How Government Advancement Of "Fairness" Ends In Graft

Here in the capital of the progressive fantasy, the official groupthink holds that the fundamental duty of government is to promote fairness and equality through the exercise of government's coercive powers.  And now we have the simultaneous federal corruption trials of the ex-State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the ex-State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.   These trials provide insight into how the progressive fantasy plays out in the real world.  How it plays out is graft.

At the current moment Silver's trial has completed presentation of evidence and closing arguments, and is in the hands of the jury.  At another courthouse literally next door, Skelos's trial is still in the evidence phase.  A fascinating aspect of the two trials is the common role played by New York real estate investor Leonard Litwin and his company, Glenwood Management. 

Glenwood is mainly in the business of owning and renting residential apartments.  Compared to the office and condominium markets, the residential rental business in New York is subject to far more government meddling.  To start with, we have rent regulation.  That's how we "preserve" "affordable" apartments to be sure that no "unfairness" occurs, such as that people like Mia Farrow and Bianca Jaggermight have to pay market rents for their multi-million dollar apartments.  Due to reforms enacted in the 90s under then Republican Governor George Pataki, the grip of rent regulation has loosened ever-so-slowly.  But rent regulation still covers about half of rental housing units in the City, or around 1 million units.  And progressive activists in the legislature are constantly agitating to tighten the regulations and re-impose them on the currently free-market units.  In addition, there are tax incentives for the construction of new rental units, particularly "affordable" ones, and those are set to lapse regularly.  Put it all together, and it's the perfect environment for pols to enrich themselves.

So there we have Glenwood, one of the largest rental owners and managers, a sitting duck for predatory government.  In today's market its holdings are worth billions, but that could be wiped out in short order by imposition of sufficiently onerous new rent regulations.  Do we really expect these guys to wade into these waters and then just wait for the crocodile to lunge?  Actually, we know that that's not how it works.  Still, the level of the protection money that the pols exact by explicit and implicit threats of predation is really quite stupefying.  Hedge Clippers here has a list of Glenwood political and related contributions in New York from 2008 to 2015.  As examples, Governor Cuomo's 2014 re-election campaign got $1,214,200; "Jobs for New York" (a real estate industry fund to support mostly City Council candidates) got $587,600; the NYS Senate Republican Campaign Committee got $450,000; the NYS Democratic Committee got $300,000; the Democratic 2014 AG candidate, Schneiderman, got $215,000, while the Comptroller candidate (DiNapoli) got $210,000; and so forth for dozens more on down the list.

Note that there is no particular ideology behind this.  Republicans get money for their Senate campaigns because they have mostly controlled that body.  Essentially, the contributions go to whoever Glenwood thinks will win.  That's who they need protection from!

Anyway, these numbers are public numbers for campaign contributions.  But the Silver and Skelos trials show how a pol can equally squeeze the sitting ducks for personal enrichment.  In Silver's case, he just suggested that Glenwood use his friend's law firm for its "tax certiorari" work.  ("Tax certiorari" means challenging annual real estate tax assessments.  That work for apartment buildings worth hundreds of millions of dollars can be very lucrative.)  Glenwood took his "suggestion."  Silver got one-third of the firm's fees as his "referral" payment, amounting to several hundred thousand from this source.  In the case of Skelos, the alleged personal enrichment via Glenwood is much smaller, consisting of one $20,000 "referral" fee going to his son Adam from a title insurance company.       

So what is the solution?  Plenty of commenters on this situation cheer on Preet Bharara and his prosecutors for exacting punishment for the alleged crimes.  But as I've noted multiple times, the line here between crime and non-crime is by no means clear; and indeed that is the essence of the defense of both Silver and Skelos.  Hey, our friends sent us some business!  So? 

Sorry, but the ongoing effort to achieve "fairness" and "equality" by government coercion is inherently corrupt and corrupting.  The most corrupt states are the ones that go farthest into the big spending "fairness" game (New York, New Jersey, Illinois).  There's probably no such thing as completely eliminating the problem, but the best way to minimize it is for governments to stop trying to achieve fairness or equality in human affairs.     



Literally Everybody Gets Taken In By The Poverty Scam

Readers here know that one of my favorite themes is the government's "poverty" scam -- that is, the obvious fraud by which the government ridiculously inflates the measured "poverty" rate by refusing to count hundreds of billions of dollars of government spending as alleviating poverty, and by willfully ignoring huge sources of income.  And then the government uses the fraudulently inflated poverty rate to justify continuing and increasing some $1 trillion in annual anti-poverty spending.  For an introduction, two representative articles are Poverty: It's Worse Than You Think and The Poverty Deception, Part II

What never ceases to amaze is that literally everybody gets taken in by the scam.  By "gets taken in," I mean, treats the government "poverty" numbers as some kind of legitimate effort to get a handle on suffering and deprivation in the country, as opposed to the obvious fraud that they are.  And by "literally everybody," I mean, everybody up to and including scholars at think tanks who make a living studying the numbers and who just don't have any excuse for not knowing better.  (I would give Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation as an exception, but a lonely one.)

As the latest example of the genre, we have on yesterday's Wall Street Journal op-ed page an article by Robert Doar of AEI titled "Mismeasuring Poverty."  Doar calls attention to some recent scholarship by Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago and Nikolas Mittag of Charles University that indicates in at least a couple of respects that the Census Bureau may be overstating "poverty" somewhat:

Here’s good news for policy makers—on the right and left—concerned about poverty in the United States. A new study by economists Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago and Nikolas Mittag of Charles University shows that public-assistance programs are far more effective in alleviating poverty than many government statistics suggest.    

Doar reports that the Meyer/Mittag research has uncovered that the Census poverty data, derived from its Current Population Survey (CPS), miss large amounts of government handout benefits that, if counted, would lower reported poverty substantially.  In a review of data just from the state of New York, the researchers found that the Census CPS data missed entirely a third of housing assistance recipients, 40% of SNAP (food stamps) recipients, and 60% of TANF (cash welfare) recipients.  Oh, and then, even for those recipients that were identified, the CPS responses underreported the value of the benefits by 6% for SNAP, 40% for cash and 74% for housing assistance.

Now these are rather gigantic omissions -- just these omissions have to come to at least $100 billion per year on a national basis -- and you would think that I might applaud somebody pointing this out.  Instead, my reaction is that the whole article and the underlying research are touching in their absurd naivete.  A few points:

  • As I stated in Poverty: It's Worse Than You Think, the most fundamental flaw of the whole Census poverty-measuring game is that they just send out survey forms and accept whatever the recipient sends back without any kind of double-check or verification.  I wrote then:  They take whatever answer a person gives as to his or her household income, without any sort of follow up or double check.   For that article, I interviewed the Chief of the Poverty Statistics Branch of the Census Bureau, and yes, that's what she told me.  And that's not just as to their government benefits, it's as to their income as well.
  • Of course people at the lower end of the income spectrum lowball their income and benefits received when they answer this survey.  They know that the lower your income/benefits are the more additional benefits you may be entitled to; and they don't know whether this form may be used to audit or reduce their benefits.
  • While it may be difficult or (in some cases) even impossible for the government to check on whether people correctly report their income, they can definitely check on whether people correctly report their benefits.  And, even if they don't do that individually, they can easily calculate the aggregate level of benefits in each category for the country as a whole implied by their survey results and compare that to the government's known budget expenditures.  In fact, if they don't do this obvious double-check, they are either completely incompetent, or (what I am sure is the case) fraudulent.  The Meyer/Mittag study implies that the CPS survey is capturing at best half of government benefit payments.  Absolutely clearly, Census has known this for years or decades and has been willfully suppressing it.
  • How could you discover a gigantic discrepancy like this in the reporting of government benefits and not go on to ask the next obvious question, which is how much is income being underreported at the low end?  As I again pointed out in Poverty: It's Worse Than You Think, there is every reason to think that the CPS survey misses almost all, if not all, of the underground economy.  I mean, if you were getting paid off the books as a construction worker or nanny or housekeeper -- or for that matter, as a drug dealer -- and you got one of these CPS forms in the mail, are you really going to just put down the accurate amount of your illicit income and hope the government doesn't use that against you?  The whole idea is ridiculous.  So how big is the underground economy?  A 2011 University of Wisconsin study to be found at the link puts it at about $2 trillion per year, around 12% of the economy.  And there's every reason to think that the lion's share of this money goes to people who show up as low or no income on the CPS survey.
  • And then the Doar article somehow just doesn't discuss that most government benefits are intentionally not counted in the measure of poverty as a result of contrived definitions by which they are deemed not to be income.  Of the benefits discussed in the Doar article, only TANF gets counted in the measure of poverty.  The list of benefits intentionally omitted runs from SNAP to housing assistance to Medicaid to EITC to energy assistance and on and on.  The amount of benefits intentionally omitted from the definition exceeds the figure that would be sufficient to eliminate all poverty in this country by a factor of 2 to 3.

So to the $64,000 question:  If you make the corrections to the Census CPS data implied by the Meyer/Mittag study and add the missing benefits to the reported income of the recipients, how much does the poverty rate move?  The answer is not in the Doar article.  How could he leave it out -- or not at least raise the question?  And let me further raise this question:  Suppose you add the Meyer/Mittag missing benefits to the CPS data, and also add the missing underground economy, and also add the value of the intentionally uncounted benefits like SNAP, EITC, housing assistance and Medicaid.  What is the poverty rate then?  You'd be very hard pressed to get it to 2%.  Literally everybody you think of as being poor would be removed by the counting of the benefits, except for a few living like the Unabomber in a cabin in the woods.  The bulk of the people who would be left in "poverty" would be oddball cases you would never have thought of, and would never think of as "poor," like graduate students at Harvard living on fellowships (they don't count either).





Protesting Yale Students Demand To Marginalize Themselves; Administration Goes Along

At my alma mater of Yale a round of student protests continues to rage, said to be concerned with something called "institutional racism."  But one thing that stands out is the lack of concrete incidents of racist conduct or wrongdoing that the protesters can point to.  The closest thing I have found to a specific instance of racist conduct is one allegation of a fraternity party that excluded black women; but that allegation was rather thoroughly debunked by the Daily Beast here.  The fraternity's story is that after a noise complaint they stopped letting in anybody, irrespective of race.  

Lacking specific instances of misconduct, the protesters keep returning to a more general theme: We've been "marginalized" on campus.  OK, that has an initial ring of plausibility to an outsider, but does it have any real meaning?  Or is it just something completely fake that can't ever be proved or disproved? 

I'm trying to figure out what the term "marginalization" could mean in the context of something the school is somehow doing to the student, but I keep coming up short.  In my own day, here was my entire relationship with the academic end of the school:  I chose my classes; I went to the classes; I did the homework; I wrote the assigned papers; I took the tests; I got my grades.  Now, suppose somebody had wanted to "marginalize" me.  What could they have done to me in the context of this relationship?  I can't even imagine what it might have been.  Not let me go to class?  Not let me do the homework?  Not let me take the test?  Never happened, of course.  But more important,  I equally don't believe that anything like this has happened to any of these protesters who claim they have been "marginalized."  Meanwhile, on the non-academic side, I lived in the dormitory and I ate in the dining hall.  Nobody ever tried to stop me.  I also don't believe that anyone has ever stopped one of these protesters from doing the same.

So they must be talking about something else.  But what?  Maybe that they were expecting to develop some kind of deep personal relationships with the professors and it hasn't happened?  For myself, I never had the slightest interest in getting to know the professors personally, and I never did it.  Occasionally there were lunches where professors would come to the dining hall and eat with a table of students, and talk about their area of scholarship.  Those were open to all, and I went to a few of them.  Again, I can't believe for a minute that some students are excluded from those things today, particularly in a systematic way based on race.  If someone has an instance, I'd like to hear about it.

But while I can't think of what it could be that the school could do to the students to marginalize them, I very much can think of things that students can do to marginalize themselves.  As with everything else in life, your time is limited in school, and you need to use every bit of it effectively.  Students need to choose their courses carefully, to take things that are real and challenging intellectually, and to learn the material.  They are very well served if they get to know many of their classmates, and particularly the ones who are intellectually engaged with the world.  (You may be surprised to learn that there are remarkably few of such people at even a top school like Yale.)

Or, you can take the opposite approach and marginalize yourself.  For example, you can take non-challenging and non-serious courses.  You can fail to do the assigned course work.  You can spend your time hanging out in your segregated ethnic "cultural center."  You can let yourself waste your precious time on foolish protests about nothing.  Nobody makes you do any of these things.  You do them to yourself.

On one specific subject, let me be very blunt:  everybody outside of academia knows that nearly all courses in "ethnic, race and gender studies" are not serious and are phony.  Inside academia, most people know it too, but a cult of enforced silence keeps them from saying it to you.  I do not contend that all courses in these areas are unserious and phony, nor am I saying that there is nothing worth learning or knowing in these areas.  But the academic departments at Yale and every other major university that cover these subjects (and, for that matter, much of the humanities) are completely overcome with a metastatic cancer of a combination of anger, groupthink, anti-intellectualism and anti-Western Civilizationism.  If you are majoring in "ethnic, race and gender studies," do you have the sense that people look down on you?  Well, many undoubtedly do; and they are not wrong to do so.  You have chosen to marginalize yourself.  People are going to notice. 

If you think that people at Yale are looking down at you for specializing in "ethnic, race and gender studies," wait until you hit the outside world.  The things you learn in these courses have no value in the marketplaces where people earn a living in the world.  If you majored in "ethnic, race and gender studies," the only job out there for you is something in academia funded by a government handout.  Good luck with that!  Do you think you should get one of those $200,000-to-start jobs at Goldman Sachs?  Then you'd better know cold the very complex math behind bond trading.

If the Yale administration can do something important for its students -- and most particularly for the students of color -- it would be to give them some guidance on how not to marginalize themselves.  It should get rid of unserious and phony courses where they can hide and not learn anything.  It should clearly and promptly discipline students who subject nice professors to hysterical shrieking rants.  It should strongly discourage students from segregating themselves into their own ethnic enclaves.

Do you think Yale would do these things?  No, of course it's exactly the opposite.  To be fair to the Yale administration, the things demanded by the protesters come down substantially to being allowed to further marginalize themselves.  All the administration did (although it's shameful enough) was to go along with much of it.  So two days ago Peter Salovey, President of Yale, came out with a letter addressed to "Members of the Yale Community," containing his response to the demands of the protesters.  Among the items:

  • Increased funding for the ethnic "cultural centers":  Starting in 2016-17, the program budgets for the four cultural centers will double, augmenting the increases made this year and the ongoing facilities upgrades resulting from last year’s external review.        
  • More courses and even a special "university center" for studies in race, ethnicity and "social identity":  Race, ethnicity, and other aspects of social identity are central issues of our era, issues that should be a focus of particularly intense study at a great university. . . .   Recent events across the country have made clear that now is the time to develop such a transformative, multidisciplinary center drawing on expertise from across Yale’s schools; it will be launched this year and will have significant resources for both programming and staff.          

The end result is that the students who are already marginalizing themselves will be encouraged and enabled to marginalize themselves further.  Well, I guess it's what they asked for.  But shouldn't the school make at least some effort to do the right thing by these kids?   









What Is The Single Most Important Thing The U.S. Can Do To Enhance Its National Security?

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have refocused attention on national security issues.  Presidential candidates from both sides have spoken out in the days since the attacks, with proposals to enhance U.S. security ranging from military action against ISIS to more effective surveillance to refusing to accept Middle Eastern refugees.  In the midst of this, perhaps we should step back and ask the big question, namely, what is the single most important thing that the U.S. can do to enhance its national security?

I think the answer is obvious: the single most important thing the U.S. can do to enhance its national security is to pursue policies to keep the price of hydrocarbon fuels low.  Now of course, that doesn't mean doing much.  In fact, the U.S. government doesn't have to spend a dime to keep the price of fossil fuels low.  That's the best part about this.  The U.S. just has to engage in basic capitalism, which means that it just has to get out of the way and let the producers increase the supplies, and that will cause the price to be driven down.

Perhaps when you considered the question, you came up with a different answer from mine.  But I suggest that if you think about it you will realize that I am right.  Essentially all the bad guys in the world are mostly funded by revenues from fossil fuel extraction, principally oil and natural gas.  In the bad guy category, I certainly put Iran, Russia and Venezuela, as well as ISIS.  Saudi Arabia and various Gulf states should also be on the list, not so much because their governments are direct strategic adversaries of the U.S., as because wealth stemming from oil extraction in those countries ends up via donations as revenue for ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their various affiliates. 

I concede that Cuba and North Korea are serious bad guys, and they don't have significant fossil fuel revenue; but it's their very absence of fossil fuel revenue, combined with the fact that their economies are such basket cases, that leaves them with no weight to throw around on the world stage.  I also concede that falling oil and gas prices are not a panacea for national security, and that all of the bad guys have at least some other sources of revenue that can be used to wreak havoc.  The effect of falling oil revenue varies from one bad guy to the next.  Russia, Iran and Venezuela have big fixed costs of government that leave them financially crippled when oil prices remain low for long periods.  All of them need oil prices well over $100 per barrel to avoid big budget deficits and seeing their international reserves dwindle.  ISIS is a much lower cost operation that seems to be able to sustain itself with taxes in its controlled territories and only small amounts of oil revenue; but think about how much more havoc they could wreak if their revenues from oil suddenly doubled or tripled.

Anyway, whether low oil prices are critically important to U.S. national security or just very important, there can be no question but that low oil prices financially hamper all of our serious strategic adversaries and greatly constrain their ability to make trouble on the world stage.  So therefore, the policy of the U.S. is to seek lower oil and gas prices by all reasonable means.  Right?

Actually, it's the opposite.  The U.S. and many of its states intentionally engage in policy after policy seeking to raise the price of fossil fuels, and in ways that have the effect of increasing the revenues of the bad guys.  In some cases these policies take the form of purposely and directly forcing the prices up.  In other cases, the policies take the form of hampering and restricting alternative and competing production, which leads to lower supplies and therefore higher prices for the remaining producers.  In the category of purposely and directly forcing prices up, we have various "cap and trade" programs, including one in California and the so-called "Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative" among several states in the Northeast.  Then there's EPA's "Clean Power Plan," which seeks to force coal to stay in the ground (and, since wind and solar basically don't work, therefore forces demand to migrate to oil and gas).  And then we have all the many, many policies that just prevent the production of alternative and competing supplies: the federal government stops selling oil leases on public lands; offshore drilling is subject to more and more restrictions; drilling is banned on the federal lands in Alaska (which comprise well over 90% of that vast state); the Keystone pipeline is blocked; Andrew Cuomo bans fracking in New York; and so forth.  Somehow the fracking revolution nonetheless got around all of these restrictions and brought about huge price declines to the current low levels.  But that was in spite of these government efforts, all of which were intended to achieve the opposite result.

But isn't national security the first priority of the government?  Well, according to our President, the greatest threat to our national security is -- get ready -- climate change!  From the Wall Street Journal on May 20, reporting on President Obama's commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy:

As rising seas swallow low-lying areas and threaten coastal military installations and as extreme-weather events increase the need for humanitarian missions, the U.S. military will need to factor climate change into plans and operations, the president said. Politicians who say they care about military readiness should care about addressing climate change, he said.  “Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security,” Mr. Obama said.  A new White House report released Wednesday lays out the links between climate change and national security, saying that it may exacerbate existing stressors such as poverty and political instability, and may provide enabling environments for terrorist activity abroad.       

And of course, Obama is not alone in claiming climate change as the greatest national security threat.  Secretary of State John Kerry has said the same thing multiple times.  Candidate Bernie Sanders took the same position during Saturday's debate.  Without doubt, Madame Hillary will be on board before you know it.  Really, the level of cluelessness is impossible to comprehend.





The Revolt Of The Privileged Poseurs

As I've pointed out more than a few times, there's no more intensely felt jealousy and anger than the jealousy and anger of percents 2, 3 and 4 against the perceived wrongs of the evil top one percent.  The phenomenon plays out in arenas ranging from the Occupy Wall Street protests a few years ago to the furious opposition of my affluent Greenwich Village neighbors to new condos priced for purchase by people even richer than themselves.  When a large number of the Occupy Wall Street protesters got themselves arrested in late 2011, and were required to provide publicly available addresses, the Daily Caller did a big service by putting together a slide show of large homes of many of the participants.  Enjoy it here

And now we have the terribly significant protests by the "oppressed" and "marginalized" students from places like the University of Missouri, Claremont McKenna, and my favorite, Yale.  Yale is my favorite not only because I went there myself (class of 1972!) but also because the whole concept of the "oppressed" and "marginalized" Yale student is something I have a hard time getting my head around.  I went there on scholarship myself, and my overwhelming feeling was one of gratitude for the opportunity -- even though the fraternities and secret societies could not have been less interested in me.  Do students attending this uber-elite Ivy League school really think that anyone (or at least, anyone outside their own campus) is going to take them seriously in a claim to be "oppressed" or "marginalized"?  Newsflash:  the day you accepted Yale's offer of admission is the day you stopped being one of the "oppressed" (if you ever were) and became an official member of the elite.  Better get used to it.

When I first learned about the Yale protests, I saw that the big issue was that the protesting students claimed that they felt "unsafe."  And my initial reaction was that that seemed to make sense, because New Haven is not a safe city.  Its murder rate, at about 20 per 100,000 per year, is more than five times the current rate in New York City (although still well less than the 40 - 50 per 100,000 in places like Baltimore, Detroit and St. Louis), and rates for other crimes are similarly elevated.  Or perhaps they were thinking of the very serious threat of international terrorism, which could very well turn its sights on the elite kids at some fancy Ivy League school.  But, of course, neither of those is what the protesters were talking about at all.  Instead, they asserted that they felt unsafe because the associate master of Silliman College had written an email in which she urged that despite "genuine concerns about cultural and personal representation," it might be OK for a Halloween costume to be "a little bit obnoxious":

I don’t wish to trivialize genuine concerns about cultural and personal representation, and other challenges to our lived experience in a plural community. I know that many decent people have proposed guidelines on Halloween costumes from a spirit of avoiding hurt and offense. I laud those goals, in theory, as most of us do. But in practice, I wonder if we should reflect more transparently, as a community, on the consequences of an institutional (which is to say: bureaucratic and administrative) exercise of implied control over college students. . . .  Even if we could agree on how to avoid offense – and I’ll note that no one around campus seems overly concerned about the offense taken by religiously conservative folks to skin-revealing costumes – I wonder, and I am not trying to be provocative: Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious… a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.    

As far as I can find, it is that seemingly exquisitely sensitive and even deferential language -- and nothing to do with a couple of dozen murders a year in their midst -- that is making certain Yale students feel "unsafe."  Or at least so they say.  Another possibility is that there actually was at least one offensive costume out and about on the Yale campus on Halloween; but in extensive looking around the internet, I can't find any indication that such a thing actually existed.  If you haven't seen it, this video of a Yale student confronting Nicholas Christakis (husband of the email author) gives a flavor of the intellectual and emotional level of the protest:


The shrieking young lady in the video has been identified (again by the enterprising Daily Caller) as Yale student Jerelyn Luther.   The Daily Caller also came up with an address for her family home in nearby Fairfield -- one of those very affluent coastal Connecticut towns between New Haven and New York.  Zillow puts an estimated value on the house of $876,188, which is by no means at the top of values in this area, but still well into the top 5% of home values in the U.S.  Here is a picture from Zillow:

They have it as 3,324 square feet, which makes it about triple the size of the house my family lived in when I was in high school and college.  The kitchen has recessed lighting, top-of-the-line appliances and nice stone counter tops:

There are lots more pictures of both the exterior and interior on the Zillow site.  (The pictures of the house on Zillow were probably compiled in connection with a prior sale, so it may not look the same today.  On the other hand, it's hard to believe that the new owners would have made the place worse.)

But no matter how well off you are in life, there's always someone yet better off.  For example, take the guy who sparked the protests at the University of Missouri with his hunger strike.  That would be one Jonathan Butler, an African-American Mizzou grad student, who, according to Omaha Metro here, turns out to be the son of Eric Butler, Executive Vice President of the Union Pacific Railroad.  According to an SEC filing smoked out by Western Journalism, Mr. Butler father earned some $8.4 million last year, in addition to a family net worth exceeding $20 million.  I guess that would put the Butler family in the super-evil top tenth of a percent.  Asked about the purpose of his hunger strike, Omaha Metro quoted the younger Mr. Butler as follows:

“For me, it really is about a call for justice,” he said. “I’m fighting for the black community on campus because justice is worth fighting for. And justice is worth starving for."

Butler famously forced the resignation of Mizzou's President when he got the black players on the football team to threaten to strike in the middle of the season.  Other than the President's resignation, what was the goal Butler was seeking?

Instead of being governed by a board, Butler wants “shared governance” so that students, teachers and staff at the system’s universities have more input into big hiring and operational decisions.    

In other words, what he was seeking was some power for himself -- a member of the super-elite -- in running the university.  Now, how about those black football players?  They are the subject of the ongoing NCAA naked antitrust conspiracy to be sure that they are paid nothing in what for many of them is the only brief chance they will have to make some real money in their lives.  Nope, they get nothing.

Anyway, back in my days in college, we had our share of protests.   Yale was partially shut down by protests in the Spring of 1970, my sophomore year.  I admit that I didn't support those protests either.  But there were some fundamental differences between those protests and the current crop.  The 1970 protests were directed toward things occurring in the world outside the university, notably the Vietnam War, the shootings at Kent State, and, as to New Haven, the trial of several Black Panthers accused of conspiracy to murder.  The goal of the protesters was to motivate as many people as possible in the community to support their effort.  In the current situation the protesters appear to be leveling charges of racism and improper behavior against others in their own community, and in particular are aiming charges at their fellow students, their professors, and the college administrators.  This seems like a very unlikely way to win friends and allies.