Patterico's Pontifications

10/19/2018

Saudis Issue Laughable Story: Khashoggi Died in a Fistfight

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:51 pm

Honestly, if you’re still spouting Saudi propaganda at this point, you’re beyond hope.

Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them.

State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed. They did not say whether the men’s firing had any connection to the Khashoggi case or whether they were being investigated for playing a role in it.

Gee, I thought the story was that the Saudis had no idea about this guy never leaving the embassy. Remember what MBS told Bloomberg?

Bloomberg: He went into the Saudi consulate.

MBS: My understanding is he entered and he got out after a few minutes or one hour. I’m not sure. We are investigating this through the foreign ministry to see exactly what happened at that time.

Oops! Guess not.

This new “fistfight” story is a Trumpist sort of story, in the sense that the Saudis clearly don’t care whether people believe it. It is a lie of the sort Trump tells on a regular basis, where he doesn’t even bother to try to make it plausible or reconcile it with his past statements. He just says whatever the hell he feels like saying, and expects his dupes to twist themselves into knots to claim he’s right.

And they do, every time. And the same dupes will claim this story makes sense.

The rest of the world — those of us with at least two brain cells to rub together — not only have no trouble seeing through this, we also have no trouble laughing out loud at how utterly implausible it is.

As Columbo would say, scratching his head and turning around just as it seemed like he was going to leave:

Um, guys?

Where’s the body?

The Saudi statement did not address many of the questions raised by the Turkish investigation, such as the identities of the 15 suspects in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing and whether they were among the 18 people the Saudis said they had arrested.

All 15 were identified by name and Turkish newspapers published their photographs. The New York Times established that most of them were employed by the Saudi military or security services and that at least four had traveled with the crown prince as part of his security detail.

Nor did the Saudi announcement say what had become of Mr. Khasoggi’s body. The Turks had said it had been disassembled with a bone saw by an autopsy specialist flown in specifically for the purpose and likely carried out of the consulate in large suitcases.

Where’s the body, MBS?

Where’s the body?

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Politics Today: Incendiary Rhetoric And Where It Leads

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:06 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Two GOP candidates running for office in Minnesota were reportedly the victims of physical assault:

…Sarah Anderson was punched in the arm after spotting a man destroying Republican yard signs. She said the attack left her scared, and her attacker only desisted when she fled to her car and threw it in reverse.

“It was just insane. He was charging at me, saying, ‘Why don’t you go kill yourself?'” Anderson told the Washington Free Beacon. “To have someone physically coming after you and attacking you is just disheartening.”

The Plymouth Police Department investigation into Rep. Anderson’s alleged assault remains ongoing. A spokeswoman confirmed the department had identified a suspect, but declined further comment.

And:

First-time state representative candidate Shane Mekeland suffered a concussion after getting sucker punched while speaking with constituents at a restaurant in Benton County. Mekeland told the Free Beacon he has suffered memory loss—forgetting Rep. Anderson’s name at one point in the interview—and doctors tell him he will have a four-to-six week recovery time ahead of him. He said he was cold cocked while sitting at a high top table at a local eatery and hit his head on the floor.

“I was so overtaken by surprise and shock and if this is the new norm, this is not what I signed up for,” he said.

This comes after the Minnesota Democratic Party suspended a spokesman who posted on Facebook that Democrats would bring Republicans to the guillotine:

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has suspended communications staffer William Davis for one week without pay after making a Facebook post joking that Democrats would “bring [Republicans] to the guillotine” on Nov. 7, the day after the midterm elections. Minnesota Republican Party chairman Jennifer Carnahan said the suspension was not enough, calling for his immediate firing in the aftermath of separate attacks against Republican candidates. She said she has been subjected to numerous death threats during her tenure as the state party leader and that death threats are no laughing matter.

“The overt hatred and violence that has become prevalent from many Democrats towards Republicans in recent times is unlawful, unacceptable, and downright scary,” she said in an email. “Yes, we have free speech and the right to peacefully assemble, but these words and actions by the left have gone too far. … He should have been terminated immediately.”

This also came days before a Democratic operative was arrested and charged with battery against a GOP campaign manager in Nevada:

Wilfred M. Stark III, who goes by Mike, was arrested Tuesday evening in Las Vegas, after Laxalt campaign manager Kristin Davison accused him of grabbing and yanking her arm and refusing to let go. Las Vegas City Marshals arrested Stark, who was later released.

Stark, who was a reporter for American Bridge 21st Century, was fired Wednesday night in the wake of the incident. A statement from the David Brock-founded organization said that “an incident with a member of Adam Laxalt’s campaign” had taken place, and “one of our employees” had been relieved of his duties “effective immediately.” The statement did not identify Stark or Davison.

Fox News is told that during the arrest, Stark explained to police that this was “his job” and he “does this for a living.”

Recently, Democratic notables have called on party members to be pro-active in their responses to the GOP:

*Eric Holder recently told a group of cheering Democrats that Michelle Obama was wrong with her admonition regarding Republicans, “When they go low, we go high.” Instead, said Holder, “When they go low, we kick them.”

*Rep. Maxine Waters encouraged protesters, “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. You push back on them. Tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!”

Hillary Clinton jumped into the fray too, having said during a recent interview, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” obviously referring to the GOP.

*Sen. Cory Booker urged crowds to “get up in the face of some congresspeople.”

And so it goes.

Rep. Steve Scalise, who was one of four people shot at a baseball field in Virginia, wrote about his concerns regarding the escalating violence against GOP politicians. In the op-ed, he also listed the GOP legislators (and their spouses) who have been the recipients of aggressive and unlawful tactics:

The threats and the violence have not let up and instead of seeing my Democrat colleagues calling for an end, there have been calls for their supporters to keep going, to do even more to threaten Republicans.

In America, we win battles at the ballot box, not through mob rule or intimidation.

As a survivor of a politically motivated attack, it is tragic to think this is an acceptable state of political discourse in our country. I refuse to stand for this and I will continue to call for an end to it. A healthy, strong democracy is not possible if anyone lives in fear of expressing their views.

If this is going to stop, it must start with Democratic leaders, who need to condemn, rather than promote these dangerous calls to action.

In America, we win battles at the ballot box, not through mob rule or intimidation. While it’s clear many Democrats refuse to accept the election of President Trump, if they want change, they need to convince people with their ideas and actually win elections, rather than call for violent resistance, harassment, and mob rule.

Here is Scalise’s list:

*Ashley Kavanaugh, Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s wife and his daughters received multiple credible threats.

*Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., received such a threatening phone call that the man has now been indicted.

*Jamie Gardner, wife of Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., wife, received a text of a beheading after the vote to confirm Justice Kavanaugh.

*Several Republican Senators had their personal information, including home addresses, posted to Wikipedia for threatening purposes by a Democrat House staffer.

*Congressman Clay Higgins (R-La.) received threatening phone calls that led to a man’s arrest.

*Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kent., and his wife Kelly Paul have both received credible threats that have led to arrests.

*Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife, as well as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, were chased out of restaurants.

*Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted by protesters and harassed out of a DC restaurant.

*Rudy Peters, a Republican California Congressional candidate, was nearly stabbed while campaigning.

Obviously, this is wrong. Nobody should be threatening harm to anyone, and certainly elected officials should not be encouraging it in any way, shape or form. All of which makes it even more ridiculous that instead of a hands-down, non-stop condemnation of the overheated rhetoric fueling the fires of violence, there is a moronic “national conversation” currently taking place about what constitutes a “mob”. Seriously. When people are having their lives threatened with harm, or worse, have had those threats come to pass, shouldn’t insipid gasbags with a mic and a national platform be emphatically condemning the behavior rather than arguing over whether “mob” is a Republican talking point? Stop wasting my time quibbling about such absurdities. We have already suffered through the even more asinine accusation of Big Media that some targets on a political map were linked to the shooting of a congresswoman. All this sort of crap does is reinforce the pathetic state of partisan politics in 2018 and demonstrates a lack of seriousness about the putrid mess in which we currently find ourselves wading.

Protest, fine. Let your voice be heard, great. Call yourself a mob or a protester or whatever it is that floats your boat. But threatening your political opponents, physically assaulting or harassing them, doxxing or “getting in the face” of an individual is just wrong. Always. We all used to know that. We all used to believe that. We all used to agree with that. It’s what separated the civilized from the uncivilized. It was a commonly shared belief based on common values – in spite of our political differences. What has to be so broken with our political system a people that a clear consensus about this can can no longer be had? While Clinton, Holder, Booker and Waters might defend their comments, walk them back, make efforts to clarify, etc., the problem is, they already uttered the instructive words out loud. And there are simply too many frustrated, angry nutjobs just waiting for that nudge, that permission to do harm. Words matter. Especially if they come from political leaders.

But. Lest one believe that this encouragement of violence only comes from the left side of the aisle, let’s keep it real and be honest as we remember what the current occupant of the White House said in his efforts to become the next President of the United States, as well as remember his failure to immediately and forcefully condemn those whose behavior obviously demanded it . Moreover, just last night, before a cheering crowd, the same leader of the free world intentionally praised GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte in light of his assault on reporter Ben Jacobs as a rallying cry:

“Never wrestle him. You understand that? Never. Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type! … I shouldn’t say that. You know, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” I had heard that he bodyslammed a reporter. And he was way up. And he was way up, and I said, oh this is the day of the election or just before, and I said, “Oh this is terrible, he’s going to lose the election.”

Surprisingly – or unsurprisingly, depending where you land on the cynic’s scale – the same Steve Scalise, whose words I just quoted above, “In America, we win battles at the ballot box, not through mob rule or intimidation. As a survivor of a politically motivated attack, it is tragic to think this is an acceptable state of political discourse in our country,” defended the president’s positive take on Gianforte:

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(I’m torn here. Because Scalise suffered a very serious injury at the hands of a deranged Bernie supporter with a gun, it was pretty clear that the media wasn’t terribly interested in it, so that makes me think he deserves a pass on this. And yet….)

Bottom line: no one has clean hands in this age of incivility. But the tribe you belong to or identify with should not determine your response to it. You do not need any of these professional idiots condescendingly telling you what is and isn’t acceptable, or what is and isn’t justified. You already know. Good and decent people simply condemn the behavior, loudly, and without hesitation. No matter from which side of the aisle it comes. The worst thing any of us could do would be to laugh away, or deny the incendiary rhetoric and unacceptable behavior because we believe that party loyalty supersedes everything else. Even our principles. All of it needs to be condemned, from beginning to end, no matter from whose mouth the words come, no matter at whose hands the violence occurs. And most importantly, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office.

[Pre-emptive strike: Proud Boys and Antifa are despicable groups and should be universally condemned. There should be no quarter given. That’s true even if these fringe dwellers are part of your tribe. This is a no-brainer. ]

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

10/17/2018

O’Keefe Hits McCaskill Hard in New Undercover Video

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:17 pm

The video appears to show deception on the part of the McCaskill campaign. Staffers are quoted saying things like they have to lie to voters to get elected, and that Planned Parenthood is funneling money to her through other organizations while maintaining deniability.

The news has hit the local news in Missouri. In this segment, the claim is made that Planned Parenthood gave a reported donation (of a whopping $5000) to the McCaskill campaign.

Not good for old McCaskill. She’s edging out Josh Hawley in current polling, but only barely. O’Keefe’s video could move the needle.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Report: Audio Proof Exists That Saudis Tortured, Dismembered, and Beheaded Khashoggi

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:13 pm

Those “rogue killers” got busy quick:

Saudi agents were waiting when Jamal Khashoggi walked into their country’s consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Mr. Khashoggi was dead within minutes, beheaded, dismembered, his fingers severed, and within two hours the killers were gone, according to details from audio recordings described by a senior Turkish official on Wednesday.

The government of Turkey let out these and other leaks about the recordings on Wednesday, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Ankara, in an escalation of pressure on both Saudi Arabia and the United States for answers about Mr. Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident journalist who lived in Virginia and wrote for The Washington Post.

The new leaks, which were also splashed in lurid detail across a pro-government newspaper, came a day after Mr. Pompeo and the Trump administration had appeared to accept at face value the promises of the Saudi rulers to conduct their own investigation into Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance — regardless of Turkish assertions that senior figures in the royal court had ordered his killing.

. . . .

Whether Mr. Khashoggi was killed before his fingers were removed and his body dismembered could not be determined.

. . . .

A top Saudi doctor of forensics had been brought along for the dissection and disposal of the body — an addition to the team that Turkish officials have called evidence of premeditation. And as the agents cut off Mr. Khashoggi’s head and dismembered his body, the doctor had some advice, according to the senior Turkish official.

Listen to music, he told them, as he donned headphones himself. That was what he did to ease the tension when doing such work, the doctor explained, according to the official describing the contents of the audio recordings.

Wow! It’s … just like the Kavanaugh hearing, isn’t it? After all, who doesn’t remember the leaks describing the audio in which Dr. Ford screamed for her life?

It’s OK, though, I’m told by the Trumpers, because in his numerous columns advocating democracy, pluralism, women’s rights, free speech, and the like, Khashoggi also wrote one supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

The United States’s aversion to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is more apparent in the current Trump administration, is the root of a predicament across the entire Arab world. The eradication of the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing less than an abolition of democracy and a guarantee that Arabs will continue living under authoritarian and corrupt regimes. In turn, this will mean the continuation of the causes behind revolution, extremism and refugees — all of which have affected the security of Europe and the rest of the world. Terrorism and the refugee crisis have changed the political mood in the West and brought the extreme right to prominence there.

There can be no political reform and democracy in any Arab country without accepting that political Islam is a part of it. A significant number of citizens in any given Arab country will give their vote to Islamic political parties if some form of democracy is allowed. It seems clear then that the only way to prevent political Islam from playing a role in Arab politics is to abolish democracy, which essentially deprives citizens of their basic right to choose their political representatives.

I don’t agree with this point of view, but there is a distinction (as Maajid Nawaz and Sam Harris explained in their book Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue) between Islamic terrorists (jihadists) and Islamists, who want Islamic government. Khashoggi argues that Islamism may be inherent in democracy in Islamic societies; I don’t agree, but I also don’t consider that view to be a thoughtcrime for which the appropriate sentence is beheading and dismemberment.

The problem was not the guy writing columns for the Washington Post. At this point, the problem is the guy who ordered the gruesome murder, and those who defend him by spouting Saudi propaganda.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has published Khashoggi’s last column. An editor’s note says:

A note from Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor

I received this column from Jamal Khashoggi’s translator and assistant the day after Jamal was reported missing in Istanbul. The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together. Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for. I will be forever grateful he chose The Post as his final journalistic home one year ago and gave us the chance to work together.

Quotable from the column:

My dear friend, the prominent Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehi, wrote one of the most famous columns ever published in the Saudi press. He unfortunately is now serving an unwarranted five-year prison sentence for supposed comments contrary to the Saudi establishment. The Egyptian government’s seizure of the entire print run of a newspaper, al-Masry al Youm, did not enrage or provoke a reaction from colleagues. These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.

As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate. There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments, whose very existence relies on the control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet. They have also arrested local reporters and pressured advertisers to harm the revenue of specific publications.

Condemnation, quickly followed by silence.

UPDATE x2: To answer the question of commenter nk: yes, this potentially comes within the Global Magnitsky Act, according to no less a personage than Bill Browder himself.

Now, almost every lawmaker on the Senate Foreign Relations committee is pushing for the Trump administration to use Global Magnitsky Sanctions on whoever is found responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance and/or murder. If the Turkish reports are confirmed, then we in the West must act.

Applying the Global Magnitsky Act to Saudi officials would be particularly powerful. These officials are extremely rich, and they keep their money all over the world. They have bank accounts in every major financial capital, and they own luxury properties in London, Paris, and New York.

The moment that a person is added to a Magnitsky List in the West, it destroys their way of life. Every financial institution will close their account, and they will be denied entry to every desireable area in the world. While asset freezes and travel bans don’t constitute real justice for pre-meditated murder, they’re a lot better than total impunity.

Well said. If the Turks provide the proof, this looks like an appropriate sanction.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Another Day, Another Lefty Thug on the Attack

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:50 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Fox news reports, you decide:

The liberal group American Bridge 21st Century announced Wednesday night that it had fired one of its operatives a day after he was arrested and accused of battery against the female campaign manager for Nevada GOP gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt.

In a statement, American Bridge said that Mike Stark had been relieved of his duties “effective immediately.”

[. . .]

Stark, 50, was arrested by Las Vegas city marshals Tuesday evening after 31-year-old Kristin Davison said he grabbed and twisted her arm, refusing to let go.

“Politics is a little bit aggressive these days, but this is just insane,” Davison told Fox News earlier Wednesday. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Davison told Fox News that Stark “burst into the room where [Laxalt] and I were talking with a camera” and got “very physical” with her.

“This man was physically almost body-checking me,” she said. “I was getting nervous for my safety, so we left, and went into an open room.” However, she said Stark tried to follow her, Laxalt and other staffers into the second room.

“He grabbed my right arm, my leg was lodged between the door and the wall. He twisted my arm, and contorted it behind my back,” she explained. “I was scared. Every time I tried pulling away, he would grab tighter, and pull me closer into him.”

Well, you know, passions are running high and Trump has placed us on edge, right? I mean, this must be out of character for Mr. Stark; it’s not as if this Soros-funded group would employ someone with a history of this sort of action, would they?

This is not Stark’s first arrest—earlier this year, the Democratic tracker was arrested for allegedly assaulting the female press secretary for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

[. . .]

Stark also has a record of arrests while working for American Bridge. Stark was arrested on Oct. 28, 2017 for disorderly conduct at an event in Virginia while covering then-GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie. He was found guilty of disorderly conduct in February of this year.

The incident with Zinke’s press secretary Heather Swift occurred in March at the Longworth House Office Building after a budget hearing before a House committee. Stark allegedly approached Zinke and reportedly “used his full body to push” Swift as she tried to leave the room. Swift, who called the incident “terrifying,” told police that she decided to press charges to help obtain a “stay-away order” against him.

It’s time for the Republican National Congressional Committee to update the ad they created a last week. Let’s have everyone see just the type of people that “progressive” activist groups have on their payroll.

– JVW

10/16/2018

President Trump Fires Up Democrats Before The Midterms

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:51 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The New York Times offers an assessment of the midterms and how the Kavanaugh hearing impacted voters, and how the subsequent polarization may help Republicans:

The fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court seems to have contributed to polarizing the electorate, helping Republicans gain in red states and districts even as Democrats cement their strong position elsewhere. The trend might fade, but if it holds it will be an abrupt change from earlier polls and last year’s special election results, which indicated that Democrats were highly competitive in red areas.

Instead, the district and state polling raises the possibility of an election more like last year’s Virginia elections or the 2010 midterm elections. Both were strong results for the party out of power — but the big numbers came mainly on home turf. A similar result this year would tend to lock the Democrats into their single biggest disadvantage: the map.

National polls continue to show all of the conditions for a wave in place. The president’s approval rating is in the low 40s. It’s a midterm election year, when the president’s party usually takes big losses. Democrats lead on the generic ballot by eight to nine points. These indicators have remained relatively stable throughout the Justice Kavanaugh controversy, but the president’s approval rating has ticked up, most likely in the conservative areas where Republicans show newfound strength.

And if Republicans can take advantage of their underlying geographic advantages, they can hold down their losses and gain seats in the Senate, even in a Democratic wave.

The post-Kavanaugh polling effect could prove to be fleeting, especially if highly energized partisans are responding to polls in unusual numbers. But over the last few decades, American electoral results have generally moved toward greater polarization. It would not be a surprise if the midterms left the nation even more divided.

In spite of the important midterms being right around the corner, President Trump couldn’t resist shooting the GOP in the foot on the same day. And in doing so, he energized Democrats right before an election. This time his blunder not only comes on the heels of a federal judge tossing out the defamation lawsuit against him and ordering adult film actress Stormy Daniels to pay the his legal fees, but also comes just one day after Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “DNA gambit” went up in smoke, leaving the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful desperate to dig her way of the hole in which she currently finds herself. Trump, who is unable to keep his damn mouth shut and recognize a positive news cycle for Republicans, chose to alienate potential voters and fire up Democrats by once again reminding Americans that he is a misogynistic lout. You tell me, who are major media outlets going to focus on: Sen. Warren, fake Indian or a POTUS publicly degrading the woman with whom he had an illicit affair? This isn’t hard. Well, except for a president who keeps throwing out the red meat, that is…

“Federal Judge throws out Stormy Danials lawsuit versus Trump. Trump is entitled to full legal fees.” @FoxNews Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!

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According to a report, “Trump’s reference to Texas apparently stems from the judge citing a Texas law in dismissing the case brought by Daniels, a Texas resident. His mention of a “letter” may be the original statement Daniels wrote and signed in January denying an affair, before she backtracked.”

During an interview today, Trump did not back down about the “horseface” insult:

Asked by the AP if it was appropriate to insult a woman’s appearance, Trump responded, “You can take it any way you want.”

We have already heard Trump demean and degrade women in the public square. Consider his attack on Carly Fiorina and “that face,” Heidi Cruz in the unflattering side-by-side photo with Melania Trump, Rosie O’Donnell and her “fat, ugly face,” Alicia Machado (Miss Universe), whom he referred to as “Miss Piggy,” the “bimbo” Megyn Kelly and his cringeworthy “blood coming out of her wherever” attack. In the aftermath of these insults, he has never showed any genuine remorse or regret for disrespecting these women. But then, when a man has been repeatedly accused of sexual assault, and is caught on tape bragging about grabbing women by their genitals, why would he? Clearly he has a woman problem. Jonah Goldberg aptly described it after the leak of that video:

Character is destiny. The man in the video is Donald Trump. Sure, it’s bawdy Trump. It’s “locker room Trump.” And I’m no prude about dirty talk in private. But that isn’t all that’s going on. This isn’t just bad language or objectifying women with your buddies. It’s a married man who is bragging about trying to bed a married woman. It’s an insecure, morally ugly, man-child who thinks boasting about how he can get away with groping women ”because you’re a star” impresses people. He’s a grotesque — as a businessman and a man full stop.

With the midterms looming, one has to believe that any number of Republicans running for office just want the president to shut-up and not mess this up for them.

In further confirmation that sleazy birds of sordid feather flock together, presidential-hopeful Michael Avenatti responded to Trump’s tweet:

“You are a disgusting misogynist and an embarrassment to the United States. Bring everything you have, because we are going to demonstrate to the world what a complete shyster and liar you are. How many other women did you cheat on your wife with while you had a baby at home?”

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Stormy Daniels got in on the act as well:

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present your president. In addition to his…umm…shortcomings, he has demonstrated his incompetence, hatred of women and lack of self control on Twitter AGAIN! And perhaps a penchant for bestiality. Game on, Tiny.

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God, these are awful people. Unbelievably, one is the sitting President of the United States, and one is already working to claim that position for himself. I can hear Trump supporters now: Trump is a fighter and this is what fighters do. Am I right? Anyway, this latest blunder also comes on the heels of Melania Trump’s recent return from a goodwill trip to Africa where she introduced her “Be Best” initiative. You know, Be Best:

When children learn positive online behaviors early-on, social media can be used in productive ways and can effect positive change. Mrs. Trump believes that children should be both seen and heard, and it is our responsibility as adults to educate and reinforce to them that when they are using their voices—whether verbally or online—they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Cruz v. Beto

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:44 pm

I just realized it’s on now. (Sorry, too busy with work.) You can watch here.

UPDATE: It’s over. I started the thread way too late.

Embattled Senate Candidate’s Attempt to Exploit Sexual Assault Victims Fails Miserably

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:29 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D – North Dakota), having slipped behind her opponent in the polls, went full Feinstein over the weekend and saw her cheap demagoguery blow up in her face:

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp apologized Tuesday for misidentifying victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape who were listed in a recent North Dakota newspaper ad aimed at her opponent.

The Democrat, who is facing a tough race for re-election, said in a statement that she had recently learned that several of the women named in the ad either hadn’t authorized it or are not survivors of abuse.

[. . .]

The ad that ran Sunday in several North Dakota newspapers was an open letter to [GOP challenger Kevin] Cramer, criticizing comments he made on Kavanaugh’s confirmation . It was signed by more than 125 people, though some just listed their initials.

Heitkamp said she was investigating how her campaign obtained the names. She said they may have come from a “Facebook feed” that was forwarded to the campaign.

[. . . ]

Several women listed in ad criticized Heitkamp on social media for listing their names.

Lexi Zhorela told The Associated Press that she learned of the ad Monday night

“I’m furious,” the 24-year-old hairdresser and single mother from Bismarck said. “I know I’m not the only woman hurt by this.”

Zhorela said she was listed in the ad because she had been tagged by a friend in a Facebook post who knew she had been the victim of sexual assault.

“I have only shared my story with a couple of people in confidence,” she said. “I didn’t want it blasted for the world to see.”

Zhorela said she had intended to vote for Heitkamp in November but will “definitely not now.”

Heitkamp has apparently been fulsome in her apology, and it’s certainly possible that that the ad was drawn up and submitted without her knowledge or approval. But a candidate sets the ethical framework for his or her campaign (unless of course he or she is entirely the creature of sleazy campaign consultants), so Sen. Heitkamp’s staff must have felt that this line of attack was well within the bounds of what their boss would approve. Desperate to ward off what is starting to feel more and more like a trouncing in three weeks, the Heitkamp campaign borrowed one of the more revolting pages from the Democrat playbook — one that had not worked for them in the Kavanaugh confirmation battle — and watched as it blew up in her face.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault are real, and women bear the brunt of the unwanted harassment. We should never try to mitigate that fact and we should always be open to the idea that people whom we otherwise admire and respect might not always privately behave in acceptable ways. But at the same time it is now undeniable that sexual harassment and sexual assault have been relentlessly politicized by grievance-mongering groups who think it can be provide a shortcut to political power. The always dubious idea that all women should always be believed has been exposed as nothing more than a political cudgel used to bash (mostly male, largely Republican) opponents. It is quite obvious for all to see that advocacy groups can not be counted upon to act in good faith, and their political allies will not hesitate to demagogue the issue for gain. Shame on Heidi Heitkamp, and here’s hoping that North Dakota voters make her pay for trying to exploit a sensitive subject.

– JVW

Panicking Fake Indian Goes on Curious Tweet Storm

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:04 am

[guest post by JVW]

As a follow-up to Patterico’s post earlier today, Senator Microhontas reacted to President Trump’s goading of her not as you would expect of someone who is confident that her DNA gambit had once and for all put to rest the issue of her using specious claims of Native American heritage to score prestigious jobs above her curriculum vitae, but as someone who just realizes that she has put this embarrassing issue front and center just as she is quite obviously trying to come up with a Presidential campaign strategy for 2020. Behold:

From there, it spirals into a 23-Tweet stream of uncomfortableness on the part of the Senator, and it leaves many in her party wondering why she has made herself the center of attention three weeks before a pivotal election in which she is expected to breeze to an easy victory.

This has been a really, really, bad day for her, and it’s near impossible not to believe that Trump has gotten into her head.

[Cross-posted over at The Jury Talks Back.]

– JVW

10/15/2018

Reminder: Our Deficit and Debt Are Exploding Under Donald Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:39 pm

New York Times:

The federal budget deficit swelled to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the Treasury Department said on Monday, driven in large part by a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues after the Trump tax cuts took effect.

The deficit rose nearly 17 percent year over year, from $666 billion in 2017. It is now on pace to top $1 trillion a year before the next presidential election, according to forecasts from the Trump administration and outside analysts. The deficit for the 2018 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, was the largest since 2012, when the economy and federal revenues were still recovering from the depths of the recession.

Administration officials attributed the deficit’s rise to greater federal spending, including the military and domestic budget increases that President Trump approved this year, not the $1.5 trillion tax cut.

I know: nobody cares when it’s Trump doing it. Still, it’s infuriating to the small handful of us who still care about such things.

Oh, by the way:

Candidate Donald Trump, April 2, 2016:

DT: We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.

BW: How long would that take?

DT: I think I could do it fairly quickly, because of the fact the numbers . . . .

BW: What’s fairly quickly?

DT: Well, I would say over a period of eight years.

It’s now $21.6 trillion, and ballooning like mad under Trump.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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