Patterico's Pontifications


The President Tweets Without Discernment Or Discretion, Part 513

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:21 am

[guest post by Dana]

Words matter. But apparently not if you’re the President of the United States. And not if it concerns matters that are of a rather serious nature.





Go ahead, tell me he’s playing the media and his enemies like a fiddle.

I can’t even.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Senate Health Care Bill Released

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:44 am

[guest post by Dana]

During interview with Sen. Ted Cruz over at the Daily Wire this week, Ben Shapiro asked Cruz about the GOP’s health care bill:

SHAPIRO: If the Senate rubber stamped the House bill, would you support it, given that the House bill didn’t actually repeal Obamacare in many crucial ways?

CRUZ: The first version of the House bill was very problematic and there were many issues with it – first and foremost, that it didn’t do nearly enough to drive down premiums. I think the House Freedom Caucus improved the bill significantly. They focused quite rightly on the need to drive down premiums. The Senate needs to go much further than the House Bill. We need to improve it significantly more. I don’t know if the Senate will do so or not. It is what I have been working day and night, practically every waking hour for he last five months to do: bring senators together to get that done.

SHAPIRO: Are you worried that Republicans will pass a bill that doesn’t repeal Obamacare, declare victory, then watch as premiums skyrocket and the free market is blamed for what is essentially a continuation of a heavily government-regulated Obamacare system?

CRUZ: There are two bad outcomes that are possible. One bad outcome is that we fail to repeal Obamacare – we fail to pass any bill at all. For the past seven years we’ve campaigned promising the voter that we would repeal the disaster that is Obamacare, that has cost millions of Americans their jobs, thrown them into part-time jobs, cost them their doctors, caused premiums to skyrocket. If we fail to deliver after being given every branch of government, that’s profoundly harmful both as a substantive matter of policy but also as a political matter. The credibility of Republicans would be deeply, deeply undermined.

There’s a second outcome that’s even worse than that. We pass a bill titled “Obamacare Repeal,” but doesn’t in fact repeal Obamacare — in fact expands it. We hold a press conference patting ourselves on the back, claiming to have repealed it. And then next year, premiums continue to skyrocket and it’s demonstrated that what Republicans said isn’t true. I think that has even greater policy harms and political harms. So I’m trying to avoid both of those. I’m trying to get Republicans in the Senate and the House and the President and the Vice President to do what we said we would do. That’s what I’m urging all the players to do.

This morning, the GOP’s Senate repeal plan was released. You can read it here. You can also read Mitch McConnell’s discussion draft here.

As Allahpundit commented :

McConnell’s team put out a fact sheet this morning detailing their major changes to ObamaCare — or non-changes, I should say. Yeah, the mandate’s gone and there’s a massive (delayed) rollback of Medicaid, but the premium subsidies are still there, they’re still pegged to income, and there’s a bunch of new money ($25 billion) appropriated to stabilize ObamaCare’s rickety exchanges over the next four years. There’s also money set aside for two years of cost-sharing subsidies, which the House GOP has spent three years fighting in court on grounds that they never appropriated those funds in the first place. In other words, in at least one respect, the Senate bill is … an expansion of ObamaCare.

All in all, the bill’s a jumble of provisions designed to shore up the current law and, bizarrely, to make it less sustainable. With the mandate gone, many O-Care taxes repealed, and the cost-sharing subsidies marked for phase-out in 2019, much of the revenue needed to keep the exchanges buoyant is set to disappear over the next few years.

A vote on the bill is set for next Thursday. The CBO plans to release estimates for the Senate health care bill next week. And some senators are expressing concerns that there may not be enough time to fully process the bill before next week’s scheduled vote.

Here are a few quick reactions from conservatives to the bill’s release this morning:

SEN. RAND PAUL (Kentucky): “Conservatives have always been for repealing Obamacare, and my concern is that this doesn’t repeal Obamacare,” he said as he was walking back to his office through the Capitol tunnel.

“What I’m seeing so far is it keeps 10 out of 12 regulations, it continues the Obamacare subsidies, and I think ultimately will not bring down premiums,” he continued, “because instead of trying to fix the death spiral of Obamacare, it simply subsidizes it with taxpayer money to insurance companies.”

SEN. RON JOHNSON (Wisconsin): “The primary driver of premium increases is guaranteed issue,” he told reporters, referring to the ACA provision that bars insurers from rejecting customers. “Who would buy auto insurance if you could buy insurance after you’ve crashed your car?” Johnson said. “Well, that’s the exact same reason that guaranteed issue, when it’s been passed in states, is collapsing insurance markets, is collapsing the Obamacare market.” He would prefer that people with pre-existing conditions be taken care of through high-risk pools.

Further, here is an interesting look at the senators who have concerns about the bill, and some who may be considering voting “no”.

Happy reading.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Stabbing Of Police Officer In Flint, Michigan Being Investigated As An Act Of Terrorism

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:31 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The FBI is currently investigating the brutal stabbing of a police officer at the airport in Flint, Michigan:

A police officer was stabbed in the back and neck Wednesday at an airport in Flint, Michigan, and the suspect is in custody and being questioned, according to authorities.

The police officer, identified as Lt. Jeff Neville, is in stable condition, said Lt. David Kaiser, a spokesman for the Michigan State Police. He was stabbed on the public side of Bishop International Airport’s main terminal, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

All passengers are safe and were evacuated, the airport said on Facebook. A law enforcement official said the stabbing appears to have targeted law enforcement.

According to witnesses, the attacker, identified as Amor Ftouhi was heard shouting “Allahu akbar” before stabbing Neville. According to reports, Ftouhi is currently being questioned by officials. He is said to be from Quebec and holds a Canadian passport. It is not known why he was in Flint. Reports suggest he may have entered the United States illegally in June. According to the AP, the FBI is saying Ftouhi talked about people being killed in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. At this point, officials are saying the suspect was a lone wolf attacker, and there is no indication of a “wider plan”. Finally, at a news conference, FBI Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios said that Ftouhi “said something similar to “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die” as he was being arrested. Gelios added that the knife used by Ftouhi was 12-inches with an 8-inch serrated blade.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Republican Karen Handel Defeats Democrat Jon Ossoff In Georgia Special Election

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Democrats from across the country reportedly pumped at least $23 million into Ossoff’s campaign, to no avail:

Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in a high-stakes special election for a Georgia House seat on Tuesday, denying Democrats their first major victory of the Donald Trump era.

Handel bested Ossoff by 5 percentage points in the most expensive House race in history.

California Bay Area Democrats hardest hit:

Georgia congressional candidate Jon Ossoff, who’s turned his special election race next week into a referendum on President Donald Trump, reported receiving almost as much money from the Bay Area than from the entire state of Georgia over the last two months. He also reported receiving almost nine times as many individual donations from California than from Georgia, according to federal campaign finance data released last week…In money raised, Ossoff has blown Handel out of the water — thanks in part to the Golden State. Between March 29 and May 31, Ossoff reported receiving 7,218 donations from California, dwarfing the 808 donations he received from Georgia. In the nine Bay Area counties alone, he received 3,063 donations in the same time period. (Those are only a fraction of his total donations, as he doesn’t have to report donations from people who give less than $200 in total.) Overall, he reported receiving $456,296.03 from California — and $220,532.10 from the Bay Area — versus just $228,474.44 from Georgia. That’s an even larger disparity than from his earlier donations report in April…But for out of state donors, the idea of sticking one to Trump with an Ossoff win is the big draw.

Here’s a fascinating breakdown of the money involved in the most expensive U.S. House race in history.

What It’s Like Living in an Avocado Republic

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:58 pm

[guest post by JVW]

California, as we famously know, is a one-party state. The last Republican to be elected to statewide office was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is hardly anyone’s idea of a true blue conservative. The GOP briefly seized control of the State Assembly in the 1994 midterms when the Democrats were crushed nationwide, but treachery from within and without doomed them and the party has never recovered, slipping farther and farther behind the Democrats in nearly each subsequent election.

This has made nearly invincible the Democrats, a party that is largely driven by greedy unionized government workers and corrupt racial/ethnic grievance mongers with the support of gentry liberals, and has inculcated in them both an arrogance stemming from unchecked power and a belief that they can manipulate the system in any way imaginable in order to protect their interests. With lame-duck Governor Jerry Brown no longer interested in trying to impress a modicum of fiscal responsibility upon his colleagues, the California Legislature has embarked upon an orgy of taxing and spending, promising to bring progressive paradise to the shores of the Pacific. The latest manifestation of this never-satiated hunger for tax revenue was an increase in the gas tax and vehicle registration fees, which passed the legislature a few weeks ago and has proven to be unpopular among a Golden State public that desires big government’s beneficence but has no intention of paying for it themselves.

So California Republican activists, seeing an opening, have begun pushing for a recall election election for freshman state senator Josh Newman of Fullerton, a Democrat whose vote in favor of the new taxes helped pass the bill (Democrats have the bare supermajority of 2/3 of the chamber required by California law to pass tax increases). They have begun a campaign of circulating recall petitions, with the object of forcing a special recall election where the ability to turn-out angry voters might just tip the balance and force Newman out. In response, the Democrat leadership in the legislature has conspired to change the law in midstream and slow down the recall process in order to halt momentum and to make it far more likely that any recall election would take place during a general election when Democrats can better turn-out their voting base. Democrats seized upon some alleged misleading flyers distributed by recall supporters which incorrectly suggested that voting for the recall would undo the gas and vehicle tax increases, and feigned outrage at the perfidy in order to justify this extraordinary exercise of raw political muscle. But even some friendly academics are having trouble justifying this move:

[O]ne California elections expert said she found the legislation “dispiriting,” saying that it was written for Democrats’ political gain rather than to address the problem of misleading signature-gathering tactics. Newman’s narrow victory in November secured his party a supermajority in the Legislature.

“If this was truly about trying to get at the systemic problem of false signature gathering, I don’t think the bill would look this way,” said Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor. “It would be broader — it would apply to all the different ways we gather signatures.

“This,” she added, “seems to be targeted at lengthening the time to get a recall on the ballot, which in this case would help Sen. Newman.”

Ah, California: it was almost Eden until all the progressive snakes showed up peddling government apples.


Foiled Terror Attack in Belgium

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Although it’s still being investigated, an incident in Belgium is being described by the Belgian federal prosecutor as a foiled “terror attack”. The incident took place at one of the country’s busiest train stations. Thankfully, no one appears to been killed or injured, aside from the suspect:

Belgian troops patrolling a major train station in Brussels have “neutralised” a person following an explosion.

Police say they are unable to confirm media reports that the suspect was wearing an explosive belt and had wires coming out of their clothes.

The incident took place at Brussels Central – one of the country’s busiest stations – and Belgium’s federal prosecutor says it is being treated as terrorism.

A police spokesman said: “There was an explosion around a person. That person was neutralised by the soldiers that were on the scene.”

The federal prosecutor added they cannot confirm if the suspect who was shot is still alive – however, no civilians appear to have been injured or killed in the explosion.

And the AP is reporting this:

Nicolas Van Herreweghen, who works for Belgium’s national rail company, said the male suspect was very agitated, yelling about jihadists and then “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” before blowing up something on a baggage trolley.

He said the man appeared to be 30 to 35 years of age.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



David French: Jury’s Verdict In Philando Castile Case Was A Miscarriage Of Justice (Added: Dash-Cam Video)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:41 am

[guest post by Dana]

Following the acquittal of Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez of manslaughter charges in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, David French makes a very compelling argument that a miscarriage of justice occurred. I’m copying liberally from his post as it’s so well worth the read:

In considering the rightness of the verdict, pay close attention to the transcript of the fatal encounter. Here it is, via CNN:

9:05:00 p.m. — Castile’s vehicle came to a complete stop.

9:05:15 – 9:05:22 p.m. — Yanez approached Castile’s car on the driver’s side.

9:05:22 – 9:05:38 p.m. — Yanez exchanged greetings with Castile and told him of the brake light problem.

9:05:33 p.m. — St. Anthony Police Officer Joseph Kauser, who had arrived as backup, approached Castile’s car on the passenger’s side.

9:05:38 p.m. — Yanez asked for Castile’s driver’s license and proof of insurance.

9:05:48 p.m. — Castile provided Yanez with his proof of insurance card.

9:05:49 – 9:05:52 p.m. — Yanez looked at Castile’s insurance information and then tucked the card in his pocket.

9:05:52 – 9:05:55 p.m. — Castile told Yanez: “Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.” Before Castile completed the sentence, Yanez interrupted and replied, “Okay” and placed his right hand on the holster of his gun.

9:05:55 – 9:06:02 p.m. — Yanez said “Okay, don’t reach for it, then.” Castile responded: “I’m… I’m … [inaudible] reaching…,” before being again interrupted by Yanez, who said “Don’t pull it out.” Castile responded, “I’m not pulling it out,” and Reynolds said, “He’s not pulling it out.” Yanez screamed: “Don’t pull it out,” and pulled his gun with his right hand. Yanez fired seven shots in the direction of Castile in rapid succession. The seventh shot was fired at 9:06:02 p.m. Kauser did not touch or remove his gun.

9:06:03 – 9:06:04 p.m. — Reynolds yelled, “You just killed my boyfriend!”

9:06:04 – 9:06:05 p.m. — Castile moaned and said, “I wasn’t reaching for it.” These were his last words.

9:06:05 – 9:06:09 p.m. — Reynolds said “He wasn’t reaching for it.” Before she completed her sentence, Yanez screamed “Don’t pull it out!” Reynolds responded. “He wasn’t.” Yanez yelled, “Don’t move! F***!”

If you read carefully, you’ll note that it appears that the officer shot Castile for doing exactly what the officer told him to do. Yanez asked for Castile’s license. Castile told him that he had a gun, and the officer – rather than asking for his carry permit, or asking where the gun was, or asking to see Castile’s hands – just says, “Don’t reach for it then.”

At that point, Castile is operating under two commands. Get his license, and don’t reach for his gun. As Castile reaches for his license (following the officer’s orders), and he assures him that he’s not reaching for the gun (also following the officer’s orders). The entire encounter, he assures Yanez that he’s following Yanez’s instructions.

…[T]he evidence indicates that Yanez was afraid for his life. He thought he might have been dealing with a robber (a fact he apparently didn’t tell Castile), and he testified that he smelled marijuana. But Castile was following Yanez’s commands, and It’s simply false that the mere presence of a gun makes the encounter more dangerous for the police. It all depends on who possesses the gun. If he’s a concealed-carry permit-holder, then he’s in one of the most law-abiding demographics in America.

French thus concludes that no matter what caused Yanez to panic and react as he did, he should have been held accountable:

I understand the inherent danger of police work. I also understand the legal responsibilities of men and women who volunteer to put on that uniform, and the legal rights of the citizens they’ve sworn to protect and serve. I’m aware of no evidence that Yanez panicked because Castile was black. But whether he panicked because of race, simply because of the gun, or because of both, he still panicked, and he should have been held accountable. The jury’s verdict was a miscarriage of justice.

According to reports, Yanez will not return to active duty in St. Anthony.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


The squad dash-cam video has been released, It’s awful to watch in every way. Consider this a warning. Here’s the question: “It’s clear that Yanez believed he was in danger — listen to the escalation between his calm “Don’t reach for it, then” to his second “Don’t pull it out!” before he fired (all of which go by quite quickly). But was that belief reasonable from the movements Castile was making? Bear in mind that if someone is drawing a weapon despite repeated commands not to, the officer is dead if he doesn’t react quickly.”

A Great Day for Free Speech: The Slants (and Ron Coleman) Win

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:13 am

The Slants have won. The disparagement provision of the Lanham Act has been declared unconstitutional, to the joy of free-speech advocates everywhere — and to the surprise of nobody following the case. In January, after reviewing the oral arguments, I wrote:

I remain cautiously optimistic that the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, which allows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to deny trademark protection to so-called “disparaging” trademarks, will be struck down as a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I predict the vote will be 7-1 — with Justice Sotomayor, the “wise Latina,” in the minority.

Well, even Justice Sotomayor hopped on board, and the decision was a hearty unanimous 8-0 — albeit with a bunch of opinions that I currently lack the time to sort through.

It’s a great day for the First Amendment.

If you want to read more about the background, you can do so here.

Congratulations to Ron Coleman of Archer & Greiner and the Likelihood of Confusion blog. I’m sure everyone remembers that Ron, along with the redoubtable Bruce Godfrey of Jezic & Moyse LLC, is still defending me in a censorious lawsuit brought by convicted bomber and perjurer Brett Kimberlin. Give him a shout-out on the Twitters for me.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Happy Father’s Day!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:59 pm

[guest post by Dana]

To all the dads here, a most happy day in honor of you! What a uniquely important role you fill in the lives of your children. And whether those children are small or grown, a dad is always just that. You are invaluable, and always will be as you do your best to steer your kids down the right path, example to them how to take the high road in life, work diligently to train them up in the way they should go, and love them like no other can. You are their safety net until you pass on from this life. Even if that’s when they themselves are middle-aged adults.

And a shout-out to my own dad, who never met a dirt road that didn’t call him to go around the next bend, who not only tried very hard to teach me what an oscilloscope actually does but also taught me to spell it correctly, who taught me how to scuba dive, how to use a sextant (which I still don’t understand), who showed me how to make sukiyaki, who introduced me to the wonders of The Leatherstocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper, who demonstrated the patience of Job as he tutored me in Mathematics, who always made sure his family had a roof over our head, food on the table, and a warm bed to sleep in, and who instilled in me a work ethic that has never wavered, and reassured me that, at a certain point in life, we all find ourselves struggling in the middle of a dark tunnel, but to be of courage and faith because God will be with us in the middle of that darkness and will be the spark of light to follow and hold onto as we make our way out together. While in no way resembling a traditional “father,” mine is instead a force to simultaneously be reckoned with, hidden from, clung to, and everything in between. In other words, he’s mine, and for that I am eternally grateful.


President Trump’s Attorney: “Let Me Be Clear, The President Is Not Under Investigation”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:19 am

[guest post by Dana]

And yet, President Trump just tweeted this on Friday:


This morning, President Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow made a stop on the Sunday talk shows. On each show he contradicted President Trump’s claim of being under investigation. According to Sekulow, the President’s tweet was a response to an anonymously sourced report in the Washington Post, which claimed that the President is under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. But if this report is what what Trump was responding to, then why wouldn’t he deny that he was under investigation, rather than confirm the claim? Why would he validate the “lying media” and an anonymously sourced report? After all, President Trump told us that by using social media, he can go around the fake media. And yet, here he is confirming an anonymously sourced report in the “fake media”.

Here is his exchange with Jake Tapper:

“So the president said ‘I am under investigation’ even though he isn’t under investigation?” Tapper asked.

“That response on social media was in response to the Washington Post piece,” Sekulow responded. “It’s that simple. The president is not under investigation.”

“Well, I wish it were that simple but with all due respect, the president said ‘I am being investigated’ in a tweet, and people take his word on that,” Tapper pushed back.

After Sekulow insisted that the tweet was really an attempt to call out the Post for putting out a “fake report, the CNN host shot back that it didn’t appear to do that at all, and in fact, made it appear that Trump was confirming the story.

“But it is confusing because the president said ‘I am being investigated’ and you’re saying that the Washington Post report is wrong, but no one did more to confirm the Washington Post report than the president,” Tapper noted. “I mean, CNN had not confirmed the Washington Post report but then President Trump came out and said, ‘I am being investigated.’”

Trump’s attorney replied by pointing out how big Trump’s social media reach is and that the “simple explanation” is that the president was responding to a story based on anonymous sourcing.

Here is Chuck Todd’s interview with Sekulow on Meet the Press:

Here is John Dickerson’s interview with Sekulow on Face the Nation:

(Question: In this interview, when Sekulow claims that the President is not under investigation, host John Dickerson follows up by asking Sekulow how he knows that. Sekulow responds: “There have been no notifications from the special counsel’s office that the President is under investigation. In fact, to the contrary.” Is there a legal obligation for the President to be officially notified if he were under investigation?)

But Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday may have had the most head-scratching interaction of all:

All of this is a bit confusing – which may actually be the intent. But at the very, very least, it is yet another indicator that Trump needs to stop tweeting if he does not want to continue to undermine his own presidency. He is by far his own worst enemy. And he just keeps on proving it.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


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