Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Antithesis of Obstruction

The Antithesis of Obstruction

by Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review

Trump did not obstruct a valid FBI investigation; he demanded the exposure of a false one. The “collusion” narrative was a fraud, plain and simple. We know that now. Hopefully, it won’t take another six months to grasp a second plain and simple truth: Collusion’s successor, the “obstruction” narrative, is a perversion. 

The Left loves narrative. The ever-expanding story manipulates time, space, and detail to fit a thematic framework. Political narrative has some surface appeal, but it is deeply flawed. It obscures plain and simple truth. 

So let’s stick with the plain and simple: The essence of obstruction is to frustrate the search for truth. Its antithesis is to demand the exposure of fraud. 

Donald Trump’s political enemies are trying to build an obstruction case on the antithesis of obstruction: the president’s insistence that the collusion fraud be exposed.

Over a period of weeks, Trump came to understand what was being done to him. His exasperation was evident in his every bull-in-a-china-shop turn. An ardently pro-law-enforcement candidate, he came to office believing the FBI was in the fraud-exposure business. He thus could not comprehend why then–FBI director James Comey would not assure the public of what Comey was privately assuring both the president and the public’s representatives in Congress, namely: The notion that the president was a suspect was false. Implicitly, the narrative that Trump had colluded with Putin to steal the election was false. 

To be clear, the Russia investigation is not a fraud. The Trump collusion narrative is. Russia did try to interfere in our election, as it always does. And there were associates of Trump’s who had business with Russian interests. Nothing unusual about that either. No one had shadier business with Kremlin cronies than Bill and Hillary Clinton. The difference is that the Clintons did collude in the Russian regime’s acquisition of American uranium assets. There is no evidence that Trump colluded in Russia’s election meddling. To stoke suspicions to the contrary was fraudulent. 

The president justifiably believed this cloud of suspicion was grievously harming his fledgling administration. Despite both the dearth of collusion evidence and Comey’s acknowledgment — in non-public Capitol Hill briefings — that Trump was not a suspect, congressional Democrats continued to peddle the collusion narrative. The narrative became the rationale for “The Resistance.” 

After the flame-out of the “Electoral College has destroyed democracy” storyline, the Left moved on to “collusion” as the Original Sin that rendered Trump illegitimate. Thus, Democrats rationalized, it was imperative to deny cooperation with Trump on any matter of governance — the approval of executive officials needed to run the government, the confirmation of judges, the Obamacare collapse, tax reform, Syria, debt ceiling, Afghanistan, jihadist attacks in the U.S. and Europe. Anything. The point of the collusion narrative was to delegitimize Trump in the public mind; cooperating with him, treating him as the legitimate president of the United States, was out of the question. 

From Trump’s perspective, it was inconceivable that someone as sophisticated as Jim Comey could not see what was happening, how the cloud of suspicion enveloping Trump was damaging his administration. Over time, Comey’s explanations for why he needed to remain silent publicly made less and less sense to the president. 

The rationale that it would ultimately serve Trump well if the FBI went about its business and cleared him in the normal course was a presumptuous elevation of the bureau’s work over the rest of the government’s. What, after all, is the normal course? The FBI had been investigating for months and months. Not only had it found no collusion; it had signed on (with the CIA and NSA) to an Obama-engineered report that not-so-subtly suggested a cui bono theory of Trump collusion in Putin’s machinations. 

It wasn’t just the failure to dispel suspicions about Trump; the bureau appeared to be fueling them. 

Even less compelling was the rationale that the FBI should resist public statements about an ongoing investigation. The Hillary Clinton e-mails caper had revealed the arbitrariness of this once-solid protocol. The FBI now seemed to speak publicly, or refrain from doing so, based solely on Comey’s subjective sense of “the public interest.” 

From where Trump sat, this was not about protocol. There was nothing but Comey preventing Comey from announcing publicly what he was telling Trump and Congress privately. Comey was choosing not to do so — unmoved by the damage the narrative was causing the administration. 

What of the director’s concerns about a “duty to disclose”? This, Comey explained to Trump, was his fear that if he publicly cleared the president, but then some unanticipated evidence emerged at some unknowable future time, raising new suspicions, Comey would be obliged to publicly brand Trump a suspect. 

Trump became convinced that this, too, was specious. That Comey had created “duty to disclose” problems in the Hillary investigation was the director’s own fault, due to a series of missteps. Why, Trump had to wonder, should his administration be made to suffer for it? Unlike Hillary, as to whom there was mountainous evidence of guilt, Trump had not colluded with Russia. The narrative of his guilt was fraudulent. Why should he continue to bear the brunt of suspicion just because someday some new fraudulent claim might be made? 

Unlike Hillary, as to whom there was mountainous evidence of guilt, Trump had not colluded with Russia. The narrative of his guilt was fraudulent. 

As the collusion narrative continued its drag on Trump’s administration, the president went beyond seeing Comey as an obstacle to exposure of the hoax. He worried that the director might be colluding in the “collusion.” 

Key was Comey’s point-man role in the Russia investigation — the collusion narrative’s nest. From Trump’s vantage point, this had to look like Comey’s salvation. Following Hillary Clinton’s defeat, Comey had been second only to Trump on the Democrats’ villains list. The Russia investigation rehabilitated him in the eyes of the “Resistance,” but only as long as Comey appeared to be pursuing the collusion narrative, by which they hoped to drive Trump out of office. Simultaneously, Comey’s pursuit of the Russia investigation burnished his credentials with many Republicans. Though irritated by his handling of the Clinton e-mails investigation, the Beltway GOP tends to be hawkish on the Kremlin and lukewarm on Trump. 

The president is not the most well-informed man, but he believes himself to be a shrewd reader of people. When he looked at Comey, he no doubt detected a motive to keep the collusion narrative alive. Whether he was right about this, and whether Comey would really act on such a motive, is beside the point. The possibility would have grated on the president. 

Trump’s self-absorption is his most blinding character flaw. It is a valid complaint that he does not care enough, if at all, about Russia’s interference in the election — i.e., that he thinks only about the media’s use of it to tarnish his victory, not what it augurs about Kremlin intrusions in American political processes. But neither did Trump care enough about the Russia investigation to obstruct it. What he cared about, obsessively, was the false suggestion that he was complicit in whatever the Kremlin had done. 

With that mindset, believing the collusion narrative was crushing him, he came to see the FBI director as a man who (a) knew the narrative was false, (b) resisted saying so publicly for flimsy reasons, and (c) had an incentive to perpetuate the narrative that might better explain his reluctance to discredit it publicly. 

Comey was not fired until May 9, but his days were clearly numbered after his March 20 House testimony. Fully aware of Trump’s agitation, and against law-enforcement protocols, the director nevertheless asserted that the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Russia’s election interference was focusing on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. He even added for good measure that the FBI would be assessing whether criminal violations had occurred. Concurrently, Comey confided in lawmakers that Trump was not a suspect in the investigation, but he declined to make that salient detail part of his public testimony. 

As anyone could have predicted, the media pounced. The FBI director, according to multiple reports, had made an extraordinary announcement that the president was a suspect in potential crimes involving collusion with the Putin regime. 

That was the last straw. 

Once you understand that, you understand why Trump fired Comey. And you understand why Trump issued the rash tweet that Comey had better hope there weren’t tapes recording their White House conversations — a suggestion Trump finally disavowed this week. Trump was not trying to cast himself as Nixon, or Comey’s firing as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” Leaks painting an unflattering portrait of Trump were already coming out of the former director’s camp. In effect, Trump was reminding Comey, “You know you assured me, multiple times, that I am not a suspect.” 

It was the same message Trump conveyed in his cover letter removing Comey: the insistence — accurate, as it turned out — that Comey had three times said Trump was not a suspect in any FBI investigation. At the time, it stuck out like a sore thumb since it had no logical connection to the rationale for removing the FBI director laid out in the underlying Justice Department memos. But Trump could not resist mentioning it. In the end, it was what he actually cared about. It was a window on the real reason for the firing. 

An FBI investigation is supposed to be a search for the truth, undertaken for the benefit of the public, which the bureau and the government serve. That is why the corrupt obstruction of such an investigation is a crime. But if the investigation has the effect of deceiving the public, and that effect is caused by such irregularities as misleading leaks and public statements by government officials, that is never in the public interest. 

The Russia investigation, to the extent it seeks to understand and guard against Putin’s treachery, is a search for the truth. Trump has not interfered with it; indeed, Comey’s testimony indicates that he encouraged it — acknowledging it would be good to find out if his “satellites” had done something wrong. The collusion narrative, however, is a fraud on the public. It is not obstruction to expose a false narrative. 

 — Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Thinking about the Comey Memos

Thinking about the Comey Memos 
 Andrew C. McCarthy, National review

 His leaking, at the very least, was improper. The commentary about James Comey’s memoranda has been all over the map. The former FBI director says he made memos contemporaneous to, or immediately after, all nine of the meetings or phone calls he recalls having had with Donald Trump, when the latter was president-elect and, later, president. Comey acknowledges that he orchestrated the leak of at least one memo — or rather, a snippet mined from its contents — to the New York Times. All of the memos, he testified, have now been surrendered to the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

George Washington University’s Jonathan Turley does a good job in The Hill outlining much of the relevant law. One major issue is whether these documents belonged to Comey, in the sense of being his property rather than the government’s. That is the position he took in his testimony. Like Turley, I think the former director is wrong.

As a longtime prosecutor, I have a black-and-white test for this sort of thing: Would a judge in a criminal trial consider the documents to be government property for purposes of federal discovery law?

That law requires the government to disclose to the defense any prior statement made by a witness, written or otherwise recorded, that is in the government’s possession. It also mandates that the government disclose any information that is material to the preparation of the defense (such as evidentiary exhibits that the prosecution plans to introduce into evidence). Finally, the government must produce any exculpatory evidence — meaning, any evidence that (a) suggests the accused is not guilty, (b) contradicts the prosecution’s theory of the case, or (c) could be used to impeach a witness’s testimony.

Comey’s notes may fall into all three of those disclosure categories. Let’s imagine that Democrats get their dream scenario: President Trump is charged with obstruction. (As I’ve observed several times — see, for instance, here and here – there is no prosecutable obstruction case, but let’s stick with the hypothetical.) Comey could be a witness at trial; his memos could be evidence; and the memos contain exculpatory information (e.g., Comey’s recollection of Trump’s actual words expressing “hope” that the FBI would drop the Flynn investigation is inconsistent with the inference Comey now draws that Trump was ordering him to drop the Flynn investigation). 

With that as our hypothetical, what would happen if a prosecutor in the case argued to the presiding judge that the government did not need to disclose Comey’s notes because they are his personal property and not in the government’s possession? Rest assured, the judge would blow a gasket, and rightly so. 

The memos were written by an FBI official, apparently on FBI equipment, and related directly to FBI investigative business. Indeed, the fact that investigative business was central to Trump’s conversations with the former director is what induced Comey to write the memos: He perceived the president’s statements as political intrusion into law-enforcement investigations and intelligence probes. The memos were thus government property, and the then-director was obliged to make sure they were retained in government files.

That does not mean it would have been improper for Comey to keep a copy of them for himself. But doing that would not change the character of the memos as government property, and it would not relieve Comey of the obligation to comply with all government disclosure restrictions on the contents of the memos. At the Federalist, Bre Payton reproduces a copy of the standard FBI employment agreement, making a persuasive argument that Comey’s memos are government property and that the former director’s disclosure of information in them to unauthorized persons violated the employment agreement’s terms.

Nor would the memos’ status as government documents turn on whether or not the documents were physically placed in the government’s files. Nor would their storage outside the government’s filing system relieve the government of any disclosure obligations in a criminal case; a court would simply rule that the government constructively possessed the documents through Comey, who was its agent when he made and retained them. The government would be responsible for securing them and complying with its disclosure obligations.

 I have also heard it suggested that the memos are not FBI reports because they are not composed as such — meaning that they are not in the FBI Form 302 template. This, literally, exalts form over substance. A 302 report is a government file not because of its format but because its content records government business (e.g., a witness interview or a surveillance report). The style in which the substance appears is irrelevant. I can’t imagine that, as FBI director, Comey would have countenanced attempts by his subordinates to avoid compliance with federal recordkeeping standards by putting their reports in the form of memos to themselves rather than 302 reports to the official file. In any event, such attempts would change nothing: The memos would still be government property, subject to all retention and disclosure laws.

Since it seems impossible that the Justice Department would dare take the position in court that the memos are not government property for purposes of mandatory government disclosure obligations under federal law, I don’t see how the memos could be deemed Comey’s personal property.

There is also a claim floating around that the memo(s) should not be deemed to have been “leaked” because they were, it is asserted, not classified. We need to unpack this errant suggestion in three steps because it is so wrongheaded.

1. What Is a ‘Leak’? 

Strangely, there seems to be some dispute about what a “leak” is. In the context of government information, it is when a public official who has access to non-public information discloses the information to a person not authorized to have it — frequently, a member of the press. The official has gotten access to the information because he either is authorized to handle it or has obtained unauthorized access to it by gaining access — legitimately or otherwise — to the place where it is stored. Information is deemed “non-public” if the government has never officially disclosed it. That is, even though a prior leak may have publicized a piece of information, the government still considers that information non-public if it has not been publicly confirmed by an official authorized to do so.

To be clear, the leak is the transmission of the information from the public official to the person not authorized to have it. The publication of leaked information by the press is not a leak — it is the result of a leak. Press publication is generally thought to be protected by the First Amendment. (There is some scholarly dispute about whether the media could be liable for receiving and publishing certain kinds of information, such as national-defense information.) 

2. Most Leaks Do Not Involve Classified Information 

It appears that after a couple of years of immersion in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal, we have developed a classified-information obsession. But as point 1, above, makes clear, information need not be classified to be leaked. Classified leaks are generally the worst leaks, because they are manifestly criminal and their exposure portends the most harm to the country. But they are neither the only nor the most common kind of leaks.

Basically, any non-public information collected by the government is supposed to be handled with care and not disclosed in the absence of authorization. It has to be that way: The government has the power to compel information from us that we would not otherwise surrender; thus, the privacy of that information must be protected even though only a tiny percentage of it is classified.

In law enforcement, moreover, there is a category of information known as “law-enforcement sensitive” — such as details about a pending investigation, the identities of informants, deliberations over potential charges, etc. For obvious reasons, such information is given nearly as much protection as classified information. Similarly, federal law requires that the government keep grand-jury information secret. 

Leaks need not involve classified information to be criminal violations. In fact, even some of the criminal statutes that apply to leaks of classified information (such as the Espionage Act) refer not to “classified” information but to information “related to the national defense” — which is usually classified but not necessarily so. Moreover, as Turley notes (and as I have noted in the past — see, for instance, here), the federal embezzlement statute (Section 641 of the penal code) makes it a felony to convert to one’s own private use any government property. Unlawful conversion can include “convey[ing] or dispos[ing] of any record . . . or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof”

3. Are the Comey Memos Classified? 

There is, finally, the question of what is “classified.” It seems to have been assumed, by former director Comey as well as by many commentators, that Comey’s memos are not classified because he did not deem them classified — and, as FBI director, he had the authority to make such judgments. This brings us back to the notorious “marked classified” claim made by the Hillary Clinton camp throughout the scandal over e-mails on her homebrew server: that information in the e-mails was not classified, or at least Mrs. Clinton had no reason to believe it was classified, because it was not physically stamped with classified markings. Ironically, it was then–FBI director Comey who refuted this claim at his July 2016 press conference:

It is important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.

To put a finer point on it, whether or not something is classified depends on the contents, not on whether some official with classification authority has deemed it, say, “top secret” and stamped it as such. As we pointed out during the Clinton e-mails hullaballoo, many government documents are “born classified.” That is, the contents of the documents fit the classification categories spelled out in the controlling executive order (EO 13526).

Jim Comey is a smart and careful guy, so his judgment that the information contained in his memos was not classified, while not dispositive, is entitled to considerable deference. He knows exactly what is in the memos, while we have only a general idea, based on his testimony. I’m sure if he was not planning to store them in the government’s secure system for classified information, he tried to be careful not to include information that would have called for such safekeeping.

On the other hand, we know that aspects of the so-called Russia investigation are classified. (Comey has said as much in congressional testimony.) We also know that the government regards many communications between national-security officials and the president as classified. The prosecution of former CIA director David Petraeus for mishandling classified information, for example, centered on memos he wrote to himself (in the form of journals) that the government deemed classified because they included, among other things, summaries of conversations between General Petraeus (when he was commanding U.S. forces in war zones) and the president. 

To be clear, Petraeus never disputed that his journals contained highly classified information. Comey, by contrast, maintains that his do not. Plainly, not every conversation with the president is classified, and I would give Comey the benefit of the doubt in this regard. Nevertheless, as Turley observes, Comey never sought a classification review of his memos by the White House or the Justice Department. It is possible that they’d disagree with Comey’s conclusion that the memos are not classified. Going forward, it will be interesting to see what position the government takes regarding the memos: Their disclosure has already been demanded by Congress, and additional disclosure demands will be the subject of Freedom of Information Act litigation. 

I’m betting the memos are not classified. There is no doubt, though, that at least one of them has been leaked, and that the leak was, to say the least, improper. 

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Nikki Haley, STAR

Nikki Haley, STAR
Paul Mirengoff, Powerline

President Trump has made some outstanding appointments (although one of the best, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, recently offered to resign in the face of criticism from the president). Right now, my favorite Trump appointee is U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley.

In the tradition of our best U.N. ambassadors — Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick — Haley has been a powerful voice against U.N. hypocrisy. Most notably, she has denounced U.N. hypocrisy regarding Israel.

In addition to denouncing hypocrisy, Haley has moved to counter it. She has warned that the U.S. will pull out of the abomination known as the U.N. Human Rights Council unless it mends its way, in general, and alters its anti-Israel stance in particular. She has noted that the Council allows obvious human rights violators to remain members — e.g., Cuba and Venezuela — while chronically condemning Israel.

Credit goes to President Trump as well, and not just for selecting Haley. Trump has backed his U.N. ambassador. Moreover, given his withdrawal from the Paris agreement, the world understands that a U.S. threat to withdraw from an organization or body should be taken seriously.

Haley is now in Israel. She received a hero’s welcome. Prime Minister Netanyahu told her: “Thank you for all your help in standing up for Israel.” Haley responded:

You know, all I’ve done is to tell the truth, and it’s kind of overwhelming at the reaction. . .[I]f there’s anything I have no patience for it’s bullies, and the U.N. was being such a bully to Israel, because they could.

Haley says she sees a change of attitude at the U.N. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Regardless, Haley is to be commended for her efforts. Having already established herself as a quality governor, she is now developing strong credentials in the realm of foreign affairs.

Whatever the future of the U.N., Nikki Haley’s is bright.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Our Crude News Network

Our Crude News Network
Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness

Progressive media bias is now a given. The present generation of journalists and reporters tends to believe that just conveying the news no longer offers ample venue for their unappreciated talents, celebrity status, and deserved political influence.

As a result, they often massage coverage to find relevance as makers, not mere deliverers, of news. Like many academics, writers, and intellectuals of our bicoastal elite landscapes, they are naturally self-described idealists and left-of-center both politically and culturally.

Yet Donald Trump’s election as president has redefined the American media by stripping nearly all pretenses off its once carefully sculpted disinterested veneer. In other words, never before in American presidential history—not even during the dark days of Watergate—have the media so despised a sitting president.

The reasons have become clear: the outsider billionaire Trump’s politically-incorrect blasts and personal invective, his non-Washingtonian and often in-your-face behavior, his combative and undisguised contempt for progressive elites, his unexpected and unapologetic conservative agendas, and the liberal depression over his shocking victory that stopped cold an anticipated 16-year progressive agenda that really would have fundamentally transformed America in perhaps irrevocable fashion.

So the media’s anti-Trumpism is now daily fare. The Harvard Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy’s recent media bias study found that Trump coverage by CNN, to take one example, was 93% negative—a far greater percentage than even its earlier documented prejudices in 2008 and 2012 against John McCain and Mitt Romney.

But after nearly two-years of an anti-Trump drumbeat, CNN’s rote biases have become pedestrian. There are only so many ways a Don Lemon or Fared Zakaria can express his antipathies for Donald Trump that so far seem to have had little effect on Trump’s presidency.

So what comes next after mostly polished and polite disdain?

The last two weeks answered that question: obscenity, crudity, and a sort of cruelty—ironic given those are some of the character defects that CNN has lectured the nation about are inherent in Donald Trump.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was forced to confess that he was both “crude” and “unprofessional” when, during an-on-air panel discussion, he cut off Trump supporter Jeffery Lord with the following putdown: “If he took a dump on his desk you would defend it. I mean, I don’t know what he would do that you would not defend!” What a strange simile for an anchor to use in front of a national audience.

Then there was the macabre photo moment of comedian Kathy Griffin—a CNN New Year’s Eve show co-host with Anderson Cooper—hoping to recapture fading attention by holding, in ISIS fashion, a gruesome bloody decapitated model of Donald Trump’s head. Like Anderson Cooper, Griffith later apologized, but given that she was not so central to CNN, she was expendable and so let go. Her dismissal helped spark her subsequent whiny rant that she was now herself a victim of an untoward backlash from the Trump family. (The passive-aggressive Griffin herself once ridiculed Sarah Palin’s Down’s Syndrome child with “Oh, Palin, ur goin down so hard, you’d better just stay in Wasilla w ur “retarded baby”).

After the recent savage terrorist attacks in London, CNN’s “religion” scholar, Reza Aslan (heretofore infamous largely for eating cooked brain tissues with self-described religious cannibals in India), wrote: “This piece of s— is a not just an embarrassment to America and a stain on the presidency. He’s an embarrassment to humankind.” Aslan is channeling the vulgarity of other journalists, which in turn has brought the inner vulgarian out of politicos like Tom Perez, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Burton and other Democratic grandees.

These vulgar anti-Trump biases of journalists and celebrities on CNN are not new. We remember, for example, the December 2016 hot-mic, off-camera video joke of CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux and her producers about the idea of President-elect Trump’s plane crashing. CNN, we also recall, was one of the first networks to air the existence of the fake-news dossier about Trump’s supposed sexual escapades in Moscow last January. The list of unhinged statements by CNN panel members and anchors could be expanded, but the point is not bias per se, but what accounts for the recent emphases on the grotesque (beheading chic, references to feces on a desk, scatology like “piece of s—t”)?

Crudity is not for the sake of crudity alone, but exists now for politics, and in particular for destroying Trump. The elite of the Left also believes, in ends-justifying-the-means fashion, that their ideological nobility demands unusual methods that might better further their message. CNN is merely the news façade of televised culture in general, as characterized by the obscene references to Trump fellatio and incest by celebrities or reporters like Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and Julia Joffe. Once Trump is deemed bad, then bad language and imagery are necessary to deal with him—the lower the bar, the better.

The answers are many. Propriety has largely vanished from American discourse, a legacy of the 1960s when “f—k” and “s—t” superseded old expletives like “damn”, largely because of the supposed revolutionary shock effect on polite, staid society. Now a coarsened culture has become indifferent to commonplace obscenity and we are in a downward spiral of always seeking the next scatological or sexual one-uppance.

Crudity is not for the sake of crudity alone, but exists now for politics, and in particular for destroying Trump. The elite of the Left also believes, in ends-justifying-the-means fashion, that their ideological nobility demands unusual methods that might better further their message. CNN is merely the news façade of televised culture in general, as characterized by the obscene references to Trump fellatio and incest by celebrities or reporters like Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and Julia Joffe. Once Trump is deemed bad, then bad language and imagery are necessary to deal with him—the lower the bar, the better.

Political and cultural impotence also explains the desperate descent into scatology and the macabre. The progressive establishment—network news, major newspapers, PBS and NPR, Hollywood, academia and the foundations—failed to stop the election of Donald Trump and the 100-day implementation so far of his anti-Obama agenda executive orders. Yet Trump was himself an adornment to ongoing Democratic losses of state legislatures, governorships, the House and Senate, and the Supreme Court. As a result, frustrated elites are psychologically melting down, as if unhinged crudity might do what past political messages and agendas and even the courts could not. If you will not change your political message, and your political message will not win the Electoral College, then you either hope to turn up the cultural heat in hopes that others will melt first or simply yourself spontaneously combust.

Sheer incompetence and laziness also play their own roles in the decline of networks like CNN into crude political movements rather than disinterested news agencies.

CNN has no idea of what are its standards of professional conduct (can a CNN political analyst like Donna Brazile leak debate questions to a candidate ahead of an upcoming CNN presidential primary debate and then subsequently lie about her behavior?). Instead. it adjudicates these scandals apparently on the basis, first, of the relative value of the offender to CNN’s profitability, and, second, of claims on race/gender/sexual preference persecution and victimhood (cf. Brazile’s initial stonewalling denials: “As a Christian woman I understand persecution, but I will not stand here and be persecuted because your information is totally false.”). More recently, CNN was charged with supposedly choreographing anti-terrorism protests in London, ostensibly as a way to further its narrative that British Muslim communities were outraged over the terrorists among them and actively seeking to suppress them.

As a result, frustrated elites are psychologically melting down, as if unhinged crudity might do what past political messages and agendas and even the courts could not. If you will not change your political message, and your political message will not win the Electoral College, then you either hope to turn up the cultural heat in hopes that others will melt first or simply yourself spontaneously combust.

Again, CNN has no real norms about making rather than reporting news because in our age of fake news, JournoList, the Wikileaks trove, and Washington political/media power marriages there are no recognized ethical boundaries any more in journalism. (Will updated network ethical handbooks have to specify that on-camera employees are barred from eating human flesh, or from exhibiting decapitated representational heads of politicians?) From Jorge Ramos to Jim Rutenberg, we hear defiantly that disinterested journalism is passé, and active media opposition to Trump’s narratives is now necessary in lieu of an effective Democratic Party resistance.

Over the next four years, expect CNN and others to follow further the trajectories of late-night potty-mouth comedians and unhinged performance artists who must seek to shock or vent when they can no longer either elucidate or entertain. In sum, the aim of crude network news is now to propagandize by any means necessary.

Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He was a professor of classics at California State University, Fresno, and is currently the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Quantum Physics Is ‘Oppressive’ to Marginalized People

How many soft willed young academics get into debt that they can never recover from on their own by majoring in gender studies.... then, the job market after graduation (???) is completely closed. The researcher, Whitney Stark, is fully involved in manufactured subjects to maintain her position as a serious researcher in a flimsy field... Katherine Timpf handles this beautifully. BH

Note.... the writer of this piece is Katherine Timpf and she is exposing the words of Whitney Stark, the gender studies researcher. Read the last paragraph.BH

Note 2... From Mike Walker
Ah, where to begin? Let me make just three points, 

(1) Galilean-Newtonian physics is essential for anyone hoping to become an engineer, scientist, medical doctor, veterinarian, architect or to enter into any other science-based career. 

The author should be cheerleading for girls and young women to enter those fields - not disparaging the heart and soul of the physical sciences.

(2) Almost everything we see around us is either explained by or - more importantly - created through the application of Galilean-Newtonian physics. 

Yes, there are apparent phenomenon and very important fields of study where quantum physics offers the only explanation and the application of quantum mechanics is demanded but in no way does that undermined the need for Galilean-Newtonian physics.

(3) Not to shock the under-informed but quantum physics clarifies, complements and completes Galilean-Newtonian physics. 

It explained troubling problems that plagued science for centuries and brought new harmony to - yes - the old physics (think Galilean relativity v. Einsteinian relativity).

In other words, you need to start with Galilean-Newtonian physics to get to quantum physics and you end in a world where Galilean-Newtonian physics is as relatively relevant (pun intended) as it ever was.

As the warden said in Cool Hand Luke, what we have here is a failure to communicate and using a tortured combination of inane social science doublespeak and stale Marxist jargon is no way to address the issue.

Academic Journal: Quantum Physics Is ‘Oppressive’ to Marginalized People

by Katherine Timpf, National Review

Culture and gender-studies researcher Whitney Stark argues that physics is oppressive.

A feminist scholar has published a paper claiming that quantum physics is oppressive and that we must use “quantum feminisms” to make the science more intersectional.

In a paper for The Minnesota Review, culture and gender-studies researcher Whitney Stark argues that physics is oppressive because it has “separated beings” based on their “binary and absolute differences” — a structure that she calls “hierarchical and exploitative” — and the same kind of system is “embedded in many structures of classification,” making it “part of the apparatus that enables oppression.” Stark explains:

This structural thinking of individualized separatism with binary and absolute differences as the basis for how the universe works seeped into/poured over/ is embedded in many structures of classification, which understand similarity and difference in the world, imposed in many hierarchical and exploitative organizational structures, whether through gender, life/nonlife, national borders, and so on.

According to Stark, the tendency to categorize in this way particularly hurts marginalized people because it can cause the activist efforts of minority groups to be “overshadowed” by the efforts of dominant groups.

“For instance, in many ‘official’ feminist histories of the United States, black/African American women’s organizing and writing are completely unaccounted for before the 1973 creation of the middle-class, professional National Black Feminist Organization,” Stark writes.

“Part of this absence is the frequent subsuming of intersectional identities under supposedly encompassing meta-identities more readily recognized by/as hegemonicized groupings,” she continues. “For instance, black women subsumed under ‘black,’ equated with male, or ‘feminist’ equated with white women.”

Thankfully, Stark has a solution to this very clearly serious problem: “quantum feminisms” and “intersectionality.”

“By taking a critical look at the noncentralized and multiple movements of quantum physics, and by dehierarchizing the necessity of linear bodies through time, it becomes possible to reconfigure structures of value, longevity, and subjectivity in ways explicitly aligned with anti-oppression practices and identity politics,” she writes. “Combining intersectionality and quantum physics can provide for differing perspectives on organizing practices long used by marginalized people, for enabling apparatuses that allow for new possibilities of safer spaces.”

Honestly, all of this makes perfect sense. Personally, whenever I think about oppression, the very first thing that comes to my mind is: “Damn it Isaac Newton! This is all your fault!” I’m just glad someone is finally writing about it. Maybe someday we can take it a step further, and replace all lessons on the outdated, sexist, racist concept of “quantum physics” in our schools with lessons on quantum feminisms. Ah, yes. Then, and only then, will our nation be truly great.

This story was initially covered by the College Fix.

– Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

California Campus Free Speech Act

Remember when "Free speech" and segregation were huge issues on campus, both issues have been reversed of late. Free speech is only available to a select few and racial segregation is being embraced by the the grandkids of those who fought for inclusion and diversity.

Melissa Melendez’s California Campus Free Speech Act
Stanley Kurtz, National review 

California Assemblywoman Melissa A. Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) has just introduced the California Campus Free Speech Act. Melendez’s bill is based on the model campus free speech legislation I co-authored with Jim Manley and Jonathan Butcher of Arizona’s Goldwater Institute.

Upon introducing her legislation, Melendez released a statement that said: “Liberty cannot live without the freedom to speak and nowhere is that more important than on college campuses where we educate the leaders of tomorrow. The institutional silencing of individuals because of differing political ideology threatens the very foundation upon which our country was built.”

Although the California Campus Free Speech Act is closely based on the Goldwater proposal, it has a couple of strikingly distinctive features. While the Goldwater proposal and the bills based on it to date apply only to public universities, the California Campus Free Speech Act applies to both public and private colleges. That means this new legislation would apply not only to the University of California at Berkeley, where the Yiannopoulos and Coulter fiascos played out, but also to Claremont McKenna College, where Heather MacDonald’s talk was cut short.

The California Campus Free Speech Act accomplishes this by conditioning some (but not all) state aid to private colleges and universities on compliance with the Act (and by including an exemption for private religious colleges). In this, the legislation is clearly inspired by California’s Leonard Law, the only law in the country that extends First Amendment protections to private as well as public high schools and colleges.

The California Campus Free Speech Act is also framed as an amendment to California’s state constitution, which means that it can pass only with a two-thirds majority vote, and would then have to be ratified or rejected by a majority of state voters. A two-thirds majority requirement for a campus free speech bill is a high bar in a legislature dominated by Democrats. That said, I don’t think it will be easy for legislators of any party to openly oppose this bill.

There is also another route this proposed amendment could take. It’s relatively easy to place amendments to the California state constitution on the ballot. In lieu of a two-thirds majority in the legislature, signatures from the equivalent of 8% of the votes cast for all candidates in the last gubernatorial race suffice to place an amendment on the ballot. At that point, it requires only a simple majority vote for the measure to become part of California’s state constitution.

I wonder if some enterprising folks in California might decide to organize and finance an initiative campaign to place Melissa Melendez’s campus free-speech measure on the 2018 ballot. Once it got there, I believe it would have a very real prospect of passage. After the embarrassments of the last academic year, 50% plus one of California’s voters would likely act to restore freedom of speech to their state’s college campuses.

Momentum for state-level campus free speech bills based on the Goldwater model is clearly building. Late last week, Goldwater-inspired bills were introduced in Michigan and Wisconsin. With California now in the mix, the debate over the Goldwater proposal is becoming truly national. I much look forward to the battle over Melissa Melendez’s California Campus Free Speech Act. California has been ground zero for the campus free-speech crisis. Maybe now California can contribute to the solution.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at