Patterico's Pontifications

12/11/2018

TIME Person of the Year: The Fake News Media

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:18 am



That’s not how they phrase it, of course, but it’s how You Know Who will phrase it:

The choice is getting roundly derided for being breast-beating “look at me!” journalism. That’s both fair and unfair, depending on which parts of the article you read.

There are inspiring stories in there, having nothing really to do with Trump, about brave journalists who have suffered outrageous governmental retribution for their truthful reporting. Most followers of the news know the Khashoggi story, but do you know these stories?

And in prison in Myanmar, two young Reuters reporters remain separated from their wives and children, serving a sentence for defying the ethnic divisions that rend that country. For documenting the deaths of 10 minority Rohingya Muslims, Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone got seven years. The killers they exposed were sentenced to 10.

This year brought no shortage of other examples. Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam was jailed for more than 100 days for making “false” and “provocative” statements after criticizing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in an interview about mass protests in Dhaka. In Sudan, freelance journalist Amal Habani was arrested while covering economic protests, detained for 34 days and beaten with electric rods. In Brazil, reporter Patricia Campos Mello was targeted with threats after reporting that supporters of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro had funded a campaign to spread false news stories on WhatsApp. And Victor Mallet, Asia news editor for the Financial Times, was forced out of Hong Kong after inviting an activist to speak at a press club event against the wishes of the Chinese government. Worldwide, a record number of journalists—262 in total—were imprisoned in 2017, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which expects the total to be high again this year.

How well do you know this one?

“I can tell you this,” declared Chase Cook, a reporter for the Capital Gazette. “We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”

Cook’s promise, shared with the world on Twitter, came just a few hours after five of his colleagues were killed. The man charged with their murders had been obsessed with the paper since it wrote about his harassment of a high school classmate—part of its routine coverage of local legal proceedings. He made the office a crime scene. To put the damn paper out, staffers set up laptops in the bed of a pickup in a parking garage across the street.

When the next edition arrived—on schedule—the opinion page was blank but for the names of the dead. Gerald Fischman. Rob Hiaasen. John McNamara. Rebecca Smith. Wendi Winters. Beneath their names was a coda that might have been written with a goose quill: “Tomorrow this page will return to its steady purpose of offering our readers informed opinion about the world around them, that they might be better citizens.”

These stories merit further publicity. But, of course, TIME can’t be satisfied with that. As anyone would predict, they also have to administer the mandatory dose of Trump-centric lecturing.

A month after taking office, President Trump sat for an interview with Breitbart, the right-wing online news site that had been run by his then chief strategist, Steve Bannon. “The fake media is the opposition party,” the President declared. “The fake media is the enemy of the American people.”

The “enemy” line had been floated 10 days earlier, in a tweet that named the offending news organizations: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

The President may not have known the history of the phrase. It was used in the Soviet Union, to condemn subordinates at the 1930s show trials Joseph Stalin ordered before executing those who had fallen out of favor. “The people” were peasants who had starved after Stalin confiscated grain harvests. The officials were the dictator’s scapegoats.

It’s not that they don’t have a point. It’s that the point is out of place in an article designed to showcase brave truthtellers. The president’s attitude towards the news media is ridiculous. Sometimes they deserve the derision, but often they don’t. But the difference here is that nobody in Donald Trump’s America is getting imprisoned or killed by Donald Trump for Bravely Standing Up to Him. In short, Jim Acosta (briefly lost his press pass) is not Kyaw Soe Oo, or Wa Lone (imprisoned for telling the truth about genocide) or even Jamal Khashoggi (murdered for criticizing the Saudi regime). So why is Acosta mentioned in the same article?

For once, couldn’t they just let the brave and lesser-known reporters be the true focus of attention?

And of course the answer is no.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

12/10/2018

Lawsuit Claims NYPD Forced Woman To Give Birth While Shackled To Bed

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:54 am



[guest post by Dana]

A 27-year old woman who went into labor while in police custody has filed a lawsuit against NYPD claiming that she was forced to go through her labor while in restraints:

When a woman who was 40 weeks pregnant went into labor last February inside a police holding cell in the Bronx, officers took her to a hospital. Once inside, they handcuffed her wrists to the bed and shackled her ankles.

Doctors at Montefiore Medical Center warned that the restraints were illegal in New York and posed serious risks for a woman in labor, but the officers said the department’s Patrol Guide required them to restrain her, superseding state law, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday.

The woman, then 27, struggled for nearly an hour in excruciating labor on Feb. 8 before the officers yielded and removed some of the restraints [10 minutes before she delivered her daughter], according to the complaint filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan. She delivered the baby with her right hand still cuffed to the hospital bed.

The woman, who asked the court for anonymity, saying the experience had humiliated and traumatized her and had left her unable to tell her family, was identified only as Jane Doe in court papers.

According to ABC News:

“Against the vehement protests of medical staff, the NYPD refused to remove the shackles, compelling Ms. Doe to labor in excruciating pain and forcing doctors to examine Ms. Doe with her feet and hands bound,” the lawsuit states[.]

The report also notes that the woman claims she:

…heard doctors at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx “express concern” both that the baby was “in some distress” during the delivery, and that she “experienced heavy bleeding” after the delivery[.]

Police officers present were allegedly following the directive of their supervisor :

When medical staff at Montefiore informed Officer John Stalikas of the New York’s law, he responded that they were “following procedures” laid out in the Patrol Guide, according to the suit. Stalikas then called his supervisor, Sergeant John Coca, who allegedly confirmed that NYPD rules dictated the woman be restrained. These conversations are backed up by medical records, the suit claims.

Also, according to the lawsuit:

[The plaintiff] seeks damages for a violation of the woman’s civil rights and asks that the Police Department change its policies to ensure that its officers never shackle a pregnant woman in custody again. “Shackling is a dehumanizing, cruel and pointless practice that has no place in New York City in 2018,” the suit said.

Medical professionals are in agreement that the practice of using such restraints on women during labor and delivery can endanger both the mother and baby:

The woman’s complaint, which names several officers and the Police Department itself, said the shackling of Ms. Doe violated a 2015 state law that bars the use of restraints on a woman during pregnancy or delivery and during the eight-week postpartum recovery period.

Her treatment by the officers defied a consensus among professional groups like the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that using restraints like handcuffs, shackles and belly chains on pregnant women can cause complications and may interfere with doctors’ efforts to treat them, according to the complaint.

While there are women in prison specifically because of the hideous, unspeakable things they have done to their own offspring, and that there is every reason for law enforcement to be concerned about any prisoner attempting an escape while out of their cell, and possibly harming others, the 27-year old in this case was charged with a (non-violent) misdemeanor concerning a family dispute with her ex-partner. A dispute that happened five months prior to her arrest (which took place two days before her due date) and saw her go into active labor while still in the holding cell. It is a question of how to best protect the both health and welfare of the prisoner and her soon-to-arrive baby, as well as that of law enforcement, medical professionals, and the public at large.

Geraldine Doetzer’s report, Hard Labor: The Legal Implications of Shackling Female Inmates During Pregnancy and Childbirth, which was published in the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, “analyzes both states’ justifications for shackling policies as well as the Constitutional and human rights arguments that have been posed by inmates and their advocates for eliminating the use of physical restraints during pregnancy and childbirth.” In part:

The shackling policies themselves hearken back to an era when convicted women were considered morally subhuman and evidence of sexual activity was especially condemned. Many jurisdictions fail to modify restraint policies to accommodate pregnancy, suggesting an indifference to the special needs of female inmates that dates back to a custodial era. Beyond the fact that shackling policies do not fully accommodate the uniquely female experiences involved with childbearing, they also fail to take into account other differences between male and female inmates that would seem to make shackling female inmates generally less necessary. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “women are substantially more likely than men to be serving time for a drug offense and less likely to have been sentenced for a violent crime.” Female inmates also generally have shorter, less violent criminal histories than male inmates: men are twice as likely as women to be violent recidivists and more than half of male prisoners have committed two or fewer offenses, compared to two-thirds of female prisoners. Furthermore, many of the violent crimes committed by women are perpetrated against current or former partners who had sexually or physically abused them.

Based on these facts, the average woman inmate seems to represent a reduced security risk. In addition, women are typically sentenced to shorter prison terms,64 which correlates to a reduced overall risk of flight. This, combined with the reality that pregnant women – not to mention those in active labor – are physically much less able to mount an attack or escape attempt, suggests that the proffered justifications for shackling pregnant inmates are based on a correctional model that was designed for men.

Dr. Carolyn Sufrin, an OB-GYN at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who has delivered the babies of incarcerated women was asked during an interview whether there was any rationale for shackling these women:

From a medical perspective, no. There are very clear medical risks involved, which have to do with the need of women to move about freely, both for pain control but also if there’s an emergency. Then there is the common-sense perspective: What is the risk that a woman is a threat to society or a flight risk in between painful contractions? But from the custody side, they see everything as a potential risk that she is going to run off or a risk to public safety. But that’s all laced with the punitive aspect of chains as well—there’s that subtle, “Well, look what she did to deserve this.” It speaks to the way the system is set up to view incarcerated people as less than human, and to apply the same logic to a pregnant female prisoner that they might to a male prisoner.

The bi-partisan, criminal justice reform bill known as the First Step Act, which is backed by President Trump, would ban the shackling of women at all federal facilities during pregnancy, labor and postpartum recovery.

One of the planks of the pro-life community’s argument against abortion is that when pregnancy occurs, the issue is no longer just about one life. It now involves another life. The most vulnerable and innocent of lives. Therefore, to have an abortion is to willfully take that innocent life. The pro-life community fights for that innocent life to be protected from enduring an agonizing death, and to be given the opportunity to be born as fully intact as possible. The very sanctity of life. Thus, if a pregnant inmate is shackled, especially with feet bound during her labor and delivery, that does anything but ensure that the baby is being given the optimum opportunity to be born safely, with the least amount of problems. In fact, the very practice endangers and threatens the safety of the most vulnerable among us. Given that both parties are obviously inextricably linked, if the mother is endangered, so too is her baby waiting to be born. Shouldn’t the call then be to protect all life? The treatment of the incarcerated woman during labor and delivery directly impacts whether or not her baby will be ushered safely into the world. And why should an innocent life once again be put in such jeopardy, only to face the real possibility of paying the price for that which they had no control?

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

A Vacation from White People

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 am



This is sad. It is a story about a group of black women who have paid to go on a vacation in Costa Rica billed as an escape from having to be around white people.

I watched the whole thing, expecting it to make me angry, but instead I was alternately interested, amused, and saddened. I was interested because there was a mixture of valid complaints (white people calling these women articulate and touching their hair) and invalid ones (assuming that all Trump supporters are racist). The amusement stemmed from a retreat in which the participants engage in yoga, meditation, eating vegan, and enjoying nature. I can just hear some comedian saying that these people are escaping from white people by doing the whitest activities possible. But, of course, such a joke is based on a stereotype of white people, and the experience of these black people shows that they too can defy the stereotype about “white” activities just as they would defy stereotypes whites might hold about them. That’s interesting too. But the sad part is seeing how willing they are to engage in stereotypes about whites, and how eager they are to retreat from whites, even as they smash other stereotypes.

Obviously, I think such retreats are a bad idea. But it’s more complicated and subtle — and sad — than simply taking a position “what if white people did this?” That’s the easy (and somewhat lazy) reaction. The harder reaction is to take these folks seriously, and yet not to give in to their stereotyping. To refuse to stereotype them, but forgive them for stereotyping us, and try to understand why they do.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

12/9/2018

Andrew C. McCarthy: Trump Is “Very Likely” to Be Indicted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:22 pm



Andrew C. Carthy has issued a very surprising opinion: that Donald Trump is “very likely to be indicted” on a campaign finance violation:

The major takeaway from the 40-page sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors Friday for Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, is this: The president is very likely to be indicted on a charge of violating federal campaign finance laws.

It has been obvious for some time that President Trump is the principal subject of the investigation still being conducted by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Cohen earlier pleaded guilty to multiple counts of business and tax fraud, violating campaign finance law, and making false statements to Congress regarding unsuccessful efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Yes, Cohen has stated he did the hands-on work in orchestrating hush-money payments to two women who claim to have had sexual liaisons with Trump many years ago (liaisons Trump denies).

But when Cohen pleaded guilty in August, prosecutors induced him to make an extraordinary statement in open court: the payments to the women were made “in coordination with and at the direction of” the candidate for federal office – Donald Trump.

Prosecutors would not have done this if the president was not on their radar screen.

I can’t say I agree, especially given the guidance that the Justice Department still follows on the question of indicting a sitting president:

The indictment or cnminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.

Attachment:

op-olc-v024-p0222_0.pdf

In the .pdf, the DoJ circa 2000 takes another look at the DoJ’s 1973 opinion concluding that DoJ should not indict a sitting president, and agrees with it. Here is what McCarthy says about that:

Justice Department guidance holds that a sitting president may not be indicted. If prosecutors in the Southern District of New York believe they have a case against the president, must they hold off until after he is out of office?

If President Trump were to win re-election, he would not be out of office until 2024, when the five-year statute of limitations on a 2016 offense would have lapsed.

More importantly, do campaign finance violations qualify as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which is the constitutional standard for impeachment? It is hard to imagine an infraction that the Justice Department often elects not to prosecute is sufficiently egregious to rise to that level, but the debate on this point between partisans would be intense.

Those are all questions for another day. The point for this day is that the Cohen case in New York City is not about Cohen. The president is in peril of being charged.

I don’t see how this set of questions takes guidance that no indictment should be pursued, and turns it into a “very likely” event.

If McCarthy is going to maintain this position, he needs to explain this better.

P.S. To me, one of the major takeaways of the past few days is to emphasize the national security risk that Trump’s presidency represents. Think about it: Michael Cohen and the Russian government have now confirmed that Cohen lied to Congress about the extent and duration of Cohen’s contacts with the Kremlin on behalf of the Trump Organization to pursue Trump Tower Moscow, during the Trump/Hillary general election season. What this means is that, when Cohen lied to Congress on behalf of Donald Trump, not only did Trump know Cohen had lied, but the Kremlin did as well — even as the public was kept in the dark.

This is almost the definition of a national security risk. And, together with the Russians’ knowledge of earlier public lies by Michael Flynn, it could help to explain Donald Trump’s curious, persistent, and almost pathological refusal to criticize Vladimir Putin, for anything.

P.P.S. But does any of this matter to Trump superfans? Trump is betting it doesn’t:

That’s a pretty good bet, as the comments from Trump superfans in the comments below will likely demonstrate.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Sunday Afternoon Music: A Selection from Handel’s Messiah

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 12:36 pm



As you will remember from my Bach cantata post this morning, today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:1-6:

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.

And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

With that passage being today’s message, I did not want to let the day pass without sharing with you this selection from Handel’s Messiah:

Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry moutain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain.

Note at places like 1:19 when the tenor sings “the crooked straight.” The melodic line for the word “crooked” is crooked; the melodic line for the word “straight” is straight (a single note, held).

Handel’s Messiah will be performed on December 16 at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. I’ll be there.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 132

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



John the Baptist

It is the second Sunday of Advent. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn” (Prepare the paths, prepare the road).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:1-6:

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

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

Prepare the paths, prepare the road!
Prepare the paths,
and make the flagstones
in faith and life
completely level for the Highest,
Messiah approaches!

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

12/8/2018

Rex Tillerson’s Candid Comments About President Trump Are What Most Of Us Already Thought

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:12 am



[guest post by Dana]

Former first secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who learned of his dismissal via a tweet from President Trump, had less than positive things to say about his former boss in an interview with CBS News’s Bob Schieffer this week. Tillerson openly discussed the President’s lack of self-discipline, and let’s call it laziness with regard to his obvious disinclination toward becoming a more educated and informed leader:

“What was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented ExxonMobil corporation,” Tillerson said, was “to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says, ‘This is what I believe.’ ”

Tillerson said Trump believes he is acting on his instincts rather than relying on facts. But Tillerson seemed to suggest that it resulted in impulsiveness.

“He acts on his instincts; in some respects, that looks like impulsiveness,” Tillerson said. “But it’s not his intent to act on impulse. I think he really is trying to act on his instincts.”

Perhaps the most damning quote came when Tillerson talked about how Trump as president regularly attempted to do things that violated the law.

“So often, the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do, and here’s how I want to do it,’ ” Tillerson said, according to the Houston Chronicle, “and I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law [and treaties].’”

Is it really the “most damning quote” when it’s looked at more objectively and without an assumed intention to break the law: Anyone going into the presidency who has not been a student of history, has not attended law school, (nor has a firm grasp on civics) is going to be in the dark at some level when it comes to knowing what would or wouldn’t violate specific laws or treaties. So to say that President Trump “regularly attempted to do things that violated the law” may be true on one hand, on the other, it lacks a bit of context. But, even when one takes that into consideration, I think we all know that President Trump, who has at his disposal any number of experts on any number of issues pertinent to executing his duties, has never been the least bit interested in taking advantage of these opportunities, for any reason.

No one who has been paying attention and isn’t bound by partisan loyalty should be surprised by Tillerson’s observations.

Finally, about Trump’s Twitter habits, Tillerson made a general observation, yet one which clearly included his former boss:

“I will be honest with you: It troubles me that the American people seem to want to know so little about issues — that they are satisfied with 128 characters,” Tillerson said.

Also not surprising, and simultaneously validating Tillerson’s point to some degree, President Trump picked up his phone and accessed that same 128-character vehicle to insult his former secretary of State:

trump

This is too easy: dumb as a rock? And who hired that “dumb as a rock” individual? Why, the person who famously bragged that he hired only “the very best people” of course! The back porch of the White House is now littered with those very best people. All hired by the same individual.

Exit question: Why do the “very best people” willingly accept a position in the Trump administration, when they know full-well that they too will be publicly humiliated by their boss when things go south? Perhaps this is a question Chief of Staff John Kelly will soon be pondering…

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Kelly is out by the end of the year.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Tucker Carlson: Trump Is Not Capable and Has Not Kept His Promises

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:17 am



Tucker Carlson is unhappy with Trump:

Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson set straight any misinformation concerning his views on President Trump: “I don’t think he’s capable,” he said during an interview on Tuesday.

. . . .

Carlson said he cannot stand Trump’s self-aggrandizement and boasting. Then, when asked whether Trump has kept his promises, the usually quick-witted and long-winded Carlson had just one word: “No.”

. . . .

Carlson is often a measured Trump supporter, but Tuesday’s interview was not his first verbal lashing of the president; he called Trump’s attacks on then-attorney general Jeff Sessions, following his recusal from the Russia investigation, a “useless, self-destructive act.”

This week, he continued to disparage the president when Gehriger probed for more.

“His chief promises were that he would build the wall, defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things,” Carlson said, adding that those goals were probably lost causes. Trump, he said, doesn’t understand the system, and his own agencies don’t support him.

“He knows very little about the legislative process, hasn’t learned anything, hasn’t surrounded himself with people that can get it done, hasn’t done all the things you need to do, so it’s mostly his fault that he hasn’t achieved those things,” he added.

Carlson does give Trump credit for starting a conversation about immigration. That said, what has Trump actually done about the looming gypsy crisis?

Tucker Carlson Gypsies

12/7/2018

Glenn Reynolds: Members of FBI Should Go to Jail for Considering an Obstruction Investigation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:14 am



OK then! Glenn Reynolds today:

WELL, WELL: Even before Mueller was appointed, FBI opened investigation to “rein in” Trump. Note that they were planning an obstruction probe even before Comey was fired. Leaked to CNN because it’s friendly media, meaning they thought it was about to come out somewhere less friendly. This is huge, and people should go to jail.

Put this together with the collusion between the press and federal prosecutors and the “Deep State” narrative looks pretty solid.

People should go to jail!!! That’s strong language — especially since no charges have been filed against the FBI personnel involved … and any charges would be laughable and would not survive a moment of scrutiny by a judge, much less 12 jurors examining the evidence under a standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. What prompted this outburst? Let’s look at the article Glenn is talking about, to see about this discussion of an obstruction probe before Comey’s firing:

The obstruction probe was an idea the FBI had previously considered, but it didn’t start until after Comey was fired. The justification went beyond Trump’s firing of Comey, according to the sources, and also included the President’s conversation with Comey in the Oval Office asking him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

So: Donald Trump says to the FBI director that he hopes Comey will “let this go,” which Comey reasonably interprets as Trump requesting that Comey drop an investigation into his former national security adviser — who was a top Trump campaign aide, and who has now given “substantial” cooperation to Bob Mueller about the Russia investigation and other matters, including an undisclosed criminal probe.

In response, the FBI considers opening an obstruction probe, but does not actually open it until Comey is fired.

And we are told that, as a result of this, people should go to jail.

Who should go to jail? The guy who tried to get the head of the FBI to drop an investigation into his crony? Why, no. Not that guy!

No, we are told, the people who should actually go to jail are [check notes] the people who talked about opening an obstruction probe after evidence of possible obstruction arose.

Look: reasonable people can disagree about whether Trump’s actions amount to obstruction, or whether it was appropriate for the FBI even to consider opening an obstruction investigation after Trump’s comment to Comey.

But saying that people should “go to jail” for discussing a possible obstruction probe is not even remotely a reasonable position. Go to jail for what? Based on what evidence?

You know, I am old enough to remember when, during the election, I was told that the civil service reining in Donald Trump was a good thing:

So if the choice in 2016 is between one bad candidate and another (and it is) the question is, which one will do the least harm. And, judging by the civil service’s behavior, that’s got to be Trump. If Trump tries to target his enemies with the IRS, you can bet that he’ll get a lot of pushback — and the press, instead of explaining it away, will make a huge stink. If Trump engages in influence-peddling, or abuses secrecy laws, you can bet that, even if Trump’s appointees sit atop the DOJ or FBI, the civil service will ensure that things don’t get swept under the rug. And if Trump wants to go to war, he’ll get far more scrutiny than Hillary will get — or, in cases like her disastrous Libya invasion, has gotten.

So the message is clear. If you want good government, vote for Trump — he’s the only one who will make this whole checks-and-balances thing work.

That was Glenn Reynolds on September 8, 2016. What happened to the praise for the notion of the much-vaunted Deep State being a tool to rein in an out-of-control Trump? Many people cited this column as a talking point for Trump. Notably, many of those same people are now suggesting that members of the horrific Deep State should be locked in a cage for talking about doing exactly what Reynolds suggested in September 2016 that they should do: rein in Trump when he showed signs of going out of control.

I like Glenn Reynolds, and my point here is not to say he’s a bad guy or to accuse him of hypocrisy. My point is twofold: 1) to chide him for absurdly saying that members of the FBI should “go to jail” for discussing an obstruction investigation when evidence of possible obstruction was obvious, and 2) to remind him of his position in September 2016 — and to say that, if he meant that, he should stop calling for members of the FBI to be locked up, and start applauding them for doing the job that he once said he wanted them to do.

That goes for everyone currently complaining about the Deep State who told us in 2016 that it was a feature and not a bug.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Trump Nominates Bill Barr for Attorney General

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:55 am



Great pick. The guy will have the greatest sense of humor of any Attorney General in generations. He might have trouble getting confirmed, though … a very problematic clip has emerged showing Barr with anger issues, a chauvinistic attitude towards women, and a troubling tendency to curse in public:

“Where are all those old-school women who could just take your day out on?” Tsk, tsk.

Wait, I’ve just been handed a note … it appears the Bill Barr actually being nominated is … Bill Barr, Attorney General under the late George H.W. Bush.

President Trump announced he will nominate William Barr to serve as the next attorney general. Mr. Trump broke the news Friday to reporters on the White House South Lawn on his way to Kansas City.

CBS News reported on Thursday that Barr, who served as attorney general under the late President George H.W. Bush, was a top contender for the role.

“I want to confirm that Bill Barr, one of the most respected jurists in the country, highly respected lawyer, former Attorney General under the Bush administration, a terrific man, a terrific person, a brilliant man,” Mr. Trump told reporters Friday. “I did not know him for – until recently when I went through the process of looking at people. He was my first choice from day one. Respected by Republicans. Respected by Democrats. He will be nominated for the United States attorney general and hopefully that process will go very quickly. And I think it will go very quickly.

The first question Big Media is asking, of course: will Barr be pro-Mueller or anti-Mueller? The New York Times tried to read the tea leaves yesterday:

Mr. Barr has criticized aspects of the Russia investigation, including suggesting that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, hired too many prosecutors who had donated to Democratic campaigns. Mr. Barr has also defended Mr. Trump’s calls for a new criminal investigation into his defeated 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, including over a uranium mining deal the Obama administration approved when she was secretary of state.

“There is nothing inherently wrong about a president calling for an investigation,” Mr. Barr told The New York Times last year. “Although an investigation shouldn’t be launched just because a president wants it, the ultimate question is whether the matter warrants investigation.”

Mr. Barr added then that he saw more basis for investigating the uranium deal than any supposed conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. “To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility,” he said.

Reading Mr. Barr’s comments, I can draw only one conclusion: he’s nowhere near as funny as the guy from the video clip above.

UPDATE: I’ve been handed another note: Bill Burr the comedian is Bill Burr, not Bill Barr. Thank goodness. I was having trouble finding him on YouTube!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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