Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Roseanne To Return; Will Hollywood Wake Up To Trump's America Too?

As everyone knows, and of course the Emmy's confirmed, Hollywood is a bastion of leftism, to the point where conservative actors,(James Woods "I may never work again" an exception) especially Christians are afraid to speak out against the monolith of 'progressivism" (i.e. being an outspoken Democratic Party member) that even the only visible Republican club the "secretive" 'The Friends Of Abe' disbanded.

The roster of actors/musicians/producers/directors who supported Hillary Clinton is legion but that has been considered to be one of the (seemingly endless) reasons why she lost. In a time of massive rejection of the Establishment, the liberal elite, and of being ridiculed and spoken down to by people outside of the major urban centers and centers of entertainment, the sight of actors and musicians being on a stage with Clinton simply reinforced this sense of being condescended to.

Clinton's campaign ending rally in Philadelphia with a host of rock stars showed just how ineffectual these superstars are in persuading not only those predisposed to support the left, i.e. young people who generally don't bother to vote, but how effective such a spectacle was in galvanizing rural voters to overwhelmingly reject Clinton.

One thing is certain after such a dismal failure of "star power" there never will be again such a useless reliance on an effort that brings so little reward and is in fact a detriment.

However Hollywood loves one thing more than it's leftism and that is of course money. During the end of the G.W. Bush years, and all throughout the Obama administration the Hollywood left has had free reign to churn out endless movies and television drama and sitcoms extolling their social views.

Gay sitcoms, lesbian drama's "modern family" mixed parentage sitcoms and all aspects of non-traditional marriage and family life have been the mainstay of the media. So too have big city travails of single women battling sexism, misogyny and all sorts of dastardly men been the norm. Depictions of working classand rural family life and struggles hardly merited a look-in.

With the election of Donald Trump and the complete dominance of conservatives in Congress and majority of state legislatures, if the Hollywood elite ever recover from their shock even the most blinkered of them (
"Progressive fundamentalism: how Hollywood and the media fortify the bubbles we all live in") could now see the entire zeitgeist, the mores of the nation, have swung dramatically against the one sided and distorted image of American society that they have relentlessly pushed onto the television and movie screens for over a decade.

To make money from this awakening, unless they stupidly persist in their rejected direction, Hollywood could climb down from their elitist heights and create entertainment that reflects the society that resoundingly rejected them in the election. It's not as if they would have to reinvent the wheel either.

There is a wealth of entertainment history that depicted wholesome American life that would be simple to recreate in a modern setting (including Black and Hispanic themes). My Three Sons, The Donna Reed Show, Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best (or Mother Knows best for today's world) in the family setting.

The passing of Florence Henderson and the outpouring of affection for her memory proves the attractions still of the lighthearted the "Brady Bunch" happy family concept.

A new version of Andy Griffith Show set in rural "Mayberry" could make a comeback in a modern setting as a nod to the 2016 voters who made their presence and distaste apparent.

And what could be a more obvious tip of the hat to working class America than a revival of "Roseanne" whose leading actor, once robust feminist, tellingly has become a staunch opponent of Hillary Clinton.

Hollywood has a choice, continue with their grossly out of touch elitism or bring back more of the likes of the whip smart Roseanne Barr and family values movies and help bring the nation together whilst making money at it. My guess is that's the direction they will head in as they may be incorrigibly leftist but they are not stupid with it as far as their wallets are concerned.

Warning Sign As Trump And Palin Campaign for Different Candidates In Alabama

(Picture at BREITBART)

  Given the current state of the Democratic Party, the substantial possibility of their nominating a "progressive" candidate and the historical odds favoring sitting presidents running for reelection the greatest danger to a Trump 2020 run could come from within the GOP.

From the commencement of the primary system in 1912, every time a sitting president or vice-president has faced a realistic primary challenge they have lost the subsequent presidential election or withdrew from running after facing near certain defeat in the primaries.

Prior to that the only sitting presidents not to be renominated at conventions were Franklin Pierce, considered among the worst presidents, “the only time in U.S. history that an elected president who was an active candidate for reelection was not nominated for a second term" and the non-elected presidents Andrew Johnson and Chester A. Arthur.

   This historical truth is exemplified by President Taft's disastrous reelection campaign when former President Teddy Roosevelt bolted the party after failing to get the nomination even though he won over 51% of the primary vote.

   President Truman withdrew after losing the New Hampshire primary to Estes Kefauver. President Lyndon Johnson dropped out of the race after narrowly winning the New Hampshire primary. President Carter faced a massive challenge from Senator Ted Kennedy which was not resolved until Kennedy's begrudging endorsement of Carter at the convention "one of the nastiest on record".

  President Ford faced a similar challenge from Governor Reagan which went down to the wire at the GOP convention. In 1992 President G.W. Bush's reelection bid (his 1988 primary run as VP for the presidential nomination  was never in doubt) had to fight off a serious challenge from the right via Pat Buchanan "the fact that Buchanan received more than two million votes nationwide, prognosticated disaster in the fall."

   Sitting Vice-president Hubert Humphrey after the worst nominating convention in American history and a bruising primary campaign  (using "favorite sons" as substitute for campaigning himself) went on to lose to Nixon in 1968. VP Al Gore who went on to lose the presidential race to G.W.Bush was challenged for the Democratic presidential nomination by Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey who only lost the New Hampshire primary by 3 points.

  Former vice-president's had a mixed record with Walter Mondale winning the 1984 nomination after a primary battle and losing the presidential election and Hubert Humphrey being defeated by George McGovern for the 1972 nomination.

At this point in President Trump's administration there is not the slightest breath of speculation that he might be challenged for the nomination in 2020, nor has any Republican of note given any overt sign that he or she might do so.

However, such was the case during the first year of Jimmy Carter's presidency when the breaking with tradition cardigan wearing president with the big toothy grin was hugely popular. President G.W.H Bush seemed unbeatable after the Gulf War. Both presidencies ended very badly.

Are there any straws in the wind which, even at this point, might lead to a similar ending for President Trump? Yes there are.

​Damon Linker at 'The Week' who, apart from considering himself 'smart" ("a lot of smart people got Trump wrong") has been apocalyptic regarding Trump ("poised to lose in biggest landslide in history") right from the start, now sees the entire GOP breaking up;

"If the members of Trump's base do finally turn on him, where are they going to go? Into the arms of pro-immigration Paul Ryan and whatever candidate the still-reigning GOP establishment puts up in 2020? Or will they instead stew through what remains of the Trump presidency (including the now much-more-likely Trump impeachment) while they await a more competent and ideologically coherent candidate to emerge from the fully energized Breitbart/Bannonite wing of the party?

I'd place my bets on the latter. Which doesn't mean that such a hard-right nationalist "workers party" candidate would automatically win the GOP nomination. But it does mean that the 2020 primaries would be a contest over which faction gets to call itself the Republican Party and which ends up forced into the third-party wilderness."

This is of course utter nonsense and is refuted by no less than the New York Times which ruined an otherwise instructive article by titling it "When Trump say jump his followers say how high?" The gist of the academic study is that politics is now completely tribal and policies do not count no matter the flip flops, all that matters is a person’s side "wins" against the other party.

However, politics policies core beliefs and flip flops do matter and have their breaking point as regards the internal opposition and this is where an internal fissure could lead to a 2020 challenge.

The outlines of such a fissure showed its first sign in, of all places, Alabama where the extraordinary sight of the GOP’s sitting president and past vice-presidential candidate will be canvassing for different senatorial candidates in the same week.
Former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is heading down to Alabama to help boost former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) in his primary against appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), joining forces with a pro-Trump super-PAC to try to knock out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) strongly preferred candidate.
Palin will join a bus tour run by Great America Alliance, a pro-Trump group that recently added former White House staffer Andy Surabian, who has close ties to recently ousted former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. The planned rally will occur late next week, according to a strategist close to the organization.”
And from President Trump; “I will be in Huntsville, Alabama, on Saturday night to support Luther Strange for Senate,” Trump tweeted. “‘Big Luther’ is a great guy who gets things done!” 

  The mystery of Trump supporting a McConnell choice is a spectacle of much fascination whose machinations are too arcane to consider without minds being boggled. "The Art Of The Machiavelli" might be a Trump book in progress.

With Palin the certainty is core beliefs trump party and political appointment. Palin endorsed Trump well before anyone else and it is likely her support prior to the Iowa caucuses was instrumental in gaining Trump the credibility of a second place finish.

That she would campaign against Trump’s chosen candidate simply reinforces to her followers that principle counts above all else. Nobody else in the GOP could mount a primary challenge without some degree of self-seeking being attached to such an effort except “you don’t need a title to make a difference’ Palin.

 That Bannon, who touted Palin for president prior to the rise of Trump, is supporting her efforts in Alabama gives financial and media substance, allied to Palin’s personal mass following, to any future schism. So too is his attack on the same McConnell Trump is supporting "Bannon: Why Are McConnell And Ryan Letting Democrats Investigate Trump?"

If an internal breaking point comes, perhaps on “The Wall” (Hannity; "The wall better be part of Trump's deal"  
"Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, said activists were “very, very concerned" then President Trump, or perhaps more accurately the Priebus/Christie team who advised on cabinet appointments, may come to sorely regret not bringing Palin into the administration and not keeping Bannon in it.

See also;
"Trump's Move to the Left Ensures a Primary Opponent"

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Virginia Governor’s Race May Decide The 2020 Presidential Election

 This article first appeared in The Federalist with a comment section

An obscure Virginia House of Delegates Representative may be the Kingmaker in the 2020 presidential election.

Ed Gillespie is the Republican nominee for Virginia’s 2018 governor race. Gillespie narrowly lost his race for senator in 2014 by 0.14 percent, and was tied with Democrat Ralph Northam in a recent Washington Post poll.

As the GOP currently has a record 34 governors in office, the outcome of Virginia’s race—apart from bragging rights for the winners’ party—would not upset the balance of power. The most important political development would be a major swing against the GOP in the concomitant congressional elections and the governors’ races in New Jersey and Virginia.

But history informs us that in mid-terms, the party that won the presidency nearly always has a substantial swing against it. It seems a result of the inevitably disappointed hopes of some voters, and perhaps a reluctance to give too much power to the party in office.

It’s also been true in the past that such setbacks for a president may have no effect on their second-term prospects: President Obama suffered massive congressional setbacks, but achieved a comfortable second-term election win.
Taking all of that into consideration, how could Virginia’s race for the governor’s mansion to have a crucial effect on the 2020 presidential election?

The Bill To End Virginia’s ‘Winner Take All’ System

The answer is in a bill that was put forward in the Virginia House of Representatives, one that would end Virginia’s ‘winner take all’ electoral vote system:
A bill to end Virginia’s “winner take all” system of awarding Electoral College votes was approved by a House subcommittee.
The electoral votes should be divided among presidential candidates based on how many of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts they win, the subcommittee of the House Privileges and Elections Committee decided on a 5-2, party-line vote.
HB 1425, sponsored by Del. Mark Cole, R-Fredericksburg, would give Virginia’s remaining two electoral votes to the winner of the state’s popular vote.
This system is used in Maine and Nebraska and is known as the “congressional district system.” Under the system, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would have received six of Virginia’s 13 Electoral College votes, even though Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the state last fall.
As this map from 270toWin’s “Gaming The Electoral College” article shows, such a change in Virginia’s Electoral College votes would, on 2016 voting, have produced a Dem 7 GOP 6 split.

This type of vote allocation is currently in practice in Maine, which gave Trump one of its four votes, and Nebraska, which gave all of its five to Trump as per the map.

Why The Bill Hasn’t Yet Passed

Two other states, New Hampshire and Minnesota, had similar bills introduced this year. New Hampshire has GOP control of their Senate and House and a Republican governor, so it is surprising the bill died “Inexpedient to legislate.”
So too did a Democratic “partisan” bill which aimed to have New Hampshire join the “Electoral Compact,” i.e. have states assign their electors to whoever wins the nationwide popular vote, as a way to circumvent the Electoral College as set out in the Constitution.

Thus, if enough states were to join with 270 EC votes, there would be in effect a nationwide popular vote for the presidency.

In Minnesota, where the GOP also has a majority in the House and Senate, an Electoral College reform bill met a similar “Inexpedient” fate. However, unlike New Hampshire, Minnesota has a Democratic governor, and a veto would have been likely even if the proposal had passed both Senate and House. In Virginia, the proposal was withdrawn by its initiator, House of Delegates representative Mark L. Cole:
Cole pointed to the pending litigation and the General Assembly’s distaste for changing policy during lawsuits as one reason for dropping the effort.
He also said that even if the bill passed, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe would veto it. “I think probably the time is not right for it, though I still think it’s a good policy and something we may pursue in the future,” Cole said.
The words “something we may pursue in the future” creates a very real possibility that successfully pursuing this electoral vote change could decide the presidency in 2016.
Republicans have a near two-to-one advantage in the House of Delegates, 66-34, and a majority in the Virginia Senate 21-19. Current Governor McAuliffe is term limited, and if the GOP’s Gillespie is elected in 2017, the stage would be set for Cole to reintroduce the bill, which would then be free from the danger of a veto.

Donald Trump won the Electoral College handily 306 to 232, but that is of course no indicator of how close the race might be in 2020. If it were a Reagan-type blowout, then how Virginia’s electoral votes were allocated would be of passing interest. On the other hand, if the race were more akin to the Gore/Bush 2000 campaign, any change to Virginia’s apportionment would become vital, if not the deciding factor. 

Anything’s Possible In Politics

There are numerous permutations, among which are Trump losing Pennsylvania—won by the narrowest of margins in 2016—and Wisconsin with Arizona adding to the sunbelt drift from the GOP.
That result, if Trump held the other states he won in 2016, would give him 265 Electoral College votes: five short of the required 270. At that point, Virginia’s split allocation of 7 Democratic 6 Republican would give him 271 votes and the presidency.

Clearly a lot of ducks would have to line up neatly in a row for such a scenario to eventuate. But the same was said for Trump’s 2016 Electoral College “inside straight” chances.
The first stage in this scenario would be the election of Ed Gillespie in 2017. If that happened, Mr. Cole could pursue his bill anew. If successful, that bill might make him an unlikely kingmaker. But, as the whole Trump phenomenon showed, absolute anything is possible in politics.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Charlottesville; The Dignity And Restraint Of Black America

While arguably the worst of America was on display in days of rioting, hate, violence egged on by a blatantly partisan leftist media little mentioned or noticed was the dignity and restraint of Black America.

This was especially significant in the quietude of leading figures in the African American community from politicians to church leaders and even, perhaps most impressively of all, from significant members of the Democratic supporting media figures.
If there had ever been a time and place where mass street action, pulpit thundering, media pronouncements in paper and on television and political stage taking it was during the Charlottesville days.

The cast of characters, both current and historical would have seemed to have met nearly all conditions for Black activism. White supremacists in the heart of the Confederacy, Klu Klux Klan members, confederate flags in abundance.
Southern Civil War heroes under attack, both in their imagery in statues torn down or defaced, and for what some stood for in Jim Crow days. In fact there was a literal digging up of the past as crazed leftists attempted to exhume a rebel soldier.
With these affronts to the African American citizenry in full view of the nation the remarkable happened.

 There were few Black faces to be seen among the rioters, there were none pulling down statues of Confederate heroes, no attacking of Klansmen nor tearing Confederate flags from white hands in street battles.
Instead there were, passionate but dignified opinion pieces, most aimed at President Trump for what the authors perceived as misplaced blame sharing and Black politicians echoing such sentiments in, as would be expected, more stringent terms.
Conversely the only virulent attack by a Black politician 

Missouri State Senator Chappelle-Nadal who hoped for Trump's assassination was roundly condemned by her Black Democratic colleagues such as Congressman William Lacy Clay.
On the other hand there were measured responses attacking the very media who had so stirreed up passions. In a remarkable video statement which went viral Candice Owens said among much else of significance;

“I mean there are what, 6,000 Klansmen left in our nation and you want me to actually process that as a legitimate fear every day when I wake up?” 
Similarly basketball legend Charles Barkley also went on video to advise; "I have always ignored Confederate statues and that most black people probably haven't thought about them "a day in their life." He said the black community needs to worry about more important issues like education and crime.

"That's wasted energy," the NBA legend said.

"I'm not going to waste my time screaming at a neo-Nazi who is going to hate me no matter what. And I'm not going to waste my time worrying about these statues,"

And was echoed by Former World Champion Boxer George Foreman "On anthem and White House protestors, they're sore losers"

 This same dignified restraint and objective point of view came to the fore in the aftermath of Dylan Roof's murderous rampage in Charleston where a single spark from more than justified community outrage might have turned into a racial conflagration.

 Instead community leaders grace lead to an enormous outpouring of public sympathy and appreciation.
It is, frankly, a national shame that such similar restraint and mature reflection has not also been recognized and honored by the wider community of the nation across all ethnic groups as it well deserves.

America owes a great debt to the Black citizens for their patience and dignity and for providing a sign that outside of the media's flame fanning things make be continuing on the sometimes maddeningly slow arc of racial progress.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Media On Trial Over Trump's Afghanistan Address

First published at C4P

"President Trump will "provide an update on the path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia" at 9 p.m. ET, the White House said. The president is scheduled to speak from Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia."

This will be the president's first televised address to the nation and for that reason alone, apart from the significance of a major policy move on America's longest war, there are major ramifications as regards the nature, credibility and importance of the main stream media.
The media's relationship to the Trump administration is succinctly summed up in, of all places, The San Francisco chronicle, where opinion writer Rubin Navarette Jr. advises;

"Americans are fed precooked narratives by the Fourth Estate. We’re told what’s important and what isn’t, what to focus on and what to ignore, and — above all — what to think.Last week’s serving was that Trump is providing aid and comfort to a loathsome bunch of misfits — neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists.
Nevertheless, for my money, the more important takeaway from that no-holds-barred presser was that we have entered scary and uncharted territory in the relationship between the president and the media. It’s very personal.

And yet, at the same time, Trump is right to complain about how he never gets any credit for doing the right thing because the media and the rest of his critics are always waiting to pounce on him for doing the wrong thing.
All I could think was: The media have lost their collective mind. They used to be content to just tell us what to think. Now, in the era of Trump, they go further and tell us not to trust what we see with our own eyes or hear with our own ears."
This is of course indisputably, sadly true. The media on the other hand keeps to its pretense that it is a dispassionate, balanced body of public servants which fabrication is preposterous given the absolute fact that the majority of journalists are liberals.
The president's announcement on Afghanistan is a big deal. Not only is is of vital consideration given America's so far futile, never-ending commitment to a war in a country that has seen of every such attempt to impose a martial solution or to colonize fail, but it also will be the final closure on the American media as journalism rather than as overt partisanship.
Whatever President Trump proposes regarding Afghanistan may end up in the history books as the right option or the wrong one, but his proposals obviously merit serious analysis in a non-partisan manner-after all, American and Afghan lives are at risk.
If the media, and especially those in the forefront of the anti-Trump conflict such as MSNBC and CNN and the likes of Anderson Cooper, Jim Acosta et al simply use whatever Trump proposes as a further opportunity to, as Navarette said 'wrestle in the mud with Trump" then whatever credibility the MSM has will be concluded.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Media's Fight Not vs.Trump It's To Discourage Rust Belt Voters

A version of this article first appeared at C4P 

The MSM's never ending anti-Trump crusade is in reality not against President Trump as the reality is he can't be "defeated" barring impeachment for which there is no sane reason to imagine exists.

The media onslaught, the Democratic party being a powerless bystander using it's ally to fight its battles, has one ultimate aim and that is to disillusion the 2016 Trump voters in the erstwhile "Democratic blue wall." 

The real world political fight as far as the presidency is concerned is in the Electoral College battleground states. The stark reality is, given the vast majority of states nearly always vote the same way, is that Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and of course Florida will decide the presidency.

In 2016 Donald Trump won them all and if the forces that brought him those wins continue as before then the Democratic Party is in dire straights. Trump's opponents complain "he only won by small margins in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin" disregarding the massive deficit he had to make up to win those states. Further it is the trends going forwards that matter.

If the huge mountain Trump climbed marked a permanent shift in voters allegiances in those states it may well be that his margins were a base which will be added to ensuring those states move to purple if not red. This is predicated on a number of factors.

It is clear that African Americans not turning out in Michigan and to a lesser extent in Wisconsin cost Clinton both states.

This could signal a return to the pre-Obama election norm or, more dangerous for the Dem's a further shift in Black support for the GOP (Trump did better than Romney with that grouping) which would be accelerated if economic prospects, which are currently at an all time low for Black unemployment improve further. Trump is, of course, quite correct in stating that a major cure for racism is jobs which is why he was pilloried by the fearful Dem's.

More worrying for the Dem's is that in Pennsylvania the Black turnout in crucial Philadelphia was actually as good as President Obama's in 2012. This is the crucial element behind the MSM's attacks on Trump. White turnout in Pennsylvania, especially in the rural areas was massive. Hillary's state vote was down only 64 thousand from 2012 but Trump's was up a massive 290 thousand given Trump a 46 thousand vote win.

The GOP can afford to lose both Wisconsin and Michigan but by holding Pennsylvania, and of course Florida, could still win comfortably in the Electoral College. If the rust belt held in its entirety and demographics put Florida out of reach the GOP would still win.

These electoral facts explain the seemingly ridiculous "Russiagate" fantasies which appear to have miraculously vanished, the preposterous charges of "racism" against Trump, the refusal to credit his administration with any positive results while the economy picks up steam, the share market climbed to new heights and industry looks to relocate back to the USA. Any internal administration personality conflict or change of personnel is dwelt on as if it were crucial to real folks lives and concerns.

The fact this media onslaught acts as a bandage to the Democratic party's utter lack of leadership, policy and constructive activity is neither her nor there as was shown in the Dem's losses, especially in Georgia in the congressional special elections. The Dem's do not have to do anything to win the presidency in 2020 if the GOP base who turned out in exceptional numbers get disheartened and stay home as they did for Romney and McCain.

For all the nine months of media attacks the base, as far as can be determined by attendance at Trump's rallies where plain folks, again, wait for hours in line to get in is steadfast. 

This is still a source of amazement to the few intrepid DC journalists who venture out to to flyover country who still have not learned the lessons of 2016. The touted "polls' with their Dem bias average Trump around 40% with the usual ups and downs which is where he was (actually slightly better) on election day.

As things stand the Democrat's have nothing to offer except opposition and there only hope is that the same media who utterly failed them will by their attacks on Trump, and through Trump his base will succeed in alienating the very voters whose dislike for the media elite is only matched by that elites dislike for them.

If the Democratic party fails in the mid-terms they are in profound difficulties and a massive introspection which must surely consider discarding the media tactics must follow or banishment to the coasts on a permanent basis is in store

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

These Legal Minds And Major Web Sites Find Much To Consider With Palin VS New York Times

First published at Conservatives4Palin

"Can a housewife from Wasilla, Alaska prevail in a libel case against the liberal New York Times in front of a Federal Judge appointed by Democratic president Bill Clinton in overwhelmingly Democratic New York?'

I wrote the above as part of an article on July 28th, three days before Judge Rakoff was to make his decision on whether Governor Palin's libel case could proceed to jury trial which I, frankly, thought was a purely rhetorical question as the claim proceeding seemed unlikely given venue, defendant, judge.

However Judge Rakoff surprised many perhaps by ruling that he would consider the matter further and would rule at the end of August. What seems an insurmountable block to the expected quick dismissal is the fact that the New York Times printed that Palin was connected to the shooting of Gabby Giffords when on the same day they ran an article advising she had no connection whatsoever.

No matter how any judge in any venue leaned towards the Gray Lady to dismiss the complaint under those circumstances would seem unseemly, to say the least. Where we are now is that Judge Rakoff has given the Palin team leave to call any or all of the Times staff connected with their editorial for cross examination (but, perhaps significantly has disallowed discovery) New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet will testify at a court hearing.
It seems clear that the only defense The Times has is that they are so significant that they don't read their own paper before writing something they had to retract. Common sense says this is insupportable but acting dumb may prove not to be a crime and may give the judge an escape.
If that eventuates, as with the establishment in the dock the odds are in their favor, Palin will have won a major victory in the court of public opinion and the Times will look foolish and of course appeal to a higher court would be open.
As would be expected with all things Palin there has been much media coverage including, no doubt to their chagrin even from the New York Times itself. The basic summary of the new rulings from Judge Rakoff has been set out by The New York Daily News without commentary.
Trained professional legal minds, and informed commentators have not be so reticent and a selection shows, to my mind, a common view that Palin's case on moral and common sense grounds is clear, but that the defendant, and the judge,also have a clear path to dismissal. Hopefully justice is blind, if not in New York then at the Supreme Court if required.
Noted legal mind Prof. William A. Jacobson who runs the 'Legal Insurrection' website commented;

"The Court just issued an unusual order on a motion to dismiss...The Order is unusual because normally motions to dismiss are decided on the papers, and the court must determine all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party (Palin, here). One of the key factual allegations in the Complaint is that the NY Times was aware that Palin’s map had nothing to do with the Giffords shooting, because prior NY Times articles so stated. So, by inference, the authors of the Editorial ignored information available at the NY Times itself. 
 The Judge appears to be requiring not just imputed knowledge of prior NY Times articles, but actual knowledge by the authors of the Editorial in order to find a reasonable inference of actual malice. That the Judge says the issue is a “close question” based on the pleadings demonstrates that if Palin survives the motion to dismiss, it will turn on who knew what, and when.
Palin’s attorneys will seek not only to demonstrate actual knowledge, but also such reckless disregard for the truth as to establish actual malice. How could the authors of the Editorial not at least do a search of the NY Times itself? And as to the members of the Editorial Board in whose name the Editorial appeared, but who may not have been “authors” of it, why should their knowledge or lack thereof be ignored.
Make no mistake, however, this is a gift to Palin’s team. They get what they normally are not entitled to at this stage — testimony. That testimony, though limited in time, could be a goldmine of information.Media defendants usually win these motions to dismiss on the papers. That the Times has not yet done so should give the Palin team encouragement.
Huffington Post, no friend of Palin's to the extent they dredged up a Palin/Couric interview from 9 years ago postulated;
"Palin, a public figure, has to prove the Times acted with malice to defame her ― a legal threshold much higher than simply a good-faith mistake."
John Sexton at Hot Air opined;

Let’s just step back and admire this situation for a moment. One or more editorial writers at the NY Times, the folks who speak with the paper’s voice of authority on every subject you can imagine, will plead with a judge to believe they did not know the basic facts of a story they were writing about, including facts reported in their own paper! The Times’ defense is: We so dumb. 
 I find this indescribably delicious, especially given that it was Paul Krugman who used his perch at the NY Times to lead this false charge against Palin back in 2011. There were certainly many who echoed him at the time, but Krugman was the most high profile voice making this claim after the shooting. In fact, if the editorial writers are asked to explain where they got the dumb idea that Palin had been definitively linked to the Tucson shooting, the most likely explanation will be that they got the idea from Paul Krugman. There’s a certain justice to having the paper that mainstreamed this lie face the music over it, albeit belatedly.

Will the judge believe that NY Times editorial writers are ignorant rubes who don’t read their own paper? I won’t guess at the outcome, but I will say that the author(s) certainly wrote as if the facts were crystal clear.Either the author of this piece was a malicious liar or he/she is too ill-informed to be writing editorials for a newspaper. Either way, it looks pretty bad for the NY Times and quite possibly for the future employment of the author(s). It also makes one wonder what other things the NY Times editorial board opines about without a complete familiarity with the facts."

John Hinderaker at PowerLine is scathing;

'You Heard It Here First: NY Times Editors Deny Reading Their Own Newspaper'

I wrote here that Palin has a strong case, despite the extraordinary burden of proof imposed on public figures who sue for defamation. This is true, in part, because the Times’s own reporting debunked the idea that Palin had anything to do with Laughlin’s murders (which was a crazy idea in the first place). I wrote:

Ms. Palin can make a strong argument that the Times editorialists knew that their smear was a lie, based on reporting done by the Times itself. (The editorialists’ defense likely will have to be that they don’t read their own newspaper.)
That last observation was prophetic. The Times’s lawyers have moved to dismiss Palin’s case on the ground that her complaint fails to state a claim. This means that even if you assume everything in the complaint is true, she still doesn’t have a case. In response to that motion, the presiding judge, Jed Rakoff, has ordered an evidentiary hearing. You can read his order here. Judge Rakoff writes that whether Palin has sufficiently alleged actual malice is a “close question.” I disagree, I think her complaint is plainly sufficient. But Judge Rakoff continues:
[T]he Complaint alleges that the allegedly false statements of fact that are the subject of the Complaint were contradicted by information already set forth in prior news stories published by the Times. However, these prior stories arguably would only evidence actual malice if the person(s) who wrote the editorial were aware of them. This is information peculiarly within the knowledge of defendant; but on it arguably depends the reasonableness vel non of inferring actual malice.
So, as I predicted, the Times won’t admit that its editors read their own paper. Judge Rakoff’s order requires the Times to produce for depositions all people who were involved in writing the editorial, so that Palin’s lawyer can ask them under oath whether they knew about the paper’s reporting on Jared Laughlin’s crime.

The interrogation will take place in front of Judge Rakoff, who may ask questions of his own.
Be that as it may, the Times editorialists have no choice but to testify that they wrote their editorial blaming Sarah Palin for an insane person’s murders without even bothering to check their own paper to see what news about the shootings had been reported. The context is macabre, but it will be highly entertaining to read the Times editorialists’ depositions when they are made public."

Breitbart which one would expect to be strongly gung ho for Palin is instead very precise in setting out the details of the upcoming court battle, perhaps Steve Bannon's White House position makes a slightly distant approach more seemly.

However there are no such constraints in the comment section where the armchair lawyers vent obviously happily.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017




Hyperlink Looms 

Large in Palin Fight With NY Times;

— During 90 minutes of sharp questioning Monday, a federal judge asked why a New York Times editorial tying Sarah Palin to a mass shooting appeared to be contradicted by a hyperlink posted in its online version.


Federal Judge Jed  Rakoff today reserved his decision in the Palin vs New York Times slander lawsuit until the end of August. This is highly significant on many levels.
Firstly the challenge, even before the case commenced was, on the face of it, massive;
“Can a housewife from Wasilla, Alaska prevail in a libel case against the liberal New York Times in front of a Federal Judge appointed by Democratic president Bill Clinton in overwhelmingly Democratic New York?”

Secondly the barrier to a successful suit for slander has been insurmountable since “New York Times vs Sullivan”
“But Palin’s lawsuit is different.  Why?  Because the newspaper’s own published stories demonstrate that the editorial it ran was false.  A reasonable journalist would know it was false.  You’d have to be a complete idiot not to know it.”

Clearly Judge Rakoff, even though beloved by the radical leftists Matt Taibbi is no idiot and no matter what his subsequently ruling is the fact that he did not summarily dismiss Palin’s case is of much significance. This lack  of dismissal shows that “Sullivan” if not breached, has been scaled to some degree.
On the other hand what is Indicative of a dismissal later this month is the judge sees no reason why discovery should go forward at this time

Even if the case is dismiss under “Sullivan” in August the fact that it went to a reserved decision gives solid ground for appeal up to the Supreme Court with it’s now conservative majority. This may give the NY Times legal team even further cause for considering a settlement.
Indeed, the New York Times legal team has some hard thinking to do now. 

Do they take a chance that Judge Rakoff allows the case to go to a jury trial where there would then be the possibility of a multi-million dollar award against the newspaper or do the go for a settlement out of court with a payment and an apology. The latter may seem to be the safest course for the paper unless they are utterly confident the judge will rule for dismissal. The fact that he did not do so initially may give them pause.

Judge Rakoff’s background may give them further pause for thought especially as “Palin’s legal team has served notice that she plans to subpoena “twenty-three non-party current and former Times reporters, editors and other employees — most of whom had nothing to do with the editorial at issue.”The subpoenas are part of Palin’s effort to obtain “documents that might reveal, among other things, their ‘negative feelings’ toward her,” the Times told the judge”

Given this background, the venue and the Establishment on trial that Judge Rakoff reserved his decision Palin may indeed end up winning at a higher court.

”He's a judicial activist who ruled the death penalty unconstitutional in 2002, and was overturned by the Appeals Court. The New York Times said some very nice things about him in regard to that case. From Wikipedia:

The New York Times called the ruling "a cogent, powerful argument that all members of Congress - indeed, all Americans - should contemplate".
Last year Rakoff ruled that transgender kids under 18 cannot be denied medicaid coverage for hormone therapy and transition surgery. The NYT called that ruling a "health care milestone."
Groundbreaking Decision in Cruz v. Zucker

Also last year he wrote a piece in the New York Review of Books decrying the lack of access for average citizens to the courts in ordinary lawsuits because of the costs involved. Of course the Palin case is a whole different situation.

Why You Won’t Get Your Day in Court
I haven't been able to find anything about his thoughts on the case law surrounding New York Times v. Sullivan, the landmark ruling in cases such as Palin's.

Rakoff is a leading authority on the securities laws and the law of white collar crime, and has authored many articles on the topic, as well as leading treatises on RICO and corporate sentencing. 

Speaking about the federal mail fraud statute, Rakoff wrote, "To federal prosecutors of white-collar crime, the mail fraud statute is our Stradivarius, our Colt .45, our Louisville Slugger, our Cuisinart -- and our true love. We may flirt with other laws and call the conspiracy law 'darling,' but we always come home to the virtues of [mail fraud], with its simplicity, adaptability, and comfortable familiarity. It understands us and, like many a foolish spouse, we like to think we understand it."[14] 

Judge Rakoff is also co-editor, with Judge Leonard B. Sand, and others, of Modern Federal Jury Instructions.

Rolling Stone magazine Matt Taibbi wrote in 2011, "Federal judge Jed Rakoff, a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's office here in New York, is fast becoming a sort of legal hero of our time."[15]
In addition to pushing back against what he has described as superficial punishment by the SEC for companies accused of fraud, Rakoff has held the federal death penalty unconstitutional, sharply criticized the U.S. sentencing guideline, inserted himself into corporate governance reform at WorldCom, and pushed for the public release of documents.[16][17]

He is well-known among lawyers for showing little patience with delays and moving cases along rapidly. The judge says he feels bad taking lawyers and others to task, but he saw in private practice how delays and gamesmanship made the American legal system too slow and expensive for the average person. "The price of being a nice guy is too high—much too high—in terms of the system of justice", Rakoff added.[18]

14. Jed S. Rakoff, The Federal Mail Fraud Statute (Part 1), 18 Duq. L. Rev. 771 (1980)
15. Matt Taibbi,"Finally, a Judge Stands up to Wall Street", Rolling Stone, November 7, 2011.
16. Rothfeld, Michael (2011-11-09). "No Mr. Nice Guy—Just Ask Wall Street". WSJ. Retrieved 2016-12-10.
17. Louise Story, "Plain Talk From Judge Weighing Merrill Case", The New York Times, August 23, 2009.
18. Rothfeld, Michael (2011-11-09). "No Mr. Nice Guy—Just Ask Wall Street - WSJ". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2016-12-10.

 H/T "Al B"