Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cruising the Web

David French explains how pernicious Hillary's answer about how everyone has implicit bias meaning that we're bigoted and just don't recognize it unless we have help.
Like many of the most dangerous progressive ideas, “implicit bias” or “unconscious racism” seems reasonable enough at first glance: Aren’t we all shaped by our environment and upbringing to make snap judgments about people? Aren’t those judgments often wrong? Couldn’t we all use exposure to different cultures and ideas to help us get past preconceived notions and casual bigotries? What could be wrong with that?

Indeed, in the debate Monday night, Clinton framed her discussion of “implicit bias” as a malady we all suffer from, telling Lester Holt: “I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police. I think, unfortunately, too many of us in our great country jump to conclusions about each other.”
Hillary argued that we need to spend more money on training the police to recognize their biases.
Wait. What? If we’re all biased, who’s training whom? Let’s be very clear: When it moves from abstract to concrete, all this talk about “implicit bias” gets very sinister, very quickly. It allows radicals to indict entire communities as bigoted, it relieves them of the obligation of actually proving their case, and it allows them to use virtually any negative event as a pretext for enforcing their ideological agenda.
Hillary uses implicit bias to say that the recent police shooting in Tulsa was the result implicit bias.
This is extraordinarily irresponsible. How does Hillary possibly know that Crutcher’s shooting had anything at all to do with race? I don’t recall her being in Tulsa that night. There is no “we” about a police officer’s decision to pull the trigger. So why are we talking about collective guilt?

Ah, but that’s the magic of “implicit bias” and “unconscious racism.” Skepticism of its existence is proof of its existence, and you can just “know” that Crutcher or Philando Castile or Michael Brown or Keith Scott would be alive today if they had been white. In other words, the very existence of the incident proves the racism. The denials of racism prove the racism. And everyone who’s “keeping score” or “gets it” knows the real truth.

Indeed, it is this politicized metaphysical certainty that breeds premature calls for “justice” and for “retraining.” If you don’t believe what the radicals think you should believe, you must be taught to believe something different — on the government’s dime, of course. Hillary wants to fund the retraining, and the NAACP wants to make it mandatory — complete with sanctions if your perceived biases don’t disappear.

How will the thought police know the actual police are biased? If they don’t believe the “right” things. Spend any time on campus, in diversity training, or on progressive websites, and you’ll see that disagreement with leftist cultural critiques is all the proof anyone needs of racism and other forms of bigotry. Evidence, experience, and probabilities are completely irrelevant when it comes time to cleanse the mind of “bias.”

There are those on the Left who simply refuse to look at a case on the facts. They insist that they have knowledge about the inner lives and motivations of the relevant parties that is unknown even to the parties themselves. They use this alleged knowledge to stoke unrest and violate civil liberties. And they have an ally in Hillary Clinton. She’ll fund all the re-education we need.

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The Washington Post looks at how Hillary has responded to Bill's infidelities over the years. Sure, her first response is to attack and blame the women. But they interview friends to talk about how painful every episode has been for her. I'm sure they have. No one wants to have a cheating spouse. But it still is annoying to have her pontificating about how we should always believe the woman. In fact her campaign even altered a line from her website about survivors of sexual assault always having the right to be believed.

Also in the Washington Post is an essay by Robert Shibley, a civil liberties attorney for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, attacking how the Obama administration has directed colleges to treat those accused of sexual assault. It really is horrifying to hear how young men are being denied due process rights in kangaroo-court style hearings that can ruin their lives. It all came about because of a "Dear Colleague" letter from the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights explaining new requirements under Title IX that they totally made up on their own. Colleges have to fear what would happen if they don't comply.
First, it decreed that schools must allow both sides to appeal in a sexual misconduct hearing.

In a criminal trial, even for something as minor as a speeding ticket, once you are found not guilty, the process is over.

This vital protection against double jeopardy is all that prevents a prosecutor from repeatedly trying to get you convicted of a crime and using up years of your life and all of your money in defense....

The second change, which has proved much more controversial, was the requirement that colleges “must use a preponderance of the evidence standard” (a 50.01 percent certainty of guilt) when determining guilt or innocence in sexual misconduct cases.

The Office for Civil Right’s contention appears to be that this lowest standard of proof is required by Title IX regulations that mandate that such a hearing be “prompt and equitable” and that a hearing cannot be equitable unless the burden of proof is as close to 50/50 as possible.

In contrast, the criminal justice system demands the much higher “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard (a 98–99 percent certainty of guilt), and even civil cases that involve significant reputational damage often require the “clear and convincing evidence” standard (an 80–85 percent level of certainty).
So what is now happening on college campuses? The results are horrifying if you have any feeling about how due process should work.
First, colleges decide for themselves who will preside over campus hearings and who will serve as jurors. Such panels frequently include college administrators, whose employment prospects may depend in part on their reaching the conclusion most convenient for the college. Some colleges even appoint a single administrator to serve as both judge and jury.

Most of the time, neither party to the hearings has a right to active participation of counsel. Cross-examination is limited or even forbidden altogether. There’s no guarantee that all the evidence will be shared with both parties — even exculpatory evidence — and the rules of evidence don’t apply anyway, with hearsay and other irrelevant “evidence” regularly considered.

The parties are usually not placed under oath, and consequences for lying are generally nonexistent.

Colleges frequently don’t even record the hearing or explain why they came to their decision.
Shibley asks us to ponder what we would think of such a system in a different context?
If you require further convincing, imagine a black college student being tried for sexual assault using such rules at the University of Alabama in 1965.

Only a madman — or someone utterly blinded by political ideology — would claim that such a system is “equitable.” Yet that is precisely the claim the Office for Civil Rights makes and that it unlawfully imposes on every college in the country.
It's chilling, isn't it? And, of course, this would all continue under a Hillary Clinton administration. Just imagine if our justice system allowed such procedures and Juanita Broaddrick, who alleges that Bill Clinton raped her, had brought her case to authorities? I imagine that Hillary's support for due process in the face of sexual assault allegations would suddenly have taken a different turn.

Granted that there is a difference between being expelled from a university and charged with a criminal act, but why should our federal government be instructing colleges to lower their standards of proof for any serious allegation? Why don't they instead encourage colleges to turn charges of criminal behavior such as sexual assault over to the legal authorities? If a male student did indeed rape a female student, why isn't that being handled by the police?

Monday night's debate might have been the most-watched in presidential campaign history, but I found this factoid rather startling.
The debate averaged 80.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen, across the 12 channels that carried it live.

That barely beats the previous record, 80.6 million viewers, set by the only debate in 1980 between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

For the 2016 debate, 80.9 million viewers translates to roughly one in four Americans. In 1980, 80.6 million viewers would have been more than one in three Americans.
Who would have thought that Carter and Reagan would have attracted a bigger proportion of the population than Trump and Hillary. Of course, there was only debate in 1980 and it happened late in the campaign calendar because Carter had resisted debating Reagan.

Ah, those were the days, when Reagan could look at the audience and ask, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" and basically win the election right there.

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As David Harsanyi writes, nothing that FBI director James Comey said about the Clinton investigation and how they gave immunity to her aides makes any sense.
FBI Director James Comey, who testified in front of two congressional committees this week, still maintains he was unable to recommend that the Justice Department charge Clinton with mishandling classified documents because of insufficient evidence proving “intent” — although the actions themselves are irrefutably illegal.

Well, how exactly did he anticipate gathering this proof when the Justice Department had proactively shielded the five people tasked with setting up the private system and then destroying it? Was he hoping to extract a confession directly from Hillary?

Why would, for instance, a Clinton functionary like Cheryl Mills help prosecutors once she’d already secured safeguards against any criminal prosecution? While testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Comey claimed Mills was already “cooperative” and the Justice Department had assured the FBI she had done nothing wrong. Hence the deal.

If she was accommodating and completely innocent, why would she seek, and be given, immunity? A lawyer for Mills and Heather Samuelson had already admitted the deal was struck to protect her clients from potential prosecution arising from “classification” on their laptops. Apparently, the Justice Department was more convinced of their innocence than their lawyer was.

In the FBI’s summary statement, Mills alleged she didn’t know about Hillary’s email server until after the secretary of State’s tenure was over. Emails since uncovered, however, show this to be untrue. Remember also that President Obama claimed he first learned about Clinton’s illegal server through “news reports?” If that’s true, why did he email Clinton on her private server under a pseudonym?

Comey admitted Wednesday that one of Hillary’s lawyers — “it might have been Cheryl Mills” — told Paul Combetta to delete e-mail files from Clinton’s secret server only days after Congress ordered them to be preserved. The FBI director assures us that none of this is obstruction of justice. (Rep. Darrell Issa, incidentally, also revealed that one of the deals — he did not mention which — included immunity, not only for a transaction, but for “destruction” of material.)

Then, at another point, Comey told the committee that the Justice Department agreed to immunity because the FBI didn’t feel like wrangling with lawyers for years. “The FBI judgment was we need to get to that laptop. We need to see what it is,” he explained. “This investigation’s been going on for a year.” So I guess Mills was less than cooperative, yes?

And why is Comey, who doesn’t “give a hoot about politics,” concerned about timetables rather than making the best case? If the laptop was important enough to hasten a deal that protected a potential witness from prosecution, why wasn’t it important enough for the FBI to subpoena? If Mills’ lawyer is worried about potential criminality, why take a plea bargain off the table? Is this how it works for everyone?

....It was also “very unusual,” according to Comey, that the FBI would conduct an interview with the target of an investigation — where wholly innocent Hillary Clinton was surrounded by nine lawyers — with two of the immunized witnesses in the case present. That’s something Comey admitted had never happened in his career.

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Peter Beinart, no conservative, correctly diagnoses one element of Trump'snon-conservatism. Beinart goes through recent Republican presidents and leaders and how they have all stressed the importance of self-reliance.
Since the birth of “fusionism” in the 1950s, America’s most prominent conservative thinkers and politicians have called for both reducing government’s power over the individual and strengthening traditional morality. They’ve squared that circle by emphasizing personal responsibility. Don’t use government to force people to take care of each other, conservatives have argued, since that threatens freedom. Don’t force people to hand over large swaths of money to Washington, which then doles it out to the poor. Instead, encourage them to look out for one another voluntarily, without the coercion of the state. Inculcate the moral character that leads people to take responsibility for their families and communities. In the 1980s, George Will called this “Statecraft as Soulcraft,” and Republican presidential candidates have been preaching it ever since.
However, Trump is totally unmoored from such soulcraft.
Donald Trump never talks this way. In his presidential announcement speech, he never mentioned “morality” or “responsibility” or “community.” The only family he mentioned was his own.

In his acceptance speech this summer, talked about “chaos in our communities … communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals” and “the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens … communities.” But he never offered an example of a community banding together to solve problems. He never offered an example of an individual taking moral responsibility for his family or his neighbors.

The contrast is particularly stark when Trump talks about African Americans. For decades, conservatives have placed the primary blame for inner-city poverty on the decline of the two-parent family. To be sure, they’ve also argued for tougher crime laws and for abolishing the taxation and regulation that inhibits black entrepreneurship. But the root of the problem, they’ve argued, is moral breakdown. And they’ve consistently valorized the mothers, fathers, churches, and neighborhood-watch groups that seek to redress it.

Trump, by contrast, rarely talks about the importance of people helping one another. In his speeches, civil society doesn’t exist.
He doesn't seem to have any moral principles that have guided him throughout his life. Instead, he seems proud of doing whatever possible to make money.
Trump, by contrast, argued on Monday night that businessmen like himself can do whatever it takes to get rich, so long as they don’t violate the law. He essentially rejected the proposition that people should live by a moral code that goes beyond what is mandated by the state. And he discussed the country as a whole the same way. While George W. Bush saw “faith-based communities” as the answer to urban blight, Trump’s answer is stop and frisk. While Ryan praised his neighbors in Janesville for helping each other after a GM plant closed, Trump’s answer is for the president to force GM to stay. For more than a half century, conservatives have put families and communities at the center of their conception of a better America. For Trump, by contrast, the heroes are self-interested businessmen and a brutally powerful state. Profit is good; law is good; culture doesn’t matter.

It’s no coincidence that Republicans have nominated such a man at a time when working-class white Americans are suffering much of the familial and communal breakdown previously associated with African Americans. (And that Trump is doing poorly in Utah, a conservative state where social capital is unusually high). It’s easier to lecture people when you’re not trying to win their votes. Trump hasn’t told blue collar white Americans to stay married, go to church, and get off drugs. He’s told them that he’ll protect them from Chinese workers by preventing companies from relocating, protect them from violent African Americans by imposing law and order, protect them from terrorism by banning Muslims from entering the United States, and protect them from Mexican immigrants by building a wall.

Maybe it’s because Trump doesn’t emphasize moral responsibility in his own work and family life that this message comes so naturally to him. The fact that it has proven so appealing to so many Republicans shows how weak conservatism’s traditional message now is, even in the precincts where it was thought to be strong.
As a conservative who believes in that message, it's so discouraging to see the Republican Party abandon such principles. My only hope is that there will be a return to traditional conservatism if Trump, as I continue to expect, loses to Hillary in what should have been a very winnable election. Meanwhile, I'll torture myself with visions of what it would have been like with almost any Republican candidate on that debate stage with Hillary. I've been thinking today what Carly Fiorina could have done with Hillary there. It would have been a thing of beauty. Sure, Carly would have been vulnerable on her record and lack of political victories, but she could have returned fire with pinpoint accuracy. For sure, she wouldn't have allowed Hillary to escape a question about cybersecurity go by without eviscerating Hillary's violations of national security.

Rich Lowry rightly diagnoses one of Trump's main weaknesses. He refuses to ever admit that he has been wrong. So he can't just apologize and get beyond his past mistakes.
One of Trump’s rocky moments toward the end of the debate was his answer on birtherism. It makes no sense for Trump to reach out to African-Americans in the hopes of getting a small increment of additional black voters — and showing suburban voters that he’s not a Neanderthal — at the same time he concocts a defense of his obsession with birtherism that is very likely going to be offensive to those same voters. The root of the contradiction is Trump’s unwillingness to admit error. If he didn’t have this aversion, he could button-up the birther controversy by saying, “Yes, I had these suspicions. I now realize I was wrong and I’m sorry if I offended anyone.” That takes about three seconds to say and he could revert to that reply whenever the topic — not an especially pressing issue in this election — comes up and be done with it. But this avenue is closed off to Trump. No one wants to be, or should be, in a defensive crouch all the time, but sometimes a mea culpa can actually get you off your back foot.
He could have listened to Hillary's answer on her emails during the debate as a model of how to apologize and pivot. But he won't do that. He won't stop trying to defend indefensible remarks until he becomes even more offensive. And then he'll continue talking about the subject and return to it over and over afterwards. He's his own worst enemy. And there is no reason to think he can change for the next debate if he can't acknowledge his current lack of debate strategy was at fault in the first place. He can vow to be tougher with Hillary at the next debate, but that debate is a townhall which requires a different sort of affect than the debate from this week. And Donald Trump hasn't demonstrated the ability to dial down while still making cogent points.

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M.G. Miles at Those Who Can See blog has an interesting post in response to modern outrage over bigoted comments from historical figures. Miles goes through a slew of figures who are admired today and racist or bigoted comments or actions that they had made in the past. If we started excommunicating people like Benjamin Franklin, John F. Kennedy, Jack London, Gandhi, or Ralph Waldo Emerson, we'll soon not be able to respect anyone from the past because, as Miles writes,
If they start subjecting each historical figure to the 'didn't say anything that offends me today' test, they are in for some sore and cruel disappointment.

We at TWCS would very much like to help them. First, by acquainting them with the fact that the past was, indeed, a real-talking country.