Patterico's Pontifications

11/11/2019

Veterans’ Day Open Thread

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:25 pm



[guest post by JVW]

With sincere thanks to all those who have served our country during times of conflict.

Has any nation in the history of the world ever expended so much of its treasure — especially as measured by the lives of its citizens — in defense of others around the globe? I understand that we have all grown weary with unending overseas entanglements, and we no longer appear to have the gratitude of those whom we have been protecting, but it’s difficult to imagine a world without the United States striving to keep the peace.

– JVW

11/10/2019

Sunday Music: Bach Motet BWV 118

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am



It is the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach piece is a motet titled “O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht” (O Jesus Christ, light of my life):

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 20:27-38:

The Resurrection and Marriage

Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. Finally, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here is the entire text of the motet:

O Jesus Christ, light of my life,
My treasure, my comfort, my security;
I am only a guest on the earth
and the burden of sin oppresses me greatly.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

11/9/2019

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:53 am



[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item : Megyn Kelly interviews CBS staffer Ashley Bianco, who was fired after being accused of being the leaker of ABC News anchor Amy Robach’s “hot mic” clip . In the clip, Robach accuses the network of refusing to air an interview she did with one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims three years ago. While Bianco admits to having accessed the tape and clipping it when she worked at ABC, she is adamant that she did not leak it. Meanwhile, Project Veritas has published a letter by an “ABC insider” who claims that they are leaker.

Former CBS producer Ashley Bianco told Megyn Kelly she did not leak a video of an ABC reporter complaining on a hot mic that she knew about sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein years before his apparent suicide inside the Metropolitan Correctional Facility in August, but ABC brass wouldn’t listen.

Bianco, who moved to CBS in November, worked for ABC when the Aug. 19 tape was recorded. She was let go by CBS after less than a week with the network. ABC reportedly called its competitor to say Bianco was a suspect…The tape somehow wound up in the hands of the investigative group Project Veritas, whom Bianco said she’d never heard of until the scandal broke.

Second news item: Nikki Haley doesn’t think President Trump will be impeached:

…Haley said, “You’re going to impeach a president for asking for a favor that didn’t happen and giving money and it wasn’t withheld? I don’t know what you would impeach him on.”

She went on to call it “the death penalty for a public official,” saying, “There’s nothing in that transcript that warrants the death penalty for the president”

Norah O’Donnell said, “To be clear, it was not a complete transcript. There are still things that are missing from it, and in it he does say, ‘I would like you to do us a favor, though.’”

“The Ukrainians never did the investigation, and the president released the funds,” Haley said. “I mean, when you look at those, there’s just nothing impeachable there. And more than that, I think the biggest thing that bothers me is the American people should decide this. Why do we have a bunch of people in Congress making this decision?”

Third news item: Following up on Elizabeth Warren’s magical health plan, she clarifies that her plan will include everybody, regardless of immigration status. Further, she seems to believe that if you are not “Black trans and cis women, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary,” then you are not the backbone of our democracy. Too bad, so sad, losers:

Fourth news item: President Trump’s “spiritual adviser” is now officially a member of the White House staff:

It was “Power Night” at the City of Destiny church on Sunday and Pastor Paula White was urging her congregation to pony up.

“I want you to hear from God. God already spoke to me what I’m going to write out. You’re going to write your checks to Paula White Ministries,” White preached. “If God tells you to give $12.99, do it. Whatever the Holy Spirit speaks to you. If you need to give by credit card, do so.”
White regularly urges those in her pews to donate to her ministry, promising that God will bless them with wealth and “visions” in return. She sometimes warns her followers that their “dream will die” if they don’t.

This time, the televangelist was doing it as a newly minted White House official.

Two peas in a pod:

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

11/7/2019

Enormously Wealthy White Male Prepares to Enter Democrat Primary

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:00 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Because that’s just what the party is searching for!

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to file paperwork ahead of this week’s early deadline to enter the Alabama Democratic presidential primary as he seriously considers entering the race to take on President Trump in next year’s general election, according to The New York Times.

Howard Wolfson, a close adviser to Mr. Bloomberg, said on Thursday that Bloomberg is “increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned” to defeat President Trump.

“If Mike runs, he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist,” Wolfson said.

It makes a lot of sense. Mr. Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) hits that sweet spot where he isn’t veering towards senility like Bernard Sanders (born September 8, 1941) yet at the same time he doesn’t have the same impulsiveness of youth that Joe Biden (born November 20, 1942) continually exhibits. If you are worried that Tom Steyer (estimated net worth of $1.6 billion) will come off as a veritable pauper against Donald Trump (estimated net worth of $3.1 billion), then you are no doubt cheered by the idea that the Democrats — the party of the working man and woman — now have someone in the race whose net worth (estimated at $52 billion) is obscenely higher. If you like Elizabeth Warren but worry that deep down inside she isn’t enough of a busy-body regulator for your tastes, you now can vote for the guy who banned Big Gulps and trans fats in New York. If you aren’t quite comfortable with President Trump’s personality yet are still worried that the Oval Office requires a megalomaniacal New Yorker who spends half his time in Florida, then you now have a champion in the other party.

I want to reemphasize what I have been saying since Campaign 2020 kicked off: I was entirely wrong in all of my predictions in the last Presidential election cycle, so nothing I write here should be taken to have any level of insight. That said, I simply can’t imagine Michael Bloomberg rising to the top in today’s intersectionality-obsessed Democrat Party. But in this entirely stupid age I won’t be surprised if the level of suck is yet to overflow the tub.

– JVW

Fundraising Fraud: Trump’s Phony Promises to Have Meals with Contest Winners

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am



A Web site called the Popular Information newsletter reports:

A heavily-promoted contest to win breakfast with President Trump in New York City on September 26 was a fraud. The purported winner of the contest, Joanna Kamis, did not have breakfast with Trump. Instead, she was invited to a breakfast at a New York City restaurant that Trump did not attend. Kamis was later permitted to take a photo with Trump.

The promise of breakfast with Trump was used in hundreds of Facebook ads to entice supporters to donate money. The ads were clear that donors would be entered into a contest to share a meal with Trump. “This is your LAST CHANCE to meet me this quarter, and I really want to discuss our Campaign Strategy for the rest of the year with you over breakfast,” Trump said in a Facebook ad in September.

Kamis’s contest is one of fifteen in which winners were promised a meal with the President. The campaign is required by law to provide information regarding the names of the contest winners but has persistently ignored media requests. After the newsletter published the fact yesterday that the campaign had not verified that anyone had won any of these contests, the Daily Caller trotted out Kamis as ostensible “proof” that the allegations were bogus.

In other words, Kamis is not necessarily representative of all contest winners. She’s the best they’ve got — and she wasn’t given what she was promised. The other “winners” might not even exist. Either way, there is, to date, even from a Trump-sympathetic outlet like the Daily Caller, not one shred of evidence that anyone has had a meal with the President after fifteen contests promising one.

If there are no winners — and winners might emerge, but keep in mind Trump’s pattern, as shown when he tried to steal money from veterans during his campaign, of promising things that he has no intention of delivering on — if there are no winners, this may be fraud:

Richard Painter, a former associate counsel in the Bush White House, told Newsweek that the failure to deliver on the promised meals with Trump could be criminal. “You’re raising campaign cash, you’re lying to people. If you obtain money from people through false pretenses that’s a violation of federal mail fraud and wire fraud statutes,” Painter said.

Trumpists will call this petty, as they do with everything Trump-related, even though they would have heart attacks by the dozen if Joe Biden did the same. But it’s dishonest and slimy fraud, typical of this criminal cretin.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

11/6/2019

Doing Trump’s Bidding: Sen. Rand Paul Demands Media To Name The Whistleblower

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:54 pm



[guest post by Dana]

From Reason:

President Donald Trump “has great courage” and “faces down the fake media every day,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) on Monday. At a Trump 2020 rally in Lexington, Kentucky, Paul called upon media to out the whistleblower who first raised objections about Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Paul also asked colleagues in Congress to make both the whistleblower and Joe Biden’s son Hunter testify.

“We also now know the name of the whistleblower,” said Paul. “I say tonight to the media, ‘Do your job and print his name!’ And I say this to my fellow colleagues in Congress, to every Republican in Washington, ‘Step up and subpoena Hunter Biden and subpoena the whistleblower!'”

It’s weird hearing “Libertarian” Rand Paul demand that the media make a whistleblower’s identity public. But as we’ve repeatedly seen, when a politician throws their lot in with Trump, there are certain expectations that come with staying in his good graces, including making compromises one would not have previously considered. Basically: Rand Paul today is not the same Rand Paul of 2014, when he worked hard to support and defend whistleblowers:

Paul himself was once a more robust defender of whistleblowers and advocated expanding protections for them. Back in 2014, Paul told a Campaign for Liberty conference audience that he was considering ways to “expand the whistleblower statute to government contractors,” not just employees. “We’ve got so many millions of government contractors that when they see something wrong, they should be able to report it without repercussions,” he said.

Yet today’s Rand Paul voted against a resolution designed to protect the whistleblower by keeping their identity a secret:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blocked a resolution Wednesday reaffirming the Senate’s support for whistleblower protections and accused Democrats of “fake outrage.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) had asked for unanimous consent to pass the resolution, which “acknowledges the contributions of whistleblowers” and throws the chamber’s support behind protecting whistleblowers from retaliation.

“The threats we have seen over the last few days are so egregious they demand bipartisan outrage from one end of this chamber to the other, whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, independent, liberal, moderate or conservative,” Schumer said[…]…

Paul objected to passing the resolution after Democrats refused to drop their resolution and instead pass whistleblower legislation that he introduced earlier that day.

“I support whistleblowers, and I do think they have a role to play in keeping government accountable … but what we have seen over the last few years is that we have a system that we should continue to refine,” Paul said.

He argued that his legislation would “make clear” that President Trump should be able to face his accuser. The measure also would expand current whistleblower protections for contractors.

“The bill I will introduce today will expand the whistleblower act [and] would be made retroactive so Edward Snowden can come home to live in his own country. All he did was expose that his government was not obeying the Constitution,” Paul said.

At the end of the day, Paul doesn’t have a problem with naming the whistleblower himself, if the media fails to do so:

Asked on Tuesday why he hasn’t disclosed the name of the individual, Paul told reporters that he “probably will.”

“I’m more than willing to, and I probably will at some point,” he said. “There is no law preventing anybody from saying the name.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

11/5/2019

You Can’t Let That Happen to Me!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:41 pm



Donald Trump, advocating in Lexington for the re-election of Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, on November 4, 2019:

The next step to victory begins tomorrow and it begins with all of you. You have to do this. Look, maybe you’ll be late for work. Maybe you’ll be late for whatever. I don’t want to know everything. Some things I don’t want to know, but you have to just put it off. You have to go vote. It’s so important. Tomorrow is so, because beyond even the governorship, and it’s so important. Because again, your state is setting records. In the history of your state, you’ve never done this well economically, job-wise, unemployment, employment, factories moving in, new factories open, expansion of your car plants. You’ve never done this well, but you’re sending that big message to the rest of the country. It’s so important. You got to get your friends, you got to vote. Because if you lose, it sends a really bad message. It just sends a bad, and they will build it up. Here’s the story. If you win, they’re going to make it like ho hum. And if you lose, they’re going to say, Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. This was the greatest.

You can’t let that happen to me!

To “me.”

Oops:

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear pulled off an upset Tuesday night in an apparent victory over Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump, NBC News projects.

Bevin is apparently going to try to take it to a recount, Al Gore style. But he and Trump appear to have been rejected by Kentucky voters.

It looks like they let that happen to him.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

ABC Anchor Claims Interview With Epstein Victim Spiked By Network Three Years Ago

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:39 pm



[guest post by Dana]

It was bad enough when NBC hindered reporting on Harvey Weinstein because the disgraced mogul allegedly pressured the network by claiming that he had information about Matt Lauer and wasn’t afraid to use it if necessary. Now, in an unbelievable “hot mic” moment, we are learning that three years ago, ABC quashed an interview with one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims because Prince Andrew had been named by the victim, and the royal family threatened to cut off access to Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton if the network aired the piece:

ABC News anchor Amy Robach was caught on camera slamming her own network for allegedly sitting on the Jeffrey Epstein story three years ago. In a video clip released by right-wing group Project Veritas on Tuesday, Robach is seemingly caught on a hot mic complaining to colleagues that her Epstein story was suppressed by network executives. Robach says she’d spoken to Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who alleges Epstein used her as a sex slave and trafficked her to his powerful friends, including Britain’s Prince Andrew. “I’ve had this interview with Virginia Roberts .. we would not put it on the air,” Robach says on camera. “First of all, I was told ‘Who’s Jeffrey Epstein?’… Then the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways.” She went on to say the network was afraid that running the story would prevent interviews with Kate Middleton and and Prince William. “It was unbelievable what we had. [Bill] Clinton—we had everything. I tried for three years to get it on to no avail and now it’s all coming out and it’s like these new revelations.”

In a statement issued after the footage was made public Tuesday, Robach said she her comments were made in “a private moment of frustration. I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts didn’t air because we could not obtain corroborating evidence to meet ABC’s editorial standards about her allegations” regarding Epstein, Prince Andrew, and Clinton. She added that in the years since the 2015 interview “no one ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein, and we have continued to aggressively pursue this important story.”

Upon release of the video, and because they are all about the money and ratings, ABC defended itself, while promoting upcoming exposé on Epstein:

“At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story. Ever since we’ve had a team on this investigation and substantial resources dedicated to it. That work has led to a two-hour documentary and 6-part podcast that will air in the new year.”

It’s clear from the video below, that Robach is distraught and angry about the network big wigs quashing the interview:

From her hot mic comments:

“There will come a day when we will realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pedophile this country has ever known. I had it all, three years ago.”

What the fuck is wrong with these people: NBC suppressed reporting about Weinstein to protect their own on-air monstrous predator from being exposed by another monstrous predator, while ABC suppressed a victim’s first-hand account about a monstrous pedophile so that they could continue to have access to the royal family. The despicable avarice of the amoral degenerates running these operations is unspeakable.

And always, there is a double-standard of irony:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Two Republican Congressmen Discuss The Future Face of The GOP

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:30 am



[guest post by Dana]

On one hand, because the Republican ticket won the White House, some see that as proof that the Republican Party is doing just fine, thank you very much. But you don’t have to look too hard to see that, clearly there are problems. Real problems.

Two Texas congressmen, Rep. Will Hurd and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, recently discussed what the GOP needs to do in order to remain strong in the future. This in light of six Republican congressmen from Texas having announced that they will not seek re-election (including Hurd). It’s apparent from a few snippets of the interview below, that Hurd and Crenshaw have the same end-goals in mind, but see the getting-there a bit differently.

Hurd, who is the only black Republican in the House, wants to see the Republican Party more closely resemble the nation at large:

“I do believe that if the Republican Party doesn’t start looking like the rest of the country, there won’t be a Republican Party in this country,” Hurd told “Axios on HBO.”

Hurd said he’s talked with at least a dozen black Republicans who want to run for Congress in the last few weeks alone.

More than 1 in 4 members of the House of Representatives is a racial or ethnic minority, but only 10% of that group are Republicans.

Hurd, who won his re-election last year by just over 920 votes, says, “Texas is in play.”

“Texas is a purple state. Just because we don’t have a statewide elected Democrat doesn’t mean Texas is not already purple,” Hurd said. “We should be operating as if it’s purple.”

Crenshaw, on the other hand, doesn’t like what he sees as “identity politics”:

[Crenshaw] is skeptical of the idea of specifically recruiting non-white or younger candidates, but acknowledged that “people do want to hear that message from somebody who they can relate with.”

“I hate engaging in identity politics,” he said. “I just don’t take it as a given that because you’re nonwhite, that we should worry about you voting Democrat.”

“We would definitely like a more diverse candidate list and we’re definitely accomplishing that for the 2020 cycle.”

Crenshaw told “Axios on HBO” several factors are shaping the changes in Texas, including an influx of residents from bluer states, Trump’s non-traditional qualities and a bump in the proportion of younger voters.

“President Trump wasn’t as popular as maybe more traditional Republicans would be in Texas,” he said. “Millennials are overwhelmingly against Trump. I think that has a lot to do with it. I think it’s more of a personality distaste for him.”

What they are entirely in agreement about is that Republicans need to:

… show up, talk to everyone and articulate how conservatism is looking out for the people who don’t look like the rest of their party.

(Side note: That Republicans have an issue with just showing up and going into neighborhoods where they might not normally go and engaging with diverse communities, made me think of that time when an easy, no-brainer decision to just show up was a struggle…)

Anyway, clearly the Republicans need to persuade Americans as to why the GOP is more preferable than the Democratic party. Also, to reach out to different communities doesn’t signify a surrendering to identity politics. The numbers are just what they are: a dominant number of minority Americans have collectively and historically been wed to the Democratic party, to one degree or another. It therefore falls to the GOP to convince those Americans that there is a better alternative. Of course, there is also one significant hurdle to overcome when trying to convince Americans to come to the right side of the aisle… After all, you can say all the great things there are to say about conservatism, but when someone like Trump is at the helm, the task of persuading becomes all the more difficult.

[Ed. Only for the sake of time and debate am I equating the GOP with Conservatism. While I believe there is very little daylight left between the two major parties, I still think the GOP adheres more closely to Conservatism than any other group. In word, at least, if not necessarily in deed.]

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Oklahoma Releases Hundreds Of Inmates In Historic Commutation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:13 am



[guest post by Dana]

This is what criminal justice reform looked like in Oklahoma yesterday:

More than 400 inmates were released in Oklahoma on Monday in the largest mass commutation in U.S. history, news station KOCO reports. More than 500 inmates’ sentences were commuted by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last week as part of the state’s criminal justice reform, and 462 inmates were able to walk free Monday. The inmates who left and are slated to leave prison were doing time for nonviolent crimes, like drug possession and low-level property crime. The move will reportedly save Oklahomans almost $12 million in taxpayer dollars.

Voters determined the legislative change leading up to yesterday’s mass release of prisoners:

Oklahoma voters approved a state question in 2016 that changed simple drug possession and low-level property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Stitt signed a bill this year that retroactively adjusted those sentences, approving a fast-track commutation docket for those who met the criteria.

Echoing his predecessor Mary Fallin, Gov. Stitts, a Republican, did not like that Oklahoma had the “dubious honor” of being at the top of the list for incarcerations. From his comments about the historic event:

“This marks an important milestone of Oklahomans wanting to focus the state’s efforts on helping those with nonviolent offenses achieve better outcomes in life,” Stitt said in a statement Monday.

“This is really a second chance for each and every one of you, and I want to challenge you,” Stitt said. “Because you know there will be tough times ahead. But your kids, your family, your future – everything depends on you getting tough and making sure you get the help you need, so you do not come back here and make the same mistakes that have happened in the past.”

“Now is the first day of the rest of your lives.”

Details:

Of the hundreds of inmates who had their sentences commuted:
— The average age is 39.7 years old
— 75% are men, and 25% are women
— They had been incarcerated for three years
— They were being released an average of 1.34 years early

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

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