Patterico's Pontifications


Follow-up: President Trump Responds To Writer’s Rape Allegation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

President Trump, during an interview with The Hill, was asked about the recent rape allegation made by writer E. Jean Carroll:

“I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” the president said while seated behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

When asked if Carroll was lying, Trump on Monday repeated his assertion that he had never met her.

“Totally lying. I don’t know anything about her,” he said. “I know nothing about this woman. I know nothing about her. She is — it’s just a terrible thing that people can make statements like that.”

If it were any other president facing an accusation of rape, I would think it bizarre of him to use his accuser’s looks to bolster his claims of innocence. How could I possibly be guilty? I mean, have you seen her?? But given that it’s Trump we’re talking about, and given that we’ve been down this rabbit hole for two years now, it’s actually the exact sort of thing I would expect him to say.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


“Worst I’ve Ever Seen”

Filed under: Government,Immigration — DRJ @ 6:30 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Houston Chronicle: Worst I’ve ever seen’, claims Texas Republican congressman about conditions for detained migrants

In recent days, there has been increased attention to the living, health and safety conditions at migrant detention facilities located near the U.S.-Mexico border. On Sunday, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) stated that the conditions were the worst he’s ever seen.

“I’ve been down there throughout my 15 years in Congress and before that, as a federal prosecutor. This is the worst I’ve ever seen it, and it has to be taken care of,” McCaul said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”


Ultra-Rich Pleading To Be Taxed More

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:16 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Of course they can just send a check to the US Treasury anytime they want, but hey, given how the federal government consistently pays off its debts and regularly balances the budget through disciplined and restrained spending, why not ask them to mandate the collection of more American dollars, am I right!

In a letter sent to candidates Monday, 18 members of some of the nation’s wealthiest families advocated for a wealth tax on people who amassed great personal fortunes, including themselves.

“We are writing to call on all candidates for president, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, to support a moderate wealth tax on the fortunes of the richest one-tenth of the richest 1% of Americans — on us,” said the letter, which was first published in the New York Times Monday.

It said that millions of middle-class Americans already pay a wealth tax annually on their primary form of wealth: property taxes on their homes. The letter points out that Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg have proposed a wealth tax. But the letter’s writers said, “Some ideas are too important for America to be part of only a few candidates’ platforms.”

The letter said the wealth of the top 1/10th of 1% is nearly equal to the wealth of the lowest 90% of American households. “Those of us signing this letter enjoy uncommon fortunes, but each of us wants to live in an America that solves the biggest challenges of our common future,” it said.

The letter lists six key reasons for the wealth tax, and how it can be used in a positive way: It can help fight climate change; would be an economic winner for all Americans; it will make Americans healthier; it is the fair thing to do; it would strengthen American freedom and democracy, and it would be the patriotic thing to do.

Apparently there are not all Democrats are happy about the plan:

The wealth tax isn’t embraced by all Democrats, though, with some arguing it would be difficult to objectively assess the value of wealth like artwork and jewels or illiquid assets. There are also concerns that such a tax is unconstitutional because the federal government is prohibited from taxing property, only income.

And again, the uber-wealthy don’t seem to understand that they don’t have to be compelled by the strong arm of government to give their money to any institution they choose:

“If we don’t do something like this, what are we doing, just hoarding this wealth in a country that’s falling apart at the seams?” Pritzker Simmons said. “That’s not the America we want to live in.”

Of course, now that Bernie has proposed his massive, self-described “revolutionary” plan to erase the country’s $1.6 trillion outstanding student loan debt, those billionaires are really going to need to pony up:

The Democratic presidential candidate’s legislation — dubbed “The College for All Act” — will release all 45 million Americans from their student debt and be paid for with a new tax on Wall Street transactions.

The proposal goes further than fellow Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren’s plan, which caps student debt forgiveness at $50,000 and offers no relief to borrowers who earn more than $250,000.

The $2.2 trillion plan would be paid for by a new tax on financial transactions, including a 0.5 percent tax on stock transactions and a 0.1 percent tax on bonds. That levy would raise up to $2.4 trillion over the next decade, according to the senator’s office.

Sanders’ plan would make two- and four-year public colleges and universities tuition- and debt-free. Trade schools and apprenticeship programs would be tuition-free, as well.

It’s funny how working to fix the basic problems of overspending and overcharging never enter the equation.

No, these people aren’t exhausting at all.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


UK Court of Appeal Overturns Decision to Force Mentally Disabled Woman To Have Abortion

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:11 am

[guest post by Dana]

From the Catholic News Agency:

A controversial UK court decision to force a disabled woman to have an abortion has been overturned on appeal.

In a decision reportedly reached June 24, the English Court of Appeal, consisting of Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson, overturned the previous ruling of the Court of Protection.

According to Press Association reports, the judges said they would issue a full explanation of their decision at a later date, but that the circumstances of the case were “unique.”

This follows Justice Nathalie Lieven’s outrageous decision to force a mentally disabled woman to have an abortion at 22 weeks pregnant. As you recall, the disabled woman’s mother, who is a member of the Nigerian Igbo community, devout Catholic, and former midwife told the court that the decision violated her religious and cultural beliefs, and that she would raise the baby. But Lieven did not consider that a compelling enough reason to allow the baby to live, believing that the trauma of giving birth, or putting the baby up for adoption or into foster care would be worse for the young woman to experience than having an abortion.

The grandmother’s legal team appealed the decision:

Barrister John McKendrick QC, who is leading the woman’s mother’s legal team, told the judge: “It is accepted that (the woman) lacks capacity to conduct these proceedings and to make a decision in respect of whether or not to consent to a termination and associated ancillary treatment.

“That being said, (her mother) considers that the applicant has underestimated (her) ability and understanding, and that more weight should be place on her wishes and feelings.”

Mr McKendrick said “Termination is not in (the woman’s) best interests.”

He also said that the judge had “no proper evidence” to show that allowing the pregnancy to continue would put the woman’s life or long-term health at grave risk.

“The applicants have failed to carry out a proper best interests analysis,” he said.“Their evidence is premised on a narrow clinical view. The application must be dismissed.”

As a result of Lieven’s decision, “thousands signed a petition pushing for U.K. Health and Social Care Secretary Matthew Hancock to intervene in the case”. Also, the report notes that a UK Right to Life group had 75,000 signatures protesting the decision. Additionally, two Catholic bishops from the UK spoke out against the decision:

“Forcing a woman to have an abortion against her will, and that of her close family, infringes upon her human rights, not to mention the right of her unborn child to life in a family that has committed to caring for the child,” said Bishop John Sherrington, an auxilary bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster.

Sherrington serves as the designated spokesman on life issues for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

“In a free society like ours there is a delicate balance between the rights of the individual and the powers of the state,” he added. “This is a sad and distressing decision for the whole family whom we keep in our prayers. This case, for which all information is not available, raises serious questions about the meaning of ‘best interests’ when a patient lacks mental capacity and is subject to the court’s decision against her will.”

This, this, this:

We should be outraged that a government-affiliated health establishment is fighting to kill a fully developed baby against the wishes of the mother and grandmother, and also that Justice Nathalie Lieven—who has admitted that all evidence indicates the disabled woman wants to keep her baby—has ruled that the child should be aborted. This case exposes how far the tyranny of the abortion regime extends. In a society that has decided the unborn have no rights, the worth and life of the unborn are determined by the most powerful.

Score 1 for life.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Music by My Dad

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:11 pm

My sister asked me today to write down a song that my dad wrote as a kid. She wants her daughter, my niece, to learn it. I think Dad told us that he was 12 years old when he wrote it. He never wrote it down, but he taught me to play the song, and I never forgot it. Now that Dad’s gone, I think I’m the only person in the world who knows how to play it, or knows how it goes.

I hope that will change now.

My sister’s request motivated me to learn (awkwardly so far) a music note-writing program called NoteFlight. I wrote down Dad’s piece over the last couple of hours and exported it to a .pdf. It also made a nice MIDI file which very roughly approximates what the song sounds like when I play it.

I’m pleased to share it with you. It’s not right that this neat little tune should be lost to the world, so here’s my attempt to preserve it. Pianists, feel free to print out the tune and give it to anyone you like.

Sheet music:

Dad's Song

(Hit the arrows at the bottom left of this embedded image to scroll back and forth between the two pages. You have to hover the cursor over the image to see the arrows.)

MIDI file (as a .wav). This sounds a little robotic as it’s just a rendition of a MIDI file by a computer program, but hey. It’s better than nothing.

Nice job, Dad.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

U.K. Orders Mentally Disabled Woman 22 Weeks Pregnant To Abort Her Baby

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:54 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Justice Nathalie Lieven has ordered a disabled woman who is 22 weeks pregnant, to undergo an abortion due to her mental limitations (she has the mental capacity of a “grade-school” child). Lieven claims that this decision has been made with the woman’s best interest at heart:

“I am acutely conscious of the fact that for the State to order a woman to have a termination where it appears that she doesn’t want it is an immense intrusion,” said Justice Nathalie Lieven in her ruling in the Court of Protection, June 21.

“I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination,” Lieven explained, arguing that her decision is in the best interest of the woman.

The Court of Protection handles cases involving individuals judged to lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The woman, who cannot been publicly identified, has been described as “in her twenties,” and is under the care of an NHS trust, part of the UK’s National Health Service.

Doctors at the trust wished to abort her pregnancy and argued that, due to her diminished mental capacity, the abortion would be less traumatic for the woman than giving birth, especially if the baby would then be placed in foster care.

This in spite of the young woman’s mother being against a forced abortion, and telling the court that she would take care of the baby herself:

Barrister John McKendrick, who is leading the legal team for the pregnant woman’s mother, says the court has “no proper evidence” that having an abortion will be beneficial to the pregnant mother. “Their evidence is premised on a narrow clinical view. The application must be dismissed,” McKendrick said. The pregnant woman’s mother has added that abortion strongly violates her family’s Catholic values and that she would raise her grandchild herself.

A social worker who works with the young woman also said the pregnancy should be allowed to continue.

Not good enough for Judge Lieven:

The judge said she did not believe the woman understood what it meant to have a baby.

“I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll,” Lieven said.

Lieven also said she did not believe the woman’s mother, who already helps care for her daughter, would be able to offer care for a grandchild at the same time.

Without knowing the specifics of the mental disability (does she get violent, is she compliant, etc.), it’s as if the judge believes no one has ever taken care of more than one child at a time, or taken care of a young adult with a mental disability while providing care to a baby. If this is the real concern, and the young woman is under the care of the NHS, why not offer to provide home visits by nurses or health aides to assist the grandmother? Is this an impossible ask? If the woman is a practicing Catholic and attends church, would there be no effort made by parishioners to spend time helping her care for the baby and daughter? In my experience, coming alongside families in need is one of the best things church bodies do for those in their midst.

But to this court, terminating the baby’s life – a baby who is more than halfway through gestation – is the only viable option. It’s a neater and swifter fix to the problem. As if an abortion and its aftermath is not at all upsetting, painful, confusing, and an overall soul-crushing, heart-wrenching experience. How dare the court presume that this procedure will just be the simple excision of an intrusive interruption in the life of a young woman with diminished capacity. Nothing more than a little blip on the radar, as if the young woman doesn’t have a heart and a soul and a capacity for love.

The judge also decided that, along with giving birth, putting the baby up for adoption or placed into foster care would not be in the woman’s best interest. Again, the only viable option is ending the baby’s life because to the court, the baby in the womb obviously has no personhood:

“I think [the woman] would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed [from her care],” Lieven said, because “it would at that stage be a real baby.”

Lieven clarified that the pregnancy “although real to [the woman], doesn’t have a baby outside her body she can touch.”

So everything but allowing the woman to give birth to her baby is in her best interest. This exemplifies an unbelievable level of inhumanity, and overreach by the Court. Ending the life of innocents seems to be the face of the NHS and socialized medicine: Charlie Gard.

It’s insightful to read a little background on Lieven:

As a lawyer, Lieven has appeared in court before in cases concerning abortion. In 2011, while representing the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, an abortion provider, she argued that British women should be permitted to medically abort their pregnancies at their own homes instead of in a hospital.

Five years later, Lieven argued in court that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws were a violation of the United Kingdom’s Human Rights Act.

In 2017, she said that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws were akin to torture and were discriminatory.

The BBC reports on ethical arguments concerning the abortion of babies with disabilities here, and concludes the report with societal goals on the treatment of those with disabilities. As you read, keep in mind that in this case, it is the mother who has a mental disability, not the baby, and keep in mind the court’s rationale for their order to have the baby aborted:

Modern society believes certain things about people with disability:

People with disabilities should not be discriminated against in any way
Society should do everything reasonable to remove anything that gets in the way of disabled people playing a full part in ordinary life
Prejudice against disabled people is not acceptable
Stereotypes about disability should be eliminated

It’s all so ironic when you consider that the grandmother willingly gave birth to a baby who with a disability, and now the daughter with the disability is pregnant and being forced to abort her baby because there is simply no other viable option in the eyes of the court. And while the grandmother may not have known about the disability before she gave birth to her daughter, at some point after she became aware of it, and yet chose to keep the child and not put her into foster care or give her up for adoption. Thankfully, there are still people in this sad world who believe in love, no matter what form its arrival takes in their lives. And even though the grandmother said she would care for the baby – a baby who has not been identified with any disability and is perfectly innocent in every way – according to the court, that is not enough to escape death. The baby must not be allowed to live. The grandmother, whose faith prohibits the taking of innocent life and who chose to love and care for her disabled daughter, is irrelevant.

P.S. According to reports, there is an ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


German Politician Murdered, Plus Charlottesville Murderer Pleads for Mercy

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 12:01 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

German politician’s murder raises spectre of far-right attacks:

Walter Lübcke knew how it felt to receive death threats. A senior politician from Angela Merkel’s CDU party in Hesse, the 65-year-old was well known in the region for his liberal attitude towards people seeking asylum.
Lübcke was found just after midnight on 2 June, reportedly by his son, as he lay unconscious and badly injured on the terrace of his own home in the sleepy village of Istha, in central Germany. He had been shot in the head at close range and died shortly afterwards in hospital.

The suspect has links to a neo-Nazi network:

They have identified Stephan Ernst, 45, as their main suspect. He is known to have had links to neo-Nazi networks and investigators are exploring a possible connection to the notorious NSU (National Socialist Underground) – an extremist group which shot dead 10 people, most of whom had migrant backgrounds, between 2000 and 2007.
According to government figures, there are 24,000 right-wing extremists in Germany. Nearly 13,000 are believed to have a tendency to violence.

Charlottesville murderer and [r]emorseless white supremacist, 22, who killed woman and injured dozens in domestic terror attack asks judge to commute his sentence …:

Lawyers for James Alex Fields Jr., 22, said in a sentencing memo that their client is too young for a life sentence, had a traumatic childhood ad is mentally ill.

He killed anti-racism activist Heather Heyer and injured dozens more when he drove his car into protesters who had assembled at a white nationalist rally.

Fields has shown no remorse for his actions and as prosecutors pointed out in the memo they filed last week continues to disparage the victim’s mother.

Excerpt from the James A. Fields, Jr. DOJ Victim Notification:

Fields expressed and promoted his belief that white people are superior to other races and peoples; expressed support of the social and racial policies of Adolf Hitler and Nazi-era Germany, including the Holocaust, and espoused violence against African Americans, Jewish people and members of other racial, ethnic and Religious groups he perceived to be non-white.  Fields also expressed these views directly in interactions with individuals known to him.

The common denominator in these stories is hate. And Nazis.


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 127

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the second Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Herr Jesu Christ, wahr’ Mensch und Gott” (Lord Jesus Christ, true Man and God).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 8:26-39:

Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man

They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words, reminding one of the way the demon-possessed man addressed Jesus as “Jesus, Son of the Most High God”:

Lord Jesus Christ, true Man and God,
You who suffered martyrdom, anguish and ridicule,
at the end also died for me on the Cross
and won for me Your Father’s favor,
I ask, through Your bitter suffering:
Be merciful to me, a sinner.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Boeing Class Action Lawsuit

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 9:26 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Boeing hit with lawsuit for ‘unprecedented cover-up’:

Boeing was slapped with a class-action lawsuit from more than 400 pilots who say the company covered up design flaws in its 737 Max planes.
Pilots affected by the decision to ground the aircraft “suffer and continue to suffer significant lost wages, among other economic and non-economic damages,” according to the lawsuit.

The case is set to be heard by a court in Chicago on October 21, according to ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation]. The lawsuit’s original plaintiff, identified only as “pilot X” due to the plaintiff’s fears of reprisal from Boeing officials and customers, filed the suit Friday reportedly seeking millions in damages.


Massive Drug Bust in …

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:23 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Reuters – U.S. seizes $1 billion worth of cocaine from ship in Philadelphia.

16.5 tons, one of the biggest seizures in decades.


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