Judge Alison Nathan on Misconduct by FBI and Federal Prosecutors

September 18, 2020 at 4:12 pm

Anyone who mistakenly thought the departure of Preet Bharara would be the end of shenanigans by federal prosecutors and FBI agents in New York—actually, anyone interested in justice—will want to read carefully the scathing opinion and order issued this week by Judge Alison Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in the case of United States of America v. Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad. Judge Nathan is concerned after it emerged that federal prosecutors failed to meet their disclosure obligations. "When the Court pressed for more information about one of these failures, the Government made a misrepresentation to the Court. This serious dereliction requires a serious response," she wrote.

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Biden Versus Park Avenue

September 18, 2020 at 3:15 pm

Biden the Divider is at it again. Last night in a CNN Town hall, Joe Biden said, "I view this campaign as a campaign between Scranton and Park Avenue...All Trump can see from Park Avenue is Wall Street. All he thinks about is the stock market."

The Democratic presidential candidate amplified it in a tweet: "This election is Scranton vs. Park Avenue."

Leave it to Soledad O'Brien to respond brilliantly with a pushback against Biden's zero-sum approach of pitting one part of America against another: "Or... both. NYC's Park Avenue is amazing. No need to knock it. Would be nice to have a President who sees every American as worth fighting for. Thank you."

We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

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The Ruling-Class Consensus

September 15, 2020 at 5:17 pm

Jacob Siegel writes in Tablet Magazine:

Over the past four years, the big names in journalism have shared a single overriding preoccupation: consolidating an emergent ruling-class social consensus that justifies itself in large part by the claim that Donald Trump's presidency is an existential threat that makes every action by the White House a national emergency. The media both demonstrates and justifies its role in opposing this extraordinary threat by hyping one crisis of American democracy after another. Fascism is upon us! The Russians are taking over! The Russians are behind the white nationalists who are taking over! Kavanaugh! Ukraine! Impeachment! The Post Office!

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Two Undecided Voters: Gary Cohn, Stephen Ross

September 14, 2020 at 10:00 pm

Polls indicate there are fewer undecided voters in the presidential election this time around than there were in 2016.

At least a few among them, though, have made themselves publicly known. Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs president who served as director of Trump's National Economic Council until April 2018, told CNBC on Monday, "I honestly haven't made up my mind." And Stephen Ross, "the billionaire real estate developer who founded Related Companies, owns the Miami Dolphins and has an interest in brands including SoulCycle and Equinox," and who hosted a fundraiser for Trump in 2019, told the New York Times last month, "I haven't really made a decision who I'm voting for."

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Milton Friedman on the Social Responsibility of Business

September 14, 2020 at 9:16 am

The enduring relevance of Milton Friedman has been a recurring theme around here. Please see, for example, 2018's "The Hottest Midterm Race Is Milton Friedman Versus Marc Benioff" and 2020's "Biden Runs Against Milton Friedman."

Sunday's New York Times devoted a full special print section to the 50th anniversary of a Friedman New York Times Magazine essay headlined "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits."

As part of the project, the Times solicited pieces reflecting on the essay.

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Trump Risks "Exit Stage Left"

September 14, 2020 at 7:55 am

Yesterday's "Executive Order on Lowering Drug Prices" from President Trump is a reminder to post my column from last week. Please check out the full column at the New Boston Post ("Trump Risks 'Exit Stage Left' Headline"), Newsmax ("Trump Risks 'Exit Stage Left'"), and at the New York Sun ("'Exit Stage Left' Could Be Trump's Parting Headline").

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Harvard Magazine Claims Trump Voters Were Deceived

September 12, 2020 at 10:49 pm

Harvard Magazine has a profile of law professor Noah Feldman that is a strange combination of fawning and nasty.

Fawning, in that includes passages such as "His work displays the mix of synthesis and substantive mastery that serious journalists aspire to, and the combination of clarity and eloquence that few scholars display."

And nasty, in that it includes this anonymous stuff: "some who follow Feldman closely don't want to be quoted as saying what they believe: that he has squandered his talent, becoming a public intellectual too young, without developing his craft as a scholar and doing work worthy of his gifts; or that, in writing about so many topics, he has failed to fulfill his promise to reshape some field of knowledge. Aside from some comments about Feldman's arrogance and impatience, the harshest criticism is that he hasn't developed a theory about constitutionalism."

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Stringer Versus the Profiteers

September 12, 2020 at 9:52 pm

The New York City Comptroller, Scott Stringer, recently announced his candidacy for mayor. Among his remarks: "when the contributions those residents made, over decades, put their neighborhoods on the map, the real estate companies and other profiteers wasted no time swooping in with luxury development. These speculators had a willing partner in City Hall — through multiple administrations. All the while, people were being pushed out and priced out....When I am mayor, we will end the crushing cycle of speculation, eviction, and displacement. No more giving away the store to developers. No more unaffordable affordable housing. We will put an end to the gentrification industrial complex."

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Goodbye to Lord and Taylor

September 11, 2020 at 9:00 am

From a New York Times opinion piece about the demise of the Lord & Taylor department store: "These closures signify how the relentless march of capitalism, now accelerated by the pandemic, has robbed us of spaces to be together and to pass time slowly."

And then, later in the article: "online shopping has also enabled more ethical and inclusive fashion, if you know where to look for it. The internet enables people from all backgrounds, especially Black shoppers, gender nonconforming and trans shoppers and those with different body types, to find clothes that make them feel great without worrying about the judgment or the profiling they might encounter at retail stores. This is no small benefit: It's a huge step forward."

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Correction of the Day

September 11, 2020 at 8:39 am

From the Wall Street Journal's corrections and amplifications column: "Actress Liu Yifei is a cherished household name in China. A Sept. 3 Personal Journal article said she is a cherished name in Communist China. The Wall Street Journal's style is to refer to mainland China as China except in some historical political contexts."

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Monday-Morning Quarterbacking the Mask Decision

September 10, 2020 at 10:20 am

The latest Democratic line of attack against President Trump is that he was too slow to push mask-wearing as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Patrick Dillon, a former Obama administration official who is the husband of Biden's campaign manager Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, tweeted that Trump "was talking to Woodward about aerosol transmission in FEBRUARY. So someone smarter than him told him something like that, and then sat on a recommendation for Americans to wear masks until APRIL. Plenty of bad to go around here."

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Nye on Trump's Foreign Policy

September 7, 2020 at 11:24 am

Joseph S. Nye, Jr. a Harvard professor, has a column about President Trump that includes this paragraph:

Trump's anti-interventionism is relatively popular, but his narrow, transactional definition of US interests, and his skepticism about alliances and multilateral institutions, is not reflective of majority opinion. Since 1974, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs has asked the public whether America should take an active part or stay out of world affairs. Roughly a third of the American public has been consistently isolationist, reaching a high point of 41% in 2014. Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, 64% favored active involvement by the time of the 2016 election, and that number rose to a high of 70% by 2018.

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JFK, Conservative in the News

September 7, 2020 at 10:54 am

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III's loss to Senator Ed Markey in the Massachusetts Democratic primary for Senate, and Jake Auchincloss's victory in the primary to succeed Kennedy, has prompted a boom of renewed interest in the book JFK, Conservative. I wrote about the primaries and the Kennedys for the Washington Examiner magazine: Dethroning the Kennedys. The article begins with a quote from the Talmud. I also appeared on the Fox News television program "Your World With Neil Cavuto" to discuss the differences between Joe Biden's tax policy and President Kennedy's. You can watch that segment here via Fox News or here via Yahoo! News. Finally, The Week magazine had a nice mention: "Not without reason did Ira Stoll publish a revisionist biography of the president some years ago entitled JFK, Conservative."

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Matt Taibbi on Trump

September 6, 2020 at 10:38 am

This part of the analysis seemed pretty shrewd to me:

it was decided even before he was elected that admitting the president was the president was "normalizing" him. Normally no news is good news, and the anchorman is encouraged to smile on a day without war, earthquakes, terror attacks, or stock market crashes. Under Trump it became taboo to have a slow news day. A lack of an emergency was a failure of reporting, since Trump's very presence in office was crisis. ...The problem was this all played into Trump's hands. Instead of crafting a coherent, accessible plan to address the despair and cynicism that moved voters to even consider someone like Trump in the first place, Democrats instead turned politics into a paranoiac's dream, imbuing Trump's every move with earth-shattering importance as America became a single, never-ending, televised referendum on His Orangeness.

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What If Trump Wins and the Left Rejects the Result?

September 3, 2020 at 9:25 am

The prospect that a narrow Trump victory in the presidential election is rejected by Democrats is the topic of my column this week. Please read the full column at the New Boston Post ("What If Trump Wins the Election and the Left Rejects the Result?"), the New York Sun ("What If Trump Wins and the Left Rejects the Result?"), and the Las Vegas Review-Journal ("What If Trump Wins the Election and the Left Rejects the Result?")

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