Monday, September 07, 2015

America’s Class Divide: Scribes v. Producers

by John O. McGinnis

The most comprehensive study of the ideology in the legal profession ever has just been published. It confirms what most people have already intuited: lawyers as a whole lean strongly to the left. Within the profession, a few characteristics predict that a lawyer will be even farther left than the median. Females and government attorneys are even more liberal, and no category is farther to the left than law professors. So much for diversity in legal education.

But what is most interesting about the study was its comparison of the ideology of lawyers with that of other key professions. Academics as a whole are substantially more left-wing than lawyers, and journalists in the print media are even slightly more left-wing than academics. Thus, we now know that there is a shared ideology of what we might call the scribal class – those who seek to alter the world by their use of information and rhetoric.

This scribal class wields enormous political power. Academics in the humanities and social sciences set a long-term agenda for the country by educating the young and by shaping the categories of thought. The news media shapes the shorter-term political agenda by deciding what to emphasize in its coverage and how to spin it. Lawyers, whom Tocqueville almost two centuries ago understood as the aristocrats of the United States, are experts at using the courts and the burgeoning administrative state to shift social policy. And the study leaves out the entertainment industry and government bureaucrats, groups that are also on the left.  Entertainers help set social agendas, and bureaucrats often help advance the programs of liberal politicians and obstruct those of conservatives.

Thus, the left owns the commanding heights of our democracy. Given this power, it is a surprise that the right wins as many elections as it does. To be sure, modern information technology has created a more dispersed media world and permitted conservatives a somewhat greater voice. But the imbalances remain dramatic.

The study thus helps us understand that one of the greatest class divides is not between those above the median income and those below it, or between the religious and secular, or between the North and South. None of these divisions represents as stark an ideological chasm as that between the scribal classes and those that produce material goods and non-information services for a living.  And the scribal class shares an interest in growing complex government. Lawyers get more clients from a more complicated and expensive government. Some academics gain more power from advising politicians and most gain more status as the market becomes less vibrant. The news media has a more interesting beat and readers need to more information, if big government is always shifting in its social engineering.

It is not surprising that what now unites the scribal class is campaign finance “reform.” Elections are the best opportunity for citizens outside the scribal class to disrupt agenda control, because elections provide both the motivation for some citizens to speak and others to listen. And of course campaign finance reform makes disruption more difficult, because it restricts campaign spending while not affecting the most important levers that the scribal class enjoys in shaping politics. Campaign finance reform is how today’s scribes wage class warfare.



DOJ Accuses U.S. Biz of Discrimination for Requiring Proof of Work Eligibility

In its crusade to protect and assist illegal immigrants, the Obama administration has accused an American company of discrimination for requiring employees to furnish proof that they are eligible to work legally in the United States.

You know the nation is in trouble when a U.S. business gets investigated by its own government for following the law. The case involves a Nebraska meat packing company that demanded workers to furnish proof of immigration status for the federal employment eligibility verification process. The Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) went after the company, accusing it of engaging in employment discrimination.

In particular the DOJ's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices objected to non-U.S. citizens being "targeted" because of their citizenship status. "The department's investigation found that the company required non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documentary proof of their immigration status to verify their employment eligibility," the DOJ claims. This could constitute a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the feds assert, because its anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from making documentary demands based on citizenship or national origin when verifying an employee's authorization to work.

With the feds breathing down its neck the business, Nebraska Beef Ltd, agreed to pay Uncle Sam a $200,000 civil penalty and establish an uncapped back pay fund to compensate individuals who lost wages because they couldn't prove they are in the county legally. Additionally, the business will undergo "compliance monitoring," which means big brother will be watching very closely. The head of the DOJ's civil rights division explains that the agency is on a mission to eliminate "unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to employment" so workers can support their families and contribute to the U.S. economy.

This case is part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to helps illegal aliens in the U.S. Besides shielding tens of millions from deportation via an executive amnesty order, the president has also expanded the DOJ to help carry out part of this mission. It's why the agency's civil rights division has grown immensely under Obama. A few years ago Judicial Watch reported that the DOJ's civil rights division launched a secret group to monitor laws passed by states and local municipalities to control illegal immigration. Because the measures are viewed as discriminatory and anti-immigrant by the administration, the DOJ has spent huge sums of taxpayer dollars to track them and legally challenge them as it did in Arizona.

The federal tentacles have reached deeply into the workplace. A few years ago the DOJ civil rights division, under the leadership of renowned illegal alien advocate Thomas Perez, launched a plan to eliminate tests that supposedly discriminate against minorities in the workplace. The administration defines them as having a "disparate impact," a racial discrimination created by the various written exams. The tests disproportionately screen out people of a particular race, even though they "present the appearance of objective, merit-based selection," according to the Obama DOJ.

Last year a federal audit disclosed that the Obama administration was letting businesses that hire undocumented workers off the hook by drastically reducing fines and enforcement. During a three-year period the administration slashed by 40% the amount of fines collected from employers caught with illegal immigrants on their payroll, according to the probe which was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General. This inconsistent implementation hinders the government's mission to prevent or deter employers from violating immigration laws, the DHS watchdog wrote in its report. Now the DOJ is taking it a step further by going after employers that try to ensure their workers are in the U.S. legally.



VA’s record of waste, fraud and abuse keeps piling up

The federal agency entrusted to stretch tax dollars as far as they can go to get veterans the best medical care, in fact, has a hard time spending tax dollars wisely.

Over the last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been repeatedly cited for waste, fraud, abuse and theft that took valuable tax dollars away from veterans, many who are still waiting in long backlogs to get benefits decisions.

The examples are jaw-dropping, starting with the a memo that surfaced in March by the VA’s chief procurement officer, Jan. R. Frye, who went public with a stunning admission that the VA likely wastes $6 billion a year on unnecessary contracts, purchases and services.

“Doors are swung wide open for fraud, waste and abuse,” Mr. Frye, the deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, wrote in a whistleblower letter that made national headlines.

The examples backing up Mr. Frye’s claims just keep piling up:

 *  The VA’s inspector general reported that the agency's human resources department wasted $6.1 million on two conferences in Orlando, Florida, that treated employees more to vacation than to training.

 *  The inspector general also divulged in that report that department officials wasted $97,906 on trinkets like bags, pens and water that were unnecessary. VA employees also improperly accepted gifts including room upgrades, meals, limousine services, golf, spa services, helicopter rides and tickets to see the Rockettes.

 *  In July, an employee at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter pled guilty to stealing 150 marble headstones from a veterans cemetery in a scheme that went unnoticed for a long time.

 *  In June, a former head engineer at the VA hospital in East Orange, New Jersey, was accused of taking $1.2 million in kickbacks for contracts, which fleeced taxpayers.

 *  The VA’s inspector general found last month that the Veterans Benefits Administration mismanaged millions of dollars in benefits for veterans who were unable to manage their own income and estates due to age, injury or disability. Among the woes cited in the report was a failure to remove two custodians who had misspent benefit funds.

 *  In testimony before Congress in May, Mr. Frye cited reports that VA employees in the Bronx in New York City had swiped charge cards 2,000 times, saying they were buying prosthetic legs and arms for veterans. Each charge was for $24,999, one dollar below the VA’s charging limit for purchase cards. When lawmakers demanded details about the charges, they were told there was no documentation.



Only conservatives have to obey the law

A Kentucky county clerk who has become a symbol of religious opposition to same-sex marriage was jailed Thursday after defying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, Ky., was ordered detained for contempt of court and later rejected a proposal to allow her deputies to process same-sex marriage licenses that could have prompted her release.

So, naturally, this became a national brouhaha – A NYT article was front page, for Pete’s sake– and, where there is national attention to be had, the White House has to weigh in. And they did so with this jaw-dropper:

The White House said today that the Kentucky county clerk taken into custody over her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses should obey the law just as President Obama does.

Press secretary Josh Earnest, asked at today’s briefing about the jailing of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for contempt, said “ultimately I think that this is something that the courts will weigh in on.”

But, he said, “the question of the rule of law” is at stake.

“And every public official in our democracy is subject to the rule of law. No one is above the law. That applies to the president of the United States and that applies to the County Clerk and Rowan County, Kentucky, as well,” Earnest said. “And that’s a fundamental principal of our democracy. In terms of how that applies to this particular case? That’s obviously something that a judge will have to decide. And I would not second guess it from here.”

I’m amazed that he didn’t choke to death from trying to keep from laughing here. I actually agree with Josh Earnest that the rule of law is at issue here. It’s a shame his boss doesn’t know the meaning of the words. Let’s consider just a few examples:

Obamacare waivers

Multiple far-reaching regulations (EPA, NLRB, FCC) issued with no statutory authority

Racially biased enforcement of our civil rights laws on voting

The Libya war, in violation of the War Powers Act

Operation Fast & Furious

Failure to produce budgets by the statutory deadline — or at all

Non-enforcement of our immigration laws

Ignoring the treaty clause of the Constitution

Ignoring congressional demands for information in violation of Congress’ oversight powers

All of this just screams “respect for the rule of law,” and I’m sure you can come up with others.

How Earnest avoided a lightning bolt from above for this one, I don’t know. I guess even God was gobsmacked.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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