The Jury Talks Back


Trey Gowdy: Spygate, Schmygate; Also Trump Asked Sessions to Unrecuse [UPDATE: D’Souza Pardon]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:27 am

People who retire are finally allowed to say what they actually think. So liberating! Outgoing Rep. Trey Gowdy says the FBI not only did nothing wrong in using an informant, but that they did what the public would want them to do:

Outgoing Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the House Oversight Committee chairman and a Trump supporter, said in an interview on Fox that the FBI was justified in using a secret informant to assist in the Russia investigation. Gowdy, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, attended a classified Justice Department briefing last week on the FBI’s use of the confidential source, identified as Stefan A. Halper.

President Trump himself in the Comey memos said if anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it, and it sounds to me like that is exactly what the FBI did,” Gowdy told host Martha MacCallum. “I think when the president finds out what happened, he is going to be not just fine, he is going to be glad that we have an FBI that took seriously what they heard.

“I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump,” Gowdy said. Asked about the president’s tweets on the subject, Gowdy added that such statements could be subject to questioning by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

“If I were his lawyer, and I never will be, I would tell him to rely on his lawyers and his [communications] folks,” he said.

Let’s repeat the language I have bolded: “President Trump himself in the Comey memos said if anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it.” The thing is, Trump doesn’t act like it. The New York Times recently revealed that Trump attempted in March 2017 to get Sessions to undo his recusal:

By the time Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrived at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for dinner one Saturday evening in March 2017, he had been receiving the presidential silent treatment for two days. Mr. Sessions had flown to Florida because Mr. Trump was refusing to take his calls about a pressing decision on his travel ban.

When they met, Mr. Trump was ready to talk — but not about the travel ban. His grievance was with Mr. Sessions: The president objected to his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Mr. Trump, who had told aides that he needed a loyalist overseeing the inquiry, berated Mr. Sessions and told him he should reverse his decision, an unusual and potentially inappropriate request.

Mr. Sessions refused.

The confrontation, which has not been previously reported, is being investigated by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as are the president’s public and private attacks on Mr. Sessions and efforts to get him to resign.

It’s a story based on anonymous sources, but it’s consistent with Trump’s public behavior in berating Sessions on Twitter and saying that he never would have picked Sessions if he had known that he would recuse himself. Implicit in Trump’s stance appears to be the curious notion that if Sessions had not recused himself, he would have shut the Russia investigation down. That strikes me as an unwarranted assumption. In any event, Sessions did the right thing, and took a lot of heat from Trump over it. Good for him.

If Trump did what the New York Times claims, it’s another brick in the impeachment wall that Democrats are trying to build in the hopes that they retake the House. Trump’s act of firing Comey to shut down the investigation would be a muddy basis for impeachment standing alone, given that Trump mixed his true motivations with other justifications (even though he unwittingly revealed that those justifications were ultimately irrelevant). The motive behind this act is much clearer. Add it to all the others, and you are approaching something Democrats might act on. Especially when, for many, Trump being Trump is all the justification they think they need.

Removal of Trump is a pipe dream for Democrats — but if shoes like this keep dropping, and if Trump keeps behaving impulsively and foolishly (and it’s a given that he will), impeachment is not.

UPDATE: And right on cue, another foolish act: Trump announces he will give a full pardon to Dinesh D’Souza.

President Trump announced Thursday he will pardon conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of making an illegal campaign contribution in 2014.

“Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!” the president tweeted Thursday morning.

The pattern here is unmistakable. Thinking of rolling on Trump but you’re looking at a conviction for lying to the feds? Here’s a pardon for Scooter Libby! Wink wink! Thinking of rolling on Trump and you’re looking at a prosecution for campaign finance violations? Here’s a pardon for Dinesh D’Souza!

This is not subtle. And it feeds the perception, among those of us paying attention, that he is very worried for some reason.


Three Examples to Show How Trump’s Statement about the Official Was False

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:15 am

If I’m going to spend my morning writing examples to demonstrate that Donald Trump denied the existence of the senior U.S. official quoted by the New York Times, I’m making a post out of it.

Let’s recall what Trump said:

The Failing ‪@nytimes‬ quotes “a senior White House official,” who doesn’t exist, as saying “even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.” WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.

This reduces to

#1: X quotes “a senior White House official,” who doesn’t exist, as saying Y. Wrong! Use real people as your sources.

And many are rewriting Trump’s statement to mean:

#2: X quotes a senior White House official as saying Y, but no “senior White House official who said Y” exists.

But those statements are not equivalent. So the rewriting changes the meaning.

In #2, the rewriting preferred by Trump defenders, the existence of the official-who-said-Y depends on his having said Y. But in #1, AS IT IS PHRASED, there is no such interdependence expressed by the speaker between the existence of the official and the nature of what he said. He is simply saying the official does not exist, independent of what he goes on to say about Y.

If you don’t like symbols, here are some hypotheticals and illustrations to make the point clearer.

1. If I said: “A witness described the Abominable Snowman, who does not exist, as being seven feet tall,” you would not read that as an assertion that my denial of the Snowman’s existence depends on his height.

2. Hypo: Trump says Obama wiretapped him. James Comey says: “Trump claims that a wiretap on his phone, which never existed, was placed on his phone by Obama. Wrong!” If it emerged (in the hypo) that there was a wiretap placed on Trump’s phone by someone in the Obama administration — but not by Obama himself — Comey still lied, by saying no wiretap existed.

No sensible person would write a piece saying Comey told the truth, because the wiretap on Trump’s phone that was placed by someone other than Obama means “a wiretap placed by Obama” did not exist.

3. If Obama had said: “National Review says the gender pay gap in my administration, which does not exist, has women making 90 cents for every dollar men make. That is wrong! Stop making up phony concepts!” you would read that as a denial of a pay gap in his administration. If it turned out that women actually made 91 cents in his administration for every dollar men made, instead of 90 cents, you would not say that he was correct to assert that the pay gap “does not exist” simply because the actual pay gap is different than as represented by National Review.

And if Obama said: “All I was saying was that no gender pay gap of 90 cents exists” you would say he is rewriting his statement to mean something different than what he actually had said.

People are rewriting Trump’s tweet to make it say something different. Look: I get that the New York Times inaccurately paraphrased the official. We can acknowledge that and criticize it. But he still exists, and Trump said he didn’t. Any argument to the contrary consists of rewriting #1 as #2, but they don’t mean the same thing.


Roseanne Cancelled Due to Racist Tweet

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:01 pm

Because I like quoting the New York Times to troll the trolls, here is…the New York Times:

Two months ago, Roseanne Barr was a star again.

Her sitcom “Roseanne” returned in March after a two-decade absence to enormous ratings on ABC. Network executives were celebrating their strategy of appealing to wider swaths of the country after Donald J. Trump’s surprising election win and the president himself called Ms. Barr to congratulate her on the show’s large audience.

But on Tuesday, that all came crashing down. ABC abruptly canceled “Roseanne” hours after Ms. Barr, the show’s star and co-creator, posted a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, an African-American woman who was a senior adviser to Barack Obama throughout his presidency and considered one of his most influential aides. Ms. Barr wrote if the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

My guess is that some people will try to argue that this tweet is not racist, and that I am a New York Times tool for accepting their characterization of the tweet as racist. With any luck, we can have a 1000-comment thread where people recharacterize Barr’s tweet as, I don’t know, a comment about gun control because of Charlton Heston? You’re limited only by your own creativity.

Here’s the game. I declare the tweet racist because, well, it is. Because Barr likes Trump, you find some disingenuous way to defend it.

You might prefer a different game, since that one is kind of a loser for you. The truth is: whether a hit show should be cancelled over a tweet is another discussion. If defending the tweet doesn’t work, I recommend backtracking to that more solid ground. Find examples of racist Obama supporters making racist comments and keeping their positions, and all of a sudden you have something to be outraged about. The story is five hours old at least. I’m sure the fuel for your outrage is out there. All you have to do is go find it.

I, however, will not be doing that for you.

Portland Bar Holds “Reparations Happy Hour”; Whites Not Welcome

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:56 am

This is as woke as woke can get:

A bar in Portland, Oregon in the U.S, handed out $10 (£7.50) bills to all the black, brown and minority ethnicities that walked into their establishment.

The money was scrambled from white people’s donations, who were asked not to attend the ‘reparations happy hour’.

That meant their drinks were paid for by their white counterparts as a small and symbolic way to compensate for the hardships and suffering faced by such communities.

Cameron Whitten, the 27-year-old activist who organised the event, said while it in no way made up for the horrors of slavery and contemporary injustices, it was about solidarity.

Did I say in the headline that whites weren’t welcome? OK, that wasn’t entirely accurate. Whites were welcome: to give reparations to pay for minorities’ drinks. They just weren’t welcome to attend:

As for the decision not to include white people during the evening, Brown Hope said in the event description: ‘White people can show up and support by GIVING reparations.

Instead of physically attending, your presence will be felt through your active financial support for healing, leadership, and community building within Portland’s black, brown, and indigenous community.’

I know what you’re thinking, and your sentiments have been echoed on the Internet: it doesn’t go far enough. As one person wrote on social media: “How about addressing inequalities in pay, housing and education? You know, something that’ll make a meaningful difference.” Kind of a tall order for a bar, but dream big, Mr. Person on Social Media!

The next reparationsfest will be held at the Back to Eden bakery in Portland. I’m glad that business is taking part, because they have a lot to make up for after refusing to serve a black woman earlier this month, just because the bakery had already closed. As the company explained on May 11 on their Facebook page, it all began when a local black activist entered the bakery six minutes after closing time, and started making videos when she wasn’t served (h/t: Andy Ngo):

At a base level, Lillian, a proud Black woman who has roots in the Alberta neighborhood and has seen it systematically gentrified over the years by property owners and businesses like ours, chose to patron our bakery for the first time trusting that our company is who it portends to be and was denied service while the room is filled with white people getting served their vegan treats without incident. The two videos Lillian then posted on Facebook about her experience will better explain how she felt in that moment than we ever could and we encourage anyone who isn’t familiar with the situation to fully watch them before offering up blanket expressions of support for our business.

Since people are seeking the precise details of what occurred here is what we were able to view in Thursday night’s security camera footage:

-At 9:02 pm we were unusually busy for closing time which is stated as 9pm everywhere that our hours appear. Most of the seats were filled and there were four people in line waiting to be served.

-At 9:03 pm our employee turns the “Open” sign light off.

-At 9:04 pm two more white women walk in and line up to be served. At this point the customers present are informed that we are officially closed.

-At 9:06 pm Lillian enters and stands in line to be served assuming given how many people are still inside and the doors unlocked that we are still open. Lillian is told we are closed and the last two women in line are the last to be served. After that she exits the building and begins taking her first video.

With this breathless minute-by-minute accounting from security cam footage, you’re left waiting for the moment when they say the shooter produced his weapon and started mowing people down — but no, it’s still just a story about a black woman who wasn’t served after the bakery was closed.

The business is just devastated, because it’s Portland and they are committed to intersectionality — why, they might even know what that means! Nah — and yet they are being called racist:

Rather than touting all the ways in which are truly committed to fighting for social justice I should have centered on Lillian’s experience. There is nothing fun about being called a racist especially when it is truly antithetical to everything you stand for but often what happens when well meaning white folk get called out on something race related we are very quick to jump to defense. . . . The sad fact of the matter is that what Lillian experienced in our shop Thursday night is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the discrimination that Black women encounter on a daily basis across this city, state and country. Walking into an establishment that visibly prides itself on its intersectional progressive politics only to be denied service while all the white people inside are being served has to feel horrible just in itself.

Yes, it’s a wake-up call for this business, which prided itself on following all the latest lefty trends, to learn that all their earnest clamoring for Social Justice has been disregarded, and they’re just being treated like another pack of white-robed KKK thugs.

Rest easy, though: according to the business’s Facebook page, the offending employees who attempted to enforce the business hours were fired.

In this situation it doesn’t really matter that the two staff members working are not themselves racist because the call they made to deny Lillian service caused her to feel like she had been discriminated against. Sometimes impact outweighs intent and when that happens people do need to be held accountable. Since both Lillian and the clamoring public were demanding that these staff members be fired that it is what we did putting these two young women out of work. It was an incredibly difficult thing for us to do especially when they felt that they were just upholding our closing time of 9pm but the way in which they went about it lacked sensitivity and understanding of the racial implications at work.

All will be well on June 20, when whites will be invited to pay for Proud Lillian’s apple platz.


Memorial Day 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:46 am

From my 2014 post on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, these are shots I took at the Normandy American Cemetery in 2013:

Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 7.34.21 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 7.16.11 AM

Remember the fallen, and thanks to those who serve and have served.


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 174

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is Trinity Sunday. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte” (I love the Highest with my entire being).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 3:1-17.

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

We remember Nicodemus from John’s passion, from the reading on Good Friday.

We already had the last four verses of this reading, including the famous “for God so loved the world” passage, two months ago, on the fourth Sunday in Lent. If a guy in a rainbow wig (now serving life in prison, per JVW) thought this was important enough passage to take to all the sporting events, so it can’t hurt us to see it twice. Now we have what leads up to it in the Gospel reading, along with a musical offering to give deeper meaning to the words.

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here the words for the opening aria, and the beginning of the recitative, including the famous line: “God so loved the world!”

2. Aria A

I love the Highest with my entire being,
He also has the greatest love for me.
God alone
shall be my soul’s treasure,
in which my eternal source of goodness lies.

3. Recitative T

O love, which none other resembles!
O priceless ransom!
The Father has given his child’s life
over to death on behalf of sinners
and all of these, who heaven’s kingdom
had taken lightly and lost,
are elected to blessedness.
God so loved the world!

Happy listening!


It’s Coming: Obama TV

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:59 am

We thought Trump TV was going to be the next thing, until we were handed a 4-8 year reality show on all the networks. Now you can remind yourself why you didn’t particularly care for, or perhaps despised, the guy Trump replaced. “Miss him yet”? Why, soon he’ll be only a click away again! Allahpundit explains:

Obama TV: Netflix Signs Deal With Barack And Michelle To Produce Original Content

Their first film: Drumpf: The Secret Wiretaps.

Nah, sounds like the political stuff here will be broadly political rather than explicitly partisan, e.g., global warming and voting rights, plus maybe some feelgood elite-left cultural pap. “The Joy of Composting,” etc.

I’m psyched for a documentary explaining why it makes sense to trust the nuclear promises of a government full of Shiite fanatics.

. . . .

“Why the Palestinians Are Right” should be a humdinger.

Allahpundit says that people on the right are boycotting Netflix over this. LOL. Smash your Keurig and abandon your cheap and plentiful entertainment. One day, you’ll be able to use only products untouched by any leftist influence. I hear cabin life is tough, but refreshing.

Me, I’ll keep my Netflix account but simply won’t be tuning in. Although having the show around sounds like a nice thing — a reminder of the good old days when people on the right liked each other, because they could come together in their hatred of a guy in power from across the aisle. Now all we have is our hatred of one another. (Although, to be fair, I don’t hate you. You just hate me.) It’s not the same. Maybe we do miss you, Barack. Maybe we do.

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .



Trump: How Come Kim Jong-un Is Raining on My Nobel?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:54 am

As President Trump prepares to meet with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea tomorrow, the New York Times reports that Trump is rattled by North Korea’s recent statements that they will never denuclearize in return for aid:

Mr. Trump was both surprised and angered by a statement issued on Wednesday by the North’s chief nuclear negotiator, who declared that the country would never trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid, administration officials said. The statement, while a highly familiar tactic by the North, represented a jarring shift in tone after weeks of conciliatory gestures.

On Thursday and Friday, Mr. Trump peppered aides with questions about the wisdom of proceeding, and on Saturday night he called President Moon Jae-in of South Korea to ask why the North’s public statement seemed to contradict the private assurances that Mr. Moon had conveyed after he met Kim Jong-un, the 35-year-old dictator of the North, at the Demilitarized Zone in late April.

There’s a fella on Twitter named Robert Kelly, a political science professor who lives in South Korea, who has some ideas about why Moon might have given Trump a rosy picture of what a summit could accomplish:

The whole thread is worth reading. Kelly goes on to say, regarding Moon’s suggestion that Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize: “It is an open secret in Korea that this was just flattering Trump to prevent him from starting a war. No one actually believes it. My students & colleagues laugh at the suggestion.” He says nobody thought the West would take it seriously.

By the way, Kelly is the guy who was on the BBC when his daughter hilariously stomped into the room and marched around in the background. Remember that?

Trump may not be a reader, but at least he can control his daughter, amirite? I mean, you’re not going to see Trump’s daughter busting in the door and taking over at inappropriate times the way you just saw happen with Kelly.

Someone should do one of those videos where you take Trump’s face and put it on someone else’s body, and redo that video to make it Trump stomping around in the background. Free idea, Trump superfans! I’ve also prepared your retort to the next passage from the NYT article:

The aides are also concerned about what kind of grasp Mr. Trump has on the details of the North Korea program, and what he must insist upon as the key components of denuclearization. Mr. Moon and his aides reported that Mr. Kim seemed highly conversant with all elements of the program when the two men met, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made similar comments about Mr. Kim, based on his two meetings with him in Pyongyang, the North’s capital.

But aides who have recently left the administration say Mr. Trump has resisted the kind of detailed briefings about enrichment capabilities, plutonium reprocessing, nuclear weapons production and missile programs that Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush regularly sat through.

YOUR RETORT: Knowledge is overrated! Bush and Obama were informed, and look where it got them! We need a guy who doesn’t care about the details, but who can go in and Art of the Deal those mother[we regret that we need to bleep half of this word]s into oblivion!

It writes itself. In fact, I can easily keep it going.

Michael Green, a professor at Georgetown University and a leading expert on Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in Foreign Affairs that Mr. Kim was looking for something much larger than Mr. Trump was.

“Trump may be preparing for the wrong game: a two-player round of checkers when Kim is steeling for a multiplayer two-board chess match,” he wrote. “On one board will be the future of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, what Trump came to negotiate. On the other will be what Kim and the other participants know is also crucially at stake: the future of geopolitics in northeast Asia.” Mr. Kim sees himself as a player in that game long after the Trump administration is over.

YOUR RETORT: Pfffft. How many dimensions are these chess games Kim is playing, “Professor” Green? Two, you say? Three, at most? Watch Chairman Un‘s head spin when he starts to realize that Trump is playing [off camera: Mr. Adams! Hey, Scott? How many dimensions is the chess game Trump is playing? OK, thanks!] fifty-nine dimensional chess!

In all seriousness, the problem is intractable. Prof. Kelly may not know much about keeping his daughter under control when he’s on the teevee, but he knows that Trump can be manipulated due to his desire to get the Nobel Peace Prize — a high honor previously awarded to such peace-loving luminaries as Barack Obama and Yasser Arafat.

Mr. Trump’s aides have grown concerned that the president — who has said that “everyone thinks” he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts — has signaled that he wants the summit meeting too much. The aides also worry that Mr. Kim, sensing the president’s eagerness, is prepared to offer assurances that will fade over time.


The likeliest scenario is an agreement that allows Trump to declare victory, lifts sanctions, and accomplishes nothing verifiable. That’s not progress, but Moon may see it as a better alternative than what looked likely in the days of presidential tweets about “Little Rocket Man.”

Me, I think having an uninformed child representing us is a grand idea. And the people hardest hit, when Trump gets a deal that Obama and Bush could only dream of, will be the damn NeverTrumpers.


Sunday Music: Bach Motet BWV 226

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the Day of Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach piece, a motet, is “Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf” (The Spirit gives aid to our weakness).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15:

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

. . . .

I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here are all the words, which celebrate the Holy Spirit:

1. Chorus

The Spirit gives aid to our weakness. For we do not know for what we should pray, what is proper; but the Spirit itself intercedes for us in the best way with unutterable sighs. He, however, who examines hearts, He knows what the Spirit’s intention is, since it intercedes for the saints according to that which pleases God.

2. Chorale

You holy fire, sweet comfort,
now help us joyfully and confidently
to remain constantly in Your service,
although trouble is not driven away from us!
O Lord, through Your strength prepare us
and sharpen the dullness of the flesh,
so that we might battle here nobly,
pressing to you through death and life.
Hallelujah, hallelujah!

The beginning of the chorale contains words from Martin Luther’s Pentecostal hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord.”

Happy listening!


Brainstorm or Green Needle?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 10:54 am

Watch this video and expect to hear the word “brainstorm” and you will.

Expect to hear the phrase “green needle” and you will.

Just pick one of those, say it in your head clearly, and then play the video. You will hear whichever one you heard in your head.

Two Phrases That Never Help Real Conversation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Here are two phrases that never help real conversation. Both are designed to show that criticism is invalid, simply by virtue of the criticism being impassioned or frequent.

1. “[The object of your criticism] is living rent-free in your head.”

This phrase translates as: “You are criticizing [the object of your criticism] and I do not like it.” It’s meaningless. I used to hear this kind of thing all the time when I was a frequent critic of the Los Angeles Times. I was told that I was “obsessive” about criticizing them. My response was: if they gave me less to criticize them for, I’ll criticize them less. (It turned out that there was another option: you could get bored.)

2. “If you’re catching flak, you must be over the target.”

This one translates as: “If you are getting criticized a lot, that means you must be right.”

This one is kind of a dumb corollary of #1. #1 suggests that your criticism of something or someone is invalid if it is impassioned or frequent. #2 suggests that criticism of you is invalid if that criticism is impassioned or frequent. They both make the same stupid and wrong point. But one targets the critic, while the other validates the critic’s target.

Both of these have zero to do with the quality of the criticism. If you use one of these, you’re using them to avoid the real discussion or conversation.

There are analogies that reveal something about the thing analogized to, and then there are pointless analogies like this one, which say nothing. When you start using pointless analogies, you can get into one of those silly discussions where you parry back and forth, not about the substance of your argument, but about the silly analogy. “Oh yeah? Well, I say if you’re getting flak, that means you left yourself exposed! HaHA!” (The early bird gets the worm, but what does the early worm get? HaHA!)

These are usually employed when there is no answer to the substance of the criticism. They tend to be a crutch for people who don’t want to have a rational discussion.

P.S. This is unrelated to the specific topic, but related to the wider topic of real conversation. For the next week, at least, to the extent that I populate the comments, I’m going to try to engage in real and polite conversation. I’m working on perspective and the spiritual side of my life, and having snippy conversations with people on the Internet is not something I’m interested in doing. That probably means fewer discussions with people unwilling to engage in real conversation, but it should hopefully mean better conversations with people who are willing. If we begin a conversation and it begins to turn sour, I’ll just thank you for the conversation and bow out. I’m making a public commitment here so that I am accountable to people, which increases the chance that I’ll follow through.


Is It Possible for a Minister and an Atheist to Have a Polite and Rational Conversation?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:55 pm

Sounds almost like a joke, doesn’t it? And yet, here it is: my favorite polite rational atheist, Sam Harris, in conversation with Dr. R. Scott Colglazier, Senior Minister of First Congregational Church of Los Angeles.

Instead of the “Othering” that happens online every day, maybe this approach is better. Just a thought.

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