Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cruising the Web

Here's a column that we might not have expected to see in the NYT: "The Slut-Shaming of Nikki Haley." Kudos to Bari Weiss for discussing liberal hypocrisy in how they reacted to the slimy insinuations by Michael Wolff that Haley had slept her way to the ambassador's position at the UN. First she poses the contrafactual as to how the left would have reacted if Fox had reported the same story just with Samantha Power spending a lot of private time with Obama on Air Force One. Of course the left would react with horror.
Do I have to tell you what the reaction to this rumor-mongering would be? Heads would explode on every cable channel (except for Fox, of course, which would be calling for a special investigation). Editorials would issue forth condemning this gutter journalism as thinly veiled sexism. Some would insist that it be viewed as a #MeToo moment — unambiguous evidence of the deep discomfort men feel in the face of powerful women.
But the left, supposedly all woke to anything that makes things more difficult for women in the workplace has been rather quiet about this story. And then we get to the Grammys.
So it’s not difficult to imagine how Ms. Haley might have felt when she watched the Grammys Sunday night. At one point in the show, James Corden, the host, set up a bit in which various celebrities — Cardi B, Cher, Snoop Dogg, John Legend — audition to be the narrator of the audiobook version of “Fire and Fury.” The final reader, who slowly reveals her face from behind the hardcover, is Hillary Clinton.

Yes, the very same politician who, just two days before the awards show, was exposed as overriding the advice of her campaign manager in 2008 to protect a “faith adviser” who had repeatedly sexually harassed a young female subordinate.

I checked feminist Twitter. Would the Grammys be called out for hypocrisy? Or at least for tone-deafness? Crickets.
Instead, most of the Twitter commentary was criticizing Haley for commenting on the Grammys and saying it would have been better without the politics. But better to dump on the woman who had just been smeared by the author of the book that they were celebrating.
There’s a broader lesson here. For years, the fundamental complaint of the right in the culture wars has been that the left is hypocritical, and the Nikki Haley episode perfectly confirms the point: A prominent Republican woman is smeared. The author who does the smearing is celebrated by all the A-listers, including the most prominent Democratic woman in the country, who herself has a history of giving a pass (or worse) to men accused of sexual assault and harassment. And yet the arbiters of American culture cheer the Democrat and, in the words of the actor Don Cheadle, tell the Republican who has the gall to defend herself: “Sit down, girl. You’re drunk.”

In the Trump era, the left has smartly and justifiably seized a moral high ground that the right has abandoned by its embrace of the president. That’s a high ground the left cannot hold if it embraces subtle double standards that it would never accept for a moment if the woman in question was a Kirsten Gillibrand or a Kamala Harris.

When Matt Lauer subjected Hillary Clinton to a harsh interview, within 24 hours it was common knowledge that it was evidence of misogyny. But when Nikki Haley is smeared with the most base, sexist lie, it’s met with little more than a collective shrug.
Absolutely right. Perhaps the NYT readers will read this and feel a bit of shame. Maybe.... Nyah.

This is the great feminist champion that the Grammys were cheering.
Hillary Clinton personally "overruled" a recommendation that she fire a top campaign staffer accused of sexual harassment in 2008, her campaign manager at the time said Monday.

Patti Solis Doyle, who headed Clinton's presidential bid when a young female staffer accused senior adviser Burns Strider of repeatedly sexually harassing her, told CNN she urged Clinton to dismiss Strider, but the Democratic candidate rejected the recommendation.

"I was overruled," Solis Doyle said in her first public remarks since news of the harassment controversy was reported by The New York Times on Friday.

Strider, according to the Times, was kept on the campaign at Clinton's behest despite the allegations of misconduct. The Clinton faith adviser was docked several weeks' pay and told to undergo counseling in response, the Times reports. Strider went on to lead an independent organization that backed Clinton's candidacy in 2016.

Clinton addressed the controversy Friday on Twitter, writing that she contacted the former female aide to "tell her how proud I am of her and to make sure she knows what all women should: we deserve to be heard."
So every woman deserves to be heard unless they're accusing her husband or an aide she likes. How perfect that Clinton's faith adviser was harassing a young woman on the campaign. That's the guy I'd want giving faith advice. And then she overrules the recommendation to let go the accused harasser. So the victim deserves to be heard and then basically ignored.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is all over the place trumpeting her fierceness on sexual harassment..that is, until she's asked about the Clintons.
However, Gillibrand’s no-nonsense tone changed really quickly when she was asked about Hillary Clinton’s refusal to fire a 2008 presidential campaign aide who was accused of harassment.

“As you know, I think these things have to be dealt with whether you’re a Democrat, you’re a Republican, you need transparency, you need accountability,” she said. “But in that case I don’t know all the details.”

“The View” co-host Meghan McCain also asked Gillibrand to answer for the fact that she used to campaign with former President Bill Clinton even though he was accused of harassment and rape by several women.

“I think this moment of time that we’re in is very different,” Gillibrand claimed. “I think all of us, many of us, did not have that same lens–myself included–and there is a moment in time where we can actually do the right thing.”

“Do you regret campaigning with him though?” McCain pressed.

“It’s not about any one president,” Gillibrand responded.
Yeah, it's all about Republicans and expendable Democrats like Al Franken. Otherwise, she doesn't want to have to say anything. That's a vision in moral courage.

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Andrew McCarthy, a former prosecutor, explains why Donald Trump would be making a terrible mistake if he agrees to be interviewed by the Mueller investigation.
Trump is litigious and cocky. He has been in lots of lawsuits and has taken the measure of lots of lawyers. He may be very confident that he can handle an interview. He may be certain he has not colluded with Russia and thus convinced there’s no need to worry.

Trust me, though: He has not been sweated before like he would be in a special-counsel interview. It would be a mistake to assume that because Mueller’s team overflows with Democratic partisans, they are just like the political hacks Trump jousts with all the time. These particular prosecutors are extraordinarily good at what they do. They are not going to be cowed or charmed. If Trump agrees to speak to them, he will not be able to control the direction of the questioning; and if he loses his cool and says things that are dubious or flatly untrue, they will clean his clock.

In other words: Trump the man could walk out of an interview with Mueller in real jeopardy, despite walking into it in nothing more than a bad mood. Which brings us to our other client: Trump the president.
I just suspect that Trump's arrogance will lead him to think that he can come out the winner from such an interview. He is seriously delusional if he believes that.

Uh oh! A neat marketing gimmick to show a map of where people have been using fitness devices has ended up exposing where American troops are stationed.
Strava says it has 27 million users around the world, including people who own widely available fitness devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone, as well as people who directly subscribe to its mobile app. The map is not live — rather, it shows a pattern of accumulated activity between 2015 and September 2017.

Most parts of the United States and Europe, where millions of people use some type of fitness tracker, show up on the map as blazes of light because there is so much activity.

In war zones and deserts in countries such as Iraq and Syria, the heat map becomes almost entirely dark — except for scattered pinpricks of activity. Zooming in on those areas brings into focus the locations and outlines of known U.S. military bases, as well as of other unknown and potentially sensitive sites — presumably because American soldiers and other personnel are using fitness trackers as they move around.

The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State said on Monday it is revising its guidelines on the use of all wireless and technological devices on military facilities as a result of the revelations.

The existing rules on the privacy settings to be applied to devices such as fitness trackers are being “refined” and commanders at bases are being urged to enforce existing rules governing their use, according to a statement from the Central Command press office in Kuwait.
Let's just hope that our enemies aren't checking out this map, but don't count on it.

Usually, liberals are all about how the U.S. should follow what other countries do. They especially like it when the Supreme Court cites foreign court rulings to overturn capital punishment for those who are under 18 when they commit murder. But when it comes to banning elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, they're not so interested in what other countries are doing. Even the Washington Post acknowledges that there are only seven countries that allow abortions after 20 weeks based on the 59 countries that allow abortion on demand.
Only seven of the 59 countries allow elective abortions after 20 weeks, the group found: Canada, China, Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
And Canada, the NEtherlands, and Singapore allow abortions only up to 24 weeks. THey point out that 43 states have prohibitions on 20 to 24 weeks. But the Democrats oppose any such limitation. That would put us in the company of NOrth Korea, Vietnam, and China with no gestational limit.
This statistic seemed dubious at first, because it seemed extreme for just seven countries out of 198 to allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. But upon further digging, the data back up the claim. We should note that some of the seven countries allow abortions after 20 weeks, but ban it after 24 weeks. And other countries have no federal limits, but legislate at the state or provincial level, similar to the United States.

Further, what is telling that research from both sides of the reproductive rights debate confirm this figure. It’s not easy to boil down complex abortion laws in a cross-comparative manner like this, and there are some minor caveats associated with this talking point. Still, we did not find the caveats rise to the level of One Pinocchio.

We award the elusive Geppetto Checkmark when a factoid surprisingly turns out to be true, as in this case.

I wonder if this will affect tourism to Cuba.
Nineteen American citizens have reported symptoms similar to those suffered by U.S. diplomats who had been identified as victims of alleged attacks in Cuba.

“Since September 29, the Department of State has been contacted by 19 U.S. citizens who reported experiencing symptoms similar to those listed in the Travel Warning after visiting Cuba,” a spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs told the Miami Herald in an email.

“We continue to urge U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Cuba,” she added.

In late September, the State Department issued a travel warning advising Americans not to travel to Cuba because they could become victims of mysterious attacks such as those suffered by 24 diplomats and their families while they were stationed in Havana. The U.S. also removed most of the staff at its embassy in the Cuban capital.

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Matthew Continetti has some fun using the talking stick that senators were throwing a talking stick around Susan Collins' office when they were meeting there to try to resolve the government shutdown to keep them from all speaking at the same time. Until one senator threw it across the room and chipped a glass elephant. So they brought in a rubber ball instead.
I don't think the Washington press corps has grasped fully the meaning of this bizarre and darkly humorous incident. Here we have a select group of politicians who see themselves as representing the supreme values of the establishment—centrism, probity, thoughtfulness, politesse, bipartisanship, and friendliness to media—and they can't even use a talking stick properly. They try it, and a glass elephant ends up getting mortally wounded. They have to use a Nerf ball instead because Di-Fi might be injured. Elementary school kids of my acquaintance could conduct a meeting with less embarrassment and damage to personal property.
There's the metaphor. They can't use a walking stick and they can't negotiate a deal on DACA even when he proposed a deal that gave the Democrats what they wanted on DACA.
Since last September, Trump has said he wants to regularize the status of the "Dreamers," but in exchange for reforms to the immigration system on which he campaigned and was elected president. It's the second part of that sentence that Washington seems so eager to ignore or misread or ascribe to staff in a cynical and transparent attempt to drive a wedge between Trump and his subordinates. Yet Trump's position is reasonable and, after the shutdown exposed the Democrats' weakness, politically astute. He is not alone: There is the implacable fact of the House GOP caucus, the mainstream of which is steadfastly against amnesty and would oppose the initiatives of the Talking Stick Senators even if the president were somehow to morph into a Republican Luis Gutierrez.

Immigration, citizenship, borders, sovereignty, and national identity are thorny and uncomfortable and polarizing issues that divide not only both parties but also social classes. We'd rather not talk about them except in the most affirmative and clich├ęd ways. But they also increasingly seem to be the issues of the day, and deserve a much more serious and intellectually diverse accounting and debate than what went down in Susan Collins's workspace. We're not likely to get it, however. That image of the stick flying across the room says just about everything you need to know about our political class: its kitsch multiculturalism, its pretend seriousness, its infantilism, its conventionality, its bad aim, and its incompetence.

Jim Acosta of CNN beclowns himself again. First he tweeted out that Andrew McCabe was leaving his post voluntarily because he "was tired of being 'undermined' but Trump and WH was 'not happy' with him" Then 30 minutes later he tweeted out that McCabe was being forced out because FBI Director is "bringing on a new team."

Armageddon continues
.
An American flag flies next to signage at an Exxon Mobil Corp. gas station in Cherry Valley, Illinois. Exxon Mobil to invest more than $50 billion in the US over 5 years
14 Hours Ago | 00:58
Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, on Monday said it plans to invest an additional $35 billion in the United States over the next five years.

Darren Woods, chairman and CEO of Exxon, said in a blog post that the investment is partly due to recently passed corporate tax cuts. The announcement puts Exxon on the board with a number of other companies that have announced employee bonuses and investments following President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers' tax overhaul.

"These investments are underpinned by the unique strengths of our company and enhanced by the historic tax reform recently signed into law," Woods said in the blog post.

Arthur Herman revisits how media lies led to the myth that the Tet Offensive was a major failure for the U.S. Instead it was a significant American victory.
Hanoi’s decision to launch the Tet offensive was born of desperation. It was an effort to seize the northern provinces of South Vietnam with conventional troops while triggering an urban uprising by the Vietcong that would distract the Americans — and, some still hoped, revive the fading hopes of the Communists. The offensive itself began on January 30, with attacks on American targets in Saigon and other Vietnamese cities, and ended a little more than a month later when Marines crushed the last pockets of resistance in the northern city of Hue.

It not only destroyed the Vietcong as an effective political and military force, it also, together with the siege of Khe Sanh, crippled the NVA, which lost 20 percent of its forces in the South and suffered 33,000 men killed in action, all for no gain. By the end of 1969, over 70 percent of South Vietnam’s population was rated by the U.S. military as under government control, compared with 42 percent at the beginning of 1968.
But that's not what the media told us.
The American public knew none of this, however. Almost from the moment the first shots were being fired, skeptics of the war effort in the mainstream media, including CBS News icon Walter Cronkite, would use Tet to prove that the war wasn’t being won as the Johnson administration was claiming. They went further, representing the failed attacks on the U.S. embassy in Saigon and other sites as symbols of Communist success.

As the Washington Post’s own Saigon bureau chief Peter Braestrup documented in his book The Big Story, reporters caught in the fighting systematically used it to turn the reality of American victory into an image of American and South Vietnamese defeat (reporting for example that Vietcong had overrun five floors of the U.S. embassy when in fact the VC had never even gotten inside the building). Newsweek’s coverage of the siege of Khe Sanh showed 18 photos (out of a total of 29) of dead or wounded Marines or Marines huddling under cover, never mentioning that the Marines were steadily pushing back the NVA and inflicting heavy casualties.

That campaign of misrepresentation culminated in Walter Cronkite’s half-hour TV special on February 27, when he told his viewers with an appropriately glum face that Tet had proved that America was now “mired in a stalemate” — even as American forces were breaking the siege around Khe Sanh and clearing out the last resistance in Hue.
And the media's success in convincing the public that the U.S. was losing in Vietnam gave the media a sense of their own power.
After Tet, American media had assumed a new mission for itself: to shape the nation’s politics by crafting a single coherent narrative, even if it meant omitting certain relevant facts and promoting other false or misleading ones. In March 1969, after Richard Nixon’s election, the executive producer of ABC News told his Saigon bureau: “I think the time has come to shift our focus from the battlefield . . . to themes and stories under the general heading, ‘We are on our way out of Vietnam.’” One of those “stories” would be the massacre at My Lai, which actually took place in the aftermath of Tet but only became “newsworthy” a year later when the media was looking for ways to convince Americans that Nixon’s decision to stay the course in Vietnam was destroying their country’s moral standing — just as they had convinced them a year earlier that America’s major victory was actually a major defeat.

So while many in mainstream news outlets wring their hands today about a widespread lack of trust in media, it’s important on this 50th anniversary to remember the part they played in squandering it.

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More bad publicity for United Airlines - don't their employees have any sense?
A woman flying from Pueblo, Colo., to visit her dying mother one last time in Minnesota was removed from the plane over a ticketing issue.

Carrol Amrich was sitting on a United Airlines flight, waiting for the plane to take off when she says a flight attendant approached her and told her she had to leave.

Amrich was informed that her ticket had been canceled and she was escorted off the plane. Amrich pleaded with the attendants to let her stay on the plane, but she was allegedly told, “nobody flies for free,” The New York Times reported.

Once back in the terminal, Amrich called her landlord, Ms. Prelas, who had purchased the ticket for her because Amrich did not have the money for the last minute flight.
“I said: ‘Take my credit card. We’ll straighten this out later, but get her on that plane,’” Ms. Prelas said to The New York Times. The agent denied her request. United claims because the flight had already left by then.

Desperate, Amrich jumped in her car to drive to Minnesota. She traveled through the night, not even stopping to use the bathroom, she told the Times, but she didn’t make it in time. Her mother had died.
How terribly sad.

Reason notes how many times major media outlets used the phony statistic that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day - the result of research done by a 9-year-old kid!
Yesterday, I reported that the oft-cited, debate-driving statistic that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day was the product of a 9-year-old's guesstimations. Despite those shaky factual foundations, the 500 million figure has quickly spread, virus-like, across the media landscape and even into our shops and schools.

Visitors to the D.C. tea house Teaism—just a short walk from Reason's D.C. office—will be confronted with the questionable fact on a small poster adorning the restaurant's single-use straw dispenser, replete with a picture of a cute sea turtle. Meanwhile, impressionable children at the Mount Vernon Community School in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, are coming home with "Straw Wars" handouts citing the same dubious figure.

It's easy to understand how the school could have been led astray, given how ubiquitous this claim is in the media.
Look at the list. These are the same journalists who brag about their research and get so angry when conservatives criticize them for "fake news."
Let this serve as a reminder: A statistic's popularity does not prove its accuracy.