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Today in Campus Political Correctness and the Progressive War on Free Speech

[ 114 ] August 28, 2015 |

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The National Security Law Journal has published a notable contribution to legal thought. The title, “Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict as an Islamist Fifth Column,” does not quite do justice to the nature of the content. The author, West Point professor William C. Bradford, sketches out a theory that will surely make you want to subscribe to his drool-covered mimeographed newsletter:

Part I of this Article develops the claim that CLOACA [“critical law of armed conflict academy,” and yes this is what passes for wit here –ed.] is waging a PSYOP campaign to break American political will by convincing Americans their nation is fighting an illegal and unnecessary war against Islam that it must abandon to reclaim moral legitimacy. Part II offers explanations as to why this is so. Part III examines consequences of suffering this trahison des professeurs to exist. Part IV sketches recommendations to mitigate this ―Fifth Column‖ and defeat Islamism. Part V anticipates and addresses criticisms. Part VI concludes by warning that, without a loyal and intellectually honest law of armed conflict academy, the West is imperiled and faces defeat in the ongoing Fourth Generation War against Islamism.

He proceeds to argue that ISIS’s tactics aren’t so much something to be fought against as a model:

As just desert, Islamists should be anathematized as modern-day outlaws shorn of rights and liable to attack by all means and methods at all places and times and to judicial execution post-interrogation. If law is only legitimate if predicated upon history, values, and survival imperatives and “[n]o society can afford . . . inflexible rules concerning those steps on which its ultimate fate . . . depends,” then outlawry of Islamists is an efficient means to hasten their demise and the sole reciprocal arrangement possible with a foe that already applies this regime to Western “infidels.” The West must shatter Islamists‘ political will and eradicate those who do not renounce Islamism. Commitment to rule of law is not only an end but also a means to an end. Every rule, doctrine, and policy must endure a rigorous justification process whereby its retention in the LOAC canon is predicated upon its contribution to victory.

And, now, the punchline. What should be done with less authoritarian faculty?

A more proactive method to suppress disloyal radicals is to fire them. Islamists are heartened by their scholarly output and regard their presence within the academy as proof of American weakness and of the inevitability of Islamist victory; stripping tenure from LOACA members who express palpable anti-American bias, give aid and comfort to Islamists, or otherwise engage in academic misprision and corruption will deny the CLOACA Fifth Column the most important institutional terrain in the defensive battle. Although the question of how precisely to demarcate the zones of loyalty and permissible dissent remains open, suffering Islamist sympathizers and propagandists to inhabit LOACA and lend their combat power to the enemy is self-defeating.

CLOACA members whose scholarship, teaching, or service substantiates the elements of criminal offenses can be prosecuted In concert with federal and state law enforcement agencies, Congress can investigate linkages between CLOACA and Islamism to determine “the extent, character, and objects of un- American propaganda activities in the U.S. [that] attack the . . . form of government . . . guaranteed by our Constitution.” Because CLOACA output propagandizes for the Islamist cause, CLOACA would arguably be within the jurisdiction of a renewed version of the House Un-American Activities Committee (Committee on Internal Security) charged with investigating propaganda conducive to an Islamist victory and the alteration of the U.S. form of government this victory would necessarily entail.

“Material support” includes “expert advice or assistance” in training Islamist groups to use LOAC in support of advocacy and propaganda campaigns, even where experts providing such services lack intent to further illegal Islamist activity. CLOACA scholarship reflecting aspirations for a reconfigured LOAC regime it knows or should know will redound to Islamists‘ benefit, or painting the United States as engaged in an illegal war, misrepresents LOAC and makes “false claims” and uses “propaganda” in a manner that constitutes support and training prohibited by the material support statute. Culpable CLOACA members can be tried in military courts: Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice provides that “[a]ny person who . . . aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other things . . . shall suffer death or . . . other punishments as a court-martial or military commission may direct;” the Rule for Court Martial 201 creates jurisdiction over any individual for an Article 104 offense.

The article is not merely an unintentional parody of Yooism but also an excellent unintentional parody of the contemporary law review. A substantively insane argument — “there are too many liberal professors today. Please send 40 to Gitmo. I am not a crackpot” — with barely enough content to sustain a 500-word blog post at a fourth-tier winger site is distended to 95 pages with countless superfluous footnotes.

The article has been repudiated by the editors, but the fact that it got published in the first place remains remarkable. In conclusion, that letter to the editor of a student newspaper proves that all liberals hate free speech.

Who wants to entertain some Game of Thrones theories while we await the long winter’s arrival?

[ 71 ] August 28, 2015 |

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I have a take on the latest Game of Thrones fan-theory about Jon Snow because of course I do. Steven will, no doubt, demolish it in the comments — but for the moment, inasmuch as hope can exist in Westeros, it’s springing eternal.

I Blame Loomis for this Creature Feature/Links Post

[ 52 ] August 28, 2015 |

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My son is silly.

This Day in Labor History: August 28, 1963

[ 15 ] August 28, 2015 |

On August 28, 1963, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place in Washington, DC. This famous event is of course most often remembered for Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, or more specifically the 3 lines of it that conservatives have decided justify their own positions. But even among liberals and civil rights activists what is often forgotten or downplayed in the memory of this event is the central role economic issues played in it. Most of the economic agenda of the 1960s civil rights movement in fact is barely remembered. That’s a huge problem because not only were African-Americans fighting for the opportunity for economic advancement as well as to end segregation and for the vote but also because it presents an incomplete history which takes away part of the reason this movement so challenged American life.

First, it’s worth noting that the original idea for the March on Washington came from a union. In 1941, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters president A. Philip Randolph called for a march on Washington to protest hiring discrimination in defense plants as the nation was gearing up for World War II. Like most issues concerning minorities, FDR didn’t really care but he didn’t want the bad publicity so he caved and ordered the end of hiring discrimination on government defense contracts. This opened up a lot of jobs to African-Americans during World War II and helped build the black middle class that would do much to push forward the freedom struggle after the war.

Randolph was still active in the movement in 1963, although more as a senior figure than a major player. But he, Bayard Rustin, and others revived the idea of the march to push John F. Kennedy to do something on civil rights, which he had been frustratingly reluctant to do. Rustin was hired to organize the event. Rustin had been a communist in the past and that greatly worried anti-communists like the NAACP’s Roy Wilkins (who did not even want to make a statement about the death of W.E.B. DuBois at the March because he hated him for his communism but who did when he realized Randolph would do it and it would be favorable), but he had played a role in the planning for the 1941 march and he had Randolph’s trust. Of course Strom Thurmond used Rustin’s role to paint the entire march as a communist front and J. Edgar Hoover rejected a report showing no significant communist infiltration into the civil rights movement, but this was just standard fare from the white supremacist American power structure.

The NAACP and most importantly Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference agreed to the idea while the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee were happy to use the opportunity to take on Kennedy publicly and directly for his inaction. The civil rights movement was a diverse movement with a lot of different groups and aims. That meant some careful alliance building was needed. But the different groups did come up with specific goals to fight for which included not only the passage of civil rights legislation, but a $2 minimum wage ($15.60 today), federal employment law banning discrimination in public or private hiring, and the expansion of the Fair Labor Standards Act to include agricultural workers, domestic workers, and the rest of the workers excluded when the law passed in 1938.

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During the March itself, Bayard Rustin read all these demands on live television, which may be the only time a list of labor demands has received that kind of coverage. A. Philip Randolph led off the speeches by saying, “We are the advanced guard of a massive moral revolution for jobs and freedom” and that “the sanctity of private property takes second place to the sanctity of a human personality” in arguing for housing reform.

Playing a key role in the March on Washington was United Auto Workers president Walter Reuther. Organized labor often has a bad reputation on civil rights during this era, mostly for a good reason. Reuther is an important exception. This doesn’t mean he could instantly turn UAW locals into beacons of racial harmony. Turns out that racial solidarity has a lot more power with a lot more people than class solidarity and UAW officials found that out the hard way when they tried to push civil rights on the shop floor. But that’s an issue for another entry in this series. Reuther provided key labor support for the event. The AFL-CIO paid for a lot of the infrastructure of making this event happen, including the buses to get people to Washington and the UAW paid for the sound system that would blast King’s speech into history. This all happened over the opposition of George Meany, who did not care much about civil rights before this and who opposed an official federation endorsement of the march. But the AFL-CIO did officially support the Kennedy civil rights bill. It is said that Meany however was so moved by Randolph’s speech at the March that he created the A. Philip Randolph Institute to promote African-Americans in the labor movement.

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Reuther stated in his speech, “And the job question is crucial because we will not solve education or housing or public accommodations as long as millions of American Negroes are treated as second-class economic citizens and denied jobs.” Reuther knew that he had a friend in King because even as a lot of internationals and locals resisted the civil rights movement, King consistently supported the progressive causes of labor and frequently spoke to labor audiences. And of course as King went on, he became more and more focused on economic justice as a centerpiece of the larger freedom struggle, to the point of dying while supporting the Memphis sanitation workers strike in 1968.

While it’s difficult to measure the precise impact of the march on the political process so soon before Kennedy’s death, we can pretty clearly say it led to the inclusion of the Fair Employment Practices clause into what became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Also please notice how little a role Martin Luther King has played in this post. The March on Washington was not all about MLK, although that in no ways diminishes his importance to the movement or the “I Have a Dream” speech. But it was a lot more than one man giving one speech.

This is the 156th post in this series. Previous posts are archived here.

These Things Are True

[ 179 ] August 27, 2015 |

Food.... bagel  with cream cheese.

Yes, yes, yes:

I’ve puzzled over this ever since I moved to Manhattan 10 years ago for college. Weekend afternoons often found me on a bench outside the Upper West Side stalwart Absolute Bagels, awkwardly cupping my bagel in the wax paper it was served in, trying not to drop it while I scraped away globs of excess cream cheese. For a long time, I wasn’t sure if others went through the same annoying ritual, so I recently started asking around. I’ve brought it up with friends, neighbors, and strangers at bars. I’ve asked young black women and old Jewish men. While my methods are far from scientific, my research strongly suggests that most New Yorkers agree: The cream cheese is too damn much.

Just how much are we talking about? Employees at a few Manhattan shops told me they add a quarter-pound, which is insane. A representative of Ess-a-Bagel, the East Side institution, said staff there are told to give about 3 ounces—only slightly less insane. In an article for Serious Eats last year, Max Falkowitz weighed samples from six New York City stores and found a range from 0.7 ounces, at Black Seed in Brooklyn, to 3.9 ounces, at Brooklyn Bagel in Manhattan. Absolute Bagel came in at 2.5 ounces, and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s favorite, Bagel Hole, served 1.7 ounces. Even those mid-range numbers are a lot. I ordered an everything bagel with “just a little cream cheese” at Bagel Hole a few weeks ago, and still had to tell the guy to scrape some off.

Like Edelman, if I’m ordering a bagel with cream cheese I always ask for “light” or “only a little” or something, and still get far more than I want. The full amount is just gross — not just unhealthy, but ruins the texture of the bagel.

How to Save New Orleans

[ 33 ] August 27, 2015 |

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This is kind of disturbing. A decade after Hurricane Katrina, three separate engineering teams have concluded that the only way to save New Orleans from future hurricane damage by building up the Mississippi Delta around the city is to let the end of the Delta die. And maybe that’s true. The declining sediment load thanks to agriculture combining with the engineering choices already made on the river plus rising sea levels probably does mean that hard choices are going to have to be made. Of course even if scientists, engineers, and urban planners had consensus that this was the best answer, it doesn’t mean the politics would allow it to happen, with the status quo having an endless amount of money behind it.

The Union Edge

[ 29 ] August 27, 2015 |

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Above: Pittsburgh, 1940

I was on The Union Edge on Tuesday, the great labor radio program out of Pittsburgh, talking about Out of Sight and other labor-related matters. You can listen to it here.

My Pittsburgh visit was also highlighted by not only meeting wjts, but not getting into fisticuffs with him over condiment choices. I was proud of myself.

Joint Employers

[ 26 ] August 27, 2015 |

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In a major victory against the obscuring of employers in order to disempower workers, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that corporations who use contractors and franchises are the joint employers of those workers. This is an enormously important decision because employers like the fast food industry (the case is actually about a waste management company but fast food is the most famous user of this method) argue that if workers were to join unions, they would have to negotiate with each individual restaurant instead of with McDonald’s. The big companies control almost everything about the work, but used these obscuring methods as a way to shield themselves from liability. The NLRB just stripped a lot of that way and undermined some of the reasons for subcontracting and franchising.

In the case, the N.L.R.B. held that a company called Browning-Ferris Industries of California was a joint employer of workers hired by a contractor to help staff the company’s recycling center. But the ruling could apply well beyond companies that rely on contractors and staffing agencies, extending to companies with large numbers of franchisees.

“The decision today could be one of the more significant by the N.L.R.B. in the last 35 years,” said Marshall Babson, a lawyer who helped write the brief for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the case and who was a Democratic appointee to the labor board in Ronald Reagan’s presidency. “ Depending on how the board applies its new ‘indirect test,’ it will likely ensnare an ever-widening circle of employers and bargaining relationships.”

Beyond Browning-Ferris, the ruling may have a significant immediate effect on a case the labor board is litigating against McDonald’s and several of its franchisees. In that case, the N.L.R.B.’s general counsel, who essentially acts as a prosecutor, asserts that the company is a joint employer along with a number of franchisees, making it potentially liable for numerous reported violations of workers’ rights, like retaliating against those who have tried to organize unions.

Thursday’s N.L.R.B. ruling, by enshrining a broader joint-employer definition into doctrine, makes it more likely to apply in the McDonald’s case as well, though experts point out that joint employer designations are typically very dependent on the circumstances of each case.

Business representatives said the ruling could make it much harder to operate franchises in the future, undermining a popular path for many entrepreneurs.

“This will clearly jeopardize small employers and the future viability of the franchise model,” said Steve Caldeira, president of the International Franchise Association, an industry group. “If I’m an existing and/or aspiring franchisee, why would I want to expand my business and/or get into franchising if I don’t have the ability to run the day-to-day operations of the business?”

The industry pretending that the franchisee controls the business is hilarious given how much control the company holds over the entire operation.

Some credit goes to the Teamsters here who brought the case before the NLRB and this demonstrates how important it could be to unionization efforts:

The Browning Ferris case grew out of an organizing effort by the Teamsters. The union sought to have the waste management company named as a joint employer for workers employed by the staffing firm Leadpoint Business Services, a subcontractor for Browning Ferris. If Browning Ferris were deemed a joint employer, it would have to join Leadpoint in bargaining with the Teamsters. Such a determination could also make it easier for the Teamsters to organize workers at other staffing agencies that do work for Browning Ferris.

A regional director for the NLRB ruled that Browning Ferris did not exert enough control over Leadpoint workers to be considered a joint employer under current standards, but the Teamsters appealed that ruling to the federal board. Thursday’s ruling will change those standards for future cases.

Heckuva Job!

[ 111 ] August 27, 2015 |

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Shorter Michael Brown: If I learned anything at Oklahoma City University School of Law or that Arabian horse association I left in a hail of lawsuits, it’s that as long as you don’t bear sole responsibility for something you bear no responsibility for something. Also, my plan to provide resources based on what I hoped state and local officials would do rather than what they did was brilliant.

The Politics of Firearm Violence

[ 95 ] August 27, 2015 |

As you may have seen yesterday, I have a longer argument about admonitions that firearm violence shouldn’t be “politicized.”

Today In Hatchet Jobs, Which I Mean in the Best Sense

[ 97 ] August 27, 2015 |

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In an all-too-appropriate match of author and subject, Niall Ferguson has written a biography of Henry Kissinger. It is apparently exactly as good as one would expect:

The subtitle of this volume gives some indication of what Ferguson is missing in his psychoanalysis of Kissinger’s critics: The Idealist. The author’s revisionist thesis is that Kissinger was not in fact a realist, as he is so frequently portrayed. Hence Ferguson provides lofty epigrams from his subject to begin his chapters, such as this one: “It is true that ours is an attempt to exhibit Western values, but less by what we say than by what we do.” He shows us Kissinger moralizing against the use of “small countries as pawns” in the game of global strategy. Ferguson even quotes Kissinger privately scolding the Kennedy administration (those “unscrupulous pragmatists”) for tacitly authorizing the assassination of South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem: “The honor and the moral standing of the United States require that a relationship exists between ends and means.… Our historical role has been to identify ourselves with the ideals and deepest hopes of mankind.”

Horseshit. By reproducing these quotations with a straight face, Ferguson has made himself a hypocrite’s bullhorn. The ideals and deepest hopes of mankind? Kissinger and Nixon bombed Cambodia to pieces in a secret four-year campaign that annihilated some 100,000 civilians. “Anything that flies, on anything that moves,” were the parameters Kissinger gave to Alexander Haig. He countered African liberation movements by embracing the white supremacists of Rhodesia and South Africa, a policy known as the “Tar Baby option.” Kissinger facilitated the overthrow of the governments of Chile and Argentina by right-wing generals, and then worked tirelessly to deflect criticism of the new governments’ torture and murder. A declassified memorandum of his meeting with Augusto Pinochet in 1976 shows Kissinger in a particularly unflattering light: “We welcomed the overthrow of the Communist-inclined government here. We are not out to weaken your position.” In 1975 Kissinger and President Ford met with Indonesian strongman Suharto and authorized him to invade East Timor, which he promptly did the following day; another 100,000 lost their lives. “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly,” Kissinger advised.

Henry Kissinger is entitled to a defense, but outfitting him in the white robes of idealism is not the way to go about it.

Firearm Violence Is Inherently Political

[ 314 ] August 26, 2015 |

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I assume you’ve heard about the on-camera killing of a Virginia reporter and her cameraman this morning.

Supporters of the USA’s unusual and very bad gun control policies will inevitably tell us not to “politicize” the shooting. But firearm violence in the United States is inherently political. The are means, common in many other countries, that would almost certainly cause a substantial reduction in firearm deaths, both homicides and suicides. Continuing to do nothing in the face of this scale of unnecessary death is political. Some things should be politicized.

UPDATE: Longer version of the argument here.

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