Patterico's Pontifications

8/12/2017

BREAKING: Virginia Governor Declares State Of Emergency, Denounces Hatred And Bigotry In His Statement

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:15 pm

Caleb Howe posted earlier that Charlottesville had declared the “Unite the [Fringe] Right” Rally an unlawful assembly. Now Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe has declared a state emergency:

This decision frees up the state police and state National Guard to respond, as NBC News reports:

State police and members of the Virginia National Guard surrounded the park after McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and the city of Charlottesville declared the alt-right protest an unlawful assembly — effectively cancelling the demonstration before its planned start time.

McAuliffe included in his statement a denunciation of hatred and bigotry as well as a reference to violence:

“It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property,” McAuliffe said in a statement released shortly before noon. “I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours.”

The reference to hatred and bigotry is dumb, because it will give the fringe right rally attendees an argument that police were called to cancel their rally in part for political reasons. That is unfortuate because, as Andrea Ruth and Caleb Howe just posted, there has been an apparent deliberate attempt to run down anti-racist protestors with a car. (As always, breaking stories are often wrong, so take everything with a grain of salt.) There may well be legitimate and viewpoint-neutral reasons to take action. Muddying up the message with a governmental denunciation of the ralliers’ message, however hateful it may actually be, is not wise.

But nobody ever said Terry McAuliffe was wise.

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

Keith Ellison Saying Kim Is “More Responsible” Than Trump Is Part Of A Disturbing Pattern Of Moral Equivalence

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:14 pm

You may have heard that Keith Ellison — a guy who came within a whisker of being the DNC Chair — yesterday claimed that Kim Jong-un is “more responsible” than Donald Trump:

North Korea is a serious thing. You have this guy making bellicose threats against somebody else who has very little to lose over there.

Kim Jong-un, the world always thought he was not a responsible leader, well he’s acting more responsible than this guy is.

“This guy” is a reference to Donald Trump.

I’m tempted to take the Lord’s full name in vain, complete with the middle initial, and include the concept of a popsicle stick. What a ridiculous, absurd, stupid, over the top thing to say.

Ellison has retracted the statement, but he meant it when he made it. It’s worth talking about how absurd it is — and how it’s part of a pattern of Americans drawing a false moral equivalence between evil dictators and the United States.

Even if we’re just talking rhetoric, Ellison is full of it. You don’t have to agree with Trump’s rhetoric (I don’t) to recognize that Kim’s rhetoric is far less responsible. At Hot Air, the always thorough John Sexton gives several examples of Kim’s explicit threats of aggressive nuclear first strikes against the United States. The threats have been going on for years, and most sentient beings are familiar with them.

But to me, the outrageousness of Ellison’s statement goes deeper than a mere comparison of the rhetoric.Look: Trump may display all of the Seven Deadly Sins. He may be a personally awful human being all the way around. (OK, forget “may.” He does, and he is.) But Kim is evil. His regime is evil. He starves his people, runs secretive prison camps for political opponents, and engages in murder, rape, and torture as a matter of government policy. There is zero free press. The entire nation is one giant personality cult. As cultish as some Trumpers can be, there is no comparison between the two countries. Anyone who says there is — or that Trump is worse — is giving aid and comfort to one of the most purely malevolent regimes on the planet.

Ellison isn’t the only one trying to equate Trump (in Ellison’s case unfavorably) with Kim. Here’s Jay Rosen, an NYU journalism professor with over 215,000 Twitter followers:

I like the response of Popehat’s Patrick Non-White:

Joking around that Trump is a lunatic like Kim is one thing. I happen to think they both have a screw loose. But to seriously assert that Trump is less responsible than Kim, or that there is an equivalence between the two regimes, is absurdly myopic and morally wrong.

It is almost impossible to exaggerate the villainy of Kim’s North Korea. Leftists ought to keep that in mind when they make flippant remarks like Ellison made yesterday.

FROM THE “BOTH SIDES DO IT” FILE: I hate to disturb your partisan pleasure in mocking leftists, but I can’t let Trump and his minions off the hook entirely. Because he and his supporters have engaged in a disturbing trend of their own, in straining to find good qualities in Vladimir Putin, and to equate his atrocities with America’s actions.

Take Roy Moore, who this week declared his kinship with Putin in declaring American to be the “focus of evil” in the world:

In an interview with the Guardian’s Anywhere But Washington series, Moore also said that Ronald Reagan’s famous declaration about the Soviet Union being “the focus of evil in the modern world” might today be applied to the US.

“You could say that about America, couldn’t you?” he said. “We promote a lot of bad things.” Asked for an example, he replied: “Same-sex marriage.”

When it was pointed out to Moore that his arguments on gay rights and morality were the same as those of the Russian leader, he replied: “Well, maybe Putin is right.” He added: “Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”

This is an organized plot to cause me to violate the Third Commandment, isn’t it?

And those with keen memories will easily recall how Trump shrugged off complaints that Vladimir Putin kills critics with a flip “hey we all do bad stuff” remark:

TRUMP: I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not, and if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world —

O’REILLY: Right.

TRUMP: — major fight, that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea. It’s very possible —

O’REILLY: But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.

TRUMP: A lot of killers. You got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?

I’m not here to say America hasn’t done bad things. But we are not Kim Jong-un’s North Korea. Explain that to Keith Ellison and Jay Rosen. And we are not Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Explain that to Roy Moore and Donald Trump.

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

Sen. Ben Sasse: Congress Doesn’t Vote To Go To War Based On The President’s Latest Rant

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:05 am

[guest post by Dana]

When in front of an audience, it’s no secret that President Trump is compelled to go off-script, and go more bigly and bolder at the opportunity. So knowing that, in a week of incendiary rhetoric being lobbed at North Korea, it only makes sense he would also target Venezuela. Because “fire and fury” in North Korea just isn’t enough when there is yet another country currently imploding at the hands of its lunatic leader. In a week of tit-for-tat ratcheting up of threats with third-world thugs, we should remember that, in spite of public comments made by any previous president being of consequence and taken seriously, you will be ridiculed and mocked for attempting to hold this president to the same standard. Only his tweets are “official statements”. And while you see these “threats” as bold and courageous and a long time in coming, your neighbor sees them as yet another demonstration of unwise and reckless foolishness.

Obviously, Sen. Ben Sasse, a member of the Armed Services Committee and a Trump critic, falls into the latter group :

No. Congress obviously isn’t authorizing war in Venezuela. Nicolas Maduro is a horrible human being, but Congress doesn’t vote to spill Nebraskans’ blood based on who the executive lashes out at today.

Note: President Trump made his comments to the media after refusing to take a call from Maduro, and after the White House released a sound statement:

“The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime. President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country,” the White House said.

But in front of the cameras, such a reasonable statement won’t do. Trump’s rule of thumb seems to be to always up the ante and be more provocative than the other guy because he thinks it looks tough, ballsy, and speaks to power. And if that means drawing his own red line in the sand, then so be it. But just don’t think that double-standard metric will hold water:

When President Obama drew a red line in Syria and then refused to enforce it, the rest of the world took notice; Russia and China quickly became aggressive. Trump making empty threats may sound good to him on the morning shows when played back, but if he doesn’t fulfill those threats, then he becomes another paper tiger. Trump can’t just say stuff. What he says matters, even if he doesn’t think it should. He can’t afford to blow his foreign policy credibility.

And for those pointing out that Sen. Sasse’s votes have lined up with President Trump, that does not mean that he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana


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