David Brooks and the Terror of the Grey Poupon Set

Stop the presses!  New York Times columnist and cultural observer David Brooks knows what’s ruining America–and shocker or shockers, it has nothing to do with Donald Trump:

Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks.

Got that?  Not only are those hoity-toity college types good at making sure their kids hold on to their elevated rank in the scheme of things, they’re amazingly good at it.  And when it comes to keeping the riff-raff on their designated side of the tracks, the sweater vest and Dockers crowd is just devastatingly effective.  When David Brooks deploys the adverbs like that, you can tell he must be on to something.

But wait, it gets better:

How they’ve managed to do the first task — giving their own children a leg up — is pretty obvious. It’s the pediacracy, stupid. Over the past few decades, upper-middle-class Americans have embraced behavior codes that put cultivating successful children at the center of life. As soon as they get money, they turn it into investments in their kids.

There go those upper-middle-class parents again, making their offspring a priority.  And what’s with those behavior codes?  Obviously that’s a dog whistle for people who get married, stay married and don’t have kids until they are married.  Don’t they know it’s not fair to put everybody else at a disadvantage like that?

Upper-middle-class parents have the means to spend two to three times more time with their preschool children than less affluent parents.

It’s an outrage.  Dad should be spending more weekends on the golf course, while mom makes some me-time for her and the pool boy.

As life has gotten worse for the rest in the middle class, upper-middle-class parents have become fanatical about making sure their children never sink back to those levels, and of course there’s nothing wrong in devoting yourself to your own progeny.

Yeah, sure.  Nothing wrong at all.  Keep telling yourself that, Dave.

It’s when we turn to the next task — excluding other people’s children from the same opportunities — that things become morally dicey. Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution recently published a book called “Dream Hoarders” detailing some of the structural ways the well educated rig the system.

The most important is residential zoning restrictions. Well-educated people tend to live in places like Portland, New York and San Francisco that have housing and construction rules that keep the poor and less educated away from places with good schools and good job opportunities.

Portland, New York and San Francisco…  What do all those places have in common?  Oh, that’s right!  They’re all run by liberal Democrats.  So how is it possible that those cities would deliberately zone themselves to keep poor people out of decent schools and nicer jobs?  I thought Democrats were supposed to be for the little guy.

It’s no wonder that 70 percent of the students in the nation’s 200 most competitive schools come from the top quarter of the income distribution. With their admissions criteria, America’s elite colleges sit atop gigantic mountains of privilege.

Wait, colleges?  Aren’t they also run by liberals?  With the way they’re keeping poor people down, you’d think that Newt Gingrich was in charge.

Still, even all that doesn’t compare to the even greater horrors that await the middle class in the cosmopolitan jungle.  Brooks elaborates:

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

Did they go to Trump Tower?  I hear the Taco Bowls are pretty good.

While you can enjoy a hearty laugh at all this (and heaven knows, I certainly did), I can’t fault Brooks too much for his intentions.  However unwittingly, he does score some solid points on how a lot of government policy, purportedly created to help the poor, actually ends up hurting them more.  San Francisco, for example. does make it nearly impossible to build new housing anywhere near the city–and as a result, young families of limited means can’t afford to live there.  New York City, meanwhile, has rent controls that make 500 square feet of crappy apartment cost more than the mortgage on a 4,000 square foot house upstate.  But he comes off as condescending to the subjects of his own sympathy, while at the same time scolding parents of better than average means for wanting to live in nice neighborhoods with schools that don’t need metal detectors.  Congratulations, Dave.  You managed to make everybody mad.

Meanwhile, Brooks ignores perhaps the most important thing he’s uncovered here, and that’s the question of why places like New York are so unwelcoming to those who don’t come from the right background.  For a city that didn’t mind when Occupy Wall Street was defecating on police cars, they’re awfully hard on someone who doesn’t know the difference between prosciutto and pancetta.  Why the intolerance?

Maybe if Brooks spent more time at Chili’s and less time at Per Se, he might know the answer.

More Fake News From The NY Times

The New York Times, the  newspaper that once claimed to be the nation’s ”newspaper of record,” let its zeal to be part of the Trump haters so-called renaissance cause it to publish more fake news. Thursday the Times published a correction to an article that incorrectly claimed all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that “Russia orchestrated the attacks, and did it to help get [Trump] elected.”

The now corrected article was originally published on published June 25, and “covered” certain reactions that President Donald J. Trump gave in response to Russian cyber attacks and interactions with the 2016 presidential election.

The NY Times ’s correction states:

Correction: June 29, 2017

A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump’s deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year’s presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community [emphasis added].

It’s really hard to see how any newspaper, let alone The New York Times could make such an egregious error. Hillary Clinton, during a May 31, 2017-interview, claimed that “all 17 intelligence agencies” confirmed with “high confidence” the Russians worked against her in the U.S. Presidential Election:

  The Russians ran an extensive information war against my campaign to influence voters in the election.

You can watch Hillary make these allegations at about the 19:30 in this You Tube video.

In a fact check of Hillary’s allegation the Daily Caller reports that James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence, refuted Hillary’s false assertion that “all 17 intelligence agencies” confirmed the Russian meddling against her campaign, during his May 8, 2017 testimony before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Clapper stated that the assessment was only from the NSA, FBI and the CIA.

Here’s the relevant passage from the transcript of the hearing:

FRANKEN: We have — the intelligence communities have concluded all 17 of them that Russia interfered with this election. And we all know how that’s right.

CLAPPER: Senator, as I pointed out in my statement Senator Franken, there were only three agencies that directly involved in this assessment plus my office…

FRANKEN: But all 17 signed on to that?

CLAPPER: Well, we didn’t go through that — that process, this was a special situation because of the time limits and my — what I knew to be to who could really contribute to this and the sensitivity of the situation, we decided it was a constant judgment (ph) to restrict it to those three. I’m not aware of anyone who dissented or — or disagreed when it came out.

According to the Daily Caller those three agencies were the CIA, NSA and FBI.

The New York Times covered that May 8, 2017 Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing. They just didn’t bother to listen.

The New York Times’ Absurdity is Its Best Defense Against Palin’s Suit

Sarah Palin sued the New York Times yesterday over its editorial claiming that SarahPAC’s advertisements resulted in former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz) getting shot in 2011. The editorial was so absurd that the Times retracted it the following day:

Nevertheless, the Times will have the upper hand in court. This is partly because Palin is a public figure for purposes of defamation law and therefore has a higher evidentiary burden to meet than would a private citizen. And partly because New York judges and juries detest Alaska’s former governor even more than they do Donald Trump, somebody they consider to be one of their own despite his vulgarity (or, perhaps, because of it).  There might be other potential defenses, too.

The Times’  legal ace in the hole, however, is the absurdity of its editorial. A successful libel suit requires a false statement. But courts have held that “rhetorical hyperbole which no reasonable reader would believe” is not actionable.

Thus, counterintuitive as it may seem, a false statement about a plaintiff can actually be too false for her to win a libel suit if no reasonable person would take the statement seriously. This describes perfectly the Times’ editorial about Palin:

Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.

The Times has a viable defense against Palin’s libel suit because no reasonable reader would have been stupid enough to believe the paper’s assertion that Palin caused Gifford to be shot.

Defenses in any kind of case, however, can have collateral consequences. For example, testifying that you were with your gay lover during the evening your business partner got whacked might enable you to beat a murder rap. But you’ll be doing some explaining later on when you get home to the missus.

The Times faces a similar quandary. An absurdity defense offered by “America’s paper of record” would likely defeat Palin’s libel suit. But the Times would then have to explain to its readers why it puts absurd claims on its editorial pages.

Palin’s star has dimmed since the halcyon days of the 2008 convention. And she’ll likely lose this suit. But beating Palin might require the New York Times to acknowledge in court that its editorial is more absurd than she is. If the case turns on that issue, then (1) Palin will have performed a great service to the public and (2) the Times will richly deserve to win the case.

Sarah Palin Responds To New York Times Editorial

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has publicly responded to the New York Times editorial that linked her to the 2011 mass shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. Palin tweeted a snapshot of an article that suggested she has grounds to sue the NYT for libel.

In an opinion piece on Wednesday, the NYT editorial board linked the 2011 mass shooting of former Rep. Giffords to a congressional “target” map Palin had released earlier – the map was pertaining to Democratic-controlled districts that held potential for GOP gains.

The claim by the NYT is a regurgitation of a conspiracy theory that was debunked long ago. Immediately following the 2011 shooting in Tucson, some on the left tried to argue the perpetrator’s (Jared Loughner) actions were a result of hateful, conservative rhetoric. A simple background check into Loughner’s life revealed he was a deranged individual who held no substantive partisan preferences. The ridiculous connection was even further disproved when it was revealed Loughner had developed an obsession with Giffords as early as 2007 – about four years before Palin’s map was ever released.

No matter. The New York Times decided on Wednesday to drudge up this baseless connection in an attempt to equate the Alexandria, Virginia shooting by a liberal Bernie Bro to the 2011 Tucson shooting.

The opinion piece was roundly criticized by those on the right and left. The editorial board quickly retracted the controversial section of the article.

Before suggesting on Twitter she may sue the New York Times for libel, Palin had previously criticized the article via her Facebook page:

With this sickening NYT’s editorial, the media is doing exactly what I said yesterday should not be done. Despite commenting as graciously as I could on media coverage of yesterday’s shooting, alas, today a perversely biased media’s knee-jerk blame game is attempting to destroy innocent people with lies and more fake news. As I said yesterday, I’d hoped the media had collectively matured since the last attack on a Representative when media coverage spewed blatant lies about who was to blame. There’s been no improvement. The NYT has gotten worse. – SP

New York Times Keeps the Hate Rolling

Yesterday, in the wake of the targeted shootings of Republicans in Alexandria, I wrote about how good it was to see congressional Democrats joining with their political rivals to pray for Representative Steve Scalise and the others who were wounded in the attack.  It was a rare and welcome show of bipartisanship in a time when political divisions seem to be worse than ever before, and I hoped it could continue even as the memory of the morning’s events began to fade.  I also wordered how long the news media would allow that kind of unity to continue, given their agenda of sowing discord and keeping Americans at each other’s throats.

This morning, in a staff editorial, the New York Times gave us their answer:

Not all the details are known yet about what happened in Virginia, but a sickeningly familiar pattern is emerging in the assault: The sniper, James Hodgkinson, who was killed by Capitol Police officers, was surely deranged, and his derangement had found its fuel in politics. Mr. Hodgkinson was a Bernie Sanders supporter and campaign volunteer virulently opposed to President Trump. He posted many anti-Trump messages on social media, including one in March that said “Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.

Furthermore:

Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Though there’s no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.

The editorial then goes into the usual boilerplate about gun control, which is their typical dodge when they’re trying to change the subject.  The subtext is pretty clear, though:  Sure, it was a Bernie Bro who shot up the GOP baseball team, but it’s the Republicans’ fault because they love the Second Amendment too much.

But even that isn’t the most outrageous part of their argument.  The Times here is recycling a proven falsehood by asserting that Jared Loughner was inspired to shoot Democrat Representative Gabby Giffords because of some cross hairs that Sarah Palin’s PAC placed on a map.  Loughner was a diagnosed schizophrenic who believed that the government was using the rules of grammar to control his mind.  A friend of Loughner also said of him, “He did not watch TV, he disliked the news.  He didn’t listen to political radio, he didn’t take sides, he wasn’t on the left, he wasn’t on the right.”  In other words, he had no political motive.  There is absolutely no question about this.

On the other hand, here we have James T. Hodgkinson, a known progressive activist with a social media trail a mile long, who volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and literally posted on Facebook about how it was time to destroy Trump & Co.–and yet somehow the New York Times, the supposed Paper of Record, says that, “There’s no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack.”  Are you kidding me?

Moreover, the editorial characterizes Hodgkinson as “surely deranged,” and maintains that because of this reason he should never have had a rifle in the first place.  But how do they know he was deranged?  There’s no evidence that Hodgkinson suffered from any kind of mental illness.  In fact, his methodical approach to the attempted murders of Republicans suggests quite the opposite–that he knew exactly what he was doing.  Perhaps he had just been fed a steady diet of hatred from media outlets like the New York Times, which filled him with stories about how Republicans are evil and want to destroy the planet with climate change.  Or does that kind of understanding make them a bit too uncomfortable?

It’s absolutely disgusting that the Times is taking the actions of a lunatic and making them appear sane so that they can take the actions of a sane man and make them appear crazy.  In their view, however, they’re just doing what they need to do to protect the narrative–which means, to everyone’s detriment, they won’t give up peddling their brand of hate anytime soon.

New York Times Blames Sarah Palin for the DC Shooting

Gov. Palin and I may have our differences, but I am offended for her with this New York Times editorial that seeks to lay blame for the DC shooting at Palin’s feet. The New York Times editorial board wrote,

Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.

The implication is revisionist history. We know that Jared Lee Loughner was, to the extent political, of the left, but his political affiliations were not meaningful. He was not inspired by that map in any way, shape, or form.

This paragraph is completely irresponsible by the Times and attempts to engage in a “you started it” argument to dodge the fact the Times itself has now published multiple stories alleging massive collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia to steal the republic and then had to retract those stories. There is no evidence Loughner acted because of that map, but there is ample evidence the Times’s reporting and the leftwing echo chamber in which the Times’ editorial board exists incited and inspired the shooter in Washington.

The very fact that the New York Times cannot deal honestly with the situation shows that they have no intention of the situation changing and are perfectly happy when the bullets fly right.

Twice Now the Same Reporters at the New York Times Have Been Called Out by James Comey For Reporting Falsehoods

On December 12, 2015, the New York Times ran this story by Matt Apuzzo and Michael Schmidt relying on anonymous sources. The anonymous sources claimed that the FBI and other government agencies had missed or ignored Facebook and Twitter posts by the San Bernardino terrorist’s wife in support of radical, violent jihad.

Turns out the story was factually wrong. James Comey called B.S. on the story and even the New York Times’s public editor took the paper to task for its reliance on anonymous sources. Interestingly, the New York Times’s news editor defended the reporters who had completely screwed up the salacious story.

Those same reporters, Matt Apuzzo and Michael Schmidt, reported another salacious story on February 14th of this year. They claimed that “[p]hone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.”

Again, according to James Comey’s testimony under oath before the United States Senate, this story is not true.

The New York Times has not updated or issued a correction to this story relating to James Comey’s testimony.

We have now twice been stirred up as a nation by these two reporters at the New York Times who have now twice relied on anonymous sources and now twice been called out by James Comey for not being true or accurate. Why should we believe the New York Times at all given this pattern?

A Word About NYT Journalistic Ethics

The New York Times blockbuster claiming that former FBI Director Comey wrote a memo detailing a conversation with President Trump in the Oval Office is certainly damaging–if not fatal–to Trump’s presidency, if true.

Let’s focus on the “if true.”

It’s one thing for President Trump to imply the existence of taped conversations with Comey in the White House. From the first day of Trump’s presidency, he’s played fast and loose with (“untethered from” might be a better term) the facts. Therefore the press knows they have to do their homework with Trump.

But they’re not only diligent to do that work, they are also rather joyful to expose every lie, malicious rumor, or disputed fact about the Trump White House. Even to the point of changing slogans (WaPo’s “Democracy dies in darkness”) and orienting their entire organization to bringing down a man who called them an “enemy of the American people.”

Regarding the NYT’s decision to publish this bombshell, this paragraph is the most troubling.

Mr. Comey shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates. The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of the memo to a Times reporter.

Did Comey share the existence of the memo with the NYT? Was the existence of the memo only learned when the source read the memo to a Times reporter and told his story? If so, this is hearsay of the highest order. It’s not just hearsay that “sources close to” reported something happened, it’s hearsay that a person both claimed Comey shared the memo’s existence, context, and the memo’s contents with a reporter, without sharing the physical memo itself. Are there no fax machines at the FBI?

Journalistic ethics generally requires some corroboration of something this big. You don’t just hit the “publish” button on a story that, if true, could take down the president. That is, unless you have an overwhelming desire to take down the president.

If it turns out that this memo doesn’t exist, doesn’t say what the NYT wrote it says, or is offered in a different context (i.e. maybe Comey didn’t write it, but someone else summarized remarks Comey made verbally about the meeting), then the NYT has destroyed its journalistic integrity.

If this story is true, Trump is in trouble, with Congress, with the American people, and with an increasingly rabid press. But if the story is false, the NYT, along with much of the rest of the MSM that has bought into the story, will hang their heads in shame for many years. This will make Dan Rather’s Bush memo look like a Brian Williams bar story.

If true, this is one of the worst scandals of abuse of presidential power since Nixon. If false, it’s one of the worst betrayals of journalistic ethics in modern history.

As David French noted today in National Review:

The bottom line is that Americans need to see the memo, if it exists. The gravity of the accusation demands immediate Congressional action. Burr’s committee should subpoena that memo and every memo or other document reflecting the content of conversations between Comey and President Trump. Do it today. Burr told reporters that the “burden is on the New York Times” to produce the memo, but that’s absurd. The Times doesn’t have the ability to compel its production. House and Senate committees do, and they need to do their job.

Either the memo exists and is everything the NYT claims it is, or it isn’t. America, led by Congress, must see the memo. Once again quoting French, “It’s time for the truth.” Amen, brother, and the truth shall set us free.