Patterico's Pontifications


DoJ Accused of Misrepresenting Facts to Judge Sullivan in Flynn Case

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

I have a few leftover stories from the past few days; blogging everything interesting is tough in an election season. This is one of them.

This seems . . . not good:

The Justice Department is already facing sharp questions from a judge about altering sensitive documents in the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Now, two lawyers connected to the case say DOJ has made new mischaracterizations in its attempt to clean up the mess.

The department claimed late Monday that it had consulted with lawyers for former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and former FBI agent Peter Strzok and confirmed that two sets of handwritten notes — key evidence in Flynn’s case — were valid and free of any alterations.

But correspondence between the two attorneys and DOJ reveal that neither vouched for the accuracy of the documents. In fact, McCabe’s lawyer Michael Bromwich and Strzok’s lawyer Aitan Goelman affirmatively refused to do so, according to a review of their email exchanges with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jocelyn Ballantine.

There certainly seems to be a direct discrepancy here:

“We are unable to certify the authenticity of all of the attachments or the accuracy of the transcriptions,” Goelman wrote to Ballantine Sunday afternoon. “To do so, we would need both more time and access to the original notes, particularly given that U.S. Attorney Jensen’s team has already been caught altering Pete’s notes in two instances.”

Yet in DOJ’s filing, Ballantine said both attorneys had “confirmed” the accuracy of the notes taken by McCabe and Strzok.

“The government reiterates, however, that the content of those exhibits was not altered in any way, as confirmed by attorneys for both former FBI employees,” Ballantine wrote in the filing, which was submitted just before a midnight deadline.

This has the potential to be very, very bad for Ballentine.

Keep in mind: Jocelyn Ballentine is the one lawyer from the original prosecution who stayed on the case after Bill Barr decided to throw it to make Trump happy. The fact that she signed some of the briefs supporting dismissal was trumpeted by the Flynndication crowd as proof that the dismissal motion was totally honest and above-board.

The dismissal motion has always been openly and nakedly corrupt. This is just further evidence of the Government’s dishonesty on behalf of a guy who’s about to get his rear end tossed out of office by the people.

UPDATE: Speaking of DoJ corruption . . .


Trump’s Covid Testing Czar Offers Different Opinion Than The Boss

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

As we know, President Trump has tried to wish away the virus, has intentionally downplayed the virus, and has compared the virus to the common flu. Now, the President is suggesting that the media is discussing COVID-19 in an effort to hurt him in the election and that it should be considered an election law violation:

Last week Trump told rally attendees that the media’s coverage of Covid-19 was just a ploy to keep Americans from voting:

“They’re getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t they,” Trump told a crowd of hundreds of unmasked supporters in Prescott. “You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover. Covid, Covid, pandemic, Covid, Covid, Covid… You know why? They’re trying to talk everybody out of voting. People aren’t buying it, CNN. You dumb bastards.”

Trump has also told Americans as recently as last week, that we are “rounding the corner” with regard to the pandemic:

“It will go away,” Trump said. “And as I say, we are rounding the turn. We are rounding the corner. It’s going away.”

But in the meantime we are beginning to see a concerning uptick in coronavirus cases:

Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in practically every state, despite assurances from President Donald Trump over the weekend that “we’re rounding the turn, we’re doing great.”

…average deaths per day across the country are up 10% over the past two weeks, from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Newly confirmed infections per day are rising in 47 states, and deaths are up in 34.

Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota expert on infectious diseases who warned over the summer of a fall surge, said what’s happening now is a confluence of three factors: “pandemic fatigue” among people who are weary of hunkering down and are venturing out more; “pandemic anger” among those are don’t believe the scourge is a real threat; and cold weather, which is forcing more Americans indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.

Responding to reports of a surge, Trump is claiming that it is the result of more testing. He blames the uh, misinformation on a Fake News Media Conspiracy:

However, today Trump’s own testing czar countered the President’s claim :

The Trump administration’s head of COVID-19 testing said that the record-breaking numbers of new infections in the U.S. are “real,” and not because of an increase in testing, counter to what President Donald Trump has claimed.

Testing czar Admiral Brett Giroir, also an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services who was appointed to his position by Trump, confirmed that U.S. COVID-19 cases are rising.

“Testing may be identifying some more cases, I think that’s clearly true, but what we’re seeing is a real increase in the numbers,” he told the Washington Post.

Giroir pointed out that not only are cases going up — the country saw 74,410 new infections on Tuesday and a record-breaking 85,085 on Friday — but hospitalizations for the virus are as well.

“Compared to the post-Memorial Day surge, even though testing is up, this is a real increase in cases,” he said. “We know that not only because the case numbers are up and we can calculate that, but we know that hospitalizations are going up.”

And here was Giroir being interviewed on NBC today:

“We do believe and the data show that cases are going up. It’s not just a function of testing,” Giroir said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show. “Yes, we’re getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up. And we know that, too, because hospitalizations are going up.”

Six days until the election and it seems like Trump is still trying to spin it as the pandemic that never was.


Another Year of Horrid Ballot Propositions in California

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:58 am

[guest post by JVW]

Proving the adage that everything noble is eventually corrupted, the citizens, interest groups, and legislature of the Golden State have once again conspired to place a series of foolhardy ballot measures up to the public for debate. Each election year we Californians, who put the “crazy” into democrazy, mull over a slew of initiatives and propositions which represent items so rancid that even the mono-party California Legislature refuses to consider them, or else they are ideas that either require the assent of the governed in order to be enacted or are controversial enough that the legislature prefers to let the riff-raff of the state have the final word. Once in a while a conservative group will cobble together enough valid signatures to place an item for public consideration, only to usually see it die a quick yet painful death.

This year our propositions are the usual collection of the stupid, the useless, and the foolhardy. I know many readers don’t reside in our dysfunctional avocado republic, but in the past some of you have mentioned that you enjoy hearing about the folly we like to inflict upon ourselves, so here you go:

Proposition 14
What is it: It authorizes the state to sell $5.5 billion in bonds, the proceeds of which will be used to continue and expand the stem cell initiative of 2004.
Who’s for it: Big Science, as well as the wealthy philanthropist who spearheaded the 2004 initiative in response to the suffering of some family members.
Who’s against it: Just about everyone in the state who has figured out that the 2004 stem cell initiative did not unlock a bevy of cures which then in turn showered the state in the promised royalty and tax revenue.
How I’m going to vote: Against. I voted no on the 2004 initiative. There’s plenty of venture capital in this state, so if stem cells are a promising field they will have no trouble raising money privately.

Proposition 15
What is it: The first major challenge to 1978’s property tax-limiting measure, Prop 13, this year’s measure would allow commercial property holdings in excess of $3 million to be reassessed at current market value for property tax purposes in order to allegedly raise $6.5 – $11 billion annually “for the schools.”
Who’s for it: The dominant leftist cartel, educrats, and a lot of people who rely upon state tax dollars for their employment.
Who’s against it: Business owners and associations, taxpayer groups, the last two or three small government advocates left here, the NAACP, landlords, some renters’ associations, pretty much anyone who understands he or she would directly or indirectly be paying these increased taxes and isn’t already filthy rich.
How I’m going to vote: No — aw, hell no! The left has long claimed that Prop 13 “starves” the state of needed revenue, even though we have somehow managed to fund a $222 billion budget in the meantime. With a pretty strong coalition against Prop 15, including some skittish Democrat legislators, I’m optimistic it will go down to a well-deserved defeat. Otherwise, look for the same coalition to sooner-rather-than-later come after residential properties too.

Proposition 16
What is it: It undoes Prop 209 from 1996 which prohibits the use of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or natural origin in government decision-making. It would allow for these factors to once again be used in public college admissions, employment, and the awarding of state contracts.
Who’s for it: The wokedy-woke and the diversity industry. They have been pining for this moment for the past 24 years, and believe the hour has at last come. The legislature considered a run at undoing 209 six years ago, but kept their powder dry until this moment.
Who’s against it: The un-woke and those who believe that a pluralistic state which is now majority minority ought to judge people by factors that are not entirely related to DNA. Asian-Americans in particular feel that they have a lot to lose by repealing 209, and they were a key player in forcing the legislature to back down in 2014, though the rise of woke Asian-Americans complicates matters somewhat.
How I’m going to vote: No. I actually voted against Prop 209 two dozen years ago for a variety of reasons, but in retrospect I think that vote was a mistake on my part. I am afraid, though, that our state suffers from terminal wokedness and that Prop 16 will pass. If I am wrong, that’s a sign that there really is a silent majority in this state who is tired of all the diversity bullying.

Proposition 17
What is it: Gives felons the right to vote after completing their prison term.
Who’s for it: The usual criminal-reform folks, racial and ethnic organizations, and Democrats who expect to benefit from voting felons.
Who’s against it: Law-and-order types, victims rights groups, Republicans who think this will lead to a higher Democrat vote totals.
How I’m going to vote: I suppose no. I would consider a yes vote if this forced ex-cons to complete their full probationary period before having voting rights restored. As it is, knowing that the Bernard Sanders crazies want even currently incarcerated felons to be able to vote, I would rather throw up a road block here and now than find ourselves sending ballots to Folsom and San Quentin in four years’ time.

Proposition 18
What is it: Allows 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections, provided that they turn 18 before the general election.
Who’s for it: Democrats who rely upon naïve voters to unquestioningly accept their agenda.
Who’s against it: People like me and W.C. Fields who don’t particularly like the young.
How I’m going to vote: There’s a decent argument to be made in favor of this, but now that California primary elections with their “jungle ballot” oftentimes elect a candidate who achieves a majority of the vote without requiring a general election runoff, I think I’ll vote no. Some hard left hamlets, such as San Francisco, are pushing the idea of allowing 16-year-olds to vote, and I’m cynical enough to see that as an attempt to get mush-minded kids who don’t pay income tax to rally around big government initiatives that their parents would have to pay for. As with Prop 17, I would rather nip this idea in the bud right away.

Proposition 19
What is it: This is a retread of 2018’s failed Prop 5, which allows homeowners over age 55 to transfer their lower property tax assessment from a home they sell to a newer home that they purchase. Advocates have tried to sweeten the pot for progressives by at the same time tightening the ability for families to pass down non-primary-residence homes or farms to younger generations without triggering a new tax assessment.
Who’s for it: Senior citizen groups, realtors, developers, local politicians who believe the legislative analyst that this will lead to a net increase in tax revenue for cities and counties, which seems to me to be a questionable assertion.
Who’s against it: Anti-tax groups and some Republican legislators
How I’m going to vote: I voted against Prop 5 two years ago because I didn’t like the idea that it was essentially a $1 billion tax break for senior citizens when I think it is young families struggling to afford a home who deserve the break. Advocates have come back and added the part about forcing assessments when a $1 million non-primary-residence home or farm is transferred in order to allegedly make this a net revenue raiser for cities and counties, but I am skeptical. I am going to study this one a bit more, but I’m leaning towards a no vote.

Proposition 20
What is it: Attempts to roll back some of the recent criminal reform measures such as Prop 47 and Prop 57. Increases penalties for some theft-related crimes. Restricts the ability of the state to give early release to some prisoners. Expands DNA collection program for prisoners.
Who’s for it: Law-and-order types who have been disgusted by the state’s move towards parole in lieu of incarceration. State prison employees and private prison operators whose livelihoods are threatened.
Who’s against it: Those who successfully pushed Props. 47 & 57 and who believe in miscreant rehabilitation and restorative justice.
How I’m going to vote: I’ll probably vote no, just because that’s my default vote on most propositions. Like our host, I do believe that Prop 57 went too far and that the state currently puts too much faith in hug-a-criminal programs, but I also recognize that the powerful prison employee unions have an ulterior agenda here. I want California to turn away from its coddling of criminals, but I don’t think that this ballot proposition is the way to go.

Proposition 21
What is it: Allows local governments to enact rent control policies. Another rehash of a failed 2018 initiative.
Who’s for it: Advocates for lower-cost housing who don’t mind passing the costs on to landlords.
Who’s against it: Free-market types, landlords, rental housing conglomerations.
How I’m going to vote: Emphatic no, just like two years ago. Our friend aphrael makes a solid case for rent control as the least-bad of a number of bad options, but I respectfully disagree. And I resent the idea that a proposition which failed by a 3:2 margin two years ago is being introduced again just because rent control proponents believe that anti-Trump momentum will carry them to victory. They deserve to fail miserably again.

Proposition 22
What is it: Exempts app-based rideshare and delivery companies like Uber and Lyft from the baneful effects of AB 5, against which we have inveighed since it was passed a year ago. In return, compels the companies to adopt limited benefits packages for employees.
Who’s for it: This ballot measure is fully conceptualized and funded by the rideshare companies themselves.
Who’s against it: Organized labor and their lackeys in the state legislature.
How I’m going to vote: I’ll vote yes for once, though I don’t like the fact that the rideshare companies have limited this initiative to their industry and not the myriad other industries which have been badly affected by this awful legislation. But once rideshare has their exit route, I’m guessing that AB 5 will collapse due to its own futility.

Proposition 23
What is it: Establishes regulations for kidney dialysis clinics in the state.
Who’s for it: Organized labor, who put this measure on the 2018 ballot only to have it defeated.
Who’s against it: The people who operate dialysis clinics.
How I’m going to vote: I’ll vote no, like I did two years ago. This is a personal snit between union interests who have not been successful organizing workers in a particular industry and an industry with deep enough pockets to fight back against union legislative influence, and ought not to play out in the voting booth.

Proposition 24
What is it: Further expands 2018 legislation to add new requirements for companies to maintain data privacy and allow users to opt-out of having their information shared. Imposes stiff financial penalties for non-compliance.
Who’s for it: If you believe the opponents of the proposition, it was written by Big Tech in cooperation with wealthy progressives and the legislators they fund, and provides companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. with lots of backdoor methods of compromising and profiting from the user’s desire for online privacy.
Who’s against it: If you believe the proponents of the proposition, the opposition are people who don’t care about the online safety of your children and support Big Tech’s current ability to exploit your data for profit.
How I’m going to vote: Fuck all of these people. I’m voting no just because I want to continue to see them battle it out in the court of public opinion. One other reason to vote no is because this proposition would create yet another state regulatory body full of bureaucrats operating on the public dime.

Proposition 25
What is it: Replaces money-based bail with a system based upon a judge’s determination of flight risk and public safety.
Who’s for it: The wokearati who believes that the criminal justice system is stacked against people of color and the poor.
Who’s against it: Bail bondsmen and victims’ rights groups; surprisingly, the NAACP and some Latino civil rights groups also oppose this proposition.
How I’m going to vote: I’ll vote against. I’m kind of sympathetic to the pro argument, but if we really have a problem with poor people languishing in jail because they can’t raise bail money then the proper solution is for wealthy leftists to create a foundation which posts bail on their behalf.

That’s that. This is how a reactionary and grumpy right-winger plans to vote: almost all noes (with the possibility that I might change my mind at the last minute on two issues) and one very grudging yes. Feel free to let me know how I have botched it all up with faulty logic or willful blindness.


But Shouldn’t People Who Despise Social Justice Warrior Insanity Vote for Trump? Turns Out No

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

A symposium titled Why 14 Critics of “Social Justice” Think You Shouldn’t Vote Trump introduces itself in this way:

This collection of statements from vocal critics of Critical Social Justice who believe that a vote for Donald Trump is a mistake is not intended to convince die-hard Trumpists. It is an appeal to reluctant Trump voters and to those who remain undecided. It is specifically addressed to people who value science, reason, tolerance and individual liberty but fear Critical Social Justice’s assaults on these so much that they see Trump as the only solution. These are people who fear that a vote for the Democrats will enable a cultural revolution that will harm all Americans—people who want to make America a better place for everyone and believe that voting Trump will at least prevent it from becoming a worse one.

The contributors below think this position is misguided. We come from all over the political spectrum and disagree with each other on many things. However, we are united in believing that a vote for Trump will not make America great.

As with Kevin Williamson’s broadside yesterday, you should read it all. Here are some choice excerpts to whet your appetite.

Thomas Chatterton Williams:

It is tempting but misguided to believe that either the populist right or the woke left can achieve a total victory. On the contrary, the two feed off of and exacerbate each other. A vote for Trump, despite his anti-Critical Race Theory bluster, is in fact a vote to empower the worst progressive excesses. A vote to strengthen the besieged center, however dissatisfying to either extreme, is the only way forward for Americans of good will searching for ways to overcome the crippling polarization that plagues us.

Conor Friedersdorf:

During the last four years, I’ve repeatedly critiqued instances of illiberalism and identitarianism on the left. On every occasion, my efforts to reach my fellow Americans and to persuade them to rein in excesses on the left was made more difficult and impeded by the fact that the leader of America’s right-leaning coalition is himself flagrantly illiberal and prone to indulging in white identity politics. President Trump seems to bring out the worst in people. I expect that once he leaves office, whether in 2021 or 2025, both the Republican and Democratic coalitions will improve.

Walter Olson:

I’d call Trumpism the evil twin of the worst social justice zealotry, except that both twins are evil. Trump sees all relations in terms of power, dominance, resentment and submission, rather than persuasion. His signature move is to delegitimize and trash every institution and person that stands between him and power. He speaks and acts as if facts, history and scientific truths were purely contingent, infinitely malleable, and in the end a matter of the say-so of the strong-willed. Sound familiar? He changes his line often and always denies that it has changed.

He presents the press as the enemy of the people, the democratic process as fixed, and civic hope as the delusion of the ever-exploited sucker class.

. . . .

Donald Trump does his best to recruit a bully corps on his own side, but he’s an even better recruiter for the bullies on the other side.

At some point it stops making sense to ask who’s chasing whom: it’s the same carousel with the same horses. The only answer is to jump off altogether. Get a president who’s not like this.

Sarah Haider, Cathy Young, the dreaded Tom Nichols, Steven Pinker, and others weigh in. Read it all.


Democrat Emails, Part 1 – Nancy Pelosi: Livid

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:53 am

[guest post by JVW]

I mentioned a while back that one negative consequence of sliding Little Aloha Sweetie and Crazy Cute Hippie Chick a few bucks to get them on the Democrat debate stage last winter is that I have ended up on the DNC’s mailing list. I decided to track the emails that I received between September 22 and October 15, and you can see the results at this Google Sheet. During that 24-day period there arrived in my mailbox 255 email messages from the Dems, not to mention the other 182 email message from the Dems which landed in my spam folder (for what it’s worth, emails from Donald Trump and Mike Pence also go straight to the spam folder).

I’ll have some further posts about the assortment of pleas, promises, lies, threats, and admonishments that I have received, but today I want to highlight my (one-sided) correspondence with the beating heart of the Democrat Party, a seasoned veteran who has been a steady leader in Washington lo these many decades, a voice of reason who has risen through the party ranks to the highest level of leadership by bridging the party’s establishment flank with its progressive idealists. I am referring of course to the one, the only, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

(Oh, did you guys think I was referring to Slow Joe Biden? Pffffffffft.)

Anyway, Speaker Pelosi, whom I like to refer to as Aunt Nancy, has been my most loyal correspondent. Over those two-dozen days to which I referred above, she has appeared in my inbox no fewer than 36 times, four-and-one-half times as often as the party’s nominee for President, nine times more often than lazy Barack Obama, and thirty-six times more often than sweet but useless Jimmy Carter. Lazy-ass Chuck Schumer hasn’t bothered to email me so much as once; it’s Aunt Nancy, den mother to the party, who is doing all of the hard work, and if that’s not blatant sexism then I’m not a woke feminist.

But I’m really not here to settle scores. The reason, friends, that I want to highlight the efforts of our beloved Speaker is because, quite frankly, I am worried about her. She started off by writing to me through her Team Pelosi account on September 22, warning me that Mitch McConnell had raised a whole Clintonload of money. The next day, however, she was emailing from her personal campaign account, buoyantly reporting that Cocaine Mitch had admitted on television that the GOP could lose the Senate. By the next day, she was optimistic that Democrats could block a Republican nomination to the Supreme Court. It seemed that things were trending well for her party, and Aunt Nancy had every reason to be feeling happy about her position.

But then it all started getting rough. On September 26 Aunt Nancy sent me a message with the subject line “outraged.” She reported that she had just watched President Trump announce the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, and our Speaker was incredulous to see “Republicans fall in line and cheer for the destruction of our health care.” Two days later, she had come down from outrage and now self-reported as “deeply concerned” about the nomination of Judge Barrett, recycling a verbal tic popularized by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The next night — the night of the first Presidential Debate — she reported that President Trump had raised $1.33 billion (huh?) and asked me to help counter that massive sum by passing along $5-25, or maybe $500 or more, to the DNC.

On the morning of the last day of September, Aunt Nancy started to spiral downward. I found in my inbox a message from her with the subject line “livid.” Uh-oh, I thought to myself, today would be a really bad day for our Adorable but Clueless Niece to pull some silly left-wing shit like wearing an ACAB shirt or something, and I sincerely hoped that dear AOC would take heed and keep a low profile. Anyway, our Speaker was agitated by Trump’s debate performance the previous evening. Fair enough. But later that day (Aunt Nancy would email me three times on September 30) she sounded determined, reminding me that the last day of the month was her final opportunity to reach her September fundraising goal. Every organization should have a fundraiser or salesperson as dedicated and thorough as Nancy Pelosi, I am telling you. She then took a week off, which I really think she deserved, with the lone exception of an October 3 message about how the GOP has imperiled the post office, because an organization that on average delivers 182 million pieces of first-class mail each and every day apparently somehow needs billions and billions of additional dollars in funding to deliver an extra 200 million ballots to voters, then pick up, process, and deliver maybe three-quarters of them all within the course of roughly 24 mailing days. But never mind that, I was just happy that Aunt Nancy was getting the rest she needed so that she could come back and finish October strong.

But I don’t know that it worked. On October 8 she was back to being agitated that Vice-President Mike Pence had “defile[d] our democracy during his first and ONLY [sic] debate performance.” By the 11th, I was receiving email from her with the subject line “deeply alarming” (Cocaine Mitch had hauled in $55.7 million for Republican Senate candidates), and by the 13th she was back to being “livid,” this time over the lies that President Trump had told at a rally. Since then, I have received three additional email messages from her in which the subject line is simply “livid”: Lindsey Graham pushing through the ACB nomination (October 22), President Trump once again lying at a rally (October 23), and the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett (yesterday).

Guys, that’s just way too much lividity for an 80-year-old woman to bear. She deserves so much better: lockdown evenings scarfing down pints of $13 ice cream from her $24,000 freezer, seeking bailouts for profligate-spending states who have chosen to hamstring their economies with strict lockdowns, or even time spent with her grandkids, if she really must. She doesn’t need nor deserve the aggravation of lying Republicans doing their Constitutionally-proscribed duty so close to an elections in which she is just sure her party will clean up. Maybe if a deadbeat like I had sent her party a few bucks when she had repeatedly requested it of me, she might have been a bit less livid. I guess we’ll never know.

In any case, spare a thought for our embattled Speaker who finds herself veering from (all of these taken from the subject lines in her email messages) dismayed to outraged to livid. It’s a lonely life she leads on behalf of a grateful nation, and she deserves a whole lot better from the likes of us.


Kevin Williamson on Voting for Trump: Hell, No

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

The whole thing is worth reading but I will excerpt a few choice lines for you:

The case against Trump in 2020 is a lot like the case against Trump in 2016 but bolstered by the accumulation of evidence and experience. . . . . [T]he Trump administration has succeeded most where Trump has the least to do with it.

. . . .

Which brings me to the practical case against Trump: He stinks at his job.

This also brings me to a lie that needs to be addressed — and it is not a misunderstanding but a lie, circulated with malice aforethought: that the conservative objection to Trump is only a matter of style, his boorishness bumptiousness and boobishness on Twitter, his gooftastical manner of speaking, his preening, his vanity, his habitual and often dishonest boasting in matters both small and great, etc. These things matter, of course, because manners and morals matter, and they matter more in a free society than they do in an unfree one, because free men govern themselves.

Trump’s low character is not only an abstract ethical concern but a public menace that has introduced elements of chaos and unpredictability in U.S. government activity ranging from national defense to managing the coronavirus epidemic. Trump’s character problems are practical concerns, not metaphysical ones. Trump is frequently wrong on important policy questions (including trade, foreign policy, entitlements, health care, and many others) and frequently incompetent even when trying to advance a good policy. His vanity and paranoia have made it very difficult for him to keep good people in top positions, and this imposes real costs both politically and as a matter of practical governance. Trump’s problem is not etiquette: It is dishonesty, stupidity, and incompetence, magnified by the self-dealing and cowardice of the cabal of enablers and sycophants who have a stake in pretending that this unsalted s*** sandwich is filet mignon.

Given all this, Kevin explains what he will not do: hold his nose and vote for Trump anyway:

So, now that I am a swing-state conservative, am I going to hold my nose and pull the “R” lever if only to put up a roadblock in front of the Democrats?

Hell, no.

There’s more to citizenship than voting, and partisanship is not patriotism. If casting a vote is all you have in you, then, fine — by all means, do what you believe to be best. But consider the possibility that the duty of the patriot in these times is not to choose one pack of jackals because it looks a little less hungry and vicious than the other pack of jackals but to oppose these jackals — these demagogues, profiteers, and hangers-on, these greasy little salesmen trying to sell you something that is already yours — and to insist that the free and self-governing men and women of this struggling republic deserve better than what is on offer. We can have better than what we have had because we can be better than what we have been.

Kevin doesn’t specifically say what he will be doing instead, but this passage to me suggests he is going to take a pass on the whole thing. I have my own different thoughts about that topic and hopefully you’ll read them sometime this week, somewhere.


Justice Amy Coney Barrett

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:05 pm

[guest post by JVW]

I’m watching live on CSPAN-2. Judge (now Justice) Barrett has 52 yes votes versus 43 no votes. Instead of voting audibly when called upon, Democrat Senators appear to be making a show of walking down to the Senate well in order to literally cast a thumbs-down vote. But she has passed the 51 vote threshold and the confirmation is now done.

Congratulations to President Trump for nominating a fine jurist and impressive woman. Congratulations to his team and to the folks at the Federalist Society for bringing her to his fleeting attention. Congratulations to Cocaine Mitch McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham for their resolve in seeing her through, and for uniting Republicans with the exception of Susan Collins in support of her.


What Happens to the Republican Party After Trump?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It’s November 4. A nation bracing for the possibility of days or weeks of ballot-counting has realized to their surprise that they already know who won. Texas was called for Joe Biden on Election Night, and no pathway to victory remains for Trump. As a result, although several states have yet to be called, the only question at this point is how big Biden’s margin of victory will be. One thing is clear, though: it is going to be big. The country already knows the Democrats have retaken the Senate and made gains in the House. We are looking at two years of Democrat control of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government — at least.

So what happens now to the Republican party?

You might have guessed that Step One would be the recriminations, but it turns out to be Step Two. Step One is dealing with the claims of fraud. The most immediate issue: Trump has not conceded the election, despite the obvious lopsided results. Fox News and fever-swamp right-wing sites have come out with what they claim is clear evidence of fraud. CNN and the rest of Big Media purports to debunk these claims, and independent observers can see that while there are one or two possibly suspicious episodes, they are not nearly enough to have swung the election. No matter. Trump and his diehards spend weeks claiming that an investigation needs to be opened, and the drama occupies the country up to and even after the inauguration of Joe Biden.

Ultimately, Trump doesn’t refuse to leave office, and while the protests result in some isolated clashes and instances of violence, there is no uprising — although the looniest of Trump’s followers are calling for one.

Step Two: the recrimination phase. This seems like it will never end. Far from mending the schism in the Republican party, Trump’s loss only seems to intensify it. In addition to the loyal Trump fans’ claims of election fraud, Republican dogma insists that Trump was headed for an easy re-election but for the pandemic. Not every Republican agrees, and the vast majority of Republicans who remain in Congress after the bloodbath are in agreement that Trump sunk himself. That said, they are reluctant to say so for a good long while. They’re not exactly intimidated by Trump any longer, given how badly he lost — but they remain cautious about alienating the still-sizable majority of Republicans who. at least initially, still support Trump and believe the narrative that he was both stabbed in the back by the NeverTrumpers and a simple victim of bad luck and/or Chinese evildoing.

The Kurt Schlichters and Dan Bonginos of the world continue to mold themselves as the Only True Trump Fans, and their vitriol towards NeverTrumpers, which previously seemed to have no room to intensify, becomes alarmingly over-the-top. References to NeverTrumpers being literal traitors who ought to be lined up against the wall and shot become shockingly commonplace.

As the 2024 elections approach, however, it has begun to sink in to the less online and less politically hyperactive majority of the Republican party that Trump was a mistake. These are the people who loved Trump purely because he was A Winner — someone who often said things they found obnoxious or stupid, but who always seemed to beat Big Media at its own game . . . until one day it turned out he was capable of losing, and losing badly. The notion that he was totally blameless in his defeat becomes hard to swallow, and the very concept of Trump running again in 2024 is widely panned. Even those who feel like he got dealt some bad breaks are unwilling to back someone who lost as historically as he did in 2020.

With time, one or two politicians previously thought to be stalwart Trumpers begin to say the obvious: nominating Trump was a mistake. He won only because he went up against the historically unlikable Hillary Clinton. Republicans have also rediscovered their fealty to controlling spending and the national deficit and debt. Even the NeverTrumpers, who never liked Biden’s policies and either cast protest votes or reluctant votes for Joe Biden, are starting to get annoyed at the Democrats’ overreach. Absolutely zero effort is expended in terms of making it easier for Congress to enforce its subpoenas or oversight, or revamping Special Counsel regulations, or undertaking any of the myriad other simple reforms that one would have thought critical after a Trump presidency.

Here at, the host routinely criticizes the new president, especially regarding the lack of reforms to rein in the executive. In a microcosm of the continuing schism, Trump fans hold the host personally responsible for every lie told by Biden, every radical judge he nominates, and every bad policy he pursues.

All of this seems almost inevitable. I can’t tell you who will emerge as the Next GOP Hero, or precisely the direction the demoralized party will take in 2024. But the broad outlines of the upcoming weeks, months, and years are not difficult to foresee.

Looking forward to it!!!


A Conservative Evangelical Explains Why He Rejects Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:41 am

I wanted to highlight an opinion piece that appeared in the Houston Chronicle last month: When I look at Donald Trump, I do not see a Christian.

Polls show that 82 percent of white evangelical Protestants support President Donald Trump. As a white evangelical Christian who has read the Bible, I find this hard to understand. When I look at Donald Trump, I do not see a Christian. I do not see a conservative. And when I look at Trump from a Biblical perspective, I certainly don’t see the “chosen one.” I don’t think believers should have anything to do with Trump.

I am probably what you would call a conservative evangelical. I am not a theologian or an academic, but I have read the Bible cover to cover twice. I registered to vote when I turned 18 in 1977, and I’ve voted in every presidential election since then. I have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. Politically, I’ve always considered myself a Republican. However, today’s Republican Partly is an embarrassment. This is not the party of Abraham Lincoln. This is not the sunny, optimistic party of Ronald Reagan. That changes in November. Given the mendacity and incompetence of Trump and his administration, I will have no trouble voting for Joe Biden in November.

The writer gives specific examples from the Bible:

In the third chapter of Colossians and the fifth chapter of Galatians, we are given a list of attributes of those living their Christian faith: compassion, kindness, humility and gentleness. I do not associate any of these words with Trump.

But in those same two chapters we are given a list of attributes of those who do not know Christ: anger, fits of rage, malice, slander, filthy language, sexual immorality, and envy. Trump checks most of these boxes.

It’s all worth reading. This is someone who actually takes the Bible seriously. You can tell by the content of the piece. But I know it especially because the author is the brother of my brother-in-law.

Nice job, Bob.

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 96

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:14 am

It is the twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn” (Lord Christ, the only Son of God):

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 22:34-46:

The Greatest Commandment

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Whose Son Is the Messiah?

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”’

If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

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

Lord Christ, only Son of God,
of the Father in eternity,
sprung forth out of His heart,
just as it is written,
He is the morning star,
His gaze extends far and wide
and is more brilliant than other stars.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

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