The Jury Talks Back

1/31/2020

Fox Says No To Airing Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 2:39 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The ad is undeniably profound in its eloquent testimony to life, as told by abortion survivors:

Details:

Lyric Gillett, founder of Faces of Choice, accused Fox, which is broadcasting the game, of stringing her along after she began negotiating in July to air a powerful black-and-white ad featuring adults and children of different genders and ethnicities with one thing in common: they survived abortions.

“In an era where we’re trying to give survivors a voice, whether that is through the #MeToo movement or on any number of issues, for some reason we deem survivors of abortion worthy of being ignored into oblivion,” Ms. Gillett said. “That, to me, is both ironic but also just appalling.”

[…]

A Fox spokesperson said in an email that the network sold out its ad space early on for this year’s championship game in Miami between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

“Super Bowl LIV sold out at a record pace this year, and unfortunately we were unable to accommodate Faces of Choice and other advertisers,” the spokesperson said.

Gillet pushed back against it being a simple matter of ad space being sold out:

Ms. Gillett said there is more to the story. After providing storyboards and fielding questions about her organization, she said, she was told by the sales division that she would have a response from the legal department by a date in late November.

“Some individuals had apparently expressed that the sales division was not happy with the way the legal division was going in terms of not providing answers,” Ms. Gillett said. “So an executive flew up from New York and we were told Friday to expect an answer by Monday. Monday came along, we got no answer, and then found out that night that they were sold out.”

After that, she said, she asked Fox again to clear the ad in case other slots opened from cancellations for financial or content reasons. She said she was told in mid-December to expect an answer “very, very soon,” but the response never came.

“It feels like the reason for that is they don’t want to, I guess in their minds, give a story that we were rejected,” Ms. Gillett said. “I guess that’s the reason behind it. Nothing else makes sense. But again, that’s unprofessional, and I don’t think that’s how they operate with other clients.”

[…]

Her biggest frustration lies in what she described as Fox’s lack of responsiveness. She said she also reached out to the Academy Awards about running an ad, and an ABC executive got back to her the same day to tell her that the show has a policy against advocacy spots.

[…]

“Every time we would meet a stipulation or request, it would morph into something different. I would send an email saying, ‘What else do you need to get some type of answer?’ Even if it’s a ‘no,’ we don’t want a ‘no,’ but at least we can have an answer. We never got that answer,” Ms. Gillett said.

Note that there will be both advocacy and political ads aired during the Super Bowl, including an ad focusing on police shootings of black people, an Audi ad focusing on environmentalism, an ad featuring drag queens Kim Chi and Miz Cracker from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” about which LGBTQ marketing strategist Bob Witeck said:

“For queer audiences, it is an art form and an ‘outsiders’ language,” Witek said of drag. “Reaching the Super Bowl means taking our language into every home in the nation and millions around the world.”

There will also be ads airing from Michael Bloomberg about gun violence, and President Trump promoting the achievements of his first term in office.

Ad Age confirmed that Fox Super Bowl ad units were sold out in November:

After network honcho Seth Winter spent the better part of the last few weeks warning would-be clients that the last of the Big Game inventory was about to run out, the executive VP of sales for Fox Sports sold the last available spot on Friday.

Not a single commercial unit is being held back for the stragglers who may have been iffy on their creative or were simply hoping to hold out for a better price. The early bird has a belly full of worm meat. Better luck next year.

[…]

“Because we didn’t want anyone to get caught out, we over-communicated to the marketplace that this was going at a pace we’d never seen before,” he says. “We’d spent weeks imploring them: ‘We are serious! We are going to sell out!’”

[…]

Winter says the fact that the in-game ad units in the 2020 Super Bowl have been picked clean before Thanksgiving is largely a testament to the strength of the national economy.

As a reminder, Gillett began negotiating with Fox about airing her group’s ad in July.

Oh. Now we are learning that Fox Super Bowl ad units were sold out until they weren’t:

Fox declared in November that it had sold all the advertising time available in its looming February 2 broadcast of Super Bowl LIV. But just this week, it found a little more.

After holding nearly two months’ worth of discussions, Fox and the National Football League have devised a way to add commercial inventory to an event that in most years limits the amount of advertising that can be shown. While Fox and the NFL had long planned this year to trim one ad break from each quarter of the 2020 game, the pair discovered demand from some key sponsors was so robust that it was hard to ignore…Fox has decided to create what executives call a “floating” commercial break that will allow for two 60-second ads from sponsors…Since the network announced its sell out… sales team has been deluged with requests not only from advertisers still hoping to get in on the game, but from sponsors who were able to buy time but want to grab more so they can run longer commercials…

To be clear: not all advocacy is created equal. Surviving an abortion is the very real definition of #ShePersisted (and #HePersisted), but as Gillett observed, “we deem survivors of abortion worthy of being ignored into oblivion.” The trend continues.

–Dana

Open Thread: The Coronation of Donald Trump

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:43 am

All indications are that the vote to hear no relevant evidence will pass today, quickly followed by the acquittal for lack of relevant evidence. The crowning of King Trump will follow later tonight and will be carried live by all networks.

All hail King Trump.

All those who say aye: say aye! I shall wait for the unanimous decision of the Republicans in the Senate.

1/30/2020

More Proof Evangelical Church has Lost Its Way In The Season Of Trump

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:32 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Note: Consider this a little impeachment reprieve for those who are exhausted from talking about it.

I have written a number of posts concerning the seeming-rise of charlatans and grifters in Evangelical church pulpits since the ascendancy of Trump. The Church has always had wolves in its midst, this is nothing new. The pulpit provides a uniquely tempting opportunity for the corrupt to wield power and influence over vulnerable, lost souls. The corrupt shepherds dressed in sheep’s clothing, who deign to instruct others on how they should live, are practiced in the art of deception and can smoothly recite longed-for words of persuasion as they successfully manipulate the naive and the willing. It’s a dangerous game, this wolf playing good shepherd. Eventually their con will come to an end, and they will have to answer for their perversion of God and Scripture, and for preying on the saints. Until that time though, the “mission” remains: If the money is good, let the good times keep roll. All in the name of Christ, of course.

With that, this is Paula White, President Trump’s spiritual advisor and Special Adviser to the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative . She is also known as the God Whisperer. I’ll just say that if she is actually advising Trump on spiritual matters, it could explain a whole lot.

We interrupt that which has been deployed to hurt the church in this season, that which has been deployed to hurt this nation. In the name of Jesus, forgive us for our sins. Come on, I need you guys to pray. We cancel every surprise from the witchcraft [sic] and the marine kingdom — any hex, any spell, any witchcraft, any spirit of control, any Jezebel, anything that the enemy desires through spells, through witchcraft, through any way that is manipulation, demonic manipulation. We curse that. We break it, according to the word of God.

In the name of Jesus, we come against the marine kingdom, we come against the animal kingdom, the woman who rides upon the waters. We break the power, in the name of Jesus, and we declare that any strange winds, any strange winds that have been sent to hurt the church, sent against this nation, sent against our president, sent against myself, sent against others — we break it by the superior blood of Jesus right now. In the name of Jesus, we arrest every infirmity, affliction, fatigue, weariness, weakness, fear, sickness, any self-righteousness, any self-serving action, God.

Let pride fall, let pride fall, let pride fall, let pride fall, in the name of Jesus. We command all satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now. We declare that anything that’s been conceived in satanic wombs, that it will miscarry, it will not be able to carry forth any plan of destruction, any plan of harm

White, who leads a congregation of 10,000 worshipers at the New Destiny Christian Center megachurch, attempted to clarify what she meant when she prayed for women to miscarry babies in their um, [double-checks notes]…”satanic wombs”:

So calling out White’s crazy “satanic womb” mumbo-jumbo is nothing but a disingenuous attempt to use words out of context for political gain

For reference, here is Ephesians 6:12 NASB:

For our struggle is not against [a]flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Yet more evidence of disturbed Trump-supporting pastors who have deified the President as if he were a co-equal with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is Evangelical pastor Rodney Howard-Browne. Howard-Browne was so upset over John Bolton’s claims about Trump and the Ukraine in his yet-to-be-released memoir, “The Room Where it Happens,” that he launched an attack on the former national security advisor:

“You are a slime ball of the highest order …. I should have knocked your sorry butt through the door of the Oval Office into the rose garden when I saw you. I would have gladly been arrested …. what a Benedict Arnold ….. I am glad you were fired !!!!!” Howard-Browne tweeted Monday.

“I have no respect for someone who is disloyal to the President and loyal to deep state !!! No respect! No respect at all …… what a globalist sellout!” he added.

As if that weren’t enough, Howard-Browne also tweeted:

“WWJD: he would have made a whip and beat the crap out of him!!!!”

Apparently this was a tweet too far for Howard-Browne, as it seems that he has since deleted the tweet.

I am reminded of this gem from David French, as he discussed the Evangelical response to *any* political leader:

The proper Evangelical position toward any president is not hard to articulate, though it is exceedingly difficult to hold to, especially in polarized times when one party seems set on limiting religious liberty and zealously defending abortion: We should pray for presidents, critique them when they’re wrong, praise them when they’re right, and never, ever impose partisan double standards. We can’t ever forget the importance of character, the necessity of our own integrity, and the power of the prophetic witness.

In other words, Evangelicals can never take a purely transactional approach to politics. We are never divorced from our transcendent purpose, which always trumps political expediency. In scripture, prophets confronted leaders about their sin. They understood a core truth, one clearly articulated in the Southern Baptist Convention’s 1998 Resolution on Moral Character of Public Officials: “Tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment.”

All too many of our nation’s Evangelical leaders haven’t just “tolerated” serious wrongdoing by Trump, they’ve rationalized and minimized it.

WWJD, you ask?? He’d tell White, Howard-Browne, and other false prophets, grifters, and liars misrepresenting him in the Evangelical church to knock this shit off right now. (See 2 Peter.) He would also remind believers that He has already made it very clear that they are to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. Time for those sitting in the pews to
wise up.

–Dana

1/29/2020

Trump Reelection Campaign Drawing New, Big Dollar Donors

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:51 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The Washington Post published a report informing readers that during the impeachment season, Trump is attracting both new donors and donors who have never given money to a campaign, as well as voters who sat out the last election:

Dan Costa, who runs four apparel companies in Northern California, was never a major political donor. But last year, he made a large contribution to the GOP for the first time: $37,500 in hopes of four more years of President Trump.

“That’s a big investment for anybody,” said Costa, whose only other contribution to a presidential candidate was $1,000 to Mitt Romney in 2012. “It’s like insurance that is going to help save the country. . . . It’s for me and my grandkids and the next generations.”

[…]

Their ranks include investors in a South Florida hot yoga studio, a Ni­ger­ian American real estate developer in Dallas and the head of a trucking business in Los Angeles. They have been joined by veteran GOP donors who have returned to the fold after sitting out Trump’s 2016 campaign.

[…]

Trump is now also supported by a more traditional source of party money: longtime GOP donors who shunned him during his 2016 campaign. By and large, those wealthy establishment donors have fallen in line behind Trump’s reelection, said Lisa Spies, a longtime Republican fundraiser.

The report goes on to note that the new wave of contributors are giving anything but chump change:

Trump’s vaunted political money machine is helping drive record sums to the Republican National Committee, and not just from the same donors who supported him in 2016. Enticed by exclusive gatherings and ecstatic about the president’s tax cuts, an eclectic new crop of donors is going all in, giving five and six figures to support his reelection.

The Washington Post identified at least 220 big donors to Trump’s reelection who are either new to major political giving or sat out the last presidential general election. Together, they have deluged pro-Trump fundraising committees with more than $21 million — a cash infusion that suggests a newfound enthusiasm for the president among supporters capable of writing large checks.

Motivating donors is the healthy economy, Trump’s tax cuts and efforts at deregulation.

Note: Since Trump’s election, more than 1.6 million new donors have contributed to the Republican Party, in both large and small amounts, party officials said.

Though doubtful that it was intentional, the report reveals the diversity of Trump’s big donors, including Nigerian-Americans, Hispanics, and Chinese-Americans.

While there are those opining that Trump’s reelection looks like a long-shot, one has to wonder if a Trump loss really will be a slam-dunk, given his considerable war chest of more than $100 million headed into the 2020 election year:

And if you think this election will favor Trump, ask yourself this question: When was the last time his approval rating was above 45 percent and his disapproval was below 45 percent? Answer: not since his inauguration. Simply put, this fact does not bode well for this incumbent — no matter how strong the economy or his campaign’s success in turning out his voters. Trump is not a majority president. It’s unlikely he can be a majority candidate.

Interestngly, the NRSC reported today that the impeachment hearing has “fired up Trump’s base” and become and is a “net negative for Democrats in key states”:

NRSC surveys conducted in January in battleground states, including Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina, show that 62% of voters agree that Congress should be focusing on top issues like health care costs, trade deals, and keeping the economy on track instead of trying to remove Donald Trump from office. This includes 63% of independents and 61% of women.

Furthermore, 58% agree that Democrats should let voters decide for themselves in next November’s elections instead of trying to impeach Trump and remove him from office, including 59% of independents and 55% of women.

In Maine, which has given the collective media a nosebleed as they attempt to put Susan Collins in a box, 59% of voters agree Congress should focus on top issues instead of impeachment and 55% agree that we should let voters decide in November.

Perhaps most telling, a whopping 62% of independents in Maine say that we should focus on other issues instead of impeachment, and 58% of independents think we should let the voters decide at the ballot box in November.

And these numbers aren’t unique to Maine. We’ve seen similar numbers in Colorado, North Carolina, Arizona, and other battleground states. Across the board, voters recognize this for what it is: a partisan sideshow. 68% say that impeachment “is all about politics” and that “Democrats should be more concerned about addressing issues of the day like the cost of health care, fair trade deals and keeping the economy on track.”

However, here’s what recent Fox News polling found:

A Fox News poll released Sunday found that voters think the Senate already has enough evidence to render its verdict — 48 percent to 44 percent who say senators should subpoena witnesses. But by a margin of 6 percentage points, they think the evidence points to guilt and removal from office…Two polls last week found that 51 percent of Americans want the Senate to convict and oust Trump, whose approval rating in the Fox News poll is 45 percent, 54 percent disapproval…the party with a Senate majority is taking his side — 84 percent of Republicans told the Fox News pollsters that Trump shouldn’t be convicted and removed, versus 81 percent of Democrats who said he should be; independents wanted Trump removed by a 19-point margin, 53 percent to 34 percent.

Meanwhile, Trump seems to be feeling pretty confident today:

–Dana

Impeachment: What Comes Next

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:51 am

As Republicans squirm and look desperately for a way around John Bolton testifying, some are grabbing hold of the notion that Trump would just be able to block his testimony.

That is a joke. If the Senate votes to hear from John Bolton, there is not a federal judge in the country who will act or vote to stop him from testifying.

I predict we’ll soon see something more realistic. As Bolton’s testimony looks more inevitable, look for GOP hacks to favor a closed-door deposition, citing the Clinton impeachment as precedent. Then there will be a nationwide debate about whether Bolton should testify in public or behind closed doors. The same people who decried the closed doors in the House depositions (never mind that the witnesses later testified publicly) will advocate permanent closed doors for Bolton.

So watch for that.

Meanwhile, there are also discussions about a Bolton-for-Hunter-Biden trade.

I’m not so sure that’s a bad trade for Dems.

The reported contents of John Bolton’s book actually torpedo several arguments raised by many of the President’s defenders, like: there is no firsthand knowledge of Trump’s ordering the quid pro quo; or Trump was really concerned about cost-sharing and/or corruption generally, and not focused on the Bidens personally. Bolton will blow up those arguments with the same relish that he formerly ordered other countries to be blown up.

Meanwhile, what does Hunter Biden bring to the table?

Possibly a real focus on the validity of the arguments citing him. The assumption is that such a focus would be good for Trump. I’m not so sure.

Let’s start with the actual facts. This is Biden’s rapid response guy, but when I watched the video I noted that it largely if not entirely comported with my understanding of the relevant facts:

In short, the Hunter Biden argument is bullshit. Now, how do the Republicans expect to use the Hunter Biden argument to show Trump’s demands to Zelensky were legit? Well, as a technical matter Hunter Biden can’t show that, because the relevant question is what Trump thought, not what Hunter Biden says now. And we all know that Trump thought whatever he was told on Fox News. But those are technical arguments. What would we really learn from Hunter Biden? I think the GOP dream is like the plan of the South Park Underpants Gnomes:

Phase 1: Collect underpants
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit!

But the GOP version is:

Phase 1: Call Hunter Biden
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Not guilty!

So what does the question mark represent? In the GOP fantasy, it’s hours of these questions on repeat:

Q. DIDN’T YOU COLLECT THOUSANDS, PERHAPS MILLIONS, PERHAPS TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM BURISMA?

A: YES.

Q. IS IT NOT TRUE THAT THIS IS RANK CORRUPTION OF THE HIGHEST ORDER AND THAT DONALD TRUMP WAS TOTALLY RIGHT TO WANT TO INVESTIGATE IT?

A. NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT, YOU’RE RIGHT, OF COURSE.

But the reality is that, after the 12th invocation of the thousands, or millions, or quintillions of dollars Biden took, there will be further analysis of just what the hell this has to do with anything. And the more the facts are explored, the more the public will begin to realize certain facts:

  • Shokin, the Ukranian prosecutor whom Biden sought to have ousted, was actually dirty
  • Some Republican Senators supported Biden’s actions in ousting Shokin
  • Any Burisma investigation related to events that happened years before Hunter Biden joined the board
  • Biden’s actions were official U.S. policy and supported by most of the world
  • Biden’s actions likely would have made Burisma more likely to be investigated
  • The GOP argument is bullshit

The GOP Underpants Gnomes plan can still work, but the question mark in Phase 2 does not stand for “damning testimony emerges of the rightness of Donald Trump’s actions” but rather for “Republican Senators vote not guilty no matter what the evidence is.” Which means Trump will be fine — for now. But how will this end up looking come November?

Anyway, that’s what I say to expect. As usual, hound me in a few days when I turn out to have been wrong about everything.

1/27/2020

Trump Should Testify

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:36 am

As I noted last night, the New York Times has summarized key passages of John Bolton’s book in this way:

President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.

The partisan playbook is to yell “Fake News” and attack the reporter, but that move is already outdated, and the AP has already confirmed it (thanks to Paul Montagu for the link). So that’s Bolton’s story.

Trump denies it:

What we have here is a classic dispute of fact. A trial is a great way to resolve such disputes. Let’s get John Bolton and Donald Trump on the stand in the Senate, under oath and subject to cross-examination. It’s the only way to learn the truth.

1/26/2020

Knock it Off: Media Still Carrying Water For Bill Clinton

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:34 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I realize that there are far more important matters to focus on, but my dander is up… Everone knows that Bill and Hillary Clinton are physically and mentally incapable of staying out of the public eye. They are hardwired to be front and center to promote themselves as they try to fill their seemingly insatiable need for publicity. With that, Hulu will be airing a new four hour documentary series called Hillary on March 6. (Apparently, there is an unbelievable four hours worth of stuff we don’t know about her…) In the documentary, the couple discuss their marriage, including those turbulent times that resulted from Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s affair. In a brief report about the series, this headlne from the Daily Beast caught my eye:

Bill Clinton (Sort of) Apologizes to Monica Lewinsky: ‘I Feel Terrible’ That It ‘Defined’ Her

Here is what the DB determines to be a “sort of” apology (which it isn’t) from Bill Clinton:

As he reiterates his remorse and regret again, he surprisingly includes Monica Lewinsky in the list of people to whom he owes amends.

“I feel terrible about the fact that Monica Lewinsky’s life was defined by it, unfairly I think,” he says. “Over the years I watched her trying to get a normal life back again. But you gotta decide how to define normal.”

Oh, boo-hoo, Bill feels terrible. Here’s the thing: If an adult is truly remorseful about having harmed another individual and they really want to take responsibility for their actions, they don’t just stop at feeling terrible. That adult owns it, then apologizes to those who were directly impacted by their actions. (This, of course, does not negate the other party’s responsbility in said matter.) An apology begins with: I apologize or I’m sorry for (fill in the blank) while directly addressing the other party. It does not begin with whining about how terrible one feels. Apologizing is a decision to pro-actively right things as best as they can be righted. It evidences a recognition and ownership of one’s responsibility. It is the natural follow-up to genuinely feeling terrible about what one has done. It can bring both closure and relief to the troubled soul of the offender. And it can bring the same to the receiver of the apology. But to stop at feeling terrible is just another way to continue to indulge prideful arrogance. It is also a way to keep one safely out of arm’s reach from experiencing a transformative humility. Bill Clinton’s comments were absolutely not an apology. They were just more poor-me indulgences and excuses. It annoys me greatly to see the media still carry water for him.

A few years ago Clinton was asked about apologizing directly to Lewinsky:

Clinton was asked by NBC’s Craig Melvin in June if, in light of the “Me Too” movement, the former president felt like he owed Lewinsky an apology.

“No, I do not,” he responded.

“I have never talked to her,” Clinton said. “But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.

About whether Clinton should apologize to her, Lewinsky said:

what feels more important to me than whether I am owed or deserving of a personal apology is my belief that Bill Clinton should want to apologize. I’m less disappointed by him, and more disappointed for him. He would be a better man for it . . . and we, in turn, a better society.

–Dana

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 111

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:42 am

It is the third Sunday after the Epiphany. Today’s Bach cantata is “Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit” (What my God wants, may it always happen):

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 4:12-23:

Jesus Begins to Preach

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Heals the Sick

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

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

What my God wills always occurs,
His will is the best,
He is ready to help those
who believe firmly in Him.
He gives aid in need, this righteous God,
and punishes with measure.
Who trusts in God, builds upon Him firmly,
God will never abandon.

. . . .

Thus I walk with encouraged steps,
even when God leads me to my grave.
God has circumscribed my days,
thus, when His hand touches me,
He will drive away the bitterness of death.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

1/25/2020

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:27 am

[guest post by Dana]

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

I’ll start.

First news item: Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Jay-Z, tech industry developers, and entrepeneurs would like to have a word:

Second news item: President Trump needs to keep his mouth shut about that which he doesn’ know:

A prominent veterans advocacy group is asking President Trump for an apology over his remarks on injuries suffered by U.S. troops stationed at a military base in Iraq that was hit by Iranian airstrikes earlier this month.

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) said Trump “minimized” the injuries the troops suffered after the Pentagon announced that dozens of U.S. troops suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Trump had referred to the injuries as “headaches” and “not very serious” earlier in the week.

“In light of today’s announcement from the defense department that 34 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iran’s retaliatory strike and President Trump’s remarks which minimized these troops’ injuries, the Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter,” VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz said in a statement. The Pentagon said Friday that 34 service members stationed in Iraq suffered the TBIs after a retaliatory missile strike from Iran in response to the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Tehran’s top general.

What Trump said at the time:

Trump had initially said no service members had been injured. He later said that he “heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I would say and I can report that it’s not very serious”

“I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen,” he added.

Third news item: President Trump at the March for Life. Good for him:

“Today as president of the United States, I am truly proud to stand with you,” Trump said, while also touting the “tremendous turnout” of the crowd.

Trump ticked off a laundry list of actions he’s taken to support abortion opponents since taking office, including restrictions to eligibility for the family planning funding program known as Title X and funding restrictions on nonprofits that support abortion abroad, known as the Mexico City policy.

He also called on Congress to take action to limit abortion late in pregnancy and referenced legislation that Republicans say would protect infants born after attempted abortions.

“The unborn have never had a stronger defender in the White House,” he said. “Young people are the heart of the March for Life and it’s your generation that is making America the pro-family, pro-life nation.”

Fourth news item: Meanwhile, via Planned Parenthood, a little gift to any baby who survives an abortion:

Untitled

Fifth news item: Oh, that’s right, the Senate’s impeachment trial continues this morning:

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

1/23/2020

You Don’t Have to Agree with Everything Adam Schiff Has Ever Said…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 10:34 pm

…to see that he is dead right here.

I thihnk it is an absolutely fantastic and moving summation. It crushes me to think of people I used to respect, like Senator Mike Lee and Senator Ben Sasse, sitting there listening to Schiff, knowing that every word he says is true, and knowing that they’re going to vote as if it’s all false.

I thought long and hard tonight about whether I still think of men like Mike Lee and Ben Sasse as good men. I have read more than one book by each man. As long as I have heard of them, I have thought of them as good men — among the few good men in Washington. Yet I believe with every fiber of my being that — unlike many of the duller and more partisan swamp creatures in Washington — the two of them know better. They know perfectly well who Donald Trump is. They know what he did was not just wrong but part of a pattern in which he elevates his own personal interests above those of the country. And yet they will support him. They are the best hope for people who still believe there are people capable of standing up for what’s right. And yet, they are going to let those hopeful people down. They are going to cravenly support a man they know does not belong in the Oval Office. A man they know has committed impeachable offenses who should be removed. And they’ll do it to save their political hides. They’ll do it out of fear, of some tweets.

I have tried to be less judgmental of my fellow man. I have. If men this good — or who at least seemed to be this good — act this way, maybe it’s not their fault. Maybe it’s the system. Maybe it’s wrong to judge them.

I can’t see it. I can’t help myself. I can’t approve of it. I can’t.

There comes a time for a man to stand up. If they don’t stand up, all their past words are just that: words. What good are they?

Garry Kasparov explains the stakes:

This is how a system dies. Truly listen to what Schiff says here. If right doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter how good the Constitution is. It doesn’t matter how smart the Founders were. It doesn’t matter how good the past words of Mike Lee or Ben Sasse were.

They had their chance to stand up when it mattered, and unless I am misreading the situation badly, they are not going to do so. They are culpable. The part of me that says not to judge them … I can’t listen to it. It may be a lack of maturity on my part, but that’s who I am, at least at this point in my life. I can’t forgive them.

It’s very, very sad to me.

Tulsi Gabbard Sues Hillary Clinton For Defamation

Filed under: Uncategorized — JVW @ 11:33 am

[guest post by Dana and JVW]

Note from JVW – Dana began drafting this post yesterday but then transferred it over to the Little Aloha Sweetie desk at Patterico’s Pontifications for me to complete.

But of course:

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sued former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday for allegedly defaming her by suggesting the Hawaii congresswoman is a “Russian asset.”

“Clinton’s false assertions were made in a deliberate attempt to derail Tulsi’s campaign,” says the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The suit claims that Gabbard has suffered “actual damages” of ”$50 million — and counting” from Clinton’s comments.

During the interview to which Gabbard’s suit refers, Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill confirmed that Clinton was specifically referring to Tulsi Gabbard:

Hillary Clinton says she believes that the Republicans have “got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.”

In a recent interview, Clinton didn’t mention Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii by name, but said she believes one candidate is “the favorite of the Russians.” Asked if the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said, “If the nesting doll fits…” He later tweeted that Clinton was referring to the GOP grooming Gabbard, not Russians.

Public figures don’t enjoy the same degree of legal protection against libel and slander that us ordinary private figures do. This creates a pretty high hurdle for a Congresswoman and Presidential candidate who wants to perhaps settle a political score with an opponent. And indeed, Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit sounds more like an earnest op-ed piece than a legitimate tort action [bold emphasis added]:

Plaintiffs Tulsi Gabbard and Tulsi Now, Inc (collectively, “Tulsi”) bring this lawsuit against Defendant Hillary Rodham Clinton (“Clinton”) for defamation. Tulsi Gabbard is running for President of the United States, a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain. In October 2019—whether out of personal animus, political enmity, or fear of real change within a political party Clinton and her allies have long dominated —Clinton lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard. She did so publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent. Tulsi has been harmed by Clinton’s lies—and American democracy has suffered as well. With this action, Tulsi seeks to hold Clinton, and the political elites who enable her, accountable for distorting the truth in the middle of a critical Presidential election.

In the Nature of the Case section of the suit, the Gabbard team cites her endorsement of Bernard Sanders four years ago as creating enmity between herself and the First Lady-turned-Senator-turned-Secretary, then accurately characterizes Mrs. Clinton as “a cutthroat politician by any account” (no, no, get it straight: Jeffery Epstein was hanged in his cell). They argue that Mrs. Clinton purposefully and maliciously defamed Rep. Gabbard in order to harm the Hawaiian Congresswoman’s reputation during her Presidential run as payback for four years ago when Rep. Gabbard’s resigned from her DNC post in protest of the advantages being given to the Clinton campaign during the primary at the expense of the Sanders campaign. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory damages along with costs and an injunction prohibiting further publication or republication of Mrs. Clinton’s statements.

Again, the lawsuit would seem like something of a long-shot, but Little Aloha Sweetie does have her allies. While conceding that her demand for relief “is not likely to succeed,” NRO’s Jim Geraghty points to a section of the suit which argues that Mrs. Clinton’s words carry an implied credibility far beyond that of the average journalist or blogger. He explains:

But Hillary Clinton isn’t just anybody. She was Secretary of State for four years, had the highest security clearance, and had access to all kinds of extremely secret classified information. (And if the 2016 cycle taught us anything, it’s that Clinton is always careful with classified information!) When Hillary Clinton accuses someone of being a Russian agent, it comes with the implication that this isn’t run-of-the-mill fuming or paranoia but a suspicion or accusation based upon something Clinton saw or learned from the U.S. intelligence community.

It is worth considering whether those in high places such as Mrs. Clinton have an extra-special obligation not to make wild accusations about the rest of us. (And yes, Mr. Geraghty does mention those ex-CIA folks who accuse President Trump of treason.) Hillary Clinton is an awful person, and her petty vindictiveness and disregard for any and all norms of propriety will be a major part of her ugly legacy. I (JVW) think that Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit against Google is far more meritorious than this lawsuit, though both of them deal with the same idea of a fetid and corrupt Democrat establishment (including friendly business allies) tipping the scales for the candidates they favor and decidedly against those whom they oppose. The message here should be that if you want to play in the Democrat pigsty, you had better expect to get covered in excrement.

– Dana and JVW

1/22/2020

Impeachment Trial: An Utter Disgrace

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:01 am

The great thing about this headline is that anyone reading this blog can agree with it, albeit from different perspectives.

Perhaps you think it’s an utter disgrace that the Do Nothing Democrats are putting our patriotic president through this ridiculous process over a perfect phone call.

Or, some of you may see it the way I do: as a group of Senators who have bitched and moaned that the impeachment lacks evidence, repeatedly voting 53-47 not to hear more evidence.

I have heard all of the arguments in favor of Trump, and there’s not a single one that doesn’t sound like partisan pablum.

They brought the case without anyone with firsthand knowledge!!1! (Because Trump blocked the testimony of anyone with firsthand knowledge.)

If they thought this stuff was so important they could have gone to the courts!!1! (The same courts where Trump’s lawyers have been arguing that the courts have no business deciding these issues. How many months did they want Democrats to spend in the courts as the election drew closer, and what blame do they put on Trump for issuing a blanket statement that he would cooperate with nothing whatsoever? None.)

Trump had no chance to present witnesses in the House!!1! (Trump sent a letter to the House saying he wouldn’t participate, and if he thought presenting his side through witnesses was important he could do it now.)

They had secret hearings in the House!!1! (Attended by about 100 CongressCritters — and open to, and attended by, puh-lenty of Republicans.)

It’s not the Senate’s job to hear new evidence!!1! (The Senate has always heard new evidence in impeachments. Keep in mind that the precedents for impeachments go beyond those of presidents. And the precedents are clear: the Senate has always heard new evidence. If you don’t believe that, you’re in a bubble.)

You can’t impeach a president for abuse of power!!1! (Whoever is saying that, ask them what they said 20 years ago. In any event, this argument is both horse droppings, and frightening in its implications. Think about it.)

And on and on.

Susan Collins and other people pretending to be “reasonable” are saying, “hey, we’re not shutting down any further evidence! We just want to hear opening statements and answers to questions first!” OK, but they are also voting against issuing subpoenas for documents, which take time to deliver and to get results. Maybe they’ll vote to hear John Bolton in the end — I suspect they will — but they’re not actually interested in the truth.

Actually, if we all wanted the most direct evidence possible, Trump could testify. There’s nothing stopping him — and in my view, nothing stopping House managers from calling him. Just a thought!

The way Republicans have handled this so far, lining up one and all behind the corrupt actions of a corrupt man, solidifies my utter disenchantment with the Republican party. There is not a single one of them left I respect. Not Mike Lee or Mitt Romney, not Ted Cruz or Rand Paul — none of them. (Sure as hell not Donald Trump, who said the other day he doesn’t even care about the debt and nobody does, and it didn’t even seem to merit a post that the President of the United States made such a statement, both because it was obvious he and everybody else feels this way, and also because it is one of 10,000 atrocities he says or does daily.) Then there are the Democrats, who want to run my life like authoritiarians and take all my money.

To hell with all of Washington, D.C.

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