Steve Bannon and the Progressive-Democratic Party

Steve Bannon is acting more and more (and more openly) like a stooge of the Progressive-Democratic Party.

Is Steve Bannon working for my agenda—or his?

That’s the question Donald Trump might ask himself….

Indeed, since Bannon’s targets are Republicans of whom he disapproves—which is to say nearly all of them—all of us must ask for whose agenda is Bannon working so hard.  Bannon did, though, give his game away:

The only question on Capitol Hill, he warned Mr [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell, is “who’s going to be Brutus to your Julius Caesar[?]”

“Fear of Violent Protests Raises Cost of Free Speech on Campus”

That’s the title of Douglas Belkin’s piece in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal.  However, it’s inaccurate.  What is feared by college/university management is the thugs who protest free speech with violence and others who protest free speech with noise and interruptions and venue entrance blockings that prevent the speaker from speaking.

Schools have struggled to come up with a consistent answer to requests to speak, pitting their free-speech ideals against security concerns.

Schools are being disingenuous when they pretend to these concerns, and the WSJ is misunderstanding the problem when it characterizes the schools as having free-speech ideals. The existence of the schools’ trading off security for free-speech demonstrates the lack of ideals regarding free-speech.

Rajoy vs Catalonia

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had and has an obligation to uphold the Spanish Constitution which, among other things, made the recent Catalan independence referendum illegal even to hold.  I’ve written elsewhere about what I think of his tactics in his enforcement campaign.

Whether Rajoy ordered his Policia Nacional and his Guardia Civil to engage in the violence they inflicted in Catalonia (nearly 900 Catalan casualties) or they acted on their own initiative, it’s hard to believe Rajoy was so stupid as to not know the violence would ensue when he ordered them in.

A Blow for Standards

And it’s struck by California’s state Supreme Court, yet, which is the controlling factor in setting the passing score, the cut score, on the State’s bar exam which prospective lawyers must pass in order to practice in California.

The Court has decided to keep the cut score at its current level, which is the second highest in the US.  The State’s law school deans are in an uproar over that; they wanted the cut score significantly lowered.  They’re complaining that

many competent graduates will continue to suffer the consequences of not being able to become certified to practice….

Media Bias

Media “critic” Howard Kurtz says he decries it.  In a recent piece about media credibility he noted that, according to a Morning Consult/Politico survey, 46% of voters think the media makes up stories about President Donald Trump.  Even 20% of self-identified Democrats think that.

Then he wrote this.

In short, the president’s constant “fake news” attacks are working.

It couldn’t possibly be that the “media” really do make stuff up about Trump.  They don’t ever publish stories containing only rumors claimed by carefully unidentified sources, with nary an on-the-record bit of corroboration, like journalism standards used to require.  Nossir.

Thurgood Marshall’s Politics Deserve Respect?

Jason Riley certainly thought Justice Thurgood Marshall’s approach to it deserved respect.

One of the final scenes in “Marshall,” a new film about the early legal career of civil rights superstar Thurgood Marshall, shows the future Supreme Court justice in a train station in Mississippi. It’s 1941—peak Jim Crow —and a large “Whites Only” sign hangs above a water fountain beside him.

Marshall ignores the sign, takes a paper cup from the dispenser, and draws water from the fountain. An elderly black gentleman quietly watches him, in seeming awe of this defiant act. The two men exchange glances but no words as Marshall exits the station, yet his message to the older man is clear: don’t be afraid.

Colin Kaepernick’s Lawfare “Protest”

After being unable to get a job with any team in the NFL this season, Colin Kaepernick has filed a formal grievance against the NFL, each of the 32 team owners, and President Donald Trump—who supposedly “influenced” league management and team owners into not hiring him—alleging that they colluded to not sign him at quarterback, or end-of-bench monitor, this season.

Coincidentally, his filing comes after a year in which he routinely attacked our flag and national anthem and insulted our veterans by taking a knee during the pre-game playing of our national anthem.  Also coincidentally, his filing comes after a year in which he led his last employer, the San Francisco 49ers, to a 1-10 record before the team tired of losing and benched him.

The National Association of Realtors Objects

The NAR is objecting to the current tax reform plan’s essential doubling of the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers and to $24,000 for married couples.

The Realtors are upset because they say this middle-class tax cut would make fewer taxpayers use the mortgage-interest deduction. The National Association of Realtors trashed the framework in a statement, saying it “would all but nullify the incentive to purchase a home for most, amounting to a de facto tax increase” and ensure “that only the top 5% of Americans have the opportunity to benefit from the mortgage interest deduction.”

Laziness

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC, banks allegedly involved in rigging the erstwhile international debt interest rate benchmark LIBOR, are going to pay $132 million in aggregate to “settle” a court case over that alleged involvement.

The proposed settlements…include no admission of wrongdoing.

The banks are paying the money for—as the plaintiffs plainly agree by their own acceptance of the settlement—not doing anything.

This is a bad deal. If the banks didn’t do anything wrong, for what are they paying? If they deserve fines, why aren’t they being kept in court for an on-the-record public recitation of their wrongdoing and punishment?

Must Be Dead Broke Again

The money’s already spent, and the Clinton Foundation has no other money to send back to Harvey Weinstein.

That’s the excuse that the Clinton Foundation is using (I’m deliberately eliding Hillary Clinton’s fatuous excuse for not returning Weinstein’s donations to her campaign—”there’s no one to return the money to”) for refusing to return Weinstein’s donation of somewhere between $100,000 to $250,000 to the Foundation.

The money’s gone.  And since money is eminently fungible, as all of the management of the Clinton Foundation—Chairman Bill Clinton, Vice Chairman Chelsea Clinton, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Craig Minassian, et al.—all know full well, by implication the Foundation has no other money with which to make the returns.