Patterico's Pontifications

8/8/2022

Trump: Mara-a-Lago “Under Siege” As FBI Executes Search Warrant

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:17 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Big::

Former President Donald Trump said in a statement Monday that his home at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, was “raided” by “a large group of FBI agents.”

Trump also claimed the presence of law enforcement was unannounced and the reason was politically motivated, though he did not provide specifics.

“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a lengthy email statement issued by his Save America political committee.

“After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” Trump said before bemoaning: “They even broke into my safe!”

The Justice Dept. is keeping mum about the raid.

A big deal, indeed:

Meanwhile, this is quite the take:

Donald Trump was reportedly not at Mar-a-Lago when the search took place.

It’s amusing that Trump claimed his residence “under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents” who were lawfully doing their jobs, and yet on Jan. 6 when the Capitol was under siege, raided and occupied by a large group of rioters and lawbreakers, he told them that he loved them, and that they were very special.

Here is Trump’s full statement:

“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents. Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before. After I working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate. It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024, especially based on recent polls, and who will likewise do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming Midterm Elections. Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before. They even broke into my safe! What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee? Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States.

“The political persecution of President Donald J. Trump has been going on for years, with the now fully debunked Russia, Russia, Russia Scam, Impeachment Hoax 11, Impeachment Hoax #2, and so much more, it just never ends, it is political targeting at the highest level!

“Hillary Clinton was allowed to delete and acid wash 33,000 E-mails AFTER they were subpoenaed by Congress. Absolutely nothing has happened to hold her accountable. She even took antique furniture, and other items from the White House.

“I stood up to America’s bureaucratic corruption, I restored power to the people, and truly delivered for our Country, like we have never seen before. The establishment hated it. Now, as they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories, and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop me, and the Republican Party, once more. The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped.

“I will continue to fight for the Great American People!”

–Dana

8/5/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:17 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

If she’s going down, she’s going down fighting:

As with Cheney, who has said she will be at peace if she loses her primary, Rep. Peter Meijer and Rusty Bowers, both of whom met with defeat this week, have no regrets about their decisions regarding Trump and Jan. 6.

From Meijer:

“Not one,” Meijer said when asked if he has any regrets from his vote to impeach Trump. “I would rather lose office with my character intact than stay reelected having made sacrifices of the soul.”

And from Bowers:

Rusty Bowers, the Arizona Republican who defied Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his defeat in the state then testified to the House January 6 committee, has no regrets despite losing his bid for a state senate seat.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” he told the Associated Press. “I’d do it 50 times in a row.”

Also related: According to Wyoming locals and insiders, it’s anybody’s guess how the Aug. 16 primary in Wyoming turn out.

Second news item

Oh. Should Ukraine have just surrendered to Putin then??:

Ukraine condemned a report from Amnesty International that accused Kyiv’s forces of endangering civilians by operating in residential areas as they fight to repel Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s military has taken some positions and operated weapons in areas inhabited by civilians, including hospitals and schools, Amnesty said in a statement, citing witness interviews. Such tactics turn civilians into targets of Russian strikes, even if it doesn’t justify indiscriminate Russian attacks, Amnesty said.

Ukrainian officials said the report undermined Amnesty’s credibility, with Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov saying it was indirectly equating Russian aggression with Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the report distorted reality.

The report “unfortunately tries to amnesty the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said late Thursday in a statement.

US and UK ambassadors to Ukraine know what’s happening, even if Amnesty Intl. doesn’t:

I don’t know. Perhaps Amnesty Int’l. has been reading Tom Friedman lately…

Third news item

Gov. Abbott says first bus of migrants from Texas to NYC has arrived:

The migrants are being dropped off this morning on a green bus at Port Authority Bus Terminal at Gate 14. In addition to Washington, D.C., New York City will now be a drop-off location for the busing strategy as part of the Governor’s response to the Biden Administration’s open border policies overwhelming Texas communities.

“Because of President Biden’s continued refusal to acknowledge the crisis caused by his open border policies, the State of Texas has had to take unprecedented action to keep our communities safe,” said Governor Abbott. “In addition to Washington, D.C., New York City is the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within the sanctuary city. I hope he follows through on his promise of welcoming all migrants with open arms so that our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief.”

Mayor Adams is playing dumb about the point Abbott (and AZ governor) are making by sending migrants to their cities:

“This is despicable what we’re witnessing in Texas,” Adams said later at Gracie Mansion. “The Texas governor — using human beings as a political play — he finally admitted what we were saying. We’re going to continue to be open arms. This is who we are as a city.”

I am very sympathetic to decent people desperately fleeing unimaginable life circumstances from countries south of the border. Yet at the same time, Adams and those of the same mindset refuse to acknowledge the frustration of border states trying to handle the influx of migrants on a daily basis.
They know all too well that it isn’t just good people crossing. There are any number of dangerous criminals also making their way across the border. One only has to scroll through Bill Melugin’s Twitter feed to know this. Rather than using human beings as a political play, President Biden must take action to help with the crisis. That he isn’t is indefensible.

Fourth news item

Kari Lake, Trump devotee, wins Arizona GOP primary:

Like Trump, Lake courts controversy and confrontation. She berates journalists and dodges questions. She burned masks during the COVID-19 surge in the summer of 2021 and attacked Republicans like Ducey who allowed restrictions on businesses, though as a news anchor she encouraged people to follow public health guidance.

Lake spent the days leading up to her own election claiming there were signs of fraud, but she refused to provide any evidence. Once her victory was assured, she said voters should trust her win is legitimate.

“We outvoted the fraud,” Lake said. She pointed to problems in Pinal County, which ran out of ballots in some precincts and had to print more, but she and her attorney, Tim La Sota, refused to provide evidence backing up her claims of fraud.

She said she has no plans to stop talking about election fraud even as she needs to broaden her appeal beyond the loyalists her powered her primary victory.

Fifth news item

Privilege pays off:

A woman avoided a ticket when she showed the cops who pulled her over a “white privilege card” instead of her driver’s license. Two cops in Anchorage, Alaska, reportedly violated department policy in the incident, though it’s unclear what the policy was or what disciplinary action they will face as the department is treating the matter as confidential… Mimi Israelah wrote in a Facebook post that she was pulled over for weaving in the early hours of July 9 as she was driving to an Anchorage pizzeria after arriving from California for a Trump rally. She couldn’t locate her license when prompted, she wrote in the now-deleted post. “When I saw my White Privilege card, I gave to him if it’s ok,” Israelah wrote. “He laughed and called his partner. It’s their first time [they’d seen] a White Privileged card,” she said. The novelty card Israelah handed to them read “White Privilege Card Trumps Everything” at the top. Israelah was not cited during the incident and was allowed to go. Deputy Chief Sean Case said some people who saw Israelah’s post about the incident and a video she recorded of the exchange were critical of the officers’ actions. “We recognize that,” he said.

But not always, as Nancy Pelosi’s husband discovered:

Paul Pelosi, the multimillionaire husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, allegedly had a drug in his system, addressed officers with slurred speech, and tried to hand them a police courtesy card during his May arrest on DUI charges, according to court documents.

[…]

Pelosi allegedly handed officers his driver’s license and an “11-99 Foundation” card when they asked for his ID, according to the documents. The 11-99 Foundation is a California Highway Patrol charity that supports officers and provides scholarships for their children.

Sixth news item

Sinema says yes:

Senate Democrats have agreed to eleventh-hour changes to their marquee economic legislation, they announced late Thursday, clearing the major impediment to pushing one of President Joe Biden’s paramount election-year priorities through the chamber in coming days.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a centrist seen as the pivotal vote in the 50-50 chamber, said in a statement that she had agreed to revamping some of the measure’s tax and energy provisions and was ready to “move forward” on the bill.

Seventh news item

Do Democrats want President Biden to run for re-election? Well…

A startling number of lawmakers in President Biden’s own party have been unwilling in recent days to say he should seek re-election in 2024, amid gnawing fears he’ll be too old or unpopular to win.

[…]

Some Democrats privately don’t want Biden to run again, for three reasons:

He’s deeply unpopular. Many Americans associate him with inflation, high gas prices, entrenched COVID-19 and an inglorious end to the war in Afghanistan.

Progressives want a move away from centrism and convention.

Many Democratic voters want generational change. Biden was older when he took office than Ronald Reagan was when he left office. If re-elected, Biden would be 86 at the end of his second term.

[…]

Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney were asked, during a Democratic primary debate for the 12th congressional district, whether Biden should run again in 2024. Neither would answer in the affirmative.

Eighth news item

Signing on to this:

I found myself unshocked by the abortion vote in Kansas, and I don’t understand the shock of others. America has come to poll consistently in favor of abortion in the first trimester with support declining in the second and cratering in the third. The people of Kansas were asked if they’d like to remove any right to abortion from their state constitution and allow their legislators to fashion new laws and limits. They said no by 59% to 41%…In Kansas, pro-lifers asked for too much. People don’t like big swerves and lurches, there’s enough anxiety in life. They want to absorb, find a way to trust. Dobbs was decided only six weeks ago…But everything we know about abortion tells us that when you turn it into a question of all or nothing, you’ll likely get nothing. Thoughtful, humane legislation has to be crafted in the states, put forward, argued for…The pro-life advocates who filled the rhetorical void competed over who could be most hard-line: There should be no exceptions for rape, if it even was rape. There should be no exceptions for the life of the mother, that gives dishonest doctors room to make false claims. Maybe we can jail women for getting abortions…It was gross, ignorant and extreme.

Democrats have been just as extreme by demanding abortion through the ninth month. (Also, if abortion in the ninth month is as rare as pro-aborts constantly claim it is, then why fight so hard to make sure they have access to it?)

Both sides would have been wise to find a middle ground that corresponds with what Americans are comfortable can live with.

Ninth news item

Closing in:

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team is in direct communication with Justice Department officials, the first sign of talks between the two sides as the criminal probe into January 6, 2021, accelerates, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The talks revolve around whether Trump would be able to shield conversations he had while he was president from federal investigators.

[…]

Trump has grilled his attorneys on whether they actually believe he will face formal charges, sources said. Yet the former President has expressed a heavy dose of skepticism that he will be indicted, one of the sources familiar with the matter said.
Another source close to the former President told CNN that Trump also has posed questions about a potential indictment to members of his inner circle, some of whom believe the President is concerned about the possibility of federal charges.

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

8/3/2022

Vin Scully, 1927-2022

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:08 pm



[guest post by JVW]

It should never come as a surprise when a man dies in the ninety-fifth year of his life. By that point he has already gone well into extra innings. Nor is it a tragedy in the same way that the death of one in youth or in middle-aged — cheated out of the honor of combing grey hair as the old Irish saying goes — affects us, as we tend to fall back on the cliche that the deceased elder “lived a full life,” whatever we mean by that.

But yesterday’s passing of Vincent Edward Scully somehow carries with it a special pang of regret that one might not ordinarily feel for a man who had enjoyed such a long life. Perhaps because up until six years ago he still worked as the broadcaster on Los Angeles Dodgers home games, we had forgotten how few were the sands which remained in the hourglass of his life. To many of us who love baseball, it seemed that we would always have Vin Scully behind the microphone explaining to us the intricacies of a well-executed squeeze play or relating an anecdote about Duke Snider or Maury Wills or Davey Lopes or Shawn Green or any of the thousands of other players he covered in his 67-year career. We remember and cherish the great calls he made during a lifetime of indelible baseball moments (and, let’s not forget, he has his share of memorable football moments too). We recall his wit, whether it was the way he provided the play-by-play of a baseball fight (in which he read a player’s lips and sanitized the audio translation as, “That’s bull fertilizer!”) and placed it into the context of the game, or when he related the story of how getting bombed by a pigeon convinced Mike Matheny to remain in college and led him to meet his eventual wife, or when he displayed his deep erudition on the topic of beards, all woven within the regular play-by-play of the game. His knowledge of the history of baseball was vast, befitting one who in his boyhood met Babe Ruth, and he was a credit to the Jesuit education he received first at Fordham Prep and then at Fordham University, in an era when the Jesuits could still be taken seriously. He’s likely the last man from bygone days in which broadcasters worked in radio and thus understood that they had to hold the listener’s attention during the game since there were no visual images to see. I doubt that any play-by-play man will ever again be so consistently interesting.

Like so many other people who are almost universally admired and widely loved, Vin Scully’s personal life inevitably contained elements of tragedy. His first wife died young from an accidental overdose of medicine fifteen years into their marriage, leaving him to raise their three children. One of those children, his son Michael, would die in a work-related helicopter accident while inspecting damage in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. And Vin’s second wife, Sandra, suffered from ALS which eventually took her life in January 2021. Through it all, he remained a cheerful and indefatigable on-air presence, buoyed by his strong Catholic faith and his devotion to his children and grandchildren. And this being a conservative blog, it’s only fair that I add that Vin Scully held no truck for fashionable political nonsense, nor did he care for showy grandstanding by overpaid gladiators.

When he decided it was time to retire he announced it in advance of his final season, no doubt knowing that it would help his employer sell tickets by staging various tributes to his remarkable career. In his final game, he summed up what his career had meant to him:

So long, Vin. And thanks for making baseball the best sport to follow from afar.

UPDATE: NRO’s Dan McLaughlin turns out to be Vin Scully’s nephew, and he writes an incredibly moving and beautiful obituary about his uncle. A small taste from the second paragraph:

Vin’s story was the story of my family, and the story of so many American families: up from nowhere, and East to West. All four of my grandparents, including Vin’s mother and stepfather, immigrated to America in the 1920s. Some came with little, some with nothing. My grandmother was born Bridget Freehill in Ireland in 1900, a subject of Queen Victoria. She was shot at during the Easter Rising in 1916. She was a strong, tough, opinionated redheaded lady, a survivor, and the kind of traditional Irishwoman who always wore a nice hat to church. She lived to be 97. She came to America with a letter of reference from the clothing store in Dublin where she worked after coming south from County Cavan. Those were troublesome times in that troubled place, and New York was a fresh start.

Do yourselves a favor and read the whole thing.

– JVW

Allahpundit to Leave Hot Air September 2

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:20 pm



Patterico to end his subscription to Hot Air September 3.

I don’t mean to denigrate my friends Ed Morrissey and John Sexton by saying this. But they know (because I tell everyone) that Allahpundit is and always has been my favorite writer on the Web. I’ll still check in at Hot Air, but I don’t spend much on Internet subscriptions and I have to save my money for wherever Allahpundit is going next.

This world does not always reward stand-up people with external benefits like fame or money. More often than not, it rewards bad people with such things, while repaying goodness with challenges and difficulties. Stand-up people don’t really care about such external prizes. If they did value such things highly, they could probably obtain them; they know how to sell out, because they have watched people do that their entire lives. The fact that they don’t sell out shows they value what really matters in life: trying to walk the path that we all know, in our hearts, we should walk.

There are precious few stand-up people like that. We need to value the ones we have, and Allahpundit is one of them. I wish external success for him — but more important, my wish for him is that he will continue to be the strong, funny, principled man of character he has always been. That’s the finest blessing I can imagine bestowing on him.

Josh Hawley: One Is A Lonely Number, Indeed

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:03 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Of course he ran away from a yes vote:

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was the only senator to vote against a resolution on Wednesday backing Finland’s and Sweden’s entry to NATO. The Senate approved the resolution in a 95-1 vote…

[…]

He said he does not believe the U.S. should expand its security commitments in Europe, because America’s “greatest foreign adversary” is China.

Hawley argued that growing the country’s security commitments in Europe would make Americans less safe.

“Finland and Sweden want to join the Atlantic Alliance to head off further Russian aggression in Europe. That is entirely understandable given their location and security needs. But America’s greatest foreign adversary doesn’t loom over Europe. It looms in Asia,” Hawley wrote.

“I am talking of course about the People’s Republic of China. And when it comes to Chinese imperialism, the American people should know the truth: the United States is not ready to resist it. Expanding American security commitments in Europe now would only make that problem worse—and America, less safe,” he added.

[…]

“Finland and Sweden want to expand NATO because it is in their national security interest to do so, and fair enough. The question that should properly be before us, however, is, is it in the United States’s interests to do so? Because that’s what American foreign policy is supposed to be about, I thought,” Hawley said.

“Expanding NATO will require more United States forces in Europe, more manpower, more firepower, more resources, more spending. And not just now but over the long haul. But our greatest foreign adversary is not in Europe. Our greatest foreign adversary is in Asia. And when it comes to countering that adversary, we are behind the game. I’m talking, of course, about China. The communist government of Beijing has adopted a policy of imperialism,” he added.

I like how the St. Louis Dispatch editorial board summed it up:

His rationale is a retread of the case he once made against U.S. assistance to Ukraine: that containing Russian aggression somehow diminishes America’s readiness to confront future Chinese aggression. It’s a strained argument. Since when can’t America walk and chew gum at the same time, geopolitically speaking?

Reminder to Hawley: This is America, dude.

More:

Hawley’s condemnation of China for “dominating its neighbors and bullying free nations into doing its bidding” is valid but could just as accurately describe Russia today. And unlike China, the Russian threat against freedom isn’t speculative, but is unfolding right now in Ukraine.

The senator who sprinted through the Capitol ahead of a mob that was partly of his own making doesn’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to sound judgment. Putting more guardrails around Vladimir Putin in the form of NATO-member neighbors is a sign of strength and solidarity by the free world — and a far more useful message to China regarding that solidarity than the one Hawley is hawking.

Anyway, Mitch McConnell called a yes vote for Sweden and Finland a slam-dunk:

“If any senator is looking for a defensible excuse to vote no, I wish them good luck,” McConnell said Wednesday. “This is a slam dunk for national security that deserves unanimous bipartisan support.”

Interestingly, while there are rumblings that the Trumpian Hawley may run in 2024, three other possible contenders (Cruz, Cotton, and Rubio) criticized their colleague for his no vote.

Note: Even Sen. Rand Paul, who opposed the last two additions to NATO, voted “present” on Finland and Sweden.

–Dana

8/2/2022

Primary Day: Of Course Trump Weighs In On Republican Impeachers

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:04 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Today is primary day in a number of states. Three of the races involve Republicans who voted to impeach the former president. Thus, Donald Trump took to social media to remind Americans that his own personal witch hunt of the three has absolutely nothing to do with their conservative bona fides but instead his endorsement of their opponents (who support the Big Lie) has everything to with his inability to accept defeat. Still. Loyalty to the Constitution, conservative voting records, and standing on long-held conservative principles continues to mean nothing to the titular head of the GOP. Only loyalty to him matters. A giant man-baby whose feelings got so spectacularly hurt that he continues to seek vengeance. Sadly, many Americans continue to be loyal to this man who doesn’t care about them nor about the governance of America. Instead, what he cares about is getting back at those who rightfully told him NO:

Regarding the Washington state primaries involving Herrera and Newhouse, CNN reports:

Two of Tuesday’s primaries in Washington state represent a key question for the Republican Party: 18 months removed from Donald Trump’s second impeachment, has the GOP anger at party lawmakers who backed the effort subsided?

Primary voters will answer that question for Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, two of the 10 House Republicans who joined Democrats to impeach Trump after the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. In the months since their votes, both have paid the price at home. They have been criticized by their state party, censured by local leaders and challenged by handfuls of Republican challengers.

[…]

Herrera Beutler is facing off against a series of opponents who have attacked her for the impeachment vote, including author Heidi St. John, state Rep. Vicki Kraft and retired special forces officer Joe Kent, whom Trump has backed.

Newhouse, likewise, faces a series of Republicans who have hammered him for his vote, including former NASCAR driver Jerrod Sessler, state Rep. Brad Klippert and vocal election denier Loren Culp, who has been endorsed by Trump.

Also, facing an uphill battle is Rep. Peter Meijer from Michigan’s District 3. He is running against Trump-backed election conspiracist John Gibbs. Meijer published a scathing piece yesterday at Common Sense, in which he lambasted Democrats for cynically subsidizing Gibbs’ campaign . This is Meijer’s description of Gibbs:

Gibbs, a former political appointee in the Trump administration, denies the results of the 2020 presidential election. (“I think when you look at the results of the 2020 election, there are anomalies in there, to put it very lightly, that are simply mathematically impossible,” he said last month in a televised debate.) Gibbs has accused Obama administration officials of taking part in bizarre Satanic rituals. He defended antisemites on his now-locked Twitter account, and has tweeted that Democrats are the party of “Islam, gender-bending, anti-police, ‘u racist!’”

Quite a candidate there, Michigan. More from Meijer:

At the same time, to some in my party, we were Bad Republicans—RINOs at best, traitors at worst. After the impeachment vote, I was immediately censured by two county parties in my old district. In my new district, the Republican Party of the largest county repudiated me a few weeks ago. The Michigan GOP Chair joked about my assassination. There have been too many online threats to count.

Watching this unraveling inside my party has been utterly bewildering. The only thing that has been more nauseating has been the capacity of my Democratic colleagues to sell out any pretense of principle for political expediency—at once decrying the downfall of democracy while rationalizing the use of their hard-raised dollars to prop up the supposed object of their fears.

You can find the voting record of each candidate here.

Also, the Wyoming primary will take place on Aug. 16. Running against Rep. Liz Cheney is Trump-backed Harriet Hageman. While Cheney is trailing Hageman at this point, she is at peace with the very real possibility of losing to her opponent:

“If I have to choose between maintaining a seat in the House of Representatives or protecting the constitutional republic and ensuring the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I’m going to choose the Constitution and the truth every single day,” she said.

There are, of course, other important votes taking place today, including a post-Roe vote in Kansas, where a proposed amendment would add to the state constitution a declaration that there’s no right to abortion—a step that would free the Republican-controlled state Legislature to pass restrictions or an outright ban. Reports say that voter turnout has been very high:

Early voting was robust. As of Monday, 271,438 ballots had been cast. That’s far more than the last midterm primary in 2018, when advance mail-in and in-person ballots totaled 89,449, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.

Unaffiliated voters—who’d generally have little reason to pay attention to a primary—delivered more than 40,000 of the early votes. Republicans cast 122,677; Democrats, 106,800; and Libertarians, 1,457, according to the state’s data.

You can follow all of the primaries here and see the results as they come in.

–Dana

Mrs. Pelosi Goes To Taiwan

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:47 pm



[guest post by Dana]

In a Washington Post op-ed, Nancy Pelosi offered her reasons for going to Taiwan, despite warnings from China:

Thirty years ago, I traveled in a bipartisan congressional delegation to China, where, in Tiananmen Square, we unfurled a black-and-white banner that read, “To those who died for democracy in China.” Uniformed police pursued us as we left the square. Since then, Beijing’s abysmal human rights record and disregard for the rule of law continue, as President Xi Jinping tightens his grip on power.

The CCP’s brutal crackdown against Hong Kong’s political freedoms and human rights — even arresting Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen — cast the promises of “one-country, two-systems” into the dustbin. In Tibet, the CCP has long led a campaign to erase the Tibetan people’s language, culture, religion and identity. In Xinjiang, Beijing is perpetrating genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities. And throughout the mainland, the CCP continues to target and arrest activists, religious-freedom leaders and others who dare to defy the regime.

We cannot stand by as the CCP proceeds to threaten Taiwan — and democracy itself.

As the Speaker arrived in Taiwan, China flexed :

Twenty-one Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone on Tuesday, the day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taipei, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes — which included ten of its newer J-16 fighters, eight J-11 fighter jets, one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft, one Y-9 electronic warfare plane, and one Y-8 transport aircraft — entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

[…]

After her arrival late Tuesday night, China announced that the PLA will hold “targeted military operations” around the island in response. The Chinese military will hold hold live-fire drills in six areas surrounding Taiwan from August 4 to 7, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency and state-affiliated Global Times.

Chinese media indicated that the drills, which began Tuesday night, would not only involve air and maritime exercises, but also the firing of conventional missiles and long-range artillery.

Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry continued to denounce Pelosi’s trip

…saying that it “seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously undermines the political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations and sends a seriously wrong signal to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”

A separate statement issued by the Chinese Communist Party’s Taiwan Affairs Office said any attempt to seek independence by Taiwan would be “shattered by the powerful force of the Chinese people.”

While President Biden has said that the U.S. would defend Taiwan if a conflict arose with China, the White House has repeatedly said, uh, no so fast there, Mr. President:

White House officials repeatedly say[ing] a longstanding policy of “strategic ambiguity” on the defense of Taiwan remains in place.

Publicly, senior White House officials have said that Ms. Pelosi’s visit does not indicate any change in official policy, and should be viewed by China as no different than any other visit to Taiwan by members of Congress.

“There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit consistent with longstanding U.S. policy into some sort of crisis or conflict, or use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait,” John F. Kirby, a National Security Council spokesman, told reporters.

Good on Nancy Pelosi. Well done.

–Dana

7/29/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:20 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s start the Weekend Open Thread with a funny first news item!

On manhood or some such jibber-jabber:

Related:

Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley is writing a book called “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues Americans Need,” building off a speech he gave at a conservative conference claiming the political left is waging a war on masculinity. “The American Founders believed that a republic depends on certain masculine virtues,” the book’s description on Amazon says. “Senator Josh Hawley thinks they were right. In a bold new book, he calls on American men to stand up and embrace their God-given responsibility as husbands, fathers, and citizens.” His office did not respond to a request for comment. The book’s announcement comes after Hawley was mocked by the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, which showed a video of him running out of the U.S. Senate chamber as lawmakers, reporters and staff were being evacuated.

Second news item

Yet another case of disappearing text messages:

Text messages for Donald Trump’s top homeland security officials in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol are missing, according to the Washington Post. Citing internal emails and four anonymous sources, the outlet claims that texts from Trump’s acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli, in a critical period before January 6, 2021, have vanished. The Department of Homeland Security reportedly informed the agency’s inspector general in February that the data was irretrievably lost in a government phone “reset” after they left their positions in January last year.

Third news item

China warns President Biden:

Beijing’s statement on the call warned in reference to Taiwan that “those who play with fire will perish by it.” A senior U.S. official briefing reporters on the call wouldn’t confirm whether Xi used that exact language, but confirmed the leaders discussed their “differences” over Taiwan.

…It’s no surprise that Taiwan was top of the agenda, with Beijing threatening “serious consequences” if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi follows through on a planned visit to the self-governing island.

The Chinese government has repeatedly vowed to take control of the island, by force if necessary, and it reacts furiously to any gesture that seems to treat Taiwan as an independent state. The senior administration official declined to say whether and how Pelosi’s potential visit was discussed on the call. But the official did say that Beijing and Washington had “managed” their differences over Taiwan for over 40 years.

The official confirmed that Biden told Xi the U.S. maintains its “One China Policy,” while stressing that “the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Fourth news item

Oh:

The White House responded to second-quarter negative GDP growth with a full slate of events and a well-coordinated message: Despite what everyone is saying, the U.S. economy is not in a recession.

President Joe Biden appeared in public twice Thursday, and both times he delivered the same carefully crafted remarks, contending that current low unemployment rates, coupled with new investments in manufacturing, make it impossible for the economy to be in a recession.

“Let me just give you what the facts are in terms of the state of the economy,” Biden said in a speech that was billed as remarks on the latest budget bill in Congress. “Number one, we have a record job market, and record unemployment of 3.6%, and businesses are investing in America at record rates.” He then listed several companies planning to build factories in the U.S. before concluding, “that doesn’t sound like a recession to me.”

I guess it depends on who the current POTUS is:

For a more detailed look at what makes a recession, look here.

Fifth news item

Best of luck on the uphill climb:

Dozens of former Republican and Democratic officials announced on Wednesday a new national political third party to appeal to millions of voters they say are dismayed with what they see as America’s dysfunctional two-party system.

The new party, called Forward and whose creation…will initially be co-chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Christine Todd Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey. They hope the party will become a viable alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties that dominate U.S. politics, founding members told Reuters.

[…]

The new party is being formed by a merger of three political groups that have emerged in recent years as a reaction to America’s increasingly polarized and gridlocked political system. The leaders cited a Gallup poll last year showing a record two-thirds of Americans believe a third party is needed.

Related:

Politics is always a balancing act between strategy and sacrifice, calculation and compromise. Voting for Jorgensen or some other third-party candidate may seem tempting, or may even seem to have a certain logic to it. Like the Conscience Whigs before them, some Never Trump Republicans may feel themselves to be in a bind. Do they refuse to join the Biden coalition in the hopes of winning the longer war for the soul of conservatism? Do they ease their consciences by writing in Mitt Romney while effectively casting aside their votes? Do libertarians and other voters tempted by third-party candidates hold on to their purist convictions while knowing victory is impossible? Or do they compromise their principles to stop a man whom they have denounced as a threat to the very foundations of the republic? As frustrating as it may be, successful American politicking has always been coalitional.

Sixth news item

Protections for migrants crossing Southern border into the U.S.:

The Biden administration on Thursday authorized completion of the Trump-funded U.S.-Mexico border wall in an open area of southern Arizona near Yuma, where four wide gaps make it among the busiest corridors for illegal crossings.

The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that the work to complete the project near the Morelos Dam will better protect migrants who can get hurt slipping down a slope or drown walking through a low section of the Colorado River.

The area is the third busiest crossing for migrants who can easily walk across the river to surrender to border officials.

Related:

Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser has asked that the D.C. National Guard be activated indefinitely to help the district respond to an influx of illegal immigrants arriving by bus, according to a report.

Bowser’s request to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and President Joe Biden comes as more than 150 buses from Arizona and Texas have brought more than 5,000 migrants to Washington, D.C. in the past three months.

Buses began bringing migrants from Texas border communities in mid-April under instruction from Governor Greg Abbott. Texas has sent more than 125 buses to D.C. One month later, Arizona began sending buses as well.

“With pledges from Texas and Arizona to continue these abhorrent operations indefinitely, the situation is dire, and we consider this a humanitarian crisis — one that could overwhelm our social support network without immediate and sustained federal intervention,” Bowser wrote.

[…]

“This mission would begin as soon as possible and continue indefinitely until the city relieves them,” she said. “To be clear, I recognize the magnitude of this request. But the Governors of Texas and Arizona are making a political statement to the federal government, and instead, their actions are having direct impacts on city and regional resources in ways that are unsustainable.”

Pretty sure the governors of Texas and Arizona would agree that such direct impacts on city and regional resources are absolutely unsustainable.

Seventh news item

Rep. Liz Cheney is out with a new political ad that is brief and to the point. (I’m unable to link to the video, so for now, here is the text of the ad which is a compilation of her competitors’ comments at last month’s candidate debate):

HARRIET HAGEMAN: “We have serious questions about the 2020 election.”

*BUZZER*

ROBYN BELINSKY: “And when I talked to Mike Lindell he did say there was a small, small portion of voter fraud in this state.”

*BUZZER*

ANTHONY BOUCHARD: “The system to steer people. We know for a fact that all the major Internets do that.”

*BUZZER*

LIZ CHENEY: “We’ve got to elect serious leaders. We have to elect leaders who will take their oath of office seriously. Leaders who won’t simply say what they think people want to hear.”

*CHIME*

Meanwhile, Cheney’s campaign continues to receive big donations from Californians:

Californians have contributed more to Republican Rep. Liz Cheney than donors from any other state, including her Wyoming home, as the outspoken Trump critic faces an increasingly perilous reelection bid.

Many California donors, including Hollywood and Silicon Valley moguls, vehemently disagree with most of Cheney’s policies but applaud her fight against former President Trump’s false claim that he won the 2020 election.

Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and her prominent role as vice chair in televised House committee hearings into the attack have boosted her status nationally, even as they have hurt her in Wyoming, where she trails her GOP primary opponent by double digits. In heavily Democratic California, that has translated into donations totaling about $1.2 million.

And while Cheney trails Hageman by by 22 percentage, she remains resolute in her decision to hold Trump accountable and honor her oath to the Constitution:

“If I have to choose between maintaining a seat in the House of Representatives or protecting the constitutional republic and ensuring the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I’m going to choose the Constitution and the truth every single day,” Cheney said recently on CNN.

[Pre-emptive strike: This is not the same as Democrats putting money behind Trump-backed-MAGA-loyalist-election-denier-conspiracy-theorist candidates in order to be positioned to win more easily in November. Cheney is not an election-denier, nor did she try to overturn election results. To the contrary.]

Eighth news item

President Biden picking and choosing according to his stripes:

President Joe Biden on Friday nominated Julie Rikelman, who argued the case for the Mississippi clinic before the Supreme Court in the case that led to the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, for a post on an US appeals court.

Rikelman’s nomination comes a month after the Supreme Court ruled there is no longer a nationwide right to obtain an abortion. Rikelman represented the Mississippi clinic — the last in the state — that challenged a state law barring abortion after 15 weeks.
As part of his 24th round of judicial nominees, Biden nominated Rikelman for the Boston-based 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals.

[…]

Rikelman currently serves as senior litigation director for the Center for Reproductive Rights and is considered one of the best abortion rights attorneys in the country. Biden’s move suggests an effort to bolster the bench with an expert on the issue at a time when more than half the states are prepared to ban if not further restrict the procedure.

Ninth news item

Troglodyte: Before an audience of young Republicans, Rep. Matt Gaetz make use an opportunity to tout Republican women who have bravely come forward to testify under oath before the Jan. 6 Committee but instead chose to attack…womens’ physical appearances:

Because the subject of abortion is a joking matter to him, and I guess young Republicans too. Anyway, 1955 is calling and wants its sexist pig back.

Tenth news item

Hero:

The Lafayette police department in Louisiana shared a press release on their social media that recounted how a pizza delivery man saved five children from a house fire.

According to the press release issued Friday, Nick Bostic, 25, was driving past Union Street early Monday, when he noticed a house on fire.

He quickly parked near the house and entered it from the backdoor. He then called out to wake the house’s residents who he assumed might be unaware of the escalating fire. He found four children in the bedroom and woke them up. They all rushed outside, but then Bostic was told that a six-year-old was still inside.

Bostic stepped inside the house once again to look for the child. By the time he found the child, Bostic had inhaled much smoke. However, he managed to hold the child and jump out of a window. The child was unharmed and Bostic was flown to Indianapolis for treatment.

P.S. Josh Hawley and the Claremont Institute guy might want to take note here.

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

7/28/2022

Constitutional Vanguard: Redefining Morality

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:23 am



What happened to you?

That is the question people who support Donald Trump like to ask of those of us who don’t.

But it’s the wrong question, as I explain in the latest newsletter:

The funny thing is: the very people who ask “what happened to you” seem not to realize that nothing happened to us . . . but that a very significant question remains:

What happened to them?

Because these people, who often (like the guy above) deny being Trump fans, are very obviously Trump fans. Or, if they are not, then they are the sort of non-Trump fans who never criticize Trump with vigor, always find a “whatabout” whenever Trump’s failings are discussed, and inevitably save their nastiest commentary for anyone who is a real Trump critic.

These people all voted for Trump, and will again. Nothing Trump has ever done really bothers them all that much. His immorality merits nothing more than a shrug. Were these people always this morally callous and disinterested?

What happened to them?

I suspect the answer is: nothing. This is how they always were. It just took Donald Trump to bring their true character into focus.

Read it here. Subscribe here.

P.S. I’m still working on the case law about the Independent State Legislature Doctrine. It’s interesting but kind of daunting.

7/27/2022

Hypocrisy Not A Winning Look For Democrats

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:07 pm



[guest post by Dana]

House Democrats are angry with the DCCC for putting money behind MAGA candidates in the GOP primaries to try and put in place what they see as a easier candidates to defeat in November:

A growing number of House Democrats are seething at their own campaign arm for meddling in a GOP primary to promote a pro-Trump election conspiracy theorist — after months of warning that such candidates were a threat to democracy.

In public statements, private chats and complaints taken directly to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic members are aghast that the committee is spending nearly half a million dollars to air ads boosting Donald Trump-endorsed John Gibbs over Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), who voted to impeach Trump last year.

While Meijer is one of the few GOP lawmakers who voted to hold Trump accountable for his own false claims about the 2020 race, his blue-leaning seat is also a top Democratic target district this fall — and Gibbs is seen as an easier opponent to beat in November. The primary next Tuesday will kick off a three-month sprint to the general election.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy points to why this strategy is a problem:

“No race is worth compromising your values in that way”…

Democrats, like Murphy, fear the strategy could easily backfire, if a candidate like Gibbs were to win the general election amid a GOP wave — and the party also risks undercutting its own core message about the dangers of MAGA Republicans taking power. It could be harder for Democrats to claim that certain GOP candidates are an existential threat to the country if they are also using party money to push them closer to winning office.

A number of other Democrats have voiced their frustration about this “strategy,” citing the obvious danger if it backfires:

“Many of us are facing death threats over our efforts to tell the truth about Jan. 6. To have people boosting candidates telling the very kinds of lies that caused Jan. 6 and continues to put our democracy in danger, is just mind-blowing,” said Murphy, who is not seeking reelection this fall.

[…]

“It’s very dangerous, I think, in this environment to be propping up candidates like that,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), who called it “a terrible idea” and said he has raised his concerns to the DCCC.

“Of course, it could backfire. And that’s part of the reason why I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said. “Not only do I think it sends the wrong message, but it’s substantively risky.”

[…]

“It’s dishonorable, and it’s dangerous, and it’s just damn wrong,” said Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who said his party was at risk of accelerating the loss of the remaining “truly honorable and courageous Republicans” like Meijer, who was one of just 10 in his party to impeach Trump last year.

[…]

“Dirty games like this are part and parcel of political campaigns. But when you talk about putting money behind candidates who want to come to Washington and destroy our democracy… it’s not a political, dirty trick anymore,” Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) said. “It’s unconscionable.”

This just seems like an unbelievably stupid risk taken by Democrats. If the plan backfires, it would not only be very problematic for the party, but also for the nation if Trump-backed election conspiracy theorists got elected to office. But, even if it went the way Democrats hope it will, the optics would still be seen as craven. Democrats have now exposed themselves as the lip-service only party when it comes to what is a threat to our democracy. Because either Democrats believe that Trump-backed election conspiracy theorists are a threat to democracy and do not belong in government (like they’ve repeatedly claimed), or they do – so much so that they’re willing to spend money to help them get there. And the latter message, ultimately, is that they are the party of massive hypocrites. There really isn’t a middle ground in this. That hypocrisy is a point of attack that Republicans will be able to make over and over again.

Anyway, here’s how Rep. Peter Meijer summed it up, and rightfully so:

I’m sick and tired of hearing the sanctimonious bullshit about the Democrats being the pro-democracy party.

Also, as I was unable to locate video of just Meijer’s full reaction to the Democrats’ hypocrisy, in which he find himself a target, here is an interesting panel discussion about the issue, which includes Meijer blasting Democrats for their “strategy”:

–Dana

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