Patterico's Pontifications


Reportedly: North Korea Confiscating Pet Dogs To Feed Its Starving People

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:17 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Because only horrible news comes out of North Korea:

The North Korean government is reportedly ordering more “decadent” citizens to hand over their dogs so that other people can eat.

According to Canadian news outlet the National Post, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reported that President Kim Jong-Un calls pet ownership a byproduct of “bourgeois ideology” and is ordering dog owners to surrender those pets so they can be slaughtered and fed to hungry North Koreans.

“Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down,” a source reportedly told South Korean media.

That report states that common folks in the communist “Hermit Kingdom” raise livestock for sustenance, but owning an animal for companionship is a luxury enjoyed by people of privilege. The fact that some North Koreans can afford dogs has “stoked some resentment.”

Some of the confiscated dogs are reportedly headed for state-run zoos, as well as becoming a source of food:

“Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down,” the source said.

Some of the confiscated dogs head off to the Korea Central Zoo in Pyongyang and other animal sanctuaries — and dinner tables, the paper said.

Dog meat is a popular food in the country, and a recent food shortage has made it an all the more viable eating option.

The poor pooches’ owners are “cursing Kim Jong Un behind his back,” but there is nothing they can do, the source said.

Kim Jong Un reportedly owns any number of dogs, including “a collection of Shih Tzus, German shepherds and other breeds…”. His father also had pet dogs.

Why round-up pet dogs now?

“If the National Post story is correct, Kim’s orders indicate either desperation or a change of heart for the dictator. In January 2018, he donated 30 pet dogs to Pyongyang’s recently revamped Central Zoo, where canines are a popular attraction. That collection included seven breeds of dogs, including bulldogs.”

I know which option I’m going with…

On a side note: I saw this description of Kim Jong Un when reading about the round-up of dogs in NK:

The kooky leader renewed the call to round up the household pets again in July, a source told the South Korean newspaper Chosen Ilbo.

This description strikes me as all sorts of wrong. To refer to Kim Jong Un as “the kooky leader” made me cringe because it is not a word typically associated with murderously brutal dictators. Kim Jong Un is not simply a “kooky” individual. He is a ruthless leader who regularly starves his own people, and does not hesitate to murder those who cross him or are suspected of crossing him, including members of his own family. Further, he “disappears” citizens, and tortures and imprisons them. Kim Jong Un is not “kooky”. He is a deadly monster.

Over at Merriam-Webster, “kooky” is defined as: having the characteristics of a kook : CRAZY, OFFBEAT

Below that were samples of how to use the word in a sentence, including actual recent uses of the word. Here’s a real gem:

Swathed in pastel satiny gowns, Doris Day sparkles in this frothy musical as a Far Rockaway singer caught in a kooky love trap on a cruise ship faux-docking in Havana, Trinidad and Brazil.
Donna Bulseco, WSJ, “18 Movies to Stream Instead of Taking a Vacation,” 20 June 2020


Steve Bannon Arrested

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:22 am

Just heard the news on NPR. It’s a fraud allegation. Details to come.

UPDATE: And a Judge has thrown out Trunp’s lawsuit challenging the Manhattan DA’s subpoena for his financial records.

UPDATE c2: Here is DoJ’s statement on the Bannon indictment. Thanks to whembly.


Trump Refuses to Condemn Q’anon: Hey, As Long As They Like Me, Right???

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:37 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Because I’m disinclined to give any politicians the benefit of the doubt these days – especially those with a track record of proving themselves not deserving of such grace – I believe that Trump is utterly disingenous in the video below, and is, in fact, fully familiar with Q’anon, their nutty conspiracy theories, bigotry, and massive support for him. Much more so than he lets on in the video below:

I was laboring to transcribe Trump’s comments, only to discover that someone else had already done the heavy lifting:


Here is a brief overview of Q’anon:

QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory and loosely organized network centered around the belief that the U.S. is controlled by a cabal of child sex trafficking, Democratic elites hell-bent on bringing down President Trump.

Followers believe these elites, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, have gone so far as to manufacture the coronavirus to bring Trump down. They heed cryptic online dispatches of someone named Q who’s anonymous — hence QAnon — who claims the highest government security clearance.

QAnon adherence includes people young and old of many backgrounds who try to push their “deep state” narrative into the mainstream. They show up at Trump rallies in Q merchandise, shirts and hats. President Trump has retweeted Q-supporting accounts many times — including at least 90 times since the pandemic began, says Alex Kaplan of Media Matters.

It is simply appalling that the President of the United States is unwilling to wholly condemn this group. Not for a second do I believe that he doesn’t know what Q’anon is about. But of course, he won’t condemn it, or the people involved because that would not be in *his* best interest. How much support might he lose if he were to publicly disavow them? Better to be a weasel when confronted with questions about the group. It’s incredible that even after he is given a specific (and preposterous) example of their nuttery, he still refused to disavow them, and instead, played coy. This is shameful behavior by the President and should be immediately condemned by politicians on both sides of the aisle. But the Republicans should lead the charge in pushing back against the President, otherwise, we might as well assume that this is indeed what today’s GOP is all about, and this is the new level to which the party has sunk. However, none of this should really be surprising. After all, it was just a week ago when he offered his congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Green for winning the nomination in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. Green is known for embrace of Q’anon conspiracy theories, and support of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views:

Via Jake Tapper, comes this troubling reminder:

The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat…

The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.

The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).

“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

I want to also note that, if you ever had doubts about Trump’s massive ego, vanity, and narcissism, this should remove them all. Because who else but a true narcissist like Trump would be flattered by the suggestion that a group of established crazy and dangerous fringe-conspiracists believes that he is here to save the world from evil? The reporter’s question was a straight-shot appeal to his vanity, so how could he possibly condemn them? They love him! They need him! They see him as the savior! How could someone like Trump resist such an appeal, and say no to that? And most importantly, why on earth would he consider condemning an organization that loves him that much? After all, this is his lifeblood that we’re talking about.


Open Thread: Ex-FBI Lawyer Kevin Clinesmith Pleads Guilty To Falsifying Document

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:22 pm

[guest post by Dana]

CNN reports:

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith formally pleaded guilty on Wednesday to changing text in an email when working to renew the surveillance application of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2017.

Judge James Boasberg of the DC District Court accepted his plea at a hearing that lasted about an hour Wednesday.

Clinesmith admitted to one charge of inserting the words “not a source” into an email in 2017 about Page’s history with the CIA, when Page had been a contact. The email was part of preparations officials were making to apply for a renewal to Page’s wiretap in 2017. The Justice Department has since invalidated that renewal application, and several officials have harshly criticized FBI procedures in the handling of surveillance applications.

“At the time I believed the information I was providing in the email was accurate. But I am agreeing that the information I inserted into the email was not originally there and I inserted that information,” Clinesmith told the judge over the phone on Wednesday.

Clinesmith will be sentenced Dec. 10.


New Trump Campaign Ad Goes After Biden’s Mental Fitness

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:22 am

[guest post by Dana]

Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the President’s re-election campaign, announced last weekend that the campaign would “be everywhere” in a big way during the Democratic convention:

With that, the Trump campaign released a new political ad airing at the same time as the Democratic National Convention. The new ad, “What Happened to Joe Biden,” targets Joe Biden’s mental fitness. Apparently the Trump campaign was concerned about going after the 77-year old Biden this way because it might offend the senior citizen voting bloc. But in spite of concerns, the ad was released:

It’s a smart ad. The contrasting then and now clips are compelling and speak for themselves. The ad does a good job showing viewers how much Biden has aged, and how much less verbally fluent he appears than just a few years ago. However, I feel like Biden’s team could just as easily produce a similar counter ad with some clips of Trump’s many incoherent word salad performances over the years.

A Trump campaign official defended the ad:

We think it’s very important that voters fully assess Joe Biden’s qualifications and fitness to be president. Our data show that people are concerned about his ability to do the job.

Here is the Biden camp’s response to the ad:

Donald Trump is spectacularly failing every conceivable strategic test by ramping up mentions of this subject at all. Joe Biden sounded the alarm about the outbreak early, whereas Donald Trump is still promising us the virus will magically ‘disappear.’ Joe Biden has highlighted the advice of medical experts throughout the pandemic, but Donald Trump publicly encouraged COVID-19 victims to inject themselves with disinfectant. Joe Biden has highlighted the advice of medical experts throughout the pandemic, but Donald Trump publicly encouraged COVID-19 patients to inject themselves with disinfectant. Trump has even said that we should nuke hurricanes out over the water. And if that’s not enough for you, ‘Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.‘”

And bingo, a new Biden counter ad! A 30-second reel of nothing but Trump repeating his blithering 5-word brag: Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.


Nutcase Laura Loomer Wins GOP Florida Congressional Primary

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

Of all the “Florida man” or “Florida woman” stories you could pick, “Florida men and women vote for Laura Loomer” is the looniest:

Conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer has decisively won the Republican primary for the U.S. House of Representatives seat that represents President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

. . . .

During a production of “Julias Caesar” in Central Park in 2017, she rushed the stage shouting, “Stop the normalization of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable!”

In November 2017, Loomer tweeted that she could not find a “non-Muslim cab or @Uber @Lyft” driver so she was late to a meeting. After a day of tweeting about Muslims, Uber and Lyft announced she was banned from using their services.

. . . .

In November 2018, in protest of what she calls Twitter’s shadowbanning of conservatives, she handcuffed herself to Twitter’s office in New York.

Well, at least cooler heads are prevailing in the wise leadership of the Grand Old Party.

President Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago estate is in Loomer’s district, retweeted at least four posts about her win and tweeted himself, “Great going Laura. You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet!”


This is the party you want me to rejoin?

Hard pass.


RIP MeToo: Bill Clinton to Speak at Democrat Convention Tonight

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:15 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Putting the final nail in the coffin of the relatively short-lived but consequential MeToo movement, tonight’s slate of speakers for the Democrat National Convention will include a prime time slot for former President William J. Clinton, he of the Monica Lewinsky dalliance, the sexual harassment of Paula Jones, the unwanted groping of Kathleen Willey, and the believable rape of Juanita Broaddrick. In anticipation of the event, right-wing Twitter is reminding everyone that Bubba was a frequent guest aboard the late* Jeffrey Epstein’s notorious jet, the Lolita Express:

This, along with the soon-to-be-nominated-and-approved Democrat ticket of Joe Biden, with his own messy history of interactions with women young and younger, and Kamala Harris, patroness of a boorish jerk in her own office, seems to once and for all suggest that the Democrats have completely abandoned the battlefield in the Sexual Harassment Wars, at least for the time being. If that’s not the case, then they are acknowledging that they are happy to serve up enlisted ranks and non-commissioned officers as cannon fodder — and perhaps once in a while a lieutenant, a captain or even under difficult circumstances a major, but that senior flag officers are untouchable and shall be protected at all costs.

I think a lot of us always suspected that MeToo was supposed to be a cudgel with which to bash conservatives and Donald Trump, but unfortunately for the feminist left rather than an inanimate tool to be wielded exclusively by one party it turned into a rabid dog that bit everything in sight, including the Democrats’ own allies. So tonight we can finally close the book on the seriousness with which this movement deserves to be treated. If you think I’m exaggerating, note that MeToo champion Rose McGowan yesterday named another noted Hollywood director who had molested her in her early teenage years, yet rather than the sort of “thanks for speaking your truth” response she had become accustomed to receiving two years ago, today she was largely treated as a needy drama queen by the commenters at Variety, that noted right-wing media outlet. So let’s eulogize MeToo and recall all the fun times we had eviscerating roguish politicians (of both sexes!) for their awful behavior. The issue of sexual harassment will come back into vogue once Democrats clear the battlefield and bury their dead, so don’t think the issue is going to go away, even though the hashtag probably will be quietly retired once progressive Twitter figures out how to rebrand the issue to its advantage.

* Epstein didn’t kill himself.


Shut-Up They Said, You’re Hurting Our Feelings

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:26 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Don’t mock the woke. Only approved targets of ridicule welcome:

Twitter has suspended and restricted a number of satirical accounts…Among those purged was Titiana McGrath, the woke caricature created by comedian and spiked columnist Andrew Doyle. Doyle was locked out of the account, which has been ‘temporarily restricted’.

According to the report, suspended accounts include the hilarious Babylon Bee (now restored), Jarvis Dupont, Guy Verhoftwat, Tolerance Police, Liberal Larry and Sir Lefty Farr-Right QC. All of the latter accounts remain suspended.

This strikes me as pretty rich coming from Twitter, which smugly announces:

The mission we serve as Twitter, Inc. is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.

Clearly the only reasonable response to this war on satire is…more speech, more satire and most definitely, more laughter at every political persuasion’s expense.


It’s All In The Timing: USPS Chief Puts Certain Changes On Hold

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This is a good move by Trump supporter and Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. It comes in advance of his testifying Friday before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about the “finances and operations of the postal service during COVID-19 and upcoming elections.”:

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday that he is suspending certain changes at the U.S. Postal Service until after the 2020 election in order to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”

DeJoy, whose sweeping cost-cutting measures at USPS have raised alarms about widespread mail delays that could impact the November race, said in a statement that he is temporarily halting “some longstanding operational initiatives” that “predate my arrival at the Postal Service.”

He didn’t cite which specific initiatives he was suspending. He did, however, provide some assurances.

DeJoy’s statement said that retail hours at post offices will not be changed, mail processing facilities will not be closed and that mail processing equipment will not be moved. He also said that “overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.”


Attorneys general from at least 14 states are filing a federal lawsuit saying the Trump administration violated procedure when changes were made by the postmaster general, claiming DeJoy acted outside his authority to make service cuts by limiting workers’ overtime hours and removing some sorting equipment. The lawsuit says DeJoy should have sought approval from the post office’s regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission.

You can read DeJoy’s statement in full here. DeJoy reassures Americans right off the bat:

The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall. Even with the challenges of keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy as they operate amid a pandemic, we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards. The American public should know that this is our number one priority between now and election day. The 630,000 dedicated women and men of the Postal Service are committed, ready and proud to meet this sacred duty.

I want to assure all Americans of the following:
Retail hours at Post Offices will not change.
Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are.
No mail processing facilities will be closed.
And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.
In addition, effective Oct. 1, we will engage standby resources in all areas of our operations, including transportation, to satisfy any unforeseen demand.

Now, hopefully Trump will stop undermining confidence in the election:

As millions of Americans consider casting their vote this November, they’re confronted by an abject failure of presidential leadership. Rather than taking the lead in resolving the manageable challenges of voting in a pandemic, President Trump has decided to stoke fears of an illegitimate election. Large majorities of Republicans now indicate that they distrust the vote count, and this wholesale loss of confidence creates a real concern. Only a clearly-decisive victory by one candidate or the other can avoid casting into doubt the legitimacy of the election and – in an extreme scenario – the orderly transfer of American power.

Remember this:

Last week, Trump told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that he opposed additional funding for the Post Office in part because blocking that money could block universal mail-in balloting.

“They need that money in order to have the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”

Ultimately, this is the President we are dealing with:

Once again, President Trump faces a looming national challenge. Once again, he has chosen to double down on division and protect his partisan interests rather than accept his role as the president of all Americans. Never forget former secretary of defense James Mattis’s warning, published this June: “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try.”

Division is the one thing that Trump has proven he excels at. Our nation’s response to the pandemic lags behind the vast majority of the world, our economy falters, and multiple cities still struggle – months after George Floyd’s death – with persistent, violent unrest. But while Trump fails to govern, he succeeds at setting neighbor versus neighbor, and the most bitter political and constitutional consequences of his pugilistic partisanship may be yet to come.

I don’t see any response from the President about DeJoy’s announcement. And I can’t find confirmation whether this move was prompted by Trump or not. Regardless of who made the decision to put a stop to some changes, it’s a good and necessary move and should reassure both Democrats, Republicans, and voters alike. Especially given that the changes were put in motion during the runup of the presidential election, which is just 77 days from now, and during a pandemic, in which mail-in voting will play a very significant role.


Former DHS Chief of Staff: Trump Tried to Withhold Fire Disaster Funds from California Because It Did Not Vote Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

This is compelling and appalling all at the same time.

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