The Jury Talks Back

9/24/2019

Trump Withheld Aid to Ukraine Before Call in Which He Pressured Ukraine President Over Biden

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:56 am

An article in the Washington Post:

President Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine at least a week before a phone call in which Trump is said to have pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of former vice president Joe Biden, according to three senior administration officials.

Officials at the Office of Management and Budget relayed Trump’s order to the State Department and the Pentagon during an interagency meeting in mid-July, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. They explained that the president had “concerns” and wanted to analyze whether the money needed to be spent.

The New York Times sheds further light:

It soon became clear that the Ukraine aid freeze was different from the hold placed on other programs. Even after other foreign aid was restored, the money for Ukraine remained blocked.

So that’s the quid, and we already know the quo. Partisans say: my, we don’t know what was said on the call. We know well enough. This is the Ukraine government’s own readout:

Donald Trump is convinced that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve image of Ukraine, complete investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.

Trump has admitted bringing up Biden in the call:

“We had a great conversation. The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption — all of the corruption taking place, was largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son (adding to the corruption),” Trump told reporters.

And just this morning Trump apparently admitted putting pressure on Ukraine regarding Joe Biden, although I offer the caveat that I have not yet seen video:

And Giuliani admitted, on national television, having brought it up himself, just seconds after denying the same thing:

“Of course I did!”

The Trump administration says the money was being withheld because of concerns over corruption in Ukraine.

Well, Mr. Zelensky, you know we’re concerned about all the corruption over there, and we can’t very well send money to corrupt places. But you know, I hear you guys have the chance to show you’re serious about corruption. Don’t you have some cases you were working on that you could finish? There’s a lot of corruption, that I can tell you. Hey, one awful bit of corruption I heard about was about Joe Biden’s son. Did you hear about that one? Terrible! Anyway, nice talking to you, and I hope our relations can be better soon!

The Trump Whisperers at Fox News have a way out for Trump, disguised as criticism:

It seems like they are slamming Trump but actually they are giving him cover. Like the allegation that Trump actively conspired with Vladimir Putin, which no sane person ever believed, the allegation that Trump openly came out and said “investigate Joe Biden or you don’t get the cash” is an absurd over-accusation. When it turns out not to be exactly true, as with Trump’s Russian shenanigans, Trumpists will use that fact to excuse the actual corruption that occurred but did not rise to the level of the most feverish, over-the-top scenarios ever proffered by his most wild-eyed critics (and focused on by his defenders).

The truth is, even the Mafia knows how to put their extortion threats in a facially friendly way. As the Mafia lawyer explained to the jury in the extortion trial, he really did think they have a nice business there! Is it now illegal in the United States of America for one businessman to praise another businessman’s business?! What has the world come to?

“I don’t think it really matters . . . whether the president explicitly told the Ukrainians that they wouldn’t get their security aid if they didn’t interfere in the 2020 elections,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “There is an implicit threat in every demand that a United States president makes of a foreign power. . . . That foreign country knows that if they don’t do it, there are likely to be consequences.”

Trump on Monday repeated his denial of doing anything improper and insisted that his July 25 conversation with Zelensky was “a perfect phone call.” He also hinted that he may release a transcript of it.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley rejected claims that Trump was engaged in a quid pro quo. “But because the media wants this story to be true so badly, they’ll once again manufacture a frenzy and drive ignorant, fake stories to attack this president,” Gidley said.

It appears the Ukrainian leader came away from the discussion with a different impression. Murphy, who spoke with Zelensky during an early September visit to Ukraine, said Monday that the Ukrainian president “directly” expressed concerns at their meeting that “the aid that was being cut off to Ukraine by the president was a consequence” of his unwillingness to launch an investigation into the Bidens.

Where could he have gotten that idea? I wonder.

FAKE UPDATE: Hold everything! In a Patterico exclusive, we have video of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president. Trump’s remarks begin at 1:35:

Things break.

9/23/2019

Making Religion: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:03 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I read this thread a few days ago and was reminded that just about anything can become an object of worship, or can have a religion built around it. Such is the insatiable need for fallen man to present his corrupt power as something incorruptible, or even something of the Divine. There are no limitations to man’s imagination:

We’ve had many questions about yesterday’s chapel, conducted as part of @ccarvalhaes’ class, “Extractivism: A Ritual/Liturgical Response.” In worship, our community confessed the harm we’ve done to plants, speaking directly in repentance.

This is a beautiful ritual. We are in the throes of a climate emergency, a crisis created by humanity’s arrogance, our disregard for Creation.

Far too often, we see the natural world only as resources to be extracted for our use, not divinely created in their own right—worthy of honor, thanks and care.

We need to unlearn habits of sin and death. And part of that work must be building new bridges to the natural world.

And that means creating new spiritual and intellectual frameworks by which we understand and relate to the plants and animals with whom we share the planet.

Churches have a huge role to play in this endeavor. Theologies that encourage humans to dominate and master the Earth have played a deplorable role in degrading God’s creation.

We must birth new theology, new liturgy to heal and sow, replacing ones that reap and destroy.

When Robin Wall Kimmerer spoke at Union last year, she concluded her lecture by tasking us—and all faith communities—to develop new liturgies by which to mourn, grieve, heal and change in response to our climate emergency.

We couldn’t be prouder to participate in this work.

And here’s the thing: At first, this work will seem weird. It won’t feel normal. It won’t look like how we’re used to worship looking and sounding.

And that’s exactly the point. We don’t just need new wine, we need new wineskins.

But it’s also important to note that this isn’t, really, that radical a break from tradition. Many faiths and denoms have liturgy through which we express and atone for the harm we’ve caused. No one would have blinked if our chapel featured students apologizing to each other.

What’s different (and the source of so much derision) is that we’re treating plants as fully created beings, divine Creation in its own right—not just something to be consumed.

Because plants aren’t capable of verbal response, does that mean we shouldn’t engage with them?

So, if you’re poking fun, we’d ask only that you also spend a couple moments asking:

Do I treat plants and animals as divinely created beings?

What harm do I cause without thinking?

How can I enter into new relationship with the natural world?

Change isn’t easy: It’s no simple business to break free from comfortable habits and thoughts. But if we do not change, we will perish. And so will plants and animals God created and called “good.”

We must lean into this discomfort; God waits for us there.

Last week, JVW wrote a brilliant little post about activists using their children to push their agenda, and their willingness to exploit them, if necessary. Because sometimes terrorizing one’s offspring is what gets the job done. Hey, small sacrifices, am I right?? Central to his focus was climate activist Greta Thunberg. Young Miss Thungberg spoke before an audience at the UN Climate Action Summit today. She was harshly critical of capitalism, and of the adults who have taken the world to the brink of extinction by their irresponsible behavior, thus leaving Miss Thunberg and her contemporaries with one really screwed up future. And, per Ms. Thunberg, we only have 12 8 1/2 years to get our shit together. So when asked what her message today was to world leaders, Miss Thunberg intoned: “We’ll be watching you”.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

While Miss Thunberg then renders judgement: She doesn’t want to believe we are evil but it’s pretty much looking like we are:

“For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

In closing, there will be no mercy for the wicked:

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

(You can read about the “math” upon which she relies to support her claims at the link.)

–Dana

Biden Did Not Act Corruptly, It Seems, But It Looks Bad and Facts Don’t Matter Anyway

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:01 am

How’s that for a headline?

The story that Biden was trying to squash an investigation into his son appears to be wrong on the facts. Not that hyperpartisans care about the facts.

Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine in March 2016 (it was not a phone call, as Trump claimed) and said the United States would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees (not $2 billion, as Trump claimed) unless Shokin was removed (it was not a demand to stop the Burisma prosecution, as Trump claimed, and there’s no evidence Shokin “was after” Hunter Biden).

The vice president’s trip was part of a longer push by the United States, Western allies and nongovernmental organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The goal was to promote reform in Ukraine and remove a prosecutor who allegedly was turning a blind eye to corruption.

Bloomberg News reported May 7 that “at the time Biden made his ultimatum, the probe into the company – Burisma Holdings, owned by Mykola Zlochevsky – had been long dormant, according to the former official, Vitaliy Kasko.”

“There was no pressure from anyone from the U.S. to close cases against Zlochevsky,” Kasko, a former official in the prosecutor general’s office, told Bloomberg News. “It was shelved by Ukrainian prosecutors in 2014 and through 2015.”

That said, Biden’s involvement presents an appearance of a conflict of interest. Of course, the idea that Trump superfans care deeply about conflicts of interest is hilarious.

I’m unaware of evidence directly showing that Biden knew of the investigation (which had apparently already been long shelved) but it smells bad.

That said, everything about Trump smells bad. If you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge that, publicly and forthrightly, forgive me if I don’t take you seriously about your alleged Principled Concerns about Biden.

I don’t think any of this gets any traction, any more than Trump’s BS usually does. The facts are messy and none of the nuance will make it into the public debate. Trump has gestured at this kind of thing before, albeit as a candidate (“Russia, if you’re listening”), and his superfans shrugged then. (Until I read the Mueller report and learned how deadly serious he was about finding the emails, sending Flynn to find them the same day he issued his entreaty to Russia, I thought he was just joking with that “Russia, if you’re listening” line. But he wasn’t.) If you were to give Trump superfans even a transparently false and phony story that Biden is dirty too, they would snap it up regardless of the facts. That is who they are and what they do. The fact that there actually is a genuine conflict of interest issue just emboldens them in a position they would hold anyway.

9/22/2019

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 105

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht” (Lord, do not pass judgment on Your servant)

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 16:1-13:

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

“‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied.

“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’

“Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’

“‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.

“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

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

Yet it is well for him who knows his Indemnitor,
who makes reparation for all guilt,
for the signature disappears
when Jesus moistens it with His blood.
He Himself lifts us up on the Cross,
He will hand over the account of your goods, body, and life,
when your hour of death strikes,
to the Father Himself.
Therefore your body, which is carried to the grave,
may well be covered over with sand and dust,
while your Savior opens the eternal courts for you.

If I can only make Jesus my friend,
then Mammon is worth nothing to me.
I find no pleasure here
in the midst of this vain world and earthly objects.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

9/21/2019

Weekend Open Threads

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 11:45 am

[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start:

Demonstrating feigned and craven ignorance to the fact that abortion is politics, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttiegieg (and mayor of South Bend, Ind.) says he doesn’t want the issue politicized in light of the ghastly news that more than 2,000 fetal remains were discovered at the home of a deceased notorious Indiana abortionist. This as he politicizes it himself:

Law-enforcement officials announced Friday that they had found 2,246 “medically preserved” aborted fetuses in the Illinois home of the late abortionist Ulrich “George” Klopfer, who ran a number of abortion clinics in Indiana and Illinois and died September 3.

“Like everyone, I find that news out of Illinois extremely disturbing, and I think it’s important that that be fully investigated,” Buttigieg said after several days of silence on the matter. “I also hope it doesn’t get caught up in politics at a time when women need access to health care. There’s no question that what happened is disturbing. It’s unacceptable. And it needs to be looked into fully.”

He hopes it “doesn’t caught up in politics” he says as he politicizes it.

Second news item: Trump pounces:

Third news item: Claiming it’s a defensive move is the administration’s justification for sending US troops to Saudi America after the attacks on oil sites:

The United States is deploying military forces to the Middle East after Saturday’s drone attacks on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia that the administration of President Donald Trump has blamed on Iran…”The president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said at a news conference Friday…Answering reporters’ questions about the deployment, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the troop deployment as “modest” and “not thousands.”…Esper said troops would be primarily focused on air and missile defenses…The United States will also accelerate shipment of military hardware to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he said.

Iran warns, don’t even think about it:

“Our readiness to respond to any aggression is definitive,” Maj-Gen Hossein Salami told state media on Saturday. “We will never allow a war to enter our land.”

“We will pursue any aggressor,” he continued. “We will continue until the full destruction of any aggressor.”

Fourth news item: California dreaming turns into a nightmare as San Francisco alone has an estimated 4,000 people who are mentally ill and addicted to drugs, and innocent residents continue to pay the price for the failures of their elected officials:

Teresa Man was walking from her apartment near Fourth and Brannan streets to an 8 a.m. coffee meeting in the Financial District on the morning of Friday, Sept. 13. Like on every workday, she strolled up Third Street past the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. But this particular commute turned frightening.

She first saw the disheveled man wearing mismatched shoes — a black Adidas sneaker on his left foot and a black sandal on his right foot — pressing his face into the glass of the museum gift shop.

He, too, noticed her attire: a black sundress with white flowers in preparation for the stifling heat that would reach 94 degrees that afternoon. He asked Man what kind of flowers were on her dress and whether she had smelled them. She thought his questions were weird, and she rushed along.

Then, Man said, he told her, “I just want to smell your flowers,” grabbed her, pressed his nose and mouth into her breasts and attempted to remove her dress and bra.

“I screamed and said, ‘Get the f— off me!’” recounted the 28-year-old designer at a startup. She ran north on Third Street, and the man followed her. She told him she’d call the police if he didn’t leave her alone. He laughed and said, “The cops aren’t going to do nothing,” she recalled.

It’s one more terrifying encounter — seemingly fueled by drugs or untreated mental illness — in a city struggling to respond to these twin crises in any comprehensive, coherent way.

There are too few mental health beds. Too few drug treatment beds. A clogged psychiatric emergency room at San Francisco General Hospital that quickly releases people back to the streets. A criminal justice system that seems more intent on shifting blame than ensuring the public is safe. A mayor and board adding some new beds here and creating a task force there, but not making big change.

And finally, let’s end on a thankful note, shall we? After all, how blessed are Americans that there is so much free time to dream up and participate in some extraordinary creative mental gymnastics just to ensure that democracy doesn’t dies in darkness:

Untitled

The two are separated by race, gender and more than 100 years of history that forged an America that would probably be unrecognizable to Douglass. Still, experts say, their use of photography collapses the distance: Douglass sat for scores of pictures to normalize the idea of black excellence and equality, and Warren’s thousands of selfies with supporters could do the same for a female president.

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

9/20/2019

WSJ: Trump Repeatedly Pressured Ukrainian President To Reopen Biden Investigation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Have at it:

President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ’s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter.

“He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” if his lawyer’s assertions that Mr. Biden acted improperly as vice president were true, one of the people said. Mr. Trump didn’t mention a provision of U.S. aid to Ukraine on the call, said this person, who didn’t believe Mr. Trump offered the Ukrainian president any quid-pro-quo for his cooperation on any investigation.

Mr. Giuliani in June and August met with top Ukrainian officials about the prospect of an investigation, he said in an interview. The Trump lawyer has suggested Mr. Biden as vice president worked to shield from investigation a Ukrainian gas company with ties to his son, Hunter Biden. A Ukrainian official earlier this year said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son.

Good point:

The surprise in this story is that he supposedly didn’t threaten to withhold the $250 million in military aid that Ukraine had been promised if President Zelensky refused to reopen the Biden probe, at least as far as the Journal’s sources know. But of course Zelensky knew that that money hadn’t been approved yet by the White House when he and Trump had their phone call. And Trump knew that he knew. If you’re waiting on a life-and-death loan from the bank and the head of the bank calls you up asking for a personal favor, does he need to literally say the words “do it or you won’t get your loan” for you to understand the consequences if you decline?

Interestingly, neither the White House, nor Joe Biden have commented on this. Further, President Trump is scheduled to meet with Zelensky next week.

This from the Daily Beast:

Ukraine is ready to investigate the connections Joe Biden’s son Hunter had with the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, according to Anton Geraschenko, a senior adviser to the country’s interior minister who would oversee such an inquiry.

Geraschenko told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview that “as soon as there is an official request” Ukraine will look into the case, but “currently there is no open investigation.”

“Clearly,” said Geraschenko, “Trump is now looking for kompromat to discredit his opponent Biden, to take revenge for his friend Paul Manafort, who is serving seven years in prison.” Among the counts on which Manafort was convicted: tax evasion. “We do not investigate Biden in Ukraine, since we have not received a single official request to do so,” said Geraschenko.

And I’ll just throw this up here for kicks:

–Dana

John Bolton Unleashed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:29 am

[guest post by Dana]

Clearly, he’s got nothing to lose:

John Bolton…harshly criticized Trump’s foreign policy on Wednesday at a private lunch, saying that inviting the Taliban to Camp David sent a “terrible signal” and that it was “disrespectful” to the victims of 9/11 because the Taliban had harbored al Qaeda.

Bolton also said that any negotiations with North Korea and Iran were “doomed to failure,” according to two attendees.

All the North Koreans and Iranians want to do is negotiate for relief from sanctions to support their economies, said Bolton, who was speaking before guests invited by the Gatestone Institute, a conservative think tank.

“He ripped Trump, without using his name, several times,” said one attendee. Bolton didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolton also said more than once that Trump’s failure to respond to the Iranian attack on an American drone earlier this summer set the stage for the Islamic Republic’s aggression in recent months.

At one point, Bolton, a previous chairman of Gatestone, suggested that had the U.S. retaliated for the drone shootdown, Iran might not have damaged the Saudi oil fields.

Coincidentally, Bolton’s comments came on the same day that Trump announced Bolton’s replacement would be Robert C. O’Brien, with whom he had “good chemistry”.

Trump pushed back on Bolton’s comments concerning a “high authority, at the very last minute” choosing not to go through with planned retaliatory strikes against the Iranians because Tucker Carlson, among others, warned that it was not a good idea:

“Well, I was critical of John Bolton for getting us involved with a lot of other people in the Middle East,” he told reporters during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego. “We’ve spent $7.5 trillion in the Middle East and you ought to ask a lot of people about that.“

“John was not able to work with anybody, and a lot of people disagreed with his ideas,” Trump added. “A lot of people were very critical that I brought him on in the first place because of the fact that he was so in favor of going into the Middle East, and he got stuck in quicksand and we became policemen for the Middle East. It’s ridiculous.“

–Dana

9/19/2019

Media Lesson Today: Not All White People Wearing Blackface Incidents Are Equal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It all depends on who it is wearing the blackface…

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the years:

Untitled

It’s a funny thing to see how the media treats adored politicians when they are discovered to have worn blackface:

Untitled

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada is the latest politician to apologize (3x) for wearing blackface 50 years ago40 years ago30 years ago… less than 20 years ago. Jim Geraghty asks us to pause as we recognize the significance of this moment:

Can we all take a moment to savor the delicious irony of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau — the walking icon of tolerance, progressivism, and cultural sensitivity, the Dreamy Diversity Guy and favorite foreign leader of so many Democrats — telling Canadians today that he is unable to say whether he wore blackface (or probably more accurately, brownface) on more than three occasions?

Why, yes, yes we can!

Details:

Time magazine revealed a photo of Trudeau wearing brownface as an Aladdin character at an Arabian Nights” party in 2001, as well as blackface to imitate Harry Belafonte in high school, and then on a third occasion in the early 1990s.

In conclusion:

In a society that wasn’t consumed by woke-scolds and “cancel culture,” we could argue that not every example of darkening the skin is the same as Al Jolson or Amos and Andy or other efforts to mock and deride an entire group of people. Nobody seems all that upset when Robert Downey Jr. played an over-the-top method actor who darkened his skin to play an African-American character in Tropic Thunder. But that would require people to recognize that, say, Megyn Kelly wasn’t being racist or malevolent when she described trying to look like Diana Ross on Halloween. And by golly, joining the outrage mob and claiming another scalp is just too much fun for people to resist.

Come on, Canada. Don’t vote against Justin Trudeau because of old party costumes. Vote against Trudeau because he’s corrupt and willing to pressure his justice minister to take it easy on a big company that supported him.

Apparently, there may be more videos of Trudeau in blackface to come. He reportedly can’t remember how often he did it. As he embarks on his apology tour, reactions from Trudeau’s fellow politicians has run the gamut.

To his credit, Trudeau came out and did the work for members of the media, who were simply unable to be straight-up in their reporting and instead resorted to incredible feats of linguistic contortions to avoid saying “blackface”:

Finally, Trudeau blamed his behavior on white privilege. So predictable:

“The fact is, I didn’t understand how hurtful this is to people who live with discrimination everyday,” he said. “I didn’t see that from the layers of privilege that I have and for that I am deeply sorry and I apologize.”

It’s always the nannies and scolds telling us how to live that have the most to hide. They’re exhausting.

–Dana

CNN To Host LGBTQ Town Hall For Democratic Candidates

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 2:32 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Maybe hoping to replicate their climate change town hall ratings bonanza (did anyone even watch it?), CNN is slated to host a more than four-hour long LGBTQ town hall for the Democratic presidential candidates:

Nine Democratic presidential candidates have accepted the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s invitation to participate in a CNN town hall next month focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues. HRC is billing the October 10 town hall in Los Angeles, “Power of our Pride,” and it coincides with the 31st anniversary of National Coming Out Day on October 11.

[…]

Two candidates will appear back-to-back each hour throughout the evening and take questions from the audience and a CNN moderator…

Businessman Tom Steyer will be interviewed by CNN’s Dana Bash at 7 p.m.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will be interviewed by Bash at 7:30 p.m.
Former Vice President Joe Biden will be interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper at 8 p.m.
California Sen. Kamala Harris, will be interviewed by Cooper at 8:30 p.m.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be interviewed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo at 9 p.m.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be interviewed by Cuomo at 9:30 p.m.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke will be interviewed by CNN’s Don Lemon at 10 p.m.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will be interviewed by Lemon at 10:30 p.m.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro will be interviewed by Cooper at 11 p.m.

Due to scheduling conflicts, both Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang will be no-shows. Invited guests, LGBTQ stakeholders and members of civic organizations will comprise the invitation-only audience.

Me, I’m still waiting for CNN to host a National Debt town hall, where Democratic candidates are invited to spar over the most effective way to cut spending and decrease the nation’s outrageous debt…

–Dana

9/18/2019

Mark Meadows: James Comey Was Totally Trying to Hide This Thing He Testified to Under Oath!!!!11!1!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:23 pm

I just about went apoplectic reading a post by John Sexton at Hot Air, titled Rep. Meadows: Comey’s Congressional Testimony At Odds With What He Told IG Horowitz, New Referral Needed:

Just last month IG Horowitz released a report which concluded that former FBI Director James Comey violated bureau policy by treating official records as if they were his personal documents. Today, Horowitz testified before Congress and was asked by Rep. Mark Meadows about some apparent discrepancies between what Comey told the IG during that investigation and what Comey had said during congressional testimony last year. Rep. Meadows said a referral would be forthcoming and Horowitz agreed to look over the information.

“We’ve taken, now, your report and we’ve put it side by side [with] congressional testimony that James Comey made before the joint oversight and judiciary hearing and I’m finding just a number of irregularities,” Meadows said. . . .

. . . .

“I’ll give you one example,” Meadows said. Referring to testimony Comey gave in December of 2018, Meadows continued, “Mr. Gowdy was asking, he said ‘Did you initiate an obstruction of justice investigation based on what the president said?’ It was a very clear question. Mr. Comey said ‘I don’t think so. I don’t recall doing that so I don’t think so.’

However, on page 13 of your IG report, it says that Comey purposefully leaked the memo so that they could have a special counsel appointed to investigate obstruction of justice. So two of those can not be true. They’re at opposite dynamics in terms of what they’re constructing. And we have dozens of examples where that has happened.”

Meadows added, “So we’ll be referring those inconsistencies to you today, Mr. Horowitz, and I think that it’s important that the American people get to look at this.”

The two are not “at opposite dynamics” (whatever the heck that means) and both can be true — and guess what? Comey testified in December 2018 to the precise thing that Meadows is trying to suggest Comey tried to hide:

Mr. Gowdy: Your attorney questioned the relevance of that line of questioning by Mr. Ratcliffe. I want to take another stab at letting you know why we might be interested in it.

It’s been publicly reported, but I’m going to give you a chance to respond to it, that one of the reasons you instructed Professor Richman to provide that memo to the media was to spur the appointment of [a] special counsel. Is that correct or incorrect?

Mr. Comey: Yes, so that — to pursue the tapes.

Mr. Gowdy: Pardon me?

Mr. Comey: To pursue the tapes that President Trump had tweeted at me about. I was worried the Department of Justice, as currently led, would not go after White House tapes and that a special counsel would.

Meadows says this is inconsistent with what Sexton calls other December “testimony” from Comey (actually an interview, which you can read in its entirety here). It’s not. Here’s the full context of the relevant quote from that interview:

Mr. Gowdy: He then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying: Flynn’s a good guy and has been through a lot. He misled the Vice President, but he didn’t do anything wrong in the call. Said: I hope you can see your way clear of letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go. I replied by saying I agree he is a good guy, but said no more.

Have I fairly described that paragraph?

Mr. Comey: Yes. In fact, I think you read it.

Mr. Gowdy: Do the contents of that paragraph, are they sufficient to launch an obstruction of justice investigation?

Mr. Comey: Potentially.

Mr. Gowdy: What part of it potentially could lead to the initiation of an obstruction of justice investigation?

Mr. Comey: The President asking — one interpretation of it is the President asking the FBI to drop a criminal investigation.

Mr. Gowdy: Did you act or fail to act in any way in the Flynn matter because of what the President said to you?

Mr. Comey: Act or fail to act? I didn’t abide this direction. In fact, kept it to a fairly small group in FBI headquarters so it would not have any impact on the investigation.

Mr. Gowdy: But I’m asking you specifically —

Mr. Comey: I took acts — the reason I’m hesitating is I took acts to make sure it had no impact on the investigation.

Mr. Gowdy: I’m with you, but it did not — did his comments prevent you from following the leads that you thought should have been followed?

Mr. Comey: No.

Mr. Gowdy: Did his comments prevent you from taking any act as the Director of the FBI that you thought were warranted by the other fact pattern?

Mr. Comey: No. This had — I did not abide this. And it did not affect the investigation, so far as I’m aware, in any way.

Mr. Gowdy: Did you initiate an obstruction of justice investigation based on what the President said?

Mr. Comey: I don’t think so. I don’t recall doing that, so I don’t think so.

Mr. Gowdy: Would you recall initiating a criminal investigation into the President of the United States?

Mr. Comey: Yes, I’m sorry. I didn’t personally, but I took it also to mean, did anyone else in the FBI open a file with an obstruction heading or something? Not to my knowledge is the answer.

In context, Comey is being asked whether, as the Director of the FBI, he initiated an obstruction of justice investigation based on the President’s comments to the effect that he hoped that Comey would drop the investigation of his former campaign advisor and national security advisor.

And Mark Meadows is trying to say that Comey lied, because as a private citizen he leaked a memo with the hope that it would spur the appointment of a special counsel to investigate obstruction of justice. Which Comey acknowledged in testimony in December 2018.

Meadows’s accusation is reckless, it’s uninformed, and it’s also a word we don’t use in polite company that people used to use to refer to the intellectually disabled. (Some people still do, and some presidential candidates think it’s pretty darned funny.)

It’s the accusation of a partisan hack.

Let the whatabouts and rationalizing begin!

Guess Who Is Being Dismissive About The Estimated Size Of The Crowd At Elizabeth Warren’s Rally?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:25 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This is just so rich coming from President Trump. After all, we’re talking about a president who became obsessed with the size of his inaugural crowd. It was so important to Trump that the crowd size was the largest in inaugural history that Trump sent out spokesman Sean Spicer on his first day of work to accuse the media of inaccurate reporting. Moreover, a government photographer even admitted later that he had cropped out empty spaces in his inauguration photographs so that the crowds would appear larger. Nothing less than the Biggest Crowd Ever would suffice for our new president.

Remember this exchange with David Muir of ABC News:

MUIR: And just before we leave, the President tells us he wants to show us just one more image.

TRUMP: One thing this shows is how far they go over here. Look. Look how far this is. This goes all the way down here. All the way down. Nobody sees that. You don’t see that in the pictures. But when you look at this tremendous sea of love — I call it a sea of love. It’s really something special, that all these people traveled here from all parts of the country, maybe the world, but all parts of the country. Hard for them to get here. Many of these people were the forgotten men and women, many of them. And they loved what I had to say. More importantly, they’re going to love the result.

Anyway, apparently not all seas of love are equal: President Trump dismissed the estimated size of the crowd at Elizabeth’s Warren’s rally in New York City, and followed it up with a “What’s the big deal, anyone can draw a big crowd there” sneer. This really isn’t important news, of course, but it is a reminder of the dishonest, petty narcissism of Trump, and how size continually matters to him. Pot meet kettle:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday dismissed assertions that more than 20,000 people turned out for Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren’s rally in New York on Monday evening, lobbing accusations of crowd-size inflation that have long been leveled at himself.

“Certainly, if I went to Manhattan, if I went there — No. 1, she didn’t have 20,000 people and No. 2, I think anybody would get a good crowd there,” he told reporters on Air Force One, according to a pool report. “I think you have a good crowd there if you don’t even go there, just say you’re going and how many people are in the park.”

Trump did not provide a basis for his claim. The 20,000 estimation for the rally, which packed Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, comes from the Warren campaign, but it does not yet appear to have been corroborated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The department has said it permitted the event for an audience of up to 10,000.

A little more detail:

“Anybody that can’t get people standing in the middle of Manhattan in the most densely populated area of the country — anybody could do that,” the president said in California to reporters traveling with him. “I think more Democrats should do it. I get these crowds in areas that nobody’s ever seen crowds before. Pretty amazing.

The event is reportedly the largest to date for a Warren appearance. She spoke at the rally, and then stayed after for four hours afterward to take photos with her supporters.

–Dana

About Shane Gillis and His Dismissal from SNL

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:57 am

So there’s this fellow Shane Gillis, and unless you have been living under a rock (and if you have been living under rock, do you have an extra room?), you know he was hired as a comedian on the unfunny show Saturday Night Live, and then this tweet happened:

And then he was unhired. Here’s how it’s portrayed at “The Cut”:

Later in the day, however, a clip from Gillis’s podcast, Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, was surfaced on Twitter by freelance writer and comedy reporter Seth Simons. In it, Gillis and co-host Matt McCusker make a series of racist comments about Chinese people and use racist, mocking accents. Early in the first clip, Gillis says, while referring to Chinatown, “Why do the fucking ch*nks live there?”

That is not true, as anyone who actually watches the clip can see. In response to the podcaster musing on how Chinatown started, and saying: “I wonder how that started. They just built one fucked-up lookin’ building and people were like: ‘All right, no one’s said anything…'” and Gillis responds: “‘let the fuckin’ Chinks live there, huh?'” I put Gillis’s quote inside two sets of quotation marks because Gillis is characterizing/quoting what he thinks people were saying when Chinatown in New York was founded, you know, in the 1800s.

Which is not to say that the “humor” in the clip, which is not my style of humor, does not rely on stereotyping Asians. It does. The two repeatedly mock Asian accents. You can’t do that, unless you’re Donald Trump, in which case it’s OK. Or unless you’re Seth MacFarlane, who does this kind of thing routinely on his show Family Guy.

Hey. Maybe the out-of-work Gillis can get himself a job as a writer on Family Guy.

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