The Jury Talks Back


Anonymous Sources: Hillary, DNC Paid for Infamous Trump Dossier

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:44 pm


The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.

After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

If you are someone who often cautions against crediting stories that hurt Trump and are based on anonymous sources, I recommend that you ignore all qualms and triumphantly accept this story as 100% true. This time anonymous sources are credible because insert your rationale here.

Whether true or not, the story is interesting and will no doubt lead to much discussion.

UPDATE: This line is also worth discussion:

Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.


Sen. Jeff Flake Won’t Run For Re-Election

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:23 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Arizona’s Senator Jeff Flake gave a searing speech today on the Senate floor when he announced that he will not seek re-election in 2018. He went for broke and challenged President Trump and Republican party leadership as he reminded them, among other things, that no one is indispensable.

A few significant portions:

It must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret, because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics, regret because of the indecency of our discourse, regret because of the coarseness of our leadership, regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our – all of our – complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.

In this century, a new phrase has entered the language to describe the accommodation of a new and undesirable order – that phrase being “the new normal.” But we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue – with the tone set at the top.

We must never regard as “normal” the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country – the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.

None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal.

Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as “telling it like it is,” when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.

And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength – because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.

I am aware that a segment of my party believes that anything short of complete and unquestioning loyalty to a president who belongs to my party is unacceptable and suspect.

If I have been critical, it not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States. If I have been critical, it is because I believe that it is my obligation to do so, as a matter of duty and conscience. The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters – the notion that one should say and do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.

It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, and who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party – the party that for so long has defined itself by belief in those things. It is also clear to me for the moment we have given in or given up on those core principles in favor of the more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment. To be clear, the anger and resentment that the people feel at the royal mess we have created are justified. But anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.

There is an undeniable potency to a populist appeal – but mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problems and giving in to the impulse to scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people. In the case of the Republican party, those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking minority party.

P.S. Kelli Ward , in spite of three recent polls putting her at a 15 point lead over Flake, just might be counting her chickens before they’ve hatched.


Sen. Ted Cruz Endorses Roy Moore For Alabama’s Vacant Senate Seat

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 12:55 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last week, Senate candidate Roy Moore told TIME that magazine that it was a violation of the law for NFL players to kneel during the playing of the national anthem:

In an interview with TIME magazine, the Alabama Republican argued that NFL players and others who have protested police violence are violating a section of the U.S. code which outlines how people should conduct themselves when the anthem is played. …

“It’s against the law, you know that?” he said. “It was a [sic] act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.” …

“I back the President in upholding respect for the patriotism for our country, on two grounds,” he said. “One, it’s respect for the law. If we don’t respect the law, what kind of country are we going to have? Two, it’s respect for those who have fallen and given the ultimate sacrifice. I’m surprised that no one brought this up.”

He added that it’s a matter of the “the rule of law.”

“If they didn’t have it in there, it would just be tradition. But this is law,” he said. “If we disobey this, what else are we going to disobey?[“]

At the link Eugene Volokh examines the federal statute, and lays out why “none of this would apply to people refusing to stand for the national anthem at an NFL stadium”.

Moore, as a reminder, has made some controversial remarks such as suggesting that 9/11 could have been a result of Americans turning their backs on God, Putin might be right about gay marriage, Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen, and Muslims should not serve in Congress while the U.S. is at war with Al Quaeda, etc.

Today, Sen Ted Cruz announced he was endorsing Roy Moore for the U.S. Senate:

This December, the People of Alabama have a clear choice.

They can choose a liberal Democrat, who will stand with Chuck Schumer to raise taxes, weaken our military, open our border, and undermine our constitutional rights. Or, they can choose to elect Judge Roy Moore, a conservative who will proudly defend Alabama values.

I strongly urge the voters to elect Judge Roy Moore. Judge Moore has a lifelong passion for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and he has the courage of his convictions.

In the Senate, we need reinforcements; we desperately need strong conservatives who will stand up to the Washington status quo.
Please join me in supporting Judge Moore on December 12.

For Liberty,
Ted Cruz

The timing of Cruz’s endorsement is just a bit interesting, to say the least. You might even find it coincidental:

The news comes just weeks after Moore’s chief booster — Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon — vowed to recruit primary opponents to run against Republican incumbents in next year’s election, save for Cruz.

Cruz, who with Bannon shares close ties to mega-donors Robert and Rebekah Mercer, declined to endorse a Republican in the primary. He joins conservative Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., in backing Moore now.

Moore’s opponent in the special election is Democrat Doug Jones, who reportedly checks off any list of litmus test issues for progressives.


HMMM: The Curious Reason Trump Did Not Sanction This Company Run By Iran’s Revolutionary Guard

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:30 am

President Trump has a new policy towards Iran. As Susan Wright recently explained, Trump has said (among other things) that “he would be instructing the Treasury Department to sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] over its support of terrorism in the Middle East.” Trump called this a “long overdue step” — and it was.

There is, however, one company that is clearly tied to the IRGC that is curiously not getting sanctioned: Azarpassillo. You’ll never guess what distinguishes this company from the rest. Yup, sure enough, Azarpassillo has done business with the Trump Organization:

After Trump’s speech, the Treasury named Shahid Alamolhoda Industries, Rastafann Ertebat Engineering Company, and Fanamoj as, essentially, tools of the Revolutionary Guard. Strikingly, the Treasury did not name Azarpassillo, an Iranian firm with a leadership made up of lifelong Revolutionary Guard officers. Azarpassillo’s leaders have been named by U.S. officials as likely money launderers for the Revolutionary Guard and, through their international construction operations, the company is ideally suited to provide W.M.D. components.

Azarpassillo has another interesting connection; one of its apparent partners in money laundering, the Mammadov family of Azerbaijan, was also, until quite recently, in business with the Trump Organization. In fact, for the entire Presidential campaign, the Trump Organization knew that it was actively involved with a company that was likely laundering money for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. This is not a wild conspiracy theory; it is an acknowledged fact, confirmed by Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s general counsel, and not disputed by the White House or any of the people involved. Ivanka Trump directly oversaw the relationship with the Mammadov family, led by Ziya Mammadov, a man whom American diplomats have called “notoriously corrupt even for Azerbaijan.”

Davidson first revealed the Trump Organization’s dealings with Azarpassillo in March, although I just learned about it yesterday. With a #FAKENEWSMEDIA that is notoriously hostile to Trump, it is curious how little play the story has received. Some Democrat senators have shown interest and asked questions, but the arrangement has certainly not been the subject of unrelenting consecutive days of television coverage.

Davidson’s pieces do not accuse Trump of a secretive support for the IRGC. Davidson says: “There is no reason to think that anyone in the Trump Organization was intentionally seeking to help the Iranians.” He notes that Trump’s top lawyer is an Orthodox Jew, who supports Israel and abhors Iran. But, Davidson explains, the Trump Organization has been licensing Trump’s name around the world to “people and businesses who were unable—or unwilling—to work with the vast majority of international companies which demand comprehensive due diligence.” The results are unsurprising:

A remarkable number of Trump’s business partners met one or more of the warning signs of troubling business practices: they had been investigated or convicted of fraud or other economic crimes; they were government officials in a position to abuse their power for financial gain; or they were secretive entities, hidden behind shell companies.

It’s not that Trump is trying to help the IRGC. It’s that the Trump Organization has been willfully blind to the shady doings of many of its business partners. As Davidson noted in his March piece, this may have violated the law, as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act “made it a crime for an American company to unknowingly benefit from a partner’s corruption if it could have discovered illicit activity but avoided doing so.”

If Trump were to include Azarpassillo on the list of sanctioned companies, it would be an open admission by the administration that the Trump Organization has done business with a company connected to the Revolutionary Guard and money laundering. And Trump’s motto is: no matter how obviously true something is, you don’t admit it if it hurts Donald Trump. Apparently, even if it is in the nation’s security interest.

I’m frankly at a loss as to how Trump supporters will defend this. The salient facts are beyond dispute. Azarpassillo is run by IRGC officers. The Mammadovs’ connection to the Revolutionary Guard has been publicly known for several years. The Trump Organization’s lawyer “learned of the Mammadov family’s likely relationship to Azarpassillo in the summer of 2015.”

By leaving Azarpassillo off the list of sanctioned companies, Trump is putting his personal interests ahead of the interests of the country. Similarly, those who defend him on this are sacrificing the interests of the United States in favor of their narrow partisan interest in defending Donald Trump, come hell or high water.

UPDATE: Commenters point out that I should have been more careful to note in the post that, according to Davidson, the Trump Organization did business, not directly with a company run by the IRGC, but with a corrupt money-laundering partner of a company run by the IRGC. I don’t think this renders Trump’s decision not to sanction Azarpassillo any less suspect. The mileage of Trump partisans may vary and probably does.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


David French: LOL At O’Reilly’s Release Of Lis Wiehl’s Affidavit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 8:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

On the heels of the NYT report about Bill O’Reilly’s humongous $32 million payout to former Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl, the no-spinmeister released the full text of Wiehl’s artfully worded affidavit.

First, David French offers an explainer:

…statements like this aren’t uncommon after settlements — especially when those settlements involve prominent people or prominent institutions. Part of the “purchase price” of the settlement often includes a statement that defendants use to try to claim that the litigation was nonsense from the beginning. Plaintiffs will accept the payout and do their best to negotiate language that’s as meaningless as possible. They want the settlement amount to do the talking. Negotiations over statements or affidavits can sometimes be more complex and contentious than negotiations over even seven-figure payouts. The wording is careful, and the statements are notable mainly for what they don’t say.

He then breaks down the statement in an amusing fashion, showing why he doesn’t believe it exonerates O’Reilly, in spite of that being the hoped for outcome:

1. I have known Bill O’Reilly for over 18 years. We have worked together, we have socialized, and on occasion I gave him legal advice.

Translation: I used to work with Bill O’Reilly.

2. At the end of 2016, I hired counsel who prepared a draft complaint asserting claims against Bill O’Reilly. We have since resolved all of our issues. I would no longer make the allegations contained in the draft complaint.

Translation: I sued O’Reilly, he paid me $32 million, and I agreed to drop the suit. I “would no longer make the allegations” because every settlement agreement ever created in the entire history of the universe bars the plaintiff from ever again raising her original claims.

3. Additionally, over the years while I was acting as Bill O’Reilly’s counsel, he forwarded to me certain explicit emails that were sent to him, and any advice sought or rendered is attorney-client privileged, confidential, and private. I have no claims against Bill O’Reilly concerning any of those emails or any of the allegations in the draft complaint.

Translation: My lawyers are very, very good. Admire their handiwork. If you read closely, all I said is that he sent me explicit emails, I can’t talk about them, and I have (note the verb tense) no claims. Of course I currently have no claims; I settled them for $32 million.

4. Also, I have reached an accommodation with Fox News regarding the termination of my employment. I have no claims against Fox News.

Translation: Same verb tense as the previous paragraph, y’all. I have no claims because I settled those claims.

Allahpundit asks the question that answers itself:

What the affidavit doesn’t say is that she recants the allegations in her complaint as having been untrue. You’re left wondering why, if nothing happened between them, there’s nothing in there that states plainly, “I, Lis Wiehl, hereby acknowledge that Bill O’Reilly never harassed, assaulted, raped, or behaved otherwise inappropriately with me in any way.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson have both responded to the news of O’Reilly’s whopping $32 million payout. O’Reilly, true to form, is punching back.

Today, O’Reilly also came out and said that he is mad at God about the sexual misconduct allegations, and that he regrets having settled with Wiehl.


Bill Browder’s U.S. Visa Waiver Cancelled, Quickly Restored, After Bogus Putin Interpol Notice

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:51 pm

So I wrote a spittle-flecked post at RedState about the cancellation of Bill Browder’s US visa waiver pursuant to yet another bogus Interpol notice from Vladimir Putin. Fortunately, I saved my rage for Putin and gave Trump the benefit of the doubt. Then I went to look at Browder’s Twitter after the post was published and saw that Browder’s visa waiver had been restored a couple of hours earlier. (I saw no news stories about the restoration despite looking before posting.)

Anyway, there’s no point in repeating the whole clusterfark here, so I will merely link the post. I repeat that the U.S. needs to fix the system so that Putin can’t do this again.

Sgt. Johnson’s Widow: Congresswoman’s Account Was Not “Fabricated”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:11 am

I figured (and hoped) we were done with this, but both Trump and Big Media evidently want it to continue. So here we are.

Here’s Myeshia Johnson’s interview with George Snuffleupagus:

Ms. Johnson asked for the call to be put on speaker so her aunt and uncle could hear. She did not like Trump’s tone. She said that he said: “He knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyways.” She said of Trump: “I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name.” She said the only way he could remember her husband’s name was because his file was in front of him. (Trump told her he had the file in front of him.) She said the call made her very upset. “It made me cry even worse.”

She said of Rep. Wilson: “She’s been in our family since we were little kids.” Her uncle in law had been Ms. Wilson’s elementary school principal (I’m assuming she means Ms. Wilson was his principal), and her husband had been in her 5000 Role Model program. As for what funny hat Congresswoman Frederica Wilson said about the call, Ms. Johnson said:

Whatever Miss Wilson said was not fabricated. What she said was 100% correct. It was Master Sgt. Neil, me, my aunt, and uncle, and the driver, and Ms. Wilson in the car. The phone was on speaker phone. Why would we fabricate something like that?

Asked whether she had anything more to say to Trump, she said no.

But Trump has more to say!

It is political genius to directly contradict the widow’s account. Eight-dimensional chess? Nah. Twenty-dimensional, at least!

Andrew C. McCarthy On The Clinton (And Obama!) Uranium Scandal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Over the weekend, Andrew C. McCarthy published an important piece on the Clinton uranium scandal. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth your time. Here are the key paragraphs:

Here’s the kicker: The Uranium One scandal is not only, or even principally, a Clinton scandal. It is an Obama-administration scandal.

The Clintons were just doing what the Clintons do: cashing in on their “public service.” The Obama administration, with Secretary Clinton at the forefront but hardly alone, was knowingly compromising American national-security interests. The administration green-lighted the transfer of control over one-fifth of American uranium-mining capacity to Russia, a hostile regime — and specifically to Russia’s state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate, Rosatom. Worse, at the time the administration approved the transfer, it knew that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was engaged in a lucrative racketeering enterprise that had already committed felony extortion, fraud, and money-laundering offenses.

McCarthy’s time as a federal prosecutor provides key context for the late and lenient slap on the wrist the key player received — something at odds with normal DoJ policy, but which (if revealed in a timely and normal fashion) would have imperiled Obama’s desired pie-in-the-sky “reset” with Russia. Meanwhile, Congress was kept in the dark, and the original whistleblower was threatened with prosecution if he opened his damn mouth. And always, in the background, is the spectre of the dirty Clintons, raking in the cash in their normal disgusting corrupt fashion.

Lock her up She’s suffered enough, folks. Can’t we all stop talking about this, because of the magnanimity and the thing?

Read it all.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


Donald Trump’s Permanent $1 Trillion Deficit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 11:30 am

A fella named Stan Collender at Forbes says that Trump is headed for a permanent $1 trillion deficit:

Here’s how the annual $1 trillion budget deficits will happen.

In July, the Congressional Budget Office projected (Table 1) that the Trump fiscal 2018 budget will result in an average annual deficit of about $677 billion between 2018 and 2022. But that took the Trump budget pr[o]posals at face value and assumed Congress would agree to all the spending cuts proposed by the White House, something that the House and Senate have already shown no interest in doing. That makes the average annual baseline deficit over the next five years closer to $750 billion.

While the White House and its congressional supporters insist the tax cut the House and Senate will consider in the next month or so will eventually pay for itself with much higher economic growth rates, the congressional budget resolution passed by the Senate late last Thursday (and highly likely to be accepted by the House) assumes that the deficit will increase by about $150 billion a year over the next 10 years. Nonpartisan analyses show that the deficit will increase by an average of between $220 billion and $240 billion between 2018 and 2027 and even more thereafter. An average of the three estimates results in about a $200 billion increase in the budget deficit for each of the next five years.

That will make the annual deficit around $940 billion.

There’s more.

The “more” includes things like increased military spending, disaster assistance, and the like, all pushing our permanent deficit above $1 trillion.

You don’t have to agree with every aspect of Collender’s numerical analysis to see that Trump is not interested in controlling spending. Remember: former deficit hawk turned spendthrift Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney said: “We need to have new deficits because of that. We need to have the growth.” This is not the language of someone who is going to push for spending cuts. Our biggest issue going forward is entitlements, and Trump promised you during the campaign that reforming entitlements was not on the table.

I got very angry at President Obama for exploding our deficits and our debt:

But on the debt and deficit, he has been an unparalleled disaster.

Barack Obama has exploded our debt and shows no signs of letting up. The damage he is wreaking upon this nation will take decades to recover from — if we ever do. He is certainly making my children’s futures far more miserable.

Trump appears to be heading down the same road. The only difference today is that the GOP will be openly applauding him for it, or at least shrugging it all off like it’s no big deal. And a GOP Congress — which sometimes pretends to act on behalf of limited government when a Democrat is in office — gains zero political mileage out of opposing big spending when it is proposed by a Republican president.

And the apparently small minority of us former Republicans who actually cared about limited government and controlling spending are left shaking our heads in disbelief.

Meanwhile, the too-malleable word “conservative,” which used to stand for the small government envisioned by the Founders, now stands for “Whatever Donald Trump Says.” Which means that, in the view of unprincipled partisan Trump fanbois, I am now “not a conservative” — because I am criticizing the Wonderful Donald Trump. Never mind that I am saying the exact same things I have always said, and truthfully applying my long-held principles to Trump as I applied them to Obama. No matter. Posts like this will earn comments like “You’ve become just like Little Green Footballs” and “this endless Trump criticism is why I barely read you any more” and nonsense like that.

But remaining silent about the debt, while inventing clever and insulting terms for people who care about it and criticize Trump over it, will make someone a very popular and widely read “conservative” columnist.

2017, man. 2017.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Bill O’Reilly Paid $32 Million To Settle Harassment Claim, Fox Offered Him Lucrative Contract Anyway

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:45 am

[guest post by Dana]

What on earth could have compelled former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly to cough up a whopping $32 million dollars to settle a complaint of sexual harassment against him? Oh, gosh, let’s go out on a limb here and make a wild guess: He’s guilty.

Last January, six months after Fox News ousted its chairman amid a sexual harassment scandal, the network’s top-rated host at the time, Bill O’Reilly, struck a $32 million agreement with a longtime network analyst to settle new sexual harassment allegations, according to two people briefed on the matter — an extraordinarily large amount for such cases.

Although the deal has not been previously made public, the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, acknowledges that it was aware of the woman’s complaints about Mr. O’Reilly. They included allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter.

Despite knowing about the claim, the company still gave him a lucrative contract. After all, he brought in the ratings and kept the gravy training running. Be it the Weinstein Company or 21st Century Fox, powerful executives and leaders are too willing to look the other way as long as their predatory powerhouses keep bringing in the big money:

It was at least the sixth agreement — and by far the largest — made by either Mr. O’Reilly or the company to settle harassment allegations against him. Despite that record, 21st Century Fox began contract negotiations with Mr. O’Reilly, and in February granted him a four-year extension that paid $25 million a year.

In January, the reporting shows, Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, the top executives at 21st Century Fox, made a business calculation to stand by Mr. O’Reilly despite his most recent, and potentially most explosive, harassment dispute.

Their decision came as the company was trying to convince its employees, its board and the public that it had cleaned up the network’s workplace culture. At the same time, they were determined to hold on to Mr. O’Reilly, whose value to the network increased after the departure of another prominent host, Megyn Kelly.

One might wonder why O’Reilly was let go by the company. Was it because of his moral corruption, or because 21st Century Fox wanted to protect their talent and other employees from falling victim to the cable news star, or because the company had their own moral and ethical standards to uphold, thus felt compelled to clean house? As if:

But by April, the Murdochs decided to jettison Mr. O’Reilly as some of the settlements became public and posed a significant threat to their business empire.

They let the biggest cable network star go because their dirty laundry was being aired and their bottom line might be impacted. Already the company had lost 50 advertisers and there were calls for O’Reilly to be fired. It became to risky to keep him:

In addition, federal prosecutors who had been investigating the network’s handling of sexual harassment complaints against Mr. Ailes had asked for material related to allegations involving Mr. O’Reilly, according to an internal Fox email obtained by The Times.

“Their legal theory has been that we hid the fact that we had a problem with Roger,” Gerson Zweifach, Fox’s general counsel, wrote in the email, referring to the prosecutors and Mr. Ailes, “and now it will be applied to O’Reilly, and they will insist on full knowledge of all complaints about O’Reilly’s behavior in the workplace, regardless of who settled them.”

He warned the Murdochs that they should expect details from the January settlement to become public. Six days later, Mr. O’Reilly was fired.

Despite numerous claims of sexual harassment and multiple payouts, the ousted O’Reilly was nonetheless allowed back on Fox News just last month to plug his new book on Sean Hannity’s show.

In an interview this past Wednesday, O’Reilly defended himself against the accusations:

“I never mistreated anyone,” he said, adding that he had resolved matters privately because he wanted to protect his children from the publicity.

“It’s politically and financially motivated,” he said of the public outcry over the allegations against him, “and we can prove it with shocking information, but I’m not going to sit here in a courtroom for a year and a half and let my kids get beaten up every single day of their lives by a tabloid press that would sit there, and you know it.”

Journalists are pointing their fingers at the right for having been vocal in their condemnation of Harvey Weinstein but remaining silent about Bill O’Reilly. The political persuasion of such offensive individuals matters not one bit to me. For years, both powerhouses worked, to varying degree, to cultivate a public image of standing on the high ground of their respective sides of the political aisle – at least on the surface. And the public bought the illusion. Whether it was Weinstein and his sizable donations to Democrats and visible support for liberal causes and politicians, or O’Reilly and his patronizing We’re looking out for you in the no-spin zone sloganeering as he theatrically railed against the left. Yet all the while, both were masters of deception, surrounded by people who knew (or suspected) what they were really up to, yet chose to look the other way because they needed these two powerful men for financial gain and industry success. Weinstein and O’Reilly are contemptible beings. Any who would defend either of them out of of partisan loyalty reveal themselves as little more than hypocritical fools.



Kevin Williamson on the Perils of Celebrating the White Underclass

Filed under: Uncategorized — JVW @ 1:18 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Up until now I have adhered to a policy of not blogging about President Donald J. Trump. In fact, I believe this is only the second time I have typed out his name (I have been willing to use it when pasting in a blockquote), with the other time being somewhat by accident. We know that he is a lightning rod for fierce argument here, as he is throughout our entire country and, indeed, planet. I did not vote for him (I voted for Evan McMullin which I have frankly come to regret), though I have family and friends who either gladly voted for him or who held their noses and pulled the lever for Trump, and I have family and friends who absolutely loathe the man and want him out of the White House post haste. So, with all that out of the way, I am going to cautiously dip my toe into the pool.

Kevin Williamson at National Review Online is one of the conservative media’s best known and most emphatic Never Trumpers. As such, I realize that many on the right have disdain for him. I confess that I greatly admire his writing, which I think stylistically is always engaging, mordantly witty, and consistently forceful and direct. As an opinion columnist he has, well, opinions and he is not shy about sharing and vigorously defending them. Even when I don’t agree with him or I think he is trying to stretch a single into a triple, I respect him as a virtuoso in his craft.

So I was thus struck by Mr. Williamson’s column today in which he locks all torpedos upon the dysfunction and self-defeating behavior of the white underclass, from which he himself escaped. To begin with, he is careful to differentiate the white underclass from the white working class:

White people acting white have embraced the ethic of the white underclass, which is distinct from the white working class, which has the distinguishing feature of regular gainful employment. The manners of the white underclass are Trump’s — vulgar, aggressive, boastful, selfish, promiscuous, consumerist. The white working class has a very different ethic. Its members are, in the main, churchgoing, financially prudent, and married, and their manners are formal to the point of icy politeness. You’ll recognize the style if you’ve ever been around it: It’s “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” but it is the formality of soldiers and police officers — correct and polite, but not in the least bit deferential. It is a formality adopted not to acknowledge the superiority of social betters but to assert the equality of the speaker — equal to any person or situation, perfectly republican manners. It is the general social respect rooted in genuine self-respect. [emphasis in original]

That’s a pretty nice encapsulation of the difference between the two. I grew up in a town where there was a large working class, both white and Latino, and the habits that Williamson describes provide a clear dividing point between those who remained in the working class and those who slipped into the underclass. My own background is middle class, but I recall that my father always treated men and women of the working class with respect and dignity, believing that anyone who provides food and shelter for their family is worthy of it. Mr. Williamson then contrasts the mores of the white working class with the anti-elite populism seen in the modern right:

Its opposite is the sneering, leveling, drag-’em-all-down-into-the-mud anti-“elitism” of contemporary right-wing populism. Self-respect says: “I’m an American citizen, and I can walk into any room, talk to any president, prince, or potentate, because I can rise to any occasion.” Populist anti-elitism says the opposite: “I can be rude enough and denigrating enough to drag anybody down to my level.” Trump’s rhetoric — ridiculous and demeaning schoolyard nicknames, boasting about money, etc. — has always been about reducing. Trump doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to duke it out with even the modest wits at the New York Times, hence it’s “the failing New York Times.” Never mind that the New York Times isn’t actually failing and that any number of Trump-related businesses have failed so thoroughly that they’ve gone into bankruptcy; the truth doesn’t matter to the argument any more than it matters whether the fifth-grade bully actually has an actionable claim on some poor kid’s lunch money. It would never even occur to the low-minded to identify with anybody other than the bully. That’s what all that ridiculous stuff about “winning” was all about in the campaign. It is might-makes-right, i.e., the politics of chimpanzee troupes, prison yards, kindergartens, and other primitive environments. That is where the underclass ethic thrives — and how “smart people” came to be a term of abuse.

I confess that I am often guilty of this anti-elitism myself, but here I think Mr. Williamson gives short shrift the damage that our largely self-appointed elite — the kind of people who view themselves as the modern heirs to Ward McAllister’s “The Four Hundred” — has done to our society, especially over the last quarter century. From convoluted and ineffective social programs to misadventures overseas to a relentless undermining of the bourgeois middle-class values upon which this country was built, the academic/media/bureaucratic/political/entertainment elite of this country has had a considerably negative impact over that period. But putting that aside, I think there is a great deal of truth to the analogy of President Trump to the fifth-grade bully. The white underclass, of course, usually sees itself as the victim of the bully — the bully being all of those intellectuals and bureaucrats who fail to appreciate the needs and (more accurately) wants of that community. President Trump’s supporters of all social classes understandably think of their guy as being the one to finally stand up to the bully and punch back, and they expect that the bully will now slink away and stop bothering us, just like our dads promised us they would. But of course what we seem to have instead is just an old-fashioned donnybrook in which both sides are punching away at each other, and it would appear that the brawl won’t end until one side is knocked out.

There’s a reason beyond grandstanding politicians and petty score-settling for why we can’t get an Obamacare repeal or serious entitlement reform: it’s because so much of the white underclass (and, let’s be honest, a significant portion of the white working and middle classes) loves government programs whose benefits vastly exceed whatever little they pay in federal taxes. GOP politicians understand this and realize that reforming these costly programs will prove to be unpopular, and they are aided by an incurious and unserious (at least policy-wise) President who inexplicably promises an even more lavish entitlement. Something for nothing has always been a popular political platform and it is not limited to progressives. It’s why, as our host reminded us this morning, the ostensibly conservative party is incapable of coming up with a reasonable budget. There has always been an element of annoying hucksterism within the Republican Party, but this seems to be the moment where it has completely taken over the party. More from Mr. Williamson:

The populist Right’s abandonment of principle has been accompanied by a repudiation of good taste, achievement, education, refinement, and manners — all of which are abominated as signs of effete “elitism.” During the Clinton years, Virtue Inc. was the top-performing share in the Republican political stock exchange. Fortunes were made, books were sold by the ton, and homilies were delivered. The same people today are celebrating Donald Trump — not in spite of his being a dishonest, crude serial adulterer but because of it. His dishonesty, the quondam cardinals of Virtue Inc. assure us, is simply the mark of a savvy businessman, his vulgarity the badge of his genuineness and lack of “political correctness,” and his pitiless abuse of his several wives and children the mark of a genuine “alpha male.” No less a virtue entrepreneur than Bill Bennett dismissed those who pointed out Trump’s endless lies and habitual betrayals as suffering from “moral superiority,” from people on “high horses,” and said that Trump simply is “a guy who says some things awkwardly, indecorously, infelicitously.”

Thus did the author of The Book of Virtues embrace the author of “Grab ’Em By the P***y.”

I know many of you are tired of our harping on the crass vulgarity of the President. It’s like continually pointing out the zit on the homecoming queen’s forehead: yes it’s ugly, but you would much rather focus on the more attractive parts of her. He’s not the first, nor will he be the last, loutish buffoon to occupy the Oval Office. But for as much as we rightfully blame Bill Clinton for inuring us to the tawdriness of the President being orally serviced by a college-aged intern, we owe it to ourselves not to get comfortable with Donald Trump’s crude insults and boorish behavior. Nor should we celebrate or defend the destructive behavior of some of his most dysfunctional supporters. The glamorization and mainstreaming of ghetto culture hasn’t worked out too well for the black community; let’s not repeat that mistake by celebrating the white underclass.


Senate Passes Budget-Busting Budget

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:43 am

Details at RedState.

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