Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trump has won--it's time to ignore the left's temper tantrums

New York Times
I have never seen so many people "afraid" as I've seen these past six weeks. Imaginary fear is at epidemic levels--and it's reached a tipping point on our college campuses, where mass temper tantrums are led by smug humanities professors whose raison d'etre is to convince gullible teenagers that their parents are racists and sexists.

I can only imagine how "afraid" the political left would be if we had elected a real conservative, like Ted Cruz, who is actually intent on drastically cutting government--we haven't had a real conservative since Ronald Reagan. Based on their reaction this time, my guess is that the left would be holding mass suicide rallies if Cruz were elected.

The electoral college has chosen Donald Trump as our next president, and it's time to ignore the chronically angry left and its mass hysteria--the left needs to grow up if it wants to sit at the adult table and have a say in things now. They can continue blogging among themselves--preaching to their angry choir--and they can keep telling themselves everyone else is an idiot and only they know what's right. Or they can engage in civil discourse with the rest of us--based on silly things like facts and evidence.

Hillary Clinton didn't lose for any of the reasons Hillary Clinton says she lost. Hillary Clinton lost because her fealty to group identity politics made her tone-deaf to the concerns of working-class voters, the people living pay check-to-pay check.

Clinton ran as successor to Barack Obama, whose lone signature accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, is "the craziest thing in the world" because of its exploding premiums and reduced coverage--according to no less an authority than Bill Clinton, the man Mrs. Clinton said would be “in charge of revitalizing the economy” in her administration. But Hillary didn't listen to Bill.  Just before the election, when Hillary was bellyaching that the FBI director's decision to reopen the investigation into her email scandal was hurting her campaign, Bill went into a rage and threw his cell phone in the river. He screamed that her campaign was in trouble because it was ignoring millions of working-class voters.

You'd have thought that election night would have been a wake-up call for the left, but it wasn't. When the votes were counted, they started to blame everything and everyone for the debacle except themselves--they blamed FBI director James Comey (forgetting that the FBI only got involved after the attorney general's secret tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton); imaginary "white-lash" (more like the backlash of working people--who are tired of their moral superiors telling them that their economic woes pale in comparison to questions like, which bathroom are kids in North Carolina allowed to use?); supposed rigged voting in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan (they spent millions on recounts--in Pennsylvania, a federal judge said the recount "borders on the irrational," and in Wisconsin, the recount resulted in Trump gaining 131 votes); "fake news" (not a single Trump voter was swayed by it, whatever it means--but a lot of Clinton voters were swayed by the mainstream media openly rooting for Clinton); the Russians (who exposed hateful things the Clinton team said about middle America and the fact that the media was in cahoots with Clinton); and the fact that Trump is only president-elect based on a fluke of history--Hillary won the popular vote (which would mean something if she were running for president of California). Their last-ditch, multi-million dollar effort to stage a coup with the electoral college resulted in Trump losing two votes--and Clinton losing four.

Here's all you need to know: their candidate waltzed into a town hall event in West Virginia, of all places, and bragged, "We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business"--and they blame other people for their loss? Seriously?

But the Trump voters who are a little wary of Trump--and there are a lot of them--are convinced they made the right decision after seeing the left's collective, hysterical hissy fit these past six weeks. As but one example, we have to wonder if anyone will ever again agree to serve as an elector to the electoral college after what electors were put through this year. Electors around the country were badgered, harassed, and bombarded with demands that they block Donald Trump's election--we're not talking about a few communications, but tens of thousands for each elector, telling them to vote against Trump. A Harvard University group backed by constitutional law Prof. Lawrence Lessig offered free legal aid to electors who change their vote. A young Michigan elector has received multiple death threats--someone threatened to put a bullet in the back of his mouth. Arizona electors reported getting death threats. Electors had to have police protection.

The left's next step? Disrupt the inauguration, of course.

So let's be clear: the Democrats lost because the smug, sanctimonious, morally superior PC warriors on the left ignored and belittled the real-world concerns of working class Americans, pretended those real-world concerns were masks for racism and sexism, ginned up Islamophobia where it scarcely existed, gleefully tarnished cops as inherently racist even when there was no evidence for it, trampled freedom of speech and due process on campus in fealty to group identity politics, and sought to shut down debate with name-calling and by reducing anyone who doesn't share their worldview to grotesque caricature.  These are people who deal in stereotypes, not issues--few have any idea what Trump's positions are on the issues.

The good news: the chattering classes in the mainstream media and the pollsters have all been dealt a serious, perhaps fatal blow by this election--everyone now knows they can't be trusted. They, and the chronically angry left, need to be ignored and trivialized until they realize they don't have a monopoly on truth. And they can thank themselves for their current predicament.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A new call to make it much, much easier to convict the wrongly accused of rape

Two specialists in ethics have penned a horrifying piece that calls for the abolition of the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of evidence in sexual assault cases. They insist that a preponderance of the evidence standard is sufficient.

You see, it's sometimes difficult to tell if sexual assault occurs because it "is often physically indistinguishable from consensual sex." Most rational people think this is a sound basis for insisting on processes that insure the innocent are not convicted of crimes they did not commit. Not Christopher Wareham and James Vosis. They acknowledge that the harms to the falsely accused can be "severe." They seem think the harms of a false acquittal are worse, so they are willing to allow some innocent men to suffer for the purported greater good.  They want to see the standard of proof drastically reduced to "preponderance of the evidence" in sexual assault cases. Their plan literally would invite convictions even where jurors have a reasonable doubt as to guilt. Jurors would be told to convict if there is only a 50.00001 percent likelihood of guilt.

This proposal is morally grotesque on every level, and it flips on its head a long-settled principle of law famously expressed by the celebrated English jurist William Blackstone: it is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." (Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765.)

In fact, the debate about whether it is just to punish the innocent in order to insure that the guilty are punished has been long-settled in civilized societies: it is not just. Even the Book of Genesis recounts that when God was deciding what to do about the evil in Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham put this question to him: "Are you really going to sweep away the innocent with the guilty?" After repeated probing by Abraham, God made it clear he would not destroy the guilty if it meant destroying the innocent with them.

In modern times, "Blackstone's formulation," or as it is sometimes called "The Blackstone ratio," has been imprinted on the DNA of American jurisprudence. Our Supreme Court has underscored that it is one of the pillars of our jurisprudence. Justice William O. Douglas, a liberal icon for much of the 20th Century, stated: "It is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches, that the guilty sometimes go free than that citizens be subject to easy arrest." Henry v. United States, 361 U.S. 98, 104, 80 S. Ct. 168, 172 (1959). Justice Harlan once wrote: "I view the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case as bottomed on a fundamental value determination of our society that it is far worse to convict an innocent man than to let a guilty man go free." In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 90 S. Ct. 1068, 25 L. Ed. 2d 368 (1970)(Harlan, J. concurring).

Is the pain of a rape survivor in seeing his or her rapist go free in any sense comparable to the injustice inflicted when the state deprives an innocent person of his liberty? With all due apologies to the earnest Messrs. Wareham and Vosis, the question scarcely survives its statement. "Terrible as it is for a victim to see a rapist escape punishment, it is far, far worse for an innocent person to be convicted of a sex crime." Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, S. Taylor, K.C. Johnson (2007).

Take, for example, Dwayne Dail, who was convicted of a rape he did not commit as a teenager and spent the next 18 years in prison. While in prison Mr. Dail was repeatedly and brutally victimized by the same crime he was wrongly convicted of. His life was shattered. Can anyone seriously assert that the pain of the rape victim in Mr. Dail's case was in any sense lessened by having this innocent man destroyed?

Rape victims whose misidentifications of their perpetrators lead to wrongful convictions often develop deep psychological trauma when they learn what they've done. Actual rape victims have no interest in punishing the innocent--none whatsoever--and they are often among the most vocal critics of false rape accusers because they know that every rape lie diminishes the integrity of every legitimate rape claim.

While an individual is capable of doing terrible things to another individual, including rape, the state should never fall to the level of a criminal and encourage jurors to risk doing terrible things to innocent men and boys.

Imagine, for a moment, the cavalcade of horror stories about wrongful convictions that would crop up in the news every day if this were the rule. The innumerable injustices soon would undermine public confidence in the way rape claims are prosecuted. Aside from the blatant, horrifying, unacceptable wrongs to the falsely accused, such a standard would do no favors for rape victims. When juries believe that the system invites the innocent to be punished, they are all the more wary about punishing even those who deserve to be punished.

Dictators throughout history have justified the ruthless imprisonment, torture, and murder of the innocent to insure that the "guilty" (who always happen to be their enemies) are vanquished. It is a monstrously barbaric--and, singularly unAmerican--practice.  The reason Blackstone's formulation retains its validity is self-evident. It is the very hallmark of a civilized society.

The sexual grievance industry has used our college campuses as laboratories to see if they can get away with branding men "rapists" using the preponderance standard. They got away with it there, now they want to formalize and institutionalize hostility to the wrongly accused in criminal courts. We knew this was coming. Will society allow them to get away with it? We don't know--but thus far, they've gotten pretty much everything they've asked for.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

College is mocked for equating psychological coercion with rape

The idiocy behind colleges punishing for "sexual coercion" is obvious to every serious person interested in silly things like justice and fairness. We demonstrated its stupidity several years ago here. Read what we wrote--you need to understand that we're not talking about real coercion, we're talking about so-called psychological coercion where a horny college guy nags for sex and the "victim" decides, of her own free will, to make him happy by having sex. There are few policies as repulsive or unjust as branding that guy a rapist.

The celebrated Prof. Volokh has taken aim at Clark University's inane sexual coercion definition here--and Clark University then made it clear it no longer follows that policy. See here.

Hopefully this will start a trend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Off-topic: The Democrats' refusal to acknowledge why they lost is 'horrifying'


October 19, 2016 Presidential debate
CHRIS WALLACE: But, sir, there is a tradition in this country—in fact, one of the prides of this country—is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you're necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?
TRUMP: What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense. OK?
CLINTON: Well, Chris, let me respond to that, because that's horrifying. You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him.
Never in American history has a major candidate been attacked by the mainstream media with the frequency or ferocity as Donald Trump was. Week after week during the campaign, the chattering classes tried to destroy him with one awful allegation after the next. Time after time, people assumed Trump would not survive the latest attack.

But they couldn't destroy him. Trump surprised everyone by winning the election. After Clinton conceded by calling Trump (but she didn't show her own tearful supporters the courtesy of addressing them that night), people very angry about the outcome took to the streets, looted, and loudly proclaimed Trump was "not my president." Clinton and Obama didn't bother to stop them. These were protests against the American electoral process itself--the freest and fairest process ever devised.

Then they claimed the election was rigged by FBI director James Comey.

Then, they claimed Trump won by sounding "dog whistles" for racists (one CNN commentator called Trump's victory "whitelash") and sexists--echoes of Clinton's monumental "basket of deplorables" gaffe that actually might have cost her the election. One Washington Post writer said that "angry white males" were just feigning concern about the economy and voted for Trump because of the loss of their vaunted male privilege.

Then, Clinton supposedly "reluctantly" went along with Jill Stein's harebrained recount scheme--over "hacked" elections in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, even though Stein had no valid argument and no chance of winning the election. Yet somehow Stein was able to raise millions of dollars to challenge the election. (By the way, in Pennsylvania yesterday, the judge said Stein's position "borders on the irrational," and in Wisconsin, the waste-of-time recount resulted in Trump gaining 131 votes.)

Then, they claimed it was "fake news" that lost the election (do they mean "fake news" like . . . when they repeatedly told us Clinton was rolling toward a landslide victory? Or "If you like your doctor, you can keep him"? Or "Hands up, don't shoot"? Or that the stock market will crash if Trump wins--then the after the election, when the market plunged for a few hours, Nobel Prize leftist Paul Krugman predicted the market would "never" recover? That kind of fake news? We haven't even mentioned the imaginary viral Benghazi YouTube video or the imaginary sniper fire in Bosnia.)

Then they hit upon the epiphany that the Wikileaks emails emanated from the Russians (something widely believed for months before the election)--and that the Russians rigged the election for Trump. What they don't mention is that the released emails from Clinton team members revealed hateful comments about middle America and showed the Clinton campaign in cahoots with the mainstream media to beat Trump--proving what Trump has been saying for over a year.

They also blame the electoral college, and tout the fact that Clinton "won" the popular vote--which would mean something if Clinton had been running for President of California. Trump conceded California by not campaigning there (wherever he campaigned, he did well) because he knew he could not win its electoral votes even if he did a lot better than he did. Our electoral system is set up to respect both the will of the people and the sovereignty of the states by mandating that a state gets a specific number of electoral votes regardless of whether the winning candidate has a lopsided or a razor-close victory. The electoral college has never been an issue--until now.

On and on they go. They blame everyone and everything but themselves--which means they have learned nothing.

The Democrats lost because the smug, sanctimonious, morally superior PC warriors on the left ignored and belittled the real-world concerns of working class Americans, pretended those real-world concerns were masks for racism and sexism, ginned up Islamophobia where it scarcely existed, gleefully tarnished cops as inherently racist even when there was no evidence for it, trampled freedom of speech and due process on campus in fealty to group identity politics, and sought to shut down debate with name-calling and by reducing anyone who doesn't share their worldview to grotesque caricature.

Here's all you need to know: their candidate waltzed into a town hall event in West Virginia, of all places, and bragged, ”We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business"--and they want to blame the FBI, anonymous bloggers who make up "fake news," and the Russians for their loss? Seriously? 

The fact that a reality show billionaire who jets around in a $100 million Boeing 757 seems more in tune with working class Americans than the candidate of the party of  Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy ought to be a wake-up call for them. By all indications it hasn't been, so they can expect to keep losing until they ditch the attitude that they have a monopoly on truth and that most of the the people who live between New York and Los Angeles are racists, sexists, or boobs.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Off-topic: Evidence shows that the Russians were INVITED to meddle in the election--by the man who wanted to be president

No, I'm not talking about Trump and the 2016 election. I'm talking about 1983, when Ted Kennedy--who hoped to be president--asked the Russians for help to undermine then-President Ronald Reagan. Read about it here.

Never heard about it? I'm not surprised. Ted Kennedy was among the most powerful and popular Democrats of the past 50 years.

NPR publishes guide to spotting fake news--NPR should apply it to its own reporting about sexual assault

NPR, which  happily recites the fake news that one-in-five college women are sexually assaulted (and there is overwhelming evidence that this stat is fake news--see, e.g.here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) has just published a handy guide on how to spot . . . fake news. And, no, I'm not making this up.

NPR should follow its own guidelines, but, of course, when it comes to sexual assault, it doesn't--because any assertion intended to prove "rape culture" is automatically worthy of unconditional acceptance.

A few of NPR's guides for spotting fake news expose the utter folly in accepting the one-in-five stat:
Is the story so outrageous you can't believe it? Maybe you shouldn't. Respect the voice inside you that says, "What?"
Hmm. Let's see. The one-in-five stat means that even the safest, most secure college campuses are the most dangerous places in the world for one class of our citizens--young women. The fact that this is not just outrageous but obviously false hasn't even sounded warning bells with the purveyors of "rape culture." They just keep on reporting it.
Is the story so outrageous you do believe it? That's also a warning sign. Many stories play on your existing beliefs. If the story perfectly confirms your worst suspicions, look for more information.
Hmm. Let's see. The one-in-five stat means that even the safest, most secure college campuses are the most dangerous places in the world for one class of our citizens--young women. That's so outrageous, why would anyone make it up? It also means that college men, as a class, are rapists-in-waiting--a factoid that merely confirms our worst stereotypes about toxic masculinity and "rape culture." 
Did the writer engage with anyone who disagrees? Did they call a senator whose legislation bugs them? Did they try to grasp what the president-elect was doing, or merely repeat one of his more outrageous statements? If it's a broadcast interview, was the guest presented with genuine opposing views and challenged to answer? Those who wrestle with opposing arguments do you a service and often improve their own arguments.
The one-in-five stat is routinely parroted without challenge, as if any contrary position is not just erroneous but hate speech. Apparently, the only fake news deserving of challenge is that which doesn't advance a far left narrative.
Broaden your palate. Make a point to check sites that do not agree with your politics. You may discover stories that are wrong — but you'll know what other people are consuming, which will sharpen your own thinking.
When it comes to the made-up college rape epidemic, the only time the sexual grievance industry checks opposing views is to demonize anyone who dares to speak up for due process and keeping an open mind about accusations of college rape.
Are you told, "Trust me"? Don't. It's the post-trust era! Expect everyone to show where their facts come from, link to underlying articles, and demonstrate that they've argued honestly. . . . .
The exception: anything that spews from the mouths of sexual grievance-mongers.
Be open to the idea that some falsehoods are sincerely held. In spite of all the warnings here, some inaccurate news stories grow out of haste or misinformation rather than pure cynicism. (But they're still false.)
Nuff said. The one-in-five is a embraced with cult-like devotion--not just by sexual grievance-mongers, but by so-called mainstream media outlets like NPR.

The one-in-five stat is not fact-based reporting, it's advocacy to raise awareness about college rape. Raising awareness about problems is usually a good thing. The problem with this particular advocacy is that it's used not just to raise awareness but as a sword to curtail the due process rights of college men--too many simply don't get fair hearings. This isn't just my opinion, it's the opinion of a hell of a lot of liberal law professors and others concerned that the pendulum has swung too far. It is literally fake news that hurts one class of our citizens, sometimes egregiously, and outlets like NPR aren't concerned about it.