Patterico's Pontifications


Debate Prep: Big Media Seems to Think Trump Lies

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:18 am

The consensus of Big Media appears to be that Donald Trump is a liar. And they’re not scared to say so. (Screenshots courtesy of Katherine Miller.)



It would be nice if she stopped lying too.

There’s something of a controversy as to whether Lester Holt should be fact-checking the candidates in real time. The answer is no. Let the candidates fact-check each other and let it all shake out afterwards. I understand the temptation, with two utterly dishonest people on the stage, to see them put straight right away. But Holt comes from NBC, the same network that gave us the screenshots above. Do you trust him to get it 100% right on the spot?

Me neither.

Arnold Palmer, RIP

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:09 am

Never got to see him play but always admired him.


Debate Prep: Who’s Even More Dishonest Than Donald Trump?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:08 pm

The answer is, of course, Big Media fact checkers.

A piece in POLITICO Magazine purports to warn you about “lies” that may be told by Trump and Clinton during tomorrow’s debate. (The link is to a cached version of the piece; I don’t link POLITICO directly, and haven’t for years, because they are bullies.) The problem is that two of the three “lies” they attribute to Trump are not lies at all, but are literally true. Start with this claim:

Trump’s claim: “Fifty-eight percent of African American youth are not working.”

The truth: Trump is way off on the data about black youth.

Trump has been pretty up front with African Americans, urging them to drop their longtime loyalty to the Democratic Party because that support has amounted to little in the way of economic success. “What the hell do you have to lose?” he asked during a visit to central Michigan last month.

To bring his point home, one of Trump’s favorite riffs is about just how few young African Americans have jobs right now. For example, during a stop in High Point, North Carolina, last week, Trump said that “58 percent of African American youth are not working.”

Trump should know better than to keep using that line. He’s been flogged repeatedly by fact checkers for similar statements.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the latest data actually finds that the unemployment rate for African Americans 16-to-24 years old is 15.7 percent.

The Trump campaign maintains that it gets to the 58 percent figure by counting up both the young people who are trying to find jobs but can’t get them and also the ones who are “not in the labor force.” But that’s a pretty misleading way of sizing up the situation. Under his definition, Trump is counting busy students as unemployed, whether or not they’re looking for a job.

The bottom line here is that Trump said “58 percent of African American youth are not working” and the fact-checkers admit it’s true . . . but call it a “lie” because they don’t like the implications of that true statement.

Trump has indeed stated in the past that 58% of black youth are “unemployed,” which is inaccurate. But his current statement deals with the percentage of black youths not working, and that figure is accurate.

What’s more, Trump has a point. The piece claims that counting students among those not “working” is misleading. But even the dishonest fact-checkers at the Washington Post have to admit that, when you take students out of the equation, black youths are employed at a far lower rate than white youths:

If Trump really is interested in the rate of disengagement among black youth, there is an academically accepted measure he can use. It’s called NEET, which stands for “Neither Employed nor in Education or Training.” This measure factors out students altogether, and measures the share of disconnected youth aged 16 to 24.

Pew Research Center’s Drew DeSilver, who has written about youth unemployment and NEETs, calculated a 2015 NEET rate among black youth 16 to 24 at 20.9 percent of the total civilian non-institutional population, compared with 14.7 percent among white youth of the same age range.

So it turns out that the share of unemployed black youths who aren’t students or in training is over 140% the share of white youths in the same situation (20.9% versus 14.7%). Sounds like Trump might have something of a point there! But you won’t read that in POLITICO Magazine . . .

Let’s move on to POLITICO’s second Trump “lie”:

Trump’s claim: Clinton supports “open borders” and a “550 percent increase” in Syrian refugees

The truth: Trump is wrong about Clinton’s plans for immigration and refugees.

. . . .

Clinton’s plan for handling the Syrian refugee crisis keeps getting similarly bungled by Trump. Last week provided the latest instance of this, when Trump issued a statement vowing to oppose Clinton’s “550 percent increase in the number of refugees from the conflict in Syria.”

The truth is, there’s no basis in that figure. Trump has taken a plan Clinton issued where she said she would welcome 55,000 additional refugees from the war-torn country over the course of a single year, and extrapolated it out at the same rate of expansion for the duration of a four-year term. On top of that, Trump’s assumption implies Clinton would continue with the Obama administration’s latest budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, where the U.S. would accept 100,000 refugees. Clinton, in fact, has said no such thing.

This is double-talk. Trump didn’t say anything about a four-year term or extrapolating anything. He said Hillary Clinton is calling for a “550 percent increase in the number of refugees from the conflict in Syria.” We know this is true because — God forgive me for citing these people — even lefty PolitiFact admits it:

During a Sept. 20 appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation, Clinton was asked if President Barack Obama’s plan to increase the number allowed into the United States to 10,000 was enough. (The United States had accepted about 2,000 in 2015.)

“Look, we’re facing the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II, and I think the United States has to do more, and I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000 and begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people that we would take in,” Clinton said. . . . A jump to 65,000 would be a 550 percent increase. . . . Clinton has, in fact, said that in response to the refugee crisis she would raise Obama’s limit of 10,000 to 65,000. That’s 550 percent more . . .

Once again, POLITICO’s Trump “lie” is . . . true.

POLITICO’s third Trump lie is: “I was totally against the war in Iraq.” And . . . that is a lie. Because he totally wasn’t.

Hey, Donald Trump is a giant liar. That doesn’t mean that we have to pretend every Big Media claim about him is true.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


Judges an Inadequate Fig Leaf for Cruz’s Endorsement

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:29 pm

Ted Cruz used, as a fig leaf for endorsing Donald Trump, the fact that Trump issued a new list of possible Supreme Court nominees that included the name Mike Lee. Now, nobody loves Mike Lee more than Patterico. Nobody. That I can tell you. But Mike Lee himself indicated that he was not swayed by the inclusion of his name, and anyone who knows anything about Donald Trump knows that it is a phony move on Trump’s part to include the name, because Lee has opposed Trump. Trump will never nominate Lee and everyone knows it.

But beyond that, Ilya Somin has an amazing piece in the Washington Post laying out why Trump cannot be trusted on the Supreme Court:

Donald Trump himself has repeatedly indicated that the Supreme Court list is merely a “guide” and not binding. Moreover, Trump has a long history of lying about a wide range of issues, and there is no reason to think he will be more trustworthy in this case.

But the problem goes far beyond Trump’s dishonesty. It is also far worse than mere ignorance about constitutional issues. Though Trump is indeed ignorant about the Constitution, ignorance does not imply indifference. To the contrary, he has a wide-ranging repressive agenda that would undermine the Constitution at many points. And much of that agenda is an outgrowth of views he has consistently held since long before the 2016 campaign. Unlike the Supreme Court list, it is probably not just a campaign ploy.

For many years, Trump has sought to undermine freedom of speech (in order to shut down his critics) and constitutional property rights (in order to empower government to seize property for transfer to influential developers, including himself). He also wants to gut constitutional constraints on executive power, in numerous areas – going even farther in this respect than Bush and Obama. Much of this is a result of his deep authoritarian streak, exemplified by his lonstanding admiration for brutal tactics of foreign strongmen like Vladimir Putin and the Chinese communists who perpetrated the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The list of unconstitutional policies promoted by Trump increases almost daily. Just in the last two weeks, he has advocated gutting the Sixth Amendment rights of terrorism suspects (including even US citizens with no known connections to foreign terrorist groups) and outlined a maternity leave policy that includes unconstitutional sex discrimination.

The last claim was not immediately obvious to me, but Somin backs it up in this post, and I think he’s right. The rest of it is definitely true. I think the judge issue is the best reason to vote for this cretin, and it’s really a very bad reason indeed.

I watched the entirety of Ted Cruz’s appearance at the Texas Tribune Festival today, in which Cruz was entertainingly raked over the coals by the Texas Tribune’s CEO Evan Smith. Cruz was his usual self, doing his best to appear credible in a tough situation and succeeding as well as anyone could in such a circumstance. It is clear how reluctant he was to come to his decision and how tepid the endorsement truly is.

I still like Ted Cruz, but this Supreme Court list ain’t much of a fig leaf. The fig leaf is small enough, indeed, that we can still see what’s missing. If you catch my drift.

P.S. Also worth reading: Erica Greider’s Ted Cruz Caves.

Patterico Joins RedState

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:42 pm

I am pleased to announce that I have joined RedState as a contributor to their front page. I’m pleased to join a group that shares my fundamental outlook on politics these days: a commitment to limited government, the Constitution, and the free market, combined with a recognition that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton stand for none of those things.

If you’re a regular reader here, don’t worry; nothing much will change here. I’ll still continue to post as much as always. Most posts I publish there will be cross-posted here, though I will likely toss them an exclusive from time to time, and just link it here.

I’m doing that with my first post there, which I have just published. It is titled The Time Ted Cruz Said: “I’m Going to Tell You What I Really Think”. Go read it. I hope you like it, and I hope y’all will follow my posts over there.


Cruz Endorses Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:39 pm

His Facebook post is here.

I’ll make no bones about it: I am disappointed. I think it is wrong for him to endorse a man who insulted his wife and his dad as Trump did. Absent a sincere public apology, Trump does not deserve this. I understand the politics of it. But I am disappointed.

Countdown to Trump pissing all over Cruz to assert his supposed dominance in 3..2..1…

(Oh, we’ll get brief phony graciousness from Trump. But the leg is going to lift. That I can tell you.)



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am


GMTA, Philosophy Edition: Patterico Vindicated on Zeno’s Paradox?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 am

On July 3, 2016, I proposed what I thought was a completely original solution for Zeno’s paradox: a “minimum distance” in the real universe that cannot be subdivided:

You have probably heard of Zeno’s paradoxes, one of which is that to get anywhere, you first must travel half the distance, and then half the remaining distance, and then half the remaining distance, and so on. According to this theory, you never get there.

I have seen various solutions to this, but I am not sure anyone has proposed mine. Perhaps they have, but here it is anyway:

My proposed solution is that there is a minimum distance in the universe, which cannot be subdivided into smaller distances.

Imagine my amazement to learn that, at about the same time, a professional philosopher was bouncing the same theory off of a mathematics professor, who agreed with him!

Embedded for your listening pleasure is a discussion between philosopher Steve Patterson and Dr. Gary McGuire, the head of Mathematics and Statistics at the University College Dublin.

A little background: Patterson proposes a different description of Zeno’s paradox, in which you put together a pie by first creating half, then adding a fourth, then an eighth, and so on. Does the pie ever get completed? This is what they are referring to when they talk about the pie.

The most relevant part is at 40:27:

PATTERSON: If that’s true, then does that not mean that Zeno’s paradoxes are not solved by calculus? Because the claim is not that the runner will get ever so close to the final point, but that the runner will actually complete the race. That ultimately, the pie will ultimately be completed. Doesn’t that mean that Zeno, Zeno had a — was making a good point there?

DR. McGUIRE: Uh, yes. Yeah. Yeah. No, a really good point, I mean, I’m agreeing with you. I’m not disagreeing with you. So.

PATTERSON: So what do you think of this, this potential resolution: that the reason calculus does work in the real world is because reality is finite. It’s not infinitely divisible and therefore at some point the calculations terminate, and then, you know, you can complete the whole pie, and you would complete the race.

DR. McGUIRE: Well in the real world, as we were saying earlier, we don’t get into the infinite. So we have to approximate everything by a finite number. And so, in the real world, we would get, we wouldn’t be able to, if we were adding smaller and smaller and smaller pieces of the pie, we’d eventually have to stop somewhere. We can’t, we can’t get ever smaller and smaller and smaller pieces; we just can’t do that. So we have to stop at some smallest possible piece and then we add that in and then we finish the pie.

PATTERSON: But what about with something like distance? So could we say the same thing — that ultimately — this is what I think the resolution is to Zeno’s paradox, is that there is like a base, a base distance unit in the universe that you can’t actually divide in half. Because otherwise it seems like motion would be impossible. But if we’re — if there’s like a base unit of distance, then everything seems to resolve itself. Just like a base unit of pi.

DR. McGUIRE: I, yeah, I kind of agree — I agree with you. I think, in the real world, in practice, there is a base unit of distance, yeah.

I heard this in my car and almost involuntarily slammed on the brakes in surprise when I heard the bolded language — which, you’ll note, is the same as my own solution to Zeno’s paradox above: that “there is a minimum distance in the universe, which cannot be subdivided into smaller distances.”

Note that many commenters laughed at me in comments to the previous post — and yet this mathematics professor agrees with Patterson!

I am going to write Patterson about this rather bizarre confluence of thinking. I may have a hard time convincing him that I didn’t take my cue from him, since his podcast preceded my post by a little more than a month. But I never even heard of the guy before a couple of weeks ago.

Great minds think alike — and sometimes, so does mine!

P.S. If you listen to the whole interview, you’ll notice Patterson’s notion that numbers do not exist outside our conception, which I see as a kind of corollary to my hypothesis that — even abstractly and not purely as a “real-world” phenomenon — there is a smallest number (and a largest!) . . . but it’s beyond the limitations of humans to conceive of, or express. If that notion is right, it has real implications for the very concept of infinity.


Tulsa Police Officer Charged with First-Degree Manslaughter

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:51 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Officer Betty Shelby, who shot and killed stalled motorist Terence Crutcher last Friday, was charged by the Tulsa District Attorney earlier today. If convicted, she faces a minimum of four years of imprisonment.

Crutcher’s car had stalled in the middle of a city street on the afternoon of September 16 when Shelby’s patrol car passed by on the way to responding to a domestic violence call. Shelby failed to activate the dashcam in her patrol car, so it was left to a police helicopter to provide footage of what transpired. The footage appears to show Crutcher standing alongside the driver’s side of the vehicle with his hands up. At some point his hands seem to lower towards the window (the helicopter at this point has moved to the passenger’s side of the vehicle, so the view is partially obstructed) and Shelby shoots him with her service weapon. Shelby maintained that Crutcher was reaching inside of the vehicle, perhaps to retrieve a weapon, but there is pretty compelling evidence to suggest that the window was in fact rolled up, and no weapon was recovered from the vehicle.

The public outcry was immediate though protests in Tulsa appear to have steered clear of the ugly violence that has marred the protests in Charlotte. Credit is due to the citizens of Tulsa who allowed the district attorney’s office to do its job by conducting a thorough investigation and bringing charges according to what they learned.


Obama Administration Takes Steps To Restore Peace In Charlotte

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:50 am

[guest post by Dana]

After Tuesday’s police shooting of a black man, Keith Lamont Scott, Charlotte N.C. has become a war-zone of violent rioting. According to reports, 44 people have been arrested for not dispersing, breaking and entering, and assault. As a result, Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard.

President Obama has not publicly condemned the protesters rioters or made any demand plea for them to stop. Instead, the Dept. of Justice is sending “conflict resolution experts” to Charlotte to presumably talk to rioters about how they feel, and one assumes, encourage them to use their words in an effort to understand what makes them try and throw an unconscious person into a burning trash can, assault a news reporter, commit the predictable burn, break and loot of locally owned businesses, injure at least a dozen police officers trying to control the mayhem, and terrorize innocent bystanders caught up in the melee.

The Obama administration’s Justice Department will send conflict resolution experts to Charlotte, N.C., to try to quell the violent unrest over the death of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who was shot by police Tuesday afternoon

The department’s Community Relations Service provides conflict resolution specialists across the nation “to promote peaceful resolution of conflicts and tensions,” according to the DOJ’s website.

“The Community Relations Service is the department’s ‘peacemaker’ for community conflicts arising from differences of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and disability,” the website says.

“CRS is not an investigatory or prosecutorial agency, and it does not have any law enforcement authority,” it notes.

This is what you do when you’ve got nothing else to offer.

Hug it out. That’ll fix everything.

Here is Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s statement regarding the upheaval in Charlotte:

Now, most of the demonstrators gathered last night were exercising their constitutional and protected right to peaceful protest in order to raise issues and create change…


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