Patterico's Pontifications


It’s Kavanaugh

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:00 pm

He seems to be the best of the options on the table. Another good choice by Donald Trump.

And, yes, far better than Hillary’s choice would have been. No question about it.

UPDATE: Ed Whelan has the lowdown on Kavanaugh at his indispensable Bench Memos. Quotable:

Kavanaugh is a strong critic of the Chevron principle of deference to administrative agencies — both of the foundation of that principle and of the manner in which it is often exercised. He has earned acclaim for “cabining” the Chevron doctrine by helping to develop an exception to it for “major questions” of policy.

Just like Gorsuch. I love it. In this way, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are actually an improvement on Scalia.

Kavanaugh argued (in dissent) that the District of Columbia’s ban on possession of most semi-automatic weapons and its registration requirement for all guns violated the Second Amendment.

. . . .

Kavanaugh argued (in Priests for Life v. HHS, again in dissent) that the HHS contraceptive mandate violated the religious-liberty rights of objecting religious organizations. He also rejected an Establishment Clause challenge to the prayers at the presidential inauguration and to the inclusion of “so help me God” in the official presidential oath.

. . . . On campaign-finance restrictions, a liberal academic who broadly supports such restrictions bemoans that “the only question is whether [Kavanaugh would] be more like Justice Scalia (voting to strike down more and more campaign limits) or like Justice Thomas (voting to do that AND strike down campaign finance disclosure laws).”

This is all good. And an improvement over the unreliable windbag Kennedy.

Great stuff.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Whom Will Trump Pick for the Supreme Court Tomorrow? [UPDATED]

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:15 pm

Just like last time, the name Thomas Hardiman is being bandied about this weekend, even as Kethledge is being deep-sixed in the rumor mills. My views on Hardiman have not changed much since I wrote this post in January 2017. I said then that Hardiman was not battle-tested enough to replace Scalia but might be appropriate down the road. I think he might be an OK replacement for a lefty justice like Ginsburg, but unless our goal is to replace an unpredictable and moderate judge like Kennedy with another moderate, we can do better. I still think Bill Pryor would have been a better choice right out of the gate to replace Scalia, and we could have done Gorsuch this time — but what’s done is done.

Whether this is a feint to make Kavanaugh seem more of a surprise, I don’t know. I hope so.

[UPDATE 7/9, 1:12 pm by JVW]

And then there’s this:

[UPDATE II, 1:41 pm by JVW]

Twitchy thinks Sen. Cruz is trolling us. I suppose a Senator flying to Washington isn’t much of a big deal, but I figured they were on break for a few weeks.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

#FAKENEWS Tries to Undermine Trump’s Nuclear Deal Success with Chairman Un [Guest Post by Hateway Pundit]

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:56 am

[In an effort to increase diversity of opinion among posters here at, here is a guest post by Him Joft, aka Hateway Pundit. Patterico will return tomorrow. Or later today. Who knows?]

As the world knows, Donald Trump, who wrote The Art of the Deal, recently returned from Singapore triumphant, having solved the Nuclear Crisis with North Korea. Our President, who the far left wackos and the #NeverTrumpers (but I repeat myself) like to portay as a liar, said: “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” I dont know about you but I believe my President.

Its no surprise that the real enemy of this country, the #FAKENEWS lamestream media, is trying to undercut Trump’s great success. First there’s the New York Times, who’s motto is “All the #FakeNews Thats Fit to Print”. They say:

North Korea accused the Trump administration on Saturday of pushing a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization” and called it “deeply regrettable,” hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his two days of talks in the North Korean capital were “productive.”

Despite the criticism, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, still wanted to build on the “friendly relationship and trust” forged with President Trump during their summit meeting in Singapore on June 12. The ministry said Mr. Kim had written a personal letter to Mr. Trump, reiterating that trust.

The harsh North Korean reaction may have been a time-tested negotiating tactic. Two months ago, a brief blowup between the two countries led President Trump to briefly cancel, then reschedule, his summit meeting with Mr. Kim. But North Korea’s remarks also played to a larger fear: that the summit meeting’s vaguely worded commitment to “the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” meant something very different in Pyongyang and Washington.

If Trump said their “de-nuking” then theyre de-nuking. And even if they arent, Trump knows how to put on a good show. Its the Expectations Game, and anybody with half a brain like us knows that, unlike the Fredocon #NeverTrumpers and they’re far left Buddies at there cocktail Parties they like to go to so much with Billy Crystal and all those other guys with the cruises they always try to sell you.

And anyway I sincerely doubt North Korea said the U.S. was pushing a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization.” Maybe the geniuses at the New York Times need to get new translators. If anyone is a gangster, it’s Barack Obama, and Chairman Un is smart enough to know that. If your the head of a Country like that, your smarter then to say things like that about President Trump. He wrote the Art of the Deal, and he even gave Chairman Un a CD reminding him about how he called him “Rocket Man” for some lighthearrted humor, which everyone knows Chairman Un likes. So why would Rocket Mans panties be in such a twist? The obvious conclusion is there not, and its more #FAKENEWS.

Its time for the “fifth column” to recognize what Trump has acheived here. Except for several times, NOrth Korea has never offered to “denucularize” before. And they sure haven’t offered it before to Presient Trump, who wrote The Art of the Deal. I don’t care what idiots like Mark Cuban and Michael Bloomberg say about Trump: the fact is you dont get to be as Rich as Donald Trump without being smart, okay?

Then theres the #FAKENEWSBEZOSPOST that ran a Story about a week ago trying to make it sound like Chairman Un is still trying to nuke, even after Trump said hes trying to denuke. Get a load of this story with it’s four “Sources” that dont even exist:

U.S. intelligence officials, citing newly obtained evidence, have concluded that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile, and instead is considering ways to conceal the number of weapons it has and secret production facilities, according to U.S. officials.

The evidence, collected in the wake of the June 12 summit in Singapore, points to preparations to deceive the United States about the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea’s arsenal as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs, the officials said.

The findings support a new, previously undisclosed Defense Intelligence Agency estimate that North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize.

Its pretty obvious whats going on here: the Deep State. From the Demonrat operation run by lifelong Demonrat Special Councel Robert “Witch Hunter” Mueller to our so-called “intelligence community,” their all deep staters. Donald Trump shineded the light on these frauds and revealed that anyone who joins law enforcement or the intelligence community does so to “undermine” the Country from within. We owe our President a grate Debt for revealing these traitors to be that thing they are.

Thanks to Patterico for the chance to say this stuff. For a dirty traitorous #NeverTrumper hes OK.

— Him JOft

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 126

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

It is the seventh Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort” (Sustain us, Lord with your word).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 6:1-13.

A Prophet Without Honor

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

The cantata is based on Martin Luther’s hymn of the same name: “Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort.” The basic melody of the hymn can be heard in this simple piano harmonization:

The text of today’s piece is available here. Piece 5, a recitative, contains these words:

Thus Your word and truth will be revealed
and made manifest in the highest radiance,
since You watch over Your church,
since You make the teaching of Your holy word
fruitful with blessing;
and if You turn to us as our Helper,
then in peace
the abundance of blessing will be granted to us.

Wherever God’s word is preached, the truth will triumph.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


What I Have Been Reading Lately

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:48 am

Here are some books I recently finished. I recommend each one and hope to review each separately. All links are Amazon affiliate links.

Some other books I am still in the middle of:

On the list when I finish these (or maybe before! I’m often in the middle of several books at a time):

Any book recommendations from anyone who still reads books are welcome, and thoughts about any of these books from anyone who has read them would be especially welcome.


Trump Tariffs Are Hurting These Trump Supporters, But They Still Love the Man Who Conned Them

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:43 pm

The L.A. Times has a sad story of Trump supporters from the manufacturing sector whose livelihoods are being destroyed by tariffs, but who refuse to abandon their support for the con man responsible:

Jimmie Coffer, a machine programmer at the nation’s largest nail-making plant, voted for Donald Trump partly because he was confident he would bring manufacturing jobs back to America.

So the 39-year-old factory worker was shocked last month when 60 of his co-workers were laid off after the Trump administration imposed a 25% tariff on the steel his company imports from Mexico. Now, as his bosses cut back hours and warn they may have to let 200 more workers go in the coming weeks, he worries he may lose his job as a result of the president’s policies.

But Coffer is still gung-ho about Trump.

“I support him 100%,” he said last week. “In fact, I’d like to shake his hand. He’s doing a great job.”

. . . .

Trump won 79% of the vote here in Butler County and, while many were surprised to discover the tariffs are hurting their town, they still believe Trump is on the right track and firmly support his goal of pouring life back into dilapidated manufacturing communities — even if they end up losers.

The article is a sad tale of people who were sold a bill of goods and are desperate to believe they weren’t conned. Few things are sadder to watch, but the psychology of con artists and their marks ensures that it will happen:

Con artists aren’t just master manipulators; they are expert storytellers. Much as we are intrinsically inclined to trust, we are naturally drawn to a compelling story. Just ask any advertising executive or political operative. “When a fact is plausible, we still need to test it,” Konnikova writes with characteristic concision. “When a story is plausible, we often assume it’s true.” And once we’ve accepted a story as true, we’re not likely to question it; on the contrary, we will probably unconsciously bend any contradictory information to conform to the conclusion we’ve already drawn. There’s a name for this phenomenon — confirmation bias. It provides the key psychological scaffolding for the long con, during the course of which the mark finds a way to rationalize any number of warning signs.

The L.A. Times says they are standing by their man:

Conspiracy theories and rumors also have spread. Some locals theorize the company’s Mexican owners have long planned to relocate south of the border and are using the tariffs as an excuse to finally leave. (Company officials do not rule out relocating to Mexico — where they could buy steel and export the finished nails back to the U.S. without tariffs — but insist they are committed to remaining in Poplar Bluff.)

“This has nothing to do with tariffs — or Trump,” Mark Orton, the owner of Bluff Barber Shop, said as he dabbed shaving foam on a customer’s face. “It’s smoke and mirrors. This Mexican company is just trying to blame Trump.”

His client, a red-headed factory worker who declined to give his name, blamed politicians and newspapers for “banging on” Trump.

“They can’t say anything nice about him,” he griped. “If Trump ran into a burning building to pull out children, they’d say he’s hurting firefighters.”

Trying to fight persistent and pigheaded ignorance often feels the same as repeatedly bashing your head into a brick wall. You can do it. But at a certain point you start to ask why.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Not the Onion: U.S. Secretary of State Brings “Rocket Man” CD to North Korea for Kim Jong-un

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:21 am

Diplomacy at its finest:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left for North Korea on Thursday for denuclearization talks and brought two gifts for leader Kim Jong-un.

One is a letter from U.S. President Donald Trump and the other an Elton John CD with his song “Rocket Man.”

Sources in Washington said the gifts reflect Trump’s expectations that Kim will follow through on the pledges in an agreement the two signed at their summit.

One diplomatic source in Washington said, “The ‘Rocket Man’ CD was the subject of discussion during Trump’s lunch with Kim. Kim mentioned that Trump referred to him as ‘rocket man’ when tensions ran high last year” after a series of nuclear tests and missile launches by the North. “Trump then asked Kim if he knew the song and Kim said no.”

Trump remembered the conversation and told Pompeo to take a CD with the song for Kim. He reportedly wrote a message on it and signed it.

Kim is expected to respond with a DVD containing the new North Korean hit “Deranged Dotard.” I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

By the way, Trump’s letter was a very nice letter. Oh, would you like to see what was in that letter. It was a very interesting letter. I . . . haven’t read the letter yet. I may be in for a big surprise, folks!

UPDATE: AZ Bob has this great line in the comments: “If he wanted to insult him, he would have given him an iPod full of Obama’s speeches.” That is A+ humor. Thanks for the line.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Scott Pruitt Resigns

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:14 pm

[guest post by JVW]

I think many of us here appreciated Pruitt’s steady work in rolling back some of the more ridiculous and onerous regulations imposed during the Obama years, but it’s hard to get past the idea that he was yet another swamp rat who had no moral compunction about living large on the taxpayer dime. It shouldn’t be difficult to find a — ahem, ahem — public servant who doesn’t feel the need to live like a mafia chieftain.

So long, Scott.



Frau Merkel Sounds the Retreat from the Immigration Battlefield

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:54 pm

[guest post by JVW]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who took nearly six months to stitch together a very shaky government after her party suffered major losses in last September’s election, has agreed to the demands of her coalition partner the Christian Social Union (CSU) to tighten the rules governing asylum seekers, including housing many of them in camps set up at Germany’s border while they await processing instead of permitting them to travel throughout Germany. This represents a significant backtracking from the policy that Chancellor Merkel pushed on Germany — and, by extension, on continental Europe — three years ago. Under the proposed policy, those who first enter Europe via Greece or Italy or Albania or Croatia or wherever can no longer trek straight to the border and enter refugee-accommodating Germany or Sweden, they must instead wait in the camp at the border while their status is determined. Germany’s Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, has promised his CSU allies that the new policy will allow closer vetting and make it easier for migrants whose refugee application is rejected to be sent back to their home countries or somewhere else in Europe (think of another German-speaking nation on Germany’s southern border).

This new proposal still needs the blessing of the more left-wing Social Democratic Party (SPD), the third player in the coalition government, who is arguing for a liberal policy at the German border coupled with greater aid to Italy and Greece to allow more refugees to remain there, as well as calling for greater border control overall at the shores of Europe. In other words, the SPD hopes to punt the matter off to the coastal states while paying lip service to combatting “the root of the problem” causing people to emigrate to Europe. While the SPD claims that talks are “making progress,” they have temporarily been suspended until Thursday so that the German leaders can celebrate America’s Independence Day. All of this, largely to prevent the immigration restrictionists from the Alliance for Germany Party (AfD) from making further gains at the expense of the traditional German center-right.

Chancellor Merkel has largely virtue-signaled and blundered through this whole immigration imbroglio, but don’t discount her ability to survive with a politically clever solution. Though apparently Austria has not yet been officially contacted regarding the new policy and though Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is far less interested in accepting refugees than his German counterpart, the fact that Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Obran has not ruled out striking a deal with Germany and Austria suggests that Berlin can mitigate the immigrant crisis by paying off Vienna and Budapest. We’ll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, Sweden’s vast tolerance for immigrants will be put to the test in elections this September, as parties who oppose Sweden’s current policies are looking to make gains in a country that sees itself as “a humanitarian superpower” yet prides itself on social cohesion.


U.S. President Donald Trump: It Is Bad to Have U.S. Citizens from Iran

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

The President of the United States tweeted this early this morning:

The first thing to realize here is that it’s unclear whether it’s actually true. President Trump has a habit of proclaiming the truth of things he sees on the teevee, even when he has access to actual governmental information that could confirm or deny the teevee allegations. (Remember his false tweets about how Obama wiretapped him, for example.) A Fox News report emerged in the last 24 hours making the accusation about the 2500 Iranian immigrants — and the story seems to be based on the as-yet unsubstantiated allegations of “a senior cleric and member of parliament” in Iran named Hojjat al-Islam Mojtaba Zolnour. I suspect this report ended up on the Fox News network, and our Cable News Watcher in Chief pounced.

Is Zolnour telling the truth? I have no idea. The Washington Times reports:

“This sounds like totally made-up B.S.,” said Marie Harf, a former State Department spokeswoman who now works for Fox News.

The current State Department said in a statement to Fox News: “We’re not going to comment on every statement by an Iranian official.”

Moreover, the numbers don’t appear to reflect any particular bump in either green cards or citizenship for Iranians during this period. According to the Fox News story:

Though Zolnour did not mention anyone by name during the interview, several children of current and former Iranian officials live in the United States, including Ali Fereydoun, whose father Hossein Fereydoun is the brother of and special aide to Rouhani; and Fatemeh Ardeshir Larijani, whose father Ali Larijani is speaker of parliament.

There is no suggestion either of these people received citizenship in the wake of the Iranian nuclear deal. It’s also unclear if Zolnour meant citizenship or a green card.

In 2015, 13,114 people born in Iran were issued green cards, while 13,298 were issued one in 2016, according to figures from the Department for Homeland Security. In 2015, 10,344 Iranians became naturalized, with a further 9,507 in 2016.

But putting aside the question of the tweet’s truth, there seems to be no plausible way to read Trump’s tweet other than as a bigoted rejection of Iranian citizens. When I raised this issue on Twitter, Trump defenders told me that certainly the Iranians admitted would have been the bad ones that the Ayatollah didn’t want. (There is no evidence of that, of course, but a certain species of Trump supporter doesn’t require evidence to defend Trump.) But even if we accepted the notion that the 2500 (if they exist) were chosen for being antithetical to the views of the Ayatollah, that could easily mean that they were among the least fundamentalist and Islamist of possible emigres. And indeed, according to the Fox News report, Zolnour, the cleric making the accusation, said the new immigrants were undermining Iran’s interests:

He estimated that between 30 and 60 were studying in the U.S. while the rest of them were working in the country “against our national interests.”

He’s talking about Iran’s interests, not ours. Wouldn’t those be the most desirable of Iranian immigrants, and not the least?

No, it seems that the real problem here for Trump is that we admitted people from Iran. And apparently Trump thinks that Iran is bad and therefore U.S. citizens who come from Iran are bad.

And this is both ignorant and bigoted. The Iranian immigrants I know are among the most patriotic people I’ve ever met. Keep in mind that after 9/11, the citizens of Tehran supported the United States:

In Iran, vast crowds turned out on the streets and held candlelit vigils for the victims. Sixty-thousand spectators respected a minute’s silence at Tehran’s football stadium.

When the President of the United States puts out a statement that suggests that it’s a bad thing to have U.S. citizens who hail from Iran, he sends a message to U.S. citizens here who come from Iran: you are not welcome. It is a bad thing that you are here.

In short, this tweet makes President Donald J. Trump look like a real asshole.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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