PowerLine -> Is the Times a law unto itself? And, The Week in Pictures: White House Daze Edition

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PowerLine -> Is the Times a law unto itself? And, The Week in Pictures: White House Daze Edition

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Civil War on the Left, Part 46: Googly Bits Fall Off

Posted: 05 Aug 2017 04:30 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)One of my theories about the hollow and politically-correct liberalism of the tech oligarchs in Silicon Valley is that it is simply the new face of assuaging their own liberal guilt at piling up such huge fortunes so rapidly. I heard a report last year about Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt being challenged about his support for Hillary Clinton, and his reply was that Silicon Valley opposes government control of either the bedroom or the boardroom. Seriously? He’s going to go with that?

The high tech industry runs on brains, and keenly feel their lack of “diversity” that finds it overwhelmingly male, and disproportionately Asian in its workforce. So naturally, most of the Silicon Valley giants make a big splash of their commitment to “diversity,” and take steps like Lyft did recently in adding Valerie Jarrett to its board of directors.

Right now a memo from a Google engineer complaining about the political correctness of Google’s diversity culture has gone viral. Gizmodo has a complete copy of the ten-page memo. Here are some highlights:

  • 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.

This is just a warmup. From here the author really steps in it:

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. . .

At Google, we’re regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it’s far from the whole story.

On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed because:

  • They’re universal across human cultures

  • They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone

  • Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males

  • The underlying traits are highly heritable

  • They’re exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective

Note, I’m not saying that all men differ from women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

I guess this fellow never heard about what happened to Larry Summers when he voiced something like this at Harvard.

Prediction: The identity of this engineer will be discovered, and he’ll be an ex-Google engineer by the end of the same day.

Read the whole thing if you have time.


The Story Behind the Roto-Broil 400

Posted: 05 Aug 2017 02:21 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)Burnt Toast is a podcast about food. I normally wouldn’t hear it, but my wife urged me to listen to this episode. Burnt Toast had done a podcast on the Roto-Broil 400, one of the premier kitchen devices of the early 1960s. The Roto-Broil remains a cult item that is still in use in some homes.

After that podcast, the producer received a message that led to a follow-up, which was the show my wife wanted me to hear. The message came from the son-in-law of the Roto-Broil’s inventor, Leon Klinghoffer. Klinghoffer’s two daughters are guests on the podcast. They delightfully recount their father’s life as a hardware store owner, inventor, and entrepreneur. Here it is:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/ed-assets/2017/08/Part-II_-Meet-the-Inventor-of-the-Roto-Broil-400-1.mp3Klinghoffer’s murder by Islamic terrorists is discussed at the end of the interview, but no one should be remembered only for the manner of his death. This interview is a nice tribute to Leon Klinghoffer, as his family knew him.


This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Searching the Damond investigation

Posted: 05 Aug 2017 07:51 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)The shooting of Justine Damond by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor is under investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. When the investigation is complete, the BCA’s file will be turned over to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman for possible prosecution. This week I sought to update the case through correspondence with the BCA. They’re still working on it; they’ll get back to us when they’re done.

My update wasn’t much, but it elicited a message from Power Line reader Mike McDaniel. Mike has been following the case from a distance at Stately McDaniel Manor. This morning, in his most recent post, Mike observes that he has been alerted to the accessible online versions of the two search warrants obtained by the BCA telephonically in the early morning hours immediately following Ms. Damond’s killing.

News reports have noted the existence of the warrants. The warrants have frequently been quoted in news reports. To my knowledge, however, the reports have omitted copies of the warrants themselves.

The search warrants are posted on Scribd here (to search the alley where Ms. Damond was killed) and here (to search the Damonds’ home).

In the linked post, Mike reviews the search warrants. He notes their formulaic quality. He observes some peculiarities. They are both interesting and worth a look. Among other things, the alley warrant is notable for the narrative circumlocution “the female became deceased[.]”

As posted, both warrants include the “return,” i.e., the officer’s account of what was found. He notes that the return on the alley warrant is vague as to the number of shell “cartride(s)” found.

He finds the warrant for the search of the Damonds’ home mystifying. The warrants omit the BCA agents’ time of arrival on the scene. At least I can’t find it. I think their time of arrival must have been later than Mike assumes in some of his comments.

Mike infers from this warrant that the officers were on a “fishing expedition.” The return on this warrant notes that nothing was taken. I would guess that means that nothing was found. This warrant, in particular, adds another mysterious element to a case that already challenges understanding.


Is the Times a law unto itself?

Posted: 05 Aug 2017 06:06 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Yesterday on FOX News Special Report, Chris Wallace led a panel discussion of Attorney General Sessions’ press conference announcing the Trump administration’s efforts to suppress leaks of classified information. Video of the segment is below.

In the course of the segment, Charles Krauthammer addresses the applicable law in a manner that is extremely misleading. This is what he had to say on the legal issues (my transcription):

I thought we adjudicated this in Watergate days. We have an odd system but it is a traditional one where if there is an unauthorized leak of classified information — it’s illegal — the person who goes to jail is the leaker and not the receiver [i.e., the reporter]. We do want to have some protection for the First Amendment simply because we believe that the press needs to have protections even if some of them are unwarranted on the face of it because of the larger issue of having a free press and not being subject to prosecution. I think this is a losing proposition. I think in the end the Supreme Court will likely rule as it did 30 or 40 years ago and uphold the prerogatives of the press.

James Risen and the New York Times are the ne plus ultra of the alleged immunity that Krauthammer imputes to the press under the First Amendment. Recall, for example, the Bush administration’s ultimately futile plea on bended knee to Times managing editor Bill Keller et al. not to blow the National Security Agency’s terrorist eavesdropping program. After sitting on the story for 13 months, the Times published the story by Risen and Eric Lichtblau on December 16, 2005. Lichtblau subsequently recounted his version of the meeting here.

On its face, the story violated the Espionage Act and assisted al Qaeda. Risen and Lichtblaue were nevertheless rewarded with the Pulitzer Prize for their treachery.

Late last year, Risen returned to the subject of the press’s prerogatives in the Times column “If Donald Trump targets journalists, thank Obama.” Risen still seethes over the Obama administration’s efforts to secure his testimony in the prosecution of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

Paul and I wrote about Risen’s role in the case many times, as in my posts “Risen rules” and “Lessons of the Risen case.” Risen thinks he has a First Amendment right to protect his sources from disclosure in a bona fide criminal prosecution. Pro tip: the courts do not agree, at least not yet. As I say, Risen presents the ne plus ultra of the Krauthammer version of the law here.

Are the press immune from the Espionage Act and the accomplice liability provisions of federal law? Is the New York Times a law unto itself? Are we really to live at the mercy of the judgment of the New York Times in the gravest matters of national security? This seems to me the question raised by the Times’s publication of Risen and Lichtblau’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story and similar stories before and after.

Krauthammer cites the adjudication of the issue “in Watergate days.” In doing so, he must be referring to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Pentagon Papers case, but Krauthammer’s account of it errs. In New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971)(“the Pentagon Papers case”), the Supreme Court held that it was presumptively unconstitutional for the government to restrain the publication of classified information. In separate opinions concurring with or dissenting from the order allowing the Times to continue publication of its Pentagon Papers stories, however, a majority of the justices contemplated that the Times could be held responsible for any violation of the law involved in publishing the stories.

Indeed, in their concurring opinions, Justices Douglas and White cited and discussed the Espionage Act’s section 798 as the prototype of a law that could be enforced against a newspaper following the publication of information falling within the ambit of the statute. Justice White noted, for example:

The Criminal Code contains numerous provisions potentially relevant to these cases [against the Times and the Washington Post.] Section 797 makes it a crime to publish certain photographs or drawings of military installations. Section 798, also in precise language, proscribes knowing and willful publication of any classified information concerning the cryptographic systems or communication intelligence activities of the United States as well as any information obtained from communication intelligence operations. If any of the material here at issue is of this nature, the newspapers are presumably now on full notice of the position of the United States and must face the consequences if they publish. I would have no difficulty in sustaining convictions under these sections on facts that would not justify the intervention of equity and the imposition of a prior restraint. . . .

It is thus clear that Congress has addressed itself to the problems of protecting the security of the country and the national defense from unauthorized disclosure of potentially damaging information. It has not, however, authorized the injunctive remedy against threatened publication. It has apparently been satisfied to rely on criminal sanctions and their deterrent effect on the responsible as well as the irresponsible press. I am not, of course, saying that either of these newspapers has yet committed a crime or that either would commit a crime if it published all the material now in its possession. That matter must await resolution in the context of a criminal proceeding if one is instituted by the United States. In that event, the issue of guilt or innocence would be determined by procedures and standards quite different from those that have purported to govern these injunctive proceedings [to restrain publication].

While prior restraint is essentially prohibited, post-publication criminal responsibility is not. Five of the nine justices (White, Stewart, Blackmun, Burger, and Harlan) would have approved of criminal prosecution of the newspaper defendants in the Pentagon Papers case, even though a majority would not authorize a pre-publication injunction. Justice Marshall’s concurring opinion is also consistent with White’s analysis.

I conclude that the Times was not immune from criminal liability for violation of the federal espionage laws under the Pentagon Papers case. Gabriel Schoenfeld takes an illuminating look back at the case in his National Affairs essay “Rethinking the Pentagon Papers,”adapted from Necessary Secrets, his excellent book on the larger subject.


The Week in Pictures: White House Daze Edition

Posted: 05 Aug 2017 04:26 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)I think I’ve figured out Trump’s secret strategy. This 71-year old energizer bunny of a Tweethead is simply going to wear out the opposition (i.e., the media and senescent Democrats). He won’t need to drain the swamp: it is going to evaporate into its own self-generated white heat. No wonder he has that mischievous grin so often. Now, if only the GOP Congress could figure it out. . .

Headlines of the week:And finally. . . I think the 45 in this pic might be fake:


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