Patterico's Pontifications


Trump Donated Squat to Veterans

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:31 pm

Donald “Duck the Debate” Trump is supposedly doing a fundraiser for veterans tomorrow, when he should be on a debate stage getting his ass kicked by Ted Cruz. Quite obviously, though, he is using the vets as a shield. Case in point: he has never bothered to donate much of anything to veterans before:

Donald Trump says he’s skipping the final debate before the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night because he’s upset with Fox News and debate moderator Megyn Kelly. Trump will instead hold a “special event to benefit veterans organizations” in Iowa, according to a campaign press release. But the event could come off as a cheap political stunt exploiting veterans, especially because the Donald J Trump Foundation has been far from generous to veterans organizations over the years.

As Emily Canal of Forbes reported in October: “The Donald J. Trump Foundation has donated $5.5 million to 298 charities between 2009 and 2013 (the most recent year available), according to the non-profit’s 990 tax forms from those years. Of that, only $57,000 has been donated to seven organizations that directly benefit military veterans or their families, Forbes found. Wounded Warriors was not among the organizations Trump’s foundation gave to in that time period.”

Some veterans say that the billionaire has been AWOL when it comes to helping veterans. “Donald Trump is not a leader in veterans’ philanthropy, unless he’s donated a lot of money that nobody knows about,” Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told the New York Times in July. “We were founded in New York. We are headquartered in New York. I’ve been here 10 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever even seen Donald Trump.”

Rieckhoff, an Iraq war veteran, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “If offered, @IAVA will decline donations from Trump’s event. We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts.”

Meanwhile, Harry Reid accidentally let it temporarily slip that he loves him some Donald Trump:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) backpedaled Wednesday after joking that, among the current Republican presidential field, he’s considering backing Donald Trump for the nomination.

“Look, we’ve gotten along fine,” the Democratic leader told reporters. “With that bunch of people running, I’m kind of pulling for him.”

Reid made the remark after the GOP front-runner touted his ability to work with top Democrats in Congress, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), expected to be the next Senate Democratic leader.
Asked about Trump’s statement, Reid added, “Oh, I remember the good old days when he did a fundraiser or two for me.”

Reid quickly walked back his comments, apologizing for joking about supporting Trump — whom he called a “hateful demagogue who will do immeasurable damage to our country.”

WHA-WHA-WHA-WHAT’S THAT? People were paying attention?! No, no no no no, Trump and Democrats would not get along AT ALL! Harrumph harrumph!

Anyway, I really thought Trump would attend the debate. I repeat my prediction that this cements his loss in Iowa.

If he really sticks with it. I’m not sure I will believe it until I see it.

Amherst Crybullies Scalp Lord Jeffery

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:59 pm

[guest post by JVW]

In another update of the never-ending annals of lunacy, Amherst College announced yesterday that it will immediately cease using the Lord Jeffery mascot that has represented the school for roughly a century. The announcement came via a tediously long missive issued by the Board of Trustees, who cast the final vote to condemn Lord Jeff, and signed by the board’s chairman. Let me try to provide some snippets, starting with the statement’s first paragraphs:

During the past several months President Biddy Martin and the members of the board of trustees have had scores (all right, hundreds) of communications from alumni, students, and others about the matter of Lord Jeffery Amherst. The communications reflect and embody many points of view. A lot of them begin with something like the following: “I know there are far more important issues facing the College, but….”

And I agree—with the first part of the sentence and also with the “but.” The controversy over the mascot may seem small in itself and yet in many minds it’s symbolic of larger issues. The controversy is bound up with feelings about matters as specific and recent as the protests at the College last fall and as broad and old as the College’s mission and values. It’s bound up with personal memories and personal experience. [. . .]”

From there it lapses into a disquisition on the history of the college, its vision of itself as a special place (which colleges, pray tell, think of themselves as merely ordinary?), and the inevitably of conflicts among a large and diverse group of students and alumni before finally coming around to the hosannas to diversity that are de rigueur in the modern higher education complex:

The history of Amherst has a clear direction: it is toward ever-greater range and inclusion—regardless of any student’s means—and toward making that range and inclusion work as an educational and social reality. We started out as an institution to prepare indigent youths for the ministry, then broadened out into a liberal-arts institution that prepared students for every walk of life. We were a local institution that became a regional institution and then a national and global one. We were all male and then became coeducational. We were predominantly white and now have a student body in which four students out of ten identify themselves as persons of color. [. . .]

Now we are at 2016. Amherst is one of a handful of institutions at the forefront of an enterprise that is both urgent and overdue: making the finest liberal-arts education available to the kind of diverse population this country actually has, and doing so in a residential setting that functions as a true community.[ . . .] But the task is not easy, nor should we expect it to be.

And then we come to the issue of the mascot, Lord Jeffery, named for Jeffery Amherst, First Baron of Montreal, who in 1760 defeated the French in Quebec and drove them from Canada, who almost replaced General William Howe as commander of British forces in America during the Revolutionary War, and who was called upon to put down the Gordon Riots when British Catholics were targeted by anti-papists in 1780. The bucolic college town of Amherst, Massachusetts was named for Lord Amherst in 1759, one year before he became Governor-General of Canada, though the college (chartered in 1821) was named for the town itself.

Amherst, who had fought against the Six Nations tribes in the Great Lakes region, had at one point in the 1760s suggested delivering smallpox-infected blankets to the tribes as a way of spreading the disease among the tribes, and a few historians have presented evidence that the plan may have been carried out to some effect. From the relatively security of a quarter-millineum later, we are now free to excoriate Amherst and declare him persona non grata. From the letter:

Lord Jeff was adopted unofficially by students as a mascot roughly a century ago. The College itself has never officially adopted Lord Jeff as a mascot—or adopted anyone or anything else as a mascot, for that matter. [. . .] Thinking about [the smallpox blanket suggestion] leads immediately into gnarly debates about how we understand history, about the very nature of war, about the weight we give to words and actions, and about who has standing to render moral judgments.

If you’re guessing that they will decide that today’s Social Justice Warriors have standing to render these moral judgements, you would be correct.

. . . What is beyond dispute is that the symbolic figure of Lord Jeff has become a source of division among us today. In part the division reflects the impressively broad constituency that is the College and the alumni body. Almost all students (85 percent) and faculty, and more than half of the 6,000 alumni who voted in a recent ballot (52 percent), have an unfavorable view of Lord Jeff as a College symbol. About 38 percent of voting alumni have a favorable view.

That a majority of the voting alumni have an unfavorable view is telling, though earlier in the letter the total living alumni of the college are pegged at 23,000, so there are 17,000 of them who presumably aren’t bothered enough by the mascot to make the effort to cast a vote against it. They do not say how many total undergraduates bothered to vote, but is it so hard to believe that the voting would skew heavily towards those who want to see the mascot go? At this point, the board’s letter actually brings up the most salient argument for making the change:

So Amherst College finds itself in a position where a mascot—which, when you think about it, has only one real job, which is to unify—is driving people apart because of what it symbolizes to many in our community.

And so, Lord Jeff is consigned to the ash heap of history, though the board makes it clear that they have no interest in trying to police continued informal use of the mascot by students and alumni (at least for the time being, that is):

Lord Jeff as a mascot may be unofficial, but the College, when its own resources are involved, can decide not to employ this reference in its official communications, its messaging, and its symbolism (including in the name of the [Lord Jeffery] Inn, the only place on the campus where the Lord Jeffery name officially appears). The Board of Trustees supports such an approach, and it will be College policy. The Inn’s new name will reflect its deep connections with Amherst College and the town of Amherst. Beyond that, people will do as they will: the College has no business interfering with free expression, whether spoken or written or, for that matter, sung. Period. We hope and anticipate that understanding and respect will run in all directions.

On the face of it, this doesn’t seem like a horrible decision. The mascot was never officially adopted by the college, so this is probably not on the order of the bitterness felt by some Dartmouth alums when the college dropped their Indians mascot, nor is it too similar to the issue faced by the University of North Dakota when the NCAA bullied them into changing from the Fighting Sioux to the Fighting Hawks. But the problem, as we continually have seen, is that today’s crybullies refuse to take “yes” for an answer. The left is very good at playing the long game; what they don’t get today they simply come back for tomorrow. How long before the very name of the town of Amherst and the college named for it are called into question? Just as today’s obsession with microaggressions and safe spaces began with yesterday’s demands for punitive speech codes, what is going to happen when we start insisting upon judging historical figures from the Eighteenth Century by the standards of the Twenty-first? If you don’t think this is likely, note that the crybully left has been agitating for the University of Massachusetts to change its mascot from the Minutemen for nearly 20 years now. One of these days some foolish chancellor is going to enlist in the crusade.


Debate Preview from Ted Cruz

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 am

I think any candidate for President owes it to the voters to go and stand in front of them, to answer the hard questions. I mean, it’s a matter of basic respect to the men and women of Iowa. . . . This is a job interview. And if you want a job interview, the first thing you should do to get the job is show up at the interview. And I think it’s really remarkable that Donald Trump thinks so little of the men and women of Iowa that he is willing to skip the debate altogether. He doesn’t think he should have any questions on his record. And it’s really quite astonishing that Donald is apparently so afraid of Megyn Kelly. Look, you know, journalists ask tough questions. You know, I promise you, anyone who’s going to be President of the United States — if you’re afraid of Megyn Kelly, then you’re going to be afraid of Hillary Clinton. And if you’re afraid of Vladimir Putin, if you’re afraid to have anyone ask questions, that does not bode well for what kind of Commander in Chief you make.

Just brutal. And it goes on like that. And that’s how it will be at the debate.

Pundits are so used to Trump doing crazy things and not having it hurt him, that they are blind to how badly all this will hurt him. It won’t change anyone’s mind who already decided with all their heart and soul to support Trump. But those undecided between Trump and Cruz are going to flock to Cruz now.

I still think he gets back in. It’s such a stupid move to skip the debate, and Trump, while a moron on policy, is not generally stupid on matters like this. But maybe his personal pique is so great that it overshadows his usual judgment on such issues.

Man Shot and Killed by Feds in Connection with Oregon Standoff

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

Oregon standoff spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was killed and other leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation were arrested Tuesday after the FBI and state police stopped vehicles about 20 miles north of Burns.

Authorities did not release the name of the person who died at the highway stop, but Finicum’s daughter confirmed it was Finicum, 55, of Cane Beds, Arizona, one of the cowboy-hat wearing faces of the takeover.

Another of the arrestees, Ryan Bundy, received a minor gunshot wound. Ammon Bundy claims Finicum was cooperating:

Also arrested during the stop were his brother, Ammon Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont., Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada, and Shawna J. Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah. They were charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers, a felony.

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore said that Ammon Bundy called his wife, Lisa Bundy, from the back of a police car on Tuesday night.

Fiore, a vocal supporter of the Bundy family, said that Ammon Bundy told his wife that Finicum was cooperating with police when he was shot.

But sources told The Oregonian/OregonLive that Finicum and Ryan Bundy disobeyed orders to surrender and resisted arrest. No other details were available.

As articulated, that’s a rather thin justification for shooting someone. Was he armed? Did he point a gun? Did he appear to be reaching for a gun? Were there any body cameras?

I assume we’ll be hearing more about this. Law enforcement knew they were dealing with a group of people that had members who declared they were armed and prepared for a shootout if necessary. Still (unless only #BlackLivesMatter), mere disobedience of orders and resisting arrest is generally thought to be insufficient, without more, to justify shooting and killing someone.

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