Category Archives: Human Accomplishment

Hiring The Best People, POTUS? Legal Scholar Jonathan Turley Thinks Michael Cohen Is A Rotten Attorney

Donald Trump, Human Accomplishment, Law, Sex

Legal scholar and quintessential gentleman Jonathan Turley is seldom wrong on the intricacies of the law. He was on Fox News propounding the theory, no doubt anchored in law, that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s fix-it lawyer, has gotten his client into a lot of trouble. (Alas, Turley, like Cohen, makes spelling mistakes):

… In what is now the most famous non-disclosure agreement in history, Cohen sought to silence Daniels with a $130,000 payment just days before the election. He drafted a flawed agreement that magnified the problems for his client. The agreement is entitled “Confidential Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release; Assignment of Copyright and Non-Disparagment (sic) Agreement.” If Cohen hoped to avoid “disparagment,” he could not have gone about it more ham-handedly. Cohen created the shield company Essential Consultants LLC and used anonymous identities for Daniels (“Peggy Peterson”) and Trump (“David Dennison”). However, Trump never signed. Instead, Cohen signed as EC LLC, which appears to be simply Cohen.

The agreement is frought [sic] with errors, including the fact that the arbitration provision seems to be an option for Trump rather than EC LCC. Nevertheless, Cohen (aka EC LLC) filed for arbitration and demanded $20 million in damages (as part of an excessive damages provision allowing for $1 million for every disclosure or even threatened disclosure by Daniels).

Now that Cohen’s counsel has confirmed the lack of knowledge or consent by Trump, the potential fallout from this agreement has become even more apparent and more serious.

… When this agreement first came to light, I wrote that Cohen would face very serious ethical questions over his conduct. First there was the fact that Cohen paid for the $130,000 out of his own pocket – a highly usual and troubling mixing of his personal and professional interests. Second, if Trump was not aware of the agreement, Cohen could be alleged to have made false representations to an opposing party as well as failing to meet his duty of conferral with a client. …

Mark Steyn, hardly a great thinker—although a thoroughly amusing one—made fun of Michael Avenatti, lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels. Turley, who is a serious thinker on the law, says Avenatti did a superb job in representing his client.

You be the judge.

MORE: “Beware The ‘Lawyer Acquaintance’: How Fifty-Six Words May Have Just Sunk Trump and Cohen In The Daniels Litigation.

NEW COLUMN: Why Trump Pooh-Poohed “S-ithole” Countries (Part 2)

Africa, America, Donald Trump, Human Accomplishment, IMMIGRATION, Individual Rights, Political Philosophy

NEW COLUMN, now on Townhall.com, is “Why Trump Pooh-Poohed “S-ithole” Countries (Part 2).

Part 1 was “Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Controversy Deconstructed.

An excerpt from Why Trump Pooh-Poohed “S-ithole” Countries (Part 2):

… be it Africa or Arabia, the Left labors under the romantic delusion that the effects of millennia of development-resistant, self-defeating, fatalistic, atavistic, superstition-infused, unfathomably cruel cultures can be cured by an infusion of foreign aid, by the removal of tyrants such as Robert Mugabe or Jacob Zuma, or by bringing the underdeveloped world to The West. (Left-libertarian Katherine Mangu-Ward actually told Tucker Carlson that, “If we had a billion people in America, America would be unstoppable. That would be amazing.”)

Alas, bad leaders are not what shackle backward peoples. Not exclusively, at least. And Africa’s plight is most certainly not the West’s fault. Rather, Africa is a culmination of the failure of the people to develop the attitudes and institutions favorable to peace and progress.

However, while human behavior is mediated by values, we’d be intellectually remiss to deny that the cultural argument is flawed. It affords a circular, rather than a causal elegance: people are said to do the things they do because they are who they are and have a history of being that way. See what I mean by flawed?

What precisely, then, accounts for the unequal “civilizing potential,” as James Burnham called it, that groups display? Why have some people produced Confucian and Anglo-Protestant ethics—with their mutual emphasis on graft and delayed gratification—while others have midwifed Islamic and animistic values, emphasizing conformity, consensus, and control?
Why have certain patterns of thought and action come to typify certain people in the first place? …

… READ THE COMPLETE COLUMN. “Why Trump Pooh-Poohed “S-ithole” Countries (Part 2)” is on Townhall.com, where you can read Part 1: “Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Controversy Deconstructed.” 

Sign up to receive my weekly column, now in its 19th year, here: http://www.ilanamercer.com/mailing-list/.  Catch up @ ilanamercer.com.

Salvadorean Temporary Residents Are Not Being Deported, Only Stripped Of Special Status. For Now.

Crime, Economy, Homeland Security, Human Accomplishment, IMMIGRATION

On January 8th, 2018, “the United States’ Department of Homeland Security had announced that it would end temporary protected status (TPS) for nearly 200,000 Salvadoreans who got” a generous grant of privilege from the US government in the late 1990s:

… permission to live and work in the country after a pair of earthquakes struck El Salvador in 2001. the United States’ Department of Homeland Security had announced that it would end temporary protected status (TPS) for nearly 200,000 Salvadoreans who got permission to live and work in the country after a pair of earthquakes struck El Salvador in 2001. .. The Salvadoreans are not alone. Smaller numbers of Hondurans and Nicaraguans were granted TPS after Hurricane Mitch wreaked havoc in 1998 (see chart).

… Citizens of all three Central American countries had their status renewed every 18 months for nearly two decades. Donald Trump, who promised to get tough on immigrants when he was campaigning for president, has found TPS a convenient way to keep that pledge.

Ditto “Haitians who were stranded after an earthquake in 2010.” Hondurans may be next.

To emphasize, Salvadorean temporary residents are not yet being deported (I doubt they ever will); only stripped of special status.

One wonders: Is the revoking of temporary protected status (TPS) for central Americans an easy issue on which to appear tough on immigration?

Wondering whether El Salvador a shithole country? Of course not. No unless you consider the following facts a hallmark of shittyness:

* It’s gang-ridden, home to MS-13, which has branches across America.
* Its GDP is pitiful. In fact, “Remittances from Salvadoreans living in the United States account for a colossal 17% of GDP.
* “[M]ore than 40% of workers are underemployed and two-thirds are in the informal sector. The economy creates 11,000 jobs a year for the 60,000 people who enter the workforce.”

But hey, “192,000 Salvadoreans children were born in the United States.” This means they can bring in those who may have to leave and many more. And in any case, “around half of the 195,000 Salvadorean TPS holders will be eligible to apply for permanent residence.”

So the question asked above is answered: TPS revocation represents more political optics than authentic change for Americans.

How much exactly do the American people’s legislators care about the  American people?

Enough to write “four proposed bills [which] would offer permanent residency to temporary protected status holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua. Some of those have bipartisan support.”

That’s how much!

MORE in The Economist.

Had Enough Of America’s Nasty Matriarchy, Yet?

Feminism, Gender, Human Accomplishment, Labor, Political Correctness, Technology

NEW COLUMN: As America’s malevolent matriarchy marches on, one demure young man, James Damore, is going up against the Google multinational and its high-tech matriarchy. “The High-Tech Industry’s Nudnik Matriarchy” is on WND.COM. An excerpt from:

…. Of the many men who toil in high-tech, few are as heroic as Damore, the young man who penned the manifesto “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” In it, Damore calmly and logically exposed the tyrannical ideological edifice erected to perpetuate the myth that, in aggregate, women and men are identical in aptitude and interests, and that “all disparities in representation are due to oppression.”

Despite active recruiting and ample affirmative action, women made up only 14.5 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively, of computer science and electrical engineering graduates, in 2015. While they comprise 21.4 percent of undergraduates enrolled in engineering, females earned only 19.9 percent of all Bachelor’s degrees awarded by an engineering program in 2015.”

There is attrition!

Overall, and in the same year, 80.1 percent of Bachelor’s degrees in engineering went to men; 19.9 percent to women. (“Engineering by the Numbers,” By Brian L. Yoder, Ph.D.)

As anyone in the world of high-tech knows, Damore included, entire human resource departments in the high-tech sector are dedicated to recruiting, mentoring, and just plain dealing with women and their ongoing nagging and special needs.

In high-tech, almost nothing is more politically precious as a woman with some aptitude. There’s no end to which companies will go to procure women and help them succeed, often to the detriment of technically competent men and women who must do double-duty. Their procurement being at a premium, concepts such as “sucking it up” and soldiering on are often anathema to coddled distaff.

A woman in high-technology can carp constantly about … being a woman in high-tech. Her gender—more so than her capabilities—is what defines her and endears her to her higher-ups, for whom she’s a notch in the belt.

While male engineers—and, indubitably, some exceptional women—are hired to be hard at work designing and shipping tangible products; women in high tech, in the aggregate, are free to branch out; to hone a niche as a voice for their gender.

Arisen online and beyond is a niche-market of nudniks (nags): Women talking, blogging, vlogging, writing and publishing about women in high-technology or their absence therefrom; women beating the tom-tom about discrimination and stereotyping, but saying absolutely nothing about the technology they presumably love and help create.

Young women, in particular, are pioneers of this new, intangible, but lethal field of meta-technology: kvetching (complaining) about their absence in technology with nary a mention of their achievements in technology. …

… READ THE REST of “The High-Tech Industry’s Nudnik Matriarchy,” on WND.COM.