Tuesday, February 14, 2017
UC Berkeley's Police Chief Offers Pathetic Excuses for Her Failure
Failure is at times unavoidable. Circumstances beyond one’s control can occasionally arrange themselves in such a way that makes success in a given task impossible. The mark of a leader is not the absence of failure in his past, it is the manner in which he copes with failure when it occurs.
When things go wrong, the capable leader accepts responsibility, learns from the experience, and adapts his thinking and his organization so the failure does not recur. He does not rationalize the failure and attempt to spin it in the hope that a gullible audience will judge it a success.
Which brings us to last week’s events in Berkeley, where Milo Yiannopoulos was to speak on the campus of the University of California. As everyone knows, Mr. Yiannopoulos’s appearance on Feb. 2 was abruptly cancelled when rioting broke out outside the venue where he was to speak. Black-clad anarchists broke windows, set fires, and attacked people hoping to attend the event. All of this took place as officers from the campus police department watched from inside the building.
Whatever one thinks of Mr. Yiannopoulos (and let it be known I am not a fan), it was once a generally accepted tenet of American citizenship that even people we find obnoxious have a right to speak their minds, especially when invited to do so (the Berkeley College Republicans had invited Mr. Yiannopoulos to the campus). Not anymore. If a sufficient number of thugs can be mustered, and if the police are unable or unwilling to enforce the law, then the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech is subject to the whims of the mob and becomes meaningless.
On the website for the University of California campus police, there appears Chief Margo Bennett’s “Overview and Philosophy,” which includes:
Mission: We are committed to working in partnership with our diverse campus community so together we may enhance community trust, reduce the incidence and fear of crime, and promote safety. We pledge to protect individual rights and safeguard property for our students, faculty, staff and guests. We support the University's academic, research, and public service missions with professionalism, integrity and sensitivity.
On the same page, Chief Bennett claims that her department seeks “to be a leader in campus law enforcement and emergency services -- both by following best practices and by developing standards to which others will aspire.” She further states that her department believes in “truth and honesty” and that it aspires to hold itself accountable.
These are worthy goals. Sadly, on Feb. 2, Chief Bennett failed at all of them.
Clearly, individual rights were not protected and property was not safeguarded. And if Chief Bennett feels she was following “best practices” in permitting the flagrant lawlessness the world saw on the Berkeley campus that evening, I would be keen to learn what they might be. Lastly, in regards to truth and honesty, and in holding herself accountable, here too Chief Bennett failed.
She was quoted in a Sunday Los Angeles Times story justifying her inaction against the campus mob. Taking action against the rioters, she said, would have created “a lethal, horror situation.” Then she resorted to the modern police chief’s rationalization for failing to uphold the law: “We have to do exactly what we did last night: to show tremendous restraint,” she said.
Ah, yes, “restraint.” In other words, Chief Bennett will protect individual rights, protect property, and all the rest, just as long as doing so doesn’t require her officers to use force against people whose opinions are favored by school’s administrators and faculty.
On the Berkeleyside website, Chief Bennett did her best to obfuscate the facts and further rationalize her inaction:
We are getting a significant amount of criticism from outside of the East Bay area, and my only response to that is: Crowd control situations are different than a military exercise or an active shooter situation,” she said. “It’s just a different approach and a different set of tactics that you have to use in order to not escalate the situation, in order to control it. People have a hard time understanding that. I get it.
No, she doesn’t. It’s all well and good to show restraint so as not to escalate a situation, and no police leader worthy of the term would deny it. But when a situation has already escalated to the point of vandalism, when it has already escalated to the point of physical assaults on helpless innocents, police have a duty to intervene and bring the lawless conduct to a halt.
Of course crowd-control tactics are “different than a military exercise or an active shooter situation.” But there are recognized tactics that can be employed in these situations and should have been in Berkeley. These do not involve taking shelter inside a building while rioters are rampaging just beyond the doors.
Chief Bennett further said:
In situations like that, we understand that if we go out and we engage -- with the level of force and the presence of the trained anarchist-style protesters that were present -- it will embolden the protesters and it will escalate the level of violence. And our officers exercised, I think, some very tough and extreme restraint.
Rubbish. The people being assaulted and the owners of the property being destroyed had a right to expect the police to intervene and not be spectators to the lawlessness.
The law authorizes officers to use force to overcome resistance, effect an arrest, and to prevent escape, and if force had been necessary to protect life and property that night, so be it. Concerns about emboldening the protesters should not weigh in the decision on whether to make an arrest when people are being pummeled before your eyes. And, just as important, experience has shown that once police engage the most violent members of a crowd, the others either flee or cease being violent.
I have no doubt that most of the officers under Chief Bennett’s command that night were ready, able, and indeed eager to engage the anarchists who turned a peaceful protest into a riot. It’s a shame that they were so poorly led. Contrary to Chief Bennett’s claims, there was nothing unprecedented about the rioters’ tactics on the Berkeley campus last week. Black-clad malcontents have been causing trouble at protests since the 1990s, and police leaders more able than Chief Bennett have developed tactics to deal with them. She should have anticipated the reception Mr. Yiannopoulos would receive and planned accordingly, and if she couldn’t provide the leadership the job required, she should have asked for help.
U.C. Berkeley was the cradle of the free speech movement in the 1960s. Today, it’s where free speech goes to die.
Walk of shame: Sweden’s “first feminist government” don hijabs in Iran
In a statement that has gone viral on Twitter and Facebook, UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights NGO in Geneva, expressed disappointment that Sweden’s self-declared “first feminist government in the world” sacrificed its principles and betrayed the rights of Iranian women as Trade Minister Ann Linde and other female members walked before Iranian President Rouhani on Saturday wearing Hijabs, Chadors, and long coats, in deference to Iran’s oppressive and unjust modesty laws which make the Hijab compulsory — despite Stockholm’s promise to promote “a gender equality perspective” internationally, and to adopt a “feminist foreign policy” in which “equality between women and men is a fundamental aim.”
In doing so, Sweden’s female leaders ignored the recent appeal by Iranian women’s right activist Masih Alinejad who urged Europeans female politicians “to stand for their own dignity” and to refuse to kowtow to the compulsory Hijab while visiting Iran.
Alinrejad created a Facebook page for Iranian women to resist the law and show their hair as an act of resistance, which now numbers 1 million followers.
“European female politicians are hypocrites,” says Alinejad. “They stand with French Muslim women and condemn the burkini ban—because they think compulsion is bad—but when it happens to Iran, they just care about money.”
The scene in Tehran on Saturday was also a sharp contrast to Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin’s feminist stance against U.S. President Donald Trump, in a viral tweet and then in a Guardian op-ed last week, in which she wrote that “the world need strong leadership for women’s rights.”
Trade Minister Linde, who signed multiple agreements with Iranian ministers while wearing a veil, “sees no conflict” between her government’s human rights policy and signing trade deals with an oppressive dictatorship that tortures prisoners, persecutes gays, and is a leading executioner of minors.
“If Sweden really cares about human rights, they should not be empowering a regime that brutalizes its own citizens while carrying out genocide in Syria; and if they care about women’s rights, then the female ministers never should have gone to misogynistic Iran in the first place,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.
The government has now come under sharp criticism from centrist and left-wing Swedish lawmakers, who said the ministers should not have deferred to “gender apartheid.”
Jews For America: We Applaud Trump-Protecting America's Borders Is Imperative
By Rabbi Aryeh Spero
We support and commend President Trump for following through on his campaign pledge to protect the American people by stemming migration into this country from high-risk places posing a security threat to America and Americans. Beyond doubt, it is the first and most important duty of a President, or any leader, to protect the lives of a country's citizens, especially where a possibility exists of terrorists being embedded within a particular immigration flow.
Securing a country's borders until a more fool-proof method of vetting is established is unassailable and vital, especially in light of how in Europe and here in America lax vetting has resulted in horrendous explosions and deaths of dozens of innocent people as seen, for example, in Orlando, St. Bernardino, Columbus, Paris, Nice, Berlin, Boston, and Barcelona, as well as other places infiltrated by terrorist plants within certain immigrant groups. Some unvetted or poorly vetted migrants or their offspring may possess ideological and religious hostility to Americans and our way of life and our laws. Saving lives of American citizens is a religious, historic and civic duty.
There is no parallel between the Jews who fled Europe in the 1930s, who were, as Jews, specific targets for death and Nazi concentration camps, and many today wishing to escape civil war and turmoil in their Mideast countries. There were no Nazi agents embedded within the fleeing Jews nor did any of the Jews harbor a cultural or religious ideology wishing to sew physical destruction on the American people. There were no rabbis in the 1930s sending forth commands worldwide to destroy the "infidels."
Many initial roll-outs are subject to some confusion and mishaps; however, we believe that protecting a country's borders and thereby its citizens is an age-old and reasonable imperative as demonstrated in Scripture, which warns of the need to be wary "Lest those that may be your enemy enter your domain and become thorns in your sides and pins in your eyes."
Hopefully the situation will one day change, but until then, we applaud President Trump for doing what is in the best interests of the American people.
Australian conservative politicians cowed by political correctness too
Jeremy Sammut comments from Australia
The irony of Cory Bernardi's [a strong conservative] defection from the Liberal Party should be acknowledged.
The political shocks of 2016 have rocked the political establishment in Western democracies. Trump, Brexit, and the revival of One Nation have exposed the divide between significant numbers of ordinary voters, and the political class across all parties who subscribe to the prevailing left-progressive consensus on many social, cultural, and economic issues.
One would think a mainstream political party would be keen to keep conservatives -- who are clearly in tune with the current mood of public opinion -- 'inside the tent' in the interests of electoral self-preservation.
However, the reality is that while conservative ideas and traditional values appear to be on the right side of history, they are not culturally ascendent.
The commanding heights of the culture -- especially in the media -- remain firmly controlled by elites who endorse so-called 'progressive' ideas and values.
Hence the vast majority of politicians are risk-averse; they toe the politically correct line to avoid negative and embarrassing coverage for expressing 'controversial' or 'knuckle-dragging' views.
Giving in to political correctness is thus perceived to be a political 'win' ... (see, for example, the renewed push by some MPs to have parliament pass gay marriage to "get the question off the agenda"). This strategy helps maintain politician's elite status among their peers in the political class, but is achieved at the expense of faithfully representing the attitudes and interests of voters.
These political calculations are now producing diminishing electoral returns, given that increasing numbers of disenchanted citizens are voting for minor parties to express their dissent from the establishment consensus.
Bernardi's decision to create his own political party indicates that he believes the anti-establishment trend will continue. If so, the hard numerical realities of politics will ultimately force the political class to reconsider its risk-averse, 'surrender whilst declaring victory' approach to contentious issues.
In order reconnect with voters, political elites will have to stop bowing to political correctness and start fighting the culture war instead.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.