Patterico's Pontifications

11/18/2019

Trump: Will He Or Won’t He??

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:21 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Nancy Pelosi tells President Trump to put his money where his mouth is:

Pushing back against accusations from the Republican president that the process has been stacked against him, Pelosi said Trump is welcome to appear or answer questions in writing, if he chooses.

“If he has information that is exculpatory, that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame, then we look forward to seeing it,” she said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Trump “could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants,” she said.

This morning Trump responded with a decisive Hm, maybe I will…

Game on.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Report: Trump Now Angry at Pompeo

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am



Plenty of room to be upset at Pompeo here. He hired good people instead of hacks. Those good people are testifying instead of refusing to. They’re telling the truth instead of lying. I mean, they are all kinds of trouble.

The impeachment inquiry has created the first rift between President Donald Trump and the Cabinet member who has been his closest ally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to four current and former senior administration officials.

Trump has fumed for weeks that Pompeo is responsible for hiring State Department officials whose congressional testimony threatens to bring down his presidency, the officials said. The president confronted Pompeo about the officials — and what he believed was a lackluster effort by the secretary of state to block their testimony — during lunch at the White House on Oct. 29, those familiar with the matter said.

Inside the White House, the view was that Trump “just felt like, ‘rein your people in,’” a senior administration official said.

Trump particularly blames Pompeo for tapping Ambassador Bill Taylor in June to be the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, the current and former senior administration officials said.

I’d say I feel sorry for you, Mr. Pompeo … if I did. But I don’t. You chose to work for him.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

11/17/2019

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 183

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



It is the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Sie werden euch in den Bann tun” (They will put you under banishment):

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 21:5-19:

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times

Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

“But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

They will put you under banishment, but the time will come, when, whoever kills you will think that he does God a service by it.

. . . .

You are a Spirit that teaches
how one should rightly pray;
your prayers will be heard,
your singing is harmonious.
It climbs up to heaven,
it rises and will not diminish,
until the One has lent aid,
who alone is able to help.

Stand up for what you know is right. Even if you are persecuted for it.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

11/16/2019

Salem Radio Host Fired Mid-Show After Criticizing Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:06 pm



All the Trumpists who denied that I and others were fired from RedState for criticizing Trump can go [expletive deleted] themselves. This is a clear pattern:

Craig Silverman, a former chief deputy district attorney in Denver and talk-show host on the conservative 710 KNUS radio station, said he was fired mid-show Saturday after criticizing President Donald Trump.

Silverman was in the middle of a segment about Roy Cohn, Trump’s former personal attorney, when he suddenly was interrupted by network news, he told The Denver Post.

Silverman’s producer threw his hands up in the air, indicating it wasn’t him.

Instead, program director Kelly Michaels came through the door.

“You’re done,” Silverman recounted Michaels as saying.

. . . .

Silverman’s last segment of the hour, before he was taken off the air, was to “observe how toxic Trump is in Colorado,” he said in a text. “And to continue my show theme today that Democrats are making a strong case at the House impeachment hearing.”

KNUS is a Salem station, just like RedState was (and still is) a Salem property.

Here’s Silverman on Twitter after the firing:

Good for Silverman. [Expletive deleted] Salem.

P.S. I do not think for a moment that government should have any say in decisions like this. But I note the irony that Trumpists who whine like stuck pigs about supposed censorship on Twitter and Facebook will applaud this. Almost like they have no actual principles other than supporting the biggest con man in American history.

Almost!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Is Kamala Harris Proof That *Democrats* Aren’t Ready For A Woman Of Color As President?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:39 am



[guest post by Dana]

Fixed this for you, ABC News:

Maybe Democrats really aren’t ready for a woman of color to lead. I don’t know, I’m not a Democrat, but I’m not impressed with Harris in the exact same way I’m not impressed with any of the other 312 Democratic candidates running for office: their policies suck.

With that, however, it’s not really difficult to understand that Democratic voters may not favor Kamala Harris because her policy positions don’t fully reflect their own, or maybe her past history as a public official hasn’t inspired trust in her, or perhaps it’s because her continual pandering doesn’t convey any real sense of leadership. The lazy, default assumption by ABC News – that it must be an issue of gender/color keeping Harris from the top-tier – not only insults American voters but it also insults the candidate as well. And by assigning Harris victim status, ABC News is essentially claiming that Democrats are judging Harris on the color of her skin and her gender, and not on the content of her character, the quality of her work, the principles upon which she stands, nor the policies that she is promoting. Reducing Harris’s poor showing to designations beyond her control does not reflect any valuation of her as a determined American who is undertaking a massively difficult task, and instead reflects a blatant stereotyping that should be beneath any serious news organization. If Democrats don’t want Kamala Harris as their nominee, and judging from the polling data they don’t, then why assume it’s because she’s a woman of color? Why not give Democratic voters more credit than that, and why not give a woman of color more credit than that as well? Enough with the projection. After all, if another Democratic candidate, who also happens to be a woman of color, is willing to judge Harris strictly on her merits, how much more so should an allegedly serious and impartial news outlet:

In the July debate, fellow 2020 contender Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took aim at Harris’ record as attorney general of California. Gabbard, the only other woman of color in the race, said Harris “put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana. She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so.” The moment helped elevate Gabbard in the polls, and by fall she was outpolling Harris in some battleground states.

P.S. It must come as a shock to ABC News to learn that Democratic voters – including women of color – actually prioritize other things over gender and skin color when making their decisions about which candidate to support:

At the Essence Festival, one of the largest African American events in the country, Harris would double down on her pitch to black voters. But not all black women were on board with Harris. Alicia Jones, a Howard University alumna, told ABC News at the time, “I think that what she did was dirty. And I think she’s way beyond and way above what she did.”

“I felt like it was politicizing,” Jones, an African American, added. “And so at that point, that took the smart person who I thought she was and took it down a couple of notches.”

Jones, who hasn’t finalized her choice for the Democratic primary, told ABC News that race doesn’t play a factor in how she chooses to vote.

“Don’t think that I’m a vote for you just because you’re black,” she said. “I didn’t vote for Barack Obama just because he was black. I voted for him because he was smart. I voted for him because he had a record that showed me the things that he did. It didn’t matter that he was only a senator for five minutes.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:40 am



[guest post by Dana]

While this weekend’s open thread is, directly or indirectly, all about Trump (because that seems to be what readers want to talk about), feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item: President Trump issues pardons in war crime cases, despite Pentagon’s opposition:

President Trump intervened in three military justice cases involving war-crimes accusations Friday, issuing at least two full pardons that will prevent the Pentagon from pursuing future charges against the individuals involved, according to two of their lawyers and a U.S. official.

The service members involved were notified by Trump over the phone late Friday afternoon, said the lawyers, who represent Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn and former Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL. Golsteyn faced a murder trial scheduled for next year, while Gallagher recently was acquitted of murder and convicted of posing with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter in Iraq.

The third service member involved, former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, was expected to be released from the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas as soon as Friday night. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 2013, and sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three men in Afghanistan.

[…]

The calls were made at the tail end of a day dominated by impeachment hearings against Trump, and after days of efforts by some senior Pentagon officials to change his mind, according to three U.S. officials. The officials, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that some commanders have raised concerns that Trump’s move will undermine the military justice system.

Second news item: The U.S. is calling on Japan to pay way, way more than they already do to keep U.S. troops stationed there:

The Trump administration is demanding Japan pay four times its annual fee to keep U.S. troops stationed there, according to a new report by Foreign Policy. The new agreement, which would take effect in March 2021 would require Japan to pay $8 billion a year to keep 54,000 U.S. troops stationed to help protect that country. John Bolton reportedly made the demand during a state visit last summer when he was Trump’s national security adviser, but Japan only recently confirmed the request, calling it “unrealistic.” Negotiations for the new agreement will begin in early 2020, according to a U.S. State Dept. spokesperson, who told Foreign Policy, “The President has made clear that allies and partners should contribute more to their shared defense,” adding that the U.S. commitment to Japan’s defense was, however, “unwavering.”

Third news item: Kevin D. Williamson on American politics and the impeachment hearings:

The contradiction at the center of American politics in Anno Domini 2019 is this: The ruling class does not rule.

The impeachment dog-and-pony show in Washington this week is not about how Donald Trump has comported himself as president (grotesquely) any more than early convulsions were about refreshed Democratic interest in the Emoluments Clause or the Hatch Act. President Trump is a throbbing irritation to the sensitivities prevailing in ZIP code 94957, but even the impeachment fight is only a skirmish in the tribal proxy war that goes back to the founding of our republic.

[…]

The cultural tug-o’-war over the presidency is the great American tribal competition in its most concentrated form. The metropolitan elites see the opposite tribe as backward, uneducated, superstitious, addled by religion and race hatred; the rustics and conservatives see the metropolitan elites as meretricious, decadent, and somehow less than authentically American. The question that has occasioned the impeachment of Donald Trump is not whether the president is legitimate but whether his tribe is legitimate. When the rival tribe is understood as being fundamentally illegitimate, then no government arising from that tribe can be understood as legitimate, either, and neither can the political processes that empower that tribe over its rivals.

Fourth news item: President Trump this morning:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

11/15/2019

Two Bad GOP Impeachment Arguments

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am



The GOP is pushing a couple of really bad impeachment arguments.

Bad Argument #1: Everything these witnesses are saying is hearsay!!!1!

Oddly, the people with the greatest degree of firsthand knowledge are refusing to testify — at the direction of the President. When he tells Mulvaney, Pompeo, Giuliani, and Bolton to go ahead and tell Congress what they know, and the Democrats refuse, saying “we’ll stick with our hearsay witnesses” … that’s the day Jim Jordan and Stephanie Grisham will have a valid beef about hearsay (which is misunderstood by 99% of people on the Internet anyway). Until that day, which will never come, their point is dishonest chutzpah. Nothing more.

Bad Argument #2: The aid flowed, so obviously there was no condition placed on its flowing!

This is the Nikki Haley argument. “So, do I think it’s not good practice to talk to foreign governments about investigating Americans? Yes. Do I think the president did something that warrants impeachment? No, because the aid flowed. … And, in turn, the Ukrainians didn’t follow up with the investigation.”

The problem here is that the whistleblower’s complaint was already under investigation in Congress before the aid flowed. Allahpundit explained this yesterday so I don’t have to:

[H]ere’s a notable admission from Kent today that won’t come as a surprise to people who are following the Ukraine saga closely but will come as a *big* surprise to casual consumers. Various Republicans, Nikki Haley most recently among them, have made the point that there couldn’t have been a quid pro quo considering that Ukraine got its money before it had to actually do anything about Burisma. If Trump was using the military aid as leverage, why the hell would he have handed the money over before they gave him the very thing he had been demanding? Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi drilled down on that in his questioning this afternoon. The reason the administration coughed up the money, he suggested, is because various congressional committees started investigating the delay in aid on September 9 — the very same day, coincidentally, that the State Department finally released the aid. (And just four days before Zelensky was set to make a statement on CNN finally announcing the revival of the Burisma probe.) In other words, Krishnamoorthi is saying, the administration didn’t willingly cough up the aid; Congress scared them into doing it before the quid pro quo could be performed by Ukraine, or at least that’s what the timeline suggests. Kent confirms that that was indeed the timeline.

An attempted bank robbery is not non-criminal simply because a whistleblower uncovers the plot and blows the whistle before the robbers get the loot.

And as for Ukraine not following up with the investigation … hmmm. From early October:

Has something changed that I don’t know about since that announcement?

P.S. Kent clarified that there really is reason to be investigating Burisma. Aha! you say — so Trump was right all along! Not hardly. Kent also clarified that the prosecutors Biden sought to have fired were the ones most likely taking bribes not to investigate Burisma — and that the corruption allegations against Burisma predated Hunter Biden’s time on the board and had nothing to do with him. So yes, perhaps Burisma took on Biden for political reasons — but it didn’t work. And Trump’s theory on this is all bollixed up.

None of this makes Trump’s alternate-channel Giuliani foreign policy anything but self dealing.

Republican National Committee To Hold Annual Meeting At Trump’s Doral Resort

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:11 am



[guest post by Dana]

Is anyone surprised? It looks like one way or the other, President Trump may see a financial turnaround at his underperforming hotel.

Last we heard, the President had selected Doral as the location for the 2020 G7 summit. After reasonable people concerned with the bad optics, and ethical and legal issues criticized the selection, the President reversed course. But not to worry, the RNC to the rescue!

The Republican National Committee will hold their annual winter meeting at President Donald Trump’s National Doral Miami resort in Florida, CNN has learned.

The move comes one month after Trump abruptly reversed his decision to host next year’s G7 summit at the same property in south Florida, following criticism from both parties. A spokesman for the RNC said the contract to hold the meeting at Doral was signed in March.

RNC staff sent an email to members Thursday with a link urging members to book rooms at the Trump National Doral for the late January summit.

Since Trump took office, the Trump Organization has profited nicely from Republicans. Clearly the RNC isn’t seriously concerned about conflicts of interest or bad optics:

The RNC has a history of hosting events and fundraisers at Trump-owned properties. When asked by CNN in 2018 about RNC spending at Trump properties, an RNC official said donors enjoy visiting Trump properties, and also pointed to security, convenience and price as factors in the committee’s decision-making. The official added that Trump properties are often cheaper to rent than other venues, noting that the Federal Election Commission demands the RNC receive market rates.

The RNC has spent more than $1.5 million at Trump-owned properties since 2015, according to a CNN analysis of FEC data, though an official said they typically do not hold RNC meetings and retreats at Trump properties, pointing to spending at Four Seasons hotels.

“The media is obsessed with our spending at Trump properties and has covered it ad nauseam. As we have stated multiple times, we continue to hold events at them because they have fantastic service and secure spaces that fit our needs,” Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the RNC, said in a statement to CNN.

Trump has maintained ownership of his international business empire while ostensibly handing over control to his two sons. Nonetheless, it would appear that concerns about his profiting off of the presidency were well founded.

Remember when he boasted:

“I could actually run my business and run government at the same time. I don’t like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to,”

[Ed. Yes, we all know that Trump was not the President in 2015.]

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

11/14/2019

Nobody Parties Like Indiana Judges Party

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:43 pm



[guest post by JVW]

From Bloomberg Law:

Three Indiana judges who were involved in a drunken fight in May that ended in two of them getting shot have been temporarily suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court.

[. . .]

Clark County Judges Andrew Adams and Bradley B. Jacobs, as well as Crawford Circuit Court Judge Sabrina R. Bell were in Indianapolis for a judicial conference last spring. They went bar-hopping the evening of April 30 into the early morning of May 1.

When they couldn’t get into a gentleman’s club at 3am because it was closed, they congregated in front of a White Castle while another colleague went inside to get food.

First of all, I’m a bit disappointed because I expected this to be about judges fighting with and shooting each other, not some random civilians. But that aside, hats off to Judge Sabrina R. Bell who apparently is down with hitting the nudie bars with the fellas and then grabbing some delicious late-night sliders to soak up all that booze she drank. She’s young, around 36 or 37, and she’s from Crawford County, about 30 miles outside of Louisville, Kentucky, so I have a feeling she’s a fun wing-woman to have when you’re up for a night on the town. Back to the story:

A car then drove by and the occupants shouted something at the judges. Bell gave them the middle finger, after which they jumped out of the car and engaged in a “heated verbal altercation” with the judges, the court said.

The judges never tried to de-escalate the situation or defuse it, according to the opinion.

The fight got physical, and Adams kicked one of the car’s occupants, Brandon Kaiser, in the back. The fight ended when Kaiser shot Adams and Jacobs.

Here is a picture of the Bruce Lee of the Indiana Judicial System. You don’t kick a man in the back, and you sure as hell don’t bring a tasseled loafer to a gun fight, judge. For his role in the fracas, Judge Adams pled guilty to a misdemeanor and served two days in jail. He also received a 60-day unpaid suspension from the bench; Judges Bell and Jacobs received 30-day unpaid suspensions from the bench. Both of the judges who were shot were hospitalized, but apparently were spared serious injuries. The shooter awaits trial on multiple charges, including attempted murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Since this is a politics blog: Judge Adams is a Democrat whose term ends in next year. Judge Jacobs does not have a party registration listed on his Ballotpedia page but is also up for reelection next year. Judge Bell is a registered Republican and is facing reelection in 2022.

Kidding (mostly) aside, I’m glad that nobody was seriously hurt, I’m glad that Indiana judges do not let partisanship keep them from getting howl-at-the-moon drunk and staying out all night, and I’m glad to see that our robed masters behave just as stupidly as the rest of us — well, at least I — do on business trip nights out.

– JVW

11/13/2019

Impeachment Hearings Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:39 pm



[guest post by Dana]

President Trump on the first day of public testimony:

“I hear it’s a joke. I haven’t watched. I haven’t watched for one minute because I’ve been with the president, which is much more important, as far as I am concerned,” Trump said, speaking to reporters at the White House alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “This is a sham, and it shouldn’t be allowed.”

“I want to find out who is the whistleblower, and because the whistleblower gave a lot of very incorrect information, including my call with the president of Ukraine, which was a perfect call and highly appropriate,” Trump continued.

He also criticized Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, or IG, for his decision to report the whistleblower’s complaint to Congress as credible. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that he had privately discussed firing Atkinson for sharing the information.

“I want to find out why the IG, why would he have presented that, when in fact, all he had to do is check the call itself and he would’ve seen it,” Trump said.

Trump said he had heard that the public testimony from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and the acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, was “all third-hand information,” echoing pushback from Hill Republicans.

Trump also said he could release the record of a previous call he had with Ukraine in the spring as early as Thursday. The call at the heart of the impeachment investigation occurred over the summer, on July 25.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

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