Discovery News

Book Review: “Politicians” By Bruce Chapman

There may be one or two Americans left in the country who don’t know that we are currently living in an anti-Establishment, anti-professional, anti-politician era. Nationally we have voted someone into the Presidency whose primary claim to high office is that he has never held office. (In my own state, we have had a smaller version of the exact same phenomenon.) In virtually every Congressional and state-level campaign beyond the Presidential elections, we have candidates (including incumbents) engaged in an ever-escalating rhetorical battle to claim the low ground of experience. In Politicians: The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for all the Others, Bruce K. Chapman argues that this disdain for long-serving public servants has to stop. Keep reading.

Realism and Homelessness

Discovery Institute Research Fellow Christopher Rufo's has just-released a report on the homelessness crisis in Seattle. Rufo is a documentary filmmaker who has conducted extensive research on the issues of poverty and homelessness in Seattle and around the country. You will find his proposals provocative and timely. (more…) Go to Story (offsite) ›

Whether a Con or a Hit Job, Kavanaugh Saga is Telling

Was Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony against Judge Brett Kavanaugh a total con job?  It had all the earmarks of  an 11th hour ambush, facilitated by the irrelevance of the lack of corroborating evidence, a predictable presumption of guilt ginned up by a media that feeds sensationalism and mob rule, and  the calculated protection of the impenetrable shield of the MeToo movement.  It almost worked. There are also fingerprints of a Deep State political hit job. The Steele Dossier and Kavanaugh accusation have a lot in common in each being based on uncorroborated charges involving sex — tailor-made to foment a media circus, which is now the tail that wags the political dog in America. To better understand these destructive forces, we need to follow the lawyers just like we need to follow the money.  Flanked on each side of Dr. Ford at her October 4 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee were attorneys Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich.

Questionable Ties

Michael Bromwich's selection to Ford's legal team may be specifically related to his long-standing ties into the FBI and DOJ.  Interestingly, he happens to be an attorney for Andrew McCabe, the former FBI Director fired for lying to investigators from his own agency.  Out of all the lawyers in the most lawyered city in America, why would Ford choose him?  Maybe Bromowich was chosen for Ford as the one attorney uniquely positioned to influence a final anticipated FBI investigation through McCabe's remaining supporters within the FBI. Debra Katz, who was introduced to Ford by Judiciary Committee ranking Senator Diane Feinstein, is more than just a lawyer. An early major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, Katz is also a left-wing street activist involved with various resist Trump efforts.  She serves as vice chair of the Project on Government Oversight, a "core grantee" of George Soros's Open Society Foundation, which also funded some 20 of the largest groups that led the anti-Kavanaugh protests.

Kavanaugh Blowback

Ford visited and probably sought counsel from her Best Friend Forever and lawyer Monica McLean in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for four days in late July.  There Ford drafted and sent that fateful letter, dated July 30, accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.  It turns out that friend Monica was a former FBI special agent, having joined the DOJ in 1992 as a lawyer for the FBI, where she worked for 24 years, retiring or resigning after Trump was elected. After Ford's accusation against Kavanaugh blew wide open, McLean saw potential blowback coming as a result of her involvement with Ford.  She got legal counsel from attorney David Laufman, former DOJ prosecutor and chief of the National Security Divisions' Counterintelligence and Export Control. Laufman had previously assisted FBI Counter-Intelligence chief Peter Strzok on both the Hillary Clinton and Russian collusion "investigations" — including the infamous "unsworn" interview with Clinton.  Laufman resigned from the FBI in February and Peter Strzok was fired from the Bureau in August. One can find all these connections and conjecture as yet more affirmation of the scope and lengths to which people associated with the Deep State work together to destroy a nominee to the Supreme Court as they've been doing to the duly elected President. What's more vital to contemplate and support is that at least one grand jury is currently hearing testimony, far from the media's klieg lights, from various individuals associated with the known cast-of-characters behind the rigged Hillary Clinton investigation and Robert Mueller's dubious Russian collusion inquiry. And one can find encouragement that much more truth will be forthcoming as the unsealing of many thousands more indictments widens the scope of grand jury inquiries.

Scorched Earth Politics

This latest Supreme Court nomination process has revealed the raw unscrupulous scorched earth politics of the Democrats for all too see. Apparently for them, it's now all in with Saul Alinsky, whose 10 Rules for Radicals can be boiled down to one — "the ends justify the means." The process pursued by the Democrat Party inflicted great harm on the U.S. Senate, the Supreme Court and Constitutional due process. Let us hope now that the unraveling of the Christine Blasey Ford story can act as a catalyst for the wheels of justice to begin turning at a faster pace.  Boldness is needed and there is simply no more important or cathartic action to end double standards and restore equality before the law and restore faith in U.S.  Government institutions than the prosecution of "high crime and misdemeanor lawbreakers" whomever they are. The process forced on the nation by the Democrat Party inflicted great harm on our federal government institutions — notably the Supreme Court and Constitutional due process.  There should be a price to pay for this outrageous imposition.  And although not on the ballot, the most important issue this mid-term election in November is the determination where the parties stand on rule by Constitutional Law vs. trial by media and mob rule. Decide accordingly and vote. Powell is Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and managing partner of RemingtonRand LLC. Reach him at [email protected]. Go to Story (offsite) ›

The Whirlwind is Already Here

In Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s defense before the Senate Judiciary Committee to refute the unsubstantiated allegations by Christine Blasey Ford regarding an alleged sexual assault 36 years ago, he charged the Democratic senators on the committee with sowing “the wind for decades to come…[and]…the whole country will reap the whirlwind.”

The whirlwind is already here. To really grasp what’s going on in the political tumult of contemporary times it’s necessary to go beyond the players, parties, and immediate issues and understand the sources of cultural transformation that set the stage for all contemporary politics to play out. Politics is after all downstream of the culture. For about the last two and a half generations there has been a subtle but growing assault on most of the values that were previously the bedrock of American society. Many older Americans hardly recognize the country of their childhood. While technological progress has proceeded at a rapid pace providing convenience, efficiency, and higher standards of material living, the foundational institutions of American society—the family, educational institutions, manners and civility, respect for law and order, and merit-based outcomes have been in concurrent decline. How is it that so many Americans have allowed institutions and norms to be undermined that were the basis for almost all our prior success? And how could this happen after the United States stood decisively with the forces of good — helping the allied powers to win two world wars and then playing the key role in winning the Cold War. It has happened because revolutionary ideological forces have been subtly at work to transform society from within — slowly and broadly so as to be almost unnoticed. Most assume that winning the Cold War meant we also defeated the Marxist ideology backing the Soviet Union. Yet a closer look at social history in 20th century America shows that strains of neo-Marxism have proliferated and collectively provided the central transformative ideological force shaping American culture over the last several generations and into the present. Antonio Gramsci was a leading 20th century Marxist theoretician who argued that communists’ route to taking power in developed, industrialized societies such as the United States would be best achieved through a “long march through the institutions.” This would be a gradual process of radicalization of the cultural institutions — “the superstructure” — of bourgeois society, a process that would in turn transform the values and morals of society. Gramsci believed that as society’s morals were softened, its political and economic foundation would be more easily undermined and restructured. Cultural Marxism was also advanced by intellectuals from the “Frankfurt School,” who were forced to flee Nazi Germany in the mid-1930s. Resettling in the U.S., members of the Frankfurt School, such as Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkeimer, Eric Fromm and Wilhelm Reich, first set up shop at Columbia University, and then later found their way into teaching at various elite universities such as Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard, the New School for Social Research and Brandeis. In the context of American culture, “the long march through the institutions” meant, in the words of Herbert Marcuse, “working against the established institutions while working in them.” While the Frankfurt School was neo-Marxist, many of its adherents were less interested in economics and redistribution of wealth than in remaking and transforming society through attitudinal and cultural change. They incorporated Marxist class theory into sociology and psychology while also assimilating Freud’s theories on sexuality. Thus, Marx’s theory of the dialectic of perpetual conflict was joined together with Freud’s neurotic ideas, creating a sort of Freudian-Marxism. The amalgam provided a broad-based critique of social problems oriented toward transforming society as a whole — something they called Critical Theory. While the leaders of the Frankfurt School had limited influence being somewhat ensconced in Berkeley, the New School and Ivy League universities, their Critical Theory ideas were considered avant-garde and received a multiplier effect through other universities and particularly as they were embraced by the teachers’ colleges across the country in the 1950s and 1960s. What was perhaps unique about the cultural Marxists was their “street smarts” recognition that psychological conditioning was more effective than philosophical arguments to achieve the goal of transforming America’s culture. Essentially the Frankfurt School believed that as long as an individual believed that his reason and common sense could solve the problems facing society, then that society would never reach the state of hopelessness and alienation that they considered necessary to foment socialist revolution. Their task, therefore, was to undermine both the Judeo-Christian legacy and the foundation for rational reasoning by creating a narrative of destructive criticism affecting every sphere and institution of life, resulting in a loss of any absolute truth or meaning. This then would bring on mass hopelessness and de-stabilize society, setting the stage for bringing down what they saw as the ‘oppressive’ order. The Critical Theory project emphasized and prioritized the demolition of Christianity and the nuclear family. They also sought to exacerbate race relations and promote massive immigration to destroy national identity. Additional focal points in their agenda encouraged dependency on state benefits and the bending of the legal system to favor perpetrators of crime over victims. And lastly, the agenda sought to dumb down the media and undermine schools’ and teachers’ authority. An important part of the Critical Theory project of total transformation of society was to break down traditional relationships between men and women by promoting and legitimizing unhinged sexual permissiveness with no cultural or religious restraint. Building on the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory, leaders of what came to be known as Postmodernism advanced the wrecking ball cultural deconstruction project right through the turn of the 21stcentury. Postmodernists have had no use for tradition or any standards of normalcy, believing that all truth is contrived illusion rather than absolute. Homosexuality and transgenderism are not only valid choices, but even preferable for advancing the destruction of the traditional family and society. They also view the scientific method as being useless, with facts too limiting to determine anything — making truth and error two side of the same coin. Thus Fake News did not arise out of reaction to Donald Trump, but more fundamentally as an extension of Postmodernism. Postmodernists were the first advocates of open borders, which was also an extension of the project to destroy national identity and undermine the democratic electoral process. What is obviously striking is the degree to which this agenda of breakdown and national transformation promoted by a relatively small constituency of cultural Marxists associated with the Frankfurt School and Postmodernism has been accepted and infused into the leadership and operating procedures of the Democrat Party. Illustrative of this was Democrat Presidential candidate flagbearer Hillary Clinton, wherein she proclaimed to the 2015 Women in the World Summit, not long before she launched her 2016 presidential campaign, that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” Since the 2016 election, this breakdown has now erupted in a new civil war. On the one side, we have those who have been shaped both overtly and subliminally by cultural Marxist ideology and on the other side we have those who find grounding and purpose in transcendent values—predominantly associated with Judaism and Christianity. While Postmodernists may have held the commanding heights in the culture that includes Hollywood, the media and schools for some time, they recently have been stumbling rather badly for all to see with corruption, intolerance and visceral hatred. Exhibit A right now is the ambush of the nominee for Supreme Court justice, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, an eminently qualified and likable candidate, now in the cross-hairs of destruction for purely ideological reasons by accusers who have, in true Postmodernist tradition, turned the Constitution and due process on its head with a ginned-up media presumption of guilt on salacious hearsay rather than corroborating evidence. Sounds like a repeat of the failed Steele dossier, intended to destroy Donald Trump. As fortune would have it, the moderate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy — whose retirement provides the opening for candidate Brett Kavanaugh — found himself speaking before a Constitution Day celebration student group in Sacramento the day after the conflicting testimonies of Ford and Kavanaugh. One 17-year old student, Maya Steinhart, commented that ‘‘Nobody’s behaving like adults… It’s absolute chaos and it makes no sense and it’s terrifying and it’s not working.’’ Kennedy replied, ‘‘In the first part of this century we’re seeing the death and decline of democracy.” Yes, the whirlwind is already here. T.S. Eliot describes the right side in cultural civil wars as being with people with a “grounding in reality that comes from the power of the eternal source of truth.” Indeed there is always hope for faithful Americans, who can take heart from Providence playing a key role today as was the case in ancient Israel when the Jewish prophet Jeremiah proclaimed that “my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail…for they shall not prosper [and] they shall have everlasting confusion…” Scott Powell is a senior fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and managing partner of RemingtonRand LLC, a recruiting consultancy. Reach him at [email protected]. Go to Story (offsite) ›

Let There Be Light—New Book from Michael Denton

In Children of Light, biologist Michael Denton shows how the universe was tailored from its inception for “light eaters” — creatures with high-acuity vision like ours, depending as we do on plant-based nutrition, entailing photosynthesis. This is intelligent design that sweeps the planet, covering not biology alone, but chemistry, geology, and physics. Go to Story (offsite) ›

Caesar’s Wife and the Politics of Destruction

Senate Democrats wrote President Trump Wednesday asking him to withdraw Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination over unproven charges of sexual misconduct: “The standard of character and fitness for a position on the nation’s highest court must be higher than this.” That standard seems to be an unquestionably blameless past. If someone has said something that attaches blame to you, however unsubstantiated, you no longer meet the “higher standard.”
It’s reminiscent of the old saying that in a position of public trust, one must be “like Caesar’s wife, above reproach.” Yet no one is above reproach. Neither was Caesar’s wife.
(more…) Go to Story (offsite) ›

Gilder Interview with Peter Robinson: Forget Cloud Computing, Blockchain is the Future

George Gilder recently sat down with Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution on his online series Uncommon Knowledge. Gilder discusses his new book Life After Google, where he argues that bitcoin and blockchain are destined to surpass cloud computing, ushering in a new era of technology. Gilder also parses over a history of technology and artificial intelligence, quelling fears about machines taking all of our jobs as they will never be able to replicate human intelligence and creativity. Click here to to view!

A Gruesome Plan

The Hippocratic Oath is dead. “Do no harm” medicine is fast becoming extinct. Contemporary health care is increasingly under the sway of a utilitarian bioethics that makes the elimination of suffering the prime directive—to the detriment of traditional standards of medical morality that deem all human life equally worthy of care and protection. The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine has been among the instigators of this shift. As early as 2005, the journal published (without significant criticism) the so-called Groningen Protocol—a bureaucratic checklist from the Netherlands that instructs Dutch doctors which terminally ill or seriously disabled babies they can lethally inject. In 2010, NEJM published advocacy in favor of an invidious health-care rationing measure known as the QALY (“quality-adjusted life year”), adoption of which has the effect of limiting care to the disabled and disadvantaged whose lives are bureaucratically rated as lower in quality than the lives of others. In its September 6, 2018, edition though, NEJM has outdone itself. With Belgium and the Netherlands already allowing the conjoining of organ donation and euthanasia, and with Canada debating whether to follow them off that moral cliff, the journal has published a radical proposal that would demolish the ethical foundation of transplant medicine—the “dead donor rule.” This piece was originally published in The Weekly Standard. To continue reading, click the link below. Go to Story (offsite) ›

Constitution Day is Our Most Important Forgotten Holiday

Constitution Day, which falls on September 17, is the national observance holiday that most Americans have never heard of. Yet this year, 2018, it may well be our most important holiday. For the Constitution is threatened more now than at any time since seven Southern states seceded from the Union and Civil War broke out on April 12, 1861. To understand the present peril, it’s worth going back in time to appreciate how the Constitution was conceived as both the founding and governing instrument for the United States. The War of Independence lasted five long years, from 1776 to 1781, with the impoverished Colonial army being mostly on the defensive. It was a miracle that this small and rather disorganized American militia could defeat Great Britain — then the most formidable military power in the world. The second miracle in the formation of the United States was in the drafting of the Constitution six years after the final and decisive military victory over the British at Yorktown in 1781. By contemporary standards, it is inconceivable how delegates from 13 extraordinarily disparate states could muster the forbearance and magnanimity to agree on the terms of a new Constitution after only four months of deliberation. But even as good as that Constitution was (and still is), it had to be ratified by the states to become the law of the land. And a number of states withheld support out of fear the Constitution did not go far enough to protect citizens and states from the inevitable overreach and corruption of federal government power. The hold-outs included the large and most influential states of Virginia, New York, and Massachusetts. Patrick Henry, George Mason, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock were among those who played various key roles in influencing each of the three states to ratify the Constitution — on the condition of adding to the legal document 10 amendments called the Bill of Rights, which delineated citizens’ and states’ rights. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, press, and religion. The Second guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. The Fourth provides for people to be secure in their homes, property, and papers by prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizure by government. The Fifth and Sixth provide for due process and expedient and fair trials. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments reserve all powers and rights to the states and the people that are not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution. The U.S. government established by the amended Constitution was the most dramatic departure from all prior governmental arrangements in human history. Taken together with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution was the first political doctrine to contain a clear delineation of citizens’ rights and establish that these rights came from God and not the state. Thus, these rights were sovereign and unalienable. In short, the U.S. Constitution put the people in charge, requiring government to answer to and serve them, and not the other way around. The genius of the Constitution was that it limited government abuse by creating checks and balances of power between three separate but equal branches of government — the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The Constitution also separated power between the federal and state governing authorities. Frequent elections established by the Constitution provided yet another important mechanism to limit the extent and duration of government incompetence and corruption. This also meant that the most sacred responsibility of citizenship established by the Constitution was and is the right of the people to vote and decide who shall govern. This combination of limiting governmental power and maximizing people’s rights makes the U.S. Constitution uniquely revolutionary in all of human history. Compared with European and Asian powers, the U.S. is a young country. But the fact that the United States is the longest-running constitutional democratic republic ever in which the people elect their own government and representatives is a true measure of success. The unique and specific limits put on government by the Constitution are what empowered Americans to exercise their freedom and ingenuity to create and build — driving the United States from colonial poverty to world economic superpower in just 200 years. Another true measure of extraordinary success. The Constitution makes it clear that everyone — whether in the public or private sector — is equal before the law. Additionally, every elected federal government officeholder, judicial appointee, and executive branch Cabinet secretary is required to pledge an oath before assuming office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” So it comes as an unprecedented shock to many Americans that a significant number of high-ranking U.S. government officials — most appointed during the Obama administration — betrayed their oaths of office and refused to accept the will of the people manifest in Donald Trump’s 304 Electoral College votes vs. Hillary Clinton’s 227 votes. A new civil war has begun, but it is very different from the one that began 157 years ago. We know that the facts uncovered and recently reported by the inspector general of the Justice Department, testimonies and documents of subpoenaed government officials, and reams of government documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits provide evidence that directors of both the CIA and the FBI, along with a number of high-ranking subordinates, as well as top officials in the Justice Department, made concerted efforts to clandestinely undermine candidate Donald Trump leading up to the November 2016 election. The FBI and the Justice Department were politically weaponized and FISA courts were repeatedly deceived, in an unprecedented effort to undermine and discredit Trump and throw the election to Clinton. When that didn’t happen, and Trump was elected, this same cabal continued undeterred in concerted actions to undermine the duly elected president — actions that were tantamount to a coup d’état. The Constitution was designed and drafted in such a way as to make a coup d’état in the United States unthinkable and impossible. If voting is the sacred right and responsibility of citizenship, elections and vote counting are the only mechanism for establishing the legitimacy of government. Actions to pull off a coup are a betrayal of the Constitution and represent the highest crimes and misdemeanors. One would assume that critics of the persona and style of Trump would by now be getting somewhat used to him. But the frenzy to destroy the president keeps escalating. Since that’s both irrational and abnormal — given Trump’s significant accomplishments in the first year and a half of his administration, which have greatly improved the economy and restored America’s respect on many fronts of the world stage — there is clearly more going on than disagreement with policy choices and dislike of personality. In spite of the inscription “Equal Justice Under Law” carved in stone on the front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., no president in recent memory has taken this societal ideal very seriously. That is, until Donald Trump became president in 2017. Without much fanfare, Trump signed Executive Order 13818 on December 21, 2017, authorizing the blocking or freezing of any property of persons involved in serious human rights abuse or corruption. Two months later on March 1, 2018, he signed Executive Order 13825, entitled “Amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial,” which prepares the way for military tribunals for U.S. officials and civilians involved in high crimes. President Trump’s specific strengthening of the law and his frequent invocations to hold corrupt government elites accountable, just as everyday citizens are held accountable before the same laws, explains why Trump is both hated and feared by the deep state. Trump is vilified by the national media more than any prior president for the simple reason that he unrelentingly exposes the media’s dishonesty, double standards, and bias. Trump’s frequent calling out of media dishonesty and omission has resulted in his coining the descriptive term “fake news,” which is now universally accepted in many circles as a fair description. Additional accomplishments for which Trump deserves recognition on Constitution Day include his success in appointing a large number of outstanding constitutionalist jurists to the high courts — perhaps his most important contribution to strengthening the Constitution. It also signals that Trump is deepening the bench for judicial tribunals to successfully try a good many people from high places who assumed they were above the law and that their actions would never see the light of day after Hillary Clinton won. There is reason to take heart this Constitution Day. The frenzy against President Trump is a contrary indicator. The panic of the guilty gets louder and more animated as their cover gets blown and their day of legal reckoning gets closer. Constitution Day is an occasion to remember that equal justice under the law is the standard, that we the people are in charge, and that the federal government should answer to us — and not the other way around. Scott Powell is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and managing partner of RemingtonRand LLC, a recruiting consultancy. Reach him at [email protected]. Go to Story (offsite) ›

Sage Against the Machine

‘I rarely have an urge to whisper,” says George Gilder—loudly—as he settles onto a divan by the window of his Times Square hotel room. I’d asked him to speak as audibly as possible into my recording device, and his response, while literal, could also serve as a metaphor: Nothing Mr. Gilder says or writes is ever delivered at anything less than the fullest philosophical decibel. Mr. Gilder is one of a dwindling breed of polymath Americans who thrive in a society obsessed with intellectual silos. As academics know more and more about less and less, he opines brazenly on subjects whose range would keep several university faculties on their toes: marriage and family, money and economics, law and regulation, and Read More ›