Mid-Day Digest

Aug. 10, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Why did the FBI execute a pre-dawn search of Manafort’s home? There are few answers.
  • The New York Times runs fake news on climate change.
  • Affirmative action runs into an inconvenient group — Asian-Americans.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” —Thomas Jefferson (1798)

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

The Manafort ‘Raid’?

On July 26, FBI agents under instruction from special counsel Robert Mueller raided the Alexandria, Virginia, home of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. The raid was a non-violent affair — no doors were broken down nor machine guns drawn nor flash grenades used. It was a raid in that it was before dawn and an unannounced enforcement of a search warrant as part of the investigation into Russian election meddling, and Manafort was reportedly fully cooperative. According to The Washington Post, the FBI warrant covered “documents related to tax, banking and other matters.”

The day before the FBI searched his house, Manafort voluntarily met with Senate Intelligence Committee staff members, and he was scheduled to meet with the Senate Judiciary Committee two days later. And he also willingly turned over requested files and documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee. In other words, it seems rather strange that the FBI deemed it necessary to execute an unannounced search warrant in such a manner — unless Manafort wasn’t nearly so cooperative as he seems.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy muses, “There are two possible rationales for a search warrant under the circumstances. First, the legitimate rationale: Investigators in good faith believed Manafort, who is either a subject of or witness in their investigation, was likely to destroy rather than surrender relevant evidence. Second, the brass-knuckles rationale: The prosecutor is attempting to intimidate the witness or subject — to say nothing of others who are similarly situated — into volunteering everything he may know of an incriminating nature about people the prosecutor is targeting.” McCarthy also notes, “A search warrant is issued in a criminal investigation only if a judge finds probable cause that a crime has been committed and that evidence of this crime will be found in the place to be searched.”

Recall back in August 2016, Trump removed Manafort as his campaign manager. The reasons suggested for this change were that Trump felt “boxed in” and “controlled” by Manafort. Trump needed to be Trump. It was also reported that the Trump team was uncomfortable with news of Manafort’s involvement with Russia. As Politico reported at the time, Trump family members “felt [Manafort] hadn’t been entirely forthright about his activities overseas. … Family members were also unhappy about changes made to the GOP platform that were seen as beneficial to Russia, which they felt Manafort played a role in.”

Back to the current investigation. Is there an investigative competition between Mueller’s squad and the Senate Judiciary Committee, as both are looking into Russian election meddling? Could this explain the motive behind the FBI’s pre-dawn search warrant? Did Mueller’s team want to get its hands on documents and files before the Senate Judiciary Committee? Certainly don’t forget that there are essentially no limits on Mueller’s investigation. What we have are a lot of questions, but few answers.

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More NY Times Fake Climate News

The Leftmedia has one objective: To vilify the Trump administration whenever the opportunity arises. Of course, this opens the door to gross bias and stories that are just flat-out wrong. The coinage for this is the now-ubiquitous term “fake news.” The New York Times was caught once again spreading propaganda in its report on the latest Climate Science Special Report (CSSR). The final draft contains the typical anxiety-laden language of how man-made global warming will be significantly detrimental to humanity. But the Times’ politicking of the CSSR’s plight is even worse.

Initially, Fox News points out, “The [NYT] story … said the draft report ‘has not yet been made public’ but ‘a copy of it was obtained by The New York Times.’” Only that erroneous claim didn’t fly for very long. And it wasn’t whistleblowers who exposed the Times’ duplicity.

Rutgers professor Bob Kopp, who contributed to CSSR, tweeted, “It’s not clear what the news is in this story; posted draft is public review draft from Dec, and WH review hasn’t yet missed Aug 18 deadline” to officially endorse the CSSR. A few moments later he added, “The Times’ leaked draft has been on the Internet Archive since January, during the public comment period.” Kopp’s colleague Katharine Hayhoe likewise tweeted, “Important to point out that this report was already accessible to anyone who cared to read it during public review & comment time. Few did.”

Translation: Nothing was really leaked at all. The Times’ story now contains this correction: “While it was not widely publicized, the report was uploaded by the nonprofit Internet Archive in January; it was not first made public by The New York Times.” Oops. What the Times saw was a chance to exploit an obscure report to further its agenda of portraying Donald Trump as a Neanderthal who “could change or suppress the report” without the public’s knowledge. It also attempted to paint ecofascists as good Samaritans who had no choice but to “leak” a report to save humanity. Instead, the public now has even more proof that the Times continues to lack journalistic integrity.

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Top Headlines

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read Tax Reduction and Simplification — How to Defeat the Demos. As Ronald Reagan said, “You can’t be for big government, big taxes and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.”

If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email, update your subscription here.

FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Asian-Americans Complicate the Affirmative Action Narrative

By Arnold Ahlert

“The purpose of affirmative action is to promote social equality through the preferential treatment of socioeconomically disadvantaged people. Often, these people are disadvantaged for historical reasons like years of oppression or slavery.” —HG.org, a legal resource website

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925. It included a provision instructing government contractors to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 adding sex to the list, and again requiring federal contractors to promote the full realization of equal opportunity for women and minorities via affirmative action.

Since then, the concept has been bastardized to promote a spoils system that makes a complete mockery of the word “equal” — as in the “equal protection of the laws” ostensibly guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Thus, progressive heads are exploding with regard to an internal memo obtained by The New York Times. It reveals the Justice Department is seeking attorneys willing to explore “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” The Times initially insisted this project is aimed at “suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”

Wrong. As DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores put it, the DOJ is pursuing a complaint filed in May 2015 by a coalition of 64 Asian-American groups against an unnamed university. Since such a coalition filed a federal complaint against Harvard in 2015 alleging racial discrimination, it’s safe to say the Ivy League school is in the DOJ’s crosshairs.

The most problematic aspect of the case for the nation’s progressive quota-mongers? One minority group is challenging allegedly preferential treatment given to other minority groups.

It doesn’t get more disruptive of the affirmative action narrative than that.

One might be forgiven for noticing that in virtually all leftist diatribes about the victimization of minorities — diatribes that inevitably include excoriating America for its legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and numerous other race-based evils — Asian-Americans are rarely part of the mix. Perhaps it’s because the culture of victimhood the American Left has successfully inculcated in many black and Hispanic communities is largely rejected by Asian-Americans, who do not view government’s thumb on the scale as a prerequisite for their success. Even more problematic, they are unencumbered by America’s slave-owning legacy progressives use to induce guilt and justify their quota schemes.

Thus, in an effort to keep the narrative alive, CNN insists the Trump administration’s real motive is to “play to a conservative base that has long abhorred practices that offer a boost to racial minorities, potentially at the expense of whites.”

In the last 30 years, the Supreme Court has wrestled with the issue on several occasions, ruling three times that race can be used as a “factor” with regard to admissions. In the most recent case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the Court ruled 4-3 in favor of such programs, provided universities present strong evidence they are narrowly tailored to achieve the goal of diversity by “ensuring that race plays no greater role than is necessary to meet its compelling interest,” Kennedy wrote for a majority.

What, exactly, constitutes compelling interest? As dissenting Justice Samuel Alito noted, UT didn’t offer any evidence about how much race factors into admission decisions, whether its plan placed more minority students in classrooms that ostensibly lacked diversity, or why its plan favors black American and Latino students, even as it appears to damage the prospects of Asian-Americans. Alito wrote, “By accepting UT’s rationales as sufficient to meet its burden, the majority licenses UT’s perverse assumptions about different groups of minority students — the precise assumptions strict scrutiny is supposed to stamp out.”

Two University of Michigan cases from 2003 also highlight the institutional acrobatics used to justify quotas. In Gratz v. Bollinger, the Court struck down the use of a mathematical-based admissions system that awarded extra points to minority candidates — simply for being minorities. But in Grutter v. Bollinger, it upheld the law school’s supposedly more individualized review, because it served “a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.”

Yet what, exactly, are those benefits, and how are they quantified? Several studies have asserted that diversity provokes more innovative thinking and better group performance in a variety of settings. Yet how such conclusions are reached in the absence of a “control group” suggests politics trumps science.

Thus we are left with the dubious proposition that diversity is beneficial … because to assert otherwise constitutes bigotry.

Yet the cases SCOTUS and other courts have adjudicated revolved around minorities versus whites. By focusing on Asian-American complaints against Harvard, the DOJ is taking a sledgehammer to the presumption that racial quotas are a reasoned response to “white privilege.”

As The Wall Street Journal explains, the percentage of Asian students admitted to Harvard has remained around 20% since 1993, despite the fact that the Asian share of the U.S. population “has increased rapidly.” The paper further notes Asian representation is much higher at University of California campuses — where the use of race as an admissions factor was banned in the 1990s.

Yet the real discrimination is found in the race-based approach to Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores. “All else being equal,” the paper reveals, “an Asian-American must score 140 points higher on the SAT than a white counterpart, 270 points higher than a Hispanic student, and 450 points higher than a black applicant, according to 2009 research from Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and co-author Alexandria Walton Radford.”

Harvard insists its “holistic” approach negates that disparity. Yet if that’s the case, how does it explain that legacy students — children of former students — are two to three times more likely to be admitted than students whose parents didn’t attend Harvard?

“There is a version of affirmative action — legal, generally popular and arguably more meritocratic — that higher education has not yet even tried,” wrote columnist Dave Leonhardt in 2012. Leonhardt revealed economically disadvantaged students “receive either no preference or a modest one, depending on which study you believe.”

It shouldn’t take a study to figure out what merits genuine consideration in college admissions. The same public that despises race-based admissions heartily favors giving a break to low-income students and those whose parents didn’t attend college.

Would economics-based affirmative action mollify the bean-counters? In a column for Diverse Issues in Education, Emil Guillermo asserts Asian students are being used as proxies for whites in the battle to dismantle affirmative action. Like so many progressives, he recognizes the mortal threat of affirmative action litigation that doesn’t include a Caucasian component.

It will be fascinating to see how people whose power depends on the continued cultivation of minority group grievances against an “endemically” racist white majority manage to cope.

Right now, “holistic,” in all its intentionally ambiguous glory, appears to be the linguistic tool progressives will use to maintain race-based quotas in college admissions.

If that fails? Perhaps “Asian privilege” will become part of the progressive lexicon.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Veronique de Rugy: “Another debt ceiling fight is just around the corner. The government’s borrowing limit will need to be raised yet again by the end of September to avoid default. Indications suggest that there will be enough support between Democrats and moderate Republicans to pass a ‘clean’ increase, meaning no spending limits or cuts will be attached. However, this fiscal status quo is absolutely unacceptable, especially because it would be easy to take a small step toward much-needed fiscal discipline. Debt is piling up, and it is doing so at a faster pace than the economy is growing. The gross national debt is already well past 100 percent of gross domestic product. Under very optimistic assumptions, the Congressional Budget Office projects that under current law, the debt will reach 150 percent of GDP in 2047 — thanks primarily to an aging population and poorly structured entitlement programs. Significant change is clearly needed if we’re to avoid fiscal catastrophe. … Debt and deficits are bad, but they are symptoms of an underlying spending problem. Focusing narrowly on reducing debt can lead to counterproductive policy choices, whereas spending caps would most likely achieve the desirable goals of reducing excessive government and finally getting the nation’s debt under control.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “Not enough taxpayers exist at … high incomes to solve the long-term budget deficit, much less finance new spending. Consequently, lawmakers who begin by calling for millionaire taxes often end up reaching much further down the income scale — where nearly three-fourths of income is earned outside of the richest five percent. Therefore, taxpayers hearing calls for ‘tax increases on the super-wealthy’ should guard their own pocketbooks.” —Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl

For the record: “Many of [California’s] wealthiest residents support high taxes, no-growth green policies and subsidies for the poor. They do so because they reside in apartheid neighborhoods and have the material and political wherewithal to become exempt from the consequences of their own utopian bromides.” —Victor Davis Hanson

Observations: “In biblical times, a sanctuary city was a place where someone who had committed unintentional manslaughter could find refuge from ‘the avenger of blood.’ If the offender left the sanctuary city, he could be set upon by a relative of the dead person and killed. No sanctuary was available to anyone who committed murder with malice aforethought. Modern sanctuary cities are less reflective of their ancient namesakes and more like the hideouts established by train robbers and cattle rustlers during the days of the Wild West, as the current sanctuary city movement shields men and women who have broken federal law to reach the United States.” —Cal Thomas

End of the status quo: “As far as I’m concerned, as an American citizen, I want a president that says that if any nation such as North Korea attacks Guam, attacks Honolulu, attacks the West Coast, that they will be met with hell and fury.” —Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo

And last… “What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language.” —Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

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Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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