The Jury Talks Back

3/20/2017

POLITICO Hit Piece Shows They’ve Got Nothing on Judge Gorsuch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:30 am

Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings begin today, and the Democrat case against him is laid out in a POLITICO piece titled 5 pieces of Gorsuch’s record that Democrats will attack (cached link; no links for bullies). It’s an attack that not only falls flat, but increases my admiration for the judge.

Complaint #1 is that he ruled in favor of religious freedom. That’s a non-starter as an attack. He’d have a problem if he ruled against it. Next?

Complaint #2 is that, while a lawyer at the Bush Justice Department, he supported the Bush administration’s priorities. Um, that’s what lawyers do. Next?

Complaint #3 is that Judge Gorsuch told people he found it “disheartening” and “demoralizing” to see President Trump attack the judiciary over his executive order on immigration. I couldn’t be more pleased about this. Democrats are indeed going to make much of this. They’re going to quote his comments and force him to own those comments publicly, in front of the cameras. I believe he’ll find a way to do that in a forthright manner that sounds reasonable. But in any event, he’ right. Next?

Complaint #4 is supposedly about “worker’s rights” but in reality is the sort of nonsense Democrats always engage in. Judge Gorsuch ruled properly in a couple of cases with sympathetic plaintiffs. To Democrats, if someone is sympathetic, it shouldn’t matter what the law says; you just make sure you rule for them because of the feelz. For example:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer held a news conference last week with people that the New York Democrat said had been victimized by Gorsuch’s legal decisions. Among his guests: the Hwang children, whose mother sued Kansas State University because she was denied an extension of her six-month leave of absence caused by her cancer diagnosis. Gorsuch sided against Hwang, who died last year.

Stunts like Schumer’s are designed to make judges seem heartless — almost as if Judge Gorsuch had killed Ms. Hwang with his own bare hands. But, to their credit, POLITICO at least provides a key line from Judge Gorsuch’s opinion that explains why he ruled this way:

Ms. Hwang’s is a terrible problem, one in no way of her own making, but it’s a problem other forms of social security aim to address. The Rehabilitation Act seeks to prevent employers from callously denying reasonable accommodations that permit otherwise qualified disabled persons to work — not to turn employers into safety net providers for those who cannot work.

Ms. Hwang could not work, and the ability to work is a requirement for an employee to be eligible for relief. The opinion was uncontroversial. It was also unanimous, and was joined by Judge Carlos Lucero, a Bill Clinton appointee, as well as Bush appointee Judge Harris Hartz. But Ms. Hwang and her family were sympathetic, and so let’s make Judge Gorsuch the bad guy. Fail. Next?

Complaint #5 is that “Gorsuch has shown deep skepticism toward the so-called Chevron deference, a longstanding doctrine that calls on judges to defer to how federal agencies interpret key laws.” This is perhaps my favorite aspect of the Gorsuch nomination: the way it threatens to help destabilize the overweening power of federal bureaucracy. I wrote about this extensively here, and will quote the heart of my post:

[A]bsurd regulations, completely untethered from common sense, have become ubiquitous in the lives of American businessmen. Fighting these regulations is well-nigh impossible because the bureaucracy serves as lawmaker, enforcer, and even judge. Your challenge to a stupid regulation must first be adjudicated by an administrative law judge who is an arm of the same agency that wrote and enforced the ridiculous regulation. But to make matters worse, when you then go to court, judges apply something called the “Chevron doctrine,” in which they almost always defer to the agency’s decision, as long as it is “reasonable.” . . . It’s a dangerous doctrine that makes judicial review toothless. It’s not what the Founders had in mind when they set up our system.

Gorsuch opposes this doctrine, and three cheers for him.

They’ve got nothing. Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed — and his tenure will be a home run for the American people.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Comey Confirms Investigation of Trump-Russia Ties

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:45 am

Happening now; no time to punditize it.

3/19/2017

Chuck Berry, 1926-2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — JVW @ 12:31 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Maybe Chuck Berry didn’t invent rock ‘n roll. By the time his first single, “Maybellene,” hit the charts in July 1955 there had already been several early rock records on the airwaves including “Good Rocking Tonight” by Roy Brown, “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats (featuring a young Ike Turner on piano), “Shake Rattle and Roll” by Big Joe Turner, and “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley & the Comets. Over in Memphis, Elvis Presley had already released most of his early recordings made by Sam Phillips at Sun Studios. Fats Domino had already scored a Top Ten hit with “Ain’t That a Shame” and Little Richard was two months away from recording “Tutti Frutti” for Speciality Records.

But the release of “Maybellene” and the hits that followed over the next three years — “Thirty Days,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “School Days,” “Rock and Roll Music,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and others — established Chuck Berry as the purest embodiment of the sound of the 1950s. Nearly ten years older than Elvis, he nevertheless retained the heart of a teenager well into his thirties, writing magnificent songs about cars, school, carefree fun, and young love.

As the Fifties progressed to the Sixties, the music began to lose much of the youthful innocence. Songs about cars, girls, and sock-hops became songs about politics, drugs, and violence. Though Berry’s influence among the new generation of rockers remained strong and his songs were respectfully covered by both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the legend found himself relegated to playing state fairs, nostalgia shows, and college dances. As music writer Robert Christgau has noted of that period, “For a fee. . . Chuck Berry will hop on a plane with his guitar and go play some rock and roll. He is the symbol of the music — the man invited to come steal the show at the 1975 Grammys, although he has never been nominated for one himself, not even in the rock & roll or rhythm & blues categories.” There is something comforting about the idea that in an age when Elvis was playing Las Vegas showrooms, the Stones and the Who were playing football stadiums and basketball arenas, and the Beatles no longer had any interest in performing live at all, there was Chuck Berry arriving at a fraternity party, quickly rehearsing the chord changes for ten or so hits with a pickup band assembled for just that night, playing a forty-minute set, collecting his fee (cash please), and heading on to the next location. No doubt that Berry would have preferred a life of English countryside manors, chauffeured cars, sumptuous backstage buffets with a full bar, but fate dictated that he play the role of the pioneer, the man who lays the groundwork so that those who come after him can succeed.

His only Billboard Number One pop hit was a miserable ditty, a throwaway naughty children’s song he had been doing to get a laugh from college audiences, which kept “Burning Love,” Elvis’s best song of the 1970s, from reaching the top spot in October 1972. Berry was said to have hated the song but loved the royalty checks that it brought in. When Keith Richards put together a 60th birthday party concert for him and arranged for the filmmaker Taylor Hackford to record and release it as the documentary Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll, Berry saw a slight career resurgence on the oldies circuit, but some of his questionable decisions of the past continued to haunt him and he once again found himself in legal trouble of his own making.

But no one deserves to be judged solely on their weakest moments, and Chuck Berry overcame poverty, discrimination, shady music business operatives, incarceration, and career neglect by being willing to humble himself and play 180 nights a year for any audience who would pay him. His legacy is the influential music he left behind, the sound of teenage America for two generations. As Ted Nugent once said, “If you don’t know all of Chuck Berry’s licks then you can’t play rock & roll guitar.” Finally, he’s the man who coined one of my favorite words, “motorvate,” in the song that started it all and that we will leave here as a fitting epitaph. Rest in peace.

– JVW

3/18/2017

Yes, I Have Seen the Story About Brett Kimberlin

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 10:43 am

Many, many many people have asked me if I have seen this story, so I think I’ll post it. (As some of you know, I’m still in litigation with him. Yes, still.) There’s much more to the story than what I quote here, so read the whole thing; this is just a teaser.

The piece revolves around the efforts of a fellow named Yoni Ariel to get leftists or Big Media (but I repeat myself) interested in an anti-Trump story that turns out to be based on documents that several media organizations have concluded were forged. The story, at BuzzFeed, is titled The 1.6 Billion Dollar Hoax. The involvement of Jason Leopold as a contributor to the story makes me wary, so caveat lector. Brett Kimberlin makes his appearance here:

Ariel, intrigued, decided he would need help paying for trips to Rome to acquire the documents and also with authenticating them. A string of contacts, including the chairman of Democrats Abroad France, and a former Democratic National Committee operative in Washington, DC, eventually led Ariel to Brett Kimberlin, a left-wing political activist who is also notorious as a felon convicted of setting off bombs in the American heartland.

A string of contacts eventually led Ariel to Brett Kimberlin, a left-wing political activist who is also notorious as a felon convicted of setting off bombs in the American heartland.

In September 1978 a series of homemade explosive devices blew up in Speedway, Indiana, including one that maimed a Vietnam veteran who later fell into a deep depression and killed himself.

Kimberlin was convicted of planting all of them and spent a total of 17 years in federal prison for that and other crimes, including drug conspiracy and impersonating a federal officer.

In 1988, while still behind bars, he famously claimed that he sold marijuana to a young Dan Quayle when the vice presidential candidate was a law student in Kimberlin’s hometown.

Kimberlin’s story and his claims that powerful people in Washington, DC, were silencing him won over New Yorker writer Mark Singer, who penned a sympathetic profile. But four years later, when Singer turned that article into the book Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin, the author concluded that Kimberlin’s story about Quayle was a lie.

Kimberlin appears to have had lots of cash to use to fly this Ariel fella around from place to place:

Ariel recalled that he contacted Kimberlin, who then arranged for him to travel to Washington. Ariel had been sounding alarm bells about Russia’s meddling in the presidential campaign so, he said, Kimberlin wanted him to meet people on Capitol Hill. Kimberlin covered the cost of the trip, according to Ariel.

Ariel had not yet seen the documents at that time, but what he did know about them seemed like exactly the sort of thing Kimberlin was interested in digging up. When told about them, Kimberlin quickly agreed to finance Ariel’s efforts to acquire them, according to Ariel and two people with knowledge of the arrangement.

Kimberlin ultimately covered the costs for Ariel to travel to Rome three times, Ariel said. On the first trip, just before Christmas, Pasetti showed him portions of the documents; on the second trip, a price was negotiated; and on the last one Ariel actually purchased the documents. The $9,000 payment was also covered by Kimberlin, according to Ariel and the two people familiar with the arrangement.

Reached Sunday evening at his home in Maryland, Kimberlin declined to discuss the documents or his relationship with Ariel.

“I don’t want to be part of this story. It has nothing to do with me. I have nothing to say,” Kimberlin said.

So there you have it.

I Suggest They Look In Cartagena For That Stolen Laptop…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:48 am

[guest post by Dana]

This is so not what the Secret Service wants to be in the news for:

A laptop computer containing floor plans for Trump Tower and other national security information was stolen from a Secret Service agent’s vehicle in New York City on Thursday, a law enforcement official told ABC News.

The agency confirmed that an agency-issued laptop was stolen, but it did not offer details on its contents. The Secret Service did say the stolen laptop itself could not have contained classified material but could have been used to access such material on a server.

In addition to the laptop, the thief made off with official Secret Service lapel pins, according to law enforcement sources with knowledge of the matter.

The computer is encrypted and authorities are able to wipe the hard drive remotely if needed.

The device, which belonged to a female Secret Service agent, was stolen during a break-in in Brooklyn, New York, law enforcement sources said. The burglary happened Thursday morning at 8:40 a.m. in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn.

Here is the official statement from the Secret Service:

(Washington, D.C.) The U.S. Secret Service can confirm that an employee was the victim of a criminal act in which our Agency issued laptop computer was stolen.

Secret Service issued laptops contain multiple layers of security including full disk encryption and are not permitted to contain classified information.

An investigation is ongoing and the Secret Service is withholding additional comment until the facts are gathered.

The Secret Service requests anyone with information regarding this crime to please contact the New York Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service New York Field Office.

And contrary to popular reports, ABC News is reporting that “the Secret Service did not investigate Clinton’s emails and there would have been no reason for such information to be on a Secret Service laptop.”

Oh, and there’s this: That female agent who “was the victim of a criminal act,” had left the laptop in a backpack. On the car seat. In Brooklyn. New York City.

Also, another mishap involving the Secret Service happened just one week ago, when a young man from California jumped over the fence surrounding the White House:

Washington police identified the intruder as 26-year-old Jonathan Tran of Milpitas, Calif. When approached by a Secret Service officer on the south grounds about 11:38 p.m. Friday and asked whether he had a pass authorizing him to be in the restricted area, Tran replied, “No, I am a friend of the president. I have an appointment,” the police report said.

Asked how he got there, he said he “jumped the fence.”

The Secret Service said in a statement that the intruder, whom it did not identify, had climbed an outer perimeter fence near the Treasury Department and East Executive Avenue. He was arrested without further incident and no hazardous materials were found in his backpack, the agency said.

Yesterday, we found out that the intruder was on the grounds for quite some time before being arrested:

A new Secret Service timeline of the incident revealed the fence jumper scaled the first barrier at about 11:21 p.m. on March 10 — and wasn’t arrested until 11:38 p.m.

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department identified the man as Jonathan Tran, 26, of Milpitas, Calif. He is charged with entering or remaining in restricted grounds while using or carrying a dangerous weapon.

President Trump was in the residence at the time but was not threatened, the Secret Service said.

Further:

The Secret Service said in a statement that the intruder breached a 5-foot outer perimeter fence and scaled an 8-foot vehicle gate to gain entry.

The agency stressed the intruder never made it inside White House.

Well, that’s a relief.

–Dana

3/17/2017

Trump: I Love to Read

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:30 am

Business Insider quotes Trump holding forth about his love of reading. I can’t find video, but here’s the quote:

Well, you know, I love to read. Actually, I’m looking at a book, I’m reading a book, I’m trying to get started. Every time I do about a half a page, I get a phone call that there’s some emergency, this or that. But we’re going to see the home of Andrew Jackson today in Tennessee and I’m reading a book on Andrew Jackson. I love to read. I don’t get to read very much, Tucker, because I’m working very hard on lots of different things, including getting costs down. The costs of our country are out of control. But we have a lot of great things happening, we have a lot of tremendous things happening.

Every time he does about half a page, there’s some emergency? Wow! That’s something like an emergency an hour!

Don’t get me wrong: he’s doing pretty well as President, policy-wise. I can put up with this type of nonsense if that’s what it takes to get a budget that cuts discretionary spending, an executive order on immigration that is more narrowly tailored and protects the country (and should not be blocked), an excellent Supreme Court nominee, and an attack on regulations.

Just don’t ask me to believe he reads books. The man’s never read a book in his life. I’d put money on it.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Happy Birthday to My Dad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:12 am

As I have done every March 17 since I started this blog, I am wishing my Dad a Happy Birthday.

It is a tradition to note my previous similar posts on this special day.

He would have been 92 today.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

3/16/2017

Trump Budget Sounds Pretty Awesome

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:02 pm

I don’t think the Washington Post means for it to sound awesome. But it sounds awesome. The article is titled Trump federal budget 2018: Massive cuts to the arts, science and the poor. Shweet! You had me at “massive cuts to the arts.” To science and to the poor too? My cup runneth over!

President Trump on Thursday will unveil a budget plan that calls for a sharp increase in military spending and stark cuts across much of the rest of the government including the elimination of dozens of long-standing federal programs that assist the poor, fund scientific research and aid America’s allies abroad.

Trump’s first budget proposal, which he named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. Some would be hit particularly hard, with reductions of more than 20 percent at the Agriculture, Labor and State departments and of more than 30 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency.

It would also propose eliminating future federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Within EPA alone, 50 programs and 3,200 positions would be eliminated.

The cuts could represent the widest swath of reductions in federal programs since the drawdown after World War II, probably leading to a sizable cutback in the federal non-military workforce, something White House officials said was one of their goals.

It probably sounds callous to you for me to say: “Cuts to the poor? (Whatever that means.) Awesome!” But not if you understand the free market. Government assistance to the poor is not helpful, in my view. (Explaining why takes more energy than I have right now, plus it’s mostly pointless because either you already know this, or I will never convince you because it’s the Internet and because of human nature.)

I’d be for cutting the military too, but you can’t get everything you want, and everyone here will disagree with me anyway. But this is nice.

There. I praised Trump. Don’t worry, you’ll forget it the next time I criticize him.

Listen to This

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 5:06 pm

My post this morning was too long. This one is not. Press the play button and listen to this.

The Patterico Music Project: “Alien Song” Recorded by Jamie Woolford

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It’s time for Song #6 in the Patterico Music Project.

If you haven’t encountered it before, this is a project in which I have sought to have some my musical heroes record covers of songs I wrote over 25 years ago. Before today, I published five of these songs:

All can be accessed at my SoundCloud page at soundcloud.com/patterico.

The latest artist to agree to do this for me is Jamie Woolford, the front man for The Stereo and Let Go, and a great solo artist in his own right. I’ve been telling you about Jamie for more than ten years (!) — starting in 2006, in this post raving about his band Let Go. In 2010 I posted for you a video from The Stereo:

And in 2013, I posted two videos from his solo album, in different posts. In this post, I posted this video of the song “A Framed Life in Charming Light,” and in this post I showed you the video from “This Isn’t Goodbye” from Jamie’s solo album:


I gave Jamie a group of songs to choose from, including ones that had been covered before by other artists. (I have not written that many songs, and even fewer good ones, so I’m kind of limited, unfortunately.) He decided to do four, including two that had been covered before by other artists, and two that have not. Today I am releasing one that you’ve heard covered before: Jamie’s version of Alien Song. Parthenon Huxley has already done a great cover of the song. Jamie’s version is very different from Parthenon’s. Where Parthenon’s was whimsical, this one is straight-out rock, with grinding guitars. I love both of them, but in very different ways.

The song you’re about to hear is about reptilian, multi-headed aliens, conquering the world through their strange music. Turn up the sound.

Here are the lyrics and the original version.

There will be more songs coming. Jamie has done three more. And I have another artist lined up who you’ve probably heard of. This is all great fun for me. Stay tuned!

3/15/2017

Federal Judge Blocks President Trump’s Revised Travel Ban

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:45 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Yet again. This time, just hours before it was go into effect:

A federal judge in Hawaii on Wednesday issued a sweeping freeze of President Trump’s new executive order temporarily barring the issuance of new visas to citizens of six-Muslim majority countries and suspending the admission of new refugees.

In a blistering, 43-page opinion U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson pointed to Trump’s own comments and those of close advisors as evidence that his order was meant to discriminate against Muslims and declared there was a “strong likelihood of success” those suing would prove the directive violated the constitution.

Watson declared that “a reasonable, objective observer—enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance—would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion.”

He lambasted the government in particular for asserting that because the ban did not apply to all Muslims in the world, it could not be construed as discriminating against Muslims.

“The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable,” Watson wrote. “The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.”

Hawaii had filed a lawsuit, which includes this:

Watson’s decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by the state of Hawaii. Lawyers for the state alleged the new travel ban, much like the old, violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment because it was essentially a Muslim ban, hurt the ability of state businesses and universities to recruit top talent and damaged the state’s robust tourism industry.

Unsurprisingly, as pointed out on the Twitters, Judge Watson is an appointee of President Obama…

–Dana

The “Kucinich Was Wiretapped!” Story Is Not What It Seems

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 10:00 am

Dennis Kucinich has been running around implying or claiming that the Obama administration wiretapped a call he had with Moammar Qaddafi’s son, at a time when Kucinich was trying to prevent a U.S. war in Libya. Therefore, Kucinich argues, people should not find it outlandish that Trump or his people were wiretapped. But, like the Trump “tapp” story, there may be less to this story than it initially appears.

I have seen posts that take it for granted that Kucinich was wiretapped by U.S. officials. Indeed, Kucinich appears to make that claim in a recent interview with Bill O’Reilly, saying that U.S. intelligence officials had listened to his end of the conversation with Qaddafi’s son. But he does not tell viewers that this is a guess on his part. That becomes clear when you read the Kucinich-penned op-ed on this matter that appeared on FoxNews.com and prompted the O’Reilly interview. In that op-ed, Kucinich describes being played the phone call by Washington Times reporters who said they were recordings “recovered from Tripoli”:

Somehow, the Washington Times had gotten its hands on the surreptitious recording. I authenticated the conversation, and parts of it were published by the newspaper, which provided online links where readers could listen to me talking with Mr. Qaddafi.

The reporters did not say, nor did I ask, who had made the tape. But the paper’s stories referenced “secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.”

I have only my suspicions about their true provenance. The quality of the recordings was excellent on both ends of the call.

If sources had indeed discovered the tapes in Tripoli, there is no plausible explanation for how they would have chosen the Washington Times to carry the story. And which foreign intelligence service conceivably could have been interested in my phone call, had the technology to intercept it, and then wanted to leak it to the newspaper?

There’s a simpler explanation: I believe the tape was made by an American intelligence agency and then leaked to the Times for political reasons.

Is it really so crazy to believe that Moammar Qaddafi’s son would want to have a wiretap-quality recording of a call he made to a U.S. Congressman who was trying to prevent the U.S. from attacking Libya?? And that such recordings were recovered after the fall of Tripoli?

I have also seen claims that Kucinich was holding up transcripts of the wiretapped call in the interview with O’Reilly. But that does not appear to be true. Kucinich does not say that what he is holding up are transcripts — and, in fact, he says as he holds up the documents that he has gotten nothing about the wiretap itself. Watch:

And what I have here, Bill: Intel was tracking my resolution. Here’s a couple of redacted pages that I was able to get. I’ve had nothing about the wiretap itself. But they were tracking this resolution.

My best guess is that the documents are memoranda or emails from the intelligence community showing that they were tracking Kucinich’s resolution he had to prevent a war in Libya.

In any event, let’s assume that the U.S. intelligence community was indeed wiretapping Qaddafi’s son. As O’Reilly points out in the interview, that doesn’t seem that outlandish or offensive on its own. Kucinich says they should have minimized the call when they learned it was a U.S. Congressman on the line. Maybe so — if we accept Kucinich’s guess about the provenance of the recording, and reject the statement of the reporters who obtained it, who said that it was from Tripoli.

Still, we are left with this conclusion: Kucinich was cool with Moammar Qaddafi’s son hearing what he had to say, but not with U.S. intelligence knowing about it.

I’m not sure that’s a winning position.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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