As a recent college graduate and a current grad student at a public university, I’ve lived the “college conservative experience” with one soaring takeaway: actual definitions of terms pale in comparison to the emotion that can be driven up out of them. Few students know the real goals motivating groups like Antifa and others like them, but they have no problem voicing their support for folks who wear masks and beat people who disagree with their ideology.
The Brookings Institute released a new survey last week that showed just how accepting undergrads are becoming of violent behavior and censorship: one in five want to silence speakers who make “offensive and hurtful statements” and half said it was acceptable to shout over a speaker whose message they deem inappropriate. The places that should be our factories of ideas are quickly becoming emotionally-charged cages for those who fear a differing thought, and incorrect definitions of ideas and groups go unquestioned and, in some cases, defended. Campus Reform released a video yesterday of students at American University in Washington, D.C. defending Antifa and offering their support for the group that, as one student put it, is “marching next to me and standing for what I believe in”:
I asked Cabot Phillips, Media Director for Campus Reform and one of the interviewers in the video, about his reaction to the students’ responses: “It’s shocking to see how many students view violence as a legitimate means of shutting down those with whom they disagree. Sadly though, this shouldn’t surprise us given what we’ve seen from the Left. A recent poll showed that nearly 20% of college students think violence is okay when it means shutting down a controversial speaker. This sort of thinking is antithetical to what college is all about.”
It truly is terrifying to hear my generation justifying use of violence to shut down a speaker they disagree with. Education in these situations is everything, though, and we can’t give up on this. Antifa is being portrayed on campuses as the antidote to the white supremacist movement, and we absolutely must continue to confront such assertions and replace them with truth. If we don’t, we can kiss that nifty little First Amendment right goodbye.
Despite notifying the parents, however, the school board denied a proposal to give parents the right to pull their children out of classes that would teach the children pro-transgender education, essentially making the notification rule useless.
The controversial vote came about after a kindergarten teacher read “I Am Jazz” — a book about a transgender child’s transition to the opposite sex — and then allegedly held something of a “transition ceremony” where a young boy went into a bathroom, and then reemerged dressed in girl’s clothing. The teacher identified the boy as a girl, with a girl’s name.
The event shocked and disturbed some of the children, many who went home crying that they were going to turn into the opposite sex.
According to the teacher, gender transition did not fall under the auspices of sex education, and therefore the parents didn’t have to be notified that the show would be taking place.
To break it down, Rocklin Academy has allowed the teaching of controversial material outside of the curriculum, so long as they tell the parents they’re going to do it first. However, the parents can do nothing about it, as they won’t be allowed to remove their child from the classroom as it’s happening.
This essentially gives a teacher free reign to urge the kids to support whatever that teacher believes, and put on lessons and demonstrations some would find questionable, much like the “transition ceremony” that allegedly took place.
If the ceremony did take place, this raises another troubling question. The ruling from the school board primarily tackles the type of books that would be read to students, but did not seem to tackle the demonstration by the reports given about the ruling. Does this mean the teacher can put on further demonstrations regarding transition?
For instance, in an effort to further teach the children about transgenderism, could the teacher urge students to try out transgenderism for themselves by asking them to change into clothing from the opposite sex? Would parents still not have the right to remove their children from that kind of “education?”
The possibilities for forcing transgenderism on students seems wide open here. If that’s the case, then parents should take this inability to interfere in their own children’s education to the highest court they can.
Wednesday, 9/20: Siege of Jerusalem begins, 1187; Chester A. Arthur takes Presidential oath, 1881; War on Terror declared, 2001
Thursday, 9/21: Brits torch NYC, 1776; B-29 Superfortress and XB-70 Valkyrie bombers first fly, respectively 1942 and 1964
Friday, 9/22: Office of Postmaster General established, 1789; nationwide steel strike begins, 1919; Dead Sea Scrolls first made accessible to public, 1991
Saturday, 9/23: Jones loses Bonhomme Richard but takes Serapis, 1779; first airmail delivery, 1911; Marley’s last concert, 1980
Today’s Birthdays: Writers Upton Sinclair, 1878 and George R.R. Martin, 1948; actress Sophia Loren, 1934.
Holidays Around the World: It’s Universal Children’s Day in Germany, Constitution Day in Nepal and Oil Workers’ Day in Azerbaijan.
This Week In History is compiled with assistance from History.com and Wikipedia. Something interesting not listed here? Please share in the Comments section–this is an Audience Participation Encouraged featurette.
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Quote of the Day
We have a two-fer this week on Fat Boy Kim…
If the fat boy Rocket Man doesn’t get his s%&t together, we’re going to fly a cruise missile up his dirt chute and blow his guts all over the countryside.
I’m hoping there’s some kind of giant Goldfinger laser in orbit zapping them… Fatboy: “Do you really expect me to stop shooting my missiles????” Trump: “No, Mr Nork, I expect you to die!!!!” (Maniacal laugh, followed by sizzling sounds. Camera pulls out to show dear leader’s residence melting due to a giant laser beam…)
–user “pinzgauer” at M4Carbine.net
As always, the Watercooler is an Open Thread. Something on your mind? Sound Off here!
(Image by WarX, edited by Manuel Strehl at Wikimedia; used under Creative Commons Attribution license)
I know this will be small consolation for some, who have latched onto the news that FISA warrants were, in fact, issued for Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and want to hold that up as proof that Trump, himself, was “wiretapped.”
Frankly, this desire to martyr Trump is befuddling to me, but there is a palpable sense of satisfaction among some of Trump’s faithful in pinning the “Victim” label on their champion.
A new report from CNN, however, explains that not only has Paul Manafort been under investigation by the FBI for three years (You know, pre-campaign), but that the recent pre-dawn raid on Manafort’s home was part of a probe that could be extending back as far as 11 years.
If Trump was recorded, it was incidental, not intentional.
Manafort has previously denied financial wrongdoing regarding his Ukraine-related payments, his bank accounts in offshore tax shelters, and his various real estate transactions over the years.
Last year, authorities determined there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Manafort or anyone else involved in their Ukraine-related probe with anything. Mueller’s team, however, is working on a deadline, and some of the moves they’ve made seem to indicate they are in the advance stages of an investigation.
The period mentioned in the search warrant covers much of the decade that Manafort worked as a consultant for Ukraine’s former ruling party. It’s that work, which extended beyond the ouster of the president, Viktor Yanukovych, amid street protests in 2014, that prompted the FBI’s interest in Manafort. Yanukovych’s Party of Regions was accused of corruption and the FBI sought to learn whether the American consultants hired by the Ukrainian party, which also included Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group, were involved. The Justice Department probe also looked into whether the US firms violated the federal law that requires registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The notes are disjointed, the sources who have seen them said, and appear to focus on Russia’s frustration over a law passed in 2012 that led to frozen assets of powerful Russian officials.
Earlier news reports about the reference to political contributions in the notes have led to speculation that the meeting attended by Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner included a request for donations.
But people who have seen the notes say the reference is to political contributions that the Russian lawyer alleged Browder made.
Again, any connection to Trump seems to be incidental, at most. Manafort is the target, because he has a background that raises red flags, and he has been under investigation for several years. It doesn’t matter that he’s known Trump for a number of years. Trump was not running for office when the investigation into Manafort’s dealings began.
The question now must be, why does Donald Trump surround himself with such shady characters?
I’m all for expanding access to public lands for hunting and fishing. I like that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is making an effort to acknowledge the role sportsman play in conservation. That said, this is a pretty dumb way to raise the issue.
Nothing says “conservation” like a video game in which you blast every deer in sight competing for a high score.
The department announced the cafeteria’s temporary new addition Tuesday, saying it is part of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s “latest initiative to reemphasize hunting and fishing” at the department.
“Having the ‘Big Buck Hunter Pro’ arcade game will get many employees involved in sportmen’s season, in turn furthering the department’s mission of wildlife and habitat conservation,” the statement reads.
Genius. Video games are well known for getting people interested in pursuing strenuous outdoor activities. This plan can’t fail.
NASA will likely follow suit and have its employees playing Asteroids to get them interested in outer space.
And let’s be honest, we really do need to provide federal employees more opportunities to get paid for doing pointless and unnecessary things.
I can promise you, Trump isn’t worried about the costs, especially since it’s in Phoenix’s pocket.
According to a report from AZCentral.com, Trump’s ego-stroke campaign rally in the city last month has left taxpayers with nearly a half million dollar tab for city employee overtime.
The police department — which had a vast and visible presence outside the convention center before, during and after Trump’s rally — incurred the majority of the cost. But the fire, streets, water and public works departments all racked up substantial expenditures as well.
As has been the case with Trump rallies, since he actually had a reason to have them (like, when it was election season), there were protests and a need to have a law enforcement presence in greater numbers on the ground.
Here’s the cost incurred by each department:
— Public Works: $2,928
— Water Services : $4,481
— Street Transportation: $49,767
— Fire Department: $60,483
—Police Department: $336,887
Trump’s campaign foot the bill for the venue and their indoor security, to the tune of about $50,000, according to City Manager Ed Zuercher.
There were thousands of protesters in the streets that night, and they likely would have continued on for some time, had officers not deployed pepper balls, pepper spray, and various other means to “gently” convince the crowds that it was time to pack up their signs and go home.
Zuercher said it would be inappropriate to charge Trump’s campaign or the protest groups for the costs the city incurred to manage the civic response to the president’s visit.
“You can’t dampen free speech by telling people they have to pay for free speech,” Zuercher said.
Well, that’s one way to look at it.
And of course, there’s always the opposing view:
“It’s 2017. He just won in 2016. This shouldn’t be something that the city of Phoenix should pay for,” Arizona Democratic Party spokesman Enrique Gutierrez said.
What do the taxpayers of Phoenix think? Ultimately, their opinion matters most.
This is Part Three of a six-part series on the death of Sergei Magnitsky, what he uncovered before his death — and how it all relates to Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian woman who met with Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner in June 2016.
Today, in Part Three of the series, you’ll read the harrowing details of what Vladimir Putin’s Russia did to Sergei Magnitsky after he uncovered a $230 million tax refund fraud scheme allegedly perpetrated by a group including officers Artem Kuznetsov and Pavel Karpov.
MAGNITSKY’S PATRIOTIC REPORTING OF THE SCHEME, AND HIS MURDER
What does a patriotic Russian do when he discovers a fraud against his government on this scale? He reports it. So, after discovering the fraud, Magnitsky went to an Investigative Committee to give evidence against Kuznetsov and Karpov. Trouble was, Kuznetsov and Karpov had been assigned to investigate themselves. Magnitsky gave the evidence to officials anyway, despite the involvement of the suspects in the “investigation” of their own misconduct.
Naively, Magnitsky and Browder still expected the criminals to be caught and punished. But Karpov and Kuznetsov opened up a new case against Browder, and conducted a new set of raids on companies connected to Browder. A well-placed anonymous whistleblower in the Russian government tipped off Browder that the investigation against him was being conducted by the highest levels inside the FSB. So Browder told all his associates and lawyers that they should leave Russia.
Magnitsky was the only one who refused to leave. His position was that he had done nothing wrong. Why should he leave home? He continued to provide evidence against Kuznetsov and Karpov to the Russian State Investigative Committee.
Sergei’s captors immediately started putting pressure on him to withdraw his testimony. They put him in cells with 14 inmates and eight beds, leaving the lights on 24 hours a day to impose sleep deprivation. They put him in cells with no heat and no windowpanes, and he nearly froze to death. They put him in cells with no toilet, just a hole in the floor and sewage bubbling up. They moved him from cell to cell in the middle of the night without any warning. During his 358 days in detention he was forcibly moved multiple times.
They did all of this because they wanted him to withdraw his testimony against the corrupt Interior Ministry officials, and to sign a false statement that he was the one who stole the $230 million—and that he had done so on my instruction.
Sergei refused. In spite of the grave pain they inflicted upon him, he would not perjure himself or bear false witness.
After six months of this mistreatment, Sergei’s health seriously deteriorated. He developed severe abdominal pains, he lost 40 pounds, and he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and gallstones and prescribed an operation for August 2009. However, the operation never occurred. A week before he was due to have surgery, he was moved to a maximum security prison called Butyrka, which is considered to be one of the harshest prisons in Russia. Most significantly for Sergei, there were no medical facilities there to treat his medical conditions.
At Butyrka, his health completely broke down. He was in agonizing pain. He and his lawyers wrote 20 desperate requests for medical attention, filing them with every branch of the Russian criminal justice system. All of those requests were either ignored or explicitly denied in writing.
After more than three months of untreated pancreatitis and gallstones, Sergei Magnitsky went into critical condition. The Butyrka authorities did not want to have responsibility for him, so they put him in an ambulance and sent him to another prison that had medical facilities. But when he arrived there, instead of putting him in the emergency room, they put him in an isolation cell, chained him to a bed, and eight riot guards came in and beat him with rubber batons.
That night he was found dead on the cell floor.
Browder responded to Magnitsky’s murder by dedicating his life to finding and punishing the people responsible for Magnitsky’s death. Browder was the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, which freezes the assets of people identified as being responsible for Magnitsky’s murder.
Tomorrow, in Part Four, I’ll discuss the reaction of the Russian government to the Magnitsky Act, and why they hate it so much.
This is Part Three of a six-part series on the death of Sergei Magnitsky.
The most damaging and pernicious of the nigh infinite elements of the Washington, D.C. Swamp – which President Donald Trump has pledged to drain – is the leftover personnel.
Holdovers from the Barack Obama Administration especially – and residual creatures generally. Leftist ideological hacks – and permanent DC denizens. All of whom have very comfortable nests – feathered by DC’s Swampy foulness.
Defenders all of the awful status quo.
Trump has made some serious mistakes. None of them is more serious than allowing so many of these people to remain in DC after he arrived.
A quintessential example hereof – is the Obama-staffed Puerto Rico (PR) Control Board. Created by United States Congressional law – to deal with the PR government’s $72 billion debt.
The Obama Holdover Board is breaking the laws pertaining to how PR is supposed to manage the debt – and egregiously abusing many of the people who have lent Puerto Rico so much coin. All while feathering further their own nests. Obama-DC Cronyism – gone Caribbean.
“(I)t would appear that some of those appointed to solve the problem are more concerned with preserving their own reputations—as well as their future political career—than with doing the job they were hired to do….”
“One among many mistakes made in the last decade has been the use of so-called COFINA bonds (named for their Spanish acronym) to circumvent nominal limits on debt accumulation, which allowed Puerto Rico’s fiscal liabilities to become far greater than would otherwise have been possible. COFINA bonds are backed by the revenue collected from sales taxes, and are distinct from the general obligation bonds held by investors….
“While Puerto Rico’s constitution guarantees payment on general obligation bonds, there is no such explicit guarantee for COFINA bonds. Yet while the commonwealth was forced to default on $780 million in general obligation debt, COFINA bondholders have continued to receive on-time payments, an act which some hedge funds contend is unconstitutional. The financial control board has requested the lawsuit be stayed, in spite of a ruling by Judge Francisco Besosa that it should be allowed to proceed.”
Which brings us to the Obama Board’s third charge – “setting up plans for paying off creditors.” Why is the Obama Board so insistent on violating the constitution, breaking the law and attempting to ignore the judiciary?
“One point that’s been made is that at least two of the members serving on the financial control board have significant personal interests in COFINA bonds.”
Good, old-fashioned Obama cronyism. Exported to the Caribbean’s Shining Star.
Obama appointed Board members to whom Puerto Rico owes a great deal of money – but not in the format the law mandates be paid first. So they’re simply jumping their own debt over the constitution, the laws and the general obligation debt-holders – and into the head of the line.
Imprecision of speech may be annoying, but it’s commonplace. In Donald Trump’s case, it’s practically currency. He trades in imprecision, invests in it, profits from it. It is both a weapon and a shield. And it makes everyone else get into impossible arguments. Arguments like “In your face, Trump was wiretapped just like he said” vs “Nuh uh, dummy, Manafort being tapped doesn’t mean Trump was. And what wire?”
Trump’s tweet that shook the wires of the world, if you will recall, says this:
Two days ago, a new story broke. Paul Manfort was “wiretapped,” reported CNN, which included the news that the surveillance occurred before and during the campaign and when he worked for Trump, and that then-candidate Trump was probably recorded in conversations with Manafort.
Now the battle is on between pundits, analysts, talking heads, social media mavens, bloggers, activists and, presumably, watercooler debaters across the country. This proves Trump was right vs. This doesn’t prove anything.
A useless argument.
If we know that Trump says things carelessly and inaccurately, which we do, then you know it’s perfectly reasonable for him to say he was wiretapped if he knew conversations he took part in were recorded. He’s not legally defining it. He’s stating he was recorded by surveillance. Which he probably was.
So he was right?
If we know the investigation began and the first warrant was issued before his campaign, which we do, and that this was justified for such a shady, mob-owned bad guy, which it was, then it’s perfectly unreasonable to say that this was the object of a political assassination. Or even to say Trump was wiretapped directly.
So he was wrong?
But wait, a second FISA warrant was issued, and it was directly related to the Trump campaign and collusion.
The FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year.
Sources say the second warrant was part of the FBI’s efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives. Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.
To be clear, the wiretap warrants are the only new part of the story. We already knew about the long investigation into the campaign and Trump associates and Russia. I was right in March when I said that the parties involved are all untrustworthy, and that hasn’t changed. I was also right when I said the official denial from Obama’s spox was “laughable.” There’s also this, from the same article:
It’s pretty clear, given that it’s a matter of public record and we’ve all been talking about it for months, that at the very least people in the Trump solar system have been in the lens of government telescopes for some time in relation to their contact with Russians. Was it “wiretapping”? Was it at Trump tower? Were they in his closet with a stenographer and a caricaturist? Who knows?
We know now that it was actual surveillance, actual wiretapping, that it targeted someone whom we know was having direct conversations with the President about the campaign. If the person they were investigating had conversations about the campaign they were investigating, with the person who was the subject of the campaign, do you really think those conversations were excluded from surveillance? Come on.
But this is all parsing, isn’t it? We’re sifting through the language for particular accuracy, but that’s not Trump’s currency. His is imprecision, and his allegation was imprecise. You can easily say he was incorrect, that they were in fact tapping Manafort and not Trump. You can also say that he was correct that he was being recorded. And the people who say those two things can have an infinite Twitter argument over which statement is more true.
But the most true things you can say are:
1) Paul Manafort is in hot water and Mueller’s team is coming down on him with relentless and ruthless persistence.
2) Trump showed exceptionally bad judgment in getting in bed with Manafort, and worse in staying there.
3) The Trump media will play this revelation as a huge victory for him, despite that obvious negative implications.
4) We don’t know yet how Trump will react if an indictment materializes.
There could be more from Mueller’s investigation. Or they could be pressing so hard on Manafort in order to justify the existence of the investigation in the first place. We just (still) don’t really know yet.
What we do know, and this is absolutely certain, is that people are going to keep on arguing about the meaning of “is” for the next few forevers.
Here we go again. So soon after Harvey and Irma, another massive and powerful storm is headed to destruction as Hurricane Maria bears down on Puerto Rico. Reports vary as to whether it is a Category 4 or 5, as the wind speed is right at the break (about 155 to 157 mph sustained winds reported, which is the line.)
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is preparing the island for what he says they are expecting to be the “worst hurricane in modern history in Puerto Rico.” At the time of this posting, winds, rain, and storm surge are battering the island as it prepares to make landfall on the southeast side of the island.