Patterico's Pontifications

12/24/2015

Thoughts On Christmas Eve

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:31 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It’s Christmas Eve, and around here presents are still waiting to be wrapped, the turkey may or may not be adequately thawed, and my efforts to cheat and not make homemade cookies this year was an unmitigated disaster. Note to self: when pre-packaged cookie dough says reindeer “stamped”, consider that a red flag. A picture is not worth a thousand yums, and if it looks like cardboard, it will probably taste like cardboard…

Anyway, I read President Obama’s statement concerning the persecution of Christians throughout the world. On the surface, I wholeheartedly agree with him. But because it’s Christmas Eve, I will graciously refrain from noting a bit of breathtaking irony with his concerns, and will also refrain from looking beneath the surface to point out the sad, but obvious... Suffice it to say, until he looks in his own backyard and backs up his words with corrective action, I am choosing to instead focus on the agreed upon need to pray for Christians who face torture and death because of their faith.

In spite of knowing the risk, these believers who have the immense faith of a mustard seed, refuse to buckle under, refuse to convert, and refuse to deny Him. I don’t know that kind of courage, faith, and resolve. And although I’ve never been tested that way, I don’t need to be in order to know that I would deny belonging to Christ in a hot second if it meant escaping torture and saving my life. Oh, ye of little faith, indeed. Yet, as with most believers, it’s not death that troubles me, it’s the ‘getting there’ – especially if it’s in a land where rampant evil makes itself known at the hands of depraved madmen living in abject darkness, save for the Godly remnant. No one’s life in Christ comes with guaranteed comfort and safety, at least not in this world. But what it does come with is something far deeper, transforming, and lasting than anything mortal man can create: a peace that surpasses all understanding and an eternal life in the presence of God, thus forever absent of evil.

Pastor Su Tianfu of China, where Christians are routinely persecuted and thrive in spite of it, has experienced both mortal fear and divine strength in the face of persecution as have many other saints. So when he claims that faith and love of God cannot be chained, I believe him.

This Christmas I want to stay mindful of the relative ease with which I am able to live out my faith. It’s a luxury not to be taken for granted. And yet no matter where we are and what circumstances we face, the believer everywhere can be assured that God’s promise will forever be a constant: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God bless those throughout the world who are courageous enough to claim Christ in the face of terror, and are wholly surrendered to His will, no matter what it may be.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are two dogs here excitedly awaiting their uh, freshly baked “reindeer” doggy treats…

–Dana

Clueless Democrats: Of Course We’ll Take In Refugees From Fictional Town Of Agrabah!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:40 am

[guest post by Dana]

Earlier this week we learned that 30% of polled GOP voters supported the bombing of the mythical town of “Agrabah”.

Today we find out that even a greater percentage of Democrats support taking in refugees from the same fictional town:

On December 20, 2015, WPA Research fielded a national survey of 1,132 registered voters that found 44% of Democrats would support taking refugees from that same Agrabah. PPP may have proven that some Republicans will support bombing a fictional country, but fully 44% of Democrats will allow refugees from anywhere into the country, whether they are potential ISIS supporters from Syria or potential cartoon characters on a magic carpet ride.

Further, young Democrats may not be as sharp as their party would like you to believe:

Additionally, Democrats ages 18-34, a key constituency of President Obama, are especially eager to take in imaginary refugees.

Nearly two-thirds of these voters support accepting refugees from Agrabah.

This is particularly suprising given this generation grew up watching Disney films such as Aladdin.

Democrats ages 18-34
Support 66%
Indifferent 12%
Oppose 22%

This after officials have acknowledged there is no way to effectively vet refugees coming in from Syria, and after it was discovered that a radical Islamic jihadist used a fake passport to sneak into Europe before wreaking havoc in last month’s terrorist attack in France.

Moreover, given that we now know that San Bernardino terrorist, Tashfeen Malik was not thoroughly vetted before being allowed into the country, there is no question that there is a lack of efficiency and reliability in the current vetting process.

While it’s certainly admirable to want to help those in need, any goodness goes right down the drain when a self-serving compulsion to preen in moral superiority outweighs the safety and well-being of Americans. We are not fooled. Your self-righteous underpants are showing.

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: From my earlier post:

For example, you could ask whether we should welcome Daleks as refugees, and I guarantee you that a plurality of Democrats would support welcoming within our borders this Nazi-like group of mutants from Doctor Who, bent on exterminating inferior races. If I were rich, I would commission a poll to ask this very question.

Nice to see that someone commissioned, essentially, that poll.

12/23/2015

Media Dishonestly Represents Ted Cruz’s Objection To His Daughters Being Denigrated By Cartoonist

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:16 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It’s instructive to see the MSM dishonestly describing Sen. Ted Cruz’s objections to Ann Telnaes’s denigrating cartoon as nothing more than him being angry that a cartoonist drew his daughters. No, MSM, it’s that they were depicted as tethered monkeys dancing to the tune of an organ grinder. Big difference.

Of course, as I said last night, it would be an Entirely Different Story if it were Sasha and Malia Obama being depicted in such a crude and vulgar manner. It would be beneficial for the media, and Telnaes, to be reminded that even the Obama girls participated in political campaign ads on behalf of their dad:

Untitled-1

However, try as I might, I am unable to find any cartoon by Telnaes depicting Sasha and Malia as tethered animals as a result of this ad.

While we have learned that Hillary Clinton is shamelessly pandering to Hispanic voters, what she is also doing is using her granddaughter as a “political prop” while she stereotypes Hispanics:

Hillary&Bill-Abuela

Again, try as I might, I could not find a cartoon by Telnaes depicting Clinton’s granddaughter as a tethered animal, either.

Anyway, we know how the game is played, and the usual suspects are more than willing to play the game with a standard manipulative deception:

Politico:
politico

Reuters:
reuters

USA Today:
usa-today

CNN:
cnn

The New York Times:
nyt

New York Daily News:
daily-news

File this under yet more proof that the MSM is not to be trusted, and is certainly not unbiased.

–Dana

UPDATE: Cruz tweeted this response today:

cruz

(h/t Simon Jester)

Trashing Politico’s Utter Hack Job: Cruz Behind Closed Doors Exactly the Same as Cruz in Public

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:09 am

The hackiest of hack attacks on Ted Cruz has just been published at Politico by hackmeister general Mike Allen. The piece can be read here (safe Google cache link, since I don’t link Politico) and is titled What Ted Cruz Said Behind Closed Doors:

In June, Ted Cruz promised on NPR that opposition to gay marriage would be “front and center” in his 2016 campaign.

Actually, let’s stop right there, because Mike Allen is already lying to you. Or more, accurately, he is repeating an NPR lie that he either didn’t verify, or is actively misrepresenting. In June, NPR ran a piece titled Cruz: Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage Will Be ‘Front And Center’ In 2016 Campaign. But I actually bothered to listen to the interview, and that’s not what he said. Here’s the “front and center” language in context. Speaking of the gay marriage decision and the ObamaCare decision, Cruz said:

This week in response to both of these decisions, I have called for another constitutional amendment – this one that would make members of the Supreme Court subject to periodic judicial retention elections. As a very real check, 20 states have retention elections they’ve put in place, if judges overstep their bounds, violate the constitution, then the people have a check to remove them from office. I’ve called for that change. That is very much front and center something I intend to campaign on. And marriage and religious liberty are going to be integral, I believe, to motivating the American people to come out and vote for what’s ultimately restoring our constitutional system.

Again: “both of these decisions” means the ObamaCare decision and the gay marriage decision.

In the same interview, Cruz also talks about amendments to redefine marriage as between a man and a woman, and stripping the courts of jurisdiction over marriage. But those proposals are not the subject of the “front and center” language, which relates to judicial retention elections. Cruz was not talking about placing “opposition to gay marriage” front and center. He was talking about responding to a lawless gay marriage decision, and the ObamaCare decision, by proposing a way to check the power of lawless judges: with a constitutional amendment authorizing judicial retention elections.

In other words, Allen lies to you in the first sentence of his piece. More from Allen:

But in December, behind closed doors at a big-dollar Manhattan fundraiser, the quickly ascending presidential candidate assured a Republican gay-rights supporter that a Cruz administration would not make fighting same-sex marriage a top priority.

In a recording provided to POLITICO, Cruz answers a flat “No” when asked whether fighting gay marriage is a “top-three priority,” an answer that pleased his socially moderate hosts but could surprise some of his evangelical backers.

While Cruz’s private comments to a more moderate GOP audience do not contradict what the Republican Texas senator has said elsewhere, they demonstrate an adeptness at nuance in tone and emphasis that befits his Ivy League background. Indeed, the wording looks jarring when compared with the conservative, evangelical rhetoric he serves at his rallies, which have ballooned in size and excitement as he has moved to the front of the pack in Iowa.

How many specific examples does Allen provide of “conservative, evangelical rhetoric” that supposedly contradicts the tone of Cruz’s comments at the Manhattan fundraiser? If you guessed “zero” then you’re paying attention. Yet Allen runs around collecting quotes from people claiming to be astounded at Cruz’s alleged doubletalk:

A well-known Republican operative not affiliated with a 2016 campaign said by email when sent Cruz’s quote: “Wow. Does this not undermine all of his positions? Abortion, Common Core — all to the states? … Worse, he sounds like a slick D.C. politician — says one thing on the campaign trail and trims his sails with NYC elites. Not supposed to be like that.”

. . . .

[A]n adviser to a rival campaign, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wants to stay behind the scenes, said the Manhattan comments could help opponents portray Cruz as “calculating” at a time voters are rewarding authenticity.

“There’s an Iowa Ted and a New York Ted,” the adviser said. “He sounds different behind closed doors.”

Before proceeding any further with Allen’s breathlessly tendentious characterizations, let’s look at what Cruz actually said at the fundraiser, in full context:

Q: Can I ask you a question? So, I’m a big supporter. And the only issue I really disagree with you about is gay marriage. And I’m curious: Given all the problems that the country’s facing — like ISIS, the growth of government — how big a priority is fighting gay marriage going to be to a Cruz administration?

CRUZ: “My view on gay marriage is that I’m a constitutionalist and marriage is a question for the states. And so I think if someone wants to change the marriage laws of their state, the way to do so is convince your fellow citizens — and change them democratically, rather than five unelected judges. … Being a constitutionalist is integral to my approach to every other issue. So that I’m very devoted to.

Q: So would you say it’s like a top-three priority for you — fighting gay marriage?

CRUZ: “No. I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority. And that cuts across the whole spectrum — whether it’s defending [the] First Amendment, defending religious liberty, stopping courts from making public policy issues that are left to the people. …

I also think the 10th Amendment of the Constitution cuts across a whole lot of issues and can bring people together. People of New York may well resolve the marriage question differently than the people of Florida or Texas or Ohio. … That’s why we have 50 states — to allow a diversity of views. And so that is a core commitment.

Note carefully the references to “five unelected judges” and his conviction that if you want to change this policy, “the way to do so is convince your fellow citizens.”

Now, let’s look at the NPR piece in which Cruz supposedly said something different in public. The transcript is here, but I find this passage interesting:

CRUZ: Well, look, this country is always changing. But — but my point about the Supreme Court is the Supreme Court didn’t wait for the country to change. Five unelected lawyers overruled 320 million Americans. Justice Scalia in dissent said these five unelected lawyers in robes have become the rulers of 320 million Americans.

Steve, you may well on policy grounds agree with the Supreme Court’s decision. If you had a referendum, you may well vote for gay marriage. Well, under our Constitution, there’s a way to make policy changes. The proper way to make policy changes is for you to convince your fellow citizens that there is a better policy outcome than the current one. And then in state legislatures, for those state legislatures to vote that change.

How different he sounds here! In public, Cruz decried the actions of “five unelected lawyers.” But behind closed doors, this suddenly became “five unelected judges.” WHICH IS IT, MR. CRUZ?? In public, Cruz told the hayseed yokels at National Public Radio: “The proper way to make policy changes is for you to convince your fellow citizens.” But get him behind closed doors with some elite Manhattan donors with fat wallets, and all of sudden he says that if you want to change marriage laws, “the way to do so is convince your fellow citizens.” OK, so the words are exactly the same. BUT DO YOU HEAR HOW DIFFERENT THE TONE IS???!!!!1!!!!1!!

Even worse, in June, Cruz described the need to rein in lawless judges as something he would put “front and center” in his campaign. But now, he is telling Manhattan donors that a commitment to constitutionalism is “a top priority” and a “core commitment.”

Wow, Mike Allen has really revealed Ted Cruz as a devious snake-oil salesman, hasn’t he?!

Hillary Clinton and Hispandering

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:43 am

[guest post by JVW]

Proving that there is no depth to which they are willing to sink in the pursuit of votes, the vulgar campaign of Hillary! Rodham Clinton, the once and future inevitable next President of the United States, released an insipid blog post on her campaign site (warning: this link takes you to, you know, Hillary!’s actual campaign site). Even worse, the post “7 things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela” [Spanish for “grandmother”] is written in that vaguely illiterate Buzzfeed or Mashable style, complete with the a numerated list and cloying GIFs so essential to the reading habits of the low-information voter.

But a funny thing happened to Hillary! on la camina a el barrio. Instead of the post being greeted by warm murmurs of assent from the multiculti crowd, her ham-handed attempt to ingratiate herself with a community in which she needs to do well in order to seize the prize that has eluded her appears to mostly have inspired a general sense of mockery, and the accusations of “Hispandering.” Twitchy reports on the emergence of the hashtag #notmyabuela. Best of all, she’s being slammed both from the right:

and from the social justice left:

It’s remarkable, isn’t it, how just at the moment when Hillary! obviously has a clear and unobstructed path to the Democrat nomination she figures out a way to stumble over her own feet. Do you suppose she is starting to worry about a possible match-up with an actual de buena fe Hispanic Republican like Ted Cruz or Mario Rubio?

– JVW

12/22/2015

Sen. Ted Cruz’s Little Girls, Ages 5 and 7, Considered “Fair Game” (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:47 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last week I posted the witty political ad released by the Cruz campaign in which the senator’s wife and charming daughters were featured:

Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Ann Telnaes of the Washington Post, decided that because she believed the little girls were “political props” in the ad, that made them “fair game”. As such, the Washington Post posted a denigrating GIF by Telnaes that depicted the Cruz girls as monkeys on leashes:

Untitled-1

The Washington Post pulled the GIF earlier this evening. Without offering an apology to the Cruz family, editor Fred Hiatt instead offered the following weak tea:

It’s generally been the policy of our editorial section to leave children out of it. I failed to look at this cartoon before it was published. I understand why Ann thought an exception to the policy was warranted in this case, but I do not agree.

Telnaes defended her denigration of Cruz’s daughters:

“There is an unspoken rule in editorial cartooning that a politician’s children are off-limits. People don’t get to choose their family members so obviously it’s unfair to ridicule kids for their parent’s behavior while in office or on the campaign trail- besides, they’re children,” Telnaes wrote Tuesday. “There are plenty of adults in the political world who act childish, so there is no need for an editorial cartoonist to target actual children.”

“I’ve kept to that rule, except when the children are adults themselves or choose to indulge in grown-up activities (as the Bush twins did during the George W Bush presidency).

“But when a politician uses his children as political props, as Ted Cruz recently did in his Christmas parody video in which his eldest daughter read (with her father’s dramatic flourish) a passage of an edited Christmas classic, then I figure they are fair game,” she concluded.

Again, Cruz’s daughters are 5 and 7 years old.

Cruz classily responded to Telnaes on twitter:

The Washington Examiner reminded readers:

In 2014, an obscure GOP Hill staffer was forced to resign from her job after a Facebook post criticizing President Obama’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, went viral on social media.

In a now-deleted post published on Thanksgiving Day, Elizabeth Lauten wrote in reference to the annual White House turkey pardon, “Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. … Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.”

Imagine if Sasha and Malia had been depicted as animals…

–Dana

UPDATE: Telnaes has now scrubbed the cartoon from her Twitter feed. Also, this is not her first time targeting Cruz. Apparently, drawing racist cartoons is nothing new for her:

Totally Missing The Irony: Feminist Lectures Men For Failing To Come To The Rescue

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Self-described “Godzilla of tech feminists” and co-founder of Giant Spacekat, game designer Briana Wu beautifully illustrates why feminists are not, and should not be taken seriously:

Untitled-1

On one hand, Wu and her ilk demand everyone acknowledge men and women are equal in every way, but at the same time, lectures that men are obligated to come to her rescue. And why? Because they’re better at it. She patronizingly accuses men of failing their obligation, while acknowledging they have a strength that women don’t. No wonder men are confused. If women don’t even know the rules of the game, how on earth are men supposed to know?

I am woman hear me roar… no, don’t hear me roar, save my ass instead (but don’t look at it while you’re saving me!)… but while you’re saving me, understand that I am seriously roaring in my heart…

Low hanging fruit.

–Dana

12/21/2015

Grahamnesty Out

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:58 am

Na na na na, hey hey, good bye.

Sen. Lindsey Graham is dropping out of the presidential race, his campaign announced this morning.

He was awful for many reasons but he’s out so why waste time listing them? So long, sucker.

Poll: Let’s Bomb This Fictional Place!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:12 am

By now you have probably seen the story that 30% of GOP voters support bombing “Agrabah,” the fictional town from Aladdin. 19% of Democrats agree. 45% of those who support this nonsensical proposition support one particular Republican candidate, and 41% of that candidate’s supporters would bomb the non-existent Arabic-sounding town.

Tribalism calls on me to ignore or dismiss the story. I have seen it widely dismissed on Twitter as a silly question or a hit job on Republicans. (It’s both, but more about this below.) Ilya Somin uses the poll to mount his hobby horse about the rational ignorance of voters — a proposition with which I quite agree. I’ve seen people justify the answers by reference to the assumptions that respondents made, which include an assumption (misguided, of course) that the pollsters were acting in good faith. I’ve seen people try to argue that there are tiny towns in places like Jordan with names that sound a little like Agrabah and maybe the respondents meant that town. In one amusing post I saw a full-throated if satirical defense of bombing Agrabah, a police state run by a ruthless dictator where dangerous magic and tolerance of slavery run rampant.

Very cute. This is what you do when tribalism calls. Either you pretend the story didn’t happen, or you go into spin mode.

But I can’t bow to the call of tribalism. I can’t ignore the story. And so, I feel compelled to write this post — a post that I assume will annoy many of you. So be it. I don’t blog to pander.

Let me start by saying that the question is obviously one-sided and designed as a hit on Republicans. You could ask any number of silly questions designed to embarrass Democrats by exploiting their own silly prejudices. For example, you could ask whether we should welcome Daleks as refugees, and I guarantee you that a plurality of Democrats would support welcoming within our borders this Nazi-like group of mutants from Doctor Who, bent on exterminating inferior races. If I were rich, I would commission a poll to ask this very question.

Clearly, Agrabah sounds vaguely Arabic, and people are aware that many people from Arabic countries have been posing a threat. If you’re making a guess, it’s not totally out of the blue to guess the way these respondents did.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s confront the reality that many on the right don’t want to talk about. Typically, we know that bombing enemies involves killing people. I know of no bombing campaign in war where we have bombed cities and killed nobody. This means that there is a large group of Americans out there who are in favor of killing people about whom they, provably, know absolutely nothing.

I recently posted some thoughts about Hugh Hewitt’s insisting to Ben Carson that it is a qualification to be President of the United States that one be willing to kill thousands of innocent children. In the same debate, candidates discussed an insane plan by one of the candidates to target terrorists’ families — not because they thought they were terrorists, but as a way to influence the terrorists by targeting their families.

Our country has the most mighty military in the world, and our citizens apparently like to see it used. I don’t think there has been a decade in our history where we haven’t been at war in some sense. And this poll shows that likely millions of Americans can be talked into supporting the killing of people when they cannot possibly have a legitimate grievance against those people, because they don’t exist.

This, in my view, is murderous and barbaric. We have become so callous that we live in a country where millions agree to killing people for absolutely no reason that they can articulate or defend.

And then we’ll justify such attitudes with a heaping helping of “this is war.”

War is sometimes necessary. For example, in my view, World War II and Afghanistan were justified. In both cases, we were well and truly attacked and had to do something in self-defense.

But I think poll responses like this should cause everyone to think twice about casual support for killing people. Increasingly, however, we support killing people for all sorts of other reasons that really aren’t our business. And all this nonsense is supported by an electorate so ignorant that huge chunks of that electorate — representing millions of people — will support bombing literally anyone, including made-up places.

So, for all the annoying features of this poll, I think it teaches something sobering and distressing.

I fully expect 95% of you to disagree, and I expect a lot of invective to come my way. So be it. Where’s the fun if I’m only saying things you agree with all the time?

And if I get just one person to second-guess our bloodthirsty foreign policy . . . well, then, we’ll still be screwed, because one person is nothing compared to the ignorant mass of millions who will outvote you.

But it would still be nice. Unexpected, to be sure. But nice.

UPDATE: There is a real Agraba: a suburb of Damascus. Thanks to JP for the pointer. Take that, Guardian! Take that, PPP! Ya smug bastidges!

Chances any of the poll respondents had that actual location in mind? Zero. The argument of the post remains untouched. But it’s still a nice comeuppance for the smug set.

12/20/2015

Pelosi Victory Lap: We Rushed Omnibus Vote So Republicans Could Not Find Out What Was in It

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:09 am

You have to pass the bill before you find out what’s in it.

Roll Call:

As the House on Friday overwhelmingly passed the $1.1 trillion government spending bill, Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi shook hands on the chamber floor.

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 11.34.10 AM
Can you feel the love tonight?

The omnibus bill does not block or restrict in any way Syrian or Iraqi refugees from coming to the U.S. It does not defund Planned Parenthood. It does not defund Obama’s illegal executive amnesty. It does not defund sanctuary cities. It funds ObamaCare but delays two unpopular taxes under ObamaCare that might fuel opposition to the law. It will increase the debt with spending and tax cuts that are not paid for by spending cuts.

And now, Nancy Pelosi is not just doing a victory lap — she is bragging about how this was shoved down Republicans’ throats before they could learn what was in the bill:

“We’ve had to sort of calibrate how we presented this to members because … we were afraid [Republicans] might pull things out if more Republicans knew about what was in the bill,” she continued, explaining all the hesitation from Democrats in the hours after the bill was made public.

Earlier in the week, she had instructed members in a closed-door meeting to “keep on their long faces” and not speak publicly about everything Democrats won in the omnibus, according to a senior House aide. She wanted them to avoid speaking about provisions they fought to include, as well as poison pill policy riders they insisted be removed, instead suggesting they just say they were “still reading the language” when asked how they planned to vote.

“Now they’re done, that’s it. There’s no way they can change the rule or anything like that; the speaker said it’s closed,” said Pelosi on Friday, “so we feel pretty good about bragging about what’s in the bill to get our votes and also not risking changing anything in the bill.”

Justin Amash on Facebook:

The story below [the Roll Call story] illustrates the brokenness of Washington, where only a few individuals negotiate nearly $2 trillion in provisions and tell the rest of Congress to take it or leave it. I voted no on this disgusting omnibus bill that harms Americans and bankrupts the next generation.

No wonder Paul Ryan wanted to change the rules to make it harder to get rid of the Speaker.

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