Friday, May 26, 2017

Historically Black College Leader: So Far, Trump a Step UP From Obama

President Donald Trump signs the Historically Black Colleges and Universities HBCU Executive Order, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, in the Oval Office in the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
We heard Donald Trump was evil, racist, and a sexist homophobe. Little evidence was presented to support this beyond Trump's desire to end illegal immigration and to block a massive influx of refugees from terror hotbeds from entering the United States.
It was all shameful, cynical politics. And some Americans are finally realizing they were lied to by the media and the Democratic Party.
Despite the boos for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at Bethune-Cookman,leaders of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are noticing thatTrump is a step up from Obama:
Following his inauguration, Trump’s most overt outreach to African Americans has been his efforts to woo students and leaders of black colleges that were founded in the years after the Civil War and today consist of 101 public and private schools nationwide.
“For [President] Obama, people expected him to come in and fix everything -- especially for black people. ... But he never campaigned strongly for HBCUs,” said Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, using the common abbreviation for the schools.
Now, he says, the reverse has happened -- Trump came in with no expectations placed on him, and some black educators have been pleasantly surprised. “So people now want to see what’s going to happen because he’s coming in saying he’s going to be the president for HBCUs,” Kimbrough added. “It’s a very different perspective, but it’s still the first 150 days, so we’ll see what happens.”
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit that helps provide financial assistance to students who attend black colleges, says the signs from the White House are encouraging.
“In the first four months of this presidency, the Trump administration has been far more responsive to our community than the past administration,” Taylor said. “I, for one, judge people by what they do -- not what they say.”
A Republican president, the party that allegedly hates minorities, is the one actually keeping his promises about expanding minority educational opportunities.
Note that this deliberate outreach is rarely touted by the Trump administration, either -- a good argument for Trump's motivation not being "optics," but, you know, expanding minority educational opportunities.
The Democratic Party and the media have exploited minorities in this country forvotes. They spread despicable smears about good people, firing up race hatred. Then they disappear or institute policies that produce no results.
The words of Mr. Taylor, considering the risk he takes in making such a statement, are all the evidence you need.

Refusing To Allow Neutrality On Trump Will Not End Well

When we’re sternly admonished that you’re for Trump unless you make it clear 
you’re against him, the central Trumpist axiom about the danger of political correctness 
is affirmed.
William Voegeli
“Are you now, or have you ever been, a supporter of Donald J. Trump?” It would be ominous if witnesses in congressional hearings had to endure this type of McCarthyite interrogation. But what do you call it when sportswriters demand that a professional athlete answer the same question?
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, for example, calls himself a “good friend” of the new president. Consequently, the football star faced journalists’ demands to “publicly disavow Trump’s actions,” as one USA Today columnist wrote. Brady, not wanting to detract from his team’s Super Bowl preparations, responded by claiming his “right to stay out of it.” But several commenters made clear that the court of public opinion honors neither the right to privacy nor one against self-incrimination. Not in the Age of Trump.
As in sports, so also in show business. Actress Nicole Kidman found it necessary to apologize for her anodyne post-election statement that “we as a country need to support whoever is president.” After he asked Trump the kind of superficial questions guests have faced for 62 years on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” critics denounced host Jimmy Fallon for aiding and abetting Trump’s election. “Now,” Slate warned, “even if celebrities [want] to opt out of the current moment, they can’t…. Doing nothing is doing something. Silence either signifies ‘I’m for Trump’ or ‘I’m for myself.’”

Say It Together: This Is How We Got Trump

A major theme of Trump’s campaign was opposition to political correctness. That stance appealed to many, who feared a campus affliction was becoming a national one, foretelling a future where Anytown, USA, might as well be Berkeley, California. When quarterbacks and comedians are sternly admonished that you’re for Trump unless you make it unmistakably clear that you’re against him, the central Trumpist axiom about the danger of political correctness is affirmed, not refuted.
Once it became clear on the morning of November 9, 2016, that Trump had won his unthinkable victory, the anchor of “The Young Turks” web broadcast declared, “We’re going to fight back. The era of politeness, for progressives, is over.” The self-styled “Resistance,” chanting “Not my president” since Election Day, justifies its words and actions by citing Trump’s transgressions and defects. His sins easily become his supporters’.
When New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof urges his liberal readers to avoid harsh generalizations about Trump voters, they respond by telling him how committed they are to those negative judgments. They “hate” and “despise” all Trump supporters, the “worst of humanity,” every last “stupid and selfish” one a racist.
For every demonstration, campus riot, and awards-show sermon visited upon the republic because Trump won, another 10,000 members of the Resisted attain greater clarity about why. Even Americans with misgivings about Trump and his policies can agree with the European scholar who recently wrote, “There is a deeply anti-democratic undercurrent to much of the criticism of the new president, borne aloft by an assumption that democracy is too important to be left to the voters.”

This Isn’t Likely to End Well

It’s hard to see how all this ends, and really hard to see how it ends well. Everyone loves the poetry at the conclusion of Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural: how “we are not enemies, but friends” who will be held together by “the mystic chords of memory” and “better angels of our nature.” It’s less consoling to remember that Lincoln’s address was a rhetorical triumph but political failure. None of the seven Southern states that seceded from the Union between Lincoln’s election and inauguration reversed course after his speech, and four additional states joined the Confederacy in the following weeks.
The first and current Republican presidents are, safe to say, dissimilar in certain respects. Their electoral victories, however, caused each man’s most vehement opponents to conclude that such an outcome rendered doubtful the worth of preserving American unity and respecting democratic processes. Southerners embraced the logic, though not the slogan, of “Not My President” when Lincoln’s election showed that the North had the votes and, increasingly, the inclination to settle the slavery question on terms other than the South’s maximum demands.
Lincoln began his presidency by imploring all his countrymen to “think calmly and well.” That’s good advice in general but is, unfortunately, advice most likely to be delivered in situations where it’s least likely to be heeded. We’ll learn things about the people we are and the times we live in over the next four years. Whether we’ll like what we learn is a different question.
This essay was adapted from the Spring issue of the Claremont Review of Books.

William Voegeli, a senior editor of the Claremont Review of Books, is author of The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion.



Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist, a military historian and a shrewd observer of the current scene. Everything he writes is worth reading. I do my best to catch all his columns and essays, but I missed his recent appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. RealClearPolitics has posted a video of the segment below along with a partial transcript including embedded linkshere. In it Dr. Hanson argues that the Trump/Russia collusion story is — how to put it? — unlikely.
How unlikely is it? “[I]t was very unlikely, because Donald Trump, he didn’t dismantle Eastern European missile defense, he didn’t go to Geneva and press a plastic red button, he didn’t make fun of Romney for saying Russia was an existential enemy, he didn’t have a hot mic exchange with the Russian president saying he would be ‘more flexible’ after the election. The entire ‘Reset’ appeasement of Russia came from the Clinton-Obama team, not Donald Trump. And now we’re here.”

Thursday, May 25, 2017

After Manchester: it’s time for anger

After Manchester: it’s time for anger
We need more than mourning in response to the new barbarism.
by Brendan O’Neill

fter the terror, the platitudes. And the hashtags. And the candlelit vigils. And they always have the same message: ‘Be unified. Feel love. Don’t give in to hate.’ The banalities roll off the national tongue. Vapidity abounds. A shallow fetishisation of ‘togetherness’ takes the place of any articulation of what we should be together for – and against. And so it has been after the barbarism in Manchester. In response to the deaths of more than 20 people at an Ariana Grande gig, in response to the massacre of children enjoying pop music, people effectively say: ‘All you need is love.’ The disparity between these horrors and our response to them, between what happened and what we say, is vast. This has to change.
It is becoming clear that the top-down promotion of a hollow ‘togetherness’ in response to terrorism is about cultivating passivity. It is about suppressing strong public feeling. It’s about reducing us to a line of mourners whose only job is to weep for our fellow citizens, not ask why they died, or rage against their dying. The great fear of both officialdom and the media class in the wake of terror attacks is that the volatile masses will turn wild and hateful. This is why every attack is followed by warnings of an ‘Islamophobic backlash’ and heightened policing of speech on Twitter and gatherings in public: because what they fundamentally fear is public passion, our passion. They want us passive, empathetic, upset, not angry, active, questioning. They prefer us as a lonely crowd of dutiful, disconnected mourners rather than a real collective of citizens demanding to know why our fellow citizens died and how we might prevent others from dying. We should stop playing the role they’ve allotted us.
As part of the post-terror narrative, our emotions are closely policed. Some emotions are celebrated, others demonised. Empathy – good. Grief – good. Sharing your sadness online – great. But hatred? Anger? Fury? These are bad. They are inferior forms of feeling, apparently, and must be discouraged. Because if we green-light anger about terrorism, then people will launch pogroms against Muslims, they say, or even attack Sikhs or the local Hindu-owned cornershop, because that’s how stupid and hateful we apparently are. But there is a strong justification for hate right now. Certainly for anger. For rage, in fact. Twenty-two of our fellow citizens were killed at a pop concert. I hate that, I hate the person who did it, I hate those who will apologise for it, and I hate the ideology that underpins such barbarism. I want to destroy that ideology. I don’t feel sad, I feel apoplectic. Others will feel likewise, but if they express this verboten post-terror emotion they risk being branded as architects of hate, contributors to future terrorist acts, racist, and so on. Their fury is shushed. ‘Just weep. That’s your role.’
The post-terror cultivation of passivity speaks to a profound crisis of – and fear of – the active citizen. It diminishes us as citizens to reduce us to hashtaggers and candle-holders in the wake of serious, disorientating acts of violence against our society. It decommissions the hard thinking and deep feeling citizens ought to pursue after terror attacks. Indeed, in some ways this official post-terror narrative is the unwitting cousin of the terror attack itself. Where terrorism pursues a war of attrition against our social fabric, seeking to rip away bit by bit our confidence and openness and sense of ourselves as free citizens, officialdom and the media diminish our individuality and our social role, through instructing us on what we may feel and think and say about national atrocities and discouraging us from taking responsibility for confronting these atrocities and the ideological and violent rot behind them. The terrorist seeks to weaken our resolve, the powers-that-be want to sedate our emotions, retire our anger, reduce us to wet-eyed performers in their post-terror play. It’s a dual assault on the individual and society.

That the post-terror narrative is fundamentally about taming our passion and politics is clear from its sidelining of all issues of substance. We are actively warned against asking difficult questions about 21st-century society and why it has this violence in it, this nihilism in it. Question the wisdom of multiculturalism, of refusing to elevate one culture over another and instead encouraging people to live in their own cultural bubbles, and you’re racist. Wonder if the obsession with combatting ‘Islamophobia’ might have given rise to a situation where some Muslims, especially younger ones, cannot handle ridicule of their religion, and… well, you’re ‘Islamophobic’. As for immigration: this is the great unmentionable; you’re a fascist even for thinking about it. The post-terror narrative that barks ‘You must empathise!’ also says, implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, ‘You mustn’t think! You mustn’t ask those questions or say that thing.’ And so in their response to terrorism, they erect an intellectual forcefield around some of the problems that might, just might, be contributing to that terrorism.
We need unity, they say. Unity’s their buzzword. But this is substanceless, too. Unity around what? Unity against what? What are our values? Who is the enemy of those values? Don’t ask. Don’t think. It is wrong to have core values in a society built on diversity, apparently, and we mustn’t ever suggest that any particular ideology poses a threat to those values, because that might involve ‘punching down’, singling people out, etc. We end up with a unity of shallow feeling, a union of highly individuated mourners, not a unity around real ideals and things and vision. Their cry of unity is a lie. The fact is there are people in our society willing to attack us, others who will think those attacks are justified, and others still who will apologise for those attacks by saying they’re a product of ‘Islamophobia’ or Western intervention overseas. We are so far from united. We are deeply divided. But you cannot say that. ‘Weep, don’t think.’
Stop and think about how strange it is, how perverse it is, that more than 20 of our citizens have been butchered and we are basically saying: ‘Everyone calm down. Love is the answer.’ Where’s the rage? If the massacre of children and their parents on a fun night out doesn’t make you feel rage, nothing will. The terrorist has defeated you. You are dead already.
Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked.

Byron York: Harvard study: CNN, NBC Trump coverage 93 percent negative

Byron York: Harvard study: CNN, NBC Trump coverage 93 percent negative


How negative was press coverage of President Trump's first 100 days in office? Far more than that of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton, according to a new reportfrom the Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.
The Harvard scholars analyzed the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the main newscasts (not talk shows) of CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC during Trump's initial time in office. They found, to no one's surprise, that Trump absolutely dominated news coverage in the first 100 days. And then they found that news coverage was solidly negative — 80 percent negative among those outlets studied, versus 20 percent positive.
The numbers for previous presidents: Barack Obama, 41 percent negative, 59 percent positive; George W. Bush, 57 percent negative, 43 percent positive; and Bill Clinton, 60 percent negative, 40 percent positive.
Accusations of bias aside, it's simply a fact that a number of negative things happened in Trump's opening 100 days. The Russia investigation, for example, was a source of endless criticism from Democrats and other Trump opponents. The travel ban executive order led to intense argument and losses for the administration in the courts. The healthcare debacle created more negative coverage because it was a major screwup and a setback for both Trump and House Republicans.
That said, the coverage of some news organizations was so negative, according to the Harvard study, that it seems hard to argue that the coverage was anywhere near a neutral presentation of facts. Assessing the tone of news coverage, the Harvard researchers found that CNN's Trump coverage was 93 percent negative, and seven percent positive. The researchers found the same numbers for NBC.
Others were slightly less negative. The Harvard team found that CBS coverage was 91 percent negative and 9 percent positive. New York Times coverage was 87 percent negative and 13 percent positive. Washington Post coverage was 83 percent negative and 17 percent positive. Wall Street Journal coverage was 70 percent negative and 30 percent positive. And Fox News coverage also leaned to the negative, but only slightly: 52 percent negative to 48 percent positive.
Ninety-three percent negative — that's a lot by anybody's standards. "CNN and NBC's coverage was the most unrelenting — negative stories about Trump outpaced positive ones by 13-to-1 on the two networks," the study noted. "Trump's coverage during his first 100 days set a new standard for negativity."
The Harvard study had plenty of criticism for Trump. "Never in the nation's history," the authors wrote, "has the country had a president with so little fidelity to the facts, so little appreciation for the dignity of the presidential office, and so little understanding of the underpinnings of democracy."
But the authors made clear that journalists are very much part of the problem. "At the same time, the news media need to give Trump credit when his actions warrant it," the study said:
The public's low level of confidence in the press is the result of several factors, one of which is a belief that journalists are biased. That perception weakens the press's watchdog role. One of the more remarkable features of news coverage of Trump's first 100 days is that it has changed few minds about the president, for better or worse. The nation's watchdog has lost much of its bite and won't regain it until the public perceives it as an impartial broker, applying the same reporting standards to both parties. The news media's exemplary coverage of Trump's cruise missile strike on Syria illustrates the type of even-handedness that needs to be consistently and rigorously applied.
The Harvard team is undoubtedly now studying coverage of Trump's second 100 days. (They issued reports on key periods in the presidential campaign, as well.) The question is, will anything change?

Mueller Must Investigate Everything or It's Worthless

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller arrives for a court hearing at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco on April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Robert Mueller's investigation will be incomplete if he does not deal with and resolve the competing narratives about what has transpired. Narrative one is that Donald Trump and/or one or several of his entourage colluded in some manner with the Russians over election 2016. Narrative two is that Democrats and much of the media have not accepted the results of the election and are smearing Trump to drive him from office or seriously wound him to the degree that he will accomplish nothing.
Although it is possible there is an element of truth in both narratives, it is more likely that one or the other is what we could call the "prevailing truth." To get at this truth, three areas that are inextricably tied together must be investigated. They interweave like story elements in a novel and form what might be called the ├╝ber-narrative of  American politics over the last several years. For Mueller to separate them or to disregard any of the three will mean his investigation is essentially a useless charade. They are:

One: the matter of the Hillary Clinton email server. This has resurfaced dramatically in the firing of James Comey, reasons for which are laid out in Rod Rosenstein's memo. Whether he wrote this memo before or after Trump decided to get rid of Comey is immaterial since the Deputy AG has now stated he stands behind its contents. Further to this portion of the narrative is the overall question of putative Russian government hacking into the Clinton campaign. So far we have seen no public evidence that this is true. We have actually seen circumstantial evidence (the Seth Rich murder) to the contrary. Mueller must also explain why the DNC refused to open its servers to the FBI after it was supposedly hacked by the Russians and why the FBI, incredibly, acquiesced in this. The questions here are endless—including why the FBI gave immunity in so many cases and allowed for the destruction of evidence. If Mueller seeks to resuscitate the reputation of the agency, he'd better provide us full explanations for all this. At this point, declaring key evidential material "top secret" will only be met by justifiable disdain.
Two: the matter of government surveillance of Trump and his people. The president famously complained in a tweet of being "wiretapped" by Obama. Despite endless criticisms of his language when he actually put the word in quotes, the possibility of this obviously high-tech surveillance and the various attendant unmaskings is by far the most serious question that must be dealt with in this investigation. If the massive intelligence capabilities of the NSA and the CIA are being used for internal political purposes, the United States of America, as we know it and the Founders envisioned it, no longer exists. We are a post-modern totalitarianism and the Russian collusion scandal was just an excuse to impose it—or, more scarily, to cement what was already there.
Three: Trump and the Russians, of course. It's clear from his campaign statements that Trump wanted better relations with Russia and Putin. This was nothing new. Several American presidents have sought the same thing at the beginning of their administrations only to be blindsided by reality. Obama seemed particularly desperate when he got caught on camera naively whispering to Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more to offer Putin after the election (as if Vladimir didn't know). The rest, including the failed "red line," Iran on the rampage, and the endless Syrian civil war, is history. The question now is to what extent Trump and his people may have colluded with the Russians and whether this "collusion" meant anything. In the case of Manafort, as it was with John Podesta, this seems to have been no more than normal (and somewhat repellent) greed. In the case of the Uranium One and the Clintons, it may have been a great deal more (attention, Mr. Mueller). In the case of Mike Flynn, the problem might have more to do with the Turks than it does with the Russians. We shall see.

Both sides have risks here, but, since I am biased (something I readily admit, unlike my colleagues at the NYT, Washington Post, CNN, etc.), it seems to me the greater liabilities are with the Democrats, who do seem worried. With Washington having more leakers than Carter's has little liver pills, if convincingspecific evidence of Trump's culpability existed, I suspect we would have heard about it ad infinitum by now. Trump-Russia collusion rumors have been swirling for almost a year with nothing to show for them. Those same rumors must have been paying upwards on ten thousand salaries, considering all the journalists, investigators, party operatives, etc. who have been set loose on this. A lot of Meals on Wheels, speaking of one charity that has made the news lately, could have been prepared and delivered for this—with filet mignon and truffles.
We shall also see if Mueller has the courage to make a FULL investigation by connecting the obvious dots and giving a complete picture. Without doing that, everyone's time and money will be wasted—worse, the country will be further split than it already is with ominous implications for the future. One thing we do not need is a rehearsal of the sleazy and politicized Valerie Plame investigation, which, as Andrew Klavan has pointed out, was bogus from start to conclusion. To justify a special prosecutor's time and salary, Lewis Libby was prosecuted and imprisoned for revealing information already available in Who's Who. Repeating something like that would be, in a word, disgusting.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn't Already. He tweets @rogerlsimon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Carr: GOP pols spineless amid fake-news Russian ‘collusion’ scandal

Carr: GOP pols spineless amid fake-news Russian ‘collusion’ scandal

You could at least understand their terror if there was even a scintilla, an iota, a shred of evidence that Donald Trump had “colluded” with the Russians, whatever that means. But there isn’t, so why are they cowering in abject fear of the pajama boys in the fake-news media and their Democrat fellow travelers?
The Republicans are all wringing their hands and whimpering how “troubled” and “disturbed” and “concerned” they are by these allegations of … what exactly? The solons claim to be hearing “echoes” of Watergate. It’s all the usual suspects — John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and now Kelly Ayotte’s replacement in the RINO chorus line, Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
Most of these people have always hated Trump. They were hoping the summer White House would be reopening next weekend at Walker Point in Kennebunkport. Think Gov. Charlie Baker, that RINO’s RINO. Now they’re saying, “I told you so.” They’re being quoted (anonymously) in stories with headlines like “President Mike Pence,” as if the lynch mob would be satisfied with just Trump’s scalp.
The few Republicans in Congress who even dare to go in front of a camera call for “immediate classified briefings,” or they try to issue mealy-mouthed on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand statements while quivering in fear.
“It may be something very serious,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), “or it may be nothing.”
Like Inspector Clouseau, he suspects everyone, he suspects no one.
But most of the Republicans are totally MIA, just like they were in October after the “Access Hollywood” tapes came out. The difference is, back then there was actually something to run from, plus it looked like Trump was going down in a landslide.
But now he’s the president. And this “scandal” is like a political version of the old book, “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” If you ever wondered what it was like during the Salem witch trials back in 1692, just turn on CNN or MSNBC.
These Republicans are now declaiming that this special prosecutor will be “bipartisan,” and that his probe will be over in a matter of months. Are they serious? Look at this guy Robert Mueller. He went to prep school with John Kerry, he was brought to Boston by Bill Weld, he was appointed by a Bush and worked for an Obama.
Totally on the level, in other words.
Let me be the first to say, if you want to hide something real good, just stick it in one of Robert Mueller’s law books.
The jackals have no evidence — even Maxine Waters and Dianne Feinstein have conceded that. James Comey said under oath earlier this month that there had been no interference from the White House. The Democrats just can’t accept the fact that they lost the election. Period. They refuse to realize that sometimes, as Shakespeare wrote, the fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves.
Instead, they spin their fantasies. Impeachment, they say, is in the air. Not to mention a whiff of fascism, according to Comrade Chris Matthews.
Yep, there’s a whiff of something in the air all right, but it isn’t fascism. Just hope I don’t get any on my shoe.
Buy Howie’s new book, “Kennedy Babylon: A Century of Scandal and Depravity,” at