Patterico's Pontifications

8/26/2016

Rapprochement with Iran Continues to Advance Peace (Not Really)

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:10 pm

[guest post by JVW]

We’ve slayed a lot of electrons on this site lamenting President Obama’s ridiculous and self-serving overtures to the Islamic Republic of Iran despite the provocations, prevarications, agitations, and humiliations that Iran has treated us to since the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” was signed last year. Meanwhile, we have been subject to lie after lie from the Administration as they desperately try to convince us that on balance Iran’s nebulous and insincere promises to curtail their nuclear weapons program justifies our lifting of sanctions and paying them ransoms.

So now comes further proof that Obama’s capitulation has only emboldened Iran to take a more assertive and aggressive posture in the Middle East. On Tuesday, Iranian patrol boats near the Strait of Hormuz (in recognizable international waters, according to American officials) performed aggressive intercept maneuvers against the USS Nitze, coming within 300 yards of the American destroyer despite repeated warnings to keep a safe distance (footage can be found here). Earlier today, the USS Squall fired three warning shots from its .50 caliber gun in the direction of an Iranian vessel which ventured within 200 yards of the American patrol ship. As with the Tuesday incident, the Iranian boats ignored repeated warnings via radio, flare, and airhorn. For their part, the Iranians claim that the American boats are entering Iranian maritime region without authorization.

State Department Spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau, last seen ’round these parts lying about the Administrations lies concerning Ben Rhodes, the Iran deal, and skillful video editing, channeled the full fury of her boss, Secretary of State (and Navy man!) John Forbes Kerry, in declaring that Iran is “unnecessarily escalating tensions.” I wonder if she and her boss have been briefed that the number of naval provocations by Iran against American ships is on track to be up 50% over last year. Perhaps they have, since their own department earlier this week advised Americans traveling to Iran that they are under increased danger of being detained or arrested in that country.

Yeah, this is the cherry atop President Obama’s foreign policy sundae, isn’t it?

– JVW

That’s What She Didn’t Say

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 am

University of Chicago Gets Real

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:49 am

[guest post by Dana]

In a letter sent to incoming freshmen, the University of Chicago informed students that the institution is run by actual grown-ups. Grown-ups who are disinclined to indulge and coddle the delicate fragility of this generation’s hyper-sensitive cupcakes:

Welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to the college at the University of Chicago. Earning a place in our community of scholars is no small achievement and we are delighted that you selected Chicago to continue your intellectual journey.

Once here you will discover that one of the University of Chicago’s defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. … Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others. You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort….

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

Here are some student and alumni reactions to the letter:

JUSTIN SHELBY:

The glory of the free market. There are plenty excellent schools that have embraced the hugbox model of education. If you want a hugbox friendly school, go to a hugbox friendly school.

EMILY ORENSTEIN:

Admin taking another big, condescending shit on safe spaces in the guise of “commitment to academic freedom.”

OSITA NWANEVU:

I’m honestly just intrigued by the University’s branding strategy. They reach out to incoming students and parents jittery about activism and/or minorities by scribbling out an anti-safe space letter that checks all the right anti-activist boxes even as they reach out to minority students and activists with diversity and inclusion initiatives and by literally running something called the “Safe Space Program”.

PAUL KIM:

This letter is not really an offense compared to the gross squashing of intellectual and spiritual freedom that is the common American discourse and what’s present even in the most basic of corporate jobs in America.

It will be interesting to see if this move back toward sanity and reasonableness will lead the way for other universities to follow.

–Dana

8/25/2016

Rush Limbaugh Yuks It Up At the Notion of Trump Selling Amnesty

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:17 pm

You have to laugh to keep from crying.

And Rush laughs a lot here.

Burkini Bans In France Cause Commotion

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

France, on defense after having been the target of recent radical Islamic terror attacks, has seen an increasing numbers of towns impose a ban on wearing burkinis on public beaches.

In Cannes, Mayor David Lisnard justified his city’s ordinance, noting that any “beach dress that ostentatiously shows a religious affiliation” was not acceptable given the Islamic State’s focus on France. Further, officials are saying that this is also in the interest of defending the secularism of France.

This week, the lower courts in Nice ruled that the ban on the burkini in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet “was ‘necessary, appropriate and proportionate’ to prevent public disorder.”

Ironically, the court also essentially decided that a Muslim woman adhering to her religion’s call for modesty by wearing a burkini, might actually offend the religious beliefs of others:

[T]he burkini was “liable to offend the religious convictions or [religious] non-convictions of other users of the beach” as well as “be felt as a defiance or a provocation exacerbating tensions felt by” the community.

There was, of course, no mention that wearing a burkini might be a political statement as much as a statement of modesty…

Earlier this week, it was reported that on the same beach where last month’s horrific terrorist attack took place during Bastille Day celebrations, four armed police officers confronted a middle-aged woman wearing a burkini, and demanded she remove the offending garment or face a fine:

Untitled
(photo via the Guardian)

The woman complied.

Reactions to the burkini ban, and to this latest act of enforcement, varied:

The banning of the burkini in France, by the Administrative Tribunal in Nice, has been challenged by two human rights groups.
They argued that the ban on a garment that does not cover the face was petty, and designed to spread hatred against a small group of mainly Muslim mothers and grandmothers.

[C]ritics point out that 30 Muslims died in the Nice attack, including women wearing traditional clothes, including headscarves.

They point out how the French authorities are meant to support free expression, including the right to offend and provoke, and say that the burkini ban is utterly hypocritical.

Echoing Olivier Dartigolles, spokesman of the French Communist Party, Sara Silvestri, a professor studying religion, claims the ban plays into the hands of terrorist groups:

“The effect of these laws is that Muslims feel marginalized and in turn, the feeling of being unwelcome impacts their ability and willingness to integrate into society, can cause withdrawal and lead to engagement with radical groups.”

The Guardian put it this way:

The burkini row may seem banal, and to some a surreal inversion of laws in Islamic countries, but it has become yet another flame in the murderous tinderbox of Islamism in France, invoking issues of control over the body, religious freedom, racism, provocation, terrorism, Islam and Islamophobia, republicanism and what the French call laïcité. Lïïcité is the hardest for people outside France to understand: our words “laity” and “secularism” fail to express the depth of allergy to all things theocratic, which is endemic to French societal fabric since the revolution.

However, the most outrageous reaction to the incident on the beach has to be the deputy mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi’s threat to sue any citizens who post photos of police confrontations (like the one in the post) on social media:

Christian Estrosi … has published a press release by the city of Nice, to announce that he would file a complaint against those who would broadcast pictures of municipal police verbalize women guilty of exercising what they believed to be their freedom to dress from head to feet on the beaches.

“Photos showing municipal police of Nice in the exercise of their functions have been circulating this morning on social networks and raise defamation and threats against these agents ,” the statement said.

In light of ISIS, the increasing numbers of radicalized Muslims in France, and the barbaric acts of terror happening inside its borders, one can understand the country’s inclination to get out the ban hammer. Do something. Anything. Stop any kind of political statement or perceived visual endorsement of a religion directly linked to terrorism. But also, given that there are Muslim regions of the world whose governments force women to hide their offensive bodies under burkas and burkinis, it’s ironic that a country like France, which claims to pride itself on freedom, is also using the power of the state to tell women how to dress. And in some cases, those women are also French citizens.

–Dana

Hitler Learns Trump Is Pivoting on Immigration

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:08 am

When you’ve lost Hitler, you’ve lost the alt-right.

8/24/2016

“There Certainly Can Be a Softening”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:33 pm

UPDATE: Back taxes!

Hillary Clinton And Her Dirty Deeds

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:05 am

[guest post by Dana]

The hits just keep coming. Whether they’ll make a difference in the election, or anything else, is frustratingly doubtful.

More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It’s an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.

Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton’s help with a visa problem; and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm’s corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.

They are among at least 85 of 154 people with private interests who either met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton and also gave to her family’s charities, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. The 154 does not include U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives.

Clinton spokesman, Brian Fallon called it “outrageous to “misrepresent” Clinton’s meetings with these donors as anything but coincidental.

Juggling all those favors of access must have been exhausting for the then-Secretary of State, given that Huma Abedin apparently had to remind her to take her nap. All things considered, it sure would have been better for Huma if monitoring nap time for her boss was the only demand made of her.

Oh. Do you know who else donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation while Clinton was Secretary of State?

–Dana

8/23/2016

Did Obama Lie About Not Being Able to Wire the Ransom Money to Iran?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

The lie is relevant to why they paid cash — a mechanism that looks like ransom, but which Obama hastened to explain was necessary for other reasons.

On August 4, Obama said we couldn’t wire money to Iran to settle a longrunning legal dispute:

“This wasn’t some nefarious deal,” Obama told reporters at the Pentagon. He pointed out that the payment, along with an additional $1.3 billion in interest to be paid later, was announced by the administration publicly when it was concluded in January, a day after the implementation of a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran. “It wasn’t a secret. We were completely open about it.”

Obama allowed that the one piece of new information, first reported this week by The Wall Street Journal, was that the $400 million was paid in cash. It was delivered to Iran on palettes aboard an unmarked plane.

“The only bit of news is that we paid cash,” he said. “The reason is because we couldn’t send them a check and we couldn’t wire the money. We don’t have a banking relationship with Iran which is part of the pressure we applied on them.”

Let’s talk about that “additional $1.3 billion in interest to be paid later.” Claudia Rosett at the New York Sun reports that Treasury transferred just under $1.3 billion to State in 13 identical payments, each a penny under $100,000,000. The transfers were made on January 19, 2016 — two days after the announcement of the settlement of the legal dispute.

Congressional investigators trying to uncover the trail of $1.3 billion in payments to Iran might want to focus on 13 large, identical sums that Treasury paid to the State Department under the generic heading of settling “Foreign Claims.”

The 13 payments when added to the $400 million that the administration now concedes it shipped to the Iranian regime in foreign cash would bring the payout to the $1.7 billion that President Obama and Secretary Kerry announced on January 17. That total was to settle a dispute pending for decades before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in at The Hague.

The Sun raises the question why the payments were all barely under $100MM. Our pal Morgen Richmond, who brought this story to my qttention, surely has the answer:

So here’s another question. Was that money wired to Iran? The administration says it has already been paid. How? Lee Smith at The Weekly Standard asks the question.

Rosett continues: “State has refused to disclose even such basic information as the date on which Iran took receipt of the $1.3 billion. As recently as August 4, a State spokesman told the press: ‘I don’t have a date of when that took place.'”

However, last week Obama administration officials briefed reporters to explain that, according to Associated Press reporter Bradley Klapper’s Twitter feed, the $1.3 billion has already been paid. And, they said, paid “through [the Department of] Treasury” in an “‘above-board way.'”

It’s not clear what the senior administration officials meant by “above-board” but as the Judgment Fund website explains, the “preferred method” for payments is “by electronic fund transfer.”

If, as Rosett’s story suggests, the 13 payments the Judgment Fund sent to the State Department represents the $1.3 billion in interest, the administration has some questions to answer. Was the interest paid in cash like the $400 million, or by wire? If the latter, why was the $400 million paid in cash?

I think we all know the answer.

It was ransom. A very public and obvious ransom.

Well, I’m sure our brilliant, tenacious, and fair Big Media complex will dig further into it.

8/22/2016

Politico Reporter Marc Caputo Beclowns Himself, Proudly Distributes the Proof

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:10 pm

How lacking in self-awareness must you be to release a video that shows you to be, beyond any doubt, a juvenile twit posing as a reporter?

Apparently, Politico’s Marc Caputo knows the answer.

The apparent purpose of releasing this video is to show that, wow, this Congressman sure did lose his mind! He curses! He yells! Wow!

But here’s the thing. If you can listen to this, I guarantee you will conclude that “reporter” Caputo is the true asshole.

Sure, Bongino goes over the top. Why does he allow this punk to push his buttons like that? It’s a fair question.

But it’s frankly amazing to me that Caputo released this himself, thinking it reflects well on him.

Answer the question. Answer the question. Answer the question. Wow, you sure are a loser. How many times have you lost, loser? Wow, you’re getting upset! Why are you cursing? Why don’t you answer the question? Answer the question! Answer the question!!!

By the end, I was rooting for Bongino to challenge him to a duel. I still am.

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