Patterico's Pontifications


Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:28 am

Non-Trump topics are allowed and even encouraged.

Back next week in full force.


Your Daily Trump Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:57 am

Sorry for the lack of content. Watching live golf takes precedence. But the discussion of Donald Trump must go on. My suggestion: pair off and destroy old friendships below, by expressing your bitter resentment over other people’s different opinions about an immoral con man who is worth less intrinsically than both of you put together. Me, I’ll be following Jordan Spieth.


Trump Cancels North Korea Summit

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:13 am

I have no time for analysis. Consider this an open thread.


Your Open Trump Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:41 am

To discuss Trump and the Trumpy Trump news of this Trump day. Trump Trump Trump.

Is SPYGATE likely to be one of the biggest political scandals in history? Or just of the last week? It’s a very special episode.


It’s Coming: Obama TV

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

We thought Trump TV was going to be the next thing, until we were handed a 4-8 year reality show on all the networks. Now you can remind yourself why you didn’t particularly care for, or perhaps despised, the guy Trump replaced. “Miss him yet”? Why, soon he’ll be only a click away again! Allahpundit explains:

Obama TV: Netflix Signs Deal With Barack And Michelle To Produce Original Content

Their first film: Drumpf: The Secret Wiretaps.

Nah, sounds like the political stuff here will be broadly political rather than explicitly partisan, e.g., global warming and voting rights, plus maybe some feelgood elite-left cultural pap. “The Joy of Composting,” etc.

I’m psyched for a documentary explaining why it makes sense to trust the nuclear promises of a government full of Shiite fanatics.

. . . .

“Why the Palestinians Are Right” should be a humdinger.

Allahpundit says that people on the right are boycotting Netflix over this. LOL. Smash your Keurig and abandon your cheap and plentiful entertainment. One day, you’ll be able to use only products untouched by any leftist influence. I hear cabin life is tough, but refreshing.

Me, I’ll keep my Netflix account but simply won’t be tuning in. Although having the show around sounds like a nice thing — a reminder of the good old days when people on the right liked each other, because they could come together in their hatred of a guy in power from across the aisle. Now all we have is our hatred of one another. (Although, to be fair, I don’t hate you. You just hate me.) It’s not the same. Maybe we do miss you, Barack. Maybe we do.

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .


[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Trump: How Come Kim Jong-un Is Raining on My Nobel?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:53 am

As President Trump prepares to meet with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea tomorrow, the New York Times reports that Trump is rattled by North Korea’s recent statements that they will never denuclearize in return for aid:

Mr. Trump was both surprised and angered by a statement issued on Wednesday by the North’s chief nuclear negotiator, who declared that the country would never trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid, administration officials said. The statement, while a highly familiar tactic by the North, represented a jarring shift in tone after weeks of conciliatory gestures.

On Thursday and Friday, Mr. Trump peppered aides with questions about the wisdom of proceeding, and on Saturday night he called President Moon Jae-in of South Korea to ask why the North’s public statement seemed to contradict the private assurances that Mr. Moon had conveyed after he met Kim Jong-un, the 35-year-old dictator of the North, at the Demilitarized Zone in late April.

There’s a fella on Twitter named Robert Kelly, a political science professor who lives in South Korea, who has some ideas about why Moon might have given Trump a rosy picture of what a summit could accomplish:

The whole thread is worth reading. Kelly goes on to say, regarding Moon’s suggestion that Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize: “It is an open secret in Korea that this was just flattering Trump to prevent him from starting a war. No one actually believes it. My students & colleagues laugh at the suggestion.” He says nobody thought the West would take it seriously.

By the way, Kelly is the guy who was on the BBC when his daughter hilariously stomped into the room and marched around in the background. Remember that?

Trump may not be a reader, but at least he can control his daughter, amirite? I mean, you’re not going to see Trump’s daughter busting in the door and taking over at inappropriate times the way you just saw happen with Kelly.

Someone should do one of those videos where you take Trump’s face and put it on someone else’s body, and redo that video to make it Trump stomping around in the background. Free idea, Trump superfans! I’ve also prepared your retort to the next passage from the NYT article:

The aides are also concerned about what kind of grasp Mr. Trump has on the details of the North Korea program, and what he must insist upon as the key components of denuclearization. Mr. Moon and his aides reported that Mr. Kim seemed highly conversant with all elements of the program when the two men met, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made similar comments about Mr. Kim, based on his two meetings with him in Pyongyang, the North’s capital.

But aides who have recently left the administration say Mr. Trump has resisted the kind of detailed briefings about enrichment capabilities, plutonium reprocessing, nuclear weapons production and missile programs that Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush regularly sat through.

YOUR RETORT: Knowledge is overrated! Bush and Obama were informed, and look where it got them! We need a guy who doesn’t care about the details, but who can go in and Art of the Deal those mother[we regret that we need to bleep half of this word]s into oblivion!

It writes itself. In fact, I can easily keep it going.

Michael Green, a professor at Georgetown University and a leading expert on Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in Foreign Affairs that Mr. Kim was looking for something much larger than Mr. Trump was.

“Trump may be preparing for the wrong game: a two-player round of checkers when Kim is steeling for a multiplayer two-board chess match,” he wrote. “On one board will be the future of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, what Trump came to negotiate. On the other will be what Kim and the other participants know is also crucially at stake: the future of geopolitics in northeast Asia.” Mr. Kim sees himself as a player in that game long after the Trump administration is over.

YOUR RETORT: Pfffft. How many dimensions are these chess games Kim is playing, “Professor” Green? Two, you say? Three, at most? Watch Chairman Un‘s head spin when he starts to realize that Trump is playing [off camera: Mr. Adams! Hey, Scott? How many dimensions is the chess game Trump is playing? OK, thanks!] fifty-nine dimensional chess!

In all seriousness, the problem is intractable. Prof. Kelly may not know much about keeping his daughter under control when he’s on the teevee, but he knows that Trump can be manipulated due to his desire to get the Nobel Peace Prize — a high honor previously awarded to such peace-loving luminaries as Barack Obama and Yasser Arafat.

Mr. Trump’s aides have grown concerned that the president — who has said that “everyone thinks” he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts — has signaled that he wants the summit meeting too much. The aides also worry that Mr. Kim, sensing the president’s eagerness, is prepared to offer assurances that will fade over time.


The likeliest scenario is an agreement that allows Trump to declare victory, lifts sanctions, and accomplishes nothing verifiable. That’s not progress, but Moon may see it as a better alternative than what looked likely in the days of presidential tweets about “Little Rocket Man.”

Me, I think having an uninformed child representing us is a grand idea. And the people hardest hit, when Trump gets a deal that Obama and Bush could only dream of, will be the damn NeverTrumpers.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Sunday Music: Bach Motet BWV 226

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the Day of Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach piece, a motet, is “Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf” (The Spirit gives aid to our weakness).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15:

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

. . . .

I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here are all the words, which celebrate the Holy Spirit:

1. Chorus

The Spirit gives aid to our weakness. For we do not know for what we should pray, what is proper; but the Spirit itself intercedes for us in the best way with unutterable sighs. He, however, who examines hearts, He knows what the Spirit’s intention is, since it intercedes for the saints according to that which pleases God.

2. Chorale

You holy fire, sweet comfort,
now help us joyfully and confidently
to remain constantly in Your service,
although trouble is not driven away from us!
O Lord, through Your strength prepare us
and sharpen the dullness of the flesh,
so that we might battle here nobly,
pressing to you through death and life.
Hallelujah, hallelujah!

The beginning of the chorale contains words from Martin Luther’s Pentecostal hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord.”

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Brainstorm or Green Needle?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:54 am

Watch this video and expect to hear the word “brainstorm” and you will.

Expect to hear the phrase “green needle” and you will.

Just pick one of those, say it in your head clearly, and then play the video. You will hear whichever one you heard in your head.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Two Phrases That Never Help Real Conversation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:59 am

Here are two phrases that never help real conversation. Both are designed to show that criticism is invalid, simply by virtue of the criticism being impassioned or frequent.

1. “[The object of your criticism] is living rent-free in your head.”

This phrase translates as: “You are criticizing [the object of your criticism] and I do not like it.” It’s meaningless. I used to hear this kind of thing all the time when I was a frequent critic of the Los Angeles Times. I was told that I was “obsessive” about criticizing them. My response was: if they gave me less to criticize them for, I’ll criticize them less. (It turned out that there was another option: you could get bored.)

2. “If you’re catching flak, you must be over the target.”

This one translates as: “If you are getting criticized a lot, that means you must be right.”

This one is kind of a dumb corollary of #1. #1 suggests that your criticism of something or someone is invalid if it is impassioned or frequent. #2 suggests that criticism of you is invalid if that criticism is impassioned or frequent. They both make the same stupid and wrong point. But one targets the critic, while the other validates the critic’s target.

Both of these have zero to do with the quality of the criticism. If you use one of these, you’re using them to avoid the real discussion or conversation.

There are analogies that reveal something about the thing analogized to, and then there are pointless analogies like this one, which say nothing. When you start using pointless analogies, you can get into one of those silly discussions where you parry back and forth, not about the substance of your argument, but about the silly analogy. “Oh yeah? Well, I say if you’re getting flak, that means you left yourself exposed! HaHA!” (The early bird gets the worm, but what does the early worm get? HaHA!)

These are usually employed when there is no answer to the substance of the criticism. They tend to be a crutch for people who don’t want to have a rational discussion.

P.S. This is unrelated to the specific topic, but related to the wider topic of real conversation. For the next week, at least, to the extent that I populate the comments, I’m going to try to engage in real and polite conversation. I’m working on perspective and the spiritual side of my life, and having snippy conversations with people on the Internet is not something I’m interested in doing. That probably means fewer discussions with people unwilling to engage in real conversation, but it should hopefully mean better conversations with people who are willing. If we begin a conversation and it begins to turn sour, I’ll just thank you for the conversation and bow out. I’m making a public commitment here so that I am accountable to people, which increases the chance that I’ll follow through.


Is It Possible for a Minister and an Atheist to Have a Polite and Rational Conversation?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:55 pm

Sounds almost like a joke, doesn’t it? And yet, here it is: my favorite polite rational atheist, Sam Harris, in conversation with Dr. R. Scott Colglazier, Senior Minister of First Congregational Church of Los Angeles.

Instead of the “Othering” that happens online every day, maybe this approach is better. Just a thought.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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