Patterico's Pontifications

10/31/2019

AOC And The Adoration Of The Great White Father

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:49 pm



[guest post by Dana]

[Ed. I love JVW’s description for Bernie Sanders’ role in AOC’s life, and as a result, have stolen it for use in the now-revised title of the post!]

Sad to see that in 2019, it takes a man to make a woman feel valued. Also sad to see a young woman say that she recognized her inherent worth because of what a politician said. Ugh. [Ed. Dripping with a lethal mix of disgust and sarcasm: Let that sink in, people: …because of what a politician said, she feels valued. ] In certain circles it used to be that a woman needed a man like a fish needed a bicycle. That was the goal. Apparently, the times they are-a-changing. Yet again.

Heh. I’m beginning to suspect that the progressives aren’t quite as progressive as they’d like us to believe.

–Dana

The News, The Truth Of It, And Who Gets To Decide

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:06 am



[guest post by Dana]

It seems like there is a bit to unpack in this: President Trump re-tweets Fox News Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume responding to iconic Democratic and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton about Facebook’s decision concerning political ads:

About Facebook’s political ads:

Right as Facebook was set to report its third-quarter earnings on Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced his company would be banning political advertisements.

But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn’t take the bait. On the company’s earnings call, he defended Facebook’s decision to allow ads that contain false information.

“Some people accuse us of allowing speech because they think all we care about is making money, and that’s wrong,” Zuckerberg said on the earnings call. “I can assure you that from a business perspective, the controversy this creates far outweighs the very small percentage of our business that these political ads make up.”

Facebook’s approach came under intense scrutiny this month after the company said it would allow Trump’s re-election campaign to run an ad with false claims about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. The ads policy was a major point of discussion at a congressional hearing last week where Zuckerberg testified.

On the call, Zuckerberg said the company estimates ads from politicians will be less than 0.5% of its revenue next year.

“To put this in perspective, the FTC fine that these same critics said wouldn’t be enough to change our incentives was more than 10x bigger than this,” he said.

Zuckerberg also argued that Google, YouTube, some cable networks and national broadcasters run “these same ads.” Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I think there are good reasons for this,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor politicians and the news.”

–Dana

Turkey (And Rep. Ilhan Omar) Unhappy Over Armenian Genocide Resolution

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:50 am



[guest post by Dana]

I would expect nothing less from Turkey:

Turkey has summoned the U.S. ambassador after lawmakers in Washington voted to recognize Ottoman-era mass killings of Armenians as a genocide and called for sanctions against Ankara.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution recognizing the genocide — which Ankara denies — and passed a bill aiming to impose fresh sanctions on Turkey over its military operation against Syrian Kurdish forces.

In response, the Turkish government on Wednesday morning summoned David Satterfield, the U.S. representative in Ankara, the state news agency Anadolu reported.

The Turkish foreign ministry rejected the genocide recognition as “meaningless” and “devoid of any historical or legal basis” in a statement issued late Tuesday, suggesting that lawmakers had approved the resolution to “take vengeance” against Turkey over its incursion into Syria.

“Undoubtedly, this resolution will negatively affect the image of the U.S. before the public opinion of Turkey as it also brings the dignity of the U.S. House of Representatives into disrepute,” the statement added.

Turkey continues to deny that a genocide took place:

The Armenian genocide — the massacre and deportation of hundreds of thousands of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks in 1915 — is a sensitive issue in Turkey.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians in the Ottoman Empire died during World War I, but denies that the killings were systematic and firmly rejects the label genocide.

And speaking of expecting nothing less, Rep. Ilhan Omar was the only Democrat to vote “present” on the Armenian genocide resolution. When criticized for her decision, her office took the opportunity to politicize that which she claims should not be politicized:

I believe accountability for human rights violations — especially ethnic cleansing and genocide — is paramount. But accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as cudgel in a political fight. It should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics. A true acknowledgment of historical crimes against humanity must include both the heinous genocides of the 20th century, along with earlier mass slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide, which took the lives of hundreds of millions of indigenous people in this country. For this reason, I voted ‘present’ on final passage of H.Res. 296, the resolution Affirming the Unites States record on the Armenian Genocide.

Because the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians and Christian minorities on its own, doesn’t constitute a genocide on its own, I guess. However, when you consider both Omar’s “present” vote and vote against sanctioning Turkey after its military actions against the Kurdish forces in light of her affinity for Turkey’s President Erdogan, it all makes sense, unpleasant as it may be.

And about that “academic consensus” blather, how does Omar not understand that by acknowledging and recognizing that one genocide took place, does not negate that others have taken place as well:

The mention of an “academic consensus” being necessary for recognition is perplexing, given the consensus among historians that the genocide is historical fact. To dispute the existence of this consensus is shameful and akin to denial. For Omar to invoke a “whataboutist” argument, as she does in mentioning Native Americans, similarly discounts the matter that she was expected to consider exclusively when the resolution was on the House floor. Genocide-denial tactics used by Turkey include attacking the motivations of the truth teller. Omar does the same thing by framing this bill as a political cudgel (which it’s not — H.Res. 296 was introduced in April). An acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide does not preclude an acknowledgment of any other genocides, and Omar could have voiced her opinion on the atrocities she cites after voting to recognize the one that her colleagues resoundingly voted in favor or formally recognizing.

Omar’s decision, as well as the decision of eleven Republicans to oppose the bill, fails to live up to the role of a witness of justice. There is no justice without recognition, and opposing measures that aim to affirm the U.S.’ stance as a protector of the persecuted is dishonorable. Victims of genocide die two deaths. Once at the hands of their persecutor, and again when the genocide is denied.

P.S. Shame on the 11 Republicans who voted against the resolution.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

10/30/2019

Can This Really Be?

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:21 pm



[guest post by JVW]

The new Suffolk University/USA Today national poll of 2020 Democrat candidates has My Little Aloha Sweetie pulling ahead of Intersectionality Bingo.

She’s also gaining in New Hampshire, according to the latest CNN/University of New Hampshire poll. One more poll showing her above the 3% threshold will earn her a place in the November debate. Meanwhile, Senator Kamala Harris is cutting staff at her Baltimore headquarters and pinning all of her hopes on a strong showing in Iowa. Good riddance to her (let’s hope).

Thanks for the assist, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

– JVW

Twitter to End Paid Political Advertising [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:24 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced moments ago that his company will no longer accept paid political advertisements. The link takes you to his announcement on Twitter. For those who don’t want to go there, and because his announcement comes in a multi-part Tweet stream, I’ll attach screen-shots of his Tweets.

Dorsey 1

Dorsey 2

Dorsey 3

I can’t wait to hear what those “few exceptions” are. Start the countdown until progressives start complaining that this is an unfair advantage for our Twitter-obsessed President. This new policy seems to indicate that the bipartisan carping at social media outlets is starting to have an effect.

UPDATE: Naturally Team Trump is starting to kvetch, even though this probably works to their advantage.

– JVW

On Republicans Who Say They Are “Forced” to Defend Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:54 am



Washington Post:

Trump dismissed Vindman as a “Never Trumper,” while some of his allies questioned the patriotism of the Army combat veteran because his family emigrated from the Soviet Union when he was 3.

Trump’s attack on the Purple Heart recipient unnerved Republicans in Congress, with several pushing back, albeit without naming the president. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called the offensive “misplaced and very unfortunate,” and said he had “full confidence” in Vindman “as an individual and his patriotism.”

The response from Trump’s party created an unusual dynamic in which Republicans were defending a man who was simultaneously accusing the president of undermining national security for his own political purposes. Privately, several Republicans found Vindman’s testimony to be damaging and lamented that once again they were forced to defend the president.

The GOP reaction to Vindman comes as the party faces frontal attacks on two of its major talking points in Trump’s defense. Vindman’s account of the phone call deprives Republicans of the complaint that the witnesses called by Democrats have relied on hearsay when discussing the president’s interactions with Zelensky. And as Democrats moved to vote on a resolution to hold open hearings on impeachment, Republicans faced the prospect of losing their complaint that the inquiry is being conducted in secret.

Read that sentence in bold again: “Privately, several Republicans found Vindman’s testimony to be damaging and lamented that once again they were forced to defend the president.”

“Forced.”

Ain’t nobody forcing you guys to do anything. You could just speak up and say what you actually think, in front of God and everyone.

We’re watching, in real time, the same dynamic that has allowed far worse things to happen in history: people refuse to speak up because they are scared. It sounds easy to speak up, of course — until you realize that everyone you know who has spoken up … is gone. Gone from the party, gone from Washington D.C., gone from political life and everything they worked a lifetime for.

So, yeah. This takes more than a bit of courage.

Still, all you’re really being asked to do is to say what you think is true. If you can’t remotely begin to think about doing that, why are you even there?

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

10/29/2019

Lt. Col. Vindman: The Ukraine Transcript Is Missing Some Important Lines

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 pm



This morning we were told, amidst seemingly coordinated talking points about Vindman’s “affinity” for Ukraine, that we didn’t need to hear from Vindman because everyone can read the “perfect” transcript.

But what if the perfect transcript is … missing something?

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to restore them failed, according to three people familiar with the testimony.

The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.

Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.

As the House prepares tomorrow to end the Republicans’ whining about how there has been no formal vote for an impeachment inquiry — a vote that will usher in a new era of Republican lawmakers focusing on the facts misleadingly whining about other alleged procedural shortcomings — let’s hope there is a new focus on getting to the bottom of whether Vindman is right about what is missing from the transcript.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

There Is Nothing That Can’t Be “Woke” – Including Math

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:16 am



[guest post by Dana]

Because you knew that, eventually, even math would be sucked up into that swirling vortex of silly wokeness and that a city like Seattle would be the place to birth the movement in public school curriculum :

Seattle’s four-page framework is still in the proposal stage. If adopted, its ideas will be included in existing math classes as part of the district’s broader effort to infuse ethnic studies into all subjects across the K-12 spectrum. Tracy Castro-Gill, Seattle’s ethnic studies director, said her team hopes to have frameworks completed in all subjects by June for board approval.

If the frameworks are approved, teachers would be expected to incorporate those ideas and questions into the math they teach beginning next fall, Castro-Gill said. No districtwide—or mandated—math/ethnic studies curriculum is planned, but groups of teachers are working with representatives of local community organizations to write instructional units for teachers to use if they wish, she said.

“Seattle is definitely on the forefront with this,” said Robert Q. Berry III, the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “What they’re doing follows the line of work we hope we can move forward as we think about the history of math and who contributes to that, and also about deepening students’ connection with identity and agency.”

But seriously, when “power and oppression” and “history of resistance and liberation” become a focal point in math curriculum, is it really math being taught?

Anyway, Robby Soave rightly observes:

[H]aving read over the proposed framework, I have to say that it does seem fairly terrible. It’s chock full of social justice jargon that sounds smart but is actually vapid. What does it mean to decode mathematical “beauty” or “identify how the development of mathematics has been erased from learning in school?” (Has it been erased? That seems like a problem for history class.) The guidance says it will “re-humanize mathematics through experiential learning” and facilitate learning “independently and interdependently.” That’s a fancy way of saying almost nothing at all.

The guidance also includes some extremely political, simplistic talking points that might be popular among activist academics but are in reality somewhat dubious. This is verbatim from the proposal: Students will be able to “identify the inherent inequities of the standardized testing system used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color,” “explain how math has been used to exploit natural resources,” and “explain how math dictates economic oppression.” Each of these statements are debatable, but they are not being presented as such. It would be one thing to hold a class discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of standardized testing, but what’s happening here is that students are being trained to reject standardized testing due to its “inherent inequity,” which is asserted as some kind of proven fact.

Having read over the proposed framework myself, and given that I was one of those students who struggled to solve for X, I don’t think this woke math would have helped me out. Instead, I think I would have seen it as just more gibberish on top of the already undecipherable gibberish taunting me from my Algebra book.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Lt. Col. Vindman Gives Opening Statement, Trump-Supporting Media Personalities Question His Patriotism

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:46 am



[guest post by Dana]

In spite of some disturbing commentary coming from Trump-supporting media personalities implying that the patriotism and loyalty of immigrants – even those who arrived here as toddlers – is suspect, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman gave his opening statement regarding activities relating to Ukraine that are now under investigation. Here are some excerpts. There is plenty of commentary to be found, but I wanted to post his own words.

Personal background:

I have dedicated my entire professional life to the United States of America. For more than two decades, it has been my honor to serve as an officer in the United States Army. As an infantry officer, I served multiple overseas tours…In Iraq, I was wounded in an IED attack and awarded a Purple Heart…Since 2008, I have been a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Eurasia. In this role, I have served in the United States’ embassies in Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia. In Washington, D.C., I was a politico-military affairs officer for Russia for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs where I authored the principle strategy for managing competition with Russia. In July 2018, I was asked to serve at the National Security Council…My family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old. Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night. He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream. I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.

He then makes it very clear that his testimony is voluntary, and that he is not the whistleblower, nor does he know the identity of the whistleblower.

About the July 2010 meeting with Ukraine officials In Washington, D.C.:

On July 10, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, D.C. for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland also attended, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The meeting proceeded well until the Ukrainians broached the subject of a meeting between the two presidents. The Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support of their most important international partner. Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb. Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma. I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push. Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.

Following the debriefing meeting, I reported my concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel. Dr. Hill also reported the incident to the NSC’s lead counsel.

About the election phone call:

On July 21, 2019, President Zelenskyy’s party won Parliamentary elections in a landslide victory. The NSC proposed that President Trump call President Zelenskyy to congratulate him.

On July 25, 2019, the call occurred. I listened in on the call in the Situation Room with colleagues from the NSC and the office of the Vice President. As the transcript is in the public record, we are all aware of what was said.

I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained. This would all undermine U.S. national security. Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC’s lead counsel.

President Trump reacts this morning:

Vindman is giving his testimony behind closed doors today.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

10/28/2019

Judge Rules Nick Sandmann’s Lawsuit Against Washington Post Can Be Reopened

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:01 pm



[guest post by Dana]

I sure didn’t expect this. The decision comes with limits, however :

After reviewing an amended complaint, Judge William Bertelsman ordered Monday that the case could enter the discovery phase and hence a portion of the lawsuit against the newspaper could continue.

Nick and his attorneys had alleged that the gist of a Washington Post article conveyed that Nick had assaulted or physically intimidated Nathan Phillips and engaged in racist conduct after the Right to Life March in Washington D.C. on Jan. 18.

[…]

Sandmann’s lawyers argue that the Washington Post incorrectly characterized the teen as the aggressor in the situation and exposed him to public ridicule.

Bertelsman said in the order that he stands by his decision that 30 of the 33 statements Sandmann’s lawyers argued were libelous were not, but that “justice requires” further review of three of the statements.

“These three statements state that (Sandmann) ‘blocked’ Nathan Phillips and ‘would not allow him to retreat,'” the order reads.

The judge’s order that discovery can continue means Sandmann’s legal team can make requests for internal Washington Post documents concerning the events like emails and communications between editors and reporters.

The Sandmann family and their lawyer count this as a huge victory:

Attorney Todd V. McMurtry, who represents the Sandmann family with attorney L. Lin Wood, called the judge’s order a “huge victory.”

“The Sandmann family and our legal team are grateful that Judge Bertelsman has allowed the case to proceed,” said Mr. McMurtry in an email. “The Court’s ruling preserves the heart of the Nicholas Sandmann’s claims. We can consider this a huge victory and look forward to initiating discovery against the Washington Post.”

As a reminder, two separate defamation lawsuits have been filed against CNN and NBCUniversal by the Sandmann’s lawyer. Both media outlets deny that they defamed Sandmann and have taken steps for dismissal.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

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