The Jury Talks Back

8/12/2017

Keith Ellison Saying Kim Is “More Responsible” Than Trump Is Part Of A Disturbing Pattern Of Moral Equivalence

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 11:13 am

You may have heard that Keith Ellison — a guy who came within a whisker of being the DNC Chair — yesterday claimed that Kim Jong-un is “more responsible” than Donald Trump:

North Korea is a serious thing. You have this guy making bellicose threats against somebody else who has very little to lose over there.

Kim Jong-un, the world always thought he was not a responsible leader, well he’s acting more responsible than this guy is.

“This guy” is a reference to Donald Trump.

I’m tempted to take the Lord’s full name in vain, complete with the middle initial, and include the concept of a popsicle stick. What a ridiculous, absurd, stupid, over the top thing to say.

Ellison has retracted the statement, but he meant it when he made it. It’s worth talking about how absurd it is — and how it’s part of a pattern of Americans drawing a false moral equivalence between evil dictators and the United States.

Even if we’re just talking rhetoric, Ellison is full of it. You don’t have to agree with Trump’s rhetoric (I don’t) to recognize that Kim’s rhetoric is far less responsible. At Hot Air, the always thorough John Sexton gives several examples of Kim’s explicit threats of aggressive nuclear first strikes against the United States. The threats have been going on for years, and most sentient beings are familiar with them.

But to me, the outrageousness of Ellison’s statement goes deeper than a mere comparison of the rhetoric.Look: Trump may display all of the Seven Deadly Sins. He may be a personally awful human being all the way around. (OK, forget “may.” He does, and he is.) But Kim is evil. His regime is evil. He starves his people, runs secretive prison camps for political opponents, and engages in murder, rape, and torture as a matter of government policy. There is zero free press. The entire nation is one giant personality cult. As cultish as some Trumpers can be, there is no comparison between the two countries. Anyone who says there is — or that Trump is worse — is giving aid and comfort to one of the most purely malevolent regimes on the planet.

Ellison isn’t the only one trying to equate Trump (in Ellison’s case unfavorably) with Kim. Here’s Jay Rosen, an NYU journalism professor with over 215,000 Twitter followers:

I like the response of Popehat’s Patrick Non-White:

Joking around that Trump is a lunatic like Kim is one thing. I happen to think they both have a screw loose. But to seriously assert that Trump is less responsible than Kim, or that there is an equivalence between the two regimes, is absurdly myopic and morally wrong.

It is almost impossible to exaggerate the villainy of Kim’s North Korea. Leftists ought to keep that in mind when they make flippant remarks like Ellison made yesterday.

FROM THE “BOTH SIDES DO IT” FILE: I hate to disturb your partisan pleasure in mocking leftists, but I can’t let Trump and his minions off the hook entirely. Because he and his supporters have engaged in a disturbing trend of their own, in straining to find good qualities in Vladimir Putin, and to equate his atrocities with America’s actions.

Take Roy Moore, who this week declared his kinship with Putin in declaring American to be the “focus of evil” in the world:

In an interview with the Guardian’s Anywhere But Washington series, Moore also said that Ronald Reagan’s famous declaration about the Soviet Union being “the focus of evil in the modern world” might today be applied to the US.

“You could say that about America, couldn’t you?” he said. “We promote a lot of bad things.” Asked for an example, he replied: “Same-sex marriage.”

When it was pointed out to Moore that his arguments on gay rights and morality were the same as those of the Russian leader, he replied: “Well, maybe Putin is right.” He added: “Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”

This is an organized plot to cause me to violate the Third Commandment, isn’t it?

And those with keen memories will easily recall how Trump shrugged off complaints that Vladimir Putin kills critics with a flip “hey we all do bad stuff” remark:

TRUMP: I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not, and if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world —

O’REILLY: Right.

TRUMP: — major fight, that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea. It’s very possible —

O’REILLY: But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.

TRUMP: A lot of killers. You got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?

I’m not here to say America hasn’t done bad things. But we are not Kim Jong-un’s North Korea. Explain that to Keith Ellison and Jay Rosen. And we are not Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Explain that to Roy Moore and Donald Trump.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Sen. Ben Sasse: Congress Doesn’t Vote To Go To War Based On The President’s Latest Rant

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:03 am

[guest post by Dana]

When in front of an audience, it’s no secret that President Trump is compelled to go off-script, and go more bigly and bolder at the opportunity. So knowing that, in a week of incendiary rhetoric being lobbed at North Korea, it only makes sense he would also target Venezuela. Because “fire and fury” in North Korea just isn’t enough when there is yet another country currently imploding at the hands of its lunatic leader. In a week of tit-for-tat ratcheting up of threats with third-world thugs, we should remember that, in spite of public comments made by any previous president being of consequence and taken seriously, you will be ridiculed and mocked for attempting to hold this president to the same standard. Only his tweets are “official statements”. And while you see these “threats” as bold and courageous and a long time in coming, your neighbor sees them as yet another demonstration of unwise and reckless foolishness.

Obviously, Sen. Ben Sasse, a member of the Armed Services Committee and a Trump critic, falls into the latter group :

No. Congress obviously isn’t authorizing war in Venezuela. Nicolas Maduro is a horrible human being, but Congress doesn’t vote to spill Nebraskans’ blood based on who the executive lashes out at today.

Note: President Trump made his comments to the media after refusing to take a call from Maduro, and after the White House released a sound statement:

“The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime. President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country,” the White House said.

But in front of the cameras, such a reasonable statement won’t do. Trump’s rule of thumb seems to be to always up the ante and be more provocative than the other guy because he thinks it looks tough, ballsy, and speaks to power. And if that means drawing his own red line in the sand, then so be it. But just don’t think that double-standard metric will hold water:

When President Obama drew a red line in Syria and then refused to enforce it, the rest of the world took notice; Russia and China quickly became aggressive. Trump making empty threats may sound good to him on the morning shows when played back, but if he doesn’t fulfill those threats, then he becomes another paper tiger. Trump can’t just say stuff. What he says matters, even if he doesn’t think it should. He can’t afford to blow his foreign policy credibility.

And for those pointing out that Sen. Sasse’s votes have lined up with President Trump, that does not mean that he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

–Dana

8/11/2017

College Administrators, Stop Discriminating Against Asians!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:30 am

The New Yorker (yes, the New Yorker!) has an interesting piece about how the college admissions process discriminates against Asians, titled The Uncomfortable Truth About Affirmative Action and Asian-Americans. The piece begins with a revealing anecdote that provides a window into the souls of admissions officers, who are obviously irritated by having to deal with large numbers of applications from qualified Asian students with great grades and test scores:

The application process for schools, fellowships, and jobs always came with a ritual: a person who had a role in choosing me—an admissions officer, an interviewer—would mention in his congratulations that I was “different” from the other Asians. When I won a scholarship that paid for part of my education, a selection panelist told me that I got it because I had moving qualities of heart and originality that Asian applicants generally lacked. Asian applicants were all so alike, and I stood out. In truth, I wasn’t much different from other Asians I knew. I was shy and reticent, played a musical instrument, spent summers drilling math, and had strict parents to whom I was dutiful. But I got the message: to be allowed through a narrow door, an Asian should cultivate not just a sense of individuality but also ways to project “Not like other Asians!”

Note that the bias against Asians is so ingrained and institutional that an admissions officer actually feels comfortable congratulating a student for being different from other members of her ethnic group. Imagine an admissions officer saying something similar to a black applicant. You can’t. And if it happened, there would be a nationwide outcry.

As the piece explains, the issue has renewed vigor thanks to recent actions by the Trump Administration:

When the New York Times reported, last week, that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division was internally seeking lawyers to investigate or litigate “intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions,” many people immediately assumed that the Trump Administration was hoping to benefit whites by assailing affirmative action. The Department soon insisted that it specifically intends to revive a 2015 complaint against Harvard filed with the Education and Justice Departments by sixty-four Asian-American groups, making the same claim as the current court case: that Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asians in admissions, giving whites an advantage. (The complaint had previously been dismissed in light of the already-pending lawsuit.) The combination of the lawsuit and the potential federal civil-rights inquiry signals that the treatment of Asians will frame the next phase of the legal debate over race-conscious admissions programs.

Just last year, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative-action program, which, like Harvard’s, aims to build a diverse class along multiple dimensions and considers race as one factor in a holistic review of each applicant. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, approved of a university’s ability to define “intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission.” Incidentally, the phrase “intangible characteristics” echoes the sort of language that often describes the individualizing or leadership qualities that many Asian-American applicants, perceived as grinds with high test scores, are deemed to lack. The complaint against Harvard highlights the school’s history of using similar language to describe Jewish students nearly a century ago, which led to a “diversity” rationale designed to limit Jewish enrollment in favor of applicants from regions with fewer Jews, such as the Midwest. If diversity of various kinds is central to an élite school’s mission, an Asian may have to swim upstream to be admitted.

Because it’s the New Yorker — and because the author is a law professor at Harvard — she still gives the inevitable nod to the alleged need to use race in admissions.

I would not relish seeing the nation’s most élite colleges become majority Asian, which is what has resulted at selective high schools, such as Stuyvesant, that do not consider race in admissions at all. It is also extremely troubling when solely test-based admissions such as Stuyvesant’s reflect the failure to remedy structural disadvantages suffered by black and Latino students. What is needed instead, then, is race-conscious affirmative action, to address the historic discrimination and underrepresentation of blacks and Latinos, in combination with far less severity in the favoring of whites relative to Asians.

How ironic. The author spends much of the piece mounting a good argument that it is wrong to discriminate against Asians based on “intangible characteristics” — and then advocates a policy that would disadvantage qualified Asians because she would not “relish” having too many of them on campus.

Ah, well. She’s careful enough to know that taking a strong stand against the use of race in admissions at all would make her a campus pariah. People would be calling for her head in no time flat. This passage is necessary for her to make her points about discrimination against Asians without jeopardizing her job.

But it’s nice to see someone at one of these institutions raise the issue — albeit rather gingerly and timidly. The discrimination by colleges and universities against Asians because of their ethnicity is one of the great scandals of our time. It’s time we started talking about it.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

8/10/2017

CNN Should Not Have Fired Jeffrey Lord

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:30 pm

I despise shameless Trump enthusiasts who routinely make laughable arguments on Trump’s behalf. Jeffrey Lord falls squarely in that category. In a way, I can’t believe I’m about to defend Jeffrey Lord.

But I’m about to defend Jeffrey Lord.

CNN fired Lord today because he sarcastically tweeted “Sieg Heil” at someone he considers to be a fascist.

That’s a bad reason to fire someone.

Here’s how CNN reported the story:

CNN severed ties with Jeffrey Lord on Thursday, hours after he ignited controversy by tweeting the words “Sieg Heil!” at a prominent liberal activist.

“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”

To call Lord’s tweet a “Nazi salute” requires one to deliberately blind oneself to the context.

Here’s what really happened. Lord wrote a column about Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters. See if you can discern Lord’s opinion about Carusone and Media Matters from certain subtle clues hidden in the following passages from Lord’s column:

Over there at Media Matters — aka Media Matters Fascists, the anti-free speech bigots who, in typical fascist style, make it their mission to shut down speech they don’t like — MMF’s Angelo Carusone has come to my Twitter feed to respond.

. . . .

I am even happier that he has put his fascist spirit out there in reprintable form.

. . . .

You have been playing this fascist game for years with others — Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly etc etc. If there is a conservative with an audience of any size your fascist instinct is not to debate honestly but to simply silence the opposition. Period.

. . . .

This is America, Angelo. Not Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany or Communist Russia.

Did you catch that? I went ahead and put the clues in bold in case it was too understated.

I think maybe Lord thinks Carusone is a fascist.

I’m not saying it’s great writing. Lord could try consulting a thesaurus every now and then. But I sense a certain theme to the passage. And that theme is: “Angelo Carusone is a fascist.”

So then, today, the following Twitter exchange occurs:

Lord tweets out his column. Carusone tries to bust Lord’s chops, and Lord responds by saying “Sieg Heil.”

It’s . . . kind of obvious what’s happening there, isn’t it? For CNN to say that’s a “Nazi salute” is to suggest that Lord meant it unironically. But you can’t possibly be familiar with the context and think that.

This is just the latest example of the left calling for someone’s head on a platter by ignoring the context of what they said, and imposing a completely unreasonable meaning on the words.

As much as I despise Lord, I despise this worse.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Health Insurance Premiums Set To Rise Again. Whom Does The New York Times Blame?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:00 am

Shockingly, the New York Times tries to blame it on Trump:

The Kaiser Family Foundation has compiled proposed insurance prices for coverage in 21 large American cities next year. . . . Two themes stick out: One is that, while insurance premiums will rise substantially in many cities, the increases are generally not bigger than they were last year. The other is that insurers are being quite explicit about citing the Trump administration’s hostile policy messages as a substantial reason for the higher prices.

In many states, insurers have said that they are asking for higher prices because they assume the White House won’t enforce the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, its rule that people who can afford it must buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. The carriers are also worried that the government will stop paying them cost-sharing reduction subsidies, payments that are the subject of a lawsuit between the executive branch and the House, and which the president has repeatedly threatened to halt.

Note how the analysis just takes ObamaCare as a given. Of course, the reason premiums started rising precipitously to begin with was ObamaCare. (Our system of third-party payment started the ball rolling, of course. ObamaCare care just made it worse.) Once the government told people that they could hold off on buying health insurance until they were sick, the concept of insurance was dead. Now, keeping the companies afloat depends on: 1) trying to force people to buy coverage they don’t want, and 2) bailouts.

Blaming Trump for all this requires some mighty convenient amnesia as to how we got here to begin with. It’s like watching Obama slice someone in the chest with a knife and walk away whistling, and watching the New York Times blame Trump for the bleeding, because they don’t like the size of the Band-Aid.

It doesn’t help that six U.S. Senators (McCain, Murkowski, Portman, Heller, Alexander, and Capito) have been turncoats on repeal, or that Trump has done a poor job of putting pressure on those turncoats. To extend the analogy, we need to rip off the Band-Aid and actually sew up this wound. The GOP is helping nothing.

But let’s remember where the original blame for this mess lies: squarely on the shoulders of Barack Obama.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

8/9/2017

Megachurch Pastor: Trump Has “God-Given Authority” To Take Out Kim Jong-Un

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:17 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Hoo-boy! I guess this is just a reminder that loose cannons abound. And I’m not just referring to President Trump and Kim Jong-Un:

“When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un. I’m heartened to see that our president — contrary to what we’ve seen with past administrations who have taken, at best, a sheepish stance toward dictators and oppressors — will not tolerate any threat against the American people. When President Trump draws a red line, he will not erase it, move it, or back away from it. Thank God for a President who is serious about protecting our country.”

The pastor is Dr. Robert Jeffress, leader of the megachurch, First Baptist Dallas, which boasts a congregation of around 13,000.

–Dana

Report: Trump “Pissed” That Kelly Tried To Control His Twitter Account

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Washington Examiner:

But while the president has offered Kelly a level of control Priebus never managed to obtain, Trump has resisted giving his new chief of staff veto power over the spontaneous and provocative tweets that often serve as a distraction for his administration.

A series of news reports suggesting Kelly had sought oversight of Trump’s Twitter account, including a report that claimed Kelly wanted to know in advance what the president planned to post, made their way to Trump’s desk last week, a person familiar with the situation told the Washington Examiner.

Trump “was pissed when he read Kelly wanted to control his Twitter feed,” the person said.

Stories about palace intrigue based on anonymous sources are suspect right out of the gate. But they do provide data points with which to analyze the nature of the warring factions. This story takes care to note that Kelly was authorized to fire anyone except “Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, and chief strategist Steve Bannon.” It’s not unreasonable to assume that the source is connected to one of those three camps, and using this leak to push back at Kelly’s restriction of their access to Trump.

In any event, if Kelly isn’t trying to control Trump’s Twitter usage, I’d be surprised — just as I’d be surprised if Trump didn’t resist such a move. As I have noted previously, it’s not a good look to be endlessly tweeting like a jackass about issues of personal pique, while the American people continue to suffer from your stalled legislative agenda. But Trump doesn’t seem to care about any of that.

In the end, the notion that Kelly is going to bring discipline to Trump is fanciful. We all knew it, but I guess it makes for a cute little side drama.

Ah, well. Maybe Kelly can at least help stop Trump from talking us into nuclear war. If he can perform even that one small service, maybe the change will have been worth it.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

8/8/2017

President Trump Vows Fire And Fury, And Power Like This World Has Never Seen Before

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 5:41 pm

[post by Dana]

[Patterico and I each wrote a post about this. This is a combination of the two.]

North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I said they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.

“Lovely,” says our host.

One lunatic faces off against another. Each makes grand pronouncements from which it is difficult to back down.

What could possibly go wrong?

From North Korea to the US:

The president’s comments came as North Korea earlier in the day escalated its criticism of the United States, as well as its neighboring allies, by warning that it will mobilize all its resources to take “physical action” in retaliation against the latest round of United Nations sanctions.

The statement, carried by the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency, was the strongest indication yet that the country could conduct another nuclear or missile test, as it had often done in response to past United Nations sanctions. Until now, the North’s response to the latest sanctions had been limited to strident yet vague warnings, such as threatening retaliation “thousands of times over.”

“Packs of wolves are coming in attack to strangle a nation,” the North Korean statement said. “They should be mindful that the D.P.R.K.’s strategic steps accompanied by physical action will be taken mercilessly with the mobilization of all its national strength.”

Resolution 2371 was unanimously supported in a vote by the UN Security Council several days ago. As a result of its passage, “the regime of Kim Jong Un will be banned from exporting any goods or services. The BBC estimates that the sanctions will reduce North Korean exports from $3 billion to $2 billion annually. That $2 billion will be retained by continued illicit trading with nations such as China”. The sanctions also “ban[s] member countries from importing coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood from North Korea. They also prohibit member nations from hosting any additional workers from the North above their current levels.”

After the president left the golf course to make his tit-for-tat fire and fury threat, North Korea made a threat of their own against Guam, which has two US military bases:

North Korea said on Wednesday it is “carefully examining” a plan to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam with missiles…
A spokesman for the Korean People’s Army, in a statement carried by the North’s state-run KCNA news agency, said the strike plan will be “put into practice in a multi-current and consecutive way any moment” once leader Kim Jong Un makes a decision.

In another statement citing a different military spokesman, North Korea also said it could carry out a pre-emptive operation if the United States showed signs of provocation.

Earlier Pyongyang said it was ready to give Washington a “severe lesson” with its strategic nuclear force in response to any U.S. military action.

On one hand, while John McCain believes the situation is serious, he warns that the president’s rhetoric is not helpful and that he should instead “walk softly and carry a big stick”. On the other hand, Tom Nichols thinks we all need to take a deep breath:

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Both reactions seem wise.

–Dana

ObamaCare Repeal Turncoat Dean Heller Will Face A New Primary Opponent

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:30 am

Unfortunately, he’s a “Make America Great Again” Trump-style opportunist:

Danny Tarkanian, the son of a legendary Nevada college basketball coach who has run for office several times, announced Tuesday morning that he will challenge Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada’s Republican primary next year.

Tarkanian announced his bid on “Fox and Friends,” where he criticized Heller as a “Never-Trumper” and said that his stance on the president helped Hillary Clinton carry the state.

“So many people have contacted me in the past few months, saying ‘You got to run against Dean Heller,'” Tarkanian said. “They understand, like I do, that we’re never going to make America great again unless we have senators in office supporting President Trump. Dean Heller wasn’t just one of the first Never-Trumpers in the state of Nevada, he was one of the most influential. He actually helped Hillary Clinton win the state of Nevada.”

I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, I am thrilled to see any challenger to Dean Heller. On the other hand, I’m not sure Tarkanian is the guy we want to see in the Senate.

Heller was one of six turncoats on the repeal of ObamaCare. There has been no real vote to repeal ObamaCare. But on the closest thing the GOP has advanced this year, Dean Heller was a traitor.

In 2015, a repeal bill — one that repealed as much of ObamaCare as possible without 60 votes — was passed by a majority of the Senate. Among the people who voted for that bill were Dean Heller, John McCain, Shelley Moore Capito, Lisa Murkowski, Lamar Alexander, and Rob Portman.

But of course such a bill was designed to be vetoed — and it was, by President Obama.

When it was re-submitted this year, Heller and the other five voted no. Because they knew that it would be signed this time.

With the “skinny repeal” vote, the GOP has managed to muddy the waters on who actually opposed ObamaCare repeal. There is a mythology that John McCain single-handedly killed any real effort to repeal ObamaCare. The GOP is complicit in that mythology. Let me clarify — which requires taking a step back and going back to the original House bill.

The original bill passed by the House, the AHCA, was garbage. It was essentially a codification of ObamaCare’s basic structure, with some tinkering around the edges, and some meaningless commitments to reduce Medicaid in the future — reductions that Mitch McConnell correctly told his members would never actually happen. That bill didn’t deserve to be passed by the Senate.

The final vote — the one that got the most publicity — was the vote on “skinny repeal,” which was not just garbage, but hot garbage. It was an effort to simply strip away unpopular aspects of ObamaCare and leave the ones people liked, even though it would create an immediately unsustainable insurance market and necessitate giant bailouts and subsidies.

Somewhere in between, the 2015 bill was re-submitted and voted down by Heller and the other turncoats. That was the real chance for real repeal.

But by putting the blame for its failure on a (probably terminally) ill octogenarian who will never run for office again, the GOP could allow other people to pose as being for repeal. Heller was one of those people. And it fooled the rubes, including the rubes at CNN, who today “report”:

Heller has recently drawn the ire of conservatives after he frequently criticized Trump’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leading a pro-Trump group to briefly run anti-Heller ads. . . . Heller eventually decided to stick with Trump and backed his party’s efforts on health care, which ultimately failed.

That bolded sentence is 100% false. Heller once again posed as backing repeal — just like he posed as backing repeal in 2015. It is a wholly fraudulent position.

Does that mean Tarkanian is the answer? I am doubtful. He is a perennial candidate and my preliminary impression of him is that he has the policy chops of a Donald Trump, which is to say none. He criticized Heller over his opposition to the original House repeal bill, even though that was garbage.

Is Tarkanian the ideal candidate? No.

Will he make Dean Heller’s life miserable? Probably.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

8/7/2017

About That Compelling Google Memo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:24 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Yesterday I read an interesting 10-page memo written by a male engineer at Google. In the memo, which has gone viral, the unnamed writer dissects and challenges the organization’s intellectually restrictive environment and the efforts at “shaming into silence” those with opposing views. In the name of diversity, course. The writer explains:

People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document.[2] Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology. What follows is by no means the complete story, but it’s a perspective that desperately needs to be told at Google.

Fair enough.

In part:

Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.

This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.

The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.

Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression

Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression

Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

As you can imagine, heads are exploding over the suggestion that there might be a difference between men and women. In today’s culture, basic biology is seen as a passé social construct that demands dismissal or correction. So the suggestion that any difference between the sexes might actually exist and have an impact on the numbers of women represented in a particular field, must be wholly rejected. That, coupled with a rigid intolerance of speech (which is determined offensive), becomes utterly predictable and even tedious in its extreme manifestation:

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In the midst of the hysteria (mid 17th century (as an adjective): via Latin from Greek husterikos ‘of the womb,’ from hustera ‘womb’ (hysteria being thought to be specific to women and associated with the womb), Robert Verbruggen offers some simple clarity:

To wit: Men are more likely than women to find it rewarding to work with things rather than people; men are more aggressive and status-seeking than women and thus more likely to climb the corporate ladder and ask for raises; women rate higher on other psychological traits such as anxiety. These differences are all well-documented and will not shock anyone familiar with the research on them. And while there’s some debate about the extent to which these gaps are cultural instead of biological, there’s good evidence that biology does play a role at least some of the time. As the memo’s author writes, gaps like these are found across cultures, and for some of them we’ve identified specific biological underpinnings such as testosterone. The conclusion from this isn’t that Google should abandon the quest for diversity. Instead he (reports indicate it’s not a she) suggests ways of incorporating this information into Google’s efforts, such as making “software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration.”

Then there is this part that addresses Google’s political biases and exposes the heavy-handedness of the authoritarians:

At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.

Left Biases
Compassion for the weak
Disparities are due to injustices
Humans are inherently cooperative
Change is good (unstable)
Open
Idealist

Right Biases
Respect for the strong/authority
Disparities are natural and just
Humans are inherently competitive
Change is dangerous (stable)
Closed
Pragmatic

Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.

Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

For the umpteenth time we see authoritarians reveal their fear of speech, and need to shut it down. Or at the very least, make it conform to an acceptable level of correctness. Also for the umpteenth time, the answer is never to shame any individual into silence. The answer is always more speech.

Anyway, Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity and Governance Danielle Brown responded to the memo:

We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company. Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

Yep. It’s always the pesky little qualifier that does speech in, no?

While Google employees are condemning the memo and calling for the writer of the memo to be fired, others are supportive – or as one employee reluctantly put it, “Honestly, more people have been agreeing with it than I would like.”

And clearly there are Google employees who actually get it:

“Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.”

“The fact that colleagues are calling for him to be fired—on very public forums—proves his point that there is an ideological silo and that dissenting opinions want to be silenced,” the second employee told Motherboard. “Why don’t they debate him on his argument? Because it’s easier to virtue signal by mentioning on a social network how angry and offended you are. Debate and discussion takes time.”

There is a report tonight suggesting that, based upon an internal memo written by CEO Sundar Pichai, the employee who wrote the original memo will be fired. Unnamed sources are claiming that the employee has already been terminated. Google has not confirmed the claim.

–Dana

UPDATE: The employee himself has confirmed he was fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

Trump Attacks Blumenthal Over Vietnam — While ObamaCare Remains Unrepealed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:00 am

Already the John Kelly era has brought a certain calm dignity to the White House. The president now seems to be getting his information presented properly, rather than through television. Best of all, there have been no new Twitter rants. Perhaps this means we have opened a new chapter — one in which the White House concentrates on priorities like tax reform and repealing ObamaC– hello! What’s this?

There he goes again. It’s not the first Twitter rant of the morning, either. (Susan Wright covered the earlier one.)

I think people in the heartland aching for ObamaCare repeal might have a different judgment as to who defrauded voters.

It should be noted: Trump is right about Blumenthal, of course. As the #FAKENEWS!! New York Times reported in 2010, Blumenthal often said things like “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam” and similar breast-beating statements suggesting he had served in the war. But he did not. He received at least five deferments.

So Trump was right. But, speaking of five deferments from Vietnam, Mr. Bone Spurs is not exactly the right person to be making this argument.

Josh Hammer sums it up nicely:

Oh, and by the way? Not that you didn’t already suspect this from the first Trump tweet above, but just to hammer the point home: guess why Trump is talking about Blumenthal today? You guessed it: because Blumenthal was on the teevee.

Blumenthal appeared earlier in the morning on CNN’s “New Day.” During that interview, the senator said he was “concerned” the Department of Justice is “weaponizing” laws after it announced a crackdown on leaks.

So much for the John Kelly era of A New Maturity.

Over the weekend, I had a post titled Trump Is Not The Victim Of A Slow-Rolling Coup; He Is The Victim Of His Own Incompetence. If you missed it, I encourage you to read it now. It’s your friendly reminder that Trump is not addressing ObamaCare; he’s watching teevee and tweeting — and maybe that’s a big part of why he’s failing.

It’s time to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, President Trump’s failure to date has been largely his own fault. Contemptuous of the notion of familiarizing himself with even a superficial level of policy detail, he can’t make the case for ObamaCare repeal the way Obama made the case for the law in the first place. Having created an absurdly chaotic White House by dint of his own lack of discipline and his obsession with television, praise, and his image, Trump is unable to fashion a legislative agenda that garners the votes he needs in Congress.

. . . .

[T]he media and the Deep State did not hold a gun to Trump’s head and tell him: “Do not learn about policy. Do not build a well-functioning White House. Instead, act like a narcissistic dummox. Watch television 24/7, tweet stupid nonsense as often as possible, and do your best to come off like a self-obsessed, amoral buffoon, so that your approval ratings tank and you can’t get anything done.”

Turn off the TV, put down your smartphone, and get to work, Mr. Trump.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

8/6/2017

On That Lawsuit Saying The GOP Is A Racketeering Organization: A Dissenting View

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 2:30 pm

My RedState colleague streiff posted on Friday about a lawsuit filed by a retired attorney (who else?) accusing the GOP of doing THE RICO!!!1! As a reminder, here is a quote from the article streiff cited:

A retired attorney in Virginia Beach is so incensed that Republicans couldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act he’s suing to get political donations back, accusing the GOP of fraud and racketeering.

Bob Heghmann, 70, filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court saying the national and Virginia Republican parties and some GOP leaders raised millions of dollars in campaign funds while knowing they weren’t going to be able to overturn the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

The GOP “has been engaged in a pattern of Racketeering which involves massive fraud perpetrated on Republican voters and contributors as well as some Independents and Democrats,” the suit said. Racketeering, perhaps better known for use in prosecuting organized crime, involves a pattern of illegal behavior by a specific group.

streiff opined:

I think this is inspired and no matter what happens to this lawsuit–and I think a jury should be allowed to hear the case–other Republican lawyers across the nation should do the same. And they should also do it with the ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ bullsh**, too.

The GOP has used ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood to raise tens of millions of dollars with no intention of repealing one and defunding the other, not because the votes can’t be whipped, but because if they actually do those things they will have killed the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg.

I strongly agree with the second paragraph of that quote. I think it is well stated and it is absolutely, positively, 100% correct. (By the way, I would add “repealing Roe v. Wade” among the list of things that the GOP claims as a goal for fundraising purposes, but does not actually want to achieve. More on that some other time.) I do not think it’s going too far to call what the GOP did a “fraud.” That’s strong language (although not so much in today’s rhetorical climate), but in this case it feels apt. The image of Lucy taking the football away from Charlie Brown comes to mind. Republicans promised repeal for seven years. The electorate kept giving them everything they asked for. They never had any intention of delivering. Yes, it was a fraud.

So what’s my problem? Calling it “fraud” does not mean it’s the sort of “fraud” that is actionable in court. And the use of the almost-always-abused RICO statute is the cherry on top. That’s the detail that confirms your suspicion that this lawsuit is insane headline-grabbing B.S. by an attention seeker.

Ken White at Popehat once had a lawsplainer about RICO. The short answer is: it’s never RICO. I’m going to clean up Ken’s language a little bit for our family site, but perceptive readers will easily fill in the blanks:

That’s not what RICO means. RICO is not a [expletive deleted]ing frown emoji. It’s not an exclamation point. It’s not a rhetorical tool to convey you are upset about something. It’s not a petulant foot-stomp.

RICO is a really complicated racketeering law that has elaborate requirements that are difficult to meet. It’s overused by idiot plaintiff lawyers, and it’s ludicrously overused by a hundred million jackasses on the internet with an opinion and a mood disorder.

Ken has a full and detailed explanation of what RICO actually is at the link. Suffice it to say: this is not RICO. This lawsuit is not going anywhere. Might the retired lawyer be able to extract a “go away” settlement? Sure. That happens all the time. Far more often than you may realize, in fact. Will he get the case to a jury, obtain a favorable verdict, and have that verdict upheld on appeal? Absolutely not. There is zero chance of that. None. Zilch. Trust me on this.

And what’s more, like many abuses of process to vindicate interests you agree with, it’s a gun that can be turned around and pointed at you at any time. Imagine a candidate who actually does believe in a bold political idea. Say Senator Mike Lee — who, unlike most GOP politicians, is a man of principle — runs on doing everything he can to reduce the federal debt. But then he fails to turn it around — because, frankly, in today’s climate, it can’t be turned around. Can some clown sue him for fraud?

The bolder your vision, the less likely you are to succeed. If a politician sees that any broken promise (no matter the reason it is broken) can lead to a lawsuit — worse, one that actually makes it past a motion to dismiss — that state of affairs will have an unintended consequence: causing politicians to make fewer bold claims. It is a situation that favors the status quo.

In the end, I think this is similar to that “is it OK to punch a Nazi?” debate that sprang up after that clip of a guy sucker-punching Richard Spencer went viral. In one corner, you had people who hate Nazis and enjoyed seeing one get his comeuppance. In another corner, you had people like me — who also hate Nazis, but believe that sucker-punching people for their speech is a bad idea, and a slippery slope that may result in the other side squelching speech that we want to protect.

I applaud this retired attorney’s argument that the GOP never meant to repeal ObamaCare. I agree with this 100%.

But he should not be suing over it.

Full disclosure: I probably have a different perspective on this from many, because I have actually been on the wrong end of a frivolous lawsuit alleging fraud and RICO violations for simply expressing opinions on the Internet. (I won — thanks for asking! — but it took years.) That sort of experience tends to make a person very, very skeptical about the motives of those who use the courts to make political arguments.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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