Friday, September 08, 2017

Cruising the Web

Hillary Clinton has found another group of people to blame for her loss - women.
Hiillary Clinton has added another name her long list of grievances about those who cost her the election, this time singling out energized anti-Trump women marchers for failing to deliver before her historic loss.

Clinton referenced the throngs of protesters who took the streets of Washington and other cities in a Women's march shortly after his election. But her thoughts moved from the calls to resistance to the Trump agenda to why they hadn't summoned that same passion for her own campaign.

'I couldn’t help but ask where those feelings of solidarity, outrage and passion had been during the election,' Clinton writes in her new memoir, 'What Happened.'
And she's angry at Matt Lauer for daring to ask about her private server and the ensuing scandal.
Clinton also goes after NBC's 'Today Show' host Matt Lauer for his handling of a presidential forum, conducted on the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York last September.
She writes that she was 'ticked off' and 'almost physically sick' by Lauer's persistent focus on her email scandal.
'Lauer had turned what should have been a serious discussion into a pointless ambush,' she vented.
Politico reports on the anger that some Democrats are feeling that Hillary Clinton is back in the news again as she stumps for her book.
Democratic operatives can’t stand the thought of her picking the scabs of 2016, again — the Bernie Sanders divide, the Jim Comey complaints, the casting blame on Barack Obama for not speaking out more on Russia. Alums of her Brooklyn headquarters who were miserable even when they thought she was winning tend to greet the topic with, “Oh, God,” “I can’t handle it,” and “the final torture.”

Political reporters gripe privately (and on Twitter) about yet another return to the campaign that will never end. Campaign operatives don't want the distraction, just as they head into another election season. And members of Congress from both parties want the focus on an agenda that’s getting more complicated by the week.

But with a new NBC News poll showing her approval rating at 30 percent, the lowest recorded for her, Clinton kicks it off on Tuesday with a signing at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York. She’ll keep it going all the way through December, all across the country.
I'm not sure who all the people are who want to go see her and buy her book, but I can't help agreeing with these Democrats that her book tour will be an unwelcome distraction as they gear up to try to retake the House and Senate in 2018. And her presence back on the national stage is a reminder of how really unlikeable a candidate she was. She was probably the one Democratic politician who could have lost to Donald Trump and that's got to be a hard thing for her to live with.

Bernie Sanders is not impressed with Hillary's attempts to put any of the blame for her loss on him.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) mocked Hillary Clinton Thursday night on MSNBC after being questioned about a passage from Clinton's upcoming 2016 election memoir, What Happened, laughing at the notion that he stole her ideas.

Before Chris Hayes asked the question they both laughed, and Sanders said he was "shocked" that he'd be asked about Clinton blaming him for her loss to Donald Trump in 2016.

"I'm shocked you're interested in this," Sanders said.

Hayes started reading the passage from Clinton's book where she complained that Sanders would come up with "loftier" and "leftier" policy proposals than Clinton's.

"Jake Sullivan, my top policy advisor, told me it reminded him of a scene from the 1998 movie There's Something About Mary. A deranged hitchhiker says he's come up with a brilliant plan. Instead of the famous ‘eight-minute abs" exercise routine he's going to market "seven-minute abs'. It's the same, just quicker," Hayes read.

"I.e. Bernie Sanders just stole all of Hillary Clinton's ideas. Does anybody really believe that?" Sanders said, snickering.

Sanders then went into his side of the story saying he helped bring forth "radical" ideas that have become part of the mainstream for the Democratic Party. To his point, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) have signed onto his single-payer, "Medicare for all" health care proposal.

"The truth is and the real story is that the ideas that we brought fourth during that campaign, which were so crazy and so radical, have increasingly become mainstream," he said.
Right there he pinpoints what has happened to the Democratic Party as it has moved to the left so that, as he says, ideas that were "so crazy and so radical" are now at the center of the Democratic Party.

Bill Scher writes in Politico about how Hillary's jabs at Bernie in her book are setting up the internal battles within the Democrats between the Bernie wing and the wing where the Clintons used to dominate.
mocrats are living their own version of Groundhog Day. Every day, they wake up and realize they are still in the 2016 presidential primary.

The leaked excerpts of Hillary Clinton’s campaign memoir, “What Happened,” have stirred up another round of relitigation over, well, what happened. Clinton reserves some blame for Vladimir Putin, James Comey and herself. But it’s her fingering of Bernie Sanders that has cheered her loyalists, enraged his, and made every other Democrat consider emulating Bill Murray by taking a bath with a plugged-in toaster.

Sanders’ attacks on her character and progressive credentials “caused lasting damage,” she charges in the book, “making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Donald Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign. I don’t know if that bothered Bernie or not.”

Ouch. “This is the grudge that won’t go away,” said Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley of Clinton’s feelings toward Sanders. But Clinton’s jabs are more than personal pique. She is effectively warning her colleagues in the Democratic establishment: Don’t give Bernie the keys to the party.

That message is not one often said out loud. Even if many Democrats harbor reservations about the Vermont independent’s rising influence in their party, “unity” has been the buzzword since the Election Day debacle. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer invited Sanders to join the party leadership, along with the Democrat from the reddest state in the union, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. The new Democratic National Committee chair, Tom Perez, asked his rival, Sanders supporter Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, to be vice chair, and then filled out a “Unity Reform Commission”—part of the compromise 2016 party platform—with members picked by Clinton, Sanders and Perez.

Democrats have been bending in Sanders’ direction on policy in hopes of keeping Berniecrats in the fold. Schumer’s “Better Deal” policy package is aimed at breaking up corporate monopolies (though Sanders’ political arm Our Revolution was unimpressed and staged a protest at the DNC the day after Schumer’s unveiling). After Sanders supporters tagged potential presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris as soft on Wall Street, she fortified her left flank by endorsing his forthcoming single-payer health care bill. (In a Thursday statement responding to Clinton’s criticisms, Sanders slipped in that his bill would be introduced next week, perfectly timed to step on her book rollout.)

Sanders holds the whip hand. He pushes the party. Then the party, terrified of losing his voters, gets pushed.

This lurch to the left has caused no immediate problems; congressional Democrats have been remarkably unified against Trump all year. And from the progressive populist perspective, Sanders is pushing Democrats only where they need to go, substantively and politically.

But Clinton’s book waves a big red flag: “… he isn’t a Democrat—that’s not a smear, that’s what he says. He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.”
I think the Clintonites already lost this battle. Obama had already moved the party in Bernie's direction and Hillary herself moved there during the primary fight. And, if Trump keeps up his bromance with Chuck Schumer, we could see an election that would really be between two Democrats with conservatives either left out in the cold or clinging to Trump's coattails hoping that he'll throw a few judges their way as he makes deals with the Democrats. It's what those of us who opposed Trump always warned about and now we're seeing it come to pass.

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Good for Betsy DeVos for stopping what she called "rule by letter" in ending the Obama administration's approach to Title IX enforcement.
"For too long, rather than engage the public on controversial issues, the department's Office for Civil Rights has issued letters from the desks of unelected and unaccountable political appointees," DeVos said in her prepared remarks, referring to the Obama administration's decision to issue significant directives more than once in the form of "dear colleague" letters from the Education Department.

"The era of 'rule by letter' is over," she declared.

The secretary referred to "acts of sexual misconduct" as "acts of cowardice and personal weakness, often thinly disguised as strength and power."

"One assault is one too many. One aggressive act of harassment is one too many," DeVos remarked, continuing to add, "[o]ne person denied due process is one too many," in a critical nod to students who struggled to receive fair hearings from their schools under the previous approach.

Due process was a key focus of the secretary's address. Obama-era guidelines laid out in a 2011 "dear colleague" letter guided schools to adopt a "preponderance of evidence" standard when adjudicating the guilt of an accused offender.

"Due process is the foundation of any system of justice that seeks a fair outcome. Due process either protects everyone, or it protects no one," DeVos said. "The notion that a school must diminish due process rights to better serve the ‘victim' only creates more victims."

The secretary slammed the Obama administration for "[weaponizing]" the department's Office of Civil Rights. Through "intimidation and coercion," DeVos argued, her predecessors "pushed schools to overreach."

"Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined. These are non-negotiable principles," she emphasized.
If you doubt what DeVos laid out in her speech, Robby Soave gives the specifics of what happened in the Title IX cases she referred to in her speech.

For all those outraged at DeVos's action, they should read this article by Emily Yoffe in The Atlantic detailing how the Obama administration ramped up their approach to college investigations of allegations of sexual assault.
Yet from the beginning, the administration’s efforts showed signs of overreach, and that overreach became more pronounced over time. By early 2014, the terminology used by the federal government to describe the two parties in still-unresolved sexual-assault cases had begun to change. The 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter had used the terms complainant (and sometimes alleged victim) and alleged perpetrator when referring to the two parties in a still-unresolved sexual-assault case. But many subsequent federal documents described complainants as victims or survivors, and the accused as perpetrators.

Investigative practices also changed. OCR began keeping a public list of the schools at which it was investigating possible Title IX violations, putting them, in the words of Janet Napolitano, the former secretary of homeland security in the Obama administration and current president of the University of California system, under “a cloud of suspicion.” (OCR does not publish similar lists for other types of investigations that are still in process.) And investigations, including those begun due to a single complaint, did not result in a narrow inquiry into a given case, but into every aspect of a school’s adjudication process and general climate, and a review of all cases going back years. OCR publicly threatened the withdrawal of federal funds from schools that failed to comply with the new rules, an action that would be devastating to most schools. By 2016, according to BuzzFeed, the average investigation had been open for 963 days, up from an average in 2010 of 289 days. As of March of this year there were 311 open cases at 227 schools.

These measures made sexual assault a priority for every college president. But it’s not hard to see how they may also have encouraged bias against the accused. Several former OCR investigators and one current investigator told me the perceived message from Washington was that once an investigation into a school was opened, the investigators in the field offices were not meant to be objective fact finders. Their job was to find schools in violation of Title IX.

OCR also catalyzed the establishment of gigantic and costly campus bureaucracies. Since its beginning, Title IX has required schools to designate an employee to handle sex-discrimination issues. For decades, this was usually a faculty or staff member who had myriad other duties. But in another “Dear Colleague” letter issued in 2015, OCR urged all institutions of higher education to hire a full-time Title IX coordinator. Large universities were encouraged to appoint multiple coordinators. These people were to be independent of other administrative offices and to report directly to the school’s senior leadership....

Pushed by federal mandates, activists, fears of negative social-media campaigns, bad press, and increasingly the momentum of their own bureaucracies, schools have written codes defining sexual assault in ways that are at times troubling. Some schools recommend or require that for consent to be valid, it must be given while sober, and others rule that consent cannot be given when a student is “under the influence,” vague standards that could cover any amount of alcohol consumption. Some embrace “affirmative consent,” which, at its limit, requires that each touch, each time, must be preceded by the explicit, verbal granting of permission. At times, the directives given to students about sex veer squarely into the absurd: A training video on sexual consent for incoming students at Brown University, for instance, included this stipulation, among many others: “Consent is knowing that my partner wants me just as much as I want them.”

As Jeannie Suk Gersen and her husband and Harvard Law School colleague, Jacob Gersen, wrote last year in a California Law Review article, “The Sex Bureaucracy,” the “conduct classified as illegal” on college campuses “has grown substantially, and indeed, it plausibly covers almost all sex students are having today.”
Because of the Obama administration, male students are being denied standard protections of due process. The idea of innocent until proven guilty is thrown out the window.
For example, it is not unusual for a male student to be investigated and adjudicated for sexual assault, yet to never receive specific, written notice of the allegations against him. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a civil-liberties group, found in a report released on September 5 analyzing due-process procedures at the country’s top-ranked colleges and universities that about half fail to offer this minimal protection.

To ensure the safety of alleged victims of sexual assault, the federal government requires “interim measures”—accommodations that administrators must offer the complainant before any finding of responsibility, including steps to ensure that she never has to encounter the accused, as in the case of Kwadwo Bonsu. Common interim measures include moving the accused from his dormitory, limiting the places he can go on campus, forcing him to change classes, and barring him from activities. On small campuses, this can mean his life is completely circumscribed. Sometimes he is banned from campus altogether while awaiting the results of an investigation....

And even if the accused is cleared during an adjudication, schools can issue a standing no-contact order between him and the accuser. In a 2015 article for the Harvard Law Review, Janet Halley, a Harvard law professor, describes a case at an Oregon college in which a male student was investigated and told to stay away from a female student, resulting in the loss of his campus job and a move from his dorm. He didn’t know why he was being investigated, but it turned out he resembled a man who had raped the female student “months before and thousands of miles away.” He was found “innocent of any sexual misconduct,” but the no-contact order was not lifted. “When the duty to prevent a ‘sexually hostile environment’ is interpreted this expansively,” Halley wrote, indifference to the restrained person’s innocence will tend to follow. But “ending or hobbling someone’s access to education should be much harder than that.”
Imagine if this were your son caught up in this Kafkaesque system and you will support DeVos's reconsideration of these policies. Read Yoffe's entire article and it is difficult to not be upset at how young men are being denied their rights and having their lives ruined as they're expelled from schools and unable to enroll elsewhere even when they're not found guilty.

Although some universities are planning to continue their policies no matter what the Trump administration might do, they might want to pay attention to what is happening now in the courts as accused students start fighting back.
And while some college administrators express concern about due process, that concern does not always appear to be top of mind, even though lawsuits are piling up. Some 170 suits about unfair treatment have been filed by accused students over the past several years. As KC Johnson, the coauthor, with Stuart Taylor, Jr., of the recent book, The Campus Rape Frenzy, notes, at least 60 have so far resulted in findings favorable to them. The National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, one of the country’s largest higher-education law firms and consulting practices specializing in Title IX, recently released a white paper, “Due Process and the Sex Police.” It noted that higher-education institutions are “losing case after case in federal court on what should be very basic due process protections. Never before have colleges been losing more cases than they are winning, but that is the trend as we write this.” The paper warned that at some colleges, “overzealousness to impose sexual correctness”—including the idea that anything less than “utopian” sex is punishable—“is causing a backlash that is going to set back the entire consent movement.” Even so, in a February op-ed, Carol Quillen, the president of Davidson College, wrote that while “criminal justice is founded on due process and the possibility of innocence,” ideals she valued, these goals were inherently in conflict with other important goals: “Nothing about due process says to a rape survivor, ‘I believe you,’” she wrote.

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If this story is true, Israel will have done more to stop genocide in Syria than all the talk from the UN and inaction from countries deploring Syria's chemical attacks on its opponents.
Syyria accused Israel on Thursday of carrying out an aerial attack on Assad posts overnight. The alleged Israeli attack hit a scientific research center where chemical weapons are manufactured, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In a statement, the Syrian army warned Israel of "dangerous repercussions of this aggressive action to the security and stability of the region" following the attack.

According to the reports, the attack was launched at 2:30 a.m. on targets located in central Syria, in the area of Hama, and also targeted several weapons convoys that were en route to Hezbollah strongholds in the area.

The Syrian army charged later on Thursday morning that Israel killed two of its soldiers during the aerial attack. An IDF spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports, saying that the army does not comment on operational matters.

Arab media claimed there are three casualties as a result of the attack, which centered on a regime post that belongs to the scientific research center on the outskirts of Hama, situated in the northwestern part of the country. In the scientific center, the regime reportedly develops munitions such as missiles and has developed chemical weapons as well.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that an airstrike on Masyaf in Syria hit a Scientific Studies and Research Center facility and an adjacent military camp where ground-to-ground rockets are stored.

The United States has imposed sanctions on employees of the Scientific Studies and Research Center, which it describes as the Syrian agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons including chemical weapons, something Damascus denies.

The Catholic League has a question for Judiciary Committee Democratic senators.
In response to the grilling by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) of Appeals Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett about her Catholic faith during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, the Catholic League sent public letters to the senators asking if they have probed the faith of non-Catholic nominees in a similar way and, if so, to provide information on those exchanges....

During the hearing, Sen. Feinstein pressed Barrett on her Catholicism and said, "When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you." Sen. Durbin repeatedly asked Barrett to explain what she meant by "orthodox Catholic" in a college article she wrote 20 years ago.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in his public letter to Durbin, "Let me help you with this: the term means a Catholic who accepts the teachings of the Catholic Church. That would not include those who reject the Church's teachings on abortion, for example, because the Church regards the intentional killing of human beings to be 'intrinsically evil.'"

Durbin, a Catholic, supports abortion and gay "marriage," both of which are contrary to Catholic moral teaching.

Donohue continued, "What you were really getting at is more important and more disturbing, than this." He then noted that Professor Barrett told the committee, "It is never appropriate for a judge to apply their personal convictions, whether it derives from faith or personal conviction."

Barrett could not have been more clear, said Donohue. "She said it was never appropriate to impose her religious convictions on cases before her."

"So why did you probe her about the orthodoxy of her Catholicity?" Donohue asks Durbin in the letter. "Do you similarly probe prospective federal judges who are not Catholic about the orthodoxy of their religious beliefs?"

"Have you ever probed the faith of a non-Catholic for the federal bench?" said Donohue to Durbin. "If so, please share the information with me. If not, try treating Catholics -- especially orthodox ones -- as equals."
Good. These senators shoud not get a free pass on their anti-Catholic questioning.

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As Tom Knighton writes
at PJ Media, you just can't make this stuff up. He links to this story at The College Fix about how the Berkeley Black Student Union is demanding that Barrows Hall at the university be renamed in honor of a cop killer.
Barrows Hall is named after the university’s president from 1919 to 1923, David Barrows, an anthropologist who served as superintendent of schools in Manila when the Philippines became a U.S. colony, according to the University of California Academic Senate’s biography in memoriam.

The Daily said his academic work was informed by “white supremacist ideology.” In 2015 the Black Student Union demanded the name’s removal among other high-priced demands, calling Barrows an “imperialist by way of anthropology [who] participated in perpetuating American colonialism.”

The BSU insisted that Barrows Hall be renamed after Black Panther Assata Shakur, a convicted cop killer who escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. Shakur is on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists.

In response, a police organization launched a petition asking the administration to ignore the request, calling Shakur “nothing more than a cold-blooded murderer.”

Shakur is a popular choice for recognition on college campuses. Around the same time, Marquette University’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center hosted a mural of Shakur. After a professor called attention to the mural, drawing national headlines, Shakur’s homage was removed and the center’s director left the university.
Knighton writes about how upside down the standards of these students are.
A man who served as a military officer, an anthropologist, an explorer, and a university president is someone of such poor moral standing that he must be erased from history, whereas a convicted and escaped cop killer is an ethical choice.

What a sweet story to round out a devastating couple of weeks of such disastrous hurricanes.
Harvey and Irma Schluter have been married for 75 years. He turned 104 in July; she will be 93 in November.

They vividly remember many of the major events of the 20th century, from her first time spotting an airplane, during the Great Depression, to his wonder at watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. In a recent phone interview, Mrs. Schluter even recalled the weather near her home in Spokane, Wash., on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. (Cool and cloudy.)

But never before have they seen two major hurricanes bearing their names threaten the United States.

“I don’t know how they’ve done that, to have a Harvey and Irma,” Mrs. Schluter said Wednesday. “I don’t know how that worked out.”