Patterico's Pontifications

10/1/2019

Harvard Wins First Court Skirmish on Asian-American Discrimination Claim

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:54 pm



[guest post by JVW]

From National Review Online:

A federal judge in Massachusetts on Tuesday upheld Harvard University’s affirmative action admissions process, which considers race as a factor in acceptance decisions.

Judge Allison Burroughs challenged the accusation of the plaintiff, the group Students for Fair Admissions, that the Ivy League institution’s diversity policies intentionally discriminate against Asian-American students, saying the plaintiffs did not provide “a single admissions file that reflected discriminatory animus.”

Dana provided the background on this case four years ago (ah, the speed at which matters wind their way through our legal system). Harvard wants to claim that the admissions process is “holistic” (a favorite word in higher ed admissions speak) and evaluates the student on a variety of factors in which race is but a small part. Yet that approach somehow seems to consistently yield a result where there is a de facto floor on the percentage of black and Hispanic students and therefore as a result a de facto ceiling on the percentage of Asian students. Fancy that. Also, because admitted black students are less likely to enroll at Harvard than kids of other races, the school ends up having to offer admission to a much higher proportion of black applicants in order to ensure they stay at that desired nine percent floor. Never mind the fact that these kids might not exactly be “underserved.”

In her ruling, Judge Burroughs adopted the standard set forth in the Fisher vs. University of Texas decision in which Justice Anthony Kennedy determined that the rather intangible benefits of “diversity” means that having a certain percentage of under-represented minorities is more important than hewing strictly to admissions by merit. Her opinion, found here, declares “It is somewhat axiomatic at this point that diversity of all sorts, including racial diversity, is an important aspect of education.” Of course the wonderful thing about axioms is that by definition they are taken to be true and thus not subject to rigorous analysis, even if some of us heretics find the dedication to diversity to be vastly overrated. The Judge further punishes us with a completely cloying footnote regarding the testimony of Ruth Simmons, born to a share-cropping family and educated at segregated schools until she participated in an exchange program at Wellesley, who then went on to receive a PhD from Harvard and serve as president of Brown University. Left unmentioned is the fact that the standard beneficiary of affirmative action at Harvard today is far more likely to be the black son of a pediatrician and investment banker, or the daughter of a Latino college professor and a white lawyer. There aren’t too many kids from the ghetto or the farms matriculating to Cambridge these days, no matter how much we want to believe that the next Ruth Simmons is showing up on campus each autumn as the leaves begin to change.

But even with that of that, I still generally take Harvard’s side in this matter. As a private school, they ought to be free to choose whomever the hell they want as students, be they the children of well-heeled alumni, star athletes to shore up the various teams, air-headed offspring of vacuous celebrities, or whatever racial and ethnic stew satisfies the oppressive white guilt that burbles in the guts of the administration. But citing the questionable benefits of “diversity” as a justification bothers me, especially in an era when the supposed beneficiaries of diversity seem to be the ones who want to narrow the boundaries for legitimate academic inquiry and debate.

Harvard admission is indeed a zero-sum game, so for every kid that is taken in largely because of the color of her skin or the donor history of his parents, another equally-deserving kid — perhaps more deserving in some cases — is told there is no room in The Yard. Nevertheless, we should let Harvard be Harvard. But if the federal government wants to ask some tough questions as to whether federally-guaranteed student loans ought to be used at schools with racially-biased admissions policies, why then that too is a perfectly legitimate subject for consideration as far as I am concerned.

– JVW

Trump Congratulates China on 70 Years Of Communist Party Rule Hours After Hong Kong Freedom Fighter Takes A Bullet To The Chest

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:07 am



[guest post by Dana]

Good morning from the President of the United States:

Trump tweeted his congratulations just hours after a young freedom fighter in Hong Kong was shot by authorities with live ammunition:

Hong Kong police have shot a protester with live ammunition for the first time in four months of demonstrations, marking a major escalation in the use of force on a day when China celebrated 70 years of Communist party rule with a triumphalist military parade.

Protests called to mark a “national day of grief” drew tens of thousands of people on to the city’s streets, across six areas, in the most widespread show yet of public anger towards Beijing.

Some gathered in central Hong Kong, while others met up across the harbour in Kowloon or the New Territories beyond. Initially peaceful, the demonstrations turned into running battles. Authorities shut down nearly half the city’s metro stations in an attempt to contain the violence.

Police in full riot gear used water cannons and barrages of teargas, while protesters threw molotov cocktails, built barricades, attacked metro stations and set fires in the street.

The scenes, though extremely violent, did not mark a departure from previous protests until mid-afternoon, when a policeman drew his gun and fired a bullet into an 18 year-old high school student’s chest in Tsuen Wan district.

Images shared by local media showed the protester lying on the ground begging for help as he bled from his injury. “Send me to hospital, my chest is hurting. I need to go to hospital,” he said.

Anchee Min was born in Shanghai, and was nine years old when the Cultural Revolution began: As a child, she was a member of the Little Red Guards and was made to report her favourite teacher, who was an anti-Maoist, to the authorities, and when Min was 17, she was sent to a collective farm… where she endured horrific conditions and worked 18-hour days. Min would later be chosen by party officials from the Shanghai Movie Studios to play Mao’s wife in propaganda films, which eventually provided an opportunity to flee China, and make her way to the U.S. She tells her painful, yet victorious story in her haunting memoir, Red Azalea. During an interview a number of years ago, Min talked about surviving the religion of Mao:

I was taught to write, “I love you, Chairman Mao” before I was taught to write my own name. I never thought I belonged to myself. It was never “I love you, Papa” not “I love you, Mama.” It’s always “I love you, Communist Party of China,” “I love you, Chairman Mao.” What I want to say is that Mao was our religion.

[…]

“When I was seventeen, life changed to a different world. The school’s vice principal had a talk with me after his talks with many others. He told me that he wanted to remind me that I was a student leader, a model to the graduates. The policy was there, as strict as math equations. He told me that I belonged to one category, the category of becoming a peasant. He said it was an unalterable decision. The policy from Beijing was a holy instruction. It was universally accepted. It was incumbent upon me to obey.”

[…]

We were taught if you can sacrifice your loved ones, if you can denounce your parents, if you can denounce your favorite teacher, you are capable of greater love for the humanity. Because the smaller love you feel this person, if this person is proven to be American spy, and your parents is proven to be the enemy of our society, and then it’s always like good battles the evil and we want the good to win. It’s such a grand disguise and things got messed up. And in the meantime, as the executor of such greatness, I didn’t feel good. I was crying when I was denouncing my favorite teacher. It was tearing myself apart.

On coming to America:

You asked me how I changed. I think coming to America plays a big part. If I were in China, I would die in confusion because this problem that’s the mental knot. I couldn’t unknot it, and I couldn’t do anything about it. And I was too close, I didn’t have a perspective, couldn’t see. So coming to America, I think, what the moments that struck me was that, you know, my daughter was in the nursery school. First thing she was taught was love…And also the incredible moment I share with other immigrants and the day that we accepted as American citizens in the big hall in LA with 40,000 people, which is so ridiculous. You know, it was like we’re all prepared, you know, different languages, struggle, try to get the English right. When the music comes on, “Oh, say” — we all couldn’t finish the first sentence, just broke down crying. And we laugh, smiling and crying and looking at each other. We know what it’s like to be American. It was to be allowed to be human, to be ourselves.

This week, there was a report that organ harvesting of persecuted religious and ethnic minorities was taking place in China. Specifically, the Uigher Muslims and Falun Gong members:

The China Tribunal, a group that’s investigating the organ harvesting, said at a tense meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council that the Chinese government was taking hearts, kidneys, lungs, and skin from groups including Uighur Muslims and members of the Falun Gong religious group.

The China Tribunal describes itself as an “independent, international people’s tribunal, and was backed by the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China, an Australian human rights charity made up of lawyers, academics, and medical professionals.

China has denied carrying out mass harvesting of organs in any circumstance.

Addressing UN representatives, a lawyer for the China Tribunal, Hamid Sabi, said the group had proof of the organ harvesting.

Sabi said the group had found that China was committing “crimes against humanity” by harvesting organs from religious minorities like the Uighurs and members of Falun Gong, which has been banned and widely persecuted by the Chinese government.

Meanwhile:

UN experts and activists say at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs, and members of other largely Muslim minority groups, have been detained in camps in the vast western [Xinjiang] province.

Beijing describes the camps as vocational training centres to help stamp out religious extremism and teach new work skills.

Although a senior official claims that the majority of detainees have been released from the camps and “returned to society,” the U.S. State Dept. says there has been no such evidence to support this assertion.

Moreover, this claim contradicts what Uigher family members are saying:

Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Asia regional director, said the claims were “deceptive and unverifiable”.

“We have received no reports about large-scale releases,” he said. “In fact, families and friends of people who are being detained tell us they are still not able to contact them.”

And to this ruling party, President Trump, on behalf of the United States of America, offered congratulations.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Bogus Claim That IC Changed the Standards for Whistleblowers Debunked; Conspiracy Theorists Claim Vindication

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:58 am



This is a distraction from Trump’s behavior but a useful discussion of how conservative “media” operates these days. Sean Davis, whom I used to respect but who has turned into a Trumpist hack like his colleague Mollie Hemingway, published a Big Expose that purported to show that the Deep State changed its standards for whistleblowers suddenly. According to Davis’s conspiracy theory, there used to be a requirement that whistleblowers have firsthand information before they could even file a complaint. But that was suddenly changed in August to make it possible for this whistleblower to file a complaint with only secondhand information, Davis claimed. Here’s how the Federalist portrayed Davis’s claim:

Eliminated a Requirement

People who knew what they were talking about, like Cato fellow Julian Sanchez, explained that the law has no firsthand knowledge requirement. (Why would it, if a tip could lead to credible corroboration, which is a common occurence in investigations?) They noted that previous forms allowed whistleblowers to file complaints with secondhand knowledge, but cautioned (in rather garbled language that has since been clarified to comport with the law) that if the preliminary review by the ICIG did not uncover corroboration, the complaint would not end up going anywhere.

Trumpists called people like Sanchez hacks and raced to the airwaves to trumpet the conspiracy theory, which ended up (of course) getting repeated by Trump himself.

Yesterday, the ICIG issued a statement that, shortened, could have read “Julian Sanchez was right.” They clarified that the law never required firsthand knowledge.

ICIG Statement

They acknowledged (as noted above) that they have changed some of the language of the form to comport with the law after questions arose regarding the language of the form, based on this controversy. Critically, the whistleblower filled out his complaint on the old form. I repeat: the whistleblower filled out his complaint on the old form. The controversy was manufactured bullshit.

Making things more delicious, Julian Sanchez told Mollie Hemingway the true facts on Friday — and she ignored him, which caused me to recall how she ignored a correction I sought from her.

So how did Davis and company react? They apologized and corrected their errors, right?

LOL of course they didn’t. They are Trumpists, and Trumpists never apologize or admit error. No, to Davis and company, the ICIG statement that blew up his story was “complete vindication”:

Complete Vindication

Check out the first screenshot in this post. That is not all Davis claimed and he knows it. He claimed that the ICIG eliminated a requirement that, in fact, never existed in the law.

Which, by the way, he never told readers. I re-read Davis’s original piece on this, looking for the part where he told his readers that the law itself has no firsthand knowledge requirement. Oddly enough, it’s not there! An omission like that by the media that hurt Trump would cause Mollie and Sean to go apeshit for days.

Sean Davis once criticized Trump constantly; check out these 2016 tweets that are available on the Wayback Machine.

The Old Sean Davis

Now he gets retweeted by Trump and I’m told he has deleted all his incriminating tweets from 2016 where he justifiably suggested, for example, that Trump was trying to steal charity money from veterans.

I have not changed. These people have. And they should never be trusted.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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