination by any of these groups, it will launch a full investigation into the groups that allegedly violate Title IX provisions.

The NCFM believes that “[t]he University of Pennsylvania is in violation of Title IX because it offers resources, funding, fellowships, and scholarships that are available to women only, even though men are a minority both nationwide [42%] and at the University of Pennsylvania [47%, incoming class of 2021].”

The first group listed is the Center for Research on Reproduction and Women’s Health. Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, who helped the NCFM draft the complaint against Penn and has previously filed successful complaints against Yale and the University of Southern California, told The UPenn Statesman that the Center’s “asymmetry in terms of funding medical research on the basis of sex was a significant factor” in choosing to file a complaint against groups at Penn. The complaint suggests either creating an equivalent center for men or changing the name of this center to a gender-neutral title.

The University of Pennsylvania Women’s Center was also targeted in the complaint. The NCFM alleges the Women’s Center is discriminatory in its “overall effect.” They assert the Center has a discriminatory name, offers resources only to women, and has only female participants and administrators. These different features combine to create a “hostile environment against men.” Further the NCFM claims the Women’s Center’s anti-discrimination clause is “hollow and illusory.”

The NCFM also believes that Penn’s funding of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS) department constitutes a Title IX violation. In addition to the GSWS department having a discriminatory name, the NCFM believes that women are overrepresented in the department, that they offer certain resources only to women, and that “all classes taught by the program involve issues which impact women and LGBT groups, but not men.”

Wharton Women in Business was also listed in the complaint for reasons similar to the previous groups. Notably, the NCFM claims they have a student willing to testify against Wharton Women in Business if the OCR elects to launch a full investigation into the group.

Stay tuned.

Related: Title IX enforcers need to fix the toxic environment they have created for men.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: DC Carry Permits Jump Over 1440 Percent Since District Went ‘Shall Issue.’

The Metropolitan Police Department confirmed to The Daily Caller Tuesday that 1,896 concealed carry permits were issued by MPD for the calendar year to date 2018.

MPD noted that several hundred approvals came from applications submitted in late 2017. These were included in the current 2018 approval number, which is why the total number of 2018 applications for DC concealed carry permits to date is 1508 — a number lower than the 2018 approval number.

Prior the court ruling, according to The Washington Post, only 123 people had active D.C. concealed carry permits and MPD previously denied 77 percent of applicants for not providing the once-mandated “good reason” to carry.

Excellent.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: House Democrats plan aggressive gun control effort next year.

Gun control proponents are buoyed by the takeover of the House. Democrats ousted at least 15 House Republicans who had an “A” rating with the National Rifle Association with candidates who received an “F” rating, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., told the Journal on Friday that he plans to introduce legislation that will mandate universal background checks. Thompson is chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Among the incoming Democrats is Lucy McBath, who defeated Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga. She was a former spokeswoman for the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The group spent $38 million during the 2018 election cycle, compared to the NRA, which spent $20 million.

I’m pretty sure this is how you get more Trump, but how about a few less anti-gun nuts in Congress?

18 USC 241: ‘We know where you sleep at night! You are not safe’: Antifa mob holds ‘protest’ outside Tucker Carlson’s home.

I hope the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will investigate this obvious effort to intimidate someone out of engaging in protected speech.

BAMN, BAMN, BAMN–THE ROOTS OF THE ANTIFA: I mentioned earlier today that the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative was approved by voters on this day in 2006, a decade after the almost-identical Proposition 209 in California. In both campaigns, major opposition came from a Trotskyite group (and I don’t use the word “Trotskyite” lightly here) called the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary. Its members go by the acronym “BAMN,” and they are apparently an offshoot of the Revolutionary Workers Party. Knock me over with a feather if these guys aren’t wearing Antifa masks these days.

During the California campaign, we mostly laughed BAMN off. But in Michigan (and later in Arizona) there started to be real reason to fear for the safety of the initiative’s supporters, including its signature gatherers:

Just one among dozens of examples of [BAMN’s] willingness to use “any means necessary” was its attempt to intimidate the Michigan Board of Canvassers into refusing to certify MCRI for the ballot.  BAMN brought in busloads of protesters who shouted down officials, jumped on chairs, and stomped their feet, flipping over a table in the process.  As the director of elections for the Michigan Secretary of State put it, “Never before have I seen such absolutely incredible and unprofessional behavior from lawyers urging this disruption.”

BAMN’s co-chair and attorney saw things differently:  “We cannot allow our opponents to determine what our tactics should be,” she said.  “Our tactics win.  That’s the bottom line.”  They did not, however, win before the Board of Canvassers.  Board members voted to certify the initiative for the ballot as the law required them to do.  The following November, the voters approved it 58% to 42%.

I wasn’t there at the Board of Canvassers meeting, but I’ve seen the video.  Alas, I couldn’t find it today (though I confess I didn’t look that hard).   But I did find a more recent video of BAMN storming a meeting of the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Finding the second video is even better, since it vividly shows that the Board of Canvassers meeting was part of a pattern.

Oh yeah, and they filed the lawsuit that reached the Supreme Court too.  BAMN is well funded.

MICHIGAN VOTERS ADOPTED THE MICHIGAN CIVIL RIGHTS INITIATIVE BY A WIDE MARGIN ON THIS DAY IN 2006: The Initiative was a clone of California’s Proposition 209. Like Proposition 209, it banned discrimination and preferential treatment based on race, color, sex, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education and public contracting.

Here’s the one of the most interesting aspects of it: In a party-line vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, held that such an initiative was unconstitutional. Michigan voters were not even allowed to require their state universities and agencies to refrain from discrimination intended to help minorities.

For an explanation of the arguments read The Parade of Horribles Lives: Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary.

Yes, the Supreme Court eventually reversed (over the dissent of two Justices).

Those who wonder why voters who don’t like Trump voted for him anyway should cogitate for while on the Sixth Circuit’s party-line vote in this case. (Note that one judge who was technically appointed by Bush was really a Clinton holdover appointee and voted with the other Democratic appointees.)

 

IT’S THE MORNING AFTER, SO I CAN’T BE ACCUSED OF VOTER SUPPRESSION: Elites, especially left-of-center elites, seem to care a whale of a lot more about the tiniest “interference” with what they regard as voting rights than they do about … well … any of our other rights. Granted, voting rights are important and vigilance is appropriate. But as I wrote a few weeks ago in my Statement in an Commission on Civil Rights report: “[I]f anything, elected officials may be accused of spending a disproportionate amount of time worrying about voting issues (and hence about their own re-election) to the detriment of issues that affect their constituents’ lives in more direct ways.” Ditto for denizens of governmental bureaucracies. (And it’s not that they hold self-governance in such high regard. If they did, they’d be concerned about the reach the bureaucratic state.  But they like that leviathan. They think it’s a nice little anti-democratic monster.)

It would be nice if they were half as vigilant about economic liberties and free expression (which fewer and fewer seem to care about today).

ANALYSIS: TRUE. David French: The Democrats Haven’t Earned Your Vote.

Democrats claim that now is a critical time for public hygiene. It’s time to hold corrupt, self-aggrandizing politicians accountable. I agree.

Ask your Democratic candidate if he or she is willing to publicly condemn New Jersey senator Robert Menendez — tried for public corruption and admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for doing favors for a wealthy contributor in exchange for lavish gifts — the way that so many conservatives condemned (and ultimately rejected) Roy Moore.

Democrats claim that now is the time to reject the politics of personal destruction. They look at a president who calls people names, who spins out wild conspiracy theories (Ted Cruz’s father participated in the Kennedy assassination? Really?), and they demand better. I agree.

Look at your Democratic candidate’s actions regarding Brett Kavanaugh. Did they credit facially implausible gang-rape allegations? Did they presume his guilt and declare they “believed survivors” even without substantiation and in the face of contradictory evidence? Did they participate in a campaign to destroy a man’s life and career, only to drop the whole matter the instant he was confirmed?

Democrats decry Republican extremism and alarmism. They look at wild claims about the border caravan, wasteful troop deployments, and alarmist rhetoric about criminals and Middle Easterners. They condemn family separation. They decry Trump’s “enemy of the people” rhetoric. They believe that Trump and his allies are dangerously raising tensions in the American body politic. I agree.

Ask where your Democratic candidate stands on Hillary Clinton’s rejection of civility, Cory Booker’s call for protesters to “get up in the face of some congresspeople,” Eric Holder’s declaration that “when they go low, we kick them,” or Maxine Waters’s ominous demand that “if you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

And while you’re at it, ask your Democratic candidates if the challenge of Donald Trump is so grave that they’re willing to moderate their positions on abortion, immigration, health care, gun rights, or religious liberty even in the slightest to win your support.

Hey, it’s a crisis of democracy, but it’s not that serious.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: New York Lawmakers Drafting Bill That Would Allow Social Media Checks Before Gun Purchase. “Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and state Sen. Kevin Palmer’s proposal would allow authorities to review three years of social media history and one year of internet search history of any person seeking to purchase a firearm.”

DON’T BLAME SCHOOLS FOR THE “ACHIEVEMENT GAP:” Like many other “civil rights” policies, it only ends up hurting its intended beneficiaries.

BIPARTISANSHIP: Sens. Ted Cruz and Doug Jones have introduced a Civil Rights cold case bill that is both righteous and politically clever.

“[I]n many cases,” Sens. Jones and Cruz write, “witnesses were intimidated into silence and evidence was intentionally brushed under the rug by corrupt officials. Victims and their families were often afraid to pursue justice against their attackers. And despite the best efforts of law enforcement in many cases, they did not have access to modern forensic methods, and trails went cold.”

They add: “Records and evidence from many of these cases sit locked away in files and vaults, outside of the public eye. As memories fade and witnesses, victims and perpetrators of decades-old crimes pass away, our window to solve these cold cases shrinks.”

The proposed legislation would require that the cold case files be made available at the National Archives and Records Administration. The idea here is that NARA would then create a “collection of documents that would be publicly disclosed, although for certain reasons disclosure of some information may be postponed.” The bill is also careful to take steps to provide identity protections where requested and/or necessary.

As Jones and Cruz explain it, the bill aims mostly to make the information available to “private detectives, historians, victims and victims’ families,” with the ultimate goal being that some of these cases be solved finally.

That would be nice.

COCAINE MITCH PLAYS FOR KEEPS:

While the Supreme Court hears only about 80 cases a year, the federal appeals courts have final say on about 60,000 cases. And in just two years, McConnell’s Republican majority has confirmed 29 circuit court judges, as well as 53 federal district court judges — a modern record.

Today, nearly 1 in 6 circuit court judges have been confirmed by McConnell’s Senate majority. As former Hillary Clinton adviser Ronald Klain complained, “Trump’s judicial nominees will be deciding the scope of our civil liberties and the shape of civil rights laws in the year 2050 — and beyond.”

Transforming the judiciary is not McConnell’s only major conservative accomplishment, but he says it will be the most lasting. “I love the tax bill, but the ’86 tax bill lasted four years before the political wind shifted,” he says. “But there’s not much you can do about a young man or woman who’s a strict constructionist who goes on the court at 48 and stays there for 25 years. So, I think it’s the most important thing we’re doing, and I hope we’re going to have the opportunity to do it for two more years.”

Read the whole thing.

SPENGLER: Letter to Chinese friends: We really are different. “Americans never will reconcile themselves to China’s lack of concern for individual rights, for its cruelty to so many of its citizens, and for the absence of mercy in its public affairs.”

More:

China is the world’s oldest living civilization and America is the youngest. How does a new civilization come to be in the first place? It must graft itself onto an older civilization. The American principle is that each individual is sacred, and therefore sovereign, with equal protection under the law and an equal say in governance. Ancient Israel is the wellspring of the American imagination, as I argued in a lecture to the Heritage Foundation in 2016. If China’s national epic is the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, America’s national epic is the King James Version of the Hebrew Bible. America was founded by dissenting Protestants for whom the history of Israel was a map to salvation. It was envisioned by English political theorists who projected a “Hebrew Republic” out of biblical as well as later rabbinic sources, at a time when the Jews had not yet returned to England after their 14th-century banishment, and the Jews were a tiny, scattered and apparently insignificant people.

Fascinating piece; well worth your time.

PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD: Guy with re-enacting business supports Trump on social media. Anti-Trump people inside and outside of school districts launch boycott of his business. Response: A civil rights lawsuit. Looks pretty good to me. (Bumped).

WHEN IDIOTS LARP AS CIVIL-RIGHTS ACTIVISTS: Somali man whose deportation from the UK was stopped when plane passengers staged a mutiny is a GANG RAPIST who attacked teenage girl.

But the passengers who thought they were doing a good deed were unaware that the man they were defending had been sentenced to nine years in jail for his part in a vicious gang rape of a teenage girl – and that another member of his gang later fought for Islamic State in Syria.

Today The Mail on Sunday can reveal how Ahmed and three other youths preyed on a 16-year-old stranger after she became separated from her friends during a night out in London’s Leicester Square, in August 2007.

In a planned attack, they lured her back to a flat in Crouch End, North London, by pretending her friends were waiting for her there – then gang-raped her.

The gang, aged between 18 and 20, were caught when neighbours heard the girl’s cries for help and rang police.

All four men denied rape, despite DNA evidence. They were found guilty at Wood Green Crown Court and each jailed for nine years. Police detective Emma Bird said at the time: ‘The sentences given out by the judge reflect the seriousness of this offence.’

Ahmed, 18 at the time of the rape and living in Clerkenwell, North London, is thought to have been granted refugee status after arriving in Britain from war-torn Somalia as a boy.

Nice gratitude, Ahmed. The passengers should be named publicly, and prosecuted.

WE NEED A FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAW TO REMOVE THE PITFALLS HERE: Tamara Keel: Traveling with Firearms: Tips for the Interstate Concealed Carrier.

THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF ‘BAN THE BOX’: STATISTICAL DISCRIMINATION AND EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES WHEN CRIMINAL HISTORIES ARE HIDDEN:” Research continues to show that laws prohibiting employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal record encourage employers to discriminate against young African-American males. Here is the abstract:

Jurisdictions across the United States have adopted “ban the box” (BTB) policies preventing employers from asking about job applicants’ criminal records until late in the hiring process. Their goal is to improve employment outcomes for those with criminal records, with a secondary goal of reducing racial disparities in employment. However, removing criminal history information could increase statistical discrimination against demographic groups that include more ex-offenders. We use variation in the timing of BTB policies to test BTB’s effects on employment. We find that BTB policies decrease the probability of employment by 3.4 percentage points (5.1%) for young low-skilled black men.

The Obama-Era EEOC had a similar policy that it justified as an application of disparate impact liability. I wrote extensively about it in connection with a report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The policy hasn’t changed under Trump.  A good case can be made that the federal government should encourage employers to hire ex-offenders (for example, through the already-existing modest tax deduction program). But to do it by insisting that employers wear blindfolds has perverse consequences.  Young, law-abiding, low-skilled African American men end up paying for offenses they didn’t commit.

ERIC DREIBAND AND JEFF CLARK WILL FINALLY GET A FLOOR VOTE: Well, it’s about time. I can’t imagine a good reason for the Trump Administration to want to allow DOJ’s Civil Rights Division or its Environmental and Natural Resources Division to go without a leader for this long.

A MEASURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY: Campus mob that attacked ‘Confirm Kavanaugh’ group may face punishment.

Earlier this week a mob of students, enraged by a pro-Brett Kavanaugh tabling effort at the University of Texas at Austin put together by its Young Conservatives of Texas chapter, encircled and yelled at its members while chanting obscenities. Several students were also filmed grabbing the young conservatives’ signs out of their hands and ripping them up.

One student told the conservatives if they did not want their signs ripped up they should not have written such offensive things. The signs stated phrases such as “#MeToo gone #TooFar,” “KavaNotGuilty” and “No Campus Kangaroo Courts in Congress.”

In the wake of that melee, campus authorities are reviewing the incident, UT Austin spokesman J.B. Bird told The College Fix.

“Because of federal privacy law, the university does not talk about specific student discipline cases,” he said. “Damaging another person’s sign is a violation of university rules. The Dean of Students has reached out to students involved to determine appropriate action. University Police are also reviewing potential criminal violations.”

Meanwhile, members of Young Conservatives of Texas have had their names, phone numbers, places of work and personal social media accounts published by an activist group that describes itself as “anti-oppressive, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist.”

This is a conspiracy to deprive people of their civil rights.

Plus, from one of the conservative students: At the end of the day, we’ve let the campus descend into this level of far-left madness because conservatives have ignored it, but through actions like what we did today we embolden people to stand up for what they believe in.” Yes. End the culture of leftist impunity.

CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE CIVIL RIGHTS: Communism sympathizers post numbers, jobs of pro-Kavanaugh protesters.

More: “Further, UT students have threatened violence both if the Young Conservatives take further action defending Kavanaugh, or if there is any action taken against the counter protesters. . . . A massive takeaway from this was illuminated in the full footage of the counter protest, where a female student shouted, ‘UT is a liberal school, what are you people even doing here? We don’t want you here, you shouldn’t be here, we’re educated, and you aren’t. Just leave.'”

I think the Department of Justice and the Education Department should investigate.

THE AKAKA BILL, IT’S BAAACK!!: Out of nowhere, my Democratic colleagues on the U.S. Comm’n on Civil Rights have decided to attach an endorsement of the proposed Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (formerly nicknamed “the Akaka Bill”) to an unrelated report.  The report will then be fast-tracked.

For reasons you can read about in the testimony I gave several years ago before the House Committee on Natural Resources, the Akaka bill—which would facilitate the creation of what would likely be the nation’s Indian tribe—has always been a very bad idea. During the Bush Era, the Commission’s majority recommended against it.  Fortunately, when the GOP took the House of Representatives in 2011, the bill got shelved.

The Obama Administration tried to achieve the same result through administrative action, but so far, those efforts have not yet borne fruit. It now looks like supporters of the idea of Native Hawaiian sovereignty are hoping for a blue wave that will put the bill back on the legislative agenda.

CIVIL RIGHTS EVERYWHERE:  World’s Largest LGBTQ Pro-Gun Group Forms.