Reading: Forget Trump’s “Meltdown”—Follow the Testimony

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Early – and very clear – statement of Trump’s scheme. We need the clear statements to unmuddy the waters.

Trump himself, in other words, was putting together a rogue foreign-policy team, run by Giuliani, the President’s private attorney, that would go outside normal N.S.C. and State Department channels to pressure Ukraine. The effort would eventually result in Trump abruptly firing Yovanovitch, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, at Giuliani’s behest, and withholding a White House meeting from Volodymyr Zelensky, the new Ukrainian President, until he agreed to investigate unsubstantiated allegations involving Biden’s son, and also discredited conspiracy theories involving Ukraine working against Trump in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. At the same time, Trump was refusing to release hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, although it had been legally authorized by Congress.

Reading: Facebook should ban campaign ads. End the lies.

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If you run ‘em, you’re complicit. “We’re in a post-truth era now where the spoils won through deceptive demagoguery are clear. Cable news and digitally native publications have turned distortion of facts into a huge business.”

Until you aren’t: “This is why the social networks should halt sales of political campaign ads now. They’re the one set of stakeholders with flexibility and that could make a united decision. You’ll never get all the politicians and media to be honest, or the public to understand, but just a few companies could set a policy that would protect democracy from the world’s . And they could do it without having to pick sides or make questionable decisions on a case-by-case basis. Just block them all from all candidates.”

Reading: University of the People?

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Another note on how the lack of public academic discussion is being shaped: “UNC also has a just-launched Koch-funded Center for the Science of Moral Understanding. The Center seems redundant with an in-progress UNC Program in Public Discourse, first named the Program in Civic Virtue and Civil Discourse. Both direct attention away from the use of wealth to distort public discourse, in favor of examining individual-level debates between liberals and conservatives. In addition to faculty members outside UNC–Chapel Hill, the program has two members from the board of trustees and one member from the board of governors on the advisory board. To say that these political appointees are out of their lanes is to put it mildly. The accrediting organization, SACSCOC, should take note.”

Reading: Watching the Gate

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Barlow argues for intellectual discussion at universities. But discussion has been co-opted by feckless university administration bowing to Industry Leaders. That’s probably too simplistic, but it wasn’t long ago that state universities offered more substance than TED Talks.

I care that American colleges and universities are putting forward meaningless drivel like “As an institution of higher learning, open dialogue on all topics is one of our core principles.” For that is not true, never has been true, and putting it forth simply pulls one further into the morass instead of providing a plank to solid ground. I care about the abandonment of gatekeeping responsibility, at Beloit, at most other colleges and universities, and even at social-media entities such as Facebook and Twitter.

I care about institutional responsibility.

Real intellectual discussion (not the sort of tit-for-tat ‘debate’ YAF is promoting for its own political purposes but that to which American higher education aspires) requires careful gatekeeping, something we have lost track of since the internet started flattening the dykes that were keeping out the waters of nonsense. True, there have always been problems with the gatekeepers, but that does not mean that their role isn’t necessary.

Reading: George Conway: Trump Is Unfit for Office – The Atlantic

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Your civics lesson for the week.

And so it turns out that impeachment is a more practical mechanism for addressing the fact that Trump’s narcissism and sociopathy render him unable to comply with the obligations of his office. It’s also an appropriate mechanism, because the constitutional magic words (other than Treason and Bribery) that form the basis of an impeachment charge—high Crimes and Misdemeanors.