The Jury Talks Back


Sunday Music: Bach’s Magnificat, BWV 243

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the fourth Sunday of Advent. Today’s Bach piece is a concert performance of one of Bach’s most popular choral works: his setting of the Latin “Magnificat.”

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 1:39-45, (46-55):

Mary Visits Elizabeth

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary’s Song

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It is the Latin setting of Mary’s song quoted above: the “Magnificat.” It opens with the Latin sentence: “Magnificat anima mea Dominum.” This translates as the first sentence of Mary’s song: “My soul magnifies the Lord.” After the end of Mary’s song, Bach’s setting closes with these words:

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto,
sicut erat in principio
et nunc et in saecula saeculorum,

Which translates as:

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and for ever and ever,

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


President Trump’s ‘Big, Beautiful’ Wall

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 8:59 am

[guest post by Dana]


President Trump:

The Democrats, are saying loud and clear that they do not want to build a Concrete Wall — but we are not building a Concrete Wall, we are building artistically designed steel slats, so that you can easily see through it.



President Trump And The Looming Shutdown

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:31 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It looks like lawmakers are at an impasse with regard to funding the Wall and preventing a shutdown of the government:

President Trump and Congress were locked in an impasse Friday over Trump’s border wall, hours away from a partial government shutdown and with no apparent path to prevent one.

Trump’s preferred solution — a stop-gap spending bill containing $5.7 billion for a Mexico border wall — faced near-certain defeat in the Senate, even after the president pressured Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to change Senate rules to allow it to pass.

McConnell refused.

“We’re going to be working very hard to get something passed in the Senate,” Trump said Friday in the Oval Office before a bill-signing. “Now it’s up to the Democrats as to whether or not we have a shutdown tonight. I hope we don’t but we’ve very much prepared for a long shutdown.”

And in spite of the the president’s call for McConnell to use the nuclear option, there just aren’t the necessary votes:

“The Leader has said for years that the votes are not there in the Conference to use the nuclear option,” said McConnell spokesman David Popp. “Just this morning, several Senators put out statements confirming that there is not a majority in the conference to go down that road.”

For more than a year, Trump has tried to pressure McConnell to change Senate rules in a way that would allow the chamber to pass legislation with a simple majority.

During the Obama administration, when Democrats controlled the Senate, Democrats changed the rules to allow most presidential nominees to advance with a simple majority of votes. During the beginning of the Trump administration, McConnell extended this practice to the nomination of Supreme Court justices, which proved crucial because both of Trump’s nominees to the nation’s highest court won approval by a narrow margin.

But McConnell has resisted such a change for legislation, as have a number of other Republicans, worried about the precedent it would set.

Last week, I posted about President Trump’s meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office, wherein the president claimed that he would assume responsibility for any shutdown that might happen. Moreover, he said he would be proud to shut the government down and that he would assume blame for it.

“If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other, whether it’s through you, or the military, or through anything you want to call it, I will shut down the government… I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. …So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

It was a bold statement, and one he made without hesitation.

But as with most things said by this president, his brave claim should have been taken with a grain of salt. Because history has demonstrated that he will eventually contradict himself. Whether shooting from the hip, or talking to hear himself talk, or playing a game of one-upmanship, he will eventually contradict himself. Obviously this makes it hard to know what to believe. And that’s a big problem. While some of us might call these inconsistencies “flip-flopping” or being dishonest, his base defends these contradictions as clever political strategeries too complex for the hoi polloi to grasp. (Note: when Obama did the same thing, people on the right were quick to accuse him of being a dishonest flip-flopper and talking out of both sides of his mouth. And people were right in their accusations. That it’s Trump doing it makes no different. Or at least is shouldn’t, anyway.)

Predictably, Trump said the opposite of what he said two weeks ago. If the shutdown happens at midnight, instead of assuming the mantle of responsibility and not blaming the Democrats, he will totally blame them:


Interesting note concerning the signature plank of Trump’s campaign platform and what his requested $5 billion would cover: “Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters Friday that the $5 billion in funds would cover roughly 215 miles of new wall construction in California, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. In some cases, they would need private land owners to sell property to the federal government for the wall’s construction. If the property owner refuses, the government would consider seizing the property under eminent domain, a controversial tactic that would likely tie the project up in court for years.”


NYT: Planned Parenthood Accused of Routine Discrimination Against Pregnant Employees

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 11:41 am

[guest post by Dana]

According to a report in the New York Times, Planned Parenthood facilities across the nation routinely discriminate against pregnant employees, and do not provide paid maternity leave. Sharing their personal stories of discrimination and unfair employment practices, current and former employees make clear that at Planned Parenthood offices, a pregnant employee is often treated as a liability. Which makes sense if you’re in the business of killing babies:

As a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood, Ta’Lisa Hairston urged pregnant women to take rest breaks at work, stay hydrated and, please, eat regular meals.

Then she got pregnant and couldn’t follow her own advice.

Last winter, Ms. Hairston told the human-resources department for Planned Parenthood’s clinic in White Plains, N.Y., that her high blood pressure was threatening her pregnancy. She sent the department multiple notes from her nurse recommending that she take frequent breaks.

Managers ignored the notes. They rarely gave her time to rest or to take a lunch break, Ms. Hairston said.

“I had to hold back tears talking to pregnant women, telling them to take care of their pregnancies when I couldn’t take care of mine,” she said. “It made me jealous.”

Pregnant employees appear to be an inconvenience to the organization, and as such they can find themselves targeted by management:

Discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers remains widespread in the American workplace. It is so pervasive that even organizations that define themselves as champions of women are struggling with the problem.

That includes Planned Parenthood, which has been accused of sidelining, ousting or otherwise handicapping pregnant employees, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees.

In interviews and legal documents, women at Planned Parenthood and other organizations with a feminist bent described discrimination that violated federal or state laws — managers considering pregnancy in hiring decisions, for example, or denying rest breaks recommended by a doctor.

In other cases, the bias was more subtle. Many women said they were afraid to announce a pregnancy at work, sensing they would be seen as abandoning their colleagues.

Some of those employers saw accommodating expecting mothers as expensive and inconvenient. Others were unsympathetic to workers seeking special treatment. (emphasis added.)

Employees who did inform their supervisors that they were pregnant could find themselves demoted. Women also felt it was a safeguard to lie to their managers about any plans for pregnancy because they knew they risked being stigmatized or mistreated.

Here is a broader look at the consequences of being pregnant as a prospective or current employee at Planned Parenthood:

[At] Planned Parenthood, the country’s leading provider of reproductive services, managers in some locations declined to hire pregnant job candidates, refused requests by expecting mothers to take breaks and in some cases pushed them out of their jobs after they gave birth, according to current and former employees in California, Texas, North Carolina and New York.

Most Planned Parenthood offices do not provide paid maternity leave, though many let new mothers take partially paid disability leave.

A former hiring manager at a Planned Parenthood in California said that when internal promotions came up, supervisors openly debated whether candidates were likely to get pregnant in the near future and preferred those who were not. They declined to hire one pregnant woman and to promote one new mother, the employee said. (Under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is illegal to consider whether a job candidate is or will become pregnant.)

The discrimination makes sense when you consider that the business of abortion at Planned Parenthoods is based on a quota system. Money talks. And after all, those Lamborghinis aren’t going to buy themselves:

[P]revious investigations of Planned Parenthood have revealed that the national umbrella organization routinely imposes abortion quotas on its clinics across the country, incentivizing workers to convince women to obtain abortions. In one interview, a former Planned Parenthood manager and a former clinic nurse explained that executives rewarded clinics that met abortion targets with pizza parties or extra paid time off. Clinics that didn’t offer abortions were given quotas for abortion referrals made to other Planned Parenthood facilities.

“I felt like I was more of a salesman sometimes, to sell abortions,” former Planned Parenthood nurse Marianne Anderson said. “We were constantly told we have quotas to meet to stay open.”

Is it any wonder that a group that profits from “terminating pregnancies” and offers little to no pregnancy care would neglect to have policies in place preventing managers from overworking or discriminating against pregnant mothers on their own staffs?

I would also ask if it’s really any surprise that a business whose primary source of revenue comes from “terminating” as many “pregnancies” as possible would want big, ripe bellies proudly announcing “Life!” walking through their hallways and exam rooms? That couldn’t possibly be good for the bottom line.

As a reminder, Planned Parenthood has always been a vocal do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do champion of paid maternity leave for women:



In response to the report, Dr. Leana Wen, the new president of Planned Parenthood Foundation For American (PPFA), tweeted:

Reproductive health equity must include the right to become a parent and raise a family free from fear and discrimination. At @PPFA, we’re committed to doing better to support our pregnant and parenting staff.

At @PPFA, we do not tolerate discrimination or harassment. When we learn about accusations that violate our policies and high standards, we move immediately to investigate and address them, as we are doing in this instance.

No response from Cecile Richards, who was the president of PPFA from 2006 to 2018 and under whose watch the routine discrimination occurred.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Trump Syrian Withdrawal Decision Made During Phone Call with Erdogan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:53 am

You know how people were speculating that Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw troops from Syria was made due to his phone call with Erdogan? Looks like the speculation was right:

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was made hastily, without consulting his national security team or allies, and over strong objections from virtually everyone involved in the fight against the Islamic State group, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.

Trump stunned his Cabinet, lawmakers and much of the world with the move by rejecting the advice of his top aides and agreeing to a withdrawal in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, two officials briefed on the matter told The Associated Press.

The Dec. 14 call, described by officials who were not authorized to discuss the decision-making process publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, provides insight into a consequential Trump decision that prompted the resignation of widely respected Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. It also set off a frantic, four-day scramble to convince the president either to reverse or delay the decision.

Even Erdogan was surprised:

Trump was not dissuaded, according to the officials, who said the president quickly capitulated by pledging to withdraw, shocking both Bolton and Erdogan.

Caught off guard, Erdogan cautioned Trump against a hasty withdrawal, according to one official. While Turkey has made incursions into Syria in the past, it does not have the necessary forces mobilized on the border to move in and hold the large swaths of northeastern Syria where U.S. troops are positioned, the official said.

My view is that if we’re going to be fighting a war, Congress needs to authorize that war.

But suddenly making a decision like this, without consulting anyone in advance, is reckless. Of course, recklessness is a hallmark of the man occupying the Oval Office.


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis To Step Down

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 5:03 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Coming on the heels of his announcement that the U.S. will be pulling out of Syria, President Trump tweeted today that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will be stepping down:

General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years. During Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made, especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting….

…equipment. General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations. A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service!

In his letter of resignation, Mattis made clear that he no longer shared the same views with the president on certain matters. In part:

One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model—gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions—to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.

The timing of his resignation would suggest that his departure is in response to the announcement concerning Syria. A decision which Mattis is not in agreement with, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham. Graham spoke to CNN’s Kate Bolduan about the issue today:

“Secretary Mattis is firmly in the camp of the job in Syria is not yet done. That abandoning the Kurds now will hurt us down the road,” Graham told Bolduan, adding, “That ISIS could and probably will come back. And I think that’s the universal view of both [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and Mattis.”



Petitioning To Be On The Endangered List

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

A marginalized group of neighbors to the North of us who are concerned about the increasing lack of support for their community, recently rolled out a campaign highlighting the needs of people with Down syndrome. The ‘Endangered Syndrome’ project is the brainchild of the Canadian Society for People With Down Syndrome. Concerned about a deliberate and systematic attempt to eliminate this category of people throughout parts of Europe, the basis of the project is a belief that this community is now critically endangered :

All of this is despite the fact that the vast majority of people with Down syndrome report having an extremely high quality of life, exposing the empty and evil excuses of some abortive parents that abortion is “best for the baby” as the transparent lie that it is. Life expectancy has also gone up steadily: Now, people with Down syndrome generally live to about sixty years old, with some living into their seventies. Their life expectancy post-birth has skyrocketed just as their life expectancy pre-birth plummets.

That is precisely why the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is attempting to draw attention to the plight of people with Down syndrome via a daring new campaign, “Endangered syndrome”: They have launched a petition calling for those with Down syndrome to be placed on the “endangered” list, noting that that by the standards of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Down syndrome community qualifies.

The Society lists five major points explaining why they believe the Down syndrome community is endangered:






Because the birth rates of individuals with Down syndrome have sharply declined, particularly in Iceland, where only 1-2 babies per year with Down syndrome are actually born (often due to inaccurate test results), and 90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted before birth in England, the Endangered List petition has specific goals that they hope to see met if enough attention to their cause can be generated. These would include ensuring their right to work and self-sufficiency, and being active members of society; their right to independent living is recognized by providing more housing facilities; more support services provided to those with Down syndrome so that they can be included in society; better educational support for their community, and help removing stigmas frequently attached to individuals with Down syndrome.

Here is one individual’s story:

There are more of these stories at the link above.

Meanwhile, back here in the U.S., the newly selected president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen wants you to understand what defines standard medical healthcare at Planned Parenthood:

From here on out, we want to be clear: Planned Parenthood services, from birth control to cancer screenings and abortion, are standard medical care. Reproductive healthcare is healthcare. Women’s healthcare is healthcare. And healthcare is a basic human right. #ThisIsHealthcare

Abortion is part of the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare, and should be treated as the normal experience that it is. Nearly 1 in 4 women in America will have an abortion at some point in her life. And her decision should stay between her and her doctor. #ThisIsHealthcare



Clearly, what constitutes standard medical care is up for interpretation, as well as what is considered “normal.” There is no doubt that the objective has always been to normalize the killing of the unborn, and to solidify in the public mind that the little victims are but inconvenient faceless blobs of tissue and blood. Because if allowed to have a face, and personhood is recognized, then a very difficult road of reckoning ensues. And that eventual and inescapable reckoning traverses deep down to the bone and pierces the soul with its pain and sorrow. Until that time, the Shout Your Abortion movement provides a forum in which a woman can muffle the cry in her soul by sharing the story of her abortion, and thus feel good about the normal, standard medical care in which she partook.

While Dr. Wen wants us to believe that abortion is simply standard medical care, her position conveniently ignores the intrinsic humanity of unborn babies, wholly innocent and unable to defend themselves. It reduces the unborn baby to an unwanted entity, rudely intruding on an already established life. Thus the need for elimination, even through the most vicious of procedures. This, ironically, so that life can go on. But just not theirs.

It all more than breaks the heart.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Mollie Hemingway Twists the Facts to Accuse James Comey of Lying

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:33 pm

The pronouncements of Mollie Hemingway are often taken as Gospel truth by the Trump superfan section of the Internet, so a little debunking of a false claim she has recently made about James Comey is in order. Here is Mollie Hemingway on Twitter:

Mollie is here claiming that Comey lied to Congress. Her evidence does not support her claim.

Mollie, in the first tweet above, suggests that Comey could not have leaked his memo in response to Trump’s tweet, because “in fact” Trump’s tweet was “in response” to “Comey’s latest leak.” Therefore, Comey’s testimony is a “false claim” — one that he has made several times.

But Mollie’s evidence does not support her claim, which rests on a false implication that the New York Times article to which Trump was responding was based on a leaked memo from Comey. It wasn’t. Instead, that New York Times article was sourced to two anonymous “associates” of Comey’s. Mollie is dead wrong here and I have called her out.

In case this is not already crystal clear, I’m going to explain it step by step. It’s a little intricate, but stay with me and I promise that it won’t be that difficult.

Here’s the order of events as they actually happened. A New York Times story appeared on May 11, 2017, and appeared on Page A1 of the May 12, 2017 edition, titled In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred. The story opened with these paragraphs:

Only seven days after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president, James B. Comey has told associates, the F.B.I. director was summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief.

The conversation that night in January, Mr. Comey now believes, was a harbinger of his downfall this week as head of the F.B.I., according to two people who have heard his account of the dinner.

As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.

The story is sourced to “two people who have heard [Comey’s] account of the dinner.” Elsewhere in the story they are described as Comey’s “associates”:

Mr. Comey again replied that he would give him “honesty” and did not pledge his loyalty, according to the account of the conversation.

But Mr. Trump pressed him on whether it would be “honest loyalty.”

“You will have that,” Mr. Comey told his associates he responded.

Throughout his career, Mr. Trump has made loyalty from the people who work for him a key priority, often discharging employees he considers insufficiently reliable.

As described by the two people, the dinner offers a window into Mr. Trump’s approach to the presidency, through Mr. Comey’s eyes.

Keep in mind that Comey reported the events of the meeting to top FBI officials after it happened, as well as writing a memorandum. But Comey’s memorandum is not referenced in the story. Instead, two associates described what Comey had told them at the time:

Mr. Comey described details of his refusal to pledge his loyalty to Mr. Trump to several people close to him on the condition that they not discuss it publicly while he was F.B.I. director. But now that Mr. Comey has been fired, they felt free to discuss it on the condition of anonymity.

This is the NYT story that Mollie is referencing in her first tweet, above, which embeds four images: 1) Trump’s tweet, 2) a section from Comey’s testimony, 3) a screenshot of the opening of the NYT article, and 4) a screenshot of a notation stating that the story appeared on page A1 of the May 12, 2017 edition. Here are the third and fourth images from Mollie’s first tweet above:

Hemingway Screenshot 3

Hemingway Screenshot 4

Later that same morning, May 12, 2017, Trump tweeted an implication that he had taped the meeting:

A screenshot of this tweet is the first image in Hemingway’s first tweet, followed by the second image: a screenshot of a portion of Comey’s testimony:

Hemingway Screenshot 2

Comey, in other words, testified that he leaked his memo summarizing the meeting in response to that Trump tweet. This is the testimony that Mollie is claiming is “false.”

But the claim that Comey’s testimony is false rests on the false implication that the NYT story I just discussed in great detail is based on a leak from Comey — in particular, a leak of Comey’s memo. If you put Mollie’s two tweets together, the allegedly “false claim to Congress” is the claim described in her first tweet:

Comey just told Congress he only leaked his memos in response to Trump’s 5/12/17 tweet about “tapes” of his meetings with Trump.

This is “false,” we are told, because “in fact” Trump’s tweet was made “in response” to “Comey’s latest leak.” The very strong implication here is that “Comey’s latest leak” is the leak referred to in the Comey testimony highlighted by Hemingway’s second screenshot, describing why he leaked his memo.

In other words, Hemingway is implying that the NYT story was based on Comey’s leak of his memo memorializing his dinner with Trump.

But it wasn’t. There is zero evidence of that. It’s something Hemingway is pulling out of her hind quarters. The NYT story based on the memo that Comey leaked through his friend Daniel Richman came days later, on May 16, 2018. The article was titled Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation:

President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

It’s a different story.

Hemingway is conflating that May 16, 2018 story, which appeared four days after Trump’s tweet, with the May 11, 2018 story to which Trump was responding in his tweet. The earlier story was not based on a leaked Comey memo. The latter one was.

The timeline is consistent with Comey’s version of the events, and inconsistent with Hemingway’s revisionism. She owes James Comey a retraction and an apology.


Michael Flynn’s Sentencing Postponed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:45 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Michael Flynn faced an angry judge at his sentencing hearing :

A federal judge on Tuesday postponed the sentencing for Michael Flynn after he lambasted President Trump’s former national security adviser for trying to undermine the country and warned he might not spare Flynn from prison.

The stunning development means that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s engagement with Flynn will continue for some months longer, leaving Flynn to wonder whether he will lose his freedom. Flynn’s attorney requested the delay after the judge’s opinion became apparent, hoping further cooperation with law enforcement could earn the court’s mercy.

From the start, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan made clear he was infuriated by Flynn’s conduct — both in lying to the FBI while in the White House, and working to advance the interests of the Turkish government while he was a part of Trump’s campaign.

The judge seemed to take particular umbrage at the suggestion made by Flynn and his supporters, just before the sentencing, that he was duped by the FBI. Early in the hearing, Sullivan forced Flynn to admit publicly that he knew lying to the bureau was illegal, and that he was guilty of a crime. Later, the judge pointed to an American flag as he berated the former three-star general for his misdeeds.

“Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for,” the judge said. “Arguably, you sold your country out.”

Flynn, standing straight and flanked by attorneys on either side, looked shaken, his jaw clenched.

Also, the judge cautioned Flynn:

The judge said he would take into account Flynn’s cooperation, but he also detailed Flynn’s crimes.

“I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense,” Sullivan said.

He issued Flynn a warning, and asked if he might like to postpone the sentencing, so he could keep cooperating with the special counsel’s office.

“I cannot assure you, if you proceed today, you will not receive a sentence of incarceration,” Sullivan said.

The administration responded to today’s developments with this from Sarah Sanders:

“The FBI broke standard protocol in the way that they came in and ambushed General Flynn.”

Tweeting before today’s hearing, President Trump wished Flynn “good luck”:

Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn. Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!

Have at it.


Trump Administration to Issue Second Round of Payouts to Victims of Trump Tariffs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:08 am

Winning! Winning so hard … we are bailing out the victims of our policies that are making us win:

The Trump administration will move forward with plans to distribute a second round of payments to farmers caught in the crosshairs of a trade war with China.

“Today I am making good on my promise to defend our farmers and ranchers from unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations,” President Donald Trump said via Twitter Monday.

In July, his administration announced it would deliver as much as $12 billion in aid to farmers after Beijing slapped retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, including 25 percent duties on soybeans. Nations including Mexico had also taken trade action against U.S. farm goods this year.

Farmers form part of the rural base that helped catapult Trump into the White House. The administration distributed some $4.7 billion in the first round of direct government aid. With tensions between Trump and China showing signs of thawing, there was uncertainty within the agriculture industry as to when or if the second round would be distributed.

In a statement Monday, the U.S. Agriculture Department put the total payment at $9.57 billion.

If you opposed the 2009 bailout of the financial industry, it’s hard to see how you could support this trade war and the concomitant bailouts.

But, he said with a tired sigh, I’m sure some Trump superfan will try to explain how this is all consistent.

As for me, I am well and truly tired of such “winning.” If this is winning, I’d rather lose.

P.S. It’s an old chestnut, but this is the season for chestnuts. Roast this Harry Browne quote on your open fire:

The government is good at one thing. It knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say, “See if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.”

Break a leg!


Loneliness Is Killing More Americans Every Year

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:15 am

Karol Markowicz in the New York Post:

Americans are dying — earlier than they have been and often at their own hands.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 tally, there has been a dramatic rise in the numbers of US deaths by suicide and drug overdose.

Many of the books I have read lately have discussed this phenomenon and have reached the same conclusion about its cause: loneliness. These books range from The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Jonathan Haidt and FIRE President Greg Lukianoff, to Them: Why We Hate Each Other–and How to Heal by Ben Sasse (both affiliate links). Markowicz agrees:

An op-ed in The New York Times by Arthur Brooks a few weeks ago noted that Americans are suffering from an “epidemic of loneliness.” Brooks cited a large-scale survey by the insurance company Cigna, in which nearly half of respondents said “they sometimes or always feel alone or ‘left out.’ ” More than 10 percent of respondents reported that “zero people know them well.”

That’s a lot of people adrift without anyone to cling to. In 2019, let’s work on being kinder to each other.

Let’s be the people who step in when someone is hurting or in trouble. Let’s put down our phones and laptops
and make connections on our blocks and in our neighborhoods. Let’s seek out the lonely, the outcasts. Let 2018’s victims open our eyes to the desperation all around us.

We’re literally dying without each other.

Great piece. Read it all.


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 136

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the third Sunday of Advent. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz” (Examine me, God, and know my heart).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:7-18:

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

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

Search me, God, and determine my heart; test me and determine what I think!

Alas, that the curse, which strikes the earth there,
also hits the heart of these people!
Who can hope for good fruit,
where this curse reaches even to the soul,
so that it brings the thorns of sin
and bears the pricks of blasphemy.
Yet often the children of hell wish
to represent themselves as angels of light;
so that among these corrupted beings
grapes might be gleaned from these thorns .
A wolf might conceal himself with a pure wool cloak,
yet a day will dawn,
which will be to you, you hypocrites, a terror,
indeed unbearable.

A day will come,
when the Hidden One will judge,
before which hypocrisy may well tremble.
For the wrath of His vengeance will annihilate
what hypocrisy and deceit fashion.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

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