Patterico's Pontifications

8/21/2016

The Big Trump Immigration Pivot…That Probably Isn’t

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:01 am

Sure, it could be coming. It’s not like Trump’s promises mean anything. But the big BuzzFeed story everyone’s talking about doesn’t prove it. Sure, it has a fun, attention-getting headline: In Reversal, Trump Indicates To Hispanic Leaders Openness To Legalization For Immigrants. Wowie! If you don’t read the body of a story, you’re likely to be shocked. But if you do, not so much:

In a Saturday meeting with his newly announced Hispanic advisory council, Donald Trump suggested he is interested in figuring out a “humane and efficient” manner to deal with immigrants in the country illegally, according to three sources. Trump, however, stressed that any new announcements will still be in line with the border security-focused approach that has invited intense opposition from Latinos and immigrants since he launched his campaign.

“He said people who are here is the toughest part of the immigration debate, that it must be something that respects border security but deals with this in a humane and efficient manner,” said Jacob Monty, a Houston-based immigration lawyer who sat in Trump Tower with other Latino supporters and Trump.

“The idea is we’re not getting someone in front of the line, we’re doing it in a legal way, but he wants to hear ideas of how we deal with 11 million people that are here with no documents,” said Jose Fuentes, who was chair of Mitt Romney’s Hispanic advisory committee in 2012, and attended the meeting.

In a statement, Steven Cheung with the Trump campaign dismissed the BuzzFeed News account of the meeting as “clickbait journalism” and disputed attendees’ claim that he opened the door to legalization behind closed doors.

“Mr. Trump said nothing today that he hasn’t said many times before, including in his convention speech—enforce the laws, uphold the Constitution, be fair and humane while putting American workers first,” Cheung wrote. “Today’s conversation was productive and enlightening, and Mr. Trump looks forward to speaking with these leaders again soon and often.”

I agree with Steven Cheung. I don’t see anything in there that says “legalization.” And indeed, further down in the story, we see that Trump didn’t even use the word:

Importantly, Trump did not explicitly use the word “legalization” at the meeting, but sources in the room said they feel it is the direction the campaign is going.

This story is about activists’ feelings, based on nothing objective? Stop the presses!

To the extent Trump said anything to encourage such feelings, I suspect it was more vintage Trump: giving a nod to both sides and letting people believe what they want. Master of Persuasion! Eight-dimensional chess!! The Dilbert guy probably has a 2000-word essay about it on his Dilbert blog.

Trump’s giving a big immigration speech Thursday. I think it will be Delphic; people will read what they want to read into it. I won’t watch it, or care about it, because Trump has proven that literally nothing he says can be relied upon. Plus I will be busy at work. But if you still think for some reason that his words matter, get them from him directly on Thursday, and not third-hand . . . laundered through activists and BuzzFeed (but I repeat myself).

8/20/2016

Trump To Black Voters: What Do You Have To Lose?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This week, Donald Trump, who is currently polling in low single digits with black voters, made a direct appeal for their votes while campaigning in an overwhelmingly white community in Michigan:

What do you have to lose? You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. 58% of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?

I will produce. I will produce the inner cities and I will produce for the African-Americans. And the Democrats will not produce. All they’ve done is take advantage of your vote … If you keep voting for the same people, you will keep getting exactly the same result …

No group in America has been harmed more by Hillary Clinton’s policies than African Americans. No group. No group. If Hillary Clinton’s goal was to inflict pain on the African-American, she could not have done a better job.

It’s a disgrace. Tonight, I’m asking for the vote of every single African-American citizen in this country who wants to see a better future

This:

Untitled

Apparently, the GOP candidate is a slow learner.

–Dana

Verbal Whoring Employed To Defend A President Who Would Rather Golf

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

How pathetic to see Jeh Johnson so easily sink to such a low level of bullshit in an effort to defend President Obama from criticism that he hasn’t visited made a flyover of flood-ravaged Louisiana to see the devastation firsthand:

As I said, the president can’t be everywhere. I know he has a very busy schedule this fall and in the coming days, and, um, he is closely monitoring the situation. Uh, when you’re the chief executive of the entire U.S. government, uh, you can’t be everywhere, uh, including places you would like to be.

Oh for f*** sake, just say it already: President Obama is precisely where he wants to be, and doing exactly what he wants to do. Period. He is an adult who made the decision to live out his priorities this week. And he doesn’t seem to have a problem showing us that his priorities are playing golf and eating in expensive restaurants with the one-percenters. So why infantalize him and make excuses for the grown man that a majority of Americans twice deemed mature and responsible enough to become the President of the United States? What, he’s a child now and needs to be treated as such? Verbally debasing oneself to protect this man-child from criticism only speaks to the fact that the president, of his own free-will, has indeed, and yet again, stepped in it. Hysterically, it took a visit by Donald Trump to compel the White House to announce the president would be making his own visit to the state next week. Anyway, it’s the president’s own damn fault that the optics of HIS decisions only reinforce his incredibly tone-deaf arrogance and self-centeredness. At the very least, he could have made a symbolic gesture of sympathy toward suffering Louisianans by, I don’t know, putting up the clubs for the week. But he didn’t. Or he could have interrupted his vacation and returned to Washington. But he didn’t. He wanted to play instead. Play golf, that is… But, please, can we let the adult who has the title of President of the United States assume responsibility for his OWN actions inaction. After all, he just wants to eat his waffles:

Untitled1

Last night, I pointed out the lack of headline coverage in the Washington Post and New York Times regarding Trump’s visit to Louisiana. In such media outlets, all things Trump are typically given top billing. And it’s typically negative because Trump just keeps giving the media so much to work with. I see that Jim Geraghty expands on this, reminding us about Big Media’s litmus test of usefulness, administered when national tragedies and disasters occur:

If you view the national news media, based in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and a handful of other cities, as way too monolithic in its political views and driven by conscious and subconscious agendas, the half-hearted-at-best interest in these stories isn’t that hard to explain. These stories aren’t easily used to advance the narrative that Republicans are bad and Democrats are good.

If a terrible natural disaster in Louisiana can be blamed on a Republican president, then it’s one of the biggest stories of the decade. If the lack of a public statement on a Louisiana disaster during a presidential vacation might reflect badly on a Democratic president, it’s best to treat the flood as a “page A4″ story, check-the-box journalism.

If there really is a giant and widening cultural gap between America’s elites and the rest of the citizenry in “flyover country,” how much of it is driven by narrative-minded journalism? If you die in a particular way that can advance the Democrats’ legislative agenda, your death is going to be an enormously big deal. If the circumstances of your death are politically inconvenient to the Left – Brian Terry or the Benghazi four or those who died on the waiting list for the VA — there are no greater lessons to be learned or need for further action; it’s just an unfortunate set of circumstances. One set of citizens are in the picture; one set of citizens on the periphery get cropped out. It just doesn’t fit the picture that someone wants to create.

–Dana

8/19/2016

Louisiana Floods: Trump Shows Up, Clinton Tweets, And President Obama Does What He Does Best

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:24 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Untitled
Today found Donald Trump and Mike Pence in Louisiana where residents welcomed them to their flooded and ravaged state. Trump spent several hours talking to residents, passing out food and supplies, and encouraging those who lost their homes to the flood. It was a smart move by the campaign. The optics were great, and his presence effectively highlighted the notable absences of Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

Amusingly, given how the front page of the New York Times and the Washington Post are continually littered with Trump stories of a particular sort, this one didn’t make the front-page cut.

Trump’s visit comes on the heels of a blistering editorial by Baton Rouge’s newspaper, The Advocate. The editors took President Obama to task for his hypocrisy, and for failing to visit the state in its time of need:

Now that the flood waters ravaging Louisiana are receding, it’s time for President Barack Obama to visit the most anguished state in the union.

Last week, as torrential rains brought death, destruction and misery to Louisiana, the president continued his vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, a playground for the posh and well-connected.

We’ve seen this story before in Louisiana, and we don’t deserve a sequel. In 2005, a fly-over by a vacationing President George W. Bush became a symbol of official neglect for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The current president was among those making political hay out of Bush’s aloofness.

[Flashback, 1964: Listen to phone conversation between Sen. Russell Long and President Johnson as the senator begs for the president’s help.]

Sometimes, presidential visits can get in the way of emergency response, doing more harm than good. But we don’t see that as a factor now that flood waters are subsiding, even if at an agonizing pace. It’s past time for the president to pay a personal visit, showing his solidarity with suffering Americans.

Like his predecessors, Obama has no doubt discovered that crises keep their own calendar, even when commanders-in-chief are trying to take some time off the clock. It’s an inconvenience of the presidency, but it’s what chief executives sign up for when they take the oath of office.

And if the president can interrupt his vacation for a swanky fundraiser for fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton, as he did on Monday, then surely he can make time to show up for a catastrophe that’s displaced thousands.

The optics of Obama golfing while Louisiana residents languished in flood waters was striking. It evoked the precedent of the passive federal response to the state’s agony in 2005, a chapter of history no one should ever repeat.

Coincidentally, the White House announced this afternoon that President Obama would be visiting the state on Tuesday. After his vacation officially ends:

“The President is mindful of the impact that his travel has on first responders and wants to ensure that his presence does not interfere with ongoing recovery efforts,” the White House said.

“He is also eager to get a first-hand look at the impact of the devastating floods, hear from more officials about the response, including how the federal government can assist and tell the people of Louisiana that the American people will be with them as they rebuild their community and come back stronger than ever,” the White House said.

Oh, how it must have stung for someone as arrogant and smug as President Obama to be shown up by the likes of Donald Trump.

Interestingly, and also coincidentally, there is a big 70th birthday bash planned for Bill Clinton tonight on Martha’s Vineyard. Exactly where President Obama is currently vacationing and fundraising for Hillary.

As for Hillary, she has nothing on her official schedule until Monday. But lest you think she doesn’t give a rip about the crisis in Louisiana, she tweeted her concern . But even she realized that was a really lame effort, especially in light of Trump making an actual visit to the devastated region, so she upped the ante and published a Facebook post as well.

ADDED: That time Obama criticized President Bush for surveying the Katrina’s destruction from a plane and not on the ground:

We can talk about levees that couldn’t hold, a FEMA that seemed not just incompetent but paralyzed and powerless, about a president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane instead of down here on the ground.”

This from the White House media pool:

At 11:25 am on this bright clear day, the motorcade was on the move. We passed a few walkers and bikers who waved as the president went by.

At 11:40 am, POTUS arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club.

–Dana

Manafort Out

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 am

Politico (cached link; no links for bullies):

Paul Manafort on Friday resigned as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, after the Republican presidential nominee earlier this week announced a new leadership structure for his campaign.

“This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success,” Trump said in a statement.

Trump’s campaign on Wednesday announced a shakeup, its second in as many months, with the addition of Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon as campaign CEO and the promotion of pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager.

Bring back Corey! Let Trump Be Trump!!!1!

The $400 Million to Iran Was a Ransom, With a Bonus Voxsplanation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:20 am

This is what I’d call an admission:

It’s about as clear an admission as you’ll ever get. We weren’t giving them the money until we got the prisoners.

Put that together with the Iranian government’s view — “Iranian press reports have quoted senior Iranian defense officials describing the cash as a ransom payment,” reported the Wall Street Journal — and you have a ransom payment.

But at Vox, Zack Beauchamp patiently explains to you dummies about how this wasn’t a ransom payment, no way, no how. His Voxsplainer is titled The US did not pay a $400 million “ransom” to Iran. Here’s what actually happened, you idiots. OK, I added the “you idiots” part, but it was implied.

“State Department spokesman John Kirby … said the U.S. withheld the delivery of the cash as leverage until Iran permitted the Americans to leave the country,” the AP’s Klepper reports.

This information, however, doesn’t amount to evidence of a ransom. Remember, the US had already agreed to pay Iran that money as part of the settlement. The only question was timing.

What happened is that the US chose to postpone the payment it had already promised to make until it was sure Iran was upholding the prisoner release deal. Iran wasn’t getting any additional money in exchange for prisoners (it actually got prisoners in exchange for prisoners). The US government just decided it couldn’t trust Iran, necessarily, so it withheld following through on the arms deal settlement until it was sure Iran was cooperating on the prisoner deal.

See, the not-ransom payers weren’t paying a ransom to the not-kidnappers. No, sir! All that happened was, the not-ransom payers withheld delivery of the not-ransom money until the not-kidnappers gave up their un-hostages. The ransom payers simply chose to postpone delivering the not-ransom money until it could be sure that the non-kidnappers gave up the un-hostages.

It’s all so simple when it’s Voxsplained.

Trump: I Regret Things I Said That Caused Pain

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:11 am

What a pussy, am I right? (I didn’t want to say it. That lady over there said it. I’m just repeating it.)

It’s Trump 2.0. He regrets unspecified things!

Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it. And I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues.

I, for one, believe Big Media will accept this and move on. I believe they will never press him, day after day, about what, precisely, he supposedly regrets.

Oh, wait: I don’t actually believe that at all.

8/18/2016

On-Point Quote of the Day

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:28 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Jim Geraghty at National Review Online: “I’m so old, I remember when it was a big deal when a president vacationed as Louisiana was devastated by floods.”

Count me as one of those curmudgeons who thinks that the photo-ops where politicians show how “caring” they are by bringing their huge entourage into a disaster zone is stupefyingly counterproductive. Roads are blocked, thinly-stretched resources are diverted to security, and people are highly inconvenienced all for that ten-second clip on the nightly news where the politician looks grimly determined as he or she offers a reassuring hug to a victim (a child or senior citizen being the optimal image here). When wildfires reached my cousin’s Southern California community during the Schwarzenegger era, I remember her complaining about what a hassle it had been when Arnie made an appearance on the scene, gubernatorial staff and news crew in tow, and everything came to a halt while people patiently waited for him to go through the compassion routine. It really bugged her and she otherwise didn’t have a problem with Schwarzenegger’s policies or his politics.

And to Geraghty’s point, I too remember when Bush was excoriated for inspecting the Hurricane Katrina damage high above from Marine One rather than on the ground surrounded by Secret Service, assorted undersecretaries, Louisiana politicos, and Cokie Roberts. Why is it then that the titans of opinion-making are so sanguine about the latest floods failing to distract President Obama from important golfing matters? Is it because we now all accept that Obama has been phoning it in for some time now? Is it because deep down the media knows that politicians appearing on scene is contrived and detrimental? Or is it as basic as the idea that some politicians are beyond reproach, while others are to be criticized at every available opportunity?

– JVW

CNN Edits Video to Make Bloodthirsty Woman Look Peaceful

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:56 am

It’s good to have the occasional reminder of how your media lies to you, right to your face. The latest example is this 28-second video, in which CNN edits a video of a woman screaming for violence in the suburbs to portray her as “calling for peace”:

CNN says it was “unintentional.”

Thus blatantly lying again.

Thanks to Tom Woods on Facebook. (Check the links on the sidebar for his Liberty Classroom. A couple of people have joined up and I hope to post more about it soon.)

Farts, Donald Trump, the Spanish National Debt, and a Stark Choice

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 7:20 am

This story was prompted by a Hot Air Headlines entry about the volume of farts. Stick with me.

Spain’s national debt reaches highest level in over century

Spain’s state debt reached €1.1 trillion ($1.24 trillion) in June, the highest level since 1909, according to the data released by the Bank of Spain.

People wait at the employment center to open in Sintra, Portugal. © Hugo CorreiaSpain & Portugal avoid budget fines
Sovereign debt has been continuing its unswerving escalation since 2008, when it was 39.4 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP).

Debt rose 4.7 percent in June compared to a year ago when it amounted to €1,057 trillion.

The figure, equivalent to 100.9 per cent of the country’s output, is well above the target projected for the current year.

Why am I talking about the Spanish national debt when I started out talking about the volume of farts? I’m getting there.

I followed the Hot Air Headlines fart-volume item to the original article: How Big Is A Fart? Somewhere Between A Bottle Of Nail Polish And A Can Of Soda. (Saved you a click!) This passage caught my eye:

Certain foods, beans included, produce more easily fermentable residues as they break down in the stomach and intestines. More fermentation means more gas, so the “flatulogenic foods” really will increase the volume of gas in your gut and in your farts. In 2012, for instance, researchers took healthy volunteers and those who suffered from chronic gastrointestinal problems, fed them either a neutral or fart-inducing breakfast, and then put a catheter up each of their anuses to collect farts and transfer the gas to a machine that measured the volume of those farts in real time.

I decided to follow the hyperlink to learn more about this study. Specifically, I was curious to learn: did taxpayers somewhere pay for “scientists” to put catheters up the anuses of volunteers? So I went to the study, titled Anal gas evacuation and colonic microbiota in patients with flatulence: effect of diet.

Funding This work was supported by the FIS PI10/00902 grant (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion, Spain), the Spanish Ministry of Education (Dirección General de Investigación, SAF 2009–07416), Fundació La Marató TV3 (MARATV3_072010), the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013: IHMS, grant agreement HEALTH.2010.2.1.1-2) and a grant from Danone Research (France). Ciberehd is funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III.

If your Spanish is failing you: yes, government grants were involved.

And then I noticed this morning’s story about Spain’s record debt.

This kind of thing is universal, folks. It’s not just the U.S. Government that taxes you and spends the money on idiotic stuff. It happens everywhere.

Let’s get local. We face the possibility this November of having a Democrat in office, Hillary Clinton, who is promising to spend $275 billion that we don’t have on a federal infrastructure program. Our debt is $19 trillion, and most of the infrastructure issues, to the extent they exist, are local and state issues, not federal. Nevertheless, Hillary is unfazed. She apparently thinks Barack Obama’s giant stimulus was a great idea, and needs to be repeated.

Luckily, we have an alternative: Donald Trump, a Republican stalwart and fiscal conservative who . . . says he’ll take Hillary’s proposal and double it. Remember this from a few days ago?

Donald J. Trump took a step to Hillary Clinton’s left on Tuesday, saying that he would like to spend at least twice as much as his Democratic opponent has proposed to invest in new infrastructure as part of his plan to stimulate the United States’ economy.

The idea takes a page out of the progressive playbook and is another indication that the Republican presidential nominee is prepared to break with the fiscal conservatism that his party has evangelized over the past eight years.

Nevertheless, we are going to be told that we must vote for Trump because, I don’t know. I guess because he’s a fucking clown who never means anything he says and therefore maybe he won’t actually carry out this stupid idea? Is that the argument?

It’s a stark choice, folks. This is easily the most least important election of our lifetimes.

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