Patterico's Pontifications

11/29/2016

Is Trump Trying to Humiliate Romney, or Choose Him . . . or Both?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

The mystery in Donald Trump’s vetting of Mitt Romney for the position of Secretary of State has seemed to come down to one question: Is Trump trying to humiliate Romney, or does he actually want him as Secretary of State?

Maybe the answer is: both.

Does Trump actually want Romney? Maybe! He “looks the part” — plus, what better way is there for Trump to show Romney who is the alpha male? As for the “apology” Trump is supposedly demanding, Trump may be savvy enough to know that he doesn’t need to demand it. The first time Secretary of State Romney faces questioners from Big Media, they’ll ask him: Hey, didn’t you say “Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark”? Didn’t you call him an unstable bully? And Romney will have to smile and squirm and kind of walk it back, a little.

So yeah, maybe Trump does want Romney after all.

But that doesn’t mean he’s not trying to humiliate him.

Part of my evidence for the theory that Trump was trying to embarrass Romney was my belief that Conway had permission to “go rogue.” As I said yesterday: “I don’t think Kellyanne Conway breathes without instructions.” As noted earlier this morning by Dan Spencer, the Trump campaign has confirmed that Conway asked permission before laying into Romney publicly. The New York Times has further details:

Mr. Trump, in a statement emailed Monday evening by his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said: “Kellyanne came to me and asked whether or not she could go public with her thoughts on the matter. I encouraged her to do so. Most importantly she fully acknowledged there is only one person that makes the decision. She has always been a tremendous asset and that will continue.”

But wait! Who really wrote that statement?

The NYT claims that Conway took the initiative and did not act on specific instructions from Trump to criticize Romney. She asked permission to express her concerns and he granted it . . . or so the Trump folks say. And that may be — but just because they make the claim, doesn’t mean it’s true. These people lie as easily as they breathe.

At a minimum, let’s just say that Trump . . . was not displeased to see one of his main critics trashed on “the shows.”

The Times claims that “little in Mr. Trump’s universe is simple.” Perhaps there is a more complex answer to the question: Does Trump really want Romney, or does he just want Romney to be humiliated? Maybe the answer is a little of both.

But maybe the answer is simple after all. Maybe, as with so many areas of public policy, the answer is that Trump has no idea what he wants.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

11/28/2016

As Petraeus Meets With Trump, Word Of A New Investigation Is Leaked

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:00 pm

Today David Petraeus met with Donald Trump regarding a possible Secretary of State position. After Trump focused heavily on Hillary Clinton’s irresponsible and (to most onlookers) criminal mishandling of classified information as Secretary of State, it’s more than a little bizarre that Trump would consider placing in the same position someone who was actually convicted of the crime for which Hillary Clinton was only investigated. Even if you think Petraeus is a smart guy who might do a good job — and I do — the comparison to Hillary Clinton is a tough mental hurdle to surmount.

And now, with word of a new investigation related to the Petraeus scandal breaking today, it’s getting tougher still:

The Defense Department is conducting a leaks investigation related to the sex scandal that led to the resignation of former CIA Director David Petraeus, The Associated Press confirmed Monday, the same day Petraeus was meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in New York.

Petraeus, who could be in line for a Cabinet nomination, arrived at Trump Tower in early afternoon. He walked in without taking any questions from reporters.

A U.S. official told the AP that investigators are trying to determine who leaked personal information about Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with Petraeus led to criminal charges against him and his resignation. The information concerned the status of her security clearance, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Disclosure of the Broadwell information without official permission would have been a violation of federal criminal law.

The latest twist in the case could complicate Petraeus’ prospects of obtaining a Cabinet position in the Trump administration, resurfacing details of the extramarital affair and FBI investigation that ended his career at the CIA and tarnished the reputation of the retired four-star general.

I find it bitterly amusing that the existence of the investigation into a possible leak was . . . leaked. This leak feels very pointed, somehow.

It also throws a new monkey wrench into the dramatic narrative arc of The Trump Transition Show, which (as I noted earlier today) is beginning to resemble a TV reality show.

Vice-President Pence tells us there are important announcements tomorrow! Will the Secretary of State position be one of them?? Or is this just a dramatic head fake??? There’s only one way to find out!!! Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!!!! (Or not!!!!!)

UPDATE: I promise I wrote this post before I saw this post by Allahpundit, which also mocks the TV-style drama of the situation. Great minds think alike . . . and sometimes, so does mine.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Rampage In Ohio, Motive Still Unknown…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:22 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Horrible news:

An Ohio State University student was shot dead by police after he plowed into pedestrians with a car and then stabbed multiple people with a butcher’s knife at the OSU campus in Columbus this morning, officials said. The scene is now secure, officials said.

Eleven people were transported to local hospitals, officials said.

OSU said in a statement that the “injuries include stab wounds, injury by motor vehicle and other injuries that are being evaluated” and that “facts are still being verified.”

The suspect was identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an OSU student, officials said at a press conference this afternoon.

Artan was born in Somalia and living in the United States as a legal permanent resident.

As officials search for a motive, this report will hopefully provide them with a clue. Artan apparently posted on his Facebook page three minutes before the attack:

“I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that.”

The post also invokes the name Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical American-born al-Qaeda cleric, describing him as a “hero.” Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011 but his propaganda has been linked to several domestic terrorist attacks in the years after his death.

“If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace,” the posting reads. “We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims.”

And then there is this:

Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern, ran an interview in August with a student named Abdul Razak Artan, who identified himself as a Muslim and a third-year logistics management student who had just transferred from Columbus State in the fall.

He said he was looking for a place to pray openly and worried about how he would be received.

“I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what media portrays me to be,” he told the newspaper. “If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads.”

From Rep. Adam Schiff (D), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee:

“While we are still awaiting more information from the investigation into the OSU attack, it bears the all of the hallmarks of a terror attack,” Schiff said. “The fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terror organizations and their global incitement to radicalism, must be carried out on battlefields far away, and by confronting online propaganda here at home.”

However, we are cautioned not to jump to any conclusions: “What we don’t know: What the attacker’s motives were.” One guesses that would include the sort of on-the-surface assessment that Schiff made.

And for kicks, here’s a round-up of tweets from the We Demand More Gun Control crowd. With self-righteous gusto, they automatically assumed that a firearm was involved in the attack, and then immediately politicized the horrible event. The group really outdid themselves in looking more awful than usual, especially as the “weapon” used in today’s attack was an automobile, and a knife…

–Dana

Trump To Meet With Romney, Corker Tomorrow

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 am

Donald Trump is meeting with Mitt Romney tomorrow. Oh, and Bob Corker, too.

Mr. Trump is expected to have three meetings on Monday and Tuesday as the secretary of state sweepstakes heats up — retired Gen. David H. Petraeus, Mr. Romney and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, according to two people briefed on the schedule.

Mr. Romney has been the preferred choice of Vice President-elect Mike Pence and some business leaders from whom Mr. Trump has heard. But contention over him possibly being chosen has led Mr. Trump’s aides to open the process to other options, such as Mr. Corker.

This is such a reality show. The New President meets with the Old Nemesis! Will all be forgiven? Or will Donald refuse to let bygones be bygones? It’s an all-new episode of Trump Transition! Tune in tomorrow at 8!!!

It’s certainly interesting to speculate about what’s going on here.

I lean towards the theory that Trump is doing all of this this to humiliate Romney. I don’t think Kellyanne Conway breathes without instructions — so when she goes on “the shows” and trashes Romney, I believe she is being paid to do so. I think Trump ginned up this controversy 1) as a way to entertain people; and 2) as a way to emphasize that he, and not Romney, is the Big Dog.

What’s that, you say? Isn’t being elected President revenge enough? For Trump, I doubt it. He strikes me as the kind of bully who likes to rub it in. I think Trump wanted a few days of his supporters trashing Romney on “the shows” as a way to salve his ego, and rebuke Romney for the harsh things he said about Trump during the campaign. The demand by Trump’s advisers that Romney apologize, under this view, was just part of the vindictive blowback.

trump-romney-3
“No apology, no secretareee!”

But my boundless cynicism about Trump leaves room for a different scenario, in which Trump does pick Romney.

Because I also think Trump looks at his cabinet picks as if he’s casting a TV show. Trump has told his aides that Romney “looks the part.” And a desire for a photogenic administration would explain the otherwise perplexing choice of Nikki Haley as the ambassador to the U.N.

Meanwhile, Romney is affecting a studied indifference:

In other words: “I don’t need this.”

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

P.S. David Petraeus? I thought it was a bad thing when a Secretary of State had a penchant for mishandling classified information! I guess that’s only true for the other side . . .

Time Is a Tickin’ Away…

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

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Join through this link.

11/27/2016

Exactly What Is Happening Here??

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I don’t know, maybe I’m still in a post-Thanksgiving-leftover stupor, but several peculiar things seem to have happened today. Maybe you know have some good ideas about what they mean, who is behind them, or what the end game is.

Today, on the heels of Trump’s camp calling on Mitt Romney to make a public apology for his attacks on Donald Trump during the campaign, Kellyanne Conway made a not-so-subtle attack on her boss’s potential selection for secretary of State:

President-elect Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway attacked former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, now a contender for secretary of state, warning him, “This is Trump’s party now.”

“I think that there was the ‘Never Trump’ movement and then there was Gov. Mitt Romney. He went out of his way to hurt Donald Trump. He gave two speeches that I can recall in this calendar year, and they were both about Donald Trump,” Conway said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“We’re all for party unity. I don’t think a cost of admission for party unity has to be the secretary of state position,”

Conway also reinforced this “betrayal” of supporters:

“It’s just breathtaking in scope and intensity the type of messages I’ve received from all over the country … the number of people who feel betrayed to think that Gov. Romney would get the most prominent Cabinet post after he went so far out of his way to hurt Donald Trump.”

In spite of this, Conway said she would “support 1000%” whoever the President-elect decided upon.

Keep in mind that last week it was reported that Romney is Trump’s preferred choice for the coveted slot:

The New York businessman views Mr. Romney as the prototypical choice to be the nation’s top diplomat, and a group of advisers inside the transition are pushing him to select the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. Two people said Mr. Trump is inclined to select Mr. Romney.

Several theories are being floated about motives for Conway’s public hit on Romney: One being, perhaps Trump sent Conway out to do a public bashing of Romney before he is selected, just to remind him of his place. Or, maybe she undermined Trump with this attack as part of a collaborative effort between herself, Guiliani (who is lobbying hard for the coveted position), and Steve Bannon, who reportedly believes that Romney will not be “loyal” to Trump. Leading the group effort may have been major GOP donor and Trump supporter Rebekah Mercer. Mercer has a seat on the Trump transition team and is said to wield immense power and influence over the President-elect. And yet one more possibility might be that Conway went rogue: Given that Romney has not apologized (or removed himself from consideration), perhaps this attack was designed to push him harder in that direction. Romney steps down and Trump is free to select Guiliani, thus pleasing Conway and her faction of Trump’s team as well as pleasing the President-elect’s loyal supporters at large.

Anyway, hopefully Trump received some sage advice at his Thanksgiving dinner party where he allegedly solicited opinions from his guests on the vexing matter of Romney and Guiliani.

The next item making the rounds today has to do with the Jill Stein’s efforts for a vote recount. As you know, millions of dollars have been raised for the effort, and the Clinton camp announced it will be participating. Yesterday Donald Trump seemed to take this seriously, and released a statement pushing back against recount efforts:

“The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton herself said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, ‘We must accept this result and then look to the future.’

“It is important to point out that with the help of millions of voters across the country, we won 306 electoral votes on Election Day – the most of any Republican since 1988 – and we carried nine of 13 battleground states, 30 of 50 states, and more than 2,600 counties nationwide – the most since President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

“This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount. All three states were won by large numbers of voters, especially Pennsylvania, which was won by more than 70,000 votes.

“This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.”

Today, however, his fast Twitter trigger-finger may have caused him to unintentionally indicate that he supports a recount after all:

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–Dana

The Real History Behind the Declaration of Independence

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Did you ever want to learn the real history behind the Declaration of Independence? Professor Kevin Gutzman has your answers:

As I mentioned earlier this week, Liberty Classroom is having a giant sale at Liberty Classroom. It started Friday. The discounts last through tomorrow. I am also offering you the chance to write a guest post here, or commission a post from me — and enter a contest to win a year of Amazon Prime, paid by me. Details here.

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11/26/2016

U.N. Secretary General Issues Praise for Fidel Castro

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:00 pm

This, folks, is why the U.N. receives the level of respect it does:

Well, sure. With his thuggish tendency towards violence and oppression, Fidel Castro could be considered one of the earliest Social Justice Warriors.

Couldn’t he?

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

P.S. Trump’s statement on Castro’s death was way better than Obama’s.

Hillary Clinton Says “Yes” To Vote Recount, Trump Snaps Back, “Oh, No You Don’t!”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:29 pm

[guest post by Dana]

When you try to sow the seeds of doubt in people’s minds about the legitimacy of our election, that undermines our democracy. — President Obama

During the last presidential debate, Chris Wallace asked Donald Trump whether he would accept the election results. When Trump refused to commit, Mrs. Clinton (and the New York Times) took him to task:

[It] was Mr. Trump’s remark about the election results that stood out, even in a race that has been full of astonishing moments.

Every losing presidential candidate in modern times has accepted the will of the voters, even in extraordinarily close races, such as when John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Richard M. Nixon in 1960 and George W. Bush beat Al Gore in Florida to win the presidency in 2000.

Mr. Trump insisted, without offering evidence, that the general election has been rigged against him, and he twice refused to say that he would accept its result.

“I will look at it at the time,” Mr. Trump said. “I will keep you in suspense.”

“That’s horrifying,” Mrs. Clinton replied. “Let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating — he is talking down our democracy. And I am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position.”

Mrs. Clinton then ticked off the number of times he had deemed a system rigged when he suffered a setback, noting he had even called the Emmy Awards fixed when his show, “The Apprentice,’’ was passed over.

“It’s funny, but it’s also really troubling,” she said. “That is not the way our democracy works.”

untitled

Today the Clinton camp announced they will be actively talking down our democracy:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign said Saturday it will take part in efforts to push for recounts in several key states, joining with Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who has raised millions of dollars to have votes counted again in Wisconsin.

This in spite of the Clinton campaign saying they conducted their own investigation and did not find any evidence of hacking of voting systems.

Further, according to Clinton’s campaign counsel Marc Elias:

“Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” Elias wrote on Medium.

“If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well,” he added.

However, the White House threw cold water on the recount efforts and publicly parted ways with the one individual who was entrusted to secure President Obama’s legacy:

“We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people,” a senior administration official told POLITICO late Friday.

“The federal government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber activity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on election day,” the official added. “We believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”

Trump released a statement today:

“The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton herself said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, ‘We must accept this result and then look to the future.’

“It is important to point out that with the help of millions of voters across the country, we won 306 electoral votes on Election Day – the most of any Republican since 1988 – and we carried nine of 13 battleground states, 30 of 50 states, and more than 2,600 counties nationwide – the most since President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

“This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount. All three states were won by large numbers of voters, especially Pennsylvania, which was won by more than 70,000 votes.

“This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.”

Exit question: How long before President-elect Trump re-thinks things, and decides he will instruct his AG to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Crooked Hillary’s email scandals after all??

P.S. Although Jill Stein insists that “immediate support is crucial”, any contributor to the cause might want to consider that the amount of money she says it will take to accomplish a recount mission strangely keeps increasing with each and every passing day. The amounts listed now even includes lawyers’ fees. And there are no guarantees:

We cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting. We can only pledge we will demand recounts in those states.

If we raise more than what’s needed, the surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.

Sure it will.

–Dana

What Causes Booms and Busts?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:00 am

What is really to blame for the booms and busts of the economic cycle? Is it inherent in the nature of the free market, as Marx claimed? Or is there something else going on?

Professor Jeff Herbener answers this question in a lecture about Austrian economics at Liberty Classroom:

As I mentioned earlier this week, Liberty Classroom is having a giant sale at Liberty Classroom. It started yesterday. I am also offering you the chance to write a guest post here, or commission a post from me. When you sign up through my affiliate link, you also enter a contest to win a year of Amazon Prime, paid by me. Details here.

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