Patterico's Pontifications


Scoring Political Points Off Dead Victims Of Terrorist Attack Is Obscene

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:28 pm

[guest post by Dana]

London police chief Cressida Dick in an interview just one week after the London Bridge terror attack which left eight dead:

The commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police says the nationalities of the eight victims in the terrorist attack on London Bridge tell a proud story of London’s unique makeup.

“It’s desperately sad and poignant but among those who died is someone who’s British, there are French, Australian, Canadian, Spanish,” Cressida Dick told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday.

“In terms of our witnesses that we’ve spoken to so far, out of the 300-odd people, there are about 20 different countries of origin. And the London British population comes from all kinds of backgrounds and every kind of faith and ethnicity.”

She said longtime Londoners value this international aspect of the British capital.

“We believe of course that that’s what makes our city so great,” she said. “It’s a place where the vast majority of time it’s incredibly integrated and that diversity gives us strength.”

Not “desperately sad and poignant” to me, but instead I find it rather obscene that the London police chief would to try to score political points by standing on the dead bodies of eight innocent individuals who were much, much more than their collective diversity. Frankly, I really don’t care about their diversity, because to reduce them to this simple metric is to ignore their unique individuality and that which made them so terribly precious to their families who grieve. I’m wholly disgusted to see that in the aftermath of such a horrific event, the commissioner reveals herself to be an opportunistic whore.

Note: Suffice it to say when talking about diversity, cultural diversity is ignored by its cherry-picking proponents. But then you already knew that.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Comey Slams New York Times

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:11 am

I’m behind the curve on all of this, because of work duties, and I did not watch Comey’s testimony until last night. But I did notice that he called out a New York Times story about Trump as always completely false. The New York Times is a partisan institution whose White House reporters are pro-Hillary hacks like Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman. If you’re embracing Comey’s testimony as true — and I do — you’re also embracing the reality that the New York Times publishes stories that are garbage. And I do.

To be quite honest, I don’t find this as concerning as a narcissistic 12-second-attention-span President who lies like he breathes. But having media institutions you can rely on becomes even more important when the occupant of the Oval Office is a cretin. We’ve had cretins there 9 years and counting, and the media is not doing much to cover themselves in glory as credible watchdogs. Sad!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


My Reaction to the Comey Testimony

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:08 pm

I have now watched all the Comey testimony. I’ve read very little in the way of reactions, but I know that I am supposed to dislike Comey for some reason. I don’t, though. I continue to believe he made a mistake on the Hillary thing, but it did not merit firing nor did it destroy my respect for him. The admission of a leak does not cover him in glory either. But he didn’t lie about it.

My reaction: he was honest, and Trump continues to be a giant liar. I’d believe Comey over Trump any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Also: John McCain is losing it. He can’t form a coherent sentence and seems very, very confused. Time to retire, buddy.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Montana Republican Greg Gianforte Apologizes, Will Plead Guilty To Assaulting Reporter

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Yesterday it was announced that newly-elected congressman from Montana, Greg Gianforte will plead guilty to assault charges resulting from an altercation with Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs last month. In spite of Jacobs saying “he would not object to Gianforte entering a no contest plea,” the Gallatin County Attorney told reporters that Gianforte will nonetheless plead guilty. Gianforte would face a maximum of six months in jail and a $500 fine if found guilty.

Earlier this week, Gianforte wrote Jacobs a letter of apology, as well as informing Jacobs that he would be making a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit group that works to protect the rights of journalists everywhere while defending their right “to report the news without fear of reprisal”.


“As both a candidate for office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard,” Gianforte wrote.


“I understand the critical role that journalists and the media play in our society,” Gianforte wrote. “Protections afforded to the press through the Constitution are fundamental to who we are as a nation and the way government is accountable to the people.”

“I acknowledge that the media have an obligation to seek information,” Gianforte continued. “I also know that civility in our public discourse is central to a productive dialogue on issues. I had no right to respond the way I did to your legitimate question about healthcare policy. You were doing your job.”

Jacobs has accepted Gianforte’s apology:

“I have accepted Mr. Gianforte’s apology and his willingness to take responsibility for his actions and statements. I hope the constructive resolution of this incident reinforces for all the importance of respecting the freedom of the press and the First Amendment and encourages more civil and thoughtful discourse in our country.”

Sending a letter of apology was the right thing for Gianforte to do. Unfortunately, given how many on the right defended Gianforte in the altercation because it was “just desserts” for years of the liberal elite media attacking and maligning Republicans, it wouldn’t be surprising if this mockery was actually the very real reaction of the same people to Gianforte upon reading his apology:

Manly masculine man Greg Gianforte disappointed his ancestors, the right-wing movement, and betrayed Trump in the worst way possible when today he apologized to the reporter he “body-slammed,” in a weepy, wimpy statement.

Clearly he doesn’t want to make America great ever!!

But it wasn’t payback to the media. Not at all. It was just someone in a position of power losing his temper and making a very bad decision. The same writer mocking those who defended Gianforte’s actions, gets to the heart of the matter: “This is what happens when you love your political tribe more than you love truth, or honesty, or decency.”

As I opined here,

I guess assault is now considered okay, if it’s your side that felt provoked. Like, oh, we didn’t have a choice, we had to shove, hit, grab by the neck, whatever. WE HAD NO CHOICE! Whether it’s an annoying reporter provoking a politician, or a politician provoking a colleagues on the other side of the aisle, it’s unacceptable to react in this manner. Can we just dispense with making excuses for any of them: Gianforte’s assault on Ben Jacobs was simply how Montanans settle things. Nevarez shoving Rinaldi is just how Texans (or Hispanic males) settle things. We should be irate as hell that our elected officials in the seats of power believe the rules don’t apply to them, and condeming their noxious weasel-like rationalizations. As if those should smooth over very bad decision making. No one looks noble, just pathetic. And for Godsake, let’s stop assessing whether the story fits our particular point of political view before condemning it. That sort of thinking only widens the Left/Right chasm, and further exacerbates an already contentious situation. Somebody must be the grown up.

Hopefully everyone will cheer on Gianforte’s efforts to right a wrong, in as much as it is in his power to do so. (Yes, I know: Gianforte’s a politician. Genuine sincerity and humility are not standard fare for these types when caught up in any sort of scandal. Faux-humility, yes. Definitely. Rehab, of course. And a lot of testing the political winds to see which way public sentiment leads them. That is the typical go-to response of those in power. And maybe that’s what Ginaforte’s letter and donation are all about. But right here, right now, I choose to dump my standard cynicism and see this as a man who knew he screwed up big time and is trying to make amends as best he can. Can we just leave it there, at least for now?)

Also, to this Republican’s credit, not only did he offer a gracious apology, but official verification of his $50,000 donation has been made. This unlike other politicians who say they will, but then don’t. Or take it from children with cancer.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



As a reminder, Gianforte’s campaign’s statement at the time:

“Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions,” Scanlon said. “Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”

Horseshit. It was always obvious horseshit and now he has confirmed it.

Here’s what commenters said about this at the time, in this thread, memorialized for posterity. Me, I said assaulting reporters is wrong. Seems Mr. Horseshit finally agrees.


President Trump’s Personal Attorney Responds To James Comey’s Testimony

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:23 pm

[guest post by Dana]

From Marc Kasowitz:

Contrary to the numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told President Trump privately: That is, that the President was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference. Mr. Comey also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference.

Mr Comey’s testimony also makes clear that the President never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election, and in fact, according to Mr. Comey, the President told Mr. Comey “it would be good to find out” in that investigation if there was “some satellite’ associates of his who did something wrong.” And he, President Trump, did not exclude anyone from that statement.

Consistent with that statement, the President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including the president never suggested that Mr. Comey “let Flynn go.” As the president publicly stated the next day, he did say to Mr. Comey, “General Flynn is a good guy, he has been through a lot” and also “asked how is General Flynn is doing.” Admiral Rogers testified today that the President never “directed [him] to do anything . . . illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate,” and never, never “pressured [him] to do so.” Director Coates said the same thing. The President likewise never pressured Mr. Comey.

The President also never told Mr. Comey, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty”. He never said it in form and he never said it in substance. Of course, the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those serving in an administration, and, from before this President took office to this day, it is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications. Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers.

Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President. The leaks of this privileged information began no later than March 2017 when friends of Mr. Comey have stated that he disclosed to them the conversations he had with the President during their January 27, 2017 dinner and February 14, 2017 White House meeting. Today, Mr. Comey admitted hat he leaked to friends of his purported memos of these privileged conversations, one of which he testified was classified. Mr. Comey also testified that immediately after he was terminated he authorized his friends to leak the contents of those memos to the press in order to, in Mr. Comey’s words, “prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

Although Mr. Comey testified he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey’s excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appears to be entirely retaliatory. We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated along
with all the others being investigated.

In sum, it is now established that the President was not being investigated for colluding with the or attempting to obstruct any investigation. As the Committee pointed out today, these important facts for the country to know are virtually the only facts that have not been leaked during the course of these events.

As he said yesterday, the President feels completely vindicated, and is eager to continue to moving forward with his agenda, with the business of this country, and with this public cloud removed.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


James Comey’s Testimony

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:41 am

[guest post by Dana]

Comey’s testimony live:

Comey, regarding the president: “On March 30, I told him we were not investigating him personally. That’s true.”



Everybody Loves Somebody: Dino at 100

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:03 am

[guest post at JVW]

Dino Paul Crocetti was born one hundred years ago yesterday in Steubenville, Ohio. His Abruzzian father, Guy, worked as a barber and his first-generation American mother, Angela, kept the family home. Italian was the language spoken in the Crocetti household, and young Dino dropped out of school early to work as a boxer, bootlegger, and card dealer and croupier at one of Steubenville’s many unlicensed casinos.

But young Dino also loved to sing, and began appearing behind local bands in the city’s nightclubs, and changed his name first to Dino Martini and then finally Anglicized it to Dean Martin. Handsome and charismatic, his easygoing singing style was influenced heavily by hitmakers Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and, especially, Harry Mills of the Mills Brothers. Years later when the Mills Brothers would appear on his television show, Dean’s abiding respect and affection for the older man would be evident, as seen on this clip:

Classified as 4-F during World War II (as was his later friend Frank Sinatra), Martin had a middling career singing in nightclubs all along the Eastern seaboard through the war years. In 1946, he met young comedian Jerry Lewis and after convincing Skinny D’Amato of the 500 Club in Atlantic City that they two of them had a great duo act (which they largely improvised on the spot), the Martin & Lewis comedy team was born. With Dean playing the suave, worldly singer and Jerry playing the clown, the team became one of the most sought-after acts in the country with bookings from coast-to-coast, seventeen movies together, and a weekly television hour. In 1956, ten years after they first paired together, the act broke up after filming their final movie, Hollywood or Bust.

After splitting from Lewis, Martin launched himself into a movie career where his natural charm became a box office draw. Mary Steyn wrote earlier this week about Dino’s movie career in an article typical of Steyn’s vast knowledge and keen insight. At the same time as his movie career, Martin became a mainstay on the Las Vegas where he would remain a top-grossing act for three decades. (Interesting aside: while Sinatra continually broke new ground on the weekly fee that an entertainer could command, Martin became the first major entertainer to sign a contract which stipulated that he would only be required to do one show per night, even on weekends). A good example of his stage act was captured for the 1964 Billy Wilder film, Kiss Me, Stupid, in which Dean played a smug and decadent nightclub singer named Dino:

Dino was in fact a fine comedian with impeccable timing and an uncanny ability to play the straight man. One of the main challenges of being the straight man is to allow the funny guy to do his thing and have the punchline while still making your own contribution to the sketch. Famously unrehearsed as his television contract only required him to show up on the day of the show’s taping, watch Dino work with the great Bob Newhart here.

As a singer, Martin was in many respects the anti-Sinatra. Whereas Frank was a perfectionist, known for pushing for dozens of takes in studio sessions, Dean was the laid-back crooner who was generally happy with just a few run-throughs being captured on tape (“I hate guys who sing serious,” he once told an interviewer). Whereas Frank was the vocal acrobat whose clear tones and intricate phrasing is hard to emulate, Dean’s best-known song is an easy sing-along that even the most novice caterwauler can belt out without much problem. Whereas Sinatra did not speak Italian and thus did not sing Italian songs, Dean cut several songs in his first language many of which are compiled on an excellent collection. In 1964 his biggest hit, “Everybody Loves Somebody,” pushed “A Hard Day’s Night” out of the Number One spot on Billboard’s Top Hits (“I’m going to knock your little pallies right off of the charts,” Dean had promised his Beatles-loving son) and held the spot for seven weeks. It became the theme song to his massive television hit variety show, “The Dean Martin Show” which ran for ten seasons on NBC and made its host a very wealthy man (at one point, Dean Martin was the single largest individual shareholder of GE, NBC’s former parent company).

But my own personal favorite Dean Martin album is one he recorded in 1964 with a bare-boned backing crew of Ken Lane on piano, Barney Kessell on guitar, Red Mitchell on bass, and Irving Cottler on drums. Dream with Dean contains the first version of “Everybody Loves Somebody” before it was re-recorded with a full orchestra and started on its Billboard climb, and it also has what is, for my money, the very finest version of Rube Bloom’s “Fools Rush In” ever recorded as well as wonderful renditions of “I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You)” and “I Don’t Know Why (I Just Do).” The album is out of print, but it’s worth tracking down especially if you can buy it in the two-for with the follow-up collection Everybody Loves Somebody. Have a listen:

Above all else it was Dean Martin’s personality that made him such an icon. It’s fitting that a recent re-release of some of his biggest hits was titled The King of Cool. It was said that the difference between Frank and Dean is that Frank always wanted to be like the gangsters and made men that hang around the entertainers but the gangsters and made men all wanted to be as suave and unflappable as Dean. From fashion to comportment and everything in between, Dean Martin set an example of confident manliness that is still appealing today. One last clip from his television show demonstrates his undeniable sex appeal, as he charms the gorgeous Ann-Margret in a duet of the great Merle Haggard song, “I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am”:

Like many other famous and wealthy people, especially in entertainment, Dean’s life was marked by marriages and divorces, problems with drinking and pills, and family tragedy. He was devastated when his son Dean Paul was killed in a crash while flying with the California Air National Guard in 1987, and after that tragedy Dean cut back on his public appearances and had pretty much retired by the end of 1990. He died from emphysema on Christmas Day 1995. In marking his death, National Review pointed out that Dean was one of those entertainers who never tried to tell us how we should vote. Dean Martin was successful at pretty much everything he tried, and I hope that we are still watching his shows and listening to his music for the next 100 years.



James Comey’s Statement

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:41 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Late getting this up due to other obligations. Here’s James Comey’s opening statement.

As Dan McLaughlin notes, there’s both some good news and some bad news for the president. “Comey explodes the Democrats’ narrative that Trump was under criminal investigation for collusion with Russia, and confirms with specificity that Trump was telling the truth when he tweeted that Comey had told him as much on three occasions. The bad news, for Trump, is that Comey also details his mounting concerns about Trump’s heavy-handedness. His discussion of the January 27 dinner, which he interpreted as Trump asking him to audition for staying on as FBI Director, set the tone”…

Much more at the link.


ISIS Claims Responsibility For Attacks In Tehran

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:41 am

[guest post by Dana]

It’s being reported this morning that ISIS has made its first major attack on Iran:

Iran’s revolutionary guard lashed out at Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, hours after 12 people were killed and 42 others were wounded in devastating attacks on two potent symbols in Tehran, the capital: Iran’s Parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The Islamic State immediately said it was behind the attacks, the first time that the Sunni Muslim extremist group has claimed responsibility for an assault in Iran, which is predominantly Shiite Muslim. The group, which views Shiite Muslims as apostates, is battling with Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and in Syria.

Tensions in the Middle East were already high; after a visit by President Trump, Saudi Arabia and several Sunni allies led a regional effort on Monday to isolate Qatar, the one Persian Gulf country that maintains relations with Iran.

In a statement, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps faulted both Saudi Arabia and the United States government: “The public opinion of the world, especially Iran, recognizes this terrorist attack — which took place a week after a joint meeting of the U.S. president and the head of one of the region’s backward governments, which constantly supports fundamentalist terrorists — as very significant,” clearly referring to Saudi Arabia. The statement also acknowledged the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility.

Of the 12 victims of the attacks, 11 died at the Parliament building, and one at the mausoleum. In addition, six assailants were killed: four at the Parliament, and two at the mausoleum. Five were men, and one of the mausoleum attackers was a woman.

(On a side note, it is expected that Iran would blame President Trump for the attack, and from reading the entire report, it appears the NYT is eager to push that belief along as well. This even as Iran chants death to America.)

Also, as a result of the attack, Senate Democrats are asking that today’s vote to impose sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program and extend terrorism sanctions involving the IRGC be postponed because it would be the kind thing to do:

“Instead of rubbing salt into a wound, just to say let’s wait a few days and consider what to do,” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said Wednesday the Senate floor. “If we were in their shoes, I think we would appreciate that gesture.”

“If we were in [Iran’s] shoes, I think the idea of them sort of taking this kind of action or step against us on a day that we’ve been attacked by ISIS would not be well received,” Carper said.

To this lay person, generosity toward Iran seems a bit mind-boggling when one considers it’s Iran we’re talking about. Especially as they are not only chanting their standard refrain of “Death to America,” but are also vowing revenge for the attack, according to Saeed Ghasseminejad’s translation of a statement made by Deputy commander of IRGC intelligence Hossein Nejat’s:

“The Saudis & US had ordered terrorist operation in Tehran” & “IRGC would take revenge on terrorists & those who gave them the order.”


Two Trump Stories That Caught My Attention

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

Trump announces $100 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia last month. But . . . if this report is to be believed, “There is no $110 billion deal. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts. . . . None of the deals identified so far are new, all began in the Obama administration.”

Well, Trump lying is nothing new. Neither is Trump diverting charity money to his own pocket — although doing so at the expense of kids dying from cancer is a new low even for this cretin. The story is complicated and hard to capture in a simple description or single block quote, so consider the quote below to be a teaser rather than a comprehensive summary of the article. Forbes reports:

[T]he Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has come under previous scrutiny for self-dealing and advancing the interests of its namesake rather than those of charity, apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.

And while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.

All of this seems to defy federal tax rules and state laws that ban self-dealing and misleading donors.

Well, that part is nothing new.

What do you expect Donald Trump to do? Not steal money from kids dying of cancer?

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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