Patterico's Pontifications

2/19/2017

High-Profile Provocateur To Deliver Keynote Speech At CPAC

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:02 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) have announced that Milo Yiannopoulos will be this year’s keynote speaker. Like it or not, this is yet another step in the Right’s march toward the new “normal,” which is made up of bright, shiny, novelty items collected under an even more bigly Big Tent.

In spite of some noteworthy Republicans speaking at the event, including Sen. Ted Cruz, Vice-president Mike Pence and Gov. Scott Walker, it is Milo that will be allotted the most time on stage.

According to CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp:

An epidemic of speech suppression has taken over college campuses. Milo has exposed their liberal thuggery and we think free speech includes hearing Milo’s important perspective.

Here is Milo appearing as a guest on Bill Maher’s show last night:

NSFW:

And yet, here is another view of Milo:

(Absolutely NSFW):

People, good and decent people can make themselves overlook the inexcusable when it’s necessary and beneficial to their cause.

Question: If you find Milo’s views expressed in the second video reprehensible, do you think Cruz, Walker, Pence, etc. should decline to appear at the conference?

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

About The Press And The President: We Deserve Better On Both Fronts

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:05 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last night, I spent time with two successful individuals from Los Angeles who work in the movie industry. They are both liberals who voted for Hillary Clinton, and both are aghast that Donald J. Trump is now our president. They are also very clear-eyed about the media’s role in helping Trump get into office. They understand that Trump was given far more print space and air time than any other candidate in the running. This by a media desperate for the ratings and hits, and as a result, they essentially launched his win. So the press’s current hysterical reactions and doomsday proclamations of everything Trump – whom they helped put into office – is nothing but a clanging gong of unhinged dishonesty grating on the last nerve of this couple. With regard to the mainstream media, their view is: You made him, now own it. No backsies, no re-dos, so just shut-up.

I couldn’t agree with them more. I loathed the mainstream media, before the election, and even more so after. Their dishonesty and complicity with the Democratic party, their refusal to ensure that newsrooms have equal representation of varying political views (which should not matter, but undeniably does), and sheer arrogance reveals jut how unable they are to see the world through any other lens than a very-narrowly defined one of liberalism. Thus after decades of this partisan bias, it’s no wonder that we are now here: polarized and frustrated as one side seeks its revenge against the powerful entity that is the American press. An entity which has long-mocked, dismissed and sneered at a large swath of the population. A populous now counting on President Trump to exact a long-sought after revenge. And with this thirst for a comeuppance, there comes a willingness to lower the bar of reasonable standards and look the other way at dishonest and unethical behavior from their champion. The end now justifies the means. On the side of the press, the still-smoldering anger over the devastating election loss, an election that they believe was their “owed” win, has turned to an hysterical, over-the-top reaction of hit jobs and Fake News reports. That the election was lost to someone like Trump still cannot be believed. This inability to accept reality is also similar to the press’s continuing inability to grasp that their long-exposed collective biases have rendered them mostly irrelevant, save for a few pocketed regions of liberalism.

As readers here already know, I have not been a Trump supporter. I don’t see any reason to re-hash the basis for my concerns, but suffice it to say, that post-election, my concerns and fears about the president haven’t changed.

With that, I want to point you to an excellent article addressing the simple fact that it is very possible – and I am proof of this, as is the liberal couple with whom I conversed – that one can dislike equally both President Trump and the American press. Those are not mutually exclusive positions. This is not a binary choice that we have to make: either reject Trump or reject the press, either support Trump or support the press. Says who?

NRO’s Kevin D. Williamson offers thoughts on this, to which I heartily concur:

…Every Republican president is “the most extreme ever,” or so Democrats and their media friends insist. (“We do always say that,” one Democratic friend acknowledged. “And it is always true.” Well . . . )

In this corner, the American Press; in the opposite corner, the American President. The time has come for choosing sides — or so do many of our friends on the left and in the media (there is some crossover in that group) insist, as do more than a few of our friends on the right.

On Friday, I was scolded by Joe Hagan of New York magazine (he must have taken a break from the vital service he is offering to the republic at the moment, composing a biography of Jann Wenner) for daring to criticize my media colleagues in the age of Trump, “since you are supposedly a journalist.” It is, he insisted, “as if you, as a conservative, can’t see objective reality along with somebody you assume is a political opposite.” No, it is as if the American news media is predictably biased and incompetent, and would be writing almost precisely what it is writing about Donald Trump if the election had been won by Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or Pat Sajak.

It is possible, if you are not mentally crippled, to hold your mind two non-exclusive ideas: Donald J. Trump stinks, and the press stinks. Trump’s spat with the press is a bloodless Iran–Iraq war, and I myself am cheering for (metaphorical) casualties. If you find yourself only able to focus on which party stinks worse, then you have adopted the pre-kindergarten “binary choice” rhetoric of the campaign, in which both Trump and Clinton supporters insisted that we must ignore the obvious character defects, financial shenanigans, lies, and foolishness of A or B on the theory that B or A is so much worse that we simply cannot acknowledge any shortcomings on the other side.

Those of us who have not entirely surrendered our neocortices to one cable-news tribe or the other are perfectly capable of criticizing Trump and criticizing the media. Of course the American media is terrible. Everybody knows this. Everybody who follows the public debate about guns, taxes, or abortion knows this. Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, knows this, which is why he sheepishly acknowledged that the so-called Newspaper of Record and its editors “don’t get religion.” And that is just a little bit of what they don’t get. Other senior editors at major media outlets know this, too. The people who run the Washington Post know this. The reflexive Democratic affiliation of most of the major media is a simple fact of life that you’d have to be foolish or dishonest to deny[.]

The tragedy of all this is that, yeah, we really could use an effective, active, and credible press right now. We have an active one five days out of the week, an effective one five days out of the month, and a credible one . . . not that often. My criticisms of Trump do not go so far as those who believe that he is a budding fascist dictator on the verge of building concentration camps, but if you really did believe that, wouldn’t you wish, at least a little, that the media hadn’t been exactly as hysterical when faced with the bland, anodyne visage of Mitt Romney? Or John McCain? You want to be taken seriously now after insisting that Dick Cheney was the new American Gestapo?

Williams goes on to point out that unfortunately, everyone’s view of a credible source differs greatly. It may be Maddow or Chris Hayes one side of the aisle, and Limbaugh or Hannity on the other side (I’m spit balling here, because honestly, I don’t even know about the right anymore…). Regardless, to my mind, the American people have fought too long and hard to settle for this current lot in life:

We deserve a better press, and a better president, too. If you are the sort of partisan who cannot entertain the possibility that both of these things may be true at the same time, then you ought to consider the possibility that you are one of the reasons why we do not have a better press or a better president.

We need to keep fighting. For both.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

2/17/2017

Punching Back: Student Suspended For Filming Professor’s Anti-Trump Rant Threatens Lawsuit

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 am

A California college student was suspended for revealing his professor’s ridiculous bias. Now, he’s punching back.

Yesterday, Andrea Ruth covered the story of a student at Orange Coast College, Caleb O’Neil, who was suspended for filming his professor’s anti-Trump rant:

The professor, Professor Olga Perez Stable Cox, calls Trump a “white supremacist.” She calls Mike Pence “one of the most anti-gay humans in this country.” She calls Trump’s election an “act of terrorism.” She assumes all her students agree with her and says “we are the majority.” She says she will go over “coping skills.”

One of those coping skills includes adding 2-3 more words to her name. “From now on, instead of Professor Olga Perez Stable Cox, I will be called Professor Olga Perez Stable Suarez Humbert-Gillers Cox.” Nah, I made that last part up.

For publishing this rant, Mr. O’Neil was praised for revealing an issue with the faculty suspended for a semester and ordered to write an essay about why he was such a bad boy.

Guess what? Now he’s not only appealing the suspension, but threatening a lawsuit:

19-year-old Caleb O’Neil will appeal.

The Orange Coast College freshman said Wednesday that he [will] file a lawsuit in federal court if his appeal is rejected.

“We think this is a clear example of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination that targets conservatives and we’re going to challenge it,” O’Neil’s attorney, Bill Becker, said at a news conference in Costa Mesa, according to CBS Los Angeles.

Becker told the Orange County Register that the suspension “is an attack by leftists in academia to protect the expressive rights of their radical instructors.”

These people need to market themselves better. Set up a fund. I’d donate.

To be fair, I’m not quite sure what the fella expected when he signed up for a “human sexuality class” taught by a Professor Olga Perez Farias-Smith Williams Gutierrez Walker Unstable Cox, or whatever her name is.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Happy Blogiversary to Me

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

I think I have forgotten about this the last couple of years, but I’m observing it this year. This blog began 14 years ago today, on February 17, 2003. I was thirty-four years old. Today I’m . . . older. My daughter, now 17, had recently had her third birthday. My son, now 14, was barely four months old.

Five years ago I made the following request on the nine-year blogiversary, and I would like to repeat it today, since the composition of the readership has changed:

On this blogiversary, I would ask the long-time readers how long they have been reading here. Tell me in comments. The longest-standing reader gets a cookie.

It will be a virtual cookie, to be sure, as we live in a virtual world. But if I meet you in person I’ll buy you a real one. Or maybe a real beer.

Thanks for reading.

As I said in my Fault Lines interview:

Blogging has brought both good and bad. I would say that, despite the SWATting and lawsuits and other nuisances, it’s mostly been a good thing, on balance. It’s brought me into contact with many, many people I never would have met otherwise — and many of those people are important in my life. In the end, it’s part of who I am. It’s hard to imagine myself without it.

I think I’ve said this before, but I went to a retirement party for AZ Bob not that long ago, and he was telling me what a funny and idiosyncratic crew of commenters I have. Rekindling The Jury Talks Back as a forum for civil discussion has reminded me that there are also many lurkers out there, including plenty who are quite regular readers. I appreciate all of you.

OK, most of you.

2/16/2017

I’m Telling You, Chris, Have The Meatloaf. It’s Fabulous!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:45 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This made me laugh.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his wife had dinner at the White House with President Trump on Valentine’s Day. Apparently the president ordered meatloaf for Gov. Christie, and the former presidential candidate submitted himself to the president’s wishes instead of *ordering the double-cheeseburger and extra-large order of fries he had been dreaming about all day:

The Republican governor said while guest hosting a New York sports talk radio show Thursday that Trump pointed out the menu and told people to get whatever they want. Then he said he and Christie were going to have the meatloaf.

“This is what it’s like to be with Trump,” Christie said. “He says, ‘There’s the menu, you guys order whatever you want.’ And then he says, ‘Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'”

According to the governor, he did not discuss jobs with the president. None of that, Hey, how’s that Reince Priebus guy working out for you anyway??? stuff…

Untitled

* Okay. Most likely, this really didn’t happen, but, who can be really sure…

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Trump Press Conference

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:14 pm

I really don’t care about it. The guy and all his antics are starting to just exhaust me and bore me at the same time. Plus I am busy with other things. But comment away if you care.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

This Is What “Cultural Sensitivity” Looks Like: Parents Not Arrested For Leaving Their Baby Locked In A Car Alone

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:19 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last Saturday night in Corpus Christi, a 4-month old baby was discovered strapped in a car seat, alone in the family car. The baby’s parents and 4-year old sibling were in a nearby movie theater. Police were called around 11:00 pm when passers by noticed the baby. Although Kirk Stowers of Corpus Christi police stated that “it is a violation of law to leave a child unattended,” the parents, who are from Saudi Arabia, were not arrested because they claimed this was “normal” behavior in their country:

Authorities aren’t sure how long the family has been living in the United States, but decided to show “cultural sensitivity” and let the family go this time. Police are filing the case as an active criminal investigation and plan to follow up with the parents and see if it “really is normal in Saudi Arabia” to leave a child unattended in a car.

“If it was someone who grew up in the United States, of course the outcome may be very different,” a Stowers, a spokesman for the Corpus Christi Police Department said.

Hey, you know what else is considered “normal” and acceptable in Saudi Arabia? The oppression of women, the killing of homosexuals, the forced separation of the sexes, the forced marriages of girls 10 years old and even younger. This, along with public beheadings, hangings, stonings, amputations, the flogging of criminals, even including those determined to have violated some public morality law, such as a woman daring to remove her hijab in public. That’s what’s considered normal in Saudi Arabia.

And, as commenter narciso noted, given that Saudia Arabia is way hotter than Texas, it’s highly unlikely that leaving one’s baby alone and locked in a car is considered “normal” by any standards. Duh.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back)

–Dana

Fashion Designers Unintentionally Speak Volumes

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:06 am

[guest post by Dana]

High-brow “woke fashion” is a thing now:

T-shirts, buttons and baseball caps symbolize fashion’s political awakening. So does velvet, billowing satin and bedazzled bodices.

Fashion’s message of power unfolds as poetry. Pure outrage has given way to resistance.

It’s a lot of silly stretching for relevancy, but the designers interviewed certainly see themselves as relevant.

Here is what I found particularly amusing. In the article, the focus is on the Women’s March in Washington D.C. and its influence on fashion designers, who are now working to evidence the ongoing “resistance” in their creations. Here are a couple of interesting photos that caught my eye. Not for what they overtly said, but for what they unintentionally said:

Untitled

So true. Yet, how hypocritically rich this is coming from women who believe it is their fundamental right to deny unborn girls their own fundamental right to live.

Untitled2

Do you remember when a Republican candidate running for the presidency made this comment and was subsequently excoriated for it?

As I travel the country here in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, everyone knows what New York values are.

We knew, Ted, and so did New Yorkers, as we can now clearly see.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back)

–Dana

2/15/2017

Meet Your Blogger: Yours Truly on Trump and More

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:45 am

Shameless Self-Promotion Department: If you’re looking to take a break from the silly news of the day, take a moment to read this interview of yours truly at Fault Lines. The interview is conducted by Scott Greenfield, managing editor of Fault Lines, blogger at Simple Justice, and . . . criminal defense attorney. I think an interview of a prosecutor (which is my day job) by a criminal defense attorney is inherently interesting, no? Since this is a political blog, I’ll tease you with one of the political questions and answers, about (what else?) Donald Trump:

Q. You parlayed your skill and experience with writing into commentary gigs at various websites. (You’ve been published in the LA Times, your blog posts have been covered in the New York Times and Washington Post, and you used to write at Breitbart before it went alt-right.) These days, apart from the blog, you’re best known as a regular at RedState.

Whether at RedState or Patterico’s Pontifications, you haven’t been one to express much support for our current President. You opposed his candidacy, and even deregistered from the Republican Party after he became the GOP’s torchbearer in the general election. By lining up behind Trump, have Republicans betrayed their limited-government ideals? Now that he’s been in office for a few weeks, has he proven as bad as you feared? Is he even worse?

What about the current immigration debacle? Is it the constitutional travesty left-leaning lawprofs claim it is? Do you take as dim a view of plenary power as they do? Was it, perhaps, unwise of Trump to deny re-entry to lawful permanent residents? In the age of Trump, can we expect the same, ahem, scrupulous level of commitment to the Constitution we were used to from Obama?

A. I do not think that support for Trump, by itself, reflects a betrayal of limited-government principles. Plenty of my readers, like me, supported another candidate in the primary, and don’t care for Trump. Many of those people voted for Trump just because he is not Hillary Clinton. That was not my decision, but I understand it and can’t criticize that point of view.

However, on May 3, 2016, the day Ted Cruz bowed out of the race, I instantly saw that the Republican party was going to start conforming itself to Trump’s vision more than I knew I would be comfortable with. Republicans were going to support big government initiatives, worry less about state sovereignty and the Constitution, and defend any number of outrageous Trumpy statements and positions. I wanted no part of it, and I wanted to disassociate myself from a Trump-led Republican Party in a very public and clear way.

My abandonment of the GOP, and my personal distaste for Trump, have been very disturbing to the part of my readership that is more partisan and less concerned with limited government principles. It’s difficult to watch some long-time readers view me as a “leftist” and treat me contemptuously, as if I were the enemy, simply because I can’t stand the demagogue that has seized control of the Republican party. But I don’t change my views to suit my readers. I suspect some other bloggers have — especially those who are dependent on their blogs for income. In that sense, it’s nice to have a day job. It makes it easier to say what I really think.

I despise Donald Trump as a person. I liked that state senator’s description of Trump as a “loofa-faced sh*tgibbon.” He’s obviously a vindictive, nasty, narcissistic, dishonest clown who has probably never read a book in his life. He is the best argument for the irrationality of the American voter we have ever seen. That said, I wasn’t looking forward to Hillary Clinton being in office, and I think Trump has done and will do some good things. His selection of Neil Gorsuch to replace Justice Scalia was brilliant.

You asked about immigration. I’m very sympathetic to Trump’s concerns over an influx of refugees from war-torn Muslim nations. I don’t think that accepting those refugees in large numbers with insufficient screening has worked out very well for Germany. The Nordic countries have seen their very successful cultures threatened by an inordinate number of immigrants with a murderous ideology and a desire to inflict Sharia law on everyone. All that being said, I am a fierce critic of runaway executive power, and I think Trump should be working with Congress on this issue. It’s also beyond debate that Trump’s rollout of this particular executive order was hasty, slipshod, and illegal as applied to green card holders and other visa holders.

There’s more about Trump at the link, including some pretty good jokes about him — but we cover a lot more than politics. Scott asks me about my first trial, why I went to school where I did, the crazies who have come after me because of my blogging, and so forth. I get a chance to mention my group the Constitutional Vanguard, for people who believe in liberty, the free market, and the Constitution (sign up here!). My favorite part of the interview is discussing the songs I have written, some of which have been covered by a few of my favorite artists. One example of those songs is called Wrong Side of the Road, covered by Steve Bertrand of The Tories, the band that did “Time for You,” the theme song for the TV show “Jesse” with Christina Applegate. “Wrong Side of the Road” is a song about going against the grain in life, a theme that is near and dear to my heart. If you like that one, there is a link to more in the interview. (And I have more to come, relatively soon!)

I thank Scott Greenfield for the opportunity, and hope you get a chance to check it out.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

2/14/2017

ALL HAIL THE KING! Trump’s IRS Will “Turn a Blind Eye” to Enforcement of the ObamaCare Mandate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 pm

At Reason.com, Peter Suderman reports that the IRS has passed a rule that says they will accept tax returns that don’t indicate whether someone has health coverage. If the report is accurate, the ObamaCare mandate is now optional. It’s pursuant to President Trump’s executive order softening the impact of ObamaCare:

How much difference does a single line on a tax form make? For Obamacare’s individual mandate, the answer might be quite a lot. . . . The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. . . .

Earlier this month, the IRS quietly altered its rules to allow the submission of 1040s with nothing on line 61. The IRS says it still maintains the option to follow up with those who elect not to indicate their coverage status, although it’s not clear what circumstances might trigger a follow up.

But what would have been a mandatory disclosure will instead be voluntary. Silent returns will no longer be automatically rejected. The change is a direct result of the executive order President Donald Trump issued in January directing the government to provide relief from Obamacare to individuals and insurers, within the boundaries of the law.

This does not sound legal. Suderman quotes experts differing on the matter. Michael Cannon, an ObamaCare expert, says Trump can’t do this:

The move has already raised questions about its legality. Federal law gives the administration broad authority to provide exemptions from the mandate. But “it does not allow the administration not to enforce the mandate, which it appears they may be doing here,” says Michael Cannon, health policy director at the libertarian Cato Institute. “Unless the Trump administration maintains the mandate is unconstitutional, the Constitution requires them to enforce it.”

Some other guy says this isn’t really non-enforcement . . . but his argument on that point is less than convincing:

“The mandate can only be weakened by Congress,” says [Ryan] Ellis [a Senior Fellow at the Conservative Reform Network]. “This is a change to how the IRS is choosing to enforce it. They will count on voluntary disclosure of non-coverage rather than asking themselves.”

The IRS notes that taxpayers are still required to pay the mandate penalty, if applicable. “Legislative provisions of the ACA law are still in force until changed by the Congress, and taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe‎,” the agency statement said.

Ellis says the new policy doesn’t fully rise to the level of declining to enforce the law. “If the IRS turns a blind eye to people’s status, that isn’t quite not enforcing it,” he says. “It’s more like the IRS wanting to maintain plausible deniability.”

I . . . don’t see the big difference between “turning a blind eye to people’s status” and “not enforcing” the law.

I’m sure plenty of Trump supporters will cheer this — because, you know, Trump. But if you’ll recall, conservatives (including myself) screamed bloody murder — with good reason — when Obama unilaterally decided to delay enforcement of ObamaCare provisions like the employer mandate. For me and for many others, this was a genuine and principled concern. But I think we’re about to find out that, for some conservatives, the complaints about Obama’s actions were pure partisanship — and for these unprincipled hypocrites, non-enforcement is about to be cool again.

When Trump signed this executive order, I urged caution. Let’s wait to see what he actually does with it, I said.

Will Donald Trump’s executive order be used to engage in the type of overreach Barack Obama routinely employed? I’m not sure yet. But if it is, conservatives need to lay down a marker now: this will not be acceptable.

Even if Barack Obama did it.

Well, we’re starting to see how Trump is applying the order, and this is not a good sign.

Look: even if all you care about is policy, the fact is that cushioning the blows from this horrible law make it less likely that it will be repealed. And repeal is what is needed. Until there is a free-market solution to health care, we’re on a slow march towards a single-payer system.

But there’s also more to the issue than policy. This goes straight to the nature of our system: will we be ruled by presidents, or kings? In my previous post I quoted Charles C.W. Cooke rejecting the “turnaround is fair play” argument, and I feel the need to do so again. Here is the key passage from his essential piece on the issue:

I am afraid that I consider this approach to be little short of suicidal, and I can under no circumstances look forward to a system in which the executive may pick and choose which laws he is prepared to enforce. On the contrary: I consider the idea to be a grave and a disastrous one, and I would propose that any such change is likely to usher in chaos at first and then to incite a slow, tragic descent into the monarchy and caprice that our ancestors spent so long trying to escape.

To that passage, I will add this warning from Ninth Circuit judge Alex Kozinski:

Executive power favors the party, or perhaps simply the person, who wields it. That power is the forbidden fruit of our politics, irresistible to those who possess it and reviled by those who don’t. Clear and stable structural rules are the bulwark against that power, which shifts with the sudden vagaries of our politics. In its haste to find a doctrine that can protect the policies of the present, our circuit should remember the old warning: May all your dreams come true.

If you’re going to help create a king because you think the king you’re helping to create is one you’ll like, don’t come crying to me when the power is wielded with even more force by one you don’t like.

UPDATE: After I first read the article, Suderman posted this correction:

Correction: The IRS did not reject silent returns last year, as this story originally indicated. The plan was to go into effect this year, for 2016 returns, but the IRS reversed course on February 3. Reason regrets the error.

I don’t think this undermines the point of the article, but it is worth noting.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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