PowerLine -> John Hinderaker Why Normal Americans Hate the “Elites” – he situational doggedness of Jim Acosta

Powerline John Hinderaker at HoaxAndChange

PowerLine -> John Hinderaker Why Normal Americans Hate the “Elites” – he situational doggedness of Jim Acosta

Powerline John Hinderaker at HoaxAndChange

Powerline John Hinderaker at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest


  • Why Normal Americans Hate the “Elites”
  • The situational doggedness of Jim Acosta
  • College Suicide Hotline Update
  • The Latest on Keith Ellison’s Domestic Abuse Story [Updated]
  • And Ohr
Why Normal Americans Hate the “Elites”

Posted: 12 Aug 2018 04:53 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)These are three news stories that came to my attention over the last 24 hours. I think they tell us a lot about the current, degraded state of public life in America.

First, the Boston Globe organizes a media protest against the Trump administration’s “assault on the press.”

The Boston Globe has been contacting newspaper editorial boards and proposing a “coordinated response” to President Trump’s escalating “enemy of the people” rhetoric.

“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe said in its pitch to fellow papers.
***
As of Saturday, “we have more than 100 publications signed up, and I expect that number to grow in the coming days,” Marjorie Pritchard, the Globe’s deputy editorial page editor, told CNN.

The American Society of News Editors, the New England Newspaper and Press Association and other groups have helped her spread the word.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Pritchard said. “We have some big newspapers, but the majority are from smaller markets, all enthusiastic about standing up to Trump’s assault on journalism.”

Personally, I am more unhappy about the press’s assault on President Trump than about President Trump’s assault on the press. To listen to our heroic journalists, you might think that Trump is sending secret policemen to cart them off to prison.

No such thing, of course. Rather, Trump is saying things about left-wing press outlets that are nowhere near as nasty as what they have been saying about him since before his inauguration. Democratic Party journalists declared war on the president, and they now pretend that his fighting back is somehow an infringement of their rights. Boo freaking hoo.

Next, on a similar theme, we hear from Dani Rodrik, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Rodrik is concerned lest educational institutions “normalize” historically low unemployment, steady wage increases, and a pro-America foreign policy:

The Trump administration confronts universities with a serious dilemma. On one hand, universities must be open to diverse viewpoints, including those that conflict with mainstream opinion or may seem threatening to specific groups. …

On the other hand, there is the danger of normalizing and legitimizing what can only be described as an odious presidency.

It requires a peculiar sense of self-worth to think that your approval is needed to legitimize a president who was elected by the American people. Left-wing academics may think that ordinary Americans don’t notice their arrogance, but they are mistaken.

How, exactly, does Rodrik propose to avoid “normalizing” and “legitimizing” a Republican president? Academic institutions should have nothing to do with anyone who serves in the administration, just as restaurants shouldn’t serve them:

Those who serve with him are necessarily tainted by the experience. Trump’s close associates and political appointees are his enablers….

The stain extends beyond political operatives and covers economic policymakers as well. Trump’s cabinet members and high-level appointees share collective responsibility for propping up a shameful presidency. They deserve opprobrium not merely because they hold cranky views on, say, the trade deficit or economic relations with China, but also, and more importantly, because their continued service makes them fully complicit in Trump’s behavior.

Then again, they have “enabled” millions of Americans to go back to work at higher wages. And they have helped Trump to stand up to countries like China, which have fleeced U.S. companies of intellectual property for years with no effective response from prior administrations. But how, exactly, are educational institutions to avoid “normalizing” or “legitimizing” success?

Trump’s immediate circle and senior appointees…should not be accorded the degree of respect or deference that their seniority and government positions would normally merit. We do not, after all, have a normal administration that can be served honorably.

This means no honorific titles (fellow, senior fellow), no named lectures, no keynote speeches headlining conferences or events. While individual faculty members and student groups should be free to invite Trump appointees to speak on campus, as a rule such invitations should not be issued by senior university officers. And lectures and presentations should always provide an opportunity for vigorous questioning and debate.

No honorific titles? No named lectures? No keynote speeches? Invitations to speak delivered by underlings? The horror! My friends will attest that I am not normally a profane person, but I join a large majority of Americans in saying, f*** you, a**hole.

Finally, we come to–who else?–the New York Times. The Times was one of several media outlets that, in their eagerness to find ammunition that Senate Democrats might use to torpedo Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, submitted public records requests to get dirt on his wife, because she happens to work for a public entity as the town manager of Chevy Chase, Maryland.

I criticized this tactic in New York Times Targets Kavanaugh’s Wife. Others did as well. I published this Times email with a list of “keywords” for which the paper wanted the City of Chevy Chase to search Mrs. Kavanaugh’s emails:

Now the Times has seen fit to respond to me and its other critics while reporting on the failure of its investigation of Mrs. Kavanaugh:

In the case of Mr. Kavanaugh, The Times requested records under Maryland’s public records law from Chevy Chase Section 5, where the nominee’s wife, Ashley, serves as town manager.

We sought email records involving Judge Kavanaugh and communications that referenced hot-button topics. We believed that the records, if they existed, could provide a unique and personalized view into the nominee.

Fortunately, the Times didn’t have the standing to get a subpoena covering the Kavanaugh’s bedroom, or they surely would have used it to acquire “a unique and personalized view into the nominee.” Just like they did when Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were nominated to the Court.

Sadly, the Times admits that this phase of its anti-Kavanaugh effort came to naught:

Ultimately, our request yielded 85 pages of emails, none of which provided any substantive insights into Mr. Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy. Instead, the records were largely what you would expect from a town manager’s email account — mundane dispatches about town business, from snow removals to local newsletters.

Heh. No surprise there. But, as the Times concludes, “we had to try.” Sure: when there is a risk that a judge who will actually read the Constitution and federal laws and apply them objectively might be confirmed, the Times has to try. Anything goes.

You could assemble stories like these pretty much any day of the week. But when I read them together, I thought they were a stark example of how malignant America’s self-appointed “elites” are, even though, as we never tire of pointing out, they are anything but elite. In fact, they are below average. Which is why most Americans rightly don’t think much of them.

  

The situational doggedness of Jim Acosta

Posted: 12 Aug 2018 02:47 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff) Decades ago, after Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn took up residence in the United States, he noted that some of the same journalists he now observed behaving so rudely toward government officials in American had acted like pussycats when they were assigned to the Soviet Union. His comment, though very likely true, may have been a bit harsh.

The fact that a journalist isn’t prepared to risk his freedom in a foreign country shouldn’t stop him from being tough on officials in their own free country. On the other hand, a journalist who is hyper-aggressive with officials at home shouldn’t grovel before foreign ones. Stay out of jail, yes. Suck up, no. Defer, not unless the alternatives are too dangerous.

Solzhenitsyn’s comment came to mind when I read this piece about Jim Acosta by Humberto Fontova. He writes:

If CNN’s Jim Acosta spoke to the mass-murdering Stalinist dictator Raul Castro with half the insolence he sputters at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who could blame him?

After all, Jim Acosta’s father fled Stalinist Cuba as an 11 year- old, while Raul Castro destroyed his homeland and shattered his family, same as the Castros — through mass-executions, mass-jailings, mass larceny and exile–shattered practically every family in Cuba.

But no. While addressing the mass-murdering Cuban dictator Jim Acosta’s nervous brownnosing outdid both Eddie Haskell upon his every greeting of June Cleaver and The Scarecrow’s upon meeting the Wizard of Oz.

Here is the exchange between Acosta and Castro to which Fontova refers:

Jim Acosta: Gracias, President Castro. Thank you, President Castro, for your hospitality here in Havana. I wanted to know, please sir, if you have Cuban political prisoners and why you don’t release them.

Raul Castro: Well, give me a list of the political prisoners and I will release them immediately. Just mention the list. What political prisoners? Give me a name or names or when — after this meeting is over, you can give me a list of political prisoners, and if we have those political prisoners, they will be released before tonight ends.

If he had received this answer from Sarah Sanders or President Trump, Acosta would have insisted on following up, yelling out his questions if necessary — e.g., “Are you seriously denying that your government holds political prisoner?” Instead, according to Fontova, Acosta murmured another “thank you” and sat down.

Did Acosta follow up on Castro’s offer to receive a list of political prisoners and release them? Not as far as I can tell, though such lists are readily available. (If I learn that Acosta provided a list, I will gladly correct this portion of the post).

Would Acosta have risked anything had he pressed Raul Castro? I suppose so. In the context of a session with President Obama and the warming of U.S.-Cuban relations, Acosta wouldn’t have been whisked off to prison. However, the Cuban government could have retaliated in other ways against Acosta and/or his network. It could have taken his journalist visa or even closed CNN’s Havana operation (though, again, this seems unlikely because it would have blown the thaw in relations the Cubans wanted).

A courageous journalist would have taken these risks, which also carried risks for Cuba, rather than being shamelessly lied to. But Acosta’s courage and journalistic integrity, on full display at the White House Easter Egg Roll, doesn’t apply to real tyrants.

Thus, I think the title of Fontova’s article is fair: “Jim Acosta: Roaring Lion to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Purring Kitty to Raul Castro.”

  

College Suicide Hotline Update

Posted: 12 Aug 2018 12:48 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward) I wrote here a couple weeks ago about my running theme (perhaps to be a book) about what I’m calling the “suicide of the university,” where declining enrollment and the excessive politicization of the social sciences and humanities will destroy many smaller and second-tier schools. My most recent post looked at politically-correct Earlham College, which is slowly eating its endowment to keep going, along with the data of the plummeting student interest in the increasingly inhumane “humanities” on offer at too many colleges today.

Today’s Boston Globe reported yesterday that many small colleges in New England are in dire straits and may not survive long-term:

Financial conditions are deteriorating at many of New England’s quintessential small private colleges, with tuition revenue failing to keep up with expenses at more than half of the schools, a Globe review shows.

The review of federal data found a number of financial warning signs at many of the schools, which have become increasingly reliant on tuition, even as enrollment has declined.

The College of St. Joseph in Vermont, for example, relies on tuition for 90 percent of its revenue, but the tuition covers just 58 percent of the school’s annual expenses. At Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, tuition makes up 77 percent of the school’s revenue but covers just 65 percent of its expenses. At Newbury College in Brookline, enrollment has declined 24 percent over a five-year period, but it depends on tuition for 74 percent of its revenue.

These findings echo a national trend. Two reports issued recently by national credit rating agencies forecast more troubles for small schools as the gap between their revenue and expenses widens. Moody’s found in July that one in five small private colleges nationwide is under fundamental stress. It predicted more are likely to close or merge in the coming years.

I wonder how many of these institutions have jumped on the environmental “sustainability” bandwagon without noticing the irony?

And then there’s this telling but entirely predictable detail:

Many schools are restructuring their curriculum to attract students. Colby-Sawyer recently eliminated its English and philosophy majors in an attempt to shift toward majors like nursing and business that students see as more likely to guarantee them a job.

Well, this is sort of redundant, given that many English departments have essentially self-abolished already, by becoming departments of current political ideology instead of literature, so who will notice? This is all of a piece with my theme that colleges and universities will shift more deliberately toward STEM fields and other practical disciplines—essentially they will become trade schools. The ones that survive, that is.

Postscript: I’m actually en route home today from visiting Grove City College in northwestern Pennsylvania, where I attended a regional meeting of the National Association of Scholars. Grove City, like Hillsdale, doesn’t take a dime of federal money, and actually teaches something. And guess what: it is thriving, like Hillsdale with applications and enrollment increases. I wonder if any other colleges will ever look to figure out what they’re doing right.

  

The Latest on Keith Ellison’s Domestic Abuse Story [Updated]

Posted: 12 Aug 2018 12:18 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker) Congressman, Deputy DNC Chairman and candidate for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has finally responded to the domestic abuse allegation by former girlfriend Karen Monahan:

.@keithellison categorically denies #MeToo  assault allegations leveled against him by former girlfriend, allegations surfaced 2 days before critical primary in which Ellison faces competitive run for Mn Attorney General after giving up safe US House seat @wcco will have details pic.twitter.com/FRjGEKzSFU

— esme murphy (@esmemurphy) August 12, 2018

Note how Ellison focuses on the video that Monahan’s son, who broke the story on Facebook, claims to have. That is the strangest aspect of Austin Monahan’s story; it is hard to see how a video of Ellison abusing Monahan would have been filmed. Ellison’s strategy, perhaps, will be to focus on the non-existent video and try to sidestep the actual allegation.

Good luck with that. More to come.

UPDATE: The Minneapolis Star Tribune has weighed in with a news story that is pro-Ellison. It highlights his denial, quotes Ellison’s ex-wife Kim who vouches for his character, and, most important, raises questions about the evidence supporting Monahan’s claims that her son claims to have seen:

A Star Tribune reporter went to Karen Monahan’s apartment on Sunday, and spoke through a call-box to a woman who said yes when asked if she was Karen. She said she was not ready to talk to and is focused on her kids and family at this moment. “This is a really difficult time,” she said.
***
Austin Aslim Monahan said in an interview Saturday night that he is not in possession of the video he said he saw in 2017. He stood by the veracity of his Facebook post.
***
A search of court records finds no report of any incidents between Monahan and Ellison. Monahan, who is an organizer for the Sierra Club, has made numerous Twitter posts in recent weeks about being in an abusive relationship, and more broadly about the MeToo movement; but before Saturday, she never identified Ellison in those posts.

Minnesota Public Radio News reported Sunday that it had reviewed more than 100 texts and Twitter messages between Ellison and Monahan, that she provided to the station. None included any evidence of the alleged abuse, according to the report, characterizing some as friendly and others as more combative.

Of course, in most #MeToo cases there are no corroborating videos, text messages and so on. It will be interesting to see what Minnesota’s Democrats make of this story; we should know in about 48 hours.

One more thing: as in many other states, early voting has become common in Minnesota. Undoubtedly there are Minnesota Democrats who cast early ballots for Keith Ellison and now wish they could recall them. Early voting is, I think, pernicious and should be resisted and rolled back.

MORE: MPR News also has a story on the domestic assault allegation. Its tenor is similar to that of the Star Tribune article. It adds the fact that more than 100,000 votes have already been cast in advance of Tuesday’s primary election.

STILL MORE: Ms. Monahan is tweeting about the controversy here. She posted a text exchange between Ellison and herself that does not specifically refer to domestic abuse but certainly hints at it. It is also now clear that a succession of tweets about domestic abuse, #MeToo, etc. over the past several months included references to Ellison, although she did not name him. Things like this:

the misogyny and cheating put mine and several other women’s health at risk. Three different people in a 2 week time span, sending us the exact same recycled text, one after another. I was so scared for my health. He put us all at risk. He felt entitled and had no remorse

— Karen Monahan (@KarenMonahan01) August 6, 2018

  

And Ohr

Posted: 12 Aug 2018 09:04 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson) Devin Nunes called in to speak from the Republic of Georgia to speak with Maria Bartiromo on the Fox News Sunday Morning Futures show this morning. The interview previews the testimony of former United States associate deputy attorney general regarding his communications with Christopher Steele after the FBI had supposedly terminated its relationship with him. John Solomon and Byron York have covered the latest revelations regarding Ohr’s involvement in the operation run by the Obama administration against Donald Trump. We have learned much, but it is unbelievable how much remains hidden below the surface.

  

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