Patterico's Pontifications

1/19/2021

Trump Administration, Heading Towards the Door, Declares That China Is Engaging in Genocide

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:59 pm



[guest post by JVW]

On their last full day in office, the outgoing Trump Administration set a potential landmine for Team Biden:

The world has watched with shock over the past three years as the Chinese Communist Party constructed a vast, racist system of concentration camps, forced labor, and high-tech surveillance in the far-Western region of Xinjiang. Now, the U.S. government has decided to call these multifaceted horrors what they are: Crimes against humanity and genocide.

“Since the Allied forces exposed the horrors of Nazi concentration camps, the refrain ‘Never again’ has become the civilized world’s rallying cry against these horrors,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement announcing the decision. “Just because an atrocity is perpetrated in a manner that is different than what we have observed in the past, does not make it any less an atrocity.”

The barbaric conduct that Pompeo has now deemed crimes against humanity and genocide stems from the Communist Party’s desire to annihilate the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims it has sought to supplant with Han Chinese settlers. As senior administration officials put it this afternoon, China’s actions aren’t at first blush the same as the mass killings at Srebrenica and in Rwanda. They are instead “a very patient evil,” designed to erase the Uyghurs over time through methods both tried-and-true and experimental.

I am beginning to believe that “a very patient evil” is an excellent description of Chinese intentions regarding the Uyghurs. In the 1990s and 2000s I bought into the idea that as China built up its economy and emerged as a strong trading partner throughout the world, they would inexorably begin the process of liberalizing and democratizing. But it appears now that Xi Jinping and his henchmen have figured out the nasty trick of giving gullible Westerners the illusion of liberalization, all the while maintaining an iron fist of bureaucratic totalitarianism inside of that silken glove of modernization.

The Trump Administration admits that there is no evidence of widespread murder, but points to the forced abortions and sterilization of Uyghurs inside of the internment camps as the “patient evil” China has undertaken in order to ultimately eradicate the Muslim ethnic group, who is believed to have emigrated from present-day Mongolia into Western China starting back in the ninth century. Estimates on the number of Uyghurs living in China vary from a low of about 11 million from the Chinese government to upwards of 20 million claimed by Uyghurs themselves. Consensus on the number currently interred also varies, from the one million generally accepted by international organizations to upwards of three million claimed by activists.

So now how does the incoming administration respond? There is little doubt that China will complain about this last-second move and will furiously lobby behind the scenes for it to be rescinded (they tried to hire retired United States Senator Barbara Boxer to work on behalf of the firm who supplies the surveliance equipment used in the internment campus and throughout Xinjiang, but backlash against her registering as a foreign agent for the Chinese Communist Party led her to rather testily pull out of the arrangement). To its credit, the Biden campaign has characterized China’s actions towards the Uyghurs as genocide, but as we have seen for years and years with the Armenians and Turks, lofty campaign rhetoric oftentimes does not translate to actionable items from the Oval Office.

I don’t hold any more hope for this coming administration than I did for the departing one, but perhaps a realistic and pragmatic approach to China, recognizing that government for what it is and not for what we had hoped it would become, can be a starting point for true foreign policy bipartisan agreement in this country.

– JVW

Mitch McConnell: The Mob Was Fed Lies. They Were Provoked By The President…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:23 am



[guest post by Dana]

Mitch McConnell says it out loud:

Axios also reports that they have been told that

There’s a better than 50-50 chance that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would vote to convict President Trump in an impeachment trial…

So, basically, we have no clue how he will vote.

In the meantime, seventeen Republican would need to join Democrats to vote for a conviction. Off the top of my head, I can only think of about six or seven that I think would actually follow through with a vote to convict. However, if McConnell votes to convict, would that motivate any Republicans still on the fence to follow his lead?

It should be noted that the Wall Street Journal reports that:

Many Republicans are gravitating toward a technical argument: The Senate lacks jurisdiction to try him after he leaves office, they maintain, because he will be a private citizen. That could allow the Republicans to thread a political needle, voting against Mr. Trump’s conviction without having to defend his conduct, people familiar with the discussion say.

Now that sounds just like today’s Republican Party.

–Dana

1/18/2021

What’s Up With Trump’s Defense Team?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:02 am



[guest post by Dana]

Given Rudy Guiliani and his uh, level of professionalism, this actually seems like a positive for Team Trump:

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, will not be taking part in the president’s defense in the Senate trial for his second impeachment, a person close to Mr. Trump said on Monday.

Mr. Trump met with Mr. Giuliani on Saturday night at the White House, and the next day the president began telling people that Mr. Giuliani was not going to be part of the team. It is unclear who will be a defense lawyer for Mr. Trump, given that many attorneys have privately said they won’t represent him.

Mr. Giuliani himself at first said he was taking part in the trial and then a day later said he had no involvement.

He told ABC News on Sunday that he would not be part of the defense, noting that he is a potential witness since he gave a speech at the rally on Jan. 6 of Trump supporters who went on to storm the Capitol complex, overtaking it for hours.

Yet a day earlier, Mr. Giuliani told ABC News that he would in fact be involved in the impeachment defense, and left open the possibility of Mr. Trump showing up for the trial. That interview infuriated Trump advisers and was a bridge too far for the president himself, according to the person close to the president, who described personal conversations on condition of anonymity.

Guiliani specifically said he wouldn’t be on the impeachment defense team because:

I gave an earlier speech [at the January 6 Trump rally], I am a witness and therefore unable to participate in court or Senate chamber.

And most unsurprisingly of all, efforts to engage a credible lawyer have been hampered by…Trump. Of course:

Some allies have also told Trump that he will need to take some responsibility for inciting the riot if he wants a serious lawyer to defend him, which he has indicated he doesn’t want to do.

The President of the United States is facing an impeachment trial and can’t find a credible lawyer to represent him because he, incredibly and yet predictably, doesn’t believe he played a part in what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. But still, even I can think of one or two lawyers that might be willing to do the job. The best part is after the election was called for Joe Biden, they both very publicly and cynically sacrificed their integrity and credibility on behalf of Trump, so they’re already MAGA qualified.

–Dana

1/17/2021

Constitutional Vanguard Newsletter: Repeal Section 230!!!1!!!1!*

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:42 pm



If you’re not signed up for my newsletter, the Constitutional Vanguard (it’s free, you know!), then you’ll have to click here for my Sunday afternoon thoughts on why we should repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. (Spoiler alert: I’m kidding. Sort of.) There is a bonus digression about why Josh Hawley is a fraud, but you’ll have to sign up or click through for that. This excerpt is the intro to the argument about why repealing Section 230 might be a good idea after all:

You may have noticed that 2020 was kind of a bad year. Not only was there a worldwide pandemic that so far has cost us over two million lives across the globe, but at the same time, people seem to have gone crazy in large numbers. First we had (in addition to many peaceful protests) many violent riots over the death of George Floyd during the summer — riots which in some places have not yet calmed down. Again: while most of the protesting was indeed peaceful, a notable subset of “protests” were what Big Media likes to call “mostly peaceful” — in other words, what normal people call incredibly violent. A police station was burned to the ground in Minneapolis. So-called “autonomous zones” of anarchy were carved out in cities like Portland, with the tacit approval of city leadership, and people were murdered inside them. And then, as if to assure us that 2021 will be no better, we had the aforementioned spectacle of an utterly insane horde of thousands of maniacs at the Capitol less than two weeks ago. When is the last time we saw so much mental illness on open display in one twelve-month span of time?

I’m sure this is not a tremendously original thought, but my own personal theory is that social media lies at the heart of this insanity.

If we can kill social media by repealing the one law that makes it possible, maybe that’s a good idea!!!1!

Read the whole thing here. And don’t forget to sign up at the same link!

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 145

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:52 am



It is the second Sunday after the Epiphany. The title of today’s cantata is “Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergötzen” (I live, my heart, for your pleasure):

Today’s Gospel reading is John 1:43-51:

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

The text of today’s cantata is available here and contains these words:

Arise, my heart, the Lord’s day
has driven off the night of fear:
Christ, who lay in the grave,
has not remained in death.
From now on I am truly comforted,
Jesus has redeemed the world.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

1/15/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:45 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items that might interest you. Please feel free to include anything you think would interest readers. Make sure to include links.

First news item

Say what?:

A senior administration official told CNN that when the administration announced that it would be releasing reserved doses Friday, many of those reserves had already been released into the system starting last year as production was ramping up.

When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was asked Friday whether there is in fact a reserve of second doses left to release, he said, “No. There’s not a reserve stockpile.”

“We now have enough confidence that our ongoing production will be quality and available to provide the second dose for people, so we’re not sitting on a reserve anymore,” he said in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt. “We’ve made that available to the states to order.”

The revelation appears to contradict what Azar announced on Tuesday at an Operation Warp Speed briefing, where he said the administration would be “releasing the entire supply for order by states, rather than holding second doses in reserve.”

And it adds another level of confusion for state officials, who have scrambled to distribute the vaccines after being tasked to do so by the federal government.

Second news item

More of that “smooth transition”:

Responding to warnings of potentially violent demonstrations, governors across the nation are calling out National Guard troops, declaring states of emergency and closing their capitols to the public ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.

Though details remain murky, demonstrations are expected at state capitols beginning Sunday and leading up to Biden’s succession of President Donald Trump on Wednesday. State officials hope to avoid the type of violence that occurred Jan. 6[.]

Third news item

But of course:

President Donald Trump plans to make the unprecedented move to depart the White House next Wednesday morning, just before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration…

Trump has requested a large sendoff to be planned for the morning of Jan. 20, sources said, after he choppers via Marine One to Joint Base Andrews, where he is expected to give remarks to supporters and departing members of his administration.

Sources add that Trump has requested his departure ceremony to have a “military-like feel,” although details are not finalized.

He hopes to depart to the blare of a military band, with a red carpet and military honors, according to sources briefed on the plans. Even some sort of military flyover has been suggested, they said.

Fourth news item

A w-o-m-a-n indeed!:

Dorothy Schmidt Cole, recognized last year as the oldest living U.S. Marine, has died at age 107.

Beth Kluttz, Cole’s only child, confirmed Friday that her mother died of a heart attack at Kluttz’s home in Kannapolis, North Carolina, on Jan. 7.

The Charlotte Observer reports Cole enlisted as one of the earliest female Marine reservists following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She had left her Ohio home to head to Pittsburgh, where she hoped to volunteer for the Navy, but because she was only 4 feet, 11 inches tall, she was deemed too short to meet Navy standards.

Undaunted by her rejection, Cole decided to learn how to fly an airplane and persuade the Marine Corps to let her be a pilot.

In July 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve into law, giving women the chance to fill positions left open by men headed to combat. The Corps delayed formation of the branch until February 1943, and Cole enlisted five months later at age 29, becoming one of the earliest volunteers for the branch.

Despite putting in 200 hours in the cockpit of a Piper Cub, Cole completed six weeks of boot camp at Camp Lejeune with the Women’s Reserve’s First Battalion and wound up “behind a typewriter instead of an airplane.”

Fifth news item

Another but of course:

President Donald Trump is considering granting a pardon to Steve Bannon, his former White House chief strategist and top campaign aide, who was charged with swindling donors to a private crowdsourcing effort to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The potential pardon would follow a wave of reprieves the president has recently granted to political allies who have been convicted, charged or reportedly under federal investigation. Two additional batches of pardons are expected — one on Friday night and one Wednesday morning before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office, according to one of the people.

(Bannon has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, and is due to stand trial in May 2021.)

Sixth news item

Lou Dobbs unwittingly points out the core problem of today’s Republican Party:

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs raged on Thursday that a handful of Republican lawmakers refused to stand by President Donald Trump after he incited a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week that led to five deaths.

“These are people who don’t care about the party, the president. They don’t care about the Constitution themselves,” Dobbs said to his “Lou Dobbs Tonight” guest, former GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

“Because they’re acting in utter disregard for the president’s right to loyalty.”

Seventh news item

Uh-oh:

Prosecutors in Georgia appear increasingly likely to open a criminal investigation of President Trump over his attempts to overturn the results of the state’s 2020 election, an inquiry into offenses that would be beyond his federal pardon power.”

Eighth news item

Oh, boo-hoo, you big fat babies:

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) are circulating a petition that seeks to force Cheney out of her leadership role for her decision, which she called a “vote of conscience.”

They say her decision to announce her position a day before the vote gave Democrats talking points to go after Republicans.

Cheney didn’t take part in the floor debate, but she was mentioned repeatedly by Democratic speakers. Several Republicans noted the remarks by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who cited Cheney as he made the case for Trump’s impeachment.

“If you’re in leadership, you can vote your conscience, but you can’t get up there and make it harder for the members of your team by giving talking points to the opponents,” one member told The Hill.

Cheney says she’s not stepping down.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she told reporters Wednesday. “This is a vote of conscience. It’s one where there are different views in our conference. But our nation is facing an unprecedented, since the civil war, a constitutional crisis.”

FFS, GROWN MEN IGNORING THEIR COMPLICITY IN ALL THINGS TRUMP WHILE THEY BLAME A WOMAN WHO VOTED HER CONSCIENCE AND HAS MORE MORAL FORTITUDE AND SPINE THAN THEY COULD EVER DREAM OF HAVING! Seriously, Republicans, this is not a good look for the party.

Ninth news item

Wouldn’t be surprised to see more of this happen:

Since the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, what appears to be an unusual number of Republicans in the three biggest Tampa Bay area counties have switched parties, mostly to no party affiliation, but some becoming Democrats.

News reports in Florida and nationwide have noted a similar phenomenon elsewhere, with voters citing anger at President Donald Trump and his supporters.

But at least a few Republicans may also be switching out of anger that party leaders haven’t backed Trump strongly enough, including one Hillsborough County Republican Party official.

According to figures from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas elections supervisors, 2,025 Republicans in the three counties switched parties from Jan. 6 through Thursday.

The 2,025 GOP party switchers are less than half of 1 percent of the total 705,818 Republicans registered in the three counties.

But the number switching is far higher than in the same time period following the 2016 presidential election.

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

The Interesting Notes That Trump Loyalist And MyPillow CEO Had At The White House Today (UPDATE)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:21 pm



[guest post by Dana]

It’s Friday afternoon, and you know we couldn’t just end the week quietly.

Loyal Trumper and MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell was seen at the White House today. As an FYI, Lindell has been actively involved in the post-election protest movement, as we all financing the two-week March for Trump rally. In other words, he has pro-actively orchestrated efforts to overturn the legitimate election results. At the White House, Lindell was photographed holding his notes and a coffee cup in one hand. The notes were not entirely obscured by the coffee cup:

Close-up:
Untitled

It sort of looks like Lindell is toying with the idea of martial law:

… BE TAKEN IMMEDIATELY TO SAVE THE
…THE CONSTITUTION
…Colon NOW as Acting National Security
…him with getting the evidence of ALL the
…in the election and all information regarding
…using people he knows who already have security
…done massive research on these issues
…at Fort Mead [sic]. He is an attorney with cyber-
…expertise and is up to speed on election issues.
…Insurrection Act now as a result of the assault on the
martial law if necessary upon the first hint of any
[STRIKETHROUGH]
…Sidney Powell, Bill Olsen, Kurt Olsen,
…DOD. Move Kash Patel to CIA Acting.
…on Foreign Interference in the election. Trigger
…powers. Make clear this is China/Iran
…also used domestic actors. Instruct Frank
…evidence on…the more broad
…likely amount…
…line…evidence

Just a wee bit problematic, no? Of course, it would be both unbelievably stupid and utterly corrupt to be considering such a move, but given Trump’s desperation and limited time left in office, this sort of last-ditch-Hail-Mary-dumbass-move seems like not only something Trump would nod enthusiastically to as it was being presented, but would also be the absolute culmination of all things Trump, and Trumpsim itself:

UPDATE: Via Maggie Haberman @ NYT:

I got a bit more information about the Lindell meeting. It was a brief meeting, Trump sent him upstairs to the WH counsel’s office to be escorted by an admin official sitting next to Lindell in the meeting. That official, according to another official, was Robert O’Brien.

Once up there, he insisted on meeting with Cipollone. It got contentious, in part bc supposedly on the blacked-out part of his notes was something about how Cipollone should be fired.

Lindell tells me that he was carrying the notes for an attorney he’s been working with to prove the election was really won by Trump, wouldn’t say who it was. Said some of it related to reports Trump is now unable to see because he doesn’t have Twitter.

Lindell insists the papers he was holding, which were photographed and visible, didn’t reference “martial law.” An administration official says they definitely referenced martial law.

I can see with my own eyes that “martial law” was clearly captured by the *photograph* of the notes. Lindell confirms to us that we shouldn’t trust what he says.

UPDATE #2: Via Josh Dawsey @ WaPo:

Talked to Mike Lindell this evening. He said lawyer gave him notes to share with POTUS but repeatedly wouldn’t say what lawyer. He said he met with Trump for 5-10 minutes and then was referred to counsel’s office. Said the lawyers were “disinterested, very disinterested.”

Lindell said he gave POTUS this document & also provided to me. Said, falsely, it was clear Biden lost and Trump won — by 11 million votes. Said the truth would one day come out. After meeting with WH lawyers, who he said weren’t interested, he wasn’t let back in to see POTUS.

–Dana

Biden Plans to Impose $15 Minimum Wage on Hurting Businesses, Including Restaurants

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Not great, Bob!

Perhaps most egregious is a proposal to more than double the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour—including for employees who regularly receive additional tips, for which the current minimum wage is $2.13. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that even gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 in a growing economy would likely kill 1.3 million jobs, and perhaps as many as 3.7 million. Imposing a drastic minimum wage increase on small businesses that are already struggling to stay afloat during a recession is especially absurd. Moreover, forcing restaurants, which are failing at record rates, to raise their own tipped minimum wage by 600 percent is economic malpractice. Perhaps high-cost cities like New York City and San Francisco can afford a much higher minimum wage, but other parts of America with lower incomes and prices will not be able to absorb this policy. It has no business in a relief package.

You want higher unemployment, this is how you get it.

1/14/2021

The Flight 93 Impeachment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Rich Lowry revisits Michael Anton’s famous “Flight 93″ election at POLITICO but, I think, draws the wrong conclusion.

In Anton’s defense, he never said he believed that Trump knew how to fly a plane. In the future, when hiring someone to pilot the most advanced jetliner on the planet, he might want to add that to the job description, and check a couple of references.

Lowry’s observation that Trump didn’t know how to fly is cute, but doesn’t fit the Flight 93 analogy. Neither did the people on Flight 93. Anton said the choice in 2016 was: “Charge the cockpit or you die” — but the people on Flight 93 were doomed either way.

Here’s why their actions mattered: if the terrorists kept control of the plane, the Capitol was going to be targeted as well.

It turns out in 2016, we gave control of the plane to a terrorist. And he set the controls for an attack on the Capitol. Our last clear chance to stop it was the first impeachment. Removal after the first impeachment — which Lowry opposed — was the real Flight 93 decision. But only one Republican senator said “Let’s roll” while the rest decided to leave the terrorist in control, worried that their political careers might die if they took action.

Now the Republican party is in disarray, and many of the most vocal opponents of the first impeachment — one Rafael Edward Cruz comes to mind — have seen their political careers die anyway, but in ignominy.

Now, as we wander around the ruins of the Capitol, we have another choice. Are we going to let that same terrorist take control of a plane again? Or are we going to put him on the no-fly list?

Let’s roll.

1/13/2021

Impeachment Redux: Open Thread; UPDATE: IMPEACHED, 232-197

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



As I write this, Rep. Mace, who had denounced Trump early on, has opposed impeachment on process grounds. A real disappointment. Meanwhile there is a suggestion that actual House members might have aided the insurrectionists’ plan:

One Congresswoman has claimed she saw members leading insurrectionists on a “reconnaissance” tour of the Capitol on January 5, the day before the insurrection.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. I’d be cautious about this one. But if it’s true . . . oh my.

UPDATE: President Trump has been impeached a second time. The vote in the House was 231-197. Ten Republicans voted yes.

UPDATE: Seeing reports it was 232 yes votes. Updating the title.

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