The Rose Law Firm, which formerly employed Hillary Clinton, was the focus of investigations related to the Clinton family's business dealings, including the Whitewater development.
The Rose Law Firm, which formerly employed Hillary Clinton, was the focus of investigations related to the Clinton family’s business dealings.

As allegedly the most qualified individual ever to run for the White House, Hillary Clinton has chosen to hide one of her longest gigs from her curriculum vitae: her 15 years as an attorney at Rose Law First in Little Rock, Arkansas.

While she touts her much shorter terms as a U.S. senator and U.S. secretary of state, Clinton rarely focuses on her time as a lawyer.

That’s with good reason because her job at Rose Law underlines her duplicity.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article outlining her “achievements”  at Rose Law.

“Instead of defending poor people and righting wrongs, we found ourselves squarely on the side of corporate greed against the little people,” her colleague, Webb Hubbell, wrote.

The Journal noted: “Mrs. Clinton’s years at the firm included some controversy. For one, the roots of the Whitewater affair reach back to her years at Rose when her husband was serving as Arkansas governor. The firm and Mrs. Clinton represented a failed savings-and-loan association run by James McDougal, the Clintons’ partner in the Whitewater real-estate investment, in a matter before state regulators. Whitewater dogged the Clintons throughout Bill Clinton’s presidency, though neither of them was ever charged.”

Many of the Rose firm’s clients were big companies, including three of the state’s largest: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Tyson Foods Inc. and Stephens, Inc., a brokerage firm.

She also supplemented her income by serving on corporate boards, including Wal-Mart and TCBY Enterprises, the yogurt franchise, both Rose clients.

When her husband ran for president in 1992, her work sparked questions about whether she had benefited from state business handled by her firm.  “For goodness’ sake, you can’t be a lawyer if you don’t represent banks,” Hillary said at the time. [Emphasis added].

At the firm, lawyers were split over Mrs. Clinton’s value as a partner. The Journal wrote: “Other colleagues resented Mrs. Clinton’s outside interests and how they limited her billable hours. In addition to time away campaigning for her husband, who was on the ballot every two years….”

In her 2003 book, Mrs. Clinton wrote only briefly about her work at Rose. The Journal noted that an indication of her outlook favoring the wealthy over the poor occurred early on in her career at Rose. In November 1976, the activist group Acorn [yes, the infamous Acorn of the James O’Keefe videos] had succeeded in getting an initiative on the state ballot to lower electricity rates for low-income users and increase them for businesses.

The Rose team’s argument, credited mainly to Hillary, was that the lower rates for the poor were unconstitutional.

As people vote for the next president, they should consider an important part of Hillary’s past, which she apparently wants no one to see. Sound familiar?


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

The tomb of the unknown soldier who fought for liberty in the Revolutionary War.
In Philadelphia stands the tomb of the unknown soldier who fought for liberty in the Revolutionary War.

Philadelphia is becoming one of the most corrupt cities in the nation, owing mainly to Democrat control.

Just before the city hosted this year’s Democrat National Convention, longtime congressman Chaka Fattah and his son were convicted of corruption.

Just after the convention, a slew of Democrat officials faced a variety of state and federal investigations.

John Dougherty, the most powerful Democrat operative in the city, has been at the center of a federal investigation into possible racketeering. The head of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Philadelphia, Dougherty has been a kingmaker for decades, including his critical support for the current mayor, Jim Kenney. His brother serves on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Anyone who wants to win an election campaign in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania kisses Dougherty’s ring.

City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson is reportedly under federal investigation over no-bid real estate deals in the city. Johnson allegedly approved the sale of city properties without a bidding process to several buyers who contributed to his campaign.

Seth Williams, Philadelphia’s district attorney, didn’t report five years’ worth of gifts he should have acknowledged under state and local codes until recently. These gifts included a $45,000 roof repairs, and airfare and lodging to places like Key West, Las Vegas and the Dominican Republic. Williams’ lawyer said: “The true answer is, he should have reported it. He failed to do so. And he accepts responsibility.”

Former Mayor Michael Nutter and his entourage reportedly improperly used funds for a trip to Rome, among other irregularities. The funds came from the Philadelphia marathon and should not have been used for such expenses. Nutter has denied any impropriety.

At the state level, Attorney General Kathleen was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice, and she resigned. She faces nearly two years in jail. With Kane out, top deputy Bruce Castor took over as acting attorney general. Castor, the former Montgomery County district attorney, declined to press charges against Bill Cosby in 2005 became the No. 1 enforcer of Pennsylvania law.

Two State Supreme Court justices were forced out of office for their involvement in sending pornographic materials via state email. Okay, one was a Republican. And, three top Penn State employees are scheduled to go on trial for covering up the pedophile ring of former football coach Gerry Sandusky.

Despite all of this mishegoss, a huge majority of Philadelphians will pull the Democrat lever in November.

I guess we Philadelphians will get what we deserve—a continuation of the corrupt practices at the local, state and national levels.


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-9-48-38-am

The New York Times’ decision to draw a line in the sand against Donald Trump’s threat to file a libel suit may come back to haunt the news organization.

The issue involves a story about two women who allege that the presidential candidate groped or kissed them without their consent. In a letter asking for a retraction, Trump’s attorney claimed the article was libelous, reckless and defamatory. The Times’ attorney fired back: “…[I]f he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.”

The Times’ response is extraordinary in that most news organizations, when facing such a threat, issue the appropriate response: “We stand by our story.”

As an expert witness in nearly 30 defamation lawsuits, I have never seen a news organization take such a combative and public stance except in the courtroom. But The Times’ lawyer seemed pleased with the response. See http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/18/insider/i-hardly-expected-my-letter-to-donald-trump-to-go-viral.html

This immediate and rather vitriolic letter places The Times with both feet in the presidential muck that this campaign has become. No longer is the news organization standing above the fray.

In an editorial, The Times lectured Trump on constitutional law. “it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, is as ignorant about constitutional law as he is about every other matter pertinent to the nation’s highest office.”

The editorial noted Times v. Sullivan, the important case that defined the tenets for a successful libel suit against a public official, which was extended to a public figure in a later case. Trump would have to prove the Times engaged in reckless disregard of the truth.

What The Times failed to mention is another important libel case: Herbert v. Lando.

Anthony Herbert was a U.S. Army officer in Vietnam who claimed he witnessed war crimes that his commanding officer refused to investigate. In a 1973 report on 60 Minutes, correspondent Mike Wallace and producer Barry Lando argued that Herbert had lied and was himself guilty of war crimes. The Army officer filed a libel suit.

Even though CBS eventually won the suit, the U.S. Supreme Court provided plaintiffs like Herbert, and potentially Trump, the ability to investigate the “state of mind” of journalists while they are reporting a story.

“When a member of the press is alleged to have circulated damaging falsehoods and is sued for injury to the plaintiff’s reputation, there is no privilege under the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of the press barring the plaintiff from inquiring into the editorial processes of those responsible for the a publication.”

I doubt the news organization wants to have its editorial process placed under a microscope. The Times may win the battle and lose the war. To wit, I do stand by my story.


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law

 

What Donald Trump said about women is indefensible. What Hillary Clinton has done is even more indefensible.

Take her time, for example, as secretary of state. Clinton had one major accomplishment during her tenure: she traveled a lot.

As Foreign Affairs put it when Clinton stepped down in 2013, “She leaves office without a signature doctrine, strategy or diplomatic triumph.”

That’s a kind assessment. In fact, she left a lot of wreckage during her four years in office.

One of the more troubling is U.S. relations with Russia.

Most Americans would blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for our poor relations, but he only maneuvered as a result of the weakness of U.S. policy.

Syria has been part of the Russia sphere of influence, starting during the 1960s. If the United States wasn’t going to intervene, it needed to quickly discuss the situation with Putin. Clinton didn’t seek out the Russians, leaving her successor, John Kerry, to mess up the situation even more.

Whatever happened to the Russian reset Clinton and Obama talked so much about?

The Russian leader, like his predecessors, seized on weaknesses. The absence of clear American failure in the Middle East sent Putin a message that he could do whatever he wanted to do in Ukraine.

Now he has reportedly started to move nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad, a Russian outpost sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania. The reason? To establish Russian hegemony over the Baltic Sea.

Masha Gessen, who wrote a biography of Putin, dispels a number of myths in a recent column:

–Putin has not thrown his support behind Trump. The Russian leader has only mentioned the GOP nominee in passing. It is true Putin does not like Hillary because he blames her for inciting demonstrations against him in 2011-2014.

–Putin has not made Russia great again. The oil glut has taxed people’s income, and crime has become rampant in major cities.

–Russians do not overwhelmingly support Putin. His approval ratings are high, but the rest of the government, which rubber stamps his policies, get low marks.

–Russian society is not conservative. People have quite liberal views on abortion and sex.

–Russia’s policies are not simply a reaction to U.S. policies. Russia acts in its own self-interest as it it in Crimea.

Here is the column: http://tinyurl.com/hnxjsx4

The next president needs a serious reset with Putin. He’s tough and smart. He’s hardly the caricature the media use to portray him. He’s a leader of one of the most important countries in the world, and the United States needs to figure out a way to discuss the relationship between the two countries. Clinton has certainly failed to do that.

If Clinton is elected president, she will start with two major enemies: China and Russia. If Trump is elected, at least he would start out with only one, China, and the possibility of restoring some sense of order with Russia.


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

 

 

 

The Terracotta Warriors from the creation of China
The Terracotta Warriors from the third century B.C. underscore the longstanding power of China. (Photo by Chris Harper)

For the United States to have an effective policy with China, Americans have to stop buying iPhones. Or Apple has to move some of its production facilities from China. And a whole lot more.

The trade imbalance between the two countries is so out of whack, amounting to a deficit of more than $300 billion a year for the United States, that the American government cannot put any significant pressure on China. Moreover, the Beijing government owns more than 7 percent of the U.S. debt. China has a lot of leverage.

Sanctions and tariffs usually don’t work. It would help if Apple would move its production plants from China to South Korea, for example, but educating consumers about the implications of buying Chinese products might also work.

After visiting and teaching in China during the past two years, I offer a few insights:

–President Xi Jinping is the most powerful, politically savvy and intelligent leader in recent history.
–The pivot toward Asia under the Obama administration has been laughable, including alliances with some dreadful regimes in Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines.
–China’s so-called “belt-and-road” program to build infrastructure from mainland Asia to Europe has been a resounding success despite U.S. naysayers. For more about the economic plan, see https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/asia/china-s-infrastructure-play
–The presidential election has made the United States a laughingstock among Chinese.

President Obama’s recent Asian excursion underlines how poorly the United States is doing. The Chinese made him disembark from the back of the plane. The government restricted his access to the media, and officials got into a shouting match with his aides. The president then got dissed by the government of Laos and the Philippines.

These incidents don’t bode well for any resolution to China’s desire to control economic and military sway over the South China Sea—an issue that does matter. That route controls access to billions of dollars in fishing, minerals and petroleum for a range of Asian countries.

The most recent U.S. policy has been to confront Chinese vessels—an approach that is likely to heighten tensions rather than lessen them.

Neither presidential candidate offers much hope in dealing effectively with China. Clinton is likely to continue gunboat diplomacy, while Trump wants tariffs against Chinese products. These inept approaches are troubling because China is the leading competitor of the United States for the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of the rest of the world.


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

 

 

 

 

A protestor in Tulsa with two members of the local police force (Courtesy of the Tulsa World)
A protestor in Tulsa with two members of the local police force (Courtesy of the Tulsa World)

Faith in God. Faith in the community. Faith in the system. That is why Tulsa, Oklahoma, didn’t devolve into race riots after the shooting of a black man by a white police officer.

Many residents took to the pews, while other cities, facing similar issues, took to the streets with looting and riots. Tulsa, often called “the buckle of the Bible belt,” is different because of its faith. Southern Baptists and evangelical Christians play a significant role in the community of 400,000 people. Oral Roberts University has its campus there.

The ethnic makeup of the city parallels that of the nation. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, slightly more than 60 percent of the population is white; 15 percent is African-American, and 14 percent is Hispanic.

The city has had its racial troubles, including a major riot many years ago. The police have faced both positive and negative reviews over the years.

“This is tragic–and something all of us should spend time reflecting on so we can make a better nation,” the Rev. Teron Gaddis, representing the Oklahoma Baptist State Convention, said. “This is not a race issue, a Caucasian or black issue.”

The reverend is black. Had a white leader said the shooting of a black man was not a racial issue he would have been chastised for taking up the “All Lives Matter” banner.

Even The New York Times and CNN had to admit that religion played a role in keeping the peace. Still, the media provided wall-to-wall coverage of the upheaval in Charlotte, with only a passing reference to the peaceful scenes from Oklahoma, including a Black Lives Matter protester holding hands with a white and a black police officer.

Everyone needs to look at Tulsa as an example of how to stop racial division. Riots don’t work; prayer does.


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-9-04-05-amFor all of the true debaters out there, let’s face it: this was not an actual debate.

The American Debate Association describes how a debate is supposed to work. The debate focuses on a statement, such as “The United States needs a new tax system to create jobs.”

For example, Donald Trump gets first crack in the affirmative, followed by Hillary Clinton in the negative. Each has nine minutes to discuss the question rather than the two-minute soundbites of last night’s debate. Then each one gets to question the other. Then the two debaters get to rebut the other’s argument.

The argument is between the two parties rather than through a moderator. In fact, in an actual debate, there is no moderator. The judges are supposed to stay out of the way.

Since I was in high school, these rules have been the standard. I have no idea why presidential debates don’t use this approach.

It’s probably because the longstanding rules for debate would probably bring more substance without the useless presence of some media darling who has virtually no expertise in the area of domestic and foreign policies.

Despite my misgivings about the format and substance of last night’s debate, I generally think it was a draw, which probably works in Donald Trump’s favor. The MSM gives the nod to Hillary, but that’s not unexpected.

Trump did a relatively good job of explaining his policies on trade and policing, but he fumbled through his response on the birther issue. He rambled as he often does. But he had the best line: Hillary has a lot of experience, but it’s bad experience.

Clinton failed to move the needle on what to do about the self-proclaimed Islamic State and race relations. At times, she seemed robotic.

On more “substantive” matters that usually decide who won and who lost the debate, Trump’s audio was bad at many times during the discussion; both had terrible makeup jobs; the split screen clearly favored Clinton.

What’s amazes me is that the moderator, Lester Holt, failed to ask any substantive questions about emails, Benghazi or the Clinton Foundation. If anything underlines how unnecessary a star moderator is, Holt’s avoidance of certain issues demonstrates why actual debates don’t have moderators.

Howard Kurtz of Fox News provided a relatively good analysis of the debate at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/09/26/clinton-scores-by-staying-on-offense-trump-by-sticking-to-serious-issues.html

Kurtz argued that Clinton stayed on the offensive while Trump countered with serious issues.

As CBS’s Bob Schieffer put it: Trump didn’t lose any voters; Clinton didn’t gain any.

That seems about right to me.


Christoper Harper, a recovering journalist from The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-9-27-55-am

My friend has become a Facebook rock star after he posted a video of his trigger warning for his editing class at Loyola University in Baltimore.

The post got nearly three million page views.

“I have been giving a trigger warning on the first day of class every semester. This is it: This is going to be a difficult class,” said professor John McIntyre, who also works as an editor at The Baltimore Sun, “and I must say, it is incumbent on me to tell you, this course is unrelievedly, thoroughly, appallingly dull.”

At a time when college campuses have become littered with trigger warnings and safe zones, McIntyre’s captured the essence of the debate over the idiotic tilt of university life.

“Part of what is going to be difficult in this class is that if you are like the 700 or so students who have preceded you here, you are wobbly in English grammar and usage,” McIntyre said. He blamed the educational system for either not teaching the subject or blowing it badly. Repetition, he argued, was the key to learning how to use language.

McIntyre added this final point: “One of the reasons you are in a university is to experience different personality types, different senses of humor, different approaches to the word. I am not the only jackass you will ever encounter in your adult working life. Use this semester as an opportunity to polish your coping skills.”

See the entire video at https://www.facebook.com/baltimoresun/videos

His video got noticed by The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Teen Vogue. Each of them also noted the negative comments about the video. Here’s how McIntyre responded to his critics:

“I am considering a form response to non-serious negative comments:

Having read your comment, John McIntyre expresses his sympathy for your disability:

□ Lack of a sense of humor

□ Propensity to rash, superficial judgments

□ Assumption of facts not in evidence

□ Incapacity for civil discourse.”

Rock on, John!


A personal note: I had a minor rock star moment when I was inducted recently into the Iowa Music Association Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Take a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGpou67Yahw


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org


At the beginning of every semester, I receive several letters of accommodation for students with disabilities. Usually, the letters describe learning rather than physical disabilities.

Unfortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act, a noble gesture to eliminate discrimination and physical barriers, has increasingly become a means for college students to game the academic system for better grades.

One of the disabilities covered by many universities is attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. An estimated 5 to 8 percent of all college students receive disability status from this difficult-to-diagnose disease. Moreover, 25 percent of all university students receiving disability status claim to suffer from ADHD.

I’m not saying that ADHD does not exist. All medical organizations say it does. But it is often misdiagnosed and abused.

Here’s what two researchers wrote in 2012: “Malingering to obtain an ADHD diagnosis may be especially pertinent to college students. Students may deliberately over-report ADHD symptoms to procure academic accommodations or feign ADHD to obtain a prescription for stimulant medication, which many students believe will enhance their academic performance.” For more information, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3441934/

The accommodations include more time for tests, excused absences, note-takers, alternative grading rubrics and a host of other items that basically make a class easier for the student.

All of this costs money—higher tuition, taxes and health insurance. For example, the test for ADHD is not based on lab results but on a psychological evaluation, which can cost more than $2,000, with individual counseling sessions at $100 to $150 an hour.

The administration for such students has grown astronomically at universities. I recently inquired about an accommodation for a student and was told there were simply too many students to evaluate each class. Therefore, I received a form letter for a student that had virtually nothing to do with the course I teach. Moreover, no one had counseled the student about whether journalism was a good subject to study for someone who had difficulty meeting deadlines and taking notes.

It’s time to follow the intent of the law rather than to allow these unintended consequences to continue. Colleges and universities should make “reasonable accommodations” to allow students to participate in courses, programs and activities. Reasonable accommodations–not extraordinary ones–are what the law prescribes.


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

*****************************************

 

Flyover country may not be the battleground for the presidential election, but there are many lessons the candidates could learn from the Midwest.

Over Labor Day weekend, I traveled through South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. I found almost everyone I talked to held conservative viewpoints.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I only speak in whispers about my viewpoints in my home of Philadelphia, a city dominated by leftists.

At a party, I met someone whose business card proudly displays his email address from reagan.com. At the same soiree, I talked with two old friends from high school. One of them is a prominent businessman in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The other is a pediatrician in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Neither one embraces the candidacy of Donald Trump but will likely vote for him given the alternative.

The businessman complained about the government’s heavy hand in regulating his huge enterprise, which started as a string of pharmacies and now has dozens of retail stores throughout the Midwest. He’s amazed at how ineffectively the government performs its duties and how it spends money without much planning. If his operation were so inefficient and costly, he said he’d be out of business.

The physician noted that his practice saw fewer patients because the doctors spent so much time meeting government regulations. He has to prescribe numerous unnecessary tests just to protect himself from lawsuits.

Both of them asked me why colleges cost so much to attend. The problem at my school and others, I told them, was similar to their complaints: excessive government regulation. The administrative structure has almost doubled in the time I started teaching because of government oversight and rules. Because of their inefficiency, some colleges may be pricing themselves out of existence.

The presidential candidates would be well served if they actually listened to the issues on the minds of people in flyover country. Whatever the case, I certainly felt energized by my visit.


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

*****************************************