Patterico's Pontifications


The Clinton News Network Rides Again

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:18 pm

[guest post by JVW]

CNN reporter Elise Labott, part of the network’s global affairs team, was recently given a two-week suspension for sending out a Tweet critical of last week’s House vote to tighten the vetting process for refugees from Syria and points beyond.

The Tweet apparently violates a CNN policy prohibiting their reporters from editorializing on “partisan” issues.

Whether prompted by Ms. Labott’s indiscretion or whether the timing is purely coincidental, conservative outlets such as the Daily Caller are reporting that Labott was unusually receptive to and accommodating of suggestions from one Philippe Reines, a Hillary! Clinton aide turned State Department flack turned Hillary! Clinton aide. On the morning that The Once and Future Inevitable Next President of the United States was being grilled in the Senate over her behavior during the Benghazi imbroglio, Labott and Reines begin an email correspondence which has been uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act request by Gawker Media. At one point in the exchange Labott seems to refer back to a previous conversation she had with Reines, asking him in an email message, “are you sure rand paul wasn’t at any hearings?” Within five minutes, she sends out this tweet:

A few hours later when Her Majesty’s testimony had wrapped up, Labott emails Reines to pass along her congratulations on Hillary!’s testimony: “She was great. well done. I hope you are going to have a big drink tonight.”

Still later that evening, Reins emails Labott to mention that he has another tweet to suggest (it should be noted here that, like his boss, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reins appears to have a fondness for conducting government business on private email servers). She responds, “What did you suggest. [sic] I didn’t see it.” He replies, “Pin,” which appears to refer to a private messaging system. Labott makes a promise to “get back to you,” then six minutes later tweets out the following:

The Rand Paul campaign has naturally jumped all over the story of the CNN reporter colluding with the State Department employee (and Clinton aide) to ensure sympathetic coverage. As of this writing, CNN has not commented upon the situation and Elise Labott remains on suspension for one more week.


Christmas Idea: Berlin Philharmonic on DVD in Exotic Locales

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:36 pm

If you have any classical music lovers in your family or circle of friends, who might appreciate a (relatively) inexpensive DVD set from the Berlin Philharmonic for Christmas, you’ve come to the right place.

Every year the Berlin Philharmonic performs a “EuropaKonzert” at some exotic locale in Europe. As explained here:

The purpose of this unique concert series is to perform at places which have a special cultural history and compel through their stunning architecture in order to provide the audience with a visual experience out of the ordinary.

The locales include the Escorial in Madrid (1992), the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg (1996), the Vasa Museum in Stockholm (1998), St. Irene Church in Istanbul (2001), and Hieronymus Monastery of Belém in Lisbon (2003).

I am currently listening to fantastic soloists performing the Brahms Triple Concerto in a stark former factory in Berlin called the Kabelwerk Oberspree. Earlier this evening I listened to Verdi, Berlioz, Schubert, and Wagner performed in the Basilica at El Escorial, the magnificent monastery/royal palace outside Madrid. El Escorial is where many famous kings and queens of Spain are buried, including Phillip II (who had it built), and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (who took on Martin Luther).

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 6.43.09 PM
Above: El Escorial

The complete 25-DVD set from 1991-2014 set can be bought for $107 (about $4 per DVD) here.

I get nothing out of this, other than the satisfaction of knowing I have made classical music fans happy.

Use the Patterico Amazon Widget to Buy a Drone!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:09 pm

That’s what a reader did recently: used the Amazon widget to buy a quadcopter Phantom drone with the ability to take pictures and record video.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 5.06.35 PM

Now that is pretty damned awesome.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and that means Black Friday is just around the corner. Please be like this reader and keep the Patterico Amazon widget in mind when you do your holiday shopping. It helps out the site and costs you nothing.

Or just make this your Amazon bookmark:

It’s all much appreciated! Happy Thanksgiving!

On Triumphalism Over Lazy and Sloppy Big Media Types

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:32 pm

In their zeal to debunk Big Media types who zealously and inaccurately “debunk” statements made by Republican candidates, conservatives sometimes accept “facts” that are questionable.

One case in point was Donald Trump’s claim that “thousands” of Muslims celebrated 9/11 on the rooftops of buildings in New Jersey:

I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.

I was among those on Twitter who pummelled Glenn Kessler for his sloppy “fact-checking” column that claimed to find absolutely no evidence of any Muslims celebrating in New Jersey. John Hinderaker had some fun pointing out that Kessler had overlooked an article in his own paper to that effect. Kessler proceeded to defend himself on Twitter by serially misquoting the article, adding a small walkback on his original post, and generally looking like a putz caught with his pants down.

Still, does anybody really believe there were “thousands” celebrating in Jersey? I don’t. Hinderaker doesn’t. But I bet you anything there are Trumpzombies out there who believe TRUMP WAS RIGHT!!!

Similarly, Ben Carson said Thomas Jefferson “tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people’s natural tendencies.” At USA Today, David Mastio (who I like a lot) wrote a column that defended Carson, by accurately citing some authority to the effect that Jefferson’s exhortations played some role in the adoption of the Bill of Rights. Among the citations are this from the ACLU:

The American Bill of Rights, inspired by Jefferson and drafted by James Madison, was adopted, and in 1791 the Constitution’s first ten amendments became the law of the land.

And this from the National Archives:

Q. What did Thomas Jefferson have to do with framing the Constitution?

A. Although absent from the Constitutional Convention and during the period of ratification, Jefferson rendered no inconsiderable service to the cause of Constitutional Government, for it was partly through his insistence that the Bill of Rights, consisting of the first ten amendments, was adopted.

This is fine as far as it goes, and the statements from the ACLU and the National Archives have some support in reality. Prof. Kevin Gutzman, in his book on James Madison (which I highly recommend) did note that Jefferson said in “several letters” to Madison, written between about December 1787 and December 1788, that a Bill of Rights must be adopted. These letters were written and sent months after the summer of 1787, when the Philadelphia Convention was in session. According to Prof. Gutzman, Madison replied that he liked the idea to the extent that a bill of rights would safeguard liberties, rather than restructure the grant of powers to the federal government from the states. Madison ultimately favored a bill of rights, despite his general skepticism of their necessity, Gutzman writes, because they would allay the concerns of people like Jefferson and George Mason.

(By the way, according to Prof. Gutzman’s book, the Bill of Rights was not considered to be anywhere near as important then as it is today. Indeed, there were those who described it as a “tub to the whale” — an unimportant plaything to distract the Leviathan.)

So far so good. In my view, Mastio went a little overboard with the extent to which he defends Carson, whose point appeared to be far less nuanced and subtle than Carson’s claim that Jefferson “crafted” the Constitution, which he certainly did not.

Here’s the problem: some are running with Mastio’s piece as proof that Thomas Jefferson was, like, totally! behind the drafting of the Constitution, even at the Philadelphia Convention!!1! Rush Limbaugh has taken Mastio’s piece and oversimplified its findings to the point of total inaccuracy and absurdity. Here’s Limbaugh:

But guess what? Ben Carson turned out to be right. Thomas Jefferson did craft the Constitution from France. Jefferson loved France, by the way. He loved going. Jefferson was a big wine connoisseur, among many other things. Perhaps some of you have seen the movie or heard of the movie Jefferson in Paris. He loved it there. But what Politico didn’t know that Ben Carson did know — and they’re running, “Oh, there’s Carson again, boy, making a big fool of himself once again. See, this guy, he’s not in our league. Ben Carson thinks Jefferson wrote the Constitution. Jefferson wasn’t even there. Ben Carson doesn’t even know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”

And all of the Drive-By Media critics just launched into poor old Carson, pointing out that Jefferson wasn’t even in America when the Constitution was written. He was in France. What a dope Carson is. How’d this guy ever pass the medical test to be a surgeon? Except this. And credit to USA Today for digging this up.

. . . .

And what they found was that Thomas Jefferson was writing all kinds of letters from France to the Constitutional Convention, and they were sending him letters, and so he was participating in the writing of the Constitution while he was in France with these things called letters that were put on boats that went over the ocean and then to horses in saddlebags where they were delivered to the recipients. It could take months for these things to go back and forth, given the length of time it would take back then to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, if they made it alive. But the point is, Carson was right, and the Drive-Bys mocking him and laughing at him, and making fun of him had no idea Thomas Jefferson was writing these letters.

Yeah, this is totally wrong. Gutzman says on Facebook:

One more time: 1) there is no evidence that Thomas Jefferson had any — any — effect on the “crafting” of the US Constitution, and 2) the Bill of Rights was *not* “his idea.”

1) He was in France in summer 1787, at a time when it took six weeks for a letter to cross the Atlantic to the east and longer to the west. The delegates to the Convention were all sworn to secrecy, so they could not have consulted him even if they had desired to do so and it had been practicable.

2) The first promise to seek a bill of rights was made by Federalists in Massachusetts to get Governor John Hancock and other waverers to support ratification. None of them consulted Jefferson–who was still in France, if anyone in Boston had cared. James Madison was finally persuaded to favor a bill of rights, which he had opposed, by political imperatives in Virginia: the North American Baptist movement happened to be centered in his home county, and local Baptists insisted he promise to seek amendments, particularly one like the Establishment Clause, before they voted for him over James Monroe for Congress. Everyone knew this was his motivation at the time.

While Kessler did too much of a victory dance over Donald Trump, and exaggerated the lack of evidence to support Trump’s claim, Trump was almost certainly wrong to claim there were “thousands” of Muslims celebrating on rooftops in New Jersey on 9/11.

While Politico did too much of a victory dance over Ben Carson, and exaggerated the lack of a role that Jefferson played in inspiring the Bill of Rights, Carson was not correct to claim Jefferson played a role in “crafting” the Constitution. And Rush Limbaugh has screwed up the analysis beyond all recognition.

Unfortunately, Patterico (and even Gutzman) are nothing compared to Limbaugh’s mis-educating of millions of people on this issue.

Bernie Sanders Is Wrong, Part 2: Minimum Wage Statistics

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:46 am

Bernie Sanders says the minimum wage should be $15 an hour. At, they explain: “A family struggling to subsist on a lower income will also have greater difficulty adequately caring for its children.”

So how many people are actually older folks trying to support a family on the minimum wage? We answer that question today, in part 2 of my mini-series of statistics from The Thomas Sowell Reader — a collection of essays and passages from Sowell’s career. Keep the links to these posts handy, as you can use these statistics to defeat Sanders supporters in debate when they drag out hoary nonsense to support his socialism.*


  • Only about 2% of American workers over 24 years of age earn the minimum wage.
  • 42% of those earning the minimum wage live with their parents or some other relative.
  • Only 15% of those earning minimum wage support themselves and a dependent.

The minimum wage is an issue for very few workers. Of those workers, the overwhelming majority are not supporting a family. They are trying to get an entry-level job that will allow them to build experience, and later get a better-paying job.

Deny them the entry-level job by making them not worth hiring, and you deprive them of income and experience that they can build on for the future.

Real humane there, Bernie. Your intentions are good, but your intentions are all you care about. That is the primary problem of leftism.

*The title of the posts, “Bernie Sanders Is Wrong,” is identical to the title of Tom Woods’s free e-book — but there’s enough wrongness in Bernie Sanders to go around, don’t you think? Enough that, I believe, the phrase is in the public domain.


President Obama Opens Up A Serious Can Of Whoop Ass On ISIS!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:28 pm

[guest post by Dana]

For the first time since the Paris massacre that left 130 dead and hundreds more wounded, and for which ISIS claimed responsibility, President Obama met with France’s President Hollande today at the White House. Showing that steel spine of resolve and the slick strategery we’ve come to expect from President Obama as he steadfastly works to contain, degrade and destroy ISIS, he threw down the gauntlet and reminded ISIS just who it is they are messing with:

Next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference. What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.

This is the same world leader who believes there is no challenge that poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. You might ask, but what about the Barbarians at the Gate??? Meh. What’s a few heads rolling here and there and the destruction of Western civilization compared to fresh, clean air for the future Caliphate of the West living that awesome 7th century lifestyle?


Clock Boy Wants $10 Million, Invitation to White House Rescinded

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:24 pm

I . . . might have made up that last bit — but surely the boy wants to be put back to the status quo ante, no?

Ahmed “Clock Boy” Mohammed wants $10 million* from the City of Irving because of the whole clock thing that got him fame and an invitation to the White House. Here’s how his lawyers describe what the young would-be millionaire did:

Ahmed used some spare parts and scrap pieces he had around the house to assemble a digital clock. He routed the circuitry to run through a motherboard and enclosed his creative contraption in a little locking pencil case with the dimensions of approximately 8.5 x 5.75 x 2.5 inches.

Not long after the controversy broke, an electronics enthusiast with an engineering degree wrote a blog post that purported to debunk the notion that the kid’s clock was an original invention:

Ahmed Mohamed did not invent, nor build a clock. He took apart an existing clock, and transplanted the guts into a pencil box, and claimed it was his own creation. It all seems really fishy to me.

If we accept the story about “inventing” an alarm clock is made up, as I think I’ve made a pretty good case for, it’s fair to wonder what other parts of the story might be made up, not reported factually by the media, or at least, exaggerated.

I have never seen this blog post debunked.

If he was truly wronged, give him a few hundred dollars. Think of all the Radio Shack clocks he could buy! But $10 million? Puh-leeze. If anything, this further suggests that this was all a trumped-up hoax.

If that makes me a Clock Boy Truther, so be it.

*I see a bunch of stories online saying he has asked for $15 million but the linked demand letter says $10MM. If they sent a second letter upping the demand by another $5MM, I have not seen it yet.

Bernie Sanders Is Wrong: Part 1: The Bottom 20% Does Not Remain Constant

Filed under: Economics,General — Patterico @ 9:08 am

Lately I have been reading The Thomas Sowell Reader — a collection of essays and passages from across the gamut of Sowell’s writing. One of Sowell’s most valuable contributions comes in the form of hard statistics showing that people like Bernie Sanders are wrong.

Over the next few days, I will present some of the most compelling statistics in different categories, showing Bernie Sanders is wrong. I’ll start with movement between income categories.


Sanders implies that the top 20% of income earners is a block of powerful people, getting rich at the expense of everyone else:

Sanders fails to recognize that income categories are not stagnant, but that most people move in and out of them throughout their lives. When we hear about how “the top 20% is doing better than the bottom 20%” we are not, by and large, talking about the same people. The people in the top 20% do not stay there. Nor do the people in the bottom 20%. Consider:

  • Only 5% of those in the bottom 20% of income earners in 1975 were still there in 1991.
  • More then 3/4 of working Americans with incomes in the bottom 20% in 1975 were in the top 40% of income earners by 1991.
  • 29% of those initially in the bottom 20% of income earners in 1975 had risen to the top 20% by 1991.

Studies in Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and Greece show similar results.

Perhaps the most staggering error comes from measuring income and not wealth. When Sanders says “you have 99 percent of all new income today going to the top 1 percent” (not true, by the way, because it’s a statement about income pre-tax), you would, again, get the impression that the top 1% is this static category of the same people.

So I’ll tuck the next statistic under the fold and make you guess. Among those in the top 1/100 of 1% of income earners in 1996, what percentage do you think were still there in 2005? Is it more or less than 90%?

Answer below the fold.


US Central Command Analysts Who Warned About ISIS Were Told To “Cut It Out”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:19 am

[guest post by Dana]

The Pentagon’s IG is investigating claims that US Central Command analysts were told by DOD officials to tone down their reports about ISIS in an apparent effort to line up with the president’s reassurances that the “JV squad” was “contained”. However, in actuality, ISIS continued to increase in strength and gain territory.

Analysts at U.S. Central Command were pressured to ease off negative assessments about the Islamic State threat and were even told in an email to “cut it out,” Fox News has learned – as an investigation expands into whether intelligence reports were altered to present a more positive picture.

Fox News is told by a source close to the CENTCOM analysts that the pressure on them included at least two emails saying they needed to “cut it out” and “toe the line.”

Separately, a former Pentagon official told Fox News there apparently was an attempt to destroy the communications. The Pentagon official said the email warnings were “not well received” by the analysts.

Those emails, among others, are now in the possession of the Pentagon inspector general. The IG’s probe is expanding into whether intelligence assessments were changed to give a more positive picture of the anti-ISIS campaign.

The president discussed the issue of whether his intelligence reports had been altered:

“One of the things I insisted on the day I walked into the Oval Office was that I don’t want intelligence shaded by politics. I don’t want it shaded by the desire to tell a feel-good story,” Obama said Sunday.

“I don’t know what we’ll discover with respect to what was going on in Centcom,” Mr. Obama said. “What I do know is my expectation — which is the highest fidelity to facts, data, the truth.”

[I] have made it repeatedly clear to all my top national security advisers that I never want them to hold back, even if the intelligence or their opinions about the intelligence, their analysis or interpretations of the data contradict current policy.

Because this administration has always been about fidelity to the facts and truth. Just think: Benghazi, IRS, Fast and Furious, the VA, and so on…



Pew Research Poll: 40% of Millennials Support Speech Bans

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:50 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The Pew Research Center released the results of a poll last week suggesting that 40% of members of the millennial generation (those born between 1981 and 1997) would support allowing government to ban speech deemed offensive to minorities. That is roughly 50% higher than the percentage of Gen Xers (1965-1980), 67% higher than the percentage of Baby Boomers (1946-1964), and, amazingly, 250% higher than the percentage of members of the Silent Generation (pre-1946) who support these restrictions. I guess we have a pretty good idea of when things started going to hell, don’t we?

In addition, the poll indicates that 7 out of 20 Democrats would support speech restrictions (twice the proportion of Republican support), and nearly 2 in 5 non-white respondents would support the speech restrictions. Here are the poll results in a handy infographic:


As JD would say, we are so screwed.


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