Patterico's Pontifications

11/23/2019

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:19 am



[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item: Elizabeth Warren has been accused of lying about sending her children to public school:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a voter that her children attended public schools despite reporting that claims otherwise.

The 2020 Democrat was confronted by a woman after her Atlanta, Georgia, campaign rally Thursday night who was concerned about school choice. The woman, identified as Sarah Carpenter, referenced reports that Warren’s children attended private schools.

In footage obtained by the Reason Foundation’s director of school choice and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, Corey DeAngelis, the woman told Warren, “We want the same choice that you had for your kids because I read that your children went to private school.”

Warren denied the reports, saying, “No, my children went to public schools.”

Second news item: Power mongers in race for even more access to the levers of power, willing to ignore the law:

Third news item: The epic fail of modern culture summed up in one tweet:

Fourth news item: In spite of his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, Elon Musk is still worth $20 billion:

The bad news just gets worse for Elon Musk, whose design chief smashed what was described as a bulletproof, unbreakable window at the unveiling of Tesla’s cyber truck this week. “It is literally bulletproof to a 9mm handgun,” Musk said as Franz von Holzhausen smashed a metal ball into the driver’s side window, shattering it. “It didn’t go through, that’s the plus side,” he then quipped as von Holzhausen tried it again, causing a second shatter. Forbes reports that fail sent shares in Tesla plummeting 6 percent, sinking Musk’s net worth by $768 million in a single day.

Fifth news item: Why faith?:

Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and ambiguities and sudden, startling joys.

Have a great weekend.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

11/22/2019

John Bolton: Free At Last

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:19 am



[guest post by Dana]

Today, John Bolton, who hasn’t tweeted since Sept. 10, started his morning by posting a a couple of cryptic tweets:

Bolton, who has declined to testify at the impeachment inquiry, left the teaser sitting there. In the meantime, President Trump was asked during his call-in interview on Fox and Friends, whether he played a part in freezing Bolton’s Twitter account. The president denied any involvement:

“No, of course not,” Trump said. “I had a good relationship with John.”

He also admitted that he and Bolton had had their share of disagreements.

Just minutes ago, Bolton blamed the White House for his absence from Twitter:

Was the president lying about his involvement, or did his people make the decision to refuse Bolton access without Trump’s knowledge, thus making the president look unaware? Of course, the really important question is, will Bolton talk now??

Stay tuned…

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Trump Can’t Let Go of Crazy Conspiracy Theory Letting Russia off the Hook for the DNC Hack

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am



Comical:

It’s like the expression of the faces of relatives around the Thanksgiving dinner table while the crazy uncle holds forth on chemtrails, except the crazy uncle can nuke you.

Also he can fire an FBI director and brag about how it’s a good thing he did because the FBI director was coming after him:

Well, so he’s corrupt domestically, but at least his foreign policy doesn’t suck, right?

Oh. I forgot he has to sell out the protesters in Hong Kong to try to get himself back to Square One, or something approaching it, in trade talks with China so he can declare a Big Win.

Four more years of this insanity? No thanks.

11/21/2019

The Left, The Right, And Impeachment

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:57 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Read the “claims” first, then consider whether both things can be true at the same time:

It is quite possible that both sides are acting out of narrow self-interest, political opportunism, and motives that might be considered corrupt in a moral sense if not in a strictly legal one. But the Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power to impeach the president, not the other way around. It probably would have been better to let the electorate decide this question at the polls in 2020, but that is not what Democrats have chosen to do. The unwisdom of that decision does not magic away the record of the Trump administration in regard to Ukraine, which, depending on your politics, is either one of actionable corruption or one of incompetence that is as thuggish as it is cartoonish. John Bolton was too kind to describe this caper as a “drug deal.” The thing about organized crime is, it’s organized.

–Dana

11/20/2019

Democratic Debate Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:34 pm



[guest post by Dana]

The fifth presidential debate is coming from Atlanta tonight.

The contenders on stage are: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer and that little aloha sweetie, Tulsi Gabbard.

CNN tells me there are nine things to look for in tonight’s debate. Of course, they may have worded the points a little differently, but no matter:

*It’s Buttigieg’s turn to shine in the spotlight

*Red pill Obama’s admonition and shadow looms large

*Biden’s southern firewall will be tested but he won’t know it’s happening

*The ‘Medicare for All’ fight takes a twist (but still no one will pronounce it utterly ludicrous)

*Sanders may take take off the gloves with Warren (there will be oxygen available, if necessary)

*Voting rights will not be ignored. I missed that. What?

*Kamala Harris will join Hillary Clinton as they both try to find their way out of the woods

*Amy Klobuchar will use her bare hands to take down anyone who gets in her way

*Low polling candidates will be sweating bullets as they know that it’s their last opportunity to publicly audition for the vice-presidency.

Where you can watch it: The debate will be broadcast exclusively on MSNBC and will also stream for free on MSNBC.com and washingtonpost.com, as well as on NBC News and The Washington Post’s mobile apps, according to the Democratic National Committee. Audio of the debate will be available on SiriusXM Channel 118, and TuneIn.

Should be loads of fun!

–Dana

Why Eric Garcetti Will (Probably) Never Be President

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:39 pm



[guest post by JVW]

For those of you who could use a break from all the impeachment talk.

Los Angeles’s forty-second and current mayor, Eric GarbageCity — er, make that Garcetti — had a piece published in the Daily Breeze over the weekend which serves as a strong reminder why so many of us find him to be pompous and tiresome. While recounting the passage of California’s Proposition 187 a quarter-century ago, which according to the progressive catechism drove Latinos away from the GOP into the arms of Democrats forever and ever, the mayor treats us to this howler:

I had taken time away from my graduate studies abroad to work for six months on Kathleen Brown’s campaign for governor and to campaign against Prop. 187. I returned to Oxford University disappointed but energized, sad but hungry for change.

A few weeks later, I was literally hungry — adopting the tactic of community organizers through the years: I led a three-day fast and teach-in, in solidarity with immigrants in California and around the world. [. . .]

How relatable, right? I mean don’t most of us have the luxury of interrupting our lives to spend six months on the doomed campaign of a lesser member of a powerful lunatic political family, only to then return to the warm cocoon of Oxford on our Rhodes Scholarship for spring afternoons reading Hobsbawm in Radcliffe Camera then nipping off to The Bear Inn for a glass of French wine? It’s what our studies at the prestigious Harvard-Westlake School and Columbia University prepared us for, wasn’t it? My advice to the mayor should he wish to ultimately reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would be not to talk about sabbaticals to fool around in political campaigns and sojourns at Oxford in the same grating insouciance that, for example, John Kerry might use to describe skiing in Zermatt before popping down to Corfu to sail the Ionian Sea.

Mayor GarbageCity — dang it! Garcetti — wants badly to be President and clearly thinks he is deserving of the honor, but for now his path to the White House is difficult to foresee. He leaves office on New Year’s Day 2022 with pretty much no place to go. Gavin Newsom will almost certainly be running for reelection in 2022, Dianne Feinstein’s term doesn’t end until January 2025, and Kamala Harris, who ain’t gonna be President, is almost certain to seek reelection in 2022. Short of Gov. Newsom or Sen. Harris ascending to the Vice-Presidency, it would seem that the Los Angeles Mayor faces a significant roadblock in his political aspirations.

Finally, as Eric Garcetti celebrates his party’s Pyrrhic Defeat in the Prop. 187 vote twenty-five years ago, he might pause to reflect on the fact that California Latinos, who now vote devotedly for his party, continue to struggle to realize the middle class California dream, especially in the City of Angels, despite all of the pandering and empty gestures that they receive from the progressive elite. If and when he finally runs for President, he is going to be asked the simple question of what he accomplished as mayor, and right now I don’t see him having much of a satisfactory answer.

– JVW

Impeachment Hearings: Yesterday and Today

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am



Gordon Sondland is testifying today, and so far he has made it clear that there was indeed a quid pro quo (at least for a White House meeting) and that everyone was acting at Trump’s direction. Meanwhile, I have a few thoughts on the parts of yesterday’s hearing I was able to see or listen to.

First, in excellent questioning by the Democrat counsel, it was made clear that Trump didn’t really care about corruption in Ukraine as a general matter — a legitimate concern that is part of U.S. foreign policy. All he cared about was Burisma and the Bidens — an illegitimate and corrupt concern, based purely on selfish political motives, that is improper to raise as a condition to giving military aid. Lt. Col. Vindman testified that when Trump first called the Ukraine president in April to congratulate him on his election, Trump’s talking points included a reference to the importance of rooting out corruption.

Trump didn’t mention it.

This issue that was supposedly so important to him that he withheld military assistance over it? Not mentioned at all in his first call with the Ukraine president.

It was only once Trump had the apparatus set up to have Rudy G. make very specific appeals to investigate a very specific political opponent that Trump began to care about investigations — and even then, he cared only about investigations into two very specific things. First, an investigation into a loony conspiracy theory that would let Russia off the hook for the DNC hack, and second, an investigation into his (then) likely opponent for the presidency in 2020.

In the face of that evidence, what did the Republicans have?

They repeatedly tried to out the whistleblower, on a day when Trump himself was insulting one of the witnesses (Vindman) who still works for the federal government.

They complained about hearsay, on a day when two people testified who had actually heard Trump’s call and found it inappropriate, even (in the case of Vindman) shocking.

Republican Senators have already made up their minds. This is wholly a proceeding for the benefit of the American people, to show what Republicans will not only tolerate but full-throatedly defend, should the people re-elect Donald Trump in 2020.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

11/19/2019

Email Purporting to Be from John Cornyn: Trump “Did Nothing Wrong”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:34 pm



I got an email today from the email address action@standupforliberty.net. It purports to be from Texas Senator John Cornyn, and bears his name at the end of the email like a signature. It seeks money for Rep. Elisa Stefanik, a partisan Republican hack who has been throwing dust in the air for Trump during these hearings. Cornyn describes her as someone whom the Democrats are trying to destroy “all because she had the audacity to stick up for a president we all know did nothing wrong.”

Cornyn Says Trump Did Nothing Wrong

Pay close attention to what Cornyn is saying here: not just that Trump didn’t commit an impeachable offense, but that he “did nothing wrong.” And that “we all know” it.

He’s not even pretending to withhold judgment until the evidence is in.

This is a political exercise, to be sure. And in this political exercise, voters are entitled to watch the evidence come in, knowing that the Republican Senators do not care in the slightest what the evidence says.

I’m sorely tempted to send my first check to a Democrat. Not because I think Stefanik’s opponent is a better candidate. She almost certainly would support fewer of my policy views than Stefanik has. (Putting aside anything having to do with Donald Trump.) But she’s one of 435, and people are seeing this fundraising contest as a proxy for support for Trump’s corrupt actions in bending the foreign policy apparatus of this country to his own personal political advantage.

To hell with Trump and to hell with Elise Stefanik. And to hell with John Cornyn and the rest of the Republicans. If they go down in flames in 2020 I will do a dance. And then cringe at the policy nightmare to follow.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Chick-fil-A Caves To Pressure From LGBTQ Activists

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:40 pm



[guest post by Dana]

The news broke this week:

[T]he charitable arm affiliated with Chick-fil-A revealed that it had overhauled its donation strategy and had stopped giving money to several organizations — donations that had long angered LGBTQ activists.

The Chick-fil-A Foundation announced in a statement that it planned to concentrate its giving in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger, and that it planned to work with a smaller number of charities than it had previously. It plans to reassess its giving annually, instead of entering into multiyear arrangements with charities, it said. The groups it gives to “could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities,” the foundation said.

But the bigger news was which organizations would not be getting millions in Chick-fil-A money: A representative confirmed to The Washington Post that it had ceased giving to Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army, two religiously affiliated charities, after multiyear commitments ended in 2018.

It’s particularly sad to see the Salvation Army on the donation hit list, given their incredible service to those in need. Whether one is a victim of a natural disaster, or hungry, in need of shelter, combatting addiction, unemployed, homeless, elderly, or a victim of domestic abuse or human trafficking, the Salvation Army stands at the ready. But the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and this time it’s the LGBTQ activists selfishly protesting Chick-fil-A’s support of the wonderful organization because hurt feelings. Oh, boo-hoo. This makes me angry. When one considers that Chick-fil-A’s support of the charity has allowed untold numbers of hurting individuals to be helped, those complaining should be ashamed. Would these activists wish that the untold numbers helped by the Salvation Army via Chick-fil-A’s financial support, not have been helped but instead left to continue in their suffering? Would they take back those meals, the shelter, the clothing, the life-saving efforts made on behalf of the wounded and lost? Will they themselves now step into the breach with the same help and service to any in need? Will their hands be willing and open to anyone, of any faith, of any color or stripe, as are the Salvation Army workers? It’s tragic that this decision comes as a result of a selfish group of angry activists who hate Christian organizations that won’t toe the required line of wokeness and instead dare to brazenly go about the quiet business of offering love and hope, and lending a hand to those in need.

And how does the Salvation Army feel about the LGBTQ folks? Let’s read the organization’s own mission statement specific to that group:

Because LGBTQ Americans living in poverty often experience unacceptable homophobia and transphobia, many become homeless.

A majority of homeless LGBTQ people end up on the streets before they turn 18, and one in four is homeless before turning 16.

The Salvation Army is committed to serving the LGBTQ community through shelter…job training…help with substance abuse…food insecurity…and teenage suicide.

In a statement released in response to Chick-fil-A’s decision, the Salvation Army reiterated their willingness to serve the LGBTQ community, and made it clear that their actions back up their words:

“We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations — areas in which The Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed. We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population. When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk. We urge the public to seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment and greatly appreciate those partners and donors who ensure that anyone who needs our help feels safe and comfortable to come through our doors.”

Additionally, here is a portion of the organization’s non-discrimination policy:

“A diverse range of views on homosexuality exist within The Salvation Army — as among the wider Christian (and non-Christian) community,” the statement reads. “But no matter where individual Salvationists stand on this matter, The Salvation Army does not permit discrimination on the basis of sexual identity in the delivery of its services or in its employment practices.”

The Salvation Army stands against homophobia, which victimises people and can reinforce feelings of alienation, loneliness and despair. We want to be an inclusive church community where members of the LGBTQ community find welcome and the encouragement to develop their relationship with God.

Enraging, right??

Here is how the LGBTQ community responded to the news:

… LGBTQ activists were not immediately impressed. “If Chick-fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family,” said Drew Anderson, director of campaigns and rapid response for GLAAD, in an emailed statement. “Chick-fil-A investors, employees, and customers can greet today’s announcement with cautious optimism, but should remember that similar press statements were previously proven to be empty.”

Chick-Fil-A can certainly support whatever charity they choose, but caving in to the complaints of a small group of individuals because they don’t like the beliefs of those coming to the aid of hurting people is disgusting. Make your stand, and let the chips fall where they will knowing that the ultimate reward comes later, and is for all of eternity. Chick-fil-A consistently fills a unique niche in the evangelical community. Their supporters have long shown their loyalty to the organization that has been unabashedly pro-faith and lived out their ideals in their business dealings. All of this makes it confusing as to why they would choose to surrender to the angry mob.

I’ll leave with this thought: If I were hurting, hungry, homeless, or facing any sort of the devastating things that can happen in this life, and a group came alongside me offering a hand of hope and solace, sustenance and shelter, I don’t think I’d question their views on any social issue because, not only would that be a luxury I could ill afford, but all I would care about was that I was being handed a lifeline. I’m pretty sure my heart would be overflowing with gratitude. This offering of hope and help wedded together represents the vibrant, earth-shattering-life-changing thunderously deep, quiet love God has for His creation. Like many of you, I also know this because I’ve had any number of opportunities to be on the flip-side, and come alongside those in need. Not once did they, nor did I care about political stands or personal causes. And really, why would I? Why would the person who is in pain, and suffering? Besides providing help, all I really cared about was that they knew that at that very moment in space and time, someone cared about them. That they mattered. And judging from the responses, that’s all that people who are hurting care about too.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Gettysburg Address: 156 Years Ago Today

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:23 am



[guest post by Dana]

[Ed. Understanding that most readers have done their own extensive reading on Lincoln and this particular speech, consider this brief overview a jumping off point.]

Today is the 156th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. A little more than four months after one of the worst battles in the Civil War took place at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – a three-day battle in which the combined casualties reached a staggering 51,000 – President Abraham Lincoln marked the end of the ceremonies dedicating the battlefield cemetery with a short, 272-word speech known as the Gettysburg Address.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate we can not consecrate we can not hallow, this ground The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

As has been previously noted, it was not a well received speech at the time, and it wasn’t until quite some time later that it got a most-deserved second look:

In the days that followed Abraham Lincoln’s 272-word speech to thousands of onlookers in this small Pennsylvania farm town, few newspapers in the country immediately reported on the speech.

When they did, explains historian Michael Kraus, it was mostly dour examination, filled with misquotes of the 16th president’s words.

“There were a lot of mistakes in those first reports. Words weren’t heard well, order was mixed up. The speech didn’t appear in every newspaper the next day, or the next day, or the next day,” Kraus said from his artifact-filled basement office at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh, where he serves as the curator.

When it finally did, the reviews were sharply critical.

“A paper in Boston ripped it to shreds; so did other papers across the North,” said Kraus.

Even the local Harrisburg paper, the Harrisburg Patriot and Union, dismissed it as mindless gibberish. “We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of,” it opined.

In truth, it took decades for anyone to think much of the speech, or even think of it all.

“It wasn’t until well over a quarter-century later that it began to emerge in the American psyche across the country that this speech was more than a speech, it defined who we were for eternity,” said Kraus days before the 155th anniversary of a speech that took less than two minutes to give and nearly a 100 years to reach the reverence it holds today.

Interestingly, President Lincoln was not the featured speaker that day. Rather, he was an afterthought:

The invited featured speaker at the dedication was Edward Everett, the former president of Harvard College and one of the 19th century’s most celebrated orators. Everett spoke for two hours. Following his long presentation, Lincoln, in a black suit, tall silk hat and white gloves, spoke for two minutes, delivering a powerful speech that has remained one of the most inspirational and eloquent expressions in the English language. From the time of its first delivery, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has stood as an American touchstone, offering comfort and inspiration to the living by honoring the sacrifices of the dead.

Lincoln formulated the Gettysburg Address with great thought, but the brevity of the President’s address was in such contrast to Everett’s long oration that the audience was surprised and slow to respond, so that Lincoln feared his effort had fallen short. Everett afterwards wrote to the President: “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as close to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”

Everett’s own Gettysburg address can be found here. And here is a wonderful thread about Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

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