The Jury Talks Back

4/24/2019

Trump Not Too Excited About Preventing Future Russian Interference

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:07 am

The Mueller report paints a picture of a President who repeatedly engaged in actions that would keep the average person from getting a security clearance. He wanted to win, and he was fine with accepting Russia’s help.

Well, it’s not the first time Putin has interfered and it won’t be the last. All 2016 represented was the first time that a candidacy openly welcomed that interference.

What implications does this have going forward? A story in the New York Times answers that question.

In the months before Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign, she tried to focus the White House on one of her highest priorities as homeland security secretary: preparing for new and different Russian forms of interference in the 2020 election.

President Trump’s chief of staff told her not to bring it up in front of the president.

Ms. Nielsen left the Department of Homeland Security early this month after a tumultuous 16-month tenure and tensions with the White House. Officials said she had become increasingly concerned about Russia’s continued activity in the United States during and after the 2018 midterm elections — ranging from its search for new techniques to divide Americans using social media, to experiments by hackers, to rerouting internet traffic and infiltrating power grids.

But in a meeting this year, Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, made it clear that Mr. Trump still equated any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory. According to one senior administration official, Mr. Mulvaney said it “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level.”

It’s not just that these issues are kept under his level, though. The administration is doing little as a whole, and in places is actually weakening protections. The story notes that John Bolton “eliminated the position of cybersecurity coordinator at the White House last year.” Yeah, because cybersecurity is pretty much a small threat, and getting smaller all the time, amirite? Also:

Ms. Nielsen grew so frustrated with White House reluctance to convene top-level officials to come up with a governmentwide strategy that she twice pulled together her own meetings of cabinet secretaries and agency heads. They included top Justice Department, F.B.I. and intelligence officials to chart a path forward, many of whom later periodically issued public warnings about indicators that Russia was both looking for new ways to interfere and experimenting with techniques in Ukraine and Europe.

One senior official described homeland security officials as adamant that the United States government needed to significantly step up its efforts to urge the American public and companies to block foreign influence campaigns. But the department was stymied by the White House’s refusal to discuss it, the official said.

Trump’s refusal to act on interference, and his positive weakening of protections against cyber interference, makes perfect sense — not from the perspective of national security, of course, but from the perspective of amoral hardball politics. If Trump welcomed Putin’s interference as a citizen candidate — and he did — why wouldn’t he again welcome it as the incumbent? And many of his superfans — including people at this very blog — will cheer him on. Yes, there are Republicans who are so happy that Trump won and Hillary lost, that they positively applaud Vladimir Putin’s actions interfering with the election. To quote one particularly cynical Trump superfan who posts here: “if it was Russian interference which provided the tipping point which kept Hillary Clinton a private citizen, we owe Vladimir Putin a debt of gratitude which can never be fully repaid.”

Anything to keep Trump in power (within reason, for now). Whatever it takes. It’s a hardball world, and as that same commenter says: “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” (He thinks this sentiment is OK, apparently, because Joe Montana said it about the Patriots.)

After all, if we don’t cheat, lie, accept the help of murderous dictators with alacrity and glee, and break the law, then we won’t get to keep appointing judges who will help us, um, maintain the rule of law.

4/23/2019

Reasons to Question the Belief That Illegal Immigrants Are Less Criminal Than Citizens

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:34 pm

We often hear that illegals commit fewer crimes per capita. Our betters in the media tell us this all the time. The issue is relevant to the immigration question in general, and specifically to Trump’s dopey proposal to send illegals to sanctuary cities (which I have argued endangers the public because the criminal part of that population is more likely to evade deportation). I thought it would be worth devoting a post to questioning some of the flawed reasoning underpinning this claim.

Before I start, let me point out that none of the arguments I advance below depends upon a bigoted view of Mexicans or Central Americans as inferior or naturally prone to crime — views that I do not hold. If you’re among the subset of Trumpists who subscribes to that view, or if you’re a leftist looking for a way to call a conservative racist, move on. You’ll find nothing here to support your nasty preconceptions.

A 2017 Heritage article says:

According to a recent Associated Press article, “multiple studies have concluded that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than native-born U.S. citizens.” But the issue isn’t non-citizens who are in this country legally, and who must abide by the law to avoid having their visas revoked or their application for citizenship refused. The real issue is the crimes committed by illegal aliens. And in that context, the claim is quite misleading, because the “multiple studies” on crimes committed by “immigrants” — including a 2014 study by a professor from the University of Massachusetts, which is the only one cited in the article — combine the crime rates of both citizens and non-citizens, legal and illegal.

That isn’t the only problem with the study. Instead of using official crime data, it uses “self-reported criminal offending and country of birth information.” For obvious reasons, there is little incentive for anyone, let alone criminal aliens, to self-report “delinquent and criminal involvement.” When it comes to self-reporting criminal activity, some respondents will, no doubt, exaggerate. Others will flat out lie. Furthermore, many respondents will likely not disclose if they are a non-citizen out of fear of discovery and deportation.

(Incidentally, Cato, a libertarian outfit of the stripe that prefers open borders to make the businessmen happy, argues that illegals commit less crime but admits that much of the applicable research “combines legal and illegal immigrants to calculate a crime rate for all immigrants.”)

The Heritage piece goes on to cite some “disturbing actual data on crimes committed by criminal aliens” that tends to undercut the conventional wisdom. First, we learn that a GAO report revealed that “criminal aliens (both legal and illegal) make up 27 percent of all federal prisoners” despite making up only about “nine percent of the nation’s adult population.” That certainly seems inconsistent with the claims that they commit fewer crimes than natives. Indeed, the Heritage piece adds: “One 2001 study that does take country of origin and geographic concentration factors into account found that Mexican immigrants ‘commit between 3.5 and 5 times as many crimes as the average native.’”

And if you think this is a small problem, think again. Another GAO report set forth some of the statistics of the total numbers of crimes we are looking at — crimes committed by people who, under our law, don’t belong here in the first place. This GAO report

looked at the criminal histories of 55,322 aliens that “entered the country illegally and were still illegally in the country at the time of their incarceration in federal or state prison or local jail during fiscal year 2003.” Those 55,322 illegal aliens had been arrested 459,614 times, an average of 8.3 arrests per illegal alien, and had committed almost 700,000 criminal offenses, an average of roughly 12.7 offenses per illegal alien.

Out of all of the arrests, 12 percent were for violent crimes such as murder, robbery, assault and sex-related crimes; 15 percent were for burglary, larceny, theft and property damage; 24 percent were for drug offenses; and the remaining offenses were for DUI, fraud, forgery, counterfeiting, weapons, immigration, and obstruction of justice.

That is a lot of unnecessary crime.

Now, for some of my own analysis. To the extent that there remain any valid statistics or studies out there that do show illegal immigrants commit less crime — and perhaps there are — I believe that is a simple function of the fact that we have the ability to deport repeat offenders. Let me go through the logic.

First of all, much crime is committed by repeat offenders. Assume we have two hypothetical groups, A (citizens) and B (illegals). Assume for the same of argument that both groups are composed of the same mix of people with the same characteristics, including the same tendency towards criminality. (As we will see later, the groups are different demographically in terms of age and gender, but for now we are going to assume they are the same.) Also assume that all criminal offenders from group A (citizens) who are sent to jail or prison are returned to the streets once released from custody. Further assume that most criminal offenders from group B (illegals) who are sent to jail or prison are sent out of the country once their sentences are served.

Over a period of years, who will commit fewer crimes in the country: group A (citizens) or group B (illegals)? Likely, in our hypothetical, both will commit equal numbers of crimes overall in the world at large, since we have described the groups as being roughly equal in terms of their tendency to commit crime, for purposes of this (counterfactual) hypothetical. But group B, the group of illegals, will be committing fewer crimes in this country, since they are deported after committing their first crime that gets them incarcerated.

So when you measure the statistics of crimes committed by group A (citizens) and group B (illegals), it will appear that group B is safer overall.

But this is true only as long as you maintain the status quo, and refuse to grant legal status to illegals, and continue to deport them when they commit crimes — at least, as long as sanctuary city and sanctuary state policies are repealed or outlawed, and the machinery of deporting criminals works efficiently. As long as we can deport criminals, there will be a mechanism that tends make the illegals appear less criminal than they are innately.

But the second you start to use that “fact” to justify legalizing illegals and treating them as citizens — because hey, they commit fewer crimes than citizens! they are more desirable! — then the statistics will soon equalize again. Because once you make the illegals into citizens, you will no longer be able to deport the criminals once they get to jail.

As far as I know, any argument that says “illegals commit fewer crimes” fails to take this differential into account.

Further complicating the picture is that the demographics, in terms of gender and age, are actually quite different between citizens and illegals. National Affairs reports that illegal immigrants tend to be younger and more male:

However long they have been here, the undocumented are strikingly young. Pew reports that the median age of undocumented adults is 36.2, compared to 46.1 for legal-immigrant adults and 46.5 for native-born American adults. These numbers reflect the fact that the many risks associated with illegal status — travel through dangerous terrain, larcenous smugglers, unscrupulous employers — are more easily negotiated by the young, and particularly by young men. This is one reason why men significantly outnumber women among the illegal-immigrant population: Of the undocumented immigrants over the age of 18 currently residing in the U.S., there are approximately 5.8 million males, compared to 4.2 million females.

The age and gender profiles of the undocumented translate into a large cohort of young, unattached males — with no spouses, partners, or children, at least in this country. According to Pew, nearly half of illegal-immigrant men are “unpartnered adults without children,” while fewer than one-fifth of illegal-immigrant women are.

Most people are aware that young men commit more crimes on average than people who are not young men. So, given the higher prevalence of young men in the illegal immigrant population, you don’t have to conclude that there is anything bad or inferior about Latinos to conclude that they are more likely to commit crimes.

So I’m not convinced that the folks coming here illegally from Mexico and Central America are innately predisposed to commit less crime than citizens. There are some statistics going either way, and their large demographic cohort of young males tends to support the statistics that suggest they commit more crime. To the extent that the statistics or studies favor the proposition that they commit fewer crimes, some part of that is a function of the fact that they remain illegal and that we retain the ability to deport them after they commit crimes.

That is not an argument that we should legalize them. Moreover, it makes sanctuary city policies especially dangerous — because if the population contains more criminals, it’s that much more important for immigration officials to have access to them in custodial facilities and immediately after they are released.

Trump’s dopey proposed policy makes more illegals subject to these policies, not fewer. And the mayors of the sanctuary cities aren’t deterred. Many of them say they welcome more illegals to their cities.

So to the extent you’re relying on the notion that illegals commit less crime to support (or oppose) Trump’s policy, there’s good reason to question that assumption.

4/22/2019

Is Revealing Truth Important No Matter Where the Truth Comes From?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:30 am

It depends! Just ask the Trumpists.

  • Trumpists: it’s fine that the Russians hacked Democrats’ emails because it revealed truth. Revealing truth is always good no matter how the truth gets out. Free Julian Assange!
  • Also Trumpists: A bunch of embarrassing information was released on Trump in the Mueller report to just to hurt him. The people who started the Russia investigation need to go to jail.

The Mueller report is like a Rorschach inkblot. Both sides read it and think someone should go to jail. Trumpists think the people who should be jailed are the investigators. Non-Trumpists think the people who should be jailed are the people who engaged in the criminal behavior described in the report.

But I don’t see how you praise the fact that information was released through hacking, and decry information being released through the proper operation of law enforcement.

The main benefit I see of Trump being President is good judges. But good judges are important only because the rule of law is important. Meanwhile Trump is eroding and attacking the rule of law in any way possible when it comes to anything having to do with him.

The trade-off is not worth it.

4/21/2019

Sunday Music: Bach’s Easter Oratorio BWV 249

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:28 am

Happy Easter! Today’s Bach piece is his Easter Oratorio.

Today’s Gospel reading is John 20:1-18:

The Empty Tomb

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

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

Come, hurry and run, you speedy feet,
reach the cavern which conceals Jesus!
Laugter and merriment
accompanies our hearts,
since our Savior is risen again.

. . . .

He is risen from the dead!
We encountered an angel
who gave us these tidings.

. . . .

We are delighted
that our Jesus lives again,
and our hearts,
which first dissolved and floated in grief,
forget the pain
and imagine songs of joy;
for our Savior lives again.

It is a day of delight. May we all put aside our differences today and be joyful.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

4/20/2019

Did Mueller Refer Trump for Impeachment?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:23 pm

Remember that I said four days before the Mueller report came out:

I doubt Mueller has made any express “referral” of any of this to Congress, but there will likely be some subtle reference to the notion that the fact that no prosecutions were brought should not preclude Congress from evaluating the material in its oversight capacity. It’s hard for me to imagine the absence of any statement like that, given that Mueller so pointedly refused to exonerate Trump on obstruction. Why make a point of that lack of exoneration if the matter is not to be taken up by Congress in some way?

I was mocked for this by some here, but this was my specific prediction. Indeed, in a comment written ten days before the report came out, I hypothesized as to how such a comment might read:

I’d be surprised if Mueller explicitly referred something to Congress and Barr didn’t mention it — but it’s not impossible. And I would not be at all surprised if Mueller said something like: “This report does not conclude, one way or another, whether the extensive evidence of obstruction of justice laid out above reaches a level that justifies prosecution. Such a pronouncement involves difficult issues of law and fact that the undersigned believes may be more appropriately resolved by Congress. Given that Congress is a co-equal branch with an oversight role that can include sanctions as provided by the Constitution, the undersigned believes that the evidence described above is more appropriately reviewed by Congress to determine whether that body believes that obstruction has occurred — and, if so, what (if any) sanction is appropriate for that obstruction.”

Here is what the report says about impeachment, in relevant part:

The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has issued an opinion finding that “the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions” in violation of “the constitutional separation of powers.”1 [Footnote 1 reads as follows: A Sitting President’s Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, 24 Op. O.L.C. 222, 222, 260 (2000) (OLC Op.).] Given the role of the Special Counsel as an attorney in the Department of Justice and the framework of the Special Counsel regulations, see 28 U.S.C. § 515; 28 C.F.R. § 600.7(a), this Office accepted OLC’s legal conclusion for the purpose of exercising prosecutorial jurisdiction. And apart from OLC’s constitutional view, we recognized that a federal criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President’s capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct.2 [Footnote 2 reads as follows: See U .S. CONST. Art. I § 2, cl. 5; § 3, cl. 6; cf. OLC Op. at 257-258 (discussing relationship between impeachment and criminal prosecution of a sitting President).]

All bold emphasis is mine.

Omitting all the citations and other legal throat-clearing, Mueller is saying: I accepted the OLC opinion that a sitting President cannot be indicted in part because doing so would “potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct” — constitutional processes that include impeachment.

Mueller also took special care to note that, in his view, Congress’s obstruction laws can validly apply to official presidential actions without overstepping Congress’s Article I role or unconstitutionally impinging on the President’s Article II powers:

[W]hen the President’s official actions come into conflict with the prohibitions in the obstruction statutes, any constitutional tension is reconciled through separation-of-powers analysis…. Applying the Court’s framework for analysis, we concluded that Congress can validly regulate the President’s exercise of official duties to prohibit actions motivated by a corrupt intent to obstruct justice. The limited effect on presidential power that results from that restriction would not impermissibly undermine the President’s ability to perform his Article II functions.

(Some journalists have read this incorrectly as saying Congress can criminalize Trump’s behavior specifically, but it’s actually just a general analysis of Congress’s constitutional authority to pass laws that arguably invade the president’s constitutional powers.)

Is any of the above language an explicit impeachment referral? That’s debatable, but I would not waste any energy arguing that it is.

Is it a declaration that Congress is a co-equal branch with an oversight role that can include sanctions as provided by the Constitution, which include impeachment? (In other words, precisely what I predicted?) You bet it is.

Always trust content from Patterico.

4/18/2019

The Mueller Report: Preliminary Reaction to the Reporting

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:36 pm

I have not read the report. I’ve been working today. I’ve seen some of the discussion about it and seen some quotes from it that seem worth commentary, but until I read it (and who knows when that will be) this is all tentative.

Basic takeaway: if Trump managed not to obstruct justice, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. He tried and tried, but could not get his underlings to monkey with the system as he wanted them to.

As for “collusion”: stop using that word. Mueller did not analyze “collusion.” He found that the investigation did not establish a conspiracy with Russia to interfere with the election. Continued use of the term collusion (given its abuse by both sides, as documented below) serves to obscure rather than enlighten.

Now, the detail:

First, on obstruction: this is just a damning passage:

Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations. The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels. These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. Viewing the acts collectively can help to illuminate their significance. For example, the President’s direction to McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed was followed almost immediately by his direction to Lewandowski to tell the Attorney General to limit the scope of the Russia investigation to prospective election-interference only — a temporal connection that suggests that both acts were taken with a related purpose with respect to the investigation.

The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests. Comey did not end the investigation of Flynn, which ultimately resulted in Flynn’s prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI. McGahn did not tell the Acting Attorney General that the Special Counsel must be removed, but was instead prepared to resign over the President’s order. Lewandowski and Dearborn did not deliver the President’s message to Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future election meddling only. And McGahn refused to recede from his recollections about events surrounding the President’s direction to have the Special Counsel removed, despite the President’s multiple demands that he do so. Consistent with that pattern, the evidence we obtained would not support potential obstruction charges against the President’s aides and associates beyond those already filed.

By the way, when I first discussed the story about Trump ordering McGahn to fire Mueller, commenters mocked the story. I won’t embarrass anyone by name, but check out the comments to my post about it. I’m just saying: when you defend Trump and attack Big Media, you are choosing one of two unreliable narrators. If you defend either narrator with too much gusto and not enough introspection, you could end up looking foolish. Seriously, read the comments to that thread.

On collusion:

I hate to break it to you, but the Mueller report did not find “no collusion.” It found that the investigation failed to establish a “conspiracy” with Russian electoral interference. Period.

There was no collusion finding. At all. No collusion finding.

In evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of “collusion.” In so doing, the Office recognized that the word “collud[e]” was used in communications with the Acting Attorney General confirming certain aspects of the investigation’s scope and that the term has frequently been invoked in public reporting about the investigation. But collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. For those reasons, the Office’s focus in analyzing questions of joint criminal liability was on conspiracy as defined in federal law. In connection with that analysis, we addressed the factual question whether members of the Trump Campaign “coordinat[ed]”-a term that appears in the appointment order-with Russian election interference activities. Like collusion, “coordination ” does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law. We understood coordination to require an agreement — tacit or express — between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference. That requires more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions or interests. We applied the term coordination in that sense when stating in the report that the investigation did not establish that the Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

I’ve seen dopey analysis of this all day. At the gym, I saw a CNN chyron saying “no collusion.” Nope! The report made no such finding. Similarly, I saw a widely cited former federal prosecutor, Renato Mariotti, tweet about Mueller’s “conclusion regarding ‘collusion'” and claim that Mueller “interpreted [collusion] to require an ‘agreement … with the Russian government on election interference.’”

This is entirely wrong, as shown by simply reading the very passage Mariotti quotes. Mueller made no “conclusion regarding ‘collusion'” because (as just explained) Mueller explicitly disclaimed any attempt to analyze the term “collusion” because it has no place in the relevant federal statutes.

Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, all of a sudden you have both sides gaslighting the other side and moving the goalposts all over the place.

On the right, many folks seem to be saying that literally everyone on Earth has been using the term “collusion” to refer to a criminal conspiracy, and to claim otherwise is just gaslighting and goalpost-shifting, and so: Mueller found no collusion! To those who say that literally everyone said collusion necessarily referred only to criminal activity, I respond: did I dream Rudy Giuliani saying “Collusion is not a crime”? No:

Did I dream Donald Trump tweeting: “Collusion is not a crime?” No:

But the left is doing the same kind of gaslighting and goalpost-shifting. To the extent that folks on the left are claiming “we never said the term collusion referred to criminal activity” they are also full of it, because plenty did. Here is Seth Waxman’s pinned tweet:

Waxman Collusion

And here’s PolitiFact claiming that Trump was factually wrong when he said: “Collusion is not a crime.”

PolitiFact Collusion

As my now pinned tweet says:

It’s the first tweet I have ever pinned to my Twitter profile.

My real concern is not a partisan bickering over the meaning of a term that is not used in the law in the relevant context. It’s that a) the Mueller report clearly says that Mueller did not make a ruling on “collusion” but the Attorney General of the United States this morning repeatedly falsely said that Mueller had:

Indeed, as the report states, “[t]he investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons knowingly or intentionally coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation.” Put another way, the Special Counsel found no “collusion” by any Americans in the IRA’s illegal activity.

. . . .

But again, the Special Counsel’s report did not find any evidence that members of the Trump campaign or anyone associated with the campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its hacking operations. In other words, there was no evidence of Trump campaign “collusion” with the Russian government’s hacking.

. . . .

So that is the bottom line. After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the Special Counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes.

After finding no underlying collusion with Russia, the Special Counsel’s report goes on to consider whether certain actions of the President could amount to obstruction of the Special Counsel’s investigation.

. . . .

Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion.

I cannot begin to reconcile these statements with the crystal clear language of Bob Mueller: In evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of “collusion.”

I think Barr’s comments here were disgracefully political, and wholly inaccurate and misleading. Barr repeatedly said that Mueller ruled out “collusion” — something that Mueller said he did not analyze at all.

These comments seriously undercut Barr’s credibility in my eyes — as did his refusal to summarize and/or quote Mueller on obstruction (a topic highly unfavorable to Trump) while saying “no collusion” over and over.

More if and when I read this thing. Don’t hold your breath.

Mueller Report Appetizer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:42 am

[guest post by Dana]

Our host will be posting his thoughts on the Mueller report this evening. In the meantime, here’s something for you to chew on. Or chew up:

Untitled

–Dana

4/17/2019

Judea Pearl Renounces NYU Alumnus Award After Anti-Israel Group Is Honored

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:36 pm

[guest post by Dana]

New York University’s Students for Justice in Palestine organization will be honored with the President’s Service Award tonight in New York. The group posted the announcement on their Facebook page last week:

We are thrilled to announce that we have been selected to receive a presidential service award at NYU. Despite the pushback we have received from our institution, we agree that we have made ‘significant contributions to the university community in the areas of learning, leadership, and quality of student life.’ Anyway, New York University, divest from Israeli apartheid. Xoxo.”

Vigorously opposing the the selection of SJP for the award is Judea Pearl, noted alumnus and father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl:

Turing Award winner Judea Pearl has renounced his status as a distinguished alumnus of New York University, following the school’s decision to award its Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter — which orchestrated an ongoing boycott of Zionist student clubs — for “extraordinary and positive impact on the University community.”

Pearl, who graduated with a doctoral degree from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering in 1965, was granted a Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Polytechnic Alumni Association during a campus lecture in 2013 and is currently a chancellor’s professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He also leads a foundation named after his late son, journalist Daniel Pearl, who was killed by Islamic terrorists in 2002 while on assignment in Pakistan.

Pearl explained why he is protesting the selection of SJP:

“In the past five years, SJP has resorted to intimidation tactics that have made me, my colleagues and my students unwelcome and unsafe on our own campus,” Pearl wrote in a letter to NYU President Andrew Hamilton. “The decision to confer an award on SJP, renders other NYU awards empty of content, and suspect of reckless selection process.”

Pearl attempted to discuss his concerns with university officials, but given the condescending response, it’s clear his complaints fell on deaf ears:

Pearl stated that his efforts to engage with university officials over these concerns “have been met with platitudes about ‘free speech’ despite the fact that the US State Department now includes, in its definition of discrimination, intimidation based on race, religion and ethnicity.”

“Mr. President, I have been in academia for close to 50 years, and I know the difference between free speech and campus norms,” he continued. “Entrusted with the mandate of maintaining a climate of learning and mutual respect, your office should distance itself from the SJP selection and explain to the campus why such distancing is necessary. In the absence of a corrective action by your office the academic standing of this university is begging for other voices to call out the Orwellian character of (SJP’s) award.”

Pearl tweeted:

How can you tell when your university administrators are embarrassed by their own words? When they start lecturing you on “free speech” — the ultimate blanket for inaction or lack of courage…

From university spokesman John Beckman:

The President’s Service Award is annually granted to more than 50 extra-curricular clubs and 100 individuals, which are selected by a group of student affairs staff members and a student representative.

“While many in our university community disagree with the SJP, we will continue to defend the rights of our students and others to express their opposing views,” the official asserted.

As a reminder, here is an example of how members of SJP made an “extraordinary and positive impact on the University community, including achievements within schools and departments, the University at large, local neighborhoods, and NYU’s presence in the world.”:

Upon learning that SJP would be honored with a Presidential Service Award, NYU student organization Realize Israel posted this statement on their Facebook page [in full]:

It has come to our attention that on April 4th, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) announced that they had been selected to receive the NYU President’s Service Award. We are outraged that the University would award an organization that has spent the last several years making Jewish and pro-Israel students feel unwelcome and unsafe on campus.

The NYU President’s Service Award is given to individual students or student organizations that have had “an extraordinary and positive impact on the University community” and that promotes “learning, leadership, and quality of student life at New York University.” SJP’s actions toward our community reflect none of these values.

Over the past year, SJP has led a boycott of Jewish and pro-Israel organizations by 50+ NYU “student groups.” Members of SJP defaced Israel’s flag and physically assaulted pro-Israel students for openly celebrating their identities, and members of SJP brought forward not one, but two one-sided and factually inaccurate anti-Israel resolutions to the Student Government Assembly through a non-transparent, unbalanced, and undemocratic process.

By presenting the NYU President’s Award to SJP, not only is our university condoning violence and discrimination against members of the NYU community, but it is declaring that this type of behavior represents the ethos of our university.

We are conducting an investigation to determine who selected SJP to receive this award and are committed to dialogue with those who made this decision so that they understand the severity of the situation and the repercussions of their actions on the NYU community.

We also believe it is high time that the administration put an end to this endless cycle of intimidation, and we plan to voice our concerns about the systemic anti-Semitism perpetuated by anti-Israel activism that is plaguing our campus.

Coincidentally, Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace activists were co-hosting an event at NYU featuringBDS Movement co-founder Omar Barghouti , but Barghouti found himself denied entry to the U.S. today. Contrary to protests that “this is only the latest in a series of attempts to suppress Palestinian voices,” the reason for not allowing Barghouti into the U.S. seems pretty darn reasonable:

In 2007, Barghouti founded, and runs to this day, a Ramallah-based umbrella group called the BDS National Committee that serves as the leading group organizing and promoting BDS outside the United States. The reason Barghouti was barred from entering the U.S. is not because he advocates BDS or Israel’s destruction. There is no speech issue here at all.

The reason he was barred is because the group Barghouti runs includes five U.S.-designated terrorist organizations in its membership: Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, and the Popular Front – General Command.

–Dana

4/14/2019

Trump Does Not Actually Care About the Dangers Posed by Illegal Immigrants

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 5:59 pm

Donald Trump has finally revealed that he does not actually care about the dangers posed to Americans by illegal immigrants. He has revealed that his talk about sanctuary cities — one of the few points on which I agreed with him — was insincere.

How do I know this? I’ll tell you. Watch this.

Mexico is now apprehending and bringing back to the various countries that we’re talking about — Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador — they’re bringing people back to those countries; Colombia, to a certain extent — and they’re going back to those countries.

But we could fix that and so fast if the Democrats would agree. But if they don’t agree, we might as well do what they always say they want: We’ll bring the illegal — really, you call them the “illegals.” I call them the “illegals.” They came across the border illegally. We’ll bring them to sanctuary city areas and let that particular area take care of it, whether it’s a state or whatever it might be. California certainly is always saying, “Oh, we want more people.” And they want more people in their sanctuary cities.

Well, we’ll give them more people. We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply. And let’s see if they’re so happy. They say, “We have open arms.” They’re always saying they have open arms. Let’s see if they have open arms.

The reflex reaction on the right to this is: ha ha! You stupid people in sanctuary cities! We’re gonna stick you with these problem illegals! Let’s see how you like it!

I understand that reaction. If you don’t think about it, it’s sort of an automatic reaction for people frustated with the illegal immigration issue to have. You guys think illegals are so great? Here, have some more!

And plenty of those places — not all, but some — are saying: sure, we’ll do that. And the knee-jerk partisan claptrap takes up all the oxygen.

And nobody stops to think.

But here’s the thing.

Do that. Stop, for just one moment, to think. Take one moment to step back and ask yourself: what is the problem with sanctuary cities? I’m serious. Pause, stop reading this, and answer that question. Say the answer to yourself. Whatever you think the answer to that question is, say it out loud. I’ll help in a moment by stating what I think the problem is.

Once you say it out loud, and then realize that the President is suggesting that we send more illegal immigrants to these places, you’ll see why I am so contemptuous of this plan.

For my take on what the problem is with sanctuary cities, I’ll give you the short version and the long version. Here’s the short version:

For the long version, I’m going to quote at length from a post I wrote in the summer of 2015 about the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, California:

The murder of 31-year-old Kate Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco could have been prevented. Before the murder, authorities had the confessed killer in custody, and knew he was an illegal alien. ICE had told them. But, thanks to San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” policy, police knowingly let him go.

Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 9.43.32 AM
Above: Kate Steinle, whose murder resulted from San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” policy

Police were required to let the illegal alien go — under San Francisco’s glorious and progressive “sanctuary city” policy:

The man accused of gunning down a 32-year-old Pleasanton woman while she was out strolling San Francisco’s Embarcadero with her father was in a Bay Area jail less than four months ago and should have been turned over to federal immigration officials upon his release, instead of being set free, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

But that’s not the way the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Legal Counsel Freya Horne sees it. In an interview Friday with NBC Bay Area, she said the city and county of San Francisco are sanctuaries for immigrants, and they do not turn over undocumented people – if they don’t have active warrants out for them – simply because immigration officials want them to.

. . . .

San Francisco Police Officer Grace Gatpandan Gatpandan added that San Francisco is a “sanctuary city, so we do not hand over people to ICE.” She also said that the police are “not responsible” for Sanchez once he is booked into county jail, “meaning we do not have control over his release.”

The suspect, Francisco Sanchez, has confessed to the murder.

The policy that caused Sanchez to be released, Ordinance 130764, was passed by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and signed by San Francisco’s mayor in the fall of 2013. Its sponsors were San Francisco Supervisors John Avalos; London Breed, David Campos, David Chiu (now a former supervisor), Malia Cohen, Jane Kim, Eric Mar, and Norman Yee. It was signed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Everybody in this story is pointing the finger at someone else, but everyone is complicit. The police complain that they were required to release Sanchez. But ICE notes that, actually, police could simply have notified ICE that they were going to release him: “The federal law enforcement source told CNN the sheriff’s department ‘didn’t even need to hold him. They simply could have notified that they were going to release him and we would have gotten him.'”

Obama and the feds (ICE) are not off the hook here, either.

ICE is pointing its finger at the San Francisco policy and the police, but consider: ICE had this guy first, and released him to a sanctuary city, knowing they would probably let him go. According to CNN, “ICE said it turned Lopez-Sanchez over to San Francisco authorities on March 26 for an outstanding drug warrant.” NBC tells us that this case was “a marijuana case that was about 20 years old.”

So: ICE officials knew Sanchez had been deported 5 times before. They knew that, after his last deportation, he was convicted of illegal re-entry and served several years in federal prison. But, upon his release from federal prison, rather than deport him, they turned him over to San Francisco officials for a 20-year-old marijuana case, knowing that San Francisco has this sanctuary policy. Shockingly, the D.A. declined to pursue the case, leading to his release (rather than being returned to ICE custody).

Federal officials should refuse to turn over illegal aliens to sanctuary cities for state prosecutions, unless the state prosecutions are for crimes of violence, or crimes in which the alien is facing several years in prison. Turning over aliens to sanctuary cities, for potential prosecution for low-level non-violent crimes for which they face little time in custody, is tantamount to releasing them outright. Federal officials have the right to say: “if you want to prosecute this guy, you sign a document saying you will return him to us. Otherwise you don’t get him at all. We will deport him.”

The failure to implement this policy is squarely on Obama. And the refusal to secure the border, allowing this guy to come back again and again and again, is also on Obama and the Democrats.

The problem with sanctuary cities is that criminal illegal aliens in sanctuary cities are more likely to successfully evade the reach of the federal immigration authorities, because the local police refuse to cooperate with ICE. That puts society at risk. The more illegals are sent to sanctuary cities, the more danger is created.

If you think that’s hilarious, because everyone walking around a sanctuary city has it coming, then tell that to the family of the beautiful young girl shown above — and then go take a long walk off a short pier. She was a resident of a sanctuary city, so I guess it was her fault, huh?

If Trump actually carries through with this policy, he will be endangering people, to make a cheap political point. Like a chump sucker, I thought that Donald J. Trump actually cared about this issue — as much of a cretin as he is otherwise. But he doesn’t, really. Donald Trump is willing and indeed very happy to put American citizens at greater risk — as long as they live (or vacation) in cities whose policies he doesn’t like.

Anticipating the Mueller Report

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:41 am

The Mueller report should come out soon. What should we expect? I figured I’d put some of my thoughts on the site, just off the top of my head.

I don’t think the report will put it quite this way, but here’s what I think some of the more salient facts are, that will likely be borne out by the report.

The Russians had a campaign to disrupt the 2016 elections and to help Donald Trump win the election. The Trump campaign was aware of parts of this campaign, for example through Roger Stone. The campaign was approached by Russian operatives and in at least one case took them up on a meeting, with relatives of the President and his Krelim-connected campaign chairman meeting with someone representing the Kremlin. Afterwards, Donald Trump helped draft a statement lying about the nature of the meeting. Kremlin officials greenlighted a possible Trump-related real estate project in Moscow. The president’s lawyer later lied about the extent of these contacts to Congress, almost certainly with Trump’s knowledge and after consulting with lawyers connected to Trump. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign did a major favor for Russia by tipping them off that Trump was willing to go softer on sanctions that are very damaging to the corrupt and kleptocratic Putin regime.

However, no prosecutable case can found of the Trump campaign conspiring with Russia on any of these fronts. There is no indication that they helped to hack any computers. The lightening up on sanctions is a policy that Trump likely favored regardless of whether he got help from the Russian government, given that Trump is a huge personal fan of the murderous autocrat Putin, as evidenced by his sycophantic statements at Helsinki and elsewhere. As repellent as those statements are, and as counterproductive to human rights as the lifting of sanctions might be, all of this is more the product of Trump’s admiration for murderers and strongmen than the product of blackmail or (as the Steele dossier alleged) a quid pro quo for the help Russia gave Trump in electing him.

As often happens, allegations that would sink another person will roll off Trump’s back because what would be inexplicable for a normal human being can be explained as the result of the President being highly erratic and morally compromised in general, as well as being a giant asshole.

I doubt Mueller has made any express “referral” of any of this to Congress, but there will likely be some subtle reference to the notion that the fact that no prosecutions were brought should not preclude Congress from evaluating the material in its oversight capacity. It’s hard for me to imagine the absence of any statement like that, given that Mueller so pointedly refused to exonerate Trump on obstruction. Why make a point of that lack of exoneration if the matter is not to be taken up by Congress in some way?

I figured anything I said would be more meaningful if I put my cards on the table before the report comes out. Put your own cards on the table in comments below.

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 106

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is Palm Sunday. Today’s Bach cantata is “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit” (God’s time is the very best time).

The video is worth watching as you listen.

Today’s Gospel reading is the passion story, as recounted in Luke 22:14-23:56:

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That’s enough!” he replied.

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Jesus Arrested

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

Peter Disowns Jesus

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

The Guards Mock Jesus

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him.

Jesus Before Pilate and Herod

At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”

Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”

He replied, “You say that I am.”

Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

The Burial of Jesus

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

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

Into Your hands I commit my spirit, You have redeemed me, Lord, faithful God.

Today you will be with Me in Paradise.

With peace and joy I depart
in God’s will,
My heart and mind are comforted,
calm, and quiet.
As God had promised me:
death has become my sleep.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

4/13/2019

Rep. Omar Takes President Trump’s Words Out Of Context, Fans Cheer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 1:32 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Piggybacking on Patterico’s post, I want to point out how quickly the goalposts move and the rules of the game change in partisan politics.

Last week, an 11-month old video hit the internet after President Trump’s visit to the U.S. Mexico border. According to critics, the President referred to immigrants and asylum seekers as “animals” in the video. While the clip confirms that he did use the word “animals” as a descriptor, the full video provides the necessary context which proves his critics wrong.

Here is a clip of the video (provided by C-SPAN):

Here is the full video (provided by CNN):

Here is the text of the exchange:

Sheriff Margaret Mims: “There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.”

President Donald Trump: “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.”

Interestingly, here is how Rep. Ilhan Omar reacted 5 days ago to the re-released video:

Untitled

To the cheers of her supporters, Omar intentionally took Trump’s words out of context to bolster her continued criticism of his handling of border enforcement. Clearly it was a specific group of individuals coming across the border to whom Trump was referring. And they were not asylum seekers, in the way that Omar was referencing.

This makes it all the more rich to see Omar and her supporters now crying foul because they believe her 9/11 comments were taken out of context and twisted because of racism.

Two points: I watched the full video Omar’s comments, and she seems pretty clear in what she is saying. She is a grown woman and an elected official, therefore I am happy to give her credit for saying what she means and meaning what she says. With that, I am getting really tired of media types coming to the defense of Omar (along with Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) as if they were small children not responsible for their own words and deeds:

But there’s something distinctly racial (and gendered) about the aggression directed at Omar, who is black and one of the first Muslim women in Congress. She has been surrounded by controversy and personal attacks since she took office in January — attacks that are explicitly about silencing outspoken women of color.

And she is not the only one.

Oh bullshit. Claiming that mean old controversy keeps surrounding them conveys the belief that controversy just spontaneously happens completely apart from what these elected officials say and do, as if they have no agency, political will or presence. In my book, if you’re in public office, you better be ready to be criticized and raked over the coals for every damn word you say, and every action you take (on behalf of the American people) because that is part of the job. Blaming controversy as a whole on racism, or religion, or on an “effort to silence women of color” is just too convenient and easy. This thinking removes self-responsibility and agency, and replaces it with a poor me attitude. Knock it off. It’s like people believe Omar (and Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez) are innocents “surrounded by controversy” because it simply follows them home like some unwanted, uninvited intruder over whom they have absolutely no control. They are grown women who have been elected by Americans to represent them fairly and without reservation. If they want to court controversy by using provocative language directed at select groups of people, denigrate various pockets of Americans, or be dismissive of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, let them. And let them own it as well. They’re adults, and they’re elected officials. Let’s let them be just that.

[Ed. There is no doubt that there are hateful individuals out there that are indeed racist and bigoted toward these women, and are offended by their presence in Congress. I don’t know any personally nor have I read any of their writings, but given human nature, there is clearly no doubt that they do exist. However, to believe that everyone who disagrees with, or is critical of Omar, Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez are by default, racist and bigoted, is simply being intellectually dishonest and lazy. Knock it off.]

–Dana

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