Patterico's Pontifications

7/18/2017

A Saudi Woman In A Short Skirt, Activist Linda Sarsour, And The Alt-Right Jake Tapper

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:09 pm

[guest post by Dana]

A controversial video of a young Saudi woman walking around in a miniskirt is making the rounds:

A young Saudi woman sparked a sensation online over the weekend by posting a video of herself in a miniskirt and crop top walking around in public, with some Saudis calling for her arrest and others rushing to her defense.

State-linked news websites reported Monday that officials in the deeply conservative Muslim country are looking into possibly taking action against the woman, who violated the kingdom’s rules of dress. Women in Saudi Arabia must wear long, loose robes known as abayas in public. Most also cover their hair and face with a black veil, though exceptions are made for visiting dignitaries.

The video, first shared on Snapchat, shows her walking around an empty historic fort in Ushaiager, a village north of the capital, Riyadh, in the desert region of Najd, where many of Saudi Arabia’s most conservative tribes and families are from.

The Saudi Okaz news website reported that officials in Ushaiager called on the region’s governor and police to take action against the woman in response to the video, without elaborating. Saudi news website Sabq reported that the kingdom’s morality police had corresponded with other agencies to investigate further after the video was brought to their attention.

According to updated reports by Saudia Arabian state TV, the young woman has been arrested for wearing “suggestive clothing”.

This reminds me of co-chariman of the Women’s March and self- described “Palestinian-American-Muslim, civil rights activist” Linda Sarsour’s infamous comment, in which she favorably compared the status of women in Saudia Arabia to those in the United States:

“10 weeks of paid maternity leave in Saudi Arabia and you are worried about women driving. Yes, 10 weeks puts us to shame.”

Given that the young woman in the video appears to be of childbearing age, don’t you just know that in spite of having been arrested and facing God knows what, she is this moment taking great comfort in knowing that she is in Saudi Arabia where she can at least get 10 weeks of paid maternity leave?

Anyway, this is the same Linda Sarsour who wants you to believe she is all about women’s rights, but with a few exceptions :

Untitled

You can read about an angry Sarsour calling out CNN’s Jake Tapper for criticizing the Women’s March (remember, she’s co-chairman), which tweeted birthday wishes to Assata Shakur, who was convicted for killing a police officer. Shakur fled to Cuba to avoid serving a life sentence. Not taking Tapper’s criticism too well, Sarsour lobbed a sick burn at him:

Untitled2

Yep, that’s right: Jake Tapper is a member of the alt-right. And Sarsour is a put-upon woman of minority status, who is being publicly made to endure some ugly misogyny from the patriarchy. What a plight. Nobody knows the trouble she’s seen – not even a courageous young Saudi woman wearing a short skirt.

Anyway, you can also read about why Sarsour’s recent comments about “jihad” made during a speech at the annual Islamic Society of North America convention should not necessarily be seen as “advocating solely for peaceful, nonviolent dissent” as she claims.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

You Want to Know Who to Blame If ObamaCare Is Not Repealed? I’ll Tell You Who

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

First, let’s start by talking about who won’t be to blame: Senators Mike Lee or Rand Paul. Last night Brit Hume of Fox News tweeted this:

I have been a fan of Brit Hume’s for years. But I find it astounding that Hume criticized only people like Senators Lee and Paul, who actually would repeal ObamaCare entirely if given the opportunity. If there were 535 Mike Lees in Congress, ObamaCare would have been repealed in January. Where, I wondered, was the criticism of those who voted to repeal in 2015 — but won’t now? Why blame the fiercest opponents of ObamaCare, and give a total pass to people who hypocritically voted for repeal in 2015 only because they knew Obama would veto it?

Let’s review: in 2015, there was a bill sent to Obama’s desk called the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015. It didn’t repeal every aspect of ObamaCare, but it did a lot. Exchanges: gone. Subsidies: phased out. Penalty for not getting health insurance or providing it to your employees: gone. “Cadillac tax”: gone. Medicaid expansion: phased out.

Rather than the tinkering we have seen recently, this was a real move towards repeal. It passed the Senate 52-47. But, of course, it was vetoed by Obama — and the people who voted for it knew it would be.

Now, we have a President in office who has said he would sign such a bill. Rand Paul introduced a version in January. But his bill has been stalled in committee for half a year, while Republicans have spun their wheels trying to install a big-government replacement. For the most part, their efforts have resulted in bills that would put the GOP stamp of approval on the basic structure of ObamaCare.

Why hasn’t the GOP passed the 2015 bill? Clearly, because there are people who voted for a repeal bill in 2015 who never intended that bill to become law. Yet nobody in the media has been asking who these people are. And (until now), leadership has not forced the issue.

So when the news first broke last night that the latest repeal effort was dead, I raged at the leadership and the media, for hiding the identities of those people. If I had a full-time job in Big Media (ugh), I would track down everyone who voted for the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill to see if they’ll still vote for it.

But it seems Big Media may not have to do the work. Mitch McConnell may do it for them. Events have move quickly since Mike Lee made his announcement last night — and as reported by Joe Cunningham, Mitch McConnell has announced that some version of the 2015 bill is going to be put to a vote:

Hallelujah! This is fantastic.

If the GOP is not full of hypocrites, the bill will pass. Of the 52 people who voted for the 2015 bill, 48 are still in the Senate. (Susan Collins voted against it.) Of the four Republicans who voted for that bill in 2015 and are now gone from the Senate, three have been replaced by Republicans — Sen. Coats (replaced by Republican Todd Young), Sen. Sessions (replaced by Republican Luther Strange), and Sen. Vitter (replaced by Republican John Kennedy).

As long as those three are on board — and long as none of the 48 change their vote, the 2015 bill will easily pass again, with 51 votes.

Now, I heard you laugh when you read that phrase “[i]f the GOP is not full of hypocrites.” That’s OK. I laughed while writing it. I am frankly stunned that McConnell is bringing some version of the 2015 bill to a vote, because I think the GOP is indeed full of hypocrites. And those hypocrites don’t want to be put in the position of voting against a bill they don’t like, but voted for in 2015 because they knew it would never become law. I predict there will be a lot of pressure on McConnell to reverse course and not put the 2015 bill to a vote.

But if he does, we’ll know exactly whom to blame.

Here’s my question: if Mike Lee and Rand Paul vote for repeal, and some other senator or senators change their vote from 2015 and vote against ObamaCare repeal . . .

. . . will Brit Hume still blame Mike Lee and Rand Paul?

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

7/17/2017

Finally, Some Truly Good News: McConnell Announces Revival of 2015 ObamaCare Repeal

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:57 pm

Now we’re talking:

I’m doing an analysis of the Senators who voted for the (partial) repeal in 2015. Fully 48 of those Senators are still in the Senate today. They have no excuse not to vote for the same bill again.

Three other Republicans who voted yes were replaced by other Republicans.

(Susan Collins was a no.)

So: if nobody is a total hypocrite, we’ll have no problem getting this thing passed.

Which means it’s dead in the water.

So why do I say it’s “good news”?

Because, silly. Now, when it fails, we know who to go after. I will give money to anyone who tries to primary any Republican who voted for repeal in 2015 and takes it back now.

I’m looking forward to this.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

This Is Where Big Government California-Style Leaves You

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:22 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Fox News has the details:

Months after heavy rains ravaged roads and bridges in Northern California, officials in Santa Cruz County say it could still take more than a year to repair all the damage, especially in the mountains that are home to several thousand residents.

That’s too long for the Santa Cruz Vigilante Pothole Brigade, a group of intrepid locals who’ve raised money and manpower to do the job themselves.

The brigade is comprised of moms and dads, firefighters, entrepreneurs and fearless do-it-yourselfers fed up with tire-popping potholes – and a county public works agency telling them to just be patient.

By now, all of you know the libretto to this comic-tragic opera. Are there earnest citizens who just want to make their community a better place to live? Absolutely:

“People were giving us lists of where the holes were,” says volunteer Launy Senee, “and we would drive around and find them, and we just started getting people together and self-training ourselves, and filling the potholes.”

Using their own pickup trucks, they back over the repair job several times, smoothing the patch with their tires. Each job takes about five minutes.

“It’s just terrific to be a part of what we need to do to keep the place going,” Senee said.

Is there also an officious by-the-book bureaucrat who resents some peon citizen encroaching upon their territory and uses the scary chimera of a lawsuit to dissuade citizens from helping out? No doubt:

“We can’t have people running out into traffic and filling up potholes by themselves,” said Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin. “It just could end up impeding our efforts to actually fill more potholes if we end up getting sued because we’re letting people do this.”

I can only hope that Jason Hoppin sincerely hates the part of his job where he is called upon to stifle citizen initiative, but this being a deep red blue county in a deep red blue* state (Hillary Clinton won Santa Cruz County with 74% of the vote last year compared to her 62% overall margin in the state), I would have to bet that someone in Jason Hoppin’s position has a political philosophy which dictates that the citizen has no business trying to perform a service provided by the state, no matter how inefficiently the state provides that service. Fortunately, the intrepid pothole repairers of Santa Cruz County aren’t backing down:

The Santa Cruz Vigilante Pothole Brigade is in negotiations to become officially sanctioned, like volunteer firefighters.

But [Brigade Leader Larry] Mcvoy said he and his band of road warriors will continue to pave over problems and help their community – whether the government approves the group or not.

This immediately reminded me of a similar story I had heard several years ago, when a group of business owners in Polihale State Park on the Hawaiian Island of Kuai decided that waiting two years for the state government to fix a washed-out bridge leading into the park was unacceptable, so they rebuilt the damn thing themselves in eight days. Once upon a time America used to be a place where this was commonplace. Sadly, these kind of stories are now newsworthy.

Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.

* Correction: Kevin M. points out that I have mixed up the red state/blue state thing. To this day I still want to associate the far left with the color red, just like Lenin meant us to do. Post corrected above with thanks to Kevin M.

– JVW

A Ringing Defense Of Donald Trump From A Very Unlikely Source

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am

No matter what you think of Donald Trump — not much, in my case — all sensible people agree that he has been the subject of many unfair attacks from the news media and elsewhere. A few days ago, a long list of such attacks was compiled by a very unlikely source: Snopes.com, which is usually absurdly left-leaning when it comes to political issues. The surprising and excellent piece is titled The Lies of Donald Trump’s Critics, and How They Shape His Many Personas. The deck headline reads: “An in-depth analysis of the false allegations and misleading claims made against the 45th President since his inauguration.”

Dan McGuill, the author of the piece, selects four categories of calumny against Trump. I’ll give you a short excerpt from each category to whet your appetite for the full piece:

  • Donald Trump: International Embarrassment

Take, for example, the claim that Trump was the only world leader at a G7 summit in May not to take notes, based on a photograph posted to Twitter by French President Emannuel Macron. Here Trump was portrayed as unprepared and out of his depth on the world stage, with a “ten-second attention span”. However, the claim was entirely untrue, with other images and video of the meeting showing that Trump did indeed have notes and a pen. Not only that, but the very image used to make the false claim clearly shows two other world leaders sitting with no note-taking paraphernalia. In this case, even the cherry-picked evidence chosen to make the point undermines it.

  • Trump the Tyrant

Then there was the satirical article that reported Trump had signed an executive order declaring himself the popular vote winner in 2016’s presidential election, or the claim that he had imposed martial law in Chicago, using a video of a police tank which has been in use since 2010.

  • Donald Trump: Bully baby

Sometimes these claims seem plausible enough to gain even more credibility and traction. In April, Trump met the public at the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll. A teenaged boy asked him to sign his “Make America Great Again” hat, and the President obliged, but appeared to toss the hat in the air.

This was presented as a callous act from a bullying, villainous Donald Trump by observers such as the Resistance Report web site, which wrote ” Trump Just Ruined This Kid’s Day at the Easter Egg Roll.” However, another camera angle clearly shows that Trump was playfully tossing the hat back to the boy, who happily receives the hat and walks away. This video was posted to Twitter 42 minutes after the original:

But even without the second camera angle, Occam’s Razor comes into play once again. Does it make sense that Donald Trump, asked by an enthusiastic young man to sign a hat bearing his iconic slogan, would sign the hat and then, smiling, deliberately throw it away from the boy? Or is it more likely that Trump was being playful with someone who acted admiringly towards him, and tossed the hat in the air with the intention of giving it back to the boy?

  • Trump the Buffoon

Almost instantly, Trump was mocked for citing as an Irish proverb a poem written by a Nigerian man.
[]
The entire episode is a remarkable example of something bordering on collective hallucination, most likely brought on by confirmation bias. Here hundreds of thousands of people — including professional journalists working for influential news organizations, and a chat show host with more than three million nightly viewers — literally heard Trump say something he never said, in most cases probably because it confirmed a pre-existing image of the President as a poorly read, culturally ignorant buffoon.

Of course, one thing that feeds these falsehoods is the fact that Trump has aspects of his personality that are embarrassing, tyrannical, bullying, and buffoonish.

It has to be acknowledged that since January, many of Trump’s opponents, and even lukewarm supporters, have found considerable fault with his policies and behavior, based on accurate facts. There have been many occasions when Trump himself, undistorted and unfiltered, contributed mightily to the four personas we have outlined.

Indeed, even if you are a fierce opponent of the President, you should be an equally fierce opponent of manufactured stories designed to make him look bad. Because those stories undercut the genuine criticism he often deserves — and give his supporters a lazy way to dismiss as exaggerations even valid points about his character or behavior.

Snopes.com has a deserved reputation for left-leaning political bias. This piece undoes some of the damage the site has done to its own reputation for honesty … honesty which ought to be, and in this case is, integral to the brand of a site built to debunks myths and lies. This is a win for them and for us. And for integrity.

Fact-checkers of the world, take note. This is how you do it.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

7/16/2017

Rand Paul, ObamaCare, and the “Don’t Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good” Argument

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:38 am

It has become accepted wisdom in Washington that the most we can do about ObamaCare is tinker with it around the edges. Make marginal improvements. Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good, we are told.

One man, and one man alone, has consistently made a strong and public case insisting that Republicans keep their promise to repeal ObamaCare. That man is Rand Paul.

I think he deserves some praise and support, for being (as far as I can tell) the only Republican vocally demanding that the GOP do what it promised to do.

Once, Ted Cruz had a plan for dealing with ObamaCare. I talked about it in detail in this post from March. But today I want to concentrate on the first point he made:

First, begin with the 2015 repeal language. . . . Virtually every Republican in Congress voted for that language, and the parliamentarian has already ruled it as permissible. We should begin with that previously approved repeal language as the baseline.

Today, Cruz has given up on that goal. Mike Lee, whom I respect deeply, has given up on that goal. They are apparently willing to retain the ObamaCare subsidies that are doomed to drive up premiums, just as any government subsidy drives up costs (hey, has anyone noticed that higher education is a tad expensive these days?). They are apparently willing to retain most of the basic structure of ObamaCare, as long as insurance companies can offer non-ObamaCare compliant plans in addition to ObamaCare-compliant ones.

We know this isn’t their ideal solution. Cruz’s ideal solution is what I described in the March post linked above. But it is what they are settling for.

And that’s too bad. Do I blame Cruz and Lee? Only a little. There’s plenty of blame to go around — from a dishonest news media that pretends that even Cruz’s proposal is draconian, to an electorate that increasingly wants goodies without responsibility, to an education system that fails to teach basic economic principles, to a President who loves him some big government and decries even the most lily-livered tinkering as “mean.”

But I’ll be damned if I am going to be lectured by people who tell me we have to settle because hey, at least this bill is better. It’s a surrender. Don’t talk to me about Medicaid cuts. They aren’t happening. Cuts to government programs in the out-years are always phony. Always always always. The whole edifice has to be dismantled. (The details of that dismantlement are described in detail in my March post.)

I can already hear people saying: but you can’t do this to people. I commend my entire March post to you, but let me quote a couple of paragraphs for the non-clickers. The “too long, didn’t read” answer is that economics is about allocating scarce resources, and most resources are scarce:

What about the people who can’t afford insurance (or who are simply irresponsible and do not buy insurance)? Well, first of all, with the above reforms, there would be far fewer people in that situation than there were in 2008, before ObamaCare was passed. But in the end, this is a separate question from the basic policy of how to repeal ObamaCare. There will always be the less fortunate in society who can’t afford some of the basics of life: housing, food, health care, and the like. And there will always be people who are irresponsible and don’t plan for their future, whether it’s in the area of health insurance, life insurance, retirement, their kids’ education . . . the list goes on.

For these groups of people, there will always be a tension between people like me, who recommend that such issues be taken care of by charity and the private sector when the problems to be addressed are serious or life-threatening, and leftists who want the government to take care of everybody. Either way, the reality of the world is that resources are scarce, and not every need can be met. This will always be true under any system. Government cannot simply decree that everyone will receive the best possible care for every illness. Any system, whether public or private, will result in some people not being able to access scarce resources. No government health care system is a panacea, and anyone who keeps their eyes open and watches for stories of people being mistreated under socialized health care will find them. The VA is just the tip of the iceberg.

But the solution is not to give ideal care to people who could have bought insurance but chose not to. Imagine doing that with any other type of insurance: Gallant buys a fire insurance policy and Goofus does not — but Goofus knows that government will buy him a new house if his house burns down. Goofus is not going to buy insurance in that scenario — and Gallant won’t either. The concept of insurance is destroyed by such an arrangement. Some Goofuses are going to suffer in the free market — but again, no resources in this world are unlimited, and Goofus will never have all his needs met without contributing to society.

Rand Paul’s position, and my position, are lonely positions to hold. There’s this thing called electoral reality, we are told, that should prevent us from advocating we think actually ought to happen, and should force us to settle for tiny chimerical improvements.

That’s not how real change happens. It’s the kind of thing, frankly, that ObamaCare proponents were told. You can’t remake health care. People have tried. It’s too big a task. But they actually cared about ObamaCare.

The GOP once claimed to care about repealing ObamaCare. Again, just about every Republican in Congress voted to repeal it. Yet they are not being asked, again and again, why they aren’t simply implementing what they claimed to want to implement in 2015.

Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good? No, I’d characterize the GOP’s proposal in a different way. Like this: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the chance to take joint responsibility for a socialistic program that will ruin 1/6 of the economy. Or this: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the concession that this tiny meaningless improvement to the status quo is the best we’ll ever do.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

7/15/2017

Poll: Who Is a Greater Threat to Western Civilization? Russia, or the News Media?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:45 am

Dennis Prager tweets:

I had a couple of questions for him.

Anyway, I thought I would run a poll based on Prager’s question, just because I wanted to be really depressed today. So here you go:

Which is a greater threat to Western civilization?
The news media in the West
Russia

survey maker

I predict upwards of 80% of people here will agree with Prager.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

7/14/2017

My Email to Trump Lawyer Marc Kasowitz

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:29 pm

I just sent the following email to Donald Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz, at his email address mkasowitz@kasowitz.com:

Marc,

You don’t know me. I don’t know you.

But I believe it is in your best interests and the long-term interest of your firm to resign from your position advising the president re: pending Federal legal matters. No good can come from this and, in fact your name may turn out to be a disparaging historical footnote to the presidency of DJT.

Patrick Frey
patterico.com

My apologies to “a retired public relations professional in the western United States who asked not to be identified” for stealing his wording.

I was just curious to know whether Mr. Kasowitz chooses to be as bold today as he was yesterday.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

This Is CNN: Second-By-Second Analysis Of President Trump’s Handshake With President Macron

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:54 pm

[guest post by Dana]

CNN spending time analyzing President Trump and President Macron’s long handshake perfectly demonstrates why Americans don’t take Big Media too seriously anymore:

The first 5 seconds
Macron gets the upper hand, literally, at the start. He also gets in a back pat. But, Trump flips the script at about the 4-second mark when he goes with the hand pat.

Second 6
The ‘tug and pull’! A Trump classic. And a preview of things to come!

Seconds 7-8
Macron seems to weather the initial tug and pull pretty well! But then — perhaps having over-compensated for the tug and pull — Macron loses his balance and sort of falls toward Trump. To his credit, Macron tires to transform it into a “I was just pointing at something” move. Kudos, sir. Or should I say, gloire.

Seconds 10-12
It’s these two seconds where this goes from a handshake to something much, much more. Macron goes for the hand pat but Trump goes totally next level going bro handshake OUT OF NOWHERE. (This SubReddit on “bro” handshakes is epic.) Or is it Macron who goes ‘bro’? I can’t tell because Macron obscures the camera shot.

And so it goes…

PS: Some may believe this was meant as a joke. I sort of did. But then I remembered it was CNN.

PPS: Style points for both First Ladies.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Trump: The Wall Needs to Be Transparent So Nobody Gets Hit on the Head with a Giant Sack of Drugs

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:49 am

Hahaha this is awesome.

The following are excerpts, as prepared and released on Thursday by the White House, from a conversation aboard Air Force One between President Trump and members of the press corps as they flew to Paris on Wednesday night.

You got that? What you’re about to read was “prepared and released . . . by the White House.” So don’t be giving me any of that #FAKENEWS!! crap.

On the border wall:

Q You were joking about solar, right?

THE PRESIDENT: No, not joking, no. There is a chance that we can do a solar wall. We have major companies looking at that. Look, there’s no better place for solar than the Mexico border — the southern border. And there is a very good chance we can do a solar wall, which would actually look good. But there is a very good chance we could do a solar wall.

One of the things with the wall is you need transparency. You have to be able to see through it. In other words, if you can’t see through that wall — so it could be a steel wall with openings, but you have to have openings because you have to see what’s on the other side of the wall.

And I’ll give you an example. As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don’t see them — they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over. As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall. But we have some incredible designs.

Hahahahahaha. What Trump is saying here is pure madcap insanity. In other words, it sounds like Donald Trump.

Our president is Homer Simpson, without Homer Simpson’s charm.

By the way, the latest #FAKENEWS!! Russia story is that one of the other participants in Junior’s meeting was ” a former Soviet counterintelligence officer who is suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence.” Who the hell knows if it’s true, but the interesting part to me is that if it is true, Trump defenders will shrug it off.

I speculated a few days ago that the New York Times was following the Breitbart playbook of dribbling out a little news day by day. But maybe I had it completely backwards. Maybe all the leaks are coming from within the Trump camp, to get people gradually used to the more eye-opening aspects of the story. If on Day One the story had been “Trump campaign manager met with former Soviet counterintelligence agent suspected of current ties to Russian intelligence” then people might have been shocked. But the way this frog is being boiled, we’ll get to the point where there’s video of Trump asking Putin to hack Hillary and people will be saying: “So what? He just wanted the truth!”

Maybe someone would be willing to say that today! You’d be showing Your Leader a great measure of devotion!

AND THE FROG BOILS FURTHER: Looks like the former intelligence officer was once accused of orchestrating an international hacking conspiracy.

Accused is just accused. “The accusations were later withdrawn.” But given the DNC hack, I’m betting you’ll hear more about this.

According to the link, the fella has confirmed he was at the meeting. The news cycle is moving fast. Turn up the heat further, Mr. Chef.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back, which will be the main (only?) place I will be commenting.]

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