Friday, August 12, 2022

The Payback for Mar-a-Lago Will Be Brutal

From Kim Strassel, at WSJ, "What went around Monday will come around hard for the Democrats when Republicans control the Justice Department and FBI":

Trump derangement syndrome has a curious way of scrambling coherent thought. Witness the Democratic-media complex’s blind insistence the Justice Department raid on Donald Trump’s home is just and necessary—rather than a dangerous move for their party and the republic.

In descending on Mar-a-Lago, the department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation shifted the U.S. into the category of countries whose ruling parties use government power to investigate political rivals. No attorney general has ever signed off on a raid on a former president’s home, in what could be the groundwork for criminal charges.

Yet to read the left’s media scribes, Monday’s search was a ho-hum day in crime-fighting. The Beltway press circled the wagons around Attorney General Merrick Garland and primly parroted Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s piety that “no one is above the law.” “The Mar-a-Lago Raid Proves the U.S. Isn’t a Banana Republic,” pronounced the Atlantic, clearly worried readers might conclude the opposite. It is “bedrock principle” that those who “commit crimes” “must answer for them,” it lectured.

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake attests it’s totally standard to investigate presidents—look at Israel! The New York Times soothingly explains that prosecutors “would have carefully weighed the decision,” and that the investigation therefore must be “serious.” Roll Call produced a law professor to remind all that a judge had to sign off on a “detailed affidavit that established probable cause.” The last time we got this level of reassurance about federal law enforcement’s professionalism was at the height of the Russia-collusion hoax.

The bar has always been at its highest when the investigation involves a former president. Even more so when the former president remains a contender for the office. Mr. Garland breezed past all this history and complexity in his “equal under the law” statement Thursday, even as he expressed outrage that anyone might mistrust the department and the bureau that brought us the Steele dossier and the Carter Page wiretaps.

Democrats may be betting that adverse coverage of Mr. Trump will help them in November, or in 2024. They’d better hope so....

All this tit for tat will further undermine our institutions and polarize the nation—but such is the nature of retributive politics. Which is why the wholesale Democratic and media defense of this week’s events is so reckless. Both parties long understood that political restraint was less about civility than self-preservation. What goes around always comes around. What went around this week will come around hard.

Henry Kissinger Is Worried About 'Disequilibrium'

The man's still in the arena, at 99.

At the Wall Street Journal, "The 99-year-old former secretary of state has just published a book on leadership and sees a dangerous lack of strategic purpose in U.S. foreign policy":

At 99 years old, Henry Kissinger has just published his 19th book, “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy.” It is an analysis of the vision and historical achievements of an idiosyncratic pantheon of post-World War II leaders: Konrad Adenauer, Charles DeGaulle, Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan-Yew and Margaret Thatcher.

In the 1950s, “before I was involved in politics,” Mr. Kissinger tells me in his midtown Manhattan office on a steamy day in July, “my plan was to write a book about the making of peace and the ending of peace in the 19th century, starting with the Congress of Vienna, and that turned into a book, and then I had about a third of a book written on Bismarck, and it was going to end with the outbreak of World War I.” The new book, he says, “is a kind of continuation. It’s not just a contemporary reflection.”

All six figures profiled in “Leadership,” says the former secretary of state and national security adviser, were shaped by what he calls the “second Thirty Years’ War,” the period from 1914 to 1945, and contributed to molding the world that followed it. And all combined, in Mr. Kissinger’s view, two archetypes of leadership: the farsighted pragmatism of the statesman and the visionary boldness of the prophet.

Asked if he knows of any contemporary leader who shares this combination of qualities, he says, “No. I would make the qualification that, though DeGaulle had this in him, this vision of himself, in the case of Nixon and probably Sadat, or even of Adenauer, you would not have known at an earlier stage. On the other hand, none of these people were essentially tactical people. They mastered the art of tactics, but they had a perception of purpose as they entered office.”

One never goes long in conversation with Mr. Kissinger without hearing that word—purpose—the defining quality of the prophet, along with another, equilibrium, the guiding preoccupation of the statesman. Since the 1950s, when he was a Harvard scholar writing on nuclear strategy, Mr. Kissinger has understood diplomacy as a balancing act among great powers shadowed by the potential for nuclear catastrophe. The apocalyptic potential of modern weapons technology, in his view, makes sustaining an equilibrium of hostile powers, however uneasy it might be, an overriding imperative of international relations.

“In my thinking, equilibrium has two components,” he tells me. “A kind of balance of power, with an acceptance of the legitimacy of sometimes opposing values. Because if you believe that the final outcome of your effort has to be the imposition of your values, then I think equilibrium is not possible. So one level is a sort of absolute equilibrium.” The other level, he says, is “equilibrium of conduct, meaning there are limitations to the exercise of your own capabilities and power in relation to what is needed for the overall equilibrium.” Achieving this combination takes “an almost artistic skill,” he says. “It’s not very often that statesmen have aimed at it deliberately, because power had so many possibilities of being expanded without being disastrous that countries never felt that full obligation.”

Mr. Kissinger concedes that equilibrium, while essential, can’t be a value in itself. “There can be situations where coexistence is morally impossible,” he notes. “For example, with Hitler. With Hitler it was useless to discuss equilibrium—even though I have some sympathy for Chamberlain if he was thinking that he needed to gain time for a showdown that he thought would be inevitable anyway.”

There is a hint, in “Leadership,” of Mr. Kissinger’s hope that contemporary American statesmen might absorb the lessons of their predecessors. “I think that the current period has a great trouble defining a direction,” Mr. Kissinger says. “It’s very responsive to the emotion of the moment.” Americans resist separating the idea of diplomacy from that of “personal relationships with the adversary.” They tend to view negotiations, he tells me, in missionary rather than psychological terms, seeking to convert or condemn their interlocutors rather than to penetrate their thinking.

Mr. Kissinger sees today’s world as verging on a dangerous disequilibrium. “We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to,” he says. Could the U.S. manage the two adversaries by triangulating between them, as during the Nixon years? He offers no simple prescription. “You can’t just now say we’re going to split them off and turn them against each other. All you can do is not to accelerate the tensions and to create options, and for that you have to have some purpose.”

On the question of Taiwan, Mr. Kissinger worries that the U.S. and China are maneuvering toward a crisis, and he counsels steadiness on Washington’s part. “The policy that was carried out by both parties has produced and allowed the progress of Taiwan into an autonomous democratic entity and has preserved peace between China and the U.S. for 50 years,” he says. “One should be very careful, therefore, in measures that seem to change the basic structure.”

Mr. Kissinger courted controversy earlier this year by suggesting that incautious policies on the part of the U.S. and NATO may have touched off the crisis in Ukraine. He sees no choice but to take Vladimir Putin’s stated security concerns seriously and believes that it was a mistake for NATO to signal to Ukraine that it might eventually join the alliance: “I thought that Poland—all the traditional Western countries that have been part of Western history—were logical members of NATO,” he says. But Ukraine, in his view, is a collection of territories once appended to Russia, which Russians see as their own, even though “some Ukrainians” do not. Stability would be better served by its acting as a buffer between Russia and the West: “I was in favor of the full independence of Ukraine, but I thought its best role was something like Finland.”

He says, however, that the die has now been cast. After the way Russia has behaved in Ukraine, “now I consider, one way or the other, formally or not, Ukraine has to be treated in the aftermath of this as a member of NATO.” Still, he foresees a settlement that preserves Russia’s gains from its initial incursion in 2014, when it seized Crimea and portions of the Donbas region, though he does not have an answer to the question of how such a settlement would differ from the agreement that failed to stabilize the conflict 8 years ago...


Actress Anne Heche on Life Support, Not Expected to Survive (VIDEO)

At the Los Angeles Times, "Anne Heche not expected to survive after fiery Mar Vista crash that left her in coma."

And from ABC 7 Eyewitness News Los Angeles: 

Author Salman Rushdie Attacked During Speech in Chautauqua, New York: 'Multiple Stab Wounds'

Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini placed a fatwa (death warrant) on Rusdie in 1989. Obviously claims that Muslims no longer adhere to it are false. Members of the audience were screaming, "Oh my god!"

At the New York Times, "Salman Rushdie is attacked onstage in Western New York."

And, "Stabbing sends ripples of ‘shock and horror’ through the literary world":

Literary figures and public officials said that they were shocked by the news that the author Salman Rushdie had been stabbed in the neck on Friday morning while onstage to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York.

“We cannot immediately think of any comparable incident of a public violent attack on a writer during a literary event here in the United States,” said Suzanne Nossel, the chief executive officer of the nonprofit literary organization PEN America, who noted that the motivations for the attack and Mr. Rushdie’s current condition were unknown as of Friday late morning.

Mr. Rushdie is a former president of PEN America, which advocates for writers’ freedom of expression around the world.

She said in a statement that the organization’s members were “reeling from shock and horror.”

Ms. Nossel said Mr. Rushdie had emailed her hours before the attack to ask about helping Ukrainian writers in need of safe refuge.

“Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades, but has never flinched nor faltered,” she said. “He has devoted tireless energy to assisting others who are vulnerable and menaced.”

The author Neil Gaiman wrote on Twitter that he was “shocked and distressed” about the attack...

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Is Tearing Academia Apart

From John Sailer, at UnHerd, "Ideological litmus tests are becoming the norm in America":

Ideological litmus tests are becoming the norm in American academia. Already, many universities require faculty job candidates to submit “diversity statements” — 19% of the faculty job listings in one recent survey. Now, similar requirements increasingly apply to sitting faculty members, as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements and criteria have become standard components of the promotion and tenure process.

To give one example: last year, the highly-ranked Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine released its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Strategic Action Plan, listing dozens of “tactics” for advancing social justice. Here is an example:

“Include a section in promotion packages where faculty members report on the ways they are contributing to improving DEI, anti-racism and social justice. Reinforce the importance of these efforts by establishing clear consequences and influences on promotion packages.”

The reference to “consequences” reads like a warning to dissenters, especially given that concepts such as “equity”, “anti-racism”, and “social justice” often simply connote adherence to progressive political views. Thanks to the ubiquity of Ibram X. Kendi’s work, many American professionals are primed to point out that anti-racism, far from merely being “not racist”, entails embracing “race conscious” policies, coupled with the belief that any disparity is by definition racism.

With official DEI requirements for promotion and tenure on the rise, Kendian “anti-racism” has come closer to a formal requirement for many in academia. In its 2022 survey of tenure practices, the American Association of University Professors found that 21.5% of the institutions it surveyed had DEI criteria in their tenure standards. For larger institutions, it was 45.6%.As diversity officers increase, so too will their preferred policies.

Unfortunately, the diversity statements can easily stamp out dissenting viewpoints. At UC Berkeley, for example, job candidates will receive a low scores on their diversity statements for “explicitly state[ing] the intention to ignore the varying backgrounds of their students and ‘treat everyone the same’”, and a high score for “Discuss[ing] diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging as core values that every faculty member should actively contribute to.” Institutions from Emory University to the Texas Tech University Department of Biological Sciences have adapted the UC rubric, proudly policing the core values of faculty.

DEI requirements for promotion and tenure often come in the form of evaluation criteria, rather than required statements. The California Community Colleges (CCC) system — the largest system of higher education in America, serving almost two million students — recently mandated that all faculty, staff, and administrator evaluations “include DEIA [diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility] competencies and criteria as a minimum standard for evaluating the performance of all employees.”

The resolution mandating these competencies employs unmistakably ideological language...

Still more. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Attorney General Merrick Garland Approved Decision to Seek Search Warrant for Mar-a-Lago (VIDEO)

Extremely partisan.

At WSJ, "Attorney General Merrick Garland Asks Court to Release Trump Search Warrant":

Garland says he requested the warrant be unsealed because of ‘substantial public interest’ in the matter.

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department has asked a Florida judge to unseal the warrant FBI agents used to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home this week, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday, raising the prospect that details of the extraordinary search of the former president’s home could soon be public.

“I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter,” Mr. Garland said in his first public remarks since Monday’s search. “The department does not take such a decision lightly.”

Mr. Garland said he filed the motion—which asks to unseal both the warrant and the receipt that lists the items seized—in light of Mr. Trump’s confirmation of the search and the “substantial public interest” in the matter.

Aides to Mr. Trump didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Trump’s lawyers will have time to respond to the Justice Department’s request, including raising any objections to the unsealing, before the judge makes a decision. Mr. Trump was given a copy of the warrant and a list of items that were taken during the search.

Monday’s search of Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and social club in Palm Beach, Fla. was a dramatic escalation of a monthslong investigation into the former president’s handling of classified information. The move, while Mr. Trump was in New York, stoked a political firestorm with Republican lawmakers demanding an explanation for the unprecedented search of a former president’s home.

Mr. Trump and his allies have criticized it as a politically motivated stunt by Justice Department officials.

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” Mr. Garland said, adding that “the men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated patriotic public servants every day.” He didn’t take questions...