As a young reporter in 1973, I worked in Washington when the Watergate scandal started to unravel.

Despite numerous comparisons to the Watergate, the Mueller investigation isn’t anything like what happened to the Nixon White House.

Watergate centered on the illegal activities of Nixon and his aides while they were working for the government.

The Mueller investigation has focused on activities BEFORE Trump took office.

The Watergate activities included bugging the offices of political opponents and people Nixon or his cronies thought were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides also ordered investigations of activist groups and political figures, using the FBI, the CIA, and the IRS as political weapons.

The White House recording system also gave investigators evidence of a conspiracy in the conspirators’ own voices.

The scandal also resulted in the indictment of 69 people, with trials or pleas resulting in 48 being found guilty, many of whom were top Nixon officials. These included top aides John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman, former Attorneys General John Mitchell and Robert Kleindienst, White House Counsel John Dean, and myriad other government officials.

So far, the Mueller investigation has indicted four former Trump advisers, 26 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, one California man, and one London-based lawyer.

That includes one, repeat, one Trump administration official: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

So far, the only possible link to President Trump is whether he paid hush money to two hookers. Remember another president who actually had sex in the Oval Office?

With the guilt of two former allies of Trump, the media talked about impeachment on a continuing basis. By one count, CNN and MSNBC used the word more than 200 times in one day.

If impeachment happens, it will be purely political IF the Democrats take control of the House in the midterm elections.

The media have gotten so much wrong that MSNBC even gave an incorrect explanation of how impeachment works for two days in a row.

What most media magnates fail to mention is that it takes two-thirds of the U.S. Senate to convict. That means 67 senators must enforce the findings of the indictment. That’s never happened.

The constant drumbeat of comparing Watergate to the Mueller investigation is simply fake news.

UPDATE DTG: Just got an email from Christopher telling me that he put this post up on facebook and it was taken down. He put it back up there again so stay tuned.

If these guys are scared of something this mild then in my opinion it means they’ve decided to go all in on censorship


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Or buying my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer

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My plans for finally getting my Red Summit post were derailed a 2nd time after I read this piece from Christopher Harper that stopped me in my tracks.

Violent crimes increased nationally last year by more than 4 percent and homicides rose by nearly 9 percent, one year after violence rose nearly 4 percent and homicides jumped by nearly 11 percent. A total of 17,250 people were murdered in 2016, the FBI said, an increase of about 20 percent over the past two years alone.

What really got me were these stats

–The demographic group where a significantly higher rate of violence occurs–those between 18 and 34–is getting smaller. So the percentage of crimes committed by that age group should be getting smaller, but it’s not. It’s way up.

–More than three-quarters of U.S. law enforcement officers say they are reluctant to use force when necessary, and nearly as many–72 percent–say they or their colleagues are more reluctant to stop and question people who seem suspicious as a result of increased scrutiny of police, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. 

This is consistent with this story at the NY Post 

Cops in some crime-ridden South Bronx neighborhoods have all but abandoned aggressive or intuitive policing — to avoid getting sued or otherwise derailing their careers, officers admitted to The Post.

And those who commit crime know it

Several precinct patrol officers recalled incidents in which they didn’t bust suspected drug dealers who were taunting them while recording with cellphone cameras.

In one case, a cop said, neighbors were “leaning out their windows, shouting at us to go away.”

“In the past, we’d stand our ground, start issuing summonses. But we just moved on,” a cop recalled. “It was hard, to be honest.”

The NYPD’s most recent stats show shootings in the precinct have jumped 64 percent, from 14 to 23, so far this year compared to the same period in 2016.

In other words thanks to the fine efforts of Black Lives Matter, NFL players and all those who have decided to make the police the enemy those who actually prey on poor and minority neighborhood are completely unleashed knowing that they have little to fear from those who would have once enforced the law.

What’s worse there is little or no political incentive to fix this problem, these cities are controlled by Democrats who have a lock on city counsels and aldermen positions and even if you have a sitting lawmaker who wants to do something , they don’t dare side with police for fear of being voted out of office.

Meanwhile Republicans, knowing that this problem has little effect on their voters and that the race card will be instantly played on them if they attempt to intervene are, like the police, disinclined to get involved in a situation that carries political risk with little reward.

This is a direct byproduct of the balanization of our nation for fun and profit and until that stops and we unify as a culture again expect this problem to increase.  I suspect the rewards of money, power and position for this division are too great, however I do know that with God all things are possible and as long as we have people like this:

There is hope for us as a people.

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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

 

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-2016-09-17-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

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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

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CJ Pearson says he supports Donald Trump.
CJ Pearson says he supports Donald Trump.

He’s young, black and says he supports Donald Trump.

If you haven’t heard about him, he’s 14-year-old CJ Pearson, a ninth-grader from Georgia who has criticized Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Not surprisingly, he’s faced an onslaught of vitriol from Democrats and other leftists. But some conservatives, such as RedState’s Erick Erickson, see Pearson as a social media wannabe who should sit on the sidelines until he grows up.

In a column this week in Time, Pearson offered his view of the presidential race.

“I believe that the future of America is post-party politics. I hope that in 10 to 20 years, the near constant issue of partisanship will be a distant memory,” he wrote.

That sounds about right to me.

“As a young black male, I’ve seen my community flailing and struggling due to the disastrous impacts of the Obama political agenda, and I refuse to allow the possibility of a Clinton presidency to extend that suffering,” he added.

I can’t say I disagree with him there.

“Trump’s message to young people of color is simple: what do you have to lose?

“In my young optimistic eyes, after the last eight years of the Obama presidency, there is little left to lose. There is only room to do better, and there is only one goal: to make America great for every American.”

Check.

The entire column can be found at http://time.com/4470565/teens-for-trump/

Erickson criticized Pearson when he announced that he was leaving behind the failed campaigns of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, where he served as head of “Teens for Ted,” and joining the ranks of Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

“[S]top embarrassing yourself, shut up, and go live life. Pay attention to politics, but also pay attention to movies, sports, girls, your parents, your preacher and your surroundings. Come back when you are eighteen, your voice has deepened, and you’ve passed your final growth spurt,” Erickson wrote last December. See the entire column at http://www.redstate.com/erick/2015/12/09/dear-cj-pearson-shut-up/ 

Erickson has a point that Pearson’s conservative bent may blow with the wind, but I see the underpinning of Trump and Sanders’ campaigns as quite similar. The two presidential candidates demonstrated the disdain Americans have for the political status quo.

What’s important to me about Pearson is that he asks a critical question about the lives of black Americans: Are they truly better off under Democrats?

Pearson realizes he and his fellow black Americans are not better off. I couldn’t agree more.


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

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A note from DaTechGugy:
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Budding reporters and politics
Give terrorists what they deserve: anonymity
The ‘BS’ factor
A Godless Olympics
A true American ally




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A woman in the Kurdish military recently shot and killed a senior commander of the self-proclaimed Islamic State who once kept her as a sex slave.

After more than 50 people at a Kurdish wedding died in an attack by Islamic terrorists, Turkey finally decided this week to launch a serious assault against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

The incidents underline the importance of the Kurds as a key ally in any successful attempt to rid the world of the radical Islamists.

When I arrived in the Middle East nearly 40 years ago, the Armenians and the Kurds were among the most downtrodden ethnic groups in the region. The Armenians have their own country now; the Kurds don’t but should.

In one of the most brutal results of map drawing before and after World War I, more than 30 million Kurds were split among four countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Keep in mind, most Kurds, who are mainly Sunni, consider themselves Kurds, not Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians or Turks. An independent state would be one of the largest in the Middle East–bigger than Syrian and almost as big as Iraq.

The Kurds have faced adversity many times, including the horrific 1988 chemical attack by Saddam Hussein’s government that left thousands dead in the worst incident of its kind in history.

The Kurds have supported the United States on many occasions, including the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the Syrian Civil War—much of the time later being forsaken by the Americans.

The Kurdish forces are called the pesh merga, which translated means “one who faces death.” This army has driven out Islamists from a variety of their strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S. government has thrown billions of dollars at a variety of ineffective Middle Eastern armies, but it has only been recently that the Kurds have received money for small arms shipments.

The United States should fund the pesh merga to a much greater extent because it is the only effective fighting force against the Islamic State.

Perhaps it’s time for the U.S. government to consider an independent Kurdish state in at least parts of Iraq and Syria, where it could continue its support of America.


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

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A note from DaTechGugy:
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The ‘BS’ factor
A Godless Olympics




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christrio

Even with the iconic statue of Jesus Christ watching over the Rio Olympics, NBC and mainstream media outlets have chosen to ignore the importance of religion among athletes.

For example, swimmer Michael Phelps, one of the greatest Olympians ever, lost his way until he found God a few years ago.

“I was a train wreck. I was like a time bomb, waiting to go off. I had no self-esteem, no self-worth. There were times where I didn’t want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost,” Phelps said.

After his second DUI, Phelps got a call from former NFL star Ray Lewis, who helped the swimmer onto the road of religious recovery.

Simone Biles, the gymnast who won four gold medals, carries a rosary in her warmup bag and lights a candle in church before an event. Instead of emphasizing her religious beliefs, NBC and others talk about her mother, a former drug addict.

Katie Ledecky, a Catholic like Biles, says a Hail Mary before each swimming event and proudly makes her religious views known. Simone Manuel, the first African-American woman to earn a gold medal in swimming, praised God after winning the 100-meter freestyle. Her reference to God got edited out when NBC put up the video on YouTube.

After Usain Bolt of Jamaica, the fastest man in the world, won his third gold medal in the 100-meter sprint, he fell to his knees to pray. The NBC commentators apparently couldn’t bring themselves to utter the word “prayer.”

Many other examples exist, but NBC and other mainstream media have focused on less significant details of athletes’ lives rather than their trust in God. Fortunately, faith-based news organizations have chronicled what the athletes themselves consider their most important characteristic: their belief in God.

The Christian Post wrote about U.S. athletes and their faith at http://www.christianpost.com/news/10-christian-team-usa-athletes-at-rio-olympics-2016-who-put-god-first-167556/

Eric Metaxas interviewed religion writer Terry Mattingly about God and the Olympics at https://soundcloud.com/the-eric-metaxas-show/terry-mattingly-5


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

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A note from DaTechGugy:
I hope you enjoyed Christopher Harper’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar. So if you like Christopher Harper’s work, please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar [on the right] because of it, don’t forget to mention Chris’ post is the reason you did so. In case you missed his other pieces, here they are:

Budding reporters and politics
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The ‘BS’ factor

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