Monday Miscellany, 6/12/23

Monday Miscellany, 6/12/23 June 12, 2023

Biden’s alleged $5 million bribe; affirmative action for footnotes; and the feud between Trump and DeSantis over the Babylon Bee.

Did Biden Take a $5 Million Bribe?

The day before Donald Trump was indicted for having classified documents after leaving office, the FBI–under threat of its director being held in contempt–finally turned over a document subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee:  a report that Joe Biden as Vice President took a $5 million bribe.

The report emerged in the course of an investigation of his son Hunter Biden’s involvement with Burisma, the corrupt Ukrainian oil company.

Democrats on the committee claimed that the report was discounted by the Trump administration’s Justice Department, but former Attorney General William Barr says this is not true.

What struck me is that this story appeared on Fox News and other conservative sites. But I could find nothing about it in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or other mainstream media sources, except for USA Today, which reported not the substance of the story but Biden’s joking denial, under the headline “`Bunch of malarkey’: Biden dismisses GOP bribery allegations.”

To be sure, the information, from a confidential FBI source whom the agency has previously found reliable, has not been verified.  That didn’t stop the media, of course, from trumpeting less well-sourced accusations of Trump.  But surely the release of this document is “news.”  And it raises many other questions about the FBI investigation of the Biden family and the possibility of a coverup, with the full co-operation of the mainstream news media and the mainstream internet media, which shut down discussion of the contents of Hunter’s laptop computer.  Now it looks like a case of “here we go again,” with the establishment press carrying water for President Biden, who may have committed a crime far worse than what Trump has been indicted for.

I don’t mean to downplay what Trump is accused of.  We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Affirmative Action for Footnotes

That the academic world is in thrall to post-Marxist “critical theory” and postmodernist identity politics is well known.  But this is not just a matter of campus culture.  It is affecting what used to be considered objective scholarship, including scientific research.  A new cause is “Citational Justice,” a new scholarly standard requiring that footnotes, bibliographies, and background research include work from members of racial and sexual identity groups.

From an article on the subject by David Randall of the National Association of Scholars, an organization of dissident academics of which I was once a member:

The latest fresh hell is citational justice. Which is quotas for footnotes. Now we’re supposed to track the group identity of the authors we cite and make sure there are lots of blacks, women, and People from the Global South among them. There are already articlesworkshopslibrary guides, and position statements on the subject. There isn’t yet an Office of Citational Justice, but a professional bureaucracy will doubtless soon supplement the mandated do-it-yourself efforts.

He recommends another critique of the concept from Areo Magazine:

The Areo author helpfully analyzes citational justice within three categories: citational fairness (the contention that biases have reduced the number of footnotes granted to members of certain identity groups), distributive justice (“equity” by identity group, applied to footnotes), and retributive justice (the notion that people who offend progressive sensibilities should not be footnoted). The last is the purest expression of spite, as the Woke seek to unperson any scientist who commits thoughtcrime.

What I want to know is how scholars are supposed to identify what identity group the author of an article belongs to?  The APA Stylesheet identifies authors by last name plus first and middle initials, presumably out of an earlier sensitivity lest anyone discriminate against women.  Knowing the scholar only by last name and initial, there is no way to know if he or she is a woman or not.  And what do we do about the transgendered?  And how do we know anyone’s race?

And what if the subject of the research has not been studied by anyone from the listed group identities?  And what if the key contribution to the field was made by someone whose political allegiance or ideological beliefs are not allowed?  (I have seen research from the hard sciences questioned because it was conducted by a notorious sexist.)

And what difference does any of this make to the requirements of the scientific method or the standards of rational inquiry, when the purpose is to discover and build on knowledge?

HT:  George Leef

The Battle for the Babylon Bee

Even the Babylon Bee couldn’t make up something this silly:  Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are feuding over the Babylon Bee.

It seems that DeSantis hired someone who works for the Christian satirical site to write jokes for him.  After all, he is always hearing that he is awkward and humorless.  But this has enraged Trump, leading him to condemn the Bee for endorsing his rival.

The owner of the Bee, Seth Dillon, says that the jokes were against Democrats only, not Trump; that he voted for Trump twice; and that the site doesn’t endorse anybody.

Trump also doesn’t approve of Dillon’s friendship with Bee fan Elon Musk, who hosted DeSantis’ tech-plagued announcement that he was running.  Also, Dillon fired one of his employees–an ardent Trump supporter–for his bad language in a feud with a DeSantis supporter.  (You will recall that the Babylon Bee is an evangelical publication.)  So Trumpworld is up in arms against the Babylon Bee.






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