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The Transformative Nature of Love

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The “orthodox Christian belief = bigotry” bell was rung twice this past week.  Once in the Karen Pence kerfluffle.  The other is Mazie Hirono doubling down on her Knights of Columbus slander on the floor of the SenateDavid French tried to respond to the Pence mess with a piece on the nature of Christian love:

Here’s the reality. While there are certainly individual Christians who are bigots, the theology itself is founded in and based on love — love for the God who created us, and love for the people we want to see enter into relationship with their Savior. The biblical sexual ethic is based on a sincere conviction that it is best for human flourishing and is even symbolic of the sacred relationship between Christ and His Church.

I agree with David on this, but what he neglects in his argument is how differently Christians and non-Christians think of love.  In fact, as debate rages inside Christianity about sexual ethics, so there is a debate about the nature of love itself.

For as incredibly technologically advanced as humanity currently is, we live in an incredibly simplistic age.  We attempt to reduce everything to a simple sentence, a notion easily held and communicated.  Thus we end up with aphorisms like “Love is never having to say you are sorry.”  (Yes, I am THAT old.)  Yet with some things, love being perhaps foremost among them, this effort at reductionism can only make matters more complex, not better.  Love is a lot of things.  Love is expressed differently in different situations.  Love has an aim, but will take the most appropriate path to get there in any given situation and that path can be quite different in different situations.  Our efforts at reductionism confuse the path with the aim.

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The Day Journalism Died…

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…Don’t get me wrong journalism can, and hopefully will, be revived.  And of course it has been “brain-dead” for quite a while, but yesterday made transparently plain that journalism is dead.  Oh sure, the Internet age has brought us plenty of false rumors that flew around with the speed of light, but yesterday the biggest bombshell of them all came and went in a single news cycle.  From Donald Trump is Nixon/Clinton to “oops” in 24 hours.

We don’t know what happened and given that it is up to so-called “journalism” to figure out what happened we probably never will.  I am sure Buzzfeed will claim either 1) the fix is in with Team Mueller or 2) they were victimized by rogue, and still unnamed, agents.  BTW, if they claim the latter they better d*^$ well turn the names over to the FBI.  Some agents need to lose their job.  If they claim the former they clearly do not know the first rule of holes.  If Buzzfeed is not out of business in a month (the few decent people there better be headed for the doors already) my fear for the future of this nation will ratchet up several notches.

And as for the rest of media, just please.  The problem is not that the story was repeated and repeated and repeated.  The problem is that with the exception of conservative opinion outlets it was repeated without any reserve, qualification or prudence.  Time, and the sheer rapidity with which this thing unfolded, did not permit me to write a decent piece yesterday but I started one.  Here’s part of what I drafted:

two words – “hearsay” and “unnamed sources.”  The unnamed sources are “two federal law enforcement officials.”  One could be Peter Strzok for pity-fied-sakes.  We know parts of federal law enforcement are deeply compromised when it comes to the current president.  Moreover, if you know anything about evidence, “somebody told me that so-and-so said” is not evidence.  “I heard so-and-so say” is evidence, but that is as far as it goes.

Further, this is Buzzfeed.  As Geraghty said, “And of course, this is BuzzFeed, who ran the Fusion GPS dossier making unsavory claims about Trump.”

As Rudy Guliani said, “Michael Cohen is a convicted criminal and a liar.’

In other words, this thing stunk like a fresh roadkill skunk from the moment it came out.  But, save for the previously noted exceptions, this story moved like a L.A. brushfire in Santa Ana winds.

There are a lot of good people out there trying to be good journalists and inform the American people, but they are practicing a dead art.  I am not a professional journalist, I am just a guy who an actual professional journalist thinks is worth reading from time-to-time, so I will leave ideas about how to revive journalism up to the pros.

What I do know is this – the American appetite for what currently passes as “journalism” seems to be immense.  Therefore I think we have going to have to live with some sort of zombie version of journalism for a while.  The American people better get smart about how to tell news from nonsense pretty quickly.

Yesterday, the host had an interesting conversation with Jake Sherman about what constitutes a national crisis.  (Behind the Hughniverse paywall)  My two cents in that discussion are simple –  The shutdown and tit-for-tat between Trump and Pelosi do not constitute a national crisis, just ugly politics.  Zombie journalism may prove to be the biggest crisis the nation has ever faced.

Addendum: This thing, sadly is not dead.  That which has been heard cannot be unheard.  As the lawyers like to say, “the bell has rung.”  This will come up when Cohen testifies in front of Congress.  Such will prove only one thing – that Democrats are in it for their own power and self-aggrandizement – not for the good of the nation.  May need to add a few more notches to the “fear for the future” meter.

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Harvard Law Professor And Co-Founder of Lawfareblog Jack Goldsmith On The FBI’s Actions In 2016

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Jack Goldsmith is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard Law School one of the most respected voices on presidential power, national security law, internet law and much more. He was formerly the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice. He is also one of the founders on the indispensable Lawfareblog.com:

Audio:

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Transcript:

HH: So pleased to have join me this morning the Honorable Jack Goldsmith, who is the Henry L. Shattuck professor at the Harvard Law School, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, co-founder of the indispensable Lawfareblog.com.  Professor Goldsmith teaches and writes about national security law, presidential power, cybersecurity, international law, internet law, foreign relations law. I call him honorable, because he was confirmed by the United States Senate as the assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel, which is where they always put the big brain, whether it’s Mike Luttig or Ted Olson or Jack Goldsmith to make sure the rest of us know what we’re doing. Professor Goldsmith, good morning. Thank you for getting up early and joining me.

JG: Good morning. It’s great to talk to you.

HH: I want to begin by saying I don’t know who thought up Lawfareblog.com, but it’s changed my life. Yesterday, I actually spent two hours in the afternoon listening to the Lawfare Podcast special edition, Bill Barr v. The Committee with no bull, Part 1. That’s an amazing podcast.

JG: Yeah, it’s really good that sometime spent a lot of time editing that down.

HH: People ought to go and listen to it. Now I want to quote your article from Lawfareblog.com this week. “One danger in what the FBI apparently did is that it implies that the unelected domestic intelligence bureaucracy holds itself as the ultimate arbiter over and above the elected president, who is the Constitutional face of U.S. intelligence and national security authority about what actions do and don’t serve the national security interests of the United States. It further suggests that the FBI claims the authority to take this step on the basis of the president’s exercise of another clear presidential prerogative – the firing of the FBI director in connection with the Russia investigation which the Times, the New York Times, says was the final predicate for the FBI’s action. And it took this step without any formal guidance on the books for applying counterintelligence rules to the president akin to the special counsel regulations. Beyond the organizational and legal questions raised by these steps, if the FBI can open up a secret counterintelligence investigation of the president based on its belief that his actions threaten national security, it would chill controversial foreign policy actions that the Constitution says are solely the president’s decision to make for better and worse.” When I read that, Professor Goldsmith, I said “Jack Goldsmith does not write things like this very often.” This must have very much, that New York Times article of a week ago, must have really disturbed you.

JG: It did a little bit. I mean, one thing about the story is it was a little bit thin on the facts. And we don’t really know what happened. But the thing that bothered me was that the FBI appeared to open up a separate file, a counterintelligence investigation, on the president which was premised literally on their disagreement or their assessment that the president constituted a threat to national security. And it’s possible in some senses that a president could constitute a threat to national security, obviously. But it’s very dangerous, I think, if, that the FBI can open up a secret investigation to collect secret evidence on a president based on its assessment of his threat.

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House GOP Conference Chair, Representative Liz Cheney On Whether President Trump Is A Russian Mole, The Movie “Vice,” And The GOP’s Preparations For Investigations-R-Us Pelosi Democrats.

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Congresswoman Liz Cheney, newly elected Chair of the House Conference, joined me this morning:

Audio:

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Transcript:

HH: Special opportunity to welcome back an old friend. Congresswoman Liz Cheney is now the chair of the House GOP Conference. There was a lot of bad news for the House in November, but the silver lining is that Liz Cheney, a very experienced, very smart pro is now the communications czar of the House Conference. Liz Cheney, welcome back to the program. Great to have you, Congresswoman.

LC: Hey, Hugh, great to be back with you. Thanks so much.

HH: Let me begin with a couple of very basic questions. Do you believe President Trump is a Russian mole?

LC: (laughing) No, I do not believe that, Hugh.

HH: Is President Trump a Russian asset?

LC: No. Listen, I think that you know, one of the big things that we, the mainstream media has failed to cover, no big surprise, is you know, the depth of just the abuse that went on, the fraud that went on when the Obama FBI under Jim Comey used the dossier, which was a campaign document the Clinton campaign had put together, and they used that to secure a warrant to wiretap, to listen in on an American citizen. And that story sort of got some play and then disappeared. But I think the abuse that went on there certainly deserves a deeper and ongoing investigation.

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