The Jury Talks Back

1/23/2020

You Don’t Have to Agree with Everything Adam Schiff Has Ever Said…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 10:34 pm

…to see that he is dead right here.

I thihnk it is an absolutely fantastic and moving summation. It crushes me to think of people I used to respect, like Senator Mike Lee and Senator Ben Sasse, sitting there listening to Schiff, knowing that every word he says is true, and knowing that they’re going to vote as if it’s all false.

I thought long and hard tonight about whether I still think of men like Mike Lee and Ben Sasse as good men. I have read more than one book by each man. As long as I have heard of them, I have thought of them as good men — among the few good men in Washington. Yet I believe with every fiber of my being that — unlike many of the duller and more partisan swamp creatures in Washington — the two of them know better. They know perfectly well who Donald Trump is. They know what he did was not just wrong but part of a pattern in which he elevates his own personal interests above those of the country. And yet they will support him. They are the best hope for people who still believe there are people capable of standing up for what’s right. And yet, they are going to let those hopeful people down. They are going to cravenly support a man they know does not belong in the Oval Office. A man they know has committed impeachable offenses who should be removed. And they’ll do it to save their political hides. They’ll do it out of fear, of some tweets.

I have tried to be less judgmental of my fellow man. I have. If men this good — or who at least seemed to be this good — act this way, maybe it’s not their fault. Maybe it’s the system. Maybe it’s wrong to judge them.

I can’t see it. I can’t help myself. I can’t approve of it. I can’t.

There comes a time for a man to stand up. If they don’t stand up, all their past words are just that: words. What good are they?

Garry Kasparov explains the stakes:

This is how a system dies. Truly listen to what Schiff says here. If right doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter how good the Constitution is. It doesn’t matter how smart the Founders were. It doesn’t matter how good the past words of Mike Lee or Ben Sasse were.

They had their chance to stand up when it mattered, and unless I am misreading the situation badly, they are not going to do so. They are culpable. The part of me that says not to judge them … I can’t listen to it. It may be a lack of maturity on my part, but that’s who I am, at least at this point in my life. I can’t forgive them.

It’s very, very sad to me.

Tulsi Gabbard Sues Hillary Clinton For Defamation

Filed under: Uncategorized — JVW @ 11:33 am

[guest post by Dana and JVW]

Note from JVW – Dana began drafting this post yesterday but then transferred it over to the Little Aloha Sweetie desk at Patterico’s Pontifications for me to complete.

But of course:

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sued former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday for allegedly defaming her by suggesting the Hawaii congresswoman is a “Russian asset.”

“Clinton’s false assertions were made in a deliberate attempt to derail Tulsi’s campaign,” says the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The suit claims that Gabbard has suffered “actual damages” of ”$50 million — and counting” from Clinton’s comments.

During the interview to which Gabbard’s suit refers, Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill confirmed that Clinton was specifically referring to Tulsi Gabbard:

Hillary Clinton says she believes that the Republicans have “got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.”

In a recent interview, Clinton didn’t mention Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii by name, but said she believes one candidate is “the favorite of the Russians.” Asked if the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said, “If the nesting doll fits…” He later tweeted that Clinton was referring to the GOP grooming Gabbard, not Russians.

Public figures don’t enjoy the same degree of legal protection against libel and slander that us ordinary private figures do. This creates a pretty high hurdle for a Congresswoman and Presidential candidate who wants to perhaps settle a political score with an opponent. And indeed, Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit sounds more like an earnest op-ed piece than a legitimate tort action [bold emphasis added]:

Plaintiffs Tulsi Gabbard and Tulsi Now, Inc (collectively, “Tulsi”) bring this lawsuit against Defendant Hillary Rodham Clinton (“Clinton”) for defamation. Tulsi Gabbard is running for President of the United States, a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain. In October 2019—whether out of personal animus, political enmity, or fear of real change within a political party Clinton and her allies have long dominated —Clinton lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard. She did so publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent. Tulsi has been harmed by Clinton’s lies—and American democracy has suffered as well. With this action, Tulsi seeks to hold Clinton, and the political elites who enable her, accountable for distorting the truth in the middle of a critical Presidential election.

In the Nature of the Case section of the suit, the Gabbard team cites her endorsement of Bernard Sanders four years ago as creating enmity between herself and the First Lady-turned-Senator-turned-Secretary, then accurately characterizes Mrs. Clinton as “a cutthroat politician by any account” (no, no, get it straight: Jeffery Epstein was hanged in his cell). They argue that Mrs. Clinton purposefully and maliciously defamed Rep. Gabbard in order to harm the Hawaiian Congresswoman’s reputation during her Presidential run as payback for four years ago when Rep. Gabbard’s resigned from her DNC post in protest of the advantages being given to the Clinton campaign during the primary at the expense of the Sanders campaign. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory damages along with costs and an injunction prohibiting further publication or republication of Mrs. Clinton’s statements.

Again, the lawsuit would seem like something of a long-shot, but Little Aloha Sweetie does have her allies. While conceding that her demand for relief “is not likely to succeed,” NRO’s Jim Geraghty points to a section of the suit which argues that Mrs. Clinton’s words carry an implied credibility far beyond that of the average journalist or blogger. He explains:

But Hillary Clinton isn’t just anybody. She was Secretary of State for four years, had the highest security clearance, and had access to all kinds of extremely secret classified information. (And if the 2016 cycle taught us anything, it’s that Clinton is always careful with classified information!) When Hillary Clinton accuses someone of being a Russian agent, it comes with the implication that this isn’t run-of-the-mill fuming or paranoia but a suspicion or accusation based upon something Clinton saw or learned from the U.S. intelligence community.

It is worth considering whether those in high places such as Mrs. Clinton have an extra-special obligation not to make wild accusations about the rest of us. (And yes, Mr. Geraghty does mention those ex-CIA folks who accuse President Trump of treason.) Hillary Clinton is an awful person, and her petty vindictiveness and disregard for any and all norms of propriety will be a major part of her ugly legacy. I (JVW) think that Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit against Google is far more meritorious than this lawsuit, though both of them deal with the same idea of a fetid and corrupt Democrat establishment (including friendly business allies) tipping the scales for the candidates they favor and decidedly against those whom they oppose. The message here should be that if you want to play in the Democrat pigsty, you had better expect to get covered in excrement.

– Dana and JVW

1/22/2020

Impeachment Trial: An Utter Disgrace

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:01 am

The great thing about this headline is that anyone reading this blog can agree with it, albeit from different perspectives.

Perhaps you think it’s an utter disgrace that the Do Nothing Democrats are putting our patriotic president through this ridiculous process over a perfect phone call.

Or, some of you may see it the way I do: as a group of Senators who have bitched and moaned that the impeachment lacks evidence, repeatedly voting 53-47 not to hear more evidence.

I have heard all of the arguments in favor of Trump, and there’s not a single one that doesn’t sound like partisan pablum.

They brought the case without anyone with firsthand knowledge!!1! (Because Trump blocked the testimony of anyone with firsthand knowledge.)

If they thought this stuff was so important they could have gone to the courts!!1! (The same courts where Trump’s lawyers have been arguing that the courts have no business deciding these issues. How many months did they want Democrats to spend in the courts as the election drew closer, and what blame do they put on Trump for issuing a blanket statement that he would cooperate with nothing whatsoever? None.)

Trump had no chance to present witnesses in the House!!1! (Trump sent a letter to the House saying he wouldn’t participate, and if he thought presenting his side through witnesses was important he could do it now.)

They had secret hearings in the House!!1! (Attended by about 100 CongressCritters — and open to, and attended by, puh-lenty of Republicans.)

It’s not the Senate’s job to hear new evidence!!1! (The Senate has always heard new evidence in impeachments. Keep in mind that the precedents for impeachments go beyond those of presidents. And the precedents are clear: the Senate has always heard new evidence. If you don’t believe that, you’re in a bubble.)

You can’t impeach a president for abuse of power!!1! (Whoever is saying that, ask them what they said 20 years ago. In any event, this argument is both horse droppings, and frightening in its implications. Think about it.)

And on and on.

Susan Collins and other people pretending to be “reasonable” are saying, “hey, we’re not shutting down any further evidence! We just want to hear opening statements and answers to questions first!” OK, but they are also voting against issuing subpoenas for documents, which take time to deliver and to get results. Maybe they’ll vote to hear John Bolton in the end — I suspect they will — but they’re not actually interested in the truth.

Actually, if we all wanted the most direct evidence possible, Trump could testify. There’s nothing stopping him — and in my view, nothing stopping House managers from calling him. Just a thought!

The way Republicans have handled this so far, lining up one and all behind the corrupt actions of a corrupt man, solidifies my utter disenchantment with the Republican party. There is not a single one of them left I respect. Not Mike Lee or Mitt Romney, not Ted Cruz or Rand Paul — none of them. (Sure as hell not Donald Trump, who said the other day he doesn’t even care about the debt and nobody does, and it didn’t even seem to merit a post that the President of the United States made such a statement, both because it was obvious he and everybody else feels this way, and also because it is one of 10,000 atrocities he says or does daily.) Then there are the Democrats, who want to run my life like authoritiarians and take all my money.

To hell with all of Washington, D.C.

1/21/2020

Was Trump’s Misconduct Enough To Merit Removal?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:56 pm

[guest post by Dana]

David French tackles the question here:

If I had to sum up the case against Donald Trump in one sentence, it would be this: The available evidence demonstrates that the president of the United States attempted to coerce an allied nation to investigate a self-serving, debunked conspiracy theory and a prominent domestic political rival as a precondition to receiving vital American military aid. If I have another sentence to expand on the claim, I’d add that he attempted to accomplish this scheme by using his private attorney to supplement and circumvent normal diplomatic channels for the purely personal benefit of the president.

[…]

But President Trump’s conduct regarding Ukraine was different [than other presidents]. Here was a president, operating at the absolute apex of his constitutional powers, steering international diplomacy for personal benefit, and not only were there no clear means of constitutional restraint, there was obvious intent to accomplish the scheme well outside the public eye. The scheme was blocked by the unlikely combination of whistleblowing and informal political pressure. Even worse, a defiant administration refuses to admit to any wrongdoing at all—even calling the key piece of evidence against the president a “perfect” call. It was essentially our good fortune (through the courage of the whistleblower) that the American people have access to partial information about the scandal so they can factor it into their electoral calculus.

What’s the constitutional check for misconduct of that kind? Citizens can’t run to court to block this particular abuse of presidential power. We can’t even count on public knowledge for public accountability. The administration is still actively holding back material evidence.

Please read the piece in its entirety before commenting.

–Dana

1/19/2020

RIP Bradley J. Fikes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 5:47 pm

Via Simon Jester comes awful news of the passing (in November) of a friend of the blog, Bradley J. Fikes:

San Diego Union-Tribune biotech writer and The Daily Aztec alumnus Bradley J. Fikes passed away on Nov. 20.

He passed away due to natural causes while at his home in Grantville, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the newspaper where Fikes worked for over two decades.

He was 61 years old.

Read the story and you’ll get a sense of the type of guy Bradley was:

“I think the first thing people would say about him is his tireless pursuit of the story,” [Union-Tribune feature writer Pam] Kragen said. “He was in the office seven days a week, he just loved what he did. Brad never lost his fire. From the day I met him until the day he died, he was so enthusiastic about reporting on stories. I think he felt like he was delivering a public service, that he was helping educate the public.”

Kragen said Fikes will be best remembered for his kind personality and eccentric way of dressing. He was a favorite in the newsroom, both well loved and well respected by those who knew him.

“He was just a very happy, sweet, outgoing guy,” Kragen said. “I’d say he was the most popular reporter at the paper, everyone knew him and everyone loved him. I would say (he will be remembered for) his personality and his colorful way of dressing.”

. . . .

“Sweetness” was the lesson [Union-Tribune science and technology writer Gary] Robbins felt he learned from Fikes. His even temper and poise were things that stood out to Robbins, at times in contrast to himself.

“When people were mean to him and whatnot he was very even-tempered and I’m not so much like that,” Robbins said. “As I watched the way he treated people if it was a difficult situation and people weren’t being as nice as they should’ve been he would still keep that stiff upper lip, he would smile, he wouldn’t lose his temper. He had poise, he had professionalism, he was a gentleman.”

A lot of people who used to frequent this blog would gather together online in the comments section of a blog run by Cathy Seipp called “Cathy’s World.” I believe my valued guest blogger Dana was originally a denizen of the comment section at Cathy’s World, as were Simon Jester (under another name), Mike K, Gary McVey, Dmac, LYT, and a host of others. And Bradley J. Fikes, who gave me countless stories over the years, such that literally dozens of my posts ended with the word “Thanks to Bradley J. Fikes.”

I met Bradley and Mike K (and a few other folks) at Cathy’s funeral. He seemed like a very nice man, just as he came across on the Internet.

I think you can tell a lot about Bradley J. Fikes (or at least what I thought about him) from a passage I wrote from a 2010 post in which I was seeking evidence about AGW. I decided to demand perfect politeness — a nearly impossible standard — because of the hot-button nature of the topic. And in my demand, you can see that one of the only people I trusted to meet it was Bradley J. Fikes:

This thread will employ the rule of excessive politeness. Nothing even remotely disparaging will be permitted. And I’m not keeping any part of a comment that violates the rule. Your comment that opens: “I’m surprised you would fall for AGW” followed by 10 paragraphs of polite and well researched material gets nuked, entirely. I could end up deleting 90-99 percent of all the comments, leaving only comments by Bradley J. Fikes. I don’t care. This is such a hot-button issue that I’m not putting up with even a milligram of B.S. or invective.

Now that’s unfair to some other long-time commenters who also are and always have been unfailingly polite, but you get the idea. When I thought of politeness online, I thought of a small group of people and he was one of them.

Bradley had a heart attack in 2010 and wrote a PSA to me via email that he allowed me to share with readers. I don’t know if the “natural causes” mentioned in the news story about included heart issues, but either way his advice is good, and worth looking up.

RIP.

Sunday Music: Agnus Dei and Dona Nobis Pacem from Bach’s B Minor Mass

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:59 pm

It is the second Sunday after the Epiphany. Today’s Bach piece is the Agnus Dei and Dona Nobis Pacem from Bach’s Mass in b minor:

Today’s Gospel reading is John 1:29-42:

John Testifies About Jesus

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

John’s Disciples Follow Jesus

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

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

Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona nobis pacem.

Which translates as:

Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
grant us peace.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

1/16/2020

GAO: Trump Administration Violated the Law by Withholding Ukraine Funds

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:46 am

#FAKENEWSBEZOSPOST:

The White House violated federal law in its hold on security aid to Ukraine last year, according to a decision by a congressional watchdog released on Thursday and reviewed by The Washington Post.

The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan agency that reports to Congress, found the Trump administration violated a law that governs how the White House disburses money approved by Congress.

The GAO decision comes as the Senate prepares for the impeachment trial of President Trump, a process set to begin Thursday.

“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the decision states. “OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act.”

Saying the withholding was done for a “policy reason” is not really true, but if you read the GAO’s memorandum you see they are just taking OMB at its word.

Meanwhile, a bunch of new documents have emerged from the House Intelligence Committee, suggesting that Rudy Giuliani’s henchmen might have had the Ukranian ambassador they hated so much (because they are corrupt and she opposed corruption) under surveillance. (Cue Twilight Zone music.) The documents also further undermine the Trump administration claim that Giuliani was acting as some sort of official emissary conducting the business of the United States. Quotable, from a letter penned by Giuliani to Zelensky: “Just to be precise, I represent him as a private citizen, not as President of the United States.” Uh, yeah.

So the case is getting stronger and stronger, even as the impartial jurors prepare to disregard all evidence.

1/15/2020

Nancy Pelosi Names Impeachment Managers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:40 am

[guest post by Dana]

Here we go:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday named two House chairmen who led President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry as prosecutors for Trump’s Senate trial…Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who led the probe, and Judiciary Chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler, whose committee approved the impeachment articles, as among the managers of the prosecution…Schiff and Nadler will lead the seven member team that includes a diverse selection of lawmakers, particularly those with courtroom experience…include Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Sylvia Garcia of Texas, Val Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado and Zoe Lofgren of California.

President Trump tweeted this during Pelosi’s announcement:

More from Pelosi:

“Time has been our friend in all of this, because it has yielded incriminating evidence, more truth into the public domain…Earlier, she spoke out about newly-released documents linking Trump directly to his attorney Rudy Giuliani’s political digging in Ukraine, saying they highlighted the need for witness testimony at the impeachment trial…”There can be no full & fair trial in the Senate if Leader McConnell blocks the Senate from hearing witnesses and obtaining documents President Trump is covering up.”…“The President has fought tooth-and-nail to keep thousands of documents away from the public…And no wonder — each time new pieces come out, they show President Trump right at the center of the effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.”

Interesting note: The documents — part of the evidence turned over to House impeachment investigators by lawyers for Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate who is awaiting trial on campaign finance charges — include a letter from Giuliani requesting a private meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskiy, then the president-elect of Ukraine, with Trump’s “knowledge and consent.”

The letter, written on Giuliani’s letterhead, was dated May 10, 2018.

–Dana

CNN Debate Moderator Shamefully Takes Sides In Warren-Sanders Feud

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 8:31 am

[guest post by Dana]

I just wanted to follow-up on a particular moment during last night’s Democratic debate wherein CNN debate moderator Abby Phillip assumed that Bernie Sanders was lying when he emphatically denied telling Elizabeth Warren that a woman couldn’t win in a general election. From the actual transcript:

PHILLIP: Let’s now turn to — let’s now turn to an issue that’s come up in the last 48 hours. Sen. Sanders, CNN reported yesterday that — and Sen. Sanders, Sen. Warren confirmed in a statement, that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why did you say that?

SANDERS: Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it. And I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anybody knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States.

Go to YouTube today. There’s a video of me 30 years ago talking about how a woman could become president of the United States. In 2015, I deferred, in fact, to Sen. Warren. There was a movement to draft Sen. Warren to run for president. And you know what, I said — stayed back. Sen. Warren decided not to run, and I then — I did run afterwards.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes. How could anybody in a million years not believe that a woman could become president of the United States? And let me be very clear. If any of the women on this stage or any of the men on this stage win the nomination, I hope that’s not the case, I hope it’s me.

(LAUGHTER)

But if they do, I will do everything in my power to make sure that they are elected in order to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of our country.

(APPLAUSE)

PHILLIP: So Sen. Sanders — Sen. Sanders, I do want to be clear here, you’re saying that you never told Sen. Warren that a woman could not win the election?

SANDERS: That is correct.

PHILLIP: Sen. Warren, what did you think when Sen. Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: I disagreed. Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But, look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head-on.

And I think the best way to talk about who can win is by looking at people’s winning record. So, can a woman beat Donald Trump?

Look at the men on this stage. Collectively, they have lost 10 elections.

(LAUGHTER)

The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women…

(APPLAUSE)

… Amy and me.

After the debates, Warren rebuffed Sanders when he attempted to shake her hand:

Look, either Elizabeth Warren is lying or Bernie Sanders is lying. And moderator Abby Phillip, to her discredit and without any evidence, made it clear by the framing of her question to Warren, that she believed Sanders was not telling the truth. Not only did she openly confirm that she believed Sanders was untruthful, she gave Warren a convenient opportunity to pivot from confronting Sanders to move on to the broader picture of women and elections. This morning, I noticed that CNN’s Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza somehow completely missed his colleague’s act of “media malpractice” in his analysis of the interaction. Perhaps it has something to do with this, eh?

CNN contributor Jess McIntosh suggested later that Phillips had taken her stance because of the network’s reporting: “This was a reported-out story that CNN was part of breaking.”

Abby Phillip discredited herself with her clear and obvious bias, and Elizabeth Warren discredited herself by not directly confronting Bernie Sanders about his sexist remark. Her decision to choose party unity over standing up for herself and standing against an act of alleged sexism came off as weak. On behalf of women everywhere, it’s not an impressive look for a Democratic woman contending for the presidency of the United States to pass on an open opportunity to condemn sexism, especially when it has allegedly coming from a powerful, white male seeking the presidency.

–Dana

1/14/2020

Democratic Presidential Debate – Open Thread

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:41 pm

[guest post by Dana]

So while the last debate before the Iowa caucuses happens tonight, there is already the potential for some real drama to happen as contenders Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders finally took the gloves off this week.

But first, on stage tonight at Drake University in Des Moines will be an all-white group of Democratic millionaires (excepting Buttigieg) and one billionaire: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren.

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have had an interesting week, to say the least. First, the Sanders camp allegedly instructed campaign workers to push a claim to voters that Warren would be weak in a general election because her appeal is limited to wealthy, well-educated Americans:

[T]he script instructs volunteers to tell voters leaning toward the Massachusetts senator that “I like Elizabeth Warren. [optional] In fact, she’s my second choice. But here’s my concern about her.”

It goes on to instruct volunteers to say “people who support her are highly-educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what” and that “[s]he’s bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party”…

Warren pushed back against the accusation. And then, being a true politician, fundraised off the kerfuffle:

“I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me… Bernie knows me and has known me for a long time, he knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for, and the coalition and grassroots movement we’re trying to build. Democrats want to win in 2020, we all saw the impact of the factionalism in 2016 and we can’t have a repeat of that.”

Sanders denied knowing anything about the talking points:

Asked if he personally approved of such talking points, Sanders gave a straightforward answer.”

“No, of course I did not,” the senator said.

It is now being reported that said Sanders’ camp talking points have been pulled, due to “sloppy wording”.

Next, one day before the Democratic debate, Warren alleged that in 2018 Sanders told her during a private meeting that a woman could not win the presidency:

The two agreed that if they ultimately faced each other as presidential candidates, they should remain civil and avoid attacking one another, so as not to hurt the progressive movement. They also discussed how to best take on President Donald Trump, and Warren laid out two main reasons she believed she would be a strong candidate: She could make a robust argument about the economy and earn broad support from female voters.

Sanders responded that he did not believe a woman could win.

The description of that meeting is based on the accounts of four people: two people Warren spoke with directly soon after the encounter, and two people familiar with the meeting.

Sanders poo-pooed Warren’s claims:

“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders said. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

Warren was compelled to then release a specific statement about the encounter with Sanders:

Untitled

[Ed. What a girl: Lob the missile, hit the target, and then say you don’t want to talk about it anymore.]

I’ll just leave you with Democracy for America’s plea for Gran and Gramps to stop this fighting:

“Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, you both are progressive champions and our movement needs to see you working together to defeat your corporate Democratic opponents – not attack each other,” the statement said. “Progressives will win in 2020, but only if we don’t let the corporate wing or [President] Trump divide us.”

Should be a fun night!

–Dana

1/13/2020

Stating the Obvious: U.S. Press Does Not Face Same Dangers and Risk As Their Iranian Counterparts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:08 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Yet again demonstrating the insular bubble of delusional preciousness in which some professional journalists cocoon themselves:

Haberman, who presumably is allowed to continue to roam free in order to work, is unfortunately representative of so many Big Media outlet writers who perceive themselves as society’s desperately needed intellectual saviors of the unwashed, ignorant masses. Thus the compulsion to equate their struggle with Trump, who does not hold the press in any regard (unless they say nice things about him), as on a par with the struggle Iranian journalists face with their government if they report accurately about the anti-government sentiment happening on the ground.

Haberman seems to assume that because Trump blathers on about the American press being an “enemy of the people,” that he obviously wants to see it abolished. The thing is, while Trump has certainly attacked the press here for actual and perceived slights, honest and dishonest assessments, and accurate and inaccurate reporting, the media has, unarguably, made inaccurate claims and reports about the President. The President’s relationship with the American press has been defined by a palpable, mutual loathing and tension that has only increased during his tenure. Who struck the first blow? I am disgusted with both the press and its history of anti-conservatism, as well as with Trump and his corruption and dishonesty. So let me point you to this great analysis by Charles C.W. Cooke:

Our national press is a national joke. Vain, languid, excitable, morbid, duplicitous, cheap, insular, mawkish, and possessed of a chronic self-obsession that would have made Dorian Gray blush, it rambles around the United States in neon pants, demanding congratulation for its travails. Not since Florence Foster Jenkins have Americans been treated to such an excruciating example of self-delusion. The most vocal among the press corps’ ranks cast themselves openly as “firefighters” when, at worst, they are pyromaniacs and, at best, they are obsequious asbestos salesmen. “You never get it right, do you?” Sybil Fawlty told Basil in Fawlty Towers. “You’re either crawling all over them licking their boots or spitting poison at them like some Benzedrine puff adder.” There is a great deal of space between apologist and bête noire. In the newsrooms of America, that space is empty.

It’s getting worse. Despite presenting an opportunity for sobriety and excellence, the election of President Donald Trump has been an unmitigated disaster for the political media, which have never reckoned with their role in Trump’s elevation and eventual selection, and which have subsequently treated his presidency as a rolling opportunity for high-octane drama, smug self-aggrandizement, and habitual sloth. I did not go to journalism school, but I find it hard to believe that even the least prestigious among those institutions teaches that the correct way to respond to explosive, unsourced reports that just happen to match your political priors is to shout “Boom” or “Bombshell” or “Big if true” and then to set about spreading those reports around the world without so much as a cursory investigation into the details. And yet, in the Trump era, this has become the modus operandi of all but the hardest-nosed scribblers.

[…]

The greatest service that Donald Trump has rendered these United States is to have exposed the many ailments of which he is a symptom but not a cause. We had political division and cultural alienation before him. We had overbearing government and an imperial executive branch before him. We had media that were arrogant, parochial, and impenitent before him, too. Alas, they have grown yet worse since he arrived.

Anyway, that Trump can be hostile toward the American press is simply not the same as wanting to shut down the press altogether, or to use the heavy hand of government to imprison, torture, or have non-compliant reporters killed.

And it’s just ridiculous to have to say this, but quite clearly, American journalists are not under a remotely similar yoke of oppression or facing the same mortal danger as are their Iranian counterparts. Not by any stretch of an overactive imagination.

President Rouhani threatens Iranian journalists:

In a tweet on Thursday Hesameddin Ashena who is President Hassan Rouhani’s media advisor warned “the Iranian agents of Persian-language media [abroad] not to participate in the psychological warfare regarding the Ukrainian airliner [crash] and stop cooperating with those who are at war with Iran”.

The long arm of persecution:

The Iranian intelligence has threatened to kidnap journalists working for the London-based Iran International TV and take them back to Iran. It has also pressured their families back in Iran to persuade their relatives to leave the channel, it was revealed on Monday.

“Since about a month ago, after the unrest in Iran and our extensive coverage of it, they started calling several high-profile journalists, mostly anchors. They phoned them repeatedly and threatened to snatch them off the streets of London unless they quit working here”, an Iran International journalist told Radio Farda.

“Some families have also been contacted and summoned in Iran, threatened about their own safety and ordered to persuade the journalists to stop working for Iran International,” he added.

The State controlled media response to recent gas protests:

While Iran is still reeling from the recent protests that have left scores injured, more than a hundred dead, and thousands arrested, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned that two main government ministries have silenced the domestic media by issuing directives dictating coverage of the unrest, in a blatant violation of freedom of the press. Intelligence ministry officials have also threatened journalists that they will be charged with “crimes” if their reporting of events does not hew to the official narrative of events.

[…]

Another journalist who spoke to CHRI added that during the last week, after the start of protests on Friday, November 15 and the shut down of the internet on the 16th to prevent the sharing of images and information, at least eight journalists had been summoned to Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence for questioning and that the Ministry of the Culture and Islamic Guidance contacted a number of journalists to warn them about the consequences of their articles and social media posts.

He said some journalists have been forced to sign a pledge that they would not report on the internet blackout, the people’s protests or the increase in the price of gasoline on social media.

“They have also been told not to write about these things in their media outlets and warned that any negative reporting will be seen as aiding the enemy and will be considered a crime,” said the source.

–Dana

Trump’s Claim that Soleimani Was Planning to Attack Four Embassies Is Unevidenced

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Trump recently said: “Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies and not just the embassy in Baghdad.”

His Defense Secretary says they all believe it. They just, um, don’t have any evidence of it.

ESPER: Well, what the president said was he believed that it probably and could have been attacks against additional embassies. I shared that view. I know other members of national security team shared that view. That’s why I deployed thousands of American paratroopers to the Middle East to reinforce our embassy in Baghdad and other sites throughout the region.

MARGARET BRENNAN: “Probably” and “could have been.” That is — that sounds more like an assessment than a specific, tangible threat with a decisive piece of intelligence.

ESPER: Well, the president didn’t say there was a tangible — he didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence. What he said is he probably — he believed, could have been —

BRENNAN: Are you saying there wasn’t one?

ESPER: I didn’t see one with regard to four embassies. What I’m saying is, I share the president’s view that probably — my expectation was they were going to go after our embassies.

Again: one need not conclude that the attack on Soleimani was unjustified, or believe that a planned attack on four embassies was a prerequisite to taking him out, to question Trump’s credibility.

Soleimani was a bad guy. Killing him was legally justified.

But without independent evidence from a separate source I trust, I don’t believe a word these people say.

And I’m not alone.

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