Patterico's Pontifications


Evidence of Trump Organization Tax Fraud Emerges — What About that IRS Whistleblower Again?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:53 am

Pro Publica:

Documents obtained by ProPublica show stark differences in how Donald Trump’s businesses reported some expenses, profits and occupancy figures for two Manhattan buildings, giving a lender different figures than they provided to New York City tax authorities. The discrepancies made the buildings appear more profitable to the lender — and less profitable to the officials who set the buildings’ property tax.

For instance, Trump told the lender that he took in twice as much rent from one building as he reported to tax authorities during the same year, 2017. He also gave conflicting occupancy figures for one of his signature skyscrapers, located at 40 Wall Street.

. . . .

A dozen real estate professionals told ProPublica they saw no clear explanation for multiple inconsistencies in the documents. The discrepancies are “versions of fraud,” said Nancy Wallace, a professor of finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley. “This kind of stuff is not OK.”

. . . .

There can be legitimate reasons for numbers to diverge between tax and loan documents, the experts noted, but some of the gaps seemed to have no reasonable justification. “It really feels like there’s two sets of books — it feels like a set of books for the tax guy and a set for the lender,” said Kevin Riordan, a financing expert and real estate professor at Montclair State University who reviewed the records. “It’s hard to argue numbers. That’s black and white.”

This is, of course, what Trump provably did in the 1990s, as the New York Times revealed in detail about a year ago. He got away with it for years, as rich people often do.

I’m suspicious of the language in the Pro Publica piece in the second paragraph of the quoted passage above: “Trump told the lender.” I see no other evidence in the article that Trump had direct involvement in the apparent shenanigans. He is President, after all, and in that capacity has his hands pretty full, what with the constant tweeting and promulgating policies that lead to the release of terrorists. One wonders where he would find the time to mislead tax authorities. He probably outsources that to his family now.

One thing Trump might exercise personal control over, however, is interfering with any audits of his tax returns. Recall the letter Richard Neal sent Mnuchin about allegations of efforts to influence the mandatory IRS audit of Trump’s tax returns. In the letter, Neal described “credible allegations” from a whistleblower of “evidence of possible misconduct” regarding “inappropriate efforts to influence” the mandatory IRS audit of the President and Vice President.

Neal to Mnuchin

This was part of the predicate for the House Ways and Means Committee to demand Trump’s tax returns — which Congress may do under a 1924 law that I discussed here in April.

The Pro Publica piece lends weight to the notion that the Trump Organization has something to fear from sunlight, and as prosecutors get closer to getting their mitts on Trump’s financials in New York, more may be coming to light. Indeed, if I were a betting man, I’d bet on it.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Democratic Debate Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:50 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The debate is live on CNN, and streaming on and the Front-runners Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders will be center-stage. And making his debut appearance is one-percenter Tom Steyer. Oh, an lest I forget, the Little Aloha Sweetie herself will also be on stage!

And if so moved, you can make your Election Confession 2020 here:

Tell us what you really think about the 2020 election. What are your thoughts on the presidential candidates? How do you feel about the race itself so far? About the state of the country? Share your anonymous confession with NBC News.

You can also read everyone else’s “confession” too!

[Ed. True confessions during a political debate?? Now that’s pretty funny!]


LeBron James: My Friends And I Had A Difficult Week Because Of Daryl Morey’s Misinformed Tweet For Freedom (UPDATES ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:17 am

[guest post by Dana]

In yet another craven display of self-interest, where financial gain takes priority over principles, LeBron James has weighed in on Daryl Morey and his since-deleted tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters that ignited a firestorm last week:

“I think that’s another situation that should stay behind closed doors. I think when we all sit back and learn from the situation that happened, understand that what you could tweet or could say… We all talk about this freedom of speech. Yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, and you’re only thinking about yourself. I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say, and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.”

Oh, what bullshit! Do these clowns ever listen to the word vomit that comes out of their mouths?!! Exactly what about Morey’s tweet, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” makes James believe he was misinformed or uneducated about Hong Kong protesters and China? Because, by making that accusation, James presumes to know something that Morey doesn’t know about the situation, and I would sure like to know what that is. But of course James doesn’t know anything that Morey doesn’t, rather he’s just another yes man in the NBA parroting the company line of defense. Instead of being able to provide a persuasive argument to convince us why Morey is uninformed, James instead makes empty accusations. It’s all he’s got. And it’s utterly rich for him to say, without an ounce of self-awareness, that when you say things or do things, others might be directly impacted and things might actually change as a result. That’s exactly what the Hong Kong protesters are fighting for! Just spitballing here, but I don’t think it’s the Hong Kong protesters that James is concerned about… Anyway, I do wonder what it would take for James and his NBA pals to make a loud stand for freedom and democracy and say the hell with More Money. Frankly, I’m beginning to think that not much of anything would compel these money-grabbing whores to shout for freedom if it means taking a hit in their wallets. The question now is, which oppressed people won’t they sell out to make sure their empires remain intact? This, people, is what privilege looks like.

James, seeing that his tweet hadn’t been well-received, attempted later to clarify his comments:

Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk About that.

My team and this league just went through a difficult week. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it.

Oh boo-hoo, you and your multi-millionaire teammates had a difficult week facing potential salary-cap ramifications if this issue doesn’t get resolved! You faced some hard criticism, and financial consequences from the Chinese government and now the relationship is…strained? Oh, no! And because you face the loss of a few million dollars here and there, you are going to lecture us, and act like your difficult week is right up there with the difficult week that imprisoned Muslim Uighurs and Hong Kong protesters have had? Seriously?? By chastising Morey for not waiting a week to tweet out his support for Hong Kong protesters, James tells us all we need to know about himself, and about his non-functioning moral compass.

And I’m going to suggest, King James, that Daryl Morey absolutely thought about what a tweet of support from a popular American figure would do for the protesters in Hong Kong, and that’s why he sent it in the first place. Clearly he was moved by a more noble cause than the lucrative financial dealings of the NBA. Likely he, along with Americans in every walk of life who have voiced their support for the protesters, knew that words of encouragement – especially from a public figure – might bolster morale and let the freedom fighters know that Americans stand with them because we stand for liberty. However, I doubt that the protesters are giving much thought to arrogant American basketball players worried about the flow of money from China and how this might impact their bottom line. No, I’m guessing they’re just a little bit preoccupied with overcoming fear and exhaustion as they courageously push back against the iron fist of totalitarianism:

Chinese president, Xi Jinping has said any attempt to divide China will be crushed. “Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones,” he said in a meeting with leaders during a visit to Nepal on Sunday, according to China’s state broadcaster, CCTV.

At a pro-democracy rally yesterday, thousands of these young protesters continue to look to the US for strength and hope and support:

“Fight for freedom, fight for Hong Kong”… [and] called for international support in their fight for democracy. One speaker called on US senators to vote for the proposed Hong Kong human rights and democracy act of 2019, saying it would be their “most powerful weapon”. Some protesters waved US flags.

And this, Lebron James, is what these protesters, with steel in their spines and courage in their hearts, believe with every fiber of their being: that to “say things or do things, if you are doing it and you know the people that can be affected by it and the families and individuals and everyone that can be affected by it, sometimes things can be changed as well“. This is their sacred prayer.

“We are exhausted and scared, many of us have been detained and tortured … We believe international help will come one day,” said the main speaker, who gave his name as Isaac.

Just don’t look to the NBA for that help, Isaac. They’re too busy counting their money.

Oh, funny this:


UPDATE: Apparently LeBron James lecture to American and Hong Kong supporters of freedom hasn’t gone over well with the Hong Kong protesters:

The demonstrators chanted support for Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, something of a hero among protesters in Hong Kong for having tweeted in support of their struggle — infuriating authorities in China.

“People are angry,” said James Lo, a web designer who runs a Hong Kong basketball fan page on Facebook.

He said he’s already received a video from a protester that showed him burning a No. 23 jersey bearing the hoops great’s name.

“Students, they come out like every weekend. They’ve got tear-gassed and then they got gun-shot, like every weekend,” he added. “Police beating students and then innocent people, like every day. And then he (James) just comes up with something (like) that. We just can’t accept that.

Protesters said his comments smacked of a double standard, because he’s used his clout as a sports superstar to press for social causes in the US.

“Please remember, all NBA players, what you said before: ‘Black lives matter.’ Hong Kong lives also matter!” one of the protesters, William Mok, 36, told a crowd of hundreds.

Others said James’ comments made it seem like he’s more worried about money than people.

“James was trying, you know, to take a side, on the China side, which is like ridiculous,” said Aaron Lee, 36, a marketing director. “He was being honest, financially. Financial is money. Simple as that. LeBron James stands for money. Period.”

In a display of contempt for the player on Tuesday, many hurled basketballs at a photo of his face sitting atop a hoop.

LeBron and his pals’ hard week just got a whole lot worse… Shame on the lot of them.

UPDATE #2: Lebron James reportedly argued that Daryl Morey should have been punished for his tweet:

NBA star LeBron James reportedly pressured the NBA to punish the Rockets’ General Manager Daryl Morey after he tweeted support for Hong Kong.

James argued that if something a NBA player had tweeted had cost the league money they would have been punished, and questioned why the same wasn’t happening to Morey, according to Dave McMenamin on ESPN.

“Nearly a week ago today, in a Shanghai hotel room, or Shanghai hotel ballroom, Adam Silver got up and addressed the players, and LeBron James is one of the players who got up and spoke and said, ‘Hey, what are we doing here? Daryl Morey made these statements,’” McMenamin recalled on air Tuesday. “You know damn well if a player made the same statements and caused such poor ramifications for the league, there would be some sort of league recourse.”

“There would be repercussions the player has to pay. You know, potentially this tweet could cost the NBA hundreds of millions of dollars. That could come out of the players’ pockets, and so that’s the double standard that was being addressed in that meeting,” he continued.

The comments by James were made during a players meeting on Oct. 9 before the Lakers vs. Nets game in Shanghai, according to a report published by The Athletic.

Well, at least we have solid confirmation that the only concern LeBron and his pals had in this whole sordid mess was how hard this was going to hit their bank accounts.


(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Russia Takes Over Abandoned U.S. Army Base as Russian Trolls America

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:54 am

Business Insider:

A video shows the inside of a US military camp overtaken by Russian mercenaries working with Syrian forces, shortly after American troops abandoned it.

US forces left the Manbij camp in northern Syria early Tuesday following an October 6 directive from President Donald Trump to leave a coalition with the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting ISIS. A spokesman for the US operation confirmed the departure on Tuesday.

The US’ decision to pull out gave Turkish forces the green light to invade Syria and drive out the SDF, which contains Kurdish fighters. Turkey considers the Kurds terrorists and has long vowed to destroy them. Over the weekend the SDF joined a pact with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s government to fight the Turkish offensive.

Here is video of a Russian speaker supposedly entering the camp:

The Yankee ballcap is a nice touch.

I have not independently verified the translation or where this guy is, so take it with that grain of salt. The fact that Russians are taking over one of our bases, however, seems solid.

It’s good that you did that, Anthony Donald. It’s a Very Good Thing that you did.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Simone Biles, Gymnast Extraordinaire

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Take a moment and consider the amazing Simone Biles :

[Simone] Biles delivered a history-making share on the final day of the World Gymnastics Championships on Sunday, breaking the record for the most world medals earned by a gymnast, male or female, in winning the 24th of her career — a gold on the balance beam.

Then, after the equivalent of a lunch break, she returned to the arena and won another gold — this one, on floor exercise, with a routine that included the stunning, triple-twisting, double somersault that she alone has successfully landed in competition and extended her record-setting world medal tally to 25.

Upon concluding her final routine in what is likely her final world championship, the 22-year-old Biles seemed to take a dramatic pause on the tumbling floor as cheers rained down from the capacity crowd.

But she was simply too exhausted to stand up and walk off, she explained afterward, utterly sapped from 10 days of competition in which she left no doubt that she is history’s greatest gymnast.

“I just couldn’t breathe, honestly,” Biles said after collecting her breath and regaining her smile. “I just couldn’t move, I was so tired. [I felt like], ‘I’m going to stay here because if I come back up, I’m literally going to be breathing like a dog!’ ”

Here is Biles in the Floor Exercise All-around final:

(Note: Despite stepping out of bounds on an over-exuberant tumbling sequence, Biles scored 15.133 points — well ahead of her nearest competitors, who included fellow American Sunisa Lee, 16, who took silver (14.133) in her world championships debut. Russia’s Angelina Melnikova (14.066) took bronze.)

Congratulations to an incredible young woman!

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


President Trump Suggests Kurds Deliberately Releasing ISIS Militants To Draw U.S. Back Into Syria

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Given U.S. troop withdrawal last week, it seems inevitable that Islamic State affiliates and supporters would begin to escape their confines during the ensuing chaos:

More than 800 suspected IS detainees escaped the Ayn Issa camp in northern Syria on Sunday, Kurdish forces said in a statement, five days into Turkey’s military incursion into the region.

Jelal Ayaf, co-chair of Ayn Issa camp, told local media that 859 people “successfully escaped” the section of the camp holding foreign nationals. He also said that attacks were already being carried out by “sleeper cells” that had emerged from inside the camp, which holds IS prisoners, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and families or affiliates of IS fighters. While some of the escaped could be recaptured, he described the situation in the camp as “very volatile.”


[F]ive ISIS militants successfully fled from Jirkin prison in Qamishli. Turkish shelling was blamed for their escape.

After Fox News anchor and a co-host of Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade continued to criticize Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, Trump suggested that Kurdish forces may be deliberately releasing ISIS militants as a way to regain U.S. support and presence in northern Syria:

Meanwhile, the Kurds have turned to Damascus and Russia for help in pushing back Turkish forces:

Kurdish troops turned to the Syrian government and Russia for help Sunday, according to a Kurdish military official, in a move that could increase Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence in Syria, deal a substantial blow to the Kurds’ ambitions of independence in the region, and be seen as a win for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The announcement represents a major shift in alliances for Syria’s Kurds, who were longtime partners with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS. The decision also sets up a potential clash between Turkey and the Syrian government and raises the possibility of a resurgent Islamic State group.

“Nobody supports us. This is why we made an agreement with the Russians and the Syrian government,” said Ismat Sheik Hassan, a Kurdish official who leads the Kobani Military Council.

Mazloum Abdi, the commander in chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, wrote in an article for Foreign Policy on Sunday that “we know that we would have to make painful compromises with Moscow and Bashar al-Assad if we go down the road of working with them.”

“But if we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people,” he said.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


ABC News Broadcasts Footage of Gun Show Demonstration and Tells Viewers It Is Turks Attacking Kurds

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:55 am


Are you distrustful of coverage of what is happening now in northern Syria between the Kurds and the Turkish army? You have good reason to be.

ABC aired supposedly shocking footage Monday morning purporting to be from the front-line battle between the Syrian Kurds and the invading Turks. The only problem is that the footage appears to come from a nighttime demonstration at the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky.

After seeing a comment from Wojciech Pawelczyk, I began making some calls. As of this writing, it appears that this video is a hoax, and ABC has pulled it down.

“We are still investigating,” a representative for the gun range told the Washington Examiner Monday, adding the images aired by ABC “looks to be” from the Kentucky property.

“As of right now,” the spokesperson added, “it seems to be our footage.”

A spokesperson for ABC conceded it made a big mistake.

Here is the tweet that prompted the story:

The best part is how this will be used to “prove” that any story about the carnage in Syria is Fake News. Going forward, literally any story that documents what the Kurds suffer, as a result of Trump’s going off script on a phone call, will be dismissed by intellectually lazy and partisan Trump superfans.

Which may be exactly what was intended by whoever passed the video on to ABC News. It makes me wonder whether Trump superfans — or more ominously, people working for Erdogan — were involved. It’s a tactic that folks attempted to use on me during Weinergate: target the principal source reporting unfavorable information, and feed them fake similar information that you can later reveal to be fake. (It didn’t work on me during Weinergate, but they tried.)

So let’s keep our eye on the ball. Who passed ABC News the video? And who stands to benefit from stories about Turks slaughtering Kurds being treated as a hoax?

Yes, laugh it up, but be wary about being manipulated. The fact that ABC News fell for the Knob Creek hoax is funny — but there could be dark forces behind this. Forces even darker — if you Trump fans can imagine this — than ABC News.

Which does not let ABC News off the hook. If anything, the fact that they might have been manipulated by people seeking to take attention off the Turkish massacre should make them more careful, and makes this lapse even more shameful.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


More of What Ails the Golden State

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:47 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Since I’m on a roll here, let me continue ranting about my adopted state. Regular readers might recall my utter contempt for the disastrous California High-Speed Rail project, an attitude which is even shared by the more sensible bloggers here. Though the project is slowly — far too slowly if you ask me — circling the bowl on it’s way down the drain, like a maniac killer in a cheesy horror movie we can’t yet be sure it’s really dead.

So I was completely unsurprised when I saw an interesting editorial a few weeks back in the local paper explaining yet another problem with high-speed rail that turns out to be far more significant than its proponents realized:

According to the Los Angeles Times, the California High-Speed Rail Authority is now the owner of everything from rental units to toxic waste dumps on purchased land, yet lacks enough contiguous parcels to proceed with the most basic construction.

[. . .]

Hundreds of acres have been gobbled up uselessly by the overseers of the bullet train, whose construction path sometimes intersects just a fraction of a lot that must be wholly acquired to move on. And now, hundreds more parcels must be purchased just for the train track to be laid.

The staggering overage also has to do with the massive network of utility functions the train would disrupt and force to relocate.

While entirely foreseeable, only now, a decade into the process, are organizers realizing the staggering scope of the electric and water resources, such as pipelines and cables, that would somehow have to be rerouted or replaced to leave residents whole as the train, or at least its track, came to town.

Well, OK then. Interesting that this news first appeared in the Dog Trainer (obviously I’m no longer regularly reading that rag or else I might have noticed it) considering that their editorial board was naturally a big booster of the original project. At this point we need to treat high-speed rail like an undead movie monster and drag it into sunlight, put a stake through it’s heart, cut off its head and stuff its mouth with wolfsbane, then shoot a silver bullet into it, and do whatever else needs to be done to defang it once and for all. Then let’s forever refer to the ill-fated venture as the Schwarzenegger-Brown Fast Choo-Choo Boondoggle, and use it as a warning against badly-conceived and fanciful government projects that win votes for politicians but have zero chance of coming to fruition.

Speaking of which, anyone remember the California stem cell bond issue of 2004? Some quick background: you might remember that President George W. Bush early in his first term decided that the federal government would not support the creation of any new embryonic stem cell lines for research purposes, objecting that harvesting them from discarded frozen embryos was an affront to the sanctity of life. This decision was derided by those who don’t hold the view that frozen embryos embody meaningful human life as well as by the “let’s unleash science” crowd, who generally objects to the notion that religiously-based issues of morality should be allowed to interfere with scientific discovery. California being California, the pro-embryo stem cell research crowd was ascendant, and so a wealthy real estate developer who had family members suffering from diseases such as Alzheimers and diabetes helped fund a ballot proposition which sold public bonds to create the $3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Like high-speed rail, the pro-bond campaign was marked by lavish promises: California would become a pioneer in genetic research; the money would create jobs for thousands of Californians; and the stem-cell therapies that would result from all this CIRM research would pay for the “investment” dozens of times over. Once again, a well-meaning patsy of a governor (Schwarzenegger naturally) swallowed the marketing pitch completely and endorsed the measure. (I think a big problem with Arnie was that he was sensitive to the whispers that he wasn’t particularly bright, being a bodybuilder and Hollywood actor, so he was constantly falling for whatever scheme the so-called “experts” would place in front of him.) The proposition overwhelmingly passed in a Presidential election year, with Democrats gleefully promoting it as both a can’t-miss opportunity as well as a poke in the eye to the hated President Bush.

So what’s become of the CIRM nearly fifteen years later? Not a whole hell of a lot, according to Marc Joffe of the Reason Foundation:

Unfortunately, reality has not lived up to the hype. Last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that CIRM funding had failed to produce a single federally-approved therapy. And a 2015 State Controller’s Office audit found the institute failed to take adequate steps to ensure that scientists reviewing grant applications did not have conflicts of interest. Given these results, State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, called Proposition 71 “the most egregious ballot measure abuse in recent state history.”

Other issues which have beset the CIRM include charges of administrative bloat coupled with a lack of transparency among board members and a rather opaque process for awarding grants that raises questions of ethics, along with the aforementioned question regarding conflicts of interest among key personnel. Naturally, there are friendly academics who reach conclusions that the CIRM has been a raging success, but even the alleged financial benefits cited in the positive reports fall short of the overall impact promoted by proponents one-and-a-half decades ago.

I’m sure this will come as a major surprise, but despite the supposed success of this program the CIRM plans to come back to the voters next year with a request for an additional $5 billion dollars in funding. This of course leads to the question of why, if this initiative is such a raging success, it is necessary for the taxpayers to continue to pour in money. Surely this could be the perfect model for a public-private partnership, and scores of venture capitalists would line up to invest in these emerging and innovative technologies which will make everyone so phenomenally rich. Maybe the salient fact that as of the beginning of last year the CIRM has funded zero — exactly zero — stem cell cures approved by the FDA (though there are some that are currently in trial) will cause voters to be more skeptical of the promises that are bound to come from the CIRM’s fanbase. But given that the pro-bond campaign will largely be centered around cute kids with life-threatening diseases and happy talk about all of the jobs created with the original $3 billion (which was not the point of the original measure, by the way), and given that this is a Presidential election year when California progressives will be robotically drawn to the polls, I can’t imagine that this won’t pass yet again.

Because in California we are fools for government-funded fanciful schemes.


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 17

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 8:49 am

It is the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich” (He who offers thanks praises Me):

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 17:11-19:

Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him — and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

One, however, among them, when he saw that he was cured, turned back and praised God with a loud voiceand fell upon his face at His feet and thanked Him; and this was a Samaritan.

What an abundance of goodness
You give me!
Yet what shall my conscience
give You in return?
Lord, I know nothing else to bring,
except to sing thanks and praise to You.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Shep Smith Out, WSJ Editorial Page Turns on Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:44 pm

Reading the news is, as the common saying goes, like drinking from a firehose.

I want to note that Shep Smith is out at Fox News — by his own choice to be sure, but mainly because the network didn’t support him and truth, against the Trumpist degenerates who garner the Trumpy praise at the rallies:

But I think the piece worth highlighting today is from the Wall Street Journal editorial board, who, like Matt Drudge (have you seen the Drudge Report lately?), appears to have had it with the dunce cap model in the Oval:

Jennifer Griffin of Fox News reports that Mr. Trump was supposed to tell Mr. Erdogan to stay north of the border. When the Turkish bully made his threats, Mr. Trump could have said that the U.S. military controls the air above the region and would respond to protect the Kurds and U.S. soldiers. Ms. Griffin reports that Mr. Trump instead “went off script” during the call and agreed to stay out of Turkey’s way.

One of the most tragic and dangerous deviations from script in memory.

How this will play out isn’t clear, but the early signs are troubling. Mr. Trump claimed Mr. Erdogan would take control of the more than 10,000 Islamic State prisoners under Kurdish control, but a senior adviser to Mr. Erdogan told CNN this week that Turkey “never said” it would “shoulder the burden” of holding the prisoners.

Watch out if the Kurds stop holding the prisoners as they flee the invading Turks. The ISIS fighters could break free to rejoin the estimated 15,000 jihadists who haven’t been killed or captured. They could hoist their flag again over territory in Syria or Iraq.

The rather eye-opening conclusion of the editors?

As Commander in Chief, Mr. Trump has been mostly tactical and rarely strategic. He shifts positions from week to week, even day to day, for the sake of a summit or short-term appearances. Allies are informed about his reversals after the fact and left to wonder if they can still rely on the United States of America.

As Mr. Trump runs for re-election, this habit of impulsive judgment will be front-and-center. As an incumbent he should be the safer presidential choice. But Mr. Trump’s judgment can be so reckless that many voters who took a risk on him the first time will ask if he’s worth a second gamble when he would no longer be disciplined by having to face the voters again. Impeachment won’t defeat Donald Trump in 2020, but Donald Trump might.

The real fear is that Trump’s legacy won’t be merely the installment of angry and scary Elizabeth Warren, but the flipping of the Senate. If Dems don’t manage to flip three or four seats, Fauxcahontas has zero chance of implementing her frightening war on success. But that’s not guaranteed.

Republicans made a very, very big mistake picking Donald Trump in 2016. A historic mistake. Anyone could have beaten Hillary Clinton. No other Republican would have been this reckless. Our electorate is terrible, and the choices voters face in 2020 are untenable, barring a miracle by Biden — who is barely tenable (for four years max; thank goodness he’s old) only by comparison to the monument to idiocracy currently occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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